Chapter 32—Peaceful Sleep
It was hard for me not to kiss Bella when that was really all I wanted to do. I had to keep reminding myself we were slowing things down. It was even harder for me to keep from touching her as she and the girls scanned multiples of almost everything at Baby Grand. I couldn't believe the number of items Bella would eventually need for the twins. Even though she would need so many things, Bella only purchased a few things, which I tried to pay for, but she wouldn't let me.
Emmett and Jasper had finally joined us at Itty Bitty Buzz, they were discussing… something. I was paying too much attention to Bella, who seemed to have zoned out.
"Earth to Bella," Alice said, snapping her fingers in front of Bella's face, trying to draw her into wherever the conversation had strayed. "A movie?"
I guess Alice hadn't noticed my lack of attention.
Jasper and Emmett had leaned forward and were trying to convince the girls to go see the movie they had just seen.
"Really you two, you just saw the movie and you want to see it again," Rosalie said, rolling her eyes. "I'm not going to sit through a movie and have you two staring at the rest of us, waiting to see our reactions."
"I don't even know what's playing," Bella admitted, sounding a bit melancholy. "You guys know I haven't seen a movie in a theater in ages."
Bella deserved a distraction from whatever was causing her bleak mood. I pulled out my cell and did a quick search for movies showing. "Lincoln Theater is showing a classic tonight. An Affair to Remember, and itstarts in an hour and a half."
"Never heard of it," Emmett said at the same time Bella said, "Perfect."
Bella turned and looked at Emmett for a second. "You've never heard of it?"
"I haven't either," Alice said. "What is it about?"
"Have you seen Sleepless in Seattle?" I asked.
"Yes," Alice and Emmett answer.
"Cary Grant plays a carefree playboy who falls in love with Deborah Kerr, a nightclub singer who is engaged to a wealthy businessman. Grant vows to meet Kerr six months later at the top of the Empire State Building," Bella said. "It's the movie Meg Ryan keeps talking about in Sleepless in Seattle."
"Sleepless in Seattle is a play on An Affair to Remember. Though I have to say An Affair to Remember is the better of the two movies," I added.
"I'm up for it," Jasper said, surprising me. "Bella has introduced us to several classics that I was a bit dubious of but ended up loving."
Nods of agreement from the others followed.
"So, what are we going to do for the next forty-five minutes?" Rosalie asked.
"I wouldn't mind going across to the bookstore," Bella said.
A chuckle escaped me. Why didn't that surprise me?
I got up and offered Bella my hand. She graciously took it and a tingling sensation coursed up my arm. I didn't know how much longer I could stand the yield sign she kept throwing up.
Bella was acting weird, more so than her usual odd self. For some reason, she seemed to be shutting out Edward, but I could be reading things wrong. I'd have to corner her in the bookstore and find out what was going on. Hopefully, Edward didn't do anything. I was positive he hadn't; she was allowing him to do small things for her.
"Hey, Jazz, pull Edward with you and Emmett over to the magazines. I need to talk to Bella."
"Sure, Ali. I was planning on it anyway. I know how Bella is in a bookstore."
I watched as Jasper grabbed Edward by the elbow, pulling him toward the magazines once we entered the bookstore. Rose and I followed Bella.
"Okay, Bella, what gives?" Rose asked right away.
Bella turned to face us. "I don't know what you mean."
"You and Edward," I said.
"What about us?"
"Don't give us that," Rose said, crossing her arms.
"You called me frustrated that he didn't kiss you. Now you are almost cold toward him. Did he do something?"
Bella shrugged. "I really don't know what to say. He didn't do anything. I want to get to know him again and not rush things. Is there something wrong with doing that?"
I shook my head. Bella obviously didn't realize she was pushing him away. I was confused about her not wanting to rush things. Something told me she'd already slept with him, so I decided to go with that assumption.
"If I didn't know better, I would say you have already jumped head-long into bed with him."
My eyes got wide.
"No you didn't," Rose said a little shocked.
Bella wouldn't meet my or Rose's eye.
"You did." I had suspected but to find out that I was right—I was speechless.
