Disclaimer: The characters of Twilight are owned by Stephenie Meyer. The content, ideas and intellectual property of this story and the 'American Vampire Series' in its entirety are owned by Just4ALE.

Chapter 23: Keeping Her Safe


Her gaze was steady, her voice soft when she asked, "What happened to me before you got me into the shower? Why was I so…"

"I had to take your fear away and make you focus on me. It was the only way they'd leave you alone. In that state, the bite leaves you… erotically charged."

"Why is that? Is it something you passed on to me when you bit me? Do vampires bite each other during...?" I had begun noticing that she had a hard time talking about sex. Despite my discomfort with this line of questioning, I found that amusing and endearing.

"No, I didn't pass it on. It was your heightened emotional state that brought it on. And, yes, we bite each other."

"Does it work on two vampires the same way that…"

I put my glass down on the counter and walked towards the living room. "Please, let's not talk about this right now, here."

She followed me into the living room. "What would happen if you bit me… during…"

"Okay, enough!" I shouted.

From my peripheral vision, I could see she was shocked. "But you said you're not thirsty," she said in a small voice.

I ghosted to the other side of the room and looked out a window, my back toward her.

"I'm not, and after this afternoon I'm more than sustained. But now I'm also well aware of what it feels and tastes like to bite you. I'm a vampire, Bella. There is a part of me that will always want you in that way."

She considered this. "Do you want me now?"

Did I want her now?


Without turning to give her warning, I ghosted back toward her and was wrapped around her.

She gasped, surprised. Her eyes were wide.

She was so soft and fragile. She was young and beautiful. She was intelligent and curious. She was sweet and naive. She was the only thing that mattered to me. Every time I had her in my arms, I felt like I was home. Carlisle was right. I would know. I could do this.

"Yes. I want you. Now."

I smiled and began unbuttoning her pajama top as I lay her gently on the rug in front of the fire.


As it was her first time, we knew that it would hurt her. The idea of harming her in anyway overwhelmed me, even though I knew that the slight pain was normal for humans. I knew then that I would never allow myself to hurt her otherwise. Alice was right: I'd keep her safe. I was as gentle as possible for her.

It was so different from all of my previous experiences. Her warmth enveloped me. Her energy escalated and sent chills through me. Her eyes were wide, full of love and trust. She was with me fully, body and soul. My body responded… and my fangs… well I managed to keep my erection up and my fangs safely tucked away. Her earlier attentiveness to my needs had allowed me to begin to learn how to make that work.

Afterward, she snuggled into the crook of my arm as we lay by the fire tangled up in the blanket I pulled off the sofa. I held her left hand in my right and ran my thumb up and down her life lines in her palm. She took a deep breath. Oh, no, here it comes.

"So… I know you don't want to talk about this…"

I breathed in and held it.

"But just a few more questions and I'll drop it for now. I just want to understand."

I exhaled slowly and smiled, shaking my head. She was too curious for her own good. "Okay, I give up."

"Is this… does doing it…"

She was having difficulty spitting it out.

"Bella, just ask."

"I'm trying!" she said, exasperated. "I can't help if I'm embarrassed to talk about this stuff."

"Embarrassed?" I asked in surprise. "After everything we've been through in the past day?" I set her hand down and let my fingers caress her up and down her bare skin. I pulled her toward me and kissed her neck. "How can you be embarrassed with me right now?" I murmured, my lips pressed to her shoulder.

"Hey," she laughed, "you're trying to distract me."

"Is it working?" I mumbled, my mouth continuing on its not so random path across her breasts.

She put her left hand to her head, clearly trying to concentrate.

"I just wanted to know if having sex this 'human' way felt okay for you," she blurted out. Then she covered her face with both hands.

I stopped suddenly. "What?"

From beneath her hands, she started to repeat the question. I grabbed her hands to look at her.

"Did it look like I wasn't enjoying myself?"

She closed her eyes, still timid.

"Bella, look at me."

