Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 408

The Search For Myself: Edward & Bella

For what shall it profit a man,

if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.

Mark 8:36

Preface

Have you ever felt like you were living inside a dream that you couldn't
escape from? Like you were reaching out, trying to find a hole to climb
out of, or a crack to slide under... and yet, all you found was more
walls? Have you ever felt like you could be calling out for someone,
anyone to help you, but all you heard was the sound of your voice as it
echoed and bounced around you? This is how I felt. I was trapped,
excluded. Forgotten.

I never gave my existence much thought before today. I just was. As


time went by, I accepted this fate. But today -- today was different.

I was not prepared. I should have been, but I wasn't. I never even
expected to find myself in this type of predicament.

All I wanted was for someone in this world to notice me for who I am,
not for what I was. I wanted one single soul to look at me in my eyes
and see a person behind them, not a monster. ...Somehow, deep
inside, I never truly thought it would happen. So when it did, it took me
like a windfall and knocked me off of my bearings. I couldn't breathe,
couldn't move, couldn't think, and most of all, I couldn't process one
single surrounding. It was uncontrollable.

"Look at me, Bella!" the beautiful creature shouted at me. I felt his
firm, warm fingers on my skin, gripping my jaw, shaking my face until
my eyes found his again. His eyes were a deep green, deep as the
meadow we laid in just hours before this. I wanted more than anything
to be back there once again. I began to close my eyes, imagining we
were there. Warm. Alone now, but together.
"Stay right there, love! Don't you dare close your eyes! Don't you do
it!"

My body began to shake and I felt the cold start to take it's effect on
me. My eyes filled with tears, something that happens to my kind once
every ten years or so. "E-Edward," I croaked out, reaching up to grab
one of his perfect hands. "I-I am so sorry. I didn't mean to -"

"No!" he shouted forcefully, my angel cutting me off. "Don't you


apologize to me, Bella! You're going to make it. You're going to be just
fine. Do you believe me Bella?"

My body began to unravel, shaking and compulsing in his lap. I couldn't


think now, couldn't breathe. I felt the exhaustion of this long world take
it's toll on me, and I began to slip under the weight of it. Further,
deeper... I was definitely going down. I felt his hand slap my face hard,
trying to keep me awake, keep me here with him. Oh how I wanted to
stay with him. Forever.

"BELLA!" The struggling, defeated scream echoed around my ears, as


the sheer sound of pain blasted around the empty, cold, dark building.
White lights began to flicker in and out of my subconscious, and I knew
it was too late. I was dying now. My body was going numb and I was
dying.

"Oh my God, Bella! Don't you leave me! I can't breathe without you,
you can't leave me now! Hold on, Angel! Hold on!"

I felt my shoulders grow numb, and knew my time was up.

"Don't do it, don't you say goodbye to me!"

I felt nothing. Emptiness. My heart had broken completely, and now I


was gone. I deserved to die. This was my fate.

I struggled to open my eyes, to gain enough strength to find his. I


wanted one everlasting memory of the angel that came into my life so
unexpectedly, flipped my world upside down, stole my soul from me,
and taught me how to love again - despite my imperfections.

And when I found his eyes, I was at peace again. One last time.

And then I closed my eyes to rest, the first time in over a hundred
years.
Chapter One - Uncontrollable Fate

"Name?"

"Isabella Swan."

"Swan?"

"Yes."

"Hmm..." The gray-haired lady stuck the chewed pencil in her mouth
and began to rummage through the stack of papers, searching silently.
I smiled pleasantly toward her, secretly annoyed by the fact that her
eyes were much weaker than mine. I saw my name on the corner of
the third sheet ten minutes ago, but didn't want to make her think she
was doing her job inadequately. Clearly, this wasn't her fault. She was
just a human.

I rested my chin to my hand and leaned against the counter, amused


by the ticking of the clock above her head. How long was this really
going to take? My father was waiting for me in his cruiser, and
everyone knew it wasn't nice to keep Chief Swan waiting. Patience was
a virtue that both of us severely lacked. And hearing her thoughts as
she thought about the latest Matlock rerun she watched last night was
beginning to test my patience even more.

I cleared my throat, trying to get her attention.

"I-S-A-B-E-L-L-A?" The receptionist spelled out each letter, making sure


she wasn't looking in the wrong place.

I nodded, forcing another smile. I knew I couldn't take it much longer,


and the thought of climbing over this counter, yanking the paper from
her fingers, shoving my finger towards my name, and calling her an
idiot was sounding more appealing by the second. But I refrained.

A few moments passed, and she finally paused and returned my smile.
"Here you are: Isabella Swan." She gave me my new schedule for the
year, my books, some papers for my father to sign, and a list of
extracurricular activities I might take interest to this year. I thanked
her briefly and walked swiftly out of the room.

Glancing at the small paper that had my locker number and


combination scribbled on it, I sighed. Another year has officially begun.
A year of pretending to be something I'm not, in a world where
everyone around me was so oblivious to anything outside the box of
fashion, sex, music, and the latest party or scandal. Another year of
playing sports I didn't care about, hanging out with girls who knew
nothing about me, and lying to my father on an hourly basis about how
great my life was and how I enjoyed being a teenager... still.

I guided up the tall stairs and down the dark, empty hallway, humming
Debussy to myself. I found my locker at the end of the hall by the
water fountain. It was always at the end of a hall due to the fact that
my last name began with an S.

"182." I noted the new locker number to myself as I twirled the


combination around effortlessly. Opening it up, I shoved my new books
inside and placed the sticky mirror on the door. I stared deeply into it,
rubbing my pale fingers over my cheekbones and the lids of my deep
eyes. After all these years, it still took me back every once in awhile to
see the same, solid, stiff reflection looking back at me. Sure, I had
beauty, and all the youthful qualities that made me attractive to the
kids here at the school. And sure, I was wise beyond my years. But this
was because I have had over a hundred years to perfect these crafts. A
hundred years of youth. And a hundred years of emptiness.

As I slammed the locker shut and walked back towards the stairs, a
wave of panic crossed over me. I froze in my place, catching my breath
sharply.

I smelled a human.

Not the typical, everyday, run-of-the-mill type of human. No, this was
different.

The sweet, irresistible smell surrounded my face, and I could hear a


steady heartbeat as clunky footsteps climbed up the stairs, toward me.
I knew I needed to get out but I couldn't move. I have never been
taken back like this before. I didn't know how to respond. What should I
do? Do I hide? Should I panic? I hesitated as the irresistible smell
became thicker, lost in my own devastating thoughts. My haunting
thoughts. My uncontrollable thoughts.

Thoughts that could expose my father and I for who we truly are.
The steps came closer as more images hit me like a shockwave. Yes, it
was an empty hallway. It was after 4 pm. Most of the faculty had gone
home for the day, and since school didn't officially start until tomorrow,
I knew I could probably react the way I immensely desired to, and have
time clean up the mess before anyone would notice. No, I thought. I
can't do this. Not to Charlie.

My hands began to shake and my breathing became shallow as I


listened to the the rhythm-like heart beat. It was a man climbing the
steps, this I was sure of. I could tell by the heavy octave in his breath,
the heavier beat in his chest. But his smell was so appetizing, I knew I
had to get out of there immediately. I held my breath as I turned
around sharply, starting to run in the opposite direction. My body was
trembling uncontrollably.

"Oh Miss!" The sound echoed through my ears as I tried to escape.

"Excuse me! Please wait!"

I froze in my tracks as I heard his footsteps softly graze toward me.


The sound of his voice exploded into my body with echoes, overtaking
me. It was the sound of an Angel, of that I was sure. I swallowed hard
and hesitated to turn, trying to grasp a single thought to force myself
to keep running away. Get away from him, I thought to myself. Don't
look at his face, it will be too tempting.

I heard his shallow breath get louder as he approached me now. I


fought to control my trembling body, my quivering breath, my brutal
thoughts. Then, I pushed myself to turn around.

I gasped, my jaw hitting the floor. Not only was his smell delicious and
his heartbeat the sound of the most beautiful drum, but the body that
these things belonged to was perfect. I have never seen a human so
beautiful in my entire life. He was tall and slim. His hair was a messy
disarray of bronzed delight. He had deep, true, meaningful green eyes.
His lips formed to a perfect pout, and when he smiled at me, he
showed the most perfect set of white teeth.

I couldn't breathe, even if I had to.

"I'm sorry," the angel spoke effortlessly. "Did I scare you?"

I stayed frozen, my eyes trying to focus onto his. I curled my fists into
balls, fighting back the urge to pounce on him.
The beautiful man tilted his head slightly to his right, his smile growing
larger. "Are you alright?" he asked, showing true concern.

I nodded, trying to find my words. What the hell is happening to me?

He nodded back at me, smile staying in place.

We stared at each other, frozen at our marks. The building was empty
and the silence was overbearing as the pace of his heart echoed off of
the solid walls. More thoughts crashed over me now, thoughts so
devastating that I couldn't force myself to process them.

I wanted him more than anything ever before, and I couldn't hide it. I
took a step closer to him, and forced myself to gain control. I shook my
arms around, loosening up my stance. "I-I'm sorry," I spoke lightly,
clearing my throat and giving him my best smile. Confidence was
overtaking me.

My control was much better, and all I felt now was desire. I turned my
head towards him, taking another step. "Was there something I can
help you with?" As I took another small step towards him, I could hear
his heart rate kick up a few notches. I was getting to him in the same,
but opposite way that he was getting to me.

"C-Could you help me find my locker? I'm new here."

I smiled, taking the small piece of paper from him and meeting his
eyes once more. Then I read the number. "183. You're right next to
me."

His smile grew larger as he followed behind me, walking towards our
lockers. "Well, that is convenient then," he mused.

I nodded, stopping and leaning against my new locker. "Yeah, they


always put the new kids at the end of the lockers, and I have a last
name that begins with an S, so they're always near me."

He nodded as he opened the locker and shoved his stuff inside. "Thank
you so much," he said graciously. He reached out his hand for me to
shake it. "I'm Edward Cullen."

"It's nice to meet you, Edward Cullen." I took his hand, subsiding
thoughts of murder and death. But as we touched, another shockwave
shook my body and we both jerked away immediately.
He froze, his eyes staring deep into mine. I shoved my hand into my
jean pocket, looking down. More thoughts rose into my mind as his
heartbeat kicked up again. He was startled. My slight touch startled
him.

This wasn't good. This made me want him more.

I had to get out of there.

I began to quickly walk around him, heading towards the steps. "I-I
gotta go, my father is waiting on me."

He nodded, placing his own perfect hands into his pockets, and leaned
against the locker. "Well, it was nice meeting you." he said, more calm
now.

I waved behind me as I ran down the steps, struggling with my


emotions to charge back and attack him. As I ran out of the building,
the smells of him faded away, and although I could think clearer, I was
suddenly miserable. I wanted that smell back, the feel of him to return
to me.

I suddenly felt more alone.

I ran to my father's vehicle, tossing myself inside in a hurry. "Sorry I'm


late!" I gasped, wrapping my seatbelt around me and buckling in. "The
receptionist couldn't find my name."

Charlie laughed and put the truck in gear, driving out of the parking
lot. "I was beginning to wonder if you committed a massecure on the
school faculty," he teased.

I shot him a dirty look before leaning my head against the window,
trying to flush out the thoughts of the Angel I just witnessed.

He was so perfect. He was irresistible.

I knew right then that I had to do whatever it took to stay away from
him. I couldn't expose myself like this. Not after all my father has
worked for to keep us safe, and to build a reputation here in Forks.

The car ride was silent and as we walked inside our home, I felt myself
begin to shake again with the very notion of that man crossing my
mind again. I needed to hunt. Immediately.
I jogged up the steps to my bedroom, slamming the door behind me as
I tried to gather my thoughts. But I couldn't escape him. Not even if I
tried to. I was suddenly surrounded by decisions and questions. It was
as if I were under a silent attack, and I couldn't figure out why this was
happening to me.

Who was this man? Why wasn't he like all the other humans I
surrounded myself with on a daily basis? What made him so different,
and why was he crawling further underneath my skin by the second?
Why couldn't I escape from his passionate stare? Worst, did I really
want to escape?

I couldn't take a moment to think to save my life. But I needed to, this I
knew... If I was going to save his.
Chapter 2: Like A Woman Posessed

I could not stop thinking about Edward Cullen.

Like a woman possessed, I couldn't escape one single fragment of his


image floating through my head. He was everywhere. He was in every
thing. He was the the voice I heard when I hunted last night. He was
the face I saw when I looked in the mirror. He was the smell
surrounding every room I stepped into.

I was beyond frustrated by how quickly I was overtaken. I was angry. I


almost wanted to kill myself, if that were possible. No matter how
many times I tried to convince myself that he was just like anybody
else and that he didn't matter, I could't escape the truth. There was
something about him that was drawing me near him, and the fact that
it could hurt us both upset me to the core. It was the longest 24 hours
of my life.

I thought severely about cutting class, even on the first day. I couldn't
imagine walking to my locker and seeing his prescence near me,
knowing how badly I wanted him.

Then again, I couldn't imagine not seeing him, and feeling miserable
the whole time.

So, being the cruel masochist that I am, I decided to bite my lip, hold
my breath, and go to school. As soon as I entered the school building
and walked down the Junior hallway, I began to regret my decision.
Despite the fact that there was over 1800 kids in my school, all with
different smells and heart beats... only one stood out by a mile.

My senses found him standing at the end of the long hallway before
my body even made it up the staircase.
"Hey Bella! Welcome back!"

"Hey Bella, how was your summer?"

I avoided faded attempts of conversation from my peers passing by


me, as I was distracted by the beautiful smell of danger that crept
closer with every footstep I took. My eyes zoned in on him without any
hesitation, as if, somehow, they were meant to lock on only him.

There he stood, in all his glory. His hair was a beautiful mess of
bronzed dismay. His dark green t-shirt fit his frame perfectly, and was
the exact match to his overtakingly beautiful eyes. He wore dark blue
jeans with a black belt, which matched the black cufflink around his
right wrist. His smile was breathtaking, the kind that drew you into
him. It was the type of smile that could be placed in magazines next to
the ugliest product, but still sell a million shares. It was devastating,
how perfect he was.

Edward was surrounded by a group of kids, clearly proving that he had


no problems making new friends. He was like a greek God, put on a
pedistal by a flock of admirers. The sex of his fans was divided equally
amung men and women, but one female stood out to me by a mile.

It wasn't because she was the only girl that looked like she was good
enough to stand next to him. It wasn't because she was thin, or
beautiful. It wasn't because she had silky, short brown hair, a
welcoming smile, and a pixie-like posture. It wasn't because she had a
contagious laugh that filled the room and pulled people in.

No, there was something different. Something worse.

Edward was laughing, leaning his head over to her. His cheek touched
the top of her head, and his arm was thrown over her shoulders. Her
perfect hand was patting him on his chest, and she was talking to the
group of guys in front of them like she was proud of him. Like she
loved him. Like he was hers.

I felt pure disgust with myself. I don't know what I was expecting, or
even why I should be expecting something. But it definetly wasn't this.

He was taken.

As the first bell rang and I found myself standing in a distance in the
center of the hallway with my jaw ajar, I felt a sense of nausea hit. I
watched through what appeared to be slow motion images, as she
stood on her tiptoes to kiss him on his cheek, before they strided off to
class in seperate directions. I watched him walk away, and waited
before he was out of sight before I drug my feet over there. I claimed
by English Lit book from my locker, slamming the door behind me.

His smell was all around me, causing my empty chest to ache more. I
couldn't believe how idiotic I was being. I just met the guy. I should
continue to convince myself that he didn't matter, that he was just
another human.

But no matter now hard I tried, I couldn't shake him from my mind. He
was the Romeo in the chapter I got called on to read out loud in class.
He was the voice I heard every time I rummaged through the halls.
Everyone was talking about him. It was unavoidable.

"Hey Bella!"

As I skidded into my art class, I heard a high pitched voice calling my


name. I turned to find Jessica in her cheer gear outfit, with the biggest
grin on her face.

"It's the first day of school and we have a pep rally to lead today! Oh,
and we got this gorgeous guy now, I swear Bella he could be a model!
He's new, along with some other newbies, but this guy is suppossed to
be this AMAZING right fielder, and everyone keeps going on and on
about how perfect he is, and how silly and funny he is, and how smart
he is... So did you forget your uniform or something?"

I let out a loud sigh, slumping down in the same seat I've had in this
class since I began this stupid high school. I joined the cheerleading
team for my father, Charlie. He once said to me, "Bella, since you're
going to be here for awhile, you might as well experience new things
that you would never catch yourself doing. You have a long life ahead
of you. Make me proud!" Yeah. Thanks Dad.

"No," I sighed again, pulling out my portfolio. "I didn't forget. I just
didn't feel like being all cheery during class hours."

Jessica giggled. "You're too crazy, Bella! So have you seen him yet?"

"Who?"

"Duh! Edward Cullen, the new guy!"

Great. Now I'm gonna hear it from her as well. "Oh," I stammered.
"Um, yeah, he has a locker next to mine."
"Oh my God, you're so lucky!" Jessica clapped her hands, bouncing in
her chair. "I guess I'm gonna have to borrow some, like, pens or
something from you a lot this school year, just so I can talk to him."

I shook my head, beginning to draw the first thing that popped into my
head. "Don't worry Jess. If he plays baseball, I'm sure you'll get more
than enough chances to talk with the guy."

I listened to her rant through art class, steadily drawing as I dazed into
incoherant thoughts. Jessica rambled in echoes beside me, with topics
such as what she did over the summer, how many guys she met, how
she is learning how to unsucessfully surf but thinks it's a great way to
meet new locals... I didn't feel guilty for drowning her out after a few
moments. Once you've heard once conversation from Jessica, you've
heard them all. And if not, you could be sure she'd bring the entire
subject back up again at a later time.

As I scribbled, I thought about a collage of things: My mother's face, or


how I remembered her from before the accident. Such a long time ago.
She was so beautiful, and I could still remember the sweet, kindness in
her voice and the grace of her hugs. I missed her deeply... More with
every day passing. Especially when I looked at my father, and see the
constant ache in his eyes.

I thought about the friends I've lost as I moved from place to place.
The ones who've died from natural causes, as they got older. The ones
who had babies, or got married. The ones I'd give anything to trade
places with. Even the ones that I wouldn't allow myself to get close
with, the ones I knew I could have been best friends forever with, if the
circumstances were different. But I couldn't bare to allow myself to feel
more alone once I was seperated from them, so I stayed closed shut
from them.

Then I thought about Edward. Not in an obsessed way, but just enough
to try to figure things out. I needed to understand why I was being
drawn to him, and why I couldn't escape him. What should I do? Was I
going to pretend that he didn't exist here?... No, I knew I wasn't strong
enough for that. I wasn't even going to try to lie to myself. Should I try
to talk with him, maybe even become his friend? No, I couldn't do that
either. What would his girlfriend think about that? I was so confused. I
knew I needed to do something about him, but for the life of me,
couldn't figure out what that something was.

Riiinnnggg.
I jumped to the sound of the bell, knocking my paper and pencil off of
the desk. Jessica leaned over to help me pick it up. As she stood, her
jaw dropped and she covered her mouth, staring at my drawing.

"What?" I asked, furrowing my brow in confusion. "What is it?"

"Well," she cleared her throat, turning the paper around so that I could
see it. "It looks as if you know the guy better than you think you do."

"What are you ta-" I cut myself off as soon as I saw my work.

Normally, I didn't do this in school. It was something that I kept hidden.

But there Edward was, in complete charcoal pencil detail. He was


wearing a gray, pin-striped baseball uniform with the number "17"
written on it. He had a wooden bat leaned over his right shoulder, and
his left hand was holding his baseball cap.

I jerked the art from her fingers, shoving it in my portfolio. "It's


nothing." I growled through my teeth.

She followed me as I stormed out of the hallway, her fingers touching


my shoulder to stop me. "Wait!" she shouted. "How did you know his
number was 17?"

I shrugged her off, storming away fast enough so she couldn't catch
up, but not enough to make it obvious to the kids around me. I
stormed down the stairs and out the front doors of the school,
desperate to find cold air. As soon as it covered my face, I gasped,
crouching down to the cemement. So stupid, Bella! I thought. Why did
you do that! Why?!

I panicked for a few moments, unable to find my thoughts.

Then I heard Mr Turner -- who is the school principal's -- voice come


over the intercom. "Welcome to a wonderful, funfilled school year,
Spartans! We are cutting class short today, inviting all students to
meet in the school gym for our first pep rally! The cheerleaders will be
introducing the players of the basketball, football, baseball, and soccer
teams this year, and they will lead us on our first chant for a victorious
school win! So come on kids, meet us in the gym now!"

It took me a few moments to regain my composure. I knew I had to


rush to my car and grab my uniform, get changed, and be clear across
the school and in the gym before the students got in there. Checking
around me to make sure no one was looking, I flew to my car and
grabbed my stuff faster then the bell could ring to release the
students. I rushed inside the bathroom, changing my clothes and fixing
my hair. Then I jogged to the gym without a moments notice.

"Hey Bella!"

"Hey Angela!" I waved, running over to her. Angela was my only true
friend in this school. She has been my best friend since I moved here
three summers before last. She was smart and beautiful, and very
kind. In a lot of ways, she reminded me of what I thought my mother
would be like, if she were here and 17. And even though Angela was a
human and had no idea about my secrets, she seemed like she
somehow knew I was different, and was okay with that. She never
pushed her thoughts on me to make me feel uncomfortable, and she
never asked a ton of questions. She was wonderful.

She fluffed my hair over my shoulders before giving me a big hug.


"How was your summer? Did you do anything exciting?"

I laughed, hugging her back. "Just the usual, how about yourself?"

"Oh, you know... Working on topics for the school paper, writing my
novel, going to the movies with Eric."

"Ya'll are still together then?"

"Of course. He hasn't gotten on my nerves just yet."

I laughed, gently shoving her backwards. "You're so cruel."

She tossed her arm over my shoulder, dragging me to the other


cheerleaders. "I know," she responded. "I think I got that from you."

"Yeah probably. But you know I-"

"Shhh!!" We were cut off by Ashley Gwinn, the bitchiest cheerleader


from hell. She was a blonde, ditzy, fake, barbie doll wannabee. Very
annoying. I thought several times about dragging her to the locker
room and ending her life, and I would have if her daddy wasn't the
mayor of the town my father worked for. But God she got on my
nerves.

I shot her the worst look I could muster, causing her to look away
immediately. I heard her mumble the word "Freak" under her breath,
but knowing that no other human would have heard that, I couldn't
confront her. At least not in public.
The pep rally went on as Principal Turner and the rest of the faculty
gave their routine welcome speeches to their students. I cheered with
the others when needed, not caring to make more of an effort that I
had to. I was only here for one reason, and I knew that reason was in
the locker room. I listened closely to the voices of the men behind the
bleachers, chanting to each other as their heartbeats sped up, waiting
to come out and get the crowd pumping. I listened as the guys joked
around about Edward, talking about him being a "ladies man" and
getting "all the women hot and bothered". Jealousy. Very obvious!

"Alright!" Mr Turner shouted next to the Spartans mascot. "Here they


are! Please welcome your high school football team!"

I stood immediately, yanking Angela and Jessica up with me. I knew


that the baseball team was introduced after the football, soccer, and
basketball team, and I already felt jittery.

It felt like hours passed as each member of the other teams were
announced. I drowned out the cheers from the girls around me and the
loud crowd in the bleachers, waiting impatiently for one other team to
be announced, and only one other name to be called.

"And here is your baseball team!"

I started to bounce up and down, tossing my pom pom's in the air. It


was a very rare thing for me to get this excited, and pure shock was
written over each of the six cheerleader's faces around me, even Jess
and Ang's. I shrugged them off, waiting for him to appear. I was too
excited.

But he didn't appear. The rest of the team walked out and high fived
each other, but there was no Edward.

I glared over to Jessica, suddenly worrid. "Where is he, Jess!" I growled.


"Didn't you say he played baseball?!"

She laughed, giving me an awkward glance. "That's what I heard!


Besides, you knew his freakin' number. So it's obvoius he does!"

"Well where is he?"

I stared Mr Turner down as he talked about how good the team did last
year, and how, even though we lost more games then we won, how it
was about sucess as a team, not a victory. I felt myself slump down,
throwing my hands on my hips in an obvious pout. I didn't care. I was
too upset to be cheery now.
As Mr Turner's rant kept on about how we should be thankful for our
teammates and how it wasn't about winning, I thought more about how
stupid I had been all day. I was confused about how I could draw
Edward in the jersey, even though he wasn't here with the team. I was
more than disappointed, trying to figure out where I went wrong.
Maybe I didn't draw the future after all. Maybe I just soaked in Jessica's
words that she heard he was a baseball player, and drew what I
wanted to see.

I felt myself slump all the way down to the ground of the gym, feeling
more sense of loneliness.

I knew I shouldn't feel like this. I knew I shouldn't have let myself
believe that this guy, this regular human guy could come here and
change all my feelings in an instant. I threw my head in my palms,
feeling like an idiot. I wanted to go home. I wanted to run away. I
needed to get out of here.

As I stood sluggishly and leaned to pick up my pom pom's, a sudden


wave hit me again. It was familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time.
Like it only happened once before.

"And here, possibly going to change all of that and lead us to this
year's undefeated victory, meet the newest member of the team, just
transferring from Jacksonville Beach, Florida... EDWARD CULLEN!"

The crowd errupted in the loudest roar I ever heard. I jumped up


quicker than lightening, making Angela jump as I scared her. As soon
as the front doors to the gym opened, I felt myself so happy that I
could do back flips. There he was, walking out into the gym like he
owned the place. He wore the jersey I imagined him in, with the
number 17 on it. He carried a bat over his right shoulder, and he was
waving his baseball cap around to the crowd.

They loved him.

I heard all different types of shouts from the girls in the crowd and next
to me. There was constant talk about how beautiful he was and how
perfect his smile was. They were all infatuated with him. But me... I
was in love. I couldn't breathe, couldn't think, and couldn't stop staring
at him. Edward shook the coaches hand firmly, and then Mr Turner's,
before walking steadily over to the microphone in the center of the
gym. The lights dimmed and the spotlight shown on only him, causing
me to almost lose my balance. This sort of thing never happened to
me, so I knew it was big.
"Thank you!" he replied, waiting for the crowd to simmer down. His
voice was calm. Soft. Perfect. The voice of an Angel.

He smiled, taking a step back to soak in the cheers from the crowd. As
the basketball team turned on the large warehouse fans behind him to
calm the overheated crowd down, his smell immediately crossed my
path and overtook me. I couldn't help but inhale, getting lost in it as I
zoned out the crowd and listened to the calm echo of just his heart
beating. Thud. Thud. Thud. I couldn't believe he was so calm. It was as
if he was made for this type of thing. Like he was made to be loved.
Like he was made to be worshiped. I curled my fingers into tight fists
around the handles of the pom pom's, almost snapping them in half. I
had to maintain control over my emotions. I couldn't allow myself to
break in front of all of these people.

He shook his head, running his fingers through his perfect hair as he
laughed. "Thank you," he said once again. "Thank you so much."

After a few more minutes of "Ow's!" and "Sexy!" and "Go boy!", the
crowd finally died down. But I still couldn't remember how to inhale,
and didn't want to take the chance anyhow.

"Thanks guys!" Edward shouted, hyped up. "I am so happy to be here,


to be a part of this great team, and representing the Spartans and the
rest of this school! I know that this past year was a difficult one for you
guys, but I want you to know that we, as a team, can change this and
bring the victory home, where it belongs! Right here!"

The crowd roared again, and I found myself jumping up and down,
estatic with the rest of them.

"Now!" he continued, more calmly, but still sure of himself. "It isn't
going to be easy. It's going to take dedication, hard work,
preserverance, and a lot of practice. But I truly believe that if we stick
together, stick to our guns, and work like hell, we will -- I repeat, WILL
-- bring pride back to this school, for once and for all!"

The crowd roared again, chanting a mixture of "Edward!" and


"Spartans!" It amazed me, the sound of his name coming from all the
different voices, and the effect it still had on me whenever it was said. I
beamed proudly at him, realizing that for the first time in several
years, that my smile had finally become real once again. It felt
amazing. It felt honest.

It was as if Edward Cullen turned me into a real person again, just by


his presence and his smile.
As I listened to his silky voice deliver his speech, I found myself
growing more and more at peace. It was crazy. It was like I was
possessed, and my life suddenly made sense now that he was in it,
regardless of what little part that may be. It was at this moment that I
made up my mind and my decision was clear. I wasn't going to ignore
him. I wasn't going to pretend he didn't exist.

I had to know him. I knew I'd never allow myself to hurt him, that part
was decided. And I didn't even care how it'd break my heart when I
had to seperate from him. I didn't care about anything else anymore,
no matter how obvious it was that I should stay in my routine of
sticking to myself with relationships and pretending to be something
I'm not.

This was different. He was in my path for a reason.

It was hard for me to focus as the pep rally went on, but I did my best
to participate and get the crowd going. I couldn't help but see Jessica
and Angela's shocked expressions through my periphrial vision as I
continued to cheer and shout. They were shocked I was so present, so
into this. It was shocking to me as well.

---

I stood patiently against the lockers, twisting my pom pom's in the air.
I overheard some guys saying that Edward was going to go to a party
with them tonight, sort of a welcome bash for him and the other new
kids, but that he had to get his keys and a few other things out of his
locker first. So I made sure I looked presentable and made my way up
there, waiting only for him.

I listened closely as his footsteps trotted down the vacant hall, and my
smile grew a foot as he turned the corner by our lockers.

His smile mirrored mine. "What's up?" he asked, walking towards me.

I held my breath, afraid that his smell would be too tempting for me.
"Not much. I just wanted to give you an official welcome. I realize I was
kind of rude yesterday, and I wanted to apologize."

He smiled, turning the combination to his locker. "It's no problem," he


sweetly replied. "And thank you. I never got your name by the way..."

"It's Bella."
Edward yanked out his keys and jacket from his locker and shut his
locker before he extended his hand out to mine. A crooked smile
crossed his lips. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Bella. Officially."

I smiled, shaking his hand, suddenly overwhelmed by the electric hot


and cold mixture between us. "Pleasure's all mine."

We stood at our marks, grinning from ear to ear as we continued to


shake hands. Edward tilted his head at me, staring into my eyes. "Did
you get contacts?" He asked calmly.

I smiled like a goof, lost in his voice. "No. Why?"

"Your eyes... I could have sworn they were black yesterday."

I froze for a moment before pulling my hand away, running my fingers


nervously through my hair. "Oh yeah. Um. I guess it was just the ... dim
lights in the hall here or something."

He tilted his head the other way, keeping his eyes locked on mine.
"Yeah..." he softly responded. "That must have been it."

I rocked back on my heels, shoving my hands in my pocket, forcing


myself away from his gaze for a moment. "Big plans tonight?"

"Oh. Yeah. Some of the guys from the team invited me to this party at
Mike Newton's house. He is apparently the big guy on the basketball
team, so I figured I would swing by there. What about you?"

I shook my head, suddenly feeling self conscious and low. "J-Just... you
know, hanging out with my dad."

He nodded, giving me another perfect smile. "That's cool."

I stared into his deep eyes, finding myself getting lost by the second. I
knew he was about to leave, and it hurt just thinking about it.

Edward continued to keep his lock on my eyes as he slowly began to


walk away backwards, taking my breath with him. "Well," he said,
scratching the back of his head as he looked at me. "It was really a
nice... pleasure meeting you, Bella."

I nodded, leaning against my locker, waiting for the ache to fully set in.
I watched as he winked at me, before slowly turning and walking away.
Hands shaking, I covered my chest, forcing myself to exhale. As he
took each step further, I felt myself growing more and more miserable
by the second. Once he finally disappeared going down the staircase, I
slid down the locker, panting.

I couldn't believe I gave in like this, but I couldn't force myself to regret
it either. He was so perfect and so sweet. He was so addicting to me
now, like a drug.

I banged the back of my head against the locker, trying to find control
over myself. Get it together Bella, I thought. You'll see him again
tomorrow.

Then, after tomorrow, I knew I had to get through Saturday and


Sunday without his face, his smell, and his overwhelming presence
being near me. This depressed me more.

After a few more moments of silence and dispair, I forced myself up off
the ground and down the hall. I felt my arms cross over the hollow in
my chest as the ache overwhelmed me. I knew what I had gotten
myself into, and knew the ache was going to hit me. But man, did it
ever hurt. It was as if a thousand knives were stabbing me all over my
body, and a thousand razors dug down the veins in my arms.

I was in pain.

I shoved the doors to the school open and jogged through the mist to
my car. I knew the quicker I got home and saw my dad, the quicker I
could keep myself occupied until school tomorrow.

I unlocked my door and climbed in quickly, replaying our conversation


in my head. Every thing he did, every smile he gave, and every word
he spoke was perfect. It made me smile just thinking about it.

As I started my car, I heard a loud knock at my window, causing me to


jump. I froze when I saw Edward standing there, shivering against the
cold. I rolled down my window, my face in a stiff, confused expression.

"Hey, Bella," he panted, as the rain began to come down. "My brothers
and sisters left without me, I guess. I was wondering... if it wasn't too
much trouble... Could you give me a ride?"

A million thoughts crossed my mind that shouldn't be there. Knowing


that I should say no, and wait until we were in public to meet
eachother again, I refused to shake my head. The tempation was just
too strong.
I smiled at him, lost in his green eyes once more. "Of course Edward," I
said, motioning for him to get in.

I watched as his body ran around my car through the rain, holding my
breath. I knew this is wrong. He wasn't like me. We could get hurt.

But I didn't care.

As he climbed in and shook the water from his hair, he turned to me


and smiled his Angel smile. "Thank you so much, Bella. I really
appreciate you doing this for me."

I stared at him for a long moment, lost in a daydream. I couldn't figure


out how I suddenly got so lucky.

I slowly snapped out of it, put my car into drive, and watched as he
leaned back against the seat, relaxing. A million more thoughts
crossed my mind and I couldn't help but get excited over the fact that I
could have him alone for a few moments.

"No," I finally replied with a smile, slamming on the gas and peeling
out of the parking lot. I was wreckless. But I didn't care. "Trust me. It's
no problem."
Chapter 3: Crash Course Into Insanity

We drove down the long and winding road in silence. I couldn't figure
out anything that could sound intelligent enough to spark up a
conversation with him, so I stayed mute.

I had the heater on to help him dry off from the rain that soaked him
down, and it was cuasing his sweet smeel to flow through the interior
of my car. It overwhelmed me. I wanted to roll down the windows so I
wouldn't feel so tempted by him, but I knew it freeze him. So I forced
myself to endure it.

Fifteen minutes passed by, and I was starting to get nervous.

"This is an amazing car." Edward's sweet voice broke the silence softly,
as he ran his fingers along the dash. "It's an M3, right?"

"Very good." I sighed, keeping my eyes on the road. I continued to sit


stiff and hold my breath. I felt his eyes lock onto me and noticed that
they were widened in thought. I couldn't help but smile. "What are you
thinking?" I asked.

Edward beamed, his eyes taking me in. "I'm just trying to figure out
how a beautiful woman like you owns an amazing car like this, and yet
you live in Forks."
I shrugged, watching the dotten line on the road disappear beneath my
hood as I accelerated. "Well," I began. "My father bought it for me on
my last birthday. He said it would keep me out of trouble, and if I
couldn't stay away from trouble, then it would at least help me get
away faster."

Edward chuckled, leaning his head back against the passenger seat.
He gripped the tips of his wet hair with his beautiful fingers, and tilted
his head in my direction. "Wow," he spoke after a few moments.
"You're something special, Bella."

I looked at him through arched brows. "No," I stiffly replied. "I am not."

Edward's eyes trailed briefly to my speedometer before returning to


me. He was deep in thought. I couldn't stay away from him.

Finally he smirked, leaning his head back and closing his eyes. "You
don't see yourself very clearly, do you Bella?"

I locked my eyes on him, overwhelmed by the electricity between us in


the car, and the direction this conversation had taken. "Trust me," I
replied quietly. "I've had a long time to get acquainted with myself... A
very long time. I'm nothing special."

I pulled into the slosh wetness of Mike Newton's drive, silently hissing
at Ashley Gwinn walking slowly in front of my vehicle. My car had a
custom exhaust on it, so I knew she was well aware it was me behind
the wheel of this car. If Edward hadn't been with me, it would have
taken everything I had not to run her body over.

As I crept closer to the house, through the wind and the mud, I listened
to the rain turn into a light sprinkle. I felt the ache in my chest heavily
return, as I knew a goodbye was seconds away, once more.

Why, oh WHY do I torture myself this way?

"Well," the Angel beside me spoke as he sat up to stretch out. "I guess
we're here."

I nodded, forcing a smile as I watched Mike and the rest of the


basketball team cheering and making whistling sounds at us. Edward
just smirked at them, mumbling something to himself that I couldn't
comprehend.
I shook my head and looked down to my lap, biting my bottom lip
nervously. "Well..." I said, unable to continue smiling. "Have fun
tonight."

He paused after opening the door, and looked back at me. "Wait,
you're not coming in?"

I shook my head.

"Why not?"

"I don't get invited to these type of things."

"But you're a cheerleader," Edward mused.

"Trust me. Not by choice."

"So, you should still get invited."

I shook my head again.

Edward smirked, leaning back inside my car and shutting the door. "I
just invited you."

At that moment, it felt like my breath was stolen out of my chest. I


couldn't remove myself from his gaze, and I felt myself sinking deeper
by the moment. This wasn't good.

"B-But," I stammered. "What about your girlfriend?"

Edward looked at my suspiciously, tilting his head. "Who told you I had
a girlfriend?"

Great. Now he thinks I'm a stalker.

I shrugged, unable to respond. I wanted to climb under my car, I felt so


embarrassed.

He tilted his head toward Mike and the guys. "Come on," he said,
opening the door again.

I shook my head, biting my lip.

Edward closed the door once more, ignoring Mike calling for him,
shouting things such as "Get out of the cheerleader's car while you
can, Mr Star Athlete! She bites!"
I snarled at him under my breath, and this amused Edward. "Uh oh," he
prodded. "I take it you two don't get along too well."

I couldn't control the growl in my chest. "Yes," I sneered, shooting Mike


a look from hell. "I refused to go out with him on a date. He's an idiot."

Edward seemed more intrigued. "Why wouldn't you go out with him?
He seems like a pretty stand up guy..."

Why so Mike and I could go out on a double date with you and your
supermodel girlfriend?

"Yeah," I responded shortly. "Until you hang around him for more than
a few seconds. Then his true colors start to show. When I refused him,
he chose to spread nasty, awful rumors about me around town and
school. It even got back to my father, who's the Chief of Police, which
caused me to get into trouble. My dad took Mike's side, worried that I
was causing trouble for the townfolk."

Edward thought peacefully for a few moments, pulling and pushing his
fingers apart. "Well," he said softly. "Anyone who spreads nasty rumors
about you is an idiot. Pay no mind to them. This is just high school, you
know?"

I forced a smile toward him, unable to come up with an encouraging


response. All I heard was howls coming from the general direction of
the crowd of guys by the hood of my car.

"Please come in with me, Bella." Edward begged. "You're the only one
I've met so far that I can talk to about something other than baseball.
You're very intriguing to me."

I tightened my fingers around the steering wheel and closed my eyes.


This was getting carried away. I knew I should leave before I got
anymore attatched to him. I knew that my very prescence was drawing
him into me, and that hew as interested in the idea of me, rather than
me as an actual person, or whatever I was.

Vampires draw humans in. By our voice, and our face, and our smell. It
was hopeless that I should convince myself that he'd be interested in
me. Anyone who even saw him would know he's better than everyone
else in this world.

"Hey" he said, snapping me out of my misery as he softly tapped my


shoulder. "I won't let anything happen to you, Bella. I promise."
Chills shot through my body at the minor contact he gave to me, and I
released my grip from the wheel. "Okay," I gave in. "For just a few
minutes, I guess."

Edward beamed, satisfied that he'd won me over. "Let's go."

I hesitated, watching him jog around my car through the misty rain and
open my door. I bit my lip as I climbed out, listening to the whistles
from the gathering crowd around my car. I walked behind Edward,
feeling disconnected from all the power and sheilded armor I normally
carried through the halls at school. I was unguarded and it frightened
me.

I heard Ashley and her moronic friends whispering into each other's
ears about me, saying how they bet the only way I could ever get
Edward to hang out with me was if I put an evil spell on him. I couldn't
help but smile at this. "Witch" and "Bella" has seemed to go hand-in-
hand since I moved here and Mike became interested in me instead of
Ashley. I hissed at her as we walked by, and I couldn't help but amuse
my thoughts of all the things I could do to her that made "witching"
sound like a gift from Heaven in comparison.

As we continued to push through the sea of people and Edward high-


fived a few of his own teammates, I began to feel nauteous with a
mixture of nerves and excitement. The smell of so many humans
surrounding me, damp after the rain shower was beyond extrutiating.
Yet, being in the mere prescence of Edward made those matters feel
little in comparison.

At last, we made it. We pushed through the crowd and headed toward
the house. I felt more electric shock waves pass through me as
Edward's palm touched the small of my back, leading me up the steps.
I jumped forward immediately and his hand flew to his side.

"Sorry," he mumbled, caught of guard.

"'S okay." I figited with my hands. "I just... you know..." I tailed off,
thinking only about the sweet taste of his blood.

Edward nodded in my silence and opened the front door of Mike's


house. I held my breath as he followed me inside, where we were met
by more of our peers.

"Bella!" Angela shreeked in shock as she trampled down the staircase.


"What are you doing here? When did you -" She cut herself off as
Edward came and stood beside me. "Oh," she continued, staring at him
with her jaw hanging down. "I see why... Um.. Hi, I'm Angela, Bella's
best friend."

Edward shook her hand gracefully with a smile. "It's a pleasure to meet
you Angela. Any friend of Bella's is a friend of mine. I'm Edward
Cullen."

Angela couldn't peel her eyes away from him either, and I realized that
he had that dazzling effect on all the girls. "So," she piped up as I gave
her a light jab in her stomach. "How'd you guys hook up?"

I bit my lip as Edward let out a light chuckle. I couldn't help but wonder
what he thought as he laughed, betting a million bucks with myself
that he was amused by Angela's naive choice of words.

"Well," Edward began, shoving his hands in his jean pockets and
glancing briefly over toward me. "Bella was gracious enough to give
me a ride over here, since my family left without me."

Angela looked confused. "But," she pondered. "Didn't you drive your
own car to school? I saw you, this morning. You were alone." Her eyes
met mine now, but I only looked at Edward, soaking in the light red
blush that formed upon his cheeks.

"No," Edward stammered, swaying back and forth on his heels. "I
didn't."

"But you drive a Volvo, right?" Angela continued. "Yeah, you do. I know
you do because you're the only other Junior here with a nice car,
besides Bella."

Edward looked down, shaking his head. I continued to pass glances


between the two of them in bewilderment.

The three of us stood in awkward silence as thunder began to roar


outside and the kids came running in the house, soaking wet.

Edward opened his mouth to speak but closed it fast as Josh, one of his
teammates, slapped him hard on the back, knocking him into me. I
reacted quickly, jumping behind Angela, away from him before any
stronger, more tempting connection could have been made between
us.

"What's up, man?" Josh asked, taking in Edward's awkward expression,


mixed with mine and Angela's confused ones. "What took you so long,
Bro? I thought you just had to get your car keys and haul your ass over
here?"

Edward kept his eyes on mine as he tried to think of a response -- or


excuse, perhaps? I curled my fists into tight balls, narrowing my eyes
on him.

"Oh it doesn't matter!" Josh shouted, nudging Edward forward again.


"Dude, let's get a drink!"

Edward shook his head, not able to remove himself from my stare. "No,
I'm here with Bella and I think that I should-"

"No," I cut him off. "I'm leaving. Have fun Edward. Bye Angela."

I stormed past him, hitting his left arm hard with my shoulder. I quickly
shoved through the crowd, out the door, and into the pouring rain.

I heard laughter roar through the house as the front door swung open
behind me.

"Bella!" Edward shouted, running after me down the muddy hill. He


almost slipped and fell down it as he continued to call my name.
"Bella! Bella, please wait. Let me explain!"

His scent flushed over me as lightening crashed, causing me to sneer


and become more angry. "Go away Edward! Go back inside. I'm sure
your girlfriend is waiting somewhere in there for you!"

"No!" He shouted, sloshing through the mud puddles. "Bella! I'm sorry,
look I-"

He cut himself off as I turned around quickly and stared him down.
"What?" I shouted through the rain as it poured harder over us.

Edward continued to stare at me with a startled expression, causing


the fire inside me to boil up.

I felt a defensive hiss rumble in my chest as the armor started to build


back up around me, which is where I should have left it in the first
place. I watched some guys run from the house to their car on top of
the hill, laughing as they kicked mud on eachother. This was exactly
the kind of thing I tried to avoid.
I knew I shouldn't have came here. I knew I shouldn't have allowed
myself to be around him in a situation like this. It was too
overwhelming for me, and I could so easily slip up and expose myself.

"Just forget it!" I shouted, twisting back around. I ran to my car and
climbed in, slamming the door so hard that I cracked the glass on the
driver's side. Great.

Edward stood in front of my car, shouting for me to stop. I glanced in


my rearview mirror at the big, bulky tree behind me, and growled,
realizing I couldn't back up. I fastened my seat belt and revved the
engine, staring at him.

"Wait!" Edward shouted, slamming his hands on my hood.

"Get out of my way!" I sneered, revving the car louder.

"NO!" He dug his feet into the muddy soil as lightning flashed around
him, planting his firm stance. "Not until you let me explain! Please
Bella!"

"Explain? Explain what?"

"Why I lied to you." He spoke more calm now. Determined.

I eyed him down for a long moment. I was so mad, but I couldn't turn
away from him, and I couldn't run him over. I was trapped.

"Bella," he started, leaning in as his hair smeared over his forehead


and the rain poured down his face. "I'm sorry that I lied to you, but-"

His voice got cut off as brakes screeched behind him. Over his right
shoulder, I saw a black Ford F350 rolling irratically backward and down
the hill, toward Edward's back at high speed.

Oh no. Not him. No, no, no, no.

Within a second, I had my seatbelt off, my door open, and I was out of
the car. I quickly jumped behind him before he could even turn around
to see what was coming at him. I shielded him with my body as I
slammed my hands hard into the tailgate of the truck, denting it hard. I
held the vehicle still and dug the back tires into the mud, so it wouldn't
roll back any further. I turned to make sure he was alright and quickly
moved us out of the way. It happened really fast.
Eric climbed out of his truck and ran to us, scared half to death. His
nose was bleeding, a reaction from his face hitting the steering wheel
as my hands slammed into his truck, I'm sure. I held my breath so I
wouldn't smell it.

"Oh God!" He shouted, his eyes wide. "Wh-Why aren't you dead?! Oh
my God, I'm so sorry! My brakes locked up and I couldn't stop! We-we
were just sliding down the hill! Oh my God, I could have killed you!"

Edward was squatting down on the ground, panting, and staring up at


me in shock.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

He nodded, speechless.

About nine kids ran out of the house to see what the commotion was
all about, as a large crowd gathered at the frame of the house, afraid
to get their hair wet due to the storm. I knew I needed to get out of
there as fast I could, before questions started coming. A few guys
helped Edward to his feet as Mike climbed in Eric's truck. About six
other guys pushed the truck forward as Mike steered. He hit the gas
hard, throwing mud on the hood of my undamaged car, which I
couldn't help but notice Edward gawking at. After a couple moments
and about ten tries, the mud finally gave way and the truck shuffled
forward, back up the hill toward Mike's house.

Edward's girlfriend and another new guy, who was just as breathtaking
as he was, surrounded him now. His beautiful girlfirend threw her arms
around his neck, giving him a huge hug as she cried and told him that
she was looking all over for him and then heard he was in an accident.
I couldn't help but feel jealous. Even her voice was beautiful.

I looked over her shoulder, to the beautiful blonde girl I recognized as a


senior. I knew her name, but couldn't pin point it. I couldn't pull away
from her stare of disgust toward me.

I took in a deep breath as people continued to surround him, and


quickly climbed into my car.

I made a quick exit, not looking back, and as soon as I was out of sight,
I hit the gas hard, cursing at myself for the predicament I put myself in.
I didn't let off the gas until I got to my house. I ignored Charlie's
questions and ran up the stairs to my room. I threw myself on my bed
and dug my fingers in the back of my hair, cursing to myself.
"Bella?" Charlie knocked twice on the locked door. "Are you okay?"

I shook my head, annoyed and in frustration. "I don't know, Dad. You
tell me. Do I look okay?"

Charlie sighed behind the wooden door. "Bella, just because I can see
you right now doesn't mean I can read your emotions."

"I'm fine Dad." I opened the door quickly and walked past him to the
bathrooom. I noticed Charlie's eyes turn away from white and back to
brown as he reeled in his power.

I sighed. "I just had a long night. That's all."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"No," I said, leaning against the bathroom door. "I just want to take a
long, hot shower and forget about it."

Charlie nodded and backed away. "Okay," he mumbled, as he softly


trotted down the stairs.

I took a hot shower and kept my mind blank, refusing to think about
the mess I created, about he-who-won't-be-named, or about she-who-
won't-be-named-who-had-her-arms-around-his-neck.

When I got back to my room, I made a solid vow to myself that I would
tighten up. Build my armor back. I had to be more careful. I couldn't
risk it, not after all the years it took Charlie to build us a safe
environment.

I would leave Edward alone. Not only did he have a girlfriend who I was
no competition with, but I was getting too far attatched to him.

So, though it would widen the large hole that took residence in my
chest, I knew that I would have to ignore him. At all costs. I had to pull
back the reigns.
Chapter 4: Watercolor Logic

I couldn't go to school.

I spent the rest of the weekend and all of next week in the mountains
with my father. And though Charlie could tell there was something off
about me, he never asked. We've spent enough years together to
know when silence is acceptable - this was one of those times.

It's just how we were.


While we hunted, I made a game plan for myself. I would ask around
and find out his classes, so I knew when to avoid going to my locker
when he might be there. I knew our 1st day at school was cut short
due to the pep rally, but I was certain we wouldn't have a class
together. After lunch, my schedule went Gym, Advanced Chemistry P2,
and Government. Gym was a slight possibility, but Physics and
Government were considered advanced classes, since they were
meant for Seniors and I was a Junior. I felt confident about those.

I stuck to my plan. The first half of my day back went very smooth. I
avoided my locker at all costs, and didn't see him in the halls between
classes. I refused to acknowledge any random conversation about him
or any of the other new kids, burying my head in my books. When I got
to my art class, I was in a pretty good mood. I felt proud of myself that
I was sticking to the plan.

"Well, Well!" Jessica mused, resting her hand on her chin and waited as
I took my seat. "You and Cullen, eh?"

Of course she's still bring it up, even after nine days.

"It wasn't like that."

"No?" She prodded, leaning in the isle. "Do you mean to tell me that
you didn't show up at Mike Newton's party with him?"

"No," I replied, avoiding her gaze. "I mean, it wasn't like that."

"Sure it wasn't... Bella, hate to break it to you, but you're transparent.


It's so obvious you've got a thing for him. Blind people can see it."

I sighed, beginning a new sketch of my father's house. "No. I don't. In


fact, I barely know him."

"Yeah," she replied casually, probably knowing I was lying through my


teeth. She leaned over to her own desk, acting nonchalant. "Yeah... it's
probably a good thing, you know? ...Considering..." Her voice trailed off
with her shrug.

"Considering what?"

"His reputation and all."

Great. Now I was curious. Act cool, Bella...

"What reputation? He's new here."


"So? People gossip. You of all people should know that."

A few moments passed as we listened to Mr. Redner give us our


watercolor assignment. We were to create a vivid image of a person
without thinking about anyone in particular. Easy enough.

I couldn't refrain from my vivid imagination full of curiosity. I guessed it


wouldn't hurt to know... just to know.

"Well," I began casually, "What have you heard?"

Jessica dipped her wet brush into blue paint. "Well, for starters, did you
know that he was adopted?"

"What? No." Who would ever give him up?

"Yeah. Do you know the seniors, Rosalie Hale and Emmett Cullen?"

"Vaguely... Names sound familiar. Should I?"

"Dunno. Emmett's father adopted him. You know, the doctor?"

"Ohh... that would explain why Edward's name is Cullen." Hmm, it was
all starting to come together now...

"Yeah, they changed it afterward. His last name used to be Masen.


Cute, huh?" Jess gushed. "Apparently Edward's mom died about six
months ago, right before summer vacation. She had Scarlett Fever or
something."

I was beyond stunned. "Wow... that's awful."

"Yeah," Jess continued. "And that's not even the worse part of it. His
dad was killed when Edward was really young, around four I heard. He
was murdered, but they never figured out who did it or why. It was like
a freak incident. No suspects. His body appeared to be cut open or
something. I'm not sure."

I couldn't even respond.

"And," she rambled on, "Get this: Edward was drafted for baseball right
out of high school. Before he finished even! We're talking MAJOR
LEAGUES and everything. He was first draft pick. But when his mom
died... he kind of gave it up."

I shook my head in disbelief. "How sad."


"I know. So he and two others got adopted by the Cullen's this
summer. Apparently, Edward has gotten really clsoe with Dr. Cullen.
Rosalie says Edward is more like Carlisle's brother. She said he's very
intelligent, and that he has a, quote, "old soul", whatever that means.
Oh! And there's been rumors that he's kind of a womanizer and treats
girls like crap after he gets what he wants from them. Like, he plays it
up at first, being a true gentleman...blah blah. Rumor has it he wasn't
that way until his mom died. Then it all went to hell... His baseball
career, his respect for women, his dreams...

"And," she continued, "Scouts are still trying like crazy to get Edward
to play for them, but he keeps putting it off for some reason... Probably
the attention. That's why Mr. Turner let him give a speech at the pep
rally although he's new here. He's like the school's shiny new object.
Everyone wants him. Which means publicity for Forks High."

My jaw hung wide. "Wow, you sure do know a lot."

"Well you've been gone over a week, Bella. I've been dying to talk to
you about it!" She continued to paint something that looked oddly like
the shape of a disformed Mona Lisa clone.

I absorbed all the information slowly with heaviness. My thoughts were


running wild. It was so sad that Edward lost his parents. I kind of knew
how that felt, since I lost my mother a long time ago. And it was sad
that he refused to achieve his dreams of baseball - if that was his
dream. And the womanizer part DID make sense. He had a girlfriend
but was with me at the party. He even seemed to have flirted with me
a little bit... I think. Maybe I was getting my hopes up about that. And
although I knew I should think he was a two-timing jerk, I couldn't. He
was too sweet to me, regardless. I knew Jess said that was part of his
charm in order to get what he wanted... but I shouldn't believe that --
right?

Gosh I was so confused.

But I knew we had a connection. It was very clear to me.

I quickly gathered my items as the bell rang and rushed out of the
class, hitting a hard wall. Mike Newton crashed to the ground, my
books falling with him.

"Are you okay?" I asked hastily, leaning down to regather my stuff.

"Watch where you're going, Bella! It's like slamming into a brick
building with you!"
I sneered as I continued to pick my books up, but stopped once I saw a
beautiful hand rest on the back of my painting, sprawled out on the
floor.

"Hello," the beautiful voice spoke as the paper was lifted. "Are you
okay?"

I nodded, taken back by her beautiful prescence. I felt my armor wrap


around my body tight, sheilding me in protection.

I couldn't believe how sweet she was being, especially after giving me
such evil looks last week right after the accident.

She extended her porcelain hand with a large smile that I couldn't
judge if it was fake or sincere. "I'm Rosalie Hale. You're Isabella, right?"

I nodded, cautiously shaking her hand.

"You're very pretty." I listened to her heart beat in calm rhythmns. I


didn't intimidate her in any way.

I fidgeted. "Thanks."

"Wow!" she exclaimed, suddenly pulling her hand back gently. "You're
hands are freezing!" The sound of her tone made it seem like she
heard that from someone else before. Great, that means Edward was
talking to her about me. She probably thinks I'm officially a
homewrecker.

"Well, thanks again." I quickly turned to shuffle away.

"Wait!" she called after me. "You forgot your watercolor!" Rosalie
paused as she met me, her blonde locks floating around. She looked
down to my art project, her eyes wide with shock. "How... W...But, um..
Do you know who this is?"

I took the watercolor from her and lookeddown at the distilled image of
the woman. "No, I don't. It's just art. We were supossed to create a
human without thinking about it."

She chuckled in shock, pulling the paper back out of my hands. She
thrusted her index finger toward it, tapping the woman's face. "This is
Edward's mother. She-She... Oh my God. How did you..." Her voice
trailed off as I began to shake uncontrollably.
There was no way of explaining this. I knew I was stuck. Not only did
she think I was a homewrecker, now we can add stalker to my resume.

I shuffled my feet and then muttered something unintelligent, before I


ran down the hallway, leaving the picture in her porcelain hands.

I didn't stop running until I reached the bathroom around the corner. I
slammed the stall door behind me, throwing my bag on the ground.
Humiliated, I climbed on the back of the toilet and sat on the tank,
throwing my head in my hands. I took a few huge breaths, trying to
concentrate.

How the hell did I do that?! I didn't even know about his mother until
an hour ago... and on top of that, she's dead! So why would I be
drawing a picture of her in a future tense? None of this made sense,
and worse, I knew I was getting too unrestricted with my art. More
people were catching on to me. First Jess, now Rosalie - Edward's
adopted sister of all people! Now she's probably going to go tell
Edward, and he's gonna think I'm a freak and never come around me
again. I mean, I know the plan was to stay away from him, but...

I growled, slamming my fist into the right of the stall wall beside me,
causing a dent in the metal frame. I never used to draw like this in art,
I always kept in hidden. It felt as if more and more of my protection
was slipping away... I felt like I was drowning deeper into my
obstructed misery.

I heard the bathroom door swing open as the bell rang, and three
chatty girls laughing as they entered, talking about how annoying a
freshman boy was in the hallway. I couldn't get a grip on my shaken
frame and knew I needed to get out of the school before I hurt
someone. After gathering my stuff, I ran out of the bathroom,
smacking into another hard object. This time, I fell down with it.

"Ow! Are you okay?!" Eric asked awkwardly. His nose had some slight
bruising still from where his face hit the steering wheel last week.

I cursed loudly, adding fuel to my pain. "Eric, I am so sorry. This keeps


happening to me." I crawled around on my knees, shuffling as I tried to
grab my stuff. I made a mental note to myself to get a huge bookbag
tomorrow. "I keep running into people. I don't know what's wrong with
me!"

Eric helped me to my feet and handed me my notepad. "It's fine, Bella.


I deserve it. I owe you my life. I mean, I almost squashed your car. I
still don't know how I did it, but am thankful that I didn't because that
car cost more than my parent's house."

"Yeah we got lucky," I stammered. "I-I gotta go."

I ran down the stairs, out the school doors, across the lot, and to my
car. Then I realized the doors were locked, and I had absent-mindedly
forgotten the keys on the toilet tank.

"Shit!" I slammed my stuff on the top of my car and jogged back


inside, holding my breath. Rosalie stood at the top of the stairs,
despite the fact that everyone else was in class and she could get
caught. Her arms were crossed but her face was expressionless. "Bella,
this is yours." She handed me my art as I reluctantly climbed the
stairs.

I bit my lip, taking it. "I don't know how to explain this, Rosalie. I know
what you must be thinking. I-I just met Edward. I swear I'm not a
stalker or anything. Perhaps you think it looks like his mother, but it's
really only a resembalance..."

"First of all, I don't think it's a resembalance. You knew her down to her
dimples. And secondly, I never said you were a stalker." She seemed
honest.

"Okay."

She followed me down the hall, her heels clanking behind me.

"And," I continued, guilt expressed in my eyes. "I know about you and
about Edward and his girlfriend, the brunette girl, and I hope that you
don't think that I would do anything to break them two up-"

Rosalie paused in the hallway, cutting my motion off. "Huh?"

I looked at her confused.

"What are you talking about? Edward and... Alice?"

"I guess." I shrugged, looking down at my feet.

"Wait, wait, you mean the short, brunette girl, very skinny and petite?"

I nodded.
She laughed musically. "Oh my gosh! They're not... you think... Alice is
with Edward?"

"Uh.."

She laughed louder. "No. Edward is our family, silly girl."

My jaw hit the ground. "B-But...I thought...:

"No, no! I've been with Emmett for years, since Dr Carlisle, Emmett's
father adopted me. And he just adopted Alice, Edward, and Jasper this
year. And Alice, she and Jasper came as sort of a packaged deal, if you
know what I mean."

I nodded, unable to think. I was way wrong before.

"So," she spoke softly, changing her tune. "I was wondering... and I
hope you don't mind me asking, but are their any spots open on the
cheerleading squad? It just seems so normal, and I'd give anything to
have something like that in my life."

"Actually," I pondered, "There is. I'm thinking about quitting the squad.
Effective immediatly."

Her jewel-like eyes widened. "Why? Are you crazy?!"

I laughed, only slightly insulted. "It's not really my cup of tea. I never
cared for it, to tell you the truth. Pom Pom's annoy me. I just made a
deal with my father, but he'll get over it. He always does."

"But Edward's on a team..." she mused.

"And?" I bit my lip as she followed me into the bathroom and watched
me grab my keys.

Her eyes took in the dent on the wall, thinking for a moment. Then she
piped back to the converstation. "Well... wouldn't you want to cheer for
him?"

I laughed. "Cheerleaders are for basketball and football games mostly."

"Oh yeah that's right. Well..." she dug in her purse and scribbled
something on a torn piece of paper. "Here's my phone number. Call me
when you make a decision, that way I'll know when to try out." She
shoved the paper in my English Lit book.
I shook my head as we walked back down the empty hall. "That won't
be necessary. The spot's yours. I know Ashley Gwinn would love the
idea of replacing me - She's captain. And I can definetly tell you've got
all the potential needed. You'll be perfect."

"Okay... well thanks!" Her heart beat accelerated in excitement.

"No problem." I smiled, holding my breath as we slowly parted. As I


turned to head back to the stairs, thinking about how awkward this day
was, she called out for me again.

"Bella?"

I turned to face her, once again getting lost in her beauty. I felt so
jealous, and so normal and human like, for the first time in years.
"Yes?"

"Um..." she bit her lip. "That's Edward's number as well. It's our house
number... if you wanted it."

"Thanks."

I walked around the corner, throwing the small piece of paper on the
floor.

Okay, I thought Brain check.

- Rosalie said Alice wasn't Edward's girlfriend. Check.


- I am no longer a cheerleader. Big check.
- Mike Newton was still a douche. Obvious check.
- Edward still lied to me that night. No check. Big negative.

Grr...

I left school early in a daze... and though I had a masochistic reason to


see the newly-found single Edward Cullen, I bit my lip and stuck to my
plan.

I also cursed at myself the entire time.

Chapter 5: Our First Line

Like most girls when they tried to stick to any type of schedule,
whether it be dieting or whatever, I decided to forget the plan. After
spending the rest of the day and whole night, eighteen tortureous and
agonozing hours thinking about only Edward and the facts I learned
about him, I knew that I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't have the
strength to pretend he didn't exist. And knowing he was single made it
that much worse. It didn't matter how many times I tried convincing
myself that the plan was working and that I didn't need him, I knew it'd
never work.

I had to confront him. I just didn't know how.

That morning, I decided it was time. I couldn't focus on anything the


teacher's were telling me in any of my classes during the first part of
the day. It was as if I was blind and deaf. Going through one ear and
right out the other. All I could think about was everything Jessica and
Rosalie had informed me about.

And all I could think about was Edward, Edward, Edward. His laugh. His
smile. His jewel-like, deep green eyes. His bottom lip. His dark, long
eyelashes. His dignified jaw line. His bronzed hair... It was excrutiating.

As I entered the cafeteria for lunch, panic struck me down like


lightening. I saw him in the line, standing next to a gorgeous guy who
had curly, twisting blonde locks and a stunning structure. As I studied
their movement, I could tell that they were close. They were pushing
each other around, making fun of each other.

After a reassement of my hair and few shuffles of my shirt, I bit my lip


and mustered up the courage to walk over to them. Edward looked
more and more gorgeous with each step I took. He wore bootleg blue
jeans that had slits on the bottom over his shoes, which fit nicely to his
back exterior, a white shirt with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows,
and a matching belt. I noticed that the black cufflink he wore on his
wrist matched the one on the guy standing next to him. It must be
Jasper then, Edward's adopted brother.

Wow, what a good looking family. I couldn't help but wonder what the
doctor must look like then... The nerves started to kick in.

I stood behind them quiet as a mouse. I felt so inferior next to them. So


small and invisable.

I listened to them laugh, joking about baseball practice they had


yesterday after school. They were too adorable. And intimidating.

"E-Edward," I choked out, regretting speaking immediately. Now I


couldn't run away.
As he turned, ever so gracefully, I almost felt my heart restart in my
chest. He was so painfully perfect.

His gorgeous eyes widened when he saw me. "Wow... Bella... you see
me now? You don't have to make any kind of grand exit?" His tone was
bitter.

Ouch. I deserved that, I guessed. "I don't know Edward. Plan on telling
any lies lately?"

Jasper laughed softly, patting Edward on the back and muttering


something about luck before walking away.

Edward continued to glare at me. I glared back, selfishly.

"What's thise about Bella?" His voice was more hostile. He was hurt.

I didn't even think about it hurting him that I'd left the party so quick..
probably should have known though.

I shrugged. "Can we talk please? Privately?"

"I don't know Bella. You tell me."

I bit my lip, substaining the growl in my chest. "Please?"

Edward sighed in defeat as he stepped out of the line. "Sure. Fine." He


followed me to the opposite side of the cafeteria, his jaw locked in
place.

As soon as we stopped, he glared at me again. "What do you want?"

My guard shot up around me. "Can you please lower the tone and get
the hate look out of your eyes for five seconds?"

He stared at me, a little bit lighter now - emphasis on the little. He


folded his arms, waiting.

"Okay," I began, overwhelmed by his stubborn yet gorgeous


prescence. "Look. I'm sorry about last week. A-About the leaving part.
Truly I am. But -"

He cut me off. "Where have you been, Bella? Why haven't you been at
school this past week?"

"I went with my father, camping in the mountains."


He didn't look amused. "During school?"

"Yes. My father has connections. They don't really care what I do


around here."

He shook his head. "Oh."

"Edward, why did you lie to me that day?"

He glared at me once more. I tapped my foot, impatiently waiting on


his response.

"Do you have somewhere else you need to be?" he asked icely, staring
at my foot.

"Nope. Answer."

"Fine. Okay. I sort of.. asked about you after we met that day. In
practice, in class all next week... I wanted to know more, anything at
all about you. Anything I could. I thought you were interesting, unlike
anyone else I have ever met before."

I couldn't close my mouth. I didn't expect that type of response. I just


nodded for him to continue.

"I lied because I wanted to prove to myself that the people here were
wrong about you. Make my own interpretation of you."

I stepped back, stunned. "All bad reports, I take it?"

"Yes." I hated that he was so honest, but knew he would be.

Although I knew it would be, I still felt defeated and ashamed. It was so
much more clearer now that I would never fit in here. And now, Edward
realized it too. He must think I'm a loser.

I fidgeted, unable to look into his piercing eyes. I felt so disgusted, so


horrible and out of place. It felt like every set of eyes in the world were
on me.

"Hey..." I felt his warm finger brush beneath my chin, as he raised my


face to look at him. "Bella, I was correct."

My brows arched as a cloud formed over my face. "What?"


He smiled an angelic smile, causing me to lose my balance a bit. "They
were wrong, Bella. I was right. You're so much more fascinating then I
could ever imagine."

"T-Thanks?" I didn't mean for it to sound like a question, but that's all I
could manage. I felt so lost in him.

Edward sighed after exhaling deeply and looking over the top of my
head. "We have an audience."

I turned around to find three-fourths of the cafeteria staring back at us,


with gawking expressions. Ashley Gwinn was shouting something like
"Run away, Edward."

I looked down, embarassed.

"Hey," he spoke softly. "Would you want to just.. I don't know, hang out
sometime? Have fun?"

I couldn't help but form a smile. "Where?"

"Well, a few guys from the team are having a bonfire with some girls at
La Push, a beach near here on a preservation... Night surfing,
cookout... You should come."

I sighed, shaking my head. "Can't. Sorry."

"Oh." He seemed upset.

"I'm sorry. I want to hang out with you, of course I do. But I am... not
allowed to go there. My father's rules."

"I see." He continued to frown.

"But... maybe I can come to watch you practice tonight? If you want?
Maybe we can talk after?"

He perked up immediately. "That'd be wonderful, Bella. I still have a lot


to ask you."

I nodded, feeling more dizzy spells coming on. "Okay... I-I'll see you
around four then?"

He smiled, turning slightly and walking backward toward the lunch line.
His eyes never left mine. "Until then... Bella..."
I smiled to myself as I floated high into the clouds. "Until then..." I
whispered to myself, feeling satisfied.

----

----

----

After lunch and the second hell on earth that I would like to classify as
Gym, I found myself growing any luckier. Had I actually gone to class
the past week and yesterday instead of skipping, I would have realized
that my luck was incredible.

There, sitting at an empty desk in my Advanced Chemistry P2 class,


was a perfect Angel with bronzed hair.

My hands trembled as I walked to him. "This seat taken?" I asked,


voice shaking.

His head popped up from his notepad and a huge grin spread across
his perfect lips. "It is now. Hey, Bella."

I smiled, taking the seat as the bell rang, inhaling his intoxicating
scent. I listened closely as his heart rate steadied out from an
accelerated beat when he first saw me. It felt good knowing I caused
any type of effect on him. I almost got lost in the strum of his heart.

But I was quickly snapped back into reality as Mike Newton slammed
his hands on the desk, panting. "I sit here Bella."

Edward smirked, leaning over me to hand some chemistry notes over


to him. "Not anymore, Mike."

"W-What?" Mike looked pained, eyeing me down somberly. I sneered


back at him.

"Bella and I are going to be partners for the remainder of class, Mike.
I'm sorry to inconvenience you."

Mike jerked away from the desk, knocking my stuff off as he went,
muttering something about sex and us. It took everything I had not to
kill the idiot.

Edward was by my side in a second, helping me pick them up. I was


getting quite used to having my stuff sprawled out on the floors and
halls of the school. I thought about just parking my butt on the ground
and asking if the teachers could just come to me to give me my
lessons. It'd make things more accessible for everyone, I think.

"Are you okay?" He asked, helping me up.

I nodded.

"Good."

The teacher gave us our new assignment, not even realizing that
Edward had a new lab partner. Obviously he wasn't a baseball fan.

"So," Edward mused quietly as I looked into the microscope. His voice
was so soft that no one else could hear. "Are you ever going to explain
to me what happened at Mike's house?"

I held my breath and looked up at him. "What do you mean?"

He pulled the scope toward him and looked inside. "About the... would-
be accident, I guess?"

"Um..."

"I know it was you. I just don't know how."

I hid my guilty expression, trying to play dumb. "I'm lost."

Edward leaned closer to my face, his cool breath putting me in a


transe. "I know, Bella."

I couldn't get loose from his voice. "K-know?"

"I saw you," he whispered, matter-of-fact like. "You stopped the truck,
Bella. With your hands."

I chuckled. "Do you take drugs, Edward?"

He laughed sarcastically, stealing a glance from Mr Banter. "I'm not


hallucinating. And I don't plan to tell anyone about it. I just need to
know... for me."

It was so easy to get lost in his gorgeous, puppy dog expression. But I
needed to stay strong. "So... you think that someone - my size, mind
you- could stop a moving truck with her bare hands?"
"Yes...somehow."

"That's it. You're officially high."

Edward sighed as the teacher brought the class back to order. I felt
relieved, knowing I got out of it... for now. But I knew it wasn't the last
I'd hear of the conversation.

And I was correct.

As soon as the bell rang, Edward gathered my books before I could


protest and followed me into the hall. "Bellaaaa...." he prodded.

"Yes?"

"Bella, don't make me pin you into a corner and yank it out of you,
because I will if I have to."

My inhaling kicked into high gear at his teasing threats and I looked
away quickly, trying to banish the sudden thoughts and regain my
composure.

"Okay," I cleared my throat. "I'm a superhero. I'm catwoman. You


caught me."

He laughed. "Catwoman."

"Yep. I'm quite famous. You can google me and everything."

"Hmm." He shook his head, following me into my Goverment class. He


ignored a few senior girls who said hello to him and asked if he wanted
to join our class.

He only looked at me. "One day, Bella... I will get it out of you,
eventually."

"Until then," I teased playfully.

He smirked, shaking his head as he backed out of the classroom,


taking part of my soul with him. Then he whispered, a voice like velvet.
"Until then."

I bit my lip as I watched him walk out of the class, listening to the
whispers and gossip from the girls around me toward him. I liked our
new line... it was the first something between us.
God I couldn't wait until his baseball practice.

Is it four yet?
Chapter 6: Baseball Arrogance

I felt more nervous climbing the bleachers on the baseball field than I
did at my first day at cheer practice -- and that in itself was horrifying.

It was as if I was outside my body, having an outer experience. I didn't


like being so careless like this. Truth be told, I wasn't used to thinking
for myself and not doing things as it is best for my father and I... and
though I knew I was rebelling, I couldn't stop myself. Again, I felt drawn
to this man.

There was an abundance of teenage guys stretching on the field, but


two of them were the most beautiful, and one stood out by a mile.

The bronzed haired God sat in front of his adorable brother Jasper, with
their feet touching in a split and their hands connected. Edward was
pulling Jasper toward him, stretching out his muscles. They formed a
diamond perpindicular to the shape on the field.

It was kind of hot to watch, I must admit.

As they stretched, I saw Jasper look at me with his diamond eyes, then
whisper something to Edward as he nudged his head in my direction.
Butterflies built up in my chest as Edward's head turned quickly and a
smile took residence upon his face. He nodded to me with a cocky,
irresistable grin of approval that I was here, then laughed as we stared
at eachother, due to a comment Jasper must have made. I waved to
him like a crazed fan at a Justin Timberlake concert, unable to control
the idiot smile on my face.

