Taste of the Forbidden II

Rating: M

Genre: Romance

Word Count: 10,543

Pairing: Bella and Edward

Summary: A lot of people think trains are dangerous places to be, but sometimes they're just the place to find the very thing you never knew you were looking for.

Disclaimer: All recognisable characters belong to the wonderful SM. I just like to make them naughty!

-x-

Train of Fortune

-June 2006-

-BPOV-

As I tied up the laces of my running shoes, I had to talk myself out of saying something that I would wind up regretting. I had to get out of here before the fight Mike and I were having escalated into something more.

"I have to go back, Bella; you know how important this account is."

"Yeah, I do, and as such, I know there are plenty of capable people in the company to deal with it."

"This is my account, Bella; the client wants to talk to me, not someone else… me!"

"I know how he feels," I grumbled.

"What?"

"Nothing… just go."

"No, tell me what you said."

"I said, I know how he feels… This is my marriage, and I want to talk to you, not someone else… you! But, I'm not important enough, am I? No… I'm just the wife, the one who cleans your house, cleans your clothes, and cooks your food… I'm not the one paying you for your time, though, am I? Is that what it would take for you to prioritise me for once, Mike… is it?"

"Don't be so melodramatic, Bella; for shit's sake… If this is how you're going to be, then I may as well go home."

"Yeah, you may as well," I said as I stood up and glared at the prick. "Don't let the door slam you on the ass on the way out." Without another word, I walked to the front door of our unit, grabbed the key off the small rack on the wall, and walked out. We'd come to this resort as a way to reconnect. Mike's business was taking off, and we'd spent hardly any time together over the last seven or eight months.

I was so sick and tired of coming second, third, fourth, and tenth in Mike's life. When we first got married, I understood that he had to put the hours into his work. He and Tyler had only been partners for less than a year, and building a strong reputation in the architecture world took time. There had been times where my work commitments clashed with dinners and meetings where he wanted me by his side to help schmooze, and because I didn't actually like my job, I found it easy to give it up and try to help my husband in any way I could. Over the years of being a housewife, I approached him about starting a family, but once again, that didn't fit his schedule; his response was the same every time… Our lives are just too busy right now, maybe in a couple of years...

As my feet pounded over the hard sand, my mind went back and forth, picking out times where I felt undervalued and insignificant in my husband's life… there was a lot to choose from.

"Bella!"

The sound of my name being yelled out pulled me from my depressing thoughts. I stopped and looked around the beach. I smiled when I saw Benjamin running towards me.

"Hey, little man…" I said as crouched down to his level. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm on holdays."

"On holidays, are you? Are Mummy and Daddy here with you?"

"Only Daddy. Mummy's at work again."

That sounds familiar. "Well, that's a shame, but at least you can still have fun with Daddy." I smiled as he nodded his head with wide eyes. I glanced up and looked in the direction of where Ben had come from and quickly found "Daddy." Every time I looked at him, he had the same effect on me. My heart would skip a beat before racing away, and my body would flush bright red; I was happy that he wouldn't see it considering I was already flushed from running. I couldn't stop the smile that spread on my face, though.

"Hey, stranger," he said from where he sat on towels. "Fancy meeting you here."

A little snort of amusement snuck out as I looked back to the little boy in front of me. "Let's go say hello to your Daddy, shall we?"

"Okay… Wanna see my shews, Bella?"

"Sure." I noticed his pronunciation of the letter 'L' was getting better; at least he was saying my name properly now. My eyes were locked on my target as we made our way closer to him. The first time I met these two wonderful boys flashed into my mind.

-March 8th, 2006-

As I boarded the train, I did a quick scan… it was full. I looked down to the heavy box in my hand and thought about the next twenty minutes I was going to have to hold it. I leaned against a pole and couldn't help but scowl at the reason I was holding said heavy box… Mike!

My stupid assed husband was meant to meet a client in just over half an hour but had left all the relevant files, plans, and God knows what else at home after working on them all last night. He didn't have time to come home to get them himself, so the schmuck called me, seeing as I apparently "wasn't doing anything important" now that I wasn't working. I could really wring his scrawny bloody neck!

"Excuse me, miss." I heard from my right. I looked down and was gobsmacked. The guy was freaking gorgeous. "That looks heavy. Take a seat."

I was tongue tied at first, but when I realised that he was standing up, I came to my senses… "Oh no… You don't have to do that."

"Of course I domy mother would skin me alive if she found out I didn't." I swallowed as I gave him a smile. I wanted to give a good look over but I couldn't look away from his eyes… They were so green. "As long as you don't mind sitting beside my son."

Son… I glanced back down and locked eyes with a little boy about four years of age. Same messy brown hair, same green eyes, but of a different shape. "Of course not, thank you. I didn't know gentlemen still existed," I said as I took the seat he just gave me.

"We're a dying breed, all right, but a few of us are still around."

"I'm Bella." I thought his manners deserved at least that much.

"Pleasure to meet you, Bella. I'm Edward Cullen, and the little rascal beside you is Benjamin."

"Nice to meet you, Edward Cullen," I said, holding out my hand. I only barely stifled a moan at the feel of my hand in his. It was large… and warm… and soft; my hand felt all tingly like when your foot goes numb. I looked up to see his attention was on our hands too. He didn't let go as he looked back into my eyes and held my gaze. God, you're stunning!

The feel of his thumb moving against the back of my hand broke the moment, and I gently slid my hand out of his. I took a deep breath as I turned to look at the little boy beside me. "Hi, Benjamin, I'm Bella Newton." I watched as his small green eyes went from me to his father before answering.

"Hi Bewwa, are you going to schoow?" he asked in what I thought was a rather clear way for his age.

"Um, no. I have to take these to my silly husband; he forgot his things this morning, so I'm taking them to him." I couldn't help the irritation from leaking into my words.

"We're going to Daddy's work," he said. "I go wif him every Wensday."

"Do you have fun?"

