Title: Memoirs of a Jaded Woman

Song: I Hate Myself for Loving You by Joan Jett

Penname: shelikesthesound

Word Count: 7877 (with lyrics)

Rating: M

Prereader: DivineInspiration

Betas: Dinx and jointgifts

Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters are owned my Stephanie Meyer…not me. I just come up with strange scenarios for them to act out and pay them in cupcakes. Edward likes the strawberry ones. Who knew?


A/N:

This was my entry to the Friday Night Bites Contest hosted by Twilight Sickness. I just found out that I won Best Bella, which is amazing. I want to send out a huge thanks to the ladies running the site. If you're not familiar with them, you should check them out.

http: / twilightsickness(dot)com

Also, thanks to my prereader DivineInspiration for her continual help and support. And to my betas who helped out with this o/s, Dinx and jointgifts. You ladies are amazing.


I threw my brush and grumbled as another love song came on. It was like my multidisc CD player was mocking me, knowing that I'd broken up with Edward, yet again, and enjoyed rubbing it in my face. I reached for the remote, hitting the shuffle button with the hope the device would give me anything other than the sappy love crap it had been spewing moments before.

Turning back to my bedroom mirror, I looked down at my outfit choice again. I'd wanted something that was classy, since the guy I was going out with seemed like the type who was into the romantic dinner bullshit most men used to impress women. It wasn't really my style, but since Jake had seemed like one of the good guys, I decided to let it go. He was everything Edward wasn't, and at the moment, was just what I needed.

The dress I'd chosen seemed like the perfect combination of fun and flirty, while it still gave me a sense of being myself. It flowed past my knees, and the blue gingham material complemented my skin tone. I'd swept my hair up into a twist on top of my head, leaving some tendrils down around my face.

Edward entered my thoughts as I took one last look at myself, invading my mind like he always seemed to do.

We'd been together since college, after I'd knocked him down during one of my famous clumsy episodes. I'd been embarrassed and apologized profusely, until my eyes landed on the man underneath me. His piercing green eyes, disheveled auburn hair, and god-like face stopped my words. He just smiled at me and asked if I'd like to go out to dinner with him. I was a naïve twenty-one year old that had no idea about men or dating, even if I wasn't a virgin, but I accepted. We talked through dinner and ended up going back to his place, talking throughout the night. It was the start of what would be one of the most exhilarating and stressful relationships of my life.

Edward and I were inseparable, especially when he moved into my apartment three weeks later. He said he couldn't stand being away from me, and I felt the same way. The first time we had sex was not long after he'd moved in. He was so sweet, making sure that it was what I really wanted before we took that step. Edward had said he'd be happy with sleeping on the couch, but I needed that physical connection with him. The two of us lived in a perpetual state of bliss until a couple of months after we'd been together, and that was when it shattered.

My boyfriend was in a semi successful band—well, successful for the bar circuit. The guys—Edward, Jasper, Emmett, and James—had earned quite a following in the couple of years they'd been playing together. I'd begun to notice how the women who came to these shows lusted after Edward. He was, after all, a fine male specimen, and I understood why they were drawn to him. It didn't bother me to see them throw themselves at him.

What upset me was that Edward welcomed it. He never slept with the chicks, as far as I knew, but he didn't discourage the flirting, either. Edward would stay out until all hours of the night, entertaining his "fans." It pissed me off something fierce to watch him with girls all around him, while he ignored the fact that I existed. When we were in the club, he was the rock star, and I was just another one of his groupies.

The first time I brought it up, he laughed it off and called me paranoid. He explained, in a cocky tone, that he was the lead singer and had to give off the image that he was available. The band made money off of the gals that pined after him, and he had to keep the illusion up.

I gave him the silent treatment for a week after his "explanation."

He took it all in stride, trying to make it up to me, when it was just us, with sweet words and adorable notes left on my pillow for me to read when I woke up. It lulled me into a false sense of security, making me believe he was the man I thought he was.

Of course I took him back, like the idiot I was, and forgave him for his transgressions. It was the beginning of a pattern for us. He'd push me to my limit, I'd kick him out, and within a week, I'd let him come back. It was a sick cycle that destroyed what little self-esteem I had, making me feel like I was never good enough.

The last straw happened two weeks ago. Again, I'd gone to the bar to support Edward. For some reason, he always wanted me there, even though he never acknowledged my presence. Like every other time I'd watch him sing, I was in awe of him. Slipping into "Rock God Edward" was easy for him.

