Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and no copyright infringement is intended.

Finally, it felt like my Edward was coming back to me. I knew that a couple of hours spent alone at his parents lake house, wasn't going to change what had happened to him, but this was a start. When he'd led me upstairs, I was nervous about what would happen, but he was more like the old Edward that I had missed, and our afternoon love making session was in a word, amazing. He was so gentle and loving, it was a million miles away from how things had been in the last couple of weeks. I hoped that this would be the breakthrough that I had been waiting for. I felt like the cat that had got the cream in more ways than one.

Luckily, I'd asked the others to arrive later, giving us some space to be alone and for him to acclimatize. The last thing he needed was to feel crowded. I knew that if he lashed out in any form of anger, then Emmett wouldn't think twice about taking him down. Brother or not, his first instinct would be to protect me.

We spent the couple of hours in relative peace and it was like we were in our own little bubble. It was perfect. We went out onto the decked area outside which overlooked the lake. There was a large lounging area that Esme had put in. There was a cross between a bed and a couch, which was where we curled up together, basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun. I must've fallen asleep in Edward's arms. I woke with a jolt when I heard a loud bang, it sounded like a gun going off. I let out a small scream, spinning around to find that I was alone. Where the hell was Edward?

I heard voices and realized that the bang I had heard, was Emmett announcing his arrival by slamming the front door almost off its hinges, "Em, you oaf, what are you doing? Way to announce our arrival."

Oooh. . . Rose sounded pissed at him.

I got up and turned to see Edward and Emmett hugging each other like they hadn't seen each other in years. It had only been a couple of days since he was last at the apartment 'checking in' on us.

Rose saw me hesitate in the doorway and came rushing over, "Oh, Bella, it's so good to see you!"

She beamed at me, giving me a hug which I gladly returned. I liked Rose, she wasn't only beautiful, but able to keep Mr. Ego himself in line. She wore the pants in their relationship and he knew it. I think secretly, he loved it.

Rose went over to Edward, holding her arms out for a hug from him. I wasn't sure how he would react, but he hugged her back then she spoke without really thinking of what she was saying, "Gosh, Edward, you're looking good, I haven't seen you since…"

You could cut the tension in the room, with a knife. I was all too aware of the last time she had seen Edward and I'm damn sure, so was he. That was the night he was taken away from me. I saw him stiffen in reply to her comment, "You guys want iced tea?"

It was the only thing that I could think of to say to break the silence, but not the tension that I could feel rapidly building in the air.

"I just need to freshen up and change first. I came straight from a studio shoot which, my god, was long and boring." Rose couldn't make eye contact with either me or Edward. She obviously didn't know what to say to make it better.

"Hmm. . . need a hand freshening up babe?" Emmett suggestively wiggled his eyebrows at her. He broke the tension with his humor and she swatted him on the arm before promptly running off upstairs, giggling like a schoolgirl.

"Can you two not leave each other alone for five minutes?" Edward shouted as he ran after her. I blushed, thinking of us only a couple of hours earlier.

I looked into his eyes and saw that he had remembered the last time he saw Rose. He was obviously hurting, and it pained me that there was nothing that I could do to take that pain away.

Not two minutes later, Emmett came back down stairs with a face like he had been told that there was no Santa, "Awww. . . she knock you back stud?" I asked, teasingly.

He went to the fridge and grabbed a beer ignoring my teasing. He sat on the large couch and started flicking through the TV channels. Edward moved to join him. Something was off; I just couldn't put my finger on it. Emmett caught my eye and motioned with his eyebrows upstairs.

I went upstairs to find Rose sitting on the bed with her head in her hands. When she acknowledged me, I saw that she had been crying. The last thing I'd expect her to do, "Fuck, Bella, I am so sorry! I just said it. I didn't think about the last time I saw him. Is he okay?"

I joined her on the bed and reassured her, "Hun, there's nothing that you can do, now. I know that you didn't mean anything by it and I'm damn sure that he does, too. It's just things have not been easy for him."

