Hello! Because I'm suffering from a little bout of "my-characters-have-turned-their-backs- and -abandoned-me-leaving-me-with-disgruntled-readers-who-want-an-update-itus" I've decided to take a moment to allow my Blood and Chocolate characters reboot and write this little ditty inspired by…well you'll get it.
(this takes place in the summer between twilight and new moon)
Awkward: A Bella and Edward Story.
Its not something that usually bothered me. Bella was human so it was only natural this should happen. Monthly. And normally it didn't affect me. It was dead blood leaving her body and I had grown desensitized to the smell of it over time just like the lure of the blood in her veins. It was a little more difficult as it was outside her body, but not much.
But this month was a little different. It was probably because of her shorter period last month that it was more potent now. Either way I wasn't going to say anything. It would be awkward and she deserved her privacy in these…human moments.
My Bella was not usually easily perturbed. Unlike most of the young women her age she did not use this time as an excuse to get out of her obligations- school, work; these things were important to her. But I think if school had been in session this month she would have considered spending the day at home.
But because it was summer when she had woken to the muted golden light streaming from the window she groaned. Alice had plans for her today and she didn't want to disappoint my sister.
Bella was in the bathroom now having her human moment. She had been surprised when her fathomless brown eyes had blinked open and she realized the gift mother nature had bestowed in the night, now I was left in her room with the sheets that smelled like her blood. I could see the small cherry stain that she had tried to cover with her comforter when she realized. It was more than a little awkward for her, though she should know by now that nothing about her could ever bother me. Well my craving for her blood, but not anything as trivial as a menstrual cycle.
"Hey," She smiled at me when she entered the room, a soft embarrassed greeting. My Bella was very beautiful. A red blush flushed across her soft cheekbones and crept down her slender neck. She was still wearing the soft tank top she had traded for her ratty sweats when I started spending my nights here. Suffice to say the top was much more appealing and had tortured me to no end for nights and nights before I had decided to ignore the way it clung to her shape. But she had changed from her soft cotton pajama pants into a pair of old jeans that she wore when her regular jeans were too uncomfortable for wear.
"Come here," I said when she loitered in place. She came to me, I folded my arms around her warm shoulders to rest lightly on her shoulder blades, my thumbs just brushing against the wide strips that held the light tank to her shoulders. "Why don't you stay home today?" I suggested.
She blinked, she knew I knew. "But Alice-"
"Alice can find some other way to amuse herself today. She can have you another day."
Bella considered this. I saw the thoughts flicker across her eyes even if I couldn't hear them. On the one hand Alice was her best friend. My sister had been right in her first assumption that they would love each other, and that was one thing that kept Bella from deciding. Because on the other she did have her own discomfort to contend with.
"Alright. But you'll stay with me wont you?" Didn't she already know?
"Of course. Want me to rent a few movies for us?" I shifted her in my arms to stand.
"Well… actually Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 TV version, is on Hallmark all day today." Bella looked a little sheepish. Of course that was why she was looking at the TV Guide longingly the other day. I remembered being curious as to what she wanted to watch so badly but I had been to distracted by her dreams last night to investigate.
I heard Charlie's bed creak and his vague thoughts as he began his day. His thoughts following along the lines of how it was not summer vacation for him, it was off to the station, but it was always a little quiet in Charlie's head, not the wall of silence like his daughter's but the similarity had always interested me. But not enough to let my thoughts wander very far from Bella.
I placed my lips carefully to her jaw line, breathing in the tantalizing scent even as it clung like an essence in her room, burning my throat. I told myself I wasn't really hungry- her scent just made it seem that way. "I think its time for me to arrive for the day, and don't worry I'll take care of Alice."
A chaste kiss to her soft lips and I moved towards the window. "Edward?" I turned at the sound of her so familiar voice.
"Tell Alice I'm sorry."
"I will," I smiled at her, only my Bella would be worried about Alice's feelings when she was uncomfortable.
