I felt the bed dip, startling as I started to wake up. Edward was sitting on his side of the bed, and he was running his hands through his hair.
"Hey," I said, my voice husky with sleep. "What time is it?" The sun was still shining through the window, so I hadn't slept the entire day away, as much as I would have liked to.
Edward didn't answer me immediately. He kept tugging on his hair and remained with his back to me.
"Your dad called me," he said flatly. "He wants you to go back with him or at least stay in Seattle with Phil."
I rubbed my eyes and struggled to sit up without jostling Cameron, who was still soundly asleep between me and his father.
"I called Dad when I got back from the beach," I told Edward. "You weren't here and I needed to talk to someone. He said he was going to book a flight and come visit."
"He can't get a flight until tomorrow. He wants you to go, Bella. What the fuck did you tell him?"
I knew from Edward's tone that he was angry. He rarely spoke to me like that and it hurt. I pulled my knees to my chin and hugged my legs to my chest. The feeling of isolation that I'd had before I called my dad came bubbling back to the surface and I inhaled a shaky breath.
"I need someone," I whispered.
I watched as he slowly turned to face me. His hand reached out, but he pulled back. Edward's hair was a mess and his usual scruff had filled in more. His green eyes showed me how exhausted he truly was.
He huffed out a sigh and turned away from me again, resting his elbows on his knees and cradling his head in his hands.
I swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood. I scooped Cam up, carried him into his room and turned on his monitor. When I returned, Edward was lying still on the bed, his hands folded behind his head. He was staring at the ceiling and didn't move as I approached the bed.
"Esme said you talked," he said in a tone that was detached.
"We did," I answered cautiously. "Where's Em?"
"Eating lunch out on the deck with everyone," he responded stiffly. "Did you think I'd leave her in town by herself or something?"
Edward had never been petty before, and my emotions were already stretched to their breaking point. I walked back around to my side of the bed and sat so that I could face him. He was still staring at the ceiling, refusing to look at me.
"You're upset that I called my dad, but you have to realize I had to," I started as I lay beside him again. "Edward, I'm worried about how all of this is going to affect the kids. Things are going to change, and I need someone on my side. My dad is only trying to help."
Edward still wouldn't look at me, but I saw how he clenched his jaw in anger.
"I need to think about Emma. When your reemergence into society makes national news, we will all be found. Mike will know where we are and who says he won't fight me for her? I'm not going to share her with him. She's my daughter, Edward - mine!"
"You don't think I know that," he snapped. "I love your daughter too, Isabella. I guess I'm just realizing what a selfish bitch you could be."
His tone and rigidness did it, more than his words. I glared at him as I sat up on my knees. The indifference on his face only added to my fury. I leaned forward, poking his chest.
"You will never... and I mean never, speak to me like that again and you're right - Emma Leigh Swan is my daughter. When it comes to protecting my child, I will be a selfish bitch and I can make damn sure that Cameron is only my son as well. I'm allowed to be scared and feel however the fuck I want to feel in this situation. If you want to revert to your infamous asshole persona, you can leave right now. Then my children and I can stay here disturbance free," I panted out.
I was pissed and he was breaking my heart. His mask slipped as he sat up. He hovered like he was going to touch me, but held back. There was a war going on inside him and I felt like I was the only person that could see it.
He stood up and paced back and forth at the end of the bed, clenching and unclenching his fists but saying nothing. He strode across the room and flung the windows open as far as they would go and then turned to face me.
His mouth opened and closed, like a goldfish gasping for air. His breathing became more and more ragged as he walked back to where I was kneeling on the bed. Suddenly, he pitched forward onto his knees.
"I… I c-can't..." he struggled as his hands tugged at the neck of his shirt and sweat poured down his face.
I realized I was witnessing first hand a panic attack. Edward had told me about his anxiety issues a few weeks into his stay with us, but as long as he'd lived here, he'd never had one.
