Disclaimer: Twilight does not belong to me. But this plotline does. I hope you like it.
Thanks to all who reviewed the last chapter. I know I'm a slow updater. I wish I wasn't but… Thanks for sticking with me! Hope you enjoy.
Bella pondered the state of her life as she showered and readied herself for the day. She thought of Will and smiled. Other than him, she had been alone for a long time; even before James, she'd been alone. Now that she really thought of it, it seemed she'd been alone her whole life. Well, except for Emmett. He had always been the bright spot in her life and his going away to college had broken her heart. If it wasn't for Will, she would have had no one to love and to love her in return.
She rinsed her hair and shut off the water. The bathroom was steamy and the house was still quiet since Will wasn't awake yet. Bella brushed her teeth and thought of Edward. He said he loved her. She watched her face in the mirror and wondered at the smile that slid across her lips. She touched her fingertips to her mouth and sighed happily.
She heard her phone buzz on her bedside table and dashed to get it.
Sorry. I know its early. R u up? – E
Yes. Good morning! –B
She waited only a few seconds before the phone rang.
"Hi," she breathed happily.
She could hear Edward's chuckle and smiled wider. She walked back into the bathroom and used her towel to squeeze the water from her hair.
"Good morning, baby. You wanna go on a date with me?"
Bella laughed and dropped her wet towel into the hamper. "Well… Let me think about it. You know I'm very busy and my social schedule is packed. But since you're so cute I can pencil you in," she teased. She picked up her comb and ran it through her hair.
"I would really appreciate that. You're so kind," his voice dripped sarcasm.
"It's not just your cuteness though."
Edward's voice dropped, "Oh really? There's something else working in my favor?"
Bella hummed and rested her comb on the counter. "There's something really big working in your favor."
Edward made no sound and Bella continued. "You see, I know for a fact that you love me."
She heard him chuckle. "That is true."
Bella grinned. "I think that's super sexy."
"What if I were to tell you that I love you… a lot?"
Bella giggled. "I would say, 'How soon can you be here?'"
Edward laughed. "Nice. If only I weren't at work already." She could hear papers shuffling in the background. "You want to go on a date with me?"
Bella walked into her room and started picking out her clothes for the day. "Edward, I would love to go on a date with you." She opened her underwear drawer. "When?"
He was quiet for a second. "Bella? Um," he cleared his throat. "What are you doing right now?"
"I know but, ah, I know that squeak. Your underwear drawer makes that sound. I remember it from the other day."
Bella laughed. "You remember how my dresser sounds?"
"Not every drawer, just that one. What are you wearing?" His voice was barely audible.
Bella felt her skin flush with heat. There was a small part of her that wanted to be embarrassed but she ignored it. "Nothing."
She heard him choke. "Nothing?"
She lowered her voice even though her door was shut and locked and Will was still asleep. "I am completely naked. I just got out of the shower."
"Oh god," he groaned. "That's so hot, baby."
"It is? I do it every day; it doesn't seem that hot to me."
"Yeah, well, that's because you are completely unaware of your own sexiness. I, on the other hand, am not."
Bella had no words. All she could do was giggle. Edward chuckled with her.
"Tonight. Can you go out tonight? Alice can watch Will."
"That would be great, but Will's with Emmett today. They haven't seen each other much lately. They're going to the high school game and then having a 'man night' at Emmett's house. Tell Alice thanks anyway." She took a breath, "Would you like to spend the night here?"
Edward's voice was much deeper when he answered. "Bella, I would love to spend the night with you. It seems like a year since I touched you last."
Bella tried to stifle her moan but failed. "Come over as soon as you can. Okay?"
"I'll run by Alice's and take a quick shower then be right over. See you around five?"
Bella agreed and sighed as she hung up the phone after saying goodbye. He was so amazing.
Work was slow. Mrs. Rachel spent the morning listening to Ray Charles and rearranging the window display. Bella checked on her periodically and she seemed perfectly content. Bella spent her morning repairing an old rocking chair Mrs. Rachel had brought in.
Just after lunch, Bella heard the front bell ring and walked out to make sure Mrs. Rachel was on the floor. She was and Bella turned to go back into the workroom when she heard a familiar voice.
"Hello. A friend of mine told me that you buy used furniture," Lauren rasped out.
Bella took the long way around so she could see and hear without being noticed. Lauren looked awful. She was much thinner and her hair looked terrible. She had pictures of furniture and Bella could tell Mrs. Rachel was getting excited. When she finally left, Bella hurried over.
"What was that about?"
