AN: My apologies to the few of you who didn't receive review replies this week! I usually reply via the link that I'm emailed, but those have been coming up errors on FFn for the past week, so everyone had to get PMs from me. About a dozen of you have your PMs turned off, so I had no way to contact you, loves!
If you check up under my profile, Parachute's Charlie POV Outtake (In My Daughter's Eyes) from the FGB compilation was posted last night! =)
Chapter 13: Love You Madly
I don't want to think about it
I don't want to talk about it
When I kiss your lips
I want to sink down to the bottom of the sea
I want to love you madly
I want to love you now, yeah
I want to love you madly, way
I want to love you, love you
Love you madly
Love You Madly by Cake
Bella awoke the next morning with an unfamiliar warmth pressing against her back. The heavy arm weighing her down, curled around her waist, sped her heart into overdrive. She turned her head slightly and was greeted by a messy shock of coppery hair. She sighed and inched closer, pressing her back against his chest. Although she'd been disappointed last night when he stopped them from going any further, she understood where he was coming from and was glad he did. When the time came, she knew that they'd both be ready and it'd be more special.
Edward's arm tightened around her waist and his lips pressed against the back of her shoulder. "Good morning," he murmured, his voice gravelly with sleep.
She turned so that she faced him and smiled shyly. "Good morning," she replied softly. "Did you sleep well?"
His eyes gazed into hers lovingly. "Yes, I did. I can't remember ever resting so well. How 'bout you?"
She bit her lip and nodded. "I was comfortable. Well, except when you almost knocked me out of bed."
"I didn't," he gasped, his tone disbelieving.
She nodded innocently. "You sure did, bed hog."
He narrowed his eyes, noticing the mischievous twinkle in hers. His fingers dug into her sides, causing her to squeal and jerk her body, trying to escape the tickle assault.
"St-stop," she giggled, breathlessly.
The pair froze when something hard brushed up against her thigh. "Sorry," he mumbled as he swallowed thickly, his cheeks tinting pink. He dropped his fingers, attempting to untangle himself from her gently. She instinctively reached out and wrapped her arms around his neck, not allowing him to back away.
"Don't be," she whispered. "And don't be embarrassed, my body reacts the same way to you."
His lips quirked, holding back a smile. "Really? I doubt your body responds like this, Bella," he whispered seductively, pressing himself harder against her thigh.
She closed her eyes and gasped. When she met his gaze again, it almost shocked him to see how dark with desire they were.
"No, Edward, I may not be able to get hard, but you do get me wet," she responded huskily, grasping his hand and placing it against her damp panties.
His lips crashed onto hers while his fingers stroked her softly, eliciting a mewling sound from her lips.
Then his lips caressed her neck, pulling her body closer while her hand drifted between them, grasping his hardness. She felt his quick intake of breath when she stroked him through his boxer briefs. His movement against her sex faltered, his mouth brushing against the skin right behind her ear. Her fingers moved slowly, tortuously, working up and down his shaft.
"Fuck, Bella," he groaned, flipping them over so that she straddled his hips.
His fingers slid slowly up her sides, palming her breasts as she began to grind her sex against his cock. He pulled her downward, arching her back and capturing a nipple with his mouth, sucking and biting it gently. She gasped and pushed her hips down against his, harder and faster, her blood singing in her veins.
"Edward," she moaned, when his lips sought out her other nipple, his hands cupping and squeezing both breasts.
After a few minutes, his fingers once again gripped her hips, moving her body faster, sliding her silky panties along his length. Her chest dropped to touch his and their mouths crashed together in a violent frenzy, teeth bumping, tongues probing. She felt herself climbing higher and quicker than she'd ever been before. Stars flashed behind her eyelids and she barely recognized his strangled voice calling her name, falling over his own precipice.
She rested her forehead against his sweaty chest, breathing heavily. She felt his hand gently rub her back and she slowly raised her head. His eyes were closed, a blissful, serene smile gracing his face. In that moment, something just clicked and she knew that she couldn't let him go. She'd fight as hard as she could to hold onto what they were building.
"I love you," she whispered emotionally.
His eyes popped open in surprise, boring into hers, trying to determine her sincerity. He swallowed and reached up to cup her cheeks, using his thumbs to brush away tears that she hadn't realized she'd been crying.
"Are you serious?" he asked hoarsely.
She blinked and nodded, her tears splashing onto his chest. "Yes. I've never loved anyone before—not the way I love you right now. I'm not expecting you to say it back, I just wanted you to know where my heart was. It's with you."
He rolled them over and pressed his lips gently against hers, sweetly yet passionately. He pulled back and smiled widely.
