Title: A Different Feel About You
Summary: From the time they met through Jake in college, Bella and Edward were best friends. When her world falls apart and he's the one to pick up the pieces, could their friendship grow into something more?
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, that's the creation of Stephenie Meyer. This story is rated M for language and lemons.
Song Line Used: "If you do, baby, kiss me again" from "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" by Toby Keith
This story was written for the OS Soundtrack contest and as it's over, I'm posting it...this is a oneshot, so let me know what you think! Thanks to those who voted~
The morning passed slowly as I waited for 3pm to come so I could leave work early to get Bella from the airport. She was flying in to spend a week in the city, claiming she needed a change of scenery. I'd known her for 12 years, ever since she walked into my dorm with her boyfriend and my new roommate, Jacob Black.
Jake and I got along great and he was thrilled that I became such good friends with her. We were a trio, and when he'd go on road trips with the football team, we would hang out.
They were my best friends, but recently, the phone calls had come less frequently and the emails were shorter. This trip had been postponed three separate times until she finally called me last week asking if a last minute trip was okay.
When she came into view at the security checkpoint, I couldn't help but smile. Even as tired as she looked, she was beautiful. Her eyes were trained on the floor as she walked closer, bumping into some tourists and nearly falling over. I wasn't able to hold in my laugh as she looked up and our eyes met at last.
"You have to watch where you're going. People stop short to look up at all the tall buildings here."
"You'll never let me live that down, will you?" She smiled and blushed, coloring her cheeks as her eyes fluttered closed.
"Come on, let's get you out of here and catch up, it feels like forever since we've talked." I led her through the terminal and over to baggage claim. I fought the crowds to pull her two bags, complete with the tassels, off the carousel and then went out towards the parking lot.
I noticed that she seemed a little sad and I wondered what could have happened to make her so upset. Walking up to my car, I loaded her luggage while she settled into the front seat.
The traffic back to the city from Queens was awful and Bella seemed to get tenser the longer she sat with me in the bumper to bumper traffic. I looked over and asked if anything was bothering her and she told me we'd talk about it over dinner.
Pulling into my building's parking garage, she popped out and took the large garment bag and her purse and followed me to the elevator. We rode quietly to my floor and then walked down to my apartment at the far end of the hall.
Entering the apartment, she looked around in awe. "When did you decorate?"
"What are you talking about? This place was decorated before; I've lived here for five years."
She shook her head and waved her arms for emphasis. "No, you had furniture, and some accessories, but now your walls are actually painted and everything ties into the dark mahogany wood. You have artwork, which includes one of my paintings that I sold at a show you didn't attend."
I shrugged. "I couldn't fly to Seattle, so I checked out the catalogue online and made sure that it was mine. It really is an exceptional piece of artwork. Just like the duck you painted me in college."
"Oh my God! Tell me you got rid of that?" She squeaked and I couldn't help but laugh.
"Nope. The Dazed Duck is in my home office. It helps when I'm hacking through someone's grammatical catastrophe to look up and see real talent. I love when you shy away from convention; it's when you're at your best."
"Speaking of breaking convention, did you pick up the food I asked you to, because I have a recipe that will blow your mind."
Smiling at a hint of the old Bella, I motioned towards the kitchen as I brought her things to the guest room right next to mine and then settled in to check my emails in the living room as I'd learned that Bella, like my mother, was not someone you messed with when she was cooking.
I sat there with my work and personal email accounts, Facebook, and tweetdeck all open, popping up and giving me ADD. As I got through the rest of the work stuff and started in on the various messages from my parents, siblings and friends I saw a tweet that caught my attention. Maximizing tweetdeck, I read the tweet from Jake as clear as day.
ClaireBear247 That's right, I'm gonna be a dad! #BestDayEver
I was completely at a loss for words as I saw the message. Bella was pregnant? How could she be sitting on this news? Jumping off the couch, I ran into the kitchen to ask her about it when I saw her stirring the sauce, a bottle of Stella Artois tipped up to her lips.
"Bella, what are you doing?" I yelled louder than I meant to and she jumped, beer spilling down her chest.
"Cooking?" She looked at me as if I was crazy.
"Not that, the beer! You shouldn't be drinking in your condition."
She stared at me harder as the color drained from her face. "What condition?"
