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 16


Motherfucker…I thought to myself as I rub the spot over my chest.

Jesus, I didn't really think it would hurt so damn bad to leave her back there. My hand keeps rubbing my heart, which literally feels like it is falling apart. The only thing that would make me feel better is to turn the car around and go back to my Bella and beg her not to leave.

Telling her good bye was God awful and seeing her cry hurt like a bitch. I wanted to cry myself, but that wouldn't have done her, me or the kids any good. But, I meant what I said. She is my life now and when she gets back I am going to do everything I can to show her again and again.

Two fucking weeks…I will never make it I thought to myself as I reached up and run my hand through my hair. I'm not sure I'll have any hair left by the time Bella comes home, I hope she'll still want me if I'm bald.

Home…to me…to Maddie and Masen…to all of us.

If I didn't realize it before tonight, I certainly know it now. Bella belongs with us. We are her family now and I have never been more sure of anything in my life.

I can't even begin to describe the feelings that coursed through my body when we arrived at Bella's earlier. Maddie and Masen were so excited to be going over there; I was barely able to get them buckled in their seat belts they bounced up and down so much. When she threw the door open and my kids ran to her, I knew we were home. She is what all three of us needed to make our lives complete.

Watching her cook dinner for us all, then playing and laughing the night away was the most fun I have ever had…well, with the exception of last week on the couch with Bella. That was not only fun but fucking hot, too.

When Maddie asked Bella about the pictures, I couldn't help but anxiously await her answers. She has avoided the topic of her family at every turn so I hoped that she might tell Maddie something to shed some light on the story but of course my angel didn't. Seeing her so broken as she asked me for more time to tell me made me almost want to tell her it didn't matter…almost. I knew whatever it was would be hard for her to tell me, but I also knew she needed to. I hated seeing her in pain and whatever happened to her, I would try my damnedest to make better, somehow.

Rufus whined from his kennel and this made me smile as I thought about the twin's reaction when Bella told them she wanted them to take care of him for the time she was gone. She is positively amazing with them, always considering their needs before anything else and making sure they are okay.


I have come so close the saying 'I love you' more times than I can count over the past week, starting with calling her my love when I picked her up last week for our date. I watched as her eyes morphed from surprise to relief as the words registered in her mind. I wanted to say something, but like a pussy, wimped the fuck out.

When we made it back to her place and I was experiencing the best non-sex sex I had ever had, she said the words back to me. I still don't know whether she knew what she was saying and I've been too afraid to ask her. I do know when I heard them I wanted to cry out in joy, no matter what else was going on at the time.

I started to tell her afterward, when I was holding her, but she stopped me. I knew then she understood what I wanted to say, and I'm almost positive she wanted to say the words back, but there is something that stopped her from taking that final step. I hope when she gets back, we can talk and I can finally tell the woman of my dreams that I am madly and deeply in love with her.

By the time we made it home, the kids and the dog were asleep and I had a hell of a time getting them all inside the house. I took the kids in first, leaving Rufus in the car until I had the kids tucked into bed. There was some arguing in the car before they fell asleep as to where the little guy was going to sleep, but I'll deal with that tomorrow. I'm keeping him with me tonight; it'll make me feel closer to Bella I think.

Yes, I'm aware I totally sound like a girl right now, but I couldn't give a shit less.

Once the kids were in pajamas and in bed, I took the kennel into the house and got Rufus out. Damn, he's the cutest fucking dog ever!

I grabbed a beer out of the fridge knowing there was no way in hell I was getting to sleep any time soon so I took the puppy outside with me. I figured I'd let him run around and use the bathroom before I took him upstairs with me. I watched him play, laughing at how damn adorable he was, when I felt a hand on my shoulder I looked up to see my dad. He had two beers in his hand, he handed one to me as he sat down next to me.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, just enjoying the night and watched Rufus play in the grass.

"Cute little shit," my dad said.

I chuckled, "No kidding. Bella may not get him back now. You should have seen the kids when she told them she wanted them to puppy sit while she was gone."

"I can imagine," he said. "Where did she go again?" He asked.

I took a sip of my beer and leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees as I turned to look at him and said, "California. She'll be there for two weeks. It sucks. At least Seth is going to be with her and she is staying with Jasper and Rose so I know she's been looking forward to that."

My dad's head cocked to the side as he stared at me intently. "Did you say Jasper and Rose? And Seth?"

He had the strangest look on his face, like he'd seen a ghost or something.

"Pop, what the hell? Yes I said Jasper…not Casper. What the hell is that look for, you look like you've just seen a ghost or something," I teased him.

He shook his head before taking a very long drink of his beer before he looked at me, "Son, what did you say Bella's last name was?"

I thought back over our conversations and realized I hadn't ever told them.

"Um, dad, I don't think I ever did. Her last name is Swan. She's from some small town in Washington. She hasn't talked very much about it yet," I said as I let out a frustrated sigh.

I really needed her to talk to me about her family and her past; I had a feeling it was really bad.

He cleared his throat and had that strange look on his face again when he asked, "Do you have a picture of her Edward?"

I smiled as I pulled out my phone. I had taken a picture of the four of us at the park the last time we were there and it's the screen saver. I handed it to him and watched his face as it turned wistful and he ran his finger over the screen. I silently took it back from him and pulled up the other pictures I had taken of her and the kids together and one of her by herself.

It's the most beautiful picture I have ever seen. Bella was standing at the park, the sun had just started to set and she was watching the kids play on the playground with the sweetest smile on her face. I had called her name as the wind was blowing and when she turned, I took the picture. It literally takes my breath away every time I looked at it. Her gorgeous brown eyes are so full of love and her smile is heartbreaking and it shows everything my Bella is.


My dad took the phone back, and scrolled through the pictures, his breath catching in his throat as he looked at my favorite picture. He stared at it for a few long minutes, barely breathing and not saying a word before he handed my phone back to me.

He looked intently at me before he said, "You love her."

"Yes." I answered immediately.

"Does she know?" he asked quietly.

"I think so, yes. I haven't told her in so many words yet, but I feel like she knows already," I told him.

