Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns all.

Rated M for the odd cuss word . . .

Forever

Alice and Edward are out of town for the day with Esme. I could have asked where they were going and what they were doing but the probable answer, no doubt containing the word 'wedding' stopped me. Yes, I know I agreed to this, and I know in some ways you could argue that the presence of the 'W' word in my life is my own fault. But still, just thinking about it makes shivers run up and down my spine and gooseflesh break out on my skin.

Appropriate for All Hallows Eve I suppose.

Perhaps some 'W' related madness wouldn't have been so bad? I am B-O-R-E-D.

Carlisle is working at the hospital and neither Rosalie nor Jasper will come near me, though for very different reasons. And Em, the big brother I never knew I wanted, has gone hunting for some human food since my stomach started rumbling half an hour ago.

And, though I know I am extremely weird, it is kind of creepy here when the vampires are not obviously in residence.

With a hefty sigh I give the room another once over, looking for a distraction other than my reflection in the enormous glass windows blanking out the dark.

And then I find it suddenly.

A door.

Since when did the Cullens have a basement?

I assume it's a basement.

Since it's in the right place after all, under the stairs.

Is it wrong to wonder what they keep down there?

Yes. No. Esme and Carlisle keep assuring me I'm a member of the family. That what's theirs is mine. It can't possibly do any harm to look? After all it's probably just a load of aged boxes and random hardware, like Charlie's basement . . . .

The door swings open easily although it's clearly a heavy, quality, wood.

No creak.

Not that such a thing would dare in Esme's household.

I fish around for a while but there's definitely no light switch, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, no one in this house needs one but me.

Air is flowing up the stairs toward me, cold and damp with a faint tang of something . . . .

Now I know that vampires and werewolves exist, so of course I won't be going down there . . . .

Or at the very least I'll be turning around after a couple of steps . . . .

And definitely when I look back and the Cullen's living room is the light at the end of the proverbial long, dark, tunnel . . . .

The last of that light illuminates my first sneaker settling on solid concrete, and the last as it leaves the wooden step to join it.

Okay then. Cullens. Basement I didn't know they had. Dark. Cold. Very forbidding.

I've almost completed turning my body to head back up when the door at the top of the stairs slams shut, plunging me into total darkness.

A quiet but heartfelt "fuck" escapes my lips.

Okay then. Deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. Its only about a dozen steps, up we go Bella, up we go . . . .

The first stair creaks in a way it most definitely didn't on the way down.

A dozen steps Bella, get on with it . . . .

After I've completed and counted twenty careful yet creaky steps up it dawns on me that I wasn't paying attention on the way down.

After thirty careful yet creaky steps up I am feeling a little worried about the length of the staircase I apparently sleepwalked down without breaking my klutz neck.

After fifty careful yet creaky steps I stop, feeling ahead of me for the door knob that I know is there . . . .

Nothing.

No door ahead of me.

No walls on either side of me.

No railing. And I'm pretty sure there was one on the way down, I remember my palm caressing the satiny well-worn wood.

My breathing hitches and I can feel my previously flighty heart start hammering in my chest. Something I know Rose and Jasper will hear. Bringing them from the recesses of the house to my rescue. Bringing their scorn. And, I am sure, their condemnation for my nosey human nature.

Because I know it's the right thing to do I deliberately aim for deep calming breaths but no matter how deeply I pull the cold damp air into my lungs the resultant exhale is hitching, stuttering, emptying until I'm desperately starting the process again.

Panic.

I am going to panic.

Which is utterly ridiculous.

"Jasper? Rose?" I call quietly.

Silence. Cold. Damp. Silence.

"Jasper? Rose? Um, I'm really sorry, could you help me please?"

Silence. Cold. Damp. Silence.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Hitch. Stutter. Gasp. Breathe in . . . .

"JASPER?"

"ROSE?"

Silence. Colder. Damper. Silence.

Okay. Okay. Get a grip Bella. Clearly you can't count for toffee. Up. Keep going up.

Up one foot. Creak. Up another foot. Creak. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again . . . .

After one hundred careful yet creaky steps I stop once more, nervously twisting my engagement ring on my finger.

Vampires have tried to kill me. I know boys that turn into wolves. Getting lost and having a panic attack on the stairs, in the home of my second family, is beneath me. I am brave enough to get married for god's sake. Wear a dress, heels, walk down an aisle to soft music while everyone stares at me. Brave enough to face the 'bun in the oven' gossip with Edward by my side. Though at least the postponement was good for quashing that rumour. And I love the idea of the white 'W' word with the white Christmas that Alice has promised us.

Alice. Oh god Alice! Did you see me decide to come down into the basement? Have you told Edward? Is he on his way?

Oh god, Alice, Edward, please . . . .

I start climbing again but my dysfunctional breathing is having an effect as I gasp harder and harder for air and lactic acid builds in my calves and thighs.

Time. How long have I been doing this? Climbing. Climbing. Never getting anywhere in this cold, damp, silence.

After another uncountable number of steps I stop again, turning so I can sink down onto the creaky stair, drawing my knees up into my chest so I can wrap my still gooseflesh puckered arms around them. Leaning back automatically onto the stair that should be behind me . . . .

"Fuck." I whimper, jerking my torso upright when it isn't there.

Tentatively I unwind an arm and reach back.

Nothing.

