Falling for a Dark Soul @tufano79
Chapter 6

Disclaimer: None of this mine, nor do I claim to be Stephenie Meyer. I just like to dabble in the playground that she created with Bella, Edward and her Twilight characters. No copyright infringement is intended.

Up next, we'll hear from Edward. We'll hear his thoughts regarding the night he spent with Bella and Katie. I promise you; I will not rehash it. We'll also hear about his meeting in the morning and jump forward in time (it's early October at the time of this chapter). Perhaps, we'll have some Halloween hijinks and some MAC team building.

Chapter Six

Edward

With each step away from Bella's brownstone, I felt like I needed to turn back around and stay there. Part of my soul was inside that building. Dramatic, much, Cullen? I felt comfortable there. Even though things were awkward between Bella and me, the warmth I experienced in her home seeped into my bones.

I wanted more of it.

I needed that warmth.

It didn't make a single bit of sense.

You're losing your damned mind, Edward.

And, when Bella started crying … I wanted to take her into my arms and make all her pain go away. I did hug her. It felt right, but so different than I expected. Different in a good way. She melted against me, like all the air had left her. I could feel her body tremble as she gripped my sweater, clinging to me like was a life raft.

It felt good, giving someone support and being their rock. She'd been shouldering all of this alone.

Bella Swan was simply amazing.

"What the fuck am I doing?" I grumbled. "I'm so confused." Sam whimpered, his tail wagging. "Come on, bud. Do your business, please?" He barked, walking to a patch of grass.

Once Sam was done answering the call of nature, we made our way to my car. I had to park around the block from Bella's home. She was right that there was no parking on her street. Unlocking my car, I helped Sam into the back of my Tesla and slid into the driver's seat. I eased away from the curb, driving to my condo. Ironically enough, Bella lived about five minutes from me. Her place was in a good neighborhood, with a lot of families.

A perfect place for her and the little one.

After the short drive, I rode up to my home. But, it didn't feel like home. More like a sterile, empty shell … like me. In my condo, I changed into a pair of loose sleep pants. I refilled Sam's water bowl, leaning against the kitchen counter with another bottle of beer. "Did you feel it tonight, Sam?" I asked.

He looked back at me, water dribbling down his coat. His responding bark was low before going back to drinking some water.

"I'm losing my damned mind," I grumbled. "Bella Swan is twisting me into knots. Everything in me is telling me to … walk away, but I can't. I want to be closer."

There was something about Bella that drew me in. She was kind, forgiving and so loving. She'd forgiven my horrific gaff that fateful day. I still felt awful for hurting her so cruelly; it's why I went out of my way to help her. However, it was the way she cared for her sister. It was beautiful. Even when Katie was giving Bella sass, she was firm but kind. She wasn't cruel or mean. Despite their situation, it was apparent that Bella and Katie loved each other very much.

Katie was adorable and very smart, with pale skin, dark blonde hair and cornflower blue eyes. She was filled with sass, energy and giggles. However, I saw the sadness in her eyes of a child who lost everything. She'd lost her parents too young. Katie, however, was lucky to have Bella in her a life. Katie would never know the harsh realities going into the system. She'd be spared the nightmare of having creepy foster fathers, abusive foster mothers and indifferent foster siblings. Katie had family that loved her, unconditionally. She had …

Bella …

Who was a saint.

At least, she was a saint in my eyes.

On top of being completely selfless, forgiving and kind, Bella Swan was absolutely gorgeous. Effortlessly beautiful. Bella, even exhausted from caring for her sister, looked like a dream come true. Her pale skin was smooth and creamy. Her long, chocolate tresses were softly curled, draped over her shoulders. She was slender, but not skinny, with the perfect amount of curves. I noticed her beauty that day in the park all those months ago. In the back of my mind, I wondered that if I wasn't so broken, would she give me a second glance.

Probably not, Edward.

Remember what your therapist said … you are not that little boy anymore. You're a successful businessman, a CEO of an up and coming advertising agency.

It's hard to undo thirty-five years of emotional baggage in a handful of therapy appointments. She wouldn't want you, anyway. She's the epitome of goodness, a paragon of selflessness.

