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A/N after the chapter.


Chapter 11: Sleeping Beauty

Make it right for you sleeping beauty

Truly thought

I can magically heal you (mjk)

EPOV:

I was dreaming of my mother. Her face was shining brightly at me, her beauty a revelation before cancer; her eyes were widened and her mouth was moving, but I couldn't get a grasp of what she was saying. She started laughing then, and I reached for her, but my hand glided right through her, as if she were made of air. Realizing this, that she was impenetrable, she started laughing even harder. Tears sprang from my eyes as I tried to beg her not to go. She just shook her head and pointed at something behind my shoulder. When I turned around and looked, there was nothing there. And when I went to face my mother again, she was disappearing, her face cancer ridden again, fading into nothingness as if she never had existed in the first place.

***

I came out of my dream slowly, which was unusual for me, as I'm prone to jolt out of subconscious with sudden and frightened alarm. I felt very warm though, and very comfortable, so I clenched my eyes tighter, not wanting to let go of the image of my mother, regardless of how fleeting or sad it might be.

But something stirred next to me, and at the movement my eyes fled open. I was lying on Carlisle's rug in his office, and I was completely naked. As if that weren't alarming enough, Bella Swan was beside me with her back turned to me, her shoulders rising and falling in the synchronized breathing of sleep. Oh, and she was completely naked as well.

It hit me then like a rush. The woods, the tequila, the game, the kissing, the mutual head. The head on my shoulders spun and it felt like a fucking rock was pounding relentlessly at it. And my head down under awakened at the memory, twitching at the fine recollection of Bella Swan's mouth wrapped around my cock.

I shook my head fiercely as if to dispel the vivid imagery. I tried to stand but the weight of my head forced me back down, and so I pulled myself into a sitting position, rubbing my temple while trying to ignore the boner Bella's perfect back was giving me.

I was in a foggy place as far as my memory was concerned. Physically, my body seemed to remember everything that had went down between us a couple of hours ago. But mentally … I wasn't sure how it had felt, or even more, what exactly had been said.

What a fucking pussy. Go without drinking for a few months, and I wake up with something resembling a concussion. Whipping out the Patron was probably not the smartest idea I'd ever had.

With my chin perched upon my knees, I continued the thorough contemplation of Bella Swan's back. Her breathing was steady and soft; if my eyes had been closed, and I couldn't see the rise and fall of her shoulders, I would have been worried that her breathing had completely stopped.

Her shoulder blades jutted out delicately, and her skin was smooth and pale in the glow of the desk lamp. I looked at my hands, remembering the feeling of her skin against them. I was really fucking irritated with myself that every detail wasn't memorized, that each image came to me in random and unorganized spurts. Though my memories were muddled and my feelings certainly unclear, my body felt oddly linked to the sleeping frame that lay before me.

Trying to ignore the incessant pounding of my head, I crawled on my knees and leaned over her, trying to get a better look at her face. Seeing her, my breath caught in my throat, and the pounding of my head turned into a pounding of my heart. Her full pink lips were a bit swollen and puffed out, and her cheek rested on one hand. Her hair flowed from her head and fanned about her petite shoulders, the dark espresso of her curls contrasting beautifully against her white flesh.

She was so beautiful, and searing regret coursed through me that I could not, in fact, remember every single explicit detail of our time together. The dream I'd just had of my mother flashed in my mind, and for the first time, I resented the fact that I had fallen asleep and had had images of my mother, instead of staying awake and soaking up every single beautiful thing about Bella Swan.

Pussy, pussy, pussy, I chided myself. First a drunk concussion, then fucking roses and sunshine and violets.

But Bella was still completely nude, as was I, and ignoring my throbbing temples, I found my jeans, threw them on, and went into the hall to find a blanket wrap Bella in. In the hall closet, I pulled out the heaviest afghan I could find, and then went back into the office.

She was still laying in the same position. I crouched beside her and gently covered her with the heavy blanket, my hands lingering over her shoulders for a moment too long. Bella stirred just slightly, and though I didn't have the heart to wake her, I didn't want to leave her sleeping on the rug just for Carlisle to find her in the morning.

As softly as I could, I slipped my hands underneath her body and shifted her into my arms. She was so light, so warm, and it thrilled me to be holding her. The potency of her smell hit me again, but it no longer disturbed me the way that it used to. Though I dreamt of my mother while lying beside her, which probably had a lot to do with having slept so close to Bella, I was hardly reminded of her anymore. This smell, the sage, the peonies, the nutmeg – this was all Bella now.

Once I'd placed her carefully in my grip, I stood, and her head lulled until her forehead was nuzzled in my bare chest. She was perspiring lightly, and her skin was hot and feverish.

