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
I'm Talking Fidelity
With that, Rosalie Hale was gone and Bella was alone with Edward Cullen. Her heart was beating way harder than was normal and her breathing was a little funny. She tried to remember what her phys. ed. teacher used to say when they ran laps-'breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth'. So, that's what she did. Then she realized she probably looked like a total idiot. "I need to go in and put on a shirt," she heard Edward say.
Looking up at him, she smiled and continued to lean against the wall. "No. You really don't."
"If it was just you and me, I'd go totally naked. Unfortunately, we are in a hallway, outside of an apartment owned by friends, and my little sister is on her way over with them as we speak."
"Gotcha," Bella breathed out. She had to force herself to look him in the eyes instead of staring at his ab muscles. She wanted to lick him It was a strange, sudden urge. Fuck, Swan, you have serious problems. Then, she remembered blondie and wanted to throw up. He'd just slept with another girl. Hurt and anger co-mingled in her mind as she tried not to cry in frustration.
"Come inside. Once Lanie gets here, I'd like to go home and...shower. Afterwards, though, what would you say to hanging at our place and having lunch? Lanie's been doing a lot of reading-which is a hobby I'm glad she picked up-so we'll have a chance to talk."
She followed him back into the apartment and while he walked over to grab his phone from the kitchen table, Bella stupidly walked down the hallway, figuring he was going there next and she'd wait for him. What greeted her made her sick all over again. The bed was a total mess, his shirt was on the floor, a pair of boxers was hanging off the foot of the bed, and a pair of hot pink panties were laying on one of the pillows. Refusing to cry, she felt Edward literally pull her back out of the room and shut the door. He wasn't quick enough, though. She'd seen what was there-including the three open condom wrappers on the nightstand. "Fuck," she muttered, running a hand over the hair that had fallen loose from the messy bun when Edward was holding onto it during the kiss.
"Bella, she meant nothing. None of the girls that I've brought here ever have. I only bring them here because I don't want to run the risk of Lanie seeing girls she doesn't know where she lives. You are the only girl I have ever brought back to my actual apartment. I used to live here with Jazz years ago, before my parents died. You are the only one."
"What was her name?" Bella whispered, wishing her hair was down so she could hide her face behind it.
"You don't know?" That thought made her way more happy than she should be. Her brain was screaming at her that this made him a total asshole but he had proven time and again that he at least knew what her name was. She also had to remember that as confusing as the situation was, he was single. He technically still was. She had told him she didn't want a relationship with him. If she hadn't shown up this morning, she had no reason to ever even see him again except for the fact that she was Lanie's teacher. She knew he was like this from the beginning and she was mad at herself for actually being surprised. But three times? Seriously?
"I don't," he finally relented after a long pause. "Bells, wait for me in the living room. Let me get this cleaned up and as soon as Lanie gets here, I'll get you guys out of here. I'm so sorry for all of this. I didn't do this to hurt you..."
"Don't apologize. It's not like you cheated on me."
He looked down and Bella was glad he looked ashamed as he muttered, "It's kind of ironic, actually. I've spent years bringing girls back here instead of my place because of Lanie. Now, I'm here with the only girl I've ever taken back home-or brought around Lanie at all, and we're waiting for her to get here to go there."
"Go...disinfect the room or whatever," Bella frowned and said dryly, stepping away from him. "Maybe you should take in a jug of bleach. I'll be waiting."
Bella sat down on the couch to wait for Edward and was grateful for her mind being in a tailspin. The last thing she wanted to think about was Edward cleaning up after a night of debauchery so trying to iron out details concerning how she felt over the situation she was currently in helped her out. Still, it was a lot to consider, a lot to take in, and a lot of work when all she wanted to do was pass out. The only reason she wasn't dozing off now was because she still felt charged up after that kiss in the hallway...and also a little disgusted. She wanted to brush her teeth with that bleach she had recommended to Edward. She was still confused on how all of this happened. All she had hoped for was to talk to Alice about the wedding. Instead, she ended up pressed against a wall with Edward Cullen's tongue down her throat.
