Disclaimer: Twilight and all of its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. The plot is mine…
A/N: Short, but slightly longer than the previous chapters. Again, I liked the ending too much. Reviewers get a preview.
Chapter 26: Hypocrisies
"Pins and Needles" –Billy Talent
Even when she was defensive,
It just gave me more incentive
The more you squeeze, the more it slips away
"You know, we haven't actually kissed," he mumbled into my hair once my tears had dried up. I kept my face buried in his shirt, trying to smother my blush.
"Well," I sniffed, "not in that way, but you have…"
"I have what?" I could hear the grin in his voice.
"You've…kissed my hand," I finished lamely.
I could feel his body shake with silent laughter and although I was embarrassed, I couldn't help but smile a little. A part of me recognized that I had probably overstayed my welcome in his arms, but I couldn't bring myself to let go.
"So where do you want to start? We've got a lot to talk about."
"Do we?" I mumbled, feigning disinterest.
"I'm from a parallel universe and you're a vampire. I'm pretty sure that's it."
Although there are many questions I would like to ask him about his life, I really don't want to extend the same courtesy.
"As much as I'd love to continue running around making assumptions and acting on hearsay, I really think it's time we just bring everything out into the open."
"Fine," I reluctantly agreed, too tired to argue. "But can we do this somewhere else?" I asked, pulling out of his embrace.
His fingers trailed across my arm, eliciting shivers that weren't just from the cold.
As I began to back away, his hand slipped from my arm, but quickly moved to grasp mine. I glanced down at our joined hands and then back up at him in question, but he only smiled.
He led us to my truck and as we passed a stray person staggering drunkenly before spewing vomit in someone's flower bed, I wondered if I looked that pathetic. When Edward asked for my keys, I gave them up without protest. Although I was far from inebriated now, I had no desire to argue with him over something as unimportant as driving.
He was silent as he drove and I spent my time watching his hands—how the left held the steering wheel in a gentle grasp that belied its firmness and the way his right hand would wrap around the gear shift, interchanging between pushing forward and pulling back.
Pushing forward always ends in having to pull back.
I stepped through the front door, trying not to notice how dark and barren the house seems, especially with my presence. Moving methodically, I climbed the stairs to my room, not surprised to see him following closely behind.
I paused just inside the doorway, struck by the scene—my old bedspread that really wasn't, the rocking chair sitting stoically in the corner—and how terribly innocent it all felt. My skin felt dirty, but not from being pushed down onto the ground. For a moment it was as if I could still feel that creep's hands grabbing at me.
"Mind if I take a quick shower?" I asked quietly. I grimaced at his nod of understanding.
I slid passed him when he shifted from the doorway and tried not dwell on what would be waiting for me when I returned. He was clearly determined to get some answers and it would only cause me more grief if I kept thinking about it.
I locked the bathroom door, despite knowing Edward would never try to sneak in here and that it would be useless if he actually wanted to. Yet, I embraced this false sense of security as I anxiously shed my clothes and waited for the water to warm up.
A sort of madness set in as I scrubbed my body, desperate to remove the imaginary itch I felt when I recalled his groping. My hands were tired and pruned by the time I stepped out and it was only then that I realized I had forgotten my clothes.
I sighed in exasperation, even more annoyed at myself. I expected an awkward and embarrassing conversation waiting for me when I entered my room in a towel, but was shocked to find him curiously missing.
Regardless of his absence, I dressed quickly and was only slightly surprised to find him sitting in the rocking chair when I turned away from my dresser.
"Where have you been?"
"I noticed you had forgotten your clothes and I figured I would give you some privacy."
An awkward silence settled in and I interchanged between glancing at him and staring at a loose thread in my sweats. Recognizing my unwillingness to begin, Edward broke the silence.
"Tell me about your world."
I stared at the thread for another moment before steeling myself to speak.
"It's mostly the same, I think. Well, except for the people. Charlie is alive in my world and I live with him…" I trailed off.
I knew he must have wanted me to reveal more with that question, so I quickly asked one of my own.
"How old are you?" I asked, but before he could answer, I quickly interjected, "And if you say seventeen, I'm not going to answer any of your questions."
He raised an eyebrow, but seemed more amused than anything by my condition.
"I was seventeen when I became a vampire in 1917. You can do the math for yourself."
