Chapter 1, I Found a Boy

from Bella…

Three blocks up, two over led me to a moss green painted door with a wide glass window. Feathering fingers through newly tousled layers, I licked chilled lips from the brisk autumn evening. I roamed briefly over the framed menu and entertainment schedule taped to the window under the silver painted hours of operation.

"Welcome to Breeze, how many?"

"Three," I answered the young blonde at the black varnished desk serving as a hostess stand. Shuffling a list too long to note, she sighed. "But they're not here yet; I'm early… which is amazing." I giggled, she stared. "Can I just wait in the bar?"

"Sure, it might be like an hour anyway. What's your name?"


I hung my cream wool jacket on the back of the last stool available. Sliding into the tall leather chair, I quickly assessed the wine list. Glancing down the exposed brick wall that bordered the bar area, I searched. Desperate for sweet and crisp, it was my selfish evening to refresh. I waved towards a young bartender at the end.

I savored the first smooth taste while the hip, pierced guy who served it lingered. Sensing his attention, I shifted, tightening the zippers on my heeled boots. I forced attention everywhere but there, until masculine laughter drew me back. And then there were two. One familiar, the other new, wearing a smile that consumed. Our eyes met then parted, mine down, his to the bartender. The wine warmed, his smile burned.

I twisted my mouth, casually peeking again. His dark denim contrasted the stark white on top, unbuttoned one too many. Sleeves rolled once… maybe twice, bared strong, capable arms. When he angled his head and smirked, I shyly focused on the shine and glow of his large silver watch. He dusted over the lacquered pine bar with black terry cloth. His hands mesmerized, moments passed, then words… "Another?" He offered easy. As my mouth parted to answer, I was sweetly assaulted on either blushed cheek by my dinner dates. Friendly kisses and smiles, he staggered back to watch.

"You look gorgeous. You got a big girl haircut, baby," Jane squealed, pulling and primping. "And I love this dress. God, it's so cute. Did Aunt Mary make this?" Lifting and pawing at the sea blue silk barely above my knees, I batted hands away.

"She just finished it. I think it was originally a bridesmaid experiment." I sipped, shrugging, he stared.

"So, what do we know about a table?" Riley asked, waving to order. I braced as he approached. Riley ordered wine for Jane, pale ale for himself.

"And you?" He asked… again, his mouth turning slowly into another smile.

"She needs another, thanks," Jane insisted, commanding and swinging her platinum ponytail.

"Bella… party of three. Bella."

"Oh, that's us." Jane waved to the young blonde and pulled me from my perch.

"Bring 'em to the table would you?" Riley shouted back with a wave and a nod. Walking away, I looked over my shoulder catching his eyes locked lower than should.

We settled in near the back wall painted a deep pumpkin color. I cringed thumbing over Jane's enormous diamond engagement ring while she studied the menu.

"What's good here? It has to be low-carb, Aunt Mary's measuring me this weekend for the dress."

"I have no idea. It's crazy, I pass this place every morning walking Mak to school and I've never eaten here," I explained, suddenly feeling a brush along my hand. A glass delivered with smooth intimate touch that I felt to my toes. I stilled, he grinned.

"Victoria will be by soon to get you started. I'm Edward… if you need anything else… special from the bar," he spoke low, direct then disappeared.

"Well, he's handsome," Jane stated the truth nudging my shoulder. "Bella… hello…"

"What?" I was admittedly lost in his dark denim swagger.

"Oh, speaking of the weekend… are you set for the New York route?"

I nodded. "Looking forward to it, actually. Something different. God knows I need different. The trans-atlantics were killing me. And I'm doing that day run to Philadelphia on Tuesdays so I get Saturdays free in New York," I explained eagerly.

"See, that's terrific. Finally some Bella time," Jane added. "I wonder if Brady Weber still takes that Friday afternoon flight. Brady Weber in 2B…"

"Who's Brady Weber in 2B?" Riley teased.