He must think I'm a complete nutcase at times.

His smile grew larger as he shook his head away from me and pushed
Jasper backward, jokingly shouting something that sounded like "Fuck
you!" Jasper laughed as he fell back on his hands behind him, and
smarted back off to Edward, but I couldn't make out what he was
saying through his country drawl. His voice was very adorable though.
That's all that really counts.

Schreeeeeccchhh!

Their coach blew his annoying whistle and they all rose to their feet in
a second. Jasper was stretching his arms up high in the air, laughing at
something the guy next to him was whispering -- most likely about the
coach and his windbreaker outfit. Edward was bouncing up and down,
shaking his arms around and tilting his neck from side to side, trying to
get his adreneline pumping. His expression held nothing but
concentration. I could smell his blood from across the field as his heart
beat echoed through my ears and made a permanent memory in my
brain. He looked so hot, it was almost too much. My hands began to
shake as my eyes fixated on only him, and I wanted him so badly I
could almost taste it.

I held my breath just in case it'd be too much. Restraint was something
I wasn't perfect with when it came to him. It was a horrible inner-battle
I fought every second.

The coach gave them a quick pep talk and patted Edward on the back,
causing a loud roar to rip through his teammates in admiration. He just
laughed it off, his gorgeous green eyes glowing. Shiny new toy for
Fork's High, as Jessica previously stated. Definetly true.

I glanced over to my right to find a group of senior girls huddled as far


away from me as possible on the bottom two rows of the bleachers.
They all had blonde or brown, long wavy hair. All in jeans and fashion
tanktops and high heels. All with F.H. painted on their cheeks as if it
were an actual game, and one brunette girl -- who I had to admit was
much prettier in that preppy kind of way than I could ever be -- had a
Team EC sign held in front of her in blue glitter paint.

I rolled my eyes at her "team spirit" betting to myself that she only
made it in hopes of getting laid by him. Pathetic little twit. If she
actually knew anything about Edward, from what I have learned
anyway, Edward doesn't like girls who try too hard. He's too classy and
too good for them anyway. Too good for anyone.

...Then again, if the other part Jess said was correct, then he was really
just a player and it'd be me who was the stupid, pathetic little twit. Oh
dear God. It'd be my luck.

"Come on!" the bronzed Angel shouted, pushing a few guys forward as
they divided into "teams" and ran to take their positions. Jasper ran to
get in line at the batting cage, and right field never looked better than
when Edward took his place there. Though his eyes were focused and
dedicated, he still had a cocky grin across his lips with an expression
so confident that it read "I own the place".

Oh who was he kidding? We all knew that already.

"Go Edward!" the girls shouted in harmony, followed by tiny squeels


and hand claps. I wanted to end their life just for annoying me. I settled
for imagining it really quick... in detail.... on repeat...
The first batter, Josh Henderson, bunted causing a boo to roar through
his teammates in the cage. He jogged to first base effortlessly, pointing
to the girls like he was a professional. Obviously, a professional who's
to afraid to actually swing the frickin bat.

I sighed, unable to find any other reason why I would ever come to a
baseball game beside Edward being here.

Jasper walked over to take his batting stance as the girls let out
another squeel of joy. He dropped the base of the bat on his right foot,
popped it back up toward his hands, bounced it off his left palm,
causing it to flip in a circle mid-air like a flag, and caught it with his
right hand before swinging it back over his right shoulder to his ready
position.

He definetly was a show off, but he was also very good at it. I could tell
he was related to Edward.

Cold chills shook through my frame at the sound of the bat cracking
against the ball, almost as loud as thunder. Jasper took off running
toward first base and made it there before the ball even came down
from the sky, into left field. He took second gracefully as the first
batter ran in home, shit-eating grin beared on Jasper's delicate face.
He could have probably made it to third before the ball caught up to
him, but he decided to wait and make faces at the guy at short stop
instead.

Edward shouted "Good job!" to him as the girls shouted that he was
hot, licking their fingers and touching each other's shoulders with it,
making a ssszzzz sound. My fingers curled into tight balls on my knees
as the fantasies in my head of them got larger and more gory.

The next few batters looked untalented in comparison to Jasper. One


struck out within a minute, the second threw his bat backward because
he was so excited to actually hit the ball, and accidently hit the umpire
with it. The third tripped over the catcher's mound and fell on his face.
Edward definetly had his work cut out for him if he was going to help
turn this team around. They all looked like hopeless fools.

Edward didn't get any action within the first set of batters, so I was
very excited when he was the first to bat after they switched places
and Jasper took the field at third base. The team was cheering him on
loudly, the coach shouting to Edward, "Come on, hot shot! Show us
what you're made of!"
Edward laughed as he took position, dusting off his pants. He rose the
bat over his right shoulder and focused on the chunky guy who was
pitching now. The guy stared back at him, twisting the ball in his
fingers for a moment, nodding to the catcher after the second finger
single. He drew his body backward and raised his left leg and lauched
the ball at Edward in full speed, and it came inches from Edward's face.

Edward didn't even move, eyeing him down more. I rose to my feet in
a second, half tempted to go punch that guy in his face. He was clearly
doing that on purpose to intimidate him.

The ignorant coach blew his magic whistle as the umpire ran to make
sure that the school's prized possession wasn't hurt. Edward nodded
with a chuckle as the pitcher continued to laugh obnoxiously loud. If
there hadn't been so many people around as witnesses, I would have
went down there and ripped his damn head off his neck and kicked it
out of the field.

The senior girls all had their hands over their mouths, bugged eyed
expressions owned to their made up faces.

Edward stuck the bat between his legs, raising his hands to calm the
guys in the cage down. "It's fine!" he said, reassuring him that the
dumbass pitcher didn't scare him.

Then he turned back around gracefully, resting the bat above his
shoulders, and stared at the pitcher again. His glare was enough to
scare me, but instead, it made the pitcher laugh. I knew the pitcher
had to be pretending that glare didn't bother him, but I still wanted to
kill him. And oh, how it'd be so easy to do.

Come on, I whispered below my breath as I crossed my fingers,


focusing only on Edward. Get it, get it, get it. Come on Edward, you
can do it.

I've never really cared about sports, even though I was a cheerleader. I
barely even took the time to make it to the games in order to cheer,
and the fact that Charlie had a good standing with the town was the
only reason why I remained on the team for so long in the first place.
So seeing myself cheer for him, even under my breath, was shocking
even to me. What in the world was becoming of me?

The pretty, preppy brunette girl stood up in her 4 inch platforms,


raising the sign over her head, bearing a draft of tan skin around her
jewel-pierced belly button. "Go sexy!" she shouted with an Ashley
Gwinn "Team Spirit" annoying cheerleader voice, but Edward didn't
even flinch to look at her, eyeing down the jackass on the mound.

Come on Edward, you can do it, I thought again.

The pitcher did his annoying stage act again, launching the ball much
higher than the center of the line.

"Ball!" the umpire shouted.

Edward kept his focus. He looked so unphased by him, it amazed me.

The chunky pitcher replayed his stance, launching the ball at high
speed toward Edward's face again. Edward leaned his back a little as
his feet remained planted solid to the ground, allowing the ball minimal
access to fly by his pefect, full lips.

I was up on my feet before the rest of the girls. "What the hell?!" loudly
came from my lips, causing the stupid girls to snap their necks to glare
at me. I glared back at them.

"Quil, you better cut that out!" the coach shouted, after he asked
Edward if he was okay. "Or you're benched!"

"Sorry..." the jackass murmered back, causing a chuckle from a shaggy


blonde guy behind him at shortstop. "It slipped."

Jasper eyed that guy at shortstop down with a glare almost as vicious
as the one Edward was now known for. "Keep it up, Phil." Jasper
warned. Phil flipped him off.

I trailed my eyes over the sand to Edward's feet, up his gorgeous body,
and finally to his devastatingly breathtaking eyes. A startle rushed
through me as I saw him staring at me, even though he was in his
ready-to-bat position. He wouldn't take his eyes off of me.

I bit my lip and forced my eyes from his grasp after a second,
motioned my fingers to the pitcher.

"Don't look at me!" I whispered with hand motions to him. "Focus


Edward!"

But he didn't move. He kept his jeweled green eyes only on me.

I became really nervous as I stood to my feet, knowing it was only


seconds before the pitcher reacted to me being Edward's distraction,
knowing he'd take advantage of it. Before I could even shout for him to
pay attention, it was too late. I saw the pitcher launch the ball at him
through my periphreal vision at him, faster than all the other balls he'd
thrown before. But Edward didn't flinch.

CRACK!

Keeping his eyes on me, Edward swung the bat so hard that thunder
actually roared above us, causing an echo so loud that I almost jumped
out of my skin.

Edward gently placed the bat down to the sand, as the ball flew high
up in the air. He reluctantly tore his stare from me as he turned to
glare at the pitcher, and though he didn't even take the time to look to
see where the ball was going, he actually walked -- possibly strutted --
in a cocky, slow pace to first base. The ball continued to fly high above
the field as Edward stared down the pitcher. The ball flew out of the
field quickly and across the parking lot, but Edward didn't pick up his
pace. He strutted all the way around the entire field, high-fiving a
laughing Jasper as he passed him.

"Keep it up, show off!" Quil warned him with an irritated cock of his
head.

Edward smirked, walking over the home plate. He ignored the cheer of
all his teammates behind him in line to bat, as well as a few of the
guys in the outfield. "Oh," he said reassuringly, sideways grin on his
face. "I will."

He continued to eye Quil down as he walked backward, being patted


all over his back and chest by his approving teammates before turning
around and laughing.

"That's how it's done!" his teammates shouted, continuing to shake


him around.

"Nothing's gonna be the same now with Edward here!" the coach
shouted as he tossed the ball back to Quil. Quil grinded his teeth,
staring down the coach.

I held my breath, my hand over my chest as I unsteadily took my seat


again. He didn't even take his eyes off of me. And he was so very
cocky. And so gorgeous. And so... cocky.

I had never been more turned on in my life.


Thunder continued to roar above us with a threat of rain as Edward
threw his batting glove along the wall of the cage, before grabbing a
bottle of water and chugging most of it. With three-fourths of it gone,
he poured the rest of it over his face, shaking his glorious hair around,
causing water dots to spray everywhere. Then he linked his fingers
through the metal fence as he squatted to cheer on his other
teammates.

The game went on in a foggy haze. I rarely paid attention to what was
going on with the ball, focusing only on Edward and occassionaly
Jasper when he batted. Edward showed off, catching every single ball
that flew to his territory with ease. He'd catch it behind his back, catch
it as he jumped in front of the long fence, catch it after he dove into
the ground for it. He was red hot! And oh, it pissed Quil off, causing
him to cuss loudly, especially when Edward caused him an out after his
first hit.

Before I knew it, we were on the last inning. Phil, the guy who sided
with Quil at shortstop earlier, continued to egg Jasper on, making fun
of him or Edward at all costs possible. Jasper continued to shake it off,
being too much of a classy, well-behaved gentleman to cause a fight in
the middle of practice. But I knew he had something boiling under his
skin. He sort of reminded me of myself in that mannerism... waiting for
his exploding moment.

Edward continued to cheer his team on, standing in right field again.
He was always optimistic, and even though he was definetly cocky
about his game, he always gave positive feedback to each of his
teammates and pointers to anyone who asked for them. He was
adorable, and way too kind. And I wasn't the only one eating it up with
a spoon. I thought the senior girls over there were going to have a
heart attack watching him. And if I had a heartbeat still, I'd probably be
right there with them.

Jasper was the very last guy to bat the final round. Again, he showed
off with the bat, this time twisting it in a circle over and under his
hand. He spun the metal bat in front of his body, above his head, and
then somehow keeping the bat spinning, he exchanged it from his right
hand to his left hand while the bat was behind his head, and around his
body. He was amazing.

"Go sexy!" I heard an unfamiliarly beautiful voice shout. "You can do it


honey!"

I leaned over with a stretch, knowing it wasn't the senior girls on the
bleachers, looking for the owner of the adorable, excited voice. I found
her standing next to the gorgeous blonde, Rosalie and a bulky
handsome guy that had his arm over Rosalie's shoulders. Emmett... I
guessed after replaying mine and Jessica's discussion earlier about
them.

So that meant the beautiful girl with the short, dark hair and petite
body was Alice...

I felt a bit of jealousy sway over my body, then as soon as I


remembered Rosalie reassuring me that Alice was Jasper's and not
Edward's, I relaxed.

Then I suddenly felt a hint of awkwardness, somehow jealous that she


could call Jasper hers but I couldn't call Edward mine. I frowned
suddenly, upset that she could show off how proud she was of Jasper. I
wanted to someday be like that with Edward, although I knew it was
clearly wrong for someone in my situation, and never, ever going to
happen. I could never be that lucky. Not even in a million, trillion years.
Not even if Edward was like me, immortal, and lived to where there'd
be no other females on the entire planet but me... I knew I'd never be
good enough for Edward. There's no way I could possibly be what he
wants.

Jasper cracked the ball at the second swing, sending it straight to


Edward in right field..

Thunder crashed over the field with praise. The whole team went silent
as Emmett, the bulky guy, began to laugh loudly. Clearly, he was the
troublemaker of the "family". Arrogant, just like the rest of them.

Jasper charged for first base as Edward backed up in a run, staring only
at the ball. Jasper floated over second base faster than lightening. He
wanted it bad, I could tell from the adreneline and blood pumping in
his body. But no matter how badly I wanted Jasper to make it home, I
wanted Edward to catch it more.

"Go, Go, Go!" the team shouted on both the field and the stands,
jumping up and down.

Edward continued to back up toward the fence as the high ball


suddenly lowered from the clouds. Jasper ran passed third, his eyes
clearly on his prize, formally known as home base.

The ball suddenly fell hard as Jasper was a few feet away and Edward
caught it a mere second before Jasper crossed the plate.
The team rejoiced loudly at both sides as Edward held the ball up with
his delicate fingers. Jasper saw it and bowed to him before applauding
to Edward over his awesome catch. Edward point at Jasper as he and
the team ran in, an expression on his face as if telling Jasper he did
awesome as well.

----

As soon as the team ran into the dugout, Edward stuck his hand on
Jasper's head, messing up his gorgeous twisty curls as he patted him
on his chest. "Excellent hit, brother!" he praised.

Jasper smirked, nodding in agreement. "It was, wasn't it?" he spoke,


with his adorable southern drawl.

Alice ran inside the dugout as Emmett slowly followed behind, teasing
Edward about his "slow reflexes" and joking about how he could have
caught that in a second. Edward just shoved him backward.

Rosalie stood at the fence, waving at me like we were best friends.


"Bella!" she shouted. "Come here!"

I shook my head, nerves crossing over me again. "That's okay."

She placed her hands on her hips, smiling at me. "Get over here."

I fidgeted for a moment, but something about her eyes told me I'd
better move. So, relectutantly after a few hard swallows, I unsteadily
rose and climbed down the bleachers toward her. "Hey Rosalie..." I
sputtered, looking down at my feet.

"Bella!" she hugged me with ease, causing me to lock up stiff. Her


heart beated roughly on my chest since she was excited, and it took a
lot of restraint from my end to not hurt her. "I'm glad you came here! I
didn't know you were gonna be here... what are you doing?"

I laughed nervously, pulling myself arms length away from her. "E-
Edward invited me."

She smirked, eyeing me up and down. "Reeaaalllyyy..." she mused in a


deeper voice, thinking something deviant in her head. "That's
awesome."

I nodded, looking back down at my feet. "Yeah, he's really good."

"Yeah, he is. Edward's the best."


"Yeah."

"Bullshit!" Emmett cut in, running up behind her and throwing his arms
around her waist in a bear hug. "I could show these two wannabee's a
thing or two about baseball."

Rosalie smirked, allowing Emmett to swing her from side to side as her
feet dangled off the ground. "Emmett's very sure of himself, Bella." she
explained.

Emmett smirked proudly, his eyes shining right into my soul as his
babyface drowned me. "That's because I'm the shit."

Rosalie nodded in agreement as he gently placed her on the ground,


her heels making a clank sound. "You are the shit, babylove."

Emmett boasted more.

Jasper ran up behind Emmett, knocking his Spartan's baseball cap off
his head and onto Rosalie's, messing up her hair a little. She laughed
as Emmett chased Jasper around in a small circle, shouting about how
he was going to get him. Jasper was quicker though, it was very
obvious... though I knew when Emmett finally did catch up to him, he
was so big that he could crush him in a heartbeat. Alice ran up and
threw her arm around Rosalie's waist, nudging her hip with hers. "Our
boys are crazy," she told her. Rosalie nodded with a roll of her
beautiful eyes.

They all seem so close and happy, I thought to myself, feeling a pain
sting of jealousy and unfamiliar. It was heartbreaking to see that
families like that -- especially ones as reflective and open as theirs,
with the adoptions and all -- really did exist outside the movies.

I felt obviously out of place.

"Eddybear!" Emmett shouted, shoving Jasper far away from him as


Jasper sprinkled grass over his head. "We're waaaiting!"

"Oh leave him be," Alice said, motherly instinct taking charge of her
entergetic body. "He'll be here in a moment." Then her gorgeous eyes
found me. "Hi," she said, stepping forward and reaching out her hand.
"I'm Alice."

I nodded, slowly reaching to shake hers. "Bella Swan."


She smiled, taking in the color of my hair with her eyes. "I've heard a
lot about you, Isabella. Edward and I have the last class together,
Calculus-Two. He speaks very highly of you."

I felt more nerves kick over my body as I bit my lip. "Really?" I shuffled
my hands, shaking my head from a daydream. "Er, thanks."

Alice nodded as she backed away, wrapping her arm around Jasper's
waist with ease. "I think he's got a little crush on you, Bella."

I looked down from her glance quickly, staring at the brown sand
beneath our feet. "No." I replied icely, refusing to convince myself it's
true, because I knew it'd never be. "We're just friends."

Emmett smirked as he pulled away from Rosalie's grasp, stepping


backward and laughing loudly as his hand covered his mouth. "You'll
be in his bed by midnight." He cockily replied.

Rosalie reached around and slugged him hard on his right shoulder,
causing him to wince a bit. "You're so stupid, you idiot!" she shouted at
him.

Now it was Alice and Jasper's turn to laugh.

I so badly wanted to escape. I felt uncomfortable, being around such a


perfect group of people. It made me feel so small and insognificant.

Thunder struck above us again, causing me to have goosebumps.

"Hey!" Edward shouted, running up behind me with a smirk. He stood


beside me in a second, his right hand extending to lightly touch my
shoulder, causing immediate electricity to pass through my body. "I'm
sorry it took me so long. Coach Dugger had a few things to tell me."

Before I could reply, Jasper cut in, leaving my mouth hanging open as I
stared at Edward's green eyes. "What?" Jasper replied with a smirk.
"Did he say he was so proud of you and then ask if he could suck you
o-"

"Jasper!" Alice and Rosalie shouted, hitting him on either shoulder.

"What?" He said with a laugh, causing Emmett to burst out laughing


again. "It's true! Coach loves him so much, I wouldn't put it past him!"

"Oh my God," Alice said, shaking her head. "Emmett is starting to rub
off on you, Jasper."
Jasper ran over to her and bent down to pick a tiny dandelion from the
field, before opening her palm and placing it in there. "No darling," he
replied, kissing her cheek softly. "I'm not like that." They were so
freakin' adorable it made me uncomforably ill.

"Whatever!" Emmett shouted obnoxiously, shoving Jasper to the side


again. "Everyone wants to be like me."

"Anyway!" Edward spoke, voice like velvet as he easily regained


everyone's attention. I didn't even realize I had stared at him with my
jaw hanging down the whole time all that was going on.

"Coach just pointed out to me a few players who I'd need to stay after
practice with and help out," Edward continued. "And he told me to not
pay attention to Quil Anderson."

Jasper smirked, shaking his head as the country accent took over him
again. "Quil and Phillip has got it coming to them, Edward."

Edward nodded, stepping a few inches closer to my side, causing me to


lose my breath. "I know it, but we don't have to do anything about it
during practice, Jazz."

Jasper nodded as they continued to look at each other with smirks,


clearly understanding something about their expressions that the rest
of us didn't.

"I-It's fine," I finally responded, feeling like an idiot. "You looked...


wonderful out there!"

Edward beamed, his white teeth blinding me. "Thank you, Bella."

"Ooh, thank you Bella," Emmett mocked in a high voice. "I want you so
bad and I want you to know that y-"

Rosalie's hands clapped over Emmett's mouth with a pop sound, as


she shushed him. "We're leaving now," she demanded, pushing him
backward with a cute laugh. "Move it, troublemaker."

Emmett pulled her into his arms, causing her to squeal as he threw her
over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, running off to her red
convertible.

"Come on," Alice gestured to us. "We're all just hanging out over at the
house. Ordering pizza and a movie on pay-per-view or something.
Edward, you should invite Bella."
Edward nodded as Jasper pulled Alice along in front of us. "Thank you."
he replied, motioning her to run along. She did so after giving him a
wink.

After about a moment of soft silence and me listening to his heart


beating steadily, Edward spoke again. "So," he replied, looking at me
as we reached his Volvo and my car. "Will you be wililng come over to
my house for a few hours? I'll even share some pizza with you." His
smile melted me in an second.

I bit my lip, looking down as I shook my head. "I... I don't know."

"Oh come on, Bella," he prodded, squatting down to look me in the


eyes easier. "You have to come!"

If I could have blushed, it would have been all over my body. "Why?"

"Because...." he thought for a moment, trying to come up with an


answer. "Because everyone likes pizza and... because you just... you
must."

I laughed, overtaken by his bribary and by how adorable he was. He


was irresistable, and he was playing it to his advantage. "Edward," I
began, but he cut me off.

"Bella, I won't take no for an answer."

I looked up at him, regretting it immediately as his eyes pierced right


into my soul. My mouth hung open with the forgotten response I was
going to reply with, as I watched his gorgeous lips move to a side
smile.

"I got you." He spoke with confidence.

I nodded, beyond frustrated with myself for giving in and causing more
danger for the both of us. "You got me."

"You can ride with me," he decided, motioning to my car. "We'll come
back for your car later. Save your gas and all."

I nodded and before I could walk around to his car, I was cut off by a
female running between us. My eyes narrowed as her scent crashed
over me. The pretty preppy girl.

"Oh my Gosh, Edward!" she shouted, giving him a hug. "You were so
awesome! Thanks for inviting us today!"
I felt a sting of regret in my body, should have known he didn't invite
just me. Of course he'd invite the pretty girls as well... not like I was
anything special.

"You're welcome Julia," he replied casually. "I'm glad you enjoyed it."

"You were just wonderful!" she gushed on, her hands touching his
biceps. "I couldn't believe how cocky you were out there! It was hot!"

I looked down at the ground, thinking to myself how fast it'd be to take
her by her hair and yank her head off her body... I bet I could do it in
two seconds flat.

"Thank you," he replied again. "Gotta take the chance when you see
it."

She nodded, then noticed that he was now looking over her head at
me. She looked at me at the same time I looked up at him, an awkward
triangle forming around us. "Well," she replied, stepping away from me
quickly and reluctantly away from him in all his glory. "I'll... I'll see you
tomorrow, Edward."

He nodded, waving to her as she ran back to her group of friends.

"Looks like you got a fan," I muttered the obvious, unable to control
the jealousy that has overcome me today.

Edward opened the passenger door for me with his right hand as his
left hand reached over the door and caught my shoulder. "Yeah," he
replied suavly. "But I don't think I could have done it today without my
good luck charm. Thanks for coming, Bella. This meant a lot to me."

I nodded in silence, dazed as I climbed into the car. I watched as he


jogged around and climbed in, unable to come up with a response.

He started the car and looked up at me with a mused expression.


"What?" he chuckled.

I shook my head, baffled by my confusion, before staring out the


passenger window. I couldn't get a grip on myself. "It's nothing," I
replied through unsteady breathing. "T-Thank you for inviting me."

Edward nodded, backing up the car quickly and spinning it around in a


tight circle. His eyes found mine as he put the car in gear. "You're very
welcome."
The car tires spun out as he bailed out of the parking lot, and I saw my
life as I knew it pass me by in an instant. I knew what I was doing, and
what could happen if I lost control. I replayed everything in my head
over, the first time we met, the gossip Jessica told me, the
unexplainable drawing of his Mother who passed away, the
conversation in Chemistry and in the halls, my overbearing thoughts of
him throughout the night when he's not around,... not to mention the
"You'll be in his bed by midnight." as Emmet suggested. Regardless,
since I knew I wasn't going to allow myself to lose control like that --
no, you won't, Bella -- I prayed to myself that Edward wouldn't push
the subject, unrealizing he was offering his life up to me if he did --
literally. Because I knew I'd lose control.

I took a regretted glance at Edward's speedometer, sighing to myself


as I called myself an idiot under my breath.

Don't be ridiculous, Bella. Stop it. Edward doesn't see you that way --
regardless of if he's a player. Get over it.

I glanced up across Edward's body, my eyes taking in the detail of his


lips, his jawline, and his eyelashes. He was perfect, so incredibly
perfect.

God, I was getting myself in a enormous amount of trouble.

But there's no turning back once you get inside his car... The damage
is done.
Chapter 7: Behind Those Sorrowed Eyes... - Part ONE

The car continued to wind down the curvy road, between the shady
trees, and I couldn't help but notice that Edward was driving much
faster than I would have imagined a normal human would have the
guts for. Was he showing off? Was this typical behavior for him? And
why did every single thing about him, like the indent where the corner
of his lips met his face, or the darker bronzed ends of his hair, turn me
on so much?

We didn't talk much. Not that it was an awkward silence, but a


different type of silence. I found that being in his car, in his presence
alone, was uncomfortably comforting to me. I could sort of relax
around him, let my arms hang free. It was very strange for me to
discover this type of comfort. I wasn't used to it, unless I was with
Charlie -- and not even during all those times was I completely myself.

We spoke with our eyes, more less. He'd glance over at me with his
diamond green eyes, and smile an angelic smile, and I'd smile back
and look away real quick, afraid of what he could be thinking. Then, a
few moments later, he'd catch me looking at him again -- perhaps
staring or daydreaming, truthfully -- and chuckle, asking "What?" in
this adorable, sing song voice.

Like just a second ago. For the fourth time. Back to back.

Gosh, I'm ridiculous!

I bit my lip, looking back toward the dotted lines flying under us in the
middle of the road. "Nothing. I'm sorry."
Edward smiled his gorgeous side smile, and glanced back over to me
as he mounted a left curve. He kept the car steady between the lines
on the road, even though he wasn't paying actual attention to it.

"What do you have to be sorry for, Bella?"

I shrugged. "Staring at you," I shamefully answered.

A soft chuckle escaped through his pale throat. "You weren't staring."
He mused back.

I fidgeted more. "I didn't mean to."

Edward kept his piercing eyes drilling right into my soul, to the point I
was almost gasping for air. We rode in silence for a few moments,
staring at each other like this. He was incredibly beautiful. I couldn't
figure out if he looked more like an angel, or if that wasn't even
enough to describe him. He was utterly perfection. "I hadn't noticed,
Bella. But you still don't have to apologize to me. I want you to be
comfortable around me."

I bit the inside of my lip and forced my face away from his stare as a
smile took it's place on my lips, and I noticed we were finally going
under 90 miles per hour. We were slowing down.

Edward slowed to an 18 mile per hour pace and took a solid left turn
onto a more secluded road than we were just on. "We're almost here."

I nodded, flustered nerves kicking in. I didn't know how I was going to
play this off and be so normal. I was never normal... not really.

And listening to his heart beat through his chest at such a steady pace,
his hypnotizing inales and exhales of breath, and watching his
eyelashes bat against his pale skin... it was all enough alone to make
me want to jump on him now, and that would be very bad, considering
they would have to come looking for him eventually.

And they knew I was with him.

Shit. I was so screwed.

We curved around a few more s-curves and pulled up the hill, and the
car hummed to a stop. My mouth hit the floorboard as soon as I looked
over my right shoulder. He wasn't rich -- rich was an understatement.
This house was incredible. It had four stories to it, if you counted the
bottom layer. It was rich in color with these deep browns and
mahoganies, and large extravagant windows throughout the entire
frame. There was charcoal grey accents along the house as well,
allowing it to blend in with the dark, deep forest that surrounded us at
all angles.

I could see in different rooms of the house from the car window, and I
had the unsteady feeling that there was nothing normal about this
house. It wasn't like anyone else's here in Forks. No one else could
afford this type of luxury, quite honestly. Besides Charlie, and he
refused to move out of the house we were in, stating that we'd look
"too obvious" if we did that, considering his job was only a Police Chief.
Despite the title, the police in this town didn't make that much money.
I'm surprised he still bribed me with my M3.

Edward hopped out immediately and ran around the front of the car,
opening my door before I even had the seat belt off. His beautiful hand
extended out to me, and I held my breath as I took it, knowing I
wouldn't be able to deny him -- or myself -- such satisfaction.

He beamed as he pulled me along the steps and to the front door with
the fine wooden frame and glass center. "This is a house of relaxation,
Bella," he assured me as he opened the door and let me in. "You can
be yourself here. No worries, okay?"

I nodded, unable to speak. I felt my grip gain a little strength on his


hand, but he didn't seem to mind it.

"...So you can stop shaking." He continued with a comforting smile.

I froze at that expression, unable to let go of his hand. I hadn't even


realized I had been shaking. Why did he have to be so in tune with me
all the time?

I took in the white walls and delicate art and sceneries placed
sparatically and perfectly around the house, as he shut the door
behind me. The house was silent, the way it would sound if it were
unoccupied. I held my breath as I focused my ears, but heard no heart
beats. There wasn't anyone else here. This wasn't good. I continued to
glance around until I found the staircase, and froze yet again.

"Is that an actual tree inside your house?" I asked, bewildered.

Edward chuckled with a nod. "Yes. Alice loves to climb it to get to the
kitchen, instead of taking the staircase. Don't ask, I don't know why."

"Huh..." I responded, unable to come up with anything better than that.


Edward smiled as he stood beside me and placed his warm hand on
the middle of my back, rubbing it gently. "Are you okay?" He asked
concerned, pushing me forward gently to walk with him toward the
staircase... and the tree.

I nodded and tried to control myself from panicking, with little help. I
didn't know what was worse at this moment... the fact that he was
touching me and I liked it, that there was a tree in their house, or that I
felt so comfortable and so nervous at the same time just being here,
with him.

We strutted side by side along the staircase and I took in their family
portraits along the wall with a smile. They were perfect, and flawless...
and though some of the kids were adopted, it didn't appear that way
through the solid frames. They all seemed very close, connected, so
powerful.

Edward pointed to the attractive blonde man with penetrating eyes


and a strong jaw line in the back row, with his left hand on Alice's
shoulder. "That's Carlise," he replied, as if he heard my unanswered
questions. "He's my father. He's very comforting. He's a doctor at the
nearby hospital here. And this.." he pointed to the woman beside him,
equally as beautiful, with honey brown tendralls and a smile that you
could drown in, "Is Esme, my mother. She's very caring and sincere.
She is a successful architect with an obsession with interior design, as
you probably could tell."

I nodded, soaking in the picture more. Each person in it was gorgeous.


Each had smiles on their faces. Each looked like they had a story to
tell, by the expressions in their perfect eyes. And Edward, standing on
the other side of Esme with his arm over her shoulder, outshined them
all. He looked so happy and very secure there. It made me smile for a
moment, thinking about all he lost with his biological parent's deaths...
At least he was able to gain some security back.

A sting swelled over my body as I became internally jealous. I have yet


to have that type of comfort, even through all these years. Even
through all the trying. It just never came for me.

"You guys are beautiful," I spoke softly, smiling up at him. "Very...


fitting."

He smiled back at me calmly, inhaling deep. "We are," he replied.


"Fitting, I mean. These guys are my family, no if's, and's, or but's about
it. They make this life easier, more bearable. It's almost like saving
grace, you know?"
I nodded, staring into his eyes again. I found it was so easy to get lost
in them. So comforting...

Edward smiled as he led me further up the staircase and around the


corner, to the empty kitchen. Like the rest of the house, it was
beautiful as well. With it's mahogany cabinets, large windows over the
stainless steel sinks, granite countertops, it definetly fit right in with
the coziness of the house. It was so open, extremely bright and
welcoming.

Edward smiled at me as we stood next to the island. "Can I get you a


glass of water?"

And it starts. "No, thank you," I replied as softly as I could imagine,


through my shaky voice. "I'm not thirsty."

He nodded, continuing to penetrate me with his eyes.

"W-What?" I asked, beginning to feel anxious.

He raised our hands, bringing them to my attention that I haven't yet


unlocked mine from his yet. I stared at them, at our fingers intertwined
with each other's in perfect shapes, as if the were destined to hold like
that. I hadn't even noticed I grabbed his hand again!

"I didn't know if you wanted me to drag you along to the refridgerator
with me..." he mused, voice like velvet. "...Not that I'd mind much, if
you didn't."

I relunctantly let go of his silk, warm hand, and felt more emptier than I
had in years, watching him as he walked the seven steps away toward
the fridge. I didn't like these emotions. They meant I was becoming
more attatched to him, more in need of him, and that was not a good
thing.

Edward poured himself a glass of ice water from the spout inside the
freezer door and walked back over to me. My heart felt less heavy,
standing still in my chest.

"Where is everyone?" I asked. "I thought we left after them."

Edward nodded, grabbing my hand and causing more electricity to run


through my body. He pulled me along the open hall and into their
living room, complete with plush white couches and a tv screen bigger
than Charlie's bathroom in any given direction. "They went to get the
pizza. You like pepperoni, right?"
I nodded, swallowing hard. "That's fine."

Edward smiled and sat down on the couch, pulling me beside him. I
knew it should feel awkward, considering that there were two plush
couches beside this one, as well as two large, overstuffed grey chairs.
There was plenty of other seating around this room alone, and I
shouldn't have to be sitting so far next to him.

But I couldn't help it. Yet again, another bad idea.

He leaned over and grabbed the remote with his long fingers, before
adjusting his body around the way he wanted in the cushions of the
couch. He smiled at me as he turned the tv on. "Is this okay?"

I looked past his delicate features, toward the large screen. Food
network. Great. "Yeah, this is fine."

Edward hesitantly glanced to where my eyes lead and busted out


laughing. "No," he replied, still chuckling softly. "I didn't mean the
channel. I meant this. Us, the... way we're sitting."

I bit my lip as I looked down toward my thigh. It was completely


pressed up against his with my knees pointed in his direction, and my
body was leaning in toward his chest more than I had intended. I tried
to pull back a little, but something inside me held me down, held me
still. I nodded, holding my breath tighter.

Edward smiled and rested his hands over his legs, flipping through the
channels. My eyes focused on his right wrist, and the icy blue vein that
drew a jagged line along the thin skin there. I licked my lips.

"I bet you're wanting a much needed break from baseball, with my
practice earlier today..." Edward assummed, skimming past all the
sports channels.

My eyes continued to focus on his frail wrist as my mouth began to


water uncontrollably, and I nodded slowly, my reaction late. I felt my
ears close inward, causing me to hear only the echo of his strumming
heart and his inhaling. I wasn't able to notice what he had chosen, but I
could tell it involved action, as there were girls screaming and guns
blasting through the surround sound speakers. My eyes zoned in
tighter to the vein, and I felt my right hand twitch, the urgency to grab
it.
I balled my fingers into tight fists and slid a few inches away from him.
Edward noticed and looked at me, but didn't say anything. I needed to
change the subject, to focus my mind on something else.

"So..." I stuttered, uncomfortably drawn to the rumble in his chest. "Do


you like it here, at the new school?"

Edward sighed, leaning in to me a little. "Yes," his velvety voice


replied. "It has a few minor deductions, but the majority of the town is
very intriguing."

I nodded, tearing my eyes away from his arm. "And what brought you
here?"

Edward reached over and turned off the tv, causing pain to rip through
me as the sound of his heart got louder. "My mother passed away a
little over half a year now."

My eyes met his and expected there to be pain, but it didn't seem to
cross his eyes. "Can I ask how?"

He smiled, reaching over and fiddling with my thumb with his index
finger. "She got sick. Scarlett fever. It happened very fast...
Unexpectedly."

I bit my lip, knowing I shouldn't press it further, but I couldn't help it.
"I'm so sorry to hear about that, Edward. I know it's hard to talk about."

He nodded, continuing to play with my hand. He seemed a little


hesitant, but mostly calm around me... I couldn't believe how
comfortable he seemed to be. It was clear I didn't intimidate him, but I
hadn't expected to be his confidant, either. "Yeah, it has been.
Thankfully, Esme was my mother's best friend in college, and they
stayed in touch. I'd spent summer's here with Carlisle and Esme, and
was very close to the kids here. So it made the ultimate transition
easier for me."

"Were you close with your mother?"

"Yes, extremely. I had lost my father when I was five years old -- He
was murdered. After that, my mother never really moved on, so it was
just her and I, and I was the only man in her life. I did what I could to
protect her, to help her with the bills and all, but when she got sick..."
His voice trailed off for a moment, but he regained his control quick.
"...When she got sick, we called in Carlisle to fly and be her caretaker.
There was nothing I could do, and that brought more pain to me than
anything before. I felt so helpless and I watched as my faith floated
away from my soul. It had been replaced with hate and confusion..."

I nodded, unable to respond. I wound my fingers through his, unable to


fight back with myself. I never felt more connected with anyone. It was
as if he had been describing me, so many years ago.

"It was Carlisle that told me she... didn't make it... and he was the only
one I actually broke down with. He sat there all night, curled up with
me in the middle of the hallway on the cold floor, and let me cry on his
shoulder for hours. He didn't care if there were nurses passing or
people looking. He just wrapped his arms over my head so I couldn't
see them, and let me get it all out. I don't know what I would have
done without him being there for us."

"You must feel very lucky to have him in your life. And the rest of
them."

Edward smiled, gripping his fingers with mine. "I am."

I watched as his thumb began to make delicate strokes across mine.

"So, what about you? I mean, do you like it here?"

I sighed, pulling my hand away from his and putting mine between my
legs. "Not really. It gets tiring after so many years."

"And your parents?"

"C-Charlie's the Chief of Police here. He works long hours, as he is very


dedicated to serving our community. It's his release, I guess you could
say. Keeps him in line."

"And your mother?"

I looked up at him, and I could tell my expression gave myself away, as


his eyes began to read mine perfectly.

He frowned. "...When?"

I bit my lip, looking back down at my hands. I watched as he pulled my


right arm back to him, and interlocked our fingers again. "A long, long
time ago."
"I am so sorry, Bella. I know it's hard. I know it is." He rubbed my hand
between his, as if to warm them up, unsucessfully. "...How did it
happen?"

I shrugged, my eyes tightening as I tried to block the images from my


mind, the echoes of her screams. "She was murdered, as well."

He frowned again. "What was her name?"

"Renee."

"Renee and Charlie..." He whispered.

I nodded, swallowing hard. "What were your parents names?"

"Elizabeth and Edward Masen. I was named after my father, and my


grandfather, for that matter."

I smiled, taking in that thought.

We were silent for a few long, lingering moments. I watched as he


continued to rub my hands between his and listened to his heartbeat
drown out all the devastating thoughts in my head. I felt so
comfortable with him. I've never talked to anyone about any part of my
life before, but with him it seemed to spill out.

I felt myself leaning toward him once again, and his heart beat pound
through my chest. He looked up at me and smiled, locking his eyes
with mine. We stared at each other as we thought to ourselves, me
wondering how on earth he could be so beautiful and so relateable, yet
holding my hand? I so badly wanted to taste him, to have the red
amung my lips... His scent was intoxicating me, and as my eyes melted
in front of his, I felt myself losing my balance. It was as if he was
dazzling me, somehow... and that made me want him more.

...I couldn't imagine what he was thinking.

"You are so beautiful." His voice was so confident, so surrounding.

I focused on his eyes, my thoughts snapping away like a closed door. I


studied them for a few moments in oblivion, before the realization of
his words took form. Then I bit my lip and looked down.

"No, no," Edward replied, releasing my hands with just his right one, as
he raised his index finger over to lift my chin. "Don't look down, Bella.
Look at me."
He held my face in his soft hands, and didn't let go when my eyes
found his. Then he spoke each word individually. "You. Are. So.
Beautiful."

I shook my head hard, feeling so self conscious. There was no way he


could mean what he is saying. He's just trying to comfort me. That's all
it is.

I tried to look down again, but his hand wouldn't let me, his other hand
holding my face with assistance. "I said don't look down, Bella."

I inhaled deeply, regretting it as soon as I could taste his scent on my


lips. His eyes continued to penetrate mine.

"Bella... you... are... so.. beautiful."

I closed my eyes tight. "No, I am not."

He shook my face gently, in order to make me open me eyes. He


waited until I did before he continued. "I'm going to tell you this until it
sinks in your head, Bella. I realize that you don't see yourself clearly,
and I am going to work on that with you. I'll do whatever it takes. But
you have to know this first, Bella: I will never lie to you, okay?"

I nodded, swallowing hard.

I felt his hands pull my face toward his now, ever so slowly. My hands
drew up the length of his satin arms on onto the skin of his thin wrists,
tightening my grip there. His green diamonds came closer to mine
than ever before, inches away. I felt his warm breath on my cool lips,
and it took every muscle in my body I had in order to not end it all right
there.

Then he crept closer, about a single inch from my lips.

My breath cut off completely as my eyes widened and my frame began


to shake. I knew he was going to kiss me. I wanted to kiss him back.
But I wanted him more, in all ways, and this scared me. If we touched, I
knew I'd never be able to stop myself from reacting the way I wanted
to, both positevly and negativly, and that could be a very, very bad
thing.

Edward's full, soft lips parted.

My body shook more, but I couldn't find the words to protest.


"Bella..." he whispered, soft as a faint breeze. He tilted my head to
where my eyes were almost connected to his, and then turned my face
to the left , running his warm lips along my jaw line.

I almost had convulsions.

His voice remained a whisper, "You... are... so... beautiful..."

I continued to shut my eyes, inhaling deeply with my jittery frame,


unable to speak. I didn't know what I wanted at this point. Everything I
knew, it seemed I didn't know. It was so confusing. I wanted us to kiss,
but knew it'd be too hard. I wanted to climb up in his lap and have him
hold me, but knew I'd regret it immediately. I wanted to throw him on
the ground and lose my mind, but I knew that would never work either.

And worst of all, he had no idea what I was.

I turned my face toward him, as my lip began to quiver with want. "You
don't know anything about me, Edward." I whispered.

He kept his hands cupped around my face. "I'm willing to sit here for
days and listen to anything you want to tell me."

I shook my head. "You don't want to know."

"Bella, trust me. I do."

I stared at his eyes, the words at the tip of my tongue. I knew as soon
as I told him, as soon as I'd confess, it'd be over. He'd react so harshly
and I'd lose my control, and this would all turn into a large mess.
Charlie would lose his job and we'd have to change our identies in
order to keep going.

If he reacted badly -- which there was no doubt in my mind he would --


that I would kill him. I wouldn't be able to help it.

"T-This is wrong," I whispered shakily. I felt scared, unhinged. "I


shouldn't be here."

Edward didn't seem affected by this, only concentrated on his goals.


"This is exactly where we're meant to be, Bella. Everything happens for
a reason. We have to believe that."

I shook my head, gripping tighter to his wrists. I felt myself edge closer
to him, drowning to the rhythms in his chest. "You don't know what
you're saying."
"Yes, I do. Bella... I feel very protective of you, somehow. It's as if I'm
meant to be here for you, to help you through whatever you need." He
pondered for a moment. "And, possibly vice-versa as well. We've both
experienced devastating losses, Bella. We both ended up in classes
together, and in that hall alone for a reason. We both feel drawn to
each other somehow, even if we can't explain it..."

I nodded, my eyes sealing tighter together, tasting more of his scent


on my tongue.

Edward continued to suffocate me with his whispers. "...So don't tell


me that this is wrong, Bella. We both know better."

My eyes popped open quickly, and as soon as they snapped to his, my


mouth dropped open, but no words came out.

Edward's breath hitched in his throat, his heartbeat almost at a pause.


It was as if he couldn't get the words out either.

This was very bad.

"Bella..." Edward whispered softly.

"Y-y-yes?" I was full-blown earthquake shaky at this point.

"Can I ask for a favor?" There was something about his voice, so strong
and overtaking to me, he didn't even need to ask. At this point, he
could have whatever he wanted.

My eyes shut tight again as I held my breath, gripping to his wrists


tighter. "Y-y-yes you ... c-c-can..."

"Shhhh," he whispered, calming me down as he stroked my face.


"Shhhh, beautiful..."

He waited until I was steady and able to open my eyes, which took a
little while.

We breathed in and out together simulaneously, as if we were timed


that way.

"Bella..." He penetrated, soaking me with his soft voice. "Would it be


alright if I kissed you?"
Chapter 8: ...Lies A More Destined Path

I shook my head, gripping tighter to his wrists. I felt myself edge closer
to him, drowning to the rhythms in his chest. "You don't know what
you're saying."

"Yes, I do. Bella... I feel very protective of you, somehow. It's as if I'm
meant to be here for you, to help you through whatever you need." He
pondered for a moment. "And, possibly vice-versa as well. We've both
experienced devastating losses, Bella. We both ended up in classes
together, and in that hall alone for a reason. We both feel drawn to
each other somehow, even if we can't explain it..."

I nodded, my eyes sealing tighter together, tasting more of his scent


on my tongue.

Edward continued to suffocate me with his whispers. "...So don't tell


me that this is wrong, Bella. We both know better."
My eyes popped open quickly, and as soon as they snapped to his, my
mouth dropped open, but no words came out.

Edward's breath hitched in his throat, his heartbeat almost at a pause.


It was as if he couldn't get the words out either.

This was very bad.

"Bella..." Edward whispered softly.

"Y-y-yes?" I was full-blown earthquake shaky at this point.

"Can I ask for a favor?" There was something about his voice, so strong
and overtaking to me, he didn't even need to ask. At this point, he
could have whatever he wanted.

My eyes shut tight again as I held my breath, gripping to his wrists


tighter. "Y-y-yes you ... c-c-can..."

"Shhhh," he whispered, calming me down as he stroked my face.


"Shhhh, beautiful..."

He waited until I was steady and able to open my eyes, which took a
little while.

We breathed in and out together simulaneously, as if we were timed


that way.

"Bella..." He penetrated, soaking me with his soft voice. "Would it be


alright if I kissed you?"

Those hypnotizing words, which were gradual as a teardrop, bounced


around my head on repeat like a ticking time bomb. They were still
fresh from his ruby lips, milking my every emotion until I was dry.

I couldn't open my eyes.

I couldn't breathe.

I couldn't think.

And I most definetly couldn't move.

I was paralyzed.
I felt Edward's soft thumbs stroke along my cold cheekbones toward
the sides of my eyes in a soothing manner, and I knew he'd remain
calm until I found the strength to open them. It didn't take me long to
figure out that he was respectful toward me... it was almost as if he
could feel what I was feeling, somehow.

I listened to the jumps inside his body, the unsteady skipping that
pulsed and echoed around us, hoping I could snap myself back to the
present tense by it's sweet melodies alone.

Here I was, surrounded in a blue ocean of most beautiful words in the


English dictionary, spoken by the most angelic creature known to man,
and these words remained reverbirated in my soul.

Would it be alright if I kissed you.... kissed you... kissed you....

I allowed my eyes to open slightly, but whenI caught a glimpse of his


grean diamonds shutting against his own skin, I sealed mine back
tight. I couldn't allow myself to let go of his delicate wrists -- I was
holding onto them like they were a life preserver -- Quite possibly,
because they were.

You could hear a pin drop on the thick carpet four stories up with how
quiet we were being.

Edward's breathing turned more shallow yet much deeper, and I


became overwhelmed with sensations as he pressed his lips
underneath mine, dragging them back and forth along the tiny area on
my chin. "...You are so beautiful, Bella..." he whispered through his lips,
but never removing them from my face. I felt the heat of his body
splashing over my skin, and I began to tremor lightly in his hands.

I still couldn't process a single thought.

I couldn't understand how we ended up in a beautiful, yet more


complicated of situations.

Going against everything I was taught to think, and choosing only what
I felt was right, I let my lips part slowly. My bottom lip quivered, a
mixture of pure desire for him and my undeniable thirst for his blood
combined. I knew which one was more dominant, but still couldn't
ignore the second emotion.

With all the hysteria in this very moment... all the emotions... all the
inhales and exhales....I was about to lose my mind.
I felt his lips part as he lifted his face from my chin, but once he placed
them directly in front of mine, he puased.

Minutes seemed to pass us by as we continued to steady out our


breathing. He'd breathe in and I'd breathe out... Each time it'd cause
reactions in our bodies. I felt goosebumps rise along his arms that I
grasped, and as they rolled under my cold hands like a river, I shivered
when my body reciprocated those emotions. It was insane, the
connection we had.

The scent of him became bolder and overbearing as he moved my face


closer to him. Slower.... Slower... His warm hand held me so delicately,
careful not to rush anything.

I kept my eyes closed as I parted my mouth more, allowing his lips


access.

At that moment, my entire world stopped spinning and stood silently


still.

Edward's warm bottom lip fit perfectly between my lips, and his top lip
slid above my upper.

I never tasted anything more sweeter than that single moment in all
my years.

It was surreal... As if, somehow, we were made for each other. Made to
fit.... Made to be...

We didn't move.

I so badly wanted to apply pressure to his and could tell he wanted to


as well, but we wanted to make sure we took it slow -- for our different
reasons, of course.

We were here though. We are so close to our first kiss, and now all we
have to do is just ...push.

It suddenly occured to me in this very second that all I wanted was to


be with him. Not to have him, not to hurt hi, but just to be in his very
presence, to never leave this spot. Everything was a daze.

I held my breath, allowing myself the freedom to make this kiss real,
and decided that it was now or n-

"Edward! We're home! We've got PIZZA!"


I heard a slight gasp sink in Edward's throat, and before he even had
time to open his eyes, I was clear over on the other end of the long,
plush couch, with my hand over my chest and gasping.

Edward's hands were still in front of his body, placed where they were
when he was holding me just seconds before in my most vulnerable
form, and his eyes were wide -- the mirror image of my own.

"A-Are you..." He stumbled for words, taking in my expression.


"...Bella?"

I swallowed hard, trying to focus. I listened to the multiple footsteps


from his family on the staircase combined with the heavy pounding of
his heart, and my hands began to shake rapidly.

Get it together, Bella. You're okay.

"I'm f-fine," I stuttered quickly, forcing a smile on my face. "Fine.


Really."

Edward continued to look at me hesitantly as he slowly lowered his


hands. I knew he was being overly cautious in this moment, afraid of
how I'd react if he moved over to me. His heartbeat wouldn't slow.

"There you are..." Emmett stood leaning against the doorway with his
arms crossed, smiling at us like we were a million dollars. "Aww... look
at you two... how sweet. But look, we've got pizza, so if you two love
maker's want any, you better get your asses in the dining room pronto
because Jasper just dug in, and you know how ge gets stingy
sometimes..."

Edward nodded to him with a forced smile and unsteadily stood up.

I followed him, my legs feeling like jello. What the hell just happened?

Edward walked a few steps in front of me, careful not to keep checking
behind his back to make sure I was there. One time was enough, he
guessed. He led me into the dining room where the rest of his family
was.

The dining room was gorgeous, with a long glass table with black fame
and matching accent chairs. The table had shiny tall glasses with red
rose petals and bold cherries inside them, trailing along the entire
length of it. There was a golden chandelier in middle of the ceiling, the
light echoing through the single mirrors placed on each of the
surrounding walls.
They were all scavenging for pizza, laughing and joking amongst
themselves, when they looked up and saw us standing there like two
doe-eyed bambis caught in headlights.

"Ahh, hello!" Carlise said, walking around the table and greeting me
with a firm handshake. "I'm Carlise, Edward's father. This is my wife,
Esme..."

I shook her hand as well, and noticed it was very soft. "It's a pleasure
to meet you two," I said. "You have a beautiful home."

"Thank you sweetie." Esme gave Edward a welcoming hug. "How was
practice, dear?"

Edward smirked, regaining his composure and pulling out a chair for
me. "Same old, same old. I've made a lot of friends on the team,
thankfully, and have even been able to guide a few of them. However,
there is a few guys on the team that have been making it... difficult...
to adjust to, but all in good fun, I'm sure."

Jasper smirked, shoving down a full piece in his mouth. "Sure, okay.
They're gonna think good fun when they've got a baseball bat
slammed against their ball sack."

Alice smacked him on the leg, causing him to wince. "That's it! You're
not hanging out with Emmett anymore! I'm drawing the line!"

The group exploded with laughter, and Edward brushed my arm as he


placed a large piece of pizza in the plate in front of me.

"Do you want milk, soda, water, juice...?"

I smiled. "Whatever you're having is fine."

It amazed me how I could be suddenly calm here, in a house full of


fragile humans. It felt right though, even if I had to pretend.

Edward gave me a glass of lemonade that matched his, and poured


Rosalie and Esme one too.

"Thanks Sweetie," Esme chimed. "Now, about your practice, why do


you think these boys are giving you such trouble?"

"Because they're intimidated?" Alice suggested.


"Or because they're pissed you're better than all of them?" Emmett
included.

"No," Edward frowned, taking a large bite of his pizza. I watched as the
grease lined his bottom lip, and licked my lips at the thought of it. "I
believe it's their own way of welcoming me to the team... Seeing what
I'm made of."

"Are they giving you a hard time as well, Jazz?" Carlise asked.

Jasper shook his head, giving Alice a bite of his pizza. She must have
wanted sausage instead of the plain cheese on her own plate. "No they
all seem to target Mr. Baseball God over there."

I smiled, glad that someone else recognized Edward's worth.

"You have a beautiful smile Bella," Carlise complimented, running his


hands through his hair. "Very warm."

I tilted my head, thinking to myself. I've never been called warm


before. I opened my mouth to say thank you but was cut off.

"Yes, she does." Edward turned to me, lifting my face with his
comforting expression. The way his eyes were so deep, so sensual... so
overtaking.

I smiled back at him softly. "Thank you both."

I looked up and found myself being watched by Alice and Rosalie.


"Aren't you hungry, Bella?" Alice asked.

I nodded, swallowing hard. Trying to control my shaky hands, I picked


up the greasy slab of disgusting dough and bit off a tiny tip of it,
swallowing it hard before I let it soak on my tongue. I am so going to
regret this later.

Edward ran his hand along my back, beaming as he swallowed down


his second piece. "I'm glad you're here, Bella."

I leaned over my right shoulder and smiled back. "I'm glad you invited
me."

"Aww, you two.." Rosalie squeeled. "I'm so happy that I sug-"


"So have you guys done it yet?" Emmett cut her off, but was anable to
speak any more because all six of the other people around the table,
beside myself, launched napkins and plastic forks at him.

"What?" He chuckled, ignoring the napkin on his head and bending


over to open a new box of fresh gross. "They've been here for a few
minutes by themselves, I just thought I'd go ahead and get it out of the
way..."

"You're being rude, Emmett." Carlisle sneered under his breath.


"Please apologize to Bella. Now."

I shook my head, raising my hands in protest. "It's okay. I'm used to


comments like that."

"No," Edward complied. "It's not okay. Emmett?"

Emmett and Edward stared at each other in silence for a few moments,
causing me to hear nothing but chewing sounds echoing from the rest
of them. Finally, he retreated. "Sorry guys."

"Apology accepted," Esme confirmed. "But watch it."

"So what was the deal with you inviting Julia Brownstone to the games
with her little groupie clan?" Jasper asked Edward, and my head
chimed up in curiosity as well. I had forgotten all about that until he
brought it up, but was quite curious myself to what the answer was
going to be.

"She said she wanted to see me in action," Edward responded, causing


a smirk from Carlisle. "Not like that. She explained to me in 2nd period
that her father runs the first editorial in Forks Journal, and he wanted to
see if there was a story there."

"I'm sure that's not all she wanted, Edward." Jasper looked at Edward
like he was a box of rocks.

"I'm not interested." Edward replied, looking over at me with a smile,


which I returned gracefully.

"We can see that," Alice chimed in. "Obviously."

I couldn't wipe the smile off my face if I tried. Even with stinky pizza
and irresistable human blood underneath thin amounts of skin
surrounding me. I felt home.
--

Edward pulled into the school parking lot, where my car waited for me.
I wasn't ready to get out just yet. I had just spent three hours with him
and his family, watching games and fitting in for once, and I never felt
more afraid to lose that feeling than now.

We sat sideways in our seats, facing each other with our heads on the
back rests and smiles on our faces.

"Can I ask you something?"

Edward nodded at me, melting my insides. "You can ask me anything


you'd like, Bella."

"Okay... don't think I'm a stalker or anything, but I've heard a few
things and I wanted to know if there was any truth to them...." I bit my
lip, unsure if I should continue.

"Go ahead..." He motioned his hand in a turning wheel.

"Okay..." I held my breath. "There's these rumors going around that


you've kind of... seduced... a lot of women and then left them. I was
just wondering... before I... you know..."

Edward's smile grew wider, and he shook his head slowly. "None at all.
Don't listen to that rubbish, Bella."

"But... But how can I be sure you're not lying?"

Edward leaned forward and grabbed my right hand off of my leg, and
placed it gently on his warm chest. "Do you feel that?"

I nodded, watching as his hand covered mine, making it feel warm for
the first time.

"It's steady, Bella. I've never been more calm with a person before you.
If I had been lying, you'd be able to tell the difference."

I felt my thumb move along his tshirt slowly, gasping for air. He felt so
secure... and because of that, I felt so safe....

"I believe you," I whispered, sinking into the image of his lips.

"...Good."
He held my hand in his, tilting his head against the rest once more. I
found I mirrored his reactions.

"I don't want you to leave," he admited softly. "Everything feels better
when you're around."

"I wish I didn't have to." I couldn't believe how honest we were being.

"I find that I am always anxious whenever I think about you, Bella...
Whenever you're not around, I feel desperate and confused...
Constantly wondering where you are or what you're doing... When you
were gone that week after the party, I was a complete wreck. And trust
me, I don't do react to this way to anyone."

I smiled, nodding my head in agreement.

"But you..." He continued, blinking slowly. "...You're different, Bella.


You are something special. I feel it."

I smiled, shaking my head slowly. "What are we doing, Edward?"

He leaned foward slowly, and whispered lightly on my cheek. "I'm not


sure. I've never felt this way before..."

He planted a gentle kiss there, causing me to shiver. "I haven't either."

"Can I..." Edward pondered for a moment on his choice of words. "Bella
would it be alright if I picked you up for school in the morning?"

I smiled, thinking to myself for a moment. I knew Charlie would already


be gone to the station before then, so I should be safe. "I'd love that,
Edward."

Edward caressed my face lightly, before sighing and opening his door.
He ran around the car and opened my door for me, led me to my car,
then opened that one as well.

"I can't wait, Bella. I'm growing anxious all ready."

Holding my breath, I stood on my tippy toes and kissed his warm


cheek. "Me neither," I whispered.

I reluctantly climbed in my car and rolled down my window, allowing


him to reach in and run his fingers through my hair one last time.
He bent down inside the window to me, his lips so close to mine that I
could taste him, and smiled teasingly as he moved his lips up to my
forehead, kissing gently there. He let his lips linger for a moment, his
mind incapable of knowing what he was doing to my body.

"Until then..." He spoke with a sincerity, backing away with a smile on


his face that wrecked my soul.

A shiver shifted through my body, and I grasped the wheel tightly.


"...Until then."

---

As I drove home, lost in a cloud of thoughts and questions, mixed with


the emotions of butterflies and cold chills... I realized about three
things I was absolutely positive:

First - Edward was a human

Second - There is still a part of me - and I couldn't be sure how potent


that part is at this moment - that thirsted for his blood.

and Third - I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

...Oh, and if I could add a Fouth, it'd be that I needed to hunt. Pronto.

Fucking disgusting pizza.

Chapter 9: The Unfolding

I spent the rest of the midnight hours in a complete haze of jittery


goodness. First, I drove around town for about thirty minutes, trying to
replay the night's events in my head. The conversations, the baseball
practice, the way things turned and twisted between Edward and
myself.
I parked my car in the drive and climbed on top of the hood, staring
breathlessly at the moon. It didn't look dull and overrated, like it
normally did when I merly glanced at it before.

No, it was different this time.

It appeared to have a prism of colors that no human could notice...


reds and pinks and oranges... almost rainbow-like. I inhaled deeply,
shutting my eyes. I replayed his different smiles in my mind, all making
my smile wider. Edward had taken complete control over me, right or
wrong. There was no two ways around it, and once this realization
settled, I decided I never wanted to go back.

I felt an adreneline rush blast into my body, and my hands started to


shake with excitement.

I rushed inside the house, startling Charlie by both my urgent rush and
my estatic expression. He wasn't used to seeing either one of them
belonging to me.

Charlie bounced off of seat immediately, a wide look in his eyes. "What
are you doing, Bells? Where have you been all day?"

I flew past him and reached the top of the staircase. "Nothing! Just
hanging out with, um, friends! I'm starving, are you hungry Dad?"

"Uh... no, Bella, I'm fine. Are you going to go hunt?"

I rushed back out of my room and into the bathroom, and caught a
glimpse of him sitting back down in his favorite chair as I went. "Yeah
Dad, I shouldn't be out long."

"Do you need me to go with you?"

"No Dad!" I galloped down the stairs, skidding to a stop before I slid
through the door. "I'll be fine. I know how to keep myself safe."

"No big game, Bells. Not by yours-"

"Got it!" I was out the door before he could shout anything else to me. I
didn't need him ruining my buzz.

I soared into the forest with a smitten expression over my lips. Who
was this person that took residence in my body? I knew I probably
looked like some love-struck groupie at a rock concert, but I couldn't
help it. I could feel the electricity of Edward running through my veins,
his words and heart beats acting as blood would to me, if I were still a
human. Every detail about him rushed through my frame, pumping me,
keeping me moving, faster, faster...

I thought about the curve in his bottom lip and how it was slightly
bigger than his upper. About the teasing taste of him in front of my
tongue, and how sweet it will be when we actually complete our kiss. I
thought about his hot breath on my skin, the words he whispered to
me and tried to convince me of, his sensational touch, his green eyes,
the way he put my hand over his beating heart... I was half way across
town, before I focused on any of my surroundings.

The damp wind blew wildly through my hair and caught me off guard,
while the echo of birds flocking away surrounded me, and I couldn't
help but laugh. I had no control of my emotions. It was as if I was
foreign, even to myself. It felt like I was alive, for the first time in over
a hundred years. I felt free and unharmed... invincible almost, like I
could do anything!

I started running around the hills, spinning around in a circle. I brushed


through some small trees, knocking the tiny one over on it's side. Then
I bounced off the next tree with the flat of my shoes and flew to the
third tree, fire blazing through my eyes. I slammed into the soil and
gripped the trunk tightly, peeking my head around slowly. There was a
single female deer in the crossing, her head bending down to drink out
of the small stream running beside her. "Got you," I whispered softly.

I squat down behind the tree, digging my fingers through the soil as I
watched her for a few moments. She seemed so innocent, so oblivious
to anything around her... so peaceful. I wondered to myself if she had a
family, kids perhaps? What about a lover of some sort? How
heartbroken he must be if he existed somewhere and found her just -
Wait, what? Stop, Bella!

I shook my head, refocusing on my prey. I made a slight whistle call


between my lips, causing her to raise her head and look at my
direction. She couldn't see me. I was invisable.

I leaned forward, taking in her smell. I watched as she arched her neck
in my direction, trying to clear her view. Then I leaped toward her.

---

As the clock ticked by, edging closer to 5:30, I felt more anxious and
overly depressed as each hour went by. I watched out the living room
window, and as soon as a skim of light flashed in my eyes, I threw a fit,
stopping my feet. It was not going to be my day, I could tell already.

"What are you pouting about Bella?"

"This can't be happening! Why is the sun coming out?! Why today of all
days?"

Charlie stood in the frame of the kitchen, a puzzled expression in his


eyes. "Because it's Thursday?"

"No!" I slammed my fist onto the window seal, breaking the wood
completely off and cracking the window. "Oops, sorry dad."

"Bella, what is your deal today? Are you on heroin?"

"Dad! Heroin can't affect someone who doesn't have a regular blood
stream. I just... I-I studied for a really hard Calculus test today and now
I won't be able to take it because I can't go to school."

"But you never study. You know just about everything there is to be
taught in that school, and you never cared about Calculus before.
Don't you hate math?"

"I know! That's the point! But.." I shoved my hands toward the window,
a drastic measure to show the clouds seperating. "...uh! Look!"

"Oh, no worries, drama queen." Charlie replied, jogging up the stairs


toward his running shower. "It won't be out long. News predicts rain
tonight. You wouldn't have anything to do with that, would you?"

I scowled at him. "Very funny. I'm in a good mood today, Dad. Or, well I
was."

"Mmhmm." He shut the door behind him, shaking the frame of the
house.

I sighed, slouching down on the couch. I thought I was about to die


waiting for daylight to come, and now, I get a freakin' solar eclipse.
Great.

I dragged myself off the couch and pouted as I picked up the phone.
Continuing my whine, I dialed Edward's number.

"Hello?"
"Hey Alice," I sighed. "Is Edward awake yet?"

"Oh, hey Bella! I had a feeling you were going to call today! No,
Edward's not awake yet, he didn't get in until pretty late. He said he
went for a drive last night to clear his head and try to relax."

"Oh. Yeah I know that feeling. Look, can I leave a message for him?"

"Sure! What is it?"

I frowned. "Can you tell him that I don't need a ride this morning? Just
apologize for me and tell him that I plan to be there around lunch time,
I have a... doctor's appointment in Port Angeles that I forgot about."

"You got it! See you later!"

"Thanks Alice." I hung up the phone and pressed my forehead to the


wall. "Why me? Why, why, why?!"

"Bells, stop slamming your head against the wall before we have to
plaster it up again." Charlie strolled into the kitchen in his police
uniform, hair wet, hands on his hips. "I understand you actually took
time to do homework for once in your life, but is all this pouting really
necessary?"

I rolled my eyes at him and sat in the chair, placing the side of my
head in my hand. "I guess not, Dad. Nothing else seems to go right for
me, why should today be any different?"

"Ahh, there's the Bella I know so well. I was wondering where she had
been hiding." He kissed the top of my head briefly and rushed out the
door. "Be back tonight!"

I turned on the tv, trying to pass time. This was going to be


extrutiating.

---

The hours crept by anciently, and impatience almost took the best of
me.

By the time I drove my car toward the school, my hands were white at
the nuckle and shaking with anticipation. Come on, come on, come
on... just get there all ready!
I'd never been this excited to get to school before. Forks High was
normally the part I dreaded most... having to pretend to be someone I
wasn't.

But not today.

I pulled into a spot and cut my car off, looking around the sea of people
gathering outside for lunch. I saw Rosalie and Emmett laughing, sitting
on a pinic table.

Climbing out of my car, I searched for the rest of them. As I got closer
to the school, I noticed Alice talking to a group of girls, and a few feet
away from her, Jasper was sitting next to the baseball team in the
grass, laughing and pointing in the cheerleader direction.

I held my breath, trying to calm my emotions down. I could hear every


person's heartbeat, every sound coming out of their mouths... but I
couldn't find the voice that I wanted to hear the most. I rushed toward
Jasper, waving a quick hello to Angela as I passed. "Hey... Jasper?"

Jasper looked up at me and smiled a warm smile. "Hey Bella. Done


playing hookie for the day?"

"Er, yeah." I bit my lip. "Is Edward around?"

"He said he'd be here... somewhere... I'm not sure where he's at this
moment... maybe he had to go pee or something..."

I nodded, shoving my hands in my pocket. I couldn't stop shaking. My


adreneline was beyong rushed at this point. I just needed to see him,
needed to find his eyes and hear his warm voice. I wanted to
rediscover that smile that I love the most... the one I almost ached for.

I scammed the parking lot and shoved my trembling fingers through


my hair, standing on my tiptoes while I searched.

"Who are you looking for?" Angela piped up, standing beside me.

"Um... no one..." I continued to grow more impatient, scouting through


sets of eyes.

"I can see that... Bella?"

I couldn't move. I suddenly became an ice sculpture.


There he was, standing clear across the parking lot looking like a greek
God, with his hands inside his jacket. His perfect mess of bronzed
delight, his emerald green eyes... I exhaled relief as I took his
prescence in. I felt secure, suddenly as I searched for his warm smile,
that wonderful greeting from his lips...

But I never found it.

Wait. Was he... was he glaring at me?

I swallowed hard and arched my brows, trying to pull his thoughts from
his head. I looked behind me, hoping to find some annoying girl or guy
he didn't like. There was no sight of Quil. No sight of anyone. Even
Angela had been pulled away by Ben, her crush. It was just me. And his
eyes and that look... it was for me too.

I hesitated as I took a step forward, and he took four steps backward,


three times as fast as my first. My breath hitched in my throat. I
watched as his eyes, growing more disgusted by the second, skimmed
over my body like I was the plague.

Then, he slowly shook his head at me, his lips in a straight line, and
turned to walk away. His eyes continued to pierce harshly through my
spirit as he slowly traveled left, toward the forest behind him. I felt my
hands begin to shake, trying to figure out what was going on with him.

Then, I suddenly felt scared. Something in the pit of my stomach told


me this was all wrong...

Regardless, I found myself following him, ignoring everyone else I


passed like they didn't exist, past school grounds, up the hill, and into
the dark shadow of the woods.

I followed him in silence as he walked for a few minutes, climbing


through the brush and dirt... not stopping until he reached the top of
hill. He kept his back turned from me and his head looking straight.
Continuing to shake and feel nauseated, I stood behind him in silence.

Moments passed as the elephant in the forest grew larger. I only heard
the small chirps of birds in the distance, the flutter of a butterflies
wings a few feet from Edward... but Edward himself... all he did was
breathe. Haggardly.

"I couldn't wait to get home, knowing that as soon as I'd wake up, the
sooner I'd be able to see you..." His voice was shaken, uncertain.
Terrified. "...But when I finally got there, I realized I could not stop
playing our conversation from earlier in my head... Repeating it."

I took a step forward, hesitantly.

"And," he continued. "As I thought more about what we discussed... I


couldn't help but want to learn more. Anything I could about you, Bella.
So, I remembered your mother's name: Renee Swan. I sat down at the
computer and got online, trying to figure out what it was that
happened to her... because when you talked about her earlier, you
were as shut off as I had been when I had talked about my own
mother, Elizabeth. We both connected with our emotions, but were
disconnected from our own feelings..."

His voice trailed off for a moment as his frame began to shake. I didn't
know what was happening, but I suddenly wished I could make it right.

Edward's voice gained a bit of strength, and he continued. " I wanted


to know what it was that hurt you before, because I felt I could figure
out how to steal that pain away from you. I thought that if I learned
what happened to you and your family, I could take it away for you.
Heal you, somehow. Ease the suffering. I-I thought... I thought I could
change that part of you, make it better."

I swallowed hard and shut my eyes. This could not be happening.


Please God, no. No, no, no, no!

I felt my hands shake hard and curled them into tight fists, fighting
back the urge to protect myself and destroy whatever was in my path,
which was my normal instinct.

His voice continued to rock unsteadily. "And... after a few hours, I got
lucky. I paid a fee and purchased a background check. What I
discovered... Bella, it broke my heart. I began to cry, understanding
immediately the pain you had gone through for so many years... The
devastating images you must have seen. Your mother... she was
murdered. There were tiny holes discovered around her Jugular vein on
her neck. The reports said the multiple stabbings of a ...screwdriver... -
" He scoffed, digusted. "- that drained her blood. Drained it, Bella. All of
it."

I found myself walking in a circle around him, uncontrolled, and then


suddenly standing directly in front of him. His eyes burned into mine,
as if they were trying to hurt me, and his lip quivered. I couldn't look
away from him. I felt disgusted and hurt, angry and ashamed... But I
couldn't look away.
Edward continued to glare at me, shaking his head as I slowly and
unsteadily crept forward to him. "You're impossibly fast, Bella, and
strong - strong enough to stop a moving truck from crushing me. Your
skin is ice cold and pale white.. . Your... Your eyes change colors and
you're far more intelligent past your years. You never eat or drink
anything and you don't go out into the sunlight..."

Edward's voice trailed off as I stared at him, into him. Then, he spoke
again. "How old are you?"

I swallowed hard. "I'm seventeen."

He shook his head, taking a step toward me as his eyes absorbed my


shaking fram. "...How long have you been seventeen?"

I stared at him for a moment, unable to come up with a good response.


Reactions took over me as I sealed my eyes tight and my body shut
down. Through my teeth, I gritted, "...Awhile."

It felt like the world suddenly slid from under our feet and I was
spinning widly out of control.

Edward's head tilted down toward me and he inhaled deeply. "I know
what you are."

His voice echoed through my ears, breaking my ear drums.

I opened my eyes, trying to read his thoughts. I could tell by his


expression that he wasn't lying. But I needed to hear it. Through the
trembling in my chest, I whispered, "Tell me... What am I?"

Edward shook his head, thinking for a moment.

"What am I, Edward?" I sneered, forcefully now. "Tell me, go ahead!


Say it." Convulsions ripped through my body and I so eagerly desired
to attack as I watched the vein pulse in his neck, and listened to his
heart pound through his chest, or the exhales of his heavy breath.

"Vampire."

The single word blasted through my frame, knocking all my walls


down. I was naked. Exposed. I couldn't keep ahold of my balance,
swaying side from side. I looked down, my legs bouncing beneath me
as I tried to maintain my cool.
"You're afraid... aren't you." It wasn't a question. I knew better than to
ask what I already knew.

Edward's warm finger slid beneath my chin, raising my head to look at


him. He stared into my eyes for an extended moment, as if he was
trying to tell me something through telekinesis.

"...No..." He said, voice suddenly strong.

My left hand shook as I raised it and grabbed his wrist, gripping my


nails toward his skin. "Then you... you know what I... what I eat."

"Yes."

I looked up at him, mystified.

"I saw you, Bella. Last night."

