Hello ... just a little one-shot I could not get out of my head and I wanted to share with you. Thanks to Midnight for her quick beta work. Poor Bella has had a bad day so far... lets see if it can be improved.
I squinted in concentration as I leaned forward, trying to keep my balance and get my door open. Why wouldn't the damn key go in? Frustrated, I heaved a sigh, causing my hair to lift away from my forehead as I tried again.
Damn Rose. This was all her fault. She was the one who insisted we go out drinking and give me a chance to vent. She was the one who kept ordering the drinks. She was the one who picked up the bartender and left me alone in the bar. And now I couldn't get into my apartment. I studied the key, frowning. I was scratching the door up with the key instead of opening it. Why wouldn't the damn thing turn? Groaning, I kicked the door in frustration, only to hiss in pain after my foot made contact. I placed my hand on the door and tried one last time to put the key into the lock. I needed to lie down.
I gasped in shock as the door I was leaning against swung open and I lurched forward. The only thing that prevented me from hitting the floor was a strong pair of arms that wrapped around me. Blinking in surprise I looked up into the confused eyes of my very favorite neighbour. Officer Edward Cullen.
"Edward?" I slurred.
His voice was amused. "Bella."
"Why … why are you in my apartment?"
He pulled me up, setting me on my feet as he chuckled. "I'm not. You're in mine."
I gaped at him and then looked at the door.
His deep chuckle let me know I'd said that out loud.
I looked at him, my already warm cheeks becoming even redder. "Sorry, Edward. I obviously turned left instead of right." I snorted in embarrassment. "Guess that explains why my key didn't work. I'm … I'm sorta drunk."
"I can see that."
"I keyed up your door." I shook my head. "I'll fix it." I hiccupped. "But not today."
I turned to go and tripped over my own feet. Edward's arms shot out, keeping me upright. He lifted me and I felt myself being set down on his couch. He sat beside me and his long fingers tilted my head up, and I looked at him with bleary eyes. God, he was so lovely. He had such beautiful eyes. Warm, deep, sexy eyes.
The way his eyebrows shot up I must have said that out loud again, but he didn't comment. Instead, his voice was soft and concerned. "Why are you drunk at three in the afternoon, Bella?"
Traitorous tears filled my eyes. "I broke up with my boyfriend."
"Ah. I'm sorry."
I lifted my arm. "I bought him a watch."
Edward grinned at me. "I don't think you understand this whole breaking up thing, Bella. Last girl I broke up with slapped me so hard my face was bruised for a week. She didn't buy me a watch."
I shook my head. He was so funny. Funny and lovely. Then I frowned. Why would anyone ever break up with him? He was so… wonderful. I actually thought he was pretty fucking perfect.
He was grinning at me again. I wasn't sure why. Did I say something?
"No. We hadn't been getting on very well lately and I thought it was my fault. So I bought him a watch to say I was sorry and took it over to him."
I sniffed. "I took it over to surprise him. Only he surprised me. When I walked in … and he was fucking his assistant against the wall."
I nodded and looked at him. "I don't think it was my fault now. He wasn't very happy to see me."
He cupped my face gently before wiping away the tears from my cheeks I didn't even realize I was crying. "I'm sorry that happened to you, Bella. You didn't deserve that."
"I kept the watch."
"Good decision." He got up and went into the kitchen, coming back with a glass of water. "Here, Bella. Drink this."
I accepted the glass and sipped. "What did you do?" he asked quietly.
"I might have yelled a lot. And I might have … bitch slapped her when she got in my face about what a lousy girlfriend I was to Jake."
"I, um, I threw his cellphone off the balcony into the pool and then I kicked him in the crotch." I groaned, remembering my impulsive reaction. "I think it was really hard."
His lips quirked as he tried to hide his smile. I didn't want him to hide his smile. I loved his smile. This time when he grinned at me I knew I said that out loud.
"Well," he smirked. "I think that concluded his wall banging fun for the day. Maybe even two."
I giggled, clapping my hand over my mouth to cover the snort I knew would follow. I always snort-laughed when I was drunk. Rose told me it was highly unattractive.
Edward leaned over and uncovered my mouth. "Laugh, Bella. I much prefer you laugh than cry. And the bastard deserved it." He chuckled. "Just remind me not to let you too close when you're pissed at me."
I giggled again.
Edward frowned at me. "I get the crotch damage, but why his cellphone?"
"He loved that thing. That and his precious car. More than anything." I sighed. "Certainly more than me."
"He didn't deserve you,Bella. Anyone who would love their cellphone, or their car, more than you – clearly isn't right in the head."
