Hi guys. :) Good to see you! I want to give a friendly warning about this one. This chapter is a strong T, but I don't think it's an M. However, I know that there are quite a few younger readers out here. There's some mention of sex and some awkward moments abound in this chapter. If you're old enough, read on. And please let me know what you think. Anyone excited for Aug. 2? :)


"Come on, Edward, you know it won't kill you to do this."

I knew as soon as the words left my mouth that a smirk was going to slip right on that gorgeous and unfairly smug face of my undead boyfriend. Wait for it… wait for it…

Yes, there it was. Damn. He even makes conceited-smug look good. Giving him my own version of his patented "be reasonable" eyebrow, I tried again.

"You of all people should understand that this would mean the world to Alice. Why are you being difficult?"

We were lying on the roof of his Volvo, parked on the far end of the Cullen lot. I had been over all day, under the pretense of finishing a school project with Alice and Edward. It wasn't a complete lie either. There really was a project and it really was completed today.

I just wasn't going to be the one to tell Charlie that Edward had finished the entire thing based on his own memories of World War II. After the four seconds it had taken for me to scrawl my name under Edward's elegant script and alongside Alice's, we rolled up the paper and tucked it in Edward's messenger bag. I spent the rest of the day pleasantly: kissing Edward, attempting to help Alice enroll in an online course in psychology, kissing Edward, football with Emmett and Edward, being Carlisle's test audience for his lecture on something I couldn't even pronounce, kissing Edward, eating dinner in front of Edward and Alice, walking with Edward, kissing Edward, and now, finally, badgering Edward.

"Don't you dare be difficult," I admonished him, slightly overwhelmed by the role reversal we were currently playing at. "What's your deal, anyway?"

Edward rolled over on his side, away from me. I wanted to grab the back of his shirt to keep him from tipping off the edge of the sleek car, but I figured trying that would only send me flying off the car somehow.

"My deal," he stressed, sounding slightly put out and very un-Edwardly, "is that I simply don't believe that psychology is a valid science. Biology, chemistry, physics, it all can be proven and worked with. The results are… concrete. Psychology is sheer conjecture. And certainly I don't want to be Alice's lab rat."

He looked over his shoulder at me, the dim light from the house infusing a ribbon of gold in his black-brown eyes. He hadn't fed in quite a few days, I realized, and while this should alarm me, it only made me sigh.

A hungry Edward is a crabby Edward. Not that he's not still gorgeous, even with his irises so black they begin to merge with his pupils. The full moon lent an ethereal glow to his pale features, and my breath caught slightly as his gaze refused to part from my own.

He was still facing away from me, and I reached out a slightly trembling hand to skim down the cool length of his back. The stone muscle beneath arched under my touch, and a hazy glow slipped over his eyes.

"Sorry Bella," he sighed, laying his head down on his arm with a slightly audible 'thunk.'

I continued to rub his back, massaging the tense muscle. He was leaning on his side, slightly away from me to give better access to the long planes of his back. I have no idea what he feels when I do this. On one hand, he could crush me with his pinky. I can't imagine that my gentle caresses actually unknot any of his tension. On the other hand, however, I've noticed that when I touch Edward for long periods of time, not that that happens with any kind of regularity, mind you, he grows more docile than a kitten.

It's extremely hard to reconcile scary, growly, Bella-is-in-danger-I-must-protect-her Edward with kitten-Edward.

The fingers on my left hand were cheerfully kneading the muscle at the slope above his jutting shoulder-blade when he stiffened and turned to stone beside me.

"Edward?" I asked, somewhat anxious, but altogether too relaxed to dredge up any real worry.

"Bella," the words sounded like they were coming from gritted teeth. Glancing down, I saw that his handsome face was currently frozen in what looked like a grimace.

"Edward?"

"Bella, your hand—I can't…"

Surprised at his words, I unconsciously clenched and released both of my hands, and jumped when a gasp shuddered through his body. "Bella!"

What on earth was he talking about? My left hand was on his shoulder-blade. Now, of course, we haven't talked much about shoulder-blades, his or mine. Perhaps there's a secret vampire ticklish spot there? Or, I tensed, what if… what if a shoulder-blade was a vampire's Achilles' heel? Was he in pain?

As I mused on the subject, still baffled as to why Edward was letting out a slight groan, I glanced down the length of our bodies.

Holy mother of God!

I sprang away from him as if burned, letting out a sharp squeal of surprise when my momentum sent me tumbling from my precarious position atop the Volvo.

There was barely time to let out a breathless "Edward" as the ground chivalrously rushed up to meet me, but I landed on something hard with a crash. It let out an oomph, so I assumed it wasn't the ground, though.

