I'm afraid this is another chapter with wonky speech marks. Not sure what has happened, but I'm too tired to change them. I will go back at a later date and do it. I'm sure this is the last chapter containing this anomaly.

In the half hour it took to make the arrangements for Jacob, some of our temper dissipated while we tried to put on a show of togetherness so Jacob wouldn't be worried. But the tension is seeping in again, I can feel it crackling in the space between us. I can hear it in his sharp sighs and feel it in the pressure in my jaw because my teeth are clenched so tightly together.

My back is turned slightly to him and I keep my eyes trained on the window as I struggle to put a finger on exactly what it is that I am feeling. Anger is the predominant emotion but it is laced with so many other things. Hurt disappointment and maybe just a little bit of fear. Fear that this could be the end before it has even begun.

I grip the limo seat tightly, feeling my palms grow moist from the force. For fifteen minutes I sit like that, gripping the leather upholstery, while the pressure of fighting to control my emotions, transfers into the strength of my grasp. The thump-thump-thump of Edward's heel bouncing on the carpeted floorboards makes my fingers curl tighter still.

From the corner of my eye I can see his knee bouncing, and I realise he is trying to keep a lid on his emotions too. I wonder if he's waiting till we're out of earshot of his driver before confronting this, or if he too is worried about opening this can of worms.

Beyond the few words exchanged between us while arranging for Jacob to stay overnight with Rosalie and Emmet, nothing more has been said. Neither of us put on a convincing show to Jacob or Rosalie; Edward's overly erect stance and my smile that, had I worn it for very long, would have left my cheeks sore was the thinnest ruse we could manage. Jacob's preoccupation with the delights of the games room was the only thing that prevented him from seeing what would have been painfully obvious, even to a stranger.

I root my gaze to the window, noticing nothing beyond the smoked glass.

I can't define the churning mixture of hurt, anger and disappointment that has the muscles beneath my skin sparking with the need to act – it's everything. The culmination of ten years of words I've needed to shout, of hurt I've needed to purge. I need to be calm when it's impossible to be calm... I need to be rational despite my thoughts whirling in a frenetic barrage of memories of being scared to face my father and tell him I was pregnant, of dejection at each pickup of Edward's voicemail, of my mother's tears when I arrived on her doorstep a failure. And Carlisle's words are the malevolent undercurrent fuelling it all – playing on a loop, like a reminder of everything I feared in the beginning. He's not a stupid man, Bella. He knows the best way to have a good relationship with his son is through you.

The smugness of Carlisle's expression when he knew he had me is as gutting now as it was the day I realised Edward had betrayed me. For that's what his desertion felt like – a betrayal. A betrayal of every sweet word spoken and every emphatic promise made. Should this be a surprise? The implications of Edward's inquiries into my background bring dread into the mix of emotions that hollows my gut while pumping my veins full of fiery indignation: He wanted to make sure there was no other man in his son's life. Lucky for you there wasn't... otherwise you wouldn't be sitting here at our table – you'd be sitting in a courtroom fighting for your child.

I've shown Edward my tears, told him my sorrows and let him make me trust him... and he's no fucking different. Still he chooses his family over me.

I risk a side glance to see his cheeks hollowed in from the clenching of his jaw. His knee is still bouncing erratically... almost violently now. His own anger is tangible in the air, like sparks from a bonfire, causing my skin to prickle and tiny hairs to lift on the back of my neck as my adrenaline builds in reaction to it.

He's no longer the weak man he once was, any more than I am the lovestruck stupid girl I had once been. The only thing I feel keenly is that this time, this time, I'm going to have my say. And though my stomach feels hollow from the fear that this could be the end of any possibility of a future for us, I'm going to dig my heels in and fight my corner.

I'm not going to run.

At last the limo turns and glides into the parking garage. Edward throws the door open and exits so quickly he practically vaults through the door. The cool blast of air that rushes into the limo, is most welcome as it dispels a little of the electric atmosphere surrounding me. I slide across the seat and look up to see him gripping the edge of the door with one hand while he holds his other out in an offer of help. Ignoring his outstretched hand I grip the door with a shaky hand to steady myself – he clicks his tongue in exasperation, and grabs my hand to support me as I climb out.

He lets go as soon as I'm out of the car, says nothing to the driver and stalks off towards the elevator. I thank the driver and follow Edward.

Again we are silent as the elevator climbs to his apartment. I want to speak but the emotion roiling within me is burning so hard in my stomach I can feel it right up to the back of my throat. When we arrive in his foyer, he jams his key into the lock and pushes the door open a little too forcefully, gesturing for me to enter. I step into the apartment and am only half way down the hall when the door slams loudly, causing me to jump in fright.

The loud crack of metal hitting wood has all the impact of a starting gun, and suddenly every bit of tension I am feeling erupts.

'Was that really necessary?' I shout, my heart beating wildly.

'Yeah!' he shouts back, glaring at me with the unmistakeable glint of challenge in his eyes. 'That's how I close doors when I'm fucking angry!'