Alice was already pouting when I got home. "This ruins all my plans. I was going to take her to the lake this week. She would have loved it, she got to see you in your bathing suit. She was very pleased." Cullen Lake. Alice would think of a summer vacation 400 miles away Bella wouldn't want anyone to make the trouble of getting her to.
"You know why she can't come."
"Yes Edward, I know. You know I don't think I would have liked remembering my human life so much if it was just a string of days that kept me from having fun." Alice poked out a delicate pink lip.
"Better not let Rose hear you say that," Emmett passed ruffling Alice's spiky hair before she could swat at him, which was saying something.
"Alice." Rose's threatening whisper carried from upstairs.
"Looks like Rose is a little pissy today herself, maybe she's having sympathy pains." Jasper normally didn't make off comments like that but when the mood was tense it affected him. Besides he never worried about Rosalie's moods he could always calm them if they ceased to be amusing.
Edward's home…came a lazy thought from my mother curled up with Carlisle in his office, I quickly blocked anything further from that particular area of the house. I had gotten used to the couplings of my siblings and my parents, I had never noticed the bit of me that was jealous of what they all had to share. But even if I had love now, that did not mean those doors were open for me. No…it meant I had to work hard to make sure those doors stayed firmly locked and boarded. Bella was too much at risk even if a peep hole was left uncovered. I could not dare to hope for that kind of life with her.
"Oh Edward, continue with this train of thought and you'll be moodier than Bella and Rosalie today." Alice offered a hand on my shoulder before skipping off, broken plans forgotten.
After I had changed into fresh clothes and retrieved my Volvo from the garage I back raced to my Bella.
Truly it never ceased to amaze me how anxious I got when I was away from her, though that was not nearly a powerful enough word. And no matter how familiar she was, every time I saw her brought a new little revelation. Humans changed so quickly every year, every month, every day, something different. I observed her after I let myself back in, Charlie's cruiser gone.
She was standing, loading the washing machine with her bedding, face intent on her task. Despite summer, it was not really all that warm out yet and she had rescued a soft plum sweater from the back of her closet to lounge in for the day, covering the slight bloat of her flat stomach and making her feel less self conscious. Her hair was a few inches longer than when I met her and she had recently cut her nails; she hated when they got too long and snagged on her clothes. Alice had painted her toes recently a lovely shade of blue. Small temporary changes but ones that caught and held my interest until she noticed me. "Oh," she gave a soft sigh and then smiled wide. "Edward." I loved how she said my name, like a prayer or an exulted sigh. So beautiful.
Then she looked down and saw the stained sheet she was holding and a blush, awkward and embarrassed, greeted me. "Why don't you finish up while I get the human some breakfast?" I smiled.
She stuck out her tongue, a tempting offer though she hadn't meant it to be. I chuckled to myself.
Watching her eat was always comical. If she didn't get some sort of milk stain around her lips or spill something it was a miracle and then of course there was the satisfaction she got from eating that amused me. Her food didn't even smell appealing.
"Well we all can't hunt for our own food." She sniffed when I expressed this for the hundredth and fifth time.
It was a quiet morning. Just Bella and I. It was easy to pretend on days like this that this was our place to live and we were together completely: no limitations, no vampires, no humans, just Bella and I. Except for the ever-present quiet burn in my throat that served as a reminder.
As promised Hallmark was indeed showing the 1995 TV version of Pride and Prejudice. While I liked the book, this particular adaptation of it doesn't particularly thrill me. Maybe its that some of the characters are portrayed too well, and the negative of those characters coming out more so than the positive.
I have no patience for Mr. Bennett in this adaptation. In truth the book character was judgmental of his wife and children but there was a certain affection behind it- a certain feeling when you read the book that made you feel like he cared for their well-being and loved them no matter how silly he thought they were-yet in this only the negative emotions and the humor he gets from their silliness comes through, and the mother has such an irritating voice! Very noticeable screechy to the vampire ear, and I won't get started on Lydia but this is Bella's favorite adaptation and as always its impossible for me to guess her reasons why without asking directly, which I knew not to do while the movie was going on. I'd have to wait for a commercial.