I shook my head, trying to rid my mind of the self-loathing I had swirling inside. Meeting with a therapist was helping, but it would take time for things to truly change. I was just struggling with so many conflicting emotions. I couldn't make heads or tails of it.

You should journal it out, like the good doctor suggested.

Yeah, I don't think so.

It also didn't help that I had a meeting tomorrow morning with my attorney. Even after a year of our divorce, my ex-wife was still trying to finagle money out of me. She was fighting for alimony. She had no right to any of it.

The pre-nuptial agreement she'd signed was clear. If she'd cheated, Tanya would get nothing. All she got were the clothes on her back and what she walked into the marriage with … a boat load of student debt and a closet full of designer knock-off clothing. Apparently, she had her new attorney snowed and he'd filed this motion. Jenks emailed me, saying that he got a notice to appear. I paid him enough that he could make this disappear, but I still had to meet with him to get some information.

My cell phone rang. Secretly, I hoped it was Bella, but it was unlikely. It was late and she looked like she was about to crash when I left. Picking up my phone, I saw my parents' number. Sliding my finger across the screen, I answered, "Hello?"

"Edward, I just got your email. I was out, working on a new project. I just got home," Esme murmured. "Are you okay? Do you want me to come to the meeting with you?"

"No, I'm fine," I replied. "Jenks will get this thrown out. The paperwork was clear."

"Well, if you want me there, I'm available, Edward. I'm just a phone call away," she said. "Why can't she leave well enough alone? I thought she was living with that man she was screwing?"

"Jacob? Maybe, he realized that she was a soul-sucking leech," I deadpanned. "Perhaps, he kicked her to the curb and now she needs money. Why not slither back to me? Jenks will find out for me."

"Let me know what he tells you," Esme said, her voice tight with anger. "Your father and I, we're here for you."

"Thank you," I breathed.

"I also read that you helped out an employee of yours," she murmured. "You made her soup?" I could hear her smile in her question.

"She's dealing with a lot of changes," I explained.

"Is this woman you told us about?" she pressed. "You upset her?"

"I had to make it right, Mom," I muttered. "I was so callous, heartless. She's … she's trying to navigate everything on her own. She's all alone. She's raising her sister … She needs help. Using my resources with the foster agency, I helped her. I gave her Marcus's phone number because her sister was really sick. Then, I made her soup. It's a small token, but I felt like I had to do it. I made her cry. I was so harsh and cruel … I made her cry."

"Edward, baby," Esme said softly, her voice tender with understanding. "I'm certain she appreciated it. However, I think there's more to this assistance than you're telling me."

"I don't know what I'm doing," I said. "I'm her boss, but …" I want more. So much more.

"Just let whatever you have growing between the two of your happen naturally, Edward. Right now, if she's dealing with so much, she might not be able to give you more than friendship. Be her friend, a shoulder to cry on, a support for her as she adjusts to being a parent to her sister. If something evolves from there, let things happen naturally. You've opened yourself to this woman, clearly," Esme explained.

I opened my mouth, but slammed it shut. I furrowed my brow and thought about what she said. "It would appear that I have opened myself to her," I whispered. I'm scared.

"Cherish that, sweetheart," she breathed. "I love you."

I hummed and then hung up the phone. It vibrated in my hand with a text message.

Thank you, again, for the soup. And for the hug when I lost it. It was nice to talk to someone other than the grief counselor. She's detached, but you were real. The hug gave me more comfort … My apologies … I'm rambling. Thank you, Edward. I should be back, hopefully, by Thursday ~ Bella

I'm glad that I could help, Bella. Call me any time. Sleep well ~ Edward

She didn't respond, but it warmed my heart that my she felt comforted by what I did. I'd do it for her again. In a heartbeat.

xx FFADS xx

I smoothed my suit as I rode up the elevator to Jenks' office. He had a sleek, but homey office in the heart of downtown. I checked in with the receptionist, an older woman with a chic bob and funky glasses. She grinned at me, saying that Jenks would be with me in a few moments.

I had barely sat down when Jenks walked out. He was an older gentleman, with a square jaw, bright blue eyes and full head of hair. "Edward," he beamed, holding out his hand. "It's always a pleasure."

