Chapter 15

Title: Only Human (15/27) Author: Amethyst Jackson Rating: M/NC-17 Category: Drama, Angst, Romance Pairing: Edward/Bella Summary: A wish sends Bella back in time to Chicago, 1918, and to a human Edward. Disclaimer: All this genius belongs to Stephanie Meyer. I’m just having a little fun. A/N: A whole chapter of vampire! Edward.

The fear was clear in Bella’s eyes as she flew into my arms. I couldn’t believe I had let this happen. I should never have let her go out alone, should never have introduced her to Norman. To my

knowledge, he’d never forced himself upon a woman, but I wouldn’t put him past trying. He was never getting his hands on my Bella, never. Not if I had to watch her every second of the day…
I paced restlessly through the trees that I hadn’t left since Bella had disappeared hours ago. From my count, a week had passed in 1918…I didn’t know why the days seemed to pass in hours for me, but it wasn’t especially comforting. It meant that every minute was full of possible new dangers for Bella…and I couldn’t do a thing about them. My past self loved her as much as I did, that was for certain – even the memories of the emotions were enough to leave me breathless at times. I would defend her furiously…but I was human in that time, just as she was, and we were both so vulnerable. How could I protect her when I was so weak? And the worst part was that the human version of me was like all humans – naïve and in denial. I didn’t believe anything could happen to me, I believed I was strong enough – and I was so wrong. “Edward, dear, you can’t keep Bella locked in the house forever,” my mother scolded me, shooing

me down the stairs. “Take her out, entertain her.” I stopped dead outside the parlor, watching her. She was reading a book, trying to salvage what little breeze would come through the windows. I watched the line of sweat trickle down her smooth neck; the sight swamped me with heat, and suddenly I was in desperate need of relief…
I had to laugh at myself, overwhelmed by typical human hormones. I’d never been interested in a girl that way before, and I was growing more confused by the day. The naivety was…refreshing, in a way. Swimming. I snorted. I’d disguised it to my mother as a way to entertain Bella, like she’d wanted, but really, it was an excuse to see her half-naked, whether I wanted to admit it to myself or not. It worked, too, but of course it would. Bella had never been one for holding back; even by the constraints of her time…she could do all sorts of damage in mine. Goodness, would she go that far with my past self? I buried my face in my hands and shook my head. Of course she would, if I wanted it. And I definitely wanted it. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that – of course, I could feel my past self’s intense desire for her, the need for some gratification – but I wasn’t sure how I could watch Bella with my past self in an act so intimate… “These are your memories,” I reminded myself aloud, trying to drill it into my head. “She’s with you so it’s ridiculous to be jealous.” “No shit, Sherlock,” Emmett’s voice called from the house. I growled in frustration; how had I not realized how loud I was being? I sighed to myself and slumped down next to my usual tree. Perhaps I should just give up on processing all this and give in to my role as a spectator. It wasn’t as if I could actually change anything that was occurring in the past, so I might as well try to stay calm about it all, if not enjoy it.

I could feel my eyes widening as she came out of the water. Her cotton shift clung like a second skin to her body, outlining the perfect curves of her breasts and hips. I could see clearly the dark stains of her nipples, the patch of hair between her legs. She might as well have been naked – not that I would have been complaining if she were. I jerked my eyes away from her, but the damage had been done. I would never, ever be able to erase that image from my mind. Bella was…perfect. Everything a woman ought to be – soft and curvy and lush. My mind went without permission to the thought of our naked bodies pressing together, how her warm, downy skin would feel against mine… In the midst of this very thought, I felt Bella barreling into me, and then suddenly I was on the ground, with all of her pressed against me, just like I’d been dreaming of. It was all too much to bear. Looking into her eyes, I could see exactly what I wanted – desire. Our bare legs were tangled together; her hands rested on my chest. There was a subtle shift of her body with every breath she took, and that little friction drove me mad. And her hips were dangerously hot over mine. If we were naked, it would take only a small movement to…
“Bella,” I groaned, suddenly in motion. This was pure instinct that drove me to pin her beneath

me and crush my mouth to hers; I didn’t think I could stop myself. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to mind – her soft lips responded urgently while her fingers dug into my scalp and her body surged upward to meet mine. I moaned helplessly as our tongues tangled. Nothing, nothing had ever felt this good. I followed a rivulet of water down her neck with my tongue, so reminiscent of the line of sweat that had captivated me earlier. My hands fell over her hips and her thighs, caressing everywhere I could, though I did not dare to touch the places that tempted me most – her soft breasts or the heated place between her legs that my hips rocked compulsively into…
“Edward!” she moaned, clutching me tighter, and suddenly everything came into sharp focus.

This was Bella, my Bella, and I was rolling around with her on the ground like some kind of animal. She deserved better. I had to give her better. She gave a whine of protest, but I couldn’t look at her until I got myself under control. “I’m sorry, Bella, I can’t,” I told her, wishing I could marry her this instant and make her mine again and again.
“Why?” Her voice was hurt, and I mentally kicked myself. I should have never taken things so far. “I love you too much, Bella. I want to do right by you.”

Her eyes were wide, as deep and limitless as the night sky, while she stared back at me. I waited breathless, terrified. Surely I hadn’t misunderstood everything between us? Her hand reached out to my face, soothing away my fears. “I love you, Edward.”

