I carried Bella to the house, her father's face turning from shock to resentment in half a second. I delved into the fog that made up his mind.
He was infuriated and strained. But most of all relieved.
"Bella!" he shouted loudly.
"Charlie," she mumbled, shaking her head sleepily. I didn't want to face Bella now. I needed a little time to work with what I had to say to her.
Bella needed her rest, after saving me, anyway.
I fought back the urge to press my face into her hair. "Shh," I whispered as soothingly as I could. "It's okay; you're home and safe. Just sleep." Sleep as long as you want, my love.
Charlie's rage burst through his relief, "I can't believe you have the nerve to show your face here," he shouted again. I couldn't help but silently agree. From what little I could hear from his voice, I shouldn't be here at all.
"Stop it, Dad," I only heard Bella's whimper.
"What's wrong with her?" he growled at me, his face twisting in rage, once again.
"She's just very tired, Charlie," I replied, truthfully. The thought of her waking at this moment brought a sick kind of fear to me. How could I possible make up for what I did to her? "Please let her rest."
"Don't tell me what to do! Give her to me. Get your hands off her!" his nostrils flared. Agony clutched me at the thought of simply letting her go.
I started to hand her over, the pain of separation almost overwhelming me again. But she clung to me, which surprised me. I looked down to her appreciatively. I barely noticed Charlie trying to pull her away from me.
"Cut it out, Dad," she shot at him, irritation in her voice. She opened her eyelids slowly, revealing her beautiful, brown eyes. "Be mad at me."
I felt like retorting against her demand. I didn't want anyone to be angry at her. It wasn't her fault we were in this mess.
We were at the front of the door now. I wanted so desperately to break the threshold between this cold, dark world to the house lathered in my angel's scent.
"You bet I will be," Charlie promised. "Get inside."
Charlie's anger was really starting to annoy me.
"'Kay let me down," She sighed into my face. Her breath fanned into my face, making me unfocused.
I reflexively set her down in front of me. She began to walk forward, but her leg's wouldn't respond.
She fell headfirst towards the gravel. I grabbed her fast before he face even met the ground. I would never let anything hurt her again. Not even me.
"Just let me get her upstairs," I said to Charlie, my tone very carefully not revealing the begging I was prepared to do.
Charlie's face was enraged again.
"Then I'll leave," I said again. The agony burst in me at the words. Charlie relaxed.
"No," Bella cried, her eyes turning frantic, her face pained.
It matched the fire that was eating my insides, "I won't be far," I whispered so low, just for her. Only for her.
And for me.
I picked her up again and passed by Charlie, his face angry all the while. I carried her up the stairs, pressing my face into her hair to lightly, that she wouldn't have even noticed.
Her eyes closed at the top of the stairs.
My dead heart leaped as I finally stepped through the boundaries that I had been restraining myself from for months.
I brought her to her bed, and began to remove her from my grasp.
She held me tightly, but I simply removed her hands from my collar. Even while she slept, her face was pained. I set her down on her bed and pulled off her shoes and her jacket.
I tucked her under her covers.
I broke my touch from her and stood straight up.
At that moment, I realized I would have to separate myself from her. It was only about twenty seconds. But any second I had away from her was pure torture.
I needed to be with her.
I needed to stay with her. But I knew I had to act human for a few more minutes.
Agonized, I bent down at her bedside and touched her face. Her hair.
I brushed my finger along her jaw line, her eyelids. The feel of her creamy skin again my fingertips made something rise within me that made me feel alive. Even while I still was physically dead.
I bent into her ear whispering, "I love you." I pressed my lips against her temple and a jolt spread through me.
But I forced myself to walk away from her. The pain overwhelmed me as I walked away from her, and back downstairs.
I was prepared to receive a glare from Charlie, but he wasn't even in the front room. I began to walk out when I hear Charlie's strained voice.
"Edward, can I talk to you for a second?" he called as kindly as he could.
I cringed but not at his call. His mind was laced with rage.