I tried to take a step back, but since I had ahold of his wrist, I pulled
him forward with me. "W-What?" I cried.

"I saw you. The thoughts hadn't settled in with me yet, the truth of this
After I learned what had happened, I rushed to your house to comfort
you. You were not home -- no one was. Then I heard rustling in the
trees nearby and saw footprints trailing off toward the path inside the
woods behind your house, so I followed them. It was very difficult at
first, being that I didn't have a flashlight, but after a few minutes of
running along your trail, I heard your laughter."

My frame rocked beneath him as I gripped his other wrist, my eyes


wide with disbelief. "E-Edward, please tell me y-"

"Yes." His voice was certain. "I found you, just in time to see you make
your jump. Then it all rushed through me like a knife, cutting deep. I
didn't know how to react so I left."

"B-But I didn't hear you. Edward, I always hear you. Your footsteps,
your heart beat..."

"No. I made sure I was far enough away from you. I realized you were
distracted, that you wouldn't be paying attention to me. Your focus
would be elsewhere. I watched you crouch down behind the tree, and
your posture registered with me that something was... off... I thought
at first you could be spying on someone else. Turns out, you were
spying on something else."
I shook my head and dropped his hands, backing away from him until I
hit a tree. After a few more moments of silence, I felt my chest
crushing as the words choked out of my mouth... "I-I'm so sorry."

"Bella, it's-"

"No!" I shouted, my voice echoing through the trees as I raised my


hands up in protest.

I didn't need him to walk toward me right now. It was best he stay
where he was.

I felt the words spill out of me uncontrollably in a flustered ball, and I


couldn't grasp for air. "It's not okay, Edward! All right? This is not okay.
I was young, I couldn't do... a-anything about it. I didn't choose this
type of life! I-I couldn't control this! This is not what I want to be,
Edward! I couldn't do anything, I couldn't say anything, I cou-"

Edward ran to me, causing me to freak out a little. Afraid I'd do


something stupid, I wrapped my hands behind me, around the tree. I
dug my nails deep into the bark as he covered my lips with his warm
hands. As I continued to tremor and fight to control my emotions,
Edward leaned his beautiful face forward and pressed his forehead to
mine. "Bella..." He whispered. "...This is not your fault."

I shut my eyes, trying to escape from the echoes of my mother's


scream, the agony in her face, and the blood spill around me. "I
couldn't do anything," I whimpered. "It was too late and I couldn't... I
couldn't save her."

Edward stood still with his lips pressed against my forehead and slowly
ran his hands along the length of my arms. Hesitantly, he pulled them
away from the tree.

"It's okay, Bella... Shhh, you're safe here. You're safe with me, and you
don't need to be afraid of me."

I continued to gasp for air. "I-I'm not afraid of you, Edward. I know
you're afraid of me, and you have every right to be!"

Edward shook his head and bent his knees so he could better look me
in the eyes, as his fingers intertwined with mine. "Do I look like I am
scared of you, Bella?"

I studied his expression for any sight of difference. There wasn't any.
"...N-No..." I guessed, not understanding why.

He smiled, my favorite warm smile finally crossing his face. "That's


because I'm not. I don't care what you are, Bella. I don't care what you
did in the past... I know you won't hurt me."

I took another step backward, bending the tree a little with my stance.
I watched as Edward tried to remain steady, his eyes slowly grazing
above my head toward the top of the leaning tree for a moment... then
slowly back down to mine.

"Edward, I've killed before."

"I don't care, Bella."

"How can you not care?" I couldn't hide the horror in my throat.

Edward shook his head slowly, soaking me with his smoldering eyes.
"You have never killed a human before in your life, Bella."

My lips shook as I fought to get the next word out. It was hard to be
honest with him, especially this brutally. "But I've wanted to. I have. ...I
wanted to kill you, Edward. I've... I've never wanted... a human's
blood... so badly... in my life."

He took a step closer, pinning me against the tree. "I trust you."

I shut my eyes, trying to get a grip on myself as I processed the words.


"You should be afraid of me," I whispered.

Edward sighed, his warm thumb stroking my right cheek. "I'm only
afraid of losing you."

That sentence warmed my face immediately and my eyes popped


open. Every bitter expression, every ounce of pain in my body lifted as
I stared into his eyes.

I found peace there, suddenly... instantly. It washed over me, soothed


me.

"I'm afraid of losing you, too."

Edward smiled his angel smile once more, his other hand cupping the
other side of my face. "You don't know how long I've waited for you."
I felt my last guard retreat as my shaken hands gripped his biceps.
Then I exhaled, the first real release in the longest of times. "... No,
Edward. You don't know how long I've waited for you."

Edward's hands continued to stroke my cheek as he pulled me away


from the tree. He held me in his grasp, his thumb caressing my lip.

"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb..."

I shook my head, unable to hold back a smile. "You're a stupid lamb."

He smirked at me. "You're a sick, masochistic... irrisistable lion."

We continued to stare into each other's eyes, soaking in the other for
what felt like an eternity... and the clouds rolled silently above us in
whispers.

---

I led Edward to my favorite spot, a hidden meadow with an open field


of butterflies and blue green grass.

We laid side by side in silence, staring into each other's eyes as the
clouds spun above us. Over us. Sheilding us from the world.

I couldn't believe how amazing this creature was. How accepting he


was, how caring and how loving...

How he was truly made for me.

The sun slid through the clouds and crashed over my body, and I shook
nervously as the revealance of my secret suddenly exposed me.

Edward gasped, his eyes widening wider than ever before.

My lip quivered and I expected him to run away scared, this being the
final nail in the coffin as the realizations sunk in with him. He'd know I
was a monster now.

Instead, he leaned over me and ran his fingers through my long hair,
his eyes melting against mine. "I was right, Bella." He whispered softly.

"A-About what?" I couldn't stop shaking, not knowing what to expect.

Edward leaned over my face gently and placed his warm lips to my
ear, as his voice began to penatrate me. "You...Are... So... Beautiful."
And with that final whisper, I finally accepted his words.

For the first time in my entire life... 107 years and counting... I finally
felt beautiful.
Chapter 10: The Usual Suspects

The next few weeks passed by in a blur of school, baseball practices,


lying to Charlie about where I had been, lying to The Cullen's about
why I was never hungry around them, and spending every waking
moment of Edward's with him as possible. Oh, and not to mention
working on my self control around him. I know I'd never hurt him now,
but the desire of wanting him is still too strong.

We've talked a lot about everything. What is on and off limits as far as
my control is concerned; what our favorite movies, music, games are;
his favorite food; our greatest fears... Anything with a light-hearted
subject.

We haven't been able to ride together to school in the mornings due to


sticky situations that have come up. First, Charlie would kill me if he
knew what I was hiding from him. He's refused to go to work at his
normal schedule these past few weeks. He's been "set aside" with his
job. The county police -- Jim Danielson, in particular -- have taken over
the latest case, requested by popular demand. Charlie had briefly
explained to me the situation, something about the murders in
multiple towns in the surrounding area, and the people of Forks
starting to become "nervous". They felt it was out of Charlie's
jurisdiction, and contacted Jim and his team behind his back. Since he
has never been my father's favorite person, Charlie has gone to all
lengths possible to avoid him at all costs. This means not coming in to
work until later as he "doesn't want to be in the way", and though he
doesn't realize it, giving me a massive headache over the situation.

I had offered to pick Edward up from school, but that didn't work out so
well for us either. His brother Emmett ordered some custom-made Jeep
that won't be ready for a few more weeks, since they're building it for
him by hand, and Rosalie's car is in the shop, waiting for a flashy
custom exhaust and new seat interior, which is being shipped here
from overseas. Therefor, Edward has been nominated the designated
driver, and Carlisle doesn't want anyone driving his car but him. He
won't tell us why, but we've heard him mutter stuff like "The boys will
have that wrapped around a tree in two seconds flat and the girls will
get their makeup all over the seats, and then wreck for not paying
attention while driving, and the last thing I need is more patients in my
hospital."

So, with all these roadblocks in our relationship, we've only been able
to spend time with each other during school, after his practice, and
when I sneak over to his house. School has become more eventful
since all this has taken place. I actually look forward to going now. He
always walks me to every one of my classes, which unfortunately has
caused a lot of hysteria between our classmates, and gossip in the
halls. We spend lunch together every day with his family, and he's
even learned how to help me disguise my eating habits by pinching off
food when they're not looking.

Before Chemistry 2, he waits for me every day leaning against my


locker, with both our books in his hand and my favorite smile on his
perfect face. And once we finally get in the class, though we are the
best study team due to our knowledge and good grades, we can't
seem to shut up to save his soul, which causes a lot of problems with
the teacher. So much, in fact, that most days we spend with the
teacher after class, helping him grade papers or clean the room as our
punishment for disrupting class. We've been good sports about it. After
all, it only allows us to spend more time together. Movie days are our
favorite though. We can scoot our chairs closer together and hold
hands under the table. Edward has recently admitted to me that he
has felt the electric current between us as well, and he seems to enjoy
rubbing his warm thumb in soft tiny circles on the inside of my palm,
and watching me shiver.

By today, almost a month after our declaration, we've settled into a


steady routine easily.

The storm outside has picked up a bit after my second class, which is
to be expected. It's finally 3rd period, and I know I only have one more
hour until I get to sit in his arms. He lead me down the hall with his
delicate hand on the small of my back, and smiled once more with the
enjoyment of causing me trembles.

"Too bad you can't, I don't know, sneak into the class with me. I'm sure
Mr. Alberts won't notice."

Edward smirked. "I will miss you as well, Bella."

I sighed, feeling defeated. His hand rose and softly caressed my cheek
as he returned the sigh, then turned and walked away. I watched him
go, fixated by Julia's joyful expression down the hall as she waited for
him to enter their class, which is something she seemed to do every
day. Wait for him, in the wings. Stupid bitch. Regardless, I got the mere
pleasure of watching her wave to him and Edward nod to her before
passing into the door frame, then her fidgit her normal routine as she
controls the excitement and shuts the door behind her.
I plopped down in my seat, feeling jealous and annoyed that they
shared four classes together throughout each day. What a dumb
situation.

"What's the matter, Bella? Don't have your professional baseball-


playing studmuffin to entertain you?"

I dug my fingernails into the hard desk and glared toward the direction
of the irritating voice. "Mike, if you know what's good for you, then
you'll just shut up there and not speak to me. Ever."

He smirked, shaking his head in amusement as his friends -- who


happened to be sitting on both sides and front and back of him --
snickered and whispered about me. "You know he's just using you,
Bella."

I gritted my teeth, scratching my nails slightly down the desk. "No. He


is not."

"Yes he is. Everyone can see it. Everyone knows. He's just better at it
then any of us have been. All the guys on his team know the deal, and
they all talk about it with us. He's using you, Bella. He's probably just
fucking you for the attention he's gotten since you two have gone
semi-public." He snickered. "Come on, Bella. I know you feel the eyes
on you every moment of school. In the halls, at lunch... Can you
honestly tell me you think a guy, with that talent and that reputation,
will be interested in you? You're nothing to him, Bella."

Thunder roared as I turned and glared my worst expression possible,


and his laugh cut short. He shivered as the lightning struck outside,
and then looked at me with an awkward expression.

"Mike," I sneered, "I will only tell you one more time. Shut. The. Hell.
Up. Before I rip your motherfu-"

My voice stopped as a cool hand touched my fingers, pulling them


from their death grip on the desk. I glared over my right shoulder and
my eyes widened.

The thunder dwindled down immediately.

"Alice," I gasped. "What are you doing in here?"

She smiled. "I got transferred to this class. Apparently I'm too smart."
I reached out and hugged her warm pixie frame tight, unable to control
myself. "Thank you!" I whispered in her ear. "You just saved Mike
Newton from getting his head ripped off and his body struck by
lightning."

Alice smirked as she took in Mike's dorky features. "I can come back in
a few moments if that makes it easier to get the job done, Bella. If
you'd like."

I shook my head and pulled away, giggling. "You have no idea how
tempting that thought is."

Alice doesn't know the truth about me. No one but Edward and Charlie
does, and Charlie doesn't know about Edward. But I have always felt
comfortable around Alice, especially lately. There's just something
about her. She's always been able to arrive when I need a girl talk, as if
she's somehow predicted it in advance. Today would be the perfect
example of that chirade.

We sat in silence as Mr. Alberts gave us our assignment and partnered


us up into teams of three. And I bet you won't have to guess who Alice
and I got partnered with.

We shoved our desks together to form a tripod and got busy. Alice and
I spent the first half of the class ignoring Mike's presence in our group.
We finished the assignment in no time, not bothering to place his
name on the corner of the paper. Then we talked about the next movie
we wanted to go see, the latest scandal at school, the murders around
the surrounding towns, and Jasper.

As the minutes passed and Mike's quirky comments got worse, my


patience grew thinner. Then he said something that did me in: "So if
he's fucking you for attention, then that means you're fucking him for
the popularity, right? Makes sense."

Whop!

Before I could even respond, Alice reached over her desk and slapped
Mike on the right side of his head, almost causing him severe whiplash.
My mouth dropped open and I couldn't help but laugh as I saw his eyes
jiggle and saliva fly off his mouth and onto Derik, his best friend. Alice
thrusted her hand up to Mike's face and jerked it toward her by his jaw,
forcing him to look her in the eye. "Listen here you little shit," she
sneered quitely. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't crush that
morsel little dick of yours with the spike of my heel?"
Mike straightened up immediately, his hands shaking on top of the
desk and his lip bit down hard. Morbid curiosity struck me and I peered
under our desks to find her leg extended out, foot between his legs,
and the 4-inch heel about ot make contact.

They sat in silence for a few moments, then Mike retreated. "Sorry
Bella," He mumbled, followed by a gasp as Alice kicked his chair
backward, knocking him to the ground. The bell rung at that exact
moment, and Mr Alberts didn't hear any of the commotion with the
students laughing and exiting the room. I tried to pull the over
confident girl out, but she refused, squatting down beside Mike, with
her left leg extended to where her heel sat on top of his chest. She
looked like the real catwoman, and had the hot leather pants to match.
I was clearly overwhelmed by her power.

She leaned down, almost seductively, with an evil grin upon her lips.
"Don't apologize to just her, Mikey. You owe one to my brother as well.
And what do you know? He's waiting outside for us right now."

Mike scrambled to his feet as soon as Alice let up, his cheeks fire red
as three girls taking their seats laughed and pointed at him. Alice
grabbed my hand and pulled me swiftly out of the classroom, and as
soon as I saw Edward's face, my day brightened.

I hadn't even noticed what he was wearing earlier, being too focused
on his eyelashes. But now, I realized he looked good. Dark brown t-
shirt with a longer white one underneath, dark demin blue jeans, black
belt and shoes, and usual cufflink to his wrist. His bronzed hair was a
beautiful mess of dissaray, moving in all directions. ...Oh my God, I
almost lost it.

I extended my hand, desperate to find his, but Alice slid between us


and blocked my path. She quickly gave Edward the recap of recent
events in a nutshell, but Edward's smile never left his face. He
extended his right hand to her hip and gently slid her to his side, then
pulled me by the waist to stand in front of him.

He found my eyes, causing my legs to tremble. "Did that happen,


Bella?"

I rolled my eyes and nodded. "Normal Mike behavior. Doesn't matter."

Edward shook his head and ran his tongue along his bottom lip, going
into thought mode. "...Well, I think it does." His voice was certain, not
to be directed differently.
Before I could respond, Mike walked up to Edward and glared at me
until I moved out of the way. I could tell he was only doing this because
Alice scared him. "Look, Edward. No hard feelings, right? I was just
kidding around with Bella. She's used to this."

Edward's smile grew a foot as he gently released me and slammed his


hand strong on Mike's shoulder, making him jolt a bit. "Did you tell her
that I was merely... fucking her... Mike?"

Mike shrugged, looking away from Edward's stare and frozen smile.

I tried to pull Edward away, telling him it didn't matter, but he held like
a stone. "Did you? Mike, I'm talking to you."

"Yeah, I guess... as a joke, I mean."

Edward gently moved me a few steps back with a smile, then turned
slightly to face Mike again.

"Wrong move."

Before Mike could even speak, Edward leaned back and slugged him so
hard, you could hear the shattering crack of bones echo as you
watched him fall to the floor in a scrambled heap of pain. I couldn't
help but notice his biceps bulging with anticipation to hit him again. As
much as I liked seeing this type of Edward, I knew it wouldn't be best
for him to act upon it. I rushed to Edward's side, my hand firm on his
chest to hold him back. Mike cursed loudly as the teachers ran
between us, getting in their faces as they tried to seperate all of us.
Edward stood tall, ignoring the adults.

"I love her, Mike." Edward spoke with an overwhelming confidence.


"Don't ever, ever let me find out that you've spoken to, or treated her
in that form of disrespect again. If you hurt her or upset her... I do not
care if she breaks a nail in the same hallway as you. If she comes to
me wearing anything but a perfect smile after being forced against her
will to sit in a room with you, so help me God, Mike I will live to make
you regret it."

"That's enough, Mr. Cullen!" Mr Turner, our school principal interferred


now, yanking Mike's body off of the ground.

I jerked from Mrs. Shephards tiny grip and put my face behind
Edward's shoulder as his left arm extended in front of my body, holding
me still. I couldn't remove my hand from his chest, as his beating heart
soothed me, and made me distracted from the blood gushing from
Mike's broken nose.

Edward realized it then as he gripped my waist tighter, and whispered


in my ear. "I'm so sorry, Bella. I didn't think."

I pushed my nose into his shoulder blade and smirked. "'S okay. It was
worth it."

"I won't let you go, okay? Don't worry."

"I'm not."

"Mr. Cullen!" Mr Turner looked beyond upset as he quickly inspected


Mike's face. "Get your butt in my office, NOW! Everyone else: Class!
Nothing to see here, move it before you all get detention!"

The growing crowd quickly departed as the teachers started pulling out
pink detention slips. Alice ducked under Mr. Alberts arm, which had
ahold of Edward by his shirt, and grabbed me. "Come on Bellas, we've
got to go."

Edward shook my hand gently before dropping it. "Go. I'll come find
you, after."

I nodded and held my breath as I let Alice pull me away.

I heard Mike mumble "Stupid Bitches," followed by an "OW!" and then


a "Mr. Cullen, I said that'd be ENOUGH!", followed finally by Edward's
perfectly smooth voice saying, "What did I just tell you, Mike?"

I shivered as we turned the next hall. Damn. His dominant voice alone
did me in.

---

Alice and I spent the next hour hiding out in my car, listening to her
rock mix CD, watching the rain fall around. We gossiped about Mike
and Edward and everything else. I found she was easy to talk to,
almost like breathing.

"You know," I spoke casually after a few moments, "I remember when I
first saw you. You and Edward were at the lockers and your hand was
on his chest, with this proud expression all over your face, and he had
his arm over your shoulders and his head on yours... I thought you
were a couple."
Alice laughed. "Oh my gosh, really? Wow! Oh no, Bella! I was patting
him on his chest, teasing about how Jazz was gonna cream him in his
game. And Edward, teasing me back, was joking about how utterly
clueless I was! "

I chuckled and then bit my lip. "I wanted to hate you so bad. I felt so
jealous and couldn't figure out why. I didn't know you guys at all."

She smirked. "It's understandable. He did the same thing."

"He what?"

"Yep! He heard the way guys talked about you and looked at you, then
he'd come home just pissed. When you went away with your dad that
week or so, I thought he'd gone mental. He kept asking if we'd heard
where you went, what happened to you, or when you'd get back. He
drove us insane."

I exhaled, shaking my head. "I had no clue."

"Yeah well some people are just like that... Instantly connected. That's
how Jasper and I were. From the moment we met, we knew we were
destined. We were adopted as a packaged deal with Carlisle. We
wouldn't go any other way."

I smiled at her. "You two make a wonderful couple."

"Thanks! I mean, I already knew that, but I love it all the same when I
hear it from others."

I shook my head, dazing off into the rain as I thought aobut Edward
beign trapped in that office with Mike and Mr. Turner, wondering if he
was holding it together, or if I needed to call a stretcher for Mike any
time soon... The odds in Mike's favor were low and very negative.

"Hey Bella?"

"Yeah?" I turned my face to Alice in time to find her frown.

"Well, I know it's none of my business and you can totally tell me if I'm
crossing the line, but... um... Have you and Edward kissed?"

I looked to my lap and fidgeted. "No," I sighed.

"Why?"
"I'm afraid... Of what I'll do, of what he'll think, if it'll be bad, or
horrifying even..."

Her brows arched. "You have kissed guys before right?"

I shook my head, continuing to avoid her eyes.

"Wow..." Alice smiled. "That means he'll be your... first kiss! Oh my


gosh, this is great! It'll be perfect now!"

I met her eyes bashfully. "Why would you think that? I mean, I'm sure
I'll probably suck at i-"

"No, this is great Bella! Edward is a perfect choice for a first kiss! He's
sensitve and patient and sincere. He'll guide you even."

"I-I don't know Alice... I don't know if I can."

She slapped her hands on her legs. "Of course you can! You must!
Besides, I already see it happening. Soon. I don't know, but for some
reason, I've always been good at knowing things before they happen.
Kind of like a gift, if you want to call it that. And Bella, trust me, you
and Edward are due. Plus, he's been talking to Jasper about it lately,
and I know he's dying to do it. He always tells us how he wishes he
could read your mind, so he'd know what you're thinking."

I froze. Dying was the wrong choice of word. It made me more nervous.
Plus the thought of him reading my mind was enough to make me
nauseated.

"Oh yes!" Alice continued. "The man is head over heels in-love with
you, Bella. I know you see that. He just announced it in the hall! And he
hasn't even kissed you yet. It's probably driving him crazy!"

I thought silently to myself. "Hey Alice... um, er.... Is Edward a.. v-


virgin?"

My eyes skiddishly met hers and she nodded. "Yeah. The only one of us
that's left, actually. That's why it's funny to hear rumors and gossip
about him with girls. Everyone thinks he's such a stud."

"But, um, he has done... other things... with girls right?"

She shrugged. "I think so. I mean, he's a guy. He's kissed girls and
fooled around, I'm sure, but won't go all the way with them. He's
waiting on "The One" I guess... and from the looks at it... I think he's
got his mind set on someone... You wouldn't happen to know who that
might be, would you Bella?"

My stomach twisted in full knots. I just shrugged back.

"So have you thought about it?" she asked. "You know... it?"

I looked down again. "Yeah... I think every girl in the entire world that
has laid eyes upon him wants to be with him, Alice."

"But he only wants you. That is something to consider."

I nodded, words unable to make sense enough to come out.

After a few moments, I turned to her again, nervous expression


smeared on my face. "Did it, you know... For you, did it hurt?"

Alice smiled, appearing glad we're being each other's confidants. "At
first, a little. I mean, it's new... but then it's kind of nice, once you can
get relaxed enough. Rosalie, she told me she had it kind of bad
though."

"Why?"

Alice smirked. "Have you seen the size of Emmett lately? His hands, his
feet, his shoulders even? The man is huge!"

I snickered with a nod.

"Well, imagine that... you know... there... Let's just say he's overly
huge all around, and Rosalie is... small."

I winced, unable to escape the thoughts that formed images in my


head. "Ouch."

"I know. But Bella, even if Edward is massive down there -- which I'm
not doubting he is because he's lucky in everything else -- You don't
have to worry. He'd never hurt you. He'll take his time with you, make
you comfortable. A guy in love doesn't rush it."

"But..." I cleared my throat. "What if I... hurt him?"

"By what? Getting too excited or rough?"

I nodded.
"Don't worry about it doll. Edward's a sweetheart but I'm sure he can
handle his own. He's got a dominant streak to him. I'm sure you'll be
mush in the palm of his hand before you know it."

I smiled at her sincerely. "You're the best Alice."

"I know. Isn't sneaking out of school fun?"

Our girl moment was brief as a tap on the window behind me startled
us both, a panic that we were caught striking over us. I whipped my
head around as lightning crashed around us, and my mouth dropped
as soon as my eyes found his green ones.

Edward was glorious, standing in the pouring rain, his hair soaked and
his shirt clinging to his frame. Shaking hands didn't help me as I
struggled to roll down the window. My throat locked up and no words
came out from my opened lips. Again, I was a sculpture.

Edward squatted down in the rain and rested his arms in the window.
"Hi, you."

Two words and I melted. "H-Hi.." I chocked back.

"Edward!" Alice shouted. "Get in, it's freezing and raining outside if you
hadn't noticed!"

Edward ignored her and continued to stare at me, his eyes penetrating
mine to the core as he studied me. Watched my lips quiver. He
extended his wet hand to my face and stroked my cheek gently. I
shivered and closed my eyes, resting my cold face in his palm. I
exhaled softly, enjoying his touch way too much.

"Hmmm...," He whispered in thought. "...That's what I thought."

Breathless, I opened my eyes to find that the thunder storm had


turned into a mere sprinkle shower now. Alice hadn't noticed as she
was on her cell texting Jasper, but Edward saw right through me. I
continued to meet his gaze, dumbfounded. He winked at me and
caressed my cheek again.

"Alice, take my car home tonight. I don't care what Carlisle says."

Alice cocked her head at him and raised her eyebrow in suspicion.

Edward continued to look into me. "Bella is going to drive me home


tonight, if that's all right with you?"
I nodded, voice cracking.

"I'm suspended for two days, unfortunately."

I smiled, forcing words out. "I-I can leave now if you want. Sneak away.
We can.. um.. go somewhere."

Edward smiled ruefully. "Okay. No one is at the house right now, we


can go there. I want to discuss something with you as well. So scoot
over, I'll drive."

Alice climbed out on cue, blowing us kisses from her hand as she ran
inside the school, sheilding her hair from the drizzle.

I climbed over to the passenger seat, my body trembling. I watched as


he put my car in first, then second, peeling out of the parking lot. He
was showing off, but I didn't care, as he looked so good doing it. I
barely noticed my car leaping from 0 to 60 to 110, as I was too fixated
with his lips and eyes. I almost bit through my lip, feeling so liberated.

"I'm glad we get this opportunity to be alone for a few hours, Bella.
There's something I want to do with you. In private."

I watched as chills roamed through my body and gave me


goosebumps, the lightning crashing around us. "W-What do you have
in mind?"

Edward smirked at me, putting the gas pedal to the floor. "It's a
surprise."

"What, um, what kind of surprise?" I found myself leaning toward him
now, over the middle console.

Edward gazed at me with calmness, melting me down to nothing. "I'd


tell you, but what fun would that be?"

"That makes me nervous."

"...Hmm... Maybe you should be."

I fidgeted with my fingers as we blasted down the back roads, thoughts


running wildly through my head. What was he wanting? What was I?
Were we getting ourselves into trouble? Will I be able to control myself
being completely alone with him?
Oh dear Lord in Heaven. Come save me from myself before I jump out
of my skin and onto this man. Before it gets too late!

Chapter 11: A Reason For The Stars

I spent the next fifteen minutes trapped inside my emotions. I was past
the point no return. All my fingernails had been bitten off and my lip
had multiple holes in it due to my nerves, and I was unable to form
coherent sentences. The entire trip was spent smiling to him in silence,
trying to unsuccessfully pick apart his brain. I'd listen to his heart,
looking for signs of anxiety or stress, but couldn't find any. He
remained calm and content while he steered, glancing over at me
through his dark eyelashes. It was enough to unhinge me.

The lightning and thunder would crash around us at times, but when
he'd give me a warm smile, it'd calm down. He almost seemed amused
by this, as if he were testing me for entertainment value. I couldn't
understand why I was so frazzled, which made me more frustrated. I
mean, I have spent the past three weeks being with him every second
possible, and I was fine. But now, we were going to be secluded, and I
was beginning to wonder if my self-control only appeared to be strong.
Or maybe I was just overreacting? After all, I couldn't regret putting
myself in this complicated situation, because I wanted to be with him
every second.

It's just nerves, I told myself. You're going to be fine.

By the time we arrived to Edward's house, my body felt like a thick,


jiggly, Jell-O substance. I held my breath and made a silent decision
with myself that I would stop acting like a wimp and try to relax,
allowing whatever willing to happen. Edward obviously trusted me and
was willing to put himself out on the line for me, so the least I could do
was try, right?

I swallowed hard and finalized my decision.

I let him lead me through the house, holding my hand as he walked in


front of me. His thumb provided soft strokes along mine, which helped
my calming process. Edward pulled me to the kitchen where he poured
himself a glass of water. He leaned against the counter and raked his
fingers through his hair while he drank it, his eyes never leaving mine.

"Thank you," I said.

He finished the glass and set it on the counter as a side smile formed
across his lips. "And what are you thanking me for?" He mused.

"For what you did today... With Mike. For defending me and ..." My
voice trailed off as I looked down to my toes. "No one has done that for
me before."

Edward shook his head and took a step forward, leaning over the
opposite side of the island from me, on his elbows. "You should not feel
obligated to thank me, Bella. What Mike did was wrong. No one should
be able to treat any one the way he has, and it really upsets me that
he has gotten away with it for so long. Women, especially one in
particular that I care for, should never be subjected like that. He will
have to learn that it's not going to be accepted..."

Edward thought for a moment, shaking his head. "And now he has
introduced me into this mixture. Do you realize this? I cannot walk
away and allow him to think this is okay. Bella, this is nonsense. It
makes me wonder what type of role models he acquires throughout his
life? What kind of parents he has that allows that type of behavior to
exist with their son?

"And," he continued. "The fact that no one has bothered to defend you
in the past... Well Bella, I hope you're not used to it, because that will
not happen any longer. Not while I am here. I'll protect you, I promise. I
will make it a point to stand up for you and make sure no one hurts
you... Ever again."

I smiled at him, not knowing how to say thank you this time around.
What can you say to someone who has just dedicated their life for your
well-being?
He returned it, as if he understood my expression. "May I ask you
something?"

I nodded.

"Was this the only predicament between Mike and yourself? Could
there be anything else that could have sprung him to create such
animosity toward you?"

I shrugged. "That was basically it. He just... he made multiple


advances, several times a day, and it just got to the point to where I
went off on him. That's when it all turned around."

"What type of rumors did he spread regarding you?"

I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Just that I was a witch and a whore and
incapable of being loved by someone, especially without them having
an alterior motive."

Edward shook his head, his eyes turning a shade darker. I could hear
him grinding his teeth while he thought. I could almost see smoke rings
coming through his ears.

"Are you okay?" I asked as I watched him curl his fingers into balls.

"He's an idiot, Bella. I'm trying to be civil about this because you've
had enough men cussing at you, but really... I want to rip his motherf
--" His voice cut off abruptly. He sighed, taking in a breath. "I want to
kill him."

"I'm sorry."

He straightened up his posture, shaking his head again. "Bella, never


apologize to me for anything like this. This is not your fault or your
responsibility to take care of. You've somehow become... convinced --
for multiple reasons, I'm sure -- that this is because of you and it is
not..."

His voice paused as he walked around the counter and stood in front of
me, pulling me against his warm chest. "You are not in the wrong here,
Bella. You never were. You were dealt a bad hand at life and it's
difficult. Trust me, I understand why you are feeling the way you do,
and why you think you need to apologize for everyone else. But I am
here to tell you to stop, Bella. You do not have to fix anyone, and you
do not have to defend their actions."
I nodded, my body trembling.

I wasn't used to anyone speaking to me this way.

I was used to only the negative responses.

His arms wrapped tighter around me, his hands warming me slightly
with their strokes on my back. "I will take care of you, Bella..." he
whispered in my ear. "I will. I promise you, I will do whatever it takes."

I pulled my face away from the steady beat of his heart, and looked
into his diamond eyes. "Thank you," I whispered. "I will try to do the
same for you."

"Bella, I love that you want to do that for me, but for once, just let
someone else take care of you first. Please?"

I nodded, sinking deeper into the magical spell he's created around
me.

He smirked as he placed his chin above my head. He kissed my hair,


and held his lips there for a lingering moment. I felt his heart pound
faster as his hands began to stroke around my back in tiny circles. I bit
my lip and looked at him again, suddenly feeling confident.

We stared at each other, trying to figure out what the other was
thinking. It was very silent in the kitchen, only the sound of our
breathing hitching up. I slid my hand up his dark brown shirt and held
it over his heart. I felt the thumping beneath my palm, and closed my
eyes, pressing my forehead to his chin. I allowed myself to take in the
relaxation I felt from him. It didn't matter if there was an electric
current passing through us with every connection.

I was happy.

Edward allowed me rest there for a few moments in silence, continuing


to hold me in his arms. I didn't want to ever be released, knowing that
the longing I'd feel for his touch again would only increase more with
our departure. The desires of wanting to kiss him and lay in his arms
forever was heightening, almost surrounding and overtaking me.

I bit the inside of my lip and fought back the feeling, knowing I
shouldn't be too eager or we could get hurt.
"What are you thinking?" Edward whispered after a few more
moments. "I am usually good at knowing what other people are
thinking, but with you, I find it very difficult."

I shrugged and reluctantly pulled away from him. "I'm not sure," I
replied. "Just... thinking in general. About how safe I feel here, mostly...
With you, I mean."

"You are safe, Bella."

I nodded. "I know. It's just... there's a difference between knowing it


and finally realizing and accepting this. I'm at this point now, I
suppose."

He held both my hands with his and moved away from the counter,
walking backward towards the staircase. "Come on," he said with a
smile. "I haven't shown you the rest of the house yet."

I allowed him to hold my hand as he guided me up the second


staircase and around the corner.

"This is the third bathroom, belonging to Alice and Jasper... and across
it is their room. Now...down here, at the end of the hall... this is Rosalie
and Emmett's room. I do not think Carlisle has really accepted that
they are sleeping together now, but he hasn't really brought it up yet.
Waiting for the best opportunity, I presume."

He turned around and led me down the long hall in the opposite
direction, to the red door at the very end of it. "This is Carlisle and
Esme's room. It's almost bigger than the downstairs."

I laughed. "Go figure."

He nodded, pulling me around the railing and up the third set of stairs.
"I have the top floor to myself."

I swallowed hard and tightened my grip around his hand as he pulled


me up the steps. Regardless of how bad I wanted to see his room, and
regardless of my immortality... I was still a girl entering the love of her
life's room for the first time while the house was unoccupied.

I officially became a wrecking ball of emotions.

Edward paused briefly in the doorway, then slowly opened the white
door. "Yeah, this is my room."
I looked around and took in the white walls and matching soft carpet.
He had a lot of windows surrounding the first two walls in a "L" shape,
the other two walls covered. A large bed took residence in the middle
of the room, with green and gold accents, matching his eyes. A large
collection of CD's surrounded his entertainment center, and a massive
surround sound system with two guitars leaning against it were on the
opposite wall.

"You play?" I asked, walking over to take a better look at them.

They were elegant, and obviously very expensive. One was electric,
the other, acoustic.

The wooden one stunning. Dark in color with golden strings, and had
the initials "E.E.M" on them in gold and silver script.

The electric was pitch black in color, with a bright red engraving of a
matching guitar on the left end of it. It had a silver whammy bar and
similar ruby red strings.

"Wow," I exhaled loudly. "They're incredible, Edward."

"I have six guitars," He announced.

He walked and picked the acoustic one up, then stood behind me. He
wrapped his arms around my waist and pressed his chin to my
shoulder as he held the guitar out in front of me.

"Do you see this?" He asked, rubbing his fingers along the script.

"Yes."

"It was my mother's initials: Elizabeth Ellen Masen. This was her guitar.
It was passed down in her family from generation to generation. My
mama, she was an incredible guitar player. It was one of the only
things that made her happy, as it was her true passion in life. I would
sit in the middle of the dining room floor and my mama would turn on
a single light above her, making it appear as if she had a spotlight on
her. She'd play for me for hours... these soft, intricate melodies that
warmed my heart. It never got old. She looked like an angel when she
played."

"Wow," I smiled. "That's amazing... She gave it to you?"

"Yes. She said she was proud that her talent was passed through her
and on to me. She knew I loved to play just as much."
He flipped the guitar around to the back, and I lost my breath, my jaw
hitting the ground. There, covering the entire back of the guitar, was a
picture of Edward's mother, sketched in complete detail.

It matched my watercolor I painted a few weeks back.

"W- But.." I couldn't speak as I ran my fingers along the perfect


etching. "Who did this?"

Edward smiled, his fingers following mine along the indention of her
long curly hair. "This picture was my favorite of her. I took it
everywhere, even before she was gone... In the complete image, she
held this very guitar, sitting on stage at the Grand Ol Opry. She was
the only unsigned artist to be able to take the stage during a televised
performance. She was eighteen years old, and I was two. After the
concert, she came running behind the stage toward me, threw her
arms around my body, and asked me to listen as the audience cheered
loudly for her. When I had asked why, she explained that she wrote the
song for me. A plan for my future, if you will. She said she only wanted
me to smile and be proud of her, and to allow myself to be proud of
who I could someday become. She wanted me to only accept what I
could do for myself... She was very intelligent...

"When she passed," he continued, "I lost the picture. I felt shattered. I
completely broke down. It was as if I had lost my final memory of her,
one that I could look at and touch, to remind myself... to see her in that
shining moment, and know that I was there to share it with her....

"But," he went on, "On my last birthday, Emmett surprised me. He had
to search through millions of newspaper articles and clippings. It took
him three weeks to find a lead... He discovered a small article with a
tiny print about her performance, and hunted down the journalist.
Turns out, that journalist also had pictures from the event. Emmett
flew down there, lying to us about football camp, paid for the picture,
and etched it in the back of it. He said he never wanted to see me so
upset, and felt that if he drew it on this, which he knew I'd never lose,
then I would have it with me always."

I smiled to myself. "Emmett is wonderful."

"He is, truly. He's the best. Emmett's a big teddy bear, with a smart
mouth and the kindest soul. He's his own ying and yang..." He laughed.
"Regardless, I'm very thankful to have him in my life."
I nodded and exhaled deep, stretching my arms out in front of me. I
wondered to myself where to go from here. Did I go over to the bed?
Or would that look obvious?

After pondering the situation, I decided it would be safe to occupy a


chair beside his bed.

I sat, unsteadily, and fiddled with the cushion beneath my legs.

"Edward?" I asked, knowing I probably shouldn't bring it up, but unable


to help it. "Can I ask... When did you start calling Carlisle and Esme
mom and dad? Was that awkward for you?"

Edward sat on his bed beside me and leaned over, pulling the fabric
from my pale fingers. "Well, do you remember how I explained to you
before that Esme and my mother were best friends? That I used to stay
here at the Cullen's every summer?"

"Yes."

"Well, I was one and a half years old when this started. I'd known them
since I was born, but did not start staying with them until then. I had
become confused at a young age, when I first started to call Carlisle
"Daddy" and Esme "Mama" without understanding. I was always
around them, you know? They took care of me. I didn't know much
better... Even when they'd try to correct me, I couldn't comprehend the
adjustment."

"Were they concerned?"

"Esme contacted my mother over this, and she advised them that if
they were comfortable with the name, then to allow it. She said it only
seemed fair for them to be considered my parents as well, since they
were taking care of me also. Of course, being as genuine and caring as
they are, Carlisle and Esme were thrilled with this. They explained
once to me that, since I had such a huge heart, I could share it with
more then one set of parents. They said they were the "lucky ones",
being able to share things with me and call me as their own."

"They are."

Edward smiled at me. "Carlisle and Esme would purchase my family


presents, and spend every other holiday with us. Carlisle and my father
Edward were fishing buddies at one point and time... So when my
father passed away -- I was five years old -- and Carlisle became my
second father. He adopted me as that, and had my name to Cullen so
my mother could gain the health insurance for me. We moved here to
stay with them for a few months that summer, and the family helped
us pay for everything. Carlisle took care of all my father's burial
arrangements, never asking for anything in return. He placed me in
baseball camp once I became a teenager, thirteen, in order to help me
reconnect with children, and taught me how to throw all of the
arranged pitches. I loved it.

"Emmett, being a year older than I, thought that was stupid, so I had to
go alone. See, Carlisle and Esme had adopted Rosalie when she was
fourteen years old. She had been sexually abused by her father and
later by her first boyfriend. Emmett felt it was necessary to protect her
and take care of her. Anything that had to do without her involvement
-- such as baseball camp -- Emmett would categorize as "stupid" in
order to stay near her... This being so, I met Jasper at camp,
coincidentally, and at the time he was in and out of group homes. He
had lost his parents in a car crash when he was seven months old. A
drunk driver killed them."

I frowned. "Seven months? That's awful."

"It is. It's strange how he ended up with the Cullen's as well. He had a
hard road before that though. He was too polite, extremely intelligent,
very well-spoken, and most foster parents couldn't accept a child who
was smarter than him. They abused him, mentally and physically.
Talked him down, convinced him that he was nothing. This mannerism
continued for years. That made him isolate himself for the most part,
and he hardly made any friends. Can you believe these parents
actually made him sleep outside on the porch? During winter, Jasper
became hypothermic and non-responsive. I am not sure how, but he
managed to crawl down the road to the neighbor's house, which were
willing enough to drop him off on the sidewalk of the hospital. Carlisle
turned out to be his doctor and demanded to know why he was in that
shape. Three weeks later, Carlisle became his father..."

"What about the others?"

"Well, when they adopted Jasper...there was a problem: Alice... "

"Oh no. What happened with Alice?"

"Alice was adopted at a young age," Edward continued, "due to her


mother dying while giving birth to her and never knowing her biological
father. This past year, Alice's grandmother -- who was her guardian --
passed away. She knew Jasper through school and remained
optimistic, even through her darkest moments. She was strong and
very wise. Her grandmother took great care of her, and put her in
many self defense classes. You wouldn't know it from seeing her, the
girl loves to shop and bounce around. But she can take care of herself,
trust me."

I giggled, recollecting her episode with Mike. "So her and Jasper?"

"They met in school, when they were seven. She was his best friend
then -- his only friend, for that matter. It didn't bother them that she
had been popular or that he was considered an outcast, as many
students declared. She accepted him instantly, later stating they had a
"special connection". She knew what was going on with him, but was
kind enough to never told anyone, as Jasper requested. Eventually,
Alice helped him get into baseball again, and fabricated a phone call
from the "school" to his foster parents, stating he must stay after for a
few hours and help out. Of course, they were okay with this because
this would mean they didn't have to "look at him". So he'd play
baseball then and they never knew. When Jasper and the Cullen's
made arrangements, Jaspers only negotiation was that they would take
Alice as well or he wasn't complying. They happily took her in."

I found myself holding his hand between mine. "When... Elizabeth


passed, was it hard for you to call Esme "mom"?"

He placed his other hand on top of mine in a comforting gesture.

"At first, it was a little. Not because it was wrong, necessarily, but
because it felt awkward for me, as if she were somehow replacing her.
I was confused and heartbroken. The mere mention of the word
"mama" broke my heart. It took me a few weeks to understand that my
mom wouldn't be upset with me if I called Esme my mother, since she
was the one that recommended me to do so from the beginning...."

He shook his head, his eyes closing. "I could not even look at Esme for
a few weeks, because she reminded me so much of mine. Her large
eyes, her full lips, her curly hair... I'm glad to see those elements as
reminders now, but at the time, it was hard. Eventually, I forced myself
to talk with Esme about my feelings, and we both cried for hours
holding each other. I realized then that when she looked at me, she
had those same difficult reminders. So we worked together and prayed
for my mother to give us strength to understand and to tell us where to
go from here...

"One day, I woke up and went down the stairs, and I knew the air
somehow felt different... lighter, if you will. She felt it too. Esme met
me on the staircase and hugged me, and at the moment... We both
accepted our circumstance. She whispered in my ear that she felt we
were put in each other's paths for a reason, to help one another
through this. I agreed with her... and eventually, things fell into place.
She's heaven-sent, Esme. I truly believe that."

I smiled and caressed his warm cheek. "You are so strong," I


whispered.

"Thank you, Bella," He whispered, his voice matching mine. "I have a
great support system here. Which is what I want to give to you."

I nodded, my hand trailing to the top of his knee. "I wish I could be that
strong."

"You can, Bella. I can help you, but you must allow me to. You must
trust me."

My eyes met his immediately. "You're the only person I trust in this
whole world."

"Then tell me about your family, Bella. Talk with me about it. It will
help, I can assure you."

I sighed, closing my eyes. I knew he'd be the only person I could talk to
about this and understand, but the uncomfortable feeling in my chest
and wrists were overwhelming. "I-I don't know."

"Trust, Angel."

I looked back to him, the pain in my chest throbbing.

He placed my hands in his and pulled me forward, off the seat. He


helped me as I shook, placing me gently on his lap.

"Please trust me, love."

I nodded, new comfort washing over me. It didn't heal the ache in my
chest, but it lightened it.

"You read the background check... You know what year it happened,
correct?" My voice was so light he had to lean over, placing his ear to
my lips just to hear it.

He nodded, caressing my arms.

I took a deep breath.


"It was 1901. My father, Charlie, had been turned sixteen years before
this... " I swallowed hard, my voice breaking. "Um... My mom knew
about him, but they never told me. There was never any evidence, no
one suspected anything at first. They cooked dinner for me and went
to my talent shows and such. I was raised like a normal teenager. I-I
had no idea about their secrets. Um... So..."

I inhaled deep, not sure if I was going to be able to get through this.

I folded my hands between my legs, wanting to crawl in a corner.

"It's okay, Bella... I'm right here."

I nodded, sealing my eyes tighter. The words came tumbling out and I
couldn't stop.

"People found out about us, I don't know how. I don't know if someone
slipped up or what. But I woke up in the middle of the night, cold, in a
basement of an unknown burnt down building. It was really damp and
smelled awful, very musky. I could hardly see anything... I heard crying
and whispering and people crawling around. The only time I could see
was when a flashlight turned on for a split second, to see where certain
people or things were. Then it was back off.

"I heard echoes, all of them telling each other to shut up, that we
weren't hidden well enough... That we were going to get caught. I
didn't understand what was going on, all I knew is that they were after
my dad. No one told me anything. I was in my mom's arms and she
was rocking me, telling me that it was okay, I was just having a bad
dream."

"Shh Bella," I replayed her voice, rocking myself slightly. "It's just a
nightmare. You're going to wake up and this is all going to be over.
Don't fear now, baby. No fear, no fear..."

I swallowed hard.

"It was me, Charlie, my mom, his best friend Victor, and Victor's wife,
Jamee. I was in and out that night, I don't know how long. I woke up a
few hours later, I guess, and I heard people screaming in a distance
from above us. Chanting about murders and victims. Then I heard
Charlie and Victor arguing, and Charlie telling Victor that he would do it
if he couldn't. Then Victor shouted next, tell him that they had to swap,
how it was the "only way" they could do it. They were screaming
loudly, and fighting, and my mom had my ears covered so I couldn't
make anything out..."
My hands shook uncontrollably now, and Edward pulled them from my
legs and held them tight.

"S-So," I choked out. "The next thing I knew, I heard a scream... this
intensified wail-like scream. It was ear shattering and it came from
Jamee. My mom was shaking, crying for my father to hurry up. She was
screaming to him that he was strong enough, that she knew he would
make it. Her hands were trembling, but so tight against my ears, that I
thought my head was going to crush... Moments went by, and then I
heard my father's voice shaking and heard him slump to the ground in
the dark... The screams and shouts of people from above us were
getting louder, closer now. I knew they were going to find us.

I gripped my arms tighter. "I couldn't hear Victor at all, and I didn't
know if he was still there. Before I could react, my mom was being
ripped from my arms and my father was screaming really, really loud...
He-He was in pain. He was hurting. "Do it!" he shouted, his voice
echoing the walls. "Do it now or I can't do this! Victor, do it!" ...Victor
was shouting back, cursing to him. He was telling him, "Shut up! Shut
up!" and that he couldn't concentrate..."

I exhaled, keeping my eyes shut. Edward's arms surrounded me now.

"I... I heard my mother's body, um, s-struggling a few feet from where I
was, kind of like a fish would if it had been captured. She was
breathing really hard, and sobbing. But she wouldn't scream for me, for
anyone. I was frozen and I couldn't focus to move my body. I didn't
know what to do... I heard someone screaming for my father, and it
took me a moment to realize the loud voice was my own. Right then, I
was struck on the right side of my head, and I began to black out."

Edward sighed, shaking his head.

"It seemed to get a bit brighter between those moments. I saw a


flashlight on the ground, between my mother's body and my own. I
saw Victor kneeling above my mother... I looked up at the ceiling and
cried for her, and that was when I saw Charlie's face above me. His
eyes were large and pitch black... He placed his cold hands around my
face and held my head still.

"I'm so sorry I have to do this," He whispered to me, shaking. "They're


going to kill you if I don't, Bella. I'm not even sure if I can do this, I'm
not sure if I am strong enough, but I have to try. I love you, baby." I
began to shake and fight against his grip, but he was too strong, and
he easily had me pinned on the ground to where I couldn't move...."
My voice trailed off and I threw my head in my hands over Edward,
tugging on my hair. "It felt like... like someone had made cuts through
my wrists with a fake, plastic butter knife at first. Over and over.
Stronger...

"Within seconds, the burning ache became heavier, and more


intensified. I tried to scream, telling Charlie to save me, that it was
burning me. That...That something was hurting me.... I was screaming
on the top of my lungs, begging anyone to help me. All I heard was his
voice crack an slight apology, and then it felt like something was
sitting on my chest, like a boulder or something... I felt a hand cover
my mouth and I couldn't yell anymore. All the pain and all the fire, I
couldn't scream to get it out. I just shook all around and was captive in
my own body...

"After a long while, I'm not sure how long, my body became
unresponsive, and I knew I was dead. I was losing everything. I heard
echoes of voices and shouting around me, but couldn't speak, and
couldn't move. The flames were still too strong, but I didn't respond to
them like before. It was almost as if I accepted them, somehow... Like I
was numb, trapped only on the inside. That I... I-I was dead..."

I felt his hands grab mine, as he twisted my clumped hair between my


fingers. Edward stayed silent, his breath light and shallow.

"When, um, I-I finally woke up and realized I was alive, it'd been too
late. It was quieter now, the shouts above us passed in the mere
distance... It was a bit brighter, right when the sun was coming up. I
couldn't hardly focus on anything, and I remember feeling... different.
Like I was confused and extremely disoriented... It felt as if I didn't
belong in my own skin anymore. I searched around, my vision
seeming... off... I found my father first, he was curled up in a tight ball,
with his hands in his hair as he was rocking back and forth... He sat in
front of me. I looked around but Victor and Jamee weren't there. Then,
to my right in the distance, I noticed... I-I noticed an arm with a
bracelet that I recognized...

"I couldn't figure out how I got over there so fast, but it felt like I was
flying or something. I saw my mom, lifeless, surrounded in a huge,
dark red puddle of blood. There were marks on her neck and her eyes
were blank and... d-drained out. She didn't move. I started screaming,
begging my father to come over there and help me pick her up. But as
soon as I touched her body, something inside me snapped, and it made
me angry and just.. violent. The smell of her blood intensified,
surrounding me. I used to be nauseated at the pure thought of blood,
but that night... it was different. It made me thirsty, and I felt
disgusted with this discovery. Thunder crashed all around us and I felt
my father's hands wrap around my body. The next thing I knew, we
were on the opposite side of the room.

"She's gone, Bella," He told me. He kept apologizing, telling me it was


too late. How he wished he was stronger, that he couldn't have done it
himself. I asked him why, asked him what happened, but he couldn't
tell me... I learned then that I couldn't cry, couldn't weep for her. The
ache in my chest was extreme, but no tears flew from my cheeks... We
ran away that night, after my father begged a child to tell his parents
that a lady was attacked and murdered by a tool, some screwdriver of
sorts... We never told anyone the truth. Only the people that were
there knew."

My voice cut off as the grasp on my body grew tighter.

"So," Edward whispered, his arms overlapping mine. His voice had
been cracking and he was sniffling, but I didn't dare look up to him to
see if he was crying. "Your father didn't kill your mother, is that
correct?"

I shook my head. "No. He couldn't change her, so Victor and him


swapped responsibilities over the wives. They were best friends, in this
together. They knew they could be strong for each other, but not for
their own, because the taste of their love's blood would be too difficult
to resist. Victor changed my mom, and Charlie changed Jamee.... B-
But... Victor couldn't s-stop. H-He couldn't... He couldn't stop."

"Shhh, Bella, I know it's hard... I know it's hard, Angel... You are okay
now..."

"I know," I said. "I've been changed for 84 years, stuck inside the body
of a 17 year old girl. I can never grow old, never have kids. And
Charlie, he... He's been wonderful. A little paranoid and overprotective,
but that's because he loves me. He changed me out of fear of losing
me, of being alone. He was afraid that Victor would find me and kill me
as well. I don't know everything that happened those four nights we
were there, but I do know that Victor and Jamee ran away after. My
father vowed to never kill another human, and taught me the only way
I know to hunt: with animals. He... He became a cop to practice his
"abstinence" as he says. He also wanted to find Victor and Jamee, to
confront Victor for what he did. To punish him for taking his life away."

Edward exhaled deeply, his heart pounding against my side. "Did


Charlie ever find them?"
I shrugged. "He found Jamee a few years back. He told me he had
taken her in to the Volturi -- they're the head of us all, basically. They
have their own set of rules. They wouldn't kill her since she wasn't the
one who took my mother's life, but they said she was involved since
she had been hiding Victor. She was an accomplice. I-I don't know what
happened with her now, or where Victor ran off to. The Volturi stated
that "time is a virtue", and they would track him when they felt the
"time was right", which hasn't come yet... My father hasn't had his
justice yet... He's still searching for it, every day, with every case. But
he's a good cop, and he's trying to make it right."

"I understand."

I unsteadily met his gaze, and noticed his eyelashes were damp.

My voice cut off and I couldn't speak, couldn't comfort him.

"I'm so sorry, Bella." Edward hugged me tight, and I buried my face


into his neck. I heard him sniffle as he rocked me.

My hand covered his chest and it felt that, somehow, the heaviness in
his chest matched mine.

Edward squeezed me tighter. "I wish I could fix it."

I allowed Edward to hold and rock me for what seemed like hours. I
wasn't used to being held, but I knew I'd never pull away from him. He
soothed me, with his arms and whispers and reassurance that he was
going to protect me. He didn't seem to mind the time limit. We stayed
in that position, tangled up in each other, and he held me without any
hesitance.

Eventually, we heard his family enter the house, but no one seemed to
come up the stairs to let us know they were home. My car was in plain
sight, so I figured they didn't want to disturb us. They remained silent,
their voices in whispers that I could barely make them out.

I felt Edward's arms tighten around me as he moved backward and


sideways.

"Is this alright?" he whispered, laying me down beside him.

He pulled me to him by my waist, his arms over and under me as he


moved. "I want to hold you longer, Bella. I do not want to ever release
you."
I buried my face back into his neck, and nodded. It suddenly dawned
on me that we had no more secrets. No more lies. He accepted me,
and I accepted him. His scent, still mesmerizing and mouth watering,
had a different effect on me now. It wasn't that I wanted to taste him
as much... but that it was a sign of comfort. A sign of wanting to be
with him. A need for him in my life.

Forever.

We layed there wrapped up in limbs, staring into each other's eyes as


the sun went down and the moon rose up.

I felt his veins bounce as blood rushed around them, and his heart beat
in his chest, but it didn't affect me with thirst. It felt serene and it
calmed me, like the unique, soothing sound of the ocean after a long
work day.

He threw the covers over our bodies, his mouth trailing soft kisses on
my hair as he adjusted his body.

I nestled against him and raised my head to find his eyes again.

As soon as our eyes met, I once again became mute and breathless.

I realized that it was okay to be Bella, no matter who she was on the
outside.

This angel -- as there is no other way to describe him -- accepted me


and my faults. There were no boundaries, no misunderstandings... At
that moment, I found my happiness, and my reason for all the pain and
suffering I went through. The isolation I felt for so many years suddenly
felt worth every second.

Edward was my reason.

"I love you," I whispered, closing my eyes.

Edward pulled a few inches away, and his lips parted as he gripped my
face in his warm hands. He looked deep into my eyes, as if he were
studying them somehow, but his own remained calm. They weren't
squinty or confused, but more intrigued and passionate.

Then he was lost for words.

I smiled and inhaled deeply, my hands sliding up and covering his. "I
do," I whispered again, my words spoken slowly. "I'm not ashamed to
tell you. I'm not afraid anymore. You've reassured me that I have
nothing to be scared of..."

My voice trailed off as I inched closer to him, my fingers winding


between his. "Edward, before you were born, my world had no bright
stars in it. Sure, there were some, enough to dimly guide me back to
home when I needed it. But nothing that gave ne reassurance, or an
understanding of a higher power. I mean, if there were a higher power,
how could it have allowed these things to happen to my family, you
know?"

Edward nodded as he listened, his hands through my hair, adjusting a


few strands from my cheek.

"But... as years passed by and I began to give in to acceptance, I


noticed that there would be a single star that shown brighter... More
and more, a star or two would appear to have some hidden meaning
behind it, but I never understood it until now..."

I sighed, my hands caressing over him. "...I hope you understand what
I am trying to say, because I've never been the best at explaining
things... but... I think that, as each star shined brighter, it was for
another year you lived, and another year you grew... Seventeen years
later, with the same sky that was once meek and bland has now
become a miraculous image of beauty... Some sort of... moment of
clarity for me. It's as if the stars aligned, and guided me straight to
here, to this moment..."

I pointed over his shoulder toward the window, and we took in the view
of the stars.

"I love you, Edward, and only you. I believe now that I have always
been meant to love you."

A few seconds passed. But my nerves didn't kick back in, because I
knew what I was saying was true.

Edward leaned forward, his lips kissing my nose and rubbing on it from
side to side. He pulled away slowly and placed his forehead to mine as
his thumbs created soft strokes on my cheek bones.

His eyes, diamond and green, stayed on mine as he smiled slightly. His
voice was calm when he whispered the words I longed to hear returned
to me: "...I love you as well, Bella. This is undeniable."
I smiled at Edward as my hands on his face mirrored his to mine. I
stroked under his eyes, along his cheeks, down to his bottom lip. I
realized I was sounding mushy, but I couldn't help it. I had to get it out.

"It's as if we were destined... I know you're young still and human, and
I can accept it if you're feelings change, but this feels right..." I
continued to whisper. "As if, every thing that I have gone through, all
the hard times when I wanted to curl up in a ball and wither away... I
think those significant moments led me to you."

Edward nodded, his thumb crossing around my lips.

"I feel entirely the same way," He whispered back. "I will not change
my mind Angel, don't ever think that way. I will not budge. My feelings
for you are never going to change, Bella. "

I smiled, kissing his thumb.

I thought about all the hard times in my life, and how one moment with
Edward made it all better. How I didn't deserve him in my life, but was
thankful he was here with me. How I'd never be able to make it
through without him now. I had a feeling that he was thinking some of
the same things about his own life.

We didn't have to say any more, we knew our thoughts matched.

We were one, body and soul, and it no longer mattered what anyone
else could try to do or say about it. Nothing could change us now, and
nothing could take us back.

---

No one in Edward's family came to interrupt us.

I was unable to hear their heart beats or their footprints climb the
steps to their own rooms. I could barely hear any commotion at all.

They stayed secluded.

I watched the clock as it passed the time, and studied Edward's eyes
as they became heavier.

I tried to tell him it was okay to fall asleep, and that I would promise to
be here when he woke up.
I made my mind up that Charlie would have to get over it, that I'd lie to
him and tell him I had an emergency temptation at school and needed
to go away to hunt, that it couldn't wait... I'm sure he'd believe it,
being that it was Charlie and hated confrontation.

Edward tried his hardest not to give in to his body telling him he
needed the rest. He was stubborn. He held on to my body tighter,
nuzzling his face to me and inhaling deeply. We whispered silly
nothings to each other from time to time, but mostly just held on for
life.

It was now 2:18 am.

Edward began to doze off. I could feel his heart settle down as his eyes
began to flutter. His breathing lightened to a soft whisper and his lips
slowly parted as seconds flew by. His body became still and relaxed, as
if he were floating above it -- like the angel that he was.

I watched him, mesmerized by this, as I ran my fingers through his


bronzed hair. I hummed softly to him at times, caressing his face and
neck.

He laid still for a very long time, not moving or turning like they did in
movies.

I placed my head beside his and my forehead to his shoulder. Then I


lightly threw my arm over his chest.

I closed my eyes, pretending I was able to sleep with him. Pretending I


were human, and was able to share his dream... I thought about the
first day we met, and every point leading up to it.

An hour passed before I knew it, and I snapped out of my dream to


Edward adjusting his body beneath mine.

It was 3:45 am.

My eyes popped open to find Edward laying on his side next to me, his
head over his right arm.

"Hello," he whispered.

"Hi."

"I woke up because I missed you."


I smiled, and if I could blush, it would have been all over my skin. "I
missed you too, Edward."

"Good."

I ran my fingers through his hair, and scratched the back of his head
lightly. "What were you dreaming about?"

"You, of course."

"Was it a good dream?"

"Yes, but not good enough. No dream could ever take the place of the
real thing."

I nodded as he took me closer to his body, his arms almost wrapping


twice behind me.

"Bella, may I try something with you? Do you trust me enough?"

"Of course, anything."

"...Thank you."

Edward's hands carefully slid up my back and behind my head as he


rolled us over. My breath hitched in my throat, feeling the electric
current intensify by about a thousand.

We were both trembling now, not nervous, but merely anxious. Edward
planted most of his weight on his right elbow, his other hand gently on
my face.

I bit my lip and smiled at him, my hands back up to tangle in his hair. I
tugged and scratched, enjoying the feeling of his fine locks between
my fingers.

Edward closed his eyes for a moment, his breath cutting short. "You're
distracting me," He whispered.

I giggled. "I'm sorry, I can't help it."

He smirked. "I'll allow it."

"Okay."

He slowly began to lean forward, inhaling deep as he came.


Chills surged through my arms and legs and I felt my stomach twist in
unfamiliar knots. My brain began to shut down and I felt as if I couldn't
feel my body anymore.

"...Stay very still, please." He whispered, and I realized I had been


fidgeting.

I shut my eyes for a brief second to relax, and then opened them again
to find his lips an inch from mine... One. Single. Inch.

I closed them again, this time slower.

I felt his delicious warm breath across my lips and his nose graze mine.

"Wait," I whispered, freezing him in his place.

We laid still, my lips quivering a bit, his a fraction from mine now.

I felt his heart pounding above me, the noise echoing through my ears.
Thud-Thud-THUD-THUD!!!

I inhaled deeply, making sure I was relaxed and strong enough to


handle the situation.

"Are you okay?" He whispered gently, unmoving.

I swallowed hard and nodded.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." My voice was dry, like I had eaten sand paper.

I listened as he inhaled through his nose, his chest rising against mine
then pulling away.

I closed my eyes again, matching my breathing with his... It was almost


has if the air he breathed in from his lips was being pulled from mine,
and the air he exhaled was being pushed to me.

What seemed like hours -- an all actuality, about 30 seconds -- passed


us by, but we didn't move our bodies or our faces.

"I'm okay," I whispered, feeling more relaxed as time passed by.

Edward's sweet lips merely grazed mine, and smirk crossed over them.
"I know you are," he confirmed.

I felt his body begin to move again, and knew that this was it: It was
our defining moment.

I opened my lips slowly, my breath hitching in my throat.

I felt his bottom lip slide in a familiar way, back between mine, and his
top gliding above mine gently. They were warm and damp and perfect
as I knew they would be. I pressed mine to his gently, and he
accepted, his mouth moving with mine in perfect harmony.

We were very slow at first, adjusting to the way each other moved,
melting into the other's lips. I tilted my head slowly to the right,
allowing him more access.

Slow and gradual.

I couldn't figure out what was happening to me or why I felt tingles


throughout my entire body, but I never wanted the feeling to go away.

He tasted incredible, so fullfilling.

But once our lips blended together more evenly, and I felt the hotness
of his breath as our mouths opened wider, something inside me
snapped a little. My breathing hitched and my lower body became
paralyzed for a second, then it snapped back into place like someone
pulling a rubber band too far back and then releasing it.

My fingers wound through his hair and pulled his face to mine, my lips
crushing hard against his. I felt his arms collapse around me.

Edward's breathing stopped as he pressed against me with equal


enthusiasm. His sweet and delicious tongue guided into my mouth with
one sweeping motion, and as soon as it touched mine, a frenzy began.

I met his with my own, following it and winding around into small
circles throughout my mouth.

Edward inhaled rapidly, his heart pounding harder against my hollow


chest as he scooted up my body, to allow himself more force upon me.

I heard a slight moan escape my lips as my tongue entered his mouth,


and before I could think rationally, I flipped over above him, pure
instinct taking control. I strattled his hips within seconds, my hair
falling all over his face in different directions. Our lips continued to
align perfectly, no matter which way we directed ourselves. I felt
myself begining to lose control, being overwhelmed by the electricity
and the tingles.

Edward's firm hands, which were gliding from my hair to my back,


eventually found the small of my back and pressed me down toward
him, causing me to gasp lightly.

"Are you oka-"

Edward couldn't even finish the question as my lips slammed down on


his. His body pushed against mine as his head raised up from the
pillow. Then he flipped me on my back again, to where we were almost
on the edge of the bed now.

His lips trailed slowly from mine as he gathered some air for his lungs
-- which I forgot to think about -- and he slid them along my jaw line,
causing my body to shake uncontrollably. He continued his path to my
left earlobe, lingering there for a moment as his hot air inside my ear
caused my lower body to push toward him.

Before I could throw my legs around him, Edward paralyzed me, sliding
his tongue between my lips again as he whispered my name...

"...Sweet Bella..."

He continued to seduce me, his hands trailing along my sides with the
same amount of excitement as his kisses, which mixed between
romantic and more passionate. I felt my fingers gripping for the back of
his shirt, and I hesitated as I thought about whether or not I should pull
it up. I wanted to, God did I want to, but was it right? Was it too soon?
What if it was too much?

My thoughts didn't last long and I released my grasp on his shirt, my


fingers trailing back to his head.

Suddenly and smoothly, I felt Edward's lips slow down, his heart rate
matching, and now we were kissing more romantic than any movie I
had ever seen in my entire life.

Slow.

Delicate.

Fulfilling.
We kissed like this for about an hour straight, only stopping to look at
each other for a few moments so he could catch his breath. But each
time his lips found mine again, and every time our tongues connected,
it sent a new wave of pleasure and excitement through me.

I could kiss him for the rest of my existance.

We didn't stop until almost 5:30am, and by that time, I felt a slight
henge of guilt as I didn't allow him to sleep. We were side by side
again, our noses grazing each others, giving light pecks and smiles.

I heard Emmett, slightly knocking on the door, asking if Edward was


awake.

"I'm awake," Edward responded, his hand winding through my hair


again. He kept his eyes to me, as if they were soaking in my image.

"I'm sorry I kept you up." I couldn't help but frown.

Edward shook his head, his thumb across my lip again. "What did I say
about apologizing, Bella."

"I know, but I know you're only a hu-"

His fingers covered my lips. "No but's. What would you have to
apologize for? Kissing you're all-too-willing boyfriend?"

I shrugged, liking the sound of that word. Boyfriend.

"I'll survive. Happily. In fact, I think I could die in this moment and have
no regrets."

I smiled. "Me too."

We laid silent for a few more minutes, until the clock showed 5:55.
Edward slowly pulled himself off the bed, his back making a slight
crack as he laughed and walked around.

"Now... back to "school"" - His fingers in quotation marks - "I have to


take a shower really fast, then it is all yours. I'm sure Rosalie will give
you some clothes to wear."

I nodded, overwhelmed by the sudden realization that he could be


naked in the next room. I watched as he gathered his items and
headed toward the shower, turning it on.
Edward stuck his head outside the door and smiled. "You are so
beautiful in the mornings. Have I told you that yet?"

I shook my head and bit my lip.

"And think of it this way," he mused. "Since I'm suspended and we're
not telling anyone but Alice, maybe you could show me what type of
powers you have?... You know, besides making it storm..."

I smiled again. "Sounds like a date."

Chapter 12: Permanent

I found myself playing with the Cullen's brown and white boxer, Jetson,
while Emmett and Edward were upstairs talking. Edward made a point
to be three stories up and across the house from me so I couldn't hear
them whispering that well. Alice joined me on the living room floor, and
Rosalie sat on the couch, admiring her new outfit on me. She first
attempted to dress me in tight jeans, a blue blazer jacket with a white
long shirt under it, and heels. But after I confessed to them (behind
Edward's back) that we weren't going to school today, she caved in
and allowed me to wear a cute pair of dark denim jeans, two multi-
colored tanks, and black flats, which I finally accepted. After begging
non-stop for ten minutes, Alice fixed my hair into skinny waves, and let
it flow down. By the time we were actually in the living room, I was in
clothes I've never attempted to wear before, my hair fixed with an
actual curling iron, and much more makeup then I'd ever attempted to
torture myself with in a lifetime. However, admitting only to myself, I
actually looked... Hot.

Huh. Who would have thought?

After twenty minutes of Edward bribing Emmett with God knows what
to let us borrow his newly arrived custom Jeep from him, they emerged
in the room with us. Edward looked incredible, wearing a dark blue
button down shirt, fitting jeans, and matching shoes. His hair was his
normal messy delight, and the side smile he wore made my body
tremble in all the wrong -- yet right -- places. My breath caught in my
throat as he walked in to sit next to me on the floor, and I found myself
unable to look him in the eye. I bit the inside of my lip nervously and
shied away, trying to remember how to breathe. I was glad I was the
only one who could make out my hyperventilation, but I couldn't help
but notice both Alice and Rosalie smirking in my direction, obviously
realizing something was off with me.

"Hey you," Edward whispered before kissing the side of my head.

I smiled and pulled Jetson closer to me, hugging the dog tight. It
amazed me how Jetson didn't fear me. Maybe because I wasn't a threat
to him, since my thirst wasn't for him. He just looked up at me with his
blinking big brown eyes and sloppy smile, his tongue bouncing up and
down as I shook his paw.

I felt Edward's hands stroking through my hair, causing my body to


tremble. I didn't know what was going on with me, I wasn't used to
feeling this way... of feeling in love. I didn't know how to control myself
from smiling constantly, and my breathing, and just... ugh, this was
awful! I felt outside my own body. Like I was floating above it or
something.

I was desperate to break the silence that lingered from Edward's


words. "It's um, too bad you guys can't skip out with us," I stuttered to
Alice's direction. Before she could reply, Edward's head cocked in my
direction, and I realized that my inability to control my emotions just
gave me away.

"Yeah," he exhaled, continuing to glance at me. "...It is."


Alice smiled as she climbed in Jasper's lap, who was awkwardly
glancing between the two of us with a weird smirk on his face.

"I know!" Alice shouted. "You guys should have told me last night. I
would have put on my famous Esme voice and got us all excused."

I nodded, tilting my head in Jasper's direction. He continued to stare at


me.

I glanced over to the left with my eyes, to find Emmett and Rosalie
cuddling on the couch, he whispering in her ear. She just giggled and
bit her thumbnail.

My breath continued to come out tight, and I glanced back down to the
ground. Jetson was raising his paw and tapping my leg with it, begging
me to shake again. I giggled and shook his hand, and petted the top of
his head with my other. "You're such a cute pup."

"He likes you," Rosalie chimed in. "He usually doesn't warm up to
people this fast. Must be your charm, Bella."

I smirked. "Maybe."

Edward scooted closer to my side, and my shaking got worse. I thought


about excusing myself to the bathroom in order to pull myself
together, but I knew I'd probably stumble in front of everyone, since
my legs were mushy at the moment. I sighed and looked down to my
lap, ignoring Jetson's continued begging for attention.

"Are you okay love?" Edward whispered in my ear, concerned


expression on his face, as he continued to play with my hair.

I nodded and forced myself to look at his face -- not his eyes though --
and smile. "I'm fine," I stated bluntly. "Just... anxious, for some reason."

Edward leaned in and rested his chin on my right shoulder, his arm
hooking around my waist. "Me too," he whispered back.

I felt my body slowly settle down as his warm embrace soaked into me,
and before a whole minute passed, I was calm. So strange, the
different affects he had on my body.

"Thanks," I whispered to him.

He nodded, his hand rubbing soft circles on my back.


"Well," Alice said as she pulled herself and Jasper to their feet. "We've
got to get going to boring school, or we're going to be late."

I frowned, watching everyone get up and gather their things. Emmett


extended his arms and Jetson took a run and leap toward him, as
Emmett caught him in an embrace. "Bye my baby!" Emmett shouted,
rocking the big dog in his arms like an actual newborn. "I will miss you
so much, my little lug nut."

Rosalie laughed and pushed Emmett to the side. "Come on, we're
gonna be late."

Edward and I waved goodbye to them and called Jetson back over to us
as they walked out the house. Now, as their car drove down the drive, I
realized it was just us.

After a lingering moment of silence, Edward piped up. "Are you sure
you are all right, Bella? You seem... frazzled."

I nodded, finding his eyes for the first time today. "Yeah, I'm just... not
used to feeling this way. So.. vulnerable, and happy. It's weird."

He chuckled and pulled me closer to him. "I know. I feel it too. You
should have seen me in the shower this morning."

My brows arched as vivid thoughts crossed in my head.

"What were you doing in the shower?" I guiltily mused, only imagining
the wrong things.

He caught on to my sense of humor and smirked. "Dirty girl."

He shook his head, his smile growing larger. "No, I was feeling very
anxious, and I kept dropping things and slipping up. It took me a long
time to... you know, ...get done."

I laughed, continuing to bite the inside of my lip as the thoughts kept


entering my mind. "I thought you were taking so long because..."

My voice trailed off as my laugh got louder, more exuberant.

Edward's laugh joined mine as he laid back on the carpet, throwing his
right arm behind his head as his left hand continued to touch the small
of my back. He pushed Jetson's face away, as the dog was trying to
take advantage of his head on the floor by licking him all over. "My
gosh, where is your mind?"
My body shook so hard from my laughing, and I realized I hadn't
laughed like that in decades. "I am sorry, I don't know! I can't help it
though!"

Edward thought for a moment as he tugged on his hair. "Well... What


were you thinking about when I mentioned the shower?"

I covered my face with my hands and shook my head. "You don't want
to know. It wasn't cleansing your body, that's for certain."

