Author's Note: Hey everybody. I finally decided to try my hand at a Twilight fanfiction! I'm not a huge fan of the book, but I enjoyed reading it very much. This story is set a couple of months after Twilight ends. Edward's character (surprisingly!) wasn't forming a clear enough picture in my mind, so I used the actor suggestion the author put on her website instead. It wasn't too bad. Check it out only if you know it won't ruin your image of Edward. :) I hope you enjoy reading. Leave a review if you want.

Disclaimer: Ms. Meyer owns it. I am just an interested reader and writer.

Tempting the Lion

"Delayed Reaction"

Smooth, sophisticated Edward was finally breaking down. His calm, confident exterior was deteriorating gradually, and I was the cause of it. Bella Swan. An insecure, ordinary human who had unwittingly stepped into the lives of seven vampires. I honestly did not mean to do it. Sway Edward, that is. I knew it was dangerous, knew I was very close to losing my life if I did, but the idea wouldn't leave me alone. I was stupid. How far could Edward go before losing himself completely to the predator he suppressed for so long?

My eyes were locked on him from across the coffee table as we immersed ourselves in a highly boring game of chess at the Cullen home. It was raining heavily outside. The rain pitter-pattered against the windowpanes, breaking the thoughtful silence between the both of us. Edward's lips were pursed indecisively as he pondered over his next move, his ivory fingers curled underneath his strong chin. I waited. He sighed and gracefully flattened his hand over the game piece.

"You're staring again," he said in a quiet, even tone, his eyes glued to the board. My breath hitched involuntarily. My heart thrummed against my chest like a jungle drum: unsteady and out of control.

"Sorry. Your beauty simply overwhelms me," I sighed, resting back in my chair, attempting to appear as unfazed as possible. He smirked and lifted his smoldering gold eyes to me. Just the way he glanced up convinced me that he belonged on the cover of a magazine. Adrenaline spiked through my body and I was dizzy with excitement. I gripped the edge of the table, quelling my desire to jump at him. He bent forward, his focus dead-set on me. "W-What?" I stammered.

"Checkmate," he whispered, cocking his eyebrow mischievously. I looked down at the board. My hands loosened their death grip on the table.

"Typical," I croaked, and struggled in vain to keep my face from flushing red. I'd never beat him in this game.

"How so?" Edward replied and I could feel his gaze analyzing me.

"You always win," I squeaked.

"We've only played twice together, and you've already made that assumption?" Edward laughed gently and drummed his fingers against the wooden surface of his chair arms.

"Twice is enough, believe me." I rose from the chair, stretching my limbs. There was a research paper waiting at home that needed intense editing. My heart sunk. Procrastination was one of my other unfortunate flaws, the others being my inability to walk properly without tripping over something and my magnetism to all things trouble. Edward knew those very well.

"For your information," Edward began as he reclined in his seat, "I was trying to make it easier for you. I suppose you were too busy ogling my insanely perfect features to notice." His face lit up with self-satisfaction as my face fell.

"It's not my fault I can't stop looking at you. And even if I wasn't, do you think I would pick up on your little hints?" I asked. Frustration wracked my thoughts. All Edward did was continue staring at me, and I knew he was trying his best to suppress a grin. "No, I would not have figured it out because chess is complicated, and I had no idea what I was doing, and you were disrupting my concentration."

"Because of my devastatingly handsome looks?" Edward interrogated.

I couldn't lie. He'd see right through it. "Yeah," I muttered, shifting from side to side. There was an uncomfortable silence.

"Really, Bella. Is this the only thing you see?" Edward indicated his face. His voice had deepened in tone; his sudden gravity unnerved me. A wisp of disappointment overshadowed his features as he waited for my response.

"Of course not, Edward. They just add – to your overall appeal."

"You are a terrible actress." His hands had risen to the back of his head, where he had them neatly folded underneath each other.

"I'm not lying! And you know I'm not," I insisted. "Stop looking at me like that. You know full well what I think of you."

"You have a point," Edward said, almost to himself. "Imagine, all this fuss over chess. Imagine what poker will bring." He smirked and I punched him in the shoulder. He feigned to be in immense pain. As my fist was retreating, his fingers, in a lightning fast gesture, captured my hand in his and unfurled each finger. His lips grazed my palm gently, and his darkening eyes met mine. I began to tremble, mostly from the shock of having Edward kiss me so tenderly, and partly because his eyes weren't the golden color I was used to seeing.

"Um…do you think I could have some water?" I spoke hoarsely, before Edward released my hand. I would've asked for something else, but how many vampires have soda or milk in their kitchen?

As if in response to my question, Edward answered, "Alice picked up some soda and chips early this morning. She figured you'd want to eat sooner or later."

"She's great. Where is she? I want to thank her." I'd noticed that when I walked in, there was only Edward and I; I didn't hear Alice's hyperactive squeals when she greeted me or see Esme's calm, heart-warming smile.

"Everyone except Carlisle has gone hunting," Edward called as I made my way to the kitchen. "I think he'll join them after work." I froze. Edward usually went with his family to feed. Why hadn't he followed?

"Oh," I simply murmured. "When was the last time you fed?"

I didn't think Edward heard me. I was about to repeat the question when I heard him reply, "A week and a half." My heart skipped a beat. He was probably beginning to feel hunger pains.

