Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. It belongs to Stephenie Meyer.

Hey everyone, I know that it's been a while since the last update. I've been busy with holidays, my kids and school, but finally managed to get this long chapter written. :)

Thank you so much for all your reviews and PMs. It's wonderful to hear from my ol' faithful readers as well as new de-lurked ones. Everyone liked hearing Edward's side of things and there were some very creative suggestions on how Mike should be dealt with. That was awesome!

And, of course, a huge thank you to my lovely beta, Melanie, or Edward's Eternal as she is known as here and on Facebook. She has a new story out called Awaken. It's just two chapters in so you can easily catch up. Plus she updates several times a week! (Must be nice!) Check it out and leave her some love. :)

Now on with the show. Enjoy!


"So, you're rich?" I asked.

"I guess," Edward shrugged. "I never really think about money."

I snorted.

"That's because you have it."

"Yes, I suppose that's true," Edward nodded, looking apologetic.

I had no idea why I was choosing to focus on the subject of Edward's wealth when there were probably a million other things I should be thinking about; like the fact that Edward saved me from something so horrible that I couldn't even bring myself to use the actual words for it. It would have happened if Edward hadn't done something to stop it. I was so blinded by Mike's popularity and all-American good looks that I never would have seen it coming before it was too late. Thinking back now, knowing what I knew, I could recall several rumors and stories floating around about the wild parties at Mike's frat house. Stories about girls getting hammered and doing all sorts of things they regretted the next day. I had always shaken my head and thought about how irresponsible and stupid those girls were, drinking so heavily and acting like that. Now, I felt ashamed for thinking such thoughts. Those poor girls! That could have been me. That wouldhave been me if it hadn't been for Edward.

I looked at him; standing there with his hands buried in his pockets and his hunched shoulders, looking so contrite, so sad, and so unsure of himself. He hardly resembled the epitome of a knight in shining armor. In fact, going off his actions alone before this major reveal, he seemed like the villain in this plot. But he did save me. If he hadn't overheard that conversation…

"What were you doing at the university in the first place?" I asked.

Edward shifted his weight.

"Well, I was…I was looking out for you, of course."

"You mean, you were stalking me," I corrected.

"Yes," he nodded.

"Why?" I asked. "Why did you stalk me?"

"Because I like looking at you," Edward said.


"I-I mean, I…that came out wrong. It calms me, knowing that you're safe all the time. I just wanted to be a part of your world, even if you never knew it."

I shook my head.

"I don't understand that at all," I said. "Why didn't you just, I don't know, walk up and introduce yourself, ask me out?"

Edward's eyes widened.

"No. I could never have done that," he said so quietly that I had to strain my ears so not to miss his words.

"Why not?"

"You wouldn't ever have gone for a guy like me," he said, avoiding my eyes.

"Yeah, 'cause that rich and handsome combo is a real turn off," I remarked, sarcastically.

I didn't think it was possible for Edward's eyes to become wider, but they did. He reached his hand up and touched his face.

"You think I'm handsome?" he whispered, sounding breathless.

I narrowly resisted the urge to roll my eyes. No one could deny his good looks.

"You'd be a lot more attractive to me if you didn't scare me half to death most of the time," I said. "But, yes…I think you're handsome."

He studied my face for what seemed like a long time.

"You really mean it," he said, very softly. "Thank you. Thank you, love."

"Look, that's something else I wanted to talk to you about," I said, ignoring his thank you.

"What is?"

"Calling me 'love'," I said.

"You don't like it?"

"It's inappropriate," I argued. "We're…we're not in love, Edward. You do know that, right?"
"I'm not stupid," he whispered, looking away from my face. "I know you don't love me and you probably never will. I know I'm…a monster."

"You're not a monster, Edward," I sighed, feeling tired. "But you have to realize…love can't blossom under these conditions."

"I'll change!" he said, immediately. "I'll be better, I promise. Just tell me what you need me to do and I'll do it!"

"That's not even…that's not the point," I said, flopping down on my chair again.

Edward obviously didn't get it. He thought I was staying here willingly now. His freak out when I talked about leaving had terrified me and I would have agreed to just about anything to calm him down. I wasn't scared of him right now because he was calm, but whenever something upset him I felt fear trickling up my spine and had the urge to run in the opposite direction. He was so volatile and I had no idea what would set him off. Well, that wasn't true. I did know one thing; the subject of my leaving this house. And I still wanted to leave. I was extremely grateful that Edward had saved me from going to that party, even if he had done it in a completely insane way, but that didn't change the fact that he was keeping me here against my will. How would he have reacted if I had simply walked to the door leading outside and asked him to unlock it? If I had ignored his begging me to stay and insisted that I wanted to go, now that the reason for my abduction was gone? Would I have been confined to my room again? Or worse yet, tied to the bed to make sure that I didn't leave? I couldn't risk that. Edward was starting to trust me and letting me out of my room. If I was ever going to escape I had to make sure that he kept on trusting me.

