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This book was automatically created by FLAG on January 17th, 2012, based on content retrieved from http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6481177/. The content in this book is copyrighted by iambeagle or their authorised agent(s). All rights are reserved except where explicitly stated otherwise. This story was first published on November 15th, 2010, and was last updated on October 12th, 2011. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated - please email any bugs, problems, feature requests etc. to flag@erayd.net.

Table of Contents
Summary 1. Chapter 1 2. Chapter 2 3. Chapter 3 4. Chapter 4 5. Chapter 5 6. Chapter 6 7. Chapter 7 8. Chapter 8 9. Chapter 9 10. Chapter 10 11. Chapter 11 12. Chapter 12 13. Bella POV 14. Bella POV 2 15. Chapter 13 16. Chapter 14 17. Chapter 15 18. Chapter 16 19. Chapter 17 20. Chapter 18 21. Chapter 19 22. Chapter 20 23. Chapter 21

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Summary
Three stipulations are keeping Edward from receiving his inheritance money, one of them being he must obtain a serious relationship. His solution? Pay Bella to pretend to date him. There's absolutely no way this plan can backfire. AH, EPOV

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Chapter 1
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter One "Welcome," Emmett said with a smirk. "I'm judging by the suitcase that you're planning on staying a while?" "Fuck. Off." I said as I shoved past my brother who had the audacity to look shocked at my outburst. "Whoa. What's with the hostility?" Emmett asked. "How'd dinner go?" "Carlisle kicked me out. Hence the suitcase." Emmett laughed for a full five minutes before speaking. "No shit? What'd you do this time?" "Apparently I'm not who they want me to be," I replied cryptically. "No, no, no. What'd you do, Edward?" "You mean besides crushing their dreams and telling them over the five course meal that I have no desire to be a doctor or to go to medical school? Oh, and then adding that, even though rack of lamb is awesome, I could eat a corn dog and be as easily impressed." Emmett shook his head, but he's known for some time that I didn't want to be a doctor. I couldn't follow in his, and my uncles, footsteps. It wasn't me. It never would be me. I lacked the compassion and understanding. I just couldn't connect with people that way. I was almost jealous of Emmett for possessing that quality. "Did Esme cry?" Emmett asked as he handed me the bottle of Jack that he pulled out from the cabinet. "What do you think? Esme's been known to cry over much less," I sneered. My thoughts trailed back to the day of my parents funeral when Esme held my
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hand and told me that it was okay to cry. I pulled the bottle of Jack to my lips and washed away the memory. "Damn. You know you're going to hell, right?" "Nah." I handed him the bottle and began to laugh. "I mean, shit. Why can't they just be happy that I finally graduated and am not a complete fuck up?" "Because you are a fuck up. At least you have good hair," Emmett added. "Yeah, I really do." "Fag." We were silent for a few minutes before I remembered something. "Carlisle said something before I left...like, something about it being good I didn't get my inheritance yet." "Yeah..." "What the fuck does that even mean?" "How do you not know about our inheritance?" Emmett asked as he turned the Xbox on to play FIFA. "Because no one told me. How the hell do you know about it?" "Carlisle told me. You think ma and dad would have left us without anything?" "Never crossed my mind. Why would Carlisle and Esme not tell me?" I questioned. "Did they already give you your money?" "You've never made the smartest decisions regarding finances. And no, one of the conditions is that we get the money at the same time. So, get your ass into shape dude. I can use that money for the wedding." "Wedding? You engaged and I don't know about it?" "Not yet. I'm still trying to figure out how to pop the question." Emmett smiled and I made a retching sound.
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"God, why do you even need to have a wedding? Go to Vegas. Quick and painless." "Rosalie would die." "Ha, I know." "I don't see why you don't like her, man." I shot up from the couch and stared at him like he was an imbecile. "Are you kidding me? She fucking hates me! I don't think there's a time that I've seen her when she hasn't introduced me as the other one." Emmett shook with laughter and said, "She's joking. You're too sensitive." "Whatever. So, what are all of the conditions?" "Uh, gotta graduate college." "Check." "Have a job or be at least attempting to find one. Grad school will do." "Okay, not so much a check but I can work on that. Next?" "Be married or in a serious relationship." "You kidding me? That's easy. We should be getting our money soon, then." He gaped at me and asked, "You engaged and I don't know about it?" "No, but you of all fuckers know I've never had trouble with women." "Just have trouble keeping them around." "That's the way I like it though. If I wanted to keep a girl around, I could. Easily." "Well, good luck to you then. I'm going to bed. Early class tomorrow." I snorted at this and punched his arm. "Come on, don't be an old man. Let's go down to Cain and Abel's. It'll be like old times." "Remember mom used to call us Cain and Abel? More like Can't and Able
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nowadays, right? Am I Right?" Emmett howled and I glared at his fucking head. "Really funny. Go to fucking bed and don't wait up for me. I'm going to find myself a long-term relationship." I smiled widely and popped my knuckles. "At a bar? You definitely know how to pick 'em. Just be sure not to tell her that you're only dating her so you can get your inheritance. Some girls might not like that, you dumb ass." "Trust me, I won't have to win her over with my words." I winked. "If you fuck on my couch, make sure to put a towel down." "That doesn't sound like you. Did Rose tell you to say that?" I asked before pointing at him. "Controlling. Add that to your list of Why I Shouldn't Marry Rose. Even when she's not here, she makes sure she's here." Emmett rolled his eyes and put the cap on the whiskey then turned the tv off. "Shut your mouth and don't go too crazy tonight, okay?" After Emmett closed his bedroom door, I sat in silence trying not to replay the days events. He was right. I was so going to hell.

Thanks for reading! :)

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Chapter 2
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter Two Lazily walking into Cain and Abel's, I ordered a Heineken from the bar, winked at the cute bartender and scanned the room for a potential relationship. There was a blond sitting with a redhead in the corner, but no. Blond's boobs were too big and fake and Redhead's hair was too frizzy. Moving on. An attractive brunette that was sitting alone caught my eye. She was reading from some textbook and drinking Blue Moon. So far, so good. I stood behind her, startling her as I spoke. "This might not be any of my business, but are you seriously reading? In a bar?" I asked the brunette, who didn't look up at me as she spoke. "Amazing. You're so observant. Tell me, can you see the future, too?" I laughed and sat next to her, straining my neck to see what she was reading. "Don't bother. I'm married," she said. Glancing at her left hand, I saw no ring. "That's cool. So am I," I said too quickly, fully knowing she was bullshitting me. "Congratulations," she said with zero emotion on her face. We were both silent after that. I kept my eyes on ESPN while she kept her nose in her book, barely acknowledging my presence. I took in her appearance from the corner of my eye: long, wavy brown hair that was pulled back. Nice skin complexion, from what I could see. Great tits with a petite frame. If she would just glance up at me, I could get a look at her eyes. I noticed she wore a name tag and wondered if she worked here.
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"Okay, I feel terrible for lying to you." I spoke slowly, trying to pull her attention towards me. "I'm not married; divorced, actually." I gave her a crooked grin but she didn't look up or react to my joke. "Tough crowd," I muttered and looked around the bar for another prospect, but this brunette had the nicest tits. I kid you not. "So, your name is Isa?" Brunette grabbed her books, her beer and walked away from the table. "Fuck." I sighed and ran my hands through my hair. Okay, not a good start. I sat alone for exactly three minutes until a new brunette waltzed over and tried to grab my attention. "Excuse me? Is this seat taken?" She tried giggling but it somehow came out as a wheezing snort. "Uh, no. Knock yourself out." "Thanks. Don't you just love Cain and Abel's? This place is so awesome! I come here, like, all the time." "Yep. It's neat." I quietly laughed and turned my body around to find Isa. I spotted her within seconds, sitting at the bar, back turned to me, talking to some beefed up guy with too much baby oil on his arms. "Excuse me, I have to go finish my conversation with that girl over there," I pointed with my beer and left the table. "Oh, god," Isa muttered as I pulled out the stool next to her. "I realized it was rude of me to not introduce myself. I'm Edward. Edward Cullen." Holding my hand, she narrowed her eyes at me. They were dark brown, by the way. "Do you have some sort of social problem?" She glared while removing her name tag and tossed it to the beefy guy behind the bar, who also glared. To make a long story short, there was a lot of fucking glaring going on around here. "Nope. No social problems," I said happily. "You work here?" "Like I said earlier, you're very observant. Thanks for the drink, Jake. See you tomorrow." She smiled at him and grabbed her stuff to leave. "See ya later, Bells."
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"Yeah, thanks for the drink, Jake!" I smiled, threw a few bills down for my Heineken and followed her outside. "Why did that dude call you Bells? I thought your name was Isa?" I yelled as I chased her through the parking lot. "God!" Isa yelled and spun around to face me. "What the hell do you want?" Her little outburst caught me off guard. "Look, I just wanted to talk." "Right. Like Edward Cullen would want to just talk to a girl. I've seen you around the bar, leaving with a different girl each night. So excuse me if I'm not interested in being a part of your little hobby," she sneered. I stood there, mystified, and watched her crawl into an old, shitty red truck and attempt to drive off. "Fuck!" I heard her scream when her truck sputtered to its death. Laughing, I walked over to her truck and tapped on the window. "Need help?" "No, thanks. Jake can help." "No way, no fucking way. That dude has too much baby oil on his arms. That can't be safe while jumping a car. I won't have your safety at risk." This actually produced a laugh from her for the first time and I momentarily wondered if that's why her friend had called her Bells, because that's what her laugh sounded like. "Don't be rude. I have cables in the back, pull your car around," Isa instructed and I complied. "You're positive you know how to jump a truck?" "Positive." "What, you didn't have your own mechanic growing up? Or did you just make your chauffeur drive you around everywhere?" She snorted then realized she had said too much and avoided my eyes. "Ah, so I see you've heard about me. That's nice," I scoffed and proceeded to jump her truck until it finally started. I threw the cables into the bed of her truck and said, "Look, your battery might just be bad. I suggest getting a new one, but if this happens after you've changed your battery then your alternator might not be working."
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Isa bit down on her lower lip and said, "This does happen quite often, but I usually have Jake help me. He's a mechanic when he's not a bartender." "Tell him he's a shitty mechanic and a less than mediocre bartender. Just get it fixed, okay?" I said curtly and started to walk to my car. "Hey! Wait!" she shouted after me. "Thanks. I'm sorry if I was rude earlier." "No problem. I'm used to people thinking I'm a spoiled, snotty brat with an overly-active sex drive. Oh, and social problems," I added for good measure. Isa gave me a small smile and said, "Like I said, I'm sorry. Maybe I'll see you around," she said before running to her truck. Once I was back in Emmett's apartment, I ran into his room, turned the light on and jumped on his bed. "I think I found one." Emmett looked at me with sleep in his eyes and asked what the fuck I was yelling about. "A relationship. I think I found one, dude." I smiled, clearly proud of myself. "So, where is he?" Emmett asked, sitting up. "She. There's only one problem. I think she might hate me." Emmett laughed so hard that the bed shook. "So this one is actually smart. Thank God."

I hope y'all like Emmett because he is my favorite. Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

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Chapter 3
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended

Chapter Three "Wake up, jackass." No. "Dude. Get up!" Emmett stood above me on the couch and punched my stomach, causing the breath to be knocked from me. Mother of fuck. "Shit!" I yelled once I was able to breathe normally. "What the hell do you want?" "Payback." Emmett winked. "Let's grab breakfast before my class." I sat up and lethargically rubbed my eyes. "It's still dark outside. Eat your Fruity Pebbles and let me sleep in peace." Scowling, I yanked and covered my head with the blanket Rosalie oh-so-casually had resting on the back of Emmett's couch. The same couch that I had thrown up on a time or two, unbeknownst to Rose. With my eyes closed, I smirked at the thought of her finding out. "Hurry the hell up. I wanna spend quality time with my baby bro and hear all about his new relationship." New relationship? The blanket slid off my face, revealing my full-on grin. No longer was I thinking of Rosalie throwing a shit-fit, but of Isa from the night before. "We can go eat if you're buyin'." "Don't I always?" Emmett asked as he smacked my face.
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Ten minutes later we were sitting in a small diner near campus, drinking black coffee and stuffing our faces with syrup-covered carbohydrates. "Syrup is fucking heaven. Seriously, I could pour this on anything and there would be an orgasm in my mouth." Emmett sighed contently. "So, tell me. Who's the unlucky, unsuspecting lady?" "Brunette with matching eyes, great rack, ample ass, but she was a little feisty." I smirked and brought the mug to my mouth then added, "Feisty isn't a bad thing." "Doesn't sound like your type," Emmett mumbled through a mouth full of waffles. "Huh? I don't have a type. Female is my type." Chuckling, I motioned for the waitress to refill my coffee. "True. You would fuck any female within a ten mile radius," Emmett agreed. The waitress gave him a disapproving glare before stalking away. "You usually go for blonds who don't say much, do much, or eat much." "Where do you come up with this shit?" He held up his hand and started listing names with his fingers. "Kate, Tanya, Irina, Tanya's roommate, that one girl with the lazy eye. Shall I go on?" "Ha!" I pointed my fork at him. "Irina was brunette." Em pulled the pancake off my fork and said, "Exactly. Was brunette. She colored her hair platinum blond so you would go out with her, and it worked." Dammit. "Okay. So maybe only blonds go for me." I definitely do not have a type. And even if that were true, did any of those relationships with my "type" last? No. Not that I wanted or needed a relationship until now, actually, but this was all business. Because I definitely didn't want a relationship. Especially not with someone who was clearly stubborn and had greasy, ogre-type friends who claim to be mechanics in their spare time. "Maybe you should just stick with what works for you." Emmett interrupted my
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train of thought, pissing me off. I forked my way around his plate to steal some of the waffle he had defaced. "Maybe you should mind your own fucking business and let me do this my way." "Whatever. You know this is totally going to blow up in your face, right? Why don't you actually just find a real relationship, get a real job and then you can have the money?" A real relationship? The mere thought made me shiver in my seat. I just wasn't a relationship kind of guy. Everything starts off exciting and new and you want to just touch the person for the sake of fucking touching them. Then, out of fucking no where, everything turns into comfy socks, meet and greets with the parents and then eventually sucking me off and expecting me jerk it into an old t-shirt because said relationship had just brushed her teeth. No, thank you. "Yes, Edward." Rosalie's voice made me jump as she suddenly appeared in the booth next to Em. "Maybe you should find a job, and a-" "Emmett?" I said sharply, cutting Rosalie off. "What happened to quality bro time?" Rosalie snorted at this while Emmett apologized. "Sorry, dude. Rosie's gotta eat, too." He smiled and kissed her cheek. I stared at him for a full minute before speaking. "You're so fucking whipped. Seeing as how Rose is here now, we can't exactly talk about my situation anymore." "Oh, Edward? They have cream for that, you know?" Rosalie quipped with a grin. "No. I didn't know that," I said flatly. "Does it happened to be called shut the f-" "Children. We're in public," Emmett whispered. "Don't you dare call me a child, Emmett! Your brother needs to get his shit together and stop sleeping on your couch! Don't you think that he..." I dropped my head in my hands and drowned Rosalie out. Five minutes later, I opened one eye to see if she was still at it, when a little brunette head caused me to open both eyes.
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"Dude." I nodded towards Isa who was sitting alone in a booth, nibbling on a bagel. Her hair was down today, loose curls falling around her face, and I involuntarily smiled. Emmett cleared his throat, grabbing my attention. "That's her. That's the feisty bar girl." "Why not get a head start on the fuckery? Her name is Isa?" he asked, then yelled her name before I could respond. He yelled her name five times before she finally glanced over towards us. "Emmett, what on earth are you doing? You know that girl?" Rosalie asked with a tiny hint of jealousy. "No baby, but Edward wants her to be his girlfriend." "His what? Edward? The same Edward who chooses to own a pay as you go cell phone because the two year contract with AT&T was too much commitment for him?" I ignored Rosalie, and the three of us stared in Isa's direction. Her innocent doe-eyes bounced between me, Emmett and Rose before she set her bagel on the plate, put her book bag over her shoulder and walked right past us to some old lady who was sitting two tables behind us. "You're right. Feisty." Emmett smiled while blatantly staring at her ass, causing Rose to slap his arm. Emmett loved doing shit like that in front of Rosalie. No doubt the rest of the day she would be checking her appearance in car windows and spend the rest of her night in front of the bathroom mirror. According to him, it was his way of keeping her in check. After chatting for a few minutes, Isa made her way back to our table and stood with her hands on her hips, waiting for me to say something, but all I could do was glare at Emmett for calling her over before letting me divulge a plan. "Hi. I'm Edward's brother, Emmett." He smiled widely and held out his hand. "Do you usually eat carbs?" "Emmett." I dropped my head in my hands. I knew exactly what he was doing and I couldn't bear to watch. Rosalie, used to his antics, stared in delight. "Excuse me?" Isa asked as she dropped his hand. "Yeah, I eat carbohydrates. Your point?"
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"Do you have any idea what carbs will do to your ass?" "Didn't keep the two of you from staring at my ass when I walked by," she said without hesitation and Emmett smiled wickedly. "If that's all you wanted, I really have to go." She stared at me for a second, then turned to leave. "Wait. My idiot brother here is very interested in you." Smooth, Emmett. She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, looking unaffected. "That's...great. But I really have to go." "Bye, Bella darling. Please tell your grandmother I said hello." The little old lady she had just been talking to waved goodbye as Isa smiled politely. I broke the silence. "Okay, call me crazy, but that's the second time someone has called you by a different name. I thought your name tag said Isa?" "Perceptive," she muttered. "My name is Bella. Well, it's Isabella but..." "Bella. Bella. Bell-uh. I like it." Emmett grinned as he practiced saying her name like the fool he is. "Wait, then why-" "Because. When I'm at the bar and my name tag says Bella, it makes it too easy for drunken idiots to hit on me. So, at work, I'm Isa. Bet you can't think of a pick-up line with the name Isa in it." Shrugging my shoulders, we all stared at Emmett as he searched for a pick-up line in his head. "Got it. Your body Isa wonderland and I want to be Alice." Rosalie scowled with insecurity. Christ, this was so going to work in Emmett's favor and get him laid tonight. Bella actually laughed at his lame attempt at a joke. "My best friends name is Alice. I'll have to tell her you said that." Wow. I stared at the two of them bantering back and forth and had to swallow back the venom. Emmett talks to her for less than five minutes and already knows her real name, who her best friend is and has Bella promising to tell said best friend
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about him. Bella cocked an eyebrow at me, clearly noticing my sulking. "Thanks again for the help with my truck last night." "No problem. I should give you my number, in case you need to be jumped again." Okay. So it sounded a lot smoother in my head. "This is painful to watch. I have to go to class now. Bella, it was nice meeting you. Word of advice? Don't put up with my brothers shit." Emmett awkwardly fist-bumped her before throwing cash down on the table and pulling Rosalie behind him. Flashing her Malibu Barbie, nothing-smells-better-than-my-shit smile, Rosalie held out her hand and said, "By the way, I'm Rosalie. I shouldn't have expected the two of these nimrods to possess any manners. Watch out for him, seriously," she warned. Bella gave a tentative smile before taking Emmett's seat, then watched the two lovebirds walk away. "She just called you guys nimrods." "That's probably the nicest thing she's ever said about me," I said in awe, then tried to explain Emmett's behavior. "I like him," Bella said decidedly with a genuine smile, causing me to momentarily forget what the hell the point of all of this was. "Oh, give me your cell phone. I'll put my number in it for you." "I don't have a cell phone." "Who doesn't have a cell phone?" I laughed. "Me. I can't afford one and I don't like the idea of people always having a way to be in contact with me," she admitted while playing with the salt shaker. She couldn't be serious. "What if there's an emergency with your grandmother?" "I visit my Gram every Sunday night, so if something happened to her, I would eventually find out," she replied evenly. "Parents?"
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"Charlie tags along with me to see Gram, so again, I would eventually find out. And my mom left when I was younger, so chances of hearing from her aren't too high." I decided against asking her for information about her mom leaving, because it was still very early in the day and I don't do well with emotional people. "What if your truck breaks down on a dark, cold night and you're stranded?" Bella's foot tapped under the table, conveying that she was getting bored with my questions. "My truck has, in fact, broken down on a dark, cold night before. I slept in the cab of the truck until morning when a very nice, elderly man stopped to help me." Bella sat there in all of her confidence, just staring at me, waiting to see what I'd ask next. "You weren't scared? To be stranded, I mean." Her face scrunched up like that was the dumbest thing I could have asked. "Why would I be scared? I had mace. Besides, my dad used to be Chief of Police for a small town in Washington. He's taught me a thing or two." She giggled. I swear to God she fucking giggled! Carlisle and Esme would eat this shit up. "As if a tiny can of mace could stop someone from raping you. I suggest you get a cell phone and put my number in it. Got a pen?" "Nope." "Liar. Hey, Maggie. Got a pen I can borrow?" I asked the waitress, who willingly handed me the pen from her apron. "Her name isn't Maggie. Her name tag said Mary," Bella whispered. "Yeah? Like I'll ever believe a name tag again." I smiled and handed her a napkin with my number on it. "Don't lose that. It's valuable." "Um, thanks. By the way, now I'm late for class and missed the bus." "Bus? What happened to your ever-trusty piece of shit?" Bella scoffed as we stood up from the table to walk outside. "After your ever-trusty handy work last night, it broke down again this morning, so I had to take the bus."
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"Stop trying to make me feel bad. Your little mechanic friend has yet to fix it, either." I pushed the door open and let her walk through. "Let me give you a lift." She stopped walking and blushed, letting her hair fall over her right eye. "That's okay. You don't have to do that." "I know. I want to. Come on." Nudging her shoulder, I pushed her in the direction of my Volvo. I opened the door, as any gentleman would do, and ushered her in the passenger seat. The Volvo purred to life and I sighed in fake relief. "Now that's how a car should start." "You listen to Of Montreal?" she asked, ignoring my little dig at her truck and focusing on the music seeping through the speakers. "You know Of Montreal?" I asked, surprised. "I'm only slightly obsessed," she said, biting her lip before she started singing along. My mouth fell open and I tried really hard to keep from laughing. "You are an awful singer. Please don't ever do that again. Especially not in my car." Bella laughed and said, "You're right. You were nice enough to give me a ride and I'm torturing you. I'll stop. Nice car, by the way." "Thank you." "Did mommy and daddy buy it for you?" she asked in a mocking tone. "Actually, no. My parents are dead," I admitted and waited for her to apologize but she didn't. Instead, she just sat there quietly and bit her thumb nail. "You already have quite an impression of me. You've obviously heard a lot, so I'm surprised no one told you about my parents." "It's not like I asked around about you. People talk. Everyone wants to know about the brooding, tortured soul who sits alone in the bar, drinking himself into a stupor until a girl seemingly good enough stumbles over to take him home," she blurted out.
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I made a mental note that she rambles when she's nervous. Which was fucking cute. Also annoying, causing a dull throb to form between my eyes. "You wanna get to know me? Let's grab dinner tonight." "I can't." "Why not?" "You're...you are not my type," she stuttered. And lied, for that matter. "Bella," I said slowly, getting off on using her real name. "I'm everyone's type." "Exactly. I don't want someone who is everyone's type," she said a little too harshly, the blush spreading over her neck giving her away. "You can drop me off here." I quickly pulled the car next to the curb, shifted into park and turned in my seat to face her, causing her to flinch. "You're going to make this hard for me, aren't you?" I asked playfully. "Yes," Bella admitted without looking at me. "Okay. I'll see you later tonight." She finally looked at me, curiosity getting the better of her. "I said I'm not going to-" I held up my hand. "You work tonight, yeah?" "Yeah," she said slowly. "I just asked a pretty girl to dinner and was denied. I'm a brooding, tortured soul who drowns his sorrows, right? Gotta keep the image. So I will see. you. later." I popped my knuckles with each word. Bella muttered something under her breath and exited the car. "Thanks for the ride. Do me a favor and try not to stalk me, okay? I have some really huge friends that wouldn't appreciate it." Shaking my head, I gave her a fake smile and whispered, "You talking about that grease monkey? Your wanna-be mechanic friend doesn't scare me in the least."
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Bella's face grew red as she slammed the car door, a little too hard if you ask me. I waved goodbye to her backside and laughed all the way to Emmett's so I could take a much needed nap before tonight. Five hours later (yes, I'm aware that you aren't supposed to nap for longer than forty-five minutes), I woke up from my nap, not exactly feeling any better than before I passed out. "When did you get home?" I asked Emmett, who was sitting on the living room floor playing FIFA. I reached for his beer to wash the shit taste from my mouth, but he intercepted. "Hour ago. Your snoring is getting fucking old." "Deal with it. Hey, you wanna go to Cain and Abel's tonight?" Emmett paused the game. "Are you really going to do this?" "Do what? Drink?" I laughed as I stood and stretched. "No. Try to woo this girl, trick her into dating you and then convince Carlisle and Esme that you're in love?" "Woo? Who said anything about wooing? You make it sound like I'm going to have to work for this." Emmett resumed his game and shook his head. "Did you not see the way she was glaring at you today, man?" "I've endured harder conquests, Em. But, if you're there, this would be a hell of a lot easier." "What do I have to do with this?" He paused the game again and drained his beer. "For some odd fucking reason, she likes you. I have a feeling if you show up with me tonight, this whole thing will go a little smoother. So, you down?" "Call Ben and tell him to meet us there. I have a feeling he's going to want to witness the misery this girl is going to put you through tonight." I laughed at Emmett's doubt, popped the top off a Heineken and murmured, "O ye,
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of little faith."

I would ask if you guys think Bella is going to give him a hard time but I'm pretty sure the answer is obvious. Thanks for reading! :)

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Chapter 4
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter Four My name is Edward Cullen and I am an idiot. At least, that's what Emmett keeps yelling out loud. "Pussy. Fucking idiot! Take the damn shot!" "Calm the fuck down," I spoke slowly, thanks to the cheap whiskey I've been forced to consume. "It's barely 8 p.m." "No. No! You lose at pool and you take the fucking shot. I don't make the rules, bro." Emmett yelled louder, setting his pool cue against the wall to hand me the shot. I blinked at him. "Actually, you did make the rules." "Tomayto, tomahto." Rolling my eyes, I grabbed the shot of Jim Beam and threw my head back. My father would be rolling in his grave if he knew we even looked at this shit of an excuse for whiskey, let alone consumed it like water. I chalked the tip of my cue and watched Emmett break, sinking a solid in the side pocket, creating a nice little set up for me and my stripes. "Where's that fucker, Ben?" "He'll be here soon," Emmett said slowly, leaning over the table to shoot. "Feisty bar girl is here," he said without looking up from the table. Low and behold, feisty bar girl had graced us with her presence. Bella waltzed in, waved at some girl, and breezed through the place with ease before disappearing. "Let the games begin." I grinned at Emmett, who just shook his head and muttered something that I'm sure would have pissed me the fuck off if I could hear
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him clearly. Grabbing my pool cue, I leaned against the wall and waited for Bella to return from the back. She did not disappoint. She appeared behind the bar wearing tight jean shorts, a shirt that was way too small, and her hair pulled back. I'm pretty sure she didn't have a bra on, but I was trying not to stare. Okay, I was fucking staring, but she kept glancing my way and I didn't want to get caught. "You gonna play or what?" Emmett waved a hand in front of my face. "Yep." Leaning over, I pulled the cue back and released in one fluid motion, missing my shot as Emmett announced that Ben had arrived. I groaned. "'Bout fucking time." Emmett smiled. "He's talking to Bella." My head shot in the direction of the bar and I assessed the situation. Ben smiling. Bella laughing. Ben nodding his head. Bella blushing. Ben receiving a high five from grease monkey bartender. The hell? Who the fuck high fives? Me, myself and Jim Beam were about to make our way over to the love fest when the annoying brunette from last night bounced in front of me. "Hi! Remember me? You were here last night. Oh, you're playing pool? Are you winning? I'm not that great at pool, but maybe you could show me how to shoot!" She giggled, bounced five fucking times in the matter of seconds and waited for me to respond. "I'm Jessica. That's my friend, Lauren, over there. We'd love to play with you guys." She winked and I had a sneaking suspicion she wasn't talking about pool anymore. Normally, I would be all over that shit. So, she was dumb as fuck, wore way too much makeup, and her friend lacked in the chest department. But none of that
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mattered. Emmett cleared his throat and discreetly shook his head no. Well, shit. I wasn't even in a relationship yet and I was already not getting laid. This fucking blew. Or in my case, didn't. "Nice to meet you, Jess." I gave her a side smile and winked. She would still come in handy. "That's my brother, Emmett. Why don't you and your friend go wait over there for me and I'll get us some drinks." "Sounds perfect." Jessica smiled widely and waved her friend over. "No beer. It makes me bloated." That's disgusting. I could feel someone's eyes glaring at me, and I was sure it was either Emmett or Bella, so I slapped Jessica's ass before she skipped away, just for good measure. If I was gonna do this, I was gonna go all out. "Cullen!" I heard Ben yell from the bar. Perfect timing. "Benjamin. We've been waiting on your ass," I said in a stern voice as I pulled out a stool. "Ah, introduce me to your friend?" Cue lazy smile at Bella. "Oh, uh, yeah. Bella, this is Edward. Edward, this is my girlfriends friend, Bella. I was just getting her opinion on what to get Angela for her birthday." Okay. It was a little more innocent than I had originally thought, but Ben noticed my glare and felt the need to cough up an explanation. "Yeah. We've actually met before. He's just fucking with you." Bella's tone was stiff. Strictly business. "No shit?" Ben asked. Bella nodded, avoiding eye contact. "Angela is going to love the photo album." She smiled at Ben, glared at me, then walked to the other side of the bar to assist someone in becoming belligerently drunk.
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I laughed. It was already working. Jealousy is definitely my friend. "Photo album? Christ, Ben. The girl is already fucking you, isn't she? What's with the pussy gift?" Ben slid off the bar stool and walked towards Emmett. "The girl's name is Angela. You'll understand some day, Cullen." "I wouldn't bet on that," I muttered and whistled to get Bella's attention. "What's it take for a guy to get a little service around here?" "I thought you were already being serviced?" Bella sent a pointed look in the direction of Jessica. "Although, Cain and Abel's has a strict policy against soliciting prostitutes. East sixth is more of that scene," she said with raised eyebrows while skillfully filling a pint, creating the perfect amount of head. Head. Snap out of it, Cullen. Chuckling, I ran a hand through my hair. I expected her to be jealous, of course I did. That's why I slapped that girls flat ass in the first place. But I didn't expect her to be so...articulate about it. I was used to girls calling me an asshole and some form of the word "penis", but when Bella got jealous and tried putting me in my place? It was fucking hot. "What can I get ya?" Grease Monkey asked caustically as Bella walked away with a tray of beers. "Still deciding," I lied, trying to buy time. But grease monkey set four Heineken's in front of me and walked away. "What's this?" "Heineken. It's a pale lager," he said, as if I were a fucking dumb ass. "I know what the fuck it is. Why is it in front of me?" "Isn't it what you've been drinking all night?" "I didn't order this." "Ah, I see. Look, Bella isn't interested in you. Run along now."
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My mouth opened to speak, but for once, what could I say? This fuckhead was right. Bella wasn't interested. Why waste my time trying to make her interested when I had two sluts practically finger fucking each other on the pool table waiting for my dick to grace their mouths? I happened to look over at Bella, who dropped a receipt and bent over to pick it up. Holy fucking shit. My question had been answered. I turned back around towards Grease Monkey and realized he had been staring at the same thing I was. Grabbing the four beers, I whistled and stiffed him on a tip. "Ladies." I handed them each a beer while Emmett flipped me off. "Stop using me to fucking entertain your harem," Emmett sneered, ignoring the fact that the skanks were within ear-shot. "Next time, I tell them you have chlamydia." "Nothing a few weeks of antibiotics can't cure," I assured, creating laughter from the sluts. Seriously, who the fuck laughs at STD jokes? Emmett gave me a pointed look. Three hours later, Ben was still going on about Angela, Emmett was still kicking my ass in pool, the sluts had made out with each other a dozen times and I was still trying to ignore the glares coming from Bella. Slut #1 had to accompany Slut #2 to the bathroom. I decided to number them; it was easier than trying to remember their names. "You into her or what?" Ben asked after he hung up the phone with, I'm assuming, Angela. I had a gut feeling who he was talking about, but had to ask anyway. "Who?" "You know who. You've been staring at her all night, man." "Fuck," I muttered. "Em, cash me. We need beer." Emmett tossed me his wallet just as Rose walked in. "Again? God, don't you have your own means of income? You can't mooch off your brother forever, Edward."
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"Again? Don't you have your own fucking friends to hang out with you insufferable bitch?" I spat, then ran to the bar before Rosalie could retaliate. No doubt I would pay for that one later. As I got closer to the bar, and farther away from Rosalie's tantrum, I noticed Bella wasn't anywhere to be found. I narrowed my eyes at grease monkey, readying myself to talk shit when I saw Bella prance behind him. "Busy night, huh Jake?" she said in a cheerful voice then paused in place when she saw me, the tiniest of smiles forming on her pink lips. "You need somethin'?" "Yeah. Come over to Emmett's tonight. He's having a Wii bowling party." I laughed at the bait I used to get girls to go back to Emmett's place. Who knew that Nintendo would be my unofficial wingman? "I work until close," she said, pretending to sound apologetic. "I'm sure ole Jake will cover for you," I pushed. He laughed, and waved a finger. "Not a chance, bud." Bella shrugged. "Oh, darn." "You're telling me you'd rather stay here at work with a guy who fucking high fives and uses the word bud?" Bella began to laugh but quickly cut it short. "You have a problem with high fives? What next? You're going to tell me you hate baseball and hot dogs?" "No one in their fucking right mind is ever pumped up enough to actually high five," I said seriously. Because I was fucking serious. She seemed to find this all too amusing and then her smile suddenly evaporated. "Bella, Bella, my beautiful Bella." A guy with blond hair walked up to the bar. What respectable, grown man has blond hair? "You haven't returned any of my calls." "James." She nodded but avoided all eye contact.
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Who was this douche? Clearing my throat, I pointed over to Emmett, letting her know where to find me. She gave me a tiny, sad smile as I walked away. Much to my enjoyment, I realized the sluts had left. It was more likely that Rose kicked them out of the bar. She was known to do that every once in a while. That was the one thing she was good for. "We're gonna head out," Emmett said, sticking his wallet into his back pocket. "Yeah, Ange is waiting on me," Ben added. "You comin'?" Em asked while Rosalie scoffed. I looked over at the bar and noticed Bella whisper to Jake, untie her tiny apron and walk through the back door. "I'll meet up with you guys later," I said. Stealthily sneaking out the back entrance that was solely for employees only, I found myself standing in a back alley and Bella sitting on the damp ground against the building. "What do you want? Can't you take a hint?" Her words were playful but her tone was dull and sad. I held back my laugh. Edward Cullen doesn't get rejected, I wanted to say, but for some reason, I held back. She didn't look like she was in the mood for a snark competition. "If Jake finds you out here, you might be dead. You do know that, right?" The laughter was not held back this time. "Is he your boyfriend or something?" I was suddenly interested but stayed standing. No fucking way was I going to get my AG jeans fucking dirty by sitting in an alley. "No. He's just very...protective of me." Scoff. "I can tell. What about that James guy?" She shook her head no but said nothing more about James. "Jake and I grew up together. Our fathers were best friends and my dad pretty much threatened Jake into moving here with me. To keep an eye on me," she admitted and I pretended to
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be interested. As if anyone had to be threatened into doing anything for this girl, I thought. "Doesn't your father live here?" I said, remembering she and her father visit her grandmother every Sunday. Bella looked up at me with shock and narrowed her eyes. "He does now, yeah. I guess he missed me a little too much and moved to Austin." "I'm assuming you're done with work?" She nodded and bit her thumb nail. A disgusting habit that I possessed until I started taking piano lessons when I was seven. "How'd you get your little protector to cover for you?" "I don't feel like talking about it," Bella said honestly. I could respect that. And I didn't really care that much anyway. "Wii?" "Are you suggesting I go with you to your brothers or are you speaking French?" "No," I chuckled. "Souhaitez-vous comme moi de parler franais?" Bella smirked and stood up, dusting herself off. "Your little girlfriends were kicked out earlier. I think that was the highlight of my night." "Oh, really? The highlight of your night?" I raised my eyebrows. "Not really. I think the highlight was finding out that we have a mutual friend. Who would have thought a dick like you would be friends with someone as sweet as Ben Cheney?" The back door to the bar suddenly swung open and Jake began speaking before he saw us. "Bells, James left. You want me to...oh." I waved. He growled. "Cool it, Jake," Bella scolded. "You think you can still cover for me? I'm not really in the mood to work anymore." He looked pissed but nodded in agreement. "If you wait around until I get off, I can drop you off at home."
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"That's okay. I really just need to go." "Okay. Text me when you get home," he said before glaring at me and shutting the door. "He takes the whole keeping an eye on you thing to a whole new level, huh?" I tried to keep the sarcasm light. "Jake means well. He's the only person I trust." Seriously? A guy who wears baby oil is the only person this girl trusts? We walked around to the parking lot and I realized her truck was no where to be found. "Don't tell me you're about to take the bus home." "Okay. I'm not about to take the bus home." She smiled. "I'll make this easy for you...give me a ride home?" "You sure you don't want to go get your ass kicked at Emmett's?" Her nose scrunched. "Sounds appealing, but I can't. Really. Maybe another time." "I'm holding you to that." She actually didn't live too far from the bar but that still didn't make it okay for her to ride the fucking bus. Especially so close to midnight. I pulled up in front of a three story building that looked in major need of remodeling. Just like her truck. "You're becoming my personal chauffeur." She joked, giving me an odd look. "Thanks." "Give me your number." "I don't have one." Frowning, I recalled that James guy mentioned she hadn't returned his calls. She obviously had to own some sort of telephonic device for him to leave messages on. "Bella."
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"Look. I'm flattered, really. But I'm not into this. I don't do the whole fuck and duck thing." She caught me off guard with that shit. Those were my words. That was my game. It was pretty self explanatory but the main goal was to fuck a girl and duck out of her apartment before she emerged from the bathroom, after cleaning herself up. The key to this is to come on her chest, stomach or back making her obligated to actually leave the bed to clean up. If she doesn't attempt to clean up then you just walk the fuck out cause that shit is nasty. "I overheard you talking about it one night at the bar. It was a while back." Bella became flustered and stared down into her lap. It dawned on me that this girl might have noticed me for a very long time and I had no idea. She overheard me speaking obscenities to my friends, saw me leaving with random sluts every night and watched me drink like a fucking fish. Coughing, I tried to come up with something to smooth over the situation but came up short. Did I honestly care what this girl thought of me? "Thanks again for the ride. It was oddly nice of you." I nodded my head, let her out of the car then drove off after she made it inside her building. Not even two minutes later, my cell phone rang. "Hey, sexy. What are you doing tonight?" Tanya purred into my ear. I smiled, ready to release some of this tension that had been building. "Hopefully you. I'll be there in fifteen?" "Make it ten. I can't wait that long." She giggled and hung up. Tossing the phone next to me, I glared at the passenger seat. So much for relationships. Maybe next time.