"He took flight 841 to New York every Friday afternoon. He's in mergers or something." Jane winked, I scoffed, running the rim of my glass.

"I think she's had enough of your matchmaking, babe," Riley warned with a smile.

"Oh please." Waving him off, she turned. "You're ready to get back out there now. Right?" I found myself incessantly scanning the room.

"I don't know. Yes. No. I think so. So I saw Liam last week." They simultaneously leaned in, curious, nervous. I gestured to calm, swallowing a deep taste. "It wasn't bad. Mak needed her fourth grade school physical and he was the only doctor available." They listened wide eyed. "He was quiet. I mean you know how great he always was with her. But, yeah…" I drifted.

"What a goddamn mess that was, Bella. You better not fucking leave me… on our wedding day." Riley pointed at Jane in jest, she narrowed her eyes.

"Knock it off, baby. Bella did the right thing."

"Guys, it's fine. He's fine… I hope. And I'm definitely fine. See." I flashed a wide, silly smile to mask my punishing guilt.

"I can't believe Makenna's in fourth grade already."

"I know. And Emily hasn't seen her in a year," I added, habitually frustrated.

"Well that sweet little girl is lucky to have you. You're all she knows."

"Where's your sister working now, Bella?"


"Isn't that where Liam was too?"


"How long will she be gone this time?"

"We never know…"

"Okay, Bella. That bartender has seriously not stopped looking at you. He's really, very attractive." Jane distracted with good news.

"Ben's the bartender. That's the owner, Edward Cullen. And he sent this…" A stunning red head stood ready for business, quickly opening a new bottle of chardonnay. "On the house. And I'm Victoria, how about some artichoke dip to start?"


The remnants of cucumber, avocado sandwiches, pepper jack burgers and a few empty bottles littered the table. Our waitress earned the right to glare from the corner as we laughed and loitered, the last to go.

"Alright you, I've got an early flight to Denver in the morning," Jane stood, kissing the top of my head. Riley followed.

"And I have a new client breakfast. Hey, tell Aunt Mary I've got an incredible studio newly listed on the market just for her. I'll get her a good deal…"

"Never. You already know this Riley. That woman will never leave our townhouse or her tiny shop." We laughed lightly at my sweet Aunt Mary's stubborn expense. I suddenly noticed Edward moving swiftly behind Victoria. As she pushed our bill forward, he reached up and over to intercept.

"I've got this." We stilled, surprised. "Hope you enjoyed your meal." The smile was at me, the words at them. Riley immediately offered his hand to greet and introduce.

"… and this is my fiancée, Jane. And this beauty…" He firmly shook at my shoulders, I sank. "… is, Bella." Our eyes met again, a little longer, a little softer.

Edward pulled my coat from the chair, gripping tight. Slightly confused, I shifted, waiting.

"How long have you owned the place? It's a trophy location," Riley inquired, ever the realtor.

"A while."

"Ohhhh, sexy and mysterious, is he…" Jane whispered near my ear. "Well, it was delicious and a great atmosphere. Right, Bella?" I stared, at him… at my cream wool jacket, at him holding my cream wool jacket. Jane's hand at my back propelled me forward. "You loved it. Right, Bella?"

"What? Yes. God, I'm sorry. Yes, it was good. I mean I ordered my burger medium well, and it was a bit pi…" Jane tugged my hair. "Ow… Oh. Okay." He rubbed over his knowing smirk with long, strong fingers.

"I hate that it wasn't perfect for you, Bella. I apologize. How about… another one… another day… sometime… soon?"

"She's free right now…" Jane teased, grabbing Riley's hand.

Suddenly, we were the only. Victoria's blaze faded through the door behind my friends into the cool darkness.


"Alright boss, you're good to go back there." Ben rounded the edge of the bar, twisting a knit cap low.

"Thanks." They exchanged a double fist bump. "Don't forget The Coven's playing tomorrow night. You're it, man."

