Stephenie Meyer owns all characters. You have to read 'She Is His Only Need' first to understand this story.
I walked from my office with tissue still around my neck and headed to the news desk. An intern ran forward and pulled the white paper from my blouse and I smiled thankfully at him. It was a slow news day and I had been concentrating on an upcoming fundraiser for the school I had attended as a troubled youth.
I had gone over my notes but failed to look at my co-anchors stories. I was caught off guard when an interview with the new Seahawks coach mentioned a trade involving a strong safety named Emmett McCarty. I looked up at the prompter to make sure I had heard the name correctly.
When the segment was over and the camera was tossed to me I got a bit flustered. "I happen to know Emmett and his wife Rosalie," I said with a smile.
"Maybe you can get us some tickets to next season games," Seth laughed.
I closed out the night by thanking the audience and adding, "This is Bella Black and Seth Clearwater wishing you a great night Seattle."
The cameras went dark and I stood to head out for the night. "Bella, great show," a cameraman yelled out.
"Thanks," I said as I headed out of the studio.
"Do you really know Emmett McCarty?" he called after me.
"I'll have him stop by the station," I promised and heard a buzz of excitement begin to make its way through the crew.
It would be great having Emmett and Rosalie in Seattle. I was lonely after the divorce. Not that Jake and I had much of a marriage to begin with. He had no desire to leave La Push, and was fine with me supporting him. I married him just to forget Edward, but that never happened and Jake got tired of standing in Edward's shadow.
It was just another mistake I made in a line of mistakes. I kept in touch with Angela, Jessica, and Alice, who eventually married Jasper, but I lost Edward after he began law school. Our communications got further and further apart until they stopped altogether. Jake heard from him more than I did, anyway.
Jake informed him when we married, but he never responded. I was glad; I never could have vowed to love Jake with Edward in the audience. My heart would always ache for him. I got royalty checks from the songs and saved enough to buy a condo in Seattle free and clear. I was offered the anchor position after only three years as a reporter and jumped at the chance to make a change, starting with divorcing Jake.
I got home and spread all my papers across the table as I went over every detail for the fundraiser. I was singing and had one of the reporters playing Edward's part on the piano. It was an annual event for the school and I looked forward to it every year, especially to see nine year old Lilly.
She was the spitting image of Angela, but had Esme's mannerisms down the way she rolled her eyes at Carlisle. She was their pride and joy and spoiled by all the former students.
Angela had made peace with her family and moved home after our sophomore year in college. She received pictures from Esme often and was welcome to see Lilly all she wanted, but marriage and her own children eased the pain in her heart regarding Lilly; the little girl was a Cullen through and through.
I was up, bright and early, the next day and drove to the school for the big event. Esme was carrying some posters from her car, so I waved her over. "Did you hear Emmett and Rose are coming to Seattle, the Seahawks picked him up."
"That's great, I'll throw a party," she said with a big smile. Esme was always looking for any excuse to have a house full of people.
"Where's Lilly?" I asked, dying to see my favorite girl.
"She's coming later, I didn't want to wake her too early, you know how pleasant tired little girls can be," she laughed. "Are you singing today?"
"Yes, my only contribution worth anything," I sighed.
"You do more for this school than any former student, don't discount your hard work," Esme counseled, always the therapist.
The day passed quickly and the crowd was one of the biggest yet. Lilly followed me around like a lost puppy and I was in heaven. When the sun began to set I started the concert. I usually performed for various causes around the city, but nothing pulled me into the past like the fundraiser for the school.
I sat on the small stage playing out all the pain from my heart. I had new pain to draw from now. The pain of adulthood and the disappointments that came along with it. The pain of marrying the wrong man, the pain of missing the right man, and the pain of looking in the mirror everyday to see all the things I tried not to let others see.
When the concert was over I stood in line signing autographs and thanking the donors. Carlisle made his way over to me and said, "Did you hear Rose and Emmett are moving to Seattle?"
I laughed loudly. You could always depend on Carlisle to be a bit behind on the news. "Yeah, I heard that somewhere," I teased.
"I want to set up a reunion, are you okay with that?" he asked me.
"Are you asking if Edward and I can be in the same room without tearing it apart?" I laughed.
"Well, it has been ten years, one of you must have matured since then," he said with his dry humor. No matter how old I got I still had the desire to make Carlisle proud. He wasn't too much older than me, and certainly younger than my father, but I would feel eternally seventeen in his presence.
"Just keep Jasper from hitting us up for a political donation," I said, trying to hide the fear of seeing Edward again.
"Keep the end of May open, I'll see if I can set something up for the end of the school year, have you all attend the ceremony and give talks or something," he laughed.
"I already spoke, let one of the others do it," I said adamantly.
"It will be nice to have you here all at the same time; it will take us back, and let us see how far you've all come."
I nodded, too afraid to speak and have my voice betray me. Lilly came running up asking if she could stay the night at my condo. She loved the fact my small place overlooked the entire city. She called it my personal space needle. I took her home with me and spent all day Sunday entertaining her.
"Aunt Bella, why don't you have kids?" she asked.
"I will someday, I'm still young," I told her, feeling my biological clock still far from ticking.
"My mom said your heart is still holding out, what does that mean?"
"It means I am going to smack your mom," I said making her laugh.
I knew exactly what Esme meant. I wanted to believe Edward and I were still meant to be and I could have his children someday. It was stupid, but I still loved him with all that I am.
I had tried to contact him, but all of his old numbers were no longer working and my letters were returned non deliverable. He dropped off the face of the earth and I had little hope Carlisle would be able to find him.
I got a call the following week from Rose asking me to give her a tour of the city and help her find a house. I was so excited to see her and we made a lunch appointment. I waited for her to enter the restaurant like Alice, bouncing in my seat from excitement.
I saw her walk through the door and her beauty had not faded one bit. She was dressed in designer maternity clothes and I felt tears build in my eyes. She looked healthy and vibrant, and that meant more than anything else.
I hugged her tightly and let my tears fall. "Stop it," she said wiping her own eyes.
"You look great," I told her.
"I feel like a cow," she laughed.
"When are you due?"
"July, that is why we have to find a house fast. I want a nursery done before the baby comes."
"You have four months," I pointed out.
"I'm picky," she said adamantly.
"I have five places lined up for you to look at. Each with great advantages."
"Bella, what in the hell are you doing?" she said staring right into my eyes.
"I thought you needed help looking for a house?"
"There are realtors for that, I'm here to see why you are living like a nun."
I laughed loudly and shook my head. "I think I am the furthest thing from a nun you can find."
"I want to set you up with some of the guys, do you like lean and fast, or big and strong?"
I tried to laugh at her, but it wouldn't quite come out, so I took a big gulp of my drink. "I like possessive and full of rage," I said without any humor.
"Are you pining over Edward?" she gasped.
"Disgusting isn't it?" I said sadly.
"Have you called him?"
I sat quiet for a few moments and the ache was consuming me, so I looked at her with sad eyes and asked, "So, are you having a boy or a girl?"
"A boy, I doubt Emmett's sperm can produce a girl," she laughed.
"Have you talked to Alice?" I asked.
