Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.

Beta'd by HollettLA

For Cara.

*Takes place between CH10 June 1958 and CH11 September 1958. It follows ch10 - not immediately but almost, when they first got the apartment*

Once again, huge thanks to everyone for reading, following, and reviewing!


Bold Gestures


July 1958

After taking a shower, I went into our bedroom to get dressed. Looking through our closet, I grabbed a black suit, but then I couldn't find any of my shirts.

"Shit." I spat.

I truly didn't want to go home just for a shirt. I'll get stuck there, and I haven't been home in a week. After arguing with Roe and getting Bella the apartment, I've been content to stay with Bella.

We fuck like rabbits.

She's a great cook, and I just haven't found a reason to go home.

Life just seems easier without the old hag—excuse me—without the ball and chain busting my chops.

Life just seems brighter with Bella in it.

Life…is good at the moment.

Yesterday, I spent some time with Marie. I've met up with her a few times this past week. She hasn't noticed anything amiss, although I did ask her to keep our meeting to herself.

Franny won't speak to me…which is horrible but understandable.

"Bella—" I paused, seeing as she was pressing one of my shirts.

"Sorry. I just took it off the line outside." She smiled. "I should have done the ironing yesterday. Thank God it hasn't rained…I figured you'd wear a white one?"

"Yes." I noticed the full basket of clean clothes. My dress shirts were draped over the back of the sofa, but my eyes went back to Bella.

"All your shirts are clean…They just need to be pressed." She flashed me a toothy grin.

"Thank you." I smirked at that adorable woman.

"You're welcome, boyfriend." She blew me a kiss.

I chuckled, still staring.

Bella looked beautiful—she always does—on this exceptionally hot day. She wore a white blouse that tied around her torso, exposing her stomach, and she had these red, plaid clamdiggers on...or are they pedal pushers? I forget what she calls them. Either way, those pants fit like a second skin—tight.

Her feet were bare, and her hair was up in a high ponytail.

Bella was stunning.

"Thank you," I said again.

She gawked at my chest before ducking her gaze, letting out a giggle and getting back to my shirt.

I placed my hand on hers, stopping the iron. "It's good enough."

Bella beamed up at me. "Edward, there are still wrinkles." She put the iron down.

I gathered her into my arms for a tight squeeze. "You're gorgeous, baby." I leaned away to palm her cheek, tickle the soft skin with my fingers.

Drawing her lips to mine, my free hand snuck behind her, kneading the flesh of her rear. "What are you wearing?"

She stepped back, looking down to her clothing. "It's hot."

"It sure is…" I nodded, reaching to take her hair out of the ribbon. I thought maybe she put that outfit on just to tease me.

"What are you wearing?" She smirked, eyeing the towel around my waist. "Hmm?" She rid me of it to gasp, peeping my dick. "You're excited to see me, Mr. Medici."

"Always." I chuckled, looking around us. "Where's Li'l C?"

"Taking a nap." She grabbed my cock, quick to stroke it, and I shuddered. "I'm sorry." She took her hand back. "I know you gotta go—"

I stopped her from getting too far. "Emmett can wait." I try not to schedule anything on Saturdays, but last night I had a headache. After doing my pickups, I came right back here to relax. My fuckin' head was pounding. No matter, I didn't plan on being out long today.

Bella's hands roamed up my chest to clasp them behind my neck. "Li'l Carlo'll be asleep for at least the next hour."

I hummed to acknowledge her, too busy studying her gorgeous features.

"I'm gonna walk up to the avenue with him later." Her cheeks bore a rosy red hue. "I gotta get my hair washed and set…um, why are you staring at me?" Her eyes met mine.

"You're beautiful, baby doll…Can I look?" I quirked a brow, dipping to nip at those lips.

Bella smiled, a short giggle escaping her. "Will you be home, I mean, here for dinner?"

"Haven't I been?" My lips lingered on her cheek. I make sure to be home by six daily. If I have to head back out, I do so after supper. "I'll be back around six, the usual." Our mouths met, and my tongue explored hers.

Bella pulled away, still smiling. "You should go. The sooner you go, the faster you come back." Her eyes sparkled as she sighed, staring up to me. "I won't be gone long either." Admiration shone through her gaze, and that made me grin.

I nodded. "You're right…I'll be back as soon as—" I cut myself off. "I'll be back later." I turned from her, snatching my shirt off the ironing board. "You need any money?"

"Yeah," Bella whispered. "Not much…" I know she went grocery shopping yesterday. But with her hitting the avenue, I was sure she'd pick up other things, and she needs her hair done. "Just, like… a few bucks?"

I rolled my eyes. "I'll leave it on your dresser."

Before I got dressed, I counted out forty dollars, wanting her to buy something for herself. It was a lot of money—half of what it cost to rent this apartment—but it wouldn't break the bank, and I didn't care. Bella hardly asks for a thing.

She's also taking such good care of me, and I wanted to return the favor. I have Emmett on the lookout for a fur coat or a mink stole. It's summertime so there aren't many trucks with minks on them passing through.

Plus, Bella has pierced ears, and she never wears earrings. It was cute; she told me a story about some ear-piercing party, a sleepover she'd attended with Franny. It was right before she'd gotten pregnant with Carlo. She told me all about how Franny passed out at the sight of her own blood. Now, my daughter wears clip-ons, like her mother.

Hearing Bella run for the phone, I stuck my head out the door, but it wasn't for me.

Ready to hit the road anyway, I strolled out of the bedroom, and Bella was entering. She'd put her hair back up in another ponytail, which exposed her neck.

