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My Mate by rachaelprincess

Summary:

She was lost in him, the taste of his blood and the feel of his skin against her mouth. She
acknowledged that from this moment on there would be no turning back.

Summary: Two reluctant vampires find themselves mated, each requiring the others blood
to survive. She will fight it. He will fight for her. In the end, their blood will save them
both.
Story contains adult themes, graphic lemons, and violence.
A generous thank you to FrozenSoldier for the beautiful banner above. I want your talent.


Categories: AU Characters: Bella
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 32 Completed: Yes Word count: 103606 Read: 140953 Published: January 25,
2012 Updated: July 13, 2012
Story Notes:
Summary: Two reluctant vampires find themselves mated, each requiring the others
blood to survive. She will fight it. He will fight for her. In the end, their blood will save
them both.
Story contains adult themes, graphic lemons, and violence.

Authors Note The idea of vampire mating has always fascinated me. I love the bond thats
created between the pair. Im borrowing a few ideas from Christine Feehans world. And
WARNING I sometimes get a little heavy on my lemons so be forewarned. This story is
not for the young.

Also - a big thank you to my betas, Edward's Eternal and therunaway. Thanks for taking a
chance with me.

Twilighted Beta:AngelGoddess1981
1. Chapter 1 by rachaelprincess
2. Chapter 2 by rachaelprincess
3. Chapter 3 by rachaelprincess
4. Chapter 4 by rachaelprincess
5. Chapter 5 by rachaelprincess
6. Chapter 6 by rachaelprincess
7. Chapter 7 by rachaelprincess
8. Chapter 8 by rachaelprincess
9. Chapter 9 by rachaelprincess
10. Chapter 10 by rachaelprincess
11. Chapter 11 by rachaelprincess
12. Chapter 12 by rachaelprincess
13. Chapter 13 by rachaelprincess
14. Chapter 14 by rachaelprincess
15. Chapter 15 by rachaelprincess
16. Chapter 16 by rachaelprincess
17. Chapter 17 by rachaelprincess
18. Chapter 18 by rachaelprincess
19. Chapter 19 by rachaelprincess
20. Chapter 20 by rachaelprincess
21. Chapter 21 by rachaelprincess
22. Chapter 22 by rachaelprincess
23. Chapter 23 by rachaelprincess
24. Chapter 24 by rachaelprincess
25. Chapter 25 by rachaelprincess
26. Chapter 26 by rachaelprincess
27. Chapter 27 by rachaelprincess
28. Chapter 28 by rachaelprincess
29. Chapter 29 by rachaelprincess
30. Chapter 30 by rachaelprincess
31. Outtake #1 - Paris by rachaelprincess
32. Outtake #2 by rachaelprincess
Chapter 1 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

My Mate
Rachael Princess

Chapter 1

The spiky-haired vampire eventually found Bella working outside in the garden. March had
finally ended, and now April was bringing promises of new color and life. The day was
sunny and seasonably warm, so Alice had remembered to discard her jacket before going
outside.
Bella was moving at a human-pace, a pair of shears in one hand, trimming the rose bushes
that ran along the perimeter of the fence. Both women knew Bella could easily have
performed the trimming with just her hands and still have gotten the same results. But Bella
preferred the human route - the route that was most familiar and calming to her.
So Alice called as she sat down on the shaded swing resting in the wooded alcove. Did
you hear about Rose?
Bella smiled and continued cutting. The snip sounds hypnotic and soothing to her
ears. No. What did she do this time?
Rose was their third vampire sister, and much older than either of them. She was the most
experienced of the girls, sometimes to a fault. She had a flair for the dramatic, the intense,
and the passionate. Rose had yet to be claimed and mated with anyone, preferring instead to
sample vampire men she found desirable.
Wellits not so much what she did, but more what happened to her.
Bella turned around and looked at Alice. Is she okay?
Immensely, okay. In fact, I would say she is better now than she has ever been, or will ever
be again.
Bella sighed and turned back to her roses, inspecting a beautiful white one that was about to
bloom. Alice, more matter and less art.
Alice stuck out her tongue at her sister. Good lady, stay awhile, I will be faithful.
Several thorny branches were suddenly thrown in Alices direction. She bounced away but
not before five of them struck her. Ouch! You know that would have hurt if I were human.
But youre not, so either tell me your news or go find Jasper.
The small vampire leaned in Bellas direction and almost whispered. Her mate found her.
The shears in Bellas hands were instantly forgotten and Bella flew to Alices
side. What? When? Is she okay?
Alice only smiled. Like I said, shes very okay. In fact, we probably wont see her for a
few weeks, maybe a few months.
But how did it happen?
Esme was with her. They were hunting along the North ridge, when they met up with
him. Within seconds of meeting him, he latched onto Rose and Esme said she didnt give it
much of a fight. After a few minutes they ran off together.
He he latched on? You mean he started the exchange right there? In front of
Esme? Didnt she try to stop him?
Alice looked at Bella with a wise glance that spoke volumes, Ive told you before, and its
not like that. When it happens, its the most beautiful, lustful, sweet experience and your soul
will crave it like nothing else.
Lustful? Sweet? Bella shuddered. Impossible.
Bella waved her aside, wanting to keep the focus on Rose. But Rose doesnt want a
mate. She has never wanted one. She doesnt necessarily have to go with him. She paused
for a moment, letting the information sink in further. Alice, how do you know Rose wont
treat this as one of her regular flings? Maybe it was just instant infatuation and she went
along for the ride.
Not this time, sweet. Ive already seen them when they come back. Our Rose is happily
mated.
Bella stood up and began walking slowly out of the garden, her mind already longing for the
quiet escape of the woods on the perimeter or their property. Alice was at her side instantly.
Bella, honey, I didnt mean to get you upset. I honestly thought youd be happy for
her. Everybody is. Do you want to go talk with Esme? Shes in the house with Carlisle.
Bellas heart lifted at the thought of Esme, her beautiful, loving vampire mother. Bella had
found more comfort and closure with Esmes arms around her than she ever recollected from
her human life. She had helped the most in dealing with Bellas violent shove into the
vampire world. Esme was Bellas home and she suddenly longed for her sage advice and
security.
But the call of the sweet-smelling fields and trees pulled her more at the moment. Bella
turned to look at Alice. Im glad you told me. Its better coming from you than from Rose
herself.
The girls smiled at each other, thinking of Roses lack of tact.
Come back to the house, Bella. It might even help to talk to Carlisle.
No. Really Im fine. I just want to go run for a bit. I was planning to do it anyway. Ill be
back soon.
And with a last glance back to the house, Bella took off. She was ten miles into the Olympic
Mountains before she started to feel more level headed. Bella loved the freedom and escape
that came with running, and she loved these woods. It was where she had found safety after
the horror of her transformation. She was close enough to keep an eye on her father. She had
lived alone here for years before Carlisle found her.
After another hour of running, Bella paused in a quiet, sunlit grove of flowers. Purples,
yellows and reds dotted the green undergrowth. There was a small creek running through the
northern bend, bringing soothing sounds and peace to the meadows inhabitants. Bella loved
this place. It was her solace.
Crouching down by the stream, Bella admitted to herself that first and foremost, she was
scared of Roses mate. She knew nothing about him, and yet the consequences already
seemed so final. Either he would take Rose away which meant Bella would hardly see her
again, or they would stay in Carlisles coven and Bella would have to adjust to a new couple
and a new male.
Why couldnt things just stay the same?
Bella knew about vampire mating rituals, the exchange of venom and blood. Granted, she
had never seen one take place, but Alice and Esme had helped instruct her in the ways of
their kind. Bella feared the idea of a mate the most. She did not want a male vampire in
charge of her, dominating her, taking her away from her home.
Carlisle and Jasper seemed the only exceptions when it came to vampire males. They were
kind and loving. Both were protective of their mates, not controlling. True, Bella had not met
many male vampires in the short twenty years of her immortal life, but she doubted she could
find someone like her vampire father and brother. Or that this male could find her since
female vampires never sought out their mates. The male vampire was always the first to
know, the first to pursue and initiate the ritual.
Alice and Esme always talked about mating and the venom exchange between mates with
reverence and respect. To Bella it sounded repulsive. Why would she ever want to drink
from another vampire male? Or let him do the same to her?
Pushing those thoughts aside, Bella found comfort in thinking how long it had taken Roses
mate to find her. Rose was now over a hundred-years old. Maybe fate would allow Bella
three times that long before someone would come claiming her.
Bella closed her eyes and breathed in the lovely smelling air, her simple mantra a constant in
her head. Things would be okay. Things would work out. After all, tomorrow was
Wednesday.
Wednesday was her favorite day of the week.

End Notes:
A/N: Shakespeares Hamlet is referenced briefly here.
Back to index
Chapter 2 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Chapter 2
"Hes just a pawn, Caius said in disgust as he slowly adjusted the gilt mirror hanging above
the lavish fireplace. The warmth from the fire felt good against his cold skin. He carries no
real significance and is therefore expendable.
Caius Marcus breathed slowly, seated across the room in an elegant chair. You were
never one to value the quality of life, vampire or human. You should not be so quick to
dismiss it.
Edward smiled as he leaned back further into the soft leather sofa, bringing his feet up to rest
on the matching ottoman. Ah he said to himself, its nice to be back. Watching
conversations play out between the three ruling vampires was a constant source of
entertainment, not to mention the extensive library that encompassed most of the first
subbasement layer.
He turned his attention to Aro, waiting for the eldest of the three to weigh in on the
discussion. But this time Aro seemed to be focused on Edward instead. In spite of Edwards
abilities to hear the thoughts of those around him, Aro was exceptionally good at keeping his
own mind masked in his presence.
Gentlemen, lets put those things aside for a moment, shall we? Aro stood up from his
chair at the mahogany table. After all, its not every day we have a visit from our dear
friend, Mr. Edward Masen. Tell us how youve been.
Edward rubbed the back of his head, Growing old Im afraid. I believe I found my first gray
hair last year.
Marcus chuckled, That is unfortunate, Edward, seeing as how you still havent found your
mate.
There is no need, Edward brushed him aside. I find myself with plenty to occupy my time
with. I see no reason to tie myself down.
Yes, with each visit to Volterra we understand you accumulate several new fans." Aro
moved slowly to stand next to Caius. Of course, you cannot truly understand the pull of a
mate until you have one. So, we wont fault you too much for your lack of perception.
Edward brought his feet down and leaned forward. Aro, I did not mean to slight you or any
others who are mated. Forgive me, as you rightfully pointed out; I have no experience in that
area.
Yet, added Marcus from across the room. You have no experience yet.
Can we put this mating talk aside please? Caius said impatiently. We are vastly more
interested in Edwards latest attempts in his diet experiments.
Ah yes! Aro moved towards him excitedly. Tell us, are you still successful? Are you able
to quench enough of your thirst? And most remarkably, do you still manage to leave your
victims alive?
Yes to all your questions. They have all survived. And they do not remember anything
from the encounter. Edward sighed in relief. After almost half a century, I think I have
perfected my approach. It has been the most sublime challenge of my life.
But are you sure of their memory, Edward? Caius asked sternly. We dont mind
whatever challenge you embark on, as long as the safety of our kind remain intact. You
understand if there was even the slightest infraction, we would hold the consequences over
your head.
I believe Im in a unique position already to verify their thoughts and memories. Ive
followed my case subjects for days even months. There is no recollection, not even
negative thoughts, associated with the feedings.
Caius pressed on, But are you sure mesmerizing them is enough? What if they recollect
years later?
Marcus waved his brother aside. Caius, I am sure Edward understands all of that. He
turned back to the young vampire. What I want to know, Edward, is why? Why has this
been a challenge for you when you already have spent so long subsisting on the traditional
ways of our kind?
Edward paused and thought back on his reasoning. There was much more to the story than
he could summarize for his captive audience. Three-hundred years of studying and watching
what human beings could achieve, of what tremendous potential lay in store for centuries to
come. There was obviously evil and hatred in opposition to success, but Edward was an
optimist. Human beings on the whole deserved more compassion than destruction.
To the males in the room Edward simply replied, My conscience rests easier when I am
amongst humans."
My friend, I know you are not staying with us for long," Aro said. "You have business in
the States, correct?
Edward nodded.
I think you might find it advantageous to meet a good friend of mine while youre there.
Edward glanced down, hiding his frown. What is this about, Aro? He was always wary of
Aros recommendations or favors. His usual financial requests of Edwards were simple and
unencumbered. But he wanted nothing to do with Aros more silent side of smuggling,
killing, or threats.
Maybe nothing. Do you remember Carlisle Cullen? I believe our first introduction to you
was only a few decades after he left.
Ah yes, the one whose coven only drinks animal blood? Ive never met him. I only know
their cousin coven in Alaska. Edward hid his smile from the vampire brothers. Only Aro
knew of Edwards time spent with the Alaskan coven. Mainly because a certain, beautiful
vampire, named Tanya lived amongst them. Edward shifted slightly on the couch. The
recollection of her now, the memories of pushing her up against the wall, legs wrapped
around his waist, ramming into her roughly he suppressed an inner growl.
Yes, he would definitely be stopping there during his upcoming trip.
Aro smiled, his eyes dark with understanding. Thats right. I suspect youll be visiting both
covens now, wont you?
Edward stood up. Ill be pleased to pass along your regards to Carlisle.
Yes, do that. And, Edward?
Yes?
I understand this might inconvenience you slightly, but would you mind going to Carlisles
coven first?
Edward frowned, Why?
Aro pressed his hands together at the tip of his jaw. Carlisle has lately acquired a few
additional new members. I wonder if I might ask you to verify their loyalty to the
Volturi? No doubt everything will go smoothly, but I am most anxious to hear back and
would hate any extended delays.
You have my word. Edward bowed slightly to Aro and then turned to Caius and
Marcus. Gentlemen, always a pleasure. My regards to your mates.
Caius nodded in reply. Marcus stood up and crossed the room to place his hands on
Edwards shoulders. Whispering softly he added, Bring her back here when you find her. I
should very much like to meet her.
Who? Edward asked in surprise.
Youll know, Marcus breathed softly as he released him.
With one last look at the three of them, Edward turned and left.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

With his belongings packed, Edward decided to indulge in one final visit to the library. His
flight was not scheduled until the evening. He had plenty of time.
Edward was not exactly pleased to run this errand for Aro. Something that had started as a
common interest with this Carlisle Cullen had now been pushed into a visit, saddled with a
personal task for Aro, and now stamped with a rush order. Edward swore beneath his
breath. He knew the reason Aro was pushing him to visit Carlisle first. Because when
Edward went to see Tanya, he often ended up staying for a while.
He was so wrapped up in his plans that Edward failed to give heed to the thoughts of a
vampire guard coming straight at him with a raised fist. Before he could block the advance,
he found himself being thrown across the hallway with a dented impression of stone behind
his back, his jaw clenching in pain. A young guard stood over him with another large,
intimidating guard at his side who Edward recognized as Demetri.
Youve been fucking warned! the young guard snarled. Stay the hell away from my
cousin.
Edward responded before he had finished speaking. Launching himself across the space
between them, he slammed his body against him and pinned him along the opposite
wall. One glance at Demetri told Edward that the older guard had no intention of getting
involved. Apparently this was not his personal battle to fight.
The vampire thrashed against Edwards hold in vain. His legs kicking, his body twisting,
Edward was unmoved and leaned closer to his ear.
Who are you and what is this about? Edward growled tightly. Speak quickly before I
snap your tiny neck apart.
Im Felix, he gasped, the words flowing forth with menace. And I know who you are, you
asshole! Stay away from my cousin.
It was then that Felixs mind cleared enough to produce a picture of a female. Edward
recognized her as Bree. The young, pretty girl with long black hair, who had caught
Edwards eye the last time he had visited Volterra. It had not been a lengthy affair, just the
duration of the time he had been in residence.
Edward looked again at Felix, thinking back to how he and Bree had parted. There had been
no remorse or talk of the future. They had not even contacted each other since and that was
more than a decade past. Their encounter was simply a diversion, for both of them. She had
come to him willingly many times.
Edward pulled back and looked into Felixs eyes. Let me tell you something, you disgusting
fool. You know nothing. You understand nothing. Now stay out of my way!
With that, Edward delivered one final punch before dropping him roughly to the ground, the
stone tile splitting upon impact. Edward strode past Felixs fallen form while nodding at
Demetri, who smiled in return.
Felix recovered enough to yell back at Edwards retreating form. You son of a bitch! You
low-life man whore! You fuck my innocent cousin and then leave her with nothing. Dont
even try to contact her! Ill get you for this, Edward Masen!
Before Felix could snarl again, Edward had him by the neck, twisting his body upwards and
back before he slammed him into the stone bench nearby. The bench crumbled instantly and
Felix seemed momentarily subdued.
Without releasing his hands from his neck, Edward leaned down until they were face to
face. Speak to me again, fucking weakling, and I will destroy you.
With one last shove, Edward straightened up and walked calmly down the hallway, never
looking back at the crushed guard. He pushed through a door that led to the lower library
levels and descended the steps.
Felixs words did make him pause. Had he misunderstood Bree? He certainly had not
worried about her in the years since. Maybe he had underestimated her feelings for him.
Over his lifespan, Edward had allowed himself a few relationships with un-mated female
vampires, all of them casual in scope. His favorite was Tanya, which was why he kept going
back to her. But even she had no significant claim to him. He had never felt anything for
them except lust and a desire to satiate his strong libido.
Mating for eternity had little appeal to him. He did not understand it. Vampires theorized
that all males were created with an intrinsic code to recognize their mates. Once the
recognition occurred, it was the males job to initiate the ritual feeding exchange. Female
vampires were oblivious to the potential match until the male would touch them or speak to
them. Something in the voice or touch of the male would alert the corresponding code within
female vampires and they would submit.
But since none of this had ever happened to Edward in all his three hundred years, not even a
desire to spend more than a few years with the same woman; he was starting to believe his
vampire makeup might be missing something.
And that was, he secretly admitted to himself, an incredibly happy thought.
End Notes:
A/N - a full-hearted thank you to all the readers and sweet reviews. I honestly thought
nobody would read this. It was just a plot line that I've always daydreamed about.
Back to index
Chapter 3 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

Thank you again for everyones review. They are so nice and make my day sweet.
A special thank you to both my betas this time around. Ive learned so much. Thank you.
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Chapter 3

Bella worked her hands into the sticky, warm dough, silently grateful for vampire skin that
held no residue of flour or yeast. The smell was delicious, making her yearn again for human
food with all its comforts and rich tastes.
During Bellas first five years as a vampire, she had attempted several times to eat human
food again. She missed it and wanted the connection with her past life. But alas, the food
would always taste repulsive, no matter how beautiful it smelled. And it would never digest,
constantly a sinking mass inside her, waiting to be expunged.
That was all before Carlisle found her and brought her home. Before she even knew what she
was doing or how to keep living. Things were much better now, even though Bella still clung
to a few human oddities which Alice liked to tease her about.
Moving the dough into the pans, Bella covered them with a dry dishcloth and set them
aside. The soup was close to simmering so Bella prepared the cups of cream and pulled out a
silicone whisk from the top drawer. The timer on the cobbler was set to go off in ten
minutes. She made a mental note to buy vanilla ice cream.
Bellas head came up as she heard Emmett coming down the stairs, the combined smell of
Rose on Emmett reaching her nostrils long before Emmett had touched the top stair.
Oh man! Little sister, there are times I really miss being human, he bellowed as he came
around to hug her.
Bella grimaced slightly, allowing the large vampire to engulf her in his warmth. Too bad
you cant eat it now, Emmett.
When Rose had initially returned with Emmett after a two month absence, Bella was nervous
and wary of her mate. But he turned out to be the exact opposite of everything she had been
stressing about. In particular, Emmett had developed a soft, protective side to Bella that was
endearing.
She was also amazed to realize that Emmett had no plans to take Rose away from her family.
He was warm and friendly, traits that seemed to compliment Rose for the better. The two
were extremely compatible. A little too compatible for Bellas taste. Esme reminded her that
newly mated vampires needed honeymoon periods just like humans. But Bella knew all
members of her home were silently wishing for a bit more discretion on Rose and Emmetts
part with the constant sex and the more outward, detailed public displays of affection. It
made Bella cringe.
If my mate ever finds me, Bella swore internally, I am never going to be like this.
You know I tried to eat human food again after my change, Emmett said as he sat at one of
the high island chairs and dipped his finger into the bread dough. Never went over really
well.
Stop that! Bella swatted a dish towel at his hand. Ive already got those set.
At Emmetts guilty expression, she softened. I know. I did the same. Its hard isnt
it? Giving up the things youre the most accustomed to?
Oh, yes. Emmett looked out the window thoughtfully. But then I think of Rose and
suddenly that other stuff doesnt matter.
In addition to being the newest member of the coven, Emmett was also the new baby, only
five years into his vampire life. Rose was in the midst of teaching him to accept hunting and
feeding on animals as opposed to humans. Emmett seemed to embrace the idea with open
arms.
Yeah. She seems to like you too. Bella smiled at him playfully. But just a little.
Oh, Rose is totally over the moon for me. Im the cream in her coffee or the blood in her
deer in this case the sparkle in her eye, the skip in her step, the diamond in
He continued away, making Bella laugh until she noticed a frustrated looking Rose at the
bottom of the stairs. Emmett caught on to her silence and turned around to face his angry
mate.
He just grinned. Ah babe. You know Im only all those things because of you.
Rose instantly softened, skipped a step forward and launched herself onto Emmetts lap, her
legs straddling him around the chair. He wrapped her in his arms and began kissing her
hungrily. Their kisses deepened, hands began roaming everywhere as Rose began to
whimper and Bella could hear Emmett growl.
You ready to go hunting, Emmy-baby? Rose whispered.
Sweet thing, Emmett moaned. The only hunting I want to do right now is finding that
sweet, wet pus-
Stop, Stop! Bella cried out, while shutting her eyes and slamming her hands over her
ears. Argh! This doesnt work! I can still hear too many details! For the love of all that is
holy, please just go somewhere else!
Emmett and Rose broke apart laughing. Emmett placed Rose on her feet and stood up to go
outside into the summer warmth. He winked at Bella before he closed the back door. Told
you.
Rose watched him leave with a longing that Bella knew personally from watching the other
two couples in the Cullen house. She felt nauseous. She breathed deep, filling her lungs with
something besides the smell of sex and mating. She wondered if it was possible for one of
her kind to become sick.
Im sorry, sweetie. Rose looked at her over the counter. Were not that bad are we?
Bella moved quickly, pulling out the cobbler seconds before the alarm went off, moving the
dish to her cooling rack. She shook her head as she thought about what to say to Rose. Part
of her was angry. Even though Rose was back, she had been too occupied to talk about what
had happened.
Bad? Bella flipped her pony tail away from her face. No, youre not bad. Alice, Jasper
and Esme, Carlisle, theyre the ones who are bad. Theyre loud and passionate and
loving. You and Emmett are so far beyond that its like pure torture!
Rose came across the island and took hold of Bellas arms. Im sorry, Bella. I havent had
much of a chance to digest all of this.
Bella whipped her arms away. You see? Were right back to how everything affects you.
Thats not fair Bella. You dont know this. You havent gone through these feelings.
I feel pretty damn close to them, Rose. I get to hear them every night and day.
Roses eyes narrowed. Whats bothering you more, Bella? Is it the desire to have a mate of
your own while watching the rest of us? Or do you despise us all for having one while you
continue to not want one? Sometimes I dont get you.
Bella closed her eyes and let her head drop forward slightly. Stirring the soup was suddenly
the focal point of all her energies and she clung tightly to the whisk.
Rose moved closer. Look, honey, I know your transformation was horrific and traumatizing
and that youre still dealing with those issues. But this life you have now is a good life. Its
beautiful and happy and so full of poten-
Rose, stop. Bella choked back a sob. I can hardly believe Im hearing you say this. You
didnt always used to feel that way."
I know. I know. After all this time, I realize I was such a nave, ignorant individual to not
understand before. Rose lifted a hand to rub Bellas back. But your mate will find you,
Bella, I know he will.
Bella put the whisk in the sink and turned to face her sister. But thats the problem. I dont
want a mate. I dont want anything that will pull me away from where I am right now. I just
want my life back. I want my dad, my home, my truck, my ability to sleep. I know thats not
possible, I know I cannot undo the past. But I feel like Ive finally found such an amazing
peace with you and Carlisle and Esme and everyone. I want everything to stay the
same. And I feel like Ive already lost you.
Rose pulled Bella tightly into her arms. You will never lose me. Never.
In the distance they could hear Emmetts call to Rose. Bella pulled back from her sister.
You should go. She rubbed her eyes. Hes waiting for you.
I promise when it happens to you, youll understand. It will change you.
Again, change and me not such a good thing right now. Bella frowned. But maybe if I
try to be more understanding of you and Emmett, you could tone it down on the mate talk?
Deal, Rose agreed.
Oh, and the physical stuff? Can you guys tone that down?
Now youre asking for too much. Rose smiled and then ran out of the house to meet up
with her mate.
Bella turned back to her food. The soup and cobbler were finished. The bread was
rising. Bella turned her attention to the counter top full of dirty dishes. With a quiet and
lonesome household surrounding her, Bella turned on the water and added the soap.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

I need to see everyone in the family room immediately, Carlisle said softly from the door to
his office.
Esme hurried downstairs from their upstairs bedroom. Carlisle, what is it?
Hopefully nothing, sweetheart. He tucked her into his side as they walked to the front
room. We need everyone here before I can give all the details.
Alice and Jasper were already cuddled together on the love seat in the family room. Emmett
and Rose came rushing in from the back yard, the smell of the woods blowing through the
open door. Bella came quickly from the library, a copy of The Waste Land dangling from her
fingertips.
Emmett spoke first. Whats up, Carlisle?
Its all a bit confusing, actually. He turned to Alice. Can you see anything?
She nodded. Hell be here soon."
All eyes were now on Carlisle, but Bella seemed the most anxious. Who, Carlisle? Whats
going on?
My old friend Aro, who you all know is the head of our kind, has sent a friend of his to stay
with us for a while.
How long is he staying? Esme asked.
Im not sure. Carlisle bowed his head. Apparently this visitor and I share similar interests
with regards to our feeding habits and a mutual appreciation for human life. Aro thought it
might be agreeable to both of us if we met.
Do you know him? Jasper asked.
No. Carlisle shook his head. But Ive heard of him. Truthfully, Ive always wanted to
meet him. The opportunity has never come up. His name is Edward Masen.
The name was quietly digested amongst the group. Nobody, besides Carlisle, had heard of
him. Emmett grinned and rubbed his hands together. Looks like weve got some initiation
to do, Cullen-style!
Im afraid it might not be like that, Emmett.
What do you mean? Esme asked.
Im always hesitant with anything involving the Volturi. I respect them, but theres usually
an ulterior motive to every decision. He moved closer to Alice. Have you seen anything
further, anything that might give us a clue after he gets here?
Its weird. Everything goes fuzzy after a few moments of him arriving. Alice shook her
head, leaning back further into Jaspers arms. Theres too many decisions still to be made
for me to see.
Emmett pulled Rose against his chest. Well, this is going to be action-packed from the start.
Theres one more thing you all should be aware of, Carlisle cautioned. From what I know
about Edward, hes similar to Aro. He can read the thoughts of those around him.
There was a silent pause around the room.
Oh, God, Bella whispered, suddenly feeling exposed and small.
But he has to touch us, right? Rose asked.
No. Carlisle shook his head. Just standing next to you will be enough. Personally, I think
its a more powerful gift than Aros.
Before any of them could digest the idea further the sounds of a purring engine filled the
room.
Hes here, Alice said.
Okay, everyone. Carlisle brought Esme around to the front. Lets stay calm. Remember
to be friendly and welcoming. Jasper, can you help us out if things start to heat up?
The empath nodded slowly. Already done.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Edward was amazed at how instantly calm he felt the moment he stepped out of his car and
shut the door. It was surprising since only moments ago he was again lamenting the fact that
he had to make this courtesy visit in the first place. His mind had been calculating exactly
how long it would take to finish his task enough to satisfy Aro.
Now that his mind was calm, he found himself actually looking forward to meeting
Carlisle. Maybe he could learn something further about his own diet habits. Edward had no
intention of joining with them in their animal fare. He had tried it a few times with Tanya
and found it barely adequate. Still, additional study with Carlisle might be beneficial.
As he climbed the steps to the front door he was instantly hit with the thoughts of six
vampires. The thoughts ranged from welcoming hospitality, translations of ancient Greek
texts, outright hostility and the images of some tackle football game. This should be
interesting.
A blond-haired male and a rather striking female answered the door before Edward reached
the top step. The male, whom he assumed was Carlisle, extended his hand.
Welcome to our home, Edward. Im Carlisle, and this is my mate, Esme.
Were happy to have you join us, Edward, Esme said.
Its a pleasure to meet you both. Thank you for allowing me to visit on such short notice.
Edward shook both their hands. I assume you got my message?
Yes, we appreciate the advance notice. Come in, come in. Carlisle stepped back and
ushered Edward inside and up the stairs. Introductions need to be made. I dont believe
youve met any of my family.
The sun was starting to set in the background as Edward entered the room. The room was
draped in shades and ruby-red light reflecting off the windows. Nobody had bothered to turn
on any lights. Edward looked up at the five individuals standing around the room. Four of
them were standing together as couples in the rich light while one solitary female stood back
in the shadows.
Carlisle gestured to the people around the room. This is Alice and Jasper. Over here are
Rose and Emmett. Youll have to forgive them in advance. They recently mated about three
months ago. And behind the couch is Bella.
As Carlisle made the introductions, Edward continued to process all their thoughts,
cataloging them away for future use. Before Carlisle had even begun to introduce Bella,
Edward had already realized something was wrong. Six separate vampire thought strands
were running through his mind. Six. But there were seven vampires in the room with him.
Looking up, he focused his eyes on the female in the back. She was the soundless one. He
pushed again and again to penetrate her thoughts. Nothing. Complete, dead silence. The
female stared at him with beautiful eyes that spoke of dread and hesitation. Edward stared
back, positive that if Aro had suspected something treacherous within Carlisles coven, this
could very well be his answer.
Wait! Edward suddenly spoke, and conversation immediately ceased. He moved around
the room, closer to Bella, aware that both Jasper and Emmett were now alert and ready to
defend the female if he got too close.
Edward stopped across from the couch and regarded her with a dark look of frustration and
impatience. His eyes flush with anger. Why cant I hear you?
Bella glanced nervously from Edward to Carlisle. Im Im sorry?
He tried again, his voice firm. I know you heard me. Tell me why-
But Edwards words were abruptly cut off as he suddenly experienced for the first time in his
immortal life, heavenly silence. He could no longer hear Carlisles explanations or the
growls from his sons, or even the thoughts of any of them. His brain felt pricked and
stretched making Edward grimace in pain. His very bones felt as if they were crippling, the
blood and venom running through his veins seemed to cry out in agony. Everything within
him screamed for the female that was standing in front of him. Every facet of him competing
and demanded her for themselves. He took a heavy step towards her.
Bellas eyes were wide as she shrunk under this new vampire towering over her. He was
dressed completely in black and looked like some beautiful, avenging angel. With increasing
fear she watched his red eyes turn dark with wrath and revenge. But then there was pain, as
if he were chocking on his own breath. He blinked twice, like he was shaking off a bad
memory. And then he looked at her with such desperation and resolve it made Bella jump
back with a trembled cry.
Before Edward could move further, he was crashed into the ground by Jasper and Emmett.
Run, Bella! Emmett roared.
Bella took off through the back door, disappearing into the woods as if she would never
return.
Dear God! Edward croaked under the weight of Jasper and Emmett. Hed found her.
Back to index
Chapter 4 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:


All the credit to both my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunaway.
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Chapter 4

Edward fought fiercely, snarling and pushing like a madman to get away from Jasper and
Emmett. The couches in the room were tipped over in the struggle, tables were broken and
one of Esmes favorite vases smashed behind Jasper. The wood floor underneath Edwards
fingers started to bend and break, he was wild and unceasing in his struggle to break free and
run after Bella.
Carlisle! Jasper called as he kept his arms circled around Edwards upper torso. I cant
stop him. His emotions somethings happened.
Emmett leaned forward and delivered a hard blow to Edwards face, momentarily startling
him. Pipe down, Eddie! Youre not going anywhere.
No, no! Suddenly Alice was in the middle, pulling at Emmetts arms. You dont
understand. You have to let him go!
The confusion between the family members was enough for Edward to escape their
arms. And then he disappeared, sprinting down the same path Bella had taken into the
woods. Rose and Esme appeared ready to chase him when Alice flew in front of the door.
No! Her hands were holding each of their arms. Edward is Bellas mate!
Five sets of eyes all looked wide at Alice.
Oh, God! exclaimed Rose.
No wonder he fought so hard. Carlisle nodded in sudden understanding.
Emmett just smiled. Guess we wont be seeing either of them for a while.
Alice helped Jasper back to his feet as they all surveyed the destroyed room and the broken
door Bella had fled through.
Carlisle, Im worried, Esme said. Bellas different. His approach might scare her.
Yes, it might. But as soon as her body realizes who he is, she wont be able to fight it.
But her mind might not be as accepting.
No. Carlisle walked over and righted the overturned sofa. We cannot interfere. All we
can do now is wait.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Bella kept running. She had already cleared half of the Olympic Mountain range and crossed
the Quinault River. Her goal was the Puget Sound off Seattle. If she could just get to the
water, she might be able to throw off her scent and then lose him in the busy streets of
downtown.
As she ran, she prayed, she sobbed and she hoped with everything in her that she would
eventually be able to return to the Cullens. Her funds were untraceable, so money was not an
issue. But how long would she have to keep running? When would she ever be safe? And
what did this lunatic want from her?
She felt fortunate she had hunted recently. At least she would not have to stop along the
way. As she veered further west she could almost see the spots of blue from the Sound when
suddenly something hard crashed into her side and knocked her over. She felt arms engulf
her as she rolled down the side of a steep edge.
Bella realized as she fell that it was his body wrapped around her and she lashed at his
chest. At the bottom of the cliff, they landed in a densely covered grove where he pinned her
hands above her head and straddled her waist.
She screamed. Let go of me! Let go of me, please!
Bella, he said the word softly, turning it over in his mind. Edward breathed deep, as if hed
been deprived of fresh air for ages. His eyes roamed her face, content to simply stare at her
for days. This was his mate. This was the female of a three hundred year wait. And she was
beautiful, beyond anything he could have imagined.
Under such scrutiny, realizing her efforts to escape were hopeless, Bella stopped her
struggling and fell to silent sobbing. She closed her eyes and turned her head in agony,
wondering how long he would keep her here and if her family would save her.
Edward came out of his trance when he was denied access to her eyes. Reaching up a hand,
he touched her face and brought her gaze back to him.
Are you all right? he asked. Forgive me, I didnt mean to startle you.
Startle me? she spat. Are you mad?
I never believed in this. I didnt think you existed. His voice faltered. You
are exquisite.
With only one hand holding her wrists, Bella was able to shove him off and leap to her
feet. But his words and touch had already done their job. Everything within Bella was now
crackling and burning as the initial spark sunk deep into Bellas soul. She stood unmoving in
her spot, staring back at the male, unable to describe what was happening inside her.
He approached slowly, his hands raised out in front of him, beseechingly. Please, just dont
run again.
I dont think I can. Bella looked at her body. Whats wrong with me?
Edward caught up her hands in his, bringing them to his chest. Can you feel it? That
pull? My God! Its so strong. Its like nothing Ive ever... He released her hands and
brought his own up to cradle her face. I can feel the pull within you. It beats at me.
At his touch the pounding grew stronger. The rush of Bellas insides screamed and begged
for him. Her blood felt as though it could escape out from beneath her skin. Everything in
her wanted to consume him, to crawl within his body forever. And suddenly the rush and
flow of his blood was loud and so incredibly appealing. She licked her lips, the push to taste
him overriding any other thought.
Now, she choked out. Please, now. I need this.
Edward pulled her to him and brought them both to the ground, keeping her in his lap. I
know, beautiful girl. Me too. His hands made quick work with the buttons on his
shirt. Bringing the sides open he quickly discarded it behind him.
When he looked back at Bella she appeared to be in pain. Her eyes darting to his face, his
bare chest and back to the ground. I cant. I cant. Too much its too much.
You must, Edward whispered gently in her ear. I can feel it beating inside you. It will
continue tearing you up until you do this. He did not mention his own internal monster and
the roaring demands it was making to take its mate.
Bella looked into the eyes of this male, seeing the understanding there, the shared pain. This
was something completely beyond either of them, of both their shared strengths. He seemed
just as surprised and affected by this as she was. And her body was burning, almost crushing
her with its need to drink from him.
Resigned, she leaned her forehead against his chest, just slightly above where his heart would
have been. She thought of the last phrase from the book she had been reading before Carlisle
had summoned them all together. How fitting it seemed now.
The awful daring of a moments surrender, she whispered and then she sank her teeth into
Edwards skin.
The rich blood mixed with his venom flowed into her. The moment it touched her veins she
felt it seep into her bones, her dead flesh. It mixed and bonded with her tissues, modifying
her genetic structure to match his. Her entire internal framework was instantly merged and
reformulated so that her body would now only recognize and accept his.
The whole process, combined with his encompassing scent and taste made her both weak and
strong at the same time. She felt herself relax and melt against him. It was the purest form of
bliss Bella had ever experienced and she recognized, deep down inside her, that she would
never be the same again. She would always crave this.
She drank and drank, never wanting this intense feeling to cease.
Perfect, so perfect, Edward breathed into her hair.
With a flick of her tongue, she sealed the bite marks and pulled back, gazing up at him. The
hunger was evident in his dark eyes. She felt her own blood inside her rebel and scream to be
connected with him.
Tilting back her head, her hair spilling down her back, she offered her neck to him. He
growled at the beautiful arch of her body, the picture of flawless submission she presented to
him. As he was lowering his mouth to her neck he tasted her skin, placing open mouth kisses
along the area where his teeth would mark her, he felt his incisions lengthen.
Bella cried out as his teeth pierced her. It stung slightly, but his warm mouth and pull on her
skin soothed the mark and made her whimper softly. Cradling his head, she allowed him to
feed at her, relishing the groans and intensity coming from this male.
Her blood rushing into Edward seemed to ignite the monster within, the liquid reworking his
insides the same way his had done to Bella. He moved his body against hers so that once
again she was pushed back into the ground while he hovered over her protectively, his hips
finding friction in-between her legs. She moved against him restlessly, wanting the hardness
of him where she ached the most. In spite of the movement, Edward never allowed his
mouth to break from her neck.
Bella would have allowed him to drain her completely, to leave her wasted and limp beneath
him. But he was already attuned to his mates limit and he pulled back long before they came
close. He sealed the wound, leaving enough of the bite to display his mark on her. And then
his body collapsed next to hers, the two of them gasping for breath they physically did not
need but suddenly seemed so necessary.
As the shaking within him subsided, Edward rolled his head towards Bella and whispered,
By this, and this only, we have existed.
The words seemed to snap her back into conscious thought. This male was a complete
stranger. How had he known the reference she quoted? Had he been reading her mind? He
had sounded angry with her earlier. Was he only using these scattered thoughts from her
brain to make her think he cared?
Now that the painful pressure and heated risings had subsided, the reality of the situation
descended quickly upon Bella. She suddenly had a mate. And now it looked as though she
had no choice, no chance to have a say if she was going to spend the rest of her immortal life
with a male she didnt even know the first thing about.
She jumped to her feet, surprised to find herself shaky and unsteady. She reasoned it must be
the lingering effects of the exchanged blood.
Oh well, she tried to reason, I wont have to worry about that happening again.
As she tried to take off, she felt him grab her arm, his jaw sharp as he glanced down at
her. He had stood up himself and had already pulled his shirt back on.
Wait. Where are you going? Dont you think we should talk?
Bella shook her head. No. I dont.
Really? What do you suppose-.
Look, Edward? she interrupted him. It is Edward, isnt it? You dont have a nickname or
something. Like, Ed?
Edward is fine, he said, clearly annoyed.
You see, I hardly know you. And you know nothing about me. Except well, whatever
you can read in my mind. She began backing up slowly. This obviously was a mistake. I
know you have business with Carlisle. Ill just steer clear of you until youre done.
Before she could move, he was back in front of her again, blocking the path. Her nose was
almost touching his chest and she was tempted to lean in and nuzzle him. His smell was still
so appealing. But she held firm.
Get the hell out of my way.
Bella. The way he said her name made tiny sparks shoot off inside her. You cannot
escape this. Mates must share blood frequently. It will become painful if were apart.
Were NOT mates, she snarled.
Can you explain then, what we just did?
It was a moment of weakness, on my part, really. I dont blame you. I just cant mate
with anyone. Bella started backing up the opposite way, desperate to put some space
between them. You dont understand. Im not good for you. Im sure separation wont kill
us. Thats just old vampire legends.
Bella grew more confident when she realized he was not trying to stop her as she edged
further away.
Im sorry, Edward. And then she fled.
Again.
End Notes:

A/N: Quotes are from T.S. Eliots, The Waste Land.

Thank you to everyone for your reviews - I really appreciate hearing your
thoughts. Hope youre enjoying the ride.
This chapter is my personal favorite of the story.
Back to index
Chapter 5 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:
A/N: So Bella keeps running Isnt it hard to get your mind to catch up with your
body and vice versa? One of these days, my mind will demand that mybody drop a
couple inches along the waistline and then I can get back to my pre-childhood bearing
days.

But I wont hold my breath.

Thanks again to my wonderful betas EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Chapter Five
Edward allowed Bella to run this time, knowing her destination was most likely the Cullen
house. He was surprised to realize how weak his body felt, and how he almost stumbled as
he took his first step to run back. Apparently a feeding exchange with your mate had after
effects he had not anticipated. He would remember that from now on and take precautions.
It was easier this time to follow her, though he deliberately kept distance between them to
allow her space. Her blood now ran through his veins, her scent familiar and easy to
track. He was also surprised at how quickly he yearned for her touch against him, the feel of
her skin on his hands. He wondered how much time would pass before they needed to feed
from each other again.
His body shook slightly at the memory of Bellas taste. It was the most amazing, addictive
substance he had ever encountered. The pleasure that had rushed through him was so far
beyond anything he had felt before. He wondered if it would always be like this. Or was it
so powerful because it was the first, the mating ritual?
Edward realized he needed to hunt, which was odd because he had just fed before arriving at
the Cullens. Evidently there were several after effects of mate feedings. He felt completely
drained. He turned and ran north towards Port Angeles.
He was alarmed to feel a clenching tightness start to form inside him. His bones were
weak. Was he sick? Was this another side effect? The more he started to run towards Port
Angeles, the worst it became. It was manageable. Everything Edward had encountered as a
vampire was manageable, but this was starting to hurt like hell.
Edward stopped in his tracks, understanding rushing through him. Hed heard about this
from other mated males, but had never believed it. It was because he was leaving his
mate. He was running in the opposite direction of Bella. Dear God! He ran his hands
through his hair. Did this mean he would never be able to leave her?
Except, I dont want to leave her, Edward whispered to himself as his eyes grew wide in
astonishment. Ever.
Still, he needed to hunt. He would have to go and quickly return. Taking a deep, calming
breath, Edward ran as fast as his body would take him, locking the pain away where it
continued to rattle at him to return to his mate.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Bella had arrived home and without speaking to any members of her family, she climbed the
stairs to her room and slammed the door. She was silent for hours. By the time Edward
came back, it was Esmes turn at the door, calmly trying to convince her vampire daughter to
come out and talk to them.
She was relieved when she saw Edward. Oh Edward, Im glad youre here. She wont talk
to anyone. What happened? How can we help her?
Esmes mind was freely open. Edward saw her goodness, her loving and sweet nature with
her family. Even so, he was reluctant to reveal any of the details of the most intense,
personal experience of his life.
Im afraid all of that is between Bella and me. He laid a calming hand on her shoulder. I
know Carlisle is waiting for you downstairs to go hunting. The others have graciously agreed
to give us some privacy to see if Bella will feel better. You should go. Ill come find you if
we need you.
Esme nodded and then impulsively leaned up to hug him. Please take care of her. Were so
glad youre here. We just wish the circumstances were easier.
Edward had not been hugged in such a maternal way since his human life, and he suddenly
felt very appreciative of Esme. He waited until all the family left before knocking on Bellas
door.
Bella, can I come in?
She was soft and quiet. Not now, Edward. Please.
Just hearing her voice brought instant calmness throughout his body. The painful clenching
within him had subsided and eventually, disappeared the closer he came back to the house.
We have to talk. Contrary to what you might think, I have no idea what to do here. Ive
never had a mate before. I didnt even think it was a possibility for me up until eight hours
ago.
Silence.
He tried another route. Bella, I understand that you dont want a mate. You said you cant
mate with anyone. Thats fine. Come out and lets start over from the beginning. We dont
have to do anything. Im here to visit with Carlisle about your familys diet. Lets just focus
on that for the time being.
Her words were louder this time, accusing in their tone. Why are you even asking
me? Why dont you just read my mind?
Edward rested his forehead against the door. When he had first arrived he had been furious
with her, thinking she was hiding something. Now he was just frustrated. She clearly had no
idea she was shutting him out, that she had potential vampire powers.
Heres the problem, Bella. His voice struggled to remain calm. I cant read your
mind. With everyone else I can hear everything, but with you there is nothing. I dont know
why. Its never happened before. But your mind is completely closed to me.
Another long pause followed. Are you serious?
Bella, I really dont want to start out with being untruthful to you.
But what you said after how do you know Eliot?
He smiled against the wood door. We might have more in common than you think.
He could hear her steps as she stood from wherever she had been siting. And then he felt her
on the other side of the door. Her delicious scent and heat were seeping inside him, her voice
lifting slightly.
I walk in doubt between two darknesses.
Too easy, Edward laughed softly. Its only a poor wretch, alas. Who in these cold
ravines has overheard your sorrows.
He waited, surprised that she did not respond. Come on, give me another one. Lets see if
you can beat me.
Im sorry, Edward.
You keep saying that. And yet, youve done nothing wrong.
I cant be a mate for you. I know thats what you expect now, but I dont want it.
I told you. He slammed his palm against the door a little harder then he
intended. Were not talking about any mate stuff. Come out, and well just go about our
lives like it never happened.
I cant. It hurts.
Edward almost broke down the door. Bella, please, let me see you! Thats another subject
we need to discuss. We cannot go long without another blood exchange, and apparently
theres a physical side effect to this as well that I just figured out. It hurts to be apart from
you.
It was quiet as she absorbed these new details. The couples in my family have talked about
separation being painful, but I always thought it was more heartache as opposed to actual
physical pain. She huffed. This is ridiculous.
Perhaps, he said. But its been this way with our kind forever.
But youre only on the other side of the door. Why is there still this pull to have you
closer?
I dont know, he said in frustration. Let me in, and well figure it out.
Please, can you just give me some more time?
Bella, I I will give you whatever you ask. Edward backed away from the door. I
understand you need to resolve this within yourself. And thats fine. Take the time you
need. But I think, in the end, resolving it alone will be harder than resolving it with me.
That night, Edward sent a returning email to Aro, explaining the situation to him and
reassuring him on behalf of the Cullens of their loyalty to the Volturi. Aro was sympathetic
and immediately offered him Volterra services to convince Bella of her fate.
Edward wisely and politely declined.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Bella stayed behind her bedroom door for days. Initially everyone in the family tried to work
with her to come out. After a while they stopped and let her be alone. Only Alice and
Edward would come back every so often and try to engage her.
One evening she admitted to Edward her worries over having a mate. She feared his sudden
possession of her, his control over her life. She thought she wasnt compatible for mating,
that something might be wrong with her. Edward assured her he had no intentions of doing
anything against her will. He was adamant that he was lost in this intense bond between them
as much as she was and that it would be easier for them both if they could figure it out
together.
The door still stayed closed.
At one point Edward threatened to break inside her room when he realized Bella had not
eaten since before his arrival. Knowing how much the mating ritual had drained him, and it
had been days since the exchange, he knew Bella must be suffering greatly. After a tense
negotiation session with Esme serving as mediator, Bella agreed to go hunting with her
sisters as long as Edward stayed far away from the house until she was safely back in her
room.
Edward agreed, but kept close enough to watch her without giving away his location. He
drank in the sight of her, feeling her absence as if it were a physical pain. He listened as Rose
and Alice tried tirelessly to talk with her about her mating experience, tried to reassure her
that everything would work out, but that she had to talk to him in order to come to some
understanding. They worried how long it had been since Bella last exchanged blood with
Edward.
Edward wondered how much longer he could keep going without drinking from Bella
again. The discomfort inside him had increased with each passing day. He could feel the
weight of hunger from Bella as well. He worried what she was silently enduring, and if she
was at last starting to believe in vampire mating laws.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

After the first night, Esme had directed Edward to a comfortable spare bedroom adjacent to
Bellas. The refuge for privacy was welcomed and the proximity to Bella was soothing. He
would spend his nights sitting against their shared wall, his head tilted back, feeling her
sitting opposite him on the other side. Nothing was ever said. The wall between them served
as the perfect metaphor for their relationship.
The whole situation was tense and awkward, this had never happened between mates of their
kind before, at least in current vampire memory. Nevertheless, Edward had been
overwhelmed with the graciousness in which Esme and Carlisle had received him. The other
siblings had been slightly less welcoming
One morning, after passing by Bellas door and whispering out his good morning to her,
Edward found himself alone in the house with only Jasper and Emmett. This was the first
time hed really been able to interact with them and he was cautious.
They were both perched in corners of the living room, watching Edward as he
moved. Emmett was rubbing his hands together. Jasper chewed on a toothpick stuck
between his lips.
Looks like our little Bella is still staying put, Emmett observed.
Edward barely acknowledged him, focusing his attention on some lint caught on his
sleeve. Do you always state the obvious or do you just like the sound of your own voice?
Emmett jumped up so quickly, his chair was knocked back. Look here, Eddie--
Edward, he said firmly, his face hard. Its Edward.
Emmett flew in front of him. He was big, but Edward was taller and the two vampires sized
each other up.
It doesnt really matter to me Eddie. All that matters is Bella, and the fact that you did
something to make her completely miserable. Now she wont even come out of her room.
Edward pushed him back. Youre right, this is about Bella. And its because I know she
cares about you that Im going to forget this little exchange ever took place. And as a bonus,
Ill refrain from pulling your arms out of your body and burning your fucking carcass.
Is that right, Eddie-boy? Emmett snarled. You think you can do that to me?
He nodded. The question is do you think that will help Bella, or make her feel worse?
Edward enjoyed watching the conflict play out over Emmetts face. His once hopeful spark
was now reduced to resignation and dejection. With a final snarl, he pulled back from
Edward and stomped out the back door. Edward almost felt regret over the exchange;
Emmett seemed a very worthy partner.
From the corner, Jasper let out a long, low whistle. Aint gonna make a lot of friends that
way.
Edward turned to look at him. Youre an empath arent you?
Yep.
That explains a lot on that first day.
Jasper said nothing, only kept his gaze steady on Edward. It was unsettling, as if the empath
could understand something he was missing.
Why dont you try and use your skills to help Bella feel better? he asked.
Oh believe me. My skills are nothing compared to what that baby girls got going on up
there.
How bad is it?
Bad.
Edward sat on the edge of the couch in frustration, bringing his fingers to the bridge of his
nose. Is that all youre going to say? Bad? Shes up there suffering and all you can do is
take it easy and say its bad?
Jasper removed the toothpick from his mouth. Oh, this aint easy. This is me watching you,
trying to figure out if you can handle it.
And whats your conclusion so far?
Meh. Im actually quite impressed youve been giving her privacy, shows a lot of strength
on your end. Personally, I dont know how youre holding up. Most newly mated vampires
need the blood exchange often in the beginning.
Edwards hand moved to the spot over his heart where Bellas teeth had been. He had found
himself repeating the motion more frequently the past few days. I scared her enough when
I first saw her. I dont want to do it again.
Jasper nodded. Wise move. But have you considered how long you can keep going? How
long she can keep going?
Of course Ive considered that! He shot him a dark look. I know what happens when one
mate loses the other one. But I cant force her.
Alice came quietly into the room, moving next to Jasper. Have you told him yet?
He shook his head and leaned down to kiss his mate. Nope. We were working up to it.
Tell me what? Edward stood up from the couch.
Over the past few days, Edward had developed a connection with Alice. He would never
forget her intervention that allowed him to escape Emmett and Jasper to find Bella. And she
possessed a gift that had the potential to destroy nations of individuals, both human and
vampire. But some random act of mercy had bestowed this power in the hands of a
surprisingly mature little vampire who had the wisdom to use it wisely.
Alice, what can you see?
Bella will not overcome this, Edward. Shes too stubborn. Ive tracked so many different
decisions and they all end the same. She looked at him with heartbroken eyes and showed
him her visions.
Edward gasped and fell to his knees. In Alices thoughts lay a wasted and destroyed
Bella. Her skin was white and drawn tight against her bones. In the vision she was lying
across his lap, her body cradled in his arms, his own visage looking eerily similar to Bellas,
the end of his own life obviously not far away.
Oh God. No. No. No. He looked up at Alice with eyes that appeared to have aged in
seconds. Alice, tell me there is something else.
She knelt in front of him, placing her hands on his shoulders. There is one way I saw where
she doesnt die. But it it will put her it will put both of you through a great deal of pain.
And then she showed him.
He glanced up at her. Alice, that will it will hurt her so much.
It says something about you, Edward, that you consistently put her pain ahead of your
own. She stood up. But you both will live. Bella will relent.