"Yeah, a couple of weeks ago, when we found out about the trade. She's doing great, still no baby, but they are meeting with a specialist. Who do you see regularly?" she asked me.
"Don't laugh, but I actually have quite a bit to do with Jessica. She lives here in Seattle and teaches at a high school."
"Don't tell her I'm here," Rosalie laughed.
"I'm sure she knows, Emmett's been all over the news."
"So you and Jake, what happened?"
"I settled and he knew it, we were doomed from the beginning."
"Why did you settle?" she pushed.
"Because I am screwed up in the head, have you forgotten?" I laughed.
"So you only feel worthy of two men?" she asked getting right to the heart of the matter.
"You're not setting me up," I said adamantly.
Someone walked up to the table and asked for an autograph causing Rosalie to fall over in laughter. I sneered at her and thanked the fan for watching my newscast each night.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"I never thought someone would be wanting your autograph for talking, singing I get, but Bella Swan talking without swearing or taking a jab, never," she explained.
"Well, I'm Bella Black now, so I keep my tongue in check."
"Why are you keeping his name? I would think that would be the first to go after his clothes," she said as she took a bite of food.
"The station says it is easier to promote. They did a market test and Bella Black was more believable than Bella Swan. I guess the whole 'Bella' meaning beauty and all that shit."
"Ah, the Bella I remember," she said as she put her hand over her heart.
"Watch it bitch, or I will cut your hair off and hang it from the Space Needle," I laughed.
"It's good to be back," she said as her eyes grew wet.
"It's good to have you back," I told her from the bottom of my heart.
There was something in the air, a tangible feeling that the past was moving forward to meet up with my future. I felt hope surging in my heart and tried to believe Edward was coming with the wave that was headed right for me.
It was big news around the studio that Emmett was coming for a visit. I heard him before I saw him. His big voice still boomed off the walls and I headed toward the sound. I had forgotten exactly how huge he was. I ran and jumped into his arms and felt like I had been enveloped by him.
"How's my favorite tackle dummy?" he laughed loudly.
"Still scarred," I teased and he looked at the small scar on my forehead.
"That is worth money now," he mocked.
"I can't believe you are going to be living here permanently. Anything you need just give me a call. Have you talked to Carlisle or Esme?"
"Yeah, we had dinner last night. Lilly's cute."
"She has us all wrapped around her fingers."
"Did he tell you about the reunion?" Emmett asked, the excitement evident in his eyes.
"Yeah, do you know if he found Edward?" I asked trying to act casual. Emmett immediately tensed and I regretted asking the question.
"Um…I think, maybe…"
"It's okay, Em, I'll call Esme."
He let out a rush of hair and seemed to relax. I gave him a tour of the studio and introduced him to the giddy crew. When he was ready to leave, he began to hem and haw, and I could tell there was something he wanted to bring up.
"Just say it, Em," I pushed.
"Rose wants me to set you up with someone," he finally spit out.
"Tell her I'm engaged, but thanks," I laughed.
"Really? To who?"
"Just tell her that."
He nodded, but looked confused. I walked him to the parking garage and made him promise to come for dinner soon. I watched him drive away and let out a long sigh. Ten years had passed, but it felt like just yesterday we were trying to fight our way into the world.
I went back to my office and sent an email to Esme.
Just saw Emmett. He said something about Carlisle finding Edward. What's up?
I wanted to sound casual, but who was I kidding, Esme was trained to see right through any pretense. It was over an hour when I heard back from her.
Yes, found him, going after him, and hopefully saving him.
Damn her, she knew sending a reply like that would make me pick up the phone. Well, I wasn't falling for her tricks. I was busy and chasing down Edward was not something I had time for. Carlisle could handle anything dealing with Edward, and I would just wait for the reunion and see if he showed up.
I picked up the phone.
"You bitch," I said when she answered.
She laughed and said, "I'm not talking over email."
"So, is he in trouble?" I asked softly.
"Yes, he is, Carlisle is going to see him, he is on some family island off of Brazil. He has been isolated for several years."
I felt the tears fall without realizing I was crying. "Anything I can do?" I asked as I struggled to speak.
"Maybe, let's wait until Carlisle sees him. If he needs you to come to Brazil, can you do it?"
"I know, dear, I just want to know if you have a passport and some time available, that was all I was implying. "
"Yes, but my heart can't take the pressure. I'm not strong enough to see Edward. I already put Jake through hell, I don't want to hurt Edward, too."
"Bella, you didn't hurt Jake on purpose. You both grew apart, or should I say, you grew up and he didn't."
"Thanks," I whispered, but my heart didn't buy it. I never committed to Jake like he deserved, and the worst part was he knew the reason why.
"I'll let you know what happens in Brazil," she promised and I hung up.
I expected to feel excited at the proposition of seeing Edward, but my intuition told me something was seriously wrong and he needed Carlisle more than he needed me at the moment. I tried to go about my work and forget about Brazil and what possibly sent him there, but I soon gave up.
I called Jessica and invited her to an early dinner. We met at four in the small café in the studio building. Jessica quickly arranged the salt and pepper shaker in alphabetical order from her side of the booth and then just as quickly put them back.
"Sorry," she said, "I've had a rough day. I hate teenagers."
"Why teach at a high school then?" I asked.
"It gives me satisfaction to fail their ass's."
I shook my head, wanting to point out she was just the type of teacher parents dreaded, but I refrained.
"Carlisle is putting together a reunion, you interested?" I asked, already knowing the answer.
"Hell no," she said and began cleaning off the table.
"He found Edward," I informed her.
"Where, the playboy mansion, tearing it apart," she laughed at her own joke.
"No, he's in trouble, whatever that means," I told her as my heart ached.
"Aren't you glad you dodged that bullet."
I didn't know how to tell her I ached for him and would be willing to deal with whatever issues he still had. She would spend the next hour trying to tell me how stupid I was being. I knew it was crazy to want him so badly, but how do you get over your first true love? Jake accused me of never letting him into my heart because it was already occupied by Edward. He was right, I just realized it too late.
"If Carlisle needs my help, should I go?" I asked as I bit my lip.
"Bella," she started and I could tell she was speaking from her heart. "We're not fixed. We just learned how to fight the good fight. I don't think we will ever be totally normal, but who is? We have to pick and choose what kind of crazy we want to deal with. I believe Edward is a crazy you don't need."
I nodded and got busy with my food as I fought an inner battle with my heart.
We said our goodbyes and I went back to my office to prepare for the newscast. The subject of Emmett's visit came up on air and I spoke about our friendship. As soon as the six o'clock airing ended I got a phone call.
"Hey, Bella, it's Jake."
I was silent, waiting for him to tell me whatever it was he needed.
"I heard the show tonight, Emmett's in town?"
"Yeah, he's playing for the Seahawks now."
"Yeah, but is he in town now?"
"Why? I asked, wondering why Jake would be so interested in Emmett.
"I was wondering if he would be willing to make a visit to La Push, give the boys a pep talk, kind of a motivational speech or something."
"At the school?"
"Yeah, if it's too much trouble Bella just forget it," he said angrily.
