Author: ericastwilight PM
Sustenance, beauty and decadence in one package. With the victim chosen it's time for the hunt. ExB One-shotRated: Fiction M - English - Suspense - Edward & Bella - Words: 9,720 - Reviews: 67 - Favs: 126 - Follows: 64 - Published: 10-31-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7511369
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: This got in my head and so I started writing it. It's unbetaed (sorry!), I had to post it since I wasn't sure when I'd have a chance to have internet this week again. Enjoy.
Summary: Sustenance, beauty and decadence in one package. With the victim chosen it's time for the hunt.
Bella slammed her car door closed but sighed when she realized her bag strap was caught. Cursing under her breath, she tugged to release herself. A chuckle from somewhere behind alerted her to another presence. She stilled for a moment, willing the flush of embarrassment to subside.
Edward watched as the petite woman struggled to tug her strap loose. He smiled as she continued to curse; he could offer his assistance, but instead, chose to watch. People-watching was a favorite activity of his – humans were an endless source of entertainment. The star of show that evening was pretty, with long dark hair and an enticing blush on her cheeks.
Not that her looks mattered, being attractive wouldn't save her; only her innocence would. If she was an innocent, that was. He smiled as the wind changed direction, bringing her aroma toward him. The second her scent invaded his senses, his mouth watered, his body tensed for the attack, and the tiny, iron café table he watched from, started to crumble in his hands.
It was his turn to curse. Not only for his lack of control but for the woman that still had yet to enter the café. If she continued to struggle, he was positive he'd attack. It no longer mattered if she was good or not, he'd have every drop of her encompassing blood for himself by the end of the night.
He managed to will his body to relax, releasing finger by finger from the mangled metal beneath him. Cringing, he looked away from his little snack and made sure no one had seen the destruction. His eyes then looked for any video cameras in the area, and when he found none, he worked out what to do.
Though there was no one else sitting outside, someone was bound to notice him removing a bolted down table. Weighing his options, he opted for leaving the area immediately. No one would see that he'd been the one to destroy the table. His fingers crushed and removed all evidence that made it seem as if someone had done the damage with his or her bare hand.
Once done, he stood up with his still prop coffee drink and snuck inside the building. He watched as the woman kicked the tire of her car, still cursing at it. Amused, Edward watched as she straightened up, chin held high as if nothing had happened. Sitting as far as he could from anybody else, he listened for her thoughts as she entered.
There was none.
It was strange, to say the least. The closest he'd ever been to not hearing a person's thoughts was a human male he'd met in Chicago. His thoughts hadn't been completely closed to him, it only seemed to take much more time to find them, and when Edward had, it felt as he worked through a dense fog.
But from the tiny woman with the cursed blood, he hadn't heard a single thought. Though it wasn't enough to save her, it may be enough to savor her. Edward hadn't had a quiet meal in his current existence, since he read every thought of every sentient being within a few miles.
It wasn't something he did often, play with his food. He used to when he first decided to hunt down humans, bypassing the innocents and destroying those that were truly evil. He taunted his meals as they had done with their victims. It had lost its taste when his sire Carlisle, had compared him to them. His victims were monsters that preyed on the innocent, and he eradicated them. He was nothing like them.
As the woman ordered her warm drink, he took the time to see all of her. She would reach his chin he estimated, but she had incredibly long legs for her height. It was hard to tell if she had nice curves since most of them were hidden beneath a large jacket that nearly swallowed her.
She plopped ungracefully into a booth across the room from Edward, releasing a heavy sigh and smile. He couldn't decipher why she appeared so content suddenly. Only that the scent of the café seemed to appeal to her. With her eyes closed, she took in a few deep breaths and her lips twitched slowly to a smile.
He'd been mistaken since he'd only considered her pretty at first. She was beautiful. The smile that graced her face was lovely and had him smiling unknowingly; a first in a long time for Edward. He wished he knew what she was thinking.
Bella waited for her drink, breathing in the wonderful aroma of chocolate, coffee and another sweet scent that filled the air. It was incredibly warm, so she removed her dad's jacket. It was the last thing she had of his. Carefully, she laid it beside her, willing the tears away. She blamed herself for what happened to him, he was after all protecting her from those that tried to hurt her.
To pull her from her sad thoughts, she examined the café, looking at the dark brick that was crumbled in places, the shelves lined with books, trinkets and old black and white photos of the city. She found it to her taste, and wondered if she'd find something amongst the leather bindings that she'd love to read.
With a soft sigh, she rose from her table when her name was called by the barista. It was on the way back to her table that she felt the nudge of someone watching her closely. With another smile on her lips, she pulled out her cell phone to send a text to one of the few people she trusted.
After it was sent, she promptly removed the battery of her cell phone beneath the table, tossing the pieces in her purse. It was best to make sure no one could follow her for the rest of her trip. She wouldn't risk their lives should those threatening her found them, even if a part of her craved for someone to talk to.
Edward had found out the woman's name— Bella. There was something strange about the woman that he'd watched since her arrival. After she'd sent someone a message, she had dismantled her phone, and while she sipped slowly on her hot chocolate, she kept her eyes closed, listening to the music that played through the little black buds in her ears. She almost looked as if she was trying to separate herself from the world around her.
