Pen-name: Gemmah

Rating: M for lemons & language

Genre: Angst

Characters: Edward/Bella/Angela

This is an outtake from my story Of Pleasure & Pain, which can be found in my other stories on ffn.

Summary: This story started as a one-shot for the Twi Kink Fest. When confronted with the evidence of her husband, Edward, cheating on her with her BFF, Bella finds her reactions are conflicting. This is her story. A situation of pleasure and of pain.

Thanks to BeckyBrit & TwiWeasel for their help with this outtake :o).

Disclaimer ~ All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer.

Of Pleasure & Pain Outtake~ Edward

"Merry Christmas!" Angela half-sings as she opens the front door to us. I really can't be bothered with this whole thing. I only finished work for the holidays a couple of hours ago, but I'd promised Bella we'd come. I've been a bit of an ass to her lately, I know; working late, tired and snappy. Things should ease up a little when the office reopens in the New Year, that's our quietest time.

Bella greets Angela as she enters first, giving her a quick hug. As I step through the doorway behind her, Angela steps up and hugs me, kissing my cheek as she does.

"Hi, Edward," she whispers in my ear.

This is…new. Firstly, because she's never greeted me this way before, and secondly because she's always just been Angela to me, but as I pull back something in her voice when she spoke to me, makes me look closely at her. She's looking good, prettily made up and with a definite sparkle in her eye. As both women turn and walk away from me, I find myself paying attention to her body too. That red dress looks great on her. I've never noticed how long her legs are…

I shake my head. What the hell am I doing? It's one thing checking strangers out when I'm alone, most guys do that, but checking out my wife's best friend when Bella's here too? That's not me.

I wonder who else is here this evening? I'm praying Jess and Lauren haven't been invited. I see the way they look at me and it makes me uneasy, even if it does amuse Bella. I can't imagine it would amuse me much if any my friends looked at Bella as though she were something to eat. I guess she doesn't see them as a threat.

I needn't have worried; there are plenty of people here, but none of them are Jess or Lauren. I spend the evening catching up with some of the guys from town who I haven't seen in a while. Bella spends the evening growing increasingly drunk thanks to Angela's generosity with the bottles of spirits lined up on the kitchen counter. She isn't a drinker, not really, so I shouldn't be surprised that by the time everybody else has left, she's in the bathroom puking it all back up.

"Bella?" I knock on the bathroom door. I'd stuck with beer, and although I'm definitely feeling the effects, I'm not the mess that she now is. She appears at the door, bleary eyed and tucking her long, brown hair behind her ears as she slumps against the door frame. "Come on, baby," I tell her, wrapping an arm around her and letting her lean on me. "Let's get you home."

"No!" she looks up at me, bloodshot brown eyes suddenly wide. "I promised Ange we'd help her clean up. I can't leave now." I smile. It's so like Bella.

"Ok, well then let's sit you down and get you a glass of water first. You're no use like this," I laugh lightly.

I help her to the couch and lower her gently down. She immediately stretches out and closes her eyes. I can see who's going to be doing the clearing up of the two of us, and it's not going to be sleeping beauty.

"I'll get you some water," I tell her. She grunts and I smile. She's going to feel like hell in the morning. I collect as many empties from the various surfaces as I can carry, and take them through to the kitchen while I'm headed that way anyway.

As I enter the kitchen, I'm greeted by the sight of Angela bending over as she loads the dishwasher. The back hem of her dress is barely covering her ass, and the view makes me pause, my arms still full of bottles and glasses.

"Oh! Hey, Edward," she says seeing me as she straightens up. "Here, let me help." She walks over and begins to relieve me of some of my load. I'm not sure whether she's touching me more than really necessary, or if I'm just noticing it more because of the effect she's having on me tonight. Either way, it feels good, and that confuses me. I've never had my head turned before, not since I met Bella, and a part of me hates the fact that it's happening now.

"Bella passed out," I tell her as I place the last of the glasses on the counter.

"She did?" Angela laughs. She has a nice smile, I notice for the first time. I suddenly realize that I'm just standing smiling goofily at her.

"I'll…uh…just do some more cleaning up…" I stammer, taking a step back towards the doorway.

"Oh, really, it can wait," she tells me. I watch her as she stalks towards me across the kitchen. My heart is beating faster, and I'm not sure whether it's because I'm panicking or if it's anticipation. If I've been reading her cues correctly tonight, I think I have an idea of what is on her mind.

