What's Best For Us
Fic a Pic Contest

This idea was born out of my crappy vision. When I looked at this pic, I couldn't see the dark shirt he had on, only the suit jacket and the t-shirt underneath, and that was what got the brain working. Thanks to Mizzdee for cheering on this bunny, A Cullen Wannabe for betaing it, and to my friend Kat, for killing the buzz and telling me he had a shirt on…still love you! Also, the women of my WC's who held me hand through this lemon…you're the best! Also, big thanks to TallulahBelle, Spanglemaker9 and Souplover9 for hosting this contest, and if you like this story, don't forget to go to http:/www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/~ficapiccontest between 2/13 and 2/22 to vote. I hope you enjoy this baby~

Many people would say it was a lovely wedding. The bride and her groom danced gracefully around the room while nearly two hundred people looked on with unparalleled joy, except the best man. His eyes found the bridesmaid that had once been his world, but since the end of their relationship, his sister didn't even trust him with her best friend to make her the maid of honor, instead choosing her new sister-in-law for the job.

He continued to stare unabashedly at her as she moved across the floor on the arm of his brother. In losing her, he also lost his connection to his family, but that was as much the way he threw himself into his work than it was any backlash from how he had broken up with Bella. After watching her all day, he finally allowed himself to think her name. She looked good, happy. That only proved that he'd made the right decision.

Having seen enough, Edward went to the bar, knowing that it would close in an hour when the party began to end. He ordered his best friend and leaned heavy into the wood as he took the glass in his hand.

"You could just go over there, son."

Edward touched the glass to his lips and took a sip, the burn bringing back some semblance of feeling to him. "I thought it was the general consensus that I should keep my distance. Isn't that why I was paired up with Rosalie?"

"Alice didn't want you to get hurt with a constant reminder of what you had this week; it was meant to be a kindness." Carlisle sighed at his son's appearance, even cleaned up it was clear that he'd lost weight and was likely that he hadn't slept in weeks. "It isn't too late, Edward, she still cares about-"

"Dad, I don't want to talk about it. I can't go back there." With a swig of his drink, Edward sat the glass down and walked towards the dance floor, catching his sister's eye, leading to a change in direction until he was able to take Jasper's place in the dance.

"Are you happy, Alice?" Edward questioned innocently as he began to move with his little sister on his arms.

"I am. Are you?"

"She's happy, that's enough for me." He met her eyes and she saw that he truly believed it.

"Appearances can be deceiving, but I won't push you. I know better than to force you into anything."

He smiled as he caught sight of Jasper and Bella twirling around the floor, laughing together at their foolishness. "I'm going to head home. I just wanted to say congratulations again, I love you, Alice."

"Love you too, Edward. I'll walk you out; I have to use the ladies room."

The two walked through the door and into the main corridor where Alice saw to it that the valet hailed a cab for her big brother and then returned to the reception. In the quiet of the cab, Edward's head rested against the back of the seat as the day's images flew past his mind's eye, a collage of a happiness he'd never know.

Arriving at his building, he walked up the stairs to his apartment and threw off his suit jacket, his tie and button-down shirt gone before he looked around his apartment; the only thing left of his time with her and couldn't take the deluge of memories that followed. Throwing back on his suit jacket and grabbing the bottle of Jack Daniel's that sat on his bar, he headed into the hallway and up the stairs to the roof. It was still light out, but bitterly cold. The sun would be gone in an hour and he could wallow in the bright lights of the city, but for now, he sat perched on the wall of the building, a cigarette in one hand and the half-empty bottle within reach. The butt from his cigarette joined six others on the ground before the slight rattle of the fire escape ladder caught his attention and he looked up to see what he was sure was a dream.

"One of these days you're going to fall off this roof." It was something he'd heard her say countless times, and so did little to prove the reality of the moment. She was dressed in jeans and a pea coat, thoroughly bundled up, another indication that she wasn't real as she'd been wearing a gown an hour ago.

"It may be for the best."

She crossed to him quickly and her hands burned his knees where she gripped him, ever through the layers of clothing. "Don't say that. A lot of people would be devastated to see you gone."

"Did my mother send you to make sure I was okay? Because if she did, I'm sorry you had to miss the end of the party."

"No, when Alice told me you left I came on my own. You've been drinking all day and I know how you get when you've had a few too many."

"I didn't make a fool of myself." Edward fought, but even he knew that wasn't what she meant.

"No, the only person you hurt with that shit is yourself. Now come inside, I'll make you some coffee."