Though she couldn't see him, he thought she was very much aware of him and everyone around her. When she had passed his table, he did his best not to look at her. But the pulse beneath her skin at her neck called to him, beckoned him to lick and suck on. She hadn't acknowledged him, but she had gasped softly when his thoughts turned to her.
He tried to talk himself out of it, to kill her would mean going against all he'd ever believed in. Feeding only on those who hurt others was the only justification to his immortal existence. Yet, he was willing to undo all that he'd done so that he could quench his blood lust on an innocent.
Even as he sat less than one hundred feet from her, he struggled to maintain his control. There were thirteen other people within the café. It would be a massacre and the monster within him reasoned that every drop of her blood would be worth the loss of a thousand more lives.
Edward fought against the urge to strike the man in the booth beside him, who screamed lurid thoughts in his mind. His eyes focused on the young woman that Edward himself lusted after, though for other reasons.
Her eyes snapped open, meeting the man's gaze who had fantasized about her. Edward watched as she cocked her head to one side and smirked. She rose from her seat, pulling her bag on her shoulder and passing the man's table.
The blue-eyed, dirty blond man smiled up at her as she bent and whispered in his ear, "Not even in your dreams." Then his thoughts abruptly stopped and his eyes seemed to glaze over. She smiled over her shoulder, and for a nanosecond, Edward's crimson eyes beneath his sunglasses met hers. She walked out the door, the chime of the bell over it signaling her departure.
Edward sat there stunned at the strange turn of events. He'd heard from others like him that had come across humans with extraordinary powers. They were nowhere near the power level of a vampire, but enough to get attention from the wrong group of vampires.
He hadn't encountered one capable of doing what she'd done to the man, who still sat as if hypnotized. It wasn't until she'd driven away that the man shook the fog from his mind. Edward stood suddenly, tossing his useless drink in the trash and went after who would soon be his.
Bella tapped her fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of the song she was listening to. She still felt the shiver of danger as it ran up and down her spine. She had left it behind; the man she compelled at the café would've tried to follow her. Though she couldn't see what he intended, it was best to discourage him, just in case. There was only one person that had realized what she'd done and she sure he wouldn't say a word.
Running as fast as he could, Edward moved through the trees that lined the highway. The nice and new red Charger she drove hugged the curves of the road that lay ahead of him. The heart within it beat rapidly as she sang along to the music on her stereo.
Edward ran faster, pumped his legs to move harder to get to his destination. A mile ahead was a long straight stretch of road. He slowed down to a walk and stepped out near the road. Kicking up some dirt, he scuffed up his boots and the hem of jeans to appear that he'd been walking for hours.
The whir of the engine alerted him to her approach. She slowed considerably when he stuck out his hand and thumb. He turned when the car was closer, lifting his head enough for her to see him, to lure her in. Carefully keeping his thoughts from turning toward the lustful monster within him, he gave a small smile.
It was when her eyes met his that he questioned who the prey was. And as she passed him, only offering a tiny smile, he knew the game had just begun.
It was three days before Edward caught up with Bella. He'd found her car in the parking lot of a hotel in a small coastal town in Washington. The red neon lights that flashed overhead crackled with energy as Edward tried to determine what room she was in.
His nostrils flared when he caught her scent in the air, following it up a short flight of stairs and it concentrated in front of a blue door with 14B on it. From inside, he heard the sound of water running— a shower. There was a soft voice that hummed a sad tune inside.
Edward raised his hand, resting it on the doorknob of her room. Inside of him, his conscious and monster battled for supremacy. The metal dented and shuddered beneath his shaking hands. He was far from steady.
In all his existence, he had managed not to kill on innocent. Not one, even in his newborn phase of his vampirc existence. Yet, there he was, about to feed upon a woman only because her blood called to him like no other. His forehead hit the wooden, insignificant door twice during the war that continued to rage.
As she turned the water faucets she heard the knock at her door. "Just a minute," Bella said as she stepped out of the shower. "You guys were fast!" She had ordered some food only twenty minutes earlier and had been promised it in half an hour.
"Yes, ma'am," a sinfully smooth voice said from other side of the door.
She smiled to herself and quickly pulled on her robe. Shaking her hair out a little, she stepped into a pair of black panties. "Mmm, can't wait for my pizza."
Pizza? Edward thought, wishing he had taken the time to check out the local restaurants. He searched the thoughts of one of the other hotel occupants. Inside the hotel rooms were flyers for a local delivery of a few different restaurants that delivered. There was only one pizza place listed.
"Louie's Pizza is the best, ma'am," he said, hoping it would be enough to have her open the door. Not the door would stop him, but it had in a way served as a deterrent since his arrival.
The door flew open suddenly, Bella stood in front of him in a very translucent robe that stuck to her wet skin in places. His eyes couldn't help but roam over her body.
"It's too bad I ordered Chinese," she cooed softly.
Edward's lip curled over his teeth, her scent had intensified from her hot shower. "What?" he asked dizzily.
"I said I ordered Chinese." She cocked an eyebrow and he noticed that her dark brown eyes seemed to be mocking him. "You don't look like the typical delivery man, but then again, you're not here to deliver anything." He didn't know what compelled him to walk inside, but he seemed unable to stop himself.
Edward had no idea what stopped him from attacking her after the door closed behind him. He watched as one of her hands slid from around her neck, across a lovely collarbone and along the lapel of her robe. Desire struck him hard and fiercely as he stepped closer. Her nipples showed that she was aroused as he was.
