I do not own Twilight or its characters. I do, however, have an wild Irish mother. Thanks to my beta, Nic.

Originally, this was an Age of Edward oneshot, and I decided to expand it.

I smelled the rain before I saw it. The clouds came in swiftly then, and I watched as their shadows rolled silently across the footpath. I swung my umbrella at my side unopened, not bothering to pick up the pace because I was nearly home. Besides, rain in Northern Ireland is the rule, not the exception.

I unlocked the door to my parent's row house as a chilly drizzle drifted down and closed the door behind me, letting my bag fall to the floor with an unceremonious thump. Homework would have to wait; right then I needed to make sure Emmett was alright. And then I'd really lay into him.

"Em?" I called, stepping further down the dim hall, past the empty coat rack and hung pictures that needed dusting. The house was too still – apparently I was the first one home. I opened the drapes in the sitting room to let in a little light and consulted the watch hanging loosely on my wrist. Mum had likely gone to get something from the market for supper and Da usually didn't come home til five or six, half toasty from a pint or two (or three) at Flanagan's corner pub. I sighed, exhausted from a day of classes and frantic over-thinking. In all honesty that was probably where Emmett was as well– at the pub. Looks like I'll be waiting for my answers, then.

In the kitchen, I started the kettle for tea and, out of habit, leaned against the counter to start homework. I was nearly done with my literature assignment when I heard the front door open.

"Isabella Marie! What're your boots doing right in the way?" I heard Mum kicking the offending articles aside as she made her way down the hall.

The tea kettle began whistling and I slid over to remove it from the heat. "Sorry, Mum."

She walked in, an affectionate smile betraying her. "How were your classes?"

I dropped a kiss on her cheek before moving past her to retrieve two cups from the cupboard. "Dull."

"Bella…" she shook her head and began unloading her shopping bags.

I shrugged indifferently. "Are you having tea?"

"Please, love. Thank you."

Mum knew when not to push. I was one month from finishing my second year at Queen's University and I was already feeling both stifled and burnt out. I was smart enough to have been able to leave home to attend university elsewhere but housing would have been too expensive. Even with living at home and working part time I'd have to wait at least one more year before leaving Belfast.

I poured us each a cup of tea, and we sat at the small table in the corner of our kitchen. This was something we had done for as long as I could remember, from way back when we were small and Mum would walk Emmett and me home from school. Back then she'd made scones all the time and they'd often be waiting on the table for us, warm from the oven, the kitchen fragrant and inviting.

"Have you seen Emmett today?" I asked casually, studying the steam as it rose from the cup.

Mum shook her head. "Not since he left this morning. Why?"

"No reason," I lied. I couldn't very well tell her what I'd found beneath my bed that morning when I'd looked to find an earring that had slipped from my grasp. I'd been on my hands and knees, holding my breath so as not to breathe in dust, when I'd spied the brown paper bag. I had pulled it out and opened it, sure it wasn't something I'd placed there… and I was right. It was a gun – what kind, I had no idea. Before that very moment, I had never even seen one.

But I knew who it belonged to, and it brought to the forefront of my mind suspicions I'd pushed away for months. I could have continued to ignore the subtle looks and defiant body language between the young men in the neighborhood, the whispered rumors and fierce expressions when news of political setbacks or police brutality surfaced. I'd have gladly stayed away from it, but this…this was tangible and real and cold and it had found its way from outside in.

Mum watched me carefully as I drifted back to the present.

I couldn't very well talk of things I supposedly knew nothing about, so I drained the last of my tea and stood. I gathered my books in my arms, and gently pushed my chair back into its place with my hip.

"I'll be in my room."

Twilight faded into evening as I stood at my window, combing absently through my hair. It was too long, and I'd been considering cutting it so it wouldn't sway to my hips as it had since childhood. I peered through the droplets of rain on the glass and onto the street below, worried that my brother hadn't come home yet. I imagined him off somewhere, strategizing and planning, not knowing I knew of the contraband he'd hidden in my room.

Just then I heard the distant slam of the front door followed by heavy footsteps on our wooden staircase. I sat on the edge of my bed, slowly winding my hair into a loose braid.

