Friday, April 17, 2009

The Perfect Wife - Chapter 13

Chapter 13


Carlisle walked us out to the lobby. He and Edward were discussing his upcoming residency schedule. Carlisle assured him that he would make the necessary arrangements to his schedule to allow him time to work with me.

They decided I could start back to school after the holidays. I had been out part of this semester due to the accident and the time I spent in the hospital before moving here then ‘settling in’ with Charlie and James. No one was willing to let me out of their sight until they felt confident I was sufficiently broken in. They felt I needed a few more weeks to accomplish this.

I would have my work cut out for me to catch up with my classes to still graduate on time. I was going to be taking this time to study, when I wasn’t busy learning my new responsibilities, to test out of the classes I would have been taking now to keep me on track. Edward and Carlisle would tutor me since I wouldn’t be going back to Charlie’s.

When I did start back Edward would start his shift at the hospital after dropping me off at school in the mornings and get a break to pick me up each afternoon before coming home for the evening. I would use the afternoon until he came home working with his mother or either of his sister-in-laws along with completing any schoolwork.

Edward convinced his father to work for a Christmas deadline for my adoption. Carlisle told him he would talk to their attorney to get a rush date on my adoption. He laughed when he told Edward not to expect anything else for Christmas then since I was going to be such an expensive gift.

“Well Edward hopefully we’ll be able to give Bella to you in time for Christmas morning. I’ll just have to see if we can fit her under the tree.” Carlisle and Edward were laughing at his joke as we left the hospital.

Edward opened the car door for me to get in, still chuckling to himself. As I waited for Edward to get in the car, I thought about moving to the Cullen’s home and what that would mean for me. I ran my hand through my hair as I propped my elbow on the door. I winced as I felt my bump. I decided anything had to be better than staying with Charlie or James a moment longer than necessary.

We drove away from the hospital. Edward was still chuckling at Carlisle’s joke about putting me under the Christmas tree.

I wish I could stand up for myself. I’d tell them all ‘Hey Jackass I’m a person, not a doll for you to dress up and make do what you want. I have my own thoughts, feelings, dreams and ambitions. I want to do things with my life.’ Then I’d flip them off with both hands, turn around and bend over slapping my ass and tell them all ‘to bite me’.

I sighed at my daydream. My experience with the men who were in my life now, they would probably line up to do just that. Besides, I’d never have the courage to talk back like that.

Knowing how I’d been punished so far for embarrassing Charlie at the hospital or spilling a cup of coffee, I was terrified what the punishment for a statement like that would evoke from them.
I must have sighed out loud without realizing. I felt Edward put his hand on my leg and start sliding his hand up and down my thigh.

“Is there a problem Bella?” he asked.

I put away my dream for when I was alone. I looked at him plastering on my smile. “No Edward. I’m just a little hungry, that’s all.” At least the last part wasn’t a lie.

He frowned at me and I could tell he was getting mad again. Damn this man was moody as hell. It’s like his moods work on a pendulum system or something; smiling one minute angry the next.

“It’s only 10:00 Bella. There is no reason for you to be hungry yet. We will eat at 1:00 when I’m ready,” he told me dismissing my statement.

“Yes Edward, I’m sorry.” I put both hands in my lap and looked down. I willed myself not to cry again in front of him. I was getting really hungry. Just three hours, I could do it. I gave myself a pep talk.

“You need to learn to work with my timetable Bella. This is something we will go over during the next few days.” He made it sound like he was preparing a lesson plan for a student, which is essentially what I was.

“Yes, of course, Edward,” I answered. I looked back out the window at the passing scenery.

“May I ask where we’re going, if it’s allowed?” I didn’t know his rules on asking questions yet.

“I told you I wanted to take you out for the day.” He said.

That was all I was going to get. About 30 minutes later we pulled into the mall parking lot.

‘Great’ I thought, more shopping.

I used to really enjoy shopping with Renee. I reminisced about the Saturdays we would walk the mall, window shopping mostly, laughing and joking. During Phil’s off seasons we would meet up with him for dinner and usually go to a movie to end the night. I hated shopping now.

