The Never Ever Happily Ever After Contest

Title: Riven

Pen Name:

Characters: Bella & Edward

Rating: M

Word Count: 13,710

Disclaimer: "Due to the nature of this contest, you may expect content such as character death, adultery, abuse, illegal activities including drug use and underage drinking, etc."

Disclaimer: This story hints to mental illness.

The chime of a new e-mail awakens me from the haze I'm currently in. I check the sender and roll my eyes. If it weren't for her amazing tracking skills, and of course her connections, I wouldn't even think of talking to this stalker. Her boyfriend is an NYPD detective, which I find quite helpful when I don't want to use my work resources. Her screen name says it all: edsessed! I'm one to talk, but at least I don't imagine it's him every time I fuck my boyfriend cop. And I haven't nick named his – the boyfriend cop's that is – dick Eddie. Whatever. I only wish she wouldn't tell me about what she does in her bedroom with such detail. It angers me to no end that she has such a possessive attitude towards him. On more than one occasion I've wanted nothing more than to bang her head against my computer screen.

I shudder before opening the e-mail, hoping she hasn't sent me one of her "writing masterpieces" staring none other than him. If I have to read about him, being a dominant, flogging her until she bleeds, and fucking her in every sick way possibly imaginable by humans (in some cases until she passes out, and needs hospitalization) I will gouge my eyes out. The logical response to that would be: why read it? Well, the stupid bitch wants me to edit her stupid fantasies, before she posts them all over the internet. is full of her weird fucking – literally. Whatever. I know I said that already, but that word sums up my feelings about her, and the likes of her. I can't be bothered with her, I have a goal. My goal is to be with him, because I know we belong together.

The little envelope in the bottom, right corner of my screen is distracting. Even if I don't want to read the e-mail, I will, simply because that envelope has to vanish. It must be my obsessive compulsive tendencies, but I don't dwell on it.

The subject of the email reads: OMG OMG OMG. I roll my eyes. I know, with this much rolling I might get permanent damage in my retinas. I open the email, and (yes) that little, annoying envelope disappears from my screen, and I can feel my anxiety and my anger ebb.

I am pleasantly surprised that it's not another of her 'writings,' but information instead. Finally, the bitch serves her purpose.

I stare at the email for a while and I feel like the blood has left my body. He's in New York. He's in New York! He's here! An involuntary smile creeps over my face, and without any further delay I shut Jess's email, and go back to ogling his picture.

I can't stop staring at it, or him. Even in this sleepless, tired, disheveled form, he's still breathtakingly beautiful. The little, coppery hair peeking out from the sides of his baseball cap seems too soft, as if calling to me to touch it. His perfectly chiseled jaw is covered in stubble, and I'm thinking about running my nails against that skin. I revel in the thought of feeling the tickling of the short hair on his face between the pads of my fingers and my nails. His lips are slightly parted, and his tongue is about to dart out of his mouth, in his usual manner of moistening them. Just the notion of how that tongue would taste, is enough to bring shivers to my whole body. His beautiful, green eyes are covered by those ever-present Ray Bans. He has the illusion that, wearing those sunglasses – a trademark of him – he will not be recognized. If he only knew that people search for the Ray Bans in order to locate him, he would have long gotten rid of them.

The picture is focused on his face and I can't make out the rest of him, but I can tell from the color and the obvious destitution of the fabric, that he's wearing that dreadful, yet, utterly sexy, Stoli shirt under his black jacket… hoodie… I can't tell. I know he can afford to buy a thousand shirts, but I can understand his attachment to this one, his… obsession.

It's not a recent photo. I don't mind. All I can think about is that: He's here! Close!

So what? It's not like you're going to see him. The thought only is enough to wipe the cheesy grin off of my face. Despite the fact that it saddens me I know my subconscious, my conscience, my alter ego, my personal Jiminy Cricket, is right. It shouldn't make any difference to me that he's here, because he's not here for me. Hell, he doesn't even know I exist!

"Fuck!" I mutter angrily under my breath, because I hate it that I have to be so logical all the time. It's nice to dream. It's nice to feel like I'm in another world or plain, like Jess does. Okay, maybe not like Jess because she's weird, and she wants Edward to whip her, and then fuck her. Ew! The thought grosses me out.

What can I do? Just stare at the picture in front of you, and get some satisfaction out of the fact that, in a strange, cosmic way, you will be breathing the same air for a few days, my inner voice mocks me. I wish at that moment that it could materialize, so that I could kick her ass. Deep down though, I know she's right. I'm just another obsessed fan. A fan. I feel sad, because I know he's scared of his fans. They stalk him, scream at him, chase him all around, ask him to do the strangest things for them and on them. One even asked him to bite her baby! Even though, it's been years since he played in those vampire films series.

As these thoughts swirl around in my head, I can feel the wheels in my brain start to turn. And now, I know what I'm going to do. I will no longer be a fan to him, a nobody, a girl he's trying to get away from. No! Things are going to change.

~~R~~

I have spent the whole day and night, searching through the internet for Edward's whereabouts. My eyes sting from the constant exposure to my computer screen and my head hurts, but it's all worth it. I have been awake since seven in the morning yesterday, and it's now noon. I don't care. I feel good about myself. I have been able to fish out Edward's hotel. I didn't get the exact name, but I could deduce it from a few whispered words to Edward from his manager, James. A photograph of both of them is right in front of me, along with another thirty – or more – from the last twenty four hours. It's like a huge mosaic of pictures on my computer screen, all recently snapped. I guess, I'm not the only one looking for him, but I'm smarter. I will find out where he is, and then, make my move. I will not run around the city like a crazed stalker, only to get a snapshot, a smile or even an autographed picture. No, I want more. I want it all. I want him!

All these pictures and videos have little hints that no one takes the time to look at. For example, he landed in La Guardia and not JFK, because he had a domestic flight. But then, why La Guardia and not Newark? Because, he is probably staying somewhere close to the airport. And what is the luxury hotel closest to that? The Four Seasons`! Those little things that I looked for over and over by magnifying the pictures, and enhancing the sound on the videos, and playing them on repeat were able to lead me to my conclusion: he will be probably be celebrating his birthday the day after tomorrow, in one of the clubs in Manhattan. Knowing his musical preferences and his desire to remain under the radar, it will probably be one of the venues with live, alternative or indie, rock music. And there are only two clubs with such events on June 20th, The Bowery Ballroom and National Underground.

~~R~~

I feel dizzy, as if I've been in hibernation. I look around to see who's in the room, but to my surprise I am alone. Strange, I could have sworn there was someone here with me. I run my hand over my face feeling tired from studying. I've taken a sabbatical from work to finish my master's thesis, and I've been working intensely on it.

I rub my eyes vigorously to expel the sleep, and a tired sigh escapes my lips. There's light coming from right in front of me, so I must have left the computer turned on. I need a few moments to clear my vision, but when I look at my computer screen it's not my thesis that I find.

There is a bunch of pictures, forming a collage and a few paused videos, all showing Edward Cullen. I take a look at them and then at the notepad next to the keyboard, full of scribbling, my scribbling. When did I do all this? I guess I'm too tired to remember.

As I read my notes, I see two frames with highlighted words, The Bowery Ballroom and National Underground. They're both clubs in New York. I know The Bowery Ballroom, it's where my brother's best friend, Sam, works.

