- Beta: Bella MacLoud (Thank you, sweets!)

- Facebook name and/or Twitter handle: Laura Spudzmom

- Pen name: Spudzmom

- Title: Going Greyhound

- Summary: He's the ultimate bad boy. She's the consummate good girl. Could one night's ride on a Greyhound bus bring them together? All human, AU Edward/Bella

- Pairing: Edward/Bella

- Rating: M/A

- Word Count: 7961

- DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.

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The middle…

It's where he chose to be from now on.

Neither good, nor bad…

Neither shining nor shunned…

…just simply there, in hopes to be mediocre enough for the ever judging eye of society to skim right by without thought.

To be left alone to make his way…

It was all he really wanted now.

Five hard years in prison had seen to that.

He'd been the shining one once, in everything, even among his siblings. The proverbial apple of his parent's eyes, he'd been trained at an early age to preen under the praise of family and stranger alike. While his siblings had watched in envy, he'd been presented at grand parties, dimpled hand held firmly by his mother's, basking as his growing ego soaked up the adoration like one of those cheap ass Sham Wows he'd seen on TV in the cell block day room.

He bit back a quiet snort as the bus down-shifted; the smell of diesel fumes wafting up from the back as its brakes hissed when it stopped at a light.

'Sham Wow? Is that really all you got as a simile these days?'

With a lazy blink and creased brow, he turned to stare out at the night. The light turned green and the bus began rolling again, its engine growling its way up to speed as street lights threw his angular features in and out of relief.

'Jesus, your repertoire of similes has really gone to shit, Cullen.'

"What would Mother say?" he murmured, his smirk dropping into a frown as the ever present bitterness rose up to nearly choke him.

The fact was, after five years—six if you count the year of county lock-up while waiting for trial—he had no fucking clue what his mother would say…about anything. His father had dictated complete separation, and she, as well as the rest of the family, had bowed to his orders, just as they always did.

Just as he himself had done all his life, up until the day he hadn't; the day that had resulted in where he was now, slowly rolling home from hell in this Greyhound bus, sixty dollars to his name and no clue where to go from here.

"Fuck 'em…" he mumbled while running a hand through his tousled, bronze hair, dark brows drawn into a deep frown as he beat back his fiery Irish temper.

He couldn't afford to lose his shit.

Not yet…

He'd have his time, but until then, he had to keep his head about him.

As the night drew on, and the lights from yet another small town waned, the pain of his situation slowly crept in to replace the anger.

He'd never known what it was like to be without family, and was so secure in everything, he'd never even considered such a thing. So when it had happened—when he'd found himself seemingly abandoned at what had been the worst time in his life, it had gutted him.

He'd been just eighteen years old. Just a kid really, despite all his training, dark deeds, and bravado. And inside, where no one could see, he'd floundered under the strain, shedding quiet tears in his cell at night with no one the wiser—when no one would know. He'd had to be strong in the 'population'—maintain that hard-assed, Irish mob image, otherwise they would've eaten him alive—but the truth is, deep down, he'd been terrified.

And his family—his father—had left him to it. A 'hard lesson' his old man had called it, and he hadn't been fuckin' around…

He'd always thought his father would have his back; that an acknowledgement of his screw up and a contrite apology would garner forgiveness and the best lawyer his father's money could buy. After that, and a few well-placed payoffs, he'd be good to go—or so he'd thought.

Instead, he'd received one visit from his father, telling him in no uncertain terms that by not following orders, he'd gotten himself into this mess and would have to see himself out.

Just two days later, he'd been visited by his public defender—a harried, pimple-faced twenty-something guy with a Super Cuts, twelve-buck haircut, and a cheap J.C. Penney sport coat—and he knew…he was fucked.

Things had rapidly gone downhill from there, and after a grueling year of continuances, he'd found himself accepting a deal in exchange for a guilty plea—his so-called lawyer swearing during a hasty, pre-trial consultation, it was the best he was going to get.

Sentencing took place as soon as he'd accepted the deal, and they'd given him ten years; something his nineteen-year-old mind couldn't fathom. It'd felt like a life sentence at the time, stretching out ahead of him into a distance he couldn't begin to see or imagine.

And so, at the tender age of nineteen, he'd been shackled and shipped off to Federal Prison for racketeering, making the Feds initial seizure of all his personal assets—not an insubstantial amount—permanent.

In hindsight, he could acknowledge he'd been relatively lucky. The cops and DA had leaned on him hard during his year in county, squeezing him mercilessly for information on his father's dealings every chance they got while detailing a bleak future if he didn't turn.

Every time, he'd told them to fuck off, despite his father's abandonment. The lessons he'd learned since he could understand words were fixed firmly in his psyche, always echoing in his father's voice… "You never fuck over the family, son. It's your blood. You never turn, never leave, and never rat, because the day you do, you're dead."

