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After I Read Midnight Sun on Stephanie's

After I Read Midnight Sun on Stephanie's


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Published by Ana Karen
This is another one from a the honeymoon its from a friend its pretty good.
This is another one from a the honeymoon its from a friend its pretty good.

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Published by: Ana Karen on Feb 27, 2010
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After I read Midnight Sun on Stephanie's site I was totally intrigured by the idea of how Edward saw the

world and his relationship with Bella. Then I finished Breaking Dawn and it was my favorite book ever! I hate a hard time with some of it, like a lot of fans out there, but I generally love it! That got me thinking, what was Edward thinking? This was what I came up with. Before I begin this chapter I just want to re-iterate that this is Stephanie Meyer's work and characters. I have borrowed them to play with. This is Edwards Version of what happened in Breaking Dawn ( the first book anyway). I hope you enjoy and please do let me know what you think! Review it if you like, I'd always like to hear opinions! Breaking Dawn, Edwards POV Preface I'd lived many decades. I ran into my share of monsters, being one myself. I'd never felt the need to run from them, I was fast, I was strong. But this, this was different. How do you run away from yourself? I knew this day was drawing near, but it had been something I was dreading and something I knew I could not live without. She was everything I wanted. She was everything I needed and I knew what I much do. But how do you kill the one you love? Chapter 1. Engaged I was in my room listening to music, trying to relax. Bella had wanted some time to run out and pick up a few things. Ever dependant, I knew that she wanted to go on her own, so I let her without even the slightest hesitation (that she could see). I desperately wanted to go with her, but I knew that she would be safe. But, here I sat. Alone, in my room. While she was out there alone I worried about her safety. She was so very breakable, and trouble never had any difficulty finding her. I must admit, I did worry about her a little less knowing that she was in a safe, reliable car. Her Chevy truck had finally died...with a little bit of help from Rosalie ( who was starting to warm to the idea of having Bella as a sister, even though she wasn't pleased that Bella could so easily give up her human life to become one of us). After her truck had...died, I delighted in her promise to allow me to buy her a new car., which she would only allow after the truck was officially done. I knew she wanted nothing spectacular, but I needed her to be in the safest vehicle possible. I happened to know someone at a Mercedes Dealership in Europe and he got me in touch with the right people. The car, The Guardian (perfect name if you were to ask me to watch over my Bella), hadn't even been released in Europe but I managed to finagle one. It was perfect. Better than I'd hoped! It was virtually indestructible, exactly what my destructible Bella needed. It had missile proof glass and four thousand pounds of body amour. You could even take a flame thrower to it and not even damage the paint. Perfect in case of car accidents or falling trees or too aggressive ware wolves. I knew she would be embarrassed by it. It was much too extravagant for her. She had been hoping to see a Toyota or a Ford or even another Chevy, at the very least one of the symbols she knew. Se had been embarrassed and overwhelmed when I revealed the car to her.

"What is that?" She asked incredulously after I brought her outside to look at it when it had first arrived. "Why, Bella, it's your new car of course. Don't you like it?" I asked, a little of the excitement had faded from my voice, having done it intentionally knowing she wouldn't make too much of a big deal about it if she knew she would hurt my feelings. "Of course Edward, but it's too much." She replied as she put her hand to my face. "Don't worry, it's only your before car anyway" I hadn't actually meant for that little bit of information to slip out yet, but I had been distracted by her lovely chocolate brown eyes. "My what? Before what?" She asked stunned. "Well, this one is actually a loaner. After...." I started to say it, but it was still so difficult to think about the moment I dreaded, the moment that I knew would come all too soon, the day her heart stopped beating. The day I killed her. "After you become one of us." I whispered my voice so low I'm sure she barely heard it. She knew that despite how much I loved her, this was not an easy topic for me to discuss. That effectively ended the conversation and she murmured her thanks, only a little grudgingly, with some of her sweet kisses. Yes, that day was coming quickly upon me, a hard day it would be. I began to feel myself wallow. I decided this would not be how I spent my day. I turned my thought to a day much closer at hand. A happy day, a joyous day and one I couldn't wait for. The day I would finally make Bella my wife. I lingered over the words in my head; Bella, my wife. She would be my wife and I would be her husband. I remembered, with a smile, the day we had gone to tell Charlie that we were engaged. She fidgeted the whole time. She finally agreed to wear my mother's ring. It meant more to me than she could even imagine and I held her hand tightly in mine so she would stop trying to hide her hand in her pockets. I had head Charlie's cruiser well before she did and she tensed when the sound reached her and continued to fidget more. "Stop fidgeting, Bella. Please try to remember that you're not confessing to a murder here" "Easy for you to say." She grumped. Charlie was walking up the sidewalk and I could tell she was listening closely, tensing with each step he took. "Calm down, Bella." I whispered as I heart her heart rapidly accelerating. We heard the door slam and Bella jumped. "Hey Charlie," I called, feeling fairly confident. "No!" Bella hissed under her breathe. "What?" I whispered back. "Wait till he hangs up his gun!" I chuckled and ran my fingers through my hair. She was silly. As Charlie came around the corned in his uniform he made a face, clearly still upset it was I who was sitting with Bella, he would have preferred Jacob to be the one she loved, however he did try to be civil.

"Hey kids, what's up?" "We'd like to talk to you," I said "We have some good news." He was suspicious immediately. "Good news?" He growled glancing right at Bella. "Have a seat Dad." He raised an eyebrow and stared at me. I knew exactly what he was thinking. He stomped over to his recliner and sat on the very edge of his seat. "Don't get worked up, Dad," Bella started to say. "Everything is ok" I grimaced at her words. Okay? It was more than okay. If it were me I would have used words like wonderful or perfect or incredible, but certainly not okay. That was like calling Bella simply pretty. "Sure it is Bella, sure it is. If everything is so great, then why are you sweating bullets?" "I'm not sweating," She lied. She was indeed a little sweaty, but she looked glorious, then with that thought I had to remind myself to focus. She leaned into me for support as she wiped the sweat from her forehead. As she did this, Charlie's thoughts became very clear and panicked; I barely had time to decipher them before he shouted. "You're pregnant!" Charlie had exploded. "You're pregnant, aren't you?" And although the question was meant to be for Bella he was glaring directly at me. "No! Of course not." Bella shouted. I knew she must be upset; this was exactly the thought she told me people would have when we told them we were getting married. Charlie relaxed slightly believing what Bella was saying. "Oh! Sorry." "Apology accepted." Bella said, stalling. There was a long pause and I realized that they were waiting for me to say something. Bella looked at me with panic in her eyes. I could tell she couldn't do it and needed me to step in. I smiled at her, squared myself and looked directly at her father. "Charlie, I realize that I've gone about this out of order. Traditionally, I should have asked you first. I mean no disrespect, but since Bella has already said yes and I don't want to diminish her choice in the matter, instead of asking for her hand, I'm asking you for your blessing. We're getting married, Charlie. I love her more than anything in the world, more than my own life, and – by some miracle she loves me that way too. Will you give us your blessing? After a moment I saw Charlie's eyes shift, his eyes were now locked on Bella's ring. Bella held her breath beside me as Charlie started to change from fair to red, red to purple, purple to blue. She started to get up tentatively. "Give him a minute." I said so only she could hear as I softly squeezed her hand. The silence was long, very long for Bella. But in the silence Charlie started to return to his normal color. His lips were pursed and his eyebrows were furrowed. He was deep in thought. He studied both of us for a moment. As his thoughts seemed to clear, I relaxed and I knew Bella could feel me beside her. "Guess I'm not that surprised," He grumbled. "Knew I'd have to deal with something like this soon enough. You sure about this?" He demanded after he heard Bella sigh. "I'm one hundred percent sure about Edward." Bella said without skipping a beat.

"Getting married though? What's the rush?" He asked, suspicious again. Bella and I both knew the rush. She was getting older everyday and didn't want to appear too much older than me. She was turning nineteen and I would always be frozen at seventeen. She knew that the only way I would change her would be if she was my wife. She wanted to be one of us so badly she was willing to give up everything she had been taught. Of course these were things we couldn't share with Charlie. "We're going away to Dartmouth together in the fall Charlie," I reminded him. "I'd like to do that, well, the right way. It's how I was raised". I explained shrugging. I could tell from Charlie's thought that he was searching for an argument but we all knew he wasn't going to find one. No one wanted their daughter shacking up with their boyfriend. "I knew this was coming." Charlie muttered. Then he was almost happy. "Dad?" Bella asked anxious, clearly afraid he was having a nervous break down. She glanced at me and I tried not to frown at Charlie's thoughts. I knew they were probably right. "Ha!" Charlie burst with a chuckle and Bella jumped. "Ha, ha, ha!" We watched as Charlie doubled over in fits of laughter. "Okay fine," Charlie choked." Get married," More laughter. "But..." "But? What?" Bella demanded. "But you have to tell your mom! I'm not saying one word to Renee! That's all yours!" And that was how we first told anyone we were getting married. I remembered how Bella had been terrified of telling Renee, probably even more than she was about telling Charlie. "Well Bella," Renee had begun after Bella finally managed to tell her she was marrying me. "I'm a little miffed that you waited so long to tell me. Plane tickets only get more expensive. Oooh." She'd worried and wondered if Phil's cast would be off in time. "Back up a second, Mom," Bella gasped expecting more of a reaction. "What do you mean, waited so long? We just got en-en..." She'd stuttered with the word, still having trouble with the concept. "things settled, you know, today. They chatted for a while and Renee was surprised. She seemed to assume we were heading in that direction when we were visiting back in April. And then Renee had surprised her buy telling her she was not making a mistake, that's what Bella needed to hear. For the past few weeks, although I wouldn't say Bella has been excited for the wedding, but she hadn't been dreading it either. I had been pleased because Renee and Esme had been in such close contact. Renee seemed to love Esme as most people did and they hadn't even met. Bella didn't need to do a single thing for the wedding. For one, even if she wanted to, I'm not sure Alice would have let her anyway. She was having such a great time with the flowers and the decor and the menu for our human guests. For another I didn't want her worrying about anything unnecessary. She had been through so much with the Mutt and Victoria and the Volturi breathing down our necks. I knew she was trying to prepare for the day that I dreaded. I wanted her to

experience everything human that she could before she never would be able to again. I let her sleep as much as possible this was as much for her as much as it was for me (I loved watching her sleep in my arms although I wouldn't miss those nightmares she was always having. I fed her as much as possible, something new everyday. Plus I knew that Charlie was stressing her out more and more. He had been counting on Renee to be the heavy but was sorely disappointed. Today I knew that she would not be happy. Although Alice did everything in her power to keep her mind away from Bella's wedding dress so as not to spoil my surprise at seeing her on our wedding day...our wedding day, what a glorious thought! I still had picked up from Alice that today was the final fitting. The time to make sure that Bella's dress would fit her perfectly. I tried to picture Bella in a wedding dress. I thought of so many styles. Bella in a long, white flowing gown. Bella in a long, white, slinky gown. Bella in a big white, pouffy gown. Pictures cycled in my head, each one more beautiful than the last. I knew there was no way I could be disappointed. I knew she would look perfect in whatever gown she had chosen. I smiled, and all my worries about changing her and the Volturi and the mutt disappeared. She was my Bella and I was her Edward. And I was there with her. I was in my happy place.

Before I begin this chapter I just want to re-iterate that this is Stephanie Meyer's work and characters. I have borrowed them to play with. This is Edwards Version of what happened in Breaking Dawn ( the first book anyway). I hope you enjoy and please do let me know what you think! Review it if you like, I'd always like to hear opinions! Chapter 2 – Long Night "I miss you already." Bella said, pouting. "I don't have to leave. I can stay..." I said nuzzling her hair. "Mmmm," was her response. I bent my head to her lips and the sweet sound of her heart and our lips were the only sounds in the still night. She was tempting, no longer her blood though, not the taste of it anyway. The thing that tempted me now was her heart, the sound of her blood pumping as she got excited by my kisses. I got used to the burning in my throat; it hardly even bothered me now. It was a different burning in my body that was painful now, the burning of my desire for her. I opened my eyes to find her starting back at me. She was a goddess sent here to tempt me. I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking, just as I always did. I saw the same longing in her eyes that I felt for her. "Definitely staying." I murmured into her ear. "No, no. It's your bachelor party. You have to go." She said, but I could tell she didn't mean it. Her right hand tightened in my hair and her left pressed into the small of my back. I stroked her face as I gazed into her eyes. I didn't want to leave her anymore than she wanted me to go. "Bachelor parties are designed for those who are sad to see the passing of their single days. I couldn't be more eager to have them behind me. So there's no point." And it was true, after more than eighty years I was glad to be settling down with my Bella. "True." She breathed carefully to be quiet so as not to wake Charlie who slept in the next room.

This would be the last time that we would cuddle up in this room. This would be the last time I had to sneak in through her window in order to be with her at night. She was huddled in a blanket; I had to sacrifice my shirt which now lay of the floor beside the bed. I felt her shudder as she lay beside me and I bent to her pressing my hard, cold lips to her lovely, warm ones. And it was my turn to sigh as she pressed her soft tongue to my lips, a surge of urgency for her washed through me and I started to pull away knowing that if we continued I wouldn't be able to last to the wedding night, our wedding night. "Wait." She said gripping my shoulders and hugging me to her. She kicked her leg free of the blanket and seductively wrapped it around my waist. "Practice make perfect." I laughed. "Well, we should be fairly close to perfection by this point, then shouldn't we? Have you slept at all in the last month?" I knew she hadn't been sleeping well with all of the changes that she had been going though. "But this is the dress rehersal," She reminded me, like I needed any more reminding "and we've only practiced certain scenes. It's no time for playing safe." I didn't answer her. I went still and straight. She just didn't understand the constant care I had to take so that I didn't break her. "Bella," I whispered. I knew she knew what I was thinking. "Don't start this again," she said, rolling her eyes. "A deal's a deal." "I don't know. It's too hard to concentrate when you're with me like this. I – I can't think straight. I won't be able to control myself. You'll get hurt." It was always at the forefront of my mind. "I'll be fine." "Bella..." "Shh!" She pressed her lips to mine. I knew she would never let me out of our deal but I had to try. I had made a deal and I would make good on it, unless I could convince her to change her mind. "How are your feet?" I asked. "Toasty warm." She answered, not understanding my meaning. "Really? No second thoughts? It's not too late to change your mind." "Are you trying to ditch me?" She joked. "Just making sure. I don't want you to do anything you're not sure about." I was giving her another way out, knowing she would never take it. "I'm sure about you, the rest I can live through." I hesitated; hating that marriage was still not something that excited her as much as it did me. "Can you?" I asked barely a whisper. "I mean the wedding – which I am positive you will survive despite your qualms – but afterward...what about Renee, what about Charlie?" She sighed. I knew she was getting tired of my questions, but I needed to be sure that she was sure. "I'll miss them." And I knew she was not thinking about herself, she was thinking how that they would miss her. She was always putting others above herself.

"Angela and Ben and Jessica and Mike?" I started naming all her human friends. "I'll miss my friends, too." She smiled in the darkness, to herself mostly. "Especially Mike. Oh, Mike! How will I go on?" She feigned distress, I growled. She laughed but then said seriously, "Edward, we've been through this. I know it will be hard, but this is what I want. I want you and I want you forever. One lifetime is simply not enough for me." This of course was what I wanted too. I wanted her for more than forever. "Frozen forever at eighteen." I whispered. "Everyone woman's dream come true," she teased while I was trying to make her see just how serious this really way. "Never changing...never moving forward." "What does that mean?" I thought for a moment making my thoughts clear. "Do you remember when we told Charlie we were getting married? And he thought that you were...pregnant?" "And he thought about shooting you?" She teased with a light laugh. "Admit it – for one second her honestly considered it." I didn't answer. I wanted her to listen to me. To take what I was saying seriously. There were so many things she would never experience. There were so many things I could never give here, like a child. "What, Edward?" "I just wish...well I wish that he'd been right." She made an indistinguishable sound that sound remotely like a cat throwing up, obviously shocked. "More that there was sine way he could have been. That we had that kind of potential. I hate taking that away from you, too." She hesitated and I stared at her. It was just something I couldn't give her. I could never give it to us. I could never be a father as Carlisle had been one to me, as well as my own father, Edward had been before him. "I know what I'm doing." She said simply. "How could you know that, Bella? Look at my mother, look at my sister. It's not as easy a sacrifice as you imagine." "Esme and Rosalie get by just fine. If it's a problem later, we can do what Esme did, we'll adopt." I sighed heavily and then I was suddenly angry. "It's not right! I don't want you to have to make sacrifices for me. I want to give you things, not take things away from you. I don't want to steal your future. If I were human-" I started to say, put she was fast. She put her hand over my lips soothing me. "You are my future. No, stop. No Moping or I'm calling your brothers to come and get you. Maybe you need a bachelor party." I thought for a moment. She was right. It was the eve of my wedding, our wedding. I was marrying

the most beautiful woman in the world. She wanted me and I more than wanted her and nothing was going to change that. "I'm sorry. I am moping. Must be nerves/" I said as I touched her cheek. "Are your feet getting cold?" "Not in that sense. I've been waiting a century to marry you, Miss Swan. The wedding ceremony is the one thing I can't wait –" I stopped mid sentence as new voices popped into me head. Yo! Bro, we know you're in there! Emmett called from outside, of course I could hear them only in my head. "Oh, for the love of all things holy!" "What's wrong?" Bella asked, concern clouding her voice. I gritted my teeth listening to Emmett inside my head. You'd better get your ass out here, it's party time! "You don't have to call my brothers. Apparently Emmett and Jasper are not going to let me bow out of tonight." She squeezed me tighter, as if not sure she could let go, but she reluctantly released me. "Have fun." She said trying to keep her voice light. There was an awful squeal on the window, reminiscent of nails on a chalkboard, and Bella shuttered at the awful sound. "If you don't send Edward out," Emmett, who was still invisible to Bella, hissed. "We're coming in after him." She laughed. "Go, before they break my house." I rolled my eyes but stood and replaced my shirt. I didn't want to leave her, there had been so few times when we had not spend the night together. My favorite thing to do was watch her sleep. I bent to give her a final kiss on her forehead. "Get to sleep. You have a big day tomorrow." I ordered. "Thanks! That's sure to help me wind down." She griped. "I'll meet you are the alter." I said smiling. "I'll be the one in white." She smiled back at me, sounding very casual, like we got married everyday. I chuckled. How I didn't want to leave. "Very convincing." I suddenly crouched low and coiled like a spring. I found my way swiftly to the ground and I knew I had been too fast for Bella to see, but I had fun landing on Emmett. He cursed and I laughed, it served him right for stealing me from my Bella. "You'd better not make him late," I heard Bella murmur quietly, but still sounding as if she were right next to me Jasper was at Bella's window, radiating a peaceful calm. "Don't worry, Bella. We'll get him home in plenty of time." I hoped he was helping her to relax. She did have a very big day tomorrow and did need her rest. I heard Bella again, "Jasper? What do vampires do at bachelor parties? You're not taking him to a strip club, are you?" I chuckled. There was an idea. Take 3 male vampires to a place filled with

people and women and sweat and heat and high emotions. Not that a place like that could ever hold appeal for me, Bella was the only one I ever looked at, the only one I ever saw, the only one I ever wanted to see. "Don't tell her anything!" Emmett growled and I smacked him, laughing again. "Relax," Jasper soothed. "We Cullens have our own version. Just a few mountain lions, a couple of grizzly bears. Pretty much an ordinary night out." "Thanks Jasper." He came to stand by me and put his arm over my shoulder as we prepared to leave. All I wanted to do was to climb back in that window and lay with my beautiful bride-to-be in my arms. You're so whipped! Emmett thought, staring at me. I growled and his grin widened and then he ran into the forest as I took a stop towards him. I decided that I would take a page from Bella's book. I knew that my brothers really wanted to share this time with me. Emmett and Rosalie and Jasper and Alice had already been married several times, which meant several bachelor parties for each of them. This was my first and I knew that they had come to believe that I would never meet someone, would never fall in love. This bachelor party was as much for them as it was for me. "Seattle?" I asked as we ran through the woods. Wherever we can find you some nice, mean mountain lions, bro. Emmett thought somewhere to my right. We ran in silence for a but. My mind was on what would happen tomorrow. When I could turn to Bella and know that she was no longer Isabella Swan, but Isabella Cullen. The thought filled me with joy and my thoughts drifted to our wedding night. Bella had made one provision for us to get married; she played on my wanting her to experience everything human. There was only one thing she wanted to experience while she was still human. She wanted for us to make love and I had agreed, anything to make her my wife. Emotions flooded through me, terror at the possibility of hurting her, neverousness because neither one of us had experience in that particular department and of course pure longing and lust to be with Bella in the most primal of acts. "Don't worry Edward". Jasper had said, feeling my emotions rolling off me in waves. Everything will be fine. I'm still surprised you managed to hold out this long; she is very obviously ready for the two of you to seal the deal, as it were. "Yeah, do you know how much money I lost?" Emmett grumped. "It's your own fault for betting again Alice." Jasper interjected. "I honestly, am not sure at times either. I thought it was bad when I only wanted her blood, but this longing, this desire was almost too much. I can't tell you how many times I almost came to giving in." "Well, why didn't you? Maybe I could have recouped some of my losses." Emmett pressed. I knew it would be difficult for him to understand. Rosalie was no human and he didn't need to hide his desires from her. I thought for a moment, trying to put in words he might understand. "Would you allow someone to destroy Rosalie? Would you let someone pull her limb from limb and burn the pieces?