I giggled-sobbed, followed by a hiccup, while my hand rubbed the top of my arm, wincing a little. "Well, I guess he's not my problem anymore."
Edward's eyes narrowed as he watched my hand and he leaned forward, pulling my sweater off my shoulder. "Did he leave a mark on you, Bella?" he hissed.
I looked down at the forming bruise where Jake's hand had gripped me. "Um, I guess so. He was pretty mad over the whore-cheating-girlfriend-slapping thing, and I imagine the crotch attack, but probably the angriest over the cellphone in the pool. He grabbed me pretty hard when he threw me out of the apartment."
"What's his address?"
I looked at him confused. "Why would you want that?"
"Your boyfriend needs a lesson in manners."
I blinked at him. "He's not my boyfriend anymore." I then proceeded to burst into noisy, wailing sobs.
Edward's arms wrapped around me, and I found myself in his lap. His hands stroked my back in gentle comforting circles as he crooned in a quiet voice in my ear, telling me everything would be okay.
When I calmed down some, he handed me some Kleenex and smiled at me. "I know it hurts, Bella. But he wasn't the right man for you. As cliché as it sounds, you'll get over the pain."
Before I could stop myself I shook my head. "That's the problem, Edward. I … I'm not upset we broke up."
"I don't understand."
I exhaled a deep shuddering breath and kept my eyes averted. I needed to tell someone how I was feeling. I couldn't even tell Rose I was so ashamed of myself, but somehow telling Edward seemed right. I wanted him to know. "I'm actually relieved. Things hadn't been good for so long, and nothing I did seemed to help. A relationship shouldn't be that much work. Or make you that unhappy all the time."
His fingers lifted my chin. "So, you're crying because …?"
My lips started quivering again. "Because I feel guilty. Something changed for me a few months ago and my feelings toward Jake were different. I was different." I shrugged. "They had been fading for a while and I tried to fight it; but it didn't work."
He frowned at me. "At least you tried. It sounds as though he just moved on and kept stringing you along."
We were quiet for a minute. I was still sitting on his lap; he made no move to push me off, and I made no move to leave. I liked how it felt sitting there. His arm was still around me, holding me loosely, and I was close enough to be able to breathe in his warm scent. His other hand was still cupping my face, his long fingers dancing gently on my skin along the edge of my hairline. It was comforting and felt strangely right. He spoke up, breaking the silence. "What happened to change your feelings, Bella?"
I closed my eyes briefly. When I opened them I looked into the deep green of his warm gaze and I swallowed. I realized I was still drunk enough to be brave and say what I had been hiding for so many months.
"You moved in, Edward."
His eyes widened. "Bella."
I shook my head. "It's okay, Edward. You don't have to say anything. You didn't do anything wrong. It's all me. Jake wasn't right for me. He never was … and I knew it before I met you. I just …" Embarrassment crashed over me and I tried to push myself away. Edward's arms tightened around me and I glanced up, expecting to see rejection and pity on his face. First he finds me drunk in the hall and now I've confessed to having a secret crush on him that might have led to the breakup of my relationship. All this from the girl he occasionally had coffee with and borrowed the odd condiment off of at times. All of our interactions had been friendly and easy. I always found his presence soothing and enjoyable. They had also always left me wanting more time with him. And now I had just ruined it.
Except it wasn't rejection or pity I saw. He was smiling at me, the most endearing look on his face. I stopped pushing at his chest, my breath catching as I looked at his expression. He pulled me nearer, until our faces were so close I could feel his breath washing over me. "It's not all you, Bella," he whispered.
And then he was kissing me.
God, his mouth. It was everything I had fantasized about since the first time he smiled at me. His lips were warm and soft against mine, moving and guiding me. His tongue dragged across my bottom lip and my mouth parted, my senses exploding as he deepened the kiss, its nature becoming possessive and greedy immediately. I moaned deep in my throat as his arms tightened and his tongue demanded and claimed, swirled and explored, leaving me breathless and clinging to him for dear life. My head began to spin and I pulled away, gasping for air.
Dazed blue met glowing green as we stared at each other. His hand came up, softly tracing my lips which puckered against his touch. I blinked as the room began to pulsate around me.
"Edward …" My voice trailed off.
"Bella?" His voice was husky and filled with want.
"I need …"
"What do you need, baby? Tell me."
"I think I'm gonna throw up."
I woke up, blinking and confused. I buried my head back into the pillow and burrowed under the soft blanket wrapped around me. My bed had never felt this comfortable. I inhaled and then frowned. My pillow didn't smell like Downy. It smelled like fresh cut grass on a warm, sunny day. It smelled like Edward did when he gave me a hug.
