Hi!

I've been plagued by the worst case of writer's block:( GRRR... I will finish Not The Marrying Kind if it kills me! I went back to read some things I've written in the past for inspiration and found this little one-shot. It was a homework assignment for Project Team Beta's Smut University 2012. I hope you like it:)

Homework- One of your couple is hiding something. The guilt is eating them alive. It leaks into everything, bleeds into what should be a moment of passion, of love. They try to lose themselves in the moment, the pleasure, but they can't.

Extra credit: Write your lemon without the use of graphic words: cock, penis, vagina, hole, pussy, insert, etc. Try to write the act with emotion rather than play by play description.

P.S. I bawled my eyes out while writing this. So…Tissue alert? Oh yeah and it's totally not betaed all mistakes are mine.

A Future In Doubt

"I'm sorry your suspicions were founded, Bella."

All the air expelled from her lungs, and she hunched forward in the chair. She nodded her head slightly and pushed the horrible pictures away; the proof of her devastation too hard to look at for a moment longer. Standing up, Bella wiped away the inevitable tears and walked out of the office without saying anything more.

Marcus tried to stop her, but she put her hand up to stop him.

"I'll talk to you soon." She said weakly and stumbled into the hallway, using the last of her strength to push the button for the elevator.

Each breath she took was harder than the last, and when the doors closed behind her, she collapsed. She pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. Pushing her eyes into her kneecaps, she cried in sorrow.

The dinging of the elevator at each floor as it fell the twenty-four stories punctuated the sobs. The elevator didn't stop once, and Bella was glad no one intruded on her grief. When the doors opened, she crawled to the door, pulled herself up on shaky legs, and staggered across the empty lobby.

The intense heat hit her as she opened the building's door causing her to cough, weakening her even more. The parking space that had seemed so close when she arrived was now miles away—a hike across a fuming desert.

She fumbled through her purse for her keys and opened the car door. Her head was swimming, and her hands were shaking from the horrifying news.

Tears were still flowing from her eyes so she dug through her purse again for a tissue, tossing the contents out onto the passenger's seat. Her wallet flopped open and right on top was the strip of pictures she and Edward had taken in a photo booth two weeks before as they were walking out of the movie theatre. Clutching the pictures to her heart, she bawled some more.

He was supposed to be her future.

The phone rang next to her, but she didn't answer the call, or the many more that followed. She cried until the tears stopped, hoping at once for acceptance and bravery. Bella had to tell Edward that she knew. No matter how many times she tried to figure out how the right answer became buried in uncertainty.

A knock on her window startled her out of her melancholy. It was Gianna, Marcus' receptionist. Her voice muffled through the glass.

"Bella, are you okay?"

Bella went to roll her window down, but realized she hadn't turned on the car and was sitting there baking in the sun. Glancing in the rear view mirror, she saw that along with her face being soaked with tears, sweat had wet her hairline and her neck. Her cheeks were as bright red as her eyes. She nodded shakily to Gianna, and turned the car on, cranking up the air conditioner as high as it would go and opened the window.

"Can I call someone to come and get you?" Gianna was very concerned and thinking Marcus shouldn't have let her leave his office after the news she'd received.

"No, I'm okay. I'll be okay." Bella's words offered little assurance to either of them.

"Will someone be at home when you get there?" Gianna asked Bella.

Gianna was used to seeing a stronger Bella, but the outcome of her appointment with Marcus had been more shocking than any of them expected, and after seeing Bella's face, Gianna was scared for her to be alone.

"I'll call someone to meet me."

Gianna rested her hand on top of Bella's and gave it a squeeze. "I'm really sorry, Bella."

As tears fell again, Bella nodded to Gianna and rolled her window up. She took a deep breath and blinked away the remaining tears until she could see clearly. She drove home and was shocked when she pulled into her parking space. The drive had gone by in a blur. She had been on auto-pilot and didn't remember a thing even though she'd sat in traffic on the highway.

Bella weakly stumbled up the stairs to her apartment. It was empty of everything but furniture. The boxes lining the wall in the living room. She opened one next to the kitchen counter and reached into it for a glass. The refrigerator had already been emptied and cleaned out, but she could still fill her glass from the dispenser. She took a large gulp of the ice cold water, hoping it would cool her overheated body. It splashed into her empty stomach and caused her to go into a coughing fit.