"Hell, no!" He growled, more fierce than usual, more so than I had heard him in a very long time. "Now, imagine if that someone was you, you were ripping Rose limb from limb, simply because you lost control. Could you ever forgive yourself for that? That's what it would feel like for me. If I lost control I could break her beyond repair. I still hope to keep her human as long as possible." Emmett pondered a moment "I see your point. You are stronger than I, brother." As I considered what it might be like for me to be with Bella in every manner of the word, I looked at both my brothers. A new emotion flooded me as a question formed in my mind. "Don't be embarrassed, Edward. What is your question?" Sometimes Jasper's gift was a blessing and curse. "Well, I was wondering," I started to say as I stopped to lean on a large boulder looking at the ground. Jasper and Emmett had stopped and double backed at my abrupt stop. "What it's like. What it will feel like when we do, you know, make love for the first time." There was no way to hide my embarrassment. It was true that I didn't blush that spectacular color that Bella did, but my grimaced as I said the words. Emmett barked a laugh so loud it scared some birds from a near by tree. "There's nothing in the world like it. It's a burning, a fire from within you. It needs to escape and there's only one way to get rid of it." Emmett said and then pondered a moment," Well there is more than one way, but only one method." He barked his laugh again. "It's loosing yourself in the one you're with. Everything is heightened. It's the pleasure and the pain. It's a pain like no other." Jasper added. "How can I loose myself when she's still human? What if I hurt her? How do I show her pleasure and still hold back enough that I don't hurt her?" "You just will, man. It's just something you have to do. You can't plan it. I know it isn't helpful, but this is what Bella wants and you seem to be in the habit of giving her what she wants." Emmett said smiling. "My suggestion is to enjoy your pleasure, allow yourself to feel it and enjoy it, but focus your pleasure onto Bella. Make her feel what you are feeling. Listen to her. She will let you know when you aren't doing something right and of course, when you are doing it just right. He smiled at me as Emmett clapped me on the back. "Your worry too much, bro." His grin wide. His head suddenly jerked from my face to somewhere to the left of us. "Dinner time!" He said flashing his razor sharp teeth. I smelled it too. Three mountain lions were stalking to our left, just a perfect number although unusual to find so many together, I took it as a gift. The Hunt was on and I allowed my mind to stray to the mountain lions, tomorrow night would be easier if I was well feed. And well fed I was.

Chapter 3 – Big Day It was a long night. Although I had plenty of fun with my brothers, Emmett always made a game of

hunting, I had my fill of grizzly bears and mountain lions and deer, oh my! I had more than I should have, but I figured better to over-do than to under-do considering what Bella expected of me after our wedding. There wasn't much for me to do once I had my fill to eat. I wandered around my house for a while taking in some of the preparations that had already been put in place. I looked for something to do, so I found Alice hanging some lights in the trees and decided to give her a hand, keep myself semi-busy. I went over all our luggage, to make sure nothing had been forgotten. Even though Bella hates surprises I begged her to allow me this one little thing, and allow me to surprise her with our honeymoon destination. I knew this was difficult for her, but Alice was very happy because she got to pack and shop for everything for Bella. Shopping was Alice's favorite thing to do so Bella agreed only to make Alice happy, on the plus side she now had a whole new wardrobe without having to do any of the work. It was fairly early in the morning when got shooed away by Alice who said I needed to leave because she was going to pick up Bella. "But I want to see her," I whined. An entire evening away from her was an awful thing, that would, thankfully, never have to happen again. "Nope, remember the human tradition. Can't see the bride before the wedding." Alice said as she recited the periodic tables and then all the zip codes in the continental United States (she must be bored at night, I thought). I knew she was trying anything to keep her thoughts away from Bella's dress. "Where am I supposed to go?" Perfect timing as usual, my brothers and Carlisle swept into the room. "Come, Edward. I know it isn't the most exciting place to be before your wedding, but there are patients I need to check on at the hospital." Carlisle turned and headed to the door. I knew I had no choice so I followed. Spending time with my father wouldn't be so bad anyway. When we were in the car and on our way I heard him ask wordlessly; How are you doing, son? "I'm wonderful, well with the wedding part anyway." And, is there another part that you are not to wonderful with? He asked in my head again. "Well, you know Bella wants to experience human things before she becomes one of us, there is one thing she wants to experience about all others. I would prefer until after I changed her to experience it, but she insists that we make love tonight when we reach out honeymoon. I know we have discussed the ramifications of this long ago, but I can't seem to delay it any longer. I'm afraid I'll loose control and I'll hurt her." Well, Edward. I must say how proud I am at your resolve, you lasted a lot longer than anyone would have ever dreamt possible. He thought for a moment, formulating his next thoughts, which at the moment jumbled in my head. Do you remember when James had bitten her and you needed to suck the wound of all it's venom? "How could I ever forget?" The memory was still awful, still haunted me, seeing my Bella laying broken, screaming in pain and begging for me. Well you found the fill to stop, to make Bella better. I know you will find the will to keep her safe and be careful with her, while still...enjoying yourself.

"What if I do loose control and I do hurt her, or worse...?" The words were heavy on me as I said them, my greatest fear. You have medical training, Edward. If she is injured you will know enough to help her and keep her comfortable until you can get her to a hospital. It she is more than injured, then you will call me immediately and we will go from there. But, Edward, listen to me now. You will not kill her; your love for her is too strong. I knew he was right and there was nothing more to say. I thought it over until I felt Carlisle slapping me on the shoulder. Cheer up! You're getting married today! You look like someone died. This is a happy, a joyous day, Edward! He was right, of course. My wedding day. Bella was going to be my wife in just a few short hours, although the minutes seemed to be passing at a snails pace. I got ready in Carlisle's office at the hospital while he checked on patients. It was all I could do to stay there instead of going to the door and starting to run home. This waiting was surely going to kill me. I carefully, so as not to wrinkle pants, sat down in Carlisle's chair. I looked across the desk at my suit jacket. All I wanted to do was pull it on and go make Bella my wife. I wondered briefly if my linen suit and crisp, high white collared shirt, with my taupe colored ascot would match what Bella was wearing. I did look very old fashioned, almost like someone out of Anne of Green Gables. Hopefully Bella would approve. Alice had obviously though my attire met the standard as she didn't make me change it. Just when I was getting my antsiest I heard Carlisle's thoughts, he knew I could hear him; Alright, son. Let's get going. I heard him think as he strode through the door. I don't know where or when, but he had found the time and he had already changed into his dark suit. We waited a couple of miles from the house as we were instructed by Alice who had the obsession to keep people's thoughts of Bella away from me. She didn't want to spoil the surprise for me of seeing her coming to me, or for her to see my face the first time I saw her coming down the aisle. We waited in silence and finally got Alice's phone call. "Okay, the minister is ready and Bella is getting anxious. It's time, whenever you're ready." "GO!" I growled at Carlisle who was driver's seat. Hearing that Bella was anxious was all the motivation I needed. Actually, I didn't need any motivation. The only reason we weren't married right now was because Bella wanted to do this right. Carlisle wasted no time and put the accelerator to the floor. We were in the driveway in two minutes, tops. I walked quickly though the garage door (I didn't want to take the risk and been seen in all my diamond shimmering glory), grudgingly I slowed to a human pace to go and stand by the minister, who happened to be the father of Bella's friend, Angela. I nodded and smiled at him, then turned to look at our guests. Rosalie was playing Pachelbel's Canon. I knew it wouldn't be long now and I glanced over and saw Jasper, knowing it must be difficult for him with all the humans in the room and it must have been filled to the brim with emotions. I hope he was able to work a little of his magic to calm Bella. She must be a wreak, I thought. She didn't like to be the center of attention and she certainly

didn't adore the idea of marriage. I looked beside me to see my father smiling; I followed his gaze and saw my mother. She was smiling as well, but I knew if it had been possible, she would have been crying. She was so happy that I had finally found someone to spend the rest of my life with and it helped that she adored Bella. The traditional wedding march started and I could hear Charlie; One foot in front of the other, not too fast. Not too fast, one foot in front of the other. He thought his mantra over and over again. I knew that they were on the stairs and Charlie was holding Bella tightly so she wouldn't fall. I waited as she got nearer so that I would be able to see her. Everyone had done a wonderful job of keeping what she looked like from me. And then I saw her. She was beautiful, not more than beautiful. She was exquisite, although that still didn't seem a strong enough word. Bella's hair was up, braided intricately, a long veil flowed behind her. I didn't need to worry about my attire one bit, we coordinated perfectly. She wore a long, white satin and lace dress, circa 1918 with a slight modern twist, Alice's influence no doubt. She looked radiant. I smiled in the knowledge that she had chosen me and in a few short moments she would be all mine, for forever. She looked at me and looked like she wanted to drop her bouquet, hike up her dress, kick off her shoes and run to me, if not for Charlie holding her arm tightly, she probably would have. The time seemed incredibly slow and I held my hand for her as they reached me. Charlie held her hand a moment, almost reluctant to let go, but then placed it in mine. I touched the warm miracle that was her hand and I was home. We decided to keep our vows short and simple; nervous as Bella was it was best to limit the amount she had to say. We did however, make one revision and asked the minister to switch out the traditional "til death do us part" for the much more appropriate "as long as we both shall live", which made much more sense since, after I changed her, we would both live forever. I was over the moon and it looked like Bella was doing well, not as horrified as I would have guessed she would been at the gravity of the words. And then she started to cry, but they weren't tears of fear or sadness, they were tears of joy. "I do," She chocked through the words I wanted to hear for so long. "I do," I vowed triumphantly. She was finally mine and I was hers. The minister declared up husband and wife. I reached to her face, cradling it gently as if she were the most delicate of flowers. I knew that if I had been able, tears would have flooded my eyes as I stared in my beautiful new wife dark chocolate brown ones. I tilted my head slowly down to Bella for our first kiss as husband and wife. I tried to kiss her softly, tenderly, but Bella, being Bella, stretched on her tip toes and threw her arms along with her bouquet, around my neck. She kissed me so passionately I hated to end it, but there were still people in the room. She clung to me and I had to restrain her face and pull back. I smiled at her, amused. The joy I felt was mimicked upon Bella's face. Our guests erupted into a long, loud applause and Bella's mother's arms soon enveloped her as she was unwillingly torn from me. And then she was passed along to everyone and received hugs, while I held her hand and got the congratulatory claps on the back. And then it finally hit me, we were married.

Chapter 4 – Gesture Thanks to Alice and her wonderful planning skills our ceremony ended as the sun set and it was a spectacular August evening, The tress glimmered with lights and the tent stood just a short distance from the house. I took Bella from the crowd and outside, desperate to have just a moment with my incredible new wife. I didn't get the chance to savor my moment long, one of the mutts interrupted us. "Congrats guys," Seth said. I had fought along side him only weeks ago. He was accompanied by his mother and Billy Black, the father of my least favorite mutt, Jacob Black. These people were the ones I least looked forward to seeing, with the exception of Seth who was a good kid. I knew they didn't like me much and quite honestly the feeling was more than mutual. But today, at least, Billy Black didn't seem to hate me so much. I knew his thoughts and he was grateful, happy even. He knew of my surprise for Bella and he only wished my plans worked out, well, for this wedding present anyway. I frowned when I heard his thought. Stealing her life, should be ashamed of himself. "It's good to see things work out for you, man." Seth said to me. "I'm happy for you." "Thank you, Seth. That means a lot to me." I said hugging him. I turned to Billy and Sue, "Thank you, as well. For letting Seth come. For supporting Bella today." I said graciously. "You're welcome." Billy said perhaps not friendly but certainly optimistically. A line was growing so they gave us hugs again and stepped a side. Bella's friend's Angela and Ben were next in line to congratulate us. I was pleased to see them; Angela had always been such a good friend to Bella, much more than Jessica and Mike who were next along with Jessica's parents. I was pleased to see my cousins The Denalis were sauntering up to us. I felt Bella tense beside me and realized she must have guessed which one of them was Tanya. She had always been a little jealous of Tanya who always had somewhat of a thing for me if only because I was the one she couldn't have, the only one who had ever refused her. I was the conquest she could never conquer. Tanya came to me and we embraced. She held me a little longer than was necessary and I saw Bella's brow furrow slightly. "Ah, Edward," Tanya said. "I've missed you." She said still held me; I pulled back and placed my hand on her shoulder. "It's been too long, Tanya. You look well." "So do you." "Let me introduce you to my wife," Oh, how I loved the sound of that! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. "This is my Bella." "Welcome to the family, Bella." Tanya smiled taking Bella's hands in hers. "We consider ourselves Carlisle's extended family and I am sorry about the, err, recent incident when we did not behave as such. We should have met sooner. Can you forgive us? "Of course," Bella said nervously. I knew that Tanya could be very intimidating. "It's nice to meet

you." I introduced her to Kate, Carmen and Elezar who call stood slightly behind Tanya, waiting their turn. They all welcomed her graciously and moved along as to allow the other to have their turns with us. "We'll get to know each other later. We'll have eons of time for that!" Tanya promised with a laugh. We observed all the human traditions of photographs and cake cutting and Bella was even surprised when we took turns feeding cake to each other, that I managed to eat my piece with no trouble. I guess, she had forgotten that piece of pizza I had eaten when we first met. Bella threw the bouquet and Angela caught it with a panicked Ben looking on. Great, now I'm going to have to hear about this from everyone for a very long time! He grumped inside my head. Then it was time for my favorite part; the Garter toss. I placed Bella on a chair and whispered for her to behave herself. I walked over to Emmett, handed him my jacket and rolled up my sleeves like I was preparing to go fishing. As the music started "Fever", the more modern Michael Buble version, I sauntered over to Bella slowly, seductively. She started to blush almost instantly. I heard Charlie inside my head; Can't watch this. Still my daughter and then he entered the house. I couldn't contain a smirk as I looked directly into her eyes. As I got nearer to her, her heart raced and her breaths were quick and shallow. I bent before her to kneel on the ground and I took her hands in mine. I kissed them both and placed them in her lap. Slowly, carefully I raised her skirt slightly and disappeared beneath it. I placed one hand on the ground and the other on her ankle. Slowly, but not too slowly, (I had to continuously remind myself that this was not our honeymoon and there were guests watching us) I kissed up her leg until I found her garter. I didn't want to stop my kisses but I knew Bella would be fighting for control and she must be blushing furiously by now. I heard Emmett and Jasper hooting and hollering somewhere behind me. I grabbed the garter very carefully with my teeth and slid it down her leg to her ankle. I retrieved it with my hand and resurfaced. I saw Bella's embarrassment and longing reflected in her eyes. I kissed her on her cheek, winked and then shot it direction at Mike Newton. Then it was time for our first dance. I had thought long and hard about what our first dance should be and it seemed most fitting to choose the song we had first danced to when we went to the prom the year we met, "Flightless Bird." It was out first dance as a couple and now it was our first dance as husband and wife. I pulled Bella to me, holding her close as we glided under the lights and moonless sky. I concentrated on only her as the flash bulbs went off around us, taking mementos of this day for Bella. We knew that her human memory would fade slightly after I changed her. I wanted to make sure she would remember this moment for the rest of eternity. "Enjoying the party, Mrs. Cullen?" I whispered as I nuzzled her ear. She laughed. "That will take come getting used to." "We have a while," I reminded her and I leaned in to kiss her while I twirled her around the dance floor. The music changed to "Butterfly Kisses" and Charlie tapped me on the shoulder. It was time for the father – daughter dance. I kissed Bella again and went to take my mother's hand to dance with her. She played with a strand of my hair that was out of place and put her hand on my check, smiling and me. "Oh, Edward. That was beautiful. I am so happy you have finally found someone and we

couldn't be happy that it happens to be Bella. I really do love her like she was my own." "Thank you, Esme. I know she loves you just the same. I know this has been difficult on all of you. I do appreciate all your love and patience with me, with us." She rested her head on my shoulder. After that song Bella was passed to someone else and Carlisle came to steal Esme from me, so I found Alice and whirled her into my arms. "Alice you did a wonderful job. Everything is perfect and Bella seems like she is having a great time. Thank you for this, and for doing it all with such a short time limit." "Oh, Edward, "She smiled."You're silly! I didn't have limited time. I've been planning this from the moment I saw you with her, true I did get side tracked with the unpleasantness of last year but as soon as we got you back from Italy I knew it was sonly a matter of time. It wasn't easy to keep that from you though." I kissed her on the cheek and saw Bella get passed to Mike Newton. So beautiful, he totally doesn't deserve her. Man, if she was mine I would totally rock her world. I'd heard enough of Mike, so I walked over to cut in and reclaim my wife. "Still not that fond of Mike, eh?" She joked as I whirled her as far away from him as I could manage. "Not when I have to listen to his thoughts. He's lucky I didn't kick him out. Or worse." "Yeah, right." She said rolling her eyes. "Have you had a chance to look at yourself?" "Umm, no I guess not. Why?" "Then I suppose you don't realize how utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful you are tonight. I'm not surprised Mike's having difficulty with improper thoughts about a married woman. I am disappointed that Alice didn't make sure you were forced to look in a mirror." She still took my breath away when I glanced at her. "You are very biased, you know." I sighed and saw the glass of the window; I spun her so she could see herself. I pointed. "Biased, am I?" I watch as her eyebrows rose appraising herself, she looked surprised. Then I heard a familiar voice that I had been expecting, but not wanting, to hear. I'm here bloodsucker. Let's get this show on the road. I stiffened at the sound of his voice. "Oh!" I said, now it was my brow that had furrowed. When I noticed Bella eyeing me I smoothed my expression. "What is it?" She asked. "A surprise wedding gift." I had asked Seth to ask Jacob, while in wolf form of course as Jacob had run off after Bella had picked me, to please come and see Bella. I knew she would appreciate seeing him. "Huh?" I didn't answer. I pulled her into my arms and continued our dancing. I started spinning her away from the lights to the edge of the dance floor and toward the forest.

"Thanks you," I said into the blackness. "This was very...kind of you." Whatever bloodsucker, I'm here for her, not you. Jacob thought but said instead "Kind is my middle name. Can I cut it? "Jacob!" Bella choked. "Jacob!" I understood her excitement and although I knew she was my wife, that she had chosen me, I still felt a twinge of jealousy in the pit of my stomach. "Hey there Bells." Bella stumbled into the darkness and I followed keeping my hand on her elbow until Jacob had her and enveloped her into a close, tight hug. There was that jealousy thing again. "Rosalie will never forgive me if she doesn't get her official turn on the dance floor." I murmured trying to keep the hurt from my voice. See ya bloodsucker. Jacob thought as I turned and walked away. I was going to give them their space but I would not go far and I would be monitoring their conversation. I did see Rosalie and beckoned her to me. She glided to me in her scintillating way. "Congratulations, Edward, it really is about time you found someone. Too bad it's human." She joked, flipping her hair as she spoke. "Thank you Rose. I never knew this kind of happiness existed. I see what you and Emmett have now. She smiled and leaned her head against my shoulder. "I don't mean to be a bitch, Edward. I know we have never been close, but I do love you and I'm glad you are finally happy. And I guess Bella isn't that bad. I mean you could have fallen for that Jessica girl." I laughed and kissed her forehead. "I love you too, Rose." We were silent as we twirled. I listened to Jacob and Bella's conversation of how he was doing. I must admit I hated the idea of asking the mutt for any favors, but he had kept her safe when I wasn't able, so I did need to give him credit for that, if nothing else." My mind strayed to how beautiful Bella looked tonight. I knew that even had I not made out deal to make love to her, my resolve would have been broken. Not only was I filled with love and adoration for her, she looked unbelievable tonight. She was always beautiful but this was more. I imagined when we were finally alone together, when the wedding was over and done and we were on our honeymoon. I imagined touching her warm skin, feeling her soft lips on my hard ones, hearing her breathe as I caressed her. Then I was suddenly ripped from my reverie. "Ow, Jake! Let go!" Bella had cried. He was shaking her, he was beyond angry. His vile, angry thought flooded my mind. He was imagining me on top of Bella and she was writhing in pain beneath me, begging me to stop while I continued on with my assault. I threw Rose aside and ran as fast as I could without arousing suspicions. "Bella! Have you lost your mind? You can't be that stupid! Tell me you're joking." He was screaming at her, if the music hadn't been so loud everyone would probably have heard. "Jake – stop!" Seth shouted.