"You can ask him, let me give you his number," I said ignoring his attempt to fight with me.
He wrote the number down and then exhaled loudly. "Sorry to bug you."
"Hey, I talked to Carlisle and he said Edward is on some remote island. He sounded worried, you might want to call him," I said and prepared myself for Jake's backlash.
But the fact was, Jake was the only guy Edward ever reached out to as a friend. I realize now it was just part of his attempt to control me, becoming friends with my friend put him in control. Jake truly cared for Edward until he began to blame him for the trouble in our marriage.
"Let Edward rot, why do I give a fuck what happens to him?"
"Goodbye, Jake," I said angrily.
"Bella, wait, don't fall for this. Edward is just playing you, he runs off to pout and you come running to save him. Don't do it."
"You have no idea what you're talking about. I haven't talked to Edward in years, before we even married," I added to press the point, yet again. "Carlisle went looking for him, not the other way around."
"Yeah, well, don't underestimate him, he is a master manipulator."
"I have to go," I said in irritation.
"I forgot, nobody speaks ill of the God Edward," he said hatefully.
"He had nothing to do with us, Jake. Get over it," I yelled, letting him bait me after all.
"He had everything to do with us, he was in every conversation and every thought," he challenged me.
"Maybe you should have worked harder to make me forget him," I said and instantly felt awful. The last thing I wanted Jake to believe was he was competing against Edward during our marriage.
Jake chuckled knowingly and said, "Wasn't enough whiskey in the world, sweetheart."
"I'm not fighting with you over a supposed wrong. You wouldn't work, and you wouldn't leave La Push, that ended us, not Edward."
"I am next in line to run the tribe, you know that," he screamed.
"Well, have fun waiting in line," I yelled and hung up the phone.
We had done this too many times to be fighting about it now. Jake wouldn't help save Edward, he was too angry about our mistakes. He needed someone to blame and since he was still so close to Charlie, he blamed Edward, instead of me.
I made it through the ten p.m. broadcast and perked up during the weather segment when I heard a storm was hitting Brazil. I knew it was a huge country and had no idea if it was anywhere near Edward, but I worried all the same.
When we signed off Seth looked at me and said, "What's going on, you seem out of it."
"I had a fight with Jake," I lied, but still told the truth.
"Don't let him get to you, Leah is most likely talking smack again. She still hoping Jake will marry her instead of just shacking up. He tells her he is never marrying again, and she accuses him of not being over you."
"I'm not saying a word about your sister," I laughed and stood to walk away.
"That was mean, to point out the family relation," he yelled after me.
Seth was so opposite of Leah and I had gone to bat for him as a fill in replacement for my usual co-anchor. The man was getting close to retirement and using all the vacation days and sick days he had accumulated before he lost them.
Seth was being groomed as his replacement and I couldn't be happier. We had great chemistry and it brought in a younger demographic. Our channel was being noticed and our ratings were increasing nightly.
I got home and took a warm bath, hoping to relax enough to get a decent nights sleep. I climbed into bed with damp hair and didn't care what it would look like in the morning. I had people at the studio to make me presentable.
I had a horrible nights sleep. I dreamed of Edward, his wrists were bleeding and he kept pulling out of my arms when I tried to help him. I ran after him and he spun around to look at me with Phil's face. I screamed and sat up gasping for air.
It had been years since I dreamed of Phil and I knew all the worry over Edward was bringing up old haunts. I got out of bed and got a glass of wine to calm my nerves. The last thing I wanted was going back on anti anxiety medication. I wanted to believe I had overcome something in my life.
I stared out at the city covered in lights and marveled at it's beauty. I wished it was something I could share with Edward. I sighed loudly and forced myself to walk away from the window and focus on something other than him.
I finally opened up my laptop and decided to work on some story ideas. I ran through the associated press and eventually logged onto my work email.
I made my way through the typical crap, viewers telling me everything I did wrong, better ways to fix my hair, mispronunciation of foreign places, and proposals of marriage. I saw an address I didn't recognize and clicked on it, hoping I didn't just load a virus onto my laptop.
I waited a minute for the thing to finally open and it only contained two words.
I had no idea what he meant by those two words. Was he not sure if he had the right email address for me? Was he just seeing if I would answer? Or was he reaching out and hoping I would grab onto him. I looked at the clock and it was too early to call Esme.
Surely Carlisle wasn't in Brazil already. Maybe he was able to reach Edward by phone. I didn't know what to do and stared at the words on the screen. I looked at the time stamp and the email had just arrived. I hit reply and took a deep breath.
I waited as my hands began to shake and my breaths became labored. I didn't know what would be worse, having him reply or having him never respond again. A little envelope appeared on the screen and I stared at it in fear.
I let it set there, trying to get a feeling from it. I wanted to know if Karma was trying to warn me to stay away or begging me to open it. I felt nothing, so I opened it.
I wondered if we were going to speak with only two words all night so I decided to be the first one to open up.
He's planning a ten year reunion for our group and wants you to come. I'm sure he is excited to see you.
I purposely left out the fact I was desperate to see him again. I didn't want to show all my cards incase he was happily married and raising little island children. I thought it was highly unlikely, but you never know.
I stared at the two little words that broke my heart and began to get angry. Unless he had lost both arms and was typing with his nose he could offer more than two tiny words.
I wondered if he would get the sarcasm my one word was meaning.
Oh now he did it, my anger was front and center. He was not going to play this childish game with me any longer. I wasn't going to fall for it.
Cut the shit, Edward. Talk to me or get offline.
I was drumming my fingers on the desk in anger as I waited for his reply. It came quickly.
I screamed in frustration and threw my pen across the room. I shut my laptop and paced around the room as I cussed him for everything from global warming to my hang nail. I finally sat back down and opened up the screen.
I typed furiously and stared at the letter before deciding to press send or not.
If you are in trouble, ask for help. I would jump on a plane today. You know I care deeply for you and worry about your wellbeing. I'm here for you Edward, reach out if you want me, but please don't play with my heart. I can't lose you again, it would be too much.
I hit delete and went back to bed to cry on my pillow. I finally got back to sleep and woke up at nine. It was too late to call Esme, so I sent her a message asking her to call when she had a free minute.
It was lunch time and I was heading into the studio when she called. I told her about what happened with Edward and she told me Carlisle got an email asking him to stay away. It terrified me and I was ready to jump on a plane this very moment.
"What's Carlisle going to do?" I asked in fear.
"He flew out this morning, he's not going to let Edward push him away when he is in crisis," she assured me.
"Should I email him, or let it go?"
"I think you should email him, keep him talking until Carlisle can get there. Keep it light and don't let him get too dark," she suggested.
I got into my office and shut the door. I never shut my office door and I'm sure it had the entire station talking. I brought up my email and patiently waded through the junk. I brought up Edward's address and began typing.
I would love you hear from you again. Early morning hours are not my most pleasant time of day. Forgive me for being short with you.
I stared at the computer for almost an hour straight when I silently yelled at myself and began to get some actual work done. I was talking with one of the producers when an email from Edward finally showed up.
I growled loudly and had to force myself to calm down. I tried to come up with something to force him into using more than two words. I sat and racked my brain and finally typed.