He took a deep breath before he softly responded, "She loves you, too. It's all over her face," he pointed to the phone in my hand. Bella's picture is still pulled up and as I looked at it, I could see what he means. She looked so happy and so incredibly beautiful.

"I hope so Pop, I really do. She is my life now, I can't imagine wanting or loving anyone else but her," I whispered, staring at her picture.

"You said she hadn't told you much about her family, has she said anything Edward?" dad asked.

I sighed and then told him, "Not really Pop. Maddie asked her some questions tonight when she saw some pictures at Bella's. They weren't her parents, but of her friends' parents and Bella got upset when Maddie asked," I let out a frustrated breath. "I don't know dad. Part of me is so fucking scared of what she is going to tell me…when she does. She promised to tell me soon."

"What are you afraid of, son?" my dad asked knowingly.

I turned to look at him and said, "I'm not really sure. Seth mentioned a few things to me in passing and so has Jasper. She's been alone for so long, I know that. I also know that all she has left in the world are the three of them and Seth's mom. What could have happened to make that so? I don't know Pop. I guess I'm just afraid that she's broken somehow and I can't help her. That would kill me," I trailed off softly.

He finished his beer before he looked meaningfully at me. "Edward, son, all you can do is love her and be there for her and listen when she is ready to talk to you. Everything else will fall into place, I'm sure. She'll tell you when she is ready, don't push her though. It is obviously something incredibly painful," he took a deep breath at that before he finished, "just, don't let her go my boy. She has brought you to life and your kids adore her completely. I can't wait to meet her and you know how your mother and sister feel."

"I have no intention of ever letting Bella go, dad. There is no fucking way that will ever happen," I told him definitively as I picked up Rufus to go in the house.

I could have sworn I heard my dad say, "Thank God."

After getting changed for bed and settling Rufus in my room I looked at my phone.


Bella shouldn't be landing in California for another couple of hours. I pulled Rufus on the bed with me, knowing Bella would kill me when she found out I let him sleep with me; I tried to sleep for a little bit, knowing she would be calling soon.

Surprisingly I fell asleep and woke when I heard my phone ringing, playing Bella's ring tone.

"Bella," I breathed into the phone, without even saying hello first.

"Hey baby, I'm sorry I woke you, but I wanted to let you know I made it here and Jasper and Rose are already here to pick Seth and I up," she told me quietly.

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and shifted in the bed, sitting up so I could talk to her for a minute, "No sweet girl, its ok you woke me. I told you to call me when you got there so thank you. Did you have a good flight?"

She sighed loudly, oh oh…"Yes, it was fine, once I got Seth to shut the hell up for five fucking seconds. He couldn't believe we played Rock Band and ate pizza without him. He pouted for the whole first half of the trip," she grumbled.

I heard Seth in the back ground say, "Don't forget you ate chocolate chip cookies without me, too, Shortcake. That shit just ain't right, I'm tellin' you."

"What the fuck ever brother, now get my bags so we can get the hell out of here, I need a shower," I heard my Bella order.

Mmmm… Bella in the shower, one of my favorites!

I laughed at the two of them sounding so much like me and Ali it was scary, "Baby, tell him we'll play again when you two get back. I want the kids to meet him anyway. I don't want them freaking out when some big dude is around them all the time."

She sighed and then said, "I already did that Edward, and he's just being a big baby. Now, how is my baby doing?"

"I miss you," I answered with a pout of my own.

Yes, I am being a baby, I am aware of this and don't give a damn.

She giggled, "Not you, silly, my other baby. Is Rufus doing okay?" She asked as said baby in question promptly barked, getting my ass in all kinds of deep shit.

"Edward Anthony Cullen, is he sleeping in bed with you?" She growled at me.

Oohh, that's so sexy, I don't care if she's mad at me!

Fuck! "Um, yes…but Bella, he was so sad and it made me think of you to sleep with him, we both miss you sweet girl," I crooned softly.

Yes, I'm aware that using that voice to get myself out of trouble is wrong, but I do really, really miss her!

"Oh, sweetheart," I heard Bella sigh. "I miss you, too, Edward so much. But, using that tone of voice is not going to get you out of hot water!"


"Okay, Bella, I promise, no more letting him sleep in the bed," I told her, hoping I could keep that promise. The little guy was just too cute to resist when he's sad.

She laughed lightly at me before she replied, "It's okay, baby. I'm sure he'll be there again before the next two weeks are up. I wish it was me instead," she whispered.

"Oh Bella, you have no idea how much I wish it was you here instead Beautiful," I groaned to her.

"Sorry Edward, I didn't mean to start anything. I need to go; Jasper and Rose are waiting, so I'll call you later, okay. Oh, and I'll email you, too, when I get to the house. I miss you baby, so much. Give Maddie and Masen a kiss for me," she told me.

"Bye angel, have a good day and I'll talk to you later. I'll be thinking of you all the time and counting down the minutes until you get home," I said to her.

I heard her take a deep breath before she quietly said, "Home, I like the sound of that. Miss you Edward."

"You have no idea Bella, miss you, too, talk to you later." I said as she hung up the phone.

Home indeed!


I fell back asleep quickly, dreaming of my Bella only to be woken up what felt like minutes later by a warm wet tongue on my face. For about half a second I smiled, thinking of Bella before the bark in my damn ear reminded me of the little furry guest in my bed.

"Okay, little guy, I get it, time for a leak," I grumbled, definitely rethinking this sleeping in the bed thing.

I slipped on some track pants and a t-shirt and grabbed Rufus to go downstairs and head out back for a bathroom break. Thank goodness he waited until he was outside; waking up to a wet bed would not have made my morning!

The kids came running outside as soon as they heard us so I left Rufus in the very willing hands of the Wonder Twins so I could go fix a cup of coffee and wake the hell up.

Shit, I am way to fucking old to only get a few hours of sleep! Well, if I was awake doing something else I might not mind so much!

The kids and I spend the day at home, watching movies and playing with Rufus. My parents joined us in the back yard for awhile. I am thinking Bella is definitely going to have a hard time getting him back from my family, mom seemed quite smitten already.

