A/N: I really love your reviews. I'm not lying when I say I think you are the best.

Welcome back to the meadow. Let's see if they are as naughty as you all would be with one day.

The characters are not mine.

Chapter 5—Life is but a dream

EPOV

One day. Not even a full day. It was not nearly enough. But I dragged it out as long as I possibly could.

I had to. Because by the end of that single day, it was about more than her blood, or the way my body reacted to hers.

It was about her wit, how different she was from other humans, everything that was said, or rather wasn't, in the moments of silence between us. Oh god, the silence. It was about the way every single part of her called to every single sense of mine.

By the time I dropped her off at home, one tragic reality lay before me.

I wanted more time with her. Not once since being turned had I ever longed for time.

I couldn't identify an exact emotion, but I knew leaving had become infinitely more difficult. And absolutely necessary.

So, I had given in to that one day.

We laughed. We kissed. My hands grazed her breasts. She arched into me and moaned.

We talked. We kissed again. I lifted her shirt, and licked her nipples. She gasped and demanded more.

We shared stories. We kissed deeper and desperately. I let one hand undo her jeans and slip inside. I brought her to climax rubbing and stroking. She convulsed and cried out my name.

While she came down, I sucked lightly on her neck, and dragged my tongue back and forth along the skin that served as covering for her jugular. In the beat of a heart, I could rip the flesh and feel the rich, warm blood filling my mouth.

I groaned into her wishing I could scrape my teeth playfully across her collar bone, but as sharp as they were, even that would draw blood.

I was being an absolute shit. She still didn't know what she was pretending for. She'd accepted my request without question. She probably thought she'd get the truth tomorrow.

With the sparks that were set off by our touches, I wasn't playing fair. I doubted she could replicate that orgasm with her own hand, or anyone else's. I had a feeling if she'd touched me like that, I'd never be the same.

She wanted to try. She reached for the button of my pants, but I grabbed her wrist. She relaxed her hand into mine, but she appeared confused.

"I want to," she whispered.

And I wanted it as well. Want wasn't the problem. Or maybe it was. If I could let go of the want, I could let go of her.

I released her hand, and she slowly found her way back, but this time sensing my apprehension, she didn't try to remove any clothing. She moved slowly and rhythmically, not pushing me past my hesitation. My hips moved in time with her palm.

She grew impatient. She rubbed harder, faster. Clearly she could feel the reaction she was getting.

"Please, Edward. Let me . . ." I should have said no. I intended to say no.

But her hand was back at the button. Pulling at it. She got frustrated and swore.

I should have laughed, and told her it was a sign, but I moved her fingers gently away, and made quick work of my own button. She sighed.

Tentatively, I felt her touch inching back to my zipper, her eyes locked on mine. As slowly as she'd been moving, I didn't expect the sudden motion when she yanked it down.

I kept waiting for my phone to buzz in my pocket. Alice had to know what was going to happen if I let this continue. This couldn't be good, could it? I opened my mouth to tell her to stop.

Before I got the words out, her hand slipped past the waistband of my underwear. The tops of her fingers grazed just the tip of me, and my hips jerked. And instead of saying stop, I uttered an "Oh fuck."

Bella's eyes went wide, and she bit her lip, but she went lower, taking as much of me in her tiny grasp as she could. I exhaled, and she sighed.

"I've never done this before. Does it feel right?"

"Hell yes," I groaned.

She was unsure in her touch, but it didn't matter. The currency in our skin to skin contact made up for any hesitancy in her maneuvers. I rocked my hips into her, and it bolstered her confidence. She grabbed harder and moved faster. She owned me then. I rolled to my side more so I could take hold one of her breasts. Her hand slowed briefly while she took in the sensation, but she resumed her vigorous pace.

I had no heart to race, and no need to breathe, but I forced myself to pant knowing that was the reaction she expected. I had few ways to let her know the impact she was having, and it wouldn't be right for her to think she was ineffective.

I continued my heavy breathing and moaning, but it was no longer a calculated move. The sounds and breaths escaped my control.

