AN: One quick mention before we begin, I recently posted two new stories to my account, [S]aint (a TwiFicPics Banner Drabble) and Paperthin Hymn (a collab story between myself and Laurnorder). Check them out if you can!

Chapter 16: Say Hey

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I say
Hey, I be gone today
But I'll be back around the way
It seems like everywhere I go

The more I see, the less I know
But I know one thing
That I love you
I love you, I love you, I love you

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Say Hey (I love you) by Michael Franti & Spearhead

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The next morning, Bella and Edward made their way downstairs, hand-in-hand. Mac was already seated at the table, his hands curled around a large mug of coffee. He looked up, regarding the couple with a cool, nonchalant gaze. Bella squeezed Edward's hand, before walking over to kiss her uncle on the cheek.

"Good morning, Mac," she said cheerfully. She stuck her head into the fridge and set items for breakfast onto the counter.

Edward swallowed nervously as Mac's calculating gaze sized him up. The older man motioned to the chair in front of him.

"Have a seat, boy. Coffee?" he offered, motioning towards his cup.

Edward smiled gratefully. "Yes, please."

Mac nodded and jerked his head to the right. "The pot's over there," he muttered gruffly.

Edward's eyes widened and his mouth twitched, trying to hold back a smile at Mac's intimidation attempt. The man was kind to a fault, something that he'd always looked up to since becoming friends with Emmett. As he reached up into the cabinet for a mug, he noticed Bella's form shaking with silent laughter from the corner of his eye. After he filled his cup, he discreetly pinched her bottom, before walking back to the table and sitting.

Mac leaned back in his seat and eyed Edward speculatively. "Edward, son, can I ask you a question?"

"Of course you can, Mac."

"First, I want you to pretend for minute that you have a daughter, okay?"

Bella turned her head to glance at the table, biting her lip when she saw Edward nod with pinkened cheeks.

Mac smiled tightly. "Good, good. Now, what would you do if a young man crawled into her bedroom and spent the night, right under your roof?"

Edward's eyes widened and he swallowed thickly, feeling guilt wash over him. He was in no way intimidated by Mac, but his mama had raised him well. He was sure she'd be ashamed if she were here right now. He leaned forward, placing his elbows on the table and rubbed his forehead.

"I apologise, Mac. I didn't mean to disrespect you. I promise that nothing happened, we just held each other."

With a rough, unexpected movement, Bella set a platter of eggs down on the table. Both men looked up and were surprised by the wild look in her eyes.

"Princess?" Edward started, but she held up her hand, cutting him off.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. When she re-opened them, she was definitely calmer.

"I am a 23-year-old who's lived by herself for the past five years. Why should you chastise Edward because I asked him to stay? I'm a grown woman, Mac, and I'm upset that you think I'd act like a whore in your home."

She quickly turned and left the kitchen. Edward stood quickly to follow her, but Mac sighed and told him to sit back down.

"I'll go," he replied, clapping Edward on the back. "I'm sorry I was busting your chops, son."

He walked slowly up the stairs, knocking on her door before poking his head into the room.

"Bella?" he called out softly, seeing her sitting by her windowsill, staring off into the woods.

She turned and wiped away tears, giving him a watery smile. "I'm sorry for snapping, Mac."

Her uncle smiled sadly and crossed the room to sit with her. "I'm sorry, too. I shouldn't have been giving Ed a hard time. He's a helluva man and I'm glad you've found someone as good as him. You're an adult and I have no right to act like your father."

A pair of tears rolled down her cheeks. "It was cute at first, but it crossed a line that felt like you were trying to replace my dad. If Charlie'd been alive, he'd have been sitting there, asking the same questions. I miss him so much, but there was no reason to snap at you like that. I'm so sorry," she whispered brokenly.

He took her into his arms and held her, gently rubbing her back. "I know, sweetheart. Me, too."

"DAD!" Emmett's voice called, right before the front door slammed shut. "Oh, hey, Ed. What are you doing here?"

Bella pulled back and wiped her face. "I guess there's no time like the present to tell Emmett we're related, huh?"

Mac stood and pulled her to her feet. "Let's do it; we've already wasted enough time."

She slid her hand into his and they made their way back to the kitchen.

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Two days later, the group of friends stayed at Mac's until closing time, eager to hear Jasper and Bella play. Emmett and Rosalie closed down the bar, shooing Jasper and Bella towards the stage, while Edward locked up. Alice sat at the table closest to the stage, bouncing with excitement.

"This is going to be so much fun!" she squealed.

