Words to Die By ~ Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

July 15, 2017

The early morning sun was shining through the windows. Edward moved and felt Bella’s naked body wrapped around him. The late-night activities came flooding back to him. He couldn’t believe how wonderful it felt to be deep inside of her. When he had awoken to find her hand wrapped his cock, he was shocked, but her soft hand stroking him caused him to relent and revel in the feelings. When she awoke, he thought for sure she would scream at him to leave; however, once again, she surprised him by demanding he make love to her. He was worried about her ribs, so he let her take the lead, something he never did, and God was it glorious. She rode him hard, raking her nails down the planes of his chest and abs. Rubbing his hand down his chest, he felt the welts from her nails and thought they were so erotic. Needing to touch her, he began to gently stroke his hand up and down her arm. 

Bella began to wake and smiled. She remembered every detail of last night, and she wanted more. She moved, and as soon as she did, the painful reminder of her injuries hit her. “Fuck.”

Edward looked down at her when she yelled out. She had tears in her eyes and pain etched all over her face. “Oh, my sweet girl, I’m sorry. Let me go get Rose.”

Bella didn’t want him to go, even though she would love some of those great drugs that Rose had. “Wait, please. I don’t want you to leave.”

“But it’s obvious that you are in severe pain,” Edward murmured as he wiped her tears that were now falling down her cheeks.

“Can’t you just call her?” She asked, putting out her bottom lip. 

“But we are naked,” he said, not wanting to cause her any embarrassment. 

Bella smirked. “So, she has already seen me naked.”

Edward was shocked. Rose had seen Bella naked. “When?”

“Last night, when she gave me a shot. I couldn’t undress by myself. She is definitely a real doctor because she has a great bedside manner?”

“Yes. She is a licensed Orthopedic Surgeon, but she had to leave her practice.  That is a story for her to tell you, not mine.”

“How did she become part of the family?” Bella asked, hoping Edward would let it slip that he was, in fact, part, hell, probably the fucking Don of the family.

Edward smiled, then placed a sweet kiss on her lips. “Always poking for information.” He turned and picked up his phone to send Rose a text.

Bella moved over a little, running her hand across the sheets, and under Edward’s pillow, it was then that she felt it. The cold metal of a gun. Her father had made sure she knew how to handle and shoot a weapon.  Grabbing hold of the handle, she pulled it out and grinned. “So, are you going to tell me about the family?”

Edward couldn’t believe that Bella was holding his gun. Fuck, he hadn’t even felt her hand under his pillow until it was too late. As he stared at her holding his gun, he became hard immediately. Here was the sexiest woman he had ever met, naked in his bed holding his Glock. He had died and went to heaven.  “Fine, but after you get some meds and food.”

“I want to know everything,” she said with a determined face.

“As much as I can without putting you in any more danger,” Edward agreed.

Suddenly his door flew open with a bounce against the wall, Emmett and Rose came strolling into the room. “Way to go, Eddie,” Emmett bombed as he saw the couple in bed. He could see Edward’s bare chest covered in scratch marks, and Bella’s tits were uncovered for all to see. Damn, they were a nice set, he thought. Suddenly he was hit behind the head by Rose. 

“Stop staring asshole, I saw them first,” Rose jokes. “Get you naked ass out of the bed, Edward, so that I can help Bella.”

Edward placed another kiss on Bella’s lips and took the gun from her hand. Sitting up and sliding his legs off the bed. “Rose, turn around, or you are going to see more of me than you ever have before.”

“Unless you have two dicks, it isn’t anything I haven’t seen before,” she boasted. 

Edward stood his long hard cock bouncing against his stomach and walked towards the bathroom, making sure to shake his ass towards everyone. 

Bella watches Edward until he disappears into the bathroom. Fuck, the man had a monster cock and fine tight ass as well. Hmm, maybe after she got some meds, she could ride him again. 

“Wipe that drool off your face, girl, and let me take a look at those ribs,” Rose smirked. “Emmett, stop staring at Bella’s tits and tell Maria to fix the love birds some breakfast.”

“Ah, Rosie, you know I only love your tits,” Emmett purred into her ear.

“I know, but she does have a nice set. Damn, she might even turn me,” Rose jokes. 

Emmett gasped as he left the room, with thoughts of his Rose and Bella together as he sat back and watched. Fuck, that would be hot. After Emmett left the room, Bella moved over on the bed so that Rose could check her ribs. 

Rose unwrapped Bella’s ribs and checked for any discoloration, then listened to her lungs to make sure no fluid was building up. “Your lungs sound clear, but you need to keep taking deep breaths even though it hurts. I don’t want the fluid to build-up. Now I am going to give you another shot of morphine, but a smaller dose. You need to try to stay awake today and walk around.”

“I will try. You are an excellent doctor, and I am happy that you were around to take care of me,” Bella said. 

“You are a cool chick, and I would love for us to become friends. There is too much testosterone in this house,” Rose declared. 

“Not many women here?” Bella asked.

“A few, Alice is a real firecracker in every way possible, Maria who is our housekeeper, chef, and Angela, who is Edward’s mother,” Rose explained.

Bella was curious about Angela and wondered where Edward’s father might be. 

Rose administered the shot. “There you go. I will give you another in four hours.”

“Thanks,” Bella said, then thought she had nothing to wear except for the clothes from last night. “Hey, Rose, do you have something I could wear?”

“I sure I do. I will have to confess that I have a small addiction,” Rose implied.

“Really?” Bella quizzed, wondering what it could be. Rose looked like the picture of health, not someone who was strung out.

“Shopping!” She exclaimed. “Emmett’s credit card is abused to the extreme at times.”

“Me too!” Bella declared. “Good damn thing I make shit piles of money writing my books.”

Rose looked toward the bathroom to make sure Edward was still in the shower, and when she heard the water, she smirked. “Edward has all your books and is a huge fan. He has often wondered which family you were a member of.”

Bella was shocked. She had hoped that she had written the stories that were believable even to people who were in the organizations. “I am excited that I wrote it correctly.”

“Let me go get those clothes. I can see you are getting a bit chilled,” Rose chuckled pointed at Bella’s nipples that were hard and taunt. 

“Bitch,” Bella quipped.

“Yes, and proud of it,” Rose said as she headed out the door.

Edward had to take another shower to get rid of his little, well colossal problem. After rubbing out another knee-buckling orgasm, he wrapped a towel around his waist and walked back into the room. As soon as he glanced towards the other side, his erection returned. Bella was standing by the window that overlooked the back of his property completely nude. She was utterly unashamed by the fact that anyone could walk in the room and would see all of her, or if anyone looked up at the window from outside, would be able to see her. 

Bella heard Edward came in and was disappointed to see that he covered up his beautiful cock, although she could see that it was hard once again. She watched as he stalked towards her, his green eyes blazing with passion. Placing his arms around her waist, he carefully pulled her towards him.

Nuzzling into her neck. “Do you know fucking bad I want to be buried inside of you?”

“Not as much as I want you to be,” she moaned.

Edward covered her mouth with his with an all-encompassing kiss. He wasn’t surprised when she demanded him to open his mouth to accept her tongue. Pulling back, Edward looked into her eyes. “What are you doing to me?”

Bella licked up his neck and took his ear lobe in her mouth and sucked. When she released it, she whispered in his ear. “Making you want me.”

Edward backed up to a chair, pulled the towel off, and sat down. Placing his hands on her hips, he guided her to straddle his lap. “I will be so fucking happy when your ribs are better, so I can fuck you anyway I can. We won’t leave this room for days,” he growled.

“I can’t wait,” Bella purred as she eased herself down on his cock. “Damn, I love your dick.” She began slowly riding him, but quickly increased her pace as her orgasm neared.

Edward’s head fell back, enjoying the immense pleasure that Bella was giving him. He had fucked a lot of girls but never had anyone brought him this much rapture. “Oh, Bella,” he moaned.

Bella’s orgasm came like a freight train causing her to scream out Edward’s name over and over again. As her muscles contracted around him, it caused his climax. When they were both spent, she leaned forward, placing her forehead on his. “You are one dangerous man, Edward Cullen.”

“Baby, I have nothing on you,” Edward murmured.

“Giddy up cowgirl,” Rose jeered. “Ride him hard and put him up wet.”

Edward looked around Bella. “Rose, get out!”

“Eddie, I am just admiring the moves my friend has,” she snickered and lay the clothes for Bella on the bed. “Maria has breakfast ready and you know how she gets if you let it cold.”

“Fine, we will be down in a moment,” Edward growled.

After Rose left, Bella moved off his lap. “I am going to clean up and get dressed.”

Edward reached out and grasped her hand. “Bella, we need to figure out what this is between us.”

“I know, but we need to talk about the family first, and I need to tell you everything that I know,” Bella informed. She leaned down, kissed him quickly.

While Bella got ready, Edward also dressed, pulling on a pair of pants, a button-down shirt, and a pair of Italian loafers. He might be overdressed, but he never knew when he might have to deal with a family issue. He went over the nightstand, pulled out his Glock, and placed it under his belt at his back. Bella already knew he had a gun and she would just have to get used to seeing him wearing one at all times. 

Bella cleaned up, brushed her teeth using Edward’s toothbrush, ran a brush through her hair, and got dressed. Rose had brought her a pair of capri pants and an open back red ruffle blouse. She couldn’t wear a bra, but that was a good thing because she didn’t know if she could reach around to clasp it. Slipping on a pair of ballet flats, she walked out to find Edward waiting for her. Damn, he looked just as yummy dressed as he did naked. He held out his hand, and she took it. 

“I hope you are hungry because I am sure Maria has cooked enough for an army,” Edward predicted.

“Starved, I worked up quite an appetite,” Bella smirked.

“You are going to be the death of me, but fuck what a way to go,” Edward resounded. He walked them down the hall, nodding as he passed Max. Later he would introduce everyone to Bella, but that would be after their talk. They walked down the stairs, and he took her to the kitchen. 

Bella took in everything and everyone she saw as they walked through his house. They had passed three massive men in suits, who were keeping guard. She noticed the bulge of their guns under their coats. When they walked into the kitchen, the delicious aroma flowed around the room. Her stomach growled loudly. 

“Eduardo, why are you starving this beautiful young dama?” Maria questioned.

“I’m not,” he replied, then placed a kiss on Maria’s cheek.  As most of all of his new family, Maria had been a victim of Aro Volturi’s cruelty. Aro killed her husband and son because they refused to go to work for him selling drugs. Maria lost everything after their deaths and ended up living on the streets homeless. This is where Edward found her, late one night in the freezing cold, trying to sleep in a cardboard box. He took her home that night, fed her, and gave her a place to sleep. The next morning he offered her a position in the household, and from that moment on, she had been a valuable member of the Cullen family.

