Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer created the characters and the rest of the Twilight universe. I'm just having fun playing in the meadow...
A/N: Reminder - these chapters are outtakes from LofN and are not intended to stand on their own.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter or my blog. The links are on my profile. This chapter one was extremely difficult to write so have mercy on a stressed out girl :-)
Everything In Between
"I miss you," she whispered so low that I almost didn't hear the words. As soon as I realized what she was saying, my body moved toward her of its own accord. I could no longer deny myself any opportunity to be near her.
"I miss you too," I whispered into her ear. All I wanted in that moment was to hold her. "Can I come in?"
She simply nodded but it was enough of a yes for me. I stood there watching her for any sign that indicated she regretted allowing me entrance through her window. When tears began to streak down her face I had to clench my fists to keep from reaching out to comfort her. Only my Bella could make a vampire afraid. This time, however, I was more afraid for me than for her. She had the capacity to break me. My life was quite literally in her hands. I realized I needed to say something. The air was getting much too thick.
"I thought I was imagining you calling my name. That's why it took me a minute to answer." Again, my body longed to get closer to hers and I became conscious of the fact I was leaning toward her.
With agonizing slowness she moved closer to me. I breathed in her delicious scent and closed my eyes. I had not been this close to her in so long and I expected the burn to be excruciatingly torturous. What I was not prepared for, though, was how good it felt. The sensation meant that she was close enough to touch, to kiss. I opened my eyes and smiled at the memory of feeling her lips against mine. I allowed myself a brief moment to hope we could get that close again one day.
When her hand reached my chest, I almost moaned out loud as I covered her tiny hand with mine. The feeling was exquisite. I started to tell her how very much I had missed her but she stopped me. Without words she let me know that she was going to move closer and I held my breath as she wrapped her arms around me. I could barely believe this was actually happening. All my restraint went into not allowing myself to hold her closer and kiss her everywhere. I wanted so much more but knew I would have to wait.
And then she was gone. I looked up to find she was as far away from me as she could get in her small bedroom. The force of her absence almost sent me crashing to my knees. I would beg and plead if I had to in order to win back Bella's trust. I needed her to see how much this was hurting me, but that would be too selfish. Her features contorted as several thoughts obviously ran through her mind. Her doubt was evident. I hated myself for being the reason for her uncertainty. She needed my patience and I had no choice but to give her everything I could.
"Bella?" I was unsure what to say but I hated the silence that lingered between us. "Bella, I'm sorry. Do you want me to leave?" The look on her face was too much. My desire to hold her was getting much too powerful to resist.
After a few seconds I heard her delicate voice but the words shattered any strength I ever had.
"I want you to go."
There was nothing I could say in that moment. I was so close to losing control of my emotions. She stopped me right before I darted through the window.
"I want you to stay," she whispered shortly followed by, "I'm so confused."
"I can understand that," I replied honestly before resolutely taking a seat in the rocking chair in the corner of her room. "I will give you time but I won't leave unless you ask me to do so. You should get some sleep."
I wondered if my words were true. Would I even be able to leave if she asked? I did not think I could. The soft creaking of the rocking chair I occupied was the only sound in the room – other than the alluring sound of her heartbeats and steady breathing, but only I could hear those. Bella looked exhausted and I longed to watch her sleep again. I hoped she would let me stay even if I could not touch her.
"Goodnight, Edward." She said before crawling into bed.
Leaving her the next morning was even more difficult than I thought possible. Each time I had to leave her over the next few days was the same. But, she wanted me around, she allowed me to be there, and that had to be enough for now.
Since the night Bella permitted me back into her life, I had been patient, unendurably so. Much more patient than I had ever had to be before, but I would wait forever if necessary. And earning back her trust was going to take time. But I was determined and nothing would stop me from getting back the woman I loved. I knew she thought spending our last evening before she left me for a week at a pretentious fundraiser was weird but I just wanted to hold her in my arms and dance with her. She was still so hesitant around me, not realizing how much I had truly changed during her absence. I craved her touch rather than feared it and I relished the moments when she reached for me first. We really needed an opportunity to talk and get to know one another again but I wanted to wait until she returned from her trip to Florida. I simply wanted to cherish these last few hours before we would be separated for an entire week. The knowledge that she would be with Black- the love struck mutt - the entire time had me on edge and I had to work hard to hide my anxiety. I would not allow my insecurities ruin our evening.