With her brisk tempo, the burn built faster than expected. Small flames teased and tortured me. It was like nothing I had ever felt. The combination of our hot and cold skin and the sparks we generated quickly escalated to an inferno. She sensed my impending combustion, and held a little tighter. The slight shift in her effort ignited my explosion.

As my body shook, images flashed through my mind's eye. Bella naked. Bella underneath me. Bella bleeding. Bella dead in my arms. I gripped the ground next to me, yanking the grass out well past the root. I yelled, and shot away from her, faster than I should have. Faster than a human would have.

I heard her gasp, and I didn't care. Better scared than lifeless.

I felt the vibration in my pocket, and I pulled my phone out. One line flashed across the screen.

U won't hurt her.

I walked back into the meadow tentatively. She sat with her arms wrapped around her knees, rocking slightly back and forth. Her head snapped up when she heard the crunch of a branch.

"I'm sorry," I said, still keeping some distance between us.

"What did I do wrong?" she questioned. I shook my head slightly. I had bolted at inhuman speed and her concern was only for her performance.

"Bella, nothing was wrong. It was all too right. I just needed to get myself under control." Her brows furrowed then. She had more questions. The realization had hit her.

She looked down, and whispered, "Just for today, right?"

The questions must have been eating her alive, but she didn't voice any of them. She kept her head down.

"I've never felt like that before. I've never had anyone . . . touch me . . . that way. I just wanted you to feel like that too." When she looked back up, her eyes were wet, and I wanted to pull a tree out and throw it in frustration. I was such an asshole.

I sat down next to her, and pulled her into my arms.

"You did. Don't you ever doubt that, Bella." I kissed the top of her head and held her the rest of the afternoon.

We talked very little. We didn't need to.

We said goodbye with a single chaste kiss; she was concerned her father might be watching.

I didn't tell her I'd call her; we made no plans. I avoided the inevitable truth because I knew I couldn't handle seeing her face. I would never be strong enough to do the right thing if she begged me to stay.

I drove home, knowing some version of chaos would greet me upon arrival. I was surprised by what came first.

Rosalie was on the front porch with her head in her hands.

I knew she heard me approach, but she didn't look up. I sat down next to her.

"How soon?" The genuine concern in her tone threw me off guard.

"Tonight."

"Can't you just stay here? Stop going to school and all that, but stay at the house."

"I don't think I can be this close to her right now."

"Why not? So what if something happens? We all make mistakes."

"Rosalie, I can't do that to her. Or to Carlisle. Or myself. And that's not the only reason anymore. She's too perceptive. And I can't trust myself to stay away from her right now." There was more to it, but I wasn't ready to share it with Rosalie.

She contemplated for a minute.

"Okay, so maybe eventually?"

"I honestly don't know." We stared at each other intently for a while. I was struggling to identify her emotion. There were moments of anger, flashes of fear, but I swear I saw jealousy skirting around the edges.

"Carlisle thinks we should stay to monitor things for a while. I think we should go with you. Wipe the slate clean."

I shook my head. "It wouldn't be fair to you," I said.

"Lots of things aren't fair. I'll get over it," she insisted. "We've moved for others before."

I was surprised by her reaction. I couldn't figure out why it mattered to her.

We were the only ones who knew the truth of our history. Secrets were nearly impossible in this family, but we'd guarded this one carefully, knowing it would be misperceived.

She didn't really want me back then, and she surely didn't want me now, but we'd always balanced each other in a way. What happened between us all those years ago hadn't been about love or even sex. It had been about power and control and raw emotion.

It's why she continued to push me to the limit.

She found Emmett only weeks after it happened. She couldn't look me in the eye for a long time. I think she was afraid that she had broken my heart. I never confirmed or denied her speculation.

"I don't think I can handle being around you all right now," I hedged, hoping she wouldn't ask for a reason.

Her thoughts hurt. She was holding something back. I could hear a voice banging in her head trying to escape the prison she'd locked it in.

Yes, she hated the idea of all of us being split, even for a short time. And I could feel her anguish. She loved Emmett; that was never in question. She'd always found some strange comfort in having me at arm's length though. I couldn't say I'd ever understood it.

