A/N; Oh yes, we have an update people, and we will be back to our original program! Now that we are through with the holidays that seemed never ending as well as sickness that spread it's ever loving 'holiday cheer' throughout my home – it's becoming normal again! Thanks for being patient!

Thanks to my witchywoman for pre-reading and to the fantastic SunflowerFran for her Beta skills and using their feather dusters to make this thing shine!

Chapter song: P!nk – Just give me a reason


"Knock, knock!"

I know that voice from anywhere.


"Hey babe, what's up?" I greet him as I look up from my desk. "It's nice to see your smiling face finally up and at 'em today. Sorry, but I had to leave early - meeting. You understand, right?" I say, a little worried. I mean he knows what I have to go through to keep my business running. I don't know why I'm asking for his permission.

He nods, smiling at me as he holds up a bag, "I know. I actually was in the shower a little after you walked out the door. I got you something though. It's nothing big – no diamonds or anything." He says, somewhat worriedly.

I can sense he's a little nervous. I have seen that look before. He gets it when there is something important he's waiting to tell me. I don't know why he's nervous about this though. It's just a gift. Gifts are fun, and they show people how much you care about them. And love them.

Holy shit, love? Did I love Edward?

Of course you love him. Jesus, it's been months.

Holding the bag in my hands, they nervously shake at the thoughts of loving this man standing in front of me. Sure, I mean I've said I can see myself falling in love with him. My feelings are getting deeper and deeper for this outstanding person, and of course I've rolled the words around in my head a time or two. But to actually think them, and feel them, is on a whole other level. I'm just too afraid to tell him.

I have a feeling that Edward might be the one to fully understand me. He recognizes how hard I work and what my job and employees mean to me. Not once has he tried to come in between it. When I work late, more often than not, he comes and spends the remaining hours with me until what I have to complete is finally done. When I'm by myself in my apartment, it feels stagnate and cold. I find myself always wanting him there.

These feelings I'm experiencing are foreign to me. I don't know if Edward feels the same way. I hope he does. There have been a few times that I've almost let it slip, but before I do, I want to make sure we are on the same wavelength. I don't think my heart, nor my head, could handle the disappointment if this relationship is really nothing more than a way to fill in the gaps of his time.

Yes, we made it official. We are together, but with Edward, it seems like he's holding something back from me. I asked for honesty, and told him if dating me gets to be too much, that he would tell me. He said it's not a problem and then kissed me senseless. There is just a little imaginary man in the back of my head that's telling me to proceed with caution. I want to say fuck caution, but for some reason – I cant. I try and ask him what's bothering him. He just shrugs and I can tell something is right on the tip of his tongue, but it never comes out.

With the bag still in my hands, Edwards voice breaks through my inner monologue, "Are you going to open it?"

I nod as I tear through the tissue paper – pulling it and shredding it – coming face to face with a picture of him and me.

I gasp as I look at the photo. The man has talent, a shitload of talent. The world needs to see it. It was a picture that he took of us at the park just this past weekend. When he called to say he missed me and asked what I was up to, I told him I was enjoying the sunny day and reading. He joined me about thirty minutes later with coffees in hand as well as sandwiches. It was honestly one of the best days we've spent together so far.

"Do you like it?" he asks, as I look up to see him fidgeting.

"I love it, Edward," I whisper back to him with my hand gently covering my lips.

I sit at my desk and I look around at the few pictures that Edward has so graciously added to it.

"This is my favorite, by far. Your talent is extraordinary," I say in awe.

Looking around my office, there is another one where it's him and me on his moped on the way back to his place from the gala. There is pure happiness shown in every aspect of that one. Smiles and laughter, remembering it like it was yesterday, instead of just being a few weekends ago.

The other one that adorns my desk is of the both of us lying in his bed. My hair is all over the pillow, my face tucked into his side, a look of contentment on our faces. It's not the greatest, but to me it's everything. No, we haven't gone all the way yet, and I'm fine with that. Well, not really, but I'm not pressing the issue either. I want us to be more than just a few romps in the hay. I mean sure, he's petted my kitty and I've fondled his sausage, but that is about it.