"More billable hours, hmmm?" I teased, shaking his hand.

"Well, that, too," he quipped. "Come with me. We're in my office. Maureen, I'm unavailable until Mr. Cullen has left. Send any calls to voicemail."

"Sure thing, Jason," she nodded.

We walked back to his spacious private office. The suite where his office was located was in a sleek building, but the room where I'd usually met with Jenks was comfortable and had an old-world touch to it. Once inside, Jenks closed the door. "Do you want anything to drink? I have bourbon, scotch, vodka …"

"Too early for booze," I deadpanned. "Though, whenever I deal with the ex, alcohol will be needed."

"She's a piece of fucking work," Jenks growled. He pulled out his tablet and handed it to me. "That's the notice that was emailed to me from her latest attorney."

I quickly read the paperwork. "Do I need to appear?"

"Nope," he answered. "According to my PI, Tanya was summarily dumped by Jacob Black. She'd stolen several expensive items from him and pawned them for a pittance."

"Jacob comes from old money. His parents died when he was just out of college. He had several expensive pieces of jewelry. His mother's engagement ring, a diamond necklace, some sapphire earrings. There was a lot more, but he always bragged about those items, nonstop," I explained.

"Again, that was all pawned," Jenks explained. "Flip through paperwork. I've got pictures of what was recovered."

"You've been in contact with Jacob?" I asked.

"Not Jacob, but the owner of the pawn shop," Jenks snorted. "She sold it for about five grand, when it was easily worth ten times that."

"Why was she selling this shit?" Jenks rubbed his nose with a pointed look. "She's using drugs. Cocaine?"

"Cocaine and ecstasy, recreationally. She also claimed that she has a back injury where she needs oxy. I don't know much about how much oxy, but it was a lot. My PI saw her go to about five different pharmacies, picking up prescriptions for very high doses of oxy," Jenks explained. "So, Tanya was dumped because she's a drug addict. And, well, a whore. But, you know this, Edward."

"Fuck me," I snapped. "Do you know how long?"

"It was after you, Edward. One of Jacob's colleagues got her hooked," Jenks said. "His colleague was also fucking around with Tanya."

"She gets around," I huffed. "What else do you know?"

"Not much else. Jacob had dumped her and threw out her shit, tossing it into a dumpster. She's living in a hotel, but her credit cards are maxed out," Jenks shrugged. "I don't know how she got another attorney. She's broke as shit."

"Do you know who her new representation is?"

"I don't recognize their name, or their firm," he answered. "I looked them up and the man representing her passed the bar."

"Maybe she's fucking him," I suggested.

"Hmmm, possibly. Regardless, I'm going to send a counter motion, reiterating the ruling of the judge from the dissolution of your marriage. She's not entitled to anything. I would, however, make sure that you've changed your locks and shored up your bank statements. She may try to finagle money that way," Jenks said, matter-of-fact.

"I've moved from the home we shared and she doesn't know where my new condo is located," I explained. "I also changed banks, separating my long term investments from checking and savings. She's not listed on the accounts. I've also informed the banks that she was not allowed access."

"What about your job? Does she still have access to MAC?" Jenks asked.

"You have to be signed in if you don't have an ID badge. Tanya is banned from the building, along with Jacob," I replied. "Should I get a restraining order?"

"She hasn't done anything, physically, toward you. They won't issue one," Jenks frowned. "Tanya, however, is a few cards short of a deck. Keep your eyes out for that one."

"I don't know what crack I was smoking when I entered that relationship," I deadpanned. You just wanted to be loved and Tanya was a stellar actress, giving you exactly what you wanted. "Thank you for all of this."

"Of course, Edward. I'm sorry that your ex won't leave well enough alone," he sighed. "As much as I appreciate the work, I'd rather not charge you to hang out with me."

"You could do this for free," I smirked. "We have gone out for drinks, Jenks."

"I like you, Cullen. I do and we are due for drinks soon, but I couldn't afford this office or this Prada suit if I did my lawyering for free," he quipped. "I'll send you my bill."

"You're worse than the ex," I laughed, shaking his hand.

"Nah, you know I'm robbing you blind," he chuckled. "I'll email you once I hear back from the whack job who took Tanya's case and this will be thrown out."

