The Path We Choose
Sunday, August 22, 2010
"Baby, you need to wake up," Edward whispered as he ran his fingers through my hair and pushed it back behind my ears.
I tried to shake my head no, but his hand held my head still and I felt his warm, soft lips kiss my forehead.
He chuckled at me and said, "Bella, we are getting ready to land. You need to sit up and get your seat belt fastened."
I sat up quickly and looked around the plane and realized I was the last one up. I sheepishly looked at Edward and ducked my head.
"Hey now," he said with a smile as he lifted my chin with his finger, "Angel, you're exhausted. No one blames you for sleeping for the entire flight…even if you did snore loud enough to wake the dead!"
"I don't snore!" I hissed under my breath at him and Edward grinned and leaned forward and kissed the end of my nose. "Nope, you don't," he said with a wicked gleam in his eye. "I just like to see you get all worked up," he chuckled.
"Ass," I snorted at him then smiled because it had been too long since I'd seen him smile that way.
Edward leaned over as we began to circle the airport to land and said, "Maybe, but you know you love me anyway."
I grabbed his face and kissed him deeply, surprising the shit out of him. When I pulled away from him, I laughed at the stunned look on his face and said, "Yep, I do. More than you can ever imagine. Now, hold my hand, you know I hate landing," and sat back and held my hand out for him to take.
He laced our fingers together and lifted them to his lips where he placed a sweet, tender kiss along my knuckles and said softly, "You know I'd never let anything happen to you baby."
I nodded at him and knew he meant more than just keeping me from being scared while the plane touched down on the ground and then rolled along the tarmac. He meant way more.
Once we came to a stop and I was able to take a deep breath, I laid my hand along his cheek and leaned forward and kissed his cheek and said, "I know Edward."
Edward took a breath to say something but we were interrupted by two little squeals of "Mommy!" "Daddy!" and we were immediately engulfed in the arms of Maddie and Masen.
It was so hard to dwell on too much of anything with those two around so I hoped that these next few days would allow all of us…especially Edward, some time to decompress and forget things for awhile.
God knew we damn sure needed it after the hell of the past two days alone.
"What are we gonna do today Mommy?" Masen asked excitedly as he bounced up and down on his little feet. He had his NYY hat on, backward of course, and a pair of cargo shorts and a t-shirt. He looked so adorable I couldn't help but laugh at him.
I bent down and tweaked his nose causing him to giggle and then told him, "Well, Seth, Jasper, and I need to check in with a few people and I might have to go out for a bit, but when I get back, I thought you and Maddie and me and Daddy could take a walk on the beach and maybe go swimming. How does that sound?" I asked him and then took a deep breath when I saw the pained look on my Edward's face when I mentioned going out in public.
"Bella," he said softly, but in an anguished tone of voice.
I kissed Masen and the shooed him in the direction of Carlisle where Maddie was already talking a mile a minute.
I stepped closer to Edward as everyone moved about the plane gathering their things to get ready to disembark and wrapped my arms around his waist. "Edward, enough. This is their vacation too and he and Maddie have been looking forward to playing on the beach for weeks now. I told you before we left that we would do whatever we needed to make sure we all had a good time and relaxed. Don't make me have Emmett knock you over the head and have the jet take you back to New York City." I stepped on my tip toes and kissed his cheek and then took his hand in mine and looked into his gorgeous green eyes.
They crinkled at the edges because he was smiling and that made me feel better right away. "Alright my sweet girl. I'll try to limit my freak outs for the remainder of our stay in beautiful, sunny California. But Bella, in all seriousness," he said as he lowered his voice and looked into my eyes. "You have to promise me that you'll be careful and if anything seems…off you'll tell someone right away, deal? I'll try to loosen up but you're still not going to be out of my sight if I can help it."
"I didn't figure I would be baby, nor would I want to be. Now, let's get the hell off this plane and find some food. I'm starving," I giggled at him and then laughed when my stomach grumbled loudly as we made our way to join everyone else.
Thankfully Aro and Jane had already arranged for two suburbans to be waiting for us at the airport, so after separating into groups and loading our luggage, we were finally off in search of food and then the hotel.
"Sweet B!" Emmett exclaimed once we were seated at the restaurant for lunch.
I looked at Emmett and couldn't help but laugh at him and all his goofiness. I had to hand it to him though, he kept trying to make everyone, especially Edward and I, laugh and not dwell for too long on things.
His bruise was fading quickly, thank goodness. If I knew my Edward at all, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that every time he looked at his brother and saw the purple mottled flesh, he relived what happened Thursday night all over again.
That was not good…nor was it anyway to live, so the sooner the outward reminder was gone, the better.
"Mommy! Come sit by me and Masen!" Maddie squealed and led me to the table. I gave Edward a soft smile and followed her to the table where she pulled me down between the two of them and began to tell me everything, in minute detail she wanted to see when we went to Disney in a few days.
"And I wanna see Cinderella and her castle. Do you thinks we'll be able to see her? And I wanna see the fireworks!" She went on excitedly only to be followed by Masen's enthusiastic list. "Well I wanna see Buzz and Woody and I wanna go to the Jedi Academy daddy showded me on the computer."
"Okay you two," I laughed at them. I said a quick, silent prayer of thanks that they were, for the most part, oblivious to the turmoil that was going on around us. "Once we get to the hotel, we'll make a list of everything you two want to do and we'll make sure we try to get it all done."
"Me too Sweet B! I can't wait to see that new water light show they have and I want to see the parade," Emmett said boisterously. "Oohh, and I want to go to that Jedi Academy thingy with Mase. I'd rock with a light saber!"
He looked affronted when the entire table burst out in laughter at him, and then gave us all a big smile. Of course, that was followed with a flip of his middle finger when the kids weren't looking, too.
"Jackasses," he mumbled but then smiled. "Whatever, I'm excited. Sue me!"
"Em, you can go to the Academy if you want," I chuckled at him as I sat back and took a drink of my Coke. "Just make your list too, and we'll make sure you get your turn you big goof."
"Sweet! Did you hear that babe? Will you buy me a pair of Mickey ears Rosie?" He asked her sweetly and though Rose tried to glare at him, she totally lost it when Emmett flashed her a silly smile complete with dimples.
"Thanks Bell. Now I have to listen to him make his list for the next three days!" Rose snorted at me.
We finished our lunch, during which there was much discussion over what everyone was going to do for the next few days and finally arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon.
I had a few hours before I needed to leave with Seth, Emmett, and Jacob and Esme and Carlisle took the kids down to the pool to expend some energy for a little bit. I loved them to pieces, but man, they wore me the hell out!
After I set out what I needed to wear to the appearance later on, I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes only to feel warm fingertips trace along the skin the peeked out from beneath my t-shirt a few moments later.
I opened one eye to see Edward lying down beside me, his head rested in his hand and he stared down at me. "Angel, we're all alone. You realize this, yes?" He questioned with a smirk.
Before I knew what was happening Edward had rolled and hovered over me and grinned down at me. "Mmmm, all alone. Whatever shall we do to pass the time?"
He bent down and kissed me deeply then moved to my neck. "I need you baby. Now," he whispered.
I giggled at him and felt his hands move underneath my shirt, "Well, I guess I know how we'll be spending the next hour," I teased him.
"More like two," Edward huskily said and then proceeded to show me just how much he did indeed need me…over and over and then over again.
"Bell, we need to head out in a few minutes," Seth told me as I slipped my shoes on as I finished getting ready to go.
To say I was nervous as hell about this damn appearance was the freaking understatement of the year so far. I was so scared and I concentrated on taking a few deep breaths to keep myself from hyperventilating in the bathroom. I leaned on the counter and closed my eyes while I inhaled and exhaled like my yoga instructor had taught me.
Seth opened the door and muttered, "Jesus Bella," before enveloping me in his arms. "Do you want me to get Edward?" he asked anxiously and I quickly shrieked at him, "No Seth, don't…please."
"Honey, you can't go out there looking like this," Seth whispered as he pushed my hair back behind my ears and kissed the top of my head.
I stood up and looked in the mirror and tried to take a few more calming breaths and hoped that Edward didn't look too closely at me on my way out the door. My cheeks were flushed and my eyes were dilated but even more telling than that was the fact my hands were shaking uncontrollably.
Seth reached out and grabbed them, squeezing them tightly in his and stared at me. "Bella, nothing will happen to you. I promise," he vowed to me and I nodded my head.
"I hate this fucking shit," I whispered to him and I took a few more moments before I walked out.
Seth snorted at my outburst but then looked at me tenderly before he said, "We all hate it too, Shortcake."
We exited the bathroom and walked through the suite to the living room where Jasper and Emmett were waiting along with Edward, Maddie, and Masen.
"There's my girl," Jasper winked at me and held his arms open with a huge smile. His smile fell the closer I got to him and was replaced by the frown that immediately took its place.
He wrapped me in a huge hug and squeezed me close to him and held on to me, until I wiggled to break free. This was really, seriously beginning to be a little much and when I looked around the room and caught Edward's eyes, I knew instantly he could tell I was about to lose it.
"Okay Whitlock, get your hands off my woman," he chuckled as he stood up and walked toward me, his eyes full of emotion and his smile sweet and tender.
As Jasper passed me to Edward, I caught his grimace and knew Edward was giving him a harsh look, but I couldn't even open my mouth to reprimand him. I was hanging on, barely, and if I tried to talk just then, it wouldn't have been pretty.
Edward led me away from the group of them pointedly ignoring Seth's motion to his watch indicating we didn't have much time and stood me in front of the windows overlooking the ocean.
