This was the outtake I offered up for the Fandom for Texas Wildfire Relief compilation. For those of you who donated and already received this: first thank you for supporting a worthy cause, and second- nothing here has been changed from that submission, so read only if you want too.
For everyone else, this takes places after Bella and Edward have their first night together (chapter 9).
The room is dark, and I try to keep from making any noise as I shuffle around, removing my scrub top as I walk on soundless feet to the ensuite bathroom.
Once I've closed the door with a near silent click, I flip on the light switch, and wince as the harsh bulbs burn my retinas with their blinding light. Blinking, I walk to the shower and turn the dials, attempting to find a perfect temperature. Once I'm satisfied, steam billowing out in soft waves, I step back and pull the wrinkled scrub pants down my legs, red boxer briefs in tow.
I keep my eyes averted from the mirror above sink as I give my teeth a quick brush, not wanting to see the man staring back at me. I'm afraid he would be someone unrecognizable to me tonight.
A quick rinse and spit, I move back to the shower and step in, letting the hot water run over my shoulders, back, and chest. It feels good, the muscles loosening and relaxing from the heavy pounding of water as I roll my shoulders and twist my back before tipping my head down into the spray.
My hands find the tiles and I brace myself there, wishing the mangled thoughts in my brain could be washed down the drain as easily as the water, since I'm having a fuck-all time of figuring the mess out.
I can't believe this is how things have turned out; never thought I would be what I am now.
I cheated on my fiancée.
"Shit," I mutter under my breath, disgusted with the way the words taste on my tongue, and unable to bring myself to even same them out loud, though they still remain true.
I have never been one of those men who could use a woman for physical pleasure, and then toss her aside after I'd gotten mine. Sex was more to me than just an act, it meant something. It meant there was a connection between me and my partner, an expression of our feelings for one another. It wasn't something I'd ever taken lightly, and still don't.
I'd never been tempted to cheat before either, never felt the urge. I've always prided myself on being the type of man who would end a relationship before letting something let that happen.
I never wanted to hurt someone I cared about in that way, not when ending things, though possibly painful, could save them from feeling betrayed.
But after last night, I can't claim to be that good guy anymore.
Because I cheated. And the worst part is knowing I'd do it again.
With Bella, I'd do it all over again.
And that was the problem, isn't it? I never could get past my feelings for that infuriating, confusing, mistrusting, sweet, kind, caring, selfless woman.
Sure, I'd tried to stuff them down over the past few years, moved on when it was clear she wasn't interested. But even then, I'd kept her close. Did my best to stay within arm's length of her, on the edge of friendship.
Hell, it's why I started dating Rosalie in the first place. I wanted to be in Bella's life, in any way possible. And as stupid as I could see it was now, I figured dating her best friend would be the way to do it.
Of course I never figured things would get this far with Rose. Three years into a relationship, sharing an apartment with plans to spend our life together- ring on her finger and all, was never part of my bullshit idea.
Hell, dating Rose was never really my goal to begin with, but the night I'd planned to spill my feelings to Bella, everything got turned upside down and inside out, and before I'd even known what hit me, Rose was there, pushing her way into my life with Bella encouraging it, or so it seemed.
I'll never forget that night, and how it radically changed every plan I'd made. How I went from feeling like I was finally getting my chance to have the girl of my dreams, to watching her slip out of my hands as she pushed me into the arms of her friend instead.
I close my eyes and let the memory of that fateful night drift to the forefront of my mind as the water continues to pour around me.
The hospital was hosting a Halloween party at a bar in Greenwich for all the med students and interns, and though I hated having to dress up for these stupid things, I was here. I only agreed to come to this damn thing because Bella begged me.
She promised it would be a good time, that she had something she wanted to talk to me about.
That was all I'd needed to hear. Finally, after crushing on this girl for the past two years, we were going to talk.
Bella and I meet on the first official day of lectures for med school and I had been instantly taken with her. Not that I could do anything about it at the time since I was in a relationship with Savannah, my college sweetheart. But there was something about Bella, her messy pony tail, the over-flowing, tattered messenger bag she carried around like a shield and the thick, black frame glasses she hid her beautiful brown eyes behind that reeled me in, even then.