The moment he walked off of stage, though, he became the lothario I hated. I had to sit and watch as some strawberry blonde bitch got to hang all over my man, because, in his words, it would look bad if he had a girlfriend. It was the same tired shit he'd given me over and over. Watching that woman put her hands all over him made me see red. Jasper grabbed me when he saw I'd lost my cool and tried to convince me to let it go. I elbowed him in the gut, telling him that he could let Edward know I was through, and he could shack up with the whore instead.

Afterwards, I didn't hear from Edward for our customary one week. I always had my suspicions that he played out the rock star fantasy during those times and banged every chick he came into contact with. However, that time I was resolved. I'd had it, and I was finished with Edward Masen.

The next week, the pleading phone calls, flowers, and other testaments to his "love" came pouring in. The difference was…I ignored them. I deleted all text and phone messages from the bastard and left all his "I'm sorry" bouquets on strangers' tombstones. I figured our love was as dead as the people lying in their graves, and they would probably get more enjoyment out of the flowers than I would. It was morbid, I know, but I wasn't about to let him think it was winning me over.

So there I was, standing in front of a mirror, getting ready to go out on a date with another man. Jacob, who worked at my favorite Starbucks, asked me out after I'd gotten my daily caffeine fix. I'd resisted his flirting for months, because I was stuck in limbo with Edward. That day, however, I finally gave into my attraction. He'd asked me out, and I was excited to go out on a date since I'd broken off my tumultuous relationship with Edward. Jacob was someone I could picture myself falling in love with slowly, and I wasn't going to pass up the chance to move on with my life.

I moved to the bathroom to finish putting on my makeup, listening as the song changed once again. The beginning chords to "I Hate Myself for Loving You" by Joan Jett filled the apartment. It was perfect and summed up how I felt about my ex-boyfriend. I hummed along with the music as I lined my eyes.

Midnight, gettin' uptight

Where are you?

You said you'd meet me, now it's quarter to 2.

I know I'm hangin' but I'm still wantin' you

Hey, Jack- it's a fact they're talkin' in town

I turn my back and you're messin' around.

I'm not really jealous- don't like lookin' like a clown.

I got into the music, bobbing my head.

I think of you every night and day

You took my heart and you took my pride away...

Yeah, I thought. Sing it, Joan. You understand my pain.

I hate myself for loving you,

Can't break free from the things that you do.

I wanna walk but I run back to you

That's why I hate myself for lovin' you.

By the time the chorus came, I was fully dancing. My hips swayed to the beat while my arms joined in. The words washed through me and helped strengthen my resolve. Jacob was so much better for me—so much healthier for me. He'd never make out with some random girl in a bar just to keep his image. The man was too sweet for something like that.

Daylight spent the night without you

But I've been dreamin' 'bout the lovin' you do

I won't be as angry 'bout the hell you put me through

Hey man bet you can treat me right

You just don't know what you was missin' last night

I wanna see your face and say forget it just from spite

I wanted to forget Edward and the hold he had on me more than I'd ever let on to anyone else. He haunted my dreams and stole my thoughts during the day. It was like I still couldn't shake the specter of Edward's presence. I hoped and prayed that having Jacob in my life could erase the poison that was Edward.

I think of you every night and day-

You took my heart and you took my pride away...

I hate myself for loving you,

Can't break free from the things that you do.

I wanna walk but I run back to you

That's why I hate myself for lovin' you

I wanted to hate Edward for the shit he'd put me through.

I hate myself for loving you,

Can't break free from the things that you do.

I wanna walk but I run back to you

That's why I hate myself for lovin' you.

I hate myself for loving you,

Can't break free from the things that you do.

I wanna walk but I run back to you

That's why I hate myself for lovin' you.

Instead, I hated myself for letting him into my heart. No matter how hard I tried, he just wouldn't vacate it. I was strong, though. I'd decided to ignore the gaping wound he'd left behind.

Taking a deep breath, I left the bathroom. On my way out of my bedroom, I shut off the music player. I'd had enough of music for one night, because it was making me nostalgic and pissed.

~.~.~.~

An hour later, I was sitting in a pretty nice restaurant. Jacob was across from me, detailing his life—friends, family, and work. I listened intently as he described growing up on a tiny Indian Reservation, paying attention to the way he talked about the cliffs and the beach. He told me about his friends and some of the trouble they'd caused as kids. Jacob even gave me a run down on what it was he did at work. It was fascinating.