"Shit, I forgot you're out this weekend. No problem, it's cool." Ben reached for my hand, bringing it to his mouth. "Nice to meet you, Bella."

As the door fell closed, I steadied back on a bar stool. "I'm working this weekend," mumbling to myself pathetic, already wondering where he'd be.

"Then it's a good thing you have tonight to relax. Can I get you a beer?" He asked softly. I felt warm breath along my cheek, his arms steadied on either side of me against the bar. His chest grazed the silk along my back. I turned within a breath, inhaling… a heady mix of spice, sweet orange, sex and man. Fuck. A moment to compose, then another, I wrinkled my nose and bit my lip. "Beer…"


"I don't really like beer."

He scoffed, wide eyed for impact. "You just haven't had the right kind of beer yet." Straightening, arms brushing slowly, he moved to walk behind the bar. Stopping at the cooler, he pulled several bottles from shelves. When he kicked the door shut hard with his dark leather boot, I melted. Shit.

"So the secret to beer, Bella, is drinking only the good stuff, and this…" He lined the various bottles carefully in front of me. "…is the good stuff."

I sized up the alcohol, watching as he swiftly tugged a silver opener from his back pocket. A quiver raged low and fierce. "Are you trying to get me drunk, Edward Cullen… owner of Breeze, beer aficionad…o…" I trailed, utterly embarrassed.

"Drunk… no. But I am determined to find a beer you like before we leave." His hands gripped and popped each lid with ease. Thoughts wandered, my fingers gently trailed down my throat, while I watched. When I stroked under my chin, I noticed him looking.

"So… are we going left to right?" I joked, hoping to cool the heat between. He cleared his throat, shaking his head slightly… seemingly rattled, possibly turned on.

"First up, a Blue Moon. Honestly, not my favorite beer." Sliding the bottle forward, he leaned, lifting and tilting at the neck. I grasped a measure below his, eyeing him skeptically.

"That's the worst sales form I've ever heard. Not my favorite." I mocked, teasing as he smirked.

"I said it wasn't my favorite. It's still a good beer and we may like different things… Bella." The game played past go. I rolled the bottle rim tentatively along my bottom lip. "Usually, we serve it in a cool glass with an orange slice… but I want you to experience the full flavor, alone." He guarded my slow sip. "Do you taste the orange? The spice? Don't be afraid of the after taste. It's a wheat beer." I watched him watching, as his fingers tapped a patterned beat on the bar top.

"I suppose it's okay… I'd still order wine, though, sorry." I shrugged, running fingertips along my mouth.

"Alright, we'll carry on then… Let me introduce you to one of the best." I smoothed the condensation from the next bottle. "This is the infamous Flying Dog Doggie Style." Arching a brow to challenge, he continued his spiel. "It's a pale ale so the hops are much tamer than most… a medium body, nice… smooth."

The moment the bottle skimmed my lips, his tongue wet his lower lip. His lips sucking… A breathless moan escaped.

"Oh, you like that?" Another sexy smirk and I choked, coughing slightly.

"I think I like it better than the last…" He reached, bringing it to his own lips, sipping long and slow, then wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. God help me.

"This last one is my favorite." Moving back and around, he slid in close. "This is a Belgian beer, you'll notice right away it has a fruity scent. You should taste the raisin, the banana… but then at the very end… you're hit with spice, very tart."

"My sister, Emily, went to Belgium," I blurted, crossing my legs to quell the quiver.


"She's very well traveled… for work. I mean so am I," I giggled slightly at my rambling logic. "But in a different way... I guess." He held the bottle to my mouth, I closed my eyes to savor his favorite. "What's this one called?" Our hands met on over the thick glass, fingers lingering together briefly.

"Goose Island Sofie."

We stared through his swallow. "So why this and not the others?" I asked quietly.

He propped, resting his head against his hand. The shine of his large watch illuminated green eyes. He considered, thought and pause; his face was suddenly so expressive and beautiful.