"You have explaining to do, "I said dryly when my bedroom door opened.

But the voice that answered was not the one I had been expecting.

"I do?"

I looked up in surprise. Edward Cullen, my brother's closest friend since primary school, stood in the doorway with a bemused expression on his face. He stepped inside and shut the door behind him, eyebrows raised as if he was the one deserving of an explanation.

I frowned. "Where's Em?"

He ran his fingers through his hair, its usual ruddy bronze darkened from the rain. "Hello to you too, Bella."

I ignored the violent flutter in my belly that came about whenever Edward was anywhere near me. I'd had eyes for him since I'd started noticing boys, but I knew to him I was simply Emmett's little sister. I had plenty of practice pretending it didn't ruin me inside every time I saw him with other girls (and there were many). Just last week it had been Victoria from two doors down…

"Sorry Edward, hi. I just…wondered where Emmett was. I haven't seen him all day and I really need to speak to him."

He nodded, leaning against the door. "He'll be home soon."

I watched Edward carefully, wondering why he was in my room. Did he know something? Did he know of Emmett's gun? I had a gut feeling he did.

"I just left him." Edward added, as if that would allay my curiosity. He walked over to my window and gazed out, much as I had done moments before.

For the better part of a year Emmett and Edward had grown more and more furtive about their whereabouts. I knew Mum was concerned with the types of activities they most probably were involved in, but like me she seemed to choose to live in ignorance. Da, however, seemed to encourage it. Like Edward's father, he had always been a strong supporter of Sinn Fein's protests and marches.

Our families had long standing affiliations with the Nationalist party, who was determined to break Ireland free of any British rule, but even the party had differing opinions within itself. The main difference I could discern was where Sinn Fein remained above the warfare of the streets, the Irish Republican Army (and most specifically, the Provisional IRA) had seen to it that there was no better way than to fight back violently.

It wasn't difficult to understand where things had changed for my brother and his friends. They had picketed with fellow students and participated in Queen's University sit-in during October '68. That same year they had been among those attacked by Unionist police at what was supposed to be a peaceful march in Derry. Plainly put, Emmett and Edward were tired of talking and diplomacy. They were young, and idealistic, and full of vitriol.

All of this was, of course, my own speculation. Much as I tried to keep myself immersed in my studies and my social life, it was difficult to live in a bubble when the world around me was in a chaotic state of flux. I saw the tight clusters of men in the neighborhood; I heard the harsh whispers when Emmett received phone calls late at night. It terrified me because he and Edward could be arrested if they were caught, or worse, killed. I wasn't sure I could handle knowing that they were involved with any of the bombings so prevalent in the newspapers and on the evening news.

My stomach clenched painfully, the giddiness and butterflies now successfully squeezed out.

"…so I'll just wait here until he gets back," Edward was saying. He turned to look at me and I blinked, realizing he'd been speaking while I was lost in thought. His eyes narrowed and he nodded toward me.

"What's with you?"

I licked my lips nervously and without another thought slipped off the bed and down to my hands and knees for the second time that day. I wrenched the brown paper bag out and as I straightened up I saw from Edward's expression he already knew. My heart sank.

"What's this?" I griped, standing and tossing the bag on my bed.

Edward scowled and crossed the room in two strides. He snatched the bag up and tucked it under his arm.

"What are you doing with this?" he snapped, coming closer still.

I shrank from his sharp tone and looked away briefly. Even angry, he was terribly beautiful; it was disconcerting and made it difficult to answer. It didn't help that he always smelled so bloody appealing either. What was that scent, anyway? I shook my head.

"I should be asking you and Emmett! This is my room, Edward! The two of you've real nerve coming and planting that shite beneath my bed. If you want to do that sort of thing, keep it in his room. Or yours."

Edward glared down at me, unmoved by my breathless tirade. "And what sort of thing is that?"

I backed away and sat on the bed again, tucking in my legs. "I don't know, just…" I waved him off, already tired of the discussion. If he wasn't going to say anything, then neither was I.

