Author note:

I'm so sorry about the massive delay. I was surrounded by kids bdays, Halloween, in-laws visiting, and an allergy attack. Anyhoo, here is the next chapter. I really hope you like it!

Disclaimer: Thanks to the mighty Twi -Zeus, SM, for allowing us to play with her creation.

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If I'd never believed in the gods, I did when Bella showed up at my house. I won't say I was happy to see her; truth was, seeing her hurt like hell. Only hours before, I'd decided that I needed to say good-bye to her. I knew it would be a hard thing to master, but I also knew I had to try. Up to the moment she knocked on my door, she hadn't given me any hope or thought that she would ever talk to me again. Then she knocked on my door.

I'll admit, I didn't think it was her. In fact, thinking she was standing on my doorstep was the furthest thing from my mind. I thought it might be James, coming over to try to cheer me up with a sixer or a bottle of Jameson. Hell, I even thought Jacob had figured out where I lived and came to clean my clock without my boy having my back. Really, both were more real a possibility than Bella showing up. Even in my wildest dreams, she didn't knock on my door.

Here I was ready to go to bed and was going to do my best to try to find a new normal the next morning. My hand was on fire from hitting Jacob, my head ached from thinking about how fucked things with Bella had gotten, and my heart . . . well, if I'd thought it was broken before, that night after my realization, it found a new and more painful way to break. Yeah, comments like that should make me turn in my man-card, but that's honesty for you.

It took all of three seconds to go through a flurry of thoughts and emotions seeing her. At first, I was shocked, then I was elated that she was there, but then, the entire past month slammed into me and I was pissed. More pissed than I'd been that entire time. How dare she show up at my house after how she'd treated me? The thought of how she'd reacted to what I said to her the last time I saw her suddenly had me seeing red –something I'd only thought I'd felt until then. No, what I felt in those three seconds that ticked by was a new anger, a new sense of just how wronged I'd been. Now, I'm not saying I didn't have my share of fuck ups, but at least I tried to work them out. Bella just shut down – no explanation given and refused to talk about it.

I left the door open and walked away. I thought, "Let's see if she has balls big enough to walk through the door." I went back to the living room and stared out the window. It didn't take long once she found me for the fighting to start.

It was ugly, it was harsh, it was below the belt at times, but it was also honest, real, and needed.

As I heard her finally opening up, I knew. I knew I'd never stopped loving her and never would. My mom had suggested when Emmett slept with Rose, that sometimes good people make huge mistakes but that it shouldn't define them; it's who they were before the mistake and what they do to try to fix things after that should define them. She was right. I'd made a huge mistake that night, and I'd tried everything in my power to fix it. Bella just needed the time to be able to see it all clearly. She explained how confused she was about her feelings for me, fighting between thinking of us as best friends but feeling something much deeper for me, and I knew they echoed my own.

She asked if it was possible for us to still be friends, and I said I didn't think so. I knew the words were harsh, but I was still hurt and not ready to yield completely. It was only when she started to leave that desperation hit. I didn't want her to leave, so I blurted out the only thing I could. I wasn't proud of hitting Jacob, and I was less proud of using it as a way to keep Bella from leaving. But it bought me the time I needed, the time to let that last wall fall. Without warning, I blurted. I blurted out the feelings for her that never left; the feelings that refused to listen to my head and stayed fast and true to her. What I'd said was true: her showing up was enough. It said she was ready to face this. As for me, I couldn't shake her, and I wasn't supposed to. She was my Bella. I needed her, I missed her, and I loved her.

We stayed locked in one hell of an embrace for God only knows how long. After a while, we sat down on the couch: Bella at one end, me at the other. I didn't see how it was possible for us, given all that had happened, to go back to being friends. Too much had happened. Then there was the fact that we loved each other. No, that's not right. We were in love with each other. No matter what scenario I came up with, there was no way we could be friends knowing we were in love with each other. None. So that left two options: officially break up or become a couple. Based on the events of the past month, there was no way I was letting her go.

"So . . . I guess what I need to ask you is . . . are you willing to give us a try?" I couldn't hide the nerves in my voice.

A new wave of tears hit Bella. "Oh God, yes, please!" She instantly moved to my side of the sofa, and I wrapped my arms around her and held her close.

Relief filled me and based on how tightly Bella was holding me, she was just as relieved. We exchanged 'I love you's' and a simple kiss that said so much more than either of us was able to in that moment. We finally talked and things could only get better from here.

Then something hit me that made me both cringe and laugh. "You do realize this means my sister will know about us."

"I know." She giggled against my chest. "So will Medusa and her mortal, Emmett."