"Bella, please help me," Edward pleaded and knelt down in front of me. "I don't know what I'm doing here."

"What do you want me to say?"

"Just…tell me how I can make you happy," he said, hesitantly reaching for my hands which rested in my lap. "Give me a chance."

He held my much smaller hands in his and then bowed forward to place a kiss on each one. When he looked up his eyes were filled with emotion.

"Please talk to me," he said. "I want so much to make you happy and do all the right things, but I'm…I'm lost, love, I mean Bella, sorry!"

"You have to stop scaring me," I whispered. "No more yelling or dragging me up the stairs, and especially no restraints of any kind."

"I promise, I promise!" Edward nodded. "I won't, not ever again. I never meant to, honestly."

"And…and you have to give me space," I added. "You'll sleep in your own room like you said?"

He didn't like that. I could tell by the way his eyebrows drew together in a frown and his lips curved downward ever so slightly. After a few seconds he sighed and nodded again.

"If that's what you want. I'll…I'll stay away from you."

His whisper was barely audible and the look on his face was nothing short of devastating. It was obvious that he hadn't thoroughly thought what this meant when he agreed to it before. It seemed to have dawned on him now, though, and he looked crestfallen. Even though I shouldn't, I felt bad for him.

"Edward, listen," I began and gave his hands a small squeeze. "I'm not-"

What? Rejecting him? Isn't that how he will perceive my refusal to share a bed with him?

"You don't have to stay away from me," I finally said. "I like spending time with you when you're…"

Not crazy.

"Like this," I finished.

"Really?" he asked.

"Yes," I nodded. "Really."

His smile was radiant.

"Does that mean that you're up for our date tonight?" he asked.

"I don't know," I answered honestly.

"Oh, why not?"

"I don't want you to get the wrong idea," I said. "I…I don't want to say yes if it will lead you on and hurt your feelings."

"I love you more than anything and you despise me," Edward said, raising himself up on his knees until we were at eye level. "I think the damage has been done."

"Edward, I don't-."

"Please don't lie," he said, reaching up his hand to touch my cheek. "I know what you must think of me. I don't ask for you to love me, Bella, because I know that it's impossible. I just want to spend a little time with you. I want to…not be alone anymore."

"Why are you all alone?" I whispered. "Where's your family? Your mom and dad?"

It was instantaneous; Edward's eyes grew wide, his breathing stuttered and his body froze. His hand on my cheek started trembling.


"No," he said, his voice rough. "Please, no."

He lowered his hand, his body slumped down and he clutched his midsection like he was in acute pain. He started hyperventilating. It was terrifying to watch.


"I…can't…breathe…" he wheezed, curling further into himself.

Oh, fuck! What do I do?

"Calm down," I said, feeling foolish.

There was no calming Edward right now. His body shook and his wheezing got even worse with every passing moment. I was afraid that he was going to pass out but I was also scared of getting near him.

"Oh, God!" he gasped. "Bella, help!"

I stopped rationalizing. Before I knew it I was perched on the floor in front of Edward, pulling his rigid form to me. I wrapped my arms around his tense shoulders and lowered his head to rest in the crook of my neck.

"It's okay, it's okay," I said, using the calmest, softest voice I could conjure up. "You're okay, I'm right here."

He said my name in a broken whisper as his arms uncurled and came around my middle, drawing me closer until I was straddling his bent legs.

"I'm here," I said again and slowly combed my fingers through his hair.

After a minute or two, Edward's breathing started to sound less strained and slowed considerably. He was still holding me tightly against him, and even though our position on the floor was intimate, I didn't feel any fear which was strange because I had never been so close to a boy before.

No, not a boy. A man.