Five years…

Five years he'd had to think about all this before they'd finally let him go on good behavior. But they were five of the toughest years of his life and they had changed him. He wasn't a kid anymore, for one. For another, he knew, despite all the talk about family he'd heard all his life, when it came right down to it, he was the only being on the planet he could rely on.

Yeah, he'd made mistakes, but from now on, he was gonna make damn sure he never made the same ones again.

With that last thought, he covered a yawn and wedged himself into the corner, resting his head against the seat back while stretching out along the empty seats. He still had a long way to go and it had been a long day. He didn't fool himself into thinking he'd get any kind of real sleep on this bus though. It was pretty empty, but there were still people on it, and as long as there were people around, he'd never let his guard down enough to truly sleep.

He'd only rested his eyes for ten minutes or so when the sound of the engine changed and the bus began to slow as it pulled into a station. Seemed they weren't done picking up passengers, despite the late hour.

Now fully aware, he opened his eyes in time to watch a girl board the bus. She looked to be around his age, perhaps a couple years younger, and beautiful in a wholesome, girl-next-door sort of way, but that's not what really struck him about her. No, he prided himself on his ability to read people and this girl…she was broken over something. He could tell just by the way she held herself as she walked down the aisle, looking for a place to sit.

As his sharp, hooded gaze took her in, sad, dark eyes skittered over him as she swung into the empty seats across the aisle.

Wearily, she shrugged off her heavy back pack and tossed it on the seat next to the window. Choosing the aisle seat, she slumped into it and tugged the hem of the black pencil skirt that had ridden up her shapely legs.

In the next instant, the driver dimmed the interior light, released the air brake, and slowly pulled out. As the bus slowly gained speed, the girl began pulling pins from her conservative bun while carding her fingers through the cascading, dark mass.

It was then he was treated to her scent as it slowly filled the space between them; flowers and rain and freedom—yes, she smelled like freedom to him and a tiny smile—one he wasn't even conscious of—curled one side of his mouth as he subtly breathed her in.

She turned her head then, staring out the window as the passing street lights cast their light into the space, and his curiosity rose as she whispered something too low for him to hear.

The next moment, her shoulders began to shake with what could only be silent sobs, and he frowned as he wondered at the cause. Then he wondered why he even cared. What was it about this nondescript girl that had caught his attention so fully? He bit back a snort as he thought it was probably his six-year dry spell, but then he dismissed it. Yeah, it'd been a long time, but he wasn't so hard up that he couldn't control himself…

From what he'd been able to see in the low lighting, she was like a million other small town girls—seemingly beautiful, but not strikingly so…certainly not like his brother's girl, Rosalie. That painted bitch had a rack on her and she knew it. Same deal with the many girls he'd had at his beck and call in what now seemed another lifetime. Any one of them could've gone Hollywood or a Paris runway without question.

No, this girl could blend into any small town with no problem. From what he'd seen, she was shapely without standing out, so what was the attraction? Why couldn't he seem to stop watching her and more importantly, why did her tears seem to bother him so much?

He continued to watch for a while as her hand rose to swipe tears from her cheeks. Then his curiosity got the better of him. "Hey, you okay over there?"

She startled and looked at him, hastily drying her cheeks with a tattered tissue as she took a moment to study him. He was gorgeous in a relaxed, bad-boy sort of way, all kicked back, lithely muscled arms crossed, and long legs stretched along the seats.

His face was cast in flickering shadows, but from what she could see, his features were beautiful in a completely masculine way. Her gaze flitted down to the most kissable lips she'd ever seen as a barely-there smile curled one side of them, and she felt a blush heat her cheeks as she cleared her throat. "Uh, yeah," she finally answered in a tear roughened voice. "I'm fine."

A tiny smirk quirked those lips as he arched a brow. "Uh huh, because totally fine people cry for ten minutes straight in the dark on a Greyhound bus."

She looked down and shrugged a shoulder while twisting the tissue with nervous fingers. "Rough day," she murmured before glancing back at him. "Rough week, really, but it's…over now. Time to move on…"

He looked away with a frown. "Yeah, I know that feeling well," he murmured, his far-away expression and semi-bitter tone piquing her curiosity. What was he moving on from? Whatever it was, she got the feeling it wasn't good…

"Where you headed?" she asked, bringing his attention back to her. His smirk reappeared, making something strange curl and flutter in her stomach and she bit back the urge to curse herself. What the hell was wrong with her? She never reacted like this with guys. Guys were the last thing on her agenda. They took up too much time; time she needed to focus on her education.

That's not to say she was inexperienced. She'd had a steady boyfriend in high school and they'd been each other's firsts. It didn't last when she'd moved away for college though, and since then she'd been too busy with her studies for anyone else.

"Chicago…you?"