"Take your hands off her!" I commanded. Behind Jacob there were snarls. He had brought backup of course. I should have brought my brothers. I never should have allowed this in the first place. "Jake, bro, back away." Seth urged. "You're loosing it." But Jacob didn't move, he was just staring at Bella, deep into her eyes, silently pleading with her. "You'll hurt her. Let go." "Now!" I snarled, ready to pounce if he didn't release her. My resolve was weakening by the second and I hoped that Seth would be able to talk him down. Jacob finally let her go and I grabbed her and whisked her a few feet away, standing protectively in front of her. I knew the situation was volatile and I wanted to stand, to fight if necessary but I had to think of Bella. I knew I would need to get her to safety, but what if they followed? That would break up the party pretty quick. "C'mon Jake. Let's go." Seth urged again. Jacob was looking at me, shaking with fury. "I'll kill you! I'll kill you myself. I'll do it now!" And he was shaking more now and a big black wolf, Sam, was growling. "Seth, get out of the way." I hissed knowing that if Jacob phased it would be very bad for him. Seth stayed firm. You filthy bloodsucker. You will hurt her. I swear, if you hurt her I will kill you. And then he started thinking of everything he could do to inflict pain on me. "Don't do it, Jake. Walk away. C'mon." The other wolves joined Seth now in pushing Jacob back. Then they disappeared into to black once more. "I'm sorry," Bella whispered after the last wolf. He stared at me and thought; you hurt her and you know we will be back for you. Don't forget that. I nodded once knowing all too well that they would, indeed be back. "It's alright now, Bella." I soothed. "Alright." I said more to calm myself than to Bella. "Let's get back." I knew that people were going to wonder where we had gotten to. "But, Jake –" She worried. "Sam has him in hand. He's gone." "Edward, I'm sorry. I was stupid –" "You did nothing wrong –" I tried to reassure her, but she was worked up. "I have such a big mouth! Why would I...I shouldn't have let him get to me like that. What was I thinking?" "Don't worry." I caressed her face, knowing my cool hand would begin to calm her. "We need to get back to the reception before someone notices our absence." "Give me two seconds." She pleaded after a moment. She started to smooth her dress and her hair. I knew she was panicking inside but all she cared about now was making sure she panicked no one else. "My dress?" She looked surprisingly impeccable, considering the force with which the mutt was

shaking her. "You look fine. Not a hair out of place." She took some deep breaths and closed her eyes, steadying herself for our return. "Okay. Let's go." I hugged her close to me, never wanting to let her go. I spun her back to the dance floor. I noticed my brothers, of course they had known what was happening and they had been waiting to see if I would need their assistance. I nodded once and they nodded back. Everything good, brother? Need us to go kick some ass? Emmett though hopefully. I smiled slightly to let them know it was all good and shook my head once to tell them to leave it alone. I looked at my bride. Her face looked slightly tense, but unscathed. "Are you –" "I'm fine." She promised. "I can't believe I did that. What's wrong with me?" "Nothing is wrong with you." I kissed her forehead and brushed her cheek lightly with my fingertips. "It's over." She said. "Let's not think about it again tonight." Of course I heard her, but the doubts had already started to creep up on me again. What if his vision of me, the monster, the attacker would come true? What if Bella begged me to stop and I ignored her for my own pleasure? "Edward?" Her soft voice brought me back from make waking nightmare. I closed my eyes and touched my forehead to hers, too afraid to look into her eyes. "Jacob is right." I whispered. "What am I thinking?" "He is not." She said. "Jacob is way too prejudiced to see anything clearly." But she didn't know. She didn't see what he saw, what he showed me. "Should have let him kill me for even thinking..." I mumbled low enough that I didn't think she could hear me. She grabbed my face in her hands. "Stop it." She commanded and she waited for me to look at her. "You and me. That's the only thing that matters. The only thing you're allowed to think about. Do you hear me?" "Yes." I sighed. She was so beautiful, so convincing when she commanded things of me. "Forget Jacob came. For me. Promise me you'll let this go." That was a difficult request as it was all my fault that he had come in the first place. I stared into her beautiful pleading eyes and there was no way I could refuse this. "I promise." "Thank you. Edward, I'm not afraid." "I am." I whispered as I nuzzled into her hair, at least it felt safe in here, surrounded by her scent, by the beating of her heart.

"Don't be." She took a deep breath and pulled slightly away from me so I could see her. She smiled and she looked radiant. "By the way, I love you." I smiled a half smile. "That's why we're here." "You're monopolizing the bride," Emmett said tapping me on the shoulder. "Let me dance with my little sister. This could be the last chance I get to make her blush." He barked his laugh and I reluctantly relinquished my hold on her. After Emmett was finished dancing with her she got passed around to someone else and Emmett come to stand by me, Jasper followed. What was that, bro? That was intense with the dogs. Emmett probed. I whispered so low that no one but them could hear me. "He found out we were planning to have a real honeymoon. It was awful, his thoughts were so vile. He saw me attacking her. He saw her beneath me, calling for me to stop and I ignored her." He isn't Alice. It's his own sick, twisted mind. It isn't the future. Jasper thought. "What if it is or something very much like it?" I never took my eyes from Bella. She looked like she was having an easier time forgetting Jacob than I was. We've been over this, Edward. Your love is too strong, especially to do something like that. Your love for her is simple too strong. "I hope you're right." At that moment I strode away from my brothers and walked to my wife. I came up from behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist. She placed her hands on my arms and leaned into me. I spun her around to face me and her face had pure joy reflected on it. She smiled and leaned into me again, my arms automatically tightened around her. "I could get used to this." She cooed. "Don't tell me you've gotten over your dancing issues?" "Dancing isn't so bad – with you. But I was thinking more of this –" and she pressed herself even closer against me. A small, involuntary gasp escaped my lips at our new closeness and her soft body couldn't get any closer to me. "Of never having to let you go." "Never," I promised. I leaned in and kissed her intensely, letting her feel all of my joy over having her as my wife. "Bella, it's time to go." Alice called. I rolled my eyes as I was still kissing my bride. This was the sweetest, most tender and incredibly intense kiss we had shared to date. "Do you want to miss your plane? I'm sure you'll have a lovely honeymoon camped out in the airport waiting for another flight." I turned my head slightly just enough to murmur, "Go away, Alice," before I returned my lips back to Bella's. "Bella, do you want to wear that dress on the airplane?" She demanded. Neither of us was paying any attention to her, still making out on the dance floor. "I'll tell her where you're taking her, Edward. So help me I will." She growled...Okay that got my

attention. "You're awfully small to be so hugely irritating." I griped. "I didn't pick the perfect going away ensemble to have it wasted." She snapped and took Bella's hand. "Come with me, Bella." Bella resisted Alice's tug, but we were ripped apart anyway. I heard people chuckle at Bella's reluctance. Ahhh Newlyweds, most of them thought. My father was at my side almost immediately after Alice and Bella reached the stairs. He put a hand on my shoulder. You will be fine, son. You can do this and everything will be wonderful. Rosalie, Emmett, Jasper and Esme were all suddenly at my side, hugging me and wishing us well. And then I saw her for the second time descending from that staircase. She looked nothing less than radiant and glowing. She worse a beautiful deep blue V neck dress and her hair had been freed of the braids and now cascaded down her back. I smiled and held out my hand for her as she reached the stairs; she took it but leaned away from me, searching. "Dad?" She asked. "Over here," I murmured. I took her to her father who leaning against a wall. Can't believe I'm loosing her. He better make her happy. He thought as I brought her to him, I noticed his eyes were red. "Oh, Dad!" She threw her arms around him while he patted her on the back. So beautiful, my little girl is all grown up. Bella started to tear and Charlie said, "There, now. You don't want to miss your plane." "I love you forever, Dad. Don't forget that." "You too Bells. Always have, always will." They kissed each other on the cheek. "Call me." "Soon." She promised. I knew this was difficult for her. She was saying goodbye to her father, not knowing if she would ever see him again. Depending on what happened, she may be a vampire by then and this would be the last time she would ever see him. "Go on then. Don't want to be late." Take care of my baby. I pulled Bella close to me as our guests cleared to make a path for us. We stopped on the doorstep. "Are you ready for this?" I asked? "I am." And then I kissed her passionately. Everyone was applauding and throwing rice on our way to the Vanquish, my special occasion car and there was no occasion more special than this. I tried to shield her from the rice; Emmett seemed to be taking great joy at throwing especially hard at me.

I saw Bella's face as she watched her parents disappear from view. I squeezed her hand and she looked at me. "I love you." I said. She leaned against my arm. "That's why we're here." She said, turning the tables on me. I knew we needed to be fast to catch out plane. We'd left later than we should, but I was counting on the car to get us there with plenty of time to spare. Once we were on the highway I really opened her up, my foot almost to the floor. Could life be any sweeter than this? And then we heard a pained, devastated howl from behind us. I pressed my foot to the floor and the sound faded into the blackness and we were alone in the moonless night.

Chapter 5 – Isle Esme "Houston?" Bella said surprised. "Just a stop along the way," I grinned. I knew she was worried about where I would take her for our honeymoon. I knew she didn't want to be sentenced to spending our entire honeymoon indoors because I couldn't go outside, well maybe that's what she was hoping for actually; never having to leave our room. Bella slept the whole way from Seattle to Houston and I watched her sleep. This, I knew, I would never tire of, watching her as dreamed. She looked like an angel and I hated to wake her when we arrive. I pulled her through the terminal to another gate so we could catch out connecting flight. "Rio de Janeiro?" "Another stop," I promised. When we were on the plane again Bella had fallen right back asleep. The flight was long and I had all that time to worry about what would happen in the coming hours. Maybe she would be so tired from traveling so long that I could prolong it, put it off, just a little longer. I gave up on that idea, knowing that Bella had slept so long and so soundly there was no way that would happen. I imagined touching her face, staring into her eyes. I imagined enveloping her into my arms and holding her as my lips met hers. I imagined touching her skin gently with my fingertips, my lips gliding from her mouth to brush lightly on her cheekbone and down to the nape of her neck. And then I imagined biting her. No, damn it! That wasn't going to happen. And of course it wouldn't, I knew I would never let it, and could never do it. Bella woke and took me from my thoughts. As I expected, she was wide awake and unusually alert from just having slept for such a long period. There goes my hope of her being too tired, I thought. I gathered our luggage and hailed a taxi. We drove, hand in hand in the back seat through Rio. I pointed out landmarks as we went. I knew Bella was confused as to where we were going. I had said that Rio was only another stop. It became clearer to her as we arrived at a dock that we were, indeed, not yet done with our traveling.

I lead her down the dock with the luggage in tow and jumped in to put the bags down. I bent down to help Bella to climb into the boat. I sat Bella in one of the luxurious leather seats as I prepared the boat for our departure. I continuously looked up to make sure she hadn't gone and fallen into the water or something. I would be just like Bella to find an accident which sitting absolutely still. I couldn't help but notice how beautiful she looked in the moonlight. It looked like she was glowing, emanating light from within her. Was it possible that she could be even more beautiful that she was just a few days ago? I knew Bella was full of nervous anticipation at where we were headed and I knew she would be reviewing geography in her head, trying to figure it out and I knew she would never guess, she didn't even know this place existed. I stood in front of the wheel, feeling the wind in my hair, knowing that my life was perfect. I was finally alone with my Bella, my wife. "Are we going much further?" I knew she was hoping that this boat was not the destination itself, as comfortable as it was it would not do to be cooped up here for a few weeks. "About another half hour." I glanced at her and grinned. I saw she was clutching the seat tightly. I always forgot that she didn't like speed like I did; guiltily I hoped that it would be different after I changed her. "Bella, look there." I called and pointed strait ahead. I didn't know if her human eyes could see the island that had appeared in front of us. I could see the palm trees lightly swaying in the breeze, the moon illuminating the silvery sand and a small view of a large estate thorough the palms. "Where are we?" "This is Isle Esme." I said turning to smile at her. I maneuvered the boat to the dock and cut the engine. What a still and quiet night. The only sounds were the water lapping gently at the boat and the sound of Bella's heartbeat. "Isle Esme? "A gift from Carlisle – Esme offered to let us borrow it." I had hoped that Bella would like it, and that maybe she would like it so much so would let me buy something like this for her one day. It was quiet and private. No one could bother us here and we didn't need to hide. We could do whatever we wanted her, whenever we wanted and never be disturbed on the expansive island. I took our luggage to the dock and returned for Bella. I knew she expected me to take her hand, but I smiled at her as I scooped her up into my arms, holding her firmly to me. "Aren't you supposed to wait for the threshold?" She whispered a little breathless. I grinned again. "I'm nothing if not thorough." I said as I walked into the darkness towards the house. I felt Bella's heart start to accelerate and I watched her face wondering what was frightening her. Could she be having second thoughts about making love tonight? I decided not to say anything just then; I would wait to see what would happen. I set the suitcase down to unlock the door and waited. I wanted her to look at me, to know what I

loved her; she had nothing to fear, especially if she wanted to back out of our deal. When she did finally look at me I carried her over the threshold and through the whole house, flipping on as many lights as I could find. I thought that maybe if it was bright in here she could be somehow less scared. I stopped at the last room, afraid to take her through the door. I steadied myself and walked through the door, flipping on the very last light. It was our bedroom. Large and airy, it had a long glass window and all white walls, of course. The moonlight illuminated the large king sized canopy bed, which was draped with soft looking mosquito netting. I put Bella on her feet. "I'll...go get the luggage." I walked slowly, for me, down the stairs, thinking about what the evening may, or may not, hold for us. I reached the bags and grabbed them. I checked the thermostat on my way up the stair, yup twenty-five degrees, a little warm I knew, but I was trying to take every precaution I could think of. Returning upstairs, I found Bella near the bed. I walked to her and caressed the back of her warm neck with my cool fingers. "It's a little hot here." I said apologetically, maybe turning on the air conditioning would be a good idea, just for a bit. "I thought...that would be best." "Thorough," She murmured, looking around her surroundings. I chuckled and realized that it sounded strained and a little nervous. "I tried to think of everything that would make this...easier." I confessed. She swallowed loudly from in front of me. Was this just the normal nerves or was she rally rethinking our deal? I decided that I would not back out, but if she told me 'no' or stopped me, I would be fine with that too. "I was wondering if," I started, trying to ease the situation," if...if maybe you would like to take a midnight swim with me?" I took a deep breath to calm myself. It was a swim, nothing more than that, one step at a time. "The water will be very warm. This is the kind of beach you approve of." "Sounds nice." She said, he voice breaking slightly. "I'm sure you would like a human minute, or two...It was a long journey" She nodded and I brushed my lips against her throat, just below her ear. I chuckled at her as she shivered slightly, I doubt she even noticed, that her body had emanated. "Don't be too long Mrs. Cullen." She jumped at being called her new name. I brushed my lips to her through again. "I'll meet you in the water." I strode past her to the doors that led from our bedroom to the beach. I removed my shirt and let it fall to the floor just before I reached the doors. I didn't look back as I walked out into the warm, soft sand. The air was fresh and clear ad I made my way to the waters edge, feeling all the anticipation that had been building in me. Although I knew Bella was nervous I knew that it was not second thoughts she was having. It was normal for human girls to be nervous about their first time being intimate; apparently it was for teenage vampire males as well. I saw a tree nearby the water, a perfect spot for my remaining clothes. As I had already divested myself of my shirt, I removed my shoes and socks and placed them neatly at the base of the palm. I undid the zipper on my pants and slid them down, folding them and hanging them on the tree. As I reached for my boxers, a realization hit me. This would be the first time that I would see Bella naked and the first time she would see me, all of me. I got a sudden thrill and twinge of nerves at the same time. Well, this was it, I thought as I removed my last stitch of clothing, bare to the night. My feet touched the water and it felt soothing. I decided to dive right it, hoping it might calm my

nerves. It was almost time to make good on my promise to her. I needed to be strong, she would need me to reassure her, to calm her, it was hard to take on that role if i was not calm myself. I swam near the ocean floor for a time, checking every now and then to see if Bella had made her way to the beach. After a time I found my way to waist deep water, knowing Bella wouldn't be long now. I stood with my back to the house, to give her some privacy, if she wanted it. I placed my palms on top of the water, feeling it dance across them. Then, I heard her heart beat and I knew she was on the beach. I wanted to turn around, to drink in her beautiful figure, but I restrained myself, knowing there would be plenty of time for that. I would wait until she came to me. "Beautiful," I heard her say of the moon. "It's all right," I said as I turned to her. She looked incredible in the moonlight. She stood before me; all I could see was her bare midriff, since her arms were draped across her to hide her breasts modestly. It gave me a thrill of excitement to know that we were both without clothes and this close to each other. I held out a hand for her, waiting for her to unwrap one arm from her chest so I could intertwine our fingers together. She carefully removed one arm from her chest and put her hand in mine and we held each others hand under the water. I kept my eyes locked with hers so she could feel more comfortable, to know that I wasn't there to ogle just her body. "But, I wouldn't use the word, beautiful. Not with you standing here in comparison." She smiled and finally removed the one arm that had been covering herself. She was completely uncovered now and I tried not to stare at her glorious body. She placed her free hand on my chest where my heard used to beat. I shuttered at her warm touch and her magnificence. "I promised we would try," I whispered, tense knowing the time was very close. "If...if I do something wrong, if I hurt you, you must tell me at once." "Don't be afraid," She murmured looking into my eyes and I could tell it was not fear I detected in her heartbeat anymore. It was excited, it was longing and I knew that this was going to happen, tonight, her second thoughts had disappeared. "We belong together." I wrapped my arms around her holding her to me. My body coursed with electricity, something I'd felt in biology class while we watched that movie, so long ago. "Forever," I agreed and that was the last of our conversations for that evening. I decided right there and then my internal doubts were over, Bella wanted me and I wanted her. I was her husband and she was my wife and we loved each other and that was all that mattered I pulled her close to me and looked deep into her chocolate brown eyes, she looked happy and she looked ready. I put my hand on her chest to feel her heart beating. I closed my eyes for a moment wanting to savor the feel of her heart under my hand. I bent my face to her slowly and gently touched my lips to hers. She moved herself closer into me and I gasped at the feeling of her breasts pressed so hard into me. The fire started to burn hotter then. "Bella," I moaned and she threw her arms around my neck as I grabbed around her waist. My hand found its way to her face. I brushed her cheek with my fingers. She shivered slightly, but I knew she wasn't cold. My hand traveled to her hair and stroked the long stands. My lips found hers and then her cheek and then her ear. I nibbled ever so gently, so as not to break the skin. My lips made their way down her neck, leaving a trail of kisses, to her collar bone. I kissed and caressed and she moaned, wrapping both her hands in my hair.

