Keep Moving On Photo Album
Keep Moving On
For Kate, for me.
As my shaking hands opened the envelope, a violent tremor passed through my body when I pulled out the clean paper folded perfectly into thirds.
I took another hard swallow, as a bead of sweat rolled down my forehead.
Finally, with shaking hands I unfolded the letter.
My eyes flitted quickly over the information, looking for the consolation I so desperately wanted, the consolation I so desperately needed.
"Please, don't let him be right," I whispered, begging, praying.
"Please..." I choked as my eyes locked on the only phrase that mattered.
'The DNA results of Kathryn Elizabeth Cullen tested against that of Edward Anthony Cullen, were concluded a negative match.'
I bit my lip, as my eyes squeezed shut.
"No..." Felix was wrong, he had to be.
Tanya hadn’t been unfaithful.
The woman I had loved, the woman whose child I thought I'd fathered.
I dropped the paper, my hands coming up to cover my face.
I let out a small yelp, my teeth sinking further into my bottom lip.
This couldn't be happening, it just couldn't.
I took a deep breath.
"Please, please, no..." I whispered pleadingly to no one.
Frantically, a finger and thumb found my arm, pinching the skin.
A dream, let it be a dream... a nightmare.
But I didn't wake up.
This was real; my worst nightmare had come to life.
I stumbled across the room and collapsed against the door.
Tears cascaded down my cheeks, and I curled into a ball on the floor.
Tanya, the woman I had loved with all of my heart, had betrayed me, and lied to me, for years.
Kate, the child that I loved, that I would lay down my life for without a second thought, was not even mine.
I wished more than anything that none of this had ever happened, that I could just go back to before the crash, before the doubt, before Felix.
But that was impossible now.
I was completely and utterly alone in the world.
Not only had I lost Tanya, but now I would lose Kate too.
I hit my head against the door repeatedly, with increasing force.
"No..." I groaned, as my entire body racked with violent sobs. "No, no..."
I couldn't help myself.
I screamed, breathing heavily as teardrop after teardrop rolled down my face and soaked into the carpet.
Tanya lied... she lied to me... so much pain... Kate wasn’t my child…
The thoughts raced through my head, twisting the remains of my shattered heart.
Somewhere, through the shouts of self-depression in my head, I heard the door opening.
I was moaning loudly now, my fingers pulling through my hair roughly. I barely registered the loud thumps of footsteps moving closer.
"Edward!" Emmett called out desperately.
I silently pleaded in my head, that he’d just go away.
I had nothing left.
My world was completely empty.
My sobbing became louder as I felt myself grow more and more panicked.
"Edward, we’ll get her back," Emmett mumbled as he crouched down next to me.
"Please," he pleaded. "It’s going to be alright," he soothed.
I shook my head, a new wave of sadness washing over me.
Nothing was alright, and nothing would ever be alright again.
Each breath I tried to force into my lungs became more and more painful. It felt like every inhale put more and more pressure on the ragged edges around my broken heart.
"It's not alright," I managed to force out, between gasping breaths.
"Nothing is alright. Never again... ever..." I trailed off.
"Daddy? Where are you, Daddy?" Kate’s frantic cries floated in from the hallway.
My heart clenched at the sound of her voice.
I scrambled to my feet and stumbled my way through the door.
I reached it just in time to see Felix carrying my screaming daughter around the corner.
"NO!" I shouted trying to run after them.
Emmett reached out holding me back. "Ed, please, you have to let her go. We have to go through the judge, through court," he pleaded.
"Katie..." I murmured, trying to answer her. I wasn’t loud enough, the words just a horse whisper.
"Forcibly separating happy, well-cared for children from loving, responsible parents creates a tragedy which will last for the rest of the lives of all those involved. Biological or not, you will always be Kate’s father, Edward," Bella murmured softly as I held the phone to my ear.
"Thank you," I choked out. "Okay, Bella, I’ll see you there this afternoon," I mumbled quietly ending the phone call.
It had been a long eight months since that day in my lawyer’s office.
I had been fighting as hard as I could and doing everything in my power to get Kate back.
My brother Emmett, his wife Rose, and my parents had been invaluable to me every step of the way.
Finally, the day had arrived.
I was going to court to fight against Felix for custody of Kate.
I hadn’t even known that he existed until after Tanya died in the car accident about two years ago.
Felix had showed up, what seemed like out of the blue, demanding that, even though Kate shared my last name, she was in fact his daughter.
He claimed that Tanya had told him all along, since Kate was born, that she was really his.
Tanya needed to be married to me and have me claim Kate as my own in order to have access to my bank account.
She had basically been living a double life. She would see Felix and take my money to support him.
When she died, Felix decided that since he wasn’t going to be getting any more money that he would take the one thing that would hurt the most.
He never really wanted to be Kate’s father, he just saw it as a way to get back at me for all the years I spent married to Tanya.
Felix hated me for having what he always wanted.
I had the family and the life he dreamed of.
I wasn’t going to let him take Kate from me.
I sat in the courtroom, in my cold wooden seat feeling unusually nervous.
I knew there was a chance I might not have done enough to secure custody.
My lawyer, Jason Jenks, had left the material he would be using out on the table in front of us.
Jenks had testimony from Isabella Swan, Katie’s caseworker, from my family, and from Irina Davenport, who would be a character witness against Felix.
Jenks even had a report from Katie’s pediatrician, about her lack of health care that he would read to the court.
Still, there was the lingering feeling of doubt in the back of my mind.
From what Bella had told me, I knew that proving the worth of the intended guardian did little unless the prosecution could also prove the unworthiness of the biological father.
I knew that Felix was not a good parent to Kate, but we had very little to prove that in court.
"So, you're ready for this?" Jenks asked quietly.
All I could do was nod.
The court room wasn't terribly packed.
Some friends and family of mine sat in the pews, and a few of Jenks's other team members lurked in the back.
I saw my parents, Emmett, Rose and even Ms. Swan sitting just a few rows behind us. I was too on edge to actually turn around and try to speak with them though.
Most of the other side of the court was taken up by Felix's extensive defense team, while I sat here with only Jenks by my side.
Once the trial finally started, the case seemed to drag on and on.
I was first called to the witness stand to testify, and I told my intentions to the court.
Irina Davenport followed after me.
She told the court all about Felix's poor character and lack of work record. She even stated that she had been in an abusive relationship with Felix before he had gotten involved with Tanya.
The prosecution then called Isabella Swan to the stand, and she paid witness to Kate's declining emotional and academic health and the poor living conditions at Felix’s residence.
The defense was poised and ready to attack every witness that came to the stand.
They particularly attacked Bella, saying that children go through turmoil all the time after the death of a parent and that her slight decline in well-being couldn’t be contributed to her stay with Felix.