Is the storm hitting your area? Exactly where in Brazil are you?
It took longer for him to respond and I hoped he was typing a long response. I was wrong.
I'm fine. I'm off the coast of Rio.
Are you alone? I asked, wanting the ache to hit now instead of later if he wasn't.
His response broke my heart and I began to cry softly. I wanted to pull him into my arms and tell him how much I loved him and needed him to come home.
You don't have to be alone, Edward. I would come if you needed me.
He used only one word for his response this time.
I wasn't sure if he was asking for Jake or implying I couldn't come because of Jake. I assumed it was the latter and tried to explain without spilling everything.
Jake is in La Push with Leah. I have his number if you want to talk with him. But we are over, we were a big mistake.
It was over an hour before he responded.
You would come?
I felt my heart speed up and my hands were shaking as I typed.
Just tell me where, I will be there.
I never heard back from him. I checked my email all throughout the evening and even took a commercial break to look for any response. By the time I was ready for bed, I was livid, and couldn't believe I let him pull me in so completely.
I was about to turn in for the night when Esme called. I knew it was about Edward for her to be up at midnight. I answered with trepidation.
"Bella, Carlisle is with Edward," she told me.
"I heard from Edward, he asked me if I would come to him, but when I said yes he dropped off, again."
"I am not sure what is going on, but Carlisle sounded very distraught," she said sending me into loud sobs.
"What did he tell you, don't hold back," I begged.
"He didn't tell me much, I assume Edward was right there when he spoke to me. He said he was staying for a bit and Edward needed him desperately."
"Do you know where they are? Can I go there?"
"Let me ask Carlisle if he wants you to come, I will let you know as soon as I hear anything," she promised and I hung up knowing I would never get to sleep now. I tried to imagine what would be so dire Carlisle would be forced to stay.
Every scenario I played out in my head terrified me more than I could admit. How could a man who needed people so totally be alone, for years? I wondered what he would look like and if he was possibly ill. Maybe he had the same disease as his mother and wasn't able to remember who to reach out to. Nothing made sense and I finally got up at four to check emails again.
This time I had one from Carlisle.
Do not come here, please, I am begging you to stay away. Edward is in real trouble emotionally and I need to work with him without interference. I know you only want to help, and I will keep you updated on his progress. My goal is to get him to return to Forks with me, you may assist with his care at that point if it becomes necessary.
I could not imagine what was going on and was a bit angry that Carlisle didn't give me more of a hint. I understood if he was treating Edward there was a privilege he had to be concerned with, but I needed more information. I wondered if he would tell Esme and decided to make a trip to see her.
I dressed and stopped to by coffee and muffins and showed up on her doorstop before school. She didn't seem surprised to see me and it gave me hope she had some information. I chatted with Lilly as she ate a muffin and grabbed Esme when Lilly ran of to get ready for her own classes.
"What's going on in Brazil? I'm terrified," I told her with a shaky voice.
"All I know is Edward had completely shut down, he is entirely isolated and suffering a psychosis from it."
"What does that mean, Esme? Talk to me as a lay person," I prompted her.
"He hasn't used any social skills for so long he can't interact with people. It is hard for him to even communicate."
"Was that why he only used two words when he spoke to me online?" I regretted getting so angry at his responses. He was doing the best he could and I chastised him for it.
"Yes, you will want to forward the emails to Carlisle so he can evaluate things."
"How long do you think it will take Carlisle to bring him here?" I asked honestly, in the back of my mind I was already planning to take time off. I would make Edward my whole world just like he wanted, if he would just get better.
"I know he has a meeting the first of May he can't miss. I hope he brings Edward by then, or possibly sends for you," she smiled and tried to calm my obvious nerves.
I became obsessed with learning everything I could about Edward's condition. I wanted to be useful, and not cause him further problems, if he came home with Carlisle. I saw how some of his previous issues went hand in hand with social isolation, such as, anger, violence and smoking.
I set up a lunch with Rose and Emmett and filled them in on everything. Rose was stunned, but Emmett just shook his head as if he saw it all coming.
"Bella, he was so obsessed with you. I think when he tried to separate himself it pushed him over the edge," Emmett offered.
"We were apart a lot that year, if you recall he didn't sit with us for the completion ceremony."
"Yeah, but he knew you were waiting for him. When you moved on I'm sure it devastated him," he said softly, trying not to make me feel guilty.
"He went to law school, Emmett, he couldn't have been too upset," I said to make myself feel better.
Emmett took a deep breath and then leaned in closer to me. "When he didn't have that to focus on, I'm sure the fact you married Jake ate him up, it killed me when Rose got engaged. I had to go drag her out of her own engagement party."
I stared at my hands and felt the weight of what happened to Edward settle squarely on my shoulders. I never saw his pulling away as emotionally shutting down. I had pictured him with girls like Tanya dripping off of him.
"Bella," Rose said softly. "Are you sure you want to get mixed up with him again. Maybe it would be best to truly let him go."
I shook my head to refute her forcefully. Edward was engrained in my soul and I would never walk away from him again. We weren't children anymore and I wanted him with me, in my home, in my life, and in my bed.
"I walked away once, and my life is sad and lonely now; his is a mess. We belong together and I'm not letting him go," I said definitively.
"You are successful and active in the community, how is your life sad and lonely?" Rose contradicted.
"My heart is filled with Edward, I can't let anyone else in, so I am sad and lonely," I admitted.
When I got home that night I sat at my computer and decided to send Edward some sort of hope to let him know I wanted him and was waiting for him. I typed… Come home. I'm waiting.
I watched the days cross off my calendar, inching slowly toward the first part of May. I hadn't heard anything from Carlisle expect small emails saying progress was being made. I tried to get more information from Esme but she said she didn't know anything, I wasn't sure I believed her.
Alice and Jasper were coming in the middle of May to spend a couple of weeks with Rose and Emmett before the reunion. I was anxious to see them, but not wanting to be a fifth wheel. I had to hold out hope Carlisle would bring Edward home soon.
I called Esme when the date for Carlisle's meeting came and went. It was then I found out Carlisle was home, and Edward had come with him. To say I was mad, would be putting it mildly. I screamed and yelled like a five year old.
"Why didn't you call me?" I demanded.
"Edward didn't want me to. I had to respect his wishes," she informed me.
"Why?" I asked and began to cry. I was planning our future together and he didn't even want to see me. I felt rejected and foolish.
"He's not well enough yet," she told me, trying to calm my heart.
"I don't care, Esme. I deserved to know and it was cruel to keep me in the dark. I would never…."
"Bella…" A soft voice came over the line and I froze. I could hear my own heart pounding and couldn't find my voice.
I could actually hear him begin to shake as his breathing became erratic. I opened my mouth, but only a small cry erupted.
"Don't," he whispered.
"Edward?" I whispered back, needing him to tell me it was indeed him on the phone.
"I… can't," he said softly.
"It's only me," I cried, wanting him to let me help him.
"It's never only you," he repeated from long ago.
"Edward," I said with a strong voice full of tears. "I love you, do you hear me; I love you."
"It is swooshing all the time," he said in a strange voice. "It doesn't stop."