Maria brought over two plates and sat them in front of Edward and Bella. They had a large texas omelet, fried potatoes, and mixed fruit. Cups of steaming coffee and juice were also brought to the table. Bella hummed with delight at the wonderful tasting food. 

“Maria, this is the best tasting omelet I have ever had,” she praised. 

“Thank you, dear. It is Eduardo’s favorite,” she said.

After breakfast was over, Bella followed Edward into the den. Emmett, Rose, and a dark-haired older woman that she thought might be his mother were already seated. Edward walked over and gave the woman a kiss on the cheek.

“Good morning, Mom. I would like to introduce you to Bella. Bella this is my Mom, Angela,” Edward beamed.

“Hello, Ms. Cullen. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Bella said.

Edward came back to Bella’s side. “Angela is not Ms. Cullen, but she has always been my Mom as long as I can remember. Please sit down and I will tell you everything.”

“Everything?” Emmett questioned with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes and Bella is going to tell us about how she came to know the Cullen name,” Edward informed. 

Bella sat down and Edward sat beside her. “Let me start,” Bella said. She told how she had been in Italy and had gone to the bookstore and found the hidden journal. Then Bella remembered that she had it with her. “Where is my messenger bag? I had it with me last night before the attack.”

“I found it on the ground next to the fucker,” Emmett said as he went over to the table, picked it up, and then took it to Bella. “I saw your initials on it and knew it was yours.”

“Thanks,” she exclaimed, then opened her bag and found the journal. “I found this in a bookstore in Pienza, Italy. It was hidden behind some books in the back of the store. When I started reading, I became aware of the significance of the information.  It was apparent that the family was part of the mafia organization, although I had never heard of their name before.”

Edward was looking down at the book in Bella’s hand and recognized the emblem on the front. It was the same one that was in his father’s journals. “May I?”

“Certainly,” Bella answered handing it to him. 

Edward took the journal and carefully opened it. It was his grandfather, Caius Cullen’s journal. After reading it for a few moments, he looked up at the eyes of his family members. “It is my grandfather’s journal.”

“Really?” Angela gasped.

“Yes,” Edward murmured.

“I reread it several times and just before I was going to leave Italy, I found a name for what I think is one of the family’s homes. Moving back my trip plans, I went in search of Villa del Cullenello in Lake Como. I lucked out finding the home,” Bella remarked.

“It is still standing?” Edward questioned.

“Oh, yes. It needs some major work, but it has great bones. I broke in, sorry by the way and looked around. It had a massive library with a grand fireplace. Then I found this,” Bella said pulling out the protective sleeve where she had placed the picture. Handing it over to Edward, she watched him for his reaction as he looked at it for the first time. 

His father had placed several photographs in his journals and the couple in this photo was of his grandparents. Bella had found their home. The need to know more overcame him. Looking up at Emmett. “Ready the plane, we are going to Italy.”

Words to Die By ~ Chapter Six

Chapter Six

July 15, 2017

Looking past her hero, she saw that she was in a mysterious bedroom. Where the hell was she and how did she get here? Moving to get up, she experienced a stabbing pain ripping through her side. Catching her breath as she tried to speak through the pain, she looked at the man before her and asked, “Who are you?”

“I guess you don’t remember last evening?” Edward asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I was attacked, but I got a few good blows in before the fucker stomped on my ribs,” Bella answered, thinking about the pain, then she remembered her green-eyed hero. “It was you, you saved me.”

“I did, but I should have been there a bit sooner and I am sorry for that,” he said as he rubbed his hand down her face. He had allowed her to be hurt and he would never forgive himself for that.

Bella leaned into his touch. It was so warm, so comforting, and for some reason, even though she was in pain, she found herself wanting him to touch her everywhere. “You said your name was Edward Cullen, is that true?”

“Yes, but it is very dangerous for you to know that,” Edward advised. 

“How is this possible? Everywhere I went and asked about the Cullen family I was told there was no such family, however, I knew better.” Bella explained.

“I will tell you everything you want to know, however, I must know how you came by the knowledge of the Cullen family name?” Edward quizzed. 

“I found a journal in a little shop in Italy,” Bella answered, but as soon as she moved to get comfortable another stabbing pain shot through her. “HOLY FUCK!” 

“Broken ribs are a bitch. Let me get Rosalie and she can give you something for the pain,” Edward said.

Bella didn’t know who this Rosalie was, but she became bewildered by the fact that she felt a twinge of jealousy hearing Edward say another woman’s name, but she did. “Who the fuck is Rosalie?” She snarled.

Edward chuckled. “I never met a woman who curses more than I do. Rosalie is my best friend’s wife and my family’s doctor.”

“Your family doctor or The Family doctor?” Bella asked emphasizing each word because she knew how people in the mafia talked.

Edward arched his eyebrow at her. Hell, she was not only sexy as fuck, but also smart and courageous. “Bella, we need to talk, but you need to get some drugs for those ribs. But I do promise to tell you everything I can about me and my family.”

“But,” Bella began, but Edward put his finger up to her lips.

“Let me take care of you, please,” Edward pleaded.

Bella looked into his green eyes,  her heart skipping a beat from its currently thumping rhythm. “Fine, but I have thousands of questions, just giving you fair warning.”

Edward nodded and walked out of the room to find Rose. He didn’t talk about his family to strangers, but there was something about Bella that made him trust her. He found Rose in the den sitting on the couch with Emmett’s large arm draped over her shoulders as they watched a show on t.v. “Rose, Bella is awake and in pain.”

Rose kissed Emmett on the cheek and stood up. “I’ll take care of her.”

After Rose walked out, Emmett turned towards Edward. “So, did you find out how she knew the Cullen name?”

“Sort of, but I’m hoping to get more information tomorrow,” Edward answered smiling, remembering how she cussed so much, how soft her skin was, and how fucking sexy she was when she questioned him about Rose.

“You got it bad,” Emmett joked.

“I don’t,” Edward growled.

“Yeah, yeah. Keep lying to yourself, but I know that look,” Emmett advised. “It was the one I had when I fell in love with my Rosie.”

“I don’t love Bella, hell I hardly know her.  Not to mention that I don’t have the time for that stuff anyway,” Edward scoffed.

Emmett knew not to push Edward, but he couldn’t wait to sit back and watch. “Alright. I increased the guard presence around the perimeter.”

Edward just nodded his head in acknowledgment. “Have you heard from Jacob?”

“No, but I am sure Aro is pissed off right now and Jacob needs to be careful,” Emmett advised.

Pacing back and forth, rubbing the back of his neck, Edward was still beating himself up because he had allowed Bella to get hurt. The image of the foot powering its way down on her side, made him want to kill Aro with his bare hands. 

“Ed, you saved her,” Emmett said knowing that Edward was beating himself up. “She will heal, however, she is not out of danger until that fucker is dead.”

Rose had picked up her bag of medical supplies and went straight to Edward’s bedroom. She smiled at that fact. 

When Edward had burst through the front door earlier, he held Bella protectively in his arms. As they walked upstairs, Rose turned to go to one of the guest bedrooms, however, Edward turned in the opposite direction. He walked to his bedroom door, opened it, and carefully placed Bella on the bed. Before stepping away to allow Rose to assist in fixing Bella’s injuries, he gently stroked her cheek. The look in his eyes was that of a man in love and Rose couldn’t wait until he admitted to himself.

Opening the door she found Bella sitting on the side of the bed holding her side while wearing a painful grimace. “Hello, Bella.”

Bella looked and saw a stunning woman with long, brunette hair and striking hazel eyes. Damn, she would almost make her want to change sides. “Rosalie?”

“Yes, but my friends call me Rose. I can see that you are in some serious pain.”

“Fuck, yeah,” Bella groaned. “But I have got to use the bathroom.”

“Come let me help you,” Rose offered, assisting Bella to her feet and helping her into the bathroom. “I’ll get you something comfortable to wear and get you out of those tight clothes.”

“God that sounds great,” Bella said as she undid her pants and slowly pulled them off, however, getting her top off was causing her too much pain. Rose came into the bathroom carrying a man’s t-shirt.

“Do you need some help?” Rose asked. 

“Yeah.”

Rose helped Bella remove her top and unhooked her bra. Bella turned around, not the least bit shy of her nakedness. She certainly had a rocking body and Edward was going to go nuts. “Do you work out?” She asked.

“Yeah,” Bella answered as Rose helped her pull the t-shirt over her head. It fell about mid-thigh. 

“That is good news because you have a tight core which will help the healing process. But I have some good drugs to help with the pain,” Rose said with a smirk. She helped Bella back in the bed.

Bella took another look around the room, seeing the richness and masculinity of the furnishing. In the one corner, was a bookshelf full of books, but something caused her to stop and stare more intently. On the shelf were all her books. “Whose room is this?”

Rose pulled up the sleeve of the t-shirt, wiped the skin with an alcohol wipe, then stuck the needle in and pushing the morphine into Bella’s arm. “It is Edward’s. He wanted you to be safe and this room is the safest in the house.”

Bella needed to know. “He is part of the mafia, isn’t he?”

Rose knew that look, it was the same when she asked Emmett the same question. Even though it was frightening discovering the truth, it comforted her just the same, because she knew that the family would one day make Caius pay for killing her parents. “Bella, I can’t answer your question, but know that Edward will give his own life to protect you from Aro.”

Bella was shocked by that news. Edward had just met her and he was willing to die for her, why?  This made no sense.

“Get some rest,” Rose said as she began to walk out of the room. “If you need anything else, just ask.” 

The morphine was doing its job and Bella rolled over on her good side, falling asleep quickly with a vision of dangerous green eyes and full pouty lips waiting to be kissed.

Rose put her bag back in her room before went back downstairs. She found her loving husband where she’d left him on the couch, with his foot propped up on the table and Edward standing near the window with a glass in his hand. As soon as she stepped onto the hardwood floor, Edward’s head whipped around.

“How is she?” He asked, his voice full of concern.

“Sleeping by now. I gave her some morphine. She is doing good otherwise and will make a quick recovery,” Rose explained.

Edward down the rest of his whiskey and sat his glass down on the table. “Emmett, post two extra guards down here and one in the hallway upstairs.”

“Okay, and where will you be?” Emmett asked.