'Oh you're angry!' I yell shaking my head. 'You paid someone to snoop into my private life and then told Carlisle about it and you're angry?'

I spin away from him and stalk to my room as fast as the high heels I'm wearing will allow. As I stride down the hall, I'm intensely aware that he is matching me step for step. I try to slam the door, but he's too quick for me and his hand slaps against the wood as he pushes it back open. It crashes against the sideboard and his hand shoots out again steadying it as it bounces back towards him. I kick my shoes off so forcefully they fly across the room. One hits the nightstand and ricochets back catching Edward's ankle.

He glares down at it, immediately kicking it away furiously.

'You know, I'm not even surprised that you checked up on me, that's not my issue,' I yell. 'I just can't believe you didn't tell me and yet you told him!'

His fingers curl around the edge of the door he is still holding and his knuckles turn bone white as his grip tightens. 'That's exactly the fucking point!' I flinch at the loudness of his voice. 'You do believe it! You believe that prick's word over mine.' His whole body seems to radiate fury as he steps into the room. 'How could you even think that I would share anything with him?'

'He knows details about my life in Florida. He knows about my two jobs, where I live–'

'You don't even remember do you?' he interrupts.

I stare at him blankly. His stares back with hard steely eyes as if waiting for the penny to drop. His mouth sets in a grim determined line before he huffs out a sharp breath and starts yelling again.

'You told me about your jobs and you told me where you live. You told me those details.'

'So you're denying it?'

'No,' his voice has levelled. 'I'm not denying that I... looked into your circumstances. I'm just pointing out that the things Carlisle has told you are things that you told me. Yet you still believed him so readily when he took his chance to provoke you. You're right, the issue here is not whether I had you investigated or not, it's about honesty. Maybe I lied by omission before but I'm telling you the truth now... when I have ample opportunity to continue the lie.'

'But that doesn't explain how he knows about it. What was it? A lucky guess on his part?' I snort sarcastically.

Veins bulge in his neck and a bright red hue collects above his cheeks as his anger accelerates again. 'I have no fucking clue how he knows,' he rages. 'And you can bet your sweet ass I'll find out – but right now I'm more concerned with your total lack of faith in me.'

I turn away from him but he steps around me, blocking my retreat, and glares down at me. I look up at him and the anger etched into every feature on his face reminds me of the day he confronted me in Forks.

'You were going to take him from me weren't you?' I scream, feeling my blood turn cold at the mere thought. 'If I wasn't single, you were going to take him from me. Is that what this is about? Are you just using me to have it all?'

His fist slams down on the sideboard. 'How can you even ask me that?' There's a flash of some emotion in his eyes but I'm too far gone to pinpoint it.

'this is all horribly familiar, Edward. I'm out of the loop as usual. You shared the information you found about me with someone and it got back to Carlisle,but you never told me. Why would you hide it from me when you've been claiming to be honest all along?'

'I'm being honest now!' His voice is hoarse in his vehemence. 'You're so fucking guarded all the time. I knew this would happen if I told you about it. But let me tell you why I did it. You've kept Jacob to yourself for ten years,' he says, his voice low and menacing. 'I had no idea what kind of fight you would put up, it was pretty fucking clear you didn't want me in his life. I made inquiries because I needed to know where I stood... what I was up against, because there was no way you were keeping me from him any longer. But, I'm not a complete bastard, Bella, it was never my intention to take him away from you. I just didn't want you to take him away from me... again.'

'You want full disclosure on everything, but you won't give the same courtesy to me,' he continues. 'You were in a fucking bar with a guy that works for me!' he roars. 'I overhear him telling you how much fun you were and that he bought you drinks, and you never mentioned one fucking word about him... What am I supposed to think?'

'You're supposed to trust me!' I yell, removing my earrings as I walk to the vanity. I hear his approach as I dump my earrings on top of it.

'Yeah? Like you trust me?' He bellows.

'You don't make it easy,' I snap. 'How can I trust you when you're still keeping things from me... like you did before.' Things I've wanted to confront him with for so long start to bubble to the surface.

'What things?' he challenges.

'You told me you weren't sleeping with Irina when you clearly were!'

'I explained about the night of Tanya's wedding.'

'You got her pregnant Edward, you must have been having sex with her on some kind of regular basis...' My voice catches. 'While doing the same with me!' The very thought of it makes me feel sick. 'Either that or you've got fucking super sperm.'

His mouth clenches tight, a muscle working furiously above his jaw line. He clenches his fists tightly by his sides, and when he speaks it is through his teeth. 'I didn't lie to you,' he insists. 'She went to Carlisle with some bullshit story about how we were trying for a baby and it wasn't working. That fucker – that you are so eager to believe over me – prescribed her fertility drugs–'

I can't hold back my cynical laugh. 'You expect me to believe that?'

He jams his hands into his pockets and his lips twist in a bitter smile. 'Yeah! Because it's the fucking truth!'

Gripped with the need to free myself from the trappings of the evening; my fingers rake through my hair searching for pins and yanking them out one by one. 'Why would she do that? It's pretty fucking convenient, don't you think? You expect me to believe that you had sex with her once and she got pregnant?'