"Humor me."

My eyes met his as I pressed my lips together, holding back more


laughs. "Y-You know what..."

He shook his head. "You're not drawing a picture here for me."

"Please don't make me say it."

Edward sat back up and scooted over to me again. "Okay. I won't pick
on you anymore."

I exhaled. "Thanks."

"But just for the record, I didn't do that today."

As soon as I glanced at his face, and found him licking his lips, I lost it.
My body relaxed as my laugh bellowed out, and before I knew it, I was
on my laying on my side on the ground, curled up into a ball. My ribs
were sore from the rocks and shakes of my body. "Wasn't in the
mood?" I joked..

Edward climbed over to me on his knees and he threw one arm over
my body, to where he was holding himself above me. I slowly rolled
over on my back, evil smile plastered to my face, and my hands found
his forearms. It amazed me how comfortable I felt around him. How I
could joke with him about sex and life and stuff. How safe I felt under
his body.

How in love I was with him.

"No," he whispered as his tongue danced along his bottom lip. "I'm
always... in the mood, I just..." Edward pursed his lips together,
thinking about whether or not he should tell me what he was truly
thinking. "See, I knew you were in the house and was afraid you could
hear me somehow."
That did it, the final straw.

I threw my head back from laughing so hard, and Edward's body


lowered to mine, as he buried his face in my chest. "It is not funny,
Bella! I was really worried!"

My laugh echoed around the house as my hands found the back of his
hair. "I'm sorry. It's just.. You're so funny!"

His warm body rocked above mine as he let himself press against me.
"I'm glad to be at your service."

Minutes passed as we calmed down.

His steady heart beat pushed against my stomach, and his warm
hands slid along my ribs in light patterns. He rested his ear above my
heart, and his body centered between my legs. I listened to his heavy
breathing, as my own breath became lighter and shallower.

"So... beautiful." he whispered.

I frowned. "What is beautiful? It's hollow in there."

"No it's not... There's something different to this. See, without the
beating, I can hear other things, such as your lungs when you inhale.
It's miraculous."

I smiled. "Why do you have to be so sincere? Why can't you just run
away from me?"

Edward's head lifted so he could rest his chin on me. "Now, what fun
would that be for us? We'd both be miserable."

I nodded. "I'd still understand."

He shook his head. "I'm not going anywhere, Bella. Ever."

I shivered as his heart beat grew stronger, and I knew I needed to


move away from him. Or else.

I gripped his shoulders and slid my body forward, underneath him. He


smirked as certain parts passed his head, but thankfully, didn't say
anything. I pulled myself on the couch for support, then stood to my
feet.
Not speaking, I pulled him back up to his room and opened up his glass
doors.

"So, are you ready for our date, cowboy?"

"Cowboy?" He mused as he hopped to his feet. "I'll show you cowboy."

He ran into a different room on the floor beneath us. After about fourty
five seconds, he emerged with a pricy authentic cowboy hat. He stood
in the doorway and gave me a cute model-like silly pose. He looked
sexy in it, I had to admit.

"Very fitting," I complimented him.

He winked at me. "Thanks, little lady."

I laughed and threw on my jacket. "Before we go, I should warn you...


There is some things you aren't taking into consideration. I am strong
and very... I don't know... powerful. I don't want to emasculate you,
being the woman in all of this. I don't want to scare you off."

He put on his jacket and shoved his hands in his pocket. "I think I can
handle it."

"Are you sure? Because I'm going to be... tossing you around a bit."

He smirked. "I'm not afraid of you, Bella. You've never terrified me."

"Okay... Just know that you've been warned."

Before he could respond, I flew across the room to him, and grabbed
his hand. The cowboy hat flew off his head, and I heard his breath suck
in as I yanked him out of the windows and to the ground, making sure
he landed on the balls of his feet softly beside me, three stories down.

"Holy shit!" He shouted as he laughed. "That was awesome!"

I laughed and gripped his hand tighter. "That's nothing."

I wrapped my arm around his waist as we ran toward the lake, and
gripped him tighter, launching both our bodies across the moving
water, toward the trees. He shouted excitedly when we met the large
tree trunk.
"Okay," I started, my words excitedly tumbling out. "This is what is
going to happen: I'm going to hold your hand and pull you with me. I
won't let you fall or get hurt. Do you trust me?"

"In theory?" He joked.

"Just close your eyes!"

And with that, I dug my nails in my right hand into the bark and
gripped his hand with my left. Keeping my balance on my right side, I
pulled him with me and climbed up the tree, to the very top. His face
was priceless and he was speechless, as I expected.

I laughed and threw my arms around his waist, to where we were


looking at each other. I planted my feet into the limb we were standing
on and threw myself and him backward, to the tree across from us.
Then I bounced around until I found the thickest tree. We landed gently
on our feet on a sturdy branch, and I climbed to the top of that one.

Edward remained mute as his eyes grew wider and a smile stuck to his
lips.

When we got to the top of that tree, he exhaled loudly. "This is...
absolutely incredible, Bella. I am at a loss for words. Do you do this
often?"

I nodded. "When I need to get away."

He turned to take in the whole view, his hands continuing to hold mine
for support. His face held beauty as he took in the scenery of the forest
and the lake. I convinced him to relax as we travled around the
branches, talking about things such as the hills in the distance or the
animals below us.

Then, after a few moments, his eyes settled on mine. I held onto him
tight as I leaned against the tree with my back, and tilted my head to
the side.

"You are too cute," I humored him.

Edward shook his head and slowly walked to me, pinning me against
the tree.

"You are perfect."


I smiled as my fingers stroked along his cheek. "You are too good to
me."

Edward inhaled deep, taking in the whole view again before resting his
eyes before mine once more. Then he shook his head. "I'm in love with
you, Bella. I could never be too good to you."

I closed my eyes and exhaled. "Maybe you're just too good for me
then. Regardless if I feel the same way for you, I know I don't deserve
you. I mean, look at all of this. Look at our differences. I'm a freak,
Edward."

"Bella!" Edward was fully against me now, his hands to my face as I


held on tightly to his hips, keeping his weight balanced above him.

He shook my face lightly as his eyes burned into mine. He seemed to


have forgotten that he was multi-stories up, standing on a tree branch.

"I don't want to hear stuff like this from you, Bella. Please stop
addressing yourself this way. This isn't fair to me. If anything, our roles
would be reversed, making you too good for me. I've accepted it as our
fate, because here we are. You are here with me, because you want to
be here with me. And I to you. So can you just... Bella, can you please
stop doing this to yourself?"

I nodded, unable to respond.

"Good."

I closed my eyes as he pressed a gentle kiss on my forehead. "Now,"


he mused. "Show me what else you can do."

I smiled, and wrapped my arms slowly around his waist, pulling him
against me. "Are you sure?"

He nodded.

"Are you afraid of heights?"

He shook his head.

I smiled and stepped to the side, off the branch. As we were falling to
the ground, he couldn't help but shut his eyes and press his face into
the side of mine. We landed softly, but as he pushed tighter to me with
a reaction of shock, I fell backward, him landing on me in the leaves.
We laughed for a few moments as he rolled off, onto his back.
"Oops," he chuckled. "Wasn't expecting that."

I giggled. "No problem. Are you hurt?"

"No, not at all. What a rush!"

"I know."

---

A couple of hours passed as I continued to impress him with my


"skills". I showed him how I could bend tree root into a ball, how to
push trees and rocks over with my body, how to leap around in a blink
of an eye. Edward's eyes never seemed to hold fear, just amazement.

He enjoyed everything I showed him, even how fast I could run.

He was truly an angel, how easily he accepted me.

At last, we ended up being back at my favorite meadow, where the


blue-green grass folded over and the butterflies floated around us. We
laid in silence across from each other at first, our fingers taking in the
other's face, neck, lips. We admired each other like they were a
mystery.

It felt incredible.

As time went by and we discussed more about our adventure so far,


we began to loosen up and get silly with each other. We sat across
from each other in an indian-style position, with our hands extended,
touching each other palm to palm.

We took in the texture of each other's skin, the heat to the cold, and
the soft to the normal. At first, we were delicate with each other,
admiring the difference in shade and whatnot. Then I joked around and
asked him if he could try to warm me up, since he mentioned to me he
didn't like that I always felt cold, only because he couldn't do anything
about it.

"Warm you up?" He mused.

I nodded.

"Like... try to create a spark?"

I giggled. "Yes."
"Ooookay." His hands slowly began to slide up and down my palms. I
giggled as I joined him. He muttered something like "wax on, wax off"
under his breath, his movement increasing. After a few moments of
laughing and pushing on each other's hands, Edward's hands dropped.

"Give up?" I asked.

He shook his head.

"But then why did y-" My voice was cut off as he climbed to his knees
in front of me. I arched my brows, confused. "Are you alright?"

Edward nodded. "Of course. Only... I thought of a different way to


create a spark."

"How?"

He smiled his angel smile, leaning closer to me. His face was inches
from mine and I found myself laying backward, into the soft grass. I
exhaled deep as he climbed above me, his hands trembling slightly, his
mouth open a hint. "Do you trust me?" He asked.

I smirked, my body shaking. "In theory?" I mocked him, from earlier.

He shook his head as his smile grew. "No. I mean in general."

I nodded.

My hands slid up the sides of his arms as he lowered his face to mine,
pressing his lips gently. I shivered beneath him, as the contact
engulfed me. My thoughts began to both run wild and then stop all
together.

It continued to astonish me, how perfect his lips formed around mine,
like they were meant to be there.

Before I could think about it, I found my lips molding against his, going
along with his motions.

Desperately wanting the motions.

Needing them.

I felt so lost in the taste of him, as if it were the most delicious thing in
this world.
He exhaled as he relaxed his body, only holding himself up on his
elbows now. His heart steadily thudded against me, and as I raised my
head from the ground to meet him with more force, the beating
increased. I discovered I liked this feeling, and slowly opened my
mouth to him.

His warm breath surrounded me and when his sweet tongue entered,
his heart began to beat out of control. I gasped, kissing him hard, my
fingers tangling into his hair. He slid his weight above me a few inches,
his jeans grinding into me without interference, and his fingers wound
into the curls at the end of my hair.

Edward's breathing hitched as I slid my tongue between his lips, and


that caused my body to feel swarmed with a weird sensation of heat.

Our kissing continued rapidly, and thoughts began to smother my head


again.

My body adjusted to the rhythms pounding into me from his chest as I


dragged my legs up, trapping his body with my knees. I was too afraid
to swing them around his body, not fully trusting myself yet. It was bad
enough how strongly his kisses alone made me desire him.... How
delicious they were.

How his tongue caressed mine.

How his warm bottom lip rubbed along mine so delicately.

He sucked in my bottom lip between his lips, and my body arched off
of the ground.

I knew I shouldn't trust myself with him.

If I lost control now, my emotions could take ahold of me and I could


snap, willing or unwilling, and it could be all over.

For him.

For me.

I gasped, pulling his head away. "Edward, I think we should stop. I, I


don't know if I c-"

"Don't worry about me," he mumbled, burying his face into my neck. "I
trust you, Bella."
His lips pressed into my neck as he shoved his body against me with
more force, causing the heat to explode inside my body. His tender
hand slid up the right side of my shirt, along my ribs, creating a blaze
of heat against my cold skin.

I gasped, my fingers winding in his hair again.

A good percentage of me told me to lay back because I wanted this


sooo damn badly and to go with that desire, but the smaller -- yet
more demanding -- part of me told me to get the hell away from him.
Now.

His sweet tongue trailed along my neck from my ear to the base.

As soon as he slowly began to press his teeth on my collar bone, I was


on the other side of meadow, gripping a tree, gasping for air. My hand
clutched my burning throat as I stared at him.

Edward sat on his knees, his hands and mouth open, shock and
dumbfounded expressions written all over his face, which was flushed
red a bit.

I looked away, shaking my head from the evil thoughts that were
crossing my mind.

"I-I'm so sorry, Bella." He gasped, his hand shaking as he covered his


chest.

I took a few steps back, sliding down to the ground, covering my head.
All I could think about was the hard thudding of his heart, and all my
eyes could focus on was the bouncing of the vein in his neck.

His delicious neck.

Those delicious veins.

I gasped, scooting myself back into the shadows.

"Bella!" Edward crawled on his knees toward me, but only a few feet.
"Bella? I can't see you, are you all right?"

"Wait there, Edward! Please!"

"O-Okay."
A good ten minutes passed by us now as we remained frozen in our
places. I tried to think about all the reasons I loved him, and how much
he has saved me from my misery all ready. I had gotten so far with him
in the past, and I used to never be able focus on him like this before.

But now, as my mouth continued to water, I felt the ache in my chest


return. I needed to get away from him for a little bit, go hunt or
something.

Distract myself.

But I knew he'd never find his way home from here, since I pulled him
so deep into the forest.

"Bella?" Edward's voice was a faint whisper. "Are you angry with me? I
am so very sorry, I didn't think."

After a few more minutes, I haggardly walked back into his eye sight,
but stopped at the edge of the opening. "I can't lose control like this
with you, Edward. It isn't safe for you."

He nodded. "I won't let you. I'll do better."

I felt my fingers curl into tight fists as a tiny splash of anger hit me.
"It's not up to you to do better, Edward. This is me. This is my fault.
This is my thirst that I need to control."

He nodded again as his voice came light and too soft. "Okay. I will help
you then. What can I do to make this easier for you?"

"We need to get you home. I have to get away from here for a few
hours."

He looked down. "If that's what you feel is necessary."

"It is." I wasn't about to take any more chances with him today, in both
our fragile states.

Continuing to hold my rock hard stance, we walked back through the


forest in silence. I kept my distance from him, a good thirty feet
almost, as we walked side by side. Edward didn't speak, his hands out
in front of him as he hopped over rocks and small rivers. I tried to
ignore his heart beat, humming loudly to myself. I focused my
thoughts on random crap, such as football and cotton candy and weird
stuff I never cared about before.
By the time we made it back to his house, it was a little after one
o'clock.

Edward opened the door to the house for me, but I shook my head. "I
need to go."

He frowned, his body leaning into the frame. "Please don't."

I shook my head. "Today was a much needed wake up call, Edward. I


don't know if I can control my thirst around you right now."

"Bella, I know you can."

I curled my fingers into fists again. "How do you know, Edward?" I


asked icely, as the clouds began to roll in above us. "How can you be
sure that I won't want to kill you the next time you press your teeth to
my neck? How will you be able to tell that you can climb over me
without the fear of your life ending? It shouldn't be like this, Edward.
I'm not right for you. You should have someone who can te-"

"We're in love, Bella."

The words knocked me off my bearings, and I stumbled back a few


steps. I sighed, unable to refocus on my speech. The sky evened out,
but continued to stay dark as I glared at him.

"Yes. We are." he continued. His voice was very calm and certain, as if
he could stake his entire life on it -- or worse -- that he was willing to
stake his life on it. Right now.

We continued to stare at each other's eyes, as both our fists clutched


into tighter balls.

I shook my head as the clouds grew darker.

I watched as his eyes became frustrated.

I prepared myself for the blow.

Edward's words came tumbling out, full force.

"You think you're so different from me, Bella, and you are not. You are
incapable of knowing what I think about when we're together. You
don't know, you cannot read minds. You have no fucking idea what it is
like for me, being so little in comparison to all the great things you can
do, that you surround yourself with. You have no clue what it is like for
me to be able to look you in the eyes, feeling so small and irrelevant. I
spend most of my time trying to figure out why in the hell you would
want someone like me in your life?..."

Edward's voice trailed off for a few moments, but he gained control of
himself quickly, as more anger bursted out of him.

He shook his head, slamming the side of his fist into the door frame.

"You know what, Bella? It would make more sense to me if you would
just end my life. Then I'd feel that I had some kind of purpose for
existing, for being able to be here on this earth for you."

"No Edward, it's n-"

"Yes, it is! It's just like you said the other night: We were placed on this
earth to be with each other, it's the only way. Yet, it seems to me that
no matter what else I try to do for you, no matter how hard I try to
convince you that I don't care about what you are or how badly you
want to rip me apart, it doesn't seem to sink into your beautiful,
stubborn head. I canont figure out how else to tell you that I TRUST
YOU."

I couldn't speak.

Edward shook his head, his voice shaking. "Apparently, you don't feel
the same way about me. So just do it."

That got my attention.

My mouth dropped open as my eyes bulged out. "What?"

"Do it, Bella. Come on! Can we just get it over with?"

I shook my head fiercely. "What in the hell are you talking about?"

He stormed out of the doorframe and down the sidewalk to me. I


scrambled back a few inches, but couldn't move much further.

His eyes burned into mine with the strength of a thousand fiery suns.

"DO IT!"

He was shaking all over his body.


It wasn't anger that crossed his face, no. It was something else.
Something deeper then anger.

I couldn't figure it out.

"Edward, I don't know what you're -"

"Yes you DO, Bella. You know exactly what I am talking about. If THIS
--" His voice cut off sharp as he thrusted his index finger to his vein on
his neck, "--is more important to you the what we have for each other,
than the dedicated love I have for you-"

I cut him off. "Edward, please stop!"

"No! If you cannot control your uttermost desire to taste my blood on


your lips... If you cannot think of anything else in this entire world that
is more important then THIS. LITTLE. VEIN. that is pulsing in my neck,
Bella, then just do it. I'll give it to you, no questions asked."

I gasped, my hand covering my throat.

"Do it, Bella!"

I watched as tears welled up in his eyes and the pain and ache that
drained across his lips.

At that moment, I realized what the expression was that covered his
face: It wasn't anger at all.

It was pure sacrifice.

Because Edward loved me so much, so unselfishly, that he would give


his life up for me.

My shaking hand moved and covered my mouth, and I watched as a


single tear fell from his left eye, and his bottom lip quivering slightly.

"Please, Bella, just do it." His voice was a faint whisper as he wiped the
fallen tear away from his lip with the back of his hand.

He took an unsteady step toward me, inches from me now. "...I love
you that much."

Everything that was in my entire body suddenly weighed me down.


The clouds opened up as the rain began to come down lightly, as if
they were the tears I wished I could express. I felt as if I were a solid,
and every weight in the entire world was crushing my chest. I so badly
wanted to die somehow. To alleviate the pain in both of us. To escape.

I couldn't think, couldn't speak, and I most certainly couldn't move.

"...I love you...." Edward continued to whisper, and I realized that this
was the not only the first person that I saw cry since the day my
mother held me in her arms, but this was the first person I saw cry
because of me. Because they loved me.

I tried to open my mouth to speak but as I watched another single tear


fall, I shut it.

Edward shook his head, taking a step closer to me as he filled in the


gap.

"Please? Please, Bella. You can have me, in any way you choose."

I swallowed hard, feeling as if my body was going to explode.

"I love you," he whispered in reminder again. "I've only loved you."

"I-I can't."

He shook his head as he wiped his eyes. "I won't fight you."

"No," my voice was so weak as my body felt more heavy. "I can't."

"Sure you can. It's what you want."

"No Edward. I-It's not."

My lips were trembling like his as I tucked my hair behind my ear,


glancing up to see the torn and broken expression on his face that I
caused.

The rain stayed light, but steady.

Like tears.

"I love you, Edward. I'm sorry, I can't."

His hands collapsed to his sides in defeat.

Mine followed to my sides.


Emptiness surrounded my head and I realized that all those previous
wants had completely disappeared.

I no longer thirsted for him, couldn't even fathom the idea of taking his
life now.

The mere thought of it churned my stomach, and made me feel


disgusted. Nauseated, even.

We stood there in silence for a few moments, staring at our feet.

I listened to him sniffle and exhale. "Crying... So stupid," he mumbled


in a whisper to himself. "That doesn't help anything."

I shook my head, unable to look up. "I- um, It made all...a-all" My throat
closed up for a second I tugged on it with my fingers. "...it made all the
difference in the world to me. I needed to see it."

"Why?" He was so embarrassed and I watched as his hands continued


to shake.

Closing my eyes for a moment, I lifted my head and took a step to


press myself against him. My hands found his warm face and I moved
the last tear from his right eye with my thumb.

"I'm so sorry, Edward."

He shook his head, his hands finding my wrist. "Don't be. If this is what
you want, there is no need for you to apologi-"

"Yes there is. It's not what I want at all. I want you. I need you. I love
you, Edward."

His eyes found mine now, and I felt certain of my final decision. "I love
you, Edward, and I will never react like this again. Ever."

"How are you so certain?"

I pressed my hand to his warm chest and felt calm as soon as the
pound hit my palm. "Because I cannot imagine one second in this
world without you, now that I have you with me. I cannot imagine this
feeling, this thudding... gone, knowing I caused it so selfishly. I-I have
this unsteady and painful ache in my chest, and I know it belongs
there, because it's telling me how badly I do love you and how much I
need you in my life."
I could tell he was still uncertain if he could trust my decision. "But I
sw-"

"No." I covered his lips with my hand as I buried my face in his warm
chest. I closed my eyes and inhaled his familiar, sweet scent. "You are
my life, Edward. Without you, I don't exist."

His shaky hands slid down to the small of my back. "Are you sure,
Bella? Is this what you really want, from now on?"

I nodded, taking in more of his scent. "More than anything. I've never
been more certain in my life."

"Okay."

We held each other in silence for almost an hour.

We didn't care that the front door to the house was open, or that we
were standing on a slanted sidewalk.

We didn't care as the rain began to pour heavily around us, more
strongly now with the wind.

The ache in my chest grew heavier as the desire to cry against his
chest became fiercer. Edward could sense something was wrong with
me as he stiffened his pose. He pulled my face away from his chest,
and as soon as rain washed over my face, he lifted his warm hands and
wiped the small drops from underneath my eyes, as if they were my
own tears.

"There you are," he whispered softly.

He knew.

I closed my eyes, hugging him tighter as I stood on my toes to try to


bury my face in his neck. I couldn't reach, but felt his warm arms
embrace me as he lifted my body from the ground. As soon as my wet
eyelashes found the warmth in his neck, I felt at home. My fingers
clutched against his wet shirt as he squeezed me tight, pressing his
face toward the back of my head.

"I-I love you so much," I gasped. "I'm so sorry Edward."

"Shhh, it's okay love. I'm right here."

"I-I'm so s-sorry."
"Me too."

"No, it's me, I'm sorry."

Before I realized it, we were inside the warm house. I wrapped my


arms and legs tighter around his body as lightening crashed around
the house. I felt the ache continue to position itself in my chest, and I
so badly wanted to be able to shed real tears, in order to release it.

He carried me up the set of stairs to his room, and sat on the edge of
his bed, me still on his lap. I couldn't let go of him, didn't want to.

My hair dripped around the covers and our soaked clothes stuck to
each others as we pressed tighter with our embrace.

Edward's voice was so reassuring, so calm and light. "I love you, Bella.
I'll do anything for you."

I nodded.

"Don't ever forget that. I'm always here for you."

I nodded again. "Forever?"

"Yes."

My fingers clutched his shirt as I drug my eyes to his shoulder, inhaling


deep. "Y-You promise?"

His warm hands found my face and slowly pulled it away from his
body.

He smiled and pulled it to his own, pressing his forehead to mine. "Yes.
I promise."

I closed my eyes as my thumbs stroked his cheek bones. "I don't ever
want to leave you."

"You don't have to."

"Okay..." I nodded as I slowly opened my eyes and found his, our


foreheads still touching. "And I don't want you to ever leave me,
either."

"I'm permanent, Bella."


I nodded, inhaling deep. His breathing matched mine.

We both closed our eyes as we exhaled, and then we hugged again for
the longest time.

I didn't care anymore about any of my concerns, or that stupid thirst


that no longer mattered.

I didn't care about what Charlie would think about me falling in love
with a human. He'd get over it.

I didn't care about anything else in this whole world besides the angel
that held me close.

His life was all that mattered to me.

He was all that mattered.


Chapter 13: Truth And Baggage

I didn't want to leave the sanity of Edward's bedroom. I was so afraid of


the emptiness and the loneliness that was going to inevitably creep up
inside of me when I left him. I knew if I didn't go home and explain
myself to Charlie, he'd have everyone in the vicinity of this town
searching for me tonight.

I hadn't been home in almost two whole days, and there was no excuse
I could give that would dig me out of the hole I've created for myself.
Of course I don't regret one second of it, but I also knew that Charlie
had an angry streak when it came to his daughter, so it'd be best if I
didn't keep him waiting longer.

Reluctantly, I held my breath and turned the door handle. I knew he'd
be sitting at the kitchen table, where he liked to inspect and work on
his gun collection. I didn't even get inside the house before I heard him
clear his throat.

"Where have you been, Bella?" His voice was steady but deep. Scary in
a way, like a Father who is holding himself back from scolding his
daughter for lying to him. Great.

I swallowed hard. "I went hunting. I had a close call in class the other
day, and I knew it'd be best if I got out of there and had some fresh air,
pulled my thoughts together." I walked slowly in the kitchen, but he
didn't look up at me.

"Did you think it was something you might want to inform me of before
you went?"

"I felt it was best to leave immediately, and that you'd understand."
Charlie looked up and squared his eyes at me. "Yes. Perhaps. If the
need was urgent."

I nodded. "It was."

"Hmm." A few moments lingered on in silence, and right before I


thought I was in the clear, Charlie slammed his hand on the square
table so hard it caused it to crack down the middle. He shot out of his
chair, throwing it backward to where it broke in a million pieces, and
charged to me, pinning me against the wall.

"Don't you ever, ever scare me like that, ever again, Bella! Do you
understand me! This was ridiculous, I was worried about you every
second that you were away! Wondering what could have happened, if
you slipped up and hurt yourself or someone else! You have no idea
what I've been through!"

I nodded quickly, my lip quivering as I stood solid in my place. "I'm


sorry, Dad. I panicked."

"I was worried to death, Bella!"

"I'm sorry."

He glared at me for a second, then reluctantly took a few steps back to


calm his anger. He rubbed his chest for a few moments in thought,
then looked back to me, shaking his head. His voice was almost faint
when he spoke again. "You're all I have left in this whole world, Bella.
It's just me and you, and I don't know what I would do if I lost you too."

"I know, Dad. Nothing is going to happen to me, though. You know
that."

He shook his head. "I don't know that, Bella. That's just it. I can't follow
you around and make sure you're doing what you need to be doing,
and following the steady ground rules we've set to keep us here. So
when I'm not around, you have to make the decisions for yourself. If
what was best for you was to get away from temptation, then I would
understand, but you could have easily found some way to let me know.
Leave a note or something."

I nodded. "I will next time, I promise."

"Well," he cleared his throat as he adjusted his pants. "Hopefully there


won't be a next time."
I exhaled deep. "I'm really sorry, Dad. I realize now that it was stupid. It
won't happen again."

Charlie nodded as he took a different seat at the table. "I'm sorry I


went off on you. It'd been building while you were away, I suppose."

I shrugged. "We needed a new kitchen table anyway. Just speeds up


the process."

He smirked. "Yeah I guess you're right."

Charlie and I sat and talked for awhile. He told me how Jim Danielson
from the County Police was bossing his team around, and really
starting to piss him off. Apparently the murders in the surrounding
areas are edging closer, causing everyone stress at the department.
Charlie joked about how easily it'd be to trap Jim in a corner
somewhere just to scare him and get him to shut up, which was quite
amusing to listen to.

Then we hunted together and I lied to him about me hanging out with
Angela after school those few weeks before the accident, and that was
why I hadn't been home as much. Charlie didn't necessarily approve of
my friendship with Angela, but understood how lonely I was, so he
accepted it after awhile. Angela has been a friend for a few years now,
so he's pretty much gotten over the concern of my thirst.

After all, it wasn't like I ever drank human blood before. So it'd made
things easier for Charlie to accept -- or live with, necessarily.

----

I didn't like lying to him. It didn't feel good to know that I was keeping
secrets from him.

I knew that once you lied, you'd have to keep lying in order to cover
your tracks, and usually, I'm not very good at that. I'm surprised I got
away with it this time...

I waited until Charlie was in his bedroom, filling out paperwork for his
job. He called it "sleep time" so he wouldn't be disturbed. He never left
the room, and he never asked for me. I knew I was in the clear.

Once it was three in the morning, I threw on a park of dark jeans, a


white tank top, and a leather jacket. Overwhelmed in excitement, I
snuck out the window and ran to Edward's house. I climbed in his
bedroom window, but found his bed empty. I sighed and listened for
any movement in the house. There was none, only a few movements in
Emmett and Rosalie's bedroom from someone getting comfortable,
and light snoring in a few other rooms.

Feeling anxious, I crept down the stairs, and through the kitchen,
wondering if he woke up and wanted a snack. He told me a few weeks
back that he normally couldn't sleep on an empty stomach. I thought
it'd be cute to find him sitting at the counter eating some kind of
disgusting cereal and looking half asleep with hair messy. But there
was no Edward.

After a few bathroom checks, I finally found him curled up on the couch
asleep in the living room with his hand dangling over with the remote
slipping out of his hand. There was an infomercial about some sort of
super glue playing quietly from the television. Jetson was curled up at
his feet, laying on his back with his four paws up in the air. Edward
looked so peaceful there.

I smiled as I walked over there and sat on the coffee table in front of
him. His mouth was slightly parted and his eyelashes fluttered while he
dreamt. My hand, having a mind of it's own, ran across his warm
forehead and through his hair, smoothing it back. He inhaled deep and
a small smile began to form on his lips, but then he relaxed and his
smile drifted away as he fell back into his sleep.

I bit my lip, wishing I could somehow crawl in his mind and see what he
was seeing... wondering what kind of magical land he could be living in
at the moment... I couldn't remember what it was like to dream
anymore, it'd been so long ago. But I did know that there was nothing
like it, and I hated being woken up in the mornings. I remembered how
my mother always joked around and flopped pillows down on me to
wake me, but it rarely worked. I could sleep like a log.

I found myself mesmerized by Edward dreaming as I snuggled on the


chair across from him, sketching nothings and falling in love with the
bats of his lashes and the steady beat of his warm chest. Every once in
awhile he'd turn a little or stretch his legs, but most of the time, he'd
curl back into his fetal position on his left side and bury his face into
the cover.

Before I knew it, almost three hours had passed and Esme was waking
up. Carefully and quietly, I snuck upstairs to Edward's bedroom and hid
on the opposite side of his bed, listening to the rest of the Cullen's
waking up and starting their day.
I heard Emmett teasing Rosalie while he was taking a shower, shouting
stuff like "Go, Ra, Shishck boom ba! I'm a cheerleader, just like Rose!"
and then he'd yell because she'd run in giggling and flush the toilet.

Then I heard an electric razor as Jasper hummed to himself. Alice was


in her room somewhere, throwing around something that sounded like
clothes as she kept cursing lightly and saying she wished she could go
shopping because she had nothing to wear.

I heard Carlisle kiss Esme on the cheek as they walked down stairs
together. A few moments later, I heard sizzling coming from the
kitchen, and Carlisle asking how Esme wanted her eggs. She chose
sunnyside up.

I leaned my head back on the side of his bed, enjoying the


conversations they were all having.

After about fifteen minutes, I heard Edward scream "Ow!" but when I
jumped up, I heard Emmett snickering and telling him, "Get up. Jasper
wants you upstairs, you fag."

"Fuck off."

"Not necessary. Rosalie took care of that for me earlier."

"What was that?" I heard Carlisle's footsteps softly enter downstairs,


followed by an Emmett stuttering to come up with an excuse.

"N-Nothing, dad. Just joking."

"Sure you were. Edward, you might want to start getting ready, it's six-
seventeen. Emmett, you and I are going to talk after school, so don't
make any plans, alright?"

"Sure, Dad."

I heard a light smack followed by Edward laughing as he ran up the


stairs, followed by Emmett's loud steps behind him. Then I heard an
"Ow, watch it!" come from Alice, then a scoff by Rosalie as they
galloped past the boys and down the stairs.

I held my breath as the footsteps grew closer, worried that everyone


would freak out if they found me in Edward's bedroom, hiding by the
bed. But thankfully, they stopped on the second story and went into
Jasper and Alice's room, which was directly under Edward's.
"What do you want, Jazz?" Edward asked, sounding like he wasn't fully
awake yet. His voice was raspy, and really sexy.

I bit my lip.

"I was wondering if you could talk for a second."

Emmett snickered, followed by a flop as he jumped on Jasper's bed.


"He was asleep downstairs on the couch and I dropped Jetson on his
junk. You should have seen his eyes light up!"

"Yeah, you're really intelligent," Jasper replied to him sarcastically.

"I know. I never cease to amaze myself."

"Regardless!" Edward cut in. "What's up, Jazz?"

I heard Jasper close the bedroom door before continuing. "So what's
the deal with you and Bella?"

"Yeah are you fucking her yet?"

"Shut up, Emmett!" Jasper and Edward were in unison on that one,
causing me to laugh to myself.

"What? We all want to know, so don't try to deny it, choir boy."

"I wouldn't come right out and ask him like that though. Maybe it's
private?"

Edward sighed and cleared his throat. "I'm not fucking her. We're
together though. I'm in love with her."

Emmett snickered and then sighed loudly.

"Do you know her all that well? I mean, in order to make such a large
announcement like that?"

Great, well that'd explain the look Jasper was giving me the other day.
He was concerned for Edward. That maybe I wasn't good enough, like I
didn't know that already.

"I know her more than anyone else, I'd say."

"And you're not fucking her yet? Do you not know how to use it or
something?"
"You know what Em?" Edward said. "It's not all about sex."

"Says the virgin."

A few moments lingered in silence and then Jasper piped up again.


"She's really gorgeous, Edward. I give you that."

"Yeah... she's really beautiful."

"Yeah she's got all the equipment," Emmett replied, "But she don't
know how to put it together, if you ask me. I mean, she's got sex kitten
written all over her tiny little curvacious body, but she doesn't spice
that up at all. It's like she has no confidence."

"Maybe she's just shy?" Jasper mused.

"No. She's a virgin too. It's obvious she ain't had it stuck to her yet."

"Emmett." Edward's voice was stern. "Shut the fuck up."

"Edward come on dude! Lighten up!"

"Maybe you could help her with that?" Jasper said, making me swallow
hard. "Like... you know, show her how beautiful you think she is."

"Or you could just give her the spunk."

I heard Jasper and Edward punch Emmett, causing him to shout, "Ow!
Fucking dickweed douchebags!"

"I do tell her," Edward said. "but I wonder if it's not enough. I am
working on helping her, but sometimes, it can be difficult. I mean, I
think I've broken down some of her walls, proving to her how beautiful
she is, and how much her worth is... but she always apologizes for
every little thing, and she can hardly look at me in the eyes at times.
It's as if she's afraid of me, and that makes no sense to me. Especially
if you knew how our situation was."

"Edward," Emmett chimed again, obviously not learning his lesson yet.
"I know you want to fuck her. Don't lie to us. I see how you look at her
and lick your lips when she's not paying attention to you."

"No I don't."

"Yes you do!" Jasper replied. "You look at her sometimes like she's
something you'd order on a breakfast menu."
Emmett laughed. "Thank you! Now he finally finds honesty! See,
Edward? We've all seen it."

I bit my thumnail listening to Edward denying it.

"It's not about sex though, honestly. I want to be with her forever. I
would give my life for in a heartbeat, with no questions asked."

"You're gonna have to be honest with her."

"Yeah, tell her you want to order her name off the breakfast menu."
Emmett snickered.

Edward sighed. "She's not ready for that, guys."

Emmett and Jasper shouted as their footsteps jogged around the room.

"I knew it!" Emmett shouted. "You want her, you little horny bastard!
Look Jazzhat, he's blushing!"

"No I'm not!"

"Yes you are." Great. Jasper confirming it.

"I just really love her."

"We can tell!"

"So what?" Edward shouted in defense. "Not that any of this shit is
your business, but it doesn't matter because she's not ready and it's
no big deal."

"Come on Ed, how long's it been? A year or some shit? It could be


broken or something."

"Emmett, shut the fuck up."

"Look, Edward," Jasper said. "If you want to be with her for the long
run, and you say you're in love with her, then don't you think Bella
deserves to know how you feel about her, and your guys's
relationship? Don't you think she deserves to know if you're ready for
the next step?"

Edward sighed. "You guys are going to be late for school."


I heard Emmett booing Edward as he opened the door. He ran up the
stairs, and I thought about hiding under the bed, but since I was
temporary frozen from all the information that was just given to me, I
panicked and froze in place.

Edward's door swung open and slammed shut behind him, and he
stormed through his room and into the bathroom. His scent was
everywhere, giving me the same affect a newborn baby gives to his
mother. I wanted to just sniff and sniff until there was nothing left to
inhale.

Common sense slammed me in the face when I heard the toilet seat
being raised, and I covered my mouth as Edward peed. Then the water
was running and I heard him brushing his teeth. I stood up unsteadily
to climb out of the window, but right when I reached it, Edward came
out of the bathroom with toothpaste on his bottom lip and the brush in
his mouth, frozen solid as he saw me.

Slowly, he pulled the toothbrush from his mouth and turned around,
walking back into the bathroom in silence. I heard him quickly rinse his
mouth and clear his throat. Then he came back out. "Hey you." His
voice was still a little raspy, and his hair was all over the place. He
wore a black tee shirt and dark green silk pajama pants.

He looked like a sex God.

I swallowed hard. "Hey."

He studied my expression. "Love, have you been here long?"

I shook my head instantly. "Just got here. Is this okay?"

He nodded and relaxed his posture. "Of course." He walked over to me


and wrapped his arms tight around my waist. "I missed you."

I smiled and hugged him back. "I missed you too."

His body was warm and he smelled delicious. I breathed him in and
held him tighter.

"So what did you do last night? I thought you'd come back."

I sighed. "I had to give some face time with Charlie. He was worried
about me, about where I had been."
Edward pulled away back a little to look at me. "What did you tell
him?"

I frowned. "Just the usual. That I went hunting and stuff like that... I left
him a note so when he'd get up, he'd know I went to school early."

Edward nodded slowly. "So when am I going to meet him?"

I pulled away and took a few steps back. "What?"

"I'd like to meet him, Bella."

I shook my head. "I don't think that'd be the best idea."

Edward arched his brows. "Why not?"

"I-I just think it's best to, um, wait a while."

His lips formed into a slight frown. "He doesn't know about me, does
he?"

I shook my head, swallowing hard. "You're human, Edward."

Reality sank into his features and he nodded while he looked down. "I
get it."

I bit the inside of my lip and looked around the floor for a few minutes.
"...I'm sorry. I just don't think he'll accept us."

He nodded again and crossed his arms over his chest. "I understand."

"Thanks, I guess." I slumped my shoulders and sat on the edge of his


empty bed. "So... what do you want to do today?"

He shrugged.

"Do you want to go to the meadow?"

He shrugged again, still not looking at me.

"You're disappointed, aren't you?"

Edward continued to stare at his feet. "It doesn't matter."

"Yes it does."
Edward slowly raised his head and looked at me. "You're not ready for
me to meet him, and I'm willing to wait for you."

I sighed. "Again with the 'you're not ready' stuff."

There was silence in the room, followed by a "...What?"

Oh my God, did I just say that out loud?

Edward dropped his hands and took a step closer to me. "What did you
mean by that?"

I shuffled my feet and looked down to my fingers. "Nothing."

"Bella, look at me."

Like a girl getting caught stealing candy, I slowly looked up at him.

He shook his head, seeing right through me. "Bella, why would you lie
to me?"

I shrugged slowly.

"No. Please tell me."

"I-I don't know, I was afraid you'd get mad at me if you knew I was here
earlier."

Edward nodded slowly in thought. "So you heard my conversation with


Emmett and Jazz?"

"Yes."

He sighed and sat on the bed next to me. "I'm sorry you had to hear
that, Bella."

I shrugged again. "'S okay. I mean, I shouldn't have been listening."

He smirked. "Yes, well you know what they say about eavesdroppers."

I nodded, still ashamed.

"Are you upset with me?"

I shook my head. "No, I just wish you would have asked me before you
assumed stuff."
He arched his brows and tilted his head to me, resting his hand on
mine, which sat on my leg. "How do you mean?"

I shrugged again, finding it easier to communicate with gestures


instead of words. "M-maybe because I am ready now?"

Edward froze. "Ready?"

I swallowed hard. "Yes."

"For ...sex?"

I nodded again.

Edward thought for a few minutes to himself. Then, his words made me
angry: "I don't think you are, Bella."

I snapped my head up and glared at him. "Why do you keep thinking


that?"

He snickered. "Bella, you can't even look me in the eye!"

I stood up and thrusted my hands on my hips as I continued to glare at


him. "I'm looking you in the eye now."

He smirked. "Because you're pissed."

"No!" I sounded more like a three year old throwing a tantrum, so I


pulled my voice together better. "I'm looking at you because I'm
ready!"

Edward shook his head and sighed. "You look quite sexy when you're
pissed, I give you that."

That made me more frustrated. I walked over to him and stood


between his legs. "I. Am. Ready. For. The. Next. Step."

Edward, being the dominant sexy soul that he is, stood up and looked
down at me, face inches from mine. "Prove it."

That threw me off guard and my eyes strained away from him for a
brief second, but I stood my ground and looked back up him. Then I
unzipped my jacket and yanked it off of me.

His lips parted slightly, but Edward didn't remove his eyes from mine.
Keeping my stride, I unbuttoned my jeans and smiled at him.

Edward shook his head and inhaled deep. "What are you doing, Bella?"

I walked over to him and wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling his
face down to mine. "Isn't it obvious?"

Edward smirked as I grabbed his hands, wrapped them around my


body, then behind me, and planted his hands on pockets of my jeans.
Then I stood on my tiptoes, holding his hands on my ass, and kissed
him. I had to lean my chest on him so I wouldn't fall forward, but I
didn't mind. I drew his bottom lip into my mouth, sucking on it lightly.
He tasted like mint toothpaste and goody freshness, and his breathing
hitched as I pushed it with more fire.

I gasped as his hands squeezed me with his warm and firm touch, and
smashed my face to his once more.

Edward pulled his face away and dropped his hands from my body.
"Wait, wait a second."

I shook my head, sliding my tongue in his mouth. His breathing


stopped as he matched my kiss, battling me with passion. His warm
breath surrounded me, and his sweet tongue had the power to make
my entire body fall on the ground in weakness. I tangled my fingers in
his hair, pulling him down to me as I lightly moaned his name in his
lips.

His warm arms wrapped around my waist, picking me up from the


ground. I felt his heart pound through his chest onto mine, and smiled
in our kiss, knowing I was winning.

I threw my legs around him, but he pulled me back quickly, sitting my


feet back on the ground.

I arched my right eyebrow, not having any of that. "Do you want me to
undress you too?"

Before he could answer, I pushed his black shirt up his chest, waiting
for him to raise his arms.

He didn't do it though. Just continued to smirk in silence with his own


thoughts.

"Okay." I shrugged, then ripped his shirt down the middle and pushed
it off his shoulders.
He snickered and shook his head, stepping away from me. "I am not
going to have sex with you so you can prove a point, Bella."

"I'm not trying to prove a point. I want to be with you."

He shook his head.

I felt my skin begin to tighten. "You said to prove it, so I'm trying to
prove it!"

"Bella," he snickered. "I didn't mean prove to me that you want to have
sex with me. I meant, if you're ready for us like you say you are, then
take me to meet Charlie."

I titled my head to him. "Are you high, Edward?"

He shook his head again. "You said you were ready for the next step."

"You're not playing fair here. I didn't mean that next step."

"I'm not going to sleep with you before I meet you dad, Bella."

I swallowed hard. "Don't you want me though?" My voice came out


shallow as defeat washed over me.

"Of course I do, but not like this. You're conflicted and frustrated, and
it's not fair to either of us. I want you to be rational, Bella."

I nodded, backing away from him.

He frowned. "You still love me?"

I nodded again while I picked up my jacket and put it back on. "Yes."

"Then please, Bella. Let me meet him."

"He could get really upset, Edward. Like... furious."

"I'll protect you."

I scoffed and shook my head. "You can't protect me from everything.


You're human, and Charlie is a vampire. I can't even run from him."

Edward walked over to me and wrapped his arms around me. "I'll do
whatever I can. I mean, who knows, maybe he'll like me?"
I sighed, feeling defeated again. "Yeah. Who knows."

----

Edward showered quickly, and then dressed in a black sweater and


jeans.

We waited until nine in the morning, when Carlisle finally got paged to
go to the hospital. Then we climbed in Edward's volvo and he drove us
into town.

My mind was working non stop, trying to think of all the ways I could
get out of this situation. I knew Charlie would be angry with me, but
felt the best way to save our identities and Edward's body was to do it
out in the open, at the police station, so Charlie couldn't overreact.

I almost ran out of oxygen on the way over there, but Edward
remained calm and collected. Like he didn't care that he was about to
meet another Vampire.

Shaking, I led Edward up the ramp to the police station. Dad's friend
Robert was sitting on the front desk on the phone. He waved me
forward and I pulled Edward along. "Ahh, Miss Swan. How are you
doing today?"

I forced a smile. "Fine, is Dad here?"

"Sure. I'll go get him."

I nodded and Edward pulled me to take a seat next to him. He


remained calm while I bounced on my toes, biting my fingernails.

"Are you okay?" He whispered as his hand gently squeezed mine.

I cleared my throat. "I guess."

"Nothing is going to happen, Bella. He loves you too much. We just


have to be honest with him, I think it's the best way."

I nodded too quickly. "I know."

I heard a throat clear and dropped his hand immediately, standing up


to face Charlie. Edward stood up too, chin raised, tall and proud.

"Hey Bella," Charlie said wearily. "What are you doing here?"
I inhaled deep and gathered my voice. "Dad, I want you to meet
someone." Slowly, I turned to Edward and patted his arm. "This is
Edward... Edward, this is my father, Charlie."

Edward held out his hand and smiled sincere. "Hello, Chief Swan. I
wanted to formally introduce myself. I'm Edward Cullen."

Charlie shook his hand, not removing his eyes off of me. "Nice to meet
you, Edward... Are you guys classmates?"

Edward nodded. "I moved here this year."

"Cullen is your last name? As in Carlisle Cullen?"

"Yes Sir. He's my father. Well, he adopted me."

Charlie finally directed his gaze to Edward. "You don't say?"

Edward beamed proudly. "He's a wonderful man."

"Yes. He is." Charlie looked at Edward and me for a few moments, then
stared back into my eyes. "So, Bella... Why aren't you in school?"

Edward and I froze instantly, dumbfounded that we forgot about school


today.

"U-Um, it's a long story, Dad."

"It's my fault, Sir." Edward seemed so strong, it overwhelmed me. "I


got into a fight the other day and unfortunately was suspended for two
days for my behavior."

Charlie arched his brows. "A fight?"

"With Mike Newton," I replied, stepping between Edward and my father


and widening the space. "Mike was being cruel to me, like always, and
Edward was just trying to protect me."

"I realize this is unacceptable, Sir."

Charlie studied Edward's expression for a few moments, and then


looked at me. "Edward, would you mind if Bella and I spoke alone in
my office?"

"Of course not. I'll wait here."


"Thanks."

I felt like I was walking on broken glass as I followed him into the office.
Charlie pulled down the white blinds on the window to his door, then
stuck his hands on his hips.

I fidgeted nervously.

"A human, Bella? A suspended human?"

"Dad it's not like that."

He gritted his teeth, trying to maintain a low voice. "Oh really? Then
tell me what it's like, Bella! Tell me why there is human boy standing
there wanting to meet me? Tell me why he is suspended over Mike
Newton? Tell me why you're with him, and most definetly, tell me why
in the hell you've been lying to me!"

I shrugged my shoulders. "We're in love, Dad."

Charlie took a step back, his eyes growing furious. "What did you just
say?"

I glared back at him. "We're in love. He wanted to meet you because


he felt it was the right thing to do... He got into a fight with Mike after
he accused me of being a whore and saying hurtful stuff about me and
that Edward or anyone else wouldn't want to be with me unless I was
screwing them... I'm with him because he doesn't make me feel like an
outsider. Dad, Edward accepts me. Whole heartedly. Without
equivications. He knows about us and he hasn't told anyone, and I
know he never would. He doesn't care about it... A-and I lied to you
because I was afraid you wouldn't understand me."

Charlie shook his head in silence for a long three minutes. "I cannot
believe you did this, Bella."

My chin quivered as the words continued to gush out. "I tried to not let
it get this far, Dad. Believe me, I tried to stay away from him. I even
went with you in the mountains, remember? A few months back? But it
happened and I cannot change it now." I inhaled deep, but continued
on. "He's the best part of me, I think. He has had similar pasts, we've
both lost our mothers... We've both had heartbreak. Dad, Edward
protects me and he loves me, he just wants what is be-"

Charlie cut me off. "He protects you? Protects? Bella, tell me how in the
hell he protects you?"
I swallowed hard. "He just does."

"Oh, I see." Charlie threw his hands in the air, his frustration growing.
"So you're telling me that young, fragile, human boy in there could
stop me from hurting him if I was trying to get to you?"

"Yes."

He shook his head and swung his door open. "Well, let's go find out."

I took an unsteady step toward him. "Dad, no. You wouldn't do that."

Charlie glared at me before storming out toward the front of station.

I ran after him and stood in front of him, but Charlie suddenly didn't
look upset as he stared at Edward.

He looked broken.

After a few seconds, I stood to the side, so he could shake his hand.
But I brought my hand up to Edward's chest, just in case.

Edward smiled. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Sir."

Charlie kept his mask on as a few cops watched the meeting.


"Likewise, Edward. And thank you for putting Newton in his place."

"I wished it could have turned out differently, Sir, but at the time, I was
out of options."

"I understand what it is like when your limits get crossed, Edward. You
did what was necessary to protect her."

This puzzled me as I looked at Charlie in amazement.

"I would do whatever it took to keep Bella safe, Sir."

"Call me Charlie."

Edward smiled. "Charlie."

They quickly discussed a few common subjects, such as The Cullen's,


Edward playing baseball, what classes we took in school, and how we
met.
Then Charlie took a glance at his watch as Jim's voice came over on his
radio, asking him to meet him in his office pronto.

Charlie sighed. "I have to go, but Edward, you should come over
tonight for dinner. Bella can cook for..." His voice stopped as he took in
the onlookers in the station. "... us."

Edward smirked at the inside joke. "I'd love to."

Charlie stared into Edward's eyes, then caved in once he realized how
genuine he was. "She sure seems to love you a lot."

Edward beamed. "I feel the same way about her."

Charlie nodded. "Let's hope so..."

They smiled at each other for a few more seconds.

Then Charlie directed his gaze to me and furrowed his brows. His voice
was a mere whisper, barily enough for Edward to make out, and
impossible for anyone else to hear. "...Because Victor is back, Bella.
He's around here somewhere. I think he is the related to my case... So
if you were wondering why I was so worried about you earlier, now you
have a better idea."

I swallowed down the sand paper feeling and nodded, before pulling
Edward out of the station.

Every bone in my body felt like it had broken.

Victor.

My father's former best friend.

The man who had killed my mother.

He was here.

Suddenly, everything changed and it wasn't for the better.


Chapter 14: The Real Bella

I remained confused for the remainder of the night.

Edward tried to calm me down, reassuring me he wouldn't let anything


happen to me or Charlie. I enjoyed his hugs as always, but couldn't
wrap my head around anything he was saying. All I could think about
was Victor. Victor. Victor.

I felt uneasy and angry. Edward tried to reschedule the dinner for
another evening, but I refused, afraid to leave him alone for one
second. Eventually, he stopped trying and relaxed, saying that we
would worry about it when we needed to. Charlie agreed with him and
pulled me to the side, cramming it into my head that I had nothing to
worry about, that he was on top of it, and apparently, I had two men
who'd do anything to keep me safe.

I burnt Edward's dinner on accident, but being that it was the first time
I ever tried to cook something, he didn't get upset. He ate the over-
cooked steak with a wide smile, as Charlie tried to ignore the elephant
in the room and talk to Edward like a normal father-boyfriend meeting.
He asked Edward about his likes [Baseball, Music, and Me] and his
dislikes [Newton, mainly]. Edward told him a little bit about his real
parents, Elizabeth and Edward Masen, but just the basics as what they
did for a living... His mother [Musician] and his father [Accountant].
Edward asked what it was like to be a cop and about Jim Danielson.
Charlie loved talking about that, giving Edward the full play by play of
his daily routines, and all the wonderful information about how much
he despised Jim.

The discussion of what we were never came up. Charlie must have
taken my word on the fact that Edward didn't care.

After dinner, Charlie caved in after fifteen minutes of my begging and


said I could stay with Edward for the night, if we slept in separate beds,
because he knew I wouldn't let up on the fact that I didn't feel he was
safe. Of course, there was no reason for me to react that way, giving
the fact that Victor would have no idea about Edward and I being
together, or Edward at all for that matter. And he knew my temper if
he wouldn't let me go.

Still, I felt better having him by my side.

However, I didn't expect Edward to actually fulfill my Dad's wishes, but


he did. He asked Esme if I could stay over, instead of sneaking me in
like we normally did. Esme loved the idea, but said we needed to make
proper arrangements. So her and Carlisle put me, Rose, and Alice in
Edward's room, and Edward and Jasper in Jasper's room, since Emmett
had his own friend Jack over, they shared his room.

I felt better about it, since I could be in Edward's room, where Victor
would most likely try to sneak in to hurt him. That way I could protect
the girls, while Edward slept peacefully on the floor below... Not that
anything was going to happen.

Plus if Dad said it was cool, then it was cool. He reassured me before I
left that he had more than enough resources to keep Victor away from
us, and my dad has never steered me wrong before, so I believed him.

So here I was, climbing in Edward's king size bed with two gorgeous
girls I envied. Alice wore a white silk pajama set with her hair piled up
on the top of her head in a messy short ponytail. Rosalie had on light
blue and white flannel pajama shorts and a tanktop on, with white
bunny slippers. They dressed me in a blue silk pajama set, which I
admitted was cute.

It was nice to be able to have girl time for awhile, now that I've gotten
over my fears of doing anything that would hurt any of Edward's
family. It felt good to just be a girl in general, so I thought I'd give in to
it and try to relax, shake things off.
Alice, being the last to climb in, threw the covers over us. "I wonder
what Edward and Jasper are talking about right now?"

I sighed as Rosalie said, "Probably comparing sizes."

We laughed in unison, then I decided to chime in. "What do you think


Emmett and Jack are doing right now?"

Rosalie laughed louder. "Probably offering to switch sizes!"

We joked about Jasper and Edward's facial expressions as they played


baseball, about Emmett's obsession with anything mechanical, about
girls at school - like Ashley and Julia -- and how stupid they all
appeared to be, with the exception of Angela, of course.

Then the topic of sex came up. Again.

"You've never?" Rosalie asked, sitting straight up in the bed.

I shook my head. "No."

"Well I'm glad we're sleeping in this bed," she joked. "Because if I was
laying in something old and dried up, I'd be pissed."

Alice smacked her legs with a pillow. "Ew Rose!"

"Hey, I'm just saying!"

"Gosh you sound just like Emmett!"

I laughed. "I sort of..." Then I trailed off, realizing that they were
considered Edward's sisters.

"Oooh, tell us!" Alice rolled over on her stomach, resting her hands on
her chin.

I bit my lip. "I don't know, I mean he's your brother."

Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Only by name. Spill it!"

I sighed. "Well, I sort of threw myself at him earlier... but he refused."

"What!" Alice's voice blasted as she sat up on her knees.

We shushed her, giggling.


Then, after we made sure the coast was clear and we didn't wake
anyone, I nodded and swallowed hard. "Yeah he said he didn't think I
was ready."

Rosalie tsked loudly. "Typical Edward."

I stared at Alice who sat with wide eyes and her hand covering her
mouth. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, Edward thinks of everyone but himself. So even if he wants to do


it, he's not going to until he knows the other person is truly willing."

I frowned, scooting under the covers more. "I'm sure he's had other
opportunities."

Alice finally broke from her position and flopped back down on her
belly. "Yeah, like Virginia Woodsten."

Rosalie busted out laughing, throwing her head back in the pillows.

I chewed on the inside of my lip, allowing the curiosity to get the best
of me. "Who is Virginia Woodsten?"

Rosalie giggled again and then patted her stomach. "Oh my gosh, she
was in love with Edward since he first started coming here to stay
when he was a little boy, apparently. She lives in P.A. Sh-"

Alice cut her off. "She's two years older than Edward, a freshman now
in college. But back then, she was Edward's on and off little summer
fling here."

"Yeah and oh my gosh, was she the typical fling type of girl."

Great. Now I was hooked again. I knew I shouldn't ask, but let it get the
best of me. "What did she, um, look like?"

Alice glanced over at me.

"Well..." she said calmly. "She was pretty, I guess. Long, straight dark
hair. A few inches taller than you, I guess. Um... heavier than you,
which is a good thing for you, but she was more curvier..."

Rosalie snickered. "She was a heavy whore with big boobs. End of
story."

"She did have big boobs."


They giggled in unison, thinking about the girl who used to date my
boyfriend.

I sighed. "How many summer's did they hang out?"

"Um," Rosalie thought. "...I guess just a few. When Edward was eleven
was when they started to kiss or whatever... And then when he was
thirteen she started coming around again... And...-"

"And then last year." Alice chimed in.

"Last year?" My eyes were wide, but I couldn't control my shock. I


hadn't expected that. I don't know why, but I didn't.

They both looked at me for a few moments, and Rosalie rubbed my


knee over the covers. "Don't worry about it, Bells. He's never been in
love until you."

I sighed. "Yeah but they did stuff, right?"

Silence only proved my point.

I puckered my face and looked at Alice. "Are you sure he didn't sleep
with her?"

Alice nodded. "I'm pretty sure. I mean he hung out with all sorts of
girls, Bella. No one meant anything to him like you do now."

I couldn't let it go. "Pretty sure or positive?"

Alice frowned. "Pretty sure. I-I never actually asked."

I nodded and reluctantly looked to Rosalie for the possibility of a


different answer.

She shrugged. "I'm not sure, Bella."

I swallowed hard, then thought about Emmett and Jasper's


interrogation with Edward ealier. "Oh!" I sat up. "I just remembered.
Emmett, he called Edward a virgin this morning."

Alice snickered sarcastically. "He calls anyone a virgin who hasn't had
sex in the past few days. It's his thing, I don't get it. Ask Rose."

Rosalie shrugged indifferent. "He's too cute. I've got to allow some
things."
I flopped down on the bed in defeat. "So I could possibly be compared
to a pretty brunette with more curves and bigger boobs." It wasn't a
question.

"Bella, again," Rosalie said, trying to cheer me up. "Edward's only been
in love once. And still is. So you have to think about it."

I crossed my arms over my chest. "So does anyone know what he has
done, so I can atleast prepare myself somehow for all the things I know
I'll be compared with?"

The two of them exchanged awkward glances.

"Great. Never mind."

Alice rolled back on her back. "No pouting! It's not that hard. When
you're ready, it won't matter about anyone else. Just the two of you."

"Yeah," Rosalie chimed in. "Besides even if Edward's done it before,


that makes him more experienced, and that means there will be no
awkwardness."

I nodded, unable to hide the frown on my face. "So he's done a lot
then?"

"Just the typical stuff."

"Alice you're not painting a picture for me here."

Rosalie sighed. "I know he's received and possibly given. So that
means he's done all the groping and make out stuff."

I swallowed hard. "I'm gonna look like such a loser."

"No you're not!" They shouted in unison, then giggled again.

"Bella," Alice said as she gave me a small hug. "Just relax, don't think
about, do your research, and enjoy it when it comes to you."

"Research?"

With that word, Alice was off the bed and out of the room.

I looked at Rosalie with a crinkled expression, suddenly scared about


what Alice was going to go get.
She just shook her head with a sly smile, and replied, "Her bible."

"Bible?" That seemed odd with the topic of sex.

She giggled as Alice ran back into the room and shut the door. She
launched herself on the bed across our legs, and flopped the magazine
on my leg. Cosmo. Of course.

"Bella, flip to page 144."

Exhaling deeply, I flipped the page. "Nice Guys Talk Dirty?"

Rosalie giggled as Alice nodded. "Yes, Edward is definetly the nice


guy."

Alice smiled. "He is. Okay, so here this explains to you all the secret
things that nice guys -- like your boyfriend -- wants in bed. Of course,
not all of them apply as they are all different for men, but most do. So
read it over and we can discuss it."

I sighed loudly in my obvious pout, but caved in. The article was three
pages long, discussing different guy confessions, such as things like
what gets them hot, foreplay twists, positions, moments they loved the
most, and even things they are afraid to ask for.

Rosalie thrusted her finger on the first page. "Start here. Subtle things
and foreplay first."

I creased my lips and read the page. Then I sighed again. "So, I am
supposed to flash my underwear, bite my lip, smell sexy, send him
kinky sex messages, and then throw him in a dark corner, tug on his
hair, and tease him?"

They busted out laughing and didn't let up for a few minutes.

"No!" Rose finally chocked out. "Not all at the same time! You just start
with one and work through them with time. Or skip over the ones that
you don't want to do!"

"Yeah!" Alice said. "And we can give you advice too. Like bat your
eyelashes, guys go crazy for that stuff."

"Yeah yeah! And if you want to seduce, wear tight clothing, or worse,
leather!"

"Yeah and tug on his hair!"


"Ooh and breathe heavily in his ear!"

"And anything to do with boobs on his chest is good."

My head was bouncing from side to side as they offered up ideas like
waitresses at a resturant. Just one after the other.

"But most importantly," Rose stated. "You have to feel confident. There
is nothing sexier on the planet than a female with confidence."

"Yeah that's probably why Edward doesn't feel you're ready, Bella."
Alice said. "He can see your lack of confidence."

I frowned. "So what should I do?"

They both looked at each other and smiled.

"Tomorrow." They said in unison.

Hanging out with Rosalie and Alice really does distract a person from
all their concerns.

I spent most of the weekend hanging out with them more than Edward,
as he had practice the next night and a game after. We decided that
his game would be where I would make my new appearance.

So, with a lot of patience and occasional tantrum from me, they taught
me how to curl and fix my hair in different ways, how to do my makeup
with smokey eyeliner, and how to dress more sexy to "fit my curves". I
even allowed them to take me shopping, so Alice could pick out a few
sexier clothes for me, and Rosalie could debate them. Which she did.

Alice even took the time to talk with my Dad, to prove to him that
Edward did have sisters and I was staying over the next two nights
with girls, not guys. Charlie took an immediate liking to her, and that
made me smile, thinking about all the times I could use her as an
excuse in the future.

After that, the following morning was "school lessons", where Rosalie
taught me how to walk in heels for a few painful hours, how to bat my
eyelashes, how to "smile with a secret", and other techniques that
could "break any man's composed face who tried to resist you".
Even though I hated it at first, reality came and settled in that I was
indeed a girl, in love, willing to express myself for the first time with
the one man I wanted to be with.

So Alice called down to Edward downstairs, telling him that we would


meet him at the game, and we would take my car there. Edward didn't
like all the secrets, but finally accepted after Rosalie almost bit his
head off. She had been doing that all weekend, keeping him away from
me, saying that abscence only makes the heart grow fonder.

It about killed me. I missed him when we weren't in the same room.

"Alice," I said as they continued to help me primp. "I don't know if I can
show up to his game looking like this."

"Yes you can! Bella, you're not even in the black leather pants I wanted
you to wear. It's just tight jeans, a hot shirt, and some heels."

"And you look sexy as fuck!" Rosalie said.

I looked at both of them nervously, then finally at my reflection in the


long mirror.

My jaw hit the ground.

There I was, three inches taller in blue heels, standing in dark denim
jeans, a matching blue silk tanktop that flowed down a couple inches
past my hips. The shirt lifted my breasts together, revealing much
more cleavage than ever before, and accentuated my features
perfectly. My hair was down and shiny, with some pieces crimped,
others curly, and most of it straight. My eyes popped with dark
shadow, liner, and mascara, with silver in the corners of my eyes and
below my brows. I had pale lipstick and gloss on, a silver heart
necklace, and, with the thanks of Rosalie's bribabary of getting it
without answering too many of Edward's questions, his classring
dangling wrapped with thread and placed on my finger.

I looked beautiful for once, like I could actually stand next to Edward
without feeling inferior. I even felt sexy, and smiled to them at my
makeover.

They squealed and jumped up and down, all their hard work paying off.

"She's ready!" Rosalie shouted as we walked down the steps.


Esme covered her mouth when she saw me, then ran over to me and
gave me a tight hug. "You look so beautiful, Angel."

I smiled, hugging her back. "Thank you."

"Okay, so mom, we're gonna go because we're running late, but we'll
be back later okay? It may be late!" Rosalie pushed us out the door
and to my car without another word.

We piled into my car, and I gave into Alice, allowing her to play her hip
hop album with my top down on my convertible, and we drove around
hollering at nearby driver's and giggling like girls. I felt so free, so
liberated, and so happy. Like everything else that I had been worried
about suddenly disappeared.

And that was when I thought, maybe it could be perfect, if I allowed it


to be.

We heard the roars from the bleachers before I even parked the car.
Nerves and butterflies settled in my stomach, but as Rosalie
instructed, I shrugged them away and threw my hair back, lifting my
chin in the air. We locked hands as we strolled toward the field.

"Now," Alice began as she held me close. "You are going to go in there
kicking ass. You are sexy. You are beautiful. And you are going to
prove to all these little bitches -"

"AKA Julia, Ashley, and whoever else-" Rosalie cut her off.

"Yes, all of them. You're going to prove to them why you are with him
and why this is going to be a great night for the both of you."

I nodded, absorbing their words like a sponge.

After all, I thought to myself. It's not like I can age. This is my one time
to show what I have, and make those stupid bitches who made fun of
me for so long jealous.

It was time to show the new Bella, the post-Edward Bella. The sexy and
confident girl.

When the teams came into view, I noticed that they were already into
their fourth inning, with the Spartans winning by 14 points. As we
walked up the bleachers to take our seats, I couldn't help but spy
Ashley Gwinn, sitting with the same crowd as Julia and her preppy
senior friends, and all of them glaring daggers at my head.
I smiled and winked at Ashley, as Rosalie instructed me to do earlier.
The look on her face was worth it since she was so proud, and the look
on Ashley's was priceless.

"Gold!" Rosalie shouted as we took our seats, giggling.

I noticed Jasper waiting in line to bat, and Edward with his fingers in
the fence, yelling at the batter. As soon as I laid eyes on him, I couldn't
help but coo inside my head as the butterflies surrounded my stomach.

Animosity between the teams was heightened and angry, and the
profanity the teams used as they shouted back and forth was almost
too much.

When Jasper's turn came up, Alice jumped up and down in her blue
jean mini-skirt, clapping her hands. "Go sexy!" She shouted, at the
same time the girls from Ashley and Julia's posse did. Alice turned her
head to the left and glared over her shoulder at them, grinding her
teeth.

I giggled, realizing it was about to get good, and thankful I was on Rose
and Alice's team.

Jasper's curly blonde hair peeked under his baseball hat, and he looked
more like a God then a person as he took his place above the plate.
Typical Jasper, he tossed the bat in the air with a spin, over his head,
and caught it behind his back with his left hand, before bouncing it to
his right and bringing it over his shoulder to bat. He smirked at the
pitcher and absorbed the cheers from the crowd.

Wack!

He swung at the first pitch, knocking it strong through the center of the
field, causing the players to dodge it's force. It flew to the back fence
and as they struggled to get it, Jasper made it all the way to third.

The three of us stood and cheered loudly for him, and I felt more
confident with each second passing by. Almost like I belonged there,
with them.

Edward didn't seem to notice we were there, focusing all his attention
on one player from the opposite team. It didn't take long for me to
realize they were not friends. The profanity the man was shouting at
Jasper and Edward both gave me cold chills, and I was scared of what
Edward would do.
Please don't let him get suspended again, I thought. Please, please,
please.

The next few batters weren't as good as Jasper, but definetly improved
over the past few months with Edward's help, I'm sure. Only one struck
out, bringing the Spartan's score higher.

I heard Ashley whisper about me behind my back, asking her friends


too loudly if I painted my outfit on. I smiled to myself. Bitch.

The next inning, Edward's popularity with the other team decreased.
The two balls that came his way was caught instantly, and they didn't
like that, causing the crowds from both sides the stands to shout angry
at each other. Jasper kicked ass at third base, getting everyone out
that tried to get passed him with smooth movements.

Edward didn't let up on his confidence, and Jasper didn't either. The
anger between that guy on The Wildcats and Edward continued to rise
as the game went on.

I found myself standing and cheering for him more than I did when I
was an actual cheerleader on a football game night. And every time I
stood, some girl behind me in their little crowd would say something
sarcastic. I curled my fingers into fists and ignored them the best I
could, focusing all my attention on Edward.

And when he finally took the home plate, I felt the butterflies come on
full force. He walked over to it as the crowd rose to their feet in unison.
Rosalie grabbed my hand and pulled me up to stand ontop the
bleacher we were sitting on, so we could see over heads. He walked
over, dangling the bat between his fingertips and waving it back and
forth, licking his lips.

He had the ability to turn me on without even knowing I was there.

"Oh here he comes," someone from the other team shouted


sarcastically. That's when I realized that the guy he had been eyeing
down was the second pitcher.

Edward glared at him for a few seconds, but when Alice yelled for him,
he directed his gaze to her, skimmed over me, and then Rosalie. Then
he snapped his head back to me, freezing in place. I could almost see
his breathing stop as he focused in on my eyes, as if he didn't believe
it was me.
Then it dawned on me why he hadn't been looking for me earlier. I
wasn't recognizable with my make over.

I smiled my best flirty smile and waved at him.

Edward's eyes relaxed when he saw me, and a crooked smile crossed
his lips. Then the umpire asked if the teams were ready. He nodded,
swinging back his bad and focusing on the pitcher's nods. Two nods
later, the pitcher threw the ball at Edward.

"Ball!" The umpire shouted.

Edward took a step back and swung the bat back around, focusing on
me again. The pitcher wound back and swung his arm forward,
launching the ball to Edward. It almost hit him on his ribs, but he took a
step back before it could. What was it with these stupid guys trying to
hurt my man? Stupid dicks!

"Ball!" The ump shouted again. "And watch it, Stevens!"

The pitcher smirked, and suddenly, I saw Quil standing behind Edward
laughing. Edward shook his head, trying to ignore him as the pitcher
wound up again.

Crack!

With that second, Edward hit the ball for force, causing it to fly above
the feild and out for a home run.

The crowd rose to their feet and we jumped up and down as Edward
jogged around the bases, smiling to himself.

I watched as Ashley and Julia ran down the bleachers to the fence,
shouting to him. A growl rose in my throat and Rosalie gripped my
hand, holding me back.

"Go Edward!" Julia shouted, clapping her hands. "You look so hot! Oh
my God!"

I sneered at her, causing Alice to giggle and nudge me with her hip.

"Let it go," she advised cutely, then waved to Jasper from the fence.

"The Cullen's are sexy!" Ashley shouted. "Yeah, I'm talking to you
Jazz!"
That was when Alice took off.

Rosalie caught her by the back of her shirt before she got to the
second set of bleachers, then pulled her back slowly. "Let it go,
remember! Those bitches aren't worth it. We're here so Bella can
prove a point, not kill someone."

Alice was fuming along with me. We both eyed the back of their heads
down as if we were burning holes into their scalps.

Rosalie giggled, moving to stand between us so she could rub both our
backs in calming manners.

"Sheesh," she said, trying to lighten the mood. "Who knew baseball
games were so intense!"

Eventually, we loosened up again. I couldn't help but notice Edward


and Jasper talking amongst themselves as they stared at the three of
us in the crowd every time they were in the dugout together. I did my
best to flirt with him at every chance I had, smiling at him, winking at
him. I even blew a kiss at him with Alice, since she begged me too.

It was pretty fun, I had to admit.

Once the night stars shined bright and the game was over, The
Spartans were announced the winners, and the crowd roared loudly in
approval.

The three of us locked arms and strolled down the bleachers, but
before I could make it to the feild, I was stopped by Angela and Jessica.

"Bella! Oh my God!" Jessica shouted while Angela stood with her jaw
on the ground. "What happened to you?"

I shrugged and smiled sweetly at them. "Small make over," I replied.

"I-I'll say!" Angela said, nodding at my appearance. "You look so


different! Sensational!"

I smiled sweetly as Rosalie began to tug me along, saying , "Sorry Jess


and Angela, but we've got to go. I'll see you guys at practice on
Monday, okay? Hey, Bella, um, Julia and Ashley's skank posse are over
there talking with your men like they own them."

Alice nodded, jerking me harder. "We've got to go."


I waved goodbye to them quickly and winked at Angela, before locking
my arms with my new friends and walking out to the feild. She smiled
and winked back. Angela was awesome.

Edward stood with his hat in his hand and fingers through his hair,
while Jasper stood beside him flipping a bat around in a circle. The girls
surrounded them completely, looking more whorish than ever.

They were both laughing, but as soon as Edward spotted us walking to


him, his smile locked in place and grew wider.

"Lookie at the fishy you just snagged," Alice squealed in my ear as she
began to walk faster.

I smiled at him as we continued to walk, and felt tingles rush through


my body as he licked his lips and continued to stare at me.

"Mmmm," Rosalie agreed. "Like sex on a platter."

Ashley and Julia turned to their left to see what they were looking at,
and then glared as soon as they saw the three of us.

"Well," Ashley said. "I thought I smelled something off."

Rosalie smirked as we stopped behind them. "Yeah well they have


things for that, you know. It's about six dollars, it's got liquid in it, it
washes all that shit out for you, leaving you a nice, fresh feeling."

Julia piped in, eyeing her down. "Yeah you would know, right Rosalie?"

Rosalie smiled sweetly, but her eyes grew vicious. "Of course Julia.
Your mother told me where she buys her douches at. She also
mentioned your family has a discount since you buy in bulk."

Alice busted out laughing as Edward and Jasper took a step back,
chuckling to themselves.

I kept my eyes on my prize, paying attention to nothing else.

Edward walked around the girls, ignoring Julia's tug on his wrist when
he passed her.

I gritted my teeth together, wanting desperately to kill her, but


remained calm and collected for him.
Edward beamed as he walked closer to me. "Wow," he said
breathlessly. "I didn't even recognize you at first."