"I'll scream," she said as she stepped back, watching him.
"I hope so," he murmured, his eyes still mesmerized by her hand that curled around her hip.
She shook her head, letting the robe fall from her graceful, white shoulders. Edward's mouth watered for completely different reasons than before. His erection hardened to the point that his zipper had started to fail.
She was exquisite. Small, high round breasts tipped with tiny pink nipples that hardened under his gaze. Her torso was lean and tapered to shapely hips perfect for his hands to grab hold of.
"Typical male reaction, even for a vampire," she purred, her pupils dilating slightly, "thinking with his dick."
Before he could react to her strange words, she hissed and lunged. Blackness engulfed him before he could even whisper her name.
The soft purr of the fan whirred above Edward, his eyelids heavy as if he was exhausted. It wasn't possible for him to be tired, but he felt as if his entire body was numb. It was a foreign feeling, not even when he fasted for months had he felt that way.
His hands were above his head, as pain flashed behind his eyes. White light punctuated the pain, followed by a series of black spots that danced in his vision. Testing his strength, he opened one eye, long enough to cause the pain to increase. He groaned in protest, forcing his eyes closed again.
"Easy now," a soft voice said from his left side. "The first time usually hurts the most." A warm, silky hand touched Edward's forehead, moving aside his hair.
"Where am I?"
"We're still at the hotel," the voice offered. Edward realized it was female, and instantly, all the memories of the past few days ran through his mind at once. He groaned at the pain and speed of his thoughts.
It was Bella, who had a heartbeat, supernatural gifts, and somehow, the power to subdue him. The bed that he lay upon moved slightly as if she'd been lying beside him. That thought alone had his body reacting violently. He growled and tried to sit up.
"You can try to escape, but it won't do you any good," she said as she moved about the room. "Those handcuffs were created specifically to imprison your kind."
He stilled for a moment. A hunter? There had been rumors of human hunters that had gained advantages over vampires, advances in technology finally giving them the tools needed to kill a vampire. Of course, if they managed to capture one which wasn't often. It angered Edward to no end that he'd been lured into the human's trap.
It all made sense to him. At the café, she had scented him in the air. It was for him that she showed her power and the look she'd given him over the shoulder was like a cat playing with her food.
She couldn't be human.
"Very good," she murmured softly against his ear. He groaned unable to keep his reaction to her closeness to himself. Bella laughed. "My, my. Someone seems tense." Edward growled out a denial that died on his lips when he felt the flick of her tongue on his earlobe.
She laughed and whispered in his ear to open his eyes. When he did, the pain had subsided as his gaze met hers as she hovered over him. "Hello," she murmured.
"What are you?"
"Special." She grinned.
"You're awfully cocky," he snarled.
She sighed, a sad smile gracing her full lips. "I suppose whatever you have to tell yourself that would justify my murder."
He scowled and forced his gaze to remain on her. "Who are you?" he asked, while his fingers tested the joints of the cuffs around his wrists.
"Come now," she said playfully, lifting the hem of her robe and straddling his torso. "You already know that." His body was cold and rigid beneath her warm and soft one. "I figured it was time you told me your name."
His hands itched to touch her, a first for him. Usually, sex seemed distasteful, due to the majority of those he hunted. Their sick thoughts and lust for rape did nothing for him. But having Bella so close, warm and with blood beneath the surface made him want.
"My name is Isabella, but my friends call me Bella," she said, bending forward, her dark hair curtaining around his face. "I've been hunted for some time." Her hands touched either side of his face, her scent forcing him to swallow the venom that coated his tongue. "But I must say you are the first that I ever wanted to allow to catch me."
"Edward is my name," he offered, raising his mouth to hers. "Please." He'd never begged for anything in his life, yet he craved to feel the texture of her lips on his own. She smiled against his mouth and moaned when she complied with his wishes. Edward groaned, struggling against the binds that held him.
At first, the softness surprised him, the warmth unmanned him and the slide of her tongue made his control snap. He growled, bucking his hips toward the heat of hers. She moaned and captured his bottom lip between hers.
"Edward," she gasped, licking his lip twice before slipping her tongue inside his mouth. He accepted her easily, groaning with desperation and need.
Damn, Bella thought to herself. She moaned and tried to come to her senses, she'd never felt the type of heat that coursed through her. She gave in to their mutual desire, and let him explore her mouth and teeth. His tongue focused on the points of her incisors, giving him pause.
Internally, she smiled as she pulled away. When her eyes met his obsidian ones, she could see the question in his eyes. "I'm more like the traditional vampires of lore."
"That's not possible," he said, his eyes narrowing.
"Says the fucking vampire," she hissed as she jumped to her feet and onto the floor. Edward groaned in protest, his brown, red-tipped hair flopping over his forehead. He growled as his eyes stayed on her. "I have a beating heart, blood pumping through my body, but all the same gifts of a cold one. I'm not some fucked up wanna-be-vampire. I am one, just different."
"I've never met someone like you," he spat, thrashing against the handcuffs. "Release me!"
"Stop that and I'll explain," she said, cocking an eyebrow. When he stopped, she sat on the bed beside him. "I have no idea exactly what I am. Only that I was created by a group of scientists as a weapon against your kind."