"The flavor is almost impossible to define… right? It's mysterious, overwhelming. So much happening at once." He trailed a finger near my temple, agonizing and igniting. "It reminds me of a complicated woman who's worth… every moment of trouble." My hand was in his, teasing across knuckles. "So… did I accomplish my goal?"

"Your goal?" I whispered, lost in sensation, as fingers dusted across my palm.

"The beer. You'll come have another… with me… soon?"

"Yes. God, yes." A light chuckle startled. "No. I mean… sure. Actually, I should go."

"Wait." Pulling me to stand, he kept a firm grasp. "We'll go together. Let me just get the lights." Dizzy from drink and flirt, I stumbled behind through the space, darkening with each switch. Late September wind and chill swept as we moved through the door. I heard the click and turn, shivering as he pulled the key from the tumbler. He paused, our eyes locked in the faint glow of an iron streetlamp. Suddenly, my back met the rough red brick façade, his long, lean frame trapping, pressing.

"I can't put you in a cab… yet." He hushed, fingers dancing down my neck, thumbing over my mouth. Tilting, holding my face, forcing a deep stare, I grasped his broad shoulders. His eyes closed as he leaned and sighed. Lips softly grazing, I dug into his black wool coat, pulling tighter. Whimpering, now wide open searching… desire heavy.

When our lips teased again, his tongue ran along my lower lip, eyes fluttering to float. Warm patterns moved over my cheekbones, I angled, deeper, more sensual. I braced around and behind, tangling through his hair. We dipped, tongues tasting… panting, promising.

Slowing the pace, he nipped, I sucked… all gentle, breathing heavy as he then trailed up my jaw. Quiet moans for more morphed into a sweet chuckle, as he rested his forehead at mine. "Come home with me, Bella." His intention apparent, melting through the middle, I nodded.

Pulling me four steps to the right, he stopped at another painted door. "Well, this is convenient," I mused.

"I live above…" He pointed up as we stepped into a small dark stairwell, anxiously tugging, my hand in his. As I passed a bike resting vertically in the narrow space, my leather purse strap caught.

I stumbled down and back. "Shit." He lunged to catch, to save.

"God, are you okay?"

Heart soaring, clumsy, embarrassed and more, I left it and urged him on. Our mouths connected, fevered and wild as we found the next door. The moment it closed behind, I was trapped against by his pulsing frame. A large hand on either side, just above my head, he pressed, we moaned. The dark space filled with urgent, frenzied breathing and want.

The feel, I needed to touch, I grabbed and worked the shirt free from his jeans. My fingertips smoothed over his bare stomach, his muscles contracted as he sighed, reveling. Gently rolling his forehead against mine, he ran the silk tie of my dress over his palm. "I don't think I'm dressed for this…" Mumbling and thinking aloud of my white cotton underneath the modern, sexy dress I wore.

He smirked, almost a snicker. "You're kind of… adorable."

"Adorable isn't exactly one night stand material," I said quietly, biting my lip. Feather light touches eased down by the back of his slightly trembling hand.

"Is that what this is?"

"I don't… I don't know what this is. But fuck, I want you to touch me, Edward," I breathed, he gasped quietly, wide eyed. "It's all I've thought of for the past four and half hours… and I don't usually do this sort of thing… but god I want to feel you."

I teased my hands further up and around. He held my head firmly between his hands, studying. "I never do this either, but you're so goddamn…"

"I mean I guess this is pretty reckless… But…" I rambled, heat spreading. "If you… I mean if I disappeared…" He tasted, warm lips brushed my throat. "You were the last person I was… oh…" His hard cock, his tongue, my thoughts were fading. "It wouldn't… be good PR for… mmmm… your restaurant."

"Shhh… this isn't reckless and you won't disappear and…" His thumbs teased sensitive places… behind my ear, soft kisses along heated skin along my jaw. "…I won't hurt you, Bella." My knees weakened at his whisper. Words were done, nothing more to say… only to feel.