A/N: Poor Edward. What a fool he is. Just FYI, Jake will not be a romantic
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part of Bella's life! Just ew. We will find out more about James soon. Oh, and Edward said "Would you like me to speak french?". Cocky little thing. Love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for reading!

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Chapter 5
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

If you haven't already noticed, this story contains drinking and will now contain drug use. Nothing crazy, I'm not that cool. Lucky for me (and you), I have A Jasper For Me as my beta! I think I annoy her.

Chapter Five "I'm back where I started," I huffed in annoyance. "It's been a month and I've gotten nowhere. Right back where I fucking started." "And where exactly did you start? In the closet?" Emmett grinned before ducking behind the refrigerator door as I threw the remote control in his direction. "You need to chill. Get it? Chill?" He laughed while sticking his head in the fridge. I rolled my eyes. "I'm serious. Bella pretty much blew me off," I flipped Emmett off before he could attempt to make a dirty joke, "and every other girl I've tried to date since then has been a fucking disaster." "It hasn't been that bad, bro." Emmett tossed me a beer and attempted to throw the remote at my crotch, which I skillfully blocked. "What happened with Charlotte? I saw you two together a few times. Her ass was decent." Shrugging my shoulders I said, "Gag reflex." "Give the girl a break. Not like she can help that. Maybe she has a medical condition or something." "Are you kidding me? If I'm going to date someone for a believable amount of time, I'm not going to deal with a fucking gag reflex. That's just nasty," I said with conviction. "She admitted to me that she throws up every time she brushes her teeth." "So, what does she do after she pukes? How does she brush her teeth to get rid of the puke smell?"
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"I have no idea. I don't even want to know." "Okay, okay. Didn't you go out with Ben's cousin, uh... Kim? Her tits were pretty nice." "Body odor," I complained. "It wasn't that bad but she was just fucking weird. We went to watch her friend's band play at Emo's, and she kept laughing and whispering in my ear that she doesn't wear deodorant because it causes breast cancer." Emmett's reply was a blank stare. "Well, what about Blair? She had nice legs." "Claire?" I asked. "Right. That's what I meant. What about Claire?" "She has cats. Multiple. As in ten. Ten fucking cats. I walked in to her apartment then walked right out." "Good call," Emmett agreed with a solemn nod. "So. You've spent the past month trying to find someone you can pretend to date and here you are, sufficiently alone." "And drunk," I added with a tilt of my beer bottle. "Drunk and alone. Devising a new plan is an option," Emmett said while switching the channel from some stupid fucking weight-loss show to an infomercial. "That's bullshit," I shook my head at Emmett. "My plan is fine." "What exactly is your plan, anyway? What are you going to do after you get the money?" I blinked. Honestly, I hadn't entirely thought that part through. Yet. Emmett snorted. "Now that's funny. You've spent an entire month failing at a plan that you didn't think through." Smug bastard. "That wasn't failure. I'd like to call them minor setbacks." My phone chirped, creating a nice distraction. "Ben just text and said he's going to Cain and Abel's later. He wants to know if you wanna go."
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"I'm down," Emmett said happily. "Huh. Have fun," I said leaning back against the couch. Emmett looked confused. Emmett always looked confused. "I still don't understand why you won't go to Cabel's. Why are you still avoiding Bella? Did she hurt your feelings when she blew you off?" "No," I mumbled. "Mom always did say you were the sensitive one," Emmett chuckled. Glaring, I whispered, "Mom never said that." I knew he knew I was right because he just shrugged, grabbed my pipe and began packing a bowl. Esme was always the one who said I was more sensitive than Emmett. And maybe I was "sensitive" because I apparently always get my "panties in a wad" whenever Emmett slips and refers to Esme as "Mom". "She didn't hurt my feelings, asshole," I muttered, mostly to myself. "But she did admit that she knows about the Fuck and Duck. Apparently, she overheard me a while back talking to someone about it at Cabel's." Genuine shock spread over Emmett's face. "Yeah, you pretty much screwed that one up. Like I said, time for a new plan," Emmett offered. "No way. I'm not going to waste more time trying to come up with a new way to get our money, Em! How fucked up is that? Our money and it's being held from us." "If you weren't such a picky motherfucker, this whole thing wouldn't be so hard." "Picky?" My scoff was loud and exaggerated. "Excuse me if I don't want to spend my time with girls who smell like fucking cat liter, body odor and puke." Emmett ignored my rant and began to text on his phone. "Just... chill," he said, barely paying attention. "How am I supposed to chill? Apparently being a 'picky motherfucker' gives the impression that I'm an asshole. How am I supposed to get any girl to date me if they think I'm an asshole?"
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"Who said you were an asshole?" Pause for dramatic effect. "Bella." "Ah. Back to Bella," Emmett said with an amused tone. I, on the other hand, was not amused. "She said you were an asshole?" Emmett was suddenly interested in my dilemma. "No!" I yelled, throwing my hands in the air. "That's the most aggravating part! Bella never even used the word 'asshole'. She didn't have to. I could tell by the way she slammed the passenger side door when I dropped her off that one night." "You mean a month ago? When you dropped her off and then went directly to Tanya's to have your ego stroked?" Emmett sneered. "If you want to find a girlfriend then don't be an asshole. It's pretty easy." I hesitated for a moment, then decided it was best to just ignore Emmett's advice from here on out. After Emmett left for Cabel's, I spent the night drinking all of the beer in his fridge and trying to Facebook stalk Bella. I wasn't proud of it, not at all. But after talking about her with Em, I was interested in what she had been doing for the past month. Unfortunately, her Facebook was private but her profile pictures were not. Bella only had three profile pictures in her album, which struck me as odd. Don't most girls have at least twenty different pictures of themselves? Clicking on the first picture, I stared at Bella and a black-haired girl, facing each other while laughing. They were sitting on some steps outside of what might have been her apartment. The second picture was of just Bella. She was wearing a hooded sweater, holding a bottle of wine and giving a cheesy smile. The last picture was of a young Bella sitting with, I'm assuming, her mother. Bella must have been around five or six when the picture was taken. She and her mother were sitting in a meadow, surrounded by wildflowers. After hearing from Bella that her mother left when she was younger, part of me wondered why she would even post this picture. Not that it was any of my business to even wonder. I quickly logged off, not wanting to spend any more time Facebook stalking. It was pointless, anyway. I knew there was no way I'd add her as a friend and I wasn't sure why I had been so curious.
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The next day, I woke up with a slight hangover and the remnants of what felt like guilt. My phone began to ring and vibrated loudly on the table. Not helping the hangover. "Hello?" "Hi, Edward! What are you doing?" Seth asked with enthusiasm. "Uh, not much, man. I'm at Emmett's right now," I said, glancing around and realizing Emmett must have stayed at Rose's last night. "Awesome! Tell him I said hi!" Seth yelled. I laughed, pulling the phone away from my ear. "I will, I will. Are we still on for today?" I asked, realizing it was already noon and I was supposed to pick Seth up in an hour for our weekly meet. I would never admit this to anyone, but being a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters foundation was...I don't know. It wasn't that bad, Seth was a pretty cool kid and I was able to hang out with him every week. I had only signed up to get Carlisle off my back about "doing something for the community" but now, being Seth's Big Brother for almost two years, I almost felt proud for sticking with it for so long. "Can we go ice skating?" Seth asked very seriously. "Uh, sure. I guess," I mumbled. "You really want to go ice skating?" I asked in disbelief. I mean, Seth was in sixth grade. I don't think I would have ever wanted to go ice skating when I was his age. At least, not willingly. "Yes, really. This girl I like is supposed to be there with her friend," Seth explained, whispering so his mom couldn't hear. "Ah, why didn't you say so? If it's for the ladies, then I am all for it." I laughed. "I'll be there in an hour, okay?" "Okay, see ya!" Forty-five minutes later, I pulled up in front of the tiny duplex that Seth and his mother lived in. The door opened before I even knocked. "Edward! Let's go, come on!" Seth hurried past me, running towards my car.
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"What's the rush?" I asked, confused. "Hi, Edward. How are you?" Seth's mom, Carmen, asked with a laugh. I wasn't used to seeing her home since she cleaned houses during the day and worked the front desk at the hospital overnight. "He's a little hyper today. Hope that's not a problem." "Nah, no way. I think he wants to go ice skating. I'll make sure he burns some of that energy off before he comes back." Carmen laughed and patted my arm. "Thanks. You're a real hero. You know, I saw your Uncle at the hospital last night. He looked worried," Carmen whispered, trying to get something out of me. I wasn't falling for it. "Can you make sure Seth eats dinner before you bring him back home? I'll be leaving for the hospital before you guys get back and I know if I'm not here he will try to survive solely on Cheetos and beef jerky." "No problem. Hey, Seth, you wanna grab a burger after ice skating?" I yelled towards the car. "Sure, whatever. Come on, let's goooo!" "Seth Ephraim, you do not speak to Edward like that! Show a little respect or you will not hang out with him today," Carmen scolded, which made me laugh. Seth had it pretty good compared to some of his friends that I had the chance to meet. "Sorry. Mom, no! I'm sorry. I just really want to go!" Seth cried. "You listen to Edward, you hear me? Be safe and call the hospital when you get home." Carmen walked towards the car and kissed his head, which made him complain with embarrassment. Enjoy it while you can, kid. I waved goodbye to Carmen, hopped in the car and asked Seth where we were going. "I heard Bree saying that her aunt is taking her at one-thirty to the Whole Foods skating rink. So, wherever that is." "Wait. Bree is the girl you like? " I asked, and Seth nodded. "You weren't officially invited?"
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"No. Bree doesn't know I like her." "Oh, I see. Well, we're just going to have to change that, now aren't we?" I gave him a devious smile which made him laugh with delight. We had to wait until two o'clock to skate, which worked out fine because it took me for fucking ever to lace the skates. "How about you skate and I'll just stand over here and watch you?" "But she's not here yet! I'm going to look like a loser out there all by myself." Seth pouted. God, the things I do for this kid. Second attempt at lacing skates worked in my favor. Finally, we were skating, slowly, in circles around the rink. Seth fell a handful of times, which made me laugh, until I finally fell on my ass. "There she is," Seth whispered to my lifeless body. Pulling myself up from the ice, I smirked at how nervous he seemed. "Go talk to her." I gave him a slight push in Bree's direction. "No! I can't! What would I even say?" I forgot how intimidating girls were at this age. "I don't know, man. Say you like her hair or something." "She'll think I'm gay!" "Who is she with?" I asked, interested in the older girl with long black hair who was standing with Bree. "Maybe it's her aunt? Go talk to her aunt! Please! I will owe you big time. Please, Edward!" Seth pulled on my shirt, almost knocking me back on my ass. "Okay, shit! Fine. Okay," I huffed, ignoring the fact that I cursed in front of him. Yeah, so he was young and impressionable, but I had a feeling he wouldn't pick up my language when he had Carmen as his mom. Waiting for Bree and her maybe aunt to finally enter the rink, I skated in their
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direction. Honestly, I felt like the biggest dumb ass alive. Who hits on a girl while wearing skates? Oh, the shame. Skating into her, total accident by the way, was a great ice breaker. Turns out she was, indeed, Bree's aunt. Her name was Leah, she was twenty-six and she seemed normal enough. Boring and normal. Seth skated over about halfway through me getting her phone number. I slyly introduced Seth to Leah and Bree, pretending I had no idea they might already be acquaintances. Seth didn't even mutter a "hello" to Bree but after she and her aunt left, the look on his face was one of triumph. He obviously thought he had done something right, so I didn't question. "I'm pretty beat," I admitted. "Let's go eat." "That rhymed," Seth pointed out. "I wanna skate a few more minutes. Anyway, it'll probably be a while until you get your skates off," Seth predicted. "Better watch it, kid," I frowned. How hard could it be to get skates off? Ten minutes later, I was still struggling with the skates. And sweating my ass off. Skating with seventy degree weather was just fucking weird. "You think Bree thought I was cool?" Seth asked as he held on to the side of the rink, watching me finally succeed in taking the skates off. That's what I heard her voice. "Edward?" I slowly turned around, fucking ice skates in hand, and gave Bella a tentative smile. "Bella, hey, what are you doing here?" Bella's gaze shifted towards Seth, then back to me, before speaking. "My friend Alice is obsessed with all things Christmas and forces me to go ice skating every year," she said while shaking her head with frustration. "Even when it's not Christmas and it's seventy degrees out. I'm not sure why I'm still friends with her." Bella laughed softly. "So, what are you doing here?" Seth smiled widely and reached his hand out over the rink. "Hi! I'm Seth. Are you a friend of Edward's?"
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"Hi, Seth. I might be a friend of Edward's. Are you?" Bella asked while shaking his hand. "Yeah! Edward is probably my best friend," Seth beamed. "Bella, this is Seth. My Little Brother." She looked confused. As she should be. "Seth is my Little Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters. We hang out every week or so," I explained as Seth left the rink to stand by Bella. "You're pretty," Seth confessed and stared at Bella, who blushed. Seriously? Who blushes after an 11 year old compliments them? And what happened to Seth being all nervous and intimidated around girls? "Okay, Romeo. Back off," I playfully scolded while grabbing Seth to pull him into a headlock. The confusion on Bella's face was quickly replaced with something else. "Can we go eat now?" Seth asked while easily taking off his skates. Little punk. "Bella, you want to come eat with us?" Seth asked cheerfully. "Uh..." Bella stared at me. "It's okay," I reassured her. "Seth, I'm sure she's busy." "No, it's not that. I mean, well, I guess it is that. I did just get here and Alice would kill me if I left her without falling on my ass a few times. I'm only here for her amusement," Bella joked and pointed towards her friend, the black-haired girl from Bella's profile picture. "Oh. So, Alice is the girl in your-" I suddenly stopped myself from admitting I tried to Facebook stalk her. Fuck. Bella eyed me cautiously for a second. "The girl in my what?" Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. "Can we go eat at that place with the sweet potato fries?" Seth interrupted. "Come on, Bella! Have you even tried sweet potato fries before? They are the bomb!"
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She kept her eyes on me as she said, "Actually, I love sweet potato fries. Where are you guys going to eat?" Seth's face lit up. "Smashburger! It's the most awesome burger place in the world! But if you don't like burgers, they also have Smashchicken and they have these super duper regular french fries with some sort of spice on them. I could eat ten pounds of the but my mom won't let me." "Well, after that shining review, how could I pass up the chance to eat at Smashburger?" Bella teased Seth. "Um, I'll tag along, if it's cool?" "I don't want you to get in trouble with your friend," I joked while pulling on the back of my neck. I knew I should have smoked a bowl before coming here. That would have helped with my fucking hangover and would have made this whole exchange a little less awkward. "She'll understand. Let me go tell her I'm leaving and I'll meet you guys in the parking lot," Bella instructed as she walked over to Alice. "Edward, do you like her?" Seth whispered once Bella was out of ear-shot. Running my hands through my hair, I said with an exasperated sigh, "I don't know her, Seth." That was as close to the truth as I could get. "Liar, liar," Seth teased. "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone." Me either, kid. Me either.

A/N: Seth was not lying about Smashburger. It's too amazing for words. Hopefully there is one located near you, because if not, that's just sad. Thanks for reading!

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Chapter 6
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Thanks to A Jasper For Me for beta love!

Chapter Six "I can't believe your dad shot someone!" Seth exclaimed, ignoring the glob of ketchup on his face. "It wasn't a real gun, just a taser," Bella explained with a smirk. Seth wasn't deterred. "Still, that's awesome!" "Pretty much," Bella agreed and took a small sip from her drink. "I must say, that truly was the best hamburger I've ever had. Thanks for letting me come." Our eyes stayed locked as she gave me a shy smile. "Bella should come eat with us every time!" Seth all but squealed. Bella laughed, or maybe giggled, and handed him a napkin for his face. "Jeez, Seth. Moving on so quickly? What happened to Bree?" I questioned. "Bree? She doesn't even know I exist," Seth pouted. "At least Bella will talk to me!" "Who wouldn't want to talk to you?" Bella asked, fighting a smile. "Can we go see a movie?" Seth asked innocently. "Not today, kid. I'm supposed to take you home, maybe another time." "Aw, man. I bet Bella wants to see a movie," Seth said, seeking an accomplice. "I'm sure Bella has to get home." "Hey, are you forgetting I ditched my friend for you guys? I'm gonna need a ride
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home," Bella pointed out. "Do you have any games at your house, Seth?" "Yeah, I have all these cool videos games for the Xbox that Edward bought me for Christmas!" "Well, maybe if you ask him nicely, he'll let us stay and play a few games." "Oh, please! Please, Edward, can we do that?" "Yeah, fine, whatever. Go clean your face, dude, then we can head out." Seth beamed and jumped up from the table, practically tripping over his chair. Okay, so he was a cool kid; my wingman, in a way. That didn't mean I was going to let him get his way with everything. "Was your friend pissed at you?" I asked, turning my attention back to Bella. "Alice? No. Lately, she's been bugging me to be more... spontaneous." This made me laugh. "Ah. I wasn't aware that eating a hamburger could be spontaneous." "Well, I hadn't planned on coming here today, with you no less. So yes, that's spontaneous for me." "Watch out. You're getting a little too crazy." Bella stared down at the table, slowly meeting my eyes. "Thanks for the warning."

I liked this Alice chick because whatever she said to Bella apparently worked. After our lunch date with Seth, the few times that I asked Bella to hang out, she accepted without hesitation. The only problem was that every time we went out, it ended up in disaster. Everywhere we went, someone threw up. Not me or Bella, but the people who were around us. It was the oddest fucking thing I had ever witnessed. She wasn't really disturbed by it though. You'd think she'd go all girl crazy and take it as some sort of sign from the universe that we shouldn't be hanging out. I thought girls were into signs and all that shit?
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Well, I, for one, took it as a sign that I should take her out to places that don't serve beer in a plastic cup. That might solve all of our problems with regurgitation. "I know I said we'd go somewhere decent, but I completely forgot that Esme is hosting dinner tonight," I said as Bella buckled her seat belt. She blinked. "Okay?" "So, we're going over there instead, if that's okay?" "That depends. Is Esme your wife?" "Would that make you more inclined to come with me?" "Not exactly." With a smirk I said, "She's my aunt." "Oh." "You look disappointed. Were you wishing I had said wife?" "No. That's fine. I just wasn't expecting to... I don't know, meet your family? That's kind of-" "Yeah, I fucking know. We can stop by, say hi and leave. This is going to be more painful for me anyway. Trust me." The drive to Carlisle and Esme's house was silent. I couldn't figure out if it was because she was nervous or just didn't care. The most awkward moments of the night: Esme: "Tell me, dear, what are your thoughts on children?" Carlisle: "You're the first girl Edward has ever brought home who didn't try to steal our silverware." Emmett (four glasses of wine later):"That's not entirely true. Remember the time Edward brought Chelsea over and Esme found them in the laundry room, naked? She couldn't have stolen any silverware. Where would she have put it?"
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Rosalie: "Which foundation do you use, Bella? I'm thinking you're using the wrong shade." It was fucking painful, yet every time I dared to glance at Bella, she was laughing right along with them. After dinner, we were all subjected to listening to Rosalie drone on about how hard it is to work the Clinique counter at Nordstrom. After that riveting, one-sided conversation, we were all subjected to watch Rosalie force Esme into taking pictures of her and Emmett. I didn't get it. Why do girls need to take pictures of everything they do? Who gives a fuck if you're eating dessert at PF Changs? Bella was talking to me about Seth when Esme walked over, camera in hand. "Let me take a picture of the two of you," Esme said kindly enough. "Uh, why?" "Be a sport, Edward," Esme chided. "It's okay," Bella said playfully. "Edward doesn't want to take a picture with me. Maybe he'd rather take a picture with Chelsea?" "Get over here," I said, grabbing her wrist and pulling her into my lap. Esme looked like she was about to have a coronary. I was just glad Carlisle was nearby. "Say cheese!" Bella had an arm wrapped around my neck and I had an arm wrapped around her waist. It was the closest I had ever come to feeling like I was in a relationship. Yet, it was all fake. The hard part is over, I thought. It was done. My family had finally met Bella and now everything else would fall into place. Clockwork. If only it were that simple.

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"You know what?" Bella asked, eyes lighting up the same way they did when she found an unopened bag of Goldfish under the seat in my car last week. "Nope, but I have a feeling you're about to tell me," I snickered, waiting for her to slap my arm or pout, but she just smiled even wider. "I know that we haven't been seeing each other for very long, but I can't stop thinking about you," she declared and stared at me expectantly. "Is that so?" It was all I could manage to spit out. My eyes traveled to her chest, her cleavage subtly peeking out to say hello. "Yes." She giggled causing her chest to shake. "I was thinking we should move in together. I know this is fast, but this just feels right. You know? Right?" "Right," I whispered, reached out for the waiter and ordered tequila. She couldn't be serious. It had been, what, three weeks? She hadn't even let me kiss her yet and she wanted to move in together? Bella glared at me while I pretended to be occupied with my phone until the waiter brought us our shots. "What's wrong, Edward? I thought you'd be happy. Aren't you looking for 'something serious'? That's what you told Carlisle that night at dinner, right?" The way she said my name and the last part of her sentence made me stop, beer mid-gulp. Her tiny arms were crossed, nostrils were flaring and she was staring at me like she knew something. Shit. She definitely knew something. "So it's true?" Bella asked with wide eyes. She took my silence as confirmation. "You mother fucker!" "Wait. What's true?" "Emmett wasn't lying." I grabbed her wrist and pulled her back down into her seat. "Will you just calm down? What are you freaking out about?"
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"You're only dating me so you can get your sticky little hands on your trust fund? Really?" Bella stared at me with so much disappointment that I almost laughed. Almost. Mother fucking Emmett. I set my beer on the table, dropped her wrist and held my hands up in defeat. "Well, when you put it that way, it doesn't sound great." Bella laughed and rolled her eyes. "There's no other way to put it. Admit it, you were using me!" "Admit it, you like me." "Nope, not going to admit any such thing." She laughed with disbelief. "So, like, you were just going to grab the money and run? Kick me to the curb? Fake your death?" Bella grabbed both of our shots and downed them, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "Oh, or were you just going to tell me you had a wife and kids, hoping I'd bail?" She was enjoying this a little too much. "I hadn't really planned it out that far but faking my death might have been the route to take." Looking thoughtful for a moment, she held her beer in the air as if she was making a toast and said, "To Edward. May he rest in peace." "Wait, Bella. I didn't think you'd be mad," I muttered, watching her throw cash down on the table, standing to leave. In all honesty, I really didn't think she'd be mad. I didn't think about her feelings at all cause, shit, I just really needed the money. Having Bella find out about this wasn't part of the plan. "Didn't think I'd be mad? God, you're more self-centered than I thought. Look, I left enough money to cover our drinks. That should help until you get your money." "That's not what...okay, I was an ass." "A huge ass," she said, without missing a beat. "The biggest ass in the world. But, would you just... will you help me out? Please?"
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"Unbelievable! Fuck you." Bella erupted and stormed out of the bar. "Shit. Shit, shit, shit!" I kicked the chair at the table next to me, ignored stares and promptly called Emmett. That fucker had some serious explaining to do.

A/N: Would you help the guy out or what? Leave some love! Thanks for reading :)

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Chapter 7
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Beta'd by A Jasper For Me. She's neat :)

Chapter Seven Thirty minutes and four shots later, Emmett finally showed up. "My fucking bro! Hey, pal! Buddy. How are you? How's Rose? How's your perfect life going with your perfect tits and perfect money?" "My perfect tits?" Emmett asked confused as I burst into laughter. "I meant Rose." "That makes a little more fucking sense. Whose got your panties in a wad?" "Bella. Why'd you fucking tell her about the money?" Emmett didn't even hesitate. "Oh. She overheard you talking to me on the phone the other day or something. She asked me about it and I told her the truth." I blinked. "Why in the hell would you do that?" "I really like her." "Okay? I really like money. I really need money." "Then find someone else," Emmett said, stealing my beer. I blinked again. "I don't have time for that shit! Carlisle and Esme already met her. It's easier this way." Emmett laughed and then pointed at me. "Rose was right. You really fucking like her." "What? She's nice to look at and she's funny but I do not like her. Fuck, Rose."
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"I already did, that's why it took me so long to get here. And you do like Bella. Can't lie to me, bro." I muttered for him to shut the fuck up and sunk down in the booth. "What am I gonna do now?" "Don't look at me." "Yeah," I scoffed and pulled my hair. "Like your advice has ever helped me." "Baby bro, chill. We'll figure this out." "How?" "You drink, I'll think. Plan B, comin' up." "What's plan B?" I asked cautiously. "B for Bella, duh." Emmett smiled proudly.

I not so stealthily stumbled the five blocks to Bella's apartment. She had only let me in her apartment once and that was because I had puke on my shoes from our first date. Knocking on her door, I waited. Few minutes later, I was still waiting. After knocking a few more times, I announced, rather loudly, to her closed door that I really had to urinate and hoped she didn't mind a little indecent exposure. My hands fumbled with the belt on my jeans before her door flew open. "What the fuck are you doing? My neighbors are going to call the cops!" "Then you better let me use your bathroom." "God, hurry!" she screamed and slammed the door. "Bathroom's on the left. Put the fucking seat down when you're done." Deciding against washing my hands with her girly, lavender scented soap, I skipped out to the living room and laid on her couch, her eyes narrowing towards me as if I had a bulls eye on my forehead.

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"Get your ass off of my couch, Cullen." "We need to talk, Swan," I said seriously. "We have nothing to talk about. Leave." "Bella, Bella. You don't want me to leave. I know you, and you're a little intrigued as to what I have planned." "It's been three weeks," she laughed. "You don't know me. At all." "Trust me, I do." Bella ignored my stare and said, "What do you want?" "I need you to help me." Bella laughed but sat down next to me, the heat from her body was warming. "At least we both agree on something." I glared. "No. I need help getting my inheritance." "Really? You're still trying to get me to help you with that?" "Why not? You have a nice ass and your tits are fun to look at." "Okay, you're not doing a good job convincing me. Why can't you just do this yourself? Isn't it your inheritance?" "Yeah, problem is my parents put Carlisle in charge of all of this before they passed. Their conditions are that Emmett and I graduate college, are at least attempting to find a job and are either married or have a serious relationship." "Wow." "Emmett's set, but I seem to have a little problem with the conditions." "Like finding a job?" she sneered. "And keeping a long-term relationship." Bella snorted and said, "You don't say? Why is that exactly?"
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I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Who knows?" "Uh-huh. Maybe your lying and scheming tendencies have something to do with it." My eyes were glued to her ass while she walked over to the fridge and pulled a beer out. I took note that she didn't offer me a drink. "Come on, really? I said I was sorry." "Actually, no you did not." "Alright, so I'm not sorry," I admitted while she shook her head in disbelief. "Look, just help me." Emmett's Plan B speech kept playing in my head. "If you're going to be a dick about this, then just pay the damn girl to be your girlfriend. Problem solved." "I can pay... you. I can give you some of the money," I slowly offered. Her eyebrows knit together and she bit her lip, thinking hard. Why did I ever think this would be a good idea? "So I'd be like a hooker?" I laughed at this thought. "We haven't hooked up, so no, not a hooker. I wouldn't be paying you to fuck me, unless that's what you wanted to do. I'd just pay you to pretend to be my girlfriend for a while." "Why can't you just find someone else?" "Carlisle and Esme already met you and they liked you. It would just be easier if we played this out a little longer. Oh," I pointed at her, "nice tits and ass, remember?" Bella smiled but it didn't reach her eyes, and I felt, for the first time in my life, guilty. Shit. Guilt and inebriation do not mix well. "I don't know," she replied again, teeth piercing her lower lip, which was causing my dick to twitch.
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"Come on. Just a few months." "How much?" "What?" "How much money are we talking about?" "Oh." For some odd reason, it never occurred to me that she would ask that question. "It's definitely a handful." "Spill it, Cullen." "One million," I said in one easy breath. Bella spewed her beer everywhere and I tried to keep from smiling. "Sorry. Um, okay. How much would I get?" "Emmett and I would split the mill," I gestured with my hands and she rolled her eyes, which I assumed was at my use of the term mill. "I want a fourth." Now it was my turn to fucking choke. "'Scuse me?" "You heard me. I want a fourth of your share." I jumped up and paced her tiny living room. "Do you know how much fucking money that is?" "Yes, Cullen. It was pretty easy to do the math on that one." "What are you going to do with all of that dough?" Bella hesitated. "I...shop a lot." Quirking an eyebrow, I glanced around her bare apartment, but decided not to ask. It was none of my business what she did with the money. "Okay." I smiled and stole a beer from her fridge. "Come on, we need to toast." Bella reluctantly walked to the kitchen and held her beer to mine as I spoke.
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"Congratulations. You're officially my girlfriend and you'll get a fucking fourth of my share." "Really," she said deadpanned. "Are you serious? I was half joking about that." I shrugged and clinked our beers together. "What can I say? I'm easy." "Yeah? Well I'm not. So keep your hands to yourself, Cullen." Pulling her in, my head fell into her neck and I let my lips linger as I spoke. "Really? I'd be willing to renegotiate your share." Bella's chest started to rise and fall and a lazy smile spread across my face, knowing exactly what I was doing to her. She pushed my chest away and stalked towards the front door. "We're done here. You can leave now." Leaning against her fridge, I sighed and said, "Are you coming to Esme's game night this weekend? She'll be devastated if you don't show up." "Maybe. I don't know. I'm busy." "Busy? Doing what? I'm your boyfriend now. You can only make plans with me." Bella snorted and opened the front door. "Maybe I'll meet you over there. If you're lucky." I slowly walked to her and leaned down, breathing her in. "Do you think I'll get lucky, Bella?" She looked up at me with her big, chocolate brown eyes and smiled from the corner of her mouth, then slammed the door in my face.

A/N: I know I'm posting this chapter early, but honestly? I'm just impatient. What do you think Bella really needs all that money for? Thanks for reading and I hope you're enjoying the story!

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:)

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Chapter 8
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Beta'd by the awesome A Jasper For Me!

Chapter Eight "Just laugh at everything I say," I instructed, going over the do's and don'ts for Esme's game night. Bella made a face and said, "But what if something isn't actually funny?" I glared at her. "It will be." "I don't know if I can trust you on that one. Why don't I just judge for myself if I'm going to laugh or not?" "Whatever. Uh, I don't do hand holding, so that's out of the question." Bella snickered and said, "Of course you don't..." "What's that mean?" I asked, watching her bend over to put her shoes on. "Of course a guy like you doesn't hold hands." "A guy like me?" "Yeah, a dick," she said easily. "You can't call me a dick in front of my family!" Bella smiled. "We aren't in front of your family. Besides, I doubt they'd blink an eye if I were to say that in front of them." I ignored her and went on. "What else? Oh. We can kiss at least once in front of them. No tongue, that's Emmett and Rosalie's thing." "That's awkward," she said in disgust. "And no, I don't do kissing."
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Walking over to her, I realized how short she actually is; I towered over her. "How is this going to look believable?" Bella leaned in close and whispered, "I don't kiss guys who aren't my boyfriend." "Lucky for you, I am." I smiled, grabbing her waist. She pulled back and arched an eyebrow. "I have an idea," she said. I waited. "Why don't I just act the exact same way I did at dinner a few weeks ago? That seemed to work." "You're too snarky," I said decidedly, dropping my hand. "I could never date a girl like you." "Oh, I believe that. Edward Cullen doesn't do dating," Bella mocked my voice. "Bella Swan doesn't do kissing." "At least my stipulation will keep me from contracting any communicable diseases," she snapped back. "Let's go," I said sternly. "We're going to be late." Bella tried to hide her laughter but failed. "This is going to be fun." I, for one, wasn't so sure about that.

A/N: I know, short chapter, but hopefully it made you laugh! Thanks for reading! :)

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Chapter 9
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter Nine "How do you wanna break the news?" I asked Bella in a low voice. "Exactly which news are you talking about?" "You know, that we're dating." "I'm beginning to realize why you've never had a girlfriend." Bella let out an exasperated sigh. "You make it sound like you're about to tell someone that their loved one died." Nudging her arm I said, "Seems fitting. I feel like a died a little... inside." She rolled her eyes but fought a smile as I asked, for the second time, how she wanted to go about this. "Are you wanting to make some huge announcement or something?" Bella produced a smirk as I hesitated. "No. Yes? I don't know. I don't do this." "I've noticed," she said quietly. "I don't think it's necessary to mail out an announcement or anything. I think everyone will understand what's going on when they see me accompanying you to certain events..." she trailed off, catching the clear doubt on my face. "I don't think you accompanying me anywhere will convince people that we are in a serious relationship." "Oh. Right. I keep forgetting that you're a man whore," she said sharply. "Okay, well. Just go with the flow." "Go with the flow?" I suspiciously asked as I tried to steal a glance of my family sitting in the den, most likely being forced to listen to Rosalie's new shampoo regimen.
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I can do this. I mean, how hard could it be? Pretending to date Bella shouldn't make me feel this...I don't even know how I felt. Bella caught my eye and smiled. "Oh my God. You're nervous! Edward Cullen is nervous." "No, I'm not," I said with a frown. "Yes, you are!" "Don't be ridiculous." "If my being right makes me ridiculous, then yes. I am being ridiculous." "Fuck off," I muttered under my breath. "Excuse me? No way. That is not going to work," Bella said sternly, pointing at me with her glass of Cabernet. "What?" "You can't tell me to fuck off! It's rude!" My laughter began to echo throughout the foyer. "If I'm not mistaken, you said the same thing to me less than five minutes ago regarding your dessert." "I take my dessert very seriously! It's cute and snarky when I tell you to fuck off, but it makes you look like an asshole when you say it. Which is precisely what we're trying to make you not look like, remember?" Okay, so she had a very italicized point. "Fine. I promise to be nice as long as you're good at Catch Phrase. I can't stand when Rosalie wins." "What makes you think-" Bella paused as she was interrupted by the sound of miniature dog barking. "What is that?" I asked as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a cell phone. "Well, well, well. Since when does Bella Swan own a cell phone?" A slight blush began to color her neck. "I picked it up earlier," she said, avoiding my gaze.
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"Sure." "No, seriously. Charlie paid for it. It's nothing fancy. What..." she narrowed her eyes as I stole the phone from her hands, "...are you doing?" "I've learned that you like to make the simplest of things difficult for me." Bella smiled triumphantly, ignoring the sound of my own phone ringing from my pocket. "Now I have your number." "Wonderful," she deadpanned. "You do know how to work this, right? I mean, it's a very complicated device. I can set time aside to show you how it all works." "Thank you," Bella said dryly. "I think I'll manage." "Come on. Let's go kick Rose and Emmett's ass in Catch Phrase." Edward: sup sexy? Bella: why the hell are you texting me when you're sitting right next to me? E: then why did u respond? B: did you mean to text someone else? smooth. E: jealous? B: you wish. E: 3 wishes & I waste one of them on you being jealous? don't think so. B: stop texting me. E: stop smiling B: stop being an idiot. & stop cheating at Monopoly! I have eyes, you know. E: do u? I'm usually too busy staring at ur tits B: your charm is too much for me to handle.
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E: that's not all that will be too much for u to handle ;) B: classy. we're sitting in a room with your family & you're texting me about your penis? E: penis? I said nothing abt my penis. I was talking abt my skills as the monopoly banker B: right. okay. the implication of the winking smiley was enough. E: whats w/ the grammar lesson? u know u can send a simple text, right? u won't be graded on this B: punctuation in texts is underrated these days. I mean, words deserve to be more than just abbreviations. E: why r u rambling? ur still thinking about my penis, aren't u? B: stfu. E: you abbreviated. I'm shocked. B: that was an acronym. E: w/e. is there an acronym for "ur tits look awesome in that shirt"? B: STOP. E: stop blushing. B: I'm not blushing. E: then u suddenly have a bad case of rosacea B: ... E: no, really. don't panic. we have a doctor in the house E: are u ignoring me? E: I was joking abt ur rosacea
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E: its cute B: stop wasting all of my texts. Emmett to Edward: you two gonna text each other all night like a bunch of middle school pussies? Edward: fuck off. btw, I need u to give me park place Emmett: why would I do that? Edward: Bella has a hotel on boardwalk & I have to win. c'mon dude, u cheat for Rosalie all the time Emmett: she puts out Edward: asshole Emmett: I've tried but she's not into that Edward: that's not what I've heard BPOV Bella: I'm here. Alice: here? as in outside my apt? B: no! at Edward's uncle's house, er, mansion. whatever. Emmett just randomly punched the shit out of Edward's arm... A: random? & don't act like you're not impressed w/the mansion B: I can't believe I'm doing this. A: believe it. you like him & you're getting paid. win/win. B: shut up. A: Bella likes Edward B: shut up. I have to go partake in game playing now.
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A: is that code for something? B: board games. A: not nearly as interesting as what I thought B: it's better than watching you & Jas make out during Legally Blonde. A: not my fault if your eyes weren't on the tv! B: who the hell can make out during that movie, anyway? A: Luke Wilson does things to me. at least, in that movie anyway B: ew. stop. Edward is glaring at me. I'm supposed to pay attention to him. ttyl. A: huh? B: glaring... attention... talk to you later... A: oh. ppl still do that? B: do what? A: type shit like that. "ttyl" B: omg. you're such a bitch. BYE A: lylas B: I hate you. EPOV "I have an announcement to make." "Oh, God." Bella groaned beside me, covering her face with her hand. "You're gay?" Emmett asked loudly. Bella snorted behind her hand. I'm so glad my brother and fake girlfriend are so mature.
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"No. Actually, Bella and I-" "Aren't actually dating?" Rosalie said this time. "She's your beard, right?" "Beard?" Esme leaned over and asked Carlisle, who just shook his head in response. "No, dammit! I'm not gay, Bella isn't my beard, she isn't pregnant, we aren't getting married and I'm still pissed that I lost in Monopoly!" I fumed. The room went silent. "Yeah, so, that's my boyfriend," Bella said quietly, creating laughter throughout the dining room. Esme beamed. Like, literally, her overall demeanor changed and the color of her skin suddenly became brighter. "That's wonderful!" I sank back down into my chair. "How the fuck did you do that?" I asked Bella, who was trying really hard not to laugh. She batted her lashes before tilting her head back to laugh. "Clearly you're not good at this sort of thing. You'll catch on soon enough." "You look really pretty tonight," I whispered. Not because I was playing a game or because anyone else was listening. I just said it because...I wanted to? Cause it was the truth. That shut her up. Fast. "See? You're already better at this whole dating thing than you think." With that, Bella excused herself from the table, disappearing down the hallway. Well, shit. I'm not sure if I should consider that a good thing or a bad thing. All I really knew was that things suddenly felt different. I didn't like it at all.

A/N: Sorry for taking so long to update. They are obviously going to fall for each other but who do you think will crack first? Thanks for reading :)
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Chapter 10
Disclaimer: do I really have to? No copyright infringement intended. Huge thanks to A Jasper For Me and Cullen Confection (check out her story, link down below!) for the awesome pre-reading & beta skills. I really suck but I think they still like me.

Chapter Ten So, I lied. I didn't actually mind what was going on between Bella and me. She was pretty chill, so tolerating her was easy. She got along with my friends and could probably out-drink me. She also didn't put up with my shit, which was a nice change compared to every other girl I had been around. What I was trying to say was I liked Bella. But, this wasn't news to me. I obviously had some sort of attraction, some pull towards her. Otherwise, we wouldn't be in this situation right now. Her ass also had a lot to do with the attraction, not going to lie. So when Ben invited me and a few other friends to stay at his parents cabin for the weekend, I automatically felt sick. Not my normal reaction to a weekend full of gun powder and binge drinking. The only thing I could think of that would make me feel uneasy was the fact I knew Ben would be there with Angela. I also knew Emmett would never walk across the street by himself, let alone leave the fucking city without Rosalie. Did this mean I was supposed to invite Bella? According to Emmett, yes. According to me, it meant Bella had the opportunity to say no; reject my invitation. When I spilled all of this to Emmett over sushi at Uchi, he almost choked on his spicy tuna roll from laughing so hard.
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After settling down, he asked, "Since when do you care if a girl rejects you?" "Since never having been rejected before, and it would ruin my streak. Obviously." I explained as I intricately dipped my roll into the soy. "I bet she's already going anyway. Isn't she friends with Angela, Ben's girlfriend?" This was true. Why hadn't I thought of that? "How do you remember so much shit about Bella?" Emmett shrugged. "I just listen. You gonna eat that?" Pushing the rest of my Alaskan roll towards him, I pulled at my hair. "It's this weekend, you know." "Yeah. I know." Emmett fell silent, knowing I was no longer speaking of the camping trip. "Does Bella know?" I shook my head, letting my voice drop to almost a whisper. "She knows they passed away but not the details; not the date." "Guess you aren't going to make it to the annual dinner and therapy session Esme has planned this weekend?" "Do I ever?" I scoffed. Emmett knew I never attended that shit. I knew it broke Esme's heart and Carlisle considered it disrespectful, but I couldn't handle the pseudo-therapy over a five course meal. Besides, I didn't like the fact they hardly ever brought my parents up, save for that day. I thought about my parents more than I liked to admit, so honoring them only three hours out of the year seemed like more disrespect to me than anything. Emmett brought me out of my thoughts as he said, "I think C works this weekend. We can do something with them when we get back." "Sounds good. You should be the one to tell them though." "I'll call Esme tomorrow," Emmett said easily. "Oh, and you should invite Bella. Text her or something."
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"Why are you so adamant on me inviting her?" "Because I know you fucking want her to go, but you're too much of a pussy to actually invite her." Emmett being right all the time was getting old, fast. Edward: plans this wknd? Bella: I work until 9pm Friday, off the rest of the weekend. E: you going to that rock place w/ Ben & gf? B: Enchanted Rock? lol yes & her name is Angela. I'm assuming Ben invited you? E: yea. me, Em & Rose are going. prob some other ppl u don't know B: cool. make sure your aunt & uncle know that we're spending the wknd together. that should look good for your little plan. E: yea, that's what I was thinking. we can pick you up after work so you don't have to drive out there alone. B: I can drive myself. E: not an option. I don't trust your truck. B: well, then don't you drive it E: give it up, Bella. B: I have to head back to Austin early Sunday afternoon to visit my Gram, that's why I need my own transportation, k? E: that's fine. I can drive u back early. Em & Rose can ride back w/ Ben. i'm trying to be nice. B: lol whoa, okay, if you insist. E: good girl. see you friday night. I glanced up to let Emmett know Bella was in and caught him staring at me.
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"What are you looking at?" I asked, letting my smile fade. "Nothing. She in?" "Yeah, she is." "Good. Tell her she better be prepared to listen to Journey's Greatest Hits or else she's walkin'." The week passed by quickly and I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. Before I knew it, it was Friday and for some reason I was fucking nervous. After picking up Bella from work, the four of us were on our way to Ben's parents' cabin in Fredericksburg. "Have any of you been to Enchanted Rock before?" Bella asked, more for the conversation, less because she actually cared. Rosalie, who was seated in the passenger seat due to her "car sickness", snorted. "Oh, yeah. Fresh air, hiking and nature. We just love Enchanted Rock." "Remind me again why you came along?" I snapped from the driver's seat. Bella caught my eye roll in the rear-view mirror. "Ask your brother," she said icily. Emmett snaked a hand over Rosalie's seat, touching her shoulder. "Bonding, baby. Bonding." "Right. Bonding," she said in a bored tone. The next hour and a half was spent listening to Emmett and Bella fight over which Journey song was better while Rosalie snored. In her defense, she has a deviated septum, and it was pretty late at night to be taking a road trip. As we pulled into the mile long driveway of the cabin, Bella sat up a little straighter and let out a whistle. "You said cabin and I pictured a one bedroom shack. This does not qualify as a cabin, whatsoever."
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I had to agree, even I was impressed. After struggling to wake Rose, the four of us emptied the car and walked into the house. "I was getting a little worried about you guys," Ben said as he opened the door for us. "Nice place, man," Emmett said. "Thanks. My parents just had it renovated. Hope it was easy to find in the dark." Ben smiled, and hugged Bella. Since when were they close enough to greet with hugs? "So, Angela is already asleep." Ben and Bella both laughed. "Eric and Tyler are out back drinking." Emmett smiled widely. "Sweet. What are we waiting for?" "The room situation," Ben started, and I heard Bella groan next to me. "Angela and I have the room downstairs. There are three upstairs; two are left. I'll let y'all duke it out for the bigger one," Ben said in a breezy tone. "Unpack or whatever and meet us out back." "Sounds good," I said as I grabbed Bella's bag from her shoulder. "So..." "What?" I asked, trying not to smile. I knew what she was worried about. "Is something wrong, Bella?" Rosalie smiled sweetly. "The bedroom situation shouldn't be a problem, right?" Bella had trouble, but finally smiled back. "Not at all." "Good. You know, since you and Edward are dating. It only makes sense that you two share a room." I had a bad fucking feeling Rosalie knew what was going on, but instead of making a scene, I nudged Bella's shoulder and pointed her in the direction of the stairs.
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"Let's go pick the room with the biggest bathroom. That'll really piss Rose off," I said loudly as Bella laughed. After we unpacked a few things, we all spent the night sitting on the patio around the fire, drinking and fucking around. I tried not to drink too much, knowing the alcohol would only intensify my emotions. Being here with everyone was the last place I wanted to breakdown. Em knew what this date meant, but no one else knew what we went through on this date years ago. I knew it was about time for me to make an exit before anyone realized I wasn't drinking anymore or really joining in the conversations going on around me. I used the excuse of using the bathroom and left everyone on the patio. I went to the bathroom down the hall from the room Bella and I were going to share, then went to the bed and laid down with my arm draped over my face. I stared at the ceiling, lost in thought, lost in memories, lost in the blank space that had existed since the accident. Not sure how much time had passed, I heard footsteps in the hall. The next thing I knew, the bedroom door opened. "There you are." Bella's warm voice filled the room before the light blinded me. "What are you doing in here?" "Tired," I mumbled, covering my face with the blanket. I felt the bed shift as she crawled towards me. "Really?" "Yes, really. Turn the light off." Bella scoffed as she hopped off the bed to turn the light off, then jumped back onto the bed. "What are you brooding about?" she whispered. "Not brooding," I said without missing a beat. She giggled, pulling the covers off my face. "Of course you are. I know brooding when I see it."
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"You're drunk," I said with my eyes closed. "You smell like whiskey." "You smell like whiskey." "Good one," I deadpanned. "If you aren't going to sleep..." "Oh, you're no fun." She sighed and slid under the covers. "You were a champ earlier with those drinking games." Bella shrugged. "Why are you being anti-social?" "You don't want to know." "Yes, I do." "Emmett probably already told you with that big fucking mouth of his," I snapped. Even in the dark, I could feel her eyes on me. "Today is the anniversary of my parent's death. It's been 12 years, to the day." She shifted a little closer. "Oh." "Yeah. Car accident. Head on." "Edward..." Rolling over to face the wall, I said, "Don't, Bella. You don't have to say anything. It was a long time ago." "That's awful," she whispered, her voice breaking on the last word. Waiting a full thirty seconds, I sat up and poked her shoulder. "Jesus, Bella. Are you crying?" "No, I just-" She wiped at the corners of her eyes. "I knew your parents passed away, but I didn't know how. You miss them." It wasn't a question. "Of course I do, but even before the accident, Emmett and I spent most of our time with Carlisle and Esme. My dad traveled a lot for work, and my mom didn't want to take care of us on her own. We were sent to boarding school in Austin when
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I was eight." Bella finally sat up, sitting Indian-style, and faced me. "Seriously? Boarding school?" "It wasn't that big of a deal. It's not like they didn't love us. They were busy trying to give us a certain lifestyle." Bella wasn't buying it. "But it's-" "Not a big deal. Like I said." "So were you not close with your parents? I mean, did you ever see them?" I nodded. "Holidays, yeah. Emmett and I weren't close with my father; he preferred it that way. My mother was..." I trailed off, wondering if I should allow myself the memory. "I remember I always sat on the counter as she baked. There was one time she allowed me to eat the leftover icing before Emmett could get his hands on it. She said it was because I was her favorite, but I had a feeling she used to tell Emmett the same thing." Even though I could barely see her in the dark, I knew Bella was smiling, waiting to hear more. But that was all I could share. As if I hadn't faltered, I cleared my throat and put my wall back up without hesitation. "Why do you give Carlisle and Esme such a hard time?" she questioned. "I would be more concerned if I didn't give them a hard time." I smiled slightly. "They know I appreciate them." "Do they actually know though?" I shrugged. "What time do we need to leave on Sunday?" It took her a second to realize the conversation about my parents was over. "Ten would be good." "Ten it is," I said quietly. "I really am going to bed though. Knowing them," I nodded towards the door, "they will all be up for a few more hours, so feel free..."
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"No," she said, a little too quickly. "I'm tired and don't feel like being hungover tomorrow." "Okay." "Okay," she repeated. Before she could lie back down, I pulled her shoulders into me and hugged her tightly. "Thank you," I mumbled against her hair. I wasn't exactly sure why I was thanking her and that was kind of weird. Maybe it was for listening to me talk about my parents. Maybe it was for agreeing to this fucked up deal. Maybe it was for putting up with my shit. Any of those would have sufficed, but, for some reason, Bella never questioned what I was thanking her for. After the initial shock wore off, she wrapped her arms around my neck, squeezing me once. "You're a good guy, Edward," she whispered into my ear before pulling back. I stared at her, really stared at her, and realized I really fucking liked hugging her. "We should get some sleep," I said, clearing my throat. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right. Goodnight." Bella sighed as she crawled under the covers. "Hey," I whispered as I stared at the ceiling. "I'm glad you're here." "Me too," she murmured, on the verge of sleep. "Thanks for telling me, Edward." Unfortunately for me, sleep did not come easily. That was, until Bella rolled over a while later and nuzzled into my side. I listened to her soft, shallow breathing and only hoped that tomorrow I could forget about all of this.

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A/N: Sometimes it's nice to be vulnerable. Thanks for reading! Don't forget to check out Boys of Fall by Cullen Confection! http:/www[dot]fanfiction[dot]net/s/6507291/1/Boys_of_Fall

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Chapter 11
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Thanks to: A Jasper For Me & Cullen Confection for the beta love, Mojo40 for pre-reading & ttharman for giving me the ok on the lemon. Oh ya, heads up: citrusy!

Chapter Eleven The next morning, I awoke with a slight hangover and an empty bed. I had to admit I was a little disappointed. Disappointed Bella was no longer sleeping next to me. Disappointed I let my guard down and told her about my parents. Disappointed I slept next to her and didn't try anything. Groggily crawling out of the bed, I grabbed a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt from my bag before walking into the bathroom. I used my time in the shower to...gather my thoughts, which would not have included Bella, except her fucking strawberry scented shampoo filled the shower; I had no choice. I imagined her tight little pussy as I fucked her from behind. I imagined pounding into her as she moaned into the mattress, ass in the air as I gripped her hips. I tightened the grip around my cock as I growled, releasing every bit of tension I had. When I was finished, I stood under the scalding hot water and tried to clear my head before turning the water off. Quickly drying myself off, I tossed my towel over the shower and ran a hand through my wet hair. I walked out into the hallway and involuntarily smiled when I heard Bella's giggle echoing through the house. Walking into the kitchen, Emmett gave me a meaningful look, to which I just nodded. That was the only exchange we would have regarding yesterday's date. It was all we needed. "So, what'd you make me?" I rubbed my stomach and smiled innocently at Bella before she threw a grape at my face.
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"What didn't we make? We have eggs, bacon, pancakes and oatmeal. Oh, and thanks to Bella, we have a plate full of burned toast," Emmett explained as Ben and Rosalie quietly laughed. Bella huffed and puffed as her face began to simmer. "It's not burned! It's just-" "Completely black," Emmett interrupted. "No! Are you color blind? That is brown!" "Dark brown," Ben added this time. Bella snatched the toast from the plate to examine it. "Whatever! It's-" "Just the way I like it, thank you very much." I grabbed the clearly burned toast from her tiny hands and tossed it on my plate. The kitchen was silent, except for the sound of bacon sizzling in the skillet. Everyone stared with their mouths agape as I added butter and jelly to the piece of bread that could have easily passed for charcoal. "What?" I asked. "Why the fuck are you guys staring at me?" "Edward? You like burned toast?" Bella asked flatly. "Now she admits it," Emmett said with a sigh. "It's not burned," I lied for her sake. Everyone grimaced as I took a bite of the bread, tiny black crumbs falling in my lap. Bella shrugged her shoulders, giving up on her curiosity. "I'm gonna go see what's taking Angela so long." "Good idea." Ben's smile was plastered on his face as he waited for Bella to be out of ear-shot. "Okay, Romeo. What's going on?" "Huh?" "You're up to something," Emmett added while whisking the eggs like he was Bobby fucking Flay.
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"Can't a guy enjoy his breakfast without having an ulterior motive?" "Yes, a normal guy can. But you're not normal, and you're up to something. Now, spill," Rosalie argued and pulled my plate away. "Emmett, tell your girlfriend to back off before I yank the extensions from her head," I said while calmly pouring a glass of orange juice, no pulp. "No, dude, she's right. Why are you eating Bella's burned toast?" I glared at Emmett, silently telling him to back the fuck off. "Emmett won't eat slightly browned toast even if I cut off the crust," Rosalie pointed out while Ben laughed and called Emmett a pussy. I cleared my throat and said, "You were embarrassing her. I felt bad for the girl, so I ate her burned toast, okay? Big deal." Rosalie's eyes grew wide. "It is a big deal! Since when do you care if someone is embarrassed or not?" "Jeez, Rose. Cut me some slack." I cleared my throat. "I'm not a complete asshole." Huh. I wondered if that sounded slightly believable. Rosalie snorted. "You were a complete asshole when we were at that art show with Tanya and she walked out of the bathroom with her dress tucked in her underwear. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you were the one to point it out to everyone!" "Come on, it's not like everyone else didn't notice," I said, defending myself and failing miserably. Emmett doubled over with laughter and added, "What about the time that Kate chick tripped in the mall and twisted her ankle while getting off the escalator? You laughed so hard you made the poor girl cry." "Please. She was crying because she twisted her fucking ankle! You cry when you get a splinter in your finger. Pussy." "You definitely have no problem being a complete asshole," Ben confirmed.
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"Sue me. I get a good laugh at other people's expense," I admitted, stealing my plate back from Rose. "Except when it comes to Bells," Emmett frowned and pointed the whisk at me. "Bells? Since when do you refer to her as Bells? What's the point to all of this?" "You might just actually like her, and not just so you can get the money," Rose said assuredly, obviously proud of her realization. "Wait, what did you say?" Ben suddenly asked. And it dawned on me; Rosalie knew. Rosalie fucking knew about everything. Shit. Mother fucking Emmett. I narrowed my eyes at Emmett's back as he cheerfully flipped an omelet, clearly not registering what his big mouth girlfriend had just revealed. Rosalie coughed to clear her throat, clearly embarrassed of her slip-up. "What is Rosalie talking about? What money?" Ben asked. There was no use in lying. If I were smart, I would have come up with a back-up plan in case anyone were to overhear the conversation. Scratch that. I was a smart mother fucker. I just didn't think my idiot brother would run off and tell his precious girlfriend about my scheme. Fuck. Scratch that, too. If I were smart, I wouldn't have told my idiot brother. "There's no use in lying," Rosalie whispered, cutting off my inner-monologue. "Edward is trying to get the money his parents left him and Emmett after they died." "So, what does that have to do with Bella?" Ben asked, still confused. Honestly, it wasn't that confusing, was it? "Carlisle and Esme can't, or I guess won't, give me the money unless I'm in a serious relationship. I met Bella the night I found out that little bit of information, so I figured why not..."
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"Are you fucking kidding me?" Ben half-laughed as he stood up. "Unbelievable." Emmett blocked Ben's path and said, "Listen man, I dislike it as much as any of you. But you should know, Bella agreed to this." Ben's jaw slightly dropped. "Does Angela know?" "No, and she isn't going to know," I said clearly. "Emmett was the only other person who was supposed to know about this, but apparently that was too hard of a task." "How long are you going to date?" "Fuck, I don't know. Until Carlisle and Esme assume we're going to pick out a china pattern?" "What the hell, dude?" Dropping my head I muttered, "I know it looks fucked up." "No, it is fucked up. If you hurt Bella, I-" Rolling my eyes and tuning him out, I said, "I don't need any threats, okay? I get enough of those from Grease Monkey." "I don't give a shit." "Come on, man. She's not going to get hurt. To be honest, I don't think she really even likes me all that much." "And why would she? The past five minutes were spent discussing your asshole behavior," Rose added before she left the kitchen. "You can't tell, Angela. The less people know, the better. Please," I pleaded with Ben. Ben glanced between me, Emmett and the frying pan. "I'm not going to be part of this." "You don't have to be. Shit, we don't want you to be a part of this," I reasoned. "We just need you to keep your mouth shut."
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Ben wasn't falling for it. "Were you bullshitting me? Does Bella really know about this?" Nodding, I said, "Of course. She agreed. She knows." "Well, technically, she didn't at first," Emmett felt the need to add. "But once Edward explained he'd pay her, she was all for it." "Right. She's getting paid." Ben laughed humorlessly. "You realize this is fucked up, right?" "Yes," Emmett and I both said in unison. "What's fucked up?" Angela asked as she walked into the kitchen with Bella trailing behind her. "Emmett burned all of this toast," I said quickly, causing Bella to laugh and Ben to roll his eyes as he walked out of the kitchen. "Good job. We're trying to get to Enchanted Rock before sunset, so we'll be heading out around two," Angela explained. Three hours later, the eight of us piled into Ben's Tahoe and made the trip to Enchanted Rock. I wasn't actually looking forward to it, but Bella seemed a little excited, so I didn't mind. Also, the joint in my pocket was going to make it a little more exciting. We each paid the six dollars to get into the park before we piled out of the vehicle and made our way to one of the many trails. "Look what I have." Emmett pulled out a blunt from his shirt pocket, causing Eric to attempt a cartwheel only to faceplant. "Hey," I called out to Bella, signaling her over with my finger. "Want some?" She stared at the joint in my hand and glanced towards the group as they walked ahead of us. "What about them?" "Emmett brought a blunt. They'll be good sharing that. I hope." "Okay."
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Bella and I stayed a good twenty yards behind everyone as I lit the joint, inhaled and passed it to her. "Such a fucking nice day out," I commented lamely as she held the joint between her fingers. She inhaled and said, "I know," then exhaled and coughed. "Nice." We passed the joint between the two of us a couple more times before Bella's eyes began to glaze over and she shook her head, refusing another hit. I put the joint out on a rock and carefully placed it in my pocket. Maybe I'd smoke the rest on the way back to the car. "Why the fuck are they walking so fast?" I asked suddenly. Bella just shrugged. "I have no idea. The one place people are expected to take leisurely strolls, and they are speed walking." This had me in hysterics. "Leisurely strolls? Bella, honestly. When have you ever taken a leisurely stroll?" Bella stared at me for a second before she was also in hysterics. "I don't even know. I guess right now counts or something." She sighed. "I'm so fucking thirsty." "I didn't realize this would be such a fucking hike," I said, slightly out of breath. "Oh, I almost forgot." I pulled a Naked Mighty Mango bottle of juice from my pocket. "Oh my God, I love you right now." Bella squealed, stealing the bottle from my hands. I watched as she unscrewed the cap, brought the bottle to her lips and tilted her head back to thirst her quench. I mean, quench her thirst. "What?" She laughed as she wiped her mouth. "Nothing," I lied. "Don't even think about drinking all of that," I warned. After we finally made it to the top of rock, or mountain, whatever the fuck it was, we all wandered around, staring in awe at the amazing view.
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Finding a secluded area, which was hard to do since people apparently loved this place, I sat down and let my feet hang over the edge as I pulled the leftover joint from my pocket. "Whoa, watch the fuck out!" I snapped at Bella, who knelt down to sit next to me. "Chill." "Well, it would be a fucking shame if you fell; that's all I'm saying," I said, shaking my head. Letting her feet dangle over the edge next to mine, Bella leaned close to me and said, "Thanks for eating the toast earlier. It was really weird, but nice of you." "It wasn't that bad." "Oh, give it up, Edward! It was awful." "You're right. It was awful. Next time we cook, you're not allowed in the kitchen, you hear me?" "No argument there." When we made it back to Ben's place, the evening was spent grilling, drinking and shooting our beer cans with a 12 gauge. I have to admit, watching Bella handle a firearm was fucking hot. She was a natural, too, claiming she was taught how to handle firearms because her father had been Chief of Police in Washington. Either way, I was hard, and I was pretty sure the other guys were, too. When we were all sufficiently full of brisket and whiskey, the girls went inside to do whatever it was girls do while we stayed outside to smoke a bowl. A little later, I was getting tired of the cock fest so I made my way to the bedroom. I undressed down to my boxers in a matter of seconds and crawled into the bed Bella and I were sharing, assuming she was already asleep. "Bella," I whispered close to her ear. "Bella, are you asleep?" "No," she breathed, turning her body so my lips were almost touching hers.
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"Oh. I thought you'd be asleep," I said lamely. Shaking her head, she scooted a little closer to me. All I could think about was how fucking hot she was with that shotgun earlier. "Why are you shaking?" I asked quietly. "I'm not. I'm not," she repeated for some reason. "I can't sleep," I admitted. "Me either." "I also can't stop thinking about you." Silence. It sounded like a fucking lame line, and I was pretty sure that's what she thought. But it was the goddamn truth. Letting my hand snake down between us, I stared in her eyes through the darkness, waiting for her to object. She didn't. So I pushed further, letting my fingers hook around the edge of her underwear and, fuck, was she wet and warm. I just needed to be in her, somehow. "Hey, Bella?" I asked with a smirk. All she could do was nod. "I was thinking, you know, maybe we could...have a little fun?" I asked smugly. "Okay." She breathed and lifted her hips slightly, granting me access. I pushed her underwear to the side and slid one finger in her, then two. She gasped out in relief, or something, and melted into the bed. My lips found her neck as she moaned, and I had to smile. With my teeth biting her earlobe, she squirmed around the bed as I rubbed her clit incredibly slow. "Oh my- fuck," she panted with each rub of my thumb. "Feel good?" "Yes. Yessss."
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Bella's hand reached down and found its way into my boxers. "Fuck," I hissed as she grabbed on to me. "You need to fuck me now." I didn't need to be told twice. I hopped off the bed, almost twisting my fucking ankle, and grabbed a condom out of my bag. I rolled it on as Bella threw her shirt on the floor then straddled me, sliding down my cock in one swift move. "Oh, shit," I said in shock. "Fuck, fuck, fuck." Bella let out a laugh or a moan as she leaned down and let her lips linger on my neck, breathing warm air all over me. I let my lips find hers and kissed her, hard, while wrapping my hands around the back of her head. It wasn't lost on me that this was the first time we had kissed. She pulled away and sat up, so I did too, keeping myself in her. Bella held on to my neck as she pumped up and down. I pushed her hair out of her face, off her sweaty forehead. I kissed her again, because I wanted to; because it felt right. "Bell, slow down," I said with a small laugh. I wanted this to last. I needed to fucking last. "No," she pumped faster, scratching my neck with her fingernails. I wrapped an arm around her and threw her on her back, so she was lying under me. I pushed, infuriatingly slow, into her and smiled. "Stop," she snapped. "Just fuck me." "I am." "No, you're not." "I'm in you. I am fucking you," I said, starting to get annoyed. What the fuck was she talking about?
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"No," she said again, this time with a glare. "You're not. Just make me come." That pissed me off. I grabbed onto the headboard and began thrusting as she twisted her hands in my hair. "Is this better? You want it rough, huh?" "Yes," she said a little louder, wrapping her ankles around my waist, making me push deeper. "Yes." Not even a minute later, she was squirming under me, cursing and making the most beautiful fucking sound I'd ever heard. With one hand holding onto the headboard and the other holding on to her hip, I pushed and growled as I came harder than I ever had before. "Fuuuck, Bella," I panted as I dropped my head on her shoulder. I laid there for a minute, letting our bodies stick together and just breathed her in. Slowly pulling out, I kissed along her jaw before walking to the bathroom to clean up. When I got back Bella was gone, which I assumed was to use the bathroom down the hall. I fell asleep before she made it back.

A/N: Surprised? Yeah, so am I. I didn't have any intentions of letting them sleep together for a while. Poor MoJo40 had to endure an email from me that more or less stated that these two "really need to fuck". Hope that isn't too crude; it was the truth.

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Chapter 12
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. A Jasper For Me beta'd. She's awesome. Thanks to Mojo40 and avidreader69 for prereading the shit outta this thing. I apologize to all three of them for my tendency to ramble.

Chapter Twelve I could feel Bella's back against mine as the morning light forced me awake. Slowly turning towards her, I watched her chest rise and fall. As fascinating, and a bit creepy, as that was, I couldn't help but think back to last night. She stirred, slightly angling herself closer to me, and I smiled. Adjusting myself, I ignored my urge to bend her over the bed and glanced at my phone to check the time. "Bella," I whispered in her ear. "Wake up. We have to leave soon." She grumbled something along the lines of I'm up, but it was hard to understand her as she pulled the comforter over her head. Apparently, she wasn't a morning person. "You know," I started slowly, "I can think of a few ways to help you wake up." Pulling the blanket away from her face, I pushed my body against hers and nuzzled my head in her neck. "I'm good," she said with a yawn and eyes still closed. "Yeah, you are good." I smiled against her cheek. Half a second passed with no response, which was funny considering how responsive she was to my charm last night. "We can eat breakfast here, or we can pick something up on the way," I said as I stretched my arms above my head. If I wasn't going to get my dick wet, the next best thing was food. Obviously.
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"I'm not hungry," she mumbled and crawled out of the bed with one eye open. "Are you okay?" I asked, replaying last night and recalling that she came. Why was she already in such a pissy mood? "Definitely," she said coolly before shutting the bathroom door. Fifteen minutes later when Bella was finished hogging the bathroom, I gathered our two bags and made sure we didn't leave anything behind. I watched, with a smirk, as Bella removed the sheets from the bed and tossed them into a pile on the floor. "I'm pretty sure Ben's parent's have a maid who does that." Bella, who didn't find it nearly as funny, growled and snatched her bag from my possession. Note to self: get the poor girl coffee, asap. An hour into the drive, fewer words had been exchanged than when we had woken up. Something was bothering her, that much was obvious. But if she wouldn't talk to me, how was I supposed to find out what was wrong? "This is an awesome song," I said and pointed at the stereo, as if she didn't know where the music was coming from. Bella sighed, her focus never leaving her invigorating game of Angry Birds. Honestly, I didn't see the appeal of that game. It seemed pointless and a huge waste of time. But for some reason, I knew if I ever actually tried playing, I'd become hooked. That's why I stayed far, far away. From Angry Birds, I mean. "What's up with you?" I finally asked. "You're killin' me." "Nothing." Typical female answer. "Sorry if I'm doing a horrible job at entertaining you." "You're acting weird." "Are you upset because I'm not joining you in the stimulating conversation about this awesome song?" Bella put her feet up and laughed, her less than white converse marking my dashboard with traces of dirt.
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Well, I didn't think it was very fucking funny. I also didn't think it was very polite for her to put her shoes on my dash, but I kept my fucking mouth shut. When we finally made it to Austin, I watched as Bella carefully entered her grandmother's address into my GPS. She silently put it back in the holder, motioning for me that it was ready. "You didn't tell me your grandmother lived in a nursing home," I said as I pulled up in front of The Summit. It was definitely in a nicer part of town and must have cost a pretty penny. "Assisted living," she mumbled. "Thanks for leaving early to give me a ride." "Yeah, no problem," I said easily as I unbuckled my seat belt and turned the car off. Bella's eyes went wide. "What do you think you're doing?" "I have to pee really fucking bad." "Emmett's place has a bathroom," she said with no emotion. "That's twenty minutes away," I replied flatly and, to be honest, a little annoyed. "I can't hold it." The last part wasn't true though; I didn't have to pee that bad. But seeing how worked up she already was from merely mentioning going inside, well, I'd be lying if I said I didn't find it amusing. "Oh my God, you're like a child. Gas stations have restrooms," she explained, as if I didn't already know this. "Yeah. They also have used condoms lying around, disease infected toilet seats and a floor that looks as though someone's water broke." "Why would you need to sit on the seat? I thought you had to pee. And," she pointed at me, "the most germ infected thing in a bathroom is usually the faucet handles or soap dispenser." "Lucky for me, I don't wash my hands." "You're gross."
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"I'm not gross; I'm joking. But my jokes are less than funny because I can't focus on anything other than the fact that my bladder is about to explode." Bella sighed and got out of the car. "You're so dramatic. Fine. You're in, you're out, you're gone." "Thanks so much for granting me permission to use a public restroom." "It's not a public restroom," she said while shoving her hands deep in the pockets of her cut-off shorts. As we walked in, we were greeted by some older lady sitting behind a desk with a pen behind her ear and a cup of Campbell's tomato soup in her hand. "Isabella! How are you today?" "I'm okay." Bella shrugged. "How's Gram?" "She's with your father right now," the lady said quietly. "He's been here for an hour." Cringing, I watched as she sipped her soup as if it were a beverage. Soup in a cup always freaked me out. What's the point of drinking your food? It was an odd concept for me to get my head around. "This is my friend. He just needs to use the restroom," Bella mumbled as she signed in. The receptionist pointed me in the right direction before realizing she had a tomato soup mustache. I used the bathroom, much to Bella's fucking dismay, and was on my way out when I realized Bella left her bag in my car. So, I did what any normal person would do: I retrieved the bag and flirted with the soup loving receptionist until she told me which room Bella's grandmother was in. To say Bella wasn't pissed to see me standing in the doorway was like saying I never woke up with morning wood. It just wasn't fucking true. "What the-" She stopped herself from cursing and narrowed her eyes. "What are you doing?" I held up her bag and tried to smiled. "Who's this?" Her father, or so I assumed, asked. He stood from the chair he was
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sitting in, crossed his arms and began sizing me up. I was a little taller than he was, but I had to fucking admit, the mustache was a little intimidating. Couple that with the fact Bella had mentioned he used to be Chief of Police, my smile faltered- just a little. "Charlie, this is my friend Edward. He gave me a ride back from Fredericksburg." "Oh, he's such a handsome young man!" Bella's grandmother squeaked from her chair. "Tell me, do you play gin rummy?" "Ah, you must be Bella's grandmother." I smiled and allowed myself to fully step into the room despite Bella's blatant anxiety. Her grandmother looked over at Charlie and asked who Bella was. When neither Bella nor Charlie answered her, I realized something was up. "Oh dear, you are mistaken," she explained. "This is Renee, my daughter." My jaw must have dropped to the floor, because Bella quickly covered for me by saying I must be a few peas short of a casserole. Whatever the fuck that meant. Bella's non-grandmother just smiled and focused on shuffling the cards in her hand. "We'll be right back. I bet Edward needs a quick review of how to play gin rummy." Bella shoved past me, then walked back and pulled my arm when I failed to follow her into the hallway. "Why did you have to come back?" she snapped after quietly shutting the door. "You could have given me my bag some other time!" Frowning, I said, "I didn't know you were going to get so upset. But I guess I should have figured by the way you've been acting all day long." "What is that supposed to mean?" "You've been acting like a," I paused to choose my words wisely, "snob." "A snob? Just because I wasn't all over your dick this morning?" Bella lowered her voice as a nurse walked by. "Look. This is stupid! You can't waltz into my life and," she poked my chest with her finger, "expect to be a part of it, okay?"
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"Ow," I deadpanned. It caught me off guard more than anything. "You can't, okay? It's-" She started to poke my chest a second time until I grabbed her wrist. "Alzheimer's?" I suddenly asked. It's not like I knew anything about the disease, so I wasn't really sure why I even asked. Esme's mom suffered from dementia, but I had only met her a few times before she passed away. Bella started pacing while pulling her lip between her teeth. "She thinks I'm my mother. Not all the time, but..." "I'm sorry," I said out loud before I could stop myself. For some reason, this made her stop pacing. I wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing, so I said it again. "Bella, I'm sorry." I stepped forward and pulled her against me, hoping she wouldn't pull away. A sigh of relief escaped from my mouth as she wrapped her arms around my waist. "I'm sorry, too," she mumbled into my shirt. We stood there hugging, for maybe a full minute, when someone cleared their throat. Bella pulled back, dropping her arms by her side. "Sorry, Dad. Edward didn't know Gram was sick. Is she okay? Is she asking a lot of questions?" "Oh, she's more than okay. She keeps asking if the handsome young man can come back and play cards with her," Charlie said, making Bella laugh beside me. "Maybe she really has completely lost her mind," Bella said with a smirk. Cue awkward silence. "I'm Edward." I reached out to shake her father's hand. "Nice to meet you." "Charlie Swan," his mustache replied. Okay, not really. But that thing was intimidating as fuck.
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"Well." I looked down at a fidgeting Bella. "I guess I'll head out. Sorry if I caused any trouble in there." "Don't think you're going to get out of playing cards with her. Gram can be a pushy little thing, right Bells?" Charlie asked with a sigh. "Um, I'm sure Edward has better things to do." In truth, I probably could have found something else to do. I could have gone back to Emmett's, smoked a bowl and napped for five hours. But again, in truth, this was the first time I had seen Bella around people who weren't associated with me. I couldn't pass up the chance to see how different she would act. "Better than playing gin rummy?" I teased, bumping her shoulder. "Do you even know how to play gin rummy, Edward?" "No," I admitted. "But I'm sure someone can teach me." "And you think that someone is going to be me?" Bella playfully teased. "Who better than you?" I asked with a sly smile. There was too much truth in my words, I had to quickly look away from her. After playing gin rummy, and losing, for a few hours, Bella and I grabbed a quick bite to eat at Torchy's Taco. She invited her father who, to my delight, politely declined. It wasn't that he intimidated me or anything. I just wasn't ready to be interrogated by someone who owns multiple guns, that's all. "You have salsa on your lip." Bella giggled, handing me a napkin. "Bella, you have so much to learn," I scolded. "Never, ever attempt to use a napkin at Torchy's. There's no point." "You're gross. Wipe your mouth." Rolling my eyes and wiping my mouth, I said, "Do you want to watch a movie later? Emmett hasn't text that he and Rose are back yet." Bella cleared her throat and stared down at the guacamole. "Yeah, sure. We can watch a movie."
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The ride from Torchy's was more relaxed than the ride to her grandmother's nursing home. I was just glad she seemed to be in a better mood and was looking forward to spending some time alone with her before Em and Rosalie got home. That plan was shot to hell when we stepped off the elevator onto Emmett's floor. I immediately froze. "Tanya? What are you doing here?" "Good to know you're alive. Why haven't you returned any of my calls?" Tanya barely glanced Bella's way before snickering. "Who is this?" "This is Bella," I said in a duh tone. "I didn't know you were seeing other people," Tanya said lamely. I knew she fucking worded it that way to make it sound like I was dating her, which I so fucking wasn't. I laughed because it was funny to me, not because it was true. Bella must have taken it the wrong way because she glared at me. It wasn't our normal, cute banter glare. It was the I'm going to fucking rip your balls into shreds and feed them to my dog glare. And she didn't even own a fucking dog. "Was there something you needed?" I snapped at Tanya because the thought of my balls being eaten by a dog put me in a bad mood. Tanya licked her lips and said, "We need to talk." Pretty sure she purred. Not hiding the fact that I was annoyed, I turned toward Bella who looked...I don't know. Awkward, hurt. Maybe she was just tired because we did drink a lot over the weekend. Either way, she looked like she was over this and ready to jet. "Tanya, I'm busy right now. How did you even-" "Wait, is she your girlfriend?" Tanya's tone suddenly changed to one I knew meant trouble. "No," I admitted too quickly. "I mean-" shit. What was the protocol for explaining what Bella and I were to someone who didn't know about my inheritance situation? "Kind of."
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"Kind of? Since when do you-" Tanya began but stopped herself. "Look, I just want to talk. I can come by...later, if that works." I had to hand it to the girl, she didn't give up easily. "God, Edward." Bella suddenly found her voice. "I'm going home. Have fun getting your dick sucked. I'll see you later this week, okay?" Tanya scoffed but couldn't stop herself from smirking. "Excuse me, I do not do that." "Yeah, okay. I bet your tits are real too, huh?" Bella laughed. I had to fucking admit, it was pretty funny watching the two of them get feisty with each other. Tanya, momentarily caught off guard because no one ever spoke to her like that, placed a hand on her hip. "Who the fuck are you again?" "Don't worry. I'm no one," Bella said while she grabbed her bag from my hand, tossed it over her shoulder and practically ran towards the elevator. I was furious. I'm no one. That wasn't the Bella I knew. The Bella I knew was too stubborn for her own good and lived for snark competitions. "Tanya, go home," I said loudly as I watched my snarky-less Bella disappear into the elevator. "Ed-ward." Tanya stomped her foot. "I can't even begin to explain how fucking annoying you are." The look on her face was priceless. "You didn't think I was annoying when I-" Rolling my eyes, I said, "I'm gonna go make sure that girl you just pissed off doesn't hate me, okay? Good seeing you, Tanya." The elevator was taking too long, and Tanya was still going on and on about not being appreciated. Patience was never my thing; so I ran to the end of the hall and decided to take the stairs two at a time.
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I was literally chasing after a girl; flying down three flights of stairs. I pushed through the doors, not apologizing to the older couple I practically ran over. "Bella!" I called out as I followed her retreating form down the sidewalk. "Hey! Can you hold up for a second?" "Dude, it's cool," Bella said, still two steps ahead of me, not bothering to face me. "I thought we were gonna hang out. Where are you going?" I asked, catching my breath as she finally slowed to a complete stop. She shrugged. "I'm not into the whole threesome thing. I'm going home." "Tanya isn't staying. She's a pain in my fucking ass and can't take a hint." "That's funny. What hint is she supposed to take when you're obviously fucking her?" "Whoa, hey." I pulled Bella's arm and made her face me instead of the streetlight that suddenly occupied her attention. "Are you jealous?" "Of her?" Bella scoffed. "No, I'm not. I just don't want to be around when the girls you're sleeping with get jealous because of me. It's really awkward, if you haven't noticed." About two things I was absolutely positive. First, Bella was definitely jealous. Second, Tanya showing up was definitely fucking awkward. "I honestly don't even know how she found out I was staying here." I felt the odd need to reassure her, so I added, "She's never been to Emmett's apartment before." "Why does that not surprise me? Kind of hard to pull off the fuck and duck in your own place, huh?" About two more things I was absolutely positive. First, I was an asshole. Second, I was an asshole. "What the hell is this about? I thought we had a good time this weekend." I dropped my hand from her arm. "Why are you getting all Bitchy Bella on me now?" She laughed as she took a step back. "We did have a good time. Now it's back to reality; back to Bitchy Bella and Egotistical Edward."
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I winced. "Are you PMSing or something?" "God, no! This has nothing to do with my hormones, you ass, and everything to do with being treated like I'm another one of your whores." "You're not one of my whores, Bella. I mean, I don't have whores, but if I did, you wouldn't be one of them." Even I knew there was an entirely different way I could have phrased that sentence. "I obviously know I am not a whore, but that's what everyone else thinks." "Everyone else? Like who, Tanya?" I asked as I pointed back toward Emmett's apartment. "The biggest whore in a fifty mile radius? Who gives a shit what she thinks. One time she walked out of the bathroom with her dress tucked in her underwear, and I'm pretty sure she did it on purpose." Not sure why I thought that would make Bella laugh. Boy, was I wrong. "I don't really care," she said icily. "You obviously do." "The only thing that's obvious here is the fact you're fucking a prostitute." "Bell, you aren't a prostitute," I said jokingly, which pissed her off even more because she turned to walk away. "Unbelievable," she muttered before I grabbed her shoulder, turning her around. Pinching the bridge of my nose, I said, "Not that I owe you an explanation, but I haven't done anything with anyone else since you agreed to help me out." "Oh, how super nice of you, Edward. That was very considerate of you to refrain from fucking anyone else," Bella said sarcastically. I took my hand and rubbed her arm; I'm not even sure why. Maybe to comfort her or to just let her know I was sorry she felt this way. I didn't want her to feel this way. This way, I thought to myself. This is why I refrain from being in relationships,
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real or not. The miscommunications and jealousy and being forced to use napkins. There were so many rules and expectations; so many things to do and not do, and I could never figure out the right thing to say. "If you're allowed to get mad about Tanya, am I allowed to be pissed over Grease Monkey?" "I don't sleep with Jake. So no, you're not allowed," she said quietly and jutted her chin out. "He eye fucks you. That's gotta count for something." Finally, she laughed, which must have triggered something because she asked why we were standing in the street yelling at each other. "No fucking clue. It reeks of bad romantic comedy," I said as I dropped my hand from her arm. "For once, you're completely right." "So, are we okay?" I asked with hope or something that resembled hope. I wasn't even exactly sure what I was asking, but I needed to hear her say it. Bella pushed the hair out of her eyes and said, "You should go back upstairs and try to console your friend. She looked pretty upset." It wasn't lost on me that she ignored my question. "I don't care about Tanya," I admitted. "Okay." "Do you still want to watch a movie?" "Not really," she shrugged. "I'm exhausted and should go home. Thanks for letting me hitch a ride and for leaving early. I know you probably wanted to hang out with everyone a little longer." I shook my head in disagreement, but for some reason, I couldn't look her in the eyes. "No. I wanted to hang out with you." She shrugged. "Yeah, well."
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I quickly realized she would need a ride home and was thankful she had a piece of shit for transportation. "Come on, I'll give you a ride." Bella agreed, and I grabbed the bag from her hands without protest. I didn't know if Tanya left Emmett's because I never actually saw her walk out of the building. I couldn't bring myself to care. All I could focus on was Bella. The ride was silent, save for the sound of Bella's foot tapping on the floor mat. The fifteen minute ride seemed to take only two minutes. "I'll see you," she said as soon as I was in front of her place. I hadn't even parked the fucking car yet, and she was already trying to open the door. "Bella." I reached over her with my arm and shut the car door. "You didn't answer me earlier. Are we okay?" "We are fine, Edward. Why wouldn't we be?" "Should we...I don't know, talk about what happened last night?" Bella crossed her arms. "What's there to talk about?" "Um." Yeah, she had me there; I had no fucking clue. All I knew was that I had the urge to keep her in the car as long as possible. "We were drunk. We were sleeping in the same bed. There's not much else to it," she said easily. It hurt a little, I have to admit. Wasn't I supposed to be the one to tell her there wasn't much else to it? "Should we kiss?" I asked quickly. "In front of Carlisle and Esme. Just in case they get suspicious or something." Even after I said it, I knew it sounded fucking lame. I wasn't even sure what I was trying to attempt at this point, but I hoped to God, or someone, I figured it out soon. "Sure, whatever. I'm really tired, so I'm going to get out of the car now. If that's okay with you?" My fingers tapped on the steering wheel, trying to stay occupied.
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"Yeah." I cleared my throat. "Get some rest." "Nothing's changed, okay?" Bella stared at me for a second. "Don't get all awkward on me now; we have a plan. Let's stick to it." I laughed and nodded. "Right. Text me tomorrow." It was her turn to laugh. "Right. Bye." Once Bella was inside her building, I let my head drop to the steering wheel and asked myself the same question over and over again: what the fuck did I do?