“My room,” Edward said as he began to leave the room.

“Edward,” Rose called out.

“Yes,” he answered.

“You can thank me later,” she said with a wicked smile.

Edward gave her a curious look but turned quickly and went up the stairs. He made it to his door and opened it slowly. Stepping in the room as quietly as he could, he looked towards the bed to find Bella laying on her side, her long silky hair laying across the pillow. Watching her for several minutes, he could see she was sleeping deeply. Mentally thanking Rose, he entered the bathroom and turned on the shower. He needed to wash away the previous days’ stress. Stripping off his clothes, he placed them in the laundry basket, then walked into the shower. Allowing the multiple shower heads beat against his body to release his tight muscles, he finally began to wash, scrubbing the soap down each arm, across his chest, down each leg and finally along the length of his cock and balls. He was thinking of Bella, which instantly hardened his cock. He was stunned at just how fucking quick and hard he became. Over the years he had been with several women who were able enough to scratch his itch, but they were only a means to an end. He didn’t lie to them, promising them a future with him, because none of them held any interest past their bedroom antics, or a place in his heart. He wanted what his parents had, what his father wrote about in his journals, an all-encompassing love. 

He lathered up his hand with soap, grasping his cock. Placing his other hand on the wall, and began to stroke, beginning slow and steady.  Images of Bella with her hand in place of his, soon had his strokes becoming faster. Images of her naked body danced in his mind as he imagined the pounding of frantic fucking, as she called out his name in pure ecstasy.  Feeling the phantom pulses of his imagination as she clamped down on his cock with her orgasm, caused him to shoot streams of cum on the shower walls. It was intense, that he felt a little light headed. Turning off the water, he dried off and walking naked back into the bedroom. Looking once again at Bella, he noticed that she had not moved. Normally he sleeps in the nude, but he didn’t want to frighten Bella, so he pulled on a pair of boxers. Walking over to the bed he opened the nightstand and took out the Glock that he kept there at all times and put it under his pillow for quick access. He didn’t think anyone would get into his bedroom, but with Bella here he wasn’t going to take any chances. Pulling back the cover he gasped when he saw that Bella was wearing one of his t-shirts. It had inched up and her perfect ass was in plain view. 

“Fuck,” he groaned as his cock once again came to life. She was going to be the death of him. Climbing into bed, he turned off the light and pulled up the covers. Laying as close as he could without touching her, he willed his cock to calm down. He fell asleep with a smile, as he dreamed of Bella.

Bella was having the best dream. She currently dreaming of being on top of her green-eyed hero, riding his cock as it thrust deep inside of her. Never had any man filled her as he did and the deep tightening within her pussy was about to explode. Just as she began to come, she heard a deep voice moaning pulling her out of her sleep. Opening her eyes, she saw Edward, his face glowing in pure pleasure and her hand is down his underwear wrapped around his thick, pulsing cock. Knowing she should pull away and demand to know why the hell he was in her bed, she abandoned that though as her muscles began clenching and tightening. 

“Edward,” she whispered.

“Oh, Bella, my sweet, sexy Bella,” he moaned.

Removing her hand, she turned and leaned in to place a passionate kiss upon his lips. Her ribs still hurt, but she wanted, no, needed him inside of her. Pulling back she looked into his eyes, they were blazing with need.

“I need you inside of me,” she groaned.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.

“Fuck my ribs, my pussy is hurting worse,” she demanded, pushing down his underwear allowing his cock free. 

He placed his hands on her hips and helped her as she slowly took him into her. Throwing back her head and groaning out loud. Edward had dreamed of what it would feel like to be deep inside of her, but it was nowhere near how fucking good it actually felt. “Bella you are so fucking wet and tight.”

“Edward, your cock is glorious, filling me up as no other has,” she murmured as she continued to ride up and down. 

He wanted to come, but he needed her to come first, so he reached down between them a pinched her clit hard, sending her over the edge.

“EDWARD!!!” She screamed as her orgasm overtook her, then she felt his orgasm following as he shot streams of release into her. When they finally came down from the sexual high, Bella looked at Edward. “Why are you in my bed?”

Edward pulled her down and placed a kiss on her lips. “You are in my bed and I’m thinking that this is where you are going to stay.”

In a Heartbeat ~ Chapter Fourteen

It was just before twelve o’clock when Edward finally arrived at the family’s Cape Charles home. He had only stopped to get something to eat and get gas. The weather in Cape Charles was warm and humid, being located so close to the water. Pulling up at the house, he opened the door and let out a deep cleansing sigh. It hadn’t changed at all. His parents had a cleaning lady that came in once a week to take care of the cleaning, even though no one lived there. Emmett, Jasper, Rose, and Alice came to visit often, enjoying the peaceful tranquility of the house. There had been a conversation by the family to have a vacation together this summer and Elizabeth was excited to see the house and spend time on the water.

Deciding he needed a shower, he walked upstairs to the master bedroom. Stripping off his clothes, he turned on the water and stepped inside. Placing his hands on the wall, ducking his head, he turned on the faucet to the hottest setting; allowing the hot water to beat down on his back. He felt so drained; emotionally, physically, and mentally.  To say he was confused, was a massive understatement. Why had fate allowed this to happen? The odds of this occurring were astronomical, yet here he was, facing a situation that was one in a billion. Shutting off the water, he dried off and walked back into the bedroom. Searching the drawers he found a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that was his father’s. Forgoing underwear, he slipped them on and went back downstairs. As he walked around the family room, he could see all the family touches that his mother had added over the years. Pictures of him and the family, each of the couples, too many of Elizabeth; the room was full of memories. Walking around, he looked at each one, and then he came upon one that took him by surprise. It was of Bella. She was nestled in between his brothers, and they were laughing at something. Next to that picture was one of Bella with his parents. She looked like she was part of his family, intertwined in all their lives. How had he not seen or known about this?

Looking out the window, he gazed at the water, the sun glistening upon its waves. It was glorious, and he wondered if Bella would appreciate the serenity of it. He had come to know so much about her, and one of those things was her love of the water. She had expressed how she loved to water ski but hadn’t had a chance to do so for years. Was it because of her illness? He could only assume that was probably the case.

Running his hand through his hair in frustration, he again questioned as to why she did not tell him about her surgery. They had talked for hours, but she never once said anything about it. Fuck, if he hadn’t seen her taking her meds, would she have ever told him. There is no way she would have been able to hide it.  Him being a doctor, she had to know he would have figured it out. Walking over to the sectional, he sat down and decided to watch a little television, mindlessly flipping channels until he found a game on. Stretching out on the sofa, he settled in to watch the game, however before he knew it, he was fast asleep and began to dream.

He was all alone on a boat, but as he looked around he saw it was in fact a ferry. Just like the one he was on when he first met Maggie. As it moved across the choppy water an eerie fog began to float closer to where he was sitting. Staring into the gloomy fog a sudden lightness began to emerge.  Quickly, the light intensified, until finally, a bright light burst through causing the darkness to melt away. Suddenly Maggie was standing in front of him. She was beautiful, just as he remembered her from when they first met.

“Maggie?” Edward gasped.

“Yes, sweetheart,” she said with an angelic smile.

“How is this possible?”

“I don’t know, but I am here to set your mind to rest, and possibly beat some sense into that thick head of yours. I can’t believe that you are even considering letting Bella go. Damn it, Edward, I sent her to you so you could go on with your life and what do you do, you screw it up,” Maggie growls.

“I don’t know how to deal with the fact that she has your heart,” Edward explained, grasping the hair on his head.

“Edward, is it only  her heart that you love?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.

“No,” he answered.

“Then what is it about Bella, what draws you to her, what do you love about her?”

“Oh Maggie,” he smiles.  “It’s her smile, and the way she is with Elizabeth, the way she chews her bottom lip as she is trying to figure something out, and the way she moves as she dances, the way she says my name,” he whispers then again ran his hand through his hair. “Damn it, I love everything about her. But Mags, I didn’t mean to fall in love. Maggie, please understand, she burst into my world, lighting up the darkness that I had been in since losing you.  At first, I tried not to notice her, but I couldn’t help it.”

“Edward, it’s alright.  Sweetheart, did you think I would want you and Elizabeth to be alone for the rest of your lives?  Bella feels the same way about you, you know,” Maggie smirked. “She is a perfect match for you and her love for Elizabeth is beyond measure.  Elizabeth deserves a mother, Edward. It’s time.”

“But,” Edward started.

“NO MORE BUTS!!!!” Maggie yelled. “Edward, I know you will always love me, however, it is time to give your whole heart to Bella.  Not many people get second chances, Edward. Are you going to throw that away because of some notion you have that she has my heart?  She possesses the organ, Edward, but the love she feels for you and Elizabeth is hers.”

Tears formed in his eyes. “I do still love you so much, Maggie.  But you are right. I can’t throw away the chance I have been given for Elizabeth and me to be loved again.  I promise you, I will stop being so thick-headed.”

“Great,” she said as she looked over her shoulder. “It is time for me to leave.”

“Will, I ever see you again?” Edward asked.

“I will never be far and know that I am always looking out for you and Elizabeth. Give her a kiss and a hug for me, my love,” Maggie said as she blew him a kiss and disappeared.

Edward awoke sometime later feeling better than he had in a long time. Had it only been a dream or had Maggie really come to him? Either way, he knew in both his head and heart that he loved all of Bella. Fuck, he had been such a fool. Getting up he looked outside and saw that the sun was starting to set. It was his favorite time of the day here. 

Walking out the back door, he walked down the dock and stared out across the water. Taking a deep breath, he allowed the sight before him to infuse into every cell of his body.

*****IAH****

Bella finally arrived in Cape Charles. After she had left Carlisle and Esme’s house, she ran home and changed into a sundress and sandals. Esme had warned her how hot it was in Cape Charles. Before leaving, she picked up her pill bottles, just in case it went the way she hoped and prayed it would. She contemplated and rehearsed her reasonings the entire trip.  She just needed to get Edward to see that although she had Maggie’s heart, it was her love she was offering.

GPS directed her to the house and she parked in the driveway beside Edward’s car. Taking a deep cleansing breath, she got out of the car and looked around. The house was absolutely the most stunning home she had ever seen. It looked like it had been dropped out of a history book. Then she smelled it, the salty brine of the ocean and she smiled. Glancing around she noticed that the ocean was behind the house and she didn’t know what pulled her towards it, but she felt the need to go behind the house.

