Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight
Dedicated to Jordannah (Sorry I forgot you in the last chapter, sweetie)
This chapter is also dedicated to every faithful reviewer, every one who has read my story from the beginning, or obsessively read all in one go. Dedicated to those who obsess over it, who try to guess the next chapter, who write fanfiction for my fanfiction in their heads before they go to sleep. This one's for the readers. Hope it lives up to you guys.
The sun was beginning to turn the room light blue when I woke Edward by poking him hard in the bicep. It startled him and he sat up, eyes wide as his hand groped at his bicep.
"Did you just poke me?" He asked with a little bit of surprise as he rubbed his arm.
"Yes, I did," I glared at him.
He raised his eyebrows, "What's wrong, baby?"
"Did you know about Renee in the beginning Edward? You said she showed a picture of me off when you met for the first time…did you know?" My voice was strong, angry even. My heart was cracking, and my stomach was cramping.
"Baby, no," He immediately cupped my cheeks in his hands, rubbing my cheeks with his thumbs, "I just thought she was a really proud mama…I didn't know she was…doing what she was doing, until you told me she didn't care that you were ditching school with me. It was so odd to me that she didn't care. If it was my daughter, I would've run down to that room and ripped the man out of there by his hair. While you slept, I thought about everything, and it all came together…"
His eyes bore into mine intensely. He was so sincere; I couldn't help but believe him. I thought about how angry he had been that morning, after Lauren and Jessica had talked to me…how it hadn't made sense. Now it made perfect sense. That event had been the end result of another realization.
"I'm sorry, Edward…" I couldn't figure out how to apologize for accusing him. He had done nothing but protect me, and I underestimated him.
He leaned forward and kissed my forehead, "Don't apologize, Belle. You're confused after yesterday, and I'm guessing you're tired. Lay with me. Let's get a little sleep. If you need, we can skip the family breakfast and sleep."
I lay back with him for a minute, and then bounced back up. "I can't sleep, Edward. Let's go for a walk. Walks in the early morning are so beautiful." He smiled gently at me, rubbing along the dark circles under my eyes for a moment with his thumbs before he relented and stood up to search through his drawers. He threw me a pair of sweat pants and a long sleeved waffle tee.
"They'll both be too big, but you probably shouldn't go out in my dress shirt." He pulled another waffle tee over his head. It was a bit small in the shoulders, stretched tight in his muscular arms. He found pants and pulled those on as well.
I couldn't help watching him. Something so simple, like getting dressed, I found sexy when it was him. He moved so fluidly, confidently. He caught me watching, and smiled. He sauntered over to me as he tied the draw string on his pants.
"Do you need help?" He asked, raising his eyebrows.
I nodded, a little bit dazed, and he smiled brightly as he began to unbutton his shirt, caressing the skin underneath. His touch felt like a burn. As soon as his fingers moved on from touching a certain spot, it felt too sensitive, like the air could sting. Goosebumps rippled all over my body and I began to shake.
"Mmm…" his voice was deep, and it did drastic things to my hormones. I felt my lips part as I took a staggered breath inward.
He reached the last button and pushed the shirt off my shoulders. It hung down around my elbows. "Look at you, sweet girl." He cupped my bare breasts, rubbing my already erect nipples with his thumbs.
I pushed the shirt the rest of the way off me, stepping closer to him so that I could push my hands underneath his shirt. I rubbed circles with my fingertips on his stomach, pushing my hands up so I could feel his skin.
"Get down for breakfast, Eddie-boy!" A booming voice and two door-shaking pounds on the door jerked us out of the moment. Edward pushed me behind him automatically and I squeezed the back of his shirt in my fists.
"Jesus, Emmett! We're on our way!" He exclaimed when the door didn't open. Emmett never responded.
"What was that all about?" I asked Edward, coming out from behind him and going to his closet so I could just wear my clothes from last night.
I bent over to get them, and when I stood up, strong arms wrapped around me, one tight around my stomach, strong hand squeezing my hip while the other wrapped around me so he could cup one of my bare breasts. He ground his erection into my backside.
"I'm not done with you," He breathed roughly into my ear.
Swallowing thickly, I said, "You're going to have to be. This is your parents' house, and you said we'd be down for breakfast."