A/N: Thanks for reading!

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Bella POV
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. A/N: Bella POV occurs after chapter 11. Love and squee's go to Mojo40, avidreader69 and ashley0125 for making sure that, you know, this wasn't total crap.

I'm a smart person. I did exceptionally well on my SATs, was in the top ten percent of my senior class and was accepted into the University of Texas. I've always been known to make good decisions. I carry mace with me at all times (Charlie is annoyingly persistent), and the one time I went shopping with Alice after we each consumed a pitcher of margarita's (okay, not so much a good decision), I didn't purchase the mustard yellow skinny jeans she tried to convince me to buy. Only ever having one serious boyfriend, and sleeping with less guys than fingers on one hand, I didn't consider myself inexperienced nor slutty. Let's just say, when it came to life, I had been known to play it safe. That all went to shit the day I met Edward Cullen. He gave good banter; it was just a fact. Good banter was hard to come by these days. But the thing that really got me was the jaw and the hair that fell into his eyes as he tried so hard to be a douche and the jaw. Yes, it's that good. But even when he was being a douche, bragging to his friends about sleeping with girls and drinking Jger like it was vital for his life, I saw past all of that. Even in the beginning, even when I knew he hurt people for the sake of getting what he wanted. What he thought he needed. Which, honestly, wasn't much. It was true. Edward didn't ask much of people. All he really expected was for people to accept him for who he was, yet he didn't even know who he was. All of his Edward-ness just sort of consumed me from the first time I realized he was going to weasel his way into my life after he helped me jump my truck. Now here I was, almost two months into this screwed up plan, standing in the bathroom, crying my eyes out.
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What did I do? What the fuck did I do? That was the stupid question I kept asking myself over and over again in my head. Okay, so maybe I shouldn't be asking what, but more why? Why did I do that? Another stupid question. I knew why I slept with Edward and I sure as hell wasn't going to admit it, even to myself. I rolled a few sheets of toilet paper into a wad, blew my nose, and pulled my hair back. Even cold water didn't seem to help clear my swollen, tear stained face. I couldn't let myself wallow too much; there was no hint of remorse in my tears. I wasn't one of those people who did things only to regret them later. The decisions I made in my life were my own and I owned up to them. "Are you almost done in there?" I jumped from Rosalie's voice and the sharp knock that accompanied her icy tone. "Yeah," I mumbled before turning off the faucet and unlocking the door, hoping it would be dark enough in the hallway to hide my puffy eyes. "What are you doing in here? You and Edward made sure to choose the bigger bedroom with the bathroom," Rosalie snapped. Even at three in the morning, the girl had attitude. Staring in disbelief, I shrugged and tried to exit the bathroom. Rosalie stepped in front of me, blocking my path. "Bella." "The bathroom is all yours, Rosalie. Sorry for using it without your permission," I snapped, not wanting to put up with her shit. "Why were you crying?" she asked in a weird tone. "I wasn't," I lied. She sighed as she stepped aside. "I knew you wouldn't last."
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"What is that supposed to mean?" I asked, not making a move. Rosalie stared at me for a long minute before speaking. "I just didn't think you had it in you, Swan," she said smugly. "What?" I asked, smoothing my hair down with my hand. I obviously had that just fucked look going on. Rosalie let out some sort of laugh that let me know she knew exactly what had just happened. "Actually, I guess you did last longer than any other girl." "Do you realize what time it is? You can refrain from being a bitch right now. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone," I whispered harshly. "No judgement. The Cullen charm is hard to resist. It's good to know you're not a lesbian; we were all getting a little worried." "Again, you can refrain from-" "Bella." Rosalie put her hand up to stop me from talking. "Let me just ask one thing: what are you expecting to get out of this? Besides the money." I blinked. Apparently she did know everything, and not just about the sex. Well, fine. It wasn't exactly my secret to keep, anyway. Although, I did divulge the plan to Alice and Jasper. Sue me. What are you expecting to get out of this? That was an easy question, or so I thought. Yet, when I opened my mouth to answer, nothing came out. "That's what I thought," Rosalie said, almost melancholy. "How could you let this happen?" "Let what happen?" "You're stupid for falling in love with him. You realize that, right?" Rosalie's voice dropped to almost a whisper. "I'm not in love with him," I said with exasperation. "He's...an awful person who smokes way too much and only cares about himself. He doesn't even cover his mouth when he sneezes!"
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"That's not exactly a deal breaker," Rosalie frowned. "He ate your burned toast." "That was a fluke. He was obviously high or something and he...he's just not-" "Who you thought he'd be, right?" I fell silent, my thoughts drifting back to last night when Edward told me about his parents. "What game are you trying to play here?" "No game, Bella." Rosalie smiled, like genuinely smiled and said, "I don't even know you but, for some reason, I don't want you to get hurt." Whoa, what the actual fuck? Blondie was giving me whiplash. "Okay. Thanks?" I wasn't too sure how to respond to that. "I'm a bitch, sure. I just don't take the time to get to know Edward's friends because they don't usually stick around for long." Rosalie stopped talking as we heard footsteps approaching down the hall. "Babe, what are you doing?" Emmett asked with sleep in his voice. He looked pretty shocked to see me standing in the doorway of the bathroom. "You're playing nice, right?" Rosalie slapped Emmett's bare chest, and said, "Of course!" He and his brother really were built so differently. I preferred Edward's long, lean stature. The way his jeans hung off his ass. The way his"She giving you a hard time?" Emmett asked me, cutting off all thoughts of his brother's body. "Nah, Rosalie? Never." Emmett's throaty laugh was infectious, causing me to give him a tiny smile. "What'd my brother do this time?" he asked seriously. Rosalie and I exchanged a glance. It wasn't friendly or even anything really noticeable. Just my silent plea to make sure she didn't open her big mouth about just having slept with Edward. I was shocked that she caught on. Blondie was
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perceptive. "Your idiot brother is in the bathroom, so Bella had to use this one," Rosalie said with a roll of her eyes. Emmett, who isn't as dumb as he looks, stared at me for a second in the dim light of the hallway. "Make sure he gets you back to Austin safely, okay? I need to pee, so..." We did some awkward tango until I was finally out of the doorway. Once the bathroom door was safely shut, Rosalie shook her head. "I realize this situation of yours isn't ideal," she whispered so Emmett couldn't hear. "Can I make a suggestion?" she asked, then began speaking before I could answer. "Just finish this thing out and get the money. Edward is an idiot and I don't see you not getting hurt." "Right. Because he's an idiot," I repeated. "Exactly. Not that I think any of this is fair. Whatever, Edward is an idiot for even agreeing to pay you." "Actually, it was Emmett's idea to have Edward pay me," I pointed out. Apparently, Rosalie didn't know this little bit of information. She shrugged, trying to play it off. I knew she'd give Emmett hell once Edward and I left. Standing in the hallway, fatigue overtook me and I realized I was on the verge of tears. Forcing myself to not regret any of this was becoming harder by the second. "Thanks for the advice," I said coolly, my voice never faltering. "I'll definitely take all of this information into consideration." "No problem." She gave me a tight-lipped smile. "I'm sorry if I was ever rude to you or something. I just don't see a point in getting too close, you know?" Was this girl for real? I gave her the same smile she gave me and said, "No need to apologize. It really doesn't suit you." This made her laugh. "You're funny. Way too nice for your own good, but you're
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funny." "See you tomorrow," I said before practically running back to the bedroom. I quietly shut the door behind me and crawled into bed next to a sleeping Edward. Sleep would have been awesome, but I don't really think that was an option for me. Especially not after the conversation I just had with Rosalie. What was I expecting to get out of this? Money was definitely the main reason. I knew with that kind of money, I could finish paying for school and could help Charlie with the cost of my Gram's assisted living. I would never actually admit that to anyone though; none of them would understand. If I was being honest with myself, which was becoming harder and harder these days, this plan seemed flawless in the beginning. I thought I would occasionally hang with Edward, go to a few family functions and then, eventually, get my money. But somewhere along the way, things changed and, fuck, Rosalie was right. I was going to get hurt. Rolling over to face Edward, I waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark so I could stare at him. It was a lot less stalkerish than it sounded. He looked so nice and normal while sleeping. In reality, he could have been the devil. He had issues, obviously. Who agrees to pay someone that much money just to pretend to date them? Then again, who agrees to be paid to pretend to date someone? I had my own issues, too, and I hoped Edward wouldn't realize I was as broken as he was. As I drifted off to sleep, James' face kept interfering with any peace I almost had. I realized I had lied to myself; I did feel regret. Regret that I let Edward kiss me earlier; regret that I pretended to not notice he had started looking at me differently; but most of all, regret that I had let part of my wall down, allowing myself to eventually get hurt again. I got about an hour of sleep before I had to get up and call Alice. I felt horrible with it being almost five in the morning, but I knew she'd understand.
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She picked up on the fourth ring. "Bella?" "Alice. Sorry it's so early," I said quietly, hiding in the bathtub behind the closed curtain. I wasn't sure how light of a sleeper Edward was and I couldn't have him walking in, thinking I was some freak who likes to chill in bathtubs while wearing pajamas. "You slept with Edward," Alice accused before I could say another word. "You're evil," I whisper-yelled. "How do you do that?" "Jasper owes me ten bucks. He said you wouldn't have enough balls to sleep with him until y'all made it back to Austin." "I hate you both so much." That obviously wasn't true, but it was still a little rude to have my two friends betting about my sex life. "How was it and why are you calling me at five in the morning from a bathroom?" "Seriously, what the fuck?" I said out loud this time. "How do you know I'm in a bathroom?" "I can hear the echo, you freak." Alice laughed, a little too cheerful for it to be so early. "Now spill or I'm hanging up on you." "We slept together," I began, even though Alice probably knew every detail, down to which condom brand he used. "We were kind of drunk but...not? I don't know. I didn't feel too out of it. I definitely knew what I was doing." I paused for effect. "He definitely knew what he was doing." I could hear Jasper mumbling in the background for Alice to shut up. Yes, she was squealing. No, it was not cute. "Sorry, sorry. Go on." "I don't know, Alice! I'm freaking the fuck out! Am I a prostitute? Please be honest. These are the types of things a girl needs to know!" "Why would you be a prostitute?" Alice asked. I could hear her moving around, so I assumed Jasper kicked her out of bed. "You both obviously like each other and you agreed to this arrangement before sex was even involved. Nothing here reeks of Pretty Woman, okay? So chill the fuck out."
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Sighing, I said, "Okay, jeez, sorry. I can't help it though." "I know." "I'm just...scared," I finally admitted. It was easy to admit that to my best friend while I was sitting in the dark, in a bathtub, two hours away. "Bella, why? You have got to get over James," she said a little softer this time. "I am over him," I said harshly. "I've fucking been over him for quite some time now." "Okay, maybe I phrased that wrong. You have to get over what he did to you. Not every guy is a James." "Easy for you to say. You have sweet Jasper with a cute grin and pretty cheekbones. Jasper who adores you and would never cheat on you or get the girl he's cheating on you with pregnant." Alice sighed and I suddenly felt bad for making her relive this with me. But if not her, then who? "My boyfriend does have freakishly pretty cheekbones," she agreed, throwing me off. "James fucked up, yes. But he's been out of your life for almost two years. We need to get to the bottom of this." "How? I'm fucked up. And how am I ever supposed to trust Edward? This whole thing started as a lie! We were lying to everyone," I explained in exasperation. "Oh, but most of them now know. Blondie knows." "Yeah, but do his aunt and uncle know?" "Doubtful, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised." That would be pretty awful, but maybe it would be for the best. I wondered what would happen if Edward didn't need my help to get his money. "He was acting weird during sex." "Weird how? Did he ask you to suck on his toes or something? Wear a strap on?" Alice asked greedily. Kinky fuck. "No! He was kissing me and staring at me and...I don't know, it freaked me out." "So, he was making love to you," Alice deadpanned. "That's not weird, you idiot."
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"Making love?" I squeaked. "Shut the fuck up. He doesn't love me." I could practically hear Alice rolling her eyes. "Maybe, maybe not. Stop freaking out over nothing. Let things take their natural course. If he wants you to wear a strap on, just say yes, okay?" Dropping my head to my knees, I said, "Oh my God. Just go back to bed." "I love you and you deserve to be happy. From what I've seen, Edward makes you happy-" "Thanks for the pep talk," I cut her off. I couldn't hear any more of this. "Sorry for waking you up." "I don't care. Just stop being so guarded. You'll thank me!" "Yeah? You get to buy me Chipotle with that ten bucks you earned with my promiscuity." "Deal. Text me when you get back into town." "I will. Night," I said before hanging up. Washing my face helped calm me down a bit before crawling back into bed. Edward was still sleeping soundly. So soundly that I let my hand hover over his chest to make sure he was still breathing. Once I was assured I wasn't sleeping next to a dead body, I closed my eyes and thought about Alice's advice on letting my guard down. Now, to figure out how to do that without getting hurt. Because one of us had to get hurt. It was only a matter of time.

A/N: There you have it. Now you might be able to understand Bella and her motives a little better. Definitely in over her head, dontcha think? Thanks for reading :)

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Bella POV 2
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. A/N: Surprise, surprise. I wasn't going to post another BPOV for, well, I don't know how long. But the girl wouldn't shut up.

I wanted to beat the shit out of Tanya. That was the only thought that kept replaying in my head after Edward dropped me off at my apartment. I probably could've taken her ass, too. I mean, I've never actually fought anyone before, but how hard could it be? A little hair pull and a few clawing motions. The sluts on TV could do it and I highly doubted they even graduated high school. Limited history of cat fights aside, I did take a free Krav Maga class once and that shit was hard. I was paired up with some twelve year old boy who packed a mean fucking punch, accidentally kneed me in the vag and busted one of my knuckles. The only thing I did learn from that class was elbows are a good weapon. Compared to a gun? Not so much; shit out of luck. Compared to a one-hundred pound, bottled blonde with acrylic nails? The bows would definitely be in my favor. What the fuck was I thinking? I wasn't actually going to fight anyone. Especially not over Edward. Especially not over Edward with his stupid smirk and concerned eyes. Asshole. I called Alice and managed to almost spit out ten words before she decided she needed to see me in person for this sort of rant. Yeah. I was that type of ranting over a guy. Over Edward. "He's a dick!" I screamed out loud before I even opened the door. Alice didn't look surprised. She could handle this. Alice walked past me, barely even blinked and said, "Heard he's got a huge one." Slamming the door helped. So, I slammed it again. For good measure. "Such a fucking asshole!"
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"No, but I'm sure he wanted to put his dick in yours," she smirked. "I can't believe how big of a douchebag he was," I muttered as I began to simmer down. "Please don't make me come up with something for that one," Alice said with wide eyes. "I draw the line at douche, okay?" "You are absolutely no help." I sighed as I sat on the floor, pulling my knees into my chest. "Why are you even here?" "Because Jasper is having a Counter-Strike LAN with some buddies at our apartment." Glaring, I said, "Oh. Good to know." "No, I mean..." Alice smiled sweetly. "I'm here for you, obviously. But actually, I don't see why you're so upset." "Did you not hear a single word I said? Leggy blonde who was purring like a fucking cat in heat, waiting for big dick douchebag." "Yeah, I caught all of that. You have no evidence to prove him guilty," Alice said as she jumped up from the couch. "I need vodka. Do you have vodka?" "Yes. Freezer. And it does prove something!" I said louder as she disappeared in the kitchen. Peeking her head around the corner, Alice smiled widely and said, "Proves that you're jealous and, fuck, now I owe Jasper ten bucks and a blowjob. He said you'd be the first one to get jealous." "I can't even- you're such a bad friend!" I snapped. "And who uses the word blowjob, anyway?" She flipped me off. "No, you're the bad friend. Who the hell buys Svedka? This is a shit choice of vodka." Rolling my eyes, because I hated agreeing with her, I said, "It was on sale." "Shit sale vodka is better than no vodka."
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Jumping to my feet, I produced two glasses and found an old bag of gummy bears in the pantry. This definitely needed to happen. "What's up with you, anyway?" Alice said, not even wincing like I did as the vodka burned its way down my throat. "Nothing is up." I swallowed hard, already feeling warmer. "I just thought it was rude that he would have a skank waiting for him after he invited me over for a movie." "You're super stupid." Alice giggled. "Edward is supposedly some asshole, douche, blah blah, who fucks a lot of girls, right?" "Right!" My nod was way too enthusiastic. "Except, if he were trying to play you and fuck that skank tonight, wouldn't he have planned it a little better? If he's supposedly good at his game?" "I-" Alice poured us another shot and said, "Wouldn't he have just taken you home and then proceeded to fuck the, alleged, bottled blonde?" "Okay, well-" "And isn't it true that you told me Edward revealed he pulls some duck and fuckery on females? How could he do that at his own place? The logistics of that even working-" "Fuck and fuck," I corrected, head spinning from her mouth moving a mile a minute. "I mean, wait. Fuck and duck." "Whatever. And isn't it true that you, Bella Swan, are doing a horrible job at hiding your feelings for my client, Edward whateverthefuck?" "Why is he your client?" I pouted. "Come on. Just say it," Alice pushed, trying to hide a smirk. I shrugged. It was better than any answer, or lie, I could have come up with. "Fine. You don't like him. You win. Good job."
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Why did it feel like I had lost? Picking out the red and green gummy bears, because they were the only bears worth eating, I shook my head. "Way to turn things around, Al." "Way to screw things up, Bella." "Way to get me tipsy on a Sunday night when I have class tomorrow." Alice punched my arm and said, "Who says tipsy?" "Apparently, the best friend of a girl who uses the word blowjob. Oh, and rappers," I pointed out. Definitely rappers. "Listen. Yeah, you have a point. But, listen." I was listening. "You like him and he likes you and I like that he makes you laugh." A smile broke out on my stupid, warm face. Because she was right. He did make me laugh and I made him laugh, I think, and I was over thinking all of this. I think. "He played gin rummy with Gram today," I blurted out. Why had I forgotten that? One thing goes wrong and I forget all of the good? I was becoming those girls I hate on tv. You know, girls like Summer Roberts from The OC, and I'm sure one of those bitches from Laguna Beach. Never knowing what they have until someone else has it. "He did what with your who?" "He dropped me off to visit my Gram but then he had to pee or something, and then we were like, playing cards with my Gram. And Charlie was there. And he made Charlie laugh. And...I think he actually had fun." "Isn't that a good thing?" Alice perked up. "Maybe? I didn't want him to know about Gram, though. And now he does." Alice leaned against the couch and asked, "What's the big deal? You met his family. Now he met yours."
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"I guess..." I trailed off. "What's the problem here? You need him to prove something to you?" she asked seriously this time. When I didn't answer, she stole the bag of gummy bears from my hands. "Go on a date with someone else then. See how he reacts and then you'll have your answer." Biting my lip, I thought about it for a full half second. Maybe she was right. Maybe I should do a stupid, girly move and see how he reacts. Games weren't really my thing, but maybe that's what I needed to do to see if, well, anything was actually anything. That probably made no sense, but it also somehow did. But maybe she was wrong. Maybe this would backfire, and in the end I'd be dating some loser just to make Edward jealous. "Are you sure?" I asked warily. "When have I ever been wrong?" I didn't want to say, so I poured another shot and nodded. "Okay. Okay, well. I guess I'm going on a date." "Yep. Now we just have to find another guy who will pay to go out with you." I laughed because yeah, it was weird and funny. But Alice totally deserved the vodka that I poured down her shirt.

A/N: Yeah. I don't know. It had to happen. Thanks for reading!

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Chapter 13
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Mojo40, ttharman & Ashley preread and didn't hate it.

Chapter Thirteen I wanted to beat the shit out of Tanya. That's a fucking horrible thing to want to do, but I couldn't stop myself from thinking it. It seemed like Bella was starting to open up to me, then Tanya had to come along, dig her claws into Bella and push us back to square one. Luckily, when I made it back to Emmett's, Tanya was no where in sight. Stop rolling your eyes. I would never actually raise my hand to a female. Unlocking the door, I made my way through the dim apartment. The light was on in Emmett's room, creating just a sliver of a glow from under the door. I didn't feel like banging on his door to get his attention, because the last time I did that I had to wash my eyes out with bleach, so I opted for being loud and obnoxious. Chances were Rosalie would get mad and send Em out here to shut me up. Three minutes were spent slamming the front door and performing a rather loud rendition of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". To my surprise, it was Rosalie who came out to see what all of the ruckus was about. "Sit," she instructed as she pulled a chair out from the table. I arched an eyebrow, but didn't question her. Instead, I hopped up on the kitchen counter. I knew she hated that shit, but she didn't comment on it. "To what do I owe this pleasure?" I asked sarcastically. "What's your problem, Edward?"
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"Problem?" "Yes. Why are you out here throwing a hissy fit?" Half a minute into the conversation and I already didn't like where this was heading. "Where's Em?" "Where's Bella?" she countered. "At home. Probably plotting my death," I snickered. "You know that Tanya was waiting for me outside Emmett's door? Yeah. Bella and I were going to watch a movie and-" Rosalie began laughing, and asked, "How did Tanya even know where you were staying?" It was a known fact that Rosalie didn't like me very much, but at least she gave me enough credit to know that I'd never bring a whore over to my brother's place. "Eh, who knows. Maybe she followed me." "That's pretty creepy." "That's Tanya for you." I shrugged, and it suddenly occurred to me that I've never had the best taste in women. Yeah, they were hot. Yeah, they always put out. But they were fucking crazy. "Bella was pretty upset, and I don't even understand why. It's not like I invited Tanya over." "Come on. You're not dumb." Rosalie said, which I thought was rather nice. "Of course Bella was upset! You guys spent the weekend together and then one of the girls you used to fuck was waiting for you!" "I didn't invite her over!" I said loudly. Was it seriously that hard to understand? I didn't fucking want Tanya. "That doesn't matter. All Bella sees is that there was a girl waiting here for you; the details don't matter. What matters is how you handled it," Rosalie explained and waited for me to speak. "So? How did you handle it?" "I, uh," paused. "I more or less told Tanya to fuck off and I ran after Bella." Rosalie, clearly pleased, crossed her arms and smirked. "I'm impressed. Edward
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Cullen chased after a girl?" "I guess." Shrugging, I tried to ignore the feeling that crept into the pit of my stomach. "I'm pretty sure she's still mad at me." "As she should be." "Oh, come on. Just because you're a female, that doesn't mean you have to automatically take her side!" "And just because you're a male, that doesn't mean you have to completely disregard people's feelings and be an asshole!" "I'm not disregarding Bella's feelings." "Yeah, baby. Eddie is being considerate for once. But to be honest, it just looks like you two girls are having a sleepover and gossiping," Emmett said as he walked into the kitchen. "Shut the hell up," I snapped while Rosalie rolled her eyes at him. "Thought you were going to join me in the shower?" Emmett smirked and rubbed Rosalie's shoulder. "I was, but Edward needed to talk some stuff out." I wanted to counter that with a smart ass remark, but I held back. Talking to Rosalie somewhat help me see things from Bella's eyes, even if I didn't agree she should be upset. "Well, enjoy." Emmett stretched his arms out and yawned. "I'm going to bed before you teach Eddie how to properly insert a tampon." I really needed to get my own fucking place. A few days passed without any interaction with Bella. Which was weird, because she wouldn't even respond to any of my texts. I shrugged it off as her being busy with school and working at Cable's. Which was fine. I didn't expect her to always be around whenever I needed to be entertained. What I really fucking needed was a job. Three days after the Tanya incident, I finally got around to unpacking my bag from
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the weekend. As I was throwing everything into two separate piles, classified as smells like shit and has one more week until it smells like shit, I found one of Bella's shirts stuffed in the bottom of my bag. It definitely belonged in the latter pile, and I smiled when I realized I could use this. Not like, wear it or anything, but I could use this to see her. Bella, who clearly wasn't concerned with getting back her shirt, still refused to answer my texts. I briefly wondered if something had happened to her phone, or if the girl even knew how to properly use it. After all, she hadn't had it for very long. Sure, we had exchanged a few texts, but, maybe... I needed to give her the shirt. So, I drove to her place. Knocked on the door. Internally sighed-is that even possible?- when she opened the door. "Hi, stranger." "Hi." I smiled. "Oh. Yours." I handed her the shirt. "Thanks." She awkwardly tossed it on her shoulder. "I'd invite you in, but I'm leaving for work at 3, so..." "That's fine. I can hang until then." "Okay." Bella shrugged and opened the door wider, allowing me in. "But it's going to be a really boring twenty minutes. I was about to eat a bowl of cereal." "That's not boring," I scolded. Cereal was never boring. "Want some?" she asked as she pulled out a bowl from the cabinet. Yes, I stared at her ass. Yes, it was just as good as the last time I saw it. "Nah, I'm good. I ate at Threadgill's earlier with Ben." "Nice." I raised both eyebrows and asked, "Hey, is your phone broken?" "No, why?"
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"Just wondering." "I would've text you back but-" "Not a big deal," I said as she hopped up on to the counter to eat her cereal. I smiled at the simple move. "Em and Rose want to watch Get Him To The Greek later." Still chewing, she asked why. "Because it's supposed to be funny. Why not?" "You don't think Judd Apatow is a bit overrated?" she asked innocently before a heap full of granola was shoved into her mouth. "What? Not at all. You think that?" "No. I don't know. Maybe. Superbad was funny." I rubbed my eyebrow. "Anchorman." "Pineapple Express, definitely." "Forty Year Old Virgin was phenom." Bella snorted milk through her nose and asked, "Did you really abbreviate the word phenomenal?" I nodded. "Did you really snort milk through your nose?" "Yeah, that was disgusting," she said and grabbed a paper towel. "Oh! Kicking and Screaming was definitely underrated." "Yeah, but Apatow was executive producer for that one," I pointed out. "Why do you even know that?" Shrugging, I smiled and said, "I like movies. Movies are my thing." "I think that's the first time you've admitted to actually liking something other than drinking or smoking."
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"I like you," I admitted. It was actually an accident because I don't normally blurt out shit like that. "I'm supposed to hang with Seth for a few hours later." "Okay." Bella shrugged at my subject change and kept her focus on the cereal. "You want to watch that movie after you get off work?" "I'm kind of busy later," Bella said easily. She brought the bowl to her lips and gulped down the leftover milk. "Maybe if I get home early enough I can stop by or something." "Oh." I paused, gauging the tone of her voice. It was off, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was lacking. "What are you going to do after work?" Bella stared at me for a second too long before replying. "I have a date." "A date?" I asked too quietly and too accusingly. My mouth was suddenly too dry and it wasn't cottonmouth from smoking. I could only fucking wish. "With, uh...with who?" Bella rolled her eyes and said, "It's not like you know who he is, so what's the point of knowing his name?" Well, she had a point. But she also has some fucking nerve. I didn't actually care if Bella went on a date, did I? We never specified, well, anything. I couldn't justify why I was upset over the thought of Bella going on a date with someone else and that pissed me off even more. "Okay." I cleared my throat. "Have fun with that." "Don't act like that," Bella scoffed, sliding off the counter. "Don't act like what?" I snapped and ran a hand through my hair. "The way you acted when Tanya was waiting for me at Emmett's?" Bella fell silent. Which was a good thing, because I didn't really need her to say anything else. She made her point. She was sticking to the plan and I could do the same. "See you later. And you're welcome for the shirt." Yeah, so I was fucking pouting. I didn't care, and I'm pretty sure Bella didn't
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either. I was still pouting as I gunned it to Seth's and an hour later, I was still pouting. "I'm pretty sure she's supposed to be like, in love with me," I said, half to myself, half to Seth as we played FIFA. "Why? That's not how the world works," Seth explained. "The girls I like never like me, even when I give them Twizzlers." "That's shitty," I scoffed. "I mean, that's...shit, yeah. Sorry." Seth giggled before he scored a goal on my ass. "You're kind of bad at this game." Touche for the double meaning, kid. "Yeah, I'm realizing that. When is your mom getting home?" "An hour, I think. Can we go eat dinner? And can Bella come?" Seth squeaked. "She's at work." I said sadly. Well, not sadly. But...a little. He eyed me for a second. "Why do you sound like someone just told you you can't have ice cream?" "She has a date tonight." A look on confusion passed over his face as he asked, "But I thought she was dating you." "It's..." Crap. Fake. Confusing. "Complicated." "How? You like her and she likes you. You both have fun when you hang out." Maybe it really wasn't that complicated. At least, coming from Seth's mouth and innocent mind, it didn't sound complicated at all. It actually sounded rather nice. "Yeah, I don't know what to tell you. Except maybe to stay away from girls. They suck." "Did you tell her you didn't want her to date anyone else?" "No." Running my hands over my face, I wanted to scream. Shit. How did a kid
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know more about this stuff than I did? "Why not?" "Because it never came up?" "After her date, you should go tell her that you like her and don't want her to see anyone else," Seth instructed "You think?" Seth sighed, which was pretty amusing, and patted my shoulder. "How do I know more about this stuff than you?" I smiled and said, "You're a smart kid, that's why." Deciding to follow Seth's instructions was suddenly a no-brainer. I was going to tell Bella that I liked her and that I didn't want her to see anyone else. That I wanted this to be real. Although, I don't think Seth would approve of the four whiskey shots and six beers I consumed, thanks to Emmett, before walking here. Yes, I walked to Bella's thinking it would sober me up. I was wrong. Standing from the street, I could see her apartment lights were still off, which either meant she wasn't home yet or she and her date were getting busy. The thought made me nauseous. After a twenty minute wait outside her apartment, I finally sat my ass on the cool cement and let my back fall against the brick building. Unfortunately, after a certain time, you need a code or a key to get into the fucking building. Not even Emmett's apartment building had that type of security, and his place had less mice and more zeros in the tenants salaries. My ass was beginning to go numb on the concrete, so I stretched my legs out in front of me. It was almost midnight and not too many people were on the street, at least not in these parts. Worst-case scenarios filtered through my head, like the thought of her going home with him or him already being upstairs with her. But then I heard her distinct fucking giggle around the corner. I had to smile to myself, which didn't last long
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because as Bella turned the corner, she failed to see me and my legs. It happened too fast, I couldn't even react. My slow reaction time had nothing to do with the whiskey. Bella tripped over my legs, falling to the ground with a squeak of some sort. She put her hands out to stop herself from face planting. "Fuck!" she muttered to the cement. "Are you okay?" A blonde prick who had been walking along side Bella was hovering as he helped her to her feet. Bella dusted off her jeans and examined the palms of her hands, which were covered in gravel and tiny shards of glass. "Awesome," Bella said flatly before narrowing in on me. "You." With a tentative smile, because I wasn't exactly sure if she was happy to see me, I stood from where I had been sitting and said, "Me." "What are you doing out here?" she almost snapped, but for some reason, kept her cool. Maybe it was to impress the prick. Maybe it was because she was drunk. God. Was she drunk? She didn't look or smell like it. Did he take her out for drinks? Typical first date move. Take the girl out for drinks, get her liquored-up, and thenHer focus was back on her hands and I frowned. She was bleeding and it was my fault. "I'm sorry," I said with mild concern. "Let me see," I demanded and grabbed her hands to inspect the damage. "The bleeding isn't too bad, just clean with soap and water and remove any glass with tweezers. You probably won't need to use any bandages once you clean up." "So, what's the diagnosis?" Bella asked, tempting me to play along. "It's very likely that you'll live to see another day." I smiled and let go of her hands. An odd expression came over her. "Thanks, Dr. Cullen." The prick cleared his throat, taking a step forward. "What's going on, man?" Man? You don't fucking know me, man.
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I decided to go with amusing, drunken jealously as opposed to annoying, drunken jealousy. Knowing which one Bella could tolerate would work in my favor greatly. "Did you forget we were hanging out tonight, Bella?" I teased. "What? Edward, I thought you were going to be at Emmett's tonight?" Prick began to lose his smugness as he asked who I was exactly. Oh, give it time, man. You'll find out. "I'm the other prick she's dating," I replied with a smile. Bella almost looked amused. And when I say almost, I mean she barely blinked, tapped her foot on the cement and let out an audible sigh. That wasn't annoyance, I swear; it was Bella's almost amused look. "Riley, this is Edward," Bella said with a glare. "Who I am not dating." Fuck. Yeah. I have to admit, it hurt. But then my thoughts trailed back to the hallway with Tanya, when I pretty much disregarded her comment about dating Bella. "That's not entirely true," I winked. Yep. I fucking winked. Prick did not look amused. In fact, Prick looked very upset that I had so clearly ruined his plans for alone time with Bella. Fuck, this seemed all too familiar. Waiting outside someone's apartment without their knowledge, ruining a completely good night... I was Tanya. I was pulling a fucking Tanya on Bella and Prick, except I had much better hair and my teeth weren't bleached. The night was not going to end with Bella leaving with Prick. I had to step up my game. "Is that...are you wearing pleather?" I suddenly realized. Prick was so fucking wearing pleather. "Yeah? Why?" he replied. Well, shit. I wasn't expecting it to be that easy. I didn't think he'd actually admit it
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because who fucking admits they are wearing pleather? I gave Bella a blatant are you kidding me stare. To be honest, she was hiding a smirk. And by hiding a smirk, I mean she covered her mouth and pretended to cough. Maybe she was getting sick. "Edward. What exactly did you need?" "I thought we were going to hang out," I lied. She shook her head. "No. I'm tired. Riley was going to help me set up the wifi on my laptop, then he's going home." "I can help you." "It's okay, don't trouble yourself." "No trouble. I love helping people. I'm a helpful guy." There was no way I was going to let Pleather Prick set up anything on Bella's laptop. Bella, who leaned a little closer to me and smelled fucking amazing, asked, "Have you been drinking?" "The question is, have you been drinking Bella?" I asked as she narrowed her eyes, almost to her breaking point. Pleather Prick glanced at his watch and said, "We can get you a cab, man." "Yeah, Edward..." Step it up, Cullen. Time's running out. "Hey, man, just know that when she drinks, she likes it rough." "I think we've heard enough. Bella, do you want to go up to your apartment?" he asked while lightly touching her back. Well, that was just unacceptable. "Hey, whoa, I'm just trying to help you out, man." Yeah, I definitely didn't need to drink that much whiskey tonight. I also didn't need to overuse the word man that much. I think he got the point five mans ago, although three of those might have
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been in my head. "Did she ask to see your bank account before you went out tonight?" Pleather Prick looked at Bella questionably. Ha. Right where I want him. "Edward. Just go," she said calmly enough. "So, how much are you paying her? Bet you're getting a hell of a better deal than I am," I said loudly as Bella brought her hands to my chest, trying to push me away. "What the hell is he talking about?" Pleather Prick was suddenly interested in what I had to say. "What is your problem?" Bella snapped, hands still on my chest. "My problem? I'm not the one out fucking a new person less than a week after-" "Riley," Bella spoke as she turned around. "I'm sorry. I really need to deal with this right now. Can I call you tomorrow?" "Uh." His jaw stayed locked when he realized he wouldn't be getting laid. It was comical. "I'd feel better about leaving if I knew there weren't going to be any problems." Bella smiled, or tried to, and put her hand on his arm. I rolled my eyes. "I'll be fine. Really," she said before hugging him. "Thanks for dinner and I'll call you tomorrow." "Nice meeting you and the pleather jacket," I said as I smiled and waved at his retreating form. When I turned around, Bella was halfway down the street, walking in the opposite direction of her apartment. I did a half jog, half skip to catch up to her. Being a guy, some would say we aren't all that perceptive. But I noticed Bella's arms were crossed and a scowl was plastered across her face. I perceived she was upset, so I decided it was best to let her speak first. Three blocks later, I caved. "Where are we going?" I asked since we were about ten minutes from her apartment.
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"We're not going anywhere," she snapped as her arms, that were once safely crossed, were now flailing about. "And, God! What the hell was all of that about?" Honestly, I had no idea. I felt...possessive; jealous. Two things that I had never felt before. Yeah, I had heard about it and seen bad actors pretending to be jealous on shit shows like The OC. But that was it; that was the extent of my knowledge on being jealous. So, how could I explain something that I had no idea about? "I just figured if I'm paying you, you could have the decency to not be with anyone else." To be clear, that wasn't the first thing I wanted to say. I didn't want to be an dick. I wanted to tell her that her hair always smelled nice and that she made me laugh more than any girl I had ever known and that I wanted to kiss her. Like, all the time. Her lips were really soft, and I wondered if she wore some sort of chapstick because I never saw her put on lipstick, which made me like her even more. Those were all the things I wanted to say, but I didn't. Because I'm Edward Cullen and I am confused as shit. During my inner monologue, Bella's eyes became distant. "You do not fucking own me, Edward." Shoving my hands into the pockets of my jeans, I said, "I know." Because I did know. I knew I didn't own Bella. I knew Bella wasn't mine, but I was starting to have the sneaking suspicion that this was more than what we had originally planned. I had just wondered if she had soft lips due to chapstick. That shit just wasn't normal. "Then what is this?" she asked quietly. I had no answer. So I stood in place, hands in pockets, and shrugged. "You're an asshole," she whispered, and tried to hide the fact that she was on the verge of tears. I didn't want her to cry, especially not over me. I wanted to tell her that I wasn't trying to hurt her, but why would she believe me when that's exactly what I was doing? "You wanted this! You wanted a fake relationship. You offered to pay me," Bella began to explain, but her eyes never met mine. "I know."
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"And now, you're acting like a jealous boyfriend." I know. "I'm not your girlfriend, Edward." As if I needed to be reminded. "I know." "You can't act like this and expect me to...to even want to talk to you." I know. Bella sighed at my silence and wiped one cheek with the back of her hand that wasn't covered in dried blood and dirt. "I'm going home." I wanted to offer to walk her home, but instead, I said nothing, and watched her walk in the direction we had just came from. After all the drama, my buzz was wearing off and I was able to think somewhat clearly. I shivered as the wind picked up, almost blowing the beanie off my head. I began walking in no particular direction and, for the first time in my life, wished I could talk to Carlisle. He's always so calm and knew the right things to say. His genuine concern for people made them feel safe, something I couldn't do for Bella. He'd probably tell me to man up and tell her how I feel. But, of course, I couldn't tell Carlisle or Esme, because I had been lying to them about dating Bella. In a haze, I sat on the curb, under the glow of the streetlight, and waited for a cab to drive by. Dropping my head in my hands, I cursed to myself. It was becoming clear that I had not only been lying to my family, but also to myself. I was falling, if not already head over fucking heels, for Bella. I was so screwed.