"Yup, he lets me draw on his big table."

When I looked back to the demigod beside me, I watched as his eyes took in what was in the box on my lap before meeting my eyes once again.

-June 2006-

"We're going to have to stop meeting like this, Bella. People are going to start to talk." I couldn't help but return his smile, but deep inside I knew I wouldn't mind giving the "people' something to talk about!

"Yeah, well… personally I think you're following me! How else do you explain popping up at random places I just happen to be at?"

"Just lucky I guess," came his reply.

Ben's voice once again saved me from looking like a love-struck teenager making googly eyes over a married man. "Look Bella, dis is my favourite one. It's pretty, hey?"

"It sure is, buddy."

"I got lots of dem."

"Hey, Ben, how would you like to get an ice-cream?"

"Yeah, Daddy!" he yelled, jumping up. "I can get it by mysewf, Bella. I'm a big boy now, hey, Daddy!"

"Yes, you're a big boy now. Just be quick." I loved seeing the love between this wonderful man and his son. Edward handed over some money, and we watched the little boy as he ran over the sand to the ice-cream stand a few yards away.

"You're here on your own," I stated. I watched as his eyes and lips tightened before he turned his face to me.

"Hmm… but that's nothing different. Are you here alone too?"

"More than I was before I started my run this morning." At the confused look he gave me, I explained. "Mike was here, but we had a fight last night and this morning after he got a call and decided that he was the only one in the company with the ability to talk to a client. He'll be gone by the time I get back to the unit, most likely."

He nodded his head before looking back to his son. "I hate how he treats you, Bella."

"So do I." He turned back to me with a raised brow. I gave a shrug before finishing off my statement. "I'm beginning to think…"

"What?"

"That I need more; deserve more." He was about to say something to me when Ben ran up to us.

"Daddy, look… I got chocwate chip!"

"I can see that, buddy. Looks good too," he said, smiling. After a beat, he turned back to me. "Hey, seeing as we're both here on our own, how about we meet up for dinner?"

It didn't take long to decide. "I'd love to. When and where?"

"How about you meet us at our unit at say, six? It's not always easy to keep to a timetable with an excitable four-year-old."

"Okay, sounds like a plan. Did you have anywhere in mind, or do you just want to go to the resort's restaurant?"

"Can we go to that pwace with the noodaws again, Daddy?" Ben asked, jumping around.

"Settle down, Ben, or you'll drop your ice-cream. We'll have to ask Bella…"

"I love noodles…" I said. I wasn't sure who had the brightest smile–little Ben or his gorgeous daddy.

=x=

It had taken me nearly an hour to decide on what to wear. Do I go casual in a pretty top and jeans, or do I dress it up in a nice dress and heels; I decided on the latter. Trying to please my husband, I'd only brought "colorful" dresses on holidays with us, so here I stood in a royal blue, free-flowing, dressy sundress. I loved this dress; it made my boobs look amazing. I stood outside room number 69 and scoffed in amusement… Oh, the thoughts going through my head right now… I knocked and listened to the squeal of the little boy on the other side of the door. Then I heard it… his voice. So smooth and seductive, even when laughing. "Settle down, you little dweeb…" I heard him say. "You'll chase her away before we can get her to eat."

I bit my lip in an effort to stop the smile that wanted to break my face in half. As though I'd back out now, silly man… Then, there he was… in soft, stonewashed denim jeans that looked well worn in and a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his forearms… God, he's beautiful.

"Hi, Bella."

"Hi…"

"Hi, Bella!" Ben interrupted as he poked his head around his father's leg… "You're gonna eat wif us, hey!"

"Yes I am, Ben." I giggled.

"Okay, come on in. We just need a few more minutes. Would you like something to drink while you wait?" A quick perusal of his unit showed it was exactly the same as mine.

"Nah, I'm all good." I could see he want to ask me something. "What?"

"You're here… I gather…" he said in reference to my now absent husband.

"Yup."

"Sorry."

"Don't be, I'm not." And I wasn't. While getting ready, I tried to think of all the times in the last few years that I'd been truly happy or at least felt at peace, and apart from the few times I'd gone out alone with friends, the only times I could think of were the times I'd run into Edward and his son.

While Ben ran off into one of the bedrooms, we stood in silence for a few seconds. Edward took a step forward and looked down to his hands. When he looked back up at me, his eyes were… different. They were intense as they searched my face, my eyes… When he found nothing but honesty, he spoke… "Well then, I lied… I can't say I am sorry he's gone either." His hand came up to my face as he glanced to my mouth. "For quite some time now, I've been unable to understand how that husband of yours can treat you the way he has… is. If you were mine…"

Oh…

"Daddy, I'm aw wedy now and weely hungwy."

"Okay, buddy." His hand left my face as he started to move away, but before I could stop myself, I reached out and linked a finger around his. He glanced down to our joined hands and then back to me; the hair at the back of my neck practically stood on end with his look. He turned to face his son but didn't let go of my hand. Instead, he drew it more into his and brought them both up behind his lower back. "Hey, Ben, how about you go and grab a jacket just in case you get cold?"

"Okay…" he huffed. Even with my stomach doing somersaults, I couldn't stop finding his little temper tantrum funny. But my mirth finished abruptly when Edward turned back around to me. Everything about him was serious…

"Do you want this?" he asked quietly.

"Do you?" He glanced quickly over his shoulder before pulling me closer to his body.

"For longer than you realise, Bella. But please, think about this while we eat."

I raised my hand up to his chest and looked him squarely in his eyes. "That's all I've done for the last three months, Edward."

We both heard Ben coming back at the same time, so we moved apart… My heart thumped wildly in my chest, and there wasn't an inch of my skin that wasn't tingling in anticipation.