She'd first had problems getting into the building with her access card and then her laptop died half-way through lecture that day. I'd already helped her into the building earlier, and when I'd seen her frustration with the laptop, I offered her mine, even though it meant I'd be behind. I wasn't too worried because it was only the first day, and since I'd been raised a gentleman, I made a joke about having a photographic memory and urged her to use mine.
After that day, we'd become fast friends and study partners. She was so smart, albeit a little klutzy and forgetful when it came to the day to day things. But she could hold her own with the material; challenge me to be a better student even though it came easily to me. She'd wrinkle her little nose and scrunch her eyes behind those glasses, giving me a look of condescension when I was working half assed.
I found myself thinking more often of her during the days and nights, even when we weren't together, than I was of my girlfriend. It didn't help that Savannah had gone back to Georgia for graduate school and I was in New York, the distance putting a heavy strain on our relationship.
And when things were so carefree and easy with Bella, it all ended up being too much. Savannah and I mutually broke up about four months ago and I'd been taking it easy since then, trying to gauge Bella's feelings for me, if she had any at all.
She was hard to pin, a little question mark on a blank page outside of class. Some days I'd catch her looking at me with longing eyes and a soft smile, quickly followed by her sweet blush when she realized I'd caught her. Then other days, it was if I was a brick wall, an obstacle she needed to get around to get down her path in life, a nuisance and an annoyance.
I fucking hated those days.
But lately, she'd had a spring in her step and a smile on her face whenever she'd see me. I think it had to do with a conversation we'd had recently after a study session in the library. She'd stopped wearing her glasses, opting for contacts instead. And though I'd miss the unique frames that were so Bella, I loved having nothing between her soulful eyes and mine.
She'd turned three shades of red and back after I'd complimented her, telling me I shouldn't say such things when I had a girl of my own. After I'd told her about the recent spilt, she seemed crestfallen for a few seconds before a blank mask slipped on. She worried I was upset, so like her, and after I reassured her that although I'd loved Savannah, it just wasn't meant to be, Bella perked up.
That's when she'd told me about this damn party and insisted I come. I couldn't refuse her, the hopeful spark in her eye or the bashful smile on her full lips. I'd do anything for this girl.
So now I'm waiting for her to arrive, nervously pulling at the tie around my neck and adjusting the dark fedora on my head, the trench coats' collar flipped up in the back. Bella once mentioned a love of classic movies, and I couldn't resist dressing up as one of the most iconic characters in classic film tonight, hoping she'd understand I'd done it for her, and what it could mean for the future.
Our future, hopefully.
I'm sipping a cup of fruit punch (not spiked, sadly) when the current in the room shifts, the energy all seeming to divert and accumulate in the area behind me. I know what that means, the signal a now familiar tingling in my gut.
I turn towards the door of the bar, my body freezing and breath halting once I see her.
She's perfect, standing in the door frame with the city lights glowing softly behind her, highlighting the slim curves and dips of her frame. I gulp, my gaze never faltering from taking her in.
Where so many women use this 'holiday' for an excuse to dress slutty, putting on display all the private bits of themselves for anyone to see in a misguided belief it makes them sexy, Bella has taken a different approach. She's wearing a long, black ball gown that hugs her body perfectly, though as she makes her way towards me I can see a long slit is cut up the side, showcasing her toned, creamy thigh as she glides across the floor in her heels. Long black gloves up to her elbows tuck the curled mess of dark brown locks behind her ears, though they fall free along her shoulders soon after. Her face is radiant, simple make-up except for the painted red lips, which are stretched into a wide smile as she comes to stand before me.
"Fancy seeing a gentleman like you here," she teases, the sparkle in her deep brown eyes pulling a smile from me.
"And you, dear Gilda," I say, giving her a wink as I take her hand and place a kiss on her gloved knuckles. As if I wouldn't know that fictional beauty's look anywhere. Red wasn't the only one who liked "that shit she does with her hair."
"You know!" Bella beams, "No one else has had a clue!"
"That's a shame; you are as inspiring and stunning as Rita Hayworth ever was."
