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No need for a summary. You know where we left off.

Characters are not mine.

Chapter 7: Falling

EPOVf

"Do you know what you are doing, Edward?" Carlisle asked cautiously.

"Honestly, no." At his raised eyebrow, I scrambled for a justification. "But it was clear that she was forming her own opinions, so I didn't think it could hurt to talk with her."

"Yes, and I think I agree," he said. Then he paused, steepling his index fingers and resting his chin on the point. "The others seem to think there is more to the story."

I knew that was coming. It had been on all their minds.

"I can't deny that a certain chemistry exists, but you already knew that."

"How far are you willing to take this, Edward? It appears you have control of your senses in her presence at this point, but there are still risks."

"I realize that, and I don't know. I don't really have a plan."

He nodded slowly. "Perhaps, you should."

He was right. I was flying blind, and that wasn't a good idea. The problem was I didn't know what I wanted anymore. Seventy five percent of the time, I was still convinced I should leave. It was the most logical thing. I'd already been pondering it, and I was sure we could come up with a reason—attending a gifted school or something like that. I could spend a few years on my own and then re-evaluate when everyone else was ready to move on from Forks.

Then there was the other twenty five percent. I didn't know a damned thing about this girl, but she set me on fire. After a century on ice the thaw was almost painful. Almost. For days, I didn't know if I was strong enough not to kill her; now I didn't know if I was strong enough to walk away. Each morning, I found myself thinking, "Just one more day."

And the days added up to weeks. We met in the library for lunch daily. We continued to talk in biology. I learned the back story on why she'd moved to Forks.

"It was time to give my mom and Phil some space," she stated matter-of-factly.

"And you don't resent it?"

"Nah, I know it was a little hard on her all these years. She loves me like crazy, but she's such a free spirit and having a kid doesn't exactly jive with that lifestyle. I can't be mad at her for being who she is. And anyway, I'm who I am because of her."

"How so?" I wasn't used to conversations in which I didn't already know the answers to the questions I posed. I enjoyed the process of probing immensely.

"Well, I'm pretty much never afraid to try something new. When you live with Renee, there's no such thing as fear."

"And that's a good thing?"

"Sure. I mean life's too short to live afraid of your own shadow right?"

"Sometimes fear is merely instinctual and for good reason."

She shrugged me off. "Yeah, and that's the counter part. Being around her also gave me a level of maturity that I don't see in many of my classmates. I just don't care about typical teenager issues."

"I've noticed."

"You don't either."

"No."

"I guess we're a couple of atypical teenagers then, huh?"

"You could say that," I said chuckling.

I was guarded in what I told her about me. Obviously, I had to stay close the story we'd crafted for public consumption. I hated that underlying every conversation, some lie existed, but I tried to remain true to myself. Things like hobbies, the way I felt about my family, and types of books I enjoyed were all very true. For some insane reason, despite everything I could never reveal, I wanted her to know me, the real me.

I couldn't explain what was happening, but I liked her. When I was with her, I was happier than I could remember being in a very long time. I was certain I'd never been this captivated by an individual—human or vampire.

I couldn't say that my mood improved when I was away from her. In fact, I was positively sullen at home. I didn't know what to say to my family, so I said very little. I had no idea how to label what I was feeling for her. And I wasn't sure I wanted to. I knew there was no future for us. One of the primary reasons people foster relationships is because they see potential. What kind of potential did a relationship have when one was the natural prey of the other? It simply didn't make sense.

Still, those two hours a day became sacred to me. For the first time since being turned, I came to loathe sunny days because they meant I couldn't go to school, and I couldn't have been more grateful that it was a particularly dismal month in the Pacific Northwest.

Every day, we found an excuse to touch. Sometimes, we held hands under the table.

"Do you think it will ever stop?" She asked one day in the library. The tips of our fingers pressing up against each other across a small table.

"I don't know," I answered honestly.

"Do you think it's because you're so cold?"

"Maybe, but I don't think that's all of it."