She stops right in front of me and tilts her head to one side as she looks up at me from below her eyelashes.

"I always wondered something," she says softly, her tongue just peeking out to moisten her bottom lip.

"What's that?" I ask, my voice tight with nerves. I step off to the side a little, but she follows. I shuffle back and hit the counter. Still she follows. I reach back and my fingers grip the edge of the counter tightly.

"Whether your eyes are as beautiful close up, as they are at a distance," she says, moving so that there is barely any space at all between our bodies. She places her hands flat on my chest as she stretches up, her fingers stroking me through the thin fabric of my shirt. I feel myself begin to harden as, despite the war raging in my head, her actions begin to affect me.

Her face is close to mine now. She looks deep into my eyes and reels me in, leaning towards me and capturing my lips with her own before I even realize what's happening.

As Angela's lips meet mine, the first thing I think is how different it feels. I've spent the past six years kissing only one woman; we fit together. This feels strange, although not necessarily in a bad way.

Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Cullen, my conscience pipes up. It's enough to make me pull away, my hands on her shoulders, forcing some distance between us.

"Angela, I can't. This is wrong. Bella—"

"Is passed out in the other room and will never know," Angela cuts in, pushing her fingers into the top of my jeans and pulling herself close again. "We both want this, Edward…" She leans in and begins to suck gently at my neck. Holy shit, that feels amazing. I can't help the moan that escapes from my mouth. Angela catches it too, and it seems to encourage her. She sucks harder and then nips me with her teeth. The sudden pain causes me to cry out a little. Instinctively, I push her roughly away, but she still has her fingers in my waistband and she pulls me with her as she twists back and to the side, until she hits the other counter top. My body bumps into hers as I put my hands forward to try and catch the surface behind her, finally getting a grip on the counter, but not until my face is only a couple of inches from hers.

I catch a flash of something heated in her eyes, and that one look ignites something similar in me. A split second, a thought suppressed in my mind, and I let my instincts burst through and lead me. My mouth goes straight to hers. There's no slow or soft approach; I'm taking what she's offering to me and I'm taking it now. She responds with similar force. This doesn't feel strange any longer, because it's simply too different to compare to anything I'm used to now.

I run my hands roughly up her body, grunting in satisfaction as she pushes her breast further into my hand and lets out a groan. I follow her dress down, until my hand feels the soft fabric replaced by even softer skin. Back up now, but beneath the material this time. The curve where her leg meets her ass swells beneath my hand and I dig my fingers into her flesh, causing her to gasp into my mouth. I relax my grip on her ass, my lips fall away from hers, and my eyes roll up in my head as I feel her hand palming me firmly through my jeans. I thrust my hips and push myself harder onto her hand, but then it's gone. I moan and about to protest when I feel a lighter, shaky sensation. She's unbuttoning my fly.

She's barely had time to wrap her hand around me, before I've reached back beneath her dress and literally ripped her flimsy panties from her. I've always wanted to do that to a woman and it's every bit as erotic as I always dreamt it would be. My hands go to her waist and I lift her up onto the counter, pushing her dress up and spreading her legs wide apart. I stand between them and brush the back of my hand all the way to the top of the inside of her thigh, pushing two fingers firmly inside her when I get to where I was aiming for. She throws her head back as she gasps and rocks on her hips, almost trapping my hand beneath her. I reach around her waist and yank her forward, closer to the edge where I can get at her better. My fingers pump in and out of her a few times, sliding easily because she's so damn wet for me.

I capture her mouth and kiss her hard again. Slipping my fingers from inside her, I lift them to where our lips meet, sliding them between so that we can both taste her. She pulls away from the kiss and sucks one of my fingers into her mouth, watching me closely as she begins to move her mouth up and down over it, simulating what looks like it could be the best fucking blow job I've ever seen. When she slides it out for the last time, she looks into my eyes.

"Fuck me, Edward," she pleads. I'm way past the point of second thoughts, all brain function having switched to the hard, throbbing length between my legs.

"Oh, God," I groan, as I push my jeans down over my ass. That's as far as they get, because she's pulling me in for a desperate kiss again. When I pull back just a few seconds later, she's holding a foil wrapper in her hand. I have absolutely no idea where she got it, but I'm not about to argue. I take it from her, rip it open, roll it on and then move up to push myself as far into her as I can get. Her legs wrap around my waist as I fuck her hard. Reaching up behind her, I wrap her hair around my hand and yank down on it, revealing her neck to me as her head is pulled back. I attack it with my mouth, driving us both further into our frenzy.

