I want to thank Dinx, Ordinary Vamp, DivineInspiration, and Mizzdee for continuing to help me with this story. And send them hugs. Can't forget the hugs.

And also, thanks to you guys who keep reading, reviewing, alerting, and favoriting. I may be fail at the moment with replies. But I do read everyone, and I appreciate them more than you'll ever know.


Chapter 15
Life Is But a Dream

~.~.~.~

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.

~.~.~.~

Edward

"Are you insane, Edward? Fighting at prom? Do you want to go to jail?" my father said in a low tone, inches from my face.

But even his words couldn't erase my wide smile as he sat across the long table, leaning toward me. The night hadn't gone exactly how I'd planned; sitting in one of the Forks' Police Department interrogation rooms wasn't exactly my idea of a fun post prom activity, but it was worth it. Anything was worth hearing Bella tell me she was sorry for not having faith in me, and that she'd made a mistake.

Those words gave me hope that the nightmare of the last few weeks was about to end, and I'd been able to redeem myself. It killed a small part of me every day to watch that fucktard, Tyler, put his hand on my girl—almost driving me to the point of insanity. Many times, Emmett had to physically restrain me as he tried to talk me out of my plans to murder the slimy prick. But the heartache didn't matter, not if she was going to give me another chance.

"Edward, snap out of it. And wipe that fucking smile off of your face. This is no laughing matter." My father glared, his lips pursing.

"Sure it is." I cackled, unable to hold it back. "Your fuck up of a son is sitting in a police interrogation room. This is where I belong, isn't it?"

"I'm going to ignore that last comment," he said, eyes daring me to argue. "But what I can't believe is, after everything I said to you, you're letting some skirt cause you grief. Are you that dense, or were you not paying attention?"

My amusement vanished as his words clicked in my head. I got it; he was disappointed that I'd let my anger control me, putting my freedom in jeopardy. But I'd be damned if he was going to get away with insinuating Bella was the cause of it. I cared about Bella, while he didn't give a damn about my mother. And I wasn't going to sit there and let him act like this was anywhere close to the same thing.

I was there because I couldn't control my temper. And nothing else.

I opened my mouth to respond but snapped it shut as I noticed Chief Swan enter the room. He had a stack of papers in his hands and a stern expression. Slamming the pile onto the table with an impressive thump, I sat still and made eye contact with him. It wasn't hard to guess by the scowl on his face that he wasn't pleased his little stunt hadn't made me jump. Whatever. I wasn't in the mood to indulge in his play for power, and I wished he'd just get it over with so I could get the hell out of there. My father moved to sit next to me.

The chief sat down in his chair and shuffled through the papers. "So…what's going on, Edward? Mind telling me why I had to haul your ass in tonight?"

Clearing my throat, I looked over at my dad for my cue. When he nodded, I knew I had to answer the question. "I was provoked."

Charlie raised his brows. "Provoked, eh? Is that we're calling it? Looks more like you beat the hell outta the Crowley kid."

I suppressed the smile that wanted to spread across my face. "Oh, really?" I bit my lip and hung my head, making myself look as contrite as possible. "That's too bad. I was just trying to defend myself."

"Do you expect me to believe that, son?" Charlie snorted, shaking his head.

"Well, he did push me first."

Charlie rolled his eyes.

"I know of at least five witnesses that will state that Mr. Crowley placed his hands on Edward first. Do you really want to file charges on a clear case of self-defense?" My father cocked his head to the side, staring the chief down. Daddy dearest was a bastard, but he didn't get the reputation for being a first-rate, cut-throat lawyer for nothing.

Chief Swan tightened his grip on the papers in his hands, betraying the mask of calm he was wearing. I sat back, relaxing in my chair and knowing my time at the police station was almost over.

"I'd like the names of these so-called witnesses, Mr. Masen, to see if they'll back up your claims. Until then, I'd like for Edward to stay in town."

"Fair enough." My dad stood, closing his briefcase. "Now, if you're not going to arrest my son at this time, I'd like to take him home."

