C/N: I'm finally updating the story. I know it's been a LONG wait, and I'm sorry for that. RL has truly eaten up any free time I have. I'm not taking the story out of hiatus officially yet because I can't give a definite update time frame. I don't foresee it being as long as it was before. So, I'll see how it goes.

I'm hoping I haven't lost my readers. Although I have seen many add my story and myself to their favorites, and I thank you dearly. Instead of clogging up the chapter note, why don't we just get on with the update. See you at the bottom!

Previously - My mind was going in so many directions and I couldn't settle it enough to go to sleep. When I finally did manage to find sleep, I had the worst nightmare I had ever had. I woke up panting and sweating, clutching my chest. My heart was pounding – it was aching at the last remnant of the nightmare – Bella walking away from me, never looking back.

I don't think I would survive another broken heart.

Chapter 18 – Facing Reality Head On


I was still reeling from the nightmare I just had as I padded down the stairs on my way to the kitchen. As I landed on the last step I looked around, I noticed the light in my father's office was on. Strange. I looked over at the clock on the wall, it was six – twenty in the morning. I walked over to his office and slowed as I came upon the door. It was slightly ajar, but I could tell that my father was in there as I heard the creak come from his chair as he moved in it. What is he doing up this early? I thought he had the weekend off.

I knocked lightly on the door.

"Come in," he said.

I pushed on the door lightly allowing it to slowly open. I followed the movement until my eyes locked on him from where he sat behind his desk.

"Dad?" He smiled. "What are you doing up so early?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Force of habit I guess. I had early shifts at the hospital for the past two weeks straight and I don't think my body realized it was my day off."

I chuckled. "That sucks, dad."

"Yeah, it kinda does, but nothing I can do about it." He focused a bit more on me, his brows furrowed a bit, making me squirm internally. "But, now, why are you up so early this morning? I thought you'd sleep in till at least ten," he said.

I lowered my head, wanting to look anywhere but at him right now. He called my name, but I couldn't even bring myself to acknowledge him.

"Edward?" He tried again. "Son, look at me, please."

I sighed and lifted my head slowly, bringing him back into view.

"What is going on? I know you have something you wanted to discuss with your mother and I this morning. Is this why you're up? Is this weighing on you so much that you couldn't sleep last night?" He asked, concern lacing every word.

I pointed to the chair in front of his desk, and he motioned for me to sit. I slowly made my way over to it and sat down. I felt my body sag into the chair.

After about a minute, I sat up and looked to him. I saw the worry evident in his face. I hated that I was the cause of it. I was the cause of all the emotions and issues my family has endured recently…actually more like for the last year. And now, I was about to turn their world upside down, again.

I looked back down at the arm of the chair, trying to find some bit of strength to talk, but was finding it difficult to do so.

"Edward?" I looked back up at him. "Please, tell me what is going on in your mind right now. Let me see if I can help you."

I knew he wanted to fix any problem I had, but how do you fix this.

I decided to stick to a safer subject at this particular moment. Bella. The images from my dream reared their ugly head at that exact moment, and my body trembled.

I fought back a sob that was fighting its way to escape. I calmed my body for a moment, enough to give an answer of some sort to my father. "I had a bad dream last night…nightmare actually…a terrifying one. That's what has me up this early. I didn't want to go back to sleep after that."

My father nodded in acknowledgment. "Anything like the ones you been having these last couple of years?"

I shuddered in remembrance of those. I would wake up screaming, drenched in sweat every single time. I had them every single night for the first six months after what happened in Port Angeles. Pictures of my family hurt or dead, tormented me for the first year.

"Not really like those, but similar. But this time, my mind added a new participant, and I can't even fathom…" I trailed off, squeezing my eyes shut. I won't let anything happen to her. I can't let her walk away from me.

"Bella," he said, calmly. My heart skipped a beat at the mention of her name. My eyes shot open, and I just stared at him. He nodded in understanding. "Edward, what is Bella to you?"

"What do you mean, dad?"

