Fire Of Your Soul @tufano79
Chapter 11

Thank you, again, for sticking with us and for leaving a review, if you did. We appreciate you sharing our love of Twilight. Unfortunately, this is not ours. We just like to play with the characters created by Stephenie Meyer.

Up next will be a continuation of the previous chapter, discussing the mysterious fire and then the benefit.

Chapter Eleven

Edward stood up, holding his hand out to Bella. She took it and she put the rose back behind his ear. He laughed, spinning her into his arms and dipping her deeply. With a kiss to her neck, he led her to the dance floor where they spent the rest of their night. Their dances were just prolonged foreplay. After another slow dance, Bella looked up at Edward through her lashes. "I think we've been here long enough, Edward. Spending the night in your arms … it makes me yearn for more," she whispered. She kissed his lips, barely grazing his mouth with hers. "Make me yours, Edward."

He pulled back, searching her eyes. They were sparkling with desire, certainty. "No turning back, Bella. I'm yours and you're mine."

"Yes," she nodded. "Want to get out of here?"

He crashed his lips against hers, forgetting where he was momentarily. Pressing his forehead to hers, he nodded. "Fuck, yes."

The car ride back to Bella's condo was filled with sexual tension. Edward held Bella's hand, passing his thumb over her knuckles. He relished the feel of her warm skin underneath his calloused palm. Her skin was so soft compared to his, so fragile.

Bella shuddered with each caress of Edward's thumb. She was eager to be with him, to make love to him. It had been a long time since she'd been with someone. Not since she moved to Seattle. Self-love was okay, but it obviously lacked intimacy and human connection. Vibrators did the job, but Bella needed more. She craved more. She desired to be with Edward.

As a lover.

As a friend.

As her future.

As her forever?

Bella had always been distant with her emotions. She focused her attention on her schooling and then, her patients. She fucked. She had one-night stands. She never wanted the complications of a relationship. She only grew more romantically distant after Angela's death. Her trysts were in closets, bar bathrooms and hotel rooms. She would not have anyone in her home in Tribeca. She would not sleep with them, kicking them out after they'd fulfilled their purpose: orgasms and pleasure.

With Edward, she did not see him as a human dildo. Her previous partners were nameless, faceless sex toys and used for a fuck. Most of the time, they weren't a good fuck. In Edward, she saw something special and she wanted it. She felt a connection, a spark of desire, intimacy and a tiny burning flame of love. She wanted it more than anything she'd ever wanted in her entire life, save for another conversation with her twin sister.

Am I making the right decision, Ang? Bella thought to herself.

Edward picked up her hand and kissed her knuckles. He turned to look at her, a crooked smile on his handsome face.

Okay, Ang. You made your point.

Clearing her throat, Bella whispered, "I'm nervous. It's not like I'm virgin or anything. I just …"

"It's different with us, Bella," Edward replied. "I can't speak for you, but I know that the past few years haven't been the easiest for me. Moving across the country, starting a new job, finding out my mom's sick … I used sex as a release. I did not do relationships."

"Me, too. I was always driven with my schooling and work, and when …" Bella murmured, trailing off as she remembered her sister. "Is this where we're heading? A relationship?"

"Bella, in my mind, we're already in a relationship," Edward said, downshifting the car and exiting the highway. "I only see you. I want you. I can't imagine being with anyone else, beautiful."

Her heart stammered against her ribcage as he took her hand again. Nervous butterflies assaulted her stomach, but her usual need to flee was noticeably absent. She wanted it. She wanted him. "I really like that. It's been a long time since I've been in a relationship. I think I dated my last boyfriend in high school." Her face flushed. "No boyfriends, just sex."

"I don't want 'just sex'," Edward breathed. "I want to take my time. I want to taste every inch of your delectable body. I was to make love to you in the starlight, sleeping next to you and waking you up as the sun rises to take you again."

"Hmmmm," Bella whimpered, shifting on the leather seat. "Edward …"

"Are you getting turned on, Bella?" he purred.

"I was beyond turned on when I saw you wearing a tuxedo," she spluttered. "The entire night has been foreplay."

"Good to know," Edward snickered, turning onto Bella's street.

"You can park in the garage," Bella said. "I have two spots. Obviously, since there's one of me, the other spot is open."

"Is that invitation to spend the night, Dr. Swan?" Edward asked. "Making you love in the starlight and bringing you pleasure as the sun rises?"

