Title: Message In a Bottle
Written for: Everleigh Allen/ HisMysticMuse
Written By: Readingmama/Vampiremama
Rating: M light.
Summary/Prompt used: Message in a Bottle
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this exchange visit the facebook group: Fanficaholics Anon: Where Obsession Never Sleeps, or add the C2 to get all the stories direct to your inbox.
A/N- Thank you everyone who was a part of this round of FAGE. It has been brilliant.
A huge thank you to Tammygrrrl for beta'ing not only this fic but several other of the FAGE stories. This woman is a trooper people, stand and applaud.
And another huge thank you to my regular beta acrosstheskynstars for also checking this puppy over and always helping me to be a better writer.
And to the lovely and talented HisMysticMuse, I hope I did your prompt proud and that you enjoy this.
The waves bounced in, licking at the shore and then retreating farther back into the ocean. Another day was coming to a close and the receding water meant the cold was coming. Bella wrapped her arms around her legs and watched the horizon. Soon the sweat that gathered all day on her body would begin to cool and she would be shivering. It was the twelfth night on the beach and she was hungry — so hungry — and thirsty. There was a single coconut tree on the barely there island. The small patch of land had seemed her salvation after her small plane had crashed into the ocean. She had escaped the sinking metal by some miracle. She didn't know if her brother, Emmett, had made it, but at this point, it was unlikely. There was no more energy left to weep about it, though. There were no more tears; she was far too dehydrated for that.
Emmett and she had been flying to Anguilla for Spring Break. He had just gotten his pilot's license and he'd wanted to show off, taking his little sister to an exotic location. But everything had gone so terribly wrong. Bella didn't remember much about the crash but she remembered the look on her brother's face right before they hit the water. She must have gotten out of the plane on her own, all she was clear on was she woke up floating on a crate in the middle of the ocean. She was conscious for two days in the ocean before she saw the small island ahead of her.
What looked like salvation then, now looked like her grave.
Inside the crate had been 6 bottles of rum.
"You can't go to an island without rum!" Emmett had told her. "It's just not done, little sis."
Bella wished he'd packed water instead.
Knowing the alcohol would make things worse, she poured them out, filling the bottles with the milk from the coconuts. But the coconuts were gone. The island wasn't lush and there had only been a handful to start with. She could walk around the island in the span of two hours. There was no fresh water and there was nothing else to eat. The empty bottle in her hand was her last chance. The five before hadn't wielded any results but Bella knew time was slim and she grasped onto her last string of hope, knowing soon it would be gone, floating into the ocean.
The rolled up label from the bottle was tucked neatly inside, the cap secured tightly so the water would be unable to ruin the message she had written. She had been so full of hope when she sent the first message, written with the charred branch of a tree that had been hit with lightening.
Help me please, my plane went down. I'm stranded on an island, somewhere between Puerto Rico and Anguilla. Bella Swan
Bella had tossed that bottle into the water the first day. Her hope had been so high then, knowing someone would come for her. Now, she wasn't so sure. How would anyone find her on this tiny island, even if her bottle made it to someone? She had no idea how long it would take to get somewhere. Likely she would be dead by then.
Now, a bottle with the same message in it was resting in her hands. She knew now was the time to throw it, when the tide went out. She stood up and followed the waves as they retreated from the shore line. Standing as far out as she could, she raised the bottle and flung it with all her might into the water. It landed but a few feet from her, her lack of strength showing. She walked backwards, watching the bottle as the waves began to carry it back in, and then out, slowly going out to see until it was finally gone. Normally then she would make her way into the small treed area and tucked herself into the sand behind a tree. It offered very little shelter from the ocean breeze, but little shelter was better than none. She would cover her body with sand, it was cold but it helped capture some of her body warmth. The heat came off her burnt face and her lips were dry and chapped, but Bella would say a small prayer and close her eyes, knowing tomorrow might be her last day. None of that happened that night, Bella was too weak and she sat in the sand on the beach, her eyes going black before her body had time to lie down on the sand.
Bella woke, feeling something wet on her lips. At first she worried the waves had come up to her and she was drowning, but as her tongue tasted the water, she realized there was no salt. She grabbed at the bottle at her lips, holding it tight as she began to gulp down the offered water. After she finished it, she opened her eyes.
Kneeling before her was a man. She didn't notice his handsome face or the way he was dressed, looking like a Hollywood pirate, because all she saw was her savior. She sat up and her arms wrapped around the strange man as she sobbed, "You found me. My God, thank you, you found me."
