Disclaimer: SM owns everything Twilight related. I own nothing but this little story.

A huge thankyou to everyone who has read & rec'd my story! You can also find me on FB - Addictedto Fanfiction or my group - Addicted2... Little Miss Norty's Fic

Thank you everyone for hanging in there with me, and for your kind words of support. The last few weeks have been hectic, and will continue to be for the next month or so. Fingers crossed everything will go back to normal then, so for now updates will come as I can get them to you.

I have so many people to thank for their help, encouragement and friendship over the last few weeks. My team of course Daph, Roni & Mon. Rainy, and my Crazy Cows - Kim, Bree, Caitlin & Bec. I love you all, thank you girls *mwah*

Quick last note, if you got the Fandom 4 Oklahoma compilation, go check out my o/s, Woodcroft Station.

On with the show...


Flopping on the old tattered couch, I release a lungful of air that's been burning in my chest. Edward has just left after thoroughly searching the house and yard to make sure no one is around and nothing is amiss. There's no damage anywhere he can tell; only a few scuff marks where James kicked the front door. I'm thankful he was here on Thursday night and he had the foresight to lock my car away in the garage. Who knows what James would have done if he got his filthy hands on it.

Aches and pains travel my body; the last couple of days have drained fingers run through the fibrous threads on the couch arm, picking at where it's come apart from the stitching. I'm glad to be alone; I need time to process everything that's occurred. My mind has been a whirlwind, spinning round and round, with no real direction, changing course at a moment's notice.

I wanted to keep all this to myself; I didn't want anyone to know what sort of family I grew up in, or the ferals I'm related to. I was terrified at first, not wanting to see the pity in his eyes, or have him think I'm weak for not defending myself. However Edward's reaction surprised me, he understood my situation, and even though he was angry for me, it wasn't directed at me. He was kind and supportive, believing that I have the strength to fight James. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, many years of pain and stress finally easing, somewhat.

The stark contrast between Jake and Edward is blindingly obvious. Not only in looks and personality, but behaviour also. There is absolutely no way I could have ever told Jake half of the things I told Edward. Throughout the years, I've tried to imagine what Jake's reaction would be to my accident. Would he have been angry, upset or maybe nonchalant? For some reason I imagine it would be the latter. Jake is very much the sort of person not to dwell on things, just pick yourself up and keep going.

I've been sitting on the couch for a couple of hours, lost in my own head. Pulling myself away from my all-consuming thoughts, I grab my phone to text Ang. I promised Edward that I wouldn't be alone tonight and a girls' night is just what I need to take my mind off things.

Hey Ang, up for a girls' night?

Hey honey, sounds like a plan. I'll bring drinks and movies, you do food?

Yep, c u 4?


I'm happy she's not busy tonight. I'm in desperate need of some girl time; Angela has an uncanny ability to make me forget all the dramas in my life. Within half an hour of our girls' nights, a drink or two and some really bad junk food, we carry on like a couple of teenagers. Ang loves to imitate the actors in a movie, and more than once has had to pick me up from the floor, where I've been rolling around, clutching at my stomach because of her antics. She's one of the only other people I feel totally comfortable with, and I'm fast becoming that way with Edward too.

Edward told me he has dinner plans, which of course has my mind racing with a dozen scenarios. Who is he with? Is it a woman? I bet she's beautiful. Where are they going? A gorgeous restaurant I assume. Will he smile at her, blue eyes shining and crinkling at the corners? Will she fit snugly under his arm, breathing his scent in deeply while he kisses the top of her head.

My hands start to shake as jealousy rears its ugly head. My hands are sweaty, and my heart is pumping like it's racing a hundred miles an hour. These emotions are totally foreign to me. Even when Jake talked to another girl, I never felt like this. I have no right to feel like this though; I have no claim over Edward. It's a silly crush I have on him, because he's been so nice to me and helping. The only reason he's doing that is because he feels sorry for me.

I need to snap out of this. It's ridiculous. I'm carrying on like a seventeen year old schoolgirl lusting after the school quarterback. It doesn't help my infatuation one bit that he's a very affectionate person. Over the last couple of days he's touched and kissed me. All completely innocent, but it's the way I would expect a partner to act. It's the way I wish Jake would act.

My thoughts drift to Jake. The whole dynamic of our relationship has changed over the last few weeks. I want more. What would have been enough before, isn't now. I want love, affection, walks in the park and snuggles in bed on a Sunday morning. I want more than just a once-a-month boyfriend. I want someone to cook for me, read with me and not treat me like a housemaid. Whenever Jake is home I'm always picking up after him. The guy is a slob.

