The Path We Choose

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chapter 12


Holding Bella as she slept was heaven on earth.

Pure fucking bliss.

I know she didn't mean for me to hear her beg me not to leave but I did. Not that I could possibly even imagine being anywhere else. Bella's tiny little body completely tucked in close beside me, my arm protectively holding her close feels so damn good after the night we have had. I grip her even tighter, afraid of letting go.

I sigh deeply as I glance at the clock on the bedside table; 5:30 a.m. I groan softly. It is going to be a long ass day if I don't get anymore sleep, but thinking back over what happened last night has my brain on overdrive.

I can't believe I was such an asshole last night; I am such a damn idiot. I know that this morning before I leave, we are going to have to talk about how to go forward, but I am sure we can figure something out. I am concerned, I'm not going to lie, but I'm not prepared to give Bella up, so something is going to have to be decided upon.

Shocked would be an understatement to describe what I was feeling when I saw Bella on the cover of that damn magazine. The picture totally took my breath away, how could it not, but recognizing what I was looking at completely took me by surprise.

The woman sleeping next to me is on the cover of Sports Illustrated! How the hell does something like this even happen?

I have so many questions for her. I guess I can somewhat understand her reluctance to telling me about this. Judging from my dumbass reaction last night, she was obviously right to be concerned. But, I need her to tell me what exactly she is so worried about.

Looking in her eyes as she told me last night I saw real fear there, and not just being scared of me being upset with her either. And her reaction when I walked back into her loft, I know for a fact she did not think I was coming back.

I am so grateful to Seth for talking some fucking sense into my dumbass head last night.

I go over in my mind what he said to me and can recall it all almost word for fucking word.


Walking out the door at Bella's, I was so angry. Irrationally so, admittedly. I knew the moment I heard Bella sob my name, that it was wrong to leave. My pride wouldn't let me turn around and go back though. Hanging my head in the elevator as it made its way down, I tried to figure out how to fix what just happened.

I made it down to the bottom floor, hopefully remembering how to find my way out of this place. I guess I know why Bella lives in someplace like this now.

I am standing on the sidewalk in front of her building trying to decide on where to go now and what the hell I should do when I hear the door open and feel a presence behind me. I know for a fact it is not Bella, I can't feel that electricity I always do when she is around, so immediately I know it must be Seth.

"You mind telling me why you are down here and my best friend is all alone upstairs?" he growls at me.

"Seth, man, I don't mean to be rude, but it's none of your business," I tell him.

He snorts and says, "Bullshit Edward. Everything that has to do with Bella is my business, everything," he forcefully tells me.

"I think you should come with me for a minute," letting me know it is not a request but a command.

He turns to walk back inside the building, not even bothering to glance back to see if I was following. I sigh and resign myself to listening to what the man has to say.

He waits by the door, holding it open for me to enter. I assume we are going to his apartment but I'm surprised when I follow him to an office.

On the wall are monitors and I realize they are the monitors for security cameras from around the building. I look at Seth in question, but he points to a seat, obviously intending for this to take awhile.

I look around the room and see pictures upon pictures scattered everywhere, tacked to the bulletin boards on the walls. Bella is in almost everyone, along with Seth and two of the most incredible looking people I have ever seen in my life. Both are blond haired and blue eyed and from the looks of it are twins. I look from a picture showing the four of them with their arms around one another laughing as the camera captures the moment and look at Seth, raising my eyebrow in question.

"That's Jasper and Rose, has Bella told you about them yet?" He asks me.

"She's mentioned them, but she hasn't really told me much," I tell him.

She looks happy in the picture, and the four of them look like they are incredibly close. I know she has said that they are best friends, and I wonder to myself how long they have been friends.

"We've all known each other since we were 5 years old. Jasper and Rose moved to Forks when we were starting kindergarten. Bella and I were walking into school on the first day of school and they were crying. Bella walked right up to them, dragging me behind her, and told them that if they stopped crying, we would be their best friends forever," he says with a gentle laugh.

He continues, "And damned if she wasn't right. We've been best friends ever since. Jasper and Rose love Bella almost as much as I do," he tells me pointedly.

"Seth, what did you want to talk to me about," I ask him, somewhat sharply.

I appreciate the glimpse into Bella's past, but I want to hear about it from her, not someone else.

"Edward, I don't know what just happened between you two, but I want you to know something. I have known that girl upstairs my entire life. I have the extreme pleasure and honor to be able to call her my best friend, no matter what J or Lele think," he chuckles at that.

Must be some kind of inside joke I tell myself, smiling a bit at the thought of people arguing over my Bella.

My Bella…God I sure as hell still hope so.

He begins again, "I would do anything for her, as is obvious by the fact that I moved to New York City to be with her. Bella does not have an easy life Edward. She didn't want any of this for herself. I won't tell you what happened because that is for her to tell you, but I will tell you this," he warns me,

"I have never, in my entire life, ever seen her as happy as she has been this week with you. The time she has spent with you and your kids has meant so much to her," he says as he grabs a few pictures off the wall and hands them to me.

"Look at those Edward, and tell me what you see," he says.

The pictures are amazing. A picture of the four of us playing on the ground at the park the first day we met Bella and Rufus. There is a picture of Bella and Maddie walking and holding hands, Bella leaning down so Maddie can tell her something, beautiful smiles on both of their faces.

Another picture of Bella and Masen, walking with Rufus. Masen looking up at Bella like she hung the moon.