'It only takes one time, Bella,' he points out bitterly. 'And as for why she would do that. I asked myself that question many times. My marriage was fucked up... you knew that!'

My fingers pause in my hair. 'I thought I knew that, but then you left with her!' I shout. 'You promised me you loved me and that we were going to be together. You told me you weren't sleeping with your wife but then overnight you went back on everything you said! Your wife was pregnant and you left town without a fucking word! So forgive me if I'm having trouble believing you now!'

'I fucked her that one time!' he roars so loudly his voice reverberates off the walls. 'It's just one thing in a very fucking long list of things I regret! '

Dumping the last hair pin on the vanity I rake my fingers through my hair, scratching out the itch in my scalp. 'You left with her and turned everything you and I shared together into something dirty.' I shout. 'That's the bottom line!'

'No it isn't!' His voice is vibrating with anger. 'What about your part in it Bella? You and your dad fucking lied to me too. And I'm not the only one who kept secrets am I? Ten fucking years!' he yells, his rage picking up again. 'You stayed away, you lied and you kept my boy from me. I've tried to see it from your side, I'm trying to make up for what I did to you, but you still won't fucking talk to me. You won't help me to understand why you did that to me!'

He steps back and yanks at his tie, succeeding only in tightening it rather than loosening it. 'Explain it to me.' His voice is gruff now and his words almost sound like a plea.

Memories of those first weeks come crashing back to me. Pain blooms in my chest and each breath I take hurts. 'You just disappeared out of my life without a word. I was eighteen years old and you were the first person I ever loved. I gave everything to you... You were my whole world... I believed in you, I believed in us. You were my life!' Emotion overcomes me as hot tears start to fall. 'I loved you without fear and believed all your promises... I really thought you were my future, but you took all that away from me when you left me. How can you say you loved me when you cut me out of your life without a backward glance?'

I swipe furiously at my tears. 'While you were hiding away with your wife, I was desperately trying to see you. I called that fucking phone constantly, I sent a thousand texts. I was frantic. I drove to your house but I never made it up the driveway. I only wanted to hear why you didn't want me anymore, but I couldn't face hearing it in front of your family. I called the house twice, the first time I spoke to Alice and the second time it was Esme who answered. They wouldn't let me talk to you. I gave up trying to contact you and took to waiting for you in the meadow, hoping you'd come to find me – but you didn't.'

'You turned me into the town cliché! Overnight, I went from believing that I had a place in your life, to being the stupid little girl who believed everything the married man told her when he said that he loved her. You turned your back on me when I needed you most and left me behind to face the humiliation alone. We were both in it... but I felt like I was the one left to face it. You made a mockery of everything it was meant to be!'

My breathing is ragged as I struggle with my emotions. 'That's how it was for me. You were with your wife making plans for your future – while I was alone... terrified of what mine held.' I turn away from him and start to fumble with the zip on my dress. 'When I found out I was pregnant I thought I hated you,' I admit.

'So you punished me?' he prompts. There is still an undercurrent of anger in his voice, but I get the distinct impression that he's almost relieved to be hearing this, like he was baiting me all along in his efforts to make me say it.

'No!' I shake my head vehemently. 'I hated you for not wanting me. Everything I did was out of self preservation, I know that now, but I never acted out of spite. I didn't deliberately do it to hurt you. I just didn't want anything to hurt me or Jacob. I was scared and frightened of what kind of life we would have. Everything I had been looking forward to had disappeared, and I had to face a future I hadn't planned for. I made decisions based on fear and rejection and I was wrong. If I could change it I wouldn't have kept him from you.' Abandoning my efforts with the zip, I turn to face him. 'In fact, if I could go back, I wouldn't have slept with you while you were still married.'

There is a flicker of raw emotion in his eyes. 'I still don't understand why you didn't change your mind over time.'

The tension starts to leave me and my voice is much quieter now. 'You admitted that my age was a factor in how you viewed our relationship. Maybe it did for me too. When I thought about how it looked from afar: An unhappily married man was sleeping with a young girl, promising her a wonderful life. Then the affair is discovered and suddenly that same unhappily married man leaves town with his pregnant wife. I started to wonder if that's really how it was. I spent years thinking that you had chosen to make it work with her.' My voice starts to shake with the painful memories. 'I even imagined you were happy with her and your kids. I believed I cost you your career as well as almost ruining your marriage. I couldn't imagine turning up on your doorstep with Jacob and it ending up in anything other than devastation.'

'Charlie knew I wasn't married anymore,' he points out. 'You didn't ask him about me?'

'No,' I admit sadly. 'It hurt too much. We never spoke about you again. I didn't want to hear about you living the life you promised me!'

'But I wasn't!' he groans in frustration. 'One question is all it would have taken for you to find that out.'

'You claim to have loved me all this time, but you gave up and didn't try to find me!' I yell, banging my fist on the vanity, suddenly angry over our inaction. 'You clearly have the means. You didn't waste any time digging as soon as I came back!'