"Jake just called," she said. "He's gonna pick us up. Thank God, we don't gotta walk in this heat—"

"I'll drive youse." I shrugged. "Just hold Li'l C and then put him in the stroller."

"I'mma call Jake back when C wakes up. I gotta change him and stuff." She waved a hand. "We're gonna talk about him taking Carlo." She huffed. "It's so hot today." Bella fanned her neck. "What?"

I shrugged. "Nothin'."

She grinned. "You were just…staring."

I ducked my eyes, a little embarrassed.

"Hey…" She walked toward me, getting really close. "I was thinking about making chicken, or maybe pork chops?" Her hands traveled up my chest again.

I rubbed along her arms, not meeting her gaze. It was getting late, and I've been late to every meeting…basically late for everything since I've been staying here. "Pork chops…that sounds good," I said, stepping back.

But since I couldn't make up my mind, I pulled her into my arms again, smacking my lips to hers for a deep kiss.

Bella moaned into my mouth, her hands clawing at my shoulders.

I grunted, weaving my fingers into her hair, tilting her head to kiss down her neck.

"Do—" Bella panted, pushing me toward the bed. "Do you have time to—"

Overeager, I picked her by her ass to toss her onto the bed.

Bella smirked, stepping back on her knees as she untied her blouse.

I watched, mesmerized, my stare unwavering while Bella stripped down. Her movements were slow, almost teasing, but she kept eye contact with me. She's got a killer body; I'm always staring, but there's something extra special about those chocolate brown peepers. They're so expressive and deep, and I'm always curious as to what's on her mind.

Bella was sorta an open book—a million different stares and facial expressions to tell the tale.

When she was deliciously nude, she crawled toward me to fist my shirt, her nose touching mine, her eyes trained on my lips.

There was only one thing that would make this moment perfect.

I pulled that ribbon from her hair again. "Fuckin' beautiful, baby doll." My voice was octaves deeper than normal, lust dripped from us both, and I was afraid to touch her—knowing I always lose myself when we're together like this. I just needed a minute to get my breathing under control—a minute to calm myself down.

"I want you," she whispered. "I want your scent on me." Her tongue came out to wet my lips, a little lick. "Sometimes…it's like I want you to consume me." She molded herself to my body, slightly squirming and out of breath. "You're so handsome…and sexy, Edward." She whimpered.

"Yeah…?" I stuck my tongue out to touch hers, wanting that mouth. Her words drove me wild. "You're painstakingly beautiful with a body made for sin…gloriously indecent." I squeezed her hips.

She yelped. "I want you to mark me." Bella angled her head to her shoulder, and then moved her hair.

I agreed, running my nose along her soft skin before I bit down.

If Jake didn't know she was taken, now he'll know she's mine.

Everyone will.

Bella gasped, pushing into my mouth.

I sucked the skin, my lips going back to hers.

Grabbing a handful of her hair, I tossed her down. Her back hit the mattress and I crawled onto the bed, fast to hover over Bella's red-hot bod. My chest was still tight, anticipation and excitement freely flowing through me.

I was supercharged, coiled and ready to spring.

Actually, I was just ready to fuck the fuck outta her.

"I don't want'chu to go," she mumbled, kissing along my jaw. "I'm going out because I don't want to be alone. You've been here every day. I'm not used to being alone—"

I made her look at me, and I couldn't figure out why today was any different from other times where I've had to step out—work. "I'll be back later, baby doll."

She grinned, giving me a slight nod, and I saw that nervous tension leave her shoulders.

"You're really gonna miss me?" For some reason, that delighted me. We're not doing anything wrong. I'm not forcing her to fuck me, nor am I paying her to. Lines get blurred all the time—people thinking this or that—but I know Bella wants me, wants me here.

"Yeah," she giggled, squirming below me. "After dinner, we can watch TV…and then after C goes down…we can take a bath."

I scraped my teeth down her neck. "That sounds wonderful, baby doll."

"Just…before you go—" She leaned up to undo my pants, fumbling with the zipper.

I growled, sitting up to get rid of my jacket.

Looking back to Bella, she was still staring at me but scooting higher on the bed.

With my cock in my hand, I followed, my stomach tying in knots—needing her, yearning. "Don't get too far." I grabbed her ankles and pulled her impossibly closer.

Bella squealed, spreading her legs to yank me between them.

Her smiling face made me so happy.

For the past seven days, I've found that pleasuring her—making sure she's satisfied—brings me an immense amount of joy.

I make her scream.

I make her quiver, her body trembles from my touch.

I make her happy.

Me. Edward Medici. I do that.

Since the day we met, she hasn't ceased in making me feel better—like a man, or a god, and dangerous. I just feel as though I'm the best version of myself around her.

I feel lucky, too, knowing she could have any man out there.

And she's with me!

"You're ready…already." I smiled, my finger going up and down, sliding down the center of her slick pussy.

Bella melted back, fisting the blanket, her legs falling to her sides.

"That feels good, baby?" I crooned, dipping my finger inside of her.

She nodded, breathing heavily, and her eyes were closed, her lips parted.

The loud shrill of the telephone made us both jump.

But then Bella hopped out of the bed. She ran out of the room naked, frantic to answer the damn thing. The duel brass bells are crazy loud. She didn't want to wake the baby.

Out of breath, I collapsed back, and my erection was painful—my arousal present on the tip of my dick.


I looked to the doorway, my eyes raking down her form. "Come're." I wanted her to sit on my dick.

"It's Emmett," she said, jerking a thumb.

I groaned, palming my face. "Right." After two deep breaths, I grabbed on to my pants, and then I practically waddled into the kitchen. My cock was actually hurting—turned on to high heaven.