Edward came around and helped me out. He put his arm around me as we walked inside.

Naturally the first store he wanted to go in was Victoria’s Secrets.

I glanced at him hoping he’d say something. He must have sensed it and decided to be helpful.

“You’re going to be living in my home now, Bella. You need some clothes,” he stated.

“Charlie already bought me clothes, Edward. You don’t need to buy me anything. Please don’t trouble yourself.” I thought I was being considerate.

He didn’t. He pulled me into one of the vacant hallways that ran between the stores and held me by my arm against the wall squeezing tightly. He was hurting me and I was sure he’d leave a bruise of his hand.

“Bella let me be clear so you burn it into that beautiful head of yours. You do not ever presume to tell me what I do or do not need to do. You do as I tell you. Your opinion is of no consequence unless I ask for it. Do you understand me?”

I felt the tears well up in my eyes. I blinked to make them stop. I couldn’t afford to make him angrier.

“Yes Edward. I’m sorry. I only want to please you.” I reached up to pull his lips down to mine so I could ask for forgiveness like I’d been taught. He allowed me to bring his lips to mine as I whispered, “Please forgive me Edward. I’ll be good I promise.”

He crushed his lips to mine forcing my mouth open so he could assault my tongue, pulling it into his mouth. He had me pressed against the wall with his arms wrapped tightly around me molding me to him. I could feel his erection pressing into me.

When he was done he stepped back slowly letting the darkness fade from his pupils, leaving me shaking on unstable legs. He silently reached for my elbow to guide me back out into the crowd.

We walked into Victoria Secrets and I followed him around the store. Just like shopping with James, I said nothing to the items he picked up. I just took everything and tried it on.

The only difference with this trip is that Edward came back to the dressing area with me. “I want you to come out when you put them on so I can evaluate them.” He said.

I tried on panty/bra sets, silk camisoles and boy shorts, several baby doll nightgowns like the ones James picked out (scraps of see through lace) and a deep blue corset and matching thong that made him smile and a short silk robe. I couldn’t believe my luck with the robe. I would have an opportunity to cover myself at some point at least.


I heard Bella sigh beside me and stroked her thigh reassuringly. I asked her if something was wrong and she told me she was hungry. I knew she’d just had breakfast so there was no reason to be hungry already. I told her she would need to learn and adapt to my schedule.

I took her to the mall to get clothing for her stay with me. I liked what was in her closet at Charlie’s but I wanted the pleasure of dressing her up myself. I was looking forward to picking out beautiful things for her to wear for me. I knew she’d be excited. What woman wasn’t thrilled with new clothes?

Then she has to go and burst my bubble of happiness. She told me she didn’t want me to buy her clothes. I got angry. How dare she tell me what to do? It isn’t her place to tell me anything. Her job is to obey.

I pulled her into a quiet hallway holding her arm while I backed her against the wall and held her firmly. “Bella let me be clear so you burn it into that beautiful head of yours. You do not ever presume to tell me what I do or do not need to do.” I was practically growling at her. “You do as I tell you. Your opinion is of no consequence unless I ask for it. Do you understand me?”
I could tell she was fighting back tears and was pleased that she stopped them. Crying would only make me angrier.

She reached up to pull me into a kiss apologizing for her behavior. She assured me she only wanted my happiness. I crushed her lips with mine forcing her mouth open. This was a lesson for her to learn. I pressed against her so she could feel the effect she had on my body. I needed her so badly.

When I could finally gain control of myself again I released her and walked her back out into the mall. I took her to Victoria Secrets first. I needed to see her in sexy lingerie even if it was torture. At the last minute I decided to include a short robe for her. When we were married she wouldn’t need one. I never wanted her hidden from me, but I was remembering the look in Carlisle’s eye at the hospital and decided it would probably be best for now.

I had her try everything on for me in the dressing area and had trouble breathing when she stepped out in the blue corset and thong I had picked out. Blue was definitely her color. It showed off her creamy skin and the tight corset only teased me with what I couldn’t see.