"Let's go eat, shall we?" Edward said in a voice that sounded almost completely normal, but I could hear the slight strain… But I'd do what he asked. I'd think over what had happened and what could happen over dinner and make sure it's what I wanted…

-March 14th, 2006-

I was sitting at the kitchen bench eating yet another dinner alone on a Tuesday night, and again I found myself thinking about the gorgeous man I'd met on the train and his son. It had been a week, and I'd often wondered as to the reason he'd given me his last name when he introduced himself. It was, after all, an odd thing to do. I'm still wondering if it was the same reason I gave my last name to Benjamin… I wanted him to know… I was nearly finished eating when the house phone started ringing.

"Hello?" I answered.

"Hey there, chicky babe…" I smiled at hearing the voice of my friend, Alice. "Whatcha doin'?"

"What do you think I'm doing…? I'm eating dinner."

"Alone?"

"Is there any other way?" I said, trying to make light of my life.

With a deep sigh heard on the other end of the line, I waited for the lecture… "Why do you stay, Bella? And don't tell me it's because you love him; I may have believed that at one point, but not anymore." She was right…

"I'm thirty years old, Alice; I don't want to have to start again at my age."

"Oh Hogwallop! I can guarantee it'll be easier to do now than when you're forty! How much longer can you sit at home alone before you want more?" Not one more minute… I thought to myself.

"It won't always be like this, Alice. Mike and Tyler are doing so well right nowthey're really busy."

"Too busy to come home at night? If that's the case, maybe you should go and visit Lauren and the kids while your husbands are busy at work!"

Personally, I couldn't think of anything worse than visiting Lauren… She was the atypical Stepford wife. She was so falsely, sickly sweet, I was afraid I'd become diabetic if I spent any more than five minutes around her; she set my teeth on edge. "I'll be all right, thanks anyway. So what did you call for?"

"Well, Mrs Segue-queen, I called to see if you wanted to go shopping tomorrow. Please say yes. I need a shopping fix… desperately!" I couldn't help but giggle.

"Oh, this sounds like an all-day event."

"They're the best kind, my dear. Come on, come shopping with me… Pleeeeease!" I rolled my eyes at the whiney plea at the end.

"Okay, okay… when and where?"

"Well, I was thinking that, seeing as I have to take Jasper to work tomorrow, how about you meet me in the city early, and we can get a head start. How does 9 am sound to you?"

"Sounds good, Alice. Where do you want to meet?"

"I'm gathering you'll be taking the train, so how about I meet you outside the main entrance?"

"Okay, 9 am outside the station."

"Excellent! See you then, chicky-babe. Oh, and don't think I've forgotten about what we were talking about before; we'll pick it up tomorrow. Sleep well; you'll need all your energy!"

Then she was gone… "Bye, Alice," I said to no one.

The next morning, I walked onto the train and turned to my right… I smiled when little Benjamin's eyes lit up in recognition and started to wave frantically. Noticing his son's action, Edward's head popped up, and I felt like a deer in headlights… green headlights.

"Bewwa!" Ben yelled out. "Sit wif us, Bewwa."

"Hey, Ben. Going to work with Daddy again, are you?"

"Yup, and Daddy's gonna show me how to draw wif da woola." Woola? At my confused look, Edward finally spoke.

"He means ruler. How are you today, Bella?" Oh God, he's more stunning than I remember…

"I'm good, off to an all-day shop with a friend, so I may not be too good by the end of the day, though." At Edward's horrified expression, I laughed, but then I thought about what Ben had said. "Draw with a ruler?" Don't tell me he's a…

"I'm an Architect." Oh, fan-friggin-tastic. I had to wonder if I was unknowingly emitting an architect pheromone.

"Wow… another one."

"Another one?"

"My husband is one as well." As we chatted, I started to wonder where Edward worked. It must have been a little tin-pot place as he didn't seem as frazzled as Mike usually was; he even had a son… a son he took to work with him.

"So, where do you work?" I asked.

"Ah, it's a family business. Cullen Constructions." Okay… not so little and not so tin-pot. Even I knew that name.

"Cullsen… You're last name is Cullen."

"You remember," he said, smiling. "Yeah, my father started the company up with my mother straight out of college. Her maiden name is Masen."

-June 2006-

"I wove noodaws, Bella," Ben said very seriously from the other side of the small round table.

"I can tell," I said with a giggle. "Are you going to be able to eat them all?"

"Ah-huh, I got howwah legs."

Edward started laughing… "Hollow legs, buddy… You have hollow legs."

"Dat's what I said, Daddy, howwah!"

"You've been told." I laughed. "Clean your ears out, Daddy!"

With that, Ben started giggling… "You got dirty ears, Daddy, you need to keen dem."

"Do I just…" he said before tickling his belly. The pure laughter coming from around the table warmed my heart as I watched this beautiful man with his beautiful son; what I wouldn't give to have this for myself. But I knew that wasn't in the cards for me. I may have had my head in the sand up till now, but I knew that Mike would never start a family with me, and to tell the truth, I no longer wanted one with him; I didn't want anything with him anymore. I wanted a man who adored me, a man who wanted to share his life with me, to make me a priority in his life, and that would never be Mike… I wanted a man who looked at me with fire in his eyes… like Edward had done on more than one occasion.

The feel of something touching my knee pulled me out of my thoughts. "You okay?" Edward asked with concerned eyes. All I could do was nod my head. How on earth could I even say half of what I'd just been thinking?

"Um, I'll be back in a tic, I just need to visit the ladies' room." As I went to walk past him, Edward grabbed my wrist. "I'm fine…" I said. I could tell he wasn't buying it, but he let me go. As I stood looking at myself in the mirror of the ladies' toilets, I thought about the third time I saw Edward. It was probably the first time I really started to fantasize about him as someone more than a gorgeous stranger I just kept running into.

-April 6th, 2006-

"Come on, Bella, we're going to be late," Mike yelled from downstairs.

