Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight.
I hadn't dated in years. I went from stumbling my way through less than a handful of dates with Edward straight to Garrett. I was so inexperienced in the dating department, I felt completely ridiculous. I should've felt comfortable around Edward; we'd already had the awkward second first kiss, and I'd rambled out my feelings for him at Macy's party. But regardless, I was still a nervous wreck.
"You're fidgeting." Edward glanced my way with a smile before looking back to the highway ahead of us.
"No, I'm not."
He laughed and shook his head. "I've known you for a while now, Bella. You're nervous."
Yes, he knew me better than anyone else. He'd been on my mind for years and years and could still turn me into this blushing, shy girl who felt so anxious and excited around him. I felt like a teenager again, going on that first outing with him to dig for diamonds, and just like then, he still had my heart. "So... where are we going?" I asked, ignoring his comment about me being nervous.
Edward grinned, reaching over and squeezing my hand. "Still can't take surprises very well, can you?"
"Not really." I chuckled, trying to settle down my nerves a bit. "And seeing as it's getting kind of late . . . and we're heading out of town . . ."
"Come on, Bell, live dangerously—stay out late, don't go to bed early like an old lady."
"Ha-ha, you're so funny. For your information, I've been staying up late, seeing as someone keeps me on the phone until all hours of the night."
He lifted my hand to his mouth and kissed it softly, sending tingles throughout my body. "I'm a lucky man—so glad you're giving us a chance again."
And just like that, our conversation went from playful to so romantic that my heart felt as though it would beat out of my chest. "I didn't think it'd be possible . . . I just . . . I'm the lucky one, Edward." I didn't really want to have one of those deep talks where I get so emotional over the choices I made that affected both of our lives. I wanted to have fun, live in the moment—that kind of thing.
Edward must have read my mind. "Getting back to your question; we're going to Arkadelphia."
"And what's in Arkadelphia?" I asked, leaning over the console. I wanted to be so much closer to him.
"We're going to eat at this little Mexican restaurant that I think you'll love, and after that, I'm taking you to see the lady in black."
I remembered all the scary stories he used to tell me, and that was one of them. Even as a grown-up, I was still scared like a child; he had no idea what he was getting himself into.
Or maybe he did.
"You are so going to get us killed," I whispered, snuggling closer to Edward's side. He had to be out of his mind. After a quiet dinner at one of his favorite local places, we parked along the side of the road and walked near the cliffs, where the supposed ghost could be seen. It wasn't just the ghost I was afraid of; some serial killer could be lurking and we were outside, walking around like absolute crazy people.
"Like I'd let anything happen to you," Edward whispered back, and he kissed the top of my head as he tightened his arm around me. "And besides, we're just going a little bit further . . . right about here."
He stopped and swung me around to face him, wrapping his arms around me. "Maybe I just wanted to get you all to myself, with nothing and no one around."
"I could think of better, safer places for that. Like my house. Your house. Inside the safe confines of your car . . . you know, normal things like that. Someone could—"My rambling was put to a stop as soon as Edward leaned in and pressed his lips against mine. "It's crazy, I know. I just feel like we never got to do the things we wanted to before. I wanted to do so many things with you . . . and I've got that chance again."
"And one of those things was to freak me out beyond belief, right?" I asked, warm and snug in his arms, yet still really scared.
He kissed my temple and hugged me tight. "Sorry."
But his playful smirk told me he was not sorry at all. He was enjoying it as much as I thought he would. He didn't know what he was going to have to deal with after that creepy outing, but he would soon find out, seeing as I planned to call him at all hours of the night whenever I got scared.
"It probably wasn't my best idea." Maybe a little guilty.
I buried my face in the crook of his neck, reveling in the fact that I was being held by this amazing, sweet man—who happened to be the sexiest man alive, in my book. I was so in love with him that it hurt; and I was pretty sure he felt the same.
I'd missed him so much. And without thinking about it any further, I told him so.
He pulled away just a bit, looking intensely at me. "I feel like we were cheated . . . our lives were interrupted, I guess you could say. I spent so many years missing you and hating that I missed you so much . . . and now, I feel like we deserve to just pick up where we left off. I just . . . I don't know if I can do slow with you. You and I—we just feel natural together."
I couldn't find the proper words to reply. Part of me agreed completely—slow was not really an option with us—but the mom in me thought of Macy and how it might be confusing to her. She was already dealing with Garrett and I divorcing; I didn't know if jumping into a full on relationship with Edward would be good for her.
"I've been waiting my whole life for this—for you, Bella. And I can wait longer. I don't want you to get the wrong idea," he said, and I could almost hear the disappointment in his voice from my lack of response.