Edward helped me stand, a rueful look on his strong features. I dared to sneak a peak downwards and flushed immediately.

He was still, ah, um, happy to see me.

I am so blaming this whole incident on him, though. It's rather difficult, I now realize, when your boyfriend is made of muscle as hard as rock to distinguish between a…a…

Shoot, I can't even think it without blushing.

EdwardhadanerectionandIwasfeelinghimupwithoutrealizingitbecauseitwasashardashislegmuscle.

Deep breath. There, I thought it. Time to overanalyze.

Edward had an erection.

Okay. Way foreign territory here. Did I give him that? Erections are not exactly my specialty. Does he expect me to… ah… administer to it…him? Shoot. Can I even ask him that? Will Esme and Carlisle hear me?! DID ALICE KNOW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?

I was feeling him up without realizing it.

Oh Alice so knew. That conniving…vampire. Sure. Let's see what happens the next time you ask me to help you convince Edward of something. Oh my god. Did she tell Emmett? DOES EMMETT KNOW?!

It… he was as hard as his leg muscle!

Now this has got to be a problem unique to me. It's probably easy to realize on any other guy when slightly yielding stomach or leg muscle gives way to the sheer hardness of the… e word. Erection. Gah, I still can't think it. Edward's always hard. Oh, wrong choice of words. I mean he's always… the muscle in his leg feels exactly the same as the muscle in his… you know. I must be turning 278 different shades of red right now.

I dared a peek at Edward. He was waiting patiently for me to come back to myself. A glance down.

Is that whole thing supposed to fit in me? Ut-uh. That is so not going to work.

"Bella, you're making me nervous," Edward said, reaching a hand up to skim through his copper hair. "I apologize for my state. It's very inappropriate."

Inappropriate? Edward? Did I really just feel him up? Damn. I wish I was paying more attention. Who performs their first handjob without even realizing it?

"Does Alice know?" I blurted out.

I really must frustrate poor Edward. It's hard enough for him to cope with the knowledge that he can't read my thoughts whenever the fancy strikes him. When my own thoughts are racing faster than my mouth, I must really drive him nuts.

He looked at me carefully, and I knew I must look slightly deranged.

Well how would you look if you realized you had just given the most gorgeous guy in the world a massive…e-word?

"I'm sorry. I didn't know I was touching you… there."

"It's okay."

I blinked, totally unsure of what to say next. Edward was sitting there with his chest heaving though he had no need to breathe, and I was forcing back the urge to go kiss him.

But now the subject had arisen, so to speak (I had to stifle a giggle here,) it wouldn't go away. I was curious, dang it.

"That doesn't…" Was I really going to ask him this? "That doesn't hurt, does it?"

Why yes, apparently, I was.

His eyes widened, and I think he was regretting not just giving in to my pleadings earlier. If he had, we would no doubt be sitting inside the house acting as Alice's guinea pigs. I don't think standing opposite me with a raging erection and answering my curious questions was what he had planned to happen. Ever.

"Um… No. No, it doesn't hurt, per say."

I absorbed this, snatching the remaining shreds of my courage.

"Did I do that to you when I touched you… there?"

A sound filtered through the cool night air then, a sound that relaxed all my tensions easily. His chuckle, light and fizzing over me like thousands of champagne bubbles.

"Come here, Bella," he said softly.

I stepped hesitantly into his arms and he pulled me to him, exhaling against my hair. His lips touched my temple in caress so affectionate, it stole my breath. He was still hard against my stomach, and I held still, categorizing the feeling.

"I'm sorry you had to witness this, my Bella. I usually am much more discreet around you. I'm afraid you simply took me by surprise."

My eyes were wider than saucers.

"This has happened before?"

He raised an eyebrow and I knew it meant he was dead serious.

"Of course, Bella. It's difficult to control my reactions to you. You're so effortlessly beautiful. So graceful."

I snorted at that, but still blushing from his praise.

"I'm serious, Bella," he whispered into my hair. "You think you are not graceful, you think you are merely satisfactory. You are so wrong. The way you walk, so sure of yourself, so lightly. You light up the room, sweetheart, and you brighten the darkness in my life."

I let out a little shuddering breath at his words, and he bent his head to nuzzle against my collarbone.

It was a few moments before I could speak, and when I did, I couldn't help it.

"Does Alice know?"

His answering, rueful grin was all I needed to know. I buried my head against his shirt, certain I was never going to live this down. Alice would tell Jasper, and probably Emmett, who would certainly tell Rosalie, which would then filter to Esme who would let Carlisle in on the fact that I was giving their son a handjob on their DRIVEWAY.

Oh my gosh.

Sometimes I wonder why I don't just take Edward up on his offer to move to Alaska.