I could feel my urgency growing for her, burning from within me. Bella threw her head back in delight as I hoisted her up with her legs on either side of my hips. She pushed herself closer to lick and suck my earlobe. It drove me wild. Who knew this kind of pleasure existed? I pulled back from her slightly to look into her eyes. "Are you ready for take this inside, Mrs. Cullen?" I asked. She stared directly into my eyes and I could see all the urgency that I felt for her reflected back at me. We kissed all the way back to our room, the fire seemed to grow stronger with every step I took. I knew that there was giant bed awaiting us on the other side of those doors. I held Bella on her small round buttocks with one hand while opening the door with the other. I don't even know if she noticed that we were inside until I slowly laid her on the soft, white bedcovers. I stood for a moment to look at her, to finally allow myself to drink her body in. She looked so innocent just laying there, waiting for me to join her. She was magnificent. The moonlight danced across her sweet face, illuminating her wonderfully luscious breasts with their perfect nipples, her flat stomach and her long legs, she was not a tall girl but as she lay her like this, they seemed to go on for miles. She rolled onto her elbow to look at me. "Edward? Is there something wrong?" "No, my love, nothing is wrong. I just wanted to look at you." I said climbing slowly onto the bed next to her. "You're beautiful, truly incredible. I don't know how I got so lucky." I didn't wait for a reply, she was blushing and I had to kiss her then, it was like her body was calling to me and I could resist no longer. I started at her lips and trailed down her neck until I found those beautiful breasts of hers. I grabbed one in my hand and kneaded it slowly while I guided her other one into my mouth and started to roll her nipple around with my tongue, slowly licking and sucking. She groaned and I stiffened, afraid I had hurt her. I looked at her face but it was not a face of pain, but of pure pleasure. Maybe pleasing her would not be so difficult after all, I thought. She reached down and put her hand in my hair, the only part of me that she could easily reach. With one hand still on her breast, I continued my trail of kisses downward. Pausing on her perfect stomach my tongue traced her belly button and she squirmed. I looked down and saw her legs were pressed together. I slowly reached my free hand down allowing my fingertips to trail down her side, contouring the shape of her breasts, down her waist and over her hips and between her legs, when she felt me there she parted them a little too willingly, someone was getting impatient, I thought. I placed myself between her open legs, and knelt above her. She opened her eyes and looked at me, she was simply angelic. I bent, balancing my hands on either side of her head to kiss her lips. She caught my face in both her hands and kissed me more passionately than she ever had. I pulled away and she looked puzzled. "Not yet, my love, I haven't finished playing yet." I said as I touched her face, letting my hands trail down her check, her neck, between her beautiful breasts and down her stomach. As my hands reached her waist I shimmed down to position myself and placed my hands on either side of her hips. From her belly button my lips traveled down and found first her left thigh, then her right, licking and softly sucking as I went. Then, the smell nearly drove me from my mind. Her sweet scent was so strong and lovely, I knew I had to have it. My lips found her core. I stuck out my tongue, gently touching it to her and she

moaned, her back arching. I did it again and again in more rapid succession, digging my fingers into her hips, holding her to me. I could hear her heart speeding up, it was so fast, I didn't know how it could be beating so fast, the sound was seductive, enticing. I could feel her heat and her urgency flowing through me as her moans became louder and more prolonged. Finally she bucked her hips against me and called my name. I slowed my tongue and when her panting and heat beat returned to normal I reluctantly left my new favorite spot and returned to Bella's face, figuring she might like a kiss and some time to come down from her high. Oh how wrong I was. I looked down at her blushed body and marveled that she didn't just blush on her face, but all over her body as well. I brought my face to hers and she grabbed it, pulling me to her. She kissed me so deeply I was taken by surprise. I felt myself go stiff as she trailed one hand from my face down to my chest, and downward, groping, trying to put me inside her. I pulled away slightly, shocked. She looked at me with her big brown eyes, pleading. "Please, Edward. I'm ready, I need you." And that was all I needed to hear. Slowly I lowered myself to her. I paused at her opening, not sure of my speed, she looked at me obligingly and raised her hips to meet me. Slowly I entered her only slightly and the fire inside me was heaven. I heard Bella gasp and I froze. Had I already hurt her? My mind was racing and I looked at her face. "Bella?" I asked urgently. "Have I hurt –". "No, no, Edward. It's fine. It's just, the first time. We will need to go slow, I think." I kissed her lips, but didn't move, didn't breathe. "It's okay, Edward, don't stop." With that I inched into her again and I could tell she was trying not to cry out, but I could also tell she wanted me to continue. I continued to enter her slowly, inch by inch. I could smell it now, there was a little blood, but it wasn't bad. The blood didn't even phase me; it was the scent of her urgency that was affecting me now. I was fully inside her when she finally spoke. "I think we're fine now, Edward, it hardly even hurts. Really." She put her hand encouragingly on my face and kissed my nose. I began to thrust in and out of her. The fire was beginning to grow within me now. I was almost fully engulfed when I heard Bella's moan of pleasure from beneath me and I nearly lost control. I felt the strongest urge to bite something, I couldn't control it. I collapsed on top of her, still thrusting and bit the first thing I could find. As my teeth sunk into, whatever it was, a pillow possibly, I heard Bella moan louder and growl my name seductively and that sent me over the edge and we both lay there, shaking and panting, together. I remember kissing Bella and her murmuring it was wonderful and she loved me. She fell asleep, exhausted from our night together. But everything about that is very blurry. It was about two in the morning when I noticed the first bruise start to appear on her skin. I wasn't worried. She seemed fine, happy. It wasn't until I noticed the third, fourth and fifth bruise that I really started to get concerned. I knew this was a bad idea. I wanted to wake her, to see how badly I had hurt her. But, what if her slumber was just an act? A ruse before she could run away from me screaming. She sounded asleep and she looked asleep, but who knew. Maybe she was too terrified of me and pretended. Would she hate me in the morning?

I sat there all night watching more and more bruises appear on her beautiful skin. I had done this to her. I was the monster that I so feared. I vowed that is by some miracle she woke up and didn't run from me I would never inflict this on her again. I only hoped I didn't break anything. I looked for the source of what I had bitten, and I was right. It was two pillows and now not only was Bella covered in bruises but we were both covered in down feathers. As Bella slept I tried to pull feathers from her hair, but every time I touched her to remove one she would stir. I didn't want to wake her if she really was asleep. I wanted to prolong the inevitable for as long as possible. I loved her so much; I dreaded when she would wake up and discover what I had done. It was late morning before Bella finally awoke. I knew she had awoken, but she didn't open her eyes. I was afraid my nightmare was about to come true. I gently trailed my fingers up and down her spine, wondering when the screaming would begin. Her arms suddenly tightened around my neck and I heard her giggle. "What's funny?" I murmured, still trailing my fingers on her back. I felt her blush against my chest and then I heard her stomach growl. Great now I'd hurt her and I was starving her. What the hell kind of husband was I? "You can't escape being human for very long." She giggled again but I said nothing, did nothing. I just waited, enjoying her company before she realized what kind of monster I really was. "Edward," She choked, suddenly sullen. "What is it? What's wrong?" "You have to ask?" Could she really not feel what I'd done to her? The bruises must be painful. What if I had broken a bone, she would surely feel that. I saw lines of worry appear on her forehead and I soothed them with my finger. "What are you thinking?" I asked afraid of what her answer might be. "You're upset. I don't understand. Did I...?" her voice caught. "How badly are you hurt, Bella? The truth – don't try to downplay it." "Hurt?" she asked, seemingly confused. I felt her stretch all of her muscles and flex, surveying her own damage. Her voice was angry when she spoke again. "Why would you jump to that conclusion? I've never been better than I am now." I closed my eyes and took a calming breath. "Stop that." "Stop what?" "Stop acting like I'm not a monster for having agreed to this." "Edward!" She cried and I heard tears welling up in her. "Don't ever say that!" I kept my eyes closed; I didn't want to see the look on her face when she finally saw what I had done to her. "Look at yourself Bella. Then tell me I'm not a monster." There was a moment and then she gasped. This was it; this is the moment she would leave me. "Why am I covered in feathers?" Confusion gripping her voice, but so far no fear.

I exhaled. "I bit a pillow...or two. That's not what I'm talking about." "You bit a pillow? Why?" "Look, Bella!" I snarled and took her hand gently, stretching her arm in front of her. "Look at that!" "Oh," She said, realization washing over her. "I'm...so sorry, Bella." I whispered. "I knew better than this. I should not have –", I growled, angry with myself. "I am more sorry than I can tell you." I threw my arm over my eyes, too ashamed to have her see me. She touched my arm, wrapping her fingers around my wrist, trying to get me to look at her but I didn't budge. "Edward," She waited, but I was still motionless. "Edward?" She said again. "I'm not sorry, Edward. I'm...I can't even tell you. I'm so happy. That doesn't cover it. Don't be angry. Don't I'm really f –" "Don't say the word fine." I said icily. Here I was a monster and she was apologizing, after I hurt her, trying to make me feel better for what I had done. "If you value my sanity, do not say that you are fine." "But I am." She whispered "Bella," I groaned. "Don't." "No. You don't, Edward." I could tell she was really angry now. I removed my arm to look into her eyes. "Don't ruin this," she said. "I. Am. Happy." "I've already ruined this." I heard my voice as it caught in my throat. "Cut it out," she snapped and I grinded my teeth together chewing back my retort. "Ugh!" She huffed. "Why can't you just read my mind already? It's so inconvenient to be a mental mute!" My eyes widened in surprise. "That's a new one. You love that I can't read your mind." "Not today." I stared at her. Would I ever be able to understand the way her mind worked? "Why?" "Because all this angst would be completely unnecessary if you could see how I feel right now! Or five minutes ago, anyway. I was perfectly happy. Totally and completely blissed out. Now- well, I'm sort of pissed actually. "You should be angry at me." "Well, I am. Does that make you feel better?" I sighed; she knew that it wouldn't make me happy to know that she was mad, mad at me no less. "No, I don't think anything could make me feel better now." "That!" She snapped. "That right there is why I'm angry. You're killing my buzz, Edward."

She took a deep breath and tried to soothe me. "We knew this was going to be tricky. I thought that was assumed. And then – well, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. And this is really nothing." She said brushing her bruised arm with her delicate fingers. "I think for a first time, not knowing what to expect, we did amazing. With a little practice –" she broke off as she took in my expression. I was angry, no, more than angry, livid. She'd assumed I would hurt her and she still did it anyway. "Assumed? Did you expect this Bella? Were you anticipating that I would hurt you? Were you thinking it would be worse? Do you consider it a success because you can walk away from it? No broken bones – that equals a victory?" She didn't speak for what seemed like an eternity, probably waiting for me to calm down. "I didn't know what to expect – but I definitely didn't not expect how...how... just wonderful and perfect it was." Her voice fell to a dull whisper and she took her eyes away from mine and looked at her hands as she fidgeted. "I mean, I don't know how it was for you, but it was like that for me." And then her eyes started to well with tears, again. Oh God was there no end to my torture of her. First I hurt her, then starve her, now I make her cry because she thinks she hadn't adequately pleasured me? That was so far from the truth, she was more than I could have ever dreamed possible, prefect in everyway. I melted as I looked at her, as she felt like I hadn't enjoyed myself making love with her. I placed one of my icy fingers to her warm chin and raised her head to look at me. Is that what you're worried about? That I didn't enjoy myself?" Even thought I lifted her head her eyes still didn't look at me, still fidgeting with her hands in her lap. "I know it's not the same, you're not human. I just was trying to explain that, for a human, well, I can't imagine that life gets any better than that." Oh crap, was all I could think. She really wasn't mad at me after all, not for hurting her at least. She really wasn't going to flee from me with any of the feared running or screaming. I very possibly just ruined something that was very special to her, simply because I forgot that it was to be human. "It seems that I have more to apologize for." I said frowning. "I didn't dream that you would construe the way I feel about what I did to you to mean that last night wasn't...well, the best night of my existence. But, I don't want to think of it that way, not when you were..." And I couldn't finish my sentence because she smirked her sweet smile that always melted my icy heart. "Really? The best ever?" I took her face in my hands stroking her cheeks lightly with my thumbs. "I spoke to Carlisle after you and I made our bargain, hoping he could help me. Of course he warned me this could be very dangerous for you. He had faith in me though - faith I didn't deserve." I frowned and she started to protest but I put my finger to her lips so she would allow me to finish. "I also asked him what I should expect. I didn't know what it would be for me...what with my being a vampire. Carlisle told me it was a very powerful thing, like nothing else. He told me physical love was something I should not treat lightly. With out rarely changing temperaments, strong emotions can alter us in permanent ways. But he said that I did not need to worry about that part – you had already altered me so completely." I smiled this I knew was true. I was never happier than I was with her. "I spoke to my brothers. They told me it was a very great pleasure. Second only to drinking human blood. But I've tasted your blood and there could be no blood more potent than that...I don't think they were wrong, really. Just that it was different for us. Something more."

"It was more. It was everything." "That doesn't change the fact that it was wrong. Even if it were possible that you really did feel that way." "What does that mean? Do you think I'm making this up? Why?" "To ease my guilt. I can't ignore the evidence, Bella or your history for letting me off the hook when I make mistakes." Every mistake I'd every made with her raced through my mind, James, Victoria, leaving her, believing Rosalie and going to Italy when I thought she was dead, forbidding her from seeing the mutt, allowing her to see the mutt, the list went on and on in my head. She grabbed my face and pulled my face close to hers, staring into my eyes. "You listen to me, Edward Cullen. I am not pretending anything for your sake, okay? I didn't even know there was a reason to make you feel better until you started being all miserable. I've never been so happy in all my life – I wasn't this happy when you decided that you loved me more than you wanted to kill me, or the first morning I woke up and you were there, waiting for me...Not when I heard your voice in the ballet studio," I flinched as the images of Bella screaming on the floor entered my mind, but she continued on. "Or when I said 'I do' and I realized that I somehow get to keep you forever. Those are the happiest memories I have and this is better than any of it. So, just deal with it." She was frowning and I touched my finger to the crease that appeared between her eyebrows. "I'm making you unhappy. I don't want to do that." "Then don' you be unhappy. That's the only this that's wrong her." I blinked quickly and took a large intake of breath that I didn't need and sighed. "You're right. The past is past and I can't do anything to change it. There's no sense in letting my mood sour this time for you. I'll do whatever I can to make you happy." "Whatever, it takes to make me happy?" She tried to ask seductively, trying to draw me in with her charms, however, her stomach betrayed her and growled loudly, so I was able to ignore her advances. "You're hungry." I said, having forgotten about the first time her stomach growled. I stood up quickly, watching as the feather stirred in the air. "So, why exactly did you decided to ruin Esme's pillows?" She joked, shaking her long beautiful hair, trying to relieve it of the white down that stuck in it. "I don't know that I decided to do anything last night." I muttered. "We're lucky it was the pillows and not you." I thought of what it would have meant if it had been Bella I had bitten. I quickly shook the thought from my mind and tried very hard to smile. She slid from the bed, looking nothing like she had last night. I gasped and turned my back to her. Her beautiful body was littered with bruises, I had done that to her, was all I could think. "Do I look that hideous?" She asked lightly, walking into the bathroom. I couldn't even breathe. She was beautiful as always, but it was me who make all those mark on her skin. I heard her groan and I rushed to her side to see what was wrong. "Bella?" "I'll never get this out of my hair!" She pointed to the tangle of white and brown that was her hair.

"You would be worried about you hair, " I mumbled striding over to her as she started to pick them out and I started to help, plucking much faster. "How did you keep from laughing at this? I look ridiculous." I kept picking at the feathers, knowing that I was the one who was ridiculous, thinking that this could work, that we might actually be able to have a normal sex life. She sighed, "This isn't going to work. It's all dried in. I'm going to have to try to wash it out." She smiled and turned to grab me around the waist. It had been difficult to ignore her naked body while she was facing into the mirror but it was even more difficult while she was pressing herself into me again. "Do you want to help me?" She asked seductively. "I'd better go find some food for you." I mumbled and made my way to the door quickly, no point in temptation. Even with her body all marked like this, she was still incredible and I did still want her. I made my was downstairs to check what we had in the house. Carlisle kept someone on staff for the cleaning so I ask them to pick up the ordinary groceries. There had never been any need for food in this house. I found some eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese and tried to concentrate on making Bella an omelet, but my mind kept flashing back to the images of last night; Bella's beautiful body arching in the moonlight, the look of pure pleasure perched upon her face...No! I couldn't think like that, that's how I got into this mess in the first place. Because of me, Bella would have those bruises for days, a constant reminder of the monster I so dreaded being. I heard Bella coming down the stairs and plopped the ready omelet onto a plate. I re-adjusted the look on myself into a smile from my scowl, determined not to ruin this day anymore for Bella. I turned, smiling and handed her the plate. "Here," I said, I had no idea if it tasted okay and I really couldn't do any taste testing to find out, but I knew it was at least edible. She took the plate and went to sit down, starting to eat while it was still burning hot, she looked ravenous. "I'm not feeding you enough." I said with a frown, watching as she devoured the food. She swallowed and pointed out. "I was asleep. This is really good, by the way. Impressive, for someone who doesn't eat." "Food network." I let me little secret out, you had a lot of time on your hands when you didn't need to sleep. "Where did the food come from?" She asked, knowing that I was fast, but there was no way I had the time to run out, pick up groceries and make the breakfast. "I asked the cleaning crew to stock the kitchen. A first, for this place. I'll have to ask them to deal with the feathers..." I stared at a space above her head. What might have happened if those pillows hadn't been there? "Thank you," she said, leaning forward to kiss me. I kissed her back and then pulled away quickly. I could tell she was upset with me again but there was no way I was going to allow anything more to happen for fear the results could be worse. "You aren't going to touch me again while we're here, are you?" She accused, more than a little disappointed. I thought bout that for a moment trying to formulate a response, instead I lifted one hand and

stroked her warm cheek with my icy fingers, a half smile perched on my lips. "You know that's not what I meant." And we both knew she was right. There could be no way that it could happen again. I wouldn't risk her life or her beautiful body ever again. I sighed and removed my hand from her cheek, letting it fall into my lap. "I know it's not. And you're right. I will not make love with you again until you've been changed. I will never hurt you again." As I said the words I knew what she was thinking, not because I could read her mind, but by the look on her face. Her resolve was strong; she would want me to change her all that much sooner.

Chapter 6 – Distractions We spent almost a week here and I had kept the days very busy exploring the island, swimming, and having Bella playing with the sea turtles and dolphins (I had to stay away from her or all the sea creatures would disappear.) I would have to have a word with Alice when we arrived back home. We swam mostly everyday and Bella seemed to have an endless supply of skimpy swim suits, each one more enticing than the last, to torture me with. I tried desperately not to notice, tried desperately to pretend that they didn't affect me. But, at times like this when we were sitting on this cliff, looking out at the setting sun and the sun danced on her face and her luscious wavy chocolate brown hair flowed past her shoulder, with a peaceful serene look perched on her face, my arms wrapped tightly around her waist that my mind and my eyes wandered. The bathing suit (or pieces of cloth that barely covered her incredible body) that she wore today was the deep shade of blue that I so loved on her. The small strings sat at her neck and across her back and I could imagine pinching one string and pulling it, removing her top and marveling at the beauty that was her body. My eyes traveled down to her waist where a sarong was wrapped around, were my hand were, her leg jetting out from underneath the thin material, driving me crazy. Keeping her busy was as much to have her mind of our intimacy as it was for me to keep my mind off of her. It didn't work well for either of us. Every night we would return back home and I would cook for her and she was always so hungry she finished every last bite. At first she wore just her normal t-shirt to bed, but every time she made her advance and I turned her down. Lately she started dressing in the lingerie that Alice had packed for her. She looked incredible and it was getting increasingly difficult to remain resolved, but she had usually just passed out from exhaustion without too much of a fight. Tonight was different. Bella was talking an unusually long time in the bathroom. I was about to go and see if she was all right when the door opened. And there she stood, the light from the bathroom shining like a spot light. I sat, frozen on the bed, not sure what to say or do, I felt my resolve weakening. She stood before me in something that should be illegal. It was a black, lacy, see through baby doll nightie. The empire waist accentuated her breasts, pulling then higher (if possible) and closer together while allowing her nipples to peek through underneath. And underneath the gown she wore a very, very small thong panty. There were two slits up either side of the negligee, allowing

an absurdly good view of her tops of her thighs and her hips which were almost bare. She looked at me innocently and turned all the way around, pausing slightly so I had a perfect view of her buttocks. Thongs were wonderful things, I thought to myself. I'm not sure how well I held my expression together, but I did try not to allow my eyes to bug out of my head, or my jaw to hit the floor. "What do you think?" She meant to ask all innocent, but it actually came out unbelievably seductive. I cleared my throat and blinked, realized that my eyes were indeed a little wide. It took everything and I mean everything I had not to run to her and throw her on the bed right then. "You look beautiful. You always do." Was all I could manage, trying not to stare at her and not succeeding. "Thanks." She said bitterly. I know she thought that I had no interest in her physically at this point, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. I wanted her and I wanted all of her, all of the time. She climbed into bed and I could tell she really was exhausted at least I wouldn't have to resist her advances for long, she would soon be asleep. She cuddled into me. My temperature was finally good for something; I could keep her cool on these hot and humid nights. "I'll make you a deal," She said still trying to play at innocent. "I will not make any deals with you." "You haven't even heard what I'm offering." "It doesn't matter." The last time I had made a deal with her hadn't worked out very well. She sighed loudly." Dangit. And I really wanted....oh well." Damn it! I hated when she did this! She knew I couldn't resist taking the bait. Whenever I had the change to know what she was thinking or to give her something (with the expectation of just one thing) I would jump at it. "All right, what is it you wanted?" I asked, sighing and rolling my eyes. "Well I was thinking. I know that the whole Dartmouth thing was just supposed to be a cover story, but honestly, one semester of college probably wouldn't kill me." She said. Those last words were almost exactly, word-for-word what I had tried to tell her months ago. "Charlie would get a thrill out of Dartmouth stories I bet. Sure, it might be embarrassing if I can't keep up with all the brainiacs. Still...eighteen, nineteen. It's really not such a big difference. It's not like I'm going to get crows feet in the next year." I pondered this a while. Bella was willing to stay human and go to school, something I desperately wanted for her, all to have another night with me or a number or nights. "You would wait. You would stay human." And I was angry; she was risking her safety just to be with me. "Why are you doing this to me? Isn't it hard enough without all this?" I said gritting my teeth and grabbing a handful of neglishee. "It doesn't matter; I won't make deals with you." "I want to go to college." "No you don't. And there is nothing that is worth risking your life again. That's worth hurting you."

