Hey everyone. Please read this:

To all my friends/reviewers/readers : You know who you all are - You are the reason this is fun for me. Thank you for being so faithful to this story!

A BIG THANK YOU TO MY BETA, JEN! (LJ: bell12804 & FF: stargirl888) : I've almost spent more time discussing things with you than my own husband! HaHa!

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And from now on, all the QUESTIONS from the reviews will be addressed at the BOTTOM of the page, so be sure to check that out as well!

Chapter 11: This is full of a LOADS of new information, so please read it slowly and thoroughly!

That's all I'm going to say.

And NO SKIMMING, you sneak-peekers.

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Currently rated T but WILL into M as time goes by.

[Dont worry, not as long away as you think for the impatient kiddies!]

... And again PLEASE REVIEW!

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Disclaimer: I own nothing that is Twilight or Stephenie Meyer related. Just this little story, not the characters. [Robert Pattinson is on my Xmas list though. ;)]

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For what shall it profit a man,

if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.

Mark 8:36

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Chapter 11: A Reason For The Stars

I spent the next fifteen minutes trapped inside my emotions. I was past the point no return. All my fingernails had been bitten off and my lip had multiple holes in it due to my nerves, and I was unable to form coherent sentences. The entire trip was spent smiling to him in silence, trying to unsuccessfully pick apart his brain. I'd listen to his heart, looking for signs of anxiety or stress, but couldn't find any. He remained calm and content while he steered, glancing over at me through his dark eyelashes. It was enough to unhinge me.

The lightning and thunder would crash around us at times, but when he'd give me a warm smile, it'd calm down. He almost seemed amused by this, as if he were testing me for entertainment value. I couldn't understand why I was so frazzled, which made me more frustrated. I mean, I have spent the past three weeks being with him every second possible, and I was fine. But now, we were going to be secluded, and I was beginning to wonder if my self-control only appeared to be strong. Or maybe I was just overreacting? After all, I couldn't regret putting myself in this complicated situation, because I wanted to be with him every second.

It's just nerves, I told myself. You're going to be fine.

By the time we arrived to Edward's house, my body felt like a thick, jiggly, Jell-O substance. I held my breath and made a silent decision with myself that I would stop acting like a wimp and try to relax, allowing whatever willing to happen. Edward obviously trusted me and was willing to put himself out on the line for me, so the least I could do was try, right?

I swallowed hard and finalized my decision.

I let him lead me through the house, holding my hand as he walked in front of me. His thumb provided soft strokes along mine, which helped my calming process. Edward pulled me to the kitchen where he poured himself a glass of water. He leaned against the counter and raked his fingers through his hair while he drank it, his eyes never leaving mine.

"Thank you," I said.

He finished the glass and set it on the counter as a side smile formed across his lips. "And what are you thanking me for?" He mused.

"For what you did today... With Mike. For defending me and ..." My voice trailed off as I looked down to my toes. "No one has done that for me before."

Edward shook his head and took a step forward, leaning over the opposite side of the island from me, on his elbows. "You should not feel obligated to thank me, Bella. What Mike did was wrong. No one should be able to treat any one the way he has, and it really upsets me that he has gotten away with it for so long. Women, especially one in particular that I care for, should never be subjected like that. He will have to learn that it's not going to be accepted..."

Edward thought for a moment, shaking his head. "And now he has introduced me into this mixture. Do you realize this? I cannot walk away and allow him to think this is okay. Bella, this is nonsense. It makes me wonder what type of role models he acquires throughout his life? What kind of parents he has that allows that type of behavior to exist with their son?

"And," he continued. "The fact that no one has bothered to defend you in the past... Well Bella, I hope you're not used to it, because that will not happen any longer. Not while I am here. I'll protect you, I promise. I will make it a point to stand up for you and make sure no one hurts you... Ever again."

I smiled at him, not knowing how to say thank you this time around. What can you say to someone who has just dedicated their life for your well-being?

He returned it, as if he understood my expression. "May I ask you something?"

I nodded.

"Was this the only predicament between Mike and yourself? Could there be anything else that could have sprung him to create such animosity toward you?"

I shrugged. "That was basically it. He just... he made multiple advances, several times a day, and it just got to the point to where I went off on him. That's when it all turned around."

"What type of rumors did he spread regarding you?"

I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Just that I was a witch and a whore and incapable of being loved by someone, especially without them having an alterior motive."

Edward shook his head, his eyes turning a shade darker. I could hear him grinding his teeth while he thought. I could almost see smoke rings coming through his ears.

"Are you okay?" I asked as I watched him curl his fingers into balls.

"He's an idiot, Bella. I'm trying to be civil about this because you've had enough men cussing at you, but really... I want to rip his motherf --" His voice cut off abruptly. He sighed, taking in a breath. "I want to kill him."

"I'm sorry."

He straightened up his posture, shaking his head again. "Bella, never apologize to me for anything like this. This is not your fault or your responsibility to take care of. You've somehow become... convinced -- for multiple reasons, I'm sure -- that this is because of you and it is not..."

His voice paused as he walked around the counter and stood in front of me, pulling me against his warm chest. "You are not in the wrong here, Bella. You never were. You were dealt a bad hand at life and it's difficult. Trust me, I understand why you are feeling the way you do, and why you think you need to apologize for everyone else. But I am here to tell you to stop, Bella. You do not have to fix anyone, and you do not have to defend their actions."

I nodded, my body trembling.

I wasn't used to anyone speaking to me this way.

I was used to only the negative responses.

His arms wrapped tighter around me, his hands warming me slightly with their strokes on my back. "I will take care of you, Bella..." he whispered in my ear. "I will. I promise you, I will do whatever it takes."

I pulled my face away from the steady beat of his heart, and looked into his diamond eyes. "Thank you," I whispered. "I will try to do the same for you."

"Bella, I love that you want to do that for me, but for once, just let someone else take care of you first. Please?"

I nodded, sinking deeper into the magical spell he's created around me.

He smirked as he placed his chin above my head. He kissed my hair, and held his lips there for a lingering moment. I felt his heart pound faster as his hands began to stroke around my back in tiny circles. I bit my lip and looked at him again, suddenly feeling confident.

We stared at each other, trying to figure out what the other was thinking. It was very silent in the kitchen, only the sound of our breathing hitching up. I slid my hand up his dark brown shirt and held it over his heart. I felt the thumping beneath my palm, and closed my eyes, pressing my forehead to his chin. I allowed myself to take in the relaxation I felt from him. It didn't matter if there was an electric current passing through us with every connection.

I was happy.

Edward allowed me rest there for a few moments in silence, continuing to hold me in his arms. I didn't want to ever be released, knowing that the longing I'd feel for his touch again would only increase more with our departure. The desires of wanting to kiss him and lay in his arms forever was heightening, almost surrounding and overtaking me.

I bit the inside of my lip and fought back the feeling, knowing I shouldn't be too eager or we could get hurt.

"What are you thinking?" Edward whispered after a few more moments. "I am usually good at knowing what other people are thinking, but with you, I find it very difficult."

I shrugged and reluctantly pulled away from him. "I'm not sure," I replied. "Just... thinking in general. About how safe I feel here, mostly... With you, I mean."

"You are safe, Bella."

I nodded. "I know. It's just... there's a difference between knowing it and finally realizing and accepting this. I'm at this point now, I suppose."

He held both my hands with his and moved away from the counter, walking backward towards the staircase. "Come on," he said with a smile. "I haven't shown you the rest of the house yet."

I allowed him to hold my hand as he guided me up the second staircase and around the corner.

"This is the third bathroom, belonging to Alice and Jasper... and across it is their room. Now...down here, at the end of the hall... this is Rosalie and Emmett's room. I do not think Carlisle has really accepted that they are sleeping together now, but he hasn't really brought it up yet. Waiting for the best opportunity, I presume."

He turned around and led me down the long hall in the opposite direction, to the red door at the very end of it. "This is Carlisle and Esme's room. It's almost bigger than the downstairs."

I laughed. "Go figure."

He nodded, pulling me around the railing and up the third set of stairs. "I have the top floor to myself."

I swallowed hard and tightened my grip around his hand as he pulled me up the steps. Regardless of how bad I wanted to see his room, and regardless of my immortality... I was still a girl entering the love of her life's room for the first time while the house was unoccupied.

I officially became a wrecking ball of emotions.

Edward paused briefly in the doorway, then slowly opened the white door. "Yeah, this is my room."

I looked around and took in the white walls and matching soft carpet. He had a lot of windows surrounding the first two walls in a "L" shape, the other two walls covered. A large bed took residence in the middle of the room, with green and gold accents, matching his eyes. A large collection of CD's surrounded his entertainment center, and a massive surround sound system with two guitars leaning against it were on the opposite wall.

"You play?" I asked, walking over to take a better look at them.

They were elegant, and obviously very expensive. One was electric, the other, acoustic.

The wooden one stunning. Dark in color with golden strings, and had the initials "E.E.M" on them in gold and silver script.

The electric was pitch black in color, with a bright red engraving of a matching guitar on the left end of it. It had a silver whammy bar and similar ruby red strings.

"Wow," I exhaled loudly. "They're incredible, Edward."

"I have six guitars," He announced.

He walked and picked the acoustic one up, then stood behind me. He wrapped his arms around my waist and pressed his chin to my shoulder as he held the guitar out in front of me.

"Do you see this?" He asked, rubbing his fingers along the script.

"Yes."

"It was my mother's initials: Elizabeth Ellen Masen. This was her guitar. It was passed down in her family from generation to generation. My mama, she was an incredible guitar player. It was one of the only things that made her happy, as it was her true passion in life. I would sit in the middle of the dining room floor and my mama would turn on a single light above her, making it appear as if she had a spotlight on her. She'd play for me for hours... these soft, intricate melodies that warmed my heart. It never got old. She looked like an angel when she played."

"Wow," I smiled. "That's amazing... She gave it to you?"

"Yes. She said she was proud that her talent was passed through her and on to me. She knew I loved to play just as much."

He flipped the guitar around to the back, and I lost my breath, my jaw hitting the ground. There, covering the entire back of the guitar, was a picture of Edward's mother, sketched in complete detail.

It matched my watercolor I painted a few weeks back.

"W- But.." I couldn't speak as I ran my fingers along the perfect etching. "Who did this?"

Edward smiled, his fingers following mine along the indention of her long curly hair. "This picture was my favorite of her. I took it everywhere, even before she was gone... In the complete image, she held this very guitar, sitting on stage at the Grand Ol Opry. She was the only unsigned artist to be able to take the stage during a televised performance. She was eighteen years old, and I was two. After the concert, she came running behind the stage toward me, threw her arms around my body, and asked me to listen as the audience cheered loudly for her. When I had asked why, she explained that she wrote the song for me. A plan for my future, if you will. She said she only wanted me to smile and be proud of her, and to allow myself to be proud of who I could someday become. She wanted me to only accept what I could do for myself... She was very intelligent...

"When she passed," he continued, "I lost the picture. I felt shattered. I completely broke down. It was as if I had lost my final memory of her, one that I could look at and touch, to remind myself... to see her in that shining moment, and know that I was there to share it with her....

"But," he went on, "On my last birthday, Emmett surprised me. He had to search through millions of newspaper articles and clippings. It took him three weeks to find a lead... He discovered a small article with a tiny print about her performance, and hunted down the journalist. Turns out, that journalist also had pictures from the event. Emmett flew down there, lying to us about football camp, paid for the picture, and etched it in the back of it. He said he never wanted to see me so upset, and felt that if he drew it on this, which he knew I'd never lose, then I would have it with me always."

I smiled to myself. "Emmett is wonderful."

"He is, truly. He's the best. Emmett's a big teddy bear, with a smart mouth and the kindest soul. He's his own ying and yang..." He laughed. "Regardless, I'm very thankful to have him in my life."

I nodded and exhaled deep, stretching my arms out in front of me. I wondered to myself where to go from here. Did I go over to the bed? Or would that look obvious?

After pondering the situation, I decided it would be safe to occupy a chair beside his bed.

I sat, unsteadily, and fiddled with the cushion beneath my legs.

"Edward?" I asked, knowing I probably shouldn't bring it up, but unable to help it. "Can I ask... When did you start calling Carlisle and Esme mom and dad? Was that awkward for you?"

Edward sat on his bed beside me and leaned over, pulling the fabric from my pale fingers. "Well, do you remember how I explained to you before that Esme and my mother were best friends? That I used to stay here at the Cullen's every summer?"

"Yes."

"Well, I was one and a half years old when this started. I'd known them since I was born, but did not start staying with them until then. I had become confused at a young age, when I first started to call Carlisle "Daddy" and Esme "Mama" without understanding. I was always around them, you know? They took care of me. I didn't know much better... Even when they'd try to correct me, I couldn't comprehend the adjustment."

"Were they concerned?"

"Esme contacted my mother over this, and she advised them that if they were comfortable with the name, then to allow it. She said it only seemed fair for them to be considered my parents as well, since they were taking care of me also. Of course, being as genuine and caring as they are, Carlisle and Esme were thrilled with this. They explained once to me that, since I had such a huge heart, I could share it with more then one set of parents. They said they were the "lucky ones", being able to share things with me and call me as their own."

"They are."

Edward smiled at me. "Carlisle and Esme would purchase my family presents, and spend every other holiday with us. Carlisle and my father Edward were fishing buddies at one point and time... So when my father passed away -- I was five years old -- and Carlisle became my second father. He adopted me as that, and had my name to Cullen so my mother could gain the health insurance for me. We moved here to stay with them for a few months that summer, and the family helped us pay for everything. Carlisle took care of all my father's burial arrangements, never asking for anything in return. He placed me in baseball camp once I became a teenager, thirteen, in order to help me reconnect with children, and taught me how to throw all of the arranged pitches. I loved it.

"Emmett, being a year older than I, thought that was stupid, so I had to go alone. See, Carlisle and Esme had adopted Rosalie when she was fourteen years old. She had been sexually abused by her father and later by her first boyfriend. Emmett felt it was necessary to protect her and take care of her. Anything that had to do without her involvement -- such as baseball camp -- Emmett would categorize as "stupid" in order to stay near her... This being so, I met Jasper at camp, coincidentally, and at the time he was in and out of group homes. He had lost his parents in a car crash when he was seven months old. A drunk driver killed them."

I frowned. "Seven months? That's awful."

"It is. It's strange how he ended up with the Cullen's as well. He had a hard road before that though. He was too polite, extremely intelligent, very well-spoken, and most foster parents couldn't accept a child who was smarter than him. They abused him, mentally and physically. Talked him down, convinced him that he was nothing. This mannerism continued for years. That made him isolate himself for the most part, and he hardly made any friends. Can you believe these parents actually made him sleep outside on the porch? During winter, Jasper became hypothermic and non-responsive. I am not sure how, but he managed to crawl down the road to the neighbor's house, which were willing enough to drop him off on the sidewalk of the hospital. Carlisle turned out to be his doctor and demanded to know why he was in that shape. Three weeks later, Carlisle became his father..."

"What about the others?"

"Well, when they adopted Jasper...there was a problem: Alice... "

"Oh no. What happened with Alice?"

"Alice was adopted at a young age," Edward continued, "due to her mother dying while giving birth to her and never knowing her biological father. This past year, Alice's grandmother -- who was her guardian -- passed away. She knew Jasper through school and remained optimistic, even through her darkest moments. She was strong and very wise. Her grandmother took great care of her, and put her in many self defense classes. You wouldn't know it from seeing her, the girl loves to shop and bounce around. But she can take care of herself, trust me."

I giggled, recollecting her episode with Mike. "So her and Jasper?"

"They met in school, when they were seven. She was his best friend then -- his only friend, for that matter. It didn't bother them that she had been popular or that he was considered an outcast, as many students declared. She accepted him instantly, later stating they had a "special connection". She knew what was going on with him, but was kind enough to never told anyone, as Jasper requested. Eventually, Alice helped him get into baseball again, and fabricated a phone call from the "school" to his foster parents, stating he must stay after for a few hours and help out. Of course, they were okay with this because this would mean they didn't have to "look at him". So he'd play baseball then and they never knew. When Jasper and the Cullen's made arrangements, Jaspers only negotiation was that they would take Alice as well or he wasn't complying. They happily took her in."

