A Woman of Conviction Ch 12

Chapter 12
EPOV


Dropping Bella off at her apartment and not going in with her is something that I never thought I had the control to do. I want to go in and kiss her and tell her that everything is going to be okay. That Jake is nothing and doesn’t deserve the tears I can see in her eyes since we left Jasper’s office.


I kick my shoes off, then yank off my tie, and finally I toss my jacket on the back of a chair. All I can do is think of the past week. I got my family to completely furnish and paint the apartment below mine, and even though my parents hadn’t met Bella they pitched in. They couldn’t be there for the surprise, but I let Bella know they were involved.


The thousands of times she said thank you and I appreciate this so much tells me this woman could never want me just for my money. She is so proud and wants to earn everything she receives, which is why I also know that it killed her to not yell at us for what we did for her.


I find my way into the shower and wonder how she really feels about the project I‘ve her started on.


I settle myself on the couch with my laptop, trying to work, but thinking maybe I should go down and see Bella. Would she want to see me? She probably hasn’t had alone time like this. Maybe I shouldn’t disturb her.


The internal debate in my head rages on as my body finds myself at her door listening like a fucking stalker.


I think I hear sobs coming from the apartment, along with swearing. I can’t help but use my key to open the door quietly. I see Bella on the couch crying with her laptop in her lap.


I need to leave. She obviously wants to be alone. My sane side finally comes through and I leave her alone, thanking God she didn’t hear me.


My dreams that night are plagued with thoughts of Bella, kissing and  holding her, making her pain go away. I wake up late and in a hurry to get to the field. It isn’t until I arrive that I realize that I forgot about Bella and I should have given her a ride.


“Fuck, fuck!” I roughly run my hands through my hair, thinking about what I should do. I feel a pair of arms wrap around my waist.


“Edward!” Lucian hugs me hard, and I pat his back and smile. I love this kid.


“How was your night with Mike?” I ask, leading him to a bench to sit and chat.


“It was awesome, his mom is a baker, so she had lots of cookies and cupcakes for us to test try. And Mike has so many gadgets and toys that his dad gets him for not spending time because he’s gone a lot.”


I nod my head, feeling sorry for Mike just a bit, and then a thought comes to me. “Does he wish he could spend more time with his dad instead of getting gifts?”


“I asked him that and he said yeah, and then he asked about my dad.” I can feel the anger and sadness all in one in his voice.


“What did you say?”


He shrugs his shoulders. “I said I didn’t know him.”


I nod my head, because I have the opening I was going for. “Do you want to?”


“I don’t want to get to know him. I’m glad he doesn’t want us. My mom cried every night ‘til she got the job with you,” his voice chokes up. I just want to take this kid, say he’s mine, and be done with it. I want to kill Jake and make him pay for all the hurt he‘s caused.


I rub my neck, trying to think of something to say to him. Nothing comes to mind, so I wrap my arm around him and allow him to lean into me for comfort and support.


“I got your cleats, big guy.” Bella’s voice breaks me out of my dilemma as she sits down and hands Lucian his cleats.


“Thanks, Mom.” Lucian hugs his mom tightly. I watch her eyes roam over me. It makes me want to flex as if I was in high school. I have fucking issues.


I watch her nibble her lip; I want that lip between my teeth. Fuck!


She clears her throat and puts her focus on Lucian while I find myself watching Emmett working with the kids. Damon is a little beast and since Emmett’s been working with him I notice a difference in his attitude.


But I can’t keep my eyes away from the beautiful creature just a few inches away. She’s running her long fingers through Lucian’s shaggy hair.
She asks him the same thing I did about his sleepover. She looks even better than when I first met her. Her hair has life, there’s now color in her cheeks, and she hasn’t missed a meal since I hired her, so I can see the curves slowly forming on her and I want to explore them all.
I can see out the corner of my eye that the first game is about to start. “Better get to your seat, Bella, the game is starting.”


“Right, yes.” She seems startled at my announcement. Then she kisses Lucian’s head and leaves to go to the stands.


I watch her walk away; her jeans hug her so perfectly.


“Dude,” Lucian breaks my stare-down with Bella’s ass.


I know I look guilty as hell when I turn to Lucian who is smirking, his brown eyes sparkling with evil. The stare-down is long and silent and his grin gets cockier.


“Alright, you busted me,” I give in, and slouch on the bench to watch Damon play an amazing defense. I get very in involved with watching the game.


“I don’t want my mom to cry anymore.” The words are but a whisper.


I nod my head while leaning on my knees, closing my hands together. “I don’t want to ever make your mom cry, bub, but sometimes we make mistakes. I can promise to try really hard never to have your mom cry.” I run my fingers through my hair.


“Okay,” he leans into me.


“Come on, we better start warming up, ourselves.” I gather the team up and start the warm-up process with Quil.


As the kids are doing stretches, I see Damon make the winning touchdown and the end of the game is called.


With the small break between games I get the kids on the field for more stretching and positive talk and before I know it the game begins. The kids play hard and we win.


“Great game, guys,” Emmett comes up with Jasper, slapping me on the back and giving Lucian and Damon high fives.


“Thanks, but we are only as good as our coaches.” Damon smiles.


I can’t help but laugh and wonder what he could want.


“Who the hell are you?” I hear Bella yell from behind me. I turn around and see her approach two women who look scared as hell.


“What the hell? Lucian, Damon, stay behind us, please,” I tell them and walk over to stand next to Bella.


“You’re sorry? Please, you’ve been staring at my friend and her kids during both games.” I hear Tanya tell off one of them as I come up to Bella’s side.


