"For every soul, there is a guardian watching it." The Qur'an
"125… 126... 127…" I counted aloud, pressing a kiss over a small, tan freckle on Bella's ankle, causing her to squirm and laugh breathily. "127 freckles and 127 kisses to prove I've kissed nearly every inch of your skin."
She looked like a work of art, a Botticelli. No, better, for I surely hadn't seen a masterpiece as stunning as she was now. Her hair fell to the middle of her back in a beautiful, bedhead disarray made better by the fact that I knew why it was tangled in the first place.
Her teeth gently caught her bottom lip as she bit back a smile, reddening the flesh ever so slightly and reminding me of her blush in the process. The white sheets were tangled around her limbs as she reclined back on her elbows, regarding me from the foot of the bed.
Her left foot still rested in my hands as I lounged against the headboard having counted every freckle on her body, marking each one with a kiss. Two days ago we'd vowed to be together for eternity. Two nights ago we'd tried. Last night we succeeded.
I was happy, deliriously happy, and it was all because of her. She embraced my rotten soul with her mind and body and I would give her anything she wanted in return. If she wanted the moon, I'd fetch it. If she wanted the stars, I'd lasso each and every single one. She was my sun, my world, my universe and I wanted to give her everything.
"How about I go have a few human moments and we'll leave while it's still cloudy?"
Her voice was still thick with sleep and something else—lust? Her heart was racing and the capillaries in her cheeks were breaking and expanding. She glowed.
I trailed my index finger down the center of her foot causing her to wriggle.
"Hurry back?" I asked, raising her foot to my lips, kissing it.
Her face fell ever so slightly as she blushed deeper and averted her eyes. I knew what she was going to ask. The gesture was beyond adorable and I hated that I was going to have to disappoint her.
"I was hoping—maybe—that you would…." she trailed off, playing with the hem of the sheets, wrapping the fabric—and my heart—around her fingers. "…come join me."
The flush of her cheeks, the flutter of her heart, and the rush of her desire was irresistibly arresting. I wanted to tell her yes, I wanted to join her but if I was going to be honest with myself—I needed a vampire moment.
I opened my arms, inviting her into my embrace, completely smitten with my new wife. Wife. Even the word sent a thrill through me that I could scarcely describe. Bella clutched the sheets to her chest in a residual gesture of modesty I found terribly endearing and scrambled up the length of the bed and settled herself in my arms, her cheek resting on my bare chest. I could feel her warmth radiating through the flimsy Egyptian cotton sheet twisted around her body as she hugged herself close, draping one leg over mine.
I gathered her hair with one hand, carefully arranging it over her left shoulder, leaving the smooth expanse of her back exposed to my gaze. Her skin was a new phenomenon, and it was exhilarating to be able to touch her at all. Her body molded to mine, soft curves pressed to my granite physique. Truly she was an exquisite addiction.
I trailed my thumb down her spine feeling each breakable vertebra beneath my iron touch. The sensation of contact with her still brought forth an electric shock, a jolt that radiated to my very core. I may not have a beating heart but the sensation of stroking her skin made my body thrum. The way her body shuddered against mine at my icy caress did nothing to quench my desire for her.
"You're still going to turn me down, aren't you?" There was no question of her disappointment; it colored every timber of her tone.
"Love, I—" There was the niggling question of how honest I should be. Bella was my wife and she deserved the truth, but would it hurt or shock her to know that I was having the hardest time in her presence since the first few weeks I encountered her? The subtle changes in her pheromones, combined with the fact that I hated being away from her even more now since that dog was on the loose and I hadn't been hunting as frequently as I perhaps should have, made things difficult. Our trying had come in stages and I had been successful in being careful with my angel, but the thought of her in the shower, soft, warm, and wet would be my undoing—I didn't need Alice to tell me that. I wanted her now more than ever—in every way. The months of self-control I'd been building were rapidly eroding like dust in the wind. Will, rationalization, and strength slipping through my fingers, leaving me fumbling for some semblance of willpower.
I opted for subterfuge. "I have something I need to take care of. I'll check in on you in a few minutes, shall I?"
She sighed heavily. "All right. I can see I'm not going to win this morning." She turned to look up at me, resting her chin on my sternum. "Hurry?" she whispered, the warmth of her breath so close, so tempting. I forced myself to swallow the venom that was quickly filling my mouth.
I stilled for a moment before smirking down at her. "Vampire speed, I promise."