I felt the bed shift, and my heart stuttered pathetically. His fingers, cold from being outside so recently, touched mine. "You won't say anything, then?" He asked quietly. His voice was smooth, and so close.

I exhaled slowly. "Who would I tell?"

"Alice," he replied, referring to his younger sister and my confidant.

I picked at the flared, worn hem of my jeans. "I won't. "

We sat side by side and in silence for a few moments, wordlessly accepting this strange new agreement. If there had been any remaining innocence in our lives, it had now ebbed completely away. Edward's actions, and the things he didn't say, verified it for me. Worse yet, I sympathized. None of us were too happy about the current political climate and the way it trickled down into our every day state of affairs. People were tired of being punished for being Irish – in Northern Ireland! - and Catholic.

My bed creaked as Edward leaned forward, placing the bag on the floor in front of him. Our eyes met as he slowly pushed it back under the bed. He knew I wouldn't argue anymore. I sensed he knew I'd have done anything for him.

I wasn't sure if I liked that.

I looked away first, feeling antsy by the too-quiet and unexpected intimacy looming between us. In general, it was hard to tell when Edward was being genuine and when he was being charming for the sake of it. I'd seen him use his voodoo on all sorts of females, from the neighborhood tarts to the doting women at the market.

I uncrossed my legs and lay back, clenching my eyes shut. Worry over the boy's illicit activities was making me feel sick and my attraction to Edward only intensified the discomfort. My stomach was in knots. I prayed Emmett would hurry up and get home so he could take his stupid gun – and his friend – with him.

"Bella," Edward coaxed.

I startled, caught off guard by his proximity. Now he was propped on his elbow, reclining back and facing me.

I eyed him warily. "What?"

His bright, green eyes flicked back and forth between my own, and I allowed myself to be studied. My heartbeat quickened and I leaned up on my elbow, mirroring his pose. Finally he tucked a stray lock behind my ear and smirked.

I wrinkled my brow. "What?"

"You like me," he mused.

"Of course I do," I replied carefully, smiling a little.

"No. You love me." He clarified.

I was shocked and so…caught. Sitting up stiffly, I splayed my palms across my knees, so wracked by nerves that I was nauseated. I did love him, it was true - and I sincerely wished I didn't. Besides a couple of less than stellar high school kisses, I had very little experience with the opposite sex. I also didn't feel like weathering months of torment once my family found out I was hot for the Cullen boy. I felt a tug at my braid.

"Why exactly are you here?" I huffed, yanking my hair away.

Edward sat up and maneuvered so that his body aligned with mine, closing the space between us. I felt his fingers, no longer cold, tickle at my chin and when I looked at him he kissed me right away, a brief brush of lips.

I frowned. "Why-" but he kissed me again, longer, lingering.

It took me a moment to pull myself together after our lips had parted. "Why did you do that?" I whispered, my heart clamoring inside my ribs.

"Because you wanted me to," he answered, his mouth curling up into a crooked grin.

I looked down at my hands, twisting nervously in my lap. Was he toying with me now, amused by my affections? Mortification started creeping in.

"And because I wanted to," he added, his smile fading as I looked up at him.

I glanced at his mouth, perfect really, wanting so much to feel it on mine again. He ran the back of his hand down my cheek and then curled his fingers around the base of my neck, gently pulling me toward him. This time when our mouths came together I let my lips open. His tongue slid into my mouth and it was warm and sensual and overwhelming and my hands grasped his arms of their own volition.

He made me feel desperate and out of control and I didn't want him to stop.

He kissed me deeper still, and gently pried my hands off of his forearms. He placed my arms around him instead, and cupped my face with his rough-smooth hands, our tongues moving together as we tasted one other. He broke away and moved to my neck and I heard myself gasp but I couldn't be embarrassed because I was so aroused it was hard to think.

We heard the footsteps on the stairs at the same time. I stiffened as Edward paused and looked toward the door. He looked down at me and let go, running his hands through his hair. I knew my face was flushed and I willed myself to calm down as I scooted away, unable to bear Emmett's reaction if he knew.

