Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chapter 24: Every Time we Touch

"Your arms are my castle, your heart is my sky.
They wipe away tears that I cry.
The good and the bad times, we've been through them all.
You make me rise when I fall.
'Cause everytime we touch, I get this feeling.
And everytime we kiss I swear I could fly.
Can't you feel my heart beat fast, I want this to last.
Need you by my side.
'Cause everytime we touch, I feel the static.
And everytime we kiss, I reach for the sky.
Can't you hear my heart beat so...
I can't let you go.
Want you in my life."

Everytime We Touch—Cascada

BPOV

"So, when you say no sex, does that mean oral? Because technically we're not inside each other, so it should be fine."

I buried my face in my hands. Edward was embarrassing the hell out of me. We were in the Pastor's private chambers having our first counseling session. He had asked the minister all types of inappropriate questions. I was one second away from bolting.

"Yes, Edward, that includes oral sex. I ask that my couples not engage in any type of intercourse until the actual wedding night. Believe me, it makes the experience much better," Pastor Randall said, shaking his head at Edward's antics.

Edward huffed. "Fu-…" I glared at him. "Damnit! How is that holy? We have already made a commitment to marry each other. I even have the fu-…marriage license. Oh, and I doubt our sex life will get any better by waiting. It's already unbelievable now. I got Bella pregnant while she was on birth control. It doesn't get much better than that."

My face heated to the temperature of boiling water. "Enough, Edward! This is beyond embarrassing. Pastor Randall asked us to wait, so we will. Stop asking stupid questions! He already said we can't have sex of any kind. The wedding is only two weeks away, so suck it up and shut-up!"

Both Pastor Randall and Edward gaped at me. I looked down at my lap as I played with my diamonds-in- bloom necklace. I hated being the center of attention, but I had to stop Edward's rant. He was making it seem like the Pastor had asked for him to go to War or something.

Edward turned to me. "I'm sorry, babydoll. I wasn't trying to upset you."

I didn't acknowledge him. His line of questioning was beyond disrespectful. And why did he have to be so damn sexy? I craved him, and now I would have to wait for almost two weeks. My clit throbbed, aching to be touched by its master. I clenched my thighs together. This action wasn't lost on Edward. He got that look, the 'come fuck me' look as his eyes darkened. We stared at each other, breathing heavily until the minister interrupted our eye porn.

"Um…Edward, Bella? Did either of you hear my question?"

I broke eye contact with Edward to look at Pastor Randall. My heart was still beating erratically, and I was incredibly wet. Now who's the embarrassing one? I took several deep breaths to compose myself.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of glancing over at Edward. He was gripping the chair so hard that I feared for his knuckles.

"Pastor…Pastor Randall, can you repeat the question?" I asked, swallowing thickly.

He smiled. "Yes, I was just asking if you two would like to have all of your counseling done this week, since the wedding is so close?"

I turned to Edward to see what he was going to say. He was still staring at me with that feral look in his eyes, so I answered for the both of us. "Yes, we would like that. Also, I was wondering if you were available a few months from now for our baby's Christening."

He nodded jovially. "It would be an honor to baptize your little miracle." He turned to Edward. "I also baptized your nephews, Colin and Brady. The weight of those kids almost brought me down."

Both the Pastor and I giggled at his joke. Edward continued to look at me like I was a piece of meat. I narrowed my eyes at him. He looked away and put his jacket over his lap. I said a silent prayer to God not to let him go to Hell for sporting an erection in a Church. Not that I was any better, practically soaking my panties as I talked to a man of God.

Pastor Randall gave us some marriage literature before we left. He took his time to remind us of that damn contract. He was really a nice man and his couples had a high success rate. He'd also done Esme's and Rose's weddings, which they showed to me on DVD. Both were beautiful and his words were truly inspirational. So, if I wanted him to do me and Edward's ceremony, I could put my hormones aside.

Edward grabbed me the moment we were in the Phantom. He pulled me to his chest and whispered, "We can cheat," in my ear. His tongue was doing glorious things to my earlobe, and his wandering hands were just a fraction away from my breast.

I snatched my arm away. "Edward, don't. We can't make love."

He smirked. "Touch yourself, Bella. Imagine it's me fucking you."

The sad part was that I considered it for a moment. "Um…no, Edward. We…we both signed a contract. I think you would agree that we need all the blessings that we can get. I want to, believe me, I really want you, but no."

He reluctantly released me. "Fuck! Fine, it's not like he'll know anyway, but if you want to play the sweet innocent, than go ahead. I know the real you, and you're just as fucking horny as me. I give it one day, tops."

I glared at him. "The real me? What the hell is that supposed to mean, Edward?"

He chuckled. "Let's just say, you love my cock. All of the bitches I've been with did, so who can blame you? Just let me know when you decide to stop playing the prude, and I'll fuck you good."

What happened to my sweet, romantic Edward? Did I leave him at Thornewood? Unfortunately, the arrogant ass was back in full force now. I could barely believe the words that he'd just said to me. And why did he bring up his old sexcapades? It wasn't like I needed another image of him fucking a whore in my head.

