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After dropping off Bella’s car at her condo, Edward drove them to the coffee shop. Once he helped her into his Bronco, they weaved their fingers together, unable to keep apart. “You’re quiet, love,” Edward said as he pulled out of the garage.
“I have a lot to say. I’m just trying to put into order,” she replied. “Angela teased me that I was too inside my head.”
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Edward said, kissing her knuckles. “Being overly impulsive can be detrimental. Emmett has several tattoos that were etched into his skin impulsively. He’s got a pretty good likeness of Yogi Berra tattooed on his left butt cheek.”
“A cartoon bear?” Bella giggled.
“No, the baseball legend … ‘It ain’t over, til it’s over’,” Edward snickered. “Emmett played baseball and was a catcher until his knees told him otherwise. Anyway, after one game, Emmett and his fellow teammates wanted to get tattoos. Only, everyone else chickened out. Emmett volunteered to go first and he proudly wanted to show off a gorgeous portrait on his ass, but his teammates were gone. Unfortunately, he didn’t learn from his mistake. He got a few other tattoos. One he had to get because he lost a bet. A pair of chicken wings on his back.”
“Chicken wings … with feathers?” Bella asked.
“No feathers,” Edward snorted. “The third one was given to him when he was passed out drunk while out for a friend’s bachelor party. In an Olde English font, above his junk, they put the words ‘I’m awesome’. It was misspelled deliberately: A-W-S-O-M-E.”
“Why doesn’t he get them removed?” Bella laughed as Edward pulled into the parking lot next to the coffee shop.
He turned off the car after he parked. “Emmett likes to think of his tattoos, no matter how he got them, as badges of honor. If anything, he’d get them covered or reworked. You’ve met him. Emmett takes things as they come. Very easy-going and quick to joke.”
“This is true,” Bella giggled. “Rose said that Emmett’s humor is one of his most attractive qualities.”
Edward got out of the car, helping Bella out of the Bronco. They walked into the coffee shop and ordered their usual. Settling into their booth, Edward sipped his coffee. “I came in here every morning, hoping that I’d run into you,” he admitted quietly.
“Yeah, I avoided this place,” Bella grimaced. “I got my caffeine addiction from a cart inside the hospital. Since sleeping didn’t really happen, I needed a coffee IV. When it did happen, I was passed out … alcohol helped me achieve numbness.”
“Bella,” Edward frowned.
“Can you let me talk? You had your chance, but I need to get all of this out of my brain. It’s still not in order, but I want you to understand why I freaked the fuck out,” she snorted humorlessly. She took another sip of her coffee, wishing it was stronger. “You have brothers. How’s your relationship with them? Are you close?”
“Not as close as I used to be, but we love each other,” Edward answered. “Even when I moved away, we kept in touch. Emails, texts, brief phone calls.”
Bella sighed, idly turning the coffee cup on the wooden table. “Imagine if one of your brothers died. It would shatter you, right?”
“It would shatter anyone,” Edward frowned.
“Angela, she was my twin. We shared everything, even a face. She was my person, the one person that I trusted above everyone else. Every secret, every joy, every moment of sadness, every accomplishment, we shared. Hell, we even came up with our own language,” Bella sniffled. “It was completely nonsensical, but it was ours.
“Anyway, our parents tried to make us do everything the same but it was quite apparent that we were very different despite our identical appearances. Angela was artistry embodied. She could dance, draw, paint, and play the violin like a dream. She could play other instruments, but her love was the violin. It was an extension of her soul. She played in various orchestras; she was first chair in the all-state honors orchestra when she was a senior. Do you know someone that talented? I cried at the performance even if I had no idea what any of it meant.
“I was her polar opposite. Pragmatic, practical, analytical. Where she was artistry, I was all about science, facts, research. She went to Juilliard and I went to college, pre-med,” Bella said, taking another cup of coffee. “Now, despite our differences, Angela understood me. She was always the person I’d turn to if I needed advice, a laugh or a good swift kick to the ass, she’d give it to me.”
“Siblings have a tendency to do that,” Edward laughed.