"Bella?" Emmett called as he walked in. He hardly seemed to see me, though, as he strode quickly toward the window. I was beginning to wonder if something was supposed to happen out there, the way the two of them kept checking. Satisfied that nothing seemed amiss, he rocked back on his heels and looked to Edward.

"We have to go," he muttered. He sounded winded, as if he'd been running.

I cleared my throat. "Emmett –"

"Not right now, Bella. I'll be back in a bit." He began moving back toward the door, once again preoccupied.

Edward stood, shoving his hands into his pockets. "She knows, Em."

Emmett halted when Edward spoke. His shoulders sagged and he turned half way to look at me. My heart broke a little as I took in his haggard expression; gone was my brother's usual mischief and lightheartedness.

"I found it under my bed this morning."

"I'll move it later." He gave me a pleading glance, apology written in his eyes, and left. Edward followed, closing the door with a quiet click.

Saturday dawned unusually bright and muted streams of morning sun peeked around the edges of my curtains. I hung my head over the side of the bed to look underneath. The brown paper bag was gone; Emmett must have come during the night while I was sleeping.

I touched my fingertips to my lips, my insides still quivery at the thought of Edward's kisses. He'd been so forward, like he knew I'd receive him with open arms. How long had he been aware of my attraction? And how long had he felt like doing something about it?

Would he ever do anything about it again?

I wanted to tell Alice, but I couldn't. She wouldn't share in my enthusiasm; she thought it was bad enough I wanted her brother at all. I did have to call her, though. She was supposed to come over so we could embroider our jeans and maybe go out later on.

I stretched and yawned and lazily rolled out of bed, intent on speaking with Emmett at length. I knocked at his door, and when he didn't answer I slowly pushed it open. He was fast asleep, fully clothed atop his blankets.

I sighed, knowing I couldn't wake him yet. God only knew when he'd gone to bed.

Mum and Da were downstairs in the kitchen, making breakfast and reading the papers. I kissed my mother's cheek and then my father's, always his little girl.

"Morning, Da."

"Morning, inion mo chroi." He responded affectionately.

I stole a rasher of bacon from the plate beside the stove and darted away before Mum could smack me with her spatula.

"What are y'plans for today, Bella?" Da asked.

I dropped into the chair nearest Da and stifled another yewn. "I'm going to call Alice in a bit to come over. We may see a film later in the afternoon, not sure."

Da sighed, folding his paper before placing it on the table. He removed his reading glasses and rubbed his eyes before looking at me.

"It's getting real dangerous, Bella. There are more and more bombings in public places and the last thing I need is you and Alice cavorting about in potential danger zones."

I forced a small laugh, pretending I found his concern overly dramatic, but I knew he more right. "I'll be okay, Da. Promise. I'll let you know if we decide to do anything."

He nodded and moved his paper so Mum could set his breakfast plate down.

Alice came by and we hung around my room, embroidering our jeans and nattering on about the usual. Later in the afternoon we walked to see a new film at the cinema. I did let my parents know, and although they weren't thrilled they accepted that I was old enough to do as I pleased.

They also knew we couldn't, and wouldn't, live half-lives of fear, barely leaving the house.

After the film we took our time strolling home. I tried to pay attention to Alice's detailed descriptions of Jasper, the new American student in her psychology class, but my mind – as usual - was on Edward. We parted ways when we reached her street and I continued on to my own. Mum was standing in the doorway as I approached. I slowed down, quirking an eyebrow at her, wondering what she was doing.

"Will ye see if Emmett and your father are down at Flanagan's? It's near time for supper."

I nodded and turned right around, retracing my steps back up the street. It was still light out, a lovely evening, saturated in gold and warmth, and I couldn't help but feel buoyant. I wondered if Edward would be at the pub, as well.

As I rounded the corner and Flanagan's came into view, I surmised that Da and Emmett probably were still there; it was packed to the rafters. I pressed my way through the jovial, Saturday night crowd, exchanging pleasantries with the folks who knew my parents and Em, all the while scanning the sea of faces.