Okay, so fine. It's a fucking lie. I'm pretending to give a shit and not fall asleep at the same time. Happy?

The fact that Jacob was sweet, caring, and healthy for me couldn't keep my interest. I was bored out of my mind as he droned on and on about things I couldn't give a shit about. The more he talked, the more I realized that he was generic. He was everything that I knew I didn't want but should anyway. Jake was the type of guy you married, bought the house with the white picket fence with, and had two-point-five children.

What I yearned for was excitement, danger, and surprise. I craved a man that knew how to bring those things out in me. I desired something that was bad for me. I wanted…Edward.

Thank you, Edward. You've ruined me for all other men. Ugh.

By the time the food came, I was ready for the distraction. Jacob couldn't keep trying to kill me with his dull tales any longer when there was food shoved in his mouth. That was what I thought, but apparently I was wrong.

"You know," Jacob said as he swallowed. "I can't believe that you said yes. I was beginning to believe that you didn't like me."

A nervous laugh escaped me. "Why would you think that?"

"Well," he mused, taking a drink of wine. "You always turned me down without a second glance."

"I like you just fine. I was in a really bad relationship not too long ago, so I wasn't able to say yes until now," I responded.

Jacob smiled widely, and I felt like an ass.

"So, tell me about your family," he encouraged.

Jacob had described his perfect little upbringing, and I pondered for a moment how he'd take Renee, the druggie that never left her twenties behind, or Charlie, workaholic extraordinaire. Both had found out, by the time I was one year old, that neither one was compatible for the other. Go figure. So I'd spent my time between Arizona with Renee and Washington with Charlie. It meant I never had a real sense of home or belonging.

Not wanting to depress myself any further, I told him the condensed version.

"My parents divorced when I was one," I offered, hoping he'd leave it at that.

"Oh, that's…I'm sorry. What was that like?" he pried.

Wonderful. I'd never had to go into details with a certain someone, because his childhood was just as bad as mine. He understood immediately the pain I tried to hide.

Damn you, Edward.

"It sucked, and I survived," I said, shrugging my shoulders.

"That was rude of me," Jacob said. "I shouldn't have said anything."

I opened my mouth to tell him his apology wasn't necessary when a voice cut me off. This cannot be happening. I closed my eyes and prayed that who I saw storming toward the table was a figment of my imagination.

"What the fuck are you doing? I've called you a million times, and you don't answer. I send you flowers—no word from you. And this is where I find you? Cheating on me with this pencil dick?" the same voice bellowed.

I opened my eyes and looked at the person towering over the table. Nope, it wasn't my imagination. My ex-boyfriend, Edward Masen, was there, breathing hard as he waited for my answer. And he was livid.

"Oh, fuck off. I made it perfectly clear I was done with you. This is me moving on," I retorted.

"The hell you are. You think I'm going to let this dog put his hands on my girl? Not likely," Edward seethed.

I stood up, cackling. "Oh, now I'm your girl. I wasn't your girl two weeks ago when you had your tongue rammed down some blonde slut's throat. Spare me, Edward," I bit back.

"You know I have an image to uphold—" he started to say.

"Fuck your image!" I screamed. "I wish I'd never met you, Edward. And it looks like I'm about to stop being friends with the pixie, seeing as she's the bitch that told you where I was."

"Uh, hey, man. Maybe you should just back off," Jacob said, standing up.

Oh, so now he helps me out. What a gentlemen he is. Ugh.

"I'm about to fuck you up," Edward said, lunging toward my date.

Just then, a few waiters came out and pulled Edward away. He was thrashing at their hold, trying to get away. I stood and watched him be pulled toward the back. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly when he began screaming at the men dragging him away to let him go.

Why me? What the hell had I done to deserve Edward's fucked up rant? I tried to be a good person, and there I was, getting shit on. The universe had to be after me, I was sure of it.

When I opened my eyes again, Edward was gone and Jacob was staring at me.

"So, um…" Jacob said, trailing off.

"Yeah, that was my ex." I sighed.

"Nice guy," Jacob said lamely.

I glared at him, not sure if he was joking or not. Of course, Jake seemed like the type of guy to say something nice about someone for the sake of being nice. People like that made me twitch, because it made you wonder what they were really thinking. They could be calling you all kind of names in their head, and you'd never know it.

