A/N: We've been through some hard times, my friends. Let's see where the kids go from here.

I had been a week since the wedding, and I was a wreck. Really, it was selfish of me to be so wrapped up in myself. Alice was getting better. She'd agreed to an inpatient stay at a mental health clinic. She was getting help. That should have been the most important thing. It should have been the only thing I cared about.

I was glad, of course, but I was also mad. I'd been trying to help her for years. Everything. I tried everything. I knew she was in a bad place, and I knew she could get better. She never listened. Not to me. Now she was getting the help she needed, and she wouldn't let me be a part of that journey.

"Leave her the fuck alone," Cynthia had said. "She doesn't want anything to do with you. Let her heal in peace."

Cynthia thought I was the bad guy. She thought I was the reason Alice was where she was.

Who knew. Maybe she was right.

But despite Alice's wishes, I couldn't let it go. Didn't they understand? She needed me. She always had. No one else could know the things we knew.. No one else had been there. How could she do this without me?

It was beginning to occur to me that maybe it wasn't Alice who needed me. Maybe it was helping her keep it all together that had kept me from falling apart. And obviously, I'd done a piss poor job at that.

During the day, when the others were at work, I sat in the living room for hours on end going over everything from James's death to what I would say to Alice if she ever answered her phone again. Hours could pass in the space of a minute. I was oblivious to everything. So when a warm, solid body deposited itself on my lap, to say I was shocked would be an understatement. I had just enough time to realize Bella had straddled me there on the couch before her lips were soft against mine.

There were a lot of reasons this shouldn't be happening. Bella was supposed to be at work for one thing. And then just...how could she? When she knew about my past and how I couldn't help Alice, how could she want to touch me like this? Why?

Luckily for me, my body knew exactly what to do. It was a kind of muscle memory, because this had happened so often in my fantasies. After the moment of initial surprise, my hands went to her back, splaying wide a I matched her kisses. They were soft at first, gentle explorations, testing to see how we fit. Her fingers threaded through my hair, sending shivers down my spine with every touch. None of it made my already incoherent thought process any clearer.

Our kiss broke and we panted at each other. Her look was soft, as tender as the stroke of her fingers. She brushed her lips against my forehead, and I closed my eyes. Her touch filled the cold, empty space inside me with warmth.

I opened my eyes again because I had to see her. There was no way this was going to last, and I wanted to savor every moment, count every freckle that peppered the bridge of her nose. She was beautiful, and I wanted to tell her so, but when I opened my mouth, that wasn't what came out. "It's not the same, you know," I said instead.

She blinked at me, her hand faltering in my hair. "What?"

It took me a few seconds to figure out my own logic. I swallowed hard and dropped my gaze. I wound a finger through a strand of her hair. "You and that boy. What I did wasn't the same."

She slumped a little against me and crossed her arms behind my neck. "Edward." She spoke between kisses to my brow and cheeks. "In case you hadn't noticed, I'm trying to distract you."

I sighed when her mouth found mine again. I kissed her back, but when our lips parted, I started babbling again. "It was one warning sign you missed. Just one."

She hummed in response and kissed me again. I couldn't help but taste her this time. She tilted her head, meeting my tongue with hers. I could get addicted to her flavor. I already was addicted.

Why couldn't I live in this feeling? Pour it in a fish bowl and I would gladly swim around in a tiny space if the water felt like this. I could have lived in it alone and been happy.

"It wasn't your fault, you know," I said when we came up for air. I was annoyed at myself, but I couldn't seem to stop. "Teenagers are naturally angsty, and you had him what? An hour a day?Forty-five minutes?"

She framed my face with her hands and kissed me again. "Edward." She began to move on my lap, pressing herself against me.

"I was…" My tongue was still moving. Why was it still moving when it could be better occupied with her mouth, her lips? I'm sure I could be more creative if I could only think clearly or not think at all. "I mean… Jesus, that's...yeah."

Bella dipped her head and whatever I was trying to say cut off in a whine as she dragged her teeth along my neck. "Fuck," I said. My hips bucked up to meet hers. "I…" She felt incredible beneath my hands. "I…"

Oh, fuck. Nevermind, you idiot.

My hand to her cheek, I brought her face back up so I could kiss her properly. She moaned my name, and fuck if that wasn't the hottest thing ever. My mind had finally cottoned on to the fact Bella was on my lap purposefully rubbing her pelvis against me. She was giving me permission not only to kiss her but to touch her.

My hands were up her shirt so fast, I thought I might as well have been an inexperienced middle school kid. No, I was pretty sure my thirteen-year-old incarnation was a little more subtle. But fuck it. I'd stopped trying to think.

Her skin felt so good, I quickly needed more. I tugged on her shirt, and we stopped kissing long enough for me to pull it off. Her back was smooth, her muscles flexed beneath my palms. She shivered as I traced the ridge of her spine with one fingertip. I used my nose to tilt her head back so I could kiss her throat. Meanwhile, my fingers made short work of the clasp of her bra, and I let my kisses trail down to rain on her nipples.

They were pink. And delicious. And I loved the way she gasped when I tugged on them with my teeth.

The way she was wiggling on my lap and the erotic noises she made had me so damn hard. Before I knew it, I'd pinned her horizontally beneath me. Before I could pull back to see if I'd gone too far, she was working my jeans down. I got behind that move really quickly, because fuck zippers.

We started at a slow rhythm, just rubbing my cloth-covered cock over her silky panties. Jesus God she was so warm. It was fuck-good. Being inside her was going to be the death of me. Her hands alone were making me pray to gods I didn't even know existed. They were everywhere. On my back or caressing my ass. We kissed and nipped and licked as we moved together.

I was babbling again, this time about how sexy she was and how fantastic she felt and cC Christ, I'd wanted to do this for so long. She proved to be more of a moaner than a talker, which was fine by me.

She told me she wanted to see me come and I was gone. I liked to think I was the kind of guy who takes care of my girl first and foremost, but not then. She was in control, and what she wanted, she got. I came hard, and for the first time in a long time, my mind was a hundred and ten percent blank.

When my brain had rebooted I found I was collapsed on top of her, my head on her chest. She was tracing the shell of my ear, and I shuddered with the thrill of it going through my body. "Feel better?" she asked.

Slowly, as though I was moving through water, I raised my head. "Is that why you did it? So I could feel better?"

She rolled her eyes and ran the pad of her thumb over my lips. "It wasn't the only reason." I kissed her thumb and was rewarded with a gentle, oddly shy smile. "Mostly, though, I did it because I wanted to. With you."

I shifted us until my back was against the couch and hers was against my chest. "I do feel better, I said, nuzzling her neck. "Not so tense."

She turned in my arms and kissed me, a slow kiss, a good kiss. She pulled back and stroked my cheek in adoration. "Good."

"Yes. Good." And I was for the moment. Good. Calm. Even happy.

Closing my eyes, I lost myself in her kisses for just a little longer.

I mean… now he's obligated to reciprocate, right? RIGHT?

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