His eyes widened at her words. "Relax," she said softly, touching his face again. "If I had meant to kill you, I would've by now. I escaped them."
"What are you going to do with me?"
"It depends if you're strong enough," she murmured.
"Strong enough for what?"
"To resist," she replied, sighing softly. It was then that Edward could see something dark in her eyes. "So that you may stay with me." He understood her then. It was a lonely existence when one traveled alone.
"I wanted you from the first time I saw you. And a friend had a vision of the two of us." She pushed back his hair and kissed his lips softly. "It could end in three different ways."
Another psychic vampire? Edward thought. What were the chances? "What ways?"
"I could die by your hands." And immediately, Edward dismissed it. He could resist, it would be the hardest thing he'd ever done though. "I destroy you." She smiled sadly. "I take a vampire's senses away, giving me the time to kill them." And he understood what she meant that she was a weapon against his kind. Who could defend themselves against that? "The last is that we remain lifetime companions."
Edward could see every possibility come true, but since his departure from his sire, he had wished for something more. Someone that could grow to love him as Esme loved Carlisle. Hadn't he thought her pretty when he'd first seen her? Hadn't he resisted the call of her blood when he'd first breathed her in? All that had to mean something, that there was a reason she was still alive.
"What do I have to do?"
"Acclimate to my blood," she murmured. "And I'd like to try something. It would help you from wanting to hurt me." Her fingers ran over his jugular, making him swallow compulsively. "Would you be willing to try?" When she climbed back on him, he would've agreed to his own destruction to have what she offered.
He nodded and groaned as her hips rocked over his erection. "I won't hurt you," she whispered against his neck. The scent of her drove his bloodlust and desire for her body into overdrive. He simply wanted to devour all of her. Her mouth closed over where his pulse would throb if he had one. Despite the lack blood, the area was still sensitive.
When her tongue laved his skin his hands clenched into fists, frustration collided violently with his desire. "Not yet, Edward," she said. "You're not ready for me to release you yet." He felt the point of one of her fangs and groaned. His frustration died when her fingers curled around his, her body stretched above him. Her breasts hugged his unyielding body with perfection, her hips cradling his erection.
At the point of penetration, he hissed as euphoria engulfed him as she bit and lapped at him. She was the perfect weapon. Any vampire would line up willingly to feel what he felt at the moment. Her hips moved over his rhythmically and though his desire wanted her in that way, it was the feel of her feeding on him that brought him into a blinding climax. He roared and his hips bucked against hers over and over again.
Bella moaned as she forced her mouth away from his neck, and from the look in Edward's eyes he wouldn't object if she tore limb from limb. She had bitten various vampires since her escape from the compound, but it was only to stun them enough to kill. Never had she reacted to a bite in such a way, then again she hadn't felt the level of desire she felt for Edward ever.
She pierced her wrist, unable to trust him yet to feeding from her neck. It didn't help that she had no clue what would happen if he drained her. In theory, she should live, but it was best to safe. Though Edward still appeared to be lost in the sexual haze that had come upon him, his eyes followed her every movement.
He licked his lips as she held up her wrist above them. In his willingness to take her blood, he showed a level of trust that warmed her heart. She told him that she was a weapon created to destroy his kind, yet he was willing to feed on her blood. Thankfully, her blood might have been a lure but it was not venomous to his kind. But it did have a rather potent affect on them, like her bite of her teeth.
Edward's throat felt as if it was on fire, the crimson color of her blood contrasted against her beautiful pale skin. He felt the sting of her bite on his neck as it started to heal. Waiting for her to make her move, his eyes remained on hers.
She smiled as he protested when she moved her hand farther away. "I will not beg for it," he said softly. "You must give it to me willingly."
With a nod she brushed her lips over his ear and whispered, "You'll never have to beg."
Her words were lost when her blood touched his lips. His eyes rolled into the back of his head. Pure bliss burst across his tongue as her blood flowed to soothe his dry, cracked throat. When she moaned his eyes snapped open to see hers heavy with desire once again. "Bite," she gasped.
Her flesh gave easily to his teeth, and with it came a richer flow of blood. Vampires the world wide would scour the Earth for her if they knew of the blood she carried. Edward had never tasted blood so enriched with life.
He was unaware of time only that it seemed to stand still with her. With a lick of her lips, she gave him a small smile. "Let go, Edward," she whispered so softly. It was obvious that she could compel him, but she wasn't doing so at the moment. She was testing his strength. He hadn't had enough, only a mouthful by that point, but if he wanted more he had to resist. He had no doubt that she could destroy him if she had to.
She gasped when his lips curled around his blood-stained teeth and released her. "Do you think you can resist?" Her question was asked against his jaw as she laid kiss after kiss there.
He had to be honest for it was taking every ounce of control not to fight the cuffs that kept him from her. His body shook from the restrain. "No. Not yet, Bella."
She sat up, bracing herself with her hands flat against his chest. "At least you don't lie. Soon, you think?"
"I do not know," he replied.
"All right," she said with a shrug. "If you are still willing to try, we'll see each other again." Bending forward again, she caught his face in her hands. "Would you like one last kiss before I go?"
"Yes," he groaned, reveling in the source of her warmth. His vision started to darken around the edges until finally he succumbed to her kiss and the darkness that engulfed him soon after.