Looking at that picture, I can't help but recall the day it was taken.

I woke up in Edward's bed, alone. Pulling the sheets up around me, I sit up, and look around the room. I spot him sitting on the couch with a huge bowl of cereal flipping through channels on his television. I notice he's halfway dressed, with a sexy-as-fuck pair of sleep pants on that are barely covering the goods.

Pulling the sheet up higher, I swing my feet off the bed, and stand up. I make my way over to him, and when he finally realizes that I'm awake, a huge smile adorns his face.

"Morning babe, did you sleep okay?" I nod as I pull the sheet that's dragging behind me closer.

"I did. Did you?" I ask him in return.

"The best." He shyly looks away from me as he dips his spoon back into the bowl and takes a large bite of …ohh …Lucky Charms.

I move to stand in front of him, blocking his line of sight. I step between his legs and he finally opens his arms as I move to straddle his lap. He looks up at me as I smirk when he puts another spoonful of cereal in his mouth. I follow the spoon with my eyes, and he finally catches on. He pulls another spoonful of cereal from the bowl and offers it to me.

I take it as graciously as I'm able, and I can't help the moan that leaves my mouth. Not caring about speaking with my mouth full, I tell him, "I haven't had these in forever." I chew and close my eyes.

"Well, these are my every morning staple, just like you are with your coffee." He nods to the kitchen and there sits a Venti coffee with my name on it.

"I know how you are about your coffee, so I woke up this morning and got you one." He smiles as I lean down and kiss his cheek. I pull back as he offers me another bite and I smile.

"Thank you." Smiling as I start to make my way off his lap.

"No, I'll get it," he says, as he sets his bowl down and lifts my hips off of him. What I didn't notice before was the 'bump in the road' as he stands and adjusts himself. I can't help but laugh as he smirks at me. When he returns with my coffee, I take a sip as I drink in his body, never getting enough of it.

"You know. After what you gave me last night, I can help you out with that," I say, pointing to his problem.

"You don't have to," he says, as he reaches for his bowl.

I halt his movements as I stand and gently push him back onto the couch.

"Bella, last night was for you. I got as much out of it as …" I cut him off by quickly kissing him. Morning breath be damned. After what he did last night, this is the least I can do. I know he didn't cum, or maybe he did. Hell, I didn't know anything, as my eyesight was gone for a couple minutes. He made me cum so many times I basically passed out. His mouth is a glorious instrument, let me tell you.

"Shut up, Edward. Let me make you feel as good as you made me feel last night." I drop down to my knees in between his parted legs, and slowly untie the sting holding these bad boys up. I can see him growing harder and I haven't even touched him yet.

I look up and see his chest rising and falling rapidly as I pull the waistband up and over his hardened cock.

"Bella, you really don't …" his words are cut off again as I engulf him in one simple motion.

"Holy shit." He breathes out as his hips rise off of the couch. His thighs tighten under my hands and I squeeze them silently telling him to relax.

I moan around him as I move up and down. I can hear his breathing come out in short pants as I pull my mouth back up to the tip, sucking hard on the head. Flicking my tongue over him, as I slowly move back down, he lets out another groan that makes me squirm. I quickly start to quicken my movements as my hand comes to wrap around his hard length at the base - moving in rhythm to what my mouth can't handle.

Hearing him moan and grunt spurs me on as I hollow out my cheeks and reach down with my other hand and tug and squeeze his balls gently. I'm guessing that I have found his 'holy grail' as his words come out choppy.

"Bella …move …oh shit …"He forces the words out and I feel his cock harden in my mouth. His dick twitches and starts to send a steady stream of cum in my mouth. As quickly as I can, I swallow it down while still stroking him. When my lips pop off around him, I am greeted with a lazy smile.

"Phenomenal," he says, as he tucks himself back in his pants. Sad to see my fun sausage be put away, I release a whimper. He laughs as he kisses me gently. When I open my eyes I notice something different in his. It's always there after we fool around.

"I …you know …l." That's as far as he gets before I shake my head at him.