Charlie nodded. "We have nothing to hold him on right now, so he's free to go." The glare I was given made me pause as I stood. "But I mean it. Until further notice…if I catch you with one toe outside of town limits, I'll haul your smug ass in, son."

Giving him my promise I wouldn't leave Forks, I was released with a wave. I wanted to roll my eyes as my father lectured me on the way out of the station about his disappointment in me over my actions regarding that "girl." It took everything I had to keep quiet, figuring it would be better to just do what I wanted and let him think I was taking him seriously. The man had never bothered to be much of a father figure in my life, and I didn't feel like his eleventh hour attempt now made up for it.

In a few short months, I was out of there, and I'd never have to deal with the bastard again if I didn't want to. What he did, and what he thought, wouldn't be able to touch me, and I'd be able to really start living.

"Edward!"

My head snapped up as I walked through the front doors of the police station. Standing to my left was Bella, still wearing her prom dress. When I'd first seen her across the gym, it had taken a herculean amount of will power to keep myself glued to the wall. She had been radiant, and I'd wanted to drop down on my knees in front of her and beg for her forgiveness.

She ran toward me and jumped into my arms. I caught her and pulled her close, letting her sink into me. "Are you okay?" Her breath tickled the side of my neck. "Oh, God. Tell me you forgive me for getting you arrested. I didn't mean…"

"Shhhh." I buried my nose into the hair on top of her head. "Everything is fine."

"I'm going to tell him it was all Tyler's fault. I saw it, and they can't lock you up if you were just protecting yourself."

"They know, baby. Really. It's okay." I set her down on her feet and placed my hand on her cheek, tipping her face toward mine.

"This is what I'm talking about, Edward." My father's comment broke me out of my trance. I blew out a frustrated breath. I'd forgotten my dad was standing next to me, and I wanted to punch him in the face.

"Can we do this later, Dad?" I let out all of the disgust I was holding in on the last word. "I don't think the police station parking lot is where we should let out all our dirty laundry. Am I wrong?"

"Bella!"

I released her, letting her slide down my body as her father's voice penetrated the tense moment between my father and me. She two steps backward and looked over at the Chief.

"What are you doing here?" I turned and watched as Bella's dad walked toward us. "You shouldn't be here. Come inside." He took hold of her arm and tugged her.

She ripped it away from him. "I came because you made a mistake. Edward didn't do anything wrong."

Charlie's features morphed from that of a concerned parent to a pissed off father. "Not now, Bella. Go home."

Bella's own face tightened in preparation for a battle. "Then when, Dad?"

"We'll talk about this later. When I get home. Now, go."

"Fine."

She spun on her heel, walking toward my sister and my sister's date, who I'd just noticed was standing at the other end of the parking lot. Tanya had her head tilted to the side and sympathy in her eyes. She knew what kind of shit I was dealing with, having our father there. I gave her a small smile and walked to my dad's car, ignoring his continued complaints about how I was letting Bella fuck up my life.

I caught sight of her as I entered the passenger's side, and we shared a smile.

I wasn't able to get away from my house, or my parents, until school started back up on Monday. My father, with the help of my traitor mother, had spent the rest of the night telling me that I needed to distance myself from Bella, because she was nothing but trouble. I wanted to laugh at both of them. My father, and by association, my mother, was basing his opinion on one event. I'd gotten into a fight that got me questioned by the police, and now Bella was some hussy that caused trouble for attention.

They were fucking mental. My dad was lucky he hadn't been hauled in for sexual harassment charges, because he used his office as his hunting ground for pussy. And my mother lived in an imaginary world where my father's continual absence was due to his working late and out of town business meetings, and not because he was a cheating piece of shit.

I owned my fuck ups. I knew I hadn't handled things the way I should have with Bella, but I didn't keep her in a relationship and screw other girls behind her back. I'd ended things first, and no matter how short of a time it was between our break up and me falling into bed with someone else, we were still over before it happened. It may not have been much of a moral advantage over my father, but it was something.