I smiled weakly at Jake. "Um, maybe we should get the check and go."

"Yeah, you're probably right," he muttered, turning and looking for the waiter.

After a few minutes, he spotted our server and settled the bill. I fidgeted with my dress on our way out, blocking his attempt to hold my hand. The moment I had seen Edward, I realized that I wasn't over him yet, and it wasn't right to lead Jacob on. He really was a decent person, just not my type. In all honestly, it had been stupid to accept the date in the first place.

He opened the car door for me and shut it after I got in. Jake had a smile on his face as he climbed into the driver's seat, and I was not looking forward to the awkwardness that was coming when he dropped me off.

"So, have you decided what you want to see?" he asked.

Shit.

That's right.

We had just completed the dinner part of the date, but we had yet to get to the movie end of it. I debated for a moment, trying to determine if I should go ahead and finish the date or call it a night. The encounter with Edward had left me drained, but Jake didn't deserve me bailing on him because I'm a mental case that loves someone I shouldn't.

Mentally, I began stomping around, flailing my arms and screaming, I don't wanna, at the top of my lungs. Taking an imaginary baseball bat to a china cabinet in my mind, I thought about how being a kind person sucked. It was unfair that the idea of ditching Jake made me feel bad, because I was done with the night. Ugh. Having a conscience was complicating my life.

During my pretend temper tantrum, Jake had started the car and left the parking lot of the restaurant. He kept glancing my way every now and then, questioning my sanity, I'm sure. I decided to suck it up and let the failed date run its course. That way, Jake would have no reason to ask for a rain check later. It was the last time I was going out with him, so I supposed I had an obligation to see it through.

Again, the Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder, or wherever the fuck he is supposed to be, is getting on my fucking nerves.

"Um, I don't care. Maybe we should wait until we get to the theater," I suggested.

"Good idea," he said, nodding his head.

I spent the rest of the trip trying to avoid conversation with my "date." He'd start a conversation, and I'd give him short answers, hoping he'd just shut up already. I was in no mood to be Chatty Cathy. Edward showing up and acting like an ass had ruined the night for me.

Once we arrived at the cinema, we made our way to the ticket booth. There were a lot of choices, and I discovered that I had no interest in most of them. I convinced Jacob to just pick one, after I told him three times I wasn't picky. It was sort of a lie, because I was very picky about the movies I watched. I just didn't care at that point.

He bought a bunch of movie theatre junk at the concession stand and made fun of me when I didn't get anything. He claimed that movie treats were mandatory, and it was against my status as an American if I refused to partake in it. I mentally flipped him off and gave him a fake laugh, trying to make him think I thought it was cute. I figured it would be poor manners to make my true feelings known and tell him to go fuck himself.

Finding a seat was not simple, much to my irritation. Most people sat toward the back, as far away from the screen as they could. Not Jacob, though. Oh no, he liked his seats close enough to lick the characters.

We got there just as the room darkened, which I was thankful for. I was not in the mood to try to find a place to sit when my eyes were trying to adjust from the bright lights in the hall to the dimness of the movie screen.

He adjusted his selection of treats around him, making enough noise to embarrass me. It didn't help that, when I looked around to see if anyone noticed, I saw a couple a few rows back glaring in our direction. I turned around, slumping down in my seat and wishing that I could die—right that moment.

The previews were okay—I even saw a couple that had me wanting to see the movie advertised. However, Mr. Critic next to me had to comment on them all, giving me the rundown on why they rocked or why they weren't worth the film they were shot on. I shushed him a couple of times, but that only earned me a chuckle from him.

I wasn't sure what was worse, the action movie I had to sit through or the different sounds each snack made as Jacob chewed them—not to mention, the noise the cup made as he slurped his drink. It was quite possible, by the time it was finished, I was even more crazy than I had been when we'd arrived. If that was true, I was seriously contemplating sending him a therapy bill.

We left, and he asked if I wanted to do anything else. There was no way I could extend my politeness to include another date activity with the man, so I made up the excuse that I had to be up early in the morning. Jake just smiled and said he understood. Damn. Why did he have to be so annoying and completely unappealing to me? I needed some nice in my life.

I tried to tell him I didn't need him to walk me to the entrance of my apartment building when we arrived, but he wouldn't listen to me. According to him, a gentleman always walks a lady to her door. The dude's manners were suspect because how he'd handled the Edward situation earlier, but I played along.

When we stopped outside the door, he looked down.