"I don't think I can let you go, Edward. Not after tonight, dancing in your arms," Bella murmured. She gave him instructions to access the garage. Once he was parked next to Bella's Volvo, he hopped out of the car and helped Bella out of the passenger seat. Threading their fingers together, they walked to the elevator and rode up to Bella's floor. "Why haven't you kissed me since we left?"

"If I kissed you, I won't be able to stop, Bella," Edward answered. "It's taking all of my self-control not to pin you to the wall and … feel how turned on you are."

"Right," Bella panted heavily. This man's voice was liquid sex. The doors opened on her floor and she fumbled to get her keys out of her purse. Edward stood behind her, his hands resting on her hips. She took a breath, sliding the key into the door. With a flick of her wrist, the lock was disengaged and the door opened. The interior of her condo blurred and she pressed against the now closed door. Edward's lean, hard body was pressed against her. His hands were caged around her head. "Don't hold back … I want this." She fisted his lapels. "I want you."

Edward took a moment to relish the beauty before him. Bella, with her alabaster skin, red lips, curtain of chocolate hair, and loving heart was freely giving herself to him. He stared into her espresso-colored eyes, searching for uncertainty. They were swirling with lust, desire and want. He moved his hands to take her face into his hands. He ran his thumb over her lower lip, earning him a needy whimper. "No turning back, Bella."

"No turning back," she said, her voice barely above a whisper but it was filled with absolute certainty.

That was all he needed. Her breathy plea snapped something inside him. He crashed his lips against hers. Their mouths molded perfectly together. Their kiss started desperate, needy but morphed into something more controlled. It was about tasting and sampling each other. Edward moved his hands down Bella's body and he cupped her ass, guiding her away from the door. "Bedroom?"

"Down the hall," she mumbled against his lips.

Edward pulled away and swept Bella into his arms, bridal style. She gasped, gripping Edward's shoulders. Her lips found his neck and nipped at his ear. Edward groaned, making his way to her bedroom. When he eased inside, he took a second to look at her space. It was so her.

Elegant.

Sexy.

Sultry.

The king-sized bed took up the back wall and it overlooked a bank of windows that displayed downtown Seattle. He gently put her on her feet. "Your room is beautiful."

"I still owe you a tour," Bella said.

"Not right now," he said. "Right now, I want to enjoy the view in front of me." He picked up her hand and walked her to the bed. He sat down with a seductive smirk on his face. "If I try to take off your dress, I'm going to ruin it."

"Are you asking me to give you a private strip tease?" Bella quipped.

"I'm fairly certain you'd like to keep your dress," he retorted, arching a sexy brow at her.

"I do like it," Bella laughed, sliding the skirt of her dress up her legs. "I would like to wear it again."

Edward watched as her shapely legs came into view. His gaze followed the skirt as it moved to her upper thigh. She stopped. He blinked up to her face. With a cheeky grin, she turned around and her dress was removed from her body. Bella wore a pair of nude, lacy panties that left little to the imagination. Her hands were cupped around her breasts while she looked over her shoulder. "Do you like what you see, baby?"

"More than words, Bella," Edward growled, shrugging out of his jacket and loosening his tie from around his neck. "I'd love it more if I could touch you."

She turned around, her hands still covering her breasts. Her eyes were gleaming and she was stalking toward him, unapologetic for her near nudity. She stepped between his legs. Edward's hands slid up her smooth legs, long and lean. Bella bit her lip as he cupped her ass over her panties. He continued his slow exploration of her skin, gliding his rough palms along her waist and up her belly until he put his hands on hers. "I've already seen these, Bella," he murmured.

She allowed him to move her hands from her breasts. Her fingers tangled into his hair as he pressed open-mouthed kisses to her belly and moved his mouth to her tits. Edward lavished her breasts with attention, palming them with his hands and sucking her nipples between his teeth. Bella moaned, lost in the feeling of his mouth on her body. His hands moved and he twisted her onto her bed. Bella let out a startled shriek, but whimpered when his thigh slid between her legs, pressing up against where she needed friction. He moved so he was hovering over her. "You are too good at this, Edward," she said. "But, you're wearing too many clothes."

She sat up, pulling out his shirt from his pants. With nimble fingers, she unbuttoned his tuxedo shirt. Her mouth watered at the sexy man before her. His muscles rippled as her fingers danced along his six-pack. Bella scrambled onto her knees, easing the shirt off his body. "Do you like what you see?" Edward quipped, turning Bella's words back toward her.