They tried to prove him to be a good financial provider, disputing the prosecution's claims that he was an incompetent parent.
The judge, an aging man with salt and pepper hair and a stern face, listened carefully.
It was a custody case, meaning it was a civil-matter and therefore the "verdict" was decided by the judge.
After nearly three hours, the case started to wind down.
Final arguments were given.
Everyone in the room was waiting on the edge of their seat.
I was tapping my foot nervously against the floor.
Felix was, as usual, remaining calm as he had been through all the previous proceedings.
Judge Banner sifted through some documents, obviously sorting out the thoughts in his head.
Finally he put the papers down and addressed the court. "I find no reason why the child should be removed from her present guardianship. The prosecution has not given enough proof of incompetence on Mr. Volturi’s part. Therefore, I rule that-"
I felt my stomach sink.
The ruling was never spoken, for at that moment, the doors to the courtroom were thrown open and a man in a sharp black suit followed by two city cops entered.
Every head in the court turned.
Judge Banner quieted the instantly talkative court, addressing the suited man. "Sir, this court is in session. What business do you have interrupting it?"
The man spoke in a commanding tone, "Your Honor, I have legal business that pertains to the matters of this court." He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. "I have an arrest warrant for Mr. Felix Volturi."
My jaw dropped open.
Felix’s usual calm façade morphed into a look of utter surprise, then it quickly changed into a livid expression. He stood abruptly, knocking the chair backward in his haste. "On what charge?" he demanded.
"Two counts of felony tax evasion on the grounds of fraud."
Felix looked like a fish out of water. "This is crazy!" he exclaimed.
Judge Banner was now reading the warrant that the black suit man had provided. He addressed Felix. "This warrant is legitimate. If you do not go with these police officers now, they will charge you with resisting arrest."
Felix didn't know what to say.
He could do nothing but allow an officer to place handcuffs on him and lead him out of the court room.
The room was unsettled now.
Judge Banner banged his gavel to quiet the room. "Sir," he indicated the man who had come with the arrest warrant. "What's your name and how did you come to be involved in Mr. Volturi’s arrest?"
The man stepped forward. "Marcus Aro, your Honor. I work for the IRS. We have been pursuing Mr. Volturi for some time now. There is irrefutable evidence of his guilt, your Honor."
The judge looked impatient.
"His guilt isn’t for this court to decide. We’re here pending the custody matter of Kathryn Cullen."
Jenks saw his chance.
"Your Honor, if I may," he said standing up.
The judge nodded.
"Mr. Volturi, whether guilty of these crimes or not, has found himself in a trying legal position. While he is in jail and going through legal proceedings, the minor child will have to be placed in state custody. I propose it’s best if Kathryn Cullen spends the remainder of her youth under Mr. Cullen’s familiar guardianship."
Judge Banner appeared to mull this over.
Finally, he called the representatives from the prosecution and the defense to the bench.
The lawyers and the judge talked for a few minutes before the lawyers returned to their respective benches.
"Because Mr. Volturi has found himself in a position that impedes his ability as a parent, and because the good character of Mr. Cullen is recognized by this court, I find it suitable that full custody of Kathryn Cullen, should be immediately and indefinitely turned over to Mr. Cullen. Court dismissed," Judge Banner spoke with finality to the court, banging his gavel.
I let out a relieved breath.
I had Katie back and she wouldn’t be taken from me ever again.
"How are you doing?" Bella asked carefully coming up to stand beside me.
"I can't believe that Felix just got arrested," I blurted.
Bella nodded, "I know, that was really close. I thought for sure he was going to rule against you. Would you like to go get your daughter now?"
"Yes," I whispered hoarsely as a tear fell from my eye.
Once we made it through the door, I immediately scooped her up.
"Katie," I choked out.
"Daddy," she cried, her arms clinging to my neck.
Things settled over the next few weeks.
Katie lightened up again, becoming better with each day.
A few weeks ago, I never thought it possible but, it was happening.
She liked going back to school, eventually becoming friends with a little girl named Gracie.
It was always "Gracie did this…" or "Gracie said that…" Katie talked about Gracie nonstop and I was glad that Kate found a new friend.
Gracie and Katie spent a lot of their free time together.
Whenever they could, they were playing with their dolls and other masses of toys.
Turned out they were equally spoiled.
Katie and Gracie even decided to start the same hobby, ballet.
It was their first lesson and I cursed under my breath as Katie and I nearly ran late because of the heavy afternoon traffic.
We made it in time though and we entered the studio where a lot of other children and parents were already waiting for Ms. Brandon, the teacher.
I was surprised to see Bella there.
Of course, I knew that Gracie was going to attend classes too, but I didn't expect Bella to come. In fact, I was extremely surprised to see Gracie standing with her.
Before I even had the chance to process the fact that Bella had a daughter Katie’s age, Katie immediately ran over to Gracie to hug her.
To surprised to form words, I acknowledged Bella with a small nod.
"Good afternoon," Ms. Brandon trilled saying a few things on how the weekly lessons were planned out and after a little tour of the studio, the parents were sent outside.
We were standing on the street in front of the building and just as I panicked and turned to walk in the direction of my car, a hand landed on my arm.
"Hey," Bella said softy when I turned back.
"Uh, hi," I mumbled, still surprised.
There was a moment of silence.
I didn’t know Bella that well; apart from our limited interactions on the phone and the time in court, we never really talked.
I’d also seen her briefly when she came to inspect my house in relationship to Katie’s custody case, but we never exchanged more than a few sentences outside of talking directly about Katie.
"I… uh," I mumbled nervously, pointing to the other side of the street, "I thought about having a coffee at Starbucks. Wanna join me?"
Bella smiled broadly, such an honest smile as if what I just said wasn't awkward at all.
I thought back to not knowing Bella, not knowing what I should talk about with her.
I didn’t know if she was still on Katie’s case, or if Katie even had a case anymore.
I was becoming skeptical.
I was trying to plot a valid excuse to change my mind.
Before I could even say anything, Bella towed me across the street with such enthusiasm that all of my protests were immediately refuted.
"What would you like?" Bella asked softly as we entered.
Still feeling weird I stuttered out a quick, "Whatever you’re having is fine."
Bella smiled, nodding before turning to the woman behind the counter.
"Two plain cappuccinos, please, with two shots of espresso," she told the barista.
I reached into my wallet before she could protest and paid for the drinks.
"Thanks," she said, smiling gratefully.
Still feeling awkward I searched for a spot to sit down.
I didn’t have to wait long until Bella came over to the table with two mugs, setting them both down.
"Thanks," I said quietly, and then I didn’t know what else to say.