I motioned towards the living room and my computer. "I saw Jake's tweet, I know about the baby."
"Son of a bitch!" She roared and ran to my computer, picking it up and then screeching and throwing it down on the couch again, thoroughly scaring me, not only for her, but the laptop that held the manuscript I was currently halfway through editing. "I'm not pregnant! The bitch Jacob cheated on me with is. I haven't even told Charlie we got a divorce yet and he had to broadcast it on the internet…it's even his fucking Facebook status."
Bella sat on the couch her hands framing her face as she looked at the floor, but all I could think about was what she had just divulged. She and Jake were divorced. Jake had cheated on her and knocked up his mistress. The only happily married couple I knew besides my parents, who also happened to be my two best friends, were broken up. What the fuck!
I was still standing ramrod straight when she stood up and flew past me. It took a moment to hear her banging around in the guest room before she walked out trying to carry all her bags at once. "I shouldn't have come here. You were his friend first, so of course you don't know how to-"
"Stop!" She froze and I walked over to her, taking her luggage and sitting it on the floor. "He may have been my friend first, but that was a fluke of housing assignments. You and I have become much closer than he and I are…he won't even fly out to see me, which I think was as much him knowing I'd see what a sack of shit he was as him claiming we needed our friend time alone. He doesn't call me once a week to make sure I'm not eating takeout every night, or tweet to me about the idiots at our jobs, or email me dirty jokes and pictures that could get me fired if I was on my work computer. That's all you. So if anyone wins custody of me in the divorce, it's you!"
As soon as I finished, Bella collapsed and I caught her, the tears finally coming as she crumpled against my chest. Carrying her to the couch, I went to the kitchen to call to order a pizza and took the sauce off the stove; there'd be time for her to show me her new favorite recipes, but it wasn't tonight. Returning to the living room, I sat next to Bella and tried to console her.
"Am I really that horrible? I've been telling him I wanted to start a family for a while, but he's always said it wasn't the right time. I guess that was just another one of the lies he fed me. It's been going on for over a year. I went to his office one night to surprise him, we hadn't been intimate in a month so I thought if I made it a little dangerous he'd get into the mood, but I opened the door and saw his personal assistant bent over his desk. It's just so fucking cliché! I mean, come on, fucking your 23 year old secretary…"
I squeezed her shoulders and hugged her to me, hoping to comfort her some. "Bella, there is nothing wrong with you. He's an asshole for not seeing what he had waiting at home for him. For him to go after some bimbo when he had a fuckhot-" Bella scoffed and I tapped her arm, because we always smacked each other when we started getting too down on ourselves, and then continued. "Fuckhot wife like you. If you showed up to my office with some hot little outfit on with the soul design being to seduce me, I would never be able to concentrate at my desk again."
Bella rolled her eyes and then snuggled back into my chest. "You're so biased. The rose colored glasses were always firmly in place when it came to me."
I pulled back and made her look me in the eyes. "Bella, I'm serious. You're the ungettable get. The kind of girl guys dream of and he had you and managed to fuck it up. I blame it on all the hits he took in football."
She laughed at the football crack and the tears slowed down. "Thanks Edward. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, it's just so embarrassing and I didn't know how to tell you. I didn't want to lose the one good thing left in my life."
I kissed the top of her head and whispered, "You can't lose me; I'm not going anywhere."
Just then the buzzer sounded, letting me know that the pizza had arrived. We tabled the talk of heavier subjects as beer and pizza won out for the rest of the night. Moving her bags back to the guest room we both went to bed, exhausted by the events of the evening. I was lying in bed when my phone rang. I reached over to see it was Jake, so I decided to answer and see what he was calling about.
"Hey E, did our girl get there alright?"
The way he still referred to her as 'our' girl after what he did had me sitting up and talking through gritted teeth. "She isn't yours, and she hasn't been since the moment you started fucking around on her. I can't believe you! 14 years together didn't mean something to you? Don't call me again. Bella became my best friend in this trio a long time ago and now that you've destroyed your relationship with her, I'm not going to hurt her more by continuing to talk to someone who doesn't have the common decency to call and say hi more than a few times a year. But to answer your question, Bella's plane landed fine."
I slammed the phone shut and threw it on the nightstand before rolling over to fall asleep.