'We've been over this!' His harsh sigh is filled with frustration. 'We both made every fucking mistake in the book. But I want to get past it, I wanted us to talk about it so we could understand and forgive each other. I'm doing everything I can to make this up to you but you keep slapping me down! You're hanging on to things that we should let go. You're telling me I have to trust you but you won't even give me the benefit of the doubt. You're angry at me for not being honest with you and yet you are being far from honest with me! You didn't tell me about Riley–'

'Oh for the love of God! Riley is just... he doesn't even factor into any of this!' I scream. 'I ran into him in a bar when I was drunk. I spent barely five minutes with him. Tonight he only spoke to me when I was passing his table, he didn't seek me out. You're reading way more into this than you should!'

He snorts derisively. 'He gave notice two weeks ago that he was quitting. I found out tonight, he's leaving to work for James... you'll remember James – that poor guy I was being an asshole to,' he reminds me sarcastically. 'There's no love lost between Riley and me – seems like he wanted a little 'fuck you' to the boss before he left. You were his best chance to do that!'

Before the intention even registers, my hand has ricocheted off his jaw with a loud crack.

'Insulting me doesn't justify your jealousy!'

'NO!' he bellows catching my wrist. 'This isn't just about jealousy, Bella! You're clinging to every little bit of hurt I've caused you, it's piled up like a ten foot wall around you and I'm the only person who can't breach it. Yeah I'm jealous, but have you ever thought about why I'm jealous or why it fucking rips my heart out to know that you can be carefree and fun with other guys when I have to work so fucking hard just to get you to open up a tiny bit to me?'

I shake my head, stunned by the intensity of the raw emotion radiating from him.

His shoulders sag a little as he takes two steps back. I watch the emotion play on his face and hate the air of resignation that seems to be seeping into his demeanor. He starts to speak and his voice is much quieter but no less intense. 'You're different with them. It's easier. I've seen you with Mike and it was there again when Riley said how much fun you were. I'm jealous because I'm the asshole who broke your heart, and deep down I know it would be so much easier for you to be with anyone else than it is to be with me. I'm working so hard to make things up to you when other guys don't have to. You'd find happiness so easily with someone else, and every time I think about that it scares the crap out of me – because I don't think I could stand to lose you again.'

'I know how badly I hurt you,' he continues, his voice lowering further still. 'If I could take all that hurt back I would, but I can't so all I can do is ask you to forgive me and to give us a chance. I love you Bella, my life is nothing without you. Maybe if I was a better man I would want you to find happiness with someone who hasn't done this to you. But I love you and I want to spend my life with you. This is about me and you, not just Jacob. I can fight legally to be a part of his life, but I have no rights to be with you. Only you can give me that. I'm begging you to forgive me, and trust me, and love me... and to let me do all those things for you!'

His eyes search my face desperately. I can see the turmoil held within them as he waits for me to say something, but all I can think about is how desperate he is for me to believe in his love for me.

Snippets of the things he's said and done recently start to play in my mind.

'Let's just figure out what's best for the three of us before we start worrying about anyone else.'

'You just don't see it do you? You weren't the villain of the piece, Bella. I was.'

I think back to when Charlie got rushed to hospital that first day that Edward met Jacob. Jacob's plea. 'I need you now.' Edward's reticence in waiting till I gave the go ahead for him to go home with Jacob. He never pushed or forced me into anything I didn't want to do.

When Charlie died he came to me when it would have been the perfect opportunity to send Renee and be there for Jacob instead. But it was me he was there for.

'I'm fighting now.'

A lump forms in my throat when I remember Charlie's confession and how Edward handled it.

'She's your daughter. You did what you thought was best.' Even though his tone was filled with regret it was also filled with forgiveness. He's always blamed himself.

He could have manipulated me. There was so much going on in my life, he could have used any number of wiles... but he didn't. He's been patient and supportive and most of all loving, even though all he's received from me in return is cynicism and distrust.

A new hollowness settles in my chest when I see his features morph from desperation to something else... something I don't want to see.

Tears spill from my eyes when I see fear creep into his expression. He moves further away from me, jamming his fingers into his hair. I watch through my tears as he grips it at the roots and stares at me with abject misery written all over his face. 'Oh God! You can't can you?' he rasps, his voice low and filled with pain. 'You can't let go and you can't forgive me.' He swallows. 'You're going to leave me... aren't you? You're going to do to me what I did to you.'

His hands slide down his face, stopping over his mouth and tears start to form in his eyes. I recognise the emotions emanating from him, because I feel them myself. He is devastated at the thought that this is over, but the hopelessness I can see is hardest of all. I can barely stand to see it in his eyes, in the downturn of his lips. Despite everything I did to him and everything I continue to do he still forgives me and all he's asking is for me to do the same. And now he thinks that I won't.

All of it continues to play in my head. Everything he's said to me, all the new promises he's made, all the things he's done, the effort he's been making to get it right this time. The truth of it is there on his face, along with the desolation that he's feeling because he thinks it's all been for nothing – that I want nothing more than revenge.