Bella simply kept smiling at me; she seemed to smile a lot.
Obviously she was totally oblivious to the tension that threatened to spread.
Usually, I wasn’t a shy person.
I always found a topic to talk about.
I didn’t know what it was about Bella.
"So, just how excited was Katie about ballet? Did she get any sleep at all last night?" Bella asked, again totally unaware of any weirdness between us.
I snorted and shook my head, thinking about how hyper Katie was.
When I finally managed to glance at Bella, she was practically beaming back at me.
I figured talking about the girls was something safe that I could manage.
The last thing I wanted to talk about was the custody case or Bella’s job.
"Not really," I admitted. "She couldn’t think about anything else for the last few days."
Bella nodded taking a sip from her coffee. "Same here, ballet was all Gracie had on her mind."
I smiled at that.
There was something so gentle and loving in her eyes when she talked about her daughter.
After another long and awkward pause, I finally decided to bring up the subject I had been dreading discussing.
"I didn’t expect you to be here," I confessed as I nervously stirred my coffee. "I mean, I never expected to see you again after Katie’s case was over and I guess I was just caught off guard. I’m sorry I’m being so weird."
I hoped I didn’t sound accusing, because really I didn’t mean it that way.
Bella sat silent so I continued.
"I mean I am pleasantly surprised to see you this way, and um, I think it’s great the Katie and Gracie have become close. I, uh, never even realized you had a daughter," I rambled on.
"Yeah, I was surprised too," Bella said softly.
"I never thought I’d see you again either. But um, I’m glad I did in this type of situation and don’t worry the case is done. It’s closed and if it’s okay with you, I’d really just like to get to know you. I mean with Katie and Gracie being friends, we’re bound to see each other," she explained simply.
Thankfully she was still smiling, and didn’t look as if she was offended.
"That would be nice," I agreed smiling back at her. "I’d like to get to know you better too."
"I took the day off to be here, actually. I had a heavy discussion with my boss because he said I just couldn't miss a day during the week, but I suppose I complained enough times to him and eventually he gave in."
I laughed and felt the awkward tension that had surrounded us finally lift.
I looked up briefly only meeting Bella’s eyes for a moment and then looked back to the table, drawing an invisible pattern onto it.
I chanced another look at Bella, and saw that she was glancing back at me quickly from under her lashes.
"I might lose my job over it, but it’s important to Gracie," Bella continued. "And that's why it's important to me, too. I didn't want to miss this moment in her life, not when it means so much to her. You know?"
I nodded in understanding. I felt the same, after being apart from Katie for so long I didn’t want to miss anything else.
"So, you said there was complaining involved?" I grinned, trying to lighten the sudden serious mood.
"Whining, actually," Bella laughed softly. Her smile reached her eyes again, so much so that they seemed to sparkle.
All of a sudden, Bella became serious.
"No, really, my boss wasn't happy about it. We're chronically understaffed and getting some time off is always a bit of a struggle. That's the only thing I hate about being a social worker. Never having as much time for Gracie as I want to," she said regretfully.
I took another quick drink from my coffee and looked at Bella again.
Really looking at her for the first time, I couldn’t help notice just how beautiful she was.
Not that she wasn’t always beautiful before.
I had just been too preoccupied to notice.
There was still a serious expression on her face, almost as if she was a little sad.
I wanted more than anything in that moment to know what she was thinking.
What she was sad about.
"Did you ever think about quitting?" I asked, honestly curious.
She smiled weakly as if she expected the question or as if it was one she had to answer frequently.
She nodded and then ever so quietly she said, "Yeah, more than once. Believe me, this is my great inner conflict."
She paused, sipping her coffee and then fidgeted a little in her seat.
She didn't look uncomfortable but rather as if she was searching for a good way to express her thoughts.
"Of course, on the one hand I love what I do and I want to help people, but on the other hand, I want to be there for my daughter. I actually want to see her grow up and not have others tell me about it. I want to witness it myself as she grows both physically and as a person."
The smile on her face was back as she talked about Gracie and how she wanted to always be there.
I could relate because it was the same with Katie and me.
Sometimes it was nice to let my parents, or even Emmett, and Rose, look after Katie every once in a while, but I wanted to spend as much time with my daughter as possible.
She took another deep breath before clearing her throat.
It was as if what she was about to say was going to be particularly hard.
"See, when my husband passed, the paramedics arrived too late at the scene," she trailed off, gazing out the window for a moment that seemed like eternity to me.
I was intrigued about her background story but I didn’t think it was my right to ask about it.
There was something about Bella I found interesting.
I found myself wanting to know more, every little bit she shared I absorbed eagerly.
Always wanting more.
"You know, maybe, if they had been there sooner, Jacob would be still alive today."
She took another moment before she went on.
I could feel a lump in my own throat; even without meeting her eyes I could tell she was fighting back unshed tears.
As the minutes passed, I continued to watch her.
I might have been betrayed by my wife, but I was in love with her and didn’t know about what she had done when she died.
When Bella turned, there was a look of determination on her face.
"I want to spare other people from having to go through losing someone they love like Gracie and I did. I don't want parents to lose their children, or children to lose their parents. I want to save people, to help them."
There was passion in her voice when she said this, giving me the impression she lived for what she did.
I decided to remain quiet for now because I thought there was more Bella wanted to say.
Bella smiled at me briefly, suddenly a little sad and shy.
"But then there's Gracie, my own daughter and she's my everything. Sometimes, I feel like such an ass because I don't spend as much time with her as she deserves," she said regretfully.
As she spoke, she almost seemed guilty.
Bella’s gaze landed on the table once more as if she didn't want to see me judge her.
But I was not judging her at all; I understood exactly how she felt.
"So far, things are working out. I mean, once I get home from working, it's our time. Gracie and Mommy time," she beamed.
"I guess I got used to the fact that the only time that I have to myself these days is when Gracie's asleep. But I don't mind. I love both my daughter and my job and as long as I can have both, I'm not quitting my job," she continued.
"I understand completely," I said softly thinking about my Katie.
"I feel like that about my job sometimes too. I, uh, I’m a paramedic," I explained carefully.
The continued passion with which Bella spoke about her job and family was admirable, and many of her thoughts seemed to reflect my own.
I finished my cup of coffee and as I set my mug down, I saw Bella watching me closely.
"So, what's it like working as a paramedic? I'm sure there's more to it than long hours, a lot of stress and pressure," she asked curiously.
Of course, she had a vague idea of what it meant to work as a paramedic, but she was not really looking for information she could simply search on the internet.
No, she was looking for first-hand experience, my motivation to keep my job and not a standard job description.