Edward was definitely a man. The hard definition of his muscles, the square angle of his jaw and the stubble on his cheeks all screamed adult male even though his actions often reminded me of an adolescent. He gently pulled me even closer until our fronts were touching completely and nuzzled my neck. The feel of his stubble made my skin break into goose bumps but it wasn't unpleasant. I dared to close my eyes for a minute when Edward's fingertips trailed up and down my back, caressing me. With my mom having passed away and my dad not being big on showing affection it had been years since anyone had really touched me. Well, Edward had held me before but it was different now because I wasn't crying or upset. Now I was just enjoying the embrace even though I probably shouldn't. I couldn't help but like it. Edward was warm, his hands were gentle and he smelled really nice. But it was more than that and deep down I knew it. He needed me like no one ever had before and it felt good. I felt important, like I mattered, because to him I really was important. And although I knew that it was wrong of me to feel that way it didn't change the fact that I liked it.

Edward shifted a little beneath me and blew out a deep breath which fanned out across my neck.

"Are you alright?" I asked.

He nodded against me.

"Thank you," he whispered. "I didn't mean to. I hope I didn't scare you."

"You didn't," I replied honestly. "What…what happened?"

"I can't talk about that. Please, Bella, I'll tell you anything you want to know but I just…I just can't."

"Okay," I agreed easily.

I wasn't at all interested in seeing him like that ever again. Maybe if I had been a malicious person I would have found happiness in the fact that Edward was troubled but that wasn't me. Just like Edward didn't gloat when I hurt my foot trying to escape. He cared for me then and I did the same for him now.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled and rubbed his cheek against my collarbone. "I promised you no more secrets."

"Don't be," I said. "I don't want you to have another…anxiety attack?"
"Yeah," he said quietly.

He didn't elaborate and I didn't expect him to. I just kept on stroking his hair until he was completely relaxed.

"This is so nice," he murmured. "Just being with you. Thank you, lo- I mean, Bella."

He lifted his head slowly, brushing his cheek against mine in the process. Instead of pulling his face away from mine he lingered. I could feel his lips against my jaw and a mere tilt of my head would bring mine in contact with his. Part of me wanted to kiss him and part of me didn't. It was so wrong to want this. Edward was still keeping me here against my will and I knew that I should fight against him tooth and nail to get out of here. I should scream and kick and bite and yet, here I was, draped around him like a lover would. The animosity I had felt for him when I first came here had faded into confusion by witnessing his usual gentle nature and then coming face to face with his dark desperation when he thought we had been discovered had terrified me. Learning that he had saved me from rape had further dispelled my feelings of hatred towards him and seeing him now, so tortured about something concerning his family, made me feel for him. Not just pity, but a longing to help him, to understand him better. I still wanted to escape. I knew I had to. I couldn't let the rest of the world think that I was dead. I could never be happy living in a golden cage. But leaving Edward to his loneliness and solitude would be difficult.

"I feel so safe with you," he murmured. "Like…like nothing bad can happen when I'm with you, when you touch me. Like maybe your goodness will protect me."

"Nothing bad is going to happen," I said.

"You won't leave, will you?" he asked, sounding anxious.

The lie tasted bitter in my mouth. He was so sincere in his worry and I was lying through my teeth. It made me feel like a horrible person.

"You'll stay?"

"Yes," I whispered, blinking back the tears in my eyes.

"You'll give me a chance?"

I nodded and closed my eyes to hide my deception in case he should look up at me.

"Oh, Bella!" he gasped and held me even tighter. "Thank you. Thank you."

I'm going to hell for this.

No, you're protecting yourself from the psycho who is keeping you locked up in his house!

Except he didn't feel like a psycho to me. Edward was definitely strange and socially awkward but I didn't think he was actually dangerous. And I didn't care that he wasn't confident and cocky. In fact, I preferred it. He was quiet, serious, well-read and handsome. If I had met him in a conventional setting I would have liked him. More than liked him.

"Bella?" Edward whispered, lifting his head a little and brushing his lips against mine as he spoke.

I could feel my heart galloping as well as a rush of unexpected butterflies in my stomach our when mouths made contact.

"Y-yes?" I stuttered.

I never did find out what Edward was going to ask me because a moment later he pressed his lips against mine. I held perfectly still on the outside but on the inside my heart sputtered and went even further into overdrive. What should I do? If I pulled away would he be angry? No, I didn't think so. He would be hurt and sad but he wouldn't be angry. His lips molded themselves easily against mine as he placed the softest of kisses on my closed mouth before parting his lips and sweeping his tongue out, asking silently for access. And then it happened. I granted it and parted my lips. Edward's breath was already labored and he moaned deep in his throat when his tongue slowly caressed mine. The sound and feel of him caused a rush of excitement to turn and twist my insides and it had absolutely nothing to do with fear. I liked it. I liked kissing Edward.