She choked and coughed, and barely made it to the bathroom before she vomited. The pain in her chest was so great. Bella knew what was coming, this was only the beginning of the hurt.

After seeing the pictures, Bella knew it was over. She had to say goodbye. Breaking up with Edward was going to destroy her, but she had no choice. Tears poured from her eyes.

Bella and Edward had been together for seven years, through high school and college, and had finally become engaged four months ago. Today was supposed to have been her last day in her apartment. Everything was packed and ready for the movers to come and take her things to their new house across town.

The wedding was scheduled for August, just three months away. A huge celebration was planned; people were coming from all over. She would have to start making calls to cancel everything.

There would be no wedding. There would be no move. There was no future.

Her stomach revolted again, and she hung over the toilet releasing some of her pain and sorrow.


Edward pulled up to the house with flowers and a bottle of wine. He hadn't been able to reach Bella on her phone, and when he saw that she wasn't home yet he became worried. It was rare that she didn't answer his calls on the first ring, let alone ignore them completely.

Something had been off with her the last week. Edward had worried that it was the move or the stress of the wedding, but as she always did, Bella soothed his concerns and assured him that wasn't the case.

He set the flowers on the counter and changed his clothes before trying her cell again. No answer, just the voicemail.

"If you've called me during business hours, I'm either with a client or on the other line. If not, I'm probably busy planning my perfect day. If this is Edward, I love you, baby, if it's anyone else, you know what to do."

Beep

"Bella, where are you? I thought you'd be home by now. Call me back."

Edward ended the call and immediately dialed Bella's work. Bella's partner and best friend, Alice answered the phone.

"Hi, Alice. Is Bella still there?"

"Hi. No, she left at two. I think she had an appointment, but she didn't say where. I kinda thought she was meeting you."

Edward had a sick feeling in his stomach. It wasn't like Bella to not tell him where she was going.

"Okay, thanks, Alice. I'll try her cell again."

He grabbed his keys and drove over to her apartment. He saw her car in the lot and should have been eased by knowing she was alright, but the pit in his stomach was growing by the second.

He used his key to let himself in and heard her coughing in the bedroom.

"Bella? Hello?"

He started down the hallway and was met by her body slamming into his. He fell back against the wall and instinctively wrapped his arms around her, but before he could see her face, she kissed him. She yanked him closer to her by his hair and deepened the kiss. Edward noticed how frantic her motions were, but he didn't pull away.

He tightened his arms around her and rubbed her back. Bella didn't break the kiss, she whispered against his lips.

"Make love to me, Edward."

Just one more time, she thought.

Edward scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bed, where he lay her down gently. Bella pulled her shirt off quickly and grabbed at his until he did the same. As he tossed it over his shoulder, he saw her red swollen eyes and started to pull away.

"What's wrong?" The concern in his eyes almost made her cry again, but she swallowed the tears and shook her head, she began kissing his chest trying to distract him with her mouth. He put his hands on her shoulders to move her back, but she clung to him desperately.

"Make love to me." She begged him again.

Bella kicked off her jeans and reached for his waistband, glancing up at him. His eyes were so full of worry. She reached up to smooth away the lines it caused on his forehead and ran her hands over every one of his features, memorizing them.

The bed dipped as she pulled him down over her. He knelt between her knees and lowered his head to her collarbone, kissing his way back up to her lips. Bella ran her hands through his hair, feeling the softness between her fingers and relishing the way his skin felt against hers.

A sob escaped her, but she masked it with a fake moan, hoping he couldn't tell the difference.

Why couldn't they have this forever?

Bella arched against him, begging him for his touch. He fulfilled her silent wish and joined them together, body against body, heart against heart. They moved in harmony until she wanted more and began moving wildly, breaking their rhythm.

Slowing her movements with the touch of his hand, he cupped the side of her face and kissed her trembling lips, tasting the salty moisture on them. Bella held on to his shoulders, her eyes clenched tightly. He pulled back knowing something wasn't right, but she frantically drew him back with cold hands against his waist and pressed her lips against his chest, rocking against him in desperation.

