Update: This story has been nominated on Twilight Awards! If you enjoy this, please go to www(dot)twilightawards(dot)this-paradise(dot)com and vote for me!
Okay. A lot of you wanted to see something from Edward's perspective. I, too, wanted to write something from his eyes. However, after undertaking the entirety of Cupcakes from his perspective, I was very much daunted by the idea of doing the same thing. Especially since Edward makes everything go longer.
So here's the skinny. I've got important parts from each chapter posted. Single breaks signify a pause in the chapter, double breaks are a new chapter. (Shouldn't be too hard to figure out.)
This ended up being way longer than I anticipated. (I was thinking a few pages at most.) But it's not really long enough to make into chapters. So, I present to you, the massive Edward-Chapter a few of you have been asking me about.
I love my beta! Bloodsucking Leech, you're the best!!
And thus, on with the conclusion of One Dozen Roses.
"Yes, very much. Even more, now, I'll admit."
She'd liked the roses. My heavy heart lifted at the thought. I had to forcefully repress the want to grin like a lovestruck schoolboy. What was wrong with me? Esme was wrong – I didn't care for the girl. Not in the way she cared for Carlisle, anyway. I found her interesting. I'd decided I liked it when she smiled. And she didn't smile often. That was why I had decided to even do anything at all on Valentine's Day.
Normally, I didn't even notice as it passed. It was such a trite thing, really. Absolutely nauseating when I could hear everyone's thoughts. See everyone's Valentine fantasies. Girls dreaming about a particular boy giving them flowers and reciting some prose, as if these boys – these children – understood the concepts of the gentlemanly behavior of my era. Laughable.
But before, there had never been anyone sitting next to me in Biology.
(From Part One:
(From Part One:Mystery Rose)
Hell. It was pure Hell. Every day, the same thing. Isabella, no, Bella, Swan would sit next to me in Biology. Every day she would roll her shoulders forward protectively and tilt her head away from me. Every day her scent would hit me fresh as she tossed her hair between us. And every day I recoiled back away to prevent myself from destroying everything.
It hadn't always been that way. The first day I nearly had eaten the girl, and slain every innocent in the room who would have bore witness to it. We were past that now. I'd gotten the beast a bit more under control since then. We'd even become amicable.
Her parents were no longer together. Her mother had remarried a man named Phil who played baseball. Bella had chosen to exile herself from them to please her mother, even at her own sacrifice. This was still a mystery to me.
I had thought, initially, that I would be able to talk more and more with her. The more I spoke with her and treated her like a human, the easier it was not to view her as food. But that wasn't the only reason.
She was absolutely fascinating.
If there existed a single entity into which all the aberrations of normality had been compounded, it was Bella Swan. Not only was her mind completely cut off from me, but she broke every rule I had cultivated about humans.
Fact: Humans were, by nature, incredibly shallow and self-centered.
Fact: Bella Swan was neither of these.
Fact: Humans were very short-sighted in long-term consequences and rarely considered the future.
Fact: Bella Swan held a far deeper intellectual viewpoint than any of her kind I'd ever seen before.
In fact, the only time I'd ever seen such levels of extraordinary intelligence and acceptance of the way things were was in my own kind, not hers. And this only applied to the things she said. I had no way of knowing how much deeper her thoughts went. Did she think things that were so complicated and profound that they couldn't be expressed in words?
It was maddening.
I'd only barely been able to get a glimpse of how deep she was before… …well. Before I nearly exposed all of us.
They were right – my family – in demanding that I stay away from her. I did understand, as difficult as it was. They had every right to ask that of me, and I owed them at least that much. If the possibility of exposure had only affected me, I would've ignored their demands. But it affected us all. I simply could not be responsible for that sort of careless abandon. For a human, nonetheless.
It had been exhausting. The day after the incident, she'd turned and looked at me, her eyes full of questions. I wanted to answer them. I'd never felt the urge to just… reveal everything about myself – everything – to anyone. And now I sat next to her, day after day, pretending she wasn't there.