"It's okay, I'm here," he answered. His voice was soft yet he spoke with the tenor of a man in charge. "Let's get you something to eat and then back on my ship."
"Food?" Bella said like it was too much to believe she was getting rescued and she might get to eat.
From a small leather pouch hanging from his side, he produced and apple, handing it to her. Bella didn't bother with manners, grabbing the fruit and taking large bites, moaning as she chewed.
"There is lots of food, take it slow or you will make yourself sick," the man said.
Once the apple was nothing more than a few seeds and a stem, Bella looked back to the man. Her body was still weak but it was powered by her renewed faith that she was going to live.
"How did you find me?" she asked, her voice raspy after not being used for a fortnight.
The man smiled, and Bella noticed the beauty in his face. Covered by a couple day's worth of stubble, his strong jaw framed his soft lips; lips that hadn't been dried out by two weeks without hydration. His eyes held a kindness in their deep green, and his coppery hair fell messily over his forehead, giving him almost a boyish look.
"This is your message, is it not?" he asked, raising his hand up and showing her the rum label she had scribbled on.
Bella's head started to swim and she began to sway. The man put his strong arms around her and lifted her with ease. She was barely conscious, watching the beach disappear as he placed her in a small row boat and paddled them back to his ship.
Bella awoke later, tucked in a hammock hanging from two posts. The ship rocked gently, causing the fabric beneath her to sway. Her stomach panged and she wasn't sure if it was hunger or after pangs from the apple she had eaten earlier. She stretched, testing out the soreness of her body. The short jean skirt she had worn on the plane was even shorter after two weeks of wear, frayed and ripped. The white t-shirt was now dark grey with dirt and sweat. She sat up, her hand going to her hair which was matted under her fingertips.
"Did you sleep well?"
Bella startled, her hand flying to her heart.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."
"It's okay," she said, laughing a little at herself. "It's been a while since I had company."
"Understandable," he said, his lip turned up in a crooked grin, but his eyes held confusion as he looked at her. "I'm not really much for company."
"Shouldn't you be driving the boat…er ship?" Bella asked awkwardly.
"We are drifting for the night. I pull down the sails when I need to rest."
"You are alone?" Bella said, looking around. Although she was in a small room in the confines of the ship, she knew she had seen it and it was big. "How do you sail it all alone?"
The man smiled and ran a hand through his disheveled hair. "By the grace of God alone."
Bella thought the words were strange, but she shrugged them off. "Do you have some place I could maybe get cleaned up?" She stood up out of the hammock and swayed, the man jumped up from the crate he sat on and caught her swiftly.
"Come on. Malnutrition and the sea are not a good combination. I will give you something to eat and then you may use my quarters to bathe."
"Thank you…" Bella paused, realizing, "You saved my life and I don't even know your name."
"I am Edward," he replied.
"Edward," Bella replied, and then she swayed on her feet again.
Edward secured an arm around her waist and led her out of the room and into another that was similar but larger. The wood-framed room was clean and simple, housing only a small table and two chairs. Edward helped Bella to the first one and then sat down on the other side of the table.
In the middle of the table sat a chicken, cooked golden brown and around it on the platter were roasted vegetables. A large loaf of French bread had been sliced on a cutting board, the pieces cut and waiting and yet they did not have the crusty appearance of bread left out. Two goblets were placed on either side of the table and filled with ice water. Bella took that first, drinking deeply.
When she set her cup down, she noticed Edward had his head bowed and she felt embarrassed.
"This looks very nice," she said, and it was a moment before he lifted his head and smiled.
"Eat, please," he replied. "You must be very hungry."
Bella filled her plate but her eyes were bigger than her stomach. She ate a few bites before her stomach could handle no more. She looked up and Edward was looking at her, his plate still empty.
"Aren't you going to eat?" she asked him.
"No, I'm not very hungry," he admitted.
"Show me where I can take these," she said, motioning to the dishes. "I can help pack it up for later."
"Don't worry about that," Edward replied, "Let me show you to the bathing quarters instead."
Bella knew she should have insisted but a bath sounded heavenly. She had sand in every orifice of her body and her hair was a nest, so instead of offering again, she nodded and followed Edward out of the room.
