I just need to thank a few people again. I wrote this for gemmabobella and LikeToRead22, who won a o/s in last year's FGB auction. This wasn't exactly what they wanted, but they let me run with my idea, and I'm grateful.
Thanks to Lucette212 for reading this entire thing over a weekend last year, to LikeToRead22 for being a great support and helping me write her own story, to mycrookedsmile, who has been encouraging all along, but especially today, and to arfalcon, who held my hand through the entire posting process and did a better job of promoting this story than I did.
I am so, so sorry I didn't get to respond to reviews for the last chapter. I promise to try to do better this last chapter.
Speaking of which, I'll shut up now and let you get to it. More rambling at the end.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Jasper and I talked some more but neither one of us had anything productive to offer as a solution to my problem. The only thing that was becoming clear was I needed to seriously consider my mother's offer to move to Chicago.
I thought about Bella almost constantly now, no matter how often I stayed out of the house. Dad was calling me almost daily, on my case to spend more time at home, but I had the excuse of a double course load to keep him off my back. The end of the semester would be here before I knew it and I needed to make some decisions, but I didn't feel ready quite yet. After spending so much time wishing I could make my own choices, when finally faced with something that would alter the course of my life, I was paralyzed. And the person I trusted most in the world was unavailable to me.
On a Wednesday about two weeks after the incident in the coffee shop, classes were canceled because it started to snow unexpectedly; by mid-day, there was almost six inches on the ground. I sat at home and watched the news, fascinated by the freak snowstorm we were having. There were pileups on the highway and accidents all over Seattle, so when Dad called to make sure I made it home, he told me that he wouldn't be home until the next day at the earliest. But that he was insisting Bella come home before it got too bad out.
Deciding to hide up in my room, as was my habit, I didn't realize anything was wrong until hours later when my dad called looking for Bella.
I searched the house for her, but as far as I could tell, she wasn't home.
"She left the hospital almost two hours ago," Dad said, a hint of panic in his voice.
"I should go look for her," I offered, my heart pounding and my stomach twisting in knots. It was a twenty minute trip from Seattle to Bellevue on a normal day. She should have been home by now, even accounting for the weather.
"No!" Dad exclaimed. "I don't need to be worrying about you too. I'm going to call the police. I'll call you back." He hung up the phone without waiting for me to answer. I considered going out and looking for her anyway – I didn't want her out in this alone. But I decided to at least wait to hear from my father again before I ventured out.
I alternated between pacing the floors and staring out the window for the next forty-five minutes until Dad called back. He couldn't get any action from the police department. A state of emergency had been declared in Seattle and the surrounding areas and they didn't have the manpower available to search for one person.
"That's it, I'm going," I said, searching the front hall closet for a pair of shoes suitable for snow.
"Edward, please. I'm worried enough about Bella, I don't need you in danger as well."
"Dad, I can't let–"
My words died in my throat as the front door opened and a soaking wet Bella walked through.
"She's home, Dad."
"What? She is? Put her on!"
"Not now. I'll call you back." I disconnected the call and dropped the phone on the floor. Relief flooded through me that she was alive, but taking in her appearance caused that relief to be short lived. I walked over to her and closed the front door, helping her the rest of the way into the foyer.
She was freezing and soaking wet and she nearly collapsed in my arms. I held her closely for a few minutes and she wound her arms around my neck when I picked her up and brought her upstairs to her room. I sat her gently on the bed and went into the bathroom and started a hot shower.
I went back into the bedroom and knelt in front of her, asking her if she wanted to get in the shower. Her expression was blank and she didn't answer me, but when I started to remove her wet clothes, she didn't protest. When she was stripped down to her underclothes, I stopped and took her hand, leading her to the bathroom door.
She nodded and looked up at me, moving closer and resting her head on my chest. "I'm so cold," she said, her vice barely above a whisper.
My arms went around her, giving her the warmth she needed and the comfort I craved. As much as I loved having her in my arms, I pulled away after a moment, her needs much more important than mine. "Bella, you have to get in the shower. It will warm you up. I'm going to make you some hot tea. Okay?" I looked down at her, my hand on her face, her expression sad and a little confused.
"Okay," she said, stepping away from me and into the bathroom, closing the door firmly behind her.
I went and changed out of my now wet clothes, called my father, and then put on a kettle for tea. I started a fire in the living room while I waited for the water to boil, and made her a cup of Earl Grey when the pot started to whistle. I brought it into the living room and waited for her. And waited. Just when I was starting to get worried, she came downstairs in a thick white robe, her hair wet and her face contrite.
I stood and went to her, my heart in my throat. "Are you all right?" I asked softly.