A/N: He finally admitted it to himself! He was a bit of a jerk, but that was to be expected, right? Anyway, thanks for reading.
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Chapter 14
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Mojo40 & Ashley0125 preread & promised I don't suck. Ashley might be biased though, since I accidentally flashed her on Saturday.

Chapter Fourteen Five cabs passed by as I sat on the curb, contemplating the most epic case of word vomit I had ever suffered. Maybe it wasn't considered word vomit, because I knew what I was saying. I was just an asshole, borderline douchebag. I more or less called Bella a prostitute, and I insinuated that she was only interested in Pleather Prick for his bank account, which couldn't have been too impressive considering he was wearing fucking pleather. I had made her cry, and fuck, I wanted to beat the shit out of myself for that. Don't get me wrong, I was no stranger to witnessing hormonal women. It had never worked on me before because the tears were usually used to manipulate for one reason or another. But the look in Bella's eyes was not one of manipulation or a result of a monthly uterus attack; she was hurting, because of what I said. There was no doubt in my mind that I had to fix this. There was no way I was going to be able to go home, let alone fucking sleep, knowing that Bella was upset. Pulling the beanie off my head, I ran a hand through my greasy hair and jumped to my feet. I could only hope she would hear me out. Halfway to her apartment, I pulled out my phone and dialed her number. I knew she wouldn't answer, but I had to try. For once in my fucking life, I had to try. Slipping the phone back in my pocket, I noticed a familiar face walking towards Bella's building. I wouldn't go so far as to calling it fate, because that just sounded fucking ridiculous. It may have been a coincidence, but I'd go with luck. "You're the girl from Facebook," I said out loud, catching her off guard. She stood on the steps, crossed her arms and scowled. I wouldn't say it was intimidating, but it definitely left me feeling unsettled.
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"You must be the idiot who fucked my best friend, literally and figuratively." "Guilty," I sheepishly admitted. "You're Alice, right?" "Yes. I'm going to be honest, I'm not sure if I like you yet, Edward," she confirmed, which made me chuckle. Welcome to the fucking club. "Understandable," I muttered, more to myself. "Is she okay?" Raising an eyebrow, Alice asked, "Cut the bullshit. Do you know why Bella even considered going out with you in the first place?" Nodding, I said, "Yeah." But I wasn't about to tell her the only reason that Bella was putting up with my shit was because she was getting a generous amount of money. I had no fucking clue if Bella had told any of her friends about this, and it wasn't my place to"Before the money, you moron," Alice interrupted. "Do you know why Bella started hanging out with you before the money was ever on the table?" Shit. She gave me some sort of satisfied chuckle and asked, "Well?" Well, no, I honestly had no fucking clue why Bella agreed to this. She claimed it was because she shopped a lot. Unlike Ben, I'm not hyper aware of female clothing brands. Not that it was his fault; he used to spend his summers working as a brand rep for Abercrombie and Fitch, spritzing unsuspecting people with nauseating cologne. I'm not blind though, so I found Bella's claims of being a shopaholic hard to believe, seeing as how I never saw her wear more than two pairs of jeans and the occasional dress. It wasn't a brain buster, but I still had no answer to give. "I honestly don't know." "Bella has never been one for spontaneity," Alice said matter-of-factly. "I've always given her a hard time about it, but she shrugged it off as me being the bitchy friend that I am. Then you came along." She smirked and I waited, having no doubt she had a lot more to say. "Spontaneous for Bella means eating a tuna sandwich on a Wednesday instead of her normal Tuna Tuesday. Yeah, she fucking names the days of the week after what she eats for lunch."
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"What's Wednesday?" "Wasabi Wednesday. There's this place about a block from where I work that has an awesome happy hour and-" Alice's eyes lit up for a second. "What I'm trying to say is this is probably all my fault." "What is your fault?" I couldn't figure out how Bella, wasabi, and tuna were connected, or how any of it was Alice's fault. "I talked her into going out with you. She mentioned you a few times, telling me you were hanging around the bar, brooding, helping her with her truck. I was the one who convinced her into giving you a chance before you offered to pay her. She was hesitant, but went for it," Alice explained. I felt like there was a faster way she could explain this. Preferably with less words and more of a point. "There were multiple times when Bella wanted to back out of this, because she's been so out of her element," Alice rolled her eyes. "I talked her into going on a date tonight to make you jealous. Which apparently worked, so I don't see how she can be too mad at me, even though it kind of backfired, but it worked!" She released a long breath as if she was coming up for air. I was both surprised and grateful to see her mouth was no longer moving. "Bella doesn't have a thing for the Pleather Prick?" I asked, because that was the only information my brain was able to gather from her little speech. Alice's eyes lit up as she asked, "Ooh, what's a pleather prick?" "The douche you made her go out with!" "Wait, Riley wore pleather?" Alice looked both shocked and disgusted. "That's almost worse than liking LMFAO." "No," I said sternly. "It's the equivalent of liking LMFAO. I wouldn't doubt his theme song is "Party Rock Anthem"," I said with disdain. "She doesn't have a thing for Riley. In fact, I had to get her drunk off shitty vodka to agree on going on a date." "Ah, so shitty vodka is the secret." I feigned pain as Alice slapped my bicep. "You're right, this is all your fault," I teased. It was partly a joke, because it wasn't Alice's fault I blew up at Bella. It was definitely Emmett's fault, though. Whiskey always puts me in Hulk mode.
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"I'm kind of a bad influence on her." "I'm gathering that." I chuckled and glanced up at Bella's window, noticing the light was still on. "Good to know she wouldn't actually date a guy with blonde hair." "James is blonde." "James? Who the fuck is James?" I didn't mean to snap, but I couldn't help it. Alice wasn't phased by my Hulk mode outburst. "Oh, I see you two haven't had the ex talk yet." Pouting, because who the fuck was James, I asked again, "Who the fuck is James?" "Down, boy. James was her ex-boyfriend. They dated for, I don't know, two years. Anyway, he fucked her over. Big time." Alice gave me a pointed look. "I would never-" "But in the back of her mind, you will. It's not like you've proven otherwise," Alice explained and, yeah, okay, she was right. I wasn't exactly the poster boy for monogamy. "James cheated on her, got the girl pregnant, and he's like, mentally unstable or something because he still expects Bella to forgive him. He had the fucking nerve to send her an invite to the baby shower." "Ouch." "Tell me about it. Bella was sick for weeks. It was awful seeing her like that. There's only so much tequila and cupcakes you can force a person to consume to make them get over a break-up." Rubbing the back of my neck helped with the tension I was feeling as I thought of Bella being upset. "So, are you here right now because she called you?" "Of course. I must say, I'm surprised you fucked up. It was a rather foolproof plan." I scoffed. "Apparently the one thing I'm consistently good at is fucking things up." "You're a guy who smokes weed, wears beanies and probably still eats pop-tarts. You're allowed to fuck up, but you're not allowed to hurt my best friend."
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This Alice chick was pretty spot-on. She was also very fucking helpful. Not that I enjoyed standing outside at midnight, listening to Bella's friend tell me about her past, but any information that helped me better understand Bella was, well, much appreciated. "Why are you telling me all of this? Aren't you supposed to hate me or something?" "I already told you I don't know if I like you yet. But, I know Bella, and I know she feels something for you. I also know that she is scared and, well, I don't want her to ruin this because of her fear of getting hurt." Alice stared at me for a second then asked, "Are you sorry?" I focused on my shoe scuffing the pavement a few times before I answered. "More than she'll believe." "Were you jealous?" That question made me wince, which made Alice smile, which made me scowl. "Yeah, I was." "Are you in love with her?" Who the fuck goes around asking people they just met if they are in love with someone? "I..." had to look away. "It's...I don't really-" Alice interrupted me, and said, "Eight, five, nine, three." Looking up from the ground, I asked, "What?" She rolled her eyes and said, "That's the code to get into Bella's building. You have five minutes and then I'm coming up." "Thanks, Alice." "Five minutes, I swear to God! You tell her whatever you have to say to make this better!" I punched in the code, swung open the door and paused where I was standing. What the fuck was I going to say to her? How was I going to make this okay?
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"Just tell her the truth," Alice said, somehow reading my mind. Or maybe she was just good at reading body language; that seemed more likely. Of course, I'd just tell her the truth. That's easy. I could definitely tell her that I was, you know...was I in love with her? Why did I suddenly want to puke? Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck. Why did I drink so much earlier? What was I trying to accomplish with binge drinking on a weeknight? Emmett is definitely taking the blame for this. "The fuck are you doing, Edward?" Alice called from the sidewalk. Some sort of wheezing sound escaped from my throat as I tried to speak. Was I having a panic attack? Why was I thinking so clearly? Or was this not thinking clearly? What is one supposed to think about to know whether or not you are thinking clearly? What the fuck does that even mean, thinking clearly? I felt a presence behind me, then Alice slapped my face. Twice. "Fuck," I gasped. She raised her hand again and I winced. "No. I'm good. I swear," I said, raising both hands as if I were pleading innocent. She eyed me for a second. "Chill the hell out, okay? I wasn't telling you to get on your fucking knees and promise her a lifetime of kittens and Starburst's. Just apologize to her. That's all she'll want, anyway." "Right. No Starburst's, just apologies." I nodded. "Okay." Alice sighed and said, "You're hopeless." Reaching for my shoulders was a task, seeing as how I was more than a foot taller than her, but Alice grabbed and spun me around in the right direction. "Now, go forth and don't fuck this up." Don't fuck this up was my mantra as I took each step slower than necessary. Of course, her building didn't have an elevator, not that I would have taken it anyway. I needed time to prepare what I was going to say. Except when I finally made it to her floor, I wasn't prepared at fucking all. Lightly tapping her door with my finger, I cleared my throat and said, "Bella. It's me. Please open the door." The silence was deafening, but I knew she was in there. I knew she was upset. I knew I had to fix this.
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Don't fuck this up. "Bell, please just talk to me. Please," I practically begged. I'd get on my mother fucking knees if I had to. With both arms on either side of the door, I dropped my head and was about to apologize to the door, when I heard the soft click of the deadbolt. My head snapped up and I stared into Bella's bloodshot eyes. "Bell," I murmured, dropping my arms by my side to stand up straight. It took everything I had not to grab her and pull her into me. "Where is Alice?" she asked quietly, rubbing her eyes. "She's downstairs." I glanced behind me. "Listen..." "Why should I?" "Just listen. Please." She ground her teeth together and motioned for me to continue. "Bella, I'm sorry. Christ, I'm so fucking sorry." "Yeah, that was pretty screwed up." Her voice wavered. I felt like a dick. Don't fuck this up. Reaching for her face, I stared down into her eyes and swallowed. "I was upset. I wasn't thinking clearly." I half laughed at that. I was certainly thinking clearly now. "Why are you apologizing to me?" "Because-" "Stop." "Why? I realize I overreacted. You don't deserve to be treated like that." "Maybe we should just talk tomorrow or something. I'm exhausted and, honestly, your mood swings are giving me whiplash." "My mood swings? What about yours?" I accused a little too loudly. "Leave my hormones out of this, Edward!"
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"So, your hormones didn't tell you to go on a date tonight?" "No!" "Oh, so was it the shitty vodka that convinced you, then?" I was half teasing, but I also wanted to hear her admit that she was trying to make me jealous. I wanted her to admit she felt something for me. "You..." Bella seethed with fury. "You talked to Alice? Don't you dare talk to my friends!" "She talked to me." "I don't care!" "You obviously do care if you're willing to get my attention by enduring a night with someone who wears pleather." "Pleather is totally underrated, anyway. Besides, I don't want your attention." That was lame, even for her, and she knew it. "Were you trying to make me jealous?" I asked, taking a step closer. "No..." she lied. She was lying to me and for some reason, it made me smile. Maybe because I knew she was only lying to protect herself and to keep her pride. I was pretty sure all of my pride was out the fucking window. "Bella." I gave her a tiny smile. "Were you...trying..." one step closer, cornering her between my body and the door frame, "to make me...jealous?" I breathed the last word, gauging her reaction to me being close. "Maybe." She exhaled, looking everywhere except at me. "Look at me," I demanded. Leaning my head closer, I asked, "Why were you trying to make me jealous?" She shook her head, refusing to answer, and released a soft moan as I blew warm air against her neck. My lips crashed into hers, and her hands instantly pulled down on my neck, trying to bring me closer. "Fuck," I breathed with my eyes closed, mouth hovering over her soft lips. "Fuck
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you for doing this to me." "What?" She pulled back and stared innocently at me with her lust hooded eyes. She knew exactly what she was doing to me. "I just fucking want you so bad..." My hand traveled to her waist as I pushed into her hip with my thumb. Bella laughed and pushed her hips forward to meet the bulge in my pants. "I hate you, too." "Don't say that," I scolded, kissing her again. Smiling against my lips, she whispered, "Come inside." Not a second after she closed the front door, I pulled her body against mine. Frantic and needing and, fuck, it was good to be with her this way. It felt natural and so good. "Why do I want you so bad?" I questioned, not expecting a response. "Mmm..." She hummed against my cheek, pushing her body closer to mine. I considered that as confirmation to take her; to pull her shirt over her head; to unbutton her jeans. My hand slid down her soft stomach and into her jeans as a moan escaped her lips. "You like that?" I asked as I let my fingers roam, pushing her underwear to the side. "Fuck. You're so wet, baby." We fumbled backward until her back was against the front door. Sliding two fingers inside her at a painfully slow speed, she bit her lip and weaved her fingers through my hair, pulling my head down to meet hers. Bella murmured, "Shit, shit, shit." My smile was smug before I covered her mouth with mine. My lips traveled to her ear as I pumped faster, rubbing her clit with my thumb, hoping I knew what would push her over the edge. It was different this time; this was about her. "Good?"
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"Too good." Unhooking her bra with my free hand, I leaned my head down to her breasts and began sucking, lightly biting, anything to make her squirm. She moaned louder, so I pushed harder, rubbed faster. "Edward, fuck...fuck." "I want to make you feel good," I admitted, feeling my dick get harder with each moan she egged me on with. "Tell me what makes you feel good." "You do," she panted. "You do." I was the one making her come undone, making her feel this way, making her moan my name. "I don't want you to be with anyone else," I blurted out. It was too easy to get caught up in the moment. The thought of her being with anyone else like this was enough to make me lose my fucking mind. "No one else," she said with closed eyes. "No one." "I'm serious," I whispered in her ear before slowly grazing her neck with my teeth. She had to know I was serious. "Don't stop," she whispered, causing my dick to ache. "Never," I said, curling my fingers to hit her spot. I wanted to know every little thing that made her quiver in ecstasy. I wanted to explore her body and learn what every facial expression meant. Hitting that spot again, I watched in awe as she bit her lip. "Right there, baby?" "Fuuuuuck, yes. Oh my God..." She was slowly coming undone and I loved watching her face, hearing her pants, feeling her convulsing beneath the touch of my hand. I brought my mouth to hers as she came, and she kissed me back, hard, breathing my name against my lips. "That was...wow." Her head fell back, creating a thud against the door. I breathed her in for a second as she caught her breath. "Hey, ya jerk!" Alice screeched from the other side of the door. "I said five minutes
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!" Bella gave me a tiny smile as she smoothed her hair out of her face and buttoned her jeans. Picking up her shirt from the floor, I narrowed my eyes and gauged her reaction and the way she avoided my stare. Noticing her shirt in my hands, she mumbled thanks and reached for it. I held it above my head, out of her reach. "I was serious," I whispered so Alice couldn't hear. "I don't want you to be with anyone else." "I heard you." "Yeah, but do you believe me?" She nodded slowly and pointed at the door. "She's waiting." "So am I." I handed her the damn shirt and ran a hand through my hair, not wanting this conversation to be over with just yet. "Look, I fuck up. A lot. I say the wrong things, I do the wrong things, but it's because I'm not used to...feelingthisway ," I blurted out. "What way?" Bella questioned, voice softer than mine. "I think about you too often," I admitted lamely. Three knocks on the door and a "Dear God, people! It doesn't take that long to put on clothes!" tore Bella's focus from me and my almost-declaration. "We can talk tomorrow?" she asked with wide eyes. "I don't have work, but I have class until four." "I'll bring stuff over to make dinner?" Which meant I'd pick up take-out and hope that it would be good enough. "Yeah. Six. That works. And...thanks." Bella blushed, which made me laugh. Tucking a piece of hair behind her ear, I said, "See you tomorrow, Bell." Alice lightly punched my arm immediately after I opened the door. I mouthed thank you to her before walking away. Now all I had to do was find a way to convince Bella I wasn't the same guy she had
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met two months ago. I figured I could start with PF Changs, because nothing said I'm sorry quite like spring rolls and Kung Pao chicken.

A/N: Seems like Edward is making progress, huh? I mean, he was all about the giving in this chapter. Thanks for reading! Disclaimer: I do not condone wearing pleather, nor do I believe it is underrated. Pleather is not, and never will be, okay to wear. Thank you.

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Chapter 15
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. A Jasper For Me beta'd & boy, do I love her. Ffaddward, Livie79, ttharman, & ashley0125 preread. I'm quite the whore, apparently.

Chapter Fifteen "Wow. Hi." Bella said hesitantly. "Hi. A little help?" I asked from behind the two large paper bags of take-out I held in my arms. She nodded and grabbed one of the bags before letting me in. Pointing towards the tiny, wooden coffee table in front of her couch, she said, "You can set that over there. I'll go grab plates and silverware." "I hope you're hungry," I called towards the kitchen. Bella appeared with two plates, two forks and two Shiner Light Blonde's. "Starving, actually." She peeked in the bags and said, "Jesus, did you order the entire menu?" I sighed, resting my hands on my hips. "I didn't know what you'd like. I went a little overboard, huh?" "No." A tiny smile played with her lips as she handed me my beer. "Although, if you managed to completely forget dumplings, I might have to kick your ass out." "If I forgot dumplings, I'd expect you to kick my ass out," I said seriously before taking a swig of beer. We sat on our asses around her coffee table, digging through each container of fucking amazing food. I handed her the white paper bag filled with spring rolls, only to have her shake her head. "Don't tell me you're already full? You haven't eaten anything yet," I said with a mouthful of beef and broccoli. Just so you know, it's only okay to speak with your
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mouth full when eating overpriced, delicious Chinese food. "I don't like spring rolls," she admitted as she stuck her fork directly in the container of food, completely foregoing the use of her plate. "Oh." I can honestly say I've never heard anyone say that before. "To each their own, I guess." "But..." She moaned. "This Chang's Spicy Chicken is about to make me cry. It's so fucking good. God, the things I would do to this chicken if you weren't here." Reaching over, I attempted to fork a piece of the chicken that was about to cause Bella to defile the food. I physically recoiled as she hissed and swatted my hand away. "Hey! Stay away!" Smirking, I said, "I forgot you're an only child. There's this thing called sharing..." "Shut the fuck up." Bella laughed and pulled further away, out of my reach. "Get your own Chang's Spicy Chicken." "I did!" I pointed at her in disbelief. "It's being held hostage." "Sorry, but this is my favorite. You should have foregone the two orders of lo mein for more Chang's. Go on with your bad self and enjoy that beef and broccoli." "You're serious right now?" "Dead serious," she said with laughter. "And just because I'm laughing, doesn't mean I'm not serious." "Fine," I pouted. "I guess I'll know what to order for next time." Bella gave me an odd look as her laughter died down. "How's Emmett?" "He's good. Why?" "Just asking." She shrugged. "How's med school going for him?" "Good, I guess. He doesn't talk about it much, at least not to me, but that's probably because he still has a long fucking way to go."
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"Yeah," Bella nodded and opened the container of Kung Pao shrimp. "But if it's what he wants to do, I'm sure he doesn't care how long it will take." I shrugged, not really knowing what to say. "What are you going to do?" she asked. "After the beef, I'm moving on to the orange chicken." Bella smiled and said, "No. I meant with your life." "Isn't that a bit heavy? We have yet to read our fortunes, and you're asking me what I want to do with my life?" "So?" I sighed and began folding my napkin. "I don't know. I got my business degree, but I'm not really sure what to do with it now. I wish I could get paid for hanging out with Seth." "Have you looked for any jobs?" I gave her a pointed look. "Not exactly. But it's almost summer. Maybe I'll find something part time." "Yeah." Bella stared into her lap and said, "I'm going to get some water. Need some?" I shook my head and watched her disappear into the kitchen. Grabbing the bag, I pulled out the six fortune cookies that we were given due to the size of the order. I carefully chose one and unwrapped. Bella sat back down next to me and grabbed her own cookie. "You have to read it out loud," she said. "You go first." "But then it won't come true," I teased. "It's not a wish. Go!" Squinting, I read the fortune. "All the puzzles in your life will soon fit into their proper place." "That's a good one." Bella glanced at my fortune before reading hers. "Be assertive with decisive action is needed..." She trailed off and looked up at me. "I need to ask you something."
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"Okay." "What are you going to do when you get the money? I mean, like, what are you going to use it for?" I hadn't actually thought about it. What I did with it didn't really matter, it was the fact of just having it. "I don't know." "Do you know anything?" She snapped, which caught me off guard. Again, with the mood swings. Rubbing the back of my neck, I stared at her and said, "Yeah. I know some things." "Other than how not to puke after taking five Jager bombs in a row." Ouch. "I know that even when you're trying to be a bitch, I still like you." "Shut up, Edward. I'm trying to have a serious conversation." "So am I. You're cute when you get mad." "Edward." Reaching for my beer, I rolled my eyes and mocked her tone. "Bella." "I don't see this going anywhere," she boldly blurted out. "What?" "This. Us. Not that there ever really was an us, but you know what I mean." "Are you serious?" My eyes stayed on her, which caused me to knock over a container of sweet and sour sauce as I set my beer on the coffee table. "Yeah. Yes." Bella stood, walked down the hall and returned with two rags and spray bottle of cleaning shit. "I can do that," I said, but she shook her head and wiped up the sauce with the wet rag. "Okay, uh...why do you not see this going anywhere?"
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"I can't really focus on a relationship right now," she replied, suddenly focused on scrubbing the table. "I'm busy with work, class, Charlie and Gram. There's just no room for you in my life right now." "You're just scared," I accused. "Don't bullshit me." Bella gathered the food together, putting the trash in one of the paper bags, and ignored me. So, I pushed her buttons to get a reaction, because I wasn't letting her get away with this without a fight. "The only reason you agreed to date me in the first place was because you thought you couldn't get hurt! It was supposed to be easy, right?" That seemed to catch her attention, but it wasn't enough. "You made sure to keep your distance, never getting too close. Is that how you play this? Now it's becoming too much and you're pulling away." "Don't pretend like you know me, Edward." "Don't pretend like I don't know you! Christ, Bella. Just because James fucked you over, doesn't mean every guy will do the same thing." "Excuse me?" She glared my way, and I immediately regretted bringing him up. Actually, no. I didn't regret bringing him up. I only regretted the flash of pain it caused her when I mentioned his name. "Alice told me about James and what he did to you," I spoke softly. "But, come on. You have to know I wouldn't do that to you." "You don't know my life! You know nothing." "I know that you're scared. I'm fucking scared, too, but, shit. I want you." It was suddenly simple. God, it was so fucking simple. I wanted her, end of story. "You're scared? Well, I'm terrified. The only reason you think we have something real is because you finally found someone who will put up with your shit!" Bella snapped. "That doesn't exactly deem me your fucking soul mate, now does it?" "No, but it's different," I mumbled. Because it was different. I thought about her all the time. I caught myself staring at her, watching her smile, waiting for her to look at me. I thought the hard part would be admitting all of that to her but, once again, Bella proved me wrong. She was always fucking proving me wrong.
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"You think it's different, but it's not," she insisted again. "The only difference is that I made you wait two months before getting into my pants." "Stop saying shit like that." "It's true." "You get to tell me how I feel, yet when I mention anything about you, I'm wrong? Grow up and stop being such a fucking hypocrite." Bella let out an exasperated laugh and said, "You accuse me of being scared of getting hurt, then you shut down and basically tell me to fuck off because you can't handle me talking back. Typical Edward." "I didn't tell you to fuck off. I'm trying to get you to understand, but you just won't listen because you're fucking stubborn," I said harshly. "I am listening, and I do know you. You're a spoiled fucking brat! You get pissed off when things don't go your way. You try to act all bad ass, like you don't give a shit about anything. Like you don't enjoy the Cole Haan loafers you wear or the Lacoste bathing suit you own, but truth is, if you went a day without hearing the word yes, you'd flip out!" My mouth opened to rebut what she was accusing me of, but she kept talking. "You had a shitty situation growing up, living in boarding schools and being brought up by Carlisle and Esme. They treat you better than you deserve; they are your family and they love you, no matter how much you fuck up. Esme, your mother for all intents and purposes, would give her life for you, yet you still try your hardest to displease her." She took a deep breath, but she wasn't holding back, no. It made me want to kiss her, oddly enough. "Maybe you do and say things to upset her because you're trying to convince yourself you don't consider her your mother, but I know you do. And Carlisle, God bless that man for putting up with your shit, he tries to steer you in the right direction, and you have the nerve to throw it all back in his face. They are the best thing that ever happened to you, so get your shit together and realize it." Honestly, I was shocked. Bella and I joke around and bullshit all the time, but I had no clue she felt this way. No inkling that she felt so...passionately about this. No
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idea she had it in her to say these things to me. I wondered how long she had been thinking all of this, and also wondered how much of it was true. "Wow." I was stumped. "Maybe you think I'm being a bitch, but I'm just trying to save us both from getting hurt." "I can't promise either of us won't get hurt, but why can't you just trust me?" "It's not worth it," Bella said. That's when the tears began. "It's just not." I wanted to ask her how this could not be worth it, but there was no point. Why should she believe I wanted this? If someone would have told me two months ago I'd be trying to convince this girl to be with me, I would have junk punched them and told them to fuck their mother sideways. "Not worth it?" I asked, finding it hard to speak because my throat was too dry. All she could do was shrug. So, I laughed because this was so beyond fucked up, I could only find it amusing. This wasn't supposed to happen. I wasn't supposed to fall in love, and she definitely wasn't supposed to turn me down. "I can't believe this is happening." "I never promised you anything," she whispered, furiously wiping at her cheeks, only to have new streams of tears take their place. "I know you didn't, but if you think-" "That's the problem! I didn't think. I went into this whole fucked up thing without even thinking. That's what you do to me, Edward! And of course, the person who is going to get hurt will be me. It's never you, Edward." "No? Then why the fuck am I hurting right now?" I hissed. "Stop," she sobbed. "Just stop." "Stop what? You're delusional! I don't even know why I love you, Bell. You're too stubborn and snarky. You're kind of selfish in a nice way that makes you not selfish at all. It's a complete mind fuck," I practically yelled. "Oh, and you don't even like spring rolls! I mean, who the fuck doesn't like spring rolls?"
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Bella suddenly stopped crying, barely even blinked, and asked, "What did you say?" "Spring rolls," I pointed at the paper bag by my feet. "One of the best things ever." "No." She frantically shook her head. "You said that you...you love me." Huh. I replayed my dramatic rant and yep. I guess I had accidentally admitted that I loved her. Go fucking figure. I chuckled darkly and said, "Well, there you have it. Surprise! I'm in love with you, Bella. But let me guess, it's still not worth it, right?" Bella, still holding the rag in her hand, let out an audible gasp. Shaking her head slowly, I clapped my hands together once and sighed. This fucking sucked, and I had no idea what I was supposed to say or do next. "Right, so..." I pushed past Bella, grabbed as much of the food as I could and stalked to her kitchen. I dumped the food in the trashcan and made sure to do it loud and dramatically. Because really, I didn't know what I was supposed to do. And then I saw it, mocking me, right in the middle of her fridge. It was the photo of us, the first time she met Carlisle and Esme. Bella was sitting in my lap, one arm around my neck, while my arm was around her waist. It was the photo Esme forced us to take. "That's just great," I mumbled to myself. I pulled the photo off the fridge to further inspect it. We looked...happy. Even back then, before I admitted my feelings for Bella, it was real. This whole fucking time, it was real to me, and I knew Bella couldn't say the same. It was too late. Bella quietly entered the kitchen and with a shaky hand, grabbed the picture from me. "I don't...if I would have known this was going to happen..." "Don't, Bella. Just...don't." I ran a hand over my mouth, ignoring her pity. "You'll still get your money, okay? I'll see to that." I offered, because that was the only thing I could think to say. The money obviously had to be something she was worried about. Bella laughed to the point where her tears were ones of laughter. Yeah, it was almost creepy. "Don't you see? It was never about the money."
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"What do you mean it was never about the money?" I was on the verge of shaking the fuck out of her. How could I be in love with this hopeless, confusing girl? "You could pay for school, get a decent fucking TV. Shit, you could even buy yourself a car that doesn't cost seventy-five dollars to fill the tank." "Right. But, like I said, it was never about the money. And buying myself a new car isn't going to make me feel any better. So, why don't you keep your money and your pity." "What is your problem?" I yelled a little too loud as she stepped backward. "You don't have my pity, Bella. You have my fucking heart." I dropped my head, fucking defeated, and said, "Yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds, and I realize when I go home tonight and tell Emmett about all of this, he's going to call me a pussy, but I don't care. At least I'm trying here." "I didn't think you'd react like this," she mumbled and bit her lip. "I didn't think..." Resisting the urge to roll my eyes, I said, "Alright, Bella. Save it. I get it." She stared at the photo in her hands for a beat too long. "You don't have to pay me, but I'll still help you." I laughed. "Don't bother." Bella finally looked up. "Edward." "I should probably go," I said quickly and walked out of the kitchen. Cause why the fuck was I still here? She didn't want me. There was no point. "I don't want you to be upset..." Bella whined as I grabbed my keys and phone from the floor. "I'm only upset because you never sucked my dick," I spat. "You could have at least returned the favor last night." Was it true? Not really. Was it low? The lowest. Was it immature? Yeah. Did I give a fuck? Hell, no. I was wounded and needed her to feel some sort of
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pain as well. It was apparent from the look on her face I had achieved what I wanted, and I had never felt more disgusted. Bella sucked in a breath and said, "You don't mean that." My douche tendencies were about to overflow. I couldn't stop it; it was second nature. Also, I was still pretty pissed she didn't like spring rolls. "Next time you're going to shoot a guy down, make sure you do it before he spends two hundred bucks on food, okay?" "You said you were going to make dinner. Buying take-out doesn't constitute as making anything." Bella paused. "I don't know when things started to change between us..." "I do," I scoffed. "It was obviously when we fucked." "Get the fuck out." And that's exactly what I did.