My wrap dress fell open, as I fumbled with the buttons on his jeans. Immediately, I pushed my hand inside his boxers and grasped. He reactively thrust forward, groaning and sucking at the base of my neck. His fingers ran the edge of my panties, leaning back slightly to take me in. My flushed chest was heaving, I wanted. His denim hit the floor as he opened his wallet. I quickly grabbed what was necessary, twisting and tearing. Stepping back, he stroked and waited. After handing him the condom, I pushed damp cotton carefully down and away. Reaching forward, he pulled the simple white lace of my bra down, revealing. While his fingers teased and rolled one peak, he licked, sucked, nipped the other. With a firm hand under my jaw, he tipped my head up and back against the solid wood door. "Yes… god, yes."

That hand grazed down my neck as the sweet assault on my breasts continued. The sight, the sensation… he held his cock at the base, sliding it through my wetness. My eyes fluttered to close as I widened my stance and braced. "How do you like to fuck, Bella?" He ran a slow pattern over my cheek, contradicting the speed, the race of our beat and breathing. "Tell me how you want it… Hmmm…" Fuck. His tone, the hush of the before sent me soaring, shivering as he settled in. Wrapping my leg around his waist, in one fluid motion he slid and sank. We gasped, sharing the weighted breath and moment of connection.

I swiveled, he pulled back… and again. "That's… oh god… that's good." I tightened my thighs, balancing and tugging through his thick hair. The faint shine of the street lamp through the second story window lit our erotic rhythm. He paced faster… a little harder. His thumb pulled my bottom lip free from between my teeth as I moaned, begged. I sucked it into my mouth, tongue twirling, taunting. He pulled it free with lustful eyes.

"Fuck…" He breathed, pausing. "You feel amazing… it's never been like this…" Trailing words, almost too low, but I swelled, smiling. His grip under my ass shifted as thrusts became erratic. Suddenly, he rotated, around… up and again. I slammed against the dark wood door, moaning and floating. "Right there? Tell me…"

I hit the edge and tipped harder, faster than I'd ever known. "Edward… oh, god," I screamed gripping his shoulders. Breathing, open, wet mouth at my ear and below… he pumped once then twice, bliss realized as he pressed and pulsed. Buried at my shoulder, his teeth grazed, knees weakened. I tickled along his lower back to soothe as we calmed.

"You're… so goddamn…"

"Do you have a bed?" I asked quietly interrupting, he laughed lightly against slick, blushed skin.

"Tired?" Our eyes met, he righted me gently and brushed damp hair back, smirking. "Or do you want more?"

"Yes," I purred… unfamiliar and insatiable.


Makenna. I startled awake, darkness save for the now familiar street glow streaming through long sheers. Lips, warm and still at my shoulder urged me to stare. He was there. He was serene. He was gorgeous. Inhaling deeply, my center feeling the rise and fall, the heavy weight of his hand… his fingers… laced with mine. I silently traced the outline of his large watch along my bare stomach. Cool cream sheets twisted between and over, the down duvet was gathered at the end of the oversized bed. Glancing, wincing to take in more, I realized the oversized platform bed was angled off a full brick wall, facing another scarlet red one to cook and eat. An open loft, modern and sparse, housed a piano, an orange Viking range, and a perfect man. Yes. No. Yes. Yes… oh my god. I forced my legs together and shimmied towards the low stool near the bed. I found his blackberry, wallet and keys tumbled in a pile. Pressing the phone on, cringing at the brightness, I turned away. Edward eased heavy and sleeping on his back. His back, muscles, shoulders… behind, over, under…

A blonde haired young boy, about my niece's age, beamed from the screen, holding a certificate in front of Edward who sat smiling on a piano bench. I pressed fingers to my lips, hushing the sigh. Considering all he could be, I decided it wasn't my business to know. Nearly four in the morning, a Friday still to deal and work, I needed to slip out and move on. Fighting the growing temptation to peek at more on the phone, I reached to touch and peek under instead. Dizzy just from the sight of all he was, I dusted his arm from top to elbow with kisses, barely.