Thinking of slobs reminds me that I had better do a quick clean up and run to the shops before Angie gets here. Our girls' nights are a chance to catch up and relax. The trip to the store is a quick one; I grab the essentials—chips, chocolate and popcorn. We usually order pizza for dinner while watching the obligatory chick flick. Ang comes across a hard-ass, but she digs a rom-com like the rest of us.

A knock on the front door at nearly four o'clock alerts me to Ang's arrival. Miley makes her presence felt, winding around my legs, yapping as we make our way to the front door. I peer through the peephole, checking that it is Angela. Since the events of the other night, my senses are on high alert. James could turn up at any moment and it's left me feeling very ill at ease. Opening the door, I'm greeted by my smiling best friend, arms laden with movies and alcohol. She shoves them into my arms before reaching down to scoop up an overly excited Miley into her arms. I pout a little seeing how my dog gets smothered in kisses before I even get a hello.

I lead them both into the kitchen, placing the goodies on the counter before being engulfed in a hug from Angie. It's like she has some sort of sixth sense detecting that something isn't right. I'll have to come clean with her, at least about why I'm so jumpy and the attempted break in. I'm emotionally exhausted as it is, I need time to wrap my own head around all of it. It's like a dam has burst, that's been held back for so long. When the comes time to tell Angie and Jake, it'll be much easier, hopefully I won't breakdown.

With drinks and snacks in hand, we make our way back to the couch. I flick through the DVD's Ang has brought with her. Looking at her, I raise an eyebrow.

"Magic Mike, really? Aren't you getting enough at home?" I question, dodging a right hook heading straight for my bicep.

Laughter bursting from her, she replies, "I am, I'm more concerned about your dry spell."

"Ha ha, very funny, bitch. What else is here?" I pull the rest of the movies out, happy with her choices. Popping Mamma Mia into the player, we settle ourselves in with Miley snuggled between us. The familiar sounds of the movie start; we've seen it so many times that we can almost recite every word. We dance and sing as each song comes on, waking Miley up with our shenanigans. Relaxing between each performance, we shovel as much popcorn in as we can eat, drink our wine and burp. Ang grips my leg tightly, her knuckles going white as her favourite part of the movie comes on. Bouncing off the couch at the same time, we yell along with Meryl Streep's character...

"I've done a great job with Sophie, and I won't be muscled out by an...ejaculation"

We're both doubled over in laughter, tears rolling down our faces. I don't know why, but every time that scene comes on, the effect is the same. A knocking on the door interrupts us from our outburst. Ang and I look at each other in question, both knowing that no one else is invited. I'm hoping it's not Jake—I don't want to deal with his sorry ass right now. The likelihood of it being James is slim, he wouldn't show his face here during daylight hours—I tell myself anyway.

Warily, I make my way to the front door. Ang is trailing close behind. Miley is busy doing her tough dog impersonation, barking and growling, baring her little white teeth like a German Shepherd would, except she's less than a foot tall. Scooping her up in her arms, Ang gives me a nod to open the door. I know she expects it to be Jake, so she's sticking close by ready to give him an earful if need be. I look through the peephole again, only to be greeted with the sight of two girls with their hair in pigtails. I unlock the door and pull it open so quickly it scares them.

"Surprise," Katie and Lauren cheer, then concern crosses their faces, uncertain as to my reaction. They're dressed in their pyjamas, with sleeping bags tucked under their arms. I'm perplexed as to why they're here. I know I've never told them where I live—unless they've got the address from my employment files. There are privacy laws against that, though.

"Wh...what...what are you doing here?" I finally stutter out my question. My forehead wrinkles in confusion and embarrassment colours my cheeks. Not only has Edward seen where I live, now Katie and Lauren will too. I'm ashamed to invite them into my small house with thrift store furniture, but I step aside to let them in. I can't send them away when they've made the effort to come here.

Once we're all inside, Lauren explains, "Well, Edward said you might be alone this weekend, and with Jake still away, he thought you might like some company."

I panic slightly, as I haven't told Ang any details about the attempted break in. I was going to tell her tonight, but I will have to shelve those plans for later. I send both girls a discreet shake of the head, hoping they get the message not to say anything. Glimpsing Ang's questioning gaze from the corner of my eye, I know she won't let this go.

"Oh, umm...okay. Well you're more than welcome to stay for our girls' night. Looks like you're already dressed for it." I say, nodding at their attire. "Oh, sorry girls, this is my best friend, Angela. Ang, this is Katie and Lauren from work."

Miley makes us well aware that she's been left out with a few short, yappy barks. Ang lets her on the floor and she instantly does her little dance on her back legs charming Lauren and Katie immediately. Lauren picks her up and starts talking to her in a baby voice, rubbing her ears and hugging her close. Miley loves the attention and will soak up as much as she can.

