"You're intoxicated by my very presence" he was grinning that playful smirk again.
"I can't argue with that" I sighed. There was no way around it, I couldn't resist him in anything. I held the key high and dropped it, watching his hand flash like lightning to catch it soundlessly. "Take it easy - my truck is a senior citizen."
"Very sensible" he approved.
"And are you not affected at all?" I asked, irked. "By my presence?"Again, his mobile features transformed, his expression became soft, warm. He didn't answer at first; he simply bent his face to mine, and brushed his lips slowly along my jaw, from my ear to my chin, back and forth. I trembled.
"Regardless," he finally murmured" I have better reflexes.
I grinned at the accusing face she pulled, and I pulled my hand up to gently, ever so carefully stroke her cheek. Then, I brushed my thumb across the bridge of her nose, and dropped it to trace the delicate shape of her pink lips. She sighed, and I felt her warm, inviting breath filter through my fingers. An emotion that I had not felt in nearly a century soared through every cell in my body, and the desire for my lips to caress her's once more became almost unbearable. I wasn't sure if I was strong enough to do that again, so I dropped my hand and moved past her. It took her a moment to see that I had moved, and when her face turned she held a slightly confused face. I chuckled, and opened the door for her.
I flashed to the other side, opening my own door and sitting down. When Bella got in, her warmth filled the air, despite the muggy heat that the sun had caused within the car, and I once again felt the familiar burning in my throat. I swallowed hard, and looked at Bella. Her deep chocolate eyes were gazing at me, that same gaze she has whenever I look deeply into her eyes. Dazzled? I could only hope. I heard her heart accelerate ever so slightly, and she blinked several times as she lowed her eyes to the floor. I lifted one side of my lips in a slightly crooked smile, and started the engine.
I kept my speed reasonable - I knew she hated my driving. She was much more relaxed than when she usually sat in the passenger seat, so I took it as a good sign. She wound down her window, which I have to admit did help with the burning in my throat. I glanced at her at the same time her eyes darted over to me. The delicious red colour began to rise in her cheeks, and without a second thought, I held my hand out to her. She looked at it for a split second, blinked, and then smiled, curling her fingers around mine until my hand held hers. I let out an unnecessary breath I did not even know I had been holding, and watched her as her hair was blowing in the wind. I moved our hands to the radio, and switched it on, flicking through a couple of channels before I found one that she smiled at.
"You like Linkin Park?" I asked, surprised. So far, I knew that she had listened to different kinds of music, but I was still surprised that she liked this particular band.
"Sure." She answered with a smile. "Phil gave me a CD for my birthday, and I've been listening to it a lot recently"
We listened to the rest of the track, and I gazed out into the setting sun. It was impossible to believe that Bella still wanted to be with me, despite everything that had happened today. I shuddered at when I had scared her earlier, so I switched my thoughts to something else.
A song that I couldn't remember the name of came on, and sub-consciously I began to sing. It was strange how someone can go for so long without hearing a song, yet when it is played years afterwards, you can still remember the words. I didn't realise Bella was watching me, until she spoke.
"You like fifties music?"
I grinned, remembering. "Music in the fifties was good. Much better then the sixties, or the seventies, ugh!" I tried to remember the eighties, but nothing came springing to mind, apart from the remains of the seventies. I shuddered and said "the eighties were bearable."
Bella huffed, the gesture making me smile. "Are you ever going to tell me how old you are?"
I kept my smile. The 20 questions were back, and it was as if we were getting to know each other again. I played with her, seeing how long she would last. "Does it matter much?"
"No, but I still wonder. There's nothing like an unsolved mystery to keep you awake at night."
I sighed. Of course I knew that she doesn't stay awake at night, questioning her own theories and figuring out my age. I wasn't about to tell her that a vampire felt it quite necessary to watch a human girl sleep at night. Nor tell her that I was old enough to be her grandfather. I was trying to make her stay with me. Yet her choice was more important. "I wonder if it will upset you" I murmured, talking more to myself than her.
After a few moments, she said "try me.".
How can I say to her that I'm nearly 100 years old? Would it be what she was expecting? Would she get frightened, drop my hand and sit awkwardly for a while until I let her out of the car? The feel of her hand in mine did not only feel alluring, but right. Was I prepared to loose that? To loose her?
I glanced at her, locking my eyes into hers. Her burning desire to know me better was prominent, and I couldn't possibly deny her what she wanted. I needed her to know me. I took a deep breath, and began to speak, lowering my eyes.
"I was born in Chicago in 1901" I paused, flicking my eyes back to hers. Unbelievably, her expression remained relaxed, and she almost looked as though she was waiting for more. Unthinking, I went on, allowing a smile to creep up my face. "Carlisle found me in a hospital in the summer of 1918. I was seventeen, dying of the Spanish influenza."
Although her intake of breath was quiet, I still heard it. She looked ever so slightly pained, and my initial instinct was to reassure her, comfort her in some way.
"Ii don't remember it well - it was a very long time ago, and human memories fade." I thought back to the first time I awoke in the new yet familiar body. My human memories were cloudy, distorted. Except for the pain, the excruciating feeling that scorched my every cell. I winced slightly, but carried on. "Carlisle saved me. It's not an easy thing, not something you could forget."
"Your parents?" she asked, and my first thought was Carlisle and Esme. It was automatic to refer to them as my own parents, since my biological mother and father were just mere faded memories in the back of my mind. I couldn't really remember their faces, which created a strange twist in my stomach. I recognised this feeling as angst, not being able to remember my own parents. It seemed as though Bella had reawakened me, and I was feeling more and more human as the seconds went by.
"They had already died from the disease. I was alone. That was why he chose me. In all the chaos of the epidemic, no one would ever realise I was gone."
She pushed on, curious. "And how did her…" she paused, trying to find the right words "save you?"
I sighed. I wasn't about to go into the gory details about how our kind turn. It was a memory I never liked to revisit, and the thought of describing it to Bella was unthinkable. So I chose my words with caution. Even though I didn't want to talk to her about this, I still had the desire to have her know me as I know myself. She wanted to know how I was saved, and so I would tell her.
"It was difficult" I admitted. "Not many of us have the restraint necessary to accomplish it. But Carlisle has always been the most humane, to most compassionate of all…" I spoke proudly of my father. It will always be a wonder to me how he can strain himself to be with humans. I talent I recently wished I had more than anything. "I don't think you could find his equal throughout all of history." I kept my lips together, regretting making the choice to say the next few words. "For me, it was merely very, very painful."