Chapter 5



End Notes:
A/N: Quotes come from Pedro Calderon De La Barcas Life is a Dream.
Would love to hear your thoughts if you care to leave a review.
Next chapter will be a little long in coming because Im headed out of town for a
week. Not sure of internet connection. If I can, I'll submit my chapter in my normal
time frame. If not, it might be a couple extra days.
Back to index
Chapter 6 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

A/N: You guys really made my week with all your sweet comments and reviews. Thank
you! I'm still on vacation so internet is limited, but heres the latest chapter. Yay!
Thanks again to my wonderful betas EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Chapter 6

One evening, Carlisle came to Bellas door.
Is there anything I can help you with? he asked without knocking. I imagine you must
have at least one or two questions.
She did not respond.
Its just me out here in the hallway, but I think you know that. He lowered his voice. Can
you sense him, Bella? Can you tell where he is?
Her voice was small through the door. Hes outside, looking at my garden.
How do you think you were able to know that?
Im not ignorant, Carlisle, she spat. Ive lived around mated couples for a while now. I
know when you exchange blood you can sense each other.
Thats right. He placed his hand on the door. But what do you think will happen when
your body runs out of his blood?
Those are old vampire legends, Carlisle. Nobody has ever seen that happen. You cant be
sure death is the only option.
I have seen it, he insisted. Ive seen both females and males waste away and die because
their mate was killed. The consequences are dire and the process is extremely painful, even
as an observer. There is nothingyou can do to help them.
Didnt they try another type of blood? Maybe try to find another mate?
Bella, it doesnt work that way, he said. Once your body latches on to your mates blood
type, anything else would most likely be poisonous to our systems.
Most likely? You mean nobody even tried that option? She started speaking quickly
through the door. How do you know they didnt die from grief or chose death themselves?
Carlisle sighed in frustration. Think back to when Edwards blood entered you. Did you
feel a change? Did you instantly feel that connection?
But that was just the blood. It was just that moment. Ive been hunting since then, and Im
sure things will get better.
Hunting will no longer be enough for you, he pushed. Your body will need the enzymes
in Edwards blood stream in order for your body to function.
She waited so long in responding, he didnt know if shed given up talking with him.
I cant do it, Carlisle, she sobbed. I cant do it.
Bella, you cannot take this process lightly. The mating rituals, as we have tried to teach you,
are highly revered amongst our kind. The code within us reaches out to the right person. Its
never wrong.
But what if Im wrong, Carlisle? What if what happened made me flawed for this process?
I dont think it did, Bella, he said. Look around you. Youre not the only one suffering.
Im so sorry about that. I know Im bringing the whole house down, and you must feel so
inconvenienced by having Edward here constantly. I just need some time.
Carlisle placed his hand on the door, trying to reach out to his vampire daughter. I
understand. Im here if you need me.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

After seven days of seclusion, not counting her brief time to hunt, it was finally Esmes
words that broke Bellas resolve.
Darling, your garden is starting to die. And you missed your Wednesday.
Bella jumped off the floor, aghast at the idea that she had allowed everything else in her life
to fall apart because she feared a little confrontation with a semi-strange male she had met
only a week ago. She rushed through a shower and started dressing, pulling her hair back
with an elastic band.
Esme met her in the garden, handing her the spade and clippers Bella preferred. Good to see
you up, Bella. Youll tell me if you need anything. You know how I love those lilies.
Thank you, Esme. Bella hugged her tightly. I really needed that.
I know. She smiled at her and walked into the house.
Bella dug deep into the soil, relishing the feel of being back with her garden. She worked for
over an hour before she felt him approach; the rough, clean smell of him reaching out and
wrapping around her the closer he came, his voice rubbing out the tension in her body.
As soon as April pierces to the root, the drought of March, and bathes each bud and shoot.
She could not suppress her smile as she looked over her shoulder at his lower body covered
in dark denim and black leather shoes. She bristled. How could just the legs and feet of
someone be so stimulating? How could just his presence start to unlock some of the ache that
had been growing inside her for days?
She answered him easily. When little birds are busy with their song, who sleep with open
eyes the whole night long.
His smile was bright. Youre brilliant, you know that?
No, Im just someone who cant sleep at night.
He packed some soil back into the ground with his shoe. I have the same problem.
She stood up and faced him, taking in his handsome appearance, the strong jaw line, the
beautiful eyes, his sculpted shoulders. The first day he had been dressed in black, but now he
wore a blue-button down shirt with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows, a white t-shirt
peeking up from underneath. The day was overcast and Bella felt a slight twinge of
disappointment that she couldnt see his skin sparkle under the sun.
After the mating ritual, she had admitted to herself at finding him attractive. Now the word
attractive felt terribly insufficient to describe him. He was intoxicating, alluring and pulled
at her from head to toe like a body magnet. The days away from him, feeling his presence on
the other side of her room, and hearing his anxious steps outside her door had been
painful. She wondered if she had the reserves to keep going without his touch, his
blood. Surely she could beat this.
Ive missed you too, he breathed.
I didnt say anything.
I can tell. He looked down and took her hands, the connection pulsing between them. I
dont know if its your blood inside me or the other way around but I can feel you. I hear
your insides beating against you. Its been hurting you.
Bella shook her head, anxious to talk about anything else. How have your discussions been
with Carlisle?
Good. Edwards hands rubbed circles along her skin. Hes incredible. Ive already
gained so much respect for him. Hes also been helpful explaining some of the mating habits
well experience.
She sighed, keeping her eyes locked where their hands were touching. But were not
were not mates.
Youre a terrible liar, Bella.
Im sure in a couple of days it will get better.
In a couple of days you could die. Edwards eyes bore into hers. Ive seen it happen with
our kind when they lose their mates. They cannot survive without the blood exchange.
She shrugged. Maybe what we did wasnt really complete. Maybe it wasnt the real thing.
He wrapped both his hands around the back of her neck, bringing his forehead to touch
hers. Did what happen between us feel fake to you?
Edwards nearness felt euphoric and Bella breathed him in, filling her lungs. The air around
her, her body, everything had started to feel increasingly stale and colorless the past few
days. Now life seemed to come rushing back.
He shook her slightly, demanding. Answer me.
Her hands grasped Edwards shirt into fists, her reply barely audible. No.
He sighed, relieved to hear her words. He relaxed his face against Bellas, feeling the
softness of her curls in his fingers.
But you still think were not mates. You wont drink from me again.
Oh, Edward. She sighed and ran her hands up his chest, over his shirt to the spot where her
teeth had been. She rubbed it affectionately, hearing a soft growl from him in response. My
body aches for it. You know it does. But you deserve so much better than this. Maybe
before this gets much worse you can find someone else and make the exchange again.
Assuming that theory was even remotely plausible, you would still die. His words were
grave.
Not not necessarily. I can live with this. Im getting stronger every day.
His eyes were sad, resigned as he leaned down and whispered, Why couldnt you have just
taken the risk, beautiful girl? Why couldnt you have trusted me, just once? This is going to
be so painful, so hard for you. But its the only way.
He felt warm and strong against her. She couldnt help but nuzzle up against his cheek. She
even craved the smell of his breath as it blew along her neck, over the marks he had left
visible on her skin. It would be so easy to wind her arms around him and crawl up his
body. Wrap herself completely around him, pull the shirt from his chest and feel his hot
blood rush through her cold, suffering body.
Without warning, Edward withdrew, and when Bella opened her eyes, he was ten feet away
from her.
She looked up at him, confused, missing his warmth.
Im leaving, Bella.
What? Bella took a step forward, shocked. Where what, like now?
Yes. Im all packed and Ive said my farewells to Carlisle and Esme.
Are you Her hands were shaking as she rubbed her arms. Are you coming back?
Edward shook his head. Im all finished here.
What about Carlisle?
We had some insightful discussions. Ill definitely touch base with him, but other than
that He stopped and gave her a sad smile.
What about the side effects? What about the pain thats supposed to happen when were
apart?
He shrugged. I dont know. But if youre determined to give this up, then I dont think it
will matter anyway.
Her head was spinning, grasping for threads of sense to make him stay. Finally she asked,
What if I dont want you to leave?
Please, Bella, he breathed. Do not run my soul through the dust. I will give you whatever
you ask, but it is killing me to stay here, wanting you, and forcing myself to stay at a
distance. Its better this way.
She looked horrified and lost. He was leaving her? Of course hes leaving, she argued. This
is what she had pushed for, what she had wanted. She had told him to go find someone else,
someone who would mate with him forever and be perfect for him, even though the idea of
another female with him felt revolting. Even though her insides, already heavy with the push
to feed from him, split further at the thought of him completely absent from her.
He came back to her suddenly. Taking her hand, he deposited a silver cell phone into her
palm.
Take this. He kissed her wrist softly, releasing his grip regretfully. It will call directly to
me. If the pain becomes too much, if you cannot take it anymore, all you have to do is call
me.
She did not look at the phone. She only watched him, desperately trying to memorize
everything that stood in front of her, trying to breathe him in so it would never leave her.
Are you listening to me, Bella? He ducked down until they were eye level, brushing her
cheek with his hand. Ill come running back. All you have to do is call.
She felt herself nod, though she could barely find the strength to move. He closed her fingers
over the phone and turned to walk to his car. It was then that Bella finally found her voice,
weak and small though it was.
Wait, Edward. He turned around, eyes hopeful. Do we not see all humans unaware, of
what they want, and always searching everywhere, and changing place, as if to drop the load
they bear?
His answering smile was glorious, as if for one shining moment all the pain was
removed. For each one feels his powers and his needs.
Bella stood frozen watching his car drive away, the cell phone tight her grasp.
End Notes:

A/N: The first exchange of quotes is from Geoffreys Chaucers The Canterbury
Tales (personal favorite). The second is from Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, Book
V.

Would love to hear your thoughts in a review.
Back to index
Chapter 7 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:
A/N: Thank you all sweet readers for your tremendous words of encouragement.
And as always, credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Chapter 7

Bella stood outside the house for two days in the same spot where Edward had driven away,
her hand still clutching the tiny cell phone.
At one point the rain came down in torrents, but she would not be moved. She preferred the
wet clothes against her skin, the pasted hair around her face. This was what she had been
wearing when she lost him, and she wanted nothing to change.
She was oblivious to the voices around her. It all became background sound, stagnant noise
she could not decipher. If her body had ached and yearned for Edward before, it was now
heavily multiplied. She was starting to understand the honest, agonizing repercussions of
what she would face without Edward.
She desperately kept trying to think of something that would bring him back, some excuse to
call him and confess her faults. But she had nothing to say that would be fair to either of
them, nothing that would keep him by her side without additional suffering. And she could
not lie to him, he would never believe it.
Eventually the pain became too much for her to bear, and she collapsed onto the wet and
muddy ground. She felt herself being carried, but the sensation was too painful because the
arms around her were not the ones she craved. Arms were removing her old clothes, putting
her into something she knew should be soft, but it was not. It was not Edward against her
skin and she cried out as her skin rebelled at the touch.
She heard voices around her, and it scared her because she could no longer tell who was
speaking. Her mind longed for just one voice. One voice that would bring with it everything
she wanted.
Carlisle, we need to call him. If he were just downstairs, shed feel a little better.
We cant, Rose. Its not how it happens.
But how is she going to call him? She cant even lift her own arms.
Did you see how tightly shes holding that phone? Even I couldnt get it out of her
hands. Id be surprised if its still working.
Its working. Its all working, you guys. Stay strong for Bella.
She lost track of how many days hed been gone from her. Her eyes stared listless out the
large bay windows in her room. The passing of each hour held no interest to her
anymore. Her garden would die. She would be absent for all the Wednesdays to come, but it
didnt matter. Nothing more in this life appealed to her.
Her thoughts kept going back to the mating ritual, the unadulterated taste of the blood
exchange. She kept close the memory of his hands against her body, gently holding her while
she fed, and his voice telling her how perfect she was. They had only known each other for a
few hours, and already his main concern had been her. Her body had recognized him so
quickly, why hadnt her mind?
Edward, Edward, her voice broke softly.
Whats that, sweetie? Alice was instantly close. You want me to get Edward?
Bella closed her eyes again, too weary to talk with anyone but him. Need so need
never forgive me.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Edward drove for hours, feeling the weight of his mates separation pains adding to his
own. He knew this would happen. Carlisle had explained that once mated, the male would
inherently take on the cravings and burdens of his female. And while Bella might eventually
learn to decipher Edwards hunger for her, she would never feel the full strength of his
emotions or his anxiety as he would for her. The male was the
protector.
His insides burned and twisted, making it harder for him to concentrate on driving. He shook
his head multiple times, blinking and struggling to focus. At last he pulled over at the road-
side motel he had seen through Alice.
The late night clerk stepped back in revulsion when Edward walked in the door. Seeing
himself through the clerks mind, it was easy to understand why. Edward appeared seven
shades more pale than usual, his eyes were dark and frosted over, and his skin seemed to
shimmer as if a fine gleam of sweat covered him. The clerk had instantly cowered at the
picture of death walking through the door.
Edward quickly paid double the asking price for the farthest room in the back and left the
speechless clerk behind. The room was old and smelled, with putrid carpet and stained
curtains which he promptly drew together to conceal the room from the outside. He placed
the Do Not Disturb sign on the outside door knob and bolted the locks.
He collapsed onto the creaky, lumpy bed and waited. He curled into a ball in the middle,
trying to keep his insides from breaking outside of his skin. He brought his arm in front of
him, his eyes fixed to the watch on his wrist, his mind attuned to the time and the date. The
second hand had never moved so slow in his life.
Carlisle will come at that exact time and date. Alice had showed him a vision of his
watch. If you leave before then, shell never realize everything thats happened.
Alices vision had shown nothing about a cell phone, but he had felt better leaving Bella with
one anyway. Edwards was tucked in his back pocket, silenced to any ring except hers. He
didnt know if she would call, but he found himself praying she would. She wouldnt have to
say anything. He just wanted to know she was there, believing the long distant connection
over wireless air would somehow ease the ache between them.
Bella, Bella, Bella he whispered.
He found a strange comfort in the breath and shape of his mouth when he said her name. He
was so desperate for any link between them, his frenzied mind imagined she could hear him,
or that perhaps she was saying his name out loud in return.
All he thought about now was her, this beautiful, smart, quick-witted female. He was
fascinated with the little things he already knew about her, her love of the earth, her devotion
to her family, her brilliant mind. He needed to survive this. He needed her to survive this.
The minutes on his watch ticked slowly.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Another sunrise, another set of glorious colors that spilled onto Bellas comforter. It all
appeared like dry ash to her eyes. Not like the glorious golden-red color of Edwards own
irises. His hands had been so soft against her face. She tried to keep her focus on him but the
voices in the room were distracting.
Shes looking worse. Are you sure we shouldnt intervene?
Its still clear, Carlisle. You need to wait a little longer.
Did Jasper leave?
Yes.
I understand. This is clearly too much for him to balance.
I have to go as well, Carlisle. I was hoping to be here, but I cant be away from him for
long.
Dont worry, Alice. Well take care of her.
Bella tried to process exactly what the female had been saying but the effort was too
great. She felt herself slipping further. Didnt Edward realize this was for the
best? Her Edward, the one with the strong arms, the soft approach, and the endless supply of
patience with her. If only shed had the chance to know more about him. But he would
never want her if he discovered what had been done to her, how her vampire life had been
tainted from the beginning.
When the voices came back again, Bella realized the sun was setting and a storm was starting
to howl against her windows. She could vaguely hear the whistle of the wind and the
pounding of tree branches alongside the house.
Im worried about him, Carlisle. If Bellas this bad... do you think hes okay? What if he
doesnt have the strength to make it?
Hush, Esme. We need to trust Alice. And I dont think Bella needs the extra worry right
now.
The extra worry? Was someone in trouble? And then the realization came rushing through
her. Carlisles argument from days before was now crystal clear. Youre not the only one
suffering. It wasnt her family members he had been referring to. It was
Edward. Edward was suffering. Everything she was enduring, he was also carrying. I can
feel you. That meant his condition was further advanced then her own.
He was dying.
Bellas whole body lurched and coiled as she tried desperately to get out of bed. The phone
that had been grasped in her hand was smashed in her tense fingers. She began
screaming. Her voice was hoarse and scratchy, almost completely drowned out by the
thunder raging outside. Esme flew to her side.
Bella Bella, darling, stay still. Youre so weak youll collapse as soon as you stand.
Her fight against Esme would not have stopped a human. Must find him. Please. He needs
me cannot let him go.
Esme helped Bella back against her pillow, smoothing her hair between her fingers. Well
find him. Carlisle and Emmett have already left. Dont worry. Well have him here soon.
No, Esme hes hurt. Hes hurt. Ive been so wrong.
Its okay, sweetheart. Hang on just a minute while I get Rose. Esme turned to leave and
was startled when she saw a figure leaning heavily against the doorway to the room,
shadowed in the storms blackness. It was Edward. And he looked like he was barely alive.
Edward! She ran to him. Thank goodness youre here. Bella... she needs--
I know, Esme. His rich voice was cracked and strained, similar to Bellas. Go now. Ill
take care of her.
Hearing Edwards voice made Bellas body jolt again and she strained with every last ounce
of effort to move closer to the sound.
Edward? Edward, please you need
Bellas soul was already starting to feel the relief and energy of his presence. She crawled to
the edge of the bed and would have fallen to the floor, but Edward moved quickly and caught
her. It seemed to take his last reserves of strength to catch her and they both sank to the rug,
arms and legs wrapped around the other.
She sobbed against his shoulder, feeling the end coming. How cracks a noble heart. Good
night sweet prince.
Oh, no you dont, Bella. Edward held her with one arm while the other pulled his shirt
over his head. You are not Prince Hamlet and you will not die tonight, not while I still exist.
He pulled her to his chest and she instantly sank her teeth into him to drink. He growled at
the sweet, hungry invasion to his body, willingly giving her everything he had left. His body,
weak though it was, instantly came alive with her mouth against him, and he moaned into her
hair. He ran his hands over her shoulders, down her body, aghast to feel the deliberating
effects of the past few days.
The blood ran into Bellas body, seeking out the damaged tissues and paths that had started to
die. His blood rapidly began to rebuild her. She was lost in him, the taste of his blood and
the feel of his skin against her mouth. She acknowledged that from this moment on there
would be no turning back. They were both locked into this completely. This was her mate,
and she was his.
She would never deny them again.
With a sigh she licked along the incision and sealed the bite mark. Edward wasted no time in
angling her body, nuzzling his nose along her neck and then biting into her skin. His body
had sustained greater damage than his mates, but he tried to shield those truths to
himself. Her blood was soothing as it repaired his smashed interior, his flesh hungrily
soaking up every drop. He felt his body become whole and powerful again.
Bella let herself go limp, but kept her hands twisted in his hair. He had come back to her,
alive and safe. And even though he was so broken from their separation, more so than her, he
still pushed her welfare above his own. When she heard Edwards anguished groan against
her skin, she whispered to him her apologies, promising she would do better from now on.
With one last strong pull, Edward sealed the mark and pulled away, but kept his arms
wrapped around her. The two stretched out together on her soft rug, allowing the effects of
the blood to run its course. The storm outside still raged, but the rain falling steadily on the
rooftop was soothing to their battered souls.
Edward looked down at his mate. Were in this together.
Yes. She kept her eyes closed. Always.
Well figure out the issues as they come up. But no more stopping this. He gestured
between them. Agreed?
She nodded and looked up, her eyes adoring. You came back.
Of course I came back.
Why?
Because He paused and then smiled. Because madness in great ones must not
unwatched go.
Her laughter was weak, but gloriously happy. Edward turned to lay on his back, moving
Bella to rest against his chest, the pair of them content to remain tangled within each other for
the moment, their souls at last starting to heal.
End Notes:

A/N: Well now alls well that ends well.
Except this story is far from the ending. Were just getting started now.
Quotations are from Shakespeares Hamlet.
Would love to hear your thoughts if youd like to leave a review.
Back to index
Chapter 8 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

A/N: I wanted to answer a few questions without giving away the plot (dont worry, you
wont find any spoilers here). Bella was not raped at all. No sexual assault
whatsoever. Her problems are entirely of a different sort that will play out in a
significant way to the whole theme of the story.
That being said, Id like to thank my betas again EdwardsEternal and
therunaway.

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Chapter 8


Here, try this one. The color will look amazing against your hair.
Thanks, Alice. Bella caught the sweater and slipped it on. Yeah, it does look kind of
good.
Dont worry. Rose was spread across the bed. Hes going to think you look beautiful
regardless. Hes your mate. Thats his job.
Bella smoothed her hands over her hips and scowled. Thats not his job. Hes locked into
this thing, same as me. I need to at least try to make this pleasant for him.
You mean torture him?
Bella winced, and Alice gave Rose a hard stare. Seriously, Rose!
Sorry, wrong choice of words.
Look, guys-- Bella stepped into a pair of brown boots --this is not a big deal. Were mates,
and unfortunately, I already got us off on the wrong foot. So this is just a chance to talk and
spend some time together.
Well I think its lovely! Alice leapt to Bellas side to watch her brush her curls, the two of
them observing their reflection in the vanity mirror.
After recovering from their near-death trauma the night before, Edward had carried Bella
back to her bed and kept her in his arms the rest of the night. The hours together had been
soothing and restorative to both their damaged souls.
In the early morning hours, Edward had confessed he had work to do in Seattle. He had been
putting the transaction off for days while she came to grips with their newly mated status. He
could wait no longer. But not wanting to be away from Bella after what they had both
experienced, he invited her to come, fully expecting her to decline.
She had surprised them both and said yes.
Alice took up the brush from Bella and began smoothing out her hair in the back.
So, you understand, right? Alice asked. Youre not mad at him because he listened to me,
are you? You understand why he left?
Oh, Alice, I really messed things up the past few weeks. I feel so awful for what Ive put
him through. Edward and I would have died without you.
Are you going to tell him? You know, we cant all keep hiding the details from him.
She nodded. I dont suppose youve seen how he reacts to the news?
Sorry. Alice frowned. You havent made up your mind to tell him yet, so its really all a
blank.
Bella looked at her hands, her voice troubled. What if he doesnt want me anymore? It
would be so horrible to be bound to someone you despise for the rest of your existence.
Honey... Rose now stood behind her ...so far, Id say hes been very understanding of
everything thats happened.
Bella thought of Edward and her whole face went soft and calm. She could hear him getting
ready in the next room, the tossing of cotton fabrics to the bed, cool drops of water falling
from his skin. She even thought she could hear a grin forming across his face.
You like him, dont you? Rose whispered.
Yes, she breathed. I like him a lot. He seems perfect and smart and funny--
And handsome? Rose interrupted.
Just wait. Bella smiled. In a few days well probably figure out were completely
incompatible and well be stuck together for the rest of our poor, immortals lives.
The girls laughed, and Alice winked. Dont bet on it,
sweetie.
Internally, Bella groaned and wondered how long she could put off telling him the truth.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Edward was waiting beside his black Mercedes with the passenger door open for Bella. After
she was settled, he came around the other side, seamlessly slipping behind the wheel.
So, he said, putting the keys in the ignition and turned to look at her, you ready for this?
She nodded. This feels good.
It does.
As they drove along the surface streets towards the freeway, Edwards hand seemed to
naturally fall to Bellas thigh, his palm smoothing up and down along her jeans. The move
felt instinctual and natural. Her body glowed as her hand covered his and their fingers
intertwined.
They were both silent, but the silence was wonderful.
Bella ran her fingers through her hair and noted Edwards handsome form in a dark suit,
pressed white shirt and tie. I think Im underdressed.
You look lovely. He squeezed her leg. Im only dressed like this to impress the humans.
What exactly do you do?
He shrugged, Derivatives mostly. Stock portfolio management on the side. Occasionally,
like today, some work for the Volturi.
Do you like working for them?
Not really. But I feel slightly obligated to them. Marcus was, after all, my sire.
Marcus? She looked at him in shock. Marcus was your sire?
Edward signaled and looked behind them. Im originally from England. I was apprenticing
at a monastery not far from my village. They had amazing texts and their script was
remarkable. One afternoon, a mob from a neighboring town set fire to the building.
Bellas was aghast. Why?
You have to remember this was almost three hundred years ago. There were heavy
skirmishes between the Catholic and the Protestant churches. The rising Protestant faith had
difficulty accepting the old, traditional ways. For decades I carried strong feelings of revenge
towards those who had set the blaze and lost those documents. Eventually, I learned there
were problems on both sides.
So, how did Marcus find you?
He was visiting the day of the fire. He loved the old books and had contacts among the
friars. Of course, he escaped unharmed. He found me, the sole survivor, barely breathing in
the back of the ruined monastery. He said he had always wanted a son. Apparently I was
quite endearing to him from the start. So, he decided to save me.
How old were you?
Twenty-five.
Twenty-five? She looked at him cautiously. Isnt that a little young to be apprenticing?
Well, thats another story. I started off farming with my father, but I was
miserable. Eventually, my parents saved up enough money to send me.
Do you Bella hesitated to ask him anything too personal.
He reached up and rubbed her cheek. Its okay, he said, his voice deep and soothing. You
can ask me anything. I want you to know me.
She leaned into his touch. Do you regret that he changed you?
At first, yes. He dropped his hand from her cheek and changed gears. But not anymore.
Did you stay with Marcus long?
A few decades. There was so much I wanted to see and do, especially now that I had the
means. But I go back to Volterra every so often.
Do you trust them?
No, he said. I respect them. I envy their library. But I think theyre dealings for the most
part are unethical.
They have a library? Bellas voice lifted.
Edward smiled at her. Like no other. I would spend years there if I could get away with
it. But you never want to stay too long at Voltera or they call on you for a favor.
Tell me more about their library.
His eyes glowed and his hand once again came back to her leg. My favorite section is their
manuscript collection, for obvious reasons. They have originals of Sophocles, Aeschylus,
Euripides, Aristophanes and even some sheets of parchment from Homer.
Her eyes were wide. But all known copies were said to have been destroyed in--"
The fire at Alexandria, he finished. Yes. But you said it yourself,
all known copies. These were, of course, unknown.
Wow, Bella breathed. What else?
He laughed. I dont want to give it all away. Youll see for yourself. Ill take you there
soon.
You will?
Of course. Marcus is anxious to meet you.
Oh. She was suddenly quiet and tense.
Edward glanced over, frowning. Did I say something wrong?
She shook her head. I would I would love to go to Europe with you. Theres so much
over there Ive wanted to see. I mean thats been your home for quite a while, hasnt it?
He nodded. I have a few homes over there. But I dont think my house status is whats
worrying you.
Its just how long would we be gone? Bella asked. I-Id miss the Cullens.
Edward squeezed her thigh. Bella, Id never take you away from your family. I know that
connection is important to you. But Ive talked to Carlisle. Your family moves around a lot,
correct?
Yeah, they do it to keep neighbors and the town from growing suspicious.
Well, there you go. Well always catch up with them wherever they are. Ill bet theyd
consider Europe for a while.
They might. She tried to look happy.
Edward saw right through her, but held back from pressing the issue, figuring it would be
unwise to push her on their first day together. Her body still glowed from the blood exchange
the night before, and he enjoyed observing her flushed cheeks and glowing amber eyes, a
result of her early hunting trip this morning with Alice and Rose. He wondered if she would
let him go hunting with her in the coming days.
Okay, he ventured, can I ask about your shield? Why cant I hear your thoughts?
She waved her hands. I have no idea. I didnt even know I had a shield until you arrived.
Can you extend it out to people?
Um probably not.
So it just envelopes you?
Like I said, I didnt even know I had it. She gave him a pointed look. But now Im
especially grateful I do, though you probably hate it.
Yes and no, he said. I cant convey enough how wonderful it is to not hear anything when
Im near you. Ive never experienced that. And while Id love to hear exactly what is going
through your mind and what literary reference I can weasel out of you, the silence is
heavenly.
Her smile was brilliant. Youll never weasel anything out of me.
I can be very persuasive.
She raised an eyebrow. I can be very challenging.
Im very much looking forward to that. He nodded. By the way, who changed you? Did
your shield have something to do with your sire?
Oh Bella immediately tensed. Um I dont really like to talk about that.
What? He looked incredulous. Why? What happened?
She did not answer. Instead she brought her legs up to her chest and rested her arms over her
knees. The motion caused Edwards hand to slip away.
Forgive me, Bella. I didnt know it was a bad topic for you. He was quiet for a
moment. I seem to be hitting a few sore subjects this morning.
She stammered, No. I I know I need to tell you. I mean, Id much rather tell you than
have you figure it out in someone elses mind. But can we wait? I just want the day with you,
especially after everything I put you through?
He gave her a pointed look. Let your sorrow end! It is better for us all.
She looked out the window and sighed. I promise you this: shell find no shelter, no hole in
the ground, no towering tree, no deep bottom of a lake, where her sins can hide.
Damn, youre good. His fist knocked the steering wheel. A day alone with you and no
added stress sounds ideal, but can I ask one small favor?
She looked back at him and nodded.
You need to stop blaming yourself for what happened between us the past few weeks.
But I could have spared you so much.
It was necessary for you, he insisted.
Her eyes were wide. It almost killed you. Any other female would never have behaved how
I did.
No, he said as he pushed back her hair and cradled her cheek. I would by no means trade
such a wise and cautious mate who doesnt walk into something without feeling completely
certain about her decision.
She leaned against him, her voice full of regret and sorrow, I will never do that to you again.
I know.
She sat back in her seat, and their hands threaded together again over her lap. The
comfortable silence resumed along with the humming lance that ignited whenever they
touched.
When the road signs started to signal the Seattle exits, Edward pointed towards the downtown
district and asked, Have you visited the library? I always love coming to Seattle, but I find
the new library building a bit too modern for my tastes. I will always wonder why the
residents of this city had the audacity to demolish the--
The original 1906 building. She nodded. I feel the same way. Of course, I never saw it in
person. They tore it down before I was born. But the pictures and the history are
magnificent! And how can you destroy something that was designed and built by P.J.
Weber? She shook her head and looked out the window. Such a tremendous loss.
Edwards eyes were wide as he stared at his mate in shock. For one of the first times in his
existence, he was completely speechless. He was astonished. Not only did his mate know
every literary reference he could throw at her, but apparently, she loved history as well.
He shook his head slightly and exited the freeway, muttering softly under his breath, Shes
perfect, absolutely perfect.
He never saw the radiant smile that spread over Bellas face.
End Notes:

A/N: So far so good. They've got a few things in common.
Next chapter is Seattle, where well learn that Edward isnt always so tactful in
relationships (including this one).
Quotes are from Beowulf.
Back to index
Chapter 9 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.
Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunway.

Chapter 9


In spite of the late summer, downtown Seattle was breezy with clouds covering the sky. It
was perfect for Edward and Bella to walk, hand-in-hand, down the pedestrian boardwalk
towards the financial district.
You know, I havent seen you in the sunlight yet. She bumped her hip against his. Hows
your sparkle?
Hot, he said, straight faced. Like a magnet. Females just come running.
Bella laughed as he squeezed her hand. They turned right on 54th street and walked west.
So um exactly how many females have come running, give or take?
Give or take?
She shook her head. I shouldnt have asked.
He looked at her sideways, measuring. Before I answer, I should confess that I already
know about your past history with male vampires, that is.
My past history? Her step faltered. What exactly do you know?
Only what I found out from Jasper.
She relaxed slightly, knowing Jasper would never reveal any details of her
transformation. Even so, she felt miffed.
Why couldnt you have just asked me? I dont mind the question or the fact that I have little
to no experience, but I really dislike people talking about me behind my back.
Wait, little experience? He stopped and looked at her. When did this happen?
First, tell me why you didnt ask me?
Because, he said as they started walking again, now stop me if Im wrong, but I definitely
see our relationship progressing physically on some level. In fact, Im very much looking
forward to it. But I didnt want to move too quickly or do anything that might make you
uncomfortable.
Bella shook her head, trying to shake away the stimulating thoughts of being more physical
with Edward. I still cant believe Jasper told you.
He didnt. Edward shrugged. I read it in his thoughts before he could mask the details.
Youre such an ass! Bella couldnt help laughing.
Me? he asked with a smile. You were locked away in your room. How in the world was I
supposed to ask?
She nodded. Youve got a good point. And considering how exceptionally patient youve
been in that area, I suppose some leeway is in order.
He wrapped an arm around her, drawing her close. The answer to your original question of
how many came running is fourteen, eighteen depending.
Depending on what?
Depending on your definition of running.
Really? Her eyebrows went up.
Im not ashamed of it. I am, after all, a vampire male and at the time I was unmated. Now,
however, the appeal of them is about as equal to the taste of human food is for us. Oh, and I
should warn you. Most of those females were of our kind and so we might run into some of
them from time to time.
Bella frowned. Oh lovely.
She was quiet for a while, their footsteps regular against the stone walkway. The seagulls
were loud and obnoxious around them.
Edward pressed. What? Have I scared you off already?
No. But it does make me feel a bit naive maybe more like a number in a large line. She
hung her head. You might be disappointed.
He moved in front of her, stopping them both. He leaned down and nuzzled her
throat. Never.
His hands spanned her waist, his palms slipping down slightly to pull her close against
him. He found reassurance from the sound of her hum against his chest. You are who I
want, beautiful girl, only you. I have never felt this pull for anyone in my three hundred
years. Already, you are so delightful to me.
He pulled back, pleased to see her face alight with yearning and lust. This was progress. He
rubbed his thumb over her lower lip, surprised when she caught it between her teeth and
rubbed her tongue over him, tasting his skin. He wanted to kiss her. But he wanted to wait
until they were more in-step with each other, until he knew her better.
Soon, he thought to himself, very soon.
Now, he said as he pulled back slightly, about that bit of experience you were talking
about. Care to elaborate?
Oh, look! Heres your building. So I guess Ill meet up with you later?
Edwards eyes twinkled with amusement. Bella, where are you going? What about the
distance?
I wont be far. She winked. Meet me at the corner bookstore on 33rd street when youre
done.
And then she was running at a human pace in the other direction.
Youre in trouble, he whispered, knowing very well she could hear him.
She waved in return.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

The bookstore was connected to a coffee shop and Edward found Bella seated at the corner
booth, a copy of John Miltons Paradise Lost in her hand and a container of coffee, crowned
with whip cream and what smelled like cinnamon and sugar, on the table. Comfortable,
brown leather sofas and chairs were scattered around the room. The walls were dotted with
potted plants and framed prints of Dante Rossetti, Frank Benson and Max Ernst.
The caf was unusually empty for a Tuesday afternoon. Conversation was quiet and diluted.
Bella smiled at Edward as he sat down on the bench next to her. He placed an arm around
her waist and her hand drifted lazily into his lap, their fingers threading together. They both
grinned, like love-sick fools, cheerfully discovering the instinctual draw between mates and
how strong the craving drew them together.
How did it go? she asked.
He loosened his tie and removed it, leaving the top two buttons undone. Oh, you know,
another day, another million in yen, or dollars, or shekels or whatever else is trading low.
The stress is obviously starting to show. Bellas eyes went back to her book.
He motioned to her cup. Do you drink coffee?
She put the book on the table and brought the cup closer, inhaling the aroma. No. I just
love the smell.
Youre strange- he smiled -in an adorable, sexy kind of way.
Thanks I think.
Anytime. He whispered in her ear, Did it hurt as much while I was gone?
She shook her head. Just slightly. I wonder if its because the last um time was so
recent.
My thoughts exactly. He leaned back and tapped her book. Hows Mr. Milton?
Hes good. Book ten is my favorite.
You know, the library at Volterra has some of those original pages.
The glow returned to Bellas eyes. Youre serious? But his second wife kept almost
everything.
Well, I Edward looked slightly flustered I might have donated it to the library.
You? Thats incredible.
Not really. One of the few human recollections I have is reading his works, and since my
change happened not long after his death, I was able to persuade Ms. Minshull to part with a
few of his papers.
Bella smiled. I love hearing about your life.
Id much rather hear about yours, which reminds me The side of his mouth quirked
up. Its time to elaborate on that slip you made earlier. Define little experience.
Youre making way too big a deal about this.
Let me be the judge of that.
She pushed back from his arms, turning to face him directly. It all happened before I was
changed. So thats probably why you couldnt get any details from Jasper. He doesnt know
about it.
Edward realized his fist was clenching the top of the bench so tight it was starting to
bend. He was shocked at his behavior. She hadnt even gotten to the heart of the story and
already he was bitter.
Go on, he said tightly.
He was just a friend of mine Jacob. Our dads had been close since we were little. We
started dating our last year of high school. I had my first kiss with him, my first um well
we fooled around, that kind of thing.
Edward was silent; aggravation seemed to seep through his body as he stared at her, his eyes
livid. Bella looked worried. This was only the surface of her history and already it looked
like he was having issues.
Edward, youre twisting the bench.
Damn it! he seethed and quickly moved his body around the table so he could fix it. He
stood up swiftly and pulled her with him as they both exited the caf. It was raining outside
and people all around them were rushing with their heads bowed, umbrellas blocking their
faces. Bella was glad, because people seemed to ignore the abruptness of Edward as he
barreled his way down the street towards his car, his arm firmly around her.
Whats your problem? she asked after they both were seated in his car. Mr. Oh, Im not
ashamed of the couple dozen women Ive slept with? Never mind that I was human at the
time and unmated!
He turned to look at her, his eyes hard, water dripping from his hair. You seem to have this
unnatural ability to remember your human memories with more clarity than others of our
kind.
And this is my fault, how?
He did not answer. He wiped at the water on his forehead and turned to look out the window
at the splattering rain drops. Bella would not let the subject go.
Edward? What-
Did you sleep with him? he growled.
She felt herself sink back into her seat. This was not good. He would not be able to handle
her past. Jacob was tiny sparks compared to the inferno he would eventually know about
her. What would he think of her when he learned everything else?
Bella!? he cried.
No. No, I did not sleep with him! We talked about it, but we never got the chance. I was
changed a few weeks after my nineteenth birthday. Right after I started college.
Oh, thank God! Edward leaned back in his seat and covered his eyes with his hands, his
body relaxing slightly.
Thank God?! Bella said in exasperation. Thank God I was forced into this life of eternal
damnation? Thank God I was taken away from my parents? Thank God I was ripped from
my peaceful existence to come to a life where I am forced to be with a mate who is the most
hypocritical bastard to ever walk the face of the earth?
Before he could react, Bella wrenched the car door open and stood facing him in the
rain. Fuck you, Edward!
And then she was gone.
He was after her before the door slammed shut. The chase covered the city, the two of them
moving too quickly for any human eyes to notice. He could hear her sobs through the
downpour of water between them. He knew he had behaved so badly towards her. Here she
was, slowly opening up to him about herself, and he let this new protective, possessive side
get the best of him.
Eventually, he chased Bella to a semi-deserted leveled parking garage. Night fall was
approaching and Edward caught her before she could leap to the adjacent building. She
struggled furiously against him, pushing and twisting to get away. He held fast, lifting her
off her feet and holding her upper-body tight against his.
You asshole! she cried. Let go of me.
I swear to you, I will let you go. He pushed her against a side wall to keep her steady as he
adjusted his arms around her. But you will hear me out first.
She stopped moving, letting her body ease up in his arms. Her hands rested against his chest
and she dropped her head. The thunder outside was loud against the walls and they both
could hear the drops of water falling off their clothes onto the cement floor.
You are so right, beautiful girl, I am an asshole. I most certainly deserved everything you
said back there. She started to cry again and he smoothed her hair back from her face.
Remember that all this mating stuff is new for me as well. Ive only heard about it, never
really thought it would happen to me. And Im realizing how incredibly possessive males
become when they have a mate. Ive never felt this way before, never cared. All I want to do
is hold you and protect you.
He reasoned her prolonged silence wasnt necessarily a bad thing, so he continued.
It doesnt matter to me if you slept with Jacob before we were mated, or anyone else for that
matter. He paused. No, Im lying. Im abysmally happy you didnt. But as you so
cleverly pointed out, who am I to talk? What worries me most is your brilliant, insightful
mind. I cant read it, and thats very frustrating when it comes to subjects like this. Because
I dont know how you feel about me, or how I compare to males youve been with before.
He placed a kiss to her head. I want to be everything to you. I want to possess you and
enthrall you like nobody else ever has. I want you to be mine alone with no stray thoughts or
comparisons to your past.
He paused, hoping she would say something, but she didnt. Thats really why I behaved so
badly back there. It was my fault and I Im sorry I ruined our first day together.
They were silent for a while. Edwards strong arms stayed tight around her and she seemed
to melt into him further, which he interpreted as a good sign. He would stay here the rest of
the night holding her if she wanted. If morning rush hour came before Bella spoke to him,
hed have to come up with some excuse to the parking security, but he was fairly confident he
could talk his way out of it.
Im sorry I ran again, Edward. Bella whispered against his wet shoulder.
He sighed, So much for a stress-free day,
She looked up at him, her eyes lost and beautiful. Youre still here. Youre holding
me. And you can quote Milton, and Chaucer, and Eliot and probably thousands more I
havent read yet. She stroked his wet hair back from his forehead. And I still remember
how awful the past few days were without you. This feels so much better.
It does. He brought her close enough so he could place small kisses along her face, her
forehead, and the sensitive spot beneath her ear. Can I ask you something?
She nodded.
Last night, I noticed you still had my original bite marks along your neck. He brushed
aside her hair and moved his fingertips over the scar. Why did you keep it? We both know
you could have erased it with your venom. And with all your zealous denials about us as
mates, why did you keep the evidence of the ritual on your body?
Bella closed her eyes at his touch, feeling her whole body ignite at the points where his
fingertips grazed her bare skin.
I I thought about erasing it, she admitted, feeling slightly embarrassed by her
behavior. But I couldnt do it. Every time I thought back to the ritual, no matter how much
I denied us, it always felt so peaceful and whole. I didnt know if you would stay and if you
left me I wanted to keep it.
When she chanced a glance up at him, he was watching her with eyes that were shining and
bright. He bent down kissed the spot on her neck, his breath hot against her flesh.
She shivered, already anticipating the feel of his teeth inside her again. Do you need to
drink from me again?
I always want your blood. He kissed the mark again and pulled back. Eventually, youll
be able to tell without asking me. But not right now, and definitely not here.
The clouds had cleared and the moon could be seen in the west. The sounds of evening
traffic drifted up from the streets below. He lowered her down, her feet touching the ground.
Edward took her hand. Lets go home.
End Notes:

A/N: Good news! I have written enough chapters ahead that I now feel comfortable
posting on a more frequent basis. So chapters will start coming 2x/week instead of 1x.
Hope youre still enjoying the ride. We get into Bellas story more in the next chapter.
Would love to hear your thoughts if you care to leave a review or send me a note.
Back to index
Chapter 10 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.
Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunway.

Chapter 10

The next morning Bella was in the kitchen wrapping containers with plastic wrap and
stacking packages of food. The sun was already sweeping through the house, making her
hands sparkle every so often as her arms moved into the sunlight across the counter
tops. Thankfully, the forecast called for afternoon showers, so there was no risk of Bella
having to cancel her plans.
Carlisle had left for work at the hospital an hour ago. Esme was working in Bellas vegetable
garden and the other two couples had left around midnight to go hunting. Bella had declined
their generous invitations to accompany them. It was, after all, Wednesday.
She heard her mate enter the house through the back door. His energy swept through
her. Everything in the world felt instantly brighter. Within seconds he was behind her, his
hands on her hips.
Good morning. Edward swept her hair aside and placed a lingering kiss on his
mark. Have you been cooking since I left?
Yeah, I was kind of busy yesterday with this guy I know. She bumped her hips back into
him teasingly. It didnt leave me much time to get this stuff ready.
He looked worried. You should have told me. I would have gotten you back here sooner.
After their scuffle in Seattle, Edward had been anxious to soothe things between
them. Instead of driving back, he had checked his car into a garage and the two of them had
run the whole way home. Along the way, Bella had shown him her favorite spots on the
mountain tops; the places where the view of the river and the ocean could make her sit and
watch for days. He had playfully pulled her onto his back for a good portion of the run and
she had loved the sensation of him against her, feeling the power of his body beneath hers.
No, we were fine. She reached up and touched his face over her shoulder. Im really glad
we ran back together.
Me too. His voice was soft and deep. I loved carrying you.
I liked that too. How was your hunt? Edward had dropped her off at the Cullen house and
then had to leave to hunt for himself.
It was fine. He was quiet as he watched her snap on a container lid. You know, we
havent really breached that conversation yet about our different eating habits. When do you
suppose we should talk about it?
Im a little afraid to start that one.
Why?
Because I worry it will lead to a fight. I can tell were both pretty set when it comes to our
diet. How is this going to work?
Edward kissed the back of her head. Well work it out, dont worry. And speaking of
eating Im starting to wonder about your obsession with human food. First the coffee and
now this, what are you planning on doing with all this stuff?
I have a special place I go every Wednesday. The food goes there.
Can I come?
Sure. She paused. But you may not approve.
As long as I dont act like an incompetent clod this time, well be fine.
She turned to face him, giggling slightly. You make me laugh, you know.
Progress. He smiled. I get much better results when Im not a jackass.
I think youre incredible.
He brought his forehead to hers, backing her up against the counter. Hearing you say that
sounds so nice.
He gently traced a finger down her arm that was exposed to the sun. "Beautiful," he
murmured, observing the glow. She watched as he intertwined their fingers, bringing his
own skin into the sun. The sparkle on Bella had a slight pink hue. His was a dark shine,
more rough, making her hand look delicate and protected in his.
She looked up at his mouth, wondering how his lips would feel against her own. Hed
already kissed her a few times on her cheeks, her forehead and he seemed fixated with
kissing his mark on her neck, all of which she loved. But she wanted his lips on hers, wanted
to taste his breath and the softness of his mouth.
He noticed her gaze and leaned down to rub his nose against hers, his breath hot and
tantalizing. I really want to kiss you.
I want to kiss you too. Her voice was a slight whimper.
He groaned and pulled away. Look, whatever you have going on today is obviously
important. And kissing you is not something I want to rush.
Who says I want to rush it? she teased. Maybe a chaste kiss on the lips is all Im looking
for with you.
Smart ass. He slapped her playfully from behind and pushed her forward. Go get cleaned
up and Ill start taking this stuff to the car.
Were taking my car! she called from the stairs.
Its only temporary, he told himself quietly, knowing full well she could hear. Mine will
be back tomorrow.
Bella had explained to him that her choice of car had nothing to do with speed or design and
everything to do with remembering her human life. It was a beat up, Ford truck. White.
And Edward disliked it immensely.
After loading the containers and boxes of food, Edward walked around the truck to see Bella
coming down the front porch in strappy high-heels and a short coffee-colored dress that
wrapped around her tiny frame. Her hair flowed freely around her shoulders in loose curls.
He opened the passenger door. Yeah so now Im the one whos underdressed today.
Bella shook her head and climbed in the truck. You look perfect. His dark-washed jeans
and long-sleeved gray shirt was a definite change from the suit hed worn the day before, but
no less appealing to her.
So, where are we going? Edward asked as they pulled onto the main road. His hand slid
across the bench seat and found hers.
Go straight for about five miles and take a left.
And then what?
She smiled and shook her head. Youll see.
Eventually, they pulled up in front of a large one-level building connected to a hospital. A
sign out front read, Benchwood Assisted Care Facility. Edward didnt say anything as he
grabbed the packages out of Bellas hands and followed her to the building. Right before
they entered the main doors, she pulled him aside.
You cant call me Bella once were inside. When were here, I go by Marie.
Marie?
Yeah, it used to be my middle name.
Edward nodded and followed her down a long hallway to room 404. A quick scan of the
patients name on the door read, Chief Charles Swan. Edward was still completely at a loss
as to why his mate would be visiting this place until he saw the old man resting on a couch
inside. Awareness went straight through him.
This was Bellas father.
His voice was rough and worn as he coughed out, Well, Ms. Marie, howre you doing? Ive
been gettin kind of worried these past few weeks, never known you to miss so many
Wednesdays before.
Bella leaned down and hugged the man, placing a brief kiss on his cheek, Im sorry, Chief. I
should have called you. Ive been sick.
You feeling better now?
Yes, Im fine. She smiled and sat down on the couch next to him.
And who is this young fella you have here?
This is my friend, Edward Masen. Hes in town visiting Carlisle.
Edward was suddenly aware that he was still standing in the doorway, holding all the food in
his arms. He found a nearby table and quickly deposited the containers. He came back to
shake Charlies hand.
Its a pleasure to meet you, Chief Swan.
Charlie just grunted and shook his hand. He motioned to Bella.
Did Ms. Marie tell you why she keeps coming to see me every Wednesday?
Edward was not sure how to respond. I would love to hear your version.
Well, sit down. Ill tell you about it.
Edward chose a comfortable easy chair next to the couch and leaned in as Charlie proceeded
to tell him how Ms. Marie had been volunteering in the care facility when Charlie moved
in. Charlie had immediately felt a connection to Marie because of the close resemblance she
bore to his daughter, Bella, who had gone missing twenty years ago. Charlie credited Marie
with helping him come to grips with his own personal heartache over the
disappearance. These days he didnt know what hed do without her.
So you see shes like my own saving angel.
Edward nodded, amazed to watch Bella interact with her father. In spite of his deeply lined
face and heavy eye lids, Edward could see a youthfulness and energy that had once existed in
the man. Pictures of a younger Charlie with his arms around a human Bella were scattered
throughout the room. Another woman obviously Bellas mother stood beside Charlie in a
prominent picture over the fireplace.
They talked about the food they had brought. Bella unpacked several of the items while they
were visiting and served Charlie his lunch. He protested that it was too much and that Marie
shouldnt keep using up her energy and money looking after him all the time. Though, it was
clearly apparent that he loved the gesture nonetheless.
At one point, Edward thought he might have to leave the room when Charlie brought up
Jacob.
You see, I wish I could have introduced Ms. Marie to Jacob. I think they would have hit it
off from the start. But Jacobs gone and been married now some fifteen years. And with all
those kids, hes probably too old for you anyway.
Bella looked up at Edward and smiled. Dont worry Chief. Im pretty happy where my life
is headed.
Edward wasnt sure how much truth Bella had put into her statement, but it warmed him
regardless. The growing realization that he could make his mate happy, maybe even fall in
love together, lifted his spirits like nothing else had.
When the visit came to a close, Bella again hugged her father, moving the plaid blanket close
around his shoulders. She seemed to linger, as if wanting to prolong the stay as long as
possible. She was obviously distressed when they left and Edward pulled her close against
his side in the trucks cab, trying to think of any means to comfort her. The sun was starting
to set as he drove them back to the Cullens.
I think I know why you were so nervous yesterday when I talked about moving to Europe.
Yeah. Bellas smile was sad. It would be so hard if I couldnt see him. Every time I
leave him I worry hell die before I can come back again.
He clearly loves you. In his mind, Marie has made up for so much that he felt he lost when
Bella disappeared.
Really? she asked. That feels so good to hear.
Why dont you visit him more often? I think hed love it.
She sighed. I want to, but I feel kind of exposed there, like someone will figure out who I
am. Nobody can know Im family, and Im worried even Charlie might eventually start to
suspect. Plus, Jacob and his father are still around occasionally, and while I can fool Charlie
with his failing eyesight, I know I wouldnt get past Jacob. Hed recognize me for sure.
Edward didnt want to talk about Jacob.
I saw your mom in that photo. Where is she?
She died. About ten years after I was gone.
The mood in the truck was somber and gloomy. Edward leaned down and asked softly, Tell
me what I can do. I hate seeing you like this.
She shook her head, her voice quiet. Im sorry Im so down. I always seem to get this way
after I leave him. Its like Im reminded all over again about everything I lost, everything
I will lose when hes gone. And then I go home to a household where everyone is happy
except me, the kitchen is full of dishes to clean, Im usually-
Wait, wait. I can do the dishes. Edward was relieved to finally find something that would
lift her spirits. You go take a break and Ill clean up the kitchen.
She was skeptical. You would do the dishes for me? You realize were talking about dirty,
human-food dishes, dishes that smell and food that rubs off on your skin?
He couldnt hide the slight revulsive twitch that went through him at the thought of more
human food. Yeah, yeah that does sound kind of bad. I think I can forgive the members of
your coven now for not helping you out as often as they should.
Oh, no, I wouldnt dream of it. Its my thing I do every week for Charlie. I love doing it
and Ill clean it up.
He kissed the top of her head. I really dont mind. Im happy to help.
Well, since I have a few more questions for you about your life, how about we compromise
and well both do the dishes?
Wait a minute. Edward frowned. I have to clean up filthy, human-food dishes and reveal
personal details of my life? Where does your part of the compromise come in?
She was laughing at him and smiling. Edward thought about the dirty dishes again and
realized it was so worth it.
End Notes:


A/N: Smooth Edward. Because what few men know is the real key to a womans heart
is simple housework. Next chapter it all pays off...

Thank you everyone for your reviews and notes! Its the nicest encouragement in the
world and I so appreciate the feedback. Thank you!

See you in a couple of days.
Back to index
Chapter 11 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.
Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunway.
Chapter 11



The dishes were disgusting, with hardened fruit stains and sticky, dried flour. Edward had
suggested cleaning at a fast, non-human pace but after breaking three of Esmes delicate
platters by scrubbing them too hard, he changed his mind. Carlisle and Esme had given them
both appraising looks as they headed out to a hospital fundraiser, the two of them
exceptionally striking next to Edward and Bella in their water-stained clothes.
I dont think Im winning over Esme with this, he confessed.
I think youre purposefully trying to get yourself banned from her kitchen.
Damn it! Edward cursed as he noticed another deeply buried bit of smelly food under a
fingernail.
Bella laughed. We should make this a Wednesday night tradition.
God, help me! he moaned with his hands in the soapy water. What did I get myself into?
Were almost done. You were telling me more about Elizabeth. Bellas voice was now
completely void of any of the heartache from earlier. Edward knew hed do this for the rest
of his existence if it would always reverse her depressing thoughts.
Well, I told you about how I broke in the door and blamed the horse. And then the night I
took apart my fathers carriage and tried to assemble a horse-drawn speed cart. I remember a
few times going on long walks with them in the evenings. My father loved to tell us about
the stars.
I can see you enjoying that. Bella took a wet pan from him and loaded it in the
dishwasher. Do you miss them?
It gets easier. He gave her a meaningful look. The first few years are hard. But
eventually, you find your way. I envy your clear memories of your human life. Most
vampire recollections are like mine, muddy and fading.
Edward pulled the metal plug in the sink and let the water drain while Bella mopped up the
countertops. The two of them leaned back against the sink, assessing the spotless
kitchen. Bella twisted the dishtowel in her hands.
Now that I know how this feels. She gestured between them. I cant imagine going for
so long without it. Three hundred years is a long time.
Yes, but I didnt have the comparison back then. He smiled. Now that I do, I dont know
how I survived that long without you.
Their bodies were touching along the sides, his warm arm resting against hers. She looked up
to find him staring down at her, his red eyes dark and intense. She glanced at his lips, and
back to his eyes. His hand came up to cradle her face, moving their heads close together.
Beautiful girl, he muttered. He tilted her chin up to him and lowered his head to kiss her
softly on the mouth.
The kiss was light and gentle. Edward pulled back slightly as they both gasped at the
sensation pulsing between them. He quickly returned, kissing her with more energy as he
pushed and explored the resilience of her mouth against his and the smoothness of her lower
lip.
Bellas hands came up to his shoulders, moving to his neck as his tongue briefly touched her
lips. He groaned when her mouth opened and he could taste the inside of her mouth. He felt
her tongue against his, cautiously exploring. She whimpered and he pulled her tighter against
him.
Bella hummed into Edwards mouth as his lips came back again and again to hers. She tilted
her head, offering up her bottom lip which he eagerly sucked into his mouth, running his
tongue softly over the flesh. He tasted the edge of her jaw, placing wet kisses down her
throat, paying particular attention to his mark. Her fingers wound further up into his hair.
Dont stop, she pleaded as he kissed his way back to her mouth. Dont leave.
Never, Bella. His hands swept down her lower back, palming her ass in his hands. He
lifted her onto the counter and moved her legs apart so he could be flush against her, all the
while keeping his mouth on hers, relishing the feel of her lips.
From the new position, Bella could slide both her legs up and around Edwards waist,
bringing him closer, feeling his erection between them. He could smell her arousal, could
feel it in her blood. The bite mark on his chest throbbed as Bella ran her hand under his shirt,
round his rib cage, and over the scar. He rubbed his hips up against her, tense with need for
his mate.
Oh Bella felt breathless as he traced her lower lip with his tongue. He groaned out her
name and immediately came back to her lips.
They were so lost in each other that they failed to notice when Rose walked into the kitchen,
her deep throat clearing finally seeping into their thoughts enough to break them apart. Bella
jolted against Edward, embarrassment and shame radiating off her as she glanced guiltily at
Rose.
You are going to sanitize the counters after youre done, right? Rose asked with a slight
smile.
Edward gave Rose a menacing glance as he calmly helped Bella off the edge of the sink,
keeping her tight against him and guided her towards the stairs.
Come on, he said to her and then led her up to her room, leaving a smirking Rose behind
them.



0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0




Dont let her get to you, Edward started after he had closed the bedroom door behind
them. I saw all the times she and Emmett--

Bella cut him off by grabbing him around the shoulders and fitting her mouth to his. He
eagerly responded and opened his lips to hers, anxious to feel her wet mouth against his
again. The kissing turned desperate and intense, hands clenching tightly into the other, soft
moans coming deep.

When he started to lavish kisses around her face, Bellas stammered, Rose Rose wasnt
being mean. It was it was from before. I had always promised myself if I found a mate, I
would never be so public.

Edward placed several soft kisses at the side of her mouth and then pulled back, his eyes
sparkling. I hope you didnt really mean that, because I have fantasies of taking you on a
kitchen counter someday. He reached back to grab his shirt from behind his neck and
yanked it over his head.

When he went to pull Bella into his arms, he was surprised to see her looking a little
nervous. He leaned down and kissed the side of her face. What is it? Did I do something
wrong?

She bent her head. No, no. I just um I dont think Im ready for She looked
pointedly at his discarded shirt and back at his bare chest.

Edward watched her eyes, comprehension coming over him. Oh. You thought that by me
taking my shirt off that I was expecting He kissed her forehead. Bella, I took my shirt
off because you need my blood. I can feel it.

You can?

He nodded against her. It started this morning. Its been building up slowly and I dont want
you to even get close to where we were before. Not ever again.

Why didnt I feel it? Bella shook her head. I mean, now that you mention it, I can feel a
little of that pull again, but nothing drastic.

Like I said, I think after how much your body was starved last time, the small pulls probably
dont hit as hard as the bigger ones.

Bella pushed at her hair, frustrated with her own lack of understanding. She wanted to be a
better mate for Edward, but she felt she kept missing important points along the way. She
thought back to all the past conversations with Carlisle and Esme about what to do when she
was mated. At the time, she abhorred the idea and so she had only half listened. Now she
was paying the price.

Edward drew her close. Feed, Bella, he urged.

She closed her eyes and concentrated on her mate. She ran her nose along his neck and down
to his chest, nuzzling the hard muscles underneath the smooth skin. He smelled strong and
masculine, with a hint of leftover dish soap.

Hmm she breathed as her hands played at the soft line of hair at his navel that
disappeared beneath his jeans. Edward inhaled sharply.

When her mouth licked the small scar where her teeth marks had already penetrated twice,
she whispered, My spirit longeth for thee, within my troubled breast, although I be unworthy,
of so divine a guest.

And then his blood was flowing inside her again and he groaned at the powerful feeling of
her bite, her suction and pull against him. Edward never knew mating would be like this,
never understood how connected he would feel with another female. She was incredible to
him, her soul so affectionate and kind.

She had been worried he would push her into love making before she was ready. She didnt
understand that he wanted her ready and begging for him before hed take her.

Nevertheless, his body craved hers. Even now as she fed against his chest, he had to restrain
himself from pulling the dress away from her body and running his hands over her bare
skin. The idea of tasting her made him wild. He wanted his scent covering her body.

Bella sighed and took one last pull before she licked the incision closed. Edward wasted no
time in picking her up and laying her back on the bed behind her. He leaned down and kissed
her mouth, lingering over the sweet taste of her mixed with his blood.

You brilliant, beautiful girl, he murmured as his lips moved down her throat. Of so divine
a guest, unworthy though I be, yet has my heart no rest, unless it come from thee.

Her body warmed at his words, silently thrilling at their shared game. She ran her fingers
through his hair, settling on his neck, hotly anticipating the feel of his teeth inside
her. Instead he brought his mouth back to hers and kissed her slowly, pushing his tongue into
her mouth and tasting her again.

She did not protest. She relaxed further onto the bed, enticing him closer. Edward followed,
hovering above her. His arm moved under her back, lifting her body slightly against his as he
continued to kiss her. His hand came up her rib cage, delicately shifting over her breast,
lightly fingering her nipple.

Bella gasped into his mouth, arching her upper body towards him.

Is this okay? Edwards voice was hesitant against her lips.

Yes, she stammered.

Good. He placed open mouthed kisses down her throat. Because I want to try something
a little different this time.

Edwards hand moved to fully cup her breast through the dress. His kisses moved down her
throat along her collar bone, to the open neck of her wrap dress. Bella whimpered, her hands
fisting in his hair.

He pulled the tie at her waist, pushing apart the material to show the chocolate-colored, lace
bra beneath. With a flick of his wrist, he released the tie in the front, revealing her bare flesh
to his view. With one hand he cupped each breast in turn, running his palm back and forth,
kneading each one. Bellas head fell back as Edward brought one to his mouth, sweeping his
tongue over the hardened nipple.

Perfect, he said hoarsely. So perfect.

He placed his lips on the upper swell of her left breast and softly sank his teeth into her
skin. Bellas body jerked, her hands finding anchor on Edwards shoulders as he fed at her
breast. The feedings between them had always felt so intimate, but this this was rawer,
feral. Visions of doing this with both of them completely open and naked against the other
flittered through her thoughts and she cried out for Edward, spreading her legs and coaxing
his body down against hers.

He drank tightly at her skin and gave into the beast. He pushed all his weight onto Bella,
holding her leg with his hand to anchor against his hips as he started driving his hard erection
up against her. Her sweet moans fueled his fiery haze.

On and on he rubbed and pushed against her while feeding at her breast. His movements
were rough and feverish, brought on by the potent taste of her precious blood. But when he
sealed his bite mark and his body began to slow, Bella frantically clawed at him, worried she
would lose the climbing sensation running through her.

Oh, no. Dont stop Edward, Bella gasped. Oh please. Dont stop.

Bella, he grunted, pushing slightly with his hips. Im fuck so close.

Me too. She leaned up and licked his shoulder, kissing along his neck. Keep going. Im
almost there.

Edward went back to his rough grinding against her, but this time his mouth laid wet kisses
along her breast, his tongue teasing the flesh of her nipple. Bella gripped and tightened her
legs around him, so close to the edge.

