Wednesday, March 25, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 10 & Pics

Chapter 10 – Nothing Else Matters
Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say
And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know
“Nothing Else Matters” – Metallica
I didn’t move from the welcome mat on Bella’s threshold, but the sound of the door thumping softly open made me jump a bit and my heart beat heavy because things were about to get real. I was no stranger to sex, but suddenly, my palms and brow were sweaty, my heart was pounding, and my breathing was shallow.
When Bella wriggled a little to set her feet on the floor, I snapped out of the haze I’d been in. She reached for my guitar and then my hand, guiding me inside. She leaned the guitar against the wall of the kitchen, closing her front door. It was like I’d developed some sort of tunnel vision, because all I could see was her, and I realized that she was just as nervous as I was.
“We… We don’t…” I started to say we didn’t need to do anything, but I knew it would be a blatant and outright lie. I needed her. I needed her on a level I couldn’t control, nor did I want to anymore.
She pulled my wool cap slowly from her head and set it down on the counter, gazing up at me with that warm smile that just fucking killed me. I took a step toward her and smirked when she backed up at the same time, only her path was impeded by the kitchen table.
“Nervous, angel?” I asked, not only because I needed to know I wasn’t the only one, but if she was, then I wanted to know why so I could ease us both somehow.
“N-No...” she started but smiled, shaking her head. “Okay, yeah…a little.”
“Why?” I stepped closer, pinning her between my body and the table. I pushed her hair from her face, slipping a hand deep into dark locks at her neck in order to tip her head up. I brushed kisses across her lips over and over, trying to slow myself down. Otherwise, I’d fuck this all up. “Why, Bella? Please tell me. I don’t want you nervous. I’m kinda there enough for both of us.”
Her laugh was short but sweet. “You… You’re well, you’re just you, Edward. I’m not…a model or…”
“I don’t want you to be anything other than you, baby. Please trust me on that,” I vowed, frowning down at her a little. I wouldn’t have pegged Bella for being insecure about her looks, but I suppose in this moment it was understandable. “I think you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever set eyes on, so…what else?”
Reaching up, she pushed my jacket off my shoulders, draping it over the back of a kitchen chair. She stayed quiet for a moment, but her brow wrinkled when she finally looked back into my eyes.
“I don’t… I don’t know what you expect from me,” she said so softly.
I let out a light laugh, but it died quickly because it looked like it hurt her a little. “I don’t expect anything. Honest. Nothing could happen tonight, and just being here makes me a fucking happy man. But the things I want to do to you makes for a long list, and most of them end up with you calling my name. More than one time.”
There it was, that sexy fucking smile that I lived to see. It made her eyes darken and her nose wrinkle, so I couldn’t stop from leaning in and kissing her again. I was slowly bending her over the table, so I backed off a little.
“And after?” she asked tentatively, licking her lips.
Cupping both sides of her face in my hands, I made her look up at me. “I’m not here for a one-time thing, Bella. I’m…I’ve… I don’t want just tonight. I want…all your nights…or mornings…or days. If you think I’m gonna—”
“No, Edward,” she countered, shaking her head, which was still cradled in my hands. “I want that, too; I just—”
I cut her off with a kiss, silently thanking whatever deity I needed to thank that we were on the same page. My fingers sank back into her hair, tugging just enough to illicit a sexy moan from her. Cradling her head in my hand, I let my free arm wrap around her waist in order to lift her up onto the edge of the table. Fuck, I wanted her all over this damn apartment. Every surface had possibilities.
“Just what?” I panted, pressing my forehead to hers, but in her eyes, despite the dark wanting look gazing back at me, I saw a touch of fear.