"It comes from the east," he mumbled, "the moon moves and pulls it."
"Edward," I yelled loudly.
Esme took the phone and said softly, "Bella, I'll talk to you later."
"Wait…" I screamed but the phone went dead.
"Damn it," I yelled loudly and a young intern looked at me with a scrunched up forehead. I wanted to tell her to grow up, or just wait until life beat her up a bit and see how she responds, but I decided it would be best to keep my mouth shut.
I looked at the clock and I wouldn't have time to run by Esme's house before the evening broadcast. It would be unprofessional to just leave and let someone fill in, but it turned out that would have been a better idea. I was so unfocused the broadcast was a disaster.
Seth looked at me during a commercial and waited for me to look back. "Save it," I said and shuffled my papers harshly.
"Anything I can do?" he asked.
"Yeah, mess up a bit, so I don't look so bad," I said as biting commentary.
"I'm fighting for this position, I can't take a fall," he said thinking I was truly wanting him to mess up.
"I'll let you in on a little secret Seth, with your numbers they will get rid of me before you. You are really doing a great job."
He smiled and sat up a little taller. I decided to focus and get the segment over so I could try to call Esme again. As soon as we signed off I ran back to my office and shut the door.
Esme's number rang and rang so I called the home phone. Lilly answered and said, "Aunt Bella, mom said to tell you to pay attention to your job and forget about Romeo, whatever that means," she giggled.
"Tell you mom she's going to take a dagger to the chest if she doesn't get on the damn phone," I yelled and Lilly screamed, "She said a bad word," to someone in the house.
Carlisle finally took the receiver and said, "Don't corrupt the innocent."
"I'm sorry," I said and then immediately took it back. "I'm not cowering to you, Carlisle. I want to talk to Edward, now!"
"He is in session with Esme," he said, but I was not convinced.
"I thought you were working with him?"
"I am working on his primary issue, she is working on the issue of you," he announced pointedly.
"What does that mean? I am going insane and you two expect me to sit back and wait for you to pick up a phone. I'm coming over."
"No, you are not," he said with a voice I had not heard in a long time. "You will not interfere with his treatment. He is not ready to face you, Bella. He had a meltdown just seeing you on the television."
"What kind of meltdown?" I asked softly.
"Let's just say he added to his knuckle scars."
I let my head fall onto my desk and I sobbed uncontrollably. I was willing to do anything to make him all better. I didn't want him hurting because of me. I remembered the look on his face when I told him to pack up his mother's room, and he told me he needed that, to know he was loved. I never truly understood his issues and I pushed him into his present state.
I grabbed my phone and called Emmett. He answered after the first ring. "Emmett, you have to do me a huge favor, Edward is at the Cullens, please go see him. I have to know he is okay and they won't let me see him."
"Is he…like…sick?" he asked in confusion.
"I don't know, they talk in psychological jargon, I need somebody to see him and tell me what's going on, please, Emmett."
"Yeah, okay, call me later tonight," he said and I couldn't thank him enough.
I opened my door and ran to find my boss, Jack. I barged into his office and announced, "I need some time off, a couple a weeks at least."
"Are you kidding me, Bella?" he yelled. "You're not leaving Seth alone during May sweeps, so stop considering what you are considering."
"Jack, I need some time, I'm falling apart here," I begged.
"I'll give you a Friday night, and a Monday six slot, off. That's it."
"I'll take it; can I get back on the exact days?"
"You're demanding time off, but you don't know for which days?" he yelled.
"I have a personal crisis going on. I will need the long weekend, I'm just not sure which weekend," I tried to explain.
He shook his head and waved his hand telling me to leave his office. I felt better just knowing I was making some sort of progress. Emmett would tell me how he was really doing and I would bring him to my place for a long weekend and take care of him.
I was much more polished for the ten p.m. newscast and could tell everyone was taking a sigh of relief. I was driving home when Emmett called on my cell phone.
"Give me directions to your place. I want to talk to you in person."
I told him how to get to my high-rise and waited nervously for him.
I pulled him through the door when he arrived and began inundating him with questions. He led me to the couch and sat next to me. It was shaking me to see Emmett so serious and I was terrified to hear what he had to say.
"Bella, I didn't recognize him when I first saw him. His hair is really long and he has a full beard. He is very thin and pale."
"Pale, he's been living on an island," I interrupted.
"Well, he wasn't spending it in the sun, that's for sure. He was soft spoken and seemed tense around Carlisle and Esme, so I got him to take a run with me. We didn't go far but he seemed to loosen up afterwards."
"Did he tell you what happened?" I asked.
"No, we talk in general terms. I didn't want to push him and have him shut down on me."
I realized at that moment how brilliant Emmett truly was. He would make a great teacher.
"What did you get from him?"
"Well, he shut down when his father died."
"His father died?" I gasped and interrupted him again.
"Yeah, right after he graduated from law school, I think he feels very guilty, but that isn't a professional opinion," he chuckled.
"So why can't I see him?"
"He is very open with Lilly. She seems to adore him, but maybe he is emotionally on her level or something. I didn't mention you, Esme asked me not to."
"Edward didn't ask about me, at all?"
"He eluded to you a couple of times, but never used your name. I asked about the bandages on his hands and he said he was watching the news."
I sat and stared at a bowl on my coffee table. I felt cut off and out of the loop, something unfamiliar for a reporter. I finally thanked Emmett for rushing over to the Cullens and he gave me a big hug and left.
I stared at the lights of the city for hours and finally checked my email. I was hoping I would get an email from Edward, but after finding nothing I wrote one to him.
I spoke with Emmett. He said you are doing well and went with him for a run. I am so sorry to hear about your father. I wish I could talk to you, actually I wish you wanted to talk with me. I'm here when you're ready. I miss you and I love you.
I never heard from him and wasn't sure he even got the email. The days passed quickly and I was asked to attend a dinner with Jasper and Alice who arrived in town. I was so happy to see them and we hugged and cried, and in Alice's case, jumped up and down.
Jasper told me at dinner he had applied for a teaching position at the University of Washington and was hoping to hear a definite decision while he was here. I was thrilled to have them living in the city and couldn't wait until we could all be together again at the reunion.
When the conversation turned to Edward, both Alice and Jasper seemed shocked. "I talked with him and he agreed to meet us for a drink," he said in confusion.
"Meet you when?" I asked.
"Tonight," Jasper said.
"Where?" I asked, now the one in shock.
"Here, he couldn't make it for dinner, but he agreed to a drink later tonight"
"Did you tell him I was going to be at dinner?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," Jasper said trying to think back to their conversation.
I sat in deep thought trying to decide what it all meant. Maybe Edward wanted to see me, but Carlisle and Esme were the ones advising him to stay away. I didn't know what to think, but curiosity was driving me crazy.
"Do you mind if I stay and have a drink with you, I really want to see Edward," I said with a smile.
"We would love to have you join us, and I am dying to see what happens when you guys see each other," Alice giggled.
We finished dinner and moved to the bar and listened to the house band. I kept watching the clock and felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I drank a little too much due to my anxiety and when Alice grabbed my arm and said, "Oh my God, it's Edward," I had to run to the restroom to throw up.