I smiled sweetly and tilted my head as I locked my eyes on his lips.

"You likes?" Rosalie asked, spinning me around in a circle.

Edward nodded. "Definetly."

"Doesn't she look sexy?" Alice chimed in, standing on her tippy toes in
a cute girly manner.

Jasper ran behind her, snaking his arms around her waist and picking
her up, causing her to giggle.

"I think you look sexy," he said loudly in her ear, glaring over her
shoulder to the skanky girls general direction. "I could just eat you
right now."

Alice kissed his cheek as soon as he put her down. "I knew I loved you
for some reason."

Rosalie continued to shoot imaginary arrows at the girls eyelids.

Edward slowly ran his arms around my body as he breathed in slowly.


"God you look incredible," he whispered in my right ear softly. "What's
the occasion?"

I bit my lip as I ran my fingers through his hair, scratching lightly.

"It's a secret," I whispered back.

"Mmmm... do I get to be in on this secret?"

I looked over to Alice who made a puckered expression at me. I nodded


and kissed his earlobe. "If you want... possibly."

"Oh, most definetly."

"I've missed you."

"Mmm, I've missed you too Bella." Then he growled into my ear,
causing me to giggle.

Our cute reunion was lived short, thanks to the sluts.


"Ohh Edward?" Julia walked over to us, almost stepping between us as
soon as Edward released his grip on me. "I'm having a party tonight.
You and Jasper are invited, of course. Special honors and everything."

Edward didn't take his eyes off of me as he licked his lips. "I'm busy,
Julia."

"Ohhh come on Eddy," she said, reaching her scummy little fingers up
to touch his shoulder. "Everyone wants you to come."

I'm sure she felt the heat from the three sets of eyes glaring into her
stupid face from Alice, Rose, and I, but ignored them. "I especially
think you need to be there."

"What part of he's busy do you not understand, ho?" I couldn't help but
smile at Rosalie's bitterness.

Julia glared at her for a second, then focused her eyes on me, taking in
my outfit slowly with an unapproving expression.

"Well," she started. "If he's busy with this, then it shouldn't take long.
It's not like he'd have to undress her, since the outfit is painted on. In,
out, be done with it."

"Look you stupid bi-" My voice cut off when I took a few steps forward,
ready to knock her head onto the ground, but felt Edward's hands wrap
around my waist and pull me back.

"Hey, hey, hey love," he said calmly, continuing to lift me off the
ground and step backward. "Please ignore her, Bella."

"Let go of me Edward." My voice was stern as fire poured from my


veins.

He exhaled. "No. It's not worth it."

I was about to argue with him, but before I could speak, I watched
Rosalie step forward and grab Julia by the back of her head, yanking
her down by her hair as she called her a stupid bitch.

Jasper busted out laughing as the girls swarmed around her to help her
up. Then Ashley tried to go after Rosalie, but was intercepted by
Jasper, as he picked her up by her waist and tossed her to the side.
She stumbled backward but didn't fall down.
Alice laughed as Julia picked herself off the ground, holding onto her
head.

"You think that's funny, huh?" Julia shouted to her.

Alice nodded, wrapping her arm around Rosalie to pull her away.

"Well do you want to know what we think is funny?" Julia continued to


spit out as she focused in on me. "We find it funny that Bella thinks she
can dress up as a two-bit whore and think it's a way to gain respect
around here. Everyone knows you're just another notch on his fucking
belt. Wake up whore, he's too good for you."

Edward released me so he could yell at her, but I charged for her, and
was quickly scooped up by Jasper as he threw me over his shoulder.

Jasper was too good at catching girls. Dammit.

Edward cussed the girls out faster then the human's could register his
words, and they all stared at him with their mouths ready to catch
insects. Then he walked back over to me and Jasper handed me over
to him. Edward slowly lowered me down and snaked his arm around
my waist, rubbing my back gently.

He started to walk off, but then turned around to face them again. "Oh,
and one more thing. Bella has more class, more common sense, more
brains, more dignity, and more beauty than any of you will ever have
in your pathetic, pitiful use for existance. And do you see this? --" His
voice cut off as he lifted my finger, showing them his class ring. "--This
means I'm busy. For eternity, not just for the night."

I smiled to them as I placed my head on his shoulder, turning us


around to walk away.

None of them said a word as we left, just stood their dumbfounded.

Fucking skanks.

Edward and Jasper quickly changed while we joked about Rosalie's


quick instincts. Edward came out wearing a rusty colored, long-
sleeved, button down shirt that matched his hair, and dark jeans. I
about lost my legs when he came back into my view, suddenly
thanking Rosalie for holding onto me.

She giggled, rubbing my back.


Then we all walked toward the parking lot, but Edward stopped us
when we reached my car.

"Bella, would you mind if Rose drove your car home tonight? She's
trustworthy, I promise."

I looked up at him confused. "Why?"

He smirked. "You can ride with me."

"But didn't you ride with Jasper?"

"Yes."

I tilted my head, furrowing my eyebrows. "I'm confused. Why don't the


three of us ride together in my car, and then Alice can ride with Jazz so
he won't be lonely?"

He smiled sweetly at me, rubbing my back. "We rode together, Bella,


but not in vehicles."

I shook my head, wondering if he was trying to confuse me. "Huh?"

Then he nodded in the direction behind me. I turned in a circle,


enjoying to myself that Edward's hand never left me, and ran from the
small of my back around to the front of my stomach, hitching my shirt
up. Then I froze.

Underneath the stars and the full moon, there was an object sitting in a
space that caused shivers to creep through my entire frame.

"You have a bike?" I asked, my jaw dropping to the ground. This wasn't
any kind of bike I had ever seen before.

It was smooth like butter, and looked like it was moving though it was
parked. It appeared to be black, and had blue neon lights on accents of
it, making the bike look fiercer by the second. Blue seemed to be our
favorite color.

Edward stood behind me, wrapping his arms around me fully and
resting his chin on my right shoulder.

"Well," he whispered softly, sending chills through my body. "It's a


Suzuki Hayabusa."
I couldn't speak, as I stared at the machine which causes most women
to go insane, myself included. I couldn't close my mouth.

Edward chuckled, squeezing me tighter. "Do you want to ride home


with me then?"

I nodded, still gawking.

"And you're okay if Rosalie drives your car to the house?"

"Uh huh."

Edward reached in my pocket and then tossed Rosalie the keys. "Don't
hurt her car, Rosalie."

She winked at him and she climbed in the front seat.

I felt the butterflies increase tenfold as he led me over to it. There were
about fifteen guys, Mike included in the far background, that were
staring and oohhing over their bikes.

Jasper already had Alice on the back of his, but it was a different kind
of bike. She was giggling as he put the helmet on her head, saying it
was weighing her down. When I looked at Edward to question it, he
already knew what was coming. "It's a Yamaha R6, customized by
Emmett for Jazz's last birthday."

I watched as Jasper peeled out of the lot, causing Alice to squeal loudly
and press her face into his back. Then Rosalie waved and took off in
my car.

I nodded slowly, still amazed by the turn of events.

I guess I should have pictured Edward having a bike, I mean he was


the typical male, for what it's worth. It definetly fit his personality trait.

I cleared my throat as I took in the view of the bike from a different


angle as Edward put a black jacket over my arms.

"Oh, good game, by the way. You were great."

Edward chuckled and straddled the seat. "Thank you, love."

I smiled and fidgeted, trying to figure out how to even get on the thing.
He extended his hand and scooted his body forward as he handed me
his helmet. "You don't really have to wear it, if you don't want. I won't
crash."

I nodded and denied the helmet.

"Are you ready?"

I nodded again and slowly inched closer to him. After a few seconds to
rebuild my nerve, I climbed on back of it with him.

"Just remember," I whispered as I tightly wrapped my arms around his


waist. "My dad is a cop, let alone other things, and you're on his good
graces. We don't want to screw it up."

Edward smirked and started the bike, causing it to revv up like a lion.
"Don't worry your pretty little head, Bella. I won't hurt you."

"I know." I sighed. "I trust you."

"Good." Edward slowly backed the bike away, causing more ooohh's
from the guys.

He leaned his face over his right shoulder and looked at me. "You do
realize they're gushing over you in that sexy outfit, not the bike right?"

I beamed and shook my head. "You're so full of it."

"Mmhhmm." He leaned in and gave me a light peck on the corner or


my mouth, then leaned forward, revving the bike up really loud. He
kept his feet on the ground, causing the tires to spin out and create a
cloud of smoke behind us. I squeezed tighter to him, trying to prepare
myself.

Before I could inhale, the bike launched us forward and he sped out of
the parking lot and onto the highway.

He slowed down once we got on the main road, and shouted behind
him, asking me if I was all right. I nodded and squeezed him tighter,
quite enjoying the feel of the wind in my face and my lock around his
waist.

"Go faster!" I shouted with a giggle. "I love it!"

With that reassurrance, Edward hit the gas and we flew forward,
weaving in and out of the cars piling down the road from the game.
This just turned me on more, as Edward continued showing off a bit for
me, but not doing anything too dangerous to hurt any of us.

I kept egging him on, begging him to push the limits, suddenly not
caring about Charlie finding out. These things were addictive!

When we got into the main part of town, we pulled up next to a '73
Mustang, and Edward was staring at the driver. I looked over, and
realized it was the pitcher from The Wildcats, the one who didn't like
him. Edward nodded to him, revving the the engine. The guy looked up
at him and then glared between me and him, shaking his head. Then
he flipped us off through the window.

Edward busted out laughing and pointed toward the red light in front of
us.

The guy's teammates were cheering him on, and then the pitcher
nodded once to Edward.

"Are you going to race?" I asked, suddenly worried a little.

"You said you wanted to go fast!" He shouted back. "And that you trust
me!"

I swallowed hard, but my energy was overwhelming me.

I wanted him to kick his ass, suddenly.

I loved all this confidence I gained over the past few days. I was
breaking free from my shell!

"Go for it!" I shouted, burying my face in his back and breathing him in.

I heard the light click of the street light and then tires screeching as we
flew through the intersection, in the wrong lane. I took a peak over his
right shoulder and squealed, suddenly urging Edward on between
laughs and inhales. Edward had him by a few feet, and flew in front of
the mustang so that the car coming in our direction could pass us by.
He shouted to me, telling me that when he tapped my arms, he
wanted me to hold on to him with a death grip and don't let go. I
nodded as the car passed us with an annoyed honk.

Once the coast was clear, Edward dropped back over in the other lane
and hit the gas. The car beside us sped up but before they got close to
us, Edward tapped my arm. I tightened my grip around him and before
I could blink, the bike revved once and then we were on the back
wheel only. I squealed and shut my eyes, feeling the rush of wind fly
by us as Edward controlled the wheelie.

When we were back on two wheels, I busted out laughing, loving every
second of that. The driver of the Mustang slammed on his breaks and
Edward did too, causing us to rock forward on the front wheel a bit,
before landing down again.

"Whoa!" I shouted as we were suddenly stopped. "That was insane!"

Edward laughed and turned around the bike in a 180 spin in just
enough time to see the pitcher in the other car shaking his head
furiously that he lost. Edward nodded to him once, with his cocky-yet-
sexy grin, then spun the bike around again in the opposite direction,
and peeled out.

We drove through the winding roads a bit slower, and I took in the
scent of the green forest around us, the irresistible minty-sweet smell
of him, and the fresh air in our face. I watched up above as the stars in
the sky passed us by, dancing above our heads. Then I ran my hands
along his chest and rested my head to his back, breathing deep.

Strapped to the back seat of a deadly bike, wearing 3-inch heels and
tight clothing, holding on to a guy who could be compared more easily
to angels rather than humans, I never felt more safe in my entire life.

This night couldn't be more perfect.

We climbed up a hill on a back road and then stopped once we got to


the top of it, taking in a view of the full moon. Edward put his feet on
the ground and relaxed his body, his hands finding mine on his
stomach. He leaned his face over his left shoulder and smiled gently to
me. "I love you Bella," he whispered.

I smiled and rested my chin on the same shoulder, about a centimeter


from his lips. "I love you too."

"Are you having fun?"

"Mmm, more than you know."

He smirked and then looked back to the sky, inhaling deep. "You look
incredible, Bella. Have I told you that yet?"

I nodded. "Yes, and thank you."


"So," he mused softly, rubbing my hands between his. "What's the
secret you were addressing earlier? The one I had been asking to be
allowed in on later?"

I smiled against his shoulder. "I'm not ready for you to know yet."

"Huh... Well, I know it's not anyone's birthday... No special occasions..."

"Nope," I humored him. "Just for us."

"Ahh, now we're getting somewhere."

I giggled as he twisted his body around a bit, throwing his left arm
behind me so he could look me in the eyes. I leaned forward and
around his left side, squeezing him tighter.

"Kiss me," he whispered as he stared at my mouth.

I pushed over and pressed my cold lips to his warm ones, breathing
him in desperately. My lip quivered at the sudden connection that
came with our touch, and I felt an unknown urge in the pit of my
stomach. I tilted my head and increased the pressure, allowing him to
suck in my bottom lip between his. I moaned softly as his tongue
lingered on it inside his mouth, allowing my hands to glide up his back
to his hair. Edward twisted his body a bit more, so he could have better
access to my lips, which I granted within the second.

He tasted amazing. Warm and sweet and delicious.

Like satisfying a hidden craving.

Or a forbidden one.

He pulled away for a brief second, catching a breath as his tongue


licked his bottom lip. Then he kissed me again, and parted my lips with
his so he could slide his tongue in my mouth. As soon as the hot met
the cold, I gripped his shoulders tight and pushed forward, desiring
only him.

His fingers found my face and he guided me along with him, our
tongues battling against each other's in fierce decrements.

I sighed when he decreased the pressure.

"I've had a wonderful time tonight, Bella." He whispered before kissing


my top lip gently.
I smiled and looked up to him through my lashes, as Alice taught me.
"The night's not over, Edward."

He smirked and kissed me too briefly, then turned his body back
around and started the bike.

I ran my fingers up the inside of his shirt, feeling the ripples on each
one of his abs and the thin line of hair beneath his belly button.

Smiling like a fool, I reluctantly removed them from under his shirt,
gliding up the buttons to the unsteady beat of his heart.

His body was warm, almost hot even as he took off, back down the hill.

I continued to hold onto him, my left arm secured to his waist while my
right hand steadied itself on his chest, feeling him breathe in and out.

It suddenly dawned on me that maybe this was The Real Bella. The girl
who could be pretty, possibly even good enough for him... One who
didn't have to be a monster. Maybe I could enjoy my life and love
someone whole heartedly. I could relax and let my hair down, live a
little. I could be in love, and deserved to be loved in return.

I closed my eyes and buried my face in the back of his shirt, praying to
the Heavens Above that this night would never end.

Can't I just have that much?

Chapter 15: Intertwined

When we pulled into the drive, I caught a glance at the watch on his
wrist.

"It's almost eleven," I whispered, knowing Carlisle and Esme would


already be turned in.
Edward nodded, parking his bike in the garage beside Jasper's. "It's
okay. They won't care."

When we climbed off, I realized that there was a car was missing. A
jeep.

My car was gone too, not that I cared much.

"Everyone's gone I guess," Edward shrugged as he wrapped his arm


around my waist, pulling me closer to him. "Probably went out to the
movies."

I smiled to myself and thanked Rose and Alice inside my head for
allowing us this night to ourselves.

When we walked inside, we found a light in the kitchen on, with a


folded card on the island.

"Kids," Edward began reading. "Carlisle and I will be back tomorrow


morning. He had an emergency lifeline to tend to. Bella is welcome to
stay over. Love, Us."

I grinned and buried my face in my favorite part of the middle of his


back.

He inhaled deep and turned around, pulling me close to him as he


leaned back against the counter. "What do you want to do?"

I didn't remove my face from his chest and shrugged. "Whatever you
want."

"Are you going to tell me the secret?"

I giggled and ran my hands along his back. "Maybe."

"Hmm..." he thought to himself, his hands trailing to the small of my


back as he hitched his thumbs under my shirt. "Do you want to hear a
secret that I have?"

I nodded. "Yes."

"Well," he said as he pulled me closer to him and leaned down to


whisper in my right ear. I brought my right hand up to my mouth,
trying to cover my permanent grin.

"...I think you look sexy," he continued. "Almost too sexy."


I giggled. "Can't be too sexy."

"Oh yes. You can."

"How is that?"

Edward brought his forehead to mine, his thumbs rubbing on my


cheekbones. "When I cannot concentrate on anything else but the
filthy and derogatory thoughts that are crossing my mind, I know that
it's almost too sexy."

I frowned a bit. "Is it too much?"

He shook his head and licked his lips. "It's perfect."

My smile instantly returned. "Can we go upstairs?"

"Mmhmm."

Edward took my hand in his warm one, then led me up the stairs and
to the room. Before we entered, his pinned me against the frame of
the door. My breathing hitched instantly as I stared into his eyes.

"Tell me your secret," he demanded in a raspy voice.

I shook my head, swallowing hard. "Not yet."

"Please?"

I looked away from his eyes and slid beneath his arm, walking into his
bedroom. "Come in here."

He followed, shutting the door behind him.

I stood in front of the foot of his bed, my hands behind my back. "Do
you really want to know?"

He licked his lips and stood in front of me. "Absolutely."

I smiled evilishly at him and bit my lip. "Are you sure?" I whispered
back.

Edward grinned. "Yes."

I tilted my head and took a step closer to him, in my best seduction


possible, and began running my hands up his chest. "How sure?"
He cleared his throat. "A hundred percent sure."

"Good."

I pushed him backward onto his bed, causing him to chuckle and run
his fingers through his hair. Yes, I was making him blush!

"What are you doing?"

I shrugged, twirling around to turn on his radio. There was a CD in


there that Rose and I created together, a mix of seduction songs from
the past and present generations. "Perfect for all kinds of sexy
occasions," she reassured me.

Edward tilted his head, watching my every move until I was standing
between his legs. "What's this about?"

I leaned forward, guiding my hands from his knee to his belt loops,
then from his stomach and up to his chest, climbing up his body until I
was straddling him.

"It's about a secret," I whispered as I pushed his shirt up his stomach.

He inhaled deep, leaning back on his elbows. "Do I finally get to hear
this secret?"

I nodded, continuing to push his shirt to his chest as I leaned down and
placed my lips on his right ear.

Remembering exactly as the girls directed, I inhaled deep and closed


my eyes. "I want you, Edward."

A few seconds passed us in silence, then I felt Edward's hands on my


hips, gently pushing me back so I would look at him. .

"What?" he asked, his eyes wide, voice still raspy.

I licked my lips and tilted my head, batting my lashes. "I want you."

Edward sat up slowly, his hands not leaving my body. He cleared his
throat. "Uh..."

I giggled, my hands wrapping around his neck. "You seem so


surprised."

"I am."
"Well, don't be. I'm not lying."

I refused Edward the ability to speak before crushing my lips to his. I


threw my arms around his neck, burying my fingers in his hair as I
pushed his face against mine. I grinded my hips against his, parting his
lips with mine. His breathing hitched as I kept my plan in motion,
pushing him backward onto the bed. His warm hands glided up my
sides to my arms, and then before I knew it, he was laying over me
and I was on the pillows.

"Wait, Bella." he gasped.

I shook my head. "No."

Edward frowned and pulled himself higher, still panting. "Bella, how are
you so sure?"

I touched his warm chest, feeling the thum-thum-thum-thum of his


heart beating senseless against my palm. "I've never been more
certain in my life."

We stared at each other for a few minutes in silence.

Then my hand found his cheek, and I caressed it slowly. "Do you want
to?" I asked him. "Because if not, we can wait."

Edward closed his eyes and shook his head. "It's not about me."

I sighed and cupped his face with both my hands, pulling him closer to
me. "Edward, it is about you. This is us, all the way. You know how I
feel, so tell me how you feel."

His green eyes sparkled in the moonlight as his angel smile crossed
along his lips. "You're ready?" he asked to reassure himself.

I nodded slowly. "Yes. I love you, Edward."

He smiled sincerely.

"Are you?"

Repeating my actions, he nodded slowly. "Yes."

This time, when he lowered himself to me, his kiss was gentle, as if he
was soaking in the moment and saving it for later. His lips were warm
and inviting and he tilted his head to the left, sliding his tongue in my
mouth and causing me to hum softly. My hands tangled in his hair and
I pulled him closer to me, arching my back to feel more of him against
my body. Edward's hands trailed down my legs to my hips, then beside
my shoulders as he lifted himself up again. I refused to end our kiss,
bringing my head up with him. He pulled back to a sitting position on
his knees in front of me and I climbed on mine, kissing him more
intense. I gripped his shirt at his shoulders with my fingers, pulling
myself closer to him.

Edward's arms snaked around my waist, pulling me over on his legs as


he sat down. I straddled his lap again, wrapping my legs around his
waist and kissing him with a passion that I never experienced before.
Something inside my body, some sort of wave crashed through me,
desiring more of him. All of him.

His fingers trailed along my back and inside my shirt, causing warmth
to spread over my chilled body. I shivered beneath his touch, pushing
myself harder against him. I pulled my face away so he could catch his
breath, but didn't remove my lips from his completely. He inhaled deep
and quick and I felt his lip quiver against mine.

Nervously, I pulled my face away from his, wondering if he was


regretting his decision, but his hands caught my head, holding me in
place.

"I want you," he whispered as he pulled my lips to his again. "I want
you, I want you."

All the nerves washed away instantly as I wrapped my arms around his
neck, allowing him to push me back against the covers. Edward ground
his hips into mine as I kept my legs locked around him. He buried his
face in my neck, breathing deep and slow. Chills washed through my
body as he began to suckle on the tight skin there. I gripped the back
of his shirt, trailing it up his skin with my fingertips until I could reach it
and pull it off his head. Edward allowed me to remove it, holding
himself above me. My hands trailed down his warm chest to his rippled
abs, then back up to his shoulders. I was in complete awe of him,
finding that the only way possible that he could look more inhuman is
when he was getting naked. He was so perfect, it was almost painful to
look at.

Edward's hands found mine as he pulled me up again. He climbed on


his knees to the back of his bed, continuing to pull me until he stood up
in front of me. I grabbed his thighs and pulled him between my legs as
he ran his warm hands down my arms, massaging them. I looked up at
him and became breathless as soon as I saw the new expression in his
face. His eyes were dark. Fire like. Smoldering even. His lips were
slightly parted and a bit swollen. His dark lashes were glistening. His
neck had a tint of red on it from the heat waves blasting through the
room.

"You're beautiful," I whispered to him as my fingers gripped the top


band of his jeans.

Edward smiled and ran the back of his fingers along my face, and then
he tucked the hair behind my right ear. We stared at each other for a
few moments as my hands continued to trail along his stomach and his
continued to massage my shoulders. We didn't have to speak much to
know what the other was saying.

Edward slowly squatted down in front of me, his hands taking my right
foot to his knee. He un strapped the heel and carefully removed it,
kissing the top of my foot gently, before going to the other and doing
the same thing with that. I smiled as he massaged my feet for a few
moments, secretly thanking him that he was since those heels were a
bit tight. My fingers found his bronzed hair and I began to scratch his
head and smooth his hair back out of his face. He smirked and scooted
forward toward me, and as his face inched closer, and I suddenly
forgot how to inhale.

Those smoldering eyes were mere centimeters away.

I couldn't move from my spot as he lingered closer. Slowly. Slower. My


breath continued to grow haggard as his hands slid up my waist,
pulling my shirt with them.

"May I?" he asked, with a voice too sexy for his own damn good.

I nodded and raised my hands up.

The blue silk shirt slid up my body and over my head, and his hands
found my shoulders as he squatted back down between my legs. I
smiled and brushed my fingers through his hair, watching his eyes trail
slowly down my body. Alice had picked out a matching blue lacey
panty and bra set, and I was thankful for her doing so, since his
expression was drinking it in.

"Wow," he whispered smoothly as a side smile crossed his lips.


"...Come here."

I let him scoop me up in his arms, and wrapped my legs around his
waist as he stood to his feet. The music smoothed our moods more,
and he swayed from side to side as he rubbed my back. I leaned down
and pressed my forehead to his, my thumbs trailing along his lips. He
lifted his face up so I could kiss him, but when we touched, the kiss
remained slow, and sensual, and longing, like the song in the
background. His lips were warm and inviting, and it was almost sinful
to enjoy them as much as I was. I tilted my head for better access, and
he followed my lead, allowing us to kiss deeper, with more passion.

His hands released my body and cupped my face, keeping my face


where he wanted me, so that he could kiss me the way he liked: slow,
deep, and lingering.

I felt my head become a little dizzy as he continued to kiss me like


that. It was almost too much. I knew I needed to keep myself relaxed
and calm, but that I'd never hurt him. Ever.

I wasn't even concerned about that anymore.

My body was tightening up around his touch in an unfamiliar way, and


my breathing became short and unbalanced.

Edward pulled his face away to inhale, and his breath was ragged as
well.

I released my leg lock from his waist and slid down his body, to where I
could stand in front of him. I immediately noticed the height difference
again, since I wasn't in heels any longer. My head didn't even reach his
chin now. He smirked as he took in my facial expression and kissed the
top of my head gently. I brought my hands up his overheated arms and
around his shoulders. His hands ran down the back of my neck toward
the center of my back. Then his fingers trailed along the top of my bra
clasp, but he paused and looked at me. Questioning.

I just smiled sweetly at him.

He returned the expression and unfastened the clasp. Chills ran


through my body as his thumbs massaged where the clasp was, before
his fingers slowly slid up the straps on my shoulders and pulled it down
my arms. I tried not to feel my normal self-conscious thoughts as my
chest became naked in front of him. He slid his hands along my arms
again, up to my neck, then cupping my face.

He slowly bent down to match our heights, pressing his forehead to


mine.

"Are you okay?" he asked, his eyes drowning me.


I felt a little unsteady, since I was being dazzled by his calm yet
desirable expression. It took a few seconds to respond, and my voice
was raspy when it came out. "Yes."

He moved me closer to him, my bare chest to his, cold against the hot,
and we both gasped slightly to the new contact. It felt amazing.

I pulled his face down to mine and kissed him with a strong need. Our
tongues found each other's instantly, and every time they touched, it
felt like there was a new fire boiling between our skin contact. I threw
my arms around his neck carelessly, jerking him to me, demanding our
kiss to be heightened. He followed instinctively, with his own amount
of desire unfolding across us. He backed us up against the bed and as
soon as my calves touched the mattress, he held onto me and leaned
me back, climbing over me again. His hands gripped my waist gently
and he pushed me forward, to where my head found the soft pillows.

He smiled and pushed the hair out of my eyes before leaning back
down to me. He tilted my head to my left, so he could have better
access to the crook of my neck. I moaned and arched my body up to
him as he began to lick and suck there. It was as if he was setting my
cold body on fire, somehow. His hands trailing along the sides of my
body, his mouth working my neck. I almost felt like I could pass out.

He sucked on my neck again, bringing the tight skin into his warm lips
with a sensual movement. I gasped and inhaled loudly, my fingers
gripping the back of his head. I tangled them into his hair, running then
around in circles. Every cell in my body felt like it was suddenly alive.
His body between my legs, pressed against me with my force, causing
me to react again. I ground my shoulders into the pillow, trying to
catch my breath. Edward hummed against my skin and then smiled
against it, causing me to almost explode into tiny pieces.

His fingers slid between our bodies as he breathed in my ear, and he


started to unbuttonmy jeans, but stopped. He started to lift himself off
of me, but I refused, gripping his shoulders and pulling him back onto
me. I raised my head to find his lips quicker, and kissed him again.

I didn't like the idea of his body leaving mine for even the slightest
second, and as he molded his lips into mine, I found out why: We were
too perfect when we were together. What's the point of separation?

Edward chuckled as soon as I released him to breathe, and he shook


his head adoringly.
Again, he tried to pull his body up from mine, and I couldn't help but
frown.

"Where are you going?" I asked, my lip forming a concerned pout


before I could think about it.

He smirked. "Nowhere, Angel."

He slid down my body, pressing light kisses on my stomach. I couldn't


help but smile and lick my lips, moving along under him, allowing him
more access to venture around with. His hands glided up my hips, his
thumbs providing light circles on my skin. He pressed his forehead to
my abdomen and inhaled deep.

"You smell like fresh strawberries," he whispered in his own thought.


"...Just like your hair."

I tilted my head in to that statement, suddenly concerned. "D-Do you


like strawberries?"

He snickered. "Yes."

"Oh... oh good." I exhaled. I felt better now.

Edward chuckled for a moment, as his hands gripped my ribs, his


fingers around to my back. His heart beat strummed against my body
as he positioned himself comfortably between my legs. Then he trailed
his tongue from my diaphram, all the way down, past my belly button
in a slow motion. I gasped and arched my back toward him, an instinct
reflex. He nuzzled his nose into my skin and provided light kisses
between my stomach and my jeans.

My fingers were around his wrists, but I tried to not grip him too tight.
Didn't want to hurt him.

But it was really hard.

I threw my head back against the pillows as my body continued to arch


toward him, feeling him tease me with his hot breath along my jeans
and stomach. I swallowed hard, trying to stay focused. Again, really
difficult to do. At this point, I couldn't even think straight.

He gently lowered me back on the covers and his fingers found the
button to my jeans again. He rested his chin below the zipper and
looked up at me through his eyelashes, concerned again.
I nodded, probably too quickly.

He smiled and unfastened them, then lifted his head up so he could


unzip them as well. I bit my lip as his hands found the sides of my
jeans, and I raised my body, so he could pull them down. He took his
time doing so, his eyes staying on mine, always being the gentleman. I
giggled as he pulled them off, feeling a bit conscious, but trying not to
worry about it.

But as soon as his warm hands touched my warm knees and spread
them apart so he could climb back between my legs, I gasped and
forgot how to think. My legs began to shake and my breathing sped up.
My brain became dizzy and unfocused. I ran my fingers through my
hair, trying to calm myself down. I didn't want to be nervous, didn't
want to be worried. I knew I wanted to be with him in all the ways
possible, so why on earth was I losing my bearings?

Edward slowly pressed himself against me, and as his jeans rubbed
along my body, I gasped.

Oh God, Oh Lord, Oh yes, oh no, oh yes, oh no...

These weren't emotions of hurting him. This was all new to me. I
wasn't used to feeling these type of emotions. I never felt this alive,
this exposed. This revealed. It felt as every inch of my body was a live
wire, and with one touch, something could explode.

Edward smiled and looked down to my now trembling stomach. His


eyes bounced to my neck as I swallowed hard. Then he looked up at
me. "You're scared, aren't you?"

I shook my head, swallowing again. "N-No."

He shook his head slowly, his hands massaging my calves. "You can be
honest with me, Bella."

His voice was too calm.

I didn't like it, didn't want him to stop.

"I'm not scared... this is j-just..." I inhaled deep, trying to gather my


thoughts. "...New."

He nodded and leaned over me slowly, holding himself up on his arms.


"Are you okay?"
I nodded, trying to focus on his fire green eyes.

He studied my expression, his lips parted, inhaling deep.

I smiled at him. "I'm okay. I promise."

He hesitated for a moment, then slowly lowered himself onto me,


providing soft kisses on my cheek and eyelids. I smiled and relaxed a
lot, only my legs trembling now. His steady heart beat against my
diaphram helped calm me down, helped me recollect my thoughts.

I exhaled deep, thankful for him.

His thumbs stroked my bottom lip and he tilted his head, looking into
my eyes.

I ran my hands along his heated back in light motions, and he closed
his eyes for a second, enjoying the sensations I was creating for him.

The next song that came on was very slow and relaxing, and it
definetly helped reset my mood.

I was comfortable again.

I pulled his face down, so I could put his forehead against mine.

He smiled genuinly, my favorite side smile. "Hey you," he whispered,


his deep voice smooth like butter.

"Hey you."

I reached down to his jeans and blinked at him, making sure he was
okay with it. He leaned in and gave me a small peck on my bottom lip.
With shaking hands and after a few attempts, I unfastened the jeans
and unzipped them. Edward pulled himself up to his knees, and stood
up from the bed. Keeping our eyes locked, he pulled them down and
stepped out of them. I let my eyes trail down from his eyelashes to his
swollen red lips, down his tan body, firm chest, rippled abs, to the hair
below his belly button, to the black boxers. I bit my lip, wondering to
myself if he knew I was undressing him with my eyes.

Before I thought about it, I sat up and scooted toward the end of the
bed, in front of him.

We both had one article of clothing, and since my nerve was coming
back to me, I stood up and decided to take advantage of it. I put my
thumbs on the sides of my lace panties and bit my lip, looking up at
him. I started to pull them down, but his hands found mine, holding me
there.

"Wait," he whispered abruptly.

I looked up at him, confused.

His angel smile smoothed my expression instantly. He lowered himself


to his knees, pressing his warm lips to my stomach. I ran my fingers
through his hair and along his face as he trailed his red lips and hot
breath along my taught skin, teasing me. His hands slid down mine,
along my hip bones, to my calves, around in a circle, then back up,
stopping where my hands were again. Then he scooted his fingers
under mine, and it dawned on me suddenly.

He wanted to do that part.

I bit my lip and held my breath as he began to provide heated kisses


over the lace. The sensations he was creating was overwhelming and I
wanted to suddenly scream. I closed my eyes, feeling more of his
breath along my stomach and the top of the panties. I felt him smile
against my skin, his hands trailing to my butt and pushing me forward,
so he could kiss there with more force. I gripped his hair again, my
hands shaking at the feeling of new contact he was giving me.

Things that feel this good should be forbidden. Thank God they're not.

His hands continued to massage my behind, my back, my hips, my


thighs, and then he slowly pushed me back to the mattress. He bent
forward and lightly moved me back with his hands, advising me to
relax with his raspy voice. I nodded slowly as I laid back, swallowing
hard. His thumbs trailed to the bottom of the panties on my hips, and
then he bunched them together and began pulling them down. With
every inch of new skin revealed on my legs, he provided a light kiss on
them. One side, then the other, back and forth. I closed my eyes as my
body began to shutter again, not in a nervous way, but in an excited
way. Once I was completely exposed in front of him, his hands began
to provide light massages on my feet, then my calves, then my knees,
then my thighs, then my hips.

My breathing was beyond control at this point, and I didn't try to fight
against it.

Edward's hands scooted me forward, to where my head laid on the


pillows again, and he slowly climbed above me.
I ran my thumbs along his cheek to the top of his brows. "I love you so
much."

He smiled and tilted his head, his diamond eyes blending into mine.
"As I love you." he replied.

I bit the inside of my lip, drinking in every inch of his face. He looked
like an angel. He was perfect, and all mine.

"Hey Bella," he whispered as his hands ran through my hair. "...I know
that you trust me, and you know that I trust you... But ... Would you
mind if I tried something with you?"

I adjusted under him and inhaled slowly. "Anything you want."

I don't think he was expecting that. "Are you sure?"

"Anything." I reassured him.

He smiled and kissed me passionately for a few moments. I began to


breathe unevenly as his tongue slid between my lips, and I pushed
against his face and pulled him to me, desiring more friction. I couldn't
help but feel his body between my legs, and something firm pressing
against me. I gasped when I realized what it was, my fingers tangling
in his hair. Again, the fire began to wash over our bodies as our kisses
became more heavy, more passionate. His tongue swept over mine,
and I arched my back against him, almost begging for contact.

He pulled away slowly, providing a few gentle kisses, then sliding over
to my neck to kiss there. His lips trailed kisses from my neck to my
collar bone while his hands began to massage my stomach and
breasts. I couldn't control my breathing as his warm hands touched
me, and immediately wanted more of it. I closed my eyes and
maintained my breathing while he continued to knead and massage
and caress my skin in uncharted places.

He continued his trail of his lips while his hands worked my body,
trailing kisses between my breasts, down my diaphram, along my ribs,
down my stomach, on my belly button, and then lower. Right before he
got to the part I suddenly desired to have him the most, he stopped,
his face pressing against me while he breathed slowly. I felt his heart
beat on my right leg, and realized he was calming the both of us down.
He wanted to make sure I could handle the situation.
I allowed him a few minutes to relax me, and once he felt I was good
and calm, he trailed his lips over to my right leg, and began kissing
there.

I knew what was coming, or what I hoped was coming, and felt my
entire body tighten with the new ideas crossing my mind.

My unsteady fingers found his hair as he trailed kisses to my inner


thigh, and I began to react with a mixture of awkwardness, nerves,
excitement, and anxiety. I almost wanted to scream just do it already!
but knew that wouldn't work too well. So instead, I closed my eyes, bit
my lip, trembled against his hands, and prayed he'd never stop.

And he didn't.

He postioned us comfortably and I turned my head to focus on a


candle that was lit on his nightstand, being the only light in the room.
His hands continued to run smooth lines along my legs, his attention
focused on me, making sure I was okay.

I knew there was dampness on my skin, thanks to his teasing, and that
concerned me a bit. I mean, I've never done anything like this. Was it
suposse to happen like this? What if he didn't like it?

Oh God.

I swallowed hard, zoning in on the flame.

"Are you all right?" His voice was still raspy, but concerned.

I nodded and chewed the inside of my lip, breathing heavily.

"Do you want me to stop, love?"

I shook my head and ran my fingers through his hair again. "I-I'm just
scared of what you're thinking," I admitted sheepishly.

He popped his head up so he could look at me better. "What do you


mean?"

I shrugged nervously. "I'm not used to feeling this way, and I'm worried
I'm doing something wrong, or that my b-body is, um, doing something
wrong."

He shook his head slightly, his eyes on mine. "You're perfectly fine,
Bella."
I nodded, uncertain.

"Heyyy," he whispered as he crawled up beside me. "If we're going too


fast, you can tell me."

I shook my head and pulled my legs together as my voice began to


shake. "No, no I want to do this. Trust me. I want you to... you know... I
just feel... worried suddenly that you might think there is something
wrong with me."

Edward ran his fingers through my hair and along my cheek, cupping
me softly. "Do you know how beautiful you look right now? Even when
you're nervous?"

I smiled at him but I had to know something before we continued. "I,


um, never asked, and I'm not sure if this is the right time, but have you
ever slept with anyone before?"

Edward shook his head. "I've never been with anyone before you,
Bella."

"B-But you've done other stuff?"

He swallowed and nodded his head. "Don't you worry about that
though. This is me and you. No one else."

I exhaled, feeling foolish. "I just want to be perfect for you, and am
kind of worried of being compared to someone before me."

"I would never do that, Bella. There is no one like you. You're
undeniable, do you know that?"

I shook my head, suddenly lost in his eyes, yet again.

"Well you are, and you're all I want."

I smiled proudly. "Really?"

"Yes."

That made me feel better. "Okay."

"But we don't ha-"

"No, no!" My hand clasped over his lips, making a pop sound. "I want
to!"
He chuckled and kissed my palm, before slowly removing it from his
mouth. "Well then how about we get your nerves out of the way?"

I nodded slowly.

"Still trust me?"

"Yes."

"Okay. I'm going to try something, but I'm not going to touch you yet...
well, nowhere that could frighten you. Is that all right?"

"Yes."

"All right." Edward slowly slid down my body, and placed his hands on
my clasped knees. "Just relax."

I nodded, swallowing the familiar sand paper feeling down. I felt my


legs trembling under his hands, but breathed slowly, and tried to relax
as much as possible. Slowly, he parted my legs with his hands. It took
some time, as I was kind of fighting against the revealing exposure,
but after a few minutes of his soothing voice, listening to the beat of
his heart, and his rubbing hands, I gave in. I closed my eyes once they
were parted, afraid to see his expression. I felt the cool breeze of the
room surround me, and shivered.

It suddenly got too quiet, but I refused to look. I focused on inhaling,


which still came too shallow.

I heard his breathing hitch slightly, listened as his heart became


unsteadily faster, and felt his hands trailing along my legs.

Finally, he spoke the most soothing words he knew possible: "Isabella...


You. Are. So. Beautiful."

Exhaling slow, I allowed my eyes to open, and found him looking at


me. No, not even looking at me. Absorbing me.

I smiled at him and relaxed my muscles.

"...Feel better?"

I nodded and ran my hands across his. "Much. Thank you."

He bit his lip in thought. "Would you like me to try again?"


I couldn't help but smile, and closed my eyes to almost try to hide my
would-be-bashful appearance. "Yes."

"I'm going to kiss now you Bella."

"Alright."

He brought his face closer to my stomach as his fingers slid down my


body, and covered my heat. "Here ...if that's alright?"

Trembling, I nodded.

Edward began breathing on my stomach and providing kisses there. He


inched lower, calmly, and I closed my eyes, keeping my body relaxed. I
sighed, trembling and wanting more suddenly. Too much, probably. I
was scared to death of letting go like this, but the need I had was too
much to resist.

His hot breath was all over me, creating a trail of fire along my cold
skin. His hands continued to massage my stomach, my legs, my hips,
and he gently used his free hand that wasn't rubbing my stomach on
my legs, spreading them apart more. Then he finally pressed his lips
against my skin.

"E-Edward," I gasped in a slight moan. My body began an uneven


dance of hidden emotions and live sensations. I felt so uncontrolled,
yet completely relaxed.

"Yes love?" His breath was hot on my skin.

When I didn't answer, he slowly pressed his forehead to my leg and


began to run his fingers between my legs. I arched my body to his
touch, feeling his finger lingering above my enterance.

"Are you okay?" he asked, his voice almost teasing.

"Yes, yes." I shivered under his touch and parted my lips, inhaling
deep.

He pressed his lips firmer against me, giving slow and sensual kisses
along the top of my heat. Enjoying the newfound sensations, I relaxed
onto the mattress, caving into him. I think he realized this, because he
inched lower and pressed his mouth there, on my most senstive,
sweetest spot. He flicked his tongue along me, causing a growl to
escape from my throat. His hands pushed on my legs, opening me up
more to him, battling the tensing and relaxing motions I was battling.
I couldn't keep my breath steady, but I remained as calm as possible,
lightly moaning when I couldn't hold it back. Edward slowly began to
kiss my body with more passion, until his lips were right above the
center. I exhaled deep and maintained my control, sighing as he
pressed his lips there. I began to tremble at the feel of his tongue
sliding along my folds, around in a small circle, then up the length of
me. I gasped and arched my back, my fingers finding his hair.

"Oh my God," I gasped as his tongue and mouth increased pressure.


He hummed against my skin as his hands gripped my hips, pulling me
closer to him. I relaxed as much as possible, though my legs couldn't
stop shaking, and allowed him to tug me closer. At this point, he could
pretty much do whatever he wanted, as long as he didn't stop.

Edward continued to kiss and tease me with his mouth, creating


different rhythms and motions. I felt my body begin to slowly unravel
beneath his touch as he licked and teased and kissed and suckled. I
felt him bring my legs over his shoulders, and sealed my eyes tight,
overwhelmed by what he was doing to me.

His name kept escaping my lips, and I couldn't shut up. Passion began
to overload as his pressure increased, and I couldn't control my moans.
I covered my face and arched my back slightly, enjoying the different
range of sensations from the slightest movements he made. My body
began to shake uncontrollably as Edward allowed his mouth to
overtake me, to drown me.

I tried to pull away from him at points, afraid it'd be too much, but he
faught against me, holding me in place with his firm hands and
increasing the pressure with his mouth. I wiggled around in gasps,
having some sort of inner battle with myself and him. The way his
mouth was working over me, the way he continued to kiss and flick, it
was as if he was enjoying every single second of it as much as I was.

I became more crazy, moaning loudly, arching my back, tugging my


hair, pulling his hair, pushing on his shoulders, gripping his wrists. He
managed to release his right hand free but allowed me to hold onto his
left. His right hand trailed from my stomach, between my legs, and
stopped once his index finger touched my entrance. Keeping his
tongue suckling on my most sensitive spot, he slowly pushed his finger
inside me. I tightened my leg grip on his shoulders, inhaling deep.

Slowly at first, Edward began to work my body like he knew every inch
of it by heart. His left hand providing soft strokes on the back of mine
with his thumb to keep me as relaxed as possible, his right hand
moved in unison with his kisses. I couldn't stop shaking as my body
was uncontrolled, and as he went stronger with his emotions, I knew I
needed to stop him, or it'd be too late.

Dammit, I didn't want to stop him.

"E-Edward," I gasped, arching my back again. His lips began to suck


against me.

Maybe just a few more minutes.

His tongue widened inside my heat and he began to tease me slowly,


creating long paths around my body. Slowly. Repetitivly.

"Oh my God!" I cried, gripping his hair.

Don't rip it out, Bella. Let go!

"Oh my God, Oh my God!"

You need to stop him, Bella.

"Ungh, E-Edward!"

He refused to stop, only going harder against his mouth.

My entire body shook beneath us, and I knew it was seconds away.

I covered my face, torn between two decisions.

No, you need to stop him! Stop him, stop him!

"Don't stop," I cried, as his tongue began to enter inside my body.

He increased his tempto, his thumb now working my sweet spot as he


continued to lap against me. Willingly.

Stop him right now!

I moaned loudly, shaking my head. He continued his wide strokes as


his lips gathered around me, teasing me more than ever.

"E-Edward," I cried, trying to maintain my focus.

He didn't stop.

"E-Edward!" I cried louder. "Edward, you have to, um, stop! Stop!"
His mouth stopped suddenly and I felt tingles wash over my entire
body. He pressed his face against my leg, breathing deeply for a few
seconds.

"Oh my God," I cried softly, trying to steady my breathing. I pulled on


his shoulders, trying to bring him up to me. After a few more minutes,
he trailed his lips up my leg, across my stomach, between my breasts,
and to my neck.

"Did that feel good to you?" he asked heavily, licking on my neck now.

I nodded, swallowing hard, shaking below him.

"Do you want me to continue?"

Yes, Yes, Yes.

I nodded and then reluctantly shook my head, and closed my eyes


from all the thoughts that crossed my mind, begging him to return. "I-
I'm ready," I finally chocked out.

Edward slowly pulled his face from the crook in my neck and looked at
me. Again, his hooded dark green eyes were filled with nothing but lust
and desire for me. I pulled his face to mine, kissing him urgently. My
taste was on his lips, but it was nothing to be ashamed of. It wasn't
strong. He plunged his tongue into my mouth and pressed his body
hard against me. I sealed my eyes shut between my gasps, gripping
onto his hips and pulling him harder against me. His body was like a
rock between my legs, and as our mouths grew more intense with each
other's, it only seemed to get harder. If possible.

His hands cupped my breasts gently as he groaned in my mouth, then


pressed his forehead to mine to catch his breath. I trailed my fingers
along his spine to his boxers, and gripped the waistband tight.

"Please?" I asked, lifting them gently from his back. He nodded and
raised his body to help me pull them down. When I finally saw him
naked, I couldn't help but gasp and drop my mouth. I knew what it was
supposed to look like, and how big is should have been, but I slightly
began to feel nervous taking in the view. It was going to hurt, that was
for certain. I expected him to be large, but not this big. I bit my lip and
looked up at his eyes, but he smiled reassuringly.

"I won't hurt you," he said.

I couldn't help but return the smile. "I know you won't."
Our bodies intertwined as we rolled over and he kicked them off the
rest of the way. Now I was on top of him, but made a point to not sit
down on him, afraid of certain things. The candlelight flickered in his
eyes as I trailed my fingers up his chest. I leaned forward and provided
subtle kisses along his abdomen, his diaphram, his chest, and up to the
left side of his neck. Keeping my lips over my teeth, I licked and began
to suck lightly on him. Carefully. Restricted but not too much.

I ran my fingers through his hair and listened to him breathe heavily,
pressure increasing. His warm hands began to massage my sides and
the small of my back. He was sweating slightly, and I loved the taste of
his sweetness as I licked along his neck to his ear. I sucked on his
earlobe gently, causing him to gasp and then exhale deep. It seemed
like every time I breathed in his ear a certain way or kissed below it
with a certain amount of pressure, his breathing would catch. I found
his soft spot.

I wrapped my arms around his neck, my fingers rubbing along his


hairline. My lip quivered but I was certain. "I want you Edward."

He paused for a second, then raised our bodies up to a sitting position,


his hands holding me tight. "Bella, I want you too."

He pulled my chest to his, wrapping his arms tight around his body,
and began kissing below my chin, on the sensitive skin there on my
neck. He began to pull the covers from underneath us, then around us.
I leaned my head back, allowing him more access. Once he began to
suckle there, I let out a muffled cry, winding my fingers tight around
his body. I felt him tug me closer to him, all the way, then push us
forward, to where I was now on my back and he was above me, facing
toward his radio with our heads on the opposite side of the bed. He
kissed me with a wild passion, and didn't let up until we were both
gasping for air. We were both shaking at this point, and it was nice to
know I wasn't the only one who was a little nervous.

I raised my head up and pressed his mouth to mine again, pulling his
weight down on me. We both knew that it was time, and we both
wanted it more than anything. We were both frightened for the new
experience, but knew we were completely safe, wrapped up and
intertwined with the other. This was how it was supposed to be.

Edward pulled his mouth from mine, but didn't remove his lips. He
breathed his sweet scent into my mouth and closed his eyes as his
bottom lip quivered. My hand trailed up his stomach and stopped over
his heart. It was pounding against my palm, harder than ever before.
He smiled nervously to me, looking so sexy that I could almost unravel
at the sight of him. I ran my fingers through his hair as I kept my other
hand steady to his chest. He was amazing, my own little heaven on
earth. And when he smiled that crooked smile at me, he looked
absolutely perfect. I closed my eyes and inhaled his scent, allowing it
the notion to overwhelm me.

"Bella, open your eyes."

I opened them and found his, causing us to both smile. I scooted my


body under him slightly, gaining the closeness we needed. I found his
waist and began to pull him toward me. He leaned down and kissed me
sweetly, sincerely, slowly. I breathed him in, almost drinking his taste,
and cried slightly in his mouth from the enjoyment. He pulled away and
zoned his eyes on mine as his right hand began to spread my legs
apart. His glistening lips shined in the faint light, and they were
trembling still. I smiled up at him, not feeling too insecure with his
hand touching me, preparing me for him. I wanted him more than ever
now.

Edward brought his hands back up my trembling cold body, up to my


neck, and his right hand cradled my head as he lifted it.

He pressed his forehead to mine and blinked slowly. "Stay here," he


whispered softly.

I nodded, consuming his sweet breath as my hands trailed up his arms


to his wrists, where I held him still.

I locked my gaze with him and trembled as our lips were so close but
so far away from each others. I desired to kiss him, but didn't want to
remove my eyes from his. I wanted it to be this intimate. So did he. I
felt his body adjust between my legs, and closed my eyes, suddenly
feeling faint.

"You're okay..." he whispered softly, causing me to open me eyes and


refocus on him.

I nodded and swallowed hard. "I'm okay... S-So are you."

My entire body was suddenly a tight wire and I couldn't breathe. I felt
his tip touching me slowly, trying to enter. I cried out loud and sealed
my eyes shut, trying to relax my body. It felt like it was ripping almost,
even though I knew the dampness he created in my body was more
than there. Still, it wasn't working. I felt him pull away and then press
his warm, shaking lips to my forehead. I rubbed his sweaty hands with
mine, which were still cradling my head. Then he pressed his damp
forehead to mine again, and tried again. The tip began to enter as the
fire between us increased tenfold. My lips parted and I was slowly
inhaling with small gasps, but I couldn't focus on anything but the
green and gold flecks in his eyes, and his trembling lips.

My body was ever so slowly adjusting to his, burning completely,


hurting a little, and I couldn't speak. I closed my eyes tight, shaking in
his hands.

"Try to stay relaxed, my love," he whispered, kissing my cheeks and


eyelids.

I nodded, swallowing hard and trying to listen to his direction.

He pulled the tip out slowly, then began to push back in. My body
continued to tighten as his warmth began to engulf me, and I opened
my eyes to find him staring directly into mine. My breathing hitched.
He looked like an angel. A real one. His face was almost pale like mine
in the moonlight. His eyes were wide and overtaking. His red lips were
parted and his bottom lip quivered. But he looked calm. Content even.

"W-Will you stay looking at me?" I asked unsteadily, my voice so light I


wasn't sure he'd be able to hear me. I felt if he continued to look at
me, it'd be easier for me.

"Of course," he whispered back.

Keeping my focus on his and trying to relax, I felt more and more of
him inch inside of me. Slow as ever, and steady, but overpowering.
Then, the fire surrounded me. He caressed my right hip with his warm
hand while his left hand continued to hold my forehead to his. I
matched my breathing with his, every time he inhaled, I exhaled. Every
time I inhaled, he exhaled.

Then it hurt again.

My hands found his chest and I began to push slightly against him. His
lips parted and he pulled away a few inches, but not all the way out.
Then he pushed back, slowly, until he was almost in. My body was
quivering beneath him with each back and forth movement, and as
time passed us by and I relaxed eventually, I felt more and more of
him inside of me. His moans began to escape his throat and he stifled
his rugged breathing to the best of his control.

At last, we were one. All the way.


I exhaled and laid my head back against the foot of the mattress,
relieved that the hardest part was over. Sure, he was obviously there,
all around me, and every centimeter of my body was aching around
him. But it wasn't overly painful. Just new.

Edward slowly leaned in and kissed my eyelids, then my cheeks, then


my bottom lip. With shaking hands, I reached around to the small of his
back and pushed him on me. Our eyes widened as he entered all the
way in again, and a beautiful crooked smile crossed his lips.

"Are you all right?"

"Yes," I nodded, in a daze of excitement.

"Do you know how much I love you?"

I smiled, absorbing each word from his lips slowly. "Yes."

Slow at first, he began to pick up his pace and movements. His body
sunk in and out of me, pushing his fire inside my cold body. We began
to kiss again as the passion overloaded and we were finally becoming
relaxed. We closed our eyes and drew our tongues against each other,
creating invisible sparks. It felt so incredible to have so much us
connected... our fingers intertwined with each others. Our bodies. Our
mouths. Our breathing. I slowly began to move my legs higher, not
around him yet, but higher as the burning began to subside.

His heart was pounding like a bass drum.

He pulled his face away and gave me another smile, mesmerizing me.
After asking if I was okay again, his pace began to range from slow to
fast then slow again, but never too hard. He closed his eyes as I ran
my fingers up his stomach, gasping for air as he steadied himself
above me. I watched as his body rose and fell above mine, how his
bottom lip quivered, how his dark eyelashes fluttered. He opened his
eyes slowly, wanting to find only me there with him, and leaned over
until his lips found mine again. His kiss was calm and genuine. The
pace was deep, then shallow, then deep again. His lips were on mine
as if he were savoring the sensations.

I felt so fulfilled at that moment.

Complete.

Fixed.
No, no, not just fixed...

Unbroken, as if I'd never been hurt before.

Whimpering slightly, I pushed him so we could lay on our sides and


hitched my leg over his. I refused to let him exit, grinding against him
and pulling my chest to his. Then he grabbed my body and pulled me
with him to the edge of the bed. I rolled on him, climbing to my knees
but never allowing us to part. Edward's eyes were wide and almost wild
like as he took in the new vision of my body. When I finally worked up
the courage to move above him, I was overwhelmed with the new
craze of sensations this created. It was a bit stronger now, a bit more
intense. Not too painful, but still a little ... sore. Yet not. It still felt
good, somehow.

Edward's warm hands trailed along my arms as I moved above him.


Carefully. Slowly. Soothing me. His breathing was as lost as mine, and
that only created the strength for me to move against him with more
pressure. Allowing myself more of him. I threw my head back to get
the fallen hair off of my face, and he groaned at the sight of that. My
body began to shake again because of the feel of him, and I began to
grip him on the balls of his shoulders for balance. He blew in my face
since we were both overheated, and held his hands on my hips to help
guide me.

I began to moan his name loudly, on repeat. "Edward, Oh Edward... E-


Edward." It felt so amazing, I didn't want to stop.

He inhaled deep and lifted his body, scooping me up in his arms again
but maintaining our contact. The covers were tangled up with us now.
Sitting almost inside his legs, I wrapped my shaken legs around his
waist and pushed my body against him, begging for more contact.

He closed his eyes and inhaled, then sighed my name. "...Bella...."

That pretty much broke me.

My body began to shake as he moved us around again, to where I was


now under him and we were back on the right side of the bed. I threw
the pillows away from us and pulled him down to me, craving more of
him. All of him. He lifted my legs up higher around his waist and
pushed back inside me, with much easier access this time. The warmth
overtook the both of us, and a sudden urgency surrounded us. I nearly
clawed at him as began to pick up his pace. Slow at first, then faster
and then slow again, then really fast. His moans and groans matched
mine, and we both couldn't remember how to breath properly. I
tightened my grip on my legs, begging him to be closer. He thrusted
against me as his body began to shake above mine.

I drew his tongue into my mouth, causing him to moan loudly. He


kissed me with that strong passion again, to where I began to feel
dizzy and overwhelmed.

I felt his hands begin to massage and knead at my breasts, my ribs,


then my hips as he slowly picked up my lower body for better access. It
definetly made the slight pain I was still feeling subside a little, which
made it even more enjoyable for the both of us at the new angle. I
moved my body along with his, and he couldn't kiss me anymore.
Instead, he just kept his lips above mine, shaking against mine,
panting with me. My fingers tangled in his hair and I kept my eyes on
his.

He closed his eyes tight and began to move faster, getting lost in his
own sensations. I felt my entire body begin to shudder and I fought
against it, trying to wait on him. He buried his heated face into my
neck, breathing shallow against it as his body matched mine thrust for
thrust. He was smiling against my skin between his heavy exhales, and
I felt his hand slide between my legs and his body. As soon as his
thumb touched my over-sensitive spot with his body still entering me, I
bucked my hips toward him, and threw my arms around his shoulders.
He continued thrusting inside of me, slower and deeper now, as his
thumb stroked against my heat.

"Oh my God," I moaned into his left ear as I continued to grip ahold of
him. I couldn't stop. "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my
God..."

I felt my entire cold body light on fire down there, and I quickly buried
my face into his shoulder, gasping for air.

"E-Edward," I cried, overwhelmed by this foreign sensation. By the


tingles. Everywhere.

"It's okay," he moaned as he slightly kissed my ear.

His breathing once was again out of control as he brought his face
back around, and pressed his forehead against mine.

I was completely lost and awestruck, watching his eyes on mine,


feeling his breath uncontrolled, the rhythm in his chest, noticing how
swollen his bottom lip was as he bit it, feeling the fire between our
bodies, the sparks against us, the movement of his hands and his
body...

I lost it.

I shut my eyes as the tremor washed over me, slow at first, then
completely overtaking me and knocking me down. Exploding me,
engulfing me. It was everywhere now. I shook under his body, rocking
and moaning his name so loud it bounced off of the walls. I felt his
body explode inside me, and he pushed me down on the mattress as
our waves continued to take us over. He continued to move inside me
as he whispered my name on his lips. I couldn't get any more wrapped
around him then at that moment. There was no way I could let him go
now.

He fell against me as his arms gave out, both of us trembling around


each other. He buried his face into my neck the same time I did his,
and we hugged each other tight. It was the best feeling in the world,
being with him like this.

And even though I thought it'd never be possible to love a human more
than I all ready loved him... now, somehow, I was more in love with
him.

I sighed as his heart strummed through his chest against mine and he
smiled against my neck. I pressed my cheek against his soaked hair,
inhaling his sweet scent. There was no where else in the entire world
I'd rather be than right there with him.

After a few minutes, he slowly removed his body from mine and rolled
us over, to where I could lay my head on his chest and relax. I felt
happy. So new. Alive.

I heard him smile as his hand glided up and down my back in slow
general sweeps. He raised my hand up and kissed my palm, then my
wrist, then kissed the top of my head. I smiled to myself and looked up
at him. As soon as his eyes were on mine, I knew that this was meant
to be.

We stared into each other's eyes for a few moments, reliving our night.

When he spoke again, his voice was velvty smooth and more than
caring. "Are you happy?" he whispered.

I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off my face, of course I was happy. I
just beamed at him and nodded.
"So am I. I love you more than anything in this entire world, you know
that right?"

Okay, now my dorky smile got even bigger. I nodded again, biting my
lip.

"Do you love me too?"

I giggled and buried my face in his chest for a moment, then nodded
one last time. I couldn't speak, I was too elated.

Edward's breathing became more shallow and deep with time, and his
hand slowly stilled on my back. I closed my eyes, fantasizing about
what I would be dreaming about if I could at that moment. Him, of
course. And this night.

Right before I thought he was asleep, his voice became that sexy and
raspy sound again. "I'm so glad I waited for you, Bella."

All I could do was smile like a goon against his chest, nod in reply,
snake my arms around his body hoping to never let go, and finally,
soak in his breathing as he fell asleep.

There was nothing that could compare to this night. Words couldn't
describe, so I didn't try and bother with them.

It was indeed, perfect.


Chapter 16: And So It Goes...

As soon as the golden hot sun began to shine above the green-lit trees,
creating a ban of rays along our tangled bodies through the glass of his
bedroom windows, a wave of energy crashed over me. Everything that
occurred replayed in my head for the hundredth time, and as I looked
over to my right, seeing my sparkling arm trailed over his perfect tan
chest, and watching him breathe slowly while in a dream... I couldn't
help but smile.

After inhaling his scent greedily for one last time, I shot out of the bed,
threw on Edward's bronzed button down shirt from last night and
galloped down the steps. I heard his brothers and sisters come in
drunk and loud around four thirty this morning, and knew they'd still be
crashed out since it was only eight am now. Carlisle and Esme never
showed up last night, but they did call and leave a message on the
answering machine down stairs stating that they were fine and would
be home late tonight.

With my new found confidence and upbeat attitude, I decided I was


going to try and tackle breakfast again for him, and serve it fancy-style
in bed. So I opened the fridge, biting my lip with the confusing
decisions of food, and decided to choose eggs for my experiment --
something that sounded easy. But as soon as I set the pan on the
stove and looked at the carton, I furrowed my brows. How did this work
exactly?

I scratched my head and tried to replay all the tv shows with food in it,
but nothing came to mind. Giving in, I ran to the front room and turned
on the tv, searching for the Food Network. Thankfully, the
infommercials were over and some older white haired lady was
explaing something other than breakfast food. No freakin' help.
So I just put the whole white thing in the pan and break it open while it
cooks? Trying that, I stuck the egg in the pan and turned on the heat.
Then I smashed it with my hand, causing the little white pieces to mix
with all the nasty thick stuff. Ew, that doesn't look right.

No, the shells don't go inside the food, you have to break it... I rinsed
out the pan and tried again, this time cracking the shell lightly with my
fingernail and popping the nasty film-like items. Of course, they stuck
to the pan quick, and turned brown before I could react. Burnt it. Great.
Try it again, Bella.

So do I put butter in the pan first? Or some kind of greasy substance so


it wouldn't stick? I searched through all the cabinets and found some
Canola oil and butter. I blended them together and poured them into
the pan, which caused a nasty smell and sizzle action. Then the grease
busted and hit me on the arm. I growled, rinsing out the pan for the
third time. Then I inspected the egg carton, verifying that there was no
directions on it. Of course, there wasn't. I sighed, and spread butter
alone on the pan, refusing to use that popping oil crap again. That stuff
sucks.

Finally, the yellow nasty stuff didn't burn. But what heat did I put it on?
I settled for the middle notch, because middle is not too cold and not
too hot. Should do okay.

Do you add stuff to the eggs, like pepper or milk or seasoning?


Annoyed with my brain, I added a bit of pepper and a dash of milk.
That seemed simple enough.

How did I cook them, scrambled or with little orange circles in the
middle like you see on the movies? As I was trying to decide, the eggs
that laid there in a mixture of white and nasty yellow crop circles
started to get brown rings around it. I was burning it again! I sighed.
This was hard. Why couldn't I just cook it in the microwave? That
appeared to be the best bet. Simple and uncomplicated, right?
Deciding to try that, I stuck the new egg in in a plastic bowl and
shoved in in the microwave. Four minutes, that sounded good. I
guess...

POP!

Not even half that time, I heard a loud noise and rushed over to the
microwave to find it covered in exploding yellow and white gooey stuff.
Oops! I forgot to break the shell! I threw my head in my hands,
growling to myself. This cooking stuff is too complicated. I didn't like it.
I needed something with directions. I left the microwave door open and
dug through the cabinets, searching for some sort of breakfast food
item with vivid step-by-step instructions on the box. After fifteen
minutes of rummaging, I found it.

"Ah ha!" I shouted, jumping up and down. "Pancake mix! And all you
have to do is add water! Yes, this is perfect!"

The only other mess I made was when I tried to blend the mix and
water together, and didn't put the lid on the blender all the way. Some
of the cake batter exploded on Edward's shirt and in my hair. I washed
it off quickly from his shirt, afraid it'd stain it. After twenty minutes of
getting myself covered in batter, and four pancakes burnt to charcoal, I
finally achieved three that were looking half decent. I stuck a few lops
of butter on it, poured some syrup in a bowl beside it, and a glass of
orange juice, which he seemed to always like. Then I figured I needed
to go get a flower to decorate the tray with, and maybe write him a
little note. I was going for fancy, after all.

So I ran outside and picked the prettiest sunflower I could find. When I
was back inside, I hunted down a pen in Carlisle's study. Leaning over
the counter, I began my note. It took four scraps of crumbled paper to
get what I wanted to say out without sounding foolish or dumb. I mean,
how do you describe a feeling so incredible as the one he gave me last
night? How do I tell him about how content I was just lying beside him?

Finally, I decided to just tell the truth, and go with:

Dear Edward,
I've spent the past ten minutes trying to figure out how to
explain to what is floating around in my head, which is not an
easy thing to do, as you can imagine... I wanted to tell you
what it was like for me to watch you drifting to sleep with a
smile on your face. It amazed me, the way you continued to
hold onto my arm tight across your chest while you were
dreaming, as if you were trying to bring me along with you, to
a fairy-tale kingdom meant for only us. I've never been
surrounded by so much magic in my life. I cannot express this
in enough ways... There isn't a size that is capable of being
compared to the amount of love that I hold for you. Without
you, I don't exist in this world, because you're everything to
me. Thank you for giving me my life back. I've missed it, and I
love you.
For Eternity, Isabella.

God that's cheesy.


But it's how I felt. I didn't know if I should write my full name since I
don't normally go by it, but the way it sounded on his lips last night,
made me kind of like it more... A little. As I was signing it, I heard
someone behind me clearing their throat. I froze stiff, suddenly too
familiar with Edward's thin shirt over my otherwise naked body, and
closed my eyes. Please don't let it be Carlisle and Esme, Please don't
let it be Carlise and Esme, please, please, please.

I was too caught up in my own thoughts to hear anyone coming in the


room, let alone a car pulling in the drive. Holding my breath, I slowly
turned around against the island, and came face to face with
something worse than Edward's adopted father and mother seeing me
in nothing but their son's shirt. I squared my shoulders and bit my lip
as I took in his slanted, cocky smile and wide chestnut eyes. "H-Hey
Emmett."

He stood in front of me, wearing lose silver shorts over boxer briefs
and no shirt. The short, dark hair on his head messed every which way,
as if it had been yanked on, and the worse perverted expression was
planted firmly on his face. He shook his head slowly in his own thought
and didn't stop himself from taking in my appearance. "What's up?"

I shrugged nonchalantly, prancing on my feet. "Nothing. Um, do you


uh, need something?"

He smirked. "It looks like you set a food bomb off in the kitchen."

I swallowed hard and looked around. The microwave door was open
with dried up nasty goop dripping from it. There were pans and egg
shells along the stove, counter, and trash. The sink was filled with
more bowls. The stuff from the cabinets were placed everywhere, and
the mix from the blender was still on the ceiling and in my hair. "I-I'm
sorry, I'll clean it up."

"...Were you trying to cook or something?"

"Or something..." I verified as I walked behind the counter, not liking


his eyes on my legs. "Not very successfully."

"Are you cooking for just you and Edward, or for all of us?"

"Just, um, him."

"Good." He smirked again and bit his bottom lip as his eyes zoned in on
Edward's shirt. "What's the occasion?"
I shrugged. "It's... Sunday?"

"Ahh, Thou Lord art watching. I wonder what he'd think of you wearing
that shirt... I bet he's not being too subtle about it. I almost hear the
cursing in the clouds."

I held my chin up, trying to refuse him from making me feel guilty. "I'll
be out of the kitchen now, and I'll be back down to clean the mess in a
few." I took the pancakes from under the light I created as a heat lamp,
stuck it on the tray with my note, along with the juice, flower, and
syrup, and brushed past him as quick as possible without making it too
obvious of how bad I wanted to get away from his stare.

I listened as he ran after me, stopping at the banister. "Hey, hey, Bella,
wait, I just have one question. Please?" I froze on the top of the second
set of stairs and looked down to him, showing him my annoyed
expression. "Yes?" He licked his lips slowly, looking up at me. "...Was it
good?"

If the Lord Himself was truly watching us right now, he would strike me
dead from the look I just gave him. I could almost picture the daggers
in his chest, in full detail. "You're such a jerk," I sputtered as I stormed
up the stairs and into Edward's bedroom, shutting the door behind me.
I heard Emmett laughing as he entered his bedroom, followed by
Rosalie growling and telling him to shut up, that he was being too loud
and she had a headache. But as soon as I focused in on Edward, laying
on his stomach with his arms stretched out on the bed and thin sheet
barely covering his back, all my frustrations went out the window.

I smiled and walked over to him, carefully sitting the tray on the
nightstand. He looked so peaceful and serene, it was almost a shame
to wake him. I sat beside him and ran my fingers through his swept
bronzed hair, smiling at his warmth that crossed my fingers. His
breathing was shallow, sounding almost like a newborn baby. I could
honestly stare at him like that forever, and not mind one bit. He was
glorious. As I continued to brush through his locks, he slowly began to
move, nuzzling his face in the pillow beneath him. He was slightly
sighing in his half-sleep daze, and then a crooked smile creased his
lips. It melted the ice around my heart instantly.

"Hey sleepyhead," I whispered to him. "I made you breakfast." His


smile grew wide as his eyelashes fluttered for a few seconds, and then
he stretched out his body, making a slight humming sound. I almost
fell off the bed. Being so close to something so angelic shouldn't be
possible. The sparkling green and golden flecks on his eyes appeared
slowly as he batted his eyes awake, and when he saw me sitting there,
he nuzzled his face in the pillow again, then looked at me, as if he were
drinking me in. "Mmm, good morning." He stretched up on his elbows,
looking around the room, then focusing on the tray. "Wow, that smells
delicious."

"Well I made it for you." I sighed, drowning innocently in the sound of


his sexy, raspy, just-woken-up voice.

"Mmm, thank you sweetheart."

I picked the tray up as he flopped over on his back, and carefully


positioned it over his legs, making sure not to spill the orange juice. "It
took awhile to make," I confessed slyly. "I'm not really getting better at
this whole cooking thing yet. But I made it with love, if that makes a
difference." He chuckled, breathing it in. "I'm sure it's wonderful. But
even it ends up being bad, you still get an A for effort. How about
that?" I nodded. "Works for me."

I watched as he smeared the melting butter over the three brown


pancakes and then poured the maple syrup over them. Then he sat the
knife down, and picked up the sunflower, twirling it between his index
finger and thumb with a pleasant smile on his face. "How sweet," he
complimented at the touch. After, he lifted the folded note with one
hand as he took a drink with the other. My stomach notched tight as he
took my letter, and I climbed off of the bed and walked toward his
stereo, trying to distract myself. I was too embarrassed to be around
him when he read it.

It was too quiet in the room, only the faint sound of his steady heart
and his shallow breaths surrounding me. I fingered his book shelves,
taking in his literature collection, pouring my focus over the thick
bindings. I heard the bed shuffling behind me in the echoing distance
of my mind, and tried to ignore it. But when two warm arms
surrounded my waist and a heated body covered with only a thin sheet
touched my back, I snapped back into reality.

Edward's beating heart strummed against my body as he rested his


chin on my right shoulder, nuzzling me close. "You're welcome," he
whispered softly. "And I love you too. Always." I bit the inside of my lip
and turned to face him. My smile matched his identically, and I stood
on my tiptoes to kiss his cheek. "Go eat," I gently demanded. "Before it
gets cold." He snickered and pulled the sheet up so he could climb
back in the bed. I watched as he cut into the food and took his bite,
praying that it didn't taste like rocks to him. He smirked and nodded
his head. "That's some good shit."
I giggled and relaxed my shoulders, enjoying my view of the fork
sliding in and out of his lips with each bite he took. He made slight
moans and smiles as he chewed, content in his place. I walked over to
the bed, and resumed my place next to him. Well, even if the rest of
the kitchen could blow up with anything else I attempted to make,
there will at least be pancakes. I hoped he loved them as much as his
face showed, because with my cooking skills, he'll probably be eating a
lot of them.

After he finished eating and removed the tray from his legs, he snaked
his arms around my waist and pulled me to him, my chest to his,
covering us up in his warm covers. He held me against his body as his
hands began a slow teasing torture along the small of my back.

"Are you feeling alright?" He asked concerned, obviously talking about


last night. I stretched out across him, loving every second of my life. "I
feel perfect." I breathed him in slowly, nuzzling my face against his
smooth shoulder. I felt his hands lower down my body, cupping my
bottom in his palms. I looked up to find him smiling the most devilish
smile possible. "What are you smiling about?" I prided too innocently.

He squeezed his hands a couple times. "Your... ass," he confessed


heavily, with a chuckle. "It's nice." I buried my face in his chest, trying
to hide my expression. "You look really sexy in my clothes by the way.
Almost as good as you look without clothes... Almost." I pushed my
face harder against him. "Stop it," I growled at him, loving every
second of his compliment shower. "Aww," he released me with one
hand to cradle the back of my head in a teasing manner. "Poor baby." I
snickered into his skin and playfully slapped his stomach. "I'm really
going to beat you up in a second."

"Oohh, I would love to see you try."

"I could totally do it if I wasn't worried about hurting you..."