"But I do want to go. Well, it's not college so much as it is that I want – I want to be human a little longer." "You are making me insane, Bella. Haven't we had this argument a million times, you always begging to be a vampire." It was official; I would never understand how her mind worked. "Yes, but...well, I have a reason to be human that I didn't have before." "What's that? "Guess," She said leaning over to kiss me. I did kiss her back, and I could barely contain my passion for her. I couldn't let her see any of that or she would make me loose my resolve, she would see that she had a chance and she would never let go. I slowly pulled away from our kiss and held her close to me. "You are so human, Bella. Ruled by your hormones." I said laughing. "That's the whole point, Edward. I like this part of being human. I don't want to give it up yet. I don't want to wait through years of being a blood crazed new born for some part of this to come back to me." She tried to stifle her yawn and I smiled at her. "You're tired. Sleep, love." I started to hum the lullaby I wrote for her when we'd met, when I'd finally realized I loved her and there would be no staying away from her. "I wonder why I'm so tired." She muttered sarcastically. "That couldn't be part of your scheme or anything." I chuckled and continued to hum. Of course she knew why I kept our days to jam packed, kept her going all day long. And it would continue like that until I changed her. "For as tired as I've been, you'd think I'd sleep better." This surprised me and I halted my serenade. "You've been sleeping like the dead, Bella. You haven't said a single word in your sleep since we got here. If it weren't for the snoring I'd worry you were slipping into a coma." "I haven't been tossing? That's weird. Usually I'm all over the bed when I'm having nightmares. And shouting." "You've been having nightnares?" This upset me, what was she so worried about that she was having nightmares. "Vivid ones. They make me so tired." She explained yawning widely again. "I can't believe I haven't been babbling about them all night." "What are they about?" "Different things – but the same, you know, because of the colors." "Colors?" "It's all so bright and real. Usually when I'm dreaming, I know that I am. With these I don't know I'm asleep. It makes them scarier." I was worried now and hugged her close to me, pondering. "What is frightening you?"

I felt her shudder beside me and I could tell the memories of her nightmares were flooding back. "Mostly..." She paused for a long moment and my impatience was evident when I next spoke. "Mostly?" "The Volturi," She whispered the name, like it would somehow summon them if she spoke it too loud. I could tell she hadn't told me the whole truth, but if it involved the Volturi, I could certainly comfort her for that. I hugged her closer still to me. "They aren't going to bother us anymore. You'll be immortal soon and they'll have no reason." She didn't say anything and worry was still painted on her face. "What can I do to help?" Concern clouded my voice. "They're just dreams, Edward." She rebuffed. If I could take away all her bad dreams and nightmares from her, I would and I wished I knew how. "Do you want me to sing to you? I'll sing all night if it will keep the bad dreams away." "They're not all bad. Some are nice...colorful. Underwater, with the first and the coral. It all seems like it really happening – I don't know when I'm dreaming. Maybe this island is the problem. It's really bright here..." Great, I thought. My choice of honeymoon destination was giving my wife nightmares. "Do you want to go home?" "No, no, not yet. Can't we stay a little while longer?" "We can stay as long as you want, Bella." I tried to soothe by stroking her hair. "When does the semester start? I wasn't paying attention before." I sighed and started humming, and I felt her slip into sleep. I kissed her head and muttered, "Sweet Dreams, my love." I watched her as she slept seemingly peaceful. I continued to hum and trail my fingers along her arm gently, so I hopefully wouldn't wake her but would lull her into sleep. My poor Bella and her nightmares. What could I do for her? That was one of the positive things that would come out of me changing her. Bella would never have to endure another nightmare, of course, never would she dream either. It was early morning when Bella startled me. She gasped, panic gripping her voice. So much for my wishes of good dreams, I thought. "Bella?" She was shaking uncontrollably now and my arms tightened automatically around her, trying to protect her from her mind. "Are you all right, sweetheart?" She gasped again, tears flooding from her eyes. Her breathe came in loud, quick gasps, like she couldn't get enough air. "Bella!" I was panicked now, whipping tears from her face as fast as they could fall. "What's wrong?" I asked, unsure of what to do for her. "It was only a dream." She managed to choke between gasps.

"It's ok, love, you're fine. I'm here." I soothed, rocking her in my arms. "Did you have another nightmare? It wasn't real, it wasn't real." "Not a nightmare." She said shaking her head. I wiped more tears from her eyes. "It was a good dream." Nope, I would never, ever be able to understand her mind. "Then why are you crying?" "Because I woke up." More tears exploded from her eyes again. She wrapped her arms around my neck, which if I needed to breathe would have been a problem and continued to cry and shake. I chuckled at her logic. "Everything's all right, Bella. Take deep breathes." "It was so real. I wanted it to be real." "Tell me what it was about, maybe it will help." I pressed. I hated not knowing what she was thinking, especially when she was this upset. I was at a disadvantage with her, one I wasn't used to. "We were on the beach..." She said pulling away from me so I could see her tear stained puffy eyes. "And?" I said after she continued to stare at me. "Oh, Edward..." "Tell me, Bella." I pleaded, desperately wanting to know what had her in such a state. But she didn't say anything. She wrapped her arms around my neck and attacked my mouth, pulling me to her. She kissed me with such passion, with such urgency, such need that I was almost overcome. I struggled with myself for a moment and then pushed her away, grasping her shoulders gently, but firm. "No, Bella." Was all I could manage to say. I looked into her eyes with concern and confusion. Her arms dropped from my neck down to her sides. She looked defeated and dejected. "I'm s-s-sorry." She cried. I pulled her tightly to me, hating this push and pull. "I can't, Bella, I can't." I moaned, my need for her climbing. Of course I wanted her, but I simply couldn't allow myself to hurt her again. Did she not realize how this tortured me too? "Please. Please, Edward?" She pleaded as I held her as close to me as I could. She was crying and shaking beneath me and I didn't know what to do. I wanted, no, I needed her to stop crying, but was it worth the risk? She was clearly hurting emotionally, and she was begging me to help her, could I really deny her? I knew the answer was a resounding no, I simply couldn't deny her when she needed me so badly. I pulled her head away from my shoulder and looked into her pleading eyes for just a moment before I succumbed to her. I brought her face to mine and kissed her lightly, gently I wiped away her tears with my thumbs slowly caressing her face. She kissed me back and I could tell she was waiting for the time when I would push her away again, only I knew I wouldn't and she needed to know that I wouldn't.

Slowly I pushed her back on the bed, laying half on top of her, pressing myself into her and that was when she got it, that I wouldn't be stop her, I wouldn't push her away her away. Her arms wrapped tighter around my neck and her kisses were rough and urgent. I knotted one hand in her hair, pulling her face closer to mine. She was breathing heavier know and her heartbeat was faster, she was making me forget why we should do this, shouldn't was run from my mind and replaced by have to. And suddenly, I wasn't doing this for her; I was doing this because I needed her as much as she needed me. My hands traveled down her sides, caressing her waist and her hips and finally her lovely legs. When she felt my hand on her leg she gasped and wrapped it around my waist, so I could easily touch all of it. She was so soft and so warm, she felt like heaven. With her leg still wrapped around my waist Bella pushed me back. I was confused, but she obviously wanted up, I pulled up and off of her, sitting in front of her. She crawled seductively to me and threw her legs on either side, straddling me. She looked into my eyes, her beautiful chocolate eyes that were filled with tears were now filled with passion and I knew I was in trouble, she wanted control and I couldn't loose any of mine with her. But that was the last doubt I remember having. She took my hair in her hands and started to move back and forth on my lap, driving me crazy. This was a very good position, I thought. I could see her. Her breasts were right in front of my face, hidden slightly in the black material. I reach my hand out and took one of her perfect mounds in my hands, she threw her head back with a low moan and that was it, the skimpy material was coming off, now. I grabbed the garment down the middle and ripped it off her, throwing it somewhere in the corner. My mouth found her neck and I licked and kissed and carefully ran my teeth across her skin. Apparently I had driven her over the edge. "Edward, I need you." She said pulling ever so slightly away from me and pushing her thong to one side and then she was somehow on top of me again and I was inside of her. I moaned as the fire inside started to burn, igniting like a fire ball. "Oh, Bella." I moaned and my hands were all over her body as she rocked on top of me. I sat up straighter and put my hand on her buttocks, to help guide her and she wrapped her arms around my neck and started to whimper in my ear. "Yes, Edward. Please, like that." My lips and tongue found the hallow of her neck and I started licking and sucking and her hand wrapped tightly in my hair, urging me on. And then there was the fire that was growing and growing. I wondered for a moment whether I would ever get used to the feeling of Bella's warmth encompassing every part of me. I heard Bella's moans growing deeper and her breath coming faster and I knew she was close and I knew I was close and I knew that I had to hold off until after she was there first. I leaned back against the headboard to try and calm down a little bit, but it had the opposite effect. When I pulled away from her, I was about to reach my hand to massage her breasts, but she did the sexiest thing I have ever seen in all of my existence. She raised her own hands and placed them on her breasts, squeezing her nipples and biting her lip, then rocking more and more quickly. She let out a gasp and then a moan and threw her head back, her hair whipped behind her. That's when I lost it. I reached behind me to grab the headboard and squeezed. I heard a loud crack and I didn't care. My release flooded over me and my eyes actually rolled back in my head.

That's when Bella collapsed on top of me and I was still throbbing inside her. "Thank you, Edward." She said sleepily. I rolled her gently off of me and onto her side as she feel asleep. I cuddled into her back and we stayed like that way all night, on her side of the bed since my side had a nice big gash out of the headboard. I watched her sleep the rest of the night, wondering what that had been about. She had woken up in such a panic, how could that have led to making love? I couldn't believe the pleasure and physical relief I felt, but then the worry started to set in. I didn't take my eyes from her body. I waited all night to see how badly I had hurt her this time. I waited and I waited, stroking her arms lightly, waiting for the bruises to come, but they never did. I was just beginning to think we might actually be able to have a normal sex life after all, when she woke up. I could tell she was awake, but she didn't say anything for a long while. I had started to wonder if I had really hurt her after all. She was laying across my chest now, having rolled over in the night, but I rather liked the spooning position. I was staring at the ceiling when she finally spoke. "How much trouble am I in?" she asked quietly. Ah, she was worried I would be upset with her. "Heaps," I said with a smirk, looking into her lovely eyes. She sighed relieved that I was not angry, I guessed. "I am sorry." She said. "I didn't mean...well, I don't know exactly what that was last night." "You never did tell me what you're dream was about." "I guess I didn't – but I sort of showed you what it was about." She said with a nervous laugh. "Oh." Was my brilliant response. That was news. Bella dreamed about making love to me, that was happy, welcome news. "Interesting." "It was a very good dream" She hesitated, probably waiting for me to respond, but my mind was still reeling from the knowledge that my innocent Bella had a sex dream about me. "Am I forgiven? "I'm thinking about it." She sat up, swayed a bit and fell back on the pillows. "Whoa...head rush." She said as I took her in my cold arms. "You slept for a long time. Twelve hours." "Twelve?" She looked herself over quickly, inspecting for bruises I assumed. She was trying to be covert about it, so I couldn't help but add, "Is the inventory complete?" She nodded, clearly wishing I hadn't noticed her giving herself the once over. "The pillows all appear to have survived." "Unfortunately, I can't say the same for your, err, nightgown." I nodded toward the corner where I had thrown that amazing garment, saddened that I had ruined it. No, matter, I would simply find out the designer and buy one or two in every color, better make that a half dozen each, if last

night was any indication. "That's too bad. I liked that one." She said giving me hope that maybe she could learn to sleep in something other than sweats. "I did too," I said as flashes of her on top of me, still wearing the neglishee, before I had destroyed it, flowed through my mind. "We're there any other casualties?" "I have to buy Esme a new bed frame," I confessed, glancing at the chunks of wood. "Hmm," she said frowning. "You think I would have heard that." "You seem to be extraordinarily unobservant when your attention is otherwise involved." I said nuzzling her neck. "I was a bit absorbed." She admitted blushing furiously, turning my favorite color. "I'm really going to miss that." I said touching my icy hand to her burning cheek. She stared into my eyes and I got lost in hers. She was so incredibly beautiful. How was it possible for a human to look so perfect? "How are you feeling?" She asked worried, afraid I would act like the first time we made love. I laughed. "What?" She demanded. "You look so guilty – like you've committed a crime." I said stroking her cheek. "I feel guilty." "So you seduced your all-too-willing husband. That's not a capitol offence." I teased and she blushed more. "The word seduced implies a certain amount of premeditation." "Maybe that was the wrong word." I allowed. "You're not angry?" She asked quietly. "I'm not angry." I said allowing the huge smile I felt to appear on my face. "Why not?" She asked, incredulous. "Well...I didn't hurt you, for one thing. It was easier this time, to control myself, to channel the excess. Maybe because I knew what to expect." My eyes flickered to the bed frame, okay so maybe I would be having to replace furniture more, but that I could do. "I told you that it was all about practice." A hopeful smile spread across her face and she simply glowed. She looked how I felt, like maybe we were compatible in every way after all. I rolled my eyes and her stomach growled. "Breakfast time for the human?" "Please." She answered, jumping out of the bed and staggering, trying to regain her balance, but I caught her in my arms before she could knock something over.

"Are you all right?" I asked, concerned. "If I don't have a better sense of equilibrium in my next life, I'm demanding a refund." She joked, shaking her head slightly. She dressed before cooking for herself this morning. She decided to make herself sunny-side up eggs, something she never ate, she preferred omelets or fried. "Since when do you eat eggs sunny-side up?" I asked, wondering if I, maybe, should start to make her eggs this way. "Since now." Was her simple reply, impatience clouding her voice. "Do you know how many eggs we've gone through in the last week?" I said looking in the trash bin under the sink, which was full of egg cartons. "Weird," She said after finishing a bite I knew was too hot. "This place is messing with my appetite. But I like it here. We'll probably have to leave soon, though, won't we? To make it to Dartmouth on time? Wow, I guess we need to find a place to live and stuff too." "You can give up the college pretense now – you've gotten what you wanted. And we didn't agree to a deal so there were no strings attached." I said sitting next to her. She snorted. "It wasn't a pretense, Edward. I don't spend my free time plotting like some people do. What can we do to wear Bella out today?" She imitated me and she sounded so ridiculous, she was adorable. "I really do want a little more time being human." And she reached her fingers out to run them down my bare chest, sending tingles down my spine. "I have not had enough." I looked at her, incredulous. "For this?" I asked, catching her hand which had continued lower and lower, almost meeting my, no, focus on the conversation. "Sex was the key all along?" I said rolling my eyes. "Why didn't I think of that? I could have saved myself a lot of arguments." I said it sarcastically, but it did make me think. "Yeah, probably." She laughed. "You are so human." I said, raising her hand to my lips. "I know." "We're going to Dartmouth? Really?" I asked unable to hide the joy in my smile. "I'll probably fail out in one semester." "I'll tutor you." I said and I knew I could since I'd more than likely taken any classes she would be interested in. "You're going to love college." "Do you think we can find an apartment this late?" I grimaced, feeling a little more than guilty. "We'll we sort of already have a house there. You know, just in case." How would she feel about me having bought a house without her knowledge or consent? "You. Bought.A House?" She paused at each word and I couldn't tell just how angry she was. "Real estate is a good investment." I said confidently. I saw her eyebrow rise, that was a bad sign. Then, her eyebrow fell, that was a good sign. "So,

we're ready, then? Huh, that was easier than I had thought. "I'll have to see if we can keep your "before" car a little longer." "Yes, heaven forbid I not be protected from tanks." She grimaced and I grinned. "How much longer can we stay?" "We're fine on time. A few more weeks, if you want. And then we can visit Charlie before we go to New Hampshire. We could spend Christmas with Rene." I liked this, making plans for the future, a future that was bright, a future in which Bella remained human. "A few weeks." She agreed and hesitated. "So, I was thinking – you know what I was saying about practice before," she said running her hand from my cheek to my shoulder and then to my chest where my heart used to beat." I laughed; she had a one track mind. "Can you hold on to that thought? I hear a boat. The cleaning crew must be here." She was foiled again and for once I was really disappointed by it. "Let me explain the mess in the white room to Gustavo and then we can go out. There's a place in the jungle on the south –" I started but she cut me off. "I don't want to go out. I am not hiking all over the island today. I want to stay home and watch a movie." She had put her foot down and I knew I didn't have a choice. She looked so cute while putting her foot down, I had to chuckle just a little. I had been keeping her very busy, maybe she did need a day to relax. "All right, whatever you'd like. Why don't you pick out a movie while I get the door?" "I didn't head a knock." She said, I waited and a second later the knock came. I grinned and kissed her on the forehead. I talked to the cleaning people and brought them to the kitchen to explain that we needed more food, especially eggs, I mentioned that my new wife, Bella, really liked them. I saw Gustavo peek at her in the living room and smile. I noticed the woman, Kaure, looked at Bella with shock and disgust. I quickly moved them on, listening to Kaure's thoughts. A human. He's taken a human as a wife? This isn't right. What is there to do? I tried not to notice as I showed them to the white room, to explain the fluff. All I could come up with was, we had a pillow fight. Yes, I do realize that is possibly the stupidest excuse in history, and there was now way they would buy it. Gustavo nodded and they got to work. I headed downstairs to find Bella by the DVD's and wrapped my arms around her tightly. "What's with her?" Bella asked of the cleaning woman, she had obviously picked up on Kaure's expression. I shrugged, trying not to increase her stress. "Kaure's part Ficuna Indian. She was raised to be more superstitious – or you could call it more aware – than those who live in the modern world. She suspects what I am, or close enough to it. They have their own legends here. The libishomen – a blood-drinking demon who preys exclusively on beautiful women." I said leering at her like some dark creature of the night. "She looked terrified."

"She is – but mostly she's worried about you." "Me?" "She's afraid of why I have you here, all alone." I chuckled and saw no movie in her hand. "Oh well, why don't you choose something for us to watch. That's an acceptably human thing to do." "Yes I'm sure a movie will convince her that you're human." She said laughing and wrapping her arms around my neck stretching for a kiss. I leaned down and kissed her, picking her up into my arms, remembering that this was how our first time making love had started. "Movie, schmovie," She purred tracing my lips with her tongue, and wrapping her hands tightly in my hair. I moved my lips to her neck to kiss and suck and lick it. Then we were interrupted by a gasp. Before us, Kaure stood holding the bag of feathers from the white room. She stared at Bella. Oh, does she know? Does she know what he is? Will he hurt her? He is beautiful, but how can she be with him, like that? She thought. She recovered and apologized for interrupting us. I smiled at her politely and told it was fine, newlyweds and all, I explained. She smiled lightly and continued on her way. "She was thinking what I was thinking she was thinking, wasn't she?" Bella asked, blushing. "Yes." Not exactly, I thought. She was thinking what I wondered everyday, how could this beautiful, vibrant woman be with me, want to kiss me, want to make love to me. "Here" She said, thrusting a random movie into my hand. "Put this on and we can pretend to watch it." "Very honeymoonish." We cuddled into the couch and she leaned into me so I could wrap her in my arms again. Neither of us really watching the silly musical. I was just looking at her. "Will we move back into the white room now? She asked. "I don't know...I've already mangled the headboard in the other room beyond repair – maybe if we limit the destruction to one area of the house, Esme might invite us back someday." I knew this would make her very happy. I was telling her that we would be practicing more, a lot more I hoped. She smiled as wide as I had hoped. "So there will be more destruction?" I laughed. "I think it might be safer if it's premeditated, rather than if I wait until you assault me again." "It would be only a matter of time." She agreed and I heard her pulse quicken. "Is there something the matter with your heart?" I whispered into her ear. "Nope. Healthy as a horse." She paused, but I knew she had more to say. "Did you want to go survey the demolition zone now?"