“How do we…” she started, only to stop with a frown. “I’m so stupid. I should just… I said escape, and now I’m questioning…”
“I’m not going anywhere,” I vowed but kissed her quickly to correct that. “I mean, I will be leaving on tour, but I meant…I want you, Bella. It won’t be easy – it just won’t be – but I want you to be the only one I come back to, maybe take with me occasionally. Nothing outside this matters as much as having you in my life… I want us to figure it out.” My gaze raked all over her stunning face, and I simply shrugged. “I already belong to you, angel. I have since I stumbled into the bar that night. I just want you to belong to me.”
“Edward,” she whimpered, slipping her hands up my stomach and chest and around my neck as her brow wrinkled a little. “Too late. Way too fucking late.”
“Good,” I growled, leaning in to kiss her again.
My tongue claimed her mouth as my body shifted to stand between her legs. Her hair was soft between my fingers, and I couldn’t help but pull the locks a little when her legs wrapped around my waist and her hands slipped beneath my shirt. My free hand gripped and pulled at her shirt, cupping her breast over the soft fabric, and a long, hissing string of curses left my lips against her mouth.
“Holy fucking shit…you’re pierced?” I whispered, my head falling to her shoulder, though I couldn’t keep my mouth away from her skin if I’d tried. “What else are you hiding under there, angel?”
Her giggle was breathy, and it faltered when I dragged long, slow open-mouthed kisses up her neck to her ear at the same time my thumb circled what I could only imagine were hoops through her nipples.
“I told you, Edward… I’m no angel,” she said, the last word breaking into a moan when I checked the other nipple and found that they were matching. “Sh-Shit…”
Grinning at her reaction, I pulled away from her neck and removed my hand from her hair. Staying between her legs, I cupped both breasts in my hands over that fuck-awesome Fender shirt, using my thumbs to toy with the piercings. Watching her eyes roll back and feeling her legs pull me closer to where I could feel the heat from her pussy, I bit down on my bottom lip, trying not to completely shred her clothes and take her right there.
Rolling a nipple at the same time my other hand slid between us, I leaned in to kiss her lips, whispering, “What else are you hiding from me?”
I cupped her pussy possessively over her pajama bottoms, feeling heat and guessing she was getting wetter by the second as she writhed over my hand.
She nodded, groaning when I stopped everything to step back. Sliding my hands beneath her shirt, I gripped the waistband of her pants, and I locked eyes with her until she nodded and lifted up just a little so I could tug them down. Her legs were smooth, with pretty, creamy skin, and seemingly long for a girl that was just a few inches over five feet. Kneeling in front of her, I helped her kick out of them, and I caught a glimpse of black and lace and ink underneath her shirt.
My hands had a mind of their own, though. They reached out, gripping and skimming over smooth skin, disappearing under that long Fender T-shirt, and I grinned up at her.
“Whose shirt?” I asked, pulling a hand free and tracing the white screening on black cotton that was a phoenix blended into the Fender logo.
“Dad’s,” she answered with a smile, her eyes on me when I stood back up in front of her. “It’s my favorite.”
“I like it,” I told her, “but you won’t have it on much longer.”
“You first,” she stated, grasping the hem of my shirt, and I reached back to grab the fabric in order to yank it off over my head. Her eyes were dark and fiery as they drank in my chest, and even though I tried to stay in shape for the stage, something about the way she was looking at me made me feel insanely proud.
Smirking when those now bare legs wrapped around my thighs to pull me back in, I grabbed fistfuls of her shirt, twisting and yanking in order to reach skin and silky underwear, only to meet her mouth again. Fuck, taking her on that table was becoming more and more appealing the longer, the deeper we kissed. Fingers threaded into my hair and gripped my back, making me grind into her. The heat of her was intense between her legs; I could feel it through my jeans, aiming straight for my cock. And I wanted it.
Cupping her ass, I pressed her against me, grinding. “Lean back,” I whispered against her lips, my hand flat on her stomach beneath her shirt, and I grinned at another discovery. “Uh-oh…another piercing. Sweet fuck, I can’t wait to see all of you.” I teased the piercing in her bellybutton lightly, continuing down to the lacy edge of her underwear.