They had both been fighting this for so long that she had trouble remembering which one of them turned the other down last. Of course, after he came to the school to talk with her about possibly giving it a shot, she had been the one to tell him no. That decision had haunted her for days and ultimately led her to cancel her date with Jacob the night before. She wanted to cry tears of happiness when he said for her to just give in today but she also wanted to cry tears of pain and a little anger, even though it was none of her business what he did last night, when that girl made an appearance. The entire situation was confusing and she realized she could use some more aspirin.
When the door flew open, Bella about jumped out of her skin as Ally, Jasper and Lanie came in. Lanie walked right past her before doing a double take and smiling. "Miss Swan!"
"Hey, Lanie," Bella smiled back, warmly. Then, realizing she probably looked terrible, dropped her eyes down to the floor.
"Bella? What's going on?" Alice asked in confusion and Bella looked up to find Jasper giving her a strange look. Turning away, he walked quickly back towards the bedrooms and she heard him knocking on what she assumed was Edward's door.
"Sweetie, your eyes are all red!" Alice frowned, sitting beside her and rubbing her shoulder. "You kind of look like crap."
"Are you sick?" Lanie asked.
"No. I'm just...very tired," Bella responded honestly.
The guys both joined them then, Jasper smiling about something and Edward looking Lanie over as if to make sure she was still in one piece. "Lanie, Miss Swan is going to come visit for a little bit today," Edward began. "Why don't you tell Jazz and Ally thank you for keeping you with them last night?"
They said their goodbyes and headed downstairs to take Edward's old beat up car back to his place. He'd driven it there last night before going to the club with the guys. "Miss Swan, Eddie took me to the library on Wednesday because we had a half day of school and he knew I wanted new books. I read a whole book this weekend!"
"Wow," Bella said excitedly. "What book was it?"
"A Diary of a Wimpy Kid book," Lanie shrugged.
"Ah. Good choice!" Bella laughed.
"I have two more in my room. Eddie told me I can read as many books as I want. He says I watch too much TV."
Edward, his face downcast despite the happy chatter between the two girls, tried to make himself sound happy when he said,"She was quoting one of those girls on that reality TV show about the family..."
"The Kardashian's!" Lanie told him like he should know that.
"Whatever," he muttered. "It needed to stop."
"Well, I love to read," Bella put in. "When I give you guys SSR time, I always read with you, too. It's a nice way to relax after recess.
"SSR?" Edward asked.
"Silent Sustained Reading, Eddie," Lanie answered and Bella tried not to laugh at how annoyed the girl sounded for having to explain things to her big brother.
A small smile appeared on his face. "Okay, okay. Geesh, you two are way too smart for me."
"You're smart!" Lanie argued before innocently adding on. "Mom used to call you a Smart-ass all the time..."
"Lanie!" Edward scolded but his smile was now way wider than it should be considering he was trying to be stern with her. "That wasn't...you don't call people that. It's an insult, not something that's a good thing."
Bella was trying so hard not to laugh that she had to pretend to cough to make it believable. To her relief, though, Edward was silently laughing as well. "Lanie," Bella turned in her seat a little after getting herself under control. "Your brother is a very smart man."
"I know," Lanie smiled shyly, as if being bashful over the smart-ass comment. "I think he's smarter than our dad was. Dad was mean to mom even though he said he loved her. Eddie's not mean to you."
When they finally got the apartment, Bella was really feeling the effects of the night before and the only thing that was keeping her awake was knowing she would get to be with Edward. Unlike the night of their sexual tryst, she actually took the time to really take the place in. As far as inner-city, low-income housing, this really wasn't that bad. There was some garbage in the hallways and a little yelling as you walked past closed doors but nothing too horrendous.
