I woke up to something cold and wet poking at my ear. Letting out a groan I rolled over and dug my head deeper into the pillow.
Five seconds later the infuriating poke came again, this time at my neck. Cursing softly I grabbed the pillow beside me and turned to whack away whatever dared disturb my sleep.
I grunted in surprise when the pillow was seized and yanked out of my hand.
Buddy leapt onto the bed with a gleeful bark and stuck his two front paws on my chest, flattening me against the bed with his hefty weight. I turned my head to the side as his tongue swiped my cheekbone, grimacing at the unpleasant feeling of the saliva sticking to my skin.
I shoved my hands against his chest and considered punching the overly exuberant dog in the nose. But after remembering the way he had attacked me in the kitchen several days ago I decided against it. After all, the dog was a beast.
"Buddy! There you are. Sorry, Edward."
Bella bustled into the room wearing a sports bra and gray sweatpants. I blinked, staring at her bare stomach as she sauntered over towards the bed, lips pressed together in a firm line.
"Buddy, nein! Bad dog. Platz, right now!" She pointed her finger sternly at the ground and glared at him.
Obeying, he climbed off my chest and jumped off the bed, ears pinned back against his head.
"Weird," Bella said, gazing down at Buddy with a quizzical expression on her face, "I think he likes you. He usually only does that to me in the morning."
I snorted and flung the sheets back over my head, ignoring the dreadful throbbing that refused to ebb. I was desperately craving three more hours of sleep. Perhaps four depending on how long my hangover planned on "hanging" around.
I groaned in response to Bella's beckoning call.
"Edward, I really want to talk."
Of course she wanted to talk, she was a woman. Most women liked to talk, rant, rave and confide in others about their issues. In all my past experiences I've learned that talking was one of the things women did best. And by Bella's insistent tone I had a gut sinking feeling that she was good and ready for some talking.
I on the other hand was not.
"Bella, now is not the time," I grumbled underneath the sheets, hoping she'd be merciful and let me go back to sleep.
"I beg to differ. Now is the perfect time."
A split second later she flung back the covers and plopped down on the end of my bed, crossing her legs Indian-style before flashing me a firm smile that said, 'We're talking whether you like it or not.'
Not holding back my scowl, I grabbed my own pillow this time and chucked it in her direction.
She caught it, snuggled it in her arms and continued to smile that damn smile at me. "Oh, thank you. I feel so much more comfortable now."
"Bella, I'm serious. I feel like shit," I growled, narrowing my eyes at her. I felt a slight tinge of disappointment when I noticed the pillow was now obstructing my view of her stomach. Damn.
"Good, you should," she snapped back, "Time to get over it and talk to me."
Fuck it. The woman was stubborn. I surrendered with a sigh and pushed myself up so that my back now rested against the headboard.
"Fine, woman. What is it you need to say to me that apparently can't wait for a few more hours?"
"Okay, first of all do not call me 'woman' as if I'm the one in trouble here. I'm not. You are. And secondly, I don't need to say anything; it's you who need to fess up."
I quirked an eyebrow at her and said jokingly, "So now I am a troubled woman who should own up. Wow. What happened last night?"
For a brief moment she looked like she was about to pounce and I braced myself, preparing for some sort of attack. But slowly yet surely she regained her composure, releasing my flat pillow from her cruel embrace. I continued to stare at her calmly.
"Do you…do you remember anything that happened last night?" she questioned in not quite a whisper. She was gazing at me with some kind of hope that I couldn't yet comprehend. It unnerved me, shadowing me with a strong sense of doubt.
I thought back to last night, struggling to fill all the holes and gaps that depreciated my mind. I couldn't recall much unfortunately, but I didn't want to disappoint her. I had to give her something, even though that something was probably worth shit.
"I remember getting off work and asking a few of my buddies if they wanted to go grab a drink. So we did." I shrugged. "We had a couple shots, and then…"
"You had a couple more after that," Bella said discerningly and sighed in aggravation. "Yeah, I get the picture. That's all you can remember?"
"Basically," I replied, feeling just as aggravated as she was, if not more. I wanted to answer the question I saw lingering so heavily in her eyes, but how was I to know if I even had the answer?
And say if I did…what if the answer I gave only disappointed her all the more?
Disappointment didn't sit well with me. Now, anger I could take. Hell, I once had three teenage girls tackle me to the ground on Valentine's Day after they discovered I had accepted not one, not two, but all three offers to be their Valentine. But of course back then I had been a stud with a mission, whereas now…well, now I was a stud with a baby.
Suddenly I felt the crazy urge to laugh. But then Bella gave me that look – that cute look she gave me sometimes when she was annoyed and wanted me to know it. I watched as she tilted her head down, narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips at me, obviously pondering her next response.
"So why did you do it? Were you…mad?"
"Was I mad?" I blinked at her thoughtfully. "You mean…at you?"
"No. Well…yeah," she answered, glancing down at her lap.
I considered that for a moment. When I left the house I had been pissed as hell, but after brooding over it during the fifteen minute drive to work I realized how irrationally angry I had been about the whole situation. Unfortunately patience wasn't one of my strong suits.
And neither was admitting that I had made a mistake.
"Look…Bella…" I ran a hand through a mass of wavy unkempt hair and blew out an unsteady breath. "I apologize for yelling at you. I shouldn't have done it. You're going through enough as it is and-"
"Apology accepted," Bella said and then continued to stare at me expectantly.