I gave a quick laugh and told her, "Oh, definitely. As I said, the hours are shit and it's not easy, but it's also a very rewarding job. I can help people, too. People who urgently need help. It's a very exciting job. Every day is different, you know. I get to meet new people each day. I guess I'm not the type to sit in an office. I need to be outside; I need to be moving and always active."
I fidgeted a little excitedly as if my subconscious was trying to reinforce the statement about always being active.
"People are usually very grateful when you help them and it's just very rewarding if they thank you," I continued.
"A few weeks back, we were called to a car crash with three cars involved. It was pretty nasty, but because of the emergency teams' quick interventions, everyone survived. It simply feels great to know that someone out there is still alive because you did the right thing."
"So," Bella started hesitantly. "How do you cope with death?" she asked quietly.
"I mean with you being a paramedic… because of course, you can't save everyone. You can try, but sometimes it's inevitable that you see someone die," she rambled quickly when I didn’t say anything right away.
I took a moment to answer, my face became serious, "Yeah, of course this is an issue. Sometimes people are meant to die and there's nothing you can do about that. You can try real hard, but you won't always succeed."
I rubbed my chin, thinking about how to continue, "I guess this is why I try to balance it out with my family."
"Katie's so full of energy and it's just good to see that there's life right in front of me. She's like a little whirlwind and she takes my mind off things."
There was a moment of silence and Bella simply smiled.
I decided to break the silence, "You want another?" I asked pointing to Bella's empty mug.
She laughed and then said mischievously, "Well, I'm not going to die of heartburn."
I snorted again, and with a wink I added, "Nope, you won’t, I think you should be safe. Besides, you're with a paramedic. It hardly gets better than that."
"All right then, it’s settled," she giggled.
After a short while I returned to our table with two fresh coffees.
We sipped our drinks in silence for a moment, before the conversation shifted back to the girls and the latest happenings at school.
There was a play coming up and both girls had managed to get roles in it. Katie would play a butterfly, just like Gracie.
When we talked about the play, I was once more surprised by Bella, as she admitted that she knew all of Gracie's lines because she took the time to help her study them.
Bella grinned broadly and then she gave me a short sample, including mimics and gestures of what I believed was supposed to come across as a butterfly.
By the time she was done, I was laughing and close to tears at her dorky interpretation.
The people around us looked at us funny, but I couldn’t stop laughing.
Bella continued to make silly faces at me and flailing her arms certainly didn’t help either.
"Stop it," I half gasped, half hissed. My stomach really hurt.
Bella just stared back at me as if she was totally innocent.
"What?" she shrugged laughing.
All of the sudden her expression became serious and I worried I upset her.
Before I could sink too far into panic, Bella laughed and pointed to the clock on the wall.
"Shit, we totally forgot the time."
Looking around, I saw that we were already about twenty minutes late to pick up the girls.
"Fuck," I said, trying not to laugh. "We better hurry our asses up. I know for sure that Katie won’t be happy."
Bella mumbled something about Gracie just being like that and together we rushed out of Starbucks, across the street and into the studio.
When we reached the hall where we left our daughters, we were greeted by the sight of two pouting girls, thankfully there was no crying.
As we approached them, I nudged Bella with my shoulder and gave her a knowing smile.
The girls both whined a little about how they had to wait.
But soon we asked about the lesson and they started babbling happily how they loved ballet and how they wanted to keep doing it forever.
They wanted to become real ballerinas.
Once we were outside again, ready to part, Bella and I just looked at each other.
I smiled, running a hand through my hair.
"Bella, I had a lot of fun today, what do you think about making this kind of a regular meeting?" I suggested.
Almost immediately, a grin spread across her face.
"Sure," she agreed. "Next week, same place, same time."
"Sounds like a plan," I confirmed winking as we said our goodbyes.
Katie and I made it to the car and I felt myself grinning like a teenager the whole ride home.
"Did you have fun today baby girl?" I asked watching her in the rearview mirror.
"So much, Daddy," she answered happily.
After that, the weekly lesson and coffee date turned into something of a routine for our two families.
Ballet was each Wednesday afternoon and while the girls attended their classes, Bella and I met at the Starbucks across the street.
Since the girls started ballet, Bella had not missed one date.
I was impressed because with the trouble she had getting to the first dance class, I wasn’t sure she’d be able to join me each week.
During our conversations we got to know each other much better, talking about everything from our jobs, to our families and the girls.
Bella said Gracie loved ballet and that her initial excitement didn’t pass like it sometimes does after children started a new hobby.
She said she managed to change her work schedule because she wouldn't be able to stand her disappointment if Gracie missed a lesson or if she couldn't come with her.
After a while, our meetings were no longer limited to the waiting time each Wednesday.
another thing that changed.
I got used to Bella being at my place.
I remembered the first time I invited Bella to stay when she brought Gracie for a play date.
I still didn’t know what hit me back then.
Just as Bella started to say goodbye to Gracie and promised to pick her up around six, I just suggested that she could at least stay for coffee.
I figured it was safe considering our weekly dates.
Maybe it was my need to be around another adult I felt so comfortable with.
Maybe I just wanted to have another laugh at her quirky butterfly impression.
But there was something about Bella that just captivated me.
One coffee turned into several and once again we managed to lose all track of time.
Between Wednesday’s and all the other occasions, I found myself growing more and more attracted to Bella.
I had always thought she was beautiful, once I took the time to notice.
And now it had gone beyond like, to lust.
Maybe even something more than friendship grew between us.
It was nice to talk to someone who was in a similar situation, being a single parent with a little princess as a daughter.
No matter how much I loved my parents or Emmett and how much I appreciated them, there were simply some things I couldn’t talk about with them.
It was a Thursday evening, around dinnertime when my cell rang.
I put down the spatula and turned off the stove, because there was nothing worse than burnt macaroni and cheese.
I smiled when I saw the caller ID, but the smile froze as I heard Bella’s panicked voice on the other end of the line.
"Oh, Edward," Bella gasped. "What am I gonna do? … How could she be so stupid?" she ranted.
"Bella, calm down. What’s wrong?" I asked quickly.
She was breathing heavily on the other end of the line and the unease in my stomach grew.
"It’s Gracie, my babysitter just cancelled and I have to be to work in thirty minutes. I was called in, and Fuck… my dad’s not answering the phone. I don’t know what to do, I can't leave Gracie alone, but I can't take her to work either. What do I do?"
There was so much panic in Bella's voice and somehow the image of her flailing around in her kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off came to mind.
I couldn’t help it and burst out laughing, despite the fact that the situation was very serious to Bella.
The poor woman sounded so stressed out.
But when she told me that the only problem was that she didn’t have a babysitter and not something worse like she had made it sound, I just couldn’t hold myself back.
