Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters. Baseballward is mine.

Grazie to my Dolly for cleaning up my messes. She has graciously finished all of the chapters so my goal is to post 2 a week until the grande finale.

Chapter Eighteen

My girl had graduated from high school two weeks ago. Her mother was here for a week and stayed at their house. I thought this was a little strange at first, but Charlie seemed to be working a lot of "overtime" that week. So, as long as Bella was happy spending time with her, I was okay with it.

Renee Dwyer was an interesting woman. I was not one hundred percent positive, but I was fairly certain she'd hit on me in front of her daughter, more than once. She'd made several comments about my "cute ass" and my "irresistible hair," which she kept running her fingers through. I rolled my eyes. Bella just laughed. Needless to say, it made Bella very happy to have her here. So, no complaints from me, other than the fact that we didn't have sex once that week.

As much as I was trying to be happy for Bella graduating and heading off to college, my jealousy and bitterness seemed to push that happiness down, then bubble to the surface over it. The thought of her leaving me in just under nine weeks ate away at my heart. I tried to ignore it, but it was like the pink elephant in the room that no one wanted to discuss. I'd tried a few times to bring it up nonchalantly, but Bella would have no part in the conversation. She blatantly ignored me, changed the subject quickly or distracted me with her kisses. I loved Bella's distractions, especially when they involved her mouth, more especially when they involved her mouth on my dick. She was really good with distractions.

Bella and I had been having a lot of sex. Now that we were both off from school, we had a great deal of time alone together. Dad and Charlie were working just about every day or night, depending on their shifts. Emmett had started taking more karate classes at a nearby dojo. Bella ran him all over the place, when my dad was working. I think she secretly enjoyed chauffeuring him around. Emmett definitely enjoyed being driven by Bella. No secret there.

We used the alone to time to make up for the time we'd lost. Making up for lost time equated to a lot of fucking. I'd never imagined it was possible to have so much sex. The best part was dad didn't even realize how much sex we were having in his house, because I hadn't had to ask him for condoms. Bella had been on the pill for a few months now, and damn, I'd had no idea how fantastic it would feel without a barrier.

Soon after Bella and I had said our "I love you's" for the first time in her little playhouse in the backyard, our hormones completely took over our bodies. We'd stripped each other of our Prom attire, Bella going so slow it was nearly painful. She was teasing me so badly. I was nearly having an out-of-body experience. It had been difficult, but when I'd finally entered back into reality, I'd informed Bella that we would have to take our naked bodies inside, because I'd had no condoms with me. She'd surprised me once more by telling me that she had been taking birth control pills for six weeks, and we no longer needed condoms.

The first time we'd done it bare like that, there in the playhouse, I came almost immediately. It felt even more amazing inside of her, if that was even humanly possible. It was very much like starting all over, with brand new sensations to experience. Luckily, Bella hadn't minded helping me build up my stamina again.

I think I'd now had Bella in every position known to man. Well, every position known to me, anyway. Sex now came so naturally to me, to us. We glided easily from position to position, rarely taking our hands or eyes off one another. We knew what to do to one another, how to please each other, how to love each other with our bodies. My favorite way to take Bella was from behind. Hers, of course, was to ride me, knowing exactly what angle she needed to hit her G-spot. I still got embarrassed when she said that word. I could handle the rest of her dirty talk, but for some reason, that one sounded so clinical and reminded me of my dad. Thank God she didn't use the phrase "well-lubricated." Instead, she told me how wet I made her. It was these words that did extraordinary things to my body, right where I needed it the most.

Unfortunately, lots of sex equaled very little talking. Most teenage boys would not be complaining about this, and don't get me wrong, I was not complaining. I was simply worried about what would happen to us at the end of August.

Bella and I were going to have to talk this through sooner or later. She couldn't just leave for school without talking to me. Her doing that would devastate me. We had to define where our relationship was headed. Did she want me to hold out for her? Would she wait for me? Would she move to Chicago and forget about me?

Today was June twentieth, my sixteenth birthday. Garrett and Tyler were visiting from Philly for the weekend. I felt terrible, because between baseball season and Bella and I getting back together, we hadn't gotten together since early March. They both had their licenses now, so they didn't even need to rely on a parent to bring them. They'd both also had sex now since the last time I'd seen them. It was all they could talk about, and it really got on my nerves, especially since Garrett had had sex with Lauren. I was not mad or jealous, it was just…weird.