Cold pine hardwood gave my naked self an immediate shiver. My dress draped on the sole black leather chair, my boots near the door… one, then the other, I gathered and quietly closed the small bathroom door. The mirror was anything but kind the morning after. I knotted new, frustrating layers of mussed hair. Rubbing smudge and ruin under sleepy eyes, I decided to wash and refresh. Easing open a tall built-in cabinet door in hunt for a towel, I found more. A small red quilted bag resting against a box of tampons… So, so not a comforting discovery. I shut it quickly, furiously shaking my head. "Please don't be married, oh god. Shit," I mumbled. Glaring at the tainted image in the mirror once more, I forced my head high, licking my lips… then slumped. Fooling no one, I felt defeated, worse.

After pulling on my wrinkled silk and zipping my boots, I slipped out to find my jacket and panties. The cracked bathroom door gave light to guide. Tip toeing slowly, looking frantic and panicked… I couldn't walk the streets of Chicago bare beneath before dawn. A few small pewter frames on the closed piano top stopped me. The same child from his blackberry background cuddled into the lap of a beautiful blonde woman. And one more lovely black and white photograph of another woman, obviously expecting, sitting on a weathered porch swing. Her clothing seemingly dated in style, his mother perhaps. Such beautiful images, thoughtful, peaceful… I looked towards Edward. Igniting, the pull suddenly overwhelmed, one step then back. A catch, a ridge at my boot, I stumbled, the piano was my only leverage. The sound filled, consuming the vast space. Shit. I hurried, grabbing my coat, snatching my panties off the floor near the door. As I dashed down the stairs, yanking them on, foul mouthed until I reached the well where my purse hung on the bike handle. I paused, my hand trembling flat on the door. One moment of possibility, of maybe once and again left me idle in the threshold… until reality and responsibility carried me through.


Two blocks back and three down brought me to my townhouse stoop. I took the cobbled steps quickly, fisting my keys to silence. "Oh, oh… shhhh… look at you my big sugar watch dog. Thank you, Charlotte… I'm fine, sweet girl." Leading my eight year old Great Dane quietly, swiftly towards my first floor bedroom, I dropped my coat on the couch.

"I see you, Isabella." Shit. My aunt Mary was curled into her favorite tapestry chair near the window. Wrapped in a light blue crochet blanket, she grinned lazy, suspicious.

"Jesus. You scared me. What are you doing awake?" I moved across the room, smirking. She tugged me into the small crevice next to her and turned on a low lamp. I avoided.

"You're all rosy…" Dragging my chin, her eyes widened. "Where have you been. Oh my god. I know that blush." I smoothed over my hair, shaking my head in shame, wonder…

"Who? Did he walk you home? Where?" She righted, tossing me to the side. Gazing out our large picture window into the new dawn darkness, Aunt Mary searched.

"He's not there. And be quiet, you're going to wake up Makenna."

"Who's he?" Falling back, she stared anxiously. "Bella, tell me right now."

"I don't know."

"You don't know? Oh my god. Nameless sex? You know about twenty years ago…" I immediately covered her mouth.

"He has a name. But he also has a box of tampons in his bathroom cabinet and a little boy's photograph on his piano." I moved to the floor as Charlotte nuzzled for attention.

"Oh, he plays piano?"

"I guess. It was sort of a focal point in the loft…" I gestured, remembering.

"He has a loft? We'll that sounds dreamy…"

"It was dreamy… like… perfect, eclectic… simple, sexy."

"So you think you might have been the other woman?" She pulled the blanket tighter for dramatic effect, her voice trailing to a whisper.