"I more than like," she cooed, tracing her fingers along his collarbone and down his pectoral muscles. He had a light dusting of chest hair, darkening beneath his navel and disappearing into his pants. Fingers glided down his torso and she unbuckled his belt. "This is better than unwrapping a present on Christmas morning." She pulled his belt away from his pants and made quick work of button and zipper. With a faux innocent look, her fingers grazed his length as she moved to push his pants down.

"Tease," he grunted.

"I'm not a tease if I plan on following through, Mr. Cullen," she retorted, easing his pants over his hips. He kicked off his shoes and pants. Bella went to cup his hardness through his boxer briefs, but Edward kissed her. He gently guided her onto the pile of fluffy pillows at the head of the bed.

Slow, languid passes of his tongue made Bella writhe in need. His bare chest was pressed against hers. He held her so tightly, almost like he was terrified she was going to disappear. Their kisses were deep and penetrating, slowly exploring what was to be. With a low growl, Edward's mouth moved from hers. Bella pouted. "Edward …"

"I said I wanted a taste, Bella," he whispered against her neck, nipping her skin along the way. He continued his kissing along her neck, down her midline and on her belly. His fingers traced her breasts, circling her nipples and teasing her. Bella wriggled, needing more. He suckled on her fragrant skin beneath her belly button and just above her panties. Her sexy panties that were the only thing separating him from seeing her, completely bare. He looked up at her. She was staring at him, a passionate hunger in her eyes. His hands hooked on her panties at her hips. He wanted her. He needed to see all of her, but if she was unsure, he'd stop. Bella rolled her hips.

Point taken, Dr. Swan.

Slowly, he pulled Bella's panties down her long, lean legs. He kissed her ankles while he trailed his fingers along her thighs. Bella spread her legs further, displaying her bare and leaking sex. Her pussy glistened with her abundant arousal. Edward couldn't wait to press his face between her legs. His mouth watered in anticipation of tasting her sweetness. Edward eased his arm under her leg as he leaned forward. With a slow, deep lick, he swiped his tongue along her slit.

"Oh, fuck me," Bella moaned.

"Not tonight, beautiful," Edward chuckled. "But, soon." He buried his tongue deep within her core, reveling in her excitement. His kisses to her pussy were deep. He kissed her sex like he kissed her mouth. He devoured her. His fingers caressed her fold before he flicked her clit with his thumb.

Bella was lost to the sensations of Edward's mouth on her. It was sensory overload. Oral sex was something she enjoyed, but didn't really share with her lovers. It was too intimate for a casual partner. His tongue was inside her, tasting her essence. His fingers caressed her folds, teasing her and spreading her wetness over her body. "Edward … more," she pleaded.

He growled between her legs. He pushed two fingers inside as he pulled her clit between his teeth. His tongue flicked her clit. Each pass of his tongue, pleasure erupted over her skin and arousal spilled out of her, unhindered. His other hand reached up, squeezing her breasts as he tasted her.

Bella's hips were rocking against his face, feeling an orgasm building from deep within her body. Her fingers were tethered in Edward's messy bronze hair, keeping him firmly between her legs. He pumped his hands, curling his long-ass fingers just right to hit that spot that made her orgasms even more powerful. Bella grunted as his pinky grazed her ass. "Hmmm, I like that," she panted.

He growled against her wet skin, teasing her rosette as he thrust inside of her silken walls. He could feel her body react to his sensual assault to her sex. Her muscles rippled around his fingers. Arousal was seeping onto his hand and coated his tongue. It was better than anything he'd ever tasted. Bella's legs stiffened and her fingers dug into Edward's hair, scratching his scalp. She was coming, lost in the pleasure that he was giving. He kept his mouth on her until her body relaxed, her limbs strewn akimbo.

Crawling up her body, Edward lay next to her. She was breathing heavily and she was staring at the ceiling. "Wow," she said. "It's been … wow … your tongue …"

Edward idly ran his fingers along her belly, watching Bella as she came back from her orgasm. She was unashamed of her body and trembled underneath his touch. Her hand stopped his, rolling to face him. She moved closer, kissing his lips and tasting her essence on his mouth. He was lost in her kisses, completely unaware as she pushed his boxer briefs down. Bella wrapped her hand around his hardness. "Damn," he hissed as she stroked him.

"You had your taste. I want mine," Bella mumbled against his mouth.

"Bella, love," he began, "as much as I want your mouth on me, I want to make love to you. I've got stamina, but I want to be inside you when I come. I want to feel you hug me, cling to me as I slide into you." He kissed her, reaching down to his pants and pulling out his wallet. Releasing her, he took out a condom.