"Back to school…Loyola," she answered while reclining the seat and angling herself to face him. Folding one leg under the other, she tugged down the hem of her skirt and tried to smile.

"So, I guessed right,' he muttered through a smirk.

"About what?" she asked while resting her head on the cushioned seat back, one hand rising to tug at a curl that fell over her shoulder.

His eyes followed the movement of her fingers, his own now itching to feel that silky looking lock; to raise it to his nose and take in that flowers and freedom scent that seemed to be stuck in his head…

Fuck, what the hell was wrong with him? This wasn't him…he didn't do touchy-feely. He nearly scoffed at the mere thought. His old man would plant his foot squarely in his ass if he knew…

He needed to get laid he decided, just as soon as he got settled at Jasper's and got some business shit out of the way. There was a hell of a lot going on, a lot that'd he'd missed, but Jasper'd kept him in the loop, so at least he wasn't flying blind.

Coming back from his thoughts, he saw that she was patiently waiting for an answer, though she'd cocked a brow at the delay. He smiled. "I figured you for a good girl," he answered while masking his confusion and foreign feelings behind a wry smile. "…straight-laced," he teased, "follow all the rules, apple of your daddy's eye…"

A deep frown marred her brow as her gaze darted away. "Not anymore," she said, her voice faltering.

He studied her profile and saw her full bottom lip tremble. "Shit, I'm sorry," he muttered, feeling like an ass for putting her back in this state just when she'd gotten out of it. He wasn't sure what it was he'd said, but something had set her off again and something inside him twisted as a tear rolled down her cheek.

"No, it's okay," she insisted while drying her eyes with that same ragged tissue. "It's just too fresh, you know?" She looked down at her lap. "I guess it'll take a while to get past it, but the problem is," she choked, "I don't feel like I'll ever get past it." After a long moment of fighting it, she covered her mouth with a hand to stifle a quiet sob.

"Shit," he muttered under his breath as she cried. He never did well with crying women—with crying anyone, really. If it was a man that wound up blubbering, it was usually because he was about to get his ass seriously kicked. Or because he knew he was about to die, and yeah, he'd seen plenty of both and the solution to the blubbering was never pretty. With women, he usually got the hell outta there as he wasn't exactly equipped to comfort anyone. He always let them sort that shit out on their own, but this girl… For some reason, something inside him just wouldn't leave him alone about her, and her crying truly bothered him. He wanted to fix it, and this was the first time he could ever remember feeling this way.

After a moment of thought, he breathed out a heavy breath and, mind made up, stood and scooped her into his arms. As he sat back in his seat across the aisle, she tensed in his hold and regarded him with wide eyes. "What…what the hell are you doing?" she asked, trying to scoot off his lap to stand.

He stopped her with a hand on her knee. "Shh, I'm, you know, comforting you," he said with an awkward pat to her back. "You were crying and shit, so I figured…" He shrugged and she cocked a brow while chuckling through her tears.

"Comforting me? Because I was crying and shit?"

He frowned. "Yeah, something wrong with that?"

She angled herself in his lap while mopping at her tears with that same beat up tissue. "Besides the fact that I don't know you?"

"Fine," he said, offering the hand that'd been on her knee. "I'm Edward."

She blinked at him before slipping her hand into his. "Bella," she said, giving him a skeptical, assessing look. "You're kinda weird, you know that?" she said, watching his frown deepen.

"Yeah, well, this whole situation is kinda weird. I'm not exactly good at this shit, but I'm trying here, ya know?"

Her brows inched up. "Why?"

His brows shot up. What was with this girl? Wasn't it obvious? "Because you were crying!"

"And you care…why?"

He blinked and looked away. "I dunno why." He looked back at her. "It just bothered me, okay? And I wanted you to stop, so here we are, and it worked." He smirked and settled back into the seat. "You're not crying anymore, are you?"

She studied him a moment—his cocky smirk, bad-boy movie star looks, the feel of his solidly muscled body beneath her—and blushed to her roots. He had to be the most handsome man she'd ever seen and here she was, red eyes, red nose, probably looking like crap, tensely perched on his lap. On his lap! How the hell did she find herself in such a situation? More importantly, how did she get out of it with a shred of dignity left?

"No, I'm no longer crying," she admitted, shifting around a bit to get more comfortable while ignoring the way he tensed. She glanced at him as he cocked a brow. "Thanks?"

"You're welcome," he said, his voice now husky and sounding like pure sex for some reason.

'Pure sex, Bella?! What the hell…?'

She felt like slapping herself and shifted again in embarrassment. She instantly froze when he grabbed her hips to still her. "You might wanna stop that," he murmured, liking the feel of her shapely hips under his hands just a little too much.

