AN: updated 9/10/11 - This story is in the process of being updated. I plan to expand the story with the wolves and finish up the story the right way. Thank you for your patience as I update these chapters!
If you have any suggestions on things you'd like to see included in the story, please let me know!
"It's time." He said ominously as his thumb stroked along my cheekbone.
"You need to go hunting." He said with a grimace.
His words brought a strange feeling to my awareness. I had been swallowing convulsively trying to soothe an ache I had not recognized. With the mention of hunting, my throat burned with thirst.
I bit my lip nervously. I had always been curious about this part of the Cullen's lifestyle, but Edward had carefully shielded me from much information. I remembered him saying it was the time they most gave into their natural instincts. So far my instincts had not served me well. I had attacked Edward and then ran – all on instinct.
"I'm not sure if that's such a good idea." I hedged.
"Your eyes are pitch black Bella. You need to eat. Frankly, I'm surprised you've lasted this long."
I nodded my head, resigned to the facts of this new life. I just hoped I didn't screw it up. He held out his hand to me and I took it as I rose to my feet.
As we ran through the woods together, I couldn't help the exhilarated smile that came to my face. This kind of running was so freeing. I held onto Edward's hand as we raced through the woods together. He pulled up until we slowed to a stop, but didn't release my hand.
"Are you ready?" He asked.
I was going to respond, but as I inhaled, I smelled something so divine it immediately captured my attention. My throat burst into flames and although it didn't sooth the burn, I continued to reflexively swallow. The words I had been going to speak to Edward died in my throat as my whole body tensed. I needed to get to the source of that wonderful smell.
"Go," he urged and released my hand.
I didn't give it another thought, my fears about losing control were long forgotten. I raced another few hundred meters until I came upon a lone deer grazing in the woods. Its head snapped up as it sensed my presence. Predator and prey.
A ferocious growl ripped through the otherwise silent trees and if I had the capacity to feel anything other than bloodlust I would have been shocked to realize it came from me. Without further thought I pounced on the deer just as its muscles began to tense. I sank my teeth into its neck, easily slicing through the thick flesh and gaining access to the thing I most desired.
The deer struggled in my grasp and I snapped its neck without any effort. It lay motionless as I drained all the blood from its body. Once I had taken in all it had to offer, the blood lust receded some and I came back to my senses. I dropped the dead animal to the ground with a thud and raised my eyes to see Edward watching me for a short distance. His face was carefully expressionless, waiting for my reaction.
I could feel my eyes widening with the realization of what I had just done. Without any conscious decision to act I had killed that animal and drank its blood. I dimly thought that I should feel nauseated, but I didn't. I felt good, better than good. I felt strong. As I looked to Edward, I realized I also felt incredibly aroused. These feelings only made my feelings of mental unease increase – I had liked drinking the blood, but intellectually I knew what I did was wrong. It was so confusing.
"Oh my God." I said quietly.
I stepped numbly over the dead deer and closer to Edward. He didn't move until I had placed myself directly in front of him. Only then did he encircle me in his arms.
"It gets easier with time." He said.
I nodded into his chest. I was so confused. I felt physically great- euphoric and definitely aroused. It was my mind that was repulsed. I had lost complete control over my body… it was like I was two people. There was the Bella who could make decisions and was disgusted by what I had done and more so by what I was currently feeling as a result. And then there was that other me. The one who couldn't control her actions, who had enjoyed drinking the blood of a living animal and was turned on by it. That was the Bella who wanted to pounce on Edward and rip his clothes off right now. That was just sick and twisted. How could murdering a living animal make me feel like this?
I felt like in this single act, I had learned so much more about Edward. I had truly joined a world I couldn't have understood before my transformation. I couldn't believe the strength he must have exhibited to resist my blood. If the urge to drink my blood was anything like I just experienced, and apparently it was even stronger, he had amazing control. This thought made me feel more shame for my uncontrollable emotions.
He held me for a long time, until I was able to calm myself and come somewhat to terms with these two new Bellas. Once I moved out of his arms, he showed me how to dispose of the carcass so no one would stumble across the evidence. He guided me as I hunted twice more.
After I finished with the third deer, I realized he had not hunted at all. Each time he watched me carefully, holding me if I needed it and providing guidance. His eyes were dark again.
"Edward, you've been so busy teaching me you haven't eaten anything for yourself."
"I hunted about a week ago- I'm not hungry." He said. I frowned in confusion. "Besides, you're not ready to handle someone else feeding in front of you. You'd probably attack me for my dinner." He said with a wink.
I wasn't sure if it was true or if he was teasing me, but I decided to let that one drop. "But your eyes are black." I protested.
He looked away as if embarrassed, but he didn't answer. "What is it?" I questioned.
"It's nothing." He said quickly as he turned to walk back. He was trying to avoid answering my question.
"Come on, you can't just ignore my question. " As I watched him walk away from me, clearly not even considering answering my question, I became increasingly angry. Hadn't we just talked about all this? I felt like a child following him. I felt stupid and insignificant and I knew that I couldn't let this go on any longer. "This is our problem. Right. Here." I growled out the words. "You can't just decide what I get to know and what I don't. If we're really equals, Edward, then you can't treat me like a child."