The apartment that they resided in was very clean. It was small and there was some clutter because of it but the place had a warm, homey feel to it. There were pictures on the walls of Edward and Alana along with Emmett, Alice, Jasper, and some of Jasper's family members. There were no pictures of people who she would have thought were his parents. He gave her an official 'tour' but they just stood in the living room and he pointed to the rooms around them. The only one not directly in her line of sight was his bedroom but that was one that she had already been inside.
As Edward had predicted, Lanie hung with them long enough to eat the pancakes Edward made and then retreated to her room with a book in her hand and a glass of water. When they had first arrived a the apartment, she and Bella played a game of checkers until Edward was finished disinfecting himself. "She reminds me of myself when I was younger," smiled Bella. "My mom used to beg me to go out and play instead of staying in my room all day with books."
Edward frowned as he led her over to the couch. "Do you think it's too much? Maybe she isn't getting outside enough... I try to take her to the park and things but there aren't many kids for her to play with, unless she's with Jasper's niece and nephew or one of her classmates and I'm a little too old for her to want me hanging around with her all the time. I don't trust people in this neighborhood enough to let her play with some of the kids that live here. There aren't many around her age and they don't belong to very nice families."
"Relax, Edward. You're doing fine. Hell, nowadays if you can get kids away from a TV at all you're doing something right. Reading is a good thing and she plays a lot at school. I was worried about her to the point that I called you but she seems to be a little happier now. I take it you two talked about everything, not just us?"
"Yeah. I explained about the state being able to take her away and that I couldn't do all of this without her, either. I need her as much as she needs me."
"Edward, how long has it been that you've been caring for her?"
He shifted in his seat and she noticed that he was definitely not comfortable with where the topic of Lanie was going. It was apparent that he was a lot more sexually open than he was emotionally and that scared as well as worried her. "It's on file at the school..."
"I read it. When did it really start, though? You can't tell me that you two lived totally normal lives with the typical brother/sister relationship before your parents passed away."
"A while. It's not important."
"Okay," she relented, putting up her hands, "hint taken. I didn't mean to upset you." Things became quiet and then she watched him rest his elbows on his knees and put his head in his hands. She watched his long fingers run through his messy hair as he took a few deep breaths. "I'm sorry. Really. I didn't bring that up to hurt you, I was just curious is all."
He shook his head as it stayed in his hands and muttered, "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I don't know how to not screw this up. I think I've already screwed this up. I don't..."
"Look, I'm not happy about the other girls..."
"I know. Bella, I really didn't think you'd ever talk to me again. You were so set on not dating me and I understand because I suck at relationships and I have no clue how to be in a healthy one let alone how to act in one..."
"Honesty and communication. Edward, if you don't talk to me and we keep going in these stupid, agonizing circles, we are going to ruin each other and once that happens the bond between us will be ruined and it won't be fixable. It won't just be bent or twisted up in confusing knots. It will be broken completely. Just be truthful."
"Alright," he said after an awkward moment of silence, "I want you to know that what the guys say about me isn't false. I've never been in a steady relationship before."
"You've slept around a lot," she stated.
"What's the story with you and Tanya? Did you two ever date at all? Does she still think you two are dating even now?"
"To be honest, I haven't seen her in a while. She runs with a different crowd...a rougher crowd. She texts me every now and then to see if I want to hook up but I've turned her down and avoided her since the night you ripped her a new one at Em's. She's at the clubs sometimes when I'm there but I try to avoid her...and I was usually with another girl..."
"She means nothing to me. She's not even a nice person."
"Why did she stick around so much, then? Are there like a hundred other girls out there that still text and interact with you?"
"No. Just her. Bells, I don't want to talk about this with you. I can tell it makes you upset. Still, she was an easy lay and I played into that. God, I have no idea why you want to be around me. I've never treated any of those girls nicely after the fact."
"You treated me nicely. That's what matters to me."
"Bella, look around. I really don't have much to offer you. Lanie and I are living paycheck to paycheck and this isn't the best place for you to be coming and going at night. When I do have a little extra money, I try to spend it on Lanie-like going to a movie or buying her clothes."