I chuckled softly thinking of our friends' reactions. Our friends . . . they probably wouldn't be surprised, but still, once they knew, the chance of us having any time to ourselves would be slim. "Bella?" I asked with some caution in my voice.


"I don't want us to be this secret couple but . . . I really don't want Alice in our business right away." I paused, hoping the words would come out how I meant them. "Is there any chance we could keep this between us? Not indefinitely, but for now? I . . . uh . . . I really want to just spend time alone with you . . . before the real world finds out about us."

"I think that's smart," she said.

"It won't be like before; I don't mean it like that. But after all we've been through, I think we needit."

"Sure, Edward," she said with a giggle. "You don't hear me complaining."

I laughed with her. "Sorry, I heard you object in my head."

Bella placed a hand on my chest and pushed against me enough to look me in the eyes. "Well stop listening to that voice and listen to mine." A sweet smile lit her face and didn't think twice before I kissed her on the top of her head.

We stayed on the couch talking until well after one in the morning. The only breaks we took were to get more ice for my hand and to grab a throw blanket from the closet when Bella started to shiver. I propped my feet up on the coffee table and Bella stretched out with her back against my chest and her legs extending the length of the sofa, my arms securely holding her. I noticed her breaths change and after the amount of times I'd been there when she'd fallen asleep, I knew she was off in dreamland. I rested my head against the back of the couch and within minutes, I was asleep, too.

Bella and I fell into a routine easily. We texted throughout the day when work allowed, we talked during the day when we could, and we saw each other nearly every night. Outside of that night when we fell asleep on the couch together, we hadn't spent the night together. It wasn't that we didn't want to, but we had something in our history that almost made having sex the last thing we wanted. We needed time to build our new relationship before that came into play again. Our time with Mount Olympus had been great, but Mount Vesuvius had almost ruined us. That's what we started to call the month apart and night it all blew up: Mount Vesuvius. The events that led to our near demise were unexpected and left us covered in the ashes of lies and hidden truths, until almost nothing was left but that ash. But we got through it. Through the fighting, tears, and quiet and honest conversations, we got through it. And with every single quiet moment I spent with Bella, I fell more in love with her.

What we both realized we wanted and needed was a relationship based on us being a couple, not as friends – or friends that have sex. We needed proper dates and proper goodnights that ended in goodnight kisses that – no matter how hard it would be – would be all that we did.

We did a damn good job the first three weeks. We went out to dinner and movies, and each night ended with a chaste kiss and long hug. The smell of vanilla on her skin and the warmth of her body pressed against me drove me fucking insane, but it was for the greater good. The forth week, we tried dinners at home. Bad idea! Things started off great; a little dinner, a little TV, a little cuddling. But then, the cuddling lead to kissing, which lead to full on, first base only, make-out sessions. Knowing that the couch and bed were so readily available, made being good that much harder. Not to mention that we already knew that sex together was fucking amazing, so it made it that much harder to abstain from it. Every night that I spent with Bella resulted in me going to bed with a rock-hard dick. I thought about flying solo, but I decided no matter how painful it might be, I would wait. Bella was starting to crack, too. I could tell by the way she would run her hands through her hair and brush her thumb along her lower lip after a wild make out session. Then there was the night she was clearly flushed, and as I stood up to leave – after adjusting my pants – I could see her shifting on the sofa, rubbing her thighs together. The cold shower that night left me with icicles hanging off my nose.

For as frustrating as it was, we needed nights like that and more. We needed the moments when I would be caught staring at her and have her see, leaving her a blushing mess, nervously biting her lip, and leaving me pitching a tent a family of six could live under. We needed time to just kiss and be left frustrated, and after four weeks, we'd had plenty of that and more.

By the end of the fifth week, I'd had more cold showers than ever before in my life – including back to my "boy-entering-manhood" days. I hated the sight of the cold-water knob and detested drinking cold water, as it filled my entire being with an icy chill that reminded me of those showers. Bella and I still hadn't gone past first base, and I was starting to lose my mind. If I'd thought the smell of her lotion and the warmth of her body had been bad, the texting was worse.

It started how it always did: simple. How are you today? Great. How are you? Fine, but I miss you; I miss you, too. Then she sent the one that was like flipping a coin to determine kickoff: Know what I miss most?


The way it feels when you kiss me.

I love kissing you, Bella.

I miss feeling your hands on me, Edward. And the way your lips feel against my neck, kissing down to my collarbone while your hands . . . Sorry, we said we would be good. ;)

Yeah, what man would be thinking pure and innocent thoughts after that text? I texted back the only think I could think to say to her.