I sat up, my eyes wide as I looked around the room. This was not my bed. This was not my room. I swallowed heavily. This was Edward's room. My hands flew up to my mouth stifling my gasp as I remembered exactly how I ended up in Edward's room. Images bombarded me – finding Jake, kicking him, slapping Leah, drinking and stumbling home and ending up in Edward's apartment. Crying in his arms. I shuddered as I remembered my whispered confession. And kissing him. Oh God, how we had kissed. I never wanted to stop.
Except the room had begun to spin and I had pushed away from Edward, ran to the bathroom and threw up. My embarrassment grew as I remembered him behind me, holding my hair and stroking my back, making little hushing noises at my distress. I looked down, my humiliation complete, as I realized I was no longer wearing my blouse and pants but rather a large t-shirt that had to belong to Edward. I pulled the t-shirt aside and saw my tank top was still in place as were my boy shorts. I must have vomited on myself before passing out. Looking at the fading light I judged it was early evening, which meant I had been out for a few hours.
I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and stood up. I had to get out of here. As quickly as possible and with as little contact with Edward as I could manage. Then I needed to pack up my apartment and move in the middle of the night while he was asleep.
Yeah. That was a good plan. I wasn't sure how I would do it with this pounding headache and no truck, but I would figure it out.
I listened, but the apartment was quiet. Cautiously, I stuck my head out the door and looked around. It was empty. I shook my head. I must have disgusted him so much he left, no doubt hoping I would wake up and leave before he got home. I was sure he'd be grateful when he realized I had moved in the night. It would save us both the awkward embarrassment of reliving my drunken episode every time we passed in the hall. I was sure our coffee dates were over.
I scurried across the living area, grabbing my purse on the floor. I had no idea where my clothes were and I couldn't see my shoes, but I didn't care. I had fifty pairs of flats in the closet and I only had to go across the hall. I reached the door and stopped dead at the large piece of paper hanging on it.
If you are reading this, you are awake – or at least coherent and no doubt are panicking.
I will be back soon.
Go sit on the couch.
And I am sure you need this.
Below was taped a new toothbrush. My fingers reached out touching the white handle. Always so thoughtful. My eyes returned to note.
Towels in the bathroom. Tylenol on the counter. Water in the fridge.
Did I mention stop panicking?
PS – You look cute in my shirt.
PPS – I know you're still panicking and want to leave. Your clothes are in the laundry. I took your keys and your shoes – you can't go anywhere.
PPPS – If you feel like you are being held against your will then I suggest you move on to the next phase of being kidnapped. Stockholm Syndrome. In case you don't know—that is where you develop an intense bond and deep feelings for your captor—me. I already have them for you.
PPPPS – Please sit down. STAY. Back soon. Don't make me come find you. I will. I'm a cop. I can do that.
I blinked at the note and reread it. I looked down at the shirt and smiled, then grinned again when I reread the PPPS part. Then I reached out and tore the toothbrush away from the paper, and returned to the bathroom and used it vigorously. I also had a fast, warm shower and brushed my hair, emerging a few minutes later feeling human again. I padded to the kitchen, wearing only his t-shirt and my underwear, where I located the water and the Tylenol and swallowed some pills, hoping they would ease the throbbing pain in my head. I desperately hoped they would ease the nerves in my stomach that had nothing to do with the alcohol I drank and everything to do with the confession I had spilled because of the alcohol I drank.
The sound of the key in the door had my head turning and I watched, wide eyed, as Edward walked in, his hands full of bags. He stopped when he saw me watching him warily from the couch. Setting the bags down, he crossed over and before I could react, leaned over the back of the couch, dragging me up into his arms and kissing me soundly before pulling back and smiling. "Stopped panicking yet?"
He leaned down and nuzzled my lips. "Stop now, please."
"I kissed you, Bella. I started it."
I frowned. I was pretty sure falling into his apartment drunk started it. I looked up when he chuckled. "You talk out loud a lot, don't you? I never noticed it before." He grinned down at me. "Not much of an inner voice?"
I shut my eyes. Around him it would seem that was all I did. Spill my innermost thoughts.
His hand stroked my head. "I brought dinner. We are going to eat and talk." He paused. "If your head is up to it?"
I nodded. "It's fine."
"Do I get my keys and shoes back?"
"Oh." I hadn't expected that answer.
He leaned down again, his face level with mine. "I like you in my shirt. And you smell like me."
