Title: Dusk 'Til Dawn

Genre: T

Summary: Bella begins her senior year of high school at Forks, not so alone this time.

AN: I do realize a sequel from Stephenie Meyer is soon to be out, but I thought I would indulge my fantasies before I read the story. Please forgive me if what I write is contradictory to the progression of the actual story of the characters, but seeing as I have not yet read the sequel, I am allowing myself full creativity on the development of the story from here. I hope you enjoy, and much praise will be heading your way if you choose to R&R.


"I had existed from all eternity and,

behold, I am here;

and I shall exist till the end of time,

for my being has no end."

-Kahil Gibran

"Anthem of Humanity"

1. New Year

I didn't know why I even bothered in taking my time to get ready. Nowadays it seemed like time was constantly in motion. That if I hesitated for a moment, I would miss something, and life would pass before me all too quickly. Not that I would mind, considering I was so willing to give it all up at this point. Yes, in a heartbeat I would end it all, if only so I could have an eternity with him.

As I stared at ambivalence between two outfits, I shook my head. He was rarely the type to care or even consider what I wore and how I looked. There were far more appealing things about me, that drew him to me. I knew that. I knew he would care less if I lingered a bit on picking out a flowing white skirt and dark blouse that I had bought to replace my previous wardrobe. I smiled, remembering how he much he had enjoyed how I looked in my old blouse, and hoped this would have the same effect. Skipping down the stairs, it took all my energy not to scream when I stumbled and grabbed the railing. Would I never grow out of my clumsy phase? And just when I had almost convinced him that I was growing used to my own two feet, I have to go and almost fall down the stairs.

Of course he was waiting when I emerged outdoors. Even from a distance I could see his topaz eyes gazing at me. He had spent the entire weekend hunting with his family, and a full stomach was always shown in those eyes of his. Not that a full stomach would matter. He would always be hungry, regardless.

"Good morning," his musical voice purred the greeting as he opened the door for me. "Ready for our first day of senior year?"

"First day for me," I corrected him and saw a slight smile play upon his perfect lips.

"Only if we're being technical," he lingered in my door briefly, staring at me from where I sat.

"What?" I asked when he made no attempt to move. "We're going to be late if you spend the whole morning goggling, you know."

"We won't be late," he was seated beside me before his sentence was completed. "I can drive fast."

"How could I forget?" I replied sardonically, watching his smile broaden. "Don't consider that an ego booster."

"Just glad to know I'm unforgettable," he responded in a smug manner, displaying just how fast he could go.

"I said your addiction to speed is unforgettable."

"You do have a way with words, Bella."

"Not that."

I blushed and remained silent for fear I would find another way to embarrass myself this morning. Great. I have been out the front dorr for a few minutes and I have already showed how completely ridiculous I can be.

"No more mortification this morning?" he teased.

"Please," I crossed my arms. "I'm just saving it all for lunch. Then we'll have an audience."

It was true, for the most part. Being one of the steady couples at the school drew many eyes our way, especially at me, still the new girl at Forks, being able to snatch one of the infamous Cullens for my own. And I guess there was no blaming them for that. Edward was quite the catch after all. I blushed again, glad he could not read my thoughts. The last thing he needed to hear was how much I was completely and utterly in love with him. Not that he didn't already know that. But when I had spent half the summer goggling at how amazing he was and not hesitating to tell him so, I didn't need to read minds to tell the astronomical ego inflation my words had caused him.

He parked his Volvo in the parking lot and opened the door for me, forever the gentleman. I could see a few eyes on us when Edward continued to hold my hand is his. Shivers passed through me, not just from the coldness of his touch. I had grown pretty used to that particular trait of his. Closing the door with his free hand, he leaned forward and pressed his cold lips against mine.

It was always breathtaking to kiss Edward, and not just in the literal sense. My hands wrapped instinctively around his neck, and his hands pressed against the top of his car. When we broke apart for a moment, I saw his eyes darken and began to move away, hoping not to tempt him in that way. But such an altruistic gesture ceased when he took an arm and snaked it around my waist. Not one to put up a fight in these kinds of matters, I kissed him back.

"Edward," I tilted my head back momentaril, trying to find words between breaths. "If we don't stop, I think you're going to break your car."

