A/N: This is the same story as Beautiful Blush, but it's told from Bella's perspective. Her side of the story had haunted me since I wrote it the first time—I felt her pain and inner turmoil needed a voice as well. The song I chose fits with my perception of Bella's way of coping.

Memories – Within Temptation

The memories ease the pain inside

Now I know why

All of my memories keep you near

In silent moments, imagine you'd be here

All of my memories keep you near

Your silent whispers, silent tears

Made me promise I'd try

To find my way back in this life

I hope there is a way

To give ma sign you're okay

Reminds me again it's worth it all

So I can go home


The room hummed with electricity—the kind I always felt when Edward was near. My mind must really be against me tonight to feel this. Who was I trying to kid? Edward wasn't here. He left many months before, leaving me crumpled on the soggy forest floor.

I must have finally snapped. Part of me held out hope that I'd hold to the last shred of sanity I still possessed. Yet, feeling my every nerve ending tingle and blaze with the imaginary energy in the room told me I was a goner.

They're coming to take me away…

My mind smirked at the thought. Wait, could a mind smirk? Was that a possible action…

I suppose at this point I was crazy enough to think any outlandish action was possible. Why couldn't it work? You know, if insanity was some videogame superpower, I just leveled up.

The hazy sleep-induced fog continued to swirl around me. This was so commonplace by now—dreaming and arguing with my traitor of a mind. Since Edward left, we've become great masochistic friends—my mind and I. God, you really have lost it Bella.

Much of the time I still doubted myself in discerning if I was awake or dreaming. I had learned to function again since that day, but still nothing seemed completely real anymore. It was as if my body was here working through some preprogrammed movements and living an already written script. But that was all—nothing more.

Like many nights and even days, images flooded my entirety, pulling my mind, body and soul this way and that. Images of the sun and Edward and a brightly lit, crowed square flashed in front of my eyes like a terrible slideshow. I tried to will them away, cursing my mind for creating such cruel scenarios to torture me with. I think I've been through enough. You would never wish nothingness, but I think after everything that's what I deserve—to escape into nothing.

Edward was there, on the edge of the sunny square. I wanted to scream for him; to tell him to come back or stop or something—anything. Yet, all I could do is gently cry for him…for me…for us. I lost everything that day. I lost my gravity—my anchor to this world—in the finality of his goodbye.

The hole in my chest ripped at the edges again, as it had time and time before, and I wanted nothing more than to finally succumb to the pain—body, mind and soul. Yet, my arms instinctively held me together, just as they did every time before.

My body had come to know this position well and to take a small shred of comfort in the tightness my arms grasped me with. I am numb, just as I have been for many months now.

And yet, as much as I hate my mind at times for making me see Edward and feel his energy touch every nerve in my body, I can't help continually finding comfort in the memories. The thrill in my body when, however insane it is, I hear his velvet voice. It argues and pleads, but I hear it and remember. I'm never free from it. I will never be free from Edward—and I don't honestly think I could survive any differently. I needed the memories for the pain because the pain was the only thing telling me if I was alive or dead.

Groggily, I pried my eyes open, as my sleepy mind tried to clear itself. My still sleeping limbs managed to lift my body onto my elbows while I continued to lazily blink the blurriness from my vision. I never noticed how dark the corner of my room that I was currently transfixed on was. It was…so…so eerie…and yet oddly comforting—like the nothingness I longed for.

I continued to fidget as my body fought to wake up, running my hands through my tangled curls countless times. Every nerve ending was still tingling as I imagined sparks crackling throughout the room. Stupid brain. Stupid Bella. Stop with the tingling.

Everything flashed in front of me again. All the images. All thoughts. All the pain. Everything that was imagined or lost.

My eyes scanned the shadows more as they continued to adjust to the necessity of being awake and clear. At the edge of the shadow, my gaze began to trace the soft contours of my old rocking chair as each line began to clear. Something was different. Not something—someone.

The golden eyes. The chiseled, god-like features. The messy bronze hair. The crooked smile.

Realization hit. "This is…this is too good…I'm dreaming."

