The Twilight Twenty-Five
Prompt: 16. Sky
Pen name: goldenmeadow
Pairing: Edward and Bella and a little bit of everyone

Rating: M

Christ, I cannot even thank you, Viola Cornuta, enough. I really can't. You held my hand through many days and nights. You gave me everything I asked for with no questions (or only saucy impudent queries that made me laugh) and in about two minutes turn-around time. You were on-call for three months straight. I am so pleased to say Gillian is joining the Dead Confederates team as my pre-beta! Endless thanks and love unto you.

Disclaimer: Can't I at least own this? No? Fine. In that case, you know the drill.

Ridiculously epic A/N at the bottom.

~~The Grande Finale. Plea to Worship and Crave to the Sky~~


Sky

Circa 1918 to 2005

Chicago, Milwaukee, Forks

Edward

When I awoke, I fully expected to see the sky outside the gable window of my bedroom. I should have known better when there was no lasting impression of my nightly visitor inside the safe-keeping of my mind.

There was no sunrise, there was no eventide, only windows covered by heavy velvet curtains pulled-to denying the sun's entrance to the dark paneled study-made-hospital room. My first ragged breath found fire bursting down through my throat around my chest that felt hollow as an empty grave before incinerating with heat to my stomach!

No sky, just conflagration. And the murmur of a deep masculine voice. Through wieldy eyes I saw him. In a flash that rivaled the hunger-suck of inflammation causing a noise like a growl to climb from my cavernous body, I remembered!

My life was instantly dismembered.

The man from Swan Lake, the doctor from the ward, the creature who had delivered news of my mother and father's deaths with one hand and divested me of life with the incising scalpel of his teeth, this was him.

Drowning his words of explanation were my own dry sobs, my eyes were parched.

Aghast, I looked to my hands that had been wrapped tight to brow and cheeks.

"You can no longer cry, Edward."

I raged, and the howls from my body ripped an insane hunger through me, awakening lust for something I didn't understand beyond knowing it needed sating now!

I tried to rip my neck to shreds to rid myself of the insatiable craving.

"You need blood, Edward."

My fight diminished, I nodded weakly. In my wary state, I thought he meant a transfusion of sorts.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

"Stay here, please, until I return."

I acquiesced. Remaining in that room, I turned to stone. My eyes didn't blink, my lungs didn't fill, my fingers didn't twitch, my legs never moved.

Catatonic.

The door opened and only my eyes lifted.

Then widened with distress!

The doctor cradled a doe in each arm as if they weighed no more than newborn babes. Jumping off the makeshift gurney in distaste, I almost knocked him over in my haste until the scent of iron, warm and rich, invaded the room.

Grabbing the minky skinned animals from his hands, I hunkered in the corner and sniffed at the creatures quizzically, my hunger exploding.

I reached in with fingers shaped like talons, pulling tendons and sinews to the side. Slick mucous and tissue didn't daunt me. I found the dying thump of a fat artery, milky violet inside its semi-opaque casing. Putting my nose flush to it, I inhaled the wet bitter smell and licked once before pointing my tongue like a dagger stabbing into the vein! Moaning, I wrapped my lips around the pulsing carotid and sucked until my cheeks caved in, and blood spilled its warmth over my chin and throat and torso.

I wasted no time with the second deer. I simply cracked her neck like a wishbone, meaty marrow spattered the bookcase beside me and violent plops of tissue showered up to my hair, caking my cheeks, making my hands reek.

I drew the dense warm liquid into my throat as fast as I could until I'd pulled an entire length of emptied vein from the eviscerated carcass with my earnestness.

Hunched over, I shoved the dead cadavers away, the racing force of their bodies shattered the far wall, carving a dent into the skirting.

My hands were bloodied, and I put them in my hair, deepening the paler red there.

Rocking, shaking, I was on the balls of my feet, my elbows to my knees, trying to make myself as small as possible. An insect. A cockroach.

"You need blood to survive, Edward."

The voice continued as if I had not just massacred two innocent does in his library.

