My entry for the Twi/FSOG Cheater Contest. Thanks to all those who organised & supported the contest :)

Huge thanks and love to Chocaholic123 and SparrowNotes24 for their help & support with this.

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twi.


She was Bookish to me before I knew anything about her; before I knew her real name. Before she was Baby, and Sparkles, and "oh fuck, do that again".

When she was the girl who ran the book group; the girl in the bookish clothes and the bookish glasses perched on her nose.

Before she was mine.

And things like mine and hers are impossible to discuss with her, because while she is mine, I'm not hers.

"You started coming here to help your marriage?" Her face lights up and she laughs loudly. "And how's that working out for you?" The laughter fades as her eyes search my face, but a smile remains.

Rising slowly, the guilt makes itself known. I shove it roughly aside, leaning in for another hit of the drug I've become so reliant on.


"Well I'm much happier at home now," I tell her, my lips curling up too as they touch hers.

"Really? I call bullshit," she whispers, pulling back just a little. "Otherwise you wouldn't be here."

"Did I say it wasn't you that was making me happier?"

She jumps down from the table we just desecrated with our immoral coupling, picks up her underwear from the floor and pulls it back on beneath the skirt we never got around to removing, while I busy myself gathering the fallen books.

The paper casualties of our passion.

"You know you're going to put me out of business," she complains, crouching down to help me pick them up. "Half of these have creased covers and bent corners."

"You want me to pay for the damage?" I ask, lifting my head and staring right at her. She smiles but can't hold my eye, looking away with a shake of her head.

Every moment I'm here is spent creating damage, I realize: to her books, my marriage, our hopes and dreams. I'm pretty sure she never hoped to be the other woman, just as I never intended to be a cheater.

I close the cover on the thought and push the volume back onto the shelf in the denial section of my brain. I have a while longer before I have to face up to reality.

"What are you doing Saturday?" I ask her, as I stand.

"Working. Duh."

"Not during the day," I clarify, my tone telling her that of course I knew that. I reach out to straighten the hair I'm responsible for messing up. "B's away, she's not due back until late on Sunday."

She takes a small step back, and a strange look crosses her face. I struggle to place it. Dread? Guilt?

"I kind of have plans."

"Okay." I drag the word out, and I nearly let the subject drop, but her reaction is off and I want to know why. "

"Anything exciting?" I press. She fidgets and winces and I feel my heart speed up a little.

"I'm going out with Rose. We're going to dinner."

"Cancel," I whisper, pushing her back into the wall and pressing my mouth to hers. She flails her arms a little, then she slides them between us and pushes me away.

"No." Her cheeks are flushed and there's a spark of annoyance in her eyes.

"Please cancel." I'm pretty close to begging now and I don't even care. The thought of spending a whole night with her makes my stomach flip and my heart race. I want it for the most selfish of reasons, so much that I can't even feel bad about it.

"I can't and I won't."

"Why not?"

She stops, rolling her eyes at the ceiling as she takes a breath deep enough to swell her chest.

"It's a date. A double-date. Rose arranged it. Em's bringing his friend, I couldn't think of an excuse fast enough to refuse."

A date.

The part of my brain that deals with common sense knows that I have no room to be jealous. After all, every time she says goodbye to me she knows I'm going home to another woman; a woman who shares my bed, ten years worth of memories, and my name. Common sense, however, deals in facts, and everything to do with my bookish girl sets my emotions alight. Emotion and common sense are not easy bedfellows, and this is why the fact she has a date with someone else taps on my heart until hairline cracks appear. The knowledge she's choosing the date over spending the night with me and she wasn't going to tell me about it forges through those cracks, forcing them wider apart until I feel the ache deepen.

"You're jealous." She says the words matter of factly, making me search her face to uncover her true feelings. Her head is tilted to the side and if anything she looks sad. "I should cancel." Taking a step back, she pauses as she frowns. "Should I cancel?"

I laugh, just a little and only because the situation is ridiculous.

"You're asking me to decide?"

"You wanted me to cancel my plans, you said so before."

"That was before I knew you were going on a date." The word sounds mocking, although I never intended it to. I know instantly by the way she looks away that I've hurt her feelings. I feel bad but I don't let her know. After all, she's hurt mine too.