He allowed her to pull him off his seat, but stopped when she tried to lead him inside to the stairs. "I can make the coffee, you can go back home now."

Bella dropped his hand and turned to him with cold eyes, wet with the hurt she felt but fought from showing him. "I'm really that horrible to be around?"

He caught the tremble in her voice just as the tears fell. "What? Bella, this was never about you. I'm…I'm no good, never have been. I just didn't want you to get caught up in my bullshit. You're too good for that."

"Don't you think that I might have liked a say in the decision? So what? All those things you said, they were just lies?"

"I knew the only way that you'd leave was if you hated me."

"I could never hate you." Bella's gloved hand caressed his cheek, a gesture he leaned into despite himself. "Let's go inside."

Edward conceded to her, the draw to be with her winning out over his determination to do what he felt was right

They walked down the stairs, the bottle of liquor forgotten, and entered what was once their apartment. Edward went to take a shower, hoping that Bella would start the coffee and show herself out. Yet when he walked into his bedroom in nothing but a towel twenty minutes later, he found Bella straightening up the dirty clothes that had been littering the apartment. "You didn't have to do that."

"Will you stop telling me what I shouldn't be doing! You don't want to be with me, that's fine, but I can't stop loving you that easily."

His head shot up as soon as she the word 'love' left her lips. "There is no way you could love me after the things I said to you that night."

"Edward, the only time I've ever been truly happy was with you. That can't be erased by some cruel words no matter how much you wish it could. I live with Rosalie and Emmett; I have lunch with Alice every day. I live in your family, knowing you don't want me to ever be a part of it, but I can't let them go. Cutting ties with them would mean that I really had given up on us, and I'm not ready to say good-bye to you." He heard the truth in her voice, the sadness that hung on every word.

"Neither am I." Edward spoke the truth for the first time since the afternoon he told her that they were over, admitting it to her as well as himself.

Bella's lips found his in the next moment and he pulled her in close, tired of fighting his heart when the reason for doing it was a lie. They needed each other and if she would have him, he'd never leave her side again.

Bella continued to be the aggressor in the kiss, gaining entry into his mouth. Edward kept her pressed to him, as if holding her close enough would cause them to become one. He shifted his hips and his towel fell to the floor, causing Bella to pull back and get the answer she needed before they went any further.

"Is this real? Because I wouldn't survive if you asked me to leave in the morning."

Edward's breath blew across her face as he held her face in his hands. "I don't want you to ever leave here again."

Bella and Edward both attacked her clothing, leaving her in her underwear very quickly as they fell to the bed. Their need for each other only fueled the intensity as Edward peeled away the final layer separating them and began to worship her body.

Starting at her lips, he travelled down her neck, and slowly worked across her collarbone. Finding her breasts, he took extra care, hoping that each touch proved his love for her. Edward's lips continued their journey down her stomach as his hands massaged her thighs. As he finally reached her center, Edward looked up to meet Bella's eyes before he set to his ministrations. His tongue and teeth gently teased her clit as he ran a single finger along her entrance. Pushing his finger inside of her caused Bella to buck against Edward's face, turning his lips up into a smile as he continued to please her. Bella's hands gripped Edward's hair as he added a second finger, amazed that he could still cause these reactions in her.

Bella's pleading for him to stop almost broke his heart, that is, until he heard the desire in her voice as she said she needed him inside her. Sliding up her body, Edward lined himself up and thrust into Bella, both of them moaning loudly at feeling the connection for the first time in seven months.

Edward kept his movement slow and deliberate as they moved together, her left leg hitching over his hip to give her better leverage to meet his strokes. They never quickened their pace, letting the emotion of the evening bring them to the verge of ecstasy where Edward's thrusts became more erratic and Bella trembled beneath him.

His body fell heavy on top of hers, but the only movement she allowed was him shifting his hips so that he was no longer inside her, before they fell asleep where they lay.

The next morning had Bella clinging tightly to Edward as he woke up from his dream to find it all real. Edward's lips began kissing the top of Bella's breasts just under his face, ready to renew their love again in the light of day, but the grumbling of his stomach had her sliding out from underneath him. "Breakfast first."

Edward leaned on his side and watched as Bella dug into his drawer to pull out a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, just like she did when they were together, and saunter off in the direction of the kitchen. Just as he was getting up to throw on some clothes and follow her, his phone rang. A quick look at the display told him that it was his brother.


"Edward, did you see Bella after you went home? She was going to look for you, but she never came home. Please tell me you didn't fight with her again. We only just got her to start having fun again, and I'm not about to let you-" Emmett's rant was interrupted by Bella's voice calling to Edward from the main part of the apartment.

