Beautiful lamb
Don't walk away.
Just say the word
Without delay.
Take my hand
'Cause I'm lost you see.
A rare, rare bird
You are to me.

"Rare Bird"
~Glen Hansard~


"I am so relieved that you are okay and home in one piece!" Alice kept squeezing at my hands, afraid to hug me, which was fine by me, I was afraid for her to hug me as well. Her eyes filled with worry, her signature light hearted smile miles from gone.

"I know, Alice. I'm fine, and I'm going to get better real quick. I'm sorry that I can't be at the shop yet to work. I feel like such a slacker lately."

"Bella. Stop it." She slapped my arm lightly. "We've got this shit. Stress less."

"I have to pee. Help me up?" Alice helped ease some of my weight as I stood carefully and walked down the hall to the bathroom. She sat on the sink counter facing away from me and picked at her pink painted nails.

"Alice, this is probably not the best time to go into this.. seeing as how I'm peeing, but I'm so sorry that you and Jasper aren't going to get to go to California next week. I feel like the worlds biggest jerk and the worst friend."

I flushed and leaned over to wash my hands.

"You are not even close to the worst friend, Bella, or the world's biggest jerk. You've done so much for me, you have no idea."

I leaned against the counter and fought tears.

"Bella, you've been my best friend, my sister, since before I can remember. I've never once felt like you were a bad friend. Ever." She tapped the top of my head. "If you hadn't given in to me, I'd have never met Jasper. I couldn't possibly think of a proper way to even begin to thank you for that. Other than, you have Edward..." She grinned and I laughed.

"Yeh. There's that. So see, you've expressed your thanks in a very appropriate way."

We sat laughing and chatting in the bathroom for about an hour.

"Alright, ladies, time to break it up." Edward leaned into the bathroom, both hands braced above him on the doorframe. "Bella needs some rest and Jasper needs your help at the shop."

I watched the way his arms flexed, his black t-shirt had ridden up, dark jeans sat low over his hips, showing off a lovely sliver of pale skin playing peek-a-boo. I could feel the blush warming my neck as I stared at his completely perfect bod.

"Okayyyyy, I'm outtie, Bells." Alice slipped by Edward. "She has to rest, Edward." She winked at me and hugged him quickly before heading out.

Edward's smile was half crooked and wholly intoxicating. He leaned into the room once before dropping his hands and cornering me against the sink, his casted hand making a funny thunking noise when it hit the counter.

"I have to rest, Edward."

His answering smirk caused my heart to flop like a fish out of water. He was sinfully evil. And I loved it.

"And you have this awkward cast."

He didn't say anything, just pressed his nose into my neck, his breath hot against my skin, he moved slowly, lips touching the curve of my jaw, the corner of my mouth. My arms wrapped around his neck, my hands pulled him closer until his lips were snug against my own. His mouth opened to me allowing my tongue to tangle with his. Stretching I attempted to lean into his warm body and lost my breath at the pain that stabbed my ribs.

"Shit."

"I'm sorry, sweetheart." Edward looked like someone had just kicked his puppy. "Come on, lets get you settled in." He took my hand in his and led me out of the bathroom. "I'll fix you some tea."

He fluffed a few pillows on my couch and helped ease me into a comfortable position.

"One thing, Dur, before you go."

One thick brow rose against the pale skin on his forehead.

"Yes, Princess Bird?"

I laughed quietly, "Remove your shirt."

Fingering the hem of the dark cotton he looked back up at me. "This?"

I nodded, chewing my lip. I'd not yet seen his tattoo in person and I was dying to get a good look at it. And him. I wanted him naked and under me, in me, all over me. Knowing that he wouldn't let that happen anytime soon, stupid ribs, I'd come to the conclusion that I could at least ogle the shit out of him while he was here.

"As you wish." He winked and my stupid heart fluttered at his movie reference. Using his good hand, he grabbed at the back of his shirt collar and pulled it over his head.

Oh yum.

Inches and inches of glorious naked Edward skin had my pulse thrumming in appreciation. I had to remind myself not to move too much for fear of pain.

"Come here."

His bare feet stepped quietly across the carpet and he knelt in front of me on the floor. I could smell the warm scent of sandalwood and citrus that he always wore. Ever so gently, I ran a finger over the still healing skin. The tattoo was beautiful. The detail from black to grey was spectacular.

"It's so -" I looked back into his eyes and nearly threw myself at him. Knowing this would be a very bad idea for my aching body, I wrapped my hand in his instead. "I love you. Thank you; thank you so so much for being here with me, for finding me, for coming to my rescue in more ways than one. For not listening to me when I was a complete bitch to you." The tears came before I had a chance to even hold them off.

"Bella, sweetheart." Edward pushed himself up on the couch and gently wrapped me in his arms. "Don't cry. It's okay, you're safe and I'm not going anywhere." His lips pressed against my head and I tried to calm myself with small breaths, deep ones hurt too much.

"I wasn't exactly innocent when you told me to take a hike. We've both been wrong, but we don't have to dwell on it."

"When do you have to go back?"

I didn't want him to ever leave, the thought scared me and thrilled me to the core all at the same time.

