Chapter 48: It Starts Today


I'm looking at her. I shouldn't be here, but I'm here. Cullen is at work. Thank God. He would probably have a shit fit if he knew I was here. It only feels right, though. It feels like something I have to do. It is not Sunday, but that is why I am here. Cullen is at work.

"So….listen, this is seriously fucked up and I know I don't know you and now I am standing here acting like I want to know you or something, but that's not it. I just want to say something. A lot of things actually, but since I am trying to be respectful and shit, I will just say what really needs to be said.

"I know he married you and I know you were like…the damn moon and sun and all of that and I know it's not the same, but I just want to say that I'll take care of him. I'm not happy that he got hurt because you died, but I am grateful that I found him.

"I'm grateful that what others threw away, others wanted. I'm grateful that I can give him what he wants, even if it's not what I want and I'm mostly grateful that you sort of ruined him, in a way. He would have never understood me. Hew would have never given me a chance. We would have never had a chance…because he would have been with you…so, thank you."

And I am so fucked up…but whatever.

I stop by the bakery on my way home. We need bread. I need something laced with chocolate. Cravings are a bitch. The truck is rattling again. Good thing Emmett is stopping by today. It will give him something to do. Something else to do. Edward asked him to spruce up the front of the house. Plants and stuff. Whatever.

"Hi, Bella."

I wave at Alice. "Hi. Um….bread and anything doused in syrup or chocolate chips or just….I just need chocolate of some kind. I'm not picky."

She laughs and tugs one of those white papers from the box.

"I have some chocolate soufflés in the oven, right now. Want to wait? They are almost done?"

Alice is a genius because she offers me a cookie while I wait for the soufflés. I also order a chocolate milk and take a seat once I pay for the bread. She is busy taking care of customers and I decide that Cullen needs a smile on his face that has been way too down lately. I text him.

If I buy chocolate syrup from the store, can I smear it all over you and lick it off?

I take a bite of my cookie and he buzzes back.

Having cravings?

I smile and glance to the counter. She is still busy. I type back.

Yes. And you didn't answer me.

He takes a moment to reply. I take a sip and decide that texting Edward and drinking chocolate milk go well together. Phone buzzes.

I would prefer taking you out for dessert, but whatever makes you happy, Bella. My Bella.

And he is a dork. Just like the kid said. Shut up, smile. Alice sits down. I type back fast.

You underestimate me, Cullen. Like I wouldn't fuck you in public. Gotta go, your sister is here with cake.

He buzzes back.

Tell her I said hello, please. Enjoy your cake. I'll see you at home. I love you.

And I have to delay my cake eating for another message.


I close the phone and look at Alice.

"Your brother said to tell you he says hi."

She pushes a small dessert my way. It's in a cup looking thing and holy hell I am drooling I think. I reach for a spoon.

"Careful, it's hot."

Yeah whatever. "Thanks. It looks really good."

"It is good. One of my best sellers, in fact. Um, so I was thinking about doing something for Edward's birthday this weekend."

The spoon is just inches away from my mouth. "It's his birthday this weekend?"

She nods. "He'd never say anything. He hates birthdays. Makes a fuss every year."

"Well then maybe we shouldn't do anything." I take a bite and see God. God is good. God is great. I need to go to church more often.

"No way. We are doing something. I am actually asking you because you seem to have this uncanny ability to get him to enjoy things he normally doesn't. Or wouldn't."

Is she still talking? I'm almost done with this thing and seriously have to wonder why it comes in such a small serving.

"He has a good sense of humor. Maybe you should do an over the hill party or something." A strip tease. His ass is getting a strip tease.

"Oh! That would fun. We could like…oh! We could be funny and say the location is in the cemetery."

I stare at her. She doesn't get it.

"I really don't think that would be funny, Alice. Think about it."

And her face looks embarrassed. "Crap. Sorry. Um…oh, what about the hospital basement! Like the morgue or something! When we were little, I locked him in there and it terrified him."