Alice ran into the ladies room to see if I was okay and I was leaning against the sink rinsing out my mouth. I was flushed and mad at myself for drinking so much on such an important night.
"You didn't tell Edward, did you?" I asked her in fear.
"No, I don't think he even saw you. Here," she said and handed me some mouth wash from her purse. I felt better and let her take my hand and lead me back to the table.
I saw him from the back, his hair was pulled into a ponytail and his shirt hung on his thin frame. I was shaking and tried to adjust my dress and fix my hair. "You look great," Alice assured me.
Alice stepped in his view first and Edward stood to hug her. He froze, half hunched over when he saw me with her. My stupid tears blurred my vision and I tried to blink them back. He finally stood tall and took a shaky breath.
"Hello," I said softly.
"Hi," he mouthed without actually vocalizing the word.
We all sat down and Edward and I kept stealing glances at each other. Jasper and Alice made small talk but they struggled to keep our attention. They finally left the table to dance and I leaned over to speak to Edward. He tensed and backed up.
I felt his rejection and sat back to try and calm down. He finally kicked my foot and motioned for us to go outside. I felt such relief and followed him out the door. He walked around the side of the building into a narrow alleyway and leaned against the brick wall with his hands behind him.
"I didn't expect to see you," he said softly.
"Are you mad?" I asked.
He shrugged and I looked away, not wanting him to see me cry. I stood there biting on my lip and trying to come up with something to say when he spoke up.
"I'm not supposed to see you."
"Do you want me to leave?" I asked him.
He looked at the ground and finally said, "No."
"I won't ask you anything, Edward. I won't push you to talk to me."
He nodded and took a deep breath. I wanted to hug him so badly, but I kept my distance.
We stood awkwardly for a few minutes and he finally pulled a cigarette from his pocket making me snicker. He looked up through his lashes and smiled softly, causing my heart to melt.
He took a long drag and handed it to me. I took it, although I had not smoked for years; I just wanted to have something from his mouth in mine. I handed it back to him and our fingers touched, sending an electric shock shooting through me.
He dropped the cigarette and grabbed me harshly, pulling me into his arms and kissing me with a passion that swallowed me whole. His hand was holding my head to his and I couldn't pull away if I wanted to. I leaned into him, feeling his entire body against mine, and his hand moved to my ass pulling me tighter.
"I want you," he said against my lips.
"Come home with me," I begged.
He spun me around posting me against the bricks and began pulling up my dress. "Edward," I laughed but he didn't respond and began unzipping his pants.
"Edward, what are you doing?" I asked in shock.
"Shut-up," he said harshly and began pulling on my underwear.
"Stop it," I yelled, but he ignored me. I began to cry and tried to fight him as he grabbed my arms and held them tightly against the wall. My mouth went dry and a numbness began spreading through me.
"Edward don't do this to me, please, don't do what Phil did," I sobbed.
He finally stepped back, trying to catch his breath and zipped up his pants. I slid to the ground crying hysterically and watched him simply walk away. He never looked back or even attempted to apologize.
I wasn't about to go back into the club so I made my way to my car, holding onto the wall for strength. I was able to drive home and climbed in a shower. I scrubbed my skin as hard as I could, turning the water as hot as I could stand it.
I got into my bed and cried until the sun rose. I finally called Jack and told him I was too sick to come in and would take the day off and then begin my long weekend on Friday. I cried all morning, then began feeling sorry for myself, and finally, finally, began to get really angry.
I jumped in my car and drove to the Cullens. It was Lilly's day for dance lessons, so I felt secure she would not be home. Esme answered the door and I pushed past her looking for Edward.
"Where is he?" I screamed.
I found him standing in the kitchen and walked up and punched him as hard as I could right in the jaw. I screamed and grabbed my fist as the pain shot up my arm. Edward stood perfectly still and didn't react at all.
"You son-of-a-bitch," I screamed and pushed him with my arm. He looked at me with absolutely no response. "How dare you do that to me, how dare you try to rape me," I screamed through my tears.
Esme got between us and stared back and forth, not knowing who to address first. I pointed my finger at him accusingly, "You of all people, no better than to treat me like that."
"Edward, did you do something to Bella?"Esme asked calmly.
Her tone angered me further. I was so tired of Edward being treated so sympathetically. He needed to grow up and take responsibility for his actions.
"Don't talk to him like he's a child. You're a grown ass man, Edward. Act like it," I demanded.
"Bella, calm down," Esme coached me.
"Don't tell me to calm down, you weren't the one pinned against a wall with your panties down," I screamed.
Esme put her hand over her mouth in shock and Edward's mouth pulled into a sickening grin. "How does it feel, Bella? Having your biggest nightmare come true, having the one person you trusted more than anyone betray you?"
I felt my mouth fall open in shock. He purposely tried to scare me by doing something I would never expect him to do.
"You go to hell, you messed up freak," I said full of hate and walked out the door. Esme ran after me and pulled me into her office. I refused to sit and paced back and forth.
"Bella, I begged you not to see him yet. He is too angry," she tried to explain.
"If he's angry he can tell me, he can yell at me, he can call me names, but what he did was over the line," I cried.
"You're right, it was, but he is not healthy enough to make those kinds of decisions, he lashed out the only way he knew how," she said emphatically.
I was so angry and hurt that she would defend him. I felt I was the one deserving of her loyalty, so I lashed out at her the only way I knew how. "I can't believe you have him in your home with Lilly," I said and stormed out of her house. I didn't look back to see if Edward was still in the kitchen. I went right to my car and drove away.
After a few days I got a call from Carlisle, making me promise I would still come to the reunion. He said we were going to start with a session for old time sake and he felt it would be a good environment for Edward to open up. I promised to come, but I was not going to take any shit off Edward.
I showed up the day of the reunion and felt awkward walking among the students. They seemed so young compared to how I had viewed myself at that age. Alice, Rose and I checked out the dorms and reminisced about the 'hairy horse' incident.
We walked into the session room and the guys were already waiting. I sat in the same chair I had used ten years ago. Edward was across from me with his feet stretched out in front of him. I matched his arms by crossing my own over my chest. Alice was laughing and talking a mile a minute.
"Man, I am having major déjà vu," Emmett laughed.
After we were all quiet for a moment, Alice said, "Okay, I'll share first. Jaz and I are having conception issues."
"Nobody cares," Edward said hatefully.
The smile on Alice's face quickly fell and it angered me.
"I care," I said just as hatefully, "So, shut the hell up."
He glared at me before saying softly, "Make me."
"What are you, six?" I said in disgust.
Carlisle and Esme walked in at that point and their smiles quickly faded when they saw us all sitting tensely, like the first day so long ago. "Well, I guess we still have issues to address," Carlisle said with a sigh.
"Not we," Rosalie said, "Them."
"I already shared and Edward told me to shut up, so Bella told him to shut up," Alice giggled.
"Okay, let's start with not telling each other to shut up," Esme suggested.
"So, how is everyone doing with their original issues that brought you to this place?" Carlisle smiled, thinking that would be a safe place to start.
