Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I am just using the names that she created for her wonderful story.

X-NessieCullen-X has preread and beta'd for me but life is kind of nuts for both of us. All mistakes are entirely my own. If you find any, I do apologize. xx

Chapter 13

The Truth About Love

Thanksgiving Day went off without a hitch as it usually did. Well, more like it had since his parents had died. The Whitlock's were always very welcoming of Edward and Lanie, opening up their home to them when they realized it would be nice for them to have somewhere to go, especially for the holidays. Edward and Lanie always went over to the Whitlock's house to spend time with their 'foster' family, swinging by the local bakery to pick up a pumpkin pie and some bread rolls first. When they walked in, the smells of dinner cooking and the sounds of the Macy's parade flooded the house. Jasper always arrived later than he did, it never failed every year, and it was even worse now that Ally was in the picture.

While he nursed a beer and talked football with Jasper's brother, Lanie plopped down on the couch with Jasper's niece and nephew and watched the large balloons and floats on the television. Even though he wished he could give her a normal life, one where her own mother cooked dinner for everyone and welcomed them with open arms, that had never been their reality, and this was as close as they would get to that. Edward had no way to repay the Whitlock's for their hospitality.

About a half hour after they arrived, Alice and Jasper came through the front door in a whirlwind. Jasper was carrying a large pot of mashed potatoes and balancing two bottle s of wine while Alice carried a couple of big boxes and wore a huge smile. Jazz's mom just smiled and kissed both of their cheeks. "Ally, dear, it's not Christmas... What is all this?"

"We've set a date!" she gushed, bouncing on the balls of her feet. That got everyone's attention. Even the kids were fully watching the adults with interest. "We're getting married on Valentine's Day!"

Edward was fully aware of the complete silence that hung in the air as everyone absorbed the news. The only sound he heard was Jasper's sister-in-law spitting her wine back into her glass as she began to cough. "What? What's wrong?" Alice asked, her smile immediately dropping and the look of sadness shining through. When she looked like that, Edward realized, it made him feel like hugging her.

"There's nothing wrong with it," Jasper said firmly beside her, pulling her into his side and standing tall.

Edward decided to back them up. "For once, I won't have to be alone on Valentine's Day. I'll have a date assigned to me," he joked.

Alice was still looking at Jazz's parents, tears threatening to fall but she was now forcing a smile. "Oh, honey," Jasper's mom said after a moment, "we just didn't expect it to be so soon. That's only a few months away..."

"Mom, Ally and I have discussed that already. We want a small wedding. We'll have the reception at the fire hall and the caterer won't be that much if we don't invite too many people."

"Are you sure that's what you both want?" his father asked, speaking for the first time.

"Yes," they both said simultaneously.

"Alright then, we're having a Valentine's wedding," Jasper's mom announced, obviously a little shell-shocked.

Lanie and the other two kids excitedly jumped around and Alice relaxed into Jasper's side. As Jasper's mother, sister-in-law and Alice all converged on the packages, Alice yelled for Lanie. With a deep voice that made her sound authoritative and obviously teasing, she boomed out, "Lanie Cullen, please come forth!"

Lanie saw the box Alice was holding out to her and her face immediately lit up like a Christmas tree. Edward shifted uncomfortably, watching them with suspicion clear on his face. "Go ahead, Lanie! Open it!" Alice prompted her.

Jasper's mom just put her hand to her mouth and tilted her head to the side, obviously just as curious as everyone else. Ripping the pink bow from the top, she pealed back the white and silver paper and opened the clothes box. Without lifting it out, all anyone could see was a cream-colored, lace dress with embellishments. "Is this your dress, Ally?" Lanie asked in awe, running her fingers over the lace.

"No. It's yours. Edward told me you have a big Christmas concert coming up next month at school and I wanted you to have this to wear then. It's also going to be your bridesmaids dress. My dress is more tan-colored. Rosalie helped me pick out the dress for your girls and I think it's perfect. It's not too formal and you can wear it again..."

Edward was standing there in shock when Jasper came over to him and gestured for them to go back into the living room alone. While the girls were busy pulling out the dress and Angela, Jasper's sister-in-law, was checking it out as she would be wearing a similar one, the guys made sure to talk low enough.

"Jazz, this is too much..."

"Stop it. That's the dress everyone picked out to wear and it's perfect for Christmas. We wanted her to have it early."

"How much was it?" Edward asked, looking his friend in the eyes.

"Don't worry about that..."

"Jazz..."

