There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me you could not come true
Just love's illusion
But then you found me and everything changed
And I believe in something again
"I Choose You"
~Sara Bareilles~


It was strange to have Edward to myself in public. I was so used to someone being with us, be it Emmett or any other muscle bound macho man. We parked in an underground garage in downtown Chicago and walked up a flight of stairs, emerging on a cold and windy street corner. Edward's fingers curled tightly around mine and he looked down, smiling a curious little grin.

"Okay, so where are we going? It's freezing out here." A shiver ran up my spine and I fought to keep the shudder to a minimum.

"Just a short walk up the street." He turned and fluffed my scarf up higher around my chin. "I love that you are here, Bird." His cool hand pressed against my jaw capturing my attention, his thumb brushing lazily over my cheekbone.

"I'm glad I was able to come." My voice wavered, thick with unspoken emotion. I really was very attached to Edward. The fact that it happened to so easily and so quickly made me slightly nervous.

"Come, Bella, let's get you warmed up."

We walked silently for a few minutes in the wintry night, people wandered around the streets, some teenagers laughing and eating hotdogs and mothers yelling for their little ones to slow down with the threat that Santa didn't visit naughty kids.

As we came around a corner I stopped mid stride and stared at the sight before us. We were at the beach. As beachy as downtown Chicago in the middle of winter can get. There was a huge pier in front of us mobbed with people and kids, laughter and shouting.

"This is where we're going?"

Edward pulled me across the street. "I figured you'd like to go ice skating, maybe ride a ferris wheel and drink some hot chocolate. Everything is indoors here so you'll be plenty warm."

Edward paid our fees to ride all the rides and skate and I stood in awe at the indoor winter wonderland laid out before us.

"Holy crap. This is awesome. The only thing more awesome than this would have to be Disneyland and seriously, there just is no competition." I must have looked like many of the other five year old kids standing around with looks of complete joy on their faces.
Edward laughed and took my hand, "What would you like to do first?"

I spotted the Tilt-a-Whirl and dragged Edward behind me as we cut through the crowd of people.

"This. I love this one! They had this at the fair and I would make my dad ride it with me a billion times."

Edward looked dubiously at the twirling buckets spinning on their track.

"Well, at least my stomach is empty."

I laughed and elbowed him.

"You scared, Dur? You can hold my hand."

I received a snort and elbow nudge.

"I got this, Bird."

We stood in line for about ten minutes waiting for our turn, I noticed a few people looking at us, some doing double takes, it took me a hot minute to realize that it was probably because they recognized Edward, not because I had something stuck in my teeth. No one had had the balls to step up and actually talk to him though. His more than five o'clock scruffy jaw and knitted beanie cap gave him a certain, don't fuck with me, look. I shifted on my feet as warmth filled my belly that had nothing to do with my excitement over the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Warm breath breezed across my neck and Edward whispered in a gravely voice, "If you intend to keep looking at me, biting that lip and squirming, I'm going to have to drag you to a dark corner and have my way with you."

The rush of heat coursed through my body nearly knocking me on my ass and just as I was about to agree and drag him off cavewoman style, the guy running the ride nodded our turn.

Edward spun our cart around at a dizzying speed. Shrieks of laughter peeled from my throat and Edward just laughed and twisted the small wheel faster.

I tripped off the ride and nearly knocked into a few kids before Edward grabbed my elbow and held me steady.

"That was freaking awesome. I wanna do it again."

Edward shook his head and laughed. "How about something a little less spinny, Bird?" He nodded toward a huge bouncy house.

"Oh, Edward, the things I would do to you in a bouncy house." My eyes grew wide in shock. "Oh my god, I said that out loud, didn't I?"

Edward groaned and leaned in, kissing me until I couldn't breath. Apparently I was dizzy enough that I was having a problem deciphering between thoughts and statements, though it seemed to be working in my favor judging by the way Edward's green eyes turned two shades darker.

.~.~.

We rode rides, drank hot chocolate and ended up on the ice rink, skating at a leisurely pace. I used to love skating when I was little, as I'd gotten older though, it was a hobby that had slowly faded away.

I was skating backwards next to Edward, chatting as we made circles around the rink, over the speakers classic Christmas songs played. Edward's phone beeped in his pocket and he pulled it out glancing quickly at the text message and putting the phone back into his pocket once again.

"Nothing to worry about, Bird. Just Emmett letting me know that everything is quiet at the car."

"You mean, Emmett is here? I thought we were totally alone tonight." I felt my eyebrows scrunch up in curiosity.

"Someone has to be close, Bella. At all times."

"I know, I just thought- actually, I don't really know what I thought."

"It's the way my life is right now, Bird, I don't know how long it will be this way, but I hope you're okay with it; or that you can be okay with it. Unfortunately I'm not the easiest man to be with due to my job and the things that come along with it. My privacy isn't what a normal person's is, I have to be careful and unfortunately, your privacy will suffer when you're with me as well. But I promise you, Bella," we stopped skating and stood staring at each other, "I will do my damndest to make sure you are safe and to protect you and us. Even if that means that Emmett has to follow us around like a bloody lost puppy. I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Nothing's going to happen to me, Edward. I'm not the famous super star that everyone wants."