When I woke up the next morning, I could smell the bacon in the frying pan and knew that Bella was up. Walking into my kitchen to see her pajama clad form expertly preparing a meal warmed my heart. She was my best friend, and I was determined to make this better for her.
"I'm going to call my office and see about working from home for a few days, I have the manuscript on my laptop so it shouldn't be an issue for-"
"No. Don't worry about it. I have a few things to do and it wouldn't make sense for you to stay home when I won't even be here. Really, Edward, I'm fine. I just have to call my dad today and tell him, which I'm so not looking forward to."
I nodded. "Okay, well take the spare apartment key from the hook over there." I gestured to the decorative hook plate by the entrance to the kitchen and she smiled as the bacon made its way out of the frying pan. The eggs were next and soon we were sitting at the bar talking about her plans for the day.
"I think I'm going to head to the museums, or maybe the park…I don't know it'll depend on my mood, I guess." I smiled at her indecision. She always had more plans than time.
"Well whatever you do, save MoMA for me, I want to see your face at the new exhibits. You'll lose your mind!"
Her giggle was infectious as it filled the room and with another look at the time on the microwave, I knew it was time to get ready for work. "I'll call you later," was the last thing I heard as we both disappeared into our rooms.
Work was crazy and it was a good thing I had been there as my boss was flipping out about a book coming in with no one to do the illustrations. Personally, it wasn't something that involved me, but it didn't stop the screaming from finding its way into my office.
When Bella called me and asked if I'd meet her at Bryant Park for lunch, it was a godsend. Running down the stairs so as not to incur the wrath of the very unhappy Jessica Stanley, I came out of the stairwell on the 27th floor and took the elevator from there. Walking the few blocks to the park, I saw her sitting at one of the high tables around the little kiosk.
Taking a bite into my sandwich as Bella picked at hers, I was worried that maybe Jake had called in reference to my rant last night. I didn't want her to take on the blame for the end of that friendship, but I knew that she would regardless of what I told her. Her fidgeting didn't get any better, so I once again went the tactless route.
"Come on, whatever it is can't be worse than what you told me last night."
She looked up and blushed, dropping the napkin she had been shredding. "Would you be upset if I moved here?"
Well, I definitely wasn't expecting that. "Move here? What about your job? I mean, I understand wanting a fresh start, but I don't think this is something you should do spur of the moment."
"Edward, when have I ever done something spur of the moment? Ever since I found out about Jake and Leah I've been trying to figure out how I would move on. Everything in Seattle is too steeped in history and I wouldn't want to move somewhere where I knew no one. The gallery I work for has a location in New York as well. My boss made the call before I came out here and I just met with the Angela Weber. She's great and told me she'd love to have me on her staff. I'd be able to sell some of my pieces downstairs and if it did well I might even get a showing at some point. New York is a big art city and I could really do well here. Besides, it isn't like I have a place to live in Seattle now."
"Wait, what? Why don't you have a place to live? What happen to the apartment?"
Bella shrugged. "I didn't want to live there anymore. It held too many memories for me. So Jake jumped at the opportunity and had the place appraised with the furniture and gave me the half I was entitled to in cash. I figured the money would be better anyway because I didn't know where I would end up."
"So you're seriously going to move here?" The idea of having Bella in my life all the time was too much. It wasn't until the option was available that I realized how badly I wanted her there with me.
Bella started giggling again, something she seemed to do more and more now, and I knew this was something to celebrate. "We're going out on Friday before your flight out this weekend. I want you to meet some of my friends and you need to have some fun before going home to finish all the details of the move."
Bella jumped off the chair and ran around to throw her arms around me in a tight hug. "Thank you! I'm so glad that you're being so supportive, I really need my best friend."
I hugged her back and then my phone rang, letting me know that I had to get back to the office. Bella and I parted ways and I hustled through the rest of my day, excited to get home.
I arrived home to the Italian dish that had been scrapped last night as Bella worked her magic. It hadn't been since we all lived together in college in that tiny rundown apartment off-campus that I'd had her home-cooked meals on a regular basis, but now that was a possibility again. Thinking about where she'd be living, led me to the subject I was about to brooch. "So, Bella, do you know where you want to move?"
She looked at me over her right shoulder and shrugged before turning back to the stove. "I hadn't really thought that far, I was actually going to ask if you minded me staying here while I found something. I promise I won't get in the way of you and any women you may or may not entertain here, I'll be a model roommate."
