Chapter 26

Title: Only Human (26/27) 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.

I hadn’t expected anything to change. I had assumed I would open my eyes to the same Chicago skyline I’d been looking at all along. And yet, when I opened my eyes this time, I wasn’t in Chicago. I wasn’t outside. I was in a room, a very familiar room, with a long table which had eight seats around it.

The Cullen’s’ dining room table. And I was sitting at the end of it, just where I’d left. I leapt from the seat before the idea had fully registered and went running into the living room. “Edward!” I cried. “Edward!” Before I could begin to fear that they’d gone away in my absence, he was there before me, disheveled and tense and beautiful. I threw myself into his arms even as he scooped me up, clutching me to his chest where I was happy to stay. “Oh, Edward! Edward, I was so scared; I didn’t know what I should do, what you would want…” I babbled, once again reduced to tears as I buried my head in his shoulder. He didn’t seem to hear much of anything, only continued to murmur again and again, “Thank God, thank God…” Within seconds, the room was full with the Cullen family. I heard them all, their cries of relief, their touches to my arms in greeting – they might have hugged me, had Edward shown any intention of letting me go. For now, I was too caught up to pay them much attention. “Let’s give them some time, shall we?” I heard Carlisle’s voice say over the chatter, quieting the room instantly. Edward took that as his cue to move us up the stairs, up to the bedroom that had for a long time been as much mine as his. “You came back,” he sighed into my hair as he pushed the door open and kicked it shut behind him. “You came back to me…” “I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to,” I sniffled; content to be held for as long as he refused to put me down. “I didn’t know how…” “How did you get back?” he asked as he finally set me down on the edge of the bed. He didn’t go far, lingering at my side. “I couldn’t see that part.” “I made another wish,” I said, unable to take my eyes off his face. “I guess that was what did it…or perhaps I was simply done there and the wish I made triggered something…I don’t know. One moment I was there, and the next, I was back in the dining room. …What do you mean, you couldn’t see that part?” He didn’t seem capable of not touching me now as his fingers trailed over my face, my neck. “Every moment you were in my past, new memories formed – not replacing the originals, but creating a new layer. I saw everything up to the point that I caught the flu…then everything went dark.” My breath caught in my throat. “You know everything that happened, then.” “Yes,” he nodded slowly. I waited for more, but he didn’t offer anything, and his eyes gave away nothing. “How…how do you feel about all of it?” I asked him, uncertain. It felt like he still wanted me, loved me, but I was afraid to take anything for granted.

He frowned thoughtfully, staring me down with golden eyes. “I feel…conflicted. Grateful. Jealous. Frightened.” “Frightened?” That surprised me. What did he have to be frightened of? His hands fell away from me as he looked down at his lap. “Yes, frightened. While I could see everything, I had no way of knowing for sure how you felt, how much of what you said was true…I couldn’t be sure if you would still want to come back to me, knowing…knowing what could have been.” I shook my head in disbelief. “You thought I would want to stay? Edward…I love you. Every part of you – past, present, and future. What I want hasn’t changed at all. I won’t settle for anything less than an eternity with you.” His eyes turned hopefully back to me. “I just…I couldn’t help fearing that you would prefer me human. That you would want to have the life and the family that I can’t offer you now, or that you would find it…physically preferable…” I laughed aloud in relief. He didn’t hate me; he’d been back here swept up in his own insecurities. “Oh, silly vampire. Don’t you know you haven’t changed at all?” “I should hope there have been a few changes in 90-odd years,” he said wryly. “A few,” I agreed as I sidled closer, “But all the things that matter are the same. Did you really think I could let go of everything I have here that easily? That everything we’ve survived to get to this point would be for nothing?” “I didn’t know what to think,” he admitted. His fingers trailed gently through my hair. “I had no way to ask you.” “I’m sorry,” I sighed, resting my head on his shoulder. “It must have been awful for you, watching that for months and not knowing…” “Actually,” he amended, “It was only a few days for me.”