I found a stack of plastic cups and a bag of chips on the counter. In the fridge, there was a bottle of Coca-Cola. My parched throat screamed for sustenance even more as I began to pour a cup for myself. Suddenly, a jarring clap of thunder resounded overhead; startled, the bottle fell from my hands. In a last desperate attempt to rescue it from crashing with the polished, clean surface of the floor, I tripped over my shoelace. The counter's sharp counter loomed treacherously as I began my descent. And then I was far from the counter, on the other side of the kitchen, and the soda bottle hadn't spilled its contents. My head spun.

"Thanks," I groaned. I became aware of Edward's arm wrapped securely around my waist.

"Anytime," he whispered, setting down the bottle of Coke, which was upright in his other hand. I, on the other hand, remained snug in his grasp. He wound his other arm around me and turned to face me. My hands rested on his shoulders as I gazed up at him. He bent down and nuzzled my throat gently, inhaling the lavender perfume I had put on especially for him. He always liked the floral scent. I stood as still as stone, waiting on bated breath for his reaction. My hands had begun to tighten around the fabric of his shirt.

"You smell lovely," Edward replied after a few moments. He pulled away and sighed deeply, cradling my face in his cool fingers. The expression he wore was somewhere between relief and sorrow.

"Would you like a taste?" I breathed, faster than I expected it to be. I shifted my head to reveal my exposed throat and quieted my breathing. His forehead wrinkled and his eyes narrowed at me. His hands never left my face, but I could feel them tense against my skin. I already knew the answer.

"Bella," he said firmly, though it sounded more like a growl. I had angered him. It was always like this. Whenever I hinted at my transformation, he grew mum instantaneously. I had grown tired of his constant denial and I wasn't going to stop. Edward's jaw clenched, a silent warning suggesting I change the subject. But I couldn't.

"Are you sure?" I persisted, mentally slapping myself for going further. His cool touch vanished from my cheeks and all was quiet in the kitchen. He disappeared before I even had time to blink the tears that were searing my eyes. I slumped against the wall, drowned in my frustration with him. We'd never be able to be together completely. The disadvantage was mortality. I was human; he wasn't. I wondered why I'd fallen in love with him in the first place.

Lightning flashed; thunder roared, and darkness swallowed the kitchen and me in one large gulp. A blackout was all I needed right now. I blinked through the sudden black and saw the muddled greenery of the forest outside.

"Bella," the voice wafted through my ears.

"Yes?" I faltered.

"The living room is better. I've lit candles." I glanced at Edward, whose eyes glinted like dim fireflies in the dark.

"I see you've disregarded everything we just discussed."

I heard him grumble something underneath his breath. "I haven't forgotten anything," he replied calmly. I felt his hand wind around mine and pull gently. I followed him unwillingly into the living room, where several candles were burning on the coffee table in front of the settee. I took a seat on the far left; Edward sat on the far right. I sat with my hands clasped in my lap, my focus on the small fires illuminating the room. Shadows danced off my hands and onto the floor. I peered over at Edward through the screen of my hair. His legs were crossed; one arm was draped carelessly across the back of the couch. He looked ethereal, as if he would dissolve into nothing if anyone touched him. I approached him, sliding across the couch with extreme caution.

"What is there to worry about, Edward?" I muttered. My voice sounded weary, helpless.

Edward's expression softened in the candlelight and he turned his gaze to me. "Everything. Bella –" I'd never heard him so confused before. He was anxious, unsure of the situation I had put us in yet again.

"Edward," I replied, and reached out to him. He didn't move as I cupped his cheek in my hand. My thumb stroked his skin gently. Hopefully, I was swaying him. I was tempting the lion. An odd sense of confidence surged through me as I moved beside him. "There's nothing to worry about. I trust you."

"I don't want you to lose my trust," Edward whispered roughly. He rested his forehead against mine. "I love you as you are this moment. You wouldn't be the same person if I changed you into what I am." The kiss on my jaw nearly made me pass out from shock. He sighed. "God, I wish this were easier."

"Same here," I responded. He smiled faintly. "Since you won't comply, I suppose I shall just have to seduce you then." Edward froze, his eyes as wide as saucers. I leaned in and grazed my lips on the side of his mouth. His lips opened slightly as my hand massaged his shoulder. "One kiss," I murmured into his ear. "One kiss, please."

He consented to that.

His hands wound around my waist as he touched his lips to mine tentatively, and my fingers tangled in his auburn hair, urging him closer. His kiss grew fierce, unlike anything he'd done before. My face burned when he tilted my head back and kissed my throat; the exhilaration and ecstasy of such passion was finally overpowered by cold, biting fear. I was sorely reminded of a predator attacking its prey. It goes for the jugular first. That's the easiest place. I yelped when his fingernails dug into my sides and raked up my back, tearing my flesh. Thunder bellowed above us.

And then the unexpected happened.

The lights flickered on. I blinked at the sudden brightness.

I felt a pinprick of pain on my throat. It felt as though a bee had stung me. Edward released me, gazed at me in horror. His eyes were dilated to the size of quarters and his hand was clasped over his mouth in utter bewilderment. My thumb touched my neck. I lifted it to my eyes. Crimson stained my finger. It was a delayed reaction. I didn't register it until I saw Edward's pained expression, and his coal black eyes hungering for more.

He'd done it. He'd bitten me.

"Bella." His voice was strained. He wasn't in control of himself anymore. "What have I done?"

Paralyzed, all I could muster was a strangled cry as the beast Edward had fought to keep at bay emerged from the shadows of his eyes.


Should Bella be saved? Or should Edward feed on human blood, and suffer the consequences? Either way, it doesn't look too good.