|Two Blushing Pilgrims
Author: TwiCanonFodder PM
New Moon. Bella watches Romeo and Juliet. Edward watches Bella.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Edward & Bella - Words: 2,983 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 3 - Published: 05-01-10 - id: 5939074
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Twilight Canon Fodder Challenge
Title: Two Blushing Pilgrims
Contest Category: Rookie
Canon Type: Book
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and its related characters.
Summary: New Moon. Bella watches Romeo and Juliet. Edward watches Bella.
To see other entries in the Canon Fodder Challenge, please visit the C2 page:
"Let's go watch the Capulets and Montagues hack each other up, all right?"
"Your wish, my command."
Edward sat on the sofa, waiting, while Bella started the film. She returned to him once she'd fast-forward through the opening credits and positioned herself primly on the seat. He pulled her closer, placing a worn afghan across her legs to protect her from the chill, and they began watching the film.
A sunny Verona appeared on the screen accompanied by Laurence Olivier narrating the prologue in his low voice. Bella played with his fingers absent-mindedly, her focus remaining on the film, and he was reminded of the countless summer days they had spent in a similar fashion.
Introverts by nature, classic literature and old Hollywood films had been their primary pastimes during the hot summer. They had preferred their quiet intimacy to the social calendar of Forks which mainly consisted of the occasional kegger thrown by Mike Newton.
The weekends were particularly enjoyable since they had Charlie's little house all to themselves. Edward would wake Bella with kisses and caresses; she would playfully protest, complaining of bad breath and run off to the bathroom. After her morning activities, they would settle on the couch to watch an old movie. Edward would tell her about the first time he'd seen the particular film, and they'd spend the next few minutes discussing—and often debating—its finer points. They would watch the rest of the film in peace, pointing out their favorite scenes and reciting their favorite dialogue in whispers.
In these moments, there were no careening vans or rogue vampires.
There were no vampires. Or humans.
Only Edward and Bella.
Two silly, love-sick people who could just be.
A happy sigh distracted him from his contemplation. Edward glanced at the television and then returned his gaze to a starry-eyed Bella. He watched, amused, as her eyes brightened even more when Romeo saw Juliet for the first time. Bella held a deep affection for her favorite literary characters, Romeo included.
He loved to tease her about it.
"You know, I've never had much patience with Romeo," he began.
She stiffened. "What's wrong with Romeo?"
He grinned at her indignant tone. Despite their shared interest in literature, they often disagreed on the merits and drawbacks of specific works. He liked to mock her love of courtship novels, and she scoffed at his fondness for dark dystopias.
Recalling the delightful way her cheeks would flush during their banter, he continued to irk her.
"Well, first of all, he's in love with this Rosaline—don't you think it makes him seem a little fickle? And then, a few minutes after their wedding, he kills Juliet's cousin. That's not very brilliant. Mistake after mistake. Could he have destroyed his own happiness any more thoroughly?"
Bella didn't disappoint. Her face warmed, and she sighed in frustration. "Do you want me to watch this alone?"
"No. I'll mostly be watching you, anyway," he replied, as he traced tiny treble clefs on her skin. Goosebumps appeared on her arm, making her shiver. He grinned again, pleased at the way her body responded to him.
"Will you cry?" Her attachment to fictional characters often manifested itself in intense emotion.
"Probably—if I'm paying attention," she answered truthfully.
The emotional release of tears had eluded him for decades, the salt water perplexing him. Bella's tears, in particular, fascinated him because they intensified her scent. He remembered the first time he'd witnessed her cry. He had played her song on the piano, during her first visit to his house, and she'd responded with happy tears. Curious, he'd quickly tasted one of the drops.
Ambrosia had touched his lips.
His voice was firm when he spoke. "I won't distract you then."
Gently kissing her head, he settled against the sofa and began watching the film. He'd seen it once before, and he understood why it appealed to Bella. The interpretation was faithful to the original work, and the characters were innocent, their love sweet and simple.
The circumstances caused their downfall.
Edward knew she believed the same of their relationship. She didn't fault him for his bloodthirsty, beastly nature. She didn't doubt their oxymoronic relationship—a relationship between an animal and its food source, a predator and its prey.
For Bella, love transcended all.
In these quiet moments, with her steady heartbeat in his ears, he almost believed her.
"The balcony scene," Bella pointed out, bringing an end to his musing.
Edward smirked as Romeo stealthily climbed the tree to reach Juliet's balcony. The familiarity of the scene—the irony—didn't escape him.
"With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls," he whispered in her ear, mimicking the actor's lines.
Bella smiled shyly, her cheeks turning pink. He smiled in return, enjoying the predictability of her physical reactions. They helped to balance the unpredictability of her thoughts and temperament.
