He gazed at her with eyes that smoldered in their intensity. "Bella," he whispered, trailing an icy thumb across her lips, caressing her jaw. She closed her eyes and savored the feel of his skin against her own before he crushed his lips to hers. Her heart thundered in her chest, and she wrapped her arms around him – as if that could bring him any closer! Even without their bodies molded together through the heat of their passion, she had no strength to pull him against his will. His lithe body was as strong as iron and impossible to bend.

"Bella," he breathed again, breaking away from her. The name was a prayer, pleading and promising all at once, and then he was trailing kisses down her neck.

"Oh, Edward," she moaned. Her fingers traveled up his neck, tangling in his hair as his attentions scattered her mind into a dizzy spiral. She could hear the blood thundering in her veins – a tempo that was oddly loud when pitched against the utter silence of her would-be lover's body. She shivered, though whether it was from delight or from the cold of his skin (or both) was impossible to know. So lost in her dazzled fantasy was she that, when his teeth first grazed her jugular, she thought nothing of it. Nothing at all. It was only when they pressed down, breaking her skin and causing a fierce pain to suddenly scorch through her that she became aware of a problem.

"Edward!" her voice was devoid of passion, now, and filled with fear as he latched himself against her. The copper scent of her own blood filled her nose, causing the bile in her stomach to churn. She pushed against him ineffectually. Her strength was no match for his. Nonetheless, at her desperate struggles, he tightened his hold on her. "Edward, stop!" The feel of the blood flowing from her body and into his own was sickening. His tongue ran along her torn skin, lapping it up as he drank, and drank, and drank.

Soon her struggled died down, and her desperation was replaced by light-headedness and a dimming of her perceptions. Her body ached where he held her, bruised and battered simply by his inflexible grip. No, she thought as her head spun. I don't want to die. Mom! Charlie! I don't want to die! Tears began to track their way down her cheeks even as the darkness settled in. Before it had claimed her completely, her last thought was of Edward – of the creature now desperately drinking her life away. It was a curse. Even though she knew that she was equally to blame – he had warned her, after all – she could not help it. She cursed him, because she had never really believed he would be capable of this. .

It was some time later when Edward regained his sense to find himself gripping an empty husk. The blood in his body was warm and singing through him. He could still taste it on his lips, so tantalizingly delicious that part of him begged and cried and raged that there was no more to be had. He'd taken it all, every last drop. Every part of her life.

Startled by his return to reality, he dropped the body in his arms and back-pedaled away. Instinct forced him into his natural speed, so he was clear across the room before her corpse had even settled against the ground. No! No, that wasn't Bella! He hadn't… couldn't have… he raised a hand to his lips, gazing down at his fingertips as they came away red. Unconsciously, his tongue flicked out to clean them, and he shivered at the sublime taste. So delicious. It had called to him from beneath her skin, singing out like a siren's voice and breaking down the last of his barriers. In that moment he hadn't wanted her body, her companionship… he had wanted only her blood. I am a monster, he thought, but try as he might that concept could not dredge up the horror and self-loathing it once had. The feelings were still there. But they had become somehow diluted. Instead they were replaced with a strange calm, an unexpected sense of relief that surprised him more than anything. Part of him was horrified – a small part. Most of him, however, was filled with a remarkable sense of finality. He had done it. He had fulfilled that compulsion which had danced with such dread and repetitiveness through his thoughts, and had killed Bella, taking her blood for the sweet elixir it was and leaving only death behind.

Now that his fear was realized, he found himself unburdened from it. No longer would he have to worry about some act of god or another vampire claiming Bella's life and blood. No longer would he have to dance his masochistic ballet of coming so close – oh so close – only to force himself back for her sake. No longer would he have to worry about her. It was done, over, finished. He had killed her. The lion had indeed fallen in love with the lamb, and it seemed that lions could only love lambs in one way.

He laughed, a cold and bitter sound that came harshly from his throat. He understood now. Just like his poor little darling, he had been naïve. It hadn't been his faith in his self-control and restraint that had brought him back to her side – it had been his denial. Part of him had never really believed that he could do something so clearly immoral. Part of him had always thought 'no, I am not a monster', even when every shred of evidence in his afterlife told him otherwise. Bella had been a test.

Perhaps that was where the feeling of peace came from. At long last, he was faced with undeniable proof of what he was. It was over. The long struggle inside of himself had been finished, and even though the result was not what he had hoped, at least he knew.

Standing, he walked over to the dead girl. How little appeal she held for him now! Her thoughts were no mystery, for she no longer had any. Her blood couldn't call to him, for now it was his, and her scent – once so alluring – was tainted with death. He brushed a few strands of hair away from her face. Such a dull shade, he thought. She really was quite plain without all of the bells and whistles.

"Thank you, my Bella," he whispered to her fallen form.

And then he promptly fell over and died of food-poisoning, because as we all know, one shouldn't go around eating Mary-Sues. Their blood has far too much sugar in it.