“I don’t want you to think that I’m crazy,” Bella tittered anxiously. “But, Angela told me to pull my head out of my ass and to stop being an asshole to you.”
“Seriously, not crazy, but I’d gone out for a drink with Victoria. She really got me thinking. So much so that when I went to bed that night, Angela made an appearance. In her usual Angela-way, she ripped me a new asshole and told me to pull my head out of my ass,” Bella snorted. “So, who am I to deny my sister? I was an asshole.”
“Bella, love, I did drop a huge bomb on you,” Edward breathed, taking her hand in his. “I get that you needed time and space away from me. I should have told you sooner.”
“But, if you’d told me sooner, I never would have pursued this,” Bella answered honestly. “My heart was irrevocably damaged when Angela died. I felt it. I knew that she was gone.” She pressed her hand to her heart. “In here, I knew.”
She looked outside, tears welling in her eyes. She looked, unseeing, at the people walking on the sidewalk. She felt Edward’s large, calloused hand caressing hers. Using her free hand, she wiped the tears from her cheeks and blinked back to Edward. “I am sorry for pulling away. I will always be sorry for ghosting you. I never truly allowed myself to grieve Angela’s death. Knowing that you were the last person to see her alive, rattled me to my core.”
“I understand why you did it, Bella,” Edward murmured. “The reason why I left Seattle was because of what happened to Angela. I had her in my grasp and it was a perfect storm of fire, heat, explosions and human frailty. I had nightmares for years. Hell, when I first met you, Angela changed to you and I was terrified. I felt drawn to you immediately. When I first saw you, I thought I was seeing a ghost, but then you spoke.”
“My voice is raspier than Angela’s,” Bella chuckled. “I had several bouts of strep throat and had my tonsils removed. There was some minor damage to my vocal cords during the surgery. I’ll always sound like this.” Bella pulled out her phone and found a video. “This was taken over Thanksgiving prior to her death.”
Edward watched the video. It was of Bella and Angela. Bella was obviously holding the camera in selfie mode.
“What are you most thankful for, Ang?” Bella asked, her voice deep and raspy, like she’d smoked a few too many cigarettes.
“I’m thankful for fluffy beds, handsome men and whoever invented Daylight Savings Time,” Angela giggled. Her voice was crystalline, like bells. “I’m also thankful for you, Bells. It’s been too long since I’ve seen you last.” She moved so Bella was in the frame, hugging her sister. “You work too hard, Isabella Marie!”
“I know, I know,” Bella grumbled, rolling her eyes and snuggling closer to Angela. “But, I’m here for Thanksgiving and will probably be out here for Christmas. It’s all up to the powers that be. Since I worked a majority of the holidays last year, the probability is pretty high I’ll be back for Christmas.”
“What are you thankful for, Bella?” Angela asked, taking the phone from Bella.
“You, Ang. I’m thankful for you,” Bella beamed at her sister. “Love you, Ang.”
“Love you more, Bells,” Angela breathed.
The video ended and Edward looked up at Bella. She was crying. “I ended up having to cover for a coworker for the holidays and that was the last time I saw Angela alive.”
Edward got up from his side of the booth and enfolded her into his arms. “Sweet girl,” he murmured. She gripped his shirt, quietly sobbing against his chest. He pressed his lips to her forehead, giving her as much love and support as she grieved for Angela.
“I had that video on my phone for almost six years. I couldn’t watch it,” she muttered. “I had a few other videos, mainly of Angela playing the violin, but this was our relationship. Angela was silly and I was focused. I love her so much.” She pulled back and wiped her face. “It’s why I was so closed off after her death. I didn’t want to open myself up to be obliterated into a million pieces if I lost another person I loved.”
“What about your parents?” Edward asked.
“I was a cruel reminder of what they lost,” Bella shrugged, drinking from her coffee. She showed Edward the phone. A picture of Bella and Angela was on the screen. “We look exactly alike. The only differences were in our voices, our brains and our hair. Angela had straight hair, where mine is curlier.”
“But, you’re both so different,” Edward frowned, looking at the last frame of the video. “Your parents adore you.”