I screwed up my face and stuck my tongue out as I popped my lipstick into my clutch purse. We were currently on our way to an awards ceremony where Mike and Tyler were up for some sort of award. I stopped listening after his voice droned on and on about how fantastic he was. I did not want to go tonight, but being the good wife that I am, I donned my little black dress and five-inch platform heels and slowly made my way downstairs.

I don't know what I expected, but Mike's reaction wasn't it. "Is that what you're wearing?"

"What's wrong with this?" I said, looking down at myself. "You loved it when I bought it."

"It's just a bit… plain. I would have rathered you put on something with a bit of color, but it's too late now–that'll have to do."

"Gee, thanks. I don't think I've ever had a more flattering compliment."

"Wear something with a bit more color, and you might get one."

The whole way over to the function room, Mike went on and on about subjects that I could talk about with the "high rollers" of the architect world. I'd tried to switch off when a name caught my attention. Cullen Constructions… apparently, they were not at the top of Mike's favourite people and would be attending the function as well.

"I couldn't believe it when they won the account,"he rambled on. "I saw the design they put forward, and it was awful. That place has really gone downhill since the son has taken over most of the designing. I honestly don't see what people go on about; he's not that good."

I had to bite my tongue before I told him just how good I thought the son was… "Well, he can't be that bad if he and his company are up for awards, Mike. Plus, if they've won accounts over you, then people must like what is put forward."

"Whose side are on?" Mike yelled. "I'm trying to build a business here, and you're… what… saying I'm no good?"

"That's not what I said at all. Stop twisting my words. I'm just saying that they can't be that bad if they're winning contracts and getting awards. Gees…" I turned away and looked out my window, trying to push back the angry tears that threatened to spill. By the time we arrived, I was glad to get out of the stifling atmosphere of the car. If I was under any delusions that I was in the "poo-tin" with my husband before we got here, I wasn't for long. He didn't say a word to me as he handed the valet the keys and walked straight past me and into the hotel lobby… "Prick…" I whispered under my breath.

Ten minutes later, I was sitting alone at the bar hoping that I could last a few more hours before finally losing it. From my perch, I watched Mike make a total dick of himself in front of those he regarded as his "peers." The people he laughed with scowled and shook their heads at him once he'd moved away from them. I knew how they felt; only they could get away from him once they got home.

"You know… If I didn't know better, I'd think you were stalking me." I smiled as the deep, silky voice came from my left.

"Oh, you'd know it if I was."

He let out a soft laugh, his eyes twinkling in amusement. "So, your husband… he's up for an award?"

"Mmm, apparently; I have no idea what for, though." I said as Mike's obnoxious laugh rose above the hum of voices in the room. "Just wait till he gets a few drinks in him, then he really gets annoying."

"That's your husband?" Edward asked, pointing to Mike. I could tell he was trying to reign in his surprise.

"Yeah, but don't hold that against me. Apparently people are stupid when they're young and make rash decisions, like listening to their mothers and wait for marriage before living with the guy. Some shit about milk and a cow or something…"

When he didn't comment, I looked to him and found him barely holding in his laughter. "Wow… You should work for Hallmark; you'd be a big hit!"

"Damn right I would," I said with a snort. We sat there talking for the next forty-five minutes until we were all asked to take to our seats. I was happy to see that he was sitting at the same table as me, even more so that he'd be right beside me; at least I'd have someone decent to talk to.

What started off a fairly decent night quickly descended into darkness. Being in a bad mood with me, Mike drank more than he could hold, and when he lost the award he was up for to Edward, the belligerent, cutting remarks were flying left and right. Edward took it all with maturity and class, but when Mike started in on me, that was when things got ugly.

"THAT'S ENOUGH!" Edward yelled with a smash of his fist to the table. Cutlery and glasses rattled with the shock.

"It's all right…" I whispered with my hand on Edwards forearm.

"NO, it's NOT all right, Bella." He turned his attention to my husband then. "I've had enough of your childish temper tantrums tonight, Newton.Say what you will about me, but are you really that insecure that you have to start demeaning you wife? Does it make you feel like a big man to try and humiliate her in front of all these people?"

"Stay the fuck out of my life, Cullen. She's MY wife, and I'll say whatever I want…" he hissed back. I shrunk away from the man on my right as he wasn't the one I'd known for the last ten years, been married to for the last six! This man, right now, was a stranger.

"No… you won't. I've had enough… I'm going home." I stood up, grabbed my things from the table, and then spoke to the people who were staring back at me with pity. "It's nice to have met you all. I hope the rest of you evening turns out a lot nicer."

It only took a minute to reach the lobby, but once there, I took a minute to pull myself together. I jumped when I felt someone grab my shoulder. Spinning around, I found myself held in Edward's gaze. Suddenly, I realised that he was exactly who I needed right now. Without thinking, I stepped forward and wrapped my arms around his body, burying my face into his jacket. It was only a moment's hesitation before I felt Edward returning my embrace. When the shock of what I'd just done wore off, all I could think was… God, he smells good…

"I'm so sorry he said all that shit about you. You didn't deserve that,"he whispered above me.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, Edward; I'm the one who's sorry for marrying the prick in the first place." I sniffed as I pulled away, instantly missing his warmth and delicious scent.

"Are you going to be okay?"

"Yeah, I'll just drive home; dickwad can find his own way, for all I care. He's put me down all night; this was just the straw that broke the camel's back…"

"Do you have your car here?"

"Um, yeah… Ungh… Mike's got the valet ticket."

"Come with me." He held out his hand, which I took, and pulled me to the valet desk. After explaining the situation to the valet, I found myself driving around the streets of Seattle with a passenger. A passenger who was gifted in the art of distraction, apparently, because by the time we'd arrived at his building, the tears of hurt had turned into tears of laughter. "You want to come up for a drink, unwind before heading off home?"

Yes, no… should I, shouldn't I?

"Sure, I'd love to."

-June 2006-

I took a deep breath and opened the restroom door. What I didn't expect was to see Edward standing opposite, waiting for me. "Where's Ben?" I asked quickly when I saw he wasn't there too. At his smile, I relaxed somewhat.