"Umm...I'm really sorry about the house," I say with a swift glance around the room, "but it is what it is."

Katie immediately grabs me by the forearms, "Bella, we're here to see you, hon, not your house. It's fine, okay? Now let's get this sleepover started." She bounds into the living room, throws the sleeping bag on the floor and asks for directions to the kitchen. I hear the tinkling of ice as it's poured into glasses, packets crinkling and plates being pulled out of cupboards. The girls and I get comfy again when Katie brings the drinks in, and then makes another trip for the nibblies. Lauren has situated herself on the lounge with Miley on her lap, and Ang and I sit on the floor. Conversation flows easily between the four of us as we start the movie again.

The girls are drinking like it's going out of fashion, so I make my way to the kitchen for the next round. I'm just about ready when Ang comes in with a strange look on her face. Leaning in to whisper, she says, "Ah, Bella, you have one fuck-hot man standing at your front door asking for you."

She must see the panic on my face, because she reassures me that it's okay. It's obviously not Jake then, but she would have no idea if it's James. My body freezes in it's fight or flight response. On one hand I want to run; the urge so intense to just get the hell out, but then I'd be leaving my close friends here with a maniac. Ang nudges me in the back, making me walk toward what I am sure is the end of my existence. She's looking at me trying to understand what is wrong with me. I can't tell her—not now. All I can do is protect my friends the best way I can.

I stumble to the front door, my heart pounding in my chest. Sweat is breaking out over my body and I'm shaking like a leaf. I forgo looking through the peephole, realising that whoever's there knows that I'm home. I shoot Ang a fleeting look over my shoulder, and she gives a subtle, but reassuring nod. Opening the door, I'm greeted by a vision sent straight from God. I almost collapse, the relief is so clearly obvious. I throw myself into Edward's arms, causing him to drop the bags in his hands.

"Hey sweet girl, I thought I'd come check on you before I head out." He lifts my face, seeing my chin start to tremble. "Hey, hey, hey, what's wrong, B?" Drawing me into his embrace again, I inhale deeply, taking in that warm, comforting scent that is all Edward. He looks better than ever, a couple of days growth covering his face, dressed in a grey sweater and dark wash jeans.

"I...I thought you were someone else." I look into his eyes, hoping he'll get the gist. Understanding crosses his face, as he leans down and kisses my head.

"It's okay, you'll be okay. I'll never let anything happen to you, B." His words reassure me.

I pull away, suddenly aware of my nipples on high beam through my tank. It's like they know he's there, and my boobs are trying to draw him in. I hear Edward groan lowly, and I gasp realising he's seen them too. I swiftly cover my chest with my arms before I embarrass myself any more.

"I am so rude, sorry Edward. Please come in. You've met my best friend, Angela?" I ask, trying to take away the awkwardness of the last few seconds.

"Yes, I have. Thanks again for staying with Bella. I think she's in need of some girl time," he replies with a wink. Ang has just about turned to mush on the floor. I'm pleased to see it's not only me he has that effect on.

I guide them both to the living room where Katie and Lauren bounce from their seats to greet Edward.

"Hey Edward, what are you doing here?" Lauren asks, eyeing the bags Edward's holding.

"Ah, just thought I'd bring you girls some goodies for tonight." I direct him to the kitchen where he empties the bags with us all watching. "So... I had this sitting in the cupboard at home. My sister bought it last time she was here and asked if she could leave it. I've never used it, but I thought you may get some use out of it tonight."

I look at the appliance, realising it's a Margarita machine.

"Here's the mix for it, and I bought a bag of ice. I wasn't sure if you had any here. In case you don't like Margarita's I bought a bottle of this too," he says, placing a bottle of TGI Friday's Mudslide on the counter. I look at him, really search the emotions on his face, trying to comprehend why he would do this, for me. Well for us, seeing as he asked the girls to come stay with me.

Suddenly I'm aware of his intense blue eyes, boring into my own. I'm broken out of my trance by his stare. A slight blush covers my cheekbones, as I realise I was staring at his pouting, pink lips. A smile graces his face, putting me immediately at ease.

"I also bought some nibbles: Pretzels, Triscuits, a cheese platter and some caramel popcorn." He proudly announces. It's all done up in a little basket with a bow, that I assume he's done this on his own.

"Wow, Edward. That is so awesome. There really wasn't any need, but thank you," I tell him, "It's really appreciated."

"You're more than welcome, Bella." His blinding smile is back and directed at me. "I guess I should be going, my dinner guests won't wait forever. Bella, would you walk me out?"

Goodbyes are made and we make our way to the front door. A somber feeling washes over me again with the realisation that his dinner date is waiting. All my insecurities hit like a wrecking ball and sadness comes bubbling to the surface.

