Chapter Twenty-Six

Start from the beginning

"I wish you could have been there for me when I really needed you," I choked out. "I know I'm getting better. But, it's so slow. When we're kissing, touching each other, I want to move forward, but, I'm terrified I'm going to panic like I did in Seattle."

"You're in charge, pretty Bella," he said, cupping my cheek. "I want to show you all of my love, but at your speed. I'll gladly give you what you're willing to take."

"And I want to give you more," I pouted. "I'm just frustrated. I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize," he chuckled, kissing my forehead and snuggling me closer. "Your mental anguish is not as prevalent as before. Your confidence has grown, at least when it comes to our relationship."

"You can feel that through our connection?" I asked.

"Part of it," he chuckled, threading our fingers together. "The rest I see when you're around me. You're not as skittish. You initiate physical contact and not out of comfort. You snuggle next to me while we watch that Real Housewives show. Though, those people are fucking lunatics. I think I can feel my brain rotting."

"It's mindless and dumb," I snickered. "Sometimes you just need to have brain candy."

"Well, I pay more attention to you," he said. "You're far more beautiful than those plastic, wannabe beauty queens."

"Aww, baby, you think I'm prettier than Silicon Barbie," I quipped. He made a face. I just laughed, moving so I was in his lap. I slid my hands up his shoulders, kissing his lips. I pressed my mouth to his once, angling my head to kiss him a second time and sighing as I kissed a third and final time. He smiled against my mouth.

"That's what I'm talking about," he said. "You are getting better. I'm so proud of you, pretty Bella. I love you."

"Thank you," I whispered. I closed my eyes, laying my head on his shoulder. The words were on the tip of my lips. I wanted to say them back, but I was still terrified. Would I ever open up my heart fully to show Edward the depth of my feelings?

xx OOTD xx

Working at my desk during my plan while my students were at music, I was inputting grades and checking over their growth from the beginning of the year. My cell phone was next to me. I'd been stalking it since I sent out my resumes. I'd had a few phone calls, thanking me for my interest, but no offers to interview. Edward breezed in, carrying a cup of coffee. I smiled at him. "You read my mind."

"You'd only been day dreaming about a latte since Jessica walked in with that venti frou-frou monstrosity from lunch," he laughed. "So, yes, I read your mind, pretty Bella." He placed it on my desk with a deep, elegant bow.

"Thank you, kind sir," I smiled. "Don't you ever grade or something?"

"Super brain," he chuckled, pointing to his head.

I scowled at him playfully as I used my human brain to determine if my students were meeting their goals for their grade and for their ages. For the most part, my students were growing, but there was a little girl who was falling behind. She was struggling with math and reading below grade level. "Look at this," I said, tugging on his arm. "Do you think that this little girl should get services?"

"Have you started the RTI process?" Edward asked.

"I brought her up to the social worker and administrative team and we are giving her accommodations and services, but she's not improving," I frowned.

"What about a case study?" Edward murmured, his brows pulled together as he looked at her lack of improvement.

"Mom doesn't want her labeled," I scoffed. "But, doesn't she see her daughter struggling to sound out words and get frustrated with not getting these concepts. I've tried talking to the mother, but ..." My cell phone rang. I looked down at the number. "Seattle number ..."

"Pick up," Edward said.

"Hello?" I answered.

"Is this Isabella Swan?" came a pleasant female voice.

"Yes," I replied.

"Wonderful! My name is Jane Hopkins and I'm the assistant superintendent for human resources from the Bellevue School District. We received your resume and we're opening up a new elementary school. We're looking for young, but experienced teachers to open up the building. I spoke with Mrs. Cope and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about you," Jane gushed. "Would you like to meet with me and the new principal to discuss the possibility of joining our team?"

I blinked over to Edward, concerned that this was a trap. He shrugged, showing me a website on his cell phone. I scanned the information. "When would you want to meet?"

"Whenever is convenient for you," she said. "I know you're on spring break next week. Mrs. Cope said that the buildings are closed. Perhaps then?"

"Okay. Let me talk to my fiancé and I'll let you know. Can I reach you at this number?" I asked.

"Yes. It'll probably link you to the main directory. Just ask for me," Jane said. "I look forward to meeting you, Ms. Swan."

"Thank you," I answered. "I'll be in touch." She said goodbye and I hung up my phone. "Could she be ...? What if ...?"

"I know, pretty Bella," Edward said. "Is she the real deal or is she one of Satan's pawns?" He tapped something on his phone. "I just sent one of my colleagues to check out Jane Hopkins. If she's authentic, do you want to go to that interview?"

"It's Bellevue," I said. "I mean, Bellevue is one of the most affluent parts of Seattle. I'd be getting twice what I made here!" Edward snickered, but his face sobered. "What? Is Jane ...?"

"No. Quil is fast, but not that fast," Edward snorted. "It's a text from Carlisle. He has information."

"About?"

"About why you're so important in this whole mess of things? Why Lucifer is fixated on you?" Edward said. "Or at least a plausible theory." He looked at me, his green eyes questioning and concerned. "Knowing that, we could begin to form a plan of attack. To end this. Once and for all."

A/N: Sorry, cliff hanger ... Leaving everyone in the dark regarding the reason why Bella is the focus of Lucifer/Riley's ire. And why she has the protection of some of the strongest angels in the entire legion of angels. We need answers and we're going to hear from Carlisle and Esme, in Edward's point of view. What will they say? And what about that job in Bellevue? Real or fake?

Leave me some lovin ...

Thank you for reading! 

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