"You better not be arguing," I said pulling the door open. "If I come in there and that's why I hear crying then you are BOTH going into time out!"

I wasn't even paying attention to who was on the other side of the door until I turned around to fully face him.

He was so close, I smelled him before I saw him.

Twice in twenty four hours I was caught off guard by Edward.

This time was worse than the first. I have no idea where the balls were that I had to cuss him out last night were. Unfortunately they were M.I.A.

Edward was standing before me in the same clothes he'd been wearing the night before. He appeared as though he hadn't slept a wink since I'd last seen him as he had noticeable bags under his eyes. His expression was solemn.

"Bella," he said in an awkward greeting. I said nothing in response, instead folding my arms across my chest in defiance. He took that as his cue to keep talking. "I just came to apologize to you thoroughly about last night," he rushed. "That was most certainly not how I planned for us to see each other again," he finished quietly.

I was frozen in the door when I heard the pitter patter of little feet. In hindsight, I should have been reprimanding the girls for running through the house, but my mind was occupied.

Actually it was blank. I was dumbfounded.

I had never expected him to come knocking on my door. I was sure that I'd told him off so badly last night that he'd never want to see me again. I was wrong. I'd forgotten how persistent he'd always been.

I was so occupied in my thoughts that I was in another world. Edward shuffling on his feet back in forth did not escape my notice, but I paid it no attention. I knew he was uncomfortable, but that was the last thing I was worried about.

We continued to stand in awkward silence until he looked over my shoulder suddenly. His expression darkened and his entire composure changed. His shoulders hunched forward slightly as though he was bracing himself. I almost didn't notice Emmett walk up behind me.

"Bella, the girls are getting a little antsy. I think we should take them outside," he said in a sing-song voice. He was coming closer but not paying any attention to the door yet. My head whipped to his direction as he broke me from my reverie. Something in my expression must have alarmed him because I could see him shift back into brother bear mode. One look at the open doorway and his nostrils were flaring.

"What the hell is he doing here?" I could tell from his shifted stance that he was livid and on the defense.

"Emmett." My tone held a warning.

"Don't 'Emmett' me!" he said still not looking at me. He started walking towards the door with and evil glint in his eyes. I could see Edward take a few steps away from the door in my peripheral vision. Good thinking on his part. Emmett was still stalking towards the door as I went to stop him. I barely slowed him down as I pushed back on his chest. It took all of my strength to make him pause, though he still did not take his eyes off of Edward.

"What the fuck, Bella?" Emmett yelled.

"Emmett," I said in a warning tone, "The girls are here. Watch your mouth." We could still hear the girls running around the house.

"Sorry," he said quietly. He snapped out of his trance, finally looking down at me. "But still, what the hell is he doing here?"

My hands dropped to my sides and I took a step back. I averted my eyes to the row dirty shoes by the door. He stepped towards me again and put a hand on my arm.

"Bella, what the fuck is he doing here?" He whispered, his other hand gesturing towards the still open doorway where Edward was standing.

I was speechless. I stood there in the silence trying to come up with an explanation. I was just about to say something when Edward spoke.

"I came to apologize." His voice was solid, yet still it was almost a whisper. Both Emmett and I looked in his direction at the sound of it. Emmett snapped back into his trance and started to slowly move close to the door again. I knew he wasn't going to harm Edward, only because the girls were here, so I let him advance. He didn't stop until he was in the doorway, right in front of Edward and towering over him. Edward held his own and barely shifted his stance.

"You're a little late aren't you?" Emmett said in a snide, sarcastic voice.

"It's never too late for an apology," Edward replied looking right into Emmett's eyes.

"Well, you're wrong," Emmett whispered, staring him down, "You are not going to come back into her life just to fuck it up again. I won't let you."

"I'm not trying to come back in to her life like that. If she never wants to see me again I'll leave and never come back. It's all her choice." His tone was confident as he stared back at Emmett.

Emmett turned his attention back to me. He waited expectantly for me to kick Edward out. I said nothing.

"Bella," he urged me.

I looked in the direction of the girls. They were still chasing each other around and screaming to boot. I turned back towards Emmett and stared at him.

"Well…" he said expectantly.

"Go check on the girls." My voice was steel.

"But, Bella-" he started to rebut before I cut him off.

"No. Go take the girls outside or something."

"Dammit, Bella! I'm not letting this happen again." He was slowly growing agitated with me.

"Nothing is going to happen, Emmett. We just need to talk."

He stood, glued in place. He wouldn't move and just stared at me. I stepped up to him and tounched his arm.

"I'll be fine Emmy Bear. Just give us a minute," I whispered quietly while lightly tugging on his arm.

He looked at me for a moment more before returning his attention to Edward. He gave him a death glare before growling a low response. He pulled his arm free and went to the girls. I turned back to Edward who was looking at me intently.

We stared at each other as Emmett went to the girls.

We stared at each other as the girls screamed and giggled as he carried them to the backyard.

We stared at each other as the patio door slammed shut behind them.

We just stared at each other in silence.

I had no clue what was running through his head but my thoughts were a jumbled mess.