Bella took it out his hand and tossed it onto the floor. "I'm all in, Edward. I'm clean and protected, getting the Depo shot. I was tested when I moved out here," she explained. "I trust you."

"It's been a long time, but I had a physical prior to working with the SFD. I'm clean, too," Edward murmured.

"Make me yours," Bella pleaded, echoing her sentiment at the benefit.

He didn't respond verbally, only kissing her deeply and rolling them so she was perched on his lap. His hardness was trapped between them. Edward ran his fingers along back before grasping her hips. She raised her body and held his cock in her hands, aligning it to her entrance. They gazed into each other's eyes as she slid down his length. Never in her life had Bella felt so complete. He filled her so fully. Edward was trying to maintain his control, but it was all so much. He could feel every inch of her warmth. Without a condom, it was even more intense. "Bella, I never imagined … I feel everything. You're so wet for me, beautiful."

She tugged on his hair, pulling his head back. Her mouth molded against his, kissing him fervently. Her hands moved from his hair and she scratched her short nails down his back. He moaned into her mouth, gripping her ass. She began rolling her hips, taking him deeper into her body. Their movements were frenzied and eager.

Edward squeezed her breasts, twisting her nipples with his fingers. Bella whimpered against his lips. "Edward …" she gasped. "You feel so fucking good. Your cock … so big, so thick."

He growled from deep within his throat, pulling away from her mouth. He gently pushed her back. Bella braced herself on his knees as she rocked over his dick. Edward watched their connection, enraptured as he watched himself disappear into her. His length was glistening with her arousal. "Seeing my cock inside you is a like a fucking dream, Bella. Touch your clit, use me to make yourself come."

She smiled, snaking her hand down her body and her fingers found her swollen bundle of nerves. With unsteady circles, she touched herself. Edward moaned, holding onto her hips and sliding his palms along her creamy skin. "Fuck," she grunted, her head falling back as her body movements grew disjointed.

"I can feel you," Edward hissed. "Let go, Bella. Fucking come on me."

"Together," she keened. "Make me fucking yours."

You're already mine, he thought as he relaxed, relinquishing some of his control. He wanted to stay as hard as possible, prolonging their first time together. "Bella …" he snarled as he dick hardened inside her.

"Yes!" she yelled, her muscles clenching around his cock. He watched as she trembled over him and her release triggered his. With a grunt, he spilled inside her, claiming her completely. Bella's body stopped rolling and she sat forward, draping her arms over his sweaty shoulders. He captured her lips, holding her close to his body. She shivered, twining her fingers into his hair.

"Are you okay?" he asked, kissing her shoulders.

"Being with you," she whispered, "it's so much more than I'd ever realized. Edward, I've never felt this way about anyone. Tonight changed everything."

"It did, Bella," he said, gently pushing her back and looking into her eyes. There was a vulnerability there that he'd never seen. "No turning back, love."

"I couldn't, even if I tried," she said, running her fingers down his cheeks. She kissed him tenderly, pouring all of her emotions into him. Their kisses were languid, gentle. They continued to kiss each other until he slipped from her. Bella pulled away, pouting. "So empty."

"I know, Bella," he chuckled. "But, tonight wasn't a one-time thing. I don't think I can let you go." He put her hand over his heart. "You've wiggled your way into here."

"Yeah," Bella breathed. "Now, I don't know about you, but I'm exhilarated, but tired."

"Don't move," Edward said, helping her off his lap and settling her onto the duvet cover. "Bathroom?" Bella indicated with her chin. Edward walked inside and found a fresh washcloth. He ran it under warm water before heading back into the bedroom. Bella was curled up, her eyes closed. Carefully, he wiped her down between her legs. She jumped. "Sorry."

"I was almost out," she yawned. "That feels nice. It's been some time since … I'll be feeling you tomorrow."

"Me, too," he said. "In the best way."

"Cuddle with me," Bella mumbled. Edward nodded, kissing her gently before he slid between the sheets. She turned off the lights and snuggled into his arms. Her breathing evened out almost immediately. With a caress of his fingers along her back, he settled deeper into the pillows and joined her in slumber, tonight the nightmares of the fire were held at bay by her warmth.

~o~o~o~o~

Bella, before she'd dropped off, had forgotten to close the shades. The sun was beginning to rise. She was warm and she'd remembered what had happened the night before. She turned around and saw Edward sleeping peacefully behind her. His face was relaxed, looking years younger.