Matter of fact, he stated, "You're strong. Supernaturally strong now."

I glanced at the impact the deer had made on plaster with barely a push from my arms.

The voice crouched before me and made as if to touch me, but I shrank back with a feral growl.

"Like me, you're immortal."

Sitting down and crossing his legs, in it for the long haul, the voice lowered and sounded suffering, "You're mother wanted this, Edward. She knew what I was."

I raised my eyes, clenched my fists, how dare he speak of my mother!

"Speed, strength, beauty, grace and unending life to be fed only by blood…we're vampires, Edward."

Gasping, I saw utter blackness when I closed my eyes, wishing for unconsciousness.

"One more thing," the voice whispered, eerie of tone. "You'll never sleep again."

I scrunched my eyes tight, rolled over to a ball, begged for tears, continued to breath. You'll never sleep again. This declaration above all the others ruined me! To not sleep meant not to dream of Isabella Swan!

Tearing through his house like a wild beast, I clawed furniture apart, shredding books, breaking every damn piece of china because it mocked me with the fact I'd never have need for it again.

I laughed maniacally.

Everything he said was true.

The blood, the stamina, the power, the insomnia, the neglect of oxygen.

All of it was true.

Accepting his offerings of freshly killed animals, I devoured the carrion.

I was a beast, I didn't even speak to him. Not for six months.

Hearing his thoughts made me want to rip my ears off though; I imagined with my vigor I could probably do just that if I really had mind to. Anxious and worried, the voice's guilt was insidious, scrabbling through him from the inside out.

At first I enjoyed his affliction as it befitted a murderer.

Not only had he stolen my life, he'd erased the memories of my mother and father. As if he'd taken cloth to the markings on a blackboard, he made the faces of my parents watery, warped as though rippled upon the surface of Lake Michigan.

All of my human years sped away so quickly!

Yet every minute here marched at a tortoise's pace.

The one visage remaining true and clear and bright, at least at first, was Isabella Swan, as though she was linked to me in this existence as well as that of my mortal years.

I could only hope while I stormed and razed and hated.

Crawling like nothing more than a mongrel towards a piece of heavy linen paper floating in ever widening spirals to the trunched up rug, dis-housed from his portfolio after my latest rampage, I scoured the refuse for a pen. Isabella had abounded in my dreams, as a human. I had those no more. She was fading too. Furiously unleashed, I sketched her face and form, black to white so she was living in front of me in less than a minute.

Finding another and another page, I traded pen for carbon and began to take my time, shading in her almond eyes, pointing out the scatter of pale freckles atop her cheeks and straight nose. In chiaroscuro, I told of her little widow's peak, the feminine dimple in her chin, the arch of her eyebrows and the height of her brow. Pressing hard and lifting up, I recreated her wavy brown hair, loosened from its hold, as I remembered it wafting over my arms. A cameo at the neck of her high ruffled blouse, slim shoulders lifting in query, eyes dancing in forthrightness, the rounds of her earring studs twinkling of precious metal.

Bent over the drawing, I revered her, placed my palm to her face. He found me there, on the floor with scattered drawings all around.

I shut out his thoughts and listened to his question, "This is Isabella Swan?"

A fresh startle lifted out my voice, sounding unused and unduly irate, "How do you know her?"

He leaned away, sat to a chair, pulled it close, elbows to knees as I'd been before him, cagey in front of the savage animal who finally spoke, "When you died, when I took your life, Edward, for a moment your mind opened to me. I heard her name; I know you saw her at that last instant. Who is she?"

I observed his gentile stature, his obeisant posture, hands open, eyes honest. I looked down to the young woman and told her secret for the first time, "I knew her in my sleep alone."

With dread and sadness, what was once green and now complete tones of golden yellow saw the ache in his echoing eyes, "For everything, I'm sorry, Edward."

Stooping, he patted my shoulder, the only awkwardness in the motion from the fact that he wanted to embrace me. Standing, he left me to my work, closing the door, granting me privacy.

Acceptance then was to be mine, after half a year that felt like a damned eternity.