"Angel, what is it? You look like you're about the break the fuck down. Did Seth say something to you?" Edward questioned and that made me feel like total shit.
Apparently I was much better at hiding how I was feeling than I thought I was if Edward didn't automatically assume I was scared out of my damn mind.
I wrapped my arms tightly around his waist and laid my head against his strong chest. I could hear and feel his heartbeat and instantly I felt better. I shook my head against him without saying a word, not caring at all that I would need to check my hair before I left.
Edward bent down and kissed the top of my head and ran his fingers through the loose hair that hung down my back. He waited until I got myself together and said, "Baby, talk to me. I can't fix it if you don't tell me."
I sighed again, and then picked my head up, immediately hating myself when I saw the panic spread across his face when he looked at me. "Bella," he said in a pained voice and reached up to cup my cheek with his big, warm hand.
"I'm so scared Edward. I hate feeling this way and I hate making you worry about me, but I am. I can't even concentrate on what I'm supposed to say or do." I railed at him as I stalked back and forth in front of the windows. "I don't want to go this afternoon. I want to stay here with you and the kids and curl up on our big bed and watch movies and then go outside and swim in the ocean and make sandcastles on the beach." I stopped to look at his heartbroken face and that just made me so sad. "I want…I want this to all be over," I let out finally and then sagged to the floor.
Edward rushed to my side and crawled on the floor beside me and pulled me onto his lap. "My sweet, brave girl," Edward murmured softly to me as he rocked me back and forth. "Bella, you have to stop trying to keep these things from me. I hate seeing you like this," he said as he held my face in his hands. "But I hate even more that you are afraid. It's killing me that we don't have any answers and there is all this uncertainty surrounding you and me," he admitted quietly as he held me closer to him.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you I was scared Edward. I just get so tired of everyone walking on eggshells around me…you too. No one knows what to say or how to act and it just pisses me off so bad." I told him as I played with the hem of his t-shirt. "I hate feeling like this and I hate seeing you get upset. But more than that, I hate that terrified look you get on your face wondering if something is going to happen to me." I finished and laid my head against his chest again and enjoyed feeling his arms wrapped securely around me.
"Bell, we really have to get out of here," Jasper said quietly as he approached where we sat. "We're already going to be late as it is."
"Shit," I swore heatedly. "Fine, let's get the hell out of here. Give me just a minute to fix my hair and face and we can go," I said as I looked at Edward one last time as I stood up.
I helped him off the floor and he bent his head down to kiss me softly, but passionately. "Baby, I love you. You'll be just fine for the next few hours then you'll come back and we'll take the kids out to play," he said with one last brush of his lips across mine. "Besides, I happen to know for a fact you packed one sexy as fuck bikini that I can't wait to see your ass in…literally," he teased with a waggle of his eyebrows.
"Edward," I said with a giggle and then flashed him a grateful smile.
I knew for a damn fact he wasn't as cavalier about this whole thing as he was acting right now, but I was extremely grateful for the attempted fake just the same. He knew me so well.
Hurriedly, I made my way to the bathroom and tried to repair the damage to my face and hair as quick as I could so we could get out of here and get to the appearance before we were any later.
Edward grabbed me for one more quick kiss and then we were out the door and in the rented suburban before I could think twice. I could feel the eyes of the four guys in the car with me and took a turn looking each of them in the eye. Like I told Edward, this shit was getting old really quickly.
"Okay," I began in a strained voice as I rubbed my fingers over the mommy bracelet on my left arm. "Every one of you listen to me and listen good. I've had it with all of you looking at me like I'm going to curl up into a ball and stick my thumb in my mouth or start going Carrie on someone. You're all driving me nuts and I can't take it anymore," I finished in a whisper as I stared at Jasper beside me.
"Please J, you guys are making this so much worse for me with the hovering and the staring. I can't …I'm about to…just stop, please. For me?" I begged.
"I'm sorry Shortcake," Jasper said with feeling. "I know we've all been acting like idiots, but none of us know what we're doing here."
I leaned my head against the window and stared in front of me, not missing the identical suburban that lead us and when I turned around, I shook my head at the one behind as well.
"Jasper," I groaned and closed my eyes.
"Sorry Sweet B but those were Riley's orders. He called ahead and spoke with Aro and Jane yesterday. For the duration, you will have an entourage Mariah Carey would envy. So, suck it up and get used to it. We're not taking anymore chances," Emmett said very seriously.
I heard Jacob, Jasper, and Seth all mutter their agreement with his statement and decided rather than argue, I'd just suck it up and deal. After all, I couldn't fault any of them and after the mini meltdown I'd had in the hotel room not thirty minutes ago, I couldn't try to tell anyone I wasn't scared.
We arrived at the beach and made our way to the platform where Aro, Jane, and Ian all waited. Jane scowled as we approached, glancing purposefully at her watch to let me know she was well aware of how late we were. There was some big beach volleyball tournament going on and I was asked to say a few words in between sets. Of course one of the teams was sponsored by Twilight, thus the tie in to Voluturi and to me.
"So nice of you to join us Bella. I hope we're not keeping you from anything," Jane sneered as I stepped up on the platform.
I noticed Ian as he hovered close by her and when I tried to smile at him, he glared back at me causing me to gasp. Ian had never, in all the time I'd known him, been anything other than friendly and welcoming and his actions threw me for quite the loop.
"I'm really sorry Jane, Aro," I said through gritted teeth.
I really hated sucking up to them, but I knew they'd had to rearrange quite a few things since the arrival of the last letter not to mention their generosity in lending the family the plane for our trip out here.
"Isa, my darling, is everything alright? You look positively green," Aro said in a voice that was laden with overdone sincerity.
Taking a deep breath I turned and faced him, figuring I had nothing to lose by being honest with him. "Well, Aro, if you must know, being out in public right now is making me more than just a little bit fearful. I'm sure you can understand after everything that has happened," I told him and gasped again when I heard Jane's derisive snort.
"If you really got those letters, Bella. I wouldn't put it past you to set all of that up just to try to get out of your contract," Jane said decisively.
"Why you," Jasper railed at her from beside me. "How in the hell can you say something like that to her? Are you fucking out of your mind?"
"Hey now, you watch the way you talk to her," Ian stated as he tried to get to Jasper but Seth jumped between everyone.
"Okay, in case any of you were wondering, there is a crowd of people out there, not to mention television cameras just waiting to pick up on all this shit. So I suggest everyone back the hell off and let Bella get this over and done with," Seth hissed quietly looking back and forth between Jasper, Jane, and Ian.
I watched Aro's face as he took in the scene before him and couldn't believe the gleam of excitement I saw in his eyes. I mean what the hell?
"Ah yes, Isa. If you'll follow me I'll show you to the area where the interview is to take place. I take it you have memorized the pertinent information we wish you to convey this afternoon?" Aro asked as he reached a bony hand out to grip my elbow.
I had to literally force myself not to cringe when he touched me and I didn't miss the look of disgust on Jane's face as he pulled me to his side. I frantically looked for Seth, Jasper, and Emmett, not wanting to go off alone with Aro at all. There were crowds of people all around and I couldn't stop my mind from imagining all sorts of worse case scenarios involving obsessed fans trying to get to me somehow, someway.
When I felt another hand grip my other elbow I let out a small shriek only to realize it was Seth. I immediately folded myself against him, much to Aro's displeasure if the scowl that appeared on his face was any indication.
"You're fine Bell, you're doing great," Seth whispered encouragingly to me as we stopped in front of the television tower where the interview was going to take place.
"I feel like a sitting duck," I told Seth, my hands shaking as I tried to take a sip of water from the bottle I held between my hands.
"Bell, come on now. Emmett and Jacob are right there," Seth said as he pointed in their directions and then looked to me and said, "Besides, I'm right here with you. You're going to be fine and then we're going to leave and you're going to go home to Edward and the kids." He kissed the top of my head and then whispered, "And, don't you just love seeing Jane get all worked up? She looked like she just sucked on a pickle when we got here," and he laughed in my ear, making me laugh as well.
My best friend always knew what to say to bring a smile to my face. Before too much longer I was up and finished my interview and then, blessedly I was done. I had to sign a few autographs which was okay and then pose for some pictures which was a bit terrifying but all in all, I felt like I handled the day pretty damn well.
Jasper was pleased and told me so during the ride home, even if Aro and Jane wanted me to stay out longer shaking hands and taking pictures. We made it back to the hotel a few hours after we'd left and I couldn't wait to get out on the beach, even if it was in Edward's so called fuck hot bikini. Of course, I'd picked it out solely for him.
Edward and the kids were already waiting down by the pool when Seth and I emerged from our rooms, changed into our bathing suits and we made our way to the beach.
Jesus Christ the last few days have been the roller coaster from hell, I thought to myself as I watched Bella and Edward play with the kids on the beach. To see them acting as a family and focusing on Maddie and Masen was a welcome distraction from all the shit that had been going on.
What a fucking disaster, I thought with a shake of my head.
I have never seen anything as awful as picking Bella up off that elevator floor Thursday night.
"Seth, I hear the elevator," Lele had whispered and I rushed out of the apartment and opened the door, only to find my very best friend in a crumpled heap in the corner of the elevator.
"Jesus Bell," I hissed as I bent down and picked her limp form off the ground so I could carry her back to my apartment.
Thankfully by the time Bella had left Edward and the rest one floor up, Marcus and Demetri had already come by and taken Maddie and Masen back to Carlisle and Esme's house. There was no way Bella would want them to see her like this.