She wanted to let go, a momentary release from her anguish, but she felt the pressure in her chest, and it distracted her.

She wanted the moment to last forever, but there was no forever for them.

Although they were connected as closely as two people could be, Edward couldn't help but feel the emotional chasm between them. Bella was lost in something that frightened him.

He propped himself up on one elbow and gently rested his hand on the center of her chest, his thumb rubbing over her heart. His soothing touch broke her, and she lost it.

Her arms fell limply onto the bed, her head rolling back on the pillow. No matter how hard Bella had tried to enjoy their moment together she couldn't. Each kiss he pressed against her had only enhanced the agony. Edward felt her shudder and started to pull back more.

"Don't stop!"

He had to. Pulling out of her, Edward gathered her in his arms and soothed her with gentle strokes to her back as she cried big gushing sobs.

"It's okay, baby. Talk to me. What's wrong?" His whispers only made her cry more.

They lay there together until her tears turned to hiccups. The room was dark, but Edward could still see her tear-stained cheeks glisten in the dim light streaming through the window. He brushed her hair out of her face and kissed her forehead. His lips seemed to pull her out of her weeping trance.

Bella pulled away from him and sat up in the bed taking a long, shuddering breath. She threw her legs over the edge and set her feet on the floor. Realizing she was naked, she reached for the throw on the bottom of the bed and wrapped it around her.

She bit her top lip and girded herself to do what she had to do.

"I can't do this anymore, Edward."

Confused, he reached for her to bring her back, but she rejected his touch with a wince. He let his hand fall slowly to the bed.

"What do mean?" His calm, quiet words belied his true feelings.

Bella twisted the diamond ring off of her finger and stared at it, sniffling from the tears. The ring signified everything she wanted in her life. She laid it on the bed next to her.

Edward saw the ring and bolted into a sitting position.

"Bella, what do you mean?" He was louder this time.

"I can't move in with you. I can't marry you." She felt the emotion clogging her throat and started to cough. The wracking cough came from deep in her lungs and stole her breath, leaving her gasping. She curled forward into herself and was too weak from the effort it took to catch her breath to resist when he pulled her back against his chest.

"Tell me what's wrong, Bella. Don't push me away."

"I can't, Edward." She gasped between sentences. "There's no future for us. You need to go find someone else. I'm not what you need."

It was worse than he thought. Whatever happened to Bella to make her doubt their future was scaring him. He needed to understand.

"You're the only thing I need, Bella. What could ever make you think differently?"

Bella tried to pull out of his arms, but he held her tighter until she slumped against him.

"Tell me, baby. Tell me what's wrong. I'm not going to walk away from you until you tell me why."

She stiffened again and said quietly, "I saw Marcus today."

It was his turn to fall apart. He felt all the starch go out of his spine. His head fell back on his neck, and he clenched his eyes shut sending a prayer that she didn't discover what he feared.

"Bella…" he groaned trying hard to figure out what to say. "Please. Please."

She could feel the pain radiating off of him as he begged.

"You need to go, Edward. Go live your life."

"No!" He kneeled up on his legs and picked her up, one hand under her legs the other around her shoulders, his strength surprising her. He cradled her in his arms and crushed her to his chest.

"It doesn't matter. None of it matters. You're my world, and I'm not going to let you go."

Tears were now flowing down his face and seeing that made her start weeping again. He lay her down on the pillow and pulled her to his side.

"Tell me, baby."

"It's in my lungs. It's bad…"

"Oh. Bella. No."

"I'm not gonna make it this time." She said in a pain-filled whisper.

His tears fell into her hair as he pulled her closer and sobbed into her. Telling him had lifted a weight off of her chest, and she was able to breathe again. She turned in his arms and held him close until he got a hold of himself.

"I'm not going to leave you. It's going to be okay" He assured her weakly, running his hands over her back and pressing kisses into her tear-soaked hair.

"It's not going to be okay. I'm going to die, Edward."

"No, you're not. You'll fight it like last time. I'll be right beside you, baby. I'll help you."

"Last time was different. This time it's different."

Edward shook his head. He refused to admit she might be right.

Both were raw from the news, and couldn't find a way to talk about it. They clung to each other through the night, both waking up at different times in tears.

