Disclaimer: Sadly I don't own any of these characters and instead, I must bow down to the creator of the best book series ever, Stephenie Meyer.

Persuasion: Chapter Seventeen


Thinking of Alice in a perfect moment such as this was a not a thing I would have wanted. But as I explained what I had been doing for three years she creeped into my mind making me gasp in surprise. I had totally forgotten about her and I felt terrible for it. She had only cared about me and I hadn't even thought of contacting her and letting her know where I had been for the past few days. She would be freaking right now. I could already picture her out on the streets with the police. No doubt she'd called them already. I informed Edward on my sudden thought and he agreed that I should go home.

"But," I started, holding on to his cold hand tightly. "You said-"

"I understand what I said," he interrupted me with a slight smile. "I'm not going to leave you."

"But-"

He put a cool finger against my lips making me shiver and my speech end. "A gentleman would never leave a young lady unattended. I will escort you home."

"You will?" I asked, surprised as his smile grew. He nodded and my heart lifted, extremely happy he would be with me. I felt a lot safer when I had him around. "Well I feel a whole lot better."

He laughed before shaking his head. "I will be there, as near as I can be," he said with a frown.

I was silent as I thought over his words. "Oh," I said after a moment, realizing what he meant. "You can't be seen?" He nodded. "Well I believe it is better than not having you at all."

So we left the beautiful roof top meadow and made our way back through the dark hallway. I wasn't scared of it anymore now that I knew Edward was staying with me. I held his hand tightly although he didn't seem to notice my using all of my strength in that one gesture. It was better when we got to where the dim lights were and down the staircase.

He left me in the front hall, explaining that he had to inform Carlisle where he was going. He was hesitant to leave me alone but he soon left me to myself in the hall.

As soon as he was out of sight I turned and looked out the dirty windows on the door. They were murky and dirty so you could barely see what was out there. It made me want to stay where I was even more. Who knew what was lurking in the shadows out there? I shivered and turned back to face the place Edward disappeared.

It was still creepy and I stared into the darkness, waiting for Edward to re-appear. I found myself swaying from side to side. It was something I had picked up somewhere. It might have come from my mother who had swayed with me on her hip when I was little. I liked the soft motion and it helped me sleep. I smiled at the thought of how close Mama and I had been. My best friend as I saw it. Of course she was my mother and it was silly to see her as a friend but Renee was not one to be parental. It was usually me and my father that helped her along. I knew she didn't want to settle down or have a baby as young as she was. But it was evident she loved Papa and it killed her to be apart from him. I could see that pain in her tears. I pressed my lips together to keep my own tears from falling. These memories were painful to remember. It was unnerving that the happy thought of my swaying turned into the hurtful memories of my parents.

The sudden feeling of being watched made me spin around. Standing in the archway was a young woman; she couldn't be more than thirty. Her long caramel colored curls fell past her shoulders, perfectly framing her heart shaped face. Her lips were turned up into a kind smile making her cheeks look higher on her face. She was beautiful. More than beautiful if there was a word to describe her looks. She was short and slim, her black dress making her look like a model. The things that surprised me the most were her eyes. No matter how large they were they could not make her burgundy irises look innocent. They didn't match the rest of her face. She was supposed to be a happy and joyful but the red made her look dangerous.

I swallowed, completely afraid and frozen in my place. She was still smiling at me and I found myself unable to look away. It was like I was locked in the eyes of the predator, her beauty stunning me.

Her smile grew. "Hello," she said sweetly, her voice like a song.

I was still frozen so it took me a moment to respond. "Umm...hello ma'am." I curtsied, ducking my head.

She giggled, a bell tingling, as I looked back up at her. "No need for the proper terms, dear. My name is Esme."