Before I could finish my sentence, he had me flipped under him on my


back, and his naked body sprawling out above me was suddenly very
apparent. I bit my lip as he ground against me, holding my hands tight
above my head while breathing heavily into my neck. I made little
effort to fight against him when he placed both my wrists in his left
hand and trailed his right hand along the buttons of his shirt. He began
to unfasten them one by one, placing kisses with each inch of skin
revealed, between my breasts, along my diaphram, down to my
stomach. I held my breath when he began to blow warm air against my
skin, shivering slightly under him. "W-What are you doing?" I gasped as
be adjusted his weight over me better. He smirked as he placed his
forehead to my stomach. "What do you think I am doing?" I inhaled
deep, squirming around as his fingers placed light feather-like strokes
along my inner thighs. "Torturing me?" I asked roughly. He chuckled
and removed his hands, causing me to exhale in frustration. He sat up
on his knees, caressing my waist gently as a crooked smile planted on
his lips.

I sighed. "Tease."

"I'm going to brush my teeth. Would you care to join me, then maybe
take a shower with me?"

It didn't take but one second to make a decision, as I scurried around


him and climbed on my knees off the bed, running toward the
bathroom. He laughed and followed me, wrapping his arm around me
as I wet my toothbrush, which he purchased for me a few weeks back,
so I could have one at both my Dad's place and his. He giggled as I
brushed bashfully, shying away from him and covering my mouth from
his view when I spit.

After we were rinsed, I all but again fought against his adorable eyes
as he undressed me, then picked me up to where my back was against
his chest, and he pulled me behind the glass shower door. The hot
water sizzled as it touched my cold skin, and steam heavily filled the
marble bathroom within seconds. We laughed and playfully flirted with
each other as we lathered our bodies up. He'd tickle me and torture
me with sudsy kisses, and I'd push him against the wall, pretending
like I wanted him to go away. Then he rolled his eyes in the back of his
head when I scrubbed the shampoo through his hair, and applied
kisses to my neck when he washed mine. We were completely in sync,
and the chemistry was beyond overwhelming with each kiss we made.
Every light touch between us continued the electric current feeling,
and all but overtook us completely.

But after we rinsed off, when he had his face in the water, and I went
to place my mine on his back, I paused.

Then all the blunt cold-hard reality from my too-good-to-be-true


morning finally set in.

There were fingernail marks lining in all areas along the length of his
back. The scratches weren't too deep to cause severe bleeding or
infections -- thank God for the both of us -- but definetly apparent with
their red and white bubbled colors. I glanced down his body, and found
large but faint bruises on the sides of his hips, in the exact positions of
where my knees would go as I pulled him against me last night.
"Oh my God!" I clapped my hands over my mouth, backing away from
him quick, until I hit the wall, knocking over a few bottles. Edward flung
his body around, his eyes wide in shock and concern. "Bella, what is
it?" I pointed at his body, trying to fight back a scream. "Look!" was all
I managed to say. Edward looked down his stomach, holding his hands
wide in the air. "What? What is it? Bella? What?" I continued to thrust
my shaken finger at him, as I began to hyperventilate. He did a slight
twirl, trying to figure out what I was pointing at.

"I-I hurt you!" I gasped too loudly. "I'm so sorry, I-I didn't mean to! I-I
di-"

"Bella what on earth are you talking about? I'm fine!"

"No you're not! Edward, look at your hips! Your back! Oh my God!" I
covered my face and sunk down to the ground, curling myself in a fetal
position.

I should have known this was too good to true. I should have thought
about this before I tried so carefree like to seduce him! Even when I'm
nervous and shy, I still managed to hurt the one person I cared about
more than anything else! This isn't happening, this isn't happening.

After a few seconds, I felt Edward's hands on my wrists but I pulled


away from him. I looked to my lap, jerking my face away from his next
attempt.

"Bella, I'm okay. I swear it, Angel."

I shook my head, curling my fists into my hair. "I'm so sorry, I'm so


sorry, I didn't think about the consequ-"

Edward's hands covered my mouth as he jerked my chin to force me to


look at him. When I moved my eyes from his, he shook my face until I
settled on his. He almost looked angry at me, which made me feel
worse. "Bella, listen to me. Listen to me! I. Am. Okay. Alright? You. Did.
Not. Hurt. Me."

Again, I tried to look away but he just clasped my face with both his
hands, and yanked me forward, to where I was on my knees in front of
him. "Edward, stop!" I shouted, afraid I'd hurt him somehow by pulling
away too harsh. "You're not okay!"

"Bella!" He shook my shoulders before pulling my face to a mere


centimeter from his. "Listen to me! Breathe! ...Breathe, Bella!" He blew
on my face to calm me, and I inhaled deep and held it as my face
trembled in his hands. I looked to see my pale fingers grasping ahold
of his wrists, and moved them instantly, praying I wouldn't leave more
marks.

"Breathe... Shhh, just breathe..."

I inhaled a few more times, not even realizing I was close to


convulsions. Ragged and unsure, I stole a glance at his face, wondering
what kind of torture he was trying to hold back. But his eyes were
calm, and stilled on my face.

"Do you love me?" he asked, not letting me go.

I nodded as my face turned sour and my lip began to quiver. "Yes and
I'm so sor-"

"Noo, that's not what I wanted to hear. Do you love me, yes or no?"

I swallowed. "Y-Yes."

His voice was still deep but a bit calmer now. "Then listen to me. You
didn't hurt me. I hadn't even realized the marks until you pointed them
out. They are only tiny scratches and faint bruises, and they probably
won't even last the rest of the day. It's no big deal. I-"

I cut him off. "No big deal?" I shouted, trying to pull away from him but
wincing as I was afraid to hurt him still. "How can you say that?
Edward, it's a huge deal!"

His hand covered my mouth roughly, as he jerked me forward, my


chest slamming against him, which caused me to panic again. I could
tell he was getting frustrated with me, which made it worse.

"Stop doing that!" I shouted, "You're gonna make it worse!"

"BELLA!" He screamed at me, causing me to stiffen immediately.

I trembled against him as the steam and water continued to surround


us. Edward forced my face to his, kissing me fierce. My fingers found
his shoulders and I tried to carefully push him away, but he refused,
kissing me harder. A million thoughts ran through my mind: What if he
was crushing his nose? What if I bite his lip? What if my push or my
pull or my kiss, what if they're all too strong?

He tangled my soaked hair in his warm fingers, not releasing me until I


caved in and kissed him back, nearly crying against his lips. I wished I
could cry, somehow, to prove to him how sorry I was. I never meant to
hurt him. He moved his lips from mine, inhaling deep as he covered my
still heart with his palm.

"This is love," he spoke with a dominated, firm voice. "Sometimes,


things don't go as well as planned, or have certain reprocutions that
we must live with. But we had an irreplaceable evening last night, and I
am not going to let you spoil it for me, or for yourself, all right? They
are fading marks, Bella. Nothing permanent, and I swear to you, it was
not painful for me at all. I didn't even notice, being so swept up in your
every movement. I mean how could I, when there's an Angel
connected to me like that?" He paused to caress my face gently. "You
and I, Bella. That's what matters. All this other stuff, it is only
temporary. It fades. So please do not panic and stop worrying. Because
I intend to make love to you every single chance I can possibly get,
whether you like it or not."

Although I was completely stressed to the max and frustrated by our


reprocutions, as Edward put it, I couldn't help but laugh slightly at that
last part. Edward returned my smile, calming me more as his hands
continued to soothe me. "Besides," he continued once he realized I was
calming down. "Guys think it's pretty fucking sexy when girls dig their
nails into their backs. Why in the hell would you think I would be any
different?"

I sighed. "Edward, it's not th-"

His hand covered my mouth again. "It's exactly the same. Now come
here, I'm not done with you yet." He pulled me deeper into his
embrace, kissing my neck vigorously. I threw my fingers into his hair,
sighing against his body. "I just love you so much, and don't ever want
to hurt you."

"You won't." He said, breaking away from his kisses momentarily.


"Which means you can't let me, Edward." I continued, grasping his hair
tighter. "You have to help me with my control, because sometimes I do
things and don't even know I am doing them."

"You'll never hurt me."

"Promise me."

He sighed. "I promise, Bella."

"Okay."
As he pulled his face away, the water cascading over our bodies freely,
he smiled at me, and I noticed that hood filled expression in his eyes. I
felt it begin to overwhelm me, and I trembled in his touch. Though I
was afraid I'd hurt him again, my desire was too strong, and I couldn't
help but to give in. I just made sure to not use my nails this time... or
grip onto his waist too hard with my knees.

Edward, however, had other plans, as he pressed himself completely


against me, causing the butterflies to return, the current to overwhelm
us, and my to react to him.

Within seconds, our bodies crashed into each other, and we were
creating more steam in that all ready heated bathroom.

"Hey, Bella!" Charlie rose from the couch, smiling to me as Edward and
I walked into the door. "Fancy seeing you here within daylight hours."

I smiled, grasping Edward's hand tighter. "I know, it's a miracle."

His eyes momentarily locked on mine and Edward's hands, then


bounced between our faces, before finally settling on Edward's alone. I
swallowed hard as Dad smiled to him in thought. Deep thought.

Oh God.

"How are you doing today, Sir?" Edward beamed at him, as he ran his
thumb along the back of my hand.

I had been nervous about bringing him over here today. But Carlise
and Esme aren't predicted to be home until late tonight, and with the
rest of Edward's brothers and sisters nursing hangovers and rotating
groans and curse words, we decided we needed to go show Charlie we
were a permanent packaged deal. Plus we couldn't bare the sound of
Emmett throwing up in the bathroom any longer.

Edward didn't hesitate to laugh on the way over here, cocky grin on his
face. "Your dad can't read minds, can he?" he asked, clearly amused.

I arched my brow. "No...why?"

He snickered as he licked his lips. "Just wanted to make sure he wasn't


going to see the images that have played constantly in my head."

I chewed on the inside of my cheek, fighting back a grin. "Images?"


"You know," he gestured with his hands in a circle motion as he
stopped at the red light. "Of me making love to you... One important
time last night, and three more times today..."

I turned my face away from him, feeling too giddy and girly to hold a
straight face. "No, he can't read minds. Thank God."

Charlie inspected Edward's expression, and I snapped my fingers in


front of their faces, to snap him out of it. "Dad?"

"Sorry!" He jerked his face toward me, soaking in my expression. Then


he looked back toward Edward. "What did I tell you, Edward? It's
Charlie. Not Chief Swan, not Sir."

Edward nodded. "Yes s- er, Charlie."

I held my laugh back as I wrapped my arm around his waist. "Dad, can
we sit, or do you have company coming over or something?"

"No, no, sit, please."

I pulled Edward along the tiny room and plopped down on the couch.
"Ahh, so what have you been doing today?"

Charlie took his residence on his favorite plush recliner. "Just watching
the game."

"Who is playing?" Edward asked, relaxing into the atmosphere like he's
been here a million times before. Typical Edward. Easy to adjust.

"The Red Sox."

Edward groaned, covering his face with his hands. "God, help you. I'm
sorry you're torturing yourself that way."

"Not a sox fan?"

Edward smirked. "Not even if they were the last team on Earth."

Edward and Charlie sunk into a deep conversation about the best
teams in baseball history, while I sat quietly and ran my fingers along
his warm palm. It amazed me to find the love of my life, who's also a
human, talking so comfortably with my other protector, a police chief,
otherwise known as my father. And a vampire... And the relaxed
expression on Edward's face almost confused me, since he just took
my virginity -- me willing, of course -- mere hours before this.
But oh, if Charlie only knew what was playing in both of our heads
behind his back. The scars would be permanent. Even for me.

After two boring hours of baseball games and the interrogation of Dad
asking Edward about his plans for his life, what he likes about me,
what his intentions are -- smirk -- with his daughter, so on so forth, I
ordered a pizza for Edward for dinner.

Charlie watched him in amazement as he ate the large, stuffed crust,


double supreme by himself.

"What?" Edward smirked, too adorably for his own good. "I'm a growing
man."

Charlie busted out laughing, throwing his head back against the
recliner. "Better food than pot, I guess."

Edward chuckled. "Agreed."

After he finished eating and went to use the bathroom, I decided to pull
Charlie in the kitchen for a father-daughter discussion.

"Hey Dad, is it all right if Edward stays over tonight? That way we can
just ride to school together tomorrow?" Charlie raised an suspicious
eyebrow at me, so I figured I needed to explain myself better. "See,
Carlisle and Esme are out of town, and I don't feel that comfortable
leaving Edward by himself, with the whole Victor situation under our
noses."

Charlie sighed, hands on hips. "Bella, I told you not to worry about
Victor being around here. I shouldn't have even told you, if I would
have known this was how you were going to react. You have nothing to
fear with Victor. He most likely doesn't even know we're here."

"But Dad, he's here. That's all it takes to make me worried. I love
Edward, so I want to make sure we protect him. I mean, isn't that your
job, to protect the innocent?"

Charlie slouched his shoulders. "You love him?"

I nodded. "Yes. More than I should, I am aware of that. But regardless,


it's true, and like I told you before, there's no turning back that
emotion now."

Charlie squinted his eyes, studying me more. "You know this could end
bad, Bella..."
I swallowed hard, inhaling deep. "I'll do what it takes."

He nodded, thinking again. "Well... does Edward love you too?"

"Yes."

He snapped his eyes at me, most likely not expecting me to answer so


quick. "How serious are you guys?"

Edward walked in at that moment, then froze in the doorway when


Charlie gawked at him. "Am I interrupting something?"

"Do you love my daughter, Edward?" There was no beating around the
bush with Charlie.

Edward nodded. "More than my life, Charlie."

Charlie shook his head. "Knowing what we -- Bella and I -- are, could
complicate things if you two don't work out. People could find out. We
would have to leave. Plus, her being... her, and you being a young
human boy... I just..." He sighed. "I'm worried."

I walked over to Edward, winding my arm tight around his waist. It was
time to break out the big guns, spoken very rarely between Charlie and
I. "Dad, I love you. You know I do. And I love Edward. You guys are all I
have in this world. And Edward and I are going to work out. He's
permanent in my life, Dad. He said it himself. And he would never
expose us, regardless."

Charlie looked at Edward. "Is this true?"

He nodded, rubbing my arm. "Absolutely."

Charlie took an unsteady seat at our new kitchen table. "Well..." he


thought, rubbing his face hard. "If this is what you want, then I suppose
I can try to adjust to it."

I squealed, squeezing Edward tight.

"But!" Charlie shouted, standing back to his feet and raising a finger.
"Don't think this is going to be easy. You guys are going to have to
make multiple sacrifices for each other, things you can never imagine.
I want you to know what you're getting yourselves into, the both of
you. Never forget who you are in this relationship. Never forget that
Bella could always snap, and hurt you, Edward."
Edward shook his head, holding me against his chest. "I understand
what you're saying, Charlie. We'll never forget, but we won't dwell on
our differences, either."

Charlie nodded in defeat. "So be it then. But Bella?"

"Yeah?"

"Separate rooms tonight."

I snickered. "Yes, Dad."

Edward was peacefully kept downstairs on the pull out couch. I couldn't
help but want to be down there with him.

I felt uneasy when I wasn't with him. It tortured me.

The one thing that sucks about your Dad being a vampire and not
needing to sleep? You cannot sneak downstairs and see your boyfriend
very sucessfully. I tried three times to get down the steps to him after
three this morning, but since Charlie can see through walls, I didn't
even make it to the banister on the wall before he called, "Bella,
bedroom."

Then I tried to crawl quietly on the floor, but he noticed me again.


"Bedroom, Bella."

Then I tried to pretend like I was going to the bathroom. No change.

A growl escaped from my lips. "Why do I need to be in my bedroom?" I


asked in a voice that sounded more like a two year old pouting. "It's
not like I sleep."

"Yeah, but he does."

The third time, I tried to sneak out my bedroom window, but again, he
knew it before I even got the window open.

"Technically, I am over a hundred and seven years old!" I cried,


stomping my feet on the ground like a child, which wasn't helping me
prove my point. "I think I can have a boy in my room if I choose."

He sighed through his bedroom door. "Over my dead body, which may
take awhile. Besides, you may be older physically, but definetly not
with your temper tantrums. You are still a seventeen year old girl to
me, and that means: you guessed it. No boys in the bedroom."

I was defeated, officially, and silently cursed my fathers abilities for


most of the night. I tried to keep myself busy, playing solitaire,
reading, or surfing the internet like I used to do before Edward came
into my life. Nothing distracted me enough. So then I gave in and went
through my outfits Rosalie and Alice helped me purchase this past
weekend, figuring I might as well show up at school with my new
attitude and enjoy the students freaking out.

I settled for a pair of low waisted blue jeans, and a curve-fitting,


cleavage showing, v-neck blue shirt that had sleeves ending just past
my elbows. Then, as Alice instructed, I wrapped a gold belt around the
top of the shirt, and matched with gold heels. I felt a bit awkward,
seeing as I spent more time getting ready today then the rest of my
high school career combined, but I wanted to look good today. I
wanted Edward to still think I was beautiful. And I wanted to be able to
stand next to him and look like I deserved to be there. Whether or not I
myself felt was true or not. Because if I were being completely honest
with myself, no one was good enough to stand next to Edward.

That's just how life is. No sense in denying it.

After applying makeup -- which included cursing as I poked myself in


the eye multiple time with the stupid mascara wand -- and some shine
stuff to my hair so I could blow dry it upside down, teasing like Rosalie
showed me, it was finally six o'clock. Now I could breathe again,
knowing I was allowed to go downstairs and see my angel without
Charlie barking orders at me.

I took a deep breath to relax my over excited nerves, walked out my


bedroom, and galloped down the stairs. The couch was unoccupied
and folded back together, with covers neatly stacked on one cushion,
below the two pillows. I heard pans and dishes clanking in the kitchen,
and strolled in there to find Edward, dressed for school all ready,
digging through our cabinets.

He turned around when I entered, an adorably confused expression on


his face. "Good morning, my love. Hey, why do you have groceries
here?"

"Good morning," I laughed. "We have them to keep up appearances."

"Oh... That makes sense." He shrugged and turned around. "If it is all
right, I'll just make me some eggs?"
I nodded. "Eat all of it, if you want. It's not like it'll harm us any."

He nodded in agreement, making himself breakfast. It amazed me how


quickly he cooked. It took me a good hour almost to figure out that you
cannot place eggs in the microwave, and cannot cook them on the
stove with the white shell around it. He was like a professional!

I enjoyed watching him cook, staring mostly at his backside. He wore


faded denim jeans that hung loose to his legs but fit his butt
beautifully. A white t-shirt with a dark blue, long-sleeved one over it,
sleeves pushed up to his elbows. His hair was fixed in a perfect
bronzed mess of perfection, and I could smell his minty scent from
upstairs.

I sighed, placing my chin in my hand as I watched him, trying to thank


all my lucky stars in my head.

Once he ate and took his seat across from me at the table, he smiled,
staring intensely in my eyes. "You look extremely beautiful."

I beamed. "Thank you. It took me all night to look like this. You don't
think I look like a poser?"

He chuckled, leaning the chair back on two legs. "Not at all. The guys
are going to be so jealous of me." He winked at me. "Like always, when
I have you next to me."

I bit the inside of my lip. "You're sweet."

"You're stunning."

"Good morning," Charlie strolled in the kitchen, wearing his uniform. I


couldn't help but notice his gun strap not fastened, and I'm sure
Edward did too. Fathers, I sighed.

"Are you excited to head back to work and hang out with your good
buddy, Jim?" I asked sarcastically.

Charlie eyed me down. "Funny. Shut up and go to school."

"Tou shay," I giggled as Edward and I rose to our feet. Edward said his
polite thank you's and we grabbed our bags, heading out to the cars.
"Which one would you like to take?" He asked me, eyebrows arched.

"Uh, let's take yours. All the girls seem to love yours more. And I'll love
seeing their faces when I get out of it with you."
He chuckled, opening the door for me. "You're so evil."

"I know."

We drove to school in silence, only smiling to each other every two


seconds and holding hands. It was nice to be able to not talk, but still
tell each other everything with our eyes. No conversation felt
necessary at the time.

But when we pulled into the crowded parking lot, I couldn't help but
feel giddy watching all the girls staring at his car. I heard all too well
their many conversations in the halls, talking about how perfect
Edward was, and how they all wanted to be in the backseat of that car
with him.

Yet, it was me who graced the passenger seat. I smiled to myself when
he parked, allowing Emmett's personality to wash over me. This is
fucking great!

"Ready to conquer all?" He asked enthusiastically as he opened his


door. Before I could answer, he walked around and opened my door for
me, smug expression on his face as he licked his lips. It seemed as
everyone in the entire courtyard paused to see who he was opening
the door for, through the darkly tinted windows. I couldn't help but eat
the stuff up as I climbed out. I had the worse possible devilish grin on
my face when I noticed Julia three cars down behind Edward's back,
gawking at us like she didn't expect our relationship to last this long or
something. Typical high school girl. I leaned on my tiptoes and ran my
fingers through his hair, giving him a warm felt kiss on his cheek.
"Thank you," I whispered in his ear as I stared into her eyes. She just
glowered at me as her friends strolled to her.

He threw his arm around my waist, pulling me to him and nuzzling his
face into my neck. "You are very welcome," he hummed as he grazed
his nose into my skin. "God, you smell so good. Mmm. I couldn't sleep
well last night. I had this unhinged need to sneak upstairs and bury my
face into your hair and neck, but knew Charlie would castrate me." I
giggled and took his hand, allowing him to pull me to his waist, so he
could throw his arm over my shoulders when we walked toward the
door. "Everyone is staring at us," I said, suddenly feeling like a poser in
this outfit. He leaned into our embrace, whispering in my ear. "Let
them."

Edward walked us up the stairs to our lockers, greeting all his friends
with nods or handshakes as he passed. But he never let me go. Just
squeezed me tighter when certain people stared at me like I had two
heads. Alice and Jasper were a few lockers down, talking to a few guys
from the baseball team. Edward pulled me in front of him and leaned
against the locker door, pinning me with his arms. "I don't know how I
am going to get through this day with you in that outfit," he whispered
in my ear. "I haven't even been here five minutes and it is killing me."

I wrapped my arms around his waist, pulling him closer to me. "Well,
there's always a janitor's closet or bathroom we can sneak into later, if
you want." His eyes widened as he took an inch back. "Isabella Swan,
what has gotten into you?" I smirked, rubbing his back. "You, mostly." I
winked. "Plus the fact that I finally feel free to have an actual life, and I
want to enjoy all the trouble I can get into while I can." He arched his
eyebrows, leaning back into me. "Janitors closet, huh?" I stifled a laugh
and nodded. "Feeling up for it?"

"Hmm," he pondered thoughtfully, in a joking manner. "Definetly. If it


is all right with you though, I'd like to hold it off for a few hours, until I
have the inablity to walk straight thanks to the fixation on your jeans."
I bit my lip, pushing him away from me in a teasing manner. "Well
you're welcome into them at anytime."

"Mmm," he hummed raspily with a voice that broke me at the knees.


He pulled me toward him by hooking his thumb into my belt loops. He
pressed his lips to mine, but didn't kiss me. Just teased. "Is that a
promise?"

His sweet, hot breath scorched my face and I shivered, sliding my


hands in his back pockets. "Anytime, Anywhere." I confirmed, feeling
quite the naughty little school girl. Normally, this type of PDA would
disgust me when I watched it happening with everyone else, but when
it was going on between Edward-freakin-amazing-sex-God-and-best-
kisser-ever-not-to-mention-the-most-gorgeous-angelic-human-to-ever-
grace-this-planet-Cullen and myself, I had to soak up every little bit of
it. I was now a sponge. A happy one. Isabella Sponge Swan. Sounded
good and fititng to me.

I licked his lips and giggled as I watched his eyes widen and listened to
him growl at me. "You're killing me," he spoke, still raspy. "First period
is going to be a bitch."

Jasper walked over to us, seemingly amused by our lusty embrace. "Yo,
dude. Ready for class?" Edward removed his lips from mine slightly,
turning his face so I could press my lips to his cheek and he could eye
Jasper down. "Well, I suppose so," he replied hastily, causing Jasper to
giggle and look at his feet. "Don't worry," Jasper replied, hiding a sheep
grin. "She'll be here when you get out."
Reluctantly, I allowed Jasper to yank Edward away from my grip, as
Alice came over to me, looking chipper as ever. "I was going to wait
and ask you when I had more time alone with you, but I can't help it,"
she gushed, moving closer to me. "You guys totally did it, didn't you?"

I pursed my lips together, trying to figure out how to deny it or tell her
it wasn't any of her business. But then I realized that it was her who
helped me get through the whole thing, and my smile couldn't be
hidden any longer. She jumped up and down, covering her mouth with
wide eyes. "I knew it, I knew it!" She shouted under her palm. "Oh my
gosh, you have to write me a letter and tell me everything. Promise?"

I swallowed and nodded at her. Why not? I was living dangerous, after
all. I might as well be a girl and gush a little.

English and Calculus were very strange today, with all the boys
gawking at me and most of the girls throwing awkward glances or
invisible daggers at my head. I wrote Alice the dang letter, skipping the
vivid and too-personal-to-share details, and gave just enough that
she'd be satisfied. I told her about how my plan to seduce him started,
and how careful and sweet he was. Not to mention my inability to stop
gushing about his several different type of crooked smiles or kissing
techniques. And I had to include my most favorite part, when he put
his forehead to mine to make sure I was okay. It was the best ever.
Non-replaceable and genuine. Very Edward-like.

After entering third period Art, I couldn't help but notice Jessica's glum
appearance as she didn't look up at me when I took my seat. Very UN-
Jessica like.

"Hey Jess," I said as I placed my portfolio on my art desk. "How's it


going?"

She shrugged her shoulders, continuing to scribble on the paper.


"Fine."

I looked at her for a few minutes, trying to read her contorted


expression, but gave in quickly when the teacher began his lecture on
the importance of oil painting with a long projector drawing, before
giving us our assignment, with only twenty minutes left of class to do it
in.

I fidgeted as I picked the perfect shade of blue, and sighed out loud
toward Jessica. "Are you all right?"
She snapped her head sideways, glaring at me. "What's with you,
Bella? It seems like Edward has completely transformed you into an
Julia-Barbie-Doll-Wannabee.

I furrowed my brows at my desk as I continued to draw, a bit taken


back by that response. It kind of stung. "I-I'm not trying to be like that,
Jess. I just wanted to step out of my shell a bit. Broaden my horizons."

She scoffed, drawing roughly on her paper. "I'm sure Edward's all
ready done that for you," she mumbled to herself, to where no other
human would be able to hear her, including me, if I were one. I sighed,
ignoring that comment.

After a few minutes, she spoke again, voice still angry. "You're not you
anymore, Bella. You're freakin' showing up at baseball games with
those two girls in a stupid slutty outfit, you barely speak to us in the
halls anymore, you are always with him these past few months. I heard
you got into a fight with Julia, who by the way, ended up putting your
name in the school paper for hostility at the game Saturday night. And
on top of all it, you're making out hardcore in the school hall with the
school's hottest freaking guy in history, which is so un-Bella like, and
you act like you're one of them!"

I dropped my oil crayon, glaring over my right shoulder at her. "What


in the hell does that mean?" I gritted my teeth at her.

She squared her shoulders, turning in my direction. "You know what it


means Bella. Everyone is talking about it. Edward Cullen is not
someone who just dates the casual girl. He fucks girls. Sluts. Like
Ashley Gwinn. And now, it is apparent that you're turning into one of
them. Angela couldn't even recognize you Saturday night. Isn't she
supposed to be your best friend? Or have you forgotten about her
too?"

I stared at her in disbelief, trying to figure out when the hell she
became so observant in my life. "Geesh, Jess, if I didn't know any
better, I'd think you liked Edward or something."

Her eyes locked up and she looked back to her desk hastily. "Liked is
the past tense..."

Now it was my turn to scoff at her. "What are you talking about?"

She glared at me again, as if I were the scum on the earth. "Let's just
say that before you two got too close, Edward and I did first."
I jerked my shoulders back, my mouth hanging open. "You're lying."

"Am I? Don't you find it rather odd that I knew that much about him
from the start?"

I felt a forbidden ache in my chest, shaking my head at her. "I know


you're lying. You said that you heard all that stuff through rumors in
the halls. Through gossip."

"Oh wake the fuck up, Bella!" she spat through her teeth, not caring
that we were catching student's attention around us. "You're so naive.
So innocent. I knew about him before school even started! That's when
I found out all that information. We hung out, went to the movies. I
showed him around, introduced him to some people. But I didn't want
the school to think I was a typical whore to go after the new player of
the school, so I said a little white lie, to hide it until I knew what was
going on with Edward and I, which is now apparently nothing, since you
and your fake attitude, slutty wardrobe, and teased hair stepped into
the picture."

I couldn't speak as my hands trembled against the desk. She's lying,


she's lying, she's lying.

"What, you think I didn't like him?" she asked sarcastically. "Everyone
here knew, Bella. I mean, I have four classes with him. Not to
mention...--" she cut herself off as she dug her cell phone out. She
pushed several buttons and then shoved the phone in my face. "-- this
text message he sent me, asking me if I was going to his practice and
meet up with him later. Oh yeah, and that is his phone number, which
he programmed himself."

I shook my head, still unable to process what she was saying.

"Yes!" she glared at me. "He even told Ashley to ask me if I was going
to Mike Newton's party that night about three months back. You know,
the one you so casually took him to? He asked me to be there with
him, Bella! Me! And then, when you left the party, I was the one who
nursed him back to health. I was the one who took care of him, who
danced with him, who took him home. And then you were gone for a
whole week and a half with your Dad in the mountains, I was the one
who hung out by his locker. He even walked me to my classes."

I was trembling uncontrollably now. I felt so uneasy, so confused. Why


wouldn't Edward tell me about Jessica, if he liked her? Or did she just
get the wrong impression of his generosity? Just like Julia did? Why
wouldn't Alice or Rosalie or anyone else tell me about her, if they knew
about this?

"And to top things off," she spoke lower, more bitter. "I thought you
and I were friends. And last time I checked, friends don't do that to
girls when they like someone."

I looked up at her, almost shamefully through my lashes. "Jess," I


sneered softly at her. "I had no idea you liked him."

"Yeah well it's too late now. You love him, remember? You're wearing
his fucking ring."

I swallowed hard, raising my chin. "Yes. I love him."

She smirked, shaking her head. "Figures. I should have known you'd be
like this. So shy and closed up for so many years, and then BANG! One
night with Edward Cullen and it changes everything. Well, welcome to
the club."

I stared at the clock in protest, waiting for this minute and a half to
pass so the bell would ring. My voice trembled as I spoke the uttering
words. "Did you guys... do anything?"

Jessica raised her head to look at me in silence for a few moments as


she shuffled her stuff into her art bag. "Oh you know. The same stuff
you've done with him by now, I'm sure."

The bell rang and I shook my head, trembling in my seat as everyone


filed out, including her. Then I glared at my art project, recognizing the
happy couple in it. The woman seemed so safe, wrapping her arms
around his waist as he pressed his cheek to her head. A white,
unrecognizable three story house was in the right corner behind them,
with a "SOLD" sign gleaming in the background. Their first purchase, I
assumed. Not like the one they have now. Another couple was turned
facing the other way, pointing toward the house. I didn't recognize
them, just the one that stood in front view. And there was a lake to
their right.

"Carlise and Esme," I sighed as I folded it up and shoved in my bag.


"The perfect couple. Maybe I should take some pointers."

It felt like all the weight that had been lifted off of my chest and body,
all the worries and confusion and armor I had lifted just a half an hour
before that had been taken away as I fell in love with Edward, slowly,
within these past four months, had all crashed back on me with full
force.

I trembled as I tried to turn the combination of my locker, unsuccessful


after several attempts. I felt a warm hand touch my back, and I jerked
away from it and turned around.

"Rosalie," I sighed, dropping my books and hugging her tight. I had no


idea why I was reacting this way, but I suddenly felt the urge to just be
held. I needed someone. Anyone to help me. To soothe me. Her arms
wrapped around my waist as she cradled my head on her shoulder.
"Are you okay, Bella?" she asked concerned. When I shook my head
against her skin, she just grabbed my hand and pulled me into the
closest girls bathroom, shoving a trash can under the door handle.

I slouched against the wall, my shirt rising as I lowered to my butt. I


cradled my head in my fingers, panting into my lap. "Rosalie," I gasped
heavily. "I need you to tell me the truth, okay? It's very important." I
felt her kneel beside me, her hands wrapping around my knees as she
told me she would.

"Jessica Stanley?" I asked, as I pulled my face up to look her in the


eyes. "With Edward?"

She stared blankly into my eyes for a few moments then nodded, as if
she didn't understand the question.

"Was Edward a virgin before me?" I spit out at her, unable to hold it
back any longer. "Or is he a player? Did he hook up with Jessica
fucking Stanley?"

Rosalie shook her head, her curly locks flowing around her shoulders
and my legs. "He didn't sleep with Jessica, Bella. I promise you that."

"How do you know?" I shouted as I leaned forward, frustration taking


me over. "How do you know that he didn't do it, Rosalie? Does he
report to you about this stuff?"

Rosalie yanked my hands down from my hair, and pulled me to my


knees in front of her. "Listen to me, Bella. I swear to you with my whole
heart. Edward didn't have sex with her. They went out on a couple
casual friendly dates, that's all. I think he did it out of pity or
something."
I shook my head. "But why didn't he tell me? She just gave me this
whole guilt trip about how I basically stole him away from her or
something?"

"Bella that's insane!" she shouted, gripping my face in her hands. "Are
you crazy? Oh my God, no. Not at all! Bella, please listen to me.
Edward has only been with one female, heart and soul, and that's you.
Do you understand me? That boy is crazy for you, has been since the
day he first laid eyes on you when you showed him his locker. He's
hooked, Bella. I'm talking about insanity, one hundred percent in love."

I shook my head, rubbing my face and probably smearing the makeup


on it. "It just caught me off guard. I shouldn't have really expected
Edward to lie to me, I guess. I-I just... It felt so real, when she said it."

She giggled, giving me a brief hug before wiping her fingers under my
eyes to fix the smears. "Oh Bella. You're such a typical, silly,
uncoordinated, beautiful, insecure human girl."

I sighed as that one single word sunk over my body.

After a few more minutes, I picked myself off the ground and adjusted
my outfit. "Oh Rosalie," I muttered under my breath as she turned and
removed the trash can to open the door. "If you only knew."

Fourth period sucked. There's no other way to describe it. I spent the
entire hour distracted, internally pounding my head about how stupid I
could be to ever think that Edward wouldn't tell me the truth about
that. He was in love with me, for Christ's sakes! Whole heartedly.
Permanent, as he explained. And we shared something with each other
that was only meant for each other.

So why in the hell did I let Jessica Stanley, my now former friend, get to
me this way? Because I'm stupid. That's why. Because I should have
saw through her feeble attempts to bring me down, misunderstanding
every single nice gesture Edward gave to her when I was gone.

He even explained to me several times that he thought about me when


I was gone on that hunting trip, asking everyone anything he could
about me. And he confessed to me that he asked me to take him to
that party because he wanted to be around me.

And he said he wasn't interested in anyone else in front of his entire


family the first night I met them.
God, I am such a girl. I'm typical, silly, uncoordinated, and definetly
insecure.

Just not a human. Not like Edward.

I sighed as the bell rang, and drug my feet to the lunch room, where I
knew he'd be waiting for me. I lingered my steps, beating myself up for
not having enough faith him at that moment, when I needed to have it
the most. I saw Jessica sitting with Ashley and Julia, and their entire 20-
girl posse. I noticed Rosalie and Alice giggling as they looked at
Rosalie's phone, and Emmett sneaking up behind them, scaring them
both that they screamed and slapped him. Then I saw Jasper and
Edward laughing as they entered the lunch room from the opposite
door as me.

Edward looked over and saw me, his eyes lighting up with a huge
crooked smile on his face. I sighed, and forced a smile back to him. I'm
such a bitch, I thought to myself. He's in love with me. Forever. Why
would I ever doubt that?

He jogged into the lunch room, snaking his arms around me and lifting
me from the ground. "I missed you!" he shouted, spinning me in a
slight circle in front of the entire student body like he just won the
lottery. I buried my face into his shoulders, inhaling his scent, praying
that it'd snap me back into my honeymoon state. "I missed you too." I
replied gleemly. Because I felt like shit. Still.

He pulled his head back, still keeping my body against his chest and
my feet suspended from the ground. "What's wrong?"

I bit my lip as I caught a glance at her on my right, glaring at me with


pure hate. "Jessica Stanley!" I blubbered out, unable to fight back
anymore. "She likes you! She said I was a boy stealer and a horrible
friend and that I basically was a whore for dating you. She tried to tell
me you had sex with her!"

Edward dropped me to my feet, cupping my face with his warm hands


as his forehead crumpled. "What?" he sneered angrily.

I nodded shamefully, wondering how he couldn't be upset with me.


"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to doubt you, it's just that all these emotions
are so new to me after all these years and then I gave my body over to
you so freely because I wanted to the other night, but now she's saying
all this stuff and it momentarily went straight through my head and I
believed it, but I didn't mean to, I just let it get to me because I
thought she was my friend, and then I felt like a horrible friend, and I
didn't mean to doubt you, I swear. I'm sorry, I am so sorry."

I dropped my hands to my sides loosely in defeat as I looked down at


his chin, unable to stare into his warm eyes anymore. "Edward," I
squeaked out in exhaustion. "I'm sorry. Please don't stop loving me
because of this."

He cradled my head into his chest, his heart pounding against my


temple as he stroked my hair. "Bella, I am the one that is sorry. I
should have told you about Jessica. I didn't feel it was necessary. She
didn't mean anything to me, like that anyway. I only looked at her as
someone I could know at a new school, besides my family. There were
never any other feelings toward her, I swear. And I never had sex with
her. I've only been with you."

I nodded against his chest, hiding my face in his shirt. I didn't care that
we were the target of the lunch room. "Did you do other stuff with
her?"

He inhaled deep, his hand on my back pushing me closer to him. "Just


a kiss. One kiss, because I was drunk."

I looked up at him, begging him with my eyes to explain and put me


out of my misery.

"It was the night of Mike Newton's party. After you left, I tried to figure
out the whole accident thing, and failed miserably. I couldn't get you
off my mind, not even for a single second. So she told me that she
knew you well, and she could give me some pointers if I wanted to
snag a girlfriend like you. We danced a couple songs after I became
obliterated on Tequila, and then she said she'd drive me home so we
could talk more. She walked me to my front door because I couldn't
even walk straight. I was beyond gone at that point, replaying your
face and the accident on repeat in my head. It was if you had put a
spell on me. I never felt so passionately about anyone before... Emmett
and Jessica helped me up the three flights of stairs to my bedroom so I
wouldn't wake Carlisle and Esme up. Then Emmett said he'd leave us
alone to 'do our thing', which I'm sure is what he thought happened.
Jessica helped me change, and I was too drunk to figure out what was
going on stop her. Then she covered me up, and --"

He cut himself off to sigh loudly, shaking his head in what looked like
disgust.
"-- and as she was doing it, the moonlight hit her dark hair a certain
way, and I thought about you. So I called her "Sweet Bella," because
you were on my mind, and pulled her to me so that I could kiss her.
Because I thought she was you. Because every single thought in my
mind from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed had you
in it. So I kissed her, and she let me kiss her, let me believe she was
you. But nothing else happened, I swear it. I passed out."

I felt so stupid listening to him. I felt worse by the second. And


ashamed. Because it wasn't a lie, I knew better. And because he only
thought about me even before we were so developed, made me feel
worse and more in love with him at the same time. God love sucks.

"And," he continued softly. "You didn't show up to school that next


week. So I asked about you to anyone I could, and eventually
apologized to Jessica. I wanted to make it up to her for being a poor
friend, so I invited her to watch a baseball practice so I could apologize
in person. I had given her my number the night of the party, because
she said she'd meet up with me sometime so we could discuss more
about you. So I texted her, asking her if she'd come. She did and I
apologized to her for being so drunk and ridiculous. I had no idea she
felt that way about me. All she talked about with me was you."

I absorbed his words carefully, letting them dwell into my chest as the
armor lifted right back up and off me, replacing it with a twinge of guilt
for over-reacting, and a lot more love for him. "Is that why Emmett said
I'd be in your bed by next week or whatever, at your baseball practice?
Because he helped Jessica get you to your room and left you guys in
there?"

"Yes."

I jumped up, throwing my arms around hims to hug him tight. "Please
forgive me," I sighed into his ear in a demanding way. "Please,
please?"

"You're forgiven," he said gently, pulling me back of the ground as the


whispers grew louder behind us. "And I'm sorry too. For not telling you.
I should have, but I was worried you would think I was an obsessed
stalker or something. Thinking about you while that whole mess
happened."

I shook my head in the crook of his neck, greedily inhaling him in. "It's
okay. And you can be a stalker obsessed with me all you want. I want
you to be. I want you to only be in love with me."
He placed me back to my feet, cradling me in his hands and applying
the most sensual, slow, sexy kiss I had ever received by him. I melted
into his body and soaked in every second of that kiss, enjoying him
lingering on my tongue and my taste buds like it was a religion. I ran
my fingers in his hair, pulling his face closer to mine so I could deepen
the kiss more. He complied, his tongue meeting mine with the same
needed force.

The entire room disappeared around us as I lingered on his kiss, never


wanting it to end, never wanting to separate from him.

Then I felt a tap on my shoulder, and sighed into his mouth, pissed off
that someone was ruining our moment. I dropped my hands from his
neck and turned around, having the sudden need to punch the first
person I saw standing behind me, whether they deserved it or not.

Julia stood there, in a jeweled jean skirt and white tank top, her hair
half up, half down, beaming at me like I was her best friend. I curled
my fingers into a fist, but felt Edward grasp his hand over my palm,
holding me down as he jerked my back to his chest.

"Yes?" I sneered at her, impatiently.

She cleared her throat. "I wanted to apologize for the other night, and
invite the happy couple to a party at my house on Friday. Call it a truce
and all that?"

I glared at her for a few moments too long, causing her to stir on her
feet. Edward rubbed my sides and placed his chin to my shoulder,
pulling me completely against him and wrapping his arms around my
waist. "That's nice of you, Julia," he said calmly. "We'll be there."

Chapter 17: Iris

"Edward!" I shouted, slamming my Chem2 book down on his mattress.


"I said no."

"Why not?"

"Because I did! End of discussion!"

"Bella, you're not making any sense, you are aware of this right? Why
can't we just t-"
"NO!" I shouted louder, not caring that his family heard me. I'm sure by
the lengthy arguement that they are aware something is wrong with
us.

"Bella, just li-"

"No." I said lower, crossing my arms over my chest.

Edward climbed off of his bed, his face seeming redder by the second
with his anger. I could hear his heartbeat at Charlie's house from here,
I'm sure.

"You are being ridiculous right now."

My mouth dropped. "How am I being ridiculous?! By wanting to keep


you safe?"

"No, that's being stubborn. You're being ridiculous because you won't
even hear me out. This is what relationships are all about,
compromise."

"No, because this isn't a subject for compromising." I said, walking over
toward his window. "So just drop it."

"Where are you going?" He asked, running over to me.

"I'm leaving. I'm not going to stand here and argue with you over
something so fooli-"

He cut me off, jerking me toward him. "Wait, don't go! Please, just...
We can figure this out."

I pushed him away, not enough to hurt him of course, but enough for
him to let go of me. "Edward. Listen to me. You know that I love you
more than anything else in this entire world and that I want to be with
you forever. But what is wrong with you growing up like a normal
human, and me being there with you the whole time?! What's wrong
with that?"

He was all ready in my face again, his jaw tense in frustration as he


pinned me against his bookshelf. "Because it means I get older.
Because it means I won't be able to share my life with you the way that
you and I are meant to share our lives. And it means I'm going to die. I
won't be with you forever, and you'll eventually move on without me..."
I could see his lip tremble as he dropped his arms from pinning me and
turned around so he wouldn't have to face me.
I swallowed hard, still standing against the bookshelf.

How did we end up here?

We have been doing so well all week long. Spending time with his
family, studying, hanging out with Charlie, having fun at school, going
to his practices... But tonight, after a conversation with Carlisle and
Esme, everything changed.

Carlisle had been talking to us about the family he spent time with last
weekend during his lifeline, and how distraught the father was that his
wife was laying in bed in dire need of a heart transplant. He was telling
us how Joe -- that was his name -- said when he met his wife, they
began by having what they originally thought was a one-night stand,
but ended up falling head over heels in love with each other. Four
weeks later she found out she was pregnant, six months later they
were married, and now, twelve years later, they had three beautiful
kids together and had the hallmark card type of life. Carlisle explained
that Joe treated Marilyn -- the wife -- like it was their first date every
single day. He'd pick roses for her on Sundays, take her to the same
restaurant for their anniversary, said that they were very active in their
children's lives... Carlisle said he showed Esme all their pictures they
brought at the hospital, and you could see the physical spark in their
eyes when they were side by side in a photograph. They had it, and it
was all around them.

Carlisle said that when he walked into that hospital room that first
night to meet the family and explain the expense of the surgery, his
heart broke. Joe had been kneeling on the floor at the foot of her bed,
praying with his head down, asking the Lord to take him instead if he
must take somebody. He was begging him, saying that their family
didn't work if it was broken. He was asking God what he could do to
make it right, and begging him to give him any type of sign that things
would be okay... Esme said she didn't even know them, but she was so
affected by what he was asking that she knelt beside him and prayed
with him, placing her hand on his back and crying right along side him.
She explained that she could feel the heart breaking of a complete
stranger, coarsing from his blood into her palm. She said as she sat
there with him for over an hour, letting him get all of it out, she felt like
her entire body was ripping at the seams.

That's why they stayed those extra days. After the surgery was a
success, Carlisle stuck around until she woke up, and had a long
conversation with them. He told Joe that their family was an inspiration
to many around the world, because it didn't matter how someone
meets, or how long they were together before they became serious...
when it's true love, it's instant. Carlisle told us that people are too
quick to let it pass them by because they're afraid that it's too sudden,
or that it's a casual fling because of the circumstance... and Esme cut
in, stating that it broke her heart to think about all those missed
opportunities of love because they'd let other people's opinions get in
the way of their own happiness...

I pursed my lips, waiting for Edward to turn around. When he didn't, I


felt that ache in my chest, the one I had months before meeting him. I
didn't like it.

"Edward, I'm sorry. You know that if it were any other way, if there was
some way for me to change back, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

He swung his body around, his cheeks flushed, his arms hanging to his
sides as he studied my expression in silence.

"But..." I continued with a hard swallow. "I refuse to end your life. You
have a family here. One that loves you very much, and I know they're
not your biological parents, but they're still your mom and dad."

He nodded, not saying anything. "I understand."

I exhaled, slouching down to the carpet. "Edward, you don't have to be


so... like that. I want you to tell me the truth about how you're feeling."

"No, it's fine." he said, sitting in the leather couch by his window. "I get
it. I'm not going to force you to do anything you wouldn't want to do."

I studied his expression for a few minutes. "Are you sure you're not
upset with me?"

"No, I am upset with you. But I understand your reasons. It's fine."

"...Okay."

%$#%$#%$#%$#

That was the first evening all week that we didn't make love. Instead,
we hung out downstairs, playing pool with his siblings until eleven
o'clock, and then got ready for the party that I didn't want to go to.
Alice chose for me to wear some white hip-huggers, a black tank top,
and black shoes. My hair was down and straight, and Rosalie played up
my makeup in whites and blacks as she discussed with me how happy
she was that I gave her my Cheerleading spot, especially now that she
doesn't get along with Ashley Gwinn. She says it's like her birthday
every practice when she gets to make fun of her!

Alice chose to wear dark blue leather pants, a white shirt, and she
curled her hair into tiny twists. Rosalie chose the shortest blue jean
shorts possible, with a cut up tank top, and boots. She pulled it off
though, looking like a sex-kitten out of a magazine with her curly hair
and bold eyeliner. She said she wanted to make sure Emmett stayed
around her the entire time, and she was certain this outfit would do the
trick. I almost decided to join her in the skimpy-outfit scandal, since I
knew there would be plenty of girls at the party who would be pining
for my spot.

We came downstairs to find Emmett sitting on the couch in jeans, a


blank shirt and white jacket, Jasper in holey jeans, a Bullet For My
Valentine shirt, and Edward in a black long sleeved shirt, longer button
down white one under it, with the sleeves pushed up, denim jeans with
a tan belt, and a tan jacket over it. His hair was his normal glorious
non-attempt-yet-strikingly-perfect fixture, and his crooked smile
crossed his face when I came to sit on his lap.

"Thanks for going with me tonight Bella," he replied, rubbing my back.


"I know you don't want to go, but I really feel we should make an
attempt to be civil, at least."

"It's no problem," I sighed, biting my tongue in frustration.

I was silent during the car ride. We all squeezed in Alice's red car,
Jasper and Emmett in the front seat, with Rosalie, Alice, and Edward in
the backseat, me on his lap. They were all discussing this past week at
school, but all I could think about was how wrong I felt it was for me to
be going to this party. Something wasn't settling well in my stomach,
more intense with every mile we took toward Julia's house. And as we
pulled up to the white, two-story house, my stomach all but fell out of
my body. I was trembling as we climbed out, and as Jasper pulled Alice
under his arm and she released my hand to walk with him, I felt more
sick.

"Edward," I whispered, wrapping both my arms around his waist while


he threw his arm over my shoulder to walk beside me. "I'm not feeling
too well right now. Something's wrong. This doesn't feel right."

He pressed his lips to the side of my head while we continued to walk


up the sidewalk toward the door and the loud music. "We'll just hang
out for a few minutes, prove to them that we're willing to settle our
differences, than you and I can leave if you're still feeling bad. Is that
okay?"

"Yes," I nodded slowly, closing my eyes and holding him tighter.

Jasper left the door open for us as the four of them disappeared into
the laughter of students, the hip hop music, and the empty, red plastic
cups on the porch. I held my breath as we entered the party, and once
the music flashed through our ears as we walked past the speakers by
the door, I gripped him tighter. He kept his arm around my shoulders
as he greeted a few of his teammates, high-fiving them or giving them
nods of silent hellos. Angela turned and waved to me, but Eric wouldn't
let her go to walk over by me. I waved back in understanding, refusing
to let go of Edward either.

I felt my hands trembling as three girls ran in front of us, laughing as


they were being chased by some Senior guys. I could hear their
heartbeats coming over the music, and considering how loud the bass
was in my ears, that was saying something. I buried my face in
Edward's jacket as he twisted us around to meet some more people,
and someone gave him a beer, which he began to drink as he rubbed
my arms comforting me. I glanced over his shoulder toward Rosalie,
who was standing behind Emmett. He had his arms wrapped behind
him and around her, with the back of his hands on her butt cheeks, to
apparently hide her backside. She had her arms under his, and around
to where her hands were clasped together on his stomach, and her
head leaning in the middle of his back. She smiled at me, and I
returned it, but that was the most comforting I felt.

Something was still wrong.

After about fifteen minutes of conversation, and five more beers he


chugged as his teammates carried him on, Edward grabbed my hand,
and walking in front of me, pulled me through the sea of people and
into the kitchen, where more kids were gathering. There were kids
sitting on the counters, kids on the floor, kids at the table, basically
anywhere within a two-foot radius. I almost felt claustrophobic as he
pulled me toward the keg stand, filling his glass back up. I gripped his
fingers tight as I closed my eyes. I wanted to be here, wanted to prove
to myself that I could get past all the girl drama. I wanted Edward to
have a good, fun, relaxing, human time, to show him there was more
to life than just growing old and dying. I tried to force myself to remain
calm, but as Julia and Ashley walked into the kitchen from the outside
patio, wearing nothing but bikinis, I felt my stomach begin to twist and
turn in all the wrong positions.
I tugged on Edward's hand as he drank the beer, and he looked over at
his right shoulder to me, inspecting my glance I was giving him. "Are
you okay?" he silently mouthed to me, and I shook my head pervantly.
"I'm not feeling well," I mouthed back to him, making sure my
expression showed my feelings. He nodded slowly to me, pulling me
back up against his chest and walking me past the girls, which he gave
a hello nod to, and out to the patio, where kids were jumping around in
her in-ground pool. He took me to the side of the house, and stopped
to rub my arms feriociously.

"What's the matter, Angel?" he asked, dipping his head low to look at
me. There was a stint of beer smell coming from his best from the six
and a half beers he drank, but it didn't bother me at all that he was
drinking, or trying to have a good time.

"Something is wrong," I moaned, crossing my arms over my chest. "I


don't feel comfortable here. I don't like it, Edward."

He pulled off his jacket and threw it around my arms as he pulled me


into his chest. "I'm sorry love, do you want to go?"

"Yes and no," I replied, in a shrug of defeat. I knew if I said yes, he'd
leave in a heartbeat for me. But I didn't want to do that because I
didn't want to ruin his night.

"Bella, if you're not feeling well, just tell me and we'll go. No questions
asked."

I pulled in my lips as I looked up at him, finding his big green eyes filled
with nothing but concern for me and love. "I'm really trying," I
whispered, turning my head slightly. "I want you to have a good time."

"I'm not going to have a good time if you're not, Bella."

I sighed. "How about I go home then? I can hang out with Charlie for
awhile... I know Emmett said he'd make sure you were safe, so I
wouldn't worry about that..."

"No Bella. You're not leaving me, and I'm not leaving you. Ever, do you
understand? If one leaves, we both leave."

Jasper came walking outside, holding three cups between his fingers as
he strolled toward us. "Hey happy couple," he said, lifting the cups in
the air. "Have a drink with me."

I looked at the red cup filled with the nasty beer, then up at Edward.
"She has a stomach ache," Edward said, covering for me. "She's
probably not going to drink tonight."

"Designated driver?" Jasper asked.

I shrugged. "Depends on if I stay or not."

"Bella!" I heard a girl screech, as a body came jogging behind Jasper.


Julia came twisting around him, wearing her bright blue bikini, her hair
flowing over her shoulders like a Sports Illustrated magazine. She
leaned in and pulled me to her for a brief hug, then pulled back, taking
in my outfit. "Wow, you look sensational! I'm so glad you came tonight!
It really means a lot to me!"

"Thanks for inviting us Julia," Edward said as he pulled me away from


her gently, and back up against his chest so he could wrap his arms
around me. "It means a lot to us too."

"I'm glad," she said, smiling wide. "Now, I'm going to go get us all a
shot, and we can take it as an announcement of new friendship! Be
right back!"

"Uh, no, that's-"

"Hang on!" she said, cutting him off as she ran inside the house.

Edward looked down at me apologetically, but I shrugged it off,


pushing my face into his warm chest, his steady heartbeat surrounding
my ears and blocking out the music. Jasper and Edward downed their
beers in a few seconds, Jasper winning their little speed bet by about
half a second. They laughed, and I felt myself smiling against his body,
feeling a little bit calmer.

I think his heartbeat helped.

After a few more minutes of relaxing, Julie came running back out with
a few of Edward's teammates from the bar, carrying a tray of red and
blue jello-shots. "Now, everyone take one, no questions asked."

Everyone leaned in and grabbed one, including myself. Edward


glanced down at me awkwardly, but I just shrugged at him, giving him
an expression that said It's okay, it's only one shot.

How much can one shot hurt me? I thought to myself. It's going to be
disgusting as hell, but it'll make me look like a team player. Just do it,
Bella.
Julia raised her shot cup up in the air, and the rest of us following suit.
"Here's to a new friendship with the beautiful Bella Swan, and here's to
Fork's High's hottest baseball player in history-"

"Second hottest!" Jasper cut her off, causing everyone to laugh, as


Alice ran around and hugged him from behind.

"Okay, okay, second hottest," Julia continued. "Edward Cullen. Cheers!"

"Cheers!" the crowd shouted, chugging the drink back. I held my


breath as I stuck the Jell-O shot in my mouth, swallowing it down
before I could think twice about it. Edward rubbed my back as
everyone began to make funny faces, myself included. It tasted like
buring fire mixed with dead road kill that I licked off of the road after it
had been sitting there for a few months, and it coursed and floated
around through my chest quickly.

"Damn Julia!" Alice shouted, coughing and patting her chest. "What the
hell was that?!"

"It's called 911," she replied, beaming proud, hands on hips. "It's got
six different shots in it. It's enough to fuck you up, let's put it that
way."

Edward chugged the rest of his beer, shaking his head as he pulled me
back against his chest. "I cannot believe you did that," he whispered in
my ear, sending chills through my suddenly relaxed frame.

I smiled, rubbing my face into his right arm. "It's okay. I'm starting to
feel better now."

"Are you?"

I nodded, smiling against his shirt. I didn't expect alcohol to affect me,
since I didn't have a heartbeat to bounce through my bloodstream. But
I what I should have realized is, there's still blood in my body, but no
way to release it, which means I'd be on an ultimate rush for a few
hours, until that old blood I hunted with and absorbed died down, when
I went to hunt again. So I could just hunt after the party, and
everything would be normal. Piece of cake.

But as I stood here, laughing with Alice and Jasper, watching Edward
and his teammates joking and having fun, I realized that maybe this
party wouln't be too bad after all.

Maybe Julia was keeping her end of the bargain.


%$#%$#%$#%$#

It's been over and hour and a half since we arrived here. I'm still on my
high from my single shot, almost to the point to where all the lights in
my vision seem to double and sharpen, and it's beginning to hurt my
eyes a little. Edward and his siblings had consumed about a total of a
full liquor cabinet, Edward alone about three shots and eleven beers.
He kept saying no, but as his teammates and friends and then their
friends, and then those friends's friends pushed him, he caved in and
took them. I told him I'd let him know if he started acting weird, but he
surprisingly seemed to handle his alcohol well. And I noticed that it
made him extremely affectionate. VERY affectionate.

Here we were, in the middle of the living room, surrounded by people,


and dancing to Burn Season's "Perfect". The song is pretty slow and
sexy, so of course, that gives me an excuse to dance with Edward and
show the ladies what I have:.. Him. Normally, I would never dance in
front of strangers, but being wrapped up in Edward's arms kind of rips
those emotions from you. His warm breath trailing along my cold skin
on my neck, his soft fingers trailing lines up my back, his pelvis
pressed so far up against me that it's caused my body to have some
serious reactions... I felt like life couldn't get much better than this. I
raised on my toes to kiss him on the mouth, but right as we connected,
I heard people arguing in the kitchen.

I broke away instantly, running toward the voice I recognized as


Rosalie. I got in there to find Emmett on one corner, being held back by
four guys, with Rosalie on the opposite side, screaming at Ashley
Gwinn, and there were three guys holding her back, which was causing
Emmett to be pissed since their hands weren't in the most appropriate
places. Edward ran in right behind me, holding me back from the arms
swinging in the center of the kitchen from both Ashley and Rosalie.
Rose's face was completely red and her eyes were wide and angry, and
Emmett kept cursing at the guys to take their hands off of her.

Edward stepped in at the wrong time, and Ashley swung at him in


attempts to get Rosalie. Of course, this pissed me off, so I went to
jump at her, but Edward caught me on his left side, gripping me and
pushing me back. "Don't do it!" he shouted, his hands firm on my
arms. Rosalie's voice was hoarse for screaming so loud. "You're such a
fucking slut, Ashley! What the hell were you thinking, just running up
to grab my boyfriend's junk in front of me?! Huh?! Oh my God, you
better pray to Jesus Christ himself that these mother fuckers don't
release me because I will knock you on your fucking ass!"
Ashley ran up to her, and got intercepted by Scott, one of the guy's on
Edward's team. He almost elbowed Edward in the face as he lunged for
her, and Edward was so busy holding me back behind him that he
didn't notice.

"I'm the slut?!" Ashley shouted back to her, kicking and screaming in
Scott's arms. "Me?! Take a look around, you fucking skank! These are
my friends, this is Julia's party. You're the one who doesn't belong
here, in your skanky ass shorts and blonde hair. Emmett doesn't
probably even want you, you fat bitch!"

"Oh you keep talking, mother fucker!" Rosalie shouting, her white shirt
ripping by the grasps as the boys kept trying to hold her back. "KEEP
TALKING! Give me one more reason to knock you the fuck out, because
it's going to happen!"

As these two kept shouting, Edward ran over to Emmett to get him to
calm down enough so the guys would release him, leaving me holding
Alice's hands.

Jasper ran over to Rosalie, picking her up from behind and yanking her
away from the three guys that were holding her. "Calm down!" He
shouted, jerking her backward. "I understand why you're pissed, but
your clothes are fucking ripping, and you're going to end up fucking
naked at this party."

Alice and I walked over there to help Jasper, and he ended up having to
drag her on her butt to hold her down. Alice ran behind him to talk to
her in her ear, while I crouched down in front of her, trying to cover her
up with Edward's jacket he gave me moments before this fight broke
out.

Julia ran in, holding some guy's hand, and she started freaking out.
"What the hell is going on here?! What happened, Ashley?!"

Ashley pointed to us on the floor, saying "They started it! I got punched
in the mother fucking face!"

Now that I glanced up at Ashley, I did notice that Rose got a good
punch right below Ashley's left eye, and it was all ready swelling and
bruising.

"I should have known!" Julia shouted, running in the middle of their
attempts to kill each other. She began shouting over the music, and
over everyone else who were screaming at this point.
"I should have known that you had something to do with this!" -- and
when she said that, she didn't point to Rosalie. She pointed to me. --
"Here I was, trying to make friends with you, as requested by Jasper,
and this is how you repay me?! By starting fights with my best friend?
In MY HOUSE?! I don't get you, Bella!"

Edward tried to cut in, telling her it wasn't me, but Julia wouldn't listen
to him, as she continued to shout. I saw Edward's shirt get ripped as he
was struggling to get to me, but I couldn't make out what he was
screaming because all I heard was her, and this:

"Why couldn't you just stay where you were? It's clear that you don't
belong here! We don't care about how much makeup you stick on your
nasty, pale face, or how new your clothes are! Everyone in the halls,
for the past four years straight, did nothing but talk about how you
were a skank and a whore and a nasty ass bitch who'd never have a
boyfriend! That you were nothing in this school! And then you decide
to go fuck with Cullen, the best guy we've had at this school, drive his
reputation clear into the dirt, and you're still not happy?! Wake the
fuck up, Bella! You're nothing! You aren't even human! You're a
FREAK!"

And that was all it took.

I felt my skin boiling through my chest, and out my ears.

My hands began to tremble.

My chest became covered in my invisible armor.

I saw red.

And then I smelled red.

Then I jumped.

And then I saw black.

The next thing I knew, I was lying on the kitchen floor on my back.
There were horrifying screams as people began shuffling around us,
running to and from the kitchen. I couldn't make out any of their
words. I heard myself hissing and I could smell blood at a really close
proximaty. I was being held down on the floor by Edward, Jasper, and
Emmett, with my hands restrained above my head and Jasper was
sitting on my legs. I couldn't listen to anything they were saying. I saw
their mouths moving, but suddenly, it was as if I was deaf.
All I could think about was the heart beats surrounding me from
different bodies, and that strange smell of blood still being surrounding
me, as if it were right under my nose. I felt my head shaking from left
to right in a fast manor, like I was trying to shake off something, and I
couldn't stop.

Then I watched as Edward ripped off the remains of his black sweater,
bunching it up and lifting my head. I saw his lips moving as he began
to cover my mouth and my nose with it, really tight to where a human
couldn't breathe as he wrapped it around my head. I still couldn't hear
him speaking.

From my peripheral vision, I saw Alice standing beside Rosalie at the


corner, with her trembling hands covering her mouth. Rosalie was just
stiff, gaping at all of us in shock.

In that instant, everyone else was out of the kitchen, and Edward's
voice started echoing into my head. "She's okay! She's okay, it's
nothing! Jasper, I swear, it wasn't what you were thinking! We just
have to get her up, get her out of here! Now!"

I felt my body being lifted from the ground, and I realized I was in
Emmett's strong, wide arms. He grabbed the back of my head, pushing
it in his neck, but Edward yelled at him, and he yanked my head back
instantly. I couldn't hear what Edward was saying as his voice began to
phase in and out, but I noticed that Emmett made sure not to rest my
head on his neck now. Instead, he hand his hand on my right cheek,
caressing it.

Her ran with me in his arms, and over his left shoulder, I saw Jasper
running, carrying Alice in his arms behind us, and Edward with Rose in
his arms.

I couldn't remember anything.

"You're okay, Bella!" Emmett shouted as he opened the car door,


climbing in with me in his lap.

Everyone else climbed in the car at that second, and we were peeling
out, Edward behind the wheel. Jasper and Emmett were in the
backseat with me, while Alice sat on Rosalie's lap in the passenger
seat.

"She's not breathing!" Jasper shouted, and I noticed his hand was on
my chest. "Edward, I'm not even feeling a fucking heartbeat!"
"She's okay!" Edward screamed back to him, jerking the car to a hard
right as he pulled onto the highway. I could hear sirens from behind us,
but they too began to fade in and out.

"How the fuck is she okay?!"

Alice let out a sound of pain from her throat, and from my blurry vision,
I watched as she covered her chest. "Oh my God, do you think Julia is
all right?!"

"Alice! She's fine!"

"There was blood everywhere, Edward!" Rosalie shouted, but my vision


became too blurry and I couldn't make out what she was doing.

"Well if you weren't fucking starting shit, none of this would have
happened!" Edward countered.

I looked up and saw Emmett breathing really hard through his nose,
not saying anything as he continued to stroke my head and hold me
securely in his lap. His eyes remained on the front seat only.

"Carlisle's going to get called!" Jasper yelled. "He's the best doctor,
he's going to find out about this!"

Edward sped up even faster, plowing through a graveled back road. "I
don't care!"

I heard Alice sobbing painfully, and it looked like she was leaning with
her head against the front dash.

I watched as Jasper reached his hand to my neck, leaning in closer to


me, which caused me to involuntarily tense up into Emmett's chest.
"Edward, why does she not have a pulse?!"

"She does! You're probably not checking right!"

"Edward! I'm looking right the fuck at her, and she's awake, and in
hysterics, and there's no fucking heartbeat!"

Emmett slapped his hand away, covering my neck with his index
finger. "It's right here, Jasper! I feel it, so shut up!"

"Where?!"

"Right here! She's obviously alive, isn't she?!"


I looked up at Emmett, but he wouldn't look back at me. He just kept
his hand on my neck, his finger on my nonexistent pulse.

Then the brakes were being slammed, and Alice shuffled out of the
passenger seat, throwing up right outside the door. Rosalie ran out
after her, followed by Jasper after he lifted up the front seat. I listened
as Edward filed out of his side, but as he lifted the seat for Emmett to
pass me to him, Emmett refused, shaking his head. "Not now!" he
shouted, pulling me into his chest and climbing out. They all began to
run inside the house, and we noticed that Carlise and Esme weren't
home.

They were probably on their way to Julia's house, for some reason I
couldn't understand.

Emmett sat me on the island in the kitchen while Edward and Jasper
ran around me. I heard Alice screaming as she cried in the living room,
and I noticed Rosalie wasn't in here either.

"Edward, tell me what the fuck just happened, because I'm freaking
out right now!"

"Jasper, relax! Bella's fine."

"I'm not just worried about Bella, Edward!"

"Jasper!" Emmett yelled, his voice so harsh it caused me to wince.


"You're not helping shit. Get out of here, go check on Alice. Make sure
she's alright!"

"Why would she be all right?! Did you see what the fu-" Jasper's voice
got cut off as Emmett pushed him backward, turning him around and
toward Rosalie.

Then Emmett was back over to me, as Edward lifted my head, shaking
my face. "Bella, listen to me! Can you hear me?"

I nodded, though my ears were ringing loud, and every time I blinked, I
saw red still. His voice began to fade in and out, but most of the time, I
could hear it through the echoing ringing.

Edward yanked the piece of sweater from my head, throwing it in the


trash. "Emmett, get a washcloth! We have to get this blood off of her
face, now!"
Emmett ran around the island, and then a few seconds later, he was
back to me. "Did she..." he whispered, as his voice trailed off.

Edward nodded, soaking my face with the cloth.

As soon as he did, I smelled wet blood again.

The scent ruled over everything. I became single-minded. As I blinked


once, I realized that I was now flipped over and crouched on top of the
counter, my hands touching in front. A loud feral snarl escaped my lips,
and it unsettled me. I noticed Emmett on the far wall of the kitchen,
and Edward against the sink, both their hands in the air in surrender
positions.

Both their faces startled me as they remained unmoving, and after a


few minutes of dead silence, I realized that it was me that seemed
horrified by them. I was the attacker, they weren't trying to hurt me.

"Bella?"

I snapped my head in Edward's direction, straightening out my pose


instantly. His voice was low and calm, but still showed worry.

I didn't want him to be scared of me.

I watched as he slowly lowered his hands and began to come toward


me, but Emmett yelled at him, "No! Don't!"

Edward froze in mid-step. "She's okay, Emmett." he breathed


hesitantly. "...Bella? Can you hear me?"

I nodded, swallowing hard. My throat was burning to no end, but not


for him. Not like that.

"I'm going to take a step cl-"

"No Edward," Emmett said, his voice soft. "Don't."

"Shhh." Edward whispered back to him, as he refocused his eyes on


me. "Bella, keep your eyes on me, okay?"

I nodded, not blinking.

I watched as he took a step closer to me, his breathing hitched, his


eyes locked. With every small inch he took, I felt my chest become
lighter.
"Edward..." Emmett said, his voice hesitating. He didn't trust me

I didn't blame him.

"She's all right, Em." After a few hesitant, slow steps, he reached out
for me, his fingertips grazing my pants. The electric current washed
over me, relaxing me more.

He saw it, and relaxed himself, exhaling slowly but loudly.

I squat down on the counter, noticing Emmett was still locked in a


freeze position to my right, swallowing hard.

As I lowered, Edward's smile was soft as he lifted his hand and stroked
my cheek. He curled his fingers to the shape of my face, keeping his
eyes locked on mine and no where else.

"...Hey you..." he whispered with a crooked smile. My favorite smile.

I instinctively leaped for him, jumping in his arms and burying my face
in his warm neck. Edward didn't even flinch. He wasn't afraid of me. I
heard Ememtt's breathing hitch and his body shuffling around in a
nervous back and forth motion, as if he could'nt decide to come closer
or not, but he didn't say anything.

Edward's hands cradled my head, his fingers tangled in my hair as his


heart pounded against my hollow.

"I'm so sorry," I whispered, although I still didn't know what I did.

"Shh, sweet angel. You're okay."

I nodded, gasping for his scent, filling my body up with it to get the
burning sensation to go away.

"She's fine, Emmett," Edward said, though I didn't know what Emmett
had done or what his expression looked like, my only concern being
how comfortable he was making me, and how he had the ability to
keep me so calm.

"Can I do something?" Emmett asked after a few more seconds.

Edward lifted me back to the counter, sitting me in front of him so he


could stand between my legs. Reluctantly, I pulled away from him,
staring into his green eyes intensely.
It felt like my heart was breaking. My chest was beyond heavy, and
stiff.

And aching.

"She looks so sad," Emmett whispered, walking over to stand by


Edward.

I glanced over at him, and I saw that the big, teddy bear that I adored
so much had tears welling up in his eyes as he glanced back up at me.
This made me frown worse. Which made a single tear fall from his
eyes. I raised up my hand, and Emmett stiffened, but allowed me to
cradle his cheek in my palm. As soon as I touched him, he relaxed, but
his eyes remained saddened as he covered my tiny hand with his big
warm one.

Edward finished inspecting my face and brushing the hair off of my


shoulders. He was so calm, even his heart rate was steady.

He seemed so concerned, so occupied with me that it made my stiff


heart grow double in size.

He really did love me, even after this.

"Edward, I need to talk with you for a second," Emmett said, not
removing my hand. "It's important."

"It can wait."

"Then I'm going to say it here. You've got a gash on your left arm, and
I'm worried about... this situation."

I snapped my head back over to Emmett, and he held his breath. Then
I glanced back over to Edward.

"She won't hurt me, Em."

I shook my head fast though I still couldn't find my voice. There is no


way in hell I'd ever hurt him.

I tilted my head toward his arm, and noticed his gash was a pretty
deep cut. I trailed my eyes back to him, my brows furrowed in question
of how it happened.

"Your fingernails," he replied hesitantly, his fingers around my neck as


his thumbs stroked my jawline. "No biggie."
I started to speak, but as soon as I opened my mouth, I smelled his
blood and shut it instantly.

"Emmett, can you please clean it up for me?" Edward asked, his voice
velvet smooth. Unphased.

"Yes."

I watched as Emmett cleaned it up, first with water and soap, then
peroxide, then alcohol, then multiple bandages, just to be safe.

Then Rosalie stepped hesitantly in the kitchen, standing in the


doorframe. "Everything okay?" she whispered, her hands on the wood.

"It's fine, baby. She's okay."

"Good." Rosalie glanced at me, which made that unsteady feeling in


my chest come back again. "I called Andy. No one knows where Julia
went. They said she-"

"Rose!" Edward said, his voice restrained.

Rosalie backed away, Emmett following her out. They walked down the
hall, and I could hardly hear them whispering since my ears were still
foggy, but I heard "was running off... screaming... toward the woods....
a lot of blood... but no one can find her."

Emmett sighed, and I heard them moving, in what sounded like a


hugging motion.

"What is wrong with Bella?" Rosalie sobbed, her voice loud. She
sounded like she was concerned... for me.

"Edward and I are going to explain everything to you guys. It's not as
bad as you think."

"Did you know something like this could happen?" Rosalie's voice
continued to make the ache rise in my chest, and I turned to frown at
Edward.

"Yes. I've known for awhile."

"But-"

"Shh, I've got you. Bella's not going to hurt anyone here, I swear. You
just have to trust her."
"I do!" she sobbed louder, in a defeat expression. "I love Bella. I'm just
worried that they're going to come and get her."

"It won't happen. We won't let them."

"But the poli-"

"I've got it under control, Rose. Don't worry your pretty little head
about it, okay?" I listened as she sniffled and he walked her down the
hall, back toward the living room.

"I love you," he said.

"I love you."

I inhaled, unable to wipe the worst, saddest expression on my face.


This pain felt worse than the day I watched Edward cry in protest,
shoving his vein into my vision.

Edward's hands rubbed my thighs in a soothing manner, his eyes


remaining calm, like he didn't want to reflect my expression and make
me feel worse.

He was being the strong one.