She nodded and bit her lip but wouldn't meet my gaze.
"Come and sit, I made you a cup of tea," I said, my voice shaking. "I spoke to Dad. He won't be home until sometime tomorrow, but he wants you to call him if you need anything."
She nodded again and sat on the couch, picking up her tea with a trembling hand and sipping it quietly.
"What happened?" I asked gently, sitting next to her.
"My car finally died," she whispered. "And my cell wasn't charged, so I started walking. I thought I would run into someone on the way and hitch a ride, but the roads were deserted." She closed her eyes briefly. "It was so stupid."
She looked over at me, her expression so sad it made my stomach twist up. "I could have died, Edward. I made a terrible decision and I could have died. I thought about all the things I never got to say...or do. There aren't many things I regret, but here are some," she said softly, cuddling closely to my side.
I didn't know if it was for warmth anymore or just for the contact, but I welcomed it no matter the reason. Before long she moved her hand so it was resting on my chest and her legs were suddenly draped across mine. She moved her hand slowly up my chest and to my neck, finally resting in the hair at the back of my neck.
I was paralyzed; my heart was beating rapidly in my chest and it was becoming difficult to breathe. The feel of her soft hands on me was heaven. I knew it was wrong but there was no way I was capable of asking her to stop.
Soon she was on her knees, straddling my lap, her face inches from mine, her hand tugging at the hair at the back of my neck.
I knew my eyes were wide and surprised, but I couldn't help it. I was in shock.
"Please tell me you feel it too," she said, her tone pleading. "It's not just me, is it?"
"It's not just you," I said softly. "You're...God, Bella..."
"You're so beautiful," she whispered, her lips so close to mine I could feel her words.
When her lips met mine they were warm and soft and eager. One of my hands was on her hip, the other in her hair.
I opened my mouth slightly and we both whimpered when our tongues touched for the first time. My body was on fire. I thought briefly of my father, but quickly put him from my mind. I wanted this and I would deal with the ramifications later. For now, she wanted me to love her and her breath was sweet and the way her lips molded to mine was perfect.
We eventually broke our kiss and our foreheads rested together. She looked me directly in the eye before grabbing the hem of my shirt and pulling it over my head. I undid the belt of her robe and slowly slid it down her shoulders, my hands shaking. The robe fell to her waist and I softly kissed her shoulder, marveling at how soft and perfect her skin was.
Her forehead rested on my shoulder as I continued to kiss her shoulders and neck, my hands traveling from her arms to the outside of her breasts. I ran my thumbs gently over the nipples and she gasped loudly, her hips moving against my rock hard erection.
"Oh God," she said softly, her warm breath washing over my chest, making me shudder.
I moved one of my hands to the back of her head and led her lips to mine. As our tongues met and moved together, her hands blazed a trail of heat across my chest and down to my abdomen. She ran her fingers under the waistband of my pants, moving back and forth, making my muscles clench.
Then she popped the top button of my jeans and I was so turned on that I started shaking.
My head fell back onto the couch, my breathing heavy and my heart pounding. She continued to undo my jeans until all the buttons were open, and she grasped the waistband, pulling them down.
I gasped when my hard cock met the air, and then I stopped breathing when I felt her heat above me. I took a deep breath and the next thing I knew, I was enveloped in her warmth.
"Oh my God," I groaned into her neck, holding her hips tightly. This felt too good. It was my fantasy becoming reality but nothing my mind could have conjured could match this.
Her moan was so deep that I felt it in my toes. She started moving up and down, grasping the hair at the back of my neck, her lips on mine.
"Oh God," she said. "You feel so good."
Her hands rested on my shoulders and her forehead touched mine as she moved herself over me. I was almost paralyzed with how good it felt, my hands resting on her hips, my breathing heavy. I met the thrust of her hips with my own and sought her lips, kissing her softly on the mouth.
I started to feel tight in my groin and I knew I would come soon. But I desperately wanted her to climax first, so I grasped her hips tighter and moved more forcefully inside her. She gasped and moaned loudly, her mouth opening in a silent cry. I moved my thumb and touched her clit, making her throw her head back and dig her nails in my shoulders.
"Oh, Edward," she shouted, her walls clamping around me as she came. I was right behind her, coming so intensely I saw stars behind my eyes.
Her head rested on my shoulder, her hands around my neck; her breathing was labored, her body slick with sweat.
She lifted her head and as she gently toyed with the hair at the back of my head, resting her forehead against mine.
"Tell me again," she whispered. "Please tell me you feel it too."
I tilted my head and pulled back from her slightly so I could look in her eyes. "Of course I do," I said, running a thumb under her big brown eyes. "I think I felt it the minute I met you."