I'm tired of being good, Bella.

I didn't expect her to reply. I knew what her schedule that day was, and I was certain she was texting me on her way to a meeting with her boss. I didn't hear back from her for the rest of the day, which fine with me since I needed the time to cool off. We'd made plans to meet at my house for dinner, so as soon as I got home, I started to cook. It was either that or the cold shower. I couldn't shake the thoughts that were assaulting me courtesy of her two texts. A better man may have been able to, but my better man was losing his grip.

Bella knocked on the door before she walked in. She found me busy at the stove, wrapped her arms around me, pressed her body flush against my back, and placed a small kiss on my shoulder. Her hands, however, lingered. She dropped her hands to my waist and slipped her fingers through the loops on my jeans.

"Smells great," she said in a low voice.

"Yeah, I knew you liked jambalaya," I said, trying to focus. It was damn hard because not only were her fingers at my hips, but her breasts were pressed against my back, and well . . . let's just say, I could tell it was cold in my house.

"I wasn't talking about dinner, Edward," she said with a laugh that did shit to me. I swear to the gods themselves, there was something about the way that girl laughed that went straight through me, hell bent on affecting me in ways that someone who's trying to be good shouldn't feel. Fuck that fancy wording – the girl made me hard.

She tugged on my jeans and pulled me closer against her. I struggled to "be good," for whatever that was worth at this point, and kept stirring the pot. Never in my life had a boiling pot been so interesting. Fucking fitting given the situation I found myself in. "Oh, so you mean the corn bread? It's actually Jasper's personal recipe—"

I could feel her push up on her toes; her chest moved up my back and her hips were squarely pressed against my ass. "Not that either, Eddie." She placed a kiss on the back of my neck, and I was sure if I gripped the wooden spoon any harder, it would snap. My only chance at surviving her teasing was humor.

"Hmm, then perhaps it's the fabric softener." I waited for a laugh or something. Nothing. Well, she did kiss my neck again so I shifted gears. "I had lunch with James today. I think he may finally be breaking down. He talked about looking at mowers this weekend." More kisses. "Of course, I've been down this road before with him. He never actually buys a new one, though." She kissed against the vein in my neck, and I gulped hard.

"I don't give a fuck about the mower," she said as she kissed up and down the side of my neck.

I could feel the spoon digging into my hand. "Bella, I'm trying very hard to be good."

"Fuck being good, Edward."

I grabbed her hands, and pulled them off my hips, spinning to face her after turning the stove off. Without hesitation, I slipped my hands under her shirt and flattened them against her back, pulling her firmly against me, and kissed her. Bella's hands went straight to my hair, her nails lightly raking over my scalp as I kissed over her chin and down her neck. She tilted her head back and I kissed up her jaw line to that fucking sweet spot right behind her ear. Bella moaned, tilting her head more. I moved my hands up and slipped them under her bra, dragging my fingertips down her back, causing her to arch more into me. With my lips resting against her neck, I took a second to catch my breath: two solid inhales and exhales. Bella didn't waste a millisecond; she immediately moved to start kissing my neck as her hands left my hair and started their downward path to my chest, separating us slightly. Her fingers dipped behind the waist of my jeans and instantly, I unhooked her bra and moved my hands to her side; my thumbs brushed over the outer curve of her breasts and it was fucking glorious! Bella moaned and her head dropped back in response. Eagerly, I kissed down her neck to the collar of her shirt, and my hands cupped her breasts, pinching her tight nipples.

Bella gasped loudly and pushed her palms against my stomach, putting a small space between us. Her eyes were dark; her chest rose and fell deep and quickly. "Couch! Now!"

Somewhere inside of me, the man that had been trying too hard to be good shut up, and the man sick and tired of cold showers roared. I guided her toward the doorway of the kitchen, still facing her. She slipped her fingers between my jeans and my stomach, took hold of rough fabric, and licked her lips. The raw look of hunger was so clear in her expression, it took all I had to not press her against the wall, strip our clothes off, and relieve months of frustration.

Bella pulled us to the couch and broke contact long enough to turn flip the light switch off. As she walked back to me – no, she was almost prowling back, I started to unbutton my jeans when the good guy, the fucking cowboy in the white hat, fucking showed up. "We should stop, Bella."

"Stop? Are you sure?" She didn't sound hurt, but she did seem confused. "Unless I read the signs wrong, Eddie, there's no reason to stop. We've waited long enough, don't you think?"

I ran my hand through my hair. One wrong word and we'd be right back to where we were when this whole thing blew up. "Bella, I don't want to stop; I just don't want to do that, here."