"Do you ever wonder what it would be like if we kissed?"

My breath caught. I didn't need it anyway, but it was habit. How much did I want to reveal? The honest answer was every single second of every fucking minute in every god damned day. I ached for it. But I hadn't even admitted that to myself yet, so I definitely wasn't ready to tell her.

"On occasion," I acknowledged .

She moved her fingers slightly causing the current to shift. I moaned in a voice she couldn't hear.

"Do you think we could try?" she hedged. Panic must have been apparent, though I tried to remain calm because she answered by trying to assuage a typical teenage boy's fear. "I . . . well . . . We can just mess around. It doesn't have to mean anything."

I captured her hand in mind and threaded my fingers through hers. She was looking down at the table. Her eyes shifted up to mine. "I mean . . . unless you wanted it to mean something. I'm okay either way."

Teenaged boys never got it. Hell, grown men missed it most of the time. Insecurity influenced the actions of women and girls throughout history. Insecurity was the parasite that fed from the depressed, the drug addicts, and the desperate young adults who just wanted to be loved. Insecurity was also what drove Rose into the arms of a monster.

Oh hell I couldn't do this. I shouldn't do this. I willed myself to consider the logical seventy five percent. To tell her no. To remind her I was no good for her. To walk away and never come back.

But because I was no good, I didn't say or do the right thing. Her insecurity filled eyes were my Achilles' heel. I was staring that them when I asked, "Are you free on Saturday?"

"Not anymore," she responded.

Thursday and Friday breezed by. I went hunting with Jasper and Emmett on Friday night in preparation. They were both cautious but supportive. Their positions reflective of their mates' perceptions.

"So, what is you see in her?" Emmett came out and asked after we'd gorged ourselves. "I mean she's pretty and everything, but she doesn't stand out to me."

"I don't think I can explain it. I feel very connected to her."

"Do you think the fact that you can't hear her has something to do with it?" Jasper contemplated. "I would think that would be refreshing for you."

I nodded. "I'm sure it does, but it's all chicken and egg at this point." While I was certain her quiet mind was essential to the initial attraction, in the time we'd spent together, I'd come to believe, hers was one to which I wouldn't mind having access

"Has she made any other observations?" Emmett wondered.

"Did Rosalie set you up on that one?" I figured she would be very concerned about Bella's assessments.

He lifted his shoulders and smirked.

"Not that I know of, but I haven't read her notebook lately. She hasn't been asking any questions like that. Our conversations would feel very normal to a human, I think."

"Even the part where you are lying through your teeth?" Emmett laughed.

"Especially that part," I retorted. "Since when is honesty central to a human conversation?"

"How do you feel about lying to her?" Jasper asked. I had a feeling the question was rhetorical. It wasn't as if he weren't already acutely aware of my emotional state at all times.

"I don't have a choice. It's either lie or leave." And I didn't like either one of those options.

"Rose thinks you'll kill her tomorrow," Emmett admitted.

"Alice is fairly certain you won't," Jasper added.

"That puts the odds in my favor now doesn't it?"

"Either way, I'd say," Emmett teased. But I didn't think it was a laughing matter.

Bella agreed to spend the afternoon together. She preferred it actually. Said her father would be gone fishing most of the day, and it was easier to get out of the house that way rather than in the evening.

Originally, I suggested heading out of town—maybe to see a movie in Port Angeles, but she looked disappointed. Then embarrassed when she said she'd hoped for more privacy. Perhaps, I took that too literally.

I told her to wear comfortable shoes, and checked the weather. Cloudy, but little rain expected. Perfect.

She'd clearly been watching for me out the window because she came out of the house the minute I pulled up. I exited my car to greet her, touching her lightly on the elbow to guide her toward the passenger door. Her sigh told me she still felt it. And I hoped she wanted more because I planned to be in contact with her often throughout the day.

She hadn't mentioned kissing, but the way she licked her lips told me it was on her mind.

