A/N: To set the scene…we enter here 4 or so paragraphs into Chapter 21 of Eclipse (p462 of the standard softcover). The night previous…well, you all know Chapter 20. Now, Bella's woken up in the morning engaged, she's had a think about it while she gets changed and decided it's going to be fine as long as no one knows and there's no fuss, and then we hear nothing until midday, when the Cullens get home. Bella "hated to waste any part of the night in sleep" (EC461)…so how did she and Edward take advantage of the time they had the next morning? This fic is my little attempt to fill in the few hours Bella and Edward spent alone before trouble began again. Epov.


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"So…you were never even tempted to, say, you know…" Bella was blushing again, lying back against my chest. She was running a new angle on one of her favourite arguments—whether or not I had ever considered any woman but her. As much as I enjoyed the gentle blush on her cheeks, this conversation was going no further if I could help it. Trying not to laugh and taking a deep breath for self control, I stopped her lips briefly with a finger before renewing my efforts at distraction. I trailed my hands slowly, lightly up her sides. Soft at her hips, in at her waist, slowly over her ribs where she shivered and tickled so exquisitely, the slight bump where her bra held to her side, though I tried my best not to think about that. Over her shoulders, skimming along her collarbone to touch bare skin where the neckline of her shirt cut across, then trailing at last up her neck, grinning to myself as her cheeks grew redder still. She squirmed most enjoyably beneath my touch. That she responded to me at all still made me deliriously happy. That she should be so perfectly adorable, so irresistibly beautiful, so sweet and so innocent and so sensual at the same time, and lying back across me on the couch no less…I shut my eyes and tried to imagine how I could possibly be happier than this. When she was my wife, perhaps. Yes. That would be the only way to make this more magnificent. I let my eyes stray to her hands—her right cradled against the soft rise of her breast, fingers still in their brace, her left resting a little awkwardly by her head, her arm bent up to let her lay her hand on my chest. How wonderful. I smiled and traced a finger along her palm. The involuntary reaction, the way her hand tried to curl itself around mine even as she blushed and tried to stay still was delightful. Captivating. Irresistible. I let my other hand slide across from her cheek to her lips, memorizing for the thousandth time the shape of her mouth, the gentle swell of her bottom lip, trembling so slightly. I ran one cool finger along the parting of her lips and she shivered deliciously against me, squeezing my left hand in her own. The touch sent heat through me in waves, a pang deep in my belly urging me to hold her close, closer, to press my mouth against hers and let her skin warm me and never let her go. I could not tear my eyes from the hand that so trustingly squeezed my own. Though my mother's ring had been stubbornly returned to its box and her finger was once more bare, my mind was full of last night…The wildness in her eyes, the touch of her hands on my bare skin, the diamonds sparkling on her finger, marking her as mine and me as hers, and the softness, the tightness, the smile in her voice as she whispered 'yes' to me in the darkness.

She sighed deeply, shifting around to settle more comfortably on top of me. I waited until she stilled to squeeze her close. She was going to be mine. All mine. Only mine. To belong to me and no one else. Not just for now, not just until I made a big enough mistake and lost her to one of her many dull-witted, presumptuous, undeserving suitors. She was not going to outgrow me, and she was not going to get sick of me, and she was not going to want more and leave me and run to the dog, or to anyone else. She was going to be only mine, forever. And I would be only hers. I was the luckiest man in the world. In all of history, perhaps.

"Edward…"

Her voice was high-pitched, sleepy. She had slept for exactly six hours and forty-nine minutes last night. I had known when she woke that I should try to make her sleep again, to go back to bed until my family returned, but I had made some sheepish excuses in my head and held her in my arms while she woke instead. Yes, she had barely slept all week, insistent as she was on watching us…my family…prepare. Nonetheless, it couldn't truly hurt her to be awake this morning, this morning of all mornings, newly engaged—pleasure thrilled through me anew at the thought—and I so desperately wanted her to be awake for a last few hours of being alone together. I couldn't hold her like this while she slept. I couldn't kiss her while she slept. I couldn't watch her mind move through her eyes, and she couldn't reach for me and scold me and argue with me while she slept. However much I enjoyed it, her sleep-talking didn't come close to the joys of listening to her speak awake. And as beautiful as she was as she lay dreaming, peaceful and taken by fantasy, nothing in the world could be quite as glorious as Bella just…being Bella. I allowed myself a long moment to watch her trying to focus, make herself alert—her eyes squinting and widening, her tongue darting out to moisten her lips, her back arching against me—before I answered. "Yes, love?"

