He was trying to fight back, the look on his face told me that much, but it just wasn't happening. He couldn't look after both of us at the same time. The tracker had it easy, he was just trying to get rid of him so he could move on to the main course... to me.
I tried to scream as a warning when I saw the tracker's shiny white teeth, covered in my blood, sinking into his skin and tearing. Up until that moment I'd thought their skins were impenetrable. Edward roared in pain, physical pain, but his eyes widened when the tracker threw him on the floor and grabbed his wounded flesh. Edward turned his head to look at me, his eyes reflected so much sorrow and regret they made me sob even harder. I wanted to crawl to him, to hold him close and kiss him for what I knew for sure now would be the last time but I couldn't move. The only thing I could do was lie there, in a pool of my own blood, and cry.
He looked at me and time stopped, all my pain went away when he mouthed the words "I love you." And then the moment was over. The tracker smiled, grabbed another handful of Edward's perfect skin, and pulled. And my whole world came crashing down.
I sat up sobbing, screaming Edward's name, shaking like a leaf and drenched in cold sweat.
A pair of iron strong arms circled me and pulled me back down on the bed.
"Bella, sweetheart calm down! Shh my love, it was a dream. It was only a dream."
His sweet breath and soothing words made my screaming stop, I turned around in his arms, wrapped myself strongly around his hard body and buried my face in his cold chest. He had successfully stopped the screaming, but not the sobbing.
He pressed his cold lips to my forehead and took a few deep breaths close to my nose. He knew his smell soothed me and the actual proximity to his face started to do the trick. After a few moments the sobbing turned into silent tears. He kissed the salty tracks on my cheeks, tasting those tears, and hummed my lullaby softly.
The calming process happened in what seemed like hours to me but in fact the time that elapsed from my screaming fit to my quiet cries had been almost nonexistent. I discovered this when Edward suddenly went still and cursed under his breath. Not a moment later I found myself alone in my bed.
I sat up, scared. "Edward!" I called out. I heard him shushing me from somewhere in the room and suddenly my door opened. Charlie ran in, wearing a pair of plaid boxers and a white undershirt.
"Bella! Oh my god are you okay?"
"Dad!" I jumped, surprised. Sometimes it was easy to forget I still slept in the same house as my father.
"Honey what's wrong? Did something happen? I heard you scream."
I sighed "I'm fine dad, I just had a nightmare." I tried to sound reassuring and calm, anything to get Charlie out of my room and Edward back in my bed.
"Are you sure? You sounded terrified. Do you need anything? A glass of water or a soda?" He hadn't moved from under my door frame, thankfully he still felt a little awkward around me and, most of the time, stayed out of my room. I was really trying to speed things along.
"I'm fine dad, really, I'm just lucky I didn't fall off the bed." I didn't mention that it probably had something to do with the fact that a strong, graceful vampire had been resting under the covers with me, clutching me to his strong chest.
Charlie looked relieved. He ran a hand through his messy hair and sighed "well if you're sure you are okay I think I'll go back to bed."
I smiled "I should probably do the same. I'll try not to eat so much before bedtime tomorrow night."
Charlie smiled weakly "You do that Bells, you really scared me there for a second."
As soon as my dad closed the door behind him, I felt Edward's arms circling my waist again. I took a deep breath and turned around to face him.
"So, same dream?" He whispered.
I nodded in the dark but I knew he could both feel and see me so I didn't bother with a verbal reply.
He sighed, frustrated. He rested his cold cheek on my forehead and rubbed my back "I never should've separated myself from you that night."
I kissed his bare chest "It all turned out fine. If a few nightmares are the prize I have to pay for everyone I love making it out of that experience alive then I'm glad to have them."
Edward mumbled something that sounded like "silly girl" and stroked my hair. "Go back to sleep Bella."
"Did you go home already?" I couldn't see if he was wearing the same pants from that afternoon, and he'd gotten the habit of taking off his shirt when he joined me in bed, so I couldn't be sure.
He shook his head and I made a face. "Don't worry my love, it's friday. You can go home with me in the morning. I'll stay all night."
I smiled against his chest and reached up for a kiss. His cold lips met mine, unmoving, for a few seconds before he tucked me back under his arm and pulled me closer.
Away from his worried stare I was free to think about that hideous dream. I'd been having it on and off for a few weeks now. Edward kept saying it happened because of the trauma that being under James's power had caused me and I'd agreed with him, at first. However, the tracker of my dreams looked nothing like James. Sure he was beautiful and had almost transparent skin and the same piercing stare that only vampires could accomplish, but he was huge! Almost a foot taller than Edward. And he looked way stronger, even more so than Emmett. Of course by then I knew that looks had nothing to do with the actual strength of a vampire. Part of me knew, as Edward insisted on repeating every time I talked about James, that if I were ever attacked again, even by ten vampires at the same time, my boyfriend would be able to defend me on his own.
As it turned out, if push came to shove, Edward's feelings for me made him almost invincible. His instincts would take over and he would kill anyone who even thought about going near me... or so he said. That dream, however, had planted serious doubts in me, even after he told me that was "not how it worked", that it was way harder to kill one of his kind.
By then Edward had gotten pretty good at identifying the nightmare before it ended in a screaming fit such as the one I threw that night. Usually at the first sign of whimpering he'd be on top of me, pressing his body gently against the whole length of mine, whispering soothing words in my ear and breathing steadily so I would know for a fact that he was still alive... or at the very least still kicking. He must have been distracted that night, or maybe I hadn't made a warning sound. Either way I knew he'd be paying much closer attention in the next few days.
As I remembered the dream tears rolled down my cheeks and into his arm again. He kissed the back of my head and whispered "I love you Bella. You are safe with me."
"I know I am, but what about you?"
He kissed my head again "I will always be fine, as long as I'm with you."
I smiled against his arm and hoped against hope that my nightmare was just that, a nightmare.
It was past ten when I woke up the next morning. Edward had kept his promise, he was still holding me close.
As soon as he sensed I was awake he kissed the base of my neck. My heart raced as it always did when he touched me, specially with his lips.
"Good morning beautiful."
I smiled and turned around to face him. "Mmm did Charlie leave yet?"
My own, personal, greek god smiled "Hours ago. But not before checking up on you a few times I might add." He kissed my nose and I smiled. I wrapped my hands around his neck and ran them down his chest, where they came to rest next to his unbeating heart. His eyes flashed with something I'd been seeing a lot more lately. Something I could only categorize as lust. Once he'd gotten over his incredible hunger for me, after he had tasted my blood and decided he could stop himself from devouring me whole, his human instincts resurfaced, way stronger than before.
We were both painfully aware of the fact that we would not be able to do anything to satiate that human need for as long as I myself remained mortal, but that did not keep us from playing around a little every morning.
Edward flipped me gently on my back and parted my legs with his. He laid down on top of me and, with a soft and playful growl, covered my soft lips with his cold ones. I tried not to move too much under him, he still tended to run far away from me every time I'd let myself go and kissed him back too forcefully, so I very slowly ran my hands up and down his back while he caressed my face with his cold fingertips, his lips never leaving my own.
After a few moments, however, I grimaced. He frowned and pushed himself up on his elbows. "What is it? Do I have morning breath?" He joked. I rolled my eyes, if anyone had morning breath it would have had to be me, but after a month of me needing "human minutes" before kissing him every morning he assured me my morning breath was every bit as sweet and inviting to him as my "just brushed" breath, so I stopped.
When I didn't answer for a few moments he grew concerned. "Am I hurting you?" in a movement too fast for me to catch he was standing next to my bed.
"No, you did not hurt me, silly."
Edward's frowned deepened "then what's with the face?"
I wrinkled my forehead and, in what I'm sure was a very childlike voice, said "I have an itch."
Edward stared at me dumfounded for a moment before laughter took over him. His musical response which I loved so much, did nothing to alleviate my problem. I sat up, threw the covers off me and stared at the walking cast on my leg with hatred. "I'm so glad you're coming off tomorrow" I spoke to it as I reached for the pencil I kept in my night stand. I jammed it down my cast and scratched furiously, pissed at myself for ruining my moment with Edward.
He sat by the window and smiled while I scratched away. After a moment of furious jamming, my leg felt better and Edward walked over to the bed, lifted me into his arms, and took me to the kitchen.