Mrs. Rachel looked flustered. "Where's my purse? I need to go to the bank." She was spinning in circles and waving her hands.
Bella grinned, "What's going on?" The older lady just kept flapping and looking. "Mrs. Rachel!" She took her waving hands and stopped her. "What's happening?"
Her boss looked at her with wide, excited eyes and whispered, "She's got a credenza that I just know Mr. Simmons will want. And that woman is willing to sell it for two hundred dollars. Two hundred dollars! I just know Mr. Simmons will give me two thousand. And she's got a table, too. Where are my keys?"
Bella watched Mrs. Rachel dash out the door and took a moment to think about what just happened. Lauren was selling furniture. Edward's furniture. What should she do? She paced the front of the shop for five full minutes before making up her mind. She grabbed her cell from her hip pocket and dialed.
Edward walked in the shop only two minutes after Lauren reappeared. Bella felt fear course through her at the look on his face. She was so accustomed to seeing him smiling and content but now he looked angry and determined. Bella stepped further into the shadows and watched.
"Lauren! What do you think you're doing?"
Lauren spun around, eyes huge with fear. Fear that morphed into longing for the briefest of moments before turning furious.
"Go away, Edward. This is none of your business." She turned cold eyes back to Mrs. Rachel and nodded. "We have a deal then?"
Edward stepped up to the counter. "Like hell you do. That's not your furniture to sell. That was my grandmother's. All of this was hers, which means I brought it into this sham of a marriage and it still belongs to me. You have no right to sell it!"
Lauren completely ignored him and raised her eyebrows at the proprietor, expecting an answer.
Mrs. Rachel looked from the calculating face of the woman to the stern face of the man and fluttered her hand to her throat. "Well, I mean… um… if the furniture isn't yours, dear…" She never finished because Lauren growled and pivoted to plant a fist in Edward's jaw.
Bella gasped and reached for her phone to call the police. She was terrified. She expected Edward to do something, but what he did surprised her. He calmly rubbed his jaw and stared her down.
"Lauren, why are you doing this? Why sell my things? Do you hate me that much?" His eyes looked her up and down and left a sad look on his face.
"I wouldn't have to if you would just give me what I need." Lauren's voice had a sharp edge to it, demanding.
"I can't Lauren. I won't. But if you need money," he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. Bella watched as he handed her a stack of bills. "There's a crew at the house packing up the rest of my things." Lauren's head snapped up from ogling the money in her shaking hands. "And the police are there. I recommend that you stay away for a while." He rubbed his jaw again and refused to look her in the face again. "And for God's sake, sign the papers."
Bella watched tears slide down Lauren's face as she nodded, stuffed the money in her cleavage and left. Edward sighed and sat down in the nearest chair, head in his hands.
"Sir, I am so sorry. I would never have agreed to purchase the things if I had known…" Mrs. Rachel was beside herself with worry. "Are you okay? Can I help you? Do you need an ice pack? I'm so sorry…"
Edward's eyes lifted when he heard Bella's voice. "Mrs. Rachel, why don't you go on home? I know that scared you. Why don't you go over to your sister's house and tell her all about it? It will make you feel better." Bella patted the older lady's shoulder and maintained eye contact with Edward. "Today's a slow day. I can handle it."
Rachel looked at Bella and then at Edward. She lowered her voice to a whisper and asked, "Should we call someone for him? He looks pretty torn up."
Bella nodded. "I'll make him a cup of coffee and then see if there's anything else I can do. You go. Call Mona and tell her you're on your way."
Mrs. Rachel took one more look at Edward before taking her purse and heading out the door with a 'Thank you' called back to Bella.
Bella waited until she saw her car pull out of the parking lot before she flipped the sign to 'Closed' and locked the door. She quietly walked back to where Edward was watching her with his chin in his hands. She knelt between his knees and placed her hands over his.
"Are you okay?" she whispered.
He nodded and then shrugged. "I don't know."
Bella stood and took his hands in her own, "Come on. I'll make you some coffee."
He stood slowly and followed her to the back of the store. She led him to an old ladder-back chair and made him sit. She poured him some coffee and tried to hand it to him, but he shook his head and reached for her. She placed the cup on the work table and stepped into his arms. His grip on her was fierce as he pulled her into his lap. Bella wrapped her arms around him and held him as tightly as she could.
It was several minutes before she realized Edward was crying. It broke her heart. "Oh, Edward. Shh… it's okay," she cooed. She shifted in his lap until she was straddling him and pulled his head to her shoulder where she stroked his hair and comforted him as best she could. She had a good idea of why he was crying. When you've spent years saving someone and then realize they don't want to be saved, it breaks your heart.