My chest felt too full of happiness; it threatened to burst. Suddenly a bright and beautiful future stretched out before me in a million colorful possibilities, and I was helpless not to reach for it. I clutched her hands as if that would keep her here with me forever.
“Say you’ll wait for me, Bella,” I begged, watching her startled face carefully for a reaction. “I’m

going to quit school, get a job – I’m going to establish myself so I can take care of you. Say you’ll be there, Bella, please. Say you’ll marry me one day.” If the wait for her first answer was difficult, the wait for this one was excruciating.
“Yes. Yes, I will marry you one day.” I stared, stunned, into the dark forest, struggling to fit the memory into place. Eventually, my emotions settled into an unexpected feeling of gratitude. Bella was doing all this because she loved me – then and now. I knew how much it had cost her to marry me in our time, to give away everything she’d ever expected to have. Now she was giving me what I’d always wanted, back in the time when it meant the most. Though it couldn’t last – and she must know that – she was giving my past self all the happiness possible before my life turned forever toward the darkness. She was giving me the human life I’d always wanted…and I was thankful. Alice convinced me to take a break from my “memory-stalking”, as she called it, to hunt. I hadn’t fed since halfway through the honeymoon when we’d stopped in Romania…Bella thought it would be funny to visit the land of Dracula. I smiled at the memory of her wearing those ridiculous plastic fangs they sold to tourists. “If that’s what you’ll look like as a vampire, I think we need to reconsider.”

She moved to punch me in the shoulder and then pulled back, rethinking. “I knew I should have left you at the altar,” she teased.
“Silly, it wouldn’t have worked. I would have caught up with you in no time and dragged you

I sighed to myself, running aimlessly without paying much attention to the hunt. When I let myself think freely, it became all too apparent how much I really missed Bella. She hadn’t yet been gone for twenty-four hours, but it felt like forever with the new memories constantly flying through my head. How many more hours until she was with me again? I pushed my body as fast as it would go, running well into the morning. When I finally stopped, I was hours from home. I took the opportunity to hunt, to shut down everything but my instincts. It was a welcome reprieve. And when I returned to my senses, I tried to keep ignoring the memories as I ran back – but they flitted over my mind like little hummingbirds, always present in my subconscious. It was okay; the past was being rather uneventful. When I made it home, I realized the exercise had helped. My mind felt less cluttered; I could face the past again.

… “You need a ring,” I said, surveying her unadorned left hand where I held it in mine. Her

fingers curled around my hand, squeezing lightly. Bella shook her head, smiling, but it was a faraway smile, as if remembering something that amused her, something which I was not privy to. “That’s not important.”
“Of course it is,” I frowned. “I want the whole world to know you’re mine.” “I know I’m yours,” Bella said, kissing me softly. “That’s all that matters.” …

… “Tell me again.”

She laughed. “I love you.”
“That’s all I’ll ever need.” …

… “You’ve asked her, haven’t you?” My mother’s eyes watched me knowingly. “Yes. Of course I have. How could I risk letting her slip away from me?” “Your father won’t like it. You know he has plans for you.” “Father doesn’t have to like it. He’s not the one who has to live his plans. What do you think

about it?” Elizabeth Masen smiled softly. “I think she’s exactly what you need. I’m happy for you. But I don’t envy you breaking the news to your father.” …

… “Edward, what in heaven’s name has gotten into you? Quitting school? What about university,

law school? Just what do you think you’re going to do with your life without an education of some sort? Work in a factory?” My father paced furiously behind his desk as he spoke. I sat in the chair on the other side of it, waiting for him to finish.
“I’ll work wherever I have to,” I replied. “Father…I don’t know exactly what I want to do. But I’m

fairly certain I don’t want to become a lawyer. And I know for a fact that I don’t want to wait for years to marry Bella.” My father finally stopped in his tracks, staring at me in disbelief. “You…intend to marry her?”

“I’ve asked her, and she’s accepted. You’re not opposed, are you? I thought you liked her.”

He rubbed his forehead wearily. “I do like her. But that doesn’t change the fact that she has no family, nothing to her name –“
“That’s hardly her fault,” I snapped. “No, no, of course it’s not, it’s just…you’re young, Edward. You have no idea the kind of

challenges life can bring. You should think carefully about how well-equipped you are to meet those challenges, about the kind of woman you want at your side.”
“But I have,” I argued. “I never thought about those things until she came along and made me

want to take my life seriously instead of merely going along with the established plan.” My father dropped into his desk chair, a sure sign of concession. “You can be as stubborn as your mother when you set your mind to it, so I’m not going to bother arguing with you any longer. But will you at least compromise with me?”
“Maybe,” I said warily, watching my father tap his fingers on the dark wood of his desk. He only

did that when he was plotting something.
“Don’t make any final decisions right now. Try working in a law firm, see if you like it. I’m sure

one of my friends would be happy to employ you as some sort of clerk. You might find you like it. And if you do, you can go back to school.”
“And what about Bella?” I asked. She was my primary concern; everything else was peripheral. “Bella can stay here as long as she likes, of course. We won’t send her out on the streets.” “Okay,” I sighed, relieved. “I agree to your compromise.” I sat stunned in silence. I’d always wondered what I was doing in Chicago in September of 1918 when I should have been in school. I’d never been able to find an answer in my memories…and now I knew. I was there for Bella. In the end, I could only laugh. I wondered if she realized she was making our destiny with every second she spent in the past.

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