Oh, yes Bella, he urged, moving his mouth back up to kiss her. I can feel your body
getting close, it wants this so much.

With one final smooth passing between her legs, she cried out and held fast to Edward as the
waves rocked through her. A few more thrusts brought him to the same edge and he tightly
whispered her name over and over as his release erupted.

Bella collapsed back against the bed, drained from the feeding and the intense
climax. Edward kissed her deeply, pulling her legs gently from around his waist. She tried to
hide her slight surprise when her leg shifted against him and she realized he was
still very hard, in spite of his release seconds before. Edward looked at her and smirked, but
did not say anything.

He disappeared down the hall to his room, cleaning up and changing into a pair of light-
weight pants that tied at the waist. He quickly returned to her side and pulled her into his
arms. Bella rested her head against him, her fingers finding her mark on his chest.

Bella, I wont ever push you into anything youre not ready for. I wouldnt do it with your
blood and I wont do it with sex.

I know, she breathed. I trust you.

They spent the rest of the night cuddled away in her bed, their legs tangled together under the
sheets. They spoke in hushed whispers, though there was no need to keep quiet. Their kisses
and soft laughter the most beautiful sounds in the night.
End Notes:

A/N: I think more couples should do the dishes together. Just look at all the wonderful
things that happen when they do! :)
Quotes are from My Spirit Longeth for Thee, by John Byrom
Back to index
Chapter 12 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.
Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunway.

Chapter 12


The clouds were starting to give way over the sky and the morning sunlight poured into
Bellas room.

Edward stretched and rolled his body on top of his mate. I hope you realize that after last
night, Im moving all my things into your room.

She grinned. You like my bed that much, huh?

At one point in the midnight hours, Bella had discarded her wrinkled dress and had thrown on
her usual tank-top and boy shorts. She had changed discreetly in front of him, but Edwards
eyes had watched her hungrily, soaking in the site of her bare skin.

He nudged along her throat. Lets talk about this bed. Why do you have a bed
exactly? Any other visitors I should be aware of?

No. Since Im the only one in the house who uses my bed for something other than sex,
youll find mine is the most comfortable. The others are just looking for something basic and
horizontal.

His lips turned upwards. Well, Im not about to go testing everyones different beds to see if
youre right. So, Ill just take your word for it.

Edward leaned up to kiss her lips, lazily pushing his tongue out to taste her. She sighed,
kissing him back and opening her mouth under his. He moved his hands down her body and
pushed up the shirt, exposing her breasts. He palmed the soft flesh, at the same time grinding
his body slowly between Bellas legs.

Oh. She kissed along his jaw. That feels so good.

He hissed. I feel like I have no control around you, Bella. I swear Im not trying to rush
you. He leaned down and ran his tongue over one of her breasts, circling her nipple. I just
hope youre ready soon.

I will be, she gasped. I already feel so close to you.

He leaned up and kissed her again. Let me make you come again. Youre absolutely
stunning when you let go.

She nodded against his cheek, too lost in the sensations he was creating inside her to reply.

Keeping one hand on her breast, Edward lowered the other one down her stomach, letting his
fingers drag over her skin. When he got to her shorts, he nudged between her legs and
cupped her, bringing out a sweet moan from his mate. His fingers stroked down her folds
over the cotton material before trailing up and moving underneath to touch her bare skin.

She cried out softly, Oh, God yes.

Bella His voice was rough. Your skin against my fingers its so soft so smooth.

She moaned and felt him repeat the same pattern he had over her shorts, except this time he
probed deeper, circling her clit, and pushing one and then two fingers inside her. She gasped
his name, relaxing her legs further apart as he began pumping his fingers in earnest, moving
her clit with his thumb.

He kissed his way down to her ear, nibbling softly. Next time, I want you to feed from me
while I stroke you like this.

The idea of taking his blood while he touched her pushed Bella over the edge and she pulsed
around his fingers, crying out his name several times in unison. He held her close, never
once looking away as he watched her ride out the release.

Her hands moved down his chest and found his hard erection between his legs. Edward
groaned and gently pulled her hands away.

But Bella began. She was clearly disappointed he had stopped her. I want to touch
you.

He kissed her. So do I. Well get there soon, dont worry.

But you need this. I I can feel it in you. She paused and her mouth dropped open
slightly. Wow. I can really feel that inside you. Thats incredible.

He nuzzled her forehead. Its like our own super vampire powers, but only between us.

I love us. She smiled shyly.

Me too, Edward agreed, pulling her against him. They relaxed back into the bed, listening
to the sounds of the forest coming in through Bellas open window.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


In spite of needing to hunt, Bellas body felt refreshed and empowered. She sailed down the
stairs and into the family room, cheerfully listening to the noise of her mate upstairs moving
back and forth between his guest room and her room.

She smoothed her hands around her abdomen and hips, noting the way her body changed
when she moved farther away from Edward. Before her acceptance of their relationship, the
pain that went through her every time they were apart was sharp and pronounced. Now it
was just a minor shiver. She wondered if it had anything to do with the more frequent blood
exchanges, or even just her mental acceptance of Edward as her mate.

Her body hummed with contentment.

She realized it might not be a bad idea to talk to Carlisle, or even Esme, about the changes
going through her. She had been so wrapped up in her pain and trying to work on her
relationship with Edward, she had neglected the other members of her family.

Nobody was downstairs, but she noticed Esme outside in the garden. She was on her knees
with a spade in her left hand. Bella hurried out to join her, bringing a pair of shears with her.

Esme, youve been doing too much work without me, Bella noted as she glanced around
the garden.

My dear, Esme started. You have just found your mate, you both nearly died a few days
ago, and you spent all of yesterday taking care of your father, so I think youre entitled to
some help in the garden. She turned back and kept digging. Besides, I love doing this.

Bella dropped down beside the daisies and began trimming. Im still grateful, Esme.

I know. She winked at her.

How was the benefit?

It was nice. Carlisle looked incredibly handsome and I got to wear my new dress.

You both looked so good together.

I was going to say the same thing about you and Edward, in spite of my broken
dishes. Esme chuckled and tossed several more bits of weeds behind her. She sank back on
her knees and looked at her vampire daughter. Tell me truthfully, Bella. How are things
going between the two of you?

Bella couldnt stop the glow that seemed to radiate from her voice. So good, Esme. I need
to talk with you and Carlisle at some point on how to get a handle on the separation anxiety
and understanding the blood exchanges better. But even so, I have loved learning all this
with Edward.
She paused and rubbed her hand over the upper part of her breast where Edward had left his
mark. Is it wrong that Im craving him when I just barely left him?

Esme laughed. No. I still crave Carlisle all the time, more so now than when we first
mated.

But Carlisle works every day. She was suddenly tense with understanding. Oh,
Esme! How do you do it?

Bella. Her voice was reassuring. Not that I dont appreciate our excellent hearing
abilities, but you probably are already aware that Carlisle and I exchange blood quite often,
more so than any other couple in our house. He needs it as much as I do. We have found the
more frequent the feedings from each other, the less powerful the yearnings and pain when
were apart. But every couple has to find a balance.

A balance?

Esmes eyes sparkled. You might not understand it now, but as you draw closer to Edward,
you will find it difficult to share him or allow other activities to cut into your own private
time together, including family. All of your emotions, your senses, your cravings will start to
center around him. Edward will feel the same way.

How long does it take?

Well, every couple is different, and some situations are harder than others. Esme stood up
and brushed at her pants. As you well know, Rose and Emmett have had no problems
merging their private and public times together, much to the discomfort of everybody
else. But Alice and Jasper, I know they took a lot longer. Jasper had an especially hard time
letting Alice go, but eventually he could see her need for family connections.

And you and Carlisle?

Esme smiled. It took us a long time. Carlisle completely left his practice and bought that
island youve heard us talk about in Brazil. It took nearly ten years before we both felt we
could handle a daily routine that didnt include just ourselves.

Ten years? Bella looked shocked. I cant imagine.

Honey, its important for you to remember that not all of our kind will find mates. Its a
selective, powerful gift that binds us. And it only becomes stronger the longer you are
together. Theres a reason we esteem and respect the process, though I know some risk the
wrath of the Volturi and speak out against it. But trust me, Bella. Ten years with Edward
will feel like such a short amount of time. Youll want centuries alone with him.

They were quiet for a while, letting the early afternoon breeze run over their clothes and
brush at their hair. Bella kept her eyes on the ground, silently digesting Esmes words. The
idea of an extended, uninterrupted span of time alone with Edward did sound very
appealing. She wondered if he would feel the same way.

Youll figure it out. Esme walked over to the hedges and began trimming. You and
Edward have something that reminds me of me and Carlisle. You both will be very powerful
together.

Before she had the chance to question Esme further, Alice appeared in the center of the
garden.

Yay! she exclaimed. The peonies have bloomed. Can I have some for my room?

Bella went over to hug her vampire sister. Have all you want, Alice. Ive missed you
lately. Are you doing okay?

Please, Bella. She grinned and hugged her tighter. All the vibes in our home
between two newly-mated couples Jasper and I are doing just fine.

Alice went suddenly tense in her arms. Bella pulled back to see her eyes glazed over. What
do you see?

But her gaze seemed far away, her eyes full of apprehension as she looked down the Cullens
long driveway.

Troubles coming, she breathed.

Esme moved to her side. Tell us.

Alice regarded Bella. It will be okay. Youll get through it just fine, better than you think.

At that moment, the sound of a rich engine roar made all three females turn to see who was
coming up the road. It was a sleek, black Mercedes C63 and behind the wheel was a stunning,
blond female. A flock of geese went flying from the property as the car thundered to a
screeching halt. And before the driver could step out of the door, Rose was running down the
front porch, screaming happily and throwing her arms around the visitor.

Ah its Tanya, Esme murmured.

Tanya Denali? Bella asked. She had heard of the Denali coven. Rose made frequent visits
every few years to see them, and Carlisle and Esme were excellent friends with the covens
mated leaders, Eleazar and Carmen. Bella had yet to meet any of them in person.

Thats her. Esme nodded. I wonder what shes doing here.

The three females moved towards the car, where a delighted Rose was still hugging Tanya.

Bella quickly concluded that Tanya had to be the most gorgeous female vampire she had ever
met. She was tall, draped in a lovely, red summer dress that clung enticingly over her slim
curves. She wore matching high-heeled sandals with ribbon that bunched at her toes. Her
white-golden hair danced around her shoulders, the ends curing at the top of her perfectly
rounded breasts. Delicate diamond earrings dangled from her ears, matching bracelets
clinked along her arm and an elegant, three-strand necklace was wrapped around her neck.

Bella had never before felt so unappealing standing next to someone. She glanced down at
her muddy jeans, her old fitted shirt that sported grass stains, weeds and dirt. She wore no
jewelry and her hair was tied back again in an elastic.

So much for first impressions.

Tanya, welcome to our home. Esme hugged her. How is your family?

They are all wonderful and they send their best to you and Carlisle. Her voice had a faint,
gentle lift that was soothing to the ears, and yet slightly condescending.

Esme motioned to Bella. I dont believe youve met the newest member of our
coven. Tanya, this is Bella.

Tanyas eyes moved up and down Bella. Oh how nice. Carmen did tell me that Esme
had mentioned a new female.

Its nice to finally meet you, Bella said as she stepped forward to offer her hand. Tanya
jumped back and frowned.

Oh um, she stammered, motioning to Bellas clothes and appearance. Why dont we
catch up later, after youre all done playing in the yard?

Oh, yeah. Bella lowered her hand and stepped back. If she hadnt already felt snubbed
based on appearance comparisons alone, she was definitely feeling it now.

While Rose continued to gush to Tanya about her newly-founded matehood with Emmett,
Alice came up behind Bella and laid an arm across her shoulders.

Welcome to trouble, she whispered, nodding her head towards Tanya.

Bella wondered if she should run upstairs to shower and change, especially before Edward
met Tanya. Standing next to Edward looking like this while he was introduced to someone
who looked like that would definitely not work to Bellas advantage.

Its too bad youre taken, Tanya told Rose. I was in Russia last month and you would
have loved the males there.

Those days are over for me, Rose assured her. Ive never been happier with Emmett.

Yes, but this whole mating nonsense. Tanya tossed her hair over her shoulder, her voice
dismissive. I declare, youd think the poor males are trapped. I bet most of them are just
dying to get out.

Bella could feel Alice stiffen next to her. Esme glanced at the house and back to Tanya.

So, Tanya, tell us what brings you here. Do you know how long youll be staying?

Her laugh was like the tinkling of small bells drifting over the air. Oh, sweet Esme, I
actually dont think Ill be staying long. I always love seeing you and Carlisle and your
darling, little family. But this time my visit has to do with the owner of that beautiful, black
car over there.

She pointed to Edwards parked Mercedes. It had been delivered this morning from
Seattle. Bella felt a shiver of dread run through her. Tanya knew Edward?

Is he here? she asked eagerly.

Over here, Tanya, Edwards voice was stiff. He stood on the porch next to Carlisle and
Jasper. Bella wished at that moment that her mate didnt look so appealing in a pair of jeans
with a charcoal-colored sweater over a white shirt. She looked up at him, hoping he would
meet her gaze, but his eyes were centered completely on Tanya. She felt her insides sink.

Oh, Edward, Tanya squealed in delight. She skipped quickly across the open driveway, her
skirt flittering around her thighs, the click of her heels against the stones and flew towards
him.

But before she could reach him, Edwards arms shot forward to catch her smoothly at the
forearms, holding her back from him in an almost graceful manner. Tanya wiggled slightly
and moved her hands up to touch him where she could reach.

Oh, baby, Ive missed you so much, she cooed. I know you said you were going to be
here a few days, but I couldnt wait any longer to see you.

Bella felt her dead heart lurch. Edward really knew Tanya. And he had made plans to see
her? Her mind raced back over the time since Edward had arrived. Had he called her when
Bella had shut herself away? Had it been before? She noticed Rose furiously trying to catch
her eye and mouth to her, I didnt know!

Tanya, I have to apologize for not following up with you after I arrived. Bella was
surprised how direct and formal Edwards voice was. Nothing of the more affectionate tone
she was used to hearing when he spoke to her. But there have been some changes recently
that you should be made aware of.

Tanya appeared flustered and suddenly glanced around at everyone watching them.

Well what are you talking about, Edward? She pulled away from his hold and
straightened her hair. Arent you happy to see me?

Edward blurred to Bellas side and wrapped her - muddy jeans, dirt-encrusted shirt and all
into his arms and smiled at Tanya.

I found my mate.

To punctuate his point, Edward leaned down and kissed his radiant mate on the
lips. Everybody was silent as the vampire audience glanced back and forth between Edward
and Bella to Tanya.

Oh! Um oh my goodness that really is um so unexpected, Tanya sputtered and
then emitted a fake giggle.

The tension hung heavily in the air. Nobody wanted the burden of easing the pressure. And
while Tanya strained her neck in a subtle attempt to meet Edwards eyes again, he remained
completely absorbed in Bella. The two of them seemed lost in their own world as he pulled
some weeds out of her hair and gave her a funny look. Bella snickered quietly against his
chest and he kissed her forehead.

How cute, Tanya observed. Where ever did you pick her up? Some local farmer?

Edward shot her a dark look, but she only laughed. And here I was, running down to see
you having no idea youd found someone to entertain you while I was away. She paused
and gave him a pointed stare. Its a good thing Im here now. You can tell her how
you dont believe in all this mating stuff anyway.

Tanya, Rose warned. Emmett had come up behind his mate and wrapped his arms around
her, his eyes harsh as they bore into Tanyas. He had disliked everything about this female
from the moment he heard her dismissing Roses feelings for him.

Well, Edward would be the first to agree with me that these mating bonds are not
permanent. After all, she said as she looked closely at Bella, Edward and I have known
each other for such a long time. There are things that only I understand about him.

Your words are almost treasonous, Jasper spoke up as he walked slowly to Alices
side. You know the Volturi hold the mating rituals as sacred amongst our kind.

Oh, well youre all just acting so silly about this. Tanya waved them aside, dismissing their
comments. If youre all absurdly happy with each other, then who am I to stop you?

Carlisle stepped forward and motioned towards the house. Tanya, why dont we all go
inside? Youre, of course, welcomed to stay.

Esme moved quickly to Carlisles side. But only if you feel comfortable, Tanya. We can
understand it might be an adjustment with both Rose and Bella newly mated.

Oh, well if thats the case, youre all going to need as much common sense around here as
possible. She laughed and glanced at Edward. Maybe I will stay a few days. I might as
well catch up with everyone.

Nobody believed a word coming out of her mouth, and yet, she kept talking. Oh, and just
look at what youve done with this place, Esme. It looks so nice and inviting. Where can I
put my things? Maybe I should be in the guest bedrooms where Edward is staying so I dont
take up anybodys space.

Bella could sense the fury and frustration radiating off her mate as Tanya preceded Carlisle
and Esme into the house. The others followed, Alice and Rose each giving Bella sympathetic
looks.

Jasper leaned down as he passed, and whispered, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
End Notes:

A/N: Dont you just loveher?



Welcome all my new readers & lots of love and thanks to my readers who have been
with me since the beginning. Thank you thank you thank you for your awesome
feedback!
Back to index
Chapter 13 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunway.
Chapter 13


The next few days were Tanya-filled hell. In any other circumstance, Edward would have
demanded she leave the moment she had arrived, but she was a guest in a home that
was not his. And even though she claimed to be staying in Washington because of the Cullen
family, Edward knew otherwise. And he suspected Esme and Carlisle knew her true motives
as well.

Edward had explained the situation to Bella, doing everything in his power to reassure her
that Tanya meant as much to him now as the weeds Bella and Esme had thrown out from the
garden the day before. His mate had been amazingly understanding and sympathetic, but he
detested the small looks of insecurity that would occasionally cross her beautiful face when
they were in Tanyas company. Bella saw so little of herself in comparison.

To make matters worse, Tanya had pushed her way into the daily activities within the
household to such a degree that Edward and Bella rarely had a moment alone together. She
was everywhere and into everything and her mouth would not stop talking.

And then there was the touching.

Edward tried to keep himself in Bellas company, never giving Tanya a chance to be alone
with him. And yet she continued to find opportunities to touch his arm, rub her hand over his,
and even brush up against his body as she moved past. Her touch felt like human food that
had been left inside him to rot. It made him sick.

He knew why she persisted. Tanya was an intelligent, female vampire. Not half as smart and
witty as his own mate, but good enough to be dangerous, and capable of masking her
thoughts when needed in front of Edward. She did not believe in mates. They had spent
several years together discussing this shared theory between them. Of course now,
unbeknownst to Tanya, Edward was a firm believer and had no desire to stray from Bella.

Tanya was waiting to see if she could entice Edward back.

Her first tactic was to confront Bella. And she got her chance the second morning of her visit,
after Edward had left to go hunting alone. Bella was in the laundry room folding clothes.

You do laundry? Tanya asked with her nose tilted slightly in the air. You do realize its
not needed with our kind.

Bella closed her eyes and squeezed the green towel in her hand tighter. Shed been dreading
this inevitable moment and it made her mutter under her breath, God gave a loaf to every
bird, but just a crumb to me.

Are you babbling nonsense now? You know, you really are the most abnormal female Ive
ever met. Maybe thats why Edward thinks he has found such a diversion with you.

Bella folded the towel and placed it in her basket, careful not to shred it in silent
vexation. Is this why you came in here, to discuss my abnormal tendencies towards clean-
smelling laundry? Dont you want to go visit with any of the other three couples in this
house?

Tanya walked closer to the side table where baskets of clean clothes were stacked. She stared
unabashedly at Bella, her wide, golden eyes bearing down. That must be hard for you, isnt
it? I can just see you watching all these couples around you, wanting that for yourself and
not having it.

Bella went back to sorting shirts. Not really. The idea of a mate was never appealing to me
to begin with, so it didnt really matter that my family was mated while I was not.

So you admit that you dont believe in the mating rituals either?

I believed it, I just didnt want it.

Well, then. She put an arm around Bellas shoulders. Im glad Im here to warn you that
Edward has never believed in mating, and I know his opinion hasnt changed.

Yes, I believe you said that yesterday, and last night, and again this morning. She nodded
her head slightly as she counted. Who are you trying to convince?

Tanya pulled back and held up her hands. Im just trying to help you realize what youre
getting yourself into.

And what is that, exactly?

The mating ritual is a fraud. Its not real. Its all some genetic manifestation that forces you
to feel something you otherwise wouldnt. And believe me, Tanya added, Edward is one
of the strongest of our kind and he will eventually fight to be free.

The cycle signal from the dryer rang out through the room. Bella bent down and began
loading the warm clothes into an empty basket. Why are you giving me all this advice,
Tanya? What do you expect me to do?

I want you to release Edward from whatever entrapment you have ensnared him into.

Bella laughed and closed the dryer door. If youre asking me to do that, youre a little
late. Ive already tried several times to release him. In fact, I tried to break whatever binding
arrangement he seemed to think we were under. But it didnt work. So Im afraid your
wishes will have to be taken up with him.

Tanya looked shocked. You tried to let him go? You actually didnt want to be mated with
Edward?

Not in the slightest. Although now I feel differently about it, quite the opposite really.

Which is?

Well, considering our limited acquaintance with each other, and your rather inadequate
opinion of me-- Bella shrugged --Im sure youll understand that I cannot share those
details with you.

Tanya glowered at her, with eyes that grew darker. Does it bother you, Bella, that Ive had
him so many times before you? That hes been inside my body, covering me, pleasuring me
and that he loved it so much he would return to me again and again? She smirked. Ill bet
thats eating you up inside right now. And youre wondering if hell come back to me
someday. Because he will, Bella. Hell never forget how good it was with me.

She could not deny that Tanyas words did slice into her. It was difficult to stand up against
someone so strong and seemingly indestructible. But as her hand moved to cover the now
comforting spot along her neck, she realized Tanyas weakness. Suddenly, everything
became clearer.

Has Edward ever bitten you? she asked. Have you ever wanted that from him? In all
your heated moments of passion and connection, did he ever once sink his teeth into your
skin?

Tanyas assertive shell cracked and she shifted her body unsteadily. Her gaze fell to the
ground.

With a sweep of her hand, Bella confidently drew back her long hair to reveal the prominent
scar buried deeply in her neck. When the muscles in Tanyas cheek began to twitch, Bella
then pulled aside the v-neck of her shirt where the second set of teeth marks lay on the swell
of her breast. Both spots seemed to glow faintly and pulse with life.

Tanyas eyes blazed with fury and envy as she covetously stared at the signs of Edwards
possession on Bella skin. Though she had spent most of her immortal life denying the mating
rituals, she was now forced to behold the one thing she secretly desired above all else. She
knew if she could look at Edwards body now, it would also show similar marks from Bella,
and the idea made Tanya livid. Her hands shook slightly and while she opened her mouth
several times to speak, no words came out.

Releasing the shirt and her hair, Bella bent down to retrieve the basket of laundry. Laid out
across the top was the chocolate-colored wrap dress she had worn days earlier when Edward
had first kissed her. The memory made her smile and built her up in ways she did not expect.

Bella left a fuming, speechless Tanya behind.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

After the encounter in the laundry room, Tanya avoided her. Instead, she increased her
efforts to find a moment alone with Edward. This was no secret to him and he continued to
evade her presence, spending every moment with either his mate or another member of the
Cullen family.

The situation came to a halt the following afternoon when Bella told him she was going
hunting with Alice and Jasper. Knowing she had not been in a while, Edward readily agreed,
but was disappointed she had not asked him to go with her.

Tanya commented from the other side of the room. Oh, thats good, Bella. Im glad youre
going with Alice and Jasper. Theyll make sure you know what youre doing.

Bellas an excellent hunter, Tanya. Jasper gave her a leveled look. These types of off-
hand comments thrown at Bella were becoming tiresome to everyone. You should see her
mad hunting skills.

Tanya appeared to not have heard. Instead, she was staring at Edward, her eyes moving over
him provocatively, coming to rest at his waist. She breathed deep. He frowned and moved
closer to his mate.

Look, I know Im not really invited. He looked pleadingly at Bella. But would it be rude
of me to ask if I can come?

She wanted him to come with her, badly. The two of them could separate off from Jasper and
Alice and get some much needed reconnection time. But she also knew if Edward came,
Tanya would undoubtedly follow. And besides, Bella had a plan.

Next time, okay? I really need to be with Alice and Jasper right now. Bella leaned up and
placed a soft kiss on Edwards mouth.

He caught her before she could pull back. Can I have another? I need more of those. He
nuzzled against her. I feel like weve been a million miles apart the past couple days. I dont
like it.

I know, she breathed. She chanced a look at Tanya, who was fidgeting slightly, adjusting
her stance, trying to decide at what angle her figure would look best in the new ensemble she
had put together this morning for Edward. Well figure this out soon.

Come on, Bella, Tanya said in a sing-song voice. Its only hunting. Youll be back in a
couple of hours. Dont be so clingy.

Edward shot her a murderous glare. Hold your tongue, Tanya. You will not speak like that
to my mate.

She looked exasperated. Oh, you know its not that big of a deal.

Bella spoke up, clearly seeing an escalated fight brewing between the pair. She worried if
Edwards temper rose too quickly, he would never have enough sense to get through this.

Dont worry about it. She placed a reassuring hand on Edwards chest. He immediately
covered the hand with his and looked at her sadly. Ill see you in a couple hours.

He watched them disappear across the field into the forest, already feeling miserable and
lousy. He was dreading the next few hours he would endure alone with Tanya. Carlisle was
in town with Esme which meant Edward could not escape to visit with him. He wondered
briefly if maybe he could sneak upstairs with Emmett and Rose. They had been quiet for the
past hour. They would probably be decent by now if Edward got desperate.

Shes finally gone. Tanya walked up behind him and rubbed his shoulders. Shes been
tied to your hip since I got here. Finally, we can talk about everything thats happened
without her constant hovering.

He moved swiftly away to a safe distance, his face incensed. My mate
has never hovered. And has it really escaped your notice lately that any touch from
you, any look in my direction is completely repulsive to me?

Oh, come on, Edward, Tanya purred, swaying her hips as she approached him. I
remember so many times when my touch drove you wild. When my lips fit so well around
your hard-

Stop! His voice was firm.

You didnt complain then. She brought one fingertip up to her mouth and sucked on the
tip. In fact, you would tell me all the time how you couldnt wait to fuck me, and all the
positions you wanted to try, how many times we could keep-

Enough, Tanya! Edward rubbed his hands through his hair and closed his eyes. He was
being bombarded by images from her mind. Images of them in the past that now made him
recoil.

Your loss. Tanya shrugged and sat down on the couch. But you used to tell me you never
believed in this mate stuff. She crossed her legs, her dress riding up her thighs. You said it
was either a scam or some drug-induced control mechanism. Please tell me you remember
this?

He looked directly at her, his back stiff and his eyes dark. I remember every conversation,
even the ones I regret.

You said you would be stronger than everyone else. Her voice grew louder. You said you
would overcome it!

Edward looked out the windows and was surprised to feel his body instantly grow calmer, a
sweet energy swept through him. His hands relaxed from tightly clenched fists and his whole
frame felt warmed. A small grin spread across his face. He couldnt see her, but he knew his
mate was close. Did Bella really think he wouldnt notice her proximity? He understood
now why Bella had refused his request to go hunting. Hed put this off long enough.

Keeping his back to Tanya, he finally started speaking, You have known me long enough to
know that I dislike discussing my personal life. But we do have a history, so I feel I owe you
at least some explanation. He turned to face her. I can tell you now with perfect clarity
and experience. There is no drug-induced mechanism. There is no coercion. There is only a
vampire body that feels intricately and immovably connected to someone else. There
is only Bella for me.

Tanya was off the couch and in front of Edward before he could blink. You cant be serious,
Edward. Shes a mouse, a nobody. Shes a pathetic excuse for our kin-

His hand was around her neck, squeezing tightly enough to lift her off the ground. He
snarled, Not another word against my mate. Not one more word.

Tanya grasped at his hands, flailing and struggling as the sounds of splintering bones were
heard.

She is mine! Edwards voice was rough. I have already claimed her and I grow weary of
your subtle efforts to demean her and separate us. I belong entirely to her now.

He dropped her to the floor where she crumpled into a pile. For several minutes she could
not speak, allowing the bones in her body to become reattached and healed.

She gasped out in a hoarse voice, Youve been blinded Edward and Im Im trying
desperately to save you.

No. He shook his head slowly. You and I both know this is only about you.

Edward stepped over her and walked slowly to the front door. He grabbed his jacket off the
coat rack and turned back to her.

Its upsetting me to have you here. And more importantly, its upsetting my mate. And I
wont have that. He shrugged on his jacket. You need to be gone before I return.

Her voice was bitter. What about Carlisle and Esme? Theyre my family too.

Do not flatter yourself. They know the real reason you stayed. It was only a matter of time
before they asked you to leave themselves.

Tanya did not say anything and the silence stretched between them. When Edward turned to
go she cried out quietly from the floor, her voice pathetic and resigned. It should have been
me. I wanted it to be me.

Edward gave her one last cold look and then closed the door behind him.

He ran, leaving the house and Tanyas scent behind. He ran for miles, deep into the forest
away from the caged, stifling feeling that had plagued him for the past several days. At last
he stopped on a cliff ledge that looked out over the Pacific Ocean; the white breaking caps
were rough and high.

He ran his hands through his hair and breathed deeply of the surrounding air.

How much did you hear? he asked without looking up.

Bella jumped down from a mossy tree. How did you know?

You underestimate the strength of our connection. I can feel you within a solid three mile
radius.

She nodded. I heard almost everything. Please dont be mad. I knew I needed to leave for
a little while. She wouldnt have believed you if I was there.

Im not mad. Edward sank to the ground. Im frustrated with myself that I let her stay for
as long as she did. And I dont even know if she believed me. She could be back next week.

She walked over and knelt next to him. Alice seemed pretty confident she wouldnt.

Edward reached out to take her hand, grateful for the quiet reconnection between them, the
solitary silence of just him and his mate. They both watched as the stars started to appear
along the horizon.

Bella, Im so sorry about her. His head dropped down. The past few days have been
horrible, and I feel like I owe you so much for it.

She smiled slightly and looked out into the ocean. Can I ask you a question?

Of course, he said.

Our attraction to each other, this being mates. Do you think its real? Or is it just some
hormone, chemical, vampire code thing? She waved her hand slightly in the air.

Edward paused. Why are you asking me this, beautiful girl?

Well, she hedged. Im not exactly anxious to meet the rest of your former flings, but if
theyre anything like Tanya, I can safely state that there is a huge difference between the
females you used to be with and the female you ended up with.

I know. Edward nodded and leaned down to kiss her. You are a million times more
attractive and brilliant and wonderful and kind and-

Smart ass. Bella laughed and placed her fingertips over his lips.

Ive missed you, he breathed, kissing her palm and nuzzling into her hand. Ive
missed us.

Me too. She leaned forward to kiss him again. But, Edward, are we us because of how
we feel about each other or is it only the mating pull making us feel that way?

I see what youre getting at. He brought her across his lap. Are we together because we
want to be or is it the mating process forcing us into something.

Exactly. Because I would never want you to feel compelled to stay.

I think its both, Bella. His hands smoothed around her waist, feeling the edges of her bare
skin. I didnt understand it before, but its like the ritual opens your eyes and shows you
exactly what your soul requires, long before youre aware of it yourself.

Bella ran a hand over his face, shaping his defined jaw line. But was it forced?

He shook his head. No. It was enthralling and captivating. And when I gave into it, I
realized the connection made me stronger, more in control. It wasnt like I was troubled or
unhappy before, its just so much betternow.

She leaned forward and kissed him, their lips meeting softly. His warm breath moved over
her mouth, her tongue against his. They kept things gentle, moving slowly. They were
anxious to restore what had been bruised between them by Tanya.

Did you know when I first walked into the Cullens house, even before I knew you were my
mate, I thought you were beautiful? he said against her mouth.

You did not.

Im being serious, he protested. You had these lovely eyes that looked so innocent and
heartbroken. Ill admit I was angry because of the closure of your mind, and the idea that you
might be hiding something. But part of me just wanted to take care of you and protect you.

Bella let this all sink in, relishing the feel of Edwards arms wrapped around her. Why did
Jasper say Tanya was acting treasonous? What is so bad about not believing in mates?

Its not really treason. He shook his head. At least, the Volturi have never acted out on
anyone officially. And the definition of disrespect is so vague. What happened to us in the
beginning, when you denied the blood exchanges, some might have called that
treasonous. But others may have felt Tanyas behavior was far worse.

She looked worried. Are you serious? Am I in trouble?

No. But looking back now, I dont know how I got away with being so flippant about
it. The mating process is revered because there is a logic behind it that we cannot understand
or control. Its the same reason why I didnt end up with a despicable female and you with an
illiterate male. The code inside us knows who will be the most compatible with our own
natures. I just never believed it until it happened.

So little faith, she teased.

I know, he agreed with a grin. I was a heathen until you came around.

Bella felt the breeze against her neck, blowing her hair forward. Just no more crazy ex-
lovers of yours, okay?

He pulled her head to his chest. I cant guarantee we wont be free and clear forever, but Ill
try and steer us clear of anything like Tanya again.

Edward?

Hmm

Did you have a wife before you were turned?

He burst out laughing.

What? she asked. Edward kept snickering as he collapsed back onto the grassy cliff
edge. Its a valid question.

Edward sighed. Oh, Bella, In thy orisons be all my sins remembered.

Oh no, she added hastily. Weve already looked at Hamlet. That doesnt count.

Hamlet is worthy of a second look, or three, or four.

Bella gave him a dark glare. I pray thee, do not mock me.

Excellent, beautiful girl.

And my answer?

He stood up quickly and pulled her to stand beside him. The answer is no, Bella. I did not
have a wife when I was human. I must admit to a few more um moments with the
opposite sex, much like your episodes with Jacob. He winked at her.

She sighed. Im so doomed.

I know. Your mate has many flaws.

Youre not the only one, she said grimly.

With you, I have yet to discover any.

And when you do discover? she looked at him warily.

His face grew serious. Youve got to stop this, Bella. Its time to tell me. Whatever
happened, we can solve it. We can deal with it together.

I will, soon, she promised.

Good. He pulled her onto his back and took off. Now lets go for a run.
End Notes:

A/N: This chapter was brutal on me. I know you all wanted Bella to give Tanya a good
smack (dont we all) - but that just wasnt feasible with her character. I wanted Bella to
rise above Tanya on an emotional level and hopefully that worked.

Good news!! Bellas story is up next. Buckle up things are going to change.

Quotes are from Emily Dickinsons Enough, and oh yes, I did quote from
Shakespeares Hamlet again.
Back to index
Chapter 14 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunway.

Chapter 14


Edward kept running past sunset. The moonlight bounced off the treetops they had scaled
and shined down into the rushing river beneath. Bella had jumped off his back hours earlier
and the two of them had raced each other across several valleys, and leapt, hand-in-hand,
down a steep cliff into a chasm below. The night air smelled fresh and vibrant.

Eventually, Bella started to feel the effects of her delayed hunting. Edward caught her when
she nearly stumbled over a large rocky crevice, his arms tight around her.

You didnt hunt, did you? he asked.

She shook her head. I circled back as soon as Alice and Jasper cleared the forest.

Then you should go. He leaned down and kissed her.

Do you want to come with me? she asked hesitantly. You dont have to. Ill understand
if you want to keep strictly to your own diet.

His answering laugh was rich and contagious. Yes, I want to go hunting with you. I cant
wait to check out those mad-hunting skills of yours.

She stood up straighter. You bet Ive got mad skills. You wouldnt believe how flawless
my hunting abilities are.

Flawless? He raised an eyebrow. Bella, youve only been at this for a couple decades. I
have centuries on you.

Yeah, but you just go after people. Theyre common. Animal hunting is where the real
talent comes out.

He gave her a light push forward. Youre on, crazy-girl.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


The two of them collapsed amidst the mossy ground in Bellas meadow. The moon was now
shining in the west and the sounds of crickets and the nearby stream brought a sense of
serenity to both of them, the recent hunt adding to their feeling of euphoria.

Edward had to rightly acknowledge Bellas mad hunting skills. She was fascinating to watch,
her approach calculating, the angle of her body enticing. And when she leapt after her prey,
the small feral snarls released deep from her throat had made him hard and restless for
her. She was flawless.

He had tried to distract his thoughts by taking down a few deer himself. And that was where
he proved Bellas theory about himself completely true. He was a mess, covered in blood
and dirt with a smattering of the forest floor. He had become fairly skilled with animal
hunting when he was with Tanyas coven, but apparently, he had fallen massively out of
practice.

It was worth it to hear Bellas delightful laugh on his behalf.

Centuries, Edward? Is that what you have? Centuries?

He pulled a leaf from his cheek and tried to rub some mud off his face, but he only succeeded
in smearing it further.

Bella laughed harder.

He shrugged. Good thing I dont do this on a regular basis. I must smell horrible.

She regained control of her mirth, rinsed her hands in the stream and crawled over to
him. She wiped the dirt off his cheeks and down his jaw, using the underside of her sleeve to
clean it off. He closed his eyes, humming in pleasure.

You really dont kill people when you feed?

No.

Thats incredible, she whispered, her hands lingering over his nose, his lips and brow. He
was breathtaking to her, with or without the debris. She splashed more water over his neck.

Edward opened his eyes and observed the meadow with more scrutiny. So, this is your
sanctuary?

Yes. I love this place. Bella finished with his face and sat back. Youre the first person
Ive ever brought here.

He leaned towards her and nuzzled her nose. Im honored, beautiful girl.

Can I ask you something?

He nodded against her hair.

Why did you come here to talk to Carlisle if youre not really interested in changing your
diet to animals?

Edwards eyes met hers. Has he told you any specifics yet?

He said I should ask you. She glanced down.

He took one of her feet and settled it into his lap, sliding the boot off and massaging the
bones underneath. Bella, have you ever had human blood?

Yes, but only when I was a newborn and out of control.

And do you ever crave it? Or is animal blood sufficient?

His hands around her foot relaxed her. She suspected he was doing this because he knew of
her hesitation in having this conversation. Either way, she loved the way he continually
sought physical contact with her, even if they were just talking.

Some days its not sufficient, she admitted.

I could never give up human blood, but I also had a hard time reconciling the death of
humans and my need for sustenance. After my first one hundred years, I decided to try a few
theories of my own to see if it were possible to feed and not kill.

Carlisle said you both share an appreciation for human life, she said. I just never thought
leaving a human alive after a feeding

Bella suddenly felt a twinge of unease. Memories from long ago were flickering at the
surface of her brain. Something about Edwards words and his ideas of practicing were
hauntingly familiar.

He let go of her foot and grabbed the opposite one, repeating the process. I know it sounds
impossible. Thats part of the reason it took me so long to perfect my method. And I wont
lie to you. Ive killed a lot of humans in order to survive. And I killed even more trying to
figure out how to live with saving them.

Her hands felt clammy as she struggled to stay focused. So so why doesnt all of our kind
do it this way?

Its incredibly difficult not to drain the human. Thats why it took me so long. He
paused. Well, that and I had to figure out the ratios of how much blood to leave in their
body and how much would be sufficient for me.

Bella shifted and glanced around at the trees. The meadow was suddenly cramped and
descending in its blackness. Threads of alarm were pulsing through her body. She shook her
head, trying to push aside the connection between Edwards feeding habits and the horrors
that had destroyed her.

Her voice was weak as she asked, And if its not sufficient?

Bella? he asked, looking at her with piercing eyes. Whats the matter? Whats wrong?

She hastily pulled away from him and replaced her boots. She stood and started to pace the
meadow, her arms wrapping tightly at her waist. Edward jumped up and stopped her with his
hands on her neck, moving up to cradle her face.

What, Bella? What? he asked with growing alarm.

Edward, she whimpered. What youre describing, the kinds of tests you did with
humans thats thats how I died.

His eyes went wide; anger and disbelief running across his face.

Tell me, his voice soft, but demanding.

I I was kidnapped. There were two of them. We ended up in this cabin where they kept
me barely alive for days. They took turns Oh, God drinking from me, never leaving
enough venom inside me to make the change, but never taking enough to kill me.

His body and hands felt like they had turned to stone. He stared at her, saying nothing.

Her voice was quiet and scared as she continued, I remember being in so much pain. They
broke my left leg and my collar bone. I had to be quiet or they would hit me or tear at my
skin for more blood. I guess at one point they messed up because enough venom got into my
system and it started the transformation. I thought I was dying and I waited for them to
abandon me.

Edwards eyes grew darker, and Bella abruptly turned her back to him, not wanting to
witness him come to the realization she so greatly feared.

She spoke to the night air. When I woke up, one of them told me I was his mate. I didnt
know what he was talking about. I didnt know who I was or what had just happened to
me. I just wanted them to leave me alone, but they kept going.

Edward was suddenly in front of her, grabbing Bellas arms and shoving the sleeves up to her
elbows, carefully inspecting the skin.

You wont find any scars, Edward. The transformation took care of them. And and
Carlisle helped me erase the other one. She looked at him with wide, pleading eyes that
were terrified. He he only drank from me once after I woke up. I swear it was just
once. And I never drank from him. I knew he wanted me to, but I escaped before he could
try.

Edward lowered his head to her bare arms and roared so loudly it shook the trees in the
meadow and made the animals scatter. She knew his agony. She knew why the idea of
another male taking her blood made him wild. Her blood belonged to him. It held the sacred
bonding ties that intertwined her soul to his. The thought of another male having it inside
him drove him mad.

She bent her head over his, crying into his hair, her voice breaking. Im so sorry,
Edward. You wouldnt believe how wretched I feel. Thats why I thought I couldnt mate
with you. I thought my blood might already be bound to another male, or tainted, or diseased,
or something. Carlisle and Esme assured me that I was still unclaimed, but I still felt so
damaged.

Edward was suddenly gone. He abruptly dropped her arms and disappeared into the dark
forest. She could hear his howls, his curses and the sounds of boulders being smashed into
the hillside along with uprooted trees. The ground shook slightly under her feet.

This was why she had run in the beginning. This was why she feared the idea of a
mate. With her captors, the taking of her blood had been torture, making her abhor the
thought of a mating ritual. But Edward had shown her how intimate and loving the gesture
could be. He had given her ownership over the same substance he craved within her body,
never demanding anything from her in return.

Bella broke down. He would leave her now, or at least keep her at a sustainable distance,
enough to survive, but never enough to heal the tremendous heartache growing inside her. It
would be a slow death for her, a long, drawn-out demise.

Im sorry Im so sorry. Her shaky, whispered pleas kept rolling off her tongue, even
though she expected him to be halfway back to the Cullens by now. Ill Ill understand if
you cant keep me.

And then Bella was instantly wrapped tight in Edwards arms, cradled around his frame. She
brought her legs around his waist and clung to him, anxiously wondering if this was either
some heartfelt farewell or if he would forgive her and stay. She had not realized until this
moment how large the burden of his disapproval had hung on her shoulders and she sobbed in
despair.

Can you can you forgive me? Do you still want me as your mate? she whispered
anxiously.

There is nothing, nothing to forgive. He robbed you of something that was never for him,
something that was always meant for me. Edward pushed his head into the curve of her
neck, finding his mark; his lips caressing her skin over and over again. And want you? I
could never want anyone but you, Bella. Youre everything to me."

Her body sunk against him in relief. He wasnt angry with her. He still wanted her. She
looked up at the night sky, slightly tinged with the colors of the rising sun. The coming dawn
had never been so refreshing, so renewing to her as it did now, and she felt herself soaking up
the clean, sweet-smelling air.

Im yours, she promised, always yours.

Nothing was said for a long time. They only clung to each other. Not until the crickets
returned to the meadow and the crisp, morning cry of the birds sang overhead did Edward
finally ask, How did you escape?

Bella kept her head on his shoulder. I think they underestimated how strong I would be for
a newborn. I overpowered one of them while the other was away hunting.

They didnt follow you?

The one who took my blood was a tracker. He said it was impossible for me to escape
because he would always find me. For five years I ran through forests between here and
northern Canada. I had no idea what I was doing, just that I couldnt let him find me. I was
frantic for blood, so scared to return home for fear I might hurt my dad.

But he didnt find you?

No. I never saw him. Eventually, I couldnt keep going. I was so lost and disgusted with
myself and I wanted to die. I decided to just stop drinking blood altogether. Carlisle found
me collapsed and weak a few miles from their home.

Ah Bella. His voice was anguished as he looked into her face. I should have been
there. I should have found you sooner.

It would have been a disaster, Edward. To go from running from James in the forest to
having a new male show up and claim I was his mate again. It never would have
worked. She shook her head. As bad as I behaved after our mating ritual, I think it would
have been much worse if I hadnt have had those 15 years to adjust with the Cullens.

You said the name James? Was that him?

She nodded. James and Laurant. But Edward, do you think they were doing what you
did? Trying to find a way to live on human blood without the killing?

Impossible. He shook his head, but part of him appeared unconvinced. He was suddenly
more aware of the forest around him, his head was up and his eyes scanning through the
trees.

The sun was starting to rise in the east, the light already visible in the most western portions
of the meadow. Edward tightened his hold on his mate. Bella snuggled against him, feeling
safe and comforted.

We should go, he murmured. I need to speak with Carlisle.

She shifted to move out of Edwards arms but he kept them tight.

Bella, let me carry you home? His eyes looked grief-stricken. You can ride on my back if
you want or you can stay like this. I just I need to keep you against me a little while
longer.

She squeezed her body around him, trying to show him how much she wanted the connection
as well.

Edward took off running, moving swiftly over the river into the dense forest growth. The
moving shadows and sunlight brought warmth over both of them. He hardly noticed. His
mind was working over each detail she had given him about her experience.

The cabin, Bella... Where was it? he asked.

I think it was near Mount Hood, because the one time I was able to go outside I recognized
the summit.

How long were you there before your change?

About two weeks. James must have been lying about the whole mate thing and his tracking
skills. It was probably just threats because he obviously never found me.

Its your shield, Edward said succinctly. He cant find you because of your shield.

Bella tensed at the idea of James still out there trying to find her. By the sound of the snarls
coming from Edward, she concluded he was thinking the same thing. They could still be
coming for her, and that meant she had placed her mates life and the Cullens in danger.

Edward, I didnt know, she whispered. I swear I didnt know.

He hugged her tighter and jumped down a rocky cliff. He wont touch you,
Bella. Nobody nothing will take you away from me.

She clung to him and breathed in his scent as he ran.
End Notes:
A/N: Its time for Edward to open up a can of whoop-ass.



I have the best readers! Many gracious thanks for your positive notes. I wish we could
all go out to lunch together. J
Back to index
Chapter 15 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunway.

Chapter 15


When Edward and Bella reached the house, his tone was all business.
I need to make some phone calls. Ill talk to Carlisle as soon as Im done. He looked up at
Bella and ran his hand along her cheek, his voice softening, And you need my blood. I can
already feel it.
It can wait, she said, eager to take some of his load. Its not that bad.
Before he could protest, his cell phone started vibrating. He glanced down at the caller ID.
Damn it. He shut his eyes. Bella, I have to take this one.
She nodded, leaving him on the porch. She walked into the family room and found Alice and
Jasper visiting with Esme. Alice reclined in Jaspers lap while Esme leafed through the latest
edition of The English Garden.
Morning, Bella, Jasper drawled. Alice and I would both like to thank you for helping
Edward in uh encouraging Tanya to leave early.
Is she gone? Bella asked.
Alice nodded. She only stayed to say goodbye to Rose.
Esme turned a page. Its a pity were such close friends with Eleazar and Carmen. It might
make future visits a bit uncomfortable.
Im sorry, Esme. Bella sat down next to her. I feel like a lot of it was my fault.
Not at all, darling. Esme put an arm around her. Your priority is Edward. It was obvious
from the beginning she was only here to see if she could separate you two.
Speaking of that cheeky devil, whats up with your mate? Jasper asked.
Hes on the phone. Bella looked down at her hands. I uh I told him about what
happened to me.
I dont want to say I told you so, Bella, but here we are again, Alice sang.
So it went well? Esme asked.
Yes and no, Bella sighed. Im not worried anymore about being his mate, but theres
something about my change that might connect to Edward.
She explained Edwards theory on human life and the testing he had done for decades on his
own self-control limits. The parallels between his ideas and what the vampires had done to
her were too similar to be just coincidence. Carlisle came into the room half way through her
story and sat on the arm of the sofa next to Esme.
Are you saying Edward might know the males who kidnapped you? Alice was shocked.
No, Bella added hastily. He doesnt know them. He thinks the connection is impossible.
I can see why he might think so, Carlisle mused. Why would any of our kind be
interested in that kind of diet unless they had the merciful viewpoint about humans that
Edward does? The two wouldnt coexist.
Unless Jasper drawled.
Unless there is some unknown benefit to Edwards diet, something these vampires knew
about, Carlisle finished.
At that moment Edward came rushing through the door, his voice hard and emotionless,
Bella, I have to go.
She stood up from the couch. Go? Where?
Los Angeles. He turned aside as Emmett and Rose walked in behind him. That was
Caius on the phone. They said some human has been going around spreading tales of being
bitten and drained by a vampire. Caius is holding me personally responsible, even though I
know Ive never bitten this human.
How do you know it wasnt you? Emmett asked, slightly smug.
Edward glanced at him briefly. Ive never hunted in California. And this human claims it
happened a few days ago.
Bella moved closer to him and fisted the ends of his shirt in her hands. So why do you have
to go if it wasnt your fault?
Caius doesnt believe me. Hes always been pessimistic about my diet, always thinking it
would never work and waiting for it to fail.
Okay. She nodded. Well leave right away.
He shook his head. I cant have you with me. Its too dangerous. Before Bella could
speak, he placed his hands around her neck and touched his forehead to hers. After what
Caius told me, Im convinced there is some connection between my diet and those monsters
who took you. Somethings wrong here and I have to find out what it is.
But, Edward we cant-
James and Laurant are still out there. And if theyre in Los Angeles, I want you nowhere
near them. He brushed his hand over her cheek. What if theyve been trying to find you
this whole time?
She was silent as she contemplated his words, though her eyes still held the fire of protest.
Edward surveyed the others in the room. Ive got to leave as soon as possible. Im going to
change, take care of Bella and then Ill-
We, Jasper said succinctly.
Edward glanced at him, searching through his unspoken thoughts. I cant take you,
Jasper. What if something happened to you? Im not really fond of you, but I rather respect
your mate.
Its mighty better with two than one, he said. And besides, if a few males are after Bella
then that puts Alice at risk as well.
Everyone in the room looked between the two males, waiting for someone to speak.
Youd be away from your mate. Can you handle that? Edward asked.
He shrugged. If you can, I can.
Alice, tell him its not going to work, Edward said, but already his mind was working
through the advantages of having Jasper with him. The plans might move forward faster and
that would bring him back to Bella sooner.
I think you already know the answer, Edward. Alice smiled and leaned forward to kiss
Jasper on his cheek.
Edward could see into her thoughts and saw his car, blurring fast in the late-afternoon mist
down highway 101 on route to the Cullen home. Jasper was seated next to him, Edward at
the wheel, both of them with eyes that radiated need, lust and impatience. When the vision
reached the Cullen property, Alice abruptly ended it. She winked at him.
All right, Jasper. Edward nodded. Id appreciate your help.
Emmett suddenly stepped forward. Hell, Im in too!
Actually, Emmett, I would feel so much better about leaving Bella here if I knew there were
two males staying instead of just one.
Emmetts jaw dropped and he stared at Edward, trying to figure out if he was really sincere in
his request.
Carlisle spoke up from the couch, a half smile across his face, Are you suggesting Im not
strong enough to protect my own family?
Not at all, Carlisle, Edward reassured him. He put his arm around Bella and drew her
close. Im just not clear who were up against and until I do, I wont feel safe having Bella
away from me.
After a few more minutes of silence, Emmett nodded to Edward.Ill stay behind.
Thank you, Emmett, he said gratefully.
Carlisle stood up from the couch. Edward and Jasper, why dont you two go take care of
your mates. Youll be gone for a few days at least and I think everyone will handle the
separation better if you take some time with them now. Esme will pack anything you might
need down here.
Edward and Jasper both nodded to Carlisle and guided their mates up the stairs to their
respective rooms.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

I dont suppose I could convince you to take a shower with me? Edward asked with a grin
as he shrugged off the dirt-encrusted shirt. He pulled off his muddy boots and socks.
No, she said weakly. Im sure youll handle the separation between here and the shower
just fine.
Edward moved quickly to Bella and pulled her tightly into his arms. She hated how warm
and strong his bare chest felt against hers and how her whole body howled out to drink from
him. She tried pushing at him to get away, but her attempts were so half-hearted she
eventually let her body melt around his, little sobs escaping her throat.
This isnt hurting you at all? To be walking away and leaving me here? she cried.
Beautiful girl. His rough voice was calm and gentle. Listen deep inside me. Tell me
what Im feeling.
She grasped at their connection, at the blood that recognized her scent in his veins. She was
startled to realize a slight twisting pain was already forming inside him. He had not even left
yet and already he was feeling the loss. She let her head drop against his shoulder in defeat.
Im sorry. Please take me with you. If something happens to you, what difference does it
make if I die there or here?
The difference is, he said as he stroked the back of her neck, his breath hot against her ear,
I would rather have you amongst your family and not in some strange city where these
fucking males could take you and torture you. You, Bella, you always come first.
She nodded slowly against him.
Theres one more thing. He guided her chin until she looked up at him. Before I go, I
need to tell you about something that has to do with my diet, something that only Aro and I
know about.
What is it?
The vampire senses are heightened. Im not sure what causes it, and it seems to only last a
few hours after the feeding. Either way, if you can satiate yourself on human blood without
killing the human, you become much stronger than your typical vampire after a kill.
Stronger? How can you possibly be stronger than our kind is already?
Its hard to describe. I guess you could say its like a drug, but not controlling or
addicting. You can feel things more acutely and theres a greater sense of euphoria from the
feeding.
Bella stared at him. Do you think do you think the males who took me knew about this?
I dont know. Aro was anxious that this detail not get out. And it would be almost
impossible to duplicate because you must have the willpower and strength to stop feeding
before the human dies. Even Aro couldnt do it. The only one I imagine who would be
capable is Carlisle, and hes not interested in that kind of diet.
Have you told him?
No. I was planning to when Caius called. Will you tell him and Esme while Im
gone? Make sure they keep it between themselves.
She nodded. You better go shower.
He leaned down and kissed her sweetly and then closed the bathroom door behind him. She
could hear the shower turned on full blast and the sound of water hitting his shoulders and
hair. The image of his chest and arms moving under the spray had her second guessing
herself.
Maybe she should have joined him in the shower.
Bella felt like she was breaking inside, no doubt early foreshadowing of the pain that would
hit her when they separated. They had just come to terms with the rather large breakthrough
of Bellas traumatic conversion. With that out of the way and Tanya gone, Bella was feeling
much freer in her connection to Edward, so ready to accept and grow in this mated
relationship. But now the nightmare she thought was behind her was creeping back over her
shoulder and threatening this newly-founded peace. Never would she have thought the
vampire males who tortured her would share a link to her mate. The two seemed wholly
incompatible.
The shower turned off and Edward opened the door, his lower body wrapped in a dark, blue
towel, his chest bare and his hair wild from a quick towel dry. Bella knew he meant for them
to exchange blood before he left and she felt her body vibrate in anticipation. He sensed her
thirst and brought them together.
Bite me, beautiful girl. He smiled.
She knew he was trying to keep things light between them, hoping to ward off the inevitable
tearless sobs that would come. Bella ran her hands over his chest, feeling the lines and
curves where his muscles were more defined. He hummed in reply, his body relaxing under
her touch.
Why didnt you have me feed before the shower? she asked as she nuzzled his chest.
I want your scent on me as long as possible while Im gone. His hands moved beneath her
shirt, rubbing the smooth skin underneath.
She opened her mouth and licked along her mark, her teeth at last piercing into his flesh. The
suction against his skin, the sweet pull and give from her mouth had him gasping out
loud. She was hungry for him, swallowing large mouthfuls of his blood. He knew he should
have fed her earlier, but Tanya had been in the way. And Edward was unwilling to have
something so personal and cherished be overheard by someone that would belittle it in front
of them.
He cradled her body against his, trying desperately to memorize the feel of his mate,
something to cling to in the days ahead.
When she had told him about her vampire kidnappers, Edward was frantic and had felt
slightly unhinged. Her blood belonged to him, created solely to be matched identically with
his own. The thought of a mates blood in another body that was not the designated partner,
still lingering in the tissues and the memory was enough to make any of their kind, male or
female, deranged with anger.
All vampires knew how the mating ritual was supposed to take place. Even if a male felt
fiercely attracted to a female, if she didnt feel the call in return, the bonds could never be
forged. To force a mating exchange was unheard of, impossible. Edward was sure James
was still out there looking for Bella.
She took one last draw from his skin and prepared to close the bite mark.
Leave the marks very visible, he whispered. I want your scar on me.
She licked the bite closed, but left minimal venom to heal the puncture wounds. She rubbed
her hand over the site on his chest, kissing it softly.
He leaned down and picked her up, carrying her to the leather sofa and sat down with Bella
straddled across his lap. He wasted little time pulling her shirt up and over her head. His
hands paused on her light blue-colored bra, fingering the cups and swell of her breasts. Bella
let out a sweet breath of delight and covered his hands lightly with her fingers, watching as he
circled the small dark marks where his teeth had been.
He was so gentle and tender with her, so sweet and loving. Edward pulled the fabric away
from her body and brought his hands up to hold the flesh in his palms, kneading softly,
groaning as her nipples hardened under his thumb. He leaned forward and kissed her deeply,
his tongue moving in to find hers.
I love seeing my mark on your skin, he breathed into her mouth. Its like it calls to me. It
wants me.
She kissed him back, tasting him. It craves you.
Edward smoothed a hand down her stomach and between her legs. He cupped her through
the thick material, feeling her heat. Does this crave me as well?
Bella nodded and kissed him with more hunger. He pulled apart the buttons of her jeans and
slipped his hand into her panties, hissing when he felt her skin.
I want my hands on you all the time. His voice was rough. His fingers moved along her
folds, rubbing at her clit and then sliding up inside her.
Oh Edward, she whimpered, grasping his broad upper arms. I want this. Edward, I
want you to make love to me.
He groaned, Bella, I want you too Ive waited so long. His fingers began to thrust in and
out, fucking her softly, his thumb circling her where she needed it most. But when I take
you, I dont want to leave right after. I need days alone with you, months.
I want to give you all of me, she confessed, feeling strangely breathless.
I promise you. His mouth moved down her neck, her collarbone and to her breast. I
promise when I get back, nothing will stop me from taking you. His tongue swept over her
nipple, sucking it into his mouth. Bellas eyes closed as spikes of pleasure rushed across her
flesh, feeling his mouth at her breast, his hand pulling her closer at the waist and his fingers
stroking inside her fast and slick. She shifted her hips, sensing the length of his erection
straining up under the towel.
Edwards voice was demanding as he whispered, In the meantime, I want this. This belongs
to me.
He broke through the skin at her breast and began feeding hard. Bella instantly throbbed
around his fingers, crying out his name, her climax cresting and leaving her slumped slightly
over him.
When the pulsing calmed, he ran his fingers lovingly around her one last time and then pulled
his hand out to wrap her tightly against him. Bella cradled his head, running her fingers in
his wet hair, bracing one hand on his shoulder as Edward drew her hips flush with his, his
mouth hungry at her breast.
Carefully, Bella moved her hands down his sides and pushed off his towel, finding him hot
and leaking. He was so hard and smooth. When she wrapped both her hands around him,
Edward almost roared against her flesh. She stroked him softly at first, allowing her other
hand to drop down and feel the two sacks behind him, fingering and squeezing softly. He
hissed and pulled harder at her skin, taking in more blood.
I want this too, she whispered as she started to move both hands firm and fast over
him. Give me this, Edward.
Her hands were tight and perfect around him and Edward almost shoved Bella to the ground
so he could thrust harder into her grasp. The addicting taste of her blood, coupled with the
sweet feelings of her touch drove him wild. He pushed up with his hips, keeping her body
anchored to him with his teeth. He groaned loudly, smoothing his hands down into her open
jeans and palming her ass, gripping her tightly as they continued to move together.
After one last pull, he sealed the incision, careful to leave his mark visible and prominent. He
began ripping Bellas jeans apart. She gasped and shifted, allowing him to pull the clothing
from her body. She was at last gloriously naked and spread open to his view across his
lap. Edward was transfixed at the site of his beautiful mate straddling him, working her
hands over his cock, her face the perfect picture of heated desire and innocence as she met his
gaze.
God, youre the most exquisite, precious site Ive seen. His mouth moved to her breast,
sucking and licking her roughly, Fuck me with your hands. Im going to come so hard
you feel so good.
He kept one hand on her ass and moved the other between her legs, fingering the wet folds
again. Bella whimpered, her hands moving faster.
Edward please, she whispered, her head thrown back slightly.
I need this, he demanded against her skin. When I get back, Im going to spend hours
tasting you, fucking you with my tongue. And then Im going to be inside you, so hard, so
tight. He gripped her closer. Oh, Im coming Bella Oh God
Her body ripped through her orgasm at the same time she felt his warm release spill between
her legs, dripping along her folds and onto her thighs. They tumbled into each other as their
bodies relaxed against the other. She was reluctant to let go of his erection, which was still
hard and thick in her hands. She glanced up at Edward in confusion.
He laughed softly. Males dont really need as much recovery time as humans.
He kissed her gently. But when he grabbed his towel and tried to clean her up, Bella stayed
his hand.
Leave it. I want it to dry on me. She grinned at him. I want your scent on me as well.
Edward eagerly complied and spread the white substance over her soft skin, pushing some
inside her with his fingers; Bella hissed and clenched her body, sensitive to his touch.
Fuck, I cant wait to fill you up with me, he growled. I want it all over you.
He rubbed his hands around her waist, coming up to cup her beasts again and then leaned in
to kiss her, nuzzling her nose.
She whispered, Youll be safe and come back to me?
Edward nodded against her. You are my home, Bella.
End Notes:

A/N: Still with me?
Back to index
Chapter 16 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

A/N: Just wanted to once again remind all my readers that this story is rated M. And it
MAY or MAY NOT contain adult themes, graphic lemons, violence, giant squids, 4
screaming children, a sick husband, massive amounts of laundry to fold and a messy,
messy kitchen.

