AN: Sorry it's been so long. Shoot me later. How could I not update on the two year anniversary of this story?


23. All We Are

Those boys drive me up the wall. If they knew just how much they drove me up the wall, they would probably get a rock wall and follow me. You know it's true. Since leaving Palais Izzy, I've had this feeling that someone was following me- not a whole bunch of someones, but that does not mean anything. The guys just could not stay away, let alone go away.

There is a clearing in the woods where flowers are always blooming and the sky is always blue. I go there to escape life any time I need to be alone. Today, however, I knew that I was being followed, and my reason for going to the clearing was that the one following me would have nowhere to hide.

As I trudged over the last part of the hill and made it into the center of the clearing, I sensed danger. The someone following me was not any of my boys. It was someone else. It was someone angry.

"It took a bit longer for me to figure out what you are, compared to others."

"Bri? What are you talking about?"

"Don't play with me, Bella. I knew there had to be a reason I was drawn to Forks. I know what you are, and I can't let you exist. You are an abomination. Sure, I was attracted to you when we met, but I sensed something was… off. And now I know what it is. You're a vampire," Bri snided. I could not believe that he had been so appealing yesterday.

"You're wrong."

"Am I? Certainly, you're not a full vampire. You're different from the others- your family, the strangers who have just arrived here, and the humans you surround yourself with. You are like a… blend, Bella. Half-n-half. But even so, I can't let you live. I will get rid of you, and then I will take care of your family. Sad you did not get to say goodbye."

With this, all-around-nice-guy Brice, lunged at me with a stake. Really, a stake? Did he think this was a movie or something? Hell.

"What are you doing?" I screamed as I jumped over him.

"Killing you. I am sorry, Bella. I thought you were really nice when we met. But I cannot turn my back on my destiny."

"Your destiny?"

"I kill vampires," he drawled out. It sounded like a line right out of a movie. Heck, maybe we were in a movie.

He lunged at me with the stake and I looked at him and closed my eyes. Maybe it was better this way. The world would be rid of one more monster, but I couldn't let him kill my family. Then, it occurred to me. He was trying to kill me with a stake. He had probably never killed a vampire in his life.

"Have you ever actually killed a vampire?"

"Well, I thought I got close once," he blushed.

"Look, Bri-"

"You don't get to call me that anymore. It's Brice to you."

"Okay. Brice, we both know you have never killed a vampire. We both know you are not going to start now. If I was you, I would go back to Texas. I won't kill you, but I know some real vampires who will. I would leave now before they find out that you tried to kill me."

He looked at me and shook his head. "Someone has to kill you."

"She kills herself every day," a menacing voice said.

Brice and I looked toward the edge of the clearing and Edward appeared. It had started raining, and the water dripping from Edward's hair made him look… beautiful.

"Look… man… my fight it not with you. Leave me alone," Brice grimaced.

"You have ten minutes to get out of Forks. If I still smell your dirty existence at the end of that ten minutes, I will find myself not needing to hunt today," Edward ground the words out and spat anger.

Brice ran. That was the last time I ever saw him.

"Are you okay?" There was resentment in Edward's voice, but his eyes showed concern I hadn't seen before.

"I was okay before you even got here."

"I know." I was shocked that he was so willing to let that go. What had gotten into him? Two weeks ago he would have sat in the corner of the clearing and hoped that Brice got a good lunge at me. Now, he was threatening his cover in Forks to save me. We both knew I was in no danger with that stake, but being threatened makes one feel threatened.

"It's raining," Edward whispered. He took a step closer.

"It always does." He took another step towards me. I took a small step back.

"It's cold." More steps forward.

"It always is." He was a foot away now. He looked down and closed the distance between us. He smelled so good in the rain. I wanted to run, but I couldn't. Edward looked up at me and his eyes were intense.

"Where are all the guys," I rasped out. It was getting hard for me to breathe.

"Not here," he whispered in my ear. By now my head was spinning. Edward Volturi's lips were one inch away from mine.

"Are they following you?" I could barely hear my own words.

"No."

Edward brushed his lips along mine and I would swear a current of electricity shot through my whole body. He moved his hands to my sides and pulled me to him. I looked into his eyes as his lips came back on mine. My mind was reeling and I couldn't stop myself.

My hands were in his hair. His hands were on my back. My hands were on his chest. His hands were pulling me closer. He kissed me fiercly, and I understood he was saying he was sorry. Words he wouldn't express aloud were coming across loud and clear.

I could not believe Edward Volturi was kissing me. What did this mean? Did it mean anything? Was he just playing with me? Secretly, I hoped not.

He pulled away slowly and spoke onto my lips, "We're even."

Before I could open my eyes, he was gone. I was sure it was a dream. It had to be. Edward Volturi did not feel that way about me. He couldn't. He hated me. He didn't understand me. How was it, then, that my lips were still blazing with passion? Was he as affected by the kiss as I was?

