Okay, I know it's been a while, but I just got a shot of inspiration. So, here it is. the new chapter of No Strings Attached.

No Strings Attached

Chapter 2

You are not expecting the knock this time. He has not called, and he never comes over unexpectedly. Therefore it is not him. Your heart, brought to life by the prospect of his presence, sputters and dies quickly. You wonder if it's even worth it to open the door for anyone else? Finally you decide you might as well.

The walk to the door seems longer when he is not waiting on the other side. When you swing the door open, the sight that greets you almost causes a heart attack.

She stands there, calm as you please, baby in one arm and an umbrella in the other.

Tanya.

It hurts just to think her name, to see her is even worse. She looks the same as the last time you saw her at graduation. She hasn't aged a day, while you look horrid, lines from stress and unhappiness liberally decorating your face. Why is she here? Does she know? Where is Edward? Does he know she's here? The questions spin in your mind as you watch her with wide eyes, like a dangerous animal ready to strike. She watches you with a jaundiced eye, then says softly, "Are you going to let me in out of the rain Bella?"

You startle at the sound of her voice, but let her in. What else could you do? If she doesn't know then you mustn't give her reasons to be suspicious. These thoughts are stopped as soon as you close the door behind her.

"I know everything." she states as if remarking upon the weather, still in the same soft tone. You realize that the baby, the bundle cradled so lovingly in her arms, must be asleep. Turning, she looks you in the eye while you look everywhere but at the little lump of cloth, knowing somehow that if you saw it, it would destroy you.

Softly and slowly, the strawberry blonde tells of her knowledge of your affair, the word still seeming too ugly when used to describe what takes place between you and Edward. She repeats the declarations (lies) her husband has made to you while you simply stand there in the entry to your flat and listen, completely still as you watch your imperfect world fall apart. She finishes with a penetrating stare, her blue eyes piercing all your walls, seeing everything that has happened. All your hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities. She sees the girl you once were, so trampled and beaten down by a man's poisonous promises. She looks at you with pity, and you can't take it so you look away.

Caught up in the emotional vortex and confusion, you realize that you haven't answered her. She had just asked a question, well not really a question but a request for confirmation of what she already knew. You nod, why deny it? And suddenly your stiff and tense shoulders sag, exhausted by all of it, perversely you wish Edward were here to hold you and make it all go away. The weight of the life you've led dragging you down.

A little spark of the woman you once were comes to the fore, surprising you, but only drawing a smirk from her. "Why have you come? How long have you known?"

She replies curtly, "Since it began." And suddenly your mind is reeling. All along. She's known all along.

The woman in question cocks her head to the side and continues assessing you, "As for why I've come, I've come to save you. We were friends once upon a time. And for that reason along with a few others, I let this," here she paused as if searching for the right word, "tryst, continue. But I have been following its progression, and have become increasingly concerned over the years that you have become too attached."

So she had noticed?

"I remember you being smarter than that, so I had a P.I. bug my husband." she goes on. Your mouth gapes open as her words register. She'd heard everything. All of it. It's almost too much, all the moments you thought were supposed to be intimate and special, completely ruined. She smiled, taking slight pleasure in your pain despite what she'd said about saving you.

"I heard every false promise he made, every lie. And you know them to be lies Bella. I can see it, you're just in denial." Then she does something you do not expect, not that any of this was expected. She quickly closes the distance between the two of you and unwraps the bundle in her arms so you can fully see what was before a relatively shapeless pile. Your unwilling eyes are drawn to what is now revealed. Little arms and legs, limp and still with sleep, were curled up against a tiny, pale body. Dark copper curls graced a little head with a features of angelic peace and beauty. Involuntarily your hand reaches out and just as the tip of your finger makes contact with impossibly soft skin, tiny blue eyes open, so like his mother's, and stare at you with mild curiosity.

It's too much, to see her eyes set in a face so like his. You break down and start to sob, meanwhile she starts to speak again and you can't help but hear her say, like an insidious whisper in your ear blending with the voice of your own subconscious, "Do you see now? Do you see? He lied to you Bella. He has always lied to you. He does not love you. He's not going to leave me." The daggers fly straight from her mouth to your heart as you sink to the ground. She's right. You know she is.

"Do you really believe he would ever leave me? Or him?" You see her gesture to the baby in her arms, his baby, and bow your head. No. You don't. It was so real and truthful when it came from his full lips, but with the little newborn right there. Having seen him, you know he could never do it. Never. There is no way he would leave him for you. It hits home and hits hard, and your tears drip down your face and splatter on the stone beneath your knees.

Yet throughout all this, you still wonder why she came? All she's done so far is make you acknowledge things you already knew deep down inside. But how does that save you? It doesn't lessen the love you feel for him, nor the need. But it seems as if she already knows this, for she goes on, "You know he wouldn't, Bella. I don't know why he is leading you on like this, but I do know you don't deserve it. I want it to stop, and if I so chose, I could stop it easily just by revealing to my husband that I know of this little farce." It hurts to hear her call him her husband, and you flinch as the word farce is used to describe something that was your everything, but your tears are running out. Now you just pant brokenly at her feet, the degrading and humiliating position not even reaching the numbness that has started to take over.

She continues, "But that I will not do." and shakes her head decisively. "I have listened to him take the power from you, and honestly it has sickened me. Edward does not know I am here, but I will be confronting him about this right after you end this affair." The gasp that escapes you is small, but she hears it. "Yes, Bella, I am making you take the power back. You will end this, and soon or I will come back for as long as it takes to convince you." Her eyes shone with determination, and you can't doubt her sincerity. "This ends. Now."

Then taking back up her umbrella and re-wrapping her bundle, Tanya walked gracefully towards the door, the lengthy, but one-sided conversation never leaving the entrance. Once at the door, she turns to you one last time and says, "I know he plans to come to you tonight. I will allow you one last night with my husband, to settle yourself to the idea of breaking it off, but that is it. Do it tonight, or I shall be back tomorrow." and with a decisive nod farewell, she left, the door swinging closed behind her silently.