Grasping my hand at the front door, Edward turns me to face him. I'm finding it hard to look him in the eye now.

"B, please don't be mad at me. I was worried you were going to be alone tonight, and after Thursday...well you know. Tonight is something I just can't get out of." Edward's anxiety is written all over his face, his forehead creases and his mouth turns down at the edges.

"Oh Edward, I'm not mad at all. You've totally blown me away by doing this for me. Thank you so much, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it." I use my most convincing voice.

Pulling me into his warm, firm body he starts talking again. "You are more than welcome. Any time. I just wish I could stay with you. I'd better be on my way, though, or else I'm going to be late. Don't forget to lock up okay?" With a kiss to my temple, he walks down the front steps, but stops halfway. "Would it be okay if I text you later?" A simple nod is all I do to acknowledge that I heard him. He turns and continues to the car. With a wave, he pulls out of the drive, and I watch as his tail lights disappear into the distance.

I return inside, making sure to deadbolt and latch the door behind me. Leaning against the door, I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths, needing to get myself together before I face the gossip hounds. A smile slowly graces my face, remembering the sweet kiss to my temple.

It's too late, I open my eyes to see all three standing in the hallway, arms crossed over their chests.

"Well?" Ang questions, tapping her foot and anxiously awaiting my reply.

"Well what?" I ask. I can play their game too. I feel a hand on either wrist and a palm in the middle of my back, as I'm being pushed and pulled toward the living room. I'm unceremoniously dumped on the couch with instructions to "spill".

"There's nothing to spill. I don't know what you're talking about. You heard what Edward said, he was concerned."

"Okay, let's back the truck the fuck up, Bella. Because obviously there's a lot you're not telling me. So, that was Edward, that fuck-hot piece of man meat was the boss who spoke to you like a piece of shit the first couple of weeks you were there?" Trust Angela to skip straight to the bad stuff.

I chew on my bottom lip, wondering how to explain this. The thing is, with Ang once someone's on her shit list it's almost impossible to get off it.

"Umm... yeah, it was." I nod slightly, finding it hard to look her in the eye.

"Soooo...please explain what he was doing here, because it looks like you two are mighty cosy." The cow is trying her best to keep her smirk under control, but is failing miserably. The other two cows are standing behind her snickering, neither coming to my rescue. I'll have to remember that.

I pick at my fingernails, still refusing to look up at her. Katie moves from behind Angela and squats in front of me, hands on my knees. "Bella, just tell Ang. She's not going to be angry. I've only known her a few hours, but I can tell that she'd be more upset if you weren't straight with her." With a pat on my knee, she straightens and sits beside me.

"Angie, I'm sorry I didn't ring you okay. I didn't want to bother you and Ben, and it was so early in the morning, I didn't know what else to do." She's looking at me with a mixture of irritation and worry.

"Someone tried to break in, around three a.m. on Friday morning. I didn't know who else to call; as I said I didn't want to bother you, so I rang Edward. We've sort of become friends at work— he gave me his number and told me that if I ever needed anything, to call him. He picked me up and took me to his place, where he thought it was safer."

"Bellie," she sighs, using my nickname she gave me when we first met, "you should have called me. Nothing will ever come before us or our friendship. Geez, Ben would have been here quick smart too. Did you call the police?"

I shake my head, not wanting to get into details, especially with Katie and Lauren here. "No, he was gone before I had a chance to call anybody else. I just didn't see the point when I couldn't give them any details." Ang pulls me in for a close hug, whispering in my ear that she'll always be there for me. Guilt engulfs me, I know I can rely on her, but I didn't want her caught up in this mess. It's bad enough that Edward's now involved.

"Okay, enough of the heavy. I need to watch me some hot guys, especially after seeing what walked in here tonight." Ang's up on her feet, dragging me with her.

"No. Absolutely not! I put my foot down, Angela. After the last time I watched porn with you I was scarred for life." Lauren and Katie roar with laughter, barely able to gasp a breath between them.

"This sounds good," Lauren finally sputters out. "What happened?"

"More like what nearly happened. I caught this one," I jerk my thumb toward Ange, "trying to dry hump me in her sleep. Never again." I'm standing firm on this one. I'll never sleep in the same bed with her.

This starts the girls off on another fit of giggles and snorts.

"Don't get your panties in a twist, Swan. I meant this one." She's waving Magic Mike in front of my face.

I mumble under my breath that I guess that's okay. It doesn't matter, as I have no say anyway. The girls are as close to the TV as they can get without going blind. My phone chimes with a text, of course they aren't paying attention, so I read it quietly.

Hey gorgeous, everything ok?

Gorgeous? Jake's never ever called me gorgeous, especially not in a text.

Hey, all ok. Girls watching strippers.


