Flight of the Phoenix

Chapter Eighteen – Her Deception

The whisper of my name sent both relief and anger coursing through me. I nuzzled my nose against her hair to calm myself. Since Bella's back was pressed tightly against my chest, and I could feel it as both her breathing and heart rate increased steadily. Inhaling deeply, my lungs filled with her luxurious scent, grounding me. Telling me that she was still alive and with me.

"I can't see," she whispered, her body minutely tensing. Was she trying to make light of the situation?

I found nothing humorous about what she'd done.

"It's dark," I said firmly, fighting to control my anger. I lightened my harsh tone with a gentle kiss on her head. I pulled her closer, her body and beating heart warming me.

"No," she whispered gravely. "I can't see or read your mind."

Now I understood. I held still and replied, "Your powers –"

"Are gone," she finished. "It's very frustrating."

"You know this could be temporary," I said in a soothing tone. I had no idea if this was a good or bad thing. With her powers, she could protect herself, without them, I'd need the aid of my family to keep her safe.

She moved, shifting in my arms to face me. Her warm eyes beseeched me and sought answers that neither of us had. Why? What caused her to lose them? But what I needed to know the most, was why? Why did she think this was the only way?

"I had several visions once I had chosen to go ahead with the procedure," she said.

I stilled, my nostrils flaring, as I remembered the feral need to destroy all those that stood in my way; those who betrayed me, hurt her – hurt me.

As if she could read my thoughts and emotions, her hands cradled my face, soothing me instantly.

"They only did what I asked them to do," she said softly. "It was a risk that I was willing to take because the future would've been unbearable if I hadn't."

"The decision was not wholly yours, it should've been ours," I said, looking into her glistening eyes.

Bella sighed and shook her head. "You wouldn't have listened," she said, her voice rising. "Don't pretend that you would've." She pulled away from me, jumping off the bed. I longed to pull her to me, but I could see the anger radiating off her in waves.

"You're stubborn and so damn protective that'd you'd rather leave it to nature than to chance."

I growled and sat up, glaring at her. "When it comes to your well being, maybe so, but you based your decision on a future that's subjective."

Bella ran her hands over her face and screamed. I went to her, but she pushed me away. I barely moved, as she no longer had the strength to force away a vampire. I remained as close as possible; I needed to. Couldn't she understand that?

"I saw what would've happened. It was a fate worse than death," she spat, trying in vain to pull away.

"Don't," I gasped, pulling her closer. "I thought that you were gone. Don't pull away from me."

Bella searched my eyes, nodded, and laid her head on my chest. "You saw what happened after the weeks didn't you?"

She sobbed suddenly and dropped to the floor, taking me with her. "Tell me."

"In your arms was me," she whispered, her eyes looking at the wall behind me. "But it was not me. It was my body – soulless and feral. Nothing – not even decades – tamed what you held in your arms."

"Because you were brain dead when I tried to change you," I said. Bella nodded. "What did I do?"

Bella's tears fell over her pale cheeks continually, as sobs racked through her body. "You tried. Decades passed but there was no change in my nature. It wasn't me in that body. It wasn't until that thing destroyed an entire village in Africa that you finally realized it wasn't your Bella. You convinced Carlisle to destroy you after you had done the same to me."

"That would've devastated Esme if Carlisle had to do that to me," I said. Bella looked at me then and nodded.

"My change would've destroyed all of you."

"I can't trust you or my family," I said. "Not after this."

"I know," she whispered.

"You really hurt me."

"I know that, too."

I held her close as tears continued to flow and words left unsaid. I loved her, and I was sure that I would love her forever.

But damn if I'd ever trust her again.

Or Alice's visions.

Bella's hand ran over her head searching. "There's not even a scar," she whispered.


"I don't understand why I lost my powers," she said warily. "This isn't good."

"I'll keep you safe, Bella," I said.

"But who will keep you safe?"

I hissed and growled, pulling away, pacing. "Damn it, Bella. Don't fucking worry about me."

She was alarmed that I cursed but glared at me nonetheless. "I will worry about you as you do for me. You've chosen to push away your family. Do you think you'll be able to protect me from a few vampires?"

"Yes," I spat. "With my, gift I could stay one step ahead of them in a fight."

"Yes, and while you're busy circling with one or two, the third will pick me off."

My breathing was ragged and my body rigid with tension. She was right, one or two I could easily handle, but not three.

"If you refuse to have your family help us, then I'll need to call Jake."

Oh, now she was pushing my buttons. "That won't be necessary," I said angrily. She sighed and her eyes filled with tears. She held out her hands, an invitation to hold her. I groaned and if I could, I would've wept as her arms wound around me.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I don't want to fight. We'll think of something. I can't imagine what it must've been like."