I'd made my way back to the front with no success when a hand closed gently around my wrist. My heart skipped and I turned to Edward, who was smiling down at me. We were near the windows and the sunlight was filtering through, illuminating the gold and auburn in his hair. He was gorgeous, as usual, and I couldn't rein in my own smile.

"Are you looking for your Da?" he asked, leaning down to speak into my ear.

Having him so close to me released another slew of butterflies in my belly. Act normal, for crying out loud Bella. You've known him all your life.

I tried in earnest to keep the tremor out of my voice. "Yes, and Emmett. Mum wants them home for supper."

He nodded toward the bar. "We were all sitting together. "

"Oh." I looked over at the bar but couldn't make them out. Most of the men wore the same sort of sweaters and hat Da did; it was like picking needles out of a haystack.

I turned my eyes back to Edward's and he was watching me now, an unreadable expression on his face. I imagined he was wondering what in the Lord's name he was doing. Emmett would likely off him if he knew his best friend was flirting with his baby sister. His eyes flicked to something behind me and suddenly he scowled.

I started to turn around, but Edward grabbed my arm and wrenched me away from the window right as it imploded, sending shards of glass raining in.

I could hardly keep up with Edward, who was pulling me through the panicked crowd as we headed toward the back of the pub. My first instinct was to run outside, not deeper into the confusion and screaming, but I was also in shock. As we hit the back door the building shook with another massive explosion, covering us with dust and mortar. Bricks and splinters started coming down and I felt something searing into my arm.

Edward heard me cry out and he yanked me through the door to the alley behind Flanagan's. I shook uncontrollably, adrenaline coursing through my body. I looked around wildly as Edward pushed me against the wall and hurriedly began prodding and checking me, looking for my injury. I stilled his hand with my trembling one and directed him to my other arm, which was bleeding but not profusely. Maybe it would hurt worse later, but presently all I wanted to do was get away.

Where were Da and Emmett?

"Edward," I sobbed out.

He grasped my hand and began to walk down the alleyway toward the chaos in the street.

"Edward, what about Emmett? And Da?" I asked frantically.

"We have to go, Bella. There's nothing we can do right now – I need to get you home, it's not safe…" His words spilled out in a jumble and I realized I had never seen him look so feral and vigilant and protective. I realized, belatedly, that he had a deep gash running across his brow. I reached toward his face but he angled away and wiped roughly at it himself.

I tugged at his hand, anxious to find my family but also to leave. Sirens wailed in the distance and people were spilling out of the pub from any and every exit, including the door we'd come through. Through desperate cries and yells I could hear the many more trapped inside, and I couldn't think about the ones who had perished.

Suddenly another explosion wracked the building and Edward took off like a bullet, me in tow. I'd never run so fast in my life, somehow never tripping, survival instinct overriding my usual clumsiness.

We ran up streets and down alleys, and I never asked him where we were going, but it wasn't home. When he finally slowed it was a good thing because my lungs had begun to protest, burning with their need for oxygen. My legs felt rubbery, and the adrenaline had long since drained out of me. I was left exhausted and with a throbbing, sore arm.

I followed Edward through a small gate and toward an older looking building, staring numbly around as he looked for his keys. Daylight had darkened into the soft purple of early evening, and stars were starting to pinprick the sky. We walked up a narrow staircase that led to another door, which he also unlocked. He placed his hand on the small of my back and pushed me gently inside.

"What's this?" I asked, eyeing the tiny flat wearily.

"A sort of a safe house."

"Why didn't you just bring me home?"

Edward ignored my question and flicked on a small lamp. He motioned for me to sit on an ancient looking sofa and then disappeared. Tiredness overtook me and I collapsed onto the sofa, noticing that there was blood smeared on my hands and I couldn't tell if it was his or mine. The panic that had died done suddenly reared up and I stood, shaking. I needed to know if Da and Emmett were all right.

"Is there a telephone?" I called out after a moment.

"In here." His voice drifted out from an open door across the room.

Edward was sitting on a bed, a first aid kit laid out next to him. He was attempting to clean the cut on his forehead, but the blood wasn't stopping. I sat next to him and took another piece of cotton out of the kit, dabbed it with ointment, and held it to Edward's face.