"Uh…did I miss something?"
And there it went - the flicker of disappointment in her eyes that caused me to inwardly grimace. It drove me absolutely crazy. I grinded my teeth together - hard, and attempted to keep my tone cool as I added, "Throw me a bone here, Bella. Obviously there's something else you want me to apologize for. And obviously I have no clue."
"You want me to help you out? All right, fine. I'll give you a hint." Bella threw my pillow off to the side and leaned forward, scrambling towards me with a sharp look on her face that instantly had me shaking in my boots. Er, well – socks.
She reached over me and grabbed my cell phone from the nightstand. I stared at her incredulously as she held my phone against her ear and began speaking in a deep manly voice I could only assume was "mine."
"Hello? Oh, hey…babe. What's going on?" Pause. "I miss you too…" She let out a loud deep-throated chuckle and I felt the corner of my lips twitch in amusement. "Now? Oh, can't babe, I'm a bit…ah…preoccupied. Later tonight? Sure. I'll text you when I'm on my way."
And then right when I thought she had finished demonstrating her absurd skit of Edward-is-an-arrogant-ass she ran a hand through her sleek brown tresses and purred suggestively, "Can't wait to fuck you too, babe."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa." I threw my hands up and shot Bella a combative stare, exclaiming to her, "I did not say that."
"Yeah? Well you might as well have, Edward."
Bella chucked my phone over her shoulder and instead of it landing on the bed behind her like I would have preferred it bounced merrily off the edge. I watched as it soared smoothly in the air before crashing soundly against my dresser and landing, finally, on the floor with a solid thump.
After a brief moment of silence I flashed a wide, cheeky smile. "Thanks."
"Edward, honestly!" Bella exclaimed in a frustrated tone, "Can't you be serious for just one second?"
"Okay." I inhaled a deep breath, let it all out and said in all seriousness, "That phone cost me around two hundred bucks. I would appreciate it if you didn't-"
I stopped abruptly as she scrambled off the bed in a fit of anger and marched towards the door. It kind of reminded me of a penguin. But instead of calling her angry parade, "March of the Penguins" I would entitle it "March of the Bella-Tantrum."
Wait, what the fuck was I thinking about penguins for?
Swearing, I hopped off the bed and chased after Bella, managing to grab her wrist before she made it to her room.
She whirled around and glared daggers at me, freezing me right where I stood. "Let go of me, Edward. Right now."
"All right, but first hear me out. I…I suck at apologizing. I've never really gotten the hang of it. When I was growing up, instead of apologizing I tended to make jokes to try and lighten the mood." I shrugged and cracked an embarrassing smile, "What can I say? It became habit."
Bella crossed her arms across her chest and lifted her chin. "You wanna know what I've got to say?"
I eyed her warily. "Sure…"
She fired at me point-blank. "That's a real lousy fucked-up habit."
I blew out a sigh and nodded. "Yeah, I know."
Bella shook her head. "Apparently you don't or else you'd have already tried to break it. But don't worry – right now you're going to start." She smiled pleasantly up at me.
I stared at her, clearly baffled by her and this incredibly awkward situation. "What?"
"Say you're sorry, Edward."
"This is ridiculous," I muttered. I honestly felt like a kid at that moment. A kid. Hah!
"Your habit is ridiculous, Edward. Now if you truly want to apologize then just look me in the eyes and say it. It's not that hard." She gazed up at me expectantly and waited, tapping her foot on the ground.
"Are you seriously doing that?"
"Tapping your foot."
"Is it bothering you?"
"No, the person doing it is bothering me."
"I can't concentrate when you're tapping away like a fucking woodpecker!"
"Damn it, Edward! It's just two words!"
"Calm down, woman!" I clenched my fists and stared down at her belly button, knowing that if I glanced up and into her eyes I'd be in trouble – major trouble.
"Not until you say it!" she exclaimed hotly.
I grinded my teeth and finally risked a glance into her eyes.
In one swift motion I had her in my arms, flattening her against the door with the hard length of my body. I felt her gasp softly as I captured her lips with my own, forcing her to surrender with an urgent flick of the tongue. She parted her lips and our tongues began to dance, eliciting that stormy fire within me that demanded more. Only more.
I pressed the palm of my hand against her stomach, entrapping the pleasant warmth of her skin. A second later she looped her arms around my neck and ensnared me in her embrace. My mouth paraded hers and in return her lips molded against mine, causing my heart to pound erratically inside my chest. My other hand had somehow entangled itself in the mess that was her hair but a part of me had ceased to care because it felt nice to be caught...at least for a little while.
When the kiss finally ended I drew back and stared directly into her wide, dazed-like-hell eyes; that one hand still trapped in her hair. And then I stunned us both by saying the words Bella had so much been longing to hear…
Did I mean it? You can sure as hell bet I did.
Nein (Nine) - No!
Platz (Plots) - Down!
Thanks for reading guys! To those who have stuck with me since the beginning and all my new readers out there, you make my heart happy. To those who review kindly, you make my heart dance! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I worked hard so that I could give it to you in advance. :) Unfortunately I've come to realize that I'm very bad at scheduled updates so for now I'll just say I plan to update again in a week or so.
So...till then, lovely readers!