I didn't want to remember, so I pushed my thoughts aside and tried to find a way to change subject. I glanced at her face, and it was curious as ever, yet I could have sworn I saw her perfect features form an upset expression. I could not bear the thought of her being upset. So I spoke with a soft voice, soothing. "He acted from loneliness. That's usually the reason behind the choice. I was the first in Carlisle's family, though he found Esme soon after. She fell from a cliff. They brought her straight to the hospital morgue, though, somehow, her heart was still beating."
"So you must be dying then, to become…" her words drifted off, and I tensed and braced myself to hear the word that I hated coming from her precious lips. I would not let even the thought of what monster I am plague her mind.
"No, that's just Carlisle. He would never do that to someone who had a choice. It is easier, he says though, when the blood is weak." I once again winced. Talking to Bella about this subject was not something I wanted to do, when our day was coming to an end. It was the worst possible thing, for her to be scared of this darkness that she is involved with now. I wanted her to smile, her eyes to light up, not be repulsed by our diet and way of life. She should be cautious, though. I was not human, and never would be. Yet, she continued.
"And Emmet and Rosalie?"
I flashed back through memories of Emmet and Rosalie's mind. "Carlisle brought Rosalie to our family next. I didn't realise till much later that he was hoping she would be to me what Esme was to him - he was careful with his thoughts around me." I rolled my eyes. Typical of him to always be thinking of anyone else but himself, yet the idea of me and Rosalie? Impossible - she was family. "But she was never more than a sister. It was only two years later that she found Emmett. She was hunting - we were in Appalachia at the time - and found a bear about to finish him off. She carried him back to Carlisle, more than a hundred miles, afraid she wouldn't be able to do it herself. I'm only beginning to guess how difficult that journey was for her." I couldn't bear the thought of having no other choice than to change Bella myself. The very thought of her being anything other than human almost repulsed me - she was perfect as she was and there was not one single inch of her that I didn't love with every single cell in my worthless body. I yearned to touch her, to check she was real. At this moment, she looked very much like she belonged in a movie; her hair ever so slightly wind-swept, her deep chocolate eyes pouring their seductive power into me. I raised my hand, still holding hers, and brushed her flawless skin with the back of my hand.
"But she made it" she spoke, her eyes fluttering as they pulled away from mine. I was still dazed when I spoke next, so my words only came out gently.
"Yes. She saw something in his face that made her strong enough. And they've been together ever since. Sometimes they live separately from us, as a married couple. But the younger we pretend to be, the longer we can stay in any given place. Forks seemed perfect, so we all enrolled High School." I chuckled, the thought of repeating such a chore was silly. "I suppose we'll have to go to their wedding, again."
"Alice and Jasper?" she questioned.
"Alice and Jasper are two very rare creatures. They both developed a conscience, as we refer to it, with no outside guidance. Jasper belonged to another…" I searched for the right word "family, a very different kind of family. He became depressed, and he wandered on his own. Alice found him. Like me, she has certain gifts above and beyond the norm for our kind."
"Really?" Bella's voice was clear, in awe. "But you said you were the only one who could hear people's thoughts." she accused.
"That's true. She knows other things. She Isees/I things - things that might happen, things that are coming. But it's very subjective. The future isn't set in stone. Things change."
I wasn't so much teaching her about Alice as I was convincing myself of her faults. Yes, she had seen Bella as something different, but it didn't mean that it was definite - it could not mean that. I was going to make sure of it. I would not expel Bella from her life, damning her to an endless existence of torture and regret. I would not let anyone take her away from me, and I didn't care if it was my say or not. I flicked my eyes over to her perfect face, her face that would not be changed, and flashed them away again, afraid she might notice I was hiding something from her. I continued.
"She saw Jasper and knew he was looking for her before he knew it himself. She saw Carlisle and our family, and the came together to find us. She's most sensitive to non-humans. She always sees, for example, when another group of our kind is coming near. And the threat they may pose."
Bella's tone changed, and she seemed taken-aback by my last statement. "Are there a lot of… your kind?"
"No, not many But most won't settle in any one place. Only those like us, who've given up hunting you people -" I glanced across to her eyes, which were still calm. How could she take everything so well? "- can live together with humans for any length of time. We've only found one other family like ours, in a small village in Alaska. We lived together for a time, but there were so many of us that we became to noticeable. Those of us who live… differently tend to band together."
"And the others?"
I pulled into her drive, and turned off the engine, The silence that surrounded us at that time was strange, surprising. I was not used to being in a car with someone else and not hearing their thoughts in some way. I knew our day was coming to an end, but I was not ready to let go of it. Even though I knew I would see her again tonight, I could not bear the thought of being away from her for any length of time. I felt so relaxed now, talking to her about my kind. She seemed eager to learn more, and I was eager for her to do so. "Nomads, for the most part. We've all lived that way at times. It gets tedious, like anything else. But we can run across the others, now and then, because most of us prefer the North."
"Why is that?" she asked. I looked at her, questioning. She does ask some of the most strangest questions. Where was she this afternoon?
"Did you not have your eyes open this afternoon? " I smiled, teasing her. "Do you think I could walk down the street in the sunlight, without causing any traffic accidents?" I smiled even wider now, and it appeared that she had realised how her question sounded. "There's a reason why we chose the Olympic Peninsula, one of the most sunless places in the world. It's nice to be able to go outside in the day. You wouldn't believe how tired you can get of nighttime in eighty-odd years." I rolled my eyes. Emmett and his horror movie fetish. I must have seen every horror movie twice, and the rest. Plus, being cooped up inside during the day really was vampire-ish, and that I hated the thought of. Yet again, I was reminded of how I could never be enough for this girl sitting besides me.
"So that's where the legends came from?"
I shrugged. "Probably"
"And Alice came from another family, like Jasper?"
I sighed. "No, and that is a mystery. Alice doesn't remember her human life at all. And she doesn't know who created her. She awoke alone. Whoever made her walked away, and none of us can understand why, or how, he could. If she hadn't had that other sense, if she hadn't seen Jasper and Carlisle and known that she would someday become one of us, she probably would have turned into a total savage." I shivered. As much as I was angry with Alice at the moment, I did love her as a sister. There was no point in denying the fact that she was my favourite sister, because we have so much in common I feel as though Alice and I connect. The thought of Alice as a savage was not only terrifying in the fact that she would be hurting in some way, but also scary because when Alice get's angry, she can get very close to savage - like.
I looked at Bella once again, letting all of this brand new information sink in. To my amazement, she was calm, and not frightened in any way. I had tried on countless occasions throughout the day to throw her off course; to make her finally see what I am. But there was no way she was going to be scared, and that I was torn between. She needed to see me for what I am, I needed her to. How can I keep her safe, hold her and protect her, when I am the very creature she needs protecting from? To my disappointment, her stomach growled, and I could hear the hunger inside of her. I was not ready for this to end.
