NOTE: All characters belong to Stephanie Meyers:

Time was a strange thing. Edward had tried to explain it many times before, but I never really understood. I knew in reality four long years had passed. To me, it felt more likes weeks, months maybe. And though I had been an active participant in that life outside my own, watched as the sun rose and set a thousand times, it had always seemed close.

After the wedding, Edward and I left for Dartmouth with the rest of the Cullen family. Sam Ulley had approached Edward and reminded him that the treaty must remain valid, to ensure the future of the Quileute tribe. With regards to me, Sam quietly agreed that this was my choice and they would not declare war over that particular point. Ultimately, the werewolves bore no ill will toward the Cullen's but we would have to leave the Forks for good. I knew that Sam himself was indifferent to our presence, most of them were, but this was for Jacobs' sake. No one had seen or heard from him in almost a month. After everything, I owed him whatever he needed, no matter what the cost. He had saved me too many times.

That night Edward and I flew to London for our honeymoon. The entire flight I begged him to change me as we made love, but trying to consummate our union proved to be both disappointing and terrifying. Edward's control would falter for an instant and would result in my being inches away from being smothered or a broken pelvic bone. Edward would always snap back in to the moment the instant before causing me any serious pain with a horrified expression on his face. In the end, we had kissed and caressed every single inch of each other's bodies. The act left me feeling complete and utterly content.

The following evening's attempts went a little better, but he still could not gain enough control to enter me. The whole experience of his naked marble body was too much to bear and the cool hard climaxes his mouth coaxed from me were enough to placate. We contented ourselves with just being together this way, tasting and touching each other, night after long night.

It was March before we decided to risk the visit with Charlie. I was still human after all, so no treaty had been broken. The trip was not completely forbidden. I was uncomfortable the entire flight, expecting to see Jacob's pained face as I stepped off the plane. But the sight of seeing Charlie smiling dissolved all my wary feelings. I had surprised both Charlie and Edward as I bounded in to his arms.

That night, as Charlie lay sleeping, Edward whispered, "Let's run."

We ran straight through the trees to our meadow in a few minutes. I gasped as he lowered me from his back. There was a small tent pitched and waiting.

Edward chuckled as he answered the thoughts, he couldn't hear. "Rosalie thought we needed a different approach."

I felt myself blush, the heat rising in my cheeks. "Rosalie?" I breathed.

He laughed harder still as he unzipped the tent. "Space heater, included!"

I felt my face burning, but he reached up with his cool fingertips and the heat began to rise from somewhere much lower. His butterscotch eyes bored into my soul and my knees grew weak. I knew he was already naked, though I hadn't noticed him move to remove his clothes. His nonchalance gave me a sudden rush of courage. He was my husband after all.

That night we discovered that if I took all control and stayed on top of Edward, sex was actually quite simple…and amazing…and beautiful. Our bodies had been waiting in anticipation and his cold body pressed against mine (and inside of mine) was heaven. As I came, his fingers wound between mine and I felt him let go of himself. The marble body beneath me rfirst tensing then relaxing as he gave in to my body. The first time Edward lost complete control of his conscience, he eagerly found his own climax in the same instant I found mine.

It was as it should have been all along. It suddenly seemed that this was the one thing missing from my human existance. How did I ever make it this long with out feeling Edward inside of me?

"Bella," he crooned in his velvet voice.

I reached forward to touch his face while he lay there eyes closed breathing quick and shallow. A sickening pain shot up my arm. From the odd angle at which it laid, I could immediately tell my middle finger had been crushed.

So wrapped up in the passion of our love making, I hadn't felt his grasp on my hand tighten for a split second as he let go to desire. So focused in the moment, neither of us had noticed anything.

Edward slowly opened his eyes to take in my pained expression, and then followed my eyes to the deformity at the end of my arm.

"Bella!" This time he shouted, and before I knew what was happening, he had both of our clothes on and was tearing out of the tent, running full speed toward Forks.

Sitting in the ER two hours later, I had to whisper reassurances in Edward's ear. I'd take the trade any day. A bone heals, but the memory of our love had me floating through the clouds. I could barely keep my hands off him…the good one anyway.

I read the guilt and disgust all over his face as we ran back to Charlie's, sporting my new brace.

"You were amazing," I whispered letting my lips graze the edge of his ear. His breathing faltered once than continued calm as always.

""You are so sexy and brilliant and amazing."

"I love you so much, Edward."

"I can't wait to get home and try it again."

Finally, Edward answered me, by shooting an angry glare over his shoulder and letting me from his back. The ego trip wasn't working so I immediately decided to play a card I knew he couldn't resist.

I looked at my shoes as I began. "I'm begging you, Edward. Please don't think about it anymore. I couldn't stand it if you ever thought badly about what happened." Now, I grabbed his face between my hands and met his serious expression with one of my own. "You're my husband, and I expect you to pleasure me in all senses of that word. "

He smiled his crooked grin and I was at him again, pressing myself eagerly against his marble chest. All too soon he pulled away from me.

"Besides," I teased. "I have an idea."

He tried to form an argument, but in the end I was able to seduce him.

We discovered that if his arms were restrained he wasn't tempted to grab me and snap a few more bones. Even a piece of lace provided enough resistance that Edward didn't have to worry about his self control.

In all, I had given Edward the year he'd asked for. In fact, it had been me who'd avoided the topic during those passionate months. The chemistry our bodies had in the throes of lovemaking was too unbelievable to give up. I simply couldn't commit myself to eternity yet. It seemed much too high a price to pay. Who knew what sex would be like when we were both cold and hard? I enjoyed feeling my warmth warm his body beneath it, and how completely our bodies touched when we lay pressed against each other. I felt like in our most private moments that we were one body and one consciousness, no longer Edward and Bella at all.

If it hadn't been for one of Rosalie's rants, I might never have made the final decision on my mortality. She was preaching to Alice the benefits of body oil. The utter excitement as she relived the previous nights' capers with Emmett was hard to ignore. Both 'sisters' watched my interest growing and gave me a rather spirited lesson on vampire sexuality, which seemed to involve a deeper animalistic hunger than my human mind could comprehend.

"Really, Bella," Alice chimed. "Sex is a whole different level between vampires. It's not so much about feeling him inside you as about…"She paused searching for the right word.

"It's all the same feelings, but not the way you feel them," Rosalie said after a minute. "Instead of feeling all the desires inside your body, they are in the air, so you both feel each others reactions and you're stimulated by it…" Her soft voice trailed off.

"I don't think you realize how dangerous sex with Edward is for you, Bella." I knew that she knew nothing of human sexuality from personal experience, but she had surely seen Edward and I more than once in her mind, whether she had wanted to or not. "I know you think he's totally given himself to that side but you're wrong. If he had, it'd be more serious than a broken finger. He always has to remain conscious of you, Bella. The consequences of that would be disastrous."

It was in that moment that I became convinced. After hearing the mechanics of vampire sex and coming to the realization that Edward still had not been able to fully enjoy our marriage, I knew I was ready. I had promised to love him for eternity and it was time to make good on that.