"For My Valentine"

A Twilight Love Story Contest

Title: The Very Heart of You

Author: PassionforTwilight

Rating: T

Pairing: ExB

Vampire or Human: Vampire

For more information please see contest details on manyafandom or isabel0329's profiles.

Summary: Edward is struck by the unending love his wife displays. A fluffy, one-shot "For My Valentine" Contest Entry.

**

"Oh my God, Edward! Stop the car."

"Why?"

"Stop!"

"What is it?"

"Please."

"Okay, okay. What happened?"

I did not stop to answer him. As soon as the car had slowed to a respectable speed, I flung open the door and leapt from my seat into the pitch, black night. I vaguely registered Edward's growl at my careless jump, but I had more agility and strength than any of them truly understood. I wouldn't be harmed.

It took me only seconds to race back to what I had seen as we sped down the highway. I could smell it too, which both assured me that I had not imagined it, and that I was right in assuming it needed help. A part of me dreaded what I was about to encounter, but I knew I had to see if there was any chance that we could help.

"Oh, Bella. No, sweetheart. There's nothing we can do," Edward spoke gently, as he approached me from behind. I ignored him. My loving husband has always, and will always, try to protect me from anything that can bring pain.

I had slowed my pace, moving toward it with light steps, so as not to frighten it anymore than necessary. I knew my very presence would most likely terrify the poor thing, especially in its condition.

The small puppy would not have been visible to the average passerby. The moon's dismal light gave little help to his secret struggle, and the near freezing temperatures had most residents snug in their homes, far from discovering the small animal's dire fight for survival. Only his upper body and head were in plain sight; the rest of him obscured by shrubbery and small debris from a recent downpour, which would surely turn to snow before morning. I knelt immediately, overwhelmed by the pitiful whimpers shattering the winter night. I could feel Edward at my side, although he said nothing at first. I knew he probably thought my actions were ridiculous, but he did not intrude.

I knew my response was a bit silly. After all, I hunt and survive off of creatures just like the one I was suddenly desperate to help. Just that afternoon I took down three deer with my family; relieved to feel the ache in my throat weaken and then almost abate. But, there was something about the helpless one I spotted from the passenger seat of our car. Perhaps it was the utter loneliness I instantly assumed it felt. Maybe it was the terror I was desperate to alleviate. The animals that I take down as part of what I have become don't suffer for long. As my hunting skills have improved, I doubt they even see me coming.

The soft cries turned into an excited, yet desperate mewling.

I carefully reached out a hand, surprised when the little guy quieted for a moment, watching my fingers carefully as they neared him.

"Gently," Edward whispered so softly, and sweetly, that I almost missed it as I focused on what I had decided was a chocolate lab. It couldn't have been more than four or five weeks old. It's front legs were no longer than my fingers, and his piercing, green eyes expressed uncertainty, but trust at the same time.

I mentally checked my control and felt confident that I knew how to exert the appropriate amount of force in my touches. Despite the fact that I was changed nearly six months ago, Edward is still extremely protective and doting when it comes to learning about the inherent issues of my vampirism.

"I won't hurt him," I whispered back with a coo as the tips of my fingers made contact with the damp fur on his neck. He instantly tilted his head up, seeking more contact from my hand. I felt his cold and wet nose brush the pad of my thumb before his warm tongue lapped at my palm twice.

"Oh!" I gasped, shocked at his sweet nature. His every instinct should have been telling him to fear me; instead, he seemed to lunge at me, trying to throw himself closer. He made no progress. His body sunk back, and I crinkled a brow in response.

"Obviously, he's not the brightest crayon in the box," Edward chuckled.

"You need to quit quoting our six month old daughter," I replied with a smile as I moved a bit closer, now soaking the front of my jeans on the side of the roadway. I needed to see exactly how he was injured. I leaned over the log which was serving as a guardrail and quickly exhaled a breath in relief. It didn't look to be that serious.

"Is he stuck?" we both wondered aloud.

"I think so," I answered. It looked like he had fallen into a small ditch, and was unlucky enough to have it fill quickly with small rocks and run off from the hillside.

"Here, let me help," Edward murmured, as he reached out and grasped the puppy's torso with one hand, and his neck with another; holding him stable, as he ever so slowly raised him out of the trap he'd spent an unknown amount of time in.

As soon as he was free, Edward instinctively pulled the brown darling to his chest. I watched in awe as the puppy attempted to snuggle into my husband's arms.

"He's just bleeding from a small cut on his hind leg."

"It's not bad?" I asked.

"Not at all. He probably fell in there, and it happened when the rocks followed him," he gestured to the rock-filled hole that sat before us.

"He's adorable, Edward," I whispered, overcome with the desire to pet him. I ran my hand from the top of his head down his wet body, before leaning forward and trailing my fingers over the bridge of his nose. A tiny pebble rested there, and I wanted it gone.

