Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns everything Twilight related. No copyright infringement is intended and there is no financial gain by myself in this story. The original characters, plot, and setting are the property of the author, NTJB. Please do not reproduce this story without the express permission of the author.

A/N: Hi :)


Chapter 34- Easy

November 1, 2010

Edward was here. He was in New York, and I had no idea what to do about it.

I definitely didn't ask Alice for advice. She wouldn't want me to see him. She'd badger me incessantly if I did. That fact and his return to New York made me reconsider what I had accomplished in the last few months, or, more precisely, who I had befriended. Edward wouldn't accept my friendship with Alice, and I couldn't jeopardize our reconciliation if he found out about us. I had to be good. Alice had to understand that I needed him. I couldn't see him if I hung out with her. It would mean another lie, and I would never do that to him again.

I just had to tell her that I couldn't see her anymore.

I woke up on Halloween, taking the Klonopin to continue the equilibrium it offered throughout my day. It would make telling Alice that I had to stop seeing her that much easier. But when I showed up at her apartment on Bedford, she was floating on cloud nine. Gun bra in hand, she smiled at me in her genuine way and told me tonight was about fun. As she held my bare face and applied a shimmery pink blush and lipstick with silver eyeshadow, I begged her to keep it light. I didn't want to wear makeup at all, but she convinced me of its necessity.

"Beautiful, Ms. Taylor," she said while fluffing my hair. It had grown since September. I didn't really look like Elizabeth anymore; I looked more like me. "You'll be the most beautiful swan ever!"

When I looked in her bathroom mirror, I was surprised by the woman I saw. I didn't look like me at all. I was beautiful, but not me. It was Halloween, after all. I should've been glad that my costume enhanced me tonight. But I was worried. Who would I find when I took the costume off later? What if she wasn't good enough for Edward? I may never be good enough for him again.

The moment we arrived at Fat Black Pussy Cat, Alice greeted the party-goers with glee, giggling and flitting about. My determination to tell her fizzled. She wasn't present at all, anyway. She pulled out her blue magic K once that night and downed it with water. Then, she went up and down the club to speak to everyone, asking if they were having a good time. Everyone except for me.

"So, did you order the balloons for Thursday?" Erik asked as the party was winding down. He said this with a terrible London accent. Considering how much of an "idol" he was for Halloween, it made sense.

"Oh! Not yet. I will tomorrow." I eyed his high platinum-blond spiky hair. "I could swear one of the balloons could fit in your hair, Billy."

"Billy? As in Billy Idol?" Erik groaned, opening his long black leather coat. "Hello!" He broke the accent. "Didn't you watch 'Buffy'?" He puffed out his chest. "I'm Spike." The accent returned, like acid in my ears.

"Oh yeah. I loved that show, but... Spike didn't speak like a pirate." I patted his shoulder.

"Tyler digs it." Erik rolled his shoulders back until I let go of him.

"Tyler digs everything you do. You're dating him."

"And my opinion's all that matters in the world, Swan Lake," Tyler said, walking up behind Erik. It was fitting that he had the matching pale skin and was dressed all in black. He had lofty dark brown hair, though, and dark brown contact lenses over his gray eyes.

"Are you... Angel?" I coughed, fighting a grin. "And you two..." I pointed at them as "Angel" put his arm around "Spike" and kissed him on the cheek.

"Yep." Erik stroked Tyler's forearm.

"Where are your fangs?"

"Oh, those?" Erik formed his hands into claws. "Those are for later." He grabbed Tyler's ass.

Tyler grew bashful with a giggle. "Night, Bella."

"Have fun," I said with a little wave.

They pawed each other as they made their way through the crowd. Their PDA was akin to Edward's and mine. It didn't matter where we were, we couldn't take our hands off each other. We were in our bubble, and no one could get in.

Alice was nowhere to be seen when I left. I wondered if she abandoned her own party tonight, but Tia, her assistant, said she had to meet with the manager and didn't know when that meeting would end. I felt the size of a penny. It was as if she were pulling away from me first. It was unexpected, but probably for the best. Even if Edward hadn't come back, I couldn't stay here. Where she and Erik lived day in and day out wasn't reality.