"Bella, oh sweetie," Rose had cried when I walked through the apartment and went to my room.
Tanya caught my eye as I carried Bella down the hallway and whispered, "Let me get her some tea. Maybe that will help her feel better."
"Love you babe," I told her as she kissed my cheek.
"I love you too, Bella and Edward as well. See what you can do for her Seth. She needs you so much now," Tanya said tenderly and brushed her fingers tenderly down Bell's cheek. "Go, sit with her. I'll make her some tea."
"She's so good for you," Bella whispered as I continued down the hall to my room.
"She's too good for me," I replied back quickly.
Bella snorted and rolled her eyes and then curled against my chest. I kicked the door of my room open and laid Bella down carefully in the center of the bed. I then hurried to the bathroom to get her a cool washcloth.
My hands shook as I held the washcloth under the cold water. I was so fucking mad…and scared…and feeling both of those things just pissed me the fuck off.
"Some fucking bodyguard I am," I said disgustedly to my reflection in the mirror before I turned and walked out to see my best friend curled up in a ball in the middle of my bed.
Talk about a fucking sucker punch to the stomach. "Bella, sweetie," I said quietly as I sat on the edge of the bed. "I thought you might want to wipe off your face."
I had reached over and pushed her hair back off her face and gently ran the cool cloth over her tear stained cheeks. "I'm sorry," she had softly whispered.
"Bella Marie Swan, what the hell do you have to be sorry for?" I questioned harshly and then took a deep breath. She so didn't need me yelling at her right now.
"I wish I was stronger," she whispered to me and I felt my insides twist and turn at her simple admission.
The fact that she felt like she needed to be stronger for the rest of us…for me…for Edward about broke my heart into a million tiny pieces but as it was, she made me feel like about an inch tall.
How that beautiful, brave girl thought she needed to be any stronger was totally beyond me.
"Bell, you are the strongest damn person I've ever met in my life. To have gone through the shit you have in your life and still be the sweet, loving person you are now is beyond belief," I told her truthfully.
"Seth, you should have seen Edward upstairs. He punched Emmett for God sakes! And what did I do? Not one fucking thing, I just stood there," she groaned. "I hate what this is doing to Edward. He tries to be so brave and so strong all the damn time and I can see the strain it's taking on him…on all of you."
"I hate this Seth, really fucking hate it. Why is this happening?" she asked pitifully and my heart broke even more for her.
I pulled her up and wrapped my arms around her while she laid her head on my shoulder. It really fucking sucked so much ass that none of us had any answers for her. I hated feeling so at the mercy of other people, other things. I was used to being able to protect her and the fact that nobody could figure out what to do or what to expect next was killing me. It was killing Jasper as well, but more importantly we'd all seen what it was doing to Edward. If what Bella said was true about him punching Emmett, and I had no doubt it was, then Edward had finally reached his limit as well.
I really fucking dreaded finding out what was in the damned envelope this time.
Bella's soft sniffles and hiccups turned my focus back to where it belonged…on her and I held her closely to me and let her cry it out.
"Babe, it'll be fine. We'll figure this out and we will keep you safe; you, Edward, and both of those kids. We will Bella, I promise you," I told her as she continued to cry.
Bella didn't say anything and her cries got softer and I gently laid her back on the bed. "Rest sweetie. Let me find out what's going on and then we'll go from there."
"But, what about Edward?" she mumbled almost incoherently.
"Give him some time Bell. He's dealing with a lot of shit right now. Let him pull himself back together and calm down, then you know you're the first person he'll want to see," I quietly told her as she looked forlornly at me.
"He was so upset Seth. I've never seen him that way. What if he decides all this isn't worth it? What if he leaves me because it's all too much? I'd never be able to survive it," she whispered as two fat tears fell down her face.
I wiped her face off again with the washcloth and told her, "Nonsense Bella. That man's entire life is you and those two kids. Just give him a little time; you'll see him when you wake up. Now rest and let me deal with things for you, okay?"
She nodded and settled back against the pillow. I moved to get up but was stopped by her tiny hand as she gripped my wrist. "Stay with me, please?"
I nodded my head and I reached over and laid the cloth down on the nightstand beside the bed and then turned to Bella and slowly laid down beside her and looked into her eyes. The eyes I had seen almost daily for the last twenty-four years of my life. It was hard to comprehend sometimes just how long twenty-four years was. Bella and I had been through everything together, done it all and seen it all, together, side by side.
I leaned forward and kissed her forehead and whispered, "Rest Bella. I'll be here when you get up."
She nodded and closed her eyes, her poor body exhausted from all the stress and not to mention whatever the hell she'd seen upstairs. Judging from the devastated look on her face when the elevator opened, I couldn't imagine it had been pretty.
Edward had scared even me…and that was saying something.
I watched her breathing slow as she drifted off into an uneasy sleep and let my mind wander while I kept watch over my best friend.
I loved Jasper and Rose, they were my family. I loved my mom because, well, she was my mom. But Bella, with Bella it was different, it was more. There was a connection there between the two of us that time hadn't diminished in the least. In fact it had only grown stronger the older we had gotten. We were able to understand what it meant to be there for each other, what it meant to be a family by choice.
It was so hard now to see something funny on TV or hear a song on the radio that I knew she would love and not be able to run upstairs and tell her or pick up the phone and call her. I shared that with Tanya now just as I was sure she shared those little moments with Edward. It was the way things were supposed to be. We had been friends our entire lives but now, as we had found the one's that made our lives complete, we were moving on.
I missed her, so fucking bad some days. I tried not to let it show, but damn it all, I really fucking did.
She was my best friend. She'd always been my best friend and it was so fucking hard letting her go.
I relished being her go to guy. I loved every fucking second of it. Hanging out and watching movies and drinking beer and eating pizza had been heaven for me. Taking walks, going to the park and exploring New York City when we got here was amazing. It was sad that Jasper and Rose didn't come to the city with us when we first arrived, but Bella and I leaned on each other. We were all the other had.
I loved Bella, truly and completely, but not in a romantic way. Never in that way. Watching her with Edward it was easy to see how someone, anyone could fall madly in love with her, but I wasn't. Never had and never would. Oh that didn't mean that I didn't judge every damn woman against the standard of her because I damn sure did and until I met Tanya, no one had come even close. I'm talking like miles and miles away.
But, just because I didn't love her in that way didn't make it any easier to give her up to Edward. It hurt like a son of a bitch to be perfectly honest about it. He was an amazing guy and the only one, truly, who I ever would trust my best friend to. The man was insanely in love with her and from almost the very first instant too. Bella couldn't have found a better man than Edward Cullen and for that I was grateful.
And Maddie and Masen, oh Lord those two were like gifts from God for Bella. She had longed for a family of her own for such a long fucking time and the fact that Edward provided her with a ready made one complete with two of the most adorable rugrats on the face of the planet just cemented his place as being worthy of her. To be honest, I'm not sure I'd ever admit that anyone was good enough for her, but Edward came awful damn close to it.
From almost the moment he helped Shortcake up off the ground at the park all those months ago I had known he was the one for her. You could feel it in the air around them and even though I watched from hundreds of feet away, even I could see it in the way they looked at each other…the way his hand brushed lightly against hers and she would smile…the way they moved when the other did. I hate sentimental crap for the most part, but it was if the heavens had aligned and brought two people together that needed and completed the other. It really was a beautiful thing to watch.
And now, now some crazy ass motherfucker wanted to fuck with my best friend and the life she'd clawed and fought her way to get. Over my dead fucking body would that happen. I swore to Charlie on his death bed, I'd sworn to Edward and most importantly I'd sworn to Bella herself that I would protect her and keep her safe and come hell or high water, I was going to fucking keep my promise.
Tanya had come in the room and left Bella's tea and kissed me softly on the cheek before telling me she was going to call Esme and check on the kids and find out what was going on upstairs. None of us knew, but none of us wanted to leave Bella to go check either. Besides, I was sure, judging from the look on Edward's face when we left, he needed some time to process things.
I knew I did.
End of flashback
Masen's squeals of delight at Edward tossing him in the waves of the ocean brought me back to the present from that awful night.
I remembered what I felt when Jasper told me the contents of that fucking letter and what Edward's reaction had been like. I couldn't even imagine what he must have felt like when Riley showed him the picture and what the letter said. I knew what my reaction had been but I could only imagine Edward's was even worse.
The whole thing was just one big clusterfuck and seemed to be getting worse by the day.
Jasper pulled me aside once we landed earlier and told me about the discussion he'd had with Carlisle and Marcus about their friend Alec with the FBI and that Carlisle was planning on calling him sometime today and hopefully set up some sort of meeting with him for when we all got back to the city. Jasper and I had spent many a night deep in discussion about whoever this motherfucker was that was messing with our Bella and Edward.
It just wasn't fucking right that someone wanted to hurt Bella this way, by threatening both her and Edward and the kids. It had all of us tied up in knots because we couldn't figure out how to protect them or what to do for either of them…well both of them. Hurt one, you hurt them both and whoever was doing this had to know that, too.
"Seth, do you see what a good job I did?" Maddie squealed as she threw herself at me, soaking me in the process.
I kissed her soundly on the cheek, laughing at how damn cute she was. "I sure did munchkin. I think Daddy needs some help trying to finish his sandcastle. Don't tell him I said so, but yours is soooo much better than his. His is just sorry looking," I told her conspiratorially.
She nodded her head and giggled at me, kissing me quickly on the cheek before scurrying off to her father.
