Saturday, July 21, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 106 - Edward

~oOo~

Tampa... Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 7:03 P.M.

The meeting took way too long for my liking. Not only was I practically starved by the time it let out, but it cut into my time with Bella. Alice was waiting for us on the front porch steps when we pulled in. Instead of flying into Jasper's arms like we all expected, she ran to me, tugging on my hand.

"You have to get in there," she grunted, and at first, I thought she was playing, but the sight of her panicked face told me differently.

"What happened, Alice?" I asked, taking her by the shoulders.

"Tanya called," she stated, a rather evil sneer on her face.

"Here?" I asked, my mouth hanging open. "What did she say?"

"We don't know," Rose replied from the front porch steps. "And Bella won't tell us."

"Fuck," I hissed, dodging everyone to get inside and grabbing the house phone as I stomped down the hallway.

I was fucking livid, because I knew the only way that Tanya got my phone number was through her father. And there was no fucking telling what that mean bitch had said to Bella, especially if Bella had told her who she was to me. Tanya was ruthless when push came to shove.

Scrolling through the phone's Caller ID, I discovered that I'd been right. Tanya had called from her parents' home in Chicago.

I found Bella in bed, and I thought she was asleep until I knelt beside her. The sight shattered me. She was in one of my T-shirts, the dog tags I'd given her in a fierce grip, but it was the large, heartbreaking tears that just killed me.

"Sweet girl, what happened?" I asked, knowing the answer, but I needed to know why she was so upset. Bella should've known better than to allow the Wicked Witch to get to her.

"T-Tanya called...s-said that you c-contacted her, th-that she was just r-returning your call. Sh-She knew about me...how we met," Bella hiccuped, swiping at her face, but I reached up to do it for her. "You told her, Edward?"

"She said I contacted her?" I verified, suddenly over-the-top pissed off. "Bella, I promise you that I didn't. Not her. Sit up. I want to show you something."

I clicked on the lamp on the bedside table as she slowly sat up, and then I stood up to grab my laptop, only to set it down in my girl's lap as she leaned against the headboard.

"What else did she tell you?" I practically growled, opening my computer in her lap. I wasn't mad at Bella, but I was damn close to not keeping my control in front of her. "Tell me!"

"She thanked me for getting you through Afghanistan and said that you would be going home to her. That she'd take it from there," Bella stated, her eyes on my chest, not my face.

"I just bet she did," I muttered, my lip curling in hatred. I pointed to the laptop. "Open my email, sweetheart. You'll need the password." I held up my hand when she started to spin the computer to face me, but she needed to know my whole life revolved around her, even down to the smallest of details. "It's cookie thief." I raised an eyebrow at her and waited as a barely there smile flashed across her face.

Gazing down at the phone in my hand, I hit redial. I leaned across Bella, clicking on my sent email folder and pointing to the email that Tanya was speaking about, though it wasn't to Tanya. It was to her father. My fucking lawyer. I'd contacted him via his office email once I'd settled stateside because he controlled my finances while I was overseas. I'd let him know that I'd needed my control back, that I was fine, and I'd given him the house phone as a contact number. And because he was the closest thing to a parent I had out there, I told him about Bella, how we met, and even apologized about the way things had ended with his daughter, but I would eventually be shifting all of my things to Washington. And lastly, I'd added Isabella Swan as my beneficiary should something happen to me.

The phone rang in my ear as sweet brown, now understanding eyes locked with mine after she'd finished reading.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Aunt Irina. It's Edward," I sighed, grateful it was Tanya's mother first. She was a kind woman, but pushy.

"Edward! It's good to hear from you. You okay? How's Florida?" she asked, and the sound of her voice made me miss my mother with an all-consuming grief.

"I'm fine. And it's hot," I chuckled, but it trailed off. "I need to speak with Garrett, please."

"Sure, sweetie. Hang on," she said, but then stopped. "You know, Tanya's here visiting for the summer..."

I sneered, huffing a frustrated breath, but turned on the speaker phone. "I'm aware. And I definitely need to talk to her, but I need Uncle Garrett first."

There was a fumbling around with the phone, some muffled voices, and finally, "Edward! How are you, son?" Garrett asked in his usual booming voice.

I sat down in front of Bella on the edge of the bed, but my focus was the phone in my hand that I was holding so hard, the white of my knuckles was showing.

"I'm okay. However, I am concerned that you've had some sort of security breach at your office. Someone hacked my email to you..."

"What? Who?"

"Tanya."

The silence that rang out shocked Bella, who gasped slightly.

"Oh, hell..." he groaned, and I knew the man well enough to know that he was rubbing his face in frustration. "I left my laptop open in my home office, Edward. I thought she was over it. I mean...she broke it off with you... Not that I approved."

"I want my file turned over to someone else at the firm by Monday at the latest. Am I understood, Uncle Garrett? I've moved on, and I'm not coming back to Chicago, not even to move my things. I need someone that can handle shipping them to Washington for me when I'm ready for them," I stated, my eyes locking with Bella's, whose tears had started anew. "And I can't have my privacy invaded again."