He had his taste last night. It's only fair that I get mine.

Despite his slumber, his cock was trapped between them. She reached down and wrapped her fingers around his length. He hummed lowly, pushing his hips closer to her hand. Bella guided him onto his back and he sighed when the blankets were pushed down. She didn't really have a chance to look at his cock the night before. She was a bit drunk from his magical tongue, more focused on him being inside her.

Now, she had a chance to become intimately acquainted with his hardness. Edward's cock was a work of art. Long, thick and already leaking, her mouth watered to taste his flavor on her tongue.

She knelt between his legs and took his magnificent cock into her hands. She swirled her tongue along the swollen head. She could taste her essence from her arousal last night on his skin. That made her so turned on, knowing that she'd marked him. In a small way, she'd owned him, just like he'd claimed her.

"You know, I wanted to make love to you during the sunrise," Edward said, his voice gravely and deep.

"We have a lot of mornings to make love, Edward," Bella purred, spreading her saliva down his length. "You had your taste. It's only fair that I have mine."

"I'm not going to deny my girl that," he smirked. "And seeing a beautiful woman with her mouth around my cock, that's a fucking dream come true."

"Then, let me make your dreams come true, baby," Bella replied, slithering her tongue along the underside of his shaft. He watched her with rapt attention, growing harder with each pass of her mouth.

Edward had to be, without a doubt, the largest man she'd ever been with. Bella knew she would not be able to take him fully into her mouth, but she was going to try. Keeping her eyes on his, she wrapped her lips around the head of his cock. Her hand squeezed his base as she relaxed her jaw, taking him further. She winked at him, bobbing her head.

"Holy shit," Edward moaned, staring at her. Her mouth, like her pussy, was perfect. She teased him, with her lips and tongue and then she'd squeeze his balls with her fingers, or caress just behind his balls.

She hummed around his cock, gently scraping her teeth along his head. Edward's eyes rolled back and he was lost in her sensations. She released him with a pop, licking down his shaft. Her hand stroked him while she suckled on his balls. With a low snarl, she took him back into her mouth and slid her hand between her own legs.

"Are you playing with yourself, Bella?" Edward asked. She replied with a low hum, bobbing her head faster over his hardness. "I don't want you to do all the work, love. Keep your mouth on me and I'll help you." She stopped blowing him, but kept stroking him as she maneuvered her body closer to his hand. Edward ran his fingers along her slit, finding her completely drenched. "Sucking my dick makes you this wet?"

"You have no idea," she replied before sinking her mouth back over his cock. Edward cursed as she tasted every inch of his length. His fingers slid into her soaking, wet pussy. Her lower lips were swollen with need, glistening with her leaking arousal.

Bella focused on getting her taste. His fingers moving inside her made it difficult. She loved sharing her body with him. She'd never been so responsive with another man. It was like Edward was made, just for her. Edward grunted and his hips thrust up. He was close. Bella redoubled her efforts, palming his balls and gently massaging them.

"Bella," he choked out. "I'm going to come."

She kept her mouth on him, swirling her tongue. He moaned, shifting his legs. He muttered her name again, gripping the blanket with his free hand. His other hand was squeezing her ass. With another grunt, Bella tasted Edward's release. It coated her mouth and she swallowed around him. It was salty, earthy and so inherently him. She kept bobbing her head until he calmed down. Releasing him with a pop, she looked back at him as she lay her head on his thigh. "Good?"

"No. Word," he panted, looking down at her fondly. "But, I owe you an orgasm."

"It's not a competition," she said, idly tracing her fingers along the ridges of his six pack.

"Open your legs, love," he commanded. "This will be fast, but I won't be denied."

She gave him a sexy grin, spreading her legs and he curled his fingers inside. He thrust his hand into her. His movements were quick and hard, truly finger fucking her. Bella fell onto her back as he massaged her g-spot. "Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God," she wailed as her orgasm washed over her like a tidal wave.

Edward sat up and gathered her back in his arms. She was boneless. "I would have done more, but you drained me, woman," he quipped. "You were already close …"

"Uh-huh," she nodded.

"It appears you're just as drained, Bella," he said, pulling the blankets up their naked bodies. "We only got a few hours of sleep. Let's try to get some more rest."

"You're closer. Press the button on the nightstand. Black out shades," she said sleepily. She kissed him, nibbling on his lower lip. He lowered the shades and the room, which was bathed in a warm yellow glow, darkened immediately. He curled around her, kissing her neck. Bella pressed her body into his and threaded her fingers with his. Within moments, they both fell back asleep.