What's happening to me?

Was I so desperate for human contact that I would settle for the affection I received from my kidnapper? No, that couldn't be it. I wouldn't do this with just anybody. Even when I believed that Mike was a good guy I wouldn't have made out with him. That wasn't me. I wasn't like that. Except now I was, because I was kissing Edward and I liked it. I liked the softness of his lips, his gentle touch, the feel of his strong muscles beneath my hands, his subtle cologne and the way he moaned. It was all very…sexy.

"You feel so good," Edward whispered after releasing my lips and turning his attention to my neck. "Oh, God. Bella."

My face, as well as the rest of me, heated up when he groaned against my skin and I felt him grow hard underneath me. His mouth was on mine again, his tongue in my mouth. His hands moved down to my hips, pressing me down on him. He was so hard. My experience was limited but I knew what it meant: Edward wanted to have sex. With me.

I froze. I wasn't ready for that. Yes, I liked kissing him but that was it. I wasn't in love with him and I couldn't ever allow myself to forget that the man in my arms was my abductor, no matter how likeable he was. Or how wonderful it felt kissing him. I had to stop now before Edward got the wrong idea about where this was headed. But I didn't have to. Edward did it for me. Our connection was broken when he abruptly jerked his head back, sat up straight and easily lifted me off his lap and onto the floor.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have," he said quickly and scrambled to his feet.

His cheeks were flushed and he turned his face away from me to hide his embarrassment all the while crouching slightly in an attempt to also hide his erection.

"I didn't mean to take advantage of the situation. Um, thank you for, uh, calming me down."

He shifted uneasily from foot to foot.

"So, yeah, I'll be back soon, okay? Just…make yourself at home."

He fled the kitchen before I could respond, muttering to himself under his breath and I heard him stomping up the stairs, berating himself with words like 'idiot' and 'stupid'. I clambered off the floor and tried to get my racing heart under control.

What were you thinking? You kissed him!

I did. And this time it wasn't to protect myself from his anger or his fear of losing me. Why had I done that? What happened to not leading him on? This was so messed up. I reached up and touched my flushed cheeks and then my lips which unbelievably felt a little tingly. Then I shook my head at my own stupidity. Edward definitely shouldn't scold himself for kissing me because this time I clearly led him on. I was the one who was an idiot. I knew he thought he loved me, I definitely knew that he wanted me and yet I had still let him kiss me.

So stupid!

I decided to stop hiding in the kitchen and instead start acting like an adult and go upstairs to talk to Edward. I didn't know what he was thinking but knowing him he was probably giving himself a hard time about kissing me. And this time he shouldn't. I walked up the stairs and saw the door to Edward's room, ajar.

"Edward?" I called softly, pushing the door open. "Oh, I'm sorry!"

He was kneeling by the bed, hands folded on the bedspread. I felt like such an intruder and started to back away when he spoke.

"Do you pray, Bella?" he asked.

"No," I shook my head slowly.

"You don't believe?"

"I don't really know," I said, feeling awkward.

"I don't know either," Edward sighed. "I don't think He's listening to me."

"What do you pray for?" I asked.

This was so weird. We were actually having a religious discussion and I couldn't remember ever having attended church.

"Forgiveness," Edward whispered. "Peace. Love. Happiness. All the major ones, I guess. Whatever, it's stupid anyway."

He sounded bitter.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

This couldn't just be about the fact that he got a hard on while making out with me.

"Why did you let me kiss you?" he asked, turning his face to look at me. "Am I that pitiful?"


"You said you'd give me a chance but that's not really true, is it?" he asked, sounding resigned.

I took a step back.

"Don't be scared," he whispered. "I'm not mad. It was too good to be true anyway. You're a good person and you feel pity for me. That's all."

"How do you know?" I asked. "I don't feel like a very good person after what just happened downstairs. I didn't mean to lead you on."

"You're good," he said, a soft smile playing on his lips. "I've seen you. The way you are with people; you always give the homeless money even though you have so little for yourself, and you never cut in front of someone while waiting in line even if you can get away with it. You talk to salespeople and you smile at strangers when you pass them. You're kind, sweet, beautiful and selfless. And I love you more than anything in this world."

I couldn't help but gasp. Both from hearing his declaration and learning how much he knew. He had been watching me so closely!

"I'm sorry about what happened downstairs," he continued. "I…I want you so badly, Bella, and when you held me, I…for a few minutes I let myself think that it was okay. That it was okay to settle for your pity as long you kissed me and held me. It was selfish of me. I'm sorry."
"I liked kissing you."