"I know she came with you the last time you came home, and I know it was because of the threats from James. The safety of everyone involved was paramount, and she was involved because of James' fascination with her. I know she also came to support you, to help you talk to us the last time." I nodded. "But what is she to you?"

I closed my eyes again, breathing in deeply. Feeling my emotions run rampant at the thought of Bella. I took one final deep breath, opened my eyes, and answered, "She's my everything, dad."

His eyes widened in surprise so much, that I thought I would laugh from just looking at him. The look on his face, priceless. Was it so hard to believe that she means everything to me?

He cleared his throat, straightening up in his chair a bit. "Well…I wasn't expecting that as your answer, Edward…"

A little irked by his response, I cut him off, "Why? Is something wrong with her? Should I not be with her?"

He stated shaking his head, "NO! I didn't say that, Edward."

"Well, what did you mean by that then, dad?"

He sighed, "There is nothing wrong with Bella. Actually, your mother and I really like her. Your mother was hoping that there was something more than friendship between the two of you," he chuckled, and then continued, "Son, the way you look at her..." I nodded. "It kind of reminds me of the way I look at your mother." My heart stopped, and my breath got caught in my throat. Was I that obvious? "That is not a bad thing. I love your mother like no other in this world, besides you children of course. She is the sun and moon to me." Well, that's pretty much my thoughts of Bella.

"Dad, I know that Bella and I just met, but I can't see my life without her in it. I have never felt anything remotely like this before. Not even with…her."

My father sat back in his chair, clasping his hands in his lap. "I understand, believe me I do. Like I said, I think she is a wonderful girl. Just don't let your lingering issues about Tanya…" I growled at the mention of her name. He sighed, "Edward…"

"No, dad. I fought whatever was happening between Bella and I at the beginning because of that crap with…Tanya. I also told Bella everything that happened. The reason behind that was because of James, but the point being, I told her, and she didn't run screaming for the hills. She stayed, even knowing how fucked up my mind is…was." I groaned, running my fingers through my hair.

He sat there for a few moments, rocking back and forth in his chair, just staring at me. I felt about 3 feet tall during that whole time. How does a parent do that? It must be some ingrained ability they inherit when they have children.

I squirmed under his gaze. "Dad," I whined, feeling like the 3 foot tall child I was at the moment.

He smirked. Fucker. He sat forward, placing his joined hands on the desk. "Just be careful, Edward. I know you are going through a lot right now. Just don't take it out on Bella. There will be a time when this whole issue comes to head, and it will run you ragged. Bella will stand by you, I can see that. Just don't let your aggravation of it rub off on her, got it?"

I stared at him for a moment. I wouldn't do anything to hurt Bella. Why is he even saying this?

"I can see the wheels of confusion turning in your mind, Edward. All I'm saying, feeling what you feel for her, along with the issues and emotions attached to what's going on with James, you may end up hurting her, unintentionally of course, but this is a lot to handle all at once. Just please be careful."

"I will, dad. I promise," I said with conviction. And he doesn't even know about the baby issue yet. Oh God.

He nodded, sitting back in his chair. A moment later I heard a bedroom door close. I looked at dad, and he got up from his chair. "Let's go get some coffee, son. You still have something to tell your mother and I today. I think we need a little caffeine, don't you?" He smiled, walking around his desk toward his office door.

I snorted. "Yeah…maybe with something stronger added to it," I mumbled under my breath.

"What was that?" he asked.

I shook my head. "Nothing."

"Come on, let's see who's up," he said, as he walked out of his office.


As we walked down the hallway from his office, I see the lights in the kitchen on. I heard a few muffled voices as we got closer.

Once inside the kitchen my eyes looked around to see who was up. Mom was at the stove, stirring something in a pan. I looked over at the breakfast bar. There was Alice and Bella, sitting and talking.

"What's that smell, mom!" I heard Emmett yell from behind me. Stupid prick. Give me a heart attack why don't you. I turned to glare at him. "What?" He looked at me, confused.

"I think you woke up the neighbors, Em," I growled.