Hehe it's ok, it's Magic Mike

Ah, that's ok then. I thought they'd left you, since Angela's there.

No such luck. Torturing me is more like it.

A wide grin spreads across my face. I can't help it, it's an automatic reaction to anything Edward-related. I turn my attention to the movie. The girls are carrying on like they're at a strip club—yelling and cat-calling.

"Calm down girls, they really can't hear you through the TV," I tell them, laughing.

"Shut up, B, just because you have a demigod lusting after you, doesn't mean we all do," Katie says with a snicker.

"What the hell? Jake? You haven't even met him yet." I think she's had too much to drink and doesn't know what she's talking about.

"No, you doofus. Edward." She's looking at me like I've got three heads, as are Lauren and Ang.

I pause the movie, because this is too important to let go. "What on earth do you mean, Edward?

We're just friends. He helped me out yesterday... that's all." I'm shaking my head, confused.

Lauren scoots closer to where I'm sitting and puts her hand on my shoulder, "Bella, you must have seen the way he looks at you. I've noticed, so has Katie and even Aro. You have that man wrapped around your little finger."

"She's right Bellie, even I've seen it, and I only met him tonight. I gotta say, you two look perfect together. How you're not humping that hunka spunk right now, I have no idea." Ang is shaking her head like she's disappointed in me, laughing at the same time.

"No, you're all wrong." I jump off the floor, getting agitated. I can't think like this when I'm with Jake, even though he's been an ass lately. I would never cheat, that's just not me. "Edward doesn't think of me like that. Besides, he knows I'm with Jake."

"I'm getting another drink. Anyone want one?" I ask as I'm almost out of the living area. I need a moment to digest what they've just said. I reach the kitchen, place my phone on the counter and pour a shot of tequila, which I down before pouring a full drink. How can what they say be true? There's no way Edward would have an interest in me, especially knowing what he does now. Surely there would be many other, beautiful women he'd be interested in. Plus, what about tonight? His date? But then he asked if it would be alright if he texted me. Surely he wouldn't do that on a date? I slap my cheeks a couple of times, trying to snap myself out of this. I'm being ridiculous and I'll just cause myself a migraine if I keep overthinking things. I head back to the living room, but I still have one question on my mind.

I pause the movie once I'm back on the couch, and everyone turns to look at me.

"Okay so I just have one question, then we can drop this and go back to the movie. I don't want to hear another word about it then, okay?" Everyone agrees, so I continue, "You girls are always telling me how nice Edward is, how good looking. So why don't either of you hook up with him? I know Aro doesn't have any fraternization policy in place?"

I can see Katie and Lauren exchanging quick looks, then turn to me. "Well," Lauren starts. "We saw Edward out one night, and let's just say, he doesn't play like we do." Katie sends Lauren a sly wink and I wonder what it's about.

"What...so you mean you'd both tried to pick him up?" I question.

"Yeah, well sort of." Katie answers mysteriously.

I feel myself blanch as a sudden thought hits me. It would explain a lot of things: lack of interest in the girls, being so affectionate and comfortable with me in bed. But I'm sure I've asked them that before. Maybe they just said no to put me off.

"So, he just hasn't come out yet?" I ask, certain now that he is gay. Maybe there was more to his divorce that what he told me.

Peals of laughter ring throughout the room, and I can't understand why they're laughing at me.

Ang thankfully speaks, "Girls, you have to bear with our Bellie, she's a bit slow on the uptake sometimes." She turns her attention to me, "Bella, Katie and Lauren are into threesomes, together. Edward's not, so that's why he's not interested. He is definitely not gay, from the way he was looking at your ta-tas."

"Not that we wouldn't, if we had the chance." Lauren giggles at the idea.

"What—you two?" I'm waving my finger between the two of them.

"Who'da thunk it, huh?" Katie says with a grin.

"Yeah, well you totally had me fooled," I mumble, really embarrassed now.

"Hey, B, it's fine, honest. Just keep it under your hat okay?" Lauren asks.

"Oh, definitely, no worries. I'm not one to gossip, you both know that," I tell them reassuringly.

With that revelation out of the way, we turn the movie back on. We've all had a bit to drink by this stage and are quite rowdy, matching the scenes on the TV. A chorus of 'take it off', 'thrust it, baby,' and 'come to mama' resound throughout the room, along with an abundance of profanities. I can't help but join in their crudeness. Katie suddenly stumbles her way through the room, trying to avoid empty food dishes and drinks scattered over the floor. Holding her arms up in the air, she shouts

"Drinks! Who wants another round?" A rousing agreement from all of us sees her wobble her way to the kitchen.