"I was doing fine until someone tried to rape me," I said staring at Edward and hearing the other girls gasp.
"I didn't try to rape you," Edward said harshly.
"Sorry, having my dress up to my waist and my panties ripped had me confused," I spit at him. I was growing nervous just by mentioning the experience.
"I was making a point," he said angrily.
"Really, I guess I missed it during the attempted rape."
"I didn't even have an erection," he pointed out.
I opened my mouth and quickly shut it, having no idea how to respond to that. I was obviously hot and bothered, but he just admitted I had no effect on him.
"Can they be their own group," Rose asked, making everyone laugh.
"Let's start with a safer subject and go around the circle and tell everyone what you have been doing since we last met," Carlisle suggested.
"I get to start," Alice said enthusiastically and then smirked at Edward. "I graduated in design and moved to Atlanta and married Jasper. We are trying to have babies now."
"How did you keep your relationship going over the years?" Esme asked.
"We made it a priority and saw each other about four times a year. We kept in touch with phone calls and emails and didn't date other people," Alice explained.
"Allie, I dated other people, plenty of other people," Jasper admitted.
Alice let her mouth fall open in shock and then finally waved her hand to dismiss him, "Yeah, so did I," she said nonchalantly.
Edward and I glanced at each other and I quickly looked away, knowing he was thinking of Jake, too.
"Rose and I got married when I signed with the Titans. When I became a free agent we really wanted to come here. I thought it would be the best place to raise our child, you know, close to the Cullens." We all laughed loudly and Esme winked at him.
Everyone looked at Edward and he crossed his arms again before saying, "Pass."
"You can't pass," Rose said angrily.
"Yeah, you're the one everyone wants to hear from," Alice pointed out.
"Pass," he said again.
I took a deep breath and began, for some reason wanting to spare him. "I graduated and began working for a small station as a field reporter. About ten months ago I became the co-anchor of the six and ten p.m. newscast. I sing at charity events and open mic nights."
I purposefully left out Jake, not wanting to talk about him and not wanting to set Edward off.
"You've forgotten something, love," Edward said with a sneer.
"Enlighten me," I said, daring him to say it.
"A six-foot-five guy, with long hair?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I challenged him.
"That's right, you forget men very easily."
I chuckled and shook my head in disgust, "So what have you been up to, Edward?"
"I've been away," he offered without further explanation.
"Crying for mommy?" I said, knowing I was aiming for the juggler.
"Go fuck your father," he threw back.
I jumped from my chair, lunging for him, as Carlisle jumped in front of me to hold me back. Emmett grabbed Edward when he jumped from his chair, too. I wanted nothing more than to rip him into pieces and I could tell by his expression he wanted to hurt me, too.
"I hate you," I screamed at him. "You are dead to me."
"Is that supposed to surprise me," he screamed as Emmett pulled him from the room. "I was dead to you years ago." Esme ran out of the room, following Emmett and Edward.
When he was out of my sight I collapsed in Carlisle's arms and began to cry hysterically. "I'm sorry, you were so excited for this reunion and I ruined it for everyone."
"You didn't ruin anything, let me go talk to Edward and try to calm him down. I can promise he won't try to bait you any further." I sat in my chair and watched Carlisle leave the room.
I turned to the others and said, "I'm sorry, this is so childish, I know."
"I just wish there was popcorn," Jasper laughed.
"You guys so want each other," Rosalie announced as if it was clear as glass.
"You missed a word, we so want to kill each other," I said shaking my head.
"What's going on with him, didn't he become a lawyer or something?" Jasper asked.
I nodded and began picking my nails so I wouldn't cry. Carlisle and Esme returned with a scowling Edward and a smiling Emmett. The contrast was startling.
"I've arranged a tour and then a dinner in the cafeteria. Let me show you the changes around here since you left," Carlisle said to get the evening back on track.
We all followed him around campus as he pointed out various additions. We giggled and laughed at the memories the tour evoked. "Oh gross," Rosalie said as we passed the smoking patio. Edward stopped and pulled out a cigarette.
"I'm pregnant, you can't smoke around me," Rosalie complained.
"Then leave," Edward said as he lit the cigarette.
The group moved to the cafeteria, but I walked over to sit across from Edward. This was the place we first made peace years ago and I hoped it would work its magic again. We were adults and needed to at least be capable of having a conversation without wanting to kill each other.
"Smoke em if you got em," he said and then blew smoke directly at me.
"Can we have an adult conversation?" I asked in earnest.
"Haven't you heard, I'm not capable," he said looking away.
I ignored his comment and brought up what we were both avoiding. "Edward, I stopped hearing from you. I didn't forget you, I tried to move forward," I began to explain.
"I begged you, I pleaded with everything I had for you not to marry him," he said to shock the hell out of me.
"No you didn't, you never even responded."
"I sent you letters, and they were returned. I sent you emails, and they were blocked. I left you message after message on your phone," he said and then looked away angrily.
My mind was racing and I realized Jake wasn't trying to contact Edward; he was cutting him off, slowly and then completely. I sat there in stunned silence and Edward stood to toss his cigarette into the sand. I reached out for him but he pulled his arm away from me.
"I didn't know," I said with wet eyes.
He blinked several times and finally whispered, "How could you think I would do that?"
I wanted to explain, but I didn't know where to start, and he wasn't going to wait for me to find the words. He walked off to join the others.
We ate in silence as I tried to find a way to explain why I doubted him so easily. I remember nodding a few times at various people during dinner, but I couldn't recall what they had said to me. We were going to make one more stop before the reunion ended; the gym.
Everyone began reminiscing about the Valentine's Dance and I glanced at Edward at the same time he glanced at me. "Nothing memorable about that night," he mumbled.
"Thank goodness, I ended up saving your ass," I whispered back to remind him Esme and Carlisle came home unannounced.
Esme looked at me, so I finally fessed up, "Your suspicions were right about that night, I did plan to sleep over."
She laughed and nodded with understanding.
"But somebody else came first, as always," Edward added.
"Yeah, Lilly is alive and well, sorry if she messed up your night of fucking," I said angrily.
"Who said she did?" he said with raised eyebrows.
I froze and realized there could have been another reason Edward ended up at that shed on Mr. Ateara's property. If they ran into Leah and a friend, it was exactly where she would take them. I had always wondered why Jake was suddenly involved with her after that night. I felt so stupid.
"And the night wasn't memorable? It appears you picked the wrong slut," I whispered as we walked out of the room, knowing full well my jealousy was showing.
Emmett made a comment about gym class and everyone turned to look at me and Edward, "You guys got out of gym," Rosalie said.
"That's right," Carlisle chuckled; we need to stop by the music building.
The closer we got the more nervous Edward and I became. It was the one room we shared only with each other. Some incredible memories came from that room and I was shaking at the thought of standing there with Edward.
When the door opened to the small recital room everyone filed in, except me and Edward. I looked up at him and his jaw was clenched tightly.
"I don't know if I can go in there," I said softly.
He kicked the wall with his foot a few times and said, "Yeah, I know."
I looked down the long hallway, my eyes briefly stopping at the room with the bean bag chair. "We can make a run for it," I offered in jest.
