I woke up feeling groggy and warm. Why was I warm? I patted the bed next to me, leaving my eyes closed in the process. When I didn't feel Edward's cold, marble body laying next to me my eyes shot open. I then realized why I was warm. He wasn't next to me like usual, so I didn't wake up feeling slightly cold.
"Edward," I whispered, knowing he would here me. No answer. Where was he?
"Edward," I said, raising my voice. He still was not there. How strange…and annoying.
Groaning, I unwillingly got out of bed to go find him. I searched the whole house, but came up with nothing but more annoyance on my part. Wouldn't he have left a note? I gave up, frustrated, and headed down to the kitchen to eat breakfast.
Charlie was already gone. Apparently he was in desperate need to go fishing and went with Billy. I slumped into my chair at the kitchen table without thinking about breakfast again. I was too sad. A day with no Edward sounded almost impossible. He hadn't been hunting in almost a month, in attempt to stay with me and keep me from becoming disgruntled. I could almost hear the little wheels coming to life in my head as I made that connection. One of his family members must have taken him to hunt. I sighed, resting my head on my crossed arms, and thought about what the rest of the day would be like. Well, at least Edward would not be struggling anymore because of the irresistible scent my blood was to him.
I was letting my mind wander idly when I heard Emmett's deep voice say, "Hey, Bella!"
"Holy crow!" I shouted, spinning around in my seat. I almost fell in the process but Emmett's hand rested on my shoulder and lightly shoved me back into the chair. I blushed deeply and Emmett's booming laughter shook the foundation of the house.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"Edward sent me. Jasper and I came late last night to make him hunt. Edward would only go if one of us watched you." He grinned wildly while I scowled at his carelessness. But his statement also proved that my hypothesis was correct.
"Well, you could be polite and not sneak up on me like that. I'm only human," I muttered angrily.
He laughed harder.
"If all you're going to do is laugh at me you can leave," I said acidly.
"Calm down, Bella. I won't laugh at you anymore." His lips pressed together and I could tell he was trying to contain more laughter. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have noticed that his statement was a lie. Emmett strode to one of the cabinets that were above the sink, the cabinets that held the dishes. He opened it and began examining each plate, not having to stand on the tips of his toes like I would have.
"You're not good at doing dishes," he began. "I can see pieces of food everywhere."
"What are you talking about?" I asked, traces of my acid tone still remaining in my question.
"Look, there are bits of food everywhere! What a pathetic job." He was mumbling on his last sentence, but I heard him anyway.
I went to the cabinet and stood next to him, taking the plate from him. The porcelain material shined in the glow of the kitchen light. There was not one speck of debris or left over food particles.
"You're crazy," I said.
"No I'm not. You're just as blind as a bat. I don't care if vampires have better eyes. Who couldn't see that!?
"Trust me, Charlie would have mentioned something if the dishes were really that bad. At least, I think he would have…" I mused for a moment. "The point is, vampires have super senses so don't tell me I am blind. You just have freakishly good vision." I knew I was right, and he could see it too.
"Whatever, it's still not a very good job." He was mumbling again.
I rolled my eyes, and went to sit back at the table, fuming a bit. He went to the chair Edward usually sat in, and made himself comfortable. I couldn't help but glare at him. He was in Edward's seat. He saw my reaction and broke into hysterics, running to the other side of the kitchen in a matter of half a second. Emmett repositioned himself there, still shaking with laughs. I continued to glare.
"You need to eat something, Bella. Edward will kill me if he comes home to you smelling anemic," he told me once the laughter subsided.
"But I'm not hungry," I snapped. I was still edgy.
"Unless you want to see Edward all but rip my internal organs out, I suggest you eat something."
I imagined Edward yelling at Emmett for being mean to me. I liked what I saw but it definitely wasn't worth making Edward stress. "That wouldn't be so bad," I mumbled. I sighed and got up anyway, I didn't want Edward to be upset. I went in the kitchen cabinet and pulled out a granola bar; it was much easier than anything else. I ate slowly, staring out the back windows imagining what Edward was doing. I thought about calling him, but I quickly changed my mind. I didn't want to get in his way. Just then, to my great surprise, the home phone rang and I dashed to answer it. I probably anticipated it would be Edward, otherwise I would not have been nearly as eager just to answer a phone call.
I didn't reach it in time.
Emmett made it way before I was away from the table. By the way he was talking I could tell it was Edward. His words came so fast and went by in a blur. I didn't understand one word except the last sentence right before he held out the phone to me.