He laughed. "Probably," he said as he walked over to the refrigerator.

I walked over and stood next to my mother. "Good morning, mom."

She looked up at me, smiling. "Good morning, dear. You hungry?"

"A little bit. Whatcha making?" I asked as I looked at the pan.

"Just making some bacon, sausage and eggs. Sound good?" she asked.

I smiled. "Yes, ma'am. Sounds great." She looked back at me, still smiling. "Did you sleep well?" My smile faded, and she noticed. She put the spatula down and faced me, her brows furrowed. "Are you alright, baby?"

I swallowed the lump stuck in my throat. "Yeah," I croaked. I looked down at her. I saw the sadness and worry in her eyes. "I will be…soon. Will you be ready to talk after breakfast?"

A knowing look settled her features and she nodded. "Yes…whenever you are, I am."

"Good. The sooner the better," I said. "Do you need any help?" I asked, motioning to the stove.

"No, baby, I have it. Go sit down, relax, grab a cup of coffee. There's a fresh pot made," she said pointing over the counter where the coffee pot sat.

I leaned down and kissed her cheek. "Thank you, mom."

She looked up at me, grinning from ear to ear. I smirked back in response and walked over to get my cup of coffee.

I poured the black goodness into a large cup, turned around, and leaned up against the counter. I looked around the kitchen, taking in my different family members. Jasper and Rosalie had made it down while I was talking to my mother.

Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie were sitting and talking at the table. Bella and Alice were still at the bar, and my mother and father were talking with each other while she was finished up breakfast.

My eyes made their way back over to where Bella was sitting and was surprised to see that Bella was looking at me. When she caught me looking back, she turned back to Alice, and I saw a slight tinge of pink spread to her cheeks. Why is she blushing?

I leaned my head to the right and watched her. The way she moved as she talked, using her hands to express herself. The way her head would fall back as she laughed. I could watch her forever.

"You're in deep aren't you?" A voice asked from beside me. I looked over and saw that Jasper had somehow managed to come stand next to me without me even noticing him.

I looked at him confused. "Say what?" I asked.

He looked over at Bella and back to me. "You are in deep," he said with a knowing grin. Prick.

I rolled my eyes and looked away. He chuckled. "Deny it all you want, but man, I've never seen you act like this…EVER," he stressed. I looked back over at him. "Congrats man. I know you weren't sure about your feelings the last time we talked about her. You said you liked her, kissed her and such, but you weren't really sure how you felt. I can see it now though, and I'm happy for you," he said with sincerity.

I shrugged, and he laughed again. "Look, Jazz, I still don't know what all this is between Bella and I, but I can't see my life without her in it." I looked back at him. "I don't want to lose her, and my father basically told me to be careful because of all the shit that's going down with James. He's afraid I might take it out on her." He looked confused for a moment and then concerned. "I don't want to fuck this up, Jazz. He thinks I still might have some lingering Tanya issues as well."

"Do you?" he asked.

I sighed. "You have no idea what issues I have with Tanya right now, but you may find out soon enough," I said.

Before I could elaborate, I heard my mother speak up. "Breakfast is ready everyone."

Jazz and I found our way over to the table. Bella looked up at me as I approached, and I smiled at her. Her eyes lit up in response. I took my seat next to Bella. For the next hour we ate and talked about school, classes and work – nothing heavy. Towards the end of breakfast I began to get nervous at the prospect of having to tell my parents that they might become grandparents real soon. I had no idea how I was going to even begin that conversation. It wasn't like I could just come out and say, "Hey, mom and dad, guess what, you remember that bitch of an ex-girlfriend of mine, Tanya? Yeah, well, she doesn't know who the father of her baby is, and well, I might be the one." Yeah, that wasn't going to go over well.

Suddenly, I felt Bella's hand reach for mine under the table. The moment her hand touched mine, the anxiety lessened and I felt myself relax some. I looked over at her and saw her smiling. She squeezed my hand, and I returned it.

"You okay?" she whispered.