I checked my email before bed and there was one from Bella when I signed into my account:

From: Bella Swan

To: Edward Cullen

Subject: Missing you

Hi Sweetheart! I hope you and the kids had a good day today. I'm sure you were tired, I'm so sorry I woke you up this morning, but you asked me to call and I didn't want you to worry if you didn't hear from me. Jasper and Rose are great; I am so excited to see them! Thankfully I get today and tomorrow to relax before getting put to work on Monday.

I miss you Edward, so much! I can't believe I still have 13 days until I get to see you, Maddie and Masen. Can I tell you a secret? You looked so hot playing the guitar last night; can you play one for real? If you can, I think that is incredibly sexy, maybe I can convince you to play for me sometime?

There is still so much I want to know about you Edward, and I'm sure the same goes for you. But we have time, don't we?

Here are three things I haven't told you yet:

*when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a police officer like my dad

*my major in College was English

* I think you are the most amazing person I have ever met, man or woman and I am completely crazy about you!

Have a good day baby… I'll talk to you later,

Your, Bella XOXOXO

PS- I love it when you call me yours, it makes my panties wet!

(That's 4 things you didn't know, now it's your turn!)

I couldn't help the laugh that came out when I read her email, she was so fucking adorable! I decided to write her back, knowing it would be a little while before she called to say goodnight to the kids.

From: Edward Cullen

To: Bella Swan

Subject: Miss you more!

Hello my Bella! (Hope your panties are doing ok so far) Don't you worry your pretty little head about waking me up, I'm just glad you did as I asked. Hmmm, I wonder if that would work on all things I tell you. I'll put that in my Bella file and we'll revisit that when you are back on my side of the country.

Our day was good, the kids played with Rufus all afternoon, even mom and dad joined in. I'm afraid you've created quite the tug of war my love, I'm not sure the kids or my mom are going to willingly give him back to you. You better find them some great presents in California to try to win them over!

To answer your question, yes I actually do play the guitar and I would love to play for you sometime, consider it a date for when you come home.

You're right Bella, there is still so much I want to know about you, I'm sure you can guess what's number one on my list, but I promised to be patient so I will. Police officer huh, I think you'd look pretty fucking hot in a uniform baby…maybe we'll have to play cops and robbers one night? I'm not surprised about the English major, but how did you end up a model? Thank you for the compliment angel, I think you're fucking incredible yourself.

Hmmm… three things I haven't told you yet:

*my dad is the person I admire most in the world, I can't wait for you to meet him

*the first crush I had was on my third grade teacher Ms. Jackson, I even made her a Valentine's Day card

*I dream about you every night

*(since you gave me one extra!) I wake up every morning from above mentioned dreams hard as a fucking rock!

I miss you so much my Bella, say hi to your friends for me, and don't tell Jasper, but he scares the ever living shit out of me!

Your, Edward XOXOXO

PS- I kind of like this email thing!

I hit send feeling light as a fucking feather, I love that woman like mad and I can't wait for the next 13 days to go by so I can tell her!

The rest of the weekend passed by with Rufus the center of attention. Damn dog chewed up my favorite pair of Vans, too!

Bella called to talk to the kids every night like she said she would, she even remembered to call Masen before his game on Monday. He was so excited she remembered and she promised to call again before bed so he could tell her all about the game.

I thought my mom was going to burst into tears as she listened to him talk to her before his game, and the tears started in earnest when he told her he loved her before hanging up the phone to go play. I have to admit that a few tears might have fallen out of my eyes as well.

She was seriously the most amazing fucking woman in the world and I had no idea how I got so damn lucky.

All I could say when Masen handed me the phone to go to find his team was, "I know Mama, I know."

"Edward, do whatever you have to do to keep that girl my boy, your family needs her," my mother told me quietly.

"Yes, we do and like I told Pop, I have no intention of ever letting her go so don't worry, okay?" I said to her as I put my arm around her shoulder and went to the stands to watch Masen's game.

Bella and I continued to email the rest of the week, and I fucking loved it. It was the highlight of my day.

I carried my phone with me everywhere, never knowing when she would have time to send me a message. I felt so much closer to her, it was amazing. We still talked everyday, a few times if we could manage it. She called the kids every night before they went to bed and I called her every morning to tell her good morning, but the emails were something special and different.

She seemed to open up so much more through the messages than over the phone, maybe it's from being an English major, I don't know, but I found out more about her in the last 4 days through the messages than I had since I met her.


Friday morning when I got to the office, I sent Bella a quick email letting her know the kids were asking about her and wished her luck. She had a big meeting with the Twilight apparel people and Jasper was a little nervous which in turn was making Bella a nervous wreck. I have to say the thought of Jasper being nervous worried me a little, too, since the man was cool as a cucumber most of the time.

As I was finishing it up, I heard Tanya walk in my office.

"Hey, Tan," I greeted her as she sat down, a smug grin on her face. "What the hell is that look for?" I asked her.

"Hello BFF, were you writing to Bella?" she asked me.

I smiled to her before I nodded my head saying, "Sure was. She has a big meeting today she was nervous about; I just wanted to let her know I was thinking about her before she left for the day."

It was only 10:00 in New York which meant it was only 7:00 in California and she would just be getting ready to get up.

I pulled up my calendar for the day, noticing that I was supposed to go to the shelter in the afternoon.

"Hey Edward," Tanya said with a smile in her voice. "Can I see a picture of Bella? I know you have one, there's no way you could go all day without looking at her picture at least if you could help it." she giggled at me.

I handed her my phone and let her find the pictures of Bella and the kids I had on there.

I heard her chuckle and I looked up expecting to see her looking at a picture on the phone but instead she was looking at me. "Edward Cullen, seriously. "

"What the hell Tanya?" I growled at her, not liking being laughed at…at all.

"Oh shit, you don't know do you?" she asked incredulously.

I crossed my arms over my chest, getting pretty pissed now, and feeling like she knew something I didn't. "Come on, T; just spit it out all ready. Damn, you know I hate when you do that shit to me."

"Oh, shut it Kit Kat, stop being such a baby," she laughed louder at me.