I was angry. I felt tears brimming in my eyes and that only stoked the fire. I buckled my seat belt as Edward started the car. I didn't have time for his mood swings. I had a wedding to plan, counseling, and doctor's appointments all week. Edward Cullen could go play in traffic for all I cared.

"Babydoll, are you hungry? It's lunchtime. We could stop somewhere and get something to eat." I ignored him. "Damnit--- Bella, don't be like that! I'm sorry, okay. I will respect the contract. Now will you stop acting like a bitch and tell me where you want to eat," he growled.

That did it. "Pull over and let me out now! How dare you call me a 'bitch', Edward Cullen. You can go straight to hell!"

He shook his head angrily. "You know I can't let you out of the fucking car. It's not safe. And, for the record, I didn't call you a bitch; I said you were acting like one."

I balled up my fists. "You did call me a bitch, and you're not forgiven. Just take me home! I want to drive myself to lunch. I don't want to eat with you right now."

Edward cursed and pulled his fingers through his hair. His window was down a little, so the people in the next car looked at us. He gave them the finger and rolled it up. He was in a bad mood, but so was I. I was sick of Edward controlling me.

When we got to a red light, he glanced at me. "I give you fucking everything, Bella. All I ask in return is that you fucking listen to me, but you can't even do that shit! You will not disobey me anymore. You will drive when I say you can! Do I make myself fucking clear?"

I blinked away some traitor tears. "Crystal. You pay for everything, so I should just be your puppy. Would you like me to wear a damn bell too?!"

He sighed loudly. "Fuck, Bella! That's…that's not what I meant. Let's just forget about all of this shit. I'll take you to that café you love so much."

My mind was reeling. Was this what being married to Edward was going to be like? Him giving me rules and demanding that I follow through. I knew that he was bossy, but I thought he had changed. Oh, and now, because of his words, I felt like a gold-digger. Did Edward equate me to the equivalent of a Tanya, a woman only after him because of his money?

I rubbed my baby bump. "No, Edward. I lost my appetite. Just take me home. Alice is coming over later to discuss wedding stuff, so I will need a nap. Besides, I wouldn't want to owe you more than I already do," I said sarcastically.

Edward stared straight ahead. The rest of the drive was spent with me trying to keep my sobs low enough so that he couldn't hear them, and him shooting me curious glances. I barely resisted the urge to punch him in his stupid mouth.

I bolted the minute we got to the Penthouse. Benjamin was surprised, but quickly followed me into the elevator. Apparently, taking a private elevator a couple of floors was too dangerous for me. Benjamin silently handed me a tissue. I gave him a watery smile in return.

My stomach was turning in on itself. If I didn't get food into my mouth soon, I was probably going to faint. I went into the kitchen and warmed up some leftover roast and potatoes that we'd had the other night. The food didn't heat fast enough and I found myself eating some of the pot roast straight out of the Tupperware.

Of course, Edward marched in before I could bolt to my room. He took one look at me, eating ravenously over the counter and his eyes darkened.

"Why in the hell did you lie to me, Bella?! I asked if you were hungry. We could have stopped somewhere, but no, you chose to be stubborn. You may punish my ass, but don't punish our baby."

I threw a carrot at his head. "Don't you speak to me like that, Edward! You know I would never do anything to jeopardize my or the baby's health. I'm sick of your controlling ways and your bossy attitude. Just leave me the hell alone!"

Edward slammed his fist down on the counter top. The sound startled me and I jumped.

"Everything… everything I am doing is for you and our baby! I have a million therapy sessions and meetings this week. Every-fucking-body wants something from me right now. I go out of my way to spend as much time with you as possible, but you don't appreciate it. I'm taking your car away until you learn some fucking respect! I will not let you risk your or our baby's life."

I knew the romantic weekend was too good to be true. When all your dreams turn into reality, the nightmare is not far behind. I knew this, but…still I got swept up. The one thing that I always promised Edward is that I wouldn't force him into anything he didn't want to do, and clearly, he didn't want to marry me. He had probably just asked out of some sense of guilt. I would have to be a big girl and say goodbye to my fairytale.

I took off my engagement ring and my necklace. Then, I walked over to Edward and put them on the counter in front of him. I felt like my heart was being ripped out. It wasn't the diamonds that I was going to miss, it was Edward's love.

I sniffled. "Take the car back! I'll buy my own. I don't need anything from you, and that includes marriage. I'll be out of the Penthouse by the end of the week. I promised you that I'd never force you into anything, and I always keep my promises. You'll have a whole chunk of free time. I'll call Pastor Randall and Dr. Russo to cancel our therapy sessions. If you'll excuse me, I'd like to eat now."

Edward lowered his head. When he lifted it again, he looked frantic. "Bella….wait…I…"

I held up my hand to cut him off. "There's no need to say anything else, Edward. I wanted to be your wife, not your child. Today, you showed me what that would be like. You taking away things when I was 'disobedient' and forcing me to follow your rules. I told you a long time ago that I wanted a relationship and not a dictatorship. You aren't willing to give me that, so it's best if I move on."

I vaguely heard Edward throw stuff and yell before I plated my food and left the kitchen.

One of the bedrooms in the house had been made to look exactly like my old room. I curled up on my queen-sized pillow-top mattress and cried. How did it all go so wrong so quickly? Our relationship was perfect a few days ago.