With what seemed to be a considerable effort, she rolled around onto her side to look up at me. Every move she made sent thrills through me. I hoped it wasn't too obvious. For all her breathtaking attempts to…I still could barely believe it…seduce me, she would surely be embarrassed if she knew just how pleasurable it was to have her lying on top of me, moving against my body. I couldn't help it if every nerve ending felt four times what any human's could.

"You really shouldn't keep distracting me every time I try to talk to you." Her objection didn't sound overly sincere. At all. Her eyes were dancing with laughter and content and meeting them sent the burning at the core of me flaring again, daring me to hold her gaze and draw her closer and solicit from her those mesmerising, blissful sounds that she made sometimes, only for me. Her eyes were daring me. Or at least, it looked that way to me. I wondered whether perhaps she wouldn't mind so terribly if I were to…to slide my hands under the edge of her long-sleeved shirt and feel her warm skin beneath my fingers, the taut, pale skin of her belly that I could see when she slept and her top shifted as she moved…the gentle, tactile curve of her back, the impossibly sensual way she arched and stretched…and oh, how I would move her…. I reminded myself that when my thoughts began by stringing themselves out in inelegant phrases of qualification, it usually meant that I had hit upon a bad idea. She had slumped forward a little, her eyes still locked on mine, apparently dizzy. Again. I smirked. I was going to win this one. I stared her down, letting just a hint of my desire creep into my eyes. I kept my voice deliberately low. "And why is that, love?"

"Well…um…um…you…. Edward…"

I chuckled deep in my throat, careful not to disturb Bella's trance. Slowly, carefully, I traced two fingers down the length of her spine, from the hidden place at the nape of her neck, white beneath the dusky brown, sweet-scented silk of her hair, stroking over each vertebra to the small of her back and on, lower, stopping just at the top of her jeans, running the length of a finger along bare skin, bare just on her hips in the gap between her shirt and pants. She arched and moved viscerally along the line of my touch, her eyes fluttering shut, her lips parting softly, her skin warm through the fabric of her top and warmer still flush against mine at the lowest point I could touch. She really was the most exquisite creature imaginable.

Her heart sped like the rushing wind outside the window, the early whispers of a building storm. Her breath was shallow as she reached to touch my face. Her hand on my cheek moved me no less than it had when I had first guided it there in our meadow in the sun. A year ago, three months and two days. And when she pulled herself up with such effort to kiss my lips, when she moved to press her beautiful, gentle, trusting face against my coldness, it still left me in awe. We had kissed a hundred times—a thousand times, more. But no number of kisses, I thought absently, my grasp on thought drifting away beneath her sweet, unguarded lips, could ever weaken the disbelief, the joy, the humbling, weakening gratitude that such an angel could give her love to me.

When her body began to weaken and stiffen for lack of breath, I lifted her face slowly from mine, coaxing the air back into her lungs with gentle hands on her back, her neck, letting her relax against me, cradling her carefully in my arms. As she drew in slow gasps of air, eyes still closed, I pulled her a little closer up my body, just enough to whisper in her ear. "My dear, sweet Bella…" I smiled at the answering sigh in her throat. I let my lips touch her ear, my breath raise goose bumps on her skin. "I only try to distract you from your arguments because they are absurd. You are the only one who can move me. You are the only one who can make me feel this way. You are the only one I have ever wanted. You are the only one I will ever love."

She sighed again happily as I let my lips trail further down her neck. The taste of her skin, subtle on my lips, was tantalising, arousing, but not nearly so much as the whimper that escaped her open mouth as I moved back up her neck and lifted her chin with a finger, letting my lips linger beneath her jaw. The sounds Bella made when I kissed her were so much better than any music. She shivered, long and uncontrolled as I turned her face down once more to kiss the corner of her lips…the tip of her nose…the blush of her cheeks…two trembling, closed eyelids…and she moaned softly, gloriously, perfectly as she gave in and pressed against my cheek, moving me sweetly, softly, wantingly back to her lips. I yielded more than willingly. Kissing Bella was heaven. The idea that I could want anyone else was…laughable, at best. She pulled herself closer to me as we kissed, wrapping her arms around my neck, gripping her fingers in my hair, and I surrendered, letting my hands run over her scalp and down her back, losing myself in her mouth, in her body, in her sweet, selfless giving. I had won this argument…for now.


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A/N: This should have one or two more chapters eventually. When I like them ;-) Please review – it will help me heaps with the next chapter