Shit! Why did I say that?

Because it's the truth.

"You did?"

I nodded stiffly.

"But I don't know what it means," I whispered. "I'm…confused."
"You're very honest," he commented, a slow smile spreading across his face. "Thank you."
"Um, no problem," I said, feeling uneasy.

Edward rose from the floor in a fluid, graceful motion and I forced myself to stand my ground and not take a step back like I always did when confronted with the fact that he was so broad and tall compared to me. He walked over to me and hesitantly reached out to touch the side of my face.

"I'm confused too," he confessed, his eyes large and sincere. "The way I feel about you…it's scary at times."

"Why?" I whispered.

"Because you can hurt me," he said softly, caressing my cheek.

"I don't want to," I said, honestly.

But I may have to if I ever want to leave.

"Then don't," he implored. "Stay with me, Bella. Let me love you. Let me take care of you. I'll do anything humanly possible to make you happy. Just please don't leave me."

I didn't say anything. I didn't want to lie to him anymore and if I promised to never leave it would be a lie. I wasn't ready to surrender. There were people out there who were looking for me, who needed me, and I couldn't let them all believe that I was dead. And so, I said nothing. I merely stared up into Edward's eyes until he nodded, a look of defeat on his face.

"It's okay," he whispered and looked away from me. "Thank you for not lying."

He took me gently by the elbow and led me across the hall to my room.

"I have to go out now," he said. "And I need you to stay in here while I'm gone."

"Do you have to lock me in?" I whispered, stupidly.

"I don't want to," Edward said, echoing my words from before.

Now it was my turn to nod, resigned. This wasn't the time for fighting that issue. But for the first time I didn't want Edward to go. I had gotten used to his company and I didn't want to be alone in this room.

"Is there anything you need? Anything at all?"

I shook my head and sat down on the bed, feeling tired.

"No, just go," I said, dully.


"I said; just go already!" I snapped and fell back on the bed with an angry huff.

Rather than leaving, Edward approached cautiously and like the petulant child I had apparently become, I turned my back on him when he sat down on the bed next to me.

"I don't want to go," he said again. "I miss you whenever we're not together."

I didn't reply. What was I supposed to say? You're my kidnapper but you're sort of nice and I'm lonely, so please stay with me?

"I wish I could take you with me when I go," he whispered.

His large warm hand brushed my hair away from my neck and started to gently massage my top shoulder.

"I wish that I could take you out on a real date," he continued, slowly rolling me onto my stomach to gain access to my other shoulder.

"I'd bring you flowers and I'd hold the car door open for you."

His thumbs pushed against my muscles, working languidly yet effectively to release my built up tension. I found myself almost instantaneously relaxing under his capable hands.

"I'd take you to the nicest restaurant I could find, order the best wine, hold your hand and ask about your day while we wait for our appetizers."

That sounds nice.

"I'd encourage you to order the best off the menu but knowing you, you'd order one of the cheapest items like chicken because you don't like spending a lot and you already know that you'll like the chicken."

I felt a smile tugging at the corners of my mouth. That did sound like me.

"We'd share a dessert and I'd let you eat most of it because I would want you to enjoy yourself on our date. Just being with you would be enough for me," Edward sighed and deepened his massage.

I suppressed a groan as he worked out all the kinks in my neck and shoulders.

"Then I'd take you out to a movie; something you'd enjoy watching. I'd hold your hand the whole time and people would know that we were together. I'd be so proud to be with you."

He sounded so wistful, his voice filled with longing.

"Then I'd drive you home and walk you to your door. Maybe you'd even kiss me goodnight. Either way, it would be the best night ever because I spent it with you. I'd make sure you were safely inside before getting back in my car and then I'd send you a text immediately, telling you how much I look forward to seeing you again."

His fingers stopped moving.

"And then I'd drive home. Just like that. Because I'd know there would be another date. I wouldn't sit outside your apartment half the night and I wouldn't follow you around the next day. I wouldn't be some disgusting stalker who kidnapped you and you wouldn't…you wouldn't hate me. You'd like me. You'd want to be with me. I wouldn't have to make you stay here."

He started massaging again; long slow strokes up and down the length of my back.

"I wish I could give you that, Bella, because you deserve the best of everything. I wish I could give you the whole world."

"I don't want the whole world," I mumbled. "I just want more than this room, this house."

"I know," Edward said quietly. "I know, love."