She could barely laugh, but her smile was still there as her hands grappled for a hold on me somewhere, anywhere. My fingers slipped stealthily beneath the waistband, finding her bare skin and trimmed hair and wetness.
“What? No piercing here?”
“Fuck no. No needles anywhere near there,” she huffed, looking up at me pleadingly. “Edward… Oh, shit…”
Grinning, I nodded. “Got it. No needles…but how about this?” I asked, my fingers teasing, slipping through folds, and rolling her clit just enough to cause her breathing to falter. “Is that a yes?”
I needed her to come. I needed it so badly that I was dropping to my knees in front of her, peeling those lacy things right off her and tossing them to the floor. I went back to touching her, skimming my nose up the inside of her thigh, just to inhale the scent of her.
“Tell me, angel…” I commanded, sliding two fingers deep inside her. “So wet, but I think we can do better. No needles, and you seem to like my fingers, baby, but…what about my mouth? My tongue?” I asked, sucking on the skin of the inside of her thigh, smiling in satisfaction when her whole body reacted. Her legs fell open, and she fell back a bit more on the table top. I pressed a teasing kiss to her clit, seeing if she would actually answer me.
“Please…Edward…please,” she moaned, trying to find something to hold on to and settling for my hair and a fistful of her shirt, which was in the way, but I wasn’t fucking stopping, especially when she said my name like that. I just had to hear that shit again.
No one had called my real name out like that. Ever. It was always Masen. I was always playing a part, but not this time. This time, everything about me was about making Bella feel good.
My cock strained against my jeans, and I tried to adjust it, but it didn’t do any good. I could fucking wait, but my girl was losing her shit. My eyes locked on to Bella’s face as I finally raked my tongue over her lips, through her folds, and around her clit.
Her heels found purchase on my shoulders, her fingers gripped my hair in a deliciously painful way, and her pussy started to clench down on my fingers as she practically rode my face. She was so close. Curling my fingers just right, I latched my mouth on to her clit and sucked hard as I rolled my tongue over and over. Her hips rose up, her toes curled, and finally, the sound I’d been aching to hear hit the air around us like a soft chanting prayer.
Something about hearing my name like that was so different, so meaningful, that I almost came with her right there in my jeans from hearing it.
I calmed her down by riding out the spasms, placing a sweet kiss to her mound before standing up. Smiling down at her, I placed her arms around my neck and cupped her ass to lift her up. I wanted her off the table, so I started for her bed. Her breathing was still heavy when her lips met mine, and she kissed me until I could barely walk. Somehow, I made it to her mattress without tripping or coming in my jeans, but we fell to the bed in a tangle of legs and lips and tongues, not to mention that godforsaken shirt and my pants.
I kicked my boots off, and they thumped off the end of the bed at the same time Bella reached for my jeans.
“We…can stop, angel,” I warned her, grabbing her wrist gently to slow her down. “I…” My eyes rolled back as her hand rubbed the outside of my jeans over my aching cock.
“Doesn’t feel like you wanna stop.”
A harsh laugh left me, and I shook my head. “Fuck, no, but…” I stopped her hand again. “But if you keep doing that, we’re gonna have problems.”
She grinned, and she was beautiful and wild from coming, her eyes raking all over my face as she slowly popped the buttons of my jeans slowly. One by torturous one.
“Lie back,” she said, nudging my shoulder until I complied, and then I lifted my hips for her to tug my jeans and underwear down. My cock sprang free, almost with a throb of relief after being trapped, and I hissed when her warm hand wrapped around me.
“Oh, shit…” I whispered through gritted teeth, my head pressing back into her pillow.
When I felt lips on my skin, I just about shot up out of the bed. They trailed over my thigh, up my shaft, and along the trail of hair on my stomach. Peeking down at her, I couldn’t stop from rocking up a little. She was taking in the ink on my legs and stomach, but mostly, she was trailing those gorgeous lips across my leaking dick.