“I think there has been some confusion.” The older woman’s voice has some conviction to it.


“I’m waiting.” Bella crosses her arms.


The older one looks to the other woman, who is shaking her head, but the older one seems to ignore it. “See, my husband warned my daughter here about her fiancĂ©. Saying that he screwed over his daughter that doesn’t speak with him anymore. He made mistakes that led to it, of course. Anyway, Leah wanted to see for herself if what he said was true.”


I’m confused as to what the hell is going on here. I turn my eyes to Bella, whose body is visibly shaking and looks like she is going to collapse.


“Who is your husband?” Bella manages to get out as she leans towards me and I put my arm around her to support her.


“Charlie Swan,” the woman answers clearly.


Bella falls into my side and lets out a small sob. “No, no.” I hold her to me as I feel her tears fall and her head shakes back and forth. Without warning, she pulls away and steps towards them.


“No, we are not doing this. I cannot believe you came here and did this in front of my kids. I’m going to take them to lunch and forget everything that has just happened. You want to know about your ‘fiancĂ©’, ask his sorry ass. As far as Charlie Swan goes, he can keep those regrets to himself.” She turns away from them and I follow blindly.


“Come on, boys, we have a lunch to get to and some important stuff to talk about.” She takes each of their hands, ignoring the rest of us. Or forgetting us in her haste.


“Catch up to her, Edward, I’ll call her later.” Tanya pushes me to go faster.


“We’ll call you later, sweetie!” My mom yells at me as I run to catch up with Bell and the boys


“Bella,” I touch her shoulder.


She whips around with wide, scared eyes, but she relaxes when she recognizes me. “Edward,” she says my name in relief.


I can’t help but smile. “I thought maybe I could impose on your lunch.”


She smiles in return. “I think I would like that.”


As we walk I ponder, who is Charlie Swan to Bella. I have no clue on any of her family and why they aren’t part of her life, or why would they leave her and the boys alone and close to starving.


Not wanting to be pissed off when we sit down for lunch at a mom and pop diner, I focus on the incredible woman and her two kids who are quiet.
The silence continues after we order our food.


“Mom, who were those people?” Lucian finally asks, keeping his eyes down and nibbling on his lip, obviously an inherited trait from his mother.


I watch Bella run her hand through her hair and puff out some air. “I really don’t know, hun. But there is something else I really need to talk to you guys about.”


I shift, trying to maintain a neutral face as Bella grabs my hand and laces her fingers between mine.


The boys shift their eyes down, clearly waiting for the worst.


“I’ve been talking to Irina and Jasper. You know how they’re lawyers?” I feel confused at the direction she’s taking, but who am I to judge.


“Yeah,” they answer together.


She swallows hard. “You see, for a little while now, Jake has been wanting to give up his rights to the two of you.”


“Who is Jake?” Damon asks in confusion. And for the first time, Lucian looks angrily at his brother.


“He’s the biological donation that helped create us.” Lucian’s words are laced with anger.


Damon looks sad, “He hasn’t even met me.”


Bella lets my hand go to reach for theirs, so I hang my arm on the back of the booth.


“I know, sweetie, and if he did, he would regret ever wanting this.”


“Good, I don’t want him at all, Mom. Can you just tell Aunt Irina to give him what he wants?” Lucian crosses his arms tightly against his chest.


I watch Bella’s eyes water just a bit as she nods her head. “Okay, baby. Damon, are you okay with this?”


His little shoulders shrug and tears dribble from his brown eyes. My heart breaks so much for him.


“I feel really sad and angry that he doesn’t want me. I want to see him just once.”


“Why!?” Lucian turns his whole body to Damon.


“Hey,” Bella tries to defuse the situation before it gets worse. “If that’s what you want, Damon, I’ll try really hard to make it happen.”


“Oh, it’ll happen,” I guarantee without realizing that I just interrupted. I can feel Bella’s eyes burn into me.


I turn my head to her and mouth sorry.


“Can you really make it happen?” Damon asks shyly.


I know right then, it doesn’t matter if I have to pay the bastard a million dollars, he will meet Damon. “Yes, I can, big guy.” I give him a warm smile.


This seems to make him happy, but Lucian seems angry.


“Are you mad at me?” Damon asks Lucian.


“I just don’t understand why. He doesn’t want us, Damon. But whatever.” Lucian grabs his phone and headphones and tunes us out.


Bella sighs. “Let’s go home.”


I find myself wrapping my arm around Bella’s shoulders as we wait for the driver that will take us back to the apartments. She seems comfortable with the affection, leaning into me.


“You better not back out of your promise, Edward, or I will castrate you.” Before I can respond to her threat, the car shows up and takes us home.


The boys disappear into their rooms while I seem to be transfixed on Bella in the kitchen. She’s going through dinner ideas, pulling different things out.


“You know, my dad kicked me out right after I was accepted to community college.” She slams down a can and then grips the countertop. I walk closer, waiting for her to continue.


“My mom died when I was eight, but I lost two parents because my dad didn’t even try to pretend to care for me anymore. That’s how I got involved with Jake. He gave me attention and the affection I was craving. Charlie helped me when Lucian came, he even defended me when I got pregnant with Damon when Jake was pressuring me to get an abortion. Then there it was, I graduated high school and he told me I had two weeks to get a job and move out. I was a parent and an adult and he wasn’t going to help me anymore. What kind of parent does that?” Her body is trembling, and her voice is choking on tears.



I want to take all the pain away. I turn her around, seeing her sad brown eyes. “I am so sorry, Bella. If you’ll let me, I’ll be here, no matter what. I am never going to leave you.” I press my lips to hers.

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