I found myself holding his hand between mine. "When... Elizabeth passed, was it hard for you to call Esme "mom"?"

He placed his other hand on top of mine in a comforting gesture.

"At first, it was a little. Not because it was wrong, necessarily, but because it felt awkward for me, as if she were somehow replacing her. I was confused and heartbroken. The mere mention of the word "mama" broke my heart. It took me a few weeks to understand that my mom wouldn't be upset with me if I called Esme my mother, since she was the one that recommended me to do so from the beginning...."

He shook his head, his eyes closing. "I could not even look at Esme for a few weeks, because she reminded me so much of mine. Her large eyes, her full lips, her curly hair... I'm glad to see those elements as reminders now, but at the time, it was hard. Eventually, I forced myself to talk with Esme about my feelings, and we both cried for hours holding each other. I realized then that when she looked at me, she had those same difficult reminders. So we worked together and prayed for my mother to give us strength to understand and to tell us where to go from here...

"One day, I woke up and went down the stairs, and I knew the air somehow felt different... lighter, if you will. She felt it too. Esme met me on the staircase and hugged me, and at the moment... We both accepted our circumstance. She whispered in my ear that she felt we were put in each other's paths for a reason, to help one another through this. I agreed with her... and eventually, things fell into place. She's heaven-sent, Esme. I truly believe that."

I smiled and caressed his warm cheek. "You are so strong," I whispered.

"Thank you, Bella," He whispered, his voice matching mine. "I have a great support system here. Which is what I want to give to you."

I nodded, my hand trailing to the top of his knee. "I wish I could be that strong."

"You can, Bella. I can help you, but you must allow me to. You must trust me."

My eyes met his immediately. "You're the only person I trust in this whole world."

"Then tell me about your family, Bella. Talk with me about it. It will help, I can assure you."

I sighed, closing my eyes. I knew he'd be the only person I could talk to about this and understand, but the uncomfortable feeling in my chest and wrists were overwhelming. "I-I don't know."

"Trust, Angel."

I looked back to him, the pain in my chest throbbing.

He placed my hands in his and pulled me forward, off the seat. He helped me as I shook, placing me gently on his lap.

"Please trust me, love."

I nodded, new comfort washing over me. It didn't heal the ache in my chest, but it lightened it.

"You read the background check... You know what year it happened, correct?" My voice was so light he had to lean over, placing his ear to my lips just to hear it.

He nodded, caressing my arms.

I took a deep breath.

"It was 1901. My father, Charlie, had been turned sixteen years before this... " I swallowed hard, my voice breaking. "Um... My mom knew about him, but they never told me. There was never any evidence, no one suspected anything at first. They cooked dinner for me and went to my talent shows and such. I was raised like a normal teenager. I-I had no idea about their secrets. Um... So..."

I inhaled deep, not sure if I was going to be able to get through this.

I folded my hands between my legs, wanting to crawl in a corner.

"It's okay, Bella... I'm right here."

I nodded, sealing my eyes tighter. The words came tumbling out and I couldn't stop.

"People found out about us, I don't know how. I don't know if someone slipped up or what. But I woke up in the middle of the night, cold, in a basement of an unknown burnt down building. It was really damp and smelled awful, very musky. I could hardly see anything... I heard crying and whispering and people crawling around. The only time I could see was when a flashlight turned on for a split second, to see where certain people or things were. Then it was back off.

"I heard echoes, all of them telling each other to shut up, that we weren't hidden well enough... That we were going to get caught. I didn't understand what was going on, all I knew is that they were after my dad. No one told me anything. I was in my mom's arms and she was rocking me, telling me that it was okay, I was just having a bad dream."

"Shh Bella," I replayed her voice, rocking myself slightly. "It's just a nightmare. You're going to wake up and this is all going to be over. Don't fear now, baby. No fear, no fear..."

I swallowed hard.

"It was me, Charlie, my mom, his best friend Victor, and Victor's wife, Jamee. I was in and out that night, I don't know how long. I woke up a few hours later, I guess, and I heard people screaming in a distance from above us. Chanting about murders and victims. Then I heard Charlie and Victor arguing, and Charlie telling Victor that he would do it if he couldn't. Then Victor shouted next, tell him that they had to swap, how it was the "only way" they could do it. They were screaming loudly, and fighting, and my mom had my ears covered so I couldn't make anything out..."

My hands shook uncontrollably now, and Edward pulled them from my legs and held them tight.

"S-So," I choked out. "The next thing I knew, I heard a scream... this intensified wail-like scream. It was ear shattering and it came from Jamee. My mom was shaking, crying for my father to hurry up. She was screaming to him that he was strong enough, that she knew he would make it. Her hands were trembling, but so tight against my ears, that I thought my head was going to crush... Moments went by, and then I heard my father's voice shaking and heard him slump to the ground in the dark... The screams and shouts of people from above us were getting louder, closer now. I knew they were going to find us.

I gripped my arms tighter. "I couldn't hear Victor at all, and I didn't know if he was still there. Before I could react, my mom was being ripped from my arms and my father was screaming really, really loud... He-He was in pain. He was hurting. "Do it!" he shouted, his voice echoing the walls. "Do it now or I can't do this! Victor, do it!" ...Victor was shouting back, cursing to him. He was telling him, "Shut up! Shut up!" and that he couldn't concentrate..."