He was right, too. We were finally even. Of course, he didn't save my life in so many words. I was never in any danger, but he did get rid of an annoying thorn in my side. That was as important to me as Edward's life was to him.

I ran home, and as I ran I made the decision that I would ignore Edward Volturi. It was too much to believe that he would feel that way about me, and as much as I didn't want to admit it to myself, Edward had broken down some of my walls, and I couldn't put them back up. "He can't do this to me. He can't," I whispered.

What did I feel for Edward, anyways? Did I… love him?

No.

Did I? There was no way. He was a jerk. He had women all over him. I couldn't share him. I wouldn't. Maybe he knew how I felt about him. Maybe he was secretly making fun of me. I couldn't take that rejection.

So I would avoid him. It wouldn't be that hard. I did not have any classes with him today. I doubted he would try to talk to me.

"Bella, why have you been touching your lips like that all hour?"

I hadn't even noticed I had been doing that. Jessica had caught me off guard.

"I don't know," I lied. She looked like she didn't believe me. I was a terrible liar. To be truthful, I had not been able to stop reliving the kiss. Edward's hands felt like they were still on me, but he was probably on the other side of the school.

In art class, I drew Edward's eyes. One of them was evil. One of them was how he had looked at me this morning. I couldn't pull my mind away from his touch. He had infected me like some kind of disease which had no cure. I was falling for him. I knew I had to be. So this was what love felt like. Why did it feel so sickening? Was it because I knew he would never feel the same for me?

I dreaded walking into lunch, as you can imagine. Then, it occurred to me. I am Bella. Izzy. I can't let anyone see my weaknesses. I decided to be bold. That lunch table with five was about to have six. I would ignore Edward and act as if nothing had happened between us while maintaining my breezy attitude with the others.

Why was I so afraid?

"Hey guys," I said as I took my spot beside Alec and Emmett.

"Bella!" Alec and Emmett grabbed me up in a big hug.

"A Bella sandwich," Felix commented.

"How long are you guys planning on sticking around?" I secretly hoped they would stay, which went against everything I had said to them these past few days. It is amazing what one kiss from Edward Volturi can do to a person.

"What's this? I thought you were ready for us to leave," Phil said as he approached the lunch table, followed by Rein, who smiled slowly, sadly.

"You're drawing attention to yourselves," I commented.

It was surprising that none of them seemed to know what had occurred earlier this morning. No one mentioned the Brice thing, and no one teased me about Edward. It made sense that Edward would want to keep our encounter secret. He probably regretted the whole thing.

"Bella?"

There I was, again, staring into space, but this time it wasn't empty. Edward was smirking at me as I stared at him. I lowered my fingers away from my lips, and the fire in my body was not just from embarrassment. Edward's eyes twinkled, and the room started spinning.

"Earth to Bella!"

I got up and ran where no boys can follow.

The bathroom stall was closing in on me, just like my life had been doing all day.

I gripped the walls and cried. Rose and Alice had skipped today. They usually made me feel better when life made me cry. I was alone today-all alone in a blue, paint-chipping stall.

I stayed there until the last bell rang.

It shouldn't have surprised me when I opened the bathroom door and my boys were waiting for me.

"Any particular reason you decided to sit in the boy's bathroom all day, Bella?"

I had to think quickly. To be honest, the blue stall should have been a giveaway, along with the bad smell. "Well, Emmy, the girl's bathroom is full of gossiping tramps." He chuckled. I'm a bad liar. They knew as well as I did that the fact I was in the gender opposite bathroom was news to me.

"What's wrong with you today?" Jasper asked. "I am sensing turmoil, anger, and fear."

I caught Edward's eye. "Well, you know- I'm just tired." None of them believed me. Can you imagine?

"Bella is just a little confused as to what we are doing here," Edward offered. I looked at him and he winked. WINKED! Was he just playing with my head? His crooked smile told me he was enjoying watching me squirm.

"Where are Aro and the others?"

"Around," Felix responded.

"I gotta go," I said, and I brushed past the boys, the love of my life, and the girl's bathroom.

Did I really call Edward the love of my life? Was he? Could he be? He would never think of me that way.

EdwardPOV

I could tell Bella was shaken by my kissing her this morning. It was amazing kissing Bella. I knew I had to try it. I had made a pact with myself before I set off to find her. I would see if she had feelings for me, and if she did I would kiss her. I didn't know she would attack me. The thought made me smile.

"Edward, what is going on with Bella?" Jasper waited until the guys were out of hearing distance before questioning me.

"I don't know why you would ask me, Jasper."

"Because I think you have something to do with it," he smiled.

"You're wrong."

"Am I?"