"And that makes a difference?"

"Of course it does. If you've decided you want to see other people, what right do I have to stop you? He could be the one. Your destiny. Your happy ever after." I turn away, fighting the urge to hit something.

"You're mocking me," she says. I don't think she's angry, more... disappointed, maybe.

I feel bad, not only am I keeping her at arm's length by virtue of my marriage, now I'm denying her the chance to find someone who might not actually treat her like an asshole. Someone who might even be single. "You know, I don't even want to go on the stupid date. I owe Rosalie though, and it's all she's talked about all week."

I sigh and let my shoulders slouch.

"I'm not going to stop you from going."

She scoffs and shakes her head at me, an incredulous look on her face.

"As if you could. You have no say in my life, just like I have none in yours, remember? You think I've wanted to keep quiet these past three months about everything that goes on when you walk out my door? Have I said a single word to you about any of it?" I shake my head. "No," she continues, getting into her stride now. "Because that's not what we have going on here. Because it's none of my Goddamn business." She raises a hand to her forehead and closes her eyes. "Fuck. What the hell was I thinking, getting myself involved with a married man?"

She's been… noble - if that's a term you can apply to a woman who's been sleeping with somebody else's husband - the entire time we've been together. She's never complained, or bitched, always just accepted my situation for what it is. This is the first time she's made me aware that she's got issues with it all, but clearly she does. And I know this is going to instantly complicate things.

I can guarantee we just went from carefree fun to relationship drama in the space of five minutes.

"I think you should leave now."

I'm silent. Everything spiralled down so fast, I'm a little stunned.

"Please don't make me go, I don't want to leave things like this." I'm trying not to sound as desperate as I feel, but I'm terrified if she sends me away now, she'll never let me back in.

"Edward, just go."


"Tough day at work?" B slips her arms around my waist, turning me away from the bottle of whiskey and the glass I was about to pour it into. I wrap my hands around her arms and push them away with a sigh, turning back to the amber liquid and its unspoken promise to ease the pain in my chest. "Wow. I guess that's a yes." She's pissed, it's obvious from the bite in her voice. I guess I don't blame her, but she'd be a whole lot more pissed if she knew the real reason behind my bad mood.

"Sorry," I say, not able to bring myself to look at her. I briefly consider fabricating an excuse and offering it up, but I decide I'm too drained to even bother. The way things turned around with Bookish earlier has shaken me up more than I'd realized.

In my head my new girl has been someone I can walk away from at any time, but apparently my heart has other ideas.

"What's with you lately?" B demands from somewhere behind me. I turn slowly, running a hand down my face.

Not this.

Not now.

"Is it me? Is it something I did?"

"No." I sigh. "It's not you."

And it's not, because she hasn't changed a bit. Nothing about her or the things she does has changed in years. Maybe in my heart I know that's some of the problem. It's not her fault in any way, she loves me the same way she always has, but for some reason - and I hate myself for it - ever since I first laid eyes on Bookish, my wife's steady, reliable love is no longer enough.

"Who then? Is there somebody else?"

Her words are like a punch to the gut. I never thought her mind would go there.

"What?" I turn on my most incredulous expression and stare at her, appalled, until she becomes flustered and backs away muttering an apology.

I feel a stab of contempt for myself, who the hell have I become?

"I'm going to take a bath," she tells me, glancing back over her shoulder once as she leaves the room.

I look at the whiskey bottle then place it back in the cupboard. I deserve to feel every last bit of the pain.


My phone has become an instrument of torture. It either cries wolf, calling my attention to irrelevant notifications that make me sigh in frustration, or it taunts me with its deafening silence.

"Rachel's just cancelled on me, I'll be home all weekend," B tells me on Friday night as she climbs into bed beside me and runs her fingers across my stomach. My thoughts flit to Bookish and I'm actually relieved she turned me down; the panic I'd have been feeling now would have had my blood pressure heading for the sky. In contrast, the relief flowing through me makes me relax more than I have all week, and I lean across and place a lingering kiss on B's lips.

"I'm sorry I've been an ass the past few days," I tell her, pushing her dark hair back from her face.

"It's okay." She's smiling a little as she watches me with gentle eyes.