“Bella…” I moaned, pushing her hair from her face. “I want that, but…” Fuck, it had been a long damn time since I’d come by something other than my hand. I’d been on tour before the accident, and then rehab, which ended things with Heidi. Months, really. “I want…” I panted, forcing myself enough to concentrate on her. I sat up, smirking at her adorably disgruntled look. “Easy, angel… C’mere,” I whispered, guiding her until she straddled me, her hot, wet pussy grinding down over me. “Oh, my sweet fuck…the heat.” Slipping my hand into her hair, I kissed her hard and deep, swirling my tongue with hers, but finally pulled away. “Be still, be still…”
She grinned wickedly but stopped wriggling. Her fingers, however, were in my hair, across my face, and tugging at my shoulders.
“Wait, baby,” I begged, finally reaching for the hem of her shirt. “Let me see you…” When she didn’t move, I looked at her pensive face. “Angel?” I asked softly, and she finally nodded.
Gathering the fabric up, I tugged the shirt off her, and my mouth fell open at the beautiful creature sitting astride my lap. She started to cover herself, and I stopped her.
“No, baby…don’t. You’re…fucking perfect,” I whispered in awe, swallowing thickly at the sight before me.
The breasts that had fit in my hand perfectly were perky, and the steel piercings through tightly peaked nipples were begging for my attention. Bending her back a little, I trailed fingers over ink – swirls of black, with flowers and dragonflies, and what I thought were music notes above her hipbone. Up her side was a splash of color where a dandelion was breaking apart into the wind. My thumb brushed over her sparkly bellybutton piercing, and I grinned when she squeaked lightly.
I touched her everywhere I could get my hands on, bending her until her back met the bed between my legs. I cupped, kneaded, teased…just felt her all over.
“Fuck, angel…you’re like a shiny new toy,” I grunted, lifting her back up into a sitting position.
She grinned, a groaning laugh escaping her, but she grasped my face. “Edward, please…”
There it was again, the sweet sound of my name coming from her. My real name. My brow furrowed as I just gazed at her face.
“Bella, you…” I brushed kisses over her lips. “I love…the sound of my real name coming from you like this; no one’s ever… And…”
Her gaze softened at my idiotic rambling, and her fingers swept through my hair.
“It sounds so fucking good…”
She started to move over me, and I stopped her. “My jeans, baby… we need…”
Shaking her head, she leaned over for her nightstand drawer, returning to hold up a condom, and I nodded. She slid back a bit on my legs, tearing open the wrapper and rolling the condom down over me. Once it was on, we locked gazes for a minute. The energy between us, the electric pulse coming from her touch…all of it was building.
There was no turning back, especially when my sweet girl lifted up and guided herself down over me slowly, taking me completely inside her.
“Damn,” I whispered, my eyes never leaving hers.
“I know,” she panted, wrapping her arms around my neck, my head, so there wasn’t a space to be found between us. “Edward…”
She started to move, lifting slowly and grinding down. Our mouths barely separated, pushing heavy breaths out onto cheeks. My arms held her close, helping guide her rhythm, but our movements became jerky and frantic.
Rolling us over, I pressed her down into the bed, and everything became sharp and clear and felt so fucking good. Legs wrapped around my waist, but I lifted one higher, holding it there as I moved in and out of her with deep thrusts. Bella’s dark locks were spread out around her, and I suddenly, desperately, wanted to see that shit on my own bed, my own table, maybe even up against my door. Bella grasped my back, slipping down to my ass to grip with every thrust.
“More, baby? Harder?”
“Yes…” she grunted, working with me.
I sat back on my heels, holding her hips as I pushed harder, using my thumb to tease her clit. She was gorgeous and sexy and so damn close. Hooking her leg in my arm, I braced my hand by her head. Bending down, I teased her nipples and their piercings with my tongue, nipping slightly with my teeth.