She leaned up, her eyes focusing on my mouth. I tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, trailing my finger down to her lips, tracing her perfect cupid's bow and smiled as I pressed my lips to hers. She parted them instantly, taking my lower lip between her teeth, fully testing my resolve. Her mouth was so warm, so inviting, and I could feel my own skin warm in its wake. She made me feel so alive!
Her heart thundered against her ribcage and I could feel it reverberating against my chest. For a fleeting moment it almost felt as if my still heart has resumed its palpitation. The erratic rhythm of Bella's heart told me it was time to regrettably pull away.
She inhaled sharply as I tore my lips from hers, stroking her cheek with the pad of my thumb. "Go," I breathed, "I'll be there in a few minutes."
Gathering up the sheets, she wrapped them around her and pressed a kiss to the tip of my nose before clambering thoroughly ungracefully off the bed, tripping over the linens in the process. My hand dashed out to steady her before she harmed herself, and the gesture caused her to blush.
"One day I won't be so clumsy," she replied, pausing to gather up the sheets again. "Hurry please."
She was so modest, so beautiful, so Bella and I never wanted her to change. It took every ounce of my fortitude to let her walk away from me in that moment.
When she disappeared from view and I heard the bathroom door shut and the water pouring from the shower, I got up and began pacing.
I never thought I'd be spending my honeymoon in Chicago, Illinois.
I had asked Bella where she would like to get away to after the wedding and I fully expected her to say something silly like Port Angeles or even Seattle. And if she had told me she wanted to visit Hawaii, Cancun, or Florida I would have found a way to be there with her and enjoy it. Truthfully, I was hoping to rent a private island somewhere and forget about the entire world for a week—or more. It floored me when she stated matter of factly that she would like to visit the city of my birth.
"You've seen where I grew up. I'd like to see where you spent your human life," she'd said with a shrug.
I couldn't argue, but I couldn't fathom why. I wanted to delve inside her gorgeous mind to know why—did she want this for herself or for me? I remembered brief glimpses of Chicago—going to Comiskey Park with my father to see baseball games, learning piano from my mother, going to the cinema with friends, and sitting down with my priest and discussing my desire to join the war effort. Not many memories survived. Bella said she didn't mind where we visited (knowing the weather would be the deciding factor) but she had insisted on visiting one location within the city.
My phone buzzed suddenly, prompting me to growl quietly. I stalked over to the desk and saw Alice's name on the caller I.D. For a fleeting moment I thought about turning the phone off, but knew nothing could ultimately curb Alice.
"What is it?" I snapped, answering the phone.
"Good morning?" she asked, the smile evident in her voice.
"It was," I replied dryly.
She giggled. "Get dressed; someone is coming to the door. I'll call you back in two minutes."
I threw on the white bathrobe embroidered with the hotel's logo and hastily grabbed a crisp bill from the pocket of my jeans on the floor. I met the bellhop at the door, catching him completely off guard. From the smell wafting in from a cart in the hallway, a fruit plate, cereal, and juice awaited Bella—as did a bouquet of flowers. Room service didn't surprise me, but I wasn't sure why Alice had sent the flowers.
The attendant quickly wheeled the cart in and I smoothly slipped him his tip as I followed him to the door. I could read his discomfort and his eagerness to leave the suite. That suited me nicely; Alice would be calling any moment.
As if on cue, the phone pulsed in my hand. I watched the bellboy excuse himself and I locked the door behind him as I answered the phone again.
"I took the liberty of ordering Bella breakfast since I thought you might be busy this morning."
Alice's heart was in the right place, there was no questioning her motivation; she loved Bella like a sister from the beginning. I coughed to cover up the smile I couldn't hold back at the thought of Bella waking up in my arms this morning. "Thank you. And the flowers?"
"Bella wanted to order some and take them along with her today but she got busy with moving out of Charlie's and the wedding and forgot. Let her have them, she'll be very disappointed if she doesn't."
I had no intention of denying her the bouquet; truthfully I was quite moved by the sentiment.
"Is she happy?" Alice asked, genuinely interested, her voice alight with excitement.
"I'd like to think so," I admitted with slight embarrassment. I knew without a doubt I had extraordinary ability in other facets of my existence, but why Bella stayed, loved me, and wanted me was beyond anything I could fathom. I would spend the rest of my existence trying to make myself worthy of her love. Maybe I was deluding myself but I was beginning to think marriage was suiting Bella a bit more than she anticipated. Truly we were newlyweds in the newest sense of the word, but I think she had seen that both everything and nothing had changed between us.