It was official. I had lost it. My sanity was gone—it ran screaming out the window or some other completely absurd escape. My damaged and masochistic mind finally gave the voice of Edward his body in my hazy state of waking. Now that's just cruel. Edward was not here. He couldn't be…

"Bella, you're not dreaming."

You'd like to think that. Stupid mind. Stupid argumentative, masochistic, broken mind. I'm still dreaming. That's it. Dreaming.

"Haha. You'd like to think that. You're just sitting there all crooked smiles and looking perfect and beautiful. And I'm going to wake up any moment and become face to face with a serious depression after this…"

I stopped, my mind tripping over itself trying to analyze my newfound level of insanity.

The make believe Edward spoke again. "I'm real. I'm here. You honestly aren't dreaming." It was a soft and gentle sound ringing through my ears.

Liar! I am dreaming!

Before I had a chance to silently argue with my mind again, the imaginary Edward stood, leaving the rocking chair gentle swaying from the movement. He moved fluidly across the room to stand in front of my slightly slouched form. I had to give my imagination credit. He looked just as real as he had months before and moonlight shining through my window made him even more impressive. If I am crazy, at least I make Edward look like pure beauty in the process. Nothing like some good eye candy for the insane…

The imaginary Edward reached out and brushed a loose strand of curls behind my ear. The touch was feather light…and electrical. Maybe…maybe I wasn't…so crazy.

Without processing anything in that moment further, my hand instinctively reached up to grasp the cool fingers before they had a chance to disappear. I need to know if…if this was Edward.

"Edward!" The touch was the same. The smooth granite was the same. And the electricity was definitely the same. "I'm really not dreaming? You? Volterra? The sun?" I know I was babbling, but I could care less or do much to stop it at the very least.

A smile played across Edward's lips. My smile. "No, you're not dreaming and yes, that all happened. You have a fanatical imagination, but I don't even think you could have made all this up." His laughter at my realization filled the air of my room and I couldn't help but follow suit. It was infectious.

As quickly as I began laughing with Edward, it stopped. There was nothing keeping Edward here now. Sure he was standing in front of me in all his glory, touching my cheek with all of his electricity. Yet, nothing was holding him here. Edward could just as quickly vanish through the open window as he had made it to stand next to my bed. This realization hurt, tearing at the ragged hole my dreams had already irritated.

"You're going to leave again." That was a statement. Not a question or a plea to ask him to stay. He had no reason to be here. Not me. Not us. Not anything.

I couldn't look at him. I couldn't allow myself to look into his honey eyes—to feel like I was home right before it vanished again. Instead, I took to looking at my tiny hands tremble as I twisted them around the hem of my cotton shirt.

The bed sagged next to my knee, as I could only assume Edward sat down. Even without touching, my body ached for his electricity, his coolness—him. The tears were building, pushing my capacity closer and closer to its breaking point.

My eyes closed in attempts to hold the salty tears from escaping their confines. Edward's cool touch brushed over my cheek, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. Nothing could replace his touch. It was as if it had a life of its own, humming with its own energy. Savoring the touch my body had desperately missed, Edward guided a finger along my jaw and lifted my chin up.

I allowed myself to open my eyes, all while praying to keep the tears at bay. Edward's gaze was on me, his eyes flickering over the contours of my face from my cheeks to my lips to my nose and back to my eyes. Looking back at me, his eyes begged for trust.

"Love, what will it take to make you see that I'm not going anywhere? I'm too damn selfish. You're stuck with me."

His voice rang with conviction and sincerity and love and passion. And yet, I couldn't stop myself from trying to desperately search his face for any hint of lies behind the truth I knew he spoke. I couldn't find any, but I couldn't trust my eyes. They had deceived me before.

I turned my face away as the tears broke through my vision. They ran down my face in hot streams, streaking my cheeks with salty wetness. I wanted to believe Edward—wanted to believe every word he spoke—but I couldn't help feeling that he would just vanish again. Like a dream, he'd only last for a little while.

"Bella. Bella look at me." He spoke with authority, but I could hear the desperation lacing his voice underneath. My face was suddenly resting between Edward's hands, the coolness breaking through the fiery flush of my face. "I cannot live without you. You must believe that. In all honesty, I think it's actually quite impossible for me to go on without you now."