Those two were, without a fucking doubt, the cutest kids on the face of the damn planet.
I was actually kind of worried about having my own kids someday with Tanya. There was no way ours would ever be as adorable as Maddie and Masen.
At least the kids seemed to be unaware of what was going on around all of us. I had caught Maddie, and Masen especially, watching things more closely than before so I had a feeling he knew more than he was letting on, but for the time being it seemed like he was willing to play along with the rest of us.
It was getting fucking exhausting, constantly keeping our guards up and looking over our shoulders. I mean, hell it was my job and all that, but damn. For the most part, dealing with over excited males was a relatively easy gig. They all wanted to get close to 'Isa' just to see if she looked like she did in magazines…and in their pervy dreams, but for the most part, once they saw her up close, that was that. Oh, we'd had our share of dealing with men that were a little more forceful, but in all honesty, it wasn't anything we couldn't handle.
But all of this uncertainty and fear of the unknown was just pissing me the hell off. Bella deserved to be happy. She deserved to live her life, quietly and away from the spotlight, with Edward and the kids. She deserved to be left the fuck alone and she certainly never asked for any of this shit when she signed up with Volturi.
I had no doubt whatso-fucking-ever that Charlie was looking down on all of this, pissed as fucking hell at what she was having to deal with and that made me feel like total shit.
It had been my job since the day we were born to look out for her and I was failing…miserably.
I watched my best friend frolic and laugh in the water with Edward and the twins and swore, on everything I held dear, that I would do whatever it fucking took to make sure she was always, every damn day, as happy as she was right at this moment.
"Mommy! That was so much fun!" Maddie squealed as we made our way through the lobby and headed back up to our room.
I bent down and kissed her cheek and said, "I'm so glad babygirl. I had fun too. And, we sure showed Daddy and Mase face who rules at sandcastle making, didn't we?" I giggled when I heard Edward grunt beside me.
"Watch it baby. We're challenging you two to a rematch, aren't we little man?" Edward teased and then looked at Masen.
"Yep. We'll build the bestest sandcastle you've ever seen!" He laughed when we arrived at our floor and made our way to the suite.
I got the kids in the tub while Edward called down to order dinner and by the time it arrived, Maddie and Masen were barely able to stay awake to eat their food. We managed to get them fed and into bed, poor little things were completely worn out from the hectic pace of the day. The next few, hell the next week, was liable to knock them totally out.
"They had a good day today," Edward murmured quietly as we closed the door to their room and made our way to ours so that we could lay in bed and watch TV and just enjoy being together for a change.
I nodded and then looked at him as I grabbed my things to go take my shower. "And what about you?" I asked as I turned to face him. "Did you enjoy the beach too?"
He stalked toward me, "Mmmhmmm, I surely did," he whispered as he ran his fingers across my stomach and then wrapped his arms around me. "I enjoyed watching you drive me completely insane in this fuck hot bikini even more." His large hands cupped my ass as he pressed his hips against mine, and I squealed a bit when I noticed how much he did, indeed, like seeing me in my barely there bathing suit.
Edward licked up the side of my neck and then nuzzled the spot behind my ear with his nose. "You smell so fucking delicious right now my Bella. Like sun, salt water, and coconut," he whispered as he pressed his lips over the pulse point on my neck and gently sucked and nipped at the skin there.
Okay, the man was turning me into a puddle of mush as he continued to rub himself against me and tease my skin with his lips, teeth, and tongue. "Edward, God…shit!" I exclaimed when he reached up and untied my bikini top and placed his warm hand across my back while the other one slipped inside my bottom where he palmed my ass.
He bent his knees and deftly picked me up and carried me to the bathroom where he quirked his eyebrow at the confused look on my face. Edward sat me on the counter beside the sink and bent down to kiss me, covering my mouth with his as his tongue expertly explored my mouth."You were about to take a shower, weren't you? I hope you don't mind if I join you. I'm sure you have sand," he trailed off in a husky, need filled whisper while he licked across my collarbones as I threw my head back wantonly. "In places you can't reach," he finished as he pulled my top away from my body.
Edward held me to him with one hand as he reached down and untied the board shorts that hung sexily low on his hips with his other. I ran my fingers through the silky soft hair above his waistband and groaned embarrassingly loud in the luxuriously appointed bathroom when I felt the muscles of his abdomen tense beneath my fingers.
I locked my lust filled eyes with his deep, emerald green one and wrapped my legs around him when he stood magnificently naked in front of me. Damn he was so fucking sexy and he was…mine.
Completely, totally, and forever mine.
I pulled him toward me, my own need and want an ache so tremendous my body shook from all of the feelings that coursed through me. It had only been a few hours since I'd last felt him move inside of me, fill me, but I couldn't help it. Watching him outside with the kids, noticing that it took him a good thirty minutes before he could relax and just enjoy spending time with his family made me all too aware of what were continuing to deal with on a daily basis. Couple that with my mini freak-out before I left; and I just needed him. Needed to feel him close to me, needed him to make me…make us forget about everything but the two of us for just a little bit.
"Edward, please?" I pleaded with him, desperate to fall apart from the fingers that knew how to touch me, to make me feel, that made me come with wild abandon.
"What do you need my beautiful girl? Tell me what you want Bella," he hissed against my skin as I rolled my hips forward against his length.
I moaned again, louder even this time as he reached his finger down and ran it across the slick folds between my legs. "Oh fuck…Edward…," I panted as his fingers skillfully touched and teased the sensitive flesh there. "You, please!" I cried. "I just need you," I said as my body gave to him and he took, pulling my orgasm from somewhere deep inside of me.
"Jesus Isabella," Edward growled as he lifted me off the countertop and pushed my bikini bottom down my legs and walked us toward the shower.
"Let me love you my love…my only love," he whispered as he turned the water on and took me against the wall of the shower until we both felt everything except for us fade away as our climaxes washed over us, just like the water that flowed over our bodies.
The next morning Seth, Jasper, Jacob, Emmett, and I had to leave the hotel early to get to the auditorium where the awards show was to take place. Edward and the kids wanted to come, but it was a closed rehearsal, so they weren't allowed inside the building until tomorrow night's show. Edward was not a happy camper about letting me go by myself…and Masen wasn't much better.
He'd been so clingy since we arrived in California…more so even than usual. Masen was extremely affectionate all the time anyway, but this was something different. I could feel him watch me more closely than he used to, and he was anxious when I had to leave, asking over and over again how long I'd be gone and when I would be back. I knew he was more aware of the tension around us than he had let on, and I knew Edward and I were going to have to talk to him and Maddie soon.
Edward and I both swore we would never lie to them and though we wouldn't give them details, they needed to know what was going on so that they weren't thinking things that were worse than they really were. Not that things weren't bad enough already, but there was no reason for them to worry unnecessarily.
"Mommy, how long are you gonna bes gone?" Masen asked, again as I looked through the itinerary Angela had dropped off earlier.
I set the papers down and took a deep breath before I answered him. "Mase, I'm not sure how long I'll be. Daddy said he was taking you and Maddie and Nana and Papa to the zoo while we're all working and we'll meet you guys for dinner later."
"But I want you to comes to the zoo with us," he whined and stomped his foot.
Totally atypical Masen Cullen behavior that was for sure and I immediately knew more was going on in his little mind than he was telling.
"Masen, what's going on little man?" I asked as I patted the sofa cushion beside me. He climbed up beside me just as Edward and Maddie walked back into the living room from the bathroom where Edward had just got done fixing her hair.
Yes, Edward Cullen knew how to fix his daughter's hair and it was, without a freaking doubt, one of the most endearing things about him.
He raised his eyebrows in question at me and I shrugged my shoulders at him. I had a feeling I knew what was wrong, but I wanted to hear it from Masen first. Edward sat down in one of the chairs adjacent to the sofa and pulled Maddie on his lap and looked at me with a worried look on his face.
I knew he had been dreading having this particular conversation with the kids, but we had talked about answering their questions as truthfully and honestly as we could while trying not to overwhelm them at the same time.
Picking up Masen's hand, I looked at him tenderly and said, "Now Mase why don't you tell Daddy and I what is really going on with you? I know you like when we spend time together but I also know you understand that I have to work sometimes and that at times that even means I have to go away. You usually don't throw temper tantrums when I can't go with you. What's the matter?" I asked him quietly and watched him tangle his fingers together and then he ran his hand through the riotous mess of hair on top of his head.
Damn, he was so much like his father it wasn't even funny.
"Why's everyone always so jumpy? Why does Daddy and Uncle Jasper, Uncle Seth, and Uncle Em always haves to go with you everywhere?" He asked quietly and I heard Edward sigh and shift Maddie on his lap.
Edward and I shared an anguished look between us but when he nodded his head quickly at me I knew it was time to introduce the kids to the not so glamorous side of what I did. "Masen, Maddie," I began hesitantly and waited for them to look at me. "I know you two can tell that things have been a little strange lately but I want you two to know that we are taking care of it, okay?"
"But what's the matter Mommy?" Maddie asked as she laid her head against Edward's shoulder.
"Princess, Masen, Mommy's just gotten some letters in the mail that have made everyone a little scared is all. But like Mommy said, we're going to fix it. For the next little while you'll probably notice more people around us all the time but that's just to make sure nothing happens to anyone," Edward said as he looked from his daughter to his son.
"But, no one's going to hurts you, right Mommy?" Masen asked as he clutched my arm and I shook my head at him. "No way, little man. Uncle Emmett and Uncle Seth are making doubly sure that everything is okay. I promise nothing will happen to me," I told him then shivered a tiny bit as I spoke the words.