“Oh, come, Bella. Let me have it… I want it. Please…”
A few more thrusts, with a swivel of my hips, not to mention a hard suck to her nipples, had us both spiraling downward into the abyss. Her pussy clamped down on my cock in rapid flutters as everything about her pulled me close, and my thrusts faltered once, twice, three times until I buried myself as deeply as I could.
“Fuck…fuck…damn!” I groaned into the crook of her neck.
Her small frame gave a shudder, and she hugged me close, her fingers sinking into my hair.
“Fuck, angel… That was…”
“God, I know,” she whispered, turning to kiss the spot where my neck met my shoulder. “Edward,” she started but twisted my hair a little. When I pushed up a little to look at her, she kissed me. “Stay. I know…you’ve got…” Her eyes drifted to the ceiling.
Kissing her chin, her nose, and then her lips, I said, “I’m not leaving this spot. Tomorrow is another day, angel. Right now, I just want this. Okay?”
Her nod was fervent and adorable, and I smiled, but it turned into a wince when we separated. I removed the condom, and she pointed toward the bathroom, so I got up to dispose of it. Walking back into the room, I smiled at her holding up the covers of her bed. She was still gloriously naked, and I slipped in beside her, pulling her to me.
Something about every second spent inside her apartment felt perfect and right, and I pressed a kiss to her forehead as her body molded to my side. Sleep came easily, despite the night’s earlier events, and I hummed happily as I drifted off when Bella’s lips pressed to my chest.
The first thing I started to become aware of was the light filtering in through my eyelids. The second was the feel of warm, silky-smooth skin slipping along mine. The smell of Bella surrounded me, and slowly the memories of the night before started to come back to me. My dick hardened at remembering the sounds, the taste, the scent of sex; it seemed to still hang in the air of her apartment, and I wanted that smell with me always. But it hadn’t been just sex – it had been so much more. It’d been electric and simply perfect…but deliciously imperfect.
I remembered walking back to the bed and falling asleep, only to be woken up some time later by warm, wet lips wrapped around my dick, and Bella didn’t know she’d awakened a monster, because that started a completely new round, where I took her from behind. Hard.
Rolling to my side, I gazed over at Bella’s back, at smooth, bare skin and the tattoo I’d seen in the darkest part of the night. Now in the light of day, I could see it for what it was: a swan in the shape of a treble clef. Brushing my lips across it, I sighed in sadness for her, because she didn’t even need to tell me that it represented her dad.
I pulled her close, wrapping an arm around her waist and smiling when she snuggled that much closer.
“Edward,” she whispered, twitching a little.
“Shh…sleep, angel,” I told her, but deep-brown eyes cracked open just a little as I pushed hair away from her face. “Hey…”
“Hey,” she rasped back.
I was just about to tell her again to get more sleep, but there were thumps overhead, and both of us glanced up toward her ceiling. I wasn’t ready to face the reality of my dad, his probable hangover, and what we still needed to say to each other, so I focused on the sleepy-sweet thing in my arms as it sounded like Dad was getting up and dressed.
“Damn, do I walk that hard?”
Her giggle was soft, and she buried that shit in my neck. “Yes, though I kinda like it, especially when you’re…”
My eyebrows shot up at that, my fingers digging into her sides in order to hear her squeak into laughter, to submit to the rest of the truth. “When I’m what?” I asked, rolling over on top of her to keep her from squirming away. Pinning her hands above her head, I leaned down to bite and nip at her neck, her earlobe, and finally those sexy-as-hell piercings through her nipples. “When I’m what, angel?”
“Running!” she answered in a loud laugh, wrapping her legs around me. We were quickly working ourselves up again. “On your treadmill, Edward…”
Grinning, I pressed my forehead to hers but kept her pinned beneath me, not that she was trying to get away anymore. “Now…I wonder… Why’s that, Bella?”
Her giggle was a little embarrassed and her cheeks tinged pink, but she shrugged a shoulder. “I dunno. There’s a rhythm to it that I like. It’s comforting, and I just… I like it.”