He'd been fine until she'd started squirming, but now… And her scent? That flowers and freedom hang-up he seemed to have? It was even more intoxicating now that she was so damn close. 'This was a monumentally bad idea, Cullen,' he thought, because now, he had one hell of a hard-on that probably wasn't gonna go away anytime soon.

Fuck.

She shifted around to see him, and he grunted lowly as his hands tensed on her hips even more. It was then that she felt just what his problem was…and it wasn't little by any means.

She froze then, her mind racing as she tried to decide how to react. On one hand, she wanted to sink into a deep hole somewhere and never come out, but on the other…? Well, he'd kinda brought this on himself, hadn't he? After all, she hadn't exactly placed herself on his lap, had she? So, why should she feel bad over this? And besides, she still hadn't quite gotten over his 'good girl' comment… "Am I making you uncomfortable?" she asked. "Because…" She squirmed again as if to slide off his lap but he pulled her snug to his chest. "I can go back to my seat…if you let go, that is."

She was now aware enough to take in his warm scent and it was a heady mixture of leather, some sort of expensive cologne, mint, and cigarettes. She leaned in unconsciously, breathing deeply and he chuckled. "Did you just smell me? And as for your question, yeah, I get a little uncomfortable when you grind on my lap like that, so be still, and we'll be golden."

"Hey, I offered to go back to my seat."

She felt him shrug. "You're warm and I was kinda cold."

She eyed his jacket which was draped on the seat back and gave him a pointed look. He shrugged and sighed. "Fine. I figured if you go back to your seat, you'll just start blubbering again, and I hate that shit."

"Huh," she said before relaxing with her head on his shoulder.

He might've touched his cheek against her hair while breathing deeply, but he'd never admit it. "So, why were you crying in the first place?" he finally asked.

She tensed a bit and he held her closer while rubbing her arm as she relaxed. "I attended my Dad's funeral today."

"Ah, shit…sorry," he said with a mental cringe at the words that escaped without thought. His mother would've had his ass for being so tactless. He could hear her chewing his ass even now—Edward Anthony Cullen! I raised you better than that! "Fuck…I mean, my sincere condolences."

She chuckled dryly without looking up. "Training from your mother kick in, did it?"

He gusted a laugh. "That obvious?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

"Well, I am sorry," he said. "I'm pretty pissed at my parents at the moment, but I can't imagine losing them."

"Neither can I, really," she murmured. "It doesn't seem real yet, you know? It still feels like he'll call me any minute to check in like he always does."

"You were close then?"

"Yeah. I was his only child and my mother left us when I was just a baby."

"So, he raised you alone?"

She nodded against his shoulder. "Yeah, he never remarried or even dated, really. He had his job and me. That was his life."

"So, no contact with your mom then?"

She scoffed. "Not in years. I don't think Renee likes to remember she ever had a kid."

"That's fucked up. I'm sorry."

She shrugged a shoulder. "Don't be. Nothing about her bothers me anymore."

She shifted again and he tensed then sighed, resigning himself to suffering the worst case of blue balls he'd ever had.

"You know, you're pretty comfy," she murmured while snuggling against him.

"Comfy? Oh, how the mighty have fallen…" he muttered dryly, piquing her curiosity. She left it alone though, not wanting to pry.

"So, what about your parents?" she asked and he tensed.

"I haven't talked to or seen them in six years."

She raised her head to look at him. "You don't get along?"

He looked away, frowning deeply and she shocked herself by wanting to soothe the tension in his brow with her fingers. 'Get a grip, Swan. You don't even know him.'

"My old man's a hard-ass and always has been, but I never doubted he loved me until six years ago. My mother? I know she loves me, but his word is law, so I haven't seen her either."

She relaxed against him. "What happened six years ago, if you don't mind my asking? I mean, something had to happen, right?"

For the briefest moment, he thought about lying, then dismissed it. They didn't know each other and after he picked up his life again, he probably wouldn't get the chance to see her again. "I went away to a fun filled, all expenses paid stay at Club Fed."

Her brow creased. "Club Fed? You mean...?"

"Federal Prison, yeah," he said while watching her closely.

She tensed. "Oh…god," She calmly eased herself off his lap and into the next seat, her brow drawn as she looked at him. "Mind if I ask what for?"

"Racketeering. The Five-O caught me with a shipment of high-end, stolen cars. I had a shit lawyer and after a year of jerking me around, they oh-so-graciously offered me a deal. Sent me away for ten and I got out in five for good behavior."

"So, you didn't kill anyone or anything, right?" she asked, looking like she was about to bolt.

He smirked. If she only knew… "I was convicted for receiving illegally imported, high-end stolen cars, nothing more."

"Stolen cars…" she murmured before meeting his steady gaze. "So, you're a criminal… I mean, a criminal, criminal, because you had to know those cars were stolen, right?"

He chuckled and arched a brow. "As opposed to a non-criminal, criminal? Just how does that work, anyway?"