Trying to, anyway. Since we'd stopped speaking, the beast inside of me was starting to rear its ugly head. Her scent was intoxicating. Slowly, I grew a little more used to it. Or perhaps, my body adjusted to the constant state of ache and compensated. Regardless, it became easier to sit silently next to Bella each day.
Monday. I only knew that because everyone around me hated Monday. Time to us was inconsequential. I rarely kept track of the days. I watched the board dully, only a few other students in the room. Gradually, the rest trickled in.
DNA… Genetics is so much fun! I can't wait to show the kids these little builder kits I got for the RNA and DNA models. If we'd only had these when I'd been in school…
I tuned out Mr. Banner as he rummaged around in the back room.
I wonder if I'll ever get this homework finished.
James might ask me out! I can't wait until seventh period to find out!
Maybe I could ask that new girl… Isabella. She's been here a few weeks and I still haven't introduced myself…
Crap! My nail! Ow ow!
What's Cullen staring at? I wish he were staring at me…
I took a deep breath and tried to tune out the rest of the thoughts. As more students trickled in, their thoughts became blatantly more pronounced.
I knew Bella had entered because her scent was suddenly present. Within the minute, I heard her chair scoot. Her scent was magnified. Newton was hanging out around her desk, as usual. Wasn't it about time for him to go sit down? He and Bella were talking about something that I, for the most part, ignored. I'd learned that listening to Newton talk to Bella often made me want to punch him in the face. I really didn't care what he said to anyone else. I don't know why I was so protective of her… Because she seemed so much physically weaker than the others?
Esme didn't think so, but that wasn't important. What was important was the phrase Mike uttered that caught my attention.
"Don't you know? Everyone's been talking about it, Bella. It's Valentine's Day!"
And I did, in fact, want to punch him in the face. Especially when Bella's heart stopped beating completely before restarting in double-time. Every muscle in my body tenses as I restrained myself. Newton was an idiot.
"V-Valentine's Day? The one with all the hearts and candy?" Her voice was almost as irregular as her heartbeat, and I could smell her blush prominently.
"I didn't realize there was any other. So what do you think? Would you like to go see a movie with me? Dinner and a movie? My treat, of course."
C'mon Bella, you know you want to! Say yes! Go out with me! Newton was an idiot. Bella's heart was hammering. I wished I could catch a glimpse of her thoughts at this moment.
"Uh, That's really kind of you to ask me, Mike, but I'd have to check with Charlie first, you know. Make sure it's okay that I go out. I'll let you know tomorrow, okay?" Check with Charlie? Bella was a terrible liar.
"Okay, well, let me know, okay?" And Mike was seriously border-lined retarded to believe it. I tried not to smile.
As I casually watched Mike turn and head to his seat, I heard a thud next to me and felt a tremor through the table beneath my hands. Slowly, I looked over my shoulder. Bella's head was facedown on the table.
"Must be something in the water," I heard her murmur. I couldn't help but laugh softly. Mr. Banner strode into the room, and I fixed my gaze on him studiously, trying to ignore Bella's gaze boring into the side of my head.
"The messengers?" Mr. Banner asked. He scanned the room and his eyes fell on Bella. I doubt she'd heard him. "Bella?"
Her heart stuttered frantically and I could smell the panic and the blush radiating from her as she turned to face him.
"RNA," I murmured, breaking the treaty with myself not to speak with her. Technically, I wasn't speaking with her. I was just speaking something. And it happened to be the right answer to a question Bella happened to have been asked that she happened to have not heard. And she just happened to be in earshot of my answer. So I wasn't really breaking any rules.
Bella answered, and Mr. Banner fumbled a bit awkwardly. I tried not to laugh. Of course he'd been anticipating her to not know the answer. I tried to focus on the lecture and push the Swan girl to the back of my mind.
Later, she'd remind me of her existence against my will. While sitting in a completely different classroom that happened to be in the same building as the gym – and unfortunately, the same hallway – Bella must have injured herself. Later, I'd heard Mike Newton's thoughts about her nosebleed. I'd cleared off of the grounds too quickly to hang around and find out at the time. Her blood was just too strong.