"And though I don't regret it—" she started and Rose cut her off.
"He told me that you want take things slow. Do you really want that?"
"When I got out of the hospital, I wasn't really thinking straight, so yes I said that. Now, I hate myself for saying it. What do I do?"
"Tell him," Rose and I both said.
"He looks miserable," Rose continued.
"I know," Bella admitted. "I am, too. I have been having nightmares, and he told me his isn't sleeping much either. I just don't know how to admit I was wrong."
With that I started thinking, though I really didn't have to think long. I knew Rose was also thinking. "Let's shop. Hopefully one of us comes up with something before the movie starts," I said.
Rose left Bella and me in the romance section, heading off to the books on cars. I really didn't like romance but stayed with Bella knowing that she might feel a little uneasy being alone.
"You know, Alice, I really love Edward. I just don't know what came over me."
"You're afraid of the unknown—of losing him. I feel the same way when it comes to Jasper. Our job isn't always safe. Jasper and I both know that, but at times, when I'm not with Jasper, I feel lost and terrified that something will happen to him."
"How do you cope?" Bella asked, browsing the titles.
"I remember that he loves me, is highly trained in martial arts, and won't take risks he doesn't feel are necessary."
"But Edward doesn't do what Jasper and the rest of us do," Bella said.
I sighed, letting my eyes wander over to where the guys were. "Loving someone isn't easy. I can tell Edward loves you unconditionally. He was worried sick about you when you were taken. Vance let him be onsite as everyone worked to get you back and out alive. Once the medics had you on the shuttle, he was by your side and only left when Carlisle wouldn't let him go with you."
"I–I didn't know that," she said.
"I'm not surprised. It seems you two haven't talked to each other. I really think you should. How else are you going to get to know each other again?" I asked, again looking over at the guys.
"You're right. I'm just scared. He knows what Raoul did to me, and he still loves me." Bella swiped at her eyes.
"How could he not love you? You have to believe that with all your heart."
"He doesn't know what Seth did to me," she replied.
"From what little I know about Edward, I believe he'll understand."
"Understand? What was there to understand? Seth was just like Raoul, and I didn't see it. He may not have physically raped me, but the mind games he played were rape, too," she said through clenched teeth, keeping her voice pitched low.
"Whoa, wait. Right word wrongly said. He knows you got hurt, just not how bad. Like you said, he hasn't turned his back on you. He won't leave you if you tell him how Seth treated you. The boy loves you—we can all see how much he does. He'll understand and do everything he can to make sure you never get hurt again. Do you get what I'm saying?"
Bella nodded and started browsing just as I saw Edward coming toward us. I picked up a book and skimmed the back. "Bella, this book screams you," I said right as Edward joined us.
Bella looked at me as I handed over the book. 'What are you doing?' her eyes relayed before she read the back. "You really think so, Alice."
"Absolutely." I replied, turning. "Oh, hey, Edward."
He smiled at both Bella and me. "We need to get going soon for the movie. It's a bit of a walk."
I put the book back Alice had handed me. It really wasn't me. I knew she was just trying to distract me from moping.
I smiled back at Edward and was confused when he frowned. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"You put the book back."
"Not my taste. I probably find something better to read in yours or Carlisle's collection."
"I'm sure you will," he said, chuckling.
Edward followed me to where the others were waiting and took my hand once we were outside. The innocence in holding hands made me smile, but I was sad inside. I wanted more than this.
The others were in front of us, almost to the crosswalk, and I stopped dead in my tracks.
"Is something wrong, Bella?" Edward asked, stopping.
"Nothing, there's just something I need to say before we go any further." I noticed Alice look over at me with a raised eyebrow. I looked away biting my lip, my little signal to her that nothing was amiss.
"You know you can tell me anything."
I raised our linked hands. "I was wrong the other night, Edward. I want more than this," I said, indicating our hands. "I'm just scared. And we do need to get to know each other again. I'm afraid that as you learn more about the new me, you won't look at me the way you are right now."
He raised his other hand to cup my cheek. "And how I am looking at you?"
I leaned into his hand before answering, "Like I am the only girl in the world."