"I, um, had a shower and I used your soap. I hope that's okay?"
He nodded. "Perfect. I like you smelling like me. Have you moved on in your kidnapped-adoring-your captor-syndrome? You there yet?"
My breath caught. "Aren't you moving a little fast?" I squeaked. I had only broken up with Jake a few hours ago. Where was all this coming from?
He shook his head, his face getting closer. I felt his hand wrap around the back of my neck, pulling me close. "I've been waiting for you since the day I moved in, Bella. As far as I'm concerned, it's been too long."
Once again, I found myself drowning in his kiss.
When he finally released me and moved away, I stared after him in shock.
Since he moved in? He'd been waiting since he moved in? I wanted him to come back and talk to me.
My fingers brushed my swollen lips. They wanted him back as well.
The Stockholm Syndrome had, indeed, started.
"Eat, Bella. You need something in your stomach."
"I ate earlier," I protested.
"You spewed up your poutine about three hours ago, love." He shook his head chuckling. "Not much of a drunk are you? You eat greasy foods the morning after. Not while you're drunk. They always come back."
I gaped at him. I had eaten poutine? I hated poutine. I shuddered. He had seen that? Oh, God, that was so gross.
He shrugged. "Well, you ate it. So throwing it up was a good thing I guess if you hate it so much."
Oh. My. God. My mouth had no filter today. None.
I stared at him in horror. I could feel my entire body flushing with embarrassment. "I'm so … so … sorry," I muttered. "You shouldn't have seen that."
He waved his hand dismissively. "Nope. It's fine. I've seen lots worse in my line of work. No doubt I'll see it again."
He nodded enthusiastically around his mouthful of noodles. "No doubt I'll piss you off and you'll have to go drinking with Rose sometime. Best we got the first one over with now."
I shook my head. I couldn't imagine ever being pissed with this man. He was perfection walking. I also knew I was never drinking again.
He laughed, slapping his knee as he guffawed. "Inner monologue, Bella. You really need to work on that. Between no filter and that expressively beautiful face … I can read you no problem."
Huh. Jake always said I was closed off to him. He said I was removed. My inner monologue only seemed to fail around Edward.
Edward leaned forward, his chopsticks loaded with noodles. "Open up, love."
I opened my mouth and he gently fed me the noodles, smiling in approval as I chewed. "You will drink again. I will piss you off. I promise you that, love." His fingers traced my cheek. "But I'm going to try really hard to be a good man for you. The kind you deserve." He handed me a container and a spoon. "I got you soup. Eat it, please."
I stared at him as he went back to his food.
The kind I deserve?
I wasn't sure what kind that was, but the thought of it being Edward made me smile.
Edward's phone rang and he picked it up with a grin. After listening, talking and laughing for a few minutes with whoever was on the other end, he hung up smiling. I heard something about smell and car and never the same, but I didn't pay it much attention. He grinned at me. "That was my partner."
He chuckled. "For me, yep. Not so sure for someone else."
"I'll tell you later." He moved closer to me on the couch, his hand clasping mine. "Feeling better?"
"I am. Thank you."
"Good. Your arm okay?"
"It's fine, Edward."
"He isn't going to touch you again. Ever."
"I don't plan on seeing him again."
"I hope not. He doesn't deserve to be in the same room as you."
I shook my head. No one had ever sounded so … protective or caring before. I wasn't used to it. I stifled a yawn as I looked at Edward. If he was home this afternoon, I wondered if he had to work in the morning. He shook his head when I asked. "No. I'm off 'til Sunday. I have three days off. I've been looking forward to the time off."
"I guess I should, um, go. I'm sure you have plans tonight?"
"I do, and, she is sitting next to me."
"Did I frighten you earlier, Bella? All the talk about us?"
I sighed, lifting his hand and studying it in the light. His fingers were long and graceful, his palm large, the skin rough,and yet always so gentle when he touched me. I glanced up at him. "Frighten me? No. Surprise me, yes. It feels rather surreal, Edward. This morning I bought a watch for Jake. This afternoon that ended; badly. Tonight I'm here … with you, and you tell me you have feelings for me."
"You said you had feelings for me too, Bella." He hesitated, his voice wary. "Or was that the liquor talking?"
I kissed his hand. "No. The liquor made me brave, but I meant it."
"Did I break you two up?"
"No. We'd been drifting apart for a long time, even before you moved in. I think I stayed with him out of… convenience and habit." I shrugged sheepishly. "Guess that doesn't make me a very good person, does it?"