I leaned over to her. I heard her breath hitch, and I smirked. I put my lips next to her ear and I felt her body shiver. Damn. I whispered back, "I am now that you're touching me."

I pulled back to see her face, and I saw her lick her lips. She seriously needs to stop doing that. I watched as she swallowed and opened her mouth. "Well, I'm glad I could be of some assistance."

"You are more than that, Bella," I said sincerely. "You are my best friend, my confidant, my rock, my…" I trailed off. I can't honestly tell her this at the breakfast table. That's just wrong.

"Your what, Edward?" she asked, pulling me out of my musings.

I leaned back over to her, and whispered, "Can we go to our place later? After I talk with my mother and father?"

Her eyes widened, and she nodded slowly. I smirked at her.

She took a deep breath in. "Are you ready to talk to your parents?" she asked, and my heart skipped a beat in anxiety. Was I ready to do this?

I squeezed her hand. "Only if you are there with me," I whispered.

"W-What?" she stammered.

I looked directly into her eyes, wondering if she understood how much I needed her. "Will you…come with me…" I swallowed hard. "Will you come with me when I talk to them?" I knew it was a lot to ask of her. But, she really was my rock. She helped keep me grounded, sane – in a world that has me going in every direction at the moment.

"Ed-Edward, I don't think…are you…sure…you want me there?"

"Please?" I pleaded, barely a whisper.

She looked at me closely, searching for something. I didn't know what she could possibly be studying me so intently for, but whatever she was looking for she must have found because she started to slowly nod her head. "Yes, I'll go with you. Make sure that your parents are okay with it first, please," she pleaded this time.

"I will…" I said as I leaned over and kissed her cheek, her breath hitched. "Thank you," I breathed against her cheek, then lightly kissed it again.

I leaned away from her and turned to look at my parents. I noticed my mother first. The smile that graced her lips was the biggest I've seen in a long time. There was nothing but happiness radiating from her. I mentally rolled my eyes. My father of course was wearing his trademark smirk. I shook my head, smiling, knowing what it was all about. I turned back to Bella and saw that she was blushing. I couldn't help but chuckle.

I turned back to my parents as the laughter died within me, slowly being replaced by anxiety at what I was about to go and do. "Mom…Dad…is it okay if we have that talk now?" The chatter around me silenced almost immediately. I looked around the table and saw the different looks on everyone's faces. Surprise, concern, worry and confusion was amongst them.

"Sure, dear," my mother answered. "Just let me clean up and we can go into your father's office."

"We'll do it, mom," Alice jumped in.

I turned to Alice and mouthed a "thank you" to her. She smiled as she got up to clear the table. I grabbed Bella's hand, squeezing it tightly and got up from my seat. I released her hand, looked back silently telling her to hold on and walked over to my parents while they were getting up from their chairs.

When I was close enough to them, I asked quietly, "Is it okay if I bring Bella with me?"

My mother smiled. "Of course, honey."

"Sure, I don't mind, son," my father said.

I breathed a sigh of relief and turned back to face Bella. I nodded, silently telling her that it was okay for her to come with me. My mother and father left the kitchen on their way to his office, and I stayed behind waiting for Bella.

The moment she made her way to my side, I grasped her hand, linking our fingers together. The anxiety that was coursing through my body immediately left at her touch.

"You ready?" she asked.

I looked into her eyes and took a deep breath. "As I'll ever be I guess." I exhaled roughly.

"It'll be okay, Edward. You'll see," she said with the confidence I was lacking.

"Edward?" I heard Alice call for me as we started to walk out of the kitchen.

I stopped and turned to look at her. She was flanked by Jasper and Emmett. Rosalie was standing next to Emmett. The looks on their faces made my heart swell. Their faces showed nothing but love and understanding, and it took everything in my to hold back the tears that started to prick at my eyes.

"Yes?" I choked.

"Everything will be okay. We are here for you, you know that," she said tenderly. The others nodded their heads in agreement. My family…I don't know what I would do without them. I can't believe I treated them badly this year. I have so much to make up for.