The blush I love so much flushes her cheeks, and she ducks her chin, a smile still visible though she's trying to hide it. "Thank you."
"So who are you posing as tonight?" she questions a few moments later, looking at me from head to toe. I can't help but puff up my chest and hope she likes what she's seeing.
"You don't want to guess?"
"Hmm…" she murmurs, tapping her finger against her chin playfully. "Well, I know this isn't what Luke Skywalker wears, so I'm guessing Star Wars is out…"
It's my turn to feel embarrassed, having recently shared my passion for those films with Bella during that same study session break we talked about her favorite movies. We'd been swapping stories of some of our favorite childhood memories and I told her about how special I'd felt when my father took the time out of his busy schedule to watch them with me. It was one of the rare times we spent just he and I, no pressure and obligations other than to enjoy each other. And that was why I'd dressed up as the lead character for Halloween several years afterwards, which I'd told Bella about.
"No, no Star Wars costume this year," I agree.
"Well then… maybe Superman?" she guesses, scrunching her nose up.
I laugh and shake my head. "I'm not wearing a cape, Bella."
"I know, I thought maybe you were posing as Clark Kent…"
She shrugs dismissively, and studies me harder, her forehead crinkling in concentration. I decide to give her a break and offer a small clue. Leaning in close, I use my hand to lift her chin and give her an intense look before gruffly speaking.
"Here's looking at you, kid."
Bella's eyes flash up to mine, wide with surprise and delight as she gasps. "Rick Blaine!"
I laugh, releasing her face and nodding.
"Wow," I hear her softly say, and though I think it was intended to go unnoticed, it doesn't. And it makes my heart fucking swell in my chest knowing she likes what she's seeing. Which is perfect, since it is all for her anyway.
"So Miss Gilda," I say, taking her arm. "Shall we find a seat and have a drink?"
Grinning, Bella nods. "Yes, Rick darling, that's a wonderful idea. Lead the way."
Laughing, arms linked, we maneuver our way around the small crowd and to a booth in the back. I offer to grab her a glass of punch, and then we spend some time catching up on each other's week. We've been in different rotations at the hospital for our clinicals, and haven't gotten to speak with each other as much as usual. It's wonderful to hear her talk about her experiences though, the passion and love she has for her work clear in her eyes and animated expressions.
It's so easy to let the rest of the world fade away when Bella and I are talking, getting lost in each other's stories and hospital adventures. I've never had a similar experience with another woman, and it proves to me even more how right things could be between us. How could it not, when she's the most important thing in my world? So much so that everything else ceases to exist in her presence?
I'm not sure I can hold back from telling her how I feel, about the overwhelming need I have to hold her each night, kiss her awake each morning, fix her lunch so I know she's eating, and offer to comfort her when she loses a patient. I want to know what it feels like to have every inch of her skin pressed against mine, to hear the sighs and moans she makes when in the depths of her pleasure, see the look of ecstasy on her face when I push her over the edge of desire.
"So Edward," Bella says, pulling me back from my thoughts. "I wanted to talk with you about something," she begins, nervously chewing on her lip.
This is it. We're finally going to lay the cards out there. I only hope lady luck favors me tonight.
"Of course, Bella. You can talk to me about anything, I hope you know that." I reach for her hand, cradling it in mine and though the satin is nice, I wish it was her warm skin I was touching.
"Well... I'm not sure… it's just that…" she huffs, annoyed with herself for being unable to get out what she wants to say. I smile softly, brushing my fingers against her palm and wait for her to find her words. "Edward, I need to confess something."
I give her a crooked smile, hoping it will ease her fears. "Okay, I'm listening."
Taking a deep breath before exhaling, Bella opens her mouth to begin. "You know you are one of my best friends here in the City, right?" Pausing for my answer, Bella goes on when I nod. "And, well… I just hated seeing how unhappy you were with Savannah, and I'm so glad she's gone now," Bella rushes, her cheeks filling with color at the sharp tone in her voice when she speaks about my ex but she quickly goes on, not letting me cut in. "Because when you're happy, I'm happy. And you've done so much for me since we met, helping me with school and always saying and doing nice things for me."