The pain I'm feeling now is not from the wrongs we are guilty of but from the horrible truth that I am ruining this for all of us. The thought of going back to living without him aches more keenly than the old bitterness and pain I've held onto.

I've closed myself off to everything and deluded myself into thinking that I was opening up to the dream of finally having what I always wanted. But deep down I wasn't opening up at all, I was letting my fear still have precedence over everything. My fear, that if I let him in, he'll break my heart all over again. Looking at him now I can see that same fear is in him and all I want to do is take it away.

'I can forgive you!' I say, rushing forward and gripping his arms. 'Just like you've forgiven me. I won't lose you again. I can't!' I press my face to his chest and inhale deeply as my tears seep into his shirt. His hands grip my sides and I look up into his face. 'I love you Edward. Please believe me.'

His eyes search mine, while my fingers grip his shirt.

'I can't live without you. You're right... I already knew I was our biggest problem... but I've lived with this for so long... when I'm around you, it's like I'm back to being that scared young girl again. It still felt so real, the pain, the anger...the rejection.' My fingers move up to his face. 'I held on to all of it. I've been foolish and childish and bitter... but I can let it go now. I can see what this means to you... I was too blind to see it before. Too wrapped up in myself.'

I pull his head down and kiss him forcefully as my tears start to flow again. His fingers dig into my sides as he groans into my mouth.

'I want to make you happy,' he insists, pulling back from the kiss. 'But we need to forgive ourselves and move on... it's the only way!'

'Yes, I want it too!.' I gasp, feeling a desperate need coil in my belly. I bring him closer to me again, looking deep into his eyes. 'Tell me you love me.'

He cups my face in his hands, brushing my tears away with his thumbs as he gazes down at me. 'I love you, Bella,' he says, his eyes filled with promise. 'I love you so very much and I always will.'

My eyes flutter closed as the pleasure of hearing it – and believing it – courses through my whole body. He repeats it like a mantra as he peppers my face with desperate kisses.

My heart feels like it might burst it's thumping so hard in my chest. I whisper the words back to him, filled with the enormity of it at last. My voice trembles with emotion. But soon my words are not enough. I need to show him. I need to feel it.

Threading my fingers up through his hair I grip it close to his scalp, my finger clenching tightly as I pull him down to me. 'I need you,' I beg, scraping my nails across his scalp.

His breath huffs out sharply when his lips meet mine. 'Bella,' he groans against my lips before he claims them. He wraps his arms around me tightly and my heart soars at the intensity of his kiss as his chest crushes to mine.

My mouth opens accepting his tongue greedily as it plunges deep inside, but all too soon he breaks the kiss and presses his forehead to mine. His hands unwind from around me and cup my shoulders as holds me back gently. 'Bella–'

I can hear the reservation in his tone. 'I need to feel it,' I pant. 'To feel how it used to be, how good it is to love you.' I press my face to the crook of his neck, inhaling deeply as my mouth plants wet kisses upwards and across his jaw. ' Please.'

His fingers tighten on my shoulders, digging into my skin as he backs me up. One hand slides around my waist, lifting me as he carries me backwards. My back slams into the wall and his mouth assaults my lips, his kisses becoming feverish. His body moulds to mine anchoring me to the wall with his pelvis, the heat of his iron hard erection permeating our clothes.

The dress restricts me and I can't open my legs to let him closer. He moves back a tiny bit and I slide down his body while his hands roam over the naked expanse of skin above my chest, blazing a trail across my collarbone. Goosebumps spring up as my whole body bursts to life beneath his touch. His fingers venture lower and I feel them snag the necklace.

'Take it off,' I order between heated kisses.

'The necklace?' he rasps, barely able to remove his lips from mine.


His head snaps up and his eyes pierce mine. The bright flare of passion in them thrills me. His fingers fumble desperately with the clasp, while I tug at his shirt buttons and press my lips to every inch of skin that I expose. The necklace lands on the vanity with a metallic chime and then his hands are on me again, roaming all over the bodice of my dress – searching.

'At the side!' I gasp, flicking my tongue around his nipple.

He hisses with pleasure, grinding his hips forcefully into mine when I nip his nipple lightly with my teeth.

His fingers probe up and down my sides in his urgency to locate the zip. Finding it he tugs sharply, exciting me when I hear the distinct sound of material ripping. With the zip loosened, he tugs the straps down my arms, forcing my arms downwards – trapping them. He attacks the upper swell of my breasts, sucking forcefully and lapping his tongue into my cleavage.

Finally he pulls the dress down further, freeing me from the straps. My hands immediately return to his shirt and, dispensing with the torturous task of undoing buttons, I yank the material apart. Buttons fly as my dress slides to the floor.

His groan is loud when my lips return to his chest, and it grows louder still when his hands clutch greedily at my waist coming into contact with the satin basque. I smile against his chest when his fingers tighten before he steps backwards. His hands never loosen their grip on my waist as he stares down at me.

'Fuck!' he pants as his eyes devour me. 'You are...' He traces his fingers slowly up my sides and swallows hard. His eyes lift to mine and my breath hitches at the intensity held within his.