Her cheeks heated and she looked away.

"Yes, Bella, I knew the cars were stolen. They were also worth a couple million, so I figured it was worth the risk. Obviously, I was wrong in that assumption, just as my old man warned me."

"Ah," she said, turning sideways to face him while leaning against the seat back. "So, that's why he refused to see or speak to you?"

"Yeah. Bastard left me to hang on my own, in the hands of a shitty public defender."

She frowned. "How old were you? You couldn't have been…"

"Eighteen," he said, cutting her short. "I was eighteen, and he fucking walked away without so much as a look back."

Even in the low light of the bus, she could see the pain and anger in his eyes and couldn't help but think what his father had done was more punishment than the government could ever impose.

It was clear to her that family meant the world to him, yet his had abandoned him when he needed them most. Yeah, it was his fault; he had done wrong, but he'd been so young, and guys at that age were prone to bouts of stupidity. "I'm sorry," she finally said and he cocked a brow. "I'm sorry your family turned their backs. You were just a dumb kid. You didn't deserve that."

His brows inched up and he gusted a laugh and she couldn't help but think he was really beautiful when he laughed. "Feeling pity for the dumb kid, are you?"

She shrugged a shoulder while playing with a curl of hair. "You're a guy. At eighteen, guys do some really stupid shit."

"I'm glad to see you have such a high opinion of my gender," he said dryly and she smirked.

"It's a scientific fact."

"What if I told you I don't consider what I did to be stupid. It was a business decision and a risk. I took it and lost, but I'd do it again, only this time I'd make sure not to get caught."

"Are you serious?" she asked, her eyes wide. "It was a crime!"

He shrugged and propped his foot on the seat while resting his hand over his bent knee. "So? Open your eyes and take a look around, Good Girl. Crime is big business. It's what makes the world go around and keeps the cash flowing. There's more tax dollars injected into the government from the so-called criminal element, and the legit businesses they launder their money through, than from every level of working class combined."

She scowled and crossed her arms over her chest. "There's that label again—Good Girl—and you say it like it's a bad thing."

She watched him purse those kissable lips and shrug. "Maybe not bad, per se, but naive as fuck."

"I am not naive!"

He raised his hand while chuckling. "Okay, okay, you're not naive."

She shot him a resentful look. "Thank you."

"Just really innocent," he said with a crooked grin that made her heart flutter.

"I can be bad when I wanna be," she protested.

"Really?" he asked wryly and she glared, not managing to budge his infuriating—although wickedly gorgeous—grin one bit.

So, he wanted proof, did he?

"I…toked-on-the-devil's-lettuce-in-high-school," she blurted, her eyes widening as she realized what she'd just said.

He tried to stifle his laughter—he really did. "Well, now I'm impressed," he said, grinning widely. "Shit, we could'a been cell mates. You got any ink under that high-necked blouse and pencil skirt, Bucky (1)?"

"Ink?"

He raised a brow. "Tatts?" She looked blank and he smirked. "Tattoos Bella."

"No."

He chuckled. "I'm not surprised."

She scowled. "What do tattoos have to do with anything? My point is, I'm not as innocent as you seem to think."

"Yeah… Bella, the wicked and worldly devil's lettuce toker…" he teased and she huffed. "I think my point was made," he said.

"What? Just because I don't have any tattoos, I'm supposedly innocent? That's…that's…BS," she sputtered.

"It's way more than that, Bella."

"Then what?" she demanded.

He rolled his lips and dipped his head. "All right. There are three people on this bus carrying a piece, one of whom is tweaking and one who's jonesing so fucking bad he's about to do something desperate. Point any one of them out to me. If you can't do that, then you can try to point out the two hookers…" He flipped the hand he'd draped over his knee. "…or just one if you can—I'll settle for that."

She looked decidedly uncomfortable as she rose up on a knee just high enough to peer over the seats. "Um, three rows back on the right?"

"Incorrect," he said and she glared at him.

"I didn't even say which…"

"Doesn't matter as that guy isn't any one of them," he cut her off.

She narrowed her eyes and went back to looking.

She saw a guy that looked nervous and sweaty and smiled. "The very last row, wearing a dingy denim vest."

"Strike two." He arched a brow. "You ready to concede, Peggy Sue?"

"No," she growled while popping up to look again. She took her time this time, studying every person on the bus. There weren't many, so this shouldn't be that hard… Still, she had no idea who might be on drugs or carrying a weapon, so she decided to look for a prostitute. "Um…okay, the woman four rows up on the left." She sank down in the seat while looking at him with raised brows and he grinned.

"Strike three, little lamb. You're out."

She crossed her arms and frowned. "How do I know you really know any of this? You could be making it up just to throw me."