Twenty minutes later, I hopped on the D train, nostalgic. My visit to Alice's dreamland was coming to an end. I needed the Klonopin, though. I didn't know how I'd sleep without them. I would schedule an appointment for a psychiatrist this week. I didn't think talking to one was necessary, but I couldn't deal with my insomnia again. I'd do anything to keep dreaming of Edward.

I walked to my apartment in the early morning chill with a new plan in mind. Thursday would be the day I would tell her. After we were stuffed on barbecue pork and sugary liquor, we would part ways. It would be a perfect send off and a huge thank you for everything she had done for me. I'd wait for Erik to leave, then end it. A perfect thank you. A perfect goodbye. Then, I'd be perfect for Edward.

I showered, sure this would be the right course of action. Seeing her later this morning would be tough, but manageable. We wouldn't exactly talk that much when she arrived. We never did. We were too busy doing other things.

In my bathroom mirror, I looked exhausted. My shorn hair was wet and my collarbone jutted out more than it should have. I turned my face to the right, noticing how prominent my cheekbones were, now. When I pinched the skin at my hip, I felt the bone where I used to feel at least a thin layer of fat.

The trip to Alice's dreamland had transformed me. I was barely recognizable.

I changed. From the inside, out, I changed.

When I crawled into bed and shut my eyes, I didn't dream of Edward. Instead, darkness seeped into my skin and make me cold. Mercifully, the doorbell woke me a few hours later, ringing like a foghorn.

Alice was right on schedule. Groggily, I made my way to the front door. It was time to step into her dreamland once more.

"You're not gonna watch the episode when Aidan leaves her again, are you? You know I hate that episode!" She whined as soon as I opened the door. I blinked the sleep out of my eyes. When I didn't get a full night's sleep, I was left disoriented and numb from the world. Klonopin required at least ten hours, although it depended on the person. Miraculously, Alice's sharp voice worked its way through the fog.

"Not even a hello this time, Miss Grouchypants?" I blinked again, and saw her clearly.

"Had a lousy fuck last night, alright?" She took off her green fedora, fluffing her bangs. "Some people weren't as equipped as I thought."

"At least you got some," I mumbled.

It had become routine for her to stop by my apartment after an event. She came over to watch a "Sex and the City" marathon with popcorn and grape soda pop. I never thought Jake's birthday gift would be used so often. I hadn't watched TV at all when I was at the penthouse. Now, it was on for hours on end.

"I would've been more satisfied if it never happened, believe me." She pulled out the giant bag of organic goodness from her shoulder bag. "I have popcorn! Your favorite."

"Mmmm! Thank you."

"Anytime, Bella."

I shut the door, wondering about her quick cheer. She was so aloof, nearly nonexistent, at the party. Now, everything was back to normal. I couldn't just let this go. It was pretty clear why she paid me no mind when we arrived at the club, and I had to put it out in the open before never seeing her again.

"Look Alice, I'm really sorry about what happened a couple days ago. I just felt a little uncomfortable, but I don't feel weird anymore or-"

"It's fine. You're still fragile about your break up." She opened the bag and popped one into her mouth.

"Oh." It wasn't a break up. "So, you're okay?"

She chuckled. "I'm always okay."

"You'll be okay with an abbreviated marathon today, then, right? I've gotta meet Jessica later."

Alice gave me the most fake smile ever before walking to the couch.

"Oh boy." I ran my hand through my hair. "What's your problem with her? She's cool."

"Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! When'd you start drinking her koolaid? She's a cold-hearted bitch who wouldn't save a dying nun."

"Actually, she's alright. And it's not like I like her. She's just better than I thought."

"Yeah? Well, you have fun with her now and get back to me when you're lying on this living room floor with a knife in your back, bleeding to death."

"What the-" I pulled both of my arms inside the oversized Tisch sweatshirt Alice bought me last week. "Did she do something to you?"