He turns me roughly, sliding his hands all over the satin. His lips blaze against my skin just above the satin ties as he cups my breasts in his hands. Lust sizzles in my blood as he squeezes tightly.

His thick erection presses into my ass as he pulls me back into his body, his mouth clamps onto my neck and sucks greedily. His hand dips and cups my pussy, his middle finger burrowing between my satin covered lips. My knees almost buckle at the feral growl that emanates from his chest.

'So soft,' he acknowledges, stroking deeper. 'And wet.'

Desperate for more I turn towards him and help him rip the shirt from his body. I palm his erection through his pants and he groans lustily as his hands grip my ass, lifting me and slamming me back into the wall. His hands take the brunt of the impact pulling my hips towards his own.

Winding my legs around his waist, I fist my fingers in his hair pulling his head back to gain access to his neck. I lick, suck and nibble as much of him as I can reach. My hips buck against his hard cock.

'Tell me you want me.' His voice is rough. I kiss him ravenously but he pulls back. 'Tell me!' he demands, louder.

'I want you!'

In a sudden blur of motion he whirls away from the wall and carries me to his room, where he plants me on the bed. Hovering over me his eyes fix on mine as he curls his fist around the sating thong. He bends and kisses me hard before he pulls the material down my legs and off in one fell swoop. He raises one large hand and frames my face – anchoring me to the bed – while the other spreads my legs before delving between them.

'Yes!' I call out as he plunges two fingers deep inside me. My eyes roll back as my body arches up off the bed.

His mouth crashes to mine. Teeth clatter, lips mash, tongues collide, and all the while his fingers pump inside me. Intense sparks of pleasure lick at me like flames. Releasing his grip on my face, he rises and forces my legs wide with both hands.

He inhales deeply and growls as his head dips straight to my center. 'Fuck!' he groans. 'You smell so fucking good.'

I cry out at the first lash of his tongue and writhe beneath him as he uses his lips tongue and teeth to torture me in the most exquisite way. My nails scrape his scalp as I grip tightly onto his hair, riding his face in my desperate race towards release.

'I need you inside me,' I demand still bucking beneath him.

His tongue swirls hotly around my clit, never breaking contact as his eyes rise to meet mine. My muscles spasm when I see the overwhelming need brimming in his piercing gaze. His eyes narrow as his thumbs part my lips, opening me wider to him. He sucks hard and uses his teeth, tongue and lips to drive me over the edge. My hips rise, my eyes roll back and my mouth drops open into a mute 'o' as a kaleidoscope of pleasure flares from my clit and spreads violently through my whole body.

His fingertips press into my thighs, keeping me in place as he works me through my orgasm. The walls ring with the sound of my strangled scream. When I can't take any more he turns his head, pressing fevered kisses to my inner thighs, rising to my abdomen until eventually he stands. I watch, still dizzy and euphoric as he opens the drawers in his nightstand and roots around inside.

His chest is still heaving and my eyes are drawn to his very prominent erection. The aftershocks still fluttering within me clench harder.

At last he's back and I reach desperately for his zipper while his teeth rip the condom wrapper. I pull desperately at his pants freeing his cock, and watch rapt as he rolls the condom down his rigid length while my fingers stroke the soft skin beneath.

His eyes meet mine and there is a wealth of emotion roiling in his dark green gaze. Words are unnecessary. Gripping my hips he pulls me towards him until my hips are balanced precariously on the edge of the bed. His tip nudges me and my hands fly to his face, taking hold in the split second before he thrusts into me.

We yell out in tandem as he fills me completely but there is no pause, his hips draw back instantly until he is almost all the way out before he slams back into me again. His eyes stay pinned to mine as he pounds into me relentlessly. One hand grips my hip tightly while the other curls beneath my neck. His thumb is firm on my lip as he holds me and I can't resist the urge to lick it and suck the tip into my mouth.

A sheen of sweat forms on his brow, his tongue flicks along his bottom lip, his mouth twitches but his eyes never waver. They stay sharply focussed on mine as his hips piston powerfully. I feel every inch of his cock filling me. The tip brushes the deepest parts of me, eliciting wild moans of pleasure with every stroke.

'I love you,' he growls, before removing his thumb from my mouth and kissing me viciously. His tongue is hot and firm as it strokes mine.

Wave after wave of electric pleasure sparks in every single cell of my body. My throat is rough and dry as I gulp in greedy breaths of air between kisses. His pace quickens and his head drops into the crook of my neck. His teeth nip the skin over my collarbone and his hands drag my legs up and around his waist, causing him to drive deeper into my body.

He grunts his pleasure into my neck, there might even be words uttered but the blood is rushing through my veins so forcefully it drowns them out. 'Edward,' I gasp almost incoherent with pleasure.

He swells within me and his thrusts become erratic as a loud roar fills the room. His teeth sink into my skin and I cry out as his cock jerks and erupts inside me. Hot tears prick my eyes as long suppressed emotions overwhelm me.

