Monday, May 20, 2013 | By: Jenny

Hard to Love Chapter 6

Chapter 6
Present Day
Sunday started rough. I was woken up by Rose to get out of the room for a bit. They needed to run more tests. I went in search of a decent cup of coffee, which was across the street from the hospital, and to check my messages. The air was chilly when I stepped outside, so it didn’t surprise me when Alice’s message to me was that they’d gotten as far as Chicago before the weather snowed them in. Winter had come hard and fast this year for some places. Her message was that she and Jasper would head this way as soon as they were able.
I sipped my coffee, making my way slowly back to the room, figuring I’d hang out in the waiting room if they weren’t done with Bella yet. I didn’t care. So far, with every test they’d run, she’d shown improvement. I was willing to wait.
My eyes narrowed at the crowd down by her room, my father standing in front of them. Renee, Charlie, and two people I hadn’t seen in some time were listening to Dad speak. I came to stand beside Renee, who hugged my waist.
Edward,” she greeted. “You remember—”
Mr. Black and...Jacob,” I stated smoothly, nodding once their way.
I shouldn’t have hated the guy, but I did. And it didn’t matter that it had been almost ten years since he’d tried to come between Bella and me. We’d even seen him a couple of times since we’d moved back to Forks, but it was always a quick hello.
Edward,” he greeted back, wearing the smile I always wished I could smack right off his face. “I’m sorry about Bella. We just heard. I hope you’ll tell her we stopped by.”
Oh, I will,” I responded with a smile before taking a sip of coffee, and I could’ve sworn Charlie snorted softly beside me.
Son,” my dad said, fighting his smirk, because he knew all about it. “I just wanted you to know that I should have these test results within a few hours, but I’ve got rounds before I come back up here.”
Do what you do, Dad,” I murmured, peeking into the room just to see Bella. She looked fresher, with a new blanket on top and her hair brushed again.
My dad started to explain to the Blacks and Bella’s parents all that she’d been through and her updated progress, so I stepped through the curtain, shrugging off my jacket. She needed to know I was back.
Hey, Princess,” I sighed against her forehead. “You’re lookin’ better. They kicked me out, but I’m back, baby.”
When I stood back up straight and turned around, Renee was right there, wearing a smirk. “You should really let that go,” she whispered, jerking a thumb behind her.
Nah, I’m good,” I whispered back with a grin. “I got the girl.”
Oh, poo, Edward,” she scoffed, rolling her eyes. “You always had the girl. Bella loved you from the moment she dragged you home from the schoolyard on her seventh birthday.”
Chuckling, I looked back to Bella. “Maybe...”
She tsked at me, ruffled my hair, and gave a kiss to Bella’s cheek. When she looked back to me, she shook her head and smiled. “There was a reason I called the two of you Thunder and Lightning. There was a storm brewing, but it wasn’t the pounding of sneakers through my house, or your squeals of laughter, or even the sound of the two of you arguing for the fun of it. It was that quiet moment before all the elements combined to create that perfect blend of water, thunder, and flashes of lightning. You know it’s coming, and you can almost feel it on your skin, hear it zinging in the air. It almost sounds like a heartbeat. It was like that watching the two of you – just waiting for that one moment when you realized you were absolutely made for each other.”
Nodding, I pressed my lips to Bella’s hand. I’d never heard Renee talk about us that way.
Maybe you should thank Jacob for giving you that last...push. Hmm?” she suggested before leaving the room. When the curtain fluttered, I could see that the corridor was clear again.
Looking back to Bella, I sighed, reaching up to play with a lock of her hair. “Things definitely changed when Jacob came into the picture, didn’t they, Bella?” I asked her, smiling when her heart monitor fluttered a little. “But I wasn’t the only one that felt...pushed...”
Age 16
I sat in the car, listening to the radio and waiting for Bella to come out of the school. It was Friday and I was ready to get the hell out of there. We’d been riding to school together ever since I’d gotten my car. I was damn proud of it. It may have been Esme’s Volvo at some point, but it was mine now. It was a birthday present, but it was also a test. I’d brought up my grades, stuck with therapy, and even started running for the track team. If any of those things wavered – failing grades, fighting, missed appointments – they’d take the car away.
