AN: Hi lovelies! *bows head in guilt* I am SO sorry for the update delay :( But I am sure all of you can understand with the holidays, things in my life have been busy! Anyhow, again my apologies. I hope this longish chapter will make up for it :) I feel I should warn you guys again, that this is an angsty one and for about 3 chapters from here on, things will be gloomy. So if that's not your cup of tea, then I nicely suggest you probably shouldn't continue reading. If you are still giving this a shot, thank you! Okay, I will chat with you more at the end. As always I would like to thank those of you who just added this fic to your alerts and favorites. It means so much!

***Disclaimer: Of course it's not mine. All things Twilight are the amazing Stephenie Meyer's! However, this story line, characterizations, etc, are mine though! L.K. 2013

***My beta is the loyal and great Serenshadow! Thanks as always bb for your awesome beta skills and support!

***Please READ this warning before you continue on! This story contains the subject of infidelity. If you are NOT comfortable reading about it, then I am kindly suggesting you exit now! I am NOT forcing you to read this. For those of you are willing to give this a shot, thank you!***

***This chapter today is dedicated to three wonderful gals! Lissalou72, my niece, and Kjerstin96. Thank you for your amazing support for this story and for my writing! I appreciate it so very much!


If Only

Chapter 5: Goodbye's and Promises

"Never say goodbye because saying goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting."

–Peter Pan

**EPOV**

This is insane, I just asked a married woman to marry me!

Obviously, I didn't prepare well for this; I didn't even present her with a ring.

I suppose none of that matters, I just need her to say yes.

I need her to finally choose me, choose us.

Bella removes herself from my arms and looks deep in my eyes. "No, Edward. I'm sorry but I can't marry you. Y-you can't just ask me that…it's not fair."

I had a sinking feeling that would be her answer. Maybe I can convince her to consider the idea of leaving Riley. You have, several times over the last few months.

Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I continue setting myself up for heartbreak over and over again? I'm a fool who is madly in love that's why. I believe in us, I believe with all of my heart that we can build a future together. If only she wasn't so damn scared and he didn't have such a fucking hold on her!

Stroking her thick hair, I sigh quietly. "You're right, maybe it's not fair. But, it's also not fair to keep doing this to each other, to them. So…go away with me, Bella. Tonight. I'll help you pack some of your belongings and-"

She shakes her head and the torn expression etched on her face rips my heart in half. "Eddie, I wish I could, more than anything, but-"

"No, no excuses this time. Let's do it. We will go anywhere you desire, as long as we're together."

Bella takes a deep breath, lays her head down on my chest and I feel a single tear slip out of her eye. "Edward, stop. Please, just don't."

Gently, I cradle her face between my hands, forcing her to meet my gaze. "Bella, I love you more than my own life, more than anyone else in this world. You know that, don't you?"

She nods as more wetness releases out of her eyes and glides down her rosy cheeks. "Yes, of course I do. And I love you too."

"Then that's all that matters. Let's just quit thinking and just…do."

Bella and I can make this work somehow. We can do this; we have to. I can't go another day being without her. All the sneaking around has taken a toll on the both of us.

A piercing, vibrating sound interrupts our short moment of silence. My eyes land on my pants where there lay on the floor.

"I think that's for you." Bella mutters sourly. She clears her throat and springs off the sofa, "You better get going. I've already kept you long enough."

I reach out for her and gently grab her wrist before she can walk away.

"What are you doing?"

Avoiding my gaze, she looks down at her feet and mumbles, "I'm going to put my robe on…and you are leaving."

"No, I'm not." Carefully, my hands clutch her waist and I spin her around to face me. "I need you, baby. Please."

Bella wipes her tear stained face and frowns sorrowfully. "Edward, no. Don't make this harder on us than it already is. You need to leave."

She and I damn well know she doesn't want me to go. I've lost count of how many times Bella has said that same thing before. I don't understand why she does; she never means it.

I pull her close and she climbs on top of me, straddling my lap. Immediately, I attack her neck with my mouth, kissing her skin ardently.