"In my world, Bella, you are. I'll take all my cues from you. I'll give you anything you want. My heart belongs to you."
He kissed my cheek, and all I wanted to do was cry. I held back my tears as we started walking again, and I wondered for the millionth time since Edward had come back into my life what I had done to deserve him.
I can't believe it, I thought as I wiped yet another traitorous tear away. I looked over at Rosie, and she had tears in her eyes, too. I didn't want to think about what I would do if I lost her, and we hadn't been dating all that long, but I loved the woman. How is it that every time I see what Bella deems a classic, I end up enraptured by the movie. I leaned over and whispered in Rosie's ear, "Looks like I have another movie to go out and buy."
Rose looked over at me with a teary smile and nodded her head. She had bought the last classic, so it was my turn to buy. One movie at a time, our library was growing.
Once the credits rolled, I stood up and stretched. "I have to say, Edward, Bella, you two sure do know how to pick a movie."
"Why, Emmett, is that a tear in the corner of your eye?" Bella asked with a watery smile.
I thought it best not to lie, "Sure is. I'm not afraid to admit it. Where can I go buy this movie?"
"Um," Jasper said.
"I want the movie in my collection," I said.
"And just how many of these movies do you have?" Alice asked.
"About ten or so," I admitted proudly.
"That's about half of what I recommended in the past three months."
"Yep, I have the other half," Rose said with an embarrassed smile.
"Wow!" Jasper commented. "I thought I was bad."
"You, too," Bella said shocked.
"Absolutely, though I liked this movie I don't think I will be adding it to my collection."
Bella shook her head. I could tell something was bothering her. She headed to the theater lobby, and I followed after her. The others said they were heading to the restroom. "What's bothering you?" I asked, sitting down.
"Are you in big brother mood?"
"I can be if you need me to be."
"Talk to me."
"I'm not sure exactly what is bothering me the most. On one hand, I told Edward I wanted to take things slow. On the walk here, I told him that I wanted more than hand holding. On the other hands, every time I close my eyes, I'm back in the metal box and—" she placed her hand on her stomach, and I knew what she didn't want to say.
"You don't have enough hands," I quipped, hoping to get her to smile, but she just stared at me. I sighed and looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was coming our way. "Edward already told both me and Jasper about the taking things slow wish. He can't stand it either, but he's respecting your wishes."
"He told me he'll take cues from me. I just don't know what to do. I'm worried that I'll push him away."
"Did today help any?" I asked.
I pulled my wallet out of my back pocket and took out a folded envelope. Praying she wouldn't see through the lie I was about to tell her, I handed it to her. "Here," I said. "I was going to surprise Rosie with this, but she would agree you need it more."
I watched as she took the slip of paper out. "Emmett, I couldn't."
"Yes you can, Bella. You need a few days away from Forks and time alone with Edward—with no distractions," I said, all serious and not an ounce of tease in my voice. "The only other person who knows about this reservation is Alice. She texted me about an hour into the baby shopping, telling me there was no way you could go back to Forks tonight, and I agree. If you were to go back, you'll snap."
"How do I—" she started and I cut her off, knowing where she was headed.
I lowered my voice, hearing Alice's laugh. "Think of it as an answer to your dilemma."
She glared at me.
"Gee, B, I'm talking about sleeping through the night."
I shook my head not believing Emmett gave me his and Rose's room at Lost Mountain Lodge. I felt as if he was leaving out some information, but I didn't I have time to ask. "Thanks, Em," I said, giving him a one armed hug.
I watched as he stood and nodded to Alice. I briefly wondered what that was about but was distracted by the appearance of Edward. He had his head hung and hands stuffed in his pockets. He looked like he had lost the big game again, and I had a feeling that it was bigger than that this time. I stood and was just walking toward him when Alice grabbed my arm and wheeled me around. "We'll meet you in ten minutes," she said over her shoulder to where the others stood.
"Alice, stop!" My voice was loud and menacing as I pulled my arm out of her grasp. When she grabbed me it had dawned on me what Emmett's nod was about. "I'm not going anywhere with you," I said, lowering my voice so only she heard.
"But, you need—" she started.