"Not for a few days. There really isn't much I can do with this cast on. I've been taking calls here and working via computer, slowly. Plus, your dad doesn't want me to leave just yet, still working on paperwork."

"So we have a few more days?" I wanted him to ask me to come back with him, if he would just ask.

He nodded and kisses my hand.

"Let me go make you some tea and then we can watch a movie."

"Kay."

I watched him saunter quietly from the living room and wanted to cry all over again. What in the hell was really wrong with me and the crying. I was behaving like a total girl.

Two days later things were moving forward with the investigation.

An order to search Angela's apartment had been approved within 24 hours of the incident and apparently the inside was basically a shrine to Edward. She had photos of him everywhere on the walls of two bedrooms. A few of him with dates from red carpet events, the girl's faces had been scratched out, some of them photoshopped to include Angela's face over the top of their own. There were also a lot of photos of me in there. Pictures of my house, my work building, my address written on a large piece of paper tacked to the middle of my face.
They also came across what looked like an appointment book with Edward's schedule, my partial work schedule, dates when Edward and I were going to be together and flight information for each trip. The lady had totally gone overboard. It was hard to feel sorry for her, though a small part of me did. She truly would have killed me if Edward and Jasper hadn't shown up I knew that. I also knew that she needed help, a lot of help and I really hoped she was able to get it.

Edward had been very attentive and was hands down the best, and hottest, nurse I'd ever had. My mom paid him in food and too many cheek kisses. He took it like a champ and I think he was actually eating up the motherly attention she spent on him.

I was told that it would take about 3 weeks before I would no longer be in so much pain when I tried to breath and lift my arms. After that, it would be a few more weeks before I'd be back to one hundred percent, the thought of doing nothing for two more weeks was driving me a little stir crazy.

"Edward?"

The house was quiet, he'd been taking a shower, but the water had turned off ten minutes prior. He refused to touch me; he slept like a soldier at attention in the bed next to me. Always worried that he'd hurt me or something. It was driving me crazy. I'm a big girl, I can snuggle if I want, even if it makes my side hurt. He hadn't brought up the M word again either, which was also driving me quietly insane. Did he not mean it? No. I know he meant it, he wouldn't say it if he hadn't. Dammit. I wanted him to ask. It blew my mind that I wanted it so badly, knowing good and well I'd have to pack up and leave this life behind.

"Hey, sweetheart." Edward strolled toward me, hair wet and falling over his forehead, he wore grey sweats, his bare chest still damp. He sat down next to me running his fingers through my hair. "You okay?"

"I'm fine. I was just thinking."

"So that's what I smelled." He smirked and I kicked his leg.

"Don't be a jerk." I rolled my eyes and smiled. "I was just thinking.." My phone buzzed in my lap and I picked it up.

"Hey, Billy."

"It's not Billy, Bella."

My heart lurched in my chest.

"What do you want, Jake? You're not supposed to call me."

Edward jerked forward trying to grab my phone from me. I swear I heard him outright growl.

"I just wanted to apologize for what happened, Bells. I was absolutely wrong. I never wanted anything really bad to happen to you. I definitely didn't think that bitch was serious about offing you. If I had known she was serious, I would have done something."

"I'm glad you didn't want anything really bad to happen to me. Are you fucking serious with that shit, Jake? Just stop. We are no longer friends. Don't call me again or I'll let my dad know. I'm done with your shit."

There is no real satisfaction in jabbing your finger at the 'end' icon the phone screen, slamming a physical phone... now that had some finality to it.

"What in the bloody hell could he possibly have left to say?" Edward jumped up from couch and paced around the coffee table. "Apparently I didn't bloody his ugly mug enough."

I watched him move around the room, the anger from Jake's phone call rolling off him. His fists clenched and relaxed, his jaw was tight with tension and all I could think about was that I wanted Edward forever. I wanted everything he could give me and I didn't want to wait any longer.

"When are you going to put a ring on it?" I shouted through his monologue.

"Come again?" Edward stopped mid tirade and stared at me.

"I'd love to, but you won't touch me." I was sick and tired of all the stupid games and the bullshit and if he wanted to be with me, I was ready to be with him. "Put. A. Ring. On. It." I stared him down before standing up, which was a tad bit painful, and stomped to bedroom where I so sweetly and maybe a little childishly, slammed my door.

*~*~*~

Alice and I sat, drinking coffee behind the counter, she tapped a perfectly French manicured finger on the counter.

"What?" I'd finally felt comfortable enough to drive into town and hang out at the shop for a while. I sat behind the register most of the morning, just enjoying being out of the house. Edward and I had sort of been walking on eggshells since my 'put a ring on it, make me have an orgasm' outburst.

"Jazz is moving here." She was bouncing now on her wooden stool, her eyes a little panicked.

"He's moving to Forks?"

"Yes! He wants to stay here with me."

"Oh my god, Alice! That is awesome. I would hug you, but I can't without hurting." I laughed.

So Jasper had taken a step forward. I was beyond happy for Alice, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just tad bit jealous.


A/N

Oh Bird.. we all act childish sometimes.. it's okay. ;0 )

One more chapter left...

xOx