It had been a week since he had last seen his beautiful Bella. There were moments, all fleeting, where he'd seen her in the corner of his eye. By the time he'd run to where she had stood, she'd disappear, but her scent lingered there. It was still as potent as the first time.
She hadn't made it easy to find her, often Edward had lost her trail. He'd never been an avid tracker but he felt it wasn't personal. More often than not, her scent was surrounded by the sweeter scent of his kind. She was made in a weapon against his kind, so her blood called to all of them, she had to take precautions. But every time he lost her trail, she'd be there for that brief moment. It was only long enough for him to find her trail again.
She wanted to be found. Something warm filled his chest in inexplicable ways. She was warm and vibrant in way he'd never be, yet she wanted him. All due to a simple glimpse at a future that could end in terrible ways, but because one of those possibilities could give her everything she craved.
It was during their last kiss that Bella had opened her mind fully to him. In those brief seconds, he'd seen memories of her hard life. How her father was an immortal of legends and her mother. They had to live a life on the run when she'd been born. Everyone wanted the power she held in her tiny hands, to mold her into something else – good or evil. Her mother was killed when their home was invaded in dead of night. Before her father could save her, Bella at only five years old was kidnapped and taken to a facility.
For years her father searched for her, the natural defensive shield she was born with prevented him from finding her. It wasn't until a nurse at the facility helped her escape that they were reunited but by then she was different. So much so, her own father feared her. But it was his love for her that allowed her to fight against the programming that the facility had ingrained in her memory.
She was not a weapon. She did not need to kill for them. She was her own person.
Months later, they were found again and in their escape her father was killed and the last of her defensive gifts was released, but too late to save him. The horrific tests that she'd undergone was enough for Edward to know that he'd never hurt her willingly. And if he ever saw one of the many faces from the facility, he would not hesitate to kill them.
It was at the outskirts of Seattle that he followed her scent and those of two vampires that he finally found her again. He ran faster, somehow he knew she was in trouble.
"Edward," her voice called from a darkened alley from behind. He turned, automatically walking toward her. There in the dim light from a nearby streetlamp, she stood waiting with another sad smile. At her feet were two vampires, torn apart by her hands.
Even in such a state; disheveled, blood and venom stains all over her torn clothes, she looked ethereally beautiful.
"Are you all right?" he asked, standing still while another part of her wanted to run and take her from all of her darkness.
She shrugged in response. "They followed me here," she whispered and looked around. Trash and cardboard boxes littered the tiny alley as rot and decay tainted the air. "The buildings here are too vulnerable for me to burn them here. Will you help me?"
He nodded but remained where he was. "I am not strong enough, Bella." It almost felt like he needed to embed his feet into the sidewalk, to anchor where he stood so he wouldn't attack her as he wanted to.
"Grab the remaining pieces and follow me," she said softly, still not meeting his eyes. "I hate my power."
"Why?" he asked.
Bella looked at the red hair that lay splayed over her boots, contrasting against the debris that littered the alley. "They're defenseless when I kill them. I tried to get them to stop, but they kept coming after me, even though I let them live. They always come looking." With that said, she grabbed the remains of a red-headed female vampire that had almost killed her.
Every attempt to run from them had been easily intercepted and made to the pair's advantage. The one other time she allowed them to catch up and she showed them exactly what she could do to them. She had hoped they'd fear her and not come after her. It hadn't worked and it only made them angrier and desperate.
She heard Edward approach slowly, cautiously from behind. Without a glance to see if he'd follow Bella sprang to a fire escape far above her. With her cargo in hand she jumped from surface to surface until she reached the top of the building, where she sprinted across rooftops.
After they had reached the city limits she took a tiny dirt road where she last left her car. Alone with her thoughts, she tried to think how best to proceed with Edward. She no longer wished to use her gift of suggestion against him, but it was obvious that it took great restraint for him not to attack her. He'd want her to defend herself against him.
But she didn't want to fight him anymore.
Edward watched as Bella ran ahead of him, wondering why the instinct to chase after hadn't kicked in. Instead worry replaced need. "Bella," he said as he came to a stop a few feet behind her. "It should be safe here."
She only nodded, dumping the lifeless parts on the ground. Edward added the male he held onto the pile and removed the box of matches from his pocket. Whenever he could after a kill, he'd take the bodies of his victims and burn them to leave no trace behind. Though he held his breath, Edward longed to breathe in Bella's scent, especially when she was so close.
"Are you alright?" he asked, watching her as she squeezed a bottle of lighter fluid over the bodies. She only nodded. He knew she was far from fine, but he hadn't pushed for more. Quietly they watched at the smoke curled over their macabre campfire. He wondered momentarily how many times she had stood over a fire like the one that's flames reached toward the night sky.
"One hundred forty-two times," she answered his unspoken question. "And all of them since my escape three years ago."
"Do you always hear a person's thoughts?"
She shook her head slowly. "Just the one's I want to hear. I'm sorry for the intrusion, but I wanted to check on your hunger."
"I haven't fed in over two weeks."
"Yet, you stand there while I'm so close. No other vampire had been able strong enough."
"I want to be strong enough."
She sighed softly and held out her hand for him to take. His first thought was to pull her to him, for what, he wasn't sure. But his second was to turn and run. He had never felt the level of need for something more than bloodlust. It was all so new, frightening but exciting, too.