It feels so good to let fly a little; to release some masculine tension in a powerful way, rather than the gentle lovemaking that was the usual way I got mine these days.

She comes before I do, but only just; her climax triggering my own.

As I pull out of her, trying to catch my breath, it's almost as though my brain floats back up my body from my crotch to my head. My dick's still twitching even as the first tendrils of guilt begin to spread and entwine around my brain. I think of my sweet, loving wife lying unconscious in the next room, and I feel more than a little sick at what I just did. I grimace as I pull the condom off and yank my pants back up as I dump it in the trash. As I fasten my fly, my back to Angela, I feel arms snake around my waist. I step quickly out of her grasp, turning to face her. I'm angry as hell, as much at myself as at her.

"That will never be happening again," I tell her through gritted teeth, my hands clenched in fists at my sides.

"You didn't enjoy it?" she asks me, pouting. I snort and roll my eyes.

"That's irrelevant, Angela. I'm married. To your best friend. This would kill Bella if she ever found out."

"Why would she find out? I'm not going to tell her," she says. I search her face for any signs of regret or guilt. I find neither.

"Jesus, Angela." I move to leave the room, but she catches hold of my arm. I shake her off, turning roughly to face her. "What?" I spit out. She cowers back ever so slightly. I'm surprised to find myself getting a kick out of her reaction. As I stare her down, her eyes darken.

"I was just going to say…if you ever change your mind. Well, you know where to find me." I look at her for a moment longer. My emotions are rushing around my head so fast, that I'm struggling to identify what they are exactly. Disgust is definitely up there, but also there, burning below everything else, but burning steadily, is lust for this woman, who I now despise. It was wrong; so wrong, but exciting because of that very fact.

"Don't hold your breath," I tell her, turning and leaving the room.

I walk into the living room where Bella is. She hasn't moved at all, still in the exact same position I left her in. Her cheeks are still flushed from the alcohol and her hair is mussed up around her head. Another stab of guilt shoots through me, causing me to wince. What did she ever do to deserve what I just did to her?

I need to get out of here. I need to get us out of here. Gently, I try to rouse Bella. Nothing. I shake her with more force, saying her name. Finally she opens her eyes. I tell her we need to go. She begs me not to make her move. Helping her to her feet, I all but drag her to the door, desperate to get out of there. There's no sign of Angela and I breathe a sigh of relief as the front door closes behind us. Part of me had feared a messy confrontation. After tonight I had no idea what else she was capable of.

Christmas morning. The sound of a text message arriving causes me to stir. I wasn't really asleep, I haven't slept all night, but it disturbs the rhythm of the turmoil that roils around inside me. Bella rolls over, groaning with the movement. She gropes around on her nightstand for her phone, which she miraculously managed to keep attached to the night before, despite her drunken stupor.

As I reach for mine, I realize that the same cannot be said for me.

"It's from Angela," she mumbles. "You left your phone there last night." Her arm flops back down on the bed. "She says to come and get it."

Shit, shit, fuck.

"It's Christmas Day," I argue.

"It's fine; we don't have anywhere to be until this afternoon."

"Well, I think you should go, baby," I tell her, scrabbling to come up with another excuse. "She's your friend."

"I can't move," she tells me. "I think I might be dying. Anyway, what does it matter whose friend she is? You're only picking up your phone."

I don't reply; I'm too busy with the internal panic that threatens to engulf me. I can do this, I tell myself. Knock. Ask for phone. Get phone. Leave.

"You were gone a long time," Bella says from beneath the blanket on the couch, as I walk back in at eleven thirty, an hour and a half after I left.

Shit; she noticed. What else does she notice? I wonder. Will she detect that I smell different? Do I look different? I feel as though my guilt is written all over me, declaring my infidelity to the world. I'd never cheated on Bella before yesterday, and now I've done it twice in twelve hours. I wonder how I've lost myself so easily. It worries me that I have.

Nine months later

"Edward?" I'm vaguely aware of Bella saying my name. I try to answer, but I'm semi-paralysed by sleep. "Edward," she says. "Who's 'A'?"

My brain is slowly beginning to process what is going on now.

"What?" I ask sleepily, as I move a little beneath the comfort of the covers.

"Who's 'A'? I have your phone here and—"

Her words act as the brain equivalent of a defibrillator, shocking me into consciousness.