Narrowing my eyes at her, I snorted. “You’re not telling me everything.”
“Edward,” she begged, starting to squirm again. “You have to let me up! Please! If you don’t…it’ll be bad!”
With a chuckle, I rolled off her, and she scrambled out of bed and straight into the bathroom. As the door clicked closed behind her, my eyes drifted up to the ceiling again. I could hear my dad walking around my apartment, and I heard his voice, which meant he was on his phone. I hoped it was Mom, but I couldn’t hear well enough. I sat up on the side of the bed, the sheets still wrapped around my middle. I gripped my hair with my elbows on my knees as I tried to think of what I needed to do for him.
“You can’t fix him, Edward,” Bella said softly, her sweet little bare feet appearing in my vision as I stared at the floor. I was highly disappointed when my gaze drifted up to see her wrapped in a robe. “He has to fix himself,” she added, stepping between my legs when I reached out to pull her close.
Nodding, I let my face press to her stomach, relaxing a bit when her hands raked through my hair in slow sweeps of her fingers. “I know.”
“I had an uncle,” she started with a whisper in my ear. “Well, he wasn’t really a blood relative, but I called him Uncle Sam.” She huffed a soft laugh. “That was the joke between us. He was my own personal Uncle Sam.”
Smiling, I pulled back to look up at her sweet face, only to see it filled with sadness. “Baby, what happened?”
“He…he was one of my dad’s really good friends. He played piano for Dad for years. He um…he had a problem, Edward. My dad would bail him out of trouble all the time – both financially and legally.”
Studying her face, I nodded. “Drugs?”
“Yeah, heroin.”
Groaning, I cupped her face, kissing her chin. “I’m sorry.”
“He was the sweetest, kindest, funniest grownup I knew, aside from my dad. He just…couldn’t stop.” She smiled sadly but placed her hands on either side of my face. “And he tried, but something always set him back – his marriage, his kids, or the music business. The last time…” She took a deep breath and let it out. “I was fourteen the last time I saw him, and he was high. He and my dad were working with a new singer at one of the studios downtown. Mike and I went along to watch. I’d been super-hyper about going, but Mike was seven and all over the place – touching stuff, asking a million questions, and he accidently knocked over a cup of water on Sam. He snapped at us, raising his hand to hit Mike, and my dad punched him square in the face before he could think. Told him to get clean or don’t come back, but he wasn’t to even look at us until he did.
“Sam was…devastated. He didn’t realize what he’d done. It was the drugs, not the man, but still… He never came back, Edward. He overdosed soon after that.”
Wrapping my arms around her small frame, I lifted her to my lap and hugged her with everything I had.
“I’m sorry. I get it. I’ve seen it in my work more times than I’d like to admit, Bella. The music business can be a stupid fucking cliché, you know?” I asked, and she nodded. “Jake had a weed problem, but he was lucky. He’s just a little crispy around the edges.” I tapped my temple as she cracked a smile. “Fucker’s shot-out but harmless all the same. Our tour manager is pretty old-school hippy-like, so he’s always on something. I’m lucky it isn’t worse around me, but I’ve seen other performers, and it’s…ugly.” I grimaced but looked up at the ceiling again. “I never thought…”
“I know, baby,” she whispered, kissing my forehead.
Dad’s voice raised a little, and I caught snippets of his conversation. I heard him mention the wreck, Bree, police, and alcohol. I heard something about rehab and vacation time. Finally, I heard, “And I need to find Edward!”
Groaning, I sighed deeply. “Fuck, you really did hear everything. Huh?”
She smiled, and it was her usual warm, sweet smile, but I could tell she was hurting for me. “I did. I don’t like that you took his place, but it was very brave for you to do it. I think you’ve done everything for him you can. And…” She kissed me softly, leaving her lips against mine. “And I love that you only want me and music. I wish I could give that to you. I wish I could take all of this away.”