Again, there was conviction in his voice along with love and sincerity. The sound was trying to get me to believe. Every muscle of my body was trembling as tears still streaked down me face. And yet, with my face resting in Edward's palms, I felt everything he was trying to say too. The electricity was begging me to stay. His thumbs brushing my steady stream of tears were begging me to believe. His voice and words were saying he still loved me. He still loved me.

"You are my life. Now and forever. I'm so sor…"

He still loved me.

Without anymore thought I crashed my lips into his, desperate to further my realization. My thoughts lost coherency, as there was just Edward and I. There were only our lips pressed together in an urgent lock. My gravity was back. I was home.

The numbness ebbed—like the tide pulling away from the shore. Floating. Free-falling. Dancing before the shadows. For dark there was light. For lies there was truth. For pain there was pleasure. There was life. There was emotion. There was courage. There was love. And I finally felt there was hope.

We only broke apart for me to breathe, only to return to our embrace as quickly as possible. I locked my arms around his neck, fisting my hands into his silky hair to close whatever distance there was between us. We were molding ourselves into one. Edward's hands lay on my hips, gently squeezing and guiding my movements on his lap.

His touch awakened my body, yearning for it more than I yearned for air. My body was aching for him—it was complete, beautiful, pleasurable pain. I ground my hips into his lap again, needing some form of friction. Edward's erection was hard and straining under me and I could feel every bit of it. His hands worked again against my hips to slow and guide my gyrations.

I broke away to breathe, though my lips and tongue instantly felt a sense of loss. My thoughts were fuzzy as I decided my next actions. I needed him. I wanted him. He was my life, my love, my home.

Leaning in, closing the distance between our bodies again, I stared into Edward's eyes. My body hummed with the electricity sparking between our contact. I couldn't help but smile at him in his glorious perfection.

"Edward." I spoke so softly that it was almost a whisper, but I knew he heard me.

"Yes, Lov…"

I stopped him before he could finish, placing two fingers delicately over his parted lips. His tongue slipped out to taste my fingertips. A smile spread across my face, as my mind reeled at the delicate contact. Regaining my mental balance, I smiled again, coyly acknowledging the next moments. I needed to do this.

Slowly, and purposefully, my small hands skimmed over his broad shoulders and up his neck, only to trail them back down again. There they found their target. I began undoing each button of Edward's shirt, trailing a fingertip over his granite chest after each button exposed more of it to me. I trembled with each undone button. Trembling in shyness. Trembling in anticipation.

Completion of that task led to another. I trailed my hands over his exposed chest to Edward's broad shoulder. My hands hooked under the soft fabric of his shirt and slid my palms down his toned arms, finally dragging the shirt off.

My palms rested over his forearms, the light touch causing Edward to shiver under me. Slowly, I moved a hand over to his toned abdomen. Tracing each contour of every muscle with a delicate touch, I leaned in closer. Closer until I allowed my lips to press a kiss over his heart. A shivered racked his body again. Though it wasn't beating underneath my lips, there was electricity crackling underneath. For me, that was enough.

This was farther than Edward had ever allowed us to go. He always had this wall set up, pushing me away when I pushed too far. It was supposed to keep me safe from him. But it failed. He still hurt me. That wall was crumbled beneath us now.

Still leaning in close to him, I breathed in his intoxicating scent deeply. It was earthy and made my mind lose coherency as it swirled through my senses. My hands reached down and lightly grabbed for his belt. Just as I felt the cool metal, Edward's hands laced around mine.

Panic coursed through me; hurt overflowing. He was stopping me. He doesn't want me. He lied…

"Don't…don't you want me?" My voice was shaky and pleading and pained. Tears welled up again as I refused to fight them back this time. I was done fighting. I was done. With that a tear slowly rolled down my cheek, signaling my defeat.

Edward grasped my hands in his. I didn't have the strength or energy to pull away. I left them there, defeated and broken. "Love," he whispered softly before placing gossamer kisses on the back of each hand resting in his. "Don't be silly. Of course I want you. You are my life. Please believe that. But…but let me do this…right."

Tears still flowed in hot rivers down my cheeks, but I found myself nodding. There was nothing else I could lose. There was nothing left—only things to gain if he was telling me the truth that rang in his voice.