After Victoria Secrets we went to several other stores. All were designer clothing stores, different than the ones Charlie took me to. This time I knew better than to say a word. I couldn’t believe he was spending so much money; $100 for a shirt, $170 for jeans $400 on dresses like I had on already, and so on. To me they didn’t look much different than my others. But ‘my opinion doesn’t matter’ I chimed in my head repeating Edward’s words.

The only real difference between this shopping experience and my trip with Charlie was the logo on the bags and the amount of money being spent. Otherwise, it was the same. Everything was designed to show off my body to full advantage.

We were leaving the third store when I started feeling lightheaded. I knew it was from hunger and all the walking and trying on clothes. I was still not used to standing so long in high heels. I tried to shake the feeling off. I knew I still had an hour and a half before he would take me to eat.

“Just a little bit longer Bella” I chanted to myself repeatedly.

Edward was picking things out for me to try on. I stood there getting dizzier and dizzier. I knew my face must be drained of all blood. I felt cold and clammy. Edward turned to hand me the clothes he picked for me to try on just as I fainted.

I awoke feeling someone massaging my wrist and pressing something cool and damp to my brow. I blinked a few times to get my eyes to focus. I was lying on a bench in the dressing room with Edward sitting beside me.

“Welcome back Bella. I was getting worried about you,” his voice was full of concern. “Maybe we should go back to let Carlisle take another look at you. I don’t want you ill.”
I started to sit up and he put his hand on my shoulder holding me down.

“Don’t sit up just yet. Get your bearing first,” he said.

“That isn’t necessary Edward. I’m sorry I fainted. I promise I’m fine,” I tried to assure him. I really didn’t want Carlisle to check me over.

He frowned at me and his eyes darkened slightly. He glanced up behind me. I realized the store manager was standing behind my head listening to our conversation.

“Only if you’re sure, Bella? If you’re ready we can leave now.”

His words sounded nice, but I could hear the underlying tone. I had told him what to do again. I was in trouble.

I sat up bracing myself so I wouldn’t get lightheaded. I knew he wanted to leave now so he could tell me what he really felt.

He stood and helped me to my feet, slipping his arm around my waist for support. At least that’s how it would look. I could feel his hand gripping my hip very firmly so I’d have no mistake how angry he was with me.

I smiled at the manager performing my role of happy, well cared for, whatever I was. The store manager was an older woman with a kind face. She’d probably have a heart attack if she knew what was in store for me.

“Thank you for your help, Mrs. Johnson,” he said. “Your kindness is greatly appreciated. We will be sure to return another time when she’s feeling up to shopping again.”
With that comment he squeezed tighter. Who knew when he’d ever take me again?

“Oh Mr. Cullen, it was my pleasure to assist you. I only hope your dear friend feels better soon.”

Edward picked up our shopping bags and we left the store. As soon as we were out of the mall his pretense was over. He grabbed my arm and walked quickly to the car pulling me behind him.
I was trying to keep up but it was hard in heels. I stumbled. If he hadn’t been gripping my arm so tight I would have fallen. He finally slowed down just enough that I could keep up.

He put me in the car slamming my door. Then he went to the back to put the bags in the trunk. I winced at the sound of the trunk slamming closed. He stood there for 5 minutes before coming around to get in the car.

He sat there with his eyes closed pinching the bridge of his nose. I was learning this is what he did when he was trying to calm down.

I’m sorry Edward,” I whispered in a shaky voice. “I didn’t mean to faint. I’m sorry I embarrassed you.”

“Do not speak Isabella until I tell you,” he growled back.

He started the car and slammed it into gear roaring out of the parking lot onto the highway. We were headed home and to my punishment.

I couldn’t stop the tears from spilling down my face. I couldn’t help I was weak from hunger.

This was so unfair. I dug up a little ball of courage and looked over to Edward and took a deep breath. I was already going to be punished so I may as well go for it. It was now or never.
“Edward, I’m sorry I fainted. I was dizzy. I haven’t eaten in 2 days and that was only a couple of bites.”

I blew out what breath I had left. There I’d said it at least. Who knew if I’d ever have the courage to defend myself again?

