A Momentary Lapse

Bella Swan -

My skin burned under his touch. My lungs were also burning, finally relenting in their need for nourishment as I blew out the breath that I'd been holding. I tried to rein myself in, but it was no use, and with growing need and frustration I continued to wait for the always untimely departure of Edward's lips and hands. Usually our encounters were even more short lived, and I knew that I should be grateful for these additional moments.

He let his hands wander and I felt his long chilled fingers tracing patterns into the flesh below my arms. A few times his feather-light touch brushed the outside swell of my breast. Edward was concentrating his kisses on the pulsepoint behind my ear - a favorite area that he attends to regularly. I felt as well as heard the low growling begin, vibrating both of our chests. I knew the end was close now. Sure enough, his jaw tensed as he began to battle his true nature and started the heartbreak of ending our kiss. The familiar despair enveloped me, it always came when he reached his limits and ended our games.

As Edward leaned away from me, I was slightly taken aback by the dull black finish of his eyes. His lips parted and he shuddered, squeezing his eyes closed again. I could tell from the set of his brow that he was in pain. His breath escaped from him raggedly - brokenly - and while the low growling had stopped, his shaking hands knotting in the sheets were evidence that the battle for control was not quite won. His shoulders were still tense as his icy breath coated my face, dazzling me with a sweet heady scent that I can only assume was his venom. We continued to lie there for a few minutes in silence, his body poised above mine but his arms holding off his weight. Finally his body relaxed slightly and he opened his eyes, the matte black replaced by a deep bronze. Edward had won the battle again.

I was not relieved like I should have been. Instead I felt disappointment that Edward had once again beaten his lust for me, pushed it back down in favor of my purity. My body ached from the need for release.

Edward and I would be married in two weeks, and I was counting down the days until I had a chance to truly get to know Edward - all the different, complex and breathtaking parts of him. I was nervous about losing my virginity, and of course I was still wary that Edward would find a loophole in our pact and refuse to consummate the marriage. But mostly I was looking forward to the wedding because it meant that Edward would at least attempt to quench the thirst inside of me, the one that has been coiling inside my belly since I noticed my bronzed-hair archangel across the crowded lunch room. Every kiss made the need burn hotter, every stroke of his hand caused my impatience to grow.

Two weeks seemed much too long when my whole body was aching with want and lust. Two weeks seemed much too long when Edward Cullen's mouth was inches from my chest, and he was breathing hard in frustration and need.

Tonight's passion had caused the thirst to rage and twist through me painfully, the lust was clouding my brain. When Edward looked back down at me with his lightening eyes, I'm sure he saw desperation on my face. Desperation is what I felt crashing through me as he pulled further away, loosening my frantic grip, leaving me throbbing inside. Desperation was the motive behind my reckless actions. It was the harbinger of my death.

Edward Cullen -

She arched her chest into my deadly hands, once again trusting me with a treasure that I did not deserve but coveted obsessively. My mouth returned to the warm hollow behind her ear, her warm pulse was a comfort to me, and it fed the primal urge that forces my teeth close to the throbbing river underneath her skin. As always, I pushed down the need to bite, chained it up deep inside my chest where it could not reach her. Her moans and whimpers added to my intoxication, and I was dizzy and bewildered by the overwhelming scent of her. Her blood, her heat, her sweat, her tears - it all blended together in the room around me and my constant companions - desire and thirst - flickered up my body and scorched my charred throat.

He wanted to grab her hard, feel her gasp and writhe as my hands roughly kneaded her breasts, hear her sharp squeals as I forced my way inside of her. Mostly, my predator wanted to taste her bittersweet lifeblood as I sank my teeth into her, unequivocally and eternally marking her as my own. I heard a feral growl and realized that the sound was coming from my chest.

A shudder racked my frame as I tried to rein myself in, but my predator refused to be silent. I felt him pulling against his chains, reaching for my Beloved with longing and hunger. Venom pooled into my mouth and I forced myself to swallow it, but it did nothing to tame the forest fire in my throat. I clenched my jaw tightly, not trusting myself to open my lips anymore. I pulled away from Bella's face, once again saving her from the predator whose claws often came closer to her than she realized.