Edward was pounding at the locked door, but I ignored him. If he wanted to break down another one of his doors, then he could be my guest. I ate and fell asleep on a tear-drenched pillow.

When I woke up, it was dark outside. I went to use the restroom. My belly had begun to grow rapidly. My earlier maternity clothes no longer fit. My back was sore and my ankles were swollen. It was also becoming difficult for me to sleep on my back. I had an appointment to see my OBGYN in two days. Even though my body felt rundown, I was excited because every day got me closer to meeting my baby.

I took a quick shower and changed into a blue sweat-suit. Alice would be here at seven to discuss wedding stuff. I had basically called the wedding off today in the kitchen, so I didn't know what to tell her.

I ordered a large Hawaiian and a supreme pizza for our girl's night in. Realizing that I could eat those two by myself, I ordered another large veggie pizza and cheese sticks. There was plenty of ice cream and chocolate already in the kitchen. Alice had been steadily gaining weight over the last few months, and I used every opportunity I had to gorge her on food.

Thankfully, Edward was working tonight. He had to entertain some out-of-town Mafioso and wouldn't be in until late. Jasper was holding down the club. I missed my brother lately. Edward had let him in on more of the business, and between that and Ali, he was super busy. I was just glad that one of us had remembered our goals, because mine had gone out-the-window the moment I had heard Edward Cullen's voice.

Alice arrived early as usual. She was carrying a tray of brownies. The minute she saw my puffy eyes, she dragged me over to the couch. I sobbed into her shoulder for several minutes, unable to articulate what was wrong with me. Alice, bless her pixie heart, didn't press me for details, but I ended up telling her everything anyway. She was mad at Edward on my behalf, but also worried about the wedding she had planned.

"Bella, can't you two talk it out? I know my brother can be blunt and insensitive sometimes, but he loves you. I doubt he meant what he said. Please, just give him another chance. You two belong together. Besides, I already have most of your Christmas wedding planned and I'll be damned if no one sees it."

Benjamin knocked, bringing in the pizza. I took out a dish and put some food in it for him. He declined, until he saw that I wasn't letting him leave without some food. Alice took a huge bite of the veggie pizza and sighed. I'd already eaten two slice of the Hawaiian before she got her plate. I looked at her sheepishly and mouthed 'sorry'.

She smiled. "It's okay, Bella. You eat as much as you want. This is one of the only times in life you'll be able to enjoy that." She grabbed two bottles of sparkling grape juice and plated several slices of the various pizzas. Alice was just as stubborn as her brother, only letting me carry the napkins.

When we got back to the living room, Alice put a movie in. It was one of my favorites, The Holiday. If only real life worked like the movies. We laughed and cried during all the appropriate parts. I ate more than half of the pizza and a lot of the brownies. Alice was texting someone throughout the movie. I assumed it was Jasper.

Suddenly, she handed me her phone. "It's my brother. He's been calling and texting you all day. He wants to talk to you. Please, do it for me, Bella." How could I refuse?

"Hello, Bella. Are you still mad at me? I'm so sorry, babydoll." Edward's velvet dulcet tone made my mouth water.

"Yes, I'm still mad at you! Alice is over here to plan a wedding that we are no longer having. How do you think that makes me feel?"

He snarled. "You are fucking marrying me. You are mine, Bella! That means for life. I asked, and you said yes. I left your necklace and ring in your glass jewelry box. I expect you to be wearing both of them when I get home. Don't ever take my ring off your finger again! Trust me, you won't like the consequences."

"Fuck you, Edward Cullen!" I yelled, startling Alice and causing her to drop her brownie. I hung up the phone.

Alice's phone rang and buzzed several times, but neither one of us made a move to answer it. We were silent for several minutes. I couldn't believe the nerve of Edward. He had been so sweet, lately. I should have known the real asshole was just lurking in the shadows.

I curled up into Alice's lap and cried. "Bella, I want to tell you some things. Just listen to me and let me get it all out." I nodded weakly.

"My…my father was a very hard man to love. When I was little, he seemed like the perfect man, but when I grew up, I recognized his flaws. He cheated on my mother relentlessly and he was never there for birthdays or holidays. I could have blamed the Mafia, but I saw the other Mobsters at birthday parties with their kids, and I knew that he simply didn't want us. I think the only reason he got married was to move up in the Volturi."

She stopped to take a drink, while I digested her words.

"My father saw Edward as his protégé and best friend. The moment he went through puberty, my dad took him away. It hurt because before that, Edward and I were inseparable. He used to play piano for me and draw pictures, but my dad called those things 'sissy', so Edward stopped. It broke me and my mom's heart to see him drawn into my dad's world. By the time he was in high school, he had been with a lot of women. He was proud of the fact that he was a player, but he was fiercely protective of me."

I sat up. "Alice, why are you telling me all of this? I know about Edward's past."

She gently slapped me on the knee. "I'm telling you so that you can understand Edward and me better. We're going to be sisters soon, and I don't want us to have secrets."

I smiled. "Continue, my dear."

"Edward joined the Volturi at eighteen. It had only been a few months since our father was murdered. My mom went into depression, and I began taking pills and sleeping with random guys. Edward caught me and some guy fucking in my car and beat the guy bloody. I called him a hypocrite and lots of other vile names. After that, we barely spoke, except during holidays. I missed my brother.