When she came down the stairs in that immaculate dress, I knew I made the right decision to take her to the gala even though she was still so distant and often tensed under my hands. How would I ever make things right with her? I worried our relationship may never be what it once was but, part of me at least, knew that was not necessarily a terrible thing. We needed to build our foundation on solid ground rather than the slippery slope we had before. I wanted Bella as my equal and I knew she always felt inferior, a feeling that had little to do with her humanity. She honestly did not see herself clearly. When she looked in the mirror all she saw was a plain girl. In reality, my Bella was beyond extraordinary. Her features were unique and her personality was genuine. She never believed me when I told her how I saw her and I knew that had to change. I just didn't know how to fix her skewed perception of herself.
I already knew I would be spending the next week coming up with the perfect way to show her my devotion. I asked Alice and Esme to help me plan something that even Bella could appreciate without feeling her usual hesitance when it came to accepting things from me. After saying farewell to Bella that night, I set out to make preparations for the most perfect day for the two of us to share. Plus, I had to find a way to keep my mind off of the fact that she was spending an entire week with that wretched wolf. I trusted him with her safety, but I knew he would jump on any opportunity to get closer to my Bella.
Just as Alice predicted, the sun kept us away from humans for the next few days. The weather hindered my endeavors somewhat but Alice assured me I would have plenty of time to get the things we could not obtain through the internet. I was actually starting to get excited as everything began to come together exactly as I pictured it. I could not wait for Bella to come home to me.
Victoria also kept us busy that week. Even though we never came across her or her scent, we knew the vampires who were making constant runs into our lands and the reservation were associated with her. The bitch sure was determined. My family and the pack started working together more and more to stop and kill the consistent stream of newborns. Certainly, she had changed enough now that her actions would alert the Volturi. Their appearance was something we needed to avoid at all costs. If the Volturi learned of Bella's and my relationship they would likely kill us all. I could never allow that to happen.
Alice was taking Victoria's minion's attacks the hardest because they were somehow blocking her ability to see them. This had nothing to do with the wolves' natural blocking skills. Victoria had figured out her own method of thwarting Alice's visions. The only being we knew that may have given her the knowledge necessary was Laurent. One phone call to our cousins in Alaska solved that mystery. Sure enough, one of the sisters had befriended Laurent and divulged my family's secrets. Irina swore he would never betray her but I was pretty confident the feelings between the two were very one sided. His involvement was further confirmed when I saw an image of Laurent in the thoughts of one of the newborns.
It was also one of the newborns who showed me something that brought all else to a stand still. He thought about Victoria's instructions to not think about her or the fact that she was gone. I knew in that moment that she was aware of Bella's distant whereabouts. All these attacks were simply a method of distraction to make us believe she was still in the area rather than on her way to destroy my entire world. Of course, Alice would not be able to see anything happening there since Jacob had gone with Bella.
Just as I was gathering my family to inform them of Victoria's ruse, my phone vibrated in my pocket. Relief washed over me as I glanced at the caller id and saw Bella's name on the small display. I was much too relieved in that moment to chastise her for not calling sooner when she told me of Victoria's appearance in Florida. I would have to thank Jacob for keeping Bella safe. Right now, all of my focus was honed in on tracking down Victoria and annihilating her in a very painful way.
When I returned home to relay my recent findings to my family, I overheard Alice talking on the phone, apparently with Jacob, letting him know that she could see Victoria again and she was heading north although she wasn't quite sure exactly where she would end up. At least we knew Bella was safe for the moment. A few hours later Alice's cell phone rang out in the quiet of the house playing the ringtone Alice had programmed for Bella and I wondered why Bella was calling Alice at such a late hour. It had to be after 1:00am in Jacksonville. I sighed when Alice's thoughts revealed Bella was still worried about Victoria's location. The sooner I could take out that bitch, the better.
