Bella finally woke around 10 or 11 am, but didn‟t open her eyes.

I gently touched my finger to her skin going up and down her spine. I heard her giggle. “What‟s so funny?” I murmured, still touching her back. She blushed and then her stomach growled. Great I forgot she needed to eat. “You can‟t escape being human for very long.” She giggled once more. I was shocked that she could be giggling after what I did to her. I just kept staring at the frothy canopy above us. I could feel her getting on her elbows to see me. “Edward,” she said trying to catch her breath. “What is it? What‟s wrong?” “You have to ask?” I said in a hard tone. She kept silence, probably thinking of what to say. Her forehead started to make some worried lines, so I decided to smooth them out. “What are you thinking?” I asked, not able to continue in silence. “You‟re upset. I don‟t understand. Did I…? She didn‟t finish. How could she not know? I closed my eyes. “How badly are you hurt, Bella? The truth- don‟t downplay it.” I said a bit angry. “Hurt?” she said an octave higher as if she was surprised and I raised my eyebrow. She started to stretch out and then she had an emotion on her face of anger. “Why would you jump to that conclusion? I‟ve never been better than I am now.” She said and I closed my eyes. “Stop that.” I said. “Stop what?” She said. “Stop acting like I‟m not a monster for having agreed to this.” “Edward!” she whispered, seeming upset now. “Don‟t ever say that.” I didn‟t open my eyes; I didn‟t want to see her. “Look at yourself Bella. Then tell me I‟m not a monster.”

I guess she saw her body, because she gasped then asked “Why am I covered in feathers?” I exhaled impatiently “I bit a pillow or two. That‟s not what I‟m talking about.” “You… bit a pillow? Why?” “Look Bella!” I said almost growling and took her hand, I gently stretched it out. “Look at that.” Know she must have clearly seen what I was talking about. I knew she was going to hate me. Her eyes left her arm and went all over her damaged body. I pulled my hand and almost not touching her showed her that my iron hands had done that. “Oh,” was all she said. “I‟m … so sorry Bella,” I whispered “I knew better than this. I should not have-” I made a sound from the back of my throat. “I‟m more sorry than I can tell you. And I threw my arm over my face and became still. I can’t believe you did this to her. To the love of your existence. Your Bella. To your WIFE! Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! All because of desire. Jacob was right I would hurt her. My mind said over and over again. “Edward.” I didn‟t move. “Edward?” “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—” “Do not say the word fine.” I said. “If you value my sanity, do not say that you are fine.” “But I am,” She whispered.

“Bella,” I almost moaned. “Don‟t.” “No. You don‟t, Edward.” I removed my arm; my gold eyes watched her warily. “Don‟t ruin this,” she told me. “I. Am. Happy.” “I‟ve already ruined this,” I whispered. “Cut it out,” she snapped. I grind my teeth together. “Ugh!” She groaned. “Why can‟t you just read my mind already? It‟s so inconvenient to be a mental mute!” My eyes widened a little bit, distracted in spite of myself. “That‟s a new one. You love that I can‟t read your mind.” “Not today.” I stared at me. “Why?” She threw her hands up and her palms hit my chest making a smack sound. “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. “No. I don‟t think anything could make me feel better now.” “That,” She snapped. “That right there is why I‟m angry. You are killing my buzz, Edward.” I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “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 brushed her fingers along her arm. “I think for a first time, not knowing what to expect, we did amazing. With a little practice—” What the hell! She thought of getting hurt and she didn’t tell me. I thought. “Assumed? Did you expect this, Bella? Were you anticipating that I would hurt you? Were you thinking it would be worse? Do you consider the experiment a success because you can walk away from it? No broken bones—that equals a victory?” Calm down Edward. “I didn‟t know what to expect—but I definitely did not expect how… how… just wonderful and perfect it was.” Her voice dropped to a whisper, her eyes slipped from my face down to my hands. “I mean, I don‟t know how it was for you, but it was like that for me.” I pulled her chin back up. “Is that what you‟re worried about?” I said through my teeth. “That I didn‟t enjoy myself?” Her eyes stayed down. “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.” Way to go! Now she thinks that I’m not sexually attracted to her. “It seems that I have more to apologize for.” I frowned. “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 . . .” Her lips curved up a little at the edges. “Really? The best ever?” She asked in a small voice. I took her face between my hands, still introspective. “I spoke to Carlisle after you and I made our bargain, hoping he could help me. Of course he warned me that this would be very dangerous for you.” A shadow crossed his expression. “He had faith in me, though—faith I didn‟t deserve.”