*** ****

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

Chapter 16


The first night in Los Angeles was a success. Edward and Jasper located the human in a club
not far off Wilshire. From there, it was a simple task of using Jaspers powers to help the
human feel at ease to open his mind to Edward. His memories were clear of the location, a
smelly basement apartment below a bar with loud music blaring from above. Edward got an
excellent visual of the vampire who had taken him. He was tall and had long black hair in
dreadlocks with dark skin.

His name was Laurent.

Edward was frantic to leave after the name of the vampire was revealed; he felt the same rage
for revenge that had threatened to take his senses when he was in the meadow with
Bella. This was one of the males who had kidnapped his mate and had been involved in her
torture. Edward knew he would not let him live after they found him.

Fortunately, Jasper reminded him to tackle things in order, starting with the human in front of
them. While distracting the man, Edward had leaned close and whispered to him that from
this moment on, he would never remember the horrible night with the vampire. The humans
psyche would be free from the trauma that had occurred, and he would not even remember
meeting Jasper or Edward.

The two of them quickly followed up the lead of the location and within a few hours they
were standing in the basement room where the human had been. Laurent must have known
what he was doing because all traces of blood and venom were absent from the room. Even
the remaining vampire scent was so light that neither Jasper nor Edward could get a good
grasp on it.

From there, things went downhill. The following two nights produced no new leads. In their
search they would comb the seedy, back streets of LA, listening to thoughts and emotions of
the masses, hoping to catch a moment of panic, a pair of red eyes, or an actual glimpse of
Laurent. Everything had produced dead ends.

It was early September in Los Angeles, humid and muggy. And Edward and Jasper could
only track the vampire at night in this blazingly hot, sunny city. During the day they were
virtual prisoners at a downtown high-rise hotel, staring out over their balcony, waiting for the
hours to pass, trying to come up with a new plan while mourning the absence of their
respective mates.

By the end of the fourth day, Edwards thirst for Bella was starting to take its toll.

He clung to the vision Alice had showed him. If he was alive and hurrying home, certainly
Bella was there waiting for him, safe and healthy. Then Edward started to worry about the
timing of the vision. Had he returned to her successful? Or had he returned only to exchange
blood with her and then leave again? He hated to think it was the latter, but at this point, he
was honestly leaning towards that option.

His phone buzzed on the table.

Its lonely without you. Books are suddenly so dull. Please let me know youre safe. B

He smiled and typed a response, part of him already feeling lifted from the quick connection
with his mate.

Im safe, beautiful girl. I miss you. Ill call before dawn. E

The daily phone calls with Bella helped, as did her frequent texts. But it was a sore substitute
for what they both needed. He fantasized about her skin, the way her body aligned perfectly
against his, and how she bristled with delight when he challenged her quick
mind. Underneath it all was a current of pulsing thirst for her blood. Edward knew he was
running out of time, and he would not let them suffer much longer.

He looked over at Jasper who was spread out on the luxurious king-size bed.

How are you holding up?

Oh, Jasper breathed. Ive been better.

I told you, you shouldnt have come. When I think of Alice and what she must be feel-

Dont. Jasper held up his hand but kept his eyes closed. Im getting by just fine, but
do not mention my mates suffering. Otherwise, Ill be booked on a plane within the hour.

Edward dropped his head. I suppose I should let you stay. After all, your talents have been
mildly helpful.

Jasper nodded and kept silent. The fact was they made an excellent team. While Edward
waited for any random human to think through something that might help them, Jasper fed
their emotions and heightened their sensitivities so their thoughts would turn to whatever was
needed. Edward hated to admit how grateful he was for his help.

Can I ask you something? Jasper spoke up from the bed.

Sure.

What happens if one human is not enough? I mean, can you satiate yourself with just one?

Edward shrugged. Most times. Occasionally there have been two in one feeding.

I envy you, you know, Jasper admitted.

Me? Why?

I miss human blood. I existed for so long on it; its hard not to go back. I have never
acquired a real love of the Cullens diet, but I wont ever deviate for Alices sake. Still, I
envy your self-control.

I understand. Edward nodded.

Jasper looked suspicious. And you can guarantee they dont remember?

Thats actually the easy part. Edward sat down in the plush chair overlooking the
balcony. You saw me with the human at the bar. I use our kinds mesmerizing influence
over the brain and they forget everything about the encounter.

But how can you be sure?

Edward only tapped his forehead.

Ah Jasper smiled. I see.

Nothing was said, and the distant traffic noise of downtown Los Angeles drifted upwards
through the open windows.

Okay, so explain this. Jasper sat up and swung his feet to the floor. If mesmerizing them
is the easy part, why wasnt it done with that human? Why are we even seeing cases like this
if these vampires are so good?

Ive thought about that. I dont think they are that good. I think most of their victims end
up dying, so Bella was an exception. Edward rubbed his chest, fingering her mark. Maybe
they just got lazy.

Jasper released a low whistle. Quite a lazy mistake to make. If the Volturi caught wind of
what they were doing, they would both be dead.

Edward could not have agreed more.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


That night the ocean air that blew in from the coast seemed to lift the muggy
atmosphere. The lingering smell was calming to both males as they walked, once again,
through another section of Los Angeles downtown red-light district.

You know, Jasper said as he dug his hands into his jean pockets, maybe were going about
this the wrong way. Maybe were looking in the wrong part of town. Why wouldnt this
male hang out in a more upscale location?

Edward stared at him, annoyed at the flashing lights and sleazy pictures behind
him. Because the victims here are easy, nameless and hard to track.

Yeah, but think about Bella. Jasper looked at him carefully. She was going to the
University of Washington. Why would they be searching around a college town?

Easy to subdue, early drinking habits make it easier to cover up a bad night? I have no
idea.

Jasper sighed. Im not really sure where Im going with this theory either. But were not
finding anything here and were getting pretty low on time. If we dont find Laurent tonight,
I think we need to go home and replenish. He winked at him. After all, were not in the
best shape to take down another male, even if there are two of us.

Agreed. Edward nodded. The biggest campus around here is the University of Southern
California. Lets head there and see what we find.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


They stuck to the student housing areas, away from the main campus. It was near midnight
and the weekend parties were starting to relax and disperse. They passed dozens of groups,
most of the people intoxicated and too muddled in the mind for Edward to read.

This is impossible, he said to Jasper.

Oh, I dont know, he drawled and smiled at him. I havent felt this relaxed and happy in
quite a few days.

Edward sneered, Youre worthless, just worthless.

It was then that Edward saw through several sets of eyes inside a yellow house across the
street a definite image of Laurent. But before Edward could tell Jasper, they both spotted a
dark shadow moving quickly out the back door of a house on the opposite side of the
street. His speed was enough to indicate he was one of their kind. Instantly Jasper took off.

Wait! gasped Edward. The yellow house! Laurent is in the yellow house!

What about the other one?

We cant take down two vampires in our condition. Lets focus on Laurent for now.

So they moved with as much speed as possible towards the yellow house. They had a
difficult time masking their haste from the students, not to mention the look of total furor on
Edwards face.

Dont kill him, Edward. We need him alive.

Jaspers warning was enough that by the time they turned the corner and stood face to face
with an imposing Laurent, he did not give chase.

Well, hello, he said calmly. I thought I saw some of our kind approaching. What
brings you here?

Edward was too incensed and too focused to reply. He concentrated completely on scouring
the males thoughts and taking in his scent. If Laurent ran from them, they would hopefully
be able to track him. And Edwardwould kill him.

Fortunately, Jasper stepped up quickly, pushing forward waves of calm. Were here to see
you, actually. Do you have some time to talk with us?

Of course. Laurent nodded and then glanced around. Several girls and two men, all
smelling of rank beer and sickly sweet perfume walked past.

Perhaps a different location would be more suitable? he suggested.

Twenty minutes later the three of them sat down in a dimly-lit, all-night caf with mugs of
black coffee between them. Jasper and Edward did not touch the beverages, but Laurent kept
his hands wrapped around the cup.

So, Laurent began. What can I do for you?

Edward was still engrossed in observing the male in front of him, slowly biding his time until
he could deliver the final blow that would end his life. No matter how Laurent would die, it
would never be enough pain in retribution for what Bella had suffered.

Tone down the glare. Jasper pushed his thoughts at him and brought his elbows up to the
table. I believe one of your victims has become rather vocal.

Oh, damn. Laurent leaned back against the booth. I must not have drained him enough for
the mesmerization to work. Either that or I just got sloppy.

We took care of him for you. Jasper said.

Then you have my thanks. What can I do for you in return?

Jasper motioned to Edward and him. Were actually interested in your diet. We hear youve
been trying a new theory with human blood.

How much did the human tell you?

Not much, Im afraid. Jasper shrugged.

Ah, well you see, some time ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a new theory of draining
humans without killing them. Apparently there is an added stimulus, almost like a drug-
induced side effect if you can succeed.

Jasper glanced briefly at Edward. That information really wouldve been useful at any other
moment before right now.

Edward kept his eyes on Laurent, nodding slightly in response.

Um Jasper furrowed his eyebrows, slightly taken back by the revelation. Have you
been successful?

Rarely. Laurent stretched his arms behind his head. That human who escaped was one of
my few successes. I dont do it all the time either, just a little here and there.

Edward, who up to this moment had said nothing, suddenly leaned forward. You dont
worry about the Volturi finding you?

The Volturi? Laurent looked amused. Now why should they care about what were
doing? Theyre the ones who started all this in the first place.

Edward couldnt stop his eyes from going wide.

Laurent brought his hands down and leaned forward. Look, I shouldnt be telling you
this. But almost a century ago a group was organized to start testing out human limits of
blood loss to see if we could ingest the blood without killing or turning them. I wasnt
among them, but my friend was in the original group.

The Volutri organized this? Edward had to work hard at keeping the shock from his voice.

Oh, yes. They called it the Vinchiaturo Project.

This group, Jasper said quietly. Are they still around?

No. The group was disbanded and Vinchiaturo was canceled a long time ago. But my
friend wanted to keep trying, and thats when I came into the picture. I was fascinated with
the idea and wanted to try it out. But unfortunately, we kept running into the same problems
Vinchiaturo did. He laughed. You see, all their test subjects ended up dying anyway.

They were all killed? Jasper asked.

Every one of them. It was a complete failure. None of the males had enough control to
stop.

What about your test subjects? Edward looked at him with eyes that spoke of death and
vengeance.

Laurent drew further away from the table, his mind a scattering of lifeless human faces and
dark locations, blood on every surface and finally, a glimpse of a half-human Bella
convulsing and screaming on a wood floor, her body agonizingly limping through the
vampire change. And above her, laughing and running his hands over her arms, was a second
male standing next to Laurent.

Edward watched in Laurents mind as the other male lapped up the remaining blood running
over Bellas legs and shoulders. Bite marks covered her body. The males face a hideous
smile of sadistic pleasure, all while Bella cried out from the transformation pains. Edward
felt his body start to shake in rage.

He was finally seeing James.

Look. Laurent held up a hand, his expression growing nervous. There was just one girl
that slipped through. But she had already turned. There was no need to worry about her
giving anything away. She was meaningless.

Without warning, Laurent bolted across the room and out the door, Edward and Jasper
immediately followed. The small number of patrons at the caf saw nothing except a chair
that suddenly upended without anyone nearby.

Jasper and Edward ran after him down five city blocks, straining to keep up. They realized
with their depleted strength that they would both need to corner Laurent if they hoped to
catch him. They trapped him at one point under a city overpass, but when Edward jumped on
him first, Laurent seized him by the throat and threw him against Jasper. By the time both of
them had jumped to their feet, he was gone again.

They tracked him to a parking garage, but while Edward scoured the levels in search of him,
Laurent doubled back and nearly ripped off Jaspers head in the process. Eventually,
Laurents trail ended at a storage warehouse. Edward and Jasper entered swiftly and quietly,
keeping together as much as possible. The room was massive, with pallets and shelves
holding dozens and dozens of boxes.

Laurents lighthearted voice carried down from the rafters, You both are so weak. Initially,
I was worried about fighting two males at a time, but this is almost a joke.

Edward and Jasper looked up to find him sitting calmly against a triangle support beam.

You two are obviously mated. I always thought the rumors about being away from your
mate were false. But now I see it with my own eyes, how very fortunate for myself.

Edward moved to climb up the rafters but Jasper grabbed his arm.

If you go up, hell come down and I cant fight him alone, neither can you.

The two of them looked wildly around the room, trying to figure out a plan. Edward noticed
a panel of switches on the South wall. Laurents rants against them continued.

I wonder how long the two of you will last before you both drop down dead? He rubbed
his chin. I should very much like to see that.

Edward motioned to Jasper and then very subtly pointed out the switch box. Jasper looked
up at the support beams, noting where the cables and wires attached to each hinge. When he
found the weakness he looked back to Edward.

Ill pull the switch, you grab him. Jasper couldnt help adding, Hold him tight this time.

At the count of three Jasper moved and Edward jumped. The beam Laurent had been leaning
against abruptly collapsed and he fell, momentarily stunned. Before he could leap to a
secondary structure, Edward had him around the waist, and the two of them crashed to the
ground.

Almost immediately Jasper was back and the two of them put all their weight into holding
Laurent down. Together they had him tightly bound.

What is this about? Laurent wheezed. The girl? Do you really care about a simple
female?

My mate, Edward growled, and he delivered a hard punch to his face.

Laurent shook his head, dazed and fading. Shes your mate? he asked. But I never drank
from her after her change. That was all James.

You took her from her family. Edward snarled, You hurt her. You did those horrible
things to her and when she needed help after her change, you watched while he stole her
blood!

He shoved Laurents head hard against the cement floor, venom and blood began to ooze out
from his skull.

Please, please. Laurents voice was barely audible. Its James you want. Hes obsessed
with her. He will stop at nothing to get her. She was the only victim he succeeded with, the
only one where he could refrain from draining completely. The fact that shes mated wont
stop him. Hes never believed in poisonous blood. He thinks she is his true mate. But I
know James and I can lead you to him.

Edward roared and tightened his hold, his mind a mass of fury and chaos. Youre
lying. You have no intention of delivering James to us. But it doesnt matter, because I have
no intention of letting you live.

He brought two hands quickly to Laurents neck and ripped his head off, hurling it to the
opposite wall. Edward threw himself off Laurents body with a loud release of air, desperate
to be rid of him. He stood there, stunned, looking at the now decapitated frame of his mates
killer.

Jasper jumped into action and began to rip apart pallets to build a fire. Edward picked up the
body and the head and tossed them both on top of the splintered wood. When the fire was
ablaze and the body began to smoke, both exhausted males leaned back and took a moment to
regain their strength.

A secret side effect? Jasper asked, leaning forward against his knees. Really? You
couldnt have told me a bit more about that beforehand?

Edward shook his head; his eyes alight with the reflection of the fire. It doesnt matter
now. I have to go to Italy, figure out how this mess got started.

And Vinchiaturo? Does that ring a bell?

Its a town near Volterra. Its where I had my first success with drinking blood without the
human dying. The Volturi know this. His voice shook.

Jasper laid a hand on his shoulder. First, we go home.

Yes. Edward stared down at the burning body. Home.

End Notes:

A/N: So raise your hand if youre excited for Edward to get home? (me)
Back to index
Chapter 17 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

Chapter 17


Bella paced across her bedroom carpet, realizing on a subconscious level that Esme was
going to have words with her over the worn path of fabric she was creating under her feet. At
the moment, she found it hard to care. She was fidgety, shaky and had difficulty
concentrating on anything that did not involve her mate.

Edward, Edward, Edward.

The separation pains this time were different from before. She was anxious and fretful, her
insides eating away at her in rapid bursts and then nothing for hours. Periods of peace and
lucidity always seemed to follow Edwards texts or phone calls and she found herself living
for the next moment she could hear his voice.

He had left behind most of his clothing and Bella had taken to wearing it over the past four
days. The items smelled divine, just like the pillow on her bed he had used. Sadly, it
reminded her that she had sent nothing of hers with him.

She was a terrible mate.

Even though she understood why this was all happening to her, even though she completely
accepted that he was her mate and she was his, she was still furious with herself for acting so
dependent and weak. It had only been four days! And they had talked multiple times since
hed left. She should be able to handle much worse than this.

She found a lot of reassurance in Carlisle and Esme.

Esme would hold her shaky hands and soothe the frazzled lines across her forehead while
Carlisles steady voice brought back a measure of sense.

Bella, its different now because youve had several more feedings with your mate. Your
body has started to become accustomed to Edwards blood and proximity. Its a bit like
shock withdrawal.

Her voice was shaky as she spoke, But I I want to be str-strong for him. Hes got so
much right now. I dont want him to hurt.

Esme shushed her and smoothed back her hair. She would have clasped her vampire
daughter in her arms, but mate separation oftentimes made the skin extremely sensitive to any
touch other than the designated mate. It was the bodys own natural way of demanding the
reconnection.

Youre doing wonderful, Bella. Hes almost done. Alice saw them coming home soon.

Alice. Poor, sweet Alice was fine the first two days, but then she also retreated into her and
Jaspers room. Her shakiness was similar to Bellas, but mostly she turned inward and
became drastically withdrawn, not speaking to anyone. Esme assured Bella that females and
males all handled separation a little differently. But Bella would still stare at Alices closed
door, wanting desperately to comfort her, while knowing it was easier on both of them to be
left alone.

Rose and Emmett stayed clear of everyone. They were sensitive to not flash their mate-ness
in front of a suffering Alice and Bella, so they kept things quiet and were as supportive as
possible.

The morning was almost half-way over as Bella made another turn around the floor. Her
hand found its comfortable purchase along her neck and down to the top of her breast,
fingering the places Edward had left his mark. The motion was soothing and reassuring to
her, reminding her that even though his blood was fading away, his marks were permanent.

She wanted his marks everywhere.

The soft tones of her phone indicated Edwards call and she flew to the bedside table to grasp
it. Before answering, she took several calming breaths and steadied herself, trying to mask
the shakiness she feared would come out over the phone.

Beautiful girl. Edwards rich voice pushed through her. Im coming home.

Oh, Edward. Her emotions became too much and she broke down. I need you.

Im never leaving you again, Bella, he said firmly.

Edward, Ive tr-tried. I really tried to be to be strong.

You are strong. She could hear the peaceful reassurance in his tone. Your strength is
what keeps me going.

But I feel so weak.

Ill be there in a couple of hours. In the meantime, you can think up any new literary points
that might have escaped my notice in the past three hundred years.

She spurted out the first phrase that came to mind: Love wounds with heat as death with
cold.

Edward was quiet for a moment before replying, Yet I have heard they both bear darts, and
both do aim at human hearts.

You waste my already limited energy.

But youre smiling now, I can tell. It was worth it.

Did you find Laurent? Her voice was starting to regain strength.

Yes, he said. We took care of him. Ill tell you everything when I get back.

Are you hurt?

No. But every part of me misses you.

Me too, she sighed. Ill be waiting for you.

Ah, Bella, he groaned softly. You dont know what its doing to me, thinking about you
there waiting for me. Imaginations of our kind can be dangerous.

Come home and well explore that.

Im counting on it. She could hear Jasper in the background, Tell Alice well be home
soon.

Okay.

And, Bella? he said. Remember, after this, no more separations. Were never going to go
through this again.

After he hung up, Bella kept the cell phone to her ear, feeling like she could still sense his
warmth through the dead wires. Eventually, she placed it gently on the table and stood back
to survey her surroundings with a renewed clarity that had been missing the past several
days.

The room was a disaster.

Esme and Rose had tried to straighten things up while Bella moped in other parts of the house,
but it almost threw her into a screaming fit because she did not want Edwards scent diluted
with the combined scent of the two of them.

This time, Bella did use vampire speed and the room was cleaned, polished and shining in ten
minutes. The next item on her agenda was food. She needed to hunt and was startled to
realize she had not done so since the evening before Edward left. Bella decided it would be
better to go now rather than later. And thankfully, Charlies weekly visit had occurred three
days earlier. So nothing from the outside world would intrude on their time when Edward
returned.

She brought her hand back to her breast, touching his mark again. A slight moan escaped her
lips at the thought of his body around hers. His declared, heated promises from several nights
ago still made her insides glow. She hoped he wouldnt wait too long.

Bella threw on a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and hurried to Alices room. Apparently,
Jasper had already called, and Bella giggled softly as she watched Alice throw back the thick
comforter from her large bed and scatter rose petals along the sheets. The rooms shades
were drawn, candles were set out to be lit and her dark wood dresser had five, pretty lingerie
pieces scattered on top.

I can guess what youre getting ready for, Bella said softly.

Alice kept her attention on the placement of the petals. I could say the same thing about
you.

Bellas body started humming again. Alice, I cant wait to see him. Im so ready for this.

She turned her head and smiled. Its about time. Mating rituals arent just about blood
exchanges, you know. Once hes been inside you, youll both need it frequently.

Bella was too flustered to reply. Alice adjusted a large white candle on her bedside table and
then flew to her dresser to hold up the slips to Bella.

What do you think? Which one should I have on first?

First?

Darling, you need to understand vampire sex a little better. It will help clear up any
confusion when youre in the middle of things with Edward. Alice walked closer to her and
lowered her voice. Males of our kind dont need a lot of recovery. And if hes drinking
from you at the same time hes well, fucking you, get ready. Its beyond anything. She
was dreamy and Bella noticed Alices fingers caressing a spot on her breast that mirrored the
same location where Edwards mark lay on Bella.

Thanks, Alice, she nodded slightly. Ive uh actually figured out a little bit of that
already. But it helps to hear it anyway.

Lovely! Alice declared as she placed the chosen piece of silk on top of the others. Come
on, I think your decision for a hunt sounds fabulous. And then we can come home and get
ready.

Bella followed her as she pranced out the door, thrilled to know she wasnt the only female
whose phone call from her mate had instantly made everything brighter and stronger.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


The two vampire sisters sat close together on the porch, but far enough away that their skin
did not touch. In spite of the renewed energy from the phone calls, their flesh was still too
sensitive to any other person except their mates. The rest of the Cullen family members were
staying indoors. They were all patiently understanding of the privacy that would be
appreciated in the anticipated reunions.

Their hunt had been successful, even with Bella and Alices lackluster speed and twisted
insides. They returned from the woods to soak under hot water showers, pampering
themselves with every luxury available from their vanity Bella had to borrow a few things
from Aliceand dressed themselves in the outfits they each felt most appealed to their mates.

Bella thought Alice looked gorgeous in a simple black dress with gathered short sleeves and a
matching black bow in her hair. It was making her think twice about her own blue ruffled
skirt and fitted sweater. She ran a hand through her silky, long curls, feeling a bit
inadequate.

And then she started thinking about her bedroom in comparison to how Alice had prepped
hers for Jasper and realized it had also failed in the create-a-romantic-place-for-your-mate-
whos-been-away plan. She rubbed her forehead, cursing softly to herself.

Dont worry, Alice whispered beside her. You wont need your room.

What?

Trust me. She winked.

Her words reminded Bella of something she had wanted to bring up. Alice, do you think its
strange how you can see my future and Jasper can influence my emotions and yet
Edward cant hear my thoughts? And now it looks like my shield has been keeping James
and Laurent from tracking me this whole time. Why is it so random?

Alice kept her eyes forward, calm and collected. I wouldnt worry about it, Bella. Your
shield seems to know you and what the people around you need. It knows to keep out those
who would harm you and let in those you love.

But I love Edward. It was the first time she had vocalized the emotion and it felt
wonderful.

I know you do. Her sister smiled. But maybe your gift is also recognizing your mates
need for silence and peace when hes with you.

Neither of them said anything after that, keeping their eyes trained to the driveway and their
ears perked for the sound of an approaching car. Alices phone buzzed and Bella couldnt
help glancing over at the lighted screen.

Five minutes

Bella stood up and walked down the driveway, leaving Alice on the porch steps. Her steps
were soft on the crushed gravel and in the distance she could finally hear the faint roar of an
engine and the squeal of tires against the road. The blood in her veins propelled her forward,
the twisting inside her becoming calmer with each step.

The car came into view and though it was moving faster than Bella had ever seen Edward
drive before, it seemed to take forever to reach her. She stepped to the side, her eyes trained
on the car and its dark-haired driver. The brakes hissed as the car came to a screeching halt
right besides her. The two occupants both blurred in their haste to exit.

Jasper ran to Alice, who stood stationary on the stairs, her focus solely on her mate. He
picked her up into his arms and quietly disappeared inside the house.

Edward approached Bella slowly; his eyes black and hungry as they moved over her. When
they were in arms reach of the other, his hands reached for her face, smoothing back into her
hair and fisting the long strands. Her hands went to his chest, clenching his collar.

Bella, he breathed. And then her lips were against his and they were kissing with all the
intensity and passion they both craved. Her mouth eagerly opened to his, their tongues
mingling. She took in his breath, his sighs, and his hungry lips.

When his hands grabbed her hips and pulled her up into his arms, Bella suddenly realized she
did not want them to go back to the house. This connection with him, the intricate crossings
of their souls had become so private to her, so personal. She wanted them alone and far away
from the others.

My meadow, she whimpered against his lips. Please take me to my meadow.

His mouth caressed hers and lingered before he nodded and allowed his grip to loosen
enough for her to climb on his back.

Hang on tight. His voice was rough and strained. He was instantly running into the forest,
the sights and scents of the Cullen household already distant behind them. His speed was
powerful again, his body strong as the connection with Bella poured into his soul. As he ran,
she leaned down and kissed along the side of his neck, running her lips over his skin,
whispering her thoughts.

Ive missed you so much. Her hands ran down his chest. Your smell, your taste, your
skin

Edward leaned his head back into her touch and growled slightly. You belong to me, Bella.

It dawned on her that if Edward had said this to her weeks earlier, she would have panicked
and fled. But now she relished it. She wanted to belong to him in every way because he
belonged to her.

She nodded against the back of his neck, sighing softly. He ran faster.

It was sunset when they reached the meadow. The filtered, rose-colored light that broke
through the trees was beautiful across the beds of clover. Bella slid down his back and he
turned to lift her up and lay her down on the grass, his body hovering over hers.

For the longest time they simply stared at each other, allowing their damaged, bruised insides
to heal from the lengthy separation. Edward leaned down to nuzzle along her nose, taking
deep breaths against her skin. Every so often, he would brush his hands over her arms or curl
his fingers into her hair. She ran her palms along his waist, up over his chest, circling her
mark where his heart would have been.

When he finally bent to capture her mouth, darkness had descended around the glen. But it
made little difference to them with their vampire senses. Her lips touching his were sweet;
soft and perfect. The sounds of their mouths meeting, the rustle of their bodies and her tight
whimpers filled the night air.

Edward lowered his body to cover hers and she moaned in relief at the welcomed weight atop
her. He bent his head and used his lips to lavish his mark at her neck. She slid her legs up
and curved them around his hips, making him groan.

Edward. Her hands began unbuttoning her sweater. You need me. Its beating at you and
youve been holding back for so long.

He sat up and watched as she pulled the material from her body and unclipped her bra. He
helped her move so she could take off everything from her arms before lying back down. His
eyes followed her naked skin, his hands fondling and grabbing her soft flesh. He disposed of
his own shirt and quickly leaned back down against her so their bare skin touched, both of
them gasping at the sensation.

I love you, he said quietly. I love you, Bella. I know were mates, and were destined for
everything that comes with that, but Id love you even if we werent. He pulled her close.
Tell me you understand that.

Yes, Bella breathed. I know, Edward.

Drink to me only with thine eyes, And I will pledge with mine.

She clung to him. I am undone tonight.

Everything in me, Bella, everything is yours. He sank his teeth into her breast and drank in
fierce pulls. She cried out at the now familiar, sweet tug at her skin as she felt her veins pulse
and rush to his eager mouth. Her fingers brushed through the hair at his neck as she cradled
his head. He loved her. He wanted her. He would never leave her. For the first time since
her kidnapping, maybe in her entire existence, Bella experienced complete and total
happiness.

In the back of her mind she realized if she hadnt have been pushed into this life, none of this
would have happened. Edward would have been lost to her. There had been those initial
feelings for Jacob, but everything she felt now with Edward was infinitely more powerful,
more acute. And she really knew him now. She understood his drive, his devotion to her and
his empathy for human life. She trusted him. Everything was so much clearer now.

And love was such an inferior word to describe this.

Edward closed the incision, sealing the flow of her blood while leaving his mark foremost
and prominent on her skin. He kissed the area, his mouth shifting down to tongue her nipple.

She whimpered, More, Edward. Touch me more.

His hands moved to her hips, pushing her skirt and panties aside. She kicked off her heeled
sandals. The naked skin of her backside felt sensitive against the blades of grass.

I have to keep telling myself to go slow, he confessed as his hands smoothed her skin. I
wanted to rip those off, but you looked so beautiful standing there in the driveway. I cant
bear the thought of never seeing you like that again.

You you thought I looked beautiful? she asked, suddenly shy at being so open and bare
before him.

His hands ran up and down her bare legs, his fingers spread wide between her thighs. I
always think youre beautiful, Bella. He leaned down and kissed her navel, licking his way
down. Always.

Edward gently pushed her legs further apart, bending at the knees. He stared reverently at her
pink folds, slightly tinged with moisture. His fingers curved up her calf muscles, over her
hips and delved into her heat. Bella cried out and arched her body.

He placed a chaste kiss to her clit. I thought about this so much while I was gone. I
couldnt wait to get back to you. His tongue licked her folds from top to bottom. She felt
his hot breath against the wetness spreading along her skin. He groaned loudly, the sound
muffled with his head buried in her flesh. The way you taste... oh, fuck!

He surrendered his mouth and lost himself in Bella. He nibbled and suckled and savored, all
the while keeping her thighs splayed open and steady during his exploration. At one point his
animalistic tendencies seemed to take over as he leaned back on his knees, lifting Bellas hips
higher to his face and fucked her with his tongue, fingering her clit with his hand. Bellas
head was thrown back into the soft ground and she moaned loudly, trying to keep her fingers
clenched in something solid, as her body swayed against his mouth.

Oh oh, Edward, she cried. Yes yes Im coming.

Bella Bella, he growled as his tongue licked the moisture that was spreading quickly
along his chin and down her hips. He slowly lowered her back to the ground and kissed his
way up her body, stopping only to lavish his tongue on the undersides of one of her
breasts. Then he met her mouth and kissed her deeply.

God, your taste He was lost for words, his face still wet. I need that, Bella. I cant
even describe it. He kissed her for a while before continuing. Its as precious to me as
your blood.

Their mouths continued to move together as Bella brought her hands down to his waist and
ripped open the buttons on his pants. He eagerly lifted his hips to help her push aside the rest
of his clothes. The two of them rolled to the side, legs and arms wrapped up in the other.

Edward Bella was restless and frantic in her movements as she clung to him and kissed
every spot of skin she could reach. I need you please.

He cradled her face in his hands. Beautiful girl, I got distracted and havent fed you
yet. She turned and kissed his hands, whimpering at his touch. Let me remedy that
immediately.

Edward rolled her onto her back again and kneeled in front of her. Reaching down he slid his
erection over her now swollen folds, the sensation making her jump and hiss slightly. He
pushed just the tip of him inside her and pulled back, going slow. Bella went wild trying to
move her hips down to take him deeper.

Easy, sweet girl, easy. He watched as he slid the tip in again, his pre-cum liquid coating
her pink entrance. It might sting a bit when I push in all the way, but youll barely notice. It
will pass quickly. Your body will heal itself almost instantly.

He leaned down and kissed her forehead. I want you to be feeding from me when I come
in. It will help. Take me now, Bella.

She wasted no time and instantly bit down into his neck. His hips thrust into her in one hard,
swift push. She gasped against his skin and tensed around him, shocked by the flash of
pain. Her legs that were tangled with his froze.

They were merged by blood and by flesh now. He choked down his own roar at the feel of
finally being connected with his mate. He wondered how he had ever found life even
remotely fulfilling before this moment. It hadnever been like this for him, this union of
souls.

It took only seconds before Bella began to relax and start to swallow his blood again. He
tried pulling out and pushing in gently. She hummed in response and Edward discovered that
with every pull of her mouth at his skin, her tight folds would clench around him. He started
thrusting in a more regular rhythm, careful to keep Bellas face tight at his neck.

After several deep swallows, she sealed the mark and broke off her grip. His shoves became
powerful. He pushed hard and fast and then held deeply inside her, straining to edge in a
little more. He circled his hips flush with hers, angling his body against her clit.

Oh God oh, Bella gasped, Right there.

Right there? he growled, grasping one of her feet in his hand, hitching her leg
higher. You like me right there, beautiful girl? He swiveled his hips harder, causing her
legs and arms to tighten further around him.

Bella gripped his shoulders, her face flush with his as their breaths mingled and their lips
touched. The muscles in his arms clenched as he moved above her. She had never felt so
alive and complete as she did now with him inside her. His scent surrounded her, his body
gloriously heavy.

Alice had been right. The blood connection was only further enhanced by the joining of their
flesh. She could not imagine them occurring separately now.

He began to pummel her wet heat, her frame moving ever so slightly backwards on the
slippery grasses. He could tell she was close, her delicate spasms around him pulling tighter
and longer against him.

Come for me, he said, his voice dark and heavy. I want to feel you pulse.

When her pierced cry broke free and her body started to shake, Edward slowed his hips,
keeping to long, deep strokes. With five mores thrusts, he followed her over the edge. He
growled, digging his fingertips into her skin, spilling himself inside her. He collapsed and
caught her up to roll with him, leaving her sprawled across his body, the two of them shaking
from the intensity of what had just happened.

I love you. Bellas voice was soft at his neck. I love you so much there are no words.

No words, Edward agreed quietly, closing his eyes.
End Notes:

A/N: I have a huge weakness for reunions.

Quotes are from Ben Jonsons Death and Love, To Celia and The Dream. Ben Jonson
makes me melt.
Back to index
Chapter 18 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective
owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is
in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No
copyright infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

Chapter 18


Sometime later, they were still sprawled on top of each other, completely content to stay
silent. The crickets, the occasional owl and the ever present rushing of the stream were the
only sounds now in the meadow. Edward kept one hand at her neck, lazily drifting into her
hair, the other rested on her hip.

Bella kissed her mark on his chest, whispering into his skin, What thing is love? For sure
love is a thing. It is a prick, it is a sting. It is a pretty, pretty thing.

He smiled up at the stars and murmured back, It is a fire, it is a coal, whose flame creeps in
at every hole.

Thats one of my favorites.

Me too, he agreed and rolled her onto her back. I love George Peele.

He bent to kiss her, playfully biting her lower lip and sucking it into his mouth. Their mouths
opened and their tongues met in the middle, light touches and the sounds of their lips parting.

You want me again. Bella brought her leg up around him, feeling his hard erection rub
flush against her. Take me.

He groaned into her mouth, keeping his lips close, Beautiful girl, I wanted you again before
I even pulled out. But there are some things we need to discuss.

She sat up and looked at him warily. Are we okay?

We are more than okay, he said. But youre not safe yet.

What happened with Laurent?

He regarded her carefully. Hes dead, Bella. I killed him myself.

She nodded slowly. I knew you would.

Are you angry with me? Do you wish I would have left him alive?

No, not at all. She hurried to reassure him. But I feel bad that youre involved in the first
place. You should not be risking your life for this.

No, Bella. He cupped her face and touched her forehead with his. I couldnt let him live
with what hed done to you.

Did did you see James? Her voice was small and scared.

Edward shook his head. He stood up and began to gather their clothes. As he helped her
dress he told her what Laurent had revealed about Vinchiaturo and everything he and Jasper
had surmised. He confessed that it was likely the Volturi had orchestrated everything and
most importantly, James was most definitely still looking for her. Edwards plans to trap him
would have to be put on hold until he talked to the Volturi.

Bella was motionless as he pulled on his pants and located his shirt. When he moved to pull
her back into his arms, she looked up at him sharply, the pain clear in her eyes.

You have to go to Italy. It was not a question.

We have to go to Italy, he said, grateful to see her smile return. Remember what I said
before? No more separation time.

Do you think they know about James?

He sighed. Ive had so many surprises lately. I doubt anything could catch me off guard at
this point.

How long will we be gone? She frowned.

He knew exactly what was distressing her. Dont worry, Bella. He bent down to kiss her,
his hands cradling her face. I would never keep you from your father for long.

Thank you, she breathed into his mouth.

I want you to see my house. Its on the Italian coast. He held her close. I was thinking
we could stay there for a while after we visit Volterra. It would just be us.

Id love that.

Good, because I want some time alone with you, he said softly as his hands smoothed
down her rib cage to rest on her hips, especially after what just happened.

The idea of Edward taking her again had Bella shifting her thighs, feeling the unexpected,
sweet ache between them, and the wet trail of his release. She thought back to her
conversation with Alice over vampire male stamina and wondered if females craved it just as
much as their mates. If her family was anything of an example to follow, Bella was very
much looking forward to the rest of her immortal life with Edward.

You have the most adorable look on your face, he said. What are you thinking about?

She rubbed her mark on his chest over his shirt. I wish we were at your home in Italy now.

He smiled. Its kind of strange trying to pace myself now that I have you. I want to go so
fast and show you everything immediately. But then I remember we have forever and I can
savor each kiss-- he bent his lips to hers --each touch-- his hand molded itself over her ass
and pulled her up against his hips --each new second.

They would have kept kissing for hours, but Bella could sense his need to hunt and
reluctantly pulled back. He took her hand and nodded towards the trees.

We both need to hunt after that last exchange. Ill hunt animals again with you tonight and
then well head to the Cullens to say goodbye.

Together they raced off into the darkness.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Getting ready to leave took slightly longer than Edward had anticipated, though he never
would have had things differently. After hunting with Bella, the two of them had run to the
Cullens, hearing only Jasper and Alice upstairs. They jumped into Bellas large shower to
clean off the remains of the meadow. He found that kissing her in the falling water tasted too
good and was equally addictive. Coupled with the feel of her naked body around him, he
eventually gave in and lifted her against the shower wall to enter her in one smooth stroke.

She had held on tight to his shoulders as he thrust and pushed and rocked into her with even
greater strength than he had shown in the meadow. His hand crushed several tiles when he
slammed his palm above her head and started to come. Afterwards, he soaped and rinsed
them both off, wrapped Bella in a towel, deposited her on the bed where he planted his face
between her thighs and began working her up all over again.

She cried out his name, coming endlessly as his tongue stroked her folds and sweetly lapped
up her release. She arched up into him, rubbing her clit against his fingers with his tongue
buried inside her. He swore, resolving to stop and get them both ready to leave, but he
couldnt keep his hands off her.
She was too essential to him at the moment to care.

He hated the looming trip to Volterra, the worry about James, all these distractions weighing
over their heads. He needed months alone with his mate. He wanted years. After drinking
up her last orgasm, Edward pulled a shaky Bella onto his lap and straddled her over his
leaking, hard erection. Sitting up together, they both moved and fucked while their hands
gripped skin tightly and their tongues met in messy kisses.

Edward kept a hand fitted on her ass and one tight around her waist, moving her up and down
over him, growling his approval, pushing deeper. Bella clung to his arms, begging in broken
whispers, softly moaning her ecstasy into the thick strands of hair on his head. When she felt
him take her breast into his mouth, his tongue playing with her nipple, she lost it and her
swollen folds began to milk him. He cursed loudly and rammed up into her several more
times before following.

He was still so hard and he knew she was just as eager for more. At this point he was
honestly contemplating putting off going to Italy for a few days. So he was surprised when
she collapsed against his shoulders and started sobbing.

I want this so much, she cried. I dont want to stop and theres so much inside me right
now I dont know what to do.

He shushed her, placing tender kisses along her face. I feel the same way. Thats why
were going away for a little while, just us.

But I dont want to lose this. She squeezed him tighter. I always want this intensity
between us and to love you as madly as I do now. I know we have to find a balance, but Im
afraid this will go away.

Edward smoothed her hair back from her forehead. It will only get better, beautiful girl.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Just seven hours into the flight over the Atlantic Ocean and the cabins air was even worse
than when they had boarded. It was too stale with an overlap of sickly sweet
perfume. Edwards resolution to buy his own private jet was hastily renewed, especially now
that he had Bella and he could see the two of them flying back and forth between the two
continents frequently.

Bella, on the other hand, felt as if her dead heart was racing. She had dreamed of going to
Europe. Many times Carlisle and Esme had offered to take her, but she had always declined,
still dealing with the horror of her transformation and loathing the idea of leaving Charlie
behind.

After they had said their farewells to the Cullens, Edward had stopped by the care center so
Bella could say goodbye to her father. Charlie had looked quietly back and forth between her
and Edward when she told him she was going to Italy for a few weeks. She assured him that
Alice and Esme would be coming by with food for him until she returned.

Charlie was silent, at last commenting quietly, It sure looks like something is happening
between you two.

Bella had leaned down and kissed her father on the forehead, whispering, I love him. But I
wont ever stop coming to see you. Her voice was determined. This is just a small
vacation and Ill be back soon.

Charlie had his eye fixedly at Edward. You take care of her.

She is my life, Chief Swan.

Now sitting in the airplane together, Edward had a hard time keeping his eyes off his
mate. Bella had selected a white, wrap-around dress that stopped just above her knees. She
had chosen the outfit with care, wanting to make a good impression on the Volturi. The
neckline dipped down in such a way that if Edward tilted his head, he could see his mark on
her breast, peaking out above the swell of a delicate white lace bra. His hands itched to touch
her, his body hard.

Stop that, Bella chided softly, squeezing her legs tighter together. I can tell what youre
thinking.

He leaned towards her, threading his fingers into hers. You know theres nobody up in this
cabin except us and that sleepy businessman three rows ahead. He ran his lips over her
knuckles, nibbling softly. Nobody would know.

She whimpered slightly and felt Edwards hand slide between her legs, trailing up her bare
thigh.

I want my fingers inside you again. Give me your heat, beautiful girl, he growled softly,
reaching the lace covering her damp entrance.

Before he could move the fabric aside, Bella slid his hand out from her dress and with
supreme restraint shook her head. If we start, we wont be able to stop. You know we
barely made our flight.

Their drive to the airport had been delayed by Edwards insistent hands wandering over her
body from the drivers seat. Hed had a difficult time watching the road with his mates
pretty bare legs spread open, her dress shoved up to her waist, her head thrown back while his
fingers fucked her. He had wanted to pull the car over and bring her across his lap, but she
insisted they would miss their flight if he did. Instead, she had rubbed his erection between
her hands, kneading and massaging him until he came with a quick and blinding force. She
had giggled softly as she licked the white substance from her fingers. His eyes were hungry
and dark as he watched.

The whole episode had fueled his ideas for what he had planned when they got to his home.

Fine. He removed his hands from her skin. Lets talk about something else.

Tell me more about your house.

Well theres a really big bed.

She shook her head again, smiling. So not helping right now.

He laughed and adjusted further into the seat. There are nine bedrooms, living room, dining
room, kitchen that is never used, the basics. What I love about this place is the view. It
overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are large windows along the western front of the house
and at night you can smell the salty breeze come in from the shoreline.

Bella closed her eyes. It sounds lovely. I cant wait to see it.

Theres also a library. Of course, its not as good as Volterra, but its better than Carlisles.

She hummed. Then I can take note of what books are missing from your catalogue and tease
you with their references.

You do that, he murmured as he wrapped an arm around her and leaned down to whisper,
I have fantasies of us reading together on my leather couch in there.

You have strange fantasies, she commented quietly.

Did I mention in these fantasies, youre wearing very little, sometimes nothing at all? And
our reading sessions generally end up with you across my lap or bent over the couch with me
behind you.

Her body tingled. Wed never get any actual reading done.

Well, you can read to me while Im fucking you. And then we can switch. He smiled
deviously.

It would have to be a very passionate story for me to express it appropriately during such an
activity.

I believe I have several titles that would fit just that purpose. His voice was rough as he put
his hand back on her thigh. Do you want me to elaborate more?

Yes, she whispered regretfully. But not now, you sneak. Tell me about your other
homes. Where are they?

He sighed and leaned back. Theres an estate in England, its close to where I grew up. I
keep an apartment in Paris and Hong Kong and Im in the process of negotiating the sale of a
cabin in the Swiss Alps.

Why the Alps?

He shrugged. I kind of like snowboarding.

Ive never even skied.

Ill teach you. We can spend some winters there if you want.

Wow. Bella shook her head. This is kind of overwhelming, so out of what is normal for
me.

Edward rubbed her leg. Bella, I dont want to rush you into anything youre not ready
for. And everything I have is yours, so if youre interested in living somewhere I dont own
property, we can always get something you like.

She looked at him for a while before bringing her hands to his face. I know it will take me
some time to adjust to this new life with you. But somehow, you always manage to say the
right thing to help me feel better.

His eyes were bright and happy as he leaned forward and kissed her. I love you.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Edward collected his Bugatti Veyron from the garage where he had left it before his trip to
the States. He helped Bella inside, tipped the serviceman and slid behind the wheel. The feel
of the thick steering wheel in his hands, the roar of the engine as he shifted gears onto the A1,
and the surrounding countryside relaxed him immensely.

He was back in his element.

They sped quickly out of Rome and headed north. Bella kept her eyes almost glued to the car
window, hungrily drinking in the scenery. Even with Edwards fast driving, it took them two
hours before they finally exited the freeway and drove local highways west towards
Siena. Bella rolled down her window to smell the air.

Edward laughed. Its like seeing Italy for the first time all over again with you here.

She glanced at him, looking sheepish. Do you mind? It just smells so good and its so
beautiful.

He leaned over to kiss her. Look all you want. You wont mind though if I just watch
you?

She smiled against his lips and quickly turned back to the view. They were climbing in
altitude now, the landscape becoming more woodsy and dense.

How far to Volterra? she asked.

Sixty-five minutes. Volterra doesnt like to market itself, so you wont find it on any major
map or travel book. And as you can see, its pretty remote and hidden amongst the
mountains. You have to know exactly where youre going if you want to find it. The nearest
city is Colle di Val dElsa, and people from that town dont like to talk about Volterra.

Too many lost victims?

He nodded. Exactly.

They were quiet for a while. Eventually, Bella relaxed back into her seat, her hand
automatically moving to find Edwards. He took it, kissed her palm and pointed north,
About three hours southeast from here is a town called LAquila. Its the capital city of that
region, but what I like most about the area is the nearby castle, Rocca Calascio. There was a
Richard Donner movie from the 1980s that was filmed-

Ladyhawke? Bella interrupted.

Youve seen it? He looked stunned.

Please, Edward, she said. Do you know that hawks and wolves mate for life?

Impossible, he muttered.

She threw her head back and started giggling uncontrollably. Nothing is impossible. Come
on, Mouse, dig!

He huffed. Well, its not really up there with the classics, so I just assumed.

Her smile was evil. And you know what happens when you assume something, dont you?

Oh, look at this. Edward playfully rubbed her head. Whos the feisty one now?

Bellas eyes were wide and lovely as she gazed up at him. So, can we go visit Rocca
Calascio?

Yes.

And can we watch Ladyhawke?

Yes.

And can we go to Florence?

He grinned. As long as you promise to kiss me in the Piazza Massimo DAzeglio.

How about on the top of the Santa Maria Del Fiore instead and only if youre good?

Define good.'

She arched an eyebrow. You cant hurry me with your seductive ways while Im in the
library at Volterra.

Me? He looked shocked. Are you implying Ive tried at any time in the past forty-eight
hours to seduce you?

She laughed and poked his side playfully. He jumped back and swatted her hand away,
Hey! Im watching the road. You dont want us to be late, do you?

Oh, yes. She kept giggling. Mr. Let-me-feel-you-up on the way to the airport last night,
you had no trouble watching the road then.

Yeah yeah, thats true, he sighed. Okay, you win. He started pulling up her dress but
she pushed him away.

No, no. No way. She scooted closer against the door. Im saving myself for Florence.

Cant we do both?

Lets compromise and wait for your house.

Edward signaled and glanced over his shoulder, muttering under his breath, At least I dont
have to wash dishes.
End Notes:

A/N If you havent watched LadyHawke I highly recommend it.



Thank you again for everybodys thoughtful, supportive notes. I read every single one
of them.



Quotes are from George Peeles, What Thing is Love?
Back to index
Chapter 19 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:
A/N: Longest chapter of the story so far...
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.
Credit to my betas, EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

Chapter 19

My dear, Mr. Masen! Welcome back, my friend! Aro cried out as Edward and Bella were
escorted into the formal audience chamber at Volterra.
Bella glanced around at the enormous hall. The court was held in an underground, stone
mausoleum with three, imposing golden chairs on a dais at the head of the room. Heavy, silk
tapestries and massive-sized paintings decorated the walls. Thick, ornate rugs lined the stone
floors, while rich mahogany tables with empty silver platters stood at each corner. Fire-
burning lanterns hung in sets of four around every column. And a small quartet was playing
selections from Vivaldi near the entrance.