The last picture takes my breath away. It is a picture of Bella and I, holding hands at the railing of the carousel on Wednesday. We are looking at one another, each of us smiling and laughing.

I hear Seth as I continue to flip through the pictures, "I took those. Bella didn't know I was close by and she didn't know I was following you guys on Wednesday either," he tells me.

"What the fuck?" I demand angrily to him.

Putting his hands up in front of him he says, "Whoa man. Edward has Bella never told you what I do for her?" he asks incredulously.

"Um. No." I answer.

He shakes his head, "That girl, I swear she'll be the death of me," I hear him mutter before he looks at me. "I'm her bodyguard, Edward. Wherever Bella goes, I go. She's been on vacation this week so I've tried to give her her space, but she is out of her mind if she thought she was going to Central Park by herself."

"The point is Edward," Seth continues to tell me, "Look at her in those pictures. She is happy, and those huge smiles in each picture Edward? I have never seen her smile like that. Bella has been alone for the majority of her life. Sure, Jasper, Rose and I have always been here, but we're it Edward. There hasn't been anyone else. She has completely closed herself off from everyone and everything since she has been a model. Again, I won't go into the reasons why because that is for Bella to explain to you, but know this," he looks at me,

"Bell is the most important person in my life. Please, don't hurt her," he begs me with so much emotion in his voice that it is painful to hear. "Edward, she hasn't allowed herself to open up to anyone in almost five years and judging by the fact that you are down here and she is still upstairs, I am going to guess that the talk between the two of you didn't go so hot," he questions as he glances at me.

"Not so hot, hell of an understatement there Seth," I say as I hang my head.

I know I am an idiot; I never should have stormed out of there the way I did.

He sighs, and says, "I was afraid of this. I have been telling her all week to tell you, I imagine it comes as quite a shock, huh? I can't see you guessing that your date was going to end up with seeing a picture of your dinner companion on the cover of Sports Illustrated," he says as he tries to lighten the mood.

"No shit!" I exclaim to him.

He smiles at me and says, "Beautiful picture though, isn't it?" he asks, even though he already knows the answer.

I just look at him, "Yeah, it is. But, I think Bella is the most beautiful woman in the world anyway."

"Good, because she is," Seth responds back. "Edward, is this going to be a problem for you? I need to know. I realize it's not really any of my business. What ever happens now between the two of you now is up to you guys to figure out. But, I need to know that you can handle being with her. If you can't or won't, get out now. Please don't lead her on and then break her heart later. I can't let you do that," he honestly tells me.

I stand up, completely agitated now. "Seth, give me a fucking break! I've known the woman I've been pining away after for a week is a god damned super model for an hour. Handle what? I have no idea what the hell I am supposed to do now. What is going to happen, what exactly do I need to be prepared for? I am doctor for fucks sake. I have 2 seven year old kids at home; I still live with my parents. What the hell is she doing with me anyways?" I ask, knowing this is the question that has caused the irrational feeling of inadequacy I am dealing with right now and is the reason I left her upstairs.


He smirks at me as I finish my ranting, "Pining away for, huh? Glad to know Shortcake wasn't the only one acting like a love sick fool all week long."

This, for some strange reason, makes me feel better. At least I wasn't the only one counting down every second until today.

And then proceeded to fuck the hell up before we even sat down to eat dinner.

Shit, her dinner. That she made especially for me. Jesus Christ if I'm not the stupidest motherfucker on the planet, I think to myself as I groan out loud.

Seth obviously has an idea of what I just figured out for myself as he says, "Don't worry Edward. She'll forgive you. Bell is probably upstairs beating herself up and taking the full blame for this clusterfuck. It's what she does, always," he continues, "She should have talked to you sooner instead of just springing it on you. By the way, how did she tell you if you don't mind my asking," he sheepishly asks me.

I chuckle at him and say, "She gave me the magazine. She tried to tell me, but apparently thought freaking me the hell out by showing me a picture of her in a barely there bikini was the better way to go," I laugh at him.

He slaps himself in the head and tells me, "Jesus. Sounds like Shortcake needs a lesson on dating etiquette. Look Edward, I like you. I do. I don't know you all that well, a fact that will change if you and Bella keep seeing one another. But, I can tell you're a good guy. I watched you with your kids at the park and I watched you with them at McDonald's," he tells me.

"A man that looks at his kids the way you look at your two has to be a good guy. I've also seen the way you look at Bella, like you can't believe she's real or some corny shit like that. You'd have to be a blind fool not to be able to see it, but that doesn't mean you aren't capable of hurting her. I promised her father Charlie a long time ago that I would always protect his Bella and I mean to keep that promise. I am not going to threaten you or anything stupid like that," he chuckles a bit when I snort at that remembering his threat from earlier.

"Nah, man, that was just me giving you shit and trying to ruffle Bell's feathers since she threatened my ass if I was mean to you. But don't dismiss me, Edward, I'm warning you. I will do whatever I have to in order to protect Bella. It is my job, but she's my family. If I get any indication that you are hurting her in any way, you will answer to me," he harshly finishes to me.

"Look Seth," I begin to him. "I have no idea what to do here, my brain feels like a fried mess. I haven't known Bella that long, hell it's only been a week. But, I want to. More than anything ever before in my life, I want her," I look at him as I hear him growl.

"Want her how Edward? If this is just about getting into a beautiful woman's bed or some shit like that, you'd best go now before I beat the ever living hell out of you and make up something to tell Bella," he menacingly tells me.