"She's right here," he spoke into the phone.
He held it out to me but before I could grab it, he lifted it over his head and dangled it over me as if we were playing a game. I scowled up at his face and began to jump for the phone. I knew I couldn't reach and that it was a wasted effort. He laughed harder than he had earlier and continued to suspend the phone way above my head. Edward must have suspected Emmett was doing something stupid because I heard him yell, "Emmett, give her the phone!" His voice was extremely frustrated and I wanted so much to be with him. Finally, with one last chuckle, Emmett handed me the phone. I shooed him away, using my hand to make a flicking motion, and he left, going into the living room.
"Hi," I breathed. Just talking to him made a wave of relief roll onto me, making me feel at ease.
"Bella, are you all right? I'm so very sorry. I didn't want to leave you but Jasper and Emmett were right, I needed to hunt badly. I would have sent Alice but Rosalie wouldn't allow it because she needed her for something. Don't be mad-." I could tell he was very worried. I cut him off before he could finish blaming himself.
"Edward, it's fine. You did need to hunt. I was thinking that your eyes would never be gold again. Don't blame yourself. I'm fine. I'm just worried about you. It's my fault that you haven't been hunting often enough. I'm just too clingy. Sorry, I-." He cut me off too.
"Excuse me, Bella, but, you are not in the slightest too clingy. If anyone clings in our relationship it would be me. I shy away from leaving you more than you could possibly imagine." I could tell by the tone in his voice that he would not give up until he won the blaming game. I sighed and Edward misread it. Even though what he mentioned next clearly was a bit of a problem.
"Is Emmett treating you well?"
"Yes." It came out to quickly and I could even hear the lie.
"Bella…" He began warily.
"Er, what do you…define by 'well' exactly?"
I heard a soft growl come from Edward. It scared me a little, his true vampire side showing. I wasn't used to that. He seemed unbelievably human almost every second I was with him. Apart from the cold skin and a few other differences. Though the growl was soft it had threat behind it and I could tell Emmett was already in trouble.
Emmett appeared in front of me and snatched the phone away. The fast talking began again but I could hear the emotions coming from Emmett's voice. He sounded angry and whiney. With a fierce expression on his face he shoved the phone back into my hand and was gone. I assumed he needed to leave for a minute to blow off his steam. What had Edward said?
"…Hello?" I asked softly.
"Sorry, Bella. I couldn't let him get away with teasing you. "
"What did you say?"
A moment of silence passed between us.
"What did you say?"
He sighed before he spoke again.
"I just told him to stop acting like a child and that if he didn't, he would regret it." He spoke slowly, choosing his words carefully. I knew he was hiding something.
"I'll find out, you know," I said, smug.
He sighed again. "I know."
It was quiet again and I broke the silence as I had done so before.
"When will you be back?" I could tell my voice was pleading. He sensed it too.
"Please, do not worry. I will be back by tonight and will come straight to you. But I must go now, Bella. Please, be safe and do not let Emmett get to you. I will be back before you know it. Bye."
I set the phone back on the receiver and dragged my feet back to the table. I folded my arms on the table top and set my chin on them, closing my eyes. Once again, Emmett broke me out of a reverie.
"He loves you more than you think, if you haven't noticed," He murmured from behind me, trying not to startle me.
"I love him more, you know," I stated matter-of-factly.
"I don't think that is possible."
"Why?" I turned to look at him. He just shrugged and looked away. There was more Edward was keeping from me. I narrowed my eyes at him until he looked at me.
"What?" he asked.
"I'm not that stupid." I told him. He pretended he didn't know what I was talking about, staring out the kitchen window with a bored expression.
"Ugh!" I complained. "No one tells me anything, at least not vampires!" I stomped up to my room and closed the door with more force than necessary. I collapsed in my bed and closed my eyes, trying to get sleep to come over me. It would make the day go faster.
Unfortunately I couldn't fall asleep until the late afternoon. And even then, that sleep was restless without Edward occupying the space next to me. I had nightmares. Mostly of past events that happened when Edward was gone for those terrifying months. The nightmares felt very hot and I could feel myself sweating in reality. I knew I was dreaming, and I tried to open my eyes and escape it. But no matter how hard I tried, I came no closer to consciousness and the frightening dreams continued without a pause in my consideration.