The voice had a name, and one I'd been familiar with secondhand; Doctor Carlisle Cullen. The voice, Carlisle, possessed a kindness of spirit that would never replace the humanity I vaguely remembered, but that affected me, finally, nonetheless.

With surety, proficiency and grace, Carlisle guided me as a sire into this new world. Steeped in confidence, innate paternal instincts, a warmth of nature that his frigidity would never eclipse, he fathered me as a young man to be respected and reared carefully.

He was hospitable; he made his house my own. Through my berserking, he's said not one word, but merely, nightly, cleaned up after me.

Learned and nurturing, Carlisle was patience itself. But never was he a mother, never could he be the woman I longed for.

I studied after him. Painting and sketching filled in the non-stop time. There was friendship and fostering and care. And always I looked to Isabella to find me.

Promising to never change another, Carlisle walked about bearing the rash of my eternal vampire life like a thorn crown on his blond head and Roman nails through his palms and feet.

The culpability within him only lightening with our every conspiring on Isabella.

His disavowel to bring any other into our world was pure, but it was in the workings of the universe itself, and no one, man nor beast, could cease this motion once put in place.

I could only help it along.

In Milwaukee, 1921, his woman was here.

I knew the moment he saw her, the second he touched her. Her life, an abridged version like mine, was coming to a close. Her baby would die. There was no way I could stop that inescapability, but a few words could bring them both completion.

Esme Snider.

Pacing his den, Carlisle wondered irritably where the young woman had been those last mornings during his walks to the hospital.

I knew she was being wheeled into the infirmary, her heart malfunctioning, her body giving way, her back completely distorted.

Pounding the stairs, I demanded of Carlisle, "You must go to the clinic now!"

Hours passed. I laid out all the implements I remembered with blinded eyes.

When he entered, the back door crashing on its hinges, I left the house. I wasn't stout enough to relive the nightmare.

I'd done what I could.

Even in the forest, when she woke, I could hear the blood-curdling screams.

It took her much less time than me.

Guardedly I observed this young mother who'd been robbed of her bairn as she glided, not quite effortlessly but no less imperially, from womanhood to vampirehood.

Esme retained a maternal effervescence, a need to cherish and encourage and love. Affectionate and open and kindhearted, I gave my adoration to her quickly.

As did Carlisle, though he tried to barricade himself with books and work. He obstinately, endearingly ignored the real and close, lifelong and intimate love beneath his own Patrician nose.

I understood he had no say in the matter.

Reaching out to me, Esme and I had many commonalities; motherless to childless, an equal devotion to Carlisle. A love of the arts. A keen sense of home.

Succor was what she gifted. I was inspired to play again, but one more thing to fill out my days and nights.

I was entertained by the manner in which Esme made a conquest of Carlisle. Amusingly, this centurion willfully disregarded her advances until Esme. a sensually enlivened female, conquered him with something so simple as a bath!

Those first years, I had hope; a father in Carlisle, a mother in Esme and a future in Isabella Swan.

Nine years was a long time to wait. Being the bachelor, untouched as a man and unaffected as a vampire, while Esme and Carlisle fell more deeply in love, exploring all their awakened carnal instincts, carved another void inside me. Rebellion lashed through me and, with vigilantism my excuse to cave into my despotic craving for mortal blood, I left. A loner, I killed. A monster, I drank.

My eyes a hemorrhagic miasma, my mutated nature raged like an uncontrollable fever.

If I didn't have a soul, why did I suffer from guilt for all the unrighteous lives I took?

I went back because this paltry existence without any love at all was morbidly terrifying.

The clan grew. Rosalie in 1933, then Emmett in 1935. They too paired up.

I looked for Isabella in every female face and figure. I scoured photographs in newspapers and magazines.

Estrangement was the only thing to be found.

1936 found us in Forks, Washington. The damp drear place buckled a thick band around me with its gloomy call. She was not there either.

Progressing to watercolors and pastels, their colors were the only soft hues in my world that was gray and bleak. I gave a rosy bloom to her cheeks, a pink tint to her pretty lips, a deep brown to her well-shaped eyes.