"While I attending fashion school in New York, I met this guy. I knew that he was bad news, but he paid attention to me. I just wanted one man that would stay with me, and this guy did that, at first. After awhile, he started to put me down. I never did anything right in his eyes. I was too fat, too stupid, too untalented," her voice broke. I leaned in to wipe away her tears.

"Go on," I prompted.

"Well, long story short, he got me hooked on speed. I would not eat and just take the pills. I believed him when he put me down, and his criticisms made me work harder. No matter what I did, I couldn't please him. The day…the day I almost died at mom's house, I only weighed sixty-two pounds. I didn't care about my life anymore. Edward was gone and my mom had Carlisle. I wanted to die. Luckily, Em and Carlisle got to me in time.

"Edward came to visit me in rehab every day. He never forgave himself for not being there for me, but I forgave him. Since you entered his life, he has changed. Yes, there are still rough edges, but you're the only one that can work them out. Jasper has changed my life for the better, so I know how Edward feels. I mess up with Jazz, but I always love him. You were sent to my brother for a reason. Don't let a few silly arguments ruin your future. You two are going to be parents. Together, you and Edward can erase all the bad that was our childhood. I know he loves you. Please, Bella, don't throw away everything."

I sobbed loudly. "Oh, Ali! I love him so much, but…but when he tells me to do things, it makes me so angry. I want to marry him, but I'm…I'm scared that it will always be this way."

She hugged me closely. "Marriage is about risk, Bella. You are promising to give your heart and soul to someone else. That's scary. Believe me; I had my doubts when Jasper asked. Not because I didn't love him, but because I was scared that it wouldn't work out and he would leave. You have to decide if the pros outweigh the cons."

I kissed Alice's fingers. "When did you get so smart?"

She chuckled. "When did you get so stupid? Honestly, Bella. You gave the ring back. Do you know how long it took me to pick out?!"

I giggled. "I'm sorry. I do want to marry Edward. He just makes me so angry sometimes, but he's definitely worth it. Go get my laptop so that we can look at dresses."

Alice squealed and sprinted to the bedroom. She came back carrying my Macbook under her arm. I ate another slice of pizza as I waited for the computer to boot. My belly had gotten so large that I could have used it as a table. I wasn't looking forward to my bellybutton turning in on itself and becoming an outie.

My email box was full because I hadn't checked it since before the engagement. I'd called Jacob and Angela to tell them the good news. They were both very happy for me. Them and their significant others would be flying to Aspen for my wedding. I couldn't wait to see what Angela thought about Edward. Her opinion was important to me.

There was a message with a video attachment from Edward. I opened it up. Loud moaning filled the room-- I was confused until I realized what I was watching. It was a tape of Edward having sex with three big-breasted blondes. He was very enthusiastic, enjoying himself. It was like a train-wreck. I wanted to look away, but I couldn't.

Two of the women, took turns sucking on Edward's dick while the third one fingered herself. The tape was crystal clear. I could see every lick and suck. I felt queasy. I watched in horror as Edward stood behind one the whores and thrust into her. I ran to the kitchen, barely managing to make it to the trashcan before I vomited everything I'd just eaten.

Alice ran in and helped me off the floor. "Oh my god, Bella! Edward just found out. He's coming home now. He says he can explain."

She took me to the bathroom where I proceeded to scrub my mouth out with toothpaste. My face was pale. I looked like someone that had just gone into heart failure, maybe I had.

Alice and I were in the bedroom talking when the door banged open. "Edward," I sobbed. His eyes were black with rage. His bronze hair was even more disheveled than usual. He had a bit of stubble covering his jaw.

He looked straight at me. "Alice, can you give us a minute. We need to talk." She nodded and rushed out after squeezing my hand.

"Bella, I…"

I shook my head. "Why?! Why did you have to break…my heart? I was angry earlier, but we could have worked it out. Now…now I can't stand the sight of you!"

Edward pulled me into his arms. I tried to fight, but he was too strong for me. "Babydoll, that tape was old. It was made a long time before I met you. Please, you have to believe me. Heidi got in touch with those bitches. I was supposed to have the only tape, but one of them stole it and made a copy. Heidi had someone hack into my email and send it to you. I'm so fucking sorry."

"Why should I believe you, Edward? How do I know you aren't lying to me?"

He kissed my forehead. "I've always been honest with you about my sexual past. I'm so fucking ashamed that you saw that. I swear to you that I've never cheated on you. Bella, I'm scared shitless here. First the fight earlier, and now this, I feel like you're going to disappear again. Please…please don't leave my sorry ass. I can change, and I will for you."

I patted his knee. "I trust you, Edward, but I need time. To…to see you with those bimbos was…indescribable. Every time I close my eyes, I see their hands on you and it makes me sick. Just…just give me a day and then we can talk about it."

He nodded but made no attempt to let me go. I felt his tears fall onto my face and mix with my own. Edward rarely cried, but when he did, it broke my heart. I reached up to wipe his eyes. He rubbed his cheek against my hand.