I make a face. I laugh a little. "Alice, I don't think leaving him permanently scarred is the way to go. Torturing Edward on a day that he already hates is not the way to say, 'happy birthday.' and have him like it."

Damn dessert is gone. She sighs. "Well what do you think we should do?"

"Why don't you just ask him what he wants to do? Or do something that you all used to like to do together or something. I don't know, but if I get an invitation for the morgue, I am hiding him somewhere safe and away from you. Know this."

She laughs and I am given another small dessert.

At home, I make something from the book. It is chicken with honey and some lemon. Nothing special, but it sounded good. There is a side of mashed potatoes and to make him happy, vegetables. Steamed. I might be kissing ass at this point. I realize this.

The doorbells rings. When I open it, I see Emmett. I see…Jacob? He has him by the back of his collar.

"I found this in your truck bed. Didn't think it belonged there."

I make a face and push Emmett's hand away. "He's just a kid, Emmett. Lighten up."

"Fine. I'm done for the day. Lawn is perfect. Truck is perfect. I'll catch you next time."

"Bye. Thanks."

I look at Jacob after he leaves. "What the hell are you doing?"

He fixes his shirt. "I wanted to see where you lived."

He is staring at me like I am supposed to ask him in. I am staring at him like he has a new black eye.

"I made food. Want to eat some?"

He nods shyly. He looks like how I feel when Cullen does that nice shit. He follows me in and I give him my seat. I eye the clock and hope this is okay. I don't know what the rules are here. I make him a plate and he loves mashed potatoes. Apparently, starving children also love steamed disgusting vegetables, too.

I hear the garage. Shit.

"Um…Dr. Cullen is home. He lives here too. So, be nice to him." I make a face to let him know I'm serious and he nods.

"Why does he live here?"

"I work for him. I clean his house. This is his house. Not mine."

Jacob's face scrunches. "You said you were a nurse."

"No, Dr. Cullen said I was a nurse because you were being a pain in ass. He needed to make sure you weren't dying. It's called being a nice person. And hello, sidebar, how the hell did you get in my truck, anyhow?"

Jacob smiles a little. "I saw you at the cookie store."

"Alice's bakery?"

"Yeah. The cookie store."

Edward walks in and he has flowers and shit and stops. I try to put on my nice face.

"We're having chicken."

He is staring at Jacob. "I see that."

I walk over and take the things from his hands. They get put on the counter. I look over my shoulder.

"Um…just eat. We'll be right back."

I push Cullen into the living room.

"Sorry, he sort of…stowed away in my truck. I didn't know. He has a black eye."

Cullen is still a little taken aback. "I see that too. Bella…"

"Look, I know he probably isn't supposed to be here, but what the fuck was I supposed to do, Edward? Tell him to fuck off back home?"

He shakes his head. He kisses my cheek. "No, I just didn't plan on seeing him here. We need to get him home. His mother is probably wondering where he is."

"Fine." I go to turn, but he grabs for me.

"I missed you today. I brought flowers to say so, but your Jacob ruined it."

He's being playful. I put my hand over his mouth. "Shut up, Cullen." I lower my hand. I kiss his mouth. "And thanks. I missed your weird ass, too."

He smiles and we go back into the kitchen. Jacob heard us.

"You want me to go, right?"

I go to speak, but Edward beats me to it. "Finish your food, then we have to take you home. Your mother is probably worried…"

"My mom isn't even home. She doesn't care."

My turn. "He can take you to Billy's house. Is it cool there?"

Jacob wait's a moment, then nods.

"Good. Eat."

I make Edward a plate and we have to move to the dining room table to make room for all of us. He loosens his tie and starts to cut a piece of chicken. It is quiet and I don't like it.

"Why didn't you tell me it was your birthday this weekend?"

His face scrunches, then relaxes. "That Alice. What did she rope you into?"