“Me, too, angel.” I felt my cheeks heat up at that, but I nodded. “I meant it, though. I… I want you in my life, Bella. In any capacity you’ll give me, but I hope it’s…like last night. I’ve never…” I shook my head slowly, adding, “I’ll understand if you don’t want any part of this…” I pointed to the ceiling, indicating my family problems. “Or anything to do with my…job, because it’s about to get really testy. We’ll be filming at the bar soon, the album’s almost finished, and then…fuck, the touring, Bella. It’s long and ugly and we’ll be apart, and…”
Her hands met my face again, making me look at her. “Edward, I’m still not running. I wish you’d stop assuming I was. After last night, I’d have thought—”
“Oh, God…” I grabbed her face and kissed her so fucking hard, my tongue claiming and tasting. “So much… Last night was just…everything. I’m ruined, Bella.” I practically growled against her sweet mouth. “You’re every song about every woman ever written.”
She laughed, her head falling back, and I nipped at the exposed skin of her throat.
“You are…” I spun around, tossing her on the bed. “Want me to prove it?”
Her eyes narrowed playfully, and she jutted her chin out. “Sure!”
“Hmm,” I hummed mockingly, eyeing her from head to toe, but I reached for the tie of her robe. “Let’s start with…legs… ZZ Top said…”
Her laugh was happy and easy, but her legs kicked when I teased the back of her knees with my fingers. I was just about to run through every cheesy rock song lyric about the female anatomy just to hear that laugh, but there was a knock on her door, bringing me up short.
“Edward?” I heard my dad from the other side.
We froze, my eyes locking with hers. A part of me wanted to ignore him, but the other part knew I couldn’t. Bella’s hands cupped my face, kissing me softly.
“I’ll let him in, Edward,” Bella whispered, pulling her robe tighter and sitting up. “You get dressed. And I think we need coffee…”
Nodding, I stood up, pulling my jeans back on from the night before and walking to the bathroom for a moment. I took a piss and washed my face, stepping back into the room. From the other side of the room divider Bella had blocking her bed from the kitchen, I heard her greet my father and then his apology for interrupting.
He looked like utter hell when I stepped into the kitchen where Bella had sat him at the table. She stopped for a moment, a wicked smirk curling up the corners of her mouth as her gaze locked on to that table top.
Ignoring my father for a moment, I bent to kiss her cheek and whisper in her ear. “Best meal I’ve ever eaten, angel. Hands down.”
She smacked at me, shaking her head, and then went to the sink to start the coffee.
I took a seat at the table across from my father, steeling my emotions and keeping my face stoic. He pushed my phone across the top toward me.
“It’s been going off all damn morning.”
Snorting humorlessly, I looked at the screen. Several texts, a few missed calls, and some voice mails – all from what looked to be Rose, Emmett, and my mother. I shut the screen off; I’d check it all in a moment.
“Edward,” Dad said, and my gaze snapped up to see him watching Bella as she set the coffee to brew and walked to me.
“I’m gonna get dressed,” she said, kissing my temple and then turning to my dad. “Coffee will be ready in a minute.”
She walked away, and we both watched her for a moment as she gathered some things from her dresser before disappearing to the bathroom.
“She’s, um…” he started but then smiled, huffing a light laugh as he shook his head.
“She’s the best thing to ever happen to me,” I finished for him, no matter what the fuck he was going to say. He needed to know to tread lightly where Bella was concerned.
“I see that,” he replied firmly.
“But it’s new, and I need to…” I sighed, rubbing my face as I wished the coffee would hurry the fuck up. “She’s important, Dad, and I have—”
“Son, stop.” His voice was pleading but firm, and he was sincere when he said, “I know. I see it. And…I’m sorry.”
“You’re always sorry, Dad. I’m just grateful you weren’t like this when Em and I were kids.”
“I was.” That statement hung heavily in Bella’s kitchen as I just blinked stupidly at him. He added, “I just hid it from all of you.”