"It makes you human, Bella." He sighed, his head falling back on the couch. "The first day I moved in here I saw you. You were laughing at something Rose said and I thought you were the prettiest thing I'd ever seen." His head turned and he looked at me. "I fell for you right there."
"Oh indeed. I found out you had a boyfriend so I told myself I could just be your friend; at least for the time being. But I loved bumping into you or running out of ketchup."
"You eat a lot of it – you were always asking for it."
He grinned. "I never use the stuff. It was something I noticed you had a lot of in your fridge one day when I was over for coffee."
I rolled my eyes. "I kept it on hand for Jake. I never used it either. He put it on everything."
Edward's eyes crinkled as he smiled. "Well, at least he was good for one thing." His voice became soft. "I loved how you always offered me coffee in the mornings, if you saw me. It was my favorite time of day – getting to sit with you for a few minutes and talk to you, see you smile." His cheeks flushed slightly. "I, ah, may have memorized your schedule so I knew when I'd bump into you. Coffee with Bella days were the best."
My own cheeks darkened and Edward frowned at me. "Bella?"
"I may have made note of those days, as well. I always made sure to make extra coffee then."
"Quite the pair."
I looked at him. "Quite."
The air around us grew warm and Edwards gaze darkened as his hand squeezed mine. "I want to kiss you again. Will you let me?"
"Please," I breathed.
He pulled me toward him slowly, his eyes never leaving my face. His hands wrapped around the back of my neck, burying themselves in my hair as his lips descended on mine. I had thought kissing Edward while drunk was good; nothing prepared me for the burst of heat that hit me kissing him while sober. Every sense in my body was ignited. I whimpered as he pushed his tongue in, licking and exploring; his taste filling my senses and my head. I couldn't get enough of him; his taste, his scent, his strength as he held me against him. My arms gripped his shoulders as he tilted my head, controlling the kiss completely. I lost myself to him and the passion he brought out in me and it was only when he pulled back I realized I was now straddling his lap and we were both panting and flushed.
"God, you're amazing, love," Edward whispered, his thumb tracing over my bottom lip; his gaze hooded with want.
Teasingly, I drew his thumb into my mouth, my tongue swirling around the tough skin, and my teeth nipping at the thick end. A strangled groan escaped Edward's lips as he stared at me, his eyes burning. My gaze dropped down, my eyes widening as I took in his growing bulge, his pants straining at the zipper. He pulled his thumb out of my mouth with a loud pop, crashing his lips to mine as he grabbed my hips, pulling me down on top of his erection, thrusting upward. We both groaned at the intense sensation as we rocked together, our lips fused and our bodies locked in a rhythmic dance. My body was on overload and I shuddered as long rolls of pleasure ran through me. I had never felt anything like this before. My head fell back as I gasped for air and Edward's lips nipped and licked at my neck.
"Tell me to stop, love," he groaned in my ear. "Tell me to stop or I won't be able to … God … Bella …"
I didn't want him to stop. I wanted him to come apart and I wanted to see it happen. I sped up my movements, undulating over him and moaning his name.
His voice was gruff. "Baby… I can't … you need to …" He then stilled, his head thrown back as he shuddered and cursed. I fell with him, my orgasm tearing through me as I watched him, my body locking down as I gasped his name, unable to tear my eyes away from his face as he climaxed. Fuck, he was pretty when he came. I smiled. I did that to him. I made him pretty.
I fell forward, my head nestled against his chest, spent and exhausted. His arms pulled me against his chest, his chin resting on my head as we slowly recovered.
"You're staying the night."
I smiled against his chest. It wasn't a request. I wanted to stay, but still I couldn't resist teasing him.
"I am? You're still holding my keys?"
"And your clothes and shoes," he growled.
"I guess I have no choice then."
He groaned and stood up, taking me with him. He strode down the hall, laying me on his bed. He hovered over me, his face close to mine. "I'm going to have a shower. You're staying here. Unless of course, you want to join me."
I shook my head. I wasn't quite ready for that yet.
"Then you'll be here when I get back."
I nodded, my eyes drifting down to the front of his pants. I bit my lip as I looked back up. Edward smirked at me. "Proud of yourself, Bella? You made me come in my pants. I haven't done that since I was a teenager."
I tried to suppress my smile but failed. Grinning, he leaned down and kissed me hard. "Smile away, love. You did it." He stood up and walked to the bathroom, grabbing a pair of sleep shorts before he paused and turned around. "But, Bella?"
"I am not pretty. Guys are never pretty when they come. We're sexy, hot, devastatingly handsome; not pretty." Winking, he strode into the bathroom.