"I had a good time tonight," Jacob said.

I smiled. "I, uh, did too."

I really hoped he didn't detect the lie in my words.

"Can I call you?" he asked, the grin stretching wide across his face.

Damn. Now I get to break his heart. I'm such a bitch.

"I…well, you see…I'm not ready for another relationship," I stuttered.

The smile dimmed on his face. "Oh."

"Fuck," I muttered. "Look, I do like you, but I'm not over my ex."

"No, it's cool. I get it," he said.

"No, I don't think you do. I…just…can we be friends?' I asked.

"Yeah, okay. I like you, too, and I'd rather be friends than nothing at all," he admitted.

I blew out a relieved breath. "Thanks. I'm sorry that—" I started to say.

He cut me off. "You don't have to apologize. I did have fun, and at least you gave me a chance."

"Yeah," I said awkwardly, toeing my shoe into the concrete step.

He leaned in and kissed my cheek. "I'll see you."

Jake walked off, looking at me every few steps. I waved at him and then opened the door with my key. After I shut the door, I went upstairs to my apartment and was glad that the night wasn't a complete waste. I had the opportunity to gain a new friend if I chose, so that was something.

Speaking of friends…

The moment I made it home and locked the door, I took out my cell phone and called my best friend, Alice. Or, I should say, my soon to be ex best friend. I was pissed at her at the moment, and she was about to get an earful. I couldn't believe that she had stooped so low.

Wait a minute. Yes I can.

I forgot for a moment it was Alice I was talking about. She was determined that Edward and I were the perfect couple, and breaking up was not an option. It was the demented Pixie that talked me into taking him back most times. Her relationship with Jasper happened to be even worse than mine and Edward's. He'd convinced her that they had an open relationship and could date anyone they wanted. Somehow, she'd gotten it in her head—I suspected it was Jasper who had given her the idea—that all rock stars had to fuck as many diseased groupies as possible. The only thing was, every time she took his words to heart and screwed another guy, Jasper flipped his lid.

Open relationship my ass.

Edward, surprisingly, had been smarter than his band mate. He didn't even try to sell me that shit, probably because he knew that I wouldn't have bought it, anyway. Either that or he knew I would have laughed at him, given him the finger, and told him to have a nice life.

She finally picked up after the third ring.

"Hello," Alice answered.

"I can't believe you!" I yelled. "Why, Alice? Why would you tell him I was on a date? And tell him where it was at?"

"Bella," she said in a condescending tone. "You know that you and Edward are going to get back together. I figured I'd just save you the hassle of letting the poor guy down."

"Damn it! The only reason I even told you about the date is because I wanted my best friend's support. Obviously, that was too much to ask," I ranted.

"I'm sorry," she said, not sounding sorry at all. "You knew it was going to end badly, so you should be glad. Get off your phone and go make up with your man."

"Alice, I finished the damn date. The waiters carried off Edward's sorry ass after he started screaming at me and accusing me of cheating on him. After all the whores he's messed with, I can't believe he even had the nerve to say it," I retorted.

"Bella!" Alice exclaimed. "I can't believe you."

"Really? I told you I was through, and I meant it."

"But…but…" Alice stammered.

"But nothing. I know you think Edward and I are meant to be, but it's just not going to happen. He's more worried about his 'career' than he is about being faithful. So, I'm done. You can pretend that Jasper really cares about you while he goes out and fucks everything that moves, but I won't pretend that Edward gives a shit about me. I can't take watching him make out with his fans anymore. And if you can't understand that, then I guess I can't be your friend anymore," I admitted, hanging up on her.

I flopped down on my couch and ran my fingers through my hair.

I loved Alice, but I couldn't continue to let her have a say in my life. It had only caused heartbreak and frustration. Her need for me and Edward to be together—to justify her own relationship with Jasper, I guessed—was eating at me. If I was ever going to have a chance at happiness, then I figured that I'd have to let her go, too.

I got up and changed, sighing as I put on a comfortable t-shirt and some sleep pants, leaving my bra on. The material felt wonderful after being stuck in that dress and those heels all night. My feet were sore, so I rubbed them. It was why I didn't dress up very often, and I vowed to do it even less, mainly because I knew I was going be single for a while.

Grabbing the remote, I curled up on the couch and began flipping through the channels. I tried to find something interesting to watch, but nothing could hold my attention. I settled for some mindless sitcom as I let my thoughts drift.