I exhaled, keeping my eyes shut. Edward's arms surrounded me now.

"I... I heard my mother's body, um, s-struggling a few feet from where I was, kind of like a fish would if it had been captured. She was breathing really hard, and sobbing. But she wouldn't scream for me, for anyone. I was frozen and I couldn't focus to move my body. I didn't know what to do... I heard someone screaming for my father, and it took me a moment to realize the loud voice was my own. Right then, I was struck on the right side of my head, and I began to black out."

Edward sighed, shaking his head.

"It seemed to get a bit brighter between those moments. I saw a flashlight on the ground, between my mother's body and my own. I saw Victor kneeling above my mother... I looked up at the ceiling and cried for her, and that was when I saw Charlie's face above me. His eyes were large and pitch black... He placed his cold hands around my face and held my head still.

"I'm so sorry I have to do this," He whispered to me, shaking. "They're going to kill you if I don't, Bella. I'm not even sure if I can do this, I'm not sure if I am strong enough, but I have to try. I love you, baby." I began to shake and fight against his grip, but he was too strong, and he easily had me pinned on the ground to where I couldn't move...."

My voice trailed off and I threw my head in my hands over Edward, tugging on my hair. "It felt like... like someone had made cuts through my wrists with a fake, plastic butter knife at first. Over and over. Stronger...

"Within seconds, the burning ache became heavier, and more intensified. I tried to scream, telling Charlie to save me, that it was burning me. That...That something was hurting me.... I was screaming on the top of my lungs, begging anyone to help me. All I heard was his voice crack an slight apology, and then it felt like something was sitting on my chest, like a boulder or something... I felt a hand cover my mouth and I couldn't yell anymore. All the pain and all the fire, I couldn't scream to get it out. I just shook all around and was captive in my own body...

"After a long while, I'm not sure how long, my body became unresponsive, and I knew I was dead. I was losing everything. I heard echoes of voices and shouting around me, but couldn't speak, and couldn't move. The flames were still too strong, but I didn't respond to them like before. It was almost as if I accepted them, somehow... Like I was numb, trapped only on the inside. That I... I-I was dead..."

I felt his hands grab mine, as he twisted my clumped hair between my fingers. Edward stayed silent, his breath light and shallow.

"When, um, I-I finally woke up and realized I was alive, it'd been too late. It was quieter now, the shouts above us passed in the mere distance... It was a bit brighter, right when the sun was coming up. I couldn't hardly focus on anything, and I remember feeling... different. Like I was confused and extremely disoriented... It felt as if I didn't belong in my own skin anymore. I searched around, my vision seeming... off... I found my father first, he was curled up in a tight ball, with his hands in his hair as he was rocking back and forth... He sat in front of me. I looked around but Victor and Jamee weren't there. Then, to my right in the distance, I noticed... I-I noticed an arm with a bracelet that I recognized...

"I couldn't figure out how I got over there so fast, but it felt like I was flying or something. I saw my mom, lifeless, surrounded in a huge, dark red puddle of blood. There were marks on her neck and her eyes were blank and... d-drained out. She didn't move. I started screaming, begging my father to come over there and help me pick her up. But as soon as I touched her body, something inside me snapped, and it made me angry and just.. violent. The smell of her blood intensified, surrounding me. I used to be nauseated at the pure thought of blood, but that night... it was different. It made me thirsty, and I felt disgusted with this discovery. Thunder crashed all around us and I felt my father's hands wrap around my body. The next thing I knew, we were on the opposite side of the room.

"She's gone, Bella," He told me. He kept apologizing, telling me it was too late. How he wished he was stronger, that he couldn't have done it himself. I asked him why, asked him what happened, but he couldn't tell me... I learned then that I couldn't cry, couldn't weep for her. The ache in my chest was extreme, but no tears flew from my cheeks... We ran away that night, after my father begged a child to tell his parents that a lady was attacked and murdered by a tool, some screwdriver of sorts... We never told anyone the truth. Only the people that were there knew."

My voice cut off as the grasp on my body grew tighter.

"So," Edward whispered, his arms overlapping mine. His voice had been cracking and he was sniffling, but I didn't dare look up to him to see if he was crying. "Your father didn't kill your mother, is that correct?"

I shook my head. "No. He couldn't change her, so Victor and him swapped responsibilities over the wives. They were best friends, in this together. They knew they could be strong for each other, but not for their own, because the taste of their love's blood would be too difficult to resist. Victor changed my mom, and Charlie changed Jamee.... B-But... Victor couldn't s-stop. H-He couldn't... He couldn't stop."

"Shhh, Bella, I know it's hard... I know it's hard, Angel... You are okay now..."

"I know," I said. "I've been changed for 84 years, stuck inside the body of a 17 year old girl. I can never grow old, never have kids. And Charlie, he... He's been wonderful. A little paranoid and overprotective, but that's because he loves me. He changed me out of fear of losing me, of being alone. He was afraid that Victor would find me and kill me as well. I don't know everything that happened those four nights we were there, but I do know that Victor and Jamee ran away after. My father vowed to never kill another human, and taught me the only way I know to hunt: with animals. He... He became a cop to practice his "abstinence" as he says. He also wanted to find Victor and Jamee, to confront Victor for what he did. To punish him for taking his life away."

Edward exhaled deeply, his heart pounding against my side. "Did Charlie ever find them?"