Careful not to disturb her, I went down the hall to her bedroom, pushing the door open with my bare foot. I'd never entered Bella's room before, and I half-heartedly scoured the room, appreciating the sparseness of it. Her bed was made, so I freed one hand while cradling her in the other and lifted the covers open, setting her in afterwards.

I went back to the office to get the rest of our clothes and went to the bathroom to get a damp towel. Entering Bella's room again, I lit a candle and slowly lowered myself to sit on her bed. I brushed the hair that was already damp with sweat from her forehead and pressed the cool cloth against her skin, hoping to suck some of the fever away from her.

Her lips quivered, and she started mumbling. I was worried that I had somehow been to rough and that I had woken her – but no, her breathing was still steady and sleep ridden.

Bella's mouth parted and let out a sigh. I wished again that I remembered everything. Those big beautiful lips of hers were so plump and swollen, and I knew I was the cause of it, and it killed me to think that I had damaged her in some way.

"Edward," Bella sighed, and I almost jumped at the sound of my name leaving her lips. She was talking in her sleep … she was talking in her sleep and she was saying my name. My heart was pounding wildly again, and I felt very hot all over.

"Don't do this again," she whispered. I wondered what I was doing, or what I had already done to make her say that. Leaving one palm pressing the damp rag to her forehead, I used my other hand to gently stroke the sides of her face. Her skin was so soft and smooth and warm, too warm, as she was probably a little sick.

My fingers finally rested on her chin, and I brushed the tip of my thumb against her lips. Her skin was so hot, it felt as if I had been burned.

I leaned in and lightly pressed my lips against hers. It lasted all of two seconds – I wasn't going to make out with her while she was passed out, but suddenly, all the memories of the evening came flooding back to me.

I remembered everything. And I would do everything in my power to never forget her again.

"I love you, Bella Swan," I whispered into her mouth.

I stole one last glimpse of her sleep induced serenity before blowing the candle out, casting the entire room in a blanket of darkness.

BPOV:

When I woke up I was on fire. I was even dreaming of fire, of whipping flames that turned from hot ember to a searing blue.

Opening my eyes, I realized I was completely covered in layers of blankets and I reached to throw them off of me, but I very quickly discovered that I was bare ass naked underneath. What the fuck?

Before I could blink, jumbled memories of my night with Edward rushed and filled my head. I tingled everywhere at the thought of it, but I also felt very, very sick. Pulling myself out of bed I found my robe hanging on my closet door.

Walking as slowly and steadily as I could as to not further aggravate my head, I made my way down the hallway and into the bathroom, where I promptly puked my guts out.

***

A couple hours later I heard my bedroom door open but I didn't have the strength to figure out who it was. I heard tiny footsteps, and felt a small, cold hand press against my forehead. I gasped at the touch of Alice's hand, it felt so amazing.

"I think she's really sick," I heard her say. I wanted to protest, but I couldn't move an inch. My mouth and limbs and body was putty; pounding, burning putty, but putty nonetheless.

"There's a very strong flu virus going around," Dr. Cullen said. Oh, he was in here too. Such a nice man. "I'll call the school – let them know she'll be out for a couple of days."

"Yeah right Carlisle, try the whole week," Alice snapped. She seemed angry, but I couldn't ask her why. I could say anything, and suddenly I was very, very tired, and listening to their voices just became too much for me.

I drifted off to sleep, dreaming mostly of fire. Then the fire would melt into ice, and I would dream of Edward's hands touching my face or Edward's lips brushing my skin. I wanted to reach for him, but I was strapped to the bed, my body far out of my control.

I'm not sure how much time passed. It could have been hours, it could have been days. People came and went in my room; I heard voices and murmurings but I couldn't piece any of it together. Cold hands and damp towels passed over me. I wanted to wake, but I was just so tired.

"Bella, Bella. Come on, Bella, you have to eat something."

I buried my face in my pillow. I had no appetite whatsoever; there was no way this voice was going to get me to eat anything.

But strong hands were lifting me up, propping me against pillows. I finally opened my eyes to see Edward sitting before me, holding something that smelled foul in his hands. He smiled shyly and lifting a spoon and held it in front of my face.

"No," I groaned. If I ate anything, I knew I was going to throw it back up.

"You haven't eaten in two days, Bella," Edward sternly said. Two days? Had I really been sick for that long? That snapped me right back into the present.

"I thought you should be taken to the hospital, but Carlisle assured me he'd be able to take care of you here. You have the flu. You haven't been able to keep anything down." He smiled sadly at me and moved the spoon closer to my face. "But you've got to try to eat. Please?"