I laughed at her promise and then felt the edges of my lips meet my cheeks. "You can stay here as long as you need to. So, how long will you be going back for?"
Continuing to talk behind her, she postured a little in front of the stove. "I don't know. I have to schedule for them to move my pod, pack up all my art and supplies and have everything that isn't staying at the gallery shipped out. Charlie will want to see me once he hears about the divorce and I have to see Jake-"
"Why are you going anywhere near him?" I was very apprehensive of her going anywhere near him.
"He has my laptop."
"He what?" I was pissed, what in the hell made him think he had the right to hold her computer hostage.
"It's fine; it was reformatted after I got a virus, so he doesn't have any of my files. But he got a call at the apartment and went to pick it up from the repair place. He knew I wouldn't go see him unless I had a reason."
"Bella, I'll buy you a new computer. I don't want you to see him."
Bella rolled her eyes as she finished up plating our dinner and went to get our drinks. "Edward, he can't hurt me, I just want to get it and be done with it. I should be back within a week. Then I get to start my life over."
I walked over and took her hands in mine. "You didn't deserve any of this. I'll just be glad when you're free of him."
Bella and I sat down and began eating. "The divorce made me realize a bunch of things, things I turned a blind eye to for way too long."
"Like what?" I asked curiously, but Bella's expression let me know that she meant it as a way to soothe me about everything she had gone through, and not as a transition into another conversation, so I dropped it.
When dinner was over, Bella and I settled in to watch some TV, the space between us growing less and less as the night wore on. When it was finally time to go to bed, we said a quick goodnight and then I settled in for a few hours of rest.
Charlie's phone call when I arrived at the office on Wednesday was pretty surprising, as I'm able to count on both hands the number of times he's called to actually speak to me. "Charlie, what can I do for you?"
"Is Bella there with you?"
I thought about my response to this very carefully as I wasn't sure exactly what he knew. "She's in New York, but she's probably at my apartment right now, I'm already at work."
I could hear him posture around, like he was pacing. "Oh, right. Well, did she seem okay when she flew in? I know you two are really close, and she hasn't come out to visit me in a while and she doesn't call like she used to. I'm worried about her, Edward."
For Chief Swan to admit his feelings was huge, so I knew this was more than a little concern. "She mentioned having a lot going on recently, told me that when she gets home that she had to make a trip out to see you. Whatever it is that's been going on, she's been a lot happier the past few days so I wouldn't worry too much, she seems to be past it now."
"Thanks Edward, I know how much you care about her, you're a good friend to my Bells. I'll try calling her."
"No problem Charlie, have a nice day."
As soon as I hung up it got me to thinking about it and Bella had done the same thing to me, and I still didn't know why. I mean I knew she was going through the divorce, but why didn't she turn to me? I had to find out when I got home.
I was busy working most of the day, so when I got the call from Bella I was expecting her to say she was picking up groceries and wanted to know what time I would be home. Her reason for calling was not what I had anticipated. "Hey Edward, I hope you don't mind, but I was able to get a single seat to see Wicked. I should be home around 11ish."
"Okay, I'll see you later then." Really, what could I say?
Going home, I picked up a few beef patties and wrapped most of them, reheating one to eat with a salad. Most people would laugh at the combination, but I needed something more substantial. I continued working on the edit, hoping that I could get it done and have a little downtime before moving on to my new author's story.
The time seemed to drag, but finally I heard the keys jingle outside the door. Bella has had keys to my place since her first visit after I moved into this apartment, because she always came and went as she pleased, but tonight it bothered me not to come home to her.
"You're still up?" She asked, a little surprised that I was still sitting fully dressed from work on the couch as I had for the last several hours.
"I wanted to make sure you got home okay."
She sighed and sat next to me on the couch. I sat down my laptop as she rested her head on my bicep. "You can't lie for shit, Edward."
I blew out a deep breath and then started in on the conversation. "Why didn't you call me when you were going through the divorce? I would have done anything for you, including beating the shit out of Jake, but you just cut off communication, and not just with me. Charlie said-"
"You talked to Charlie?" She sat up and turned her paled face towards me.
"He called this morning asking if you were okay. I told him that you were planning to visit him when you got back to Seattle, and that things had been hectic but it was finally dying down. He's worried and so am I."