A/N: I'm intrigued to see who people are more upset with- Bella for being a bitch, or Edward for being a dick. I promise there is a reason for all of this, so hang in there! Thanks so much for reading. See you next Friday! :)

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Chapter 16
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Surprise! Early update. Thanks to the usual suspects: A Jasper For Me, Ffaddward, Livie79, ttharman, & ashley0125. You people complete me.

Chapter Sixteen "Are you drunk?" Emmett hovered over my lifeless body, poking me with one finger. "I was hoping I was just dead, but yeah. I think I'm also drunk," I mumbled into the couch. "Go away." "Drink this." Rose handed me a glass of water, which I graciously accepted. "Whiskey? On a Thursday night?" "Yep. Stop judging. This was necessary after tonight's failed PF Chang's apology." "If you're going to sing 80's music, at least make sure it's something good, okay? Otherwise, keep it down. We're trying to sleep," Emmett instructed before turning the lights back off. "I miss Bella," I said out loud. Emmett stopped in the doorway of his room and asked, "Do you also miss your balls?" "Emmett!" I heard Rose slap his arm. "I miss my balls." I repeated Emmett's words, although mine were slightly more slurred. "I miss Bella, and I miss my balls. I don't know why I can't have them both back." A great idea popped into my head, but maybe my sanity was just being tested. "What are you doing? Who are you calling?" Rose snapped and yanked the phone from my hands.
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"I'm calling Bella to tell her to give me my balls back," I explained, trying to sit up. "She took them without asking. Not fucking fair." "Worst idea ever." Emmett sighed. "Go to sleep, and in the morning we can talk about all the mistakes you've made, okay?" "Okay," I agreed. Worst idea ever.

BPOV The days following my fight with Edward were...fine. Just fine. That is, if you consider ignoring everyone and everything to be fine. Friday, I went to class, paid attention, spoke only when spoken to, went home and took a nap. Later that night when I showed up to work, I flirted with Aro, then sweetly asked him to let me work the back of the house instead of the front, because I couldn't deal with people. Truth was, I was nervous Edward was going to show up, and I couldn't bear to see him. I ignored the concerned glances Jake shot my way and pretended I was fine. I ignored Alice's calls, Charlie's emails, and Angela's texts. It was easier this way; to ignore everyone until my emo phase was over. I didn't want to have to explain to them I fucked up and couldn't stand to think about what I had done; that I had pushed Edward away. Because, yeah, I pushed Edward away. The only guy who had ever said he loved me. The only guy who put up with my snarky remarks. The only guy who actually enjoyed when I belted out cheesy 80's tunes after drinking the shitty whiskey he loved so much. I pushed him away because I could; because I had the power to hurt him and because...well, because I was a bitch. A scared little bitch, but a bitch nonetheless. Isabella Marie Swan: Biggest Bitch on Earth. Well, maybe not, but I was definitely in the top five. I believed Angelina Jolie had the number one spot on lock-down, but that was only because I still wasn't over the Jen and Brad break-up. Yeah, I fucking hold grudges. Show me someone who doesn't. Even with all the fear that was holding me back, I knew deep down he wasn't lying when he admitted to being in love with me. Probably because he didn't actually
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mean to tell me. It just kind of...slipped out while he was rambling. The same way it just kind of...slipped out that he was upset I didn't return the favor. Could I fault him for trying to hurt me, for blurting out nonsense when I had disregarded his feelings? No, I couldn't. And I wouldn't. Saturday was one big blur because I didn't leave my apartment, didn't brush my teeth, and didn't go to work. I didn't call in either because that would require using the phone, and I was too good for that, apparently. My Saturday evening was out of control. Spoiler alert: my night involved two bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and half a bag of Wheat Thins. After my carb-induced coma, I was entertaining the idea of skipping out on visiting Gram Sunday afternoon, until I began answering myself out loud. That's when I realized I was being ridiculous, borderline psychotic, and I couldn't shut myself off from the world just because I was disappointed in myself. No, Bella wasn't going to become a shut-in, nor was she going to become a mental patient. I let myself sleep, AKA wallow, until noon on Sunday, then I forced myself to shower and ended up driving the junker to visit Gram. "Good afternoon, Bella," Nancy said from behind the safety of the counter. "How're you today?" "More like who am I today?" I asked without acknowledging her pleasantry. I wasn't in the mood. "Renee or Bella?" I asked, and received a sympathetic smile and a sigh from Nancy. "Renee it is," I said sarcastically. "She's in the back feeding the ducks," Nancy said before I walked away. "Charlie isn't here yet." "Thanks." Navigating my way through the facility, I stepped through the huge glass sliding doors that led to the common area outside. There were two elderly men playing chess, a few women enjoying a brisk walk around the small trail, and Gram sitting by herself on a bench. She was sitting in silence, staring at the man-made pond. I tapped her shoulder and smiled before she turned to see who was demanding her attention.
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"Hello, Dear," she said, the warmth of her voice instantly soothing me. "Sit. I've missed you," she whispered in my ear as she pulled me closer to her on the bench. "How are you? "How are you feeling?" I asked with concern. "Don't you worry your little head about me, Dear. Have you been eating? Is Charlie treating you well?" As much as I loved my Gram and understood her disease, it still left me feeling irked having to pretend my father was my boyfriend, or even sometimes my husband. Of course, thinking of Charlie made me think of Renee, which had me on the verge of tears. Motherfuck. I wanted to talk about Renee, but it wasn't possible right now. I wanted to talk about the days when the three of us would curl up on the couch and watch My Fair Lady and Roman Holiday. I wanted to hear the warmth in Gram's voice as she talked about my mother as a child, unconditional love coating each word despite the fact Renee left us. She left all of us, and it was an unspoken agreement we ignore the fact my mom was now living the life she dreamed, and it didn't involve me, nor Charlie. "What's on your mind, Sweets?" Gram asked after my silence interrupted the flow of conversation. "I made a mistake," I blurted out. She didn't need the details, but I had to talk to someone. "I don't know if I can fix it, and...and..." Gram shushed me and said, "Nonsense. There's always a way. Does this have to do with that boyfriend of yours?" Barely nodding, Gram absentmindedly stroked the back of my hair and hummed. "Whatever you did, I'm sure he will forgive you." "You don't understand. He loves me." Shaking my head, I looked down at my hands, I said, "He loves me, and I acted like I didn't care because I'm too afraid." "Afraid of what, Dear?" Becoming my mother. Making the wrong decisions. Running away from happiness. Screwing everything up. But I wanted Edward, I thought to myself. I had a feeling that would never change, even if he never changed.
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"Of screwing up," I said cryptically. "That's a bit silly, isn't it? If he cares for you, nothing should stop you two from being together." "I'm not sure it's that simple," I whispered as the tears trickled down my cheeks. "There are other factors as to why it probably won't work out." "If he loves you, like you say he does, he will forgive you." Wiping at my cheeks, Gram said, "I saw the way he was looking at you the day he endured multiple games of Gin Rummy with your ole Gram. He's a bit unsure about things, but I could tell he was certain about you, Dear. And such great hair, that one." My tears suddenly stopped as my mind rewound everything Gram had just said to me. "Wait, what? Edward? You're talking about Edward?" "Of course. Who are you talking about?" Gram laughed lightly. "Bella, don't let fear rule your life. The best things are worth fighting for, you know. You can't expect everything to be easy." "I thought you thought I was Renee..." I trailed off. "You are not your mother, Bella. As batty as I am sometimes, even I can see that, my dear girl." Gram kissed my forehead, and I began bawling. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and God, it felt good to cry; to finally relieve myself of the stress I had been feeling over the past few days. "I miss her," I whimpered, my tears coming to an end. "And I love him," I admitted. "But he's so infuriating, and he scares the shit out of me." She laughed and patted my arm. "That's not something to complain about. Passion is a good thing, and that fear? Well, it will keep you guessing. Mysteries can be a good thing as well." "Hey, gals," Charlie said from behind us. "What are you two going on about?" I glanced at Gram, she winked and said, "Oh, just about how you've raised such an amazing young lady." Charlie agreed, giving himself a little too much credit, but we all laughed anyway.
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After spending the afternoon entertaining Gram, Charlie and I were walking to our respective cars in the lot as he pulled me into his side and said, "Let's grab a bite to eat. Dinner's on me." "Always is," I joked. We settled for Central Market because it was nearby, and who doesn't love their Salmon Burger with wasabi avocado spread? "Where's that fellow?" Charlie asked while we waited for our food. "Fellow? Come on, Dad. Even you know that's a bit outdated." Charlie shrugged and sipped his light beer. He was lookin' to shed a few. "He a good kid?" "He's not so bad." I smiled and looked away. "Ah, there's that smile..." "Hey. Cut it out," I scolded. "Is dinner your way of saying you need me to do your laundry?" "Don't change the subject with me, young lady." Charlie wiped his mustache and said, "But yeah, I'm a little behind on that." "Figures. I can come by tomorrow after class," I mumbled, not looking forward to waking up. Not in an emo way, just in the normal I don't want to wake up before noon way. "Finals are in two weeks." Charlie almost sounded like a normal parent as he said, "Forget my laundry and focus on your studies. You can't become a writer if you're busy doing my laundry all the time." "I can't become a writer if I'm busy filling pints and serving tequila shots." "I know it's tough, Bells, but you're doing a great job. I know I haven't been able to help much with tuition and everything, but..." Charlie trailed off, looking pained. Aw, fuck. An unsettling feeling crept over me as I thought of how much money Edward was willing to just throw my way, no second guess. If Charlie ever found out, he'd be so disappointed in me.
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"Dad, stop. You've helped plenty. Don't be so tough on yourself." He put his hand over mine, and said, "You're a good kid. And this fellow of yours..." He removed his hand and cleared his throat. I laughed. "He better treat you right, otherwise he'll have me to answer to." "You're pretty scary," I lied. "It's the mustache," he admitted proudly. My visit with Gram and dinner with Charlie had worn me out. Emotionally, not physically. I wasn't eighty-seven years old, jeez. Walking into my apartment, I headed straight for the fridge. There was a gallon of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream calling my name, and it was going to help in assisting me with replaying my earlier conversation with Gram. I wasn't an emotional eater or anything. Not at all. I didn't eat my feelings; I ate gratifying, delicious ice cream, and I was pretty sure my feelings were not an ingredient of any sort. Spoon in hand, I opened the freezer and watched as a few bags of frozen vegetables, my precious ice cream, and an ice tray plummeted to the floor. "Good job, Bella," I muttered to myself and dropped to my knees to pick up the mess. Grabbing the ice cream first, I lifted the lid and smiled. The mess could wait; ice cream therapy could not. My butt hit the floor before I could think about how fucking weird it was, and I dug into the gallon with my spoon; my accomplice; my friend. Yeah. Sitting on the kitchen floor devouring ice cream definitely did not qualify as emotional eating. I was three spoonfuls in when I heard my front door open and couldn't even bring myself to care. If someone were breaking in, I'd surely die happy. "Bella?" Alice called out. "In here," I attempted to say with a mouthful of goodness, but it sounded more like...not what I intended. Alice and Jasper turned the corner and laughed. It was loud. And annoying.
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"Told you she didn't slip in the shower and accidentally hang herself," Jasper said with a smirk. "Ooh, is that Mint Chocolate Chip?" "Fuck off!" I snapped as Jasper sat himself on the floor next to me. "What do y'all want?" "You've ignored me since our chat Wednesday night. I gave you space since I assumed you and Edward were locked up all weekend making sweet, sweet love. The only thing you're making sweet love to is my nemesis." "Yeah, being lactose-intolerant must suck," Jasper said. I concurred and handed him my spoon. "Also, your first thought regarding Bella's silence was death, not sex." "Okay, so I assumed you had an accident that rendered you disabled from calling for help." Alice shrugged. "Good to know you assumed I was dead before thinking I was getting laid." "People still say that? Getting laid?" Jasper asked. "Uncalled for!" I hissed and pried the tub of ice cream out of his hands. "No. What's with the wallowing? That's uncalled for." Alice gave me a pointed look before she realized what might have happened to cause said wallowing. "Oh, no. No, no, no. Bella, don't tell me..." "Yep." "How do y'all do that?" Jasper asked, glancing between us and wishing he could read our minds. Yeah. Alice and I were known for partaking in mind conversations. We were pretty awesome like that, but for your sake, we'd verbalize this one. "You fucked it up, didn't you?" she asked, dropping her head. "I did my best, set everything up for you. All of my work...gone...down the drain." "Alice, give me a break." "A break? You don't deserve a break! You deserve a nice punch in the face!" "When is a punch in the face ever nice?" Jasper stood on his feet and reached down to help me off the floor.
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"Yeah, Bella is also wondering about said nice punch," I joked. "Damn it, woman. I have lost all faith in your sanity," Jasper muttered, looking disappointed in me. "No more sugar for you, Sugar." Alice held her finger up to shush him, and said, "You wanted to make Edward jealous, to prove he had feelings, remember?" I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be agreeing to this or not, so I just stared. Blank stares always get you far in life. Jasper sighed. "Worst idea ever, Bella. Haven't you seen any chick flicks?" Romcoms weren't my thing. Sorry if I wasn't into overpaid, overrated actors portraying to be involved in something that terrified me. "It worked! He got jealous and, what do you know, he also has feelings! Feelings for your dumb ass!" Alice yelled, causing Jasper to snicker. I refrained from flipping off his Counter-Strike playing, weed-smoking, Cheez-it-loving ass. Goldfish were obviously the better choice. "Fuck. It's really bad when Alice is the voice of reason," I whispered to Jasper. "Trust me, I know," Jasper and Alice said simultaneously. "I think this is the part of the movie where I cut my wrists to make myself feel some sort of pain." I wasn't actually into that or anything. I was clumsy enough already, so there was no way I'd purposely inflict pain on myself. "Nah," Jasper said with a smirk. "You're more romcom than indie flick. No razor blades needed for your happy ending." Meh, that's probably a good thing. I sighed in relief. "If my life has to depict a movie genre, I'll take romcom over horror, I guess." "Yeah, no shit!" Jasper said animatedly. "Who wants to get hacked up into little pieces while showering? They could at least wait until you're out of the shower, right? That'd be a little more fair." "I totally agree. Or what about stabbing someone in their sleep? Total cheap shot when the victim can't defend themselves."
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Alice kicked a bag of frozen vegetables towards us, catching our attention. "What the hell kind of movies do y'all watch? Can we stay on topic, please?" "Right. Sorry." I nodded and decided to get to the good stuff. "Edward said he's in love with me." Aaaand, deep breath. I expected shock. I expected Alice to squeal and beg for the details. I expected something, anything, other than the yawn she produced. "Pretty sure I caught on to that, like, two minutes after talking to him." "That was buzz kill, Alice," Jasper said seriously. "You could have at least pretended to not know." "I agree with the Counter-Strike lover." Frowning, Alice kicked another bag, broccoli this time, and asked, "So, why did you go all Hormonal Bella and screw this up?" Okay, people bringing up my hormones was starting to get a little old. Although, maybe my hormones did have something to do with, well, all of this. They were partly at fault for making me agree to date Edward in the first place. Like my Gram said, he has really great hair, so it's not like I had a choice in the matter. My ovaries made me do it. Fuckers. I held one finger out and began listing reasons why it would never work. "He doesn't have a job," I said. Alice rolled her eyes and said, "So? He's loaded." "Alice!" "Oh, come on! You work in a fucking bar, Bella. You're judging the guy for not having a job?" "It's not a bar," Jasper said, taking my side. "It's a bar and grill. Except, you do usually work after eight, so yeah, you pretty much work in a bar." Assholes. But point taken. I held out a second finger. "I don't like spring rolls."
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"I don't know what the hell that even means, but I'm almost positive you're just looking for reasons why this won't work out." "Stop being mean, or I'm demoting your friendship status." "Oh? Who do you expect to keep you in check, huh? Angela? Sorry, I don't trust anyone who flosses three times a day." Alice pretty much high-fived herself. I had no idea that was even possible. Alice and Angela never quite got along. I was their common denominator, and it ended there. To put it simply, they were just too different. Angela never uttered a bad word about Alice. But, yeah, the flossing three times a day thing... "Don't be a bitch," I scolded. "Next thing you're going to tell me to do is to stop breathing." "Whatever shuts you up." "Learn how to deal with the truth and maybe it wouldn't hurt as much when you hear it," Alice hissed. Alice never hisses. Even Jasper looked frightened. "What truth?" I feigned confusion. "You're in love with a guy who uses more hair product than you do," Jasper piped up. Alice shot him a glare, and I said, "Nah, I've ran my fingers through those locks. No residue." "Fucking A!" Alice screamed. "Jasper wins again." "Wha- oh my fucking God," I mumbled, dropping my head. "Don't tell me you guys made a bet on whether or not Edward uses hair products?" Jasper smiled triumphantly. "We didn't make a bet on whether or not Edward uses hair products." "Okay, good." Relief overcame me as I deemed my friends normal. That is, until Alice spoke. "Actually, the bet was whether or not you ran your fingers through his hair while
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y'all-" "That's it!" I screamed, pointing at Alice, then Jasper. "Demoted! Both of you!" "Stop being so hasty with this decision making of yours, Jesus," Alice said without smiling. "Before you demote me, let's figure out what you're doing to do." "I can't do anything. I overreacted, over PF Chang's no less. Edward probably thinks I'm some psycho now." Disgust took form on Jasper's face. "Who blows up in the presence of PF Chang's?" Alice elbowed him in the side. "Oh, sorry, not the point. Why don't you try talking to him? Maybe apologize for whatever you said. We guys aren't complicated creatures." I thought of Gram's advice, and skimmed the Spark Notes of Alice and Jasper's unconventional attempt at advice. Note the sarcasm dripping from my tone. "I'll sleep on it and figure something out," I promised. Jasper mussed my hair before disappearing from the kitchen, giving Alice and me a second alone. She grabbed hold of my arm and said, "I love you, Bella. But I'm not sure I can help you anymore. This is all you now." "I know." "Don't be scared, okay? It's worth it." Even if I wasn't one-hundred percent positive if she and Gram were right about it being worth it, I figured I owed it to myself to at least try. Or in the very least, apologize to Edward.

A/N: Hope y'all enjoyed getting inside Bella's head, even though it's a scary place. Epov will be Friday or Saturday. Thanks for reading! :)

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Chapter 17
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Yo. I couldn't do this without you ladies: A Jasper For Me, Ffaddward, Livie79.

Chapter Seventeen "Good morning, Sunshine!" A husky voice bellowed in my ear. "The hell, Em?" I buried my face in the couch and groaned. My hangovers were very punctual and had apparently begun before I had even opened my eyes. Emmett sat himself on the couch, crushing my legs. No big deal. Not like I needed them for our annual ski trip or anything. "I have class today," he said quickly, "so we've got an hour to figure out how the hell you fucked things up." Opening one eye I asked, rather sarcastically, "You think it's only going to take an hour?" He laughed. Then Rosalie laughed. Pretty sure the people who lived downstairs were laughing, too. "Less than an hour, actually." "How do you figure that?" I asked skeptically. "Rosie and I have been keeping notes ever since you started this plan. So, look alive. We have business to tend to." Mumbling, I covered my face with my arm. "Notes? I'm not sure if I trust your notes. You two are clearly biased." Emmett pulled my arm away and said, "I wouldn't say we are biased. Since, well, we are on Bella's side."
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"That's what he meant," Rosalie said with a chuckle, nodding towards a plate of pancakes sitting on the table next to the couch. Slowly sitting up, I glared at the two biased fuckers. But they had pancakes, so my glare wasn't too deadly. I decided I owed them something for the pancakes, so I went with what first popped into my head. "I may or may not have told Bella I was in love with her." They barely blinked. In fact, they didn't blink at all. "Okay?" Emmett eyed Rosalie. "I forgot...are we supposed to pretend we didn't already know this?" "Uh..." I cleared my throat and ran a hand over my face. "How did y'all know?" "Wasn't hard to figure out." Emmett laughed. Rosalie held a hand up and said, "He's lying. I actually told him. He had no idea. You Cullen's can be so fucking clueless sometimes" "Okay, yeah. I had no idea. Rosie told me," Emmett agreed. "How the hell did you know?" I asked Rosalie as I reached for the pancakes. I needed strength to make it through this conversation. Sugar and carbohydrates would definitely help. "Do you want me to be straight with you or beat around the bush?" I laughed for obvious reasons. You try not cracking a smile when someone says 'beat around the bush'. "Give it to me straight." "I ran into Bella in the hallway the night after you two slept together. I didn't say much, but I did tell her to be smart and to not expect too much from you," Rosalie blurted out in a rush. "I didn't know you actually had feelings for her, okay? I wasn't mean about it; I thought I was helping." Rosalie shook her head furiously, looking almost...apologetic. Rose never looked apologetic, even after the time she convinced Emmett to get his balls waxed, forcing him to ice his junk for a week. "What the fuck, Rose? That's probably why she was acting all fucking crazy eyes at Ben's!" "Look, shut the fuck up" Rosalie snapped, her sympathy quickly fading away. "I
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didn't think you'd go and fall in love! I mean, really? It's you." "I knew he would. I knew the entire time," Emmett said with a smirk, eying the food on my plate. "What happened to being clueless?" I hissed, but not before shoving a forkful of pancakes into my mouth. "I didn't know you two slept together, or that you already admitted anything. But I knew you were going to fall in love with her. That was easy." Wiping the syrup from my bottom lip, I chuckled. "What? No you didn't." "I swear on my life! You looked at her differently. It was weird; real fucking weird. But Bella kinda reminds me of mom..so, that's kind of how I knew." The three of us fell silent. Well, besides Emmett smacking. The fucker stole my pancakes, but I suddenly couldn't care because he was right. Bella reminded me of my mom. That sounded fucking sick, but it was true. She was...innocent, despite her dirty fucking mouth. She didn't let me get away with shit, but she was also somehow very lenient of the shit I did pull. And her laugh. Her fucking laugh... "Okay. So go on. You told her you...loved her?" Rosalie tried to keep from smiling. "I did, yeah. She didn't take it so well." "What did she say?" Rosalie pushed. "Something along the lines of the only reason I think I'm in love with her is because I finally found someone who will put up with my shit." "That sounds like a pretty good reason to fall in love with someone," Emmett agreed. "What else is there?" "Right? That's what I thought." "Women," Emmett said out loud, receiving a slap on the arm from Rosalie. "I don't understand why she wouldn't think that was romantic." "Well, there's this ex of hers..." I trailed off, the two of them scooting closer as if I were telling a ghost story. "They dated, he cheated, got the girl pregnant."
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"She told you this?" Rosalie asked skeptically. "I don't see Bella telling you this." "No. Her friend told me. I brought it up to Bella, and she completely shut me out." "Bad move, Bro! Bad fucking move!" Emmett walked into the kitchen, plate in hand. "You never bring sensitive shit up like that." "How was I supposed to know? I thought she'd want to talk about it or something." This was too fucking confusing. I thought couples were supposed to like...talk and shit. Not literally shit, but talk about their feeling and dreams and...whatever it is couples talk about. Now I was being told you weren't supposed to talk at all? "You look confused," Rosalie said with a smirk. "Which part is confusing you?" "All...of it? I don't know. Shit." "You said Bella's friend told you about her ex, right? Bella was probably caught off guard with you knowing something so personal. She lashed out. And I'm assuming you didn't hold back with the harsh words, am I right?" The look on my face told her she was right. "I say wait it out." "Wait what out? She's done with me. I even offered to pay her the money I promised, and she turned it down. Fucking flat out refused, claiming it was never about the money." Emmett walked back into the living room, and I sat quietly as Rosalie caught him up with the details. "Ouch. Yeah, I agree with the blonde. Wait it out. She'll come around." Emmett glanced at his watch. "I gotta go." "Wait, what? We're finished?" I stood and ran a hand over the scruff covering my chin. "I'm supposed to just wait for her to come back to me?" "Yep. She admitted she loves you, too. So, now you wait." Rosalie grimaced and patted my back. I had to admit, the only times we had been civil with each other were with Bella was involved. "Bella never admitted that," I said, giving Rose an odd look. Bitches were crazy. "It was never about the money for her. She even said it herself. Maybe it was at
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one point, but she turned down your offer. She's in love with you so let her figure this out on her own. Because she will, Edward. She will." Maybe they were right. Maybe I'd just have to wait around for Bella to realize she missed me and my banter. "Oh. One more thing," Emmett said as he grabbed his bag out of the closet. "You fuck anyone else, I fuck you up." I could appreciate that. After my chat with Rose and Em, I showered, threw on a pair of jeans, and headed to Seth's. His mom, Carmen, answered the front door with a warm smile. "Edward, come on in! Seth is in his room with some of his friends." "Am I early?" I asked hesitantly. "No, no. They are about to head home. Come help me in the kitchen until they leave?" She asked. Even if I wanted to say no, the smell of something roasting made my decision for me. Helping her in the kitchen actually meant leaning against the counter and sampling everything she was making which was fine by me. "How is your family doing?" "You probably see Carlisle more than I do. And Esme...I don't know. They worry too much," I explained, and Carmen laughed, saying it was their job. "Emmett is good. About to finish his first year of med school." "That's exciting. And what about you?" I paused with wide eyes. "What about me?" Carmen pushed a tiny plate with garlic roasted potatoes in front of me. "You graduated a year ago, yeah? Have you been looking for a job at all?" Seth ran into the kitchen with his friends following behind. "Edward! I didn't know you were already here."
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"Thanks for making me wait. I was starting to think you were done with me," I scoffed, pulling him into a headlock. "Never!" He squirmed away. "Walk your friends to the door, Seth," Carmen instructed. "Edward. Eat." Once Seth and his friends were out of ear-shot, Carmen turned to me and said, "I don't know what you're looking for, but I think I know of a recent job opening that might interest you." "Oh. Thanks, but I'm not looking to work at the hospital". I said awkwardly. It really pissed me off that people always assumed I would take after Carlisle. It was a respectable career choice, yeah, but it wasn't me. Never would be. "Not at the hospital." Carmen shook her head. "With Big Brothers/Big Sisters. You should go online and check it out. You never know." She winked and turned her back towards me as Seth walked back in. "Can we go play basketball now?" He whined, pulling my arm. "Yeah, sure. But then we have to go get ice cream to celebrate the end of sixth grade!" Throwing my hands in the air like I just didn't care, Seth's eyes lit up as he fist-pumped. Yeah. I totally taught him that. "Deal!" "I promise to ruin his appetite," I said to Carmen before we walked outside to my car. "Oh, I don't doubt you will." After two games of basketball, which Seth won "fair and square", we grabbed ice cream and talked about Seth's new love interest of the week. I dropped him off at home and promised to see him sometime next week. Taking Carmen's advice, I searched the Big Brothers/Big Sisters website for the current job listings. I found the job posting that best suited me and my qualifications, submitted a cover letter, resume, and hoped for the best. Saturday: Boring as shit. I watched in misery as Emmett and Rosalie made pizza together. Best part of the night was when Emmett attempted to remove the pizza
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from the oven and dropped it on the floor. The had to order Domino's which, come on, wasn't that bad of a trade-off. Their garlic crust was heaven. Sunday: Boring as shit. I missed Bella. I wanted to text her something funny and...I had to get that shit out of my head. It had been only three days since our fight, but she still had yet to contact me. Monday: Boring as, you guessed it: shit. Tuesday was better because I received a call from BBBS, asking if I could come in Wednesday for an interview. I, of course, agreed and planned to meet with early the next morning. Waking up fifteen minutes late, I skipped a shower and was somehow fifteen minutes early for the interview. Ironic part was they made me wait fifteen minutes past my interview time. "Mr. Cullen, we're ready for you." A petite girl with glasses motioned for me to follow her. I took a deep breath and was led into an office. Mr. Collin nodded towards the chair across from him, and I took a seat. "Thank you for meeting with me on such short notice," Mr. Collin said without looking up. "I was pleased to see your name on the application. What made you decide to apply for position of Case Manager?" "I just..." My leg bounced under the table as I thought for a moment. "I graduated with my degree in business, more for my uncle's sake. I volunteered here because my uncle suggested it. But my applying to work here, this is for me. I want to do this because it's one of the only things I'm good at." Mr. Collin gave me an appreciate look before scribbling something down. "To be quite honest, this interview is already over." My heart stopped. Had I already fucked up that bad? I mean, shit. He only asked me one question so far, and I was so brutally honest. My leg began bouncing again, and I was about to ask him why he was wasting my time. "You've volunteered here for two years now. Seth's Case Manger adores you. You're qualified, you're responsible, and honestly, you're the only one who applied for the position."
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I blinked. "So..." "You're hired," Mr. Collin said with a nod. "You can start Monday. The pay will start at fourteen dollars an hour." "That's it? I'm hired?" I asked in shock. "After some training, you'll be able to go on home-visit intakes with prospective volunteers and children. I'm assuming you read over the other job responsibilities?" I nodded, still unsure of what was happening. "Then, yes. You're hired." "Thank you." Is that what you're supposed to say when someone hires you? Was I supposed to hug him, or... "Since you've been with Seth for two years and know him on a personal level, you'll be in charge of finding his new Big Brother," Mr. Collin explained. He shuffled some papers together and pushed his chair away from the table. "That won't be necessary." He stopped, halfway out of his chair, and said, "I suppose another employee can assist Seth, if you'd rather not." "No. I meant he doesn't need a new Big Brother." Mr. Collin stared at me, and slowly sat back down. "You're a Case Manager now, Mr. Cullen. You don't need to volunteer any longer. You're getting paid." "It doesn't matter. Seth is my kid; he's my Little Brother. I really don't think he's going to want anyone else and...and if me being hired here as an employee is going to interfere with my volunteering with Seth, then...I don't accept the position," I stated as firmly as I could, despite my shaking hands. Mr. Collin narrowed his eyes. "You would be able to visit Seth on your own time, even if he were to have a new Big Brother. You realize that, don't you, Mr. Cullen?" "I'm selfish," I said, making him laugh. "I don't want him to have another Big Brother." "Well, I suppose it would work out. Just make sure you have a flexible schedule." Mr. Collin shook my hand and said, "I have a good feeling about you. Prove me right."
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"Yes, sir." After filling out some new hire forms, I walked out of the building feeling light and just...happy. I was fucking ecstatic. My first thought was to call Bella. She'd probably be proud of me. Sure, first she'd make some joke about me being immature enough to hang around kids all day, but she'd be happy for me. Instead, I did the last thing I thought I'd do. I hopped in my car and drove to Carlisle and Esme's house. I knew Carlisle would be at the hospital, but it wasn't him who I wanted to talk to anyway. Walking in without knocking, I called out for Esme to warn her I was there. When she didn't answer, I knew exactly where she was. I walked to the backyard, catching her working in the garden. "I've never understood why you don't just hire someone to do this," I snorted as I walked outside. Esme looked up from what she was working on and smiled, shielding her eyes with her hand. "Edward? What on Earth are you doing here?" She stayed kneeling, and I leaned down to peck her cheek. "I was in the neighborhood," I lied. "Liar," she teased. "Are you hungry?" "Nah." She looked at me suspiciously and asked, "Is Emmett alive?" I chuckled a little too loud, probably not helping her suspicion. "Yes. He's alive." "Well, you're not hungry and your brother isn't harmed. I'm not sure what else there is." Esme winked and pulled off her gloves. "Well?" "I got a job." "Edward, that's wonderful! Where at?" "Working as a Case Manager for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The pay is shit, but...I'd
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do it for free," I shrugged. "Carmen mentioned it to me last week, so I applied and they called me Tuesday, interviewed today..." "That was fast," Esme said in shock. "I'm so proud of you. You know that?" I smiled. Yeah. I knew. "You're a great kid...man, Edward. You know how proud your parents would be of you? I focused on some bag of fertilizer on the ground. Shit. Yeah. "I know, Esme. I know." She was wearing sunglasses, so I couldn't see the tears in her eyes, but the tone of her voice gave her away. "You're a sap," I teased. Esme stood on her feet and pulled me into a hug, despite her dirt-covered clothes. I hugged her back, searching for the right words to say. Everything Bell said had been true. Esme and Carlisle deserved so much more credit than I gave them. They didn't have to take Emmett and I in as their own. They didn't have to support us. Carlisle didn't have to change the oil in our cars; we could have paid to have that done. Hell, Esme didn't have to still buy us underwear; we could, and should, do that ourselves. "Thank you for buying me underwear," I mumbled as she pulled away. Esme smiled and pushed the hair away from my face, seeming to know I was thanking her for much more than just underwear. "You're welcome. Well, this obviously calls for a celebration! Have you told Bella yet?" Frowning I said, "Not yet." "Invite her Saturday. We can have a barbecue; all you kids can swim. It'll be fun." "Yeah," I agreed. It did sound like fun. Esme and I talked for a little while longer before I headed back to Emmett's. I was looking forward to eating the leftovers Esme forced me to bring back and watching Always Sunny. Again, another boring night. "Now that you're employed, does that mean you're gonna start paying rent?" Emmett asked right when I walked in the door. Esme must have called him. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves..." I said, kicking off my shoes.
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"No, no. Put those back on. We've got to celebrate!" "We can't celebrate with FIFA and beer?" I asked, setting the leftovers in the fridge. "Nah. Let's go to Cabel's." "I don't know...what if she's working?" "So? Are you not allowed to go there? Free country," Emmett declared. "Pretty sure you're the only person who still thinks that is a valid argument." "Pretty sure it's the only argument I need." "You know I'm probably going to get drunk and try to talk to Bella, right?" "That's what I'm hoping, Bro. It's been a few days; one of you needs to make the first move." Emmett was partially right. One of us did have to do something. In the very least, if she were working, I could maybe apologize and tell her about my new job. "Alright. But no whiskey. I need to keep my wits about me," I joked. "Damn straight. You're a working man now." Emmett fist-bumped me. Sure enough, Bella was working. I had a feeling Emmett was certain of this little fact. Yeah...the look on his face told me he definitely knew she was working tonight. I let Emmett buy the beers, trying to stay as far away from Bella as possible. I wasn't even sure if she had seen me yet. That was probably a good thing. "Am I supposed to stay away from her?" I asked Emmett, but kept my eyes on Bella, watching her hand someone a pint. "Nah. Just go for it." "What about all that shit you and Rose told me? I'm supposed to...do...something." Yeah. So much for listening to their advice. "Don't listen to us. Come on, follow me." Standing from the table, Emmett stared
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as I stayed in place. I looked up in confusion. "You just said to not listen to you..." "Don't listen to that either. Come on, let's go. I'll be your wingman for old times sake." Following Emmett, I cautiously approached the bar and stared at Bella, gauging her reaction. "Hey..." Bella's eyes softened for a moment. "Hi." "Yo, wud up?" Emmett said loudly, ruining whatever moment Bella and I could have shared. With a laugh, Bella waved at Emmett, but kept her eyes on me. "I need to talk to your brother for a second." Even though she was looking at me, I knew she was talking to Emmett. She couldn't look away, and that little fact gave me...a boner. No, okay, it gave me hope. And, yeah, maybe a semi. "Yeah, no problem. Edward, ya mind giving us a second?" Emmett asked. "She meant me, Dumb Ass." At least, I hoped she meant me. Why would she have to talk to Emmett? "And to think, you're going to be the one saving people's lives?" "We can talk over there. Less...crowded." Bella nodded towards the door that read Employees Only. Leaving my beer with Emmett, he gave me a small smile and muttered 'kids today' under his breath. Bella stood with her back against the wall, looking terribly uncomfortable. I had to keep myself from laughing. "There are a couple of things I need to get off my chest. If that's okay?" Bella bit the inside of her cheek, a nervous habit, which made me smile. Did she really think I wouldn't hear her out? "Floor is all yours," I said easily.
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"I tried spring rolls," she blurted out. My laughter must have caught her off guard, because she asked, "What? Why are you laughing?" "Because that's fucking funny." "Well, whatever. I tried 'em." "And?" She took a deep breath and said, "I still hate them." "Good. Next order of business?" "I owe you an apology," she said, looking at me this time instead of the sticky linoleum floor. "I'm sorry. I was awful." "You're not awful..." I trailed off. Yeah, the situation was pretty awful. And I'm talking about Mike Sorrentino; that guy was a piece of shit. Guidos aside, our situation was pretty bad, but Bella wasn't awful. She just wasn't. "No, no. I was. Don't coddle me." "I'm not coddling you." "Well, you're certainly making this too easy!" Bella pouted, or something close to it. "I'm sorry? Would you like me to make this harder for you?" I teased, reaching my hand out to grab her hip. "Yes. Actually, that'd be great. Maybe you should yell a little, or even throw a drink in my face. I prepared myself for the worst, and here you are...just..." "I'm pretty sure I owe you an apology, too." "No, you don't," Bella mumbled as I hooked my finger around the belt loop on her shorts. "You don't." "Oh, but I do," I whispered as a group of people passed by. "I shouldn't have brought up James. That was shitty." Bella let her fingers wrap around my hand. "It was all true though. Every word
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you said. I'm just scared. It's easier to guard myself than to open up to you." "I told you I'm scared, too." "I've done the whole relationship thing before, Edward. It's not all it's cracked up to be." "No? Have you not had fun with me so far?" I questioned, pulling her closer to me. "Yeah, but...that wasn't real." "Yes, it was." It was. Bella looked away, so I pulled her even closer so she had no choice but to stare at me. If I had to, I'd dazzle the shit out of her. Whatever worked. "You should be mad at me, not pulling me closer. Do you not know how all of this works?" "No. I don't know how this works," I admitted. "Maybe I should be mad, but right now, it's easier not to be." With a sigh, Bella tilted her head to the side and smiled. "Okay. Since you're so understanding, can I ask if we cool it for the next week?" Now it was my turn to pout. "I have to study for finals and don't need any distractions. After that, we can try to...figure something out." "I'm a distraction?" I feigned innocence. "Oh, the worst! I had this big speech planned, and all I managed to remember were the words I'm sorry," she said in defeat. "That's all you needed to remember anyway." Bella wrapped her hand behind me, letting her hand travel up and down my back. "Oh, yeah? Damn. And I spent all that time fretting..." "I guess I shouldn't tell you I would have even accepted a kiss as an apology. Or even...bathroom sex?" My eyes darted towards the Employees Only door. "Oh, real romantic," Bella laughed before pulling out of my grip to slap my chest. "I have to get back to work. But...we're good?"
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We were good. I was pretty sure there were a few things we still had to talk about, but for now, we were good. I had my Bella back. As for my balls...pretty sure those weren't coming back anytime soon, but as long as Bella was the one to hold them...yeah. You get where I'm going with this.