"You don't have to wait," I finally said. "I—I'd be lying if I said I think we should take things slow. It just seems crazy. The only thing is; I don't want Macy to be confused by us. I'd like to ease her into this."
He nodded, hugging me even tighter to his body. "Are you sure you want a relationship with me? Jasper said you hadn't really dated anyone. I don't want you to feel like—"
"No. I didn't date for a reason. Edward, I couldn't even love my husband the way a wife should because I was still in love with you. Do you honestly think I could just divorce Garrett and move on with another guy who wasn't you?"
He shrugged, and I continued. "I—I had high hopes that you and I would become friends one day, that maybe you could forgive me for moving on . . . I never thought I would be in your arms again."
"I'm not letting you go, Bella. If something happens, I would fight... You can't get rid of me."
Regardless of what came our way, I knew without a doubt that I would be with this man for the rest of my life.
We drove back to my house in silence; a good silence. My hand was held securely in his as he ran his thumb along the back of it. The entire way there, I tried to think of how I'd ask him to spend the night. I knew we probably weren't ready for sex, but I wanted to feel young again—and enjoy my boyfriend spending the night in my bed.
Once we arrived at my house, Edward laughed when I finally admitted that I was really freaked out. Part of it was me pretending so that he'd offer to spend the night, and the other part was honestly scared. To take my mind off of the scary stuff, Edward searched my DVD collection, trying to find something to watch. He finally settled on Armageddon, both of us feeling a little nostalgic.
"Macy will be back this weekend, right?"
I nodded, snuggling closer to his side. "Yeah, Friday afternoon."
"What are you two doing for Christmas?"
It was going to be my first Christmas without my mom, something I was really dreading. We spent every Christmas shopping and decorating, always planning these outrageous Christmas gatherings at her house; this year would be so heartbreakingly different.
"I don't really know yet . . . Alice and Jasper are going to his family's this year, and my aunt invited me, but she and my uncle are just going out to eat that day. We'll probably hang out at home."
Rubbing my arm lightly, his fingertips gave me goose bumps. "My parents always have this annual Christmas Eve party, inviting a lot of people from around town—old family friends and my annoying family who think I must be gay since I haven't settled down with a woman yet."
I chuckled and pinched his leg. "You just want me around for that!"
"Well, yeah, of course, baby. I mean, my aunt gave me a few guys' phone numbers last year; she hates the idea of me being alone."
But I couldn't focus on anything he said because he called me baby. I couldn't remember the last time I heard him call me that. Just as it did when I was a teenager, my heart beat a little faster when he said it. My face was on fire, blushing like always.
I laughed, and with a sudden jolt of boldness, I tilted my head up and lightly kissed his neck. "And is that your nonchalant way of asking me to come over?"
Edward tightened his hold on me and groaned. "Um, yeah . . . especially if you keep doing that."
Within a matter of seconds, I was pulled to his lap, utterly shocked and excited. It was so nice to just . . . be with each other. I never thought I'd have this chance with him. And though we'd lost so much time together, we were definitely going to make up for it now.
However, I felt awkward and less experienced, much like I'd felt as a teenager around Edward. Yes, I'd been married at one time, and yes, we'd had child together, but Garrett and I had never had a passionate relationship. We'd just never clicked. I'd read romance novels, longing for that kind of connection, and to be quite honest, it was always Edward I thought of.
"Stay with me tonight?" I asked, rushing out the words.
"Your bed is a dangerous place right now, Bell—"
"I know. I just . . . it's too soon for that, but I just want to sleep with you, that's it." Not so smooth and not so sexy.
Edward laughed and breathed heavily against my chest. "It might be hard to just sleep with you." With his uninjured arm, he pulled me forward, making sure I felt his hardness beneath me.
I laughed, running my hands through his hair. "You are such a perv."
"I can't help myself around you, baby. You bring out the horndog in me. My mind just thinks: Bella, Bella, sex, sex, sex, sex, boobs, Bella. It's a never-ending cycle." We laughed heartily as Edward pulled back, giving me a playful wink.
I yawned and stood from his lap, holding out my hand.
Edward took my hand and stood, smiling sweetly at me. "Take me to your bed, beautiful girl."
Anyone still reading?
I'm sorry for the insane amount of time it's taken to get this updated. I have a million excuses which I'm sure doesn't really matter to anyone, but the bottom line is I was overwhelmed and busy. Things have settled down slightly for me, so I'm hoping to get back to my regular posting schedule.
Thanks to Jen for being an awesome friend and such a great beta. :) And thanks to Rhonda and Tammy for pre-reading.
Thanks for sticking with me!
(If you're wondering why I pulled my other stories, I had a freakout moment when RL crashed into my FF life. I will be posting the stories again - I've just been too lazy to go back and upload all of them - along w/ blowing up readers' inboxes.)