"Edward," Bella gasps as she sways her hips back and forth.

Goddamn it, I'm hard again, aching to feel her wet heat slide over my length.

"I love you, so damn much. Always, my beautiful treasure." I whisper in her ear, softly sucking on her lobe.

Bella moans in pleasure and rocks her body faster. "I love you more, Eddie."

My lips capture hers in an urgent, fiery kiss and my hands begin exploring her beautiful body again.

Soon we're no longer on the couch and inside the guest room. I take the lead this time making slow, tender love to her.

As I move in and out of her tenderly, I tell Bella how much I love her, how she means everything to me and that she will be the only woman who will forever possess my heart.

I want this precious time to last. For some reason I have a feeling it may be our last for a while.

If only she were mine, truly mine.

At least behind closed doors, she is, and I am hers. Only hers.

***IO***

"Well, handsome," Bella says sweetly as she unlocks the front door and turns to face me. "Take care of yourself. I'll call you soon, promise."

Stretching up on her tiptoes, she curls her arms around my neck and kisses me chastely.

She's promised that before and I end up waiting months for her call. This can't keep going. I want to wake up beside her in the morning and hold her in my arms late at night. I want her all the time. Not in secret. Not every other month or so. I need more. Doesn't she want the same?

I take a step back and exhale sharply, blurting out the words before I can stop myself. "I can't…I don't think I can do this anymore, Bella. It's only hurting us."

I can't look at her straight in the eyes; if I do, she'll know I was bluffing.

"When have I heard that before, Cullen?" Bella teases with a hint of concern in her tone. "We're unable to stay away from each other. It's impossible and you know it."

Fuck, why did she say that! Because it's true, don't deny it!

"Dammit Bella, you're not listening! I think its best if we-"

My cell vibrates repeatedly inside my pocket and my heart plummets to my stomach.

It's Irina, again.

Great job, asshole! She's probably worried sick, thinking that I've forgotten our special plans. I have to hurry the hell out of here. I won't let her down. I owe her tonight, I promised her.

"You better go, she wants you." Bella whispers, a trace of resentment clear in her voice.

She is the other woman; she has no right being jealous and spiteful of Irina. I cringe and shake my head ruefully over the thought.

As I reach over and lightly stroke Bella's cheek with my hand, a burning ache strikes my chest. "I'm sorry baby, so sorry. I meant what I said; we shouldn't do this to each other, to them...not anymore."

I close the space between us and place a gentle kiss on her forehead. "I, I have to go. Good-bye, Bella."

"But, you…you proposed! You asked me to run away with you and-"

"I did, but you refused and I just don't want to be your second choice anymore."

Bella shakes her head, her bottom lip quivering as tears slip out of her eyes. "That's not true, Eddie. You aren't my second choice. I love you. Please, don't do this. Please."

It's incredibly tempting to give in, to wrap my arms around her, and tell her I didn't mean it. The last thing I want to do is hurt her. But, she needs to figure things out; she needs to finally make a choice.

Sucking in a deep breath, I hastily open the door and nearly fall apart when Bella murmurs, "You'll be back. You don't mean this…Eddie-"

"No. I won't be back, Bella."

The bleak tone in my voice captures her attention and Bella clutches onto my forearm. "Y-you really mean it this time, don't you?"

I steal a glance behind my shoulder and our eyes meet. The desperation and anguish written on her face guts me. Nevertheless, I remove her hand from my arm and walk right out the door.

"I'm sorry, deeply sorry, my beautiful. I think…we need some time. I need time to think."

I wait for a few moments to see if maybe just maybe she will try to stop me from leaving. Hoping she will say the words I've longed to hear. Wetness stings my eyes as I realize she hasn't taken a single step or said anything.

My heart weighs heavier with each step I take towards my car. Moments later as I'm backing out of Bella's driveway, I catch a glimpse of her. She's watching me with a devastated look on her face as tears flow down her eyes.

I didn't want this. I truly didn't, but I had to do this for her. All I have ever wanted was for her to be happy. So, I need to let her go, let her continue on with her life with him; the bastard I resent and always will. He has her and I never fully will.