"I didn't even notice it," Edward placed his hands atop my shoulders and saw how his fingers had left small dents on the roof.

"I mean, it's not like I would mind if we didn't stop," I could feel blood rush to my face at those words. "But when I felt your body go rigid... I just didn't want to make it harder for you."

"I think we have an audience," he murmured in my ear.

"Half the student body watching us," I did not need to look to see their eyes upon us. "Just great. And I thought we might have a low key senior year."

"At least we can give them all a nice show," Edward raised an eyebrow. "Up for another go?"

"Not with all of them watching us!"

"You have no idea how delicious you look when you blush." Edward whispered, and I shivered now at his cold breath hitting my neck.

"You do have a way with words, Edward." I repeated his words of the morning as I began our walk towards the crowd.

"That humor too dark?" he asked. "Fine. You look very tempting to me, Miss Swan."

"Gosh, Bella, could you two make a better entrance?" Jessica's eyes drifted to Edward, and I saw he still dazzled her like he did with every female.

"She thinks that you're being a show off and rubbing it in," Edward uttered in a soft voice only I could hear.

"I don't need to have supernatural powers to figure that one out," I replied in a voice to match his own.

"So anything new with you guys?" Jessica inquired and continued despite our silence. "My last week of summer was great! We all went to the beach practically everyday. Bummer you two couldn't make it." I exchanged glances with Edward. "And it wasn't even awkward, with Mike being there after the breakup. I mean, it could have been, but we were totally fine."

"That's nice," I answered politely.

"Oh, come on, Bella, I'm the best friend!" Jessica begged. "You guys were gone for a week! What were you guys doing?"

"I just stayed with his family."

"His… family?" Jessica seemed unconvinced. "For the whole week?"

"We're not that dull," Edward joked, and I laughed. His family was the farthest thing from dull. "I promise."

"Not the whole week," I answered, still smiling. "He went on another camping trip with his family for the weekend."

"Oh," Jessica seemed bored of our responses.

Classes progressed with far more ease than they had last year. Well, I wasn't completely new, nor was I alone. Every class I shared with Edward, and we both smiled in our boredom, glad to suffer together in that department. My advance courses in Phoenix had placed me ahead, and almost a century of education had anything placed in front of Edward at school appear to be mere humdrum.

"Bella!"

I turned from where I walked with Edward and saw Mike running to catch up. His genuinely happy expression faded when he looked at Edward, and I felt guilty, knowing well my relationship with Edward hurt him. All summer I had evaded seeing him alone, ignoring his statements about an us and using Jessica as an excuse to escape them. But with Jessica out of the picture, I grew nervous, knowing I had no defense if he decided to go off the emotions of last year.

"Can I… talk to you alone?" he motioned towards Edward, who took a step back and headed to his car, completely reluctant.

"I guess that was a yes," I shrugged, already knowing that the distance to the car wasn't nearly far enough for him not to observe what was said. Besides, if he couldn't hear us talking, he could always hear Mike's thoughts.

"You know, I missed you at the beach." He said. "It was a blast. Wish you could've made it."

"Well, Edward was going to be gone for the weekend, so I wanted to spend the week with him." It was a lame excuse after spending everyday with him throughout the summer, but it was the best I could come up with on such short notice.

"You guys seem really serious."

"We are pretty serious."

"Yeah, well, sometimes all the clinginess isn't good for a relationship." He saw the warning in my eyes and took a gulp. "I didn't mean to upset you, Bella."

"It's okay," even if my face said otherwise. "You're just trying to be a friend is all."

"Yeah, a friend." I watched my words play its effect on him. "This wasn't why I wanted to talk to you, just so you know."

"Really?"

"No, I was just wondering if you were going to go to the Halloween dance."

"You're already thinking about the dance?"

"It's not that far away… like a month at the most." He rubbed the back of his neck. "Because…"

"Mike, I'm sorry if you didn't notice, but I'm kind of taken."

"Well, I noticed that, you're Edward's girl…" he cringed. "I wasn't going to ask you to the dance. Believe me, I don't want to upset that guy. He's kinda intimidating in his own way. But I just wanted to invite you to a party I'm having after the dance. It's a costume one, so don't be shy to go all out."