Bella had been taking me out the past few days to teach me how to drive. Emmett had come with us, and he'd really pissed me off. He was such a little pain in the ass. As far as I was concerned, Bella could teach him how to drive, too. If Dad relied on me to do it, one of us would surely strangle the other.

Dad had decided to give me the Range Rover to drive instead of buying me a car. It was a couple of years old, but I was pretty stoked about it. Bella told me I looked "hot" driving it. I was not sure about that, but I think Bella looked pretty "hot" sitting in the passenger seat next to me. In place of the Range Rover, dad had bought himself a brand new Mercedes coupe. It was a two-door, which confused me at first, but he explained that we could always take the Range Rover if we need to. I didn't think the Mercedes was a car my mother would have approved of, which made me wonder if that was the very reason he'd bought it.

I didn't want a birthday party, but dad and Bella felt that we needed to celebrate in some respect. Tyler and Garrett were here, of course. Then, from Lewisburg, Michael and Gianna came, as did Jasper and Alice, Jared, Embry, and even Marcus. Bella seemed to be over the whole "Tanya" thing, but I still didn't think it would be a good idea to tell Marcus to bring his younger sister. Things were going entirely too well in my life right now to fuck it up over a stupid birthday invitation.

Earlier in the night, dad had taken us all out for dinner, including Pops, to Di Salvo's in Williamsport. I was not sure what it was about Williamsport, but he seemed to enjoy going there for things. Thoughts swam around in my head, most of them involving Esme, who lived in nearby Muncy, and I attempted to push them out. They persisted, though, as I tried to stave off the anger that burned inside of me. Esme had been very helpful to me, when I'd been planning Bella's perfect Prom night. However, that didn't change the fact that I didn't want my father dating anyone yet.

I was able to keep my angry thoughts involving my father and Esme at bay enough to enjoy my birthday dinner. Bella was wearing a blue dress and high heels. I'd noticed in the past few days that she'd unexpectedly begun to look older. Maybe it was my mind playing evil tricks on me, but I would swear she looked like a college girl all of a sudden. It both aroused me and weakened me all at once.

At the end of dinner, Bella encouraged me to open my presents. Pops had bought me what looked to be a very expensive Mont Blanc key ring and money clip. He told me that I was nearly a man now, and that I should no longer be haphazardly throwing money and keys on tables or in pockets. I liked the look of the two small items. They looked mature and grown-up, like my Bella.

Dad gave me an envelope. The first thing in it was a printout of a receipt for a hotel room at the inn in Cooperstown for mine and Bella's trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The second thing was two tickets to the event. I smiled hesitantly and questioned dad with my eyes. He blew me off. A short time later, when everyone else was engrossed in some other conversation, I took advantage of the alone time with my dad.

"Um, thanks for these," I held up the envelope, "but Bella already got me tickets."

He smirked at me, as if he knew what my response would be. "Well, those tickets are for me and Emmett," he explained. "You didn't actually think Charlie and I would let you and Bella go to New York for a weekend alone, did you?"

What little smile I had left on my face had been replaced with reddened cheeks and a grimace. I looked down at the receipt for the hotel room. Dad chuckled and patted me on the shoulder.

"Relax," he said in a low voice, "I booked a separate room for me and Emmett. I just don't want you there completely unchaperoned."

…And my dad was officially cool again.

It was early July, and my ultimate doomsday was rapidly approaching. Spending all of this time with Bella had been truly amazing, but it had also made time fly.

Jasper talked me into going out for football. I was not sure how I felt about it, exactly. I'd played when I was a young kid, but it had been at least five years. I figured it would serve two purposes. It would keep me in good shape for the spring baseball season, and it would keep my mind off of Bella when she was gone. With her being so far away, there was no chance she would be coming home for weekend visits or me traveling out there to see her.

Bella and I were taking the Range Rover to the State Park to watch the fireworks. We'd almost gotten stuck taking Emmett with us, but thank God one of his friends invited him over for a barbeque. I loved driving the Rover with Bella in the seat next to me. It made me feel like a man. Bella made me feel like a man.