"With one of the servers. He's fine… What's wrong?" I knew he'd pick up on my mood.

"Just… a moment of clarity, and those moments can be… intense sometimes."

Edward moved forward, holding his hand out to me; I gladly took it. "I understand if you've… thought about changing…"

"I haven't." I interrupted. "I know what I want now. I've held myself back for too long, but I want more, I need more, and I have to start to live again before I get too old to do so." His relieved smile made my heart speed up.

"I really want to kiss you right now." I wasn't about to stop him, but obviously he wasn't going to do it.

"Well, let's finish dinner, shall we?" I said, smiling. He pulled me into a warm, welcome embrace; his hands moving up and down my back. His scent and presence was doing amazing things to my body… things I haven't felt for a long, long time. He didn't let me go as he pulled back, instead his hand came up to my face and he gently wiped his thumb over my lips; I didn't want him to be in any doubt of my intentions so I opened my mouth and drew it in with my tongue.

"Fuuuuck!" he groaned out in a somewhat strangled whisper. His deep, rumbling chuckle turned almost predatory… "Let the games begin, little minx!"

It took another hour before we finished our meals, and Edward took every opportunity to tease me. From sly innuendos and double entendres to steamy looks and under the table touches that only got naughty enough to wind me up… I was about ready to explode if we didn't get back to the unit soon…

"Do you like my dwarwing, Bella?" Ben asked me from the back seat on the way back to the resort. I turned to face him and smiled.

"I do very much, sweety. You're a very good drawer, Ben…" then I thought I'd stir things up "… maybe you should start doing some paintings."

"Wif paint?"

"Ah, I don't think…"

"Well, you can't do paintings without paint, little man," I said, interrupting his father.

"Daddy, can I have some paint to do paintings?" Ben asked. I could feel Edward's eyes boring into the side of my head, but I kept my eyes on Ben. "Can I, Daddy, pwease?"

When he didn't answer, I glanced at him from the corner of my eye. "Yeah, Daddy, please…" The glare he sent my way told me I was in trouble, very good trouble.

"I'll make you a deal, buddy. I'll buy you paint as long as it's face paint. Hey, Bella would love to have her face painted, don't you think?"

Oh damn… The smirk on his face as he stared out the windshield told me he thought he'd won… Wrong!

"Of course I would, and I know that Daddy would too, especially flowers; he loves flowers."

"Oh yeah, fwowers… day'd look pwetty on you, Daddy, hey… and butterfwy's are pwetty too, hey Daddy?"

"I think that would look amazing, Ben. You should definitely do that," I said, smiling. With that, Ben let out a big yawn and rested his head against the side of his car seat; he wouldn't last long now.

The restaurant was fairly close to the resort, but it was still far enough away that by the time we got back, Ben was out for the count; now I understood Edward's reasoning for taking him to the toilet before we left. With a gentleness that belied his fit, muscular body, I watched Edward lift his son as one would lift the most precious of gifts. It was clichéd, but seeing a man dote and adore his child the way that Edward did his was a beautiful thing to witness. Once again, I felt sad at the realisation that I'd never have that for myself. But now, I was willing to borrow it from time to time…

As we reached Edward's unit, he motioned me to reach into the back pocket of his jeans. I didn't miss the smirk… Bad Edward… I wasn't about to let the opportunity go unrealised, so I slowly reached in while keeping our eyes locked and had a feel around… for a little bit…

"I didn't realise my pockets were that big," he whispered, grinning.

"Oh, they aren't. I'm just feeling up your backside," I whispered back. I couldn't believe how easy it was to muck around with Edward like this. Never in our whole relationship have Mike and I played in this way; it was always so serious.

"Bad girl," he mouthed.

"Who, me? Oh look, here they are!" I whispered before I turned and opened the door. Edward shook his head before motioning me to enter first and then walked over to the bedroom Ben had gone into before. While he was gone, I walked over to the large glass sliding door that led out to a private rear deck and thought about why I wasn't feeling guilty or nervous. I was feeling many things, but those were two were completely absent.

I felt his presence a moment before I saw his reflection in the glass door. Slowly he made his way up to me, standing close behind. Our eyes were locked, and it felt as if things were being said, just not out loud. Edward tilted his head to the left before his eyes scanned down my body. As soon as his fingers touched my hips, I felt myself relax.

He pulled my hair over my right shoulder and bent down, running the tip of his nose up my neck. "You're so beautiful, Bella. So, so beautiful…" he whispered at my ear, and my skin prickled as he pressed his lips to the tender skin just behind. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," I whispered.

"I don't want you to regret this. I don't want to lose you from my life."

"I won't regret this, Edward," I said with conviction. My heart was racing, and my breathing had increased, but I knew with everything in me that I wouldn't regret it, no matter what happened afterwards. He turned me around by my shoulders and cupped my face in his large, strong hands.

Edward's beautiful green eyes roamed my face, like he was trying to read the truth in my eyes. He took everything in, my lips the last stop; I watched as he licked his own. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this, dreamed of what it would be like…" His breath and aftershave was a heady aroma; it was all man… As he came closer, my head tilted back and my eyes closed. With a touch no more than that of a feather, his first kiss had my lips tingling. Gently, he pressed against me before I felt the tip of his tongue move across my lips, tasting. Oh God…

I hear a whimper…

I think it was me…

It seems like that was all that Edward needed to step things up a notch. He moved even closer, one hand leaving my face to slip down to the small of my back. He pulled me tight against him and under my own hands, I could feel the hard and defined muscle of his chest; I couldn't wait to explore it unhindered by clothing. I could also feel how hard he was somewhere else. I could be wrong, seeing as I haven't had a really good feel, but he felt huge against my stomach! My hands quickly made their way into his tousled reddish brown hair; the feelings bubbling up inside me were insisting I help hurry this thing along… I gripped his hair hard and opened my mouth, welcoming his probing tongue. It was long and amazingly flexible as he slid and wrapped it erotically around my own. I'd heard women talk about men who made love with their mouths, but I'd never experienced it before; now I knew… "I need you…" I moaned against his lips. "Please…"

In a quick, almost desperate move, Edward bent down and grabbed my legs, hoisting me up to his hips. "Hold on tight, baby." I did what he asked and wrapped them around him, locking my ankles in place. "How quiet can you be?"