I blinked, glancing up at his amused eyes. “But I was in the past for over two months.” “From my calculations, each day that you were gone lasted an hour for me. You were missing for a little less than three days.” I gaped. “Well…I guess that’s good, then…” “I think it’s good,” he sighed, pulling me against him. “I couldn’t have watched that for months…”

“Was it really that bad?” I asked, wrapping my arms as tightly as I could about him. He hesitated. “I don’t know how to describe it. I was…jealous of myself. I was viewing my own memories, but they were all new to me – I didn’t feel as though I’d already experienced these things and was reliving them. It felt like experiencing them through someone else entirely…and when I watched my past self falling in love with you, kissing you, touching you…I wanted it to be me, even though, technically…it was.” I winced. “I worried, at first, that I was…betraying you, somehow. But…the longer I was in the past, the more I felt like I was with you. I can’t make the separation in my mind anymore.” “It’s okay,” he said. “Now that I know how you feel, what you were thinking…I’m not afraid anymore.” “I’m glad,” I sighed. “I’m so relieved.” “Relieved? What were you afraid of?” “That you would hate me for not changing the past when I had the chance. For not saving you from getting sick and becoming a vampire…” He kissed my temple, smiling. “Who’s the silly one now? Don’t you know you never would have convinced me to change my plans? Furthermore, I wouldn’t want any of it changed. I should have let you know that much a long time ago, but your presence in my life changed everything. I’m happy I was changed, if only for the chance to meet you…and now, to know that I was being preserved for a time when I could be with you again…that brings the puzzle together perfectly.” “I’m amazed that I didn’t change anything…I was afraid I’d come back and find my whole future destroyed.” “You changed things in small ways,” he said. “The history is very subtly different, but only on my side. I didn’t remember much after my transformation, only your face and that I had loved you. Carlisle very carefully kept any thought of you from his mind, lest he give away the future to me. When I met you, after the bloodlust had passed somewhat, I realized you had the same face as the one I’d loved…I didn’t know what to make of it. It gave me more reason than ever to try to stay away from you, though – how could I drag you into my world? When I did give in to temptation, I didn’t dare say anything – it was crazy enough for you to accept me for what I was. I wasn’t about to tell you that I’d known you in 1918.” I frowned. “But then, shouldn’t you have understood what happened when I disappeared?” Edward shrugged. “That’s where it all gets a bit fuzzy, because I still have overlapping memories up until the point where you return. But I was still very worried – I may have known where you were, but I still had no way of knowing for sure that you would be safe or that you would come back.”

“I’m glad I’m back,” I murmured, trying to burrow deeper into his embrace. “I don’t regret the experience – I’ve learned so much from it. But it was scary, not knowing what would happen to me or how I might change things.” “You’re not sad at all?” he asked. He held my left hand and was looking pointedly at the sapphire engagement right still on my finger. “Not for myself, no,” I answered as I moved the ring to my right hand and pulled the other rings out of my pocket, putting them back in their proper place. “I’m sad that I couldn’t give you what you wanted right away – I’m sad you had to wait so long for me. But if anything, being in the past only made me love you more, seeing how much of your humanity is still there, even after all you’ve been through. I understand so much more now, and I’m ready. I’m ready for forever with you.” “I love you,” he sighed, brushing his lips over each of my hands – both wearing his rings. Then he placed his hands on either side of my face and kissed my lips. I melted, sinking happily into the familiar sensation. It was good to kiss him again without any secrets or fears tumbling around my head. Now it was just me and Edward, as it should be. “Don’t stop,” I whimpered as he pulled away, clutching at his shoulders. “It’s been so long for me. I want to feel you here with me.” “I don’t want to stop,” he breathed. His eyes were like melting caramel as he idly stroked my cheek, staring at me as if trying to memorize my face. “Even three days without you is far too many.” We fell as one back onto the bed as our lips met again. I savored his cool breath and flawlessly smooth skin as we kissed languidly, both of us drifting in the moment like river fronds flowing in the current. His body hovered strong and heavy above me, protective and possessive. I reached out for him, working my hands under his shirt as my lips clung to his. His soft hum of pleasure tickled my skin. “Touch me,” I begged, even as I ran my hands up his back, palming the marble skin. His hands answered my request, diving under my skirt to flatten over my thighs. His cool touch on my skin felt like a homecoming. I nearly wept. “More please,” I sighed, arching my body up to his. “Take it off.” Edward surprised me by pulling me up into a seated position and swiftly moved behind me to unfasten my buttons. He parted the garment slowly and then pushed it carefully off my shoulders, leaving a trail of soft kisses as he did so. I melted against him, dizzy with want, and his arms came around me from behind. “Do you have any idea what it does to me to undress you when you’re wearing these clothes?” he breathed into my ear. “I feel like a fumbling teenager again.”