Carlisle and Esme really didn’t need the threat. It was Bella that kept me in line. Without her, I would never have caught up with my school work. Though, Emmett had helped. He was a senior this year, and he’d taught me that working out could relieve all sorts of pent-up anger. By the time he put me through his routine, I was too damn tired to be pissed.
Through the windshield, I saw Bella talking to Lauren and Jessica. I shook my head. That was never a good thing. They gave new meaning to the words “mean girls.” They were passive aggressive, snarky, and so very...bitchy. There wasn’t any other way to put it.
By the time she fell into the passenger side seat, her face was set in stone.
What was that about?” I asked, starting up the car.
Don’t ask,” she muttered, looking out the window.
I did ask. And we’re not leaving till you tell me. What did Liquid Lauren want?” I asked, smiling when Bella snorted into a laugh at the name we’d had for the girl since the third grade because of her bladder problems.
She smiled my way, but rolled her eyes. “Are we going to her party tonight?”
I thought we were. Emmett’s going,” I told her, shrugging a shoulder. “Why?”
She sighed, shaking her head. “Because she wants to make sure you’re there.”
I stared blankly at her for a second. “Why?”
She laughed. “Really? You don’t know, Edward?” When I simply shook my head, she went on. “She...likes you. She like-likes you. Both she and Jessica want a piece of you, though Jess is willing to back down to the Alpha Bitch.”
What does that even mean?” I sighed, rolling my eyes and finally backing out of the parking space.
It means Lauren wants you at the party so she can get you alone,” Bella explained, looking back out the window.
Oh.” I frowned, glancing over at Bella. I couldn’t quite make out the face she was wearing since she was facing the window, but I didn’t want anything to do with Lauren. She was as fake as the nails she sported on the tips of her fingers. And I never really could get it out of my head that she peed the bed at not one, but two sleepovers – one in the third grade, the other in the fourth.
When I pulled into Bella’s driveway, my eyes locked onto a guy sitting on her front steps. “Who’s he?”
Jacob Black. He’s the son of a friend of my dad’s. He’s from the reservation down in La Push,” she groaned. “I’m supposed to help him with ninth-grade math. My dad volunteered me. There aren’t a lot of tutors for the rez school, so I’ve been helping him for a coupla weeks now.”
Ninth grade? Is he popping steroids or somethin’?” I asked, because the kid was huge. “’Cause that might explain his learning problem...”
No.” She laughed. “All the kids are like that down there. Maybe it’s the water. And you’re one to talk, Edward.” she said, poking my bicep. “What did you three inches this past summer?”
Two,” I grumbled, still frowning at the kid on her front steps.
Yeah,’re certainly getting the attention at school,” she teased, but I merely shrugged.
I didn’t care about the attention at school. I’d heard it, put up with the flirting from girls that had never talked to me before, but it was the girl next to me that held my attention. After my mom died, Bella and I had gotten close again, but I couldn’t shake how she was making me feel. I still wanted to kiss her. I’d thought it would be a passing thing, but it had only gotten worse. The problem was...I wasn’t sure Bella felt that way, and I was afraid to fuck up what we had.
Hey,” I said, waiting until she turned my way. “We don’t have to go tonight. We can do something else. Movie in Port Angeles?” I offered, hoping I’d get to keep her to myself.
We promised Emmett we were going,” she sighed and pointed to Jacob. “And I told Jacob he could go. He wanted to meet some people off the rez.”
I grimaced. “Fine. I’ll be back by to get you.”
Okay, call me when you’re on your way,” she sang, getting out of the car.
I gripped the steering wheel when the Jacob guy hugged her. This was going to be a long damn night. When I got home, I grabbed a quick snack, powered through my homework so I wouldn’t have to deal with it the rest of the weekend, and finally showered and dressed to go pick up Bella.
Esme was downstairs in the kitchen when I started to leave.
Hey, I’m heading out,” I told her, smiling when she came to kiss my cheek and run her fingers through my hair. “It won’t work. It sticks up everywhere.”
She laughed softly. “I can try, sweet boy,” she sighed, cupping my face. “You have fun. Be careful. You’re taking Bella?” she asked, and I nodded in answer. “Good, but always make sure you bring home whoever you take with you. And if there’s alcohol...”
I don’t drink,” I stated, almost harshly, but the thought of becoming like my mother was my biggest fear.
She paused, kissing my cheek again, and said, “Fair enough, son. Then, have a good time and call us if you’re going to be past your curfew.”
I laughed, shaking my head. “Honestly? I can’t imagine staying there until one. If anything, we’ll go back to Bella’s or come here.”
Okay.” She smiled and let me go. She and Renee had always told us that either house was fine, just to let them know.
I wanted to groan aloud at the sight of Bella rushing out to the car once I’d pulled in. I wasn’t sure her jeans could get any tighter...or lower, and the tight sweater wasn’t helping anything. Neither was the small sliver of skin showing just above the jeans.
Hey,” she sighed, putting on her seat belt.
Hey. Where’s your...friend?” I asked, trying to keep the tone of my voice neutral.
She snorted. “He’s coming with some guys from the rez.”
Good,” I muttered, pulling out and turning onto the street.
As small as Forks was, it wasn’t long before I was trying to find a parking place on Lauren’s street. Her parents weren’t home, but her older brother from college was. Apparently, he’d brought friends with him.
I swallowed nervously, turning off the car.
What’s wrong?” Bella asked, turning in her seat.
I shrugged. “Nothin’, I guess. I’m just...not a party person.”
She grinned, brushing my hair from my forehead. “You missed out last year. These are usually pretty fun.”
Yeah, I know,” I grumbled, frowning at my hands. “I heard you kissed Tyler.”
What?” she gasped. “No, I didn’t. Who told you that? Tyler?”
He’s a lying jerk,” she sneered, shaking her head. “You coulda asked me first, instead of believing what you heard. I don’t believe everything I hear about you, you know...”
Snorting, I rolled my eyes. “There’s nothing to hear.”
You’d be surprised what the girls say about you, Edward Cullen,” she argued, raising an eyebrow at me. “If they weren’t so stupid, they’d be careful when they said the things that they did with you. Most of the lies usually happen when I was with you.” She laughed, shoving my shoulder.
I laughed. “Yeah?”
Yeah, they’re so dumb. They forget you’re my best friend,” she sighed, grabbing the door handle. “Come on. You ready?”
Not in the least little bit,” I groaned to myself as I got out of the car.
The house was insane when we walked in. Lauren’s dad did very well as a lawyer, so their house was enormous. There were people everywhere. Most of them I recognized from school, both older and younger than us. However, the college kids seemed to be the loudest and already drunk. The living room, kitchen, and back pool deck were completely swamped with people.
Angela rushed up to Bella as soon as we were in the door. “I’ve got to talk to you. Ben’s here.” She sounded absolutely panicked, which didn’t make sense. She liked Ben.
Bella smiled, nodding. “Okay.” She looked up at me. “Find Emmett, and I’ll find you in a few. Okay?”
I nodded, watching them fly upstairs, but I made my way through the kitchen and out onto the deck. Emmett was surrounded by most of the football team, though a few were on the track team with me. Music was blaring, some people were dancing, and others seemed to be finding dark corners to make out in. I hung out with Emmett and the guys for a few, but I glanced up from the water of the pool to see Jacob and a bunch of guys I didn’t know step out onto the deck. And with him was Bella.
There you are!” Lauren squealed, plopping down next to me. “I was wondering if you’d show up.”
Why?” I snorted, taking a sip of the soda in my hand.
You’ve never come to any of my parties before,” she reasoned, shrugging a shoulder, which happened to be so close that she rubbed against mine.
Lauren didn’t deserve to know why I’d never come prior to now. As far as the people at school went, I was just a troublemaker that had slowed down. They knew nothing of my mother, my therapy, or the things that Roger did. So I simply shrugged.
You know...” she cooed, running one of those fake-ass nails down my arm. “It’s quieter in my room.”
I smirked, looking over at her. “I’m sure it is.”
Wanna go upstairs?” she asked, taking my hand, but I pulled it back.
No,” I stated, shaking my head at her.
Fine, whatever,” she huffed, getting up and slinging her blonde hair back. “Your loss.”
I snorted, muttering, “I’m sure,” to myself, my eyes seeking out Bella. She was now dancing with Jacob, smiling up at him, and I frowned.
She doesn’t like him, you know,” I heard beside me, and Angela took Lauren’s place. She stared at me for a second. “Why are boys so dumb?” she asked incredulously, rolling her eyes behind her glasses.
We’re not all dumb,” I argued with a laugh.
You’re dumb. Trust me,” she sighed. “You’re all oblivious, I swear. Ben’s too engrossed in a video game to even notice a thing.” She shook her head, her eyes raking over the back deck. “Why’d you turn Lauren down?” she asked me, meeting my gaze. “She’s easy...pickings. You could’ve—”
I held my hand up. “I’m aware of that, Ang. And I don’t like her like that.”
So who do you like like that?” she asked, and immediately my gaze went to Bella, who was trying to get away from Jacob. She was laughing, but he was trying to coax her into another dance.
That’s what I thought...” She nudged my shoulder. “You know, you should just tell her.”
We’re just friends.”
Look, I know you’ve had some...problems,” she stated, holding up her hands when I spun my gaze to hers. “I haven’t told anyone, Edward. And Bella didn’t say anything, but my dad...he knows, ya know?” When I nodded, she went on. “Bella really missed you when you two weren’t talking.” I gazed down at the can of soda in my hand, but she nudged me again. “More than I think you know.”
We both looked up when yelling broke out across the deck. My brows furrowed when I saw that Jacob was doubled over, holding his balls.
I said no!” Bella snapped, and I was up off the chair and across the deck, smacking Emmett on my way by, because the boys from the rez were now circling around Bella and Jacob.
His shirt was in my fist and his back pressed into the side of the house before he could register what had happened. I didn’t give a fuck how big he was.
What’d you do?” I sneered.
Nothing!” he squeaked, shaking his head.
She doesn’t junk-punch someone over nothing. What’d you do?!” I snarled, slamming him into the concrete wall again.
Bells, you okay?” I heard Emmett ask her through my angry haze.
Yeah, but he tried to kiss me. I told him no, but he kept comin’,” she told him.
My eyes locked onto Jacob. “When she tells you no, you fucking listen,” I told him, feeling hands on me pulling me back. With one last shove, I let him go.
Well, then, she needs to quit teasing,” he muttered under his breath.
I rushed at him again, but Emmett’s big hand stopped me.
Yo, dude? I’d shut up, man. Seriously,” he advised Jacob. “And if you fuck with my cousin again, it’ll be two big bastards after you. Got it?” He gazed around at a few of the other boys from the rez. “And I won’t care how many of you there are.” He laughed humorlessly, shrugging a huge shoulder. “So back the hell off!”
Jacob nodded, and I shrugged Emmett’s hands off, turning around to face Bella. She looked nervous, her eyes wide and her teeth latched onto her bottom lip.
You okay?” I rasped, still not quite sure my temper was under control.
She swallowed and nodded. “Yeah.”
I nodded once, walking past her and into the house. I needed calm the hell down before I ruined someone. I went straight through the house and out the front door, bracing my hands on the trunk of my car.
I heard footsteps coming up behind me, but I relaxed when I turned to look at Bella.
Why’d you do that?” she asked, her face flushed a bright pink.
Shaking my head, I waved the question away.
No, tell me, Edward.”
I can’t have someone hurt you. I just can’t,” I said softly, shrugging a shoulder. “I shouldn’t have come.”
Bella was quiet for a second, but then said, “Okay. Let’s go. We’ll go back to my house. No one’s home.”
Nodding, I unlocked the car and let her in. I stayed silent the whole way back, even when she let me inside.
You want something to drink?” she asked, and I nodded and leaned against the kitchen counter as she grabbed two glasses. She filled them with ice and water and handed me one, leaning next to me. “What happened with Liquid Lauren? I saw you talking to her.”
I snorted, shaking my head. “She tried to get me into her room.”
And you turned her down,” she surmised.
Yeah.” I gulped my water down, the ice clinking when I set the glass down.
Bella pushed herself up onto the counter, her feet kicking the cabinets. “Why?”
I sighed, turning to face her. “I don’t like her like that. Hell, I barely can stand to be around the girl.”
Bella giggled, but it sobered quickly. “I didn’t mean to tease Jacob. He was mad ’cause I kept watching you with Lauren. I wasn’t sure what you’d do... She’s kinda got a reputation.”