Walking around the corner of the house she saw that the sun was setting. The warm glow of orange and red danced across the water. It was mesmerizing. Then she saw movement to her right, as she turned her head, she saw Edward. He was standing at the end of the dock. Saying a small prayer that she would be able to stay strong and fight for the love she felt for him, she started towards the dock.

Crossing the backyard, she continued walking until she reached the dock, walking towards Edward. He still had not turned around and she was able to walk right up to him. Steeling her nerves for a moment, she reached out and touched his bare forearm. 

Edward felt a touch on his arm and turned, clearly shocked to see Bella standing there with him; or was he imagining her. “Bella?”

“Yes,” she answered.

“Is it really you or am I dreaming again?”

“No dream, it’s me in the flesh and I need to say something to you,” she started.

“Bella, I,” Edward began but was cut off by Bella.

“Keep quiet and listen to me until I am finished, please.” She paused to take a breath before continuing, “I didn’t know who my donor was and now I know that it was Maggie, but for me, that didn’t change anything. I am still the woman that I was yesterday and the day before. Last night when we made love, it was me, all of me and not just a heart. When I told you I loved you, I meant it. I know that you loved Maggie, but as horrible as it might be, she is no longer alive, and damn it, Edward, I am.” Bella fumed, but she wasn’t finished yet. “But I not only love you, I love Elizabeth as if she were my own child. Should I have told you about the surgery sooner, yeah looking back I should have. But I didn’t know how you would take it that I could possibly never be able to have a baby. For so long I cried over this fact, but now I am fine with it because Elizabeth is in my life.”

“But,” Edward interrupted.

“NO MORE BUTS!!!” Bella yelled, however, instead of shock on Edward’s face she saw him smile.

“What are you smiling about?” She growled. “I am trying to fight for us and you think it is funny.”

Edward reached out and pulled her into his arms. “That is the second time today I have heard, no more buts. Bella, I was so wrong to run out on you. I overreacted and I am so sorry that I hurt you. I needed some time to work out the information, but with the help of a dream I had, I know what I want.”

Bella pulled back and looked up into his sparkling green eyes. “What is that?”

“I want you. I love your soul, I love your laughter, I love the way you dance, I love how you love Elizabeth, and I love YOUR heart. It is yours, all yours,” Edward proclaimed.

“Oh Edward, I love you too, so much,” Bella replied.

Edward leaned down and sealed their confessions with a kiss that was filled with their love. Finally breaking away, he looked down into her eyes. “When I first met you, you had me In a Heartbeat and you still make my heart Skip a Beat.”

Skip a Beat

Book Two: Heartbeat Series

Coming Soon

In a Heartbeat ~ Chapter Thirteen

Edward’s mind was racing as he got in the car. Bella received her heart the same day that Maggie donated hers. What were the odds? Slight for sure, but somewhere deep inside, there was something about her that was familiar. Looking at the time, he knew it was too early to wake his father, and he needed time to calm down. Scanning the area, he was shocked to see he was close to the park where he had taken Bella and Elizabeth. How strange is that? He thought. 

Parking the car, he walked to the water’s edge and sat on one of the benches. Leaning over, placing his elbows on his knees, he allowed the tears to fall. Letting the rippling sounds of the water ease his confused mind and over-sensitive feelings. Why had Bella not told him that she was a heart transplant recipient? Fuck, he was a damn cardiothoracic surgeon for pete’s sake. She knew that! It wasn’t like he would think or feel differently about her because of it. Then he wondered what caused her to need a transplant and how had his dad become her doctor. 

His mind then went back to the day that Maggie died, and Elizabeth was born. Remembering that his mother told him that his father wanted to come, but he had a patient who needed him. Had that been Bella? How sick had she become before she received her transplant? Was that the reason why she was no longer dancing professionally?

Not realizing how long he had sat there, he noticed the sun began to rise over the water. It was so beautiful, and his first thought was that he wished that Bella could be here with him to see it. However, he didn’t know where the relationship was headed, especially if she had Maggie’s heart. 

“Maggie, I need your help?” He cried out to the rising sun. “Is it your heart in Bella, and if so, how can I live with that knowledge?” 

Realizing he needed to talk to his father, he stood and walked to his car. When he started the car, his hands free option notified him that he had three missed calls and two unread texts from Bella. Shaking his head, he couldn’t listen to her voice or read the text. Not now, and he didn’t know when.

The streets were beginning to fill with the early morning commuters, but he was able to get to his parent’s house quickly. After he parked in the driveway, he used his key and walked in the back door, knowing by this time of the morning, his father would be in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and the newspaper.

 As soon as Edward walked in the room, Carlisle raised eyes and smiled, however as soon as he got a better look at his son, he knew something was horribly wrong. He had not seen a look like that since the day they were at the funeral home. Jumping to his feet. “What is wrong?”

“Whose heart did you give Bella?” Edward asked as he gripped the top of one of the chairs. He needed something to help him from collapsing on the floor.

Carlisle thought for a moment. “I never looked, to be honest. Edward, she was on death’s door when we received the news that a heart had been located for her.”

“Dad, is there any possible way that it could be Maggie’s?” Edward asked.

Carlisle’s mouth fell open. He had never thought about it, but there was a very slim possibility. “Maybe, but it would be like a one in a million chance.”

“Dad, I need to know,” Edward cried. 

“Okay, let me dress, and we will check. But has something happened to Bella?”

Edward raked his fingers through his messy hair. “I didn’t know she had had a heart transplant, and when I found out that it was performed on the day of Maggie’s death, I couldn’t think of anything but that it was hers.”

Carlisle laid his hand on Edward’s arm. “Bella never asked about the donor, and I never told her. I know she has been worried about telling you because there is a chance that she can’t have children.”

“That is no reason to keep something like this from me,” Edward growled. “I don’t give a damn about that as long as she is healthy.”

“Give me a few minutes,” Carlisle said as he rushed out of the room. Five minutes later, he came back in dressed with his office keys. Even though he wasn’t practicing on a daily basis, he was still a partner of the practice. 

They walked out of the house and Edward rushed to the driver’s side of his car. The ride to the office was quiet and full of tension. Edward’s mind was all over the place. Suddenly, his phone went off again.

Bella Swan is calling you, would you like to answer? The voice through the car asked.

“No,” Edward said.

“Edward, what are you doing? You can’t just shut her out,” Carlisle implored.

“I’m not, I just don’t know what to say. Dad, if it is Maggie’s heart, I wouldn’t know if I was in love with Bella or Maggie’s heart,” Edward explained.

“It is Bella’s heart. It is part of her,” Carlisle urged.

Edward didn’t respond to his father. Ten minutes later, they pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. Edward walked quickly, and Carlisle had to almost run to keep up with him. He finally caught up with him at the office door. Unlocking it, they went inside and to the back where the office files were kept. Searching down the cabinet until he found Bella’s thick file. Edward looked at it and gasped.

“Is that all her file?” Edward questioned.

“Yes. She collapsed on stage during a performance, luckily I was in the audience that night. As I told you, she only had days to live before her new heart was found. I really thought she was going to die,” Carlisle shared. Taking the file to the desk, he opened it up and began looking for the donor information paperwork. Finally finding it, Carlisle read it, and his heart dropped. Maggie was the donor. Taking a deep breath, he handed the file, turned to the donor information page, to Edward. He didn’t think he could find his voice at the moment.

Edward closed his eyes for a moment and said a silent prayer that it wasn’t Maggie’s heart. He, Bella, and Elizabeth could go on with life together. Opening his eyes, he looked on the paper, and as soon as he read the name, his knees collapsed. “NO!” He wailed. “No, no, no, it can’t be.”

Carlisle got down and wrapped his arm around Edward. “I’m sorry, Son, however, it doesn’t change the fact that it is all Bella that you love.”

Wiping his eyes. “How can you say that? She has Maggie’s heart.”

“Edward, think rationally. It is just an organ, a piece of skin, muscle, and blood.”

“FUCK IT IS! IT WAS MAGGIE’S!” Edward screamed as he pushed off Carlisle’s arm. Getting to his feet, he ran from the office. He needed to get away; he couldn’t breathe in here. He heard his father call out to him, but he didn’t stop until he got to the car. Starting it up, he gunned the engine and peeled out of the parking lot. He needed space to think, and there was only one place he could think of. As he hit the interstate, he remembered he needed to take care of Elizabeth. He decided he would send a text because he would not be able to explain everything.

Mom, I can’t explain, but I need you to watch Elizabeth until I get back. Edward

A few minutes later, she responded to the text.

Of course, but what is happening. Your father just called to say you ran out of the hospital, leaving him to catch a cab home. Whatever it is, we can work through this as a family. Mom

Edward didn’t respond; instead, he turned off his phone. He needed time.

******IAH******

Bella had gotten off the floor. She knew that this was going to happen. Calling and texting Edward several times, and he never responded. It was over. The dream she had been living where she, Edward, and Elizabeth were a family, was over. She loved both of them with all her heart and soul. But Edward didn’t return the feelings. Not wanting to hurt Elizabeth’s delicate feelings, she wondered how she could step away quietly. Maybe it was time to move away from Baltimore. The New York Ballet Company had been after her to come to teach, and this would give her the distance she would need. 

After a long hot shower, she dressed and decided to talk to her parents about her decision. As she was getting ready to walk out the door when her phone rang. Rushing to answer it, thinking it might be Edward, she sighed when it wasn’t.

“Bella, dear, are you okay?” Esme asked worriedly.

“No. Have you seen Edward?”

“No, but dear, can you come over here? There is something we need to talk about,” Esme asked.

“Why? Has something happened to Edward or Elizabeth?”

“They are both fine, but something has come up, and Carlisle would like to talk to you about it face to face,” Esme explained.

“Edward doesn’t want to see me, and I don’t think it is a good idea to be anywhere he might walk in,” Bella murmured, hoping her voice didn’t deceive her. 

Esme didn’t know what to say. What was going on with the two of them? She had never heard Bella sound so heartbroken, even when she was about to die. “Bella, dear, I can assure you that Edward won’t interrupt our conversation. Please just come over.”

“But what about Elizabeth? I don’t think Edward would want me to be around her at this point,” Bella said as her heart broke a little more muttering the words.

“Bella, you would crush Elizabeth if you just stopped seeing her. She loves you dearly,” Esme explained.

Bella thought for a moment and finally agreed. She needed to find out why Carlisle needed to see her and possibly say her goodbyes to Elizabeth. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she walked out of her house and got in her car. She drove in silence, not wanting to listen to the radio, just revisiting her memories of her time with Edward. That is all she will have of him from now on. Arriving at Esme and Carlisle’s home, she tried to fix her face in the mirror before going in. Giving up because there was no way she hid her red swollen eyes, she collected her purse and walked up the door. As soon as she rang the bell, Esme opened the door and pulled her into a warm, comforting hug. 