"I love you too, Bella. So damn much," he whispered hoarsely.
She reached her arms around his body, squeezing him as tightly as she could. The tension and loneliness she carried around with her began lifting its way from her chest. She still had no idea how they'd work things out when it was time for her to head back to L.A., but she knew they'd figure something out. Together.
Bella sighed, staring out the window as they drew closer to Forks. They'd hit a turning point in their relationship and she wasn't ready to share Edward with the world outside their little bubble.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
She smiled softly and turned to look his way. "I don't want to go home yet. I want to keep you to myself for a little while longer."
He smirked. "Just say the word and I'll turn right back around."
She shook her head. "Don't tempt me."
He shrugged. "Your loss then," he replied, before winking.
The pair fell into a comfortable silence for the next thirty minutes. As they passed the sign letting them know they were entering Forks, he reached out his right hand and gently squeezed hers.
"How would you feel about going back next weekend for Valentine's Day?"
"Valentine's?" she questioned, somewhat dumbly.
"Um, yes?" He shot her a questioning look. "The Hallmark holiday celebrating love?"
She rolled her eyes. "I know what it is," she laughed. "I just didn't realize it was so close."
"Ten days," he replied. "Not that I'm counting or anything."
She gave him a surprised look, stifling a giggle when his tell-tale blush crept up on cheeks.
Edward pulled to a stop outside of Mac's house and turned off the engine. His wide smile sent a shot happiness right up Bella's spine. He leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers softly.
"I love you," he whispered against her skin. "Now that the floodgates have opened, you're going to get sick of me saying that."
She threw her head back and laughed, her eyes shining. "I'll never get sick of that. You're stuck with me now, Cullen."
He pulled her close, kissing her hard. "I'm counting on it, Princess."
Just as their bodies untangled, the passenger side door was pulled open and someone yanked Bella out of the truck's cab. She turned, finding herself face-to-face with a pair of steel blue eyes.
"James," she gasped in surprise.
"Iz," he sighed and hauled her into a tight hug. "Fuck, you scared the shit out of me."
Pulling back, he cupped her face in his hands. "What were you thinking, woman?"
Her eyes welled with tears. "I- I was scared, Jame. I didn't know where else to go."
"To me," he replied in exasperation. "You could've come to stay with me. I'd have protected you."
She shook her head.
"Bella?" Edward broke in, his voice laced with confusion.
James turned and eyed the other man. "Bella?"
"My name," she whispered.
His eyes narrowed. "Isabella."
She nodded and glanced over at her boyfriend, who looked lost. She stepped away from her friend and reached for Edward's hand.
"Edward, this is my best friend, James. James, this is my boyfriend, Edward."
"Boyfriend?" James remarked in surprise. "Last time I checked, that was my title."
She looked up at Edward's face when she felt his grip tighten on her hand. A muscle flexed in his jaw as he took a deep breath in through his nose.
"How about we take this inside?" she suggested, uneasy of the attention that James could draw as a well-known actor.
Without another word, James turned and strode up the porch stairs, walking right into the house. She sighed at her friend's flair for dramatics. She turned back to Edward, who glared daggers at James' retreating back.
"Hey," she tugged his hand to get his attention. He looked down, almost as if surprised to see her standing there.
"Sorry," he mumbled.
She smiled and brought their joined hands to her mouth, laying a kiss on his knuckles. "It's okay. James is a good guy, trust me."
He gave her a smile and nodded. "I trust you, but his showing up here opens up a whole new can of worms. You know that, right?"
She sighed. "I know. I need to find out how he found me."
He swallowed hard before responding. "Do you want me to go?"
She glanced at him in surprise. "No, why? Do you want to go?"
He reached up and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "No, I don't want to go; I want to stand by your side. But I also don't want to intrude or step on your toes."
Pushing up on her toes, she kissed his cheek. "Thank you, but I want you with me. We're a team, right?"
"Sounds like a plan to me," he said, leaning down to kiss her sweetly.
They linked hands and walked up to the house showing a united front. James lounged on the couch, playing with his phone, when they walked into the living room. He looked up and scowled at their joined hands.
"Really? Who is this dude, Iz?"
Edward straightened to his full height and held out his hand, which James shook hesitantly. "I'm Edward Cullen. I love her and you mean a lot to her, so please don't make this any harder than it has to be."
James sat back and narrowed his eyes at the other man, trying to figure out what his angle was. "James Tillman. I love her, too and I've no idea why I should believe a word you say. She's sweet, naive and rich; you could be playing her for all I know."
Bella put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. "I'm right here, you know."
James side-eyed her and shrugged. "You know it's true, though. You're too trusting of people."