Edward lifted my body with the gentlest touch imaginable as he laid me back upon my bed. His hands skimmed over me, leaving a trail of fire over my stomach as his hand moved under my shirt. I shuddered and trembled in bliss from his touch. The slightest and simplest actions were the most powerful. Edward leaned in and kissed the tip of my nose, heightening the ache between my legs.

I tried valiantly to keep my eyes open, to gaze upon the beautiful man in front of me. Yet, sensation took over my coherency and my lids fluttered closed. After a brief pause, I felt the lightest pressure on my lids as Edward placed a gossamer kiss to each. A soft, low moan escaped his throat earning a deep intake of air from me.

He continued the light touches, dragging his nose painstakingly slow along my jaw. Using his nose, Edward traced over every contour of my face before him—my lips, my cheekbones, my forehead, my chin, my nose. Grazing his nose down my neck, he placed a deep kiss just under my ear. With that, I was gone, floating. I was yearning with need and the wetness in my panties attested to that. My hands fisted in the bed sheets and at this point, I was not sure how long I would last.

My vision was clouded in bliss as Edward continued to trace around my neck, dragging careful lines over my collarbones. I needed Edward. His every touch kept my every nerve begging for him. Fisting my hands in his hair, I pulled Edward's face up to mine, crashing my lips greedily against his. His tongue traced the edge of my lips, asking entrance. I greedily accepted that as well. I moaned deeply only to be silenced by his mouth as Edward's teeth grabbed my lower lip.

With each and every movement and action Edward did, I matched with an uncontrollable arch of my body into his. The chill of his bare chest went through my thin shirt as if it wasn't even there, causing my nipples to become impossibly harder. Edward kept kissing me, pulling my bottom lip back into his mouth over and over, while his free hand roamed the skin hidden beneath the cotton of my shirt.

My grasp fell from his hair as I moved them to his chest, tracing and trailing my fingers over whatever flesh I could touch. Edward's hand skimmed over my stomach, leaving every inch of my abdomen afire. Another deep and guttural moan escape my throat as Edward's fingertips brushed the base of my breast, igniting more fire upon my flesh.

I was caught in the moment—caught in the need for Edward. If he left again, at least he left knowing I was still his. I always would be. Edward owned my heart and soul completely. He owned my body if he wanted that as well.

A smirk played on my lips as I pulled slightly away from Edward. Confusion flashed through his eyes though the crooked smile he wore for me egged on my actions further. Reaching down, I grabbed the hem of my shirt and pulled it off my body in a fluid motion.

Edward's breath hitched as my naked torso came into view. His eyes racked over my body, tracing and mesmerizing every curve and dip before him. I felt empowered by his gaze, allowing a coy and seemingly innocent smile to cross my lips.

Before I could think or do anything more, Edward leaned forward, kissing my collarbone with the lightest of touches. My head rolled back at the sensation and my body hummed and trembled in ecstasy. The bed shifted under me, bringing my thoughts back to a state of consciousness. Edward rolled off the bed, standing a little over a foot away. I couldn't help the thoughts and emotions running through me. Confusion, hurt, curiosity and passion all fought for dominance inside my mind.

In answer to my battling emotions, Edward jeans disappeared from his body. I mean, they didn't disappear per say, but they lay in the pile next to our shirts crumpled on the floor after coming off his body at an inhuman. I didn't have time to process the last second before my mind clouded over. Edward was still standing there, only boxers covering him from my view. He was…was…was large and hard, even under the silky fabric. Breathe Bella. Breathe…

I knew my jaw was hanging open, but I couldn't find the concentration to close it. All I could do was marvel at the man standing there as my nerves tingled and my aches for him increased. I couldn't help but stare. A low chuckle brought me somewhat back to reality, allowing me to snap my jaw shut. Edward, standing there all crooked smiles in all his glorious perfection, looked at me with lust and love and passion overflowing from his golden gaze.

His actions were slow and sure and purposeful as he walked back to my bed, straddling my knees as he lowered his body back down. Even just the slight pressure of his weight and gentle contact between our skin was enough to send my eyes hooding over. There he was and for the first time, my mind really registered that this wasn't a dream—that he was here and staying…I hope. That caused my smile to widen in pleasure and hope as I looked at him, peering through my lashes.