I groan, again. I can't believe I am having this conversation with a man who I've only just met, but he's here and he asked so I answer, "Damn it Seth, no it's not just about sex. Do I want her? Hell yes, I do. I'd be lying if I said I didn't. But, it's not just that. She's beautiful, sure, but there is so much more to her than just a pretty face or a hot body. If you were watching us at the park Sunday and Wednesday, you saw her with the kids. They adore her, already. My entire family knows all about Bella because she is all they can talk about," I say.

Continuing, I tell him, "I want her yes, but it's so much more than that. I want to take care of her. I want to make her laugh and hold her hand. I want to get to know her, all of her. I want her to tell me everything, what she got for her eighth birthday and what color her dress was when she went to prom."

I stop when I hear Seth interrupt me, "A bike and her dress was purple."

I stare at him, realizing yet again how little I truly know about the amazing woman upstairs who I just royally fucked up with.

"Jesus Seth, can you make me feel any more like shit?" I say, pinching the bridge of my nose.

I run my fingers through my hair as I stand up and pace, looking at him, "Look, I fucked up. I know this. I need to figure out what to do to fix it. I just got Bella; I'm not losing her already. I don't know what is happening or what the future holds for us, but I do know I want to find out. Badly. I have never been so attracted to anyone before in my life, and I want to see where this…whatever…goes." I say, sighing as I flop down in the chair.

Seth stands and walks over to me, clapping me on the shoulder," Edward, you have to go back upstairs and talk to her. She'll explain what she was thinking and you can decide then what you want to do. Just promise me you won't do anything stupid without talking to Bell first, ok? The girl drove herself nuts today, trying to get ready for tonight. Give her the chance to explain, it'll be worth it, I promise," he says.

"Edward, try to remember something for me," he beseeches me.

I turn to look at him, nodding for him to go ahead. "Man, try to remember that being a model is what she does, but is so far from who she really is."

Wow, wasn't expecting that at all.

I know I need to go back upstairs, I just hope she'll talk to me. I feel like kicking my own ass for just walking out on her like that. What a fucking douche bag I am!

I stand up, holding my hand out to Seth. "Thanks Seth, really. Thank you for not letting me fuck this up any more than I already did by leaving."

"No problem Edward, just doing my job by protecting Bella. Stopping you is as much for her as it is you. More, even, to be honest. She'll be stewing and fretting up there, blaming herself for all of this. I figured if I stopped you and made you go back up, it will make her feel better," he tells me.

"You two just work this shit out and move on already, ok?" he chuckles as he shakes my hand and slaps me on the back as I turn to go.

I turn one more time to look at him as I say, "Seth, if Bella forgives me, I want you to know I don't plan on going anywhere. I want to see Bella again, repeatedly. I want to see where this thing goes for us, and to tell you straight out, I want to be a permanent fixture in her life," I say honestly.

"Glad to hear it Edward," Seth says as he opens the door to let me out, "I'm really glad I can refrain from killing your ass. That might be kind of hard to cover up!" he laughs as he wishes me luck and shuts the door behind me.


Thank God for Seth, is all I can think to myself as I finish remembering our talk. I am so fucking grateful that he stopped me from leaving and talked to me until I could make myself come back up here to Bella.

I don't think I will ever forget how beautiful she looked, standing there last night next to the window.

Her pale face, illuminated by the lights from outside, her long dark hair flowing over her shoulders. Wearing her t-shirt and pajama pants, I realize with a start she didn't expect me to come back at all. The thought breaks my heart and I call myself a few more names in my head. Dumbass being the most prevalent and accurate.

She sounded so lost and sad when she spoke to me, thinking I was Seth coming in to talk to her.

And when she looked at me, my heart shattered into a thousand pieces as I realized what my storming out of here like a spoiled brat did to my sweet girl.

The way she threw herself at me, holding me so tightly, like she was afraid I was going to leave again, just cemented into my brain how fragile my angel really is. I don't know her past, but something has happened to Bella to make her so afraid of being close to me.

I hope she will tell me, but I won't pressure her. Not yet, anyway.

When she asked me stay in that sweet, shy voice of hers, I thought my heart would explode with joy. I wanted nothing more; I was already trying to find a way to stay. Being away from her last night would have been so painful.

My mind flips through the last week. I can't believe all that has happened. I found the woman that makes me feel whole and complete and find out she's eight years younger than me. Not a huge deal, but it caused a minor panic attack. Not only is she the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, my kids adore her. Next, she is funny and charming and teases the shit out me relentlessly.

Our bodies respond to the other in ways I could never imagine. The electricity I feel when she is near, while comforting, scares the beejesus out of me if you want to know the truth.


I ask myself and after honestly thinking about it, come up with an answer. I'm scared because I know it means I've found the person that I am supposed to share my life with. I am afraid of what Bella will think about that. Logically I know that it is way too soon to even bring up. What rational person tells someone they barely know that they are their soul mate? She would run a thousand miles in the other direction if I blurted that tidbit of information out to her, in a fucking heartbeat.

After talking with Seth, I believe this with even more certainty. I have no idea what experiences she has had in her past, but I can tell that she has been hurt deeply by whatever and whoever happened. She will need to tell me at some point, but I can give her time to tell me when she is ready.

I will have to tell her about the fuck up that was Lauren, as well. I am not sure how she will take it. She loves Maddie and Masen, I know she does, and to find out that their mother doesn't want to have anything to do with them is going to be extremely difficult for Bella to understand.