Frowning, I nodded, gazing down at the black screen of my phone instead of his face. I wasn’t sure what to say to that, but I supposed it made sense.
“Edward…son,” he started softly. “I’m um… I’ve got to go away for a while.”
My heart clenched when I looked at him, and I opened my mouth to speak.
“I have to, champ,” he said, using his old nickname for me. He’d called Emmett “bear” and me “champ” for as long as I could remember. “Your mother…she’s going to leave me if I don’t fix it, if I don’t get my shit together. She’s pissed that I allowed you to take my place, that I’ve let my drinking get out of hand. And I’m asking you not to blame her, son, because I got really damn good at hiding it from her. She had no idea.”
Nodding, I waited for him to finish.
“I owe it to you, to her, to my patients at the hospital, and to little Bree… I… You were right in saying that I could’ve killed her, or someone at the hospital, Edward. I can’t…do this on my own. I’ve already taken a leave of absence from work, and I’ve told your mother. Emmett had Rosalie start the process to get me in the facility where you went. I’m going today.”
My mouth opened, but I snapped it closed, only to blurt out, “I…I can take you.”
“No. Absolutely not, son.” He smiled sadly, and suddenly, he looked tired and weary and defeated. “You’ve done enough, and I’ve already got a car coming. Rose insisted that your driver take me. Umm…”
“Yeah,” he sighed, nodding. “Anyway, I just wanted to apologize and thank you.”
Bella stepped back into the kitchen fully dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, reaching for the cups in the cabinet.
“None for me, Bella, but thank you,” he told her, standing up. He inhaled deeply, smiling her way. “And thanks for putting up with me last night and for calling my son.”
She nodded, wide-eyed, but she shot a glance my way.
He walked to her, offering her his hand. “I hope I get the chance to know you better, Bella.”
“You, too, Dr. Cullen,” she replied.
“Carlisle, please,” he insisted, and she smiled a little. He turned to me, sadness all over his face. “You need to know… Your mother and I never considered you or Emmett to be…what’d you say? Fuck-ups?” He shook his head. “Never, son. You are our children, and we only wished you the best. And we want you happy. I’m sorry if we didn’t tell you enough or tell you how damned proud of you we are. You should’ve never had to…” He shot a quick glance to Bella.
“She knows,” I told him, smirking a little.
He nodded. “You should’ve never had to go to jail to prove anything, Edward…and that’s all on me. A father should protect his children, not the other way around, and now you have a permanent record because of me.”
He shifted a little just as Bella brought me a cup of coffee, and she stayed standing beside me, almost in a protective stance.
“I just…I wanted to see you before I left, son. I doubt I’ll see you for a few weeks, if not more… I’ll be away, and you’ll be…”
“On tour,” I said, and Bella linked my fingers with hers, squeezing before I stood up.
“Yeah,” Dad sighed, walking to the door, and I held it open, seeing Tony downstairs in the alley waiting patiently. He started out the door but turned to tug me into a rough hug, only to pull back and pat the side of my face. “You… I love you, son.”
“Love you, too,” I replied back softly. “You got this, you know. It’s not easy, but…I’m proud of you…”
He nodded nervously, but he squeezed my shoulder a little. “You take care of your mother and brother for me. And Rose…and that sweet girl behind you who looks like she wants to jump in front of a bullet for you.”
Smirking, I nodded. “I will. I promise.”
I watched him make his way down the stairs to the alley, where Tony opened the backseat door for him. When they backed out, I closed the door and leaned against it. I hoped it worked for my dad, and I hoped he was sincere this time, when he hadn’t been before. And I wondered if his telling my mother the truth and her temper was the true catalyst for this sudden change.
“You okay, Edward?” Bella asked, coming to stand in front of me.
Pulling her into my arms and burying my face into her neck, I said, “I am now.”


Unknown said...

I swear you write the best se scenes. This was awesome, but my favorite is from Show me something more.

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