She nodded her head and kissed me softly on the mouth while I tugged at my pants to pull them up. I grabbed her around the waist and picked her up, carrying her up the stairs, our mouths never losing contact.
I laid her on my bed and kissed her softly and slowly, enjoying every inch of her soft curves. I licked her slowly between her legs, the motion of her hips against my face matching my movements exactly. I wanted this feeling to last forever. She was eventually writhing and shaking on the bed, a deep moan coming from her as her orgasm was drawn out.
"Oh my God," she said. "Holy shit...that was...my God, Edward."
I was so hard I couldn't wait to be inside her again. I crawled up her body and positioned myself between her legs, looking for and finding permission to make love to her again.
I very slowly entered her, wanting to relish the feeling of her for as long as possible. I rested my forehead against hers and kissed her softly. "You feel so good," I said against her lips. "I didn't know it could be like this."
She wrapped her legs around my waist and pulled at the back of my hair. "Me either. God, you feel incredible."
I made love to her slowly and when she called my name as she came, I thought I would never hear a more satisfying, beautiful sound.
She shivered under me as we came down from our love making and I remembered she had been through a traumatic experience just a few hours ago. I pulled her close so her head rested against my chest and put a warm blanket around us. She was asleep almost immediately.
I laid there holding her in my arms, part of me feeling warm and content and right, but knowing that it would end here, one way or the other.
If I stayed, I wouldn't be able to stay way from her. We would do this again and again because the pull was too strong and it felt too good. I didn't know if I was in love with her, but even if I wasn't, it wouldn't be long before I was.
She could still save her marriage to my father. She could move on and forget about me and resume her life as if this never happened. She could be the companion my father needed and they could grow old together without me around to interfere.
I had nothing to offer her. I was a nineteen year old kid who was still in college. I wanted to finish my degree and be a musician. What was I going to have her do, support me through school? It was a ridiculous dream. I needed to grow up; life wasn't a fairy tale. She was a grown woman and married to my father. My father, who I'd already hurt with my actions, whether he knew it or not. I couldn't continue to betray him.
My stomach hurt when I thought about leaving my home. But my logical mind knew there was no other solution. There was no good outcome to any of this, so my decision made, I laid there with her for as long as I could, trying to imprint the feel of her on my body and on my mind. I didn't ever want to forget.
She stayed in my arms the entire night and when dawn broke over the horizon, I kissed her softly and called her name.
She sighed sweetly and pressed herself closer to me, mumbling my name in her sleep.
My chest ached, but I had to get her out of here before my father came home, and I had preparations to make.
"Come on, Bella, wake up," I said softly, running my hand gently across the smooth skin of her face and through her hair. "I don't want you to go, but Dad will be home soon." I didn't want to bring up my father, but I needed something to break through the cloud of her sleep.
That did it. She picked up her head, looked at me and smiled softly before her eyes got wide and she realized where she was and who she was with. Her hand flew to her mouth and she sat up. "Oh my God."
"Yeah," I said, sitting up with my elbows on my bent knees.
"I... oh, no."
"Yeah," I said again.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have... oh God. What have we done?"
I got up and put my boxers on, then went to go get her a robe, which she took gratefully.
"I'm leaving," I said softly.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I'm going to go live with my mother."
"I'll tell Dad when he comes home," I said, pulling on a t-shirt.
"I... I have no idea what to say or do right now," she said, sitting on the bed and looking up at me with wide eyes.
"I don't want to drive you away. Carlisle is going to be heartbroken when you leave."
"I can think of something more heartbreaking."
"I'm not sure that's true," she said softly.
"There's really nothing else to say. This is the right thing to do," I said with finality. Because as much as my stomach hurt and my head was pounding and the thought of leaving her made me want to curl up in a ball and cry, there was no choice. We had no future together and she was my father's wife. What we had already done was bad enough. We couldn't allow it to happen again.
She nodded and got up to leave the room, but stopped in the doorway and turned to me.
"I don't..." She closed her eyes and shook her head. "I don't regret it. I want to, but I can't. And I wish things were different."
"Me, too," I said, wanting so badly to just go to her and hug her and kiss her and make love to her just one more time.
Instead, I turned away from her and picked up my phone to call my mother.
"What happened?" my father asked, clearly bewildered at the fact that I was in my room packing when he came home from work.
"Nothing," I snapped. "I just need to get out of here. My flight is booked for later today. Mom's trying to make arrangements for me to finish out the semester at Northwestern. If she can't finagle it, I'll just take the semester off and start again in the spring."
"Edward, what – I don't understand."