She was dressed casually. Jeans and a long sleeved grayish blue t-shirt. Her hair was pulled back into a pony tail, and her face was clean of any make up. The unpretentiousness excited me.

"So where are we going?"

"Hiking?" I asked checking whether she would be in agreement.

"I'm not all that coordinated."

"It's okay. I am."

"Any particular destination?"

"A secluded little place I found."

"How secluded?"

"Are you afraid?"

"No . . ." she said hesitantly. "I'm just . . . My dad would want me to consider safety. There are . . . lots of things . . . that could happen when you're alone in the forest."

It took me a moment to assess her answer. I didn't see fear in her eyes, but her heart rate sped slightly, and she fidgeted with the zipper on her jacket. For an instant, I thought maybe her instincts about me had finally kicked in. If it hadn't been for the slightly anticipatory tone of her last few words and the way she shifted in her seat, I might have missed the meaning altogether. After all, vampires don't worry about things like unprotected sex.

The thought hadn't seriously crossed my mind. I was still worried about a potential kiss, and the girl was implying I might have her naked beneath me today. The scintillating scent that nearly resulted in her death the first day I met her slammed back into me with a ferocity that hadn't been there in a couple of weeks.

A vision of biting into her jugular as I thrust inside her forced me to stop breathing. My phone buzzed in my pocket. I knew it was Alice. I couldn't ignore it.

I looked at Bella who appeared confused.

"Do you need one of us nearby?" Alice asked when I picked up the phone.

"No, it's fine." The thought of any of them watching, listening. I knew what that felt like, and I didn't want to be in that position.

"Be careful, Edward. I'd say stay away from those thoughts again, eh?" She laughed, so I assumed she felt some confidence. "Seriously, I could trail you."

"I know," I glanced at Bella who was looking out the window. "Thank you."

"Who was that?" Bella asked.

"Alice." She knew about my siblings from our conversations and because it was a small school, but she'd yet to have any interaction with them.

"Does she always check up on your dates?"

"I don't date."

"Then what is this?"

"What would you like to call it?" I didn't think she'd like it if I'd answered, 'an experiment.'

"I suppose I did leave it open to interpretation, didn't I?" I didn't miss the hint of disappointment in her voice. "So, I guess you never really answered. Will I be safe with you?"

"Do you want to be?"

"I haven't decided yet."

"Ditto."

She bit her lip and rubbed her hands on her jeans.

As we walked the trail, I had to go slowly, and it was frustrating, but I could see her putting forth effort to keep up with me, and she issued no complaints, so I didn't either. We hiked to a small clearing I'd found when we first moved here. Too far from trails for there to be other hikers. She wanted privacy. It didn't get much more private than this.

"Wow, this is beautiful," she said surveying the area.

"I agree." I walked up behind her and touched her shoulders. Full palms. It was the most contact we'd experienced. She gasped and then sighed.

"Everything about this is different from hiking in Phoenix."

"I imagine the scenery is a world apart." I paused trying to be subtle. "Did you do a lot of hiking there?" My emphasis on the word hiking was an innuendo, one I wasn't sure she would get, but she'd proven herself quite perceptive.

"Are you asking me if I went on a lot of dates? Not that this is a date of course."

I leaned in closer and breathed into her ear. "Yes."

"Not a lot, no."

I ran my hands from her shoulders down to her hands, slowly letting the heat between us take over her whole arm. I knew better than to breathe.

"What did you typically do on your dates?"

I trailed my fingers back up. When I got to the spot where her collar bone met her neck, I let my fingers dip into the soft spot, kneading softly. I paused. Almost expecting to feel my phone buzz again. I was pushing my luck, with her neck completely exposed. I swiftly removed the band holding her hair captive, freeing it to cascade around her neck, creating a visible barrier. I fisted my hands in the hair near her scalp and began massaging.

"Oh you know. A little of this. A little of that." She was acting calm but her heart raced, and her breath quickened.