She started to protest, and I put two fingers over her lips before she could comment. “I also asked him what I should expect. I didn‟t know what it would be for me… what with my being a vampire.” I smiled halfheartedly. “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 our rarely changing temperaments, strong emotions can alter us in permanent ways. But he said I did not need to worry about that part—you had already altered me so completely.” This time my smile was more genuine. “I spoke to my brothers, too. 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 of trying to let me off the hook when I make mistakes.” She grabbed my chin and leaned forward so that our faces were inches apart. “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 at the old memory of her close call with a hunting vampire, but she didn‟t pause—“or when you said „I do‟ and I realized that, somehow, I 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.” I touched the frown line between her eyebrows. “I‟m making you unhappy now. I don‟t want to do that.”

“Then don‟t you be unhappy. That‟s the only thing that‟s wrong here.” My eyes tightened, and then I took a deep breath and nodded. “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 now.” She examined me and I gave her a smile. “Whatever makes me happy?” Her stomach growled at the same time that she asked. “You‟re hungry,” I said quickly. “So, why exactly did you decide to ruin Esme‟s pillows?” She asked, sitting up and shaking more down from her hair. I had already put on some loose khaki pants and was standing by the door, rumpling my hair. “I don‟t know if I decided to do anything last night,” I muttered. “We‟re just lucky it was the pillows and not you.” I inhaled deeply and then shook my head, to shaking off the dark thought. A very authentic-looking smile spread across my face or at least I tried. She got off the bed and I gasped. Her body looked deformed. I turned away and my hands balled up. “Do I look that hideous?” She asked, working to keep her tone light. My breath caught, but I didn‟t turn. I was horrified. How the hell did you agree to this? You knew something would go wrong! I thought. She left me standing there to go into the bathroom. Calm down. Breath in, Breath out. 10…, 9…, 8…, 7…, 6…, 5…, 4…, She groaned. What happened???? Oh I guess she realized how bad I’d hurt her. “Bella?” I asked.

“I‟ll never get this all out of my hair!” She pointed to her head, where it looked like a chicken was nesting. I started picking at the feathers. “You would be worried about your hair,” I mumbled, but I went to stand behind her, pulling out the feathers much more quickly. “How did you keep from laughing at this? I look ridiculous.” Ha! You seriously think I would laugh when you were hurt by a monster? And this is funnier that monster was me. YOUR HUSBAND! Who swore to protect you? I always break my promises. I should have let that mutt kill me when he had a chance. I’m sorry love. “This isn‟t going to work,” She sighed after a minute. “It‟s all dried in. I‟m going to have to try to wash it out.” She turned around, wrapping her warm arms around my waist. So beautiful must have more!! NO! But she’s your wife and you are her husband. I SAID NO! “Do you want to help me?” YES!!!!! The greedy monster within me yelled. “I‟d better find some food for you,” I said in a quiet voice, and I gently unwound her arms. She sighed as I disappeared, moving too fast. I had to keep her busy so she would ask me if we could make love again. She wore a white cotton dress that concealed the worst of the violet blotches, She padded off barefoot to where she probably smelled the eggs and bacon and cheddar cheese. I stood in front of the stove sliding her food on a light blue plate that was on the counter. “Here,” I said. I turned with a smile on my face and set the plate on a small tiled table. I sat down across from her. “I‟m not feeding you often enough.” I said. She swallowed and then said, “I was asleep. This is really good, by the way. Impressive for someone who doesn‟t eat.”

“Food Network,” I said, flashing my favorite crooked smile. “Where did the eggs come from?” “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 trailed off, his gaze fixed on a space above my head. She didn‟t respond. She ate everything I made for her. Point for the husband! “Thank you,” She told me. She leaned across the table to kiss me. I kissed her back automatically, and then stiffened and leaned away. She is hurt because of me. I reminded myself. She gritted her teeth. She didn‟t like that I pulled I away. “You aren‟t going to touch me again while we‟re here, are you?”She accused me. I hesitated, then half-smiled and raised his hand to stroke her cheek. See I can touch you. Not in the way, you would like me to touch you. My fingers lingered softly on my skin, and She couldn‟t help leaning my face into my palm. “You know that‟s not what I meant.” I sighed and dropped my hand. “I know. And you‟re right.” I paused, lifting my chin slightly. And then I spoke again with firm conviction. “I will not make love with you until you‟ve been changed. I will never hurt you again.” FUCK! I guess our honeymoon is over then.

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