I'd gone home, inhaled fresh, cold, Bella's blood-free air before settling into my room to contemplate. I needed to address this Mike situation. I shouldn't. But I wanted to. I couldn't get her out of my mind. Every time I closed my eyes, I could see her. Sometimes it was that endearing, angry scowl, other times it was this brilliant, uplifting smile.
But what could I do? I couldn't go to her. It was against our new rules. And I certainly couldn't eat Mike Newton. He probably tasted repulsive, anyway.
No, I needed something else. Some way to get to her. But only her. No one in the school or in my family could find out. The former would be easy enough. Bella liked to stay out of the spotlight. I could entrust the entirety of that into her capable hands. The latter, however, would be ridiculously difficult. Especially with Alice-
Edward, what are you planning? I keep getting visions. We should go talk. Somewhere where no one else can hear us. I'm on your side in this. Some of these look fun.
Speak of the devil, and she will appear.
It hadn't taken a whole lot of work. We planned it out. Alice and I were unique. Though she had Jasper, we connected in a way they didn't – as siblings, and as secret guarders. We were both despairingly different, even in our own world. I trusted Alice not to breathe a word to anyone else. If Alice were on my side, then it couldn't be too difficult.
The plan was simply classic, and classically simple: one dozen roses for Bella Swan. But waltzing up to her and handing her a bouquet would've hardly been inconspicuous. But if she were to receive them one by one… without seeing who they were from… Only Bella would be smart enough to figure it out.
She had already all but guessed what I was based only off of the incident with the van. She had been so ready to start throwing questions at me, fully aware of how crazy they sounded. The look of desperation in her eyes as she tried to convince herself she wasn't crazy was burned into my mind.
I wanted to talk with her. Perhaps not reveal everything, perhaps reveal it. But I wanted to understand her, at least. I, however, was forbidden to. And so, the roses would speak for me.
The first one had been relatively simple to plant. It really hadn't taken much work at all to open up her truck, lay the rose on the bench seat and relock it before shutting the door.
My only regret was that I couldn't stay nearby to see her reaction. I hoped it would be well-received. I wouldn't find out for a while, though.
For the first time, I was actually a little nervous.
(From Part Two: Occam's Razor)
(From Part Two: Occam's Razor)
The first rose was easy, but I had to get more creative. What fun would it be to perpetually receive a rose on the bench seat of a truck day after day? I decided rose number two would be delivered that night, and I sat on her roof until I heard her go downstairs for dinner.
Sure that she was busy, I dropped down and opened her window, slipping inside quietly. I looked around her room quickly, and saw the single red rose on her desk. Good. She hadn't thrown it out, at least.
But it was sitting in a glass. I'd have to fix that. Carefully, I placed the second rose on her pillow before moving to inspect the first in the glass. I smelled something. Leaning closer, I inhaled deeply.
I carefully picked the rose out of the glass and looked at it closely. Sure enough, tiny droplets of Bella's blood – it could be no other, according to the smell – were caught on one of the thorns.
Brilliant. I should've thought to cut off the thorns before giving them to Bella. Only Bella would cut herself on a rose. I picked up the second rose and snapped the thorns off quickly, then did the same to the first. I almost felt as though I were child-proofing them. But really, I was only Bella-proofing them.
I set the first back in the glass and laid the second back on her pillow. I moved to the window, and paused halfway across the floor. I could slip in her closet…
I didn't want to chance that. Opening the window, I returned to my place on the roof after closing it again. I couldn't hear her thoughts, but at least I could hear everything else.
The first thing I heard was her footsteps on the stairs. I listened closely, waiting for a gasp or something soft. Instead, I winced as she screamed.
Shit shit shit, Where's my gun?
"Bella? Are you okay?" Charlie's concerned thoughts and voice echoed into my mind. She dismissed him casually, and he acquiesced to it.
Bella wandered around her room, I heard doors opening and closing. Checking for a stalker, I presumed. Then Charlie came back, and this time, he came into her room.