"God, I hope not. I mean I don't think so. You know this isn't exactly my… thing. He didn't even ask me what I did for a living or my last name. So…"

"But he plays the piano?"

"Hush. You already have a musician. Keep your old lady paws off mine." She pursed her lips and tossed her peppered hair in jest. "I mean… he's not mine."

"I'm not old, beautiful girl." We stood, she settled an arm comforting and around. "Sixty's the new forty, you know?"

"Yeah? Is that what your thirty year old boyfriend tells you?" I winked, teasing.

"Yes. In bed."

"Oh god… stop!" Pushing her off lightly, then pulling her tight again. "But I love you and thank you for waiting up."

"I love you too, darling girl. You deserve this afterglow… it's been a while." A sweet, blown kiss and I moved towards my room, Charlotte trailing at my knees. "Bella… Emily called."

I stilled, bracing. "And?"

"And it sounds like she'll be here for Christmas." Her concern mirrored my own.

"Did you tell Makenna?"

"No. I learned that lesson last time."


"Aunt B… Aunt B…" A light tapping, a weary haze, I finally woke to paper shuffling near.

"Hmmm…" Burrowed in my pastel patterned sheets, my groggy reply and wild morning after hair made my favorite girl giggle.

"You're so weird and silly, Aunt B. Hey, your skin looks pretty." She poked gently at my cheek. "I want two French braids, a pastrami sandwich and please can you quiz me on the spelling words?"

"I'm up, I'm ready. Give me hugs first." We squeezed, playfully pulling her into my down, cozy nest. "Are you good?"

"Yep." My niece cuddled close, tracing my fingers, as I scratched over Charlotte's droopy ears.

"Did you have the best dreams?"

Her happiness was the sweetest sound in life, sustaining me. "I don't know. Did you?"

"Yeah…" I paused, drifting. "I definitely did."

"Is that why you look sleepy and pretty?"

"Maybe." I shook off possibility, remaining safe in the real and then. Studying plump cheeks, big blue eyes, I furiously wondered how Emily stayed away for even a day.


"A.C.O.R.N." Mak spelled easily as I pulled on my sister's worn Notre Dame sweatshirt. "Who were you with last night?"

"What?" That delicious sting spread suddenly. Edward. "Who, where? Oh, Jane and Riley." Cupping her chin, I grinned. "Bonus word. Ready?" She nodded eagerly.

"I think Jane looks like a princess."

"Ancient." I perched her on a white washed barstool in our kitchen.

"A.N.C.I.E.N.T." I motioned for the hairbrush. Using her left, smaller hand void of two fingers, she held it up while Aunt Mary appeared… still smirking.

"Such happy, gorgeous girls this morning." Sipping coffee, with wide sarcastic eyes, she continued her mocking. "Sleep well, Bella?" Offering a band, green ribbon, I suggested making herself useful. We busied with two long dark, French braids, chattering about Friday's at St. Margaret's Catholic Day School.

Holding hands my niece and I made way into a crisp autumn morning. "Aunt Mary has to pick you up. I'm starting my new flight to New York this afternoon. But I'll be back on Sunday to tuck you in."

"I know, Aunt Mary already ironed your blue work dress. She's taking me to Mr. Tyler's jelly thing tonight."

"Jelly thing?"

"Where he plays his trumpet with the sweaty guys."

"Oh… jam session." I was certain her innocence made the sun brighter. "Well, that'll be fun."

"Yeah. She said they have a huge piano that I can try." I gasped dramatically in delight, as Charlotte pulled on her leather leash.

"You'll love that, it's very loud and loose. You know she used to take me to concerts when I was your age."

"My mom too? Did she go?"

"Yeah… she went with us… sometimes." I rubbed over her flat, deformed knuckles. "Hey, is that meanie, Jason, still bugging you in gym class?" We paused at the corner three blocks up.