I remained on the bed while Rose got changed and fixed her tear, stained face. Once she had composed herself, we went downstairs. I grabbed a jug of iced tea from the fridge and sat outside to enjoy the sunshine, while the guys flicked aimlessly through the sports channels in silence.

Rose and I sat discussing my work and she wanted to know about any new hot authors that she should look out for. I promised to keep her in the loop. Then she told me about her recent trip to Mexico where she had been doing a photo-shoot for a new bikini for an up and coming designer. The models were all unknowns and she didn't appreciate having to tell them how to pose. She said she was tempted to get back in front of the camera and show them how it was really done. We were laughing over this when Hurricane Alice finally hit land.

In typical Alice style, she breezed through the door with a huge smile on her face and danced through the room. She went to her brothers first and after hugs and embraces, she made her way out to me and Rose before Jasper had even made it through the door. I had to laugh at her. She had unending energy levels coupled with such a sunny disposition that she instantly lifted any tension that was in the air.

She sat with us, cross legged and gulping the iced tea from my glass by the time Jasper made it out to us, "Afternoon ladies," he announced in his soft Texan drawl, bowing slightly at the waist with his head cocked to one side; a bemused smile on his face. I found myself laughing at him. He was always the perfect gentleman. He held doors open for us ladies and is so full of old fashioned, southern charm. It was like he was from another time. Alice was clearly smitten.

Jasper was a perfect fit for Alice. She was as non-stop ball of energy and he was the calming influence. It reminded me of Ying & Yang. They completed each other, although, I was sure that both her brothers don't want to think about Alice being anything other than their baby sister that needed protecting at all costs.

Her arrival seemed to bring back Edward's previously cheerful mood. He was now smiling as he watched her bound around. It was great to see that he had a genuine smile on his face. There weren't enough of those lately.

Me, Rose and Alice, decided to leave our guys to their perpetual hopping through the sports channels. We stayed outside on the deck chatting about what felt like every subject under the sun. Apart from one – Edward's absence and his subsequent return to me.

I knew that they were concerned. I could read it in their faces no matter how much they tried to hide it. In the last few months, I've become and expert at reading people and their reactions to me while Edward was gone. A lot of them had pity written across their faces. A few thought that I was several kinds of crazy for not believing that he had left me of his own volition. Some thought that he had ran away with another woman.

'Hey, Bella, come back to us," Alice said, waving her hands in front of my face. Suddenly, I was brought back into the conversation realizing that I had zoned out, again. Lack of sleep combined with worry was sending me off into my own little world at times. It seemed to be better at times than reality.

We sat out on the deck, for a couple of hours. When then the guys decided to surprise us with Pizza's from my favorite pizzeria, Luigi's, in the town. After pizza and some beers, Edward and I walked down to the beach, sitting there together on the soft sand watching the sun set. I sat between his legs with my back to his chest. His arms wrapped around me; kissing my neck. They were slow, soft and gentle kisses. His hands reached under the thin tank top that I was wearing causing small electric shocks through my skin. This felt right. I turned around to face him; straddling his lap. I gazed deep into his eyes. . . he was back! My Edward was here. . . back with me where he belonged.

I leaned forward, kissing him gently. I could feel him hesitate and I hesitated, too. It was more out of reaction to him. It was enough for us to realize that things were starting to look brighter for us. More like the old times. I settled back into my previous position and continued to watch the sun set.

As we sat there, I felt something there in that moment, that I hadn't felt for many months – safe and secure. No one could come between us, again and nothing would ever tear us apart not matter what the future may bring. I had to put the past behind me.

I thought back to the time when I thought Edward had left me. I fought it. . . refusing to believe it. Hell, I nearly ended up going crazy at one point.

I let someone close to me and I regretted letting my guard down and letting them get so close. But I truly did believe that he had left me. I couldn't tell him about this. It would set him back so much in his recovery. No one knew about this and I was happy. It would have to remain a secret and something that I was ashamed of.

Authors note:
Thanks for reading, I hope that you are enjoying hearing Bella's side of the story – if you are not already reading Taken, the link is on my profile and that is Edward's story.

Beta'd by Dreamof Rob10 – thanks as always hun x x