Edward showing up at the restaurant had surprised me. He'd never chased after me like that before, seeming to be content to use the same, tired methods to woo me in the past. None of those gestures were ever done with much thought, after that very first time. In a way, it was like he was only going through the motions.

I had wondered, more than once, why he even bothered. It wasn't like he really gave a damn about me, anyway. In his rock star life, I didn't exist. To the outside world, we weren't that close. From the way he acted with me around his friends, I was nothing more than something to warm his bed. It was only in those rare instances when we were alone that I ever thought he felt anything for me.

He could be sweet when he wanted and passionate when the situation called for it. Again, though, it was only when we were alone. Since the breakup, I wasn't closer to figuring him out than I had been when we together. I still didn't know where I stood.

So, that's why I was shocked to see him. I didn't know what it meant, and truthfully, I was a little pissed over it. If he did care, why did he show me the moment I'd decided I'd had enough?

A loud pounding broke me out of my thoughts. I furrowed my brow as I made my way to the door, curious as to whom it could be. Three steps away, I could hear Edward yelling at me to open up. I rolled my eyes, not in the mood for his dramatics.

"I'll use my key if you don't open up!" Edward shouted.

I counted to ten, so I wouldn't kill him, and took the final steps to the door.

Unlocking it, I cracked it open and saw Edward standing there. He still had on the same blue t-shirt and jeans he'd worn to confront me at the restaurant, and he still looked just as sexy. I was well aware of how powerless Edward made me feel—from his piercing green eyes, sexy smirk, and cocky attitude. However, I was not going to fall for his charms.

Yeah, keep telling yourself that, sister.

He crossed his arms and continued to stare at me.

"Are you going to let me in?" he asked, letting a smug grin take over his face.

"Go away, Edward. I thought I made it clear at the restaurant. It's over," I protested, pushing the door shut.

"I don't think so. We need to talk," he demanded, stopping the wood with his hand from making contact with the frame.

I pushed back while my eye caught the chain. In my rush to make Edward leave, I'd forgotten to attach it. There was nothing stopping him from coming in other than my pathetic attempts to slam the door on him. I was so screwed.

On my third shove, he brought out his foot to stop the door and pushed with his arm and leg. I gave up and backed away, realizing it was a lost cause. Whether or not I wanted to talk to Edward didn't matter, he was coming in regardless.

I turned around and stomped toward the couch, sitting down. My gaze went to the television, and I hoped that he would take the hint that I was in no mood to have the discussion.

"What the fuck, Bella?" Edward said as he paced in front of me and grabbed his hair. "I've been trying to get a hold of you."

"And, like I told you earlier, I don't want to talk to you," I said, keeping my eyes trained to the screen.

He stood in front of the TV when he realized I wasn't going to look at him willingly. I huffed and stood up, ready to leave the room. He grabbed me and pulled me close.

"Please, baby, I'm sorry," he whispered.

I snorted. "Save your apologies for someone that gives a damn."

I shoved at his chest hard, causing him to take a few steps back. His eyes went wide and then narrowed, and I could see it was going to be different that time. He wasn't giving up without a fight.

My plan had backfired on me. When I pushed him away, I was going to run to my room and lock the door until he left. Instead, I got caught in his intense gaze. The passion, the desire, and the heat I was familiar with kept me rooted to my spot.

He took a tentative step forward, and after seeing that I wasn't going to run off, closed the distance between us. His arms went around my waist, his hands slid lower, and he laid his head on my shoulder. I could feel the warmth of his body against mine, and it was making it hard for me to remember that I was mad at him.

"I've missed you," he murmured.

I closed my eyes tightly. "Have you?"

"Of course," he stated, like it was something I should know.

"I don't believe you," I said, pulling back from his embrace and opening my eyes.

He held on tighter. "I have missed you. Why do you think I didn't?"

Even though he was trying to work his magic on me, it didn't erase all of his past transgressions. I could still see all of the girls he'd let touch and make out with him. The memories made me sick and stoked my anger.

"Did one of your whores kick you out of bed? Is that why you're here? Well, if that's the case, I'm sure you can find another one. They're on every corner, you know."

"Goddamn it. I explained this to you—" he began.

I shoved hard and broke away from him. "If you say you have to uphold some stupid image one more time, I'm cutting your dick off. There are plenty of men out there—that are in a band—that don't stick their tongue down every STD ridden slut's throat. It's an excuse, and I'm tired of it. If you're serious, you'll stop trying to feed me a line of bullshit!"