He suddenly pulled the car off the highway onto the shoulder, causing cars to swerve and honk at us. He put the car in park and turned to me. His face was so dark and his narrowed eyes glared at me.

“What do you mean you haven’t eaten?” He yelled. “Are you trying to get sick? There is no excuse not to take proper care of yourself, Isabella! I will not have it, do you understand?”

He was shouting and shaking me by my arms. I was sobbing so hard I could barely answer him.
“I understand Edward. I’m sorry. It was part of my punishment. I’m sorry.”

He released my arms and sat back like I slapped him. He stared at me a moment before speaking. “What do you mean it was part of your punishment?” he asked quietly.
I took a couple of breaths. “You already know about my punishment. You talked about it with Charlie this morning in my room.”

I didn’t understand why this was a surprise. Not eating was the mildest thing that had been done to me so far. I’d take that over every other form of torture I’d endured gladly.

“Bella, Charlie said that your punishment consisted of no clothing and not speaking. He didn’t tell me you were also being denied food.” Edward had a pained look on his face. “I would have never condoned you not eating. I gave very specific instructions as to your care and what I would allow to be done to you.”

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. I really didn’t know how to respond to that. He was telling me that in his mind the only horror in my treatment was not eating. Everything else was fine with him. I knew this already, but this just brought it home to me even more. On the bright side, at least now I knew I’d never starve in my new life.

He brushed the tears off my face with his thumb and smiled at me to let me know he was no longer angry with me. He turned and pulled back on the highway turning around again and heading back to Port Angeles.

We pulled up to a nice restaurant and Edward came around to help me out again. He gave me a gentle kiss before slipping his arm around me as we walked in. Once we were inside he pointed the direction of the ladies room and whispered I could go freshen up. I smiled my gratitude and walked away.

I stood at the mirror pressing a damp towel to my face to cool the red in my cheeks from crying. I ran my fingers through my hair to fluff it being sure to cover James’ marks again. I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t recognize the girl standing there any longer. I didn’t know how to get my bearings with Edward. Somehow I needed to get him to tell me what he expected of me without making him angry for asking questions.

I walked back to the front to Edward. I plastered on my smile as I came up to him. “Better?” I asked.

He pulled me into a brief hug and kissed my forehead. “Much better,” he replied.
The hostess took us to our table in a quiet corner and handed us our menus. Edward asked for two glasses of wine along with water before she walked away. As I opened my menu to see what

I wanted Edward reached across and took it from my hands setting it back on the table.

“You don’t need that. I’ll order for you, Bella.”

“I’m sorry. Thank you.” I said softly. I wanted to scream. I can’t even order my own food any longer. I just hoped he’d pick something I liked. My stomach had started growling again.
The waitress came back with the drinks. I picked up the water and drank. It was so good. Edward sat quietly watching me.

I set my glass down and waited for him to speak.

He reached his hand across the table to me palm up indicating for me to place mine in his. I lifted my hand from my lap and put it in his as he wrapped his fingers around my hand. He stroked the back of my hand with his thumb starring at my hand thoughtfully.

“Bella, I didn’t know Charlie was starving you. We’ve had a few minor problems in the past with him or James taking extra liberties or taking punishments too far. We thought we could trust him with your training since you were family. Obviously we were wrong. I will need to deal with them sooner than later.”

He was frowning in thought; “There is no question now. We need to move quickly with your adoption. This won’t happen again.”

The waitress came at that point to take our order.

“We’ll start with the Caesar salad then the baked salmon with grilled vegetables,” he ordered.

“Certainly sir. I’ll be right back with your bread,” she said smiling at him, flirting. Me, she completely ignored. I didn’t exist, but I was getting used to that feeling.

Yes, I admit, Edward Cullen is by far the most gorgeous man alive on the outside. He had the looks, money and was going to be a doctor. However, on the inside, he needed a lot of work. He had shown me in brief moments that he was capable of kindness, but they were outweighed by his domineering cruelty.

He released my hand when the waitress came back with our salads and bread.