Edward woke up when the first rays of morning sun shined through the curtains they hadn't bothered to shut the night before. The movers would be there at eight. Bella was still wrapped in his arms, and he wasn't going to let go until he had to.

He stared down at her and saw the slight bruising under her eyes. She coughed and he wondered how he'd missed the signs that she was sick. She'd had the cough for weeks, but both had chocked it up to the weather changing from spring to summer. Possibly, he hadn't wanted to see the signs. Despite the bruises, she was so beautiful, an angel.

She had been diagnosed with cancer halfway through their sophomore year of high school. They had just begun dating, and she'd tried to break up with him then, but he stayed beside her through it all; the surgeries, the chemo, the radiation, hair loss, vomiting. Edward watched her almost die, but she fought.

She fought so hard.

His throat tightened, and he swallowed the tears realizing he needed to be strong. Bella could draw strength from him when she was weak, and he would sustain her through this.

He would be her rock.

This new resolve helped him focus. He made plans in his head, and when Bella woke up he didn't give her a chance to push him away. He shuttled her into the shower and stripped the bed. He folded everything up and put in it the box she'd left open for that purpose.

After checking the rest of the apartment for anything else that needed to be packed, he came in to find Bella sitting on the bare bed, a towel wrapped around her body and one around her hair. Her dejected look tore him to shreds.

He knelt in front of her and tipped her chin up so she would meet his eyes.

"I love you."

His words made her smile slightly, but then her face fell again.

"Don't do that, baby. We're going to get through this—together. I'm not going anywhere."

He sighed when she squeezed her eyes shut and coughed. "The movers will be here soon. Do you want me to go get some coffee?"

She shook her head. The thought of coffee made her nauseous.

"Okay, well I'm going to wipe down the bathroom and pack the rest of your things left in there. Get dressed, and let's go home."

Home.

The word resonated through Bella. She wanted to go home. Home was wherever Edward was. She was relieved he'd refused to go when she offered him an out, but that relief brought guilt. She knew what was coming and while it was hard to go through, it was even harder to see the fear and sadness in the eyes of those who loved her.

What was coming was going to difficult. The treatments for the disease were as painful, or more so, than the symptoms. Part of her wanted to just let go, to refuse treatment and succumb to the cancer. She'd fought hard last time and survived, but she didn't know if she could do it again. If Edward had left she could have let go. Now she had to fight to stay alive for him, and she was too weak.

Edward came out of the bathroom and kissed the top her bowed head once more, then handed her her clothes.

One thing at a time, just one thing at a time, she thought.

If she could focus on one action at a time she could make it through. There was so much to be done. She had to make another appointment with Marcus. Dr. Harmon was her friend, and while being on a first name basis was nice, he was her doctor and her life was in his hands. He'd saved her once.

She had to call her parents. She put her fist over her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut to hold back a sob. Telling them was going to be hard. She had to call the caterer. They'd lose a lot of money, but by August she'd be too sick to get married, if she was even alive. They had to cancel the wedding, the cake, the flowers, the honeymoon; everything was going to be canceled. She started to feel overwhelmed.

One thing at a time, Bella. Get dressed.

Bella folded up the damp towels and set them on the counter next to her purse and keys. Edward was moving the boxes into the hallway to make the process quicker for the movers. He wanted to take her home.

The humidity from the hot June day made Bella's persistent cough worse. Edward made her sit in the running car while he locked up one last time and handed in the keys. He felt such relief that they'd planned this move now and hadn't waited until closer to the wedding like they'd discussed. Bella was going to need to be with him.

What should have been a happy occasion, them finally living together, was instead turned into a somber moment. Edward was afraid of pushing Bella. She spent the day in a daze, while he started unpacking her things. They avoided any talk of their uncertain future and spoke only when it was necessary, both stuck in their own thoughts. Each time Edward would pass by Bella he would touch her lovingly.

Bella had refused breakfast and lunch, but when it was time for dinner Edward decided to go ahead with the plans he'd originally made to celebrate; steaks and vegetables on the grill to go with Bella's favorite red wine.

The food was delicious, but Bella only ate a little. Her stomach was in knots. She drank a glass of wine, sat back and enjoyed the warmth spreading through her tired body.