"That's because you deserve them," I break up her rambling, not letting her downplay her worth as she is known to do.
Rolling her eyes, she shakes her head and goes on. "Yes, well… I just want you to know that I don't know what I'd do without you in my life. You … you mean so much to me. Probably more than you should. And I know I'm not the most beautiful girl or anything, but I just… Edward, you're so wonderful and I can't help…"
I don't need to hear more, I take that little bit of hope she's just given me and decide to run with it. I'm going to tell her everything, right now and pray I haven't read this wrong.
"Bella! There you are! I've been looking everywhere for you," a grating male voice calls, cutting me off. Mike Newton.
Resident prick and know-it-all. What the fuck is he doing here? And more importantly why the hell does he have his arm over my Bella?
"I've missed you, babe," Newton says before attempting to kiss Bella's mouth but she moves, leaving him with her cheek instead.
I'm shocked by the display, my mouth falling open and my body going slack. Bella's hand falls from mine and she shrinks back into her seat, her eyes seeming to be shocked and desperate as she looks at me. But I don't know what she's getting at or what she's attempting to tell me because I'm to lost in the haze of jealous green and confused gray that's swirling around me.
"Hey Cullen," Newton acknowledges me, though it's clear he is less than pleased to see me. "I appreciate you keeping my girl company but I can take it from here," he dismisses me.
What the ever loving fuck?
How is this possible? Wasn't she trying to tell me she had feelings for me? I was so sure…
"Mike, don't be rude," Bella chastises him, attempting to put distance between their bodies, but failing since Mike has such a strong hold on her shoulders. "I think I need a new drink, would you...?"
"Damn, Bella. Already ordering me around, huh? Well, I guess this is the only time you can, since I'm in charge everywhere else," he gives her a lascivious wink and it makes my stomach revolt. Mike laughs and squeezes Bella close, whispering something in her ear that makes her cheeks flush, and my stomach rolls again before he leaves the booth.
"Bella?" I question after the creature is gone.
"Edward, I don't… this isn't what it looks like," she begins, her eyes frantically searching mine for understanding. I don't have any though, because I'm thoroughly confused.
"Tell me what it is then," I demand. My pride is really taking a hit here, especially when I was seconds away from spilling my heart out to her.
"Edward, I didn't know Mike was coming and I didn't know you'd be… I never thought," she rambles.
"Are you dating him?" I ask her, unable to wait for her to make her point.
"Yes, no.. I don't know."
"It's not hard to know," I close my eyes and lean my head back, blown away by her response. I can't believe I've missed my chance with her. "Your resident, Bella? Really? Shit." My anger is flaring, and I can't hold it back.
I'm angry she is being so reckless with her career and education. And because if she's with Mike, then she can't be with me.
"Edward, no! It wasn't like that, isn't like that. It was just a few dinners, and I didn't know about you, but now I do and I—"
"Fuck!" Bella groans, her frantic explanation crashing to a halt. My eyes snap up to her. She's slumped over in defeat, her shoulders folding in and her hands covering her head briefly. I want to reach out and touch her, offer her some comfort but I'm still so surprised and confused that she is dating her resident, I don't.
"Bellsie, I've been calling you all night! Why haven't you been answering?" a blonde woman asks, her hands on her hips as she comes to a stop at our booth. I've never seen the woman before, and I'm sure I would remember.
She attractive, I have to admit, but in a rather obvious and trying sort of way. Long legs encased in fishnet stockings, a slim waist, and huge tits (which are probably not real) barely covered by the black corset-style costume she's wearing. She's got a nice face, full pink lips, a straight nose and hazel brown eyes all painted in heavy make-up. Her long blonde hair curls over her shoulders, with bunny ears resting on top. She is the epitome of the Playboy Bunny and many a man's sexy fantasy, but I'm not interested.
I prefer brunettes.
One particular brunette who is currently avoiding my eyes, and no longer smiling the happy, carefree smile from a short while ago. Before Mike showed up and this night took a sharp turn into Fucked-upville.