“I know that they do, but every so often, I’ll see Dad or Mom looking at me like I was a ghost or a figment of their imagination. I couldn’t handle that,” Bella sighed. “So, after Angela’s funeral, I flew back to New York and buried myself in work. No friendships, no relationships, no life. You were the first person that I felt something for since her death. It terrified me. But, as I got to know you, I wanted more despite my fear.”
“I want more, too,” Edward said, wiping another tear away. “I’ve never felt this way about another person. When I’m with you? I feel whole, complete.”
“I feel the same way,” Bella whispered. Ang was right. Life was far too short and she wanted, needed Edward’s touch all over her body. Placing her hand on the side of his face, she marveled at how he leaned instinctively on her palm. Looking deep into his soulful green eyes, she said. “I need you.”
“I’m here, my love. Right here,” Edward replied, his heart full of adoration for this remarkable woman.
“Not here, but at my condo,” she smiled, her eyes dancing with the anticipation.
“Oh, OH,” he breathed. Standing, he offered his hand to her and once she had placed her small delicate hand into his, he led her out of the building after tossing a few bills on the table for a tip. They quickly made it to Edward’s Bronco. The short distance to Bella’s condo seemed to take forever and by the time they arrived, every nerve in their bodies was tingling with the thought about what was about to come.
It had been too long.
Edward pulled into the extra spot next to Bella’s car, jumped out and jogged over to open her door. He watched as she struggled to remove her seatbelt and he couldn’t help but grin, glad that she was as excited as he was about what was about to happen.
Bella finally released her seatbelt, her heart racing and her hand shaking with excitement. Looking up, she saw Edward standing in the opened door. Taking his hand, he pulled her up close, leaned down and placed small kisses up her neck, causing her to shiver with pleasure. “Edward,” she moaned, moving her head to the side to allow him better access.
Edward continued kissing up her neck, while he began to rub his thumb across her cloth covered nipple. Her breathing was labored and she pushed her chest out trying to get closer to his teasing ministrations.
God, he was driving her crazy. She didn’t know how much longer she could stand, not having him touch her without the barriers of clothing. “I need more,” she whimpered.
Suddenly, they heard tires squealing, moving closer to their location, causing them to snap out of their sexual fueled haze. “We’ve got to get upstairs before I take you right here against this car, without a care who comes by,” he growled, his breath choppy with desire.
As unbelievably sexy as that sounded, she knew that was something they shouldn’t do. Reaching up, she kissed him quickly, took his hand and dragged him toward the elevator. Once inside, they stood, side by side, holding hands. The energy around them was intense, crackling with sexual desire. As soon as that energy ignited, they would be lost to that power. Unfortunately, it seemed like the elevator was rising too slowly. Then, it finally stopped, and the door opened with a quiet ding. Bella pulled Edward towards her door, dropping his hand only so she could get her key from her purse to unlock the door. As the door opened, they rushed in and Edward slammed the door shut, pushing Bella against it.
He slammed his mouth over hers, claiming her with the raw passion that was pulsating through him. Slanting his mouth over and over again, he had to sample her delectable flavor before running his tongue over her lips demanding entrance into her hot mouth. His tongue pushed inside, tasting the slight hint of coffee. Though the rest was all the sweet taste of his Bella. The kiss began frantically, with the need to be owned by each other. Breaking away when his lungs felt they would burst from the lack of oxygen, he continued to kiss up her jaw.
Bella needed to be closer, hitching her leg over his hip and began to rub her pussy over his growing bulge. Running her hand over his chest down to the bottom of his shirt, she began to pull the offensive material up. He stopped his kissing, to allow her to pull it up and over his head. Throwing the shirt, she began to massage her hands over his six-pack, thrilling at the feel of the tight muscles that rippled under her touch. Moving her head back, she looked up seeing Edward’s mouth open, panting heavily. His eyes were shining with naked desire. Kissing her way down, his neck, over his collarbone, and finally to his nipple. Taking the hard nub between her lips, she began to nibble and tease his skin, causing Edward to moan. She loved being able to bring him such great pleasure.
Edward thought for sure he’d died and gone to heaven; except he was in pain. His hardened cock needed to be released from its confines. It threatened to burst through his zipper. Bella’s hot mouth against his skin was driving him insane and he knew that if she kept it up, he would come in his pants.