She leaned back against me, putting our bodies completely in contact. I let my fingers fall out of her hair and traced a path around her face. A circle first, then a figure eight. Slowly. Only a hint of icey hot touch. Soft vowels escaped her mouth, indicating her desire.

My own resolve was wilting. I wasn't worried about draining her; rather, I feared taking her like an animal here in the in the middle of nowhere with no other living creature prepared to save her from the force of my body crashing into hers.

But I couldn't stop. Didn't want to stop.

My finger outlined her lips, and her tongue darted out to taste. I groaned when the wet tip met my skin.

I pulled my hand back. And waited. I needed to recover. To decide what I could handle.

"Can I see you?" she asked, pleading.

I let go and took a step back, freeing her to turn around. She didn't hesitate. She spun, and we stood, eyes locked on each other.

She moved in slowly with her head lifted up toward me.

"Go slow," I hissed. Still not sure what I might do. She rocked back on one foot, hesitating. Her fingers reached my chest first. Just the tips. They hovered there for a minute before flattening out. I watched shock turn to pleasure as she adjusted to the same full contact I'd just experienced..

"Why are you holding your breath?" she asked.

I exhaled for show, though there was really no air left. And I kissed her.

It was a defensive move, meant to distract her from the fact that I wasn't inhaling.

I hadn't felt a human's lips on mine since 1918, and those were my mother's, so it hardly qualified.

I tried to think of everything soft I'd ever felt—feathers, fur, cotton balls. Nothing compared. Not even in the same ballpark.

No movement, just locked lips. She yielded first. Parting her lips slightly to breathe. I felt the air coming from her mouth, and my tongue reached out to taste it. She took it as an invitation to her own, and she met me half way.

The fireworks boomed. The starts shined. I swear I swooned.

As our lips collided, hands explored. Under shirts, up backs, and along waists. My eyes were closed; I couldn't look without seeing veins and beating pulse points.

All those stupid movies and ridiculous novels. I finally got it. The idea of getting swept away. We could go too far. The consequences would be worse than the unwanted pregnancy or STD a normal teenager would fear.

My face grew warmer, and I reveled in it. I wondered when she's placed her hand on my cheek. I leaned into but felt nothing.

And suddenly everything stopped, and she asked, "What the hell was that?"

My eyes flew open, and I realized the warmth hadn't been a hand at all, but a single passing ray of sun, now tucked back under its cloud blanket.

"Nothing," I lied. My response was instinctual and calculated at the same time.

"I swear to god that was not nothing. What are you?"

And that as they say was that. That question made my decision. The phrasing of that question told me her curiosity hadn't subsided. I aimed for diversionary tactics.

"What do you mean?" I asked with a raised eyebrow. Her eyes narrowed in concentration, and she paused before continuing.

"You're not human," she said softly. "What are you?" she repeated.

I could have asked her to elaborate, but I had a feeling the theories she was processing were closer to the truth that I'd be comfortable denying. I could have laughed at her, and told her she was being insane, but that wouldn't have been fair, and it would have completely insulted her intelligence.

I was going to have to leave.

And it was going to hurt.

I closed my eyes, and inhaled her scent. I didn't want this to end. I wasn't done with her yet.

"Just for today, can you pretend I'm just like you?" I whispered. Her answer didn't come quickly.

"And if I can't?"

"The date would have to end right now."

"Not a date, remember?"

"Bella." My tone was near desperate. She had to hear it. There was more silence as she weighed the decision facing her.

"Just for today, Edward."

That was all we had anyway.

E/N:

Need to thank homonster4 as always with a special note about the ideas she's been giving me. So many inspirations on this one. And thanks to jackbauer/staceygirl for her advanced reaction.

Now, I know you are all busy with summer and reading all that fabulous fic that has been rocking my world lately, but if you have time for just a small little review, I would be forever grateful.

Just one day. What would you do with Edward if you were just pretending for a day? What should bella do?

You'll have to wait to see what happens the next day as a blog chapter is coming next.