Nothing behind me. Nothing to the side of me.

My arm snaps back, freeing the other to research.

Nothing behind me. Nothing to the side of me.

Practically panting I reach both hands down, grateful to feel the rough wood of the step my sneakered feet are telling me they are resting on.

And then I reach over them and on down, between my feet down, down, until my balance tips and I pull back abruptly from the nothingness.

Fuck.

"JASPER?! ROSE?!"

Edward? Alice? Jake? Daddy? Anybody?

I curl my arms around my torso again, attempting to gain comfort from the soft cotton of my long sleeved tee, the warmth seeping from the skin underneath and the erratic twitch of my muscles . . . .

Silence. Cold. Damp. Silence.

Dysfunctional breathing.

Hot tears sliding down my cheeks, splashing fatly onto my chest and arms, reminding me I'm alive, that this, this, is real . . . .

"I'm so stupid." I groan.

"I'm so scared." I whimper. "Edward I'm so scared."

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

With an immense effort of will I unwind an arm, reaching back, reaching out, reaching down.

Nothing.

Again.

With the nothing.

Keening. Quiet keening. Breaking the silence.

Rocking. Gentle rocking. Breaking the inertia.

Stand up Bella. Stand up. Shut up. Break the spell. Climb the damn stairs. Thump the damn wall. Stomp on the damn stairs. Get out of this damn basement. Throw the door open into the light and demand to know where the fuck everyone is and if they think this is fucking funny!

The silent, cold, damp, air mocks my internal bravado.

But I always did loathe being mocked.

My arms unwind.

My legs shake.

But they do propel me upright.

And support me while I turn toward what I hope, pray, is up, and freedom . . . .

The next stair creaks as my foot descends on it and I sigh in relief, just moments before I realise the creak was a feint and there was nothing, nothing, nothing really there . . . .

I can feel.

Feel cold damp air ripping through my clothes and hair as I fall . . . . and fall . . . . and fall . . . and fall . . . . chilling me to the bone . . . . freezing my muscles into a rictus I can't break . . . . not even with my overwhelming desire to scream . . . . and scream . . . . and scream . . . .

But despite that desperation to expel the choking fear from my lungs there is only silence.

Cold. Damp. Silence.

As I fall . . . .

And fall.

Twisting. Turning.

Ravaged by the cold, damp, silence . . . .

Edward, Edward, Edward, save me, Edward . . . . I love you . . . . loved you . . . . so much . . . . so, so much . . . .

Screaming.

Finally screaming . . . .

Because I'll never get it.

Never get my forever . . . .

…..

"Bella. Bella. Love?"

His rich velvet voice lures me from my nightmare like a siren song. A song my cells can't ignore.

My eyes open to find his golden ones, beautiful, regarding me with concern.

"You were dreaming." He murmurs, brushing his cool lips across my forehead.

"Was I? I can't remember." I groan, woolly with sleep and immediately inclined to give into my desire to bury my head in his cold, hard, chest.

Not that he minds.

I already can't recall the terror of my nightmare.

Why would I when I have Edward to protect me in my waking hours. In my reality?

"Breakfast?" He asks when my breathing calms.

I hum in agreement, snuggling further into his arms, never minding how cold and hard they are.

"I'll see you downstairs in a minute." He whispers, pressing a kiss into my forehead.

"M-kay." I sigh as he leaves me.

…..

"Pancakes?"

"We've been practising." Esme laughs, sliding some onto a plate and placing it in front of me.

"You've had these nailed for a while." I point out before diving in.

She laughs again, withdrawing from the kitchen with a smile as Edward wraps his arms around me from behind.

"Will you be okay with Jasper and Rose today? We have 'W' stuff to do in Seattle."

"You know I will." I promise him. "Hundreds of books to choose from and even more movies."

"Em, Rose and Jasper will be here." He reminds me. "And Em has promised to procure your take out of choice when you get hungry."

"So." I confirm, snuggling back into his cold hard chest. "I'll be fine. Don't go all worrywart on me."

"I just don't like leaving you." He confides, pressing his cool lips to the top of my head.

"I don't like you leaving me either." I sigh. "But it won't be long now till we never have to be apart again."

"Amen to that." He sighs, his sweet breath chilling my scalp. "I love you. Forever."

"And I love you too. Forever."

….

Alice and Edward are out of town for the day with Esme. I could have asked where they were going and what they were doing but the probable answer, no doubt containing the word 'wedding' stopped me. Yes, I know I agreed to this, and I know in some ways you could argue that the presence of the 'W' word in my life is my own fault. But still, just thinking about it makes shivers run up and down my spine and gooseflesh break out on my skin.

Appropriate for All Hallows Eve I suppose.

Perhaps some 'W' related madness wouldn't have been so bad? I am B-O-R-E-D.

Carlisle is working at the hospital and neither Rosalie nor Jasper will come near me, though for very different reasons. And Em, the big brother I never knew I wanted, has gone hunting for some human food since my stomach started rumbling half an hour ago.

And, though I know I am extremely weird, it is kind of creepy here when the vampires are not obviously in residence.

With a hefty sigh I give the room another once over, looking for a distraction other than my reflection in the enormous glass windows blanking out the dark.

And then I find it suddenly.

A door.

Since when did the Cullens have a basement?

I assume it's a basement.

Since it's in the right place after all, under the stairs . . . .