"Bella, I'm sorry for the way I acted earlier. I'm just going through a lot with the Volturi and my other business investments. I took it out on you and that was wrong. You and our baby are always my number one priority. There's nothing that I wouldn't do for you. I'm sorry for ruining your mood by complaining and acting like a three year old. I'm also sorry for being a demanding motherfucker and threatening to take things away from you. Thank you for not kicking my ass, I could tell you wanted to, though. You're worth more than I can fucking give you. I'm such a lucky man to have you by my side. Please forgive me, babydoll. I love you, and I hope you still love me. I want you to be Mrs. Bella Cullen. Please…please…don't give up on me."

I kissed the back of his hand. "I'm never going to give up on us, but right now, I need some time alone. I love you, Edward. I'm sorry for threatening to leave you again. I said it in the heat of anger. I…I want to be Bella Cullen, too. Now, send Alice back in so that she can help me plan our wedding."

Edward beamed. He had to go back to the club to finish up some business. Thankfully, he took my laptop along to purge it of that evil video. I spent the rest of the night wedding planning with Alice. Rose and Esme called in to assist us. We all chatted on speakerphone until I fell asleep.

Sometime during the night, Edward came home. He wrapped his arms around me and spooned me from the back. His big hand splayed on my belly, causing the baby to move. I couldn't send him away, so I snuggled closer. We slept peacefully wrapped around each other, cocooned in our love.

I woke up with a sore back. Edward was still asleep, so I went to the bathroom and took a long hot bath. I lit candles and read my book as the water soothed me. Edward came in ten minutes later, looking like a big hungry cat. He was only wearing his boxers and his chest and abs looked magnificent. He almost tripped over my pile of books. I giggled.

"Babydoll, why are you up so early? I went to squeeze you and all I got was your fucking pillow." He sat down on the marble edge of the Jacuzzi tub and scooped up a blob of bubbles. I blew them so that they landed on his nose. He laughed and kissed my flushed cheeks. "Mind if I join you?"

"Uh uh, Edward. We are going to keep our promise. I really want you in here, but we both know that neither of us is strong enough for a joint bath."

He had the nerve to look affronted. "I can be a perfect fucking gentleman when I want to be. It's you that can't keep your hot little hands to yourself," he teased, tickling my underarms.

I laughed and splashed water on him. "Perfect gentleman, my ass," I snorted. "You're the one who fondles me while I'm asleep. It's kind of stalkerish when you think about it."

His emerald eyes widened. "You…you know about that?! Why didn't you ever stop me?"

I pulled him down for a sloppy kiss. "Because, I like watching you come. Most of the time when we make love, I'm too distracted to notice. But when you pleasure yourself, I can see everything. It's very sexy."

"Fucking shit, Bella! You can't say that shit to me." He put my hand over his massive erection. "Do you feel how fucking hard I am for you." I squeezed, which caused him to hiss loudly.

"Edward, can I take my car out today? I want to drive to the beach. I'll only be gone a couple of hours." I sucked his earlobe into my mouth. "Pretty please."

He stood up and pulled off his boxer shorts. His big cock mesmerized me. I wanted my mouth all over it and him. I wanted him inside of me, pounding my core until I saw stars. I wanted him behind me, spanking my butt as he plowed into me. My lower regions soaked themselves.

Edward got in behind me so that my back was to his chest. I could feel his rock hard erection pressing into my back.

 "You don't play fair," he whispered in my ear.

I shuddered. He soaped up a sponge and used it to bathe me, paying special attention to my breasts and inner thighs. I pushed my hips against him. By a sheer miracle, we managed to finish bathing without having sex. There was lots of heavy breathing, though.

Edward agreed to let me go out on my own if I took Benjamin along with me. I promised him that I would be careful. He had meetings all day, but would be texting and calling me to check up on my whereabouts. I made us a breakfast of eggs, French toast, and bacon before heading out.

Benjamin was even quieter than Felix. He was one of those bodyguards trained to fade into the background. I turned up my music and pulled out of the garage. Edward texted me before I was even on the road. I handed my phone to Benjamin so that he could read the texts and type replies for me.

"Are you okay, babydoll? You can let Benny drive if you get tired. Fuck! I miss you."
-E-

"I'm fine, Edward. We're not even past your neighborhood yet. I miss you too." Xoxoxo
-B-

"Keep me posted. Do you have your pepper spray? I need to get you a gun and teach you to shoot, so I'll worry less. Have fun and bring me back something. BTW, what does xo mean?
-E-

"*Smiling* For someone so smart, you don't know anything about girls. XO means hugs and kisses. I love you.
-B-

"All that flowery lettered shit to you too. Come back to me, babydoll. I love you too. I'm out."
-E-

I smiled at Edward's last text. He was so funny. Benjamin seemed to be embarrassed that he had witnessed our banter. I turned the XM Satellite Radio to a talk station to alleviate the awkwardness.

We arrived at the beach almost an hour later. I had worn my newest pair of maternity stretch skinny jeans and a big red oversized UW sweatshirt that hung to my knees. I also had on my black Crocs. They were very comfortable.

It was still early and a little cold so the beach was pretty much empty. There were no cars near us. I stepped out of my Mercedes and locked the door. My phone fell and the screen went black. I was trying to fix it when I heard Benjamin cry out.