"I'm sorry, I'm keeping you from your dinner." Sure, I was not happy to let her go, but she always came first.
"I'm fine, really." She assured me. She was a terrible liar.
"I've never spent so much time around anyone who eats food. I forget." I admitted.
"I want to stay with you." She said, almost pleading. The words sent strange feelings to flutter through my body, yet I couldn't describe what it was. "Utter pleasure" would have to do. She seemed more confident in the dark to say things that she wouldn't usually say. Did she know that I could see her blood, staining her cheeks, despite the fact that the darkness blinds humans? I smiled to myself.
I craved her presence more than anything else in the world. Her smell, her warmth, her perfect and flawless features had me addicted. My brand of heroin, as I had described earlier. I felt rude to invite myself in, but in all fairness it was more polite that to break into her window every night and watch her, uninvited. "Can't I come in?"
She looked bewildered for a moment, surprised that I was so forward, maybe. "Would you like to?"
Stupid question, again. "Yes, if that's all right." I smiled at her, opened my door and flashed to the other side, opening the door for her.
"Very human" she smiled. I wanted to hold my hand out for her - the lack of her warmth in my hand was driving me crazy, but I didn't want her to think I was assuming she was incapable of getting out of the car by herself.
"It's definitely resurfacing" I chuckled. True, the nervous emotion I was feeling right now was something I had not felt in a very long time.
A kept pace with her, listening intently to her breathing. It never faltered. Every now and then, she would dare herself a quick peek at me, and I had to smile at the slight flutter in her heart when she saw me. Everything she had said in the meadow showed me that she did care for me on some level, and we were more than just friends now, but that was not enough for me. In theory, I knew that I didn't mater when it came to Bella Swan, but I couldn't help the ache to be with her. She was the only thing that mattered to me now. Forever.
We reached the door, and I swiftly took the key from under the eave, turning the lock and stepping inside. I turned round and found Bella, paused mid-step, looking at me with a strange expression.
"The door was unlocked?" she questioned.
"No, I used the key form under the eave." I said simply. I wondered if it frightened her.
She raised her eyebrows, so I decided to tell her a little bit more.
"I was curious about you." Curious was not the right word. More like worried. But I didn't want to sound as if I was contently checking up on her.
She fluttered her eyelashes, and her eyes became ever so slightly unfocused. "You spied on me?"
I still couldn't understand her mind. She sounded more as though she had heard a compliment than scared that an infatuated vampire was taking the time to break into her house and watch her dream. Mostly about him.
So I pushed further, and told her more. "What else is there to do at night?" I asked.
She sighed, sounding defeated, but I could tell she wanted to push more on the subject. She dropped her things and walked to the kitchen. I walked past her and before she even noticed, I was sitting in the kitchen, waiting intently. She stopped and stared at me for a few seconds, taking me all in. I couldn't help but feel the desire to hide away, scared of her reaction to my figure. Yet, I remembered the fascination she had for my skin today, and so I was calm again. Amazing, how this girl standing in front of me had managed to turn me into something so… so…. human.
She drew her eyes from me, and strode past me. She seemed perfectly content to make her own dinner, so I took the time to watch every part of her. The way she tucked strands of loose hair behind her ear was mesmerising. She reached onto her tiptoes to get something from the fridge, and she sunk back down to the floor once it was in her hands. I focused on her movement, committing it to my memory in the way it was so careful, almost as if she had grown up knowing she was a natural klutz. I smiled. She sniffed gently as she pressed a few buttons on the microwave - her fingers long and their actions smooth. She popped the food into the microwave and pressed some more buttons.
Everything she did had become my world. I continued to stare at her, although she had her back turned to me. The way she stood was also interesting - it was as though she was afraid of something. A lot of the quieter girls around school tend to stand in the same way. Self conscious or something. But Bella couldn't possibly be self conscious, when she was the definition of perfect, both inside and out. Well, except for her reactions. But the way she slightly rested her head to the left; the way her hands gently clasped the table; how her hair fell to the dip in her back…
I was vaguely aware, and thankful, that she had spoken. I heard a murmur, yet she had not turned.
"Hmm?" I asked lazily.
"How often did you come here?" she poked casually, twiddling her fingers.
"I come here almost every night." I answered, mesmerised into telling the truth. I was taken-aback when she whipped around, curious.
"You interesting when you sleep," interesting… beautiful… same thing. "You talk" I added.
I froze instantly as I watched her expression turn from shock to horror. "No!" she shouted breathlessly. A faint shade of red began to fill her pale face, and she began to swerve. She grabbed onto the counter behind her. If I was being honest, it looked as though she was going to cry with… embarrassment. She couldn't cry! No!
I felt a stab of guilt in my stomach. "Are you very angry with me?" were the only words I could form from my mouth.
"That depends!" she almost whispered.
The tension was killing me. Did she not like me watching her? What did it depend on?
"On?" I pushed, scared that I had upset her.
"What you heard!" she moaned loudly.
I sighed and chuckled. Grateful that it wasn't the thought of me being there while she slept that had upset her. Still, she wasn't 100% happy, and I had to rectify that.
So I ran to her side and took her hands in mine. They felt so fragile in mine, and I made my voice gentle and caring. "Don't be upset" I said, following her eyes as she lowered them to any other place but my own. I dropped my head, so as it was level with hers, and forced her to look in my eyes. I couldn't be sure, but so far her emotions had been similar to most other human girls, and I needed her to look at me so as she could trust me. "You miss your mother." I spoke even more gently now, smiling. Words could not explain how much I loved this girl. "You worry about her. And when it rains, the sound makes you restless. You used to talk about home a lot, but its less often now." I could tell that she wasn't exactly listening, and she still wasn't happy. I tried to make her laugh. "Once you said, "it's too green"" I laughed once again at the memory, hoping she would mirror my action, but she didn't.
"Anything else?" she said through gritted teeth. And then I knew that she had said my name. I didn't want her to be embarrassed at saying my name, but I couldn't deny her the truth when she asked for it.
"You did say my name."
"A lot?" she questioned, hanging her head.
I struggled for the right words. To be honest, every night she sends me into the mad world that has captivated me, causing me to fall deeper and deeper in love with her just as I hear my name roll off her lips sleepily.
"How much do you mean by "a lot"?" I asked, knowing that I had now sent her into complete discomfort.
I longed to comfort her in some way, but I did not know how. I pulled her as close to my dead heart as I could, wrapping my arms naturally around her. She seemed to fit perfectly there, and I was quite wiling to never let her move.