"Okay," I said. I let him spoon feed me whatever was in that bowl, but I couldn't taste a thing. It was probably better that way, as I wasn't overcome with nausea like I thought I would be. "What the hell happened?" I asked him. I didn't understand how I could have suddenly gotten so sick.

"It's flu season," he said, spooning more food into my mouth. "It's pretty intense – everyone is sick. It's completely deserted at school. Even most of the teachers are out."

"So why aren't you sick?"

"I never get sick." He set the spoon down and his eyes were smoldering. "You really worried me, Bella."

"I did?" I asked dumbly.

"Yeah, you did." He lifted his hand as if to brush my cheek but instead he ran his fingers through his own hair. Had I just been out for a few days or was Edward more gorgeous than usual? I felt very light headed all of a sudden.

"I think I need to lie back down," I said. I was exhausted again, but I really didn't feel sick anymore. Just tired. The thought of what I must look like crossed my mind, and I wanted to bury myself further in the covers and never come out. I hated that Edward had to see me like this. But he was here … for whatever reason. It was so unlike him, really.

But I couldn't think about it anymore. I needed to sleep.

"Sweet dreams, Bella," he whispered, and I wasn't sure if I was already dreaming when I felt his cool lips press against my forehead.

***

It took me almost five days to feel back to normal. I didn't see Edward in my room since I first woke up, which made me feel both worry and relief. I told myself that it was odd that he was willingly spending time with me in the first place, so I shouldn't be upset over something I never expected to have in the first place.

It was a Saturday when I finally emerged from the confines of my bedroom. I had missed the whole week of school. According to Alice's reports, I hadn't missed much, as the entire school seemed to be going through exactly the same thing I had.

I was extremely grateful for Alice's company during my recovery. We watched the six seasons of Sex and the City in succession and my head felt extremely full with sexual innuendos and snappy puns. Of course, it also made me think about the incident I had been both secretly relishing and trying to push out of my mind all week: my drunken hookup with Edward.

Though the flu had made everything pretty foggy, it really was the sexiest goddamn thing I had ever experienced in my life. I wanted it all to happen again. In the words of the ever so eloquent Carrie Bradshaw, I wanted Edward Cullen in my bed, bath and beyond. The beyond part was what I was still figuring out.

The house was empty as I made my way downstairs. Alice had told me that her and Jasper were driving to Portland for the evening and staying the night in a B&B. Rosalie and Emmett, officially a couple now, spent very little time at home, which I found semi odd, as since they both lived here, they had more access and freedom to whatever they wanted.

"I think they're taking their relationship outside the box," Alice told me halfway through Season Two. "Rosalie's never had a boyfriend before, and I think the fact that a guy is willing to date her and spend money on her is getting her off more than sex ever could."

"So her and Edward never went out?" Though Edward had blatantly told me before that he and Rosalie were not a couple, it was still a bit shocking that he had never taken her anywhere.

"Nope. They were never really into each other; they were just in it for the perks." She paused and looked me dead in the eye, hoping to get a good reaction out of me. "Why? Jealous?"

"Of course not," I said, pressing Play on the remote. I hadn't yet told Alice what had happened that night in Dr. Cullen's office. It wasn't that I was embarrassed … I just wanted to talk to Edward about it first. I had the sneaking suspicion that he didn't like his business broadcasted without his consent.

"Whatever you say, Bella," Alice said, complying to the fact that I wasn't yet ready to talk. She was a smart girl; she knew that something was going on. But I loved her all the more for not pressing me to talk about it before I was ready to.

I still felt extremely weak and I had to grasp the banister for support as I walked down the stairs. I hadn't had a cigarette in forever, and though I wasn't exactly craving the nicotine, I wanted a cig in my hands because I knew it would help me feel back to normal.

The house was extremely quiet, and I wondered where Edward was. I didn't really know anything about him, not what he does in his spare time or where he goes over weekends. He was a mystery, and he did it all on purpose. I was hell bent on figuring him out, though.

Before I could think any more of it, I saw him through the kitchen window, sitting in our spot, smoking a cigarette. He looked different, sexier than I remembered him being. Maybe it was just me and my rapidly developing feelings that had an influence on his appearance. Whatever the case, I didn't feel weak anymore. I felt excited to finally see him.

"Hey," I said as I went through the doorway and walked toward him. He lifted his head in surprise, and smiled crookedly at me. I had never seen that smile from him before. It was shocking and it almost took my breath away.