I throw myself forward to try and snatch my phone back from her before she finds something incriminating. I've been meaning to clear all my messages for a while now, just in case. It hadn't seemed urgent though; Bella never usually goes near my phone. As my hand is about to close around it, she pulls it back out of my reach. Why would she do that? Unless…

I have a nasty feeling that she's already seen something. What though? Is it something innocuous I can explain away somehow, or am I well and truly busted? I stop, my hand mid-air, and try to read her face for a clue. She raises her eyebrows. It's a challenge, I can tell, and in that moment I guess that she knows.

This is going to be bad. She's going to be devastated. I spend most of my time fighting to push the guilt down, but now, in this moment, it pushes its way to the surface. The feeling is almost unbearable.

My mouth is dry, and I swallow in an attempt to try and get some moisture back in it. I have no idea what to do, and so I close my eyes. Think, think, think, I urge myself, desperate for inspiration for how to get us out of this and prevent her from hurting.

I reopen my eyes. She's just sitting looking at me; she hasn't moved at all.

"What…?" I begin to ask, trailing off. I'm still unable to ask her directly; unwilling to risk implicating myself if she doesn't know for sure. She has me confused as she tilts her head as she watches me. I'm almost sure she knows, but she's not reacting. It doesn't make any sense.

"Please may I have the phone?" I ask her, cautiously. If I can just get it back from her…

"You still haven't answered my question, Edward," she says, her voice strangely detached. "Who's 'A'?"

She definitely knows. There's no real curiosity in her question; she's not frowning in confusion. It's confirmation that she wants. Why did I ever start this? I was too weak to say no, and now I feel too weak to deal with all the shit it's going to cause.

"'A'?" My tongue sticks to the roof my mouth again. Maybe she doesn't know. Maybe if I play dumb…"I don't know what you're—"

She gives me a look that speaks volumes. It tells me that she knows what I did, she knows what I'm doing now, and that she's had enough of my bullshit. I can't stand to see her looking at me this way. I try to move towards her. "Bella, Baby, please—"

She edges away from me. It breaks my heart, but then I guess that's only fair. I've more than likely broken hers.

"Don't call me that," she says.

"I'm sorry…shit." Sorry? Never has the word sounded quite so inadequate. I roll onto my back, closing my eyes and tugging at my hair in frustration with myself for being such an asshole these last nine months.

"Sorry you did it, or sorry you got caught?" she asks. I can't believe she'd ask such a thing. Of course I'm sorry; sorry I ever agreed to go that night, sorry I ever laid eyes on Angela; you name anything to do with this whole mess and I'm sorry about it. I turn my head and look at her. I have no idea how to even begin to explain it, how to find the words.

"Yeah, I thought as much," she says, taking my silence to mean the opposite of what I'm actually thinking. I can't let her believe that.

"No! No, don't think that, don't ever think that." I pull myself up to a sitting position again and move closer. I need to touch her, but when I reach my hand out to her face, she moves her head away. I put my arm down, my stomach twisting at the rejection; at the hurt I've caused her that has led to the rejection. I look away. "I'm a fucking idiot." I say, more to myself that to her; I'm pretty sure she's already figured it out for herself. "Why am I such a fucking idiot?"

I look back at her, ready to open my heart.

"Bella, I love you, you have to believe that. I don't even know why I did it, it was fucking stupid." Every word is true. Ok, it was exciting at the time, but I know already that it's not going to be worth the fall-out from the situation.

"I don't know anything any more, Edward," she says. "I certainly don't know you." I can't believe it's possible for so few words to make a person feel as bad as I do in that moment. Is that really how she feels? It hurts to think it's true.

"Don't say that," I whisper, not trusting my voice. "I'm the same person; I haven't changed."

"No, you haven't," she says. "People don't. But you're not the man I thought you were. Do you know what happens when we lose someone we love?"

I shake my head; no.

"We grieve. I'm grieving for the man I thought I'd married." Finally the cool façade is slipping and her voice grows louder as she allows her anger to bubble up. "I'm grieving for somebody who has never even existed, Edward! Do you know how stupid that makes me feel?"

She jumps out of bed and stands up next to it. I'm losing her; the physical distance makes me panic, accompanied as it is by the sudden emotional distance between us. I make to follow her, moving on my hands and knees across the bed and climbing off to stand beside her. She moves away from me. I feel like just about the worst person in the world right now, and I don't know what the hell to do to make it right.

"Sit down," she says, pointing back at the bed.

"But, Bella—"

"Sit!" she barks. I sit.