"Ugh." He sounded disgusted at the situation, but backed away from me so that I could get dressed. As I pulled on the clothes I thought about my encounter with Esme.
"So. I ran into your mom in the middle of the night last night." I said as I pulled on my shirt, walking out of the closet. He was sitting on the bed, still in his sweat pants and white thermal. I could see the outlines of his dark tattoos through it, and I stared at them long enough that I had to shake my head to pull myself out of my stupor.
He raised his eyebrow in silent question.
"I was going to get a drink…I was a little short with her…" I trailed off, embarrassed by my behavior.
Standing up, he crossed the room in three long steps, cupping my cheeks gently.
"She was asking questions about us…about my parents. It was all so fresh, I just snapped, I guess," I shrugged.
His thumbs rubbed my cheeks gently as he thought about what to say. "Esme is a very understanding person, Belle. She'll probably apologize as soon as we get down stairs. Don't worry."
I nodded, still worried. But he wasn't. He leaned forward and kissed my forehead then backed away so that I could pull my jeans on. When I was all finished, he grabbed my hand and led me out of the room, then down the stairs.
The kitchen was full of the people that I had seen in the picture Edward had shown me on his cell phone. However, they weren't nearly as put together. Everyone was in their pajamas, stumbling around tiredly. They had obviously been through the routine many times before, as many were yawning, eyes half closed.
Esme was at the stove, stirring and cooking, while Alice, and Blondie were at the counter, preparing beverages as well as readying things to put on the stove to cook. The giant one, Emmett, was the only one wide awake, talking animatedly to everyone while he sat at the counter. The one with the curly mop of hair was setting the table quietly. Edwards Dad was cleaning up behind everyone, smiling quietly as he looked around at his family.
Edward joined the fray immediately, pulling me along with him to put all the juice and finished dishes into bowls and plates then set them on the table. No one seemed to notice the difference of us being here, no one said a word to me. That is, until everything was finished and we all sat down. There was no space for me at the table. Instead of fretting about it and getting a chair, Edward just pulled me onto his lap.
"It might take us a bit longer to finish, but we can just share a plate. I'll feed you," He winked.
And just like that, everyone was staring at us.
"Dude. Jailbait," Emmett said. His booming voice was a bit quieter now, but definitely amused.
Edward shrugged, but didn't say anything. Neither did Esme or Carlisle, I looked down at my lap, watching as Edward intertwined our fingers.
Alice sat down next to us, patting my arm gently, "How did you sleep last night, Bellsy Bee?" She asked, smiling sweetly.
I couldn't help but smile back at her, "Fine, thanks."
Edward snorted behind me, "She barely slept a wink."
"Kept her up late, Edward?" The Blonde wriggled her eyebrows.
"Yeah Rose, that was it…Dumbass." He rested his head against my shoulder, and his warm face next to mine, paired with his scratchy stubble rubbing against me had me forcing myself to calm down.
"Okay, dig in everybody," Esme said as Rosalie sat up straighter, glaring at Edward.
I reached over and put four pieces of bacon on the plate while Edward got eggs and hash browns for us. I grabbed a cinnamon roll for us to split. The four little prongs of the fork touched my lips gently, and I looked down to see eggs on it. I shook my head, pulling back from the fork.
"Eat, Bella. Please. You haven't eaten since lunch yesterday." I looked around the table, to make sure no one was paying attention to us, and then turned my head to rest my forehead against his neck. They were all eating, talking amongst each other.
"I'm not hungry," I whispered.
Edward sighed loudly, and fingers braided through my hair, pulling my head back gently. The fork was resting on the plate; eggs still perched on the end.
His eyes were tender, but determined. "Your body is hungry. Bella, your body needs sleep. Your body needs food. These are basic needs. Eat." The fork was resting gently on my lips again. I looked around as much as I could. Edwards' family was either full of very good actors, or they legitimately didn't notice anything weird about us.
I opened my mouth, bringing my eyes back to Edwards'. The fork slid into my mouth, and I closed my lips around it gently, taking the food as he gently pulled it out.
"Mmm." We both moaned so quietly only we could have heard over the clatter of plates and scattered conversation around the table. Edward stared at my lips, and leaned forward to kiss the tip of my nose.
"Thank you," He said.