I hummed at the information and at his questioning glance, hastened to explain.
"You're a year older than the Edward from my world."
"I know. You're practically an old geezer," I smiled.
The upturn of his lips seemed to slip at my mention of the Edward from my world and I wondered if maybe I shouldn't have. He surprised me by changing the subject to my life before Forks, which I didn't have a problem discussing. He had a hard time accepting my reason for moving in with Charlie, most likely having trouble rationalizing the differences between my life and Izzy's.
Eventually the questions began to venture down a more dangerous avenue, so I quickly changed the subject.
"Rosalie said you drink human blood," I blurted, regretting my lack of tact as his expression grew colder.
"Yes," he confirmed, his jaw clenched.
"The rest of your family…they drink animal blood, don't they?"
His eyes narrowed, but he nodded.
I was imagining it now—his powerful hands holding a poor unsuspecting woman as his teeth sink into her neck, her screams muffled as her body goes limp, and his lips smeared with her blood.
"But…how could you?" I asked softly.
"I do what I have to," he replied tersely, avoiding eye contact.
"Have you tried…?" I trailed off as he turned to glare at me.
"Of course I've tried," he snapped. "Animal blood just isn't the same. Doesn't sustain me."
He stood up from the chair and I flinched as it rocked back to the floor with a thump. I chewed on my lip, watching him pace to the window and back.
"But the Edward from my world—"
"Let me guess," he cut me off. "He was just fine living on animal blood. A real model citizen."
I opened my mouth to say…well...something, anything really, but he wasn't finished.
"Well, you know what? I'm not perfect. And you have no room to judge. Especially not after your behavior tonight."
"Are you really comparing drinking alcohol to drinking human blood?" I asked incredulously.
"I drink human blood to survive. What's your excuse? A teenage crush that wasn't reciprocated?" he laughed.
I had endured many cruel words from him, most of which I probably deserved, but I couldn't stand listening to him belittle my feelings. Not about this.
"I loved him!" I yelled angrily. Now standing right in front of him, I matched his cold gaze with mine. "I would have died for him. He might not have loved me, but don't you dare—"
The words died on my tongue as he grabbed my upper arms roughly and for one brief moment, I wondered if he was going to do it—if he was finally going to bite me.
I gasped in shock as his lips descended on mine, his mouth quickly swallowing the sound. This kiss was unlike the ones I had shared with my Edward, lacking the care and precision one would use when handling glass. I could barely keep my head up as the force of his mouth bent it almost painfully back and I felt dizzy, realizing detachedly that he was smothering me with the soft pillows of his lips.
Only when my knees began to buckle slightly did he stop, releasing my mouth but maintaining his hold on my arms. Touching my lips, I stared at him in wide-eyed surprise, while his gaze stayed dark and unrepentant.
When my hand fell away, his mouth was back in a movement so fast that I gasped again. He used this to his advantage and I felt his tongue slip between my lips. I groaned as his tongue swept through my mouth, probing and tasting so thoroughly it made my knees go weak.
It had never been like this—raw and selfish with him just taking, taking, taking. Maybe it was wrong, so very wrong, but I didn't think I would be able to stop this and even if I could…
I wasn't sure I wanted to.
Wave after wave of heat flowed through my body as his hand fisted in my hair, just shy of yanking out the captured strands.
I was passed the point of logic, finally sliding my own hands around his neck and shivering at the dichotomy of his skin, how its icy temperature only made me feel warmer. I moved them further up into his hair, curling my fingers into claws and pulling just as hard as he had.
The rumble that began in his chest seemed to travel from our joined lips to my toes, eliciting another shiver of pleasure. Wanting to recreate the experience, I yanked again.
As another growl slipped out, his grip tightened and I found myself falling back onto the bed. He hovered over me, one of his hands sliding up my thighs and one of his knees moving between my legs. I gasped when his knee shifted a bit, rubbing me through my pajama pants.
My eyes slipped shut for only a moment, but once they did, everything stopped.
When I opened them, he was gone.
With no one there for me
It took too long to see her in misery
A/N: Sweet Relief has been nominated for Most Original Story in the Rare Gem Awards. If you like this story, please show your support by voting: http:/thesparkleteerawards(dot)blogspot(dot)com/p/voting(dot)html