"She's my best friend," she says in a whisper. I keep my eyes downcast, unable to look at what I've done to her. "Or should I say she was my best friend. How could you? How could she?"

I hold my head in his hands, rocking slightly as I sit on the edge of the bed.

"I know, I know," I say quietly, wanting it all to end.

"How long?" she suddenly asks. I move one of my hands and lift my head to look up at her. Please don't ask me. Don't make me answer, I can't bear to see you suffer more, and you will.

"Bella, don't do this," I plead.

"I need to know."

"You don't."

"Do NOT dare to presume to tell me what I do or do not need to know. You've dropped me in the middle of this shitty situation, at least let me decide how I'm going to deal with it!" She yells. "How. Long?"

I look up, closing my eyes as I prepare to speak. I can't look; I can't see her reaction.

"Nine months," I say.

"Nine months?" she asks. I nod my head. "New Year?"

"Christmas Eve."

"But I was with you Christmas Eve," she says. I open my eyes. She's clearly confused. "We went to Angela's place, but I was with you all night…" she pauses and I can see that she remembers the crucial detail. "Until I passed out."

"Angela," she says. It's not a question, but a statement. She remembered afterwards how Angela plied her with drinks from the moment we arrived; we'd even discussed it – somewhat awkwardly on my part – afterwards. I nod. I need to make her understand that I'd never even thought about it before, that I didn't start this whole mess.

"I swear to you, Bella, she started it. She cornered me in the kitchen while I was fetching a glass of water for you and—"

"I believe you," she says. Thank fuck! The relief is instantaneous. It doesn't last beyond her next sentence though. "Not that it matters. You could have said no. You could have said 'no' at that point and you could have said 'no' at any other point during the past nine months. But you didn't. You just carried on fucking my best friend." She begins pacing up and down the room.

"I knew," she says. "I knew you were seeing someone. I even discussed it with her!" she lets out this strange laugh that sounds more like pain than amusement. I guess it is.

"Yeah, I know," I tell her, getting into the swing of the whole honesty thing, just around nine months too late. Angela had told me that Bella had suspicions about me cheating. I remember being more than a little disturbed by the fact that she'd seemed to get a kick out of Bella choosing to confide in her about it.

"Of course. Well she would tell you, wouldn't she? Did you use that information to improve your game plan, huh? To try arrangements that wouldn't make me so suspicious?"

She was a mile off the truth; it hadn't been some cosy pillow talk, it had been the conversation where I'd told Angela that we needed to stop; that if Bella found out, it would kill her; which in turn would kill me. I'd discovered that it was a fallacy that men who have affairs don't love their wives. I never loved Bella any less, although I know that neither she, nor anybody else, will ever believe me, in lieu of my recent 18ehaviour.

Anyway, we had stopped. For a few weeks at least. I wonder what to tell her. I open my mouth to speak, and then close it again, unable to find the right words. Finally I stop trying.

"I don't know what to say," I admit, feeling the tears gathering in my eyes. "What do you want me to say?" I hear the strain in my own voice and watch as she winces.

"I don't know," she says, her own voice straining with emotion. "Iwant you to tell me that I imagined the whole thing. That there are no texts. That there are no emails. That I didn't stand ten feet away from your car at a picnic site and watch while you fucked her like an animal."

She'd seen us. Somehow this made it so much worse. She'd watched me fucking her best friend and then she'd come home and waited for this moment. I truly hated myself.

"You watched us?"

"Yes." She felt uncomfortable admitting it, I could tell. "Why don't you fuck me like that?" she asks, suddenly. I'm shocked. She watched me with her best friend and the thing she's asking me is why I don't fuck her in the same way? "Is that why you did it? Why you started this whole thing? Am I too vanilla for you, Edward? Am I boring in bed?"

"No!" I stand quickly, angry with her for even thinking that I could treat her in the same way that I treat Angela. I love Bella, Angela was just about the sex; it was all about the thrill. "Bella, I don't fuck you like that because I don't fuck you. I make love to you, because that's how you deserve to be treated," I tell her. It's partly true. She's never shown any interest in wanting to try it any other way, so I never pushed it; because I love her.

"How I deserve to be treated? My God, you are such a hypocrite! How I deserve to be treated, is for my husband not to be screwing my best friend!"

I have no reply to that. She's right, of course. I suddenly realize that I'm standing there naked. It seems inappropriate somehow. I cross the room and take some boxer briefs out of my drawer, pulling them on. I head for the bathroom to escape for a moment, but a sense of hopelessness hits me even before I get there. I turn back and walk to her, placing my palms up in surrender.

