Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. This is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.

I'm Back!

Sorry for the long delay. I've been really busy and I haven't had much time to write. When we last left off Bella had moved in with Renée and Phillip. Let's see where that goes.

Thanks to A JASPER FOR ME for pre-reading.

It's a little short but here it is!

Chapter 16

"Hey Mom, I'm going out for a little bit," Bella said knocking lightly on her and Phillip's door. She heard when Phillip left early that morning. He was an early riser unlike her mother. She wondered what he did for a living.

"Okay." Renée's muffled voice answered back.

Things would be easier with Renée; she hardly asked questions. It was also good that she was busy making preparations for Thanksgiving next week. From what Bella understood, Renée and Phillip wanted to visit his parents in Portland. She bet his parents wouldn't be too happy to find out he was dating a woman seven years his senior and she was married with an eighteen year old daughter. There was no way that would go over well. Renée was a nervous wreck.

"Can I borrow your car?"

"Sure, sweetie." Renée flung the door open. Her hair was a disheveled mess and her blue robe hung loosely over her nightgown. Bella knew she probably just woke up even though it was early afternoon. "Phillip and I have plans later so I don't think I will be needing it."

"Okay," Bella said, turning to leave. "Thanks."

She heard the door shut once more as she headed towards the main entrance. Her mom seemed like a whole new person now that she was no longer with Charlie.

Bella was extremely nervous on her drive to Edward's house. She was afraid he might think she stood him up because of their kiss.

The drive to his house was faster than she imagined. Edward lived a lot closer than she thought. She could have easily walked instead of using her mother's car.

As she walked towards his house in the light rain, she was filled with anxiety. She knocked on the door with three quick raps and waited as she heard Shadow bark and loud shuffling from the other side of the door.

When it finally swung open, she looked up at his blank expression. "Hey."

"Hi." His voice was indifferent.

"Can I come in?"

He let go of the door and turned to walk into the house. She followed him, shutting the door behind her.

He went straight into the living room and sat down on the couch with Shadow at his feet. It didn't seem like he was going to say anything. She knew he must have been bothered by her not showing up the day before.

"I moved out of my father's house yesterday," she said breaking the silence. "I haven't been having the best home life."

"You moved out? To where?"

"I'm living with my mom and her boyfriend now."

"Wow." He blew out a gush of air.

"I'm sorry if it seemed like I stood you up."

"It's fine. You had things to deal with. I understand," he assured her.

"I should have called," she said, finally daring to move closer. She took a seat next to him. "I don't even have your number."

"We need to fix that." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, handing it to her. "Put your number in and call your phone so you can get mine."

She smiled and happily did as he said. She didn't know why she never thought of this. She had used his phone before and it would have been extremely easy to get his number.

When she was finished, she handed it back to him and they sat in comfortable silence.

"How are things with your mom and her boyfriend?"

"It's great," she said with a shrug. "My mom seems to really like this guy. Phillip. That's his name."

"Do you like him?"

"I don't know." She shrugged. "He seems okay. We didn't have much interaction seeing as I just moved in yesterday."

"Are you okay though?" He asked. "With your Dad and …"

"I guess so. My dad is … such an ass but somehow I don't hate him. I realized that last night. I can sort of understand his point of view. He did some really shitty things I can't possibly forgive yet, but I don't hate him." She played with the edge of her shirt as she spoke. She wanted to be dignified and strong and she wanted to believe the words she spoke but there was still dubiousness in her voice and actions. "My father is controlling, aggressive and honestly a bit cruel and when I think of him, I just feel emptiness and coldness."

"I thought he was going to hit me after I left Friday night. He was so mad. I couldn't understand then what made him so angry but now I realize it was the lack of control. It was eating at him. I feel sorry for him."

Tears welled up in her eyes but she refused to let them fall. She refused to cry because of Charlie. "I don't hate him. I really don't." She wasn't sure if she was trying to convince Edward or herself.

He put an arm around her and she scooted closer, resting her head on his chest. Being in his arms was comforting. He held her as she sobbed into his chest. "I don't understand why I was never good enough. Nothing I did was ever right. Why couldn't he love me, Edward?"

"He loved you, Bella. I'm sure he did ... and still does. How could he not?"

"I'm always … I try my hardest to be perfect and to live up to his expectations but it's so hard. I keep waiting to mess up and disappoint him."

"Listen to me Bella," he said firmly. "You are wonderful just as you are and messing up is part of life. Trying to be perfect is no way to live. You can't live for other people, you have to live for yourself or you will never enjoy life. You decide what dreams you want to follow. It doesn't matter if he's disappointed in you. It matters more if you are disappointed in yourself. Do you understand me?"