"I know you don't, Dad. But trust me, this is for the best."
She was there, right outside the room, listening to us. But I didn't look at her and she didn't say anything. What could she say? She knew as well as I did that this was the only solution.
"Edward, goddammit. You can't just leave like this!"
"Wanna bet? You fucking watch me," I said angrily. This was too much. I was doing this for him, whether he realized it or not, and here he was pushing me to stay.
I turned from him and started picking books from my shelf and throwing them in a suitcase.
He grabbed my arm and I spun to face him.
"You need to do better than this," he demanded.
"I'm sick of you and your fucking rules, how about that?" I shouted. "Mom will let me do what I want and not get in my way. She won't take the things I want from me and try to make me something I'm not."
He looked hurt and confused; I was helping him, not hurting him, but he would never understand that. So I softened my voice and put my hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry," I said, apologizing for so much more than leaving without a good explanation.
"We can talk about school, Edward. Please, I don't want you to go," he pleaded.
I hadn't felt so close to crying since I was a child. Not only was I a shitty son for doing what I did with Bella, but I was piling lie upon lie and hurting him in ways I never intended. I took a deep breath and choked back my tears, not wanting to break the facade I had created.
"I want to go," I said firmly and convincingly, looking him straight in the eye.
He nodded but the bewildered look on his face remained. "I need to call the hospital to leave orders on a couple of patients, but I'll be ready in half an hour to drive you to the airport," he said dejectedly.
"I can take a cab."
"No. Absolutely not. I'm letting you leave with that shitty explanation, but I am taking you to the airport," he said angrily, turning around and storming out of the room.
I continued to pack with my back to the door, and Bella.
"You don't have to do this," she whispered.
"Of course I do," I said, my voice clipped. "I won't hurt him anymore and I know you don't want to either. This is the only solution." I was keyed up from a sleepless night, too much coffee, and the dread I felt at what was happening to my life. If I allowed myself to stop and think about it, about leaving my home and my father and losing Bella, I didn't think I would be able to function well enough to make it out the door.
I laughed bitterly and turned to look at her. "Really?" I asked, moving close to her. "Are you sure?" I dropped my voice and brought my lips to hers, close but not touching. So close...
She whimpered and my breath caught. I turned away and stuffed clothes into my duffel bag, speaking softly. "Even with the best of intentions, you know as well as I do we can't live in the same house and go back to the way things were before last night."
"I know. You're right. I just don't want to be responsible for driving you out of your home and for coming between you and your father."
"It's too late for that. But it's as much my fault as it is yours. Look, don't worry about me. My mom is happy to have me and I'll be fine there. I have some friends and I even met a girl when I was there over the summer."
I heard her breath hitch and a soft sniffle, and I felt like crying myself.
"Please don't cry," I said, my arms dropping to my sides. This was all awful enough without her crying – my nerves were already shot. I just needed to make it out of the house and to my mother's. Short term goals seemed wise.
"Did you say that to hurt me?" she asked, still sniffling.
"I don't know. Maybe," I answered honestly, picking up my bag and throwing some socks in. "But you'll be here with your husband and I won't sit around pining for you."
"I don't expect you to," she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
I nodded my head and kept packing. She watched me for another minute before turning and leaving, closing her bedroom door softly behind her.
I didn't see her again before Dad and I left for the airport. He pleaded with me until I passed through security to stay and talk to him, to work out whatever my problem was so I wouldn't leave. But he was met with short answers or stony silence. If I talked to him I was afraid of what I would say. Or confess.
When the plane took off, I allowed some of the tears I had been holding in to fall.
But tears wouldn't change my situation. I was leaving behind everything I'd ever known to protect the man who gave me everything. I had betrayed him in the worst possible way and even though I couldn't go back and change what I'd done, I could give him this.
My happiness for his.
I'm not generally one for explaining; I prefer the writing to speak for itself. But I'd like to share with you my intent for this story. I'm not a fan of the Carlisle/Bella pairing – at all. What I wanted to do was give Edward and Bella that overpowering, undeniable (canon) attraction, and put them in a situation where it was virtually impossible for them to act on it. I wanted to explore how they would react, what they would and wouldn't allow themselves to do, what they were willing to sacrifice, and what the moral implications would be if they did decide to give in.
So there you have it.
I've been asked about a sequel. The truth is I don't know how much more fan fiction I'll write, and this story was always meant to end here. But I'm very attached to these characters and I'd like to see them happy. So the sequel answer is... maybe. I'm sorry I can't do better than that.
Thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, and rec'd this story. Maybe I'll see you again.
Now go read Dear Mr. Masen. It'll cheer you up.