Bella looked over her shoulder at the sofa. "We've done it here a few times, Eddie. It's fine." The soft tone of her voice and the look in her eyes, the one that reassured me she was just as ready – if not more so – for us finally to have sex again, weakened me.

I rubbed my hand over my forehead. It suddenly felt like we'd never been in this position before, like this was our first time . . . and it scared the hell out of me in the best way possible. "I meant . . . do you remember what I said about sleeping with you in my bed?"

"About telling me you loved me?"

I nodded. "Yes."

Bella offered a sweet smile. "I know you love now, Edward."

I swallowed the knot of nerves in my throat. Jesus, it really did feel like our first time. "Bella . . . what I'm saying is . . . we need to stop and go to my bedroom."

She cast her eyes to the floor, and then looked back at me, nervously biting her lip. "Okay."

I took her hand in mine and lead her to the stairs, then down to my room stopping just short of the bed. We stood for a few seconds, almost unsure of who should actually start. I reached my hand up to cup her face, and she placed a kiss on my palm, and then slowly moved her cheek along my fingers until she'd taken my thumb in her mouth and started rolling her tongue over it. She quickly added sliding my thumb in and out of her mouth. My jeans were painfully tight, and Bella was painfully overdressed. I pulled my hand back, and teasingly brushed my fingertips over her jaw. Bella was panting and looking at me as if she would pounce on me any second.

"Do you remember what else you told me about your bed?" she asked as she pulled her shirt and bra off.

"Bella . . . . I can't remember shit now," I said, as I looked at her topless. My eyes lingered on her breasts before slipping down to her jeans and wondering how much longer before they were gone, too.

"Let me remind you." She took a step toward me, pulled off my shirt, and then started to remove her jeans. "You told me when you got me in your bed, you were going to make me come every way possible – with your tongue . . . your fingers . . . your cock . . ." With each pause, she stripped off her jeans, panties, and had started on my jeans.

"That night online . . ." I said, nearly in a daze over striptease and the feel of her pulling the zipper down on my pants.

"Mmhmm. Of course, that was all over IM, but a girl doesn't forget such offers, Edward." She tugged my jeans over my hips, and I quickly shed them and my boxer briefs, kicking them off and across the room. "I'd kind of like to hold you to that, if you don't mind." I nodded. "Good. But first, if I don't do something, I'm going to fucking explode." And with that, Bella dropped to her knees and took me in her mouth.

"Jesus!" I looked down at Bella fucking me with her mouth and between the sucking, the tongue, and the faint scratch of her teeth; I knew it wouldn't take long before I blew. "Baby, that feels so fucking good, but I won't last. I swear, I won't," I said between pants.

Bella dug her nails into my ass and sucked even harder. My stomach muscles tightened, and I tried to push her back, knowing at any second she'd be forced to swallow whether she wanted to or not. "Bella, baby, you need to stop. I'm too close."

She hummed "nn-nnn" and slipped one hand down to cup my balls. At that point, I stopped thinking. I'd warned her twice and she clearly had no intention of stopping. Within seconds, I came, throwing my head back and let out a grunting yell. As I struggled to catch my breath and not collapse, Bella slowly moved her mouth up my cock, licking the head clean, and looked up at me with a look that brought me to my knees. Literally.

"On the bed," I commanded.

Bella lay down but kept her legs against the side of the mattress. I moved between her legs and started kissing her inner thighs. Bella sighed as I kissed higher, but it was when I licked her center that she moaned. My tongue pressed against her lightly, but quickly, and the taste of her was intoxicating. I pressed a finger against her clit and gently rubbed small circles until I saw her arch her back, then shifted my tactics. I pressed one finger against her, testing how ready she was, and then slipped my finger into her, slowly moving in and out of her. Once she was ready, I added a second finger, dipping down as I entered her, then up. After a few seconds, I found her spot and lightly hooked and unhooked my fingertips against it. My tongue took over the action on her clit. Bella was writhing on the bed, moaning loudly, and gripping the bedding. I felt her body hitch, and she constricted around my fingers before she came. As she did, I sucked on her clit and kept my hand moving until she was done.

I stood up and moved to the bed to lie down next to her, but she sat up quickly, and shocked the hell out of me. She took my index and middle fingers in her mouth, then kissed me. The taste of her on her tongue left me instantly hard. As we kissed, our tongues swept over each other's, and our hands moved over bare skin. My kisses trailed down to just under her collarbone and I started to suck and nip. Bella threw her head back against the mattress and lightly clawed at my back. Her hands smoothed over my shoulders and she pulled me back, the look of the devil in her eyes.