"Edward, I need you to breathe for me, babe… please?" I asked softly.
His body was wracked with harsh breaths. I pulled him to me as he wrapped himself around me. Looking over at the clock on the table beside the bed, I watched the time as I rubbed his back. Minutes passed as he calmed, his breathing slowed and he stopped shaking, but suddenly, his grip on me tightened.
"You can't leave me," his voice gritted out.
I sighed and he squeezed.
"I can't lose Emma," I whispered.
His head snapped up and he looked gutted. His green eyes were bloodshot and full of tears. His face was covered in a fine sheen of sweat and he was pale and haunted looking.
This Edward was the man I had met, sitting on the curb at the airport three years ago. But now his agony had been tripled.
"Then I stay dead," he cried, as his eyes pleaded with me.
My head dropped onto his shoulder. "You are not dead," I told him. "We can't get married if you stay dead. How is it possible to have you on Cameron's birth certificate if you were dead when he was conceived. You can't even legally be a guardian to Emma."
"So my only option is to lose my family?" Edward's voice broke with a sob, and his head fell forward onto my lap. We sat, not talking, for a minute or two, the silence broken only by Edward's shaky breaths and a few sniffles. I continued to rub circles on his back and ran my fingers through his damp, sweaty hair.
"We need to discuss this with your brothers and my dad together. Talking to Esme about your father spooked me and I don't want him to interfere with what we have here."
Edward nodded against my lap and I used both hands to cup his face and raise his head so that he was looking into my eyes.
"I can't have you pulling this cold bastard stick either. I won't put up with it," I told him seriously.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
I knew he was sorry, but still our situation had yet to be fixed. I needed Edward as much as he needed me, and right now he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Edward was usually so organized, so logical. Out of the two of us, he was the fixer.
For him not to have his shit together scared me.
Cameron's cries filtered in through the room, making Edward rise from our bed. "I'll get him," he said, as he walked across across the room.
I stood as well, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. This wasn't me at all. I wasn't some vicious person who delivered ultimatums. I shuffled out into the hall when I heard a paralyzed scream from the landing. I hurried my movements when I saw that Rosalie was clawing to climb the stairs.
Movement coming toward her caught my eye and I saw a hopelessly frightened Emmett Cullen try to help her. His hulking frame triggered her frantic way of escape.
"Edward," I yelled.
Emmett froze as his panicked eyes met mine. "Please, Emmett, stay where you are," I warned.
Edward came running out without our son, who I could hear crying his head off. I watched Edward's face register what was happening. He moved past me down the stairs, past Rose. He was careful not to touch her. She shocked me by grabbing Edward's arm.
He stood still as she stood, using him as a human shield. His brother made a move to come closer. Edward raised his hand to stop him.
"Emmett, please join everyone else out back," Edward said tiredly. His exhaustion was evident on his face. Between his panic attack and now this, I was growing concerned he might be put over the edge.
Emmett backed away hesitantly as Edward whispered to Rose. As I moved closer to them, I saw her shaking. He wrapped his arm around her and she turned into him. The only other man she let touch her was my father.
Rosalie had been to hell and back. Edward had been living here a year when I received a call in the middle of the night about what happened to Rose. She had loved Royce and had trusted him. He drugged her and had the freshman pledges rape her in order to be initiated into his frat.
Three of the pledges refused and went straight to the cops. Rose woke up in a hospital bed with police and counselors trying to explain what had happen to her.
I had left Emma with Edward and flew to Seattle to get her. She was catatonic. Not only could she not speak, but also she wouldn't move either. I basically lived at the hospital for a week before she finally broke down and cried.
The only people she wouldn't shut down on were women. Her case was taken over by a lady detective and her doctors and nurses were female. There was a time they wanted to put her in the psych ward, but her parents were hands down against that kind of humiliation for themselves.