Bella laughed and shook her head, placing both hands on the stage and hopping up to sit down on it. Jasper mirrored her position, legs hanging down, and reached for his guitar. By the time they'd finished tuning up, their four companions were all seated around the table, patiently waiting.

She looked over and caught Edward's eye, shooting him a happy grin. She began to strum a familiar tune that brought a smile to Jasper's face, which soon turned to confusion as she picked up the tempo and began to sing.

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Hello, hello, hello,
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anybody home?
Come on now, I hear you're feelin' down.
Well, I can ease your pain
And get you on your feet again.
Relax.
I need some information first.
Just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?
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"Wait, wait, wait," Jasper interrupted. "What the hell was THAT?" Annoyance filled his voice and Bella had to bite her lip to keep from laughing.

"What do you mean? Haven't you ever heard of the Scissor Sisters, Whit?" she replied innocently.

"Th-that," he sputtered, "was a travesty! Complete shit! You don't mock Floyd like that!"

She narrowed her eyes. "That's mean. Just because it's not your style or taste doesn't mean it's crap. Granted, I only played it because a little birdie told me you were fanatical about Pink Floyd, but that doesn't mean you can trash it. I happen to love Scissor Sisters' music. Plus, they're super nice people."

Jasper shook his head. "Sorry, sorry. You're right. I still can't believe you're a disco fan." He mock-shuddered.

"Hey now," she chastised, pointing her finger at him, "Barry Gibb was hot in his day."

Emmett side-eyed Edward. "Well, Bells, if you're into the hairy chested dudes, I guess we could get some Rogaine for E here."

Edward crossed his arms, rolling his eyes. "Maybe I could just borrow some from your back instead?"

"Ooh, burn," Alice whispered loudly.

Bella laughed at the comical look on Emmett's face, reminding her of the other morning, when she and Mac sat down to tell him they were related.

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"Wait, so you're my sister?" he'd asked.

She rolled her eyes. "No, Shaggy, it means that I'm your cousin."

"Nah, I like the sound of sister better." He shrugged and grinned, surprisingly taking it all in stride.

He hugged her tightly. "I knew it, Scrappy," he murmured. "I think I've always know we were blood."

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Rosalie propped her feet up on Emmett's lap and tossed a peanut at Bella, hitting her in the shoulder. "How about you sing us an Izzy Dwyer song?"

Bella pursed her lips, before strumming out an upbeat tune.

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You made me insecure,
Told me I wasn't good enough.
But who are you to judge
When you're a diamond in the rough?
I'm sure you got some things
You'd like to change about yourself.
But when it comes to me
I wouldn't want to be anybody else.
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By the time she hit the chorus, Rose and Alice were singing right along with her. After she and Jasper played a few more songs, they hopped down and joined their friends at the table. Emmett passed out a round of shots, then raised his glass in a toast.

"To my baby sister, international superstar."

Everyone laughed and drank. Bella shook her head, giggling, the burn of the alcohol warming her chest.

"You're not going to give up on the sister bit, are you?"

Emmett shook his head emphatically. "Nope, you're stuck with me now, Scrappy."

Bella grinned and nodded. "I think I can deal with that." She paused for a moment, before adding, "I'm not an international superstar."

Rosalie snorted. "Wasn't it in Sydney where you were almost overrun by a mob?"

Bella smiled wistfully. "Yeah, the Aussies love me. I've thought about moving there someday."

Edward smirked and slung his arms over her shoulder. "Still considering that?"

She turned her head and smiled shyly. "Maybe, but only if I could talk you into going with me."

His eyes bored into hers intently. "I'd follow you anywhere."

"Alright, alright," Emmett interjected. "Enough with the lovey dovey crap. Let's drink."

Two hours later, everyone besides Edward and Emmett were in varying states of inebriation. Rosalie was sleeping on her arms, which were folded on the table, and Alice sat braiding small chunks of Jasper's hair, as he lovingly stroked Bella's guitar. Bella sat on Edward's lap, kissing his neck softly. She curled up against his chest and sighed.

"It's nice just to hang out with my friends and relax," she murmured, only slightly tipsy.

"Alright," Emmett announced loudly, startling Rosalie awake. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm tired as fuck. E, you ready to herd the drunkards out?"

Edward chuckled and removed Bella from his lap, standing up. "Yeah, I think that's a good idea. You want to drop off Alice and Jasper while I take Bella home?"

Emmett nodded. "Sounds good to me, but help me get them into the Jeep?"

As the pair maneuvered their friends in the car, Bella picked up her guitar and began to strum out a melody that was forming in her mind.

