Hello, lovely people!

So something happened: inspiration struck me from two sides this time, because I managed to finish a chapter AND an outtake.

If the "After Nightfall" chapters come on a weekly basis, these outtakes will have no update schedule. I have quite a few more planned, but my main focus right now is dealing with the big story, so they will have to wait for the time being.

These outtakes are just harmless fluff, presenting slices of Edward's and Bella's life prior to the events of "After Nightfall".

I hope you will enjoy what you'll find - and if not, constructive criticism is always welcome :).

This outtake's summary:

Edward returns from hunting one night, expecting to find Bella asleep. He finds that she is not only wide awake, but also in the mood for dangerous deals.

As much as I needed to hunt, I hated being away from Bella. And it wouldn't have been half as bad if she didn't have to meet Mike and Jessica for their one month anniversary (their third one month anniversary, given all the break-ups they had been through in the past few months). What was supposed to be a dinner for two turned out to be a more inclusive event at the last minute, when Mike overheard me telling Bella that I was going to miss her tonight and invited her to join them. And my love, as polite as always, didn't turn down the invitation.

Emmett thought I was over-doing it with my possessiveness, as usual. He, however, had no idea whatsoever about the lewd thoughts the Newton kid had in regards to my fiancée.

"Now listen to me, dude, you promised me you will fight a bear with me tonight. If you go back on your word just to brood, I am telling Rose that you were the one who scratched her Jaguar, not me."

I rolled my eyes.

"You don't want to deal with that!"

"God forbid I don't fight a bear with you, Em."

"You're an ass!" he started laughing and soon after, his laughing turned to playful punches.

We headed south, towards Bogachiel State Park. A mile or two close to the park, an overpopulation of bears awaited us. They were far from my favourite prey, yet a promise was a promise. I knew I needed the blood. Just that morning, as Mr. Banner was getting ready to wrap up the lesson, Bella moved her hair with one swift movement, that sent all of her gorgeous scent up my nostrils and set my core on fire. If I wanted to have any peace tonight when I was going to go to her room, I had to be well-fed. I could not afford any close calls with her.

By the time Emmett and I had arrived at the destination, the evening was setting in. I began to wonder how far along into the dinner Bella was - and whether Mike had made any inappropriate comments yet. We saw the first bears when I was still mentally calculating how high the chances of him making both Bella and Jessica uncomfortable at the same time were.

Emmett grabbed the first bear laughing and held it up above him, while the others quickly got away from us.

"Look at this sucker, bro!"

The animal roared and wriggled above him, his paws grasping at the air. Emmett's hands dug into the fur and the bear whimpered.

"Tag, you're it!" my brother shouted like a maniac and threw the bear at me, as if it were a volleyball.

The impact hadn't moved me, but it had clearly hurt the bear. Its ribs broke in contact with my body and the previous whimper turned into wailing.

"Don't just stare at it, you know what to do."

I knew exactly what he wanted me to do. But I was not in the mood of playing games with an innocent being - especially not when that being was already hurt. Without another word, I broke the animal's neck, to end its pain, and got down on my knees.

"How can you be so lame? All you had to do was throw it back."

I ignored Emmett's disappointment as I sunk my teeth through the thick layer of fur, feeling the fatty layer underneath caving under the pressure, and reaching a big vein. The blood splashed out and right into my mouth. I sighed deeply, allowing it to wash over my tongue and roll down my throat. It was still warm, which made it better. The taste wasn't the best, but I didn't care in that moment. I sucked the animal dry, until there was nothing more to take.

"You're the worst," Emmett mumbled when I got up. "If I knew you didn't want to play, I would have asked Jasper."

"I am sure he would have gone the extra mile of giving up his night out of town with Alice just to maul bears with you, Em."

"If he wasn't out of town, he wouldn't have done me like this."

"You're being a kid," I smiled. "Let's go find some more."

A few bears later - none of which we had played with, much to Emmett's dismay - we were full. It had been a little over an hour when we finished. Emmett had forgotten about his initial annoyance with me, albeit not completely, after I convinced him I will organize a rematch for his sake some other time. It was simple to please him.

"Any chance I can tempt you with a round of mountain rock wrestling?"