The area was crowded with male and female courtiers mingling together and angling to get
their petitions heard from a member of the Volturi. Bella could see couples with sinister
smiles and obvious political agendas speaking to each other in dark corners of the room. In
spite of the opulent decor, the air was stuffy and smelled of fresh blood. Imposing Volterra
guards lined the perimeter of the walls.
After Aros boisterous greeting, all eyes turned briefly to the newcomers. Bella noticed every
set was dark-red, like Edwards, but not nearly as kind.
We certainly did not expect you again so soon. Aro walked through the parted crowd, his
gaze assessing Bella. And what happy news you have brought with you. My dear, allow me
to introduce myself. I am Aro, and over there chatting away is Caius and Marcus.
Its a tremendous honor. Bella inclined her head, relieved to see the rest of the room
turning their interest away from her and back to their own matters. Thank you for allowing
me to visit.
Caius nodded casually from across the room. Marcus quickly ceased his conversation with a
group of expensively-dressed males and began moving towards Aro, his eyes bright as he
observed Bella with Edward.
Oh, none of that, Aro said. The honor is ours. Edward has told us much about you and we
have been looking forward to seeing you in our esteemed court.
Marcus placed a hand on Edwards shoulder while keeping his eyes on the petite female at
his side. Is this really her, my dear Edward? Have you brought your mate to us at last?
Edward smiled and clasped his hand over his sires arm. Indeed, yes. The naive, ignorant
fool before you has finally seen the error of his ways. Ive found her.
The Gods have favored you with a treasure. Marcus eyes were gentle towards Bella.
Favored would be a horribly deceptive word. Edward smirked. You should see the grief I
have to endure with this one.
Bellas face held nothing but adoration and devotion as she stared back at her mate. Aro
cleared his throat and motioned towards her. I understand you gave our Edward quite a bit
of trouble when he first found you.
Bellas expression turned quickly to shock. She had certainly not anticipated this type of
questioning from the leader of her kind. She rushed to apologize; anxious to stave off any
potential repercussions, but Edward swiftly interceded.
That was all a misunderstanding and I take full responsibility for her. Edward moved Bella
subtly behind him.
Aro looked skeptical. But how is she now? Has she accepted her place at your side?
Yes, they both answered at once.
Bellas fingers curled against Edwards shirt. She did not want her mate taking any form of
reprimand on her behalf. Before he could speak again, she stepped forward, keeping her
voice strong, I must beg your forgiveness for my behavior. I am such a newly converted
vampire of only two decades; I have relied heavily on the wisdom of others to learn our ways.
Caius spoke from across the room, bringing even more unwanted attention to the small group,
But your coven leader, Carlisle is already well versed in our customs. He knows the
reverence we place on mates. Surely you dont put the blame on his shoulders for your lack
of understanding in how you should have behaved when Edward found you?
Edward growled, grabbing Bellas arm. I repeat; the accountability lies with me! I find no
fault and place no complaint with the behavior of my mate.
Suddenly every conversation in the room ceased, including the music and all attention was
focused on Aro and his companions. The Volturi had never actually followed through and
punished individuals who had endangered their mate or spoken out against mating rituals, but
there could always be a first. The audience watched with eager interest.
Marcus laid a hand on Aros shoulder. You must understand, my dear Bella, that Edward is
considered a son to us. Therefore, my brothers would naturally be more protective and
defensive on his behalf.
His words seemed to lighten the intensity in Aros eyes and the hard line of Edwards
mouth. The courtiers and guards in the room stepped back slightly as the small group
stopped being the focal point in the room. The music resumed and Edward pulled Bella
protectively under his arm.
Aro shrugged. As long as she continues to know her place as a mated female, I suppose
there is no harm done over how she initially behaved.
Marcus continued to beam over the couple. I understand, my dear, that you offer a great
deal of peace to Edwards mind. He cannot hear you, correct?
She nodded, determined to say no more than needed from this point forward.
Aros eyes widened. Impossible, he replied.
Its true, Edward said, looking warily at him. If Bella would permit, you can see for
yourself.
Anxious to please them with her compliance, Bella brought forth her hand and Aro clasped it
between his fingers. He bowed his head in concentration over their joined skin. His touch
was cold and clammy and she longed for the moment to end so she could retreat into
Edwards warmth. After a few moments of silence, Aros head shot up and he gazed at Bella
with hungry eyes.
Amazing! he breathed. What a tremendous gift she has, Edward.
Do not think start thinking of her for your collection, Edward warned. Her shield operates
quite independently from her conscience control. She has no extended regulator over its
faculties.
Aro observed her with careful eyes. Still, it would be marvelous to study her. You must
return soon, young Bella. You will always be welcomed here.
She seemed to shrink further against her mate. Edward sensed her unease and hastily offered
up his hand for Aros inspection, eager to move the conversation away from Bella.
Aro, we have some things to discuss.
Ah, yes, Caius called from across the room, have you taken care of your slight mishap that
went wandering away to tell the tale?
Im afraid theres a lot more to the story. Edward frowned.
Well then, by all means, lets find out what the mystery is, shall we? Aro took hold of
Edwards hand and closed his eyes. His face seemed to flinch ever so slightly and his pupils
rolled rapidly under his eyelids. Caius had started to walk leisurely towards the group. They
all watched Aro closely, waiting to see his reaction.
Suddenly his red eyes opened, startled and full of fury. He threw aside Edwards hand and
sneered, We shall discuss this in my chambers right away. It would be best if your mate did
not accompany you.
Aro snapped his fingers and immediately the three vampire rulers flew behind the thrones and
exited the room. Before any of the astonished courtiers could approach the pair and ask
questions, Edward turned and quickly guided his mate in the opposite direction.
Whats going on? she asked.
Aro knows about the group. It was his idea. He knew what was happening the whole time,
Edward scoffed as he directed her down a hallway.
Can I go with you?
He was moving them swiftly down a set of stairs, across another hallway and through two
elegant waiting rooms that were empty. He stayed silent the whole time, his face cold and
unemotional. They stopped in front of a set of beautifully carved, wooden doors. Intricate,
iron latches kept them closed.
You cant come with me. He brought her to stand in front of him. Its safer this
way. You saw what happened back there. As close as I am to them, Ive never had
something they could use as collateral against me. I dont want you in there if things get out
of control.
Edward, I didnt know my actions would place us in such danger. Her eyes were wide and
her voice shook. This is all my fault. Everything I did in the beginning denying what we
were keeping my blood from you.
No. He hastened to reassure her. Theyre not even thinking about that anymore. And Aro
was just testing you, wanting to see if you had honestly changed. Caius intentions were not
as honorable. I was angry because he chose to question you with such a large audience
surrounding us.
Her face was downcast. Im so sorry.
Dont be. Its not your fault. He glanced behind him. I need to go.
She fisted her hands in his shirt. But what if you get hurt?
Ill be fine. He waved her concerns aside. This is the entrance to the library. Ill meet you
in the Manuscript Room. Look for Angela. Shes a brilliant, older female who will get you
anything you need.
He bent down to kiss her, his lips lingering.
Please be safe, she said against his mouth. I love you.
Me too, he whispered, nuzzling his nose to hers. And then he was gone, the air blowing
slightly against her hair from his quick exit.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

The mood inside Aros private chambers was dramatically different compared to Edwards
last visit. There were no easy smiles or philosophical discussion. And the fire that blazed in
the marble grate did nothing to warm the temperament of the males in the room. Aro leaned
heavily against the mantle, rubbing his forehead. Marcus looked helpless and small in a large,
high-backed arm chair and Caius was pacing nervously. He looked up when Edward walked
through the door.
You should know I hold you solely responsible for this, Edward, he snarled. Even though
my brothers disagree, I find it highly suspicious that you have been successful all this time
while others have failed-
Caius! Marcus bellowed. Edward had nothing whatsoever to do with Vinchiaturo. In fact,
neither did I. Even though I allowed it to happen doesnt necessarily mean I thought it was a
good idea.
Edward remained silent, a deep frown covering his face. He stood stoically behind the couch
in the shadows and watched the three ruling vampires come to grips with the situation.
But if Edward had simply refrained from this ridiculous nonsense in the first place, none of
this would have happened, Caius barked.
It was only your greed for the feeling of power and rush of the senses which Aro felt
through Edward that made you think up such a doomed exercise to begin with!
Brothers, brothers! Aro yelled. The specifics do not matter at this point. Your bickering
is pointless.
Caius looked back at Edward. Are you sure there werent any other males involved besides
the two who took your mate?
Before he could reply, Aro turned his wrath on Caius. Why do you keep attacking him, you
ignorant fool? Of course thats all Edward knows. Do you think my talent has grown
soft? Do you think there is some chasm of his brain I cannot read!?
Edward stepped forward. Aro, I have to ask why? Why organize this group of males to
carry out something I could have easily shown you?
The three leaders seemed to slump forward, exhausted and defeated. They kept their eyes
away from Edward and their minds closed. Aro moved to the elegant dining table and
collapsed into one of the carved chairs.
You did show me, my boy. I saw every intrinsic detail and calculated step through your
excellent mind. He leaned back and ran his hands along the tables surface. And still,
I couldnt do it.
Marcus heaved a loud sigh from the corner of the room.
You have to understand, Edward. Aro looked up at him with a slight hint of a
smile. When your immortal life stretches out for as long as mine has, you develop
something of an ego. You believe you should be able to understand and comprehend just
about anything. So the idea that you had successfully developed a diet that resulted in greater
power, a power that none of us had felt or experienced in all our long years well, you can
see why I was so eager to figure it out for myself.
Edward had a hard time keeping his anger in check. Your ego nearly killed my mate!
Aro immediately jumped from his chair and pinned Edward to the wall. He snarled in his ear,
Need I remind you, that had it not been for my actions, your mate would still be human and
you would never have found her!
Edward did not back down. It should have been her life to choose! They tortured her!
You selfish, ungrateful scalawag! Aro pulled Edwards body back, preparing to smash him
against the stone wall. Marcus was suddenly there, grabbing Aro by the arm and shoving him
back from Edward.
You will not harm him! he yelled. If the roles were reversed, you would already have
Edwards head in your hands for indirectly causing harm to your mate.
The room fell silent, the vampires looking back and forth between the others.
Aro spoke at last. As usual, it is our brother Marcus who brings us all back to reason. And
this discussion is a good one. Perhaps we did not go about ending Vinchiaturo in the right
way. A follow up on its participants might be in order.
Edward nodded. I do recognize the undeniable benefit of a mate who has resulted from
something so debauched and traumatic. And Ill admit that even if I could change the past, I
would not risk the chance of not having her.
Can we please stay focused on the task at hand? Caius was starting to look annoyed.
Yes. Aro tented his hands together and began to pace the room. There are several issues
at hand and we must look at this from all sides. Because as horrible as you might feel,
Edward over what happened to your mate before she was turned, these two males broke no
laws keeping a human as a feeding pet. It has certainly been done before by males and
females of our kind throughout the centuries. Each time the victim either dies or is
turned. And neither option produces a risk to us. Therefore, there were no laws broken in
regards to her treatment.
Edward looked aghast. But they were doing it because they were seeking the side effect, not
for blood. And this second male was actually starting to succeed! Aro, I remember you
expressing an immense amount of worry over what would happen if this knowledge was
known amongst our kind.
I did, and I still believe that. Aro nodded. So, now we come to the point. How dangerous
would it be for our kind if vampires kept trying to copy Edwards diet? Since there have
been so few cases of success, and now we are starting to see what their failures could cost us
in terms of exposure, do we allow it to continue? He turned to Caius.
I feel the need to point out that the information has not spread nearly as wildly as we might
have feared, Caius said as he stood motionless by the book case. Perhaps the details of the
side effects will die out eventually without any response from us.
Marcus spoke up sharply. There were fifty males involved in Vinchiaturo! Edward brings
us news of just one who has already started spreading the information. You cannot assume
that details of the side effect have notspread based upon this evidence alone. If anything, it
should prompt us to take immediate action with the other forty-nine.
Aro looked back and forth between Marcus and Caius, his mind silent to Edward. Nobody
said anything for several minutes as the males waited to see how Aro would weigh in on the
final matter. Edward knew there was an unspoken allegiance to Aro as the head of the three
brothers. It was part of their formula, their strategy for staying uncontested in power
throughout the centuries. All three were united in this point.
At last, Aro lifted his hands up between the two men and looked at Caius. Marcus is right,
my friend. We cannot allow the details of Edwards feeding habits to be known.
Caius was incensed. But Aro, you assume-
I assume nothing, my dear Caius. I merely look at the facts. We know that Edward had to
take care of a human who was improperly fed upon by a male. And this male did not drink to
sustain himself. He did it in an attempt to feel this greater power. And look at what
happened. He failed. Aro looked at Edward with piercing eyes. They have all failed, and
will keep failing, everyone except Edward. If this occurred on a much larger scale, if even
half of the members of Vinchiaturo decided to keep trying Edwards diet, the risks to our
kind would grow daily. His arms swept out to indicate his brothers. We must stop this.
For the first time since arriving at Volterra, Edward felt his shoulders relax.
Marcus sat down on the couch. You need to be assured, Edward that we will move quickly
to silence any remaining males that are still seeking out these types of experiments on the
human population. And that includes the one who took your mate.
And I would also like to note again, Caius added, that we do this only to guard the
findings of your experiment from others of our kind. We, of course, do not find anything
wrong with the killing, more the risk of exposure.
Aro stayed silent and only nodded in agreement.
Edward rubbed a hand over his forehead in relief. The Volutri would find James and kill
him. He would be hunted down and Bella would be safe. He couldnt deny that part of him
desired to be included in James ultimate demise. But he wouldnt place his mate in such
close proximity. Now they could return to the Cullens without any fear of James retaliation.
You have helped secure my mate, Edward said. I am in your debt.
Yes. Caius nodded. Be certain we will call on you for a favor in the future. But for now,
this conversation is finished. You should go reclaim your mate and enjoy your time here
before you leave.
Must you go so soon? Marcus spoke up, I was just getting to know her.
Marcus. Edward sat next to him. Bella and I just found each other. We havent had the
time to adjust and learn to balance all these new cravings for blood. Id like to take her away
for a while. But I promise you, I will keep in touch and return to see you soon.
He nodded and looked at his lap. I would like that very much, Edward. Keep her close and
look out for her.
Always, Edward said and then he stood to nod to Caius and Aro before leaving the room.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Edward found Bella alone at one of the reading tables located just off the Manuscript
Room. The library was virtually deserted and he couldnt see Angela anywhere. After such a
tense meeting with the Volturi, seeing his beautiful mate was like a breath of fresh air. She
was bent over a piece of old parchment and a sheet of lined paper. Both were covered in
protective silicone plastic. When Edward saw what she was reading, he started laughing.
Wait, wait. What happened to your fascination with the papers of Mr. Milton or the
fragments of Homer? Why are you looking at King Henry VIII and John Lennon?
I couldnt help it, she said, smiling. I was browsing through their catalogue and I had to
see this first. You never told me they had modern manuscripts, like personal items from the
Beatles.
He wrapped his arms around her and kissed his scar on her neck. Oh yeah, havent you seen
the music sheets in the back, the unpublished, secret recordings of Paul McCartney and John
Lennon?
Oh my God, where? She turned around in his arms and looked over his shoulder.
He started laughing again, harder. Im totally kidding.
Such a wise-ass! Bella shoved him half-heartedly away from her.
I really am sorry, beautiful girl. He rubbed her neck. I cant help it. Youre so excited to
be here, it reminds me of the hours Ive spent in here myself.
She leaned back and kissed him. Youre in a remarkably good mood compared to a few
hours ago. Are you okay? Will you tell me what happened?
He sat down in a chair next to her. I feel tremendously better, though cautious. The Volturi
have decided to silence any participants of Vinchiaturo who are continuing the project. And
they are, at this very moment, using their tracking system to hunt down James and send out
guards to take care of him.
They are? Bellas eyes lit up and she placed her hands on his knees. And they really will
find him? You really believe it?
Edward caressed her cheek and kissed her again. Of course, beautiful girl. Its as good as
done.
Bella smiled into his kiss, adding her tongue to his mouth. He hummed and moved to bring
her into his lap but she pulled back. But you said you were cautious?
Yes, he said slowly, glancing down. Aro is definitely interested in you, regardless of what
I say. I dont feel safe bringing you back here anytime soon.
But but the library. The light in Bellas eyes instantly faded. I cant come back here?
Her defeated look tore at Edwards insides. He hated denying her anything. I promise I will
talk to Marcus and see if we can arrange some quiet visits in the future.
She stood up and looked at the manuscripts, reluctantly putting them aside. I guess Im
done with these for a while.
Well find a way, dont worry. He helped her gather the papers together. What was your
interest in these two letters anyway? I dont see a connection.
I have sympathy for initial wives who are later abandoned. I cant help feeling sorry for
Catherine of Aragon or Cynthia Lennon. And then you compare the letters of their husbands
to their new flames and you realize these types of men never change, even though theyre
five hundred years apart.
Edward returned the papers to the front desk and looked at his mate. I hope this doesnt
have anything to do with me.
Oh, no. She shook her head. It actually makes me really grateful for what we have, for
this mate process. I love knowing youre always inside me and Im in you.
He pulled her into his arms. It will always be like that, Bella. And it will only get better.
She smiled against him. I know.
Are you ready to go? Can I take you to my home now? Or are you going to accuse me later
of seducing you while we were here?
Guess youll have to wait and see. She winked.
Ill take the risk. He placed his hand on her lower back and guided her out the front doors.
They were silent as they walked together down the stone corridors that lead to the upper
levels, both of them eager to leave the place behind and return to the warmth of the Italian
countryside. As they rounded a corner, Edward came face to face with a group of guards
congregated together around the exit. Felix stood in the center.
Well, just look at what we have here! Felixs tone dripped with confidence. He and his
group of comrades seemed smug.
Edward placed himself in front of Bella and stood up straight as he addressed the group. We
were just leaving, he said.
Oh, you were, huh? Felix walked towards Edward. But youve brought someone back
with you! No more single, Edward Masen anymore.
Edward said nothing, his expression stoic and strong. His mind tumbled through the thoughts
of each guard as quickly as he could process them. Bella felt him push her gently down the
hallway behind him. She searched frantically around the corridor for something that might
assist them. But aside from the burning torches hung every twenty feet for light, the area was
deserted.
Felixs thoughts showed every intention of picking up their brawl from where it had
ended. But there was something else as well, something Edward couldnt decipher.
Are we making you nervous? Felix sneered. He interpreted Edwards silence as fear and
he and the guards began laughing. You think one of us might mess with your mate the
way you did my cousin?
One of the portlier, heavier-set guards, his eyes full of lust and greed, circled around and
suddenly charged at Bella. Edward separated his thoughts from the group seconds before he
moved. When the guard lunged forward, Edward quickly dove and tackled him to the
floor. Bella let out a brief scream as the guard stretched his arm and came within inches of
grabbing her ankle. She kicked him hard in the face and then jumped back as Edward beat
him away from her.
Bella watched helplessly as her mate and the guard blurred across the tile floor each wrestling
for a firm grip. But it was obvious Edward had the upper hand. Felixs crowd that once
appeared so confident, were now watching the struggle with alarm and dread.
Within seconds, Edward had the guard around the neck. He leaned down to his jugular and
ripped off the guards head with his teeth. He threw both the head and the decapitated body
across the room into Felixs mob. They all parted in a perfect circumference, letting the
bloody flesh land in the center, the head tumbling down the hallway.
Edward rolled his shoulders and flexed his arms at his sides. Anyone else? he asked.
The guards glanced wildly between them, some of them already shifting away to
leave. Edward could see Demetri amongst the group and knew that he and several of the
others werent interested in playing Felixs game.
Bella moved back to Edward, wrapping her arms around his waist from behind. He brought
her forward, under his shoulder, kissing her forehead. Bella anxiously searched his face for
any signs of damage or pain from the struggle.
Are we finished? Edwards voice was sharp. Because understand that after I kill the next
set of guards who charge us, I will come after you. And your death will not be as kind.
At this point, nearly half of the males had deserted the group and several more started to back
away and exit out the side door. Felix looked behind him and spat on the ground. Fucking
cowards! You think just because Marcus is his sire that hell always be protected?
He turned to Edward, an evil smile forming across his face. Dont you ever worry, prince-
boy, that maybe your mate has already been claimed? Maybe somebody got to her blood
before you?
Edwards whole body felt like stone. His arm tightened around Bella. Felixs mind was a
shifting confusion of rage and images of vampire males, organized together in a room with
Aro speaking to them. He saw several scenes that were similar to what he had read in
Laurants mind, but never specifically James face.
I know about Vinchiaturo! Felix yelled, giving a look of triumph and pointing at Bella. I
know you are not the first male to take her blood. How does it feel to have
to share her? Maybe shes not your true mate after all.
Bella gasped, her body tensing under Edwards arm. He carefully released her and walked
calmly over to Felix. Standing a clear foot above him, Edward looked down at him with
disgust. Before Felix could back up, he grabbed him by his shirt and threw him across the
hall into the stone wall. The square pieces broke apart and fell over Felixs body.
I dont give a damn what you know, Edward cursed. Your speculation is not necessary
for me or anyone else associated with my mate. Stay the hell away from me and most
especially, from her.
Edward grabbed Bellas hand and quickly propelled her down the hallway, away from the
grim scene she had witnessed.
End Notes:

A/N: Speak up if you think theyre in the clear with James? (cue crickets)

Volterra doesnt have them, but the Vatican does indeed have several letters from King
Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn in their vaults. They were stolen and submitted to the Pope
as evidence that Henry was trying to do away with his current queen, Catherine.

It would be the berries to see those letters.
Back to index
Chapter 20 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas - EdwardsEternal and therunaway.
Chapter 20


Edwards house was in the town of Monte Argentario. But the car ride to the coastal city was
definitely not a repeat of the jovial, light-hearted journey they had enjoyed from Rome to
Volterra. The mood was tense and quiet. And even though their hands were entangled
together over his lap, Bella kept her head down, her face buried in her palm.
Beautiful girl talk to me, he pleaded.
That was so awful. Her voice broke. Oh, God, Edward I thought he was going to kill
you.
Come here. He tucked her under his shoulder across the seat. You dont need to worry
about me. I would never carelessly do anything that would risk my own life. Im very much
aware that if something were to happen to me, you would go through an enormously painful
demise and I will not do that to you, ever.
How did he know about me? she whispered. Who else knows what happened?
I dont know. Edward shook his head. But I wouldnt worry about it. Laurent is dead
and James wont be alive for much longer. That will be the end of it.
But what if he was right? she asked. What if James did something to my blood so I cant
mate with you correctly?
Are you serious? He leaned down and his breath blew across her cheek. Are you truly
saying you dont feel like my mate anymore? I thought we were passed this.
She sat up and started rambling, her deep-set fears bubbling to the surface, Maybe I just fell
in love with you and your blood really appeals to me. How do I know its a mate thing? And
is this how everyone will see me? Am I spoiled or something? I dont want any bad
perception of my character to taint yours.
His voice was firm as he switched lanes. First of all, James did not mate with you. Second,
lets say for argument sake that he did feel some mating inclination towards you when he
deprived you of your blood. Didnt hespeak to you several times, before and after your
change?
Yes.
And you never felt that pull for him like you did for me that first day, right?
She nodded.
So, the mating ritual never happened. Even though he stole your blood, you certainly didnt
drink from him, not once had the desire to do it, so you were never mated. He was just
another unmated male wanting a female but not having the right internal code to mate with
her.
But wasnt that a break in mating laws? Why arent they going after James because of what
he did to me?
Edward sped up quickly to pass a slower car in front of them. Thats a gray area since
neither of you were mated at the time. Frankly, I dont think theyve ever heard of a male
who has forced a blood exchange before. I certainly havent. Some single vampire couples
play around with taking blood from each other, but even thats risky in my view. I mean,
every male knows the dangerous speculations behind trading mated blood anyway, so even if
they werent mated, they might-
What speculations? Bella interrupted.
Its a long story and none of it has ever been proven. He brushed the subject aside. The
point is you dont need to worry about James anymore. The Volturi attribute his actions with
you to his fueled desires to experience the side effect of my diet. Either way, hes dead.
Bella shook her head and sighed. Any last points?
Absolutely, he said firmly. I am so in love with you. I dont care if all our kind thinks our
coming together was flawed and incorrect, which it wasnt and they dont. Im still madly in
love with you and want only you.
She nuzzled her forehead against his shoulder. It felt so good to be against him, to feel him
solid and warm, the sound of his blood running with life under his skin. Watching him fight
with Felix had been terrifying. I love you too.
Youre mine, beautiful girl. He kissed her forehead. There will never be any Annes or
Yokos for me in the future.
And what about cousins? She grimaced. What was Felix talking about?
Edwards head fell back as he groaned out, More of my past sins.
But he he made it sound like you were cruel to her or something. I cant see that in you.
Bella, he sighed. I was cruel in the fact that I took love and affection from females
without feeling much of anything in return. I was never violent. But I definitely could have
been more sensitive and kind.
You are now.
Only with you. You should have seen me with Jasper in California. The poor guy will
probably never lift a finger on my behalf again.
Bella laughed, her mood lifting. Edward turned onto a steep cliff road and the striking view
of the coastal line and the dark-blue ocean spread out before them.
Are we almost there? Her breath rushed out.
Only twenty more minutes. His voice hungry and impatient for his mate.
Hurry, she whispered, her hand moving to his leg.
He pushed the gas pedal down; the tires squealing as he quickly shifted gears. The car flew
across the road.
Edwards house was more like a villa in disguise, carefully tucked away behind tall Aleppo
and Cyprus trees. A large stone wall encircled the property, keeping the driveway secure
with a heavy, dark-iron gate. Floors were mostly stone tile with rich, soft rugs covering the
walk-ways. The grounds were extensive, the residence opulent, the occupants privacy
virtually guaranteed.
Almost the entire western front of the house opened up to an expansive balcony where the
Tyrrhenian Sea stretched out below. Stylish outdoor furniture was scattered around the deck
and the edge of a brilliant-blue pool could be seen from above. Heavy linen curtains swayed
in the breeze.
The moment they arrived, Edward swiftly carried Bella into the house. She clung to him,
ravenous for any part of his bare skin she could reach with her lips. He quickly moved them
to his large bedroom, discarding her white dress, his clothes and depositing her in the middle
of his massive bed.
What had followed were three days of constant exploring of his mates beautiful body. Bella
had relaxed amidst the rumpled white sheets while his hands and tongue followed every
sensuous line and curve. He found her elbows enticing, her knees were delightful and her
delicate shoulder blades called out to his fingertips.
He was anxious to reassure her, to help her understand she would always be safe with him,
that he would constantly protect her. He never wanted her to doubt the strength of their
bond. After the whole fiasco with Felix and the underscored statement from Aro that the
disastrous project had really been the catalyst that brought them together, he had been
feverish to reconnect with her. She was real. They were both here, and his blood ran through
her veins.
Very little was said between them aside from her soft moans, his heady growls and their
indulgent words of encouragement to one other. When he couldnt take it any longer, he
would pull her astride him, enter her and thrust for hours. Bella quickly discovered she had a
weakness for watching them come together. She was fascinated with the length and hard
shape of him, and how her body would deliciously stretch to draw him in.
You love watching us, Edward breathed as she sat on top of him, her head bent along his
chest to look back at her hips rotating over him. Do you know how sexy that is?
I cant help it. She smiled. Its almost irrationally beautiful. We connect so perfectly,
like we were made to fit.
You were made for me Bella, just like I was for you. He grabbed a fist full of her hair and
thrust up harder. We fuck so well together.
She met his gaze and sighed, I love you.
Amidst their lovemaking, the exchange of blood started to become more instinctual and
impulsive. In the post-coital glow, while Bella would be trying her own hand at exploring
her mate, she would simply bite him and drink. And in addition to her neck and breasts,
Edward started leaving small bite marks all over her skin. Most of them he would erase with
his venom after he was done drinking, but a few, like a generous love bite on her inner thigh,
he took secret pleasure in keeping.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

In the weeks that followed, they rarely left the house. When they did, Edward would show
her some of the villages around Monte Argentario, particularly Porto Ercole. She would
browse through flower shops, look over local produce at fruit stands and sometimes splurge
on gifts for the Cullens and her father.
Edward would spend these excursions watching his mate and the way her dress would lift
slightly to expose the backside of her knees and lower thighs as she stretched for something
high. When nobody was looking, he would lean into her, rub his hands up her waist and
ghost the sides of her breasts, all the while placing soft kisses along her neck.
These small outings never lasted long.
And although they talked about taking a day trip to Florence or back into Rome, they never
got around to planning the specifics. Edwards hand would start smoothing up her leg or
Bella would start nibbling light kisses on his shoulder and suddenly another day was spent in
Edwards gigantic bed or on the nearest rug with more clothes ripped and thrown to the
floor.
They did not do a good job at learning how to balance the physical with the world around
them. Love making became near constant, like blood to their system; a primal necessity.
Neither of them had a problem with this.
One afternoon while Edward returned some phone calls, Bella looked idly through her
selection of clothes, trying to decide what would be the most enticing to her mate. At last,
she opted for a simple pair of white, lace panties and matching bra. She moved to the bed
and settled on her stomach, propping herself up on her arms so she could watch the door.
She had a plan.
In all their lovemaking, she had yet to take Edward into her mouth. The few times she had
tasted his release, she had found it to be heady and erotic. She was eager for more. But she
worried she would get it all wrong. She had done this a few times in her human life with
Jacob, but Edward was thicker and longer.
It was a nice consolation to learn that none of Edwards past lovers had been brought to this
house. Unfortunately, she was fairly confident that every single one of them had tasted and
pleasured him with their mouths. These were expert, attractive, vampire females Edward had
been with. How could she possibly compare?
In the end, she decided to press forward regardless, her primary motivation being
Edward. She had seen the lust in his eyes when her lips would explore his body. And when
she left off pulling him into her mouth, he always tried valiantly to hide his
disappointment. She knew he didnt want to rush her with anything she didnt feel
comfortable with.
It was time to change that.
When Edward saw her on the bed, an inviting smile across her face, her feet dangling in the
air behind her, he stopped in his tracks.
Hey. I uh I thought you were still getting ready.
Come here. She bent her fingertip at him.
He walked towards her until he stood beside the bed with Bellas head at his waist. He wore
jeans and a dark blue t-shirt. She looked up at him and met his grin.
Youre wearing too many clothes.
Oh. He glanced at his attire. Lets fix that right now.
While he pulled at his shirt, Bella eagerly reached up to unbuckle his pants. She pushed
everything down and he kicked the garments away. She leaned forward, letting her nose
nuzzle his erection, her breath warm against his skin. He hissed softly, unexpectedly startled
at her actions.
Edward?
Yes.
Can I put my mouth on you? she asked sweetly, placing light kisses along his length.
Oh, God. He inhaled sharply. Anything
Ive been so hesitant to do this, she added as she licked his tip. Ive been worried I
wouldnt be good enough.
Dont ever worry about that. His body felt shaky, his voice tight. Ive wanted you to do
this so badly. But I didnt want to push you.
She moaned at the taste of him, adding more tongue as she felt him nudge along the inside of
her cheek. I want you to push me now, Edward. Let go and push.
And then she took him completely into her mouth, low against her throat. He was large and
thick, but since she was a creature by nature that required no oxygen, she was able to pull him
deep.
Edwards head fell back and he groaned. He brought one hand to her neck, pulling back the
strands of hair so he could watch her mouth move over him. His other hand crept gently
along her shoulder and neck, absorbing the feel of her soft skin.
She worked him back and forth, deep and tight within her throat. He was so beautiful to her,
the head so perfect and heavy. She smiled and stretched up further, licking and sucking just
the tip, all the while keeping her eyes on his face, watching his reaction. While she focused
her mouth on him, one of her hands crept up to grip his erection at the base, smoothing her
fingers down to fondle the strong sacks that were swollen behind him.
Ah, that feels so good. Edward watched his mate, his body jerking with every swipe of
Bellas sweet tongue. So hot and wet God, Bella! His hips started to move faster,
pushing his whole length back into her mouth. Fuck Im coming.
He came quickly, and Bella couldnt help but give herself mental applause for pleasuring him
so well. She swallowed over and over and then took her time licking up any excess, closing
her eyes to savor the taste. He was amazing. The power of his lower body and the flavor of
his skin made her moan.
He was mesmerized at the site of her. Do you like the way I taste?
She nodded up at him and continued licking.
You want some more? He pushed his hips. Huh? You want me to give you more?
She released him with a slight sucking sound. Oh, please.
He motioned for her to lie on her back. When she was stretched across the bed, Edward
ripped the bra and panties off and began kissing and licking his way up her body. Bella
whimpered when he straddled her shoulders, bringing his erection right back to her lips. Her
hands gripped his thighs. She eagerly opened her mouth to take him. With her head against
the bed sheets, Edward was able to use more leverage to fuck her mouth. She hummed
around him as he moved his hips towards her face.
Edward was transfixed, watching her work beneath him. It was magnetic, not just because of
what she was doing, but because it was her doing it. This was all he wanted, his perfect,
exquisite mate.
He had been pleasantly surprised finding Bella waiting for him on their bed, but he had never
fathomed she was planning this. His mate was still hesitant in her own abilities. She had left
it to him to initiate most of the physical activities between them. And he wanted her to feel
confident enough to touch him and ask for what she needed.
She was so innocently sexy pleasuring him. He never wanted her to stop. He never wanted
this time with her to stop. His house had quickly become their private hide-away from the
world. And while he knew they would eventually have to leave, he would stay as long as his
mate would allow. Now he could see how lonely the house had been before Bella, how he
had tried to find pleasure in a colorless and empty world. Hed been adrift without her.
Bella was everything to him.
Edward leaned back slightly, giving her just his tip. He moved his hand across her stomach
and dragged his fingers through her folds. Bella bent her knees and spread her legs. When
his fingers dipped down and he felt her opening wet and swollen, they both moaned.
Beautiful girl, youre all worked up. He pushed his fingers into her damp center, fucking
her roughly. She whimpered, her mouth wild around him as she tried to pull his body
closer. He pulled out his fingers and spread the wet substance around her flesh. You like
sucking me, dont you?
She nodded her head, moaning when his fingers started rubbing her again.
Edward stroked her and circled her clit with his thumbs, keeping his fingers buried inside
her. When her cries grew louder and she started to pulse and shake, he removed his hand and
pressed himself deeper into her mouth. Suck me hard, Bella. I want to come in your sweet
mouth again.
She was reckless around him, her throat soft and tight. Her hands stroked and rubbed his
base, bringing forth curses from Edward.
"So good So fucking good. His voice was breathless.
He came in multiple spurts, shoving his hips into her mouth and pushing her head down into
the mattress. She swallowed as her tongue licked along his skin, his vampire cock still hard
and leaking.
Again? she pleaded with wide eyes. Please let me keep going, Edward.
He moved off her and reached down to stroke her face. I think you enjoy the taste of me
almost as much I enjoy it here. He rubbed a hand between her legs, causing her to hiss and
lift her legs slightly. He kissed her. I love you.
He stood up and moved around to stand behind her head. With strong arms, he brought Bella
gently towards him so her neck angled off the edge. He fisted his erection, rubbing it briskly
and allowing the tip to trace her open lips, leaving a trail of moisture.
Take me, he commanded roughly. Take me deep.
He shoved his hips forward, moving much further inside her throat this time with the new
angle. He leaned forward, grabbing her breasts with his hands, kneading them as he
pushed. Bella placed her hands on his hips and began nudging her head up and down beneath
him, clearly still hungry for more.
Keep doing that, beautiful girl. Holy fuck, I want to fuck your mouth all day.
She released him with a wet pop of her mouth. I want that too. Lets get lost for a while.
End Notes:

A/N: So were going to get lost with them for the next few chapters. Lots of
relationship growth (Bellas going to try his diet) amidst lots of lemons. If its not your
cup of tea, you might want to skip the next two come back at chapter 23. I can email
you the important plot points if youd prefer.
Back to index
Chapter 21 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas - EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

Chapter 21



The sofa in the front room that overlooked the sea was the most comfortable piece of
furniture Bella had ever experienced. The fabric was supple. It was wide and plush with
square pillows that fit perfectly behind her back and under her feet.



One morning, Bella stretched out on the sofa to see the sunrise. She had put on a white,
eyelet sundress and her feet were propped up on her mates lap. Edwards chest was bare and
he wore a pair of board shorts. She watched the horizon. He watched his hands on her skin
as they rubbed her feet and smoothed up her legs.



Edward, can I ask you something?



Sure. He kept his attention on her ankle.



You mentioned a while back about the females you were with?



Yes? His hands moved up her calf muscles, lifting one of her legs up so he could trace
underneath.



Bella took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling. You said something about most of
them being vampires?



He chuckled. You want to know about the humans.



She nodded.



Bella, Ive told you before, I want you to know me. He lowered her leg to his lap. What
specifically did you want to know?



I dont know. She shook her head. Just now that Ive been with you, I cant see how
you could hold back enough to not do any damage. Does that make sense?



Yes. He smiled and resumed rubbing the base of her foot. I have been with two female
humans. It was more of a test for my own endurance and control than anything else. I was in
the middle of trying to learn to feed from humans without killing them.



Did it help?



A little, but not enough to keep going. I gained the insight I needed and moved on. Plus,
they both were starting to suspect something wasnt entirely normal about me. I was only
with each of them once before I broke things off.



Bella sat up slightly and pulled at her legs, removing them from Edwards lap. Did you
want to bite them during...? I mean while you were in the act?



Darling, Edward said as came up on his hands and knees. He followed her to the other side
of the couch and began placing kisses along her neck. For someone that displays such a dirty,
enticing mouth while making love, you sure are having a hard time asking me specifics about
fucking.



She held him back by his shoulders and looked him squarely in the face. Did you bite
them? Did you like being with them?



He sobered and met her direct gaze. I never had any desire to bite anyone until you. And
did I like being with them? He shrugged. It was a release. It was a basic need that was
being met, nothing more.



Oh. She glanced down, the edges of her mouth twitching slightly.



Are we done? He quickly caught up her feet and started tickling her toes. Can I do this
now?



Bella squealed and started giggling; her attempts to pull her away were clearly overpowered
by her mates superior strength. His hands tickled up her sides. Bella threw her head back
and kept laughing, pushing at his hands, twisting her body away. Edward reached her face
and began kissing her hungrily, wrapping his arms around her.



She instantly gave up the fight to escape and succumbed to the heady kiss. He added his
tongue to her mouth, meeting hers as they both moaned.



I love you, beautiful girl, he said against her lips. You are everything to me, and being
with you is far beyond anything Ive ever experienced. Its bliss, Bella. Its my personal
version of heaven. I want nothing more than to stay with you like this forever.



Bella smiled brightly and hummed into their kiss. Just us, Edward. I want only us.





0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0





When they needed to hunt, Edward had offered to go with Bella again. The hills were full of
wild boar and deer. But she surprised him with her desire to try his way of hunting. He was
skeptical, worried the act of drinking human blood might unearth memories from her
capture. But Bella assured him that after her experience with James and Laurent, plus the
five years of unchecked, solitary rampages as a newborn, the idea of a peaceful, human blood
feeding sounded almost soothing. Reluctantly, he agreed to take her.



That evening, they found a campsite and circled two humans lounging around a fire pit. The
sky was full of stars and the crackling wood splinting apart over the hot ashes sent up an
inviting aroma.



How do you know which human to drink from? Bella asked.



You find out which blood type smells more appealing to you.



Doesnt that make it harder to stop?



Bella. He leaned close to whisper in her ear. Youre not going to be able to stop,
regardless. Im planning on pulling you back.



Youre underestimating my mad hunting skills again.



One of the humans stood up and moved in their direction. Edward pulled Bella further into
the shadows, keeping quiet until hed walked down the path away from the campsite.



I happen to adore your mad hunting skills. I would just rather you not be disappointed when
you dont succeed the first time.



She shook her head. I want to be able to do this.



I still dont understand why. He lifted her chin so she would meet his gaze. I have no
issues with your diet and support you completely if you want to keep hunting animals. You
dont have to do this.



I want to, she said. I want this connection with you.



He leaned down and kissed her, pushing his lips softly against hers, trying to communicate
how much her words meant to him. Her tongue met his as she wrapped her arms up around
his neck, running her fingers into his hair. Her leg started to inch higher to curl around him.



He cursed, Damn it! Lets finish this quickly and go straight home. He kissed her
again. Otherwise your clothes will be in shreds and I will not allow any male, vampire or
human, to see you naked.



She reluctantly pulled away. Okay, lets do this.



Stay here and watch me.



To the human eye, the solitary camper at the fireplace simply vanished without any
movement or trace around him. Edward brought him back to Bella in the protective layer of
the trees and quickly sunk his teeth into the humans neck. The males eyes were wild with
fear as he screamed silently against Edwards hand covering his mouth.



Edward drank and drank and eventually, the eyes of the human began to drift close. When
his eyes were completely shut, Edward sealed his bite mark and placed the human on the
ground. He leaned down close to his ear and spoke in soft tones, reassuring the man that all
would be fine. He told him when he woke up the next morning he would only remember
being too tired to recall any specifics from the night before.



Bella helped place him in the nearby tent, even though Edward could have done it
alone. They retreated to the bushes, waiting for the mans companion to return for Bella.



Take him the second hes near the campfire. Not before. He needs to be out of site from
other campsites and you dont want him getting worried when he doesnt see his friend where
he left him.



She crouched down, ready to strike. The moment the man came into view, Bella jump started
and pounced. Edward snickered, trying unsuccessfully to hide his laugh at Bellas
zeal. Luckily, nobody saw the human disappear.



Bella had no problems hauling the man back to the trees. In fact, he looked pleasantly
captivated with such an attractive looking female baring her teeth at him and lowering her
mouth to his neck. His fantasies were put on hold when he noticed Edward snarling next to
her. Then the man began to panic.



Edward had to hold his hand over the humans mouth because Bella had forgotten all his
instructions the moment her mouth started swallowing the blood. She moaned against the
mans neck, a sound that normally would have enticed Edward, but this time it produced the
opposite effect.



He was shocked to find himself livid with his mate.



He could tell the man was starting to die and Bella showed no sign of stopping. With firm
pressure, he pulled his mate back from the man. Unfortunately, the artery she had bitten was
still open and blood sprayed out over Bella and the nearby bushes. Holding her aside with
one arm, he leaned down and sealed the mans cut with his venom.



He then repeated the same mantra he had whispered to their first victim and carried him to
the tent beside his companion. By this time, Bella was subdued and standing silently to the
side, her posture broadcasting failure.



Next time, Edward huffed as he came to stand next to her, youre drinking from a female.



There wont be a next time. Her voice was raw and sad.



Youre damn right there wont be one, especially with a male.



I dont understand why youre getting upset, Edward. You picked out these humans. I was
just following your lead.



He seethed. Well, apparently my way is completely fucked up when it comes to you.



Youre right. Her head fell into her hands. Im so sorry. I totally failed and did
everything you said not to do.



He shook his head, placing his ire temporarily aside and scooped up Bella into his
arms. Come on. I have this irrational need to reconnect with my mate so Ill carry you
home.



She leaned into his chest. What a disaster.



Bella, ask me some other time and I will regale you with tales of my failures that spanned
decades trying to succeed at this.



Why cant you tell me now? she asked hopefully.



Im not in the mood.



She glanced down at her clothes. Im a mess.



He bit back the anger that was still crawling at him and tried to think about other things. Its
an excellent excuse for me to clean you up in the shower.



Bella still struggled letting go of her disappointment, and unfortunately, the stiffness of
Edwards embrace did nothing to enlighten her to her mates fuming disposition. So, she was
surprised that night at how possessive Edward became during their lovemaking. He kept his
mouth constantly on her skin, his arms tight and greedy around her. He watched her almost
reverently every time he pushed into her and was frantic as he adjusted her across their bed,
desperate to take her in every possible way.



What is it? Her breath rushed out of her. She was sitting astride him, whimpering as he
pushed his hips up into her again and again. Somethings wrong. Tell me, Edward, please.



One of Edwards hands left her hip and cupped a breast. His voice was dismissive. Its
nothing. I just need to fuck you.



She covered his hand. Talk to me. She kept her hips rotating and felt his body clench with
frustration as he thrust upwards.



He growled and flung her onto her back, his movements harder and deep. Youre my mate,
Bella. No one else will have you but me.



Bella thought back to Edwards comments right after the hunting fiasco and his anger while
she moped over her failure. When the pieces finally came together, she nearly smacked
herself on the head for not figuring it out earlier. Resolving to set things right, she ran her
hands soothingly along his shoulders, licking and sucking the spot between his shoulder and
neck.



I belong only to you, Edward, nobody else.



He hissed and sped up his thrusts. He felt himself slipping closer to the edge, wild and crazed.



I never want to be apart from you, she breathed. Her breath was choppy and stuttered with
the drive of his body inside her. I love you so much. Only you can feed me with your
blood. Only you can take my body.



Bella! Edward roared. Oh, God! I need you too fucking much fuck!



No, she gasped, meeting his hard hips with hers. No, its not too much. I want all of
it. Feel me and how much my body wants you. I would die without you.



He gripped her waist tighter in his hands, anchoring her while he drove on and on. Never. I
will never let you go.



Edward, she moaned against his skin. I need you. Give me this.



Bella tilted her head and sunk her teeth into him. The second she did, her body began
convulsing and gripping him. He groaned loudly, reaching around to cradle her head as she
swallowed. The pulses from her body were too much and he happily gave up his fight,
spilling everything into her. He rolled them to the side, carefully keeping his mates body
close to his so she could finish.



He was still so hard, so desperate for her again. But he would wait until she was done
drinking before he drove on another time. For now, he was content to be inside her and feel
her teeth buried in his skin. His hands gently rubbed at her face, pushing into her hair.



Bella had known exactly what he needed. The moment he had watched her drink from the
human, he had needed his mates teeth back in his own skin, reminding her of where she
belonged. He wasnt sure if it would be any better observing her drink from a female human,
but it would never happen again with a male.



That night Bella left a lot of marks visible on her mates skin.



Edward didnt mind.
End Notes:

A/N: Thank you again to all my readers and the lovely notes of feedback you
leave. You have made this a beautiful experience.
Back to index
Chapter 22 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:
A/N: Soak this one up. Storm clouds are coming...
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.
Credit to my betas - EdwardsEternal and therunaway.

Chapter 22
One afternoon, when the evening shadows were starting to stretch long across the stone floors,
Edward pulled Bellas naked body against his.
Turn around and bend over. His breath felt like velvet against her skin.
He stood next to the bed. She moved quickly into the position, displaying her smooth flesh to
his gaze. His hands grabbed each side of her, kneading and gripping hard.
Have I told you lately how much I love your ass? His palms spread her apart. So tight and
perfect.
I love when your hands grip me like that, Bella whimpered. Especially oh, God
when youre inside me when were fucking.
He slipped his fingers into her wet folds, his voice rough. Tell me what else you like.
Later. She looked back at him over her shoulder. Youre thirsty for me.
I know. Edward bent down and ran his tongue along her hot opening, making her jump and
moan. It amazes me because Ive been drinking from you constantly the past few days.
I dont want you to stop. Its like my blood lives to be inside you.
He pulled her back up against his chest, moving one hand to her breast and the other to cup
her between her legs, pushing two fingers inside her. He whispered into her hair, Your
blood is precious to me, Bella.
Take me, she pleaded. I need to feel your teeth in me.
He growled and leaned her down on her arms in front of him, placing open-mouth kisses
along her spine. His erection rubbed between her legs.
I will, beautiful girl. But I want to be deep inside you first and then Ill drink from you.
They had yet to really explore love making with blood exchanges simultaneously. She had
done it several times. But Edward had held back. He was cautious that combining the
intensity of being joined with his mate while also feeding from her might be physically
damaging if he got too rough. But Bella was anxious for him to let go. She wanted to
experience this more basic, animalistic side of him.
They both groaned when he pushed into her. He thrust hard three times before slowing down
and lengthening his stride. Edward was vehemently aroused watching himself come
completely out and then seeing his thick head push back inside her, his length coated with a
wet gleam from her folds.
Bella whimpered, leaning underneath to bring her hand around him, fondling his swollen
sack, desperate to touch him anywhere.
You want to see this, dont you, beautiful girl? Edward continued his slow pushes. I
know you love this position, but you wish you could watch.
Yes, she whispered. You look so good moving inside me. It makes my mouth hungry for
you.
Ah, fuck I want you so much. Sometimes ah, Bella sometimes its all I can think
about. I crave you again the moment were finished.
He sped up his thrusts, and she moaned, her hips moving to meet his. He shifted his body to
cover her back, his hands smoothed her hair away as he kissed and licked her neck.
Hang on, he whispered and he sank his teeth into her. When the blood reached his throat,
his body went wild and his hips became ruthless and feral, making her cry out as she began to
pulse. He could barely wait for her body to finish before immediately ramming in and out of
her again. She gasped, her eyes wide at the force and intensity of his thrusts.
Ooh oh God, her voice tight. So hard yes God, its so hard.
With his teeth in her throat, he kept one hand on her breast and the other on her hip to anchor
himself. Edward drove her relentlessly. Her blood flowed into his mouth, channeling down to
his veins, making him swell even more inside his mate. Her sweet folds clenched him,
squeezing down and causing him to groan against her neck. It was more powerful than
anything hed experienced. If they both survived this, he resolved to fuck her simultaneously
with feeding from now on.
Her body started to shake under his and he could tell her limit was near. He sealed the mark
and eased off slightly. He grabbed her breasts, using the hold to thrust deep.
Thats it, he growled. Youre close. God, I love you so much.
He smoothed one of his palms down her stomach and the moment he touched her clit her
body started to spasm and tighten around him. She turned her head, her drawn out whimpers
and cries were muffled against her arm.
When her pulse calmed, he leaned up and renewed his pushes, growling with every thrust,
abusing her pussy with his rough slaps and deep drives. He grabbed her hair, wrapped it
around his fist and pulled her head back as he delivered another powerful series of
shoves. Bella cried out and fisted the bed sheets tight, ripping the cotton.
Fuck fuck, Im there, he gasped.
She looked over her shoulder to watch him. His eyes were closed, the lines on his face
smooth. Though his hands still gripped her hips, his strong shoulders relaxed as he came
inside Bellas body, his semen hot and tingling as he shot forth. She moaned and wiggled her
hips back against him, anxious to milk everything from him.
When the haze had cleared, Edward pulled his mate to him and brought them both down to
the bed. The heavy blood exchange had temporarily weakened both of them. He wrapped
his arms tight around her as her head lolled back on his shoulder.
Lets rest for a while, beautiful girl, he whispered.
Bella nodded weakly. I love you.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Edward told her that he employed two humans to oversee the upkeep of the house, but Bella
never saw them. Everything was always spotless and shining. And whatever mess they left
behind, it was all in order when they returned. One morning, Edward took her up against the
living room windows with the sea below and the sun shining on her sparkled skin. His
pushing became wild and they ended up cracking the glass. The following day, everything
was replaced.
Packages, boxes and flowers arrived every afternoon, all of it for Bella. Since Edward knew
how much his mate was fond of gardens, he made sure the house was constantly brightened
by fresh-cut flowers, sparkling vases and delicate ferns. The smell was heavenly. Bella
loved to prune the stems and rearrange the blooms into vibrant settings.
Edward bought her dresses, skirts, sweaters, shoes, boots, swimwear, stockings, lingerie, and
a few exquisite pieces of jewelry. Her protests fell on deaf ears. She was his mate, and
Edward relished the chance to bestow on her every item he could imagine.
The rich fabrics and colors looked lovely on Bella. There was nothing he had chosen that
didnt fit perfectly. She eventually abandoned her objections when she realized how much
Edward enjoyed watching her model the clothes for him after she would unpack the boxes,
particularly the lingerie.
Some of the items were only worn once.
When she pointed out that she wouldnt be able to pack everything to take home because she
had only brought one suitcase with her, the following day a dozen pieces of designer luggage
arrived at the gate. Each of the items had Bellas name inscribed in gold plate along the
side. While the gesture made her laugh, it was the designation of her name as Bella Masen,
not Bella Cullen, on the bags that made her body glow with delight.
There was one small box Edward quickly pocketed before Bella could notice. Since the
moment hed learned about Bellas father, hed started looking for this particular gift,
knowing how much he wanted this for his mate, for both of them.
He took her out on the balcony one evening, when the moon shown high over the waves and
the sky was full of stars. Several candles glowed from nearby tables and the low dividing
wall. Her eyes widened when he opened the box.
It was an elegant wedding ring with a large, dark blue diamond in the center, circled by tiny
diamonds around the top and along the band. The blue hue of the stone was the exact same
color as the Tyrrhenian Sea when viewed from the house in the afternoon sun. Bella had
never seen anything so delicate in her life.
Its a human gesture, he said as he slid the ring on her finger. But I know human
traditions are something you still yearn for. And frankly, Im quite obsessed with any way I
can further mark you as mine.
Edward, its so beautiful. She stared at the dark stone sparkling in the moonlight.
He pulled her into his lap and began kissing her neck. I do love nothing in the world so well
as you.
So fitting. Her answering smile was brilliant and loving. I love you with so much of my
heart, that none is left to protest.
He made love to her on one of the balcony chaise chairs. The sun was high in the sky and the
candles had long since burned to their bases before they noticed.

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

In spite of it being late September, the sun was still bright and hot on their skin. Edward and
Bella had taken a quick swim in the clear aquamarine tiled-pool and were now cuddled
together on one of the padded lounge chairs. The cry of birds and the sound of the breaking
ocean waves from below filled the air.
She trailed her fingertips over the few drops of water puddled on his skin, stroking the wet
hair around his navel down to the dark blue board shorts he wore. The ring on her finger
glittered in the sunlight.
Edward nuzzled the top of her head, running his fingers through her damp curls. He looked
down at his mates body and the burgundy bikini that was still wet against her skin.
You look so good in this. I need to remember not to rip this one. I want to save it for future
use.
Easier said than done. She smiled against him, breathing deep. I love it here,
Edward. Its so peaceful and warm. I love that its just us, with nobody else around.
Privacy was definitely a good thing last night with your screams, he snickered.
She leaned up and pinched his chest playfully. That was completely your fault, you and
your wicked hands.
He ran a hand down her neck, underneath her swimsuit top and palmed her breast. Do you
mean this wicked hand?
Ah yes, she sighed.
Bella, I wouldnt care if we were next door to Carlisle and Esme, I would never silence your
beautiful screams, or stop you in the middle of one of your orgasms.
He shifted around her, pushed up her swimsuit and brought his tongue to her breast, running
it flat over her nipple.
Bella gasped. Edward what do you like most oh, yes when were together?
His breath was hot on her skin. You mean, what do I like most about making love with
you?
She nodded.
You.
She pushed his arm. Im serious.
So am I. He laughed and collapsed back on the chair. Theres so much. How do I even
pick one thing?
Her breast felt cold without his touch, and she pulled the material back in place.
He sat up instantly and moved his hands to the ties on her swimsuit. There! Right
there. Thats something I definitely do not like. I love seeing you naked. I dont like it when
you cover up.
The ties were quickly pulled free and Edward threw the scrap of fabric over his
shoulder. Both his hands instantly went to her breasts, his mouth following.
So soft, he groaned.
Yes, I think weve established youre definitely a fan of those. She ran her hands through
his hair as he nuzzled each one. Anything else?
He leaned back to watch his hands squeeze the soft flesh. Bella covered his hands with hers
to feel her own skin.
That, he said quickly. I love watching you take what you want. I love when youre
confident in our love making, when you know how sexy you are and use your body to
demand what you need.
She looked at him cautiously. So if I wanted to come right now, and I took matters into my
own hands
His eyes went dark. I would very much like to watch you do that.
She pulled back from Edward and sat up on her knees in front of him. Keeping her eyes on
his face, she slowly undid the ties to her bikini bottom and threw it to the side. Kneeling
naked in front of him, she moved her hands over her body, up to her breasts where she
kneaded them and pushed the tips together. She whimpered at the sensation.
Edward quickly shed his swim trunks and took his erection into his hand. He leaned back to
watch as Bella moved her hands downwards, spreading her legs slightly further apart, and
began to play with herself in front of him. He stared at her moving fingers. The sounds of
her folds wet and smooth were rousing and they both gasped and moaned. He stroked
himself harder.
Talk to me, Bella... His voice was low and rough. Tell me what youre thinking
about. You are so fucking beautiful doing that.
She started moving two fingers inside of her, pushing them in and out. Her voice was
breathless, light and sweet. Oh, Edward I love how you feel inside me so hard, so
strong fucking me so good. Oh, God, I need you.
Sweet girl, he groaned as his hands moved faster. Im almost there.
When her legs started to shake, and her cries turned to half-articulated words, Edward let his
own release go, feeling the hot liquid shoot over his hands and down his hard length. And
then Bella completely stunned him by leaning forward and covering his erection with her
mouth.
Oh, fuck Bella. His head fell back as her warm tongue licked him up and down. He
growled and hissed, his hand moving lovingly through her hair, around her neck.
Did you like that? she asked, looking up at him with wide, dark eyes.
So much. He pulled on her arms. Come here. Let me taste you.
He grabbed at her hips as she crawled up to straddle his face. His mouth immediately latched
onto her clit, his tongue dragging along her flesh. He moaned loudly into her skin.
Oh, Edward, Bella whimpered and threw her head back in ecstasy.
He kissed and licked the sensitive skin from her clit all the way to her wet opening. He
angled his head and began fucking her with his tongue. Her body sparkled in the sunlight as
she swayed her hips lightly over his mouth. Edward was obsessed with the taste of her, the
feel of her soft, wet skin on his lips. He murmured her name and adjusted one of his hands so
he could grip her ass tightly as her body started to shake.
So good! she cried out. Oh, God Im coming.
He hungrily drank her orgasm, growling at the taste. More? he murmured against her skin.
Edward, she breathed softly. I dont ever want this to end. I want this always. Why do
we have to stop?
He smoothed his fingers out from her wet center and kissed the spot gently. We dont. We
never have to stop.
We havent done a very good job at learning how to balance this yet.
He shook his head. I dont care. I know eventually, well have to. But just not yet.
No, she sighed, definitely not yet.
He growled against her skin. Turn around and let me fuck your mouth again.
Bella shifted her legs so she straddled Edward backwards, lowering her face to take his
erection into her mouth, down her throat. He immediately went back to her hot center with
his tongue.
Together they worked each other up again, until Bella was whimpering around him as her
release ripped through her, onto his fingers and lips. And when he was right on the verge of
spilling into her mouth, she quickly righted herself on top of her mate and pushed his erection
inside her, feeling his warm release shoot within her body.
Edward brought them down together, kissing her hungrily. His arms were tight and
protective, her wet hair blowing along their skin from the wind.
Again, he growled into her mouth. Take everything from me. Just dont stop.
Never, she promised.
He turned them over until she was beneath him and thrust inside her again, her breathless cry
carrying far out into the sea.
End Notes:

A/N: I dont usually do all the research on clothes and gifts like other talented writers,
but I couldnt resist with Bellas ring

www(dot)tiffany(dot)com/shopping/Item.aspx?sku=26914477&mcat=&cid=287466&sea
rch_params=s+5-p+16-c+287466-r+101323351+101424823-x+-n+6-ri+-ni+0-t+

.

Quotes are from Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing Im crazy about Emma
Thompsons rendition of Beatrice.

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a
man. And he that is more than a youth is not for me. And he that is less than a man - I am
not for him.

So many good lines
Back to index
Chapter 23 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

A/N: Some of you asked if there would be a wedding now that Bella has a ring. The
answer is no. In their eyes, they are already mated/married. The ring was just a
gesture on Edwards part of that connection.

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas - EdwardsEternal and my new AngelGoddess1981.
Chapter 23

Almost a month to the day of their arrival in Italy, Edward found Bella at the balcony door
staring out into the sky. Her gaze seemed lost amongst the dark clouds rolling in off the
sea. She was wearing one of his button-down dress shirts and the white tail ends whipped
around her legs in the breeze. Edward was distracted by the sight of her bare skin.

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head.

Together, they watched the shadows move over the house. The wind grew stronger and the
white-tipped crashes of the waves could be heard from below.

I wonder what Charlies doing right now, she whispered at last. I hope hes all right.

Edward bent his head and ran his nose along her silky hair. You miss him, dont you?

Yes.

He moved her around to face him. Then lets go back. We can leave right away.

Bella looked over her shoulder to the windows. She could see lightning flash in the storm
clouds at the horizons edge. The late fall weather had finally arrived.

She turned back to her mate and nodded. Okay.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Within twenty-four hours, they were seated in an airplane, headed back to the United
States. Bella looked out through her window and watched the European continent slowly
disappear beneath them.

It was such a beautiful trip, she sighed sadly. The sunlight on the garden, hardens and
grows cold, we cannot cage the minute, within its nets of gold.

Sit on your arse for fifty years and hang your hat on a pension, Edward muttered next to
her, his head buried in a newspaper.

Bella stared at him, and then burst out laughing. That doesnt count. That has nothing to do
with what I just said.

I know. He grinned and shrugged as he put the paper aside. But Mr. Macneice isnt
always forthcoming when you require something nostalgic in leaving what you love behind.

Youd better try another line or Ill consider myself victor.

Hmmm Okay, look out the window. Do you see those stars? He pointed to the
glass. By a high star our course is set. Our end is Life. Put out to sea.

Much more appropriate. Although, I have to admit the other one was pretty clever.

Well go back as often as you want. Edward brought their clasped hands to his
mouth. The house will always be there.

I love how much I adore that house now. She leaned in to kiss his shoulder. Her mind was
full of all the sweet moments and tender experiences they had shared the past few
weeks. She could not think of a time she had been happier. If it wasnt for her father, she
would have stayed with Edward in Italy for at least the next decade, maybe the rest of her
existence. How did Carlisle and Esme manage to adapt in just ten short years? She needed a
much longer stretch with her mate.

We never got to visit Florence, she said sadly.

Or LAquila.

We did watch Ladyhawke, she pointed out.

Edward laughed. I dont think either of us watched Ladyhawke. I vaguely recall the first
ten minutes. And then we ended up breaking the couch in the den.

I was totally innocent in that.

Innocent? He raised his eyebrow and whispered softly, You came out wearing that black,
satin piece and then so innocently put your head in my lap.

She smiled and shifted in her seat. That show gets me all hot and bothered.

Ill make sure we have a copy of it wherever we go.

Unbeknownst to Bella, Edward was already planning future getaways to the rest of his
residences with her. He had visions of multiple months spent abroad; completely absorbed in
each other like they had been in Italy. He wanted to see his mate walk through all his houses,
drive his cars and leave clothes and personal items strewn around the various locations,
keeping her scent constant. She belonged wherever he existed.

But for the moment, he would keep them in the United States, near the last tie to her human
life.

Its sad we wont be able to do stuff like that at the Cullens, she noted. Esme doesnt take
too kindly to broken furniture.

Youre imagining us back in your room?

Yes, she said, her hands playing with the edges of his shirt. Ill miss the freedom weve
had the past month. I loved being so open with you.

Im not giving that part of us up, Bella, he whispered in her ear. Were not going back to
the Cullens.

She pulled back, suddenly worried. What? Were not going to stay in Washington?

Relax, beautiful girl. He ran his hand over her neck, moving his fingers to her scar. I
bought a house. Its not far from the Cullen property. I was hoping youd consider moving
there.

You bought a house? Her eyes were bright.

Well, I still have to sign the papers when we get back. I wasnt sure if you would want to be
away from your coven, even though theyre just down the street.