"If they do see thee, they will murder thee."
Her voice was hushed, but he heard the determination in her shy answer. She wanted to play. He decided to indulge her. "Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords," he crooned, attempting to make his voice sound as appealing as possible. "Look thou but sweet, and I am proof against their enmity."
Her heart hammered, but she persisted. "I would not for the world they saw thee here."
Edward smiled victoriously. "I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight."
They continued reciting the lines for the remainder of the scene. Recall wasn't an issue for a vampire with an eidetic memory. Bella, however, also knew the scene in its entirety. She had once told him that she liked to memorize the contents of her favorite plays, poems, and novels. She especially enjoyed Shakespeare's tragedies—Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet—and could quote her favorite scenes verbatim.
Bella would love college, he thought. He imagined her reading Nietzsche for the first time or learning about cognitive dissonance theory in a first year Psychology class. Bella would undoubtedly thrive in the new and challenging environment. Edward simply had to convince her to go. She was stubborn, but so was he. He decided to start bringing her college applications in the next few weeks.
"Will you play this for me tonight?"
Bella's expression was eager, as the film's love theme played in the background. Edward smiled. He had already included the piece on the CD he planned to gift her tonight, knowing she would appreciate the film's score. She didn't know that, though.
"Does that mean you're coming to my house tonight?" He countered smugly.
Bella narrowed her eyes in that adorable way before responding nonchalantly. "You know what? I'll just find the original online. It's probably much better than anything you could play anyway."
"Is that so?"
She nodded solemnly. "I hate to break it to you, but you're the William Hung of piano playing."
"Am I now?" He asked, his fingers skimming along her jaw.
She leaned into his hand. "Of course."
"But I seem to remember you praising my musical talent on more than one occasion," he said, continuing his ministrations.
"I lied," she replied, her breathing uneven.
His thumb moved to rub her bottom lip. "Why didn't you tell me before? It would have saved me a lot of embarrassment."
He laughed. "What was that?"
Bella didn't answer, choosing to grab his face to kiss him instead. Her lips moved softly against his for a moment before she pulled back with a satisfied smile. Confused, he tried to draw her lips back to his. Edward couldn't remember a time when she had been the first to pull back.
She shook her head. "Not until you tell me that you'll play the song for me."
"I never said I wouldn't."
"Please?" She asked with a pout, her eyes comically big.
Edward wanted to laugh at her pathetic attempt, but he nodded anyway; he could rarely refuse a direct request from her. Bella rewarded him with another kiss.
"Now stop distracting me. I'm trying to watch the movie." She tried to appear stern, but the effect was mitigated by the smile on her face.
Snuggling against him, Bella became engrossed in the film again. Edward entertained himself by playing with her hair until the next distraction arrived in the form of the morning after Romeo and Juliet's wedding night. The camera lingered predictably on the semi-nude bodies of the actors. Edward would have rolled his eyes at the scene, but Bella's sharp intake of breath diverted his attention. She turned to face him, looking coy and confident at once.
He kissed her this time.
Bella responded enthusiastically, characteristically. Her hands pulled at his hair while he placed his own hands on her waist, tightening his hold in an attempt to bring her closer. They kissed chastely, but fervently, alternating between long, languid kisses and short, sweet pecks—lazy August sunshine and the pitter patter of light rain.
Edward eventually moved his mouth to Bella's neck, her breathing becoming a priority. He left kisses across her skin, his nose following the path set by his lips. She hummed, shifting in his lap. The movement caused him to come into direct contact with her pulse. The skin there was thin, fragile. His teeth were sharp, close. Closer, and he could—
He stiffened, immediately closing his eyes.
He could still see her flushed skin in his mind, though. He could still hear her heart beating, its rhythm irregular. He could still smell her blood, her excitement intensifying its scent. He could almost taste—
Edward! You stayed, she had exclaimed. Her expression had been jubilant, her hair wild and tangled from the previous night's sleep. A haystack, he'd called it.
He focused intently on the memory, slowly relaxing his posture, and opened his eyes.
He smiled ruefully after swallowing the excess venom in his mouth. "Not enough."
"We're getting better at it," she said, squeezing his hand affectionately.
He gave her a dubious look.
Bella continued, unperturbed. "You didn't have to leave the room this time."
These moments served as loud alarm clocks, their discordant sounds waking Edward from an impossible dream. He was fooling himself if he thought he could have a normal relationship with Bella. He could watch a thousand romantic movies with her, whispering the lines seductively in her ear, but he could never be a normal boy for her.
He couldn't even kiss her properly.
Still, she consoled him.
Bella deserved someone who could love her freely, without guilt, yet the mere thought of separation made Edward tighten his arms around her. Bella wasn't simply his girlfriend; she was his mate. The bond between vampire mates was intense and instinctual. All-consuming. Animal.