"Edward, I didn't need you to see how big of a failure I am. I was miserable. I didn't eat; hygiene wasn't high on my list of priorities. There were days I never even got out of bed. I didn't need you to see me like that. I couldn't let anyone see what Jake's betrayal took from me. I still can't believe you know as much as you do. I couldn't come to you broken and expect you to put me back together; I had to fix myself. That was why I stayed away so long. And I'm sorry if my doing that hurt you but-"
I pulled her into my side before she started crying again. "I'm fine. I was only ever worried about you and why you didn't feel you could come to me. From now on, if something happens, I want you to come to me. Okay?"
She sighed and I knew, rather than saw her eye roll as she nodded. We both stood to go to bed and as I changed and climbed under the blankets, I felt a slight pang of regret. Holding Bella, even for a few moments of comfort, just felt so right, but that wasn't us. We were close, but not like that. However, in the darkness of my room, I was starting to question it.
Thursday Bella had a few meetings with people about her new job at the gallery and trying to find an artist space as well as an apartment. She wanted to hit the ground running when she got back in town, so she told the realtor what she wanted for both spaces. Bella had asked her to focus on her studio before her apartment, as my apartment was an easier solution than trying to paint in a one-bedroom apartment with no extra room. I was finishing my edit, so Bella brought dinner to me in my office and that was when I introduced her to Rosalie and explained that she was one of the people who were going out with us tomorrow to the club.
They hit it off and Bella was in her office for about a half hour before coming back to watch movies on her portable DVD player. When I had gotten through the last page, I sent it off to the author before she would allow it to go into the fine edit with one of the people down the hall. Tapping Bella on the shoulder, she took off her headphones and we packed up before heading home for the night.
Friday turned into a clusterfuck of chaos. One of our authors thoroughly lost it over a bumped up deadline, leaving me with an impossible task ahead of me. After calling Bella, who confirmed for me that her flight out leaving on Saturday morning, instead of Sunday, I told her that I'd meet her at the club, as I needed to handle this dinner meeting and keep my author on track for the final edit, which was now due in six weeks.
Bella said it was fine, and I gave her the address, excited to see her really cut loose. After suffering through dinner and the endless meeting over drinks, I looked to see that it was almost 10pm. Agreeing that we would begin the edit next week, I left the restaurant, running back to my car and driving home. I wasn't surprised that Bella was already out, so I changed into jeans, leaving on the button-down shirt, the sleeves now rolled up to my elbows.
Jumping on the subway, knowing full well that I wasn't going to be in a condition to drive at the end of the night, I walked the two blocks from the stop closest to the club and went in the front door.
I was scanning the club, trying to find her; and when I did, my blood boiled. There was Bella, in short shorts and a purple, shimmery top, with some random tool glued to her ass. As the song ended, I marched over and took her hand, causing her to look up and step away from the jerk she had been dancing with. He tried to glare at me, but as I pulled her closer, nuzzling my nose in her hair, I won the standoff and he went trolling for some other girl.
"You want to get a drink?" Bella's question pulled me from my thoughts and I nodded, meeting up with the friends we were supposed to be hanging out with at the bar. We all joked and talked as we pounded shot after shot, drinking away our bullshit.
It was around this point that Rosalie, one of my fellow editors, leaned in and teased me about liking Bella, but I insisted that we were merely friends. As if on cue, her husband Emmett turned and nudged me, "Your girlfriend's cute."
I rolled my eyes at him and said for the fiftieth time since she arrived here at the beginning of the week, "She's my best friend, but there's nothing going on. She just went through a messy divorce."
Just then, a song came on that had Bella squealing, dragging me onto the floor to dance with her. I was a little awkward at first, the alcohol and the knowledge that all the people behind me thought there was more between us than there actually was, kept me a little stiff. It didn't last long as Bella moved against me and I lost myself to the sensations and the alcohol.
Bella and I grinded against each other, ignoring the world and the rest of the club as her leg brushed my cock and my thigh rubbed attentively against her. It was heaven and in that moment, I was done with the endless cycle of thoughts, the agonizing over reactions and leaned down to kiss Bella on the cheek. However, she had other plans. In the last second, she turned into the kiss and my own drunken stupor gave her the opportunity she had been hoping for. Her tongue sought out mine and I pulled her closer, removing the space left between us. We barely danced as we more or less mauled each other until the song ended and the spell was broken. When we parted, I looked down at Bella a little sheepishly as she tilted my face so I was looking at her. "Did you mean to kiss me like that, or was it a 'lost in the moment' type thing?"