I probably shouldn't have told him that since I couldn't really promise him that, but they both seemed to relax with my promise so I let it go.
They scurried off to their room to get their things together to take to the zoo and I picked my papers up and looked to see Edward watching me.
"What?" I asked as I put the itinerary back in its folder and turned to him.
"I didn't think they would realize so much of what was going on," Edward said quietly and hung his head. When he lifted it his eyes were clouded with worry and I fucking hated seeing that look more than anything.
I walked toward him then sat down in his lap. He immediately wrapped his arms around me and rested his head against mine. I whispered, "I know Edward, but you know how perceptive they are. They were bound to pick up on things. I think it's best that we told them a bit of what was going on just so they know. Not knowing anything was bound to cause them more worry than knowing what they do," I told him, believing that I was correct in my thinking.
Maddie and Masen were so exceptionally bright, there was no way we could continue on pretending in front of them that everything was alright when it wasn't. Besides, when we got back to the city, there were going to be patrol cars at the loft and at Carlisle and Esme's and there was no way we'd be able to explain that away without lying so giving them the minimal amount of information we did was better.
"I know you're right baby. I wish we didn't have to, but I know we did. I'm glad it's out of the way now, to be honest." Edward said with a sigh and kissed me on the cheek before I got off his lap.
"Me too sweetheart. I hate all of this, but it's better to be as honest with them as we can be. Now, I need to call down to Seth and let him know I'm ready. I probably won't see you until tonight, okay? The rehearsal is supposed to last all day then I have to meet with Aro and Jane and the awards show producers to make sure all our bases are covered," I told him with one more kiss before I picked up my phone to let Seth know I was ready.
"Be careful Bella, please?" Edward said, his eyes showing just how much he was worried.
"Edward, baby, I'll be fine," I told him, much more confidently than I actually felt.
Seth and I left a few minutes later after another round of hugs and kisses and as soon as I got in the suburban to go to the auditorium, all I wanted to do was be back with my family and away from all the madness.
I'd had enough. I couldn't take watching the men in my life argue with the most important man in my life any longer. This whole thing was ridiculous and I'd had it.
I made my way to the bedroom in our suite and sipped a room key, some cash and my cell phone in the pocket of the jeans I'd changed into. I slid my feet into some flip flops and quietly made my way toward the door of the suite and caught Jacob's eye as I passed by the dining room where Edward and the rest were still arguing.
Jacob had been standing against the wall, casually watching the scene play out in front of him…when he hadn't been watching me of course. As I crept closer to the door, I felt him behind me.
"Going somewhere Bella?" he whispered knowingly at me.
I snorted and then covered my mouth and nose with my hand, hoping the guys didn't hear me. I whipped my head in his direction and hissed lowly, "Obviously Jacob. Now, are you coming with me or not? I've got to get out of here and get some fresh air."
He grinned and then nodded his head enthusiastically and I groaned internally. I knew it was a bad idea to leave, I knew it was an even worse idea to leave and take Jacob with me…alone. Shit, Edward was so going to have my ass for this but I didn't care. I needed to get out of that damn room before I started screaming.
We made it out the door and out the lobby with no one chasing after us and I took a deep breath of the damp, salty air and headed down the street, walking along the sidewalk. I wanted to walk along the beach, too, but I figured I'd save that for the walk back to the hotel. Right now, I just wanted to get lost among the throng of people enjoying the night.
Jacob walked next to me, allowing me to lead and didn't try to engage me in conversation. A fact I was extremely grateful for to be honest. We walked a good thirty minutes before the sidewalk became less crowded. We'd moved away from the area where the hotel was and though I could smell the ocean beside us, I knew we needed to turn around and head back.
I took my phone out of my pocket and tapped the screen, frowning when I realized Edward hadn't tried to contact me yet. I couldn't imagine they were still arguing but if they were, then I was damn glad I'd snuck out the room.
Even if that meant I was stuck with Jacob.
By tacit agreement Jacob and I turned and followed a path toward the beach to go back toward the hotel. I felt like I was being watched and I turned quickly around just in time to see a man a little more than a hundred feet away staring at Jacob and I intently. His hands were clenched into tight fists beside his leg and as soon as he noticed me looking at him, he turned around and faced the other direction.
"Jacob, I think that man is following us," I whispered frantically to him, feeling my heartbeat increase dramatically.
Shit, I knew it was a bad idea to leave the room!
Jacob turned around and looked where I discreetly pointed and scoffed as he turned back toward me. "Nah. I don't think so Bella. Besides, even if he was, he looks perfectly harmless," Jacob said as he shrugged his shoulders at me.
I couldn't shake the uneasy feeling I'd gotten but figured the best thing to do was to keep heading toward the hotel…and Edward.
Christ he'd been so upset and angry…and scared. That was the one that got me the most. I couldn't believe no one had thought to call him to let him know we'd be longer than we were supposed to be due to some issues with security for the next day as well as some presenters that didn't show up on time.
By the time we left the rehearsal we were at least two hours late…if not more. When I'd questioned who had my phone the guys all shared a panicked, embarrassed look and I knew right away whatever someone was about to tell me wasn't good at all.
"What is it?" I asked no one in particular but stared at them each in turn as I waited for someone to tell me what the hell was going on.
"Um, Bella, we didn't call Edward to let him know we were running late," Emmett said sheepishly.
"What the hell do you mean you didn't call him?" I'd yelled, groaning loudly when I realized how upset Edward was going to be when he saw us…all of us. "Jesus Christ Em! You know how worried he was when I left not to mention the man has probably ripped out all his hair by now trying to figure out where the hell we are!" I yelled at all of them, acutely aware that no one had said anything else.
"Not to mention, didn't he call one of you, send a text or something?" I demanded knowing if Edward couldn't get in touch with me he absolutely would have called one of them.
"We didn't answer Bell," Jasper admitted and hung his head.
"Holy hell Jasper! Please tell me you didn't just say that? What in the ever living hell is the matter with you four? Does the fact that the man almost had a nervous breakdown not five days ago mean anything to you? Does the fact that he panics if I have to leave his side for more than a few minutes not compute or some shit? Jesus, I can't believe you guys would do that to him…to me. He might have been pissed if any of you had had the balls to talk to him, but making him worry, unnecessarily is just downright cruel and uncalled for," I said quietly and hung my head and rested it in my hands.
My heart was racing and my hands itched to call him, to let him know we were almost there but at this point I couldn't decide if that would hurt or help.
"We're really sorry Bella," Seth said from the driver's seat and I shook my head at him.
"Save it Seth, I don't really want to hear it. At all. I'm not the one you need to apologize to anyway. I cannot believe you guys would do that to Edward; after all he's been through. And Emmett, God damn it, how could you?" I railed again. "You saw him Thursday night; hell the proof of his fear is still on your face. How could you not call him or at least answer the damn phone when you realized you'd all forgotten to call him?"
We pulled up in front of the hotel and there was my Edward, hair a wild mess on his head and eyes frantic with worry. He pulled me out of the back seat before the car had even stopped all the way and ran his hands over me from head to toe, obviously checking to make sure I was okay.
"Baby, I'm fine. I promise. I'm so sorry, no one thought to call you to let you know we were running late. I didn't even have my phone. Edward, I'm so sorry," I sobbed against him as I watched every muscle in his body tense as he watched the other four get out of the car.
"Edward, man, we're so," Jasper began but was stopped abruptly when Edward glared at him.
"Not one fucking word Jasper. Unless you want me to totally lose it right here in front of God and everyone, don't say another fucking word to me," Edward seethed as he pulled me close to him.
"Shit," Emmett mumbled under his breath as we all stepped on the elevator to head up to what I assumed would be our room.
The elevator stopped on our floor and Edward held me back to allow the others to exit before us and he looked down at me, "Are you really okay Bella? Please don't lie to me. Did anything happen, anything at all?" he asked in an agonized voice.
"Edward, no baby. Nothing happened. I had to leave my phone with the guys as we went through the rehearsal and then Seth and Emmett had to meet with the producers to go over some of the security measures they wanted for tomorrow. The rehearsal ran late due to some late arrivals, that's all it was sweetheart. I'm so very sorry I didn't call you or think to remind them to do it either. "
He kissed my forehead as we entered the suite to find a very docile group of men. Edward stopped me one more time before we went any farther. "I'm just so glad you're okay baby. That's the most important thing."
"I'm sorry you were so worried," I told him again and he shook his head. "Not your fault sweet girl. You were working. They," he said with a frown, "should have been the ones to call me and let me know what was going on. I trusted them with your safety Bella, I had no idea what was going on," he said as he took a deep breath and faced the room to let the others know just how pissed off he was.
End of flashback
"He sure was pissed," Jacob said with a grin and I wanted to punch him in the damn face as he brought me back to the present. I looked up and noticed we were pretty close to the hotel now.
How dare he enjoy Edward's obvious distress over everything!
"You are such an asshole Jacob. It's no wonder you don't have a girlfriend," I said as I shook my head at him. "You're too immature to even know how to treat someone with respect."
"What the hell ever Bella. Edward treats you like you're his property. It was just a mistake that we didn't call him. The man acted like we'd stolen you away and hid you for days instead of just being a few hours late," Jacob sniffed and shook his head.
"Why you son of a bitch!" I shrieked at him and swung my fist at his face.
I landed an ineffectual punch to his jaw which just caused him to laugh at me. "Oohh, Bella, you sure are sexy when you get all worked up, you know that?" he leered at me and pulled me close to him as I struggled to get away from him.