“May I have more water, please?” I asked. I was thirsty and didn’t want the wine.
She brought back the water pitcher and filled my glass. I raised it to my lips and saw Edward frowning at me over the rim of my glass. I set it back down on the table without taking a drink.
“Eat your salad Bella and drink your wine,” he told me as he picked up his fork.

I started eating the salad, neither of us speaking. When we had finished the waitress brought our entrĂ©es out. I’d never had salmon before. I never really liked fish so I decided to just eat the vegetables and another slice of bread. That should be enough to hold me until dinner.

I started becoming self-conscious when I noticed Edward watching me eat. He observed my plate of uneaten salmon and that I’d almost finished the vegetables.

He sighed at me in displeasure. “Bella, eat your salmon. You need the protein.”

I swallowed, “Yes Edward,” I replied lowering my gaze to my plate. I picked up a small bite and ate it slowly. I guess it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t something I’d ever choose to order for myself.
He sat there and waited until I’d eaten everything on my plate. I felt like such a child. I drank the last of my wine also.

He signaled for the check and pulled some bills out of his wallet to pay. He stood so we could leave. I got to my feet and he escorted me out to the car.

He turned onto a quiet street with several shops. He parked and got out opening my door again. Edward put his arm around me as we strolled down the sidewalk. I looked at all the storefronts trying to figure out where he was taking me. My heart beat a little faster and I got excited when I saw one was a bookstore. My step hesitated at the door as Edward was walking past. He noticed and looked at me then at the store. He just continued walking letting me know we weren’t stopping there. My shoulders slumped a little in disappointment.


We went to several other stores. I was handing her clothes to try on when her face drained of color and she fainted. I rushed to catch her before she hit the floor. The store manager witnessed this and rushed to assist. She suggested lying her on the long bench in the dressing area and ran to get a damp towel to put on her forehead.

I was torn between concern and anger. I didn’t like the idea that my future wife was going to have a weak constitution. She was embarrassing me. I wanted to shake her awake and let her know how angry I was but the store manager was standing there.

I looked down at Bella as she woke up. She must have seen the anger in my eyes because she tried to get up quickly. I let her get up after a minute. I didn’t want her to display any more weakness in front of the store manager causing us to stay here a moment longer than necessary.
I needed to get out of here before I lost it with her.

I put my arm around her to hold her to me as I thanked the manager and assured her we would be back. It would probably be a cold day in hell. I would not go through humiliation like this again. My hold tightened on Bella to discreetly show her the level of my anger. I hated the idea of punishing her already. I had wanted a pleasant day and she had to ruin it.

We left the mall and I grabbed her arm pulling her to the car. I caught her as she stumbled in the parking lot. I put her in the car slamming her door. I put the bags in the trunk and released a little anger on my car, another reason to punish her. I took immaculate care of my car. I never slammed the door. She was making me this angry. I knew I needed to bring it under control before I got in the car with her.

I finally got in and sat pinching the bridge of my nose taking deep breaths. She tried to apologize and I didn’t want to hear it. I told her to be quiet.

I drove us back toward Charlie’s house. I didn’t have the necessary supplies to punish her at my home. I would need to pick up some later today obviously. I hated doing this at Charlie’s. I wanted to punish her in the privacy of our room. There was no need for witnesses to this.
I could hear her crying next to me trying to keep me from noticing. I saw her look at me out of the corner of my eye. The tears were running down her face. She opened her mouth and said the worst thing she could have. She told me she was starving herself! I was livid now.

I pulled off the highway not caring that I caused cars to swerve. I grabbed her arms and started shaking her screaming at her. How dare she try to make herself sick? Was she trying to avoid me? Was she trying to get sympathy and play me? I wasn’t stupid. Those kinds of games did not work on me.

When she spoke again I felt like I had been slapped. She told me Charlie was starving her as part of her punishment. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Charlie knew I wouldn’t tolerate him starving her. None of my family would. That was cruel and unhealthy. She was innocent and I had yelled at her and made her cry. I felt guilty for my behavior.

