Sorry for the delay…honestly life is SO busy now (May can roll around anytime – I'm ready!) But also I bit of 'not sure what to do'. Knowing where I want to end up is great but getting there is sometimes tricky.

95% sure the next Chapter will be the last.

Reviewed and fixed by: MariahajilE


Chapter 9

Bella walks through the campus of the University of Seattle. She received a full ride. It's such a thrill and terror all at the same time. She worked so hard to get here. It was so hard leaving her dad back in Forks, but he assures her that he will be fine. Always am. She smiles as she thinks about their conversation last night over the phone. He's really a hoot sometimes.

The sun is shining, but she reckons it won't be for long, as fall is rolling in very quickly. The wind picks up her loose hair and pushes her forward.

"Careful, Bella."

She freezes and looks up at the hands holding her steady. Her eyes widen at the sight of him.

"Hey." He squeezes her arms and smiles before making sure she's okay on her feet. He steps back and takes a look at her. "Hi."

"You go here?" Never did she expect to see him on the same campus.

"Uh, yeah." He runs his hand through his hair. "I transferred."

"But you had another year at the community college… right?" She's sure of it.

"I wanted a change," he confirms. "I wanted to see you."

He'd heard through his father, who had heard from Charlie, that Bella received a full scholarship to U of S. He was able to transfer all of his accumulated credits over to U of S, as well.

"Oh." Her mouth forms in the shape as she stares at him. She hasn't seen him in a year, not since his prom. They haven't spoken since he told her that he loved her.

He looks at her. "How have you been, Bella?" he questions. She looks amazing ‒ perfect, really. His eyes trail over her. He's unable to stop himself. She looks the same, exactly the same; young, fresh, and beautiful.

"Good, um… Good. You?"

Edward smiles. "Okay." He clears his throat. "I saw you graduate. Congratulations on valedictorian." He gives her a smile.

Her eyes widen. "You did?"

"Yeah. I was home for a week." He wanted to see her and find out what she was doing. He wanted to find out if Garrett was still around all those months later. He saw him at the graduation with his parents. There for his sister. Maybe Bella, as well.

"Oh," she nods, staring at him still. He looks great ‒ he has always looked great ‒ and the fluttering feelings in the pit of her stomach tug her from her staring. The feelings are hard to ignore, even after all this time.

"Bella," he says softly. His eyes drift down for a moment before finding hers. "Do you want to grab some coffee with me?"

"I… I—" Bella stops before she embarrasses herself. "Edward…"

"Please?" He offers her a kind smile. "I want to. I really want to have coffee with you."

She searches his face.

"Please, Bella." He's not above begging. He wants her. He doesn't want her back, because he doesn't want what they had before. That wasn't right. He wants her now.

"Okay," she whispers, nodding her head slowly. "I have to go and buy books now, but…"

"Meet at the Common? In an hour?" he offers.

Bella nods and smiles.

He sits, spinning his coffee cup slowly. He can't see the dark liquid because of the top on his cardboard mug. His eyes stare at the door as he waits for her to arrive. He's been aching to see her, speak to her this last year. It's been tortuous, slow and painful. Admitting that he loves her at his prom was huge for him. Everything between them has been monumental. He did so many things wrong where Bella was concerned. He was worried about all the wrong things. He should have been worried about Bella. In the end, she did fine without him. He needed the past year to grow up. He still has so much more to do. But now, he wants to do it with her. She was already so beyond her years, so ready for the world. No matter what was thrown at her, she came out perfect. She certainly didn't need him. He only hopes that she wants him in some way anyway.

Leaning on the sink in the bathroom, she sucks in a breath. Her heart has been pounding since she left Edward. The last time she saw him was at prom when he said he loved her. "Oh, God," she sighs. She can't call Alice. Even though they're friends and speak over Skype and through emails, Garrett's her ex, Alice's brother. That just seems inappropriate ‒ almost as inappropriate as her relationship with Edward was. Bella nibbles her lip and stands at the bathroom sink. She looks at the drain. In the metal, she can just see her reflection. Sighing, she looks to the mirror and nods. "Okay, I'm doing this."

He looks at his watch. 30… 31 minutes late. The hot drink he ordered for her is now lukewarm. Sighing, he pushes out and throws some money on the table before standing.

"Leaving me hanging again?" she says, waiting for him to lift his head.

Edward smiles. "Never again," he whispers. "Sit?"

"Was this mine?" She looks and touches the mug.