I was breathing heavy by the end of my rant, and Edward stood in front of me. He was silent, and I wondered if he was trying to figure out how to answer me. I wasn't finished, though—I was just getting started.

"If you really want me to be your girl," I said, spitting out the last two words. "Then you wouldn't want touch other girls. So, I'm not going to waste my time with someone that cares more about what his fans think than what his supposed girlfriend thinks. Just…go back to Jasper's, or wherever it is that you've been staying, and leave me alone."

Edward still hadn't moved, standing in what I assumed to be shock. I'd never been that forward with my feelings before, but I felt it was time to let him know how I felt. I was tired of the games and drama that came with Edward, and I figured it was the one way to get him to finally get the message. Even though I did love him, I just wanted it to be over.

I turned and went toward my room, wanting to crawl into bed and forget that the day had ever happened. However, I never made it more than a few steps toward the room. Edward reached out and spun me around, crashing his lips into mine. It was the kind of kiss that made your toes curl and your legs go wobbly. I could feel his tongue force its way through my lips, and I knew that I wasn't strong enough to deny him what he wanted.

What I also wanted.

It had been a long time since I'd felt any kind of passion from Edward. Before we broke up, it was like we were just going through the motions to get off. But the kiss he was giving me had an undertone of desperation and longing.

Deciding that one last time with Edward would probably kill me, but craving it anyway, I melted into the kiss. I let down all my defenses and gave in.

It was easy to tell the moment Edward realized I was going to let it happen, because his grip on me became stronger as he coaxed me to the floor. I let him pull me down and returned his ardor with vigor. As my back hit the carpet, I sensed his body over mine.

He jerked his mouth away from mine and trailed his lips down toward the side of my neck. I could feel his hot breath on me, and then he licked the spot behind my ear, causing me to shiver. A muffled chuckle escaped him, fanning his hot breath over me.

His hands found my hips, and he squeezed them tightly. My fingers ran though the hair at the back of his neck, hoping it would ground me. I was losing what little grip I had on my self control quickly. His eyes locked onto mine when he turned his head, and I was once again rendered immobile.

Edward's fingers went underneath my top and, with a feather light touch, moved slowly upward. When his hands reached the cups of my bra, they pushed it up to expose my tits, kneading the needy flesh. I bowed my back and tried to maneuver myself so I could unclasp my bra. He realized what I was trying to do and moved so he could do it for me. Once it was undone, he removed both the shirt and brassiere, leaving the top half of me naked.

He stared at my chest for a moment, licking his lips, before he captured one of my pink nipples between his lips. The warm wetness of his mouth, with the feeling of him pinching the skin between his teeth, was almost too much. I bunched up the material of his shirt in my hand and began to remove it. Because of the position we were in, I could only get it off halfway. I tugged it a couple of times, trying to communicate my intentions without words. Edward understood, releasing me from his ministrations for a moment.

I ripped the clothing over his head and tossed it aside, running my hands over his chest. It was muscular but not overly so. He shuddered when I grazed his nipples with the tips of my fingers, and in that weak instant, I gained the upper hand and rolled us over so that I was on top.

Sitting up, I straddled his hips and threw my head back in pleasure. Edward held onto me and ground himself into my core. I moaned when he hit the right spot.

Edward shifted, sitting up and attacking my chest. The change in position caused the coil in my stomach to tighten, and I thrust my hips against him, trying to create some friction to help ease the ache. He groaned in response, letting me know that my movements were welcome. The sounds he was making began to work me into a frenzy as I reached for the button on his jeans. He leaned back, giving me access, and I popped the button open. Sliding the zipper down, I opened his fly, reaching in and grabbing his cock.

He jerked up, startled by my bold touch. The fire in his eyes stilled my progress, and he flipped me onto my back, sitting back on his knees. Edward undid my pants and then ripped them off in his haste, taking my underwear with them. I could feel the cool air on my body, making me shiver, as he raked his eyes across my form. He looked like a man sitting before a buffet after returning from a lengthy fast.

As he continued to peruse my body, he shoved his pants and boxers down, maneuvering until he could remove them. Both of us naked, I kept my eyes glued to his while he inched his way toward me. His skin was hot and soft as it met my own, heating me up. I was ready to beg for him to thrust into me when he was fully pressed against me.

"Please, Edward," I pleaded.