"I know, babe. I know." I smile as I stand and turn to sit by him, as we watch mundane television, listening to the rain pelt the window.

That was the day he told me the full story of what happened between him and that Leah chick; you know, basically, the she-whore used him as a real life dildo. So I decided to let Edward set the pace. I'm not going to pressure him into it, but that's not to say we haven't had fun in the process.

"Thank you so much for the picture baby." I stand and walk over to the bookshelf that adorns my one wall. I gently place the picture and frame on the second shelf. I stand there for a moment and look over it again.

"You know, you need to do something with this talent. Your work is too remarkable not to let others see it. ." I turn around to look at him when he didn't respond. I see a faint blush coloring his cheeks as he smiles.

"I'm actually working on that," he says looking at me. I see a change in his eyes. I don't know what it is – and to be honest – it's driving me crazy.

"Good." I walk up to him and kiss him. He grabs me around the waist and pulls me closer to him.

He pulls back with a smile on his face. "What are your plans for tonight? I was thinking that maybe we could go somewhere for dinner or just hang out …naked …with each other." He winks and kisses my lips again.

"I'm sorry, but I have a girls' night. Well, girls' night plus one Emmett and Rose. I'm guessing she's included since …well …ya know." I move towards my chest, squeezing my pretend boobs. "So I'm thinking she would probably tag along, which sucks because nobody else will have their significant others there." I pout but he reaches up and tugs on my bottom lip.

"It's fine, Bella. No biggie. I can find something else to do." He smiles. "Well, I just wanted to drop that off, and to say have a good day. I'm glad you liked it. It's one of my favorites, too." He kisses me again and it's one of those sweet, affectionate kinds.

"Mmm, me too. Thanks again. Have a good day, be careful. You're going to be busy today since it's Thursday." I laugh.

"My boss sucks ass you know. If she wasn't so beautiful I would quit. I mean, at least she's nice to look at." He looks off into space as I gently slap his chest.

"Get out of here, nerd. Talk to you later." I smile and kiss him one more time.

"Okay. I lo …" he cuts his words off quickly and hurries out the door.

Damnit. Just give me the words already.

. . . . .

How in the world can I get any work finished up when my phone is constantly being blown up by my friends? I'm seriously contemplating turning the damn thing off when a series of texts flash through at once from none other than the queen himself.

Bella boo boo – where r u? -Em

I'm finishing things wrk. B there soon. Oh, by the way – don't

ever reference Honey Boo Boo n relation 2 my name again or

u will be spending time in an unemployment line! –B

Oh u know it's cute and plus who else would tell u ur ass looks horrible?

Get ur ass down here. We r waiting on u! – Em

Give me 2 min. –B

NOW! –Em

I don't even respond back to him as I type the last remaining paragraphs. Finally feeling at least a little ahead for tomorrow, I quickly shut down my computer. I grab my heels from under my desk and head to the bathroom to switch out my slacks for my favorite pair of jeans. Leaving my shirt as it is, I run my fingers thru my hair and reapply some make-up. Feeling somewhat pleased, I leave my office in a rush – trotting to the elevators.

My phone continues to beep over and over again, pulling it out and deleting the messages as I ride the lengthy trip to the lobby. Thankfully there aren't any stops as it dings and settles at the lobby level. I move to put my phone back in my purse, when it dings again. Thinking it's Emmett, I quickly open it up, but it flashes Edward's name.

Missing u. have fun. Call me later. –E

Miss u 2. Will do! –B

That's where I left it. He didn't text back – nor did I text him again. This is exactly why I needed this girls' night. There are so many things floating around in my head, which I honestly can't think straight when it comes to Edward.

You know how they say women are drawn to the mysterious or bad boy types of men. Well, Edward may not be the bad boy by any means, but he's as mysterious as they come. Sure, he's got the tattoos that I have once or twice caught myself licking while he slept.

Shut up, you know you would do it too.

There is one tattoo though that is an enigma to me. I asked him why in the world he would have a bird on his arm. He flatly stated that it was a swan, and then went into this huge analogy about the ugly duckling turning into something bigger and beautiful. He said that it held a lot of meaning for him, and I believed him.