I groaned as I rolled over. Inner monologue. I needed to find my inner monologue. I had to stop my mouth spilling out all my thoughts when I was around him.
But I strongly disagreed. He was hot and sexy, but still very pretty.
"Whatever you're thinking about that is making you look like that, needs to stop right now."
I looked up in surprise at the sight of Edward, leaning against the doorway, running a towel through his damp hair. His chest was bare, gleaming in the soft light casted by the bedside lamp. He strode forward, his long legs visible with his low slung shorts being the only thing he was wearing. He tossed the towel into the hamper before he lifted the covers, lying beside me. His hand cupped my cheek and he frowned at me. "What is going on in that pretty head of yours?"
I started shaking my head, and his hand tightened. "Don't say nothing. You look positively shattered right now." He leaned forward, his lips pressing against mine. "Tell me, love."
I looked at him. "What must you think of me right now, Edward?"
"I don't understand."
"I broke up with my boyfriend this afternoon, and I'm in your bed tonight. In between, I got drunk, confessed my hidden feelings for you and then…" I couldn't even finish and I looked at him in horror. "I don't act like this.I've never done anything like this before," I whispered, my voice pleading. I wanted him to believe me. I wanted him to know the kind of person I was. From the second he had left to go have a shower, my thoughts had been raging and I had been struggling with everything that had happened, the enormity of the day crashing over me.
"I know that, Bella. I know you."
"How? How can you be so sure?"
"Because I see you. I heard you on the phone with your friends and family when I was at your place. I've seen the pictures in your apartment. You've shared stories about you and your life with me. I could hear you talking in the hall with neighbours and friends. I know how caring you are for everyone. You help all the people in this building. I know about the meals you make for Mrs. Cope and Mr. Newton. I know you got them playing cards together so they aren't alone all the time. You care for everyone around you. Your friends adore you. I even heard how great you were with that jerk."
He nodded. "I didn't mean to listen, but the walls are rather thin and when I'd hear your voice, I just sort of became more… alert," he shrugged. "It's the cop in me, I think. I always had to make sure you were okay. He was leaving one day and you were telling him to calm down; that you felt he worked too hard and you never saw him anymore." He frowned. "I didn't like his tone when he was talking to you, but I stayed out of it, although if he had done anything I would have been out of the door and on him in a flash. But, he brushed you off fairly quickly and left."
"I remember that day. You came over a little while after he left and told me your coffee maker broke. You asked me if I could make you a thermos to take to work."
He smiled sheepishly. "I had to check on you, Bella."
"We've had a lot of coffee together."
"It was a great way to see you. I got to spend time with you and you were comfortable with it. It gave me a chance to get to know you better." He cocked his head to the side. "I don't think you realize how generous you were with me. You always sent me off with a snack or lunch. Are you even aware of how often you knocked on my door with dinner or some of your treats?"
I shook my head.
"I figured that. It is so natural with you. I loved hearing those knocks. And I always felt so cared for. "
"I liked how you reacted when I gave you something. You were so … enthusiastic. And you made me feel less alone." I shrugged. "Jake was around less and less."
Edward smirked. "Working so hard."
I smiled ruefully. "I guess he wasn't working as hard as I thought he was … at least not at his job."
Edward sighed and moved closer. He pulled me to him and held me silently for a minute. When he spoke his voice was low but firm. "Listen to me, Bella. I think today you ended something that wasn't right for you. You haven't been happy for a long time. You told me that. What happened today was simply you moving on from a relationship that has been dead longer than you realized." He paused, his hand gently trailing up and down my arm. "I know this is fast and I know this is completely out of character for you. What happened earlier; on the couch? We didn't plan it but it wasn't wrong. I'm sorry you're regretting it."
"I'm not regretting it, Edward."
"I just need you to know it's not my usual … style."
He chuckled. "I already knew that, but duly noted."
I drew in a deep breath. "Edward, Jake and I …. we haven't been … um…"
He held up his hand. "That is none of my business, Bella."
I grabbed his hand and held it tight. "Please, let me."
"Okay, love. Whatever you need."
"Things have never been very passionate between us. I always questioned that because it didn't seem right. My friends all talked about this connection they had with their partner and I never felt it with Jake." I looked at him intently. "I've never felt anything like I felt with you on the couch. Ever."
A slow smile spread across his face but he didn't say anything.
"The past few months it got worse. I didn't like his touch anymore. It just felt wrong. He only stayed over twice since you moved in. And… both times he was drunk and nothing happened. He thought it did and I let him so I didn't feel so guilty. But it wasn't there." I sighed. "I should have broken it off months ago."