The rest of breakfast was playful. We fed each other from there on out. I was in control of the bacon, and the cinnamon roll while Edward fed us both from the fork. Edward formally introduced me to his father as well as Jasper. They asked me little questions and told me stories from when Edward was a child. I pushed the cinnamon roll into Edwards face and smeared icing all over him, and Carlisle barked out a laugh and a, "Son, I think you've found your match."
Esme was quiet. Not in a mean way, but a thoughtful way. When she looked at me, it was with a motherly concern, a quiet thoughtfulness that she had not yet shared with anybody.
As soon as we were all finished, another routine began as everyone cleaned up. Esme was the only one who didn't have a job.
"We always clean-up for her. She does so much for us." Alice explained when I looked over at her, sitting on the counter talking to Carlisle as he did the dishes. I nodded and smiled, hanging back and watching them while Edward cleared the table behind me.
"Find a job, Izzie!" Emmett called to me, and I raised my eyebrows, shaking my head.
"Don't call me that, please." Carlisle turned to look at me, his lips pushed together hard to stop himself from laughing, his eyes bright with amusement.
"A match made in heaven," He said to the air behind me. I turned around, only to bump into Edward.
"Ready for that morning walk, beautiful girl?" He said as he righted me.
I nodded, relieved that we would be escaping from the fray, if only for a little while. He guided me to the back door, and held it open for me as I walked out. Edwards backyard was just as beautiful as the front. A large porch held a porch swing, chairs, and a table. The covers were white and pristine.
"I love this house," I whispered to myself. To my right, Edward nodded lightly.
"They've made this house a little piece of heaven for their family. It's where we're supposed to run and hide," He looked at me pointedly.
"I'm glad you ran and hid at my house with me," I joked to lighten the atmosphere, wrapping my arms around his waist.
"Me too," He chuckled lightly.
"Okay, let's go on this walk!" I exclaimed, pulling away from him. I grabbed his hand and pulled him off the porch, out onto the back lawn. Flowers lined the back outer perimeter of it, but before the flowers, all I could see was dark green grass in morning sun.
I sighed in pleasure.
Edward smiled next to me, and started to walk toward the flowers. Beyond them, there was a thin patch of forest, and he guided me into it.
"Should I be nervous that you're taking me to the forest?" I joked quietly.
"Yes. I plan on killing you in this forest. Hey, did you see my shovel anywhere?" He looked around playfully.
Shaking my head, I turned to follow a worn path that had obviously been followed many times. Edward followed behind me, clutching at the back waist band of my jeans.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm making sure you don't fall," He said.
"Uh huh. Do I look like an infant to you?" I asked crossing my arms across my chest and giving him the stink eye.
"Might as well be, seventeen year old," He winked, and I pouted.
"Owie. That hurted my feewings." He laughed before he leaned in and gave me a gentle kiss on the lips.
"There ya go. Kissies are like a band aid to your owies."
Smiling wickedly, I wriggled my eyebrows, "Well, you really hurt me Edward. I need more kisses."
He pursed his lips to hide his smile, and then leaned in. I latched onto his neck, pulling myself up and wrapping my legs around his waist. He raised his eyebrows, but slowly backed me up against a near tree.
"I like this," He whispered, looking deeply into my eyes, hands moving lightly. His fingers danced down my thighs, back up and up my tummy to my face which he cupped.
"Fuck, I love you, Bella," He said it so easily. I felt reassured. He loved me, and even if no one else did, I could live. I needed one person to love me in this world, and I would have chosen him over anyone else.
"I love you so much," I whispered, tracing his eyebrow, his nose, and his lips with my thumb. Leaning forward, he kissed me lightly before he pulled away.
"When do you want to leave to go see your Dad?" He asked quietly.
I shrugged, "Why don't we leave early tomorrow morning? You can spend the day with your family. I know you've missed them. And they've missed you."
He smiled, and nodded, "Sounds wonderful. For now, why don't we have some time for just us? The next time we'll have some alone time will be right before bed."
So we settled like we had that day when I had ditched school. I was lying back against him while he leaned against the tree. This time, there was nothing to be proved, no games to be played. It was just him, and me. Every few minutes, he would brush his lips against my neck, my shoulder.