Our lips are frantic as we kiss wherever we can reach. Overcome with emotion, we chant identical mantras to one another.

'I'm sorry!'

'I love you!'

His arms slide around my body, enveloping me in his. The damn breaks and I sob into his chest while he rocks me gently. His heart is hammering in his chest and his voice raw with emotion.

'Don't cry,' he begs, smoothing his fingers through my hair as he clutches me to him. 'We'll be okay.'

His kisses are tender – filled with love. He never lets go till I'm spent and then apologetically informs me he has to dispose of the condom. He's only gone briefly before the bed dips and he slips beneath the covers and his welcome heat envelopes me again.

'Are you okay?' he whispers, cupping my face tenderly and turning me so he can look into my eyes.

I nod but can't speak around the huge lump of emotion that is still stuck in my throat. He presses a tissue under my eyes and dries my tears.

His lips are gentle on my forehead and even though some time has passed, his heart is still thumping when I place my head on his chest. I focus on his soft loving words and let them soothe away the last of my doubts.

Finally I look up at him and he smiles a little when I sniff loudly. 'I'm sorry, I just...'

He kisses the tip of my nose. 'I know,' he murmurs and a welcome sense of contentment settles in my chest.

His hand delves into my hair and quickly becomes entangled in the matted mess caused by the overabundance of hairspray in it.

'I need a shower,' I say ruefully.

He leads me to the bathroom and turns on the spray.

'This is... stunning!' he says thickly turning me again and paying more attention to the basque I'm still wearing. He bends and loosens the knot I inadvertently tied earlier.

The lace ribbons slide against my skin as he loosens them and finally pulls it free of my body. He turns me gently and his eyes rake appreciatively down the length of my naked body. His eyes shimmer when they lift to mine. 'But this is better.'

I smile and accept the soft kiss he drops on my lips. 'I loved making love with you,' he murmurs against my mouth. A small smile dances on his lips. 'And I can't wait to do it again, but I still want you to talk to me.' He lifts his head and looks down at me. 'I still want to hear everything about your life and what I missed.'

I nod, finally knowing that it's the only way we can heal.

He opens the shower door and pulls me under the hot spray. I feel its warmth relieve the last of my tension.

He takes his time soaping my hair and running the suds over every inch of my body. He lingers on my breasts while his lips find mine often. His fingers slide between my legs, cleaning me and teasing me at the same time. I half expect him to turn me around and take me again, but he doesn't. He gently guides me back beneath the spray and rinses it all away. Our lips meet frequently and he hardens in my soapy hand as I clean him.

His head drops onto my shoulder as he uncurls my hand from his erection, informing me ruefully that we have no condom to hand.

We wrap large towels around ourselves and he insists on towel drying my hair for me and smoothing out the tangles with his comb. Eventually we slip back into bed and I clamp myself to his side, my chin resting on his chest as I gaze up at him.

The soft smile playing on his lips is bittersweet and we simply stare at each other until I see the subtle change in his eyes. They darken a little and his lips turn down.

'I never let myself dwell on how hard it must have been for you,' he murmurs. 'I... I can't begin to comprehend how hard it was – especially now, knowing that you were pregnant.' His hand smoothes over my damp hair. 'I'm sorry that you had to do it alone.'

Turning my face to the side, I press my lips to his palm.

'I wish I'd been stronger. I should've been there with you... the pregnancy, the birth... everything that came after.'

I press my finger to his lips in an attempt to silence him, but it doesn't work. 'Tell me,' he urges.

All sorts of memories assail me, but it is his birth that presents itself most forcefully. Tears spring to my eyes and I press my cheek to his warm chest in an attempt to hide them. He doesn't push me, he simply holds me to him and waits until I'm ready.

'I know I said earlier that if I could go back I wouldn't have slept with you while you were married, but it's not as simple as that. I regret that you were married, not that I slept with you. Jacob saved me.' I force myself to look up into his eyes, balancing my chin on his chest. 'Those were dark months. All I could focus on was that I had lost you.' My lip trembles. 'There were nights I crawled into bed hoping that I wouldn't wake up in the morning.'

His hand stops moving on my back and a deep crease forms between his eyes. 'Oh Bella–'

I press my fingers to his lips. 'I feel horrible about that. Charlie would have done anything for more time and yet I was wishing my life away. I might have even gone back to drinking and acting out and, who knows... worse things.' I force myself to focus. 'When Jacob started moving inside me it was the most miraculous thing,' I explain, my voice croaking under the weight of my emotion. 'Until then there was nothing. Nothing to live for, nothing to hope for. Before that first flutter in my belly, I'd stopped caring about anything. But then with every day his kicks got stronger and in turn so did I. He was my reason to get up and force myself through every day. The reason I started to take care of myself again... because I had to nurture him.'


I smile shyly. 'I feel like he gave me life and not the other way around. I can't regret that. Ever. So as much as I regret that you were married, I can't regret making love with you when I did, otherwise I wouldn't have my precious baby.'

He nods and kisses my fingers, telling me without words that he feels the same way.