I had to close my eyes and re-center myself. The noises she was making were too much, too exquisite. Her breasts were too soft for my crushing fingers, they felt too fragile and precious to be spoiled by hands that had practiced such sin as mine. The smell of her arousal choked me yet I could not breathe it in deeply enough. I was drowning in it happily and I did not care to be saved. But I had to save her, my Bella.

It killed me inside each time I had to leave her wanting, to fail to meet her needs in such a humiliating way. Nevertheless, I was afraid that if I took one step further tonight, I would lose the tenuous grip that I had on my frayed control. When I opened my eyes I expected the familiar disappointment to color my Beloved's face. But when I looked down her eyes held no sadness or anger. Even worse (or better?), they seemed as animalistic and wanton as mine. I slammed my eyes shut again, the beauty of her waif figure laid out below me was clouding my brain. I forced myself to push my body further from her, away from her arms which were wrapped around my back like silken ribbon.

Her face was still flush when I gazed back down at her, her scent was caressing my senses and it was making me high with both pleasure and excruciating pain. I was so enthralled by looking down at my Bella below me, marveling at the power and lust that was blazing in her eyes, that her tiny sneaking hand caught me unaware. One moment I was drinking in her face; the flaming red of her lips, the tension in her jaw as her teeth ground together, the shadows that kissed her face as her eyelashes fluttered. The next, I felt her burning hot hand forcefully grab onto my manhood.

The predator ripped straight through me. Out of me.

In one swift movement, I ripped off her shirt and bra, leaving two long cuts across her chest, marring both of her perfect breasts. In the same motion I flipped her onto her stomach and tore a large swath of fabric from the seat of her pajamas(pleasenotlikethisgodPLEASE). I don't remember taking off my pants, but by the time I landed on her back they were gone, and without hesitation I rammed myself deep inside of my Bella (ohloveI'msorryohgod). At inhuman speed, I pushed myself into her roughly several dozen times, never slowing. One of my hands was tangled in her chaotic hair, pulling her head and arching her back. The other hand was wrapped around her throat, holding her chin up and stretching out her neck. My back was bent as I rutted into her (likeananimalaMONSTERohbellaI'msorry) and my teeth were inches from the pulsing vein in her throat, icy venom was dripping down and sizzling as it hit her fevered skin. In another second I was spilling my seed into her, still pumping in and out in a blur. I closed my eyes again and my predator crouched, ready to pierce her neck and end the games - begin the feast. My feast. My blood. My singer. My beloved.

Oh my Bella, I'm sorry.

Her scream pierced the air around me, clawing through the fog of my lust and drilling into my head, bringing me back to myself. Suddenly I noticed the placement of my hands, the nakedness of our bodies, the scent of fresh blood and terror around me. I dropped my hands from Bella's delicate, lowling head and one came back covered in strawberry-scented hairs. When I released her she fell forward, and I think (pray?) that she's surely fainted. But God did not love me, nor my Bella, and she was not granted the respite of sleep. Instead she finally gathered her strength and curled her frame into a ball on her bed. She began to shiver. I noticed the blood that trickled down the back of my Beloved's thigh. My long dead heart was sucked right out of my chest and I felt my sanity begin to crumble.

Even though I was absolutely abhorred with myself, the predator was still loose within me. The battle raged on. Bella's scream had been enough to distract him momentarily from his one true driving force, but the diversion was short lived as he drank in the scents in the room; arousal and fear, the floral smell of her sweat, but most of all, the rich salty aroma of her free-flowing blood. I looked down at my broken Bella curling into herself and I wished very much that I could die. But I knew that my punishment could never be that swift or true. In disgust I realized that my eyes were locked on the vein visible on her upper thigh, which was pulsing quickly in time with her rapid heartbeat. God and my predator still agreed that I needed to finish her, that the feast was only just beginning. My predator crouched once again to spring, envisioning how his teeth (my teeth) will tear her skin like tissue, how her lifeblood will pulse into our mouth.