We didn't need to talk. There was no need for words. Just feeling each other was enough. There was comfort in resting quietly, all wrapped up together. Where small brushes of lips felt glorious, and the heart pounding of his heart against my back was like a steady drum that slowly lulled me to sleep, even though I was outside.
I became aware as I felt him pick me up, and then head toward the house, slowly maneuvering us both so that no twigs would hit us, carefully planning where he would step so that he wouldn't trip and fall, then drop me. I was in that strange, half asleep state, where you are aware of everything, but not quite awake. My body felt heavy, and I briefly wondered if my extra weight was making Edward strain.
"Oh, Edward. She must be exhausted." It was Esme's voice, and then suddenly, I was in the cool, air conditioned house.
"She is. I'm not sure what to do, Mom. She's aching inside, I know she is. But she acts like nothing really happened. She doesn't show grief, only anger. It's like she isn't mourning over the relationship between her and her mother falling apart. How am I supposed to help her through if she doesn't show me what she's feeling?" We were moving, and then I was arranged comfortably on Edwards lap.
"You say this like you volunteer your feelings, Edward. I know you. Getting you to talk is like pulling teeth," She laughed lightly, then grew more serious, "Edward, just let her come to you when she needs you. She's probably still processing."
A kiss was dropped onto my forehead.
"She's lovely, Edward. A lovely mess."
"A porcelain doll. Fragile. So easily broken. I'll put her back together." His voice was deep, so deep, and so confident. I couldn't fix myself, but I could always count him to find me when I was lost.
Esme replied, but it was lost to me as I slipped deeper into sleep.
What if I went, and lost myself
Would you know where to find me?
If I forgot who I am, would you please remind me?
'Cause without you, things go hazy.
-Hazy, by Rosi Golan feat. William Fitzsimmons
I had strange dreams. Renee and Phil were in all of them. We were all in a dark abyss, nowhere to go, no way to escape. One lone light shone, and that's where we all stood. The light was too bright, and it made me wince. Phil always stood on the sidelines, refusing to say a word while Renee attacked me from all sides. The dream morphed often. One moment she was hitting me physically, and then the next moment she was screaming at me, holding her stomach. I couldn't make out her words, and it confused me.
When I woke up, I couldn't remember much of the conversation I had heard between Edward and Esme. I was laying in Edwards' bed, and the sun was beating into the room, making it uncomfortably hot. I felt groggy and disoriented.
I went to look for Edward immediately, despite the fact that I needed to use the restroom badly. He was in the kitchen, sitting on a stool, talking to Carlisle quietly. I didn't care that I was interrupting; I just went to him and plopped onto his lap, pushing my face into his neck.
"Hey, sleepy girl. You want some coffee?"
I shook my head, "What time is it?"
Edward began to rock us back and forth, "A little before four o clock. You slept for a long time."
Surprised, I pulled back to look at him, "Really?"
He nodded, pointing to the clock on the microwave. It read 3:53. Carlisle was leaning against the counter next to the microwave and he caught my eye, then smiled and waved, "Feeling better, Bella?"
I nodded, "Actually, I am. Thank you."
He smiled, "I'm glad to hear it. So, I heard that you are a huge book fan."
"Well, I have a rather large library. If you'd like, you can raid it tonight before your road trip, then return the books when you two head home from your fathers." He offered sincerely, smiling gently and calmly at me.
"I might just take you up on that offer, thank you."
"You're welcome, dear girl. If you need any recommendations, I'll be in my study." And then he made his way out of the kitchen, leaving Edward and I alone.
I turned to him, closing my eyes so that I could rest on his shoulder.
"Mmm…You are deliciously rumpled," He kissed the top of my head.
"I'm so groggy," I murmured to him.
"Let me make you some coffee. We're all going out to dinner tonight. I don't want you to be to sleepy to enjoy it."
I let him leave me, curling up on the stool in his absence, staring at my toes.
"Edward. I think I heard a little bit of your talk with your Mom," I said it quietly and into my knees.
He nodded while he filled the pot with water, "Which part?"
"The beginning. You said you feel helpless?"
Pursing his lips, he turned to me, "I never said those exact words. I don't want to turn in my man card."
I chuckled, and then shrugged, "I don't want to make you feel that way. I'm just letting the emotions hit me as I go along, when they come. Can you handle being on an emotional roller coaster with me?"