"I don't… I'm not one to…" I mumbled, slightly embarrassed. The kisses stopped against my neck before he pulled my lobe sensually into his mouth.

"Hmm, I think I'm going to have to change that… I want to hear you, Bella," he said, licking around the shell of my ear. "I want to hear your pleasure when I push my tongue into your hot, wet pussy. I want your body to tremble when I suck your hard, throbbing clit into my mouth, and I want to hear your pleasure when I suck your rock-hard nipples into my mouth. But most of all, Bella; I want to hear you call out my name when my cock hits just the right spot deep inside your body." The whole time he spoke, his tongue and lips roamed my skin.

"Oh fuck…" I gasped. I'd never had anyone say things like this to me before; I was amazed by how my body responded. It was like he'd lit a match and set me on fire, because if he could have me practically orgasming by his words alone, I couldn't wait to see what the rest of him could do.

"That too, Bella, I'm going to fuck you hard. I'm going to make you see stars. I'm going to make you cum over and over until you can hardly keep your eyes open."

As I stared into his eyes, I felt his hand move from the back of my head. His fingers traced down my ribs to circle around my left breast. I could feel my nipples harden in anticipation. He smiled as I pushed my chest towards him, needing more… Without taking his eyes from mine, he moved his fingers down between us. I was more than happy with my choice of attire when he slipped his hand under my dress.

"You're dripping, Bella…" he breathed as his fingertips ghosted over the small piece of satin covering my sex. "You're hard and throbbing aren't you, just like me…" His hand left my ass and gripped the back of my head as he claimed my lips once more. He pushed his talented tongue into my mouth as he slipped his fingers into the side of my panties and grabbed a hold of my clit, pulling it gently but firmly. Unexpectedly, I came almost instantly… Never had I cum so fast, and never had I been so turned on.

The intensity of it had me moaning loudly; luckily it was muffled by his lips and tongue. My eyes were squeezed shut, and my legs tightened around him as my body trembled. I felt the mattress at my back and his heavy weight against me as his fingers slipped inside my dripping pussy. His curling, probing digits only extended the pleasure he'd just given me... "Oh God…" I sighed…

"I need to see that again," Edward said, kissing gently against my stunned lips. When I opened my eyes and focused on his beautiful, smirking face, all I could do was smile in return… I found that I'd lost the ability to speak, apparently. He started kissing down my neck, nipping and gently sucking against my skin, then slowly he pulled the left strap of my dress over my shoulder. Inch by agonising inch, he made his way down my heaving chest. My skin pebbled as he exposed me to the cool air. "You have the most stunning tits I've ever seen. So full and round and…"

He didn't finish that statement as he circled my now bare nipple with his tongue. Like a thirsty man in a desert oasis, he sucked me into his hot, wet mouth. He didn't leave the other side unattended, and watching him suck on me as he roughly kneaded my other side over my dress was strangely erotic. My hips came up and rubbed against the rock-hard cock still enclosed in his fuck hot denim jeans. If I'd been more aware, I probably would have been embarrassed by the moans coming out of me, but I wasn't…

"Shhh…" Edward whispered as he rocked his hips against mine. "I'm so fucking hungry; I want to eat you, Bella. Can you be quiet while I enjoy my dessert?" All I could do was nod… I felt his weight leave me before his nimble fingers slipped my panties down my legs. "So juicy…" Oh fuck…

There was no working up to it; he just grabbed my knees, pushed them up and open and dived in. "Holy shit!" I groaned as my head pushed back hard into the mattress. His tongue worked my already sensitive flesh with vigour, alternating between swirling the tip of it in all the right places and lapping up every drop of arousal he made me produce. When he sucked my throbbing clit hard into his mouth and pushed a couple of fingers into my burning hot pussy, my stomach tightened once more. This was something that he never liked doing, and I realised when done by someone who enjoyed it, it was like seeing God... the instant his teeth grabbed onto my clit, I came undone again with an intensity that I'd never felt before. I muffled this scream by shoving my fist into my mouth, the other hand gripping the sheets for all it was worth.

It was the feel of his weight on top of me once more that kicked my brain into working again. "Two…" I panted out. "I've never… had two… before."

"There's more to come, my beautiful Bella." It was then I realised he was completely naked. I wondered how I was able to miss watching that happen.

"Where were you… eight years ago? Why couldn't we… have…?" That's all I said before he took my mouth in another brain-numbing kiss. I felt the tip of his hard cock against me, and my legs instinctively wrapped around his waist; my heels pressed hard against his ass in an effort to get him where I wanted him the most… inside me.

Without any further comment, Edward pushed slowly inside my body. The burn as he did so told me that he was, in fact, huge… "Oh fuck…" he moaned softly. "You feel better than I ever imagined… So soft… so hot and tight…"

With each and every stroke of his granite hard cock, he got faster and harder… Every swivel of his hips rubbed hard against my clit. Tighter and tighter my stomach became, and I couldn't believe he was going to send me over into a third orgasm… I didn't think it was possible and thought other women were exaggerating when they gushed about such things… "Oh God…"

"No!" Edward growled. "Not God… ME, Bella…" He was now ramming his cock hard and deep into me and doing exactly what he said he would, hitting places that have never been hit before and making my eyes roll to the back of my head. I was literally seeing stars!

"Oh… fuck, Edward… I'm gonna cum… I've never… Oh shit…" My body quivered and tingled as it climbed higher and higher… My brain even felt like it was in meltdown.