"Hmm," Alice perused. "I think she is, and I think my cue to cut this call short is coming any minute. Have fun and be safe. Don't worry about today, but be inside by 3:00, the clouds will break up this afternoon. That will give you a chance to practice other things."
I didn't miss the hint in the tone of her voice. "Goodbye, Alice."
She giggled. "Bye, Edward, don't do anything I wouldn't do!"
As I clicked the phone shut, a soft voice called out to me. "Edward?"
I exhaled deeply, trying to find my last ounces of self-control and looked briefly at the tray of breakfast and the bouquet. I snapped a small, pink alstroemeria from the arrangement and slowly approached the bathroom door.
Resting my forehead on the frame of the door, I took a deep breath and found my last vestiges of discipline before I raised my hand and knocked softly.
I stifled a sigh and pushed door open, unsure of what state I might find Bella in at this point. My own private version of the lady and the tiger.
She almost seemed surprised to see me, that I would answer her summons. Clad only in her jeans, slung low on her hips, and a lavender bra, it gave me the occasion to let my eyes roam over her still damp body.
The little room contained an immense amount of addicting heat and the steam heavily bore the scent of Bella in every droplet of vapor. Restraint be damned, I inhaled deeply, tasting the essence of her.
"You lied," she teased, smearing her damp towel over the fogged mirror.
I couldn't restrain a smirk. "No, I had every intention of spending a little time with my wife, but Alice meddled," I answered, moving to stand behind her, gathering up her damp tresses in my hands, exposing the taut muscles of her delicate neck. It was instinctual, I could barely help myself. I had to touch her, feel her pulse thrumming beneath my lips.
I bent my head low, dragging my lips across her heated skin. "I'm sorry I didn't join you, but Alice assures me that it will be too sunny to go out later today…" I trailed off, letting her absorb the revelation in any way she wanted. I felt I needed to treat a fine line with my new wife, while I wanted to express my absolute and unquestionable desire for Bella, I would not pressure her. Ever. I was dangerous and I never wanted her to feel an obligation to quench my craving for her, especially if it may be at expense of her own life.
"Oh?" Bella asked, her voice nearly breathless as I trailed the pink flower blossom in my hands over her abdomen, causing goose bumps to erupt in my wake. "A—and what else did Alice say?"
I smiled against her skin, nuzzling her hairline. "She also sent some flowers because she knew you'd want them today."
"She did?" Bella turned in my arms, gazing up at my face expectantly, her brown eyes bright. "Oh, good. With the wedding I'd forgotten all about it. I wanted to make a good impression today."
I shook my head, unable to hold back the threatening smile. "How could anyone doubt your sincerity?"
An hour later, Bella and I were riding on our way to Evanston, a small suburb within the city limits, in the Jaguar I'd rented for the week. She occasionally lifted the bouquet sitting in her lap and inhaled aroma. To me, the mums, snapdragons, roses, lilies, and alstromeria paled in comparison to the scent of her.
Skyscrapers and sidewalks quickly gave way to the ultramarine of Lake Michigan as we sped along Lakeshore drive leaving the concrete jungle behind to find suburbia. All the while, Bella sat quietly, nervously chewing on her fingernails, throwing me the occasional smile.
"It's not too late to change your mind, love," I presented, offering her my hand.
"No, I'm fine, it's just—"
"What is it, Bella? You can tell me anything. Are you scared?" I gently squeezed her hand for reassurance.
"I won't—" I began, but she cut me off by raising her eyebrows. "OK. Perhaps I shall laugh, but it's only because I adore your humanity." I raised our joined hands to my lips and pressed a kiss to her deliciously warm skin.
She blushed and let out a sigh. "OK, well," she worried at her bottom lip buying for more time. "I'm nervous, you know, about making a good impression. I mean, I know your parents aren't exactly there but I do believe that departed souls can see earth from—wherever they are. They might be watching today."
If it were possible my heart would have constricted out of love for this heavenly creature sitting next to me. The efforts and sacrifices she made for me made it all the more obvious that I didn't deserve her.
"Bella, there's nothing to be worried about, but I'm flattered—and moved."
We were nearing our destination and I instinctively slowed when I saw the familiar black wrought iron fence surrounding the perimeter. I remembered the tall, proud elm trees that used to line the street but they were lost to Dutch Elm disease in the sixties; they added to the serene beauty of the area, they were missed. "It's not too late," I reminded her softly.