It was hard to refuse my brother's wish - mountain rock wrestling was his favourite post-hunting game. He had invented it and it was exactly what it sounded like. It involved finding the tallest mountain rock in sight and having a wrestling match on top of it. Whoever broke the rock first won.

"I am sorry," I sighed. "I wouldn't be able to concentrate for too long."

"That's the point - at least I'd beat you for once."

"I need to know Bella is safe," I explained. "The Newton kid is getting on my last nerve."

"You're probably scaring the crap out of him, but whatever you say."

We got rid of the dead bodies and left, heading back to our house. I hated the fact that I had to make this detour, but I needed to take a shower. My clothes looked impeccably clean, as usual, but it would have felt wrong and unfair to Bella to get back to her dressed in the very same clothes in which I had hunted.

It was a little after midnight when I climbed the tree in front of her bedroom and slipped through her window. To my surprise, she was not in her bed, as usual. Instead, I heard noises from downstairs. Intrigued - and thankful for the fact that Charlie was working a night shift - I got downstairs and found her in the kitchen, loading a pile of clothes into the washing machine.

I only needed half a second to realize, as she was standing with her back turned to me, that her top had been removed and she was only wearing her jeans and a white bra. Completely taken aback, I missed my chance to be subtle and not scare her when I said:

"God, Bella, I am so sorry..."

Her small yell filled the kitchen when she turned around - as she did, I caught the shortest glimpse of her bra from the front, before turning around myself. And what an exquisite glimpse that had been.

I couldn't allow myself to think about it too much. Yet my mind was already replaying the short moment in my head again and again, like a broken machine: how the slope of her breasts blended seamlessly with the shape of the white cups; how the wire of her bra seemed to press a little too tightly to her torso, almost hurting her; how creamy her skin looked in contrast to the blueish tint of her white bra.

"You've scared me!" she said, and her fast-thudding heart confirmed her thoughts.

"I know, I'm sorry. I was not aware that you weren't dressed, my love."

She sighed.

"I had spilled Dr. Pepper on my shirt, I wanted to get it fixed."

"But why aren't you sleeping?"

I watched the cracks in the pale yellow walls as I talked, still facing away from her.

"I wasn't feeling like sleeping."

"Did Mike and Jessica bore you that much?"

"Only a little."

I heard her press a few buttons and then the sound of the machine beginning the first washing cycle.

"You know you can turn around, Edward. I'm not embarassed or anything."

That was exactly the reason I shouldn't have turned around. I wanted to, but I couldn't trust my own self control when she was so eager to undermine it.

"Oh, I know."

"Then what's that about?"

You're too irresistible for your own good, silly girl, that's what that's about.

"I think it would be better if you would be clothed right this moment, Bella."

She sighed again, this time making sure to sound as dramatic as she could.

"Then you'd better wait in my room, because I have no clean shirts right here."

This was the only excuse I needed. Two seconds later, I was back in her room, getting cozy on her bed. A little while later, I heard her footsteps on the stairs and then the door to the bathroom opening and closing. Not long after, the water of the shower started running and I could hear her getting out of her clothes and stepping into the tub.

Don't think about it, don't think about it, don't think about it.

Ever since we settled on the sex after marriage debate, it had become increasingly difficult not to back on my word. I valued her purity way too much to do so, yet my cravings for her haunted me just as much as my thirst for her blood did. She had sensed my conflict and not only once did she try to lure me into solving it in a way that would have stolen the last remains of her innocence.

With my eyes stuck on the ceiling, I caved - like so many times before.

I allowed my imagination to roam free. As she was squeezing shampoo out of the bottle and on to her hair, I wondered what it would have been like if I stepped under the stream of water with her. My cold touch wouldn't bother her - and if it did, I would only turn the water to the hottest level. I would see those wet locks of hair cascading on her bare back, water dripping on her porcelain skin and on to her round bottom. I would take my clothes off - it only seemed fair to be on the same level with her - and surround her with my arms. I would pull her closer to me and she would feel firsthand the effects of her body on mine.