I shrugged, but nodded. I was aware of Lauren’s reputation. The gym locker room was always filled with stories. We were quiet for a moment, Bella taking a sip of her drink.
Hmm?” I hummed, meeting her gaze.
What did you mean? About you can’t have someone hurt me? Jacob wouldn’t hurt me. He just...”
He just tried to kiss you without your permission,” I sneered, my hands curling into fists. “I can’t allow something or someone to hurt you.” I shrugged a shoulder. “It’s simple. And I should go back and put my fist through his face for not listening to you.”
Allow?” she scoffed, rolling her eyes.
Yes, Bella...allow! I won’t just stand by like my mother did. I can’t do it. I won’t be that person, not when it comes to you!” I yelled, throwing my hands up.
Hey,” she said softly, cupping both sides of my face. “It’s okay, it’s okay.”
I shook my head and frowned, looking down at my hands. “Sorry.”
Don’t be. And it wasn’t like that. I’m okay, Edward,” she soothed, brushing my hair from my forehead.
I didn’t want him to kiss you,” I mumbled, frowning that I was too close to her and she smelled too good.
I didn’t want you to go upstairs with Liquid Lauren.”
That statement made my gaze lock onto hers. “No?” I whispered.
She shook her head. “No. I didn’t like her touching you. What’s that mean, Edward? When did it change?”
I shook my head, too. “I don’t know. It just did, and I don’t know if I can help it.”
Me, either,” she whispered, and I suddenly realized we were face to face and I was standing between her legs.
Hmm?” she hummed, licking her lips, which nearly caused my knees to buckle.
If I kissed you, would you knee me in the balls?” I thought she’d laugh or push me away, but she simply shook her head no, her eyes so dark as they landed on my mouth.
I didn’t know what I was doing, but the second my lips met hers, something snapped inside me. It felt like an electrical charge or something going through my chest. I left my lips against hers for a second, only to pull back. Her forehead pressed to mine and her hands latched around my neck as we did it again. Each time, we stayed pressed together longer and longer, switching from top lips to bottom lips. She tasted like Cherry Coke or something fruity, but when her tongue met mine tentatively, I moaned. I couldn’t help it. Everything in me surged forward, pressing myself against her, and she captured me with her legs.
We turned our heads at the same time, and I wound my arms around her. It was almost as if our bodies were like magnets, like they knew what to do. Tongues, warm and wet, tangled together, and my dick grew hard, which caused me to grind into her. But the sound of a car door made us both gasp and break apart.
I looked out the window to see Renee walking up, but I turned back to Bella, rushing to kiss her one more time.
Please tell me this means what I think it means,” I begged against her lips quickly, and she nodded, humming against my mouth. “But I don’t want to, Bella. I hated it when we weren’t friends.”
Bella nodded, licking her lips, but she smiled. “Lauren better stay away.”
Jacob better never touch you again,” I countered with a grin, but stepped back when I heard the front door open. “Just you, I swear.” I crossed my heart, and she did the same. “See you tomorrow?” I panted, licking my lips.
She giggled. “Yeah, call me.”
Present Day
You know what the best part was, Princess?” I sighed, looking up at her beautiful face and twirling her hair around my finger. “It was that nothing only got better. And we got really good at kissing. Though, the first time we kissed in the school parking lot caused just about the entire student body to explode in shock.” I laughed softly to myself. “That was the very best decision I ever made...kissing you, I mean,” I admitted, trailing my fingers across her cheek. “Going from best friends to boyfriend and girlfriend was top of the list. However, there’s another decision we need to make that may top them all, Bella.”
Reaching over to my jacket, I pulled out the little black velvet box I’d had since before we’d moved back to Forks. Cracking it open, I stared down at the ring. It was simple and beautiful, pretty much my definition of Bella. It had been easy to pick out for her. Closing it back, I shoved it away again back into my jacket.
My forehead fell to her thigh and I squeezed back tears. “I’ve wanted to marry you since we were sixteen years old, baby. And all I want is to ask you, so you need to come back to me. Please. ’Cause I don’t know if I can live without you.”


Sophi715 said...

Perfect! Except, Edward should have gotten to punch Jacob at least once. You know he deserved it!!! I love Renee' s storm analogy...can't wait for the next update...

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