I shrugged. "He found Jamee a few years back. He told me he had taken her in to the Volturi -- they're the head of us all, basically. They have their own set of rules. They wouldn't kill her since she wasn't the one who took my mother's life, but they said she was involved since she had been hiding Victor. She was an accomplice. I-I don't know what happened with her now, or where Victor ran off to. The Volturi stated that "time is a virtue", and they would track him when they felt the "time was right", which hasn't come yet... My father hasn't had his justice yet... He's still searching for it, every day, with every case. But he's a good cop, and he's trying to make it right."

"I understand."

I unsteadily met his gaze, and noticed his eyelashes were damp.

My voice cut off and I couldn't speak, couldn't comfort him.

"I'm so sorry, Bella." Edward hugged me tight, and I buried my face into his neck. I heard him sniffle as he rocked me.

My hand covered his chest and it felt that, somehow, the heaviness in his chest matched mine.

Edward squeezed me tighter. "I wish I could fix it."

I allowed Edward to hold and rock me for what seemed like hours. I wasn't used to being held, but I knew I'd never pull away from him. He soothed me, with his arms and whispers and reassurance that he was going to protect me. He didn't seem to mind the time limit. We stayed in that position, tangled up in each other, and he held me without any hesitance.

Eventually, we heard his family enter the house, but no one seemed to come up the stairs to let us know they were home. My car was in plain sight, so I figured they didn't want to disturb us. They remained silent, their voices in whispers that I could barely make them out.

I felt Edward's arms tighten around me as he moved backward and sideways.

"Is this alright?" he whispered, laying me down beside him.

He pulled me to him by my waist, his arms over and under me as he moved. "I want to hold you longer, Bella. I do not want to ever release you."

I buried my face back into his neck, and nodded. It suddenly dawned on me that we had no more secrets. No more lies. He accepted me, and I accepted him. His scent, still mesmerizing and mouth watering, had a different effect on me now. It wasn't that I wanted to taste him as much... but that it was a sign of comfort. A sign of wanting to be with him. A need for him in my life.

Forever.

We layed there wrapped up in limbs, staring into each other's eyes as the sun went down and the moon rose up.

I felt his veins bounce as blood rushed around them, and his heart beat in his chest, but it didn't affect me with thirst. It felt serene and it calmed me, like the unique, soothing sound of the ocean after a long work day.

He threw the covers over our bodies, his mouth trailing soft kisses on my hair as he adjusted his body.

I nestled against him and raised my head to find his eyes again.

As soon as our eyes met, I once again became mute and breathless.

I realized that it was okay to be Bella, no matter who she was on the outside.

This angel -- as there is no other way to describe him -- accepted me and my faults. There were no boundaries, no misunderstandings... At that moment, I found my happiness, and my reason for all the pain and suffering I went through. The isolation I felt for so many years suddenly felt worth every second.

Edward was my reason.

"I love you," I whispered, closing my eyes.

Edward pulled a few inches away, and his lips parted as he gripped my face in his warm hands. He looked deep into my eyes, as if he were studying them somehow, but his own remained calm. They weren't squinty or confused, but more intrigued and passionate.

Then he was lost for words.

I smiled and inhaled deeply, my hands sliding up and covering his. "I do," I whispered again, my words spoken slowly. "I'm not ashamed to tell you. I'm not afraid anymore. You've reassured me that I have nothing to be scared of..."

My voice trailed off as I inched closer to him, my fingers winding between his. "Edward, before you were born, my world had no bright stars in it. Sure, there were some, enough to dimly guide me back to home when I needed it. But nothing that gave ne reassurance, or an understanding of a higher power. I mean, if there were a higher power, how could it have allowed these things to happen to my family, you know?"

Edward nodded as he listened, his hands through my hair, adjusting a few strands from my cheek.

"But... as years passed by and I began to give in to acceptance, I noticed that there would be a single star that shown brighter... More and more, a star or two would appear to have some hidden meaning behind it, but I never understood it until now..."

I sighed, my hands caressing over him. "...I hope you understand what I am trying to say, because I've never been the best at explaining things... but... I think that, as each star shined brighter, it was for another year you lived, and another year you grew... Seventeen years later, with the same sky that was once meek and bland has now become a miraculous image of beauty... Some sort of... moment of clarity for me. It's as if the stars aligned, and guided me straight to here, to this moment..."

I pointed over his shoulder toward the window, and we took in the view of the stars.

"I love you, Edward, and only you. I believe now that I have always been meant to love you."

A few seconds passed. But my nerves didn't kick back in, because I knew what I was saying was true.

Edward leaned forward, his lips kissing my nose and rubbing on it from side to side. He pulled away slowly and placed his forehead to mine as his thumbs created soft strokes on my cheek bones.

His eyes, diamond and green, stayed on mine as he smiled slightly. His voice was calm when he whispered the words I longed to hear returned to me: "...I love you as well, Bella. This is undeniable."

I smiled at Edward as my hands on his face mirrored his to mine. I stroked under his eyes, along his cheeks, down to his bottom lip. I realized I was sounding mushy, but I couldn't help it. I had to get it out.

"It's as if we were destined... I know you're young still and human, and I can accept it if you're feelings change, but this feels right..." I continued to whisper. "As if, every thing that I have gone through, all the hard times when I wanted to curl up in a ball and wither away... I think those significant moments led me to you."

Edward nodded, his thumb crossing around my lips.

"I feel entirely the same way," He whispered back. "I will not change my mind Angel, don't ever think that way. I will not budge. My feelings for you are never going to change, Bella. "

I smiled, kissing his thumb.