And then suddenly, a switch flipped, and her prisoner was free. It ran through her mind, enjoying freedom, but stumbled on its own uncertainty.

I was right. It wasn't about her want for me at all. But she wanted me to want her. To need her. She'd held some misguided hope that she had been the reason I'd never loved Tanya. Believed I might have still been pining for her.

A part of me wanted to laugh at her, but the bigger part simply felt sorry for her.

"I'm sorry." I stood up to go into the house. She grabbed my arm. "It's not forever, Rosalie."

"Promise me," she demanded silently. I nodded, and left her on the step. Tearless sobs echoing in her head. She needed time to lock the thoughts back up, to forget.

Saying goodbye to the others was easier. Alice had already prepared them that my mind was set, and in reality, they all agreed it was probably for the best at this point.

They wanted more time in this location. Carlisle loved the hospital, and there was so little sun. I wasn't going to destroy that. They saw this as a temporary necessity. I don't know why it seemed so simple. We all assumed that with me gone, Bella would simply move on. Let it go.

I vowed to keep in touch as I packed a few bags.

No one asked the question to which I didn't have an answer . . . where was I going?

I meant for my exit to follow immediately. Honestly, when I ended up in front of her house at one a.m., I couldn't remember driving there. Somewhere in the back of my mind I justified my actions—I was going to take last look at the notebook before I left.

I listened to the sounds. I had always loved the relative quiet of night. Televisions had been shut down for the night, along with the majority of thoughts. I still heard plenty. Buzzing of fans, insects chirping, dreams coming to life the in the unconscious.

The unconscious mind was a better storyteller than all the Pulitzer Prize winning authors combined; the tales took risks and altered timelines. They created characters who stole your emotions with a crook of the finger or a bat of the eye. They could be dark and disturbing one second and transform to light and joyous the next.

I could only hear one dream tonight. It didn't mean there weren't more in the vicinity. Certainly, the pages of the mind were turning in houses up and down the street. Call me a narcissist, but I stopped listening to all but the one in which I starred. It was jarring. I had no idea why I had access to her sleeping thoughts but not her waking ones, but I wasn't going to look the gift horse in the mouth.

I needed to be closer to the projector of my image. I longed to see the expression on her face as she dreamed of me.

I stole out of my car swiftly. I already knew the best way in was to climb the tree outside her window. I'd been here before, though I'd never entered.

Until tonight.

She hadn't been dreaming the other night I hovered in the tree. I wouldn't have been able to maintain my perch if she had been.

The window creaked slightly as I pushed it up. I watched for signs of recognition on Bella's part. But there were none. Once inside I stood on the floor halfway between her window and her bed.

Bella lay sprawled across it, a sheet barely draped over one thigh. T-shirt riding up, revealing skin that was meant to be grabbed in the heat of the moment. Plain white cotton panties were all she wore on the bottom. Simplicity and functionality.

She lay half on her side, with one leg moving almost imperceptibly up and down the other. Her right arm was draped across her forehead. Her lips slightly parted.

I walked closer to the picture of me her mind conjured. Bella and I were on a date. Completely unoriginal. Dinner and a movie. I almost laughed at the lack of creativity—it was exactly what I'd planned for today originally. But something was off in this mundane scene. I couldn't place it.

I listened intently to the conversation she concocted.

"So, what do you want to see?"

"I haven't even looked to see what's out."

"Genre preference?"

"You already know the answer to that."

"You like the horror."

"Always."

Her mind was processing me. It gave me some relief. Perhaps when all was said and done, she would realize the danger I represented. Her left hand suddenly reached out to nowhere in particular as she said my name out loud. "Edward."

It was then I figured out what was off. I was human in her dream. She'd darkened my skin and given my face imperfections. Two of my bottom teeth were slightly crooked, and my eyes were not yellow or red. They were green. How could she know?

I couldn't possibly tear myself way now.

Her eyes were still closed; neither her breathing nor her heart had moved into a different sleep stage, so I took the invitation along with the dream version of myself. When he took her hand, I slid into her bed, and lay on my side, watching her.

"What is it about the genre that interests you? I've never understood the desire to pay for fear."