"Bella, get back in the car!" That's all he got out before he went down. There was blood all over the front of his suit.

I was paralyzed with fear. Before I could get back into the car, strong arms grabbed me from behind. I tried to fight, but it was no use. I reached back to scratch my attacker's face. The man went to kick me in the stomach, but I rolled onto my side so that my back took the brunt of the force. My lower back was already sore and now it was on fire. I balled myself up into the fetal position. I was so scared, not for myself, but for my baby. I had to protect it at all costs.

A blonde man picked me up by the hair. He was wearing an all black suit. '"So, you're Cullen's little bitch. If James didn't want you for himself, I'd fuck you raw."

I had to hold back the bile that bubbled up after his crude words. I should have known James was behind this ambush. He was a coward, plain and simple. I prayed that nothing bad was happening to Edward. I couldn't bear to lose him.

A dark skinned man with dreadlocks walked over to join us. "Put her down Alistair. You know James wants her untouched," he said in a thick Jamaican accent. He had on a black suit just like the other man, but his had a French flag on the front.

Alistair dropped me. My knees were weak but I managed to stand. The dark skinned man ran his thumb across my cheek. His eyes lowered to look at my swollen stomach. I cringed.

He winked at me. "You don't have to be afraid of me, darling. I'm Laurent. James sent me to kidnap you. I'm sure he has many things in store for you. Don't make him angry or he will kill you."

I tried to run. Alistair tackled me to the ground. I scratched and kicked him for all that I was worth. "You bitch!" he bellowed, before backhanding me across the mouth. I could taste the blood on the corner of my mouth. He punched me again on my upper jaw. I saw stars. He could beat my face bloody, as long as he didn't hurt my stomach, I would take it. I rolled away from him to block some of his blows. My whole body hurt.

I had only been hit once in my life and that was when I was seven years old. I had hit some girl for making fun of me for not having a mother. Unfortunately, she hit me back. Charlie had pretended to be angry, but when we got home, he and Jazz made me a huge ice cream sundae and taught me some boxing moves. Sadly, I wasn't any good.

Laurent rushed over and pulled Alistair off of me. He was still cursing and trying to go for me.

Laurent smiled sheepishly. "I'm sorry. He doesn't have the best temper. Now, cooperate and I promise that no harm will come to you on my watch. I don't know what James has in store for you, but whatever it is, you deserve it for defiling yourself with the Volturi."

Suddenly, I heard a female scream. We all looked back to see who had made that noise. A tall blonde haired woman with a red dress on was holding a big gun with an eye scope. Alistair and Laurent were distracted. I used this as my chance to limp as far away as possible.

My attackers were fast, but the woman had the element of surprise. She shot Alistair and Laurent in their knees. I looked away as the red blood coated the sand. They both dropped their guns from the impact. I could hear Alistair screaming in pain. That made me happy.

The woman ran over. She moved like a gazelle, and she was just as beautiful. She searched Laurent and Alistair to make sure they had no more weapons. Then, she took their guns and cell phones. She used handcuffs to secure them. They were both still screaming in agony. She punched each one hard in the face. I watched her in amazement.

Eventually, she jogged over to me. I backed away because although she had just saved me from two attackers, I didn't know who she was or why she was on the beach. Surprisingly, she picked me and carried me to her SUV. It was big, black, and smelled like peppermint. I didn't know who this mystery woman was, but she was my angel. I let her cradle me in her arms a bit. She positioned us so that I was in her lap, which was weird, but it had been one of those days. I felt her lips lightly kiss my temples as she ran her fingers through my hair.

I tried to scoot away, but she held me tighter. "Um…thanks for saving me. I'm alright now, just sore. Can I borrow your phone to call my fiancé? We have to get Benjamin some help. Please."

The tall blonde Amazon looked down at me. I probably looked ridiculous curled in her lap.

All of a sudden, the door to my right was flung open to reveal my Edward. I flew out of the woman's lap and into his arms. He hugged and kissed me eagerly. I sobbed into his chest as he whispered soothing words in my ear. Some were in Italian and some were in English. They were all a balm to my troubled mind.

Edward tipped my chin up so that he could survey the damage. A massive growl came out of his throat. "Who the fuck did this to you?! Which one of those motherfuckers put hands on you?!"

My savior came out of the car. Edward looked at her and nodded. "Babydoll, I'd like you to meet Jane. She is your personal guard. I've been paying her to watch you since the first night we met." Normally I would have complained, but now, seeing as to how she saved me, I couldn't.

She held out her hand to me. "It's nice to finally meet you, sweetheart. I wanted to introduce myself for awhile now, but Cullen wouldn't let me." She bent down and kissed me softly on the cheek.

Edward snarled and pulled me to his side. "Fuck off, Jane! Bella doesn't swing that way. You've got more pussy than you can handle as it is, so stay away from my babydoll. You're worse than the guys. They would have never tried that shit."

She winked at me. I felt a little uncomfortable, but I was happy that she was one woman that Edward hadn't slept with. He looked away from her to study my face. His eyes narrowed to slits and his nostrils flared. My cheek felt swollen, but could it really be that bad?

Jane spoke up, breaking his concentration on me. She nodded to Alistair. It was then that I noticed Demetri, Felix, and several of Edward's other men were there. There were SUV's and Town Cars flanked out all over the beach. It looked like the President was visiting. All of the men were heavily armed.