I didn't bother correcting him this time.

"I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for doing this to you," he continued. "For scaring you and making you cry. I wasn't thinking when I took you, Bella. And I didn't do it to hurt you. I just had to save you."

"I know," I whispered.

I believed him. Edward hadn't been operating under malicious intent when he grabbed me. He had been scared and panicked. I knew that now. But it didn't change the fact that I still wanted my freedom.

"Where did you learn to do this?" I asked, trying for a lighter topic. "Giving massages, I mean."

"Took a class," he replied quietly.

His hands felt so good and I practically melted into the mattress. He was obviously great at this.

"Do you work as a massage therapist?" I mumbled.

"No, silly," he chuckled. "I took the class for you."

My head shot up.

"For me?" I questioned.

"You're always carrying your heavy book bag and lifting stuff at work. Plus you tense your shoulders like crazy when you sit at a computer. If anyone needs regular massages it's you."

I felt stunned. Edward had taken a massage class just because he thought I needed it. I wasn't sure if I should feel flattered or creeped out at that moment. And what was even more disturbing…

"Edward?" I asked hesitantly.

"Mmm?" he hummed while making large circles across my lower back.

"You said that you never planned on taking me," I reminded him. "Then why would you attend a class?"

He sighed.

"I didn't plan it, I swear, Bella."

"But then why?"

"Because…because I liked doing it. I liked pretending that you were my girlfriend. God, I'm such a loser."

He had stopped massaging me and now his hands were just resting on my lower back.

"I just did what I would have done if we were really together. I have a lot of free time on my hands and it felt nice walking into that class and saying that I had someone to learn for. It made me feel…normal, you know? I realize how pathetic that probably makes me sound but…but it's the truth and I never want to lie to you. I just tried to make myself perfect. Perfect for you and then maybe…if I ever did find the courage to talk to you…well, you know," he finally trailed off.

"I wish you had found the courage," I whispered. "I would have liked you."

Edward made a choking sound and slowly removed his hands. My lower back felt cold without his touch.

"I guess we'll never know if…if maybe you could have…"

I could hear it in his voice; he was crying. I was afraid to roll over and look at him, to see his devastation. He had made such a mess of everything and I think he truly realized that now. Maybe…if Edward hadn't taken me. If he had simply introduced himself one day on campus. Could something have happened between us? Could we be in love right now? It hurt to think about because I had a pretty good idea of what the answer would have been.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore and rolled over onto my back. Edward wiped his eyes with the backs of his hands quickly and looked away, embarrassed by his tears. But he shouldn't be, because in that moment there were tears in my eyes, as well.

"I'm so sorry," he whispered. "I wish I could be normal. I wish I had done everything different."

"Me too."

We stared at each other for a long time. He really was very beautiful. Deeply flawed, yes, but beautiful just the same.

"Will you have dinner with me tonight?" Edward asked. "No expectations. No date. Just to talk and get to know each other better. Nothing fancy, I promise."

I couldn't think of a reason to say no. I still wanted Edward to trust me so that I would be allowed to roam around freely. Denying his request and spending the night alone in my room didn't sound appealing at all and there were things I wanted to ask him.

"Do you know how to roast a chicken?" I asked, remembering his comment from before.

He laughed. I couldn't remember him doing that before and it was enough to take my breath away. His whole face transformed for a moment. He looked years younger, happy and carefree.

"I happen to make a great roast chicken," he boasted with a grin.

I returned the smile and for the first time it wasn't fake. I wasn't put off by the thought of spending the evening in Edward's company, just talking, like he had said. It actually sounded…nice. Just like Edward was also…nice.

More than nice.

Shut up.

"You're so beautiful when you smile," he said with genuine awe in his voice.

My heart skipped a beat and my cheeks flushed at his unexpected compliment. That was when I realized how much trouble I was in. I kind of liked Edward.

More than kind of.

Shut. Up.

Bella, Bella, Bella. Why do you fight against your feelings? Oh, yeah. Because he kidnapped you.

Can they ever move past that? Not a whole lot of answers this time, sorry about that. They're coming, I promise. So, they're not having a date per say but they're going to have dinner, at least. Am I the only one who is hoping that it will involve a goodnight kiss? I know that some of you haven't warmed up to Takenward but I'm glad that you keep reading, regardless.

Oh, and by the way. My story The Education of Professor Cullen is now complete, save for a future-take, so check that out if you'd like a fun and smutty love story without too much drama. :)

That's all for now. Take care until next time.