Bella wanted a red phone to match her kitchen, which I thought was cute. The Model 500 lay on the counter, and I picked up the receiver. "What?" I asked Emmett.

"It's a quarter to three…" He trailed off.

"Already?" I looked to my watch, and I knew I was supposed to meet Emmett at two. "I'll be there as soon as I can."

"Take your time." He didn't mean that.

Emmett just doesn't have the balls to demand I get my ass there.

I hung up the phone.

"Everything okay?" Bella's arms snaked around me.

I turned to see she'd put her robe on. "Take this off." I untied her sash, quick to push it off her shoulders. "Gimme you." My hands roamed down her back, and I picked her up to place her on the table.

Bella giggled, her thighs hugging my sides.

"I need you, baby." My mouth crashed to hers for one insane lip-lock. My cock found her fast, and I pushed in. "Fuck…" She felt too fucking good, and I paused, holding on to her knees tightly.

Bella whimpered against my lips, her fingers weaving into my hair. "Yes!" She placed quick kisses on my cheek, showing gratitude. "Fuck me, Edward."

I groaned, leaning back to hold her hips as mine started to move—slow at first, my momentum quickly building. I'd grunt and she'd moan whenever I'd get real deep.

My thrusts became relentless. I couldn't get enough—my cock dogging her pussy with force—and Bella couldn't get enough either. She moved with me, causing me to plunge even deeper with each buck of my hips.

"Shit—" I pulled out to stroke my dick.

Hot spurts landed on her stomach, and I let out a hiss, stimulated by the vision before me.

"Oh, fuck…" I chuckled, my head lolling; I was exhausted now.

Her finger swirled in my spunk that covered her, and then she sucked her finger into her mouth. "Salty."

I palmed her cheek. "I…" Speechless, I didn't know what to say. "I'll make it up to you later." I stepped back to tuck my shirt and fix my pants.

"Make it up to me?" Bella hopped from the table, using a dishrag to clean her stomach.

I stole the cloth from her, so I could do it. "You didn't finish…and I gotta go now."

"That was…Edward, that was just as enjoyable…I don't know what to say." She gazed up at me, her cheeks pink.

I dove for that mouth to kiss her deep, but when Li'l C started fussing—whining, not really crying—we broke apart.

I sighed, bending low to grab her bathrobe, and I draped it over her shoulders. "I'll be back…We'll eat." I hugged her tight. "We'll take that bath. Sound good, baby doll?" I'd also pick up those earrings I saw in the store window.

"You're coming back?" she asked.

I nipped her lips. "Yes."

She smiled. "I'll stop at the bakery, get something for dessert?"

I pinched her cheek. "Sure."

Then I watched as Bella ran back to Little Carlo's bedroom. "Mwah!" She blew me a big kiss.

I winked and caught it, and I put it in my pocket for later.

Quite a few people were already convening at the social club. It was early, and the crowd usually gathers after dark. It was Michael's—Jasper's father—birthday.

After greeting everyone, I entered my office.

To my surprise, Emmett wasn't on top of some broad. He was actually counting money.

"What's that from?" I asked, as everyone had kicked up on Thursday—payday.

"Oh, yeah. I forgot…You've been on vacation."

I quirked a brow, grabbing a Coca-Cola from the small, wet bar. "I'm not allowed to break in my goomarra?"

Emmett threw his head back to laugh. "Breakin' her in." He punched the air.

"Besides…I've been around all week," I defended; he acts like I legitimately disappeared. "Last night, I…Don't worry about it." I wasn't going to describe my headache. Nevertheless, Bella took care of me. After some aspirin powder, a cool shower, and she massaged my temples—I was feeling much better, was able to fuck the smarts outta her before passing out for the night.

Emmett chuckled. "I'm just bustin' ya chops, but…" He winced, staring at me. "We had a situation earlier...and last night."

"Such as?" I walked behind my desk to have a seat.

His face fell and he extended his hand to show me his palm, wanting to level with me; I knew that face. "I don't wanna step outta line, see? But—"

"Just spit it out." I sipped my soda pop.

"Rosalie came'a knockin' last night." He sat back. "She's…She had lunch with Ang earlier in the week—a few of the wives were with them." He shook his head. "Oh, Rose also stopped by about an hour ago with Renee, hoping to catch you."

I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose.

Having heard this before, I tuned Emmett out. Quite a few of my guys have approached me during the week. It seems most are now under house arrest. I don't understand why they don't tell their wives to get off their asses. I don't feel badly about what I'm doing. But Rose is making it a bigger issue than it has to be—filling people's heads with garbage, causing an uproar with the other wives.

"You gotta go home," Emmett said. "Ya know?" He seemed exasperated. "Every time I'm about to leave the house, Ang is hounding me—askin' if I'mma come back, and I've been goin' home every night—"

"Stop." I rolled my eyes. "I can't see how my actions have an effect—"

"Because all the wives are teaming up. I'm telling you…fix this before Isabella can't even leave the house. They're everywhere." He twirled a finger. "Rose keeps flappin' her gums. She's telling everyone your business—"

"Yeah." I left the chair, pausing when I stood erect. With his mentioning Bella, his words had finally gotten through to me. Well, hearing what he said got me very fuckin' angry. "I'll go home tonight." I shook my head, wanting to throw the pop bottle across the room. "I'll go home now!"

Emmett smiled, scooping a stack of cash up. "Your cut." He handed it to me.

I nodded, placing it in my jacket pocket, not bothering to ask where it was from. "Uh…I gotta make a telephone call."