I smile. "Trust me, you should be thankful she ran this information passed me first, otherwise, you'd be locked in the basement of the hospital begging for mercy."

His expression is priceless.

"Why would she…never mind. I'm not so sure I want to ask that question."

I laugh. "Did she really lock you in the basement when you were kids?"

Edward is still bitter about this. "She locked me in the morgue. With dead bodies. I was nine. She is evil."

Jacob snickers as he eats. It makes me happy. I have no idea why.


Alice has decided to celebrate Edward's birthday by hosting a poker game. I'm not sure why, but I'm at his parent's house and low and behold, they have a poker table. She has a cake that looks like it has poker chips on it. It's pretty cool. I'm sure Cullen will hate it. A lot of artificial colors going on there.

The house has girls dressed up like servers, with bunny ears. I don't get it, but I sort of get it. Anyhow, Edward looks kind of happy. He is also pretty good at poker. I'm a little surprised. But not really. He's good at most things. His father is tanked and it is amazing. He is also losing.

"Have I ever told you how much I looooove you, darling?" Carlisle has been all over Esme for the last hour. Again, amazing. She is sitting in his lap and they are practically making out.

"Ugh, get a room." Edward groans and plays his hand.

I smile. A bunny girl has a tray and stops to offer Cullen a drink. I am not smiling.

"I'm fine, thank you." He doesn't look at her. He doesn't move his attention away from the game. I fucking love this man.

She moves onto Carlisle. He looks. Esme slaps him playfully. They have a good marriage. He orders another scotch from his own bar. She brings it. Ah, to be drinking and stupid happy. I look back at Edward.

"I didn't know you liked poker."

He smirks and leans into my ear. "I love to poke her. I mean, poker."

I push him away and he laughs. So do I.

"So…this was a good idea right?" Alice looks way too happy. I wonder what her father prescribes her. It must be something good. Happy doesn't come this easily.

I nod. "I guess, I mean, he looks happy. He's not drunk enough. But he looks happy."

Edward's lips smile at my teasing. Carlisle asks the girls to get his son a drink. I lean into Edward.

"I fucking love your father. He is tanked."

Edward laughs. "I'm just glad we are winning. Usually he wipes the floor with me."

"You play this a lot?"

He shakes his head. "Not a lot, but we used to have games on Fridays. Sometimes. When he could get off work. It's been a while."

I play my hand and lose. Cullen wins.

When we get back home, it's a little late. I go to my room while he showers. I find something that is right, but when I put it on, it looks wrong. I'm getting pudgy. It's making me pudgy. No one wants a pudgy strip tease. No one. I find something else. It hides my stomach. It's long and it's black, but silky. I pull the chair from his desk and put it on the other side of the room. I find something in his CD player and put it on. It's soft and slow.

The water turns off and I feel nervous. I don't know why. I have done this a million times before. I sit on the bed. He comes out and he is only in his underwear. Thank God. I am sitting on the floor. I pat the chair. He looks a little confused.

"Present time."

He still looks confused, but sits. I crawl into his lap. His hands go to touch me. His lips go to kiss me. I don't let him. I smile so he knows this is fun.

"No touching."

He understands. He relaxes into the chair. His hands don't touch. His mouth doesn't kiss. He is a good boy. I rub my face along his and push his head down as I raise my body. His face goes to my chest. I grind into his lap. I put my tits in his face again. He watches and I'm glad he looks like he likes it. I want him to like it. I scratch and tug along the back of his head as I put my mouth on his neck. His hair is still damp. He smells clean and amazing. Edward.

I keep my hips moving in his lap. He makes soft noises in his throat. I love it. I bite him to let him know. He rolls his face into mine and I know he wants to touch. I don't let him. I scoot off his lap and he's hard. It's sexy. He's sexy. I sit backwards in his lap and keep going. I take down one side of my nightgown, then the other. The fabric falls around my waist. I feel him shift under me. I smile internally. I cup my tits and torture him. He wants my hands to be his hands. I reach back and pull his face into my neck. I roll my hips and he is no longer good. He is fucking great. He bites against my neck and breaks my rule. I love it.