"I can't do this anymore," she sobbed as blood-tinged tears pooled in her eyes. "Not alone."
The decision had already been made, maybe long before she had even entered his life. He took the first step to a future he thought he'd never have and one he always wanted. Together they would step into a future in which they'd no longer stand alone. Edward wouldn't be the living-dead with no reason for existence than to feed. He was more than that, and with her he could be so much more.
And in taking her hand, maybe he would be loved.
For weeks Edward chased her through the forests of west coast and Canada. And each encounter allowed them the time to acclimate and learn about each other, not only in blood but in words and through touch.
He learned her weaknesses. She had to bite her victims, not to feed, but to slip them into a trance so that she could kill freely. Her concentration on compelling them and to keep them under diminished once their minds knew what was happening to them. Physically, she wasn't strongest to fight a vampire, she'd lose.
And as he learned of each of her gifts, he found out how she obtained them. Human or vampire, any with gifts were brought to her and absorbed by the magical blood that ran through her veins. It cost them their lives.
She learned a lot about him, too. About his first life and the parents he lost. She learned of his sire Carlisle, and how Edward had left him, unable to comply with Carlisle's wishes not to feed on humans. Though Edward hadn't seen Carlisle in over a decade, he kept in touch with the all the members of his family.
With each encounter he gained new information and found something out about himself. She was his weakness. It didn't matter to him though, he'd continue chasing her for all eternity if he had to.
Each time they came together was exhilarating and as frightening as the one before it. He could easily pick out the beat of her heart from miles away, calling for him to come home. Whenever he fed from her, she'd give him a little more blood and he'd have less need to feed on humans. He hadn't fed one since they met.
She was his sustenance in more ways than one. He craved her quiet mind, her soft words and the touch of her lips and hands. In a month, she had come to be his everything and he was hers. He'd die for her and since he met her, he had almost died a dozen times. She was constantly hunted and always outnumbered. And he'd save her again and again if it meant she lived.
Edward had found her scent in a tiny remote town of Lunacy, Alaska. The river was frozen over and he watched in the middle of night as Bella skated across the thick ice on her bare feet.
"Will you stay this time?" he asked as he approached her. He hadn't seen her for three days and longed to hold her again. He listened around them and toward the two riverside houses in the distance. All were quiet, the occupants sleeping deeply.
She smiled over her shoulder, turning to face him completely. Gesturing him to come to her, she slipped her jacket off her slim white shoulders. Since that first night at the hotel, he had explored every inch of her smooth, silky skin with his mouth and hands. He wanted to do it again, but not yet.
"Please answer me," he said as he slid across the ice toward her.
"There's a reason I haven't stayed." She shrugged and tossed her jacket to the snow bank nearby. "I've given you the privacy you wanted and kept out of your head, and I want to stay with you. But not until I know something."
He watched as she looked up at the wide blue-black sky littered with stars. Slowly, she swayed from side-to-side, moving to the tune of the song he hummed to her the last time they'd been together. She was achingly beautiful to him.
Her skin was almost looked ice white with the undertone of blue, luminescent under the night sky. Her dark hair cascaded over a thin white gown she wore, around her breasts and down her back. He knew the cold didn't affect her like it did humans or vampires. Her body merely regulated its core temperature to accommodate whatever climate she was in.
"Why do you want to stay with me?" he asked, taking her hands that thrummed with life in his own.
She looked away from the heavens and met his eyes squarely. "You are such a boy sometimes, Edward," she teased with a small smile. "I'm not that hard to read. Dad always said I was an open book as a child." The smile that graced her face fell suddenly as dark thoughts started to invade her eyes.
Wanting to stop the unbearable memories of her time in the facility, Edward cupped her face and kissed her softly. It started as just a slide of his lips across hers and ended with a soft gasp of his name at the corner of her mouth.
"Edward, I love you."It was an oath as much as it was a declaration whispered against his skin. He groaned as he pulled her closer, once she was enclosed in his embrace, he ran.
Running through the trees that were heavy with ice and snow, Edward held his precious cargo close to his chest. Her arms encircled around his neck and shoulders, her head lay near enough so that he could smell her hair. He pressed a kiss there and when he found a wide open area among the trees, he set her onto her feet.
With another kiss on her lips, he left to gather what they needed. He wished he could give her so much more, but it was a start of a new life together. It'd taken almost an hour to get back to her, and when he had he wished he hadn't left.
In the middle of the meadow, she spun around in circles, laughing with delight at the snow that fell overhead. She caught a few flakes on her tongue and in her long, dark lashes. Her cheeks were rosy as was the tip of her nose.
When she turned toward him, smiling brightly, she explained, "I always watched the snow fall from my tiny window and never felt it until this past year. I think I like it."
"It suits you," Edward said, laying a water-proof tarp on the ground. He worked for several minutes, asking her to close her eyes. Once done, he stood back and shrugged. It was the best he could do.
Bella gasped when she felt the tips of Edward's fingers brush the apple of her cheek. With her eyes still closed, she turned her lips to his palm. He always smelled so good, and felt infinitely better. The first time he explored her body with his long fingers and the wide palms of his hands he'd taken her breath away.
Even at that moment, she had yet to take another breath. He smiled and laughed softly. "Breathe, Bella."