Emmett saluted me as he walked toward the door.

Once alone, I sat back down to dial Bella's apartment. I hoped she hadn't left yet, as I hadn't left that long ago. A large part of me didn't want to call. I felt badly, and I didn't want to disappoint her.

But my not calling would be worse.

Fuck. If she didn't know better, Bella might come lookin' for me, too.


"Hey," I said.

"Edward?" she laughed. "You just left . . . and you never call." Her enthusiastic tone turned into a wary whisper. "Is everything okay?"

"Yeah." I tried to keep my voice breezy and light. "But…it doesn't look like I'm gonna make it for dinner…or back to your place tonight."

She was quiet on the other end.

"I'll be there tomorrow. We'll go to lunch after church?" I asked.

"Okay…I understand. Thank you for calling." She sounded down now.

I pushed my hair back. "Take care."

"Edward…I…yeah, I'll see you soon," she said.

I hung up the phone.

When I pulled into the driveway, I peeped Marie playing with a Hula-Hoop paces away.

Closing the car door, I waved.

She smiled, waving back but made no move to come closer.

I ran up the stoop, pausing to take a deep breath before entering.

Luckily, Rosalie wasn't home, which came as a relief.

That meant I wouldn't see her mean mug for a while longer.

Franny was home. She was reading a book on the couch, and the radio created a low hum.

"Hey…" I pinched her cheek with my knuckles.

She gave me a wry grin, looking back to her book.

I sat in the chair. "You're going to ignore me forever?"

Franny rolled onto her stomach to face me. "I have no idea what to say, Papa." Her voice was a dull monotone. "I heard Mom talking to Mrs. Picara…You got Bella an apartment? You're living with her—but…and," she spluttered. "You're married!" She started to cry.

I crawled to her on my knees, and I wiped her tears with my thumbs. "Francesca, I'm not living with her. Yes, I helped Bella…Your friend—"

Franny sobbed, "She's not my friend."

I sighed. "Her parents were keeping the baby from her. Bella wants to be a mother to her son…I helped." I shrugged. "It was the right thing to do, but no…Franny, I haven't been staying with her. Your mother and I argued." That wasn't a lie. "Mom told me not to come back…With work, with being busy…I've been staying in the vacant apartment above the store."

"You have?" Her voice was shaky.

"Yes." I nodded. "Bella and I…Franny, I took her to Coney Island last month. Actually, it was more than a month ago. She was fun to hang with. I enjoyed being with her, but nothing happened, baby." I palmed her cheek.

"I don't believe you." She left the couch.

I stared at the floor. "So, that's it?" I asked. "My word's no good? Franny, I am your father…You don't hafta like me, baby girl, but you will respect me." I stood up to stare at her. "Do you understand that? What I do outside this house has no bearing on my being your father."

"Yes, Papa." She wiped the tears from her cheeks. "May I be excused?"

I knew she ached to run upstairs, hide in her bedroom. "I don't like this…It breaks my heart that you don't believe me. Your mother kicked me out. I respected your mother enough to step back—let her cool off. I left…but I checked in." I nodded. "Every time I tried to take you to lunch, you declined the invite. I also made sure youse were taken care of. I've been getting money to your mother."

She sniffled and nodded. "I didn't know she made you leave."

"She told me not to come back." That wasn't a lie either. "Hopefully…I mean, when Mom gets home, we'll talk…" I didn't know what else to say.

Every bone in my body ached to flee the scene, to be honest.

Every bone in my body screamed for Bella…

Every bone in my body wanted to go home.

But I was home.

It just doesn't feel like home.

The apartment does . . .

"Where'd your mother go?" I asked.

"She went shopping with Mrs. Picara."

I couldn't believe that Roe and Renee were still friends. It seemed like—with Bella being Renee's daughter—it might be a conflict of interest. Then again, Bella hasn't been in touch with her parents since she left their house. "You're excused," I whispered.

Franny turned to run up the stairs.

I wasn't too far behind her, placing my hat on the banister post before following.

Once in my bedroom, I took off my jacket and my button-down to lie on the bed. I lit a cigarette and placed the ashtray on my stomach—got comfortable. The window was open, and I was able to hear the kids outside playing.

Truth be told, I didn't know what I was doing here.

Being here felt as though I was thrown back in the can—suffocating, agitating, and uncomfortable.

I left the room, going down to the kitchen because I needed a drink. There were a couple of Rolling Rocks in the fridge. There was wine in the cupboard. But behind the vino, I spotted a bottle of brandy. I had no idea how long it'd been there, but it tasted just fine.

After a few gulps, I was a bit more relaxed, but my mind still managed to wander.

I resented Rose.

I was angry with her.

Every muscle in my body tensed when the front door opened.

Luck was truly on my side because it was Marie.

She had to use the bathroom, and she was only here for five minutes.

"What's for dinner?" Marie asked.

Keeping my back to her, I poured some brandy into a coffee mug.


Filling it to the rim, as it was a smallish cup, I was quick to take a sip so I wouldn't spill it.

Then I turned to face her. "I don't know, baby girl." I couldn't believe Rose didn't plan something; she wasn't home to cook—to at least feed our children. "I'll think of something." I opened the fridge to see if there was anything I could heat up in the oven. "Maybe I'll get a pie from the pizza parlor?"

She shrugged, turning on the faucet to fill a glass with water, and then she gulped it down. I thought she looked adorable, panting and wiping her mouth with her forearm.

I used my handkerchief to get the sweat off her forehead. "You're a mess." Chuckling, I wet the cloth to wash her whole face; there was dirt on her cheek.