Poor Bella. She stammered about the rose. I hadn't actually counted on Charlie finding it. Alice hadn't been kidding when she said it would get interesting. She protected my plan: at a price. She guarded her visions so I wouldn't see them to the best of her ability. She always thought it more interesting to let everyone else see it as it happened. What the devil? Charlie's thoughts broke through my own.
Someone at school is givin' my baby girl flowers? Why I oughtta… she's not something to be bought over like that… when I find out the scamp who… no, Bella seems to like them. I'll be good, for her. Maybe this will do her some good. If he hurts her… I know just where I'll shove my shotgun…
Although I winced at the last part, his words stuck with me. Bella seemed to like them. If my heart could beat, it would've been hammering. I fought back a grin. Charlie left the room and I heard Bella sink onto her mattress. There was a shuffling of clothing, and finally the light clicked out. I just sat on her roof, smiling at the moon.
(From Part Three: Stalker!)
Jasper knew. I had known he would be the hardest to keep anything from – second to Alice, of course. We were sitting quietly at the table and Jasper kept asking Alice questions. Questions concerning the emotions he was receiving from us. Alice kept averting him, making him more and more suspicious.
Finally, we had convinced him it was nothing. And then Alice had a vision. Naturally, she snapped her head to the source of the vision. Bella. And Jasper had cocked his head to the side in an 'I-Told-You' fashion. I smiled grimly back.
"Has she got a rose? Is that what the big deal is?" Rosalie's voice was short and quick. I tried to shrug noncommittally. I glanced down to my untouched food.
I looked up at Jasper. His eyes suddenly held the light of understanding. Damn. He knew.
That rose is from you, isn't it? Do you know how dangerous that is?
I shot him a look.
Okay, well. At least you do understand the potential consequences. Can we talk later?
I shrugged indifferently, casually. But Emmett caught it.
"Edward's having a conversation with someone. Not fair," he whined. Dammit. Dammit, dammit. I couldn't let this go wrong. For Bella's sake, at least.
"I am not. I'm simply bored," I replied.
"As usual," Alice retorted in good nature. I chuckled softly, dropping my head down. Emmett looked perturbed.
"Someone has a secret admirer," Emmett said casually. Shit. Why did we keep going back to this? Jasper raised an eyebrow as he picked up on my faint traces of panic. "Look. The Swan girl. Everyone's squabbling about it."
I shrugged, trying not to look interested. Jasper's eyebrows then raised a little more before falling into a façade of calmness.
Edward, there is more to this than there appears, isn't there?
I didn't respond.
I thought so.
"I like her," Emmett was saying. "Her heart does this fun little flip-flop when you stare at her for a long period of time."
"Emmett, anyone's heart would do that with you staring at them," I snapped back.
He just grinned back.
"Really? You think so?" I sighed. At least we weren't talking about Bella anymore.
Good. I had time to plan out my next move. Gym.
I didn't wait for Bella to pick up her roses in the locker room – plus it would've been highly suspicious to be loitering around the female showers.
Instead, I drove straight to Bella's house. In the passenger seat, I had a lovely cut-glass vase for her roses. I lifted the two from the glass and set them inside the vase. They were dwarfed by the size of it, but not for too much longer.
Instantly, I was down in her kitchen, washing the glass. After opening various cabinets, I found the one that held the glasses and set it inside.
I didn't linger, as much as I wanted to. I needed to be at the school when classes ended so none of the others would suspect anything. I drove back, picked them up, and headed straight home.
(From part four: Petal shower)
The petals hadn't been too difficult. The hardest part had been sneaking out of the house with an armful of petals undetected. Sprinkling them around had been simple enough. The snow had been lovely, but as Alice had predicted, it had rained. This was good, because even vampires leave footprints in the snow.
I was able to completely ignore her that day, at least, appear to. Our paths didn't cross much before lunch. My classes dragged on and on, boring and rhetorical as ever. Then an idea struck me.
Go. Type it now. Hurry, Alice told me. I abandoned my place at the table and moved as quickly as I could and still appear human. Within minutes, I'd settled myself down in the library and glanced around. No one was looking. And so, I began typing. Rapidly.