"No, son. I suppose not," he sighed, sounding tired and defeated because he knew that he could get in trouble – possibly even be disbarred – for allowing someone to view private correspondence between a client and himself, even if it was his only daughter. "I'll turn you over to Marcus first thing in the morning."

"Now...where the fuck is Tanya?" I snapped, my lip curling.

"Aw, Edward...please don't do this," Garrett begged. "She's having problems with her grades at Harvard..."

"Not. My. Problem," I stated through clenched teeth. "Put her on the phone. This ends...now. She can't call my house, spew lies, pretending all is fine. And if you don't think I know all about her...friends, then you're delusional. You're not the only person I speak with at the firm. Tanya's activities are spread far and wide."

Like her fucking legs, I thought to myself with a snort.

"Dammit," he murmured before he called for his daughter.

"Eddie!" Tanya squealed into the phone, and I flinched at the same time that Bella rolled her beautiful eyes.

"Don't call me that. What the hell were you thinking calling my house, Tanya?" I snapped, standing up and starting to pace. "You broke up with me...remember?"

"Aw, baby, I didn't mean it. I was just scared, confused. I've just booked a flight to come see you," she rambled cheerily.

"Don't bother," I told her bluntly – and rather coldly. "You were scared and confused? Really? Tanya, you asked for your fucking picture back! Which I gladly gave once I called Katie."

The gasp over the line made me smile, but Bella's eyebrows shot up high into her hairline. Her face filled with adorable curiosity.

"I know all about the guys at your school. You really underestimate where people's loyalties lie," I stated, shaking my head.

Katie had gone to school with us and now worked at the law firm. I'd called to speak with Garrett not long after I'd received Tanya's ridiculous letter, trying to find out what the hell was going on. Katie and I were friends, and she was so pissed at Tanya that she spilled everything – Tanya's cheating, her real reasons for breaking up. Tanya was sleeping with a professor at her school, along with others. I was sure of it.

"Edward, please don't do this," Tanya cried. "I miss you. You know you miss me, too. I'm all the family you've got. When you come home, we'll work this out. I'm transferring to NIU next year so we can be together. Chicago is our home. We were born here. It's where your parents are buried."

Bella's face turned away from me, her gaze now out toward the night sky. She'd set my laptop aside and wrapped her arms around her knees. I sighed, running a frustrated hand through my hair, because I'd have given anything to know what she was thinking.

"You're wrong, Tanya. I have a new family, and my home? That's wherever Bella is," I stated, raising an eyebrow at my girl when her head spun my way.

"She doesn't know you, baby. I do. We grew up together."

I snorted into a loud, humorless laugh, shaking my head. "She knows me better than anyone. In fact, I should thank you. If it weren't for you, Bella and I wouldn't have met," I said, my tone snarky and sarcastic, because I knew it would piss Tanya off. I had to smile when my girl covered her mouth to hold in her giggle. "Tanya, I've got to go. Don't call again. The number will be changed tomorrow. And don't show up in Florida, either. I'll have you arrested for trespassing. Understand?"

"Eddie, no! Please!" she begged, now sobbing. "I didn't want to lose you, but I was scared. I overreacted."

I grimaced because I absolutely hated the sound of a crying woman, but Tanya had brought this all on herself.

I shook my head, my mother's words coming back to me. "Tanya, if you couldn't accept me at my worst, at my hardest time, then you don't deserve me at my best. I was in a fucking war...and you were scared?" I scoffed, rolling my eyes. "That's fucking bullshit, and you know it. You were cheating and wanted out. I gave you that option before I shipped out. You didn't take it. That's now no longer my problem."

"What about your things?" she asked, and I knew that she had some of my stuff at her parents' home. It was small shit – some clothes, a movie or two, some CDs, and maybe some pictures. None of it was consequential, because the main bulk of my belongings were in a storage facility that she had no access to.

"Keep them, burn them. I don't care," I told her, shrugging a shoulder. "Now, I've got to go. Good luck, Tanya."

With that, I ended the call, cutting off a string of sobs and curses. I couldn't bear to listen to her anymore, because it had always been all about her, about what she was feeling. It was about what she needed or wanted. And I had more important things to deal with.

Bracing a hand on the wall above Bella's head, I reached out with the other and grabbed my dog tags that were around her neck. "Wanna tell me what this was all about, love?" I asked softly as I pressed my forehead to hers. "Wanna tell me how you lost faith with just one word from her? I thought I'd made it perfectly clear what I feel for you."

Bella's eyes welled up with tears, but she wouldn't look at me. "I'm sorry, Edward... It wasn't just one word. It was everything she said."

I sighed, ignoring my growling stomach. Gathering my girl up in my arms, I fell down on the bed along her side as I pressed kisses to her forehead. "Tell me, sweetheart. What were you thinking?"

~oOo~

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