"Papa!" she exclaimed, trying to get away. "Stop."

"Whatta ya allergic to soap? Water? You're taking a bath tonight—after dinner." I grabbed her face to land a loud one on her forehead.

She giggled, wrapping her arms around me. "I love you, Papa…I've missed you."

That was when I knew I wouldn't be going anywhere in the near future—no matter how miserable. Franny and Marie come first, and maybe with my being around more, my eldest will forgive me.

"Love you, too…and you just saw me yesterday," I sighed, dipping to rest my cheek on her head. "You like pizza, right?"

Pizza joints are opening up all over the place. There are three in our neighborhood alone. When I was a kid, pizza—baked dough with tomato gravy and cheese—was a pauper's meal. Now, it's a fast-trending craze.

"Yeah…pizza's okay." She pushed her messy hair away from her forehead. "Can I go back outside?"

I nodded. "Streetlamp comes on, you come inside…or, you come in when I get back with dinner."

"Okay…Thanks, Papa…Um—" She paused. "Rachel's mom is gonna get White Castle. She said I could go with them."

I thought about that, but I didn't want to speak with Rachel's mother—that piggy dame that wanted to fuck, Stephanie.

"They're leaving soon. I'll be back before dark."

"Fine. You can go. Make sure you behave." I followed her out of the kitchen, taking a seat in the parlor. "Wait!"

Marie stopped short to face me.

I dug into my pocket for a dollar bill. "Here…just in case."

She gasped. "A whole dollar? Yowza!" Marie was giddy. "Thanks, Papa."

"You use that to buy your food—eat good." Hamburgers are only ten cents, but you never know. Marie loves White Castle, and she hardly eats. I hoped she'd stuff herself or something. I also didn't know if it was their treat or not. "Gimme kiss."

She giggled, landing a smooch on my cheek. "Can I keep the change? I can get ice cream, too."

"Yeah, knock yourself out, but you eat supper—get real food." I sipped and winced, swallowing down the booze.

"Thanks!" she shouted, running out of the house.

The brandy went down pretty fucking smooth after a couple more sips. I cut myself off and didn't refill my cup. I'm not usually a fan of the hard stuff; meanwhile, I truly needed that fucking drink. It helped keep me sane, and I was able to read the paper. But nothing stopped my leg from bouncing; nothing stopped the anger that coursed through my veins.

I was trapped with no escape in sight.

Sure, I could head to the social club, see what I could get into tonight.

However, I had to be here to speak with my wife, so she saw my face.

At sixty thirty, Rose came waltzing through the door with Renee on her heels. My wife was happy, smiling over her shoulder to her friend. They had paper sacks in their arms. I gathered Rose went grocery shopping.

Her face fell—it drained of color—when her eyes landed on me.

"Didn't expect me?" I asked.

Renee placed a bag on the floor, eyeing me warily. "I should go."

Roe never acknowledged her, too busy staring at me. She didn't seem angry at all, but I was irate and indignant—enough for the both of us.

Renee let herself out.

I stood from the chair. "Get upstairs." I pointed.

Roe's lip quivered. "Just let me explain—"

"Now!" I shouted, my body stiffening.

Rose placed her sacks on the bottom step before running up.

I took a detour on my way to the bedroom.

I stopped in the kitchen to sip from that bottle.

When my brain was fuzzy enough and I knew I wouldn't kill her, I walked upstairs. I stopped at Franny's door. After knocking once, I poked my head in. She had wide eyes, most likely thinking I was rude. "There's groceries downstairs. Please put them away…"

She nodded, leaving her bed and closing her book.

"While you're down there, start dinner—make whatever you want. Mom's gotta headache."

"Okay. Does she need—"

"I got it. I'll take care of Mom, you get supper ready." I gestured to the stairs.

"I will." Franny walked around me to run down the steps.

I entered my bedroom and closed the door.

Roe sat on the bed, hugging a pillow.

I took a seat next to her. "I'm not going to scream, and neither are you…You raise your fuckin' voice, and I'll give you a reason to scream. Do you understand, Rosalie?" I gritted my teeth, but my voice was barely above a whisper.


I put a finger up to silence her. "You…" I laughed, staring back to her. "You went to the club? Not once but twice. You're telling everyone my business…Roe…" I was speechless, trying with all my might not to yell.

"I wanted you to come home."

"You told me to leave. You kicked me out," I explained.

"You said you slept with her. That it was over. Now, you got that—that—tramp!"

"Watch your mouth!" I swung my arm, backhanding her.

Roe gasped, palming her cheek.

"Keep your fuckin' voice down," I seethed. "You're talkin' all this shit. Our daughter fuckin' hates me. You did that. You made it so. She don't need to know what I do. Just like you don't—" I shook my head.

"The whole neighborhood knows because—because you had to put on a show!"

I smacked her again, getting the other cheek. "Keep going."

She cried into her hands.

"What goes on in this house, stays in this house. You don't approach my guys, you don't go to the club. You don't gossip with your friends. Understand?"

"I'm your wife," she whispered. "This is your home. The girls and me—we're your family."

I had no reply for that—Roe's vicious, starts all this trouble, and now she wants to play some victim. She knows better than to have done what she did. And I refuse to feel badly about the week I just had.

Actually, I mourned yesterday and the day before, and the day before that…

And I loathed today, Rose, every-fucking-thing.

I've kept in touch with my children. I've made sure they had money, that there was food on the table. I don't have to be here every day to be a decent father.

"Maybe I haven't been here, but I've kept in touch with my daughters." Angry, irrationally so, I balled my hands into fists.