"I messed everything up, didn't I?" My voice was scratchy, a bare
whisper.

"No, you didn't."

"Yes. I did." I looked down to my lap, finding my fingers. "... I'm going
to lose you now. I just know it."

"Hey, hey, hey!" he shouted, jerking my face toward him. "You're


never going to lose me."

"Yes, I am." I swallowed hard, unable to look at him anymore. "It's


over."

"It is not." His voice was stern.

"D-Did I..." I bit the inside of my quivering lip. "Did I kill her?"

"No. I got to you quick enough. She just ran off, scared. I think she saw
your teeth and it frightened her."
"...But, the blood?"

"You didn't get her, Bella. I promise you."

"But Carlisle?" I cried, shaking my head. "He's going to know. They'll


call him."

"I'm going to call him, Bella. Trust me, there were only fifteen people in
that kitchen. All plastered, and fighting. Six of my teammates, the two
girls, you, me, and my family. We were all intoxicated, I know because
I drank with them. Most people didn't even see you in the kitchen,
being too focused on Rosalie's attempts to hurt Ashley, not to mention
her lack of clothing in that process. They won't even know what
happened! By the time they sober up, they'll be trying to figure it out,
because it'll only show in phases. Your reaction was so fast, I bet they
didn't catch it. We'll clean this up."

That made me feel worse, if possible. When I spoke again, my voice


was so light that I could barely make it out. "...You shouldn't have to
clean up for me, Edward. Charlie's going to know, and he's going to
pull me away from you. I'll never be able to see you again."

"Bella, you're almost a hundred and eight years old." Edward said, his
words crashing over me. "I think you're old enough to decide whether
you go or stay."

"But I don't think it's safe for you, anymore. I'm not good for you. We
were in denial, I think. I could easily snap."

"You love me, remember?"

"Of course, but that-"

"No, stop." He pulled me to him, off the counter. I wrapped my legs


and arms around him, shamefully burying my head in his neck. "You
said forever, remember Bella?"

"Yes."

"Let me explain how forever applies to us. When stuff gets worse, even
the most imaginable, we stick it out. We fight for it. Together... Now I'm
fighting for us, Bella. Are you?"

I inhaled his scent, greedily soaking it up. "Y-Yes."

"Then we'll figure this out."


"Okay." Though I didn't know how.

After a few more minutes of hugs and him swaying from side to side
with me in his arms, he sat me back on the counter. "I'm going to have
to go talk with my brothers and sisters. I need you to stay in here for
me, can you do that?"

I nodded.

"I don't want you to leave, Bella. That won't help anyone. Promise me."

I swallowed, nodding again. "I promise."

"Okay."

As he turned to walk away, I grabbed his arm, pulling him back to me.
"How did Emmett know?"

He sighed, shaking his head slow. "...I'm sorry, Bella. He sort of...
figured parts of it out, with the whole not eating thing and stuff. I'm not
sure how he figured it out really, but he asked me a couple weeks
back, and I told him the truth. I planned to tell you, but I wanted to
discuss my options of becoming like you beforehand, so you'd
understand that people in my family accepted you. But we only
discussed this today, and I had plans to tell you tonight... But..."

I nodded, taking a breath. "I understand. I'm not angry."

"...You're not?" he raised an eyebrow.

"No. I'm glad you told him. He kept me safe, he protected me. He
helped cover for me."

He smiled, giving me a hug. "That's what family does, Bella. They know
you're a part of my family, no matter what."

I pulled in my lips, biting down. "I'm so sorry for everything, Edward."

"I know. But please realize that I'm not upset with you. I'm not scared
of you, and I still love you with my whole heart."

My lip quivered, as I looked down to his hand I was holding in my lap.


"I... I-I love you too."
As he walked out, I felt every ounce of my being ripping apart at the
seams. Just his mere distance broke me. I didn't want to be away from
him. But I couldn't listen to him tell Alice, Jasper, and Rosalie the truth.

So I pulled myself off of the counter, walking toward the patio outside.
But as I glanced back toward the kitchen, I noticed a crumpled piece of
paper on the island, where my body had smashed it.

I crinkled my forehead, walking back over to it. I pulled it apart, tilting


my head as I read it:

Had to rush out. Emergency. Back in 3-4 days.

Nothing else.

This confused me, as anytime Carlisle and Esme has ever left a note
for their family, it had been in Esme's writing, a pretty script. And more
detailed, with contact numbers.

Not like this. Maybe it was Carlisle's signature? Maybe it was really
important, as stated, an emergency?

Hopefully this was written before the party incident, and they don't
know anything about it. It'd make it easier on me... for now.

But suddenly, as I caught a glance of Alice crying as she sat on


Edward's lap, with Jasper rubbing her back and hugging her and
Edward both... And then Rosalie with tears in her eyes as Emmett held
her...

I realized that I just lost the only family I ever had beside my own, but
with the same amount of love for them as for Charlie and my mom...

But it's lost now. Because they know who I am. Just like the iris.

Chapter 18: Aftermath


"Bella? Are you all right?"

I lifted my head slowly from my hands, my eyes adjusting on the pretty


blonde girl that had a sad expression in her eyes. "Yeah Rose. I'm fine.
How are you holding up?"

She shrugged, coming over to sit beside me on Edward's bed. "I'm


okay..."

I nodded, looking away from her. The last twenty fours hours have
been torturous. I don't think I could have expected this, but I also
never expected to snap at a party, and reveal my identity.

After Edward and Emmett told their siblings the truth about me, about
what I was, I left. I went hunting, tried to clear my head.

I wanted to go tell Charlie what I did, but since I didn't really know
what all I did, I couldn't do that. So I reluctantly returned back to the
Cullen's house, and steered away from them. Rosalie excepted the
truth about me a lot quicker than the rest of them. It took a few
minutes, of course, but she came around pretty quickly.

Alice and Jasper went to their bedroom to talk. I could hear her sobbing
and him comforting her. He came out a few hours later, and when he
walked past me, he gave me a reassuring smile that he too had
accepted.

Alice didn't come around 'til about an hour ago. The bubbly, happy go
lucky girl was suddenly glum. She'd glance up at me from around the
room and smile, but I could tell she was weary the entire time. Her
eyes were puffy from her tears, and red like the oversized shirt of
Jasper's he dressed in it last night.

Edward stayed on the couch with his head in his hands, talking on the
phone with different high school students.

Emmett came and explained to me what happened. He told me that I


jumped for Tanya an was hissing. He said he saw my teeth, but thinks
he was the only one because Edward intercepted and turned my face
in Emmett's direction. He explained that as Edward was trying to hold
me back, I lashed out on her and scratched her with my nails.

She got large gashes on her arms, her shoulders, her neck, her face...
Blood was evident. He said my hands were moving a mile a minute, so
fast that it startled everyone. It took him, Jasper, a few of their
teammates and Edward to knock me down.
That's how Edward got that deep gash on his arm.

It really haunted me. I don't know how I restrained from biting her...
The only thing I can think of was maybe that Edward was in the room,
and though I was beyond angered, I subconsciously wouldn't have
wanted to frighten him, which caused some sort of internal restraint.

But I knew how sharp my nails were, and by the idea of Julia running
off... that really worried me. Thoughts of her bleeding to death were in
my head, running in a circle like a hamster on a wheel. Julia in the
forest, Julia beside the road, Julia frightened...

Edward's been making phone calls, trying to reach Carlisle and Esme
on their cell phones, and trying to reach some of their friends at
school. Most of the people can't remember what happened, being too
hammered by that point. Others tried to make up stories, saying how
we got into a huge fight and tried to choke each other and all these
random things.

He said Ashley answered the phone, but refused to talk to him, stating
that she called the police on me fighting. But since Julia hadn't been
missing for a full forty-eight hours, since she was classified as an
"adult" by police standards, they couldn't turn the report in...

However, that got Charlie notified, which is why he's standing here in
the Cullen's house in full uniform, talking with Edward and Emmett.

And why I am in Edward's room, with Rosalie now, trying my hardest to


avoid him at all costs possible. He stormed into the house a few years
ago, and all he said to me was, "I'll deal with you in a minute."

And when Charlie's voice gets that deep, I stay clear.

Edward has tried to explain to him the severity of the situation, in full
detail as possible. He told him about the party, the drinking, the
dancing, the argument between Rose and Ashley, how Julia stormed in,
directed her attention to me instead of Rosalie, and how I snapped
when she said I was inhuman and a freak. But he only told him I
attacked her with my nails, not that I tried to bite her. I am not sure if
Charlie believed him or not, but I was praying he did.

Charlie has threatened to pack me up right now and leave, but Edward
has begged him to stick it out, see if Julia comes around... he even
pulled reverse psychology on Charlie, stating that it was his job to get
to the bottom of this.
But when Charlie's voice became stern toward Edward, saying, "Don't
worry. I plan to get to the bottom of this... with everyone," Edward
directed their conversation elsewhere.

They still haven't been able to contact Carlisle. His cell phone has gone
straight to voicemail, his pager has been non-reponsive, and Esme's
cell appears to be dead as well. Edward says this is rare, but has
happened before, so we shouldn't worry about it yet. His dad is a
surgeon, and sometimes he'd spend over twenty four hours on call in a
room with his hands inside people's bodies, so Edward didn't bother to
worry.

Rosalie had her head in my lap, and she was silently sobbing, telling
me how much she loved me and accepted me for who I was, and how
sorry she was for starting that fight with Ashley. She thinks it's her
fault, and no matter how many times I've tried to tell her it wasn't, and
that it was bound to happen one day, she refuses to believe me.

"But I should have let it go!" she cried. "None of this would have
happened if I just shrugged it off. It's not like people don't hit on
Emmett all the time, I don't know why it bothered me so much when
she did it."

"Because Ashley Gwinn is the typical girl who thinks she can have
anything she wants, and you needed to put her in her place."

I expected her to kind of chuckle at that response, but instead, it made


her worse. She covered her face and began to sob louder. I rubbed her
arms, trying to reassure her that none of this had to do with her, that I
still loved her, that I wasn't mad at her...

Emmett came in about forty minutes later, and he held her too, sitting
beside me. I hated that they were all giving me these sad, silent
smiles, but since I was returning them, I guess it made us all even. We
didn't really know what to do, or how to act around each other.

I could hear Edward and Charlie's voices get louder, but Emmett told
me to stay there, and to let them hash it out. I cringed when I heard
Edward shouting. It was unlike him to get so heated, and toward my
father, this was worse.

"How is this my fault?" he yelled. "This was unavoidable, and it was


bound to happen. You've kept Bella so isolated, so sheltered, you
couldn't have expected her to not break one day!"
"I HAD to keep her sheltered, Edward, our identities depended on it.
We would be in hiding, Edward. We wouldn't be able to stay in one
place. You would have never met her... and now we might have to go
away. Is this what you wanted?"

"Of course not! I'm trying to do everything in my power to help this


situation, and make it right. But you cannot attack me, the one person
who loves Bella, when something goes wrong. I wasn't th-"

"You love Bella, huh? Well then why would you take her into that sort
of situation, Edward? Why didn't you think it through and realize, hey,
this isn't such a great idea, maybe we should rethink this?"

"Because Bella was dying to find her own identity! You don't even see
it, but the rest of us do! She's came out of her shell these past four
months. She's turned into this beautiful, intelligent, confident woman,
and she needed to be around people within her own physical-age
bracket! She needed to see that it was okay to relax and be happy!"

Charlie was silent for a few minutes. Then his voice was low when he
responded. "Yeah, well you see what happens when Bella tries to blend
in. You know, this all could have been avoided if you two would have
steered clear from each other."

Edward was just as silent. Then, he was calm when he spoke. "Well,
with all do respect, sir, I love Bella with all my heart, and you cannot
stop me from being with her."

"How do you figure that, Edward? You're just a human."

"It doesn't matter. Even if you could hold me down, Bella is your equal,
and I guarantee you that not only would she fight for me, but she may
also stray from you, if you try and hold her back."

Charlie scoffed. "This is ridiculous."

"Maybe so, in your eyes... but I think we have more important things to
worry about than my relationship."

"That's right. Thanks to last night's party, I have a missing girl on my


hands."

"I'll try to help in any way I can."

"No, Edward, I think you've done enough."


The next day, no change. Charlie refused me in staying with Edward,
but since I didn't want them to be at their house alone with all of this
madness going around, he called his best friend Billy, who's also on the
force, and had him park outside their house and keep an eye on things.

When he received a call at eleven this morning, stating that Julia had
been found a few miles away, and was in the hospital, he told me to
stay home while he went and got a statement.

Of course, I didn't do that, and went to Edward as fast as I could.

I freaked out, running into his arms, panicking that Julia was going to
tell him I tried to bite her. He tried to comfort me, but I could tell he
hadn't slept in over two nights, so I quickly hid my emotions and made
Emmett force him to get some sleep.

When he refused, we resounded to drastic measures, and put some


crushed Tylenol Pm's in his water. Edward was out in five minutes flat,
on the couch.

So I spent the day prancing around their living room, avoiding the
awkward tension from a silent Alice. She sat in a chair, with a book in
her lap, but she never really opened it. Jasper came around and spoke
with me, but I could tell it was still a little weird for him. And Rose and
Emmett treated me like normal, but I could tell Rosalie was still
stressed out. She called Ashley Gwinn this morning and even
apologized to her, and from what I got out of it, Ashley accepted it.

Around three this evening, Edward woke up groggy and a little


confused. He rubbed his face vigorously, trying to figure out how he
passed out. Emmett and I just shrugged it off, pretending that he just
over-exhausted himself and crashed. He thought for a few moments,
before accepting our lie as his fate.

Around four, their phone rang. We all lunged for it, but Emmett got to it
before the rest of us.

"Hello? Yes, this is Emmett. Yes.... Mmhhmm. Right.... Really? Wow...


that's awful... So is she-- Yes. Yeah she's here. All right. Yes sir. Bye."
he sighed, as well all stared at him with wide eyes and open palms.

"Well," he exhaled, sitting beside Edward. "That was your dad, Bella.
It's not good. Julia is having some pretty serious infections, and her
blood pressure is extremely high. He said she couldn't remember much
from the party, doesn't even know who attacked her. So that might
work in your favor... but he asked if you were here, and I didn't lie to
him."

"That's okay Emmett. I understand."

Edward groaned, throwing himself back against the cushions. "I don't
feel well."

I walked over to him, rubbing his leg. "I'm sorry, is there anything I can
do for you?"

He flopped over and laid his head on my lap, covering his face. "Yeah,
just don't leave me."

"I won't."

He fell asleep after a few more seconds, but his head began to feel
warm, so I made Emmett take his temperature. 101.8. We put some
ice on his forehead and covered him up, and I stayed with him, turning
the phone down beside him.

Rose came and sat beside me, throwing Edward's legs on her lap.
Then, Alice came over on my other side. I was kind of stiff when she
sat down, but as she put my cold hand between her warm hands and
gave me a comforting smile, I relaxed.

"I love you Bella," she whispered to me. "I'm here for you."

I smiled, so happy that she finally came around. "I love you too, Al."

Emmett and Jasper sat on the floor, playing cards. We all didn't speak
much, but the fact that we were all together, as our own little family,
made me feel so much better. They proved to me that it really didn't
matter about our differences...

Around seven pm, Edward shot up from my lap, waking from a dead
sleep. He ran into the kitchen, and I heard him throwing up in the
trash.

I went in there to find him, but Jasper all ready had him, trying to put a
cold towel on his neck while Edward sat on the floor in front of the
trash.

I kneeled beside him, rubbing his back. "Edward, what's the matter?
What are you feeling?"
He groaned and got sick again, causing me to sort of wince. I didn't like
hearing him get sick, not because I couldn't handle it, but because
there was nothing I could do about it. Jasper hopped up and ran toward
the closet in the hall, trying to find something to help coat his stomach.

Alice came in and sat beside me. She lifted his shirt and stuck my cold
hands on his heated back, smiling at me. "I'm sure it helps," she said.

I didn't even think about that, but was gracious when she did.

After a few more struggles, Edward's stomach settled briefly. He


whined, laying his face on the cold floor and throwing one of my hands
on his forehead. He seemed paler than normal, but Alice reassured me
that it was common when people got sick. She said he was probably
just overstressed, since he stayed up all night trying to handle
everything.

It made sense, but I couldn't relax. So I basically became his shadow,


following him from the couch to the bathrooms while he got sick. It
only happened about four more times, but each time, he seemed to be
feeling worse.

And we still couldn't contact Carlisle or Esme.

Around eleven that Sunday night, Edward woke up. He was quiet and
still whining, but didn't seem as pale, so I took that as a good sign.
Charlie never called or came over for the rest of the night, so they all
slept on the couches in the living room, together, while I kept an eye
out on everyone.

Charlie did however arrive at seven in the morning on Monday. He


called out for the kids from school, and pulled me into their dining
room to explain to me that Julia's infections are severe, she isn't
waking up, and has now had a high temperature.

I told him about Edward's reactions and his stomach flu, but Charlie
suddenly got stiff. "Does he have any marks on him? Did you get him?

When I told him I accidentally scratched him once, Charlie ran into the
living room and looked at Edward's arm. It wasn't infected since
Emmett cleaned it that night, but he advised Rosalie and Alice to
monitor it and keep an eye out on it for any changes.

So that made me feel awful.


Because if he got that sick over one scratch from me, then I really
didn't want to think about Julia, or the extent of her damage.

Edward stayed awake. As the time went past us, he started to gain
strength.

Subtle at first.. but around six this evening, he seemed almost back to
normal.

Around eleven, his cell phone rang. He said it was Carlisle's number.
He spoke on it for a few minutes, walking outside. I watched his
expressions go from worry, to thinking, to distraught, to yes sir, no
sir... He began to walk around the yard, listening to Carlisle speaking.

"Hey Bella, come here for a second," Charlie said, coming from the
office. I walked down the hall, into Carlisle's empty study. He was
sitting at Carlisle's desk, his brows furrowed.

"What's up, Dad?"

"Didn't you guys say that Carlisle's phone was turned off due to his
surgery?"

I nodded, confused.

I watched as he opened the small drawer in the middle of desk, and


lifted out an Iphone from there. He examined it, and it had a broken
screen, and wouldn't stay turned out.

My throat tightened and then I remembered Edward said it was


Carlisle's number on his phone. I ran through the hall and toward the
living room, no Edward.

I asked his brothers and sisters if he came back in, and he didn't.

Then I ran outside, no Edward. I couldn't even smell him.

I panicked, running back inside to grab the phone. I dialed Edward's


cell phone, but it was turned off suddenly.

My stomach flipped as I yelled for Charlie to get in here.

I told him about Edward's call and how he went outside so he could
hear Carlisle better.
Alice ran to the phone to try to get ahold of Esme by her cell.

But suddenly, I realized that Edward wasn't here.

And that was not Carlisle on the phone.


Chapter 19: Spider Web

Everything was distorted.

Nothing was real.

We were not having this conversation.

And I was not in panic mode.

This is a dream.

Of course, it can't be a dream for me, since I am unable to sleep.

Maybe it's Edward's dream?

Maybe somehow, he pulled me along with him, and now we're both
trapped, yet lost from one another?

Oh Lord.

My brain was racing ninety miles a minute.

Charlie and I had Edward's brothers and sisters lined up in their living
room, and we refused to let them out of our sight.

We were all confused.

Charlie called in a few friends to try and trace Edward's last call.

All I could do was pace around the living room in a line, over and over
as I tried to figure out what else I could do...

I've tried to search the woods countless times these past few hours.
I've tried calling all his friends, his teammates, the hospitals... no
Edward.

And the mere thought of No Edward was pretty much unacceptable for
me.

After forty minutes of torturous silence, brainstorming, and few clues, I


had about all I can take.
I flew down the hallway, into Carlisle's study, where Charlie searched
for clues of the three's whereabouts.

"Charlie Swan," I stammered through my anger, my hands glued to my


hips as I stood in the doorway. "I think you're not telling me
everything."

He sighed, plopping down in the brown leather chair. "Bella, not now,
okay?"

"No, now!"

He glared at me, swaying the chair back and forth. "We don't know
anything yet."

"No, no, no," I hissed as I stormed to the front of the desk. "I don't
know anything. But I think you do. What is it that you're not telling
me?"

"Bella, it's n-"

"DAD! NOW!"

Charlie glowered at me for a few minutes, before sitting up and leaning


over the desk. "Alright. Sit."

I walked around to the nearest chair and flopped in it, staring intently
at my father.

"I think Edward is missing."

"You think?"

"Well... I don't believe he was stolen, or forced out without his will... We
would have heard some sort of scream.. or you may have possibly
sensed something off, if ... let's say, Victor, for instance, decided to
take him out of that back yard."

"Dad, Edward would have not just left. He wouldn't do that to me, and
he wouldn't have done that to his siblings."

"I'm not saying that either, Bella..." he sighed. "I think he was bribed,
or black mailed in some way."

My mouth dropped as I tried to form words that I couldn't understand.


Charlie nodded, waiting for me to say something.

"What would anyone have on Edward?" I gasped after a few staggering


minutes.

"Tell me about Edward's biological parents."

I furrowed my brows, my hands on my heart as he changed the


subject. "Um... his father died when he was five, a gunshot at a store I
think... and his mother died a year ago, with some sort of fever."

"And his parents were close with the Cullen's, yes? And Edward, too?"

I nodded, trying to figure out where Dad was going with this.

"...I think he wants revenge, Bella."

I fell back in the chair, trying to understand this concept. "What?"

Charlie mimicked my actions, leaning back in Carlisle's seat. "I never


told you the truth about... Victor and Jamee."

"What are you talking about?"

Charlie rubbed his face a few times. "You know what happened with
Renee..."

"Yes."

"And Victor."

"Yes."

Charlie sighed. "I saved Jamee that night, do you remember?"

I nodded.

"And a few years ago, I told you that I found Jamee and turned her in to
the Volturi..."

"Yes, I remember."

He took a deep breath. "I lied to you, Bella."

I shook my head, sitting up again. "W-What?"


"Yes. I lied... I never turned her in. I..." his voice trailed off as he met
my eyes. "I took care of it."

I stood up, moving the chair back with my foot. "What?! What are you
talking about? What do you mean 'I took care of it'?!"

He buried his face in his hands, leaning over on the desk. "I'm so sorry,
Bella, I shouldn't have lied to you. I-"

"Dad you better tell me what the hell happened before I lose my last
nerve!"

"I found her, snooping around here in Forks one night. It was a few
years back. I could easily recognize her scent from a mile away... It
was a scent that was burned in my memory ever since I tasted her
blood on my lips. I became furiated, raging with fumes. I left work, I
charged for her, I had no thoughts in my head in the process... I knew
she was up to something bad, possibly looking for us... and I found her
instantly."

I eyed him down as he contininued.

"I remember being so angry, so disturbed with the fact that she was
alive... and your mother wasn't. She looked just as she did that same
night so many years back... It took me back to that dark cave, to your
mother's screams..."

He gasped, shaking his head. "I charged for her. I threw her into some
trees, and we fell deep into a pretty extensive battle. Victor wasn't with
her... She told me that he sent her here, on a mission, but I never got
to ask her what it was."

"Why not?" I sneered.

He met my eyes again, his face tortured. "...Because I ripped her into
shreds."

The room fell silent.

I became dizzy.

I reached behind me, my hand tapping the air in search of the arm
rests. Once I found it, I pulled it to me, unsteadily falling into the seat.

I couldn't speak.
All I could do is stare at my father in disbelief, unable to close my
mouth.

"I should have told you," he whispered to me.

"I..." I shook my head, trying to make way for my thoughts, to


comprehend through the sudden emptiness I felt in my chest.
"Victor..."

He nodded.

"Victor wants revenge on you... so he came after me, or the one thing
that was important to me... because..."

He finished for me. "Because he knew I'd do whatever it took to protect


you, and whatever mattered to you."

I moaned, burying my face in my hands.

"No, no, no, no, no," I whispered on repeat. "This can't be happening,
this isn't happening, this can't be happening."

"...I'm so sorry, Bella."

I shook my head back in forth. "This isn't real, this isn't real, this isn't
real..."

"I'm afraid it is... Bella."

I slammed my hands on the desk, kicking the chair back behind me


and standing to my feet.

I was shaking, glaring at him through hatred. "Then you better fucking
fix this. NOW!"

He nodded, slowly standing with me. "I'm going to fix this, Bella... but
you need to calm down."

"Calm down?!" I shouted, my anger rising. "Don't you tell me to calm


down! Because of your... your actions... you just ripped away the one
thing, the only thing, that means anything to me!"

He nodded, his hands in the air. "I know, Bella... I'm going to fix it."

"Do it now!"
"I will."

"No," I slammed my hand on the desk, hearing it crack beneath my


force. "I don't want to hear I will, Dad. I want to hear I am."

"I am."

My hands were trembling as I took a few steps back.

All I could think about was lunging over this table and taking my
aggression out on my father.

How could he hurt me like this?

"Bella!" Alice gasped, running into the study.

Charlie and I snapped our heads to the pixie in the doorway, both
angered for different reasons: Me at him, he at himself.

"I-I had.." she gasped, her hand on her thudding heart. "I-I don't know
what happened... But I .. um, I was sitting there on the couch, staring
at a picture of Edward and I on the fireplace, and.. I had a vision of
some sort."

"What do you mean, a vision?" Charlie stepped around the desk.

"I don't know, this doesn't happen that often! Only, usually, a few
times in my life... Like with tests for school, or with Jasper on
occassion... but... I've never been wrong before when it happens... and
this one was too real for it not to be happening!"

"Alice," I ran over to her, shaking her gently. "What did you see?"

"I saw Edward!" she cried, her hands on my forearms.

"What do you mean, you saw Edward? Here?! Is he here, Alice?! Did he
come back?!"

She shook her head, the tears streaming down her face. "No. I saw him
on a floor... on this wooden floor in a darkened room... in..."

I nodded for her to continue, desperate for anything that could happen.

"In... " she shook her head, looking down. "He was laying in blood,
Bella. A lot of it!"
I stumbled back, cracking my head toward Charlie, who came to sit
beside us.

"Bella," he said as he stared at Alice. "Go grab a note-pad from


Carlisle's top drawer. Now."

I ran around to the desk, while he grabbed the chair I kicked backward,
sitting it upright and motioning for Alice to sit.

She did, crying harder.

I handed it to him, and he passed it along to her lap, holding out a pen.
"Alice, I need for you to draw for me what you saw. Can you do that?"

She nodded, gasping for air.

"Bella, go get the kids. Bring them all in here. Pull up the internet on
Carlisle's computer. We may have to book a flight."

"Dad, what's going o-"

"Bella! Don't ask questions! Do it now!"

I did as Charlie instructed while Alice's hands began to move at a


rapidly in-human rate on the paper.

When everyone was gathered back in the study, and I had the internet
pulled up, I watched as Charlie leaned over her shoulder, studying her
sketch.

After a few lingering moments, Charlie threw his hand in his hair,
tugging on it nervously. "Bella, go get your sketchbook. I know you
have it."

I nodded, running up to Edward's bedroom and yanking my portfolio off


of his desk. I tried to avoid all the smells of him surrounding this room,
because I knew it'd bring me down. So I held my breath, running back
into the office. "Dad, what is it?"

He ripped the sketchbook from my hands, studying my art.

He flipped and flipped and flipped pages, shaking his head until he
stopped to one I did a few weeks ago.

Charlie slammed his index finger onto the drawing, looking at Emmett.
"Is this Carlise and Esme?"
He nodded, swallowing hard as his eyes widened.

"This isn't their house, though?"

He shook his head and pointed to the couple behind them. "That's
Edward's parents... that's their house, in Jacksonville. Edward took that
picture of the four of them, the day that my mom and dad visited
them, and dad helped with the final arrangements of the sale."

"Does Edward knew you drew this Bella?" Charlie asked, bringing his
attention to me.

I shook my head. "No, I didn't think anything of it..."

Charlie studied my art for a few moments, then gathered up Alice's


finished drawing, which I refused to look at.

I couldn't handle him thinking in silence, so I pressed it. "Dad? What is


it?"

He held up the drawings, covering up the part where Edward was so I


only saw his shoes. The window from the inside of the room he was in
matched the outside of the window in my drawing."

"He took Edward back to his old house... where his mother was before
she got sick."

"Flight 418 leaving Seattle to Jacksonville, Florida will be departing in


fifteen minutes, at Gate 11. Repeating, flight 418 leaving Seattle to
Jacksonville will be departing in fifteen minutes, at Gate 11. Please
grab all your belongings, and listen in until your section is called."

I reached around the seats, gathering up mine and Alice's carry on


bags.

The past few hours had been a big haze.

Within seconds, we were booking flights, making phone calls, leaving


messages for the school and the hospitals, trying to come into contact
with Carlisle and Esme... Googling Edward's old address.

Charlie couldn't figure out the missing link with Edward's adopted
parents... unless that was what he used to bribe Edward to come to
him... knowing it was his weak spot.
I got chills every time I thought about how long Victor could have been
watching us.. watching Edward, and his family.

We didn't feel it was safe to leave Alice, Rose, Jasper, and Emmett out
of our sights, not even for a second. So we were forced to bring them
along.

They were all ansy and confused, heartbroken but numb... They
weren't giving us a hassle, all remaining calm while they put their
unrelenting trust into us.

We waited in line while the lady scanned our tickets, and Emmett
reached down and grabbed my right hand. "It's gonna be okay, Bella."

I looked up at him and smiled the best I could. "I should be the one
reassuring you that, Em."

He shook his head as we walked to the lady, handing her our tickets.
"No, we're family. We remain strong for everyone... together."

I pulled my lips in, my heart aching. "Thank you, Emmett."

He nodded, wrapping his arm around Rosalie's shoulder and walking


ahead of us down the ramp.

Alice was sobbing as she held Jasper's hand behind us. She said she
couldn't shut her visions off now, that all she could hear was Edward
screaming... She couldn't handle it.

I reached out and patted her on the arm, before taking my dad's hand
in mine. Charlie glanced down at me, not expecting that because we
don't have that type of contact. Not to mention, he thought I was angry
at him... But I wasn't the only one losing something here, and I know
he was thinking about my mom every second now.

I gave him a firm squeeze and a slight smile, which he returned before
we boarded the plane.

Once we stored away and took our seats, I could hear all four of their
heartbeats rising heavily. They were nervous, and scared, and worried
for their brother.

And so was I.

In fact, if my heart would move right now, it would probably explode


between the heartache and anticipation I had.
All I kept repeating in my head was please let him be alive, please let
him be alive, please don't take him away from me, I'll give you
whatever you want...

I tried to focus on the stewardess checking the cabinets, the pilots


boarding the plane with their suitcases and black suits, the music from
Emmett's headphones, blaring from his Ipod... Nothing helped. Nothing
soothed me.

All I could think about was Edward.. all alone... Scared and confused...

I was angry at first, trying to figure out how he could do this to me,
why he would take off like that, and why he didn't tell me. I could have
done something!

But then I realized that this was his last family, Carlisle and Esme... and
it was a vulnerability.

He wouldn't lose his second set of parents.

Victor must have organized his bargaining chip well.

And if that was indeed the case, then Carlisle and Esme were in danger
as well.

As the plane lined up on the runway, getting ready for takeoff, I


glanced over at Alice and Jasper, who were sitting behind us.

"Alice," I whispered, motioning my finger for her to lean up toward my


seat.

Her swollen red eyes leaned forward with her body as she swallowed
hard.

"Did you see Carlisle and Esme? In your vision?"

She shook her head, swallowing gulps of air. "I can't. I've tried... but I
can't see them. I don't know what's wrong with me," she cried.

I patted her hand as Charlie reached and wiped her tears away... he
had a soft spot for her, I could tell.

"It's okay Alice," I whispered as the plane burrowed down the runway.
She sat back quickly, burying her face into Jasper's shoulder. He gave
me a side smile, comforting but not reaching his eyes, as he caressed
her shoulder and hummed in her ear.

I turned around in my seat, stealing a peek at my father on my right as


he stared out the window.

"I love you Dad," I whispered to him.

He turned slowly, his eyes rising to meet mine. "I love you too, Bella."

I nodded, holding my breath as the front end of the plane lifted up, the
back end following shortly after... and then we were up in the air,
swaying from side to side a bit as we climbed the altitude, through the
foggy haze.

We sliced through the clouds like butter... and memories of my time


spent with Edward flashed in my head within seconds...

His crooked smile, our first meeting... Him kissing my forehead in my


car after dinner at his parent's house... His cocky grin as he walked all
four bases in practice, staring at Quil... His kisses, his touch, the way
he made love to me... The way he shouted at me when we were both
being stubborn... The way he smiled as he shook my father's hand...
The tears he shed in front of me... The way he smiled a different kind
of smile, that crooked, gleaming one, which was made only for me...

This won't be the last time you see that smile, I said to myself as we
finally settled to a comfort altitude. It won't, Bella.

I had the group following me to a police car Charlie arranged for us. He
knew it'd be the quickest way for us to get transported, since we could
pass through the stoplights. I'm not certain how Charlie arranged this,
or what he lied to them about to get them to cooperate so easily
without questions... but was very happy when it worked.

He may have told them we were securing the kids, and they were in
witness protection. I never asked.

We climbed into two cruisers, Charlie with Emmett and Rosalie, while I
stayed with Alice and Jasper. The sirens from the police cars wailed as
we left the airport in Jacksonville, trying to push through the crowds.

Charlie wore his big police hat, the old style, long sleeves and his collar
flipped up, trying to keep his identity hidden. I went for a large hat
Alice brought, wide sunglasses, and as much clothing as possible... We
looked like freaks, out in winter clothing on a warm and sunny day like
this... but it was imperable for us to keep ourselves out of the radar.

The last thing we needed was to create a frenzy, drawing attention to


ourselves.

The kids remained silent, cooperating with us in any way they could.

We knew it was because they were just as desperate to have their


families back as I was. They too had lost so much before they gained
the love of Carlisle and Esme. I knew it was just as heartbreaking for
them.

I didn't really know what the game plan was. I knew we weren't going
to take them with us to Elizabeth and Ed's old house, because they
could get hurt too.

I know Charlie booked a hotel room somewhere, with police and


security guarding their floor... I just didn't know where. Charlie refused
to tell me, afraid to speak loud enough to say anything... because we
didn't know where Victor was, or if he could hear us.

In fact, we had no idea if Victor knew we had arrived yet.

I prayed he didn't. That could buy us some time... if we weren't too late
all ready.

The ride took about thirty minutes, until we arrived on Water Street, at
the Omni Hotel, in Jacksonville.

It had 354 large guest rooms, and we knew we could squeeze in a lot
of security, if need be. It would have to take awhile for any vampire to
take all of them out... and although I hated to think about all those
human's that could be sacrificed because of us... it soothed me to
know that atleast four humans could remain safe.

We gathered up our belonging quickly, entering the windowed


doorframe, into the large golden lobby. We followed the four police
officer's and Charlie's lead, up the staircase until it wound around. We
didn't have to check in, as someone all ready did that for us.

We entered the elevator together, silent as a button.


There were two Deluxe King guest rooms waiting for us on the seventh
floor. Charlie ran inside first, closing all the curtains and inspecting the
rooms for any scent of ... any un-welcomed visitors.

Once the coast was cleared, we all piled up into one room, opening the
joining door.

Charlie took charge, quickly explaining them the rules: No leaving the
room without a buddy, for any reason, and only leave if we call them
and tell them. No swimming in the pool, no phone calls with the hotel
phone. Keep the television down so they could listen for any awkward
noises in the hall that may cause suspicion. No ordering room service,
if they were hungry, instruct ONE police officer to get their food for
them. Sleep in routines, that way someone is always up and standing
by.

If they were scared for any reason, Charlie gave them both our cell
phone numbers.

"Don't hesitate to call us," he said, focusing mainly on Alice. "for any
reason. If you're scared, you call. If you think you know something, you
call. If Carlisle or Esme contacts you, you call. Understand?"

They nodded in agreement.

Charlie arranged for a flight back to Forks for all of us, but left the
tickets with Emmett, just in case we didn't return.

...For whatever unthinkable reason I didn't dare to consult with him


about.

I sat on the bed with Alice while the boys flipped through channels,
waiting as Charlie made more arrangements for their protection.

We were both fidgeting, bouncing our feet on the floor in matching


rhythms.

Rosalie decided to take her nap first, and I understood why, being that
none of them had gotten a whole hell of a lot of sleep these past few
days.

After an hour, once all the necessary adjustments had been made, we
said our goodbye's. I hugged them all as tight as I could without
breaking them, but couldn't speak. I didn't want to tell them goodbye,
refusing to allow myself or them to think we wouldn't be coming back.
"This will all be over really soon," Charlie said to them as we opened
the door. "No one panic, and use the phone if you need us."

They all looked so heartbroken, and lonely. I winked at Emmett and he


gave me a slight smile as we closed the door behind us.

We entered the elevator in silence, Charlie staring at his watch while I


fidgeted in a dance.

"This is going to work right?" I asked him, unable to stop myself. "We
are going to save him?"

Charlie nodded, glancing over at me through his wide eyes. "We're


going to do whatever it takes, Bella. Do you trust me?"

I nodded, listening to the elevator ding.

"Good. Then trust when I say you'll get your Edward back."

"Okay," I whispered, tucking my arm in his.

The elevator swung open, and we galloped down the stairs in the
lobby, toward the SWAT police car, a 2008 black charger.

Surprisingly, the driver climbed out and handed Charlie the keys,
leaving us with the car alone. Once we climbed in the black machine, I
couldn't help but show my shock.

"How do you do all of this?" I asked, dumbfounded.

Charlie revved up the car with a smile, pulling down his shades. "Don't
ever underestimate your father, Bella."

And with that, he took off, going from 0 to 70 in two seconds flat. I just
held onto the door, praying for him to drive as fast as possible.

The quicker we could get there, the quicker we could find Edward.

And the sooner I could save him.

It took us forty-five minutes, and twenty-three seconds to arrive there.

Traffic was maxed out, and if I became any more frustrated and
nervous, I think I would have taken out all those people, just for pissing
me off.
We pulled onto the winding drive way in silence, and I think my heart
all but fumbled out of my throat. It may have not been beating, but it
was certainly leaping with all this anxiety.

The house appeared not as shiny and new from my drawing... It had
dirt on it, and you can tell no one had occupied it since Edward moved
out.

There was no obsolete damage to it, however, being that it had been
empty for only a year.

But as we opened the door and stepped out, all I could smell in the
slight breeze was Edward... He was everywhere.

This is where he spent most of his life...

I glanced over at Charlie from across the car, and he nodded once. We
left the car up the top of the drive, out of the view from the windows,
so no one could see us. We ran along side the woods by the lake,
hiding as best as we could, until we reached the wide deck.

Charlie yanked me back, refusing to expose me so suddenly to the


large windows.

"Bella! You can't go that way. He'd see you!"

"I want him to see me, Dad! The sooner we get him, the sooner we can
leave!"

"I'm talking about Victor, Bella. Not Edward."

I closed my mouth, shaking my head.

My thought had been zoned in on Edward, Edward, Edward... I didn't


even think about the large, inhuman, evil vampire that could be
guarding him.

I followed Charlie through the brush, around the back side of the
house.

He peered into the windows slowly and slightly, careful not to reveal
us.

I stayed behind him, holding his hand, glancing around the trees for
any signs of movement.
It was calm.

Too calm.

It unhinged me.

"Dad," I whispered as we walked to the next window.

"Yes Bella?"

"...I-It's too quiet. Something is wrong, I can feel it."

"We don't know that, Bella."

"No, something is wrong!" I hissed, my stomach flipping in knots.

He turned and faced me as we lowered to the sand and grassy yard


mixture.

"Bella," he whispered, reaching out and touching my arm. "You need to


stay calm, all right? I can't have you falling a part on me now."

I nodded, taking a deep breath. Then I regretted it, because I smelt


Edward, and it made me break apart.

"Please let him be okay, please let him be okay, please let him be
okay," I started chanting softly.

Dad gripped my fingers, pulling them out from the soil of which I was
grasping. "Bella?"

I looked up at him, my expression a mixture of anger and heartache.

"Are you going to be able to handle whatever is in this house?"

I nodded.

"Are you sure?"

I nodded, inhaling again. "I want to kill him, Dad."

"I know you do... but our first priority is Edward's saftey, do you
understand?"

"Yes."
"All right," he said, pulling me and himself to our feet. "Take a deep
breath."

I did as instructed.

"Now let's go," he said, motioning for me to follow him.

We wound around the walls, up the large wooden deck. It creaked only
once, and I lightened my step immediately, matching mine with
Charlie's.

We stayed close to the wall, hugging it, trying to avoid the sun at all
costs, so we wouldn't cast a shadow on the deck that Victor could see.

Charlie reached out and jiggled the handle slightly, before turning and
nodding to me.

It was unlocked.

I held my breath as he slowly opened the door, pushing it with one


finger.

We stayed along the outside wall of the house, with my dad peaking
his head around to see if there was anyone there.

There wasn't.

And no sounds from Edward.

Charlie bounced into the room gently, on his toes, gathering the smell
of the room.

After a few seconds, he motioned for me to enter. The house was dark
and empty.

Hardwood floor covered it, and only the sunlight peaking in through
certain windows guided us along the room.

We entered the kitchen first, Charlie inspecting every corner.

We tiptoed into the formal dining room, which was also unoccupied of
furniture or people... and that floor creaked louder.

I listened for breathing, or a heartbeat I'd recognize in an instant...


praying for it to come thudding into my ears so I could know he was
alive.
Please be here, please be here, please be here, I whispered to myself
as I followed Charlie down the hallway, keeping an eye on our backs as
we moved.

Please be here, please be here, come on Edward...

Once we inspected the bottom story, to find it empty and motionless,


we began to climb the steps.

We kept our footing as light as possible, but some creaks were


inevitable.

I trembled as I gathered the rail beside me, holding my breath as we


entered the second story.

"Shh," Charlie whispered as we turned the corner into the hall. "Do you
hear that?"

I froze, holding my breath and focusing on the sounds around me.

I shook my head, my eyes wide.

"Listen, Bella.... Focus!" Charlie hissed at me, in a slight whisper.

I leaned my head forward, my mouth parted, my eyes widened.

I strained my neck as we walked, praying for only one sound that could
make me feel okay.

I wanted to hear him.

Charlie creaked the bedroom door open, and we entered to find


Edward's old bedroom.

The smell of it, of him enveloped me hard.

It had a lot of baseball trophies still lining the wall, and an old bed
frame, with springs but no mattress.

A photo of Edward and his parents rested inside a broken frame on top
of the metal springs, and it sent cold chills down my spine... two out of
the three people in that picture were dead.

I gasped, closing my eyes at that disgusting thought.

He's not dead, he's not dead, he's not dead.


Charlie inspected the bathroom as I watched the door, praying to hear
Edward screaming or just anything.

Just not Victor.

Please don't let him find us, please don't let him find us...

Charlie motioned for us to continue, leaving the room after we checked


the isolated hall, following the wooden floors down the narrow binding.

I heard some boards creak in front of us, and Charlie did too.

We instantly froze, trying to make out a sound.

I heard breathing, but wasn't for sure what it was.

Then I heard something that made me numb.

A faded heartbeat.

And a gasp.

And then a young voice, in a begging whine.

It was Edward!

He was alive!

"HOW CAN I DECIDE WHAT'S RIGHT, WHEN YOU'RE CLOUDING UP MY


MIND? I CAN'T WIN YOUR LOSING FIGHT, ALL THE TIME!"

The cell phone in my dad's pocket, which Alice gave us earlier, began
to wail out and we gasped, struggling to get it as we began to freak
out.

He reached in and turned it off, as we froze and crouched down in the


hallway, listening for sounds of commotion.

I heard Edward's breathing inhale, but no voice.

Dad threw the phone to me, pushing me inside the nearest door and
hushing me not to speak, just to listen, as he continued his stare at the
door.

He knew Victor heard that phone.


I'm sure the neighbors could hear it. Dammit Alice.

"Bella! Can you hear me!" Emmett shouted, and I sealed the phone to
my ear, whispering "mmhmm" to him as quietly as possible.

"Bella! My dad just called me! They're not there!"

"What?!" I whispered, my hand covering my mouth.

"Yes! They were at the hospital this whole time! He said his phone
broke as they were trying to gather their stuff in his car. He dropped it
onto the garage floor! He couldn't get it to turn back on, so he had my
mom put it in the office drawer. Mom's phone was turned off this whole
time, because she was with the family while dad was in surgery! She
said she left us a note on the counter, with all the hospital contact
information in Dallas, where they were at."

"But that wasn't your mom's handwriting," I whispered, my body


trembling as I gasped for air.

"I know! I think Victor came in when we were at the party, took her
note, changed it and wrote it to something that could cause your
suspicion, to make us all think that they were kidnapped! They're fine,
they're at home right now, in a sheer panic, trying to figure out where
we are!"

I closed my eyes, shaking my head in disbelief.

This isn't happening, this isn't happening, this isn't happening.

Victor screwed us! He forced Edward here, by making him think that
Carlisle and Esme were kidnapped, so he'd come!

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.

I crouched down to my feet, watching as Charlie inspected the hall,


listening for commotion behind the door.

"Tell them the truth," I whispered to Emmett. "Just don't tell them
where you are."

"Did you find Ed-"

"I gotta go Emmett," I whispered, cutting him off as I closed the phone
and turned it off.
Charlie tiptoed back into the room, looking at me with suspicion.

"Bella? What is it?" he whispered quickly.

I bit my lip, rising unsteadily to my feet.

My body felt like it just got ran over.

And I felt like I could pass out.

"Carlisle and Esme are safe," I whispered to him as we heard the door
creak open from behind us, where Edward was.

Footsteps edged closer to us, too light for a human... step, step... step.

Charlie and I glanced at each other, our expressions mirrored.

We were both in shock, terrified and frozen like ice.

"It's a trap, Dad."

Chapter 20: Victor's Truth

Charlie tiptoed back into the room, looking at me with suspicion.

"Bella? What is it?" he whispered quickly.

I bit my lip, rising unsteadily to my feet.

My body felt like it just got ran over.

And I felt like I could pass out.

"Carlisle and Esme are safe," I whispered to him as we heard the door
creak open from behind us, where Edward was.

Footsteps edged closer to us, too light for a human... step, step... step.

Charlie and I glanced at each other, our expressions mirrored.

We were both in shock, terrified and frozen like ice.

"It's a trap, Dad."

"Bella, what are you talki-" Charlie cut himself off, covering my mouth
up with his hand.
He pushed me backward, until I was beside him against the wall.

We could hear footsteps edging closer, as well as muffled screams,


heavy breathing through the nose, a thudding heartbeat, and shoes
kicking the floor at a scattered pace from the room down the hall, and
knew it was Edward in there.

And for a brief second, I felt relieved... Edward wasn't dead...

I glanced over at Charlie through my peripheral vision, trying to figure


out what our next move was.

He kept his hand over my mouth as he turned his head toward me, his
eyes wide and unreadable.

I didn't inhale, didn't blink, didn't think... all I could do was stare at him
with fear in my eyes.

Because at that moment, I heard Edward screaming through


something that was blocking his lips from moving, like tape, and heard
thrashing from the room that was caddy-cornered from us.

Was he being tortured?

Or worse?

Charlie dropped his hand from my mouth when he saw my expression.

"Dad, what do we do?" I mouthed to him without using my voice.

CRASH! I saw a hand bust through the wall behind my father, grab him
by his throat, and pull his entire body through the wall.

I screamed as I listened to them struggling behind the half broken


plywood.

I couldn't figure out what to do, did I go help my dad or did I go get
Edward?

I heard my dad yelling, followed by a crash.

Then it got silent again... Echoing...

I gasped and backed away quickly, my hand covering my mouth.


Victor came strolling in, stepping through the hole in the wall he
created. His irises were dark as the deepest pit of hell, and red around
the outer circle. Thirsty. Blood driven.

His short, brown curly hair and defined cheek bones made him look the
same as he did so many moons ago, during the night he took my
mother's life. But he was colder, darker, and the smell of him could
only be described as icey... Deceased.

He didn't smile. He didn't blink. He only stared at me. Viciously.

I knew how powerful he was at that moment. His stare said it all.

I knew how strong I was, but knew he was stronger. He drank human
blood all these years. I never truly touched a drop. He was rabid. I was
trained. He was a thousand years older than me...

And he wanted something...

...Bad.

I kept moving, shuffling my feet, until I was up against the window in


Elizabeth's old bedroom.

He sighed, tilting his head at me.

I could hear the muffled screams intensify, and knew Edward realized
we were here now.

Victor remained still and un-phased. His staring was intense.

I shuddered as I watched his black coal eyes turn to a bright blue in an


instant.

His face was abnormally pale, and his features were hard to look away
from.

If he weren't the devil himself, I'd think he was the most beautiful
undead man I'd ever laid eyes on.

And when he spoke, his voice was scratchy, like he smoked every
minute of his life since birth, and it shook every cell in my body.

"What took you so long?" he hissed, his fingers balling into fists as he
took another step toward me.
My back was pressed up against the wall as I stared into his deep blue
eyes... I'd never seen anything like it before.

I felt transfixed on him.

He tilted his head in the other direction, inhaling the air around him
deeply.

"Ahh," he continued, as a smile grazed his face, "can you smell that,
Isabella? It's fresh blood... the blood of a sacrifice."

"There won't be any sacrificing tonight, unless it's you."

"Oh yeah? Well your boyfriend doesn't think so..." he replied. "Edward
told me that I could have him as an exchange for my wife, whom your
father took from me..."

I stole a quick glance behind me, out the bedroom window.

The clouds were rolling in dark and heavily as the lightning crashed
around, with my mood being so uneasy at the moment.

We were three stories up now, and I could see the porch to my left.
There wasn't any other windows, so in order for me to make it to
Edward this way, I'd have to jump out of the window, latch onto the
gutter, swing my body around in a ninety-degree angle, around the
corner, and into that other window...

I didn't have much time either.

I took a deep breath, glancing my attention back to Victor. "Well you


took his wife away from him... Why don't you call that even, and we all
go on our merry little ways?"

Victor snickered, taking another step, "If only it were that easy, Bella...
If only that were all I wanted..."

He shook his head, walking closer to me.

I held still. "What is it that you want, huh?"

"Take a guess."

I held my breath as he was a mere two feet from me. "Fame? Money?
Glory?"
He tilted his head back, letting out a bellowed laugh. "No. Hardly,
actually..."

I curled my fingers into fists, trying to keep my focused and ignoring


Edward's screams. "Then what is it?"

"You." he hissed, as the power went out of the house.

I stopped breathing as the lightning flashed over his cold blue eyes. I
couldn't see anything else but his irises, and how enchanting they
were.

My body shook I couldn't remove myself from his eyes.

It was as if he had me locked in that position, as if I were super-glued


this way.

He took a step closer, breathing heavily as a growl burrowed in his


chest. "I've always... wanted... you... I've always wanted to kill ...you...
even when you were just a fragile human."

I shook my head in disbelief, but no words could come out.

He smiled, his blue eyes glowing as the thunder crashed.

His voice remained calm, and raspy. "I wanted to have you. I wanted to
own you. I wanted to make you mine... forever. I knew that I could do
it, and that it was my perfect night... So I called the town on your
father, told them what he was, and that he wanted to murder his own
family, and all of the town as well... And guess what Bella? They
believed me. I set it up, it was a trap all along... I didn't care about
Renee or Jamee even... It was all about you, Bella... I wanted to save
Renee and Jamee, and I wanted to turn you for myself... I wanted to
give them to you, because you would have been a newborn. My
newborn. ...You were such a beautiful, stubborn, young soul... Then I
thought, if I used Renee and Jamee as a poll, and turned them... then
Charlie would think I was honest. And a true friend... then I'd get back
to what really mattered to me. I could do anything I wanted with you,
and I would have... except for Charlie turned you before I got done with
Renee..."

Lightning crashed outside, making his eyes more transparent.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk..." Victor shook his head, taking a step closer, until he
was inches away, "He didn't give me any other choice...so I took her
life instead. To show him that he could hurt like I did... he could ache,
like I did... like I did for you, Bella."

Thunder crashed around us as the house shook.

I was trembling as I tried to process all of this.

I had no idea where Charlie was, and I couldn't hear any movement
besides Edward's struggles to get free in the other room.

"I-If this was what you w-wanted," I stammered, closing my eyes to


focus through my trembling frame, "then why didn't you just get to me
somehow? Why involve everyone else, why involve Edward?"

He chuckled, his cold hand rubbing my left cheek, "because... Edward


got you."

I held my breath at the mention of that name.

He let out a gust of wind. "All of you, didn't he?"

I closed my eyes, my body feeling like it was falling apart.

His hands crashed on my shoulders as he yanked me forward, my


chest crashing into his.

"DIDN'T HE?!" he shouted, as his body towered over mine, "didn't he --


that stupid, pathetic, human boy -- get... ALL of you?"

I was shaking as I gripped his biceps, trying to pull myself away from
his metal-like grasp.

"Yes," I confessed, gasping for air as he squeezed me tighter, "he did."

He stuck his face to mine, inhaling my scent, as his voice became calm
again.

"...There. ...That's better... Honesty is very important in our


relationship, Bella... we must have that from the start."

I whimpered, feeling my bones start to give in.

He was much stronger than I'd ever be. He was too powerful for me.

"Victor," I gasped, my head feeling dizzy. "...You're hurting me..."


"All in the name of love, my dear."

Lightning crashed, closer this time as the thunder echoed outside.

I closed my eyes and locked up, as I felt his frigid lips press against
mine. I held still, digging my fingernails into his frozen, stiff skin.

Then I heard Charlie scream, and as Victor pulled away, my dad ran
through the doorway, charging at him too fast for him to react.

They collided and crashed into the closet beside me, with Charlie on
top of him.

Victor threw him up in the air and kicked him, and I watched as my
father's body flew over the box spring, crashing into the long dresser
on the far wall.

Dad rose to his feet as Victor charged for him, and they crashed
through that wall, then another, then another.

I could hear them wrestling and screaming at each other, but decided
it was now or never. Edward had to come first.

I ran over to the dresser, grabbing the only drawer that wasn't
smashed into wood chips. I held onto it and busted out the window and
the metal. Then I jumped out of the window. I grasped the gutter with
the tips of my fingers and lunged my body forward, twisting my torso
around the corner of the house.

Before I could blink, I flew through the other window, and landed
heavily onto my stomach along the wooden floor, with pieces of the
glass crashing around me.

I saw feet moving and recognized black shoes.

When I looked up, I saw Edward.

He had silver tape wound around his head, covering his mouth tight.
His eyes were red and bloodshot. He had been crying.

He looked weak and confused almost, like he wasn't sure where he


was... Disoriented... then I saw the gash on the left side of his head.

He had been struck with an object, possibly a bludgeoned attempt... or


maybe Victor was just trying to get his attention, like a test. Blood was
in his hair, down his face and on his cheeks. I noticed his hands were
bound together too, and he was chained to the middle of the floor.

I closed my eyes and held my breath, not focusing on the blood. Then I
regained my composure.

You can do this, Bella.

I crawled over to him as he whimpered and used my fingernail to bust


through the tape covering his mouth.

He gasped as I continued to rip it off, shaking his head violently.

"Calm down, calm down Edward," I cried as I tried to hold him still.

Once the tape, and some of his hair, was ripped away, I went to work
on his hands.

The tape was put on thick, so I first chose to run over to the middle and
yank the metal spike'd claw trap from the floor.

Wood panels flew in the air as I threw it on the ground.

Edward's body fell forward and I crawled back over to him, ripping the
chain links apart with my fingers.

"I'm so sorry Edward, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I kept repeating to


him.

He wasn't talking, just gasping for air, like he hadn't taken a normal
breath in days. Probably because he hasn't.

Once his wrists were free, I pulled him to his feet.

"Listen to me, we've got to get you out of here," I said to him, trying to
keep my voice low, "but you have to stay calm, can you do that?"

He nodded profusely, then his body went completely still.

He didn't even blink.

I stared at him for a second, trying to figure out what he was doing.

Was he going into shock?

"Bella." was all he said. One word. Calm.


With that, I felt something strike me on the back of my head, hard.

I fell forward onto my knees and tried to grab Edward in order to


protect him, but his body was lifted up before my hands met his legs,
and he was thrown against the wall behind him.

I heard Charlie scream as he ran inside, and he leaped over me to get


to Victor.

"Bella!" he shouted as they fought each other. "Get Edward out of


here! NOW!"

I ran over to Edward, lifting him up in my arms. He was limp almost,


but awake. Confused.

"I'm so sorry Edward," I said as I ran, out the room, along the hall,
down the broken steps, around the living room, and out the front door.

It was pouring outside and darker than night.

I ran through the long yard in the rain, gripping onto his body with all
my might.

I got him all the way to the car, opening the front seat and shoving him
in.

The keys were left in the ignition, thank God. Charlie was prepared.

I fastened the seatbelt around him. "Edward, I want you to take this car
and get out of here. Go to the Omni Hotel, on Water Street. Your
brothers and sisters are waiting for you. They have plane tickets. Take
the next flight available out of here, and no matter what, don't wait
around. This is very urgent, can you do that for me?!"

He shook his head, fighting against my arms as I tried to keep him


buckling his seat, "No Bella, I'm not leaving you, no I-"

I cut him off, shouting at him, "EDWARD! This is NOT a negotiation!


You have to go, NOW!"

"No Bella, I'm not leaving you! I can't, I can't just go away and let you
stay here and get yourself killed! NO!"

I tried to fight with him, but he kept shouting, "NO! NO! NO!"
"EDWARD, listen to me! Okay?!" I shook him, fastening the seat belt
one last time, "I'll come back for you. I promise! But I can't leave my
dad in there, or Victor is going to kill him... Charlie is fighting so that
you and your family can be safe. He's fighting because he knows how
much I love you, and need you. So you have to go and... I'll catch up."

He shook his head and creased his lips, not saying anything.

"Stop being stubborn, Edward! GO DAMN IT!"

He shook his head as tears fell from his bloodshot eyes, "Please don't
make me go."

I leaned over him and stuck the gearshift in reverse. "Go."

Then I slammed the door and turned away from him, refusing to meet
his eyes.

I could hear the car revving up but it stayed in place.

"Come with me!" he shouted after he scraped away the broken glass I
caused from my force.

"NO EDWARD," I hissed through my teeth.

I turned around again, showing him my dark eyes as lightning bolts


crashed into the yard, around me.

He froze, his body stiff as he stared at my pitch black eyes.

He was scared.

"GO." I hissed one last time, making my threat clear.

He peeled backward, staring at me the whole time before whipping the


car around in a circle, onto the road.

Then he stared at me through the passenger window for a few


seconds.

All I could do was glare at him. Make him leave.

Make him safe.

He shook his head slowly.


And then he was gone.

I closed my eyes, the feeling of emptiness surrounding me whole.

I took a steady breath, trying to focus.

Then I turned around and ran back to the house, toward my father. I
could hear them screaming and things breaking.

I ran up the steps, avoiding the three-forth's of them that were


smashed to crumbs at this point.

Once I reached the bedroom again, I saw Victor straddling my father,


with his fingers locked around his neck, in a death grip.

His eyes were an even brighter, more saturated shade of blue, and
there was a clear ring surrounding their bodies, like a large soap
bubble.

That's when I figured out his power... he has shields. Protective shields.
That's why Charlie couldn't see through the walls and find Edward
before it was too late. When his eyes turn to different shades of blue,
he can turn on different shields... One to make him and whoever is
inside it invisible, one to block out the outside world so we couldn't get
in to him, and many others I couldn't even think about...

But what could destroy them?

I accessed the situation, running around them to the other side.

"LET HIM GO!" I shouted, reaching out to touch it.

I was knocked backward, flying into the wall with the broken window.

The wall cracked down to the floor, but didn't break through.

They continued to fight and Charlie continued to struggle as I watched


Victor try to rip him apart.

I watched him dislocate my father's right shoulder first, then his left
leg. He was going to kill him.

I closed my eyes as flashes of everything from the night my mother


died all the way until today swam over me:
Renee, Jamee, that night, my turning, the fire, the flames, the isolation,
the different towns, different high schools, the friends that I made
growing up and dying, my abandonment with all the people I knew, the
many nights alone with my father, the many nights alone period, the
hunting training, the school halls, Julia, Ashley, Mike, Jessica, Angela,
Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Rosalie, Emmett, Jasper,

Edward.

I popped my eyes open and flew to my feet.

Within that same second, a lightning bold blasted through the window
and struck his shield, sending both him and my father flying in
opposite directions.

Victor flew sideways with a crash, through the far wall, while dad flew
to my right, landing into a pile of broken wood that I caused earlier.

I stomped toward Victor as steam fumed through my body.

Thunder crashed around the house as the wind all but ripped the roof
off.

He jumped to his feet the same time I did, and when we crashed, his
weight overpowered mine, sending me backward with him on top of
me.

We smashed into the ground and busted through it, falling down into
the first level of the house. We landed hard on the ground, busting it
with our bodies. We were now in the kitchen.

I threw him off of me with a wail-like scream, and watched furiously as


his body smashed into the open counter that locked the kitchen with
the dining room.

He fell into a heap onto the floor, then he flipped over in a backward
motion, landing with his right knee on the ground and his left leg
arched out.

He was in attack mode now.

I jumped for him the same time he did again, and this time I was
smashed into the fridge, the door and glass shelves crashing beneath
me.
He held my neck in his hands as he climbed over me, hissing loudly,
"that wasn't NICE, BELLA! Why would you do that to me, someone who
loves you?"

I struggled under his weight, trying to break free.

"You call this love?!" I scoffed through my strained voice, grasping his
wrists with my fingers, "Are you insane! You're just a pervert who was
in love with a minor and took all his aggression on the wrong people,
including my mother!"

He picked me up and slammed my body back into the busted scraps,


my head crashing into the tile and breaking it.

"Oh, I loved you Bella. Always. This shouldn't have happened, and
wouldn't have, if Charlie hadn't been so stubborn such a long time
ago."

I glared at him, the fuel burning deep. He's said too much.

"...My father loves me."

Then I kicked him hard, sending him soaring through the air into the
living room again.

I could hear tires screeching from outside. Was that a car?

Then I heard Charlie's voice, raspy and desperate.

"DAD!" I shouted, as I twisted my body around, crawling one more time


up the two flights of steps.

Something wasn't right, I could feel it.

I found Charlie laying in the pile of debree, with his right arm and left
leg unmovable, gashes and scrapes along his neck, and a piece of
wood stabbed through his left side, by his rib cage.

I ran over to him, sliding on my knees once I got close enough to reach
him.

"Dad! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry daddy, what can I do?"

"You have to get out of here," he cried through his straggled breath.
"Now, Bella. Get out of here before it's too late."
"No, I can get you out!" I replied as I yanked the wood from his leg.

"Bella don't!"

I ignored his screams as I lifted him in my arms.

"Dad we're gonna be fine, just hang on!"

"No Bella!" he winched, trying to get me to let go. "You need to worry
about yourself! GO! NOW!"

"I'M NOT LEAVING YOU!" I yelled back as I turned around.

Then I was smacked across the face with a piece of plywood and
kicked in my stomach, knocking the wind out of me.

I felt another lightning bolt fly over my head, followed by another and
another, and then I saw the room light up bright as they struck Victor
one after another, going through his chest.

I released Charlie and felt myself flying through the air, out the
window, and down the three stories, landing hard onto the porch and
busting through it, onto the cement foundation beneath it.

My entire body felt like it had been stabbed through with splinters,
swords, knives... anything that was sharp.

I took a deep breath, trying to figure out what happened.

Did I kill Victor? Was dad safe now?

Suddenly everything became very distant.

All the sounds faded away.

The rain began to drown me.

I glanced at my body, seeing pieces of wood piercing my skin at every


angle... and one object sticking out of my stomach.

And then I knew it was over.

I felt my body begin to tremble as the fear began to wash over me.

Suddenly my life was mapped out very differently...


I saw Edward laughing, but it wasn't with me.

I saw him holding hands with someone, but it wasn't my hands.

I saw him growing older, having a successful career, raising kids, being
a good father, growing older and wiser...

...And I saw all of this without me.

And it wasn't because he didn't love me.

No, that'd never be the case.

It was because I wasn't going to exist...

I closed my eyes as echoed voices crashed around me, distorted and


muffled beyond repair.

Then it all became black and fuzzy...

Like I wasn't real at all.

Like I was in a dream.

"BELLA!"

I laid my head back onto the broken slab of concrete, gasping for air as
my trembling hands covered my stomach.

Edward was safe now, that was all that mattered.

He was gone, and he was safe.

And that was my dream... for him to live happily.

Because he deserved happiness, after all the heartbreak and struggles


he had to go through.

Losing his parents. Losing all he knew in his life before.

He could have that all back now... or a new life.

A better life. A safer one.

I could remember that dream, the one of him being happy... and I
could be okay knowing that he was safe.
I smiled for a brief second as the thunder crashed over me.

Have you ever felt like you were living inside a dream that you couldn't
escape from?

Like you were reaching out, trying to find a hole to climb out of, or a
crack to slide under... and yet, all you found was more walls?

Have you ever felt like you could be calling out for someone, anyone to
help you, but all you heard was the sound of your voice as it echoed
and bounced around you?

This is how I once felt. I was trapped, excluded. Forgotten.

I never gave my existence much thought before. I just was.

As time went by, I accepted this fate.

But today -- today was different. I was not prepared for Victor.

I should have been, but I wasn't.

I never even expected to find myself in this type of predicament.

All I wanted was for someone in this world to notice me for who I am,
not for what I was.

I wanted one single soul to look at me in my eyes and see a person


behind them, not a monster.

...Somehow, deep inside, I never truly thought it would happen.

So when it did, it took me like a windfall and knocked me off of my


bearings.

I couldn't breathe, couldn't move, couldn't think, and most of all, I


couldn't process one single surrounding.

It was uncontrollable.

Because I fell in love.

And the search for myself was now over.

I knew who I was.


For the first time in my entire life, I knew.

I was Isabella.

I was strong.

I became beautiful.

I fought for what I wanted, and protected who I could.

And I was happy once...

All because of him.

I could hear screams and shuffles above me as someone crawled down


through the busted wood on the porch, dropping down to the cement
beside me.

The blurry presence fell beside me, and suddenly made me calm.

It was an angel... I could feel it...

I was going to be carried away from here.

Away from this cold, dark world.

"Look at me, Bella!" the beautiful creature shouted at me.

I felt his firm, warm fingers on my skin, gripping my jaw, shaking my


face until my eyes found his.

His eyes were a deep green, deep as the meadow I laid in once before
with Edward, when I confessed my identity and he accepted it.

I wanted more than anything to be back there once again.

I began to close my eyes, imagining we were there. Warm. Alone now,


but together.

"Stay right there, love! Don't you dare close your eyes! Don't you do
it!"

This angel was Edward?

"Edward..." I choked out, reaching my trembling hand to stroke his


warm face.
My body began to shake and I felt the cold start to take its effect on
me.

My eyes filled with tears, something that happens to my kind once


every ten years or so.

This was going to be harder than I thought.

The idea of leaving him forever...

Of never touching this cheek of his again...

Of never looking into those eyes, or seeing that smile, or kissing those
lips...

"E-Edward," I croaked out, reaching up to grab one of his perfect


hands. "I-I am so sorry. I didn't mean to -"

"No!" he shouted forcefully, my angel cutting me off. "Don't you


apologize to me, Bella! You're going to make it. You're going to be just
fine. Do you believe me Bella?"

I felt his hands grip my body and yank me up off the ground, the
pieces of wood inside my back coming with me.

My body began to unravel, shaking and convulsing in his lap. I couldn't


think now, couldn't breathe.

I felt the exhaustion of this long world take its toll on me, and I began
to slip under the weight of it.

Further, deeper... I was definitely going down.

I felt his hand slap my face hard, trying to keep me awake, keep me
here with him.

Oh how I wanted to stay with him. Forever.

"BELLA!" The struggling, defeated scream echoed around my ears, as


the sheer sound of pain blasted around the outside walls of that empty,
cold, dark house.

White lights began to flicker in and out of my subconscious, and I knew


it was too late.

I was dying now. My body was going numb and I was dying.
"Oh my God, Bella! Don't you leave me! I can't breathe without you,
you can't leave me now! Hold on, Angel! Hold on!"

I felt my shoulders grow numb, and knew my time was up.

"Don't do it, don't you say goodbye to me!"

I felt nothing.

Emptiness.

My heart had broken completely, and now I was gone. I deserved to


die.

This was my fate.

I struggled to open my eyes, to gain enough strength to find his.

I wanted one everlasting memory of the angel that came into my life
so unexpectedly, flipped my world upside down, stole my soul from
me, and taught me how to love again - despite my imperfections.

And when I found his eyes, I was at peace again.

One last time.

And then I closed my eyes to rest, the first time in over a hundred
years.

Chapter 21: Frozen Inside

"How long has she been out?"

"I'm not for sure, Edward."

"Something's wrong, I can feel it."


"We don't know anything yet... I'm not certain of anything here."

"Well you need to get certain, Carlisle! I love her, and I can't keep
waiting for something to happen. This is driving me crazy."

"Edward, please calm down."

"Stop telling me to calm down and figure out what is going on with
her."

"I'm trying to son, but I can't think when you're yelling in my ear every
two seconds. I need you to settle down or leave the room, please."

"I'm not fucking going anywhere."

"Then I need you to settle down."

"...Just please... Just fix her."

"I'm doing all I can, okay? Her skin texture is different, I don't have a
pulse to go by here, I don't have the same rhythmic sounds to go by...
This isn't a normal patient."

"...I just want her to wake up. She doesn't sleep, so this isn't making
any sense."

"I know son."

"I can't bear to lose her too."

"I know son, I'm doing my best."

"You've just got to help her, make her bet-"

"Edward. I know, okay? Now sit there and please just... I love you, but I
need you to be quiet."

I listened as Edward whimpered in the distance. He was shuffling his


feet nervously as he sat in a chair.

I could hear his shallow breathing as loud as a bell.

...But I couldn't move.

I couldn't speak.
I couldn't lift my head.

And I couldn't open my eyes.

I didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't know if I was dead and
this was the whole in-between phase.

I didn't know anything.

Other than the fact that I've tried for the past day straight to wake up
out of this internal-coma and reach out and comfort him.

But there has been nothing I could do.

I've tried screaming, tried shaking, tried tapping my finger.

It was as if I was paralyzed, somehow.

None of this made sense.

And all I could do was hear Edward crying over me.

He hasn't left my side this entire time.

I am not even sure how long I was out... or what happened with Victor
and Charlie.

One moment I was trying to save my Dad's life.

The next minute, I was out. And certain I was dying.

Maybe I am, I don't even know.

I had no idea what was becoming of me, or why I wasn't doing


anything... was this some sort of weird transition?

The last time I was locked down like this was over a hundred years
ago, when I was being changed. But then, I felt like I was caught on fire
and choking on flames.

I felt every inch of my soul being ripped apart, centimeter by


centimeter.

But now... this time around... nothing.

I felt empty.
Cold.

Hollow.

Non-existent, almost.

"Have you found anything yet?"

"Edward..."

"Carlisle! Come on, you're over there prodding her with different
needles and shit. You're driving me insane."

"I have to run tests on her, Edward."

"Grrr," Edward huffed, and I could hear things slamming around.

"Edward, you've been awake for over forty-eight hours now, that I am
aware of. You really need to get some rest. You're growing delusional."

"I'll rest when she wakes up."

"Edward, if she were to wake up, then I promise I will wake you up. The
very minute it happens."

"No. I'll wait."

"Please son."

"I said I'll wait!"

Carlisle sighed. "Fine."

I could hear the door opening, as light footsteps grew closer. "How is
she, Carlisle?"

"I'm not sure yet, Alice."

I could hear sobbing, and then someone touching.

Someone was hugging someone.

"Why is she naked?" Alice whispered. "She looks so cold."

"She doesn't get cold, Alice," Edward whispered through a sob. "And
we had to strip her so we could pull all the wood and metal out of her."
"But.. I don't see any marks or scars anymore... Where did they all go?"

Carlisle hummed, "We're not sure how it happened. Edward and I were
removing the splinters, and as we worked, you could see the scars
healing themselves... closing up slowly."

"Wow... It's a miracle..."

"Yes she is. I've seen nothing like her before."

"And I've loved no one before her, and no one after her..." Edward
whispered. "So... just ...do what you have to do."

"I'm going to, Edward. I promise."

My ears hollowed out, and I could hear again.

I'm not sure how long I was out this time.

I'm not sure because I still couldn't feel anything, and couldn't move.

I could hear someone sobbing over me.

But it was alone.

"Bella, can you feel my hand? Squeeze my hand if you can feel it?"

Edward... I'm here.

"God, why isn't she waking up! Bella... Bella please... I need you to
snap out of this."

Edward... I can hear you, I'm here.

"God, please just let her wake up. Please don't take her away from me
too."

I won't let them. I'm trying to stay here for you.

"...I can't lose her too."

You're not going to lose me.

"Bella, please just... please just squeeze my hand," he whispered


through his tears.
I'm trying... God, I'm trying.

"Please baby, just squeeze it. Tell me that you're here."

Edward... please don't give up on me. God Bella! Dammit! Wake up!

His voice was weak and scratchy, "Please don't leave me. Please don't
leave me. Please don't leave me."

I growled, trying to force my body to buck up.

I felt stuck.

"Bella I just love you so much."

I love you too. Dammit Bella, wake the fuck up!!

"Hey Bella... I was thinking about how we met. How I asked for your
help showing me the locker..."

Yes, yes, I remember.

"...You changed my life that day. And it was weird, because the second
right before you turned around... I knew my life was never going to be
the same. I felt it coming, right before it happened... You flipped my
entire universe around, and you showed me how to love again... How
to open my heart up, although I had the fear of losing the most
important person in my life... which turned out to be you."

You changed me too, Edward. You have no idea.

"And... I... I'll never love anyone again, Bella. I swear. If you don't wake
up, I won't be able to make it. I won't be able to go on without you."

No Edward! Don't think that way.