"Edward, seriously. You and I both know the two of you deserve to enjoy the good things in life once in a while. Alice is...attached to Lanie. I think she kind of reminds her of herself. You're going to break Ally's heart if you make Lanie give back that dress. Let them have their fun, man."

"You guys just do so much for us already. I mean, you bought her a dress for the engagement party, the back-to-school stuff, and even dinner today..."

"My family loves having you guys here. Don't sweat this," Jasper shrugged. "Have you heard from Bella?"

Edward nodded. "Yup. She's seeing Jacob Black now. It's over. I lost my chance."

Jasper shook his head, "Bullshit. She's in love with you. Just give it time. Until then, we're going out tomorrow night. My parents could watch Lanie. She's watching those two knuckleheads anyway," he laughed, gesturing to his niece and nephew.

Edward's mission for the night was to knock Bella completely out of his system. He wasn't sure if the cure to one addiction was to do something else equally bad for him but he was willing to try it out. Pent up frustration, both sexual and emotional, was slowly starting to drain him. Rosalie had hung back that night, Emmett said she had something last minute come up and needed to stay home. Alice was hanging out at the Whitlock's with her future mother-in-law, organizing the wedding. So, it was just the guys tonight and both Em and Jazz seemed to know exactly what he was there for.

While his two friends drank beer, he decided to splurge a little more than normal and go for whiskey on the rocks. The burn felt good and he knew that Lanie was spending the night with people he trusted would take good care of her. Jasper and Emmett bought him his two drinks but he bought the next two and they'd only been there for a couple hours. He felt good and he'd been eying up a leggy blonde who was currently up at the bar with a group of friends.

"And his sights are locked," Jasper joked, following Edward's line of vision over to the girl.

"Nice, man," Em laughed, nudging Edward's shoulder. "I can't see a ring from over here."

Edward just gave him a drunken smirk and stood up. He heard the guys laughing behind him and Jasper asked what time it was because he didn't want to be out too late. Taking a quick glance at the girl's left hand he breathed a sigh a relief that she wasn't married...or at least she wasn't advertising. He hoped the latter wasn't the case as guilt would later eat him alive. Not dwelling on the what-ifs, he stood close to her and saw that she had a full drink in her hand. Another sigh of relief. He wouldn't have to buy her one.

"Would you like to dance?" he asked, leaning closer to her than was really necessary and whispering directly into her ear. He briefly wondered if Emmett would mind dropping him and the girl off at Jasper's since his car was already there anyway.

She just smiled and looked down like she was innocent but when she looked back up at him, her eyes raked over his body. With a seductive smile, she bit her lip and nodded her head. He was actually a little surprised it was that easy. The second his arms were around her, Bella's body spread out on his bed came to mind and he swallowed hard. The girl misread him, thinking it was her that he was smiling at. She was actually kind of lost on him until he felt her teeth graze his lip. Before he knew what he was doing, their tongues were down each other's throat and he was ready to go. Bella didn't want him. He wasn't good for her. Blondie was more than willing to play along.

"Look," he began while nibbling her ear a few minutes later, "I came with two friends. They'll be leaving soon. Why don't you come home with me?"

"I don't know..." she frowned but he could tell she wanted him as her eyes flicked guiltily over to her friends who were giving her a thumbs up and cheering her on. She relented with a shrug. "Why not. Do you have a condom?"

Edward was relieved that he wouldn't have to beg for it. Any other night, he'd just have walked away and found someone else had that been the case but not tonight. He needed this...before his heart decided to speak and he aborted his mission. "Yeah. I always use them."

"Good. I can't stay." She stated this second part matter-of-factly.

"Did you drive?"

"Yeah. I can drive us back to your place. That way we won't have to wait for your friends..."

He just nodded and pulled away from her so they could head out to the parking lot. He nodded to Em and Jazz on the way out while the girl giggled and waved goodbye to her friends. As soon as he was in the passenger's seat, he knew she was going to be fun in bed. Her hand went right to his inner thighs, even as she was driving. He was just glad the car was an automatic. Her short jean skirt left very little to the imagination and the tank top was nearly see through, it only kept anything covered because she wore a black bra under the lacy white top.

She was everything Bella wasn't-and that meant the blonde was everything he didn't want. She was tan, which was totally noticeable with the bleached white shirt. Her hair was straight and platinum blonde. He was completely sure as he hadn't really payed attention but he assumed her eyes were blue. She had a tattoo on the inside of her left wrist of a flower. He was starting to regret his decision to bring her home. Deep down, what he wanted was Bella. The girl beside him was not even remotely his type. Well, his new type as of Halloween night. Bella could have made him come just by rubbing her hands up and down his legs. This girl was nearly kneading his dick and he was hard but not really that into it. God, he fucking wanted Bella. Just one more time. If he could have her one more time, he could try to move on.