"Maybe it would be more polite to wait until we're alone. You may not notice me tearing the furniture apart, but it would probably scare them." I could feel Bella's impatience growing as we "watched" the movie, waiting for them to be done. I heard Kaure's voice in my mind. Finally, let's get out of here. I do hope the girl will be alright. I pulled Bella closer to me as Gustavo wished us a good day. "They're finished." I said. "So, that would mean we're alone now?" Bella purred again in my ear. "How about lunch first?" I said as her stomach growled again. She bit her lip, how I loved when she did that. I knew she didn't truly want it, but her body needed it, so I could wait. "This is getting out of hand." She complained when she finished two grilled panini sandwiches. "Do you want to swim with the dolphins this afternoon – burn off the calories?' "Maybe later. I had another idea for burning calories." "And what was that?" I prompted. "Well, there's an awful lot of headboard left-" She started to say but I didn't let her finish. I swept her into my arms and kissed her all the way to the Blue room. I stopped at our door and put her down, I couldn't get her stupid shirt off while I was holding her and she was trying with difficulty to remove my pants. I pulled her shirt above her ahead and looked at her a moment, she was in a beautiful lacy lilac bra that barely covered her nipples. She pulled my shirt over my head and jumped into my arms and wrapped her legs around my waist. She pulled me so that my face was thrust right between her breasts, one of my favorite places to be. I licked around her cleavage and reached around to unhook her bra, but just then she shimmied down and way from me, turning her back. She walked slowly towards bathroom door, swaying her hips, which looked great in that pair of tight jeans. Where the hell had she learned to do that, and why hadn't she done it before? I could tell she had unbuttoned the top button and was slowly sliding the zipper down. "I'm feeling a little dirty, Mr. Cullen, care to come and help me get clean?" She said as her hands went to either side of her hips and slowly pulled down to reveal a matching lilac thong. She bent over so I would get a nice long picture of her buttocks in my mind. Then, she slid them all the way down and stepped out of them so she was only in her bra and panties. She reached the doorway and brought her hands to her back, making quick work of undoing the clasp on her bra. She turned ever so slightly, not enough for me to see anything as she had wrapped one arm over her beautiful breasts and the other threw her bra at me. She actually threw her bra at me! With her eyes still on me, back still turned she bit her lip and disappeared into the bathroom. I stood there for a moment, my mouth hanging open. Okay, later I had to find out where that came from and also, Thank Alice. I regained my composure when I heard the shower turn on. She must have heard me come in because at the moment when I stepped into the doorway I saw here. She was standing next to the ridiculously large enclosed shower, with the door open. She once again put her hand on her hips and tucked her thumbs under the strap of her thong and pulled agonizingly slow down until they fell noiselessly to the floor. She put one foot carefully into the

shower and then the other, testing the water which was obviously the right temperature because she sighed happily, seductively as the water ran down her body. She must have wondered what I was doing, but I stood there, frozen, watching her. She grabbed her strawberry body wash from the wall and squeezed a generous amount onto her hands, rubbing them together. I watched as she placed one leg on the bench that sat in the shower and slowly lathered herself up moving her hand all the way to her inner thigh. Then she put that leg down and repeated her seduction with the other. When she was finished her legs she started at her hips, moving in slow, soft circles, moving upward. She reached her breasts and started to rub and massages them. That's when I woke up and ripped my pants off. I was in the shower with her in less than a second. "I, I think you might need some help with that Mrs. Cullen. I would be pleased to assist you, if I may." I grabbed the body washed and spread more than enough into my hand. I started by massing her shoulders and she closed her eyes, biting her lip again. I ran my hands slowly down her arms taking her hands in mine, taking care to wash them too. Instead of allowing me to rinse her soapy hands she put them to my chest, she opened her eyes and stared directly into mine as she slowly ran them down my body until she met my member. I gasped and it was my turn to roll my head back. "I don't think I'm the only dirty one. Time to get you clean too," She whispered in her low, sexy voice. And that was it. I picked her up and she wrapped her legs around me once more. "I need you." I whispered as I nibbled on her ear ever so slightly. I set her carefully on the bench and she leaned back against the way, scooting herself to the edge and I decided to give some pleasure first. I dropped to my knees and pulled her closer to me, grabbing her hips. I stuck my tongue out and gently licked the spot I knew she liked most. She moaned and I continued until she groaned and put her hand on my head and pulled me closer to her and wiggled herself on my tongue. I liked this in control Bella, she was incredibly sexy. She held me to her until her explosion ripped through her and then she pulled me up to her. I sat down on the bench next to her and she climbed on top of me, straddling me, which suited me just fine, no one had been hurt last night, maybe this was safest for us. She rocked back and forth and I wrapped my arms around her butt, giving her as much supposed as possible, nuzzling deep into her neck. I had to remind myself not to suck too hard. That's all we needed, for her to have a hickie on her neck, the maid would really freak out then. She had wrapped both her arms around my neck tightly and the sound of her moaning in tandem with her heart beating was starting to edge me closer to my release. I chanted not yet, not yet, not yet, in my head over and over, just so I could last until Bella had hers. Just when I thought there wasn't anyway I could hold out any longer, Bella started rocking in shorter and faster bursts and then she leaned all the way away from me and I saw her luscious breasts. Just as I took a nipple in my mouth she moaned my name loudly and shuddered beneath my grasp. Of course, with the sound of my name, and the taste of her in my mouth I was shoved over the edge in a very powerful manner. I'm pretty sure I growled her name and God's at the same time. And that was how I learned just how dirty one can get while trying to get clean.

Chapter 7 – Unexpected I watched as Bella slept next to me and I suddenly realized that if we were going to continue on our sexual exploration, I needed to make sure that I was very well fed, no point it taking chances.

I watched Bella for another little while and when I was sure that she was sleeping peacefully and soundly I crawled carefully out of the bed trying not to disturb her. I scrawled a quick note that read I am hoping that you won't wake and notice my absence, but if you should I'll be back very soon. I've just gone to the mainland to hunt. Go back to sleep and I'll be here when you wake again. I love you. I addressed it to "Mrs. Cullen", how I loved the way it sounded and now the way it looked, and I placed it on the pillow next to her. I dressed and took one last peak to make sure she was still sleeping. "Please don't have another nightmare before I get back", I wished in her direction before heading out our door to the beach. It was such a lovely night I decided to take a swim to the mainland instead of taking the boat, figuring I could make it back before she would awaken, considering how long she had been sleeping as of late. I replayed the events of the last few weeks in my head. My wedding, our arrival, our unpleasant awakening the morning after, and then our retry...retries. I had never felt less like a monster in my life. We had made loved three time and the last two there were no more bruises or broken bones. It had been pure pleasure, perfect. I let the warm water wash over me and pondered what life my hold for us. The future was looking more and more bright with every passing day. In a few short weeks we would be in New Hampshire, attending Dartmouth and Bella would still be human, that was more than I had hoped for. I reached the mainland, immediately catching the scent of a leopard, stalking somewhere near me to the left. I decided I needed the excitement of a chase so I stalked it right back. He was confused. He could sense something was after him and he ran and I followed, leaping towards him and grabbing him in a strangle hold. I bit effortlessly into his neck, severing him jugular almost immediately so the creature wouldn't suffer. Hot, salty blood poured into my mouth and my eyes closed with satisfaction, it didn't quite quench my thirst like human blood would have but it was good enough. I found a few more leopards and a couple of jaguars before I discovered the sun was about to start to rise and I needed to get swimming before I could be seen by an unsuspecting boater. I ran with all my speed, hoping that Bella was still asleep, swimming as fast as I could. I entered through our room to discover she wasn't there. I changed quickly and then went in search of her. I found her lying on the couch, sweaty with the blue screen of the TV filling the room. I crossed the room to reach her and gathered her in my arms. "I'm sorry," I murmured, wiping the sweat from her forehead, moving the hair that was stuck there. "So much for thoroughness. I didn't think about how hot you would be with me gone. I'll have the air conditioner on next time." She fought against me, trying to get free. "Excuse me!" She gasped, jumping from my lap. "Bella?" I asked as she ran to the bathroom, covering her mouth. I rushed to her as she dropped to her knees in front of the toilet. I held her hair back as she was violently ill.

"Bella? What's wrong?" I held her, stroking her sweaty forehead. "Damn rancid chicken." She moaned. "Are you alright?" I asked concerned. "Fine." She said catching her breath. "It's just food poisoning. You don't need to see this. Go away." "Not likely, Bella." I said, still mopping her brow and the back of her neck with my icy hands. "Go away," she moaned again and struggled against me. I helped her up and she made her way to the sink. After she rinsed her mouth I picked her up and carried her to the bed. "Food poisoning?" "Yeah," She croaked. "I made some chicken last night. It tasted off, so I threw it out. But I ate a few bites first." I put my hand on her forehead again; desperate to do anything I could to help her. "How do you feel now?" She paused. "Pretty normal. A little hungry actually." I got her a glass of water and we waited to see if she would be okay. When she held the water down I made her some fried eggs. We cuddled on the couch, having a lazy day just watching some news. Bella reached up to kiss me and wrenched away quickly. She jumped up and ran to the kitchen sink and promptly threw up again. I was at her side again in a second and holding her hair back. "Maybe we should go back to Rio, see a doctor." I suggested, concerned, this was not a simple case of food poisoning. My mind jumped immediately to the possibility of a parasite. "I'll be fine right after I brush my teeth." She said, shaking her head and heading shakily down the hall to the bathroom. She closed the door, leaving me out side. After a moment or two I got anxious and knocked. "Are you well?" I asked, still waiting outside. "Did you get sick again?' "Yes and no." He voice came out strangled. "Bella? Can I please come in?" I begged. "O...kay." I entered and sat down on the bathroom floor next to her, my hand on her forehead once again. "What's wrong?" I asked when I saw the confused, anxious look on her face. "How many days since the wedding?" She whispered. "Seventeen," I answered automatically. "Bella, what is it?" She help up one finger, asked me to give her a minute as she thought. She was mouthing words, looked like numbers, she was counting.

"Bella! I'm loosing my mind over here!" I said urgently. She held up a box of tampons. I looked at her confused. "What? Are you trying to pass this illness off as PMS?" I knew that this was not a symptom of PMS, my medical training had told me that much. "No." She finally choked. "No, Edward. I'm trying to tell you that my period is five days late." It hadn't sunk in yet, I knew what she was saying but it didn't sink in. "I don't think I have food poisoning." She said. It sunk in. I sat there frozen, understand her words, but of course there had to be another explanation, because it simply wasn't possible. I was a vampire, this I could never give her. She wrenched herself away from her again, jumping to her feet. "Oh." She said, dropping her hand to her stomach and then quickly throwing her silk shirt up, to show a small rounded bump protruding where there had been no bump yesterday. I was instantly worried. Her mind jumped to pregnancy, mine jumped to some sort of insidious parasite, after all pregnancy and babies were no possible for us. Besides, she was only five days late, I knew it took a lot longer for a women's body to start to show, at least seven weeks longer. "Impossible." I heard her say. And of course, of course it was, it was absolutely, unequivocally impossible. I mean, of course, there were legends of the incubus, but it was all fable, there was not fact. Out of the thousands of times that Carlisle and Esme, Emmett and Rosalie, Jasper and Alice had made love nothing. And then there was Tanya...and. Then it occurred to me, Esme, Rosalie, Alice and Tanya were all frozen in time. They no longer produced eggs, they never had their periods. I on the other hand, was not frozen. I did not produce blood, but I did produce venom, I of course, had reached maturity before I was changed, and would not now loose the ability to produce semen. That would be with me forever. And that was when I knew, I knew it was not only a possibility, it was true. I sat frozen, like marble on the floor. Just staring at Bella looking in the mirror, her hand on her stomach. Oh my God. What had I done? We weren't careful; we didn't see a need to be. Stupid, irresponsible. I was just like a human teenage male. I had never thought, only ruled by my needs and desires, never thinking that something would happen. It couldn't happen, not to us. Isn't that what every human teenage male thought when he found himself faced with an unplanned pregnancy? I heard the phone right next to me, but I couldn't force myself to get it. Bella slowly walked over to me, kneeling and answering the ringing phone. "Hi Alice," Bella said, her voice shaky. Of course I could hear every word on both sides of the conversation. "Bella? Bella, are you okay? "Yeah. Um. Is Carlisle there?" "He is. What's the problem?" "I'm not...one hundred percent...sure."

"Is Edward all right?" I heard Alice calling Carlisle and I knew I would need to talk to him, I just couldn't make myself take the phone, my brain seemed to be in a fog. "Why didn't her answer his phone?" "I'm not sure." "Bella, what's going on? I just saw –" "What did you see?" Bella prompted, not allowing Alice to finish her answer which was too bad because I would really have liked to know that too. "Here's Carlisle," Alice said. "Bella, it's Carlisle. What's going on?" This was the first time I had heard my father's voice sound so panicked in a very long time. "I –" Bella started, but it appeared that word eluded her almost as much as they did me. : I'm a little worried about Edward....Can vampires go into shock?" Twenty minutes ago I could have answered that question with a resounding no, but now I wasn't so sure. "Has he been harmed?" My father was urgent, panicked now and I suddenly wished he was here with me. Here to help me figure out what was going on. He to take care of Bella. "No, no, just...taken by surprise." "I don't understand, Bella." "I think...well, I think that...maybe. I might be..." And I willed her not to say it, "pregnant," And of course she said it. The silence was long, Carlisle probably just as shocked as I was. "When was the first day of your last menstrual cycle?" And there was Doctor Cullen, no longer acting as my father. "Sixteen days before the wedding." And of course the math was perfectly right. But I was still clinging to the hope of a parasite that was ravaging Bella and not a "baby". "How do you feel?" "Weird." I hear her voice break and I saw the tear begin to flow silently from her eyes. I wanted to reach for her, to hold her, comfort her, but I just couldn't. "This is going to sound crazy – look I know it's way too early for any of this. Maybe I am crazy. But I'm having bizarre dreams and eating all the time and crying and throwing up and...and...I swear something moved inside me just now." Oh God! I thought. I finally woke up and out of my state. I needed to talk to Carlisle now. I looked at her and held out my hand for the phone. "Um, I think Edward wants to talk to you." "Put him on," Carlisle told her. "Is it possible?" I whispered into the phone as soon as Bella had placed it in my hand. He thought for a moment. I knew this was new to him, too. "I...I think it is more than possible, Edward. From what Bella is describing as to how she's feeling, I would say she is pregnant. I need you to bring her home as soon as possible. She will need to be examined right away. She's

been pregnant a matter of days and she is manifesting symptoms of a woman in her third month. It's happening to fast. Can you get her back immediately? "Yes. Yes I will." I hung up and started dialing the airport. "What did Carlisle say?" "He thinks you're pregnant." I felt so numb; I couldn't believe this was really happening. I had wanted this for Bella, for her to be a mother. But, not like this, not if she was really choosing me, not if I was the father. I mean, I had thought about kids, of course, but never in a serious way. It was just never in the cards for me, or so I thought... "Who are you calling now?" "The airport. We're going home." I couldn't believe how difficult it was to try and get the fastest flight home and absolutely nothing was direct. I argued and packed and thought. What had I done? What had we created? What kind of monster would it be? I could see a little monster running around, slaughtering everyone in its path. I knew the stories of children who had been changed. You could never reason with them, never explain, never teach. They only had their thirst and that's all they cared about. Would my child be like that? I cringed at the though. My child? No, surely it wasn't a child. It was a monster, an aberration. I turned to find that Bella was no longer with me. How scared must she be? How mad at me she must be, for having done this to her, I finished the conversation on the phone, having made all the necessary arrangements and went to find her. "Bella?" I found her in the kitchen, crying. I was at her side in an instant, worried. I put my hands on her face, looking into her eyes. "Are you in pain?" "No, no –" I pulled her into my chest, as tight as I dared. "Don't be afraid. We'll be home in sixteen hours. You'll be fine. Carlisle will be ready when we get there. We'll take care of this and you'll be fine, you'll be fine." I'm not sure who I was trying to soothe, her or me. Of course she would be fine, because I just got her, and she couldn't be taken way from me, not now. "Take care of this? What do you mean?" I leaned away from her, looking into her eyes gain, promise. "We're going to get that thing out before it can hurt any part of you. Don't be scared. I won't let it hurt you." "That thing?" She gasped. Then I heard a voice in my head. Hope to get this done quickly. Hope the girl is still alive. What will we find when we get in there? Kaure's thoughts were loud and pondering in my mind. "Damn it! I forgot Gustavo was due today. I'll get rid of them and be right back." I went to the door and answered it. I tried to get rid of them but Kaure was insistent. She told me

of the dinner she had brought and wanted to bring it in. I must make sure the girl is all right. I cannot leave until I see her. I didn't want to prolong the argument. I just wanted to get back to Bella so I let them in. I walked ahead, crossing to Bella, seeing more tears staining her face. "She insisting on leaving the food she brought – she make us dinner. It's an excuse; she wants to make sure I haven't killed you yes." I hadn't and I hope my moments of weakness wouldn't lead to her death. I watched Kaure. She was too slow, too careful, watching Bella and me. She's upset, poor thing. Is he being awful to her? Is she in danger? "Not taking care of her properly," Kaure muttered under her breath. I lost my temper and told her she could leave. She turned to leave and the whirl made the smell of the fishy dish swirl in the air. I felt Bella stiffen beside me and then turn and vomit in the sink. I threw the food in the fridge and returned to Bella, soothing her with my wintery hands. I pulled her to me and I felt her touch her stomach. What was that little monster doing to her? Kaure noticed this gesture too. Her eyes opened in shock. Great, now the maid knew. "What have you done? What are you bringing into the world? It must not be allowed to live!" She was screaming now. "Please, we don't know. We're returning home to my father, he's a doctor he will now what to do." I begged. "Please I love her; I love her more than my own life. She's my wife, she is my everything. I just want to save her. Please." I said resting my hand on Bella's cheek. "You've done this. You have created an aberration, it must be destroyed, cannot live." "I know, please. I'm just trying to get her home so we can take care of it." I pleaded urgently. She gestured a round bmp jetting out of her belly to Bella. She asked me a few questions, about how she was feeling, how far along was she. She told me quickly of her legends. There was only one question I had. "Did any of these women survive long enough to give birth?" She shook her head. Pain and grief appeared on my face. I obviously, couldn't let it get that far, but I already knew that. She walked over to Bella, putting her hand over top of Bella's which was still on her stomach. She said one word before leaving, "Morte." And I knew that Bella needed no translation. Death. I stood there taking this in. No woman had ever survived. I had to figure out a way for my Bella to live. I would trade my own life for hers, if I could. Bella started to walk away from me, "Where are you going?" "To brush my teeth." "Don't worry about what she said. It's nothing more than legends, old lies for the sake of entertainment." I said trying to keep her calm. "I didn't understand anything." She said and I knew she was lying. "I packed your toothbrush. I'll get it for you."

"Are we leaving soon?" She called as I walked ahead of her to find her toothbrush. "As soon as you're done." The sooner the better. I waited, pacing, trying to put all of this together, to make it all fit. Trying to figure out how to not loose my wife. She game me back her toothbrush and I pack it again. "I'll get the bags in the boat." "Edward –" She said and I turned to look at her. "Yes?" She hesitated long enough for me to worry. "Could you...pack some food? You know, in case I get hungry again." "Of course. Don't worry about anything. We'll get to Carlisle in just a few hours, really. This will all be over soon." She nodded and I went to get the bags and food into the boat. I found her waiting in the kitchen. I scooped her up and brought her to the boat, sitting her down. The plane ride was torture. Bella either slept or was ill. We had to get several air sickness bags. Every minute was worse than the next. When she was sleeping I had time to think what I had done to her. What this meant. I knew it would be difficult for her. I worried about her soul. The whole reason we waited to make love was for her virtue, for her soul, but how would aborting a vampire fetus fair on that? When she wasn't asleep she was holding her stomach and being ill. I tried to hold her, use my hands as cold compresses, but nothing seemed to help. When we finally arrived at the airport she walked slowly with me. Then she tensed as she saw my family waiting for us there. She threw my arms from her shoulders and ran into the arms of the least likely person I would have expected; Rosalie. "You can't let them do it, Rose. You can't them take my baby." Bella cried into Rose's shoulder. "Shh, Bella. It's okay. I'm here now." Rosalie cooed, stroking her hair. "They won't do anything you don' want and if they try, they'll have to come through me." Rosalie shot me a grin, full of malice and distrust. I finally understood. Bella was terrified, but it was not of the thing that grew inside her. She was terrified of me. She wanted the monster that she carried. The one that would kill her. "Oh, it's a feisty little one, isn't it?" Rose said, placing her hand on Bella's stomach. "Active already." "Yeah, he's my little nudger." Bella said, looking at Rosalie, a wide, glowing smile perched upon it. I shot a glance at Carlisle and I knew we were thinking the same thing. We both knew that this would...complicated matters. What the hell do we do now? Bella loved the monsters, she loved my family, she loved me and now she loved the tiny monster that was growing within her. The one she would die for.