Lying back upon my pillows, Edward's words kept running through my mind. He wanted to do this right—he needed to be the one to do this. So I remained where I lay, only opening and exposing more of myself to him. This is what we had to offer each other.

Edward touched me. Not sexually, only caressing the flesh of my stomach as he traced invisible patterns over it. His touch held every sense of love he could manage—I felt it deep within me. The sensation caused my body to shiver again as it had thus far from the fiery cold of his touch. My breathing increased, sending my lungs and heart pounding to escape my chest, as Edward twirled and moved his fingers over my flesh. Hea…heaven.

The pressure of Edward's body did nothing to calm my pulse or the adrenaline coursing through me as he leaned his body over mine. He laid he cheek over my heart and I felt as if it would soon punch through my chest as it beat impossibly faster, matching my breathing.

I felt a smile press into the flesh of my chest as Edward moved his face to kiss where his cheek had just rested. My body responded with a gentle arch as he brushed his nose over my collarbone, back and forth, coming to rest in the hollow of my neck. From there he trailed down between my breasts to my belly button, down to the thin waistband of my shorts, all the while using nothing more than his nose.

My hands fisted themselves into his hair and my breath became more ragged as he ran his nose back and forth over the thin fabric. Pausing, Edward breathed in deeply before grabbing the elastic and gently—playfully—tugged the fabric. I moaned deeply into the night air surrounding us, fisting tighter. The sensation of Edward being that close…was…ah…I couldn't find the words. It was only us and the electricity and love and the ache.

A soft laugh escaped from Edward, ringing magically in my ears, before he retraced up my body still with his nose—only with his nose. Over my stomach, around my belly button, between my breasts, over my collarbone, finishing again with a kiss to the hollow of my neck. His feather-light touches continued over my neck to my jaw to my lips to my cheekbones to my nose to my eyebrows to my temple to my ear…

It was sensory overload. His scent assaulted me. His touch awakened my body. Both were the most pleasurable pain imaginable. I wanted more. I needed more. Patience Bella.

As I fought to tell my mind that patience was a virtue, Edward blew his sweet, intoxicating breath across my face. I was dazed, confused, overwhelmed—dazzled.

"Bella?" Edward's velvet voice urged me out of my fuzzy state. I tried to open my mouth to respond, only to snap it shut when my mind refused to function.

"Huh…" I managed to mumble something that I though was English, but I couldn't honestly be sure if I succeeded.

"I love you."

Again, his voice rang with conviction and the all the love that he spoke of. That knowledge relaxed and yet spurred on every muscle and nerve in my body. Edward blew another gentle breath over my face causing incoherent thoughts to swirl through my mind again. I heard a soft, low whimper escape from my chest as his sweet scent assaulted me and I arched into him, closing the little distance between our unclad chests.

Edward pressed his lips to mine, not hurried and yet not patient either. My tongue darted out eager to taste him—to allow Edward to intoxicate me further. Fisting my hands more in his hair, I tried to bring his face closer to deepen the kiss. And yet, he pulled away, leaving my lips aching at the loss. Prying my eyes open, I gazed up at him through the veil of my lashes trying to discern why he pulled away. All my gaze could do though was stare at his lips and yearn for them again. I wanted to bite them, suck on them, to make them mine forever.

My confused expression was returned with only Edward's signature smile and a mischievous glint in his eyes. Before I could comprehend anything more, his touch sent me into another haze of incoherency. Edward began tracing his nose over my collarbone again, reigniting the fire deep inside. My body hummed as the adrenaline coursed through my veins, heightened further with the cool kiss placed in the hollow of my neck. That must be Edward's favorite…

His movements were torture—torture of the sweetest kind. I'd take on the weight of the world if I could live in this moment forever.

Edward traced his nose down my chest, moving it painstakingly slow between my breasts. Yet, instead of following his normal paths of earlier, Edward sent a moan escaping me as he veered left, tracing around the sensitive flesh. If I weren't already aroused, this would have sent me reeling. As it was, the wetness of my core was increasing with each action.

My body continued to hum and my breathing remained fast and shallow, pushing my lungs against my chest. I arched off the bed, crashing my body into his, as Edward's nose ran over the sensitive peak of my breast, eliciting yet another pleasurable moan.

I was lost in the pleasure, only able to comprehend Edward and I. Nothing else mattered. Not our past. Not our future. Not my family. Not his. Only us. Only right now.

Instead of continuing with his nose, Edward sent my body spiraling in ecstasy as he darted his tongue out, exploring the flesh of my breast. He traced delicate patterns with it, leaving a fiery chill in its wake. My hands were still fisted in his hair and I pulled harder as if to keep myself grounded to the earth.

Edward moved a free hand from my hip where it rested to palm the neglected breast as he continued with his tongue. The sensations together were not of this world. Indescribable. Unimaginable. Heightening every nerve and area of arousal. He squeezed the flesh, never too hard and yet never too gentle either. Every so often, he'd roll the sensitive nipple between his skilled fingers, causing whimpers to escape me and sent my body arching off the bed into his. Deeper moans left my chest as Edward took my nipple between his teeth, applying the perfect, torturous amount of pressure. It was pure and simple ecstasy.

We continued this dance of arching bodies for some time. It could have been hours or merely minutes. I couldn't tell and that was honestly the last thing on my mind. My body arched up with each pass he made over my sensitive peaks, crashing into his. We were meeting each other pleasurable moan for pleasurable moan.

Edward's actions eased slightly, allowing me to fall back upon the bed. Instead of continuing the ministrations of moments before, he placed his face upon my chest between my breasts. He pressed a single kissed on the neglected skin there before trailing more and more kisses down my torso. They were cool, sending my body tingling at the sensation. As he reached my belly button he ran his nose around the edge of it again, briefly tickling me. But I was too caught up in other thoughts and sensations to elicit much of an outward reaction.

The cool kisses continued lower and lower, egging on my excitement and anticipation as to what may happen next. I remained lying back upon my pillows, watching Edward work farther down my body through the veil of my dark lashes. I was biting my bottom lips, knowing full well it would break through the last restraints Edward held to.

Edward reacted by pressing a kiss right above the waistband of my shorts and crookedly smiling up at me, leaving goose bumps over my flesh. I answered his sensual actions by slowly running my hand though his disarrayed hair. The exchange was sensual and sweet and simple, but so utterly erotic at the same moment.

Never breaking his gaze from mine, Edward took my shorts between his teeth. Anticipation coursed through every limb and nerve. My eyelids wanted to close, but I kept them open, though hooded, to watch every action. He tugged at the fabric, pulling it from my waist. I lifted my hips slightly to help Edward remove the thin fabric. Our gaze never broke—not as he tugged more at a painstakingly slow pace. Running his hands down my now exposed legs, over my thighs and down to my calves then my ankles, Edward left trails of fire. Reaching the end, he gently lifted my legs off the bed to finally remove the currently detestable fabric.

I was there, exposed, lying open and waiting for him. The only barrier between us now was the thin fabrics of our underwear. Edward's erection was prominent behind the silky fabric slung low on his hips and my blue panties were already soaked with anticipation and want and need.

Feeling this exposed brought a deep flush to my cheeks. Yet, it wasn't truly out of embarrassment. I was Edward's and I knew I always would be—no matter time, place or distance. The blush was for everything he was to me. He is my gravity and my reason for existing. I was his—always and forever more.

A sweet and sensual smile rested on Edward's lips as he looked upon me. Slowly, he reached forward, running a single finger over the wet piece of thin fabric, pausing to place the slightest of pressure over my sensitive nub. Electricity coursed through my veins bringing me to the edge of coherency as my body rocked into the air. A deep moan escaped only to be lost in the darkness. It was bliss—my own personal heaven on earth.

Edward's finger moved from its resting place, but the sensations in my body failed to cease. A lazy smile was plastered over my lips as I allowed my body to come back down to reality from the high the simple action created. Gazing into Edward's golden eyes, I saw the slightest crinkle in the corners as a wide smile crossed his lips.

"Bella. Love. You're blushing."


A/N: I know it's still an evil place to stop, but I wasn't about ready to change that in this version.