~o~o~o~o~

After the night of the benefit, Edward and Bella were inseparable. They spent as much time as possible together. They'd had dates, made love, and spent time with their friends. Their relationship was growing by leaps and bounds.

It appeared that Rose and Emmett had gotten together at the benefit, after Peter's true colors had come out. Peter was summarily fired from the Seattle Fire Department after an investigation had uncovered some unsavory moments in Peter's past. He was trying to fight it, but even the union wouldn't touch him. He'd burned too many bridges, in more ways than one. However, the one good thing from Peter's blow up was a fiery beginning to Rose and Emmett's relationship.

Everyone was now coupled off: Rose and Emmett, Alice and Jasper and finally, Bella and Edward.

The friendships that they were building were something that neither Edward or Bella had ever experienced. They never truly opened up enough to have authentic friendships. It was nice to have this close circle of friends, a soft place to land, people to turn to when situations were tough. These were relationships that seemed to evolve as they grew closer to each other.

Bella, in her past, was solely focused on her education, her job. Rarely, did she go out with her classmates or coworkers after a tough shift. If she needed companionship, she would usually find a handsome man, fuck him and move on with her life. When her identical best friend died, her sister, Bella didn't want to open up her heart to be hurt again. She kept everyone at arm's length. So, she had coworkers, acquaintances. She had fuck-buddies in closets and on-call rooms, not relationships.

Never relationships.

Edward was similar, but he did have a kinship with his fellow firefighters. They had a bond, but it wasn't nearly as deep as the connections he had in Seattle prior to his abrupt departure after Angela's death. He also didn't fight fires. He merely investigated them. Not as much trust needed in that job description. He did have friendships with the men at his home base. He was also close with his uncle, as well. But, the relationships he built in Boston were nowhere near as close as the ones he had in Seattle.

Through chance or by fate, Edward and Bella, had found each other and the walls they had built around their hearts collapsed into a pile of rubble over coffee and smiles, with conversation and kisses, through trust and healing. Their relationship had grown every day, along with their love, even though those words had not been spoken out loud.

Edward had, on several occasions, almost blurted out the words. Those words would want to leave his mouth while they were lying side-by-side after making love. That realization had not come easy, since he had never been in love before. He would have still been struggling with his feelings if it hadn't been for his father's words of advice.

About a month after the benefit, Edward had just gotten back to his parents' home. It had been a long day of viewing surveillance videos around several connected fires. His eyes were tired and he wanted to stare at one thing - Bella - but, she was having a girl's night out with Alice and Rose.

Going up to his room, he stripped out of clothes and took a long hot shower. After he finished dressing, he walked downstairs. Edward grabbed a beer from the refrigerator, since he was off for the next forty-eight hours, thankfully. Taking a pull from the beer, he stepped outside onto the back deck. Edward took a few deep breaths, allowing the cool, crisp air fill his lungs. He noticed some movement out of the corner of his eyes. Looking over the deck, he saw his father lying on one of the chaise lounges with his own beer. Sitting down in the chaise next to him, Edward stretched out. He took another pull from the beer.

"Damn, this feels good," Edward sighed.

"Rough day?" Carlisle asked.

"No new fires, but I stared at a screen all day, looking at surveillance videos. Gave me a headache."

After several minutes of silence, both of them enjoying their beers, Carlisle turned his head to look at Edward. He chuckled quietly. "I didn't expect you home tonight, figuring you were going to stay at Bella's place again.".

"She's having a girl's night out with Rose and Alice. Something involving dinner, alcohol and girl talk," Edward answered, his lips turning downward.

"Ah, a night of comparing notes of their current sexual partners," Carlisle teased.

"What?" Edward barked. There was no way that Bella would discuss their sex lives with anyone. Or, would she? Rose always went on and on about the man she was sleeping with, going into great detail on both the sex and the size of the man. Edward had learned things about his older brother that he never wanted to know. Shaking his head, he adamantly denied that his girlfriend would discuss what they did privately. Bella wasn't like that.

"Take it as a compliment, son," Carlisle smirked. "You're a Cullen. Besides, Bella is a wonderful woman. Your mother and I can't be happier at the fact that you're together."

"She is wonderful," Edward agreed, his thoughts drifting to all the marvelous things about her, and how she made him feel when they were together. His face softened as he imagined his girl. His girl …

"You love her," Carlisle murmured.