After a lot of discussion, mostly on my part, it was decided that Rose would come home with me. Dad escorted us back and he was the only man other than her own father that she could be around.
When we arrived home, Rose had shut herself up in her room. Edward's presence sent her back into a panic. She'd heard about him and knew who he was to us, but the unfamiliar set her back.
While I was pregnant with Cam, we finally got her settled into her house and within the past few years she became comfortable with Edward and Jake, my brother-in-law. Today had been a setback.
As I moved forward, I gently took Rosalie's hand. She flinched for a moment before her cool blue eyes met mine.
"I'm sorry," she rasped out through a sob.
Edward's tired face frowned before he spoke. "Why don't we go sit in our room?" he suggested softly, though his voice now sounded rough.
Rose nodded slowly before looping her arm with his and scooping up my hand in her free one. Cameron's cries were still ringing loud as we passed his room and Rosalie apologized again. Edward led the way into our room and he helped Rose onto the lounge chair we had in front of the balcony doors.
He left to go check on Cam and I sat beside Rose. She hiccuped a few times before speaking.
"After everything… I wanted to check on you," she stammered.
I sighed, pulling my best friend into a tight hug. "I really should have called you," I murmured.
"No, it's okay," she sniffed. "I'm sorry."
"No, I'm sorry. I should have stopped over this morning. I know I left in a hurry yesterday and you were worried about the kids. It wasn't fair. Edward's family showed up in the middle of the night."
"Th-that guy is his family?" she asked quietly.
"His older brother."
"I'm so sorry…"
"Rosalie, you have nothing to apologize for. Emmett is a giant, I get it," I insisted.
Her head hung and her blonde curls covered her face. I knew how far she had come and could see she was beating herself up about her reaction to Emmett.
"I was doing better," she snapped.
She was, although she still only went out early morning to run errands - she tried to avoid crowds at all costs.
"I know, Rose. I'm so proud of how far you've come. You can't blame yourself for your reaction," I whispered, pulling her in for a hug. "You let Edward help and that was a big step."
"I trust him… He is a good man," she admitted.
I sat quiet for a minute. Before Royce King, Rosalie had this insane knack for judging character. So for her to put all this trust in my Edward, it was huge.
"His family thought he was dead," I blurted. "I know I told you a little about it yesterday, but it turns out they were boarding a plane as soon as they got word from his sister."
"They're trying to take him back?" she asked softly.
"I-I don't know," I said letting out a breath. "We just had an epic argument before you got here."
"You do know how absolutely crazy in love he is with you, Bella. When I first came here and after Cam was born... the way he looks at you. He fusses over you still. He loves you. You can't let these people come in and ruin that," she said.
"But is love really enough?" I asked quietly.
She pulled back glaring at me.
"You both will fight for it. The kids need you and even though you haven't taken vows, I know you both honor that for better or for worse bit," she told me.
"I can't lose Emma, Rose. Him joining back into society will be national news. Our lives will be exposed," I cried.
Rose frowned before brushing my tears from my face.
"Do you think Edward would let that happen?"
"No...I don't know… Dad's flying in."
"You know your Dad will roll in here guns a blazin'. Edward needs someone on his side. His family might be here, but you are the women he loves. His whole world revolves around you and those kids. You can't leave him alone in this," Rose said with such confidence.
At that, Edward walked back in holding Cam to his chest. He sat on the bed, leaning against the headboard. I glanced between Edward and Rose - both looked so exhausted and defeated. I realized they had faced their own demons today. Rose was right though - I needed to stand by him.
The question was could I be what he needed, during this time of struggle for us?
A/N: The beginning of this was the end of Chapter 5, but I think it worked itself out. I know you probably want to hit Edward, but he is hurting keep that in mind. Of course, I need to know your thoughts?
This chapter was beta'd by Astro2009 and Dolphin62598. Astro2009 had some ideas thrown in for this chapter, so a huge thanks to her! She has helped a lot in this chapter with detail!