She opened her eyes, to find his lit up with amusement. "Now who's cocky?"
He laughed again and pulled her closer. "Is this what this new confidence I feel called?"
Rolling her eyes, she laughed and kissed his cheek. "No. I think that's love." She waited and when he returned her smile with one of his own, she knew she was right.
"I do love you," he said, taking her face in his hands. "I had given up hope that I would find someone to love as I love you."
"Even when your sister Alice told you a little over nineteen years ago that there was someone for you?"
Confused, Edward's eyes narrowed for a moment. "The day you were born."
Bella shrugged. "You made the decision a long time ago that you wanted a mate. Once I was born, Alice saw a distant future based on that decision."
"You know her?"
"I do." She smiled and laughed. "She was waiting for me, along with my father and Carlisle when I escaped from the facility. It wasn't the best first impression since I immediately compelled them and tried to destroy them. If I hadn't recognized Charlie I might have succeeded."
"How could they resist your blood?"
"They couldn't. We had to undergo a similar process of acclimation that you went through. It took considerably longer with them, since I didn't allow them to drink my blood."
"How much longer?"
"Two years," she said with a shrug. "Are you angry with me?"
"For what? For not telling me that you knew exactly who I was? No. If you had said that Carlisle and Alice sent you I would've ran in the other direction instead of toward you."
She bit her lip nervously. "You really love me?"
"Yes," he said softly, gathering her close again. "Will you stay with me?"
She looked up at him, feeling the emotion warm and fill every empty place in her heart. For so long she'd been a shell, no longer in control of her own thoughts, destiny and future. There was still so much she had to learn and she hoped they'd do it together.
"Yes," she answered, tiptoeing until her lips met his. "Yes." Wrapping her arms around his neck, she gasped when his encircled her waist. "Yes."
Edward gasped, "Bella." Groaning as desire warmed his body; he pulled away from the sweetness of her mouth, stepping away so that she could see. She gasped as her eyes settled on hundreds of tiny flickering candles that surrounded the soft pallet he created. Edward knew it was worth the hundreds of dollars he left for the owner of the small general store in the town nearby where he found everything he needed.
"It's beautiful, Edward," she said softly. He looked into her dark, warm eyes and wondered if she was ready to give herself to him completely. There were turbulent memories that she usually associated with sex, the facility had tried to force her to breed with others, but she killed everyone that they brought to her, human or vampire. He didn't want to her to think of that when he was with her.
But the love in her gaze eased his mind and warmed his silent heart. He slipped a finger under the thin strap of her dress and watched it fall over her shoulder. With his eyes he followed the same path of his fingers, skimming along the length of her neck, over the hallow of her throat, toward her other shoulder. His lips fell on a tiny freckle he had admired once before, slipping the other strap off her.
She shivered in his arms, but he knew it wasn't from the cold. Her head fell back, her hair brushing over his arms. He felt the brush of her fingers against his skin as they worked the small buttons of his shirt. Her hands shook but remained on their task, until finally her hands ran over his chest and tapered torso. It was his turn to tremble with need.
Edward's groan accompanied her moan as his lips raced up her neck. Every time they'd come together before was a slow exploration, but desire fueled their bodies for something more. Instinct soon took over and clothes shredded beneath their fingers, falling in tattered rags around them.
"Bella," he groaned as they fell on the fur and blankets beneath their feet. "Please."
She hovered over him, kissing his mouth to keep him from talking. "I told you, you'd never have to beg. I'm yours."
"Mine." It was more of growl and groan, rolled together until it formed the word again. "Mine."
"Yes, only yours." The words and the bite of her teeth on his shoulder made him hiss and trash against the weight of her body. He needed her under him and quickly remedied it. She gasped and laughed as he rolled them over again.
The usual euphoria of her bite paled in comparison to feel of her hands on his body. She was so warm and soft, but the strength that thrummed beneath the surface reminded him how if he hurt her she'd put a stop to everything.
But he wouldn't hurt her – ever.
Her pulse beat against his lips, his teeth scraped gently over her neck, reveling in the arch and quake of her body.
"Do you trust me?" he asked, he had yet to bite her without her first initiating it and never on her neck.
"Yes," she gasped as her fingers ran up his back and into his hair. Instead of restraining him, she encouraged him closer. Her thighs parted and allowed him lay over her completely. The soft sigh that escaped her as his teeth sunk into her skin, allowed the last of his worry to fall away.
Edward groaned as her blood ran down his throat, her hips moving beneath his. His hand moved from her breast, along her hip and between her thighs. She was warm and wet beneath his fingers, as he flicked his tongue over his bite mark, instantly healing her.
A moan escaped her as he struggled to catch his breath, his need for more than her blood outweighed everything. Watching as she gave in to the pleasure of his touch, he wanted to feel her warmth surround him.
Carefully, slowly, he moved his fingers and slid inside her, gasping at the feel of her. Bella's nails dug into shoulders as he moved inside her. "Edward," she cried out when his hips met hers fully. His blood stained lips peppered her face with tiny kisses, trying his best not move while she grew accustomed to him.
"I'm sorry," Edward whispered. When her fingers eased from their tight grip on him, he knew she was ready for more. And when her eyes opened to look up at him, she smiled. Her mouth reached for his, her tongue slid over his lips, taking the smudge of her blood from them. He groaned, unable to keep the lust from his voice. Her name tumbled from him in a chant as he moved inside her again and again.