As they walked she noticed that he was quite a lot bigger than she was. Easily over six feet, she barely met his shoulder with her height. His forearms showed from the rolled up sleeves of his shirt and they were strong, a sailor's arms, minus the tattoos. He was broad but lean and the type of man Bella had spent her life feeling intimidated by, but there was something about him that was calming. He carried a presence of kindness with him. Or maybe it was Bella romanticizing him because he had saved her life.
"The bath should still be warm, I filled it earlier," Edward said as he grabbed a room dividing screen and set it in front of the tub. "I don't want you to pass out in there, so it would make me feel better if I could sit over here and talk to you while you are in there."
Bella would have refused normally but the way he blushed shyly at his request told her that he planned to be a gentleman and he was looking out for her health.
Edward went over to the cupboard and pulled out a white sundress, long and flowing with spaghetti straps. He hung it on Bella's side of the screen. She looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Now what do you have that for?" her voice held amusement.
Edward chuckled, the sound like music. "You would be surprised at how often you run into a deserted ship out here. It's good to be prepared."
Bella looked at him, his eyes were the green of the sea and she easily found herself getting lost in them. After a moment he cleared his throat and she ducked her head.
Edward sat on the other side of the screen as Bella lowered herself into the makeshift bath. It was shorter than a regular bathtub but twice as deep and she found herself relaxing into it. Beside it, a small table was set up with a comb, soap, shampoo and even a razor. She quickly got to work, her body leaving the water dark with the remnants of her last two weeks. As her skin came clean, she noticed it didn't look as burnt as it did before.
"How long was I sleeping for?" Bella asked, raising her voice a little more to reach over the screen.
"You slept for three days," Edward replied, his voice sounding strange.
Bella let that sink in as she added the shampoo to her hair, lathering and rinsing several times. She picked up the comb and began to work through the knots in her hair.
The razor was next, sliding over her skin until it was smooth and clean. Like she hadn't been stranded on an island for two weeks, or her brother wasn't lost or dead in the sea.
The razor fell into the tub as her sobs began.
She heard Edward rather than saw him as he placed his chair down beside her tub. She hugged her legs tight as she cried. She made up for all the tears she had been unable to cry on the beach. Bella felt Edward's hand on her back, gently rubbing, but he said nothing. Words would not have been able to soothe her as his touch did. Where he touched her, warmth spread, flowing through her body.
Soon her tears stopped and she pulled up two handfuls of murky water and scrubbed her face with them.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what's gotten in me. I should be feeling so grateful, why does it hurt so much?"
"You have suffered a great loss," he replied.
Bella looked up at him. "How did you know?"
Edward's eyes met her, kindness shining through. "I may sail alone, but very few fly alone."
Bella nodded. "My brother, Emmett."
"I am sorry." Edward's voice was genuine even though he had never met the man.
"Maybe he's okay," Bella said a little too fast. "He could have swam and found another island."
Edward said nothing, but he seemed to realize his hand was still on her naked back and he pulled it away quickly.
"I will leave you to finish."
Bella waited for Edward to walk back around the screen before she stood up and stepped out of the tub.
"Does it not get lonely?" Bella asked as she wrapped the towel around her body. Her muscles were still stiff to move and she was suddenly very tired again.
"I like the time to reflect, to appreciate the things around me, to love the process of life."
"The process of life?" Bella asked, wondering who said stuff like that.
"Life is fleeting, it's important to enjoy what you have while you have it."
His voice was sad again and Bella stepped around the screen, the towel still fisted in her one hand as she held it around her. Edward met her gaze and she saw a tightness come over him. Slowly his eyes lowered down her body and then back up.
"Yes, sometimes it's lonely." He turned his back before speaking again. "I'll give you some privacy."
Bella was left alone with her thoughts as she slipped on the dress Edward had provided for her. He was a mystery. There was such sadness in his eyes when he talked to her. At first she had thought it was pity, for her situation, but now she wondered if there was something more.
Her body was too tired to react too much, but the way he had just looked at her, if he hadn't have proven himself a perfect gentleman, she might have been worried. So why was she so disappointed?
Bella awoke in her hammock, yawning loudly.
"Good morning, Edward," she said.
It had been several days on the ship now and he was always there when she woke.
"Good morning, Bella," he replied. "How did you sleep?"
Bella swung herself out of the hammock and stretched tall, leaving a sliver of skin showing as her top lifted from her linen pants. Edward averted his eyes again, just as he had done each time she flashed an extra inch of skin. Not that she was paying attention.
