Author's Notes:

In review, Edward is just placing sleeping Bella on the bed... is it getting hot in here?- Eclipse, pages 185-189...

Again, many thanks to wonderful beta's by psymom and MarcyJ, two most excellent TwilightMoms!

As usual, all the regular disclaimers apply: Stephenie Meyer owns all things twilight; no money is being made from this work; and absolutely no copyright infringement is intended. The dialog from eclipse here is copied only for clarity. Thanks to Stephenie for creating such wonderful characters! Still on team Switzerland...

Now I'm not inspired so much by music, but one song that seems to go well with this chapter is "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer.

In Edward's words...


Part 2

I gently set Bella on the bed, arranging the coverings so she could comfortably move, then lay down beside her. Her breathing changed and she rolled away from me and stretched. I heard her eyelids flutter – was she awake?

Bella rolled back toward me, her eyes open, searching for me in the darkness, but not seeing. She is so lovely.

"Sorry," I said softly, "I didn't mean to wake you."

She tensed next to me, gathering her anger, I suspected. I only wanted to protect her, but forcing her to remain here against her will was unwise, I could see that now. My plan had not protected her from danger, but driven her into its arms. Her wrath was justified, and I prepared to receive it.

Bella didn't speak, but slid her hands over the comforter toward me, searching. Hesitantly I reached out toward her in the dark, letting her find my hand. Her touch immediately changed me; it filled me with the completeness I felt only when we were together. The loss I carried when we were apart vanished – I was whole again.

She pulled herself to me, and I held her close. Her warm mouth found my neck as her search continued, stopping only when she reached my waiting lips. Gently we kissed, and I inhaled slowly, savoring her scent. When we parted, my tongue discovered the taste of her that lingered, indulging in her sweet aperitif. I gazed at her in the darkness, expecting a grimace, but receiving a smile instead.

A laugh escaped me – this was not the anger I was expecting.

"I was braced for the wrath that was going to put grizzlies to shame, and this is what I get? I should infuriate you more often." She couldn't have forgiven me already – the image of Bella's rage was so clear in Alice's mind when I'd arrived. Our lips continued to press together as she teased me, not showing any signs that the anger was still present. I touched her shoulder, slowly sliding my fingers into her hair as my lips moved to her throat.

I could feel her life's blood pulsing rapidly just millimeters from my knifelike teeth, and yet, kissing her here was so much safer than her lips. Her skin didn't wrap itself around my lips the way her mouth did; it didn't seek out my venom coated teeth the way her tongue did. Her throat was infinitely easier to resist than her kiss.

"Welcome home," she said hoarsely, "I'm glad you came back." The words were warm, inviting, and the one thing I'd longed to hear while away.

"That's a very good thing." I said, not moving my lips from her soft skin.

"Mmm," she purred, her arousal apparent as she tightened her grip on my neck.

Then I remembered that she'd refused my bed, and smiled… her obstinance was so absurd. A devilish thought came to mind…

I let my fingers slide down her arm to her shoulder, enjoying the heat of her bare skin. She didn't speak, but the change in her breathing told me how my touch affected her.

My hand continued down her side carefully, and her heartbeat increased. I forced my breathing to stay even, in control; reminding myself that I was trying to tease her.

With great concentration, I slid my hand over her hip and found her knee. Her body was so supple and so appealing… but I pushed those thoughts away, maintaining my self-control. I pulled her knee around my hip quickly… Gently, I reminded myself. As I did, her breathing stopped, and mine with it. Our bodies touched in new and different ways now, and my grip on self-control began to slip.

Another second passed, and Bella inhaled sharply and her pulse increased with obvious excitement. The delight my touch brought her thrilled me – that she could be so enamored with me, a cold, heartless being… It was unimaginable. The thought brought a smile to my lips.

"Not to bring on the ire prematurely, but do you mind telling me what it is about the bed that you object to?" Teasing, I rolled on to my back, pulling her on top of me. She was light as a feather, softly balanced above me.

Suddenly my desire ignited, and I was acutely aware of the blush rising in her cheeks as I very carefully lifted her chin up and away from mine, kissing her throat again delicately. How I wanted her lips, but that would not be wise… too dangerous, I chided myself, as I pressed my lips to her skin…

Every single point where our bodies touched was steaming as her fire touched my ice. Bella's loud breathing made her pleasure even more apparent to me, and my mind filled with so many more ways to stimulate her. I concentrated on the sound of her racing pulse as I worked to push the lustful thoughts away.

I could kill her… the words floated through my mind again as I carefully restrained myself.

"The bed? I think it's nice," I managed to say.