Knowing I had to let it go, I stiffened, hoping it'd ebb.

"Bella…she's your goomarra?" she asked, trying to hit me with that pillow. "How could you? You sleepin' with whoever—but now?" She stared at me, expectant.

"Don't concern yourself with that. It's none of your business," I whispered. "I don't owe you a fuckin' thing, Roe. You told me to leave; I left…It's that simple."

She grabbed my hand. "Stay then. Stay with me."

I pulled my hand out of hers. "Stop."

"You're unbelievable. We're your family. Your place is here…not with that disgusting, little whore and her bastard kid!"

I snapped—jumped for her.

Rose flew back as I held the pillow to her face, hoping to end her, hoping to shut that trap for good.

Just so she'd finally shut the fuck up!

Her legs flailed, her nails clawed at my hands, and her screams were muffled.

"You gonna be quiet?" I asked, pushing her down into the mattress. "Huh?" I gritted my teeth, hoping to smash her face.

"Mom…?" Franny knocked.

I removed the pillow, backing down. "She's restin'!" I bit out. "Go downstairs."

Franny's footfalls were rapid, and I thanked God she'd stopped me.

"Fuck!" I couldn't even look at Roe, practically running from our bedroom.

Her wails could be heard from downstairs, and I didn't know what to do.

Between a rock and a hard place, I paced the hallway.

My wife is fucking stupid.

If I left, she'd just start her shit all over again—looking for me, harassing my crew for my whereabouts.

I ran back into the bedroom. "You're going to stop this!"

Roe reached for me. "I'm sorry—"

I stepped away. "For the last time, you don't concern yourself with what I do outside this house. Understand?"

"Yes." She nodded, wiping her eyes. "I'm sorry," she cried. "I'm sorry, Edward." Roe hugged onto me. "Edward…" She tried to place my arms around her.

Reluctantly, I embraced her.

"Do you love her?" she asked.

"No," I said.

"But you love me?" She searched my eyes.

I nodded, lying like I always do. "You're my wife. What do you think?" Placing my lips to hers tied my stomach in knots—made my fucking skin crawl!

When her tongue slipped into my mouth, I turned away, hugging her tightly instead. We rarely kiss with tongue, and I didn't have it in me to start now. The thought of swapping spit with her was disgusting.

Roe hummed, rubbing my shoulders. "Make love to me…I've missed you so much."

My body stiffened again and I stood still.

"Edward…" She rose to her toes to kiss my neck.

"Get on the bed," I whispered, just wanting to get it over with.

And fucking Roe without a desire in my body for her was something I'd have to get used to.

"Turn around." I couldn't look at her, knowing that if I closed my eyes . . .

I could picture someone else.

Vaguely, I wondered if I could run downstairs for one of those paper sacks.

The next morning, I went to church for the first time in over ten years. It was all for show—to put on a show by showing up with my family. I barely paid attention to the priest as he prattled on, reading scripture.

My head whipped in every direction, looking for someone—a certain brunette—but I couldn't find her amongst the sea of people. The church was packed, and I know that for an hour every Sunday, the streets of Gravesend are desolate.

While people lined up to receive communion, I ducked out to smoke a cigarette.

"Looking for me?"

I turned so fast that I almost stumbled. "Hey."

Bella had Little Carlo on her hip. "I was hiding in the back…I don't even know why I came." She looked to her shoes.

I grasped Li'l C's hand. "Hello."

He smiled at me, and my eyes slowly trailed to his mother.

Loose ringlets of curls rested on her shoulders, and yet her hair was pushed back with bobby pins. She wore a simple white, sleeveless dress with pink flowers—a pink shawl draped over her elbows, low on her arms.

"You're beautiful." I smiled.

Bella blushed, looking out to the street. "We better get going. Mass is about to let out." She pursed her lips. "I guess I came…to see if my parents would talk to me." She shook her head. "I still can't believe I'm here."

"I'll—" I wanted to offer her a ride. My family and I walked to church this morning, as it's only a couple of blocks away.

"Will I see you later?" she asked, adjusting Little Carlo on her hip.

I put my hands out and took him from her; he's growing like a weed, getting heavier. "Hey…" I tickled his side.

He laughed, wincing and resting his head on my chest.


I paused, taking half a second for myself before I turned to Rose. "I'll be right in."

Rose stared daggers at us, her deadly stare fixated on Bella.

"I'll be right in," I repeated myself.

Roe went back inside.

"I should go." Bella took her son from my arms.

"I'll give youse a ride," I said. "Let's go." Placing my hand on her back, we descended the stairs.

"Edward, we can take the bus. It's no big deal—"

"You're not taking the bus," I disagreed. "Let's go."

We walked fast. Bella kept looking behind us, as if someone would chase us, and I chuckled. It was funny but Bella didn't think so. It only took us a few minutes to reach my car. She sat in the back with the baby, and I went the long way.

"I won't be by later," I said.

"Oh…" She nodded.

"I don't know when I'll be back." It was apparent that I was getting carried away. Roe was correct to an extent. My place was with my family, though I ached to be with Bella. I missed her body—her skin, her eyes, her scent, her pussy. I missed our talks, having a conversation that didn't turn into an argument.

"That's fine, I guess," Bella whispered; her tone suggested it wasn't fine. "Can you come upstairs for a minute, though?"

I didn't reply—not wanting to say no and knowing I wouldn't want to leave.

When I pulled into the driveway, I made no move to leave the car.

"Can you wait a few minutes?" she asked. "I just wanna run up and get something."

"Okay." I shut down the car and lit a cigarette.