~~R~~

I stand in front of my full length mirror in my room. I'm in a sexy, yet, not tacky outfit. I'm wearing mostly black: black, skinny jeans and a black, body fitting tank top, adorned with blue scribbling – because I know anything blue looks good on me. To finish the ensemble, I have a pair of black, high heeled boots, with blue decoration to the side. The makeup is discreet; barely any foundation, a bit of rouge, and some black eyeliner to deepen my look. My dark, chestnut hair is waiving freely, reaching just above my waist line. Satisfied with my look I throw my black leather biker's jacket over my shoulder and head out, hunting for Mr. Cullen. I smirk at my thoughts, as I lock the door of my apartment on my way out.

~~R~~

The Bowery Ballroom. I park my bike close to the club, and head to the entrance. There is a line of people waiting to get in, but I skip it and make my way to the bouncer.

"Hey, Sam," I greet him, smiling gently.

"Hey, Bells," counters the behemoth of a man as he wraps me in a hug, sweeping my feet off the ground. He squeezes me so tightly that I squeak, and I feel like those stuffed animal toys when they are crushed by children out of affection. I tap lightly on Sam's arm – even if my strike was stronger I wouldn't be inflicting any pain; the man is built like a fort – and give him the hint to release me.

"Am I getting in tonight, or should I wait in line?" I ask playfully, because I already know the answer to that.

Sam's thunderous laugh suits him. "Is there any doubt to that?" He gives me an incredulous look. "You know the club's doors are open any time for my best friend's sister."

I smile, feeling safe. I know that Jake – unnecessarily overprotective that he is – has issued a warning to all his friends to keep an eye on me every time I go out at night in his absence. It's not that I go out a lot. Between my job, my studies and my… obsession – nah, wrong word – my… affection for Edward, I have no time to go out. Besides, who would I go out with? I have many acquaintances, but no friends. I only have Jake and… Edward.

Sam is ushering me in the club, while whispering in my ear to stay close to the bar, because they have a live gig, and they're expecting a bunch of Hollywood, movie stars. Bells are ringing in my head. Could I have been that lucky? Have I found him already? I want to bounce with excitement, but I refrain for fear of looking like an obsessed, fan-girl. I have to remind myself that I am different from those other girls. Tonight, I'm on a mission. I have to push back the low-profile girl that I usually am, and find a way to capture him.

"Really, Sam?" I turn to ask my brother's friend, feigning indifference. "Have things changed that much since the last time I came here? Do you now only accept celebrities?"

He scrunches up his nose making me giggle, because he looks funny making that face, and wraps his arm protectively around my waist as he guides me in the club area. He escorts me to the bar and has me seated on one of the stools close to the stage. Sam calls the bar-tender and leans forward over the bar to tell him something while motioning with his head my way. The bar-tender smirks as he takes a look at me, nods to Sam, and winks at me. Unfortunately, that is a hugely bad move on his part. Sam leans more into the bar area with a menacing look on his face. Whatever it is he says to the bar-tender, effectively wipes the smirk off of his face.

"Stay here. I told Tyler to watch you and not do anything stupid if he cherishes his life."

I mouth a "thanks" smiling at his protectiveness, even though I don't need it. Sam's always treated me like I was his own sister. "You're not expecting company, are you?" he finally asks before leaving. The music is starting to get louder, and I shake my head. He gives me a brotherly kiss on the top of my hair, glares at Tyler – the bar-tender – causing me to roll my eyes at Sam, because by now, I think he has gotten the hint, and leaves to take his post at the entrance.

~~R~~

The club is packed and the music is amazing. The beer in my hand is chilly and just perfect to quench my thirst. For a moment, I think that even if I don't get to see Edward, I'm having a fabulous time. I immediately erase that thought, because all I need is Edward to make this night perfect. Even if I didn't have anything else, his presence is enough to make everything bright.

I have been scanning the place for a while, for his mop of bronze hair. I haven't been successful in locating him. Unfortunately, my wandering eyes have unwillingly attracted a little, unwelcomed attention. So far I've been able to push away most of the guys willing to make a move, with a glare. Of course, there have been a few that were a bit more persistent, but I have been lucky in that department as well tonight. Just as they came closer, Sam would appear. He would look at me asking permission to thwart them away, and the moment I granted it, they were gone.

I've been here for almost one and a half hour. Sam has been regularly checking on me, making sure I'm alright. He must be busy, because I haven't seen him for a while now. The last time was thirty minutes ago. Something really important must be going on. Something that makes me hopeful that he's finally here. And, yes, he's here. I can't see him yet, but I can feel him. The atmosphere is full of electricity. There's a strange hum around me that alerts me to his presence. I know he's here. Close to me. I scan the area with my eyes, in hope of detecting him, and the only thing I can see is the back of a tall man, wearing a beanie. Who would wear a hat inside a night club in New York? Yeah, I know. I smirk. The question is rhetorical.

I lock my gaze on him, and watch every move he makes. It's not time yet to approach him. I need to let him relax and feel at ease. He needs to pass from the first wave of crazed fans, launching themselves at him for a photograph or an autograph. I need to make him believe I'm different, because I am different. We are soul mates. Meant to be. This, I know with absolute certainty.

Minutes pass, as fan after fan approaches him for any type of memorabilia they can collect, and I watch patiently. I watch as they come to him. They smile shyly, and ask him for a picture, or they are bolder – the best term would be aggressive, but I won't be mean…for now – and bounce like the Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. A couple of girls even hugged him. I growled – how vampiric of me! Am I getting affected by those films as well? I startled the man standing next to me at the bar with the strange sound that came out from my throat. I don't care. It might be better like this. It might keep him away for good.

Every time a girl approaches him, he smiles, poses, signs, pats her, or even hugs her. He's being absolutely polite and that makes him even more adorable. My heart aches for him though. None them cares how they affect him. I do. I pay attention. Every time they leave him alone, he runs his hand through his hair in exasperation. His expression changes from happy, or rather pleasant, to grim, and frustrated.

I think the hordes of fans are finished now. I watch him take a long drag from his cigarette, closing his eyes, and taking out the smoke in a long breath. It seems he's sighing. He leans to his friend – he's much shorter, or rather Edward is much taller, at six feet and one inch – to say something. His friend nods, and I see him move. And – Oh, dear – he's coming toward me. I need to calm down immediately. I shouldn't scare him away and mostly, I shouldn't act like those crazed fans. I'm different, right?

I close my eyes and take a deep calming breath as I feel a shift in my mind bringing me peace, but when I open them again I'm met with a set of emerald, green eyes. I have to hold myself from falling down. He's standing right next to me! Our eyes are locked and then he smiles at me. I feel I'm about to faint. My inner fan-girl is jumping with excitement in my head, ready to burst out. I'm on a mission here. I have to keep my composure, and not show any signs that I know who he is. So, I try. I try to keep my expression neutral. I don't want to scare him away, and I close my eyes again to ground myself.

Breathe in. Breathe out. I practice the calming technique we learned with Jake, during his therapy sessions. It's been years; almost a decade, but I still remember everything. Unfortunately, instead of calming me, the breathing technique has made things worse. My nostrils flare at his scent, and I'm overwhelmed by him. He's intoxicating.

I hear two voices at the same time. I'm lost, and I'm afraid I will blow this up. I'm afraid I will lose my one, and only, chance to make him mine.

"Are you okay?" His smooth voice washes over me.

"Bella, do you want another beer?" The vulgar sound of Tyler's voice ruins my dream.

I can't seem to come around. I need to snap out of it. Now! I command myself. I keep my eyes closed for a few more moments in an effort to salvage my sanity. Why am I so deeply affected by him?

And then, everything explodes. The electricity that I felt in the room when he came in seems to be running through my whole body. The humming feels, now, more like there's a whole beehive over my head. He's touching me. His hand is wrapped around my arm. His naked skin touches mine.

"Hey, are you alright?" His voice is concerned, and I briefly wonder how it is possible that I can hear his voice in the mayhem around us.