I narrowed my eyes at her, knowing I should have never told her that damn story.

She held her hands up, and said, "I know, I know, no one is allowed to call you that except Bella and the twins. Ok, Edward," she took a deep breath before she continued, "I've met her before."

"What the hell are you talking about Tanya? Met Bella? Where?" I asked rapid fire.

She looked at me and said, "Um, at the shelter, Edward. I met her there last Friday."

The shelter, what…there's no way…I mean why would she be there? Shit, my mind was racing and I was so confused.

I just looked at Tanya, not being able to say a word when she put me out of my misery and said, "Edward, your Bella is the anonymous person who brings the cookies for the children. I met her last Friday when she was dropping some off and was in the kitchen with Zaphrina. I didn't know who she was at first; I mean I'd seen her there in passing a few times. But, when she was leaving, Zaph told her good luck on her date with Edward and I knew who she was immediately. I mean you've described her to me in detail, I could draw a picture of her myself, but the smile on her face was a dead give away. She looked exactly like you do E when someone mentions her name to you," she smiled at me softly then she finished, "She loves you Edward, it's written all over her face."

I was stunned, absolutely speechless. My Bella was the person that went out of their way to bake cookies to bring to people she would never meet, just to try to make their day a little better? I mean when I stopped to think about it made perfect sense, but I still couldn't believe it was her.

"She's everything to me Tan, I love her so much," I told her quietly.

"Have you told her yet?" she asked me.

I shook my head in a silent answer. I hadn't but that didn't mean I didn't want to.

"Are you going to?"

I was nodding before she even finished asking, "As soon as she gets back. I can't wait any longer T; it's killing me not to tell her. But, I need her home first, I'm not about to say it while she is thousands of miles away from me. I'm also a little scared to be honest," I told her, knowing I could tell her anything.

"Of what Edward? It's as plain as day that she feels the same way; you'd have to be blind not to see it," she said to me, sincerely wondering what my problem was.

I took a deep breath before I answered her, telling her the one thing that I have been scared of since the beginning, "What if I'm not enough for her Tanya? She is exceedingly beautiful, she could have her pick of any man on the planet if she wanted to and they would come running. What if I disappoint her somehow? I could never live with that. I love her more than anything, more than I ever thought I could love someone else, but if she didn't want me…I'm not sure I could survive that. And the kids, there is no way they would. They love her almost as much as I do; she has given them so much in just the short amount of time we've been together. I'm just…I'm scared out of my mind Tan," I finished in a whisper.

That felt good to get out, I'm not going to lie, but I hate that I feel that way.

"Ed, it's normal for you to be scared. You've never put yourself out there for anyone like this before, not Caitlin and sure as hell not that she-bitch Lauren. Just trust her Edward, you've told me you can tell how she feels about you, and I know how you feel about her. Talk to her when she gets home, you'll feel better," she told me.

I took a deep breath and nodded my head at her, "I know Tanya. Everything feels so right with her. I can't even explain it, like I've just been going through the motions and waiting…specifically for her. I love her, completely, and I just…miss her. I'm ready for her to be back home, with me and with Maddie and Masen," I said as I threw myself back in my chair.

"Are you going to say anything to her about the shelter? She tries to keep that so quiet, I understand why, but it's a shame. Zaph told me she's been doing that for almost a year now. Bella really is amazing Edward and she's so beautiful!" Tanya giggled at me.

Tanya knows how pretty she herself is and usually doesn't throw out compliments like that about other women so I know she means what she says.

I couldn't help the smile that took over my face, "Yes, Tan, she is certainly both of those and so much more. My Bella is one of a kind that's for sure."

She stood up and came to stand beside me, kissed me on the cheek and told me, "Yes, E, your Bella is all that. I can't wait to get to know her better."

And with that, she was out the door.

I spent my time at the shelter, seeing patients for the rest of the day until it was time to go home and see the kids. Ali was coming over tonight and I was really looking forward to it. I haven't spent time with my sister in what felt like ages and I missed her.

Ma and Pop had ordered pizzas for dinner, knowing we would all be visiting and playing games since Ali was going to be at the house, and Demetri said he might stop by, too. I'm pretty sure they both just wanted to see the puppy. My mom hasn't been able to talk about much else since Rufus came to stay with us; I really do think Esme would give Bella just about anything to keep that little guy here at the house with her permanently.

I wasn't wrong since as soon as I made it in the front door all I heard was a bunch of squealing and barking. He is a cute fucking dog, though. I'm really going to have to talk to Seth about where he got him. I'm such a sucker!

After I changed my clothes and grabbed a beer I went out back with everyone else, only to see Dem on the ground with Rufus climbing all over him, as well as the twins. I whipped my phone out to take a picture to send to Bella, she would love it.

"Is that for Bella?" Alice asked me as I typed a quick text and attached the picture.

I laughed when I got the response back. Apparently my girl is worried about being replaced in her baby's eyes. I can't say she might not have some competition from Masen. Rufus is incredibly attached to him. I find them sleeping in bed together every morning, Rufus tucked right up next to Masen. I sent Bella that picture the other morning, the response from that one was short but to the point, 'I miss you all so much'.

I nodded my head and said, "Yep, she's worried we may never give him back at this point, and we still have a whole damn week left."

Alice reached over and took my hand in hers, and rubbed circles in my palm. It's what we've always done, I guess because my hands are so much bigger than hers. "I am so happy for you Edward. I can tell how much you care about her and you practically float whenever you talk about her."

I leaned over and kissed the side of her head and said, "I love her Ali, she's my everything. I miss her so much and I can't wait for her to come home."

The sound of her sniffling made me whip my head in her direction and she answered my questioning look, "Eddie, oh my god! You love her? Have you told her yet, I want to meet her, please?"

This was what I had been dreading, but at the same time I couldn't wait for my Bella to meet Alice. I'm sure they will get along great.

"Short shit, come on, I hate when you call me Eddie, you know this. No, I haven't told her yet, but I am going to when she gets back, I can't wait any longer. And I want you to meet her. As soon as Ma and Pop get back from their trip, I'm bringing Bella to Sunday dinner," I told her.