"It's not. Let me make it up to you." She giggles and lies back with a sigh of satisfaction as I let my mouth land on her neck and travel slowly down.


"I'm ready," B announces as she stalks into the living room in a pair of black high heels. She'd asked me which of two outfits she should wear tonight, and even though I chose the deep red dress, she's dressed in the black jumpsuit that hugs her a little too tightly around her hips.

"I thought you were going to wear the dress," I say as I rise from the couch and turn the tv off with the remote control.

She shrugs and smiles.

"I decided I was more comfortable in this. Shall we go?" She turns and picks her purse up from the coffee table.

"I don't know why you even bothered asking my opinion." I'm pissed for no reason other than my original plans for tonight didn't go my way and I'm sulking.

B stops and spins around to confront me.

"You want me to change?"

"Why? You want to pretend my opinion matters to you for the second time tonight?"

"You're doing it again." Her hand is on her hip as she glares at me.

"Doing what?" I hear the shitty attitude in my voice but I can't rein it in.

"Being an asshole. It was your idea to go out tonight, I was happy to stay home, remember?"

She's right. I've spent the week swinging between being the perfect husband and the world's worst. Dinner out tonight at our favourite Italian restaurant was entirely my idea and one I had to talk her into. My douchebag attitude had knocked her confidence more than I realized.

She blinks and dabs carefully at the corner of her eye with a newly painted red fingernail. For a moment she looks like the girl I married, not the woman I've been deceiving for the past few months, and I soften.

"I'm sorry, I don't know what's wrong with me this week," I tell her, pressing a kiss to her forehead to seal the lie. "Come on, we'll be late for our reservation, we should go."


We've both relaxed a little by the time we've eaten our appetizers and poured our second glass of wine. We're talking in a way we haven't for a while, and I'm surprised to realize just how much I've missed it. B laughs at some story I tell her and reaches across the table for my hand. I'm about to offer it when the door opens and an older couple walk in, followed right behind by two guys and a couple of girls. One of the guys is big and brawny, and as he speaks with the server who greets him at the door, the taller of the two girls moves up beside him and links her arm through his. I'm about to look away again when the second girl leans forward to say something to the first. Her eyes scan the room absentmindedly as she listens to her friend's reply, and when they land on me I feel my face change in a mirror image of her own.

I only realize time has continued to move on when B shifts, her head turning to follow the path of my gaze.

She lifts her hand in a small wave and my brain struggles to follow as my lover lifts her hand and waves back at my wife, an awkward smile on her face.

B turns back to me and leans forward.

"That's the girl from the bookstore across town, the one I was telling you about," she tells me in a low voice. I think back to try and remember if she's ever mentioned anything about her to me at all. The truth is, I've been too wrapped up in my Bookish girl to take in a word B's been saying to me in weeks.

I frown and shake my head.

"I don't remember," I tell her, my words completely honest for once. She sighs and rolls her eyes good-naturedly, dressing the action with a smile.

"You never do, I swear that company's working you so hard there's nothing left in your head for anyone else." She reaches for my hand again and this time I surrender it, letting her squeeze it sympathetically, as the real reason I've no room in my head for her stands with some other guy's hand resting on her back on the opposite side of the room.

I force myself to look away as the group are led past our table to their own, somewhere behind me. It's as much an act of personal self-preservation as it is marital. I'm surprised everyone in the place isn't staring at me, my heart feels like it's beating in my chest with the booming resonance of a beat pumping from a sub.

Our main course arrives at that moment. I've lost my appetite, but the distraction of having something else to do is welcome. I notice that B's attention is drawn elsewhere as she eats. I turn in time to see Bookish reaching out to her date and wiping something off his face with her napkin, a huge grin on her face as she laughs at something the big guy with them just said.

I turn away again, stomach churning.

"You know, I've talked to her plenty of times and I never knew she was seeing anyone," B tells me. "They look cute together, don't you think?"

"You've talked to her plenty of times?" I set my fork down. It was news to me. "When?"

"At her store, where else?"

B likes books. Actually, no. B loves books. She cradles them, takes care not to bend the spine as she reads, leans in and smells the pages like a wine connoisseur with a vintage measure in a glass.