I wrapped my arm back around her and smirked at her question. "I would never kiss you unless I meant it exactly how it happened."
Her eyes twinkled a little as she tipped up on her toes. "If you do, baby, kiss me again."
With no more invitation, I kissed her with twelve years' worth of love that I was just starting to realize may not have been as platonic as I believed. We had never crossed any line, but there was always a part of my heart that belonged to this girl, and the rest of it was not easy to give away it too could belong to this brown-eyed angel.
As the kiss ended, I was dragging Bella to the door without a good-bye as I hailed a cab and pulled us in.
The driver wasn't too happy to have us groping like teens in his back seat, but a $50 bill soothed his worry about the possibility of a conception happening in his back seat. When he screeched to a stop outside my building, said $50 was handed over as we fumbled our way out of the car and into my building. After an elevator ride that will be the talk of the security guards tomorrow, we arrived to our floor and I attempted to get the door open and get us inside so we could talk before this went any further.
Once again, I was foiled by a minx in short shorts as her hand found my crotch and her lips were at my ear. "Fuck me, Edward."
I pulled back sharply and looked at her, shocked by what she said. The look on her face as she nearly crumpled in on herself at the assumed rejection guided my next move. I pulled her to me and lifted her off the ground, her legs wrapping around my waist as I carried her to the bedroom.
Nearly dropping her on the bed, she shimmied out of her shorts and underwear and then took off her top, her bra flying off a second later. I was out of my clothing just as quickly and buried inside her, groaning at how good it felt.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was thinking about how I should be going slow and being loving with Bella, but her nails were digging into my back and I was overcome with my need to please her, and I knew how best to make that happen. Pulling out of her nearly all the way, I pumped into her, desperately trying to hold my drunk ass above her as I felt my orgasm building.
Bella's movements below me became more erratic and finally she let out a keening sound as she tightened around me, her nails clawing at my skin as I exploded, my short staccato strokes punctuating the end of the best 'fuck' of my life.
As Bella and I lay there, both inebriated and exhausted, we started to drift off, the comment she made as I succumb to sleep was lost to me.
It wasn't until some point in the early morning when my head popped off the pillow that my mind made sense of her last words from the night before. "That was amazing, totally made up for the fact that it's been a year…"
A year. Jake hadn't been with her in a year, and that was the first time for the two of us. A drunken, impulsive fuck. Bella was worth more. Disgusted with myself, and what I'd allowed my dick to convince me of the night before, I got dressed and ran from my apartment to make sense of it all.
Going to the nearest Starbucks, I settled into one of the oversized armchairs and sipped my latte as I tried to reconcile myself to what we'd done. Before I knew it, my alarm on my phone was going off and I looked down to see what it said, "Bella's flight."
Shit! I got up and ran back to the apartment. Opening the door, I saw that her suitcases were gone, but not wanting to believe it, I ran to the bedroom and threw open the door to see the empty bed and the note on her pillow.
I had to call a cab or I would have missed my flight. I'm sorry if last night was a mistake for you, but I can't bring myself to regret it. I'll see you in a week, unless you don't want me to stay with you anymore. It's up to you.
She was gone. And for the second time this year, she left feeling unloved. What in the hell was wrong with me.
The next two days were spent digging in to the new book; I had to keep myself busy or I'd go crazy. Bella hadn't called me, but I didn't really expect her to. I wasn't even sure she'd come back to New York, but I hoped she would.
Sunday morning, I was sitting on my living room floor when there was a knock at my door. Not sure who it was, I looked through the peephole and was astonished by what I found. I unlocked and opened the door, motioning for my visitor to enter.
"Hello Edward." I sat down with the Chief in my living room, still completely confused by what he was doing here. "Son, I know you don't want a lecture, but will you let me say a few things?"
I nodded, my curiosity winning out.
"Bella came to see me as soon as she landed in Seattle. She told me about Jake and it took all my restraint to not hunt him down for what he did to my girl, but she told me a few other things…Edward what exactly is going on between you and my daughter?"