We continue with the movie, and the vulgarities flow from our mouths. Alcohol does wonderful things to inhibitions. Channing Tatum is on the screen, doing his solo act. The girls are glued to the screen, and I'm sure there's drool pooling at the corner of their mouths. "Ooh, he can do that to me any time," the garbled words fall from Ang's lips.

"Me too!" Lauren pipes in. "So, B. What's Jakey boy like in the sack?"

Fuck it, I think to myself, I've got no shame with these girls. I stagger to my feet, trying desperately not to fall over, but somehow the floor is moving underneath me. "Jake's like a fucking jackhammer," I stammer, pumping my hips and arms in a fucking motion whilst trying not to fall over. With a few quick pumps, I make a satisfied noise, and drop to the floor. The girls are rolling around, tears streaming from their eyes, gasping for breath.

"No, Jake's a fucking jackass. You know what, Bellie. You need a good screw. I'm sure Mr hot-as-hell, sexy pants, Edward could help you out with that." Angela's suddenly in porn star mode, "Edward, oh Edward. Yes, yes, right there. Oh that's it, baby Oh...Oh...Oh..." Angela's head is thrown back, mid-faux orgasm.

We're interrupted by Katie standing in the room, my phone in her hand. I didn't see her walk in, nor do I know how long she's been standing there.

"Hey, B. Your phone was on the counter and it rang, so I answered it. Hope you don't mind. It's some guy called Jake looking for you." She has a sneaky grin on her face. I now know she's been there a while, and she's doing this to piss Jake off.

I cautiously take the phone from Katie to answer. "Jake?" I ask tentatively. I know he's going to be livid.

"Who the fuck was that?" He asks, his voice full of disdain.

"That was Katie, from work. What's it to you anyway?"

"It's everything to me Bella. I rang to see if you're okay. I get some drunk-ass skank answering the phone—I hear you bagging my technique, then Angela saying you need a screw from some Edmund guy. What the fuck is going on there, and why are you spouting about our sex life to some randoms?" Acid is now seeping through his tone, and I can imagine him in all his red-faced fury.

"Oh, so it's okay for you to spout off with your skeezy buddies about our sex life, but I can't say anything to my girls? You're an asshole, Jake."

"And you're drunk. I don't like you very much when you're drunk, Isabella."

"Yeah, well I don't like you very much right now either Jacob." I reply with the same amount of acid in my tone that he's used on me.

"Stop being a bitch. This isn't like you."

"Fuck you, asshole!" I scream at him before I roughly press the 'end' button. I'm about to hurl it across the room, when Ang grabs me by the hand.

"Bell, calm down honey, it's okay. Don't throw your phone, how will Edward contact you then?" she says with a smirk on her face. The others are looking at me, concern on their faces.

"I'm so sorry, Bella. I didn't know he was like that." I wave Katie off with a flick of my hand and tell her not to worry about it, he's just being a dick.

Sighing deeply, I decide not to let that ass ruin a good night. We settle back in to watch more DVD's, but the mood is definitely more sombre.

"Hey Bella, there's a car parked out here—has been for a while. Is it anyone you know?" Lauren asks, her head poking through the living room curtains.

I push her out of the way to have a look, "No, I don't recognise the car. Probably another drug deal going on down the street." I shrug it off, not thinking any more of it. Nothing would surprise me in this neighborhood.

We eventually pass out on the floor, tangled up in blankets and sleeping bags. I'd forgotten about Ang's propensity to snore, but at least she wasn't humping my leg this time.

I'm woken some time late morning to a soft rapping on the door. The bright sun is filtering through the curtains, and I blink trying to gain some sense of where I am. I rub my temples, as the alcohol-induced headache kicks in. The tap on the door sounds again, this time a little louder. Miley hears and is up and out from under my covers in a second.

Scrubbing my face with my hand, I open the door without even checking who it is.

"Morning sleepyhead, have a good night?" Edward is standing there, white tee and light blue jeans, fitted snugly to his hips. Does this man ever look bad?

"Hey, umm sorry, we were all still asleep." I mumble, still waking up.

"No worries, I brought you some coffees and donuts. Thought you might need some hangover food."

"Oh God, you are a lifesaver! Thank you." I open the door wider and lead him into the dining room. Miley is dancing at his feet, trying to get his attention. He places the bag and drinks on the table, then picks Miley up for a cuddle.

"Before we eat, can I talk to you outside for a minute?"

I'm confused by his request, but follow him anyway. We stand by my car, where Edward takes a firm hold of my hands. I'm worried about the neighbours seeing and saying something to Jake, but there doesn't seem to be anyone around.

"Bella, I don't want you to freak out on me, or anything. Just know that you're going to be safe, no matter what." He has my face in his hands now, and his eyes are searing into my own.

"Edward, you're scaring me just by saying that. What's going on?" Panic is rising in my throat, and my voice starts to crack, I know he wouldn't say that unless there's something wrong.