I stopped walking and Jasper followed my lead. "I don't know what is wrong with Bella."

"You're lying," he drawled, still smiling.

"Yes, I am."

JasperPOV

"Just promise you won't hurt her. We all know she can't take much more rejection."

"How can I reject her when I think I love her, Jasper?"

I knew it.

BellaPOV

"Bella, honey, are you sure you don't want to go with us? I feel terrible leaving you home when you just got back," Esme sighed. She and Carlisle were going to meet up with Rose and Alice and go hunting until tomorrow evening.

"I'm sure. I have to catch up on everything I have missed since I was away." At the mention of this, Carlisle and Esme exchanged a look, but they let it go. "You guys have fun and kill a mountain lion for me," I joked. They still looked like they wanted me to change my mind, but I wasn't going to. I needed some quiet time to think about Edward.

When midnight was approaching, there was a knock on the downstairs window. At first, I thought it was just a tree knocking against the pane, but when I heard my name called, I knew I had a visitor.

I was only wearing a t-shirt. I blushed when I thought about the night I was sleeping in Edward's room at the mansion and couldn't get comfortable. I went through his drawers until I found this shirt. I hadn't realized until this night that I had packed it. But whoever was visiting me tonight wouldn't know that, so I went to the window.

"Hello?" No one was out there. I went to the door and opened it. "Hello, who is it?"

"Can I come in?" It was Edward. I couldn't see him, but I would know that voice anywhere. It was soothing to me, even when he was angry or being sarcastic with me. He was my weakness.

"Sure."

He stepped out of the shadow and into the house. I hadn't turned on a light, seeing as I didn't really need one. I went to flip the switch when Edward's hand stopped mine. I turned it on with my other hand.

"Nice shirt," he laughed. I blushed. I had forgotten about that.

"I can explain."

"You don't need to," he said seriously.

"What do you want with me, Edward?" He chuckled and I rephrased, "What are we doing? What is this?"

"Bella-"

"Why are you messing with my head?"

"Bella-"

"Is there a reason you like torturing me? Can't you leave me alone?"

"No, Bella. I can't leave you alone," he whispered.

"Why did you kiss me?" I pleaded.

"I wanted to know what it was like."

"Great, did you enjoy yourself, then? Was it just like a roller coaster?" I was on the verge of tears. How could someone be so cruel? And yet, I didn't care. As long as he was near me I didn't care if he loved me or hated me. I looked down.

Edward put his fingers under my chin, and closed the distance between us as he lifted my head. "Look at me."

"Why?"

"Bella, I have been trying to stay away from you. I have. You are stubborn, enclosed, and irresistible. You have no idea what you do to the people you meet. You're infuriating. You make me angrier than anyone-"

"Then just leave," I said.

He looked resentful. "I can't. I can't leave you because you saved my life and I don't know why. I can't leave because I don't want you to be close to anyone else. I can't leave you, Bella, because I think I am falling in love with you," he said this angrily.

"I'm glad that makes you so happy," I yelled sarcastically.

"I hate that I love you, Bella, but that doesn't change the fact that I do."

"So where do we go from here, huh? You stay mad at me and kiss me whenever you want to, holding me by a string, like a yoyo for when you need me-"

"Bella, shut up," he whispered exasperatedly, holding my gaze in his intense one.

"Okay."

"I'm going to kiss you, now. Do you think you can handle that for just a minute?"

"No"

"Too bad," he growled. With that, he had his lips on mine, his hands on my hips. I felt electricity again. He was slowly backing me up against the wall of our living room, cornering me. He removed his lips from mine and kissed my chin, sending chills down my spine. I wasn't going to let him win that easily.

I pushed him off me, and when he looked like he was going to come back, I ran at him and knocked him down. "That is for hating me." When he jumped back up, I walked him against the couch and kissed him. "That is for loving me."

He turned us around and kissed my forehead. "That is for saving my life." He picked me up and gave me an angry look before walking me into the kitchen. He kissed me fiercly and angrily. "That is for thinking Rein can kiss you and I will be okay with it."

Then he took my hand and kissed his way up my arm. "Do you love me?"

"Yes," I whispered.

He looked into my eyes and kissed me softly. We closed our eyes together and the room started spinning. "Then that is for loving me back."

"Are we going to tell the guys? Because I don't think we should. They would tease me to no end if they knew we were together-"

"Are we together?" I was hurt by that, but he added, "Because I want us to be."

"So we won't tell the guys?"

He looked me over. "We won't tell the guys until you're ready."

"Okay," I said, relieved.

"Can I kiss you again?"

"You don't have to ask," I said, pulling him towards me.

"I hate you, you know."

"I hate you, too, Edward."

"Then why are you so happy?" He chuckled.

"Because I love you more."

"Me too."


AN: Thank you for sticking with me. Review.

~Sylvia~