"What, baby. What do you need?" he asked. His voice was rough.

"Don't tease," I murmured.

"I'm going to make you feel so fucking good…you'll never want to get rid of me," Edward promised.

I ignored the meaning of his words and decided to just feel. Edward was a phenomenal lover, and I was well aware that he could make me feel wonderful.

He leaned over me, grabbing a condom out of his pocket. Opening the packet, he took it out and reached underneath himself to roll it on. I closed my eyes, panting in anticipation of him entering me.

Edward positioned himself, making sure to keep the majority of his weight on his forearms. Running the tip slowly over my slit, he coated himself and began to push forward. My walls stretched as he pressed his hips closer to mine, filling me.

He grunted, and I whimpered as each inch slid into me until his pelvis was flush with mine. It had been a long time since I'd been that turned on, and I moaned loudly when he grasped the hair at the back of my neck with his fingers. Pulling slightly on the strands, my head arched back as he started to fuck me. His cock moved at an unhurried pace for a few moments before his hold tightened and he sped up.

The force of his movements had me holding on tight, and I was afraid that it would shatter me into oblivion. I tried to meet him thrust for thrust, but ended up rolling my hips instead. We rocked back and forth, driving each other to the precipice of our releases. I bit my lip, trying to hold in the scream that wanted to burst from me.

Edward pulled my lip from my teeth with the pad of his thumb as he continued to pound into me.

"I need to hear how I make you feel. Let it out, baby," he moaned.

Pinching my nipple, his mouth descended on mine, capturing me in a heated kiss. I could sense that I was getting close, so I tilted my hips upward. Edward's other hand moved toward my ass, helping to support me.

Two more thrusts had me screaming in ecstasy, and wave after wave of pleasure rippled through me. In my orgasm induced haze, I could hear Edward grunting as he kept moving toward his own end. Moments later, Edward called out my name and stilled. The muscles in his back tightened, and his face scrunched up, turning red. I felt his cock twitch, letting go of everything he had to offer me.

He fell on top of me, panting. I wrapped my arms around him, and he returned the embrace. I knew it was probably the last time I'd ever have him in that position, so I tried to enjoy it while I could.

We lay there for a few moments, just enjoying each other's touch, until I shoved his shoulder lightly. He rolled off of me, and went to pull me into his side, but I stood up from the floor. Edward lay on his back, eyebrows furrowed, probably wondering what I was doing. Knowing that meeting his gaze would break my resolve to let him go, I started walking toward my room.

"Bella!" Edward called out.

I froze, refusing to turn around.

"Edward, please don't do this," I whispered.

I felt his hands on my hips, and his hot breath on the back of my neck.

"I…uh, I love you. Please," he murmured.

I closed my eyes and tried to not let his words affect me. It was bad enough that I'd let him take me, and it would be worse if I gave into his pleas. I knew that Edward would never change his ways, and I needed someone who was willing to put me before some fucked up notion of what was expected of them.

"Don't," I begged.

"Bella, what do you want from me?" he said, putting his mouth next to my ear.

"Everything you're not willing to give," I answered, pulling his hands off of me.

Letting him in and having sex with him was a mistake. The tears were beginning to fall down my face, just like I knew they would. He was quiet as I reached the doorway.

This is it. The last time I'll ever be with Edward Masen.

The thought saddened me, but I realized it was necessary. I couldn't keep pretending that everything was just going to fall into place when he finally got himself together. It was never going to happen, so it was time to move on with my life.

"And what if I do…give you what you want?" Edward's broken whisper penetrated the tense atmosphere.

His words shocked me, causing me to turn around. The sight of his naked body reminded me that I hadn't put anything on. I felt the cold air, and I wrapped my arms around myself.

"I don't know, Edward," I admitted. "You've hurt me really bad. I need some time."

He nodded his head.

"If you want, you can sleep on the couch. We can talk tomorrow, but I'm so tired. It's late."

"Okay," Edward said. "I just want you to know…I've always loved you. I can't lose you, and I know that I'm an asshole. Just…don't write me off yet."

"We'll see," I said. They were the only words I could offer at the moment.

I took one last look at him, and then I went into my room. I climbed into my bed and slid under the covers nude. His words played through my head as I tried to find sleep. I didn't know what I was going to do about the situation I was in. I was certain, though, that I was going to take it slow. Edward had so much he had to make up for, and I wasn't going to make it easy for him.