"I was too trusting. I think my little stalker effectively rid me of that." She sighed, dropping down next to him on the couch.
"How did you find me, Jame?"
"Honestly, I've known where you were for weeks, but I wanted to give you space. I remember you telling me you were from a small town named after a utensil. When you called and I wasn't home, I got Jenks to trace the number to Washington. Forks stuck out like a sore thumb, so I had J do some more digging. He took a trip out here a few weeks ago to find you. After that, you were only too easy to find, Miss Swan."
He smiled and shook his head, reached out to touch hair. "You've done a pretty good job disguising your looks, I'll give you that. I'm still kinda shocked that you've lasted this long without anyone recognizing you."
She bit her lip nervously. "That's not exactly true."
"What do you mean?" he asked warily.
"My family and friends know who I am. They're the ones who helped me hide."
James gazed at her thoughtfully. "Family? I thought you didn't have any?"
"My godfather Mac and my childhood best friend, Emmett. Em was the closest thing I'd had to a brother. His wife Rosalie knows as well. Edward, his sister, Alice, and her husband, Jasper, know, too."
He wiped his hands down his face. "This is really fucking complicated, Iz."
She smiled sadly. "I know, but it's worked out well so far," she replied cheerfully.
His eyes widened in astonishment. "Really? How the hell do you figure that, Ms-Drop-Everything-And-Disappear?"
"I have a family again. And I have friends and love now because of it. Yeah, the stalker is still out there, but I'm almost grateful to them at this point."
James closed his eyes and shook his head once again. Edward watched in silence, feeling sympathetic for her friend. It was obvious that he was just looking out for her and he was grateful, but if he tried to come between them, Edward would fight tooth and nail.
"Can we speak in private for a minute, Iz?" James asked, opening his eyes and meeting hers.
She nodded with a glance toward Edward. "Can you give us a few minutes, please? Maybe you could call Em and let him know what's going on?"
Edward nodded and reluctantly started to walk out the room. "I'll be right outside," he replied, giving the newcomer a warning look.
James glanced at Bella, noticing her watching Edward leave like a love sick puppy. Once he was gone, James sighed.
"You've got it bad, don't you?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer.
"I've never been in love before," she replied softly.
"Fuck," James grumbled. "I'd hoped one day you'd fall for me and we'd make beautiful babies."
Her eyes widened. "Seriously?"
He rolled his eyes. "No, not seriously. You're beautiful, but definitely not my type."
She smirked and nudge his knee with hers. "I'm not butch enough for you?"
He grinned. "Not at all. I must say you've got great taste in men, though. He's pretty hot."
She nodded in agreement, not quite knowing what else to say. James reached out and took her hand.
"I'm glad you've found your family again and made new friends, Iz," he started, before pausing.
She swallowed nervously. "But?"
"But you've made a cluster-fuck out of this whole situation. Tanya is pissed as hell and won't leave me the fuck alone. She understands that you're scared, but it's her ass that's on the line right now, covering for you missing meetings and interviews. It's gotten a lot worse since the news broke about your house being vandalized."
He grimaced, before continuing, "You heard about that, right?"
She nodded silently.
"It's been a mad house since. Security's been amped up and Tanya's up to her ears with people trying to find out if the rumors of your disappearance are true."
She felt a stab of regret for leaving her agent to deal with her mess. Tanya was the only other person besides James that she considered a friend in L.A.
"I'll call her before you leave, okay?" she reasoned with him.
James cocked an eyebrow. "What makes you think that I'm leaving here without you?"
A frizzle of fear ran up her spine. His jaw dropped open at the look of terror on her face.
"Iz," he whispered hoarsely. "Give me some credit. You really think I'd drag you out of here, kicking and screaming? I'm not a fucking monster."
"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I just- I can't just leave."
"I know, babe, but your time is growing short. There's a heap of things that you've apparently not thought about. Like, what happens if someone recognizes you? Paparazzi will swarm this place and poke their noses everywhere. You're also under contract with Volturi Records."
She sighed and rubbed her forehead. "I know, I know."
"Two weeks, Iz. You have two weeks to get back to L.A. I can't hold Tanya off any longer than that," he replied.
She swallowed and felt a lead weight form in her stomach. "Two weeks?" she replied meekly.
He looked up at her, his eyes sympathetic. "Yeah, two weeks. I'm sorry. I know you're happy and you're in love, but you can't hide here forever."
She nodded sadly.
"Oh, come on," he complained. "And you call me a drama queen?"
Her eyes widened in surprise. "What the fuck?"
He threw his arms up in the air in defeat. "You're such a ditz sometimes, honestly. You're all sad and heart-broken to be leaving here, but have you considered alternatives?"