"Did you happen to hear anything last night? Was Miley barking at anything at all?"

"Umm...no. I think we passed out around two a.m. and I didn't hear anything after that. Why, what's happened?"

Edward grasps my hand again and pulls me with him as he squats in front of a tire. As plain as day, I can see the slash mark in my front tire, almost two inches long. A gasp leaves my throat, as I struggle to inhale enough air. I know without a doubt who has done this. I mentally berate myself; I didn't even consider putting the car away once I'd got back with the groceries. It was easier to leave it in the driveway when I had my arms full.

"Is there more?" I barely have the air in my lungs to ask the question.

Edward nods, "All four. I'm so sorry B. So fucking sorry. I knew I shouldn't have left you here on your own. He could have come for you, or the girls." He hauls me into his arms, just as my legs give way from under me.

Without any struggle, Edward carries me up the stairs and into the living room. He kisses my hair and murmurs comforting words.

"What the hell?" Angie is up on her feet before Edward has a chance to say anything.

"She's okay Angela, she just needs some air, and maybe a glass of water. Can you grab that for me?" His voice is calming, trying to reassure the others also.

Sitting on the couch, he cradles me on his lap and offers me the water when Ang comes back. Ang perches on one side of Edward, while Katie plonks herself on the other. Lauren sits crossed-legged in front of us, worry creasing her features.

A few short minutes later, Angela speaks. "Bella, can you tell me what happened honey? Did you collapse?" They're all looking a little worse for wear after last night's escapades, but certainly coherent enough to realise something is wrong.

Shaking my head, I burrow into Edward, breathing in his calming scent. I'm not ready to talk at the moment, and Edward seems to pick up on that, so he starts to talk, "When I pulled up this morning, I thought that one of Bella's tires looked flat, so I got out to take a look. I walked around the whole car, and it seems that all four tires have been slashed."

"What the fuck?" I lift my gaze to Ang's face, seeing she is both angry and concerned. "Bella, something is going on, and you need to tell me, right now. Otherwise I'm going to presume it's something to do with him," she says pointing an angry finger in Edward's direction. "Because everything has been fine up until the last few days. Obviously he knows what's going on, otherwise you wouldn't be clinging to him the way you are. If he's got you in some kind of trouble, you need to tell me right now," she states emphatically.

Edward speaks to me in a low, firm voice—loud enough for everyone to hear. "Bella, sweetheart, I know you're scared, but there's no need to be. We will all be here for you, and I'm sure once Angela, Lauren and Katie know they will help too. This is what friends do, you don't need to hide away from it any more. We've talked about this, and you said eventually you would tell Angela. Well, I think now is the time. She's your best friend, B—you've kept it from her too long now."

Addressing the other girls, he continues, "Bella's had something horrendous happen to her in her past, and she's always been too scared to talk. It's not my place to say anything, I'll let Bella tell you everything. I want you to know what is happening now is very serious, as Bella's life may be in danger." A gasp echoes throughout the room as the girls try to understand what Edward's saying.

Angela bounds off the couch, pacing before coming back to get in my face, pointing her finger and yelling. "What does he mean your life's in danger? Fucking hell Bella, what the fuck is going on? And why didn't you tell me any of this earlier?" The fear and anger in her voice is palpable; I'm regretting now not telling her earlier, but I simply couldn't.

Edward taps me lightly on the shoulder, letting me know he's going to make a phone call, before whispering that everything will be okay.

Angela finally calms a little and takes her place back next to me, even though she's slightly tense. Holding both my hands in hers, she gives me reassurance and the strength to continue.

"Ang, do you remember that first summer we met? We went swimming and you asked what the scars were over my body?" She nods, so I continue. "I told you they were from an accident I had on my bike, when I rode through a plate glass window when I was fifteen?"

"Yeah I remember, Bellie. What's that got to do with your tires being slashed, and your house being broken into for that matter?" Confusion hints her voice, but I know she'll understand soon.

"Well, that's not how I got the scars. Truth is," I take a deep breath, tears are welling in my eyes, but I'm nowhere near breaking down like I did with Edward. "It was my brother that did it. He bashed me to within an inch of my life, then disappeared. He turned up here in the early hours of Friday morning, trying to break into my house. That's why I rang Edward, not you. Now Edward thinks it was him that slashed my tires."

"Jesus Christ, Bells, back it up and tell me the whole story, please? It's okay, I'm not going anywhere and I won't judge, but I need to know the truth."

After I finish recounting the events of years before, Angela envelops me in her arms, rocking me back and forth, whispering how sorry she is in my ear. Katie and Lauren express their sorrow, wrap me in a hug, and murmur assurances that they'll be here for me too. Edward joins us back on the couch, pulling me into his warm, safe embrace. I can see the questioning looks, but I don't give them the satisfaction of saying anything. I'm not in the mood for any 'I told you so's'.