"That sounds pretty," Edward spoke from the door.

She looked up and smiled. "Thanks, it's just something that was playing around in my head. I hope I remember it tomorrow."

He pulled out his phone as he walked back to the table. "Why don't I record it while you play again?"

Once again, she was struck by how perfect this man was. She grinned and started to play with more vigor, the tune fleshing itself out as she went along. When she was finished, he closed his phone and she placed her guitar in its case.

Picking it up and turning to him, she shot him a cheeky remark. "I don't wanna see that on YouTube, capiche?"

He laughed and pulled her close to him, kissing her sweetly. "I promise, no YouTube."

He tugged on her hand and led her over to the door. "Come on, let's get you home."

She pulled back, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. He reached up and gently released it.

"What's wrong, Princess?" he asked softly.

She shrugged and shook her head. "It's nothing, let's go."

She started to walk away, but he grabbed her arm and pulled her body flush against his. "Tell me what's wrong, Bella. Please?" he implored. She closed her eyes and breathed in his scent, his close proximity having an effect on her suddenly fast-beating heart.

"I was going to ask if I could come home with you, instead of going to Mac's, but I don't want to put you in an awkward position."

He splayed his hands along the small of her back, pressing closer. "Does this feel awkward to you?" he murmured against her ear.

She sighed and melted against him. "No, it feels perfect."

The air was chilly outside, so he tucked her under his arm after they'd locked up and walked to the truck. Opening the door, he helped her into the cab, leaning in for a kiss.

"Plus, wasn't I the sap that climbed in your bedroom window last night because I missed you? I love you."

She ducked her head shyly until he shut her door and walked around to the driver's side. She smiled at his ability to always say just what she needed to hear.

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The following Monday found Edward and Bella driving up to Seattle to spend a quiet Valentine's day. They spent the day checking out the Seattle Aquarium and then to see a movie afterwards. Not wanting to chance a run-in with anyone who might recognize her as Izzy Dwyer, Edward opted to make her a quiet dinner back at his apartment, instead of going out to a restaurant on one of the busiest holidays.

She pored over his books and chose a worn copy of the play, 'Inherit the Wind.' She curled up on a comfy chair and devoured the dialog as Edward prepared dinner. Once the story was finished, she closed her eyes and dozed until his warm lips awoke her. She blinked away sleep and smiled softly.

"Hey, you," she murmured.

He pecked her lips again and pulled her to her feet. "Dinner's ready, Sleeping Beauty."

She laughed and followed him into the dining room, surprised to find the table decorated with flowers and lit candles.

"Oh, Edward," she sighed. "It's beautiful."

Throughout dinner, they chatted about everything and nothing at all, simply enjoying the food and wine he'd provided.

She groaned softly and pushed away her plate. "I can't eat another bite. That was delicious, Edward. Thank you."

He smiled shyly and began to clear up the dishes. When she stood to help him, he shooed her away. "Get out of here," he said as he laughed.

She picked up her wine glass and followed him into the kitchen. He rolled his sleeves up to his elbows and began rinsing off dishes, before placing them into the dishwasher. He glanced over his shoulder and smirked.

"Are you going to stand there watching me?"

She bit her lip and nodded. "It's quite a sight, I must admit," she replied huskily.

He quickly turned around and took her into his arms, kissing her passionately. "Stay right here," he warned. "Don't move." He turned and left her confused in the kitchen. Not know how long he'd be, she hopped up on the kitchen counter and pulled out the pre-paid cell phone she'd been using for the past couple of weeks, starting up a game of solitaire. Ten minutes later, he returned and kissed her again.

"There's a surprise for you in the bathroom, why don't you check it out and I'll be there as soon as I'm finished here?"

She arched an eyebrow, but nodded and silently followed his advice. The sight that awaited her took her breath away and brought tears to her eyes. The room was dimmed; tea light candles and rose petals were scattered around the room. The large tub was filled with steaming water and bubbles. She stripped off her clothes and stuck a toe into the water, checking the temperature, before easing herself into the tub. The water was very hot, just barely tolerable, but it felt wonderful. She breathed in deeply, the scent of rose and vanilla filling her senses.

She started to hum while her muscles relaxed. Hearing a throat clear, she glanced up at the door and smiled brilliantly at Edward, who stood there holding an open bottle of champagne and two glasses. He set the bottle and glasses on a shelf built into the tub. Her eyes lit up as he slowly stripped off his clothes and motioned for her to scoot forward.

She let out a sigh of contentment when he settled behind her. She leaned back and rested herself against his chest, the hot water and bubbles lapping at the top of her breasts. His hands slid slowly down her arms until they joined hers on the lip of the tub.