"Hey back," he said. He scooted over to give me room and patted the space beside him. I sat down, leaving a couple inches. I was afraid if I got too close I would maul him with my tongue. It was odd – I thought that being sick for five days would decrease my sexual urgency, but on the contrary, I felt like I was bursting with sexual energy. Maybe being stuck in bed for nearly a week without Edward had made me hyper-aware of him and my body and of everything I wanted him to do to my body.

But for now … for now I would calmly and quietly sit beside him and keep my hands to myself.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, taking a drag off his cigarette and stubbing it out. "You look much better."

"Thanks, but considering the fact that I looked like death incarnated this past week, that really doesn't mean much."

"Don't worry about it. I'm just glad you're finally out of bed." He caught my eye, and all the humor drained very quickly from his face. "But in all seriousness, Bella – you really scared me. It's hard for me to see someone … sick."

I suddenly understood very well. "Because of your mom," I said.

He sighed. "Yes. It was an extremely difficult thing for me to overcome. Whenever someone gets ill I kind of lose it." He shook his head and ran another hand through his hair. "Anyway, I really need to apologize."

"For what?"

"For what happened that night, Bella. I doubt you would have gotten as sick as you did if it wasn't for prior circumstances."

"Edward," I said, making sure my voice came out clear and steady, as not to give away the overwhelming nervousness that was seriously threatening to overtake my sense of control, "I had as much a hand in what went down as you did. Probably a bigger hand, in fact, as it was me who brought the booze out and started the rounds of drinking."

He laughed softly, and seem relieved, but still unconvinced. "Regardless. If I had known … if I had known how sick you would get I wouldn't have let all that happen."

"That's too bad," I murmured, ducking my head so he couldn't see the disappointment in my face. "I don't regret it for a minute."

"Hey," he said, and he lifted my chin so our eyes met. "That's not what I meant. Look, I don't know what's going on with us. I think there's probably a lot for us to work through. I don't care. Having you in my life, even before all the rest of it, has just made things so different for me."

He paused. He was struggling for his words. The most overly articulate person I had ever met was having a hard time forming the words to tell me that he liked me. My nervousness expanded into giddiness.

"You're just so unlike any girl I've ever met before. And I want to know you, Bella Swan. I want to really fucking know you."

"I want to know you too." The sun peaked through the afternoon haze and shined directly behind Edward's head, his bronze hair glinting streaks of red in the sunlight. Impulsively, I tucked a piece of it behind his ear. His eyelids fluttered closed momentarily. I let my hand linger before I slowly pulled it away.

He was too quick for that. He grabbed my hand before I bring it back to me. He smiled at me and rubbed the back of my hand with his thumb. My heart fluttered. He brought our entwined hands to his face and smoothed it against the light scruff on his cheek. Now it was my eyes that fluttered. I was weak again, but not from the effects of the flu or the fact that I hadn't really eaten anything. Edward was holding my hand, brushing it against his face, and I wanted to melt into his arms.

EPOV:

I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. Bella's fucking flu had really thrown me. Though there were no hospitals this time, the way it had made me feel was so similar to what I'd went through with my mother. Part of me wanted to shut down and run, and the other just wanted to take Bella into my arms and protect her the way that I couldn't protect my mother.

I guess I was deciding to go with the latter.

She'd taken me by surprise when she reached out and touched me. I was half expecting her to never want to talk to me again, because she could have very well blamed me for her getting so sick this past week. But she was choosing to here, sitting with me, touching my hair.

So I went with my instincts. I took her hand and brushed it against my lips. I closed my eyes and breathed her scent in. Even with the sickness it hadn't faded away one bit. I looked at her then, making myself remember that she had been sick, and she wasn't ready for anything at the moment. Maybe I wasn't either. But that didn't mean that I didn't really fucking want it.

"Alright then," I said, bring our hands down and standing. "It's time to eat, little one. I'm going to make you lunch."

She looked completely perplexed. "You can cook?"

I laughed. "I'm no Bella Swan in the kitchen, but there are a few dishes that I've mastered." I playfully pulled her hand and nodded my head to the house. "Let's get some food in you, okay?"

She smiled and nodded. And so we walked, hand in hand, into the kitchen so I could put some food inside the frail and illness ridden body that was beginning to mean so much to me.


A/N: So I know most of you were expecting some more s-e-x, but it just didn't feel right, at least not yet. There will certainly be more of that to come though, and certainly very, very soon. ;)

On a side note – I really tried to respond to everyone's comments, but I have a feeling I neglected a few. If I did, feel free to let me know, and I'll be sure to get back to you.

After the next 2-3 chapters, I have kind of a whammy curveball I'm sending your way. Be prepared, that's all I'm saying.

Thanks again to all you loyal (and new) readers and reviewers. See you soon …