Dear God, what have I done? I should turn the car back around and go to her. No, I can't! I have to quit thinking about Bella and focus on the woman I am going home to and make it up to her.

Make it up to her? You've already done enough damage; it's too late to do right by Irina! Jesus, I am a despicable human being. Irina deserves better!

During the rest of the drive home, thoughts of Bella haunt my mind. I wish things were different.

If only I had the chance to turn back time.

***IO***

12:20 a.m.

Irina is sound asleep and I'm tossing and turning on the bed, thanks to my brain keeping me wide-awake.

I hope it was a memorable evening for her, even though we arrived at the restaurant nearly a half an hour late. Surprisingly, my being late didn't entirely ruin her mood. Well, she felt better after yelling at me the minute I walked in the door. I let her vent and then I apologized for being a dick, lying that work was the reason for my tardiness. At dinner, Irina beamed about her promotion, chatting away about what her new responsibilities will be and I listened attentively as a good boyfriend should.

Good boyfriend, I am anything but!

I twist my head around and stare forlornly at her face. Why haven't I come clean to her about my affair with Bella and broke things off with her, as I should have long ago?

Why am I incapable of loving her the way she's worthy of? Irina is an amazing, generous woman. Any man would be lucky to have her. However, I have her and I don't feel any deep affection for her, not the way I used to. I mean, I love and care about her. But, I'm not in love with her.

Christ, how did I allow things to get so out of hand?

"I'm sorry Iri," I murmur sadly under my breath.

Sighing, I reach for my phone that's lying on the nightstand. Oh, you don't you dare! Why are you even contemplating it?

I can't help myself. Damn me to hell, I miss Bella already. Have you forgotten what you told her last night?

No, I haven't. But, I'm weak and incapable of keeping my word. Ever since she came back in my life, it has been impossible to stay away from her.

Quickly, I snatch my cell off the table and slip out of the bed. I walk out of the bedroom and head over to the study. Once inside, I shut the door, stroll to my desk, and sit down on the leather chair.

What are you doing Cullen for fucks sakes?

I glare at my phone for a long minute, then I pull up the contacts list and find Bella's name. Before I change my mind, I shoot her a quick text.

E: Hey, are you still awake?

A minute passes by before my phone buzzes. Nervously, I read her response.

B: Just barely. I'm glad to hear from you, I've been thinking about you ever since you left earlier... Wait, I'm confused. I thought you ended things between us. You said you needed time to think.

E: Yes, I did and I thought I needed time. However, you were right. After all that we've been through, I just can't shut you out of my life.

I press the send button and wait impatiently for her reply. My heart skips a beat when the phone in my hand shakes and my eyes anxiously read the words.

B: I'm so sorry about before, I shouldn't have let you leave like that. I'm grateful you changed your mind, Eddie. I need you in my life. I can't be without you.

That's all I needed to know, her reassurance for what she feels for me.

I sigh in relief and hurriedly type on the screen.

E: Baby, it's all right. I know you didn't mean to. I can't be without you either. I meant what I asked you last night, Bella. I want you to marry me. We can do this. All you have to do is pack your things and I'll set up the arrangements.

Have you completely lost your mind Cullen? How stupid are you? What about the life that you built here? What about Irina, your family? You can't hurt them like this!

I can't think about them right now. If I do, I might actually tell Bella to stay out of my life and mean it this time. That is something I don't want to do, ever. I'm too selfish. I want us to have a chance at being together again.

I receive another incoming message alert and I worriedly view it.

B: It's just that simple to you, isn't it? To pack up some suitcases and just flee the country? To leave everything and everyone behind? I mean, I wish it were. I wish we could just be together without any cares in the world.

I pinch the bridge of my nose and groan deeply. Of course, it's not simple! We would hurt people that we care for. But, at this rate I can't fret over that. I just finally want her to myself. I want us to begin a new life with each other. And to hell with who you hurt, right?

A question that I occasionally ask Bella crosses my mind. I've never gotten a straight answer out of her; perhaps it will be different when I ask her this time.