"No. I'd never let her."

"So, why do you get so riled up? She must've done something."

"She was born, that's what she did to me. Now let's drop this." Alice plopped down on the couch pulling off her flats. "You smell nice. Uh-" She cleared her throat. "The apartment smells nice. Like coconuts."

I sighed. "Thanks. It's a new shampoo. I got tired of the old stuff." When I grabbed the DVD from season four, She threw her hands up with a groan.

"You've gotta be kidding me, Bella." She whined.

"Suck it up and deal." I whined right back. "We can watch your favorites for the rest of the morning."

Alice hated Aidan and Big. She thought most of the men on the show were annoying, actually. Her favorite episode was when Samantha threw the Hamptons party at Richard's mansion as a settlement. She wished she could "settle" her exes in the same fashion, which she said to my astonishment as the end credits played.

"You have exes?" I asked after wiping my eyes with my sleeve from the devastating ending. Carrie looked so tiny in the middle of the hollow apartment. Aidan's love wasn't enough to overcome the betrayal. She'd have to find her love elsewhere, and there was nothing she could do about it. "I thought you were the 'use them until they're useless' type?"

"Not always." She passed me a tissue. "I've had a couple of torrid affairs. I had one last semester."

My ears perked up as I blew my nose. "Aidan or Big?"

Alice popped the popcorn into her mouth one at a time. It was the most mechanical motion and only two of her fingers got greasy. "Neither. Richard. Slimier than swamp mud. I wish I never touched that man's dick, and I hope he gets herpes."

"Alice!"

She grabbed the remote from the coffee table to eject the DVD. "I'm not talking about it, so don't ask. Let's watch the final season. Steve reminds me of my dad in this season. A good guy. I don't think it's in the cards for me, but you have a chance."

I blushed, grabbing a fistful of popcorn. "Why, 'cause you've sworn off guys after this mysterious bastard messed with you?"

Alice shrugged. "He definitely made me want to take a sapphic oath, but I like playing in the middle. Maximum pleasure." She winked.

"Oh, you like being a whore, then?" I asked, giggling, which made her throw popcorn at me, which made both of us giggle for a long while. She crawled over to the TV with popcorn sticking in her hair and some rolling to the floor.

"I just hope you find a man who treats you right. Someone who loves you." She dropped the disc into the tray, pushed it in and pressed play. Leaning back on her heels, she looked over her shoulder. "The only thing my ex gave me was this hat. He swore it was one-of-a-kind, but I saw him give the exact replica to one of his hookers last year. Ugh, he's such a slut!"

I stayed mum, reveling in her rant. She'd said she didn't want to talk about it, yet here she was going on and on about her mysterious hook-up.

"If this ex didn't mean anything, why do you still wear his hat?"

Alice grimaced. "I told you I don't wanna talk about that asshole."

I pursed my lips to fight a grin from appearing. "Okay."

"It's a nice hat, alright? I like it."

"I'm sure."

"It wasn't serious, Bella. It was just sex. Anyway, I hope you find someone better. You deserve it."

Pulling a throw pillow up to my chest, I said, "I already found him, Alice."

She scoffed. "That wasn't love."

"It was," I whispered, hugging my knees.

"No, he hurt you." I shook my head as she spoke. "When Edward left, you almost died. Love doesn't leave us weak, it leaves us strong."

"What would you know about love? You've never felt this way. You don't know what it's like."

She turned away, her dark head bowed.

"Oh, I'm so rude." I smacked my forehead a couple times. " Of course you know."

Alice shifted a bit so that I saw her profile. She chewed on her bottom lip. "Yeah. For someone very special."

"I'm sorry about that. You were only thirteen, but Jasper was the one, wasn't he?"

"Yeah." She turned to the TV again to watch Carrie get splashed by the bus. "Someday, you'll have that. Maybe that high school friend of yours will have a better shot at you."

I chuckled as the title of the episode appeared: "One. " "Jake's like my brother. He'll never be more."