She shook her head and kept her eyes closed. I decided I'd get her attention.

"Well then, if we're done talking…" I threw the blanket over my head and began to replicate Thursday night's events at my home, starting at her belly button.

She began to moan as I worked my way down. "Ungh… oh… OKAY!" she gasped. "Get back up here!"

I came back out from under the covers, grinning. "You were saying?"

She kept her eyes down as she spoke. "Well, you looked like you enjoyed it."

"Of course I did. Men really can't fake that, and as I told you before, I may not be human anymore but I am still a man." I laughed, and kissed her nose.

She looked at me and then frowned as if she suddenly remembered something. "A man who can get me pregnant."

I reached out and hugged her tightly. "No need to worry about that," I whispered in her ear. "You'll be starting your cycle in about two days." She pulled back to look me in the eyes, questioning.

I smiled and pointed to myself, mouthing the word: vampire.

"How do you know?"

"Slight hormonal changes. I also know when you last had it."

Her eyes narrowed. "Slight hormonal changes? I thought you said I tasted good."

"Okay, again, let's not remind me about how you taste," I warned. "I can just tell when you're ovulating and I know from your scent that your cycle will begin in a few days. You won't get pregnant."

"Well," she said, relaxing slightly, "I guess that's a… convenient skill to have. Built in birth control detector."

I chuckled. "So are we done with the questions?"

"No… just one more related one. I didn't really finish; I got sidetracked there."

I sighed. "Proceed."

"What I really was wondering was... if it was as good as it could have been for you. Would… biting me… during sex feel better for you?" She rushed through the next several thoughts. "Does it cause you pain not to do so, particularly if you're drawn in by the combination of scent and emotions and energy? … In the state I'm in at that point, wouldn't that make it the BEST time for you to bite me?"

I was hoping she wouldn't ask this just yet. I was barely learning how to be with her. For goodness sake, I had a will of steel, but I didn't know how much I could take.

"Okay. I'll answer this," I said gritting my teeth. "And then please drop it. At least for the rest of the weekend."

"Okay," she said in a small voice.

I rolled over to lie flat on my back, looking up at the ceiling. Taking a deep breath, I began. "I have not been with anyone physically for a long time. Yes I am a man and I have needs, but the need hasn't arisen as I've busied myself with other hobbies and distractions. A vampire coupling can be pretty rough when it is just one of those need-fulfilling things. And if you're not into that kind of 'tough love', which I've somewhat grown out of in my older age, you don't really need to do it that often. It stays with you for a while."

"I have fallen in love with a human, as unbelievable as it seems. Being in love is new to me, Bella. Being around a human in this way is new to me. I think I'm doing a pretty good job of remembering how you make me feel so that I can keep you alive." I reached for her right hand and kissed it. I continued, looking at her hand in mine.

"No, refraining from biting you when I'm inside of you doesn't cause me pain: it feels wonderful to be that close to you. I get a high just from seeing you elevate to a state you're never in and I'm thrilled that I'm the one who is able to bring you there. I'm happy to just hold you near me. I'm amazed that for some odd reason you love me back."

"Yes, without a doubt biting you while I'm making love to you would bring it to another level for me. For you too, but before you ask me to do so, I'm telling you this. We can't for now. You haven't regained enough blood back in your system from today's bite."

"Oh," she said. I could tell she was going to say something else. I continued on.

"Moreover, I won't. Even if I hadn't bitten you today, I wouldn't want to unless we're in a safe place for you. Today I was able to stop because there was a greater purpose to the action: I was trying to keep you alive and protect you from them. Here, I might not be able to stop… at least not yet."

I could feel her eyes on me as I finished speaking. I met her gaze.

"Remember… I'm learning as well. Let's take it a step at a time, okay?"

Her eyes were glistening as I finished speaking and her energy level had escalated significantly, but this time it wasn't from fear or lust. She was radiating love. I actually felt warm inside looking at her big brown eyes staring at me. She smiled and then reached out to touch my face. She pulled me to her and kissed me gently.