I was yelling by the end. His back was still turned and I couldn't read his face, but his body was tense. I decided I had already opened Pandora's box, I might as well pour out the rest of the contents. "You can't treat me like this Edward. I am not a child."
His muscles relaxed slightly and I could tell that he wasn't angry. He turned around slowly, warily. The expression on his face confirmed my guess. "You're right. I know. I just… I don't do it to keep you in the dark. Old habits die hard, I guess." He ran a hand through his hair, mussing it unconsciously and he smiled tentatively at me- almost shyly. "It's going to take me a while to get used to the idea that you're not as breakable as you were before. But I promise to try."
I nodded my head accepting his words. "If you aren't hungry, then why are your eyes black?" I pressed.
He shook his head, hesitating.
"Edward." I said, exasperated. "If you want me to trust you, and to learn about being a vampire, you have to teach me. If this is a vampire thing, you should tell me so I can learn." I was pleased with my use of logic.
He looked at me, seeming to gauge my determination to hear the answer.
"I'm not trying to keep secrets from you, it's just kind of embarrassing." He said with a sigh. I still wasn't going to let him off the hook. I remained still, waiting for his explanation in silence. "You know how my, or rather our, eyes change color when we're hungry or angry?" he asked. I nodded, not wanting to interrupt his willingness to explain. "Well they change colors with most of our moods – the differences are so slight, most humans wouldn't notice. Hunger, anger and… lust produce the most noticeable changes." he trailed off.
By process of elimination, I realized what he was saying. "You were turned on watching me hunt?" I asked, shocked. I was so relieved that I wasn't a sick, perverted freak like I had thought earlier. Apparently he had been feeling it too.
"It's a natural side effect of watching your mate hunt." He was slightly defensive, but mostly embarrassed. He ran a hand through his hair again.
I was so relieved, I broke out into a huge smile. "Me too!"
He looked at me in disbelief. "Really?" He asked with the beginnings of a smile.
"Oh ya!" I was so excited, I had no filter between my brain and my mouth. "After that first deer, I could barely keep from jumping on you and ripping your clothes off!"
He laughed a loud, hearty laugh as pulled me into his arms. He spun us around once in a circle. "Isabella – you never react how I expect." He looked down at me with a carefree smile. As we looked into each other's eyes the expression on his face changed. His eyes seemed to darken further as they bore into mine, and I was suddenly aware of how very close our bodies were. The earlier desire the hunt had stirred resurfaced ten-fold. I felt a deep instinctual tightening in the pit of my stomach. I recognized his new expression. It was desire…for me. It was unlike any he'd ever allowed to slip past his carefully constructed boundaries when I was human. I felt like my entire body was on fire. I was getting distracted again and I liked it.
The moment was perfect as he leaned in to capture my lips. I leaned into his arms, letting him support most of my weight.
His arms tightened around me in response and the intensity between us seemed to increase. His tongue passed again over my bottom lip and I opened my my mouth willingly as our tongues melded together. His hand rested on the back of my head, securing me to him while his other hand slid to my waist and around my back. He pulled me firmly against his chest.
We had kissed before, but never with this intensity. His razor sharp teeth had always prevented anything this passionate while I was human.
I was so lost in kissing him, it barely registered that we had been moving until my back pressed up against a tree. He leaned his body against mine, pinning me against the rough trunk. My whole body quivered with pleasure. I could feel every line of his firm body molded to every inch of mine.
He released my lips and traveled down my neck. I arched into his kisses, giving him the most access possible. I never wanted this to stop. My hands had a mind of their own as they traveled from his hair, down his broad shoulders and his muscular back. They didn't stop there as they continued lower and grasped his butt. I squeezed his perfect rear as I pulled his hips harder against my own. Our moans were simultaneous this time.
His mouth returned to mine and our tongues and lips continued to move together. He grabbed each of my arms and raised them above my head. He crossed them at the wrists and held them against the tree with one of his hands.
He pulled his head back to look into my eyes. His eyes were on fire and filled with want. I'm sure my eyes reflected the same.
He removed his lips from mine long enough to whisper in a husky voice. "I want you."
I couldn't help myself as my hips pushed harder against his. It felt so good in all the right places. I wanted this man so much. He groaned as his eyes rolled back into his head for a moment.
He returned the pressure of his body against mine. Our kisses continued as our hips moved in synch, pushing and giving in a perfect sync. He held my hands immobile above my head, probably recognizing that, given free use of them I would have lost all control and torn his clothes off. I was already dangerously close to ripping my hands free and doing just that.
We continued to kiss and our intensity steadily climbed to new heights. I suddenly needed more- I needed to touch him. I pulled my wrists free of his grasp with a low growl and ran them over the hard planes of his strong chest. Although he didn't feel as hard as marble to me any more, I could feel the power in his arms and chest muscles. I ripped the shirt open, not even bothering with the buttons.