"Feeding time for the human." He'd grown quite fond of that phrase. He sat me down on a chair and started making me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, one of the few things he could prepare for me without worrying about how it tasted. I gulped down my sandwich and a tall glass of milk while he watched, then he carried me back upstairs and into the bathroom. He produced a plastic bag from his back pocket, which he proceeded to tie to my casted leg.
"Can you shower on your own?" He asked as usual and, as usual, I said yes. Alice had stopped going to my place to help me shower ever since I'd gotten the walking cast. I was able to do pretty much everything on my own but that didn't keep Edward from worrying.
He waited in my bedroom while I showered and dried my hair. Then he carried me down the stairs and into my truck, which he drove to his house as fast as it would allow.
When we got to Edward's, Alice was waiting for us by the front door. As soon as my truck pulled up she smiled excitedly, jumped up and down a few times and then ran away. I glanced suspiciously at Edward.
"What's going on?" I asked.
He was by my door before I could turn my head around. "What do you mean?"
I narrowed my eyes "I mean Alice just told you something and I want to know what it is."
Edward smiled and cradled me to his chest. "It's a surprise."
A million things ran through my head right then "I'm not a big fan of surprises." I grumbled before adding "and I'm perfectly capable of walking around by myself you know? You don't have to carry me all the time."
He smiled at my annoyed expression "If I let you wobble around by yourself you'll probably break your other leg, not to mention it'd take forever. Besides, what would be the fun in that?"
I pouted while he carried me through the front door, up the two flights of stairs, all the way down to his bedroom door, which was closed. He placed me on the ground gently and grabbed the doorknob. "Close your eyes."
I did as I was told and resisted the urge to peek while he opened the door. Suddenly I felt gentle hands taking my own away from my face. I opened my eyes and gasped.
The big couch that I had gotten so used to had been pushed to the side of the room. In it's place stood a magnificent four poster bed. It was tall and huge, made out of dark wood. Edward picked me up again and laid me down on the comforter. It was so incredibly soft I felt like I was sinking into it. I was so awed I couldn't speak.
Edward laid down next to me and watched me struggle with words until finally I managed to choke out "wow, it's beautiful." I looked hopefully into his eyes "Why did you get a bed though?"
He took a strand of my hair between his fingers and pulled it behind my ear. "Well, now that you're getting your cast off I figured your dad would probably let you come and spend the night here with Alice every once in a while, considering he loves her so much. Since we have plenty of parental supervision I hope he won't mind much. I just wanted you to feel more at home here."
My smile had frozen on my lips. Although it was a very sweet gesture it wasn't exactly what I'd been hoping for. I tried not to let him know that though, it would probably just upset him. But in spite of my best efforts he read right through me, as always.
"Bella, what's wrong?" He pushed himself up with one elbow to look at me.
"Nothing. I love it. It was so sweet of you to think of me this way." I tried to smile sincerely.
He wasn't buying it. "You're upset. No, wait, you're disappointed. Were you expecting something else?"
"No! Oh no no, it's perfect! Really, the bed is amazing." No matter how convincing I tried to sound he was having none of it.
"Bella, please tell me what's wrong."
I sighed, I could never say no to that penetrating stare of his. "I just thought... I thought you'd bought this bed for us to... share."
He frowned "I did."
I could feel myself blushing "no I mean... really share."
His eyes widened in surprise "Bella! We've talked about this. You know we can't..."
"I know" I interrupted.
"Well I was hoping..."
He sat up so suddenly he startled me "You were hoping what?"
I sighed again, we'd had this conversation what felt like a million times before "I was hoping you'd decided to turn me."
He growled in exasperation and let himself fall back down on the bed. "I will not get into this with you again Isabella."
Isabella... he really must have been mad.
"Edward! By now you should've realized I'm not backing down on this."
"Well neither am I."
"This is my choice Edward, when are you going to accept that?"
He rolled his eyes "Do not throw temper tantrums with me Bella, I'm not your father."
My jaw fell to the floor with those words. For a moment I felt hurt, then embarrassed, then just plain mad. It took all the concentration I had left in me to jump off the bed without killing myself in the process.
"Bella, where are you going?" Edward's voice had just a hint of regret in it.
"I'm gonna go throw my temper tantrums away from you." I made my way out his bedroom and into the bathroom at the end of the hall. I would've liked to have gone further but without my crutches there was only a certain length I could travel without falling flat on my face.