A wave of excitement rushed through me at the thought of allowing Bella to feel my erection for the first time. I had deliberately avoided this in the past and kept a safe distance when I felt myself getting hard - which was most of the times we were together. Just as breathing came natural for humans, getting hard from the excitement of having Bella close came easy to me. I never did anything about it - in my human life, I must have tried at some point to release this kind of tension by pleasuring myself, but I couldn't remember it. Now I had no interest in solving the tension on my own: I needed Bella for that as well. Would she get scared, upon feeling my member near her skin? Would she be embarassed? Would she… like it?

I never allowed my fantasies to go past this particular point - it was all to easy for them to intertwine with another set of fantasies, that would bring Bella nothing but pain.

I made sure to reposition my erection to not be as obvious when she returned from her shower. She was wearing her usual sweatpants, but her old T-shirt had been replaced with a tight camisole. All of a sudden, I hoped that she would have stuck to just being in a bra, because that camisole was a thousand times more tempting. The outline of her breasts was perfectly visible and the material protuded slightly in two small, delicious places, in a way that should have been deemed illegal. She was surely taking advantage of the fact that Charlie was not at home.

It was difficult to hide my amazement, but I managed to. She started combing her wet hair, but gave up halfway through, when she realized that her waves were unmanageable that night. Defeated, she turned off the light and stumbled on her way back to the bed.

"You seem nervous," I murmured, pulling her in my arms.

"I'm not."

The darkness couldn't possibly hide the delicious rouge of her blush.

"You are a terrible liar, you know that."

I grabbed her chin, to make her look a me. Her eyes were still getting used to the darkness and she squinted. Smiling, I reached out to brush my lips against hers. A small sound escaped her throat when I did that and she immediately grabbed my shirt in response, prolonging the kiss. I inhaled her scent deeply, allowing it to burn within me. It felt right to be with her again - fire and all.

"So how did that dinner go?" I asked over her lips.

"Kind of terrible, to be honest."

She pulled back, her breath shaking.

"Mike didn't feel too good, so he spent most of his time in the bathroom, which meant it was mostly just me and Jess."

I kept my relief to myself.

"What about your hunting with Emmett?"

"He's a little mad with me right now," I grinned.

"How so?"

There had to be a way to answer that question without mentioning the gruesome details of mauling bears.

"Because I refused to play with him."

"Well, that sounds like Emmett."

She remained silent, her breathing beginning to steady. Still, her cheeks had an unexplainable rose hue, alluring me through the darkness of the room. She didn't try to hide it as usual, probably forgetting that I could perfectly see her, even in the absence of light. I wondered what it was that I was missing.

"Is there something you forgot to tell me?" I grinned and reached to brush my lips against her heated cheeks.

Her heart began to flutter like the wings of a butterfly and my curiosity grew stronger. There could be a million reasons for Bella's blushing, but I wanted to skip the guessing game and hear directly from her what was the source of the sudden rush of blood to her face.

"No," she said immediately. "No, it's nothing."

She didn't seem too convinced. I decided to offer her an incentive to talk.

"You're a bad liar," I laughed and pressed my mouth in the small place between her ear and throat. Her heartbeat felt even closer from here. I could almost taste it on my tongue. "Tell me."

"Okay, maybe I don't want to tell you," she managed, slightly out of breath.

"Hmmm, I could always make you, my love," I teased her, descending with my kisses to her neck.

I felt her body getting warmer and softer against mine and it was all too tempting not to roll over her, to press the proof of my desire between her legs.

No. Too dangerous.

"It's a little embarrasing, actually," Bella murmured, as she fought for air.

"Now I love embarrasing!"

She hid her face in her hands, as if she suddenly became aware of the colour in her cheeks, and I pulled away, taking her wrists in my hands to look at her.

"It's just something Jessica mentioned," she sighed.

I raised my brows, trying to imagine what could have possibly come out of Jessica Stanley's mouth to get Bella so flustered now. When she didn't continue, I had to remind her I was still waiting for her to voice whatever was troubling her.

"Okay, while Mike was away, in the bathroom, she mentioned something about getting to second base with him", her voice was trembling adorably with emotion. "And then… she asked me if you and I got there yet."

I froze for a moment, but I knew that I didn't have time to ponder too much over this new piece of information. Instead, I decided to reply with a question:

"And what did you tell her?"

"I don't know… just that… we're getting there, I guess."

She was stumbling through her own words and I wanted to ease her self-consciousness a little.