Bella finally released his nipple, dropping to her knees. She reached up to the waistband of his jeans and began to unbutton his jeans.
“Bella, baby, what are you doing?” Edward growled, his forehead sparkling with sweat.
“My coffee didn’t have enough cream and I really love cream,” she purred, looking up at him with her lust-filled eyes. Licking her lips, she pulled down the zipper and as soon as she did, his glorious cock sprang out. Glancing back up, she smirked. “Commando?”
Edward’s mouth opened, but he was so overcome with emotions that the words didn’t come out. The idea of her hot mouth on his cock was almost too much to think about.
Bella grasped the waistband, yanking his jeans over his ass, and down his muscular legs. She untied his shoes, taking each one of them off, allowing him to kick off his pants. She pushed him back a little so she could admire every inch of his cock. It was long, thick, with a small pearl of cum coming out the opening of the swollen head. Starting at the base, she licked her way up his cock, swirling her tongue around the head, and finally took him into her mouth.
Edward’s hands went to her head, at first just caressing them on her silky hair, but when she took him in her mouth and began to bob, he grabbed a handful of hair. “Fuck!” he yelled, as she took him all the way in her mouth and swallowed him down her throat. Did she not have any gag reflex?
Bella smiled around his cock when she heard him yell out. She loved his responses and the way he tasted. Bobbing her head, she took him deep, sucking him hard, as she fondled his balls with her fingers.
“Baby, you have to stop or I’m going to come,” Edward wheezed, as he stopped her movements, causing his cock to pop out her hot mouth. Looking down, he saw her licking her lips and wiping away the excessive saliva from the side of her mouth.
Reaching down, he pulled her to her feet and pushed her against the door. He ran his hand down the side of her breast and to the hem of the short dress she was wearing. Grasping the edge, he pulled the dress up and over her head leaving her only in her bra and tiny lace panties. Reaching behind her, he skillfully unhooked the bra, a trick he had learned in high school. Once the bra was unhooked, he pulled it down her arms, allowing her breast to bounce free. They were perfect, round, full, with hard pink nibbles. Fuck, he want to suck, nibble on them until she cried out, but he was so fucking close himself that he needed to be in her hot pussy when he came.
Taking hold of the sides of her lacy panties, he ripped them off. Damn, if she liked them he would buy her a hundred pairs to replace them. Placing his large hands on her ass, he lifted her up and she wrapped her long legs around his hips. He needed to make sure that she was ready, so he ran his finger between them, finding that she was so wet, fuck almost dripping. “Hold on, baby.”
With one hard, powerful thrust, he buried himself balls deep in her tight pussy. She hugged him, almost strangling his length. He had to grit his teeth to prevent himself from exploding inside her, chanting to himself over and over again, not until she had her own release. Once he had regained a sliver of control, he began to pound over and over again into her.
“Make me yours, Edward,” Bella growled, her muscles tightening around him as her orgasm began to build. It was so close, yet so far away and she needed to come.
Placing one hand under her left knee, he raised her leg, changing the position of his cock as it thrust inside of her. Bella cried out in pure pleasure. He was still fighting the urge to come. “Rub your clit,” he demanded jaggedly, panting heavily.
Bella slid her hand between them. She began rubbing swollen clit, feeling the elastic band of her orgasm pulling taut. “I’m so close,” she whimpered. “Please, Edward. Please …”
Hearing this, Edward pulled back and with one powerful thrust, he buried himself once again yelling, “Come for me now!”
When Bella heard him and felt every ounce of his body against hers, the tension broke, her orgasm began washing over her again and again, her muscles clamping down around his cock.
Bella’s orgasm triggered Edward’s, her muscles quivered around him and caused him to shoot his hot cum deep inside her. He had never come this hard before or for this long. He kept pumping, needing to feel connected to her for as long as possible. Staying inside of her, he leaned down placing his forehead to hers and pinned her against the door, “I love you so fucking much.”