"Just relax Bella," I laughed into the phone, which earned me a huff from Bella.
"Why don’t you just bring Gracie over here, and I can look after her."
When she didn’t answer immediately, I started to worry I might have been too forward. Finally I heard her breathing slow, which was a good sign.
"Are you sure," she asked tentatively.
"It’s no problem at all," I confirmed.
"I mean, she could even stay for a sleepover if you don't mind. Katie loves having Gracie around and I don't have anything planned for the evening."
I could almost hear her grin through the phone, "Oh, thank God. You're a life saver."
My laugh was carefree as I heard the relief in her voice.
"I gotta run, but I will see you in a few with Gracie, thank you, Edward," she said quickly before ending the call.
After Bella hung up, I found myself still smiling at the phone in my hand.
For a moment I wondered when exactly Bella and I became so close that I would just offer to watch Gracie for the night without so much as a second thought.
I pushed the thought from my mind as I called out for Katie to tell her that Gracie was staying the night with us.
Soon, just like the coffee and play dates became a routine for us, the sleepovers did too.
When I was on call at night, Katie stayed with Bella and Gracie.
When Bella got called into work, Gracie came over and stayed with me and Katie.
One weekend, Bella invited us to come out roller skating with her and Gracie.
While Bella and I made fools out of ourselves, the ballet lessons seemed to be paying off for the girls, because they were much more graceful on skates.
Even though I was sure I looked a bit ridiculous, towering over the mass of children as they circled around the area, next to us it felt good having Bella cling to my side.
Since Bella and I were both wobbly on our feet we tried to stay close to the side, avoiding skating out into the arena.
That plan only worked for so long though, because soon Bella was dragging me to the middle of the rink.
Every time I fell though, I managed to drag Bella down with me and vice versa.
While the girls were having a blast, I was just enjoying the time I spent holding onto Bella.
For the first time in a long time, I actually felt completely content.
Almost like the four of us were our own little family.
Before I could get too panicked by the direction of my thoughts, I decided to just enjoy the moment and the company.
It was another one of those babysitting days.
Bella was called into work again for an emergency, and Gracie was here at the house.
It was Friday and already the second night this week the two families had spent together.
I didn’t mind having both girls here at all though.
In fact, I was more than comfortable watching them both.
I cooked spaghetti and after watching a movie with the girls, I put Katie and Gracie to bed.
Finally, sometime after ten Bella turned up at the door.
After opening it I noticed just how tired and exhausted she looked.
Standing there she looked like she would fall asleep at any moment.
"Bella," I said softly. "Come inside, you look dead tired."
"I brought beer," she smiled tiredly, holding up a six-pack and I laughed.
"Sorry for being late," she called from the living room as I put the beer into the fridge and grabbed us each a cold one.
"No problem," I said quietly, handing her a bottle.
I watched her run a hand over her face.
She yawned loudly and as soon as she realized I was watching, she snorted and quickly covered her mouth with her hand.
As we sat there nursing our beers in the quiet of the room, I found myself watching her.
"I was called in to an emergency, someone had left an infant alone in a locked car in the parking lot of a bar," she explained quietly, "I should have called."
I could see the lingering pain on her face and without thinking about it, I placed a hand on her thigh and squeeze lightly.
"Don’t worry about it, that must have been hard," I murmured quietly, rubbing her thigh with my thumb.
Bella nodded through her yawns. "It was," she confirmed.
While I got us more beer, Bella went upstairs to check up on the girls.
As soon as we sat down in the living room again, I prompted her to tell me more about her day.
Over the weeks, I found myself interested in everything about her, and I really liked listening to her talk.
Next, she asked about the girls and how the night went.
I found myself unable to focus as my eyes travelled the creamy expanse of skin exposed at her neck.
Snapping myself out of my thoughts I told her all about how the night went.
I continued talking about how the girls did their homework, what I made for dinner, what movie they watched, and even how they went to bed without a fuss.
A gentle smile spread across Bella's face as soon as I started talking about the girls and I felt myself smile in response.
Bella beamed proudly when I assured her that Gracie was very well behaved, and I once again reminded her I didn’t mind having her here at all.
I was surprised when Bella suddenly stood up, and said she would get Gracie and take her home for the night.
We hadn’t exactly planned for them to sleepover tonight, but the thought of Bella being so tired and trying to drive home this late unsettled me.
Since it was past normal bedtime and the girls were sleeping anyway, I had figured Gracie would just stay with us.
Of course, that meant Bella would have to either stay or drive home alone. Something I hadn’t thought about until now.
Before I realized what I was doing I grabbed ahold of Bella’s arm, shaking my head.
"Please," I said quietly, almost pleading. "Don’t drive home this late, especially when we’ve been drinking."
Bella must have seen something in my expression that told her not to argue with me, because she relaxed and let me pull her back down to the sofa.
We fell into a comfortable silence, there was a re-run of a cheesy comedy on TV that we both liked a lot, so the decision on what to watch was made quickly.
By the time the film finished, we had even more beer and were both already a little tipsy.
I didn't drink anything all week and I certainly shouldn't have had the last one or even the one before that.
"Jake hated these movies," Bella said out of the blue.
I was totally perplexed; all I could do was snort.
Of course, I knew about him and what happened, but Bella never really brought him up and I never asked.
One thing I definitely could say was that I didn't think he'd turn up like this.
When I looked to the side and watched her out of the corner of my eye, I saw that her cheeks were pink from the booze. She bit her lip and I simply continued watching, not trusting my voice.
What could I say anyway?
The silence between us threatened to become awkward just as Bella went on all by herself.
I didn’t know what I expected her to say, but what she said shocked me.
"Sometimes, I feel like a fool," Bella confessed. "I mean sometimes I think that Gracie deserves a Daddy and… I’m just too stupid to find her one. That no one will want me now."
Truly taken aback by her words I was silent for a moment, not exactly sure what to say.
I didn’t know if I should say exactly what it was I was thinking in that moment.
I gently wrapped my arm around her, pulling her close to my side.
She lowered her gaze as she removed imaginary dirt from underneath her fingernails.
I thought for a few moments.
I had become close friends with Bella, but I didn't know whether I might be pushing things too far.
I still wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about our new found friendship, or how I felt about her for that matter.
Finally I decided I should just go for it all.
"Bella," I murmured softly.
She couldn’t really believe that, she had to know how amazing she was.
"You’re not stupid, not even close. You’re beautiful, smart, and talented. You’re the most passionate, loving, caring woman I have ever met. You’re an amazing mother to Gracie and truly, any man would be lucky to have you," I said sincerely. "But you don't even try. I mean, you still think you would be cheating on Jacob."
Bella stared back at me, her expression something between shocked and confused.