She nodded her head.

"I said do you understand me?"

"Yeah," she said softly, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. "You're right."

"Good."

She sat up and looked towards the hallway. "I'm gonna go wash my face. I need to calm down. I'll be right back."

"Okay."

She got up and headed to his small bathroom. After washing her face and calming down a bit, she made her way back to the living room.

"Are you hungry?" Edward asked as she reemerged.

"Yeah, I am a bit hungry actually," she answered. "I can make something."

"You don't have too, I can –"

"No really," she interrupted. "I insist. It will probably take my mind off Charlie."

"Okay," he said with a small smile.

As usual, Edward's kitchen was well-stocked. He explained that Alice had been there the day before and she stocked up his cupboards even more. Bella quickly got to work and an hour later she had their spinach and mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts ready.

"This is delicious Bella," Edward said as he chewed his first piece. Bella couldn't help but stare at the way his mouth moved as he chewed. It was incredibly sexy.

"Thanks," she said softly as she turned her attention back to her food.

"Where did you learn how to cook?"

"Started out as trial and error and I also watched the Food Network a lot." She took a dainty bite of her chicken. "It helped because my mom's cooking skills are a little limited."

"I used to love to cook when I was growing up. When I was twelve, I told my Dad I wanted to be a chef. He laughed at that."

"Why?"

"He said it was unrealistic." Edward shrugged. "Maybe it was. It's not like I can do much now." He flashed a smile that sent her heart aflutter.

They continued eating their meal with light conversation and when they were finished, Bella gathered their plates and washed the dishes.

"What now?" Edward asked with a grin once they were seated in the living room once again. She noticed a piece of spinach stuck in his teeth.

"Edward?"

"Hmm?"

"You have a little …" she reached forward and used her index finger to remove the piece of spinach from his teeth. "There."

"I had food stuck in my teeth again, didn't I?"

"Yeah, spinach."

"Well it's a good thing one of us can see," he joked. She laughed along with him and nuzzled her head into his chest.

"I sort of want a part two of Friday night."

"Really," he asked as he smirked. "Which part?"

"I think it was after you said you think I'm beautiful," she whispered as her cheeks heated in embarrassment.

"I don't think," he said. "I know you are." They were inches from each other.

She placed a hand on his cheek and caressed his perfectly chiseled jaw. He was very beautiful himself, in a very unconventional way. "You are too."

"If you say so."

"I know so," she said closing the distance between them and connecting her mouth to his. They were soon caught up in a heavy makeout session. Their hands explored each other's faces and their tongues fought for dominance.

Soon Bella ended up straddling his hips as she ran her hands through his bronze locks.

He pulled away suddenly. "Maybe we should stop now," he chuckled. "This is getting really heated."

"Yeah and I really should get going now," she murmured. "I borrowed my mom's car. I didn't realize how much closer I live to you now. She's probably freaking out about it even though she said she wouldn't need it."

"Coming over tomorrow after school?"

"Of course." She carefully unwrapped her body from his.

"Don't stand me up again," he teased. "You have my number so there is no excuse."

"It won't happen again." She kissed him once more. "And trust me I will be dialing your number a lot. Be prepared."

~VC~

"You're back late," Renée said as Bella entered the kitchen. "Phillip and I already had dinner."

"That's fine. I already ate."

Renée tilted her head to the side and carefully looked Bella over. "What did you do today?"

"I was at a friend's place," Bella answered. "We hung out. We did … friend stuff." Bella decided to change the subject before she was forced to tell a really big lie. "How was your day? What were you and Phillip up to?"

Renée sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "Nothing much. We just … discussed things."

"Well okay," Bella said. "I'm going to go to bed. I'm a little tired."

"Goodnight, sweetheart."

"Night, Mom."

Bella retreated to her bedroom and after changing out of her jeans and t-shirt, she climbed under the covers and called Edward to let him know she got home safely. After about two hours of their playful banter, Bella decided to call it a night and bid Edward goodnight.

Things between them were quickly changing and Bella was filled with feelings of excitement and delight. Being around Edward made her feel like she could be completely herself and she didn't have to hold anything back. He made her happy and made her feel free.

She couldn't wait to see him again.

Things are starting to get really hot between Bella and Edward.

What do you think of Renée and Phillip's blossoming relationship? What things could they have been "discussing"?

Let me know what you think!

Review!