With plenty of time to spare, I printed the poem and slipped into Mr. Banner's room, planting the rose, chocolate and poem. Hopefully Bella would eat, since she hadn't at lunch. Then, just as quickly, I left the room.
I stayed outside, around the corner until Bella entered the classroom. I counted to ten, then twenty, and then thirty before following in behind her, sitting down.
She was staring at the note. I tried to ignore her, but my curiosity got the better of me. I peeked at her face.
She was glorious. Her eyes wide, her lips parted in shock and her cheeks blushing brightly.
Is… Miss Swan passing notes? She would be the last one I would suspect of that… well, maybe the Cullens, too. Damnit. This never went my way, did it? I glared at Mr. Banner as he approached obliviously.
"Bella? Is there something you would like to share?" Her heart stuttered and I inhaled deeply as she blushed.
Bella stammered some excuse; I was far too focused on controlling the venom coating my fangs to really listen. Mr. Banner muttered something and returned to the front of the room and Bella's blush faded. Able to withstand temptation at its greatest, I glanced down to her.
As if she could feel my eyes on her, she glanced to me. Quickly, I looked back to Mr. Banner, careful to keep my face closed and cold. It was better this way. Safer, at least.
Perhaps it was stalking. No, it was stalking. But I didn't feel the least bit of remorse for it. In fact, I felt more alive than I had in eighty years. But I needed to be careful; Esme had commented on my new mood. Alice had just smiled instantly, and Jasper had shrugged. Esme had grown very suspicious.
I followed her home on foot. I waited until she had gone upstairs before I slipped in the front door. I knew she'd find the vase, so I laid a rose on one of the counters before slipping back outside.
I heard her move downstairs and her gasp. Quickly, I let myself in the window. I set the rose gently on the ledge, but I took too long. She was back. I dove into her closet, and listened quietly. Bella walked around her room, clearly nervous about someone being in her house. As she stepped out of her room, I bolted for the window. I climbed quickly up onto the roof, and waited.
(From Part Five: Closet)
(From Part Five: Closet)
Bella paced for a long while. I started to wonder if the "magical" roses weren't too much stress for her. Maybe they weren't a good idea, after all. Soon, though, it grew quiet. I listened intently in the silence. All I heard was the gradual slowing of her heart and breathing.
Hesitantly, I slipped down and peered into her window. She was napping. Carefully, I climbed inside, and began wandering around her room. After pacing for a while, I settled into the old, worn rocking chair and just watched her sleep peacefully. I closed my eyes, listening to the rhythmic flow of her breathing and heartbeat.
Her brunette locks fanned out around her, giving her the appearance of a sleeping beauty. I smiled quietly. I would eventually have to tell Esme about all of this. Unfortunately, she would tell Carlisle, and then everyone would know. Perhaps I could put off telling her.
"Edward," Bella mumbled, startling me. The first time she'd said my name while I was in her room, I'd nearly jumped out of my skin. I just smiled at her, and starting humming quietly. It was a song that had come to me. The day after I'd saved Bella from Tyler's truck, actually. The notes did that. They just came to life from my fingers. The song was incomplete, though. I felt like there should be two parts to the sweet song; a sort of soulful, mourning part, and a joyful retribution at the end. I only had the wanting part finished. The other half… would remain incomplete until it decided to exist.
I wondered if the sleeping girl before me had anything to do with that. I wouldn't be surprised if she did. Then I heard Chief Swan's cruiser. I sighed. I stood up, and glanced down at her. I didn't really want to leave. I could hide in her closet. I would be safe, if she didn't try and look for me.
I didn't think that would be too bad of an idea. I also didn't notice her jeans were folded on the floor. Not until she stood up. Something kicking inside of me, some instinct I wasn't used to. Without warning, my head snapped up, only to smack on the underside of one of the shelves. None too stealthy for the otherwise silent vampire.
Uttering a low oath, I had about two seconds to find a way out of this before she caught me red-handed in the humiliating position of playing peeping tom in her bedroom. Think, Edward, think.