I sigh again, pulling Bella even closer to me, feeling the warmth of her skin as my hand grips her waist even tighter. I nuzzle into her hair, just grateful for the chance to be here with her.

Slowly…I tell myself as I drift off to sleep. I must take things slowly with my angel before telling her what my heart already knows, that I am truly and deeply in love with Bella Swan.


Waking what seems like only minutes later, I feel warm breath on my chest.

Bella has turned in her sleep and is now draped across my chest, her little hand gripping my shirt, right above my heart.

Oh please let me wake up like this every morning I ask whoever might be listening to me.

She stirs a little and I can't help but let my hand trace slowly up and down her spine, squeezing her closer to me. I lean forward and kiss the top of her head and settle back down into the pillows.

I hear her breathing pick up and know she is waking up.

I don't still my hand, instead keeping up the circuit of tracing up and down her spine with one hand and over her arm on my chest with the other.

She takes a deep breath, and picks her head up to look at me.

Smiling as she looks into my eyes, she softly says, "Good morning."

"Morning beautiful," I answer her back, leaning forward to kiss her lips gently then her forehead.

I feel her push away from me and I immediately tighten my hold on her, not wanting to feel the loss of heat from her body not being close to mine.

She playfully pinches me and says, "I just need a minute Edward, I'll be right back," she tells me as she leans over to give me a quick kiss and slips out of the bed.

I lay back on the pillow; my arms tucked behind my head as I hear the water turn on in the bathroom then the toilet flush a few moments later.

I smile to myself knowing my precious girl turned the water on so I couldn't hear her use the bathroom.

Fucking adorable!

I hear the door open and turn my head to watch as Bella walks back to the bed. This is definitely a sight I could get used to...very used to.

She has washed her face and put her hair up in a loose pony tail.

I honestly can't decide which I like more. Hair down or up. Down means I can run my fingers through the silky soft strands but up means I can see her glorious neck. Hmm, I think I'll have to wait to make that decision.

I hold my hand out to her as she gets closer to the bed and as she reaches out to take it, I grab her hand and pull her on top of me.

Yeah, I can get used to this, too. Feeling Bella's body on top of mine, heaven I tell you. I know she can probably feel my body's physical response to her, but she is clearly avoiding that topic like the plague.

I can't help it, my dick knows what it wants and it definitely wants Bella.

Taking a deep breath to get my spiraling lust under control, I reach up and pull her face close to mine by grabbing the sides of her face with my hands. My thumbs sweep over her flushed cheeks and then over her warm, moist lips.

I gently pull her towards me, my lips finding hers as I kiss her deeply, my tongue pressing into her waiting mouth. Moving one of my hands from her face, I push a hand to the back of her neck, my thumb tracing over her pulse point, feeling the warmth beneath my thumb. My other arm reaches around her over her hip, my hand sliding under her t-shirt to touch the warm skin of her back.

My god, I want her. I want to possess her and consume her. I want to make love to her so badly, I can barely restrain myself, but I know now is surely not the right time for this. I lose myself for a few minutes relishing in the fact that I am kissing Bella, but I hear her stomach growl and I immediately stop.

Pulling away from her, I grin at her and ask, "Beautiful, are you perhaps just a little hungry this morning?" I tease her.

She is blushing, god that is the most precious thing I've ever seen, and then looks up at me, "Yes, Mr. Obvious. I am hungry, um, well, I didn't exactly eat dinner last night…," she mumbles to me.

Shit, again, I am the biggest fucking moron on the planet. I need to go home and ask Emmett to kick my ass. Numerous times.

I continue to make mistake after damn mistake when it comes to Bella. What the hell is the matter with me?

"Damn, angel, I'm so sorry. I wasn't thinking. Let's get up and I'll take you for breakfast, how does that sound?" I ask, fully prepared to take her for brunch at the Plaza if that will make up for anything from last night.

She laughs lightly, "Edward, it's ok, honest. We don't need to go anywhere to eat, let me just make us something here and then we can talk, how does that sound?" she asks as she gives me short kiss on the lips and quickly moves to stand up, and proceeds to immediately sway.

She would have fallen if I hadn't moved to catch her.

"Fuck, Bella, are you ok?" I frantically ask her, as I grab her face and look at her eyes. My eyes moving back and forth over her face, trying to determine what the hell just happened.

Bella reaches up and grabs my hands and squeezes them with her cold, small ones and looks into my eyes as she says, "Edward. Stop, ok. I'm fine. I have a tendency to be anemic, I just need to get some food in me and I'll be just fine. Besides, I have my own personal doctor now, maybe you'll have to give me a check up?" she says as she winks at me and walks to the kitchen.

Anemic? Damn it, now I feel like I am about an inch tall. It's my fault she didn't eat last night, she was too upset to eat after I left and then when I came back, neither one of us felt like eating.

Ok, one more thing to put in the Bella file in my mind. I can't wait until it's full, that means I know all there is to know about Bella Swan. I seriously hope it takes a long fucking time before I get to that point, though.

A noise from the kitchen pulls me from my musings, and I make my way to the kitchen.

What I see stops me in my fucking tracks and takes my breath away.

Bella is standing at the stove, wiggling her little hips to the music coming from the iHome docking station she has on the counter. She is singing quietly to herself, her ponytail swaying back in forth as she moves her body. I listen to the song for a moment, nodding my head in approval, Bob Marley's Could You Be Loved flowing from the speakers.

