I know you have all been patiently waiting for this, so here you go!
Thanks to Midnight Cougar and MrsRachaelM for all of their help every chapter!
Laying my fork to the side, I take a big swig of Coke and wipe my mouth with my hands. I am as nervous as hell and I start to fidget on the couch, trying to make myself at least somewhat comfortable.
Bella looks up at me, and I can tell from her eyes she knows the easy going part of our night is over. I watch her, mesmerized for a moment, as she wipes her face with her napkin and aligns her fork and glass with her plate; she really is gorgeous even in her casual attire. But Bella's worried gaze tells me I need to start talking. And quickly.
I take a deep breath and scrub my hand over my bearded face as I exhale, leaning forward with my elbows on my knees I look down at Bella. She has her eyes downcast again, watching her fingers fumbling in her lap. I wish she was closer to me, but I also know that might not be a good idea yet. We tend to get carried away that way and this talk needs to happen.
"Bella," I begin quietly, "I'm really sorry for this week. I need you to know that."
She sighs but looks up at me. "I know, let's just try and move forward."
Her body language tells me apologizing is getting repetitive and I know I've lost a bit of her trust. I need to show her I can get over this, that I want us to be together.
"Okay, but before we can move forward I have to share a bit of my past." Now it's my turn for my eyes to be on my lap, my hands twisting one another in agony. I have never shared this with anyone and I'm not so sure how it will come out.
Before I can chicken out, or become overwhelmed with emotions before I even start, I hear soft movement and feel warm hands wrap around mine. My eyes flash upward and all I can see are Bella's big, brown eyes filled with concern. She gives my hands a squeeze and I feel the support radiating off of her as she sits near me on the couch.
I can do this. I let out another breath and continue.
"Last week I told you how the world sees me as a manwhore, but I never told you the reason I acted that way. I used it as a shield, a way to guard myself from the hurt of my past and it's that shield I put up last week without truly even realizing it."
Bella smiles sadly at me and nods her head, telling me without words she understands. Although I know she has no idea, I've barely scraped the surface.
"In high school and the beginning of college I dated around, your typical guy. I went out on dates, had fun, but it was never anything serious; not until my sophomore year in college. I met Kate."
The memories come flooding back to me and I let out a shaky breath, my voice trembling when I finally speak again.
"I thought she was the one. We got serious after a few dates and I was exclusively dating someone for the first time ever. Both Kate and I were so happy and it seemed like the perfect relationship."
Suddenly, I glance up at Bella realizing how all of this may sound to her. She is still holding my hands, but her eyes are filled with sadness. I'm not sure if she's preparing for what's to come or if she thinks I wish I had Kate back.
Fiercely, I squeeze her hands and keep eye contact with her, willing her to hear the truth in my next words. "Bella, what you and I have is something different. Something more. And I can feel it already. My feelings for Kate are behind me, but it's part of the story that needs to be told."
"It's okay, Edward. We all have our past loves, please keep going." Something in her voice tells me she's not so sure of her statement, but maybe once I finish she will believe me.
"Kate and I decided to move in together the next year, saving money on dorms and taking our relationship to the next level. It had been a couple of months after we moved into a place together, when Kate told me some shocking news. She was expecting."
The small gasp I hear from Bella is the one I imagine to hear from most people when they finally are told the story. It's a secret I've held onto for a very long time.
I chance a look at Bella and see the confusion written all over her face. Believe me; I felt the same way when I heard the information all those years back.
She asks the question I've been preparing for all night. "Was it yours?"
"I didn't think it could be. We had been using precautions, we were being so careful. But Kate reminded me condoms aren't one hundred percent effective and she swore to me she wasn't with anyone else. I believed her."
"So, was she telling you the truth?" Bella asks quietly.
"I truly believe she was," I answer, and I can sense the bewilderment in her voice, trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. But she is still missing the most important piece.
"It wasn't something either of us was prepared for, but we made the most of it. I started to look for a better paying job to support my new family. I planned on proposing to Kate when the time was right. I wanted to be the best father I could be, once the shock wore off, that is."
The question is the one that turns this fairy tale story into a nightmare, and I close my eyes as I will away the emotions; hoping the robotic man I've become since then takes over to deal with it. But deep down I know ultimately I haven't dealt with any of this and it's the reason there is the rift between Bella and I today.