Bella's dad had made things difficult, too. He'd decided to become more involved in her life, most likely because he hated me. She had a curfew for the first time since she'd moved there, and the only friends he had allowed over to the house were Tanya and Angela. The only time we'd ever seen each other was at school, and that place had turned into a fucking zoo. News about what had happened at prom spread like a fucking disease; people had been even nosier, treating us like an attraction when they had seen Bella and I were back together.

A few days before graduation, I'd had enough. I missed my girl. Stolen kisses behind the school and the occasional grope in my car during lunch weren't enough. No one would leave us alone, and I needed her.

I picked her up a block down from her house, after calling her earlier that night and begging her to sneak out. It didn't take much persuasion on her part; she wanted me just as much as I wanted her. Bella pulled the door open and flung herself into the car.

She leaned over, tugging me by the hair until her lips were pressed against mine. I smiled into the kiss and pulled back, aware of our surroundings.

"Baby, we need to get out of here first. I don't think it'd be a good idea to get caught so close to your house."

Bella sat back in her seat, her lips swollen and a sly smile on her face. "Sorry; I couldn't help myself. Whenever I'm around you, it's like my common sense evaporates."

Trying to hide the joy her words made me feel, I pulled away. The car was silent but not uncomfortably so. I'd missed this girl beyond reason, and just having her sitting next to me was enough.

"Um, Edward? Why are we at your house?"

One side of my mouth pulled up at her question as I got out of the car. I offered her my hand after I'd opened her door, and her face scrunched up. Still not answering her, I pulled her to the front door. We walked through the dark house, up the stairs, and to my bedroom.

I registered the shock on her face as we entered the room, but I wasn't sure why. I knew I'd never brought her there before, but I didn't think it was that big of a deal. I lowered myself onto the bed and stared at her.

"What's going on?" She remained standing after I'd sat down, her hands on her hips.

"We needed privacy, and my parents are out, for the first time together in months, so I figured my room was as good as anywhere else." I pulled her down to sit next to me.

Bella swallowed, looking down at her lap and then back at me. She was so beautiful, sitting on my bed. I wondered why I'd never thought to bring her there before. Letting it go for the moment, I reached for her face and brought it close to mine, pecking her lips. Moaning and grabbing the hairs on the back of my neck, she deepened the kiss.

I couldn't hold myself back. It had been too long since I'd felt her sliding under me. Pushing her toward the bed, I removed her clothes and took in the sight of her, hair spilled against the dark covers in a ripple of waves, creamy skin aching to be caressed, and her eyes looking into my very soul.

"Quit staring at me like some creepy perv and strip, Edward."

Chuckling, I removed every article of clothing I had until I was laying naked next to her. I ran the backs of my fingers over her cheek, down between her breasts, to her navel. She squirmed, tilting her hips to express her desire for me to go lower, but I didn't want to end things quite then. I wanted to enjoy her as long as I could.

I lowered my head, dragging my tongue around her belly button and across her abdomen, watching her reactions. With every stroke, her legs trembled and her back arched. I loved that I could do this to her, make her almost crazy with my touch.

"Stop teasing me, baby. I need you."

Looking into her eyes, I saw the raw lust reflected back at me. Taking one finger, I lightly caressed her slit and found she was wet. So fucking wet, I couldn't control the urge to buck my hips into the mattress.

Moaning, I asked, "How much do you need me, sweetheart?" I rubbed my erection against her side and nipped at her shoulder.

"So much." She panted.

I grabbed her waist and rolled over, positioning her pussy exactly where I wanted it. She was a goddess, looking so sexy splayed before my very eyes. "Then show me."

"Condom?"

Banging the back of my head against the bed, I reached over to the nightstand and grabbed one, handing it to her. I couldn't believe I'd almost made that mistake twice. She giggled at my frustration, and I smiled as she opened the wrapper and rolled it on my engorged cock.

She placed her hands on my chest, and I entered in one stroke. I cried out in relief as we connected, for the first time in what felt like forever. Every swivel and thrust that she gave me had me pistoning my hips up to meet her. My gut tightened as her sexy moans filled the room, and I knew it wasn't going to take much more.