"I appreciate it," I said, standing up. We shook hands again and I left the office. As I rode down the elevator, I turned on my cell phone. I knew that if I had it on, I would be more focused on work, as opposed to the meeting with Jenks, discussing my fucked-up ex-wife. Thankfully, there were no pressing matters at MAC. I had a meeting with team leaders in the afternoon to see their progress on their accounts. I sent out a reminder before sliding into my car.

Arriving at the office, I nodded at the receptionist and my assistant. I sat down at my desk and loaded up my computer. I had a few emails from Rosalie, asking about Bella's absence. I called her, requesting that she to come to my office. She walked in about ten minutes later. "We could have talked about this over email, Edward," she said, sitting down.

"Your brought up your concerns regarding Bella's absences. I wanted to talk to you, face-to-face," I answered. "Yes, she's been off a lot, but she has been working remotely."

"I know that she's working remotely. I see her progress and she works more than any other junior executive, combined. Alice adores her," Rosalie said. "But, she needs to put more time in the office. I like her, too, but she needs to work collaboratively with her team."

I pinched my nose. "You're the one who ripped me a new asshole for my behavior regarding Bella's situation. After getting to know her, she's having difficulties adjusting to the changes in her family situation. Overnight, she's become a single parent with no other family. Her sister was diagnosed with bronchitis and she can't bring her back to daycare or preschool until she's without a fever for twenty-four hours."

"And, she told you all this?" Rose asked in disbelief. She eyed me dubiously, but her brows shot to her hairline. "You like her."

"Rosalie," I sighed.

She smirked at me, crossing her arms. "Edward, I can tell you about a million reasons why this is a bad idea," she began. "But, I think that she's who you need."

"It's not like that, Rose," I argued. "I just understand what she's dealing with, all of the changes to her life. She needs a friend, support. I was an asshole to her and I had to make it right."

"That, right there, is why she's good for you," Rosalie laughed. "Since your blow up with Bella, you've changed. You're still an asshole, but you have a conscience. You want to make things right. I whole-heartedly approve of this pairing."

"You're crazy," I snorted.

"I've been called worse," she snickered. She pulled something out of her folder, sliding it across my desk. I looked at it and saw the paperwork for making the company aware of a romantic relationship. "Just in case." I rolled my eyes. "Oh, and do you know when Bella will be back?"

"When I spoke to her last, she said Thursday," I answered. "But, it's all dependent on her sister."

"I'll call her," Rosalie said.

"Rose," I chided.

"I'm her friend, Edward. I want to know if she's okay," she argued. "I'll see you at the department meeting later." She breezed out of my office.

I shook my head, looking down at the paperwork. I should have shredded it. However, seeing the paperwork made my heart jump against my ribs. I pushed the forms into my locked desk drawer. It was probably unlikely, but being with Bella and the change when I was around her made me feel hope for the first time in a long time.

At three, I met the eight department heads and Rosalie in the conference room. We had four main advertising categories: clothing, hospitality, food/drink and personal care. After completing some research, I wanted two teams per category, working on some more focused advertising campaigns. Alice and her team worked for the personal care category, focusing their attention on makeup, cosmetics and perfumes. On the opposite end of the category, Sam's team worked on physical fitness, exercise and health care.

"Good afternoon, everyone," I said, sitting down at the head of the conference table. "I hope everyone is doing alright. I sent out an agenda. Before we get started, are there any questions?"

"I know we're jumping the gun," Riley said. He was one of the team leaders for the food and drink teams. "But, this last item on the agenda. Team building seminar?"

"I don't mind starting there," I replied. "I know that recently, I've been dealing with some difficult personal issues. It made for a very uncomfortable working environment. I do apologize for being such an ass."

"Boss, you apologized in that email," said Charlotte, the team leader for hospitality. "Everyone has tough times."

"I know, but I took out my frustrations out on all of you. Your teams work very well together. However, we're not a cohesive family. I want MAC to be more than just a place where we work. I want us to grow as humans, artists, friends, colleagues, family. So, Alice, after discussing this with me, has done some research," I said, smiling at her. "Alice, do you want to explain what you've found?"