"Do you want French Toast or pancakes?"

"Whichever's easier." Edward answered before Emmett found his voice again.

"You dirty dog! Does this mean you two are back together? Because if you fucked her just to fuck her, I'll kill you, bro."

There was a muffled argument on the other end, followed by Rosalie's razor sharp tone. "Edward, if you hurt her again, I will cut off your balls and feed them to our dogs, you got that?"

"Good morning to you, sunshine. Look, I've got to go, breakfast should be ready in a little bit and I don't want her to wonder what's taking me so long. Bye."

Edward hung up and walked into the kitchen to see Bella moving around their kitchen the way she used to, so at home even after all this time. "So is she going to slit your throat, or castrate you?" Bella's smirk as she half turned made Edward laugh.

"Castration. You may want to talk to her about that." Edward took the plate she offered him and they moved to the table.

"So, what does this mean?" Bella asked, worried about what Edward was willing to give her.

"Bella, I made a lot of the decisions last time, and I chose wrong. This time you tell me how much you want, because I want it all, but I want you to set the pace you're comfortable with."

Cutting into her breakfast, she let out a deep breath. "If I said I wanted to move in and go back to the way it was before, you'd be okay with that?"

"Yes. Baby, I stopped hanging around my family because they reminded me of you. I didn't feel right back then, I was questioning so much…then I got the answers and the only person who could comfort me was the person I'd pushed away. I couldn't go back to you because of how I'd treated you."

Bella finished her breakfast and moved around the table to crouch in front of Edward. "Tell me now, I'm here."

"I'd always known I was adopted, but growing up with the Cullen's and having your family so close all the time, I felt out of place a little. I knew Carlisle and Esme loved me, but I knew there was something different about me and I needed to find it. I pushed you away because I believed I wasn't good enough for you. I didn't fit in at your charity events and work functions, when I found out that the detective Carlisle had hired to find my birth mother, I broke up with you before you could see just how common I really was."

Bella gasped and squeezed his hand. "I never saw you as different. I hate those parties too; I'm just good at hiding it for a few hours."

He nodded, "I know."

"So, what happened when you went to see her?" Bella braced herself for the worst, knowing that whatever was coming had pushed Edward away from his family as well.

"Elizabeth Andrews was a mean suburban bitch. She'd met my father when she was in high school and got pregnant. She told me she would have gotten an abortion, but she thought that she could use me to get a ring out of my father, Edward Masen. But he balked when I was born and she put me up for adoption. She had three kids running around inside that house and a husband on his way home from work, so she told me that if I wanted to find my father I'd have to go to the local cemetery. She'd built a whole new family as if I'd never existed. I felt so horrible for how I'd pushed you all away, but then I started to think about how I treated you all and I realized I was just like her."

"No you aren't!" Edward's eyes met the molten pools of chocolate, sparked to life by his self-loathing. "You are a sweet, albeit, misguided man. You pushed us away for our benefit, not your own. That woman, because she isn't your mother, is a fool not to know what it is she let go the day she gave you up." Bella stood up long enough to sit in Edward's lap and pull him close. "You're only alone if you choose to be, because we all want you in our lives. Why do you think Alice begged Jasper to make you his best man? It was because she wanted you there so badly that you needed to be front and center. You're being adopted only ever bothered you. Talk to them, Edward. They miss you."

"Will you come with me?" He whispered into her neck and she smiled, his nose tickling her.

"Of course, right after you help me move my things back in."

Edward shook his head, still amazed that she was back in his life. "I'm so happy you're coming back home."

"I'm glad you finally let me back in."

After breakfast was cleaned up, Bella called Rosalie and Emmett and told them to meet her at the Cullen's place. An hour later, Edward stood in front of his family, with Bella at his side, telling them about why he'd been distant, and the things he learned that kept him away.

Esme was the first to jump out of her seat to welcome Edward back to them, nearly pulling Edward's hand from Bella's, if not for the iron grip he had on her. Carlisle was next, pulling his son into a hug and telling him how much joy he'd brought to their lives. Emmett nearly tackled his brother and even Rosalie softened as she saw the looks between the reunited couple.

"So, does this mean I get my office back?" Bella turned to her with a wink and a nod, but said nothing as Edward was accepted wholeheartedly back into his family, which included an ecstatic Alice when she and Jasper returned from their honeymoon two weeks later.

By that time, Bella had moved her belongings back in with Edward and they fell into the happy routine that they had before their trouble began, only this time they knew what was truly best for them, each other.