"No. I told him exactly what you said to." She prepped, squaring her tiny shoulders. "You can hold my hand, but you can't stare it." She beamed, I winked. Tugging me to hurry, I suddenly realized and froze. Shit.

"Angel, let's walk a new way to school."

from Edward…

I tucked, inhaling the lone pillow underneath. Lavender, organic almost… refreshing and foreign in my urban life. Selfish expectations were immediate, hoping the sudden rattle at the door was…

"Hey, baby." Gianna grinned and glided. I pulled, covering quickly as she edged towards the bed wearing her standard black yoga pants and Joffrey Ballet sweatshirt.

"It's kind of early…"

"Oh… sorry," she scoffed, pursing her lips, suspicious. Beginning a taunting crawl up the sheets, giggling overcame her.

"What the fuck's so funny?"

"Hey… now. Why so grumpy?" She straddled, I twisted. "Since when do you sleep naked, Edward." The tone shifted as she palmed over my barely covered cock.

"What are you doing?" Tightening a loose, short auburn ponytail, her smirk irritated and annoyed. A key dangled over my bare chest, I snatched. Thumbing over the last of it, she swiveled to tease.

"Old times sake? Hmmm?" Her top was up and over before I could respond. Settling back, I rested hands behind a heavy, tired head.

"I don't think so." Relentless, she pinched, rolled her nipples, bony hips rocking. "Gianna, stop."

"Baby, it's always so good though…"

"It was… but you decided your horny college boy was better. So…" I swung legs around and over, searching for my boxers. "You're perfect for each other."

"Mmmm, you sound a little jealous." Pressing against from behind, she wrapped, tickling the hair at my stomach. I stood, turning and glaring.

"No. And put your shirt on." No comparison… My ex pouted and dressed, scanning the room.

"How's your sister?" She asked quietly, honest.

"I'm flying out later. She's having a treatment this morning." I stalked towards the bathroom. Facing her just at the door. "Thanks for dropping off the key. You should take the rest of that carrot juice in the fridge. I won't drink it." She closed the space between. A kiss at my neck, dragging a little too slow, she whispered a farewell… ending two years of great sex and little devotion.

Standing under the punishing hot stream of water, the last of Bella's faint scent disappeared, but vivid images swirled. Lathering at my neck, her fingers pulling, gripping desperately…moaning as she climaxed… I stroked once, twice… leaning, arm steadying against the wet tile… the curve, the bend and arch… begging, gazing… darkest eyes, over her shoulder… harder… yes, yes, yes…

Frigid spray and my blackberry sounding, shook my reverie. I hurried to answer, drying all the while. "Rose?"

"It's Emmett. We're already home."

"How is she?"

"Not great. Tired. I just got her settled in bed. I'm going to have lunch with Henry at school soon. He was… upset this morning."

"Did you tell him I was coming?"

"His days were confused, with Rose's new schedule. I wasn't sure if…"

"No. Shit. I forgot to call you back. Dammit, Emmett, I'm sorry. Yeah. I got a late afternoon flight into LaGuardia."

"Good. Okay, I'll tell them both then."



"Eclipse Air flight 841, nonstop service to New York now boarding at gate C-12." The intercom menaced. My seat assignment led me to the front of the line. I shifted my standard black carry on strap higher. Clutching my leather satchel full of Henry's sheet music, I made my way. Adding to a gathering of passengers slowly moving through the threshold, I observed. A different collection than my usual Tuesday morning flight, business men heading home, some couples. Just as I stepped forward, someone bent before me. My groin flattened against an ass… that ass.

"Bella… watch out." A tall, male captain shouted jovially. The woman in a tight, dark blue dress righted, spinning suddenly.

"Excuse me. I'm sorry… You…" She realized, mouth parted. The dark haired beauty from my bed was again within a breath, eyes dark and wide, flesh burning…


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Fate is fun to twist and tell... Both Edward and Bella will narrate this love story. Outbound will post every Monday for twelve weeks or until they're satisfied with their HEA. ;)

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