I couldn't just run out of her closet and escape. What about shelving? Did she have shelving? She must: I did hit my head on something and somehow managed to not leave an impression of my face, thank the stars.
I glanced up. On a whim, I reached up and pulled myself off the ground. Bracing against the walls, I climbed up to the ceiling and stayed perfectly still, spread-eagle against all four walls. I looked like someone out of that movie Mission: Impossible. Pressing my back to the ceiling, I waited.
Suddenly, she yanked the door open and brandished a letter opener. Really. I had to fight the urge to chuckle. I just hoped she didn't look up. Bella didn't. She rifled through everything within her reach, but didn't raise her eyes.
A bit discouraged, she left me to my humiliating position as she went downstairs. Quietly, I lowered myself down. I started to leave, but then remembered my reason for coming. I still had a rose for her. Chuckling quietly, I took out the rose and ribbon and looped the ribbon around the clothes rod. Then I carefully tied the other end to the rose. Now I just needed to leave. One part of me argued to stay and watch her. But I couldn't. No more mistakes. I didn't want to get caught by Bella in her closet, spread-eagle against the ceiling. I just prayed Alice hadn't seen that.
(From Part Six: Broken Hearted)
(From Part Six: Broken Hearted)
Valentine's Day. Or as Bella seemed to like it, Single's Awareness Day. From what I could tell, Eric had staked out the parking lot, determined to be the first to give candy to Bella. The day was going well – I had three more flowers I would give her tonight with the rest of the poem. Typed, of course. Everything was going well.
Until Crowley showed up.
I don't know where he got the idea to give Bella roses – roses were my thing for her – but it lit a fire inside me. I'd never been so furious with anyone before. I watched as he gave her the flowers, and I watched her reaction. First shock, then understanding, and then depression. Did she really think Tyler had given her all the others?
The monster inside of me roared. It demanded not blood, but revenge. I could smell the saline. She was crying. Tyler had made Bella cry. I could not allow that. And I simply could not allow her to believe he was her… what had Angela called it? Secret admirer. In my day, flowers were the first step to courtships. But I would never, ever be allowed to court Bella Swan. For her safety, and for the safety of my family.
I wanted to tell her, I really did. And when she looked up at me, my stone heart nearly cracked. Jasper came up beside me and I could feel calmness radiating from him. Apparently, he sensed my desire to kill. Quietly, we walked toward our next classes together. This wasn't over yet.
I sat perfectly still throughout my next few classes and then through lunch. Biology rolled around, and I halfway dreaded seeing Bella in her state of distress. When she sat down, however, she was calmer.
And then… Mike walked over. I'll admit; Newton was dense. However, I had never seen Bella explode as she did.
When Mike questioned her about her relationship with Tyler, Bella looked like she was the one who wanted to attack and kill him, not me. It was rather fetching on her lovely features. I tried not to stare. I was tempted to intervene. Say something to protect her, but she did just fine on her own. Until she dragged me into it, too.
"For crying out loud, Mike. What's your problem? No, Cullen did not give me candy. Why don't you ask him? He's sitting right there, in case you can't see him. Maybe he'll decide to talk to you," she snapped out at him. I winced slightly. I really was that cruel to her, wasn't I? She couldn't possibly understand how it was for her own safety. But still…
Finally, Mike slinked back to his seat, looking a little ashamed of himself. I sighed softly, trying to contain my chuckle. She really was absolutely intoxicating when she was livid. Both literally and figuratively.
Quiz, quiz, quiz!
Over DNA building blocks, I'd imagine. As Mr. Banner announced it, Bella smacked her head down on the desk.
She raised it when he placed the exam in front of her. Quickly, she started on it. I finished mine before her, handed it in, and walked out quickly before I changed my mind about not mauling Newton.
Part Seven: Understanding
Part Seven: Understanding
I waited until evening. She was having the sleepover with Angela Weber. I would wait until I had my chance. I glanced down at the three roses in my hand. Crowley had forced my hand – I had handwritten the last of the poem. She would know that it had been me. Not him. I sat on top of the roof, listening, waiting.