I closed the bathroom door, locked it, and leaned against it. I knew Edward was standing on the other side of it even before he spoke.
"Bella. I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. Would you please come out here so we can talk?"
I didn't answer.
"Bella? Don't make me break down this door."
I bit my lip and kept quiet. I knew he'd never even try to push the door open by force if there was any chance I could be leaning against it. And I knew he knew exactly where I was standing.
"Isabella Cullen! If you don't open this door right now..."
I froze. My hands quickly found the doorknob and I unlocked it as fast as I could. I opened the door slowly, my eyes wide.
Edward was standing on the other side, in his eyes I could see a hint of shock and... was that embarrassment?
"What did you just call me?" I whispered.
Edward had stopped breathing. With the little air he still had in his lungs he whispered back "I'm sorry."
I frowned "Don't be."
I raised my arms and he gratefully sank into my waiting embrace. He buried his face in my hair and whispered "I say your name like that in my head sometimes, just to see how it'd sound. I guess I've been talking to myself a little too much lately."
I smiled and leaned away from him to look into his eyes. "Isabella Cullen... it has a nice ring to it doesn't it?"
He laughed and lifted me by the waist. "Yes, yes it does."
As he carried me back to his bedroom I forgot all about our fight, for a while.
That night when Edward drove me back to my house we discovered Billy's car parked on the driveway.
Edward groaned as he undoubtedly listened to both the thoughts and the conversation of the two men inside my house.
"What's going on?" I asked him.
"Apparently Billy's finally had enough of his cryptic warnings. He's telling Charlie that he should be careful with you. He thinks you're... too far gone." He said that last part with anger.
Edward's hands were shaking. I took them in mine to calm him down. He didn't even look at me though, he kept staring at the house as if he could somehow see the two men sitting in my living room. "He's telling Charlie what to watch for! If you get paler than usual all of a sudden or if you stop eating, if your mood changes or if... If you grow fangs! That's ridiculous! We don't grow fangs!" Edward was really mad, plus I could tell he was offended by the whole fangs thing somehow.
I couldn't help myself, I had to giggle at his expression.
"You think it's funny? The old man is in there trying to convince your father to forbid you to see me!"
I smiled "And what exactly is Charlie thinking just about now?"
Edward frowned, he concentrated a little and then mumbled "He thinks it's ridiculous, he thinks the old man is losing it."
I nodded, even thought I was upset with Billy for sticking his nose in my business so often I knew my dad had heard all that before, and I knew he'd never buy it.
"I'm going inside. Stay close." I reached out to kiss him gently.
He returned the light kiss "Always." He whispered. In a blink he was lifting me out of the truck and setting me down in front of my door. I opened it and wobbled inside.
"Bella! I'm glad you're home. How was your afternoon?" Charlie was clearly desperate for some sane company.
"It was fine dad. Dr. Cullen is going to take my cast off tomorrow. I'm starving."
Charlie stood up and almost ran to the kitchen. "Let me get you something to eat for a change." And just like that, I was stuck in the living room, alone with Billy.
"Please stop what you're doing." I whispered to him.
He turned around to face me "You took the words right off my mouth."
I sighed "Please Billy, can't you give it a rest? They are good people."
"I'm looking out for you Bella. I just want you to get as far away from them as you possibly can before you get sucked so far into their world you'll never be able to leave."
I stared into Billy's soft eyes while I said "Oh Billy, it's way too late for that." Then I turned around and limped up the stairs. My dad reappeared when I was halfway up.
"Bella, what about your dinner?"
"I suddenly lost my appetite dad. I think I'll take a shower and go to bed."
I jumped on one foot all the way to the bathroom, surprisingly without tripping. I got the tub filled with scalding hot water, slipped some bubbles into the mix, stripped down, wrapped my cast in plastic, lit a candle, turned off the lights and got in.
Once I was settled and sure that every important part of my body was well covered with bubbles I whispered urgently into the darkness of the bathroom "Edward!"
"That man can really get on my nerves." He was sitting on the counter by the sink, as comfortable as if he'd been sitting there all along.
I rubbed my forehead with my right hand. "I'm so glad Charlie isn't into urban legends."