My voice is quiet as I speak now, still unable to open my eyes; my face downcast, afraid of what is about to spill out of me.
"Kate had a miscarriage. We hadn't even told anyone we were expecting yet; we wanted to show them we were ready for a baby before we did." The tears I have been holding back for the past eight years come flowing out of me. The dam I had been trying so hard to build around my heart has burst, every emotion pouring out of my heart and soul.
Without saying a word, Bella scoots her body closer to mine and guides my head to her shoulder. The tears pour soundlessly down my cheeks, wetting her shirt, as she soothingly runs her fingers through my hair. She patiently waits for me to get it all out, to let me tell the end of the story. The story that could have ended so differently, but being in Bella's arms now I'm glad it didn't.
Staying right where I'm at, feeling the peace Bella brings, I quietly tell her the rest.
"After we lost the baby, it all went downhill. Kate shut me out. She wouldn't talk to me, wouldn't tell me how she felt or how she was dealing with it. The baby wasn't something we had planned, but having it taken away from us was too much.
"I dealt with the grief in my own way; going out with buddies, drinking and basically drowning away my sorrows from home. I was twenty-two years old and was in no way capable for dealing with all of that on my own, but I swore to Kate we wouldn't tell anyone. It was too hard on her. And eventually we parted ways; I think almost as a way to fully move on."
Wiping away my tears, I turn and look at Bella. She has her own tears silently pouring down her face. Gently, I take her face in my hands, stroking her cheeks with the pads of my thumbs and wiping away her tears.
"Oh, Edward, I'm so sorry," Bella says. "I can't even imagine going through something like that, especially so young."
"Bella, the thing is, after meeting you I can see how many issues Kate and I had before the baby. Something like that shouldn't pull apart two people who love each other so easily. I can see that now, but it's what has shaped me into who I have become. It's why I have never had sex with anyone since then."
Admitting to the woman you love, yes I decided I do really love her, that you're scared to have sex is pretty embarrassing. But I'm not willing to lose her without knowing the real me. And sadly, this is it. If she leaves me after this at least it's because she knows the truth, no matter how painful it would be.
The look in Bella's eyes though is not one of embarrassment; it's one of love and trust. It seems opening up to her about my past and my insecurities might bring us closer together.
"Thank you for sharing that with me," she whispers. "I know how hard it was to tell. But Edward, this isn't something you should have kept to yourself, no matter what Kate said. Grief over a loved one, or in your case two loved ones, needs to be talked about in order to truly move on."
I nod my head at her words of wisdom and realize how much lighter I feel having shared some of my burden. I know I have a long way to go, but with Bella by my side I feel like I can handle it. I need to make sure she's still on my side first.
"Thank you for listening to it all, I know it's not the easiest thing to hear. But Bella, I want you to know I am going to try my hardest to move past this and let our future be what it is. If you still want me, that is? I know I can still be a huge ass at times and I've got a long way to go."
A chuckle escapes me, knowing how true that statement really is. Deep down though, I'm scared I've frightened Bella away for good.
Her lips crashing into mine, tears me away from those negative thoughts, and soon her legs are straddled over my lap as I pull her closer to me. Our tongues delving into the farthest depths of each other's mouth, teeth clashing, the passion pouring out of us. Before we get too heated, I gently pull away and catch my breath.
"Edward, I'm yours," she declares, staring into my eyes from her place on my lap. "We will work on this together. But one thing I realized this week is that we need to talk to each other."
A wry smile escapes my lips knowing how right she is; this week wouldn't have been nearly so awful had we actually said how we were feeling.
"I completely agree, love. But I think we've done enough talking for one night; you have to work in a few hours," I say, glancing at the clock on Bella's DVR, and she nods in agreement.
"One thing though," I continue, my arms rubbing up and down her back as we speak. "Will you come with me when I tell my parents this story?"
"Of course Edward, anything you need. I'm here."
"I also thought it might be a good time to tell them about my new girlfriend. What do you think?"
Bella's eyes widen and her jaw falls open, all the while I just sit there smirking at her like the cat that's got the cream.
"Only if you agree, of course," I tell her, impatiently waiting her answer.