I thought about all the hard times in my life, and how one moment with Edward made it all better. How I didn't deserve him in my life, but was thankful he was here with me. How I'd never be able to make it through without him now. I had a feeling that he was thinking some of the same things about his own life.

We didn't have to say any more, we knew our thoughts matched.

We were one, body and soul, and it no longer mattered what anyone else could try to do or say about it. Nothing could change us now, and nothing could take us back.

---

No one in Edward's family came to interrupt us.

I was unable to hear their heart beats or their footprints climb the steps to their own rooms. I could barely hear any commotion at all.

They stayed secluded.

I watched the clock as it passed the time, and studied Edward's eyes as they became heavier.

I tried to tell him it was okay to fall asleep, and that I would promise to be here when he woke up.

I made my mind up that Charlie would have to get over it, that I'd lie to him and tell him I had an emergency temptation at school and needed to go away to hunt, that it couldn't wait... I'm sure he'd believe it, being that it was Charlie and hated confrontation.

Edward tried his hardest not to give in to his body telling him he needed the rest. He was stubborn. He held on to my body tighter, nuzzling his face to me and inhaling deeply. We whispered silly nothings to each other from time to time, but mostly just held on for life.

It was now 2:18 am.

Edward began to doze off. I could feel his heart settle down as his eyes began to flutter. His breathing lightened to a soft whisper and his lips slowly parted as seconds flew by. His body became still and relaxed, as if he were floating above it -- like the angel that he was.

I watched him, mesmerized by this, as I ran my fingers through his bronzed hair. I hummed softly to him at times, caressing his face and neck.

He laid still for a very long time, not moving or turning like they did in movies.

I placed my head beside his and my forehead to his shoulder. Then I lightly threw my arm over his chest.

I closed my eyes, pretending I was able to sleep with him. Pretending I were human, and was able to share his dream... I thought about the first day we met, and every point leading up to it.

An hour passed before I knew it, and I snapped out of my dream to Edward adjusting his body beneath mine.

It was 3:45 am.

My eyes popped open to find Edward laying on his side next to me, his head over his right arm.

"Hello," he whispered.

"Hi."

"I woke up because I missed you."

I smiled, and if I could blush, it would have been all over my skin. "I missed you too, Edward."

"Good."

I ran my fingers through his hair, and scratched the back of his head lightly. "What were you dreaming about?"

"You, of course."

"Was it a good dream?"

"Yes, but not good enough. No dream could ever take the place of the real thing."

I nodded as he took me closer to his body, his arms almost wrapping twice behind me.

"Bella, may I try something with you? Do you trust me enough?"

"Of course, anything."

"...Thank you."

Edward's hands carefully slid up my back and behind my head as he rolled us over. My breath hitched in my throat, feeling the electric current intensify by about a thousand.

We were both trembling now, not nervous, but merely anxious. Edward planted most of his weight on his right elbow, his other hand gently on my face.

I bit my lip and smiled at him, my hands back up to tangle in his hair. I tugged and scratched, enjoying the feeling of his fine locks between my fingers.

Edward closed his eyes for a moment, his breath cutting short. "You're distracting me," He whispered.

I giggled. "I'm sorry, I can't help it."

He smirked. "I'll allow it."

"Okay."

He slowly began to lean forward, inhaling deep as he came.

Chills surged through my arms and legs and I felt my stomach twist in unfamiliar knots. My brain began to shut down and I felt as if I couldn't feel my body anymore.

"...Stay very still, please." He whispered, and I realized I had been fidgeting.

I shut my eyes for a brief second to relax, and then opened them again to find his lips an inch from mine... One. Single. Inch.

I closed them again, this time slower.

I felt his delicious warm breath across my lips and his nose graze mine.

"Wait," I whispered, freezing him in his place.

We laid still, my lips quivering a bit, his a fraction from mine now.

I felt his heart pounding above me, the noise echoing through my ears. Thud-Thud-THUD-THUD!!!

I inhaled deeply, making sure I was relaxed and strong enough to handle the situation.

"Are you okay?" He whispered gently, unmoving.

I swallowed hard and nodded.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." My voice was dry, like I had eaten sand paper.

I listened as he inhaled through his nose, his chest rising against mine then pulling away.

I closed my eyes again, matching my breathing with his... It was almost has if the air he breathed in from his lips was being pulled from mine, and the air he exhaled was being pushed to me.

What seemed like hours -- an all actuality, about 30 seconds -- passed us by, but we didn't move our bodies or our faces.

"I'm okay," I whispered, feeling more relaxed as time passed by.

Edward's sweet lips merely grazed mine, and smirk crossed over them.

"I know you are," he confirmed.

I felt his body begin to move again, and knew that this was it: It was our defining moment.

I opened my lips slowly, my breath hitching in my throat.

I felt his bottom lip slide in a familiar way, back between mine, and his top gliding above mine gently. They were warm and damp and perfect as I knew they would be. I pressed mine to his gently, and he accepted, his mouth moving with mine in perfect harmony.

We were very slow at first, adjusting to the way each other moved, melting into the other's lips. I tilted my head slowly to the right, allowing him more access.

Slow and gradual.

I couldn't figure out what was happening to me or why I felt tingles throughout my entire body, but I never wanted the feeling to go away.

He tasted incredible, so fullfilling.

But once our lips blended together more evenly, and I felt the hotness of his breath as our mouths opened wider, something inside me snapped a little. My breathing hitched and my lower body became paralyzed for a second, then it snapped back into place like someone pulling a rubber band too far back and then releasing it.