He growled in response to my aggressive behavior and I growled right back at him. His shirt hung open across his bare chest and I could resist as I moved my lips to the newly exposed skin. He hissed as I ran my hands and lips across his chest. His hands roamed over shoulders and arms while his body still held me pinned to the tree. Suddenly frustrated at the clothing between us I ripped the shirt entirely from his body and dropped it unceremoniously to the forest floor.
"Better," I gloated. I pushed him away from me and a look of confusion passed his face until I stood straight from the tree and pulled my own shirt over my head. His eyes raked over my body in appreciate. I stalked forward to close the distance between us. In one swift move, I knocked him to the ground and straddled him. He immediately tried to take control and flip me under him, but I was stronger. I pushed him back into the ground and he looked quite surprised at my show of strength.
"Bella," he warned.
"No." I would not let him back out of this. Not now. I gripped his muscular arms tighter, expecting resistance.
"Bella." His tone was commanding even though I currently overpowered him and had him pinned beneath me.
"Edward." I mocked in his tone. Taunting him. For the first time in our relationship, I was stronger than him and I intended to take advantage of that fact.
He growled at me. In an unexpectedly quick move, he flipped me off of him and onto my back. Within a blink he was straddling me. Now his arms pinned mine to the ground. I bucked my hips as I tried to knock him off of me. I tried to regain the upper ground, but even though I was stronger, he was more experienced. He smiled down at me smugly and I glared in return. As I realized I had thoroughly lost the upper hand, I couldn't stop the sour look that came over my face and his smug expression turned to amusement. This of course only increased the pout I couldn't seem to wipe from my face. I was so close to finally beating him at his own game.
"Oh Bella." He smiled at me in fondness. He kissed me soundly on the lips, wiping the pout away finally. Our bare skin connected as he laid his chest against mine. I inhaled deeply, enjoying the full contact. Our struggle for dominance momentarily way-laid, we continued kissing and caressing each other. Things quickly escalated and I dragged my hand down toward the button on his jeans. His hand intercepted mine and I looked into his eyes in confusion. He dragged in a deep breath as if steeling himself for something difficult.
"Bella. We can't. We, we have to do this right I've been waiting for so long for you, for this. I promised myself I wouldn't take advantage of you like this."
"What are you talking about? Of course I want this too." I didn't understand what he was talking about, but he was doing too much of it for my tastes. I reached for the button on his jeans again. His hand again covered mine and he brought it to his lips and kissed each of my fingers while I stared at him in confusion. He pushed himself away from me further separating our bodies. I wanted to whimper at the loss.
"This may sound old fashioned to you, but I want, no I need to do this the right way. I can't do this until we're married."
"Are you kidding me?" One look at his face told me he was very much serious. I untangled myself the rest of the way from his arms and stood in frustration. This was ridiculous. At least he had the decency to look chagrined. He remained sitting on the ground while I paced in frustration in front of him. His eyes followed me warily.
"I'm sorry," he offered quietly.
I held up a hand in his direction as I continued to pace. I couldn't look at him right now. He remained silent, but I could feel his eyes on me. My brain was working furiously. I don't know if it was my libido working on overdrive or my newly improved brain but I suddenly knew what needed to happen. I took a deep breath to relax myself and knelt in front of him in the soft dirt. He rose to his knees in front of me looking into my eyes. I looked into his eyes hoping to convey the seriousness of what I was about to say to him.
"Edward. Are you proposing to me?"
He looked thoughtful before he grinned his crooked smile despite himself. "I suppose I am."
"Then ask me." I said with confidence. He looked taken aback for just a moment before he straightened and still kneeling in front of me, took both of my hands in his.
"Isabella Swan. I love you. I promise to love you forever. Every single day of forever." I smiled trying to hide the smugness I was feeling. This was going exactly as I had just planned. My smile faltered when he reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out a ring. I looked at him with shock and confusion. He smiled at me with love and adoration shining from his eyes. "I've been carrying this around for a few days, waiting for the right time. I didn't know how you'd… well I didn't see it happening this way. But I'm glad it did. I love you. Marry me?"
Suddenly overcome with the emotion of what was happening, I swallowed tears that would never come and whispered a reverent yes. He smiled and slipped the ring onto my hand, followed by a kiss on the same finger. I looked at the ring on my hand, and although I had been raised to dread this, I felt nothing but love and joy at having it there. His eyes glowed with happiness. He opened his mouth to speak, but I quieted him with a finger on his lips. When I could see he would remain silent, I gathered both of his hands in mine.
"Edward. I love you. I have loved you since the day I met you. I promise to love you every single day of forever. What we have. This. Me and you," I gestured between the two of us with my hand, "this is more than some agreement, a human contract. Marry me. Here. Now." I reached up and plucked out a single strand of my hair. He watched as I wound it around his ring finger. I shrugged in what I hoped was a 'it'll have to do' expression and kissed his ring finger as he had mine.
The air between us was thick with significance. Understanding crossed his face and was confirmed with his words.
"My wife," he breathed in reverence. His eyes lifted to mine in awe.
"My husband," I confirmed.