Oh my God, Edward I cant believe you bought us a house. Her smile was
cautious. Im really glad you did. But it feels strange. For the longest time I didnt want
to ever leave Washington because of Charlie and the Cullens. She shook her head. Now
the thought of staying feels kind of disheartening.

His fingers drifted up over her cheekbones. Why?

Because I really thought wed find a balance in Italy, and then I realized Im not ready for
that yet. I love when its just us, and I want to keep things that way for a while.

Me too. He bent down to kiss her. But we dont have to live there forever. I figured
youd want to stay as long as Charlie is alive.

I do. She nodded. But I also want to be alone with you.

Well work it out, Bella. Obviously, Im not letting you go. And at the same time, I dont
want you missing the connections with your family either. Well find a way.

I love you, she whispered. Thank you for understanding my need to be close to my dad.

I love you too. He kissed her again, deeper this time, adding his tongue.

You said you still had to sign some papers?

Uh-hmm, he hummed against her mouth. And then well make sure
your extremely comfortable bed is brought over for our room.

You really want to wait for the bed? She trailed her hand up his inside leg, feeling the hard
tip of him through his pants. Im sure the floors will be adequate.
He hissed. "To hell with the bed. And to hell with this obnoxious, over-packed flight where
they seated us in front of a fucked-up, curious couple."
Bella pulled back, glancing over her shoulder to the set of eyes peeking at them through the
seats. She knew how much her mate guarded their intimacy and so she cooled any further
ideas of fooling around with her mate.
The idea of a house for the two of them made sense when it came to Edward. He wouldnt
want them to give up the closeness and privacy they had found in Italy. Even with family as
dearly regarded as the Cullens, Edward desired his mate for himself. This was his
compromise to keep her happy and she loved him for it, in spite of her misgivings.

Is there a library at the new house?

Yes, but unless you take matters into your own hands, youll find the collection lacking, he
said. Theres also a large kitchen. Im having it gutted and refurbished so it will work for
Charlies meals.

Her eyes glowed. Tell me more.

They spent the rest of the flight talking over the details of the house. Edward sketched out
the floor plan on a beverage napkin, showing her where the rooms connected. The backyard
was landscaped for a vegetable garden and a wide strip of recently plowed soil was prepped
and curbed in front of the home for Bellas use. Edward had already talked to Esme about
transplanting some of Bellas favorite flowers to the new house.

When their plane touched down in New York, Edward had a voice mail from the attorneys
office in Port Angeles. They needed Edward to stop by as soon as possible to go over
paperwork for the new house. But Bella was anxious to see her father, so she suggested they
split up after they arrived in Seattle. Edward would go to Port Angeles to sign the papers for
the house and she would go see Charlie. They would meet at the Cullens afterwards.

Are you sure? he asked. The papers for the house wont take long.

I know. But I want a long visit with Charlie after being away for a month. She leaned up
to kiss him. Well be in the same vicinity, so the separation pains will be mild.

Edward looked worried.

Whats wrong? she asked. Laurent is dead. James is gone by now. And anyway, Ive
been seeing my dad by myself for all these years. Ill be fine.

Her words reminded him that he had yet to follow up with Marcus and confirm how things
had ended with James. He was looking forward to hearing the particulars of his final demise
and hoped a large amount of torment had been involved. But the phone call would be best
handled away from Bella, so reluctantly, Edward agreed to the plan.

He called ahead before they boarded in New York and arranged for Bella to have a rental car
at the Seattle airport. He would follow behind in his Mercedes.

When they landed, Bella laughed at the car hed chosen. It was a red Toyota Tundra.

Are you trying to give me an upgrade? she asked. You know youve got the wrong
maker.

Look, he pointed out. Im not pushing you into a traditional sports car. At least
Im attempting to stay in your realm of big, gas-guzzling, loud machine-type cars.

You want to talk loud, lets talk more about your little Bugatti we left behind in Italy. I
dont recall blissful silence when you put the gas pedal down. She giggled softly and poked
him.

That was different. That was more of a purr and those sounds are sexy. He winked at
her. Kind of like some other sounds Im quite fond of.

Oh, really? She smiled brightly. You want to spend some time alone with the cars
tonight after everyone leaves? We can sit around and rev the engines.

He grabbed her around the waist to swat her on the behind and pushed her towards her
car. You cheeky ass, you know what I want to be doing with you the moment everyone
leaves.

Edward made sure Bella was packed and settled in the truck before he said goodbye. He
leaned into the cab and kissed her deeply. She sighed and pulled him closer, eager for more
of his mouth.

Maybe I should come with you, she said softly. We havent been apart this long for a
while.

I know, he groaned. But youre right, this will be faster. And neither of us needs to feed
for a while. He rubbed her knee. Although I dont plan on letting that stop me
later. That airplane ride was a sore test of my patience.

She nuzzled him affectionately. I want you to be rough with me again.

God, Bella. His hands found the bare skin under her shirt as he lavished her neck with
kisses. How in the world am I going to share you now that were here?

I dont know. All I know is this need for you is constant, she sighed. Maybe we came
back too soon.

I know we came back too soon. He squeezed her tight and stepped aside, kissing her
lightly on the forehead in apology. But were here, and well take things one day at a
time. You go see your dad, and Ill get the house taken care of. Well meet at the Cullens in
a couple hours. Keep your cell close. Ill text you when I get there.

He closed the door, and she waved to him through the window. He watched her car until it
pulled away into traffic, the dull ache already starting to form inside him.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


In spite of the subtle pain scraping through her, Bella knew her plan made sense. They would
both be finished and into their new house faster if they divided and conquered their own
tasks. And in spite of her endless hunger for her mate, she was looking forward to seeing the
Cullens again. She especially had missed Rose and Alice, not to mention the sage advice of
Esme. And thoughts of working in her garden again made her grin. Her spirits lifted and she
felt tremendously encouraged that she would indeed find a way to balance time with Edward
and maintain her connections to family.

It felt good to pull up to the familiar parking lot near Charlies care center, and she quickened
her pace in anticipation. Shed bought several items for him in Italy, but shed have to wait
until after her bags were unpacked to bring them. She couldnt wait to see her dads face and
tell him about her time in Italy.

Shed have to censor most of it, but she could tell him about the view.

The hallways were quiet and sparse as she walked down the corridor. She smelled the air,
trying to decipher between the cafeteria food and what kind of food Esme and Alice had
brought while shed been away.

All of Bellas musings suddenly stopped the moment she stepped into Charlies room. Her
father lay motionless on the large, gated bed, seemingly unconscious. His plaid quilt was
puddled on the floor and his arms were prostrate on either side. He looked pale and shrunken
with an IV unit attached to the inside of his elbow. But it was the figure hovering above her
father that had Bella nearly screaming. The male with the long greasy blond hair, the leather
jacket and the rancid smell that would never leave her memories who held in his hands a long
syringe poised to pierce the IV line hooked up to Charlies arm.

James had finally found her.

He smiled. Hello, gorgeous. Its about time you got back here. I could smell you the
minute you walked in the building. Do you know how long Ive been waiting for you?

Bellas whole soul felt frozen, her body like lead. When she spoke, her voice trembled,
Dont hurt him, p-please.

James grinned at Charlies sleeping body. Oh, hes going to be just fine. You see, while
you were gone he had a little accident. I think I might have increased his heart rate just a bit
too much when I questioned him about you. Turns out he didnt know his own daughter had
been visiting him this whole time. It sent his heart rate flying.

The bed was only five feet away, and Bella instinctively flew to place herself between James
and her father. Before she could reach him, James was instantly in front of her, his hand
grasping her arm tightly. He whipped her around and pulled her back to his chest, locking
her neck in his arms. She choked out at the sudden pain from his grip.

Now, you listen to me, Bella. Were going to walk calmly and quickly out of this building
and then youre going to get into my car and drive away with me.

Ne-never, she stuttered.

Oh, I think you will. You see this little syringe in my hand? He held the instrument above
her head. Its got enough good stuff in there to send poor, old Dad into cardiac arrest in
twenty-five seconds. And it would be painful, Bella, extremely painful.

She twisted in his embrace, desperately trying to grab the syringe. James calmly held it
barely out of reach and then tossed Bella across the room, her body smashing into the easy-
chair next to the couch. The room echoed with the explosive noise of the chair breaking apart.

He stood over her and laughed. Do you think you can beat me? Do you think I havent
planned for every possibility over the past twenty years? Ive looked for you for a long time,
gorgeous. He knelt down and placed his hands around her face. Once we leave this room,
I have a friend that Im very close with at this facility watching him. She will kill him,
Bella. If you even think of leaving my side again, consider your father dead.

Bellas body hurt, and her mind frantically searched for an escape, but there was no way she
could get out safely with her father. James would inject him the second she moved and she
would not risk Charlies life for her own. She thought of Edward, tried reaching out to him
through his blood within her, but he was too far away for her to sense him.

Are we clear, gorgeous? James asked.

Bella realized that if James truly did have someone working with him on the inside, Edward
might never know what happened here. Keeping her hand behind her back, she wiggled the
wedding ring Edward had given her off her finger and let it drop to the thick rug carpet
beneath her, praying her mate would find it. If James was planning to take her, no doubt
Edward would pick up on the increased distance within seconds. But he would have nothing
to start with if she couldnt alert him to what had taken place here.

Fine. Bella crawled to her feet and faced him. Ill go with you. But stop calling me
gorgeous.

Oh, baby, Ill call you whatever you want. You are my mate.

I am not, she seethed and pushed past him to leave the room, anxious to put more space
between James and her father.

A nurse with pretty brown curls and a heart-shaped face stood outside at the end of the
hallway. She looked at Bella in a strange way, a twisting smirk across her face. The longer
she stared at Bella, the more evil her expression became. But the moment James appeared in
the corridor, her eyes went all loving and playful.

I see you found the bitch, she giggled.

He nodded at the nurse, blew her a kiss and then pulled the messenger bag from Bellas
shoulder. He tossed it to the girl who caught it with both hands. Take care of her truck.

The female eyed Bella with a suspicious, hateful glare and made a brief slashing motion
across her neck. She was obviously not of their kind. James had coerced a human to do his
bidding. And even though Bella could have easily snapped her neck within seconds, the girl
and James held her fathers life in their hands, and so she endured the humiliation in silence.

The nurse kept the wicked sneer leveled at Bella and called out to James, Have fun with her.

Oh, I plan to. He winked and propelled Bella towards the back door. He called back over
his shoulder, Remember, if you dont hear from me as scheduled, make sure dear Mr. Swan
ends up in a more painful place.
End Notes:

A/N: Grab my hand. Stay close. Well get through this together.

But just a warning things are going to get very violent before they get better. No rape,
but a lot of violence from both James and Edward. If you need to duck out, please do
and come back in a couple chapters. I can send you the details youll miss.



Quotes are from Louis Macneice, The Sunlight on the Garden, Bagpipe
Music and Thalassa

.

PS Have you checked out my betas excellent story, Snowbound? Edwards Eternal
stuff is amazing! You will not be disappointed.
Back to index
Chapter 24 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas - EdwardsEternal and AngelGoddess1981.

Chapter 24


Edward was getting into his car in Port Angeles when the ache inside him started to multiply
in its intensity. He almost doubled over in pain from the abruptness of the force. Quickly he
whipped out his phone and dialed Bellas number, but it went straight to voice mail. He
frowned. He had texted her when he arrived at the attorneys office. Her reply told him she
was a few miles from the care center and would see him soon.

He tried calling her again as he started the engine and swiftly pulled out into traffic. Several
cars blasted their horns in protest, but Edward only accelerated faster. His tires screeched
along the road as he took off.

Come on, Bella. Pick up pick up, he muttered under his breath.

It was useless. All his calls went to voice mail and his texts remained unanswered. Had she
left her phone in the truck? Had she turned it off? Deciding to bypass the Cullens
completely, Edward shifted gears and drove straight to the care center. It was a forty-five
minute drive from Port Angeles, but he made it in twenty-two. As the building came into
view, his worry increased. If Bella was at the care center, the ache inside him should have
been diminishing in proportion to her proximity.

Instead, he felt worse.

Glancing at the sparse parking lot, he was alarmed to realize her truck was nowhere to be
seen. Instead of stopping, Edward made a sharp U-turn and drove down the main highway,
clocking back to where Bella might have been when she last texted him. His eyes scanned
the side roads for her truck, thinking she might have pulled over somewhere. But there was
nothing, and all the thick vegetation showed no signs of a crash.

One hour later he returned to the care center. This time he parked and exited, nearly breaking
the car-door apart as he slammed it shut. His keys and phone were hastily fisted into his back
pockets. He walked at a slow, human pace, trying to keep the attention on himself to a
minimum. But his body ached in protest, demanding he move at vampire speed.

His eyes were grim and haunted with worry as he strode down the hall. When he reached
Charlies room, he came to an abrupt halt. He was stunned to see Bellas father unconscious
with a steady IV drip in his arm and a heart monitor sounding off a tense rhythm above his
bed. Edward noted with dismay how frail Charlies body had become. What the hell
happened?

He scanned the room, looking for any hint of a visit from Bella. Everything was immaculate
and orderly; nothing that would give him reason to suspect his mate had been there. He
moved to Charlies side and studied the list of medications posted to his chart. He was jolted
out of his thoughts when an elderly nurse walked into the room.

Can I help you with something? she asked.

Yes, I was supposed to meet my wife here this afternoon. Her name is Marie. Has anyone
been here in the last couple of hours?

Well not that I can say. She paused. But then, I just came on shift about thirty minutes
ago. You should ask Heidi. Shes on break, but shell be back soon.

Edward shook his head despondently and moved aside so the nurse could check Charlies
vital signs. He wandered around the room. The smell of his mate was present, but her scent
was always here, covering everything. He was beginning to believe Bella had never made it
to the care center. He was confident that if she had seen her father like this, she never would
have left his side.

Poor Chief Swan, the nurse muttered under her breath.

Excuse me, Edward called out. Weve been out of the country for a while. Can you tell
me what happened to him? He was in fairly good health when we left.

Are you family?

He paused. No, but my wife is fond of him. She comes to see him every Wednesday.

Oh, yes. The nurse brightened. I remember now. Hes told me about his little
Marie. She comes in here with more food than he can put away in a week.

Edward nodded.

Well, were not so sure ourselves what happened exactly. She shook her head. A few
weeks ago, in the middle of the night, he had this massive heart attack, just right out of the
blue. We all feel so bad for him. Ever since then hes been out cold. The doctor is
wondering how much longer hell hold out.

Hes been like this for weeks? Edward was startled. Why hadnt anyone called them? It
seemed impossible that Esme or Alice would not know Charlie had taken a bad turn.

Well, theres just not any family left, Im afraid. Ever since the tragic loss of his little girl, I
dont think hes had much will to keep going. She smoothed Charlies hand and jotted
down some numbers in her chart.

Edward turned away from the nurse and pushed his hands through his hair. The whole
situation was getting worse. Where was Bella? His insides were twisting horribly, he
couldnt find his mate, some major disconnect had occurred with the Cullens and now
Charlie might be dying. His gaze fell on the expanse of space in the corner and he realized
something had changed since his last visit. Charlies easy-chair was missing. The couch was
still there, but the brown, expandable chair he had sat in last time was notably absent.

He walked forward slowly. How bizarre for something so big and bulky to unexpectedly be
absent. Why hadnt he noticed this before? The nurse next to Charlie began to hum an old
tune from the 1950s. It all became background noise to Edward as he knelt down and
observed bits of wood splinters around the rug and on the laminate flooring. He ran his hand
over the loose fabric, where four square impressions were still slightly visible in the ground.

And thats when he saw it.

The shimmer of light coming through the window blinds revealed the diamonds along the
band first, and then he saw the ring buried amidst the fringe of the rug. His hand was gentle,
his touch light, as he picked up Bellas ring. He moved his fingers over the cold stone almost
reverently, hoping he could still sense his mates warmness from the white gold. Slipping the
ring over his smallest knuckle, he stood up and his hands began to shake.

The tissues in his body felt like they were being ripped apart. Bella had been here. And
something monumentally bad had happened to her. Edward knew how much his mate adored
her ring. He knew it would never casually leave her finger. She was in danger. He bit back
a feral snarl at the thought of another males hands on her, threatening her.

Instantly his phone went off. But Edward didnt seem to hear. He was suddenly
remembering that hed forgotten to call Marcus on his way to Port Angeles. Was it truly
possible they had failed? Was James still at large? With his back still turned, Edward heard
another nurse walk into the room, disrupting the humming of the older employee.

His phone went off again, ringing shrill throughout the room. Someone was trying to text
him.

Ah, Heidi, there you are. How was lunch?

Fun-filled as always, she replied.

And then the mind images from the young woman came pouring into Edward. He saw her
sanitizing and clearing the debris from Charlies room. He saw her driving Bellas rental
truck and abandoning it on a dirt road. Bellas purse and cell phone being thrown into a
nearby trash compactor. He saw his mate, looking shattered and resigned while being
propelled down a long hallway. And finally, he saw James. The cold, sick, bastard was
touching Bella, keeping his hands around her arms as they walked down the hall.

The muscles in Edwards arms clenched, his face darkened. The beeping of his cell phone
finally seeped into his conscious thoughts. Keeping his fingers steady, he looked down at the
screen.

Get rid of the nurse. Hurry! - Alice

Edward closed his eyes and focused all his energy on not destroying the cell phone in his
hand. Never in his life had he felt the burning rush to massacre a radius of civilization,
humans included, and keep going. The Volturi had failed him. Marcus had failed him.

Edward had failed his mate.

The older nurses voice trickled into his thoughts. Oh, this man over here wanted to ask you
something.

Heidis face passed from annoyance to pleasure as she checked out Edward from
behind. What can I help you with?

Switching his calls to silent, Edward shoved the phone into his back pocket and turned to
look at the new nurse. A dazzling smile was now spread over his face.

I think Ive got everything under control.

He had the nicest, deepest voice she had ever heard.

The first nurse patted Heidi on the arm. Ill let you finish up, dear. I have other patients
down the hall.

She nodded and kept looking at Edward. He had to be the most handsome man she had ever
laid eyes on, and that included James. He was so deliciously tall with strong hips that fit so
nicely into the dark jeans he was wearing. His long-sleeved shirt molded perfectly around his
upper shoulders and his hair appeared so deep and thick. She was instantly glad she had
worn her shorter mini-skirt that showed off her legs. What could this man possibly want
with old Chief Swan?

So, do you know him? she asked.

A friend of a friend. Im actually just visiting and thought Id stop by. He started
chuckling and rubbed the back of his neck. But obviously hes not up for visitors.

Heidi giggled in return and popped her gum. Nope, he sure isnt.

Edward moved closer to her. So, this is my first time in town. Id love for someone to show
me around. When do you get off?

Well, she snickered, I dont know. I just got back from my lunch hour.

Come on. Can you say youre sick or something? He winked at her and rubbed his
fingers over her arm.

She pulled at one of her long streaked brown curls and shifted slightly. Uh um yeah, I
think so.

Excellent, he purred. Why dont you go check out and Ill wait here for you.

Okay, she nodded excitedly. Ill be right back. James had told her to stay put until he
contacted her, but he wouldnt know if she stepped out for a little while. The old man wasnt
going anywhere anyway.

The minute she left the room Edward whipped out his cell phone and called Carlisle. He
answered on the first ring.

Edward, did you get Alices message? Wheres Bella?

Carlisle, I dont have much time. His voice was low. I need you to come down to
Charlies care facility and get him discharged as quickly as possible.

Of course, Edward. Tell us whats happened. Alice couldnt get a clear picture.

Theres no time. But I cant save my mate until her father is safe.

Im leaving right now. Can you stay until I get there?

No. Edward looked over his shoulder. Ill meet you at your house later. I have
something to take care of.

Edward, wait. Carlisle paused. Please let us help you. I know that you need to go after
Bella, but you cant do this on your own. You wont be strong enough.

I understand. Ill be in touch.

He disconnected and pocketed the phone right before Heidi appeared at the door, a set of car
keys swinging from her hand. Do you want me to drive?


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


It was literally taking all of Edwards self-control to not crush Heidi and her car to pieces so
he could start ripping through the streets after Bella. He had to remind himself that any
rescue on his part would be in vain if Charlie was killed in the process. Either way,
he hated this delay. He hated not knowing what was happening to his mate.

Edward just needed to buy Carlisle enough time to move Bellas father without raising
suspicion. He didnt know what arrangements James had made with Heidi in regards to
Charlie, but he knew whatever threat James was holding over his mate, the dim-witted nurse
was key. It was paramount to keep her away.

Unfortunately, the stationary nature of keeping Heidi occupied was driving him mad. Every
particle of his body screamed out to protect his mate. He tried to focus on pilfering out any
details from Heidis thoughts surrounding James and where he might have taken
Bella. Unfortunately, as the passing afternoon hours continued to wreak havoc on Edwards
sanity and Heidis voice showed no end in sight, he realized he would have to step up his
interrogation tactics. This human female would not cease in subjecting him to thoughts about
his own hair, the greatness of his body intertwined with hers and the size of his erection.

And over there is where I live, she finished on a lengthy, breathless sentence.

Really? Edward looked thrilled and little bit relieved. Id love to see your place.

Oh, okay! she squealed and turned her car into the parking lot. Edward had left his own
Mercedes at the care center, knowing the fewer witnesses to his car the better.

Heidis apartment was on the second floor. The minute she unlocked the door and let
Edward in, she swaggered down the hallway. Want to see my room? she called out behind
her shoulder.

Edward made sure the door was locked behind him and then moved quickly. He smashed
Heidi up against the wall with one hand around her throat, her feet dangling beneath her.

Her eyes bulged. She clawed at his hands and choked for breath. P-please, please I
cant breathe, she begged.

I need you to tell me some information. Edward kept his voice calm, but firm. I need to
know about James.

Okay, she whispered.

Tell me what you know about him. Where did he go with the girl? He eased up his grip so
she could speak.

I dont I dont know, I swear. He he never told me where he was going. Sometimes he
went into the forest or up into the mountains, but he never took me with him. Her mind was
full of evenings spent in her apartment with James, heavy with promises and affection. He
had never divulged anything to her regarding his personal life. It was always one-sided.

Why didnt you go with them when they left?

Because because James wanted me to stick around in case she gave him trouble, she
choked. Please dont kill me. Please let me go.

Give me your cell phone.

She moved a hand to her back pocket and pulled out a pink phone. He took it and placed it
behind him on the hallway table. His eyes were dark scarlet when he looked back at her.

Are you are you going to rape me? Heidi began to cry.

No. He shook his head. But I am going to kill you. Make no mistake, you have harmed
individuals very close to me and for that I will take your life.

Heidi sobbed harder. Her hands were feeble and slippery from her tears as they pushed
weakly at his hands.

I will make your death easy, he promised. But you must give me the information I
require.

Her cries turned into soft sniffs from her runny nose. P-please dont.

What were you going to do to Chief Swan if she gave him trouble?

I have a syringe of oxybutynin. It would have pushed his heart into cardiac arrest.

Edward snarled and pushed her harder against the wall. And it never crossed your mind that
you were participating in the murder of an innocent man, a man that deserved none of this
pain or anguish?

He he promised hed take care of me, Heidi wailed. He said he loved me. He said he
wanted to be with me.

He lied. Edward squeezed and twisted his hand, breaking her neck instantly.

Her eyes glazed over and then peacefully drifted shut. Edward stepped back and let her body
crumple to the ground.
End Notes:

A/N: And thats why you never go anywhere with strangers even ones who look like
Edward.

Your reviews are amazing! Thank you for leaving feedback.
Back to index
Chapter 25 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas - EdwardsEternal and AngelGoddess1981.

Chapter 25


Bella tried to pace herself as they ran. James had parked his car at the edge of the national
forest where the paved road ended. Now she felt him hot on her heels, constantly pushing
them further into the dense growth, all towards the location she remembered so well.

The cabin.

This was the place where she had died, the place of all her walking nightmares and pain-filled
memories.

The car ride had been agony. Eight hours of James recalling the past twenty years of
searching for her, and his anger over her disappearance. When he couldnt find her, he
detailed how he had tracked out and killed any female who even remotely resembled her. He
had stalked universities and colleges across the country, always searching for another human
Bella. He was desperate for her taste again.

It had been Edward and Jaspers trip to Los Angeles that finally led him back to her. Her
scent had been impossible to track, but it was recognizable over the two males, one in
particular. And they were easy to follow. Once in Washington, it took just a simple phone
call to a friend he had at Volterra to learn the rest. Bella remembered Felixs insults and now
understood the connection.

In James deranged, fanatical mind, Bella was his mate. They had already performed half of
the mating ritual. All that remained was for her to drink from him.

For the most part, Bella said nothing. In particular, she refrained from saying anything
surrounding Edward. And she kept her mouth closed about the fact that she was
mated. James had mentioned the two males from Los Angeles, but no specific names, and it
was still unclear how much Felix had told him. Bella would not risk her mates life in
addition to her fathers.

Take as much time as you want, gorgeous, he called to her. If I get impatient, I can
always sample you on the forest floor.

Bella felt her insides twist further. The deliberate slowing on her part wasnt just to stop
James. The restless pain and sharp gnawing at her flesh had been increasing with each
step. Every mile that put her further away from her mate only served as a reminder of what
she would go through again without him.

She didnt know if Edward would find her. No doubt, he would be frantic and insane with
his search, but she prayed he had sense enough to allow the Cullens to help him. He would
grow weak, like her. So even if Edward did find her, James could easily have the upper hand
against him. And then there was Charlie. Bella brought a hand to her mouth to cover a
sob. There was a good chance she could lose both her mate and her father before this was all
over.

You smell amazing. James was suddenly behind her, his breath sticky and rank on her
neck. It wont be long now. Soon Ill be drinking from you again and well finish off what
was interrupted so long ago.

She pushed away from him and ran faster, ducking her head under some low-hanging
branches.

She had to survive this, for Edwards sake. Even if the worst case scenario happened, even if
James drank her blood or forced her to drink his, she had to survive. After all, it was just her
body. Her body would eventually heal. But if she perished, Edward would die. So, she
would placate James for her fathers sake, but she would endure for her mate.

Edward, she thought desperately. Be safe.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Three cars sped down Interstate Five, heading south. Edward was in the lead, driving
dangerously above the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring the blast of horns
in his path. He barely noticed the noise of his cell phone blaring in the car.

Edward, Alice warned over the intercom. If you keep going like this youll have five
police cars on your tail. Youve got to slow down just a little bit.

What do you see, Alice? His voice was anxious. Has anything changed?

Shes still okay. But, Edward, you wont be able to help her if youre busy explaining to the
Ninth District Court of Appeals how you simultaneously caused twelve major car collisions
and seven human deaths.

He slowed down.

Thats better, she said. I promise Ill tell you the second I see anything.

They were still hours away from the Umatilla National Forest, the region where Bella had
described the location of the cabin and where she had seen Mt. Hood from her
window. Edward had no idea if James had taken her there, but they appeared to be going in
the right direction. The tightness and heaviness inside him had not increased since they
started driving. In fact, as they passed the Oregon border, he could have sworn he felt better.

Unfortunately, he couldnt determine if this was from his proximity to his mate or the fact
that they were finally getting somewhere instead of just sitting around discussing what to do.

After taking care of Heidis body, Edward had arrived at the Cullens house, barely hanging
on to his self-control. His hands pushed frantically into his hair, his body constantly on the
move. He could not sit still. Carlisle had explained that Charlie was now resting in one of
the bedrooms upstairs. All of his medical equipment had been transferred and Bellas father
was now completely in their care. Esme was clearly distraught over their deception from the
care center. She tried to explain how all the information they had received regarding Charlie
during Edward and Bellas trip to Italy had been heavily filtered by the nurse. Edward briefly
muttered a few details about Heidis demise.

They deliberated where to begin looking. But here was their biggest dilemma. Alices
visions showed no precise location or direction of where James had taken Bella. She had
only seen a heavily wooded area with a dilapidated log shack. It was most likely the place of
her first capture and in Edwards mind this was enough to start with.

Carlisle warned of a trap. Why would James take Bella back to the same spot, knowing a
rescue would undoubtedly be attempted? It didnt make any sense. They tried using Heidis
phone to call James and track his location. But the number went straight to an answering
service.

Jasper wondered if they should call in a few friends for back-up control. And Emmett, like
Edward, paced the room, slamming his fists together in preparation for a good fight.

All the conversation wore thin on Edwards patience. They were wasting precious time
talking logistics while Bella suffered away from him. So when Edward finally threw over the
dining room table in frustration and flew out to jump into his car, the others followed without
asking questions. Carlisle drove with Emmett and Rose in their Land Rover, Alice and
Jasper in their BMW, and Edward in the lead. Esme remained behind to watch over Charlie.

Now that Edward had hours to spare and nothing to do but go mad with worry over his mate,
he did the one thing hed wanted to do since their return from Italy.

He called the Volturi.

Edward? Marcus came to the phone slowly. What is it? What can I do for you?

What the hell happened? Edward almost roared. You told me not to worry. You told me
you would stop him!

Edward, slow down, I cannot understand you. Are you referring to Vinchiaturo?

Yes! He snapped, exasperated. Please tell me you did something. That bastard has Bella!

Oh, dear me. Oh, my dear boy. Im so sorry.

Marcus, what happened? Youve never failed before and its been a month since we were
there. I thought she was safe!

Yes, and initially we were taking care of it. He paused. In the meantime, weve found
some dissenters ourselves within our ranks. When we went to find this James character you
told us about, the tracking system and all our files had been tampered with. We now believe
he had some inner connections with one of our own guards, whose name was Felix. He, of
course, has been silenced. But you can imagine the trouble weve been dealing with over
here.

Edward ran a hand through his hair and gripped the steering wheel tighter. He had been so
misguided, so nave on multiple levels. It was his fault not to have suspected Felix further
when he dropped the information about Bella. What he wouldnt give to have participated in
Felixs demise.

Edward, are you still there, son? Marcus voice was raspy over the intercom.

Im here. He steadied his hands. Is the tracking system working yet? Can you get me
coordinates on James location now?

Im afraid not. The corruption could take months, possibly years to correct.

Why did nobody call me?

Well, we assumed as your mates protector, you would always be with her, so there would
be no need to warn you to act other than you should.

At last someone voiced what had been haunting Edward. This was his fault. He never
should have put such blind faith in the Volturi. He never should have let his guard
down. And while it didnt help Bellas situation, Edward welcomed the additional suffering
from someone actually vocalizing the blame.

I failed, Marcus. I lost her.

Now stop talking that way. If she had died already you would feel it. So that means there is
still hope. Track her. Use your blood connection and find her. I mean, this male isnt crazy
enough to try and take her blood at this point. Weve all heard what can happen with mated
blood. So you dont have to worry on that account. I wish I could be there to help you, but I
cannot. You must do this yourself, Edward and put down this traitor that we could not. In
return, we will owe you a great debt, my son.

Edward ended the call, discouraged beyond belief. When it came to the Volturi, it was
always about repayment, about someone owing someone else. None of that mattered to
Edward. He was disgusted with them, almost as much as he felt disgusted with
himself. Pushing his foot to the gas pedal, he accelerated and shifted gears.

Hang on, beautiful girl. He rotated Bellas ring on his smallest finger. Im coming.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Bellas body was thrown against the wall, this time crashing into the three shelves between
the windows. It didnt hurt as much as his last punch. By this time, most of her just felt
numb. The problem was his speed. He would grab her and beat her before her body had time
to repair itself. Bones felt splintered and she had to bite her lips to keep from crying out.

When they had arrived at the cabin, James proceeded to correct her for running away so
many years before. She had fought him off initially, but his strength overpowered hers and
so she went limp, hoping that ultimately, he would wear out his anger and quit.

His anger lasted a long time.

At least he had not mentioned the ritual again. She would take the never-ending beatings
over the idea of a blood exchange. Given time, everything could heal. None of this would be
permanent unless he tore off her head and burned her. And she seemed too valuable to him
to think he would consider something as final as that.

She moved her hands around her shoulders, feeling the cracks in her body. James towered
over her with a smirk. You will never run away from me again. Do you understand
me? He picked her up and slammed her into the wall. I am your sire! My venom will
always be a part of you. You will obey me at all times. Understand?

She nodded and he dropped her to the floor, delivering a swift kick to the ribs.

After all- he took out his cell phone and waved it in her face -you wouldnt want me to
have to call, would you?

When Bella shook her head, he started laughing again and paced the room.

Now, lets talk about this other male I heard about, the one who came to see Laurent. The
one who claims hes your mate. He took you to Italy, didnt he?

Bellas eyes grew wide. This was the conversation shed been hoping most to avoid. She
had been counting on him knowing nothing specific about Edward.

James bent down and looked closely at her. Did you fuck him, gorgeous? You did, didnt
you?

When she didnt answer, he kicked her so hard her body slid across the hard wood floor to
the opposite wall.

But he wasnt your first, was he? I bet youve been around the coven several times over,
havent you? He walked closer to her. Ive sired a little female slut who likes to fuck.

For the first time since her kidnapping, Bella looked James right in the face. Her eyes were
hard and defiant; purposeful and resolved. She wouldnt tell him anything, but she would not
let him think he was destroying her.

And for some bizarre reason, James backed down. For a brief glimpse, the strength and
power behind Bella had him almost cowering in a corner of the room. But the moment
passed, and James quickly regained his momentum. He switched tactics.

Do you think hell come after you? Are you thinking hes on his way here, right
now? James blurred to the window and peeked through the curtains. Do you know why I
took you back here and not some new hideaway? I knew it might be risky. I knew you might
have already told him about our place here together.

She eyed him warily, nervous about his plans for her mate.

But I know something that apparently he keeps forgetting. You see, hes weak when hes
not around you. And by the time he finds you here, hell be as pathetic as a newborn
human! James threw his head back and laughed. And thats when Ill destroy him.

Bella gasped, her silence finally breaking, No! No, please. Ill do whatever you want.

James laughed harder. Of course you will. Im looking forward to it. Oh, I know you
might have started the mating process with him. But Im going to undo that right now. Once
weve shared blood, hell be out of the picture for good.

She edged further back against the wall, fear coating her face. James sensed her movements
and flew to her side. Shoving her to the floor, he straddled her waist and ripped open her
shirt, his eyes moving to her exposed neck and the swell of her breasts. The scars of her
mating with Edward were deep and prominent.

Lets start with this part, shall we? He bent his head and began licking across the marks,
his venom burning her skin.

Bella cried out and tried to twist away, but James held her tight, keeping his hips hard against
her waist. When he finished her neck, he leaned up and glared at her.

Stop struggling! Or Ill make that one little phone call. His smile returned. I want to
enjoy this. Your skin tastes just as good as I remember. I cant wait to drink from you.

She bit her lower lip hard to keep herself from squirming as James lowered his head to her
breast. She sobbed silently, her soul rebelling at what was being erased from her. While he
licked Edwards mark clean from her body, his hands smoothed up and down her bare
skin. Bella felt sick and tried to subtly shift away from his touch without increasing his ire.

After what felt like hours, James finally sat up and examined her bare torso. Now youre
clean and fresh for me. And where should I put my first teeth marks in you, huh? You
remember my first bite was at your wrist, just to test the waters. Oh, you tasted like
heaven. But I think this time Ill take you right here. He circled the skin around her belly
button with his dirty fingernails.

Bella squeezed her hands and closed her eyes, realizing from the first moment she saw him
that this was all inevitable.

Make it quick, she pleaded in a broken voice.

He grinned, felt his incisors lengthen and then sunk his teeth into her skin. Bella could not
stop the horrific scream that broke free from her throat, or the pain of the bite that went
through her whole body. She gritted her teeth, gearing herself up for the enduring struggle.

James wasted no time in taking several long pulls at Bellas skin. He swallowed a mouthful,
already anticipating the satiating appeasement that would fill his soul. But the moment her
blood touched his insides, his body began to gag and convulse. James threw himself from her
body and landed on the other side of the room. He leaned over and vomited everything inside
him, desperate to be rid of the horrible taste and the excruciating agony that was now leaking
through his tissues.

Bella couldnt tell what had happened. The sting of his bite was gone, but the opening had
not been sealed and now blood began to pour all over her sides and down her legs. She
gasped and clamped a hand over the wound to seal the flow. With her body stained in red,
she turned weakly to see a screaming James, still on the other side of the room, pulling at his
hair.

What did you do!? he cried. You filthy bitch! You whore! WHAT DID YOU DO!?

With feeble arms, James crawled to the back of the house and out to the porch, leaving the
door hanging ajar. She could hear his continued retching outside, his muffled moans and
cries as he collapsed near the stairs. Bella had no idea what had just happened. What had her
blood done to him? Perhaps it was the taste of Edwards blood mingled with hers? Her body
shook with exhaustion. Either way, at least it had made him stop.

The morning rays of sunlight were starting to peak through the thick pines outside and Bella
could hear the noise of the birds. Their little sounds and the awakening warmth felt glorious
to her. She didnt know how long James would stay away from her, but for the moment she
could rest.

She ran her hands over her broken body, keeping one on the open wound. The damaged
splinters inside her were slow to knit themselves together. Away from her mate, she knew
the time for recovery would be lengthened.

Bellas whispered breath to the cold air left no trace, No coward soul is mine, no trembler in
the worlds strom-troubled sphere: I see Heavens glories shine, And faith shines equal,
arming me from fear.

She wished Edward was here to reply.
End Notes:

A/N: James is down, but definitely NOT out. Not to worry - retribution will be swift
and satisfying



Quotes are from Emily Brontes Last Lines.
Back to index
Chapter 26 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to my betas - EdwardsEternal and AngelGoddess1981.

Chapter 26


Edward was close. He could feel it. The more he ran through the thick trees and leapt over
the rocks beneath his feet, his body began to sense the rejuvenating effects of being in close
proximity to his mate. The blue gem from Bellas ring rested on the inside of his palm and he
rubbed it gently. He would soon be reunited with her. His arms tightened with anticipation
of the upcoming retribution he would deliver to James.

The problem was speed.

The cabin was apparently located at the farthest most point of the reserve, the tip of the lush
vegetation. And though he ran with everything in him, Edward knew something was
wrong. Alice had stopped showing him her visions a while back, when they had left their
cars behind. She was hiding from him the details of Bellas capture, and it made him push
even harder.

Oh, God Oh, no! Alice stopped and her eyes glazed over. We wont reach her in time!

She started running again, putting on more speed. She looked over her shoulder and called
out, Carlisle! Shell need you.

Carlisle was running at the tail end of the group, his growing separation from Esme starting
to show. Nevertheless, he nodded to Alice and pressed on with just as much speed as the rest.

What?! Edward yelled beside her as she ran. Alice, show me, please.

I cant. If I show you, youre either going to lose it or do something irrational. And she will
need you, Edward. If shes going to survive, shell need you.

Survive? He was beyond frantic now. Alice, please! What if it were Jasper?

She looked at him cautiously as she ran between two bulky aspens. She nodded to herself
and then opened her mind.

Edward gasped, his face crumbling in agony, and then all he saw was red. He roared through
the forest, his cry making the other Cullen family members recoil in alarm. They all feared
whatever Alice had seen. Instead of slowing down, Edward pushed on faster than any of
them. He disappeared ahead into the trees.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Blessedly, James stayed outside the cabin for most of the day, retching and clutching at his
stomach. He groaned and cursed, yelling constant threats to Bella who remained
inside. Several times he attempted to stand up and come back to her, but his body would
always collapse and he would scream out his frustrations.

Bellas body had begun to heal. She was still filthy and covered with blood and bruises, but
her bones had repaired themselves. She felt better, the constant twisting of her skin
slackening.

And it scared her.

Was it truly possible for James to undo her mating ritual with Edward? Could he reverse the
process and bind her to him? She didnt know how else to explain the easing of the
discomforts inside her body, the alleviating of the pain that would flare up when she was
apart from Edward. There was no chance he would be nearby. There hadnt been enough
time for him to find her.

Maybe she was just delirious.

She refused to look at her abdomen where James had left his teeth marks. Her fingers avoided
touching it. When the bones in her arms had healed enough, she had pulled on the remains of
her shirt. She crawled to a shaded spot against the wall, hoping that if she was out of his way
when he returned, he wouldn't come at her again so quickly.

Her eyes darted around the room, looking for James' cell phone. But her search was in
vain. She suddenly recalled him pocketing the cell phone right before he had bitten
her. When her despair threatened to bring forth sobs, she reminded herself that James
probably wouldn't try to drink from her again. And that thought cheered her up immensely.

She didnt have time to relish the sentiment. Within minutes, James was limping back into
the cabin, his eyes full of hatred and loathing.

You disgusting bitch! He wiped at his mouth. Did you think your own poisonous blood
would work against me? Did you think you could fight me off?

Bella just stared at him, strangely calm for the first time since arriving at the cabin. Her eyes
were clear and fearless. James threw himself across the room and tackled her. He slammed
her head to the ground and straddled her waist again.

I can still tie you to me. His breath was foul. I can still undo what he did.

Switching her wrists to one hand, James worked at his shirt and began to remove his
jacket. But he was weak from the ordeal with her blood, and Bella was stronger now. Her
scuffle succeeded in freeing one of her hands.

James slapped her and sneered, "Don't tell me you're forgetting your father. Because even if
you could escape, you won't make it back in time. Remember, if something happens to me,
he's dead. You need me."

She closed her eyes and tried to calm her body. But when James removed his shirt and sliced
a clean incision across his chest, she started to panic. Blood began to spill down his torso and
over his fingers. He pulled Bella up to him.

Drink me! he yelled. Drink now and seal yourself to me.

Bella had never been so repulsed and disgusted with anything in her life. She felt complete
revulsion at just the sight of James blood. Her body was already gagging at the smell.

When James saw how terrified Bella looked, he laughed. Thats right, gorgeous. You know
youre going to have to drink me. Do it for your father and when that fucking mate of yours
shows up, Ill be merciful and show leniency.

Then he slammed her against his chest, the blood spilling over Bellas face. She cried out
and sobbed. It was the worst thing he could possibly put her through. Take her body, take
her blood, but this was beyond any of that. This would invade her soul; displace the
connection she had created with Edward. She would endure anything but this.

Knowing she had to save her father, and perhaps even Edward, Bella opened her mouth and
began to drink. James kept his hand tight on her neck, not allowing her to move. She choked
on the terrible taste of him, keeping herself to a few tight swallows.

And then her body completely rebelled. She started to wretch and heave against him. When
James saw the mess she was creating and the choked up phlegm from his blood, he threw her
to the ground with disgust.

Bella crumpled as her body began to burn, piercing her on the inside like shards of glass. The
burning was more intense than it had been during her transformation. This was a hundred
times worse, a million times more acute. She cried out and screamed. She pulled at her hair
and felt her body convulse on the ground.

James stood over her and began to kick at her stomach, her face. His taunts and scoldings
were lost on Bellas ears that were now ringing with high pitched sirens and a blackness that
took her vision and her ability to comprehend the world around her.

And then suddenly, James stopped. The exterior destruction on her body finally ceased. But
it barely fazed Bella, whose internal war had just started. She curled into a ball and twisted to
her stomach, her cries of agony sharp and pronounced.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Edward could hear her. Her screams were both a relief to hear and absolutely terrifying at the
same time. He knew from Alices visions what James had done to her. He could hear the
pounding of his mates flesh being kicked and punched and Edward felt the feral beast within
him unleashed. He was going to destroy him. He would torture and maim him, and then he
would make him waste away in the most painful way possible.

A ramshackled cabin, exactly the one from Alices vision, could be seen around the dense
trees. The windows were broken, beams were bent out from the walls and even from this
distance Edward could smell the blood.

He smelled her blood.

Edward dismissed any hesitation that he might not be at full strength yet. He also gave no
thought to the whereabouts of the Cullens. He surged through the cabin walls and
immediately flung himself at James, wrestling him away from Bella.

The two vampires tumbled across the ground, pushing up boards as they slid along the
floor. James grappled against Edwards grip and sprung away from him to the opposite side
of the room. He crouched down and snarled, preparing to charge. Edward braced himself and
started running at him, already visualizing James intent and means of attack from his
thoughts.

In spite of James poisoned body and Edwards recovering strength, their collision shook the
entire cabin. The trees outside swayed slightly from the force. But Edward was nearly
maddened with revenge and had the upper hand on every move James was imagining in his
mind. Together they rolled through the kitchen, crushing glass fragments into the
wood. Edward came down on top and wrapped his hands around James neck.

Finally, I have my hands on you, you fucking bastard! You dont know how much Ive
thought of breaking you apart. You will never touch my mate again.

At that same moment, Bella released a high-pitched scream from the main room and Edward
looked over his shoulder to see her, his body torn between going to his mate and staying
where he was to finish the kill. James used the distraction to deliver a solid punch to his face
and toss him aside. Freed from Edwards weight, James jumped to his feet, leapt in the air
and crashed down on top of him. Edward gasped slightly as the air left his body.

James spit in his face and snarled, Shes mine now. Your connection with her is
broken. He nodded towards the room where Bella still cried out. Cant you hear
her? Thats my blood burning everything that was yours out of her system.

With a roar, Edward pulled James hands from his neck and threw him back into the living
room. Before he could recover, Edward blurred to his side, picked him up and crushed him
to the ground, gratified to see a small crack forming across James jaw. Eager to inflict more
pain, Edward lifted him up to smash him down across his bent knee, bending James body
backwards. The proverbial snap of the spine and shriek that echoed throughout the room was
gratifying, but not nearly enough for Edward. He brought James arms behind his back and
pulled them together, dislocating both from their joints.

Bellas continued screams in the back of his mind only fueled Edwards rage as he dragged
James limp body up again and twisted him around to slam him up against the wall. The
force was so intense, the pain in his back and arms so severe, James cried out in pain.

Edward brought his face close and hissed, You cannot break a bond, you pathetic
cretin! Thats why youre so weak. You keep thinking youll beat me because Ive been
away from her. But youre weaker. You poisoned yourself on her mated blood.

When James tried to twist and lurch out of his grip, Edward smashed his head into the wall,
the crack across his face growing larger. His hands squeezed his neck tight.

Theres nowhere to run. Bella will always be mine, and Im not leaving until youve been
torn apart, piece by piece. Edward grabbed the skin at James elbow and ripped it straight
down his arm off the bone, exposing the raw flesh. James howled.

Movement suddenly blurred around them as some of the Cullens entered the cabin. Rose and
Alice hurried to Bella. Emmett and Jasper went straight to Edward. Carlisle was nowhere to
be seen.

Go, Emmett said to him. Jasper and I will hold him while you take care of Bella.

He was slow to unclench his grasp from James. Edwards eyes were full of death and
vengeance. James was still groaning out from his broken body. And they could all hear
Bellas cries in the background.

Leave him alive, Edward growled. Hes mine to finish.

Emmett nodded, and Edward hurried to his mates side. Alice and Rose had turned her onto
her back and were quietly holding her down while her frame shook with spasms, her face
lifeless and gray.

Rose scooted aside so Edward could gently move Bellas head to his lap. He looked panicky
as he took in her broken, damaged body. Her hair was caked with blood and broken
glass. Splinters of wood, vomit and dust clung to her clothes.

Bella? His voice was strong and beseeching. Bella, come back to me. Im here. Its
Edward.

She gave no sign of recognition, only convulsed again and choked. Several thin lines of
blood ran down her open mouth. Alice leaned forward and wiped them away with her sleeve.

Edward softly pushed back Bellas hair, his breath stumbling forth in a half articulated cry.
God, beautiful girl, Im so sorry. Its all my fault.

They were disrupted as Carlisle at last stumbled into the cabin. He took in the scene before
him, his expression becoming grave as he assessed Bellas quivering body. Everyone looked
to him, all anxious for his advice. Unfortunately, in all his five hundred immortal years,
Carlisle had never seen anything like this.

Edwards desperate expression met his. I think shes been poisoned.

Carlisle seemed to instantly come alive as he rushed to Bellas side and immediately began
biting into her skin. He was careful not to ingest her blood. Instead he simply let it pool on
the floor. Edward growled loudly and shoved Carlisle to the ground, his body hovering
protectively over his mate.

What the hell do you think youre doing?

Im trying to save her life, Edward. Carlisle held up his arms in supplication.

No. Edward shook his head as he read his thoughts. You dont know if this will work. It
was always just a theory. It was never proven! This could kill her. You dont know what
youre doing!

Youre right. I dont know what Im doing, he confessed. But the theory was that it
would always be worse if they were mated. So, Im going with the most common sense
approach. Edward, we need to get the poison out of her.

He considered Carlisles words and looked back at Bella. Her body was still convulsing
under his hands and blood was starting to ooze from Carlisles bites. She let out another
horrific scream and arched up to slam her head back into the ground.

Hurry, Alice cried. Shes fading. I cant see anything from her anymore.

Edward squeezed his eyes closed and nodded, resigned to the plan. Carlisle was instantly
back, biting Bella along both arms and wrists. Edward placed a rough hand on his shoulders
to stop him.

His voice was harsh as he bit out, I will bite her.

Be careful, Carlisle warned. I didnt mean to overstep your bounds, Edward. But you
cannot drink from her yet, and as her mate, you would be the most tempted to do so. You
know mated blood was always thought to be poisonous to anyone other than the designated
mate. And since James blood now mingles with hers, it would also be lethal to you.

Edward bent his head to Bellas neck and moaned against her skin. Not only had this
mongrel taken his mates blood, but he had inserted his own into hers. This was the worst
desecration of the sacred reverence his kind had shown to the mating rituals. Edward started
biting along her neck, and then down to her shoulders. By right, the rich blood belonged to
him and he felt like part of him was dying as he watched it being spilled to the ground. It
called to him, wanting to be spared, begging to be merged with his own.

What if I try to give her my own blood? he asked.

It might help. Carlisle thought for a moment. Her body would grow stronger with your
blood inside her.

James exploded in the background. He screamed and thrashed in Jaspers
arms. No! No! Shes mine. Shell always be mine. You cant have her!

Emmett delivered a solid punch to James face, stopping the maniacal babble.

Get him out of here, Rose spat. Take him out back and keep him away from us.

Jasper nodded and helped Emmett drag him outside. Edward found solace in their vengeful
thoughts of retribution. Even though they would hold him for Edward to finish the kill, they
planned to get him as close as possible to that point.

Hurry, Edward, Carlisle urged. We need to seal the blood flow soon.

Edward brought his own wrist to his mouth and bit into his flesh. When the red liquid rushed
to the surface he placed the cut above Bellas mouth, coating her lips with his blood.

Come on, Bella. You can do this. Just a few swallows, he whispered and nuzzled her
forehead, his voice breaking. I love you so much.

She would not close her mouth around the pierced vein, but as Edward worked his wrist over
her lips, he was able to pour several mouthfuls down her throat. She convulsed briefly, but
did not spit the blood back up.

Edward sealed his cut and then leaned down to pull her body into his arms, across his
lap. Her blood trickled out over him.

Why would he poison her? Rose asked. I thought he wanted her?

Carlisle shook his head weakly. I dont think he believed this would happen. We both
know he was trying to mate with her. His mind probably wouldnt accept otherwise.

With the poison spilling out and her mates clean blood moving through to take its place,
Bella relaxed slightly. She stopped shaking and rested into Edwards arms easier. Slowly,
her eyes closed. At first Edward was alarmed, but Carlisle assured him it was a good
sign. Her body had most likely shut down all outward physical demands in order to start the
internal healing. He motioned to the cuts along her skin that were still pooling blood.

Seal them. he said. I dont want to drain her completely or else she will never recover.

Edward closed the wounds, never swallowing any of the substance, even though his insides
were screaming for it. He noted with fury that his mark had been removed from her
neck. Quickly he looked down to where her chest lay partially covered by her ripped
shirt. Her skin and clothes were all covered in blood, but he could tell her breast was also
devoid of his teeth marks.

And then he finally saw the bite mark on her stomach, red and sore against her
flesh. His mates flesh. He knew James had taken her blood, but seeing the evidence up
close and fresh made him snarl.

Edward gently transferred Bella to Alice and stood up slowly, his clothes and arms were now
stained with her poisoned blood. He observed the room, taking in the destruction that had
been his mates hell for the past two days. He glanced down at Bella, her body broken and
lifeless. He looked out the path where Emmett and Jasper had taken James. Without a
backwards glance, Edward walked down the trail, breaking into a run, his face dark and full
of revenge.
End Notes:

A/N: Everyone take a relaxing breath. The storms are clearing and sunshine is on the
way.
Back to index
Chapter 27 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

A/N: Summary for My Matehas changed. Have no fears same story just a stronger
summary. My thanks to Nikkistew2 for pushing me in the right direction.

Also - for those hungry folks anxious for the details on James final demise will
unfortunately not find them in this chapter. Its all part of Edwards story and needs to
be told in his way which will come out in the next update. Patience

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to the awesome and amazing - EdwardsEternal and AngelGoddess1981.

Chapter 27


Bellas eyes stayed closed for ten days. And for ten days, Edwards immortal soul hung in
the balance.

Just give her time, Carlisle had said. Her bodys been through a lot of trauma. Shell
come back when shes ready.

The duration felt eerily similar to the time theyd been apart while Bella had come to grips
with their relationship. A similarity that, fortunately, ended there. Edward took much
consolation in his freedom to hold her, touch her skin and watch her beautiful face this
time. He rarely left her side.

After destroying James and burning the cabin to the ground, he had brought Bella home to
their new house, carrying her over the threshold. He refused to let her go. He had taken her
straight to the large shower in the master bathroom. Stripping them both of their stained
clothes, he spent the next several hours letting the water rush over their limbs, cleansing them
of the ruined blood and James scent. Bella hung limp in his arms while his hands had
moved gently over her skin.

The Cullen family had helped move her bedroom furniture, her flowers, her clothes, anything
to help her feel comfortable. Even still, the house remained sparsely furnished, barren in its
emptiness. Edward hardly noticed. All his concerns were focused on his mate and waiting
for her to come back to him.

Carlisle stopped by daily to check up on Bella, much to Edwards relief, who found his
frequent reassurances welcome. The others would occasionally spend time at Bellas
bedside. But for the most part, they stayed away, respecting Edwards need to be alone with
his mate. Overall, he still blamed himself for what happened. He swore he would never let
Bella out of his sight again. No doubt, she would probably despise his over-possessive nature
when she woke up, but at least she would be safe and alive.

The most distressing was that Alice had still not been able to see a clear picture of Bellas
future. And that worried Edward the most.

As the days dragged on, Bella would occasionally talk out loud. She would whisper names
and words, most of it nonsense. Sometimes it was about Charlie, and Edward could tell she
was anxious for him, worried something had happened to her father.

Bella, he said soothingly, Charlies with Carlisle and Esme. Hes safe. You dont have to
worry about him.

The sound of his voice always seemed to calm her, and so he talked often. He told her that
Charlie was still unconscious, but starting to heal. He told her more about his life, his
existence before he met her. He recounted what it had been like to find her, how he had
wrestled in pain for days when she was shut away from him. He talked about how hed fallen
in love with her.

And at night, when the sounds of the forest and the darkness of the house would encircle
them in a sweet intimacy, Edward would whisper his memories of Italy, about wanting her
again with so much heat and how it felt like hed never get enough of her. His hands would
smooth under her gown, feel her soft skin against his hands. And then he would bury his
head in her neck while he groaned out his intense need.

The first time she said his name, Edward felt his whole body jolt in response, thinking that
maybe she would wake up soon. But her eyes remained closed.

After draining so much blood from Bella to extract the poison, Edward knew he had to
replenish her supply if her body was expected to fully heal. Carlisle suggested some bags of
donated blood. But they were both ignorant on how to get it inside her, since an IV or any
type of injection was impossible with their skin type.

One night while Edward lay next to her, fiddling with a blood bag and thinking over how to
get his mate to cooperate, he decided to try something. He shifted Bella so she was on her
back and propped her mouth slightly open. He pierced the bag, put a few drops on his
fingertips and rubbed them over her dry lips. He watched in amazement as Bella instantly
closed her mouth and licked the substance.

Edward quickly put more onto her lips and watched as the same action was repeated. He
followed the routine several more times before another idea came to him. Tilting the bag up,
he drank a mouthful himself and then brought his lips to Bellas. Her lips caressed his as he
pushed the fluid into her mouth. After she swallowed the liquid, her movements grew weak
until she eventually stopped returning his kisses.

The process was more than encouraging for Edward, who was desperate to feel her lips
respond against his own. And for the rest of the day, he emptied all the blood bags, filling his
mouth first and then filtering the liquid into his mate. It was his best day since rescuing her.

As time passed, Edward recognized how grateful he was that he had given Bella his
blood before she went under. At least he knew she wasnt suffering too heavily for want of
that. On the other hand, he was thirsting forher. Carlisle had told him to wait as long as
possible, to resist until he sensed the poison had worked through her body enough to
minimize it toxicity.

When they had rescued Bella, Edward could smell the poison in her system, and his body
easily recognized the difference between his mates blood that ran through his own veins as
opposed to what pulsed through her body at the time. But with every passing day, the
variance decreased and it was becoming harder to sense the difference. Regardless, he
refrained from drinking from her as long as possible.

Finally, one night, Edward gave in.

He had been holding her close, rubbing his hands along her body. Her flesh was now
completely void of the bite marks from Carlisle and James. Edward had been quick to use his
venom to heal her after bringing them home. His ring was back on her finger. And now her
flawless skin called out to him to mark it as his. It had been over a week since hed had her
blood, and having it rush so loudly right under his fingertips eventually became too much.

He gently positioned himself over her, careful to keep as much weight off her as
possible. Bellas camisole slid easily up her torso, exposing her breasts to his view. He
palmed them, ravenous for the soft flesh in his hands.

Bella, I need you, he whispered. Forgive me for not waiting. I need this too much.

With hungry eyes and sharp teeth, Edward bit smoothly into Bellas skin above her
breast. He licked at the wound and sucked on her skin. The blood came flowing pure and
clean into his mouth. He groaned and pulled her body tighter against his. He almost choked
on his own relief. There were no remaining traces of foreign blood, no poison. It was all
pure, unadulterated Bella.

After several heavy swallows, he closed the cut and then leaned up to bite into her neck. He
drank and drank, his body growing hard and demanding, powerful once again. Her legs were
open around him and Edward rubbed himself firmly up against her. His hand smoothed
down her body and cupped her between her legs. He tore her panties aside and buried his
fingers inside her wet heat.