After what seemed to be hours of terror I suddenly felt something ice cold pressed against my body. My eye lids fluttered open and I awoke to see my angel, my personal savior, my destiny, my fate, my whole world lying on top of me. He supported most of his weight, as to not make me uncomfortable, but let the weight he was not holding cool me down. The nightmares had clearly made me disoriented, and my thoughts weren't very coherent.
"Edward…" I mumbled.
"Oh, Bella. Are you okay?" He whispered softly.
I could only nod and I felt tears falling down my face. He lowered his face down to mine and kissed them away swiftly. "Hunting wasn't such a good idea, at least not without telling you first. I understand if you're mad; you have every right to be. Please, please for give me, love," he pleaded in a whisper. The words were muffled because his lips were pressed firmly against my right cheek, directly below my eye.
A minute or two later my thoughts came together more easily, though the nightmares left me feeling dizzy. The room seemed to sway awkwardly as I spoke.
"Edward, I'm not mad, not at all. Please, don't blame yourself." I reached up to touch his cheek and he closed his eyes in contentment, leaning his face into my palm. I knew he loved the way it felt, the warmth of my soft skin compared to the frigidness of his rock hard flesh. I rubbed my hand slowly up and down his face, trying to make him feel better.
"Bella, that feels wonderful." He placed a long, white hand over top of the one that was still caressing his face, laced our fingers, and lowered our interlaced hands. "Are you okay?" he repeated.
"I'm fine." I strained to make it sound truthful but it wasn't well hidden.
"What is it that is making you cry?"
I peeled my eyes from his intense gaze. I didn't want to tell him why I was crying; he didn't need to worry. Even in the darkness a moment ago I could see that his eyes were now a soft golden instead of black. They were hypnotizing and very deep. I knew if I looked into his eyes then the truth would be forced out of me unwillingly. He took an icy finger and placed it under my chin, turning my head so I had no other choice. I couldn't escape the force of his gaze.
"Please," he whispered. He looked up at me from under long, black lashes. I got lost in his golden irises for the moment and could not help but be honest.
"I was having nightmares. They seemed so real." I rushed through the words and I knew he could understand, though they might not have been comprehendible to human ears. I could barely understand what I said myself.
"Would you like to talk about it?"
I shook my head no.
"How can I help?" I could tell that he was dying to help me feel better. His face was so sad. His eyebrows were pulled together, causing a fretted crease between them. I took my hand and smoothed it out; I didn't want him to be upset. I then twined my fingers in his tousled bronze hair and pulled his face close to mine, so that he was resting his forehead against mine. His freezing skin was comforting and familiar to me.
"This is enough," I breathed.
Still on top of me, he wrapped his arms around me and rubbed my back in a soothing circular motion. I finally could not take it anymore. I crushed my lips against his with such force that it would have possibly bruised any normal person. My fingers tangled themselves into his hair, binding me to him. He kissed me back, both passionate and careful. I took a moment to pull back and catch my breath. I found that I was not the only one with a ragged breathing pattern, though he had no reason to breathe. But my heart was also racing, stumbling every so often because of his icy touch. He rested his right ear to my chest, above my heart, and chuckled quietly at what he heard.
"Is…it really…not possible?" I panted.
"What?" He sounded very confused.
"Emmett said that it is not possible for me to love you more than you love me. Well, is it not?"
"I…I just…" He struggled for the right words. "I can't imagine you loving as much as I love you. I know your love for me is amazingly stronger than any other human could love; your response to my leaving confirms that." I knew he wasn't talking about today. "But, we, my kind, have the capacity to love much more than your kind. It is just hard for me to comprehend such a human that could love in the way that we do. But, then again, you prove me wrong everyday and your reactions always surprise me. So, I suppose, that is possible, but, I have my doubts."
"I love you more." I told him, staring into his eyes.
He stared back. "Not a chance." He smiled crookedly and I began to kiss him again. A minute later – much too soon in my mind – he pulled back a little. He was still kissing me, his lips never left my skin and I shuddered at his touch. His kisses trailed along my cheek, chin, jaw line, neck, and shoulder. He spoke against my skin.
"You should get to sleep, it's late." He murmured. Looking at his face I could tell there was no point in arguing. I nodded reluctantly as he got off of me, positioning himself at my right side. He wrapped his arms around me as his lips moved to my ear. "I love you. Always. Forever." He concluded.
"And I will always love you more," I mumbled, on the edge of sleep already.
He chuckled before he began to hum my lullaby and said, "Not a chance."