"No," Edward sputtered. He shook his head, confused at his father's statement. "I care for her, but that's all."

Carlisle sat up from the chaise, placing his hand on Edward's arm. "Son, I know this is difficult for you. For so long, you've closed yourself off to your feelings. You have held the blame for the death of Bella's sister in your heart, leaving no room for anything or anyone else. When you moved back, your mother and I were concerned that it would do more harm. However, since you've met Bella, you've come back to life.

"I've loved your mother since the first time I laid eyes on her and will love her with all my heart until my dying breath. I see that look on your face when you hear Bella's name. It's a small look, a glint in the eyes and a tender smile. I get that look when I think of Esme. You love her," Carlisle explained gently.

"Dad, she doesn't know that I was the fireman who was in Angela's apartment the night she died. Bella's going to hate me," Edward groaned, running his fingers through his hair.

"You shouldn't keep this from her. This information is going to come out and it's better if it comes from you," Carlisle encouraged.

Edward knew his father was right. He just needed to man up and tell her. He prayed that she would understand why he waited and forgive him for killing her sister.

~o~o~o~o~

A few days later, Edward and Bella made plans to go out for dinner. Edward was determined to tell her the truth. She needed to know. She also had to know that he loved her.

He made reservations at a restaurant near Angela's old apartment, Andaluca. It was a Mediterrean restaurant. After parking his Bronco, they walked inside. "This place looks amazing," Bella said as they sat down. "Have you been here before?"

"I've driven past it," Edward answered quietly. Five years ago … "I've never been here, but have heard great things. Rose said that she and Emmett came here for their one-week anniversary."

"That sounds like something a high-school student would celebrate," Bella giggled, sipping her water. "But, it's sweet. Rose cannot stop talking about how amazing your brother is to her. He completely dotes on her."

"Rose deserves it," Edward said. "Her ex-boyfriends were a bunch of douchebags."

"Royce takes the cake," Bella deadpanned. "Do you want to share a bottle of wine?"

Edward nodded and she ordered a bottle of white wine. They also ordered their meals. Bella ordered the risotto and Edward chose the lemon chicken. Bella dominated the conversation, talking about the evening she'd shared with Rose and Alice a few days previous. As Carlisle suggested, they did talk about their relationships. Rose and Alice shared everything about Jasper and Emmett. Bella was a bit more close-lipped. She did share that she'd made love with Edward, but didn't get into the nitty-gritty details.

"I love Rose and Alice. They're becoming some of my closest friends, but they do not get to know all about what we do in our bedroom," Bella said, arching a brow. "That's for you and me."

Edward smiled, grateful that was discreet in the discussions she'd had with Rose and Alice. "I'm thankful for that. Rose has prattled on about my brother since the benefit. I do not need to know about my brother's junk."

"Alice did bring something up. She said that you keep your brothers at a distance. I've noticed that, too," Bella said. "Why is that?"

"I was a bit closer to Emmett than I was to Jasper. Emmett and I were two peas in a pod. We had similar interests, until we hit high school. Jasper was always a nerd, too smart for his own good. I'm not saying that Emmett and me are dumb, but Jasper talked in riddles. It got better as we got older, but something happened a few years ago and I needed to leave," he explained.

"What happened?" Bella asked.

"I'll tell you in a little bit," Edward replied quietly. "Are you finished?"

"Yes. It was really good," she said. "Are you okay? You've been quiet."

He nodded, gesturing for the check. He paid in cash. "Do you want to go for a walk? It's a nice night."

Bella's hackles were raised. Edward was acting really weird. He was still demonstrative and kind, but there was a pain in his evergreen eyes that she had never seen before. She stood up and threaded her fingers with his. He pulled her close, brushing his lips on hers. "Edward? Are you sure you're alright?"

"With you, I'm perfect," he whispered. They walked along the street and they stopped at an empty lot. Edward stared at the blank space, but in his mind's eye, memories of that night came rushing back. He could see the apartment in flames. He could smell the smoke and his chest constricted.

"Edward, you're scaring me," Bella sniffled.

"I'm sorry, love," he breathed. "The main reason why I'm not close to my brothers is because of this empty lot."

"I don't understand," she frowned.