"Charlie…a part of me has always loved your daughter, and until recently, it was completely platonic. But when she came here last week and told me about Jake and I got to see what he'd done, I became protective. Like, crazy protective. Well, not crazy…I never wanted her to hurt like that again and when she told me she was moving here I was thrilled, because she'd be back in my life and I'd know she was okay for myself. But as the week wore on, something shifted. I'm not sure what really, but I'd come home and she was in my kitchen, we'd watch TV and talk about our day and it felt right. More right than anything ever has. And I screwed it up."
"No you didn't." He was a little softer in his tone than I had expected, but firm, letting me know that he was right about this. "She's confused, but one of the things she told me was that she pushed you too much. She knew getting off that plane how she felt, and she hoped that you'd realize it too. I don't know what happened and I don't ever want to know, but she blames herself for how it ended. If you care about her, let her know that. If you have to slow down, then do it…but don't let her leaving here be the end of it. I didn't go after her mother, and I lost them both, though eventually I got my daughter back. Don't make my mistake."
Charlie got up and I was severely confused. "Chief, where are you staying? Do you want something to eat, or-"
"I'm here with Sue, we made this a spur of the moment weekend trip and it took me nearly a day to knock on your door. Now I have until tomorrow night to enjoy with my wife and I plan on doing just that. I'm sure we'll be speaking again, just don't make me do to you what my girls won't let me do to Jake."
I choked out a laugh and shook his hand. "Have a good trip Charlie, and thank you."
I walked Charlie to the door and then dove on my phone. I was dialing her number before I even had a chance to think. It rang two times before I heard my saving grace. "Hello Edward."
"Bella, please don't hang up. I'm sorry I freaked out on you, but I got scared. I remembered what you said about how you hadn't been with Jake in a year right before you went to sleep, and I thought about how I should have worshipped you and you deserved better than a drunken fuck a few hours before your flight home. But the truth is that having you in my house last week was the best I felt since we lived together in Seattle in college. I've spent my entire adult life rejecting women because they weren't you, whether I knew it at the time or not and I can't let you go now that I may actually have a chance to love you."
There was silence on the other end for a long moment before I heard some movement. "Did you say love?"
"Yes." I wasn't about to deny it now, because it was the truth.
"I love you, too."
"When are you coming back to me?"
"I should be home by the end of the week." Home. She called my place, me, home.
"Call me with your flight info when you know it for sure."
"I will. Bye Edward."
Had it really been that easy? I thought a lot more groveling would have been needed, but then I remembered something she had said earlier in the week, that she had figured out a lot of things during the divorce. Was I one of those things? Had she really come here knowing that she felt this way and simply wanted me to figure it out in my own time? The thought of that made me love her even more.
Monday saw a long day of meetings, which meant that my weekend of editing had come in handy. I'd managed to clear my schedule to give me a long weekend, Monday was a holiday, so I talked it over with Jessica and she said that as long as I hit my page target for the week, I could have Friday as well.
So Tuesday and Wednesday I was glued to my laptop, because it made it easier to take it home if I stayed on one computer, instead of freaking out every time I put down my flash drive. Plus it meant I could move around my office.
When Rosalie came in on Wednesday night to check on me, as she had every other night this week when she left at eight o'clock, leaving me as the last one on our floor, I was sprawled out on the floor. "When's the girl, who's just a friend, coming back to town?"
"Friday. And there's been a development there." I arched my eyebrow at her and she cackled.
"I would say you growing a pair would be a development. I'm glad, it's nice to see you not looking miserable for a change, she's your Nemo."
I sat up, looked at my thoroughly cynical coworker and laughed. "Did you just go Disney on me?"
"Fuck off; Carol loves that damn movie…I think that fish is permanently burned into my TV screen. Anyway, you found what you've been searching for, now just behave. Or don't behave, but act badly together, not to each other. She seems like a sweet girl, I'd hate to have to send Emmett after you."
"You're threatening me with your husband over a girl you met once?" Sometimes I just didn't get her.
"If she works her voodoo and keeps you happy, then I'm all for you making a bunch of ridiculously gorgeous, impossibly thick-skulled babies with her. She gets you and I've never seen you that protective over any girl you dated. Anyway, I'm out, I have to tuck in the munchkin and have dessert with my husband as I missed dinner. Night."