"I slept good, how about you?"
Edward smiled like he had a secret. "I rested well. Your breakfast is ready."
Bella watched as Edward left the room. He was very handsome. She had noticed before but now that her body was stronger with regular food, it was having all sorts of new reactions when Edward was in the room. And sometimes at night when he was not.
Since his eyeballing after the bath, Edward had not given Bella one glance to show he had anything but friendly feelings for her, and she wasn't about to worry about it. This wasn't the time to start a romance.
Sighing, Bella changed into her dress. Edward had given her three outfits, which she had worn now twice each. That was the only way she seemed to be able to track the days, her brain still got fuzzy when she thought about anything too much.
Edward was waiting for her at the little table she had become accustomed to. He smiled at her as she entered and Bella felt her heart race a little faster in response.
The meal wasn't as large as the one he'd prepared the first night, but Edward was a quick learner, only reproducing foods and quantities that she was more apt to enjoy.
"Thank you," Bella said as she looked down at the delicious meal of pancakes and fruit before her. "I really could do some of my own cooking. I'd like to help."
"I like to cook," was Edward's response.
"But you never eat," Bella said, testing out the words. It was something she noticed when they sat at the little table but then never thought about when they left.
"I have to get up very early to get the ship sailing. I am on a different schedule than you."
Bella nodded, accepting this explanation, but there was still something about him that made her curious. He met her eyes and she found herself blushing and ducking her head, the thought quickly lost.
Bella ate her breakfast in comfortable silence. Edward's presence was calming, she was grateful to have him there.
"Will you teach me about the ship?" Bella asked as she finished her breakfast. She knew he wouldn't allow her to do the dishes, she'd given up trying to help with the food, so she hoped she could find another way to help him.
"You want to learn to sail?" Edward said, his eyes brightening.
Bella nodded. "I've always been fascinated about how things worked. Emmett said he was going to teach me to fly…"
The silence between them was heavy.
"I'm sorry," Edward said. "You must miss him."
"My parents split when I was very young, bouncing around between them meant I never really became close to either one. But Emmett, he was always there." Bella smiled as she thought of her brother. "He could be a pain in my ass, but he and I…we were unstoppable. We could get each other through anything. I don't know what I'll do without him."
Edward reached over the table and took her hand. "Loss is different for everyone, yet the same. It's a piece of your soul that's taken. Loss takes different things from everyone: innocence, happiness, desire. It changes them, some learn to be who they were meant to be and others crumble from the weight of it."
Bella stared at Edward, her mouth opened. "Who did you lose?" Bella asked, knowing knowledge like that could only come from one place.
"No one," Edward replied softly, "and everyone."
Bella didn't doubt him, the sadness in his eyes, she knew where it had come from. Edward had seen more loss than most people.
Wanting to pull him out of that pain, Bella said, "Will you teach me then? To sail?"
Edward smiled at her. "Yes, I'd love to."
It was clear the ship was Edward's passion and Bella easily found herself caught up in his excitement.
"So the right is the starboard side, and the left is the port?" Bella asked, making sure she'd gotten it straight.
"Yes," Edward said smiling at her. "And the back is the stern and the front is the bow."
"And this," Bella said wrapping her arm around the pole, "is the mast. It's the part the bad guys tie me to until the hero fends them off with a daring sword fight." She giggled and put the back of her hand up to her forehead.
Edward laughed. "I have a feeling you do your own sword fighting, Bella Swan."
"Touché," she replied, still laughing.
"Come here, let me show you something."
Edward led Bella up to the helm. The wooden wheel was grand, stretching almost as tall as Bella. She watched as Edward moved the brace off and took control of the ship. She watched him as he checked his compass and rotated the wheel to the right.
When he had it where he wanted it, he reached out and put his hand on Bella's side, guiding her to stand in front of him.
"Put your hand here." He took her one hand and brought it up to place on a spoke, as he did, his chest brushed against Bella's back. He kept his one hand over hers and took her other hand, placing it on the other side of the wheel. "And here."
Bella could feel his heat and it made the hairs on her neck stand on end. His hands fit over hers, covering them completely as he guided her in the art of steering. Bella found herself closing her eyes and leaning back against his chest. Her body fit perfectly against his, she thought, and soon she was lost in the feel of it.
Edward moved abruptly and Bella nearly fell.
"I'm sorry," Bella said, spinning around.