I stand there, leaning against the back of the sofa, just watching her. She is so amazing. I feel my heart fill as I think about lying in bed with her, holding her in my arms. I say another quiet prayer of thanks to whomever above for her forgiveness for the way I acted last night, before pushing myself to stand up and walk closer to her.

Waiting until she is done chopping vegetables with the knife she is holding, I walk up behind her, my arms circling around her waist as I lean down to kiss her behind the ear.

"Something smells fucking amazing, angel, is there anything I can do to help you?" I ask as my tongue slides down across her neck, my nose nuzzling her neck and in her hair.

How does she always smell so damn mouthwatering all the time?

Bella takes a deep breath and shakes her head lightly back and forth as I grin to myself knowing I did that to her.

Yeah, I'm quite pleased with myself, sue me. Knowing she reacts to me the same way I do to her is a huge fucking turn on.

"Edward, mmm…," she breathes out heavily.

I so fucking love when she says my name like that. I swear I am going to get her to record it so I can listen to it, repeatedly!

Taking a deep breath she begins again, "No thanks Edward. Everything is almost ready. What did you want in your omelet?" she asks as she places the knife on the counter before she turns around to face me.

I feel her arms wrap around me, as she stands on her tip toes to kiss me. She reaches my neck, and I feel her warm mouth leaving open mouthed kisses along my neck and up my jaw.

This time it's me that needs to take a deep breath and as I breath heavily out of my nose I tell Bella, "Baby, you better stop that before you start something that I'll be hard pressed to stop…and I do mean hard," I say as I grip her hips and press my hips into her leaving no doubt which part of my body is hard.

She kisses me one more time then thankfully steps back to the stove. I walk around the island figuring the more space between us the better for right now.

"What are my choices?" I ask her as I stare at her cute little feet, pink nail polish is definitely my favorite…in case she was wondering.

She turns to look at me, blushing again as she notices me looking at her, and tells me, "Let's see. I have green peppers, red onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, green chiles, bacon and Swiss or cheddar cheese."

Oh my god, I think I've died and gone to heaven.

She laughs at the look on my face, I can feel my mouth hanging open as I tell her, "Bella, baby, you didn't need to go to all that trouble for breakfast. I could have gone out and gotten doughnuts or bagels or something simple. Not that it doesn't smell or sound delicious," I tell her.

"It's no trouble Edward, really. I love to cook, I had all the ingredients here already, and to be honest, I need the protein in the eggs, so close that mouth before a bug flies in it and tell me what my favorite doctor wants to eat for breakfast," she sassily tells me.

"All of it," I answer immediately.

Yeah, not hiding the fact that I can't wait to eat at all.

Bella walks towards me, coming around the island and leans in close to me, whispering in my ear, "That's what I thought," and then licks my ear with her warm, wet tongue. "Now, make yourself useful as I get these done and grab some mugs out of the cabinet and pour us some coffee, please?"

If Bella looks at me that way and asks me in that sweet voice, I'll gladly give my angel whatever the hell she wants, always.

She points to where they are in the cabinet and I pour us each some coffee. She asks me to get some juice glasses down, too, so I do as she asks.

By the time I am finished with my tasks, she is plating our breakfast of omelets and home made hash browns and motions me to the table where we were supposed to eat dinner last night. The placemats are still out, the silverware still set. The flowers I gave her last night are in the vase off to the side of where we will sit.

Bella sets the plates down and I put the mugs of coffee beside the plates. She walks back to the kitchen and grabs a glass pitcher of orange juice out of the refrigerator as I grab the glasses and walk back to the table, my mouth salivating from the delicious smells.

As Bella walks around to her chair at the table, I grab her hand and spin her around to face me. I lean down to kiss her, still holding her hand as I thread our fingers together. I kiss her lightly on the lips and then bring her hand up to my mouth as I kiss the back of her hand telling her, "Thank you so much for breakfast, baby, it looks and smells wonderful," and then I kiss her hand again as I pull her chair out so that she can sit down.

Eating breakfast with Bella is such a treat, and the food is fucking phenomenal. I have never had an omelet that has tasted this good before and I tell her so…numerous times. I am quite sure that my moans of pleasure kind of give her the hint as well.

We make small talk over our food. I let her know what the kids have been up to the last few days, telling her about the amusement park on Friday and then about how excited they were yesterday when Emmett and Alice got to the house to spend the night with them. Bella blushed when she asked if Alice said anything about me not going home last night, but I reassured her that she was fine and that I explained that I made a mistake and needed to stay and fix it.

She sighs before looking at me, "Edward, I really am sorry about last night…I hope you know how much."

I look back at her, her eyes so expressive as they look back at me. Right now hers are full of worry. "Angel, I am the one that is sorry, let's finish our breakfast and then we'll sit and talk about all this, ok?" I ask her.

"OK, old man, can't interrupt your food consumption, I got it," she teases me lightening the mood immediately.

Yep, I can see what Seth meant last night when he told me she would turn what happened around and shoulder all the blame herself. Nope, sweet girl, not happening this time. I know I was wrong last night and have no problem admitting it to myself, her or anyone who asks. As long as Bella has forgiven me, all is good.

She tells me about her day yesterday and Friday, letting me know about Rufus' appointment with the vet on Friday. He's gotten the all clear and I let her know that the kids will be happy to hear about that.