Bella was human.
He could lose her to disease or accident. He would lose her. Eventually.
He thought of Jasper's accounts of vampires going wild with the need for retribution for their mates during the Southern wars and Carlisle's stories of Marcus from the Volturi. The death of a mate, from his understanding, left a vampire with two viable options: death or vengeance.
Edward would have no one to revenge, but himself.
O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.
He watched as Romeo died willingly and with the belief that he would join Juliet in death. The lovers' mutual decision to die for one another had always seemed more romantic than tragic to him. Romeo and Juliet had found a way to be together in the end, even if it was in death. Edward wondered if he'd be allowed the same courtesy if—when—Bella died. He recoiled from the thought just as Bella started sniffling. It was almost as if she knew the maudlin nature of his musing.
He decided to lighten the mood. It was Bella's birthday after all, and he didn't want her brooding unnecessarily. That was his job, he thought wryly.
"I'll admit, I do sort of envy him here," he said, deliberately keeping his voice light, as he dried her tears with a lock of her hair; their appeal was now lost to him.
"She's very pretty," came the bitter reply.
"I don't envy him the girl," Edward protested, making a disgusted noise. Bella would think about the girl's beauty. "Just the ease of the suicide. You humans have it so easy! All you have to do is throw down one tiny vial of plant extracts…" His mocking tone suddenly became serious; it was easier to think of death in abstract terms.
"It's something I had to think about once," he confessed. "I knew from Carlisle's experience that it wouldn't be simple. I'm not even sure how many ways Carlisle tried to kill himself in the beginning…after he realized what he'd become…" He trailed off again, thinking of the ballet studio, but hurried to correct himself after seeing the horrified look on Bella's face. "And he's clearly still in excellent health."
"What are you talking about?" She demanded. "What do you mean, this is something you had to think about once?"
"Last spring, when you were…nearly killed…" He struggled with his words; the unusual pallor of Bella's skin, as she lay unconscious on the studio floor, was at the forefront of his thoughts. "Of course I was trying to focus on finding you alive, but part of my mind was making contingency plans. Like I said, it's not as easy for me as it is for a human."
The memories were never far from his mind. He remembered precisely when he had read Bella's letter. I love you. Forgive me, she had said. He remembered his desperation to find her, nearly revealing his vampire nature at the airport. He remembered seeing the sadistic plans to torture Bella, to sever her limbs one by one, in the mind of James. No, Edward, don't, she'd screamed only to be thrown back into the mirrors.
He remembered almost being too late. Time had taunted Edward like a cartoon villain, twirling its moustache and cackling with glee. He'd had less than a day to be carefree and in love before it sped up, moving at an accelerated pace, while he struggled to keep up.
"Contingency plans?" She cut off his thoughts, her voice suspicious.
"Well, I wasn't going to live without you," he answered, rolling his eyes. "But I wasn't sure how to do it—I knew Emmett and Jasper would never help…so I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi." He thought of Marcus again. Surely he would sympathize.
"What is a Volturi?" She asked, her words containing more venom than his mouth.
"The Volturi are a family," he explained. "A very old, very powerful family of our kind. They are the closest thing our world has to a royal family, I suppose. Carlisle lived with them briefly in his early years, in Italy, before he settled in America—do you remember the story?"
"Of course I remember."
"Anyway, you don't irritate the Volturi. Not unless you want to die—or whatever it is we do."
Bella held his face in her hands, her eyes fierce. "You must never, never, never think of anything like that again! No matter what might ever happen to me, you are not allowed to hurt yourself!"
"I'll never put you in danger again, so it's a moot point." Although he spoke with an unquestionable determination, Edward recognized the implicit contradiction in his words. He was the one most likely to put Bella in danger. Edward had to fight himself more than any other enemy because he was the one who could kill Bella the most easily despite his single-minded desire to keep her alive. Their entire relationship rested uneasily on this paradox.
"Put me in danger!" She shrieked. "I thought we'd established that all the bad luck is my fault? How dare you even think like that?"
"What would you do, if the situation were reversed?"
"That's not the same thing," she evaded.
He chuckled. Both of them were so eager to sacrifice their lives for each other; they made quite the pair.
"What if something did happen to you? Would you want me to go off myself?" She challenged.
He cringed, no longer laughing. "I guess I see your point…a little. But what would I do without you?"
"Whatever you were doing before I came along and complicated your existence."
He recalled the bitter curmudgeon who dedicated himself to music and book-learning while existing on the periphery of his family. "You make that sound so easy."
"It should be. I'm not really that interesting."
Edward was about to argue, but he stopped himself. There was no use in bickering over a hypothetical case because it would remain a hypothetical case. He would ensure that.