"Don't be self-conscious" I ordered softly. She had nothing to be worried about - she had no idea about the effect she had on me. "If I could dream at all, it would all be about you. And I'm not ashamed of it." I admitted. It was true - I would spend all night dreaming about a world where I could treat her like a man treats a woman.
Then, I heard the sound of her father's car pull up on the drive. I felt Bella stiffen in my arms, and my thoughts frantically searched for a way out.
"Should your father know I'm here?" I urged.
"I'm not sure…" she trailed off, but I could hear footsteps…
"Another time then…"
To my utter annoyance, I released her and sprinted away, chuckling as I went. I heard her call after me, but I was already in her room by the time Chief Swan entered downstairs.
I left the light off and stood, frozen. The events of today, I could feel, were finally catching up with me. I looked around, noticing her bed. It was strange to be in Bella's room with no Bella.
Instinctively, I rushed to her bed, collapsing on it and burying my face in her pillow. The smell that hit me was overwhelming. Her smell. The scent that drove me insane. I took a deep breath, allowing the deadly fire to curse it's way down my throat, yet it had no effect on me. I could feel it, but instead of burning, it numbed my throat. I had spent so much time in her presence today that her smell was almost… immune to me. The I chuckled at my own stupidity. I could never be rid of this dominant power.
I flopped myself over and put my hands behind my head, kicking my shoes off and crossing my ankles. I could hear voices downstairs, but I wanted to block them out. Right now, there was no feeling greater than this. She was everywhere I looked, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Everything that had happened today… there was no right word to describe it. She had seen me, accepted what I am, and now she still wanted to be with me. I knew I should be worried about her, wanting her to look at me properly and save herself before it was too late… but I don't think I could bear it if I lost her now. She will always be my world; nothing could ever be more important than her.
"You look kinda keyed up" I heard her father say. I chuckled. Of course she does, she's just spent the afternoon with a vampire in the sunlight. I wished I could see her face, see what he was describing.
I heard her ask innocently if she looked the way her father had described. Some dishes were clattering downstairs, and I guessed she had finished her dinner. Soon, very soon, she would come upstairs, and I could spend the rest of this night with her. The thought made me feel blissful; knowing I would be with her for at least another 8 hours. I demanded to see her face again, as soon as possible.
"I thought maybe that Mike Newton… you said he was friendly." her dad said, and I felt a tinge of anger. Trust it to be that Newton to dampen my spirits when I thought that nothing could anger me.
"He's just a friend, Dad" Bella reassured us.
Still, the fact remained that Mike Newton like Bella, a lot. What right does he think he has? She's told him she's not interested, yet he can't control the pathetic fantasies he has. Disgusting, pitiful imaginations, playing scenarios in his mind whenever he get's the chance to wander in lessons. I shivered.
Bella was now trudging up the stairs, and all my hatred was gone. All I wanted was to be with this girl. I watched her walk in, slam the door, and run to the other side of the room, poking her head out of the window.
"Edward?" she called.
"Yes?" I chuckled. I heard her heart falter, and she whirled around so fast that she nearly toppled over. "Oh!" she breathed, and I smiled even wider, if it were possible. My eyes follow her fragile figure sink to the floor, until she sat with her hand on her throat, breathing beginning frantic.
I took an intake of unnecessary breath, and pressed my lips together in my desperation to hide my smile. "I'm sorry." I tried to keep my voice stead, so as she wouldn't feel ashamed that I was laughing at her. It wasn't that I was laughing at her, more like with her. Except she wasn't laughing.
"Give me a minute to restart my heart".
That I allowed. I very slowly sat up, keeping an eye on her at all times. I reached out, picking her up by the tops of her arms, and placing her on the side of the bed. The warmth of her skin layered mine, and I felt a sense of belonging as she composed herself besides me.
"Why don't you sit with me?" I asked. I longed to hold her hand again, but I didn't want to frighten her. But then I thought again, and the desire was to strong, so I gently placed mine on top of hers. Her hand was so hot and inviting, that I couldn't pull away. "How's the heart?" I asked light-heartedly.
"You tell me - I'm sure you hear it better than I do."
I chuckled. This was true, at least. The uneven thumping of her heart was becoming a regular pattern. I listened to it intently, letting it calm me from the strange, unfamiliar high I was feeling. When she spoke, it almost shocked me. I was used to hearing people's thought-processes before they spoke.
"Can I have a minute to be human?" She asked.
I smiled. She was Iso/I human. I lifted my hand and held it in the direction of the door. "Certainly" I said politely.
She jumped up, and then spun around to look at me again. "Stay" she warned.
Like I was capable of anything else. "Yes, Ma'am" I said, keeping myself immaculately still. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched her gather her things and sprint to the door. She closed it behind her, and within moments, I heard the sound of water going. I heard the sound of the toothbrush scrubbing across her teeth, and then the sound of fabric hitting the floor. Despite being held in the exact same position, I froze. The sound of the shower pounded her soft skin, and I couldn't help but imagine… I pictured her face, eyes squinting in the water, her arms pulling her wet hair out of her face, her lips parting slightly to breath. The image began to move downwards… her neck… her perfectly sculpted collar bone… and lower still….
I wrenched my thoughts away immediately. That was a very dangerous road to be travelling down. I instead tried to decipher some of the incoherent thoughts coming from Charlie's mind, but I had no luck. Every now and then I'd get a picture of the television program he was watching, and even then it was distorted. I wanted so much to meet Bella's mother. If her thought's were quiet too, then maybe it would explain The silence coming from Bella's mind.
I heard the water come to a stop, and was extremely grateful. I didn't realise how hard it was to try and focus on something, when all I wanted to do was think about something else…No. I could not think about that. It was too dangerous.
When the door to the bathroom opened, I was expecting to see a red-faced Bella rush into the room. So I was surprised when I heard her run downstairs. Why was she going downstairs?
"Night, dad." She said quickly. Ah, clever. Maybe if her Father could see that she was in her pyjamas, then he wouldn't feel the urge to check up on her. Not like it was a problem if he did - he had done it once, and I had had to escape in an immeasurable amount of time through her window.
"Night Bella" he said, startled, and then I heard Bella sprint up the stairs. Eager to be with me? Hopefully.
She closed the door behind her, and took a few seconds to stop and look at me. I brought my lips into a half smile, carefully dropping my arm to my side. I moved my eyes to her, finally, and looked at her. Even in sweats she looked outstandingly beautiful. It was beginning to become painful. Nevertheless, I teased her, and raised an eyebrow. "Nice."