We finish up our breakfast, best damn breakfast I've ever tasted to be honest. Don't tell my mom, but I think I might prefer Bella's omelets for my Sunday breakfast instead of pancakes. I haven't missed a Sunday morning breakfast with my family in I don't know how long, I hope the kids aren't too disappointed. But, this is more important right now.

I rarely, if ever, put my needs ahead of Maddie and Masen's but this, spending this time with Bella is what I need right now. We need to get everything out in the open and figure out where to go from here.

We both finish eating at the same time and make our way to the kitchen, carrying all the dishes to the sink. I tell Bella I will clean since she cooked such an amazing breakfast, but like I expected, she wouldn't hear of it. I did manage to get her to agree to let me help, so I washed as she dried and put the dishes away. With both of us working, the clean up only took a few minutes and by silent agreement we each grabbed our drink to take to the living room where we got comfortable on the sofa.

Bella sits down, Indian style, and turns to face me on the couch, leaning her head on the back of the sofa. I reach out and take her hand in mine, looking at them, and say, "Your hand feels so good in mine. I can't get over how well it fits," as I entwine our fingers and pull her hand up to my lips again and kiss her fingers softly.

She squeezes my fingers in her warm little hand and looks at me, "Edward, are you really ok with everything?" she hesitantly asks me.

"Bella, sweetheart, I promise I'm ok, truly," I answer her, trying to use my most sincere voice.

Bella closes her eyes briefly before opening them saying, "But, Edward, you were so angry last night."

I take a deep breath and run my free hand through my hair feeling even more like a fucking idiot as I say, "Bella, I wasn't really angry, more like confused and shocked. I should never have left the way I did. Thankfully Seth found me downstairs and talked some sense into my dumb ass," I huff at myself.

"Oh my God Edward, he didn't say anything bad to you did he? I'll kill him, I swear I will. I warned him about saying something he's not supposed to," she angrily tells me.

I laugh at her misplaced anger since she's supposed to be mad at me. Bella's like a little kitten most of the time until she gets angry, then she tries to act like a tiger…but she really doesn't pull it off. I don't think I'll tell her that yet, though.

Still chuckling at her I say, "Baby, it's ok. I'm glad he talked to me. I needed a good ass chewing, and Seth did a mighty fine job of it," I tell her.

"Well, he's still in trouble," she snips back to me.

I hold my hand up, since the other is still holding Bella's, "That's between the two of you, and I'm not getting in the middle."

"For an old guy, you're pretty smart," she giggles at me.

I growl at her, "Old, huh? You're going to pay for that little girl," I playfully warn her.

I get serious though as I ask her, "Bella, ok, let's talk and then put it behind us. I am really sorry for walking out of here last night. It was wrong, so wrong. I should have stayed and listened to what you had to say instead of letting my insecurities get the best of me and letting myself get worked up before giving you a chance to explain to me. I am a little hurt that you waited so long to tell me, but I do understand why you might have done that. I know we really don't know each other all that well, even though I will tell you this has been the best week I have had in a long time, maybe forever. I am so happy Masen lost himself in the park last week. The thought of never meeting you hurts, it hurts so much angel to think that I may have never been able to hold your hand like this," I finish, grabbing her other hand and holding onto them both.

She looks at me, tears leaking out of the corners, "Edward, I never meant to hurt you, I promise. I was just so afraid to tell you and I didn't know how to bring it up. Do you believe me?" she pleadingly asks me.

I lean forward and kiss her forehead and with one hand, push her hair behind her ear, I place my palm on her cheek and look at her as I say, "Of course I believe you Bella."

"Good, I'm glad. Now, can you explain the comment you made about your insecurities? I don't understand that Edward, what could you possibly have to be insecure about?" she honestly asks me.

She has no idea what I was feeling last night and it's time to get this out in the open and let her know what was bothering me and honestly, what is still on my mind.

I take a deep breath and forge ahead, knowing this needs to come out, "Bella, sweetheart, you are so incredibly beautiful. Millions upon millions of men will agree with me, I'm sure. You're famous, you walk down the street and people will know who you are. I guess I'm just out of it not to already know, I'm sure my brother Emmett will shit in his pants once I tell him," I tell her sheepishly.

Really, now that I know and look at her, and remember her picture, I can recall seeing pictures of her from time to time. I know I thought she was beautiful in passing, but it's nothing compared to the way I feel now, that's for damn sure.

"But, as I was saying, you're famous. You could be with anyone you wanted to be, actors, rock stars, professional athletes. Anyone Bella. Why would you want to be with me, a doctor who is a single father that still lives at home with his parents?" I ask her, somewhat terrified of her answer.

Bella pulls her hand from mine and reaches both hands up to grab my face. She turns my head to face hers, and her eyes. My god her eyes are swimming in tears, but are burning so brightly at me. "Edward," she begins, "I am not famous. I may have people that recognize me from a picture on a magazine, or from a poster somewhere, hell, someone may even remember seeing me on TV for one thing or another. That person is not me. That person is someone named Isa that a modeling agency invented to sell clothes and fucking magazines. I am Bella and I am the one sitting with you on the sofa in my living room. It was my bed you slept in last night, not hers. It was me that you met at the park, not the sportswear model who just so happens to have a picture on the cover of a magazine. Edward, it was Bella that you kissed in the park, that you kissed just this morning in that kitchen over there, not her," she finishes as more tears start falling down her beautiful face.