"I thought you died, and it left hole in my chest, love." She had no idea the amount of pain and emptiness I felt for that short time. It may have been less than thirty seconds, but to me it felt like eternity.

She held me, and I held her. I wasn't even consciously aware of how much time we stood at the foot of her bed, comforting each other. She whispered her assurances that she'd make an effort not to keep things from me again.

I hated that now I was unable to read her thoughts, because I didn't believe her. Repeatedly I whispered how much I loved, needed her to survive. I didn't say these things to hurt her, or make her feel guilty. I said them because we were going to need communicate better.

"I love you, Edward," she whispered, as tears fell from her eyes and onto my shirt. I felt her soft, warm lips press against my Adam's apple. I closed my eyes, losing myself to her touch. Taking her face in my hands, I kissed her more fully. Her soft answering moan was as alluring as the rest of her.

"I need to feel you," I whispered, peppering kisses along her jawline. "To know you're real." Her head lulled to one side, allowing me access to the delicate slope of her neck. "We've been so desperate every time we've come together."

"Edward," she gasped. Her fingers wound through my hair as we stood, balancing herself on the tips of her toes.

"This time I want to savor," I said huskily, my hands ran over the curves of her body, down her back to cup her bottom. She moaned deeply, her tongue seeking mine. I pulled her up so that her legs could wrap around me. "Please tell me if I'm hurting you." I knew I'd have to take in every breath, every tremor and sound from her, to gauge if my hold was too strong.

She shook her head. "You won't hurt me." Her lips lingered beneath my ear, her teeth scraping the skin there.

"Bella," I groaned, my eyes rolling back. I laid her gently in her bed, watching her hair fan across the pale blue sheets. I straddled her hips, taking her face in my hands. With gentle pressure, my lips lingered over where the scar should've been. Her hands ran over my back soothing me. I hadn't realized that I was trembling.

"I'm alright, Edward," she said softly. My eyes remained opened, unable to quell the need to memorize every single feature of her lovely face. The way her long dark lashes cast shadows over the apples of her cheeks in the dimmed lighting. The creamy complexion of skin, and when flushed as it was now, reminded me of the petals of a pink rose.

My thumbs brushed over her subtle cheekbones, leaving a fiery wake of warmed skin. Her warm eyes that I could drown in; so beautiful, swirls of browns and tawny flecks. Her eyes held their gaze as I closed my mouth over hers.

Taking her bottom lip between my own for a moment, I sucked on it lightly. Then slowly I slipped my tongue between her parted lips. I groaned at the sweet taste of her, potent and warm in her mouth and against my tongue.

"Love you, so much," I gasped. My breathing was rough and ragged from all the emotions coursing through me. I never wanted her as much as I wanted her now.

"Always," she moaned. I moved along her body, pressing open-mouthed kisses along her neck, my tongue pressing against her pulse. My hands ran over her shoulders and arms, grasping her hips gently. I pressed myself against her, gasping from the warmth and the flush of her arousal.

At the base of her neck, the hollow had a tiny freckle there. I kissed it, savoring the taste of her skin, and she shuddered. Feeling her tremble beneath my hands and mouth sent another rush of desire through me.

We helped one another rid of ourselves of our clothing. Both kissing newly exposed skin, my usually cold skin warmed under her ministrations, and hers ignited under mine.

I slid inside her slowly, achingly so.

"I can't let you go," I said hoarsely as her back arched, her pink peaks calling for my attention. "Don't ask me to ever let you go."

"Never," she groaned, as my tongue laved a peak. I stroked slowly, deeply, enticing shudders and sweet sounds from within her.

"Forever," I whispered. "I need you forever."

"Yes," she hissed, her fingers digging into my skin.

I felt her body temperature rise as she silently screamed from her release, pulling me with her. I sunk my teeth in the mattress besides her, as I convulsed around her – inside her.

Utterly spent, I collapsed onto the bed and pulled her on top of me. My hands ran through her hair and back, her heart slowing with each passing minute.

"Did you mean it?" she asked softly. "You still want me after what I've done?"

"Yes. I meant it."

"I'm sorry for hurting you," she whispered, placing a kiss where my heart should lay.

"Don't ever do something like that to me again."

"I'm back to being a regular human."

"Yes, and none of those powers meant anything to me."

"I know."

"Bella," I said, realizing something. More confused than concerned I listened to be sure.

"Yes, Edward."

"I can't hear any voices."

AN: Beta'd Stratan, thank you darling. I wanted to give these two a break. For those that doubted the reason why Edward couldn't just change her while she had the aneurysm, I hope this helped the reason. If not (yeah I'm talking about the flame I got) oh fucking well.