Alice stopped tracing circles and looked at me seriously, "Brother of mine, I can't wait. Have you told Ma and Pop who she is yet?" she asked me.

I raised my eyebrows at her in question, how the hell does she know that? I know Tanya would never betray my confidence like that and she's the only one I've told so far per Bella's request.

"Um, sister of mine, what are you talking about?" I asked, trying to figure out what the hell she is talking about.

"Edward, I'm not stupid and I'm certainly not as oblivious as you seemed to have been. I know who Bella is, I even have some of the clothes she models for," she said as she rolled her eyes at me.

"Oh," was the only genius response I could think of.

She snickered beside me, "I haven't told anyone, if that's what you are wondering. She's beautiful by the way and the magazine cover was insane!"

I then proceeded to tell her how Bella told me about that and who she was. I also told her about my dumb ass running away from her and Seth's talk with me. She hit me upside the head for leaving and told me I was lucky Seth didn't kick my ass. I told her about my reaction at lunch with the men that were staring at her. I even told her about Bella's altercation with the fans outside the radio station the day of our first date.

Yes, I found out about that. When we were in the park that Sunday after our date, I noticed the bruises when I was holding her hand and picked it up to kiss the back of it. I freaked out because I thought I did it on Friday when we had gotten back to her apartment. She was quick to tell me they weren't my fault, but was extremely reluctant to tell me what they were from. Bella only told me after I threatened to call Seth myself and have him tell me. To say I was livid would be a gross understatement. I can handle comments and looks…to a certain extent. But for someone to lay their hands on my girl, I was so furious it took me 10 minutes to calm the fuck down and I only did that when Bella threatened to go home if I didn't knock it off.

After I calmed the hell down, she told me what happened from start to finish, including the mini panic attack she had once she got inside the station. I was extremely grateful for Seth at that moment and I wanted to call him right away and say thank you for taking care of her. But, I knew he was just doing his job and besides, he would never let anything happen to Bella. I also really hated her job at that moment, but kept that to myself. She certainly didn't need to hear my worries after what had happened. I knew thinking about it objectively that it was a relatively minor altercation in the grand scheme of things, but it sure as shit didn't make it any easier to handle.

I even told Alice about Bella making the cookies at the shelter. It was when I was talking to her about it, that I realized with a shock that I knew Bella had been there that one day I could swear I felt her in the kitchen. I did! That essence that is purely her was still in the air and my body recognized it immediately.

As I told Alice about that, I thought for sure she would tell me I was crazy but instead my usual over excited sister sat perfectly still until I looked at her and she said, "Bella is your soul mate Edward, the other half of you that makes you whole."

She started crying then, and I put my arm around her and pulled her close to me, as I told her gently, "She is Ali. Bella is the one I waited and waited for, and I am never, ever letting her go."

"Good Edward, that's fantastic. I can't wait to have a sister, you know I've always wanted one," she giggled at me.

Sister? Oh god, she means when I marry Bella…when...Oh Jesus, that sounds…well…


"Good to know sister of mine, good to know."

After Demetri and Alice left and I got the kids in bed after their phone call from Bella…mine comes later at night, I went to my room to send her an email.

From: Edward Cullen

To: Bella Swan

Subject: Seven more fucking days!

Hi baby. Guess the subject line says it all, huh? I miss you so damn much, I'm not sure I can make it seven more days. Please tell me you don't have to do this again…or at least not anytime soon.

I do hope you are having fun though, and enjoying your time with Jasper and Rose. I know you miss them even though you don't say it very often. I really can't wait to meet them; do you think they will like me? Did that just make me sound like I was in fucking junior high or what? Jesus! Check for yes or no…how fucking lame am I? Wait, don't answer that angel.

But, truthfully, I'm scared they won't. I know how important they both are to you.

I had a great talk with Alice tonight; I've missed her so much the last few weeks. I've hardly seen her at all. I have a confession to make. She knows who you are sweetheart. I didn't tell her, I promise. But, she saw your picture on my phone and has seen your pictures before so she figured it out. She even has some of the clothes you model…how weird is that? Anyway, I told her we were waiting just a little longer before we told everyone and she promised not to say anything. We are going to tell soon, aren't we? I want to Bella, so bad, but I'll do whatever makes you comfortable.

Maddie and Masen had a great time tonight playing with Rufus; the only thing missing was you baby. I have so much to tell you Bella, but I have to see you and touch you and have you home before I do. It's nothing bad, I know how you automatically think the worst, so knock that shit off right now sweet girl. I just need you here, but the next week will hopefully fly by and then we can talk and just be…us. And I want that Bella, so badly; you have no idea how much. You're it for me; I hope you know that angel.

Three more things you didn't know about me:

*I used to let Alice dress me up like a girl when we were little (don't laugh baby, she has this pout that would make anyone do anything, I swear!)

*When I was 16, I wrecked my dad's car trying to show off for a girl. To this day, he thinks it was Emmett. I've never told him any different.

*I know you are the one that brings the cookies to the shelter. (By the way, your oatmeal raisin cookies are fucking amazing baby, please make them for me? I'm giving you the famous Cullen pout, just so you know!)

*Here's a free one for you…I miss the feel of your hair in between my fingers. It's so fucking soft and always smells so damn good, I dream about just running my fingers through your hair for hours at a time…

I miss you Bella, more than you'll ever know. Come home to me soon…please!

Your, Edward XOXOXO

I still had a little while before Bella would be calling me, with the time difference, she always called me later at night, so I took a shower, thinking about what I told Bella and how I thought she would respond. I am sure she'll figure out that I want to tell her I love her, but maybe not.

I'm telling her anyway, as soon as she gets back. I can't wait any longer…

There is an email waiting when I get done. My girl is nothing if not prompt!

To: Edward Cullen

From: Bella Swan

Subject: 165 hours

My Edward~

It's less than 7 whole days now until I get to see you again, for some reason counting the time down in hours makes it seem shorter. I don't know I'm grasping at straws I think. I just want to be done with this trip already and be back there with the three of you.