His eyes were gentle as he walked over to me, planting a kiss on my lips. It wasn't one of those gentle, reassuring kisses like I was expecting. It was fiery, and passionate. One of the kisses that made my back arch and my toes curl as I moaned in the back of my throat.
Edward pulled away from me after I moaned, a little out of breath, and his lips cherry red from me biting and sucking at them.
"Who else would I want to go on a ride with?"
It took three cups of coffee, and a slap to the ass, but I finally went upstairs and got ready for dinner. Edward had already gotten ready for the day, wearing a nice pair of jeans and a navy blue button down, sleeves rolled up to the elbows.
Our suitcases had been brought in, and it took me a long time to rifle through them and find something presentable. I had been so angry, so upset that I had just tossed things in nonsensically, and boy was I paying for it.
I decided on a white maxi skirt with my blue tank top and brown belt. I figured I could dress it up or make it casual, depending on where we were going. I didn't do much with my hair. All I really needed to do was brush it out. So I put it in a half ponytail and then arranged light make up.
I walked downstairs after I had finished and found Edward with all of his siblings in the living room.
"Well, look who finally woke up?" Rosalie said sarcastically. It wasn't teasing. It was bitching.
"Well, look who decided to be a bitch because Edward put her in her place." I cocked my eyebrow at her, and walked over to Edward. He snorted and wrapped his arm around me.
Rosalie clenched her teeth, and walked forward, pushing herself into my personal space.
"You're too young for him," She said. Straight forward. No bullshit.
"Isn't Emmett younger than you?" I asked her, pointing to her husband.
She clicked her tongue, but nodded.
"Do you care about that?"
She rolled her eyes, "I get your point. I wasn't with Emmett before he was legal." Something about the way she was looking at Edwards arm that was wrapped around me made me snap.
"I'm so sick of explaining my relationship to people! I don't need to justify my feelings to anybody but myself and Edward," I poked her hard right on her sternum.
"I won't explain myself to you. I love Edward. If you want to accept that, great. If not, well I just don't really need you, and I think Edward has proven that he doesn't either. But that doesn't mean we don't want you."
She stared me down for a minute, and then nodded. One sharp nod, "I want Edward in my life. If he wants you in his, then I accept you."
"Good. That's real family," I nodded to her.
"Shit," Alice spoke from the couch, looking up at Rosalie and I, "Bella's got balls." She was definitely amused, and everybody but Rosalie, Edward and I laughed.
I didn't have balls because I wanted to prove myself. I had balls because I had been dealing with shit like this for years. I had dealt with Phil, with Renee bouncing between best friend, mom and evil bitch. I had balls because to get out of Renee's house, I had to have thick skin.
Edward knew what I was thinking, and replied to Alice, "The size of bowling balls. Because she had to."
It went quiet after that, and I looked down at the floor, embarrassed, and supremely grateful that Carlisle and Esme hadn't seen that go down.
Dinner was a quiet affair. We went to an expensive restaurant. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Edward and I sat close together, slightly pulled away from everyone else. We shared a menu and picked off of each others plates. He was keeping a close eye on how much I was eating, I knew, but I was actually hungry. So I ended up eating double what he ate. He ordered dessert, too, and made sure I ate over half of the piece of pie.
There was espresso served with the pie, and I was hyper when we left the restaurant. We had come in Emmett's giant jeep, and so we headed toward it, I was pulling Edward as I skipped. I stopped dead when Carlisle and Esme asked us to come with them.
"Sure," Edward said. Now he was pulling me toward the car and my hyper high was wearing off fast.
Edward and I both sat in the backseat of the Cadillac. He held my hand gently on his thigh to ease my nerves, but I was still scared shitless.
We made it out of the parking lot before Esme spoke.
"I understand you two love each other, and I commend you both for finding true love. It's not an easy thing to wait for, and Edward has waited an awful long time. However, you need to be careful. Bella, you have to think of what this could do to Edward if the wrong people were told about your relationship. Edward, be wary. Carlisle and I don't want explanations, we don't want to fight. We support you one hundred percent. But before you both leave, we had to have this little lecture. For peace of mind. Don't try to justify your relationship. We understand. Just be careful."