“Oh, Bella,” Esme cried. “It will all work out.”

“I don’t think so,” Bella whispered, willing herself not to break down. 

Esme pulled back and looked into Bella’s hauntingly sad eyes. She could see the pain and heartbreak in them. “Don’t give up on him, please.” Taking Bella’s hand, she led her into the house and into the den. “Elizabeth is playing next door with a friend. She doesn’t know you were coming over.”

Bella felt better, knowing that she wouldn’t be seeing Elizabeth right away. She looked around and found Carlisle standing in the middle of the room, looking uncharacteristic disheveled. He smiled, but she could tell it was forced. “What is wrong?” She asked.

“Bella, have a seat, please,” Carlisle instructed. Once she sat down on the couch, he came over and sat down beside her. Taking her hand, he took in a deep breath. “When I found out that a donor had been found for you, I was too overwhelmed. Edward’s wife had just died, and I needed to get my mind straight to do your delicate surgery. Afterward, once you were out of danger, I left to go to New York. I never once looked to see who your donor was, and I am guessing you never asked,” Carlisle explained.

“No, I didn’t. I figure it was hard on a family to have to say goodbye to their loved one and didn’t want to be reminded of it by the person who was living because of them. I know that is strange, but that is how I would feel. I am so grateful for the donation, and daily, I thank them,” Bella said.

“There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to come right out and do it. This morning I looked at your file to find your donor name, and it was Maggie Cullen,” Carlisle stated. He waited and watched for Bella to respond.

Bella closed her eyes and shook her head. This had to be a nightmare. The person who had saved her was Edward’s wife, Elizabeth’s mother, the one woman who Edward loved with all his heart. Standing up, she began to pace the room, trying to make sense of the fact that she had Maggie’s heart. Then it hit her. “Does Edward know?”

“Yes. He was the one who came to me and asked. He figured it out when he found out that you had a heart transplant, and the date was the same as Maggie’s death,” Carlisle responded.

“So, that was the reason he walked out this morning?” Bella asked.

“Yes. Bella, Edward, is very confused at the moment. We know that he loves you, it is very evident, but this is a huge shock,” Carlisle said.

“I never met this person, hell, I don’t know even know what Maggie looked like,” Bella groaned.

Esme got up, open a drawer, and pulled out a frame. Walking over to Bella, she handed it to her. “This was Maggie.”

Bella looked at the woman in the picture and gasped. This couldn’t be. This was the woman who had come to her in her dreams right before she woke up from her surgery.  She remembers what the woman had told her. Take care of them, love them with all your soul, and with all the heart that I am giving you. How could that be, but somehow Bella knew that it was, in fact, Maggie’s spirit. At that moment, she knew she had to fight for their love. Maggie wanted her to take care of Edward and Elizabeth, to love them with all her heart and soul, and damn it, she was going to do it.

“Where is Edward?” Bella asked with a determined look on her face.

Esme had been thinking about the answer to that question since she had gotten the text message from him. Then it hit her. “He has to be at Cape Charles.”

“Give me the address, because I am going after him,” Bella declared.

In a Heartbeat ~ Chapter Twelve

Edward spread a blanket on the ground under a large oak tree. Sitting down they looked over the park and just soaked in the ambiance of the view. Since it was a beautiful day, the park was full of families and friends enjoying the weather. 

“Bella would you push me on the swing, please?” Elizabeth asked eyeing the large swing set. 

“Of course,” Bella answered with a genuine smile, then looked at Edward. “Are you coming with us?”

“No, I am going to stay here and protect the basket from the ants,” he joked.

Bella stood, offering her hand to Elizabeth who took it as she led her small charge towards the swings. Edward couldn’t tear his eyes away from them. Elizabeth was chatting away and Bella was intently listening to her. Once they got to the swings, Bella bent down, picked up Elizabeth and placed her on the seat. She walked behind her and carefully began to push. He couldn’t hear Elizabeth, but he could see the joy on her face. As he looked at Bella, she had a similar expression. They appeared perfect together, just like they were meant to be. After a while, Bella slowed Elizabeth down and when she finally came to a stop, she assisted her off. Elizabeth took off running towards him, with Bella jogging behind her. Their ponytails swishing with each step. 

“DADDY!” Elizabeth yelled as she got closer. “Did you see how high I went?”

Edward opened his arms and she jumped in. “I did. I bet you could almost touch the sun.”

“Uh-huh. Bella is the most bestest pusher,” Elizabeth gushed. 

Bella sat down and rubbed her hand down Elizabeth back. She was the most delightful child. In all her dreams, if she could have had a child, it would have been just like her. 

“Are you hungry, Ladybug?” Edward asked.

“YES!” Elizabeth bubbled.

Bella moved over and helped Edward retrieve the food and plates from the basket. Taking one of the plates, she placed one of the sandwiches on it, then cut it in half diagonally. Putting some pasta salad and strawberries on the plate, she placed it in front of Elizabeth. Bella then poured Elizabeth’s juice in a cup with a lid, handing it to her. 

Edward watched in awe on how Bella was taking care of Elizabeth. Even going as far as to cut her sandwich into halves. She was a natural mother, there was no doubt and he allowed his mind to wander, with her holding their child in her arms. It would look like her with dark mahogany hair and brown eyes with little flakes of gold.

“Edward, are you okay?” Bella asked.

“I couldn’t be better, sweetheart,” he said leaning over placing a kiss on her cheek.

“Ohdaddekissyou,” Elizabeth murmured her mouth full of food.

“Elizabeth, sweetie, it is not ladylike to talk with food in your mouth,” Bella instructed.

Elizabeth chewed and chewed, then when her mouth was empty, she said. “Sorry, Miss Bella.”

Bella moved over and placed her arm around her. “It is okay, sweetie and please call me Bella when we are out of dance studio.”

“Really? I would like that,” Elizabeth exclaimed.

After lunch, Edward took the basket back to the car and they took a walk around the park hand in hand. Many people stopped and complimented on how lovely they were. More than once, Bella had been told that Elizabeth looked just like her and she must be a very proud mother. Each time Bella thanked each person for their wonderful comment, but not once did she deny that Elizabeth wasn’t her child. It was just one more thing that he loved about her. He wasn’t going to deny it, he was in love with Bella Swan and soon he would ask her to join his family as the missing pieces, a wife and a mother.

****************IAH******************

Over the next two weeks, Edward and Bella spent every available moment together. Bella and Elizabeth had gone to a ballet performance, in which Elizabeth requested that they would dress in similar outfits. Several of Bella’s friends that she hadn’t seen in years were shocked that they didn’t know that she had had a child. She might not have given birth to Elizabeth but she thought of her as her own. 

Elizabeth was getting excited about her upcoming birthday. It was a joyous day, the day of her birth, but it was hard to forget that it was also the day of Maggie’s death. Edward and his parents were planning a party for her. She had invited all her new friends from the dance studio. Elizabeth wanted a ballerina theme party and Esme was making it happen with help from Bella, Rose, and Alice.

 Normally Bella’s parents would be planning a grand party for her rebirth, however, she had gone to them after she realized that she was in love with both Edward and Elizabeth, asking them not to plan anything. They had been thrilled that she had found someone to love.

“What did he say when you told him about your surgery and the chance that you wouldn’t have children?” Renee asked.

“I haven’t told him yet, but he is coming over tonight for dinner and I plan to tell him everything,” Bella admitted then sighed deeply. “I just hope it doesn’t change our relationship.”

“Has he told you that he loves you?” Renee questioned.

“No, but he calls me his love and Mom I can see it in his eyes,” Bella cried.

“He is a good man and I know that if anyone should understand, he of all people would understand about your surgery and possible limitations,” Renee said.

“I truly hope so,” Bella whispered.

*************IAH********

Edward was nervously excited about the dinner tonight. He was going to tell Bella that he loved her. Many times over the last two weeks he almost said it, but it seemed like every time he was about to say something, someone would interrupt them. Elizabeth had told him that she really loved Bella and that she would make a great mommy. This just solidified within his heart that Bella was perfect for them. He was dressed in a pair of dress pants and a blue button-down shirt. Elizabeth was spending the night with his parents because he didn’t want to worry about getting home early.

He arrived at her house with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. Using his pinky finger, he pushed her doorbell. A few moments later Bella answered the door. She looked like an angel in a flowy white dress, her wavy hair was down across her delicate shoulders, and when he looked down she was barefoot.

“Edward,” she sighed.

Edward leaned in and brushed his lips across hers. Pulling back he handed her the flowers and held up the wine. 

“Oh, Edward you didn’t need to bring me flowers. My house is looking like a floral shop as it is,” she giggled.

“I saw them and thought of you, my sweet. And I thought we could have the wine with dinner,” he said.

They walked in and he followed her into the kitchen. She had given him and Elizabeth the grand tour one day. He loved all the homey touches of the place and when he saw the king-size canopy bed in her bedroom he almost lost it. Thoughts of them making love in that bed remained with him all hours of the day or night. 

“How was your day?” Bella asked as she stirred whatever it was in the pot. 

“Busy. And you?” 

“Nuts. But I hired two new instructors so hopefully, this will free me up,” she wheezed. “Hey, tonight is about us. Why don’t you open that bottle of wine? Dinner is ready.”

“Your wish is my command,” he joked. 

Once the wine was opened and poured, Bella finished bringing dinner to the table. She had made her favorite chicken marsala, almond green beans, and rolls. A homemade cheesecake was in the fridge for dessert. 

 As they ate, the conversation between the two of them flowed. Edward helped her clear the table once they were finished. He went back to the dining room to get a bowl and returned to the kitchen to find Bella bent down putting dishes in the dishwasher. The sight made him breathless. Putting the bowl down on the table he stepped in behind her, so when she stood and turned, she was right up against his chest. Taking his hand he ran it down her from her shoulder down her arm. 

“Bella,” he murmured. “I have been trying for a while now to tell you something.”

“What?” She whispered her breath heavy.

“I never thought I would love another person again in my life. However, you twirled into my life and heart. You have repaired my fractured heart and for the first time in a long time, I am genuinely happy,” he declared. Cupping her face in his hands and looking deep into her gorgeous eyes. “Bella Swan, I love you.”