"Bella, will you promise to listen to everything I have to say?" he asked, looking at her. Her brow furrowed, but she nodded. "Five years ago, I was called to an apartment fire. It was horrible. The entire building was up in flames. The battalion chief assigned me to find any victims in the apartments. I searched the floors, pulling out people. The last apartment, the doorway was completely engulfed in flames. It was so violent and it was spreading fast. I walked inside and I found a woman inside. She was trying to open a window, desperate to get out. I tried to stop her … if she opened the window, it would cause a backdraft."

"That's what happened," Bella whispered.

Edward nodded solemnly. "The gust of wind pushed her out the window. I ran over to help her and I grasped her wrist. She begged me to save her. She didn't want to die. I tried to get her to lift her other arm. She just wasn't strong enough. On top of that, there was a violent explosion a floor below. I lost my grip. I tried to hold on, but she fell. I couldn't save her."

Bella's eyes were brimmed with tears. "Don't say it," she whimpered. Bella knew in her heart that Edward was the firefighter who'd been with her sister when she died.

"I'm so sorry, Bella," Edward cried. "I was here that night. I tried … I used every ounce of my strength to help your sister."

"NO! NO! NO!" Bella sobbed, pounding on Edward's chest. "You killed her. You killed my sister. Why?! Why would you … NO! No!"

Edward captured Bella's hands, enfolding her into his arms and sitting down heavily on the ground since Bella just collapsed. "I would give up everything to take away your pain, Bella. I'm so sorry. Those words seem so fucking empty, but … I am sorry."

Bella sobbed in his arms. The agony of the loss of her identical twin was cracking her chest in two. She eventually calmed, gripping Edward's arms.

When Bella quieted, he continued. "I never forgot that night, Bella. I never will," he cried with her. "Losing your sister broke something in me, love. I couldn't go into another fire. It was my weakness that caused your sister's death."

She sniffled. "What happened? After?"

"I was injured. Once I was cleared, I packed up my shit and moved to Boston. I couldn't be here. My uncle got me a job as an arson investigator," he answered, wiping her tears away. Bella's eyes were empty, hollow. "I couldn't look into the eyes of the man who I respected like a father, knowing that I was the cause of his daughter's death."

"Charlie," she muttered.

"Exactly," he whispered. "Bella, there are no words that can I say to bring your sister back. I have to live with what I did for the rest of my life. I hope that, with time, I can find the monster who caused the fire to justice." He traced her cheek, feeling the dampness of her tears. "I was in a dark place for a long time. It wasn't until I met you that I felt the darkness recede. I love you, Bella."

She sat back. "Why did you wait so long to tell me? You've known the entire time. Fuck, I have the same face as Angela. Why did you wait?"

"I was ashamed. Then, as I got to know you, I was afraid," he answered honestly.

"Afraid?" she pressed.

He nodded. "Afraid, that when I told you, that you wouldn't be able to love me back," he choked out. He stared into her eyes and the warmth that sizzled there was gone. "My fears were obviously justified. I'm so sorry, love."

She took his hands and cupped his cheek. His face blurred as more tears fell onto her cheeks. Leaning forward, she kissed him and reveled in the softness of his lips. Pulling back, she stood up on shaky limbs. Edward did the same, his heart shattering. "I know what you told me tonight was tough to say. It was beyond difficult to hear. I need time, Edward. Time to process what you told me."

"I understand," he said. "Do you want me to take you home?"

Bella nodded. They walked back to Edward's Bronco. The ride back to her home was tense and silent. The only comfort that Edward held onto was that Bella's fingers were threaded with his. Once he pulled up to the condo, he parked the car. "Do you want me to walk you up?" he asked.

"Not tonight," she replied, her voice cracking. "I need time, space to think about what you told me." Bella opened the door and walked on unsteady legs into her building.

"I love you …" Edward muttered in his empty car. "I'll always love you."

A/N: Hides behind Fireward … The chapter started so well, you know? But, you had to know that this was coming. He had to tell her. What do you think of her reaction? Leave us your thoughts.

Thank you, again, for your patience. Real life … busy, busy, busy, to be honest. It's a combination of complete lack of time, unfocused minds and a persnickety, bitchy muse. Anyhow, pictures from the chapter on my blog ( .com) and on Clo's blog, too: ( .com). You can also find us on Facebook: Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation, HeartforTwilight Book Group, and HeartForTwilight Productions.

Up next, we'll hear a bit from Bella and move forward in time. What will be her decision? We're also going to find out a bit more about the firebug wreaking havoc in Seattle. What is the connection?

We'll see you in a couple of weeks! Thank you for your support and comments. Much love to you all!

Lots of love,

HeartForTwilight and Tufano79

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