"So you ... liked … the couch?"
I could feel my cheeks flush. "Yeah. I did." I bit my lip. "I'm not sure I'm ready for more … just yet."
"I can handle that, Bella. Just being here, with you, like this is more than I hoped for." He pulled my teeth away from my lip. "Stop beating yourself up about not breaking it off with him sooner. Hindsight is a powerful thing. Okay?"
"And for the record? I liked the couch too, Bella. That spark your friends talked about? We have a fucking inferno, love. When you're ready, I am more than happy to show you just hot we are together."
We both grinned at each other, the air around us warm and filled with promise.
He became serious. "Bella, have you ever had a feeling? Just something that told you something, someone was the exact right thing for you?"
"I don't think so."
He smiled down at me. "I have. Three times. My parents died when I was young and I was adopted by Carlisle and Esme. They had come to the group home to see a little girl, but I took one look at them and informed Esme she was supposed to be my new mommy. I remember looking at her and just feeling like she was what I had been waiting for; that once she loved me I would be okay again."
"Edward…" My voice caught at the emotion in his voice.
His arms tightened, his hands splayed across my back, his fingers moving. "They took both of us. I also refused to leave without Alice. As soon as I met her, I became her big brother and I told Esme and Carlisle they needed both of us. They came to see her and adopted us both."
I felt the tears gathering in my eyes as he shared his past with me. I wanted to know everything about this man. He was quiet for a minute, seemingly lost in his thoughts.
"You said three times?" I prompted quietly.
He stared at me thoughtfully for a minute, his fingers still moving on my skin. His voice was warm when he spoke. "First, Alice, then Esme and Carlisle. I knew I was supposed to have them in my life. And, I was right. They are my family." His hand stopped its caresses and moved to cup my face. "I can't wait for them to meet you. They are gonna love you." He drew in a deep breath. "The third time was when I met you, Bella. You offered me your hand and when I took it, it was as if I had come home. I knew, one day, you'd be mine."
My tears could no longer be contained. They poured down my face as I looked at him. No one had ever said something as beautiful as that to me before. His fingers wiped away the tears and he leaned in, his lips nuzzling my cheek; his voice tender as he spoke. "So, at the end of the day, how it happened, how quickly we got here, doesn't matter. How I feel about you hasn't changed except to think this is exactly how it was supposed to be, Bella. I'm yours, if you want me. I have been for months. I will be for as long as you let me."
I could only get one word out as I gazed at him, awed at the passion in his warm eyes.
We were snuggled on the bed, wrapped around each other. We had been talking for hours, asking questions, sharing soft, loving kisses and caresses and basking in the closeness of being together. I hesitated before I leaned up on my elbow and looked at Edward.
"What?" he asked tenderly. "Just ask me, Bella."
"Your job …"
He sat up nodding. "We should discuss that."
"It's very dangerous?"
"Well, it certainly is more dangerous than working at the local Bingo hall." He grinned. "Although I hear those old bitties get pretty handsy with their canes if you don't call the numbers loud enough."
I frowned at his attempt to make me smile. "I'm serious."
He picked up my hand, his long fingers tracing the veins on the back of it as he thought about it.
"It can be dangerous, Bella. But I'm careful. I have a good partner." He smiled encouragingly. "Honestly, there are more days I don't draw my gun than I do. We don't live in a high crime city. It's not like you see on TV. I'm not knocking down doors every day and breaking up major drug rings. A lot of my job is helping people. I like that part."
"But there is crime."
"Do you wear a bullet proof vest?"
"Yes. We all do." He paused. "Is this something you can live with, Bella?"
I sighed. "I'll worry about you."
"I'm careful, Bella. I promise. And you might not have to worry for too long."
He looked almost bashful as he grinned at me. "I spent some time in the forensic lab the last while. I really enjoy that aspect. Putting the pieces together. Working with the police. Solving cases with the collected evidence. I've applied to take the courses to become a CSI. If I'm accepted I'll take a leave of absence from the force and see where it goes. I have some good contacts at the lab which would help once I pass the courses."
"Edward—that is amazing!"
He nodded. "As much as I'd miss what I do now, I can see myself in the lab ten, twenty years down the road. I'll miss the force, but …"
"You really like what you do, don't you?"
His lips quirked. "Some days more than others."
"What was that smile for?"
I narrowed my eyes at him. "Something, I think. Your partner called earlier and you smiled like the cat that swallowed the canary when you were talking to him. You said you'd tell me later."
He looked at me, pouting. He leaned forward, pulling my face to his and kissing me deeply until I was breathless. "Okay."