Once again, I felt anxious but not in a bad way.

It took a lot of self-control not to follow Bella, and she wasn't gone that long.

I hadn't even finished my cigarette and Bella was running down the stairs. She wore a big smile, and she had a round box in her hands. "Here…I hope you like it." She handed it to me through the open window.

I stared at the box—a mix of surprise, awe, and sadness suddenly in me.

I couldn't remember the last time someone had given me something.

A gift.

A real gift.

"This is for me?" I asked.

She giggled and lifted the lid. "I'm not allowed to get my boyfriend a present?" She tore a hat out of the box. "See? It's brown tweed. It'll go great with the brown suit…"

I chuckled, taking it from her. "It's sharp—very nice."

She bent low to kiss my cheek.

I turned to catch her lips, kiss her deeply and with force before leaning my forehead to hers. "Thank you, baby doll…This is great."

"You like it?" she asked.

"Love it," I promised, feeling as though I'd been kicked in the stomach. "We should talk. We need to talk…" I blew out a breath. "Where's the baby?"

"In his crib…he's fine, but I should go back in." She stepped away from the car.

I grasped her hand before she could get too far.

"It really wasn't a big deal. You left all that money, so…" She seemed nervous. "What do you wanna talk about?"

I let her go, knowing she'd hate the words I had to say. "It's…" I cleared my throat. "It can wait . . . Take care."

She lifted her hand and gave me a curt nod.

Five miserable fucking days.

The longest five days of my life.

I stayed away for five days.

I worked, hung at the social club, and I spent time with my family—all while I ached to seek Bella out.

Giuseppe from the flower shop says that she's been gracious, accepts the bouquets and gifts while wearing a smile daily.

Distancing myself actually worked wonders, though.

After two days away, I thought about her less.

After three days away, I was too busy to dwell on much.

Four days away, I was horny as fuck.

On day five, when fucking Roe sounded like a decent plan, I left—knowing I had something better.

It was late when I pulled into the driveway. I hoped she'd be awake.

While I grabbed Bella's gift from the trunk, I saw that the lamp was on in the bedroom.

I used my key to enter the apartment. The faint scent of garlic was in the air, and I wondered what she'd made for dinner. No matter, I tried not to make too much noise as I walked to the bedroom.

Bella left the light on, but she'd fallen asleep.

I placed the large box I had on the chair and crawled to lay next to her on the bed.

Maybe in sleep she felt me near. Bella turned to nestle into my arms, her hair a mess, covering her face.

I smiled, gently pushing the locks away from her cheek.

"Hmmm, Edward."

"I'm here," I whispered, placing a soft kiss on her forehead.

Her eyes fluttered open, and then she smiled. "Hi."

"Hey…" I grasped her chin to place my lips to hers. "Tired?"

She hummed, turning to stretch her arms. "Long day…I saw my mom."

I rested my head next to hers on the pillow. "How'd that go?"

"She doesn't understand." She rolled to face me again. "I mean, at first…I had an idea of what this would be like. But my mother doesn't understand that we're together." She held my hand. "Because we wanna be together. That we—"

"Oh…" I dreaded and yearned for that—

I shook those thoughts away.

"My mom thinks I'm…"

"You're my…" I whispered as my heart started to hammer away. "My goomarra—nothing more, nothing less." It killed me to call her that.

Bella sat up to stare down at me.

I cringed and then followed, swinging my legs over the side of the bed. "I'm not your boyfriend, Bella…This is an arrangement. I thought you understood that. I take care of you, and you…take care of me." I couldn't look at her, but it's best she learns this from now.

So she doesn't get hurt in the long run. "I'm married, baby doll."

Chancing a glance at her, Bella's eyes were glassy and she wouldn't look at me.

"Bella?" I asked.

"Oh, I know." She nodded. "I knew that." Her chin wrinkled and her lip quivered.

"Baby…" I reached for her hand.

She stopped me. "I know this is an arrangement." Bella left the bed. "Excuse me." She walked out of the room.

I thought about going after her, but I didn't.

Instead, I got undressed and smoked a cigarette while I waited for her.

Bella appeared in the doorway minutes later with red-rimmed eyes.

She didn't say anything, hurrying to get into her side of the bed.

Under the covers, she kept her back to me.

I snatched the small box I had in my pocket from the nightstand. "I got you something." I held it out to her.

"I got you the hat because…Not so you'd get me something."

I leaned over, turning her. "Why you crying?"

"Oh." She reached for her eyes. "I stubbed my toe…" But then she began to sob, covering her face. "I'm fine." Her hands mumbled her words.

"Look at me." I made her face me. "Look at what I got'cha." The sight of her in tears made my stomach ache. "Come on, baby doll." I rubbed her back.

Bella sat up to take the box from me, and then she opened it. "Are these real?" She sniffled.

I nodded; those diamond earrings cost a pretty penny. "You want what's in the big box?"

She looked to it on the chair, but she didn't say anything.

I pecked her cheek, quick to leave the bed. "I saw this…" Actually, I went to the store for it specifically. "Diamonds and furs." I snatched the mink from the box. "Aren't they a girl's best friends?"

Her eyes were huge.

I chuckled, bringing it over to her.

But Bella's face fell. "I don't have any friends."

Ignoring her words, I made the fur dance. "Wanna try it on?"

"No." She threw herself down, turning her back on me.

I sighed, sitting on my legs before returning her mink to the box. Then I got back in bed to gather her into my arms.

"I'm tired," she whispered.

I kissed along her cheek, trailing a few down her neck.

Instinctively, I wanted to remind her—that she can't say no to me.