They had pedicures. Women. I watched Angela's thoughts carefully; I could only see Bella through her mind. Angela was incredibly sharp as well – she had guessed that the roses were from me, but hadn't told Bella. I had no idea if Bella suspected me or not. Charlie quickly retired, murmuring something about crazy women in his head before he went to bed.
Finally, Bella headed for the shower. Several minutes went by before Angela decided she wanted a soda. Finally. I had my minute. I slipped in the window, laid the roses and poem on the pillow, and crept back out onto the roof, closing the window behind me. I waited thirty seconds, but I couldn't stand it any longer.
I leapt from the roof and ran back home. I couldn't wait around. I couldn't afford to, anyway. Rosalie was growing suspicious, and she was the last person I wanted knowing about this.
I sat quietly, forcing myself to be calm as I waited for her to come to the lab. I heard the chair slide beside me, her racing heart pound and her infectious scent surround me. I tried to keep my thoughts clear.
After several minutes, I turned to look at her. She was staring rather pointedly at Mr. Banner and not at all looking my direction. I took the rare occasion to examine her face. Her pretty, pouting lips, deep, dark eyes and elegant, pale, swanlike neck. As if she could feel my eyes, she turned to face me.
"Was it you?" How could I answer that? I pressed my lips together tightly, forbidding myself from saying something I'd regret. I could feel her patience wearing thin next to me, but I refused to give in. Not yet. We couldn't be close. I wasn't allowed to, and it was simply safer for everyone concerned. "Won't you talk to me?" She persisted.
"There is nothing to say," I said tightly, trying to keep from turning to her and admitting everything.
"Was it you from the beginning?" She really wasn't going to let this go. I sighed. I couldn't say too much. I shouldn't say anything, but I felt obligated to. After Tyler had made her cry, I felt like I needed to make it better. Somehow. No, I wanted to make it better, I grudgingly admitted to myself. Just as long as Alice didn't see that. But how could I make her better? Tyler was better for her, by physical standards. A monster like me didn't belong anywhere near someone like her. And yet, the idea of Crowley spending time with Bella intimately made my nonexistent blood boil. Funny how this girl brought out the most human emotions in me. I'd thought them to be dead for eighty years.
"Do you like roses?" I tried a different tactic. I stared right at her and she faced me, her eyes locked on mine.
"Yes, very much. Even more, now, I'll admit," she said shyly. I blinked at her. I couldn't help the deep feeling of elation that swelled inside of me. I turned away before she could see the hints of a smile that were just dying to break across my face. Cold. Detached. That was how I had to be.
"Then that is all that matters," I replied coolly. Nothing more needed to be said. I had been worried she didn't even like roses, but Alice assured me that wasn't a problem. Bella seemed content with the answer – for now. She turned back to Mr. Banner. I watching him, too. But I didn't hear a word he said.
I was worried. Bella Swan was taking over my mind. I couldn't hear her thoughts, but I saw her every time I closed my eyes. I craved contact with her, diving into that deep, probing mind of hers. A deep, forbidden part of me wanted to tell her what I was, just to see how she would react. Esme thought I cared for her. I didn't care for anyone. I didn't need anyone. I just found her interesting. Excruciatingly interesting.
I didn't know how much longer I could honor the bargain I made with my family and myself. I didn't know how much longer I could limit my contact with Bella. All I did know, though, was that I didn't want to any longer.
And no, I don't think I'll be writing any more for this. I do believe this will be the end of this series. I'll just have to work on my other stuff now! Thank you so, so, so much for your support! I had no IDEA so many people would like this! I am completely overwhelmed by the number of reviews and hits. I love you all so much! You keep me writing!
--This story has been nominated on Twilight Awards! If you enjoy this, please go to www(dot)twilightawards(dot)this-paradise(dot)com and vote for me! It's up for the vote for Best Overall Romance, Best Edward/Bella Characterization, Most Original Plot, AND Best Overall Scene for the closet scene from Edward's perspective! Please, please if you have the time, vote for me! :D Love you all!