'Edward, I want to be here." Her reply was simple and sincere, I couldn't doubt her. She met my eyes with added reassurance, giving my hand a squeeze.
I could only nod as I turned off the street and passed beneath the large, stone, triangular Gothic-style arch marking Calvary Cemetery. Though I had been here dozens of times before, I couldn't help but glance up at the symbols of the Alpha and the Omega integrated into the design of the arch. I'd had two beginnings—a mortal one and an immortal one, but only one death. Would I ever have another? It sometimes terrified me to think of how close I'd come to ending my existence in Italy had Bella been seconds later. I may not have a soul, but she was still my savior.
Bella stared transfixed out the window, fingers pressed to the pane. "Is this a very old cemetery?" she asked, turning to glance over her shoulder. I tried to read the expression on her face, searching for the telltale signs of fear: dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, shallow breaths, rushing adrenaline, but I found none. Only Bella's natural curiosity was alight in her eyes and maybe a touch of her normal insecurities of self worth in the way her shoulders slumped.
"It was consecrated in 1859. Some famous Chicagoans are buried here—mayors, veterans, Senators, Charles Comiskey." I smirked, tugging at the shoulders of my new Chicago White Sox jersey my wife got me as part of my wedding present.
"It looks good on you," she admitted with a smile. "And the hat too. I felt silly; I had to ask Alice if you were a White Sox fan or a Cubs fan. She told me you were born the same year as the White Sox."
I tousled her hair and pulled her close, kissing her forehead. As always, I could not help but wonder what she was thinking as we slowly and respectfully meandered through the cemetery, cold, grey lifeless stones surrounding us like fallen soldiers on a somber battlefield of ancient sadness. Why did she want to be here of all places?
I drove deep within the burial ground, eventually parking the Jaguar near the limestone wall near the border with Lake Michigan. I had been here so many times over the years I didn't need to think about the path from point A to point B. I made the point of visiting my parents' final resting place as often as I could—I owed them so much, especially my mother. Without my mother's intercession, without her plea to Carlisle, I would have died without ever having known the glory of the woman sitting in the car with me.
"Are you ready?"
She was smiling genuinely, the bouquet in one hand, the other casually resting on the door handle, a bottled water tucked under her arm. My eyes darted toward my parents' headstones and then back to her. Never had the contrast between life and death been more drastic. She was so full of warmth, color, and I could hear and smell that delicious lifeblood coursing through her veins bringing the essence of life to ever cell in her body.
I reached out, making a conscious effort to carefully take her elbow and draw her back; I was aching to feel her body close. She seemed to sense what I wanted, falling back against the seat, tilting her face up to mine. "I should have asked," she whispered against my lips, her hand suddenly resting against the side of my neck. "Are you OK? Is this a difficult thing for you? I should have asked before I insisted on visiting."
I closed the distance between us in an instant, the sensation of electricity coursing through me and flowing between us too much to bear. Her lips molded to mine, parting instantly to take my top lip between hers, allowing me the brief moment of tasting her warm breath. I listened to every rapid beat of her heart, taking careful observation of her pulse as she dug her fingers into my hair, her warm lips caressing mine as she tried to deepen the kiss.
I took mental stock of myself as well. The monster, for now, was calm—though never tame, and I would never make that false assumption, but her lips were so urgent, so tempting. I opened my mouth for a moment, allowing myself to trace the opening of her lips with my tongue, the intensity of the sensation warmed me to my core, and I wanted more. Much more. However, it had been far too long since Bella had inhaled. I regretfully tore my lips away from hers, stroking my thumb over the pink of her cheek.
"Breathe, my Bella."
She inhaled sharply, drawing great gasps of air. "Remember that for later," she said, biting her lip.
I smirked. "Why, Mrs. Cullen, you are scandalous—not that I object, mind you. And believe me, I shall happily commit that to memory."
She giggled breathlessly as I tweaked her nose before dashing from the car at vampire speed and moving around the vehicle to open her door for her. I offered her my hand as she stepped out on the spongy grass, the bouquet carefully clutched in her hand reminiscent of our wedding just two days prior.