Of course! I mentally hit myself in the head. This was the woman they had picked up along the way. "Oh!" I said, shaking my head. "I'm Bella." I stepped forward to shake her hand and she in turn took a step back, holding up her hands and straining her neck away from me. I was confused for a moment before I finally figured it out. I quickly stepped back with a small 'oh'. She smiled kindly again but kept her stance. Esme was one of them too and young. Didn't Edward say she was turned not long ago? I swallowed again, my throat suddenly dry. Did she have control of her instincts like Edward and Carlisle had? Should I be running? Should I scream? My heartbeat was speeding up as the choices flowed through my head. What should I do? Esme must have noticed because she frowned.

"Is there something wrong Bella, dear?" she asked, concerned.

"Yes," I squeaked, biting my lip.

"Careful," she warned, stepping back again. "Don't bite too hard."

I let my lip out from between my teeth. "Sorry," I muttered.

"It is perfectly fine," she said. "I can see I've embarrassed you."

I hadn't noticed the blush creep up on to my cheeks. I was making this harder on her! Stop it Bella! Do you want to be drained of blood? My heart stepped up its pace again and my face drained of color.

"Bella?"

Edward's cold arms were around my waist before I could even turn my head. He spun me around to look at his worried expression. After scrutinizing my face for a moment he left me to put my head against his chest.

"Oh dear," Esme's voice was heard as I closed my eyes, content in his strong arms. "I've frightened her."

I lifted my head to look at her sad expression. "Not at all," I insisted. "I'm perfectly dandy."

"No need to try and make me feel better," she said with a smug smile. "I suppose I should get used to it." She sighed.

"But-"

She held up her hand and I silenced myself. "It is fine Bella," she said. "Its just wonderful to meet you."

"You too," I murmured, my cheeks burning again.

She smiled at me before looking up to lock eyes with Edward. There was a moment of silence before he chuckled. "Thank you Esme," he said.

"You are quite welcome."

"Bella?" he asked, turning to look down at me. "Are you ready to leave?"

"Yes," I answered quietly.

He smiled and turned back to Esme. "You should tell Carlisle about those plans you have for the sitting room."

She smiled. "Lovely idea," she said before she disappeared. She had left the hall so fast that I didn't even see her exit.

There was an uncomfortable silence for a moment but I couldn't stand it anymore. "Well she seemed innocent enough," I said. He gave no answer and I could feel my cheeks burning. I looked up at him to see his eyes were trained on my face. "What?"

"You know that you are meeting a house full of vampires, right?" he asked skeptically with a raised brow.

I didn't like the word and I was surprised at his casual use of it. It made him seem a lot more scary and dangerous than he really was. Esme was a new vampire and although she was taking precautions with me she seemed harmless enough. But was that what I as a human was supposed to see? They had many ways to attract their...'prey' and I was guessing their beauty was one of them. I had never seen a woman look as beautiful as Esme was and now that I was staring at Edward's face I could see how perfect he was. Nothing was out of place. He was already beautiful when he was a human but now he was absolutely perfect in every way.

I shrugged.

"You are not feeling scared?" he asked.

"No."

His brows furrowed in confusion. "Why?"

I paused as I thought over my answer, looking away from him. "I know I should be afraid, a whole lot more than afraid, but for some reason I can't bring myself to be. I know that you and your...family are what fairy tales call 'monsters'" he winced "but there is no reason for me not to think of you as who you were. Who you are! You are still Edward; my Edward and nothing shall ever change that. And I don't plan on letting you go anytime soon so..." I gripped his cold hand in both of mine and stared him straight in the eyes. "You're stuck with me. Sorry."

He grinned and chuckled lightly. "I don't find it as something you should be sorry for." His arms wound around my waist and pulled me into his chest. "Not that I plan on leaving."

"Good," I answered and he laughed again.

I felt so complete in these arms. Although I still remembered the warmth of my Edward his arms were still the exact same. They were locked around my waist like he didn't want to ever let me free. I wouldn't mind that. I could stay in his arms forever if I were able to.

"Well" he started, his chin resting on my head. "I would much rather stay here with you but I know that Alice will be going insane right now."