"It's so much more than that. There's mystery and suspense. How much of that do you really get in life these days? People are so damned predictable." Even in my dream I couldn't argue with that. "And then, well the concept of evil and the characters are so interesting. Done right, you can almost feel sorry for the bad guy in the end. And don't get me started on the sexual imagery that goes along with the fear."

"Hmm, you like associating sex and fear?"

She blushed in her sleep. Her legs began to rub together more rapidly. I ghosted my fingers from the wrist of her arm all the way down to her hips. Her body shifted in response. Her t-shirt was thin, and I could see the outline of her breasts as she arched slightly seeking more.

"That feels good, Edward." I stopped, once again looking for some sign that she was waking. Seeing none, I followed the same path back up her side, but this time, I let my hand slip under her shirt.

"Shhh, I'm not really here, Bella."

"I know, but I like pretending with you. Can we pretend some more?"

My thumb flicked at her nipple. Her left hand began to move. She exhaled with a moan. Her dream started back up.

"I'm not afraid now."

"Maybe you should be."

I wasn't sure I could handle what was coming when I saw her fingers dip down below the safety of her panties.

I couldn't resist the allure of her pleasuring herself while dreaming of me.

I inched her shirt up further, and once her breast was revealed, I bent my head down to take it in my mouth. Her body jerked in response. I couldn't tell if it was from the cold or the heat of the electricity between us.

"Oh god that feels good," she breathed.

I touched her hand which was working frantically toward her release.

"Would you like help with that?" I moaned.

"Mmm hmm," she whined as her hand stilled.

"Then you have to promise me one thing. You can't wake up. Can you keep that promise? Even if you have to keep pretending."

"Uh huh." Her breathing had picked up now.

I slid down her body, looping her panties with my thumbs, slipping them off in the process. I skimmed the inside of her thighs with my fingers, and she spread them wider. Her scent accosted me, and I nearly cried out.

Instead, I dipped my head down, letting my tongue explore the secrets my hand had learned earlier in the day. Her heart was pumping faster, and the smell of her blood and arousal mingled, setting my throat on fire. My thirst raged while my tongue put out the flames of her desire. This was the taste I'd been waiting for since the day we met. Every once in a while, I slipped my tongue lower, to the source of her excitement, attempting to sate my thirst one way or another.

I was all too aware of another lovely vein only inches from my face. One little slip . . .

Her cry of "Oh god yes," right before her body convulsed, brought me back from that temptation and slammed me hard into another. I wanted inside her. All the way inside. As deep as I could go, as hard as she could take it.

I wanted to stay. I needed to leave. I wished she would beg me to fuck her.

A growl escaped me before I could contain it.

She rolled over, and her eyes fluttered. "Shhh, don't wake up, remember?"

"Mmm, will you stay?"

"For a while. I'll be gone before you wake."

She teetered on the edge of her conscious and unconscious mind. Clearly no one could stay completely asleep through that, but her dream tuned in and out, indicating she was neither fully here nor there.

When it flickered back up, her dream understood the double meaning.

I had changed. Pale skin, black eyes. Cowering Bella.

I was morphing. Changing. Turning into something not me. Not human.

A monster. She whimpered in fear. No matter how strong she may have seemed, she was still scared of this unpredictable creature.

I ran my hand down her hair to calm her. "It's okay, Bella. He won't hurt you anymore. He's gone, Bella. He's gone."

I leaned in and kissed her on the lips.

I was out the window already when I heard a sharp inhale and a gasp of, "Edward?"

This was right. This would keep her safe.

My resolve steered the car that night because I wasn't capable.

E/N: Whew. They connected a little in that one day, huh? How will he ever stay away? Speaking of which, how realistic did you find it in NM that he never checked up on her all that time?

I have a few words of thanks. To hmonster4 as always and some extra lovin' for Daisy3853 for giving the chapter a looksie. Thank you to mmm_feathers for pimping me on the Twigasm site and to Whynot/fatallyobsessed for singing my praises on her threads.

Next up, more EPOV on what happens after he leaves.

Now, I need to know what you thought of that one day so hit that review button and fill me in!