Edward and I both nodded, and Edward muttered a quiet "Thank you," to them. I snuggled closer to Edward and closed my eyes. He wrapped his arm around me.
"Don't fall asleep, baby girl. We need to pack up and get the car ready."
I nodded into his neck, "I'm awake."
Everyone went to their own houses after dinner, so it was just Carlisle, Esme, Edward and I in the big house. Edward got us a bottle of wine and two glasses and we drank slowly while we repacked my bags in a more organized fashion. We decided what to leave here, what to take with us. And then Edward showed me his Volvo.
It was in the garage, pristine. Edward stroked his hand along it.
"I loved this car. Left it after…everything. Bought the bike and just left." He smiled at me, shaking his head a little bit, at his recklessness, probably.
"How did you move in that Saturday?" I asked him, something I had wondered idly a few times.
He shrugged, "I had a rental car that held all my shit. I'd had the rental the week of the funeral because the Volvo was in for repairs. I just kept the rental for a few extra days."
I nodded, pushing the image of him with a bunch of furniture and things piled up on his bike like the Grinch out of my head.
"We'll take the Volvo tomorrow then?" He nodded, popping the truck to put our things in before we went back inside.
"Wanna take a shower with me?" He asked as we walked up the stairs, and I ran ahead of him, laughing madly as I yelled, "Race ya, old man!"
I slept well in his arms that night, because of the wine, and the easy conversation between us. The teasing and rolled eyes, the shower where he washed my hair and soaped my body with his body wash. He filled the cracks in my soul with every kiss and loving caress.
The next morning was simple. We got dressed and ate an easy breakfast of coffee and toast. Esme and Carlisle came down to hug us both goodbye and wish us an easy trip. After Esme hugged me, she placed her hands on my shoulders and smiled.
"You are strong, Isabella. If you ever need to be weak, you can always come here. And if you ever need someone, you can always come to me. I'm sorry I pushed the other night," She smiled gently at me.
"I'm sorry I snapped," I looked down at the ground, embarrassed about my behavior, but she just ducked down to make eye contact with me and then hugged me one more time.
"Alice wanted me to give you that," She whispered. And in my head, I imagined what life would be like if Alice was my maternal figure. Easy and fun, but serious when the occasion called for it, and that's what I wanted. I wished for a moment that life could have been kinder to me and given me Alice for a Mom. But then Edward would have been my Uncle. And I couldn't make it through life without his gentle, reassuring kisses.
Edward chain smoked with the windows down for half the ride to Charlie's. He was nervous, I could tell, but I couldn't reassure him. Fact was, Charlie would probably hate him and raise hell and there was nothing we could do about it. So, I held his hand and squeezed his fingers and took the cigarette for a drag every once in a while until he slapped my hand away muttering a, "These could kill ya."
It took us fifteen minutes to make it out of the car after we parked across the street from Charlie's. We were both staring at the house. Both of us were staring at it in dread. The knock on the door was more than a little anxiety inducing, and I hoped for a moment that he wouldn't be home, before the door swung open.
Charlie didn't smile when he saw me. He didn't look surprised. He just nodded, said, "I figured you two would come. Well, come on in." and opened the door wide.
Authors Note: I'm very sorry the chapter is late. I haven't, nor will I ever, give up on this story. I will see it through. However, my life took a rather dramatic turn with finals, working double time, and the attempted suicide of someone I love very much. Needless to say, I was in a bit of a tailspin and I couldn't pull my head out for a while. My schedule should be back on track now.
What did you all think of the dynamic between Edward and Bella this chapter? They are very much out in the open, and very much enjoying their freedom, I think. What did you think of Rosalie? Bella's yearning for Alice as a maternal figure instead of Esme? I don't think many of you saw that one coming...And most of all, what do you think Charlie is going to say? Obviously the mans been tipped off by Renee.
Did you all like the quote? It was a song this time. Did you like the lyrics, or would you prefer actual quotes, like usual?
Okay, people, big announcement. I have a POLL on my profile right now. On it, you can vote on which outtake you would like me to write in EDWARDS POINT OF VIEW! I don't believe the whole story needs to be redone, but I think an outtake here or there could be cool. So, go vote on that so I can know which one you all would like. The outtake will be posted after the next chapter.
Okay, babes. Tell me what you thought of the chapter.