E: Let me ask you something I've asked before, Bella. Are you happy? Truly happy with your life right now?

My chest tightens when her answer came much too fast.

B: Of course, I'm happy! Why do you always ask me this?

She's lying. When I had asked her that very question before face to face, I noticed the pain and sorrow in her eyes. I don't understand her. She knows she can tell me anything, there is no need for her to lie to me. So, why is she fooling herself?

E: But, are you happy with him, Bella? Are you in love with him, the way you love me?

I start to grow concerned after a full two minutes pass and she still hasn't replied to my last text. Then, finally, my cell alerts me.

B: What do you want me to say, Edward, that I'm fucking miserable with my life? With him?

Goddammit it, why can't she just be honest with me!

E: I want you to be honest with yourself Bella, with me. Why do you call me, run to me, desire me if things are so great with him?

Jesus that was a fucked up thing to say! A part of me wishes I could take it back. I know why Bella won't leave Riley; I know that things between them have been downhill for a long time. I don't mean to hurt her but she needs to face the truth! She can't stay married to him out of guilt or obligation. It's wrong for her and frankly, for him as well.

B: Eddie, how could you say such a thing? You know I can't leave him…what if he…I can't hurt him.

A surge of anger hits me and I rapidly type up my response and send it, without thinking twice.

E: What about me, Bella? Don't you fucking care that you are hurting me, too?

A lump emerges in the center of my throat and I swallow hard, struggling to keep the tears at bay. I hate doing this with her. I don't want us to fight; lord knows we have too many times in the past.

B: Of course I care, Eddie! It kills me…you have no idea how much I hate myself for all the suffering you have endured because of me.

Wistful, I inhale sharply and shake my head. I don't want her to hate herself. I just want her to end the marriage she's no longer content in. We have to stop believing that we can make things work with them. I want us to quit sneaking around and being deceitful.

E: Beautiful, don't hate yourself. This isn't all on just you. I agreed to this also; remember? I knew what I was getting myself into when we began having this affair. But, haven't you asked yourself, how much longer we can keep going through with this?

A lengthy, torturous minute later, my phone buzzed.

B: I know this is on the both of us and yes, I have asked myself that. I do every time we're together. I get so scared thinking that the next time I see you may be the last or that we'll finally get caught…I know we can't keep doing this forever.

E: No, we can't. So, that brings us back to what I asked you before, are you happy with him? What do you want, Bella?

B: No, I'm not. I mean, I try to be. I try so hard to be the woman he needs, to be the good, loving wife everyone thinks I am. It's mostly pretend. It's been this way for too long now. It's so damn hard.

As I read, a light layer of tears coat my eyes.

B: What do I want? You, Edward. Everyday I think about you, long to be with you. When we're not together, I miss you so damn much it hurts.

Taking a deep breath, I run my fingers through my hair. My heart drops as her words sink in. I hate that she is so miserable. I hate that we got ourselves into this situation.

I should do the right thing and stay away from her so that she could work things out with him. No, you should keep fighting for her! I'm trying but I need her to fight for us too.

E: If you really meant everything you said, then do what it takes to be with me. Just say the words, sweetheart.

B: I can't. I'm sorry, Eddie. I have to go. I'll be in touch soon.

Dammit, I fucked up! Just when I was so close to getting through to her, she pulls back. I don't want to end this discussion with her being sad and upset. I have to set things right.

E: No, wait! Don't go yet, please.

B: Edward, I really have to go. Goodnight.

Shit! Is he awake? Did he catch her texting me? I sure hope not! I won't be able to get any sleep though until I know she is all right. I'm about to take a huge risk here, but I need to hear her voice.

It takes until the fifth ring for Bella to pick up.

"Eddie, what are you doing calling me? Are you crazy?" She snaps in a hoarse whisper.

"I'm sorry. I just had to hear your voice. I won't be able to sleep unless I know we're okay."

Bella exhales softly in my ear. "I'm sorry too. I didn't mean to blow up at you like that. I'm actually glad you called."