"Well, when he gets here in a couple weeks, maybe I'll change your mind."

I kept mum, my stomach curling with the thought that that could never happen. Alice could never meet Jake, because I could never see her again.

After watching Steve and Miranda finally give into their attraction, I brought up the lunch. Erik had come up with a great way to reel her in. She'd never expect it this way.

"Hey, did Erik tell you about a study session on Thursday? He said you had an exam on Friday on the Cold War. You're gonna meet him, right?"

Alice unbuttoned her vest then re-buttoned it. "Um, sure, yeah. He wants to go to the main library on 42nd and 5th instead of my place. I love that library. Maybe I'll get married there, too, like Carrie and Big were supposed to." She sighed.

"I'll go to help if you want? I got an A on that paper last semester."

Her face lit up, and she smiled at me from her end of the couch. There was her genuine smile. "Yeah. Sure, yeah!"

"Great! It's a date."

*Easy*

November 4, 2010

Erik was gonna kill me for being late. I was on the 4 at Franklin Ave when I realized that in my haste, I had forgotten the final season of "Sex and the City." Alice loved it so much more than I ever did. I went back for it, almost slipping on a sheet of ice from last night's ice storm, and now it was 11:30. He would bitch about putting up the balloons himself throughout the entire lunch. I would have to buy his meal this afternoon, too, as if I could afford it. Living back on the funds left over from my scholarship was brutal. I wanted to find work, but no one was hiring now with the recession, especially not an undergrad.

I took one step off of the 2 train, running through today's agenda once more. I'd meet Alice and Erik, then head downtown for class. I chickened out over the last few days, but thought of going to the penthouse later. I was too afraid that he might see me. If he did, he'd see Alice all over me, and I couldn't risk that. The shame changed my mind again. My apartment it was. Maybe I'd even call my mom.

At the foot of the staircase, I gasped.

There was no way. No way.

After maneuvering my way through the crowd, I climbed the steps up to the main station and felt them tenfold.

Unmistakable. Nothing felt like this.

I stopped at the top of the steps and hurried over to the side to get out of the way of the throng of people going up and down. I was trapped behind them, a sea of black coats and dismal or determined faces headed to destinations most seemed to despise. I clutched my neck as I became wholly distinct from them. I didn't have a destination. Neither did I have a mind nor body.

All I had were tingles.

They shot up my neck, into my cheeks and up my forehead. They zoomed down my arms, around my chest, and into my heart. They paralyzed me from the waist down so that all I could do was watch the crowd.

I would see Edward's fire. Soon, his thick head of red hair would appear, and I would tell him how sorry I was. I had to protect him from the truth because it hurt him. I would tell him I loved him so much that I'd do anything to keep him happy, and that we had to make this work because... just because.

How could I speak? I couldn't. No, I couldn't see him. I wasn't ready. I had to see Alice one last time.

I pressed my back against the cool tiled wall, waiting for the tingles to die down. Maybe he wouldn't see me. Maybe the Klonopin was fucking up. It wasn't prescribed for me, anyway. Yes, it had to be the drug. He wasn't here. When I pushed myself off the wall, they intensified, stealing each breath from my lungs. My heart was beating so fast as the fire warmed the lead and slowly replaced the dread. Every person around me was determined. They were cloaked in darkness. They had no fire. In this moment, I was made of fire.

Suddenly, I felt a cool hand clasp my wrist and pull me away from the wall. It was a rough hand. When I looked up for its owner, I found another black pea coat, a thick gray scarf, and the most volatile green eyes I had ever seen or will ever see in my life. They jumped around my face unraveling a spool of emotions from relief to fear to desire to sorrow.

It hadn't left him. Still, his wound gaped from his irises.

Oh God, Carlisle.

He pulled me against another tiled wall away from most of the crowd. Some still crossed behind us. Some were so close running by us that my hair fluttered from the movement. They were too close, but quickly forgotten with one breath.