"It's unnecessary," she croaked. I couldn't resist her lips any longer, and pulled them back down to mine, focusing on how our lips touched – and on keeping mine closed against the tantalizing invitation hers presented. Slowly I rolled over again, just barely pressing my solid frame against her fragile one. Her heart pounded against mine and I chuckled as the echoing vibrations felt like they were my own.

"That's debatable, this would be difficult on a couch," I enticed. My teasing was reaching a dangerous level now, pushing my restraint to its limits.

How I wanted to taste her… But I took my lips from hers. For the smallest of moments I let myself consider kissing her fully, deeply, but then knew what the consequences of such an indulgence would be. As in so many other things I searched for some kind of middle ground as I peered down at my lovely Bella, her lips full and unmoving.

Carefully, I leaned in, letting the tip of my tongue touch the outside edge of her lip. If she moved, I would have to separate myself from her – and quickly. This time though, Bella remained motionless, allowing me to trace the entire shape of her sensual mouth, to revel in a taste that rivaled that of her blood. Barely breathing, I forced myself to stop before my tongue found the inside of her lips… and more. To be so close

I would kill her… my conscience said, and I pulled away.

"Did you change your mind?" she breathed heavily.

I'd taken the teasing too far… She would be demanding even more of me if I didn't stop this now. The thought of what she would try and do sent a shiver down my spine; the temptation she presented to me was nearly unbearable. I took a deep breath and sighed, chastising myself more than her as we rolled back on our sides.

"Don't be ridiculous, Bella. I was just trying to illustrate the benefits of the bed you don't seem to like. Don't get carried away." As I nearly did…

"Too late," she said sadly, "And I like the bed."

"Good," I smiled, "I do, too." …though without her it was nothing…

"But I still think it's unnecessary. If we're not going to get carried away, what's the point?" she said.

I sighed again, so wishing I had a different answer for her. "For the hundredth time, Bella – it's too dangerous."

"I like danger," she pressed.

The dog's face suddenly appeared in my head. "I know," I said darkly.

"I'll tell you what's dangerous," she continued, her words picking up speed. "I'm going to spontaneously combust one of these days – and you'll have no one but yourself to blame."

What an apt description. So many longings fought inside me – I felt like a can of her favorite soda. With every touch, every look, every breath, she shook that can a little harder. How much longer could I stand it? And she thought she was suffering… I tried to channel those feelings into another place – one of patience; and I gently pushed myself away from her.

"What are you doing?" she cried.

"Protecting you from combustion," Mine, I thought. "If this is too much for you…" It was definitely getting to be too much for me.

"I can handle it," she said, oblivious to my suffering.

She wiggled back into my embrace, calmly encouraging my arms to encircle her once more. We bantered a bit more about self-control; Bella was still so unaware of how much it took for me to hold her like this. She assumed that she was the only one affected by our closeness. "You have no idea Bella. It doesn't help that you are so eager to undermine my self-control, either." Someday this restraint will be unnecessary… the words flitted carelessly through my mind…

"I'm not going to apologize for that." Her words reminded me of her anger, and I prepared myself for the consequences that surely must be coming.

"Can I apologize?" I asked.

"For what?" Bella's tone was truly confused – She must not be completely awake yet. I frowned as I forced the next words out.

"You were angry with me, remember?"

"Oh, that." The anger was gone already, I could tell. How did I manage to gain the affections of this angel? Time and time again she has forgiven me my errors, without the slightest hint of a grudge, or even a harsh word. That I could have deserved this compassion was inconceivable.

"I'm sorry. I was wrong. It's much easier to have the proper perspective when I have you safely here." My arms tightened around her gently. "I go a little berserk when I try to leave you. I don't think I'll go so far again. It's not worth it." Nothing was worth putting that kind of distance between Bella and myself…

She smiled into the darkness. "Didn't you find any mountain lions?"

"Yes, I did, actually. Still not worth the anxiety. I'm sorry I had Alice hold you hostage, though. That was a bad idea." As I spoke the words, my mind raced. How could I guarantee Bella's safety and still leave her?

There was only one answer to that question, I couldn't. This attempt had turned out disastrously, resulting in her taking even more risks than if I'd just allowed her the freedom she'd requested.

Quietly I gritted my teeth for a moment. The dog hadn't injured her, and I would have to trust that he enough control, even if he was a child. I suddenly remembered that he'd saved her life – it seemed like so long ago – and I still owed him for that. I would have to trust Bella, trust her belief that she was safe with… him.

"Yes." She said simply, replying to both my words and my thoughts.

"I won't do it again." My fears dissolved as I felt her breathe at the base of my neck.

"Okay. But slumber parties do have their advantages…" She said seductively as she pressed her lips just above my collarbone, sending a new thrill through me. "You can hold me hostage any time you want."

I smiled. "Mmm," I sighed. "I may take you up on that."


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