Watching my cock moving in and out of her tight pussy as her tits bounced in my face was the greatest sight I'd ever seen. I wished I could capture this image for all time to use in those moments alone when I missed her more than anything. She stilled and shuddered, bringing me to orgasm right along with her. My hands gripped her hips firmly as I released long, thick spurts.

"Oh my fuck," Bella whispered, collapsing onto my chest.

Trying to hide the cocky grin from satisfying her, I brushed my lips against her hair. "Yeah. I am pretty great."

Her hand connected with my bare chest, leaving a sting behind. "Ow. Why are you hitting me? Again?"

"Really, Edward?"

I chuckled, hugging her to me.

"You guys are gross! Could you please not do that here again when I'm in the house? A sister should not know what her bother's sex noises sound like!" Tanya yelled from behind the door.

Bella's and my laughter filled the room as we heard Tanya descend the stairs. For the first time in a long time, I was happy. And not even my sister's bitching could ruin my mood.

Graduation came and went, and I'd never been so glad to receive a piece of paper in all of my life. The ceremony was boring, the gowns sucked, and I hated the party my parents through afterwards. I'd ended up leaving part way through, meeting up with Bella and having my own party down at La Push. It was a great night.

I'd found out a few days later no charges had been filed for the incident at prom, which was what I had expected. Bella's dad, though, wasn't as happy. He'd tried to find some way to pull Bella and me apart, but it never worked. She'd told him she was an adult now, and if he didn't like it, she was moving out. I was so proud of her, standing up for herself. The Chief backed off after their fight, probably because he knew she was leaving for college in the fall and wanted to make sure their relationship was intact before she left.

College had become a touchy subject after we'd found out I'd gotten into NYU and she'd secured a spot at Columbia. While we'd be in the same city, we still had obligations and schoolwork that were going to keep us from seeing each other every day. I'd promised her I'd come visit her as much as I could, and she did the same, but I wondered if it would be enough.

I'd hidden my fears from her, hoping it would all work out. I didn't want to cause something as stupid as this to come between us, especially since I'd just gotten her back. So I distracted her, enjoying the time we did have for the summer.

And what better distraction was there than watching a movie. I'd gotten her on a rare night alone, with her father at work, and used it to my advantage by spending some time with her at her house. On the couch, naked and curled together under a blanket, we caressed and kissed as some romantic comedy played on the television.

"I'll miss this." Bella's voice was quite as she buried her face closer to my chest.

"Miss what?"

"This. Just spending time together like this. Alone. I mean, we'll have roommates, so it won't be as easy as it is now."

I snorted. "Baby, I'll kick my roommate out any time you want. Just say the word."

She looked up at me. "Be serious."

"I am. I'm going to go crazy, not being able to touch my girl."

It was her turn to laugh at me. "Right. Like I'm going to fuck you every time I visit."

"Who said we have to have sex every time?" I pressed my forehead against hers.

"Aren't you just sweet?" she cooed, her tone teasing.

"I can be sweet when I want, woman."

She gave me a smile, and it was such a beautiful sight. "Sure."

"I can. Really." Her mocking tone and disbelieving look was kind of pissing me off. But I realized hadn't told her the depth of my feelings, just how much she'd affected me. And that was my fault. The girl had turned my world upside down, turned me into a better person, and she had no idea. And I knew she needed to understand that, now, more than anything.

"Don't you get it? I've never felt this way about anyone before. Ever."

Her face lost its teasing look and was replaced with a question. Taking a deep breath, I looked into her eyes and steeled myself. Her next reaction had the power to break me, to turn me to dust, but I wasn't scared. Whatever happened after the words crossed my lips, I needed her to know.

"I love you, Bella. So fucking much."

I watched as she processed my confession, her eyes going from shock, to acceptance, and then to joy. Throwing her arms around me, she squeezed me tight.

"I love you, too, Edward. I think I always have."

I vowed to myself, in that moment, to always make her that happy. I never wanted to be the reason she was sad ever again, and I hoped for our future, it was something I'd be able to do.


Nice and fluffy this time, eh? Well, I figured it was time these two crazy kids caught a small break. But the storm is brewing up ahead, so it's not gonna last long.