A/N: Gotta admit, I got a little emotional during this chap. Maybe there's hope for a HEA in their future after all! As if every review reply I sent didn't claim DEFINITE HEA! Psh. I blame this chapter for being late on Truckerhatward. Working on a collab with Livie79 & it's utter ridiculousness. Check out "Dirt Roads", unless you hate to laugh. Then yeah, Dirt Roads is not the story for you. Link in my profile! Thanks for reading! See you Friday (fo real, fo real).

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Chapter 18
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Thanks & puffy hearts- A Jasper For Me, Ffaddward, & Livie79.

Chapter Eighteen After turning down my third suggestion of bathroom sex, Bella patted my cheek and got her ass back to work. Which was fine, I guess, since I liked watching her ass do just about anything. That is, until she sauntered past Grease Monkey, whose eyes followed where she had just walked from and, well, he glared. At me. And I was pretty sure he growled. I was forced to retract my last thought about Bella. I did like watching her ass do just about anything except work with him. Grease Monkey apparently had issues, and not just ones of anger. Seriously, he worked in a bar, for Christ's sake. Why was it necessary his arms resemble Donkey Kong's? I made my way towards Emmett, who was focusing extremely too hard on the NHL playoffs. I knew he was dying to ask what Bella and I had talked about, but he kept quiet as I sat down next to him. "Look at that grease monkey," I scoffed. Emmett stole a glance towards the bar as I said, "His arms, dude. No one needs arms that big. He looks like Donkey Kong, right?" Emmett nodded and said, "You jealous? Cause your arms have been lacking lately. I don't think kicking my ass in FIFA is considered a work out." "I'm not jealous." I really wasn't. He slid my beer across the table, trying not to smile. "Bella's biceps are bigger than yours." "What the fuck?" I lifted my arm and flexed. Yeah, so I didn't really compare to
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Grease Monkey, but there was some definition there. "Don't even worry bro; Bella isn't into the big, burly type." "How do you know?" I asked hesitantly, still staring at my bicep. "Cause she turned me down when I came onto her." Punching the fuck out of his arm only made him laugh harder. "See, that would've done a little more damage if you worked out like that guy," Emmett said, pointing at Grease Monkey with his beer. "Screw you." "Yeah, yeah." Emmett went back to staring at the TV. As if he had ever been interested in hockey before tonight. "Ben is on his way. Told him about your new job." "Cool," I replied, not letting my voice give anything away. "Rose might stop by after she gets off work at nine." "Sweet." Emmett huffed, turning his head away from the television. "You gonna make me ask?" he finally blurted out. Standing, I turned my chair around to sit in it backwards. Once I was settled with my elbows on the table, I said, "Bella tried spring rolls." "Congratulations to her. But what'd she say to you?" "She apologized. I apologized. I don't know. It was a little anticlimactic, but I think we're good. At least for now." I shrugged, trying to not appear too enthused. "I'm sure we will have to talk later." "Why aren't you two fucking in the bathroom right now?" Emmett asked seriously. I spewed beer all over the table. "Trust me, I tried." "So, you two christened Ben's parents guest bed, huh? Way to go." Emmett raised his eyebrows a few times.
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"Subtle," I snickered, refraining from raising my eyebrows. We slowly drank our beer and watched ESPN as we waited for Ben to show up. Well, Emmett watched ESPN. I discreetly watched Bella. That was more interesting to me than NHL playoffs anyway. Twenty minutes later, I realized I had lost track of Bella, so I turned around and noticed her walking over to our table with a smirk. "My shift is almost over, so I'm going to head home and go to bed," she said. "Just...thought I'd let you know." With a cheesy smile, Emmett said, "Hi, Bella. You're looking good tonight." "Hi...Emmett," she said with an easy laugh. Grabbing her wrist, because fuck if I was going to let my brother hit on her, I pulled her into my lap. "You're leaving? You don't want to celebrate with us?" I asked playfully. "What are you celebrating?" Bella asked, looking at me, then Emmett. "Your boy here is gainfully employed," Emmett announced, patting me on the back. She shifted in my lap, causing my dick to get hard. And I was pretty sure she did that shit on purpose, too. Bella slightly smirked, letting her hand rest on the back of my neck as she asked, "No way?" Emmett smiled, seemingly more proud than I was. "Way." Bella stared at me, moving her face closer to mine. There was a static between us that was un-fucking-real. I wanted her. I wanted a bathroom. I wanted sex. "Since when?" "Since when what?" I asked, confused at what she was asking me. "Since when did you get a job?"
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"Oh. Like...twelve hours ago? I wanted to call you, but yeah. Carmen, Seth's mom, mentioned an opening with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, so I applied last Friday to be a Case Manager." Bella paused for a second, then said, "That's awesome. Really, Edward." I squeezed her thigh and smiled. "What, no joke about me being immature enough to hang around kids?" "I was getting there," she snickered. "What's going to happen to Seth?" "Nothing. I told them I didn't want the job if I couldn't still be Seth's Big Brother. The poor kid is stuck with me." Bella laughed, running her fingers through the back of my hair. "Poor kid, indeed." Emmett suddenly yelled Ben's name, causing Bella to slightly jump. We both turned around as Emmett motioned to catch Ben's attention. "Benjamin." I nodded towards him, keeping Bella in my lap. "What took you so long?" "Dude, I got hooked on some show; When Animals Attack or some shit." "That's a good show," Emmett agreed. "This lady was on top of a building, working or something. I don't really know what the fuck she was doing, but get this...a flock of pigeons attacked her, causing her to fall off and become road kill." "That's awful..." Bella said as the rest of us laughed. "That's life," Ben snickered. "So, I heard you're employed. That mean this round is on you?" Tapping the top of Ben's beer bottle with the bottom of mine, it began to rapidly foam and overflow all over the table. Emmett howled. Ben glared. Bella rolled her eyes. "Not that I don't enjoy a nice sausage fest, but I really need to go get some sleep."
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Bella stood and patted my leg once. "You don't want to hang out later?" I questioned, keeping my hand wrapped around her wrist. Bella tsked me and said, "Distraction, remember?" "Not a distraction if we're both sleeping." I smiled slyly. "Dude's got a point," Emmett added, raising his eyebrows. Bella flipped him off and said, "Nice try. I'm sure I'll be asleep by the time you guys are done celebrating." "Then leave your door unlocked for me." "Yeah, cause that's totally safe. I'll call you tomorrow, okay?" "Fine. I give up," I said as I dropped her wrist. "I didn't want to hang out with you anyway." "Oh, shut the hell up. You boys behave," Bella warned as she walked away. Ben leaned over and said, "Dude. I never thought I'd see the day." "What?" I questioned, but I was pretty sure I knew what he was talking about. "You're fucked," Ben and Emmett said simultaneously. They were so fucking right. But that didn't keep me from flipping them off. "So, we getting shitty tonight?" Ben asked, changing the subject. "Since we're celebrating and all." "Nah. I'm sticking to beer. But I can go get us another round," I offered. I went to the bar to grab some beers, checking around to see if Bella had actually left. I noticed a shady looking guy standing a few feet away from me; something about his demeanor felt off. Barely two minutes later, some random waitress served me the beers, and just as I turned to leave, I overheard the guy ask the waitress where Bella was tonight.
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What the fuck? Who was this guy, and why the hell was he looking for Bella? I noticed Emmett, Ben, and now Rose, had set-up camp over near a pool table, so I walked over and set the beers on an empty table nearby. Ben handed me a pool cue in exchange for a beer. "Hey. Who's that guy over there? The blond one," I asked Ben and Emmett. Emmett ignored me to talk with Rosalie, but Ben scanned the bar. His facial expression suddenly changed as he looked away and pretended to be very intrigued with the tip of the cue. "James. Bella's ex." He frowned for a second before nodding towards the pool table. "Hey. You should break." "That's James?" I asked, suddenly very aware of his every move; too sly for his own fucking good. "You know him?" "Nah." I set my beer on the pool table's felt and popped my knuckles. But I was about to introduce him...to my fist. Yeah, that was pretty lame. That's why I didn't fucking say it out loud. "Em?" Ben reached out, slapping a hand across Emmett's chest. "Edward's about to do something he's going to regret." "Yo. What's going on?" I pointed in James' direction, narrowed my eyes, and gave Emmett a death glare. "That fucker is dead." "Whoa." Emmett laughed uncomfortably. "Let's not murder anyone tonight, okay? Maybe tomorrow, but tonight we're celebrating your new job." "New job implies he had an old job," Rosalie snickered. "Rose, not now!" I yelled. "Y'all don't get it. He fucked Bella up." "What do you mean?" Emmett asked slowly, trying to sneak glances in James' general direction.
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"He fucked her over!" "That's the douche who cheated on Bella?" Rosalie asked. She was a little faster than Emmett, I'd give her that. "Yes." "Dude's got blonde hair..." Emmett trailed off in shock. That's when it hit me. This was the blonde douche who was at the bar trying to talk to Bella a few months ago. "Go beat his ass," Rosalie said with authority. "If you don't, I will." After the shock of Rose's tone wore off, I nodded and knew what I had to do. Honestly, I didn't actually know what I was supposed to do; I had no idea how to go about this. Should I talk him up for a bit? Pretend I know him, offer to buy him a drink, then attack when he wasn't ready? No. I didn't want the fucker to think I was gay. I couldn't go with friendly; I had to go with hostile. So I walked over and said the first thing that came to mind. "Hey, blonde douche." "Excuse me?" James smiled slowly, assuming he'd misheard me. "You're lookin' for Bella, huh?" He glanced around the bar, maybe searching for Bella, then focused on me. "Who the hell are you?" Tilting my head back, I let out a chuckle. "That's none of your God damn business, and neither is Bella." James stood from the table and stared me down. "What's your deal?" he asked in a dark tone, tilting his head to the side. "Do I know you?" "Nope." "Then what is this about?" James stepped back, giving me space. He obviously didn't see me as a threat. I'd have to change that. "Leave Bella the fuck alone, do you hear me?"
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His face flicked with recognition. "Ah, I see what this is about now. You know Bella. Were you wanting to compare notes?" James cackled, causing my anger boil over. So without hesitation, I decked him, mid-cackle. The fucker deserved it. He stumbled back as I shook out my hand. Punching someone in the face wasn't as easy as it looked, especially while sober. Examining my knuckles, which were now bleeding from contact with James' teeth, I laughed at his confusion. "The fuck is your problem?" James hissed as he brought a hand to his lip and inspected the blood that covered his fingers. Only a few people around us noticed the confrontation, so I stepped forward and grabbed the collar of his shirt with both of my hands, bringing his face close to mine. "You fucked her up; I fuck you up," I spat, literally, in his face. This was going to be fun. He pulled out of my grip, and that's about the time when people began to notice what was going on. From behind me, I heard Emmett yell, but I couldn't give a fuck. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins. I wanted this asshole to pay; I wanted him dead, but I also didn't want to go to jail. You see my dilemma. James was still a little shocked, so I made the mistake of turning slightly to see what Emmett was yelling about. That's when James sucker punched the fuck out of my jaw. Slightly stumbling backward into his table, I cursed loudly. "Fuck you! Fuck. You!" I lunged forward before Emmett could grab my arm. James stood in place, ready for whatever wrath I was about to lay upon him. Swinging my torso, I threw my weight into the next punch, waiting for the satisfying sound of my knuckles making contact with his eye, but the fucker dodged it. "Hey! You two!" Someone of authority, at least that's what I assumed, yelled across the bar. Before I could throw another punch, Grease Monkey pulled me back with his iron
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grip and baby-oiled arms. I fought against him, trying to release his grip on me, but his arms were so fucking oily... "Back the fuck up, Grease!" I screamed as he pushed me out the back entrance of the bar. "This doesn't involve you! Donkey Kong! Asshole!" As we busted through the doors, I tried to catch my breath, which was a little hard since I was still worked up. Emmett was two seconds behind us. "He sucker punched me, Em! Did you see that shit?" Emmett just nodded in shock as Rosalie stumbled outside. "Nicely done. Although, I would've thought you'd at least get two hits in. And I think someone just called the cops." "Fuck!" I screamed and rubbed my good hand over my jaw. "What is your problem, man?" I hissed, staring at Grease Monkey. "You should be beating the shit out of that fucker, too! Not holding me back!" "No, shit. You don't think I hate him, too? I was there when he pulled that shit on Bella. I had to watch her go through it." "Then what the hell? Let's go back in there and-" "That's gonna make Bella feel better, huh?" Grease Monkey asked seriously. "No. Probably not." My breathing began to slow. "But it made me feel fucking better." "I get it, alright? I know why you felt like you had to do that, but I don't think Bella is going to see it that way." "She doesn't have to know!" I spat. "At least now he will leave her alone. She should at fucking least appreciate that." "I'm with him," Emmett agreed. "No one tells me much, but from what I do know, that blonde dude deserved it." "Thanks, Em." "Okay, that was sweet and all, but did you ignore what the fuck I just said?"
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Rosalie interrupted, snapping her fingers. "The owner called the cops. You need to get out of here, Edward," "Go clean yourself up, okay?" Emmett said, patting my shoulder. "I'll close the tab. Meet me out front in a few, okay?" "Hey, wait," Grease Monkey said as Rose and Em disappeared inside. "Bella will probably be pissed, but...that was pretty badass of you." I smirked. It was, wasn't it? "I do what I can," I shrugged nonchalantly. "Your hand my hurt pretty bad, huh?" Grease Monkey laughed. "Like a motherfucker." He pointed towards the door and said, "I'd go get cleaned up then get the hell out of here. No use getting in trouble over this nonsense." "Yeah..." I trailed off. "Put in a good word for me, okay? I care about her." He nodded. "Thanks...Jake." I had a feeling that'd be the first and last time I'd call him by his real name. Hesitantly, I made sure the cops hadn't arrived yet so I could sneak inside. I entered the empty bathroom and made my way into the stall to take a piss. As I washed my hands, I examined the damage James had done. It wasn't too bad, but my cheek had begun swelling. Awesome. Splashing my face with cool water helped a little. I'd definitely need ice for the swelling. And Ibuprofen. And maybe Bella. As if the universe was playing a trick on me, Bella busted through the bathroom door that second and glared. "What did you do?" "What are you doing here?" I asked, completely confused and slightly aroused at the same time. "I thought you were going home to sleep?" "I wasn't home yet when Jake called me, so I turned around. You punched James?"
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She asked, looking a little more pissed than concerned. "Um, yeah. I had an adrenaline rush," I said quickly. "Why do you look pissed?" "Because I am!" Leaning against the sink, I took in her appearance; she was livid, but I couldn't figure out why. "Explain yourself." Shaking her head, Bella grabbed a handful of paper towels and pushed me out of the way to turn on the faucet. "No, you should be explaining yourself. Why'd you do it? Are you drunk? Were you just looking to fight or what?" "No!" I breathed heavily, getting worked up all over again. "I'm not fucking drunk. I barely drank two beers." "Okay." With one hand holding the wet paper towel to my cheek, she inspected the hand that punched James. "I thought you'd be happy," I admitted as I stared down at her. Bella narrowed her eyes at the swelling of my cheek. "You started a fight, over me, at my place of employment. What part of that did you think would make me happy?" "I guess I didn't really think about it." I shrugged. "But...shit, that's a lie. The more I thought about it - about James and what he did to you - the more I wanted to fuck up his face." "Okay. You're just being ridiculous now! Why violence, huh? Really? Violence is the answer?" Bella poked my chest, trying to get me to answer her. "Not sure why you sound like a PSA right now, but yeah. Why not? If punching the shit out of his face is going to scare him away then it's obviously the answer." "Obviously," she scoffed and tossed the paper towels in the trash can behind her. "You're obviously really mature." "And you're obviously a fucking pushover. You're not doing anything to stand up for yourself! Christ, Bell! The dude pulls that shit on you a few years ago, then practically stalks you at work, yet you do nothing? Say nothing? I'm pretty sure if you told your bosses the situation, they'd help you out."
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"I'm a pushover?" she asked. Of course, that was the only part she heard. "I don't stand up for myself?" "No. You don't! I felt the need to do it for you. Be pissed off; I don't care. You're not getting paid anymore so you don't have to worry about being a bitch. Be my fucking guest." "Oh, that's great. Really nice. Thanks, Edward. Thank you." "I was trying to be nice. Apparently, you still think I'm being an asshole!" I sneered, but still felt the need to grab her face with both of my hands. "Look. Listen to me. I fucking love you. I love you. You don't deserve to be treated like that. I'm not good with words, so I was trying to handle the situation as best as I could." Bella looked down and covered my hand with hers. "What if he hurt you, huh?" I pulled back. "What?" "What if you started that fight and...I don't know. What if he hurt you?" "Is this about the size of my arms, cause...that's really shitty of you." Bella looked at my arms questioningly and said, "No. What? Look what he did to your face." Her fingers grazed over the spot between my ear and mouth that had begun swelling. I winced slightly; kind of realizing why she might've been upset. She didn't actually care if I started a fight with her ex or maybe she did - but she cared more about me...at least, I hoped, otherwise her outburst was completely unnecessary. "Nothing a little ice won't help. Not a big deal," I said, tightening my jaw. "It was worth it." "What if he had a gun?" she asked with wide eyes. "Or mace? Anything could have happened..." "Is that probable?" I smirked at her worry. "What grown man carries mace around?" "You never know." "Are you still upset?" I whispered, taking a step closer. "Because..."
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"What?" Glancing behind her, I reached over her shoulder and locked the bathroom door. "Oh, no," she muttered. "Edward." "Bella. Now, listen to me. I have some frustrations built up here...and..." "Edward! The bathroom? Seriously. I don't think now is the time." She shrieked, but still not looking completely opposed to this at all. "You just got in a fight!" "Yeah, over you. Cause I want you that God damn bad; I have to beat up every fucker who ever hurt you." Bella looked torn. I knew she wanted it. I could fucking see her chest rising with each quickened breath. "Don't be silly," she said in a low tone. "Don't be so sexy." Bella raised an eyebrow, thinking hard about something. Or maybe she was thinking about something hard...like my dick. "I've always wanted to have sex in here," I murmured in her ear. Bella pulled away, slapping my arm. "Hey, I said I wanted to, not that I have." Rolling her eyes, she sarcastically said, "Yeah, let's talk about your promiscuous past. That'll really get me in the mood." "Then tell me what gets you in the mood, Baby," I whispered against her neck, letting my mouth travel to her earlobe. She brought her hands to my chest, as if she were going to push me away. Instead, she yanked me closer by the collar of my shirt and moaned. "Edward...distraction." My hands roamed down the side of her hips as I pinned her between the wall and my dick. "You feel that?" I asked playfully, pushing my hard dick against her. "That's what
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you fucking do to me," I said, almost angry. "Fuck," she said. "Yeah. Fuck." I leaned my head down, brought one hand to the back of her head and kissed her; ready to fucking take her right here, in this bathroom. I brought both of my hands to the bottom of her ass and easily lifted her as I walked backward. With her legs wrapped around my waist, I turned around and set her ass on the counter of the sink, standing in between her legs. She bit her lip, and then I stopped, pulled back from our kiss and stared into her lustful eyes. Was I really going to fuck Bella in a bathroom? "I really, really want you," I murmured against her lips. "I want you, too." "Right here?" She slightly moved her hips on the counter, trying to get closer to me. "No. Not here." Laughing, but defeated, I said, "Okay. Fine." I kissed her again, because she had nice, soft lips. And if I wasn't going to get to fuck her, I'd at least kiss her. As if on cue, Emmett began banging on the bathroom door. "Edward, what the hell? Come on, let's go." "Gimme a second," I said as I stared at Bella. He probably had no idea she was in here. "I know Bella is in there. You two better not be fucking. Cops are out here; we need to sneak you out the back while Ben is distracting them." Bella laughed and hopped off the counter, hitting the door twice with her fist. "Hey, I'm sorry if I was upset with you over hitting James. It was kind of nice of you, in a totally fucked up way." "I'm a nice guy."
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"I know you are. And you have to know I care about you, okay?" "I know you do," I admitted. "More than you'd like to admit. I mean, you tried spring rolls for Christ's sake. That obviously counts for something." She nodded. "I bet you also like my dick, huh?" What? I was fucking horny, and I had to ask. She nodded again, blushing this time. "I do. And I don't want to have to visit you in jail, so..." I kissed her. "Yeah, let's make like a tree and get out of here." Bella laughed before saying, "I hate to break it to ya, but you're more Marty McFly than Biff Tannen." If I wasn't sure before, I was definitely fucking positive now. I was in love with a girl who referenced Back To The Future to me in a nasty ass bathroom. Ben and Emmett were right- I was fucked. Now all I had to do was wait for her to admit she loved me too.

A/N: Back To The Future reference? Check! There roughly 4 chapters left. I still got big plans for these two kids! Thanks for reading & see you next Friday! P.S. If you wanna know more about that poor lady who was attacked by pigeons, check out Dirt Roads by winehoes (collab w/Livie79).

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Chapter 19
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. SO much love goes out to A Jasper For Me, Ffaddward, Livie79 and MsHavisham79 :')

Chapter Nineteen After I was escorted out of Cain and Abel's - which was not in handcuffs, thank you very much - Bella suggested it was best if I went home with Emmett. She also suggested I look into signing up for anger management classes, which I thought was a little overboard. I didn't kill anyone. And it's not like I went around punching the shit out of people's faces for fun. It definitely wasn't a hobby of mine, but maybe it would become one if James didn't take a fucking hint. "Maybe we should finish what we started in the bathroom..." I whispered in her ear as she hugged me goodbye. "Such a romantic." "With you, I am." Bella pushed me towards Emmett's car and said, "Get some sleep, okay? Ice your jaw, and we'll talk tomorrow when I'm not busy studying." "Tomorrow," I assured her. "Better text me back." "Uh huh." After much needed sleep, water, and Advil, I texted Bella around five in the evening thinking I had given her plenty of time to study. E: come over B: I'm studying
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E: no ur not. ur texting B: Edward. E: I wanna see u B: you always want to see me. E: sue me. B: did you already get your inheritance? E: no... B: then why would I sue you? E: cute. come eat w/me. B: studying. E: you need to eat. grilled cheese? B: if I come over for an hour, will you leave me alone for the rest of the weekend? E: no. ur supposed to come with me to Esme's bbq on saturday to celebrate my job B: you're lucky you have good hair. you're too needy. E: come over & i'll make it worth ur while Fifteen minutes later, there was a knock on Emmett's door. "Ah. Surprise, surprise." I winked and let Bell in. "I'm here for the grilled cheese," she lied. No fucking way she would wear that tiny of a skirt and that tight tank to only come over and eat grilled fucking cheese. "Sure. Well, let's get to it." Bella sauntered past me. In her tight jean skirt. I had to adjust the hard on I was getting, because cheese needed to be grilled.
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"Where's Emmett?" she questioned. "I have no idea. I haven't seen him since this morning." "Your face looks a little better," she noted as she patted my cheek. "Thanks?" "Enough small talk. Grilled cheese me." Laughing, I pulled her into me. "Bossy." She scoffed as she wrapped her arms around my waist. "Starving." "Well, since your last stint with the toast, I'm taking over. You sit your cute little ass in the living room, and I'll make your food," I instructed before kissing the side of her head. "Go!" I smacked her ass, for good measure. Bella turned on the television, and I listened to the hushed murmurs of whatever show she was watching. "I hope you don't mind the vegan, lactose-free cheese I have to use. Rose buys this shit, but it actually doesn't taste too bad." Silence. "If you really don't like it, maybe we have some peanut butter or something." Still no answer. "Bell?" I called out before walking out of the kitchen to find Bella passed out on the over-sized beanbag in the living room. No wonder; she was watching TMZ. That shit would put me to sleep, too. I let her sleep because I figured she needed her rest, and assumed she'd only be out for thirty minutes. Two hours later, Bella stirred awake on the beanbag. "Noooo," she mumbled, covering her face with her hand. "Hey, you." I looked up from my laptop and smiled at her sleepy grin.
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"Did you drug my grilled cheese?" she asked with a yawn. "No. I mean, yeah. I drugged it. But you fell asleep before you could eat it, so I didn't get to take advantage of you." Bella laughed, keeping her eyes closed. "Not yet, anyway." "Get over here." "Are you hungry?" I asked quietly, lying next to her on the beanbag. "Because-" "No. Not hungry..." My fingers trailed over her stomach, then under her tight shirt. "You know how hard it was to watch you sleep over here without being able to touch you?" "Mmm. No. I don't know." I let my hand slide under her bra, taking her breast in my palm. "Is Emmett here?" she randomly asked for the second time since she arrived. "What the fuck?" I pulled my hand out from under her shirt, causing her eyes to fly open. "What- you're into Em now?" Bella stared at me in bewilderment and said, "Uh, no. I was just making sure he wasn't here because I'm about to fuck you on the beanbag. Is that okay with you?" "Oh." She grinned. "Yeah. Oh." "He got home an hour ago, and I'm pretty sure he's asleep. So, maybe..." my head nuzzled against her neck, "if you're quiet we won't wake him." "Have you ever fucked on this beanbag before?" Bella whispered, tangling her fingers in my hair. "Never." "Good," she panted as my hand slid up and down her thigh. "Good thing you're wearing a skirt, huh?"
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"I come prepared," Bella winked, pulling on my neck to kiss me. "Take this off," I growled, pulling her shirt over her head. She unhooked her bra; I cupped her breast, slightly pinching. "Hey, baby?" "Hmm?" "Touch yourself." My dick throbbed at the thought. "Wha-" "Come on...I want to watch you..." I coaxed as I bit her ear. Apparently that was all she needed because her hands flew to her waist, hand slipping in her underwear. "Fuck, that's so hot." Bella moaned as she slipped two fingers inside. "You like this? You like watching me?" "Fuck yeah," I hissed. "I bet you're so wet, baby." She shuddered, biting her lip. "I am. I need you in me." Fuck. That was so much better than her saying she wanted me. She fucking needed me. I gently pulled her underwear down to her ankles as she unbuttoned her skirt, letting me slide that off as well. "Do we need..." I hesitated. "No. No. Just you. I just want you," she practically begged as she lifted my shirt over my head. Frantically unbuttoning my jeans, I pulled those fuckers off, kicking them across the room, along with my boxers. "You're kind of beautiful..." I whispered, feeling like a douche. Who says that shit? It was true though. "Kind of?" she teased as I dropped to my knees and kissed the inside of her thigh. "No," I hummed against her skin. "You're really fucking beautiful."
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Bella gazed down at me with some sort of...lust in her eyes. No, I had seen lust before. That so wasn't fucking it. "Hey..." I kissed my way up her stomach, hovering over her on the beanbag. "You..." she started as I slowly pushed into her. "Shit...it's..." "...so fucking good," I growled. She closed her eyes, and I just...fell in fucking love or something. Because it was just us. Just Bell and me. My feet were sliding on the carpet, but that didn't slow my pace as she dug her nails into my back, then my neck. "Wrap your ankles around me, Baby." She did, and fuck, I pushed deeper; all of me. And I wanted to fucking cry at how warm and wet and fucking good she felt. I pushed the hair out of her face, trying to distract myself. I was about to fucking lose it, but I needed to wait for her. "This beanbag..." I grunted, a light laugh escaping from her lips, "...is awesome." "Your dick," she writhed underneath me. "Oh my...fuck." "Bell...I don't- I can't." "Al...most," she moaned. "Ugh, it's- I'm-" She started moaning my name, so fucking loud, I had to put my hand over her mouth to quiet her. She bit down on it, only causing my dick to twitch even more. I felt her walls constricting against my dick, so I thrust faster and kissed harder until we both came. And then I just laid there on top of her, catching my breath. Because"Holy shit."
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Those were her words; my thoughts exactly. "I know," I chuckled. "I know." Bella caught her breath, then lost it again as I pulled out of her. I rolled next to her on the beanbag and ran my hands over my face. "You're kind of amazing," she admitted quietly. "This is a first. Go on..." I teased, pulling her lips to mine. "I guess I just...I'm shocked. That's all." Bella smiled against my lips, playing with a piece of hair that fell into my eye. "You're different, in a way. But you're the same. It's good. I think we're good." "You realize you pretty much just admitted you love me, right?" I asked playfully, knowing she was about to go all crazy eyes on me. "What?" She non-crazy eyed me for a second, still calm. "No, I didn't. I was just saying that-" "It's okay, Bella," I hummed, using a soothing tone. But really, I was trying my hardest not to fucking laugh at her expression. "It was only a matter of time. How could you expect to not fall in love with me?" "Oh," she paused, looking thoughtful. "Only a matter of time, of course." "I'm surprised you lasted this long, Bell." "Because you're so charming, right? You definitely have a way with words. And you're absolutely not cocky whatsoever." I had a feeling she was teasing me. So, I'd tease her. "Well, you're wrong about that last part..." I smirked, glancing down at my lap. Unfortunately, Bella didn't feel like sharing the couch, or beanbag, with me; she went home claiming she had taken a long enough break from studying. I let her know she was welcome here anytime she needed a break. That fuckin' girl... The next morning, I texted her to let her know I still had her underwear. Oh, and
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I'd leave her alone to study for the day if she so graciously accompanied me to Carlisle and Esme's the following day. Yeah, I snorted at that shit, too. She said yes, of course, but I had a feeling it was only so she could get her underwear back. Bella and I drove over with Emmett to the barbeque the next afternoon. Rose was meeting us there, and I wasn't sure how Bella was going to react around her. After a quick swim, the six of us were gathered on the back porch, drinking and watching Carlisle grill. "We just can't get over how proud we are, Edward," Esme gushed for the tenth time today. "Yeah, yeah," I muttered as Bella walked over to sit in my lap. "And you two," Esme sighed in delight. "Precious. Just precious." "Are you okay?" Bella whispered so no one could hear. I wasn't so sure. Yeah, I was having a great fucking time, finally had a job, had Bella, and now...I'd get my money. I should've been ecstatic. But I wasn't. My aunt and uncle had spent all day telling me how proud they were of me but...something felt off. Something wasn't right. And it was sitting in my lap. I knew I loved Bella, but...something that felt like guilt was making me feel sick for lying to Carlisle and Esme about Bella. And, maybe if I loved her enough, I should come clean. Or not. I didn't have to say anything at all. Did I? "Honey, if you want to take the chicken inside, I'll finish up the steak," Carlisle said, kissing Esme's temple. "Makin' her do all the hard work. Give the lady a break," Emmett sighed loudly, grabbing the pan of chicken from Carlisle.
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"Thank you," Esme hummed. "Girls, come help me prepare the salad?" Waving at Bella, I mouthed I'd meet her inside. She stared at me in confusion, but followed Em, Rose and Esme inside. I was pretty sure Bella would no longer accept the money from me. So, maybe if I came clean to Carlisle, he wouldn't be as upset. And...here goes. "Hey, C?" I asked, listening to the steak sizzling on the grill. I was pretty sure Carlisle had never grilled a day in his life, and I almost asked if they had fired their chef, Laurent, but thought better of it. "Can we talk for a sec-" "Congratulations on your new job, Edward," Carlisle expressed as he cut me off. He almost looked and sounded proud...or something. It was obviously a new fucking color on him - at least regarding me - so it was hard to put my finger on it. Rose's words echoed in my head after his words of congratulations. "New implies I had an old job," I snorted. "Well, regardless of the circumstances," he commented as he focused on the grill in front of him. "Esme and I are very proud of the man you're becoming." "Yeah, you mentioned that earlier..." I rubbed the back of my neck, willing myself to keep my mouth shut. But the guilt wouldn't fucking go away. Carlisle smiled and just had to add, "Your parents would be proud of you." I could keep my mouth shut. No problem. I swallowed and stared at Bella through the kitchen window, her carefree laughter causing me to smile. "Thanks." "I'm serious, Edward. For a while - after some of the stunts you pulled - I wasn't sure things were going to fall into place for you," Carlisle snickered, but it was good-natured. "God...dammit..." I said lamely, dropping my head. Carlisle stared at me in shock and asked what was wrong.
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"I don't think you're going to like what I'm about to tell you," I admitted. Carlisle followed my gaze, eyes landing on Bella. "Well? What is it, Edward?" "I...did you fire Laurent?" Frowning, Carlisle gave me a weird chuckle and said, "No." "That's good. Yeah." I set my hands on my hips, pretending like that was the best fucking news I had heard all day. I could give a fuck less about Laurent. "Awesome. It's so hard to get a job nowadays; I'd hate to think of Laurent living on the streets, or..." "Was there something else you wanted to tell me?" Opening my mouth, I winced and...well, I lied. "No." "Then do you mind grabbing that pan and helping me carry this food in?" Nodding, I watched in a daze as Carlisle grabbed a pair of tongs and set the steaks on the pan I held. Carlisle shut the grill and grabbed the pan from my hands before turning to head inside. "Bella and I aren't really dating," I blurted out. Because now or never, right? Right. "Or, we are but...we weren't. Not at first." Carlisle paused in place before slowly turning to face me. "What exactly does that mean? You two spend a lot of time together to not be considered dating." "It means...shit." "Use your words." "It means Emmett told me about our inheritance money. It means...he told me about the conditions, and I knew I wouldn't find a relationship. I knew I wouldn't...you know, be able to stand being around anyone for a decent amount of time. So, I offered to pay Bella to date me." Carlisle shook his head for a second; I stood there, sun beating down on my face, and waited for him to yell. But he didn't. "I'm not sure I understand what you're saying."
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"The conditions," I said in exasperation. "For Emmett and I to get our inheritance money." "Yes. I caught that part, but I'm not sure what any of that has to do with you paying Bella." Okay, I guess I could fucking repeat myself...for the third time...and if that didn't work, I could spell it out for him. "The condition of needing to be married or in a serious relationship. Emmett has Rose; I was all fucking forever alone, famous ladies man...so...I told her I'd pay her if she dated me for a while, just to appease you and Esme." Carlisle set the pan down on the brick counter next to the grill. "I'm slightly worried at what you're implying, but I have to first tell you, there was no such condition." "Huh?" "The only stipulation was you and your brother graduate college. Your parents didn't want you to depend on the money; they wanted you both to have something worth while to fall back on; to not become spoiled and unappreciative," Carlisle explained, eying me as if I had lost my mind. "I'm not sure what this condition about being married or...in a relationship is, but if you explain further, maybe we can figure it out." Mother fucking Emmett. I'm pretty sure fire blew out my nose. Or my ass. Or...just, some form of heat took over my body, because I was livid. "Emmett. He's dead," I chucked darkly, staring at the group of people surrounding the kitchen table inside. "He's dead!" Jogging towards the house, I leaped up the steps and burst through the sliding doors. "You motherfucker." Emmett greeted me with a smile. "Carlisle burned the steaks, didn't he? I told you he'd burn at least two steaks," he nudged Bella with his arm, and I slapped it away.
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Yeah, it looked as ridiculous as it sounded. "You lied to me!" I spat. "You fucking lied to me, and...and I had to pretend to be in a relationship! I had to lie to Carlisle and Esme. I had to...fuck!" Bella's smile faded when she realized I wasn't joking around. In fact, everyone looked a little...uncomfortable at my outburst. Including Emmett. Especially Emmett. Carlisle finally walked in, steaks in hand, and watched the show. Yeah, let's just all sit around and watch the spectacle that is Edward's life! Watch everything I've worked for go down the fucking drain. "Yeah. Yeah. You know, I'm just chillin' outside with my uncle, and I decide to come clean about pretending to date Bella and offering to pay her money." I kept talking, ignoring Esme's confused 'what in the world?'s and 'Bella? Bella what is he talking about?'s. "Imagine my surprise when C looks at me like I am insane. And I'm a pretty level guy, Em. I don't easily lose my shit." "Says the guy who got into a bar fight three nights ago," Rose snickered. I flipped her off. Esme gasped. I wasn't sure why; it's not like she thought I was a fucking saint or anything. "Carlisle said the only stipulation was we graduate college," I remarked calmly, because Emmett still had yet to speak and maybe this whole thing was a big misunderstanding. "Is that true?" "Yes," Emmett replied, never faltering. "It's true." "For fuck's...sake." "Edward." Bella suddenly snapped. "Isn't that enough? You're overreacting." "Overreacting?" I screamed. "No, no, no. Do you have any idea what I've been through these past few months? Thinking I had to...and then you! And it was all fake, but-" My breath became labored as I took in the stares of my family. And Bella. Oh, God. Bella. Each of their faces held something different:
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Disappointment. Confusion. Shock. Pity. Pain. The latter was the worst, and it was clear as day on Bella's face. Shit. Bella stared down in her lap and said as quietly as possible, "I think I'm ready to go home now." Esme began wailing about whatever the fuck, Carlisle regarded me with heavy eyes, and Bella stood to leave. Because I had fucked up. Again. "You don't have to leave," I said quickly, grabbing her arm, only to have her pull away. "I think," she hissed, "you made your point. I'm ready to leave." "Bella..." Emmett said this time. "He's a fucking moron. Take it with a grain of salt, okay?" "Not helping," I muttered as she stalked out of the room. "Edward. Go after her," Esme instructed without looking me in the eyes. Shaking my head, Emmett handed me the keys; I walked outside to find Bella leaning against his car. She avoided my gaze as I unlocked and attempted to open her door. "I got it!" she snapped, opening the door herself. Slowly walking around the car, I took a deep breath and held it until I was inside the car. "You have to understand..." I whispered, releasing my breath and staring straight
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ahead. "Start the car." I shook my head. "Not until you talk to me." "If you won't take me home, I'll get Emmett to." Bella began to open the passenger side door. So I leaned over and slammed it shut, because hell if I was going to let her walk away from me without letting me first explain. "I'm not in the mood to talk about this! You've already said what you had to say in there. I get it, okay?" She reached for the keys, so I stuck them in my pants. "You don't get it though." "I have ears. It's fine. You found out you didn't actually have to pretend to date me and...it's normal for you to be upset." "I'm upset with Emmett! I'm not fucking upset I met you, okay? I don't regret that. Don't you think I'm entitled to be a little caught off guard with this new information?" Bella shrugged before pulling the seat belt across her chest. "I think we want different things." "Oh, really? Please, do tell me what it is you think I want? Cause I'm pretty fucking sure it's you," I declared, causing her to snort. "Even before I realized it; it's always been you." "Edward, stop. Please? I shouldn't have come here today anyway. I should've been studying." Grabbing her chin, I forced her to look at me. "Can you look at this from my point of view for a second?" "Sure." Bella pulled away and turned in her seat to face me. "You needed me to help you get your inheritance. We pretended to date. You got to fuck me without any expectations. Emmett lied to you, for whatever reason, and now you're free." Her tone was as cold as her eyes. "I think that sums it up." "Will you please shut the fuck up?" I hissed, because she really needed to stop saying shit like that. "You know that's not true."
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"Don't talk to me like that!" "I said please. And, dammit Bella, I'm the one who did have expectations. You're the one who still won't admit you're in love with me." "Excuse me for not wanting to get hurt. Every time we hang out, you somehow remind me of who I'm dealing with here." "The other night, at Emmett's, you said I changed. You fucking...you know I've changed." "I also said you're the same," she whispered, almost defeated. "I can't completely change, Bella," I admitted, grabbing the back of her neck. "I can't change, and I can't stop my feelings for you." "Take me home." "You-" Bell cut me off, never looking in my eyes. "Give me a week to finish my finals, and then we can figure this out, okay? Start your new job on Monday. Do your thing. I just...can't right now. I need space." I started the car and drove her home, trying to ignore the way she discreetly tried to wipe her eyes. "You don't have to hide from me," I spoke softly before she exited the car, slamming the door. I had a feeling it'd be the longest week of my life.