"Hey Rose," Bella greets the blonde, and I can hear the defeat in her voice. "I'm sorry I missed your calls, I've just been chatting with Edward."
Rose, who I know is Bella's best friend from back home and new to New York, turns to me. She eyes me carefully, smirking as she takes me in and I can't help but worry over the lustful gleam in her eyes.
"So this is Eddie, huh?" Rose says to Bella, but never takes her eyes off of me. "He is sexy, Bellsie, you're right."
I look past Rose to Bella and find her blushing. I can't help but give her my crooked smile, the one only she brings out. "You think I'm sexy?" I tease, forgetting everything else for a moment.
"Of course she does, Eddie," Rose jumps in, not letting Bella speak. "Why else would she spend so much time with you?" She laughs and plops down beside me, her thigh pressed close to mine. "Now the question is, do you think the same of our fair Bella?"
Seeing an opportunity to maybe have things turn around, I quickly agree. "She's gorgeous."
Bella's blush deepens and she tucks her head into her chest before looking back up to me, a small but happy smile on her face. "Thank you."
"See! I told you, Bella. Men think you're hot. You've just got to work it, girl."
"Whatever you say, Rose," Bella flippantly replies.
It's that moment Mike shows back up, drinks in hand. He slides in beside Bella, dropping her cup in front of her without a word once he sees Rose beside me. "Well, who is this sexy thing?"
"Rosalie Hale. And you are?" Rose asks, eyebrow arched high.
"Mike Newton, Chief Resident at Morgan Stanley, and Bella's boyfriend."
"Boyfriend? Really?" Rose asks, surprised as she looks between Bella and me. Yeah, I'm still shocked too, Rose. "Well, that's news to me."
Bella and Rose then have some sort of silent girls only conversation, sharp looks and raising eyebrows followed by pursed lips and ticks of jaws before it seems to be resolved. I'm still shocked at Mike's claims of being Bella's boyfriend to try to decipher them.
"Well, I guess that leaves you and me to entertain each other, Eddie," Rose chirps, her hand clasping my forearm.
"Psssh.. Edward is so uptight and boring. Eddie is more fun, and you look like you could use some fun in your life," Rose explains, her smile wide and playful. I glance at Bella who is watching our interaction with interest, at least until Mike pulls her face to him and attacks her mouth with his. It's more than I can bare and so I turn back to Rose, giving her my full attention.
"I do, huh? What can of fun do you think I need?" I ask with a smile.
"Oh, I'd say the kind only a woman like me can provide," she flirts, batting her eyelashes. A quick peak across the table shows me Bella is watching, a hurt look on her face that makes me feel guilty, so I ease back a little on the flirtation.
The four of us spend the next hour chatting and joking around, though I'm doing my best to hold back from punching Mike each time he touches Bella. Rose is doing a decent job of distracting me, though I'm not really interested. The weight on my chest lightens considerable when Mike gets paged and has to leave for work, leaving me with the two beautiful women.
"This party is lame, let's go have an adventure!" Rose exclaims some time later, tugging on my arm.
"I don't think I'm up for staying out much longer," Bella says.
"Oh come on, Bellsie! Don't be a stick in the mud. This is New York- the city that never sleeps! We've got to live it up while we can," Rose shouts, smile wide and infectious. She really is a fun girl from what I've seen so far tonight.
"No, I don't think so." Bella declines politely.
"Fine, then Eddie will go with me, won't you Eddie?"
I don't really feel like doing anything else tonight, but going home to an empty apartment doesn't sound much better. Still, I'd rather stay here and finish having that conversation with Bella from before, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen as she is gathering her things to leave.
"I guess I could…"
"Great! It's settled."
"Alright, well… you two have fun," Bella mumbles, standing up and heading towards the exit. Her face is a blank mask with a forced smile that Rose doesn't seem to notice but I do. Once Bella has stepped outside, I decided I can't let her leave with things like they are between us.
"Rose, I'm just going to make sure Bella catches a cab," I quickly tell her, not waiting for a response before rushing outside.
Once I'm outside, I spot Bella climbing into a cab and rush over, grabbing the door and holding it open.