"At first, I was thinking we could do an all-day event, or something over a long weekend," she began, pressing a button her computer. Behind me, there was a Power Point presentation. "However, after looking at the situations of some of team mates, those might not work out. I think that we need to start small." On the presentation, she had a few ideas for a weekend event, for the members of the teams and their families. "A Halloween party … the holiday falls on Saturday and I think it would be a great opportunity for us to get to know each other, outside of the office. It's open to all employees, families and significant others. I've taken the liberty of securing a location for our event."

"So, no trust falls?" asked Peter, the other team leader from hospitality.

"That was my one stipulation," I chuckled. "Will we need to dress up, Alice?"

"Yep. Part of the event is a costume competition," she grinned. "Once I get everything figured out, I'll send out information."

"Can we bring our children?" Sue questioned. Sue worked with the food advertising team. "I know my children, Seth and Leah would love this. It won't go too late, will it?"

"It will be kid-friendly," Alice nodded. "My sister, Cynthia, is a teacher and she's going to help out with things to do for the kids. She just wants to bring her children to the event."

"She's a part of our MAC family, through you," I nodded. "Does that answer your question, Sam?"

"I like it," he nodded. "Are we going to do this monthly?"

"Probably not as intensely, but yes. Friendsgiving in November, Secret Santa for December," Alice replied. "It'll be fun. If you have any suggestions, please don't hesitate to pass them my way. I've enjoyed pulling this together. Thank you, Edward, for giving me the opportunity."

"Thank you for spearheading this idea, Alice," I grinned. "Now, I want to hear about your clients. Where are we? Peter, you're up first. How are things going for your team?"

xx FFADS xx

Several weeks passed and I was getting ready in condo for the Halloween Extravaganza, as Alice called it. I was going as James Bond. I'd honestly forgotten about the event until I got a reminder from Alice. I figured I'd wear a tuxedo and carry around a fake weapon.

Katie recovered from bronchitis. As far I knew, she was doing much better. Bella returned to work. We'd talk in the cafeteria. Bella seemed more relaxed around me, but she still seemed overwhelmed. I wanted to ask how she was doing, but I didn't want to be a creeper.

The motion to appear was quashed by Jenks, thrown out by the judge. My ex didn't have a leg to stand on. I also met with the head of security of the building, reiterating that Tanya was not permitted in the building. I gave them a picture. I was assured that she wouldn't be allowed inside.

Thank God!

Spraying on some cologne, I walked into the kitchen. Sam was sprawled out on his bed and enjoying the late afternoon sun. "You're a bum, Sammy," I chuckled. My cell phone rang from the kitchen. I slid my finger across the screen. "Hello?"

"Um, Edward? It's Bella," she said quietly.

"Is everything alright?" I asked.

"Well, not really. I left my headlights on and my battery died on my car," she grumbled. "I tried calling Alice, but she's already at the venue for the Halloween party. Rose didn't pick up. I've texted Jasper and Emmett, but they haven't responded. You're the only person that I know. Katie hates me right now because we don't have a way to the party. I don't want to take a cab and Uber gives me the heebie jeebies."

"I can pick you up," I said. "And tomorrow, I can help you deal with the battery issue. I can't give you a jump."

"Why not?" she questioned.

"I have an electric car. I'd overload your battery," I chuckled. "I want to help you."

"Okay," she murmured. "I do have a booster seat for Katie. She's too little to sit in the backseat without this thing."

"I'm on my way, Bella," I said. "I have a black Tesla SUV."

"Thank you, Edward," she breathed. "See you in a little bit."

I went down to my car, driving the short distance to Bella's brownstone. Like the day I'd brought over soup, there was no parking. I put on my hazard blinkers and parked in front of her address. The door opened and I saw Katie walk out. She looked so much better, with pink cheeks and a bright smile. She wore a black and purple costume. "Hello, Miss Katie," I smiled.

"Mr. Edward!" she beamed, running down the steps and hugging my legs. "Do you know who I am?"

"Uh," I stuttered. I looked and saw Bella's costume. She had on a white-blonde wig with a slinky blue dress. She looked like Elsa from Frozen. She smirked at me and mouthed 'Anna.' "You're Anna, right?"