I held my now tattered rope of self-control like a drowning man, I tried to remember who I am and where I came from - and still it was not enough. The aromas in the air threatened to take me under, tried to lull me into the darkness of primal instinct. I clung to all of the memories that I had of my Beloved: her reaction to my skin in our meadow, her eyes when I gave her mother's ring, the smell of her pillowcases, the way she arches her body into me even with the knowledge of what I am.

I whimpered and my predator tried to revolt but I used everything that I possessed to keep my body still.

Her love and acceptance of my family, her modesty and humility and courage. Her beauty. Her compassion. Her forgiveness. Her trust.

Those thoughts of her were barely enough, but they were enough. I threw myself through the glass of her bedroom window and into the night.

Five hundred feet from her house as I hurled myself across the river and into the forest, I caught a flash of movement and smelled my sister Alice running for Bella's yard. As she passed I heard Just run Edward let me care for her just run

And so I ran.

I have lost the war.

Bella Swan -

I shouldn't have touched him oh god he told me oh god I'm dying because I touched him

The act itself was so quick, I didn't really register what was happening until it was over. One moment, I was deciding that I would tease him, to show him what its like to be touched and ruffled and then left unsatisfied in the end. The next moment, I was on my stomach and something was burning me, tearing me, and I realized that most of my clothes were gone and (ohmygodohnoohno) Edward was inside of me. My head was being held off of the bed by my hair, and another hand was around my throat, making it hard to breathe. It hit me that Edward was hurting me, maybe even killing me. I screamed at a sudden sear of pain inside of me, and suddenly the presence behind me was gone. Without the support my ravaged body slumped forward, and I fell onto my side.

My mind was still reeling, trying to connect how all of this pain and confusion has came about. My insides felt numb yet shredded and I curled myself into a ball and wrapped my hand around my belly where the pain was worst. I heard jagged breaths behind me, and then a whimper that sounded desperate yet sad. Glass crashed and I felt the cold rush of night air. I realized that I was quaking all over. Another cramp hit me and I gripped myself and squeezed my eyes shut against the pain. Somewhere far away, a wail of agony sounded, as if some large predator was in the throes of death. The next thing I felt, besides the mind-shattering ache deep inside me, was the cool touch of vampire hands.

The arms wrapped underneath me and lifted and I wailed against the sudden movements. I could hear Alice's voice close to my ear, chanting soothing words too quickly for me to understand. I still had my eyes closed tightly, but I felt the familiar rush of wind that told me she was running. Tears pushed themselves between my eyelids and absorbed into Alice's sweater. I could feel a hot slickness between my legs. I noticed that I was still wearing the remnants of my pajamas and for a small moment I was embarrassed that Alice had seen me in this state. But this new worry didn't occupy me long as the pain in my belly seemed to spread and grow hotter. Within seconds I was bucking against Alice in my agony and she struggled to contain me as we reached the Cullen's front door. I decided in that moment that I was going to die. I knew that Edward would die with me.

Edward Cullen -

I ran Northwest until I reached the sea.

During my run to the water and back I learned several new things. First, I learned that vampires can indeed cry. There are no tears to be sure, but crying can still occur without tears, the process is just more painful and less cathartic. As I ran against the wind and through storms, I wailed out my sorrow and sobs racked through me incessantly. If I stopped running even for a moment my legs would not support me and I would collapse into the dirt and claw at my face and chest.

Second, I learned that while Carlisle and vampires like him might exist, it is the overall nature of my kind to be parasites - unworthy of life. I learned that I am indeed a vessel of evil, as I have sullied a direct gift from God. I also learned that I hated God for ever giving me such a fragile, priceless gift to begin with, when surely he must have known that I would break it.

Third, I learned that I had killed Bella.

Carlisle called me sometime during my foray into the mountains, and I read his message when I reached the beach. It was a simple text message, but its contents confirmed all of the sin and sadism that I've always known lies at the heart of what I am.