My fingers wound through his hair and pulled his face to mine, my lips crushing hard against his. I felt his arms collapse around me.

Edward's breathing stopped as he pressed against me with equal enthusiasm. His sweet and delicious tongue guided into my mouth with one sweeping motion, and as soon as it touched mine, a frenzy began.

I met his with my own, following it and winding around into small circles throughout my mouth.

Edward inhaled rapidly, his heart pounding harder against my hollow chest as he scooted up my body, to allow himself more force upon me.

I heard a slight moan escape my lips as my tongue entered his mouth, and before I could think rationally, I flipped over above him, pure instinct taking control. I strattled his hips within seconds, my hair falling all over his face in different directions. Our lips continued to align perfectly, no matter which way we directed ourselves. I felt myself begining to lose control, being overwhelmed by the electricity and the tingles.

Edward's firm hands, which were gliding from my hair to my back, eventually found the small of my back and pressed me down toward him, causing me to gasp lightly.

"Are you oka-"

Edward couldn't even finish the question as my lips slammed down on his. His body pushed against mine as his head raised up from the pillow. Then he flipped me on my back again, to where we were almost on the edge of the bed now.

His lips trailed slowly from mine as he gathered some air for his lungs -- which I forgot to think about -- and he slid them along my jaw line, causing my body to shake uncontrollably. He continued his path to my left earlobe, lingering there for a moment as his hot air inside my ear caused my lower body to push toward him.

Before I could throw my legs around him, Edward paralyzed me, sliding his tongue between my lips again as he whispered my name...

"...Sweet Bella..."

He continued to seduce me, his hands trailing along my sides with the same amount of excitement as his kisses, which mixed between romantic and more passionate. I felt my fingers gripping for the back of his shirt, and I hesitated as I thought about whether or not I should pull it up. I wanted to, God did I want to, but was it right? Was it too soon? What if it was too much?

My thoughts didn't last long and I released my grasp on his shirt, my fingers trailing back to his head.

Suddenly and smoothly, I felt Edward's lips slow down, his heart rate matching, and now we were kissing more romantic than any movie I had ever seen in my entire life.

Slow.

Delicate.

Fulfilling.

We kissed like this for about an hour straight, only stopping to look at each other for a few moments so he could catch his breath. But each time his lips found mine again, and every time our tongues connected, it sent a new wave of pleasure and excitement through me.

I could kiss him for the rest of my existance.

We didn't stop until almost 5:30am, and by that time, I felt a slight henge of guilt as I didn't allow him to sleep. We were side by side again, our noses grazing each others, giving light pecks and smiles.

I heard Emmett, slightly knocking on the door, asking if Edward was awake.

"I'm awake," Edward responded, his hand winding through my hair again. He kept his eyes to me, as if they were soaking in my image.

"I'm sorry I kept you up." I couldn't help but frown.

Edward shook his head, his thumb across my lip again. "What did I say about apologizing, Bella."

"I know, but I know you're only a hu-"

His fingers covered my lips. "No but's. What would you have to apologize for? Kissing you're all-too-willing boyfriend?"

I shrugged, liking the sound of that word. Boyfriend.

"I'll survive. Happily. In fact, I think I could die in this moment and have no regrets."

I smiled. "Me too."

We laid silent for a few more minutes, until the clock showed 5:55. Edward slowly pulled himself off the bed, his back making a slight crack as he laughed and walked around.

"Now... back to "school"" - His fingers in quotation marks - "I have to take a shower really fast, then it is all yours. I'm sure Rosalie will give you some clothes to wear."

I nodded, overwhelmed by the sudden realization that he could be naked in the next room. I watched as he gathered his items and headed toward the shower, turning it on.

Edward stuck his head outside the door and smiled. "You are so beautiful in the mornings. Have I told you that yet?"

I shook my head and bit my lip.

"And think of it this way," he mused. "Since I'm suspended and we're not telling anyone but Alice, maybe you could show me what type of powers you have?... You know, besides making it storm..."

I smiled again. "Sounds like a date."

----

So there we go, Chapter 11! Keep the reviews and compliments/suggestions/positive feedback coming in!! They are always welcome. Please review and stay tuned!

ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS/RESPONSES:

-- Firstly, thank you to everyone who's continued to be faithful with their reviews per chapter, their positive feedback, advice, and their constructive critism, etc. It's been amazing and so enjoyable to come home from a long day's work and see the number rise from people who enjoy the story just as much as I do! You're the best!

-- Yes, a meadow scene topped out on what you wanted to see on Chapter 12, so be sure to look at that next!

-- So I hope you understand why Bella created that watercolor of Edward's mother now. I hope you understand that she doesn't just draw the future in a physical sense, but in an emotional as well. It was a sign of the future, that these two were going to be connected, and the begining of large events passing their way. That they were going to have a decision to make, whether it be to move forward, learn to trust, break down their barriers, and give in to each other.

-- I also hope you enjoyed the unfolding of their pasts, I hope I explained it well enough.

-- Oh yeah. I hope you liked the kiss. ;) I know some are probably wondering how Bella can resist the wanting to taste him so easily now. Well, if you've read Breaking Dawn, then you'd understand. She was different, didn't have a hard time with her desire for human blood, once she was taught the ways of hunting for animals. So I've tried to keep that in mind.

-- IF I MISSED SOMEONE'S QUESTION, I TRULY APOLOGIZE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL ANSWER IT ASAP!

Sincerely, Angela.