The wheel behind her began to spin madly to the left and Edward stepped forward to grab it, causing Bella to step out of the way.
"Edward, I'm sorry," she repeated.
"It's okay," Edward said tightly. "You just startled me. "
The sadness had returned to Edward's eyes and Bella began to wonder if his loss was a wife, but a wife wouldn't be no one. Edward's cryptic words were enticing. Bella knew she should just go but she was curious about this man who'd saved her life and been so kind to her.
"Was it your wife you lost?"
"No," Edward replied. "My life is in service, at sea. I am not destined to have a wife."
"Surely you could take some time off. What is your job anyway?" Bella wondered, having just assumed his ship was for pleasure and not work.
"I transport cargo," Edward replied, but the easy tone of earlier was lost.
"It's nothing illegal is it?" Bella teased.
"No," Edward replied stoically.
Bella tilted her head as she studied him. "Where are we going, Edward? When are we going to reach land?"
Edward looked at her and his eyes were filled with pain. Bella stumbled back from the force of his look and her head began to swim. She tried to walk but her legs gave out from underneath her. Edward quickly secured the brace on the helm and rushed to help her up. Bella remembered the feel of his arms right before the blackness took her.
Edward's eyes haunted Bella as she dreamed. They appeared to her over a stormy sea, the boat rocking wildly as they watched her. When she woke, she was in a sweat.
"Come on, Bella," Edward said before she even opened her eyes. "There is something I want to show you."
Bella was surprised when she finally did meet Edward's eyes on her way out of the hammock. They were bright and the happiest she'd seen them. She wondered if he really had looked at her with those haunted eyes or if that too had been a dream.
"What is it?" Bella asked as Edward pulled her up the stairs and onto the deck in his excitement.
"Come here," he said, and he led her to a long lever on the other side of the mast. "When I say 'now', push this down." He paused for a moment to make sure she understood, and then he raced off to the other side of the boat. She watched him work as he untied knots and let the sails loose from the poles. She had never been awake early enough to watch this. He was glorious in the way he moved, so comfortable with his tasks.
Bella smiled as she watched him and then pushed down the lever. The rope in front of her, climbing up the mast, began to move and with it, the sails raised. She watched in awe, looking and seeing the other two sails were also fully extended. She watched as the wind began to fill them and then suddenly the ship began to move and Bella stumbled.
Edward took a step toward her but she caught herself.
"I'm getting my sea legs," she said with a laugh.
The breeze blew through Bella's hair as she made her way to the raised platform where the ships wheel was. From there she had a three hundred and sixty degree vantage, the sky, the ocean, nothing but calm seas as far as she could see.
Day after day passed and Bella became very knowledgeable about the ships running. Every morning she helped Edward hoist the sails. She enjoyed the sea more than she possibly could have predicted, and while some of that had to do with Edward, she knew that he wasn't the only reason. The ship had stolen her heart, and its captain was on its heels.
Since the day she had leaned on him, Bella had been careful not to cross any physical boundaries. But each day seemed to embolden Edward. First, a touch on the shoulder, then a hand over hers as she steered the ship, each one sending waves of heat through Bella's body. The more she enjoyed his company, the more her body craved him.
"I feel like I could stay out here forever," Bella said as she leaned over the side of the boat.
"You don't think you'd find it lonely?" Edward asked.
Bella shook her head. "I couldn't do it alone. I'd need someone like you to sail with me."
Bella turned to find Edward smiling at her. "I think I'd like that a lot."
"Yeah?" Bella asked, turning and taking a bold step toward him.
"There isn't anyone more like me, than me," he replied softly, leaning down toward her.
"There isn't anyone like you," Bella agreed as his lips met hers.
Even though his touches had always felt like they held a lingering promise, Bella was surprised at the kiss, truly never believing Edward had seen her that way. And she did not expect her own reaction when Edward kissed her, it was like her body had a mind of its own. Her hands grabbed his upper arms and she pressed her body tight to his. He felt heavenly, warm and firm, as his arms wrapped around her waist and held her just as close. But as soon as the moment was there, it was gone.
"We can't," Edward said as he pulled himself away.
"Why?" The pained look in his eyes returned. "What is it? What aren't you telling me?"
"Our time is almost up."
"What? We're almost at shore?" Bella ran back to the railing to look but she didn't see any land in sight. "I don't see land, Edward."
"I have another assignment. You were supposed to be gone before that."
Bella looked at Edward and frowned. "What do you mean?"