Bella didn’t know when she had started crying, but the tears were rolling down her face. Her love for him was so overwhelming that she was overcome with emotions. “Oh Edward, I love you,” she murmured, her voice cracking. “I never thought I could love someone as much as I love you.”
Edward kissed her tenderly, lost in her. Several minutes later, Edward regained his strength, and placed his hands under her ass. He carried her through the apartment and into her bedroom. Which was pristine and clearly hadn’t been slept in for some time. Edward made a mental note to talk to her about it. For now, they had a lot to make up for. They spent the rest of the weekend making love and telling each other how much they loved each other.
Charlie Swan was in his office at the fire department. He was rereading the report that Edward and Rose had compiled for him. It was in depth and filled with a great deal of evidence indicating that each fire was set deliberately.
It pissed him off that he hadn’t seen the connection, the same signature in each of these fires. How could he have been so fucking blind?
In addition to that, the connection that the fires were tied to his family? It boggled his mind. Who would want to cause his family pain? He didn’t think he had any enemies. He was well-liked in the department. He had close friends and couldn’t imagine anyone who would deliberately set fires to get his attention.
“Who are you?” Charlie snapped, glowering at the file.
Over the radio, Charlie heard dispatch put a call out for a fire near Bella’s apartment. His heart fell to his feet and he couldn’t lose another baby girl. He slammed his hand on the table, closing the file folder as he listened for the address. Once he got the address, he got into his department SUV. Flicking on the lights and sirens, he drove through downtown Seattle until he arrived at an out-of-control blaze. He tugged on his turn-out coat and looked at the fire. “Holy fuck!”
“Chief, what are you doing here?” asked one of the lieutenants, Lieutenant Bruno.
“I heard about this over dispatch. My daughter lives near here. I had to make sure that she was alright,” Charlie answered. “What happened?”
“We don’t know yet. We’re trying to put this out, but we’re struggling,” Lt. Bruno sighed. “Cleaning supplies and gas lines from the ovens and stoves in the back are hindering our efforts. We couldn’t access the shut-off.”
“Do you think that this was set deliberately?” Charlie pressed.
“Without a doubt, Chief,” Lt. Bruno nodded.
“Quinn to Bruno,” a voice crackled over the radio.
“This is Bruno, over.”
“Lieutenant, we’ve got a body in the back of the coffee shop,” Quinn said. “Dead.”
Charlie took the radio from Bruno. “Quinn, this is Chief Swan. Can you tell if the victim was male or female? Over?”
“It’s too smoky and dark in here, Chief. I can’t tell you. Perhaps, when we strike the fire we can get those answers,” Quinn replied. “We’ve got the gas lines turned off and things are moving along faster.”
“Excellent work, Quinn,” Bruno said. “Over and out.” He looked at the chief. “It looks like we’ve got a case for you, Chief. Once the fire is out, we’ll get the medical examiner out here. When the rubble is cool enough, you’ll want to get your team in here to figure out what happened.”
“We’ll be here,” Charlie said gruffly, scowling at the dying fire.
Why is this happening? Who would be targeting me? My family? Something’s gotta give, god damn it.
Curled up on the couch, Edward and Bella shared some take out. He was in his jeans while Bella was wearing his button-down from the day before.
Only his button-down.
The woman was going to kill him.
“Bella, I have a question,” Edward said, putting down his bottle of beer. “Your room … it looked like you hadn’t slept in it. The bed was made. Like, a cleaning service gave you hospital corners.”
She sighed, looking at him and wrinkling her nose. “I felt betrayed when you told me about Angela. I couldn’t go into that room without memories of us. So, I slept in the guest room. There were no memories in there, but my brain had other thoughts. I ended up drinking myself stupid and passing out wherever.”
“Bella,” Edward frowned.
“It’s how I coped,” Bella shrugged. “I know it’s not really healthy, but it was either that or I worked myself to death. I kind of did that, too.”
“Not like I’m a picture of perfect mental health, but have you talked to anyone about your grief for your sister?” Edward asked.
“I saw a therapist in New York, but I ended up having sex with him,” Bella admitted, grimacing. “Talk about transference.” She put her plate down and looked at him. “Did you have to talk to someone after that fire?”