"Oh, and you needed me alone because…?" this piece of information was hardly something that would require us to be alone.

"Oh, that." Mike grew red. "I just wanted to talk to you… alone… is all. We never get to anymore."

"Okay," I nodded. "Well, it was nice talking to you."

"Yeah, I wish we could do it more often."

"I look forward to the party." I gave him a friendly wave and began to walk.

"Bella!" he called.

"Yes?"

"You can bring Edward… if you want." I could see he felt guilty for tricking me. "I mean, of course he's invited."

"I'll be sure to tell him when I get to the car."

When I seated myself beside Edward, I saw his tight jaw and how tightly his hands gripped the steering wheel. Placing my bag at my feet, I placed a hand over his and smiled.

"You don't have to worry about me, Edward."

"That guy is far too persistent for his own good," he frowned. "You'd think after a year he would get the hint and give up."

"You gotta give him credit for his determination." I told him light-heartedly. "I mean, a year of waiting is pretty long."

"I would wait an eternity for you."

"Pretty long for a human," I put it and pulled his hand to my lips. "You know I would choose you every time."

"You know exactly what to do to make me feel better," he closed his eyes at my lips on his palm. "You feel so good, Bella. So warm and sweet and…"

"I feel as if you're advertising some roasted turkey at a restaurant…"

"Bella," his eyes opened instantaneously. "I'm not thinking of you like you're a turkey."

"Believe me, I know." I laughed. "Take a joke sometimes, okay?"

"No, you're not a turkey." He pulled me towards him, his lips lingering on my neck. "You're the whole thanksgiving."

"Edward!"

"What?" it was his turn for laughs. "We both have a sense of humor."

Charlie wasn't home, as usual. We both sat on the sofa, our books spread across the table, before Edward leaned forward to kiss me. It was a soft kiss at first, but lately I was developing my own appetite. Opening my mouth, I proceeded to deepen the kiss. In a blink of an eye, Edward was across the room, his body stiff and his breath ragged. His hands were in tense fists, and we both waited for his breaths to steady before he joined me on the sofa again.

"Maybe we should just study," I said, reaching for a book.

"I would go further," his hand was atop mine in an instant. "You know I would. It's just…"

"I know, Edward." I looked up at him and smiled. "I understand."

"I wish I could give you more, Bella, but I just… right now I can't."

"You could give me more," I hinted.

"No, that would take so much away from you." His eyes darkened.

"Someday you'll have to give in."

"Not anytime soon."

We always reached this point. Since I had first brought it up, we had gone back and forth on the topic. Whenever we wanted to develop our relationship further, I would reassure him how ready I was to join him for an eternity. Sometimes I would have sworn he would give into my reassurances, but whenever he reached for me, pressing his lips against my neck and causing my pulse to quicken in anticipation, he backed out.

"Edward…"

"Bella, you're too young."

"So what… when I'm some wrinkled old lady about to hit a hundred… maybe then? I'm sure that will be very appealing for a seventeen-year-old."

"It's been many years since I was seventeen."

"You know what I meant."

"Maybe we just should study," he said, sighing.

"I want so much to be with you, Edward."

"You already are."

"And you know what I mean, too." I looked into his eyes. "Please?"

"I think you've tried that one before," he said dryly.

"Maybe it will work better the second time."

"Not even close."

"How about a third?"

"You going to go to Mike's party?"

"I guess," I shrugged, giving into his tactic of changing the subject. "Only if my date is willing to join me."

"Well, I can't leave you there alone."

"What? I'm not grown-up enough to handle a big, bad high school party on my own?"

"Hardly," Edward smiled. "I'm more concerned about the male population that will jump upon the opportunity to spend their time with you, without me by your side."

"Yes, not having a vampire with me every moment of the day will definitely open up some social opportunities." We both laughed and I leaned my head upon Edward's shoulder. "Can you picture us like this?"

"Like what?"

"Like this… forever." I closed my eyes. "I can."

"Of course I can."

"You know, we could be like this forever." I purred. "It would just take a moment…"

"Nice try, but it's still a no." even with my eyes closed, I knew he was smiling. "You ready to give up now?"

"Not the slightest chance."