I glanced at each of them, and then back to Alice. I swallowed the lump in my throat to try and answer her. "I know, and I'm very thankful to all of you. I'll be back out after I talk with mom and dad."

"Okay," Alice said.

I turned back towards my father's office with Bella by my side.


I heard soft murmurs as we walked up to the office door. I knocked lightly, and pushed my way in. They both stopped talking and looked over at us as we came through the door. My mother smiled, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. I hated being the cause of that.

"Have a seat you two," my father said, motioning to the love seat off to the right side of his office.

With Bella's hand still linked with mine, we walked over to the love seat and sat down. I pulled her hand into my lap and clasped it with both of my mine. I needed to pull some strength from her to get through this.

"Now I know you wanted to talk with us, Edward," my mother said as she took the seat I occupied earlier this morning. I nodded in agreement. "You mentioned yesterday that it wasn't anything bad, but it also wasn't good. You know how much I worry about you, especially after what we discussed last weekend."

I closed my eyes, and groaned in frustration. How many more times am I going to do this to my family?

I felt a hand cover mine. I knew that it was Bella's, the electricity surged even more through my hands. My eyes slowly opened, and I looked over at her. The concern and worry were evident in her eyes, but she also had the look of determination in her features. She knew I had to do this. There was no backing out now.

I took a deep breath in and turned back to my parents. My father had joined my mother in the chair next to her.

"Okay…what I'm about to tell you…first…let me say…I just found out about this yesterday. I'm still…dealing with the implications of it still," I growled. Both of their faces wore an identical frown.

"Dealing with what, son?" my father asked.

Even though Bella's touch helped to keep the anxiety and anger at bay, this was something I still hadn't had time to really grasp yet. I could be a father in a few weeks' time. I shot up of the couch and began to pace in the office.

"Edward?" my mother called. I turned to look at her. Apprehension was written all over her face. "What's going on?" she pleaded.

I went to go stand next to the fireplace, away from the three of them. The more I distanced myself from them, the harder it seemed to find the words I had to say. I placed my hands on the mantle piece, taking a moment to gather my thoughts. I mean, how do you really come out and tell you parents they might be a grandparent and that your crazy, cheating ex-girlfriend may have never let you know?

Taking a couple of deep breaths, I exhaled deeply, turned around and faced them. "I…I found out yesterday…" I swallowed nervously. "I ran into Tanya yesterday morning..." I heard my mother gasp. "James was there with her."

"Oh, Edward," my mother said softly.

I shook my head. I wasn't looking for sympathy. "No…it wasn't like that. That part of my life is over," I spat.

"Did James try anything with you?" my dad asked.

"No…although he did try and threaten me again…"

My mother cut me off. "What did he say, Edward?" she growled.

"I'll get to that in a moment. That really isn't the reason for this conversation."

"Alright, but you will tell me what he said later on," she said forcefully. I love my mother.

I nodded. "I will…promise…but what I have to say is a bit more important than James' idle threats," I said.

"Fine," she said.

I looked over at Bella, needing to just see her. She was sitting on the edge of the couch, with her hands clasped in her lap. She had a small smile on her lips. She nodded her head knowingly. I gave her a small smile in return and turned back to my parents.

"Okay…like I said, I ran into Tanya and James yesterday. I honestly wasn't expecting to ever do so, but thankfully I did." My parents stared at me in disbelief.

"You know that I told you what happened between Tanya and I…some of it anyways." They both nodded. "Well, after I proposed to her and she told me she had been seeing James all that time too, she told me that she was four weeks pregnant at that time." I shuddered at the memory.

"Right, but what does this have to do with anything?" my father asked.

I snorted. "Everything…everything, dad."

"What are you trying to say, Edward?" My mother sounded nervous.

"Yesterday…when I saw Tanya…she was much further along than she was supposed to be."

"How far along?" my father asked quickly.

"Her due date is September fourth, dad," I groaned.

I heard my mother gasp.

"Are you trying to tell us that this baby is yours, Edward?" my father asked, pain evident in his voice.