Chapter 8 – Home I was relieved to be in Rosalie’s arms, something I thought would never happen. She looked at me with a love and kindness that I had never seen and I knew I’d make the right choice to call her. She would be our savior; she would take care of me and my little nudger. She wouldn’t let Edward and Carlisle take him from me. My mind flitted back to the baby boy in my dreams; I focused on his bright green eyes. It’s okay baby. We’re safe now. I will take care of you. I saw him smile in my mind; it was that same crooked smile that Edward wore, the one that was my favorite. “Well, it looks like we have much to discuss.” Carlisle said, eyebrows raised. “We need to get you home, Bella. I am all set up there for you.” “You won’t take him. I won’t let you.” I said hugging closer to Rosalie, my protector, our protector. “No, Bella. I will not do anything against your wishes. But, please, I need to get you home. I need to do tests, make sure you and the crea…baby are alright.” Carlisle said, changing his wording at the look of distain on my face. My baby was not a creature; he was a tiny baby, a sweet, innocent one. I looked at Rosalie who nodded and smiled encouragingly. “It’s okay, Bella. I will never leave your side.” We got into the car and I was wedged between Edward and Rose. I immediately fell asleep, leaning on Rose for support rather than my husband. I couldn’t believe he wanted to hurt our child, but I would never allow it. When I woke up we were home, my new home, The Cullen home. Rose carried me upstairs to a makeshift medical clinic. Ultrasound machines, x-rays, centrifuges and needles, everything I hated and dreaded. But I didn’t care. I knew I had to take care of my baby and I knew this was all part of that. Carlisle got to work right away. Edward stood back against the wall and Rose held my hand. She encouraged me while Carlisle tried to make heads or tails of his results. In the end, he didn’t come up with much. The ultrasound couldn’t see or hear anything, he didn’t understand why until he tried to stick a needle in my womb, for an amniocentesis. It was hard as a rock and couldn’t be penetrated. He was obviously very well protected in there. I glanced at Edward his face was in agony. When we were finally finished we all headed downstairs for a family discussion. I sat on the white couch next to Rose, while Edward paced the length of the room the entire time. “The only thing I can determine is that you are, indeed, pregnant, Bella. It’s impossible to say how long you are going to stay that way, or when your due date would be. It’s extremely advanced. It is already moving. Its development is….astounding. You need to understand just how dangerous this is for you.” “It doesn’t matter.” I said holding Rose’s hand. “This is madness, Bella! It could kill you!” Edward erupted. This time, only this one time, I truly feared him. I cowered into Rose and she put her arm around me. “Edward,” She started but he cut her off.

“No! Bella, it’s a monster. It will kill you.” “He’s not a monster, Edward. It’s our child, your child and I love him.” His face softened and he walked slowly, carefully to me, to show me I had nothing to fear from him. He grabbed my hands and held them, looking into my eyes pleadingly. “Please, Bella, please. I need you. You can’t do this. I can’t loose you. Please, let Carlisle –“ “Edward, I love you. Nothing is going to happen to me. I will fight for him. For us. You have to understand. I love you both. There is no world without you and now there is no world without him.” I said simply. He must have seen the resolve in my eyes. He lowered his head into my lap and jumped back to the far wall. His head happened to be touching my stomach and my little nudger took that moment to kick for the first time. I gasped and Carlisle was at my side in an instant. “Bella?” “Nothing. I’m fine. He’s going to be strong, I think.” I said startled by the biggest movement I had felt yet.” It’s okay, Edward. He was just saying hello. I think he heard your voice.” I smiled encouragingly at Edward, but he buried his face in his hands. I looked to Rose, needing a friendly face. She is going to be my angel through this, I thought. Her smile was big and bright. I knew she would be my rock when things were bad and I knew they would be. The day passed and Rose never did leave my side. I had napped and when they thought I was sleeping they had hushed conversations, all of them. Edward was begging for someone to do something, but no one would help him. Rose and Esme were behind me, I knew they would be, they both wanted children so badly. They would never allow the murder of my child, Esme’s grandchild. With Rose and Esme behind me, Emmett and Carlisle would not go against them. It also helped that Carlisle couldn’t kill another being; it just wasn’t in his nature. Alice was no help because she couldn’t see the baby. Her vision was blocked, almost like with the werewolves, but more, somehow. It gave her a headache. Jasper wouldn’t do anything without Alice’s support, so Edward’s hands were tied. He alone couldn’t go through Rose, Emmett, Esme and Carlisle. He returned to sit on the arm of the sofa, I ‘woke up” and looked at him. He noticed me and heard my stomach growl. “Would you like to try some food, love?” I was nervous, I really hated being sick but I was getting very hungry. “Yes, please. Some eggs?” I started to get up, but he motioned for me to sit. He got up and muttered something about “least he could do” and retreated to the kitchen. After I finished the delicious eggs, he always made the best! I felt very tired. He noticed my eyes close and I was suddenly in his arms, halfway up the stairs before I noticed anything. He laid me on the bed and I saw my favorite sweatshirt laying there. I got up to remove my clothes to get into my shirt. As I pulled my current shirt over my head I

heard Edward gasp and I felt him icy hands on my stomach. “Bella, my god! Are you all right?” He asked urgently. “Fine, why?” He whirled me around to face the mirror and I saw a nice sized purple bruise on my abdomen. I guess he had kicked me as hard as I thought he had. “It’s fine, Edward. I don’t even feel it.” I said placing the sweatshirt over my head and slipped into bed. He stared, frozen, into the mirror. “Could you come to bed now? I need to cuddle.” I saw him snap back to reality and he crossed the room and came to lie next to me. I curled into his chest, relaxed by the sound of his even breathing. “I’m so sorry, my love. I’m sorry for what I’m done to you. I’ve taken away everything from you, again. There is no way we can go to Dartmouth now, for you to go to college.” I reached up to stroke his face and kissed him gently on his hard lips. “You’ve given me something so much better, Edward. He’s going to be perfect. I love you.” He hugged me so close, it was almost scary. “You are my everything, Bella. I don’t know what I’d do without-“ “I’m not going anywhere. I have two reasons to live now.” I said cutting him off before I drifted to sleep. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and running to the nearest bathroom and vomiting for what seemed like forever. Even though I knew how opposed Edward was to the whole situation, he stayed his me the whole time, holding my hair back and whipping my neck and face with his refreshing hands. When I was finally worn out from being ill he brought me back to bed. Food was definitely going to be a problem, I thought before drifting back off again. The next morning or afternoon I guess, we had another family meeting. It was clear to everyone that I was showing even more today than yesterday. “You need to call your father and we need to figure out what you’re going to tell him.” Carlisle said and he was right. I knew he was, but it was not a conversation I was looking forward to. Carlisle saw my expression. ‘I believe that we should tell him you contracted a parasite in Rio. You should tell him I have quarantined you and he cannot visit. He obviously can’t see you in you’re current condition.” He said looking at my bulging belly and, of course, I had to agree. There was no way I could explain being this pregnant after he had seen me less than a month ago. “I will talk to him also, give him my medical opinion.” I nodded as Esme handed me the phone, putting her hand encouragingly on my shoulder. I took a deep breath and dialed Charlie’s number. “Hi Dad.” I said when he answered. I didn’t need to put on an act; I knew I sounded tired and ill. “Bella? Are you all right?” He asked immediately, apparently I sounded as bad as I thought I did. “I’m okay dad, but I have picked up some kind of bug when we were in Rio. I’m back home now,

Carlisle if taking good care of me.” “Oh, Bella. I’ll come see you. I’ve missed you.” “I know dad, I’ve missed you too. But, this bug is pretty bad, I guess. Carlisle says no visitors right now.” “I’m your father and I’m coming to see you. Let me talk to Carlisle, now.” He demanded. I passed the phone to Carlisle who put on his most convincing voice. “Hello, Charlie.” There was a pause while my dad was probably demanding answers. “Of course I realize she’s your daughter Charlie, but I’m only doing what’s best for her. Don’t worry, I’m taking care of her. It is a serious bug, Charlie, a parasite actually. Please, understand, I need a clean environment, that’s why she’s here instead of at the hospital. Yes, it is that serious.” He paused again, listening. “Ok, here she is. “ He handed the phone back to me. “Hi dad.” “Okay kiddo, so Charlie says you need to be kept all safe and comfortable so you can get better. But I will talk to you everyday. You call me anytime, you hear? I love you, Bella.” I nearly dropped the phone at that moment. My little nudger kicked me so hard I tried not to scream in pain. They all saw the look on my face and interpreted it correctly. Carlisle was immediately in front of me. “Okay dad, I love you, bye.” I said quickly, flipping the phone shut. I leaned my head back on the couch letting the tears well up and roll silently down my cheeks. “Bella?” Edward asked panicked, grabbing my hand. “Just a kick, I’m fine. I just have to get used to it.” Edward groaned and fell to him knees. “Please, Bella. I can’t stand this, seeing you in so much pain. There isn’t a way for you to survive this.” “Oh Edward.” I said, remembering how Esme had lost her baby, her son. I thought of her pain and despair. And I remembered the story of her jumping off the cliff and how Carlisle found her and changed her, to save her life. He looked pleadingly into my eyes, and as I spoke I knew he would understand what I meant to happen. “Of course, Edward. My body is only human. I will keep myself alive for as long as I can. Then it will be up to you to save me, just like Carlisle saved Esme. I know, Edward, I will not survive this human.” And there was that look of understanding, which mingled with shock and absolute horror at what I had planned for myself.

Chapter 9 – Surprise It was a week since I had gotten home and I was on the phone with Charlie, again. I talked to him everyday, at exactly the same time. It wasn’t hard to sound sick, I was worse now. I was so hungry. I couldn’t keep anything down. I was ill every time I tried to eat anything, eventually I pretty much gave up any hope. I would survive, keep my heart beating and my lungs breathing as long as I could and after that I put my life in Edward and Carlisle’s hands. All I could

do was hope it would work, just like it had for Esme. I was huge already, probably looked about seven months if it had been a normal pregnancy. “Yes, dad, I’m trying to get better. Everything will be all right. It’ll be fine. They’re all taking really good care of me.” “I want to talk to Carlisle, now.” Charlie demanded. Once again I nodded at my father-in-law and handed him the phone. “Hello, Charlie. Yes, I know you want to see her. I know you don’t care about yourself getting sick, but I’m not protection you, Charlie, I’m protecting Bella. I know she has been reassuring you, Charlie, but the fact is that this is serious, very serious. I am keeping her in a clean and carefully controlled environment. You wouldn’t want to jeopardize her health any more, now would you?” There was a pause and Carlisle nodded. “She’s actually fell asleep, but I will tell her and I will keep you informed.” He said snapping the phone shut. “I really wish you hadn’t told him that. There’s no need to –“ “Bella, this is serious. And he would have come here. We can’t let him see you like this, it’s isn’t safe fore him.” He said as I glared at him, my expression softening as I thought, finally nodding. Charlie was stubborn, like me, it wasn’t difficult to see where I got it from. I was constantly warring with myself with which was more important, keeping in him the dark for his own safety, or to ease his worries, or to just tell him. But I knew I never could. His safety would be in jeopardy. The Volturi would come. That and I didn’t think he could handle all this new information, like vampires and fantasy worlds and his 18 year old daughter being seven months pregnant when he’d only seen her less than a month ago looking nothing less that fit. I was getting tired of this couch, but it was better than being up in the hospital wing that Carlisle had created. And I really couldn’t stay cooped up in my bedroom either. I glanced at Edward who was sitting on the floor by my head. I reached down to stroke his hair. He turned to look at me and I saw the pain and agony on his face. I felt awful, guilty, about this look. His eyes were black and empty. I knew he was starving. He had rarely left my side since this whole thing started, certainly never to hunt. “Hi,” I said, trailing my cold fingers down his cheeks. “You look thirsty. You should go and hunt. I’ll be fine, really.” He reached to stroke my hair, looking deep into my eyes. “Not a chance. “ He said giving me a half smile that didn’t reach his eyes. I missed his amber eyes. These black eyes were cold and dark and if I didn’t know him better, frightening. I hated that I was doing this to him. He was so worried about me and I hated to put him through this, but there was no way around it, not that I could see. And with any luck it wouldn’t last all that much longer. As soon as our baby was ready I could give in and he could change me, then our family would be perfect. Sometimes, especially in the darkness of the night, the doubts would creep in. One night was particularly bad. Edward and Carlisle were discussing something in the other room and Rosalie was sitting with me in my room. I had been thinking and the thoughts and fears came fast and furious. I started to cry and Rose was at my side in an instant. “Bella? What’s wrong? What is it?”

I sniffled and looked at her as she stroked my hair. “It’s nothing, just afraid I guess. Hoping I’m doing the right thing.” I thought she would immediately jump in and tell me I was, indeed, doing the right thing and not to worry. But, instead she furrowed her lovely brows; she must have sensed I needed more than reassurances. I needed to talk. “What are you frightened about?” “Well…What if it doesn’t work? What if it’s too late for the venom to work?” “You’re afraid of dying?” “No. I’m afraid of leaving him, them. What if I die? Who will look after the baby? Edward won’t be able to do it. What will happen to him? And then, will the baby hate me for not being around for him? Will he know who I was? What if they try to kill him after I’m gone?” Rose rubbed my back soothingly. “Shh, Bella, relax. You don’t need to worry, that isn’t going to happen. You are going to be fine.” “What if I’m not?” She sighed and humoured me. “Fine, I promise you, that if anything happens to you I will look after the baby and I will do what I can for Edward. There are plenty of people who love them both, who will take care of them. They will never hurt the baby, I won’t let them.” She paused, thoughtful for a moment. “And I swear, your baby will know who you are.” She said stroking my face as I started to cry more. I desperately worried that I would never have the chance to know my baby. “Hush, Bella. You don’t want to worry Edward. He’ll be back any moment.” She said, hugging me. This was the moment that Rose went from being my protector to my sister. She was so sweet, so tender with me. It was a side I rarely saw of her, and I really liked it. She sat with me until Edward returned and took over stroking my hair and humming my lullaby for me, until I drifted off to sleep. I dreamt that night. It wasn’t so much a nightmare, or a dream, it just...was. I could see Edward and he was holding a baby, our baby. I kept walking towards them, but they never got any closer. I tried to reach them, but they just looked at me. I wasn’t panicked, but I knew I had to get to them. I never did before I was awakened with a start from a kick from my nudger. I tried to stifle the loud gasp as I grasped my stomach tightly, I really did, but it escaped anyway. The light was on immediately and Edward was leaning over me before I even had time to open my eyes. He put his hand on top of mine and stroked my hair. “Bella?” “Fine. Just a kick.” I said through gritted teeth and I heard Edward groan into my shoulder. I could tell it was morning and I really didn’t want to sleep anymore, so I asked to be brought downstairs. That was when I had talked to Charlie and I knew he was getting worried and he had no idea what to do. The situation was starting to get desperate and we needed to figure out what we were going to do. I sat on the couch pondering what they would tell Charlie had happened to me. Where would they say I went for a whole year, at least? It was frustrating to think that maybe it would just be better for him if he thought I was dead. He would stop worrying about me and start the whole grieving

process. Then I was brought out of I thoughts as Edward stiffened beside me and hissed. ”Edward? What is it?” “Jacob is here.” There was some quick, hushed muttering that I didn’t catch but I gathered that this would not be a friendly visit. “I’ll get the door.” Carlisle said, resigned. He knew Edward didn’t want to leave my side if he didn’t absolutely have to. “Hello Jacob.” Carlisle said before I heard him open the door, or even heard the knock on the door. “How are you?” When Jacob’s voice came it was strained and unfriendly. “I heard Bella made it back alive.” “Er, Jacob, it’s not really the best time. Could we do this later?” This is ridiculous I thought... What better time would there be? “Can’t we just let him in?” I whispered as Edward shook his head. “Why not?” I asked loudly. “Are we keeping secrets from Jacob now too? What’s the point?” I cleared my throat, trying to sound half way normal. “Come in, please, Jacob.” Edward put his head in his hands, I knew he was wishing that I would just let it go, but I couldn’t. “Excuse me.” I heard Jacob say, probably pushing past Carlisle. Everyone was crowding around me and I knew they were protecting me in case Jacob lost it, but I really wished they would back off. I was a little embarrassed. I didn’t want Jacob to see me this way. I had lost weight, was much skinner, despite my growing belly. I’d stopped looking into a mirror because it got depressing and scary. My cheek bones jutted out as my cheeks sunk in and my eyes had deep, dark circles under them. I would rather not have Jacob remember me this way. It would have been better for him to remember how I looked when we were fixing out bikes or just sitting around talking, or my wedding day; I was beautiful then. But, I was selfish and I wanted to see him. I saw him look at me and then something inside me turned. I looked urgently up at Rose and she knew immediately what I needed. A split second later she had a bed pan under my chin. I grabbed the sofa as I threw up violently into it. Edward dropped to his knees before me and I saw the pain in his face, the agony. He leaned his head against my knee as I stroked his hair lightly. “Sorry about that.” I said looking at Jacob timidly. That was really gross and I felt bad that he had to see that. It was bad enough being ill in front of my husband, let alone anyone else. Jacob looked concerned as he crossed the room quickly, but Rose stepped in his way, hissing. I lifted my hand and grabbed hers. “Rose, don’t. It’s fine.” She moved out of the way so I could see Jacob, and came to crouch protectively by my head. “Bella, what’s wrong?” He grabbed me hand, which was now almost as icy as Edward’s. His eyebrows creased in confusion and worry. “Are you alright?”

I didn’t know how to answer that, the obvious answer was, not so much, no, so I ignored it. “I’m so glad you came to see my today, Jacob.” And it was true, I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. I had no idea how much time I had left. I felt Edward groan and push himself even closer into my blanket. I just continued stroking his hair. Jacob felt so warm on my hand it felt nice. I didn’t think I would ever get to feel warmth like this ever again. “What is it Bella? I couldn’t think how to answer his question, all I could think was that I needed to show him. I looked to everyone, pleading with them to understand why I needed to do this. “Help me up, Rose?” I saw Rose glare at Jacob, probably considering destroying him. “Please, Rose?” I begged, struggling to get to my feet. “No, don’t get up…” Jacob whispered as Rose put her arms around me helping me up. “I’m answering your question.” I snapped still struggling to hold my balance, cradling my giant, heavy belly; it was almost a chore just to stay upright. He took a long while looking, then gaping at me. I saw at the moment understanding flooded over him and he looked furious. Edward was instantly on his feet, angry. “Outside, Jacob.” He said stepping in front of me. “Let’s do this,” Jacob snarled, and I heard the malice in his voice. I saw Emmett and Jasper move to directly behind Edward, flanking him. “No,” I cried, grasping at Edward, nearly toppling over, Rose had to catch me before I fell. “I just need to talk to him, Bella.” Edward said, stroking my cheek soothingly. “Don’t strain yourself. Please, rest. We’ll both be back in just a few minutes.” I hoped he wasn’t just trying to placate me, but I started to feel a little light headed so I didn’t put up much of a fight. Rose sensed my ill feeling and put me gently back on the couch. “Behave,” I ordered, my gaze never leaving Jacob’s. The last thing I needed was a dead werewolf, a dead Jacob on my hands. But then again, the very last thing I needed was a dead husband. Edward was so distracted and forlorn; I wasn’t sure how much of a fight he could put up. “And then come back,” I added as Jacob turned his back to me and followed Edward out. I wanted them not to leave me. I wanted them to just get a long. I wondered what they were saying out there. Then a thought occurred to me. Would Jacob try to kill me and my baby? I mean, surely he wouldn’t kill me, right? I was still human…but I was carrying something inside me, something he would consider a monster. I put my hands on my belly protectively. I felt a small kick, I winced a little, but it was just a small one…comparatively. Everyone looked at me but I just smiled, rubbing my stomach. It’s okay, baby. I thought reassuringly to my stomach. Nothing is wrong, no one is going to hurt you. Jacob is my friend. He’d never hurt me…I hope. I suddenly remembered his rough kisses, my broken hand, the tent, and when he grabbed me at my wedding. I amended; He’d never hurt me, intentionally.