She was making that face you make when you knew exactly what the other person had just said, but your mind hadn’t quite caught up with the rest of you yet.
A few more moments of silence passed and then she whispered, "I guess."
"What keeps you from trying? I hate to say it but you being celibate won't bring him back." Maybe I should have felt bad for being so blunt about it, but the alcohol took its toll on me, and I didn't really manage sugarcoating anymore.
I knew our situations were different, that what she had with Jacob was so much different than what I had with Tanya, but I wanted to know why she hadn’t even tried to date anyone.
I knew I had tried to date.
Ever since Bella told me a few weeks ago about how she hadn't been with anyone since Jake passed, I wondered about that.
I never dared to ask her about it, but since we were doing the relationship talk now anyway and both Bella and I had enough to drink to make our heads light, I went for it. "Don't you have needs?"
"Needs?" she asked, confused.
It was cute.
"Yeah, like… adult needs," I said, licking my lips. "I’m not talking about finding a man to marry immediately, but maybe just having a steady partner, or even just sex."
Immediately, she blushed.
If her cheeks had been pink before, her whole face and throat were bright crimson now.
Her eyes sprung wide open for a split second and then she quickly avoided my gaze, looking down to her fingernails again and squirming in her seat a little.
"Uh, I… I feel really stupid but- but I guess I'm, well, I'm just not very experienced," she confessed, keeping her voice low. "I was never one of those girls who dated a lot in High School and- and then I met Jake and he was all I wanted, all I needed."
She paused again and I had a pretty clear idea of what she was going to say next.
The thought did funny things to my stomach and if she was going to say what I thought, then it simply confirmed the picture I had of her in my mind.
"So, Jake was the- the only person I have ever had sex with. And now I- I guess I don't even know how to do this anymore. It's been five years. I- I guess I'm a bit scared."
She looked extremely embarrassed.
She was still blushing badly and avoiding my eyes.
I didn't immediately answer because even though this is what I thought, I didn't know what to say.
She was probably the exact opposite of me and our sexualities couldn't be any more different.
But, the thing was that even though I couldn't relate—couldn't relate at all why someone would not want to have a little fun every once in a while—I believed that I somehow could understand. And respect her.
"Bella, making out and having sex are not things you forget over the years. Even if it’s been a while, you’ll remember," I assured with a smile.
"Once you get to the point, you'll find your mojo immediately. Sex is something to be excited about, not scared of. You'll be a lot more relaxed if you get laid once in a while."
She didn’t say anything for a while, obviously still very embarrassed.
So I placed a hand on her thigh again and squeezing it softly.
Eventually, she looked at me from underneath her lashes and smiled shyly.
"What about you?" she asked, changing the subject without going into my earlier statement. "I know about what Tanya did, so have you been with anybody else since then?"
I was silent, weighing up what to tell her.
I usually wouldn't mention Tanya to Bella, but I was a little tipsy and so was she.
I didn’t even realize when she got us each a fresh beer from the fridge and only when she set it down in front of me and asked again, "So?" I decided to share a little with her.
"I guess… after she died, and I found out about the cheating, I never really took an interest in dating," I admitted hesitantly.
I hoped that would be answer enough, but I should have known better.
She studied me for a few moments, no longer blushing now that the focus of the conversation had shifted away from her and her sexual inexperience. Then she asked, "But why? I mean, not all women are like her."
I sighed and even though I didn't really like to talk about Tanya and our relationship, my mouth worked faster than my brain. The alcohol definitely had a share in that. For once, I ignored that I had issues.
"Tanya left me from one day to the other, Katie too," I confessed. My voice sounded small even to my own ears.
"I should have seen the signs. I thought we were happy. I mean, I knew that we had a few problems but doesn't every couple have rough moments?"
She didn't say anything and I didn't turn over to look at her.
I knew that there must have been pain showing in my eyes.
There was always pain when I thought about Tanya, even after all these years.
She squeezed my thigh and it was such a simple gesture, yet I took some strange kind of comfort in it.
"When we had Katie, our lives were turned upside down," I explained.
"Even though we tried to follow the pregnancy as much as possible to be prepared for Katie’s arrival, I suppose it was still too much of a change for her. I don’t think Tanya really wanted to even have the baby."
Finally, I had the courage again to look at her.
I found her watching me with glassy, but still attentive eyes. "Yeah, I can relate," she said. "Nothing was like it was before anymore once we had Gracie."
There it was again, that loving smile that was always on her face whenever she talked about her daughter, her everything.
"You know, Katie needed a lot of attention in the early months. She was a premature birth and at first we weren't even sure whether she'd make it. We spent a lot of time at the hospital and then at the doctors'. She was strong, she fought and you know, she's fine now, but back then, Tanya and I totally forgot that there was also an ‘us’," I admitted. "I was so caught up in my daughter, I forgot to try and exist as a part of a couple. Our relationship was never easy. I had to work for it."
I waited to see if she wanted to say anything, when she only nodded I continued, "Katie was about six months old when she packed her bags and left the first time. She came home from work one evening and just packed and walked out the door on us."
"I'm sorry," Bella said quietly, giving my thigh another squeeze.
I hadn't even realized that her hand had been on my leg this whole time.
Not that I minded.
As we developed this close friendship, one of the things that changed was that she was in my personal space quite often.
Moving my attention back to Bella, I wondered what was so different about her.
I felt so comfortable to openly talk about my failed relationship with Tanya.
Usually, I wasn’t such an open book when it came to this and the only person I ever spoke to about it was Emmett.
Of course, the alcohol was partly to blame but there was definitely something about Bella.
Maybe the confession I just made was something I would regret in the morning because talking about Tanya made me feel vulnerable, but now that it was out, I felt incredibly light and relieved.
"It's okay," I sighed before I reached for the fresh beer and took a few pulls. "After everything that happened, we learned how to cope, and we’re fine now. We have each other, and when I had needs, I took care of them."
There was a flicker of something on Bella's face; it was only there for a split second and I wondered whether my foggy mind played a trick on me.
If I didn't know better, I'd say it was jealousy.
However, that was pretty ridiculous because Bella doesn’t even try to date and she's vanilla, I remind myself.
I don’t mention that it’s been months since I had been able to even think about sleeping with another woman.
I could probably peg it to around the time that I started whatever this was with Bella.
It’s not like we were in a relationship though, so Bella wouldn't get jealous over random women I had slept with. Yet, there was a strange timbre in her voice when she asked, "You do?"
I don’t know what made me say it, but it was out before I could stop it, "Yeah, I don’t do relationships, but I have picked up women."
"You what?" she asked, looking a little tense and I didn't know how to interpret that.