“Usually when a firefighter is injured or is involved with a death of a victim, we have to go through psychological testing. I was injured at the fire, smoke inhalation and a few other things. I never went through Seattle PD therapy, but before I started working in Boston, I had to go through the paces. I saw a therapist for about six months during my probationary period. It helped me get over the overwhelming guilt I felt for Angela’s death,” Edward explained.
“Why would you feel guilty?” Bella asked. “You didn’t cause the fire.”
“I highly respect your father, Bella. He is the one man, outside of my own father, that I wanted to like and to trust me. Not being able to save Angela? It broke something in me,” he answered. “I haven’t been able to go into a fire since that night. I cannot let another family down like I did with your dad. With you.”
“That’s why you transferred to fire investigation,” Bella murmured.
He nodded. “I can still do my job, but without the fear of fucking up.” He scrubbed his face. “Speaking of my job, there’s something you need to know.”
“What’s that?” she asked.
“There have been a string of arson fires that all have the same signature,” Edward said. “Rose and I discovered the similarities and they go back for years.”
“Do you have a connection?” Bella questioned.
“We think so,” Edward sighed, taking her hands. “Bella, the fires are all connected to your family.”
“I don’t understand,” she frowned.
“So far, there are three fires that have the same connections. A barber shop that your father frequents, the rug shop that your mom used for her company and Angela’s apartment building from five years ago,” Edward grimaced. “Someone is targeting your family and I’m telling you this because I need you to be safe, love.” Bella’s brows furrowed as she snuggled closer to Edward. He held her close. “I’m sorry, Bella.”
“Do you think I’m a target, too?” she whispered.
“I do, sweet girl,” he whispered back as he tightened his arms around her body. His phone vibrated on the table. With a grumble, he swiped his phone and saw Charlie’s number. “Damn it.”
“Work?” Bella frowned.
Edward nodded, answering the call. “What’s up, Chief?”
“Fire,” he grunted.
“Kind of gathered that, Charlie. Where at?” Edward asked.
“La Marzocco,” Charlie answered. Edward sat up, a shiver racing down his spine. “I need you and Rosalie down here, ASAP. There was a death involved.”
“On my way, Chief,” Edward whispered.
“Send Bella to my house. I think you and Rose were right. Whoever is setting these fires is targeting me, targeting my family,” Charlie croaked. “I know that you’re with her. I do not want her alone. Can you do that for me?”
“Of course, Charlie. I need to swing by my house, but I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Edward nodded. He hung up the phone, looking down at Bella. “I need to go.”
“Do you have to?” she pouted.
“Yeah, there’s a fire that involved the death of a civilian,” Edward explained. “We have to go. Your dad also asked me to ask you to go visit your mom.”
“I’m fine here,” Bella argued.
“Bella, remember what I said?” Edward pressed, arching a brow. “I’ll drive you to your parents’ home and then I have to go in. Pack a bag?”
“What aren’t you telling me?” Bella asked.
“Your dad is spooked. Please?” Edward pleaded, cupping her cheek. “And to be honest, so am I. I just got you back. I can’t lose you, Bella.”
“Okay, baby,” Bella nodded, kissing his lips before getting up. While she packed a bag, Edward put the leftovers into the fridge and found a spare shirt that he’d left at her apartment to wear. Balancing her duffle and a computer bag, they rode down to the garage. He drove Bella to Charlie and Renee’s, avoiding the coffee shop as he drove her away. Parking in the driveway, Bella turned to face him. “Be safe, Edward.”
“Always, love,” he said, trying to keep his face impassive but he was freaking out. “I love you, Bella.”
“I love you, too,” she murmured.
He slid his hand to her neck and kissed her deeply for a few moments. Pulling back, he pressed his forehead to hers. “Stay here, please? I’ll call you when I’m done.”
“I have work, Edward,” she argued.
“Call me and I’ll pick you up,” he offered. “Now, let me help you inside, love. Then, I have to go.” Edward kissed her again. They got out of the car and walked up to the front door. Bella unlocked the door. Edward put her bags inside.
“Bella! Edward! I’m so glad to see you both. Charlie told me you were on the way,” Renee sang, walking down the stairs. She hugged both of them tightly.
