Going Home

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Bella awoke with the dawn, cold and hungry. Rain dropped on the metal roof over Edward's shed outside, hard but musical in its own way. The stillness of the room didn't surprise her, knowing that Edward had likely slept on the couch or the pullout in his office.

After showering and dressing, she packed up what little she had brought with her. Her laptop was in his office, which she'd retrieve in a few minutes. She needed a moment to pull herself together.

"You're so stupid," she said to herself. She had known that the thing between her and Edward was temporary. She wasn't supposed to fall in love with the brute.

A part of her thought that the only thing that held him back was his physical and mental health. The seizures weren't life threatening, just something he'd have to endure of the rest of his life. The bouts of memory loss he said he experienced didn't seem to effect much, other than constant lists and notes he kept around the house. Hadn't she shown that she could handle the nightmares? She was light enough sleeper, the moment he started tossing and turning, she'd slip out of bed and do what she did the night before. She showed him that his scars didn't bother her, but he was sending her away despite all that.

"Breakfast is done," Edward said from the doorway, his shoulder leaning lightly against the dark wood. She did her best to put a smile on and joined him. He surprised her by pressing his lips to hers briefly. "You ready to head back?"

She had no intention of trying to force him to love her, or staying where she was no longer wanted. Lie, she told herself. "Of course, I miss my house."

He nodded, his eyes running over every feature of her face. She was good at lying; the firm she used to work for showed her how. Funny how all those lessons flooded back now and not when she first met Edward. Maybe then, her heart wouldn't be breaking.

No regrets, she said to herself. She'd never regret loving him.

"My parents can't wait to see you." She hadn't known he called his parents other than the first day to tell them she was staying with him. "Apparently, there's something of a surprise waiting for us when we get back into town."

"Sweet," she said, and without further ado, she brushed past him, bags in hand. Edward was quick to take them from her and joined her after depositing them in his truck. A certain scent seemed to hang around the kitchen, something she hadn't recognized until he told her about why he smoked.

They ate in silence once again, and though Bella wanted to say something, she simply couldn't find the words. She worried she'd beg him to let her stay. Together, they washed dishes as her iPod played nearby.

A soft ballad started, one that she played often when she was feeling alone. As Edward put the last plate away, he dried his hands on a dishtowel and faced her.

"Dance with me?" He held out his hand, waiting for her to take it.

Didn't he know he was only making it harder for her to let go? Despite the pain she'd undoubtedly feel the days that lay ahead, she slipped her hand into his. His other arm wrapped tightly around her waist, as he held their intertwined hands higher. She tried to put some space between them, but Edward countered her attempt. Instead of asking her to sing, his voice murmured the words against her ear.

Too many things had happened in the last few weeks, and finally, the dam sprung a leak. She hid her tears in his shirt, thankful for the thick flannel he wore. His hand, wonderfully warm, slid down her back to pull her even closer. She felt him hard and thick against her stomach and couldn't keep the moan from slipping through her lips. She shouldn't want him still, and she knew that it would make things harder later, but the truth was that it was too late. He slid his hand down further and cupped her ass, but did nothing more than sway in place to the beat of the music that played.

A thousand and one thoughts seemed to turn over in Edward's mind. Many seemed as ridiculous as the last and every single one of them was an attempt to keep her with him. They were already halfway to her house. Her camera lay between them on the seat; she hadn't touched it once, a stark contrast from when they drove up to his cabin days earlier.

He used to enjoy the silence, but now it seemed too thick to wade through. The words he wanted to say made his tongue stick to the roof of his mouth.

"The rain is coming down harder," she said, looking out her window at the grey, ominous sky.

"It's supposed to storm all night." He hated that they were discussing the weather, when they should be talking about what happened next.

"Fitting," she said under her breath, her forehead resting on the cold glass.

"Why do you say that?" She sent him a glare. "Fuck, don't look at me like that."

"Why? Do you want me to come out and say you're an asshole? How about, you're exactly like the other men in my life. You're pushing me away like they did." She threw her hands up and huffed, gloriously angry. He tried not to wince. "You'd think I'd learn to not let myself get attached to emotionally detached men. For once, I want someone to love me enough to fight for me, damn it. And that's clearly not you."

She screamed when he pulled the truck over onto the shoulder, kicking up mud, gravel, and weeds. He didn't give a fuck, because he had made a monumental mistake by not saying anything. It was time to correct it and she would listen to him, even he had to turn back and tie her to a bed to do it.

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