I noticed the man that had been following us snap some pictures and then I heard loud voices from behind him, all of which Jacob seemed unaware of.
He bent his head down close to mine and his horrid stench washed over me as he opened his mouth to, what I quickly gathered, kiss me and I turned my head as his lips met my cheek.
"You motherfucker," Edward roared as he pulled Jacob off me.
I was dazed for a second and then took in the scene all around me. Jasper, Seth, and Emmett had all surrounded the man with the camera while Edward was beating the shit out of Jacob.
"Edward! Baby, stop!" I yelled at him and tried to pull him off of Jacob, who was holding his side as he laid on the wet sand of the beach.
"Bella, get the hell away," Edward yelled as he landed another punch to Jacob's stomach after Jacob stood up on wobbly legs. Jacob let out a grunt and once again fell to the ground in a heap.
"Edward, please stop. Enough, please?" I begged him as he stood in front of me taking in big gulps of air as his chest heaved in and out.
Edward pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. "Are you okay?" he asked, and once again the man looked wild with worry and I felt like shit.
"Yes, Edward. I'm fine, I promise," I told him quietly, trying to hold myself together before I completely lost it.
"Bell, damn it. Are you okay? Why in the hell did you leave without telling anyone?" Seth demanded as he made his way over to Edward and I.
I pushed away from Edward and faced him, Jasper, and Emmett and just…let it all out.
"No! I'm not fine Seth! Do you have any idea what it was like to watch Edward fall apart…again, because you three had your heads up your asses and didn't think to call him so that he didn't worry? I couldn't stand to listen to you all scream and yell and I just wanted some fresh air. I knew I shouldn't go by myself so I had Jacob come with me. But I can promise you this Seth, if Jacob comes near me again, I'll do more than just punch him in the face. He's out Seth. I mean it. I trusted your judgment when it came to him, but no more. He didn't even try to stop that man," I screeched at him as I pointed to where the guy was standing. "Who the hell is he anyway? He's been following us for about thirty minutes now and Jake didn't even bother to find out who he was or what he wanted. All he was concerned about was trying to piss me off about Edward. Some fucking bodyguard," I spat out and faced them again.
"I need some time you guys, just go. Now. Deal with whatever or whoever that is, get Jacob on a plane…somewhere, anywhere I don't care but get him the hell away from Edward and I," I said tiredly.
"Shortcake, really, this is our fault," Jasper tried and I looked at him, too worn out to yell even though I really wanted to.
"No fucking shit Jasper. Now, I need some time with Edward, alone, so just go," I told him and then sighed when he hesitated. "Jasper, I mean it. I love you guys, really, but if you don't leave me and Edward alone right now I'm going to say something I may or may not regret later, but please. Just go," I whispered and collapsed against Edward as he stood next to me.
"She'll be fine. We won't be far behind you Jasper," Edward said in the same exhausted voice I had. "When we get back to the hotel, I'll let you know, but don't bother trying to talk to either of us until tomorrow."
Jasper nodded at the both of us and Seth and Emmett both looked like they wanted to say something but one look from both of us shut them up in a hurry.
I couldn't even find it in myself to feel sorry for any of them. I could tell from the way the man that had been following us was acting, he was only a fan that wanted a picture and was perfectly harmless. If Jake had bothered to do his damn job, he would have known that too, for a fact, instead of just assuming. I couldn't believe he would disregard my safety that carelessly and I meant what I said about being done with him.
I turned to look at him as Emmett helped him up from the ground and I couldn't find it in me to feel sorry for him either. He got what was coming to him. I never should have left with him the way I did, but he never should have taken advantage of the situation either.
When Edward and I were finally alone, he looked down at me, his eyes so tired but so full of love for me. "Are you okay angel?"
I snickered, only my Edward would think of me first. "Now that I have you all to myself I am," I told him honestly and melted against his side as we started back toward the hotel.
"I'm sorry I got so mad up in the room Bella," Edward said quietly after we had walked in silence for a few minutes.
I shook my head against him, "You have nothing to be sorry for Edward. They should have all known better. I trusted them to keep you from worrying," I told him.
"Well, I should have known if something had truly happened to you, someone would have let me know. I just let my imagination run away from me," Edward admitted.
I knew that was true, too, but it didn't make what the guys had done any better. I felt a bit better though.
"This whole thing is just spiraling out of control Edward. We've got the kids asking questions now. Every time I leave your side you look like you're going to fall apart. When I have to be in front of a group of people, I'm constantly trying to figure out if this time is going to be the one that someone is going to try to hurt me," I said, finally voicing my fear.
"Oh my Bella," Edward cried out as he pulled us to a stop. "I'm so sorry you're so afraid, baby." He ran his hands through my hair and I began to cry against his chest. It was overwhelming to say the least to finally admit what I was so deathly afraid of. It was the unknown aspect of the whole thing that had just plagued my brain to the point where I could barely walk outside without being almost crippled with fear.
"Hopefully when we get back to New York and talk to Pop's friend Alec, we'll get someone to help us figure out what to do. We can't keep going on like this Bella. It's no way to live," Edward said as he rained light kisses on the top of my head.
"You're not going to leave me are you?" I asked, voicing my greatest fear of all.
Edward tipped my chin up with his finger and his green eyes blazed in the moonlight. "Never Bella. You're stuck with me forever and always my love. I'm not going anywhere. This sucks, yes, but it's nothing we can't handle together," he vowed as he kissed me.
"Okay," I simply said, knowing that no other words were needed.
I watched Edward send a brief text to let Jasper know were back and we walked slowly toward the lobby to go up to our room.
"And look at the bright side of things baby," Edward said as we entered our room and he began to undress. "Jacob Black is fucking history. If I ever see his fucking face again, it will be too damn soon," he chuckled as he pulled on his sleep pants and turned down the bed.
I was too tired to do anything except grab the shirt he'd just had on and slide it over my head and crawl into bed beside him.
"I love you Edward, so much," I whispered as I settled against him and smiled against his naked chest when I heard his heart beat, strong and steady beneath my ear.
"Not as much as I love you my precious girl. Now, let's get some sleep. Tomorrow is a new day," he said softly.
As I drifted off to sleep, I told myself it could only get better.
"Edward, sweetheart," I whispered late Tuesday morning. We had gotten home late last night after the awards shows and the few after parties we'd taken the kids to. It wasn't really our scene but Maddie and Masen wanted to meet a few people like Selena Gomez and John Cena so we stopped by just long enough for them to get some autographs and pictures. It had been a long ass day with getting ready, the red carpet and the show and the parties and it was so late by the time we got back to the room.
We had to check into the villas at Disney this afternoon so we needed to get up and get going.
"Baby," I tried again, this time kissing my way up his much appreciated naked chest to his jaw. I pressed numerous open mouthed kisses from his chin to behind his ear and when I felt his fingers dig into the flesh above my hips, I smiled against him.
"Mmmm, I had a feeling that would rouse you from a sound sleep," I whispered in his ear and nipped at his earlobe.
"Evil baby, you are just evil," he rasped in a gravely, rough voice still thick from sleep.
I squealed softly when he wrapped his arm around my waist and hoisted me on top of him. I looked down at him and smiled softly and bent down to kiss him. Damn, he always smelled so good in the morning. I couldn't ever figure out what it was, but I did know that it was one of my favorite things of every day.
Waking up next to him, of course, was at the top of the list.
"How come you don't kiss me like that every morning angel?" Edward smirked at me when I had to stop kissing him and breathe.
I shrugged my shoulders and pushed his sleep mussed hair back off his forehead. His eyes were so bright this morning, the green almost abnormally clear. I was so glad to see him relaxed. I knew the next few days would be hard for him since we'd be out and about so much. I prayed he was able to enjoy himself…and our first vacation together.
Well…as together as traipsing all over Disney could be with eighteen people!
I ran my fingers along his jaw and then traced over his lips with my thumb. They were so damn smooth. It was almost criminal that his lips were so soft, but I couldn't complain, no matter how jealous I was of them. After all, I did receive numerous kisses from those lips.
"I do kiss you like that every morning old man. It's not my fault that your memory is fading with old age," I teased him. "I hope you got plenty of rest last night, you might have a hard time keeping up with the kids and I later on," I shrieked when he gripped my hips and then rolled us so that he was on top of me.
"If I'm not mistaken little girl, I'm quite positive I was able to keep with you just fine until late last night. Not to mention," he said in a deep, silky voice, "again early this morning when someone, who shall remain nameless," and with that he kissed me and nibbled on my bottom lip, "said, and I quote, 'again, please?'"
I ran my fingers through his hair and tugged just the way he liked it and was rewarded with the sexy as all get out rumble deep in his chest.
"I seem to remember something kind of like that," I giggled at him and then pulled him back to kiss him again.
After a few minutes both our stomachs let us know it was way past time to get up and get ready to go.
"I guess that's our cue huh?" Edward smirked and with one last peck on my lips he rolled over and grabbed his boxers off the ground.
I groaned a little when I saw the sunlight shine on his gorgeous ass. I mean it was like the gods were honoring it or something the way the light streamed through the window and landed directly on it. Not that the thing didn't deserve to be worshiped because it sure as hell did. Edward's ass was magnificent.
"Sorry baby, but I can't exactly walk around Disney with my ass hanging out. Kind of defeats the whole family friendly atmosphere, don't cha think?" He smirked cockily at me.
Yes, Edward was well aware of my extreme, bordering on obsessive, appreciation for his ass.