It was the first time I'd seen him in the daylight since we were eighteen. Six years had not physically changed him much, but there were some very subtle differences.

He was slightly taller than I remembered him and his shoulders were a bit wider. He was still nowhere near Emmett or Jacob's size. His face had hardened and he looked older in a way that had nothing to do with time.

The clock ticked continuously as we stared at each other. The sound was monotonous and seemed unnaturally loud. It was also the only indication of any time passing between us. It was the only thing that separated us.

Tick…

Tick…

Tick…

Tick…

Tick…

That continuous, incessant ticking was the one force tethering us to reality.

I cleared my throat and we both averted our eyes.

"Would you like to come in?" I asked. From my peripheral vision I saw him nod and step over the threshold. I nodded towards the shoe mat besides the door and he promptly removed his sneakers, placing them on the mat. I turned and began to walk towards the kitchen, the path to which had just recently been littered with toys. I kicked them out of the way as I went, not bothering to pick them up yet. I could only barely hear the thump of his feet as he crossed the hardwood behind me.

I reached the kitchen and gestured for him to take a bar stool. He sat down in front of the island and began twiddling his thumbs.

"Would you like something to drink?" I asked in a show of hospitality.

He nodded.

"I have water, soda, juice…" I trailed off staring at the now open fridge.

"Juice, please," came his quiet reply. I almost laughed at his ever present child-like tendencies such as his preference for anything over water. He truly had not changed in the past six years. He laughed as I set an apple juice box down roughly on the island counter in front of him.

He stared at his hands as I began to clean up after our waffle breakfast feast. I started running water and began gathering up our dishes. I wiped down the girls' pink plastic table and chairs before setting them in the corner. I was just putting my hands in the dishwater when he started to speak.

"I'm sorry. For everything," He said quietly. My hands froze in the water for a moment but I said nothing. I waited a moment before I continued washing. It wasn't until I was rinsing off the last of the silverware that he spoke again.

"I really did not mean to hurt you like I did." His voice was still quiet. "I only left because I had some things to deal with."

I let out the water and wiped out the sink, letting the steamy water run.

"Will you say something please?"

I turned off the water and stood with my back to him in silence.

"Please, Bella. Speak to me."

"What do you want me to say, Edward?" I said, his name coming out in more of a sneer.

"I… I… I…" He stuttered. I turned around to fully face him.

"What the fuck do you want me to say?" I yelled, slapping the towel still in my hands against the sink. The noised made him flinch slightly and he looked down at the floor. "I'm pretty sure I said everything I needed to get out last night. There's really nothing left to say."

"I know. I just…I…I miss talking to you." He continued to stare at the mahogany hardwood floors as he stuttered.

"Well. You gave that up on your own accord." My tone was borderline sarcastic.

"I'm sorry. I will never be able to tell you how sorry I am, and I can never make those years apart up to you. But-"

"But what? What's your point?" I cut him off.

"My point is that I'm here now and, although I have no expectations of you forgiving me, I hope to at least attempt to show you just how sorry I am." He said looking straight into my eyes.

It was absolutely silent until there was a knock on the patio door. I turned to see Jaspen covered in mud with clumps of grass on her clothes and in her hair. I would have laughed if not for the tense situation and the fact that she was crying.

"What's wrong honey?" I asked as I slid the door open and kneeled down to her eye level.

"Allie putheded me into the mud!" She yelled as the tears trailed down her cheeks.

"Where was Bear when this happened?" I asked, referring to the nickname the twins had given Emmett.

"I don't know mommy!" She wailed.

"Aw…honey, why don't you go into the bathroom and I'll be there in a second after I deal with Allie. I'm gonna give you a nice warm bath in your favorite strawberry bubble bath." I wiped the tears from her muddy face with the pads of my thumbs.

"Okay mommy," she said as the tears slowed down, "but pleathe don't be too mean to Allie. Thee didn't mean it."

"Okay Jazz. She's in trouble but I won't be too mean to her."

"You promith mommy?" she asked looking up at me suspiciously.

"Pinky promise," I said as I held out my right pinky finger. She took it and turned around, satisfied, to walk slowly to the bathroom. I turned around to see Edward smiling in the direction Jaspen had just walked off in. I stared at him until he returned his attention to me.

"I think it's time for me to go," he said, getting ready to leave. He stood and began walking towards the front door. I was silent as I watched him leave.

Emmett then walked back into the kitchen with an unnaturally quiet Alison following close behind.


A/N: I know, I know, believe me when I say, I know. It's been a while. I say anything except that school has been kicking my ass. on the bright side my art has finally been recognized. I won a state and National award for two of my drawings!

*Pats myself on the back*

Anyways, Thanks so much for sticking with me on this. I'm unbelievably sorry for the wait and I'm even more sorry to say that it may be a while before I can get more out to you guys. I love all of you for reading and trust me when I say that between my 15 page research papers, 30 minute spanish presentations and calculus... I am still working on this story. Bear with my guys. This is just my 11th grade year. I've got a ways to go in school and with this story!

PS: Those email alerts for reviews make my day!