Oh well, I contented myself with moving my finger in random patterns on her back through her unbecoming bulky sweater. It was a good thing she was wearing that sweater as she laid atop me watching her movie, but I loved to see her sweet translucent skin, just as much as I loved to watch the faint blush touch her cheeks when she was embarrassed.
Finally a commercial came and I was able to ask my question.
"Well what isn't there to like? Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy." Bella looks down at me and ran her fingers through my hair. I delighted in the warm, soft sensation. "I used to think he had beautiful hair-but then I met you."
I smiled at her. "But don't any of the other characters bug you? Mrs. Bennett? Lydia?"
"Well, they're supposed to aren't they? To show how normally rational Lizzy is and how silly her sisters are and how amazing Lizzy's relationship with Darcy is, that they were a step above those around them? So Darcy could learn to love Lizzy despite her family connections? So Lizzy could be misled about Darcy?"
Always it surprised me when Bella made an insight on a classic that I'd had my whole lifetime-or rather existence- to consider and got it spot on. She never ceased to amaze me, everyday since she'd walked into my existence lighting it up like a shooting star.
"You know I think you're absolutely right." I smiled crookedly and agreed as the show came back on.
But Bella was distracted now, a delicious blush had colored her cheeks and she looked down at me with that look only Bella can give that can make me feel as if I have a heart that can beat out of my chest.
She surprised me by kissing me. Not an unpleasant surprise but still a shock. Normally I am the one to initiate our kisses, not because it would not be welcome for her to kiss me but because it would be unexpected and generally its not good when I'm caught off guard with Bella. I always need to be in complete control of my reactions so I don't hurt her.
But today I'm desensitized and in control of my reactions and I allow myself the pleasure of kissing her for an extended period of time. Only a few minutes, until Bella needs to be reminded to breath and I have to push us back from an uncrossable line that could harm her. Bella's breath holds out longer today, because as she planned the kiss she knew to take an extra breath which means for a minute more I get to experience the gentle soft, warm feeling of Bella's lips molding with my unnatural hard. cold ones that I'm always thankful she doesn't mind.
Eventually though, as much as I hate it, the times comes when I have to untangle her hands from my hair and pull away from her sweet lips. What surprises me now as I do is the shocked-deer-caught-in headlights-look that has widened her brown eyes and took the color from her face. Clearly I have missed something.
It is then that I notice the warm spot of warmth that has her so shocked and embarrassed. A small spot of what has been the reason for her discomfort all morning has leaked through her threadbare favorite jeans and onto my slacks. When she noticed my knowledge of her embarrassment another emotion welled up inside of her, a sort of awkwardness that spread into the atmosphere of the room. Silly Bella, she thought I would be alarmed or find this as awkward as she did. Didn't she know there wasn't anything that she could do that could alarm me besides harm herself?
"It's alright, really it's fine Bella there's nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about." I said at once.
"But…you're pants…" A line of worry dented her forehead, I smoothed it with my thumb.
"Alice will just buy me another pare, its not like I don't have hundreds." More like thousands actually, but Bella was generally awkward when it came to talking about how much money us Cullens had to spare for Alice's shopping sprees. "Tell you what? If it will make you feel better I'll go home and change and you can continue watching your movie. When I get back it'll be like nothing ever happened. Okay?"
"Okay." She was reluctant to see me go, almost as much as I was reluctant to leave.
I didn't bother driving the car, I hoped the run would shed some of the smell of the blood from the fabric by the time I got home to the house full of vampires.
When I walked in the door Emmett and Jasper were waiting for me though, they had smelled the small stain of dead blood from a mile off and had come to investigate.
"Oh Edward, you didn't loose control and kill her did you?" Emmett's tone wasn't really worried, he knew that if I'd actually harmed her I'd be distraught and I clearly wasn't, just amused.
"Of course he didn't, his emotions wouldn't be nearly as lighthearted." Jasper voiced the thought.
Then came in Alice, laughing, "Oh that was good! SO much more amusing than what I had planned for this week!"
I suddenly understood Bella's feelings of awkwardness.