Edward stared at me for a second and was suddenly kneeling next to the bathtub. "Are you feeling okay?"
I frowned "Yeah, I just feel a headache coming."
He rubbed my forehead, looking concerned. "You sure?"
I nodded. His beautiful face too close for me to speak coherently. I was suddenly painfully aware of the fact that I was completely naked under all those bubbles.
I must have blushed because he laughed softly and whispered in my ear "Don't worry my love, I won't peek."
I turned tomato red and, holding my breath, disappeared under the bubbles.
"Coud someode just kill me now pdease?" I was sitting on Edward's living room, my head resting on his lap and my now castless feet propped up on a bunch of pillows. I was nursing the mother of all colds, something Emmett found very amusing.
"Be careful what you wish for in a house full of vampires Bella" He warned in a joking tone.
"Fine, could someone just Turn me now please?"
Emmett laughed wholeheartedly. Edward just scowled, never taking his eyes off the TV. Alice waltzed in just then, holding a box of tissues for me.
"Thank you Alice! You're a lifesaver!" I accepted the box gratefully and used one of the tissues to stop the endless stream of snot. Jasper appeared then and all of a sudden a sense of calm and wellness filled me.
"And thanks to you too Jasper. Now stay here for the rest of my illness." Jasper smiled. Edward finally took pity on me and bent down to kiss my burning forehead. He rested his cold cheek against my warm skin and I sighed. I was as close to being comfortable as I was going to get for a while.
"Here Bella, I made you some chicken soup." Esme set a tray of food down in front of me. I was so grateful to all of them, my adopted family. Carlisle had checked up on me before leaving for the hospital and Rosalie... well she hadn't said anything. But then again, she hadn't said anything.
I was just lying there thinking about how good my life was, in spite of the coughing, when suddenly it hit me. Something was wrong, something was very, very wrong.
Edward had stiffened. I looked up to see what had caused his stillness and that's when I saw her. Alice was standing next to the coffee table, her eyes wide. Edward let out a yelp and covered his ears with his hands "Alice! Stop yelling!" even though I couldn't hear a sound.
She had stopped breathing, her wild eyes flickered to mine for a fraction of a second. Edward sat me up and wrapped his arms around me. He pulled me to him with such force I was sure it was taking every inch of control he had not to crush me to his chest.
"What the hell is going on?" Emmett sat up straight and stared from Edward to Alice and back to Edward.
"Someone is coming." Edward answered simply.
Jasper ran to Alice's side. He'd gotten a pencil and a piece of paper from somewhere. She took them from him and her hand became a blur. She was drawing while she talked. "A group, maybe eight. They are still far away but they will come."
"Do they know we're here?" Esme asked.
"No, they are not coming here for us."
"Then why?" Rosalie had appeared out of thin air. She was covered in oil but she still looked stunning just standing there next to Emmett.
"One of them wants Bella." Edward answered for Alice.
Rosalie frowned "what do you mean "wants Bella"?"
Edward was mad, his lips trembled when he said "I mean he wants her the way I want her. Or at least he will as soon as he smells her."
Rosalie rolled her eyes, then she addressed me for what might have been the first time ever "Honestly girl, would it kill you to smell like everybody else?"
Edward growled deeply and Rosalie backed off. My eyebrows shot up in surprise but I said nothing while the vampires talked so quickly and quietly I couldn't quite make out their words.
I did catch the end of the conversation "So he's not hunting her yet?"
"No." Alice answered this time "But he will be soon."
And then I froze. Time stopped for me, I forgot to breathe, I forgot to think.
"Bella? Bella what's wrong?" Edward shook me gently.
"That's him." I whispered.
"That's who?" Edward frowned.
I pointed at the picture Alice had just drawn. "The tracker from my dreams. The one that kills us both. It's him."
Edward glanced up at Alice. Even though I was too terrified to think straight, I could still see her very faint nod.
I'm sorry about the spelling and the grammar mistakes. English is not my first language and for some reason I'm in such a hurry to post this that I didn't even re read it after I wrote it. I tried really hard to resist being sucked back into the fanfiction world but apparently Twilight wouldn't have it. So here I am with my little story that won't ever begin to compare to the real thing but oh well, when the story calls I must answer ;)
So yes, to be continued.