What's Love? Ch 17
Before Edward can respond to me, Miah comes out to the kitchen. “What’s for dinner?” she asks me, not noticing her dad standing there.
“Miah Elizabeth Cullen what were you thinking just leaving the house like that?” Edward moves over to Miah, bending down so he can look into her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Dad. After dinner at Grandma’s, and with everyone worried about Bella, I thought I could help by telling her dad that Bella is a good person and that she would see him as soon as she could,” she answers with a slight shake to her voice.
“Next time you have to tell me, okay?” He grabs her up in a hug and she wraps her little arms around his neck. I thought my heart couldn’t get any fuller, but every time I see this man interact with Miah it grows more.
Edward stands up and turns to me. “What are we eating?” He gives me his panty dropping smile.
I chuckle over the fact that he invited himself. “I’m making spaghetti and some garlic bread.”
“Bella, I found the IP and connected accounts,” Charlie interrupts before Edward or Miah can say anything.
“Pull it up in my office,” I say, leaving the kitchen and going into the office. Spread across the touch screen wall are hologram pictures Charlie brought up with all the information he found.
“It appears that a Felix Harden, private investigator, has been paid by a phony account from Switzerland, but upon looking into it further I found it was funded by a James Hunter Corporation.” Even with his soothing voice informing me, I feel the heat spread through my veins.
Forgetting about my company in the kitchen, I order Charlie, “Dial James.”
It doesn’t take many rings for him to pick up. “My Bella.” His voice is not comforting; it sounds unhinged.
“What do you think you are doing?” I snarl in response.
“Bella, you are mine. I will find you and put you where you belong, next to me.” The conviction in his voice should and does unnerve me.
“James, you will never find me. I am not yours. I have never been yours.” I give the same conviction to my voice.
“Oh, sweetheart. It’ll be easier than you think.” With that he ends the phone call.
I can still feel the heat in my veins when I let out a frustrated growl. As I turn my body, I see Edward standing there with an equally upset face. I don’t see Miah, which I am thankful for. I don’t want to her to worry.
“Does anyone know you’re essentially being stalked by your ex-husband?” I can see how much strain it is on Edward to try to talk calmly to me.
“No one. I don’t think this is worth telling Jasper, just for him to get upset and lecture me.”
Edward closes his eyes and breathes very heavily through his nostrils.
“I don’t need the lecture, Edward, I’m not a child or an idiot. I know the law and he has not technically broken any of them. He hasn’t even harassed me with anything. He doesn’t know where I am. I never told him about anything, not about my life, nothing. He married me because I was good looking and I played the game and hustled him, okay?” I don’t know where my verbal filter is, but I wish it would activate already. I don’t want Edward to know me, know the hard-hearted bitch that played with men.
He closes the door and walks closer to me. I can feel the electricity between us and I have no idea why. His eyes never leave mine as he gets so close that I feel his chest against mine and his hands touching my arms very tenderly.
“I don’t think I can lose you, Bella.” His lips are almost to mine as he speaks.
Claustrophobia hits me hard, and I can feel the panic rise quickly. I push him away and start to count, trying to regulate my breathing.
“Shit, sorry Bella. I shouldn’t have done that.” He’s back by the door trying to give me my space.
“I never did real relationships, Edward. I have never let myself feel after everything that has happened to me.”
“I’m a patient man,” he simply replies to me. I am so confused about his meaning.
“Bella, Jasper has just arrived at the door. Should I let him in?” Charlie interrupts the moment.
“Yes.” I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m not ready to talk about my past with Edward. I don’t even know what I want with Edward.
Edward doesn’t look relieved though, more annoyed if I’m reading his body language correctly. Looking reluctant to end our conversation, he opens the door to let me out. I quickly pass him in hopes that I won’t get the feeling of electricity I was just getting over. But we brush against each other, and I feel the surge again. Our eyes meet briefly, and I can see that he feels it, too.
“Bella Marie Swan, don’t you dare do this shit again to me.” Jasper’s voice is full of relief, which voids his threat as he grabs me in a hug.
“I hope I didn’t cause you to have any relapses,” I say quietly to him.
“It’s fine, Bella.” He lets me go, his eyes flickering behind me. “Edward.”
“Hey, Jazz,” Edward replies back.
“Miah with you?”
“Yeah, she’s just on her laptop with headphones waiting for dinner.” Edward then looks to me with an eyebrow raised.
“Yes, I found Miah at the cemetery talking with my dad, so I brought her here and called Edward. I invited them for dinner. I thought I should have some company after being so secluded for the last three days. I better get back to doing that.” I release myself from Jasper and go back into the kitchen, listening to the conversation behind me.
“I heard you broke it off with Tanya. I imagine that wasn’t easy.” Jasper’s tone is mixed with approval and something else that I have a hard time identifying.
Edward clears his throat. “Yeah, she threw a fit, accusing me of cheating on her with someone. She destroyed some property, but she’s gone for good.”
“Now you can just take the chance to focus on you and Miah and being a single dad.” I recognize his protective brother voice. That's the tone; he’s trying to keep Edward away from me.
“I’m just going to look in on Miah.” Edward ignores Jasper’s statement and leaves the kitchen.
I turn to Jasper, who’s staring back at me. I can see it in his face that he knows I know.
“What do you think you’re doing, Jasper?” I sigh.
“I’m saving you from another broken relationship. You need to work on you, and he needs to work on him. He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, Bella. But you came here to be different. How is jumping into a relationship with him just barely after his ends and with you freshly divorced the answer?”
I turn back around to continue to shred cheese, contemplating what he said. He’s right, there are many things I need to work on before I can really commit. But do I want that? Do I want something with Edward?
“Jasper, I don’t know what I want. And as for a relationship with Edward, I don’t even know if I could. I’m too fucked up for someone that has a daughter that needs him. So, don’t worry about that, Jazz. I just want to be a friend.” Saying friend feels so fake, it hurts my heart to think that maybe that’s all I’ll have with Edward.
Edward and Miah join us in the kitchen and Jasper leaves us to have dinner at home. We joke and laugh, something that I've always wanted. A real family dinner.
Miah goes back in my office while Edward helps me clean up. “Jasper doesn’t like the idea of you and me, does he?” Edward’s eyes are burning into the side of my face waiting for the answer. I don’t want to lie.
“He thinks a relationship right now for either of us is a terrible idea. I have several issues that I need to work on. You literally just got out of a seven or eight-month relationship.” I turn to him and see the same burning desire in his eyes that I saw when he was about to kiss me.
“I think we could be friends for however long you need, but I’ll be honest with you. I want more someday.”
“What if I can never give you that? What if I’m too damaged, Edward?” I feel my eyes begin to water.
“I’ll take whatever you want to give me. But I have a hard time believing that you are too damaged. Maybe someday when you’re ready, you can tell me why you think that way.” He brushes my hair off my shoulder, sending shock waves through my body.
“Dad, are we leaving soon?” Miah walks into the kitchen with her face in the tablet.
Edward quickly steps away from me. “Yeah, baby girl, it’s probably time to go.”
Miah looks up and her face shows disappointment.
“You can come over whenever you want, Miah,” I reassure her.
She walks over and gives me a big hug and I return it.
She walks over and gives me a big hug and I return it.
“Does that extend to me?” Edward gives me that sexy smile of his and I can’t help but chuckle.
“Yes, Edward, you may come over here whenever you want.”
We exchange our numbers so we can text and talk, so we can become friendlier. Yeah, friendly.