A/N: We've reached the prologue!
I raced down the stairs, taking a seat in my normal spot on the very last step. He walked through the door with a bag in his hand, smiling at me when he saw me sitting there.
"You took long enough, Eddie." I jumped up, grabbing the bag from him.
He rolled his eyes, but the smile never left his face. "Jesus, Bella, you know how long the line is at the ice cream place on a Friday."
I took out both of our sundaes, handing him his. "Come on, it's an all new Kardashian's tonight!"
He groaned loudly. "Fuck, how do I let you rope me into this shit?"
"You love me." I regretted it the second it fell from my lips. There was no way I could hold off on telling him any longer. It wasn't fair to him. He deserved to know the truth.
The thrill I'd felt moments ago from being with Edward was gone. The Kardashians and the ice cream were long forgotten as I followed him into the living room. I watched as he took a seat on the couch. I had no clue how to even begin this conversation.
I breathed in deeply before pushing out a hard breath. I flopped down on the couch next to him. "Eddie, I shouldn't have—"
He gave a mirthless laugh, cutting me off. "It's not like it isn't true, Bella. Of course I love you. I've loved you forever, I just never had the balls to tell you. I was always afraid you'd reject me. I'm too late, anyway." He shrugged.
"It wouldn't have worked between us, Eddie. I love you so much, but it's never been as more than my best friend."
"I know," he said quietly. "I know you've never looked at me that way, but it doesn't make it suck any less. Anyway,where's this guy you've been dating? I've been home for a week and haven't heard anything about him. What's so special about him that you see him as more than a friend, but not me?"
I felt my heart hammering so hard it was painful. "He... he makes me feel things I never have before. I can't really explain it; it's complicated. I'm just hoping you'll understand, eventually."
"Don't talk to me in fucking code, Bella. It's complicated? How?" His eyes widened. "Oh shit. You're not dating one of your professors, are you, Bella?"
"Eddie, stop. No, I'm not, but it's even more complicated than that."
That was the moment Edward chose to walk into the living room. "Hey guys, what's going on?"
I could tell he was trying to school his features; he'd clearly overheard our conversation.
Eddie shrugged. "Just trying to get some information from Bella about this guy she's been dating for the last few months. Dude can't even show himself to meet her best friend. Sounds like a total chump."
"Eddie, it's not—"
"Bella," Edward cut me off before turning to his son, his tone serious. "Junior, can I talk to you?"
Eddie glanced between the two of us. "Um, yeah, what's going on, Dad?"
"You know that I'd never intentionally hurt you, Junior. But, there's no other way to tell you. Bella and I have been dating for the past couple of—"
Eddie's fist connected with Edward's jaw, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Eddie had jumped up from his seat before Edward could even finish his sentence.
"You fucking bastard," he seethed. "She's half your fucking age, and you've known for years I'm in love with her! Years!" he yelled in Edward's face. Edward just stood there, letting him have his moment. "Some fucking father you are."
He turned toward me, his eyes full of anger and hurt. "I don't even… how could you?" He shook his head as he left the room, and a few moments later we heard the slam of the front door.
I held an ice pack to Edward's jaw. "You're going to have some bruise," I whispered around the lump in my throat.
"It's not like I didn't expect or deserve it."
My eyes widened and tears started to flow again. "Edward, if this is going to come between—"
"No, Bella," he snapped at me. "We both knew he'd be hurt. You're not fucking running away from me. I know my son. He'll come around."
"Just like my father? What about your parents, Edward? What are theygoing to think? Or the people in your office? Or—"
He pushed the ice pack down, pulling me tightly against him. "It's going to be okay. I've already told you, I never would have continued this relationship in the beginning—no matter how attracted I was to you—if I didn't believe that. Come on, sweetheart, let's try to get some sleep."
"Is safe at my parents' house. My mom left a message earlier."
"They know, then?"
He hummed quietly. "They do. She didn't have much to say, but I suspect both my parents will want to have a talk with me, eventually."
"Why is this all so complicated? Why can't we just be happy and in love?"
He sighed heavily, his fingers combing softly through my hair. "I think you're going to learn, Bella, that nothing truly worth having ever comes easily."
I tossed and turned all night, my mind never truly shutting off. All I could focus on was how hurt Eddie had looked. I hated that I'd caused him so much pain, but in the end, I couldn't deny that I wanted to be with Edward. I loved him, and I needed him. When he walked into a room, my heart sped up. I felt a connection to him on a level that I'd never felt with anyone else. It was as if I'd found a missing part of my soul.
When I finally woke up from my restless sleep the next morning, I found Edward's side of the bed cold. I glanced over at the clock, noticing it was after eleven. He'd been at work for a few hours already.
I rolled out of bed and padded down the stairs to the kitchen. I gasped loudly as I walked straight into Eddie.
"Shit, sorry," he mumbled, reaching out to steady me. He quickly pulled his hands away as though I'd burned him.
"Don't worry, I'm just here to pack up my stuff. I'm staying with my grandparents for the rest of the break. I won't get in the way of your little love affair," he spat while glaring at me.
"I didn't mean for this to happen. I never—"
"I really don't care, Bella," he said coolly before he turned and walked toward his room.
I took a deep breath, willing myself to not cry again. This was all such a huge mess. I wasn't sure we could ever fix the hole we'd dug ourselves into.
"I don't know what to do, Mom," I cried. "He's so angry. He wants nothing to do with me. I hate that I've hurt him, but I love Edward. I don't want to give him up."
Mom sighed, pulling me against her for a hug. "What does Edward have to say about all this?"
"He's so sure Eddie will come around, eventually. That's what I thought in the beginning, too, but with Dad, and then Eddie's reaction, I'm not so sure anymore."
"Your father wouldn't have been happy with anyone you brought home. He would have found some reason to not like them because you're his little girl. Plus, you have to admit you and Edward together is a bit shocking. He's twenty years older, Bella."
I closed my eyes tightly. "But I love him."
"And I think you're learning the hard way that loving someone isn't always easy. I would let Edward take the lead on this one. You might be Eddie's best friend, but Edward raised him. He knows him, just like I know you. If he thinks he'll come around, I'd take his word for it."
She kissed the top of my head. "That's what I'm here for."