My reaction to that sound is involuntary. I raise my arm – the one he has put his hand around – abruptly, and in the process, in a true klutzy manor, I manage to make him spill his drink all over us both. The amount of liquid isn't enough to shower two people. Yet, we are drenched. We both gasp at the cold sensation on our skins.

My nostrils flare at the smell of the whiskey. I know it's Jack Daniels, even though I've never drunk whiskey in my life. I feel an unusual tingle in my mind, a strange darkness taking over…

"Shit! I'm so sorry!" Edward's voice startles me.

I raise my eyes from my ruined top, and they are locked with his. Suddenly, there's no music, there are no people around us. We are not in a club in New York. We're in a place of our own, just the two of us. Before, I had been charmed by his beauty, his sweet voice, and the persona he displayed to the media. Now… now that I can see right into his eyes and right into his soul, I know. I know I'm in love with this man. The kindness and compassion emanated from those uniquely, beautiful eyes have captured my very soul. I'm convinced. We are soul mates. We are meant to be. I won't let this chance, my first and only chance, of happiness get away from me.

"Damn!" The curse that comes out of my mouth is involuntary. I hope that with all the ruckus going on around us in the club he hasn't heard me, but his answer tells me otherwise.

"I ruined your blouse." He shakes his head, and I'm staring at his lips forming an inaudible "fuck". He grabs a handful of napkins from the bar and starts dabbing the liquid from my… chest. I'm stupefied and frozen in place. I'm certain that he hasn't realized yet where his hands are. If this was any other time and this was any other man, he wouldn't be looking at me, let alone touching me.

Of course not too many moments pass until he realizes what he's doing, and his hand freezes on my left breast. He raises his eyes from my chest, and I'm looking at his wide from the panic eyes.

"Fuck! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to… I mean I wanted to clean your blouse, because I soaked it. I didn't mean to touch your… shit… I'm so sorry, for the drink and for the…" he gestures at my chest "…your… ah…"

He's so adorable! He's awkwardness has sobered me from his presence, and I'm finding him extremely entertaining and very much fascinating. I gently remove his hand from my breast, and give him a smile.

"Hey, it's okay. It's my fault, actually," I say in a soothing voice, the one I've used on Jake so many times before, as I lean close to his ear, so that he can hear me. In our proximity he lets out a sigh and his breath fans over my face. I repress the urge to close my eyes, and revel in his heavenly scent, mixed with alcohol and tobacco.

Before I have the chance to say anything he quickly adds, "Let me buy you another drink. It's the least I can do for…" he trails off looking awkwardly the soaked shirt clinging on my chest.

I look at him amused as a series of thoughts bombard my mind. What can I possibly say to him? It's okay. I don't mind, as long as I get to talk to you, and look at you. I'm okay being drenched with your drink. How many other girls have had the chance to say that Edward Cullen soaked them with his drink? I'm sure any of these responses would send him running to the hills to get away from me. I opt to do the one sane thing that might give me a chance with him: I just shut up.

I see the muscles of his arm flex as he gestures at the bar-tender. My eyes are transfixed on his bicep, and I'm about to swoon when I catch two hands appearing in front of me out of nowhere, leaving another glass filled with a light gold liquid and a beer bottle.

I really need to do something about fan-girl-Bella.

"No, no, no," I shake my head. "I can't accept this. It was completely my fault." I feel good with myself, because finally I have managed to regain some sense of my surroundings. "If it weren't for my clumsy limbs…" I trail off, feeling stupidly awkward, because this is what I wanted and this is why I came here tonight. I feel though, as if I'm blowing it up.

Get a grip on yourself, Bella! The fan-girl scolds angry from the corner she's in.

He gives me a bright smile that is slightly crooked. "Hey," he starts playfully, not losing the grin from his face, "I was the one holding the drink."

"Yeah, but I'm the one that turned the glass, and made it spill."

"But I was holding it too close to you."

"I moved!"

"Please, that's not a reason to take the blame on you." He rolls his eyes dramatically, but never losing the mirth from his beautiful features.

"You don't know me."

"Well," his smile turns to a playfully, wicked grin, "we should remedy that at once." He extends his right hand. "Edward." I swear I can trace a hint of dread as he says his name.

I return the gesture and as our hands touch I feel that same current running through me again. This time I'm sure he feels something too, judging by the way his gaze is locked on me. "Bella," I manage in an almost breathy voice.

He's still holding my hand, and I relish in the feeling. "I couldn't agree more." He's smiling again, and I can feel heat rising on my cheeks. I feel tongue tied after his compliment. I'm not used to them.

Edward grabs the glass on the bar in front of him, and I do the same. We are holding our drinks in the air as if we're about to clink.

"Thanks." I'm not just thanking him for the compliment. I'm thanking him for making my dream come true, even though he has no idea about it.

"My pleasure," he smiles confidently, "despite the circumstances."

His smile is contagious, and I can't help but return the gesture.

I sip from the bottle in my hand. The beer is cool and soothing to my oddly scorching throat.

I should feel awkward, and I know I should still be star-struck, but oddly, I'm not. I feel absolutely comfortable with this man. He's the man of my dreams, the one I have been waiting all of my life; of that, I'm certain.

The live show is almost coming to an end. They seemed good, and under any other circumstances, I would have taken the time to appreciate their skill. This time, I couldn't concentrate on that. I was completely immersed in him, in Edward.

Our conversation has run smoothly so far, and I have been able to not turn into a complete pile of goo. In fact, after the first shock, I don't think I've felt more at ease with another person in my life.

"I think they have one more song," his breath warms my skin as he speaks to my ear.

I turn and look at him and… oh dear! Could it be? Is it desire that I see in his eyes?

I move a bit farther from his intoxicating proximity – I may have felt comfortable talking to him, but he still dazzles me – and give him a questioning look. He gives me one of his trade mark smiles and approaches me again.

"I'm not ready yet to part from you." I'm stunned. I fidget with the beer bottle in my hands. I place it on the counter, making sure that it lies on the center of the coaster, perfectly aligned with Edward's glass. "In fact," he goes on, distracting me from my inane task, "I feel I'm tremendously drawn to you."

Edward brings his face in front of mine, leaving only a very small distance between our lips. He comes infinitesimally closer, just enough so that we're not touching, but I don't move. He stays close to me, and our eyes lock for a moment, then, he drops his to my lips. He smiles, and I return the gesture – I can't help it, it's contagious.

The distance between our lips finally melts away. He gently touches my lips with his, and I revel in their softness. It's an amazing feeling and we're not even moving. We're just staying like that, barely touching. I feel like my heart is going to explode. The blood in my veins is boiling. If his proximity was intoxicating, there is no description of how amazing his lips feel. I think I have never felt so wonderful before in my life. Edward though, has made it a mission to find my ultimate pleasure point as his lips start to move against mine. He opens his mouth slightly, and I copy his movements. He gently sucks on my lower lip, making me shiver. He then turns his attention to my upper lip, and I'm once more unmoving. He repeats this for a couple of more times as I let myself be kissed by this wonderful man.

His touch is gentle, but as I start to do the same thing on his lower lip, something changes in him. Edward grabs me and kisses me harder. I wind my arms round his shoulders, and his neck. He brings his hand to my face, cupping my cheeks affectionately. I feel like a precious china doll. This is the first time someone has made me feel like this, and I don't want it to ever end.