He directed her to Jasper's apartment and let them in after finding a parking spot. From that point on, he decided to just give in and pretend it was the girl he really wanted to be with. Frustrated with himself, he pounded into the poor blonde even a little rougher than he normally would. She didn't try to stop him, though. Three used condoms later and he wasn't nearly sated, the girl was basically comatose from exhaustion, and a shattering thought struck him. If Bella never gave him that 'one more time', would he ever be completely satisfied again?

Bella woke up Saturday morning with a pounding headache and red eyes. She could barely open them as she squinted at the alarm clock on the dresser. It wasn't that she had been up all night crying, it was just that she hadn't gotten much sleep at all-but neither had the person next to her. Sitting up, she tried to rub the headache away by applying some pressure to her temples but it was no use. "Bells?" the person beside her asked groggily.

"Go back to sleep. I just need some aspirin..."

Climbing out of bed, Bella slid her slippers on and headed to the bathroom. As she went, she kicked open DVD cases, a plate that had once held home-made brownies, and an empty bottle of wine. She was going to try to make it work with Jacob, honestly, she was. At least, that's what she told herself up until Friday morning when it turned out that she just simply couldn't. So, their movie date turned into a lunch date where she explained that she was sorry for going in circles but she planned to talk to Edward and try to work something out. While she didn't go into in-depth discussion with Jacob about her relationship to Edward, she knew in her heart that even if Edward just simply wanted to hook up once in a while, she'd rather be with him than Jake.

Jacob took the news well that she really wanted to just see where things went with Edward and when lied saying that she had a family function to attend that night that she had just found out about and couldn't miss. She felt bad but Bella knew she would always want Edward more. Perhaps that was her new standard in a guy. If she ever found a man she wanted to be with as much as Edward Cullen, she would have to make sure they married and this man never got away. Jacob just wasn't it.

So, she'd called Rosalie and explained what happened. Rose, being Rose, showed up with a large bottle of cheap wine and a stack of chick flicks. They made brownies, ate ice cream, and then felt guilty about all the calories while watching Ryan Reynolds woo Sandra Bullock-who was skinny enough to make them both want to vomit. Not only did they have a total girl's night, they began to come up with a plan. It was a stupid plan, one that sounded like something a couple thirteen year old girls at a slumber party would come up with.

Alice had recently asked Bella to be in her wedding. It was no secret that Alice had planned to pair her up with Edward, at least to the other girl members of the wedding. Edward, of course, was probably not even aware she was to be in the wedding let alone opposite of him. Bella had already told her she would totally be in it, as she knew Alice didn't have that many close friends and it was impossible not to love Alice. They planned to pair Edward up with Bella, unbeknownst to him,and if things worked out, he'd fall madly in love with her. Rosalie tacked on a spiel about them getting married themselves, having lots of brown-haired babies, and living happily ever after. Rose even threw in a castle for good measure.

Popping two aspirin, Bella decided to jump in the shower and try to get the redness of her eyes to go away with the steam. They had been up so late watching movies and conniving that they hadn't gone to bed until almost four in the morning. After her shower, Rosalie offered to drive her over to Alice's so that they could fill her in on the plan that both girls now found comical and to really discuss when they'd go get fitted for their dresses. Unable to look at anything that wasn't sweatsuit material, she threw on a pair of gray sweatpants, a white t-shirt, and a black zip-up hoodie. Her hair, which was a wet mess, was twisted into a messy bun on top of her head.

Rose just changed out of Bella's old clothes that she'd slept in and stepped back into the clothes she'd worn to Bella's the night before. "Maybe Al will get some breakfast with us. I could use some greasy doughnuts," Rosalie commented as they drove to Alice's.

Stepping out of the car, Bella started to wish that she'd at least thought to put her contacts in. "What if she's not here?" Bella laughed as they knocked on the door. "She might be at Jasper's."

Rosalie just shrugged. "This is Jasper's. She's been staying here with him."

"Oh."

Rose knocked on the door again before sighing. "Maybe neither of them are here. Let me text..."

She was interrupted when the door opened and standing in front of them was none other than a shirtless Edward Cullen. His hair was every which way, his abs appeared rock solid and his sweatpants hung low on his hips. Bella couldn't breath and cursed herself for it. You couldn't have at least taken the time to put in the damn contacts? "What are you guys doing here?" Edward asked, obviously surprised and turning to look at something behind him. He seemed nervous now.