"Yes, yes, yes, Edward," she says over and over again as she lays kisses on my jaw, my cheeks, my forehead, my nose and finally my lips.
I grab her ass and bring her even closer to me, our bodies almost flush. My mouth attacks hers again and we get lost in the moment. My hips start grinding into her hot center, rubbing teasingly over my crotch and Bella moans above me, her hands moving to the back of my neck, grabbing hold of the hair there. I really need to get a haircut, I think briefly.
Suddenly, it's Bella who is breaking us apart, her chest heaving. "Edward, two things," she starts. "First, we are never going to get any sleep at this rate. And second, I think my face might have permanent stubble rash from that growth on your face."
My jaw drops in shock at her statement until her face breaks, unable to contain her giggle, and then both of us are laughing. It feels good and a much better release of tension than the earlier tears. Slowly, reverently, I take her back in my arms and lay us both down on the couch, wanting some moments of enjoying each other before I have to leave.
Holding on to each other, limbs wrapped around limbs, we lay there listening to each other's heartbeats and feeling our chests rise and fall with each breath until our eyes slowly close. Neither of us making any move to leave until the sun shines through the windows the next morning.
The next few days are still busy for both Bella and I, but we make more of a concentrated effort to communicate and spend what time we can with one another. So far so good.
But now I'm walking up the long, paved driveway and starting to sweat bullets. I don't know if I can do this.
The tiny hand holding mine gives a squeeze and I relax infinitesimally. I am so thankful Bella is here with me for this encounter, although I'm pretty sure she's nervous as well. Even though she has no reason to be, my mom loved her at Alice's birthday party.
I take a deep breath as we step through the door to my parents' Hollywood Hills home and give Bella a reassuring smile. She smiles shyly back at me, but before any more interactions can pass between us I hear the high-pitched irritating squeal of my annoyingly beloved little sister.
"Isabella, what are you doing here?" Alice shrieks, and I'm pretty sure the neighbor's dogs are barking at the sound.
Before either of us can answer, she looks down at our interlaced hands and quirks an eyebrow at both of us.
"Come on in and say hi to Mom," she says exasperatingly, and then looks at Bella, followed by me. I know that look, I don't like that look. "And we will have words later."
I inwardly cringe at the thought. I just hope she goes easier on Bella than I know she will on me. Alice hates being left out of the loop.
Stepping farther into the house, Jasper comes from around the corner. I really don't know how he puts up with dating my sister, but for now I am glad to have my best friend as part of the family.
I decided the best way to get this conversation out in the open was to have the entire family there at once. My mom was ecstatic about having a family dinner and even more so when I told her I was bringing a guest. Just wait until she finds out her dreams of me dating exclusively again have come true. She's hated the nonstop dating I've been doing these past years, but she won't say so.
"Hey, man," Jasper drawls, extending his hand to mine and pulling me into a short, manly hug. Which is more of a back slap, really. "It's nice to see you again, Bella."
"You too, Jasper," Bella answers back. She takes a quick moment to look around at the house in awe. "This place is really something."
"Bella," my mom exclaims, as we make our way toward the kitchen. "How lovely to see you again. I had no idea you were the one Edward was bringing."
"Well, Mom, I wanted to surprise you."
"And what a wonderful surprise it is!"
Bella and I are no longer holding hands but I swear my mom has a sense about these things. Besides, we all know my track record for bring girls to the parents' has been about nil until today. I hope my mom survives.
Esme ushers us all into the living room for a few minutes before dinner is served, and we all sit as comfortably as we can on the couches and chairs. Bella and I are both the stiffest ones in the room and I'm sure our nerves are emanating throughout.
Pleasantries are exchanged again when my father enters and I give Bella the look. I think it's about time to hit them with the "good news" segment of the day. She nods in return and I take her hand lovingly in mine. This part of the night I'm excited for, but I can feel Bella tense up and sit a little straighter.
I clear my throat, more to be heard over the hum of small talk than anything else.
"Mom, Dad. Bella and I have some news." I see my mother beam and share a knowing look with my father. Alice looks like she's about to faint. "Bella and I are dating now, so I thought I should bring her over so you could officially meet her as my girlfriend."
Alice jumps up from her perch on the arm of Jasper's chair and practically tackles Bella with a huge hug. My mother rushes over to me and squeezes the life out of me.