"Yeah, when Tanya’s affair came out, I kind of felt cheated, like I had wasted years of my life being faithful to her for nothing," I confessed. "I mean, I just liked to have fun and when I had needs, I did something about them. Sex is fun and I never promised anyone anything."
Carefully, I watched Bella, looking for any signs of jealousy again or a confirmation that I just imagined it.
Instead, blood rushed to her face and she tensed slightly again.
Suddenly, she sounded shy as she asked, "Oh, so you still have a lot of sexual partners then?"
I assumed that the sex talk made her uncomfortable, but I didn't feel guilty in the least.
After all, I never forced her to ask the last question and if she didn't want to talk about the subject, she wouldn't have gone there.
"No, not a lot," … not any now, I paused. "I'm just more casual when it comes to sex, because it's something I enjoy. I'm all for safe sex if you wonder about STDs," I added with a wink.
She looked at me confused, then laughed, "I can't help it. I'm a mom through and through. I worry about health."
She was blushing slightly, but her posture was more relaxed now.
The atmosphere was clearly lighter and less uncomfortable than a few minutes ago.
Bella reached for her beer on the coffee table, taking a drink before she asked, acting all casual, "so it's just sex?"
My head was swimming from the booze, but if alcohol did one thing to me, it made me more open. "I wasn’t ready for a new relationship yet, so it was just sex."
There was a moment of comfortable silence, and we both took another drink.
Then Bella asked, "What about now, where do you pick up girls? I mean…" she trailed off and bit her lip.
It was almost endearing as the blood rushed to her cheeks again.
She clearly didn't talk about sex a whole lot.
So I just smiled, continuing as if it were no big deal and the most normal thing to talk about.
Well, for me it was no big deal.
"I don’t," I finally admitted. "I realized it was stupid, and I don't have one-night stands anymore."
I paused, not sure whether I should make the last confession.
But then, I had already given her such a deep insight into my soul already, the last bit won't hurt. "After the truth about Tanya came out… I needed a clean cut and wanted to erase her memory. So I went out a lot and got my dick pierced."
Oh God, did I just say that?
Bella's eyes shot wide open and when she looked at me, I saw her just staring, open-mouthed.
I cursed the fact that I drank too much and that I couldn't control my mouth.
When her expression shifted from terrified to intrigued—that was definitely an intrigued look—and finally to impish, she grinned at me.
"What? I mean, ouch!" she exclaimed, her eyes flicking quickly to my crotch.
Surprised by the action, I just shook my head and laughed, "Believe me, it feels really good during sex for me and I’m sure it does for the woman too."
She didn't question that any further as we finished our beers, broad smiles on our faces.
When Bella looked at her watch, we realized how quickly time flew and that it was already past one.
Fishing her car keys from her pocket, she got up, a bit too quickly, apparently having forgotten about agreeing earlier to sleep over.
I had to steady her from behind to prevent her from falling.
"Easy there," I laughed. Before she could even say anything, I went on, "You're not going anywhere tonight, remember? You're in no condition to drive and you're not waking Gracie up either."
"Edward…" she protested, but I didn't let her get any further.
"Bella, I mean it. You're crashing in the guest bedroom tonight. This is not up for discussion," I cut her off quickly.
She eventually gave in and I breathed a sigh of relief.
We stumbled our way up the stairs with our arms around each other.
I had to remind her to be quiet, and to not wake up the girls more than once.
I grabbed her one of my shirts and an extra toothbrush, sending her to the bathroom while I quickly set up the spare room.
She disappeared through the door with a grateful smile on her face, closing it after her. "Thanks."
"Don't mention it," I said with a last smile as I made my way to my bedroom.
Before I could stop myself, my mouth was on hers.
For a minute it was heaven.
Her taste, her smell, her warmth all surrounded me as my lips moved languidly with hers.
My tongue peaked out to taste the soft skin of her lips.
When I tilted my head to deepen the kiss she pulled back blushing a little.
"What’s wrong?" I whispered.
As I saw her cheeks pink further, I started to worry that I might have moved too fast.
"Uh, I- I feel really stupid but- but I guess I'm, well, I'm not very experienced," she stuttered quietly.
She must have seen disbelief on my face because she continued, keeping her voice low.
"I was never one who dated a lot in high school and then I met Jacob and he was all I wanted, all I needed," she admitted.
When she paused again, I had a feeling I already knew what she was going to say next.
"So, Jacob was the-, the only person I’ve ever had sex with. And now I-, I guess I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. I mean, it’s been five years and maybe I’m a little scared," she said quietly.
She looked extremely embarrassed at her admission and she was blushing wildly, avoiding my eyes.
I was probably the exact opposite of her.
While I didn’t go out and sleep with random women just for fun, I would never understand why someone like Bella would ever have a hard time finding someone to be with.
She didn’t even go out and have fun every once in a while.
I had been with Tanya for so long that after she died and I learned she had be unfaithful, I went out a few times and ended up having sex with women.
I was always careful and used protection, but I couldn’t see myself in a relationship with them.
I never wanted more and neither did they.
Bella was different though, with her, I saw everything.
I saw a future and I saw the mother that Katie never got to have.
"Bella," I said softly. "We don’t have to do this. We don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with."
"No," she cut me off. "That’s not what I meant, I want to, I mean, I want you. God, Edward. I want you so much," she confessed.
"Oh, Bella," I sighed.
"I want you too," I whispered feeling how honest the words truly were.
Just as Bella opened her mouth to speak again, I reached forward pulling her in for another kiss.
It was only teasing licks with just the tip of my tongue, leaving us both desperate for more.
When Bella took my bottom lip in between hers, sucking gently, I was lost.
And fuck, she was a good kisser.
When we finally broke apart, we were both grinning widely.
I licked my lips as I focused all my self-restraint to not just strip her down and fuck her immediately.
I wanted it to be slow and perfect.
She deserved the best.
I wanted her to know how much she meant to me; it had been awhile since a kiss stirred so many strong emotions in me, if ever.
I had never felt like this about Tanya, or any other woman I had ever been with.
Looking deep into her eyes, trying to show her without words just how I felt I bent forward to kiss her once more.
In a flash, she was responding, her lips moving eagerly from my lips as she trailed kisses down my jaw.
I groaned and moved my mouth to her neck, sucking at the skin while her hands started working my belt.
My fingers ghosted over her hip, tracing teasing circles under the hem of her shirt.
She shivered and slowly I began to unbutton her shirt and one by one, they came undone until I could push the fabric off her shoulders.
Watching me, she whimpered as I moved it the rest of the way down her arms and tossed it to the floor before reaching down and unbuttoning her pants.
She smiled, lifting her hips to help me remove them.