One night, we sat there naked and explored one another, asking questions that we wanted the answers to, and opening up more. He asked about my tattoo and what it meant to me, in return, I asked him about all of his. His body wasn't completely covered, but each one of them held some kind of story and I was enamored.

He even got me to go in depth and tell him about my parents, and how they used me for personal gain. I explained how they really didn't care about my happiness and achievements. In return, he dug deep and told me about his parents, well about how his dad never accepted him for who he was. His mother though, sounded like a saint in disguise. It was an eye opening night for both of us. In a way – we were both a little damaged by the past. A past that both of us are still living with, and dealing with, every day.

I finish the walk – a few blocks actually – and open up the door to the little hole in the wall bar. This place is kind of like Cheers, but for some reason it always contains the smell of Fritos. I don't understand it, but the beer is always cold and I have a dire need for some potato skins. They make the best, if I do say so myself.

I finally see Rose wave me over as I glanced around the bar looking for the group. She spots me and yells over the crowd, "Bella boo-boo is here!"

I give her my best bitch brow and she scoffs at me, "Honey that does nothing to detour me." Reaching out she gives me a hug and a kiss to the cheek. "I must say, that outfit is yummy."

"Thanks, good to see you Rose." I reply as I kissing her cheek.

When I turn to the table, I see the girls that I so desperately need, and Emmett too. I give my greetings to everyone before I pull up a stool and order a bottle of Bud Select from the trashy, underdressed waitress. I hope someone tells her soon that chewing gum like a cow is not very flattering.

"Where is Deborah?" I ask, not seeing her anywhere. She's always the one who can make me laugh and always has these insane stories about her clients. Like the joys of being an accountant during tax season and all.

"Oh, she's coming. I think she's gonna be late though. When I talked to her, some crazy client was spewing crap about something she wasn't able to do," Joey said, as she took a drink.

"Good." I say, as the waitress brings back my beer and I order some potato skins with extra sour cream.

"You love that white cream, don't ya B?" Alice snickers and I look at her.

"What do you mean?" I question as she laughs.

"Oh, you know. You and your peddle pusher boyfriend. Who is quite sexy I might add." She giggles and I down the beer as much as I can.

"Yeah, he's …great." I stammer out.

"What's wrong, Bruce Springsteen? Trouble in paradise?" Missy turns to ask, and I see all the girls lean over like it's some kind of covert operation.

"No, well, I don't know. I mean, I have these crazy feeling for him." I start to get into the story as I flag the waitress down for another beer but decide on a bucket. "I think he's intimidated by me or something. We've only gotten to third base. That's as far as things have gotten.

"What do you mean that's only as far as you've both gone? Are you out of your mind? How in the world have you not jumped on that man's magic stick?" Joey says sucking her drink through her straw with her eyes glued to mine.

"It means that's about as far as we have ventured. I'm not complaining but my vag is collecting dust for god's sakes." I huff as the waitress interrupts my rant by dropping off my potato skins. I smear the sour cream all over and take a bite. It burns my mouth, but it doesn't stop me from eating them.

"I mean, I'm a fine piece of ass, wouldn't you say? And it's been freaking months." I hear the hums in approval as Emmett decides to voice his opinion.

"Listen B, I think you are taking this a little too far. I mean, what if he wants it to be special or maybe he's waiting on something. Sure, it would be hard to have that licorice in front of you and not be able to eat it, but for what it's worth, give him some credit." He rolls his eyes as Rose pats him on the back.

"It's not only the lack of sex people!" I get a little louder, "it's the fact that I'm afraid my homeboy is hiding something. I can't put my damn finger on it." I look away taking another bite and another drink. I'm beginning to think I'm drinking them way to fast.

All of a sudden a bucket of beer is placed in front of me with all eyes tuned to what is spouting out of my mouth.

I know I'm being irrational and shit, but I just need a different point of view.