She grimaced, and it was at this time that I realised she must not be used to compliments. Whoever was responsible for not praising her appearance every second of every day should be shot. "No, it looks good on you" I amended.
"Thanks" she said shyly, and crossed the room to be at my side. Much better. The distance between us was starting to become agonising. When she sat down, she immediately lowered her eyes to the floor. I kept mine on her, unable to look away.
"What was all that for?" I asked, just checking we were on the same level.
"Charlie thinks I'm sneaking out." She said matter-of-factly. She reads minds now?
"Oh." I said. How could she be sure Charlie was thinking that? What was she doing that might give him that impression? "Why?" I questioned.
"Apparently, I look a little overexcited."
I raised my hand automatically, pulling her chin up so as I could look into her deep eyes. They flicked to look at me as I examined her face. Blotchy, could be a word to describe it; splashes of red scattered over her face. "You look very warm, actually." I said. Careful not to frighten her, I moved my face to hers, resting my cheek on her soft skin. It felt perfect, and she was perfectly still, allowing me to cool her down. I sighed, and breathed against her neck, It seemed as though my actions were uncontrollable. "Mmmmmm…"
My hands moved without permission, to the delicate curve of her neck. I traced it lightly, making small patterns across her warm skin. Her breathing had quickened, and it seemed, but the way her jaw was moving fractionally, that she was trying to form words. I continued to move my hand, across her shoulders, circling the shoulder cap and slowly trailing my hand down her arm. I ran it back up again. I was breathing more heavily on her skin now, waiting. I wanted so much to kiss her, but I waited for her to say something before I made us both forget where we were,
"It seems to be… much easier for you, now, to be close to me." she finally said breathlessly.
I wanted to smile, but I couldn't find the strength. As my face lowered to her neck, her smell became more powerful, and I was once again lost in her essence. "Does it seem that way to you?" I questioned as my nose grazed her jaw gently. I moved my hand from her shoulder to brush away the lock of damp hair that encircled my target, and I glided my nose to her ear. I dipped my head slightly so as to allow my lips access to the hollow beneath her ear. I pressed my lips to her skin, and the taste stung my cold lips. I licked them, letting the taste swirl around my mouth, letting it settle on every taste bud and feeling pleasantly surprised when I knew I was still in complete control.
"Much, much easier" she breathed.
"Hmm" I agreed, unable to say anything else. I lowered my fingers swiftly, following the same path as earlier, but instead of going down her arm, I moved to trace her flawless collar bone.
"So I was wondering…" she began, and I continued to skin my fingers across her collar bone. I circled the hollow in the middle before moving on to the other side.
"Yes?" I asked.
"Why is that?" she said breathlessly. "do you think?"
I laughed. Her attempt at forming words in this moment were about as useless as mine. "Mind over matter" I admitted.
She suddenly pulled back, and I froze. One, for the lack of closeness, and two, because I was afraid of what I had just said. However, as she moved back, her smell still remained, and was blown into my face, unleashing all of its power. I clenched my jaw, not allowing the smell to go through my body while I was in an unprepared state. I cautiously stared at her as she stared at me, until I pulled myself together. "Did I do something wrong?" I asked, bewildered.
"No - the opposite. You're driving me crazy" she said, not taking her eyes from mine. I took this in, allowing the happiness inside me to fill every part of me. I was driving her crazy? How ironic! It was clearly the other way round. I'd never felt love before, and I had no idea how to handle a woman, let alone a human woman. I smiled. "Really?"
"Would you like a round of applause?" she scowled.
"I'm jus pleasantly surprised." I said. "In the last 100 years or so" I said it so lightly, so jokingly. "I never imagined anything like this. I didn't think I would ever find someone I wanted to be with… in another way than my brothers and sisters. And then to find, even though it's all new to me, that I'm good at it… at being with you…" I trailed. The idea was still strange.
"Your good at everything" she accused.
I shrugged. I wouldn't say she was right on that, but I allowed it. I caught her eye and we both began to chuckle quietly.
"But how can it be easy now? This afternoon…"
I sighed. I didn't want to remember her startled face as I knew I had scared her. "It's not easy" I said. "But this afternoon, I was still… undecided." I frowned. "I am sorry about that, it was unforgivable for me to behave so."
"Not unforgivable" she said quietly, and I smiled. Forgiving was another thing to add on to her list. Could this girl be any more perfect?
"Thank you." I grinned. I was serious though, so smiling must be the automatic reaction to every word she spoke. "You see," I began, but lost my nerve. I looked down, silently cursing myself for feeling so humane, so cowardly to talk to Bella about this. But then I realised I wasn't human, and I needed to tell her everything. "I wasn't sure if I was strong enough…" I trailed off. Her hand was resting on her lap, and I wanted to feel that warmth again. I cautiously picked up her hand, holding it gently in mine so as not to hurt her. She didn't pull back, so I continued, until I held her hand against the side of my face. I breathed in, and continued. "And while there was still that possibility that I might be… overcome" - I rolled her wrist under my nose, breathing in - "I was… susceptible. Until I made up my mind that I was strong enough, that there was no possibility at all that I would… that I ever could…" I trailed off, trying desperately to throw the image that was filling my mind up no out of my head - an image of me, the monster that I am, destroying Bella's precious life. It pained me to think about it, to try to imagine a world where Bella was not in, let alone know that I was the one to take her away from it.
"So there's no possibility now?" she asked calmly. I could not understand how she was behaving this way, when she was speaking about her death. I wanted to comfort her, tell her that there is every possibility for an "us" now.
But I couldn't lie to her.
"Mind over matter" I simply said, smiling, naturally. It felt better to smile, especially when Bella's face was puzzled.
"Wow" she said slowly, still bewildered. "That was easy."
I looked at her before I threw my head back, laughing so hard in whispers at her complete unawareness of the conflict in my mind. "Easy for you!" I accused. But then I realised that that was how it was meant to be. It didn't matter if there was conflict in my mind - she would not know about that, because then she would worry. She should not feel such an emotion.
"I'm trying." I spoke seriously now, in a whisper. "If it get's to be… too much, I'm fairly sure I'll be able to leave."
I thought I heard her scowl, but I couldn't understand why. Did she not want me to leave?
I sighed. Nothing I could do would make her happy. If I stayed… something could happen… but on the other hand, if I went… she would be upset. I couldn't win.
"And it will be harder tomorrow. I've had the scent of you in my head all day, and I've grown amazingly desensitised. If I'm away from you for any length of time, I'll have to start over again. Not quite from scratch though, I think." I hope.
"Don't go away then" she pleaded, almost begged. It would kill me to deny her what she wanted.
Like I could go away, at any rate.