She's right, god help me, she is so fucking right.

I grab her by the waist and pull her onto my lap, tucking her head in below my chin.

Wrapping my arms around her, pressing her body as close to mine as I can get it, I tell her, "Angel, you are so fucking right and I am such a damn idiot. You, my beautiful Bella, are so stunningly perfect, you take my breath away. I don't know what I ever did to get so lucky to have you in my life, but I will forever be thankful," I gently say as I kiss the top of head.

Grabbing one of her tiny little hands in my own, I pick it up, playing with the fingers as I continue, "Bella, I don't want to scare you or pressure you in any way, but I need to say something," I say as I tenderly pull her body up so I can look into her eyes. "Baby, I know we have only known one another for a handful of days. I also know there is so much we don't know about each other," I take a breath getting ready to say the next part.

"But, I also know it doesn't matter. I feel complete when I am near you, like a part of myself was missing that I just found again. I don't understand it at all, and to be quite frank, it scares the living hell out of me. I want to be with you Bella, and only you. I promise you that I have never felt this way about anyone ever before. I want to see where this thing goes with us Bella. This is not some short term thing for me. I want you to really understand what I am saying. I want you, Bella. Baby, only you. And I will be here as long as you will let me and want me to be," I finish as I lean forward and kiss her tenderly.

Bella pulls away from me and the next thing I know she has wrapped her arms tightly around my neck, and is straddling my thighs with her knees. I clutch her close to me, relishing the feeling of her in my arms. I can feel her body shaking, but I can't tell if she's crying because she is holding onto me so firmly.

I run my hands up and down her back and through her hair, just waiting for her to get to a place where she can talk. I'm a little freaked by her reaction…but I don't think she's upset with anything I've said. I murmur softly to her for a few minutes, reassuring her I am here for her and she can tell me whatever it is that is bothering her.

I feel her take a deep breath and I wait patiently as she lifts her head to look into my eyes. What I see stuns me to the very core of my being. Bella's gorgeous brown eyes are so full of emotion, I feel like I am staring straight into her soul and it is the most peaceful and content feeling I have ever experienced.

Bella leans forward and rests her forehead on mine, closing her eyes and then she softly says, "Edward, you have made me happier in the last 15 minutes than I ever imagined I could be. I am so lucky to have found you, too. Thank you so much for willing to try to be with me, I was so afraid you wouldn't once you knew everything. I want you, too, so much. I'm scared Edward. I don't know how to do this, be in a relationship with someone, you will have to be patient with me. Please, don't give up on me," she begs me as she opens her eyes and looks at me again.

I lean into her and kiss the tip of her nose and then each cheek, and tell her, "Never my Bella. I won't give up, I couldn't now. It would be impossible. This is new for me, too, so we'll just have to promise to be open with one another and help each other along the way, ok baby?" I ask her.

She smiles and nods her head and leans forward again, curling in even closer to my body.

Can't say I mind this position in the least, not one bit. In fact, if she would like to take up permanent residence on my lap, I'm pretty sure I can arrange it.

I hear her gasp as she quickly moves to get off the sofa…ok not liking this turn of events one little bit!

"Angel," I ask as she is scurrying off to her bedroom only to return carrying her laptop. "Bella, baby, why do you need your computer right now?" I ask.

"Shit, Edward, I'm so sorry. I completely forgot I need to talk to Jasper this morning. We always talk on Sunday mornings on Skype to go over my schedule for the upcoming week and I was supposed to be on 20 minutes ago," she tells me as she is frantically getting signed on.

I chuckle softly at her as she turns to glare at me, but I can see the smile beneath. Yeah, my little tiger. She still can't pull that off one damn bit!

"Shut it Cullen," she playfully growls at me as she moves to sit next to me as the computer finishes getting everything loaded.

I reach for her hand, and ask, "Um, Bella. I should go get cleaned up in the bathroom and give you some privacy to talk to Jasper."

She whips her head to look at me, "Edward, I don't need any privacy, you can stay. In fact, I want you to stay. You can meet J and Lele if she's there. And," she shyly says as she takes a deep breath, "You should probably hear about my schedule and some things I have coming up. That way you'll kind of know what to expect and hopefully you won't change your mind…" she mumbles to me.

I tug on her hand hard enough to make her look at me, "Hey, now. No more of that, ok? I'm not going anywhere Bella, I give you my word. We'll figure all this out together, promise."

She smirks at me and says, "Sorry, you're right, just my nerves talking. I've never had to introduce anyone to Jasper before," she tells me.

"Fuck, baby, should I be worried," I ask. "Where is Jasper anyway? He's not as big as Seth is he? Shit, now I have to worry about the both of them kicking my ass," I huff as I throw myself back on the sofa like a little kid being told it's time to turn off the TV.

But seriously, two of them. How the fuck do I deal with that shit? Not that I wasn't expecting it really, from the conversations I've had with Bella about the two of them, but damn. Over protective big brother types I've not ever had to deal with before.

I slap myself on the forehead as visions of Emmett and I acting like dickheads to Alice's dates in high school and college start racing through my head. Motherfucker, karma can be a bitch!

Bella is giggling at me, and not just a little bit. Glad she thinks this is so damn funny, it's not her ass that will be getting kicked, now is it?

I scowl at her and this makes her laugh harder as she says, "Edward, sweetie, it'll be fine. I promise. Jasper will like you because you are important to me and make me happy. Now Rosalie on the other hand," she teases.