"What do I do? I need help!" I ask looking at all of them. "I mean for Christ sakes, I love the guy." I instantly cover my mouth with my hand. My eyes are wide as I look at every one of theirs that are mirroring mine. I try to play it down.

"It would be better if I just ended things now. I have this strange feeling that he's going to devastate me somehow – break my heart. I don't want that, I honest to God don't want it." I nod. But hearing me say the words out loud makes those three little words something bigger than what they could be. The thought of ending things with him would be a travesty.

I look around and see Joey, Missy, Carmen, Emmett all shaking their heads as Rose looks at me with a raised eyebrow. I have a feeling she knows about this internal debate I'm having.

"He keeps dropping off these pictures that he has taken of us. I have them all at my office and I love them. The guy has mad talent. I want to push him to do something more, but he says he's trying, but he seems a bit reluctant. He's not using me is he?" I am rambling and it's not stopping.

"Take a breath Bella. Jesus, that's so much in one sentence I can't even …" Missy is cut off by Deborah walking in.

She walks up, taps a guy who is sitting at the table next to us on the back and flutters her eyelashes. Before too long the guy gives her his stool. She quickly whips it around and sits at our table. She turns to wave at mystery dude as she turns back to us.

"Waitress …hello!" she yells. "I need a tall one, stat." The waitress nods as we finally receive the hello.

"Oh, you bitches don't even know how much I need this." She huffs as her nails are tapping impatiently on the table.

"I bet I do," I smile at her as I take another pull of my beer.

As she's about to say something, the waitress drops off her beer. Deborah sticks her finger in it to remove some of the head off the top, and mutters something about always having too much head at this place.

"So get this ladies. This guy that's a client of mine calls today asking if he could write his 'strip club adventure' off on as a company expense." She chuckles to herself. That's the thing I love about Deborah. When she's got something to say she says it. Plus it's taking some of the heat off me and I'm thankful. I didn't plan on being a Debbie Downer tonight, but it was turning out to be that way.

"Are you kidding me?" I say shaking my head shoveling another 'tato skin in my mouth. So freaking good.

"Not kidding. When I told him that I would be unable to, he told me that it was a company meeting and that it should qualify since he had over ten employees present for this so called 'meeting'. It was so hard not to laugh as I told him the stipulations of a company expense and what not. He proceeded to tell me that it was bullshit. Then he went on and on about how his wife couldn't find out." She laughs, "I mean how in the world would I even code that?"

Carmen replies laughing, "T and A number 069. Tits, ass, and a blow job."

Everyone is in hysterics now over the story about this guy and his devilish ways.

"I mean the fucker had a bar tab that was over seven hundred dollars." Deborah laughs as she's trying to gain her breath, "Plus numerous ATM withdrawals at the club. Oh no, covering your tracks is not an option right?" She laughs again.

"Men are so stupid sometimes." I say, as I see Emmett huff.

"Not all men, dammit." He says, trying to look mad.

"You're right." I say still laughing. Deborah always has the best stories, I swear to God.

"Oh but here's the kicker," she says taking a drink of her beer, "he called back later in the day to ask if he could write it off as a charitable donation."

'What the fucks' are passed around the table.

"I told him that single moms are not charitable donations, and that he needed to think about what he does before he does it."

We are all shaking our heads, still chuckling over the day she has, had when my phone beeps in my pocket. I pull it out to have a message from Edward.

Opening up my phone the message is cryptic.

Romans 5:8 - E

"What the fuck?" I say out loud not meaning to.

"Who is it?" Rose asks. I see Emmett busy on his phone for some reason. Why is he always on that damn thing? He's not that important.

"Look – cryptic I tell you." I yell, and turn my phone around and show the girls at the table. They all slide in closer to look at what it reads. Then all of a sudden I see five heads turn and whip out their phones at the same time.

"What the hell are you all doing?" I ask. They are all into whatever they are doing at the moment.

"Googling." Joey says as I see a smile creep up on her face.

"Tell me. Why the Cheshire cat grin?" I turn to see everyone's face mirroring hers.

"Bella." I hear Rose say my name. When I look up she's holding her phone out to me.