All thoughts of vengeance and worry about our future dissipated when my beautiful girl stepped out of the passenger side of Charlie's cruiser the next day and met my gaze. The twinkle in her eye revealed how happy she was to find me there. I was pleasantly surprised when she ran straight toward me and jumped into my arms. I did not stop to think about Charlie's presence when she wrapped her legs around me and I just held her as tightly as possible without hurting her. I could not help the smirk that crept across my face when Charlie cleared his throat and I could tell from the tenor of his mind that he was uncomfortable watching our exchange.
Bella wiggled her way out of my grasp but I just pulled her right back against me. I cupped her face in my hands and lightly touched her lips with my own. She relaxed into my embrace and I looked down at her to tell her I had missed her. She smiled warmly in response as I turned to walk with her inside. I had initially planned on surprising her as soon as she returned but decided to wait until the following day when Alice advised the sun would be more cooperative. My family had begged me to bring her by as soon as possible so I figured we could spend some time with them instead.
Charlie's thoughts indicated his desire to keep Bella closer than usual but he still allowed her to leave with me after she promised to return in time to prepare dinner. I smiled to myself knowing exactly why he wanted to spend more time with her. Who wouldn't? On the way to my car I could not resist pulling her in for another kiss after taking a deep breath against her hair. She allowed me to control the passion making keeping her close that much easier. I truly appreciated the effort she was making for me and deepened the kiss.
"Please don't ever leave me again," I begged when I finally found the strength to release her soft lips.
"I can promise that I never want to be away from you." She suddenly was unable to look me in the eye and I had to walk away to refrain from demanding a reason for her shyness.
Time drifted as I simply enjoyed spending time with Bella and my family. It wasn't until her stomach growled that I realized how long it had been and that Bella had not eaten in several hours, if she had even gotten a chance to eat breakfast before her flight that morning. I highly doubted she could stomach that vile airplane food. Even I knew it was worse than most human food. Luckily, everyone else, except Rose, gave her the same concerned look after Bella brushed off my fretting. At least I wasn't the only one worried about the human.
Charlie was actually quite cordial to me as we sat in the living room waiting patiently for Bella to prepare our dinner. The look on Bella's face when I actually started eating was well worth the inconvenience I would later have to face to get rid myself of the food I consumed. Any excuse to spend more time with Bella was worth any sacrifice. I returned to her room as quickly as I could after pretending to leave that evening. Her scent was overwhelmingly intoxicating when she stepped into her room after showering. It was almost impossible to remain seated as she entered the small space and closed the door behind her.
As soon as she realized I was there, Bella raced across the room and into my arms. Relief coursed through me as I held her against me breathing in her intriguing scent. A sense of calm engulfed me and I could not resist teasing her a bit before tucking her in for the night. I hated to leave but as soon as I knew she was in a deep sleep, I slipped out of her bed and headed home so that Alice and I could complete the last minute details for the perfect day I had planned for my Bella. Hopefully, I would be back before she awoke in the morning and she would never know I left.
Unfortunately, the preparations took longer than I intended and I hoped Bella was not disappointed if she had awakened to find me gone. I slipped quietly through her window only to find her room empty and destroyed. Clothes were flung across the floor that had not been there the previous evening and the entire area reeked of that damn dog. Before I could explore the house further, the thoughts of one of the younger wolves invaded my mind. He was worried about Jacob and terrified that Jacob's rash decision would start a war between the pack and my family. He knew I was there and dreaded facing the consequences of Jacob's actions. Within seconds we were standing face to face. Seth recoiled slightly before apologizing profusely.
"He honestly thinks it's the only way to keep her safe. I swear none of us knew about it until he was on his way here. By the time the rest of us got here they were gone." Seth was telling the truth, I knew that much, but my anger was too far gone for me to remain rational. I lashed out at the young boy and he shifted to wolf form instinctively. I crouched ready to fight.
A/N: So? Loved it? Hated it? Indifferent? I'm still working on getting the next chapter of LofN finished - it's taking forever, I know! You can always check out one of my other stories or head over to Twilighted and read this craziness with the EPOV chapters inserted directly into the story. Those chaps are a little more polished as well. Of course, there are tons of great stories out there so I hope they are keeping you busy enough not to hate me for failing with updates lately.