I huffed and rolled my eyes exaggeratedly and said, "Well, yes, I suppose you're right." I stood up and walked to where he was and stepped on my tip toes and pulled him down to me. When my mouth was beside his ear I whispered, "Such a shame to cover up such a fine ass though. Those poor people don't have any idea what they're missing!"
"Belllaaaa," he whined as I slipped a shirt on and pulled on my pajama pants and started to walk toward the door so I could check on the kids and get them moving as well. "You can't say shit like that to me baby and then leave," he pouted and then laughed when I pointed to the bathroom and ordered, "Shower Edward. We need to leave before too much longer."
"Fine," he huffed and walked purposefully toward the bathroom.
I turned from him and grabbed the ponytail tie off my wrist and put my hair up. As I was just about to walk out the bedroom door, Edward called, "Bella," and I turned around only to be met with the sight of a once again naked Edward as he walked into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. I could hear him laughing through the door.
"Ass," I mumbled with a grin and then laughed even harder when he retorted, "Yep, but you love me and my ass baby."
I muttered quietly, "Yeah, I really do," and went to find the kids with a big smile on my face.
We finally managed to get everything packed and met the rest of the family in the lobby where we loaded up the suburbans and made our way to the Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.
"Mommy! Look!" Maddie squealed as we entered the park and drove to the hotel. Angela had arranged for us to be able to go straight to each of our Villas, having already taken care of checking in and getting room keys. Sometimes it really paid to be somewhat famous and I for one appreciated not having to go through the hassle of going through the lobby and all that first.
Angela had reserved four Villas for us. One for Edward, Maddie, Masen, and I. Carlisle, Esme, Marcus, Diane, Eleazar, and Carmen were staying together in one of the three bedroom Villas. Emmett, Rose, Jasper, Alice, Seth, and Tanya would be in the other one and Demetri, Heidi, Ben, and herself would be in the last one.
Maddie was beside herself since we could see Cinderella's castle from our Villa and she was so cute as she kept whispering, "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo," over and over again as we unpacked in between peeking out the window every few seconds as if the castle was going to magically disappear.
"Maddie, princess, I promise she'll be there when we get there," Edward chuckled at her as she pressed her nose up to the windowpane.
"But Daddy! What if she's not? Cinderella is the only ones I want to see!" She exclaimed adorably.
"Mad, honey. I promise we'll see her, okay?" I told her as I finished putting her clothes away. "Tonight we're going to have dinner at one of the restaurants here by the hotel but in the morning we're going to have breakfast where all the characters will be eating as well. Maybe we'll see her there?" I questioned and then giggled when her eyes got so big they almost fell out of her head.
"Buzz too, Mommy?" Masen asked excitedly and I nodded my head.
I smiled when I saw Edward laugh at both kids and thought, again, how happy I was that we decided to do this; especially after the stress of the last month. I think the entire family needed to run away to Disneyland but Edward and I and the kids the most. I needed to spend time, worry free time, with my family and I couldn't wait for the next four days.
We met the family for dinner and had a great time. It was so nice to see everyone laugh and kid with each other and of course Emmett and Demetri kept the table in stitches the entire time.
"Thank you Bella," Dem whispered to me as he slid in the seat Edward vacated when he got up to take Masen to the bathroom before we had dessert.
He wrapped his big arm around me and kissed the side of my head and I laid my head on his shoulder. "No need to thank me Dem. I'm just so glad you and Heidi were able to make it with us," I told him honestly.
"Well, I for one, was damn glad to get out of the city and this trip has been perfect so far. With the exception of that whole, 'Jacob is an ass and I want to kill him' thing you had going on Sunday night that is," he laughed at me.
"Jesus, I know. Damn, what an idiot," I snickered at him.
Demetri shook his head and grinned at me, "I still don't know why that cousin of mine didn't send him back to New York with a broken jaw."
"Believe me cousin, it wasn't for lack of wishful thinking, I can assure you," Edward smirked at Demetri. "Now get your big ass out of my seat and go back to your own woman on the other side of the table and leave mine alone," Edward said as he narrowed his eyes at him.
"Whatever Ed, you're just jealous because Sweet B would much rather sit beside this Cullen than your emo ass," Demetri said and I almost spit my drink out because, really, that was pretty damn funny.
"Baby, really?" Edward asked with a huff when I couldn't hold in my laughter any longer.
I shook my head at him and tried to smile but I couldn't stop laughing long enough to do it. "Sorry sweetheart, but even you have to admit that was pretty damn funny."
"Yeah, whatever," Edward grumbled and pushed Demetri as he walked by to go back to sit beside Heidi.
"You'll pay for that later sweet girl, just you wait," Edward whispered in my ear once Dem and I got control of ourselves.
I turned to him and discreetly ran my fingers up his thigh enjoying the look of shock that passed across his face when my hand grazed the front of his cargo shorts. "Mmmm, I think I've been a very bad girl baby. I think I deserve to be punished, don't you?" I whispered in his ear and giggled when I heard him growl in the back of his throat.
He reached down and grabbed my hand just as I was about to slip it inside of his shorts and said, "I think that can be arranged Isabella. You've been such a naughty little girl tonight," he whispered seductively then kissed the inside of my wrist.
I only hoped the kids went to bed as soon as we got back to the room!
The rest of the trip passed in a blur. We woke up early, used our special passes to enter the park early and stayed every day of our four day vacation from sun up to sun down. Maddie and Masen…and Emmett all got to do everything on their lists, and a few things that weren't as well. Every night we would fall into bed exhausted but happy after listening to the kids excitedly tell us what their most favorite part of the day was.
Maddie got to meet Cinderella and walked around all day with a dazed look on her face. Masen and Emmett went to the Jedi Academy and poor Emmett was too old to get picked to participate but Masen wasn't and was so excited he could hardly speak when he was done…much to his poor Uncle Emmett's consternation.
"I don't know why they couldn't pick me," Emmett had said petulantly and even the promise of his very own light saber couldn't make him smile.
It wasn't until Masen told him the next stop was Autopia where he could drive cars that the smile returned. Every day we took turns doing what everyone wanted to ensure that we all got to see what we wanted. I was thrilled that, for the most part, we were left alone. A time or two someone would approach and ask for an autograph, but being surrounded by the family and being with Edward and the kids dissuaded most from getting too close. I felt the eyes of many on us during our visits to the different parks, but it wasn't so bad as to keep me and Edward from having a great time.
Before I knew it, it was Thursday night and we were spending our last night at the resort. The adults had decided to go out and Maddie and Masen were going to spend the evening in Pinocchio's workshop for a night of arts and crafts and movies while the grown ups enjoyed some adult time.
"Angel, you look absolutely mesmerizing," Edward told me as he stepped behind me and kissed my naked shoulder. "I'm almost tempted to keep you up here and have the night to ourselves," he whispered as he nuzzled behind my ear. "Not only do you look amazing, you smell utterly mouthwatering," and then he proceeded to suck on the delicate, sensitive skin there.
"Edward, oh…sweetheart," I mumbled, my brain foggy with lust as I felt him grind himself against my ass through the thin material of my dress.
"Bella, this week has been heaven. I want you to know that and know how much I appreciate what you've done for us…for the kids. This has been truly amazing," he whispered sweetly as he spun me around and took me in his arms. He bent his head down and captured my lips in a toe curling kiss, the ones that made me breathless and weak in the knees.
"We needed this Edward," I told him sincerely, reveling in the feeling of his arms wrapped tightly around me. "Tomorrow we have to go face the realities that await us back in New York, but we still have tonight," I told him as I ran fingers over the lapel of his suit jacket. "And tonight, I plan on having my way with you after showing you and your fine ass self off so let's get moving. Our reservations are in thirty minutes and we have to drop the kids off first and meet everyone by the cars."
Maddie and Masen excitedly talked between themselves as we made our way to the child care center and with little more than a peck on our cheeks, they ran off to play. Our children were definitely not wallflowers that was for sure and I laughed at Edward's shocked and a bit heartbroken face. "They're growing up so damn fast," he muttered as we waved on more time to them and headed for the cars.
"I know baby, but the fact that they are so confident and outgoing is just a testament the amazing job you did with them," I whispered in his ear once we got settled in the back seat of the car. Edward had arranged for a car and driver just for us so that we could have some alone time and I was most grateful indeed.
"I hope so Bella. I worry so much about that sometimes, less so now that we have you," he said sweetly and picked my hand up and brushed his lips across the back of my hand. "We'd be miserable without you angel, I hope you realize that," he finished and held my hand in his lap.
"And, my life would be nothing without the three of you," I told him gently and smiled at him before I leaned over and kissed his smooth cheek.
We stopped in front of the Cove Bar and got out just as the rest of the family arrived and we all made our way inside to our table after giving our name to the hostess. We ate appetizers and drank delicious margaritas until it was time to retrieve the kids from the center at the hotel. After everyone wished everyone else goodnight with hugs and kisses Edward and I found ourselves alone once more for the short drive back to the hotel. I watched as Edward and the driver exchanged a few words and then Edward slid into the back seat beside me.
It didn't take long to realize that we weren't going back to the hotel just yet and I turned to Edward in question. "Relax baby, Demetri and Heidi are picking the kids up and taking them back to their villa for the night. I wanted to spend our last night here only with you," he told me in a smooth, deep voice that was laced with want.
The car stopped and Edward helped me out of the back seat by offering me his hand. "I thought we'd have dessert under the moonlight on the beach," he told me and took the small picnic basket and blanket from the driver.
"Thank you, we'll be ready in about two hours," Edward told the kind old man as he laced our fingers together and led me toward a path that led toward the water.