After packing a cooler full of snacks and drinks, we drove over and parked in a secluded spot. I wouldn't have Bella around for much longer, and I didn't want to share her with anyone, not even observers at a fireworks display.

It was a hot, sticky night. We ate our snacks at a nearby picnic table and waited patiently for the festivities to begin. Last year at this time, we'd been waiting for mom's cancer to decide her fate. The difference one year could make continued to overwhelm me. The sun finally set around eight thirty, and Bella and I opened up the back of the Rover and put the seats down, building a makeshift bed in the back out of pillows and blankets we had packed earlier in the evening, then we sat on the edge of the backend of the Rover and waited. Around nine o'clock, the fireworks display, which was set to patriotic music, began.

Our legs hung over the edge of the SUV, Bella's body seated in between mine, as I wrapped my arms around her waist. My chin rested on her shoulder, and every once in a while, Bella turned her head so she could kiss my lips, my cheek, my jaw. This was it. This was all I needed. This was everything.

It wasn't too long before Bella turned in my arms, and her small kisses turned into deep, passionate ones. My hands that had been wrapped around her waist moved to her ass. Before I knew it, we were completely horizontal and naked, and the only fireworks I'd see tonight would be the ones behind my eyes, as I buried myself deep inside of her.

I hovered over her, wanting to go slow tonight for some reason. I wanted to touch every part of her body, and I wanted her to touch me. I wanted to kiss her and love her. Tonight, it was not about fucking. It was about loving each other and making each other feel good. For once, Bella followed my lead.

I lifted her left leg up over my shoulder, ghosting my fingertips up and down slowly, feeling her wetness on them. With each pass, I went a little further, until eventually, I was touching her other entrance. It reminded me of something I'd been meaning to ask her.

"Bella, Jake mentioned that he'd had you in every way possible. What did he mean by that?"

Her fingers, which had just been tracing lines up and down my spine a moment ago, ceased instantly. She sat up on her elbows and gave me the stink eye. As a result, I propped myself up as well, removing my hands from her.

"What do you think it means, Edward?" Her words were a statement, not a question. I hated when she treated me like I was fragile, like I couldn't handle the truth. It was a diversion tactic. This way, she didn't have to say the words herself.

"I don't know, Bella. You were there, not me," I retorted. She pissed me off so much when she played these games. She huffed, sitting up completely and crossing her arms over her chest. How did she manage to look so beautiful, even when she was angry?

"You're so naïve sometimes." I didn't respond to her backhanded compliment, or maybe it was an insult. We just stared each other down. We were both so stubborn, and though we hadn't had many arguments over the course of our relationship, our obstinate stances were usually at the root of them. She finally caved, and I'd won this stare-down, but I hadn't truly won anything.

"I didn't really want to do…that…but Jake did," she covered her face with her hands, "and I was trying to keep him happy. It was part of his birthday present," she used air quotes. "Oh, God, that sounds so stupid."

Her hands rubbed her face, and she released an exhale laced with disgust. The words about her and Jacob went right through me, cutting me down to my core. They hurt, and they stung. I couldn't hear past the ringing in my ears, and I couldn't see past the red. I wanted to kill Jacob Black. Bella shook her head and laughed with abhorrence. She was having trouble looking me in the eye, and it was pissing me off.

"Look at me, Bella," I commanded, and she finally moved her hands. "I don't need explanations. It's just that…this is just another way I'm not as experienced as you. I worry that I'm not enough for you."

"I didn't enjoy it, Edward," she said, finally meeting my gaze, but then she quickly shied away from me again. Then, in a mumble so quiet I almost didn't hear her, she said, "It hurt." She buried her face back into her hands.

"Bella, look at me. I'm not judging you."

She removed her hands from her face once more and hugged her knees into her chest. Though there were no tears, there was a pain on her face that I recognized very well. It was a hurt that only Jacob Black could invoke in her. Asshole.

"Just so you know, if you ever wanted to do…that…with me, I would. I'd do anything you want."

I couldn't stand the distance between us any longer. In one second, I was there, and she was in my arms. I kissed her forehead, "I don't need that, Bella. I just need you. I could never take pleasure in hurting you."

I would never hurt you. So, please don't hurt me.

A/N: He had to ask, didn't he? Let's face it. We were all wondering.

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me. I love you more than you'll ever know! See you soon. Kisses from the RedKat XOXOXO.