We sat in silence, each staring off in different directions, until I carefully peeled the cotton away. He hissed in pain.

"Bleeding's stopped. I need to call home."

He had already unwrapped a bandage and was about to apply it to the wound. "The phone is right there, Bella."

I rested the bulky black rotary phone on my lap and dialed my home number. Mum picked up on the first ring.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, where are ya?" she cried, sounding near hysterics.

"It's okay Mum, I'm fine. I'm with Edward, we're hiding out a bit. Where- "

She interrupted me. "Well don't go back outside, there's rioting in the streets."

I could hear voices in the background. "Where's Da? Em?"

"They came home moments ago. They were already outside when the bombs went off. They didn't know you had gone to get them till they got home and I told them. Oh, Bella, I never should have sent…" She trailed off. I could hear my father in the background, his voice rising and falling frantically.


"Just stay where y'are." She sighed, only slightly calmer now.

"I will."

Edward appeared at my side, motioning for me to hand over the phone.

"I think Edward wants to speak to Emmett. I'll speak to you later."

I handed over the receiver and glanced around the room. It appeared to be kept clean, and I had a feeling this was where the boys spent a lot of time. I spied a door tucked into the corner of the room and drifted over to it, hoping it was a bathroom because I was desperate for a shower.

It was indeed a bathroom, so I stepped in and closed the door, shutting out Edward's side of the angry, spirited conversation he was having with my brother.

I turned the water as hot as I could take it and left my filthy clothes in heap on the floor. Moments after I'd stepped into the steam, a knock sound at the door. Before I could answer, Edward's voice echoed in.

"There's a towel and clothes for you, alright?"

I mumbled my thanks and continued assaulting myself with hot water until my pale skin had turned pink and I was, finally, calm.

There was a long pause when I emerged from the bathroom in Edward's old team jersey and pants. They were so long and loose I'd rolled the waist a few times just to keep them on. Edward chuckled at the sight of me.

I smiled shyly and sat beside him on the bed, gathering my wet hair in front of me so I wasn't leaning on it.

He cleared his throat. "We didn't have anything to do with what happened today, Bella."

My smile faltered and I propped myself against the wall, not fully trusting myself to speak. My world had blown wide open today – literally – and I didn't feel like the same girl I'd been that morning.

"Aren't you going to bathe?" I asked, looking over at Edward. He was laying flat, hands interlaced behind his head, seemingly lost in thought.

He jumped up and went into the bathroom without another word.

I must have been more exhausted then I'd realized because the next thing I knew Edward was draping a blanket over me. I sat up, disoriented. It was dark outside now, and the only light in the room came from the bathroom.

"Sorry, Bella. Go back to sleep," he breathed, lying down beside me.

I lay back down, shifting onto my side so that I faced him. I felt very safe with him, especially now that the initial horror of everything had dulled somewhat. I gazed at him, fascinated by the droplets of water on his bare shoulders, how his eyelids fluttered as he tried to sleep. His hair was damp from the shower and I longed to touch it.

After a moment I gave into the urge and lightly pushed his hair from his eyes. He caught my wrist as I started to pull it back, his eyes open and staring back at me.

I swallowed, full of anticipation and tingles. All I wanted was for him to kiss me again, and he must have wanted it too because he dropped my hand and moved closer to me, propping himself up and running his fingers through my tangled hair.

"I love your hair," he noted, and I was absurdly grateful I hadn't cut it yet.

"It's a mess right now, I'm sure," I said, reaching back and feeling how it spread across my pillow.

A ghost of a smile passed over his face and he looked at my lips before looking back into my eyes. He leaned down and kissed me, slowly letting his tongue into my mouth. It was as if we were continuing from where we'd left off the day before.

It was sensory overload: the way he tasted, his soft hair between my fingers, his stubbly chin chafing against mine, his weight coming down on me as he shifted so that he was on top of me. I let my legs fall open and he settled between them. And I welcomed it, all of it, the nerves with the excitement, the fright because I had no idea what I was doing and the thrill because he obviously did.