"You can't help her anymore. She doesn't want to be saved, Edward." She felt him nod against her neck. "It's okay." After long minutes, she felt his tears subside and continued stroking his head.
When his shuddering had stopped, she felt his lips gently touch the skin on her neck. His hands that had been clenched in the fabric of her dress moved slowly up her back to pull her hair away from her shoulder then down her sides to her hips. She felt his mouth open against her skin and she shivered. His tongue ran slowly up her neck to trace the shell of her ear.
"Love me, Bella," he whispered raggedly.
She nodded and ran her hands through his hair, pushing his face back to where she could see him. His eyes were red and swollen, and so very tired. "Always, Edward. Always."
She leaned forward to place her lips over his, the taste of his tears pungent on her tongue. She kissed him with all the love and tenderness in her and when he moaned she answered. Their kisses turned deeper, so deep they had to break apart to catch their breath. She kissed over his cheekbones, down the strong line of his jaw and stopped to suck his bottom lip into her mouth. He sighed and let his hands roam over her body. Bella kissed each of his closed eyelids, his eyebrows, his nose, the tears drying on his cheeks.
When she returned to his mouth, he took her lips with a desperation she'd never felt from him before. She moaned and gripped his hair. His mouth was taking great gulps of her, opening over her mouth and plunging his tongue in. She could taste the essence of him, his fear, his love for her. She used her tongue to battle his as she turned her head more fully to the side, intent on showing him just how much she loved him.
She felt him shudder under her and gentled her touch. She wanted to soothe and comfort him as he'd done for her when her heart was exposed. She wanted to take away his pain and keep him safe. She broke the kiss and nuzzled her nose over his jaw.
"I love you, Edward, just as you are and I love that you love me," she breathed in his ear.
She brought her hands between their bodies and slowly unbuttoned his shirt, kissing his neck and collarbone. She could feel his breath catch and ran her hands over his shoulders, pushing his shirt into the floor. His hands cradled her face as he kissed her gently. But when he attempted to unbutton her dress, she moved his hands away.
"Let me love you, darling. Let me show you how much I want to take care of you," Bella whispered. "It doesn't have to be fast or rough. I want to love you slowly. I want to," she paused to kiss him sweetly, "I want to make you feel loved. Cherished." She looked into his green depths and saw them fill with tears.
"Bella," he murmured, turning his head to place a kiss on her hand.
Bella proceeded to touch and kiss every inch of skin she could reach. She ran her hands over his chest, down over his stomach and up his sides. She placed open-mouthed kisses on his wrists and elbows and ended up kneeling between his legs. She unfastened his belt and zipper and tugged his pants down over his hips. Then kissing his knees as he had once kissed hers, she removed his shoes and pants.
When Edward was completely naked, Bella stood before him and removed her dress and underwear.
"Oh, Bella. You're so beautiful," he breathed as his hands drifted up her ribs to stroke the underside of her breasts. "Come here."
Bella went to him willingly. The feel of his hands sliding over her skin making her tremble. And when she slid onto his length, they both sighed. Their loving was gentle and unhurried. She lifted over him again and again, their faces close together. Their breaths mingling as their open mouths touched. Bella ran her hands into his hair and couldn't look away from the love in his eyes. His hands curled around her shoulders as he lifted into her. It was the most beautiful thing Bella had ever experienced.
She saw Edward's brows draw together and his body tighten and knew he was close. She could feel her own orgasm building slowly inside her but was unconcerned for her own pleasure. She wanted to see him come apart. She ran her fingertips over his cheekbones and whispered her love to him over and over. He opened his eyes and grunted as he thrust into her, the hands on her shoulders tightening and pulling her into his hips. The look in his eyes made her heart leap in her chest. He loved her. And it brought her to the edge faster than any physical touch ever had. They climaxed together with quiet gasps and moans and when it was over, Bella laid her head on his chest and listened to his heart pounding. She felt Edward lay his cheek against her hair and kiss her head. She smiled up at him and he smiled back. He leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on her lips.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I know." He kissed the tip of her nose. "And I love you right back."
Later, after they dressed and made plans for dinner at Bella's house, Bella locked up the cash drawer and turned off the lights. She made sure everything was as it should be and locked up. She looked forward to a whole evening and night with Edward. Edward waited for her to pull from her parking spot before following her from the lot.
Neither of them noticed the car in the back of the lot or the devastated woman inside it, watching them through her tears.
A/N: Dun Dun Dun…. The plot thickens. Not many more chapters of this story left. Let me know what you think!