I didn't stay much longer after Rose left, knowing I had tomorrow to finish those last pages, which would be rough with my two morning meetings, but I could swing it if I stayed late. And it would be worth it for a full four days with Bella.
I got up that morning and was a little wired; Bella had called and told me her flight got in at 9:30 tomorrow morning, so I really had to push through. The first meeting had been productive, rearranging some upcoming projects and tweaking release dates, which luckily meant that Jessica was approving both mine and Rosalie's vacation requests for next month. I was excited because it was the first real vacation I'd taken in over a year and a half and the two weeks would allow me to recharge my batteries and then start fresh, plus it'd be more time to spend with Bella without the long hours getting in the way.
The second meeting, with my trouble author went over better than I expected as the progress I made gave her longer to go over those edits before it went on to the next set of hands. With my end in sight, I ordered lunch in and dug into the next chapter of the book.
It was a long afternoon and evening and I had met my goal but wanted to finish the last few pages of the chapter so I could start fresh on Tuesday when Rosalie's daily knock came. Only it wasn't Rosalie.
"Bella?" Her flight wasn't supposed to come in until tomorrow morning, so I couldn't reconcile the sight of her before me.
"Are you always the last one to leave your office?" She asked as she locked the door, my blinds thankfully already drawn.
"Yes and I had to finish my weekly deadline by tonight if I was going to be off tomorrow." I spoke in a shaky voice and she smiled, dropping her coat on the arm of my couch and then reaching for the zipper on her knee –length, navy blue dress.
"And did you finish it?"
"I did." Her smirk grew mischievous as she peeled off the dress to reveal a bright blue corset with black ribbon and lace embellishments. My cock sprang to life at the sight of her as I stood up from my chair.
Bella strutted over to me and grabbed my tie, turning and pulling me over to the overstuffed chair in my office's seating area and stopping short. Her fingers made quick work of my tie and then moved on to the buttons of my shirt, letting that fall to the floor as well. I kicked off my shoes and ripped off my socks before Bella's hands found my belt. "No running this time."
I nodded my acknowledgement of the stupidity that caused me to almost lose her and she unfastened my belt and fly, my pants dropping, soon to be followed by my boxers. I stepped out of them both and Bella playfully pushed me back into the seat cushions. Her fingers found the ribbon of the sides of her thong and pulled it down, leaving her in nothing but that corset.
Her hands pushed my shoulders back into the seat and then she pulled my legs out from under me slightly before crawling up my body. "I love you, Bella. I needed to say it to your face before we start this…us…"
Bella smiled again and leaned down so her lips were at my ear. "Edward, we've always been an us, now we're just doing it the way it was always meant to be. Now stop talking while I'm straddling your naked body and just relax and let me fuck you."
I knew my eyes bugged out a little as I kissed her and felt her heat slide down my length, encasing me within her. Bella's hands gripped my shoulders as she rode me, alternating between slamming down and rolling forward, her muscles clenching me tightly and bringing me to an intense level of arousal as she mastered my body.
Our moans echoed in the empty office as Bella leaned back, arching her body as I held her hips in support. Loving how in control she was being, but needing to feel a little of that control myself, I stood up and spun around, lowering Bella into the seat and hooking her legs over the arms. I leaned in to suckle on her right breast, which had escaped the confines of her corset and taunted me as it bounced just out of my reach. Taking full advantage of the new position, I pounded into Bella, her body arching into me as she neared her orgasm. My own completion came suddenly as my erratic pace sent Bella falling over the edge, my name ringing clearly as a bell from her mouth.
Bella's legs wrapped around me; and I lifted her again, sitting myself in the chair, and letting her rest against my chest as we both enjoyed the post-coital bliss. The silence was broken a minute later as Bella's hand played with the hair on my chest and she spoke in little more than a whisper.
"Will you tell me if something stops working, or if your feelings ever change? You'll give me a chance to work with you to fix the problem, not let it fester until there's no going back, right?"
My arms wrapped around her tightly as I kissed her hair. "I can't imagine things with us ever getting that bad, but I promise that if I feel something change, I'll come to you. There isn't anything we can't figure out as long as we're honest."
"I love you, Edward." She spoke into my chest as she nestled further into my arms.
"I love you too, Bella, I always have."