The moon was high and bright in the sky, casting Edward in a soft, almost ethereal glow when we stopped and he laid out the blanket. He gently sat the basket down and then held his hand out to me again and pulled me close to him. "I love you Bella, so very, very much," he whispered as he kissed me slowly, his tongue delving deep in my mouth.
We kissed for minutes…hours, I had no idea until he stopped and bent down to open the basket. I smiled as I watched him pull out his iPod and the speakers and suddenly the air was filled with the soulful sounds of Michael Buble'. "Dance with me my beautiful girl," he whispered seductively in my ear as he traced the outside of it with his tongue, nipping as he went around.
His fingers danced over the exposed skin on my back, marking it with a trail of flames that traced the pattern of his fingers. "I can't wait until this next month is over Bella. I can't wait until the four of us can go to Lake George and just be…be together without everyone around us all the time," he said against the skin of my neck and shoulder as his tongue lazily made circles on the naked skin there.
"You know we can't just pick up and leave Edward," I managed to say in between moaning in pleasure as he continued to tease and lick and nip the skin along my neck and collar bones.
He deftly moved us around the sand and surprised me by twirling me around then dipping me dangerously low to the ground. He grinned sexily at me before he bent his head down to mine and brushed his lips across mine. "Bella, my love, we can do any damn thing we want to." Edward pulled me back up to him so my chest was pressed firmly against his and then he began to whisper again, "I can't wait for that day Isabella. Just picture it, the kids will be in school, I'll leave the office at lunch to come home and surprise you and we'll make love all afternoon. On the deck, on the island in the kitchen," he said with a growl and then he said the words that turned my legs into boneless limbs. "Or," he said as he reached beneath my dress and ran his fingers up my thighs to between my legs where I was wet, hot and throbbing with want for him, "how about we have a repeat in the garage? Complete with a new set of handprints? I need a new screen saver for my phone anyway," he finished as he smoothly slid his finger inside my moist, damp panties and inside of me.
"Come for me baby," he ordered as he moved his fingers skillfully in and out. "Come for me beneath the moonlight my Bella," he said again and lowered his mouth the pulse point on my neck and sucked the skin between his teeth.
I fell apart within moments, hanging on to him tightly as my body rocked and writhed against his fingers. "Edward, oh God...," I moaned as I threw my head back as he coaxed another orgasm immediately following the first.
"That's my girl," Edward hissed as he held onto me. "Come for me again my love."
As I shook in his arms from the aftershocks of my intense climax, Edward gently pulled his hand back out from underneath my dress and stared at me as he lustfully placed his fingers in his mouth and licked them. "Mmmm," Edward breathed out as his eyes turned almost black, "this might even taste better than the dessert I brought for us to share."
I watched his tongue, glistening in the soft moon light dart out from his lips and curl around his finger one last time. I know he heard my groan as I watched him, wanting him again, desperately.
"Edward," I breathed out and he smiled at me and shook his head.
"Not now my sweet girl. Now I'm going to ply you with cheesecake and champagne before I take you back to the room and ravish you until the sun comes up." He sat down and pulled me with him, settling me on his lap. "Fuck sleep," he said, as he poured us each a glass of the bubbly liquid. "We can sleep on the damn plane."
I giggled and let out a moan that rivaled anything Edward had ever heard when he raised a piece of the raspberry cheesecake to my lips and slid it slowly in my mouth.
"Oh damn Edward," I said with a sigh as I chewed and swallowed. "That was positively sinful."
"Not as sinful as that moan you let loose Bella," he teased me as he tipped his head back and took a drink of his champagne.
I watched his throat muscles work as the liquid went down his throat. I saw his fingers shimmer in the moonlight as they wrapped around the flute. I noticed the muscles in his forearms flex as he leaned back on them and suddenly, I couldn't wait any longer to get back to the room.
"Edward, now please. We need to go now. I need you," I whispered as I looked at him, shaking with my desire to feel him, to taste him, to claim him.
"Bella, baby," Edward said with a sigh as he began to pack up everything, rather quickly too.
I watched him pull out his phone and send a text to the driver to let him know we were ready to leave…more than ready if the truth be told. He held his hand out to me again and pulled me close to him as he led me back the way we came and then wrapped his arm around me as we waited.
"I'm sorry Edward," I whispered, hoping I didn't disappoint him by cutting our romantic night short but I really couldn't help it. I'd just gotten overwhelmed and now all I wanted to do was be with him, kiss him…make love to him.
"What the hell for Bella?" he asked me as the car pulled up and we got in and headed for the hotel.
"I didn't mean to cut the night short and after you went to all that trouble too," I told him, peeking at him out of the corner of my eye.
He snorted and chuckled before he looked at me, "Baby, the car was getting ready to come back anyway. We'd already been there over an hour and a half. I guess multiple orgasms by me followed by orgasm from cheesecake caused you to lose track of time," he smirked knowingly at me.
"Oh hell," I said embarrassed but mollified at the fact that I hadn't ruined his evening.
We pulled up to the hotel and once again my Edward, ever the gentleman, helped me out of the car and placed his hand on the small of my back as we made our way through the lobby and to where the Villa was. As soon as the door to the suite was opened and then closed, he spun me around and pressed me against the door and attacked my mouth, frantically wrapping my hair around his hands.
"I believe I mentioned ravishing you until the sun came up my Bella," he told me as he dipped down and swept me up in his arms and carried me to our room, kicking it closed behind him.
He placed me in the center of the bed and I pulled him down with me and then rolled us over. I bent my head down and plunged my tongue into his mouth, twirling our tongues together in a continuous motion. "If you don't mind my Edward," I whispered huskily as I began to unbutton his shirt, licking my lips as more of his muscular chest was exposed to me. "I think I'll start with the ravishing. I need you so bad," I moaned as I rocked my hips against him, feeling his hard cock between my legs.
"And when I've had my fill of your magnificent body, I'll let you have your turn," I said as I licked his ear and dipped my hand inside of his pants and wrapped my fingers around his stiff shaft.
"Oh fuck…Bella," he rasped out as my hand began to move. "So damn good."
"Mmmm, Edward," I said as I shimmied down his body, "you haven't seen anything yet."
The trip back to New York was uneventful, though neither Edward or I would know since we did, in fact, sleep almost the whole way home after getting so little sleep last night…or this morning more specifically. Who knew there were still so many positions we'd yet to try? I'm not sure there were any left after last night, but with Edward, there was no way to really know.
We landed without incident and after we finally got our things unloaded, headed for the loft. Seth and Emmett were coming with us, as well as Jasper, Alice, and Tanya. I wasn't really looking forward to arriving back at the loft and for the first time, ever, I was dreading seeing my home.
"Baby, we'll be okay there," Edward whispered reassuringly to me as we got closer. "I talked to Riley a few times while we've been gone and everything has been quiet. No random people walking by, no packages, nothing. He thinks the police presence out front has done its job and he promised to keep it up for as long as he can, hopefully until the fashion show in a few weeks."
I just nodded and squeezed his hand tighter in my lap. I turned to look out the window for a few moments before I felt Edward tug my hand a bit to make me look at him. "Bella, relax. There's no way I'd let us go back there if I wasn't convinced we'd all be safe. Trust me, alright? It'll be fine. Besides, Mad and Mase need to sleep in their own rooms for a change and we have to get Rufus picked up from the kennel and back home too."
"Oh Bell, can I go get him, please? I've missed that little guy so much!" Seth exclaimed from the front seat and when I nodded my head he gave a fist pump to rival Masen's.
We arrived at the parking garage for the loft and Maddie and Masen both noticed right away the police cars that were parked in front of the building and the garage entrance. "Mommy, are the polices here cause of whats you told us about?" Maddie asked as we passed a car and the officer waved us through.
I had to admit, though I hated the reason there were officers here, I did feel better knowing that they were here just the same. I know Esme and Carlisle felt the same way about the police that were stationed at their house as well.
I turned around and looked at the twins and nodded my head, "Yes babygirl, they are here because of what's happened. But don't be afraid okay? They're here to help and make sure we're all okay, that's all."
She reached out and grabbed Masen's hand and it was the sweetest thing I'd ever seen and then said, "I'm nots scareded Mommy. We'll be okay," she said confidently and then smiled when Masen nodded his head at her.
Edward smiled at me when I caught his eye and shook his head. There was no doubt to either of us that she and her brother had talked about this whole thing more than we were aware of and Masen had obviously assured her someway and for that, I was in awe of my son. He was a pretty damn special little boy that was for sure.
We managed to get our bags upstairs and unpacked in record time. Of course it's easy to unpack when everything goes straight to the laundry room to be washed! Seth and Rufus made it back a few hours later, after Seth had taken him to the pet store to buy him treats and then to the park with he and Tanya to play. I think he was trying to make it up to Rufus that we had to leave him behind this trip!
After a quick trip to the market in which both Emmett and Seth accompanied us, we made dinner and then got the kids into bed.
"Baby, don't forget we have to meet Alec first thing in the morning," Edward whispered just as we were settling into bed.
"I know sweetheart, bright and early and nine a.m." I groaned.
"I love you Bella. I'm glad to be home," Edward murmured softly before I heard him begin to snore softly as he fell asleep.
"I love you too my Edward," I told him back and felt him smile against my shoulder.
"Please God," I whispered so softly I knew Edward couldn't hear me. "Please let Alec come up with something. I'm not sure how much more either of us can take."
I drifted off to sleep, hopeful that the next day would be an answer to my prayers.