She gasped, moaned and cried out as they moved slowly against each other. But as he saw that the ache turned to pleasure for her, she met his hips hard and fast. His hand curved around her hip and ran up to her knee, drawing it higher against him. He threw his head back at the feel of being so deep inside her.
Bella gasped as Edward drew her close, wrapping his arms around her and sitting up on his knees. She cried out at the feel of his mouth where he'd bitten her before. Her head fell back when she felt the bite of his teeth again. Instead of drinking from her again, he allowed the blood to flow down her neck and chest. He sealed his bite and licked and nibbled at the blood-stained skin, taking a nipple in his cool mouth.
She looked down at him, smiling with his dark green eyes met hers. Interesting side effect, she thought. It seemed her blood did have a long term affect on those that drank from her. She wondered if maybe he would become more like her.
Slowly, she moved over him, prolonging what they've both waited so long for. His hands roamed over her back, curling over her shoulders, moving her faster against him. She didn't fight and let him take over completely. Opening her mind again, she knew he'd feel everything she felt.
It was Edward's turn to cry out as she pulsed around him. The music of her mind was sweet and made the urgency for completion to take over. He moved her body over his, faster, harder and deeper and it was when she bit into his neck that he held her as close as possible. White bursts filled his vision when she clenched around him and he roared as he came.
As his senses once again cleared, he laid Bella's limp body against the blankets. He pulled some over their spent bodies and held her close.
As he brushed his lips across her shoulder, he whispered, "What happens now, Bella?" He'd follow her anywhere. As long as they were together, he couldn't bear being apart from her anymore.
She sighed and pulled his arm to her chest. "We'll be on the run forever, you know this right? I can't stay in one place for long. And if we go to your family, we could only stay for a day or two, never more."
Edward didn't want to return to his family. He wasn't ready to share her, especially since they'd known her longer. She was his and for a while, he wanted it to be only them.
"You're not alone anymore, Bella. I will be by your side, every step of the way." She turned to kiss him softly and whisper how much she loved him.
And for the first time since they'd met, Bella allowed herself to sleep as he held her and dreamed of an uncertain future. As Edward's arms tightened around her, she knew he could see everything that ran through her mind. In essence he dreamed, too.
Ten Years Later
"Let me get this straight, Edward," Emmett asked as he ran beside him. "For your tenth wedding anniversary, your wife left you?"
Jasper laughed as he leapt over an icy creek. "One thing's for sure, she still keeps you on your toes," he said over his shoulder.
Edward shrugged and turned toward his brother Emmett. Sometime after they married, Bella insisted that he'd become reacquainted with his family, especially since they were essential to their survival. Though Bella's dreams were prophetic, she had yet to master interpreting them. With Alice's help they'd been able to stay ahead of the Volturi that sought her.
When they visited, his family had been shocked to see the changes in him. Green eyes and there was a softness to his whole demeanor. He laughed and smiled and finally began to play his music again.
"Emmett," Edward said with a smile. "She wants me to chase her."
"Holy fuck," Emmett hissed. "That's hot." He punched his oversized fist against Edward's shoulder. "What the hell are you still doing here?"
Edward shrugged and laughed. "She'll be angrier if I take too long."
"Lucky bastard," Emmett growled as he launched himself toward a mountain lion, landing on its back. "Sure you don't want some."
Edward shook his head. Bella provided him with all the blood he needed. "No thanks," Edward said with a smug grin. "I fed before she left."
Jasper laughed as Emmett shouldered his meal and ran deeper into the forest. "He's so jealous. There is nothing he can use to make fun of you either."
Edward laughed and patted Jasper's back. "I have to go," he said, sniffing and catching her scent.
"Oh I will."
Bella stood in the middle of a meadow thousands of miles from where she last seen her husband. He was late and with every second he kept her waiting, her anger grew. She settled herself in the grass, closing her eyes to allow herself some time to calm down.
After a few minutes, she heard a twig break in the distance. The corners of her mouth pulled up as she quietly rose to her feet. She sprinted away from the sound and relished the feel of the warm air as it whipped around her.
Though she knew Edward ran with an eerily quiet efficiency, he didn't have the ability to close his thoughts from her. She allowed her shields to drop one by one, but felt nothing but the animals and insects that thrived in the forest that surrounded her.
She skidded to a halt and turned in a complete circle to get a sense of her surroundings. Before she could react, a figure charged from her side and enclosed around her as they tumbled on the ground.
"Now, wife, where were we?"
She growled at her husband's smug smile and eyes that seemed to laugh at her. "Cheater!" she said, pulling away from his tight grip and ran. He laughed as he followed but roared as she dived over the cliff.
Edward quickly shed most of his clothes and dove in behind her. She hit the water three seconds before he did and when he finally captured her again, her arms wrapped around him.
"Happy anniversary," she said as the surfaced.
"Our family gives us a new safe house," he said amused. "I shower you with diamonds, but you give me trouble."
She smiled shyly, biting her lip. "You love it."
He kissed her hard for several minutes. "I do, but now, I think it is about time you chase me."
Then he was gone. Bella screamed out her frustration, "I'll catch you, Edward!"