No, I don't have to do this again any time soon. I couldn't even if I was scheduled to. This has truly sucked! I have enjoyed my time with Jasper and Rose, though and Seth was so excited to see Sue when she arrived earlier today. She thought you were extraordinarily handsome. I didn't disagree with her baby! Jasper and Rose will like you just fine Edward, because you are important to me if for no other reason. Seth has been singing your praises though, so I'm pretty sure you passed all tests as far as he is concerned. Don't worry so much Edward, you make me so happy and that is all that will matter to J and Lele.

I'm so glad you got to spend time with Alice. I am so nervous about meeting her, but excited too. Rose and Angela are the only girlfriends I have, so I really hope she will like me. I'm not shocked that she knows who I am baby, but I am shocked to find out she has the workout clothes. I still can't wrap my head around that aspect of my job, but that conversation is for another time. I am happy she won't say anything yet Edward, but yes, we will tell everyone soon. I can't wait for every woman in NYC to know you are completely off limits…indefinitely if I have anything to say about it.

Three…well four (can't let you get one up on me!) things you didn't know about me:

*I put itching powder in Seth's underwear when we were 12 after he told Embry Call I liked him to get back at me for beating him in a race. To this day he thinks it was Jasper.

*I cooked my first full meal for dinner when I was 8 years old since my mom couldn't cook anything to save her life. She didn't talk to me for a week after that.

*When you kissed me in the park the second time we met, that was the first kiss I'd gotten in over 3 years that wasn't from Seth or Jasper

*I knew you were at the shelter that day, I could feel you close by even though you weren't in the same room (Yes, Edward I will make you oatmeal raisin cookies when I get back, stop the pouting please!)

We'll talk when I get home, I promise. I miss you Edward and I need you even more. Be patient with me, I'll tell you everything my love…


Your, Bella XOXOXO

I sat back in my chair after I finished reading her message through a few times. What the hell kind of mother doesn't talk to her eight year old daughter for a week? And where was her father during all that? From the way Bella talks about him, I know she adored him so he couldn't have been a bad guy. What the hell? I have more questions than answers at this point, but she has promised to tell me everything so I just have to be patient I guess.

For her I would do anything, but waiting is not something I'm really good at.


The rest of the week flew by in a flurry of activity. Masen had another T-Ball game, Maddie had a short ballet recital and I worked at the hospital late two nights and before I knew it, it was Thursday night and my stomach is in knots counting down the hours until Bella got back home.

My mind tried to go into overdrive imagining all these worst case scenarios, the most awful being she'd changed her mind or some shit like that and never wanted to see me again once she got home. I knew I was being irrational, but I couldn't entirely help it. My entire world was wrapped up in her now, not that she was aware of that fact yet, but she would soon if I had anything to say about it.

Thursday night's sleep was not restful at all knowing that when I woke up, Bella would be home in less than 12 hours and when she did get home, I was going to tell the woman of my dreams that I was in love with her. I was laying all my cards on the table, and letting the chips fall where they may. Hopefully they fell in my favor with her feeling the same way about me and then we could finally just be…us.

Friday was hectic and the kids, of course, were more difficult than usual to get up and get ready to leave for school. Why was it on the days you needed everything to run smoothly, it never does?

I finally got them dropped off and made my way to the office. Thankfully I had a light schedule with only a few checkups and nothing major to attend to. My mind was definitely not in any shape to be making important medical decisions.

I sent Bella a quick text message in between patients:

Only a few hours left beautiful until I can see your gorgeous face and kiss those sweet lips…be safe and hurry home ~~ E XOXOXO

Her response was immediate:

Counting down every minute Edward, I can't wait to see you…Always ~~~ Your, Bella XOXOXO

Always…I fucking love the way that sounds!

After lunch, I left for the day. I had arranged for Alice and Tanya to entertain the kids for the afternoon once school was done and Ali was spending the night at the house with them so I could be with Bella, if everything went according to plan that is.

I had decided to go to Bella's to wait for her there and surprise her with dinner. She had given me a key to the loft in case I needed something for Rufus and I already had the access code to the garage so I was all set. I went home and changed from my scrubs to some dark wash jeans and a long sleeve shirt Ali had left on my bed…again. I couldn't get too upset with her though, Bella would love the black shirt Alice had picked out. I packed an overnight bag, being extremely optimistic, and got ready to head out.

I debated about bringing Rufus back to Bella's with me, but I was selfish in that I wanted one night with just her and I, and that meant no little puppy paws running around either. I hoped she didn't mind, besides that meant we would just have to come get him and there is no way she was getting out of seeing Maddie and Masen.

The stop at the jewelers took only a few minutes since I was just picking up my purchase, having ordered it last week. I'm not a hundred percent positive I'm going to give my gift to her tonight; I'm just going to see how everything progresses and take it from there.

I got to Bella's around 4:30, giving myself just over two hours to get everything ready. I had to make two trips up and down in the elevator to bring everything up. When I talked to Alice the other night about Bella and mentioned wanting to do something for her when she got back, she helped me come up with my plan.

Not being able to cook at all, I decided to order some Chinese food and have a picnic on the floor. I moved the dining room table, where Bella and I ate our first breakfast together, out of the way and spread the blankets I had brought from home on the floor. I didn't want to go digging through Bella's house and use her's so I brought my own, I did use her pillows though. I hung up the strands of lights Alice helped me pick out and even set up candles. A little cheesy I suppose, but I couldn't help it. I just wanted to do something nice for her to let her know how much I missed her while she was gone…and how much I love her.

The portable speakers I brought from home were plugged in and I scrolled through my iPod to find the playlist I made especially for tonight. I ran my fingers through my hair as I stepped back and surveyed what I'd done. It looked pretty damn good if I do say so myself, and when the sun started to set, right about the time Bella got home, the lights I put up would look fucking sensational.

I checked my watch and my stomach did flip flops, shit…she would be here within the hour. I put away all the bags I brought with me and stowed my overnight bag in the guest room. I called to order the food, asking that it be delivered in 30 minutes. I wanted it here before she was so everything was ready and we didn't have any interruptions.