"I'll tell you. I just had to kiss you in case you decided not to find this funny."
I sat up. "Edward. Tell me."
"After you had, um, passed out, I was picking up your purse and your cellphone fell out. Your contact list was open."
"I looked up the jerk's information."
I was confused. "Why?"
"He hurt you, Bella. He laid hands on you. That is unacceptable." He shrugged. "I wanted to check him out."
"Oh, my God, did you have him arrested?"
"No. But I did find out he had three unpaid parking tickets."
I shook my head. "He always had some. He parks that stupid car in all sorts of places he shouldn't." I glared at him. "Edward, what did you do?"
"I, um, arranged to have his car impounded. It was towed away this afternoon while you were passed out."
"He'd freak out," I gasped.
Edward nodded and grinned. "He did. The idiot made it easy, though. He had it parked illegally when the tow truck arrived, as well. He acted like a complete ass at the impound, I was told. The only way he could get it back was to pay his tickets and the fines before it was released. It cost him huge."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "There is more to this." I thought about the call I had only half listened to. "You did something …" My eyes widened. "You did something to his car!"
"Not me. I did nothing."
He held up his hands. "I may have had some help. That person may or may not have hidden a small … dead … fish ... or two … somewhere deep inside the car."
I gaped at him. "But they'll go bad …" My voice trailed off.
His grin was evil. "They'll stink – really badly. The car will become … undriveable. Unsellable as well."
I stared wordlessly at him. He stared back, not at all apologetic. "You never place more value on a car than the woman in your life, Bella." His eyes narrowed. "You never touch someone I care about."
I continued to stare, my thoughts rampant. He shifted uncomfortably. "Um, Bella? You're not gonna like; kick me in the nuts now, are you?"
I gave in. I started to laugh and didn't bother stopping the snorts that were liberally scattered among the laughter. I fell back on the bed, holding my stomach, as my mirth spilled over.
Edward leaned over me; his face wreathed in smiles. "Jakeyboy is not having a good day. He gets kicked in the balls, his cellphone takes a swan dive," he waggled his eyebrows at his clever words; "his car is towed and in the matter of a few days will start smelling like ass. Really, really bad ass."
I kept laughing. I knew I shouldn't. I knew I should tell him off; not only for looking in my cellphone but also for pulling such a childish prank. Part of me knew I needed to tell him to get the fish out of the car the same way he got them in. But I couldn't. He was gazing down at me with the most yearning expression on his face. It begged me not to be angry. So I kept laughing until I was exhausted. The whole time Edward hovered over me, his face expressing his enjoyment at my reaction. I fixed a serious expression on my face as I cupped his cheeks. "Don't do that again. Or I'll get mad."
"As long as he stays away from you, I won't. You took care of his precious phone; I helped out with the stupid car. I have no reason to bother him as long as he stays away. I don't want you mad either." He grinned. "If you got mad … would you … punish me, Bella?"
His grin grew wider and he lowered his lips to my ear, his voice now husky. "I … um … have handcuffs, if you really need to punish me. I'll take it like a man."
I couldn't help the shiver that went through me. "I think you'd enjoy that too much for it to be considered punishment, Edward."
He chuckled, his lips ghostly over my skin. "You may be right."
I sighed. "No more. Leave him alone, okay? He is out of my life. Gone."
"I will." He pulled back and kissed my palm. "I actually feel bad for him right now."
"Because of his smelly car?"
His face softened and his voice dropped. "No. Because today he lost the most amazing woman in the world and he has no idea how empty his life will be without her." His voice became nervous. "And he is never getting her back."
"You're mine now, Bella. You're going to be my whole world. I know it."
We stared at each other and before I could stop them, the words were out. They were right and I meant them. I had felt it for months; I had fought it for months, but it was there.
"And you mine." I drew in a deep breath. "I think I'm falling in love with you, Edward."
His eyes widened and he smiled. "The Stockholm Syndrome has happened, has it?"
"No. You happened. You walked into my life and changed it."
This time when he smiled it was different. It was a smile that promised a whole lifetime of laughter and caring. Of being cared for and protected. Of being together.
"You go ahead and fall, love. I'll be right there to catch you." His voice dropped. "I've already fallen, Bella. So I'm ready for you."
His lips covered mine, his passion evident; his love overwhelming.
For the first time in my life, I knew.
I'd found my home, too.
So there you go ... just a little, happy, funny piece. Drunk Bella with no filter. MC had informed me a follow up will have to happen - she was sure of it. Put the story or me on alert if you would like to see a little more of them. Thanks for reading!