Bella’s eyes teared up and a small whimper escaped her mouth. “Oh Edward, I love you too, so much.”

Edward leaned down and captured her soft lips into a kiss of promise and love. He wrapped his arms around her, as she wrapped her willowy arms around his neck, sealing their declarations with a kiss. When they were both out of breath they pulled apart, gazing into each others lust-filled eyes. “Bella,” he breathed.

“Make me yours,” Bella begged.

Edward looked at her trying to find any speck of doubt, but the only thing he saw was love for him. Picking her up, he carried her to the bedroom. The room was lit in the soft glow of a lamp that was beside the large bed. Placing her down on her feet he once again began kissing her. 

They slowly removed each other’s clothes, laying in the middle of her bed, exploring each other’s bodies. Edward wanted to memorize each inch of her beautiful body. As he kissed down her delicate neck to her perfect breasts he stopped. There was a scar that ran the length of her breastbone. What had happened? Was she okay? “Bella?” He asked.

“I am fine, now. I promise,” she advised. “Please make love to me.”

Edward wanted to know what had happened but they had forever to learn everything about each other. He placed tender soft kisses down the scar. Cupping one breast softly as his tongue lavished her tight pink nipple. She tasted like heaven.

“Please stop the torture,” she cried.

Edward ran his finger along her jaw as he looked into the deep dark pools of her eyes; so full of want and need. Lining himself to enter her wet folds, he slowly entered her allowing her to adjust to the penetration. “God you are so tight and wet,” he groaned. “Are you okay?”

“I have never been better,” Bella moaned.

They naturally began a steady rhythm to this age-old dance. Edward continue to lavish her breasts as he picked his movements, responding to the sounds and movements Bella was making.  It was not long before Edward felt her orgasm, causing his to quickly follow. Not wanting to lose the connection just yet, he remained inside her while he caught his breath. “I love you so much, Bella.”

“I love you with all my heart,” Bella wept. 

Finally pulling away from her, he rolled to her side, pulling her with him. Her head laid on his chest as he rubbed his finger up and down her spine. That is how they fell asleep, wrapped in each other’s arms.

Around four in the morning Bella awoke with a start, realizing that she had forgotten to her meds. Easing out of Edward’s arms she got out of bed, slipping on her robe, and made her way to the kitchen. She couldn’t help but smile as she took her bottles from the cabinet. She never experienced such a deep connection during sex before. Popping the pills in her mouth she washed them down with water. Smiling as she recalled each second of their time together.

Edward awoke and felt for Bella, but the bed was empty. He waited for a few minutes to see if she might be in the bathroom, however, when she didn’t return, he got up and slipped on his underwear and pants, to go find her. There was a light on in the kitchen, so he walked towards it. Bella was standing next to the island with a smile and dreamy look on her face. Quietly walking over, he noticed the pill bottles on the counter. She had not moved so he stepped up beside her and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. 

“Edward,” she squealed. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

“I woke up alone. What are you doing up at this hour?” He asked.

“I forgot something,” Bella stammered as she glanced down at her bottles.

Edward looked down and picked up the bottle. Reading the script, he knew right away what it was for. “You had a transplant?”

“Yes,” Bella whispered. “I was going to tell you, but it was never the right time.”

“I’m not mad, just a little upset that I didn’t know. Are you doing okay?”

“Oh, yes, I am doing great,” Bella confirmed.

Edward smiled then saw the calendar on the refrigerator with a date marked with rebirth. It was the same day as Elizabeth’s birthday. “Rebirth day, what is that?”

“Oh, it was the day I got my heart,” Bella answered. “I know it is the same day as Elizabeth’s birthday. I think it is wonderful that she and my life with my new heart are the same age.”

Edward’s heart stopped. He looked at Bella, back the calendar, then back to Bella. There was no way this could be true, none. Grabbing the counter he had to ask. “Bella who did your surgery and do you know your donor’s name?”

“Oh, Edward, I never asked who my donor was, but I thought you knew that Carlisle did the surgery,” Bella answered, but as she looked at his face she knew something was wrong.

Edward needed to know the answer and he needed to know it now. He rushed back to the bedroom, grabbing his shirt and shoes and ran towards the door.

“Edward, what is wrong?” Bella cried, trying to figure out what had happened.

Edward turned with tears in his eyes. “Bella, I’m sorry.” He opened the door and left.

Bella fell to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably Edward knew she was damaged goods and he didn’t want her.

In a Heartbeat ~ Chapter Eleven

The remainder of the date was beyond perfect. After watching the spectacular sunset, Peter had a small table brought out and their dinner was served. During the meal, their eyes never strayed from each other, and they found every opportunity to physically make contact with each other. For reasons neither of them could explain, they both had a need to be close enough to touch. Peter took them back to the marina and Bella thank him profusely for the wonderful evening.

With their hands entwined, they walked over to Edward’s car.  Edward seized the opportunity before opening Bella’s door to pull her in for a long, passionate kiss. He poured all his feelings into it without restraint, hoping that she could sense his desire for her. “As much as I would love to kiss you all night, I think I better get you home before I get carried away.”

“Hmm, carried away sounds nice right now,” Bella said with a smirk.

Placing another quick kiss upon her lips, he whispered, “Don’t tempt me, beautiful.”

Once they were settled in the car and headed back toward her home, Bella started their conversation. “Edward, I loved the boat ride. Have you been around the water much?”

“Yes. We own a house in Cape Charles, Virginia. Mom would take us boys there to spend the entire summer. It was some of the happiest memories I have,” Edward recalled.

Bella thought about what Edward had said and wondered. “Where was Carlisle?”

“Working, always working,” Edward murmured, but then sighed. “But that is all in the past and he has changed so much.”

Bella reached over and squeezed his hand. “I’m sorry that he wasn’t there when you are growing up, but his work has saved so many lives.” Wanting to tell him what Carlisle had done for her, but that conversation didn’t need to take place while they were driving down the road. She wanted to look into his eyes and see his expression when she told him.

“He has,” Edward said.

“Tell me about the house,” Bella insisted.

Edward told her about the summer house and how it had been in Esme’s family for years. It was a colonial brick home and she had kept the interior true to its historical beginnings. He told her of the backyard, where they played. “My favorite place was the dock. I would go down and sit for hours.”

“Have you been there since you moved back?” She asked.

“Yeah. I drove down one day. It is just how I remembered it,” Edward sighed.

“It sounds like a wonderful place to take Elizabeth.”

“Yes it is and maybe you could come with us on the next trip?” Edward inquired.

“Really?” Bella asked astonished that he would want her to come with him and Elizabeth.

Edward turned down her street and parked in front of her house. Turning off the engine he turned to face her, the light from the streetlamp casting a glow into the car. Taking his hand and cupping her face, rubbing his thumb along her jawline. “Bella, Elizabeth and I come as a set. I never thought I would find anyone else for not just me, but for Elizabeth as well. She loves you already, I can see it and I can see that you love her as well. I want you to experience the many firsts with Elizabeth,” Edward pleaded a lone tear rolling down his face.

Bella reached up and wiped the tear away. “I would be honored.”

Edward leaned down and kissed her. His heartbeat beating in rhythm with hers. They were perfect together. Finally, when they needed to breathe, they pulled away from each other. “Come I will walk you to your door,” he said.

Once out of the car, he clasped her hand and they walked up to her door. She unlocked it but then turned back to him. “Thank you once again for a marvelous date.”

“It was my extreme pleasure,” he said wanting nothing more than to take her into his arms and never let go. “Would you like to go on a picnic with Elizabeth and me tomorrow?”

“I would love too,” she answered.

“Great. I will call you with the time,” he said, then had a thought. “Do you have any classes tomorrow?”

“No, but I plan on going in to observe the early morning class,  I will be done early.”

“Great,” he exclaimed and brought her hand up to his lips, placing a feather-light kiss upon it. He wanted to kiss her again on the lips, but his willpower was weakening. “Pleasant dreams.”

“They will be if they are of you,” she sighed and opened her door.

Edward walked back to his car with a dreamy smile on his face. He couldn’t wait until tomorrow to see her again.

Once Bella closed her door, she leaned up against it and moaned. She was so in love. After calming down, Bella began to get ready for bed. After a shower, she went into the kitchen and took out her meds from the cabinet. She hated taking them, but she had to. After downing them, she looked at the calendar on the refrigerator and noticed that in just three weeks she would celebrate her rebirth day. The day that she received her new heart that gave her a chance to live a full life; with the possible exception of having children. If this relationship grew, she knew she would have to tell Edward. “I wonder what he will say?” She said out loud. Not wanting to ruin a perfect evening with what-if questions, she decided to not think about it just yet. Climbing into bed, she turned off her lamp and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of Edward.

***************IAH************

The next morning, Edward was walking the path to his parent’s home. He had dreamed all night of Bella, there was no doubt in his mind that she was the one. The one that would fill the missing piece of his broken heart and make his family whole again. Opening up the back door, he listened and heard Elizabeth’s giggles. Following the sounds, he walked down the hallway towards her bedroom. Peering in the door, he had to stifle his laughter. Elizabeth and Carlisle were sitting at her tea-table dressed in their finest. His father had on a tiara, feather boa, and his face had been painted by Elizabeth. He looked like an ugly drag queen. Edward cleared his throat and Carlisle’s head snapped around.

“Looking good, Mom,” Edward joked. 

Elizabeth looked up and smiled. “Daddy, it is not, Nana, it is Papaw. I did his makeup.”

Edward walked over and picked her up, giving her a hug. “You did a great job, that is why I thought it was Nana.”

At that moment, Esme walked in. “Edward, I didn’t hear you come in.” She wanted to know all about his date, but little ears were listening. “Ladybug, your movie is about to start.”

“YEAH!” She screamed taking off for the den. 

Once she was out of hearing distance, Esme turned to Carlisle. “Honey, you need a face wash and then we want to hear about your date, Edward.”

Normally, it would be weird to tell your parents about your date, but his excitement was bubbling over and he wanted to tell them. After his father had cleaned up, they went into the kitchen, where they could keep an eye on Elizabeth, but yet could talk. Esme poured them each a cup of coffee and they sat down at the breakfast table.

Edward told them about the date and how much he enjoyed it. He, of course, didn’t tell them about the kisses, but he did tell them that they were going out again today.

“Edward, it sounds wonderful. We are so excited for you,” Esme gushed.

“Bella is a special young woman and I am happy that you two have found each other,” Carlisle said.

“Thanks. We both have the same outlook on life, that it is too short and when you find something or someone you grab hold of it,” Edward explained. “We are going on a picnic and I am taking Elizabeth.”