He sealed the bite, once again leaving his own mark behind. Ah, beautiful girl, can you feel
me? Can you feel this?

Edward shifted down between his mates legs and moved his mouth between her thighs. His
tongue slipped inside, tasting her. He unbuttoned his own pants and released his erection into
his hand. While he licked her sweet folds and fucked her with his tongue, his hand moved up
and down his length.

Edward. Bellas whisper broke through in between the harsh grunts from Edward.

Thats it, Bella. His lips were wet. Wake up and feel this. Feel me loving you.

His spirits soared when he heard a breathless sigh come from her lungs, but her eyes and her
body stayed motionless. He pressed on, his tongue against her and his own release
close. Her arousal flooded into his mouth and he sucked at her wet flesh, groaning at the
taste of her. When he couldnt stand it any longer, Edward came up on his knees and
growled, feeling his animalistic tendencies take over. He released over her abdomen, the
exact place where James teeth had been but no longer showed any trace.

When it was done, Edward leaned protectively over his mate and took several deep breaths,
basking for a few moments in the smell of their sex mingled with her skin. After his head
cleared, he fisted the white sheets and cleaned them both up. He retrieved a warm washcloth
in their bathroom and smoothed it over her limbs. His newly-placed marks seemed to glow
against her flesh. He crawled back up Bella body and kissed her unresponsive mouth.

Come back to me.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


With her mates recent feeding and fresh blood inside her, Bellas recovery progressed
rapidly. A healthy glow returned to her skin. She moved her limbs, squeezed Edwards hand
and mumbled coherent sentences to him. Edward was even more relieved the morning Alice
arrived at their doorstep and showed him her vision of Bella waking up. It would happen that
evening, around sunset.

It was the longest day of Edwards life.

For hours he paced around their bedroom, watching the miniscule cracks in the hardwood
floors, the individual colored threads in the rug, the thickness of the paint around the
windows, and the way Bellas nail cuticles cut perfectly in semi-circles around her skin.

The day dragged on.

At last he sat at Bellas side, watching her eyes shift underneath her closed lids. Her limbs
moved faintly as her hands clenched and released. When the rose colored sunlight had
almost disappeared from the caramel-colored walls, she finally opened her lovely, red-toned
eyes and smiled warmly at her mate.

Bella, he breathed. His relief and love radiated from his face.

Her smile faltered and then she blurred to Edwards chest. She ripped his shirt from his body
and immediately sunk her teeth into his skin. They both groaned at the contact, Bellas
whimpering vibrating against him.

Take everything, beautiful girl, he soothed while he stroked back her hair and held fast to
her neck. You wouldnt believe how much Ive missed you.

Bella swallowed hungrily, moving her hands to cling to his upper-arms, her nails sharp as she
gripped him. Edward only constricted his muscles in return, thrilled to have her awake and
responding to him once again. He swept the blankets from her legs and pulled her fully
astride his lap, her body tight against his.

She fed for a while, sometimes fast and voraciously, and then light and sweetly. Each one of
her pulls at him had his body clamoring for more of her. His hips pushed up and rubbed
against her, his blood demanding an intimate connection with his mate. Her insides called to
him in return. Finally, she sighed against his skin and softly licked the incision closed. She
looked up at him with wide eyes that were now satiated and content.

Charlie? Hes safe? she asked.

Edward nodded, his soul lifting to hear the beautiful tones of her voice after days of its
absence.

I dreamed you told me he was okay, but I couldnt tell if it was real.

His hands smoothed up and down her bare arms. I made sure he was safe before I came to
get you.

Thank you, she breathed.

I love you. He kissed her forehead, the side of her face, and then down to her lips. I love
you so much, Bella. Please, dont ever do that to me again.

I didnt mean to. But he threatened Charlie. He even threatened you. She scooted closer
into his arms and rubbed her fingers into his hair. And I could never let anything happen to
you.

His eyes flashed with ire. I would sacrifice my life a million times over to save yours. I
cannot exist without you.

She threaded their hands together and brought them to her breast where she noticed his mark
was once again imbedded on her skin. We will always save each other, Edward. We will
always come back to this.

He kissed her again, his mouth hungry and possessive. Always always need you.

I love you, Edward, she breathed into his skin.

Moving her hands down to his lap, she ripped the clothing easily from Edward, quickly doing
away with her own while he threw the pieces aside. She fisted his hard erection in her hand
and moved herself in his lap to take him inside. He groaned her name as her wet folds
enveloped him. They moved together, their faces close, reconnecting and solidifying what
had been stolen from them.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Everyone still feels horribly responsible for Charlie, Alice muttered.

Rose was angry, her voice sharp. That little bitch even called Esme from the care center and
told us Charlie had friends visiting and wouldnt need the food.

You were deceived, Bella replied as her hand outlined the stitching on her quilt. We all
were.

The three vampire sisters sat across Bellas bed. They had come from Carlisles office with
more blood bags. Bellas health was better, but she still experienced episodes of weakness
and fatigue, something Edward was monitoring closely. Even at this moment, when Bella
knew her mate should be out hunting while she was safe with her sisters, he spent the time
organizing the house, staying close in case she needed him.

You know, he can have some time off, Rose commented. Hes been here with you for
weeks. He never leaves.

Dont be hard on him. Bella grasped Roses hand. Hes been through so much. We both
will need some time to get things back to normal.

Alice laughed. Like anything with you has ever been normal, Bella.

It was true. Since the moment Edward had walked into the Cullens home and spotted her,
their lives together had been anything but conventional. Even now, she could sense his
unease at being away from her. The whole episode with James still weighed heavily on his
shoulders and Bella was anxious to reassure him in every possible way.

How are you enjoying your new house? Alice asked.

Bella smiled. Its really beautiful. Its big, but it doesnt feel that way. Everything is so
cozy and warm. And I love how its tucked away from the world.

Are you going to furnish it someday? Rose asked, looking around the room. I mean, I
love your bedroom and everything, but it smells way too much of you and Edward mating.

You little hypocrite. Bella laughed. Alice can testify that even before Emmett came
along, we had to smell years of you and your physical activities.

Alice nodded and winked at Bella. Rose only sniffed and examined a hanging curl across her
breast. Emmett doesnt complain.

Im sure he doesnt, Alice said. Now, Bella, is there anything else we can do for you? I
know Edward was hesitant to allow us to visit. He wants you to rest and recover.

Hes been so good to me, Bella confided. I wish I could help him recover.

Do you want to talk about anything? Alice asked. Anything about your time with James?

Bella shook her head. She had voiced very little to anyone about the details of her
capture. No. I want it to stay between Edward and me. It was so horrible and the things he
did but its getting better. With Edward here, I feel like Ill eventually heal.

Do you want to know how he killed James? Rose asked.

Bella paused. She knew her mate was the one ultimately responsible for James demise, but
she also sensed there were details surrounding his end that had been purposely kept from her.

No, she said calmly. I want to hear it from him.

Wise move, Alice said. He will tell you soon.

I think youd better head home, Bella frowned. His pacing downstairs has gotten worse. I
need to spend some time with him.

As if on cue, Edward instantly appeared, leaning against the bedroom door. He didnt say
anything, but his lost, hungry eyes sought out his mate. He barely acknowledged the others
in the room.

Alice took Bellas hand before she left. Charlie is still recovering. He will make it through
this, but things are going to be very different when he wakes up. Dont worry. I think it will
be a good change for you.

With a wink over her shoulder and a hug from Rose, the two sisters said goodbye and
disappeared down the hallway. Bella waited until the sound of their departing car could no
longer be heard before looking up at Edward and motioning with her hand.

Come here.

He blurred to her side and collapsed next to her in the bed. His voice was dark and lost. Im
sorry, Bella. I probably came across pretty badly with them. But I just cant stand being
away from you right now.

Hush. She pulled him tightly against her, smiling as she felt his fingers undo the ties on her
robe. I need you too.

When her clothes were pushed aside, Edward could barely be bothered with his own. He was
too busy touching and kissing her skin. Bellas hands wrapped around his body and disposed
of his shirt and pants.

He pulled her under him and immediately thrust inside. They both gasped, breathing in the
air from each other. He rested his forehead against hers and groaned, Talk to me. Tell me
Im not hallucinating.

She rocked her hips up against his, keeping them locked together in a slow, steady pace. As
they moved, she whispered over and over, Im safe. Were both here. This is real.

Eventually, he started to believe her.
End Notes:

A/N: Only 3 chapters left.
Back to index
Chapter 28 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to the lovely - EdwardsEternal and AngelGoddess1981.

Chapter 28


Carlisles advice to Bella in her road to recovery was to exchange blood as often as possible
with her mate and to hunt frequently. Whatever processes could further absolve the poisons
from her system were encouraged. Edward welcomed the additional feedings from him, but
he was uneasy with her leaving the house to hunt.

After only a week, Bellas periods of weakness were growing further apart and her strength
was returning to normal. Still, Edward worried. When Carlisles blood bank supply was
exhausted, Edward had little choice but to allow her to leave their home. It was the most
closely guarded and secured hunting experience Bella had ever encountered.

Edward had personally taken care of James demise. Laurant was dead. And he had even
confirmed several times through Marcus that the Volturi had at last followed through on
every member of the Vinchiaturo project and silenced any remaining stragglers.

Regardless, Edward obsessed over the safety of his mate.

Bella was extremely patient with him and understanding in his preoccupied need to protect
her. When they werent hunting, they spent their time shut away from the world in their
large, empty house, completely absorbed in the other. They made love, cuddled, drank from
each other and ended up breaking the very comfortable bed Bella adored. He promised to
buy her hundreds more.

If their time in Italy had been about exploring their growing desires for one another, this
escape was centered on reassurance and comfort. Edward kept her close while he pushed into
her, content to feel the outline of her body more than the sensation of a new position. Bella
clung to him, impatient to run her hands around the shape of his shoulders and arms, restless
not so much from passion, but for her own assertion that he was alive and connected with her.

They hunted animals the first few times, but Bella was eager to try Edwards method
again. Fortunately, his insistence that she drink only from females was easier on his anxiety
and possessive nature. Sadly for Bella, the female human made little difference and he still
had to pull her back before the human died. Edward was encouraging; reminding her that it
could take a while for her to master the same level of self-control he had spent several
lifetimes acquiring.

Finally, the details of James death started to emerge. One night, after Edwards lips had
covered her skin, followed by his body as he brought them both to release, he confessed how
he had ultimately beaten him to death. Bella listened quietly as he told her about turning
James insides out and letting his blood spill until he was completely drained. He wanted
none of his mates blood to continue in another males body.

Emmett and Jasper had held James to the ground, while Edward pulled away every small
piece of flesh from his bones. Each cry of agony, each withering twist of torture that had
burst forth from James mouth helped fuel Edwards crazed need for revenge. With every
ounce of pain he had inflicted, he was reminded of Bellas anguish and therefore, no amount
of retribution was sufficient. He had roared while he watched James remains burn with the
cabin, frustrated that he couldnt extract more misery from his mates abductor.

As Edwards words stumbled forth, he found it hard to look at Bella, fearful of her
disapproval. She could not fathom the relief he had felt when James life was spent and how
he would gladly relive those moments again if given the chance.

I dont expect you to understand this, he confessed. I wouldnt blame you if you thought
less of me after youve had the chance to reflect back on everything.

She laid a calming hand on his cheek. What did Jasper and Emmett say?

Nothing. He shook his head. They helped me. I knew they would have done the same
thing if it had been their mate in your place. But it doesnt matter. Nothing would have
stopped me in those moments anyway.

Good, she said firmly.

He looked up at her, his eyebrows lifting slightly. You mean you dont see me as some kind
of sadistic monster for how I killed him? Or that I didnt ultimately bring myself down to his
level?

Never.

Edward brought his forehead to rest against hers. Bella, he breathed. I felt demented
when I saw him beating you. And even though I wasnt thinking in the most logical ways, I
feel almost ashamed to admit that I would willingly go back and kill him all over again.

Its all right, she cooed. Im glad you killed him. Im glad he suffered after what he did
to you, and to Charlie, and to me. When he took my blood after he bit me he was in
agony. And yet, all I could feel was relief, never sympathy not even a morsel of
compassion.

He pulled her closer. Your blood is poisonous to anyone else but me. Its what happens
when we mate. Carlisle and I werent certain. It was always just a theory amongst our
kind. Even the Volturi dont know the exact consequences. But since James body wasnt
mated to someone else already, the effects were not nearly as toxic for him as it was for you
taking his blood. And I could tell he was still weakened from your blood. It was part of the
reason I was able to wrestle him from you so easily.

Her hands smoothed up into his hair. Im so glad you were safe.

After that night, they never spoke much about James again, or any of the horrible associations
with Bellas transformations and her kidnappings. Bella healed completely, with no more
disturbing recollections or marks on her skin from the ordeal. At the same time, Edward
started to crawl out of his hole of self-reproach and over-protectiveness of his mate.

Even still, they continued in an almost unspoken agreement to keep the outside world at bay
for the time being. They were in no hurry to end their self-imposed solitude. Instead, they
spent their energy focused on furnishing their home, tending to the outside garden and
developing Bellas self-control while hunting.

She loved the house. It was red brick with white trim. The structure was older and Edward
had knocked down several of the walls to enlarge the front room living spaces for more
light. The refurbished kitchen was a delight to Bella, and she spent hours running her hands
over the glossy appliances and new cutlery. Esmes kitchen had, of course, been exceptional,
but this was now Bellas place; her dishes, her glassware, her unique tastes.

The four bedrooms were all located upstairs, with the master bedroom taking up the majority
of the floor. Edward made sure that, in addition to the spacious library downstairs, there
were several antique bookshelves along their bedroom walls. Bella had already started
ordering boxes of her favorite titles to fill the shelves.

On snowy afternoons, they would either drive or run to Seattle and browse at secluded book
shops for rare finds. Those nights they would spend reading together in front of the fireplace,
with Bella curled up in Edwards lap.

Eventually, their seclusion time was brought to an end when Alice arrived at their door.

Charlies awake, she said. And hes asking for you, Bella, not Marie.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


Esme had placed Charlie in one of the western-facing rooms, with broad windows and dark
wood shutters so he could have a clear view of the Columbia River. Bella stood in the
doorway, happily drinking in the sight of her father before she announced her presence.

The heart attack had aged him further. His hair was almost completely gray now, and he
seemed thinner, frailer, exhausted with the heavy burdens he still carried across his
shoulders. Bella felt her body seize up at the thought of James alone with Charlie, and what
more could have happened if Edward had not saved them both in time.

When she stepped into the room, Charlies head immediately swiveled in her direction. He
swallowed hard, his face white.

Tell me who you are. His voice was still raspy. Is that really you, Bells? Or are you
Marie? No more lies now, I need to know the truth.

Bella sat down in a chair next to his bed. Her voice was hesitant and she couldnt meet her
fathers eyes. Dad I dont know how to start explaining this.

Tears welled up in Charlies eyes. He wiped furiously at his face and sniffed, but he
wouldnt take his gaze off his daughter.

Bella? My God, Bella, is it really you? Where have you been? Why didnt you tell me?

She moved to sit next to him on the bed and took his hand. Im so sorry I lied to you,
Dad. I couldnt tell you who I really was because well, it gets pretty complicated and
theres a lot of details you cant know.

What do you mean it gets complicated? He sat up straighter in bed. Are you being
threatened? What happened to you? And who was that man who kept telling me you were
still alive and asking all those questions about you? He was evil, Bella, I could tell right from
the start.

She looked down at his wrinkled hand. He kidnapped me, Dad. He and another man took
me when I was walking home from the library one night.

How did you get away? His eyes looked anguished. And why didnt you come home?

I couldnt. Thats where it gets a little complicated. Bad things would have happened to
you if I had come home.

Did they threaten you, Bells? Did they hurt you? He squeezed her hand. We can get you
safe. I can have some men on his tail by this afternoon. Just tell me what you know and Ill
make some calls.

She smiled. You dont need to worry, Dad. Edward took care of both of them.

Charlie pulled back his hand and huffed, Edward, huh? He glanced to the open
window. How can I even trust this Edward guy now? Seems like all the trouble started
when he arrived.

No. No, youve got it all wrong. Edward only came into the picture a few months
ago. He he helped me heal through all of this. Hes everything to me. She shook her
head, knowing full well Edward was listening from downstairs. Id be lost without him.

Charlie was not convinced. But he must have done something. I
mean, somebody did something to you! My eyesight may be bad, Bella but Im not
blind. Look at you! You look like you, but not really. Jacob looks like a forty-year old
man and you look decades younger.

I know, Dad. And this is where it goes back to the complicated things you cant know. If
you knew the exact details, those bad things they could still happen to you and not just
to you, but to me, and Edward and possibly the Cullens.

Impatiently, he ran a hand through his hair. This isnt making any sense.

And it never will. Thats why I couldnt tell you who I was. I was afraid of risking your life
and the lives of those around me. She looked down at the bedspread again and twisted the
fabric in her hand. Please, Dad nobody can know that Im still alive or whats happened,
especially Jacob. Youre the only one who can know. Dad, please?

Bella--he placed his hand over hers--this still feels like Im in a dream or something
strange. Im worried I might wake up at any moment and youll be gone again. Of course,
Ill stay quiet about it. Ill do whatever you need me to do so I can keep you here and
safe. Just dont leave me again.

A sob caught in Bellas throat. She hated keeping her life back from her dad. She wanted
nothing more than to confide in him and lean on his advice. But the fact that he could rest, all
these years later, from his never-ending worry, wondering if she was still alive was infinitely
better than how he had lived the past twenty years.

They talked for a while, rehashing the days when she had first disappeared and how he had
spent years in a fruitless search. She told him about Carlisle and Esme taking care of her and
helping her adjust. And at last, she talked about meeting Edward and how he had swiftly
ensured her safety and protection as well as easing her healing process.

Charlie finally began to admit that Edward might not be so bad after all.

When the sun started to dip down behind the mountains, leaving the room in shadows, Bella
knew she should be going. The breeze blowing through the blinds had turned cold and she
stood up to close the glass door.

Wait, Charlie protested when Bella turned to leave. I do have some conditions on this
bargain of yours.

She frowned. Yes?

Will you come see me more? I want to get to know you again. I may not have much time
left, so I want to make sure youre going to be around while Im still here.

She came back to the bed and hugged her father as tightly as she could allow. Absolutely,
Dad, she whispered. Ill be here with you for the rest of your life.


0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0


After saying goodnight to the Cullens, Edward guided Bella to the car and drove them
home. The mood in the car was quiet and somber. He kept her hand in his lap and she
leaned against his shoulder.

What can I do? he asked.

I just want to be us again for a little while, she said. Is that okay?

Always, he murmured, turning to kiss her head.

After he parked the car in the garage, Edward picked up his mate and carried her slowly to
their room. As he walked up the steps, he nuzzled his nose into her hair, over her
cheek. Bella met his lips in soft, gentle kisses. Neither of them wanted to hurry.

He undressed her slowly, tossing the clothes on a nearby bench. When she moved back to
crawl into the bed, he quickly dispersed with his own shirt and pants and joined her under the
thick comforter. She immediately went into his arms, their legs tangled together.

For hours they simply held each other, watching the light from the full moon drift over their
balcony floor outside. The crickets had long since fallen silent with the colder temperatures,
but the owls were still audible through the open windows. Bella found the crook of his
shoulder especially comforting and she burrowed her face into him. Every so often, his lips
would move to hers and the noise of their tongues meeting along with their heated breath
would fill the room.

That was so hard, she confessed. Telling him only part of what happened and not being
able to tell him everything.

He kissed her forehead. But doesnt it feel better now, knowing he wont forever wonder
what happened to you? He gets to see you now, really see you.

Yes, but I feel like Ive been gone for so long from him. And I realized tonight how much
Ive missed the Cullens. I dont want my relationships with them to become weak.

He nodded against her hair, their heads shifting until their lips found each other again. He
lingered over the taste of her, not wanting to give up her mouth.

Things are going to have to change for a while, she whispered. But but I feel like Im
forcing this for you, for us.

No, Bella. He pulled her tighter against him. We would never have what we do if you
were living away from your father.

But Im making you stay here. Your home is back in Italy, in Europe.

He shook his head. My home is here with you.

They were quiet for a while. Edward adjusted his grip and softly scratched her lower
back. She sighed, stretching her body like a cat into his touch. They both giggled at her
reaction. He kept scratching.

Well have to adjust, she said. It cant be just us all the time like it was in Italy or how its
been since weve been back. Well have to get used to being apart sometimes and putting
aside our needs.

Well be fine, beautiful girl. We can still have us when were together like this. We can
always come back to this whenever we need it.

But how could I ever not need it? She closed her eyes. I know Im doing the right thing,
but honestly, Edward, the idea of balancing us feels really overwhelming. I still need time
alone with you. Im upset at having to choose this now.

Bella, you have the rest of your immortal life to decide what to do. There is no rush or
pressure to decide one way or the other.

What do you want, Edward?

I think you know what I want. He gently pushed her onto her back and moved above her,
shifting her legs apart so she could feel his heavy erection. I want to go back to Italy with
you, maybe spend a couple decades there. And then I want to take you to Paris and
England. Those places alone could easily take up the next hundred years together.

She sighed. I want that too so much.

But, he paused. If we dont take this time now with your father, while hes still alive, or if
you lose the closeness you feel with the Cullens, no amount of us together will compensate
for that loss. We need to stay here for a little while.

But this is all about me. Were putting everything you need on hold for me.

He shook his head. No. Were doing this for us. Were connected. If it affects you, it will
affect me. His dark red eyes were almost black in the moonlight. Bella, almost everything
that has happened since weve met has taken us by surprise. Its caught us unaware and
forced us onto paths we werent ready for. And yet, Id gladly run down any of those roads
as long as youre running with me.

She reached up and touched his cheek. Thank you for being understanding about this. Thank
you for staying here for me.

I wouldnt be anywhere else, he breathed, and then he began kissing her in earnest, his
hands fisting her hair as he pulled her lower lip into his mouth. His hips pushed up tightly
between her thighs, her legs moved more securely around his.

No more waiting, Edward. She shifted and guided his head to her chest. I know youve
just been drinking the bare minimum so you could take care of me. And you think I havent
noticed.

He smiled against her skin, his tongue running flat over her nipple.

Bella gasped and arched her back, bringing her breast closer to him. Take my blood. I want
you to drink deeply tonight. Dont hold back.

His growl shook her. I would never risk you. I want you fully recovered.

You are not risking me. She threaded her fingers in his hair. Im healed and my blood
wants so badly to be inside you. It recognizes you, it wants only you.

Edward groaned into her skin, kissing the spot where he would drink from her. I love you,
Bella. I love this and us and everything that makes up what we are.

His teeth sliced easily into her skin, over the familiar mark she loved so much. She
whimpered and held him to her, offering up all she possessed to her mate. His hands
smoothed down her bare skin, feeling all her healed flesh and reconnected bones beneath her
skin. His mate was powerful once more and seemingly invincible.

But Edward knew her better. He understood how much she relied not only on him, but on the
family around her. If he was intent on keeping Bella resilient and strong, he would have to
ensure her relationships remained intact.

As his body greedily drank at her skin, he rubbed his thickened erection up and down her
folds, finding her hot and ready for him. His fingers probed at her wetness, soaking up the
muffled, sweet noises from his mate.

When he sealed the bite, she looked up at him with shining eyes that made him throw off his
control and push deeply inside her. She cried out his name as her body stretched deliciously
tight to accommodate his length.

He could not deny how incredibly hard it would be for him to share her after such a brief,
tumultuous beginning. Of course, he wanted more time alone with her. Of course, he wanted
it to be just the two of them wherever they went. But he would do this for her.

He would do anything for her.

Tomorrow, he whispered into her mouth as he thrust. Dont think about any of this until
tomorrow. Lets get lost together for one more night and pretend the outside world doesnt
exist.

She nodded against his neck, lifting her hips to meet his.

The night did not last long enough for either of them.
End Notes:

A/N: Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who voted for My Mateat the
Lemonade Stand! The story came in first place. Holy Cow! On some level, Id say
thats kind of scary because that means youre all just as crazy as I am when it comes to
mating and blood and intense vampire action. The world should be very worried about
us ;)

Im really going to miss the weekly interaction I get to have with you guys you are all
very sweet readers and its been a very lovely experience meeting you these past few
months.
Back to index
Chapter 29 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

Credit to the lovely - EdwardsEternal and AngelGoddess1981.

Chapter29



1 year later

.

Edward steered his upgraded silver Audi A7 into the driveway, once again missing the finer
handling of his own luxury cars parked away in Europe. He had traded in his Mercedes
months ago, opting for something a little less flashy, a little more subdued. In the beginning,
he knew that if he and his mate were expected to stay in Washington for the foreseeable
future, they would have to blend in as much as possible.

After two months with the Cullens, Charlie was comfortably settled back in the care
center. He kept his word and did not breathe a word about Bella or any of the details
surrounding his short-term discharge. When asked about his whereabouts, Carlisle helped
fabricate details of an extended stay at a medical facility on the east coast. Nobody
questioned it further.

As for Edward and Bella, living semi-permanently in one location, blending into a
community and handling separation on a daily basis had definitely been an adjustment. And
while they both wished they could have progressed naturally towards finding a balance
instead of being pushed into one, they knew there was really no other alternative.

Edward dived into the chaos first. He wanted to be the strong one for his mate, taking a lead
that hopefully she would feel comfortable following. He began some part-time consulting
work, mostly through contacts of Carlisles. This meant he sometimes had to be in Seattle
and, on rare occasions, out of state. He always took Bella with him.

She moved slower. With Edward by her side and her past trauma dissolved, as well as
Charlies new-found knowledge of her, she was no longer afraid to branch out and
explore. She started a regular volunteer rotation at the care center, allowing her more days a
week to visit her dad. Charlie made sure her time never coincided with Billy or his retired
associates who might recognize Bella for who she was. And since they were settled in for the
long haul, Bella decided to finish her bachelors degree. She enrolled in several independent
study courses from the University of Washington and once a week she drove with Edward to
Seattle for her tests and lectures. Her course work was strenuous. But given her extensive
reading from Carlisles library and her passion for learning, she handled the balance
remarkably well.

In addition to their work, Edward and Bella were over at the Cullen house several times a
week, spending time with the people Bella truly called family. And it wasnt
just her connection with the Cullens anymore. Edward had found a remarkable friendship
with Carlisle and eventually, Jasper and Emmett. He now recognized the richness and depth
that came with these relationships.

Even so, the balance was hard to maintain.

Days could be difficult, especially if they were apart. But they had found Edwards
prediction to be blessedly true. They could always come back to one another when
everything was finished. On occasion, when hours became too long, and the time apart too
hard to handle, they would cancel whatever they were in the middle of doing and hurry to
find each other. Bella never failed to lift his sour mood. She would listen with rapt attention
in the evenings as he told her about his clients while his hands moved over her bare
feet. Their spare time was carefully spent hidden away in their house, reading together,
talking and figuring out which new angle thrust would elicit the most pleasure from Bella.

Occasionally, it was enough. Most days, it was still an adjustment.

The following spring, Jacob and his family had traveled home for vacation and Bella fretted
over how to avoid him with Charlie. Edward had wisely whisked her away for a two-week
vacation to his apartment in Paris. They ended up staying a month, and when they returned,
Alice commented on the added spark to Bellas face.

Edward was already planning a second trip.

It was always hard to let her go again after getting lost together, where the hours flew by and
the days were easily forgotten. But Edward knew how desperately Bella wanted to stay close
to her father. If his actions could earn them a few more years here, undetected from human
scrutiny, it would mean everything to her.

Edward grabbed the paper bags from the trunk, closed the doors and headed inside. The fall
leaves had finally all dropped to the ground. The trees stood stark and empty. He made a
mental note to pick up flowers for Bella. Her gardens would be missed in the coming winter
months.

The house was warm and welcoming as he walked in through the garage door. Edwards ears
quickly picked up the soothing sounds of his mate quietly singing to herself in the
kitchen. He could tell she had been cooking. It was Tuesday evening, and the light smell of
a fresh fruit pie was easy to distinguish the moment he opened the door.

Hey, beautiful g- His feet ground to a halt.

There at the center island stood his mate. A frilly, pink bra wrapped around her breasts and a
matching piece ran across her bottom. The fabric looked so fluffy and textured; Edwards
hands stretched with impatience to run themselves through it. Bella had her back to him as
she leaned over the counter top to wipe the marble clean.

The view had him growling.

She looked over her shoulder at him and smiled innocently. Youre home early. I was
hoping to have this all cleaned before you got back.

Edward placed the bags on a side countertop without taking his eyes off her. He shrugged off
his jacket and came up behind her, rubbing her soft skin.

You adorable little liar. He brushed her hair aside and started trailing kisses from her
shoulder up to her ear. If you were doing all your cooking while wearing this, Id say Im
very late.

He rubbed his hands over the fluffy material covering her backside and then upwards to cover
her breasts. Bella had dropped the dish towel the second he touched her and now her hands
covered his.

She laughed softly. Youre just relieved you missed the dirty dishes.

He growled and pinched her nipple. You know Id do them every day for you. Especially,
if you were wearing something like this every time.

She whimpered and pushed back into him, rubbing up against his body. Ive needed you
so much all day.

Me too. He moved his hand to fist the fabric at her hip bone. Tell me you have another
pair of these. Please.

She nodded and turned in his arms to face him. I bought five pairs in five different colors. I
figured you might like them. And then she kissed him, their mouths hungry and
frantic. She pulled at his shirt, ripping buttons and pushing the sleeves off his arms.

I love them, he breathed into her mouth. And then he ripped the fluffy band apart. Buy
more tomorrow.

Bella giggled as he hoisted her into his arms and laid her back on the kitchen island, his
hands already busy running up and down her inner thighs. He stood back and looked down at
her spread legs.

You are swollen, beautiful girl.

She whimpered and shifted against his hands, eager for more of his touch.

God, youre beautiful. He watched as he pushed two fingers inside her. And so tight.

Bella tensed around his fingers. Take me, Edward. Fuck me, please.

He bent down and licked his way up between her wet folds. Not yet. I need this first. His
tongue replaced his fingers and he began fucking her rapidly, his hands holding down her
hips as his thumbs played with her clit.

She fisted her hands into her hair. Oh holy... Oh God, yes!

Her loud cries reached him on some conscious level and he smiled into her skin. He once
again appreciated the fact that they had their own house, away from the Cullens, away from
noisy neighbors; where he could hear his mates unrestricted, passionate exclamations.

When her sweet pulsing and taste started to surge against his mouth, he licked her up
greedily. Using his fingers, he smeared her wet release around her flesh and then kissed his
way to her inner thigh. His teeth immediately bit down and he started to drink from her.

Bella hissed and propped herself up on her elbows to watch. She loved seeing the muscles in
his neck move, and his shoulders clench while his dark head of hair brushed along her inner
thigh.

She purred, Thats it right there.

He growled against her skin in response and immediately started fucking her again with his
fingers, while he fed from her thigh. Bellas head dropped back and she moaned in ecstasy.

Her blood flowed freely into his mouth. He had been craving her all day, both her blood and
her body. They had been rushed the night before with his work and her school, barely
crossing paths before they had to separate. She had just finished a final exam in her last class,
so he knew some spare time was on the horizon. Unfortunately, he also knew her rotation at
the care center was tomorrow morning. He would have to savor the next few hours before
letting her go again.

His tongue dragged across her skin and sealed his bite. Her hooded eyes met his, the
inexhaustible hunger still splashed across her flushed face. He stood up tall and pulled her
body closer across the island counter. His pants and the rest of his clothing were discarded
and he stood completely naked in front of her. His fingers went back to her swollen folds,
while he stroked himself with his other hand. She was wet, achy and sensitive to his
touch. He leaned his hips forward, rubbing the head of his cock along her slit.

She whimpered, Oh Edward.

You want me inside you, dont you? His voice felt like velvet over her skin. You want
what only I can give you.

Only you, she agreed.

All mine, he said as he continued coating himself with her wetness. You were so sexy
waiting for me like this, so understanding of what I needed tonight. Now Im going
to fuck you.

Her legs started to shake and she moved her hips restlessly. Please. Oh, please.

He stretched out her right leg against his chest, her foot resting on his shoulder, her other leg
wrapped out at an angle around his thigh. He pushed into her in one hard, swift stroke. Both
of them groaned at the connection, finally merging together as one. They were home.

Bellas hips arched up and drew him in deeper, her hands grasping at the slick granite, her
cries unrestrained. She was feverish for him, for his body and blood, her insides still sweetly
burning from the feel of his teeth in her skin.

Edward pulled out slowly and then thrust back in rough and deep. He knew she wanted it
faster, knew she was wild for him to fuck her. But the angle of their connection provided him
with the most stimulating visual of pushing inside her and he was loath to give it up so
quickly.

I know you want me, beautiful girl. His voice was strained. I can feel you so deeply. Just
give me ah fuck I need this.

More, she begged. More please.

With a crazed roar, Edward began slamming into her. His thrusts were so powerful, so deep,
that Bellas body would shift across the countertop with every push. She quickly seized onto
the marbled edge and held on while her mate pounded into her with everything he had. She
pushed her hips back against his and the slap of their flesh could be heard along with their
joined cries.

Love you love fucking you. His voice was rough as he kept a firm hand on her leg while
he continued his frantic thrusting. He leaned forward to grab a handful of her breast over the
pink material and clutched it tight, his fingers moving briskly over the nipple. Her fingertips
moved down between her legs, circling where they were joined and up over her clit.

Her pulsing was erratic around him. Oh Edward. Im so close, she cried.

I know, he huffed out as he hitched her leg higher and drove deeper. Hang on, sweet
girl. I dont want to give this up yet.

Bella clung to the edge of her release, holding back as much as she could. His hard erection
kept thrusting into her, making her feel shaky and breathless. Her thoughts tumbled
forward. They were only hours away from having to separate again. She would visit Charlie,
and Edward had clients in the afternoon. A sob crept its way up her throat and nearly boiled
over.

No! She gasped and looked away, throwing an arm across her eyes to keep her despair
hidden. She would not break down. Their adjustment here was for her benefit,
for her needs. She must be strong enough for her mate, for herself, for everything he was
already enduring for them both.

Edward wasnt fooled for a minute. Keeping his pace steady, he gently moved her
arm. Hey, where are you? Come back to me.

She stared at him, lost in the heat of his gaze, and the devotion she knew lay inside him. He
was right. He was always right.

Im with you. I just got a little distracted for a moment.

Well then, he said with a sly grin, Im not doing a very good job, am I?

He leaned down and kissed her, pouring out all his soul into their now tender touches and soft
nuzzling. His speed picked up again, his hand circling and stroking her between her
legs. She moaned, caught up in his strength and wet mouth. They were still here, together,
and locked as one. And they at least had several more hours to keep the outside world at
bay. Her head suddenly swam with ideas and positions along with the sweet taste of her
mates blood.

Edward, she whispered tightly as she felt herself slip off the edge. After this, will you
come in my mouth again?

Oh, fuck Bella! he yelled, and his hips pushed with one last savage motion before he
emptied completely inside her. His body fell forward onto hers, his head resting in the crook
of her neck.

For a while they simply laid there, slowly bringing themselves back to the present. The hum
of the running dishwasher, the silence of the house and the rush of the night wind outside
swirled around them. Bella brought a hand up and softly traced her fingertips through his
scalp, down to his neck.

Edward mumbled into her skin, Darling you cant say those things when Im trying so
hard to hold back.

You crazy man. She kissed his head and squeezed her tight muscles along his stiff erection,
giggling softly when he groaned.

He lifted his head to look at her, his eyes dark. What happened back there? Are you okay?

Oh, yes. She breathed deeply. I was just appreciating what we have. And then you did
an excellent job of distracting me from my emotional thoughts.

Did I? A smile twitched at the corner of his mouth.

You know how wild it makes me at the thought of tasting myself while you fuck my
mouth.

He was instantly up and carrying her swiftly out of the room. Neither of them noticed the
destruction they left behind. The impressions of Bellas fingertips in the granite, the
dislocated countertop from its mooring, or the large crack running down the center were the
farthest thoughts from their minds.

First, you need to feed, he insisted as he hurried up the stairs.

No way, she said grinning. My mouth on you first.

Blood is more important, he argued, even though he was growing tighter by the second.

Fucking is better. She raised an eyebrow.

Blood.

Fucking.

Blood! He tossed her to the bed and leaned over her.

She scooted down underneath him before he could grab her and plunged her mouth over his
wet and very hard erection. He groaned and buried his head into the bed. Fuck it I give
up.

Eventually, they both convinced the other how necessary each particular activity was to the
overall health and happiness of their union. They spent the rest of the night showing their
appreciation for several particular acts of devotion.

When the morning sunlight stretched across the room, making their skin and the ring on
Bellas hand sparkle in its rays, the bedroom was a disaster. Amidst the torn sheets, the
upturned mattress, scattered pillows and broken chairs, Bella lay prone on the floor with
Edward hovering over her, lazily kissing up her spine.

She hummed and looked around the room. We havent done this much destruction in a
while.

It was needed, he mused, keeping his focus on her skin.

So needed, she agreed. And we still have a couple hours let before I have to go.

Good. He smoothed a hand along her side, letting his fingers drift over her breast. Because
I have plans.

She rolled to her side and faced him, kissing him briefly on the nose. I never got to ask you
how your hunt went with Jasper.

Edward had been attempting to coach Jasper in his own hunting methods, knowing how
much his vampire brother-in-law missed human blood. The endeavors had yet to be
successful, but Alices visions were hopeful.

He shook his head, thinking back on their hunting trip. I had to pull him back again.

Was he okay?

Well, he was easier to stop this time. Not as violent towards wanting the blood. He
scratched his head, thinking. It still amazes me about Carlisle.

Carlisle had reluctantly agreed to try Edwards diet several months ago. And astonishingly,
without any preamble or fanfare, Carlisle had calmly released the human after satiating
himself with blood. Everyone except Esme had stood back in shock, their faces stunned.

Carlisle how? Edward had been nothing short of amazed. Do you feel the rush? Can
you sense it?

Carlisle had only smiled and stretched his neck. Oh, yes. I can definitely see the appeal
but its not for me.

He pulled Esme to him and the two had disappeared into the woods, leaving Edward and the
others behind, still too speechless to comment. Carlisle had never hunted with them
again. Edward later theorized with Bella that perhaps Carlisle had known about this method
all along, but had still chosen a more ethical, merciful path. She had silenced him with her
mouth, reassuring him just how merciful and ethical he was.

Poor Jasper. Bella shook her head, I wonder if hell ever get it.

Edward leaned down and placed kisses along her neck. You are so much further along than
him. You nearly stopped yourself last time, you know.

She laughed and cradled his head closer. Its only because my mate happens to be my
personal trainer.

No. His words were slightly muffled against her skin. Its because youre strong and
brilliant and dedicated and-

Its because of you, you amazing man. She pushed him onto his back and straddled his
waist. Though I wont stop you from thinking Im brilliant, especially when it comes to the
literary field.

He shook his head. I cant fault you there in the slightest. However, you must keep in mind
that one day I will quote to you a phrase and you wont be able to come up with the source.

I doubt it.

He smiled. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let maps to others, worlds on
worlds have shown, Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.

Her face softened, and she leaned down to whisper into his ear. If our two loves be one, or
thou and I, Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.

He grinned and found her mouth with his lips.

You always know the most perfect words to say. Her hands outlined his hips, moving over
his abdomen. But I still knew the source, she said with a grin.

Someday, he promised. Someday Ill render you speechless.

And when that day comes, Ill still be here. Youll still be my mate. We will always be
together.

Always, he agreed, and his body picked up from where they had left off.
End Notes:

A/N: Epilogue to come later this week

Quotes are from John Donne, The Good-Morrow.


QUESTION Im writing an outtake from their trip to Paris. Id like to do one more
children chaos permitting. Any thoughts out there? Do you have a preference? Here
are some ideas I had running around my head.

#1 A run in with Tanya and some additional payback could be in order
#2 Edward with Bree (Felixs cousin) before he meets Bella (because Im kind of
twisted about stuff like that J)
#3 Could you possibly want more of their first time in Italy?
#4 Bella sees Jacob
#5 Alice & Jasper
#6 More detail when Bella drinks from a woman
#7 - ??

Would love to hear your recommendations
Back to index
Chapter 30 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:

When I started writing this piece, I could not find a beta to save my life. I wrote several of
my favorite authors did not receive any reply. Very discouraging couple of weeks. And
then low and behold the great Windchymes wrote me back (Her Distractions is in my top
5 of greatest Twilight fan fiction pieces). She pointed me to her personal beta,
EdwardsEternal who took me on without knowing the first thing about me or my story. She
has been so good with my constant emails, cold feet, double checking and allowing me to
vent when certain websites werent working. She deserves much praise for this story. Plus
shes an amazing writer in her spare time (wink, wink) her stories have a very loyal fan
following and you might want to think about joining. J Thank you, Melanie!

Chapter 30 - Epilogue

.

15 years later... (England)



The temperature had dropped below freezing, and there was a fresh layer of snow covering
the ground. Inside the mansion, the fires blazed, the expensive spiced rum poured freely, and
everyone basked in the after-glow of the gourmet dinner served hours earlier. Guests were
mingling amongst the large stately rooms, vastly content to squire away the midnight hours in
warmth and luxury.

Understandingly so, some of the visitors were curious and somewhat disparaging when a
beautiful young woman in a striking blue gown slipped quietly out the balcony doors and
headed towards the gardens. Her diamond-encrusted high heels were visible as she lifted her
dress to keep off the snow. She wore no shawl or coat.

If any of the observers had been concerned for her welfare, their thoughts were appeased
when a tall gentleman in a black suit followed after her. His dark hair bronzed in the soft
glow of the flickering candles.

The view of Hatfield House from outside was absolutely stunning, even more so with the
clean blanket of white covering the roof. The gardeners and caretakers had long since retired
for the evening in preparation for Hatfields 450th anniversary celebration. The ticket prices
had been steep and almost impossible to acquire. The company comprised the elite of
society.

Outside, the strains of the small orchestra playing to the guests could still be heard, along
with the clinking of Royal Dolton china and glassware amid the white noise of
conversation. Further down the lane and into the heavily dense garden pathway, however,
everything became silent except for the soft wind blowing across the snow.

Edward found her standing underneath an extremely large oak tree, the largest one in the
grove. Her face was tilted up to the sky, allowing the soft snowflakes to dust her flawless
skin. Her eyes were closed.

Excuse me, beautiful girl. He inclined his head. Would you mind telling me exactly what
youre doing out here?

Bella didnt move, but a smile spread over her face. Its perfect, Edward. Ive imagined
being here for so long. I can almost feel her exactly in this spot.

Who?

Elizabeth. It was right here, right in this spot where she found out she would be queen.

Oh, that Elizabeth, he smirked. Well, if you want to be completely accurate, you should
know the oak tree story, albeit apocryphal in nature, cannot be entirely reproduced
because said tree was destroyed by lightening two hundred years ago and the tree you stand
under now is only a descendent.

She quirked one eye open at him. Youre ruining my moment.

Oh, well, pardon my intrusion, fair maiden. He started to back away. Shall I leave you
and Her Majesty to yourselves or can I bring you both something from the larder?

She turned and faced him, her gown sparkling in the moonlight. It gave him an enticing view
of her body beneath the fabric.

Such a smart ass, she said.

He came closer and wrapped her up in his arms, leaning down to kiss her.

Thank you for bringing me tonight, she breathed against his lips. Ive wanted to come
here for so long.

Why didnt you tell me? We could have come years ago.

No. She paused, looking around at the quiet scenery. Tonight was just right.

After ten years of adjusted living in Washington, Charlie passed away quietly one night in his
sleep. His death was expected, a relief from his growing daily pain. Nonetheless, Bella had a
difficult time letting him go. She was lonely for her father, his death another painful
reminder of her lost human connections. Her heartache even brought to mind fresh memories
of her mother. And in the days that followed, she would oftentimes break down in
anguish.

After the burial, which Bella could not attend for obvious reasons, Edward quickly began
making plans to move them back to Italy. He was confident a change of scenery and
uninterrupted time with each other would bring her back from her sorrows.

Bella reached a low point one evening right before they left. She refused his blood, stating
she felt undeserving of him as a mate. She despaired that perhaps she should have been left
in her human life all along. Her grief was unending and Edward had nearly shaken her in his
fury. His patience had been wearing thin and he refused to let her waste away any
further. Bella had flown at him with just as much determination and the two had clashed
badly. In the end, Edward broke her resolve and she fed from him that night. However, the
conflict had left a bitter taste between them.

Edward could not get her out of Washington fast enough.

The Italian countryside, with its spotted green hills and Mediterranean sunshine, definitely
lifted Bellas spirits. But it wasnt until after a visit to the Volterra library that Bella came
completely back to her old self. Edward had found her in the dusty catalogue section, totally
absorbed in British Privy Council papers from the mid-1500s. She brushed aside his
questions, hastily re-filed the documents and quickly took him back home where she shut the
two of them away together. The days that followed nearly mirrored their first trip to
Italy. Her passion had returned, her happiness overflowed, and they swiftly made up for lost
time in reconnecting. Edward did not understand what had caused such a reverse change in
his mate, but he wisely did not question it.

Her cheerfulness was also greatly boosted around this time when she finally succeeded at
Edwards method of hunting. He had been ecstatic. His mate had mastered in one decade
what had taken him a century to perfect. They now hunted together without any restraints or
coaching. And it fueled Edwards hidden theories that Bella was indeed made only for him.

He became the number one fan of her mad hunting skills.

The two of them spent the next five years in Italy, touring the surrounding cities to their
hearts content. Bella was so in love with LAquila and the nearby Rocca Calascio castle that
Edward honestly considered buying it for her. She fervently declined. And one summer
evening, the two of them became so wrapped up in their kiss atop the Santa Maria Del Fiore
that even the laid-back, love-making Italians started to snicker and make side comments
about the appropriateness of the embrace.

Edward thought they would stay in Italy for at least the next decade, but eventually, Bella
began to miss the Cullens. He had to admit he was feeling the loss of them as well. So he
contacted Carlisle to see if a compromise of sorts could be reached.

They both agreed on England.

They had now been living in England for almost a year at Edwards estate in
Herefordshire. Carlisle and Esme lived ten miles down the road in a quaint Tudor
lodge. Alice and Jasper were at Oxford. Rose and Emmett split their time between England
and lengthy trips into the heart of Europe.

The situation was perfect. The connections made them all stronger.

Carlisle and Esme would have joined them tonight at Hatfield House, but Edward had the
distinct impression from Bella that she wanted the evening to be about them. He wasnt sure
the cause, but he bought the tickets regardless.

Its so beautiful out here, Bella sighed.

Edward glanced in the direction of the house. I much preferred dancing with you inside.

Me too.

So why did you sneak off when that boring politician cornered me?

You seemed so intent on talking to him. I wanted to give you a minute alone.

You have no idea. Edward motioned to the high slit in Bellas gown; her slim leg glowing
in the moonlight. He was intent on ogling my mate. His thoughts were making me crazy
and I had to distract him somehow.

Her eyes softened. Im sorry about that. Everyone seemed so busy. I knew I could finally
come out here by myself without anyone noticing.

A few people did.

Oh. Her gaze fell to the snow.

He cupped her face in his hands. What is it? You seem so melancholy all of a sudden.

Bella looked around the grove, the large oak trees with their strong branches, bravely holding
up the snow. It was so quiet and reverent. She was serious when she had told Edward she
could almost feel something beyond them here in this garden. Her eyes came back to her
mate. Do you know what Elizabeth said when the Privy Council came to find her? When
they came to tell her Mary was dead?

He replied without missing a beat. A Domino factum est illud et est mirabile in oculis
nostris.

She nodded. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in Our eyes. They say she was
so overcome that she fell to her knees.

Edward brushed back a curl from her forehead. And what moves you so about that phrase?

I came across Willam Cecils account of it at Volterra. Do you remember when we visited
there again after moving back to Italy? When Marcus said it was safe to come?

I remember it perfectly. I remember after that visit you finally started to come to terms with
Charlies death. You began to come back to me.

Yes. She looked past him and out into the snowy fields. Her statement has such a sense of
destiny to it, a sense of purpose, doesnt it? You can almost feel in that moment that
Elizabeth knew she would become Englands greatest monarch. She knew what she was born
to achieve.

And since she credited the action to God, Edward added, it brings a sense of holy consent.

Exactly. Bella smiled.

His arms wrapped around her waist, drawing her close. And how does this relate to you?

Her face was bright as she looked up at him. Because my life seems to have that same sense
of destiny. Looking back now, I can see a great awareness of purpose and direction. I fought
it so much in the beginning, thinking I was ripped away from where I was supposed to go,
what I was supposed to be. And then I felt guilty when Charlie died, like I couldnt be happy
with them gone.

She buried her forehead against his chest. But now I know I was supposed to be with
you. The hardships and all the pain that came with it were necessary to bring me here. Im
exactly where Im meant to be, and its amazing. Its marvelous in my eyes.

Edwards eyes were grave as he leaned down and kissed her deeply. He barely had the words
to express his relief at hearing her words.

Bella, he breathed. I was so worried about you. I didnt know if you would continue to
be happy now that all the reminders of your human life are gone. I didnt know if you
felt forced to stay.

She kissed him back and wrapped herself tighter in his embrace. Im sorry it took me
awhile to come back from his death. But I would have had to face it even if I had stayed
human. Now I have this glorious life to keep living, and its all because of you. I love you so
much, Edward.

He nuzzled her behind her ear, kissing her gently. I love you.

Esmes prediction to Bella long ago had already been confirmed several times over in the
past two decades. Edward and Bella were indeed a powerful couple. They were nearly
venerated by the Volturi. Particularly when they learned of her surviving a poisonous mating
exchange as well as her success in Edwards hunting methods. Visits to the Volterra library
afterwards were plentiful. Aro almost sanctified Bella. In spite of their efforts to remain
alone and away from notoriety, Edward and Bella had become somewhat of a legend
amongst their kind.

The snow was starting to fall harder as Edward picked up Bella in his arms.

Be careful, she giggled. I cant wrap my legs around you or Ill tear my dress. And
I love this dress.

He brought his arms under her knees and cradled her against his chest. Her hands touched his
neck.

I love it to. Ive been watching you in it all night. I cant wait until we can go home.

Do you want to go now?

Not yet. He shook his head. I think your moment of reflection here in this grove deserves
something from me, something Ive been holding back.

What is it? She rubbed his jaw.

I have scarcely left you
When you go in me, crystalline,
Or trembling,
Or uneasy, wounded by me
Or overwhelmed with love, as
when your eyes
Close upon the gift of life
That without cease I give you.

My love,
We have found each other
Thirsty and we have
Drunk up all the water and the
Blood,
We found each other
Hungry
And we bit each other
As fire bites,
Leaving wounds in us.

But wait for me,
Keep for me your sweetness.
I will give you too
A rose.

She wiggled down from his arms and stood facing him, her eyes wide, and her mouth slightly
open. She shook her head. Edward I I do not know that one. And its absolutely
beautiful Ive never heard words so perfectly placed together.

His silence and shy smile had her laughing. I can see the triumph in your eyes, Edward. All
right, I admit it. You have finally beaten me at my own game. You win. But will you please
tell me the author? I want to find that passage and read it again.

Bella, he said slowly, that was me.

You?

Yep. One hundred percent, guaranteed, Edward Masen thought.

She looked up at him in amazement and awe. It was flawless, so seamlessly crafted. Will
you tell it to me again?

He laughed and took her hand, leading them out of the grove.

Wait! She hurried to keep up with his lengthy stride. I really do want to hear it
again. And is there more Edward Masen thought somewhere? I think his writings might
become my favorite bedside reading.

He turned to her abruptly and caught her tight against him. I will say it to you again when
we get home, when Im tight inside you and you are drinking deeply from me.

She kissed his neck, his jaw, every piece of skin she could reach. Hurry, Edward. Take me
home now.

He nuzzled into her hair, his hands hungry across her body, rough over the silky, diamond-
embroidered fabric. You impatient female, are you that eager to hear more poetry or is it
just me you want?

All of you, she confessed as she looked up at him. Its you. Its me. Its us together. I
never want to be apart from you, Edward.

A grin spread across his face. Lets go.

He took up her hand again and the two of them raced off into the night, her laughter reaching
all the way back to the giant oak tree in the garden.
End Notes:
Two outtakes will be done over the summer. Make sure Im on your author alert and youll
know when theyre posted. A sequel might happen

That last quote comes from Pablo Nerudas Absence. I think its sheer perfection esp for
this story. But well just say that Edward wrote it just for fun.



You all have been wonderful! I have loved meeting you and thank you again for the amazing
support.

Im off to spend some much needed make-up time with my kids and husband (not to mention
my neglected reading list). Have a lovely summer! Enjoy some good BBQ food, snow cones
and homemade ice cream.
Back to index
Outtake #1 - Paris by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

I couldnt do this without these darling women Astonmartin823, EdwardsEternal and
AngelGoddess1981.
Outtake #1 Paris


The walls were muted in color, with a subtle satin finish. Bella ran her fingertips over the
smooth surface as she walked down the hallway of Edwards apartment in Paris. Her trained
eye appreciated the egg-shell white tones of the crown moldings by her feet and along the
celling, as well as the lintels above the doorways. It offset the handsome soft browns and the
delicate lilac paneling.

The 17th century building was located at 31 Rue de Birague and Edwards apartment
stretched out across the entire upper floor. The furniture itself was lavish, but sparse in its
placement. An ornate bookshelf here, a thick white rug there, along with rust-colored frames
of photographs and paintings that spotted the walls.

Bella noticed a generous atrium cut out in the center of the apartment. As she passed from
one room to another, the open windows gave view to a meticulously sculpted and fragrant
garden. She paused to take in the aroma of the flowers.

I want you to touch everything here. Edward came up behind her and nuzzled his nose into
her hair. Your scent should be everywhere. I want to leave this place just how we left
Italy.

She leaned back in his arms, breathing deep. That might be a bit more difficult this time. I
didnt have any competition then.

He growled softly and turned her to face him. What competition?

Bella took his hand and pulled him behind her. She guided them both to the immediate
bedroom on their left.

Will you tell me something? she asked.

He nodded.

She waved to the large, blue bed in the center of the room. Did you ever bring anyone
here?

No. Edward smirked.

She took them down the hallway and pointed to a guest bath. In here?

No.

The spacious front living room with an open view of the city was next. What about in here?

Hmm He folded his arms and gestured towards the sofa. Yes. A few times there.

A few times? Her eyebrows quirked up. On different occasions? Was it the same female,
or several?

Two. And no, not at the same time.

Bella released his hand and stepped towards the sofa. The textured linen under her fingers
was cool and clean, completely devoid of any lingering scent that contained her mate. Just
like his place in Italy, Edward maintained a housekeeper for his Paris residence. She also
knew she would never cross paths with the hired hands during their trips. And even if the
maid had neglected to clean the rooms since Edwards last robust activities, Bella knew the
timing had been so long ago, the smell would already be nonexistent.

Beautiful girl, why are you asking about all this?

The corners of her mouth twitched up. A hint of playfulness bit at the edge. Just assessing
how much work I have cut out for me.

He quirked his head and studied her. No I think theres something else youre getting
from this.

She moved around the rest of the room. Maybe.

Bella he sniffed the air, .are you aroused by the idea of me being here with these
females?

She turned to look at him, her expression giving away nothing, and then she quickly began
walking down the opposite corridor. Edward swiftly followed.

It was a known fact very early on that Edward had been involved with several females before
finding his chosen mate. Bella, for the most part, had understood. After all, her mate was
several hundred years older than herself and she hardly expected him to stay chaste. But
when Edward had told her they were going to Paris, she was startled to discover that part of
her held some reproach against the location. Because this place, unlike their now-beloved
hideaway in Italy, had seen its fair share of female visitors with her mate. It wasnt until they
had actually arrived did Bellas mood start to shift to something else.

Bella stopped abruptly besides the double front doors they had entered in through just an hour
earlier. He quickly caught up to her and pinned her against the frame.

Time to fess up, sweet girl. He leaned down to nuzzle her nose. What game are you
playing?

No game. Her face was unusually shy. Its just did they make you hard?

He stepped back to observe her eyes, dark red and flushed with lust. To say he was surprised
was a gross understatement. But the pulsing vibes coming off his mate were addicting and he
wanted more. He wanted her blood. This wasnt about reassuring his mate of his loyalty. It
wasnt about making her feel safe. This was primal and raw, and it was all
about her possession. Surrendering himself to the madness, he leaned forward to trace her
full lips with his thumb.

I was incredibly hard. It had been decades since Id been with a female. I was desperate
and rough. The female, Moni-

No! Bella placed her hand over his mouth. Dont tell me any names. I dont want to hear
about them. Just tell me how they made you feel. Tell me what you took for yourself.

He kissed her fingertips and sighed against her skin. The first one was waiting for me one
night after Id been out hunting. I had seen her several days before across a crowded room at
the Musee DOrsay. As youre well aware, we dont run into our kind very often. But
regardless, Im not one to socialize. She noticed my glance and followed me.

Whatever glance Edward had given was more than encouraging and he had arrived home to
find her spread out naked across his couch. Her dark, auburn hair had been released from its
chignon and now drifted enticingly over her breasts and down her flat stomach. There hadnt
been many words exchanged. He could tell from her thoughts that she was a nomad, drifting
through cities, aimlessly exploring whatever satisfaction she might garner along the
way. She expected no commitment, just a night of physical gratification.

After coming together with several bruising, wet kisses, she had ripped the clothes from his
body and taken him deep into her mouth. He had fucked her hard, keeping her hair wrapped
back at the base of her neck so he could watch.

Did she make you feel good? Bella asked wistfully.

While telling the story to his mate, Edwards hands had started inching Bellas skirt above
her knees, pushing it past her hips. Keeping her pressed tightly to the door, he hitched one of
her legs around his thigh and allowed his middle finger to dip down into her folds.

She had obviously been through many years of practice. But at that moment, I didnt care. I
pushed her up against the back of the couch and shoved my cock down her throat. Edward
could hear Bellas soft mews giving way to moans. He added another finger and circled her
hot opening. I would have kept going in her mouth for hours, but I wanted more. I wanted
to dive so deep and make her shake. I needed it.