He arched a brow. "The woman in the front, currently talking to the driver? Hooker number one. Three rows back on the right hand side? Hooker two. Just behind her, the tweaker. Left hand side and two rows up? Jonesing out of his mind. And finally, right side, two rows up in a cheap business suit? Carrying a piece."

Slowly, she rose up to peer around, taking in all that he'd told her before lowering herself back into the seat to face him. He didn't look pleased or smug or amused anymore as he calmly watched her with eyes filled with too much knowledge. It was then that she finally felt the weight of his words. "How do you…how can you tell?"

He shrugged and his smirk was back, but it was different somehow—a bit bitter as he explained, "You learn to see these things when you have to - learn to read people to survive."

She nodded and studied her hands in her lap for a moment, gathering her thoughts. "And you've had to." It wasn't a question. She'd seen the evidence in his steady green gaze—the age beyond years…the weight of it all…

"Yeah, little lamb, I've had to."

"That still doesn't mean I'm completely innocent though." She looked up and smiled as he chuckled and shook his head.

"So stubborn…"

"I am," she said with challenge shining in her eyes as she met his gaze. "And I'll take that as a compliment, so thank you."

"Okay, little lamb, whatever you say…" he said with that crooked grin that made the butterflies in her stomach take flight.

She lifted her chin. "I even know how to shoot."

His brows inched up. "Really now, and how'd that come about?"

"My dad taught me. Taught me how to fight too. He was in law enforcement and thought I should know these things."

"Well, he was right." He glanced up through long lashes, a smile playing on his lips. "Still doesn't mean you're not naive…" He held up a hand, "…sorry, innocent," he amended.

That he made these suppositions about her, bothered her for some reason. She didn't get the feeling he was putting her down though. Rather the opposite; it felt as though he was slowly building a wall between them, a separation of distinction, as though he wasn't good for her, and she found she didn't like that, even a little bit.

Her eyes narrowed and she slowly rose up on her knees to lean toward him, bracing her hands on the seat back as she leaned closer and closer. "You still think I'm innocent…" she mused as he held completely still, staring into her eyes. "I bet you even think I'm a virgin, don't you?" she asked, now so close to him that her sweet breath fanned his cheek as she spoke.

"The thought had entered my mind…" he said, his voice low, husky, as her eyes flitted to his lips and back to the greenest eyes she'd ever seen.

"Well, you're wrong," she said while leaning in to brush a kiss against his lips. "I'm not," she whispered as his hand slipped into her hair to pull her closer and deepen the kiss.

If she thought she liked the look of those lips, well, they were sheer perfection as they moved with hers, softly sucking and nipping before parting as his tongue entered her mouth.

He tasted of mint and a hint of smoke and she couldn't get enough as her tongue slowly stroked against his, her hum of pure delight swallowed in their motions as she leaned even closer, completely lost to the feel and taste of him as his fingers cupped the back of her head. "So sweet," he whispered as his lips trailed to her cheek and jaw. "So soft," he continued while gently kissing and nuzzling under her ear. "And this…is so wrong…"

She froze and he eased back, his darkened gaze locking with hers. "You need to stay away from me, little lamb…far away."

Her hand rose to cup his lightly stubbled cheek. "What if I don't want to?"

"I think we've established, your judgement's not the best, so you just gotta trust me on this. You're a good girl, and I'm not a good guy. But I'm not so bad that I wanna see you hurt, and if you stay around me? You'll probably get hurt."

She hiked up her skirt and straddled him and he groaned and leaned back. What the hell was this girl thinking?! It'd been six years, for fuck's sake, and he wasn't made of steel… "Now's not the time to be stubborn, little lamb, believe me. Right now, I'm in control, but that can and will change, especially with you sitting on me like this." He opened his eyes and narrowed them at her. "You should go back to your seat—while you still can."

He tried to lift her off him and she gripped his biceps, leaning forward to place an open mouthed kiss on his neck as she murmured, "I can take risks too, you know, and I'm choosing to take this one."

"You have no idea what you're getting into."

She kissed him, nipping his bottom lip with her teeth as his hands drifted down her sides to settle on her plump botton with a rub and a squeeze. "Let me worry about that," she whispered against his lips, her tongue darting into his mouth as her hands carded his messy bronze hair.

"Bella," he murmured while dragging his lips down to her neck, pausing every so often to place a kiss, "It's been so long…I'm not sure I can hold out."

"Then don't," she breathed as she rolled her head back, loving the feel of his hand as it cupped her breast.

"Fuck it…I'm already going to hell…" he finally muttered while popping the buttons on her blouse. The middle catch on her bra was next to go, and she gasped and arched as his warm lips closed over an eager peak, a throaty moan escaping her as his tongue swirled and flicked while his hand cupped and gently kneaded the other.

"Edward." she whispered while dropping down to roll her hips against him. He groaned deep in his chest while trailing kisses back up her body.