I led her toward the large angel towering over the nearby graves, careful to walk between the crypts so as not to disrespect the other souls buried there. The breeze carried with it the scent of the nearby lake, quite calm today, without the rough, choppy, whitecaps that often erupt from the dark blue depths. The seagulls cried mournfully and I instantly decided against telling Bella the story of the 'ghost' who allegedly haunts the cemetery—a pilot who struggles against the violent waves before finally succumbing, slipping under the water's surface only to rise moments later, plodding out of the lake and disappearing in the cemetery's gates.
I could see their headstones now, Edward Masen 1877—1918 and Elizabeth Masen 1880—1918, a white marble angel towering over them. I gestured slightly with an incline of my head and Bella looked up noticing the names instantly.
"You—you don't have one." She sounded surprised as she whirled around to face me, eyes wide, mouth agape. "I mean, I didn't know—if I should expect one. I know Alice has one in Biloxi."
Instantly I could understand where her apprehension has come from. She didn't know if she should expect to see my name on one of the granite stones marking the departed souls resting here. "I'm sorry, I should have said something. I had no family around to miss me and Carlisle was quite busy. My parents wishes were carried out based on my father's will."
She nodded and we both went silent for a moment before I moved toward the base of the statue, kneeling in the lush grass to pry the recessed vase from the monument. Dusty-white cobwebs spiraled around the marble, trapping leaves and grass clippings in its sticky threads. I exhaled, blowing some of the debris off—at least being a vampire had some benefits, and replaced it back on its foundation. I heard Bella's feet softly disturbing the grass before she sunk down next to me, sitting cross-legged. She placed the flowers in the vase, arranging the stems before unscrewing the cap from her bottled water and poured the contents into the urn.
"It's really lovely here, Edward. The lake, the angel—she's beautiful." She leaned back, squinting up at the statue with her somber expression framed by waves and curls. A bouquet was clutched loosely in her hands, her robes slipping slightly, baring her shoulder. She looked down, as if with pity upon the graves beneath her bare feet.
I made myself more comfortable next to her and forced a smile. "Yes, it is beautiful—for an eternal resting place, I suppose. I added the angel. I wanted to know that someone was watching over them since I couldn't be."
I couldn't help but notice that she smirked, pressing her lips together as she ducked her head. "What's so funny?"
"You," she said, nudging me with her elbow in the ribs before leaning in, resting against my side. "You're so…" she paused, pursing her lips and scrunching up her nose in an adorable expression. "…enigmatic."
I laughed. Bella thought I was an enigma? She was the one person whose mind I couldn't read; the only mind my psyche wanted to devour. If anyone was a mystery here it was my wife. "I could say the same thing about you, love."
She rolled her eyes. "We aren't talking about me; we're talking about you and the fact that you're a walking contradiction."
"Would that be referencing my vampire status or something else?" I questioned, leaning down to kiss the top of her head.
"Something else. Heaven, souls, life after death, whatever. You believe in it when it suits you and can come up with the most ridiculous logic when it doesn't. What about your parents, did they have souls?"
I wasn't sure I liked her line of questioning. I narrowed my eyes, on guard. "Yes," I answered hesitantly.
"Why? How do you know this? What theology or doctrine did you follow? Or was it something you decided after your change?" Her eyes twinkled with the most delicious aspect of mischief and the muscles of her jaw were taut, her pulse point below her ear throbbing, tempting.
"I went to mass every Sunday with my parents. I can't say that I remember much about that time, but there are brief glimpses. And there are Carlisle's contributions as well. We've had many conversations on the topic over the years, as you well know." We'd had this discussion so many times, but it never ceased to amaze me how firmly she believed, how strong her convictions were. I wanted to know why!
"Right, so why are you the only exception?"
She didn't sound angry but her voice was strong, determined. "Bella, you know why. I've done despicable things, I've killed people. My soul is long gone and any remnant I may have been left with is the antithesis of good and pure—it's rotten and evil."
She spun around, dropping her bottle of water and grabbed my face with one hand. "Don't. I don't believe that for one minute. Should I start a list of all the wonderful things you've done for me? Just today alone I can think of a dozen and it's not even noon. You've made mistakes, beaten yourself up over them, and tried to make what amends you could. It's the best any of us can do." She gestured wildly around the cemetery, her eyes flashing. I almost found it unsettling how impassioned she could get by this discussion. The intensity of her gaze was intimidating and there were moments, the briefest of glimpses where I almost thought I could believe her but they always evaporated like smoke.
"How do you know what any of these people did? Maybe they were horrible people, maybe they were good, but you can't have one standard for them and one for yourself. That's preposterous, Edward. You deserve this as much as anyone."