"That suits me. Bring on the shackles - I'm your prisoner!" I laughed, grabbing her wrists and demonstrating how she captivates me. But I couldn't take my hands away. I wanted to keep her for myself, to never let her go. I wanted her to be my prisoner.
"You seem more… optimistic than usual" she said, tilting her head to the side. "I haven't seen you before like this." she seemed content with me, so I was happy
"Isn't it supposed to be like this? The glory of first love, and all that. It's incredible, isn't it, the difference between reading about something, seeing it in the pictures, and experiencing it?" I cast my memories back to the countless occasions that Alice had dragged me out to theatres, and cinemas in later years, to watch helpless romantics sing and dance about love.
"Very different" she agreed with me. "Much more forceful than I'd imagined."
My words came faster now as I relished in the chance to be myself around her. "For example, the emotion of jealousy. I've read about it a thousand times, seen actors portray it in a thousand different plays and movies. I believed I understood that one pretty clearly. But it shocked me. Do you remember the day that Mike asked you to the dance?" I grimaced at the memory. How could he think she would possibly ever say yes to someone like him? Saying that, how did I get so lucky?
"The day you started talking to me again."
I was shocked to realise that she remembered that day for something that involved me, but I carried on, eager. "I was surprised by the flare of resentment, almost fury, that I felt - I didn't recognise what it was at first. I was even more aggravated that usual that I couldn't know what you were thinking, why you refused him." Why would she not? "Was it simply for your friend's sake? Was there someone else? I knew I had no right to care either way. I tried not to care."
I grinned at the memory of the few boys who each attempted to ask out my Bella. All of course, being turned down. I considered myself to be part of that line, and what was even more amazing is that she had said yes to me. I could not get over how incredibly lucky I was. "And then the line started forming." I said, the smile evident in my voice, even through the darkness.
I heard her scowl, and chuckled quietly. "I waited, unreasonably anxious to hear what you would say to them, to watch your expressions. I couldn't deny the relief I felt, watching the annoyance on your face." There was no point in even trying to deny how unbelievably adorable she was when the expressions on her face would pout slightly, and her kitten-like manner would show up on her face. "But I couldn't be sure." I admitted. Sure, she had turned down boys before, but was she just nervous? Did she have any feelings for them, really?
"That was the first night I came here." I said honestly, listening as her heart took an involuntary leap. "I wrestled all night, while watching you sleep, with the chasm between what I knew was right, moral, ethical, and what I wanted I knew that if I continued to ignore you as I should, or if I left for a few years, till you were gone, then someday you would say yes to Mike, or someone like him. It made me angry." Even thinking about it now made me want to break my own oath, hurt that boy in some way to show him and any other boy that Bella is mine, and only mine.
I remembered the night I was describing in my perfect memory, as if I was living that moment again. The way her forehead was slightly crumpled, and her lips parted as she dreamt. That was until she said the two words that made my life change meaning. "And then… as you were sleeping, you said my name. You spoke so clearly, at first I thought you'd woken. But you rolled over restlessly and mumbled my name once more, and sighed. The feeling that coursed through me then was unnerving, staggering." An understatement, it had to be said. "And I knew I couldn't ignore you any longer." I finished. Her heart was uncontrollable, pounding so fast and loud that I was scared she was going to have a fit or something. But then I thought… was she happy to hear this? Her heart did sound similar to those of the women who were usually in awe with our kind. I continued.
"But jealousy… it's a strange thing. So much more powerful than I would have thought. And irrational!" I exclaimed as an after thought. It was true, the amount of times I had pictured killing Newton. It was shameful. "Just now, when Charlie asked you about that vile Mike Newton…" I said, thinking back and feeling the anger already creep back.
"I should have known you'd be listening." she groaned, afraid of what I had heard. I smiled.
"That made you feel jealous, though, really?" she questioned. She really did not know me. Mind you, saying that, I didn't know this new side of me all that well wither.
"I'm new at this," I reminded her, "you're resurrecting the human in me, and everything feels stronger because it's fresh."
She pulled a face. "But honestly, for that to bother you, after I have to hear that Rosalie - Rosalie, the incarnation of pure beauty, Rosalie - was meant for you. Emmet or no Emmet, how can I compete with that?"
Silly Bella. How could she possibly even think that she was in competition with Rosalie?! The words sounded stupid in my own mind. "There's no competition" I told her, grabbing her hands. I smiled and her heart skipped madly, so I drew her arms around my neck, allowing myself to feel the heat of her cheeks, her body against mine. She kept unbelievably still, and I would be convinced she was a vampire if it weren't for her frantic breathing.
"I know there's no competition, that's the problem." she murmured pathetically into my cold skin. At first I didn't understand what she meant, but then it hit me. I looked at her as though shed was crazy - she was crazy.
"Of course Rosalie is beautiful in her way, but even if she wasn't like a sister to me, even if Emmett didn't belong to her, she could never have one tenth - " I reconsidered " - no, one hundredth of the attraction you hold for me." I stopped. There was no way of telling this girl how much I loved her, as it was physically impossible to explain it to myself. I just knew she was the only thing worth living for, and my life revolved around her and her every move. I loved her, with every fibre of my worthless self, I loved her. "For almost ninety years I've walked among my kind, and yours… all the time thinking I was complete in myself, not realising what I was seeking. And not finding anything, because you weren't alive yet."
It felt unbelievable to say these things to her, to let her know how much she means to me. Her hands were still draped around my neck, and I closed my eyes to capture the full power of her attraction that imprisoned me. "It hardly seems fair" she murmured "I haven't had to wait at all. Why should I get off se easily?"
I chuckled. "You're right. I should make this harder for you, defiantly." I teased, lifting her hands so that they were locked in my grip, and with my free hand I stroked her hair. I watched the motion as I spoke. "You only have to risk your life every second you spend with me, that's surely not much. You only have to turn your back on nature, humanity… what's the worth?" I sighed, asking the rhetorical question accusingly.
"Very little - I don't feel deprived of anything." she spoke clearly.
And how long will that last? Alice's visions were becoming cleared, so much so that it was only a matter of time before…
I sighed. "Yet."
It was in this time that I knew I would change everything - that that future would never be. We were silent for a moment, and my hand continued to stroke her hair. I held her hands in mine tighter, not wanting to let her go. I knew I wasn't hurting her, but I also wasn't giving her the chance to escape.
It was then that I realised the TV downstairs had turned silent. How long had it been? A muffled thought crept up to my ears, and I heard footsteps shuffling around beneath us. I instantly froze, listening intently to any further noises. Bella removed herself from my chest, and tried to look at me, but I was not focusing. Instead, I heard The stairs creek, and I knew her Father would soon catch us.