My word-obsessed wife is the reason I went into the store in the first place, and she's the reason I signed up for the book group - so that a literature heathen like myself could surprise her with an intelligent discussion on one of her favorite topics.

As it turned out, the benefits of my selfless decision to please the woman I was married to, all landed squarely on my own doorstep. Her obsession with books led to my own obsession with Bookish.

"I didn't know you ever went in there, I thought Berty's was your favorite?" I try to act normal, and force a forkful of food down, trying to swallow past the anxiety-induced lump in my throat.

"I love Berty's, don't get me wrong," she tells me. "But that girl over there has less mainstream titles in, you know the kind of thing you can't get at Berty's." She lifts her fork to her lips, but says one more thing before she pops it in her mouth. "Plus, this week she had some damaged stock she was selling off cheap. You know, damaged covers, bent corners, that kind of thing."

I feel like I might choke and raise my glass, taking a huge gulp of red wine.

"Are you okay?" she asks. "You don't look too good."

I swallow the wine and exhale heavily. "I might just go get some fresh air," I tell her as I push my chair back. "You should carry on eating."

"Are you sure? We can leave, I don't mind."

"I'll be fine. You... carry on."

I stand and walk to the front of the restaurant, pulling the door open and stepping out into the cool evening air. I walk a little, a couple of stores down, and then I sit down on the low window ledge that comes out just far enough for me to perch on. All the time I have the same images on a loop through my head. Sex with Bookish, picking up the damaged books from the floor, B walking in the shop and buying one, then reading it in our marital bed.

I have my head down, resting in my hands, when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I should have known B wouldn't want to eat alone.

As I straighten, my eyes take in the blue pumps and bare legs that I know don't belong to B.


"That's all I can think about," she replies, her fingers moving to the back of my neck, stroking the skin there. "I'm sorry about last time…" I stand, letting her hand fall away.

"My wife is less than fifty feet away," I hiss at her. "She could walk out here any minute."

Bookish tilts her head, a frown tugging at her brow.

"I didn't know I knew your wife," she muses.

"Yeah? Me neither," I tell her. The tension from the last time we saw each other is still present, but this time I can feel an angry sexual pull lurking beneath it all.

"I thought she was away for the weekend."

"Change of plan."

"Well that could have been awkward."

I nod, and back away as I notice her edging closer.

"It could still be awkward if B walks out here."

"You always call her B, her name doesn't even begin with a B," she says, almost absentmindedly. Her thoughts are happy to wander once again, as mine feel like they're on borrowed time.

"I've never called her by her full name," I tell her. She crosses her arms, shivers. "You're cold. Go back inside."

"One kiss," she demands.

"You have to be kidding me." My head thinks it's out of the question even as my heart increases at the prospect. Bookish moves first though, pulling me into the deep doorway where the light never quite touches the back.

She backs in, still tugging at my arm. I follow until she's pressed into a corner and I'm pressed into her. I take in what I can see of her face in the semi-darkness, and my anxiety begins to thaw a little.

"How's your date going?" I ask, smug with the knowledge she left him sitting inside to be out here with me. It's a small victory after the few days of hell the situation has given me.

"He's nice."

"Nice? I can be nice." Bending down, my lips meet hers, soft and slow and gentle.

The sound of the restaurant door opening and high heels clacking onto the sidewalk, ignites the guilt that nestles in my chest, snapping me back to the present.

"Shit. I can't do this," I tell her, stepping back quickly into the lit street. My eyes dart left and right, but it wasn't B who left the restaurant. I know this, because the door opens once again and she steps out of the door, her face concerned as she sees me.

"I was just coming back in," I say, walking quickly toward her while somehow resisting the burning desire to look back behind me.

"It's fine, I've paid the bill. Let's go home, you look pale." She hands me my jacket, links her arm through mine and we walk away.


"He asked me on a second date."

I look at the girl I was kissing just a moment ago, my brain trying to catch up.

"You stopped kissing me to tell me that?"

She looks away, pulls her sweater back up onto her shoulder from where it had slipped down, and hugs herself.

"I just thought you should know."

"Why? Are you planning on saying yes?"

I look at her intently and eventually she looks back and shrugs her shoulders.

"I don't know what to do. Is whatever we have actually going anywhere? Or is it going to be one of those things you read about in the newspaper where your wife finds out you led a double life for fifty years at your funeral?"