A/N:...Hi. Don't shoot the writer. It's all Emmett's fault, anyway. I vote for more beanbag time; that would help clear things up. Thanks for reading!

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Chapter 20
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Big hugs and sloppy kisses for A Jasper For Me, Ffaddward, Livie79 and MsHavisham79 :')

Chapter Twenty There was a peace offering on the coffee table when I walked into the apartment: a bottle of Maker's Mark and two whiskey glasses. Emmett appeared from the kitchen, avoiding my glare, and added two ice cubes to each glass. I turned back around and almost made it to the door when he finally spoke. "Get your ass back over here," Emmett instructed as he poured a generous amount of whiskey into the glasses. "Not in the mood, Emmett." But I grabbed the glass anyway, because it was the good shit and who was I to refuse that? "No, no, no. We need to address your little hissy fit earlier." "Hissy fit?" I scoffed, tilting my head back to empty the glass in one gulp. "You realize that was all your fault, don't you?" I asked as I wiped my mouth. Emmett immediately refilled my glass. "What I realize is I was doing you a fucking favor, and you're too ignorant to understand that." Fucker wanted to get drunk and hash shit out? Fine. I could do that. "You realize Bella fucking hates me even more than before, yeah?" "You realize that has nothing to do with me, yeah?" Emmett countered, downing his own glass. "And you realize the only reason why she's upset is because she doesn't hate you at all. You're an inconsiderate prick who doesn't think before spewing shit out of that fucking mouth of yours."
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"Don't hold back. Tell me how you really feel." I rolled my eyes and walked into the kitchen to grab more ice. "Nah. If I did that, you'd cry like a little bitch, I'm sure." Emmett shook his head and followed me. "So why'd you do it, huh? Were you bored? Wanted to see me fuck up even more? I'm intrigued," I muttered as I sat my ass on the counter next to the stove. "If you honestly think I did this to be malicious, you should probably get the fuck out right now because you don't know me at all." Okay. I didn't actually think he did this to be malicious. Also, I had no where else to go. "Well? Lay it on me, quick, before Rose gets here and adds her two cents," I snorted. "I don't feel like dealing with her judgmental ass tonight." "Tell me- what the fuck would you be doing right now if it weren't for me lying to you, huh?" I opened my mouth and Em cut me off. "Exactly. You'd be raw dogging some random ho and not doing shit." "I don't raw dog, you asshole..." I trailed off and grabbed the bottle of Maker's Mark, ignoring my glass and swigging that shit straight from the bottle. "Just because you don't agree with the shit I do, doesn't give you the right to butt in and fucking lie to me." "Yes it does," Emmett argued. "You're my bro, and I just want to see you do something. It sounds homo, but I just want you to be happy." Laughing, I passed him the bottle. " That does sound homo. And I do shit." "Stupid shit." "That's your opinion." The conversation went on like that, both of us disagreeing, for thirty minutes until Emmett was sitting on the kitchen floor, humming the theme song to "Full House". I was busy playing with the burners on the stove, turning them on and off, listening to the clicking sound when Emmett suddenly veered back on topic. "It was a joke," he grumbled. "It was a stupid joke for kicks. I didn't think you'd
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actually go and find someone. Since when do you listen to anything I say?" "Yeah." I yawned. "You have a point." How could I hold him responsible for this? If he wouldn't have fucked up all of this and lied to me, I would've never fallen in love with Bella. Sure, I would've eventually met her at Cabel's, but she probably wouldn't have given me the time of day, and if she did, I would've most likely pulled the 'Fuck and Duck' on her. "You're just so clueless, man." "Enough with the points," I growled. "But it's true. And then you met Bella, and I was like oh, this's going to be funny," Emmett slurred. "Cause every time she'd stare at you, she looked like she was going to rip your balls off." "Yeah. She's scary like that," I chuckled, thinking back to the first time we met. "For some reason you kept bringing her around, and the more you hung out with her - the more involved you got - the less likely it became that I was able to tell you I made all of it up." "I don't think it would've mattered anyway. I still would've wanted her around even if she didn't have to be." "I don't know. I just wanted you to have what I have, even though I went about it in a shitty way." "Emmett. It's...okay," I finally said. Because it was okay, or at least I hoped it would be. "No, not really." He hiccuped, and I laughed at his drunk ass. "I shouldn't have lied to you, but I figured it'd all work out in the end. And now I realize that was mistake number one, cause you're kind of a douchebag." I laughed again because he was right. I had my moments. "Well, maybe you weren't so wrong after all." "Nah, it was wrong to lie to you. I know. But...what was I supposed to do? You fucking showed up on my doorstep, and it kinda pissed me off," Emmett explained.
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The front door opened, and Rose walked in. She stared at me as she set her bag on the kitchen table. "It smells like kerosene and whiskey in here," she stated with a smirk. "Must be some pow-wow. How's Bella?" I shrugged. "She wants her space, at least until after she's done with finals." "That's understandable." Rose nodded before walking over to Emmett and reaching out a hand to help him up off the floor. "Hey, Baby." Emmett greeted her with a sloppy kiss. "And that's my cue," I noted, hopping off the counter. "Hey." Emmett blocked me from escaping the awkward moment. "Do you want me to talk to Bella? I can apologize and tell her we're both just dumb asses and you love her and all that good stuff." "She already knows I love her," I admitted, sounding way more pathetic than I intended. "Now, I guess I just have to wait and see if she thinks I'm worth it." The next day was spent nursing one hell of a hangover. Emmett spent the day with Rose and her parents, so I had the place to myself to wallow in my own misery. Checking my phone more than necessary, I was disappointed Bella hadn't tried to contact me at all. It hadn't even been twenty-four hours, and I was already missing her. Passing out early Sunday night, I woke up around four in the morning and decided I'd get a head start before my first day of work. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was grateful for the distraction; whatever kept my mind off Bella and our fucked up situation. Luckily, the next few days passed rather quickly. I was busy learning about all of my job duties, which mainly consisted of monthly meetings with the volunteer, their Little, and the Littles family I was assigned to. Carlisle called and left a message for me on Wednesday, asking if I could stop by his office. I didn't bother calling him back before I showed up after my work day ended.
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Knocking twice, Carlisle yelled for me to enter. He didn't look the least bit surprised to see me standing in the doorway. "You can have a seat," he said without looking up. "Nah. I have a feeling this won't take long. I'll stand," I muttered with attitude. It was hard not to be a dick, okay? "I assume you and Emmett made up?" This made me snort. "We hashed it all out over a bottle of Maker's Mark. We're good." Carlisle smiled tightly and focused on the paperwork in front of him. "I'm sad to say I expected more from you, Edward." "No shit." I laughed uncomfortably and leaned against the door. "I know I'm the screw up of the family. Is that all you wanted to say? I know you're a busy man, so spare me the speech, okay?" "Is that what you think?" Carlisle set his pen down and finally looked up, removing his glasses. "Edward, that's not true at all. You did very well in high school, played soccer, and then graduated from college with a degree. Do you honestly believe you're a screw up?" "No, but I know you do. I didn't want to go to med or grad school after I graduated. I'm not as compassionate as you and...I don't know, you look down on me for that or something." "Edward," Carlisle said my name sternly. "You are compassionate. You wouldn't be able to work around children if you weren't." "No." I shoved my hands in my pockets. "I know what you think of me and compassionate isn't on the list." "Esme and I just want you to be happy. Can you honestly say you were happy with the direction of your life three months ago?" I thought about it, and I didn't want to answer him. Because the answer was no. "You're a good kid. Stop trying to convince yourself otherwise," Carlisle ordered as he picked up his pen, leading me to believe the conversation was over.
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"Is that all?" I asked carefully. "I mean...aren't you upset I lied to y'all about Bella? Aren't you going to tell me I was deceitful and scold me for lying to get money?" "No. I think you're being hard enough on yourself. You don't need me to tell you what you did was wrong." Running a hand through my hair, I gave him an appreciative chuckle. "Huh. Alright then." "Besides," Carlisle started, "We have eyes, you know. We notice the way you look at her. Even if you started this for the money, it turned into something so much more than that." "Yeah," I agreed, because there was no point in lying anymore. "You're right." "You wanted your inheritance, but I believe you're walking away with something greater than the cost of the money." "What's that?" I questioned. Carlisle smirked and said, "Love." "No wonder Esme puts up with you," I chuckled, shaking my head. "You're a sentimental asshole." But he was right. I had inherited a fucking heart. Now I had to wait two more days to see if Bella could finally understand how I felt about her. After work on Thursday, I met Ben and Angela for drinks. It was Ben's idea not to go to Cain and Abel's, stating he was sure I was no longer allowed at that bar. I'll admit, I was hesitant to show up after being kicked out last week, so I was fine with a new destination. I showed some restraint by waiting five minutes before asking Angela about Bella. "Have you talked to her at all?" I asked and hoped I didn't sound too pathetic. But at this point, I honestly didn't care. I knew Bella was busy, but I had texted her a few times to wish her well on her finals, and she refused to respond.
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"I've only talked to her twice since Tuesday," Angela responded thoughtfully. "She is doing fine. Although on top of finals, she's been busy helping her Gram move in with Charlie until they find a cheaper nursing home." "What? Why?" "I don't know. Something about the cost going up and insurance refusing to pay the extra amount." Angela shrugged. "She didn't say much, but apparently the new place they wanted to move her into was shit. She's all stressed out and talking about dropping out of school for a while to work full time and help Charlie with the costs." "She can't do that!" I yelled, causing Angela and Ben to flinch. "Sorry. I just mean...she shouldn't have to do that." "I know. But you know Bella. She loves her Gram, and she wants to help out." Well, shit. That pretty much killed any buzz I had. Thinking about Bella stressing out over her Gram, dropping out of school, and working full time really put a damper on my night. I sent her a quick text just to let her know I was thinking about her. As I drifted to sleep that night, Bella was definitely on my mind. Part of me wanted to show up on her fucking doorstep just to give her a hug. And, you know if things progressed, I wouldn't be too upset. But I wasn't sure how well that'd go over since her silence was leading me to believe she didn't want to see me. Friday I left Carlisle a voice mail letting him know I'd be stopping by the house later that night to talk to him and Esme. "I need your help," was the first thing I said as I walked in. Esme shut the door behind me and asked, "Are you okay? Is Emmett okay?" "Yes. Yes, we are both fine. It has to do with Bella..." I trailed off. "Look. I met her Gram a few weeks ago; she has Alzheimer's." "That's awful, Edward," Esme whispered, covering her mouth. Carlisle stared at me with concern and motioned for me to keep talking. "I need the money. My inheritance. I need it to help Bella." "How are you proposing to help Bella?" Carlisle asked calmly.
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"Her Gram's insurance company is refusing to pay for her to continue care at the facility she has been staying at," I explained, wishing the words would come out faster. "Bella's friend told me she wants to drop out of school for a while to help her father with the costs." "Edward," Carlisle spoke slowly. "It's not your job to help Bella. I understand and appreciate your concern, but this isn't your place." "Fuck that!" I spat. "It's my money, and I can do whatever I want with it." "Have you talked to Bella at all this week?" Esme asked this time. "Well, no. She wants her space, but-" "Edward. Why don't you take some time to think about this? It's a big decision, and if Bella isn't even talking to you..." "No. I don't care," I protested, frantically shaking my head. Because how could they not understand? "Bella doesn't have to ever talk to me again. I just want her to be happy. She doesn't deserve this. I just want to help her." Carlisle and Esme stared at each other for a moment. "I don't need your permission." My voice was hard, but I was trying hard to not break. "According to you, I'm already eligible to receive my inheritance. I just thought I'd be civil about this and go through you," I admitted, rubbing my chin. "If I need to, I can meet with the lawyer myself. You aren't going to convince me to not help her." "Just...take a deep breath," Carlisle scolded. "You might not have to use your money, okay? Let me figure out a few things over over the next week. Give me the details and the name of the facility her grandmother was staying at. I might be able to work something out, okay?" Music to my fucking ears. "Really?" "Yes. She's a nice girl, and you apparently care for her." "I fucking love her," I said seriously. Esme laughed before mussing my hair. "You're a sweet kid; and so is Bella. I'm glad you two found each other."
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I was glad I found her, too. But I guess Emmett was ultimately to thank for that. I gave Carlisle all of the information I knew. He promised to get back to me next week with an answer on what would happen. I wasn't sure what I expected, but I was assuming all of this could be handled with the snap of a finger. I was getting a little impatient and was having trouble focusing at work, so on my lunch break Monday, I drove over to Gram's old facility. Walking in like I owned the place, my confidence came to a screeching halt when I noticed the lady behind the counter wasn't the one I had met before. But, she was young enough and would have to do. I gave her a few winks and sly smiles until she revealed to me what I needed. I skipped out on work entirely and drove straight to the address. "Edward? What are you doing here?" Charlie asked in confusion. "Bella isn't here." "I know." I looked over his shoulder anyway. "I actually wanted to talk to you." "Oh?" "Yeah. It has to do with Gram." "Oh." "Look. Bella hasn't talked to me at all this week. I don't know if she's told you anything, but I kind of screwed up." Charlie crossed his arms, looking all too upset about my admittance. "I didn't hurt her or anything. Well, not like that anyway." "What does this have to do with Gram?" The man was all about the facts; straight to the point. I could handle that. "I heard about the problem with the insurance company, and I want to help out." Charlie's arms dropped, along with his face. "How do you suppose you could help out?" "I have money," I said, causing him to snort. "Keep your money, son."
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"No, I..." was pissed because of course her father was going to be just as stubborn as she is. "I want to help out. I heard she wants to drop out of school to help you pay for care." Charlie's eyes grew wide before his face turned a scary shade of red. "Like hell she is!" Well, at least we were on the same page with that. "Also, my uncle is a doctor and apparently knows a few people at The Summit. They'll more than likely be willing to help out and let Gram stay there. For free." Charlie stuttered for a minute before pulling me into a hug. "Bella doesn't know about this," I admitted sheepishly before he let go. "And...I'd kind of like it to stay that way. If possible." Honestly, I just wanted Bella's decision about me to not be based off this. "You want me to keep this from Bells?" Charlie asked in shock. "Do you know how hard it is to keep things from that girl? She is very persistent." I chuckled because I did know. "I'll see what I can do." "Thanks." Charlie nodded before patting me on the back. "No, thank you. I know Bella will be grateful as well, because you know she's going to eventually find out." Yeah. I knew that, too. I also knew I cared too much for that girl. I also knew I'd fuck up, piss her off, and fight with her just to see the way her eyes got a little crazy. But most of all, I knew I wanted her to be with me. Crazy eyes and all.

A/N:He inherited feelings *sniff* Yeah. Cheesy. I don't care. There are two chapters left. Thank you for reading!

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Chapter 21
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Thanks & love to Bridgette who beta'd, & Ffaddward & Reyes who preread! Liv & Julie- thanks for putting up with me. I don't know how y'all do it sometimes.

Chapter Twenty-One It had been the longest and busiest three weeks of my life. One week after speaking to Charlie about helping with the cost of Gram's care, Carlisle set up a meeting with Emmett and I to get the inheritance business sorted out. At the end of the week, once the money was finally in our respective accounts, I felt no different than before. I wasn't exactly sure what I was expecting to happen. Was I supposed to suddenly have all the answers? Was I supposed to be happier, more mature? Because I knew none of those fucking things had happened. I didn't feel any different. Nothing had really changed. I had Bella to blame for that. As cheesy as it sounded, she had shown me you didn't need money to be happy. Sure, it really fucking helped, but I had a feeling even without all of the zeros in my bank account I'd be just as happy sitting with Bella on a couch watching reality television. That last thought pissed me off. Bella even made horrible reality television tolerable for me. A week after I finally received my inheritance - when I wasn't busy working or getting my ass handed to by Seth in FIFA - I spent my time apartment searching. Emmett was horrible at being subtle with the whole
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you-need-to-move-the-fuck-out thing. He didn't hold back on the noise level while he and Rose...I can't even finish that thought. He also began leaving the door open while he shit. He obviously had issues, and I needed to get the fuck out. Fast. Esme offered to tag along for most of the apartment searching which really fucking helped. She ended up asking most of the questions, and I just nodded or shook my head when asked if I liked whatever place we were deciding on. I finally chose a one bedroom apartment with roof access and a huge fucking kitchen. I couldn't help but think of Bella when I signed the papers. I figured - if she wanted anything to do with me - I could teach her a thing or two in the kitchen. Burned toast gets you no where in life. In the midst of all of these changes, Bella and I had yet to speak. Sure, we had texted a handful of times within those three weeks, and I even made her 'lol' a few times, but still. There was no mention of her wanting to hang out, and there was definitely no mention of Gram. Her silence on both of those topics made me feel uneasy. I wasn't sure how much longer I could go without seeing her. I was trying to be understanding by giving her the space she asked for. Exactly how much space and time did one person need? I wasn't that fucking awful, was I? Carlisle kept me up to date with everything regarding Gram. Apparently, she had been successfully moved back into The Summit with no trouble at all. I couldn't seem to thank Carlisle enough. I think he was more shocked than I was that the words "thank" and "you" actually existed in my vocabulary. That didn't mean I wouldn't still give him a hard time. I was just laying off for a while. Everything was finally coming together, and I wasn't sure how to feel about that. "Oh. You're still here," Emmett noted as he walked in the door. "You're still a fucker," I quipped as I stretched out my arms above my head. "You should be used to that by now." Emmett laughed and dropped his bag by the door. "If you're being emo again, I'm outta here." "Screw you," I spat. But yeah. I was probably being emo. Again, I had Bella to blame for that. Emmett rolled his eyes. "Don't be sad about moving tomorrow. You'll still see me all the time."
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"Let's hope not," I joked. "You know I wouldn't be kicking you out if it weren't for Rose." "Time to spread my wings and all that shit. It's cool." I paused to give him a look. "And you'd still totally kick me out even if Rosalie weren't being all Rosalie about this." "Okay. Yeah. I'd still kick you out. But seriously, sleeping on a couch cannot be good for your back." He stole the remote from me and threw himself on the beanbag as he flipped through the channels. I still hadn't told him about mine and Bella's time on the beanbag. I figured he didn't have to know, but I'd definitely be buying myself one of those for my new place. "You think Bella will show up to the party Saturday night?" Emmett questioned as I walked towards the fridge. "I don't know," I said honestly, grabbing two beers and a bag of Cheetos Puffs. "I called her and left a voice mail with the address. Who fucking knows anymore." "You know you're pussy whipped, right?" "Right," I concurred. "Although, I'm pretty sure Bella had me by the balls before we ever did anything. Just don't tell anyone else that," I added before shoving the puffy, cheesy goodness in my mouth. "Eh. I'm pretty sure everyone already knew that though. But your secret is safe with me," Emmett promised before stealing the bag of Cheetos from me. I'd miss the dude, but I was glad to finally be moving into my own place with my own puffy Cheetos. It was time. After work on Friday, I went straight to pick up Seth. He had enough energy and excitement to help me move the last of the boxes from Carlisle and Esme's house to my new place, so I figured I'd put him to work. I may have also bribed him with a new video game, but Carmen didn't need to know that. "You're like a grown up now," Seth giggled as I opened the blinds to let in some
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light. He set the box on the wood floor as I playfully glared in his direction. I wanted to rebut what he just said, but then I realized...nah. Kid had a point in a non-fucked up way. "First things first- we need to set up the Xbox in the living room," I instructed, and Seth saluted me. There were only four things in my apartment aside from a shit ton of boxes. A new bed, courtesy of Esme; a newly purchased television, courtesy of my inheritance; two kegs, courtesy of Emmett. He had them sent over yesterday with a note that read 'And stay out!'. I could appreciate the sentiment. "What are these?" Seth asked as he kicked one of the kegs. "Ha." I laughed. "Housewarming gift from Emmett. I'm throwing a party tomorrow night. Er...Emmett and Rose are throwing a party. I didn't really have a choice." "Can I come?" "Not that kind of party, kid. But you're welcome here anytime, you already know that." "Is Bella invited?" Seth asked with bright eyes. "You know she is," I mumbled under my breath. "But is she going to come see you?" I didn't answer this time. He sighed and caught the gaming controller I threw his way. "Maybe someday you'll be good with the ladies like I am," he said with a wide grin. "Oh yeah?" I felt the corner of my mouth turn up. "The ladies finally dig the Twizzlers you give them?" "I didn't have to give them anything. I'm just nice and know good jokes," Seth replied easily, and damn. Kid made a second point tonight. I needed some new jokes.
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After I took Seth to eat at P. Terry's, I offered to let him kick my ass in FIFA for a while until Carmen got off work. He claimed to be a tough kid, but I knew he hated staying home alone the nights his mom had to work late. Sleeping in later than usual, I woke slightly disoriented in my own new room Saturday morning. I laid in bed for about an hour, working up the courage to give Bella another call. I pussied out and showered instead, hoping she would at least contact me about tonight. Even if she couldn't make it. The rest of the day passed by too fucking slow. Emmett came by around five, and we promptly began taking shots as Rose struggled to move all of the boxes into my bedroom. We were eventually guilted into helping after she broke a nail. But not before first laughing our asses off. Ben came by close to eight and set up an area of the living room to handle the music. I drank enough by then to bust out a few beats before I was told by Rose I wasn't allowed to be any form of entertainment at any part of the night. They were assholes for laughing. A little after ten P.M. my apartment, which was empty of furniture, was completely full with people I didn't give a fuck about. Emmett and Rose had taken over the guest list, meaning they sent out an invite to every single one of their Facebook friends. They all stood around, fake smiles plastered on their faces, eating my fucking food and drinking my beer while pretending to be interested in what the other person in front of them had to say. I had no interest in pretending with these fuckers. But I also knew that's what would make the night go by faster. So, I schmoozed with people I'd attended college with. I listened intently and pretended I was interested in my new neighbors as they gossiped about the other people who lived in the building. I smiled politely when one of the older tenants of the building introduced me to her niece. Her hair was too blonde and her smile wasn't warm and her eyes were full of lust. I kept my distance.
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I didn't want her. I wanted Bella, who was was un-fucking-accounted for. My eyes would dart towards the door, mid-conversation. My ears perked up when I thought I heard someone say her name. My fingers twitched as I cursed the silence of my cell phone in my pocket. I was looking for her; waiting for her. According to Emmett, who noticed my aloofness, I was losing my mind. The bass from the sound system Ben had installed, along with the whiskey, lulled me into some sort of trance, helping as I went through the motions again. I schmoozed when someone familiar approached me. I listened when their mouths moved. I smiled when expected. Schmooze, listen, smile. When I was finally able to sneak away, I grabbed an almost full bottle of whiskey before refilling my cup with beer. Ignoring the glances my way as I pushed through the crowd, I opened the front door and stood in the empty hallway for a second to gather my thoughts. I unscrewed the bottle of Jack and took a long pull before chasing it with the beer. My eyes lingered on the door at the end of the hall and I looked behind me before walking towards it. I walked through and climbed two flights of stairs before opening the door to the roof, embracing the warm breeze that smothered me. Making my way over to the brick ledge, I safely placed my beer and whiskey bottle together before I hopped up. I turned my body to appreciate the view of the skyline and the city lights.I laughed bitterly as I thought of Bella enjoying the view; I pictured her body bent over the ledge, moaning in pleasure. I brought the bottle of Jack to my lips and and closed my eyes at the familiar burn
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in my throat before turning my back to the city. When I opened my eyes, Bella was standing a few feet away from me. The wind had picked up, and it was blowing her hair in all different directions, making it hard for me to see her expression. Her arms were crossed over her chest before she brought one hand to tame her wild hair. I was assaulted and caught off guard with a soft gaze. "Surprise, surprise," I said with a throaty laugh. I took in her appearance: skin tight jeans, loose tank top and shoes that probably made her stand as tall as I did. "You look hot," I blurted out, unable to hide my attraction for her. "You look drunk," she said with a sly smile. "But you look good, too." I patted the ledge and she hesitated before walking over. She pulled off her heels and I grabbed her hand to help her up. We sat, thigh to thigh, on the roof of my building. It was quiet but not uncomfortable. "Nice place," she finally murmured and accepted the bottle of whiskey I offered. "Very...you." "Is that a good thing?" "Of course." "I'm surprised you came," I admitted, narrowing my eyes as she winced from the alcohol. "Well. I'm surprised you invited me." "That's ridiculous. I've been going out of my fucking mind lately-" I stopped and realized I was already getting worked up, so I reined that shit in. "Of course I'd invite you." "Thanks," she whispered softly and took a nice swig from the bottle. "I brought spring rolls. I suppose it was a housewarming gift, but Emmett ate them - all of them - in exchange for telling me where you were." "That fucker."
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"He's cool," Bella said softly. "You know. I haven't been trying to be a bitch lately. I was just occupied with finals and then all of the mess with Gram. I was trying to sort a few things out." "You don't need to explain yourself, Bella. It's fine," I insisted. Because it was fine. She was here now. That's all that fucking mattered. "Edward. I know it was you," she accused, and for a second, I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. She must have noticed my confusion because she started again. "I know you're the one who helped out with the funds to get Gram back into the nursing home." "No, I didn't. That was all Carlisle." Bella shook her head and looked over her shoulder at the skyline before turning back to me. "But without you it wouldn't have been possible." "Huh. Well..." I trailed off and gave her a small smile. "It was the least I could do for the reigning champion of gin rummy. Really." Bella's laugh was light, and I reveled at the sound. "You have no idea..." she started to say, then stopped herself. "What?" I urged her to go on; to say whatever the fuck she wanted to say. "You're always too guarded," I blurted out loud. "Me? No. Really?" Bella snorted and pried the bottle from my hands. "How'd you find out anyway? I hope it wasn't Charlie who spilled the beans. I had such faith in him." "No." She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and held her hair away from her face. "Actually. He did everything he could to avoid me these past few weeks. I questioned the reason behind Gram suddenly having the funds to move back in, and he offered some lame excuse about her winning a raffle. I should've known." "A raffle? You believed that?" I asked incredulously before bursting out in laughter. "Come on, Bell." Her eyes lingered on me before staring down at her lap. "I've always liked that, you know; when you call me Bell. I don't know why."
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I bumped her shoulder with mine, trying really fucking hard not to kiss her. And then I thought- fuck it. Why not? I leaned closer, keeping my hands to myself as her lips met me halfway. Bella brought her hands to the back of my neck as she deepened the kiss. I groaned as my hands trailed over her exposed skin, pushing the strap of her tank top down her shoulder. I pulled back, or she did, as we gathered ourselves for a second. Meaning I adjusted the hard-on that was threatening to rip a hole through my jeans. "Sorry," I said sheepishly. "It's been too long." "Don't apologize for kissing me," she scolded. "Um. What was I saying?" I racked my brain for a second. "Uh. Raffle?" "Yeah. Anyway," she began again before clearing her throat. "One of the doctors mentioned something about it being nice that Dr. Cullen offered to help out. Then I realized I was an idiot. I don't know why I believed the crap about winning a raffle. Sleep deprivation can do odd things to a person. Things I'm not proud of, like eating an entire can of Pringles in one sitting." "And believing Gram won a raffle for free room and board for an expensive assisted living facility," I pointed out. "Yeah. And convincing myself we weren't good for each other," she added. "Man. Sleep deprivation convinced you we aren't good together? What an asshole. Where does he live?" "Why? Are you gonna punch him?" Bella laughed and bumped my shoulder this time. "Don't start with me. I have been working out lately, if you haven't noticed." "Hm. I have noticed. You don't have to strain as much to lift the whiskey bottle." I scoffed and brought my hand to her thigh. "I see you haven't gotten any funnier since the last time we've hung out. That's a shame."
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"I've been a little busy. Haven't had time to learn any new jokes," she said as she squirmed from my touch. Pulling my hand away, I said, "You've been done with finals for a while now, and Carlisle told me Gram moved back to the nursing home two weeks ago. What have you been doing that has kept you away from me?" "I told you I had to sort a few things out." "Uh huh." I laughed humorlessly and cleared my throat. "Stop be cryptic and acting all girly. Shit. Talk to me." "Well, for starters, you're a really fucking hard person to fall out of love with, you know that?" Bella blurted out with a huff. I couldn't stop the grin that was plastered on my face. "Now why would you want to go and do something as silly as trying to fall out of love with me, huh?" "I don't make the best decisions sometimes, you see," Bella said as she quirked an eyebrow. "You know, one time this guy offered to pay me a shitload of money to pretend to date him, and I agreed. I mean, who does that?" "This guy you speak of...is he extremely funny and good looking?" I asked as I leaned closer to her. "Yes." "Well then, don't be too hard on yourself. It sounds like he's cool and has great fucking hair. I'm sure you had no say in the matter." "I'm a sucker for good hair." She laughed, left her spot beside me and situated herself to straddle my lap. "This is highly dangerous," I mumbled, grabbing her ass trying not to lean back and, you know, fall off the building. Bella kissed my neck while grinding against my hips. "Fuck," I hissed. "So. You love me, huh?" She pulled back, and I kept my hands on both sides of her face. "I do love you."
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"About fucking time," I mumbled as her lips frantically crashed into mine. Bella moaned, and I laughed as she rubbed against me. "Too fucking long." "I know." "When is this party going to be over, huh?" she asked. "Uh. Like...five minutes," I said seriously, patting her ass. "C'mon. Let's throw 'em out." Bella hopped off the ledge holding her heels, and my hand as I reached for the bottle of Jack. I pulled her against me and smiled against her lips before we opened the door to the stairwell. She moaned and dropped her heels to the ground, reaching her hands up under my shirt. "Give me, like, five minutes, and I'll kick all of those fuckers out," I promised as she shook her head before moving her hands to my belt. "No. Too long. I can't wait." "Damn," I hissed and set the bottle on the cement. "I want you right now. And then we can kick them out," she explained. "And then we can fuck again. And again..." I was down. I pulled Bella against me, and she shivered as I unbuttoned her jeans, pulling them down. She did the same for me before I carefully pushed her back against the brick wall. Dropping to my knees, I pushed her underwear to the side and felt her hands tangle in my hair as I brought her clit to my mouth. She moaned so fucking loud and so fucking good as I slid two fingers into her, feeling how ready she was for me. "Shit, shit, shit," she hissed over and over again as I worked my tongue. I suddenly stopped and smirked up at her.
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"You're evil." "I'm also not going to last long," I admitted, pulling her underwear down before standing to my feet. She pulled out my dick and rubbed her thumb over my head that was already dripping. "Fuck," I hissed before lifting her against me, her back staying put against the building as she wrapped her legs around my waist. "Ever fuck on a roof before?" I asked as she slid down onto my dick. "N-no," she panted, and I lifted her shirt. "Only you." "Fuck. You feel so good," I mumbled, bringing her breast to my mouth. "I missed you," she whispered. I pulled back to stare at her, slowing my pace. "I missed you too, Bell." I kissed her over and over again, grunting as I felt that familiar feeling building up. Too much. Too soon. "Don't stop. Please," she begged. "Never," I mumbled, grinding my hips against hers and gripping the brick with one hand. "Damn. Baby." Her nails dug into my neck, and she buried her head in my shoulder as she cried out her release. I picked up my pace and pinched her nipple as I felt myself losing control. "Fuck," I groaned as I came, her legs tightening and walls constricting around me. I stayed inside her for a minute or two, trying to catch my breath as her fingers played with the back of my hair. "This totally makes up for not indulging in the bathroom sex," I mumbled against her neck as she lowered her legs.
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"Well, kick everyone out and maybe you'll get the bathroom sex you want," she said with a smirk. I kissed her lips. "What about kitchen sex?" "We can't leave the kitchen out." "Hey," I whispered. "I really am glad you finally admitted you love me," I teased, searching her face as she rolled her eyes. "Because I really do fucking love you." "I really love you, too. And I'm sorry-" "I'm sorry, too. But we're past all of that. Seriously." Bella nodded and softened her gaze as I kissed her head. We quickly dressed and walked downstairs to my apartment, interrupting a limbo game Emmett had started. I was about to throw everyone out when Emmett pulled Bella over and forced her to limbo. I let the party go on for a little while longer. It was tolerable once Bella was there, sitting in my lap, whispering in my ear. It was two in the morning after everyone finally left. Bella had promised bathroom sex, but she also couldn't wait long enough to actually get me in the bathroom, so we ended up making love against the door. And then the bathroom. We laid in my bed exhausted but touching everywhere as we made promises to each other. "I promise to try to not be such an asshole," I said, causing Bella to laugh loudly. "Seriously, that's like asking you not to breathe. Or drink." "Well?" I kissed her thigh. "I promise to learn how to not burn toast; only if you promise to eat the toast that I do burn." This time I laughed loudly. "I am not promising to eat burned toast, Bella." "Oh, come on! You ate burned toast at Ben's!"
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"That was before I got into your pants," I pointed out as she slapped my arm. "Fine. I'll eat your burned toast if you let me fuck you on the counter." She thought for a second. "Done." "I promise to cheat with you in Monopoly." "I knew you and Emmett were cheating, oh my God." I shrugged. "Your turn." "I promise to never let you wear pleather." "Ha! Trust me, you don't have to worry about me ever wearing pleather." "But I don't know," she mumbled and straddled me. "I think your ass would look hot in pleather." I gave her ass a slap and pulled her head down so I could kiss her. "I promise to not let you ever buy shitty vodka again." "Fine. I promise to let you buy quality vodka with your inheritance money," Bella said with a grin. "Last one. Go." "I promise to love you even when you go crazy eyes on me." "I don't go crazy eyes..." she trailed off before kissing me. "Fine. I promise to keep the crazy eyes to a minimum." I laughed against her lips and thrust my hips against hers. Finally, after all of our ridiculous promises to each other, I felt like I had changed. Not completely, but enough to know I had a good thing with Bella, and I wasn't going screw it up. I couldn't assure her we wouldn't fight. I couldn't guarantee everything would be easy from here on out. All I could promise was that I would love her and give her some of the best goddamn roof sex ever.
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A/N: Thank you for patiently waiting for this to update! I'd started writing First of the Month and then...yeah. Things got out of hand. I do apologize. I truly appreciate everyone who read, reviewed, and rec'd this story! You guys made this entirely too much fun for me to write :')

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