But I didn't.

I had a feeling that I'd hurt Bella's feelings enough for one night.

But isn't it better she learn the truth? Accept it from now?

Then a war waged inside of me—wondering why I'd want to be with someone who didn't want me.

I know Bella wants me, though.

She's just upset.

She'll get over it.

"Oh, I forgot…why you're here in the first place." Bella kicked the sheets off and lifted her nightgown. "Just be quick." She still wouldn't face me.

I smirked, pulling her into my arms. "You don't mean that," I whispered, nibbling on her earlobe. "You don't want me to be quick."

Bella didn't respond to my words or my touch.

"Bella…?" I tickled her bicep, and I enjoyed how smooth her skin felt. "Hmm?" I kissed up her arm to her neck again, my hands roaming along her side. My cock was hard in an instant. "You wet?" My paw snuck between her thighs. I knew I'd be able to enter her with little resistance, but she wasn't dripping—not like she usually is.

"Just fuck me already," she whispered, sticking her ass out.

Quickly, I got onto my knees to grab my cock, and then my knees parted her legs a bit. "I missed you." Dipping low, I lined us up, resting my chin on her shoulder. "Did you miss me?"

"No," she said.

I smiled, pushing into her. "Liar—"

Once she sheathed me, I let out a curse. She felt as amazing as she did five days ago, maybe even better since I missed her crazy. My arms snaked under her arms, holding her back to my chest.

Bella's breaths quickened, which spurred me on; meanwhile, she kept digging her face into the pillow to mask her pleasure.

"You feel so good, baby doll." I picked up the pace a bit. "You like that?" I leaned away to hold her ass as I fucked her with force.

Bella whimpered, lifting her hips, pushing back into me.

"There you go…" I leaned into her, my hands traveling to her breasts. "Turn around."

"No." She panted. "Just fuck me."

I groaned, going even faster, aching to see the joy on her face.

Grasping her hair, I wrapped my hand around every lock I could gather. "Come're." I lifted her, bringing her to her knees. "I want you to come on my cock." My fingers crawled along her stomach to massage her clit.

Bella melted back against me, her nails digging into my thighs.

"You gonna come for me?" My thrusts grew faster, holding her down onto me.

"No," she moaned, gasping for breath.

My finger twirled and I added more pressure. She tightened and then her pussy fluttered around me, and I knew she was close.

Growling, I pushed her forward before tearing the nightgown from her body. "Turn around." I spun her and she landed on her back.

Her gorgeous face was flushed, a sheen of sweat on her forehead, and her chest heaved as she stared up at me.

I grabbed her face to kiss her deep, my hips getting between her thighs. "Gorgeous, baby doll." My cock slid right in.

Bella's eyes widened.

I placed her legs on my shoulders, needing to dig deeper, fuck her harder. "Touch your pussy." I put her hand between us, and I leaned back—holding her hips, my cock suddenly relentless, and her tits jiggled, and it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. "Come!" I used more force, our skin slapping, sounding, and serenading.

Bella licked her lips, moving with me. "Edward—" A loud groan fell from those lips, and her body was still as a statue.

I watched, unable to tear my eyes away, while her pussy milked my cock. "There you go, baby doll . . . You good?" I crooned, bending to kiss those lips.

Bella panted, giving me her cheek.

I nodded. "Oh…okay."

But Bella wasn't finished teasing me. She moaned, reaching to palm her breasts, tweak her nipples. "Harder."

I complied, picking up the pace.

"Harder!" she shouted.

I fucked her as hard and as fast as I could without hurting her.

But she wanted more, slapping my chest and shouting her demand.

Gritting my teeth, I squeezed her hips, getting as deep as I could to let go. Coming inside her was like nothing I'd ever felt before. My orgasm lasted longer than usual—pulling and pushing her on and off my cock slowly.

"I'm your slut." Bella leaned up on her elbows to meet my gaze.

"Mine." I panted. "Mine…" She was just mine. Bella belonged to me, a notion that sent shivers down my spine, filled me with joy.

"Get off." She pushed me. "You shoulda pulled out. Why—"

I collapsed onto my back. "I don't hafta…"

"Thank God my period's due any day." She ran from the room to get into the bathroom.

Feeling much better, I lit a cigarette, groaning when I inhaled.

Finally relaxed, I felt the best I had in days.

I was putting my smoke out when Bella entered the room again. She took off her bathrobe to put her nightgown back on. I noticed it was long, cotton, and it had bows on it. It looked like something a child would wear.

"Don't wear that anymore." I reached to touch her cheek.

At first, she leaned into my touch, but then she pulled away.

Bella turned off the lamp and settled down, kept her back to me.

I lay to my side to face her. "Baby doll…?" My hand roamed down her side.

"I wanna go to sleep."

I nodded, scooting closer to gather her into my arms.

Bella stopped me. "If I'm just your whore, don't act like my boyfriend."

My brows twitched as I stared to the ceiling, knowing she had a point.

I sighed, turning over to close my eyes.

From that day on, Bella changed.

She was almost bitter, but she embraced me whenever we'd fuck. It was almost like she had a thicker skin, and she definitely wasn't as emotional as she'd been in the past.

All while I tried to establish a balance—spending time with her and being around for my family. It got easier as the summer went on.

By August, things were perfect, and they'd stay perfect if I could successfully dodge Roe…thwart all her efforts to fuck me.

If Roe maintained her distance, things would have been perfect.

But she didn't do that.

And the opportunity to sneak away, go to Bella's, were few and far between.

Something had to give.

Thank you for reading.

Please leave me your thoughts.