His kisses became deeper and more insistent and he reached down to wrap one of my legs around his waist. Perhaps I should have been intimidated by his forwardness but I wasn't. I wrapped my other leg around him and I could feel his erection through the rough fabric of our pants and my hips pushed up on their own. He groaned and it was the sexiest thing I'd ever heard. We fell into a rhythm, the seam of my pants rubbing deliciously against the most sensitive part of me.

"Are you okay?" he whispered, before sucking my earlobe.

"Mhm," I moaned. He ran his tongue in hot little trails down my neck and around my ears, making my nipples harder. I felt like I was losing a battle I had no interest in fighting. Good Catholic girls didn't roll around in bed with gorgeous boys…

…but I loved him. I wanted him. I needed him, at that point.

As if he could hear my internal dialogue he pushed himself off of me and ran his hand down to the top of the jeans he'd given me to wear.

My heart pounded so loudly it seemed he should be able to hear it, and I felt my lips part as I watched him nimbly undo the button with one hand.

"You're good at that," I noted in a husky voice even I didn't recognize.

He eyes snapped back up to mine and he smirked. "I'm good at a lot of things."

I lay still while he pulled my pants off and tossed them off the bed before returning to his spot between his legs. I gasped when he held me close; with less denim between us, I could feel almost everything. He moved slower now, licking my bottom lip before joining our mouths again.

He ran his fingers lightly across my abdomen, making it contract. When his hand was at the waist of my panties he paused and looked into my eyes.

"Is this okay?" he whispered.

I nodded, pulling his face back to mine because suddenly I couldn't bear to not be kissing him. Instead of dipping down the front of my underwear he moved all the way down between my legs, pushing the thin fabric aside and slipping his fingers into my wetness.

No one had ever touched me that way and I melted into his touch, moving by instinct and opening myself to him. I moaned and he covered my mouth with his again, his body almost still against me as he worked his fingers up and down, and sometimes inside, making me wetter.

Before long tingly little itches started to flash through me and I ground myself against Edward's hand, silently begging him not to stop. My breath fluttered in soft gasps and I came so hard I lost my voice. Our mouths disconnected as I arched up, and I could feel him kissing my breasts through my shirt.

I lay with my arms and legs wrapped around Edward, who planted one last kiss on my neck before pulling back.

"That felt good," I sighed, ready to give him anything. He closed his eyes and returned to my neck, his voice muffled.

"What do you want to do, Bella?"

I stared blankly at the ceiling. I thought what I wanted was clear – it was the same thing he wanted, wasn't it? He rolled off and lay beside me.

"I want…to be with you," I admitted, my voice sounding hoarse and small.

"I want you. I want …" he paused and ran a hand over my exposed stomach, where the shirt had ridden up.

Sitting up, I pulled the shirt he'd lent me off of my body. I climbed on top of him before he could react, straddling him, and lay so that my breasts were smashed against his chest. I kissed his neck much the same way he'd kissed mine moments before, and felt gratified when his breathing quickened and his hands dug into my hips.

He rolled us over so he was back on top. He ran his hands over my nipples and belly button and looked me straight in the eye. "I want to be inside you."

My heart skipped a beat even though I knew this. Hearing him actually say it made me really want it, and I hooked my thumbs under my panties to pull them down. Edward put his hands over mine and rolled them off for me. I pushed him away so I could unbutton his jeans, and after I'd eased the zipper down I pulled them off with my feet.

I shivered now that we were naked. Edward pulled the blanket over us and snuggled down onto me, every surface of his body aligned with every surface of mine. I felt his heart beat unevenly against mine, felt him throb between my thighs. He rested on his forearms, his perfect face inches from my own.

He slid down my body until his lips were at my breasts and he took one into his mouth. I knotted my fingers in his hair, my eyes tearing because he made me feel so good, his teeth and tongue nipping and licking and sucking at my nipples. I writhed beneath him, not wanting him to stop but ready for all of him. I suppose he felt my anxiety because he moved back up and paused.

"Promise me you'll tell me if you want to stop," he said, his voice wavering slightly.

I tried to relax my muscles, knowing it was probably futile. "Okay," I said softly.