“Are you ready to explain to her what your feelings are for Bella? How does Bella feel about this?” Esme asked worriedly. 

“We talked about it, and Mom, she is onboard. You have personally seen the connection between her and Elizabeth. I will talk to Elizabeth about my feelings for Bella. Of course, I will talk to her on her level, but we know how intelligent she is and I have a feeling she will be excited over it.”

“I have to agree with you,” Carlisle said. “Just tread lightly and be ready, to be honest with all her questions. Children are very intuitive and Elizabeth is more so. Again, Bella is a great fit for your family Edward.”

“Would you like me to pack your lunch?’ Esme asked.

“Thanks, Mom, that would be great,” Edward answered and finished off his coffee. “I think I am going to go talk to Elizabeth.”

“Are you doing it here or at your home?” Carlisle asked.

“Here. If she has concerns, maybe you could help me if I need it?” Edward questioned.

“Of course,” Esme answered patting his hand. 

Edward stood and walked into the den. Elizabeth was curled up on the sofa watching Frozen once again. Sitting down beside her, she automatically crawled up on his lap. He wrapped his arms around her and drank in her warmth. He took a deep breath before beginning.

“Ladybug, can I talk to you about something?” He asked.

“Sure Daddy, I know what it is going to happen next,” she answered, pointing to the movie.

Edward turns off the TV and turned her so he could see her face. “Last night, I went out on a date and I had a really nice time.”

“Is she a nice lady?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yes, very much so, and I want to see more of her, but I also want you to get to know her better.”

“That sounds like fun. What is her name? Does she like playing house? Is she pretty? Does she like pizza?” Elizabeth rattled off without catching a breath.

“Whoa, little one. I don’t know the answers to all your questions, but I do know that she is pretty and I know her name,” he answered.

“Is it a pretty name?” 

“Sweetheart, her name is Bella,” he said and waited for her to respond.

Elizabeth frowned her forehead deep in thought. “Like Miss Bella?”

“It is Miss Bella, sweetheart,” Edward muttered.

“My Miss Bella? Really? Oh, Daddy, I love her. Is she going to be my Mommy?” Elizabeth inquired.

“Slow down. We just started dating and I want us, that is you and me, to get to know her better. She also has to get to know us better. Would you like that?”

“Yes, Daddy. I would like to date Bella,” she said.

Edward couldn’t help but chuckle at her comment. “I thought we could take her out to the park today for a picnic. What do you think of that idea?”

“I love it. Can we go now?” She asked bouncing up and down.

“Not now, but a little later. However, Elizabeth there are going to be times that Daddy will want to take Miss Bella out just by himself,” he explained.

“As long as I get to take her out by myself, then it should be fine,” Elizabeth proclaimed.

“I think that can work,” he answered. “How about we go home and we will call her.”

Elizabeth jumped off the couch and took off to her room. A few minutes later she was back with her shoes on and her bag over her shoulder. Running over to Esme and Carlisle, she stopped. “I have to go, I got to get ready for my date.”

They both covered their mouths so that they wouldn’t hurt Elizabeth’s feelings by laughing. “That sounds lovely, Ladybug. Give me a hug and I will bring over the basket a little later.” Esme said.

 Elizabeth wrapped her little arms around Esme, kissing her on the cheek, then did the same to Carlisle. “Love you,” she said and took off to her daddy. Waving as she walked out the door, she skipped all the way home. 

When they walked in, Edward told her to put her dirty clothes in the hamper and put her bag in her room. As she was doing as she was told, he sat and reflected on their talk. It had gone better than he had hoped. There was no doubt that Bella would want to spend alone time with her and he couldn’t wait to get Bella alone so he could kiss her some more.

“Daddy, can we call her now, please?”

“Yes,” he said taking out his phone and dialing her number. A few seconds later her voice came through.

“Good morning, Edward,” She murmured, excited to finally hear his voice again.

“DADDY, I CAN’T HEAR HER,” Elizabeth yelled.

“Sorry about that,” Edward whispered to Bella and gave Elizabeth a raised eyebrow. “It is okay if I put you on speaker?”

“Of course,” Bella answered.

Edward sat the phone down on the table and turned on the speaker phone. “Can you hear us?”

“Yes. Good Morning, Elizabeth.”

“Good Morning, Miss Bella. We are going out on a date today. We are going all together for this one, but Daddy wants to go alone sometimes with you and I get to go alone with you sometimes,” Elizabeth rushed.

Bella giggled. “That sounds like a lot of fun. I can’t wait to do that.”

“I thought we could go to Canton Waterfront Park if that is okay with you?” Edward asked.

“Oh, I love that park. That sounds perfect. What time should I be ready?” Bella asked.

“We will pick you up around eleven-thirty,” Edward advises.

“Do I need to make anything for lunch?” Bella inquired.

“No, Esme is taking care of that for us,” he answered.

“Alright. Elizabeth, I am excited about our date,” Bella chimed.

“Me too,” Elizabeth gushed.

Edward picked up the phone, taking it off speaker. “I can’t wait to see you,” he whispered.

“Me too. I had lovely dreams all night, but seeing you in person is even better,” she cooed.

Turning around so Elizabeth couldn’t hear him. “Oh, Baby I did too. I really miss those luscious lips of yours.”

“Edward,” Bella moaned.

“I will see you soon, my love,” he whispered and hung up.

“Daddy, she is excited for our date,” Elizabeth said jumping up and down.

“I think we are as well, Ladybug,” Edward laughed.

“Well, duh. I have to go find the perfect outfit to wear,” she said taking off towards her bedroom.

Edward just shook his head. Elizabeth was all girl that was for sure and maybe Bella could possibly be what she needed. Before he knew it, it was time for them to leave to pick up Bella. Elizabeth had told him that she needed to pick up flowers for Bella. So they had to make one quick stop so she could pick out the right flowers. After looking over the selection three times, she picked out a bouquet of sunflowers. 

They arrived at Bella’s house and walked hand in hand up to the door. Elizabeth had chosen to wear a pair of ladybug leggings, a red dress, and her Sketchers. Edward had pulled her long, curly, hair up into a high ponytail, placing a red ribbon around it. She looked adorable. He had decided to wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a pair of Dockers. 

They rang the doorbell and Bella quickly answered. Edward’s heart skipped a beat. She looked lovely in a pair of form-fitting jeans, an Imagine Dragon t-shirt and a pair of pink Converse tennis shoes. She wore her hair up, showing off her delicate neck. “Edward, Elizabeth, hello.”

“Hi, Miss Bella. These are for you,” Elizabeth said handing her the sunflowers.

“Oh my, they are so lovely. Come in while I put these in water,” Bella said.

They walked in and Edward looked around. Bella’s house was just like her, warm and inviting. Looking down the small entranceway into what must be the den, he saw the flowers that he had given her last night in a lovely vase sitting on a piano. Did she play? He wondered. She came from the kitchen carrying another vase with the sunflowers arranged in it and placed it next to the other flowers. Coming back to them, she had a large smile.

“Thank you again. I love them, Elizabeth,” Bella gushed.

“You’re welcome. Come on, we have to get to the park,” Elizabeth said taking Bella’s hand. 

Bella grabbed a small purse and they went out the door. Once outside Edward took Bella’s other hand. To anyone who would pass by and see them, they looked like a happy family. It was a very appealing thought.

In a Heartbeat – chapter Ten

Bella woke the next morning and touched her lips, as she remembered Edward’s kiss. Never had she felt or tasted anything like it and she wanted to do again. Getting up, she looked at her phone and noticed she had a text from a number that she didn’t recognize. Opening the text, she broke out in a smile upon seeing it was from Edward.

Good Morning, Beautiful. I had the most wonderful dreams and you were the star in all of them. I will pick you up at six and bring a sweater. Counting the minutes until I can see your smiling face. Edward

Bella read the text several times and sighed. Looking at her clock, she frowned, calculating that she had eleven hours before she would see him. Damn, it was going to be a long day. Before getting out of bed, she decided to return his text.

Oh my God, what a wonderful way to wake up. I too had marvelous dreams of you as well. Looking forward to this evening, is it six o’clock yet? Thinking of you and that kiss. Bella

She reviewed the text twice before pushing the send button. Was he thinking about the kiss? Was that too forward? Damn, why did she say that? Just as she was berating herself, her text alert sounded. 

Are you trying to kill me? I need to concentrate, but thinking of your lips on mine makes it impossible. However, I plan to reacquaint myself with them this evening. Edward.

Bella’s heart skipped a beat. He was thinking about the kiss as well. As much as she would love to stay at home and think of Edward, she couldn’t. It was going to be a busy day at the studio. The phone and email had been extremely full of messages  with requests for classes. In between classes today, she needed to contact the institute to see if anyone was looking for work. 

Getting out of bed she hurried to get ready. After a shower, dressing, and packing her lunch, she was out the door. Ten more hours to go.

************IAH**************

Edward had awakened at five o’clock and went out on his deck to watch the sunrise. Over the years, this was the time of day that he would talk to Maggie. He would tell her how Elizabeth was, what she was doing, and he would tell her that he still wasn’t over her. However, today he wanted to tell her about Bella. Looking out at the skyline as the warm glow began its ascent he took a deep cleansing breath. 

Maggie, I know you are listening and I am sorry it has been awhile. Elizabeth is doing great and now taking ballet lessons. She loves it and Bella, her teacher, says she is a natural. I need to tell you about Bella. God, where do I start? As I said she is Elizabeth’s ballet teacher, but she should be dancing at a dance company because she is that good. Mom and Dad have known her for years and they love her, as well as my brothers. Whenever she is near, my heart just goes nuts and I have this overwhelming need to touch her. I know you have been telling me to move on and I think she is the one I can do that with. Maggie my love, know that I will always love you and I promise never to let Elizabeth forget you. Thank you for loving me and for pushing me to move on. 

Placing his two fingers to his lips he kissed them and held them out to the rays coming over the horizon. The color of the sky was the exact shade of red as Maggie’s hair and he knew that she had somehow done this to let him know that she had heard him.

Walking back into his room, he grabbed his phone and shot off a text message to Bella. When he had returned last night from the dance studio his mother was sitting in his den watching Die Hard. He couldn’t count how many times she had watched it.

“So, did you find her?” She asked turning the movie off.

“Yeah. We talked,” he started, then ran his hand through his hair. “And I asked her out.”

“Good, but don’t break her heart,” Esme insisted. 