'The day he was born.' I drag in a deep calming breath. 'My mom was amazing.' Hot tears cascade down my cheek onto his chest. 'But she wasn't you. I cried for you the whole time. I needed you.' I look up into his face. Reaching out with my thumb I catch the lone tear falling from his eye. I start to apologise but he stops me.

'Share it with me,' he pleads.

'It was your hands I wanted to hold, and your encouragement I needed to hear. I missed you so much...' a sharp sob wracks my body. 'It should've been our moment, not just mine.' It takes a few moments to compose myself again. 'When they handed him to me I was so happy and yet so sad at the same time. My mom immediately tried to convince me to call you.'

His eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

'She did,' I confirm. 'In fact, she spent the best part of a year trying to convince me to contact you.' I look at him ruefully. 'I should've listened, but I was so convinced that I was doing the right thing for Jacob, I managed to convince her too.'

He cups my cheek and I kiss the pad of his finger as it traces my lips. 'It shames me that you had to do it alone, but you did it so well Bella. He's... I feel like I have no right to be proud of him, because it's all down to you – but I am. He's amazing. You're amazing. I won't let you down again. You and Jacob are my priority, I don't care about anything else.'

'You know where my regrets lie,' he murmurs, sweeping a tear from my cheek. 'But I'm glad too that we made him.' He pulls me higher and presses his lips to mine, kissing me softly. 'We can share it now. I love you both, you're all I want. Let's stop focussing on what we did and start planning what we can do to make ourselves happy. It's just you, me and Jacob... nothing else matters.'

A small flicker from earlier comes back to me.

I sigh. It needs to be said. 'I told Carlisle that I don't want him too near us.'

'I'm not going to fight you on that,' he says nodding. His eyes glitter darkly. 'What else did he say to you tonight?'

I grimace. 'I'm sorry for letting him get to me. I knew he'd pull a stunt and yet I still played into his hands.'

He sits up leaning against the headboard and pulls me up into the crook of his arm. My fingers sift through the soft sprinkle of hair on his chest while I talk.

'He was mostly claiming that you were using me. I didn't give him a chance to say anything more, I was too mad.' I feel him stiffen. 'I'm sorry. He played on my fears. The only thing I feared more than that was that you might take him away from me.' I press my lips to his chest. 'I'm sorry for even considering that you had told him anything about my private life.'

He squeezes my shoulder, shaking his head. 'I doubted you tonight too. I wasn't jealous because I don't trust you... I just never felt you were really on board with this... I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Deep down I've felt like I don't deserve another chance with you.I kept waiting for you to give the trust I don't deserve to someone else.'

'I never intentionally kept it from you that Riley was at the bar,' I explain. 'I just didn't really think about it again.'

'Maybe I wouldn't have over reacted if I hadn't just learned that he was leaving to work for James.' He huffs out a sharp sigh when I look at him inquisitively. 'It's an office politics thing. But that's immaterial. I shouldn't have taken it out on you... and I should've trusted you.'

He tilts my face up to meet his and kisses me deeply. He pulls back and focuses on my eyes. 'I should've always trusted you. I never loved Irina. I just never knew it till I met you and felt real love for the first time. I guess I just feared that – since I was your first – the same thing might happen for you.' He slides his thumb across my cheekbone as his eyes dip to my mouth. 'Don't frown,' he says. 'I know now that this is the real thing for both of us, I just wish I'd believed in it before.' His lips are warm and welcome as they cover mine.

Sliding over him I deepen the kiss, crushing my breasts to his chest. His hands slide down my back before gripping my hips. He rolls us over and settles over me. I cup the heavy weight of his balls in my hand, swirling my thumb over his smooth flesh as he rolls on a condom.

This time his sigh of pleasure is strong and sure as he sinks into me. The warm weight of his body over mine, the feel of him moving inside me, the sound of his loving words in my ear, fill me with love and hope

Passion rises again and his mouth is hot and needy as he plunders my mouth, swallowing my moans and replacing them with his own as our bodies become completely attuned. When I come it is the first orgasm I've ever had that isn't accompanied by a tiny negative emotion. There is no guilt, no uncertainty, no regret... no loneliness. This time it is all about love, contentment and pleasure.

Later – completely sated – I fall asleep enveloped in his tight embrace. When I wake the sense of peace I feel is almost alien to me but I allow myself to enjoy it just the same. It is still dark and I snuggle closer while a small snore escapes him as his arms tighten around me.

Energy is still buzzing through me as I dwell on everything I've finally acknowledged tonight. I know we have more things to discuss about our lives apart but for now I'm happy that worst of it is over.

I always thought I was empty inside, but I can see now that I wasn't. I was full. Full of cold emotions, guilt, regret, loneliness, sadness... the list seems endless now that I can recognise them all. No, I was never empty, if anything I was too full. Too full of the wrong emotions to let myself believe in the right ones. Now I feel free of that weight I've been carrying for so long. I don't feel empty, I simply feel lighter.

I feel like we've walked a very long road just to get here, but finally the door is open to us.

Thank you for reading