I grab it a little too hastily as it drops to the table. I quickly pick it up, turning it around.

What I see on the screen makes my heart stammer out. I feel my body heat as my pulse quickens.

Behind Romans 5:8 is an interpretation of what the verse actually stands for. I loved you at your darkest.

Holy fuck. What am I going to do?

"Bella, I think you need to get the hell outta here and go get laid." Joey squeals, as Missy and Carmen follow.

"You haven't been roughly fucked yet by that man?" Deborah asks, and I shake my head smiling.


"Damn lady, what are you doing here? Go get some man meat." She laughs as I reach down and grab my purse.

"You're right." I shriek, with the girls in a totally teenage fashion. I'm pretty sure if I hadn't had all the beers I would be bouncing on my toes at the moment.

Why is this so surreal to me?

"Okay ladies, bye. I'll call or email you all soon."

I hear Rose yell out, "You freaking better, bitch."

Turning and waving, I see Emmett with his face still plastered to his phone.

Wow, he's a lot of fun.

I quickly flag down a cab, telling him Edward's address. "Make it snappy senor," I bark out while snapping my fingers for emphasis. He looks in his rearview mirror at me with a cocked eyebrow.

The giddiness I have shines thru as I chant out, "Arriba arriba, ándale ándale." I love channeling my inner Speedy Gonzales.

"You know I'm not Mexican, right?" He looks back at me as the cab speeds off.

"Well, it's neither here nor there. Just step on it, amigo."

. . . . .

I step out of the cab, throwing him some money as I slam the door shut. He peels away from the curb.

Suddenly I'm humming to myself as I walk a little bit. Yeah, I definitely think the cabbie was ready to get rid of me, for sure.

I finally walk up to the front of his building, taking a deep breath. Remembering his hidden texted words, helps me push forward. Knowing this will probably change everything about our relationship to the max, I hope this will get him to open up to me and everything that he's been hiding.

Why do I feel like Baby's sister, Lisa, in the movie, Dirty Dancing, as she's walking up to Robbie's little bungalow?

Yes …we're gonna fall in love and it feels so right. Yes … we're gonna make love, it's gonna be tonight. I can just imagine - huggin' and teasin' and lovin' and squeezin' all night.

I swing open the door to his building, and I proceed to climb the cramped – crowded stairs to his place. When I reach the landing, I hear a door open and a woman's laughter rings out. It echos in the confined, empty space around me, causing it to be like nails on a chalkboard. I walk a little further and turn the corner only to see said woman standing there, with Edward casually leaning against his door frame.

"Call me later, and we'll discuss the plans I have for you," she says sweetly.

"Sure thing, not a problem. Thanks for coming by." He leans in to give her a hug which she graciously gives back.

I feel like I'm standing in a twilight zone with my whole life and unforeseen future going down the drain.

Is this what he's been hiding?

Is this why he wouldn't tell me anything?

My body won't let me move, and I now notice that I have backed up against the far wall watching the shit storm happen in front of my eyes.

How dare he do this to me! Sending me that cryptic message and shit. Thank God for Google and my friends – only to come face to face with him cheating.

Nu – uh! Not gonna happen.

I hear heels on the steel steps, pulling me away from my thoughts. I come face to face with his dirty, little secret. She smiles at me, but the smile falters a little bit as she stops quickly only to pick up her steps again. The look on her face is screaming something at me, but the only thing her reflection is telling me at the moment is "I've had him."

As she passes me, I stand there for a moment before my body propels me up the remaining stairs.

Wow, this really is like that scene in Dirty Dancing. You're supposed boyfriend in bed with an older lady. Shady fuckers I tell you.

I feel the tears stinging my eyes. "Edward." I yell out into the empty stairwell. I see him open up his door and step back out. Fear is clouding his features.

"Bella." He whispers as he comes toward me. I shake my head back and forth.

Holding a shaking hand up. "No, don't Edward." I sniff, looking right at him.

"Don't bother, I'm …I'm done."



Thanks for reading! Reviews are so lovely and warm my heart in this bitter cold we are having. Let me know what you think!

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