My phone kept beeping.

It was just after midnight and Bella had fallen asleep. I'd picked her up and moved her to the bedroom to sleep more comfortably.

I loved watching her sleep: she was fascinating. This was only my second night, but I knew I could do this for the rest of my existence. Her lips moved often, like she had something to say. I wondered when she would actually talk.

As I watched, I became lost in other thoughts. Where was this relationship destined to go? The options were few. I couldn't leave her. I was in love… and it was that permanent kind of bond that happened so rarely in our lives. For over 80 years I'd been alone. How random to find someone now. I wasn't going to let her go.

I couldn't turn her just because I wanted her. She'd have to choose that path. I wouldn't be selfish. I could only hope that she'd want to stay with me forever, but one day at a time. I wasn't going to bring it up.

Which meant I'd have to be so careful. So restrained. I felt strong enough. I'd lived this way long enough to keep it in control.

Nevertheless, while I could restrain myself from my desires, the company I sometimes kept could not necessarily be trusted to do the same. Case in point: James. He had been texting me all evening. I moved to the living room to see what he had to say. I checked the time on these messages.

5:00. James: Came by to say good-bye… decided to go to Rio and see if you changed your mind about joining me. At your house now.

5:02. James: I let myself in. Smells like you had some fun last night.

Ugh. no tact. Nothing private with that one.

6:01. James: So I went by her apartment, thinking I'd find you there.

Every swear word I knew came out of my mouth. Quietly. I didn't want to wake her. Damn him! The bastard is already trying to figure out where she lives!

6:02. James: I followed her scent, in case you were wondering. Where the hell are you?

9:25. James: Off to the airport now. Did you go on a 'date'? Movies? Dancing? I can't wait to meet the girl who has you so enamored.

James was going to be a problem. I needed him to take off to Brazil and get lost there for a while. In all of our years as 'friends', there was little that he viewed as proprietary, particularly when it came to women. What was his was his; what was mine was his.

In the past, I'd never had a problem sharing. In those early, wild years I'd mentioned to Bella, I had left Carlisle and the rest of the family to discover my true vampire nature. It was young and immature of me, but I was a rebellious teenager. It was then that I met James. We hunted humans together; I tried to justify it by going after only the evil ones who I thought didn't deserve to live.

During that time, I'd also had many lovers. James often lurked around the sidelines, waiting for his turn. The vampires we'd been with hadn't minded… it was just our way. As the years went on, my conquests were fewer and far between, but somehow, he found his way into their beds. Since I didn't feel love for them, it didn't matter.

But this was different. Now, I truly cared about someone and she wasn't a vampire. In the span of only four months, she'd become my whole world. I wasn't sharing.

I would not allow my past to ruin my future with Bella. I was going to have to proceed carefully and watch him like a hawk.

I texted him back: Away for the weekend. Sorry I missed you. Have fun in Rio. Let me know when you're back in town.

I turned off the phone for the rest of the night. And then I went back into the bedroom to hold my girl and watch her sleep.

The End

A/N: Thank you for staying with my first fiction. I appreciated all feedback/reviews. After the original posting, I found a Beta, the lovely Irritable Grizzzly, who volunteered her Beta services. Only minor edits were made… no storyline changes. Thanks IG… awesome work!

As I mentioned in the beginning, this story won two Indie TwiFic awards in the Winter '10 competition. Thank you to all those who voted for it!

If you liked this one, please go on to the sequel: Sleeps with A Vampire. And PLEASE leave a review!

Post A/N: This story all began in my head one night while thinking of the concert version of Firth of Fifth as I tried to sleep. The specific concert tour referenced can be found on You Tube. Once again, posted by jhordvar, it is listed as Genesis - Old Medley Part2. Bella's favorite part starts at 1:25.

Yes, I do really have an ice-skating routine choreographed in my head to that as per Ch. 10… hard to believe.