"The blond one, that's the one that hit little bee. He had her down on the ground when I arrived. The fucking coward, picking on a defenseless pregnant woman."

Edward gnashed his teeth. The look in his eyes chilled me to the bone. I had a feeling that Alistair and Laurent wouldn't be walking the Earth much longer. Edward pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the corner of my mouth. He cupped my face and lightly stroked my cheek. I closed my eyes.

"Babydoll, I'm so fucking sorry. Those fucking animals will never come near you again. Tell me exactly what they did to you. I want to know, so that I can channel it into rage and grind their fucking asses into the dirt. I swear to God that if anyone dares to touch you again, I will fuck their shit up. Bite that, I will fuck their whole goddamn family's shit up. I tried giving these fuckers a chance, but now it's personal."

I told him everything. He punched the hood of the SUV when he heard that Alistair had kicked me in the back. The more I talked, the angrier Edward became. I assured him that there was no vaginal bleeding, but he didn't look relieved. Honestly, the only thing I felt was soreness, and that was nothing new. He yelled something about castrating Alistair and making him eat his own penis. I didn't doubt for one minute that he would do it.

After everything was said, Edward picked me up and put me back into Jane's car. I pulled him down to me and kissed him aggressively. "I love you, Edward Cullen. Do what you have to do for our family and then come home to me. I'll be waiting for you with open arms."

"Jane, keep Bella safe. Guard her with your life and stay with her until I get back."

He hugged me one last time. "I love you, babydoll."

I watched from the window as Laurent was loaded into one of the SUV's. Demetri put…brass knuckles on Edward. Then, Felix hoisted Alistair up to face Edward. I saw Edward land a mighty blow to Alistair's face. Thankfully, Jane let up the tinted windows before I could see anymore of the fight. I didn't have the stomach to watch my Edward beat the living crap out of someone.

Jane was quiet the whole drive. I could tell that she was on high alert, because she kept checking the mirrors. Instead of going home, we pulled up to my OBGYN office. Carlisle and Esme were waiting for me there. Edward had called and asked Carlisle to perform an examination to make sure that I was okay. Esme was pale and looked sick. It hurt to see her in pain because in the few short months that I'd know her, she had become my mother.

My regular OBGYN was delivering a baby so I had to see another doctor. Luckily, the replacement turned out to be a friendly female doctor with soft brown hair. Her name was Dr. Whitney, and she had worked with Carlisle on some consulting cases, so she had no problem with his input. The baby was perfectly healthy, but she did prescribe a couple of days of bed rest and light activity for me. I heard my baby's heart beat again. Each time, it felt better than the last.

The OB used something called a Sonotrax to record the baby's heart beat so that we could each have a copy. I knew that Edward would be thrilled.

Dr. Whitney wanted my regular OBGYN to perform all my scheduled testing. I had another appointment to come back in two days. Esme helped me re-dress and get cleaned up. Her mood had perked up considerably after hearing that the baby was fine. I hugged her and Carlisle and told them how thankful I was for their help. Dr. Cullen gave me some cream that was supposed to help with sore muscles. I was told to apply it to my back two times a day until it healed.

Jane was waiting for me by the car when we got outside. I promised Esme and Carlisle that I would call them if I needed anymore help, and then they left. I was glad that they hadn't pressed me for details, because I was too emotional to talk about it again.

By the time we got back to the Penthouse, Edward was already there. He opened the car door and carried me up me up to our apartment. The security was heavier than before. There were five men standing in our hallway with guns visible. Edward said something to Jane and she left.

Apparently, Carlisle had called to assure him that the baby and I were fine. He tucked me into bed before going to get us something to eat.

I was starving, so I ended up eating one of the king-sized Snickers bars that I kept in my nightstand drawer. I had a whole slew of junk food in there in case I got hungry and was too lazy to go to the kitchen. We also had a mini fridge that held vegetables, drinks, and cheeses.

I was watching a re-run of some reality show when Edward got back to the bedroom. He held a tray that contained two huge bowls of soup and several sandwiches cut into triangles. I smiled at him, because he had arranged everything to look like a painting. I kissed him on the cheek. He smiled at me but it didn't reach his eyes.

The food was from the café that I'd wanted to go to yesterday. Edward had gotten my favorite; tomato bisque soup and rosemary chicken sandwiches. He even remembered to include their tapioca pudding that I loved so much.

We ate in the bed on top of the comforter. Edward wrapped several blankets around me to make sure I stayed warm. Carlisle had told him about the bed-rest, so I wouldn't be going anywhere or doing anything for the next few days.

Edward and I ate our meal without talking. The silence was strangely comforting.

After we finished, he loaded the dishes onto the tray and took them back into the kitchen. I knew that the inevitable talk was necessary, but I still dreaded it. I was extremely tired. The stress of the day and my normal pregnancy fatigue were pulling me under. By the time Edward got back to the room, I was half asleep. I watched with heavy lids as he put on a pair of pajama pants and hopped into bed with me. I felt him pull me to his chest before I fell asleep to the sound of his heartbeat.