“You were pretty good as a fumbling teenager,” I remarked, my breath hitching as his fingers trailed over the hint of cleavage revealed by my undergarments. “I really am grateful, you know,” he said as he maneuvered around to face me. “For everything you gave me by going back.” His eyes were limitless, gentle and sincere. I couldn’t help touching his face, stroking down the hard line of his jaw. “I love you so much,” I said, the words bubbling up unbidden. “I don’t think I tell you enough. It seems so obvious to me.” He pulled me back to him then, brushing kisses against my lips, across my face and down my neck. “Oh, my Isabella,” he murmured, still drawing our bodies closer. “How could I live one day without you?” I clung to him, letting him lift me up to push the dress from my hips. I used the moment to work open the buttons of his shirt. It was a sweet thrill to tug it from his shoulders and put my hands on the wide expanse of skin now exposed. He sighed in deep contentment, still dragging his drugging kisses over my shoulders. “Edward,” I pleaded, “I want more…” He seemed to read all my desires like words off a page, along with my impatience. I couldn’t help it – I’d gone nearly three months without him, months of constant anxiety, and I wanted to lose myself in him now, to regain that sense of utter happiness and peace that came from making love to Edward. Carefully, he lifted my chemise, baring my chest to his gaze. He touched me reverently, so gently and painstakingly tracing the curves of my breasts with his long, graceful fingers. I trembled, drunk on sensation. I felt him pull away from me, and when I opened my eyes, I saw that he had removed his clothing. I drank in the sight of him, too much perfection for mortal eyes. Maybe when I was like him, I would be able to take him all in at once – but I doubted it. I reached out for him, and he came back to me, bringing our bodies together. I shivered at the electrifying touch of our skin, feeling currents of pleasure already running through me at the simple contact. Surely no one else had ever felt quite like this; surely no one had ever had such a connection with another person before… Our eyes met, and then he was lowering me to the bed, pressing my body back with his own. I waited breathlessly as his hands trailed down my body, ghosting over my breasts and my waist before settling on the tapes of my drawers. He unfastened them with easy, graceful flicks of his fingers and pulled the garment away, leaving us both bare. His hips settled between my thighs, his eyes all the while trained on mine, saying everything that there simply weren’t words to say. I felt his hand trail up my thigh and then slip between my legs, parting my folds and stroking delicately.

I whimpered his name and clutched his shoulders. His eyes locked on mine, and that was all it took for him to know I was ready. My name tumbled off his beautiful lips as he pushed inside me, even as I moaned helplessly in response. It felt so good to have him inside me once again, to feel down to my bones that he was mine and that it would forever be this way. I could almost see the years stretching out in front of us, an eternity of bliss. Edward pulled back, then eased into me again slowly, torturously. His arms seemed to tremble with the effort it took him to hold back, and though making love to Edward was still the best thing I’d ever felt, I looked forward to the time when he wouldn’t have to restrain himself with me. He thrust into me once more, and I lost the ability to focus on anything but his burning eyes and the sensations sweeping under my skin. He was so, so beautiful that it always took my breath away – the way his jaw would clench, his fingers fisting in the sheets, his unnecessary breath ragged, his eyes half-closed with pleasure…and I had privilege of knowing I was the only one to ever see him this way, the only one who ever would. And the things he made me feel were beyond compare. As our bodies moved together, heat shot through my nerves, through my blood, and I couldn’t get enough. It made me dizzy, made my head spin, and I had to hold tightly to Edward to stay afloat. Edward began to move faster when he could tell I was close, and I tried to take in everything – the unbearable friction where we were joined, the chilling brush of his skin against mine, his breath on my neck as his head dropped to my shoulder, his lips moving against my skin as he whispered my name. He shifted his angle just enough that he brushed my clit as he moved, and that little change was all it took to set me off. The warmth and pleasure broke free like a river bursting from a dam and flooded my body. Every single nerve and muscle reacted, sharing in the bliss, and as I clenched down around Edward, he cried out my name and joined me. We were both still shaking as he moved himself off me and pulled me into his arms. My mind was hazy, but he somehow thought to pull the blankets up over us – though I noticed he’d managed to tear some holes into the sheets beneath us. I yawned deeply in spite of myself as I settled into Edward’s embrace, and my eyes closed involuntarily. I felt him chuckle. “You haven’t slept properly in several days, have you? You should rest now.” “Mmm…but the others will want to know about it…and there’s still more to talk about…” Despite my protests, I felt myself drifting away already. “It can wait. We have forever, after all.” I smiled. “That reminds me. I want you to change me soon.” For the first time, he didn’t tense at the mention of it. “Whenever you’re ready.”

“It won’t be long,” I promised both him and myself. “Just need to do a few things first…” “I’ll be ready, too, then,” he said, pressing a kiss to the top of my head. It was the most beautiful promise he’d ever made me, and I knew he would keep it.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful