Chapter 9

This


Composing myself wasn't the easiest of tasks afterwards, and no doubt he could hear the fast, erratic beating of my heart and the blood pumping wildly around my body. I placed one hand against the bonnet of the car to steady myself, before taking a deep breath in, calming my breathing.

"I trust you enough not to look," I teased, the words said to myself – but I knew all too well that he'd be listening. Slowly, I slid the dress of my right shoulder.

"Would it be wrong for me to?" he asked slyly, his voice carrying towards me across the field. I couldn't tell where he was. For all I knew, he could be barely steps away from me.

I ducked my head, hiding the blush that was rising up to my cheeks. Perhaps I didn't trust him enough not to look.

The dress slipped from left shoulder too.

"It depends whether you want to or not," I left the statement open for him to interpret. If he wanted it, he'd be by my side within seconds. If he didn't, he'd laugh it off.

"Of course I want it," his voice sounded strained once again, and I felt almost guilty for taunting him. Repressing the thirst for blood was one thing to overcome, but a second desire had been added; one more intimate and significant... and I'd yet again reminded him that because of who he was, it wasn't something he could readily take.

Then come and get it. I bit back the words as soon as I thought them. Tempting him would only lead to yet another conversation on how he wasn't 'worthy' of me, and how he didn't deserve to love me. I also didn't want to hurt him.

Finding some confidence deep in the pit of my stomach, I quickly stepped out of the dress, now standing in the field in a simple lace under-top, and the petticoat.

It was then; if I listened close enough, that I heard a tree crack in the forest.

I swapped the petticoat as quickly as I could for the sweatpants he'd left against the bonnet. If I didn't think about the fact that he was watching my every move and saw every time my leg caught against the hem as I tried to put it through as fast as possible, my breathing would have been almost normal.

"Edward?" I called lightly into the open as soon as I'd pulled on the large blue sweater of his. He stood fluidly in front of me, his eyes travelling over the loose clothing.

"You look-"

"Silly?" I finished for him, but he only shook his head, a smile playing around the corners of his lips.

"I would say good enough to eat, but with this situation, I'm not sure that would be a tasteful comment." He thought I looked edible.

Bella, he's a vampire.

I quickly shook off that thought, ignoring the voice in my mind constantly reminding me that to him I was edible. I hooked one finger through the loop of his jeans, forcing myself to find the small amount of confidence inside of me. "Would it be wrong for me to say I want you to follow through on the comment?"

He raised one eyebrow slyly, his eyes lowering to my lips. "I'm assuming you're the prey."

"As always," I reminded him dryly, and his lips twitched with amusement, the warmth never fading from his eyes. He brought his fingers up to my face, running them across my lips. Then, before I could blink, he'd pulled me close to him, his arms wrapped securely around my back, his head buried into my hair.

He sighed contentedly against my neck. "You are far too good for me."

I pushed him away slightly, taking his hand in mine so he didn't move away more than he needed to. "There was me thinking that it was the other way around." I lowered my eyes slowly to the ground between us, my gaze wavering with indecision.

"Bella-"

"Take me home Edward," I whispered gently, and as I finally looked up to meet his own eyes, they were filled with nothing but love. Had he been human, they would've shone with unshed tears.

"I love you."

I smiled slyly. "God knows why, but I love you too."

"Is that so?" he raised an eyebrow, and I barely had time to catch my breath before the ground disappeared from beneath my feet. "Perhaps I'll have to remind you why."

"I'll hold you to that," I said smugly. "Your modesty gets in the way far too much."

He laughed quietly as he set me back in my seat before taking his own in the driver seat. "When would you like me to remind you?" he asked curiously as he fiddled with the dials on the radio.

"When you start believing in what you actually say to me," I retorted, and his glance became subdued, the teasing over.

"I'm supposed to believe that I deserve you?"

"Of course," I replied almost instantly, the two words said without hesitation. He pulled out onto the motorway, and I didn't stop to care at the rising needle on the speedometer.

"And if I begin to tell you how I don't, you'll only ignore me?" he chose his words carefully, and keeping one hand against the steering wheel, he reached over the gearbox and linked his hand firmly with mine.

"I can never ignore you," I rephrased slowly. "But I think if you did do that, it would be ridiculous."

"How so?"

I turned in the seat so that my body was angled towards him. "Look at yourself Edward. You are not this sadistic, heartless being you make yourself out to be. You can love, you can live, and you've saved my life more times than I can count."

"That doesn't make me human."

"Define human," I said daringly, and his eyes became confused.

"You."

I looked down at our fingers, a wry smile spreading across my face. "It's something compassionate – something humane. You fit into that definition more than some people do on this Earth."

"I've killed Bella."

"Only the bad ones." I corrected him, and his eyebrows pushed forward into a frown.

"Does that make it any better?"

"By killing the inhumane ones, you saved far more people in the process. People that could have been hurt in the future – people that were being hurt... at the time, it was the only way you could survive; and even then you refused to do something that was completely callous. You tried to make it as humane as possible."

"Killing can never be described as humane," he shook his head decisively.

"Edward, I don't care."

"You don't care that I've-"

"No."

"See," he pointed out confidently. "That right there is why I don't deserve you."

I laughed quietly, the smile quickly forming on my lips again. "You're being ridiculous." He laughed with me, his hand squeezing mine gently.

"Truce?"

"For now."

He raised his eyebrows towards me. "For now?" He questioned; his voice unsure.

I ignored his own question, and asked him a different one. I knew with all my heart that I wanted to become a sadistic, heartless monster with him – if that was how he chose to view vampires. But there was one burning question in the back of my mind that had been worrying me. "Will you think of me any differently?" I said quietly. "When I'm changed..."

"Bella-"

"If you think that lowly of yourself, I'm going to be the same."

"I won't let you kill anyone," he promised firmly. "Hell can have me but they'll never get you."

"What a great heaven," I said dryly. "If you're not there, that sounds like a place I want to spend eternity in." My voice was laced with sarcasm.

"Bella," he pleaded, his voice quickly removing the teasing smile from my face. "I won't... I mean, I can't just..." he trailed off, the words sticking in his throat. Edward was very rarely ever lost for words.

"You believe you don't have a soul," I murmured softly. "Will my soul just suddenly disappear as soon as I give in to this life? Will you judge me for being a soulless monster?"

"Bella, my opinion of myself can never be passed on to you."

"I was under the impression that your opinion was for the whole race. Does that mean you'd define Esme as a cold, uncaring being?"

"This isn't fair," he shook his head and he took his hand out of mine quickly, before placing it on the steering wheel. "I never relate to them."

"You don't," I reassured him. "But surely by defining yourself as a monster, your family are just the same as you. Just as compassionate and loving as yourself..." I reached towards him, and clutched his hand against the steering wheel. "Look at yourself," I repeated.

After a long moment of silence between us, he finally spoke.

"Bella... please." His voice was desperate, begging and hoarse with tears. "I do not deserve you, and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise. I took you away from humanity, and your own family. Countless times I deprived you of experiences that were important to you – all because of what I was. Then you, this one, insignificant human being had the power to destroy everything I'd held onto. You reduced me to something insecure, unconfident and constantly apprehensive. You defined innocence, beauty and purity, and I represented everything that should have been kept away from you. Then I hurt you more than I ever could have imagined, after all I'd promised Bella – I hurt you."

Only then did I realise we were no longer moving. He'd pulled over at the side of the road, his hands now trembling violently against the wheel.

I had never seen him more vulnerable.

No longer stopping to think, I clambered across the dashboard towards him, managing to land safely in his lap. His eyes were cast down towards his laces, his hands never moving from the wheel towards me. Slowly, I reached out and touched his cheek with his fingertips.

"You came back," I whispered softly against his lips.

"I shouldn't have. I just... wanted to see you happy – to convince myself I'd made the right decision. I hadn't wanted to run in like that. I couldn't think rationally, and-"

"You came back." I repeated gently, and I lifted his chin with my fingertips towards me. "You loved me enough to come back."

He finally raised his eyes towards me, his dark black orbs staring hauntingly into my own. "I love you Bella, and I am so sorry for everything I did."

I smiled warmly towards him. "I love you too, and apology accepted."

"Just like that?"

I leaned in a little closer towards him, my hands moving from under his chin to the sides of his face. With my lips brushing against his, I whispered in confirmation, "Just like that," before closing the distance between us.

*

"Are you ready?" he asked, his eyes flickering towards mine.

"They're not mad at me... are they?" I replied cautiously as I looked up at the building towering above us. We weren't in Forks. According to Edward, we were in New Jersey, near the East coast.

"They're mad at me." He muttered, and I let my shoulders fall, a sigh passing my lips.

"Let's go." I said determinedly, and I clambered out of the car as he sped round towards me, one hand wrapping tightly around my waist.

But before I could even begin to make my way towards the house, a blur of black hair shot out of the house and into my arms.

"Bella!" she shouted happily, picking me up off the floor suddenly. At the mention of my name, four other family members shot towards the doorway. I saw Esme standing on the steps, a hand raised to her mouth in shock. It didn't take long for her – just like Alice had done – to rush towards me and wrap her arms tightly around me. Carlisle was with her, a warm smile plastered across his face as he too hugged me. Jasper was standing to the side, his eyes tight with restraint. He still managed to spare me a smile, his expression becoming thankful.

Alice stepped away from me, before turning to Edward.