'It has begun. She'll be one of us soon.'

And so I sat down on a rock looking out over the gray water, and I let the despair wash over me. My body contorted with sobs of sorrow and regret. I suppose the news of Bella's human death, and her birth into an eternal death, had finally cut the small line that held my mind together. I have taken the thing that gave me the most pleasure in the world and gained its trust, loved it, and then desecrated it. I have ruined something more beautiful and valuable than myself. I have coveted her and destroyed her. Taken from her and returned to her an unbearable life. I could not bring myself to leave her alone and now I have sentenced her to my sentence, a punishment she could not even understand.

After several more hours of being lost in grief, I tried to gather myself enough to gauge how long I'd been there. The sun was setting so my betrayal must have happened almost 24 hours ago. Bella would be deep into the change now, and my mind wondered whether her broken body had knitted itself back together yet. Not that it mattered really, because right now my Bella was burning. And I had set her aflame.

I knew that I did not deserve to apologize, not even to look upon her once trusting face. But I had to answer for what I'd done, and spend the rest of my existence doing penance for my crime. Without any hope of forgiveness, I must help her survive the pain and cruelty of this inescapable fate.

And so I turned and ran back home.

I began to pick up my family's thoughts miles before I reached the house. Of course they were worried, anxious and despondent over what I had done. They did not blame me, but instead of providing me with comfort it enraged me further. I tried to turn the anger inward, where it belonged, and the hole inside of me grew larger, threatening to swallow me. How could they ignore the bestiality I have displayed? I had hurt her so much, in so many ways. I raped her. There could be no forgiveness for that.

I could see that Carlisle was looking over Bella, he reached down to brush a wayward hair from her face and pondered my Bella's new otherworldly beauty. I was deeply grateful that someone was with her, but once again I was aggravated by his thoughts regarding her change - how can you enhance what was already perfect? In his mind's eye I saw that she was suddenly thrashing, wailing in desperation, begging for death.

I was right outside the line of trees behind the house but I hesitated. While I knew that this was where my duty lied, now that I was here I was terrified of seeing my Beloved. The evidence of my unforgivable sin would be undeniable. I could hear her labored breathing and throaty sobs floating toward me on the wind.

My body was shaking harshly, but I could feel her rapid heartbeats reverberating in my frame, racing and sputtering as if she were a rabbit caught in a trap. I could not help the loud moan that escaped me and rumbled through the forest, scattering the birds into flight. I heard Alice directing her thoughts my way, but the soothing tenor instantly disgusted me.

Edward, we all love you. We're very sorry for how things have happened but it's too late to change it now. Bella will come out of this healthy and strong, you know that. And she will need you after this is over. Come into the house when you are ready.

I snorted sarcastically at Alice, loud enough so she could hear me. Her intentions were pure, she was trying to make things better and I clung to that thought in an attempt to keep from lashing out at her. My fists were clenched tightly and I could feel my nails cutting into my granite flesh. My chest didn't seem to be working, I could not draw a breath to steady myself. Rage rushed through me - mostly at myself for killing my Savior, but also at my family for their acceptance of such evil. Bella was barely on the cusp of her life, and I had selfishly snuffed out her future and tore away her innocence. They should all hate me just as I hate myself, just as Bella would hate me when she finally opened her eyes.

I tried to mentally prepare myself for the onslaught of well-meaning condolences which would cut me like daggers. I arranged my face into a mask of sanity so that my family would allow me to see my broken Bella. I finally drug in a breath and it added to the heavy, deep hole in my center. I prepared to let the pain and grief swallow me, just as I deserved. Then I walked into the house with my face lowered and headed straight for the stairs, to face what I had done.

Instantly I was overwhelmed by the sounds echoing down the stairs. Her voice was raw and broken as she begged for relief, and each new groan almost brought me to my knees on the steps. I finally reached Carlisle's office, and even though the scene was much like what I had imagined outside, of course it was no easier to bear. Medical supplies, computer printouts and ancient books littered all of the tables and chairs and covered a good deal of the floor. Alice and Carlisle were in the room, looking at me and wondering about the best way to approach me. I dismissed them instantly and my eyes settled on the writhing mass arching on the table.