"God, you smell good," he murmured as his lips once again found hers, his hands tangling in her hair to gently tilt her head. She opened to him eagerly, her tongue meeting his as her fingers fumbled and worked the buttons of his jeans.

He hissed as she reached in and palmed his cock. "Jesus…" he whispered while resting his head against hers, their noses nudging as he pecked her on the lips. "Not sure how long I'll last," he admitted and she smiled and kissed his cheek softly.

"Don't worry, I'll take care of you."

She slipped off his lap, coming to rest on her knees while staring up through dark lashes. "God, you're beautiful," he said, his warm fingers tracing the apple of her cheek.

"So are you," she said, loving the way he moaned and threw his head back as she stroked him, her thumb circling the head to spread the bead of pre-cum. Even his cock was perfect—not huge, but certainly bigger than her ex…

"Oh fuck, yes…" he muttered as she took him into her mouth, her long locks tickling his sack as she sucked and bobbed.

"Bella," he rasped after just a few moments, "I'm gonna…oh fuck, yes..."

She sucked him to the back of her throat, sealing her lips and swallowing as he came in long pulses, his fingers massaging the back of her head as he panted through it. "Fuck…so good…" he muttered as she drew her mouth off of him, wiping her lips with the back of her hand as he lifted her to straddle his lap again.

He rested his head against hers, lightly kissing her lips as her fingers threaded through his hair. "Was that okay?" she asked and he gusted a laugh.

"Okay?" He kissed her lips again. "Baby, you were great, but I'm kinda embarrassed at how quick I came."

She glanced around and grabbed his bottle of water from the cup holder. "May I?"

He leaned his head back and smiled. "You can have anything you want."

She swished and swallowed and took another drink before placing it back in the cup holder. "Anything?" she asked with a smirk while working the buttons of his shirt.

"Anything," he affirmed as her hands ran over the firm muscles of his chest. She leaned forward and kissed him then as his warm hands ran up her legs, pushing her skirt up her thighs nearly to her waist.

Just then someone snored loudly a few rows away, mumbling about frogs and...his mommy? as Bella broke the kiss with a laugh.

"What the hell was that?" Edward asked with a chuckle as Bella rested her head on his shoulder, her body shaking with laughter.

"I don't know," she squeaked, "but what a mood killer…"

"Jesus," Edward said with a sigh, his hand rubbing the smooth skin of her leg. He glanced at her and shook his head as she sat up. "You deserve so much better than this."

Her smile faltered and she cupped his face while touching her forehead to his. "Hey, don't get all pensive on me now. It was just a snore. No harm, no foul," she said with a smile.

His hand rose to trace the contour of her face as he held her gaze. "You should get out now, while you can, little lamb."

"Oh no you don't," she whispered, "you said I could have anything I want, right?"

He sighed. "Yeah, I did, but in my defense, I wasn't exactly thinking straight at the time."

"Too bad, because I choose you."

"You wouldn't if you truly knew me."

She studied his eyes for a moment before kissing him softly. "I'm not afraid of you, Edward."

He buried a hand in her hair and kissed her, his teeth capturing her bottom lip before soothing it with a soft peck of his lips. "You should be," he whispered against her parted lips, breathing her in as she breathed out.

"I refuse to be," she said while rolling her hips against his hardening cock.

His hand moved to the crease of her thigh, his finger slipping under the soft lace band as he murmured between kisses to her jaw, "Take these off."

She stood, quickly sliding the panties off before straddling him again, and he pulled her into another languid kiss as his fingers found her center. "So wet…" he muttered, sliding a finger inside her as he sucked on her lip.

"More," she urged when the kiss broke, her hands gripping his shoulders as her head rolled back, a low, throaty moan escaping her when he added another finger and curled them. He was now hitting a place inside her that took her breath away, and she whispered, "Oh my God." He smirked against the soft skin of her breast, content with the knowledge that he hadn't lost his touch.

"Come for me, little lamb." His husky murmur pierced the fog of her high as she rode his hand, and she shattered, holding back the cries that threatened to break free as he sucked the peak of her breast into his hot mouth.

"Edward," she moaned instead, her hands sinking into his hair as she went weak from waves of pleasure.

Slumping forward, she rested her head on his shoulder, feeling him move as he searched for something. The next moment, the sound of a tearing packet piqued her interest and she sat up in time to see him roll on a condom.

She leaned forward and kissed him, murmuring against his lips, "You came prepared."

"Old habits die hard," he said while guiding her onto his cock. She sank down slowly and he groaned as she rolled her hips, seating him fully inside her.

"We gotta be quiet, baby," he whispered in her ear while placing a kiss and she nodded.

"So good," she murmured and he grasped her hips as she began a slow rise and fall. After a few strokes, his hand threaded into her hair and he took her mouth in a heated kiss, almost growling as he ended it.