"Oh, I'm so happy for you two," she says, squeezing Bella's shoulder and kissing me on the forehead. "I could feel the love in the air the moment you entered the house."
"Mom," I whine, aware that embarrassing moments are only just beginning, and Bella giggles next to me.
"Esme, leave the boy alone for a minute," my father chides her. "Congratulations to the both of you. Let's celebrate over some food and I'll break out the wine."
We all make our way to the dining room table and sit accordingly. I give Bella's hand a squeeze under the table, glad she has her portion of nerves out of the way. If only mine would be so easy.
The banter at the table is light and carefree and I try to get swept away in the moment. Just enjoying our family and the joy Bella brings me by being here without dwelling on what's to come. For the most part it's fairly easy.
"So, tell me; how did you two get together?" my mom asks innocently enough, as Bella sits there smirking at me, waiting for me to answer.
"Yes, how did this," Alice gestures at the two of us sitting across from her, "happen?"
The daggers Alice shoots at us could kill. And I'm going to have to do a ton of groveling to keep her from ripping me a new one later. But I'm sure after she finds out what a douche I've been to Bella this week, she will anyway. Fuck my life.
"Well, we met at Sparkles when I went to get Alice her birthday cupcakes, as you know." The smart guy in me knows I need to quickly get past this part before Alice finds out I didn't have a planned gift for her and unleashes her ire on me in the form of something detrimental to my junk. Which wouldn't be the first time, and would be sad since I haven't even had a chance to get it back into commission yet.
"And there was an instant connection," Bella interjects with a smirk. I grab her hand and place it on the table, rubbing my fingers over her knuckles, both of us trying not to laugh at how this conversation could go if we were completely honest.
So not gonna happen.
"That's pretty much it," I tell my astonished family. "We've been seeing each other ever since."
"I think this is a cause for celebration, then. Let me go get the dessert." My mother's excitement is barely contained as she jumps up from the table and heads to the kitchen, carrying her specialty, Chocolate Mousse, when she returns.
Esme looks apologetically at Bella as she sets the dessert on the table. "I know it's nothing compared to what you make, dear; it's just a simple recipe. I wish Edward would have told me you were the one he was bringing over."
And there it is: the look from my mother that tells me I'm in deep trouble. I still squirm like a six-year-old when she gives it to me, but Bella calms the waters at once.
"I'm sure it's wonderful, Esme," she tells her graciously. "I can't wait to try it. And I rarely have time to make any desserts for fun these days, so this is a special treat."
The smile on Esme's face lights up the room with Bella's words, and I am glad this whole introduction slash family dinner is going so well for Bella. She has visibly relaxed, and I can't help but stare as she samples my mother's mousse. Her tongue shoots out to lick a bit of chocolate on the corner of her lips and she moans in pleasure at the taste. My dick hardens at the sound.
"This is really amazing, Esme," Bella appraises, my mother beaming from ear to ear with the compliment.
We chat effortlessly around the table, but the more time goes on I can feel my heart race and I become steadily quieter. Of course, Bella notices the difference in my stature right away and gives me a comforting smile.
I need to get this shit over with. Now.
Clearing my throat, I stand from the table and start pacing in the living room. Maybe I don't have to do this. I mean, Bella is the one it really affects. No one else has to know. I chide myself for even thinking this way, but it was tough enough telling Bella. Telling my parents is going to be a whole other can of worms.
The soft, warm arms of Bella stop me in my tracks. She takes her hands and rubs them lightly up and down my arms, sending calming waves through my body. I wrench my eyes off the carpet and take in Bella's face. Her eyes are encouraging me and her touch reminds me she's here to be my rock. Together we can do this.
When my body finally settles a bit, I look around the room and see I have drawn a crowd. It appears stalking up and down the living room, pulling out your hair, can draw attention to yourself. Who knew?
"Edward, son, what's wrong?" my father asks me quietly from across the couch. My mother is sitting next to him, her hands fidgeting in her lap, her eyes flitting back and forth from Bella to me.
Bella leads me over to the loveseat across from them and I sit down, her sitting right next to me, never once letting go of my hand. My other hand takes its residence in my hair and I give it a good tug, trying to figure out how to tell them my story.