"Nothing," I hissed in a whisper. "I need nothing but time alone with Edward and some sleep."
"Fine," she said, huffing.
Concerned washed over me when I turned; Edward looked awful. I rushed to his side.
"Are you okay?" I asked him in a whisper.
"I'm tired, and don't think I will be able to drive all the way back."
"I won't be able to either," I admitted, my concern over his health evident. "Good thing Emmett gave me this." I handed him the slip of paper.
He read it and shrugged. "At least the lodge is near," he said, walking away leaving me standing there stunned for a second before I followed him.
We walked out of the theater and back to the car not saying a word. He opened the door for me. I refused to get in, standing there gapping at him. "Edward, look at me."
"Bella, let's just go," he said sadly.
"Not until you look at me," I replied, crossing my arms.
I didn't like what I saw in his eyes—exhaustion, an exhaustion so deep that nothing else shone in them. I wanted to reach out and touch his tired face, but decided against it, getting into the car instead.
My phone beeped.
Your dad packed a bag for you and Edward. It is in the room. I didn't tell you the truth. This was planned once we found out you were coming to Port Angeles. Esme was the one that called Angela. You'll thank us all later. Em.
I wanted to scream but couldn't. I knew two things—I would not be able to sleep if we went back to Forks and both of us desperately needed to sleep. I sighed, hating myself even more. I looked over at Edward, he looked even worse. "We both need a good night's sleep."
He only nodded in response. I wish he would—no—I stopped my train of thought.
"You asked me what you could do."
"And you said that me just being with you was enough," he reminded me as he pulled into a parking space at Lost Mountain Lodge, shutting off the ignition.
He must have forgotten his offer to hold me, but it didn't matter. "I was wrong about that too," I said quietly. "Since the Academy, every guy I have gotten close to has hurt me." I was so physically tired tears wouldn't even come. "That's why I wanted to slow things down but it's…" I trailed off not knowing how to finish.
"Straining on our relationship," he provided, turning toward me. "I'll never hurt you. Just tell me what you would have me do." His voice was pained, or was it just proof of how tired he was.
Did I dare tell him what I knew my heart wanted? I had no choice. Who knew what nightmares would come if I collapsed from pure exhaustion. With a small and very timid voice I told him, "Hold me tonight like you offered."
A slow smile spread across his face and vanished just as slowly. He turned away from me without saying a word and got out. He came to my side and helped me out. We walked silently into the lodge where Edward gave the lady behind the counter the slip of paper. She typed in the reservation number before looking at the two of us. "We've been expecting the two of you," she said with a smile. "Your luggage was delivered earlier and is in the room."
"It was?" Edward said shocked.
She nodded handing him a key card, motioning for a bell hop. "They are staying in Creekside."
"This way," the bellhop said.
The bellhop led us to a beautiful room. Edward tried to hand him a small tip, and he shook his head. "It has already been taken care of," he said, closing the door as he left.
The king-sized bed called to me, and I slipped out of my shoes. My hands were fumbling with the button on my jeans when I visibly swayed.
"Sit down, Bella," Edward said, coming to stand behind me while placing a hand on my arm.
I knew I was going to collapse whether I moved to sit or continued to standing there. "Too dizzy," I said, feeling one of his arms slip around my waist. I leaned back against him and closed my eyes. "Bella." I tried to open my eyes but I couldn't—I was worn out.
"Bella," I said again. She didn't respond. I gathered her up into my arms and laid her on the couch so I could pull back the covers. She had surprised me earlier when she asked me to hold her tonight. Little did she know that I have tried the past few nights to do just that—hold her. I quickly drew back the covers and was just kneeling next to her when she cried out. She did not wake, but she continued to whimper. The moment I had her in my arms again, the whimpering ceased and she sighed. I laid her as close to the center of the bed as I could and knelt on the bed, tugging her jeans off.
After I kicked off my shoes and removed my jeans, I laid down next to her, pulling the blanket over the both of us before turning on my side wrapping my arm around her. In no time I was asleep.
A/N: Sorry for the long wait. Vacations and one of my betas being sick delayed this chapter.