Disclaimer – If I haven't owned it in the last 6 chapters do you really think it has changed? Jeez…

A/N – Thanks to Ode to a Firefly for constant prompting. More A/N at the bottom…


He pulled back and gazed into my eyes. "I thought it would be strange, when I found out from Alice that you were one of us, to look into your eyes and see a mirror image of my own staring back at me. I was wrong. Though I do miss the warm brown pools of your human eyes." He placed his hand gently over my heart. "And the sound of your heart not being present…and to not see the sweet blush upon your cheeks," he sighed dramatically and his fingers swept along my cheekbone. "Agony, all of it. However, I will grow accustomed to these things with time, and the trade off is better by far," he finished in a whisper, his eyes positively smoldering.

"Trade off?" I whispered, wondering idly if my eyes could smolder like his now. I seriously doubted it.

His lips brushed my cheek. "Part of the trade off is your scent…it's positively exquisite – I did worry that it would not appeal to me as much as when you were human. I was wrong on that too. And then, the best part of the trade off is that I get to keep you for eternity. You are mine Isabella Swan, and now that I have you back I am never letting you go."

I smiled as I pressed my lips to his. "I like the sound of that," I breathed. "However, you really do need to let me up. I have got to wash this blood off and change clothes."

He motioned to his own bedraggled state. "I am just as bad off as you are in the messy department. If we weren't covered in blood would you want me to stop holding you?"

"No," I whispered. "I'm already dreading getting up. I've been without you so long…I missed you."

"Then don't get up," he said, smiling my favorite crooked smile and he slid to the edge of the bed and stood up, supporting my weight with one arm. "I missed you too."

"Where are we going?" I asked, clinging tighter to him so I wouldn't fall.

"To clean up," he replied, moving through a darkened doorway I hadn't noticed before.

He left the light off and I reached for the switch, but he pulled me away. I deduced that we were in a bathroom and using the mirror, I looked over my shoulder to see that we were moving toward a large Jacuzzi tub; he turned the water on high before sitting me on the counter.

"Is this all right?" he whispered.

I didn't really know what the "this" was that he was referring to and I really didn't care. I couldn't imagine anything that wouldn't be all right when Edward was there with me. I nodded my head and he smiled at me, hands going to the buttons on my shirt. That was when it clicked – apparently the "this" was us getting cleaned up, in the tub, together.

I grinned as he slipped the bloody shirt off my shoulders to pool behind me on the counter, but inside my head that pesky little voice was screaming at me to put my clothes back on and run away. I ignored it. I also ignored the nervousness from this situation – I had never been even partly naked in front of a man and now I was expected to climb fully naked into a tub with a fully naked Edward. "At least he left the lights off," I thought to myself.

He slipped his own shirt off, and then kicked off his shoes before sliding out of his jeans. I was fascinated by the way his muscles rippled and moved under his skin – even with the lights out I could see him clearly. He slipped my shoes off and he kissed me gently for a moment.

"Are you all right?" he breathed, and I knew he must have seen some of the discomfort playing across my face.

I nodded, reaching behind myself and undoing my bra; it fell into my lap and my arms automatically clamped around my torso, hiding my nakedness.

"Bella…we don't have to do this. I just thought," he murmured, but I wasn't paying attention.

My fingers felt the gritty way the blood was smeared across my skin and suddenly I needed to be in that water. All the emotions I had felt earlier came rushing back once more and now I was shaking and suddenly frantic to get the blood soaked clothes off of me. My hands were trembling so hard I was near to ripping my pants off. Suddenly his hands were there, steadying my own and pulling them away from my jeans. He slipped my pants and panties off and lifted me up like I was a child, carrying me over to the tub and placing me gently in the warm water. I covered my face with my hands, trying to still the tremors.

"Oh Bella, my sweet Bella," he whispered, sorrow working its way into his every syllable. I pulled my hands away and opened my eyes to find him startlingly close. He leaned in and kissed my forehead, pulling me close until I slid onto his lap – it was then that I realize he had removed the rest of his clothing as well. I gasped and if I had still been human my face would have been flaming red.

I leaned forward, pressing my face against his neck, wrapping my arms around his chest, and inadvertently pressing my breasts against his chest. His fingers traced lazy patterns up and down my back and I slowly relaxed, the tremors ceasing – I felt so safe, so much better in his arms. He sensed my change in mood.

"Aren't you glad I didn't let you turn on the light?" he asked, chuckling softly.

"Yes, quite glad," I replied.

I pulled away from him, being also glad that the tub was large, and lay back until my head was submerged, wetting my hair. I came up dripping, keeping my head leaned back so my hair would stay out of my face and gently swept the water droplets away from my eyes with my fingertips. I was moving to my knees to grab the bar of soap that was just out of my reach, when I glanced at Edward - the look on his face stopped the breath in my lungs. If I had thought his eyes smoldered before it was nothing compared how they looked now.

He rose up out of the water and came at me so fast I could not have moved if I had wanted to. He wrapped his arms around me, pressing me back against the side of the tub, and began kissing me with the same fervor he had shown earlier when we were still in the bedroom. I returned his kiss in kind and he pulled away after a few moments, breathing hard. I grabbed his face and pulled him back, meeting his lips once more with my own.

"You are so beautiful," he groaned, pulling back to gaze into my eyes, before he began trailing kisses down my throat and along my shoulders. He tried to go lower but I pulled him back up, capturing his lips in another kiss. He pressed his body against mine and I wrapped my arms and legs tightly around him, wondering how I ever could have been nervous about this.


A/N – And it with this that I leave you for a while. No, I am not abandoning the story, I am flying away to the UK for 18 days, and regrettably, will not be able to update while I am there. I am sorry for any distress this causes you. If you are lucky I might have time for one more update before I leave in two days but I seriously doubt it.

Anyway….I hope you liked this chapter – it was very fun (though difficult) to write and didn't really turn out like I planned. But I like it anyway. So…let me know your thoughts, concerns and questions by clicking the little button and dropping me a review.