"I know you didn't really say anything when we talked about this, and I hope you aren't mad at me, B, but I rang Emmett." I'm shocked that he's done this today, but he must have good reasoning to.

"He's not working today, so I asked him to drop over and see us, maybe give us some direction as to what to do. Please don't be mad at me, but I gave him a very brief rundown last night. No involved details, just the basics. He said for you to call him when you were ready, and now is the time. This is serious B, we need to get this bastard, before he comes back for you."

Right at that moment a knock sounds at the door, and Edward rises to answer it. He enters the room with a good looking man trailing behind, roughly the same height as himself, though much bulkier.

Edward handles the introductions, and Emmett shakes my small hand, engulfing it in his large one. Dimples on both cheeks appear as he smiles, softening the intimidating appearance of the man. Taking our seats once more, this time with Emmett on the couch next to Edward and I, we discuss my options.

"I'm sure Edward has told you who I am, but for your friends," he says, glancing at them to keep them included in the conversation, "I'm a Detective with the San Francisco Police Department."

"Edward, you told me you're a Police Officer," I raise the question.

"I did Bella, I'm sorry. I thought if I told you he's a Detective, it might have scared you off. I know how terrified you are, and I didn't want anything else becoming a hurdle in getting you justice. Em is here to help—"

"—And help I will, Bella. Please be assured we'll do everything we can to keep you safe and get this resolved as quickly as possible, so you can return to the life you deserve. Now as you know, Ed told me some of your details last night, but we'll make another time to go through all that. Right now we'll deal with what happened last night, then everything else will follow.

"The first course of action will be to head down to the station and file a report for Friday morning and your car this morning. You don't need to give any names, as you have no witnesses anyway. At least get this on file, so we have somewhere to start.

"Now Ed said that his parents may be able to help in the way of a lawyer?" Edward and I both nod, in the affirmative. "Get onto that straight away. They're going to need to collate as much evidence as they can, in a short time. Of course I'll do anything I can to help in that regard. Now for the time being, I suggest finding an alternative place to stay. You never know when he might be back. Is there anyone you can stay with?"

"I'm sure I'll be fine here, Emmett. I can't leave my home, and I can't leave my dog either. I've imposed enough on Edward—"

"Absolutely not, Bella," Edward cuts me off, "you are not imposing at all. I'd much rather have you and Miley with me, where I know you are both safe. I'm not giving you any option, you're coming with me. We'll go to the station today and get the ball rolling."

The girls are agreeing, and I can see Angela's sly smile from the corner of my eye. The bitch has done this on purpose, not offering to let me stay with her.

"Go pack your bag, work clothes and Miley's stuff too. We can always come back for anything else you may need. Em and I are going to put your car back in the garage until we can get it fixed, okay?" With a nod I head into my bedroom, girls in tow to help me pack.

Looks like James is going to get what's coming to him, a lot quicker than I thought.

Wow! My longest chapter yet, aren't you lucky? Lots happening - what did you think of the slumber party? E with his little gifts? James is goin' down! Leave me some love :)

Recs for the week:

Ties That Bind by EmmalynnMarie21

Summary: "Car wreck, girl pinned, expect casualties!" The lieutenant shouted as the men raced to the trucks. Fireman Edward Cullen and his crew receive a call on a cold October night that will change their lives forever. All human, AU, canon pairings. Rated M for adult content.

Awesome fic, can't wait for updates. Wonderfully written.

If Only for One Night by krazi4TwiSaga

Summary: What if by signing away your soul to the devil, you were given a shot at happiness? Would you take it? A lonely and lost young girl far from home with nothing to lose and everything to gain, and a cynical and bitter older man who thought money could, should and would buy him everything. ExB Rated M for later language and lemons. Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Friendship

Older manipulative Edward, young Bella. Will it all come back to bit him in the ass?

One Summer Night by karenec

Summary: When Edward Masen gets stood up at his sister's wedding, a surprising confession from his friend Emmett might just turn the whole night around. Edward/Emmett, AH. Slashy drabbles

Love me some slash!

Fortune Favours the Bold by capricapra

Summary: NOMINATED FOR THE LEMONADE STAND FIC OF THE WEEK! Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion. At 18, Bella's respected family prevent her from running away with poor orphan Edward. Years later and their fortunes have reversed. Edward is a rich music producer. Bella is an impoverished writer living with her sister, a single mother. But Edward and Bella's paths are about to cross again...

I'm so loving this one! B & E were always meant to be together.

Hope you enjoyed this update, and I'll see you all soon! Sonia xx