“Bella, Charlie said that your punishment consisted of no clothing and not speaking. He didn’t tell me you were also being denied food.” I wanted to let her know that I would never allow her to be mistreated like that. “I would have never condoned you not eating. I gave very specific instructions as to your care and what I would allow to be done to you.”

She apologized for making me feel guilty and let me off the hook. I knew how to make it up to her, but first I needed to get some food in her.

I wiped away her tears and headed to a nice quiet restaurant I knew. The store I wanted to go to afterward was nearby. We went in and I pointed out the ladies room to her so she could freshen up. Then we got a table in the corner. I ordered wine and water for us. Bella picked up her menu and I put it back on the table. I knew what she needed to eat that would make her feel better.

I watched her drink the water the waitress set in front of her and held her hand while I thought over my dilemma. Charlie and James were becoming a problem. Our family had briefly discussed this after Alice was given to Jasper. She had been traumatized by James during her training. Fortunately for Jasper she didn’t suffer any permanent damage at their hands. He was very gentle with her and loved her dearly.

“Bella, I didn’t know Charlie was starving you. We’ve had a few minor problems in the past with him or James taking extra liberties or taking punishments too far. We thought we could trust him with your training since you were family. Obviously we were wrong. I will need to deal with them sooner than later.”

There was no question about moving up her adoption now. I needed her to be under my roof as quickly as possible before anything else happened to her. I just couldn’t risk her being hurt.
We finished our meal and I took her to the jeweler our family frequented. He was a pleasant elderly gentleman who had always provided just the right piece when we needed it. I noticed her hesitation on the sidewalk as we passed the bookstore that was next door to his shop. A brief look of wistfulness passed across her vision before it was gone.


We stopped at the next store and he opened the door to usher me in. It was a jeweler. There was an elderly man behind the counter. He was tall, thin and balding with a kind face. He squinted through his glasses at us as we came in.

“Ah, Mr. Cullen! I’m so glad to see you. This must be the lucky young lady.” He came from behind the counter to shake Edward’s hand while he looked me over smiling.

This was the first male attention I’d had since moving here that didn’t make me feel dirty. There was nothing but kindness in his gaze. So I smiled back at him kindly.
“She is an angel, Edward,” he said.

“Thank you,” I replied. It was so nice to have a man say something kind to me without ulterior motives. My smile got even bigger and I knew my eyes were sparkling. His smile got even bigger.

“I’m beginning to think you’re the lucky one instead, Edward.” he chuckled.
I looked to Edward to see if he was angry. He was looking at me like he’d never seen me before. He reached up with his hand and gently stroked his hand across my cheek.

“I think I have to agree with you Mr. McGee. I don’t think I realized until this moment how lucky,” he replied.

He was still looking at me in wonder stroking my cheek. I started blushing.

He laughed, suddenly pulling me into a hug and kissed my forehead.

“Yes, I am definitely a lucky man that she’s all mine,” he stated.

“Well, what can I do for you today?” he asked getting back to business.

“Well Mr. McGee, we had a little misunderstanding earlier today and I’d like to make it up to her. What have you got for me to get out of the doghouse?” Edward asked taking me over to the counter to look at everything.

I stood and waited while they talked and considered different items. Everything was sparkling and full of diamonds and precious stones. It was all beautiful and expensive.

I thought wistfully of the bookstore next door. If I could just spend an hour looking at books would be enough for me. I prayed for the day I’d get to shop alone. I’d spend the whole day sitting on the floor of a bookstore with piles of books around me smelling the pages. That was my

Edward putting his hand on my lower back brought me out of my daydream.

“What do you think, Bella? Will this get me out of the doghouse?” he asked sheepishly.
I looked at what he was holding up in front of me. It was a diamond tennis bracelet and it wasn’t tiny diamonds either. I honestly didn’t want it. I wasn’t a jewelry person. I had a simple silver cross necklace that Renee and Phil gave me last Christmas, 3 pairs of earrings and a watch, but I was learning my role.

“Yes Edward it’s very nice. Thank you.” I gave my approved answer as I held out my wrist for him to put it on as expected.

He smiled his approval while he closed the clasp. He raised my hand to kiss the inside of my wrist.