I look at him. "Want something, birthday boy?"

He kisses my lips. "Already have it."

I slide from his lap. I take off my nightgown and get on my knees. I tug at his under wear and he lifts his hips. I toss them behind me and he stops me before I go further. His hands frame my face. He leans down and kisses me. Not just a peck. A real kiss. And he doesn't need to say it, because I can feel it, but he is Edward and says it.

"Best present ever, Bella." He kisses me again. "I love you."

I kiss him back. "I love you."

More kisses. "I lied; that was the best present ever."

Another kiss and he lets me go. I lower my face and lick along where he's hard. I fell his hand sweep my hair to the side. He caresses gently and I take him into my mouth. He keeps his fingers raking through my hair. I watch him. He watches me. I kiss along his length, allowing my lips to slide slowly over his skin.

His eyes are looking at me like a stranger. Not like one of those strangers, though. Like a stranger I haven't entertained this way before. I slide my hand up and down his shaft. His expression only intensifies. His fingers keep caressing sweetly around my face. He whispers shit to me that is the same.

And yeah, I fucking love this man.


My leg lays over his bare legs. My cheek to his bare chest. There is only the sheet over us. The sun is up. It is golden and it shows all the places that I would love to revisit on his body. I circle my fingers around his belly button. I feel him take a deep breath. His fingers begin strumming through my hair. I press my lips to his skin and listen to his heart. He returns the kiss by placing one on my head. And we are the same.

We lay for a few minutes. Quiet. It is good enough.

I make us breakfast and I am littered with kisses on my shoulder. He doesn't move the whole time. He is glued to me and it is okay. It's harder to work like this, but it is okay. His hands fall down my arms and rest on my stomach. I hold my breath. He plants another kiss to my shoulder.

"We should give her a name, no?"

I focus on the French toast. "It's up to you."

"Well I don't like calling her it. And I am certainly not calling her a thing," he laughs.

"Then pick something." I slide the French toast on a plate and set it down. "Eat."

Another kiss and he sits. I see him glancing at me as he pours the syrup.

"What, Cullen?"

He sets the syrup down. "Nothing. Just looking at your belly."

I groan. "Shut up. I know I'm fat. No need to rub it in."

He takes a bite and shakes his head. "You're not fat. You're beautiful. I was admiring such a thing and trying to picture what it will look like in a few months." He cuts off another piece. "I think you'll be just as beautiful."

I roll my eyes. "I'll remember you said that when you and your dick don't want anything to do with me."

He smirks. "Never gonna happen, Bella."

I mess his hair as I walk by with my plate. I take a seat and he is almost done. I smile.

"Work up an appetite last night, Cullen?"

He leans over and kisses playfully at my cheek and neck. I squirm and threaten him with my fork. He leans away. I push my plate towards him.

"Here, I'll make another one." I stand up to do just that.

He starts to eat. He pauses.

"Hey, I didn't see our book this morning. It wasn't on the dresser."

"I was re-reading a part I didn't understand. Um…I think I left it in the tree house."

He eyes me curiously, but then goes back to eating. I finish up breakfast and put my shoes on. Edward is on the phone as I pass by. I go out the back door and walk towards the tree house. It feels great out. It is getting warmer. I cross the bridge and step inside. I pause.

Jacob Black.

He is lying on the bed. He is lying on the bed and there is red. There is red and there is a lot of red. I feel sick. I feel scared. I feel like I am watching Charlie rinse out his clothes. His hands. The red from when he found Sam. Is this how it felt?



I run. I run as fast as I can. I hold my stomach and my mouth. And I run.

Edward is smiling when I come back in. His phone is closed. He is waiting. I am out of breath and making no sense. He tries to listen but now I am a sobbing mess and I can't even get passed two words.

"Jacob Black."