"...I'd never be able to because... How could I ever submit myself to


love, knowing it'd never be as strong as the one I hold for you? Nothing
would measure up, not even a fourth of it. You're it for me, Bella.
You're my whole life... Please don't go away, my love."

If I don't wake up, though I want you to love me, I want you to move on
from me. You deserve to be happy. I'll be happy knowing you are.
Please don't give up.

"...Damn it Bella! Are you fucking listening to me?"


YES! I can hear you! I just can't... get this stupid... hand to move....
God damn it, please let me wake up.

"I don't care if you're trying to be stubborn right now, Bella. Wake the
fuck up!"

I'm trying!

"God." He exhaled. "Just wake her up... Just wake her up... Just wake
her up."

Yes, please let me wake up. Let me wake up.

"Bella... I can't do this, I mean it, I can't do it if you're not with me."

Oh my God... please help it. Please comfort him.

"I refuse..." he replied, his voice beyond control as it shook and


weakened. "I refuse... I refuse... I refuse..."

Then my ears hollowed out again, and I felt my skin tighten.

And I was out.

"Edward? Son... It's almost been three days... You need to sleep. You're
getting yourself seriously sick."

"I'm not leaving," he said, his voice a bearable whisper at this point.

He was exhausted, he hardly had strength to talk.

Go to bed, Edward.

"Son there is nothing you can do for her now."

"I'm not leaving. She knows I'm here, I can feel it inside me... That
electric pull, it's strengthening... She's getting stronger, I just know it."

"Edward... she hasn't moved an inch."

"I don't care. I know she's getting better. I know she can hear me."

"Edward..."
Edward listen to him. You're being the stubborn one. Stop it before you
get yourself sicker. Fucking listen to me!

"She's probably cursing me out right now. Typical Bella."

Your damn right I am, now go get some sleep!

"Edward... I swear to God if you don't move I will tranquilize you and
knock you out myself."

Yes! Do it Carlisle!

"Well then that is what you're going to have to do, because I'm not
leaving her."

"What do you think is going to happen, Edward? Do you honestly


believe she's going to have some sort of epiphany, wake up from her
vampire-esque coma, throw herself in your arms, and tell you thank
you for holding her hand and getting yourself sick because of it?"

"Yes."

"Edward. If she can hear you, I'm sure she's very angry with you."

Oh you have no idea how angry I am at you, mister. I love you, but
you're being a pain in everyone's butt!

"Good. Let her be angry with me. If she's angry, then that means she's
going to wake up just so she can slap me. I look forward to it, if that's
what it takes."

"God Edward. You're so stubborn."

Yes he is.

"Yep."

And then I was out again...

"How are you sure?"

"Because I saw her hand moving."

"But what does that mean?"


"It's a wonderful sign, Edward."

"So she is going to wake up?!"

"I'm hoping so."

"Yes! Yes, yes, yes!"

"Edward calm down, there is no definite yet. We can't be certain of


anything."

"I'll take what I can get."

"I just don't want you to get your hopes up too high."

"Too late."

"Edward..."

"Carlisle, I'm fine."

"You're running on straight energy. One minute you were crying over
her body because you were too weak to stand... and now that she
moved, you're on high wires again."

"I can't help it. Just wake her up."

"Calm down son."

"Just wake her up."

"Bella? Bella can you hear me."

Yes.

"She's not moving. Get her moving again."

"I'm trying... Bella... Bella can you feel this?"

I felt a slight bit of pressure on my thumb of my left hand.

Yes. Yes I can feel it!

"Can she feel it?"

"I don't know..."


"Try it again."

Carlisle sighed, and his pressure became heavier. "Bella... I don't want
you to try to talk... but instead, try to lift your finger I'm touching. Can
you do that?"

I pushed as hard as I could, feeling like I was up against a brick wall.

"Did you see that?!" Edward shouted.

"Yes. It twitched. Good, that's good Bella..."

"Yes! She's waking up."

"Calm down, Edward. Turn around and grab me that scalpel behind
you."

Scalpel?!

"Why? W-What are you going to do with it?"

"Just trust me."

"Don't you fucking hurt her."

"I'm not going to hurt her... I'm just going to prick her, see how she
reacts."

I felt something poke my hand hard, and I tried to wince away from it,
but couldn't.

Stop it!

"She moved again! Her hand! It moved more."

"Yes... Bella, I'm sorry if I'm hurting you but I'm going to push down
harder... okay?"

Yes, yes, just do it, get me out of this trap!

It felt as if my hand turned to fire, and I tried to wince away again.

"Holy shit! Her hand lifted!"

It did?!?!
"Yes, yes, good Bella!"

"Bella? My love, can you feel my hand? Squeeze it if you can feel it,
Angel!"

I felt my right hand being surrounded with warmth, and I squeezed as


hard as I could.

I'm here Edward, I can feel you.

"Yes! Carlisle, yes! The transfusions are working!"

"Good, good... She's coming around..."

What transfusions?! What are they talking about?!

"Give her more. Please."

"Hold on Edward... we don't want to overload her. If she smells it, she
might wake up and snap."

Smell what? What are they talking about?

"I don't care if I have to bring in a buck and blow it's damn brains out
all over your library. I want her to wake up."

"I know you do. Just be patient."

"I've been patient. For three days now."

Edward, listen to him.

It got quiet, and I tried to reach out for him again.

"...Dad," Edward whispered, and I smiled at the thought of him calling


Carlisle that name.

"I see it Edward."

See what?!

"Dad... do you see that?"

"Yes son."

"Yes, yes, yes, Bella. I'm right here baby, keep reaching out for me!"
I'm trying, I'm trying, I'm trying.

I felt my lips being touched, and then my nose.

And then I smelled blood.

I reached out as hard as I could, and heard them both gasp.

Then my eyes flew open.

And I was sitting up, naked but covered in a white sheet.

And I saw him.

My eyes zoned in on him, leaning against Carlisle's desk with his hands
behind him to support his weak frame.

His eyes were grey almost, and droopy. He was completely exhausted,
and almost blue in the face.

And he had a slight gash from where Victor struck him earlier.

And he never looked more beautiful to me.

"Bella?"

My head snapped to my left to find Carlisle in full doctor-gear, leaning


against a tray of utensils, with a discomforting expression.

"Bella? Can you see me?"

I nodded, swallowing down the sawdust taste in my mouth.

"Can you hear me?"

I nodded again.

"Do you feel that we are opposing any type of threat to you?"

""Why would she feel that?"

"Edward," Carlisle gritted through his teeth as he kept his eyes on me.
"Bella..."

"No," I croaked out, surprised I had a voice at all.


They both exhaled, and Edward pushed off the desk toward me, but
Carlisle swung his arm out, blocking him from moving.

"Not yet, son."

"But I just-"

"I know, but we need to make sure she's okay first."

"She's fine! She's awake! I just want to touch her."

"I know, but just be patient a little bit longer."

My sharpened eye sight bounced between their two beautiful faces, as


I tried to comprehend the echoes of the loud noises that rang from
their voices.

Everything was intensified.

Sharper than before.

"I've missed you," Edward mouthed silently to me.

I smiled and mouthed, "I've missed you too."

"Don't ever leave me again," he whispered out loud this time.

"I won't. I promise."

"Bella?"

My head snapped back to Carlisle.

"I think your body shut down to protect your mind. When you got
pierced through... your body put up some sort of shield. A protective
mechanism. It shut the outside of you down, so you could heal
yourself. And because of that, you grew numb... Because all of your
strength and presence was channeled on the inside-out."

I nodded, amazed at how much that made sense.

"I have to intervene by transfusing animal blood into you. We first tried
human blood that I took from the hospital, but we were afraid to give
you too much, not knowing how you'd react to it. Edward said you
never drank human blood before..."
I shook my head.

And then it dawned on me that Emmett really did tell Carlisle and
Esme about me.

And Carlisle didn't seem to care.

I furrowed my brows as I stared at him.

What kind of angelic creature could be so accepting of me like this?

Not only was it Edward, but his entire family too?

This was too much.

From the corner of my eye, I could see Edward begin to sway.

At first, it was gentle, but then it became light circles.

"Carlisle," I said, and Carlisle turned his head in Edward's direction.

"Son?"

Edward stumbled back, waving his face with air from his hand.

"He's going to pass out!" I shouted, feeling my strength as I hopped off


the bed and rushed over to him.

Edward's eyes rolled in the back of his head as he fell lifeless.

I caught him the same time Carlisle did.

"He's exhausted, his body gave out."

"Fix it!"

"I'm trying, hold him still."

I nodded, gripping his clammy face in my cold hands.

Carlisle swiped a white stick under his nose a few times, and Edward
gasped, his eyes popping open.

"Wh-What happened?" he whispered, as he blinked around.

"You passed out. You're too sick."


"N-No," Edward tried to shake it off and stand, but I held him down.

"Edward. I'm okay. I need you to rest now."

"No, I don't want to rest. I just want to look at you, look at those eyes
I've missed... I just want to..." His eyes fluttered shut but he force them
back open, "...just want to drown in them... I don't ever want to be able
to not find them again..."

"You won't Edward. I'm not going anywhere, I promise."

"No, no," he cried as he lifted his hands to try to push Carlisle away. He
appeared very dizzy and blue, like he was going to get sick, "I'm f....
I'm f... fine."

"You're not fine," I almost growled at him.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine."

"Edward! Stop being so fucking stubborn! God, you've been pissing me


off this entire time! Stop it!"

Edward chuckled lightly as his head swayed around, "See dad? I t-told
you she... was going to start... cursing at me... when she... when sh-
she woke up."

Carlisle pulled the needles out of my body, and I watched mesmerized


as the holes disappeared quickly.

I sighed as Edward's body grew more lifeless on the floor, "Yeah, well
you're just lucky I don't slap you now."

His eyes fuddled open, "You h-heard that part?"

"Yes," I sneered at him as Carlisle lifted him up off the ground.

"Follow me Bella."

I nodded, following him out of the study. I wrapped the towel securely
around me, and we ran into Esme half way there. I noticed it was night
time out as we passed through the halls.

Esme smiled and extended her warm hand out to me, which I smiled
and accepted.
"I'm so happy you're okay sweetheart," she said, "We were all so
worried about you."

"Thanks Esme."

We entered Carlisle and Esme's bedroom, where Carlisle laid him on


the bed.

Esme gave me some clothes, and I quickly changed into some


pajamas.

I entered the bedroom to find Esme crawled up with them, and then
she pulled me along too.

"Bella?" Edward asked hazily, his weak hand in the air extending for
me.

I pulled myself up to him and took it, kissing his palm over and over
again.

"Please stay with us, Bella."

"I'm not going anywhere, I promise."

"Please stay with me, Bella." he repeated, growing more dizzy.

"Shhh," I brushed his hair, "I promise. I'm not going anywhere. Just
rest."

"No Bella... You can't leave me."

"Edward, I promise."

"Edward, we won't let her leave," Esme whispered as she too began to
stroke his bronzed hair. "She's stuck with us."

Our eyes met and we smiled at each other, before looking back down
to Edward.

He dozed off within seconds, his weak hands gripping me with


everything he had left in him.

I watched him for hours, as the three of us monitored everything he


did.
Every time he breathed, or sighed, or hummed, or snored, or when his
eyelashes fluttered.

We watched him like a hawk.

After a while, he'd grip my hand stronger.

And mumble in his sleep, "Are you still here Angel?"

I smiled, stroking his cheek, "I'm still here."

Around the sixth hour of us staying with him, I noticed Esme dozing off
too. She placed her head on Edward's stomach while she brushed his
thumb of his free hand.

She was such a good mother to him.

I could tell how strong their bond grew.

She loved him as if he were always her son.

And Elizabeth would be proud of her.

Carlisle stroked my right arm gently.

I looked up at him and smiled.

His beautiful blue eyes began to water as his own exhaustion started
to take over.

"Bella," he whispered with a slight frown, "...I need to tell you


something. It's about Charlie."

I looked down to the mattress and squeezed Edward's hand, "I know," I
whispered.

"What do you know?"

"Around the second night.. it all hit me. I know he..." I shook my head,
"I know he didn't make it."

"I'm so sorry Bella... I tried everything I could to help him, but there
had been too many tendons that had been ripped... I couldn't mend
them."
I swallowed hard and nodded sharply, "I know. I-I understand that
you ...did all you could.. for him."

"I really did, Bella," he frowned, shaking his head as he looked down.
"I'm sorry that I ..."

He began to sob, making my chest heavier. "... I'm sorry that I failed
you."

I pulled my lips into a line, "You didn't fail me, Carlisle. You saved me...
You b-brought me back to Edward."

"He was all you had in your world though, Bella."

"I know," I frowned again, looking down as the ache in my chest rose
up to my throat, tightening my muscles.

I sighed. "But... now he can be with.. my mom, at some place that our
kind goes... in some sort of Heaven."

I felt that desolated, heavy ache pour down in my chest as the reality
of losing my dad settled in.

It swallowed me whole, and I began to whimper.

"I'm really going to miss him though," I cried.

And then a flashback of Charlie hit me. Charlie once said to me, on my
sixteenth birthday, that if I was going to cry... to only shed one tear.

And make it a good one.

Because that's all anything or anyone was worth.

One beautiful tear...

I don't know how it happened, but again, for the second time in a
hundred years, a tear fell from my eyes.

Because I was broken.

And I wanted my dad to hold me.

No more came out, but that one was enough to express the ache I was
feeling.
Because I did as my dad said.

Carlisle pulled me over to him and I laid my head in his lap, sobbing
invisible tears for hours.

My chest heaved and burned.

I felt as if I was being ripped apart.

I felt empty and heavy at the same time.

I thought about everything...

About the first memory I had of Charlie in my human years.

Blowing out my second-year birthday cake. He stood on the other side


of my high chair with a large grin while my mother video taped. His
grin grew as he clapped his hands...

"You're a princess, my little Bella!" he cheered.

I remember feeling mesmerized by his sparkling eyes and his pale


face...

Trying to understand at that young of an age why he was more


beautiful than anyone else.

Charlie being a vampire was all I knew.

He had been turned years ago.

And after my mom died, he lost a large part of his soul... He was never
the same.

He tried to mend our identities and our destined paths by becoming a


cop, and serving his town, and putting away the bad guys.

And he will be remembered forever.

Because I'd never let him go... and neither would anyone else.

I sobbed, fluttering my eyes closed.

"Bella, we want you to stay here with us," Esme whispered, and my
eyes popped open.
I didn't even know she had woken up.

"I don't know if that's such a good idea," I whispered, "Because... I'm
different."

"You're not different," she replied, as tears of her own streamed down
her face. "Not at all."

She looked just as broken as I did.

She shared my heartache.

Because she was a mother... and she knew what I was feeling inside.

I reached out and took her hand in mine, desperate for the pain in my
chest to go away.

She seemed just as desperate to pull it away.

And I loved her so much for it.

"None of us will be able to go on without you in our lives Bella," Carlisle


whispered.

"But... how can you guys trust me? What about Julia?"

"She's slowly healing... She's getting better everyday," Carlisle


answered.

"And Julia has nothing to do with us and this family Bella," Esme
concluded, "...We trust you one hundred percent. We want to take care
of you. We want to see you smile, to see Edward smile... We want to
smile ourselves. And that can only be possible if you stay with us."

I nodded, closing my eyes.

I felt so broken, and suddenly, so complete.

Miserable, but happy.

Empty, but full.

"Okay," I whispered, "if that's what you truly want, then okay."
"It is," Esme replied as she crawled on her knees. She continued to sob
with me as she leaned in, grabbed my head gently, and kissed my
forehead.

I could hear Carlisle crying too.

And I glanced over, to see Edward asleep still.

I felt both their loving arms surround me, as Carlisle and Esme hugged
me, engulfing me with their love.

They were trying to mend me.

And it felt so good.

I glanced over to my right, to see Jasper leaning against their


doorframe.

I sniffled, and he smiled at me. A warm, gentle smile.

"Get in here," Carlise said, and he didn't even look over there.

He was a good father.

Jasper smiled, and then suddenly, all four of them rushed into the
doorway.

It had to be five in the morning, but they were all awake.

They all crawled on the bed, surrounding Edward and me fully.

Carlise and Esme were up by the pillows, hugging onto me and


Edward.

The rest of them were surrounding our bodies in a slight circle.

No one said a word.

We'd smile at each other... and sometimes share frowns when they
knew I was thinking about Charlie.

They all shared my heartache.

And my happiness.

Because we these guys were my family.


And they'd never let me forget where I came from, or the two beautiful
parents that loved me from the start.

But they'd try to love me as much.

...and as I felt Esme running her fingers through my hair as I closed my


eyes and pretended to fall asleep with the rest of them...

I had no doubts in my mind that they would love me as much.

Because I loved them with every ounce of my being now.

They were all I had left.

Carlisle, Esme, Jasper, Alice, Emmett, Rosalie, Edward...

Seven beautiful, heaven-sent angels.

They were going to help heal me.

And I vowed to help them in any way I could, until the understood how
grateful I was to have them in my life.

Edward stirred, and my eyes popped open in the darkness.

Everyone was sleeping soundly around us, as the two of us laid face to
face on ours sides in the loving circle.

His eyes fluttered open.

"Hey you," he whispered groggily as that beautiful crooked grin swept


over his lips.

I smiled, "Hey you."

"Mmm, I missed those beautiful eyes."

I smiled softer, "I missed yours too."

He reached out his weak hand and took it in mine, so we were holding
both hands.

"Bella, I love you so much."


"God, I love you too.." I replied, feeling the ache in my chest. I loved
him so much, it hurt.

"I don't ever want to be away from you again."

"We won’t, Edward. I promise."

He nodded as his right hand lifted from mine, and he stroked the hair
out of my face. "Bella, I love you. I know I keep saying that, but I
haven't been able to in three days, and I just really want to tell you."

"I love you too."

He nodded, his eyes fluttering shut for a moment.

Then he smiled, and his eyes slowly opened again. As he whispered,


"Bella would you do something for me?"

"Anything." I replied, my voice just as weak as his was.

"Yeah?"

"Of course," I replied softly, stroking his hair with my fingers while he
stroked my hair with his.

"Bella... Would you marry me?"

I froze, as our eyes connected completely.

I couldn't speak, and couldn't look away from his smoldering eyes.

His lips were so moist and warm as his smile was gentle and calm.

Reassuring.

And then I thought about Charlie not being able to walk me down the
isle.

About him yelling at me for wanting to be married... although he knew


I'd do it anyway.

...And he's smile because he knew it was what would make me happy.

"Yes," I grinned at him. "Yes, I will marry you."

His eyes widened and sparkled. "Really?"


I nodded, "Yes. Yes, yes... I will."

He pulled me to him and we hugged tight as our family around us


nuzzled into their pillows and body heat.

"And I want to be like you," he whispered in my ear, "heart and soul."

"We'll talk about it," I replied, holding him for dear life.

"No, there isn't a negotiation. It's final. I talked with my family, and
they all said it was up to me. I want to be like you, I want to live with
you forever."

I pulled my face back and furrowed my brows, "Edward, how can you
be so sure? You just saw what happened with..." I closed my eyes,
shivering at the thought, "...Charlie. Why would you want this type of
life?"

"I want you Bella," he whispered as he cradled my face, "...I want you.
Always... I have to be with you. It's the only way."

I closed my eyes, shaking my head.

But he gripped his hands, forcing me to stop with his weak grasp.
"Bella, do you love me?"

"Yes."

"And you want to marry me?"

I smiled, "Yes."

"The we're going to be together. Forever."

I took a deep breath, focusing on his green eyes.

I didn't know how I'd ever go a day without seeing them.

Ever.

"If it's what you want," I replied after a few minutes.

He smiled, placing his warm lips to my forehead, "It's the only thing I
want, besides you."
Chapter 22: Mind Reader

I sat nervously beside the borrowed hospital bed in Carlisle's library,


tapping my foot and tugging on my hair.

It's been 72 hours, 11 minutes, and 43 agonizing seconds since I took


that bite.

Edward's life and all that was left standing in it has been something
we've negotiated for weeks now... all corners of it. After my father
Charlie's funeral, I went against my promise to change him all
together. We spent the next few weeks arguing and passing back our
indifferences.

I spoke with both Carlisle and Esme separately, trying to figure out why
on earth's name they'd be okay with their son being dammed into hell
for all eternity, if they allowed this to happen.

Carlisle explained to me that if he didn't agree to this with Edward, he


knew he'd just go behind his back and do it anyway. He wanted to
keep a close watch on Edward, and me. He wanted to be there for us,
support all of Edward's decisions, and be a helping hand when he
could.

Esme explained to me that when Edward put his mind to something,


there was no stopping him. It didn't matter how absurd it may seem to
anyone else, she said. If Edward makes a decision, he knows it's what's
best for him. He doesn't do anything that would appear irrational or
misguided. He makes decisions with what he thinks is the best for
everyone involved.

They both explained to me that Edward's love and dedication for me


was unreachable. There'd be no other love that compared to ours, and
we were both proof of that. We've both sacrificed so much to stay
together, and have lost a lot along the way... but we've remained
strong and dedicated, and that was all the proof that we needed that
our union would last the test of time.

About a month and a half later, when all my stand points for
arguments sake had been won over by Edward, I realized there was
nothing else I could say. He said he'd rather die than be without me.

Edward was the most stubborn man I had ever met in my life.

He was not going to let me have it any other way.


He wanted to be like me.

He wanted to be with me forever...

He said everything else was just a technicality.

The only way I agreed to do this was if Carlisle and Esme monitored
me. I refused to allow them in the actual room with us, so they set up
cameras in all four corners, and Carlisle locked the door from the
outside in. That way, if I became too weak to pull away from Edward,
they could come in and interfere.

I told them I wouldn't put up a fight with them, and I'd voluntarily let
them drag me down and do whatever it took to make sure I didn't hurt
Edward.

However, as fate may say, none of those negotiations were necessary.


Edward wasn't nervous or scared at all. Of course, he wasn't jumping
for joy and giddy about it.

He just laid relaxed on the table with his eyes closed, taking deep
breaths and holding my hand, all the while making sure I was okay
with this.

And that was so like Edward... more worried about me than himself...
He was the most selfless person I had ever met.

The last words out of his mouth before his change was, "Remember,
my love... The pain for me will diminish, but my love for you will not."

So as I sat here and panicked over when the single person on this
planet will open his beautiful eyes and relieve me from this tension, I
only grew colder with the results hesitating.

He took the bite and everything rather well. He expected it, so he


didn't necessarily fight against me. But what shocked me the most
was, he refused to fight and scream out. He kept it all internal, all the
fire and flames and aches and pains... He didn't express any of the hurt
he was dealing with outwardly...

I have no idea how he's doing it.

Carlisle and Emmett has been in the next room from me all day. I've
refused to leave and hunt, and they've refused to go eat. I wouldn't let
them in here with me, because I didn't know how Edward would react
to them, being a newborn and everything...
I wasn't taking any chances.

During the three-day change, Emmett took down the door to Carlisle's
library, cut a whole in it, and installed bulletproof glass, just so they
could watch Edward when he woke up, without risking their own lives.

The past month and a half, Edward had been prepped with all the
"what to expect when you change" rules I've named, such as the red
eyes, the burning thirst, the longing for human emotions, and how we
must hunt immediately... so on, so forth. All he said was he was ready
for it, that he knew it'd be okay. He reassured me, and then reassured
me again that he'd be fine, that he could handle it, that he was strong
minded.

And I believed him. Whole-heartedly.

It's the waiting part that I hated.

Almost three and a half days later, we noticed some movement in


Edward's once-motionless frame. His fingers would twitch, his eyes
would flutter beneath his dark lashes, his feet would sway to the right
a bit.

Then, the very next second, his eyes popped open.

I slowly sat up, not breathing the whole time, and could hear Carlisle
and Emmett jumping toward the door for a better look.

Edward blinked a few times, as his eyes began to bounce around the
room faster than human speed. He parted his glorious lips, continuing
to look around.

Swallowing deep, I reached out my hand and touched his arm, and
regretted it as soon as I did it.

Edward flipped up off of his back, knocking the bed over as he twisted
around, and crouched down in attack mode, hissing at me. This all took
about an eight of a second.

I froze in my position, my eyes trying to find his blood red ones.

He continued to hiss as his crouch became more intense, his eyes


bouncing around all four walls to look for a threat.
I took in that next second, feeling a little overwhelmed with his
transformation.

If he had been beautiful in his human life, it amazed me to see him


now with an immortal one. His face was eloquently pale, his cheek
bones becoming more defined and his lips a more delicate pout. His
eyes, of course, were red, but his pupils were fascinatingly enlarged
and all together mesmerizing. His hair seemed more dimensional, as if
the fragments of light added an extra shade of bronze that I had never
seen before. He stood taller, had better posture, his hands appeared to
be more softer than ever...

He was perfect.

"Edward?" I asked hesitantly.

Within that same second, he straightened up tall, taking about half a


second to do so.

I exhaled, watching him blink and cock his head in different directions.

"Edward?" I asked again, noticing his eyes bounced directly to mine


and stuck. "Can you hear me?"

He nodded, straightening his back out more.

"I know that you're probably a little dissor-"

"I can hear them," he replied, cutting me off. His voice rang even more
velvety and smooth, the sweetest sound I had ever heard in my life...
The most beautiful melody.

My breathing hitched as I tilted my head down to him, to watch his


finger raise and point to Carlisle and Emmett.

"They won't hurt you Edward," I whispered gently, as I looked behind


me to see Carlisle and Emmett with their jaws dropped wide.

"I know, but I can hear them..." he said again, his voice still sing-song,
as he listened to his own voice come out.

He seemed... amazed at how he sounded.

"You-You can hear them through the, uh, glass there?"


He shook his head, as the most beautiful grin took residence on his
lips. "No."

I tilted my head, still in disbelief at his more-perfect identity to really


focus on anything else, "Then-"

"Tell them, tell Carlisle to think something."

I took a deep breath and held it, grabbing the walkie-talkie Carlisle
gave me and said Edward's demand.

Carlisle furrowed his brows.

"He doesn't understand your question," Edward replied smoothly, "He's


thinking, why is she asking me to think something?"

My lips parted as I looked over to the glass window again.

"Now Emmett's thinking, what the fuck is going on?"

"Edward?" I asked, feeling my chest tighten.

"I could hear them. I could hear everyone the whole time. I knew
everything that was going on. I heard their thoughts, I heard their
actions before they planned to do them..."

"What are you saying?" I whispered as I took a step to him. "Are you
saying, you are reading their minds? Right now?"

He turned his glorious face to me. "Yes."

My jaw hit the floor. "C-Can you read my mind?"

"No. I haven't figured out how to do that yet..." Edward's voice trailed
off as he covered his forehead, squatting down lower and tilting his
head to the floor.

I began to get nervous, fidgeting in my spot. I didn't know what to say


to him, I was so shocked.

"I can hear Alice," he replied breathlessly, "she's thinking about the
Golden Girls, that old television show. She doesn't know I've woken up
yet. She's now thinking about filing her nails while she waits..."

I didn't know how to react, as I took another step toward him.


Edward stood up again, and smiled. Then, one second later, I was
being picked up as he hugged me tight, for dear life.

I felt my ribs squeeze together, and struggled to let out the last breath,
"Edward, you're hurting me a little."

He dropped me instantly, and I stumbled back to Carlisle's desk.

"I'm sorry, Bella, I-"

"No, no," I replied as I stepped back to him, "it's okay. You just... don't
know you're own strength yet."

After I spoke, I tentatively reached out my arms, which he enveloped


again, much softer this time. He smelled incredible, more delicious
than he did when he was a human. He wasn't warm anymore, but his
body temperature matched mine perfectly.

I never felt like I belonged to him more than I did at this very second.

I shivered, nestling my face into his collared blue shirt. I felt my chest
rise up with butterflies, and my entire body seemed to be overtaken
with them, and joy.

All the love I had for him, all the struggles and the losses and the
dedication and the battles... every single thing seemed worth it at this
very moment.

Because he was officially like me. There was no difference between us


now. There was no confusion, no what-if's, no nothing.

We were equals.

Two fitting pieces of a two-piece puzzle.

He took a deep breath, lifting my chin up so he could get a better look


at me. "I feel like I'm seeing you for the first time," he whispered
slowly, his eyes zoning on different places on my face. "I thought you
were sensational before... but this..." He paused for a moment,
brushing my hair out of my face, "...Wow. I never expected to see
this..."

I struggled to maintain my inhales and exhales as I squeezed his arms


tighter, feeling more in love with him by the second.

I couldn't believe how amazing this moment truly felt.


It was irreplaceable.

"Bella," he whispered with a grin, pulling my face closer to his, "You...


are... so... beautiful."

My eyelashes fluttered shut as I became overwhelmed, and I felt him


gently press his lips to mine, as soft as possible. I clamped my eyes
shut, feeling more intoxicated by his sweet breath, his smooth lips, his
perfect amount of pressure he was providing against mine as his
thumbs continued to caress around my jawline.

I parted my lips slowly, not caring if he squashed my face with his


brute strength at this moment, if he lost his thoughts.

I couldn't get enough of him.

"Mmm," he whispered, before parting his own lips and sliding his
delicate tongue inside my mouth. My breathing stopped again as our
tongues collided in even symmetries. It felt like this was our first kiss,
our first real moment together. Everything was heightened. Every
sensation, every taste bud, every tingle... It was all maxed out now.

And I knew he felt it too. I didn't have to wonder -- or worry, for that
matter -- if I was kissing him too rough, or if he was indifferent to my
technique...

None of those insecurities stood around us anymore.

We were finally free to love each other, with no limits.

I sighed, my hands trailing along his forearms to his wrists, as our


kissing continued. We didn't rush it at all, and I couldn't help but feel
both shocked and utterly amazed by his restraint. I couldn't figure out
how he was keeping his self-control this easy.

When I was turned, it took me at least a few weeks before I recognized


my differences between mortality and immortality... But Edward... he
was behaving as if he were a hundred year old vampire.

I wasn't sure if it was our long talks this past month, all the
preparations I tried to give him... From what he witnessed with my
actions, or Charlie's... I couldn't figure it out, couldn't wrap my head
around it.
But while Edward was doing this, keeping himself in check so easily...
he convinced me of one thing I knew from the start, all over again:
Edward was indeed... perfect.

I heard someone clear their throat, and immediately, my offense took


over. I pulled away from Edward, pushing him behind me and blocking
him with my body, as I twisted around to find the door cracked open
and Emmett's head sticking through it. "Emmett!" I shouted, gripping
Carlisle's desk tight to try and restrain Edward, although I knew he'd be
too strong for me, "What are you doing? Get out!"

"I want to see him."

"Emmett, it's not safe yet. Edward's a newborn, remember? You can't
j-"

"It's okay," Edward whispered softly behind me, so soft that the
humans couldn't hear him.

I twisted my head around, my mouth wide open as I glanced at my life,


in Edward form. "What?"

"It's okay. I... I think I can handle it."

"No, Edward, you can't."

"Yes," he replied, his voice a little heavier now, "I can."

"Edward, how on eart-" I felt him reach around, his hand covering my
mouth and cutting me off.

"My throat is burning fire, but I... don't... want them. I don't know if
that makes sense, and I cannot explain it, even if I made an attempt
to... I can see the veins pulsing in his neck, I can see his chest
bouncing to the delicate rhythms of his heart strums... but..." Edward
shook his head, taking a shallow breath, "...I don't want them. I think
I've somehow trained my mind to know what I can and cannot have."

Emmett started to take a step inside, but I raised my hand to him, and
he halted his movements.

"Edward, I don't like this at all." I said after I removed his warm hand
from my lips, not trying to sound any less-eased than I actually was.
"We cannot... I-I don't think that they sh-"
"Trust me, Bella," he replied, as his hands glided to my hips and he
moved me from out of front to him. "I can work on the restraint."

Emmett slowly took another step inside, half of his body still out in the
hall.

"You are thinking that you're scared of me," Edward whispered, his his
all-too-velvet voice.

Emmett nodded, shoving his hands in his jeans pocket.

Edward tilted his head, remaining in his spot. "I'm not going to hurt
you."

"H-How do you know th-"

"Because you're my family," Edward replied, answering Emmett's


question before he even spoke it.

Emmett curled his brows, "But ho-"

"Because I can read your mind right now."

Emmett shut his mouth, looking more confused than ever.

"I know," Edward replied with a slight chuckle that made the butterflies
bounce in my belly again, "I cannot figure it out either. I don't know
how it happened. The last three days, I've spent locked inside my
body, battling the internal flames and the constant voices of my family
in my head... And the last twenty four hours, I've somehow
programmed my mind to block out certain sounds and voices, so I can
focus on one thing and not the other... But I don't know how I am doing
it."

"Your brain is working faster now than it did at human speed," I tried to
explain to him. "You've created a mind filter."

Emmett took an unsteady breath, "You look-"

'I know," Edward replied, mimicking Emmett's actions and placing his
own hands into his pockets, "I'm sorry if my eyes are bothering you. I
hadn't been giving a chance to see m-" Edward cut his own voice off,
as he tilted his head back toward the floor. "Oh, never mind. Carlisle
just told everyone, and Alice is running to her room to get a mirror."

The two boys laughed as I began to get nervous.


I knew Edward thought he could handle this, but if they all gathered in
here together, it'd be too much.

"Edward, I think we should hunt before you see anyone," I stated,


making my voice as stern as possible.

Edward snapped his head to me, furrowing his brows as he covered his
throat. He took a deep swallow, looking more dazed.

And that was when I realized that I mentioned hunting to him, and I
ignited that flame worse.

I nodded, licking my lips and reaching out to him, "It's okay. We'll go
somewhere close, and get back quickly."

I could hear the rest of his family talking fast and running toward the
door, their heartbeats accelerated in their excitement to see Edward.
By instinct, I locked up and wrapped around Edward, blocking him from
getting to them as best as my strength would accept.

Edward allowed me to, not trusting himself now that his throat and his
thirst were taking control of his brain.

"Emmett, get out and shut the door," I snapped, and Emmett quickly
obliged, slamming the door shut behind him.

"Are you okay?" I asked, turning around to face my marbled statued


God.

He nodded, rubbing his throat more vigorously, "Yes. I thought I could


control it, but then you mentioned h-"

"Yes. I'm sorry, I didn't think. We should go, and then you can try
seeing your family afterward."

He nodded, but his forehead crinkled again after a moment of thought.


"Alice is frustrated. She wants Emmett to slide the mirror in, so she can
watch me through the window. She's almost in tears, I think. She really
wants to see me."

"She can wait," I replied with a reassuring nod, as I stroked his smooth
and more-defined muscles of his biceps.

"No. Let her slide the mirror in."

"Edward."
"Just let her, Bella. It's... important to her."

I pursed my lips and looked at his face cautiously, looking for any hint
of hesitation on his half. But he didn't show a single sign that he didn't
trust himself, or his control. So I nodded.

Carlisle opened the door, sliding the long, oval-shaped mirror along the
far wall, before closing the door again.

Edward followed my steps slowly, and we both watched as every single


pair of eyes peeping through the glass window grew as wide as
possible.

All of their mouths dropped, as their stared at him in what can only be
described as awe.

I watched as overwhelmed tears began to stream from Esme's eyes,


while Alice mouthed Wow in silence. Rosalie remained motionless, as if
she were too stunned to speak. Jasper remained stiff and observant,
while Emmett just grinned proudly. Carlisle wrapped his arm around
Esme's shoulders, his face showing in a tight smile that father's gave
right after their children drove away from home to head off to college...
They were all proud of him.

As every day passed, this family continued to amaze me. .

I never knew a more accepting bunch of people in all my days.

Their love for him was permanent.

My eyes trailed to my right, picking apart Edward's expression.

He beamed as his eyes trailed to each one of their faces individually.


"Esme thinks I look immaculate," he replied with a snicker. "Carlisle is
proud. Jasper is a little worried. He thinks if he were in here with me,
he'd feel better because he feels our mood changes to match his...
He's been like that since he became a part of this family... No one can
explain why though. Rosalie is a little jealous, because she thinks I'm
prettier than her now... and Alice and Emmett... well they just want to
know when they can be next."

I couldn't help but feel stunned as I watched his eyes melt over his
family members. This just kept getting better and better.

Alice jumped up and down, thrusting her finger against the glass
window, toward the mirror.
Edward snickered and nodded, motioning for me to turn it toward him.

I obliged, grabbing the heavy object and twisting it around to face him.

Edward stopped dead in his tracks. The grin on his face disappeared,
as he studied his own reflection.

He remained motionless, blinking slowly as he took it all in. He slowly


lifted his right hand, rubbing his jaw line as he watched his reflection
mimmick his actions. He tilted his head to the right, then slowly back
to the left. I watched as he slowly leaned forward, his lips parting as he
inched toward the mirror. "Wow..." he whispered, continuing to rub his
cheek bones.

"Yeah," I snickered, feeling more giddy, "Those were my thoughts


when you were human... Now you're even more beautiful. I don't know
if I'll be able to handle myself around you for too much longer."

He snickered, watching the light from the ceiling bounce along his
perfect teeth. "I can see everything," he whispered. "I can see every
curvature... every indent... I can taste the room and my surroundings.
Everything is so much more crisp, more intensified..."

"Are you overwhelmed?" I asked, giving him my best smile.

He grinned at me, straightening up and turning away from the mirror,


"My love for you is overwhelming, yes... I feel like I'm seeing you for
the first time as well."

I beamed as he walked over to me, pulling me into his arms once


again.

We hugged tightly, and I couldn't help but bite my lip as I listened to


him inhaling my scent.

"Wow... strawberries and cinnamon just became a whole lot sexier..."

"Edward," I replied giddily, hiding my face into his shoulder. My face


would be a beet-red blush right now, if I were human.

He chuckled, rubbing my back as we pulled away again, "Esme thinks


we're adorable, but Alice thinks we need to get a room."

I pulled away from him, and we both smiled at his family.


Then I looked back to my beautiful partner, and reached out my hand.
"Are you ready to go hunt?"

He took a deep breath, accepting my invitation. "Let's do it."

Watching Edward leap from a three-story house was incredible. He


didn't even hesitate. He watched me jump, and followed my actions
precisely. It amazed me how perceptive he quickly came to be. He was
a true genius. Every single step, every motion I made -- he could do
exact.

He ran with me toward the river, and I felt my butterflies soaring all
around me now. He seemed so excited about it. I watched his
expressions, as he realized he didn't need his oxygen anymore, he
couldn't feel his heartbeat through his chest... He seemed like a child
on Christmas eve, waiting to catch Santa climbing down the chimney.

We halted when we got to the water, and his smile grew more
intoxicating, "Are we going to jump it?"

I nodded, taking a few steps back, "Think you can?"

"Oh hell yes."

I laughed as we took a few more steps behind us, "Oh yeah? Do you
want to go first?"

He looked at me and tilted his head, weighing out his options. "Are you
asking me to show off?"

I felt so in love with him.

Words couldn't describe how overwhelmed I felt, just watching how


glorious this man had become, right in front of my eyes. Though it may
sound both stubborn and selfish, I was happy that I changed him...
Thrilled that he could be mine forever.

Correction, I thought to myself as my smile grew wider. Not could be.


He is yours, forever.

Before I could answer, Edward took off, running at the speed of


lightning, and launched himself over the rushing water of the Forks
River. He hollered in excitement as he flew across, waving his arms
around. He landed with ease, not falling over, or even stumbling, for
that matter.
I could feel his smugness spreading from across the freakin' bank.
Following his actions, I leapt across the river, landing light on my feet
beside him.

He grinned as he took deep breaths, the air from the chilly night
showing from his lips in a fog. He extended his hand to me as his grin
grew crooked, and I took it, biting my lip. Then we were off, running
through the trees with the wind from the sparkling night soaring
through our hair. I continued to watch his expressions as he adjusted
to the sensations of the breeze on his delicate skin, the sounds from
everything around him... Noticing that he was so happy made me
elated.

As we slowed down to a human pace, I began to explain to him how to


separate between the different smells of animals. I pointed out
different types, and compared them to common words, so he'd be able
to easily understand them. I tried to explain things by having him close
his eyes, and listen to his surroundings.

Once we came closer to our prey, we knelt down to the ground, taking
in the atmosphere around us as a whole. I tried to get him to block out
one of his five senses, and focus on each one individually... as I was
talking, I noticed Edward open his eyes, his tongue bouncing on his
bottom lip as he watched my thorough explanations.

I stopped speaking, tilting my head at him. "What?"

He licked his lip and grinned at me, "What?"

I snickered, "What are you staring at?"

"Oh," he replied, looking down to his knees for a second. "Your mouth."

I furrowed my brows, feeling my stomach tighten, "Why?"

"It... fascinates me now."

"How's that?"

"Well," he replied as he crawled closer to me, his index finger reaching


and brushing along my bottom lip, "do you know how you bite down
here, when you're feeling flushed?"

"Yes," I replied as my chest began to clamp and my breathing became


shallow.
"After your glide your teeth away, I can see the crimson rainbow on the
dampness of your lip... It's... incredible.

My willpower faught to control my urge to not bite my lip again.

He brushed his hand through my long hair, inhaling calmly, "I thought
you said I wouldn't want you like this at first?"

Now my breathing stopped all together, "You... want me?"

"Yes. I can practically taste you on my lips... I can feel my mouth


watering when I think about you, or look at you, or hear you speak... or
watch those succulent lips move."

I closed my eyes as a tremble rocked through my core. "Aren't you


thirsty?"

He cleared his throat, jerking his eyes away from me, "Well... now, I
guess I am. Thanks for mentioning it."

I took a steady breath, trying to even out my own body cravings. "Let's
allow that be the focus first. We'll worry about the rest... after."

He snickered, "Okay. As long as we can... after."

It took every ounce of will power I had to not pounce on him at that
very second. "It's a deal."

"Bella! Bella, wait up, I'm sorry!"

I crossed my arms and lifted my chin, continuing to walk through the


trees. "You can't be sorry if you're laughing while you're saying you're
sorry."

"I really am!" Edward replied with another chuckle as he ran and
stopped in front of me, blocking my path.

Every direction I went, he was in front of me quickly. I pouted, glaring


at him. Stupid beautiful newborn vampire.

"You're so lucky you cannot read my thoughts," I hissed at him.

"Bella, come on..." He replied with another grin as he wrapped his arms
around my waist, "I don't know how many more times I can apologize
to you."
I gave him another pointed glance, turning my head away from his
face before I caved in and smiled back at him.

Edward nuzzled his nose to my cheek, humming softly, "Please forgive


me, my love."

I closed my eyes and curled my fingers into fists, all the while still
trying not to smile, "You're just so... irritating. It irks me!"

He laughed, filing my stomach with more butterflies from his velvety


resoundance and intricate melody. "I thought you'd be proud of me."

"I am, but... grrrrr," I growled at him, trying to turn away from him,
which didn't happen since he was now stronger than me.

He pouted his lip before giving me a chaste kiss on my left cheek.


"Please forgive me."

I took a deep breath, feeling slushy from too much liquid. "I just don't
see how you didn't get a single drop on you, Edward... Not one. None
on your cheeks, on your jaw, on your shirt... Why do you have to be so
perfect? Even in the immortal world, I still find myself inadequate."

Edward snickered, wrapping his arms tighter around me as he pulled


me to him, chest to chest, "I've never been a messy eater."

That did it. I slapped his chest and smiled, trying to pull away from
him.

He refused me, laughing into the tight skin on my neck. "Are you ready
to forgive me yet? Or do I have to man-handle you?"

I bit my lip and closed my eyes, feeling my body ache at his teasing
words. "Man-handle me?" I mocked at him, placing my hands on my
hips, while he kept his around me in a tight hug.

"Yes. I'm so thrilled I can threaten that, and mean it."

"I'm sure you are."

"Please Bella?"

I sighed. "Please what?"

"Pretty please with a mountain lion on top?"


I tilted my head and pulled back so I could glare at his sexy smirk. "Not
funny."

Now it was his turn to bite his lip, before he burried his face back into
my neck. I felt him begin to nibble there, and shuddered as my fingers
clasped around his biceps. It felt so good to have more of this contact,
and not be able to put restraints on myself or him, for any reason now.

He tilted my head, applying the same nibbling to the opposite side of


my neck, "Please just say you forgive me... I didn't mean to impress
you so much with my hunting technique that I made you feel inferior."

I grinned, unable to hold myself back from running my fingers through


his thicker, copper hair. "Now you're just being cocky again."

"No, I really mean it."

"Fine," I sighed, caving into him like I knew I would. "You're forgiven."

I could feel his lips moving along my neck as he grinned. "Thank you
angel," he whispered, causing me to shudder.

I looked above me, watching more stars form into the sky as it became
darker, as I wrapped my arms around his waist.

He hummed, before cradling my face into his silky palms, pulling his
face back to look at me. We were pelvis to pelvis, chest to chest...
perfect reflections of each other.

"I cannot wait to marry you, Isabella Swan," he whispered to me.

I took a deep breath, stroking my fingers through more of his locks, "I
cannot wait to be Isabella Swan-Cullen."

"Swan-Cullen?" He asked, as he placed his forehead to mine.

And again, I was dazzled as I thought more about his incredible


restraint and self-control.

"Yes," I replied after a few more dizzied seconds. "I'm going to hyphen
it, so I can keep a part of Charlie with me, forever."

Edward beamed, closing his eyes at the same time I did, while his
thumbs placed gentle caresses along my cheekbones, "I like that."

"Me too."
I could hear him swallow at the same time I did, and was thrilled by the
fact that I knew he could hear me swallowing too. I think it almost
amazed me more than him that we were equals now...

I felt him press his warm lips to my equally tempermatic ones, and a
frenzy took over me. I gasped, throwing myself against him. My arms
weaved around his neck, my hands grasping at his hair. I felt his sweet
breath along my face when he parted his lips for more friction, before
engulfing me with the incredible taste of his tongue again. His fingers
grasped on my hips, and within half a second, I was lifted in the air. I
threw my legs around his waist, feeling my body ache and form around
him delicately.

"Edward," I gasped between kisses, clamping my eyes tight, "what


about your family? I know they want to see you."

"I know. This won't take long."

"But I th-," I gasped as he bit down hard on my neck.

All the thoughts and objections I had on the Cullen's behalf went right
down the tunnel of doom.

I moaned loudly as I felt him drop to his knees, laying me down


beneath him in the dirt path. The leaves crunched beneath our
identical solid frames, and I felt him apply most of his weight onto me
now, grinding against my center as his lips begged me for more
attention.

"How are you doing this?" I asked through my heavy breathing,


clawing at his shoulders.

"Making love to you?" he countered as he dug his lips into my collar


bone.

"No," panted, feeling my legs wrap around his waist and jerk him down
to me without my consent, "how are you controlling yourself? You're
still a newborn here. I expected you to half-slauter everyone in town."

"I feel full," he replied as he licked along my neck.

It made sense. We just spent the past two hours hunting, all of which
Edward maimed and handled with perfect grace and technique.
"Are you sure?" I worried, biting my lip as I continued my rant that I've
had the past two hours. "If not, we can stop and go back. There's
always more animals in the w-"

"Bella!" he said, covering my mouth with his hands as he held himself


above me, "Listen to me. Read my lips. I'm full. Yes, my throat burns
still, but it's mild. No, I cannot hear your thoughts and sure it drives me
crazy, but right now, I'm glad I can't in a way, that way I can't hear
about all your worries. Yes, I feel wonderful. Yes, I love you... and..."

He gripped my shoulders, pulling me up from the ground a bit as one


hand slid under my head to support my neck, "Yes... I want to make
love to you. Right here, under the stars, for all the animals and
anything else to see. So, if you'd be so kindly to not ask me questions,
not worry about me, and not be frightened for me in any way, shape,
or form... then that would be greatly appreciated. Because there is
nothing, and I do mean nothing -- no deer, no mountain lions, no prey,
and most definetly not any humans -- that are going to get in the way
of me and what I want anymore. Do you got it?"

I was speechless. I couldn't respond.

His voice was so power, so dominant. Edward knew exactly what he


wanted, as did I.

All I did was nod lightly, in a mere haze of desire for him.

With that, Edward crushed his lips to me and pushed me back into the
dirt.

I could hear clothes being ripped away from the both of our bodies as
lust came crashing around us like water at Niagara Falls. Within about
three seconds, we were both naked.

Edward plunged his tongue back inside my mouth, and low moans
escaped from both of our throats as our bodies collided together, both
outwardly and internally.

I grasped at his shoulders, lifting my back off of the dirt path so I could
wrap all my limbs possible around him. I felt my lower body being
pushed and pulled from the soil to the air, as he took me over with his
frame, fulfilling me so completely that there wasn't a mere inch to
spare.

Every sensation, every touch, every kiss, every moan or sigh or hum or
gasp... every sound of our bodies connecting surrounded the air so
thickly, it was all we could hear. Our noises bounced off the trees, from
the water, from the wind... We were everywhere and we were together.

We never had to worry about delicate things anymore, such as time, or


money, or exhaustion, or space...

All we had to understand was that there was truly nothing that could
separate us now.

And all we wanted was each other.

I cleared my throat, walking into the living room with a new set of
clothes, thankful that no one noticed me climbing up to Edward's
bedroom to grab a few changes for us.

The family was wide awake, although it had to be around three in the
morning.

They all rose to their feet when they saw me, all with giddy and excited
expressions on each of their fragile faces.

"Edward would like to see you guys now," I began, shuffling on my


feet, "but he wants to know if you guys are okay about it first."

"Well why wouldn't we be?" Alice said.

"Yes, bring him in!" Esme concluded, but I noticed a hesitant Carlisle
pulling them in and standing in front of his family, being the protective
father.

"We all want to see Edward... and I will trust your judgment if it is safe,
Bella. But we must maintain a slow, even distance."

I nodded, taking a steady breath. "I trust Edward. And he trusts himself
as well. I really think he can do this."

Emmett nodded but stood in front of Rosalie, while Jasper stood in front
of Alice.

"Let him in," Jasper said, and I noticed two tiny arms wrap protectively
around his waist, while Alice remained hidden behind his tall form. She
was so adorable, the way her tiny frame wanted to protect him still.

Alice was truly a woman in her own right.


I smiled at them, before twisting around and walking back to the yard.

Edward stood, wearing a black button down shirt and dark denim
jeans, his hair looking perfectly unruffled despite our recent activities...
and he was the exact replicate of an angel.

"Are you ready?" I asked, rubbing his forearms.

He kept his hands in his pockets, nodding his head in silence as he


looked down to his shoes.

"Remember," I stated for the fifteenth time, "You don't have to


breathe. You can hold your breath, until you trust your surroundings
more."

He nodded again, still looking at the grass.

"And, if you feel at any reason that you are losing control of the
situation, all you have to do is give me the glance, and I'll clear
everyone out without anyone getting hurt."

He nodded again, swallowing hard. "I'm ready."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

I exhaled and reached out my hand to him, "Okay."

We began to walk through the door, but once my hand reached the
handle, I was pulled back against him.

"Do you promise you have me?" he asked.

"I promise," I replied, kissing his cheek gently, "I won't let you hurt
anyone."

"Okay. Let's go."

I nodded, gripping the door handle again.

Within seconds, I was pulled back to him.

"And do you promise that you truly think I can do this?"


I smiled, brushing my fingers through his hair. "Yes. I do. You have
more abilities than you even know."

"Okay," he exhaled as he closed his eyes, "May I ask one mor


question?"

"Of course."

"Do you promise that you love me?"

I smiled, giving him a slight hug in hopes to soothe away some of his
worries, "Now more than ever."

I opened the door, pulling him slowly across the dining room, and into
the living room. The men continued to stand in front of their women,
with their hands to their sides and smiles on their faces.

Edward slowly peered around me, but kept his fingers on my waist, just
in case.

My eyes bounced between everyone's faces as they took in the new


Edward. They were completely shaken, and amazed, and speechless.

Edward grinned, bearing his dazzling white teeth, and I could hear
Rosalie gasp from behind Emmett's shoulders. Edward quickly retorted,
closing his mouth in fear of frightening her. Then, a few seconds later,
he grinned again, and chuckled lightly. "I cannot believe you thought
I'd have actual fangs."

I gawked at Edward, trying to figure out where that came from.

"I-I'm sorry," Rosalie stammered, still peeking her eyes around


Emmett's left bicep, "I just..."

"Bella doesn't have fangs."

"I know. I'm stupid. But stop reading my thoughts, it's creeping me
out."

Edward smirked, and then looked solemnly at Esme. I watched as


Esme's eyes filled with tears and her chin began to quiver.

"Yes," Edward replied quietly, and I wondered if she could even hear
his response.
Her eyes overflowed now, and she smiled and tilted her head at him as
she thought more thoughts.

"Uh..." Edward replied as he turned to me awkwardly.

I beamed at him, rubbing his arms, "You're doing great."

"Really?"

"Yes. How do you feel?"

"I feel... surprisingly okay. The burning isn't too bad. As I previously
mentioned, I think I somehow programmed my brain to understand the
difference between prey and my family."

I nodded, giving him a slight hug as I wrapped my arms around his


waist.

"How remarkable," Carlisle said.

"It's extraordinary," Emmett stated with a grin.

"You're so pretty," Rosalie chimed in.

"When can I be done next?" Alice asked as she hopped from behind
Jasper's expression.

Within seconds, Edward seemed dazed. Everyone moved at once. The


men formed into a hurdle, Jasper had Alice backed up against the wall,
as I pinned Edward up against the glass. Edward panted, closing his
eyes.

"Guys," I replied, turning back to face his relatives, "You can't do that.
Edward wasn't going to hurt Alice. But if you react so urgently, he's
going to be more distracted, than if you remain calm. Everyone needs
to settle down, so your heartbeats even out? Okay?"

They all nodded.

After a few minutes, each of them began to relax, and huddle back into
the formation of men in front of their women.

I gave Edward a pat on his back, before pulling him back to the center
of the room.
Esme's eyes filled with tears again, and she took a slow step toward
us, "Can I... hug him?"

Everyone looked to me, including her and Edward. I tried to read


Edward's eyes, looking for signs of distress.

"He won't hurt him," Alice stated, causing us to shuffle our eyes to her.
"I... have another one of those feelings. He won't hurt any of us."

"How do you know?" Carlisle asked, looking more astonished than


threatened.

"Because... I've seen it. I can't explain it," Alice said, "...but I feel it.
Edward wants to protect us."

Edward nodded, pushing his hands back into his pockets. "I do."

With that, Esme slowly continued her trail. I watched as she wrapped
her arms around her son, pushing her face into his shirt as she sobbed
against him. "I'm just so... overwhelmed," she tried to explain to us.
"You feel so cold.. so strong... so different but so alike. Just like with
your presence... You're still Edward... I'm amazed, and overwhelmed
by all of this."

"You're going to change all of us," Alice insinuated, "right Bella?"

I shook my head as I kept my eyes on Edward. "No."

"Why not?" Emmett asked. "We all can be together that way. I know I'll
make one bomb-ass vamp, man. You've got to change me."

"You don't understand what you are asking for," I tried to explain to
them, "I'm not even sure if I can explain the full extent of it, or if
Edward fully understands what he just bargained his life for..."

My voice trailed off as I watched Edward kiss Esme's forehead. Once


she walked away, I noticed his eyes trail to Carlisle.

They exchanged in a sudden silent conversation.

Carlisle would think things, and would understand the response by


Edward's expressions, or nodds, or smiles or frowns...

I too felt like Esme... I was impressed by the way everyone picked up
on all of this.
"I'll talk to her," Edward replied to his second father, as he turned and
smiled at me.

Carlisle nodded, watching Edward pull me into his arms. "Please do."

"I will."

I looked up at Edward, not understanding their conversation.

"Due time," he replied with a grin, before closing his eyes and kissing
the side of my head.

After about twenty minutes of his family asking him questions about
what it was like to change, or hunt, or how he was feeling... After all
explanations were filled, Edward sent his family to rest.

Emmett was the last to leave, sending Edward an unreadable


expression.

He grinned at Emmett and nodded, and they gave each other a pat on
the back before Emmett ran up the stairs.

Edward nestled with me on the couch, flicking on the television, "This


is so weird, not feeling tired."

"I know," I replied, cozying up to him, "but what was that all about,
between Emmett and you?"

"He said it felt good to know that we were protecting the family now."

"Aww," I replied, rubbing my smile into his shoulder.

"But he also wants to... be like us, too."

"He doesn't understand," I replied with a sigh.

"I think he does. So does Carlisle. Do you remember when Carlisle


asked me to speak with you later?"

"Yes." I replied with furrowed brows.

"He told me in his mind that letting go of me was harder than he


planned. He thought that if it were best for me, he'd let me make my
decision and go on knowing I were happy."

"That's good."
"But," he continued, holding me tight, "he said he had a change of
heart. He said that he couldn't bear the thought of them all passing
away, and us being left behind. He thinks that if we were to combine
our forces, that they could all be changed and it be for the better.
Carlisle and Esme don't want to see us without them. They still want to
be the parents in our lives. They still want to protect us... He says he
won't take no for an answer."

I sighed, shaking my head. "What am I going to do with all of you? Why


do you all have to be so stubborn?"

He chuckled, pulling me into his lap, "Because we're Cullen's. That's


what we do."

"Ohhh," I replied breathlessly, feeling dazed by his intoxicated


presence again. "Is that what it is?"

"Yes."

"Mmm," I replied, kissing his cheek.

"You know... Bella, I don't have to sleep now. We can spend the whole
night being... together."

I bit the inside of my lip, turning my face to him. "We need to leave the
house then."

"Why's that?" he replied with a chuckle.

I grinned, pulling on the ends of his hair, "Because, my sweet little


young vampire... The things I plan to do to you require so much
strength and noise, we'd either break apart this beautiful mansion, or
give them all brain damage from our screams."

"Mmm," he replied pulling me against him as he lifted us off the couch,


"we can't allow that then, can we?"

"Nope."

He nodded, pulling me out the glass door and into the chiming night.
"Last one there... has to be on top?"

I grinned, placing my hands on my hips, "Is that a challenge?"

"Yes."
"Then I accept."

We both took off, laughing as we made our way to the river.

I never felt more elated than I did at that exact moment.

And I couldn't wait until we were one again.

Chapter 23: Starting Forever

"Edward!" I gasped as I wrapped my white robe around me, "What are


you doing in here?"

"I wanted to see you."

"No, you need to get out of here!"

He walked toward me, his special side grin decorating his perfectly
pale face, "I've missed you."

I felt myself start to get giddy, but I shook it away, "Edward, we've only
been separated for thirteen hours."

"Long enough."

"It's not like we don't have forever," I said as I continued to back away
from him, "so I don't see why you cannot survive one day."

"One day without you is torture."

I felt myself starting to drown in his golden orbs, and shook my head to
maintain my focus, "Well, uh, i-it's bad luck, haven't you ever heard
that before?"
"Yes, old wives tales state that I am not supposed to see the bride the
day before the wedding, I know, I know. But technically, that rumor
was started because humans were afraid that if the groom saw the
bride the night before the wedding, that their marriage wouldn't last.
But you and I already know that we're going to be together forever, so
why do we have to follow those rules?"

I slapped my hands on my hips, "Because it's tradition!"

"EDWARD ANTHONY CULLEN!"

Edward winced while I covered my hand over my mouth and giggled.

"She's coming for you Edward," I warned, "you'd better get out of here.
I can hear her stomping up the stairs."

"I'll survive."

The door to the castle swung open, revealing a scary-like pixie, face
paler than normal, her hair a little messy, and an lingerie nightgown
dress her brother shouldn't technically be seeing her in.

"I am going to count to three," she threatened as she slowly stalked


toward him, "and if you are not back out that window, and on the other
side of this castle by then, so help me God Edward, there will be no
wedding tomorrow."

"Alice, go put on some clothes," Edward said sarcastically.

Before we could blink, Alice flew in front of him, using her vampire
speed, and glared at him, "One."

"Alice, come on."

"Do you want me to continue counting?"

Edward began to back out toward the window, eyeing his sister down,
"Jasper is waiting on you in the bedroom. He's pretty pissed you
stopped doing... whatever it was that you were doing, which I do not
care about whatsoever."

"Two, and that was none of your business, so stop reading everyone's
minds."

"Why should I? You were using your powers."


"That's because I was in the middle of something wonderful, and then I
had a sudden vision of your stupid ass taking advantage of your bride-
to-be in this bedroom!"

"Well, then stay out of our business."

"Edward," I giggled as I washed Alice almost push him out of the


window, "just go."

"I don't want to."

"Two and a half," Alice hissed at her brother, as Jasper walked into the
room.

Immediately, we were all feeling warming, soothing sensations.

Then Alice turned and glared over at her loving husband, "Why do you
have to get in the middle of this?"

Jasper grinned as he pulled a white t-shirt over his bare chest,


"Because I can feel everyone's anxiety from two floors below. Now can
you just came back to bed and let these two have their fun?"

"NO!" Alice huffed as she twisted back and thrusted a finger toward
Edward, "He has to follow the rules!"

"Alice, please, just go get some for all of us. It'll put you in a better
mood."

Uh oh, I thought to myself. Edward that was a wrong move.

Before Edward could retract his statement, Alice flew after him and
they both went out the window, which was six stories up from the
ground. Jasper and I ran to the open window, and began to laugh. We
could hear the two of them fighting and bickering and cursing at each
other.

"Five bucks says Edward gets her this time," Jasper said.

"No, Alice is pretty pissed. I'm not taking that bet."

Jasper twisted and grinned at me, rubbing my back and sending me


more calming vibes, "You'll make a beautiful bride tomorrow, Isabella."

I smiled gracefully at him, "Do you really think so?"


"Of course."

We heard something that sounded like a tree being ripped from the
ground, and then we heard Edward shout, "Alice, put that root down!
This is not our house, or our Country for that matter! You cannot
terrorize property! Wait! Don't throw that at me! Alice!"

Jasper and I giggled as we walked away from the window.

"Sounds like the two of them are in for another long argument," I said
as I sat on the edge of my bed, "you may want to for-go your plans
with Alice."

Jasper shook his head, "She'll make it up to me. I'm sure by the time
she gets back, she'll have so much adrenaline, she'll need a workout
session."

"God, Jasper, thanks for the visual."

"You're welcome," he chuckles, "plus that's what you get for Alice
breaking out in the middle of our alone-time, and describing to me her
vision of what she saw you two doing in here."

I snickered, shaking my head, "Okay, truce."

We were silent for a few minutes, listening to Edward and Alice


continue their destructive rant.

Then Jasper gave me a kiss on my head, and walked toward the door,
"Oh, Bella, Edward wrote you this letter and asked me to give it to you
tonight."

He handed me a sealed envolope and gave me a wink before exiting,

I listened for any sounds of Alice and Edward's squabble, but couldn't
hear any, so I knew they had taken it elsewhere, and Edward wouldn't
be coming back tonight.

With a slightly defeated sigh, I pulled out the letter, and smiled at each
word I read:

My dearest Isabella,
I cannot wait to meet you at the end of that candlelit isle.
It's the start of a beautiful forever, my love...
Until then, Cinderella...
Yours for eternity,
Edward Cullen.

I took a deep breath, staring at my reflection in the full-length mirror,


"Just breathe, Bella."

"Bella?"

I twisted around and smiled, "Hey mom."

Esme grinned as she walked toward me. She wore a strapless white,
knee-high dress, that went perfectly with her translucent skin. Her hair
was down and wavy, bouncing with volume over her shoulders, "Are
you ready to get your dress on?"

"She's got two more pins I've got to get in," Rosalie said through the
bobby pins between her lips, "and then she'll be ready."

"No, she's got to get her garder on first!" Alice shouted as she ran as
fast as lightening over to the nearest bag, "and then you can have
her."

"You look beautiful, Bella."

"Thank you," I grinned.

"You guys know that Edward's trying to read all of our minds right now,
trying to figure out what Bella looks like," Alice giggled.

"Yep, that's why I keep humming Britney Spears," Rosalie chimed,


"because nothing annoys him more than that."

"Have you got your vows memorized?" Esme asked.

"Yes, I think so," I exhaled shakily, "I'm pretty sure I do."

"Do you want to rehearse them?" Alice said as she bounced up and
down.

"I'm afraid if I do, I'll forget them, because I've said them too much."

"You're gonna be fine, Bella," Rosalie reassured me, "trust me."

Alice slipped my white lace garder on my right thigh, and then rose to
her feet, "I think she's ready for her dress."
Rosalie nodded behind me in the mirror.

I felt my chest begin to rise and fall too quickly, and I stumbled in my
red high heels, "Are we sure I can handle this?"

"You can," Esme grinned as the three of them surrounded me, "and
you will."

"Just think," Rosalie said as she turned my face delicately to face her,
"the sooner you can get his beatiful dress on, the sooner you can rush
down that isle, and the sooner you can be Mrs. Edward Cullen,
forever..."

I nodded, taking another breath, "okay, I can do this, I can do this."

We've been living in Italy for a few years now, and picked the Matrese
Italia church for our reception to take place.

My dress wasn't the average white gown. No, there was no way Alice
would allow that.

She said I was special. She said that all eyes were going to be on me
anyway, so I may as well make it count. Therefore, with her help,
Edward and I designed a red, white, and black only theme, which we
picked out after Edward presented me with my ring.

It was made from Harry Winston's company, and designed by Edward,


with the help of Carlisle. It has a silver flawless band, with a square,
18-carat, rare ruby diamond in the middle, surrounded by twenty tiny
hand-picked diamonds as a frame. The first time he presented me with
it, I became so breathless, we thought my body was going to shut
down again and go back into survival-mode, like it had two years
before, after Victor's attack.

My dress was designed for months before it got made by Esme's


friend, Maggie Sorretto. It's strapless, with velvet-silk red fabric
cascading down the tightly ruffled, fitting form of my breasts and hips,
and flowing shortly after into a white lace underskirt. The elegant, mid-
length train is made out of both the velvet red and the heavenly-laced
white material. The one-of-a-kind dress is accented perfectly below the
bust and trailing from the left side, down toward the thighs, with hand-
picked diamonds, designed into floral ecstacy prints.

Edward chose a black tux with a lighter vest strap, and a matching red
tie. He wanted to be more traditional, because he said he wanted all
the focus to be on me.
Alice and Rosalie, which were my bridesmaids, wore simple and plain,
two-inches above the knee, cream strapless dresses.

Edward's groomsmen, Jasper and Emmett, wore black tuxedos with


grey vests.

Edward's best man, Carlisle, wore a black tuxedo with black vest, with
a red napikin as the accent on the pocket.

My maiden of honor, Esme, wore a full-length dress, which had red


straps and hem lines, but was all white.

My flower-girl, Emmett and Rosalie's four and a half year old daughter,
Gracey Mae Hale, wore a dress that was white, with a red ribbon that
ties behind in a big bow.

"Bella, try not to tremble too much, I can't fasten the back of this,"
Rosalie giggled as she pulled me back toward her.

"Sorry Rose."

I exhaled, smiling at the thought of my wedding decorations...

We chose the banquet hall for our after reception, which was draped
with white fabrics, silver chairs, shipped-in trees from Bale', and
chandeliers. Both the banquet hall and the church itself will be dimly
lit, with yellow candle accents framing each of the pews in the church,
and each of the corners in the reception hall. There will be hand-
selected petals draped down the isle I'm about to walk down, and thin,
white linen fabric draped from each pew, cascading down toward my
man in waiting...

"Hey Bells," Alice snickered as she adjusted a pin in my hair, "do you
remember last year when Jasper and I got married on the beach, and I
almost fell because of my train?"

"Yes," I giggled, "God I hope I don't have your luck."

"What I was getting at," she glared teasingly, "was that I've already
messed up. So if you're worrying about falling or something, after all
this grace you've inherited in your hundred-odd some years of being a
beautiful vampire, then don't be. I've almost beat you to it."

I sighed, rubbing her arms, "That's not what I'm afraid of."

"Then what are you worried about?"


"Seeing him... I'm afraid I'll be walking down the isle, and will get so
caught up of seeing my main in waiting in his tuxedo... just smiling at
me -- no, no, giving me my favorite smile -- and I'll just lose it... I'll
freeze because I'll be dazzled, and then everyone will think there's
something wrong with me."

"You will be fine, my beautiful daughter," Esme said, giving me a hug.


"Don't you dare worry your little head off. It's going to be perfect, you'll
see."

I took another deep breath, staring at my pulled-up hair-do. Rose spent


only ten minutes on perfecting it -- which would amount to a couple
hours in human speed -- and it amazed me how well she did it. I told
her it didn't matter how it looked, but she insisted on putting delicate
curls and waves through it, twisting it behind my neck and pulling it
back up, with little diamond pin accents all over. And with the diamond
accents on my dress... it looked perfect.

It's funny how, when we first started wedding planning, I told them I
could get married in holy, torn-up jeans, standing next to a run-down
shack and be just as happy... but the more and more I looked at all the
effort that went into this wedding... the happier I was that I chose to go
down the elegant path.

Because today, after all the countless years of searching for myself, I
knew who I was in this moment: I was Edward's princess.

Esme handed me my bouquet of red and pink roses, wrapped


delicately with red ribbon and pieced at the cross-line with green
jewels that matched the green stems on the bottom of the flowers.

Trembling, I turned to Rosalie and Alice, grasping at their arms,


"Where's Gracey?"

"She just went potty, she'll be here in a moment," Rosalie said. "Gosh, I
cannot believe how gorgeous my little girl is in her dress!"

Rosalie waited until she was twenty-one to be changed, while Emmett


changed at nineteen. A year before, when Alice and Jasper were
changed, Rose and Em decided to wait until they had a little girl. Two
weeks after graduating from Forks High, Rosalie found out she was
pregnant. Rosalie put off her change for a few years, to make sure she
could handle her daughter being human. She said she wanted to grow
to love her unconditionally -- which took about two seconds after giving
birth, regardless -- just to be on the safe side.
Emmett and Rosalie have already explained to Gracey about who they
are now, and Gracey never once cared. She thought it was an
adventure, like she was living a secret fairy-tale. Emmett and Rosalie
plan to change Gracey -- by their daughter's wishes, if she assumes so
-- when she turns eighteen years of age. But for now, they're loving
their four and a half year old daughter.

Carlisle and Esme were changed about three years ago, between
Emmett and Rosalie's changes.

"Mama, Mama!" the little girl with the matching blue-green eyes of her
father -- pre-Vamp -- and the full lips of her mother, not to mention the
cascading blonde hair, button nose, and high cheek bones which was a
mix between the both of them, came running at Rosalie's side, tugging
on her dress, "I'm ready mama, can you fixes my dresses though?"

"It's fix my dress, dear angel, and yes I will," Rosalie beamed as she
adjusted it for her daughter, "are you ready to throw some flowers?"

"YES! YES, YES!" Gracey squealed as she jumped up and down.

"Now remember," Esme said as she squat in front of her, "no throwing
them at the people, despite what Daddy told you, and make sure to
scatter them around, okay?"

"Yes grandma," Gracey sighed, "I know."

Esme giggled and kissed her forehead, before rising back to her feet.

Jasper and Emmett strolled gracefully over to us, looking like GQ


models in their tuxes. They quickly kissed their wives, before Emmett
turned and scooped up his daughter.

"Where is my warm and edible snack?" he asked teasingly as he


pretended to growl and chew on her, causing her to giggle up a storm.
"I'm hungry!"

"DADDY! Quit it!"

He continued his tickle until she was laughing so hard, Rosalie slapped
him and said the humans in the pews wouldn't be able to hear the
piano.

"Daddy," Gracey Mae hissed as she fisted her hips, eyeing him down
with the look she learned from her mother, "you frumpled my dresses."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Emmett said as he adjusted it, "all better now?"

"Yes, fanks."

I danced from foot to foot, imagining Edward, the priest, and his best
man Carlisle, all entering the crowded church from the side door,
awaiting my arrival.

Alice came over to me and gave me a hug, before handing me a black


and white portrait, "Are you ready?"

I bit my lip and looked down, to the half-smirked picture of the proud
man in the police uniform.

I felt my heart crush with both a sadness that Charlie couldn't be here
today, and a joy that he was still ever-present in my heart, "Yes.
Daddy's going to walk down the isle with me..."

I exhaled as I kissed the picture once and then tucked it to my chest,


along with my boquet, "I'm ready."

I stood back in the shadows of the hall, while the grand doors swung
open, delivering the sweet smell of flowers and Freesia, as well as the
dim lights of candlelight and the reflections of roses cascaded down
the long isle.

All of a sudden, a million flashbacks swarmed over me at once:

The first day I met Edward, in the hall of school. Meeting the Cullens,
baseball practice, the almost-kiss at his parents house, the party where
the truck almost hit him, the discussions of our real parents, the i love
you's, the first kiss, the first time we made love, Edward's acceptance
of who I was, the time we spent in the meadow, the time we walked
back to school after we had been changed, when he showed me the
ring, when we picked out our house here in Italy, when we fought
Victor, Edward holding me at Charlie's funeral, the changes of his
family, Edward's little phrases, such as "Until Then" and "You are so
beautiful..."

Every single detail of every single day with him washed over me like a
waterfall... I was overwhelmed, and anticipating the idea of getting
down that isle and holding his hand now more than anything.

The bridesmaids and groomsmen headed down the isle slowly, first
Alice and Jasper, and then Emmett and Rosalie. I felt jealous of them,
that they were getting to Edward before I was... Esme held onto
Gracey's hand, making sure she didn't run off after her parents, like
she did during rehearsal the day before yesterday.

Then she handed her tiny palm over to me, before Esme strolled as a
single down the isle.

I looked down to the little blonde model and kissed the top of her head,
"Are you ready to make your entrance?"

"Yes Aunt Bellsa, I am," she said giving me a toothful grin.

"Okay," I chuckled, "count to five and go ahead! Remember to throw


the flowers!"

Gracey counted out in her head, and before she got to five, she
stopped and twisted around, "Oh, Aunt Bellsa?"

"Yes?"

"...You looks likes a princess today."

My cold heart began to unfreeze as I looked at that beautiful little


blonde girl, "So do you, angel."

As she strolled delicately and threw the pink, white, and red rose
petals, I took one final glance at my father's photo I gripped so tightly,
"I love you, Daddy. I hope you're proud of me. Mama too."

Then, as I watched Gracey stand next to her mama at the end of the
candlelit isle, and the