"Yeah. I can get you another," he offers quickly.

"That would be nice."

"Be right back." Edward stands again but turns to look at her. "Be here when I get back?"

"Yeah." Bella nods and smiles.

She watches him order her another drink. Her hands feel sweaty. Her heart is pounding, and she feels out of control sitting here, wondering what she wants, what he wants. She knows she just needs to relax. Besides the tension in their relationship/friendship a few years ago, they were just Edward and Bella when they were alone. Part of that hurts, but part of it helps in this situation.

Edward carries her drink back to their table. "For you."

"She was pretty," Bella blurts out.

Edward frowns and looks over his shoulder at the woman behind the counter. "Bella—"

"I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry." She could kick herself.

"I like that you're jealous."

"I'm not jealous," she defends her words.

"It means you still care, that I still have a chance." He ignores her and finishes. "Do I still have a chance, Bella?"

She wraps her fingers around the cup and stares at him. "Edward, I—"

"Will you go out with me?" he asks. "Out in public. On a date. A real date," he continues, not giving her a chance to say no, to say anything until she's heard him out. "You told me if I asked, you would say yes… Say yes," he pleads with her. He's felt something missing since she stopped the madness that was brewing between them. He understood why she stopped it, but he still felt a loss. He didn't know he would feel such a loss until she was gone from his life.

Bella's eyes runs over his face a few times. "Yes," she finds herself saying in a whisper.

He grins, unable to control the excitement in his face, his heart. "When?"

"Um…" She frowns.

"Nevermind. I'm planning this date from start to finish. Are you pretty much available?" He hopes she says yes and isn't seeing anyone.

"Yes," she nods.

"Great. Let me have your phone," he demands gently. The numbers are exchanged.

Bella smiles. "Thank you for the drink," she tells him. She has things to do back at the dorms.

"You're welcome. Be waiting for the date call."

"Yeah." Bella nods and smiles.

"Edward, man!" Emmett's voice booms through the place that was quiet and peaceful.

Bella looks at the two. Rosalie is with him, looking as stunning as ever.

"Bella, hey," he smiles, greeting her warmly and pulling up a chair.

Bella's confused, but she smiles, unable to find the words. She's not sure whether she should go or stay. She looks to Edward. This feels like high school in the cafeteria. It shouldn't, but it does. "I should let you guys catch up."

"Sit, Bella," Rosalie says sternly. She offers a warm smile right after, confusing Bella even more. Bella swallows. "Hi, Rosalie."

"Hi, Bella. How are you finding it all?"

"It's big here," Bella admits. Edward and Emmett are chatting about why Edward didn't finish his last year at community college, how they should move in together after he checks with Rosie.

"So this guy came after you. About time he got his girl back." Emmett winks at Bella.

Her mouth falls open, and she looks to Edward. "He knew?"

"I told him before graduation," Edward admits softly.

"Hell yeah, I found out. Told him to haul you off and win your heart." Emmett grins, proud of himself. Rosalie shakes her head and rolls her eyes. She actually thinks it's romantic.

"Why?" she whispers. It feels as though they're the only two people at the table now.

"I don't know. I didn't have you. I didn't care about that other stuff anymore." The being popular, caring about what people think. "Bella," he says her name softly.

Bella smiles at him, understanding they will talk about this later.

She leaves feeling light, happy, different. Completely silly. Rosalie is funny and smart, naturally stunning. She offered to show Bella the ropes of the University of Seattle. It was kind and came from an honest place. Emmett's a nice guy now that she knows him a bit better. Edward. Edward... She sighs, thinking about him. She climbs into her bed and rests her head on the pillow. Her eyes are open, but she's almost asleep in her thoughts.

Edward lies in bed, pulls his phone out, and types quickly.

Bella takes a hold of her phone and smiles as she reads his words.

I'm thinking about today.

Me, too.

He grins, loving her two words.

I think our date will take place in two days. I want it to be tomorrow, but I want everything to be perfect, too.

Bella licks her lips and sighs before typing back.

You taking me out in public seems pretty perfect.

Reading that actually tugs at his chest for different reasons. Sadness for how she must have felt at what was between them and what went on between them in public. He knows it hurt her. He didn't know how much she meant to him until she was gone. In turn, that means she felt the same for him. He was so stupid and unwilling to admit anything. He wants to say more, but he just replies with something simple.

I'm glad you think so.

Bella rolls her eyes at him.

Goodnight, Edward.

Sweet dreams, Bella.