Shitdamnhell fuck! Another one?

I sputter to her, "Angel, fuck, come on. I can only handle so much you know, and make sure to remind them I have kids at home; maybe they'll take it easy on me?" I say as a question, hoping she will protect me.

I mean, come on. I am a 32 year old man for cripes sakes. I haven't had to meet…well, Jasper and Rose aren't her parents, but they are her family, and I haven't had to meet anyone's family since college. The last serious relationship I was in before Lauren was my girlfriend, Caitlin, from Dartmouth.

She laughs again as I see her sign on to her Skype account and she leans over and kisses my neck, "Knock it off you big baby, you'll be fine. Now suck it up old man, we're on."

I glance at the monitor and there is Jasper, I am guessing judging from the eyebrow raise and smirk he is giving the two of us. Not to mention he looks just like the dude from the pictures down at Seth's office.

"Sorry to interrupt Shortcake," Jasper says. "So nice of you to join me…20 minutes late. It's not like I don't have anything else to do, you know?" He tells her.

"Sorry, J, I lost track of time," Bella awkwardly answers him.

He chuckles, "Yeah, I bet. No doubt that has something to do with the person sitting beside you. I am assuming that's Edward," he asks her.

"Jasper, knock it off right now. Yes, it's Edward, who the hell else would it be. Between you and Seth, shit, "Bella angrily glares at him.

He laughs at her, that's a good sign, right?

"You know you wouldn't have it any other way Bell," he glances at me. "It's nice to meet you Edward…nice clothes by the way," he smirks at me.

Shit, I forgot I'm wearing his clothes, fucking kill me now, please…anyone?

"Yeah, um, well…shit, nice to meet you, too Jasper," I stutter out completely ignoring the comment about his clothes.

Real fucking brave Edward, I tell myself. I'm such a chicken shit!

"Ok, Bell, let's get to it. I have your schedule for the upcoming week. Oh, before I go on, I'm guessing it's safe to say the cat is out of the bag by now, isn't it?" Jasper pointedly asks her.

"Yes, J, it is. We talked about it last night and then this morning. Edward knows, I showed him the cover," she quietly says as she scoots closer to me, grabbing my hand in hers.

Have I mentioned that I love the way Bella's hand feels in mine? I don't think I can ever get enough of it.

"Edward," Jasper says as he pulls my attention from Bella to the laptop, "What did you think?"

"She looks fucking amazing Jasper," I tell him honestly.

He laughs at that, "Man, that's not what I meant. I know you'll think she looks good, you'd be a moron not to, but what do you think about everything else?" he asks.

I open my mouth to start to answer when I feel Bella tug on my hand.

"Jasper Lee Whitlock, that is so not any of your business! Knock this shit off right now or I'm signing off and call you later this afternoon when you can stop acting like such an ass!" She angrily yells at him, standing up with her hands on her hips.

He glares at her while she angrily stares at him. Ok, yeah, so not getting in the middle of this. If I could slink off without either one of them noticing, I would in a heartbeat.

"Fine, Bell, whatever," he huffs at her.

Bella rolls her eyes at him and then sits back down, her back still rigid in anger. I reach over and run my hand through her hair and hold onto her hand with my other, rubbing circles on the back of her hand with my thumb.

She sighs and glances at me from underneath her eyelashes. "Thank you," she whispers quietly.

"Holy shit!" I hear Jasper exclaim. I kind of forgot he was there for a moment, and judging by the blush on Bella's beautiful face, she did as well.

"Shortcake, I've never seen anyone that could calm you down like that before," he quietly says.

"Come on J, let's get this done. I've got things to do today, and I am sure you do, too," Bella tells him, changing the subject.

Hmmm, wonder what that was about. He is definitely as protective of Bella as Seth is, he's just quieter about it. I think I would rather take on Seth than Jasper, just a feeling I get.

I listen as they talk about her schedule; she's going to be on David Letterman tomorrow night, Good Morning America on Wednesday morning, The Daily Show on Friday night and a few more morning programs and radio stations over the next few weeks. Luckily for her, and me too if I'm honest, the tapings shouldn't last too long.

My attention gets caught, though, when I hear Jasper say, "Ok, Shortcake we'll talk again tomorrow like always. I'll let Lele know she missed you, but we'll see you in about 2 weeks or so."

Um, wait, what the hell was that?

I look at Bella and raise my eyebrows in question and she leans over and lets me know she'll let me know what is going on.

I hear Jasper clear his throat to interrupt and as we look at the computer screen, he has a blank look on his face, not mad but he's sure as shit not smiling either. I have to admit that Jasper Whitlock is a scary motherfucker, one of those calm on the outside guys, but you can never tell what they are thinking.

"Bell, honey, not to be rude or anything, but get the hell out of the room for a minute and let me talk to Edward… alone," he says is a scarily calm voice.

Oh, shit, I'm a dead guy!

1 comment:

  1. LOL~ Poor Edward~ he got the double barrel shotgun version of her "protectors". And he is about to get the second barrel...
    That is quite a lot to take in all at once, it's a good thing that his feelings for Bella helped him overcome his arsenine reaction ~ course he's used to avoiding situations that are uncomfortable and he was way out of his comfort zone here. He just could not fathom her, wanting him. An ordinary guy... and I loved how she explained about the her being Bella with him and that Isa is just the persona for the public... therein lies the difference and it did not take a brain surgeon to draw him a picture, he got it right away... smart man~!