"I wish I had time to explain. I should have already. I just had to kiss you before you knew. Before you knew what I am. Before you understood."
"What are you?" Bella said taking a step away from him but her body fought to do that, she wanted to be in his arms, to feel his lips again.
Instead of answering, Edward grabbed the life preserver from the side of the ship and Bella watched in fear and confusion until he took it in the other direction, throwing it over the port side of the boat.
"What are you doing?" Bella yelled as she came running down the stairs after him. She leaned over the side of the boat and saw a young man gasp and take hold of the preserver.
Bella jumped into action, going to grab the ladder and then throwing it over the side of the boat. The man sputtered and coughed as he grabbed the rung and began to make his way out of the water.
"How did he get out here?" Bella asked herself, looking around for any sign of a ship or other survivors.
When the man reached the top, Edward reached over and grabbed him, pulling him over the railing and setting him on the deck.
"Thanks man, I must have been floating out there for days," the man said, his blonde hair matted over his forehead, water dripping into his eyes.
"What happened?" Bella asked.
"I remember falling. I tripped over a rope and fell over the side of the ship. I called out but no one heard me. I watched as the ship sailed away." His voice choked up and he became quiet.
"Hey," Bella said, kneeling beside him. "We found you, you're alright."
The man gave Bella a confused look and then looked over her shoulder. The sun was warm on her back and she wondered for a moment if it wouldn't burn her. It was only when she realized that the sun was in front of her that she turned and looked behind her.
Edward stood proud, his body was radiating light. Large white wings sprouted from his back, reaching twice as tall as he was. Bella stumbled back, but being crouched meant she ended up on her rear end next to the wet man.
Too stunned to speak, she watched as Edward reached out for the man. The man almost floated up to a standing position.
"You are free, Jasper Hale," Edward spoke, the normal tenor of his voice was accentuated with an accompanying bass.
The man, Jasper, reached and took Edward's outstretched hands and once they touched, a bright light came from the sky. Bella could no longer look and she hid her face in her arm.
The light still burned behind her eyelids for several seconds and when it was gone she looked back. Edward stood before her, but not as he had been, not a man with wings, but her sailor.
"Bella," he spoke softly.
"What the hell was that!?" Bella demanded, but her position crouched on the deck didn't give much power behind it.
"I am sorry," was all he replied.
"You're a…" she paused, "What are you exactly?"
"I am an angel," Edward replied.
"And that man? Jasper?"
"He was dead."
"But he was talking and coughing and we pulled him out of the water…"
"What you saw was his soul, Bella."
Bella huffed. "People can't see other people's souls. Or angels. What is going on?"
Edward watched her, his eyes sad. He knew the moment she understood, her head dropped and the fight left her body.
"I didn't make it. You didn't save me from that island. I died."
"Bella," Edward said, taking a step forward, but Bella just scurried back until her back hit the side of the ship.
"Is there something wrong with me?"
"Besides being dead?" Edward asked, confused.
"No, he…" Bella pointed the empty space Jasper had just stood in, "went right away, and by the light show, I assume he went up. Am I going to Hell? Is that why I'm still here."
"Some people need longer," Edward said but he wasn't meeting her eyes.
"Edward," Bella said as she leaned toward him, she couldn't seem to help the pull of him. "What did you mean I was supposed to be gone before?"
"You should have ascended the first night we met, but you fell asleep. Souls aren't meant to sleep. I wanted to watch you, to see why you were different than all the rest. Some souls take a day at most to ascend. I don't know why you're still here." Edward moved slowly, and this time Bella did not back off. He sat beside her, but gave her space, leaning to rest against the side of the ship.
"So there is something wrong with me?" Bella asked, frowning, and then she thought of something. "You were so sad when I mentioned Emmett, is he…?"
"No, Emmett was rescued."
"That's great!" Bella said, feeling like a weight had been lifted off her chest.
"But you won't be able to see him."
Bella's smile fell as she realized. "That's okay," she said softly. "He should get to live his life. I'm happy for him."
Thoughts jumbled around in Bella's mind and Edward sat patiently as she put them together. When one is faced with death, so many questions come up, but they zipped by so fast that Bella had a hard time catching one to express.
"What is heaven like?" she asked finally. It wasn't the most important question, but the rest felt too scary to lead with.
"I don't know. I hear it's nice," Edward said with a shrug.
"You've never been to Heaven? But you're an angel."