"What are you talking about?" she replied angrily. "You were the one just lecturing me about having to go back!"
"Well, yeah, you have to go back now. But what about the future? This is classic Dizzy Izzy. You just write your songs and sing, never looking at the big picture. You're Izzy-fucking-Dwyer. Do you realize how much power you hold? You say jump and fifty people are lined up to say 'How high?' You're really clueless sometimes."
He ran both hands through his shaggy blond hair. "You don't have to live in California. I do because I'm an actor and I like living that life. You're a musician, you can record anywhere. Yeah, you might need to be around town for various shindigs and tours, but you're not a prisoner. Do you catch my drift?"
James sighed and plopped down on the couch next to Bella's stunned form, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. "What am I going to do with you, Iz? Your decision-making processes really leave room for improvement."
The realization of his words slowly sunk into her head. "I don't have to live in L.A."
James smiled. "No, no you don't."
"I could live here, if I wanted. Or Seattle, even."
He nodded, watching her eyes fill with excitement.
"Oh my god," she squealed. "Why didn't I think of that myself? There's a huge music scene in Seattle! Hell, it was the birthplace of Grunge!"
James smacked himself playfully on the forehead. "Duh."
She shoved him. A renewed sense of hope surged through her veins, flooding her heart.
"Seriously, though, you need to come back and clean up the mess you made by running. It's going to take some time, but it'll all work out. You'll see, babe."
She sighed again. "I know I have to, but I don't want to go. Not yet."
A throat cleared in the doorway and they both looked up to see Mac standing there, looking uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry for intruding, I just wanted to see if you were okay. Edward met me outside and gave me a heads up."
He smiled sadly and her heart cracked a little bit. "Mac," she said softly.
"It's okay, Bell. I knew you weren't here to stay," his voice cracked on the last word.
She jumped to her feet and rushed over to hug him. "Oh, Mac," she cried. "It's not forever. Now that I have you guys, I'm not letting you go. I promise to visit and have you guys come stay with me, okay? Once I get back, I'll figure out a way to make everything work. I promise."
James watched their embrace, easily seeing the love that the two had for each other. He stood slowly and waited for them to step away from each other.
"Mr. McCarty," he spoke, "I'm sorry for barging in, but I was worried about Izzy. I'm sure you understand how tense the situation with her stalker is."
Mac eyed the young man, before holding out his hand. James grasped it in a firm shake. "It's good to meet you, James. Bella's told us a lot about you."
James gave his award-winning smile and laughed. "All lies, don't believe a word she's said."
Mac chuckled and let go of his hand, moving over to sit in his recliner. "I should also warn you that Emmett will be here very soon."
"Why?" Bella asked in surprise. "What about the bar?"
"Family's more important than the bar, Bella," Mac chastised gently.
Warmth flooded her chest, bringing a smile to her face. "I'm learning that."
Edward stepped into the room, hesitancy in his voice. "Is it okay to come back?"
She grinned, pulling him over to sit with her on the couch. "Yes, it is."
He gave her a confused look, wondering just what had taken place while he outside to bring such a smile to her face.
"So, James," Mac asked, "how long are you hanging around town?"
He pursed his lips in thought. "Honestly, I'd only planned on getting Iz and leaving, so I have no idea." He looked over at Bella and shrugged apologetically. "Would you mind if I stayed on your couch tonight and I can head out early tomorrow morning? I don't want to draw any attention."
Mac nodded. "You're welcome to stay, sure."
"I'll do you one better, Jame. You can sleep in my room tonight," Bella interjected.
James looked at her in bewilderment. "I'm not letting you sleep on the couch, babe."
Bella smirked and squeezed Edward's hand. "I'm not sleeping on the couch. I'll stay with Edward."
"You'll what?" All three men replied at once.
She stifled a laugh and looked over at Edward. "I mean, if that's alright with you."
He smiled widely. "That's more than okay with me, Princess."
James made a gagging noise and Mac looked away uncomfortably.
"Oh, hush, you big babies," Bella chided, laughing lightly.
The sound of a car pulling up outside had Mac jumping to his feet and looking out the window. "Well, looks like the cavalry's arrived."
She turned to James and patted his arm. "Uh, just a warning, Emmett's bark is worse than his bite."
James' eyes widened. "Wait, what? Should I be worried?" he asked in a hushed voice.
"SCRAPPY!" Em shouted as he opened the front door swiftly.
She smiled with remorse. "It'll be okay," she whispered.
Emmett barged into the room, his face animated with anger. He laid his eyes on James and glared.
"Oh shit," James whispered.
Chapter song: Love You Madly by Cake