He shook his head slowly, reaching out he wrapped his hand around my hip, pulling me closer to him.

"You are everything to me, Bella and I don't want to lose you."

.~.~.

The walk back to the car was uneventful and Emmett was nowhere to be seen by the untrained eye.

"You hungry, Bird?"

Edward started the car and turned to face me.

"Yeh, that hot chocolate and the cookies were great, but I need real food."

He smiled and reversed out of the parking space. "I know just the place."

We had the best burgers, onion rings and beer ever. We laughed and talked for an hour, enjoying the lazy atmosphere of the small restaurant.

My phone buzzed from my bag and I pulled it out to read the text message. It came from a blocked number.

I'm beginning to lose my patience with you, Bella.

I re-read the text six times before I realized Edward had leaned over and grabbed my hand to look at the screen.

"What the fuck? I don't even know what this is supposed to mean." I looked up into Edward's concerned face and a chill ran down my spine. I thought I'd seen angry, but I'd never seen it like this. He wore a murderous glare and his fingertips were banging away on his phone screen.

"Get your stuff, Bella. We're leaving."

He tossed a few bills on the table and pulled me from my seat before I could even get my jacket on.

"Slow down, my scarf is dragging on the ground." He didn't acknowledge me and kept moving out the door. "Edward! Stop!" I wrenched my hand from his and sucked in a deep breath. "You have to let me get my coat on and my scarf is dragging on the ground. I'm sure it was nothing.. or just Jake being an asshole."

Edward's eyes held mine and spoke volumes. He didn't believe me that everything was okay. He knew something and wasn't telling me.

"What? What do you know that I don't?"

"No one's heard from Jake since you left, Bella. He hasn't been to work or his dad's house and he hasn't been to his apartment in Seattle."

"Oh."

"Hey, got here as quickly as I could." Emmett's booming voice came over my shoulder causing me to nearly jump out of my skin.

"Holy shit, Emmett! Could you not sneak up like that?"

A goofy grin spread across his face despite the situation.

"Just doing my job, Bella."

"Apparently."

"Okay you two, no time for back and forth at the moment." Edward turned toward Emmett. "What do you know?"

Emmett shrugged. "Same as you, mate. Jake hasn't been heard from since a day or so before Bella left Forks. No one's seen him at his apartment, he failed to meet with two clients at the tat shop and Jasper said he's not been to his dad's house on the reservation."

"So, Jake's missing?" I was certain I was in shock.

"Missing... orrrrr, he's not, he's just run off somewhere." Edward's tone was icy at best.

"So here's what we're going to do," Emmett stood with his large bulging arms folded across his chest. "Edward, you take my car with Bella. You have a room waiting at the Ritz, Water Tower Place, under 'Anthony and Marie Masen'. Everything is in the GPS, though I'm certain you know how to get there from here. I will take your vehicle back to another hotel; do not go back to your parent's house. I've already talked to Carlisle and he knows what's up, your mom wants you to call her later. Oh, and pull around the back, someone will be there waiting to take you in through a side door just as a precaution." Emmett then dug into his coat pocket and pulled out two rings, he handed one to Edward and placed on in my hand. "Congratulations, newlyweds. Stay in your suite and don't attract too much attention."

I stared at the silver band in my palm, small diamonds ran flush with the band meeting in the middle with two larger princess cut diamonds and one large square cut emerald sitting high above them all. The color almost perfectly matched Edward's eyes.

"Bella?"

"Huh?" I looked back up at Edward. "Oh, yeh."

"You okay, sweetheart?"

I nodded. "Just confused and a little, well a lot, weirded out about all of this." My hand tightened around the ring in my palm and I swallowed. "Is all of this really necessary? I mean if it's Jake, he's not going to kill anyone. He might be a douche but he's not a murderer and I think maybe this is a little over the top. Hiding in a hotel room? Switching cars with Emmett? Pretending to be married?"

It was about this time I realized Emmett had already taken off with Edward's car and we were left alone.

"Bella, I know it seems to be too much, but I have no idea where Jacob is, why he would be missing or why you are getting text messages that come off as threatening and from a blocked number at that!" His chest expanded before he blew out a heavy breath and his lips met mine in an earth-shattering kiss. "Are you really that opposed to being my wife? Even just my fake wife?"

"No." I replied shakily. "I suppose not."

Taking the ring from my now slightly sweaty hand, Edward smiled briefly and slid the band around my left ring finger before sliding his own on. Holding my hand he examined the ring. "I like it." He murmured.

"Time to go, Bird."


A/N
Well Emmett certainly has pushed Dur and Bird into a cozy situation.
Still no internet, I'm functioning by phone these days. Should only be another week. Can not wait.
Hope you all enjoy this short update. More soon! Q