I slid her pants down her legs dragging my fingertips down her creamy thighs.
I lightly pushed her onto her back, following after so my body hovered over hers.
Covering her completely.
As I slipped my fingers under the hem of her blue cotton boy shorts I groaned at the sight of her bare glistening pussy.
She smiled at my staring. "Like what you see?" she purred.
I growled quietly against her neck, my dick hardening even further in my unbuttoned jeans.
I brought my mouth down to her chest placing hot wet kisses down the swell of her breast.
Slowly, teasingly, she reached behind her to unclasp her bra, then holding it to her breasts, used one hand to slowly pull the strap off first one shoulder, then the other.
Finally, she pulled it away tossing it to the floor with the rest of our discarded clothing.
Looking deep into her eyes as she laid bare before me I could feel so much emotion.
My body filled with more desire, and I was sure my eyes darkened further when she licked her lips.
In a low voice, I commanded, "Let me taste you baby."
I watched her swallow hard.
She watched me intently as I trailed kisses down her soft stomach, her body already trembling with excitement.
I gave her a lopsided grin.
When I reached her center I paused slowly running my tongue from just below her entrance to her clit.
She cried out softly at the contact, it quickly turned into a moan when I started pushing my tongue hard inside of her, twisting and turning it as I slid it in and out of her tight hole.
Moving my mouth up slowly, I brushed my tongue against her clit.
Her hips jerked up at the touch.
She whimpered, closing her eyes briefly.
My tongue started alternating between flicking her clit and circling it.
She nearly threw herself off the bed.
Her hands gripped the sheets tightly to hold herself in place as she cried out my name softly, over and over again.
I slipped my tongue out; lapping at her juices, tasting how sweet she was before moving it back up to circle her clit once more.
Taking her clit between my lips I sucked eagerly as her juices coated my chin.
Bringing my hand up, I slowly pushed two fingers inside her, curling them upward.
I started pumping my fingers inside her, slowly building up speed until I was pounding them into her, matching the pace with my tongue.
Her breath was coming in short gasps and she couldn't say a word.
She looked like she was barely able to hold herself together, so I scraped my teeth over her clit once before biting down gently.
I moved my other hand under her and traced circles around her rear entrance, but not going close enough to touch it.
She started to shake harder and tensed.
I could tell she was getting closer to the edge.
I kept tonguing her as I circled closer to her puckered hole.
When my finger was right on it, I pressed harder letting just the tip slide inside.
She pushed herself harder onto my fingers, her orgasm exploding and pulling her over the edge as she cried out my name.
I kept the pressure on her clit and lapped up the juices flowing out of her.
She was trembling and looked like she was going to collapse.
Looking into her beautiful chocolate eyes, I kissed my way back up her body. She smiled softly up at me, still trembling slightly.
"Turn over baby, get on your knees," I whispered huskily into her ear.
Slowly she turned over to her stomach, perching her ass up in the air for me.
I moved my hands up and down along her spine, using more and more pressure with each pass.
She moaned at my touch.
I leaned down to whisper in her ear, "Are you ready for me baby?"
I straightened my back and moved my hands up to her shoulders.
She shivered as I started kneading her soft skin.
I wanted to make sure she was relaxed, and okay with moving further.
I heard her sigh and could feel her getting more relaxed by the minute under the feel of my hands on her bare skin.
I ran my hands from her shoulders to her arms, slowly bringing them around and up by her head.
My hands made their way back down her arms, caressing her skin, down to her breasts and lightly brushed over the sides on their way down to her back.
I began to knead again, moving lower and lower until I reached her lower back.
I slid down to her legs so I could massage her beautiful ass.
I rubbed and stroked each cheek one at a time.
She purred, letting me know she was enjoying the extra attention.
I moved lower again, massaging her left leg to the calf, then finally down to her foot.
I spent a lot of time rubbing her foot, making up for not doing it sooner.
"God, that feels so good, Edward," she whispered. "Please, please don’t stop baby."
Placing her left foot back on the bed, I picked up the right, massaging it with just as much care as the first then moved up past her calf and to her thigh.
I slowly separated her legs, bending them so she was up on her knees.
She whimpered as the cool air caressed her wet flesh.
She was so beautiful sitting there, spread open to me.
Changing my mind, I decided I wanted to see her face when I finally made love to her for the first time.
I flipped her over quickly, and settled between her parted legs.
I brushed her lips with mine before slipping my tongue into her mouth, letting her taste herself on me.
Our tongues danced, stroking each other.
We both moaned as our tastes mixed together.
Suddenly, I leaned back and quickly stripped off my pants before roughly pushing myself inside her tight pussy, swallowing her cries with my mouth.
She immediately tensed around my hard cock before she relaxed and began to move with me.
My hips slapped against hers with the force that I was thrusting into her with.
I leaned down to lower my head to her left breast, sucking the hard nipple into my mouth, which forced my strokes to go even deeper and harder.
She matched every thrust. "I want all of you inside me," she panted. "Please, make me yours!"
My hips thrust forward hard and I reached between us and started pinching her clit.
I could feel her start to clench around me, "Fuck, Edward!"
She reached down with shaking hands to pull me by the hair up to her mouth.
She was writhing beneath me, forcing her hips up to meet my thrusts, trapping my hand between us and screamed my name as she came, almost violently, her pussy squeezing my cock harder than I had ever felt before.
I groaned and thrust into her deep one last time before she brought me over the edge with her.
I collapsed on top of her and suddenly realized how heavy I was.
I started to move away and she just pulled me back tighter to her.
"Bella, I'm too heavy," I protested quietly.
"Don't move. You're perfect where you are," she told me.
After we had both calmed down, I crawled off her.
Lying beside her, I pulled her to my chest.
Once we were underneath the comforters, tightly wrapped around each other, I placed a hand underneath Bella’s jaw, moving her head upwards.
I looked her in the eyes and felt her cheeks burn from my intense gaze.
"I love you, Bella," I said softly, just before I pressed my lips to hers.
I thought back to my life only a short time ago and how it had changed within the last several years.
I thought about how things had changed for me and Katie.
I could honestly say, I never even dreamed my life could be like this.
It felt like I woke up one day and suddenly I had everything I ever wanted.
Katie had a mother.
We had a family now, Katie and I.
A beautiful, strong family that made us feel warm and loved.
I never would have imagined Katie and I could be this happy after the hell that we’d been through.
I spent years of my life married to a woman I loved, who never loved me back.
She cheated on me, and I almost lost the most important thing I had ever had in my life.
Things were different with Bella though.
Even if she didn’t say it, I knew she loved me.
I knew no matter whatever happened now, we would keep moving on.
The last thing I heard before falling asleep was her whispered, "I love you, Edward."