I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know…"

"What do you mean you don't know?" My mom shouted as she got out of her chair.

"Es, calm down…let him finish," my dad said calmly.

"I swear to God, Carlisle, I'm going to give that woman a piece of my mind," she seethed.

"Mom," she looked back over to me, and her face softened a little. "What I was trying to say is that Tanya doesn't know who the father is. But the timing puts me as a possible candidate."

"Seriously?" she asked.

"Yeah, when she originally told me back in February that she was pregnant she hadn't been to the doctor yet. But, it's between James and I as to who the father could be."

"Is she going to get a DNA test done after the baby is born?" my father asked.

I laughed. "I don't even think she planned on telling me that it was a possibility I was the father."

"What?" my mother screeched.

"I think she and James were just going to raise it regardless of who the father was," I said furiously.

"I can't believe that woman!" my mom said angrily.

"You and me both, mom," I said as I ran my hand through my hair. I needed some air. This whole conversation had not been as bad as I thought, but my nerves were still shot and the weight of the whole situation weighed heavily on me.

I looked over at Bella. She had remained quiet through the whole thing. She was still sitting there, in the same position she was in when it started. Her brows creased with worry and concern.

My father spoke up a moment later. "I can contact our family attorney and request that a DNA test be done as soon as the baby is born…if that is what you want, Edward."

I didn't know what to do, honestly. I knew I wanted to find out if I was the baby's father, but did I want to have to deal with Tanya as well? Absolutely not!

My eyes hadn't left Bella this whole time, and I saw the apprehension tense her body. My thoughts went back to the nightmare I had last night. The image of Bella walking away from, and not looking back, made my body shudder. I couldn't lose her. Not over this. What if the baby turned out to be mine? Would Bella stay? I couldn't expect that from her, but I wanted her to.

I found myself walking over to her. Her eyes followed my movement as I sat down next to her.

"Hey," I said.

"Hey," she whispered.

I put my hand out, silently asking for hers. She looked up at me, and then back down at it. What is she thinking? Is this too much for her? Is she going to pull away from me? I watched as she slowly brought her hand out and placed it in to mine. I roughly exhaled the air that I didn't realize I was holding in waiting for her response.

I heard my father calling my name, but I couldn't find it in me to answer him. I needed some time to recoup. It has been a long two weeks and it doesn't seem to be getting any better soon. I knew that I needed to figure out that stuff with Tanya and the baby, but I didn't want to think about it just yet.

I sat back on the couch, pulling Bella back with me. I turned back to my father after I heard him say my name again.

"I know that this is a lot to take in, dad, believe me. Like I said, I just found out about this yesterday and it really hasn't hit me just yet. I do want to find out if the baby is mine. So, yes, call the attorney and do whatever is necessary to make sure the test is done as soon as the baby is born. I also want to find out how, if the baby is mine, I can fight for sole custody of it." I heard both Bella and my mother gasp in response to my words.

"Uh…sure, son…I'll have them look into that. Are you sure that's what you want to do?" he asked, concerned.

I chuckled darkly. "Most definitely. She cheated on me. She was going to keep this from me. I'm not going to let her get away with this."

"I agree, son. I'll have our attorney look into it, but I really want you to think about this." I looked at him incredulously. He held is hand up before I could speak. "I'm not asking you to give up the child or anything like that. I'm just wanting to make sure that if this child is yours, are you willing to take him or her away from Tanya completely?"

"I'll think about it…I will…just still ask the attorney about it, please." He nodded in agreement. "Right now, this is all up in the air until the test comes back proving I am the baby's father. There is still a chance that I'm not. Until then, I'm going to live my life…I need to, or it will drive me nuts. We still have James to consider still."

My mom piped up this time. "So are you going to tell us what happened with him?"

I sighed. "It seems that James never mentioned…" I looked over to Bella, and her eyes widened. I grasped tighter on her hand in reassurance. "…Bella to Tanya. When she found out that James was interested in her, she flipped out. I told her what James had done to Bella, bringing up how she needs to think about 'playing house' with James considering his past." I felt Bella tense next to me.