“We’ll take it,” he turned to Mr. McGee and pulled his credit card out of his wallet.
Mr. McGee rang up the purchase. I nearly fainted when I saw the price. I could buy a car for what was hanging on my wrist now.

“Thank you again Mr. McGee. I’ll be back soon for the other purchase we discussed earlier.”

“It will be ready when you need it.” Mr. McGee laughed and winked my direction.

I leaned over and gave Mr. McGee a kiss on his cheek. “Thank you for being so kind to me. I hope I get to see you again.”

He stepped back smiling and cleared his throat taking his glasses off to clean looking embarrassed. “Well now young lady, you are welcome in my store anytime.”

Edward frowned at me but he didn’t look angry. He had a strange look in his eyes.
We left the store and headed back to the car. I gazed at the bookstore as we passed once more.

This time Edward stopped. I looked up at him afraid I’d done something wrong.

He was looking at me thoughtfully. “Bella, would you like to go in?”

I looked in his eyes searching for another lesson to be hidden in the question. I couldn’t find one.

I answered carefully, “Do you mean it?”

“Yes, Bella I mean it. If you would like to go in we can for a short while.”

I reacted instinctively. I squealed and jumped up throwing my arms around his neck and kissed him soundly on the mouth. “Oh thank you Edward. You have no idea how much this means to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” I kissed him between each ‘thank you’ showing him how happy I was.

He laughed as he set me on my feet again and reached around to open the door. I practically skipped into the store grinning ear-to-ear grabbing his hand on the way. I was a kid in a candy store.

I stopped when we were inside and performed my “bookstore ritual”. I closed my eyes, tilted my head back and inhaled. I could smell the pages of all the stories. I was in heaven even if only for a brief time.

Edward was watching me fascinated by my actions. I pulled him over to the classics. I ran my hands over the spines of the books. William Shakespeare, Jane Austin and a dozen other authors I loved. I pulled out Romeo and Juliet running my hand over the cover for a moment. This was an old friend.

I sighed as I put the book back on the shelf. I turned to Edward who was still watching me.
“Thank you, Edward for letting me come in. I really do appreciate it. We can go now if you want.” I was already sad knowing my time in heaven was coming to an end, but glad of the time I had.

He took my face in both his hands and tilted my face up to him. He was staring intently into my eyes like he was trying to solve a mystery. I don’t know if he found what he was looking for, but he leaned in and gave me a gentle kiss. I kissed him back sliding my arms up around his neck to hold him. His hands came down to wrap around my waist holding me close but gently.

He continued holding me as he raised his head again looking at me.

“Bella, why don’t you pick out a few books? I know you’ll have some quiet time at the house and this will give you something to occupy your time.”

A smile lit up my face and I knew my eyes were sparkling again. I hugged him tight. “Thank you Edward.” I gushed at him.

I turned back to the shelf and pulled out 3 books, I looked to him for approval. I didn’t want to overstep and ruin this moment.

“Is this ok Edward,” I asked showing him my selection.

“Yes Bella those are fine. Are you ready?”

I nodded and we went to the front to pay. I was floating inside. Edward had bought me books and was going to allow me time to read.


Mr. McGee greeted us when we walked into his shop. He and I had already talked after my visit to the hospital the other day. He was working on the engagement ring I wanted designed for Bella.

He looked her over and smiled at me. He knew she was my future wife without being introduced.

“She is an angel, Edward,” he said.

Bella thanked him for the compliment and I was amazed at the transformation in her. She smiled at him. It was a smile I had never witnessed from her. Her entire face lit up and her eyes were sparkling brighter than any jewel in the store. I wanted to see that look again and again. It was so different than all the other smiles I had received from her.

Mr. McGee was flustered by her smile as well. “I’m beginning to think you’re the lucky one instead, Edward.” he chuckled.

Bella was looking at me. I gently stroked my hand across her cheek in wonder.

“I think I have to agree with you Mr. McGee. I don’t think I realized until this moment how lucky,” I replied.

She started blushing making me laugh. I pulled her into a hug and kissed her forehead. I was very glad she was mine.