Rosalie just pushed her way inside and walked over to the kitchen area to get a glass of water. "I'm freaking thirsting to death. We're here to see Ally. Are they still in bed?"

While Rose talked, Bella thought of what had been said of Edward bringing girls back here. Her heart clenched as her suspicions were pretty much confirmed when he craned his neck towards the hallway that she assumed led to the bedrooms. "No. They stayed over at Jasper's parent's house last night..."

"Then, why are you here?" Rose asked before realization hit her and she slowly lowered her glass of Brita-filtered water.

"Rose, let's go. Please." Bella felt like she had just been punched in the chest by Mike Tyson when the fucking model walked out of one of the rooms towards the back and came down the hallway. The skirt she had on covered enough so that the girl wasn't considered to be streaking. As for the shirt, she might as well be walking around without one on. It did nothing to cover her black bra. The stilettos she was wearing made her look even more run-way ready and her blonde hair was just mussed up enough to look sexy and it screamed 'I just had amazing sex last night.' Bella hated her. Then again, a nun could have walked out of Edward Cullen's bedroom and Bella would still want to claw her eyes out.

"I'm, um, just going to go," the girl smiled warmly at Edward as she ran perfectly manicured fingers through her hair and blew him a kiss.

He's not yours. He's not yours. He's not yours. He's not yours. This mantra repeated over and over in her head until Edward's soft voice finally snapped her out of it. She was so confused. He was the cause of her distress but his voice seemed to soothe her. "Bella, look at me."

"Let's go, Bells..." Rose said quickly, stepping in between Edward and Bella completely. The blonde was no longer there.

Feeling numb, she nodded at her friend and let her pull her towards the door. "Bella," Edward called out to her again.

Still looking at the floor, she shook her head and blurted out the lamest thing she could think of. "You smell like whiskey."

"Rosalie, please, can you give me a minute with her?"

"No," Rose stated.

"Rose, it's okay. I'll meet you at the car in a minute," Bella muttered numbly.

Walking away hesitantly, her friend gave her a sad smile and walked out. The door shut behind them, closing them in together, and Bella found that she still couldn't breathe. Her chest was constricted. "Bella, look at me," Edward repeated again, stepping closer to her and lifting her chin with his pointer finger. That snapped her out of it again.

"Don't touch me," she spit out in digust, stepping backward.

"Can I just...explain?" he practically begged.

"You don't owe me anything. I know you don't want to be with me."

He threw his hands up in frustration. "You went out with Jacob!"

"I didn't. I couldn't. It didn't feel right. I wasn't going to get into something with someone I had no intention of being with in the future. That wouldn't have been fair."

"Don't cry, Bells. Please. Look, I'm sorry..."

Horrified with herself, she shook her head as she realized her eyes were brimming with tears-which he could obviously see. "Just stop!" she cried, giving a sad chuckle. "This was my doing...this time. You approached me and I turned you down."

"Bella, just let this happen! If you don't want to be with Jake then give me a chance. That girl meant nothing to me! I was trying to forget about all of this... Let me take you out. Let's at least try this!"

Bella laughed but it came out strangled. "This isn't okay. You know if I slept with half as many people as you did, I'd be the worlds biggest whore! I don't want to start this way with you just getting done fucking some model! I just..." his ringing phone interrupted them and he walked over to it, distracted slightly as he read the display. She quit talking because she was trying to get her head together.

"Bells, let me just grab this. I really want to talk about this. I swear to you. I just really need to see if Jasper is calling because of something with Lanie."

"Go ahead," she said quickly, understanding his need to check on his sister. "Why don't you call me later. After you...are more dressed," she cringed as she said that. It was so not what she wanted to have come out of her mouth.

"Just hold on," he pleaded.

Bella needed time to get herself together. "Just call me, Edward. You have my number."

She hadn't even gotten out the door before the tears just poured out. Seeing Rosalie standing right outside of the door was what broke her. She was tired and confused. A sob tore from her chest as Rosalie pulled her in for a hug. "What happened, Bells?"

"I don't know. What the fuck did just happened?"

"What did he say to you?"

"He wants to try. I have no idea what to do. I hate myself for this, Rosalie. Why am I so God damn upset? Why can't I just let him go and cut him out? Why did I want to kill that girl that just walked out of here?" Bella realized how emotionally pyscho she had to be sounding and gave another strangled laugh. "Christ, Rose. I've lost my fucking mind."