The 30 minutes I had before the food got here I spent staring out the window, as I tried to prepare myself for what I was about to do. I had never, ever told a woman I loved them before and I was scared out of my damn mind about telling Bella. I had a pretty good feeling she felt the same as I did, but you could never know until it was time to say those words. I knew instinctually that once I told her, everything would change and there would be no going back for either of us. It's not like I was asking her to marry me…shit if that thought doesn't sound fucking incredible…but this was it. If she loved me as much as I loved her, then this was the start of our forever because I knew she was it for me.

I immediately thought of the necklace I had gotten for Bella. It was a heart pendant that had the inscription 'a ma vie de couer entier' which means 'You have my whole heart for my whole life' on it. Even if she doesn't love me like I love her, that statement is nothing but the fucking truth. There will never be anyone else for me…it's Bella or it's no one.

When it was time for the food to get here, I went downstairs to wait for the delivery driver. I wasn't sure how Seth and Bella felt about letting people in the building so I just didn't. He thought it was little strange that I was standing in front of what looked like an empty building, but the tip I gave him cut out his wanting to hang around quick and he was gone in moments. I waited until he pulled off before going back inside to wait for Bella…my love.

As soon as I got back inside the loft, I set the bags on the counter and turned on the iPod. The music emanating was soothing and soft; I even recorded a few songs of me playing the guitar and added them to the playlist. While I was getting the plates out of the cabinet, I heard the elevator coming up.

Shit…fuck…holy hell….damn…I said to myself as I let out a cleansing breath.

This is it Edward, this is only the rest of your life.

I could tell as she got closer to the door that she was confused and a little freaked out. I knew she could hear the music and probably smell the food, too. I also knew she didn't know I was in here; I didn't park my car in the underground garage so I could surprise her.

As the door opened, my heart literally felt like it would beat out of my chest and as my eyes found the deep brown ones I hadn't seen in fourteen days, I knew telling Bella I loved her couldn't wait one more minute.

"Edward," I heard my angel sigh as she stopped in the doorway, her hand still on the door knob as the rest of her bags fell loudly to the floor.

I watched as her eyes raked over me, then flicked to the dining area where she took in the candles and the blankets and the lights. Her eyes were soft and warm when they found mine again.

I heard the door shut behind her as she stepped further inside…I couldn't take my eyes off her. Jesus Christ she was so fucking beautiful.

I felt my heart as it kept beating faster and faster, I briefly wondered if she could hear it. She didn't move her eyes from mine either and the electric pulses that I always feel when she is near were flashing all around us, I swear I could almost see them I could feel it so intensely.

She took a step towards me and I knew I couldn't wait another moment to tell her, I felt like I would explode any second.

I held my hand up to her and took a deep breath before I said, "Bella, my God baby, it's so fucking good to see you, but stop right there, please."

Bella stopped but had the cutest damn look on her face and then that bottom lip…shit… it went immediately between her teeth as she wrinkled her brow trying the figure out what the hell was wrong with me.

I'm sure I looked like a raving lunatic, my eyes dilated and breathing heavy and my fingers clenched beside my body. Yeah, I'm sure I looked insane.

"Edward, sweetheart…what…are you…" she stammered out to me as I kept my hand up to stop her from moving towards me.

"Angel, please, just wait right there ok. I need to say this before I go out of my fucking mind," time to man the fuck up Cullen as I stared at the woman who held my heart in the palm of her perfect little hand.

I looked deep in her eyes, and even though she was too far away for me to touch, I could feel her.

"Isabella Marie Swan," I began softly but with so much emotion I thought it would bubble out of me, "I love you. I am so deeply, irrevocably, madly and any other damn word you can think of that ends in 'ly' in love with you, I have been since the first moment I saw your beautiful face. I knew it then and I know it even more now. I just can't hold it in anymore. I love you," I breathed out as I finished.

Bella stood still, blinking her eyes over and over again until I saw tears falling down her beautiful face.

I opened my mouth to say something…anything, to stop the tears but before I could get the first word out Bella flung herself at me, wrapping her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist as I caught her. She took my face in her hands and her eyes were shining bright and clear with the same look I'm sure mine held as she kissed me all over my face, my cheeks, forehead, nose until she settled on my lips and said, "My Edward, I love you, too."

She kissed me again, whispering "I love you, I love you," over and over again as I gripped her even tighter to me.

Bella loves me, thank fucking Christ!

The sense of elation and utter happiness coursing through my body consumed me all at once and before I knew what was happening, I carried her to her room, and laid her on the bed.

Her hair, the hair I fantasized about on more than a normal basis, was splayed out across the bed and she looked at me with love and want and need pouring off her.

I knelt on the bed as I leaned over her and whispered reverently, "Jesus Bella, you are so fucking beautiful baby, it almost hurts to look at you," I hovered over her, kissing her deeply.

The moment my lips touched hers I knew I had to be inside of her and make her mine, completely.

"Bella, I want to make love to you. Please?" I begged her.

She grabbed my face between her hands as she kissed the side of my neck and I heard her moan softly in my ear, "Yes Edward, please make love to me. I love you, please love me."

I turned her head and took her bottom lip in between my teeth, sliding my tongue across her lips, and told her," I do love you Bella, so much angel."

I pushed her farther up the bed to the pillows and began kissing her, my nose running up the side of her neck, my tongue following the line to behind her ear. I sat up after a moment and pushed her t-shirt up and off her body.

She was laid out before me in the sexiest light blue lace bra; I almost didn't want to take it off her. I made a mental note to myself to have Bella wear blue again…often.

"Mmm, Bella, baby you are so beautiful," I told her as I bent forward to kiss along her now naked collar bones and then down her chest to the tops of her breasts that were threatening to spill out of her bra. I slid the straps down her shoulders and reached behind her to undo the bra, freeing her from its confines. I took a breast in each hand and pinched her nipples between my thumbs and index fingers, the moans coming from my love shooting straight to my dick which was straining against my jeans.

I circled first one then the other nipple with my tongue, dragging it over the hard peaks as I felt Bella grab my hair and tug on it, pressing me harder into her chest. I reached down and undid the zipper on her jeans as I felt her toe of her shoes and socks. I slid my hand into her already soaked panties, circling her clit with my finger.