"My turn." Her voice was husky, and damn, if it wasn't a turn on. She quickly matched my efforts, marking me on my chest. As she sucked against my skin, I moved between her thighs and teased her with the tip of my cock.

"Jesus! Yes!" she cried out. I pressed the tip in her slightly and pulled back out. "Edward, please?"

The sound of her pleading, the taste of her still on my tongue, and the sight of her was more than I could manage. I pushed into her and once I was deep within her, we both let out a cry that I'm sure if neighbors were any closer, they would've heard. Bella hooked her heels over the back of my thighs and I pushed into her repeatedly. She clenched around me and I felt her body jerked before she cried out as her orgasm rushed through her. I picked up my speed, moving with small, quick strokes. My balls tightened, my body shook, and looked down at Bella. She cupped my face tenderly and that was all it took. My entire body jerked as I came; I clenched my jaw tight and fucking saw stars.

Breathless, sweaty, and completely spent, I collapsed on the bed next to Bella. She immediately reached over and softly stroked her hand against my chest. "I love you so much, Edward."

I brushed a section of hair off her face and looked into her eyes. "I love you more, Bella." Tears welled up in her eyes and I wasted no time in closing the distance between us and took her into my embrace. "No tears, Bella."

She sniffed and shook her head. "I can't believe I almost lost you. I was so stupid and . . . I almost lost you.

I stroked her arm slowly. "No more than I almost lost you. But we didn't let that happen, did we? We got it figured out in the end, right? That's all that matters."

She nodded before she spoke. "You're right, I know you're right. But . . . God, this is going to sound so bad."


Bella cleared her throat, but still spoke softly. "I missed this. Being in your arms after and just . . . being us."

"I know. I did, too."

Bella sniffed again, and based on the tightness in her voice, it was clear she was trying not to cry. "I don't want to go home."

At that, I sat straight up. "Who said you had to?"

"Well, I didn't want to assume . . . ."

I cupped her face and looked at her. "Bella, if I have my say in it, you aren't going anywhere. If you want to sleep here tonight, sleep here. Hell, if you want to move in with me, move in!"

She tried to laugh but her other emotions were too high. "Oh sure, you say that now."

I smiled at her and gave a half chuckle. "You should know by now that I never say anything after sex that I don't mean."

Bella's small smile started slowly to grow. "Well, you know, I did tell you a few times that I'm move into this house for the pool alone . . ."

I leaned over and kissed her forehead. "So now the truth comes out. You're only using me for my pool. I see how it is."

Bella laughed and swatted at my chest. "Yeah, totally. You found me out." She ran her hand through her hair and nervously bit her lower lip. Even after the sex we'd just had, I couldn't see the action as anything short of hot. "Uh . . . mind if I hit the bathroom?"

I kissed her forehead again. "Be my guest. I'll use the other bathroom."

Bella kissed my cheek and started to the bathroom. "Oh shit! Dinner!" She turned at looked at me with a look of almost horror on her face.

I'd completely forgotten about the pot on the stove. "I turned off the stove. No worries."

"And the bread?" she asked, casting a glance over her shoulder toward the hallway.

"Never was any. I was trying to distract you."

She narrowed her eyes at me and gave me a mocking look. "You little liar." She paused for a second, then scrunched her little nose up. "Sorry. I'm sure dinner wasn't easy to make."

I moved to her and took her into my arms. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure it's fine. And if it isn't? I know this great Thai place. My best friend introduced me to it a while ago. They have a killer Pao Thai."

Bella's sweet and almost shy smile beamed back at me. "Your best friend, huh?"

"Yup. I swear; you'll see the gods when you eat it." I leaned down to kiss her as my hands smoothed over her back, right down to her ass.

Bella laughed and pushed away from me. "Well, I don't need Pao Thai to see the gods; you kind of just made that happen on your own, Hercules." She lightly slapped my ass and closed the bathroom door behind her.

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End Notes: So there it is . . . the return to Mount Olympus. I really hoped you liked this chapter! So what's next for these two? Will the happiness last? Will they stay together? Will going "public" with their friends be the end of their getting together? Will they be shocked? Happy? Wonder what took them so long?

Only one more chapter left. Can you believe it? I'm stunned that we all got here. I got this idea nearly two years ago and my intent was to NaNoWriMo it and start posting in Dec of 2010. Ha! Better late than never, right?

I'd love to hear what you think so if you would, drop me a little review. Reviews are sunshine on a cloudy day. ;)

See you next – and last – chapter!