His right hand moves toward my neck, his grip tightens enough to bring me closer to him; our bodies touch. The tips of his fingers are in my hair, his palm is splayed on my neck, and his thumb is gently caressing my cheek. It's the most erotic and sensual kiss I have ever had. I can't resist anymore and bring my hands up from his neck to his head, until my fingers thread into his hair. Oh dear! His hair is so soft! Just touching it makes me explode with desire. Women all around the world fawn over his hair just by looking at its beautiful disarray. I can't imagine how they would feel if they touched it. I quickly stop that train of thought, because I'm the one touching it.

Our lips keep dancing in harmony, as our hands and fingertips increase the pressure on each other's skin.

Slowly, and very gently, Edward moves his left hand that was holding my cheek to the southern parts of my body. He touches my neck and I feel the skin pimple from the pleasure. He smiles against my lips. He's smug; he can tell the effect he has on me. In return, I keep making his hair even a greater mess and for a moment, my nails lightly run over the skin of his head. He groans and I smile in response. I guess; two can play that game. I, now, know I also have an effect on him and it doesn't feel like it is just lust.

His right hand keeps me in place, never allowing me any chance of removing myself from him while his left hand continues the descent. It's excruciatingly slow and yet so perfect. His thumb grazes my collarbone. I can't help the moan that escapes my throat, and he gives me a sexy grunt back. Then, his palm detaches from my neck, until all his fingers are gently caressing the area. I have the impression he's overwhelmed. His ragged intake of breath proves it.

I press my body more against his, and I move my right hand from his hair to his gorgeous, and perfectly chiseled, jaw line. I run my fingers over the skin and involuntarily, I use my nails once more, against the stubble that's there. I've made him as much excited as he has me. I can feel it.

He seems like he's reached his boiling point and he plunges his tongue in my mouth. The taste is incredibly sweet, despite the alcohol and tobacco I can sense.

I never liked men that smoked, and I always hated alcohol breath. In fact, I haven't kissed a man that tasted like alcohol since I was in college. It seems like everything is different with this man though. I've already done things for him; I never would have thought myself capable of.

As we keep alternating from sucking, and nibbling on lips and tongues, I feel a nuisance in my back. It doesn't take long to realize that someone is poking me. I choose to ignore it and continue our erotic dance. A voice comes from the same direction that I once again choose to ignore it. I'm so wrapped up in this man that I don't even make out what the person is saying.

Suddenly, my blissful moments are over. Edward's lips are not touching me anymore, and I miss them already. Thankfully, he doesn't move an inch away from me, and his body is still pressed against mine, while his hands are still touching my skin. In fact, his left arm moves quickly to be wrapped around my waist, making us come even closer, but in a more intimate and protective way.

"What?" he growls.

I realize the music is not so loud anymore and that the crowd around us has thinned. How long have we been kissing?

"Um…" I turn my head to look at the source of the voice, and I'm met with the reddened face of Tyler and his wide eyes. "Um…" he repeats and I wonder what has made him stutter. I don't think too much about it, Edward is more important to focus my thoughts on. "The… um the show…" his eyes are all over the place and not meeting ours for even a second "…it's ah…um it's over."

I look at him questioningly and wait for him to elaborate, but he doesn't. I turn my gaze to Edward. I swoon for a moment at his perfection, but quickly recover as our eyes meet. He smiles sweetly at me and turns his head towards Tyler. I notice his eyes darken, and I swear I can see the predator in them. It's disturbing how much this is exciting me. He looks exactly like that vampire he impersonates in those film series.

Edward turns his full attention on me. He graces me with a beautiful smile. The way he looks at me makes my heart burst with emotions. I feel them bubbling inside of me, until they're in my throat, and almost choke me. Instead of that, they reach my cheeks making them hotter and, I'm certain, much redder. They move a bit higher making my eyes water and then, they bounce back, reaching my mouth, making it move into an open mouthed smile. This should be an outlet for those choking feelings, but the moment I release the first batch through my grinning lips another one starts bubbling again. No wonder I can't stop myself from grinning like a fool.

Without ever breaking his eye contact with me, or wiping his identical to mine grin off of his face, his thumb gently caresses my cheek.

"Maybe we should take this someplace more private, don't you think, Beautiful?"

If someone fed me a pile of red hot chili peppers I wouldn't feel as hot as I am now, and I most definitely wouldn't look more crimson than them.

I want more than anything to be alone with Edward, so I simply nod. His smile is brilliant. It's like daylight all of a sudden in the middle of the club. I nod in response and he rewards me with a soft closed-mouth kiss on my lips.

"Okay, let's get outta here," he says as our foreheads touch, and I nod again in agreement.

Edward disentangles our bodies. He grabs my hand and brings it to his face where he gently touches his lips on my knuckles, while looking at me through his lashes.

Before I've realized what's happening I find myself at one of the club's exits with Edward's arm around my waist. I don't understand how it was possible that I didn't even register the steps from the bar to where we are now. But then again, I shouldn't wonder. Edward has this effect on me. He makes me lose myself in him, not taking notice of anything else.

A black SUV stops in front of us and Edward ushers me inside. Every single move he makes towards me is gentle, and sweet, without losing any of their protectiveness. I don't want to stop feeling this wonderful.

As we sit next to each other, I lay my head on his shoulder. Our only way of touching is via our hand-holding and neither of us has stopped caressing each other's skin with their thumbs.

We've known each other for such a short period of time, and the intimacy between us is amazing. It's like we've always been together. Together… the thought lingers in my head. The fan-girl rises from her corner jumping happily up and down.

You're not together. This is not intimacy. This is only a hook-up. That's what my logic is shouting at my heart. I shouldn't get my hopes up.

But isn't this what I wanted from the start? I argue back, to meet him in person, to talk to him, to touch him, to kiss him, to l… Jiminy Bella gives me a severe look and I don't finish the thought. I hide my face in his neck. He grabs my hand with his other one, and wraps his arm around my shoulder, bringing me closer to him. He places a soft kiss against my hair and rests his head over mine – cheek to hair.

His gesture is enough to kill my logic and the love sick teenager/fan-girl is running the parade now. Yes, love! I love him! I think with absolute conviction and snuggle further into his chest and he kisses me again in that chaste, but very intimate manner.

The car comes to a stop and for a moment the logical, adult woman rears her head, trying to make an appearance, but the lovesick teenager kicks her with her all-star-shoed foot and is once more in charge.

"Beautiful," he calls me, and I know he's translating my name from Italian, but every time he does that, I feel exactly as he says: beautiful. I raise my head to look at him and find his irresistibly gorgeous smile.

"We're here… at my hotel," he pauses again, I assume to wait for my reaction. I don't respond, I only stare at his eyes lovingly. "I hope you don't…" Before he even has the chance to say anything further, I silence him with a kiss.

"It's perfect," I reassure him and smile. I give him another kiss just because I can, and just because I feel like it, and just because he's completely irresistible. "Let's go," I say in low voice close to his ear and place a kiss on the spot right below.

"Stop teasing me then, if you want to ever leave this car."

I kiss him at that same spot again and say in a low, hoping to be seductive, voice, "Mmm… the car seems fine to me." I place another kiss on that spot.

He groans and throws his head back. "What are you doing to me?"

I move upward on his body until I'm able to reach that same spot below his ear again, and kiss it. I then come closer to him and whisper, "Definitely less than whatever it is you're doing to me."

He makes a sound that seems like a growl. Oh dear!

Without another word he moves abruptly and drags me out of the car. I expect to see the main entrance of the hotel, but this seems like a back door. Of course he has to hide from prying eyes, especially when he's with a woman. The word makes the teenager come out again. There's no other woman for him, but me from now on. I'll even pretend there never has been.