"Jessica might be a little too curious for her own good," I said.

Bella didn't say anything. Instead, her face turned away, towards the window. She was most definitely aware of her deliciously rosy cheeks.

"That's not too bad, love, right?" I tried to cheer her up. "We are getting there, it won't be long until we're married."

"Yes, about that..."

She got up from her place and stared at me through the blackness of the room. My eyes glided downward without my intention, right where her camisole was poking outwards. An abundance of venom rushed to my mouth when, for the shortest moment, I imagined what it would have been like if I could roll the fabric down and stare at her breasts directly, undisturbed. The thought of her nipples getting engorged with blood set my thirst on fire.

Look up. Always up.

I forced my eyes back to her face, glad that she had missed my conflict.

"You were saying?"

"I was just wondering how strict your limits are in regards to… you know, your 'no stealing my virtue' before marriage rule," she explained.

In that particular moment, more feeble than she could have imagined. It didn't take me much to get fired up and that was a problem, because Bella was the same, only more eager to offer herself to me before marriage. And I might have caved long ago, if it weren't for her blood. I needed more time to acclimate my senses to her fragrance, to numb myself enough until I could love her without posing a death threat to her - and waiting until our marriage offered me plenty of time.

I swallowed the excess of venom in my mouth.

"Bella, we can't do this tonight. You know I want to, but..."

"No, no, no, I'm not asking you that."

Her hand grabbed my shirt and closed into a fist, as she looked at me, her eyes not squinting as much as before.

"What are you asking, then?"

Her heart started beating faster, as she struggled to find her words.

"If we could... try some things until we get married. You know, like practice before the big game?"

God, help me, this woman will be the death of me.

She surely had her ways around my rules and that never ceased to amaze me - or annoy me, depending on the situation. But I had no idea how to say 'no' to such a proposition, especially when every fibre in my body and every figment of my conscience begged me to say 'yes'.

"What kind of things?"

"I don't know… but you seeing me in a bra and not freaking out about how inappropriate it is would be a good start."

I nodded, the image of her in the white bra coming back to me, even more powerful than earlier.

"And maybe… touching each other more?" she offered courageously.

I had lost count of all the times I had fantasized about allowing myself to go further with my hands on her body. Dangerous fantasies, of course, but they were preferable to actually doing what I wanted and accidentally hurting my beloved. Her asking me to cave to those particular reveries was too much.

"I think it's better that we wait."

She suspired, but didn't give up.

"But why? We wouldn't go all the way, it would-"

"It is far more nuanced than that, love," I interrupted her. "Even if I don't go all the way with you" - like I so desperately want to - "there are a million little ways in which I could hurt you without realizing."

"I knew you would say that!" her voice sounded victorious.

"You know me too well, what can I say?"

"Yes, but that's not the point - so what you are saying is that you expect to be able to make love to me without any kind of preparation."

She sounded incredulous.

"Yes, that is what I am saying."

"And you think you won't hurt me."

"I know I will give my everything not to."

"But you think getting just a fraction more physical with me now would be dangerous," more disbelief seeped in her voice when she said this.

I couldn't see where she was going with this - she was only stating facts that we both knew.

"Essentially, yes."

Bella's eyebrows danced up and her next words came out with unexpected confidence:

"Then tell me this: how do you expect to actually be able to make love to me when the time comes without doing something terrible, if you're not at least... a little accustomed in regards to what to expect? Wouldn't it be overwhelming for you?"

When I didn't offer her an immediate answer, she smiled.

I felt almost stupid for never considering this angle. In my mind, the plan had always been simple: wait until we are married, mentally prepare myself until then and do my best when the night of our union came. There was no place for practice in my plan. But the more I was analyzing this possibility, the more it made sense. Experimenting with our bodies up to our wedding was not dangerous - at least not in the sense making love to her was going to be. It was responsible. And it baffled me that it had never occurred to me to do some physical training as well, beyond the mental one.

It couldn't hurt to get used to that level of intimacy in whichever way was possible before going all the way. Getting a few bites of appetizers before getting to taste the full course made sense. There were ways to do this right and not steal her virtue prematurely. A myriad of possibilities paraded my imagination and I felt my member getting harder through my jeans as I allowed myself to properly consider those possibilities.