"Yeah," she squealed, bouncing on her toes. "Who are you? A prince?"

"Not quite, little one," I chuckled. "I'm Bond, James Bond."

"Don't quit your day job, Edward," Bella said.

"Not an actor?" I quipped.

"What was that accent?" she laughed. "It sounded like a combination of New York, British and gibberish."

"Is that the Batmobile?" Katie asked, pointing to my car.

"No, Katie. It's just my car," I answered, taking the booster seat from Bella. She took Katie's hand while I put the booster in the backseat. Bella attached it with the seatbelt, lifting Katie into it. She was bouncing excitedly. "You eager to go to the party?"

"Yeah. We had a party at school yesterday," Katie chirped.

"It was why I was off yesterday afternoon. I was roped into being a room mom," Bella said, her nose wrinkled. "Senna signed me up without asking." I looked at her blankly. "She's one of the first people I'd met in Chicago. Actually, it was shortly after I met you and Sam. She warned me off you, saying you were an asshole. I didn't see it that day, but I understood her statement when I met you as my boss."

I frowned. I was an asshole. I was trying to change … to be a better man.

Her hand wrapped around my bicep. "You're not that man. Not anymore. I'm sorry. An asshole wouldn't have dropped everything to pick us up. I'm such an idiot," she whispered. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that I should really keep my eye for her. She's done some underhanded stuff, like signing me up as a room mom when I told her I wasn't available."

"You're not an idiot, Bella," I said, opening the passenger door. I took her hand and squeezed her fingers with mine. "I was an asshole. I was harsh and cruel. I'm trying to work on it."

"Why?" she asked.

"Why am I working on it?" I answered.

"No, why were you an asshole?" she pressed. "Either you're trying to push everyone away, or you just don't like people."

I pursed my lips, helping her into the passenger side of the car. "It's a long story, Bella. Can I tell you later? Little ears …" I said. Bella bit her lip, nodding. "Thank you." I jogged to the driver's side and started the car. Turning off the hazard blinkers, I pulled away from Bella's brownstone, driving to the restaurant we'd rented out for the Halloween Extravaganza. "Are you excited about this party?"

"I am. Bella said that there's going to be a haunted house," Katie chirped. "And face painting."

"Kit Kat, it won't be a haunted house. More like a haunted room?" Bella said, looking back at her sister. She blinked to me. "Hopefully, it will be age-appropriate."

"Alice said that her sister, Cynthia, who's a teacher, had a huge hand in the kids' activities. Cynthia got some high schoolers and they're going to do some stuff with the kiddos for National Honor Society hours or something?" I shrugged. I navigated my car onto Lake Shore Drive and drove toward downtown. The event that Alice set up was being held at a club that used to be known as Excalibur. It had closed down, but was now owned by a private company that rented it out for events like ours.

"Is this place a castle?" Katie asked as I pulled up to the nightclub.

"It looks like it, doesn't it?" I chuckled.

Parking the car, we walked to the entrance. We ran into Sue, her husband, Harry and her children, Seth and Leah. Sue was dressed as Mary Poppins, with Harry dressed as Burt. Seth, who was about nine, was dressed like an astronaut and Leah, who was a little older than Katie, was dressed like a scarecrow. Leah squealed when she saw Katie and Bella, loving their costumes as Anna and Elsa.

Inside of the club, it was decorated exquisitely. I expected nothing less than perfection. Alice was such a stickler for all the little details. To the lights in the shape of spiderwebs, to the punch with dry ice … it looked like a spooky graveyard, with purple up lighting and haunted music.

"Wow," Bella breathed next to me. "Alice didn't hold anything back. This must have cost a fortune."

What Bella didn't know was that I was funding this event, personally. I could have used MAC money, but I wanted to give something to my employees. I couldn't do this all the time, but hearing the kids' laughter, seeing my workers smiling and dancing and bonding as a family. I was determined to make the advertising agency someplace where people wanted to work and grow. However, seeing Bella's eyes light up, glimmering with excitement, made every penny I'd paid worth it.

"Bella! Can I go with Leah and Seth?" Katie asked, bouncing to her sister. "Miss Cynthia is leading some games."

"Okay, but if you want to go, you find me. I'll be near Miss Alice, or Miss Rose," Bella told her sister.