"Bella," I pant, slightly out of breath. "Are you sure you won't come with us? I'd really like to talk some more."
Bella looks at me, a thousand different emotions shimmering in her dark eyes, her lips firmly griped by her teeth. "What else is there to say, Edward?"
What else? How about the million silent things we've left unspoken between us? How about how I want you with me tonight, not Rose? I don't want to spend a night out in New York with your friend when I could be snuggled up beside you in my bed instead.
I can't manage to say any of those things though, only stutter out a few words.
"Don't worry about it, Edward. Go and have fun with Rose. She's a great girl," she says, her eyes giving nothing away. "I'm sure you'll love her."
"Yeah, she is great but you could go with us, Bella. You'd make it more fun."
Bella just smiles half-heartdly, already seeming resigned to something I don't know about. "No, I'm just going to go sleep, rest up for my rotations tomorrow. You and Rose enjoy your night, though."
I wait, hoping she'll see how much I don't want to go without her, but Bella continues to ignore my pleading eyes. Sighing, I ask one more time.
"Bella, are you sure?"
"I'm sure. Go have fun with Rose, Edward and be happy." With that, she closes the door and the cab drives away.
The memory of that night is vivid, still stinging with the rejection I felt. Now, the pain is doubled when I think of the rejection from this morning at Bella's hand.
God, how I wanted her to tell me to stop that night, not go with Rose. That it was her I should have been with, that she didn't want Mike but me. Instead, she pushed me to go out with Rose, 'have fun and be happy.' And when I'd seen Bella next, she'd seemed overjoyed that Rose and I had a good time together, excited I might be dating her best friend.
Shortly after that was when my fucked up plan came about. If I couldn't have Bella, I'd settle for having her in my life somehow. Rose was the easiest avenue to that end, so I took it. I never expected things to get this far, though I have really grown to love Rose. Maybe not with my whole heart, but I do love her. Though I've noticed a few changes in her personality since we got engaged, she's still my fiancée and deserves to be treated as such. She shouldn't have to question my feelings for her, or my faithfulness.
She never would have a reason to, before last night.
But honestly, if last night proved anything, it's that I don't love Rose nearly half as much as I love Bella.
A shudder runs down my body with that realization, and I chalk it up to the cooling temperature. I hustle through the rest of my shower routine, and then I reach over and twist the shower dial, turning the water off before I step out, and grab a white towel of the rack. After I give myself a quick dry, I wrap the towel around my waist and walk back into the bedroom.
It's still dark and oddly, quiet. My mind was so preoccupied with thoughts of my night with Bella, worries of the future colliding with memories of the past that I hadn't noticed I didn't hear Rosalie's snoring.
Not that she'd ever admit to it (too indelicate for her), but the woman has a snoring problem. It's not like a chainsaw or freight train, but it's distinct enough that I had trouble sleeping those first few months of our relationship. It took some adjusting for me to ignore it, but it seems now I'm so use to it, I can just tune it out. But as I step closer to the bed, I see the covers are still tucked tightly, pillows unmoved from when I made the bed last.
Hmm, I wonder where she is. It's not unusual for me to stay a night at the hospital for my on call duties, but I've never noticed Rose being gone so much before like she has the last few weeks.
Shrugging, I figure it must be the new promotion she got at work keeping her away. She may have decided to stay with Vera after a late night at the office, or for an early weekend shopping trip. That has been known to happen.
I'm actually grateful for the reprieve, not wanting to have to face her after my mind has been caught up in memories of Bella's body all day. It didn't take any convincing on my part to have Rose believe I was at the hospital last night when I called her this morning, and I should feel worse for lying to her about my whereabouts than I do.
But if last night was the only night I'll ever get with Bella, a woman I've wanted for the past five years, then I'll take it.
I do feel guilty about cheating, but as I toss my towel, pull back the covers of the bed and slip in naked, I can't find it in myself to regret it.
Even though it breaks my heart to known she did, I never will.
A/N: I hope to have at least 1 or 2 more outtakes: a futuretake of Daddyward and a possible Rose POV. If you're interested, don't take me/TH&TH off alert just yet. ;) And as always, thanks for reading!