All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer, everything else is mine.

Thank you Midnight Cougar for beta'ing!


Chapter 7

"Where have you been?" Edward questioned before I'd even walked through the door. The open floor plan of his condo made the door visible from almost anywhere. He was by the stove, chopping up some vegetables.

I glanced up at the clock. The note I'd left said I'd be back by five thirty, and it was a few minutes after six. "I'm just a little late," I replied. I walked up to him and he turned toward me, opening himself up for my attack. My hands reached up and laced around the back of his neck, bringing his face closer to mine before pressing my lips to his.

He groaned into me, one hand moved to my lower back, pulling me closer to him. Every part of my body was tingling, flaming when our mouths opened and his tongue found mine. He let out a shuddering breath as he pulled away, his eyes a few shades darker than before.

"I was swimming," I said quietly. My kiss had softened the blow, but didn't change the outcome. His eyes cleared and panic set in.

"Alone?" he questioned; his voice on the edge of anger, waiting for my response.

I rubbed my hand on his chest in a soothing motion. "No, my friend Benjamin was there watching over me."

"Benjamin? Was he the one…" he trailed off, unable to say the words. The image Benjamin painted flashed in my mind, and I knew that was why Edward stopped.

I nodded. "Yes."

"Everything went okay, you didn't black out?" he grilled; both of his hands reaching up to cup my face, searching for something.

I was only beginning to understand Edward had feelings for me, romantic ones, but I hadn't figured out how deep they ran. There was still so much I didn't know about him. I knew he was a good man, caring, but his reactions at times were a bit extreme, leaving me wondering what happened to him.

Edward held a deep pain, much like my own. I knew he had a story to tell, I could feel that from him.

"Everything was fine. Having him there grounded my mind."

"Is he really the best person to help?" he asked, both worry and a hint of jealousy in his tone.

My gaze faltered; my head dropping. "I… There isn't anyone else."

He turned the burners off, an audible gulp as he nodded in understanding. "We need to talk."

"Okay." I slipped my hand in his and he squeezed it as we moved to the couch. His jaw was tight, expression serious, and it made me nervous.

"Bella… Fuck, I don't even know where to begin," he said, running his hand through his hair before looking at me. Confusion and anger filled his features. "We need to talk about your birthday, but I need to come clean, and it's difficult. There are selfish reasons I don't want you to find a new place to live when you turn eighteen."

"The money you get each month?" I questioned, the only reason I could see for his seriousness.

"Fuck, no!" he spat, then sighed in defeat. "I've only taken money from your parents' estate for your medications and medical co-payments."

I froze, staring at him. But that was part of the deal for him taking me in, money for my living expenses. "Where is that money then?"

"In a savings account under your name. I figured once you were better you could use it to buy a car, since the executor sold off your parents when he liquidated everything."

I shook my head. "Then I don't understand what you have to come clean about."

He took a deep breath, his hand reaching out to cup my face. "Because I'm a sick motherfucker. I'm fifteen years older than you and I've lost control keeping my hands off of you."

"But I want that, Edward. So much."

My hands cupped his face in return and I moved forward, over him, until I was straddling his hips. I firmly pressed my lips to his. It took a moment for him to respond, but when he did, my whole body relaxed into him.

What surprised me was when his arms wrapped around me, hands holding me, pulling me closer. I knew that touch. Memories flooded my mind of all the times he'd held me, soothed me, cared for me. I gasped tears filling my eyes as I stared at the loving man in front of me.

"Bella?" he questioned; his eyes full of concern, hand reaching up to cup my cheek.

"I'm sorry," I whispered.

"For what?"

"For everything I've put you through. You've been nothing but patient and caring, haven't you?"

Recognition dawned in his eyes. "Do you remember?"

"Yes…no… It's almost like the wisps of a dream, fleeting, coming and going," I described.

His forehead rested on mine, hands caressing my back. It felt so good, so relaxing, and I sagged into his embrace, my head falling down to his shoulder. He pulled me closer, burying his head in my neck as I tangled my fingers into his hair.

"I want to stay with you," I whispered. "I want you."

His grip tightened on me before he pulled back, brushing my hair from my face.

I watched Edward's expression move from wide eyed shock to elation in about two seconds, then drifting into a soft, loving gaze. "Really?"

"More than anything. I want you," I stressed, running my hand down his chest, my hips dropping down and sliding against his hard length. I smiled, knowing he wanted me physically as well.

He groaned, shaking his head, his expression pained. "I'm your guardian, we can't…"

"For seven more weeks," I pointed out, my hips moving again. An overwhelming need took over, right at that moment.

"If someone finds out… Bella, I could get in serious trouble," he argued, warring with himself on whether or not to act on the desire within.

I nipped at his bottom hip. "I'm at the age of consent, and I consent to you making love to me."

A low groan rumbled through his chest, his hips arching up making me gasp as he hit my clit. He dipped his head back in the crook of my neck. When he pulled back his lips were on mine. It was euphoric, pure bliss, as he kissed me. I realized then he'd been holding back. There was so much that poured from him and into me; passion, desire, comfort.

While my arms gripped the back of his neck pulling him closer, my hips rotated to get the friction I craved. He groaned, one hand grabbing my ass as he pushed me down onto him.

My body burned and bubbled, his hips rocking against my core, an explosion of emotion and feeling mounting. I'd been so numb for so long I was now raw to the onslaught. A shuddering whimper rippled through me, stopping Edward's movements. He gazed into my eyes, need pouring out and I knew it wasn't just need for my body, but for me.

"Sorry, it's just…been so long…everything is very intense right now," I explained. "My emotions are so strong."

He nuzzled my nose and placed a light kiss on my lips. "I'm sorry, you're right." He moved to make space between us and fear ripped through me. I clawed at him, gripping him and pulling him tight until there was no space between us, my legs moving around behind him, ankles locking together at his lower back.

"That wasn't code for stop," I whispered into his neck. I didn't want to let him go, I couldn't let him go, now that I had him.

"I should though," he replied softly.

"Says who?"

He scoffed. "Society. You're seventeen, I'm thirty three."

"Fuck society, and I'll be eighteen in two months. Edward, I want to be with you, and not just for a night. What do you want?" I needed to know, feeling like I might explode as I waited for him to answer. My whole being was on the edge of cracking open with a divine light. Something deep inside me had awakened, my soul finding a like soul, its mate, in Edward.

His eyes burned with an intensity I could feel in my chest, my heart speeding up as he began to speak. "I want you. I want to be your home, your sanctuary, your strength, your family, your lover, the love of your life…whatever you'll let me be."

"I want all that as well. I want to be yours in every way."

"I also want you to get better. I need you to wake up, and stay awake," he added, brushing a strand of hair behind my ear.

"I'll do it. I'll take therapy seriously; take all my meds for you."

He shook his head, eyes closed as he rested his forehead against mine. "No, sweetheart. You need to do it for you. I'm just an added bonus."

Tears welled in my eyes and I nodded. He was right, but I also wanted to get better for him. For us.

"I need you."

He held me tighter, my forehead still touching his. "God, you don't know how long I've been waiting to hear those words from you, Bella."

"I'm sorry for being asleep for so long."

"I'm just happy you're awake now."

Another memory flashed through my mind, a gut wrenching view of Edward's tormented face as he tried to get me to respond to him, tears filling his eyes. I vowed then to do my best, because I never wanted to see that look on his face again.

With that resolve, I finally felt like I was finding my way to the surface.