Chapter Sixteen

Lunch with the Enemy

That wasn't good enough. I needed more than just a nod. I needed to hear her tell me she wouldn't regret it if we made love. I wasn't asking for a promise of a future together, I just wanted to know that she wouldn't hate me, or herself, in the morning. I didn't think that was too much to ask.

"Bella," I called softly, trying to pull back a little so I could see her eyes.

"Edward, I don't know what you want me to say," she sighed, frustration clear in her expression.

"I want you to say that you won't regret it If we do this."

"What makes you think I would regret it? I'm the one instigating it, aren't I?"

"Why? Why here? Why now? Bella, you can't blame me for being worried about losing you. I can't go through that again."

"I promise, Edward, that I will never regret being with you."

That was all the reassurance I needed. My resolve was already wearing thin as it was. She was straddling me without her shirt on. There was only so much a man could resist. I was relieved by her assurance nonetheless. I knew I would have given in without her saying the words, but it would have tainted everything with my concerns of the possible repercussions. This way, I could simply enjoy being with her like this.

Without further hesitation, I dove in, attacking her neck with my lips, tongue and teeth. Her reactions encouraged me as I continued my assault along her collarbone and chest. Utilizing my knowledge of her body, I went straight for all the areas I knew would drive her crazy. The nook on the back of her neck, just below her ear, was one of my favorites. Her resulting moan had me instantly on the edge, but I forced myself to rein it in. I wanted to leave no doubts about how in love with her I was. Rushing things wouldn't leave the impression I was hoping to make.

Her skin was so soft, and I relished in the feel of it. Oh, how I had missed being able to touch her. Moving slowly, I unclasped and removed her bra. I spent several minutes worshipping the newly revealed skin. Her breasts were magnificent, and I made sure to show my appreciation to each and every centimeter of them. Her hips had more of a curve to them than I remembered, so I had to explore the change there.

"As much as I'm enjoying this attention, I'm dying here," Bella moaned out after a while.

We quickly shed the rest of our clothing, but I refused to rush anymore after that. I needed to show my adoration to every inch of her body. It had been far too long since I'd seen so much of her. It pained me to move with such slow precision, but it was a good kind of pain. A kind of pain I never thought I'd experience again. There was no way I was going to take this for granted ever again.

Our night together was amazing. It was tender and sweet mixed with rough and demanding. I couldn't get enough of her, so I took her several times before we finally got dressed and headed home. Well, Bella went home, and I went back to my apartment. That night I dreamed of a future with Bella. Her stomach was beautifully rounded from carrying our child. We were blissfully happy, and I clung to the hope that dream brought as I made my way through my morning routine the next day.

Unfortunately, our affection from the previous night did not continue when we met for lunch. Nothing had really changed, other than our lunches together going from twice a week to five, and the nothing was the problem. We remained cordial and friendly, but that was the extent of our interactions. I tried not to let it bother me too much. When I asked her about what that night meant, her answer was that it meant everything but that she just needed time. I hoped she was being honest and just needed the chance to come to terms with what had happened between us. She was still happy to see me each day and still seemed reluctant to leave me at the end of each lunch hour together. I decided that was enough for the time being. I would give her time if that was what she needed.

That was before I ran into her having lunch with James. I should have known something was amiss when she turned me down for lunch for the first time in almost four months. Apparently, she had decided to have lunch with James instead. I couldn't help the anger I felt when I saw the two of them together that afternoon anymore than I could help loving Bella. Of course, she tried to smooth away the tension created when I approached them. I really should have just walked away before they had a chance to notice me. Obviously, that would have been the better option.

When she noticed my expression, Bella actually shrank away from me a little. That only fueled my anger and paved the way for what occurred next. Not that I would ever blame my actions on Bella's response. She had every right to be afraid of me in that moment. I wasn't thinking clearly, and all I could see was the woman I loved with another man. Finally, I fully appreciated what Bella must have felt that night she left me. I'd seen her and James together before but it was muted by the shock of seeing her again after so long. There were no such hindrances to quell my anger this time.

"Hello, Bella, James," I greeted them kindly enough. Bella could see the fury in my eyes and watched me skeptically as I shook James' hand. I may have gripped a little harder than could be considered polite.

"Edward, right?" James questioned in response. He remembered me well. His expression gave him away.

"Yep, that's me. The ex-husband," I stated to make sure he knew exactly who I was.

"Well, it was nice bumping into you, Edward, but I'm afraid we're rather pressed for time today. I have a client coming in to look at the pieces I'm working on for her and need to get back to my studio soon," Bella said, trying to get away from me as quickly as possible. I could tell she was extremely uncomfortable.

James looked between us curiously. I guessed he hadn't realized they were in a hurry. After staring her down for a few moments, I turned my attention back to James, choosing to ignore her statement. No way did I want to let them out of my sight and leave them alone together. James straightened his shoulders and faced me directly for the first time. I hadn't realized how large he was until that moment. He wasn't quite as tall as me, but he was definitely more muscular. For a moment, I wondered if Bella preferred that look.

"I'm sure we have time to spare, babe. Why don't you join us for a bit, Edward?" James asked, trying his best to look unaffected by my presence.

"I'd love to, thank you," I answered and pulled up a third chair to their two person table.

Apparently, I was determined to torture myself thoroughly.


Disclaimer: I'm not Stephenie Meyer, so I can't take credit for the characters she created...

A/N: Can't these two just figure things out and live happily ever after already? Any guesses as to why Bella is having lunch with James?

Thanks for reading :-) I like when you share your thoughts with me too :-)

~SP