Edward smiled. "My Heaven is the sea. I love it here. Maybe that is what it will be like for you. Your Heaven could be anything. It could be a beautiful deserted island..." He looked at Bella who was frowning. "Maybe not that."
Bella looked around the ship that had become her home. She mourned the idea of leaving it, and Edward. "What if I don't go?" Bella asked, her voice barely a whisper.
Edward looked away from her. "You have to go." Bella winced and Edward saw it from the corner of his eye. "I don't want you to go, Bella. But souls who try and stay, they rot. The memories fade and so does their humanity. Every part of you slowly drains away, and when you are truly mad, the demons come for you."
"When will my light come for me?" Bella asked scared.
"I don't know, but it's coming. I can feel it building. Like I could feel Jasper in the sea."
"I'll never see you again." Bella swallowed and looked at Edward. He was so beautiful and now that she knew this part of him, she could understand why she was drawn to him.
Edward shook his head, his face filled with pain. "I have met many people, Bella Swan, but you are by far the most beautiful soul I've ever met."
"Edward, can you…?" The words died in her throat, how could she ask this handsome angel in front of her to make love to her? But before that thought could finish in her head, Edward's arms were lifting her up, his mouth pressing to hers.
Bella didn't know if it was heavenly magic or just her head swimming, but suddenly she was set down on a bed.
"You had a bed this whole time, and I had to sleep in a hammock?" Bella said, but she was unable to sound upset, because Edward was kissing her again.
Warm desire ran through her and she whimpered as his body pressed against hers. Her hands slid up his muscled back. She could feel where his wings retracted to, small bumps that rested against his shoulder blades.
Bella pulled at his shirt, tugging it and causing him to lift up so she could pull it off. He looked nervous but the desire in his eyes consumed her. Each touch, each kiss, was an exploration of her, and Bella was quickly lost in his discovery. After she was rid of her sundress, Edward's kisses roamed down her body.
Quickly, his soft touches became filled with need, and Bella responded eagerly. Her body rolled in his touch like the ship on the sea. He explored every inch of her until she thought she could not take anymore, her head was light and her body heavy with lust. Bella wondered if she was in a dream, but the thought quickly left as she felt Edward pressing into her.
Bella had never felt so complete. In this moment, she was able to forget that she was going to lose him. That heaven was coming for her. This was heaven. And it had claimed her. She would never know bliss better than this.
It could have taken hours and it still would have ended too quickly. Their orgasms bittersweet, as they signalled the finish of the most beautiful moment of either of their existences.
Bella lay draped over Edward, her heart still pounding even as her body relaxed.
"I love you," Bella whispered, her body rebounding, only this time in panic instead of pleasure.
"I love you too, Bella," Edward replied, a sadness in his voice. "It's coming now."
"Already?" Bella asked, her voice scared.
Edward stood up from the bed, helping Bella to her feet and she watched in awe as his wings spread out from his back again and a light shone down from the sky. He was wearing white pants, tied low on his waist with a string. Bella looked down to see her nakedness had been covered as well, she wore a plain white sundress that brushed her ankles.
"I don't want to leave you," Bella whispered, her eyes full of tears.
"An angel has a very long memory, Bella. I will never forget you. And I will never stop loving you."
Bella threw herself into his arms, her hands on his chest. Edward held on and then Bella felt the warm feathers of his wings wrap around her as well.
"It's time," Edward said, his voice full of pain.
Bella nodded and took a step back before turning and rushing into the light, knowing if she didn't she wouldn't be able to go.
The light was blinding but the moment she stepped into it, it was just warm. It was nothing and everything all at once. Peace fell over her but the pain of leaving Edward behind stayed in her heart.
She expected a booming voice, God, judging her for her sins, instead what she found was her whole self filled with love and acceptance. Bella closed her eyes and she revelled in it. Behind her closed lids the light still burned and then suddenly it faded.
When Bella opened her eyes the world was clearer, more in focus but her brain was foggy because standing there in front of her was Edward, sporting the biggest smile she'd ever seen.
"Did I do something wrong?" Bella asked, wondering if she'd just been kicked out of Heaven.
"No, Bella," Edward replied. "You are home."
"I get to stay?"
"You get to stay." Edward smiled, as he quickly embraced Bella. "I never knew my heaven was missing anything until I met you."
Bella beamed back at him and she tilted up her head to kiss him, taking her time, knowing she had forever.