"Mmm, sweet girl you are already so wet for me," I murmured against her neck.

"Only for you Edward, only you could make me this wet baby," she moaned as I quickened the pace of my fingers.

I moved my hand, feeling bad when Bella whimpered from the loss of my fingers on her to grab her jeans and slide them down her lovely, toned legs, taking her panties with them at the same time.

And there she was, naked before me, looking more mesmerizing than I ever could have imagined. She looked up at me from underneath those long eyelashes and held her hand out to me, and begged me, "Edward, please baby, I need you."

I pulled my shirt off and toed off my shoes and socks. I undid my belt and unzipped my jeans and pushed my boxers and jeans down and stepped out of them until I was standing before her as naked as she was.

I looked at her, hoping she could feel and see how much I loved her and wanted her and just fucking craved her so completely.

"Edward, love me now," my angel whispered to me as I crashed my body top of hers feeling the sparks and electricity all over my body.

Feeling her skin against mine was the most intense thing I had ever felt in my life; I felt like my entire body was on fire. I kissed her deeply again, caressing her tongue with mine as I ran my fingers through her hair.

Fucking bliss is what I was feeling in that instant.

I picked my head up to stare into her eyes and told her again, "Bella, I love you so much. You are my entire life now; every part of me belongs to you now baby," as I kissed across her neck and throat.

"Oh Edward, I love you, too. So very much. Make me yours now, please Edward. I want to feel you inside of me, I can't wait any longer," Bella crooned at me, her voice huskier and sexier as she was overcome with her wanting.

I shifted until I was aligned with her, my hard cock straining to push inside of her.

"Bella, are you sure baby?" I asked making sure she was as ready as I was for this.

"I have never been more sure of anything in my life Edward, make me yours baby, completely. You already have my heart, now take my body and claim it sweetheart, please," she begged me.

With that, I couldn't have stopped myself even if I had wanted to; the pull to her body was overcoming every rational thought I had.

Once I buried deep inside of her, I stilled and looked down into her face, the face of the woman I loved with every fiber of my being, and said, "Oh my god Bella, you feel…it's so warm…you're so wet angel…" I could hardly get the words out I was so overwhelmed.

"Edward, oh yes, fuck…you feel amazing…move in me baby, please," she cried out to me.

I began moving in long slow strokes, feeling her pull me deeper and deeper inside of her. She felt incredible and she was so fucking tight, Jesus so damned tight.

"Baby, god you're….oh so fucking tight…it feels so good …I can't believe…I didn't know it would feel like this… Bella," I couldn't even speak she felt so incredible.

She grabbed my biceps in her hands, holding on them tightly as her hips lifted off the bed to meet each of my thrusts, squeezing me so tightly in her warm, wet pussy. "Ah, Edward…I'm so close baby, so fucking close, you feel so good inside of me, yes…yes," Bella cried out over and over.

"Christ Bella, you feel fucking incredible wrapped around me baby…I'm going to come, baby, please, come…oh god yes…" I groaned out to her as I felt her walls pulse around my cock.

"Oh Edward," she cried as she threw her head back and came and came. God she was stunning when she was having an orgasm and my name on her lips when she was coming was my new favorite sound, ever!

"Shit, Bella, I'm coming baby," I grunted as I came inside of her, collapsing on top of her when I was through.

Life changing, what just happened, totally life altering.

I pulled out of her, immediately missing the intimacy of being inside of her and laid down beside her, pulling her as close to me as I could get her.

I kissed her forehead after brushing her hair back over her shoulder. I leaned into her again, and whispered, "I love you so much Bella, welcome home angel."

She giggled a little before she answered me, "Edward…you can welcome me home like that any time, I promise."

I squeezed her tightly to me and growled, "No fucking way baby, you are not leaving me again, but I'll be more than happy to do that again…and again…and again, as many times as you want to."

"Oh, I have no intentions of moving from this spot ever again," Bella told me before she leaned up and kissed my chin continuing softly, "I love you, too, Edward…so very much."

"My Bella," I whispered as I ran my fingers through her hair, Jesus it's so fucking soft all the damn time, "You have literally made me the happiest man on the planet beautiful. I am never letting you go, Bella. Never. You are it for me and I will not ever want anyone as much as I want you."

"Good to know sweetheart," she sighed at me as she curled into me even closer.

We laid there quietly, as we enjoyed the afterglow of our lovemaking when I heard her stomach growl…loudly.

I laughed, "Baby, didn't you eat on the plane? Your stomach sounds like it's eating itself from the inside out."

She giggled and then blushed adorably, "Um, well, I was so excited to come home to see you, I couldn't eat."

And then she pouted at me. Shit, her pout is worse than Ali's. I must never let them join forces or I am so fucked!

I rolled over and stood up, pulling on my boxers and I threw her my shirt, and told her "Get your ass up baby, let's go eat some Chinese."

Bella rolled her eyes at me but got up and put my shirt on. God help me, but my dick got hard immediately from the sight of her in my shirt. She is so fucking sexy in my clothes, or out of my clothes whichever the case may be.

I groaned as she looked at me after she flipped her hair out from underneath the shirt, "See something you like, Edward?" she sassed me with her hands on her little hips as she cocked her eyebrow at me.

"You bet your sweet ass I do, now get the hell out of here before I throw you down on that bed and ravish you again, repeatedly," I growled at her.

Bella walked over to me and put her hands on my chest and stood on her tiptoes and kissed my neck before she said, "Who says that is not exactly what I want Edward?" and then followed her question with a lick of her tongue across my jaw and throat.

I gripped her by the hips and pushed her away from me far enough to bend over and whisper quietly "Baby, you need to eat to build up your strength so I can show how good this old man can make you feel."

Bella kissed the end of my nose before she spun around and walked out to the kitchen and then turned around and said cheekily, "You can try keeping up baby, we'll see how you do," before she promptly left the room.

God damn if that woman is not going to be the death of me…but what a fucking way to go!

1 comment:

  1. Grrrreat homecoming lemon.... saweeet~! I would say they missed each other very much~! And they said the "L" word, LOL yay~!