It was late in the day when I next awoke. I did my usual in the bathroom, taking time to ice my jaw. Then, I went to get a snack.

Edward always made sure that the kitchen was well stocked. I chose a frozen burrito, because it was easy to make. I took my snack back to the room with me. Edward was still asleep, but when he felt me get back into bed he woke up.

I leaned over to caress his jaw. He looked like a man that had lived for over a hundred years and seen too much evil. I thought about Alice's story about their family. Edward had never really had a real childhood before he was forced to become a grown-up. Most men were jealous of Edward, but I kind of felt sorry for him, because he missed out on what should have been the best time of his life.

He sat up and pulled me into his lap. "Babydoll, I'm…I'm so sorry that I didn't protect you. I feel…I feel like such a fucking failure. I let you down twice this week. First with that bitch Heidi and now those fucking animals attack you. I don't blame you if you hate my ass. I hate myself enough for the both of us."

I asked him to let me up so that I could get his computer. When I returned, Edward had his head down. He thought that what happened was his fault, but I didn't blame him. It was that monster, James, who started all of this. I set the laptop between us and signed in as Edward. He had given me all his passwords, saying he had nothing to hide.

I clicked on the wav file from the OBGYN. A strong thumping sound filled the room. "Edward, this is our baby's heartbeat. I had the OB record it since you missed the first appointment and hadn't heard it yet. As you can hear, it's strong and steady. Please don't blame yourself for what happened today. You have never let me or our unborn child down. We both love you very much and can't live without you in our lives. I love you so much. In a couple of days, I will prove it by becoming your wife. Please, don't let this ruin our happiness. I need you now more than ever."

Edward pulled me into his arms. "Oh God, Bella. When I thought…I didn't… I wouldn't know what to do if they had of taken you. You're my whole life, my soul. Thank you for bringing me the baby's heartbeat. It's the best gift you could have given me. I can't wait to walk down the aisle with you, Bella Cullen."

I kissed Edward's knuckles, remembering the weapon that adorned them a few hours ago. We took another leisurely bath together. After that, Edward insisted on giving me a full body massage. His hands were magical, working out all the kinks and sore spots. He cursed a blue streak when he saw the large purple bruise forming on my back, but I was able to calm him down enough to finish. His touch both centered and calmed me. I fell asleep on the massage table.

Edward must have dressed me and put me into bed because when I woke up, I was wearing my favorite blue Smurf pajamas. I felt his strong arms around me. I was laying on his chest while he watched ESPN with the volume down low. I craned my neck so that I could kiss him. It got heated and he ended up fondling my ass before he set me aside.

He turned over so that we were face to face. His big palm caressed my bruised jaw. He growled as I winced in pain. I told him that it wasn't as bad as it looked. He touched my cheek again, this time being careful not to apply pressure. I sighed in contentment.

"Bella, after our honeymoon, I need to go to Europe. I'll be gone for a month. I need you to stay strong for me. The whole family, including the Volturi, will be checking up on you and keeping you occupied. Also, the best security has been hired to protect you twenty-four-seven. I don't want to leave you for that long, but it must be done."

I buried my head in his shoulder. "Let…let me come with you. I…I can't be apart from you for that long again. Please, let me come."

He rubbed my lower back and kissed my forehead. "Babydoll, I can't put you at risk. It's hard for me too, but your safety is my number one priority. Besides, I'm not going to Europe for pleasure. My actions today have escalated the Mafia War that has been building for a long time. I have to gain support from the Volturi's allies and end this shit once and for all."

"How are you going to do that, Edward?" I asked in a watery voice.

He kissed me on the lips. "By killing James and all his supporters. This shit is about to get bad, Bella. I'm going to have to do things that will probably disgust you. I'm going to kill people, some of them will be innocents who just get caught up in this fuckery, but they have to be exterminated. I pray that you can love the man that comes back to you."

I made up my mind then and there. "I love you, Edward. No matter what. No matter what. I'll love you just as much when you come back. Just remember that once I marry you, it's forever, so you have to return to me. Don't make me a young widow left to raise our child alone."

His eyes widened in surprise. "I'll try, Bella, but if it comes down to my life or yours, I'll gladly let those fuckers take me."

3 comments:

  1. Sweet Jesus this chapter was an emotional roller coaster. I wanted to kick Edward in the balls hard when he was telling Bella what she could do and was going to take away her car. WTF was he thinking?! If he wanted a woman he could control like that he should've stuck with the bimbos.

    I knew the video was old the minute Bella started describing it. Thankfully she believed Edward. I'm sure all she would have to do is look for his ring. I don't think he'll ever take that thing off.

    It was nice to hear Bella say she would love Edward no matter what. The things she did to Edward when she was trying to hurt him showed that she has a vendictive streak hidden deep down inside her. I've just been patiently waiting for one of the rival mob families to go too far and release the beast. Momma bear has come out to play. Beware James and the Russians ;)

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  2. crap you can never just let it be happy for any length of time can you it just seems that they work it out and then BAM!! WHAM!! it gets all
    f-ed up again!!

    you are going to separate them again and then she is going to think he is dead and he is just missing etc.. lots of tears for bella i have a feeling

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  3. Not looking forward to Edward leaving the country. I have a sneaking suspicion though.... There's still someone on the inside.

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