"What about Mr. Edward?" Katie questioned, looking at me and giving me a smile.

"Or, Mr. Edward," Bella chuckled. "Give me hugs, Kit Kat." Katie threw her arms around Bella's legs. Bella brushed her sisters curls back. "Love you, to the moon and back."

"Love you, as big as a galaxy," Katie sang, catching up with Leah, Seth and a woman who looked almost like Alice, but with shorter hair and slightly rounder shape.

"That's new," I said to Bella.

"It's something my mom and Katie did. At our most recent joint therapy appointment, Katie said that she missed hearing it," Bella explained. "Until we find something that's just for us, we're using that."

"Bella!" Alice called.

"Excuse me," she said, squeezing my hand. "Thank you for the ride. Katie and I appreciate it."

She slid away, hugging Alice and I watched her. "It was my pleasure," I whispered, feeling her warmth linger in my hand. It spread from my hand, to my heart. I was going crazy, but I couldn't find it in my mind to care. I just prayed that I didn't infect Bella or Katie with my darkness.

I'd hate to snuff out that light …

A/N: We're going to continue the Halloween Extravaganza in Bella's POV. We're also going to hear why Edward was so cold in the next chapter. However, he's got it bad. He's also a bit socially stunted. You'll find out why in the next chapter.

Pictures of Jenks, his office and the Halloween event are on my blog. I suggest you follow me on blogspot since Facebook won't let me post teasers that way. Something about spam. Really? You can find a link for that on my profile. I'm also on Facebook: Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. I'm on twitter, too: tufano79. Leave me your thoughts. Thank you so much for reading and I'll see you soon!

Damn, this author's note is nearly as long as the chapter. Leave me some and thank you for reading. You are awesome!

One MORE thing … some of you may be aware … one of our own has been stricken by COVID-19. Carey Anne Williams is on the mend, but the recovery is slow. Not to mention, costly. A number of us authors are donating our time for a Zoom conference call. If you donate $5 to Carey Anne's GoFundMe, you can meet with any number of authors. If you'd like to specifically to talk to me, my Zoom call is scheduled for August 22nd at 3pm CST. I will include information about the Zoom call in the blog post with this update. I'm still working on the logistics of what we're doing, but I'm open to suggestions …

So far, I've got name that tune, Twilight trivia, a chapter read-aloud, alternative ending for any of my fics and just time for questions and answers. I'm a teacher. I have to have a plan. Anyway … one thing I am certain of is that for each person that participates, I will be donating $5 to Carey Anne's GoFundMe. I'm in a place where I can help pay it forward … I hope you can do the same for Carey Anne.

I look forward to 'meeting' you all soon!

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Chapter 1 3533 2 0 2. Chapter 2 4022 1 0 3. Chapter 3 3007 1 0 4. Chapter 4 7070 1 0 5. Chapter 5 4707 1 0 6. Chapter 6 5073 1 0 7. Chapter 7 5707 1 0 8. Chapter 8 6160 1 0 9. Chapter 9 7290 1 0 10. Chapter 10 5107 1 0 11. Chapter 11 7266 1 0 12. Chapter 12 7421 1 0 13. Chapter 13 5740 0 0 14. Chapter 13 5791 0 0 15. Chapter 14 6924 0 0 16. Chapter 15 5305 0 0 17. Chapter 16 6237 0 0 18. Chapter 17 9272 0 0 19. Chapter 18 7442 0 0 20. Chapter 19 6785 0 0 21. Chapter 20 7947 0 0 22. Chapter 21 7575 0 0 23. Chapter 22 6159 0 0 24. Chapter 23 6552 0 0 25. Chapter 24 7575 0 0 26. Chapter 25 8562 0 0 27. Chapter 26 7691 0 0 28. Chapter 27 7096 0 0 29. Chapter 28 8168 0 0 30. Chapter 29 7108 0 0 31. Chapter 30 8069 0 0 32. Chapter 31 7677 0 0 33. Chapter 32 8496 0 0 34. Chapter 33 6599 0 0 35. Chapter 34 638 0 0 36. Chapter 35 8756 0 0 37. Epilogue 12871 0 0