We're inside the elevator in a matter of seconds and the moment the doors close we're all over each other, repeating our earlier session from the bar. The ding that comes from the box that surrounds us is enough to break us apart until we reach his door. His movements are quick to open it and I'm glad to find that he's fumbling with it. Either he's too excited and can't wait to get inside, or he's never done this before – pick up a random girl, despite the undeniable connection between us, from a club, and bring her back to his room. Whichever of those two is true makes me happy anyway.

The moment we pass the threshold, I'm pinned against the door. My head hits the hard wood. His fingers are digging into the exposed skin of my back. His mouth is ravaging mine. His teeth are biting my lower lip, so hard that I think he broke the skin. But I don't feel any pain; I can only feel desire and lust.

Another growling sound comes from his throat and I respond with a moan. He breaks the contact between our flaming mouths to breathe, and to whisper in a throaty voice, "God, I want you so much!" I sense some pain in his tone. Why would wanting me hurt him? But I've decided, from the first moment I thought of doing this, that I will allow myself the magic of being with Edward. And for the first time in my life I am being bold. I'm letting go.

"Then take me, Edward. I'm yours!"

The moment the words come out of my mouth, I'm swept off my feet, and flying across the room in his arms. He gives me another hard kiss and then drops me on the bed. I bounce and that makes me giggle. Edward hovers over me, his body is not touching mine, but I can feel its heat and electricity. It draws me and just like a helpless electron my body gravitates towards his, like it's my core, my reason for existing.

His exploration of my body starts slowly and almost torturously, but so very deliciously. Every kiss he leaves on my skin makes it tingle and every touch makes it form goose pimples. I try to reciprocate, arching my back, and then he practically devours me.

As I become breathless, he starts trailing wet kisses along my jaw, my neck, my collarbone, until he reaches the spot just on the jugular. He stops for a moment and tastes swiping his tongue, making me shiver, and then he starts sucking. If he was truly a vampire, he would be drinking my blood, and I would give it willingly.

"Oh, Edward!" I pant, fumbling with his shirt.

Instantly, he becomes frustrated, and in one swift movement he yanks the shirt over his head, throwing it in some corner of the room. I gasp in shock at the perfect muscles on his chest, abdomen and the happy trail in the middle of the delectable V, pointing to the promise land. Only the thought is enough to make me excited, and I can feel my body responding not only to his ministrations, but to what is about to happen.

Having lost my patience, and with an agility I never imagined I possessed, I free him from the confines of his jeans. I am positively surprised to find out that there are no undergarments to remove. I raise my eyes to his, only to be met with his trademark half smile. This time it is different, it is smug. Why wouldn't he be? He is, for lack of a better word, extremely well-endowed. My smile transforms from surprise and aw, to satisfaction and pride. I look down at him and then back at his eyes. He raises one perfect, thick eyebrow, silently questioning me. A sardonic smile adorns my features, and he responds with a twitch

Having acquired my consent, he continues his assault on my neck, and as he continues his trek in the southern parts of my body, he finds the barrier of my shirt. I feel like a rag doll as he removes the offending garment from my body, leaving me in my black, lace bra and jeans.

"You are so beautiful," he breaths in aw as he takes in my curves.

Without missing a beat he turns his attention to my jeans. They're too tight, causing him to curse in frustration. Never before have I been turned on by a man cursing. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised anymore, anything he does has me panting.

I raise my eyes, only to be met with his intense, darkened gaze. I can sense his hunger and anticipation. I'm confirmed the moment I feel the waist of my jeans being harshly tugged. He lets out a grunt, and in an instant I'm lying naked in front of him. In his abrupt movement, he tore away my undergarment along with my pants.

I am at a point I am about to burst with desire. My need for him is desperate. I try with every part of my body to meet his as I move my hips, and arch my back, but he refuses to give in. A choked "please" escapes from my mouth, because my emotions are all gathered between my stomach and my throat, making them both twist. He looks me in the eyes and I can see the unasked question there, 'Is this okay?'

"Yes," I reply with determination. I have never been, nor will I ever be more certain about anything in my life, but I'm too breathless to say it out loud.

And then I'm in heaven. He's so ravenous that in one swift movement we become one. I cry out in pleasure and pain, trying to adjust. His grunt spurs my desire, making me want to deepen even more our connection if it's possible.

"More… " I say between pants.

"Anything," he breathes in my ear as he lowers himself powerfully on me. I bite my lip to keep myself from shouting my pleasure.

His hand moves from around my waist, where he keeps me locked to him, and his thumb gently removes my flesh from between my teeth.

"Let go!" he orders, his voice primal. "I want to hear you, love."

And I do. I follow his instruction. Just as he works my body, his eyes work my soul, and his breath works my heart, I explode in all three levels. As he joins me, I feel I'm in ecstasy.

~~R~~

Edward's lips lightly touch my hair as my head rests on his chest, just above his heart. I have never before bothered with how someone's heart beating sounds. Now, things have changed. His heart-beat is so loud in my ears that I think I could recognize him just by it. I feel the soft thumping against my cheek, and it brings a smile to my face. I return Edward's affectionate peck with a lingering kiss over his beautiful heart.

His skin is amazingly soft, and despite the cigarettes he has smoked, and the liquor he has consumed, it still smells of cedar mixed with cinnamon and… sunshine. I know, one would say that sunshine doesn't have a smell. I beg to differ. The scent of sunshine gives you warmth, safety and bliss. It brightens you from the inside out. It makes you want to close your eyes, and stand below the bright sun, inhaling that warmth, and feel your very own soul reviving.

That's how Edward's skin smells. It smells like… life. And for the first time I feel alive.

"Mmm…" he purrs. "Keep doing that and we'll have a repeat."

"I wouldn't…" my phrase is interrupted by a cough, and my sore throat. "I wouldn't mind at all."

Edward lets a light chuckle escape his divine lips, and kisses me again on the forehead now, as he tilts my face to look at me in the eyes.

"Your throat would, though." I can sense smugness in his voice, but I don't mind one bit. He should feel like that, and he wouldn't be conceited one bit. He earned that right after so many working hours on my body.

I'm about to protest that I don't care about my throat. I know that if we have a repeat I will probably lose my voice. Yes! He has that effect on me. And that's no exaggeration at all. He silences me with a searing kiss that has my head spinning again. Is this man real?

~~R~~

He sounded like he didn't want a repeat a few hours ago, but here we are again. Lying in each other's arms sweaty and absolutely spent.

Our breaths are heavy and our eyes lazy. I feel like all the world agrees with my happiness as I watch the first rays of light shine through the white, gauzy curtain, hiding the massive window of the room. The corners oh my lips lift in a content smile.

I turn my head, with all the strength that's left in me, to look at this wonderful man that's holding me in his arms, and I find a set of emerald, green eyes watching at me with such tenderness that my throat burns as I choke back the tears.

Without breaking our eye contact, not for one moment, a blinding, glorious smile adorns his beautiful face, and my breath is caught.

The smile transforms into a smirk as his smooth voice washes over me.

"Breathe, love." It's almost a whisper, yet, every cell of my body is aware of the sound that just came out of his mouth.

Soon, I realize that he has ordered me to breathe. My embarrassment turns my cheeks the brightest crimson, as if I'm a schoolgirl. I try to hide my flaming face, but he won't have it.

"Don't hide." He keeps my face in level with his. "You're so beautiful." He is not hiding the awe in his tone.

Edward lets out a deep sigh, and I mimic him at the same time, not intentionally, and without even realizing it. We stare at each other for a moment, and burst in laughter. Our bodies shake, and our boisterous voices fill the room.

It's ridiculous how his mere presence brings me such happiness. I'm so immersed in him; I fear what I'd do without him. Now that I know what it feels like to have him, what it feels like to be complete. Now I know what bliss is, and I don't know how to let it go.