“I don’t think I could, even though I think she could probably break mine. Mom, there is just something about her. I can’t explain it, but I need to find out what it is.”

Esme wrapped her arms around him and gave him a hug. “It is so good to see you smiling again.”

“Thanks,” he said, then remembered he forgot to get Bella’s cell number. “Mom, do you have her cell number. I want to be able to send her a text or call her.”

“Forgot to get the digits?” Esme joked. She walked over picking up her phone and texting him Bella’s number.

“Thanks, Mom.”

“When are you going out?” She asked.

“Tomorrow,” he beamed.

“Shit,” she exclaimed. “I have a charity meeting tomorrow evening.”

“Oh,” Edward grumbled, upset because he didn’t want to cancel out of Bella. 

“Wait before you cancel,” she instructed. Typing away on her phone and a minute later she smiled up at Edward. “Taken care of.”

“Wait, what do you mean? I hope you didn’t cancel your plans,” Edward asked.

“Nope, but called in the “C” team,” she joked.

“Who is the “C” team?”

“Your father. He has been whining because he is not getting some quality alone time with the LadyBug,” she smirked. “I bet he is planning out the entire evening.”

Edward chuckled. Elizabeth had his father wrapped around her little finger and he knew that she was in great hands. “Thanks, Mom and thank you for watching her this evening.”

Esme placed her hand on the side of his face and looked deep into his eyes. “I can see that she makes you happy and that makes me happy.”

Edward leaned down and placed a kiss on her cheek. “She does, but you will always be my girl.”

*********************IAH******************************

After he sent her the text, he took a shower, dressed and walked down the stairs, he noticed his mother walking in the back door. “Good morning, Mom.”

“Good morning. Did you sleep well?” She asked.

“I did,” he said with a smile, then he looked at the clock on the wall. “Shit, Mom I have got to go.”

“Do you want coffee?”

“Not this morning. I have a procedure in a couple of hours and as you know no caffeine. Once it is over with I will have one,” Edward explained. “I will be home early.” Rushing out the door, he had some calls to make to plan the perfect date. 

It didn’t matter what time it was, traffic was always horrible in the mornings. As he sat in a long line of traffic, he sent a text to Peter using his hands-free function. He was Jasper’s best friend and he owned a sailboat. He chartered it out to tourists taking them on cruises around the Baltimore Inner Harbor area. Edward hoped it was not being used tonight. He was already visualizing  them on the deck of the boat as it glided across the water.

The notification dinged in the car and the attendant asked if he wanted to hear the text.

“Yes,” he called out.

Peter Whitlock writes: The boat is available tonight and I would be happy to pilot you and your date around the harbor. Would you like dinner while on the boat? Would you like to send a reply?

Fantastic. I would love to have dinner on the boat. Is there anything you need from me? Edward stated then sent.

Peter Whitlock writes: I just need the full name of your date for me to leave at the port. It is a safety precaution in case of an accident. I promise to make it special for you. I am just happy to see you going out, she must be exceptional. Would you like to send a reply?

Her name is Isabella Marie Swan and yes she is exceptional. We should arrive at the marina at six-thirty. Thanks again, Peter. 

Edward was happy that he had been able to get his first choice for their first date. He hoped that Bella would enjoy it. Finally making some headway in the traffic, he soon pulled into the parking deck at the hospital. Parking in his assigned spot he began to turn the car off, but an incoming text alert sounded. Once accepting the text he listened thinking it was Peter.

Bella writes: Oh my God, what a wonderful way to wake up. I too had marvelous dreams of you as well. Looking forward to this evening, is it six o’clock yet? Thinking of you and that kiss. Bella. Would you like to send a reply?

She had dreamt of him and was thinking about the kiss. God, he wanted to kiss her right now. Fuck the thought her lips and that sexy body had him instantly aroused. FUCK!!

Would you like to send a reply?  Shit, he was totally distracted, “yes, I want to send a reply.”

Are you trying to kill me? I need to concentrate but thinking of your lips on mine makes it impossible. However, I plan to reacquaint myself with them this evening. Edward.

Smiling over the text, he got out of the car and headed into work. The procedure with Mr. Jacobs went well, as did the rest of the day. Between patients, he finalized his plans for the date. Locking up his office, he headed to his car, so he could get to the florist to pick up Bella’s flowers. Not wanting to just pick up roses, he decided to get something different and selected Potomac Appleblossoms. They were unique, just like her. 

When he arrived home, he walked in the kitchen to find Elizabeth sitting at the counter eating a bowl of strawberries. His mother was taking the clean dishes out of the dishwasher. 

“Mom, I can do that,” he said.

“Daddy, you’re home,” Maggie said her mouth full of strawberries. She then saw the flowers. “Ohh, those are pretty. Are they from Nana?”

Edward had considered whether or not he should tell Elizabeth that he was going on a date. He hadn’t had any interest in going out until now. Bella was different than any other woman he had ever met, even Maggie. However, he knew how much Elizabeth liked Bella and he didn’t want her to get her hopes up, just yet. 

“No, Ladybug. I am going out and these are for the lady I am taking to dinner,” he explained.

Elizabeth looked at him with her little face scrunched up as she tried to figure out what he was talking about. “What lady?”

“Elizabeth, it is a friend of your daddy and since I have a meeting, guess who is staying with you?” Esme asked, hoping to redirect Elizabeth’s attention. 

“Who?” She asked.

“Papaw,” Esme replied.

“YEAH!” She screamed. “Can I go over now?”

“Finish up your snack first. We need to pack you an overnight bag because we are going to have a sleepover.”

Elizabeth stuffed the remaining strawberries in her mouth making her cheeks puff out like a chipmunk. “I’m finished,” she muffled as pieces of strawberries escaped her mouth.

Edward laughed at his daughter. She always brought a smile to his face. As his mother helped Elizabeth to pack a bag, he finished cleaning up the kitchen. When he was finished, he decided to cleanup  the den. On the coffee table was Elizabeth’s ballet bag. She had a class today and his thoughts went to Bella. Had she thought of him as much as he did her today? If so, how did she teach a class?

“See you later, Daddy,” Elizabeth yelled as she walked to the back door.

“Whoa, wait a minute. Daddy needs a hug and kiss,” Edward said dropping to his knees and opening his arms.

Elizabeth turned and took off running. Jumping into her Daddy’s open arms, she wrapped her tiny arms around his neck. “I love you.”

Edward wrapped his arms around her and drank in her warmth. Kissing the top of her head. “I love you too. Have a great time with Papaw and I will see you in the morning.”

“Okay, Daddy. I’ll miss you,” she whispered.

“I’ll miss you. But when I pick you up I will take you out for breakfast,” Edward explained.

“Waffles?” She exclaimed.

“Of course.”

“Come on Ladybug,” Esme said holding out her hand. Elizabeth let go of her Daddy and took her Nana’s hand. Esme looked at Edward and gave him a reassuring smile. 

After they left, Edward shot a text off to Peter to make sure everything was still a go and once he got a confirmation. He began getting ready.

***********************IAH********************************

Bella’s hands were shaking as she put on her necklace. It was five minutes to six and she couldn’t believe she was going out on a date with Edward. All-day long she thought of nothing but him. It was even worse when Elizabeth had been in her class and each time she looked at her, she saw Edward. With each passing hour, she wished that the day would hurry along. Lost in her thoughts until the ringing of her door bell brought her back. Smoothing over her dress, she picked up her sweater and walked to the door. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door and gasped. Edward looked good enough to eat. He wore a dark pair of pants, fitting him all the right places, a starched white button-down shirt, and a pair of black loafers. 

Edward couldn’t speak, because her beauty was so overcoming. She was wearing a tight black dress with a floral accent at her tiny waist and sleeveless. Her hair was down and laid in dark curly waves over her shoulder. Unlike some women that had tried to garner his attention, her makeup didn’t cover up her beauty but emphasized it. The subtle pink lipstick on her full lips had him anticipating the next kiss. Damn, he was one lucky bastard. Handing her the flowers in his hand he smiled. “Good evening, Bella.”

Bella took the flowers and brought them up to her nose. They smelled wonderful. “Oh Edward, these are gorgeous.”

Edward leaned in and brushed his lips over hers. Looking deep into her eyes. “Nowhere as gorgeous as you.” Offering his arm to her they walked towards his car, where  he helped her in. As she sat on the seat, the dress rode up and gave him the perfect view of her toned sexy legs. Just the view of her beautiful legs had him picturing what it would be like to have them wrapped around his waist.   Shaking his head, and trying to save some modicum of gentlemanly behavior, he shut the door after he adjusted himself, and went to the other side of the car. 

As they made their way to the marina, they each talked about their day. Soon Edward turned toward the docks. Bella squeaked in excitement. “Are we going out on a boat?”

“Yes. You do like the water?” Edward asked.

“Oh my God yes. My father loves to fish and we spent most of my early childhood on the beach,” she replied with a large smile. 

Edward parked his car and helped Bella out, making sure she had her sweater. They walked down the pier where he saw Peter waiting for them. 

“Ed, good to see you, man. You must be Isabella,” Peter said.

“Just Bella please, but how did you know my name?” She wondered.

“Ed told me for the manifest. Come aboard,” Peter instructed.

Edward got up on the boat and lifted Bella onboard. Peter directed them to bow while he took the controls. He would use the motor until they got out of the marina. Edward stood behind Bella and wrapped his arms around her as they maneuvered away from the dock. Once they were out of the marina, Peter unfurled the sails and cut off the motor. The boat skimmed around the water towards the setting sun. 

“Oh Edward, this is heavenly,” Bella murmured. 

Edward thought the same. He was in heaven, not because of the scenery, but because he had Bella in his arms. This felt so right and he didn’t want to ever let her go. He cast aside all the doubts that had plagued him about the opinions of others concerning their idea of how much time he should remain alone grieving Maggie.. If she was interested in a relationship with him, he would make sure that she was aware that he wanted her and her alone. Turning her around, he took her hand and placed it on his chest over his heart and he placed his hand on her chest. “Bella, life is too short not to grab hold of something or someone when the heart tells you that it is right. I’m not hesitating, I know what I want, and I want you. My heart is yours.”

Bella couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It was the same thing she had been thinking, but was too afraid to say. She knew how she felt about him, but could not understand why she felt so connected to this man? “Oh, Edward, I don’t understand it either, but I too feel this is right and my heart is yours as well. Please kiss me,” she begged.

Lowering his mouth to hers, he sealed his declaration with a kiss. With this woman, he could finally love again.