"Cum, Bella, fucking milk my cock, baby. I can feel your body gripping me, sucking me in deep. CUM on me!"

"FUCK!" I screamed… Instantly his mouth was on mine, swallowing my ecstasy in the same way as it seemed my body was swallowing his glorious dick! I heard him call out my name, deep and sexy, and I felt the pulsing of his cock as it released inside of me. It was too much… the physical as well as the emotional… I couldn't stop the tears that burned my eyes. "Oh, fuck…" I breathed.

His kisses stopped, and he pulled away from me. "Bella?"

"I'm sorry… Oh God…" I cried, not out of regret of what we'd just done but out of regret for not finding him sooner; for settling for a jerk who treated me like shit… "Why?"

"Oh, Bella, I'm sorry… I'm…" he went to move off me, and as lost in myself as I was, I grabbed a hold of him and wouldn't let him move.

"No… No, Edward…" I sniffed. "I just… never before," sniff "has anyone, ever made me feel… what you just did…" sniff "Why did I ever settle for... him?… Why couldn't I have found you years ago? He could have been…" I choked with the thought that ran through my head.

"What, Bella–he could have been what?" he asked as he pushed my sweaty hair behind my ears.

"Been ours… he could have been ours," I whispered. My eyes squeezed shut, and hot tears mingled with the sweat that dripped down my face. When I felt his warm lips against my own, I wrapped my arms around his neck and returned it with everything in me. Over the last few months, over all of the almost serendipitous meetings that we'd had, my feelings and attraction for this wonderful man had grown even more than I'd even realised. But now, having him inside of me, feeling his body worship mine… I knew I'd never be able to let him go. I wanted him so bad... and I wanted his son…

Not long after, we lay wrapped up together in a peaceful embrace. I relished in the feel of his fingers ghosting up and down my spine. His lips never stopped kissing me, whether it be on the top of my head or my forehead or temple. Never had I felt so… safe, so at peace.

"I don't want to ever let you go, Bella," he murmured above me.

"I hate to bring this up here and now, but what about Kate?" Very rarely did he speak of his wife, but what he did say spoke volumes of their relationship. If anything, it was worse than the one I had with Mike.

"I think being here with you tonight has opened my eyes once and for all that things have been over for a long time between her and me. Hell, I haven't had sex in nearly two years."

"What!" I gasped.

"Sad, hey… I want this Bella, I want you! I've never felt such a strong connection to anyone else before, other than my son. Now that I've felt you wrapped so completely around me, I don't think I can ever let you go again." He wrapped his arms tight around me; instantly, my body relaxed.

"I don't think I can go home to him, Edward. I can't walk through that door and act like I want to be anywhere else but with you."

"Then don't." I looked up into his eyes that held nothing but tenderness and an emotion that I wasn't sure I wanted to name… "I have a condo in the city that I sometimes use if I work too late and am too tired to drive home. Stay there until you figure out what you want to do. Kate never goes there."

It would solve a lot of issues for me. I wouldn't have to deal with Mike, and it could be somewhere I could base myself and find a job. Suddenly, a whole new life opened up before me, a life full of things that I'd long given up on having. A loving partner, a job I enjoyed, and maybe even a family of my own. I wanted it desperately as did I want the man who was offering it. I moved quickly over his prone body and rested my knees either side of his slim yet muscular hips. "Are you sure?"

"Extremely."

I smiled as I ran my fingers over the hard muscles of his body. My mouth watered as images of what I wanted to do to him played through my mind. As I squirmed over his hips and licked my lips, I felt him harden. "My turn…" I whispered.

The sun was making itself known when we finally collapsed, sated and exhausted. I knew what I wanted now, but most of all, I knew what I could no longer stand in my life. I had another three days at the resort, and when I got back to my unit, I was going to tell Mike to not come back.

After a long, exhilarating shower, I dressed so that I could leave before Ben woke up and found me still here. "You'll be back soon, right?" Edward asked as we stood at his door.

"Yup, I just want to change, and I have a couple of phone calls to make, but after that, I'll be right here. I'm not changing my mind, Edward. I want this with every fibre of my being."

A lazy, crooked smile pulled across his face before he bent down and kissed me slowly but surely. "Hurry back," he whispered as he opened the door. I giggled as he kissed me again.

"The sooner you let me go, the sooner I can come back."

"I don't want you to leave at all, beautiful." My heart felt as if it was double its normal size. With a wink, I pulled away and walked briskly back towards my unit. As soon as I opened the door, I saw his bags… Shit…

"Bella?" he called out from the bedroom. "Where in hell have you been?" His expression was angry when he finally came out.

"With a friend."

"Did you spend the night?" he asked as he took in my dress. "Who were you with?"

"I just told you, I was with a friend, and yes, I did spend the night. We were out late and were up most of the night talking so I stayed instead of walking back through the units on my own." I didn't technically lie, and before he could ask anything else, I continued… "We need to talk, Mike. I'm going to be staying here for another few days; you, on the other hand, are going home. We came here to reconnect, and you took the first opportunity to leave. I've had enough of being last on your list of priorities, Mike, and I'm not going to ignore the state of our marriage any longer. I need you to give me some space."

"What are you saying? You're leaving me?" he asked, shocked.

"I don't have to, Mike. You left me years ago." He stood there staring at me for what seemed like hours, and I was struck by the realisation that all I felt was relief. I don't know what he saw in my face, but I saw the moment he realised I wasn't backing down.

"I hope you realise that there's no going back once I walk out that door, Bella." Promise?

"I do, Mike, and I don't want to go back. I want and need more in my life than you'll ever be willing or able to give me. This marriage should have ended a long time ago."

With a nod, he walked to his bags, picked them up, and moved to the door. He stopped once it was open, and I thought he was going to try and plead his case once more but he didn't… he just walked out. My body sagged, and the tension I'd felt the moment I realised he was here immediately left my body. It was wonderful, and I couldn't stop the smile from spreading across my face.