Chapter 10 – Understanding I kept waiting for Edward and Jacob to return. Edward told me not to worry, but I knew the animosity between the two of them was still more than present. I tried to stay relaxed as Esme met me on the couch, stroking my hair gently trying to soothe me, humming softly. I looked at her and she smiled lovingly at me. I had a sudden sting of shock, realizing this woman who looked absolutely no older than thirty would be a grandmother in only a short while, my child’s grandmother. She looked the furthest away from a grandmother than anyone could possibly be. But as she moved her hand from my hair, brushing my cheek and resting her hand on my stomach, I watched her lean in and lay her head there next to her hand. “Hello, baby.” She said softly. “I’m your grandma, Esme. You be safe and warm in there and then I can’t wait to meet you, my little angel.” She whispered, running her hand slowly, gently across my bulge. All my fears about possibly leaving my baby, about dying were washed away. If I didn’t make it my baby would be more than loved, more than just taken care of. He would be adored. I smiled at her and then she leaned up, looking into my eyes once more. “When I was pregnant my husband would speak to our baby like that. I think they both liked it, he would kick when he heard his father.” She smiled sadly at me. I wasn’t sure if she was sad because of her past life or because she was upset that Edward was not enjoying the great joys of being a first time parent, maybe it was a little of both. I was broken from my reverie as Esme left my side, hearing Edward and Jacob making their way back to me. I was ecstatic that Jacob had decided to come back, not just leave. Also, that they have not killed each other. I saw Jacob hesitate in the doorway while Edward walked into the middle of his family. My eyes flickered back and forth from Edward to Jacob’s and back again, waiting for someone to say something. I wished Edward would come to me, but he just stood there, looking agonized. “We’re going to let Jacob and Bella speak privately.” He sounded strange, empty and it broke my heart that he was feeling so dejected at this time when we should be celebrating. “Over my pile of ashes,” Rose hissed. She came to me and placed a cold soothing hand on my cheek. “Bella,” Edward said turning to me. He sounded more like a friend than my husband and that stung. “Jacob wants to talk to you. Are you afraid to be alone with him?” To be one hundred percent honest, I wasn’t totally sure of my answer. I didn’t know how Jacob felt about my little nudger and I was a little frightened of what he might think or do. But, also, I did want to talk to him. I was glad, at this moment, Edward couldn’t hear my thought. I decided to go with the Jacob I had known when we were in his garage, fixing out bikes, rather then the Jacob who was at my wedding. I choose to believe the Jacob that was standing in front of me was the Jacob who would never hurt me. “Rose, it’s fine. Jakes not going to hurt us. Go with Edward.” “It might be a trick,” She warned

I thought of this for a moment, considering. “I don’t see how.” “Carlisle and I will always be in your sight, Rosalie,” Edward assured her. His voice cracked and he was upset, although he tried to hide it. “We’re the ones she’s afraid of.” My expression changed to horror. “No.” I gasped. “No, Edward, I’m not…” I said pleading for him to not see it that way; I was only protecting me and my nudger. I loved him and I miss him, but I knew that this was the way it had to be for now. He couldn’t understand me and I certainly couldn’t understand him not wanting out baby. It was a part of him and a part of me. If I could hold on a little longer there would be something left here, to show I was here, if I didn’t make it through. Edward looked at me, his eyes on fire with pain, but he tried to smile for me, it was no where near my favorite crooked smile that I loved and missed. “I didn’t mean it that way, Bella. I’m fine. Don’t worry about me. “ Like that was going to happen, I thought. How could I not worry about him when he looked so lost and hurt? I longed for that day when I could see his crooked, bright smile, and sparking amber eyes. Some days it was the only thing that got me through the pain. I hoped that I could see that smile, at least, once more before I died. “Everyone,” Edward said, motioning for the doorway. “Please.” I watched, or tried to watch the room clear out, my new family leaving me with an old friend, all except one. “Rose, I want you to go.” Edward waited silently at the door for his sister to leave and she glowered at him, gesturing for him to go first. She turned her gaze and glared at Jacob warningly for a long while before she followed the others out. Jacob crossed the room and took both my icy hands in his hot ones. He stared at our hands as he rubbed them. He was even warmer than I remembered or was it simply because I was so cold? “Thanks, Jake. That feels nice.” I said marveling at the feel of his hot hands on mine. It only made me miss him more. “I’m not going to lie, Bells. You’re hideous.” “I know,” I said, sighing. “I scary-looking.” I knew he was trying to joke with me, lightening the mood a little, but we both knew it was true. “Thing-from-the-swamp scary,” He joked, agreeing with me. I laughed. This was what I missed about Jake, he could always make me laugh and laughing was in very short supply around here. “It’s so good having you here. It feels nice to smile. I don’t know how much more drama I can stand.” Jake looked directly into my eyes and rolled his, making sure there was no way I could miss it. “Okay, okay. I bring it on myself.” I admitted.

“Yeah, you do. What’re you thinking, Bells? Seriously?” “Did he ask you to yell at me?” I was so tired of all the lectures and pleading. “Sort of. Though I can’t figure out why he thinks you’d listen to me. You never have before.” I sighed knowing that Edward would try anything to get me to change my mind and Jacob was right, I would never let anyone take my baby from me. “I told you –“He started before I cut him off. “Did you know that ‘I told you so’ has a brother, Jacob?” I paused for full effect. “His name is ‘Shut the hell up’.” “Good one.” I smiled and chuckled; remember the rerun of the Simpson’s I had seen. I’d wanted to use it for a long time, now I was glad to have finally had the opportunity. “I can’t take the credit – I got it off a rerun of The Simpson’s.” “Missed that one.” “It was funny.” We were silent for a few moments, neither one of us knowing how to break the silence. “Did he really ask you to talk to me?” I knew it wasn’t fair to bring Jacob into this. I knew I should tell him to leave, but I missed him so much and it felt so great o have him here, I just couldn’t do it. “To talk some sense into you. There’s a battle that’s lost before it starts.” I watched him; he looked as though he was searching for the words. He looked pained, so I jumped in. “It’ll work out you know.” I told him. “I believe that.” “Is dementia one of your symptoms?” He snapped at me and he reminded me of the last time I’d seen him, at my wedding. I decided to lighten the mood. I laughed. “Maybe. I’m not saying things will work out easily, Jake. But how could I have lived though all that I’ve lived through and not believe in magic by this point.” “Magic?” “Especially for you.” I said remembering a conversation I had with Edward a few months earlier. “More than anyone else, you’ve got some magic waiting to make things right for you.” I said, feeling a little better about all that Jacob was going through, knowing that sometime, someone who was right for him would come along and he would be happy again. I pulled my hands away from his and placed them on either side of his face. I looked deep into his eyes, rubbing his cheeks, willing him to finally be able to let go of me. God knows I couldn’t do it, maybe if he did, it would be easier for me. “What are you babbling about?”

“Edward told me once what it was like – your imprinting thing. He said it was like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, like magic. You’ll find who you’re really looking for, Jacob and maybe then all of this will make sense.” I tried to explain, I knew no one, especially not Edward and Jacob, could possibly understand my resolve. He was suddenly angry, making me flinch. He growled. “If you think that imprinting could ever make sense of this insanity…” He paused with fury, trying to find the words. “Do you really think that just because I might someday imprint on some stranger it would make this right?” He jabbed a finger at my swollen belly and I instinctively wrapped my arms around myself protectively. “Tell me what the point was then, Bella! What was the point of me loving you? What was the point of you loving him? When you die? How is that ever right again? What the point to all the pain? Mine, your, his! You’ll kill him, too, not that I care about that.” His words were coming fast and furious as he was snarling at me. I flinched when he mentioned Edward and my thoughts strayed to the Volturi in Italy. “So what was the point of your twisted love strong, in the end? If there is any sense, please, show me, Bella, because I don’t see it.” I sighed. “I don’t know yet Jake. But I just…feel…that this is all going somewhere good, hard to see as it is now, I guess you could call it faith.” “You’re dying for nothing, Bella! Nothing!” He shouted. I rubbed my belly. I was definitely dying for something, I thought. I was dying for him. I knew Jake would never see it that way and I only planned on staying alive just long enough. “I’m not going to die.” I said, trying to control my own anger and frustration. I was tired of explaining, tired of fighting. “I will keep my heart beating. I’m strong enough for that.” “That’s a load of crap, Bella. You’ve been trying to keep up with the supernatural for too long. No normal person can do it. You’re not strong enough.” He emphasized, taking my face in his hands. “I can do this. I can do this.” I muttered quietly, not trusting myself to keep my calm. “Doesn’t look like it to me. So what’s your place? I hope you have one.” I nodded; this was the conversation I was not looking forward to. I knew exactly how he was going to react when I told him what I was intending to do. I thought of the best way to broach it. “Did you know Esme jumped off a cliff? When she was human, I mean.” I said quietly, taking my eyes from him. “So?” “So she was close enough to dead that they didn’t even bother taking her to the emergency room – they took her right to the morgue. Her heart was still beating, though when Carlisle found her…” I paused, knowing he would understand. “You aren’t planning to survive this human,” He said in an empty voice, realizing I did intent to die, however this turned out... “No, I’m not stupid.” I turned my gaze to look into his eyes again and chuckled lightly. “Although I guess you probably have your own opinions on that point though.” “Emergency vampirazation,” he said shaking his head slowly. “It worked for Esme. And Emmett and Rosalie and even Edward. None of them were in such

great shape. Carlisle only changed them because it was that or death. He doesn’t end lives, he saves them.” His eyes bored into mine, pleading. “Listen to me, Bells. Don’t do it that way. Don’t wait until it’s too late, Bella. Not that way. Live, okay? Just live. Don’t do this to me. Don’t do this to him.” The pleading suddenly changed to something else, back to anger? “You know what he’s going to do when you die. You’ve seen it before. You want him to go back to those Italian Killers?” I cringed thinking of the Volturi again. He was so desperate to find any way to keep me alive. I knew he didn’t care about what Edward would or wouldn’t do if I were to die, if my plan didn’t work. He struggled to contain himself, to not frighten me. “Remember when I got mangled up by those newborns? What did you tell me?” I pursed my lips together like a stubborn child, refusing to answer. Surely he must at least understand these two situations were completely different. “You told me to be good and listen to Carlisle.” He stated.” And what did I do? I listened to the vampire. For you.” I shook my head, “You listened because you knew it was the right thing to do.” “Okay – pick either reason.” I took a deep breath, preparing to talk about this one more time, trying to explain why I was going what I had to do. “It’s not the right thing now.” My hand began rubbing my stomach lightly. “I won’t kill him.” “Oh, I hadn’t heard the great news. A bouncing baby boy, huh? Should brought some blue balloons.” His voice was like acid. I could feel my cheeks flushing, “I don’t know he’s a boy. The ultrasound wouldn’t work. The membrane around the baby is too hard – like their skin. So he’s a little mystery. But I always see a boy in my head.” I admitted, knowing that no one but a pregnant woman or mother would understand. “It’s not some pretty baby in there, Bella.” I thought to the baby boy I saw in my dreams. The piercing green eyes, the beautiful smile. “We’ll see.” “You won’t.” He snarled. “You’re very pessimistic, Jacob. There is definitely a chance I might walk away from this.” I could see his fury as he began shaking. He was trying to calm himself. I gave him a moment to collect himself. “Jake.” I soothed, rubbing his hair and then stroking his cheek. “It’s going to be okay. Shh. It’s okay.” “No. It won’t be ok.” He said not looking at me, I felt so bad that this was so hard for him. I watched a few tears spill silently from his eyes and I whipped them away gently. “Shh.”

“What the deal, Bella? I thought the whole point was that you wanted your vampire more than anything. And now you’re giving him up? That doesn’t make any sense. Since when are you so desperate to be a mom? If you wanted that so much, why did you marry a vampire?” I thought for a moment, knowing this was another thing that he would just never understand. I had never really wanted kids, they were certainly not a possibility for me and Edward, or so we thought and I wanted Edward, so I pushed the idea of babies out of my head. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my little nudger that I knew this was also what I wanted, in addition to Edward. “It’s not like that. I didn’t care about having a baby. I didn’t even think about it. It’s not just having a baby. It’s well…this baby.” “It’s a killer, Bella. Look at yourself.” ”He’s not. It’s me. I’m just weak and human. But I can tough this out Jake, I can -” “Aww, come on! Shit up, Bella. You can spout this crap to your bloodsucker, but you’re not fooling me. You know you’re not going to make it.” I glared at him. “I do not know that. I’m worried about it sure.” “Worried about it,” He repeats, gritting his teeth. Just then my nudger decided to stretch, kicking me hard. I gasped and clutched my stomach, willing myself not to cry out. It was bad enough Edward had to hear me when the nudger kicked especially hard; I was not going to subject Jake to that, too. I hadn’t fooled him apparently. His eyes were wide on me. “I’m fine. It’s nothing.” I said gasping. That’s when I realized he was looking, horrified, at my stomach. When I had clutched at my belly, my sweat shirt had ridden up. He had seen my bulging belly, black and blue and purple and green and yellow, a rainbow of bruises in various stages of healing. I quickly yanked my shirt back down, wishing I had noticed much sooner. “He’s strong, that’s all.” I said defensively. “Bella.” Jake said, sad but determined, no longer angry. “Bella, don’t do this.” “Jake -” I started but he cut me off. “Listen to me. Don’t get your back up yet, okay? Just listen. What if…” he paused and I got impatient. “What if what?” “What if this wasn’t a one shot deal? What if it wasn’t all or nothing? What if you just listened to Carlisle like a food girl and kept yourself alive?” “I won’t-” “I’m not done yet. So you stay alive. Then you start over. This didn’t work out. Try again.” I couldn’t understand what he meant, things would be no different. I frowned reaching to smooth the worry line that had formed on Jake’s brow. “I don’t understand…What do you mean, try again? You can’t think Edward would let me…” And what different would it make? I’m sure any baby -”.

“Yes.” He snapped. “Any kid of his would be the same.” Then realization flooded over me and I was disgusted, insulted. “Oh. Ugh! Please, Jacob. You think I should kill my baby and replace it with some genetic substitute. Artificial insemination?” Anger flowed threw my veins at the thought of his suggestion. “Why would I want to have some stranger’s baby? I supposed it just doesn’t make a difference. Any baby will do?” No one understood. This was my baby. Half me, half Edward, the very best pf us, combined into one. “I didn’t mean that. He said quietly, almost ashamed. “Not a stranger’s baby.” “Then what are you saying?” This was not making any sense to me. “Nothing. I’m saying nothing. Same as ever.” “Where did that come from?” “Forget it, Bella.” “Did he ask you to say that?” I asked suspiciously. Was this what they were discussing behind my back? Possible sperm donors? How best to beak it to the crazy pregnant lady? “No.” He said after hesitating. “He did, didn’t he?” “No, really. He didn’t say anything about artificial whatever.” I was quiet, stewing, but then I softened as I remembered the look of pain and sorrow that was always perched on Edward’s face. “He would do anything for me. And I’m hurting him so much… But what is he thinking? That I would trade this -” I said tracing my fingers over my belly – “for some strangers…” And here came those bloody tears that I furiously fought to keep back. “You don’t have to hurt him,” he whispered. “You could make him happy again, Bella. And I think he’s loosing it. Honestly I do.” But I wasn’t listening. My brain was starting to turn that little wheel. I rubbed my belly absentmindedly while my brain ran it over and over again. Not a stranger, not a stranger, not a stranger. A horrible picture was forming in my mind. “Not a stranger?” I murmured, barely audible. “What exactly did Edward say to you?” “Nothing. He just thought you might listen to me.” “Not that. About trying again.” “Nothing.” He said simply. But I already knew, understood. “Wow.” We didn’t talk for along while and I was stewing again. “He really would do anything wouldn’t he?”

I couldn’t believe my husband was willing to hand me over so willingly to any other man. Would they artificially inseminate me with Jacob’s sperm? Or did Edward picture dropping me off at Jacob’s at night, leaving me there to have sex with him, letting him put his hands all over me, being inside me. And then, what? Edward would return in the morning to pick me up and I go back to being his wife? “I told you he was going crazy. Literally, Bells.” “I’m surprised you didn’t tell on him right away. Get him in trouble.” I grinned, trying to lighten the mood again. “Thought about it.” He tried to grin, but it was more of a grimace. I thought for a moment, looking at Jacob. He was such a good friend and I realized what it must have done to him to offer himself to me in that way. “There isn’t much you wouldn’t do for me, either, is there? I really don’t deserve either of you.” I whispered, looking at my hands. “It makes no difference, though does it?” “Not this time.” I smiled apologetically. “I wish I could explain it to you right so that you would understand. I can’t hurt him.” I said rubbing my stomach again – “anymore than I could pick up a gun and shoot you. I love him.” “Why do you always have to love the wrong things, Bella?” “I don’t think I do.” “Trust me,” he said, swallowing hard. He got to his feet and I grabbed at his arm. “Where are you going?” “I’m not doing any good here.” “Don’t go.” I pleaded, staring into his eyes. “I don’t belong here. I’ve got to get back. “Why did you come today?” I desperately wanted to figure out a way for him to stay, even for just a little longer. I didn’t know if I would ever see him again. “Just to see if you were really alive. I didn’t believe you were sick like Charlie said.” “Will you come back again? Before…” “I’m not going to hang around and watch you die, Bella.” He said harshly and I flinched away from him. I needed to be strong here and let him go. I needed to cause him no more pain. “You’re right, you’re right. You should go.” I’d hurt him more than any one person should ever be hurt. He should run from me and I should let him go. “Bye. Love you, Jake.” I said goodbye to my friend, which I knew could very well be for the very last time. “Sure, sure.” He mumbled on his way out. The door closed and he was gone.

I looked at the door and burst into long, hard sobs. I’d said goodbye to Jake so many times before, but this time felt so final, permanent. Edward was at my side almost the minute my tears had started. I knew he had heard everything and more as he knew what Jacob was thinking. I was almost tempted to ask Edward what Jake was thinking, but I shopped myself, knowing it would be an invasion of his privacy and it would hurt Edward for me to ask him. Me sitting here, crying over Jacob Black, again, was bad enough. He held me, rubbing my back, whipping away my tears, stroking my hair. He never said anything. I was tired of feeling sad, of being broken. Suddenly I remembered Jacob’s offer that really came from Edward and I was hurt and angry all over again. “Edward?” I said as my tears and sobs slowed. “Yes, my love.” He said soothingly. “There is something Jake mentioned and I need to talk to you about it.’ I said pulling back from him to look into his eyes. He didn’t say anything so I looked into his eyes, mine still filled with tears. “Did you suggest too Jacob that I could get rid of our child and trying again, to have a baby, with him?” He looked at me, probably trying to decide on an answer that would make me the least upset. Apparently he didn’t come up with anything, so he simply said, “Yes.” My eyes started to well up more. “Edward, how could you offer me to another man like that? I’m your wife, Edward. Doesn’t that mean anything to you anymore?” He just looked at me, saying nothing. “I love you, Edward. I know things are hard right now. But you can’t just hand me over to another man. This is our child. It’s part of me and part of you. Don’t you love me?” His eyes had a burning black fire in them. He dropped to his knees in front of me and grabbed my hands tightly in his. “Of course I love you, Bella. Don’t you see that’s why I did it? It would kill me to think of you…you, with him, but having you live and be happy would make it at least bearable, because I need you. I need for you to live.” “I need for you to respect me. I am your wife and you are my husband and this-” I said, taking his hands and placing them on my stomach. “This is our child. I need for you to try, try to love him. Try to understand why I want him. Try to respect that.” Our child gave a tiny little nudge right into Edward’s hands. It was a sweet moment and thankfully not painful at all. Edward looked at me and his eyes were just full of emotion. I saw concern, I saw fear. I saw love and I saw something new. A small flicker of something that resembled wonder. Was Edward starting to come around? Would he be able to see things my way? I certainly hoped so as he raised himself ever so slightly and gave me a tender, soft kiss on my lips.

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