I breathed in Edward. Irish Spring. This was the first thing that was familiar about him. His hair was down his neck, curling around his ears. It moved when he moved, like a firestorm. Blond highlights made him seem softer and younger. He was sun-kissed and so red. His cheeks and lips and the tip of his nose were cranberry in color. These traits lent him a vibrancy that the hollows in his cheeks stole. A lump formed in my throat from how his coat engulfed him. His legs looked so skinny beneath him. His Adam's apple bobbed from his neck like a golf ball. There were so many new things, but the second familiar facet were his eyes.

They were open.

"Bella," he murmured as he pressed me up against the wall. My memories of the sound of his voice didn't do it justice. It was like the sun on a humid day, it weighed me down back to the earth. It heated my cheeks and my reawakened limbs. I could feel something hum deep in my belly, and it began to fill me.

I licked my lips, hungry for more of his words. My name held a different meaning when he spoke it. It meant adoration and relief and surrender. I ached to hear him say it again, to redefine me. I needed to be made like I was before. And with every utterance, his new words would drown out the old screams that were beginning to fade. Our life before the lie came rushing back to me.

"Bella..." His hand was an icy grip on my right wrist causing my hand to become numb. I was about to pull away when he just... let go. His brows furrowed as he said the next few words to me.

"Your hair..."

Those two words reminded me of everything and everyone I didn't want to think about since his departure.

He scowled as his index and middle finger pinched the tip of a lock of hair near my shoulder. I pouted, realizing that he never saw me with my original cut. That was when I looked like a true icon. I wanted so badly to be as magnificent as Elizabeth. She had a grace and ferocity about her in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I was a fool to attempt to resemble her.

Slowly, his lips reformed from the deep scowl to a thin line. Following his gaze from the strands, to my lips, to my neck, and up to my eyes, he stared at me as I did him, trying to soak in every last drop. We remained like this for a couple of minutes. The sound of him breathing me in sent me back to evenings at the penthouse. He loved doing this when greeting me after a day of working on the set with Ben. Just like then, his thumb swept over my cheeks in the way that made every hair on my body stretch and reach out for him.

I hitched a breath when he bent his head down to my neck. We both shivered when his frosty cheek met my collarbone. Yet we remained this way until the tip of his nose and his soft lips no longer felt like icicles. He melted into me, with his arms tight around my waist and his breath warm and steady. With every warm breath on my heated skin, I emitted a shaky one and held him closer. The soft hair on the nape of his neck was so much softer than what my paltry memory had remembered..

I gripped him tighter when he lifted his soft cheek from my neck's curve. Beads of sweat formed and slid down to the tops of my breasts, and he stared as if he could see it beneath the layers of my coat's red wool and cotton.

The feel of his smooth jaw on the backs of my fingers relaxed and thrilled me. It was a fresh shave and meant he had an audition. What if he were staying in New York indefinitely? Where was he staying? Would I be able to see him? Everyday. I had to see him everyday.

I reveled in this possibility as he pulled my hands down from his cheeks and held them between us. His long fingers intertwined with my tiny ones. I became enraptured by the fresh scent of mint emanating from his breath.

I could taste him again in my mind. I could feel his passion on my tongue.

Gently holding my flushed face, he leaned down with a flick of his pink tongue over his lower lip. He was close enough to kiss me and catapult me back in time.

"I missed this face. I missed the fuck out of your face."

Edward's ever-changing eyes, the shade of red on his cheeks, the lines creasing and disappearing on his forehead, the arch or ease of his eyebrow, the curve of his lips all said more to me than a word. His face was my compass. It guided me to what I should feel, where I should go, what I should do with my life. It led me to places I would never imagine going in the world and even in myself. This was how it was and hopefully how it always shall be.

I memorized the cadences in his speech before responding.

"I missed you, too." My voice sounded so loud in my ears after hearing only his breathing for the last few minutes. It also caused Edward to pull back. I read every line on his beautiful face and saw something I didn't want to see.

In this moment, his face was more than a compass. It was a time machine. In a second, it transformed, and I was hurtled back to the present.