"What -" she began, but I cut her off, throwing her arms back to her side. I thought fast, where I would hide. The window was closed, and although I would be fast in getting out, there was no certainty it wouldn't make a loud noise as I opened it. So instead, I yelled "lie down!" to Bella, and threw myself to the space just behind her door. As I hit the wall, Bella scrambled on her bed quickly, burying herself in her quilt and curling up on the side she usually slept on. The door to her room opened, but Charlie didn't step in.
It was curious to know that distance did not change how well his thoughts could be heard. I was inches from him, could feel the warmth emitting from his skin, yet his thoughts were muffled. I tried to decipher something, anything, but I only got a low hum. Strange.
After a few moments of holding my breath and Bella over-acting hers, the door closed, and within a fraction of a second I was under Bella's cover, longing to be with her again. Her frame was so delicate that I felt I had to put my arm around it, to protect it. She shivered slightly as I wrapped it around her, but she made no move to avoid me. I whispered into her ear so as Charlie wouldn't hear, "You are a terrible actress - I'd say that career path is out for you." I couldn't hide the smile on my face.
"Darn it." she murmured.
As we led there, side by side, I was suddenly very aware of how close she was. Her hair was resting just below my nose, and my fingers were tracing delicate patterns on her inviting skin. Without even realising, I began to hum her lullaby. It was such a familiar song, and now, being led with her, I began to notice how much it sounded like her. I made slight changes here and there to the song, to suit the mood I was feeling at this very moment - there was no word to describe the happiness I felt, and I wanted to remember it in some way.
"Should I sing you to sleep?" I asked.
She laughed. "Right - like I could sleep with you here!"
I rolled my eyes. Typical. "You do it all the time." I pointed out.
"But I don't know you were here." she said icily, but I ignored her. I was desperate for her to sleep, desperate to hear my name escaping her lips, but at the same time I wanted her to talk, to hear her angelic voice for the rest of the night.
"If you don't want to sleep…?" I suggested, expecting her to finish the sentence. Only she didn't, and her breathing froze. I questioned this, wanting so badly for the millionth time to hear what she was thinking; to find the solution to such an action.
"If I don't wan to sleep…" she said slowly, almost as though telling me something. Instead of being so frustrated with the workings of her mind, I decided to chuckle at her tone. "What do you want to do then?" I finished.
She said nothing at first, but I felt her temple crease. "I'm not sure." she finally stated.
I moved so as I could look at her. "Tell me when you decide." I breathed, moving my nose to her neck once more. I skimmed it along her jaw, all the while breathing in and almost appreciating the burning at the back of my throat.
"I thought you were desensitized." she said. I smiled.
"Just because I'm resisting the wine doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the bouquet." I chuckled. I moved my lips to her ear, careful to be quiet. "You have a very floral smell, like lavender…" I analysed, trying to put a word to the smell that functioned my life. "…Or freesia. It's mouth-watering." I said simply.
"Yeah, it's an off day when I don't get somebody telling me how edible I smell" she said, sighing.
I chuckled gently, but sighed too. "Edible" would never have been a word I would have used to describe her, but I thought back to the first time I saw her, and reconsidered. What could she possibly see in such a sick monster like me?
"I've decided what I want to do. I want to hear more about you."
My lips now tracing her incredible jaw line, I whispered "Ask me anything."
She paused for a moment before she composed herself, and her divine voice broke the silence. "Why do you do it? I still don't understand how you can work so hard to resist what you… are. Please don't misunderstand, of course I'm glad that you do. I just don't see why you would bother in the first place." She finished.
I hesitated, not sure how to answer. I carefully chose my words, frightened of scaring her. "That's a good question, and you're not the first one to ask it. The others - the majority of our kind who are quite content with our lot - they, too, wonder at how we live. But you see, just because we've been…" I searched for the right phrase "dealt a certain hand… it doesn't mean that we cant choose to rise above - to conquer the boundaries of a destiny that none of us wanted. To try to retain whatever essential humanity we can." I said, listening for her reaction that did not come. When she remained silent for quite some time, I asked, "Did you fall asleep?"
"Is that all you were curious about?" I asked.
"Not quite." she said dully, as if I were stupid to ask such a question.
"What else do you want to know?"
"Why can you read minds -why only you? And Alice, seeing the future… why does that happen?" she asked, curious. I was unsure of how should answer that. I shrugged.
"We don't really know. Carlisle has a theory… he believes that we all bring something of our strongest human traits with us into the next life, where they are intensified - like our minds, and our senses. He thinks that I must have already been sensitive to the thoughts of those around me. And that Alice had some precognition, wherever she was." I explained, curious to know the answer myself.
"What did he bring into the next life, and the others?" she quizzed.
"Carlisle brought his compassion. Esme brought her ability to love passionately. Emmet brought his strength. Rosalie her… tenacity." then I chuckled and decided to be straight. "Or you could call it her pigheadedness. Jasper is very interesting. He was quite charismatic in his first life, able to influence those around him to see things his way. Now, he is able to manipulate the emotions of those around him - calm down a room of angry people, for example, or excite a lethargic crowd, conversely. It's a very subtle gift." I said. True, it would be a very useful gift to have. It also led me to question if Jasper's gift would have an effect on Bella, or whether it was just me that was immune to her. I already knew that Alice had seen her before, but the future was something that was much more certain than thoughts of somebody. Bella had still not yet spoke, so I waited patiently for her to start talking again. She must have been taking everything in - so perfectly at that, too. She had not showed any signs of disgust or anything like that in any way. She was amazing.
"So where did it all start? I mean, Carlisle changed you, and then someone must have changed him, and so on…"
"Well,. Where did you come from? Evolution? Creation?" I asked her. "couldn't we all have evolved in the same way as other species, predator and prey?" I hoped this was true, as it would mean that on some level, me and Bella were equal. Don't be silly - she was far too good for someone like me - we could never be equal. "Or, if you don't believe that all this world could have happened on it's own, which is hard for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the same force that created the delicate angelfish with the shark, the baby seal and the killer whale, could create both our kinds together?" I was beginning to go deep now, even questioning the matter myself.
"Let me get this straight" Bella interrupted my train of thought. "I'm the baby seal, right?"
I chuckled. So she had seen through my metaphors. "Right." I said, lowering my lips to gently press them to her head. Her hair was almost dry, and the smell was not coming half as strong now. I left my lips there, smiling into her hair. I felt her shift under me, but I didn't move. "Are you ready to sleep? Or do you have any more questions?"
"Only a million or two."