"No." I shook my head and grasped the hand that was holding my face. "No, and do you know what makes me different? Because I'm planning to take your soul. It's true, maybe these men and women committed murders but they didn't take the souls of their innocent victims. I'm planning on taking yours." I couldn't meet her eyes now. I was terrified I'd find rejection in them, that she'd finally see what I had been trying to tell her from our very first meeting—it would be more prudent for her to not be near me.
"Because I asked. Because I want it. If I believed I'd be soulless do you really think I'd allow you to change me? Ever? We'll be together forever and if anything should ever happen to us, if we don't have eternity, then at least we'll end up together. You don't have a grave and I won't either. You'll be the angel to watch over me and I will always be there to watch over you."
At her words my head snapped up to meet her gaze. Unshed tears sparkled in her dark brown eyes, her chest heaved slightly, and the hand I wasn't holding was threaded through the verdant grass, holding on tight. Would there ever be a time when I would not hurt her?
"Don't cry, sweetheart, I'm so sorry." I pried her fingers from the blades of grass and caught her two hands between my own, kissing them before I laid them in her lap. She didn't understand, she couldn't possibly. She might understand the reason I killed and might even fathom the number of victims, but she could never understand the guilt that blacked me. "I wish I had your faith and bravery. Clearly God was looking out for me when he sent me you." I brushed the tears off her cheeks with the pad of my thumbs, the wind wafting her essence in my face, a mockery of what I had been trying to deny myself of for more than a year. I tilted her face up toward mine, her expression as sorrowful as the angel's above us as I covered her face in feather light kisses, her cheeks, her brow, her nose, her lips. "Please believe me when I say I want to believe that. Maybe a lifetime with you will convince me, yes?"
She sniffled and turned her hand into my palm, kissing it. "I love you, I'll reassure you as many times as you need to hear it. That's what this whole marriage thing is about." I could feel the corners of her lips turn upward into a smile.
"Yes, and I think this whole marriage thing agrees with you more than you ever anticipated."
She laughed and elbowed me again. "Having you is what agrees with me, but I'm afraid I haven't made a very good impression on your parents." She cringed and looked over her shoulder to appraise the angel and the graves she guarded.
"On the contrary. I think my parents would think my new wife was absolutely brilliant. I have no doubt that they would love you, but not even one-tenth as much as I do. No one can or ever will love you as much as I do."
For a fleeting moment the dog leapt to my mind but Bella's mouth on mine quickly pushed it back to the recesses. "That's quite convenient because, despite what you think about my transitory and limited human mind, no one will ever love you more than me," she said as her lips vibrated against mine, sending the most wonderful sensation coursing through me like liquid heat.
As much as I wanted to kiss her more and deeper, this was no place for someone so beautiful, so I rose to my feet, offering her my assistance. "Time to go," I whispered. I walked forward, resting my hand on my mother's headstone unable to contain the sigh that wanted out. I couldn't remember all of the wonderful details, the rich memories another would have held, but that was a blessing and curse. I couldn't ache for what I didn't remember, but the few memories I held onto could sustain me. Bella joined me, letting her hand rest on mine.
"Don't worry, Mrs. Masen, I promise to love Edward for eternity. I'll take good care of him."
She was so adorably human. I would miss that so much but I would never let her know. I grasped her hand in mine and led her away from the crypt. "We still have a few hours of cloudiness left, we could go to a museum or you could go shopping on Michigan Avenue?" I knew I was pushing my luck by being here at all but I did want Bella to have the best time she could here in Chicago, it would be her last 'vacation' for some time.
"I seem to recall a mysterious message from my enigmatic husband, something about staying inside this afternoon." She smiled coyly as she squeezed my hand. I felt my body react to her reply, after all, I was a man. Sometimes it was so difficult to take what she so willingly offered. She had no fear, she placed absolute trust in me and I couldn't ever comprehend why. And how could I refuse my wife? I know how she would react if I told her no—even when she did underestimate my self-control. Just hearing her voice whisper one little word was my undoing.
She met my gaze with hers and batted her eyelashes—her own version of my 'dazzling' ability, no doubt. As usual, I could never refuse her anything.
"I'll race you to the car, Mrs. Cullen."
As I have only been to Chicago once several years ago, much research went in to this fic. The Calvary Catholic Cemetery link at graveyardsdotcom provided much help and lovely visuals. If you care to you can view photos of the main gate and angel in my profile. Thanks for reading!