"Is the water still okay?" he murmured in her ear.

"It's perfect," she replied, turning her head to capture his lips in a soft kiss.

He reached over and poured the champagne into the glasses, handing her one and holding onto his own. "How about a toast?" he asked.

"To the best Valentine's day ever," she murmured, before clinking their glasses together and taking a sip.

"I wanted to make it special for you," he replied quietly. "I'm going to miss you so much."

She reached for his glass and placed them both back onto the shelf, turning her body sideways bringing water sloshing onto the floor. His eyes were sad as she reached up, cupping his cheeks.

"I love you," she responded emphatically. "I'll miss you, too, but remember, it's only temporary. You own my heart, Edward Cullen. Completely and totally."

He smiled tentatively. "I can come and visit you, right?"

She bit her lip, nodding. "Anytime you want."

He smirked and shook his head. "You really shouldn't have said that. I might be on your doorstep the next day."

She shifted and straddled his legs, pressing her breasts against his chest. "Then I'd open my door wide and let you in."

Edward leaned forward and kissed her swiftly, passionately. "Fuck, I love you," he whispered hoarsely, wrapping his arms around her waist.

His tongue was cool and tasted like the champagne as their lips moved together. She angled her hips and pressed down against his hardened length, bringing forth a hiss through his teeth. He gripped her hips, rocking against her, causing her to shiver when the head of his cock bumped her clit.

"I can tease, too, Princess," he murmured against her skin, kissing and nipping at her neck.

She shuddered and reached down between them, positioning his cock so that she slid down, engulfing him with her warmth. They simultaneously groaned, both adjusting to the feel of him being inside of her. She placed her hands on his shoulders and moved slowly, arching her back.

"It's not teasing if I follow through."

He swore quietly and ran his wet, soapy hands up her stomach, ending on her breasts. Her breaths quickened along with her pace, water sloshing all around them. His lips suckled on the base of her neck, bathing her skin with his tongue. She wound her hands through his messy crop of hair, tugging lightly and causing him to groan. The feel of his voice vibrating against her skin made her gasp as a chill ran up her spine.

"Bella," he whispered hoarsely, stilling her hips and securing her legs around his waist. He carefully stood, one hand gripping her and the other balancing himself on the wall, and stepped out of the tub, never once losing his grip on her body, nor slipping out of her. He slid to the floor and leaned back against the plush rug. His eyes were bright, wild with passion.

"Now," he growled. "Ride me now."

She smirked and accepted the challenge in his voice, leaning forward to place her hands on his chest for balance. She rode him swift and hard, her breath coming in short pants by the time they were spent. Naked and sweaty, she collapsed on top of his chest, attempting to calm her racing heart.

She sat up slowly, easing herself off his body. "I'm sure the water's luke-warm by now, can you move off the floor, old man?" she joked lightly.

His eyes popped open and his hands circled her waist, pulling her back against him. "I'll show you an old man, Princess." His fingers dug lightly into her sides, causing her to squeal and shift around his slippery body.

"Stop," she gasped. "Stop! I'm going to pee!"

He let her go and slowly got to his feet, reaching a hand do to help her up. His expression grew serious and his eyes widened.

"What is it?" she asked.

"We, erm, didn't use any protection," he replied quietly, his cheeks darkening with a blush.

She reached up and cupped his cheek. "It's okay, babe. I got my shot right before I left L.A. We're good."

He blew out a large breath and chuckled nervously. "Ok, that's good to know. Not that a baby would be the worst thing in the world. I mean, of course now is not a good time, but I know you're it for me, so maybe one day we can re-visit this discu-"

She cut his rambling off by placing her fingers on his lips. "Ssh, I know what you mean."

He smiled sheepishly and looked away shyly. "Here, I'll add some more hot water and we can clean up."

She reached for his hand and squeezed it, suddenly feeling the need to reassure him. "I love you."

He looked down at her, his love for written plainly across his face. "I love you, too."

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Chapter song: Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti & Spearhead

Also used:
Comfortably Numb by The Scissor Sisters (remix of the Pink Floyd's version)

Who Says by Selena Gomez (used as the Izzy Dwyer song)

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I know the chapter felt like much wasn't happening, but I wanted to give our girl some more feel-good moments to take with her back to L.A., which will be happening in the next chapter.

Big hugs to LaMomo & Busymommy for their work on this chapter, as well as SabLuvsLogan & SmmieLynnsMom!

Thanks for all of the love and support! See you with the teasers on Sunday!

=)