Did you? Bella whimpered.

Yes. Edward moved his thumb to rub her wet clit. I nearly abused her body with how
many times I fucked her over the couch and behind the frame. I was ravenous that
night. He pushed his fingers inside Bella and started thrusting. I remember roaring and
ripping up the couch. If she reached any point of release during the entire night, I have no
memory of it. I just kept going.

Oh God, Edward.

Are you going to come for me, beautiful girl? He leaned forward and nipped her
jaw. Because watching your orgasms are the most exquisite, the most sensual moments of
my life. And your blood, Bella, it wants me.

She held herself on the edge of her own erotic cliff, ready to drown herself in the waves that
were already starting to flow. She whispered tightly to her mate. Not yet. The other
one? It was here, wasnt it? Against this door. You couldnt wait, could you?

He whispered, Yes. I just needed to use somebody. It was all selfish. I was even harder
that time and I lost it the minute we came back here.

Use me, Bella begged. Take me right here. Leave my scent all over this fucking
apartment. Its mine.

Edward immediately hoisted her up against the door with one hand while the other ripped at
his pants. Within seconds he was free and he buried himself deep inside his mate just in time
to feel the rupture of the sweet pulses start from within her. He groaned and cinched her slim,
white legs higher to wrap around his waist.

Its yours. Edwards voice was stiff, his thrusting powerful. Christ, Bella my soul is
yours.

I know, she purred while holding onto his shoulders as he rocked her against the
doorframe. But the picture of you so strong so aroused and hungry for sex it makes
me wet.

Yes, he agreed roughly. God, youre as slick as wet seaweed and so tight.

She cried out as he shifted his head and tore his teeth into her skin. Pulsing, hot blood ran
clean into his mouth and down his throat. His tongue surrounded the wound as he swallowed,
his cooling venom softening the bite. She felt herself strung out tightly by the balance of pain
and pleasure.

Edwards body was unleashed. Every time he took his mates blood and when they made
love he was relentlessly tempted to combine the two actions. But he reserved it for rare
occasions. While Bella professed to want it always, he knew the intensity could be draining
on her. So it was only moments like this, when the desire became just too much, that he
surrendered to his inner beast and allowed it to dominate her.

He pushed up into her roughly, slamming her body against the hard wood door. He grunted
and repeated the motion several times more, driven on by her whispered pleas and the way
she would breathlessly whisper his name. With each hard stroke he would edge further,
trying desperately to go deeper. Eventually, it became too much and he fell into a mad
energy of thrusts, nearly breaking the door apart in his haze.

Bella clung tightly to his shoulders, keeping one hand clenched along his neck at her
throat. Edward oh, harder oh, yes.

After Bella came a second time and hung limp over him, he sealed the bite and released in
one solid, deep explosion. He choked back a groan, half crazed with what had taken
place. All he could consciously register was that he was still incredibly hard and he
ferociously wanted his mate again. He pulled away from the door, keeping her firm in his
arms.

Back to the couch? he asked, his voice jagged.

No, she gasped. She looked down the hallway in the opposite direction. Your
bedroom? Nobody has been there, right?

He shook his head. Never there. Its ours.

Good. We can alternate. Add some fresh memories while we cover up the old ones.

Anything. He cradled her close, pushing aside the rest of their clothes. I need to see the
rest of you now. That damn plane ride was too long.

And Paris? she asked after hed settled her on the bed. Do you think well ever see the
rest of the city?

Edward was busy kissing up her bare arm, his heavy erection flush against her thigh. Later,
he said roughly.



0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0



The timeless clich of loving Paris in the springtime was not lost on Bella. Cushioned
between days of welcomed seclusion from the bright sunlight and outdoor rainy exploring,
the mated pair easily fit in their desired activities. Bella could not get enough of the
blossoming color everywhere they went.

The Luxembourg Gardens were a bit too touristy for Edwards taste. He much preferred the
Bois de Vincennes with its picturesque lake. Bella teased him that his preference for the area
was only due to its British inspirations and similarities to Hyde Park. In the end, it made no
difference. Settled on a grassy knoll with a blanket underneath them and Edwards head in
her lap, Bella was ready to stay put for the rest of her existence.

Surprisingly, they kept their visits to museums at a minimum. The Musee Rodin was the
exception. Edward was obsessed with visiting the white-bricked mansion with the two-story
galleries and extensive outdoor sculpture garden. Bella had always appreciated
Rodins Gates of Hell and The Kiss with educated poise, but it wasnt until she saw Edwards
fascination with Danaid that she started to understand his fixation.

What is it about this piece that keeps your attention? she asked after finding him once again
hunched over the marbled, white sculpture.

He kept his eyes on the figure. I have always been drawn to this one. I could spend hours
right here, not moving. And I have memorized almost every facet of its surface, every white
detail of the flesh. But its not the same unless Im looking at the original in front of me.

It is beautiful, she agreed. I love how her body molds itself to the rock.

Yes, he mused. But you know it wasnt until this last trip to Paris that I finally realized
why Ive been so attached to it all these years.

Why?

Its you, Bella. Her body is you.

She nearly snorted. It is not, Edward.

It is, he insisted. He straightened up and pointed with his finger. Ill admit, you have
more slender, toned arms than the figure, but look at the skeletal curves of her back. Look
how her tiny waist tucks itself into the hip bones. And her neck, Bella. His knuckles
outlined below the head. Thats your neck. Every line, every twist and dent from the
skin. Its been you, all this time that I was staring at. I just didnt know it.

She cleared her throat, still unconvinced. Whatever. Ive been meaning to ask if you ever
knew Monsieur Rodin? Were you around when he was working in Paris?

Edwards eyes were still hungrily tracing the statue. I heard about him, but I never met
him. I wish I had though, because then I wouldnt be faced with the dilemma I find myself in
now.

Which is?

He straightened up tall and faced her. I want this statue in my apartment.

This time she did snort. Edward, youre being crazy. You cant buy this statue.

I could, indeed. His face was serious. I greatly dislike the idea of the general masses
seeing a perfect representation of my exquisite, unclothed mate on display.

Now youre just being insane and impractical. Not to mention the fact that there are
probably hundreds of copies that exist all over the world, in private homes and public
museums.

He nodded. Now you see my dilemma.

Her laugh was contagious and the two of them could not stop giggling. An older matron
dossier with a stern frown on her face quickly appeared and informed them of their disruption
to the rest of the museum patrons. She eyed them both with a suspicious glare. After
assuring the woman of their intent to remain quiet, Bella pulled Edward into the next gallery.

Come look at my favorite piece. She stopped them in front of Rodins Eternal Idol.

Edwards face lit up and he pulled Bella to stand in front of him while he wrapped his arms
around her from behind.

Ah... I like this one as well, he whispered quietly in her ear. Tell me why its your
favorite.

Her face was contemplative and respectful as she glanced over the statue. There was so
much about this piece that captured her interest. Everything from the mans strong shoulders,
to the womans slight repose and grasp of her foot. It almost embodied part of the emotion
she felt for her mate in their most intimate settings.

Do you see how he has to hold his hands behind him to keep from touching her? And how
he only lets his lips touch her skin? She touched her own lips. Its almost as if you can
sense his internal struggle to hold himself back. He wants to possess her completely and
quickly, but if he does he will miss savoring the details he so yearns to taste.

A tremor passed through Edward and his hands tightened around his mate. She is his idol.

Oh, no. Bella grabbed his arm and motioned to the other side of the statue. See it from
the other side. His craving for her has pushed her back to one knee. Shes grasping onto the
arch of her foot because its the only placement she can reach.

He pointed to the mans head. So why doesnt she fist her fingers through his hair instead of
her foot?

Because then she would be giving into the same possessive urgings that she is fighting as
well. They are physically connected solely by his lips on her skin. She drew closer to
Edward and leaned her head on his shoulder.

Edward paused. So shes the one that idolizes him?

No. Bella shook her head. They idolize each other.

Her words seemed to resonate off the twin set of gilt-framed mirrors that hung on opposite
sides of the room. The hall was now completely devoid of other visitors and the two of them
stood motionless for a while, staring up at the flawlessly carved marble. The quiet solitude of
the gallery was relaxing to Edwards otherwise restless mind of chaotic thoughts. It was near
closing time and only a few people remained in the mansion.

At last he released a deep breath and began guiding Bella towards the lobby. I need to stop
by the front desk and look into acquiring a couple pieces of sculpture.

She stared at him, her mouth open. Edward, no. You cannot buy them. Thats not going to
happen.

Leaning forward, he tipped her jaw closed and grinned. I know, beautiful girl. They have
these amazing pieces called reproductions. I thought I might select a couple for the
apartment.

She poked him in the ribs. Smart ass.

As long as its my ass youre thinking about, well get along just fine. He cupped her face
in his hands. I love what you said about the Eternal Idol. Thats us! Its what I feel every
time I take you.

Bella was breathless. Lets go home now. We can always come back tomorrow.

He kissed her forehead and glanced behind them to the gift shop doors. Theyre closing in
about ten minutes. Meet me outside. Ill be quick.

The exterior gardens were nearly deserted, the last of the tourist buses had long since
left. Bella sat down on a stone bench buried around several rows of perfectly manicured
hedges. There were scant pockets of occasional sunlight along the ground that betrayed the
hidden sunset behind the clouds. It reminded her of Washington, even though they were
thousands of miles away. Her mind drifted to Charlie and she wondered if Jacobs visit was
going well.

She had to admit she hadnt thought about Jacob in a long time, especially since meeting
Edward. She tried to picture him now, roughly twenty years ahead. He would have aged
well, of that she was certain. Jacobs tan pigment skin, broad shoulders and dark eyes would
only have become more defined and accented with time. She liked to speculate what his wife
looked like and if they had a good marriage. Bella wondered if he ever thought of her, in
spite of how much time had passed.

She nearly jumped off the bench from the abruptness of Edwards voice suddenly beside her.

Stop it, he said sternly.

The fading light highlighted the sharp angles of his face and his eyes blazed as he stared
down at her. All the lightheartedness and affection from earlier in the museum had vanished.

She stood up quickly. Edward, whats the matter?

He ignored her, his frown deepening. I may not be able to hear your thoughts, Bella. But I
can always tell when youre thinking about him.

Thinking about Jacob? Her eyebrows drew together. But I Ive never even thought
about hes probably visiting Charlie right at this moment Ive just been worried about
whats going on.

He leaned down until they were eye-level. Ive seen that look on you before. When you
first mentioned him in Seattle and whenever youre with Charlie and the subject comes
up. You get all wistful and your eyes go soft.

They do? Bella paused. I do?

You dont even realize it, do you?

At her stunned expression, Edward straightened up and let out a humorless laugh. And you
know what makes it even worse? Is that I actually feel guilty for bringing you to Paris in the
first place.

Guilty?

Yes, he whispered bitterly and looked away. Because I took you away from any
possibility of seeing him. And I didnt do it for the safety of our kind, Bella. I did it for me.

But, Edward-

Because the idea of you seeing him again makes me go berserk! It drives me nuts,
Bella. His words were clipped and harsh as he turned to face her. How could I possibly
compete against someone who was ripped from you, from the human life that you so ardently
miss and treasure? Sometimes Im not even sure that given the chance you wouldnt go
rushing back to your exact life before everything happened, in spite of us.

No, Bella pleaded. Its not like that. Its never been like that.

Edward collapsed onto the stone bench. He slumped forward, arms across his knees as he
stared out across the pebbled pathway between the green shrubs.

I loathe him, Bella. I cant even stand to hear his name. He rubbed his eyes and looked up
at her. But whats even worse is that I feel indebted to him. He took care of you before I
could find you. Hes part of who you are and your history. And while Id love to just rip him
apart, I cant do that without changing you.

She sat carefully next to him and gently placed her hand in his lap. Edward I am bound to
you. I would never give us up.

His eyes met hers, the anger and jealousy burning brightly in his orbs softened slightly as
they found her patience and love reflecting back. Their fingertips hesitantly touched across
his knee. For a long time they simply held to the reassurance of the others caress. The
evening call of sparrows floated around them.

Bella, forgive me, he said at last. I didnt mean to get so angry. Im resentful of him and
of you when you were with him. But at the root of it I envy your mind, especially since
its closed to me. I want all your thoughts, even the stray ones.

Edward, she breathed. I I dont know what to say. Part of what you say is right. Jacob
will always be an important part of my human history. But when it comes to you Edward
there is nothing better in my thoughts than you. There is no part of me that is
unfaithful. You are always with me.

His mouth curved upwards and he pulled her close. You dont need to reassure me,
beautiful girl. I can feel a part of your emotions through me constantly. I know that neither
of us would ever stray from what we have. He outlined her lips with his thumb. Im just a
greedy, short-fused clod who still has trouble controlling his emotions when it comes to you
and other males.

Before Bella could respond, a familiar, shrill voice shouted to them from down the
lane. Monsieur et Madame, le muse a ferme! Vous devez quitter maintenant.

Edward sighed. Shes been following us since Danaid.

She probably thinks youre going to steal a couple of statues.

He looked marginally insulted. Steal?

The dossier was now in front of them with her hands fisted at her hips.

Pouvez-vous ne pas parler franais? she asked with a deep frown and pointed harshly at her
watch. Closed. Time to go!

Edward took Bellas hand and stood up. Nos sincres applogies, Madame. He smiled
kindly in her direction. Nous sortions.

The French woman was not swayed by Edwards manner and she insisted on following ten
feet behind them as they were escorted to the front entrance gate. Her impatient stamp upon
the pebbled walkway and her irritated thoughts were entertaining for Edward.

Were going to have a devil of a time with her if we want to visit the museum again
tomorrow, he whispered in Bellas ear. Shes actually thinking of jotting down our
descriptions in the official ledger.

Are you worried?

Not in the slightest. He shook his head. With the amount of money I just laid down for
those replicas, I could easily have requested a seat on the board of trustees.

With one last huff in their direction, the dossier saw them outside the gates and then closed
them loudly at their backs. She didnt turn around as she walked towards the mansion.

Lovely, Edward noted with a glare.

Bella barely noticed. She drew near him and placed a hand on his jaw. Are we better? Are
we okay now?

He caught up her hand and kissed the palm. I think so. His eyes bore into hers. We
should get you home. Ive been feeling your hunger the past few hours.

He leaned down to place his lips on hers, kissing her tenderly. The last vestiges of the
evening rush hour traffic were drawing to a close. They held each other close, allowing any
lingering feelings of remorse and combat to drift away into the night air. The smell of an
approaching rainstorm was evident. Bella looked up at the sky and then back to Edward, who
was watching her carefully, trying valiantly not to frown. He had seen the shadow drift over
her face. And now it darkened his own.

Is it really that obvious? she asked.

Yes. He swallowed. But it would help me if maybe you could talk about your
thoughts?

She almost broke down as her fears tumbled forth, You dont think hell figure it out, do
you? You dont think Charlie will slip and tell him? I dont know what Id do if I had to
give up my dad again after everything.

Edward shook his head. Not at all. Charlie may not know the whole story, but he
understands the sacrifice youve made to come back to him. He wont betray your trust.

Bella took a deep breath and steadied herself. She looked up at her mate with firm
resolve. Then Ill try to stop worrying about it from now on.

Deal. He picked her up and secured her on his back. And Ill try to stop acting like an
incompetent ass next time Jacobs name comes up.

She ruffled his hair. I thought you were going to stop acting like an incompetent ass when it
comes to buying original pieces of art?

Hmm, he murmured in a deep voice. What are your feelings about life imitating art?

Run fast, she whispered.



0x0x0x0x0x0x0



One evening they lingered inside a small, cozy caf not far from the Buttes-Chaumont. Rain
was coming down in torrents outside. But the pounding sound only enhanced the acoustics of
the local musicians who were playing their way through several jazz renditions. The music
was strangely addicting, the sounds soothing and relaxing. The caf was smoky and dark,
with most of the patrons lounging around couches and tables topped with low-burning
candles. Edward and Bella sat in the rear in a large, high-backed chair. She reclined between
his legs, and the two of them settled into each other as the blue sounds of a bass guitar drifted
throughout the room.

The aroma of rich coffee and an aftertaste of French wine made all the occupants in the room
slouch further into varying degrees of ease and moodiness contentment. People grinned, eyes
were closed and fingers drifted lazily to the occasional rhythms on hard surfaces. Several
couples were embraced across benches and chairs, public displays of affection were
unrestricted. The haze of cigarette smoke encircled the room.

It wasnt long before Edward started playing with Bellas hair. He moved his hands beneath
the thick mass of curls to smooth along the skin of her neck, up the back of her ear. His
mouth followed. He pulled aside her sweater, exposing her lower neck so his tongue could
linger on the fresh mark he had left there that morning. She moaned softly and leaned further
into his touch.

Ive been thinking, she said with her eyes still closed.

His hand caressed her thigh. Tell me, he whispered.

I dont think we should go home tomorrow. What would you say if we stayed a big longer?

Hmm Edward glanced down.

Bella adjusted herself so she sat across Edwards lap, her legs dangling off the side of the
chair. Her hands gripped his upper arms as she inclined closer and spoke over the music.
My winter semester is over. I wasnt planning on taking classes in the spring. Could you
possibly reschedule some of your clients?

He leaned down to nuzzle her nose, placing kisses along her cheek and into the shadow of her
hair. Thats so tempting. God, I want to so much. Let me check some things when we get
back to the apartment and then Ill know for certain.

She nodded and turned to find his lips with hers. They kissed languidly and slow, their
tongues touching in between. He pulled her tighter against him, deepening the kiss. She
rubbed her bottom between his thighs, smiling at the obvious evidence that pushed up against
her. He groaned and brought his hand down to squeeze one side of her ass.

They were both brought up short when a dark-haired male sat down in the chair next to them
and cleared his throat. Edwards frustration over the interruption and look of anger swiftly
changed to one of surprise and amusement when he recognized the face of the stranger.

Eric! Eric de Gaulle. Edward swung an arm across the two chairs and clasped the offered
hand. Its been a long time, my friend. How are you?

A long time indeed, Edward Masen. Eric smiled, displaying a handsome grin across his
face. He was obviously one of their kind, covered in a black sweater, khaki-colored pants
and black boots. A silver cuff bracelet jangled on his left wrist as he motioned to the two of
them. Forgive me. I have interrupted you in an obvious private moment.

Edward dismissed it with a slight wave of his hand. I seem to recall that subtlety was never
your strong point. And first offenses are readily forgivable.

Eric smirked. Tell me how youve been? Have you been in Paris long?

Just a few weeks, and unfortunately, Im not planning to stay long.

Such a pity. He twisted a watch at his wrist. Hasnt it been just over a hundred years
since our last visit?

I think youre right.

Eric sighed, Ah I have missed our dedicated examinations over Peter Abelard.

What a memory, Edward laughed. You never did believe his moral absolutes over
character.

He shrugged. How could I possibly pretend that I did? With your mind-reading abilities,
there is nothing one can hide. And I confess I have too many driving passions already that
cannot be contained.

Erics attention turned towards Bella. She had sat up straighter in Edwards lap and her skin
appeared to glow in the smoke-filled candlelight. The low neck sweater touched the top
swell of her breasts and her hair fell in shiny curls around her shoulders. Her lips were full
and swollen from Edwards kisses.

And who is this fille exquise? he asked.

Edward moved his hand to her lower back. This is my mate, Bella.

Eric leaned across the chair to take Bellas hand. A pleasure to make your
acquaintance, mademoiselle. And may I say, many gracious felicitations on your mating with
my friend. He placed a chaste kiss on her wrist, pausing to watch her eyes. He was
momentarily startled at the loveliness he saw within.

Merci, Bella replied graciously. Vous me faites un grand honneur.

He gasped and dropped her hand. She speaks francais?

Edward smiled and kissed his mates forehead. Shes learning, a bit here and there.

Eric could not take his eyes off Bella. He immediately took up her hand once more and
rubbed her knuckles as he addressed Edward. She is lovely, my friend. I have rarely seen a
female so intensely feminine. Un bijou! How fortunate for you to have found such an
attractive mate.

Thank you, Edward said a bit stiffly. Were both happy with the union.

Before Bella could tactfully remove her hand, Eric dropped another kiss to her palm, briefly
tasting her skin with his tongue. Somewhat startled, she quickly retrieved her fingers and
settled closer to her mate. Edward was ignorant of the unwelcomed touch, but he hadnt
missed the wave of lustful thoughts that took hold of his friend as his gaze lingered on
Bella. He growled softly in warning and turned ever so slightly to shadow her. Eric
appeared impassive as he leaned into his chair to watch the musicians. Every so often, his
eyes would wander back to the pair, curiously observing how Bella positioned her body to
align perfectly against Edwards.

Have you been living in Paris all this time? Edward asked him, anxious to get his friends
mind off his mate.

No. Ive been in Sarajevo. Until several decades ago, I found the heavy mixture of cultures
quite stimulating and refreshing after the dull receptivity in France. But I could tell the
climate was changing, even before the people understood it themselves. I left right before the
siege. I couldnt stand to be part of something so tragic. Even my mistress was left behind. I
didnt want to wait around and see the fall out.

Edward was having difficulty listening. He nodded politely while his attention drifted to
Bella. The sweet sounds of two bass violins and the warm smells of coffee beans mixed with
the lethargic energy of the room had once again pulled his mate into a state of uninhibited
affection. She breathed deeply, reaching up to Edwards jaw where she started to nuzzle and
nibble along its hard length. Her legs curled up to tuck in around his waist, creating a tight
enclosure between them.

Uncaring about his friends thoughts or behavior, Edward drew her into his arms. Their lips
met again, heavy and slow. The swirling black thoughts of sex and burning inhibitions from
the caf patrons swam through Edwards head, making him feel lightheaded and fiercely
aroused. The music tempo slowed to a steady beat.

Bella broke off the kiss and trailed her lips to his ear, breathing heavily and biting his
earlobe. Very carefully, she drew her hand along the inside of Edwards chest and down
between his legs. She stretched her fingers over his hard erection and raked them back and
forth, stopping to squeeze the head. His coat provided an excellent shield to any casual
observer, though it might have been a little obvious to anyone who was carefully watching
them. And Eric most certainly was.

Too caught up in the moment to care, Edward laughed gently and let his head fall back on the
chairs head rest. Her hands always felt heavenly on him, but tonight there was a definite
unconstrained quality to his mates actions, a pulse of voyeuristic excitement. It felt like she
was claiming him, but in a subtle, public way, caught up in the midst of strangers, none of
whom knew what was happening. He groaned softly and closed his eyes, thoroughly content
to enjoy the motions.

Eric chose that exact moment to speak up. Have you seen them perform before?

Edward grimaced and rubbed his face, irritated that he and his mate were being
interrupted, again. He knew his friend had been watching them covetously. And he knew on
some non-intoxicated, smoke free level that it probably wasnt in the best interest to be doing
this sort of thing in public. But at the moment, he really didnt care. And he had hoped Eric
would eventually have the good sense to excuse himself and exit.

Apparently not.

No. We just happened to stop by on the way home.

Theyre quite good, no? Eric asked.

Quite, Edward murmured curtly.

The conversation had unfortunately made Bella stop the movement of her hands. She
glanced over her shoulder to watch the band. Satisfied she hadnt missed anything new, she
turned back to Edward and hid her face in his neck, once again placing small kisses along his
collarbone. It felt wonderful and he didnt want her to stop this time. He was about ten
seconds away from telling Eric he needed to leave. He was growing tired of the scrutiny of
his mate by another male.

Your mate seems to agree with you. Eric nodded towards Bella while at the same time
pushing his thoughts straight at Edward.

She is exceptional, Edward. Just look at the way she clings to you, so openly suggestive and
passionate. If I were you, Id be fucking her constantly.

Edwards head shot up and he stared back at his friend in shock and disgust. Eric shifted in
his seat, his gaze forward, but his mind clearly continuing the conversation.

I would give anything to feel her, Edward. Would you consider sharing her? If only for a
quick fuck? Maybe two? I can guarantee she would enjoy it.

Before Edward could vehemently protest, Eric quickly waved a hand at him.

Calm down, my friend. I mean nothing about blood. God, do you think Im crazy to think
about doing something like that? No, no, not at all. Just let me possess her for a few
hours. The way she hangs on you and rubs her lips along your skin. Do you fuck her mouth
often?

Edwards whole body tightened to a thin line of self-control, his eyes dark and red as they
stared at Eric. Bella was in the process of guiding her hand back down between his legs, but
Edwards hand clamped over hers so rough and abruptly to stop its descent that it instantly
brought her attention to what was happening.

Edward? she asked as she stared between the two males.

He didnt hear her. His whole focus was burned towards the male who had dared to
proposition his mate. He dared to believe that Edward would spell off his most treasured
possession, his precious life source and companion, all for the appearance of a challenge? A
game? Edward fisted his hands around Bella.

Get out. His voice was darker than Bella had ever heard it before. Comprehension slowly
started to cross her features, and her eyes widened.

Eric closed his eyes and sighed. Edward, you take this too personally. I didnt mean any
disrespect in my request. In fact, why dont you just ask your female right now? We
shouldnt keep these things from her.

To Edwards mind he added. You didnt always use to be this moralistic, you know.

Bella held a hand to her mouth to cover a gasp. She knew how impossibly innocent she
would always appear in connection with her mate. She hated looking so nave. And yet, in
the back of her mind, she was suddenly recalling the conversations she had overheard
between Carlisle and Esme. All mates were not necessarily faithful. She had taken the fact
for granted because she was constantly surrounded by couples who were. Apparently, the
male in front of her had no loyalties one way or another in that regard.

To the casual observer, Edward appeared calm and steady. Only his eyes and his clenched
fist that he brought forward to rest on the table showed the inner fire that was on the verge of
erupting. The rhythms of the saxophone player were too hypnotic for anyone to notice
Edwards rushed blur of movement as he snatched Erics lower arm and pulled him out of his
seat. His words were precise and harsh.

Get out, Eric. Leave now. If I have to endure your presence for one more minute, or listen
to one more comment on my mate, I will rip you to shreds.

Edwards movement threw Bella half off his lap and she could see the tight grip of her mates
hand on Eric. The strain was obviously causing pain to the bone beneath it. She glanced
wildly around them, grateful to see that nobody took notice.

Eric stood awkwardly and cast aside Edwards grip with disgust. It did not lessen the intense
look in Edwards eyes. Eric straightened his sweater, adjusted his pants and bowed slightly
towards the pair.

If I have offended your recently acquired sensibilities, I offer my apologies. I suppose I
will forgo any suggestions of calling on you in the near future. I can see you are otherwise
very occupied.

Very, Edward bit out. Do not approach me again.

Eric quickly left, leaving a suppressed Edward and a flustered Bella. It was several moments
before Edward recognized that his mate was trying to get his attention. His breathing was
still heavy, his fists still tight as he tried to fight down the natural demon within that
demanded he follow and destroy the male who had threatened to take his mate.

Edward Edward Bella said as she touched his cheek. Talk to me. What did he say
to you?

His face started to calm, but only marginally as he met Bellas gaze. He wanted you. No,
he begged for you! But dont ask me for details because I wont tell you.

She nodded. I gathered a little bit of that.

Did you?

I knew he was watching us. But I didnt care. She shrugged. And I didnt think he
wanted me. I just thought he wanted us. What we have.

Edward sighed. Why did I not see it? Hes had his fair share of mated women in the past. I
should have seen that coming.

But why would he assume you would be willing to share? Have you done that in the
past?

He shook his head fervently. No. I have never been tempted to be with mated females. It
was a personal rule I always followed. But I never begrudged others if they decided
otherwise. I didnt care one way or another, so long as I was not involved. He paused and
glanced at the door Eric had exited through. He knew my skepticism when it came to
mating. He probably assumed it carried over to fidelity.

He doesnt know you, Edward, she reassured him, stroking the back of his neck. You
would never do that to me.

He looked sharply at her, his face anguished. Bella, I would sell my soul before I let some
other male have you. And blood is only part of that equation. Your body, your
mind everything you are its all just as precious to me. You belong to me. He scanned
the room, as if seeing it for the first time in days. He motioned for her to stand. Maybe we
should go home.

But Bella stayed put and placed her hands on his shoulders, indicating for him to remain
seated. Not yet.

No? He looked surprised. That whole episode didnt disgust you like it did me?

Oh, yes. That and beyond. Her forehead met his. But I was having a good time before he
so rudely interrupted us and were not done yet.

She pushed at the collar of his coat, easing the wool from his shoulders. He rolled back his
arms and shrugged off the jacket, still watching her for a clue to her plans. Bella turned
herself around so she was once again placed between his legs on the chair. Wiggling her hips
slightly, she brushed herself against him, bringing to life his hard erection that had been so
instantly shot down earlier. She then draped the coat around herself and brought his hands to
her waist.

He leaned down to resume his kisses along her neck. Im sorry, beautiful girl. He pushed
his face into her hair. I always knew he was an unfaithful spoiler with no internal scruples,
but I never would have imagined he would proposition my mate right to my face.

Forget about that, she cooed. She dragged his hands underneath the coat to the edges of
her skirt where their joined hands began lifting it up past her thighs.

He grinned and breathed deep, finally understanding what his mate had in mind. The
musicians were playing a fast-paced song and couples in the room had started swaying to the
beat. The heavy fog of fumes and dim lighting obscured them from any watchful eyes, and
everything else was carefully concealed beneath Edwards coat.

His hands glided up her bare thighs until he reached the thin, silk piece of fabric. He stroked
her there, finding renewal in the dampened surface. Even in this smoke-filled room, he could
still pick up her arousal. She whimpered and angled her neck back so she could once more
kiss along his jaw, working herself up to his ear.

Touch me, Edward, she purred. Do it here now with everyone around us.

Bella, he groaned. He pushed aside the silk and felt her bare skin on his fingertips, the
wetness from her folds coating his flesh. He was shocked to realize how much he needed to
do this. She was right. But then she was always right when it came to what he needed. This
was all about ownership, possession and loyalty. He needed to claim her, right here in the
public eye. He would never let any male touch her.

Keep your mouth close, he instructed as he started to stroke her flesh and circle her sweet
clit. I want to hear your sounds as you get close.

But were in a public place. Her voice was tight as he fingered her beneath her skirt. His
other hand came up discreetly beneath her sweater and cupped her breast. I have to be quiet.

Its those suppressed cries of yours that I want, beautiful girl. Edwards thumb was
circling her heavily. He thrust two fingers inside and began fucking her. I know you cant
help it. Some of your emotions just spill out. He suddenly withdrew his hand from between
her legs and brought it to his mouth. Just like your taste, Bella. Its exactly what I want. I
could have you on my tongue for weeks.

So, you like the noises I make when were like this? she asked breathlessly as his hand
quickly went back under the coat and resumed their activity.

You know I do, he growled. Its my favorite music in the world. Now hush and let me
fuck you.

His hands were ruthless under the coat, claiming and grasping along bare skin. As her quiet
cries broke forth, he rewarded her with lavish kisses along her throat, up to her jaw. The
tempo of the players picked up. Several people in front of them started singing to the lyrics,
clapping to the rhythm. Bella could not restrain her hips from pushing up against his length
behind her, desperate for his hardness.

Oh Oh, Edward, she cried. The music beat harder and the cigarette smoke seemed to
almost smolder her insides. Its so close. Oh, God bite me please.

Come for me first, Bella. His voice was deep as he raked his teeth along her skin. Come
for me and then well leave. I need your blood and I need to fuck you. Im going to be so
rough inside you when we get home.

Her body immediately started pulsing, milking at his fingertips. Bellas whole frame tensed
for several brief, glorious seconds and then she fell limp in his arms. She whimpered and
sighed as her head sank back to Edwards shoulder. He pulled her around and cradled her
body against his.

The music was still going in full swing as more waitresses hurried about with drinks on
plates. Edward and Bella hardly noticed. He bent down to push kisses along her cheek and
back to her ear.

So beautiful, he murmured gently. You knew exactly what I needed tonight.

Bella was still too weak to reply. She only melted further into his arms.

Edward grinned and whispered to her, Ive been thinking.

Oh? Her voice was muffled in his sleeve.

To hell with anything weve left behind in the States. Were staying for another couple
weeks.

She slowly lifted her head and kissed him, sealing the deal.
End Notes:
A/N: Danaid and Eternal I dol can both be seen at the Rodin museum in Paris www .
musee-rodin . fr (remove the spaces). But the pictures do not do them justice. They are
absolutely breathtaking in person.

Outtake #2 (the last of them) is up next.
Back to index
Outtake #2 by rachaelprincess
Author's Notes:
For those of you who voiced a preference on an outtake, I just have to say Im sorry. I went
in a totally different direction. My sincere apologies this one just kept coming to the front
of my mind and in the end I had to go with it.

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way
associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright
infringement is intended.

I couldnt do this without these darling women Astonmartin823, EdwardsEternal and
AngelGoddess1981.
Outtake #2 Mourning


Bella had been sitting downstairs in her Washington home for almost two days, staring out
through the balcony windows. It was dark outside now, somewhere around two or three
oclock in the morning. She wasnt sure. She had stopped monitoring the time when Edward
returned from the funeral. His suit smelling like the musty interior of their local church,
along with whiffs of grass, packed mothballs and cheap beer.

Her father had been buried yesterday.

It had not been plausible for Bella to attend. There were still too many past colleagues and
friends who would have recognized her for who she was. Not to mention Jacob and his
relatives. She was grateful that Edward and the Cullens had attended in her place. But she
despised them for it just the same. On a subconscious level, she knew it was only resentment
over their chance to say farewell in a public setting while she was denied that simple act. But
the pain of Charlies death was too fresh and so she preferred to wallow in her despair for the
time being.

Charlie had peacefully passed away on a late summers eve seven days ago. The rainy
season had yet to commence, and so the funeral proceedings had taken place with no muddy
embankments or inconvenience. He was buried in a quaint, local cemetery, beautifully
situated on a clearing not far from the edge of the Columbia River. His final resting place
was adjacent to Bellas own tombstone. Charlie had placed it there for her two years ago
when his health had started to decline. He said it might help the community put to rest any
lingering questions as to her whereabouts. He also admitted quietly that he would appreciate
the idea of her near him, even in death.

These thoughts brought another fresh wave of shaking sobs through Bella. It was nothing
new. She had been weepy on and off for the past few days. Instead of easing her heart, the
lamenting made her feel that much more contempt for her vampire state. Physical tears were
impossible, and so she felt as if her grief was never fully released or soothed. And she
needed it to come out, badly. It was like a building pressure against her chest that could not
break free.

She heard Edward pause upstairs in his packing and she wondered briefly if he would come
hold her again. Quickly, she gathered her emotions under control. Edward had held her
enough over the course of the week. It was helpful at first. Now it was just becoming too
much. His anxiety on her behalf was endearing, and normally it was welcomed. But she was
too caught up in this dark, downward spiral to reassure him. They hadnt made love or
exchanged blood since Charlies death.

The snapping of a suitcase and the closing of her closet door roused her from her
thoughts. He was getting them ready to leave for Italy. Their plane was scheduled to leave
later today.

Bella rubbed her scalp with both hands and sighed. Edwards haste and activity was starting
to grate on her nerves. Why did they have to leave so quickly for Italy? Why couldnt they
remain in Washington a few more years? She just wanted to stay here where she was
comfortable, looking out into her garden. She didnt want to move a single muscle. If she
did, she knew shed have to face the emotions she was trying desperately to keep under
wraps. And that wasnt possible right now. She just needed more time to lock the pain away,
to keep this numbing sensation going.

She didnt look up when he entered the room.

Everythings packed. He walked over to the grand piano and started fingering the keys
softly. We can leave for the airport in a few hours.

Ten years ago, when they were still settling into their house, Edward had purchased a black,
satin-finish piano. Bella had no idea he could play and normally she loved listening to the
beautiful tones resonating throughout the house while she worked in the kitchen or in the
garden. Tonight it felt like nails on a chalkboard.

Could you please not play right now? she asked, keeping her head in her hands.

The music instantly ceased. She heard him get up and walk towards her. He sat carefully
behind her on the couch and took her by the shoulders.

What can I do? he asked. You havent said anything since I got home. Not a word. Do
you want to hear about the funeral?

No. She pulled away abruptly and walked to the window. No, I dont want to hear about
it. Theres no point. Its just another detail of his life that I couldnt be a part of.

Edward stood up and fisted his hands in his pocket. He made no attempt to go near her. It
had not escaped his notice how she had started to slip away from himfrom his touch and
his blood. He allowed it, knowing how much pain she was enduring. But he couldnt deny
that he was aching for his mate. His insides felt weak from her lack of blood and his body
protested at the loss of connection with her. Even more so, he missed his sweet girl. He
missed her conversation, her laugh, and her companionship. He yearned for her to come back
to him.

He knew she was feeling the lack of blood from him as well, compounded by the weight of
his need for her. But at the moment, it appeared the grief of Bellas loss was overshadowing
any other physical demands, no matter how necessary they might be.

Bella. His voice was soft. It will get better, I promise. Its hard now, but youll get past
this and be happy again. Charlie wouldnt have wantI

Dont tell me what Charlie would have wanted! She spun around and faced him, her eyes
dark. Dont you see? I dont want to be happy again, Edward. I just want to stay here and
be left alone.

His stance never wavered. Then tell me what I can do, Bella. He paused and then added
with a brief shrug that betrayed the strain he was under, Give me an occupation or I shall
run mad.

Leave me alone, Edward, she snapped. Im not in the mood to trade quotes with
you. She hurried into the library, slamming the door behind her.

Before he could process what to do next, he heard her mutter through the walls, Life could
do nothing for her, beyond giving time for a better preparation for death; and that was given.

Edward stormed through the door, nearly breaking it apart. The library was darker than the
living room, but the starlight breaking through the open windows highlighted the leather-
bound volumes and the rich oak tables. It made no difference to either of them. Their vision
took in everything.

Stop it, Bella, Edward seethed as he walked over to her and took her by the arms. You
need to face this! Stop talking about death and life ending. Why are you locking yourself
away from it? You are stronger than this.

She wrenched herself away. You know nothing of this pain, Edward. You dont
know anything about what I need!

He quickly caught her around the waist and brought her close. Though she struggled against
him, it made no difference as he brushed back her hair and rubbed his teeth along her
scar. She instantly stilled at the sensation, whimpering slightly. Her body seemed to collapse
into his.

I know you need this. He kissed the spot, tasting her with his tongue. You can never hide
that from me. And you know that I need it as well.

His lips ran up her neck, caressing her jaw. Let me in, beautiful girl. I can help you carry
this.

Edward, she sighed into his shoulder. I cant do it.

Yes, you can! he said roughly. He picked her up and wrapped her legs around him. Let
me take the burden from your shoulders for a while. Im here. Use me!

For a moment, it seemed as if Bella would relent and Edward closed his eyes in triumph and
relief. But she hastily rebelled and twisted out of his arms in such haste that the floor came
up hard on her backside.

He stood tall over her, his eyes blazing in anger. Would you deny me as well, Bella? After
all this time, are you condemning us both again?

She seemed to crumble even further along the floor as she weakly shook her head. No. No,
I could never keep that from you again. She stretched out her wrist. Take what you need
from me.

He eyed the offered limb with suspicion and looked back at his mate. And what about you?

She shook her head, keeping her arm extended. I dont want anything, Edward. I never
wanted it. Take what you need and let me be alone.

He grasped her arm and yanked her to her feet. Keeping her wrist tight in his hand, he
growled sharply. You know it doesnt work that way, Bella. I will not take your blood if
you deny yourself from me.

She hated herself for what she said next. Fine. It makes no difference one way or the
other.

His face broke in a mixture of pain, rage, and disbelief. He pushed her roughly away from
him and flew to the door. Bending against the doorframe, he wiped at his face. You need to
get past this, Bella. It will destroy you if you dont. It will destroy us. He looked up at her
sharply. But if thats what you want, beautiful girl, then so be it.

He disappeared and within seconds, she heard his car roar to life in the garage. From the
library windows, she watched the headlights of his Audi drive down the street and away from
her. She collapsed into a pile on the floor, letting the renewed sobbing overwhelm her again.


0x0x0x0x0x0x0


The bright rays of the morning sun crept up Bellas body, curved tightly into a ball on the
floor. Her bare arms sparkled in its light. But instead of assurance, the promise of a new day
only heightened her sense of loss and anguish. She mourned for Charlie, for her mother, for
everything lost in her human life, including herself.

She also burned for her mate. Edward was right. Her body had grown increasingly
uncomfortable, undeniably throbbing for his blood the longer she had stretched out her time
from him. And she most certainly felt his pain as well. But she had chosen to ignore them
both, hoping that if she drew inward enough that all her responsibilities would eventually
push her to a place where she could feel nothing at all. She deeply regretted her stinging
words she had unleashed on Edward. The look in his eyes as he left nearly tore apart every
resolve she had made and she yearned to go chase after him.

But she didnt.

She sighed in frustration and sat up to watch the rising sun. Why had she been taken into this
life? There was no doubt she loved her mate, but couldnt they all have just been human to
begin with? Why would fate take her at such a critical moment? If only she could have
stayed with Charlie a bit longer. If only she could have said goodbye to her mother.

Bella thought enviously of the couples in the rest of her coven. None of them had endured it,
this grief over a parents death. None of them understood what she carried on her
shoulders. Of course, there was loss and sorrow, but never a simultaneous rupture between
lifetimes, leaving family members behind.

The idea of shouting these words aloud at her family gave her a fresh purpose and she was
instantly off the ground and in her car. She felt her body burn with resolve at the idea of
finally getting these things off her chest and towards the people who needed to hear it
most. She drove the BMW recklessly, purposefully ignoring the tangle of small shells that
hung around her rear-view mirror. They were from the beach below Edwards villa in
Italy. He had taken her back there on their five-year anniversary and they had spent several
nights stretched along the warm sand on the deserted beach below. Right now, however, she
didnt want to remember how they had laughed and chased each other along the surf. Or how
he had made love to her, kissing her so sweetly as the sun fell behind the rocky cliffs.

Stop it, Bella, she muttered to herself, echoing the exact words her mate had thrown at her
several hours before.

The morning was looking glorious and the sun beat down in a bright stream across her
windshield. Bella cursed and turned her car sharply to the right. She didnt want sun. She
wanted darkness and snow. She wanted constant rain and shadows. Her father was
dead. Life shouldnt be so bright and moving forward.

A line from one of Charlies favorite songs pushed through her brain, I have stood here
before inside the pouring rain, with the world turning circles running round my brain. The
rain would have been so welcomed at this moment. The silence and isolation of everything
and everyone she knew was all she truly wanted. Why couldnt the world just leave her
alone?

And what the hell was she doing?

She slammed on her breaks and the car squealed to a stop in the middle of the road. She was
suddenly cold and weak. What was she doing? Her original intent to go scream at the
Cullens now felt horribly immature. She should be running for their counsel instead. She
had dug herself into a deep hole and while she wasnt ready to climb out yet, she realized she
definitely needed support to survive.

Parking the car at the side of the road, Bella locked the doors and took off running the rest of
the way. The exercise would help her think.

But almost immediately she realized her mistake. Away from her mate, her withdrawal from
hunting and lack of blood from Edward made her sluggish on her feet. She wiped a hand
through her hair, pushing on in spite of her twisting insides. She knew she couldnt fight this
much longer. She just needed to get to Esme first.

In all her years with Edward, she had never spilled any grievances over her relationship with
her vampire parents. That wasnt how she wanted her mating with Edward to work. She
wanted to keep disagreements between the two of them, always guarding her familys
perception of him. But in this case, it wasnt about Edward. This was about her.

Bella came out of the forest at the back of the Cullen property. Swinging around to the side,
she noticed all the cars were absent except Carlisle and Esmes. She was about to enter when
she heard noise on the kitchen balcony. Darting behind some thick trees, she spied Carlisle
and Esme cuddled together on a cushioned chaise lounge chair. They were laughing and
talking quietly, obviously enjoying the beautiful morning alone together.

Bella felt guilty. She should not be intruding on their time, nor should she be watching
them. And yet, she couldnt quite bring herself to leave. Part of her was angry as she noted
their joyous smiles and freely given kisses. Didnt they realize that Bellas life had been
destroyed? How could they go on being so happy with everything that had happened?

She was about to interrupt them until she saw something flitter across Carlisles face. For a
brief moment the tension and anxiety he carried was startlingly clear. He seemed as if he was
shouldering the burden of a hundred cares. His eyes were worn out and exhausted, and he
buried his forehead with relief into Esmes chest. Bella noted Esmes comforting arms
around him and how whatever she whispered into Carlisles hair seemed to lift him
dramatically. It was almost as if Bella was witnessing visible energy pass from one to the
other.

She felt her insides sink. This was something she had forgotten. Charlies death had shaken
her from one of the fundamental strengths she had discovered in mating with Edward. Her
mate was her rock, her stability, her anchor in a shifting world. He was always
constant. And the idea of Edward ever being in pain and not being able to lift him from it
made her nearly crack with agony.

Carlisles mouth ghosted down Esmes V-neck sweater and Bella knew he was getting ready
to drink from her. She quickly turned away, knowing how privately each vampire couple
guarded their blood exchanges. Without a sound, Bella disappeared into the forest, slowly
making her way back to the parked car.

She had to find Edward.


0x0x0x0x0x0



His car was parked in the driveway when she got home. She pulled in next to him, turned off
the ignition, and rushed inside. Edward was at the dining room table, studiously bent over his
laptop, his fingers flying over the keys. The rays of sunshine flittered through the blinds and
across the table, making flat rectangle spaces of his skin sparkle. He didnt acknowledge her
at first, and she stood a bit awkwardly beside the large chair at the head of the table.

At length his typing ceased. He pushed the laptop away and slowly brought his head up to
meet hers. His face was unreadable, though his eyes looked stiff and tired. He clearly didnt
intend to say anything and a tense silence hung between them. The high, chirping bird
sounds from outside didnt help the mood.

She realized as she walked towards him that they had never discussed the death
of his parents. She knew stories about his human life and about after he had turned. But he
had never divulged specifics of his relationship with his mother or father after Marcus had
bitten him. She had been neglectful not to have asked earlier.

She sat down in the chair next to him and softly placed her hand on his knee. He watched her
warily. But already part of her was starting to calm.

Will you tell me about your parents? she asked. Did you ever see them again after you
turned? Were you there when they died?

Edwards eyebrows lifted. He clearly was not expecting this line of questioning right after
their fight.

No. He shook his head. I never saw them again. I wanted to go back, but Marcus said it
would be too difficult.

She took his hand and smoothed her fingers over his palm. Was that hard? Not knowing
what happened to them?

Well it was a little different than than Charlie. He watched her carefully. Marcus
had people all around the area who brought him updates of my family. They assumed I had
died in the fire and so they were able to find a measure of closure as the years passed. Im
quite certain my father died of a stroke eight years after I was gone. My mother followed a
year later.

Bellas sympathetic gaze met his, but she didnt say anything.

Edward smiled to himself. I like to think that they were so in love with each other that
Elizabeth couldnt stand being without him. That she wanted to go wherever he was and find
him.

That is nice. Bella agreed. You said they had a really good marriage.

They did. But it was a marriage where neither one had to worry about mating, blood
exchanges or being great distances apart. You have to admit that definitely adds a bit of
complexity to a relationship.

She rubbed the base of her neck and looked away. Ive messed things up, Edward.

One of his fingers reached out and brought her chin back to face him. We can always make
it better.

We? she asked, startled.

He nodded, but Bella shook her head vehemently.

No, Edward. This time its all my fault. Im so sorry for how I acted. Im sorry for what I
said. I feel horrible for everything thats happened between us this past week.

His fingers played with the hem of her shirt. When I said, we, I meant that we both need
to try to understand what the other one is going through. Maybe I havent done such a good
job of that lately.

She grasped his hand and held it firmly. Youve been wonderful! Its not you. I have a
lot of bitterness right now towards everyone. And I love you, Edward. I would never give
you up. But Ive realized this week that I still harbor some remorse over how I was taken
from my human life. I thought I had dealt with it properly but apparently some scars are still
there.

Edward leaned towards her chair and rubbed his hand along her thigh. I wish I could heal
them all with my venom. It rips me apart to see you hurting.

She hated the reminder of how much pain she had put him through. She stood up and came
into his arms. Oh, Edward, forgive me, she cried. He pulled her tightly to him across the
chair, desperate to feel her after such a bitter night.

Forgive me, please, she sobbed into his neck. Im sorry Ive hurt you.

Its all right, beautiful girl. Its all right. He kissed along her cheek, into her hair. Her
hands fisted his shirt and came up the back of his neck, into his hair.

No, its not. She shook her head. I lost my bearings. I lost my focus. And it still hurts
like hell, Edward. Admitting it hasnt even dented the surface.

He took her face in both his hands, his voice firm. Then come to me, Bella. Im right
here. Give me some of it to carry.

Her body shook. I dont even know where to start. What do I give you?

Start small. He growled at the look in her eyes. Start with giving me your mouth.
And then his lips were on hers and Bella surrendered everything to his kiss. She whimpered
as their tongues met and trembled as he nipped along her lower lip. They each pulled back at
one point to glance hungrily at the other, acknowledging the mutual lust. And then they
returned with even more heat and pressure against the others mouth, never quite getting
enough and always wanting more.

Bella yanked at the bottom of her shirt and pulled it over her head. Edward, please, she
begged as she unclipped her bra, letting her breasts fall free. Take my blood
first, please. Youre hurting.

His eyes were crazed as his hands ran up the sides of her bare skin. He was so near his
breaking point. Bellas thick curls hung low over her shoulders and her nipples were hard
and pointed under his thumbs. His voice was husky as he stared at her body. Bella, promise
me. You have to drink from me when Im done. Im not doing this if you dont.

She cradled his face in her hands, looking down into his eyes. Im broken. I know that now
and somehow I will get better. But I will never break you. Im with you forever.

She directed his head to her chest and after a heated breath of relief; Edward sliced his teeth
into her skin. Bella threw back her head and let loose a deeply buried cry. She had been too
far gone from this. Her blood had been demanding him for days and now her whole body
vibrated with the force of his pull.

Edward groaned loudly, feeling the same exhale of reprieve at finally feeding from his
mate. His hands brushed and shaped her body, once again claiming ownership of her
flesh. When he got to her waist, he ripped the material from her hips and dipped his hands
down to grasp her rear end in his palms. With a fluid motion, they both rocked smoothly into
one another as he glided her further along his lap, rubbing her up against his erection.

She kept his head cradled to her breast, her other hand down his back. She wanted to feel his
bare skin, but she didnt want his hands to leave her body, so she ripped at the stiff, white
shirt until it fell into pieces in her hands. Her hands eagerly searched out his warm flesh.

His heavy murmurs of approval sounded loudly against her skin, complimenting her small
cries and sharp breaths. Edward gasped as he felt his own body become strong again, full
and whole. He took one last generous swallow of her blood and sealed the incision. She
smiled down at him, her body still swaying continuously over his. They met together in a
wet kiss, several drops of her blood still lingered on his lips and he licked them off her
tongue.

Without breaking the kiss, he stood up and laid her on the table, tossing his computer and
papers to the side. His upper body covered hers across the polished surface, his hips hard as
they pushed flush between her legs.

Ohoh, that feels good. Bella sighed as she drove back against him, bringing herself
impossibly closer in his arms.

Her hands reached down to push at his suit pants, futilely trying to reach the buckle and
fumbling. He smiled against her mouth, clearly understanding what she wanted. Keeping
one hand in her hair, he pulled at his pants with the other. Without breaking the kiss, he
released the buttons and kicked them aside.

Now Bella. He breathed into her mouth and guided her face to his neck. Drink now.

The richness of his blood as it flowed into her mouth and mingled with her own almost
brought another round of sobbing. She struggled and nearly choked as she swallowed, once
again lamenting her behavior towards her mate the past few days. If only she could keep the
taste of him constant, the feel of his body covering hers and the smell of his breath along her
skin. If only she could remember that she never had to face anything without Edward.

He clutched her tighter to him, sensing her grief. He brushed aside her hair and whispered
soothingly in her ear, comforting her as she drank. When she calmed enough that her pulls
were once again pacifying and full, he grabbed hold of his erection and guided himself
between her legs. She moaned as he circled his thick head from the top of her clit down to
her entrance and back again. Her hips pushed up, eager for their joining.

Keep feeding, he urged with a rough voice. You need it. But I cant hold back anymore.

She mewed against his skin, grasping onto his hips and urging him forward. Without any
more hesitation, Edward growled and thrust heavily into his mate. He moved smoothly and
soft, not wanting to jar Bella from her precarious grasp along his lower throat. It was
difficult. She was all wet and heat, aching to draw him in deeper. And with every gentle
move inside her, his hips burned to shove forward roughly.

At last, he felt her lick the mark closed and his body went wild with thrusting them
together. She brought her legs tight around his lower back, her hands clenching his shoulders
as she arched up into him. He moved so hard and with such intensity, Bella clung to his
shoulders for purchase along the slick table. The taste of his skin on his collarbone was
addicting and she nuzzled her nose along the dents of his forearms.

They both heard the loud crack, but Edward reacted first. When the dining-room table
crashed into splinters on the floor, he twisted to keep Bella safely in his arms above him
while he took the brunt of the fall. The destruction barely fazed either of them. She stretched
her arms upwards as her hips began a smooth, practiced glide along his waist. The sound of
the break had echoed loudly throughout the house. Everything seemed suddenly silent with
the exception of Edwards heavy grunts and Bellas small cries.

Fuck me like that, beautiful girl. Edward breathed roughly as he moved with her. God
the way you move I could watch you forever.

He groaned and let his head fall back along a torn piece of wood. With one lazy hand, he
caressed Bellas breast while the other drew circles along her naked thigh, moving closer to
her wet folds with every draw. She was a vision moving above him. On and on she swayed
her hips, squeezing him steadily inside. He kept his eyes running the length of her body as he
openly, unabashedly stared.

Slowly he brought his knees up behind her. With swift movements, he began thrusting firmly
upwards. The rigid ramming of his hips disrupted her rhythm and she whimpered at the
sweet hardness of his cock pushing deep. He grinned and drove faster; fevered to watch her
lose her pace, crazed with the power he had over her body. He grasped her thighs, held her
firm and rammed even harder.

Her voice came out in tight cries. Oh Oh Edward Her mouth dropped open
oh yes God!

The orgasm rippled through her, pulling him up inside and grasping his solid length. Edward
barely held on, breathing harshly and clenching his eyes shut to keep himself at bay. He
didnt want to end this, not now. Not when he had been without her for so long. His body
had burned for her and for this connection. He reveled in his need to dominate her lust and
command her cravings, while at the same time submitting his own blood to her needs.

He sat up and began shifting her over his hard length, gripping her limp body in his hands.

Come on, Bella, he urged. More. Give me more.

She moaned softly, coming back slowly from her own blissful leap. She breathed his name
against his shoulder. Her legs tightened and she began to shift with greater intensity, the two
of them working together as her body began building again. He made her work for his
ecstasy, demanding her complete concentration. He didnt allow her to bask for more than a
few seconds in the glow of her release. Still he pushed on, refusing to find his own heaven
until he had thoroughly exhausted his mate.

At one point, they rolled from the center of the broken table to smash into one of the
sides. Bella wanted him on top, to relinquish the cathartic effort into his hands. But Edward
was stronger and kept her above him, challenging every last shred of her limits. She held the
reigns, but he controlled her.

Its too much, Edward. She moaned. I cant do it.

His voice was rough as he bit her nipple. Dont you dare fucking stop. Christ, Bella!

The momentum sent her over the edge again, crying and nearly sobbing in relief. It was the
breaking point for Edward who threw his body back on the ground, arching up as far into his
mate as he could go. His roar made the paintings tremble that hung along the walls in the
room. His pulsing shook through her again and again.

It was a while before either of them spoke. Bellas head was nestled in his neck, her body
cuddled above his. Edward kept one arm around her and the other at her hip, squeezing
softly. His hard erection was still stiff inside her, eager to go again. After being absent from
her for so long, he would need several more times before things returned to normal.

In the back of his mind, Edward knew they were due at the airport right now. Their airplane
would be stocked and ready to leave. He shook his head and exhaled with a bit of
remorse. They wouldnt be leaving today.

Talk to me, he said as he rubbed her lower back. How do you feel? Hows the pain?

Her breath stirred the small hairs along his chest. She sighed. I dont even know. I can
barely think right now.

Concentrate. Find the grief. Tell me what its like.

She cleared her throat and brought her chin up to rest on his sternum. Its still there. But it
feels more manageable. Or maybe I just feel stronger, which is so twisted because Ive
never felt more exhausted as I do right now.

Good. He released a breath of relief and let his head sink further into the ground. Its a
start.

Bella brought her hand down to cover his over her hip. Youve never been like that with me
before. Ive never seen you hold back so long. And you pushed me.

He nodded and bent his fingers to thread with hers. I had to, for both of us.

She squeezed herself around him tighter, silently telling him she understood. The rays of
sunlight moved across the floor. Hours passed and still they remained, their hands quietly
drifting across each other.

Italy? she asked as she sat up half way, realizing the time. Are we still going to Italy?

Were definitely not going today. He frowned. Were not quite ready.

She shook her head and leaned down to place her lips over his. No, she whispered and
shifted her hips. We need more make-up time.

Yes. He kissed her back. More.

They kissed lazily for a while, taking their time to touch and push against the others
mouth. Bella held his face in her hands while he caressed her thighs and adjusted her over
him.

Bella, he groaned into her mouth. We still need to go to Italy eventually. Its time. I
dont mean to rush you away from here, but this is something Ive been waiting a long time
for.

Youre right. She nuzzled his face and took a deep breath. I need to face this.

Edward sat up and righted Bellas legs so they wrapped around his waist. He kept them
connected, thrusting up sporadically as he watched her face. Bits of wood splinters and
sawdust clung to his back and in her hair. He ignored it as he grasped her face and brought
their foreheads together.

Keep leaning on me, Bella, he said softly. Love is not love which alters when it alteration
finds.

She gasped. No. It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.

Indeed, he murmured and bent to kiss her.
End Notes:
All the quotes (except The Police one) are from Jane Austens Sense and Sensibility.
sequel is coming.
Thanks again for all the darling notes and love!
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