"I'm sorry," he muttered, looking frustrated. "This feels good Bella, but it's about to drive me fucking crazy too."

"Wha…" she began, but before she could say more, he flipped up the arm rest, laid her back on the seats, and placed her legs over his shoulders.

With a quick kiss to her lips and a wicked grin, he muttered, "Hang on, baby," as he started fucking her.

His thrusts were powerful and it was all Bella could do not to scream his name right there in the middle of the bus. Soon, she felt delicious tension start to build in her core with every solid stroke of his cock. "Oh fuck, Edward," she whimpered, trying like hell to keep from screaming as she yanked him into a desperate kiss, her hands gripping and tugging fistfuls of that glorious hair.

It felt like he was gonna fuck her straight through the seat and with something like a growl clawing its way from her throat, she decided she fucking well loved it.

"Oh Jesus…Jesus…Jesus," she babbled when he'd broken the kiss, his grunts and panted breaths tickling the hair over her ear as she desperately hung on, her nails digging into his back just as the seat began to squeak…loudly.

"Edward," she panted.

"What?" he huffed.

"The seat…"

"Fuck the seat," he growled.

"I think…" she puffed, "I think that's the problem," she panted through a laugh as the noise got louder.

With another growl, he reached down and rubbed her clit and she cried out as that tension burst into heat and light, launching her into the best orgasm she'd ever had. He followed with a groan just two erratic thrusts later, his body collapsing on hers as her legs slid from his shoulders.

"Oh…My…God…" she huffed amidst the whistles and loud applause of the smattering of other passengers.

"Ya think I can get some fucking sleep now?" one disgruntled guy yelled and she laughed as Edward flashed a middle finger over the top of the seat while helping her up.

She looked at him, his clothes half hanging and hair a mess, and a giggle bubbled up, becoming full-on laughter as he smirked. "So much for being quiet," she said dryly while shimmying back into her panties.

He grinned while buttoning his shirt. "I forgive you. You couldn't help it and I completely understand."

She gawked and he laughed while stuffing the condom into an empty chip bag. "Me?!" she squeaked. "You broke the seat!"

"Nah, the seat's fine, just a little noisy."

"A little," she deadpanned as she pulled down her hopelessly wrinkled skirt.

"Yeah, it'll be fine," he said while buttoning his jeans. She sat down and the seat squealed in protest.

She arched a brow and he grabbed his jacket. "Okay, you win. We'll move across the aisle."

He laced their fingers together and tugged her over to where she'd been sitting before. As she made herself comfortable against him, she asked, "So, what's next for you?"

He scoffed softly, while running his fingers through his hair. "Not sure. I'll go to my best friend's place and crash there for a while until I talk to my old man. Who knows from there…"

"Why don't you go to school? Get a degree?"

"I have," he said with a shrug. "I graduated high school at fourteen and Magna Cum Laude from Notre Dame at seventeen. Business management."

"Wow," she muttered. "Then why be a criminal? You're obviously some kind of genius…"

He chuckled. "I wouldn't go that far."

"Yeah, I guess not, since you got arrested and all," she teased.

"Thanks," he returned dryly.

The air brake on the bus hissed as the driver announced the stop and Bella shot up, looking at Edward with wide eyes. "This is me."

He smiled softly and touched her cheek. "Take care of yourself, little lamb," he murmured and she grabbed his hand.

"That sounds like goodbye," she said with sad eyes.

"It is," he said.

The driver stood and frowned at her while calling out the stop again and she turned to Edward. "I won't see you again?"

"You shouldn't."

"But…are you saying you don't want to see me again?"

Tears now shimmered in her eyes and he looked away, a muscle ticking in his jaw. "I shouldn't."

"Miss?" the driver called, "Come on, I got other stops, you know?"

"You better go," Edward urged.

With a sigh and a nod, she shouldered her bag and began to walk down the aisle. She'd made it halfway to the door when Edward caught up and grabbed her arm. "Wait…"

"I got a schedule to keep!" the driver yelled while glaring in the rearview mirror and Edward held up a hand.

"Gimme your ticket," he said with his hand out.

Her brow creased. "Why?" she asked while handing it to him,

He kissed her and pushed her toward the front as the bus started to roll. "Your ticket has all your info. I'll find you."

"You promise?" she called out as the driver hit the brakes and opened the door.

"Yeah little lamb, I promise," he said, watching her step off the bus and into the night.

When the bus pulled out, he flopped into the seat, running his hands through his hair before pulling the wrinkled ticket from his pocket. Holding it at an angle to catch the light, his eyes slowly closed and he muttered, "Fuck me," as the information he'd just read slowly sank in.

Her last name was Swan…

She was Charles Swan's daughter.

And according to Jasper, Police Chief Charles Swan was one of the men his family had just killed.

.


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(1) Bucky - prison slang for Cell-mate.