You don't have to let it go. You can have it all, for once in your life.

Of course I do. This is not the beginning of a relationship. I'm not in a movie. Life never ends happily ever after. After these moments, I will be alone, again.

I understand now, all those heroines in the romance novels I love to read, what they meant when they said "you've ruined me for all men." There couldn't be anyone after Edward. I wonder how I was ever able to have been with another man before him. I feel like they never happened. I feel like I was a virgin before this night.

This brings me back to my initial problem. How do I let him go?

All the happiness I felt a few moments ago vanishes. It might have been the best night of my life, but it's still a one night stand. As soon as I walk out the door of this hotel room, I will be history. I will be another notch in his belt. I will be another fan-girl. My inner fan-girl looks at me panicked. There's nothing I can do to help her.

My disposition darkens, and a single tear rolls down my face. Unfortunately, one tear is never enough for me. I know that if I start crying I will break down, which I can't afford in front of him. My pride won't let me be weak in front of him. I clench my teeth to keep composure, to maintain control. I never lose control. This is not the memory I want to leave him with.

"Hey, what's wrong?" he asks as he tilts my chin upward, feeling the moisture on his skin.

I try to shrug away, and avoid any more embarrassment, but he won't have any of it.

"Tell me," he sweetly commands. I feel I can bare my soul to him, but my logic won't let me. He'd be running for the hills if he knew about my obsession with him.

I close my eyes in concentration.

Where did calm and collected Bella go? I ask myself.

I guess she ran away the moment Edward kissed her, the teenage, fan-girl, answers in glee.

I wipe away the tear, and I smile at him.

"Some of your chest hair poked me in the eye."

He looks at me in bewilderment and disbelieving. I guess what he finds in my eyes doesn't prompt him to push me, and I'm certain he knows his chest hair did nothing to my eye.

We fall under an uncomfortable silence since the first time we met. Thankfully, it's broken by the chirping of a phone.

Edward mumbles a curse under his breath, and apologizes for leaving me for the necessary evil he calls a blackberry.

I miss his warmth, not just body heat, the moment he rises from the bed. As he's speaking on the phone animatedly, I take the time to admire his godlike features. Once more I'm amazed that I'm having this dream come true.

My emotions are conflicting: happy and sad. I'm lost in thought as I watch him pace, naked, in front of the curtain-hidden, wide window. It amazes me how comfortable he is with me. It never seems to have crossed his mind to cover himself. I wonder if that is the result of being exposed all the time, but I dismiss the thought immediately. I run mentally, quickly, through the night and all his mannerisms belie a private person. I think about his interviews and all those cute, little ticks he has when he seems uncomfortable, and it occurs to me that he always touches the exposed parts of his body; his arms, his face, his neck. It's like he's trying to hide those as well. No, I'm convinced; he's not used to being naked. But he feels enough at ease to parade naked in front of me. The involuntary smile that takes over my face at that thought slowly fades, as I take him in.

He moves his free hand, as if the person from the other end of the line can look at him. Something must have frustrated him, because he's running his hand now, constantly through his hair. He mutters a few choice words, and I see the distress in his features. I don't want him to feel the slightest discomfort for any reason, so I strain to listen to his conversation, when I had previously blocked it out to give him some privacy. I know, me, crazed fan, wants to give Edward Cullen privacy, when I invade it all the time by stalking him online, and even in real life now…

"Fuck, James… it's none of their business!" he almost yells to make his point. His hand has stopped in his hair, gripping it tightly. I think he'll tear it out. I want to take his hands off his hair to save it from him, but I stay put. I may be a stalker – sadly – but my feelings are stronger than my obsession. I give him time.

"I know…" he sounds resigned and his sigh belies it. All of a sudden he roars in anger.

"Bloody hell! No! Forget about it, James! I'm not denying anything. This is… it's… yes!" he exclaims. "Oh, please… We'll talk in the afternoon, and work this out, but I will not issue a denial. And don't even think about bringing Tanya into this." He runs his hand through his hair, and I know he's beyond frustrated. The shaking of his head confirms it.

"Stop scheming, and leave Tanya out of this. She has her own life!" The end of the conversation was more than a little intense and the "bye" he offered seemed more like a curse. In fact, the click is accompanied by a growled "fuck."

The cell phone bounces once and slides to the other end of the table, that's close to the window, where Edward throws it in frustration. He sits in the armchair adjacent, and rubs his palms over his face. Whatever James told him, has made him distraught. I hate it that he's like this. I wish I could do something to take it away.

The wheels in my head start to move, and I remember that James is his manager. He's with Edward in almost every picture, and from what I've seen of him, I've come to the conclusion that he's not a nice person. I make a mental note to find out why he thought it was okay for him to upset my love.

The mentioning of Tanya's name brought out the green-eyed monster in me. She's his beautiful co-star in the vampire flick. I've read all about the rumors of them being together. After tonight… I'm convinced they no longer stand. He wouldn't have spent the night with me if he were with her.

Are you sure?

Of course I'm sure. He's not the cheating type. He's too kind to treat a woman that way. Of that, I am certain. As for Tanya… I'll think about her later. Now I have a distressed man I need to take care of.

I stand slowly. He hasn't moved from the spot he was. His head in his hands. His eyes and face covered by his palm.

I walk to him, and I touch his hair tentatively. He tenses, but doesn't move from his position. I become a blanket and wrap myself around him; my legs cover his hips; my chest presses against his head; my arms around him; my lips on his soft hair. We stay like that, me protecting him from the world, him hidden within me, for a while. He usually seems strong and confident. He always uses his natural charm, and humor to cover how truly vulnerable he is.

Every time I used to look at his pictures, I was awed by him. He seemed like a god. Yet, now he's a little child that needs to be cared for. I feel rage, no, I feel hatred toward James that has caused him such distress. This angel that I'm holding in my arms should never be doing anything else than laugh and be happy. If I had James in front of me, I'd lethally hurt him.

All in due time, the fan-girl in me promises.

His breath, that was labored a few moments ago, has evened out. I never once stopped placing soft kisses on top of his head, or his forehead and temples.

"Thank you," he croaks.

"Whatever for?" I ask in a kind voice.

I can feel his smile against my bare chest, and I can't help smile with him a little. It's true after all. When your mate is unhappy you're unhappy, and when they're happy you're happy too.

"For being you… like this," he kisses the center of my chest, moves slightly, and places another kiss below my left breast, just where my heart is. "For caring, for being so tender, for calming me…"

I'm speechless. What do you say to something like that? Can I tell him I love him? Can I tell him, I've loved him from the first time he entered that cafeteria as a centerian, celibate vampire in the movie he starred eight years ago? Can I tell him he's my soul mate? My mate?

I shake my head. None of that would be appropriate. I know he'd run as far away from me as possible. I can't let that happen. I can't allow him not to be part of my life anymore.

"Anything…" I offer him his words from last night. "For you," I add in a whisper.

He doesn't let go of me. I'm still shielding him.

"Isn't it bizarre?"

"What?" I ask

"This… this…" he trails off.

No, it's not. We're meant to be together!

I'm afraid if I open my mouth, I'll blurt that out, so I only nod.

"We've known each other for what… a few hours… and I feel… I feel like..." he exhales a deep breath. He's amazed with what's happening to him… to us. I wish I could tell him that this is not strange. So I only kiss his hair that smell his unique scent mixed with tobacco and… me.

"I wish… I wish we didn't have to leave this room."

I agree with you, my love. I place another kiss on top of his head, and rub gently his naked back.

"Bella?"

"Mmm…"

He raises his head from my chest and his eyes search mine. I'm astounded at the greenness that stares back at me.