Before I could blink, she aimed a punch at his jaw, and it connected solidly, sending him stumbling back a few paces. "You complete ass! How could you ruin her wedding day like that? And after everything you wanted her to have, you went back and took it away from her? Do you realise how much of a hypocrite you are? You stupid, stupid idiot!" She tried to punch him again, but I quickly tried to divert her attention.

"Alice?" I asked quietly, and she turned to me, her eyes alight with anger. "I've already had a go at him, so I don't think he needs anymore of it." I sent him a smile over my shoulder, and he only shook his head wryly in reply.

"Bella!" another voice from the house called, and I closed my eyes suddenly, preparing myself for the impact as Emmett came charging towards me. He stopped just before he could reach me. "Why does the human smell of wolf?"

I raised my eyebrows towards him. "Perhaps that's because the human's just been at a wedding with werewolves."

"There were werewolves at your wedding?" Emmett asked in shock, and Edward came and stood behind me, his arms wrapping over my stomach.

"She was going to get married to a werewolf."

"Who knew Bella was so hardcore?" Emmett laughed boisterously to himself. "You just keep jumping from supernatural to supernatural. So... who's next?"

I rolled my eyes. "Just Edward."

I hadn't even realised that Rosalie was standing opposite me whilst I'd been talking. I turned towards her, my expression wary. She only laughed at me. "Thanks for saving my complete fool of a brother Bella." Her glance flickered towards him. "Leave her again and I'll castrate you."

His eyes widened. "Wouldn't dream of it."

"You don't dream," I reminded him dryly, and he ran his fingers lightly over my sides; tickling me. I squirmed against him. "This isn't fair."

"How so?" he asked all too innocently, his fingers still brushing relentlessly against my side.

"You aren't ticklish," I stated, trying to tickle his sides, only to be met with solid marble. "How am I supposed to get my own back?"

"You really shouldn't have said that," Emmett grinned boldly, and that only set Alice into a fit of hysterics. She'd obviously seen something to keep her entertained.

I could barely catch my breath before Edward scooped me up into his arms yet again. "I need to get you away from these creatures," he whispered dangerously close to my ear, and he held me recklessly close as he darted past them and up the stairs.

As he put me down on my feet, he closed the door quietly and made his way towards the large four poster bed in the middle of the room. He sat down against the mattress, before patting the space beside him.

"So, what do you plan to do with me now?" I asked slyly, my eyes alight with anticipation as I sat next to him, my hip touching his. The excitement at finally seeing the rest of his family had given me a confidence that I was wanted here – and the earlier incident in the forest had reminded me that I wasn't completely lost at getting my own back.

He pushed himself into the middle of the bed, and beckoned me over. I crawled towards him, before stopping between his legs and letting my hands rest beside his shoulders.

Suddenly, he pulled me down onto his chest, his lips cold against my ear. "I plan to devour you," he whispered dangerously.

"Is that so?" I teased, my voice light and daring.

He hummed in reply, his lips skimming across my neck. As his mouth trailed butterfly kisses across my shoulder, he stopped at my collarbone.

I pulled his chin towards me, my eyes searching. "When... Edward?" I wanted this life more than ever. More importantly, I wanted him.

His eyes tightened, his hands slipping to my waist. "Tonight – if you want it."

"I want it," I breathed softly, and I leaned forward, brushing my lips against his.

"Or now."

I let out a shaken breath, my fingers trembling against his cheek. I pushed a lock of his hair out of his eyes, my own staring desperately into his. "Don't let me forget him Edward."

"If you think that's best."

"I know it's best," I nodded, convincing both myself and him.

I rolled onto my side, now facing him, and I reached towards him again, placing my hand in his. I had never wanted something more than this right now, and yes, I was afraid. But not of the pain or of the prospect of the life I would live.

I was afraid of him no longer wanting me. What if I truly did become the monster he described himself to be? Once I'd lost my blush, heartbeat and clumsy qualities – could he accept me as the Bella he'd loved as a human?

I took a deep breath, pushing my own insecurities behind me. I wouldn't be a hypocrite. He could mistrust himself, but I could never begin to doubt him.

"I'm ready," I said determinedly, reaching towards him as I pushed my lips against his. His arms encased around me, his scent surrounding and overpowering my thoughts.

I loved Edward Cullen, and for him, I'd give up humanity, and accept a new life, far different from my own. The road ahead was never smooth, but I loved him, and to me, that was all that mattered.

I wanted to share a new life with him... for better, and for worse.


AN - After this, I might post a crackfic ending just to amuse myself, and I have an awesome chapter title planned if I do post it. If I don't, then this is the final end for In That Moment, and I hope you enjoyed reading it. I want to say a big thank you to all the readers that got me here, and encouraged me to extend it to more than just a oneshot.


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