“I can’t stay, Mrs. Swan,” Edward said quietly. “I’m just dropping Bella off. I have to go in. Charlie called me.”
“He let me know that my baby girl was going to hang out with me. It’s been too long, baby girl,” Renee grinned. “Be safe, Edward.”
“Of course, Mrs. Swan,” Edward nodded. He cupped Bella’s cheek and kissed her again. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Bella whispered against his lips.
He stepped away and grinned crookedly. “Lock the door once I’m gone. Good night, ladies.”
Edward closed the door and Renee scurried to lock it. “We have too much to talk about, Isabella Marie,” she squealed. “You need to tell me all about it.”
“Mom,” Bella whined as Renee dragged her into the kitchen.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve sat down and dished about boys,” Renee chided. “Now, do you want to drink or have ice cream?”
With her recent behavior of drinking herself into a stupor, she didn’t want to fall back into old habits. “Ice cream.”
“Mint chocolate chip, cookies and cream or rocky road?” Renee asked.
“Cookies and cream,” Bella answered.
Renee dished out two bowls of ice cream and walked into the family room, curling up on the couch. “I knew that you and Edward were close, but you love each other?”
“Yeah,” Bella nodded, a smile spreading over her face. “But, it wasn’t without its drama.”
“Tell me. Everything,” Renee demanded gently.
Bella spent the better part of an hour telling her mother about Edward’s confession and his involvement in Angela’s death. She continued to tell her mom about how she just fell apart, uncertain how to process what he had said.
“Is that why you ignored my calls last week?” Renee asked.
“Yeah. It brought back some insecurities,” Bella shrugged.
“What do you mean?”
“Mom, you can’t possibly look at me and feel anger that I’m alive and Angela isn’t. There must be some level of resentment,” Bella muttered. “Hell, I felt that way for years. There are moments when I still do.”
“I can’t believe you’d think that, Bella,” Renee frowned. “I love you. I do not resent you. Losing a child is unbearable. But, I couldn’t hate you, even if you are Angela’s twin. Is that why you left so quickly after her death?”
“Yeah. I was a living, breathing reminder that Angela was gone and that I was still around,” Bella explained. “In regard to last week, I was grieving Angela all over again and I had someone to blame.”
“Edward hated himself for what happened,” Renee said. “But, after talking to your father, no one could have held on to your sister.”
“I know that now,” Bella retorted. “I just needed to make sense of what he told me. You know how I am.”
“Like your father,” Renee snickered. “Both of you are very deliberate and have to weigh every option. But, once you make up your mind, nothing can change it.” She put her bowl down and pulled her daughter into her arms. Bella snuggled against her mother. “I noticed a huge difference in you while you were with Edward. You were lighter, freer. Being in love suits you, baby girl.”
“I’m just terrified. Now that I have it, how can I cope if I lose it?” Bella mumbled against her mother’s shoulder.
“You won’t lose it. If you’re like your father, you will love Edward forever,” Renee answered.
“But, will he love me?” Bella asked.
“I have no doubt,” Renee reassured her. “Even a blind man can see how much he adores you, Bella.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Bella breathed, kissing her mother’s cheek.
“With that out of the way, you can tell me how he is in bed,” Renee quipped.
“Ugh, no, Mom,” Bella deadpanned. “That’s just wrong.”
A/N: A lot of stuff happened in here, but the biggest thing was obviously Edward and Bella’s resurgence of their relationship. We hope that Bella’s reaction was justified, along with their reunion. Talk about HOTT!
We’re building up to the climax of the story. The firebug is obviously growing ballsier. Why do you think the firebug is targeting the Swan family? Leave us your thoughts.
Anyhow, pictures from this chapter are on both of our blogs. You can also join us on Facebook: HeartForTwilight Productions, HeartForTwilight Book Group and Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. We’re also on twitter, too: tufano79 and HeartForTwiligh. Teasers and pictures will be posted on there.
We’ll hear more about the fire at the coffee shop and about the victim in the next chapter.
Thank you for reading!
Lots of Love,
HeartForTwilight and Tufano79