"Beautiful Bella," he sighs. How wrong he is! I'm not beautiful. I'm a crazed stalker. Suddenly, I'm filled with guilt for having beguiled him. The moment his hand caresses my face, with the utmost tenderness, all thoughts of guilt are thrown out of the window. I lean my head into his palm, and kiss the inside of it. A smile has taken over his beautiful features the moment I turn my eyes to him.

"I wish we could stay like this… forever." His sweet breath fans across my face and almost intoxicates me. But then… he said "forever!" It's like a revelation.

"Away from the world, away from prying eyes and nosy lenses. I wish we could be normal…" he adds quietly.

I've heard his words, and I've noticed the sad tenor in his voice, but nothing of what he's said has registered. The moment that word, "forever," has spilt from his lips, I'm flying.

My inner filter stops working.

"Then let's." My voice is hopeful.

His smile is rueful.

"We can't, Beautiful." He is sad. I'm sad too. "Please, don't look at me like that."

We stare at each other for a moment.

"Bella?"

"Mhm."

"This is not just a one night stand for me."

My eyes widen.

"Jesus! I mean… I'm… what I'm trying to say is…" he can't mask the fear in his voice.

I shake my head. I'm too emotional to speak. This wonderful man wants me!

"I… I don't usually do this. I mean, I do… I'm not a virgin. Just, not like this." He's so adorable when he's nervous. He pauses to collect himself, and I wait patiently smiling back.

"Bella," he starts again with more determination. "I'd like this… this…" He takes a breath and continues, "I'd like to get to know you."

I nod eagerly. I'm in seventh heaven.

"Okay?" he asks.

"Okay." I answer.

"Okay…" he trails off.

"Okay, Edward!" I exclaim happily, and wrap my arms around him.

"Easy, love," he laughs, "you're choking me!"

I remove my arms instantly and look at him shamefully. His confidence is back. He palms my face with both his hands, and gives me a kiss that takes my breath away.

He breaks the kiss, but doesn't stop cradling my face in his palms.

"Okay, then. We need to talk…"

The sound of keys unlocking the door breaks me out of my reverie.

"Swan! Up!"

Fucking, Mallory! She's a bitch, and what's worst, she hates my guts. Why can't it be Angela?

Mallory opens the door and sneers at me. Fuck you, bitch!

"Move your feet, Swan!" she orders. "I don't have all day."

She has the manacles ready for me, and I obey like the good puppy dog they have turned me into in this place.

As I walk down the hall, I take it in. I haven't been out of my room – I internally snort at myself, but I can't call it a c…. It'll bring me down and I'll be out of it, again – in a while. The walls are painted off-white, that institutional white I've come to hate deeply. The doors of the small … rooms are white as well. In the upper part of the door there's a small round window, made of Plexiglas with infused wire.

As we approach the destination, my hands start to sweat. It is Saturday. There is only one person I would expect: Eric Yorkie. He visits on Thursdays, and it's Saturday! Who is it?

Mallory opens the door and ushers me in, or rather pushes me in with malice, to the asphyxiating, small space. An unbreakable, Plexiglas window and a telephone are my means of communication with the outside world.

I sit and wait. The anxiety that captured me a few moments ago has slowly started to ebb. It can't be anyone other than Eric.

As I'm thinking about the reason Eric would visit me again so soon – he was here last week – the door, from the other end of the unbreakable window, opens. My breath is caught as I come face to face with a pair of the greenest eyes.

No! Not again! I lament internally. I feel the fan-girl rattling the bars of her cage.

He moves and, hesitantly, seats on the chair in front of me. He's not more disheveled than usual; always looking fashionably careless. The uniformed man that accompanies him inside is talking to him. He nods, and as the other man moves back to stand at the far end of the small room, he picks up the receiver.

I can't move.

His eyes move from me to the receiver. They're still incredibly beautiful, but there's something different there. They look older, more tired than I've ever seen them. I can't help the tug I feel in my heart sensing his pain.

He awkwardly moves the receiver away from his ear, as he takes in my shocked state. He shakes it a bit, and I know he wants me to pick up my own and talk to him. His movements seem more languid. It's like they've lost their liveliness. Or rather, he's lost it. I want to reach out and touch him, make it all better for him.

I can't move. If I do, if I pick that receiver, I'll be strapped and heavily sedated for who knows how long. I hate being sedated. It's even worse than being restrained.

I feel Mallory approaching me.

"Pick it up, Swan," she sneers close to me.

I look up at her. I'm lost. Is she having the same hallucination? Is she even real? Am I really in this room?

"Are you going to talk to him?" Her voice is full of disdain.

I turn my eyes to the window and I'm looking again at those beautiful, but no longer bright, green eyes. Gone is the mirth, only to have been replaced by… sadness?

My Edward is never sad. He's always happy, because he's with me. Could this one, in front of me, be real after all?

"If you don't pick up the receiver in the next ten seconds, you're going back to your cell!"

I cringe at the word. I hate it. It's a room, not a c… ugh… I can't even pronounce it.

"Fucking crazy bitch!" Mallory mutters rather loudly. I'm certain she wants me to hear that, get a rise out of me. She used to do that a lot when I first came here, and I always took the bait. Not now, Mallory. I've got more important things.

Her threat though, that I'm going back to my room if I don't talk to my visitor, has set me into motion. If this is not real, I might as well enjoy it. I place the off-white receiver – how original – on my ear. I'm awarded with a tentative smile from him, one that doesn't reach his eyes.

"Hello, Bella." His sweet voice washes over me. I haven't heard him speak my name for so long. Oh, how I have missed him! As I close my eyes, reveling in the sound, a tear rolls down my cheek, and I make quick work of wiping it.

When I look at him, I know he has seen it. Why does he seem sad? He shouldn't be. He should be happy with the way things have turned out.

"E…" his name gets stuck in my throat, add to that the tears that are about to burst out of me and in a few moments you have a blubbering Bella. I clear my throat. I promised myself I would enjoy it a moment ago, so there will be no crying. "Edward…" I almost whisper.

He smiles. Oh, how beautiful he is!

"How are you?"

I swallow the lump. "Good. You?"

"Been better." He smiles ruefully.

We stare at each other for a while. The only sound coming out of our mouths is our breaths. Yet, even that, the sound of him breathing is enough for me.

"What are you doing here?" I blurt.

"I came to see you," he replies after a pregnant pause.

"Why?"

"I had to see you."

"Why?"

"I… I needed to see you." He leans forward.

"Why?"

"I… I…" he sighs audibly and runs his free hand through his hair. I know what that means. He's frustrated, he feels awkward.

"Why, Edward?" I swallow my tears. "Why would you need to see me?" One treacherous tear escapes again, but my tongue is no longer tied. I spill everything on him: "I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Where you, rightfully, put me!" I can't hide the bitterness from my voice. There's a part of me – a part I'm desperately trying to tame – that blames him for this end. "You're free of me…now. Free of the crazy stalker that pulled the wool over your eyes. You've finally gotten rid of me. Why? Why would you need to see me? Why, Edward?" His name gets caught in my throat, but I need to tell him. He needs to know. Even if he's not real. "I was the one that had feelings. I was the one that thought we belonged together. Even though I chose the worst way to show it to you, I still loved you. I would be the one needing to see you. I'm… I'm the one that needs you...still." I practically whisper the last word, feeling ashamed at myself.

The tears have spilt. I can feel the salt stinging my cheeks, but I can't be bothered to hide them anymore. Not after I bared my soul to him.

"Fuck!" The curse is muffled from his hand that's running through his face.