There was a slight but noticeable shift in his eyes. Rapidly, he blinked. Then, his palms, now wet with sweat, fell from my face to down between us. I tried to keep his gaze, but he turned away to peer at the escalators.

I couldn't tell what he'd do next. He scratched the crown of his head, his face still turned up for another minute. Then, he stared down at me. This time, it wasn't engrossing, nor did it take me back in time. It was an easy stare. He could've been looking at a fleet of pickup trucks.

"Edward, I missed you. I missed you so much."

Rubbing his ear against his shoulder, his body loosened up some, and he shook his hands a bit. Then, he wiped them on the side of his coat and stuffed them into its pockets. In a fluid motion, he straightened his back. His eyes cleared and a cool smile took over his face.

"How've you been?"

I blinked slowly, unsure how to respond to this Machiavellian shift in mood. What could I have said that made him change so suddenly? The rush of stimuli from the station hit me as I thought of a response to his question. Everyone's voices, the click-clacks of their steps, the stations beeps, dings, and bangs filtered into our bubble.

Empty.

Absent.

Fragmented.

Misguided.

Numb.

Lifeless.

A liar.

A liar.

A liar.

"Okay."

"How was your birthday? Did you get my gift? I've wanted to give it to you for a long time." The volatility in his eyes from before was gone. Now, they were calm seas. No storm was on the horizon, no fury. Not even the foreboding viridian was hidden between his golden flecks.

"Yes, thank you. I love it." I had the iPad in my bag for something, but I didn't remember what.

"Good."

Suddenly, a Mariachi band began to blast the station with a cacophonous mess of accordion and guitar. It was a group of four men behind a couple of pillars across the way. The crowd of determined New Yorkers lost their focus and converged near the sound. We were surrounded by strangers.

I hated New York City in that moment as Edward's eyes veered off my face and down to his watch.

No.

A sense of deja vu throttled me.

Chocolate and cigarettes. An obligation. A commitment.

I realized this was the same spot we were last May when we first kissed. The escalator had been abandoned and a comforting darkness had shrouded us from the rest of New York. We were in another dimension back then, in our bubble.

Now, the darkness was illuminated. Edward's skin glowed from the fluorescent lights. The last time we were here, he blended with the shadows so that the only parts of him that shone were his eyes and his hair.

There were two escalators transporting dozens of people up and down a new exit leading to 42nd St. and 7th Ave. One of those people, a teen with a bunch of chains in his back pocket, bumped into Edward. The kid kept going with a barely audible "sorry." Edward shrugged it off, but his body was turned toward the new exit already. Rather than take a step towards the escalators, he asked me another question.

"Are you back in Brooklyn?" He yelled over the music. His loud voice wasn't filled with concern. He asked this as if we were recent college graduates who hadn't seen each other in years and were now about to complain about New York's ridiculously high rent prices.

I nodded, following his fingers as they disappeared in his hair. I used to know where his hand would go when he would touch me. I knew when he'd take his next breath, because it would be the same time I would take mine. Now, I watched him lower his hand from his hair to check a watch I had never seen before in my life.

"I'm still..." He gulped and spoke louder. "I'm still at the penthouse. Have been since I got back."

"When did you get back?" I stammered.

"What?" He grinned. Charm and ease but so false.

When I repeated the question, I took a step closer. Our coats touched but just barely. Immediately, as if shocked by an electrical current, he backed away.

He ran both hands through his hair this time, staring down at the concrete.

"Edward, please-"

"I, um..." He took a deep breath, glanced up at me- not my eyes- then somewhere lower on my body, then up at the new fluorescent lights overhead. The next breath he took was an easy one. He lowered his face and a friendly smile greeted me. "It was good to see you."

He reached his hand out to my shoulder but stopped it mid-air and shoved it in his coat pocket.

"Maybe we could meet up?" I yelled over the music. Mid-question, the band finished their song, and my voice carried over the crowd. Everyone stared at me. Everyone except Edward. He watched them over his shoulder until they began to separate and hurry on to their destinations.