He looked at me and actually smiled, "Emmett would just tackle you."
I laughed and rubbed the scar on my forehead. "Do you still write music?" I asked him.
"No, not for quite awhile, do you still write lyrics?"
"No, I just do cover stuff," I said, enjoying the civility we were managing to have.
I noticed everyone huddled into a tight pack watching us interact and whispered without moving my mouth, "We're putting on a show."
"We can do better than this," he mumbled back.
"What do you suggest?" I asked as my heart began to beat wildly in my chest.
"I could post you against that wall," he chuckled.
"In passion or rage?" I teased.
"I could surprise you," he teased back, as his features softened.
"You always did," I said honestly and his smile widened, giving me a glimpse of the beautiful man he was.
He stepped in front of me and pushed me gently backwards until I was up against the far wall. I stared up at him, feeling my entire body shaking with anticipation. He moved in closer and I could hear his erratic breathing as he leaned to speak into my ear.
"Do you feel that?" he asked.
I could feel that he was aroused and it made my heart soar. "Yeah," I tried to say with a strong voice, but only a whisper emerged.
He kissed my ear softly and whispered, "Only you could do that to me. You were the only person I ever needed."
Then he stepped back and turned to look at the others, "Are we done here?"
I was gasping and holding onto the wall for support as he casually walked down the hallway towards the parking lot. Alice ran over to ask if he said something mean to me. I guess when I swoon I must look like I have been threatened.
I shook my head, unable to speak and followed everyone outside.
"Let's have a movie night," Rosalie suggested.
"Lilly would love that, but you have to remember her age and pick a movie that is appropriate," Esme cautioned.
"Night of the Living Dead is a classic she should experience," Emmett laughed.
"Twelve Angry Men is a classic," Jasper offered making Emmett look confused.
"No, Kill Bill," Alice said as she jumped up and down.
"That's too biographical for Bella and Edward," Rose added in her dry humor. Everyone laughed, including me and Edward.
"How about Stardust?" Esme suggested and all the guys groaned, even Carlisle.
"Finding Nemo?" Jasper said with a shrug.
We all quickly agreed and Esme laughed loudly, "Lilly will disagree, but let's go for it."
I noticed when we arrived at the Cullens Lilly ran right up to Edward, wanting his attention. He smiled lovingly at her and asked her to help him set up the movie. She followed him with the same look she used to follow me around with and I felt a bit rejected, by both of them.
Esme made popcorn and drinks and we settled around the big screen. Edward sat on the floor next to Lilly, who was snuggled between my legs as I sat on the couch. She wrapped her arms around my legs and began bouncing them up and down, touching Edward's arm with each pass.
He didn't move and his skin soon grew warm where my leg kept rubbing. "Stop bouncing the couch," Esme said to Lilly, but she continued as if she didn't hear a thing. Edward reached over and took my leg from her and held it still in his arms.
Lilly smiled and let my other leg drop, but Edward didn't let go, keeping my leg perched over his shoulder and held in his arms. I stared at the screen of talking fish, but all I could concentrate on was the feel of Edward's body against my leg.
Halfway through the movie his thumb began moving slightly up and down along my freshly waxed skin. He was driving me absolutely crazy and I was sure he was aware of the fact. Lilly asked Esme for an apple and when she got approval she turned to Edward and asked him to cut it for her. I wanted to smack her little face.
He let go of my leg and followed her into the kitchen. I took a deep breath and Alice looked at me and wiggled her eyebrows, telling me she was fully aware of the little seduction game Edward and I were playing.
I felt like a spotlight was shining down on us, but I didn't care. I loved him so desperately even after the hateful things he said. Our fighting during pent up passion was familiar and, well, it was us.
He returned and sat back on the floor next to Lilly, but further away this time. She was on the far side of my leg denying him access to me. He finally put his arms back to drape over the couch and let his fingers rest along my knee. Lilly felt like he had his arm around her and she was in heaven. I was downright euphoric.
After Rosalie climbed over everyone for the third time to pee she demanded Emmett take her home. We all stood, ending the attempted movie night and walked to our cars. Emmett put his arm over my shoulder and said quietly, "Thanks for giving my number to Jake; it was fun to speak to the kids at the school."
But he wasn't quiet enough. Edward tensed and turned his attention to Lilly. "Tell everyone goodbye and let's go finish the movie," he suggested.
She hugged everyone and I stared at Edward as Lilly hugged me. He stared back for a moment and then looked away. I thanked Carlisle and Esme for everything and drove home in total despair. I poured a big glass of wine and sat in the dark overlooking the city lights as I replayed every detail of the night over and over in my head.
I was surprised when the phone rang just after midnight. It was the Cullens and I quickly answered. "I'm fine, no need to worry," I chuckled.
There was a long pause and Edward spoke softly, "Bella?"
"Edward, I didn't expect it to be you," I admitted. That was an understatement; he was the last person in the universe I expected to call me.
"I want to apologize," he said with a pained voice.
"No need," I told him.
"I was just…."
"A prick," I finished for him.
He laughed and said, "I was going to say 'hurt,' but you can fill in any word you want."
"Sorry," I said in shame.
"You messed me up pretty badly," he finally said with a sad voice.
"I didn't mean to, Edward, I thought you found some smart, rich, society girl and moved on."
"Because that's what you deserve," I said honestly. "I was so…"
"Perfect," he finished for me.
"I was going to say 'tainted,' but you can fill in any word you want."
I felt the tears streaming down my face with a mixture of pain and gratitude. I was so glad we were finally talking, but I was so ignorant to how much I had hurt him.
"Why would you use that word?" he asked and I could hear the tears in his voice.
"Because that was how I felt, Edward. You brought me to your mansion, to the shrine your mother made for you, and I met your father in my underwear. You fought with him right in front of me and made me feel like I was part of the thumbing your nose at him."
"I wanted to show him somebody loved me, even if he didn't," he said angrily.
"I didn't want to be part of showing anyone anything. I just wanted you to love me," I said softly.
"I did love you, but it was never enough," he argued.
"It was too much for how young we were. You wanted my entire existence to be about you…"
"Yeah, I did, because you were my entire reason for breathing," he yelled.
"And look where it got you," I said softly, just aching at the thought of him exiled from the world.
He was silent for several minutes and I could hear him breathing into the phone. I closed my eyes and let the sound bury itself deep inside my heart.
"I love you Edward, I never stopped loving you," I admitted.
"How could you share his bed?" he said through clenched teeth.
"Because I thought you didn't want me in yours," I said in defeat.
"I am too terrified to love you again," he finally admitted.
"I know," I said feeling him pulling away from me.
"I'm going home tomorrow. I haven't been there since my dad died. I have a lot of things to take care of."
"Okay," I said through my tears. "You'll break Lilly's heart."
He laughed and said, "I'm good with the nine year olds, it's the twenty-nine year olds I struggle with."
"I'm only turning twenty-eight," I laughed.
"You seem more mature," he qualified, and we returned to the uncomfortable silence.
'Hey," I said softly.
"Stay in touch."
"I'll see you every night in my dreams," he said as his voice cracked, and he hung up the phone without saying goodbye.