"Why, Edward? Why? Why are you doing this to me? I thought I was getting better… I hate… I hate…" being a zombie, I finish in my head.

The receiver drops from my hands, and I bury my face in them crying, but not before I hear him gasp. I mourn about my immediate future. I mourn about my feelings that have not faded one bit. I mourn about the life I lost. Most of all, I mourn about the chance that we lost.

A muffled sound makes me raise my head. Edward's been hitting the glass with his own receiver. He's trying to gain my attention. He's succeeded. He waits patiently until I reestablish our communication.

"I'm sorry." He truly is; I can hear it in his voice.

I shake my head. I don't need his sorry. Not now. Not after what's happened between us. I know I'm mostly to blame. Not mostly, my conscience scolds, it's only your fault, Bella! I wasn't well, I argue internally. Hell, I'm still not well. I'm still unstable. But he… he could have handled it better. He could have…

What? she shouts at me. What could have he done? He's not a psychiatrist. How could have he known you were, and still are, crazy? Stop blaming him! This is your entire fault. You brought this on yourself.

"I really am, Bella." He takes a deep breath and continues. "I should have seen the signs. I should have helped you, instead of pushing you over. It's my fault you're here."

Is he serious? Can he read my mind? The look in his eyes is devastating. I can't let him shoulder the blame. My reason, for once, has to prevail. I can't keep letting my craziness take over.

"No, Edward. You can't blame yourself. I was the…" I can't say it. "I hurt you. What you're feeling, is normal. You've grown attached to your…" I shake my head. I'm still in denial. At least, I can see it now. "It happens all the time." He's shaking his head not accepting my words, but I'm not deterred. I continue, "I've had a lot of time in here to read, when I'm not out of it from the meds." I chuckle mirthlessly. "You should…"

"This is no Stockholm Syndrome, Bella." He cuts me off. Anger is bubbling in him. "I cared about you before anything happened. Do you remember our first night?" I nod. Do I remember? I relive that night every day in my mind. It's what grounds me, keeps me from jumping off the edge. It's what helps me. His loving looks and his tender touch that night is what makes me want to be sane. "The things I said to you back then… it was all true. The way I felt about you, from the first moment I saw you, was true. Before anything went out of control, I lo…"

"Don't!" I command harshly. "Don't say that. I can't handle that, even if it's real. Don't say that, or I'll die in here…" I begged.

"I miss you, Beautiful," he whispers. His palm is spread touching the glass.

It doesn't escape me that he used present tense. I shake my head. There's no hope for me. He just put the final nail in my coffin. I reach and touch the glass where his hand is. I try to remember what his warmth feels like.

"I miss you every single moment, but this is wrong. I'm not well, Edward. I'm crazy. I'm not good for you. I'm locked in here for hurting you, and I'm so sorry about that. I wish I could take it back. If I was normal, we would have been so happy. We would have built a life together. Now, all we have is a nightmare, and a tragic love." I see tears rolling down his eyes. "At one point we..." I give him a teary smile, and he nods in agreement. "We were so happy together."

"I've never been happier in my life," he counters.

"But I was… not well, my love." He shakes his head. I don't know if it's denial or just plain sadness. "I'm still… not well. I'm trying to get better though. And I hope… I hope I'll get out of here one day, when I'm healthy. I'll watch your beautiful face in the wide screen. I'll watch you receive award after award from my home TV set and admire you as you should be admired. You were wonderful at the OSCARs."

"No," he said adamantly.

I ignore his denial, "So eloquent, so funny."

"No, Bella…" he's trying to interrupt me, but I keep talking.

"So dashingly handsome," I continue with pride.

"And so devastatingly alone," he spits in anger before I have a chance to go on.

It's enough to silence me. No, he shouldn't be alone. This is not right. He should be happy now that he got rid of me.

"Edward…" I choke.

"Jesus, Bella!" he tugs his hair as if it's its fault for what's happening. "Don't you see? I've been alone ever since you left…"

"I was taken away, Edward!"

"Knowing that it was my doing is a cross I have to bear for the rest of my life."

"You shouldn't feel guilty. It was the right thing to do."

"Stop saying that. No matter what, you don't put away the person you claim to love."

"You can't…"

"That's what I thought. I thought I can't love an obsessed woman that kept me… I can't love a woman that had built a shrine to me and lit candles in front of my pictures like I was some Mayan god. And that was mostly true. That woman, the woman that went…"

I know he's thinking crazy, but hesitates to say it, either to spare my feelings or because he can't even accept it himself.

"That lost contact with reality, you're right, I didn't love her. There was a soft spot in me for her, but it was never love. The woman before… the girl I met at the Bowery Ballroom, the girl that spilled a drink all over me, the blushing, timid and sweet girl… that girl I loved and still do. That girl I miss every night when I'm alone in my room. No matter how hard I work, how many jobs I take, my mind never forgets her beautiful, soulful eyes."

"No, Edward… you…" I can't speak anymore my tears are taking my breath away. Mallory approaches me and before she says anything, I turn to her.

"I'm okay, please…" I beg her to let me have him. It will be the last time and even though it pains me to no end, I need him so much, even through an unbreakable, cold, glass window.

"Fine," she offers tersely. "You have ten minutes."

I nod in acquiescence and focus on Edward again.

"I can't fucking do anything right!" He bangs his fist against the small space that serves as a table in front of him.

"Mr. Cullen!" I hear the man's behind him muffled warning through Edward's end of the line.

"I'm sorry," he replies, although his eyes never leave mine and I know that apology is addressed to me. "I am so deeply sorry. I wish…"

"Stop, Edward!" I order softly. "What's done is done. Please…"

"You're right. We can't take back the past's mistakes, but we can fix the future."

Finally, he's coming to realize that he has to move on.

"I'll make you a promise, right now. The day you walk out the door of this place, I'll be outside waiting for you… to start over again… properly."

For a brief moment I wonder, which of the two of us the mentally unstable one is.

"You know that can never happen." He's about to protest. "Edward, my love, it's not realistic. We can't resume our relationship before I hurt you, and we can't start over. What I did to you… to us was unforgivable. Nothing can fix it. There's no hope for us anymore."

"Please, Beautiful," he begs.

"I'll take that image though, of you waiting for me, and cherish it. I'll bring it in the forefront of my mind on my difficult days."

"I'll wait for you. It's not an image. It's real. This I promise you." He is determined, but it would only hurt him more. I can't handle hurting him more.

"You shouldn't. Can you promise me something else, in return?"

"Anything… anything for you." I smile, remembering those words from our first night together. I can see he does too.

"Stop feeling guilty. You did the right thing. And please, please, don't come back here again."

"No, I can't make those promises."

"This is the end. Be happy. Be free. I love you. Goodbye, Edward." I kiss my palm and place it back against his against the glass. I hang up the phone and stand.

He's protesting. He's gesturing for me to pick up the receiver. He wants to talk. But there is no us anymore. There is no chance for us. He pounds against the glass, and the uniformed man behind him moves quickly towards him.

I turn to look at him one last time. His eyes are full of painful tears. I hope this is the last time I hurt him. 'I love you,' I mouth.

I feel myself shaking as Mallory escorts me back to my room.

"Are you okay, Swan?" I must look very bad if Mallory expresses concern for me. I can't speak, so I shake my head.

I'm not okay. I'm far from okay. I just said goodbye to the one person I ever loved, forever. He gave meaning to my life, made it worth living, and I willingly let him go. I even wasted the chance of having him back. So no, I'm not okay, and I never will be.

I feel my body being placed on a flat surface. I feel leather around my wrists. I feel pressure against my ankles. I feel a small prick at the inside of my elbow. And then… I feel no more.