I close my eyes briefly as fatigue sets in; I'm exhausted. It's been a long, eventful day and some rest would do me wonders. I wish I were with Bella so we could sleep in each other's arms.

"You aren't upset with me, are you?"

She's silent for a minute and then she responds, "No, definitely not. Why would I be? You were right, about all of it. I'm angry with myself. Listen, I don't want to Eddie, but I really should hang up. Just in case."

Stupidly, I utter out, "Don't go. Let him find you talking to me. He needs to know about us."

"What the hell is the matter with you?" Bella yells quietly. "Okay, I'm hanging up now. Call me when you have some common sense."

What's the matter with me?

I sigh and settle down my nerves before speaking again. "No, no baby, don't hang up. Listen, I apologize, that was insensitive. It's just…it's becoming more and more difficult seeing you every couple of months."

"Don't you think that it's hard for me, too?"

"I know it is beautiful, I know. Just, please give everything we discussed some thought. Really think about it Bella, please."

Her breathing is all I heard on the other end of the line and my stomach twists in worry. God, help her through this. She has to choose me; I won't lose her again.

Bella stifles a yawn and clears her throat. "I will. I promise."

"Alright, I'll let you get some sleep. Text me tomorrow. Maybe we can meet for dinner?"

"I'll try to, Eddie. Goodnight."

"Good night my beautiful, sleep well. I love you." A smile tugs on my lips as I reflect about our passionate lovemaking last night. I hope that she will think things through and I'll hear from her later today.

"I love you too, never forget that." She whispers sleepily, a hint of finality in her tone.

"I won't. Night, beautiful. I-"

She ends the call before I had the chance to tell her I love her again.

I feel more at ease when I lie my head down on the pillow moments later. As my eyelids start to droop, a tinge of dread assails my heart. For some reason, those last words Bella had said to me aren't sitting well with me.

Thinking I'm just paranoid, I push those feelings aside and allow myself to fall in a deep, peaceful sleep.

***IO***

AN: Hi...still with me? *gulps* Yes, I realized that I left this at sort of another cliffy. Sorry ;( I will try prepare myself for the Bella lashing, maybe some Edward too. I have a feeling there will be quite a bit. I understand though, they are both a mess! Please try to go easy on me though, okay? Haa. I really love this story very much and yes even though my characters probably deserve the verbal lashing, I am a bit sensitive because I work so hard on this. I just hope you will hang on with me and this story till the end! Which by the way, this story is about half way done already. There will be about 4 more chapters left I believe. As I mentioned before, most of the story is prewritten. The next chapter will be another flashback chapter, picking up where Edward had seen Bella on the street back in chapter 3. Yes, we will go back to that day, and some of your questions will be answered. I'm hoping once you guys read that flashback chapter, maybe you will have a better understanding of things. Remember, this isn't a story where Edward and Bella can just drop everything, be together, and live happily ever after easily. Don't worry though, I am a HEA gal!

So, any guesses as to what happens next? I really would love to read your thoughts, please. It does drive me to keep going. And I'll be honest, the reason this update also took long was because I was scared to post it. I have been in this funk lately, worrying this story isn't doing so well and I'm down about my writing. So, it would make me happy to hear from you and know you are enjoying this, even though its a gloomy fic. Okay, thats it out of me! Thank you so much for reading, I truly appreciate it! You can follow me on Twitter if you like: Vampgirl792011. I am also on FB, I have a like page called Vampgirl79 Fanfiction and I have a FB group with that same name. I will try my hardest to have the next update posted in a week and won't make you all wait too long! Until next time, again thank you for reading and reviewing! Happy Holidays! XO, Leslie

P.S. One last thing...I have been nominated for a few awards over at Fandom Choice Awards! If Only is nominated for Best Quote and my fics, About that Night, Beautifully Broken and For Eternity are nominated too! I would appreciate your votes so much! You have until Jan. 3rd to vote! My lovely beta Serenshadow is up for an award too, for Best Editing. If you like to vote for me and for all of your other fav authors, stories, etc. Go to Fandom Choice Awards dot com. Click on the Nominations tab and it will direct you to vote. Thanks so much!