Bella realized what he was trying to say and frowned, "I'm a teacher. I don't make tons of money but I'm not asking you for anything as far as money goes. If we go out, I'll pay for my own drinks or whatever it is we're doing. I'm not expecting you to pay my way for things. I know you have enough responsibility as it is. I can handle myself. I'm still living with my mom and dad because money is kind of tight but we aren't talking moving in together. We're talking...just hanging out."
He looked a little relieved, if not embarrassed and her heart broke all over again for him. He just gave her a small smile. "I just think of everything you could be wanting right now and I'm afraid I can't give any of it to you..."
"Here's the thing. I'm not wanting you because of money. I mean what I said about taking care of myself. There is something I want from you, though. It's something that I'm just afraid you can't give me."
"What is it?" Bella could tell he was confused now and slightly afraid of her answer.
"Edward, I need commitment. I'm not talking marriage, I'm talking fidelity. Sex is obviously an outlet for you..you're like an addict...and I'm afraid that you're either going to get tired of me after the novelty of us wears off or you'll end up lying to Lanie and I both and take girls back to Jasper's...or that both of those things will happen. Can you really give that up for me?"
When he pulled her into his side and squeezed her arm, she knew the answer but it was nice to hear him say it anyway-especially with a dead serious tone. "I could do that for you."
"It's hard for me to trust people. I've always been like that. I'm also jealous and I fight for what's mine. I really need to believe that you won't hurt me. I need to believe that you are where you say you are and that you aren't screwing around behind my back. If we do this, I don't care if it's for a week, a month, or thirty years, I'm it for you. Cheating is the only thing I won't be able to forgive you for."
"I understand. I swear that there will be no other girls for me as long as you're my girlfriend. Of course, I expect the same from you when it comes to other men."
"Deal," Bella yawned.
"There's something else I want to throw out there before you fall asleep on me..."
"I will not fall asleep!" Bella laughed, even though she was cuddling into his side.
"I don't mind that you're here during the day. In fact, I think having a woman around will be nice for Lanie. The thing is, I don't think it's a good idea for you to stay over night when Lanie is here. I don't want to make her think it's okay that we aren't married but we're staying together in the same bed."
"I understand and think that's a good idea. I've slept in my own bed for years, I think I can manage."
"So are we like...official now?" Edward smiled.
"I think we are. My parents will want to meet you." Bella noticed Edward swallow hard while he nodded in agreement. "Just be yourself. They're going to love you and Alana both."
"I don't deserve to be with you. You'll always have the upper hand because that's the truth. I'm sorry I can't be a better person, Bella."
"I'll be honest with you, too. I'm still a little...bothered...by what happened last night. I shouldn't have kissed you and I probably shouldn't be giving in this easily but I'm tired of fighting. Whether we want to admit it, there is some crazy bond between us that's worse than Gorilla Glue and I'm completely stuck. So...when are we telling our friends?" Bella asked this last part dryly, wanting him to get that she still wasn't completely okay with his man-whore ways.
"Rosalie knows so that means Em knows. Alice will now because of Rosalie as well. Jazz will know because of Alice and then his whole family will hear the news. I'm pretty sure they either all already know or will know within the next couple hours."
"Good point," she yawned again.
Sitting there, leaning into his side and resting her head on his chest, she found it so easy to close her eyes and relax. He had turned the TV on to some game show. They joked around about it for a while, calling out answers and laughing at each other before a commercial came on. Once she blocked out the images of this morning from her head, Bella felt happy to just be there in the moment with him. Letting her exhaustion and happiness carry her away, she sighed contentedly and gave in to her heavy eyelids.
Can their odd, stuck together relationship make it longer than a few days this time? Tune in next time to see if Edward can keep it in his pants and if Bella can get the skank-cooties out of her mind. On a good note, the flu is gone! On a bad note, I have no reason to slack at work and that means I have less time to write...or in this case edit... The next update will be (almost for sure) in a week. Leave me some love! Letzy xx