"I can't do this, Bella. I need to make this right, but every time I open my mouth I make it worse." I tell her, trying to explain how I'm feeling.

"You can't possibly make it worse, there's nowhere lower on the scale for the situation to slide," she says, as she hugs herself. I want to do it for her, but I know she won't allow it.

"Please. Just please, let's try to work through this," I beg. "I won't go near her again. It's you, Bella. It's always been you. Trust me."

"Trust you? You did not just say that, Edward. I know you're not that dumb."

I hang my head, realizing that it was a stupid choice of words. I wonder if she'll ever trust me again. I wonder if she'll let herself even try. I hope so.

We seem to have reached an impasse. My heart feels as though it's being torn from my chest as I face up to the harsh reality of the situation. I can't justify what I did; what I've been doing for the past nine months. There's only more thing I can think to say.

"Do you want me to go?" I ask, as the tears break free of my eyes and begin to flow freely down my cheeks. I don't feel sorry for myself though; this is entirely my own fault and I can accept that. What I can't accept, is what I've done to Bella. Nobody deserves treating the way I've treated her. When her own tears follow mine, I'm not sure I can stand it, especially when she maintains her poise, looking directly at me, even as her shoulders shake, not even wiping her eyes.

"Yes, I do," she says. "You can't stay here."

As her words sink in, it's as though someone has pulled out the pin that held me up. My legs give way and I find myself on the floor. I wrap my arms around my knees and finally allow the pieces of my heart to fall apart, telling myself that I deserve every moment of the ache that permeates throughout my chest.

"What were you thinking, Edward?" she asks, through sobs that sound as raw as my own. I look up at her through my tears. "I don't want to let you go," she says, wiping her cheeks with the back of her hands. "But I can't stay with you now. It's too much. It's not fair on me."

The fact that she still loves me enough to want to keep me, even if she's saying she can't, gives me a flash of hope. Maybe we can work this out. I'm just about to speak, when suddenly she gets angry. "How dare you do this to us? What gave you the right to make this decision for me? I don't want to be alone!"

I can't take this. I can't take the fact that this is my fault, for the sake of what? I move across the floor towards her.

"You don't have to be, Bella. We can work this out; I know we can. Please, just give me a chance," I beg, as I wipe my arm across my nose.

"You had a chance," she says, the anger replaced once again by desperate sobbing. "You only get one chance with me. I don't give second chances." She's always told me that. Why didn't I listen?

Slowly, the implications of the situation begin to dawn on me and I feel myself growing panicky.

"Where will I go? What will I do? Bella, I'm nothing without you." I rub at my eyes, trying to scrub the tears away.

"You should have thought of that when you decided to start having an affair with another woman," she says, the venom of the betrayed in her voice.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I can't say it enough," I say, pleading for her to acknowledge my regret and know that it's genuine.

"You need to leave," she says, suddenly calm, save for her shaky breathing. "Go to your mom and dad's; I need some space."

Shit. I haven't even thought about telling my parents. I can't go to them. I can't face looking at their faces and seeing the disappointment in their eyes

"What will I tell them?" I croak.

"Why don't you try telling the truth for once?" she says, and then she leaves the room.

My own tears don't dry up as quickly as hers; as the door closes behind her, I break down once more. I allow myself a few minutes self-pity, before I decide that it's time to pull myself together and face the consequences of what I've done.

I enter the kitchen, dressed and with a few clothes and toiletries thrown into a bag. She's sitting at the table with a mug of coffee in her hands. I don't want to leave her like this; so vulnerable looking. You made her that way, I remind myself, welcoming the punishment of the pain the thought brings.

She looks up at me. She looks torn.

"I've got my stuff," I tell her, urging her to tell me that she's changed her mind; that she wants me to stay and we'll work things out.

"I can see," she says. We look at one another for another long moment.

"Well, I guess I'll be heading out then." I'm still praying for a miracle.


"Should I come round tomorrow? Can we talk then?" I ask, anxious to resolve things.

"I'll call you when I'm ready," she says. I have to accept it; I owe her enough, I have to let her take control now.

I walk up and kiss the top of her head, feeling her tense as I do so.

"Goodbye, Bella." The words almost kill me to say them.

"Bye," she replies simply.

I linger for a moment and then leave the room, collecting my jacket and pulling it on before leaving my home and my wife.

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