I sighed, glancing down at my phone. Once again, my mother was calling and I knew I couldn't ignore her any longer. It had been a week since Junior found out about my relationship with Bella, and my mother had been relentless the entire time.
"Edward," my mother said, her voice cold. "It's about time you picked up your phone. I think we need to talk."
"I really think this is between me and Junior. I appreciate you letting him stay with you, but—"
"When my grandson walks into my house and breaks down crying like I haven't seen him do since he was a child, it's very much my business," she snapped. It had been a long time since I was on the receiving end of my mother's anger. "Honestly, Edward, what the hell were you thinking? Bella?Of all the women out there? She's still a child!"
"She's a grown woman who is able to make her own decisions. Besides, It was never my intention to get involved with her. I didn't go searching her out, Mom. It just happened, and I love her. I love her in a way that I never thought was possible. Do you think I wanted to hurt my son? This isn't just some fling or midlife crisis, if that's what you're thinking. I needher."
"No, of course I don't think any of that." She sighed, and I could hear her voice softening a little. "But you had to realize that this would happen when you started seeing her. He's not happy, Edward. He feels beyond betrayed. Both of you broke his heart."
"I did realize it would happen, but I can't even find the words to explain how I feel about her. She doesn't love him as anything more than a friend. If she had, I'd never—"
"I know. But that doesn't make the sting any less, Edward. Don't you remember your first love? It was all-consuming, wasn't it? Could you imagine if your father swooped in and stole Jessica from you?"
"Like I just told you, I realize all of this!" I shouted before taking a deep breath, attempting to calm myself down. "I know this is a huge mess and it's all I've thought about lately. But I can't give her up; she's everything."
"No one is asking you to give her up. But you have to talk to Junior. I know that he means everything to you, as well. You both need to talk to him. Come over for dinner tomorrow night, and make sure you bring Bella."
I closed my eyes, leaning back in my chair. "We'll be there."
When I arrived home that evening, Bella was nowhere to be found, but that was nothing new
as of late. She'd been spending more time with her parents and less time with me. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach and how my heart clenched when I thought about it. She was scared and pulling away from me, even if she didn't realize it herself.
I grabbed my cell phone, dialing her number quickly. It rang a few times before she finally picked up.
"Hello?" I could hear the tension in her voice almost immediately.
"Hey, sweetheart, I just got home and I was missing you."
"Oh, I miss you, too. I know I haven't been around much—"
"Yeah. I've noticed." There was more hostility in my tone than I meant to have come through.
"I'm sorry, I really do miss you." Her voice was barely above a whisper and I felt like an ass for having snapped at her. "I'm just trying to wrap my mind around everything. I was so wrong to think everyone would just willingly accept us."
"Come and be with me," I pleaded. "We can talk, we can deal with all of this together. I need you, Bella. I don't know how to handle all of this on my own, either." I swallowed around the lump that was forming in my throat. "Please, I need to see you."
"Give me twenty minutes." She sighed before hanging up.
I could feel my reason for concern worsen when I heard the knock on my door. It had been months since she hadn't used her key to let herself in.
I pulled open the door and the sight of her twisted my heart and took my breath away in the same moment. I pulled her against me as quickly as I could, holding her tight. "God, I've missed you."
"It's only been a few days, Edward." She relaxed in my arms, laying her head on my chest.
"A few days too many." I kissed her head before leading her to the couch. "Talk to me, sweetheart. Don't start keeping me out now, please."
"I just feel... I don't even know what I feel, Edward. I knew Eddie would be hurt, I'm not that stupid, but between him and my dad..."
I pulled her onto my lap, wrapping my arms around her waist. "You didn't expect such a huge reaction from Junior."
She shook her head. "After talking to my mom, I can almost understand my dad's issues. But with Eddie? I feel like I'm going to have to choose between you or him. I don't know that he and I will ever be the same again, and I hate that."
"I'm sorry," I said quietly. "Do you still want this; do you still want to be with me?" I felt myself stop breathing while Bella went silent. I hadn't expected her to have to contemplate if she still wanted to be part of this relationship.
I already knew my answer. I wanted her for the rest of my life. I'd never stop fighting for a relationship with my son, but I needed her just as much.
"I love you a ridiculous amount, Edward. More than I knew was possible. I've been thinking about this for days, if all of this was worth it. In August, when I kissed you, I was lonely. I was sad that the one true friend I had was leaving me, and you were a part of him." She sighed, stopping for a moment. "I feel like that sounds creepy, and I'm not explaining myself right." She squeezed her eyes shut and I couldn't help but chuckle softly.
"You're doing fine, sweetheart. Keep going."
"Right. But then, we slept together. At first, it was just about being close to someone and, well, really great sex."
I couldn't hide my smirk as she smacked my chest, a small smile on her lips.
"Anyway, It quickly became more than that. I love who I am and how I feel with you. I love who you are when you're with me. I do want this, Edward, but I can't just sit back and not fight for my friendship with Eddie. Even if he never wants to see me again, at least I'll know I tried."
"I spoke to my mom today. She doesn't think this is hopeless, either. She wants us to come to dinner tomorrow so we can all talk. He's hurt, but I know his heart; he won't stay mad for very long."
"How am I supposed to face your parents? They must think I'm a horrible person."
I shook my head. I knew that my parents—no matter how confused and disappointed they were with me—would never think badly of her. "My parents have always loved you. That's not going to change just because of our situation."
"I really hope you're right. I don't know that I can handle anyone else being mad at me," she said as she curled up against me. I wrapped my arms around her, content to just have her in my arms after this last week. I held her like that until her breathing evened out. I waited until I knew she was fully asleep before carrying her up to bed.
Do you think Eddie is ready to see them, or is it too soon? Let me know your opinion!