I made a quick call to Alice and asked her to go over to my house and get some things for me. She wanted to know what was going on, and I told her a rough outline of what was going through my head. I didn't say anything about Edward because she'd then start to question my motives; that was a conversation for another day. She, of course, was happy with my decision to finally end my farce of a marriage and was only too willing to get as many of my things out of the house as she could before Mike got home. I had a feeling that she was going to wrangle her husband into helping as well. "Alice, my parents' things are in the back of my robe beneath my winter coats. Please make sure you get to them first." With assurances that she was on her way to my house as we spoke, I then gave her the combination to the safe I'd had installed. It held documents and photos that I wanted to keep out of my husband's reach. I learnt quickly that whenever my husband got drunk enough, he enjoyed trying to hurt me by destroying my memories of my parents. I knew the coming months weren't going to be all that easy, and as much as I didn't like thinking along those lines, if things with Edward didn't work out, this was still a move I knew I had to make.

I went into the bedroom after saying goodbye to Alice and changed my clothes. As I was coming back into the living area, my cell phone started to ring; it was a number I didn't know, and I almost didn't answer.

"Hello?"

"Hey, beautiful lady."

I smiled like a kid on Christmas morning hearing his voice. "Edward? How did you get my number?"

"I may have used your phone to call mine while you were in the bathroom last night. You don't mind, do you?"

"No, not at all." I took a deep breath, relishing in the feeling that his voice was having on my senses.

"Are you okay?" he asked, concerned.

"Yeah... I ah, had a visitor when I got back to my room. Mike was here."

There was silence on the other end for a second before he answered. "Are you alright? He didn't hurt you did he?"

"No... but he knows everything is over. I told him that I wanted out, and as we speak, my friend Alice is getting as many of my things from the house as she can get before he gets home. No matter what, Edward, I can't stay somewhere that I'm not wanted or loved... I can't do it anymore."

"Bella?"

"Yeah."

"Come back now. I want you to know in no uncertain terms that with me, you'll be neither."

=x=

The following three days were spent much the same. The days were spent on the beach or at the many shops around the resort and surrounding suburbs, and the nights after Ben went to bed, we talked for hours. We learned a lot about each other, our hopes and dreams that we had for our lives before we met the wrong people and tried to make a life with them. We also spoke of what we wanted next. But we always said goodnight in the same way... in Edward's bed.

After that first night, our lovemaking was more relaxed, more giving to each other. I know we hadn't been together for long, but I knew even without the words, that was what we were doing: making love. The looks and touches we gave each other were easily seen and recognised. All we needed now was to feel safe enough to say the actual words.

I got Edward to drive me to Alice and Jasper's house, as she'd told me in a phone call the day before that she'd brought my car over as well. Three days ago, when she first got to my former home, she and Jasper had been able to get out nearly all of my things before Mike returned. They'd made arrangements to come back the following day to finish up. She was surprised that he had been so accommodating. Jasper, on the other hand, was certain that he was being too nice and thought his actions were more the calm before the storm. I tended to agree with him... I didn't think he was going to let me go this easily.

I introduced Edward to them as a friend who was letting me rent out his apartment while I got back onto my feet, but I could see by my friend's face she knew there was more to it; after all, Edward was a friend that I'd only mentioned once after our first meeting on the train three months before, and for him to suddenly pop up offering such a deal was more than a passing acquaintance would normally offer. She was right, of course... I knew it wouldn't be long before she sat me down for the truth and nothing but the truth...

After loading up the most important things from Alice's, we all drove over to my new address. Walking through the front door, I realised just how little I knew of the man that I knew I was falling head over heels for... The place was... palatial!

"Holy fuck, Edward... how rich are you?" Alice gushed as she walked in behind me.

"Alice..." I hissed. "Sorry," I said to a smiling Edward.

"It's fine. I do all right, Alice."

"I think you do a little better than 'all right,' Mr Cullen..." She was about to say something else when a look from her ever-patient husband shut her up... thank God... "So, how about a tour so we can work out where things go?"

"I can show you, Awice..." Ben offered. "Wanna see my woom?"

"I'd love to see your room, sweety."

As my friends followed the little boy who was also worming his way into my soul down the hall, Edward grabbed my hand.

"Does Alice know everything?"

"Not yet, but I don't think it'll be long before she sits me down and pumps me for the details." I couldn't help but smile at his face. "She'll be fine, Edward. She's been at me for years to do what I'm doing right now; she's happy with my decision."

"I'm glad you've got such good friends, Bella, but you do know that you have me too, don't you?"

"I do... Edward, I don't want you think that I'm only doing this for or because of you; I'm doing this for me too. You were just the kick in the pants I needed to open my eyes. I also want you to know that I need you in my life." He pulled me closer and wrapped his arms around my body as I spoke, and as I looked into his eyes, I saw a vulnerability there that I didn't like to see, so I decided to let him know what I was feeling. I just hoped he was ready to hear it. "I know that it sometimes feels as though we're jumping into things here, but it feels right... you and me. I can feel it deep inside of me, that what we have is real, and I'm going to hang onto that with both hands."

"You have no idea how it feels to hear you say that, Bella. I've been thinking that it was just me acting like some romantic fool starved of affection and running away with the first good thing that crosses my path. But hearing you say those words... For the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm doing what I was put on this earth to do." With a quick glance to the hallway to make sure we were still alone, he continued. "I don't want to scare you, Bella, but you need to know... I'm pretty sure I'm falling in love with you."

I couldn't let that go without a response, and the only response fitting of such words was to wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him within an inch of his life... "What about Ben?" I asked when we came up for air.

"He'll be fine. He already talks about you more than his own mother. Hell, I'm pretty sure he loves you more already too."

I wasn't going to waste another second of my life regretting wasted opportunities. From now on, I was going to grab what I wanted and make no apologies in doing so.

Number one on my list was Edward... after that, who knows, I may just get the world...