“Yes, I am definitely a lucky man that she’s all mine,” I said.

I told him that we’d had a misunderstanding earlier today. I felt bad blaming her for not eating. I wanted to get her something special to make it up to her. He and I discussed different items while she stood waiting. I finally picked out a diamond tennis bracelet that I knew would look lovely on her wrist.

I held it up for her to see her gift. “What do you think, Bella? Will this get me out of the doghouse?” I asked.

“Yes Edward it’s very nice. Thank you,” she answered and held out her wrist for me to put it on her. I kissed her wrist after putting the bracelet on her. I knew it would make her happy.
We left with him telling Bella she was always welcome back. She would always have an admirer in him. I wasn’t worried about it. He was an elderly man so no threat to me.

We were walking back to the car when I noticed her looking in the window of the bookstore again. I paused trying to figure out why she seemed sad.

“Bella, would you like to go in?” I asked her.

She was looking into my eyes searching for what I didn’t know.

She finally answered, “Do you mean it?”

“Yes, Bella I mean it. If you would like to go in we can for a short while.”

I was taken off guard by her reaction. She squealed and jumped into my arms throwing her arms around my neck and kissed me.

“Oh thank you Edward. You have no idea how much this means to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” She was kissing me between each ‘thank you’. She was gushing happiness.
I laughed as I set her back down and opened the door for her. I couldn’t get over her reaction to a bookstore. She ran into the store grinning ear-to-ear and surprised me by grabbing my hand on the way. She looked like a little girl.

She stopped when we were inside and I watched as she closed her eyes, tilting her head back and breathed deeply. She had an expression of sheer joy on her face.
She pulled me to the classics section. I watched her run her hand over several books. She pulled one out and stroked it reverently.

She sighed and put the book back on the shelf. “Thank you Edward for letting me come in here. I really do appreciate it. We can go now if you want.”

I took her face in my hands and held her gaze. I wanted to know what she was thinking. It frustrated me that her mind was closed to me. I didn’t understand her. She was a puzzle that I felt I could take a lifetime and not solve. I kissed her and she wrapped her arms around me returning the kiss. I held her gently wanting only to see her eyes sparkle again.

“Bella, why don’t you pick out a few books? I know you’ll have some quiet time at the house and this will give you something to occupy your time.”

I got my wish. The smile I had seen only once before lit up her face and her eyes were sparkling again, this time for me. She wrapped her arms around my waist and squeezed me tight.

“Thank you Edward,” she gushed. She picked up three books before turning to me for approval. I assured her they were fine and we went to the front to pay.

I could tell I had made her happy. But I still didn’t understand why. I had bought her designer clothes and she was wearing a magnificent diamond tennis bracelet. All of these only elicited the briefest smiles and calm ‘thank you’s’ which sounded like automatic responses to my ears now. However, a trip to a bookstore and $40 worth of books (less than the cost of our lunch) brought forth squeals of pleasure and radiant smiles. Yes, my Bella was definitely a puzzle and I couldn’t wait to spend a lifetime trying to solve her mystery.


  1. I can't help but wonder how much of Edward's treatment of Bella is conditioning and seeing his father's example, as opposed to how he would be if he had been raised in a "normal" family. I hate that he treats her like a possession, but I suspect there is some hope for him yet.

    How is it that he can feel Charlie is disgusting for enjoying abusing his daughter, but closes his mind to the possibility that she has already been hurt far worse then he thinks by James? And how is it that starvation is worse to him then everything else? Unbelievable.

    Truly, you write this story well. I'm glad it's not your personal belief, but you are able to delve into their minds very well - it's a little scary! :)

  2. This is my favorite chapter so far. We are beginning to see a different Edward. This Edward may actually care for Bella and not want to dominate her to the point of being cruel.

    I have to say it I was a little wary to continue reading this story because of how the previous chapters were, but this chapter gives me hope.

  3. Awwww Edward is decent! It's more than obvious that he only knows a somewhat "traditional" approach towards women, however he wants her to be happy and to love. So far, this has been the best chapter. You can clearly see that Edward will come to love Bella.