"We have tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…" I trailed off, not being able to come to terms with how lucky I was that I get to spend all of this time with her. Whichever way I looked at it, I was going to be with her for the rest of her life. After that, there was no life for me, that is, if I even lived a life at all at the moment.
She smiled into my chest, but then stopped. "Are you sure you wont vanish in the morning? You are mythical, after all." she pointed out.
How could I tell her that I was telling the absolute truth? "I won't leave you." I said firmly, determined that she would not doubt my complete devotion to her.
"Just one more, then" she pushed, but then appeared to get stage fright, and I felt the heat spread throughout her face. I stroked her arm gently, silently urging her to continue.
"What is it?" I asked curiously.
"No, forget it. I changed my mind." she said quickly. The concern was beginning to circle in my mind once again, at the annoyance of not being able to hear her thoughts.
"Bella, you can ask me anything." I said, but groaned when she was refusing to carry on. "I keep thinking it will get less frustrating, not hearing your thoughts. But it keeps getting worse and worse." I complained.
"I'm glad you can't read my thought. It's bad enough that you eavesdrop on my sleep-talking."
She didn't like the idea of me reading her mind? What did she have to hide? I wanted to scream - this was killing me!
"Please?" I asked tenderly, using my voice to persuade her into telling me her thoughts. How sick was I?
She shook her head, but I was now too desperate to let it go. "If you don't tell me, I'll just assume it's something much worse than it is. Please?" I pushed. She was going to tell me.
"Well…" she started, but then stalled.
"Yes?" I said, trying to pull it out of her.
"You said that Rosalie and Emmett will get married soon… Is that… marriage… is that as it is for humans?" she mumbled, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I laughed freely now.
"Is that what you're getting at?"
She shuffled slightly, clearly uncomfortable with the situation.
"Yes, I suppose it is much the same" I thought aloud. It has definitely been legal for them to marry, and it's not exactly as if anything is different within there marriage. It shared similarities with a human marriage. "I told you, most of those human desires are there, just hidden behind more powerful desires." At this very moment in time, however, my only desire was this girl.
"Oh" she managed, and I was then confused.
"Was there a purpose behind your curiosity?"
"Well, I did wonder… about you and me… someday…"
I froze. Trust her to have asked this question, the question I was so terrified of her finding out. I didn't want to tell her that there was no possibility for an "us" in the future. From analysing the events of today, I was certain that this was what Bella wanted. She wanted us to be together, granted, not as much as I did, but it killed me inside to know that I could never give it to her. So, in theory, I was the one hurting her and preventing her from having what she wanted. The feeling of self-loathing stung every cell in my body, numbing any other happiness that I had felt previously.
"I don't think that… that… would be possible for us." I said indifferently, hating every single word that now came from my mouth. I truly hated myself, hated the fact that I could not give her that future that she so desperately wanted, that she so desperately deserved. She should be with someone who could give her those things - a family, and a loving marriage. The thought of only being able to offer her my love was… was… heartbreaking.
"Because it would be too hard for you, if I were that… close?"
I struggled to continue. I didn't want her to know about this. "That's certainly a problem. But that's not what I was thinking. It's just that you are so soft, so fragile. I would have to mind my actions every moment that we're together so that I don't hurt you. I could kill you quite easily, Bella, simply by accident." The fact that it would be hard for me was not what I was worrying about. If I ever hurt her, physically or emotionally, I would not be able to live with myself. How could I, knowing that I was the cause of this girl's unhappiness? I moved my palm and moulded my hand around the delicate curve of her cheek, and began to speak softer now, quieter. I didn't want to frighten her. "If I was too hasty… if for one second I wasn't paying enough attention, I could reach out, meaning to touch your face, and crush your skull by mistake." I was almost spitting the words out with such repulsion of myself. As much as I hated it, it was true. "You Don't realise how incredibly breakable you are. I can never, never afford to loose any kind of control when I'm with you."
I waited anxiously for her to respond, and when she did not, I knew the worst had happened. She was still, quiet…
I had scared her.
"Are you scared?" I asked, anticipating her next word.
She appeared to be thinking about something,, very carefully, and it took her a while to answer. But when she did, her voice told me she was telling the absolute truth. "No. I'm fine."
It was strange, very strange indeed, the way her mind worked. I just told her that, basically, I could never have a… physical relationship with her, and she was fine. How she could accept this, I would never know. After seeing it countless, countless times in the minds of those at school, I would have thought Bella would have wanted some kind of physical contact with me. Boys in particular fantasised about different girls in school in different ways, and girls often were caught thinking the same things. I wonder if Bella…
"I'm curious no, though. Have Iyou/I ever…" I suggested, and smiled widely when she flushed into my chest, sub-consciously hiding her face in the fabric of my shirt.
"Of course not. I told you I've never felt like this about anyone before, not even close."
Her words sent chills of pleasure down my spine. "I know. It's just that I know other people's thoughts. I know love and lust don't always keep the same company"
"They do for me. Now, anyway, that they exist for me at all." she sighed. I breathed out in relief.
"That's nice. We have that one thing in common, at least." I noted.
"Your human instincts…" she began. I wondered what she was thinking. Again. "Well, do you find me attractive, in that way, at all?"
I laughed loudly, but not enough to wake Charlie up. I lightly ruffled her hair. "I may not be human, but I am a man." I said simply. How she could possibly think that I wouldn't find her outstandingly, dangerously beautiful was just utter nonsense. She was so gorgeous it almost hurt.
She yawned, and I smiled into her hair. "I've answered you questions, now you should sleep."
"I'm not sure if I can." Came her reply.
"Do you want me to leave?" I said, not in the slightest bit prepared to go anywhere else but here.
"No!" she yelled, too eager. I had no problem with that.
I chortled, humming quietly into her ear. Her eyelashes fluttered closed, and within moments I could see her eyes moving beneath her lids, dreaming again. I began to stroke her hair, her neck, her arms, tracing the outline of every finger, watching as they curled back again when I let go. I lifted her from my body, rolled her over gently, and stared at her face. I slowly moved my head, kissing her forehead, her eyelids, and the tip of her nose. My thumb stroked her cheek fondly, and my other hand came up to cup the curve of her warm throat. She was so beautiful, even when she slept.
After a few hours of looking at her, kissing her and listening to the soft murmurs of her dreams, I moved out of her bed, and took my place in the chair besides her. She moved, almost as if she had sensed I was no longer with her. Her lips parted.
"Edward" she said. I sighed in relief, letting my emotions take over me.
"Edward, I love you." she smiled.
My endless existence, monstrous and dark, ended at this point. She had given me this new life, a life where I could forever be content, just at the power of those last four words.
"I love you, too." I whispered.