"There you go, little guy," I whispered as I flicked it to the asphalt. His eyes were shining, and I was mesmerized as he laid his head down on Edward's forearm, and seemed to take a deep breath, before allowing his eyes to close slightly in a more relaxed state. His whole body moved with his sigh, and I smiled when he wiggled to get more comfortable. He was probably exhausted.

"We have to take him home, or to the shelter, something...he's probably freezing."

"Yes," Edward whispered, and I looked up to catch him staring at me intently.

I held his gaze for moment before its intensity became too much for me. The love and passion that I saw was unbelievable, definitely something that I should be used to by now, but hardly a feeling capable of losing its striking power.

"Edward?"

"I love you, Bella." His simple statement caused a flood of emotions for me. Of course, I knew he loved me, but his reverent admission seemed so impromptu, and I found it extraordinarily touching.

"I love you," I replied firmly, as I pressed my lips to his. I felt a gentle squiggle in the space between our bodies, and I laughed lightly against Edward's beautiful lips. His rich laughter echoed me, and I smiled brightly in the darkness.

"I just can't believe you sometimes."

"Why is that?" I asked, still speaking against his lips. Our mouths continued to brush each other's intimately. It was pure heaven, and I had no desire to leave the sanctity of his presence...ever.

I felt his stare and quickly pulled my gaze up from his lower lip to meet his eyes. I couldn't help the moan that escaped me when I saw the fire burning there.

"Your heart is so perfect."

I held my breath, desperate for more.

"My heart?"

"Yes."

"My heart doesn't even beat anymore, Edward."

"It's not just the beating that I loved or love. It's not just the things that you do, or the things you think, say, share, or even believe. It's the very center of who you are that I love with everything that I am. It's beautiful in every way," he practically breathed into my mouth. It was so moving that I found my hands sliding into his hair, grasping gently, before cupping his face. I needed him as close as possible. The depth of his admission did not escape me.

"I love the very heart of you too." I answered, understanding what he was trying to communicate.

His smile was breathtaking.

"You know what I call that though, sweetheart?" I asked, before pulling back slightly so that I could run my hands through his hair, stopping as they came to rest at the nape of his neck.

"Hmmm?" he whimpered playfully at the loss of my lips.

I waited a moment until I was sure that I had his full attention. Two sets of adoring eyes watched me quietly, and I smiled at the content creature in my love's arms.

"Your soul."

He sucked in a breath at my words. "Bella," he moaned as he closed the distance between us, crushing my lips to his in a searing kiss. My eyes closed instantly, and I was entirely happy imagining all of the ways that I would spend forever creating beautiful memories with him.

**

It was a little over thirty minutes later when we pulled into the driveway at home. The garage was lit brightly, and Edward smiled warmly at Alice as she stood near her own car waiting for us.

"Such a sucker," she joked when she caught sight of the little ears poking out of the makeshift blanket my sweatshirt had turned into.

"Surely you saw this?" Edward asked with a smile as he exited the car and made his way to us.

"Oh, possibly," Alice's musical voice replied. It was only a few seconds until she extended her arms, silently begging me to hand over my precious find.

"Unhuh," Edward mumbled from her side.

Alice held the puppy so carefully, the biggest smile spread across her face as she allowed him to lick at her chin. I was already impressed with the little guy's ability to instantly win the heart of everyone he touched.

"Oh, you are too cute! Jasper thinks he'll want to eat you, but no way. You don't smell good at all, do you? We'll have to get you a bath, and some toys, a cozy bed, leash, and collar," she spoke so quickly and happily that both Edward and I had a hard time catching every word.

"Woah, Alice. We don't necessarily need to keep him. It's just too late to take him to a shelter. They'd all be closed," I felt the need to assure everyone listening that I hadn't assumed the right to make any decisions about anything.

"Oh, silly Bella! Of course we're keeping him. I've already seen it. He is just perfect for Renesmee. It will help her learn to hone her strength, exercise responsibility, and be a great friend!" Alice spoke to the puppy instead of me.

I didn't say anything, choosing to glance at Edward instead. His warm smile greeted me, and I couldn't help but answer him with one of my own.

"Do you think everyone else will be okay with it?" I asked after a minute.

"Absolutely...eventually," Alice giggled.

With that, she turned her back and strode into the house. I watched her leave, and counted silently, making it only to three-one-thousand before I heard Renesmee's excited squeal from the family room.

Edward's smile melted me once again. He lived to see his girls happy, and as her childhood laughter reached us, he grabbed my hand and led me into the house to join them.

We had just rounded the corner when Rosalie cut us off, "For the love of God, you two, don't you think one dog around here is enough?"

As soon as the word's left her mouth, a chorus of laughter erupted.

I tried really hard to remain serious and understanding for my sister. Edward, however, was not so successful.

Oh well, Alice had chosen her words carefully earlier. "Eventually..." even Rosalie would love our newest addition. I'd just have to make sure none of her shoes were chewed on in the meantime.

**

That's it. :) Thanks for reading! I really appreciate all reviews.