He started with shallow thrusts, going a little deeper each time. He slid his hands underneath my behind, holding my hips so they tilted up, and without another word pushed his way completely into me. It hurt a lot more than I'd have ever expected, and my breath caught and I squeezed my eyes shut, willing myself to relax, willing away the burn. I realized I had dug my nails into the skin on his back and I softened my grip.

"Are you okay?" he asked again and I nodded, wanting to get it over with. He moved slowly, pulling out all the way before filling me again, and he did it over and over, stretching me until the searing stinging had subsided to a dull ache. I started anticipating the thrusts, and the pleasure mixed with the pain.

I opened my eyes and he was staring down at me as he moved inside me. I saw him like I'd never seen him before, his eyes intense and verdant, his lips quivering as he breathed hard. My heart swelled with love for him, and I wanted him to love me, to possess me. He kissed me softly, and my tongue darted out to taste the salt from his sweat. Our bodies, slick, undulated.

"I'm gonna, gonna, "he panted, his cheek pressed against mine. I lifted my legs and wrapped them around his waist and it hurt a little but it also felt better so I locked my ankles together and held him. He groaned and grunted, pumping into me faster and faster and I watched as the concentration on his face gave way to pleasure.

I felt the connection between us grow slippery as he slowed. He started to collapse against me, thought better of it, and began to roll off, but I wouldn't let him. I needed the security of his weight.

After a moment he peeled himself off of me, and I watched as he walked naked to the bathroom. He came back with a towel, which he offered to me, but I thought a shower might feel better, and I told him so.

I rinsed off quickly, not looking to see if I had bled. I dried off gingerly and made my way back to the bed where Edward was already breathing evenly. I pulled his shirt back over my head and got underneath the blanket with him.

I wasn't sure why, but I felt my eyes fill with tears. I started to get back up but Edward's arm snaked around my waist and pulled me back toward his body.

"Sleep," he said into my hair, curving himself around me.

It couldn't have been past dawn when I woke up, my shirt twisted and pushed up, my legs tangled with Edward's beneath the blanket. We had stayed wrapped in each other during the night, even though I had turned to face him at some point. His face was tucked under my chin, and every time he exhaled the warm air tickled my breast.

I savored how he felt; in that moment he was completely mine.

I shut my eyes and would have fallen asleep again had his hot mouth not closed suddenly and wetly around my nipple. I gasped at the unexpected feeling and I felt him smile against my skin.

I giggled and pried him off only to have him push his thigh up further between my legs.

"Mmm, feels like you're ready for another go," he commented crudely, snuggling into my neck. I smacked at him, but we both knew he was right.

He brought himself up so our faces were level and stroked my cheek affectionately, his eyes sparkling.

"You're in a good mood," I said.

He brought my hand away from his side and put it on his very prominent hard on. "I'm a morning person."

I rolled my eyes and returned my hand to its previous place, but he had other plans. He drew me closer still and hitched my leg around his hip. One move and he could be inside.

"Are you sore?" he whispered between kisses.

"Yes, "I whispered back.

He trailed a finger absently up my spine. "Too sore?"

"No. "

Edward kissed me again and then shifted forward, entering me carefully. It still hurt, but it also felt good, and I could finally see what the big fuss was.

He pushed me onto my back and thrust very slowly, holding me tight.

"Your brother might kill me," he chuckled breathlessly after a minute.

"But how will he know?" I panted, my eyes slowly opening.

Edward paused and gazed down at me, his hand curled around my calf as he moved it up. "You don't expect to keep this a secret, do you?"

I grinned and shook my head. "I guess not,"

His face grew serious."I know you're frightened Bella, but I will always take care of you."

Tears began to blur my vision, again, and I fisted them impatiently away.

Edward leaned down and kissed each of my eyelids. "I promise, "he added.

"I know," I murmured and he quickened his pace, the snaps of his hips.

He reached down and rubbed his thumb against me in small, tight circles, giving me the tingly feeling he had given me the night before, pushing me closer and closer until I peaked and clenched around him.

"Always, "I whispered.


"inion mo chroi" - "darling daughter".