"Edward? I don't know if your silence is a 'yes' or a 'no'."

I felt defeated, but in a good way, if such a thing was possible. My arms reached out to grab her and place her back on the pillow. I rolled over on my side, to get a better look at her.

"So this is why you weren't feeling like sleeping and doing laundry at midnight?" I asked, a smile hidden in my tone.

Her eyes widened immediately.

"The laundry!" she gasped.

"Don't worry about it, I'll take care of it when the machine is done."

"Thank you. But can we go back to what I was saying?"

"Yes, I was getting there."

I brushed the stray hairs off her face. She closed her eyes and I let my fingers linger longer on her temples, feeling her pulse picking up under my touch.

"So do you have any thoughts on my offer?"

"It is unreasonably tempting, that much I know," I admitted.

"Enough for a 'yes'?"

"If temptation would've been the key to saying 'yes' to you, I would be making love to you right now instead of having this conversation. But this proposition you've made... is also reasonable - and that is enough for a 'yes'."

Her heart started pumping wildly and it almost made me afraid that it would explode in her chest. Meanwhile, her breathing seemed to have stopped altogether, so I had to remind her how to be human.

"Breathe, my Bella. I will need you good and conscious if we're going to do any amount of practice."

The word 'practice' didn't exactly cover all the concupiscence involved in this deal, but for the time being it had to suffice.

"I expected a little more resisting on your part," she murmured. "You are notoriously stubborn, after all."

"It seems that I can't resist logic."

She laughed and cuddled up to my chest, her lips searching. I usually turned to kiss her as soon as I felt her reaching for me, but this time I was content to let her do a bit of additional searching. Her lips trailed the line of my jaw, trembingly making their way along my face, until they found my lips. I felt the hot, sweet air of her breath enveloping me, and my mind stopped completely when Bella dragged her tongue over my bottom lip. Unable to resist such an invitation, I took the tip of her tongue in my mouth and sucked on it longingly. A swarm of flavours came over my taste buds - the most potent being that of her blood, hiding just a bite away from me.

I pulled away to swallow the venom in my mouth and I gently rolled on top of her, making sure to keep my weight above her. Bella watched me move with fevered eyes and her hands found their way to my hair, tugging and making me lean down. I complied, feeling her legs wrapping around me. I kept a safe distance, not yet ready to show her the hardness hiding in my trousers, too afraid that it would frighten her.

When her body shivered under mine, my reason came back. She was cold and that was my fault. I immediately removed myself from the comfortable warm place between her legs and wrapped her in a blanket. We were going to do this right - and that meant I needed to buy a few nightstand heaters for my love before we began practicing. Possibly a heated blanket as well.

"I take it we don't start tonight?" Bella panted.

"Tomorrow. I need to get everything ready first."

"Charlie will be home tomorrow night, just so you know."

"Then that just means we'll have to be quiet."

I saw her biting her lip and that made me wonder what could have possibly gone through her mind in that instant.

"Why don't you rest for now, Bella? You might need it if we'll be up until later in the near future."

My subtle promise sent the responses of her body into overdrive. If words could have such an effect on her, what was going to happen when I would actually touch her in the ways we both wanted?

"That doesn't help."

Still wrapped in her blanket like a delicate cocoon, I took her in my arms.

"Ah, you can get me to do anything, angel," I murmured.

"Almost anything," she corrected.

"Almost," I agreed. "Now go to sleep. You've got your deal."

"I'm good," a small grin appeared on her face.

"Either that, or you're just bargaining with the devil."

"You're not funny."

"Good night, love."

I pressed my lips to her forehead and started to hum her lullaby, knowing that I could rely on it to get her to feel sleepy. It didn't take her long to fall asleep after that. That night, she didn't do as much tossing and turning as usual. But she did something else entirely: at some point during her sleep cycle, a few tender sounds started to roll off her lips, interrupted only by her suddenly jagged breaths. I watched in awe, wondering what it was that she was dreaming about. When she muttered 'Yes, Edward, there...' it didn't take me long to understand the content of her dreams.

I smiled. Next time she would moan my name she was going to be wide awake.

If you've got any thoughts on this little outtake that you feel like sharing, I would absolutely love to read and respond to them! :)

Take care of you!