"Um, there's something I should have told you a long time ago," I start, my eyes cast downward. I am ashamed I wasn't man enough to do this before; I'm also embarrassed at the emotions which will more than likely come pouring out again.
The room is silent, and even without looking I know all eyes are on me. I feel Bella's small finger trace light circles on my hand and I take a deep breath, exhaling slowly.
"Whatever it is, you can tell us now," my mom says quietly, but her strength reassures me.
I raise my head and look at my family, the look of anxiety on their faces tells me once again, I need to stop procrastinating and tell them. The not knowing seems to be freaking the shit out of them all.
Quietly, I tell them the same story I told Bella earlier in the week. But this time, my tears flow silently, although not nearly as much, and I hear my mother sniffling throughout. Seconds after I finish my sorrowful tale, my mother flies across the room and holds my head to her chest. Her eyes are brimmed with red, her cheeks tear stained. She takes her nails and lightly brushes through my hair, massaging my scalp like she did when I was a child.
I let her do it for a few moments while we all sit in silence. Finally my sister breaks the stillness, relieving everyone of the thoughts my news brought on.
"But Edward, I don't understand one thing," Alice speaks quietly, confusion written clearly over her face. "You said you've never dated anyone since Kate, but we've seen you go out with random girls for years."
My mother has gone back to sit by my father at this point, and I feel the woman beside me stiffen. Even though Bella is aware of my past and why I did what I did, I'm sure she doesn't like to be reminded of it.
As if Alice realizes her mistake, she speaks again. "Sorry Bella, but I'm just trying to figure all this out."
Bella gives my sister a look of understanding, and I answer Alice's previous question, knowing it will probably hurt my family more than my keeping the miscarriage from them.
"Honestly," I reply. "You guys wanted to see me dating and happy, so I started going on a date or two. And it seemed to keep you content when I did, so I continued to do so. All of the pressure to find a girl, and move on from Kate was too much and I didn't want to hear it any more. But once I started dating, I knew I was in no way ready for that and only dated each girl one time. It seemed like a win-win situation for all."
I shrug as I continue, my family looking at me with pain and guilt. "One thing I do want you to know, and I've already told Bella, is that I didn't sleep with any of those women. I was scared to death of getting someone pregnant, so I kept them all at arm's length. It was miserable at first, but then it kept my mind off Kate. I would go on dates to keep myself busy."
"Edward, son. I am so sorry that you went through all of this alone. But I'm very glad you decided to tell us now." My father looks at me with a sadness that breaks my heart.
"Well, Bella is the one who encouraged me to do so. And I am glad I did. We all know the truth now and can move pass this."
Carlisle nods his head in acceptance and Esme is practically beaming at Bella, her smile so wide. I'm so overwhelmed with the telling of my past once again that I'm unsure who gets the topic going in a different direction, but I am very grateful. We spend a few more minutes chatting until it's time to go home. I, for one, am emotionally exhausted.
There are hugs all around, most of them held a little tighter than normal. I watch for a moment as my mother hugs Bella and whispers "thank you," in her ear. Bella wipes a small tear away and smiles in return.
I feel the hard slap on my shoulder and look into the eyes of my best friend. Jasper has been fairly quiet today; one might forget he was there. But to me, he is and always has been a faithful friend whenever I need it. I feel bad I kept all of these secrets to myself for so long.
"Hey, man. If you ever need anything, you can call. Any time." I nod my head at his words and we hug briefly. "We should try and hang out more, Edward. It's been too long."
"It really has," I tell him. "We need to remedy that. As soon as I'm done with this album, we will get together."
Bella and I leave my parents' home, both of us feeling a lot lighter than when we entered. Before we get into the car, I pull Bella to my chest and hold her tight.
"Thank you, Bella, for everything you've done for me this week." She looks up at me, her chocolate eyes filled with pride and I take her mouth with mine, kissing her passionately.
"You're welcome Edward, but it was all you." She smiles at me as she speaks. "Although, I think we're done with the heavy for a while, don't you think?"
"I couldn't agree more."
So Edward finally shared his story. Was it what you were expecting? Let me know!
And if you're in the mood for a quick Vamp fic, be sure to check out Birthdays, Bands and Boys on my profile. It's almost halfway done and updating quickly. Come join us!