His apologetic eyes traveled from all the strangers surrounding us to the wall above my left shoulder. Placid apologetic eyes.

"I'm real busy now with the play. I don't think I'll have time."

"Okay."

His avoidance made me feel small, as if I were a pebble he could kick around. But news of him working on the play warmed me up all over. This must've been what Ben's good news pertained to on meant he was staying in New York. It meant more chance encounters. Then, my earlier worries galvanized.

If he was back in New York, did it mean Carlisle was truly gone? I wanted to console him but thought bringing up his dad would make the wounds in his eyes as vast as the black hole in my stomach. What if his shaven face didn't mean an audition? What if it was for a meeting concerning his dad?

With a huff, I admonished myself. I couldn't possibly know why he looked like this or any way, not anymore. I couldn't console him. I had no right to ask about his dad. He would never let me touch him again, let alone confide in me. I was as much of a callous stranger as the kid who bumped into him. No worse.

He never knew me. He never loved me.

As if he read my memory of his words, his eyebrows rose, and he rubbed his chin.

"You take care."

He headed for the escalator, determined, heading for a destination I couldn't even fathom.

The humming in my belly died down, and my fingertips prickled.

I didn't deserve to know where he was going.

"Edward, I'm sorry," I said to his back. This time, no one stared at me. The crowd was full of people preoccupied with life's errors and omissions. He stopped, though. His right hand appeared out of his pocket to rub the back of his neck. Then, he kept going, joining the line at the escalator.

The tingles rushed into my skull so quickly, I saw stars. I had to lean back against the wall to take a breath. When the dizziness subsided, I searched through the people in the escalator to see him peering down at me.

From his profile, I could see his lips were pinched as he faced the turnstiles ahead. Then, a foot away from the top, he stared down at me. He was high above me but not so far that I couldn't see the expression in his eyes. Instead of the volatility from when he first grabbed me, or the easy placid friendliness during our brief exchange, I saw something I never thought I'd see in his eyes again after what I had done:

Pure lust.

I tried to follow him. I ran up the steps, pushed through the turnstiles, and maneuvered my way through the thickening mass of bodies at street level. To my dismay, only darkness pervaded the concrete. The bright screens of the Jumbotrons lit up the streets brighter than the midday sun, but there was no light. People bumped into me as if they wanted to walk through me. I wished they did. I didn't want to be in this body anymore. I wanted to be in his.

The tingles were like champagne bubbles down my throat, like steamy summer hail on my skin. They poured into my heart, and I felt it beating. It was still functioning because of Edward. This city was huge, and the chances that fate would bring us to this place for a third time were slim. So, I reveled in the tingles until they became pings in the heels of my feet and the palms of my hands.

I rode the 3 train to my apartment, thankful. Who knew if I would see him again. If Carlisle were gone, he wouldn't be able to do the play. He'd be a wreck. But if his dad was alive, Edward would be here probably until the end of January. The uncertainty riddled me, making me drowsy.

Now, I wouldn't need a pill to sink into ten-hour body-numbing slumber. I had his new words. And whether I was in dreams peeking through the clouds of my subconscious or grasping for memories, he was fresh.

Time would change this renewed sense of Edward. I would worry more about his thin frame tomorrow. Today, I grasped for the memory of the way his lips and tongue caressed my name.

An hour later, as I hopped into bed, I forced myself to lock away his curious shifting disposition and the fact that I revoked my license to find out about Carlisle's condition. Instead, I pulled my blanket over my head and mouthed every word he had said to me as if he were whispering them in my ear.

"I missed this face. I missed the fuck out of your face."

"How've you been?"

"I'm still at the penthouse."

"Bella."

This was what I needed now and forever. His voice rang in my ears as I stepped off the ledge of reality. In reality, his dad could be dead, and he couldn't stand the sound of my voice. In my dreams, his eyes were open. I tumbled down into his green pools and drowned.


A/N: Thank you so much for the reviews last week and to the new readers, welcome!

Bye. :)