"You love him. This is what happens. You said he'll call, so wait and see what he has to say. Let's go home, Bella. Come on."

Before she could be led down to the car, while still being in Rosalie's arms, she noticed Rose looking behind her with a sorrowful expression as she mouthed something to someone-who was standing directly behind her

"How was the blonde?" Jasper asked and Edward could practically see his friend's cocky grin through the damn phone.

Feeling hung over and completely caught up in the situation with Bella, he shook his head. "Is Lanie okay?"

"Yeah. I just wanted to let you know we'll be on our way over shortly. You know, in case you had to get rid of some company..." he chuckled.

"I'll be here waiting for you. I have to go, though."

He hung up, not waiting to see what Jasper's response was going to be. Bella Swan had just walked out the door, obviously upset, and it was because of him. He slid on his shoes and opened the door but he stopped short of stepping out right away because he could hear the girls talking. "I've lost my fucking mind," he heard Bella mutter to her friend.

When Rosalie responded with, "You love him. This is what happens," he nearly jumped up and down for joy. With a huge smile on his face he stepped out into the hallway and froze. Bella was in Rosalie's arms and she was crying. Hard. Even after all that shit he said about wanting to get over her, about letting her go...all of it...he realized then and there that he was a fucking idiot. From the beginning, he should have never hid their relationship, if you could even call it that. He should have sat Lanie down sooner and made sure it was okay. He should have begged her to go on a proper date with him.

Anything would have been better than this outcome, upsetting her this much was the last thing he had ever wanted. Was she really in love with him? Was he really in love with her? All he knew was that the girl was under his skin and he couldn't take being away from her for another second. Rosalie saw him immediately and gave him a little glare before mouthing over Bella's shoulder, "Fix this. Now."

Stepping over to them, like he was walking through concrete, he put an arm between Bella and Rosalie and pulled the sad girl around to face him and into his chest. He wanted to tell her that he loved her, to explain once again that the blonde was just another nameless girl who meant nothing to him and that he was only with that girl last night because he couldn't get the one in his arms out of his head. Instead, she looked up at him in surprise and with her face so close to his, things just...happened.

His lips dipped down to hers and she sagged into him as if she were a deflating balloon-but a very sexy, deflating balloon. The kiss had more than likely taken her by surprise as well because they just stood there with their lips touching, like they were frozen that way. When she started to add a little pressure and then pulled away a couple inches before pecking him on the lips over and over again, he knew she didn't hate him.

He lost himself in her. Everything about her. Her soft hair that was currently now fisted in his hand and the smell of her shampoo that was simply amazing; although he supposed it could be perfume. He didn't fucking know. She was here. Bella Swan was right in front of him, kissing him and holding onto him for dear life. While he realized that his arm around her waist was literally holding her up, he stepped closer to the wall by the door and leaned her against it, deepening the kiss even further. Edward realized that sex wasn't what was going through his mind. It was just simply wanting to keep her there with him.

"Guys!" Rosalie called, slamming Edward back down to Earth and causing Bella to break the kiss. "I'm standing right here! Jesus!"

Bella's cheeks turned a beautiful shade of pink and she smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, Rose."

"I mean, holy hell, you two..."

"Sorry, Rosalie," Edward said politely but with a huge smile on his face.

"If you two are going to have sex in the hallway, at least let me leave first." Soon, though, her frown was replaced with a beaming smile. Reaching over, she patted Edward on the back. "I trust that you'll get her home safely?"

"Um..." Bella began, totally flustered.

"I'll handle it. Tell Em I said hi," Edward replied.

"Rose, you can't... I look horrible! I need my contacts and...better clothes..."

"Goodbye, Bella!" Rosalie called over her shoulder as she walked down the hallway. "You two stay together until you work this shit out...or fuck the hell out of each other. Either way, Cullen, this is your last chance. You hurt her, my expensive boot is going up your ass! Oh, and Bella, I'm tired of the whiny crap. Just tell him what you really want!"

Hopefully everyone survived this chapter, I know opening a door to shirtless Edward is a lot for the heart to handle and this was quite a long chapter ;) I took the beginning of chapter 14 and put it at the end of this one since you'd all kill me if I left you with the cliffy I had planned to. Sadly, you'll have to wait until the next update to find out if they have hallway sex. At least they're...kissing each other again. I would say talking but that wasn't really getting them anywhere as usual. I hoped you enjoyed this one and would love some feedback! I was nice and didn't completely cliffy you ;) PS I'm currently working on chapter 42 of this story...it's not going anywhere and will be updated on time. Rec it to friends! Letzy xx