"Oh!" I cried, looking up. "I almost forgot about her! That sounds terrible to say." I frowned. "We should go."

He let go of all of me but my had and pulled me to the door I had been afraid of since I got here. I gulped as he unlocked the door and opened it. Outside was just as I imagined it to be. Dark and cold. The cobbled streets were uneven under my already clumsy feet and I held on to Edward's side for dear life. He chuckled as I stumbled along and I glared at his innocent expression. But I gripped his arm tightly not only for stability but because I was afraid of this dark street. There were some pretty creepy characters hanging around the small alleys, watching us. At least he wasn't going to leave me here but I knew I would be alone when we got to the main streets. Well without anyone beside me, he'd be watching I knew that. I'd feel empty without him holding me.

He led me down an empty ally and I could see the main street ahead, people, cars and horse buggies on the road minding their business and not even knowing the fictional things that were going on around them. He stopped in the shadows and turned me around to look at me. "Try not to get hit by a car," he murmured with a wicked smile. I pursed my lips and glared at him.

"I'll try my best," I snapped and he grinned.

He looked around us for a moment before leaning down to kiss my forehead. He lingered there and I smiled, my eyes closed. "I'll be watching," he promised as he pulled away.

"You don't have to do that," I said with a pout. "I can walk home on my own." My safety really didn't matter. I was only sad about him leaving me.

He shook his head and grinned before stepping back into the shadows and disappearing. I sighed before turning on my heel and walking out on to the sidewalk.

It was a busy day as people pushed and shoved their way around, trying to get home after work. I kept to the sidewalks, taking his advice and not getting hit by a car again. I'd rather not go through that again. I stumbled a few times but regained my balance and continued forward, bumping into people.

I didn't know where he was but I could feel his eyes on me. Whenever someone shoved me out the way I could hear his hiss of annoyance as I stumbled. I fought with myself not to jump out into the street to have him rescue me again. That was stupid. I instead kept my eyes on the cement at my feet, trying hard to remember how to get home. Alice would be going ballistic by now. I was surprised she hadn't got all of Chicago to search for me. I shook my head, turning the corner.

I saw the house before I got to the large gates. I walked up the gravel, looking around myself to see if he was still with me. He was no where in sight and I was beginning to feel scared that he wasn't following me. Did he leave me? I pressed my lips together so I wouldn't cry. Of course he would leave. Why stay with me? I had nothing that would hold him, keep him with me. I was plain and boring and I had nothing that he would ever want. I was so stupid for thinking other wise!

I took deep breaths both because I was nervous of seeing Alice again and I was terrified that he left me. I put my hand on the doorknob but my eyes wandered to the glass on the door. My heart almost jumped out of my chest when I saw Edward's reflection behind me. I sighed in relief as he frowned at my expression. He was with me and there was nothing to worry about. He hadn't left me. I rejoiced inside my head as I smiled at his reflection, my eyes still a little glassy. I turned to look at him, a huge smile plastered on my face, and he was gone. I frowned, confused. Was I dreaming he was there? But it seemed so real! I could even feel the small wind of his departure.

The door opened behind me and before I could turn I was being pulled into a huge sobbing hug. It was defiantly Alice.

"BELLA!" she cried, large tears falling down her tiny face. I could barely breath with the strangle hold she had on me. "Where have you BEEN?!"

Authors Note:

Sorry for making you guys wait such a long time! I wanted to finish this but then my head got all jumbled and...blah! So I'm back now after my vacation. Luckily my parents decided to bring the laptop with us so I wrote practically all of this at our hotel and the airport. Thank my mom for badgering me everyday since I stopped writing!! Hope this chappie lives up to all of your expectations!

FAQ's:

Is Edward going to change Bella or at least think about it? Trust me, he has thought about it.

Does Jake have the werewolf gene, if so would that speed up his transformation because of Edwards's new vampirism? No, Jacob is not a werewolf. Never has been, never will be.