"What happened next?" my father asked.

"As soon as I mentioned Port Angeles, he got irate and tried to warn me about the threats he made against me and my family. I told him that everyone knew what had happened, and that I wasn't afraid of him anymore. Then…" I trailed off. I didn't want to bring this up now. I didn't want to scare her any more than she had already been. We would make sure that Bella was safe, but just the thought of James going after her made me see red. I would literally rip him apart if he ever laid a hand on her.

My mother brought me out of my murderous thoughts. "Then what?" she asked.

I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself before I spoke. "He then decided to threaten…Bella." I felt her body go rigid immediately. I turned to face her, placing both of my hands on each side of her face gently. "Bella…I will never let him hurt you. I would kill him if he did," I said with enough force behind it that her eyes widened in shock.

"Edward!" my mother snapped.

I snapped my head in her direction. The anger was building inside at the thought of him touching her. "NO! He's already gotten away with hurting who knows how many girls. I REFUSE to let her be another one of his victims!" I spat.

"Edward calm down," my father said calmly. "There is no point getting worked up right now. Esme, I know this is upsetting, but we need to think rationally and calmly about this whole situation."

"I. WILL. NOT. LET. HIM. HURT. HER," I said in a low growl. I felt Bella cover my hands with hers, and I turned back to look at her. The scared look on her face made my stomach twist into knots. He will NEVER see the light of day if he hurts her.

I saw my father get out of his chair, making his way over to his desk. "I understand that, Edward. We will do everything in our power to make sure that all of you are safe, and that includes Bella too. Do you hear me?" he said forcefully.

All I could do was nod. I really needed to get out of here for a bit. I needed to collect my thoughts and put them in to perspective. How to deal with James. What to do about the baby. These were two very big situations that pulled my life into different pieces.

"Look, I think we all need to take a few moments and relax," mom said suddenly.

"I agree. Why don't relax for the day and then get together tomorrow to figure out the details on how Edward wants to proceed," dad said.

I sighed and agreed. I was ready to be done with all of it. Getting up off the couch, I reached my hand down to Bella. She grasped my hand and stood up. I looked over at my parents, they seemed to be having a silent conversation. I knew this was a lot to ask of them. Between James and now Tanya, I was ready to bust. I could only imagine what they were feeling.

Bella squeezed my hand and I turned to face her. She had a small smile playing at her lips, trying to comfort me. But, I knew she was terrified of James and what was going on with him. Now with Tanya added into the mix, I was waiting for her to run away screaming at any moment.

I brought my right hand and cupped her cheek softly, rubbing my thumb gently across it. "You don't have to do that you know." Her face quickly morphed into confusion. "You don't have to pretend that you're alright. I know this is a lot…and I'm sorry…"

She cut me off. "Don't apologize…you have nothing to apologize for," she said fiercely.

I sighed. "But I do. If it weren't for me…"

"Stop that!" she growled. "Who's to say that even if I didn't meet you, that James wouldn't have come into the picture anyways?"

"Still…because of me, he's making it worse on you…and for that, I am sorry," I said remorsefully.

Before she could say any more, my father spoke up. "Come on you two, let's get out of here."

She turned to head out of the office, and I followed behind her. My mother came up beside me and touched my arm. I stopped and looked at her. Suddenly she wrapped her arms around my waist and hugged me, tight. I had to fight back the tears that threatened to fall. There was nothing like a mother's hug. I wrapped my arms around her tightly, and I heard her sniffle. Oh God! I can't handle it when my mother cries.

She was making it very hard to keep those tears at bay. "Mom?" I choked.

She pulled back and wiped at her eyes. "Don't worry about me, honey. It's just a lot to take in and I worry about you, that's all."

"I'm sorry to be putting the family through all this."

"You're not putting the family through anything. We will figure all this out…together…as a family," she said with a smile.

I leaned down and kissed her cheek. "Thank you, mom. I love you."