I sigh and shake my head as I begin to button my shirt back up. There's nothing like hearing her talk about my wife, to kill the mood.

"Oh, please. You've been reading too many of your books."

"I'm serious," she says, placing her hands over mine to still them. "Is there any future for us? Because I'm not spending my life waiting around for you if you have no intention of devoting yourself to me. I deserve better."

"And you think he's it? You think he's better than me?"

"I think all of him is better than half of you, which is all I'm getting right now."

"I'm putting my marriage on the line for you. How can you say I'm not devoted?" She stares at me, her mouth open slightly, and I hear the words as she must have heard them. "Shit. Look, I get it. This whole situation is… less than ideal. I thought we were both happy with how things were though? I thought we were having fun?"

She sinks into a chair, her eyes darting toward me nervously.

"There's nothing fun in seeing the man you love sitting in a restaurant with the woman you know he shares everything except you, with."

Fuck. I'm way, way out of my depth. This was never supposed to happen.


"I know you didn't want to hear that," she says. I can't even look at her. "I'm not naive, Edward, I know no man goes into an affair looking for love."

I swallow.

"I can't help how I feel, okay?" Her face is pleading. I can guess what it is she wants from me right now, but I'm not sure I can do it. I'm not about to make promises I might not be able to deliver.

"I'm sorry I got us both into this," I tell her sincerely. She might have made the first move, but she didn't know I was married back then, and I didn't put the brakes on. I'm the one with the broken vows behind me, not her.

"One of us has to make the decision that'll get us out of it again," she tells me. It's a thinly veiled ultimatum; things are going to change, one way or another.

My stomach begins to churn.

"I can't make a decision like this right here and now," I tell her, flinching. I realize I've never even considered this scenario. I stupidly thought it would never come to this.

What do I want?

Who do I want?

" I don't expect you to. Soon though, okay?" She lifts her hand to my cheek and strokes my skin. "It has to be soon. I can't do this much longer."


I've been deliberating for a week now. Back and forth, to and fro. Remain the same or take a chance?

My head is filled with endless marching processions of pros and cons, each passing by and replaced by another before I can make any kind of decision.

Every moment I spend with B is filled with guilt. She's participating in a trial for my love, and she doesn't have a clue about it.

Bookish, meanwhile, knows that everything is at stake. She kisses like she means it, fucks with feeling, and plays dirty. She sparks memories when we're apart; texts here, emails there, notes on my windshield. She's smart though, she times everything to prevent getting caught by B.

I, on the other hand, am not as smart.

"You left your phone at home," B tells me when I answer my office phone.

"I did?"


"Yeah. Do you need it today?"

"Yeah, I'll come get it."

"I'm sorry, I'd drop it in, only I'm not passing."

"It's fine. I'm due a break soon, I'll come then."

"Okay, well I'm leaving now so I'll see you later."

The fact B told me she was leaving, makes the fact her car is still in the driveway a half hour later unexpected.

"Hey," I greet her when I walk through the front door and find her leaning against the doorway across the room.

"I see now why you were so eager to come get your phone," she says, holding it in front of her.

"I'm not sure I follow," I say. It's a delay tactic, in actual fact I suspect my thoughts are way ahead.

My heart is close to bursting from my chest, it beats with such ferocity.

"Don't you dare treat me like I'm stupid," she growls. She stands her ground; doesn't move or say another word.

"I'm sorry," I whisper.

"You are? Well I guess that's okay then." She shakes her head and turns to leave the room.

"B. Wait…" I take a step forward as she turns back to me, making me stop short with the look on her face.

"I have nothing to say to you right now. I want you gone when I get back." She disappears from view for a moment, returning with her coat on and bag over her arm. She doesn't even look at me as she passes to get to the door. Before I can think of anything else to do or say, she's gone in a blast of air and the loud slamming sound of the door flying home.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck."

I pace, wondering what I should do. I know she said to go, but is that really what she wants? I don't want to look like I'm giving in so easily.

I should fight for her.

Do I want to fight for her?

I think back over the past few months, back even further than the first time I walked into the bookstore. I wasn't happy; things weren't great, or I wouldn't ever have set foot in the place.