Bella got up to clear the dishes, and Edward jumped up.

"Let me do that. You need to rest."

His kindness was thoughtful, but Bella bristled at him treating her like she was helpless. She took a deep breath to keep from snapping at him.

"I got it. Please?" She asked when he wouldn't accept her answer. She looked into his eyes, her brown ones pleading at him. "Just for tonight can we pretend we don't know? Just for tonight I want to pretend I'm not sick. I want it to be like you had planned before you knew."

Edward took the plate from her hand and set it on the counter, all thoughts of cleaning up gone. He had planned on making love to her all night after their dinner. He carried her into the bedroom where he showed her physically how much he loved her.

They moved to the rhythm of their hearts beating, each touch a symbol of their devotion to the other. They loved like it was the last time, even though it wouldn't be.

Edward and Bella broke the news to their families, and in a move that surprised Bella, Edward refused to cancel the wedding. With the help of their loved ones, and the kindness of many, they were married two weeks later.

Everything was exactly as she'd always imagined.

Bella spent the morning of their wedding a bundle of nerves. She barely spoke, and what she had imagined being a fun morning spent surrounded by women happily getting ready, ended up as a more somber, meaningful time spent with only her mother and Alice. She couldn't banish the thoughts of Edward wasting his life with her and prayed he wouldn't regret marrying her.

As she walked down the aisle of the church decorated in white flowers, ribbons, and candles on her tearful father's arm, she shook with anxiety; until she saw Edward waiting for her.

All of her uncertainty fled, and she was left with the feelings of peace flowing through her. This was right. He was right.

They said their vows and 'til death do us part' meant more to them than the average couple. Edward knew that death would never end their love. Whether death came quickly or in seventy years, he would love her every minute of his life.


The first year of their marriage was hard. But it wasn't hard because of the normal adjustment of living together. It was a difficult time focused solely on Bella's health.

The kidney that had been saved by surgery the first time was removed, along with lymph nodes, and small section of her lung. Chemo and radiation destroyed healthy cells along with the diseased and ravaged her body. She lost all her hair, and spent months in a hospital bed. She would most likely never have children, but she fought hard to stay alive.

Every time she thought she couldn't fight anymore Edward's untiring support lent her the strength she needed. His steadfast love carried her through the toughest moments of her treatment. He never wavered in his devotion to her. The day she found out she was in remission was the happiest day of their lives.

On the day before their third anniversary, Bella left work early. She had an appointment with Marcus. The cough she'd developed over the last two weeks was worrisome, and even more so, the constant nausea. The results of the scan would determine her—their future.

She parked in the same space she had those years before and walked into the building. The elevator was waiting, and when the doors opened on the twenty-fourth floor she was met by the reassuring face of her husband.

Edward had vowed to never let her go to another appointment alone and had kept that promise. He intertwined his fingers with hers, pulled her hand up to his mouth, and kissed it with a smile.

"I love you."

She turned toward him and put her other arm around his neck, his peck to her hand less than she wanted. She brought his lips down to hers and kissed him deeply.

"I love you, too."

They stood there for a moment, their foreheads pressed together in silent prayer.

"Whatever happens in there, remember I'm with you forever." His promise to her was as fervent as always.

Bella nodded and blew out a nervous breath.

The path to their future had not happened the way she'd planned, but they were together. They walked in hand-in-hand and were taken right back to Marcus' office by Gianna.

"Bella, Edward. Thanks for coming in on such short notice."

Marcus kissed Bella's cheek and shook Edward's hand. Neither of them could mistake the look on his face. What they didn't know was how the news he had to share would change their lives, irrevocably.

"Have a seat." He rested his hands on Bella's file and cleared his throat. "Your blood work and scan came back perfectly clear. There's no sign of cancer, anywhere. Your cough seems to be from a virus," Bella and Edward immediately began to celebrate, only to be stopped by Marcus' interruption, "But, there were some unexpected results I need to share with you."

Bella's attention snapped back to Marcus, her eyes wide with apprehension.

"Congratulations, you're pregnant."


xoxoxo

Thank you to all who take the time to read this! November is coming, and I am burying all my bras so I can't leave the house. More words will be coming!