Her smile got bigger, and her eyes twinkled. "I love you too, baby. Now, get out of here. Go relax for a while."

I nodded, and headed out of the office.


I walked through the hallway, not sure where to head to. I thought about taking a drive to clear my head, to help get my thoughts in order. But, first things first, I needed to take a shower and get dressed. I hadn't changed since I was woken up from my nightmare early this morning.

As I walked up the stairs toward my room, I heard Bella's voice, but it was coming from Alice's room. I slowed my pace to see what she was saying.

"…this is a lot to handle, Alice. I don't know what to do," she said painfully. Great. I knew this was too much for her.

I heard my sister answer. "Oh, Bella, I know this is a lot, believe me. I hate to imagine what Edward is going through right now."

"I know. I feel for him…I do…I just don't know how to help him. I just don't want to see him hurt," she said.

"I know, sweetie. Neither do I. I want to scratch Tanya's eyes out I swear," Alice seethed.

Bella giggled. "I'd like to help." I smiled. Hearing her giggle made my heart tingle. "I can't believe that she left Edward out of the loop like that."

"I know…that's why I want to scratch her eyes out. First, she breaks his heart into a million pieces earlier this year, then she finds out that he might be the father of her baby, and decides to leave him out of it all," Alice's voice rose in anger toward the end.

I had heard enough. I didn't want them to wallow in all this. You should learn take your own advice! I sighed and knocked on the door. Dead silence.

After a moment without an answer, I went to knock again but the door slowly opened, and Alice appeared.

"Hey, Edward," she said.

"Hey, short stuff. I was just about to hit the shower, but I heard Bella in here. Mind if I talk to her for a sec?"

She opened the door wider and motioned me to come in. As I entered the room, I found Bella sitting on Alice's bed. She met my gaze and smiled. I couldn't help but return the smile.

"I'll give you two a moment alone. I need to go talk to Jasper anyway," Alice said, and then left the room. I watched as left, and then turned back to Bella.

I walked over to where she was. Every time I was around her, it was like she pulled me in. I had to be near her.

"Hey, Edward," she said softly.

"Hi…I…uh…I was wondering if…if you'd still like to go off with me in a bit. After I take a shower and get dressed of course," I said, smiling.

She smiled. "I'd like that very much."

"Great. Let me go get ready. I'll meet you in say…fifteen minutes?"

"Alright. I'll go freshen up as well," she said as she started to rise from the bed.

"Perfect," I said, looking at her.

We both headed out to our respective rooms to get ready. After a nice hot shower, I was feeling a little bit better. Some of the lingering tension had left my body, leaving only the apprehension of the situation behind. I knew things were only going to get worse, and I needed to find a way to deal with it all before it blew up in my face. Hopefully, when I sat down with my parents and the rest of my family tomorrow, we'd be able to figure out how to handle things as they happened.

I for one hoped that Tanya's baby wasn't mine. I didn't want to have any ties to her for the rest of my life. After the hell she put me through, I was done with her for good. I wanted to move on with my life, finally. Even though I swore I would never let another woman in to my heart, Isabella Swan managed to do that without my permission, and without even trying.

Going to our spot this afternoon would give me a chance to tell her how I felt about everything. Can I tell her how I feel about her? I'm still not sure how I feel. I know that I can't be without her, but do I love her? Yes, I do. Should I tell her that? Is it too soon? I would have to let her lead in that department. I didn't want to scare her off by blurting so soon.

I finished getting ready and headed down to the living room where I heard everyone gathered. I couldn't wait to grab Bella and go. I really just wanted to spend time with her and talk. Talk without constraints and an audience. I wanted to see how she felt about everything. Make sure that this wasn't too much for her, and if it was, how could I help alleviate some of her worry. Like I said before, I didn't want to lose her, and I will do whatever was necessary to make sure she didn't walk away from me. I didn't want my nightmare to become a reality.


A/N: Next up will be Edward and Bella's talk. Will this be too much for her? Will she stay? How does she feel about Edward? There are many questions left unanswered, and next we will find out what she stands. What do you think?