Her hair was wild and damp, her whole body was covered in a sheen of sweat. Somehow they had held her still enough to wrap a hospital gown around her, but she had pulled it halfway off in her hysterics and the wetness of her body caused it to stick to her skin. I walked nearer to her, apprehensive, waiting on the moment when she spotted me and, hopefully, spat in my face. She was still twisting like a woman possessed and was so engulfed in her own agony that she did not see me at all until I was inches from her, struggling with whether or not I should touch her.

Her eyes met mine for only a fraction of a second, but it was long enough to realize that there was no comprehension there. Her pupils were dilated and the whites of her eyes were bloody. Her eyes slid over mine and she was once again gazing to the left of me, not focusing on anything but the pain. My heart broke again and I stuttered out a sob. As if in response, her shrill scream needled through the room, much like the one that saved her life during the attack. The end of the wail was laced with obscenities.

She babbled until her throat was raw and her voice extinguished. While she was no longer capable of speaking, she continued to try.

I was still standing a few inches from her side; my eyes were closed as I made myself endure her screams and pleas. And I deserved no reprieve so I pried my eyes open again and forced myself to look at her face even though she would not look at mine. I tentatively reached out to touch her arm, which seemed to be bending in unnatural ways. When my cool skin hit her, she instinctively cowered and hissed. She finally looked at me but there was still no recognition in her eyes, only terror and pain and despair.

I could hear my family's thoughts downstairs. They wouldn't all face me at once because they were worried about my fragile psyche. I chuckled a humorless laugh in response. As if there was anything left of my psyche at all. As if it hadn't been sick and black to begin with.

Carlisle had stayed in the room with Bella and I. I tried to lay down beside her to let my icy touch cool her fever, but she clawed and gnashed at my face. I gratefully took her physical punishment and swallowed her raspy cries and moans like pills. I heard Carlisle clear his throat, and I knew that he was trying to pull my attention away from Bella. I nodded my head towards him to acknowledge that I was listening, but I couldn't remove my eyes from my Bella's ravaged face.

"Why didn't you just let her die, Carlisle?", it was the first time I'd spoken since I returned.

Carlisle hesitated before he answered me, but I instantly pulled the truth from his mind.

Her injuries were severe...not fatal. She was changing when she got here.

I watched Carlisle's memory from last night. Alice kicking in the door with Bella fighting in her arms, blood covering them both.

I finally made eye contact with Carlisle, willed myself to remember and understand, but terrified of what I might find. I had no memory of biting her, and I had forced myself to replay my actions that night a thousand times since then. I remembered taking her roughly, ramming myself into her yielding flesh. I remembered pulling out her hair and watching the two long wounds blossom on her breast, but I did not remember using my teeth at all. I only remembered fighting the urge with all that I had, and then running like I should have done in the first place. Carlisle's thoughts snapped me back to the present.

Edward, your thrusting caused some tearing, and when you ejaculated, your venom entered her internal wounds and mixed into her blood stream. By the time Alice got her here she was well into the change.

And once again my long-dead heart cracked, and I fell down the rabbit hole that had been gaping in my chest.

I spent the next day and a half on my knees by her makeshift bed. I kneeled beside her, my back slumped and my head hanging down into my arms, as if I were a child saying their prayers before the watchful eyes of God. She was all cried out for most of it, but the defeated mewling sounds she made after that were even harder to bear. All the fight drained out of her, her movements became small and weak. We listened together to the sound of her racing heartbeat, galloping towards death. Alice tried to convince me to sing her lullaby, in hopes of soothing her, but I could not bring myself to do it after my betrayal.

The last few hours she simply cried out her last human tears, and her shoulders shook and her chest buzzed as her pulse continued to accelerate. The soft crying began to crescendo into a breathy wail, and then her heart finally exploded as she bleated like a lamb being slaughtered. Then silence.