I wander through to the kitchen, still looking for answers when I find my phone sitting on the counter. I pick it up, press the home button and read the message that leaves no doubt as to where I spent last night when I said I was working late again.

I know it's my fault I left my phone where B could see it, but a wave of anger toward Bookish flows from me, for sending it in the first place.

As it ebbs away again, I wonder whether I love her. Almost straight away I realize if I'm having to ask, then I already know the answer. I like her. A lot. But love? She's a girl I fuck in a bookstore when the closed sign shows and the shades are pulled. Is that really a basis for a relationship?

As I walk back through the house, I look around and take everything in. With a growing sense of unease I wander from room to room, trying to pick out anything here that I identify with. By the time I'm done I've come to the conclusion that I'm squatting in someone else's life. This house is all B. She chose the rugs and the curtains. The couch was the one she wanted, the console a gift from her mother, and that painting that hangs over the fireplace? Well, that was by her aunt.

The unease fades a little as realization dawns.

Moving my stuff out, at least, will be easy.

I pull a bag from the closet, set it down on the bed and begin to pack. When I've fitted all I can in and pulled on the zip to close it, I pick up the phone and call my boss. I share enough details to explain my position.

"Can I take a couple of weeks off?" I ask.

He's sympathetic, and after a brief discussion of the practicalities of what I was working on, he grants me the time.

I scribble a note to B, include an apology I repeat at the end, filling the space in the middle with little more than telling her I'm taking some time out and not to worry. I'm pretty sure worrying about me is the last thing she'll be doing; wishing me dead, maybe…

Grabbing my bag, I head for the door. I walk out, lock the door behind me and tuck the key beneath one of the plant pots, beside the spare we keep there. I glance at my Volvo, but then keeping to a resolve I've made, I walk right past it and keep going.

I grab a coffee on my way through town, then when I reach the place where the buildings begin to thin out, I turn to face the traffic and stick my thumb out. The traffic all passes me by. Between cars and trucks I turn and walk a little further, until finally I'm beside the sign that welcomes people to our shitty rundown town.

I wait there for what seems like forever, ignoring the idiots who sound their horns or flip the bird at me, feeling hopeful when someone slows, cursing under my breath when they speed up again.

My head's down, but my thumb's still raised, when the rough sound of a loud engine slowing makes me look up. An old faded red Chevy pick-up is coming to a stop at the side of me.

A rush of triumph flows through me, and I can't hide a smile as I run around to the passenger side and yank the door open.

"Where are you heading?"

The truck had me expecting some old guy to be sitting in the driver's seat, but instead I find myself looking at a woman around my age, with dark brown hair and friendly eyes.

I shrug. "Anywhere."


I lift my bag up onto the seat, but she holds her hand out in a stop gesture before I can climb in.

"Before you get in, you should know my father's the chief of police, so if you're a serial killer you might want to wait for another victim."

Her face is so serious, I can't help but laugh. She smiles back. "What? I'm serious."

"I'm not a serial killer," I tell her. She looks at me for a moment, then obviously satisfied, she nods.

"Well get in then, Mr Not a Serial Killer."

I climb in and hold out my hand to her.

"There's no need to be so formal. You can call me Edward."

She reaches for it, her hand small and soft in mine.

"Pleased to meet you, Edward. I'm Isabella."

"Isabella," I repeat, as we both pull our hands back. "That's pretty. It suits you."

She smiles and looks away, her cheeks pink. "I'm sorry," I say, a little appalled at how easily the cheesy words had slipped from my lips, as I fasten my seat belt. "I didn't mean to embarrass you. Trust me, the last thing I'm looking for is romance."

"It's fine, and for the record, me neither."

I'm pretty sure she shudders as she says it, and I wonder for a moment if she's running too.

She turns and looks at me, raising her eyebrows as she shifts the truck into gear.

"Are you ready?" she asks. I frown as I wonder what she means, before she adds, "Destination Anywhere, right?"

"Right." I smile as I catch on. "Yeah, I'm ready. Bring it on."

The End

A/N - so I know some of you will moan about the pairing - honestly, to keep you guessing it was necessary. Besides, it was right in the end ;)

If you got this far, thanks for taking the time to read xx