My fingers stained, my clothes splattered, I met our next two family members in 1950; Jasper and Alice. Also coupled.

Whenever I felt my mood shift away from loneliness and brighten from melancholy, I silently pleaded with Jasper to leave me alone to my anguish. Whenever Alice traipsed into a room trailing gleeful visions, optimism enlivened me! Perhaps she'd seen my girl in her prophetic machinations. Every shake of her head was a denial that dashed the last vestiges of my faith.

Inevitably, eras changed. Unstoppably I watched each second passing, seasoned in maddening inertia. Fashions altered, new music genres were born, presidents were inaugurated, assassinated, impeached. World War II, the Vietnam War, the Cold War. Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. New weapons, new greed, new patriotism.

I alone was frozen solid, unmoving, stuck in an ice age and faltering.

My beauty to human women was evidenced by repellant, fatuous ideas. Decades on and those images of me with them, nakedly writhing, were replaced by trepidation. My supernatural attractiveness became muted by the corpse emptiness of my eyes and my insufferable attitude.

When our unaging verged on the obvious, we moved on. That was one more modification highlighting my intractability.

Like the sky, that endless dome that sheltered the world, I knew it to be round and all-encompassing, but like me, it seemed punctuated and flat.

Seventy-seven years was an interminable lifetime to attend amidst the love of three married couples. I alone was marred. The explicitness of their love taunted me, ghosted my body with sensual intimacy I'd never known, I felt no such urges for sex. I imbibed the blood of animals merely because the pain of starving myself was too great to witness in the horror written on Esme's face.

Seeking to soothe me, Esme held her hand to my cheek and whispered up at me, "You're a classic, Edward." Translation: You'll never change.

"A real class act," Carlisle followed up, curling one arm around my shoulders. Meaning: I'm so relieved you amended your ways; you've remained here with us, a prime example of our ethos.

Jasper knocked his fist to my chest, "A hard act to follow." He alone filled me with torment and guilt, for what right did I have to be so existentially pained when his formative years had been filled with untold massacres of innocents, and he'd overcome that goriness?

Emmett put his hand to his heart, his eyes to the heavens, and quoted:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

A near-smile broke free of my mouth at his jesting. And then fell with the realization my seven ages should now be over with a mighty curtain call.

Rosalie intoned curiously, "Actions speak louder than words, Edward." She was right, but I'd never been given the chance to act!

Breaking the mold, hugging me tight, Alice whispered in my ear, "I've seen what you're thinking, Edward. Please don't. She will come."

I was jaded. It felt like my eulogy had been enacted.

Decade upon decade was to be filled. I was always watchful, waiting and noting. A nothing, an abyss, inconsolable. I turned into a husk of a man, a fossilized scarab, and no one wanted to know me. I scared the witless human populace with an aloofness that was much cooler than the temperature of my body.

How could I tell them I was just so forlorn? What if Isabella Swan was never real, not even as a figment in my mind? What if the only time I would ever see her was that brief moment when I was a seventeen-year-old young man, inside my bedroom, within my nocturnal wanderings?

In the old days, in the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties, Carlisle and I had still communed for many late nights over the coming of the Swan. With the eighties and then nineties I read the heavy dismay that sat over him. He no longer spoke her name to me, though it was the one damned thing I needed!

Eighty-seven years was hell.

Oils now were what I worked with, heavy with thick visual brushstrokes and the stink of turpentine overshadowing the viscous greasiness of linseed oil. Dripping rich colors bespeaking the darkness niggling and worming through my entrails.

Crumbling like flakes of paint on palettes whose colors bled together, a most morose idea came to me: If she did exist, if she did find me, would Isabella be human? I'd never delved that conundrum before! Yet, I knew, I thought, that she had been mortal and would remain so. Why would a woman not of my breed want me?

Shadowy midnight hours found me bivouacked in the corner of my room, rocking, keening silently just as I had upon waking as a vampire.

Eighty seven years and I was tempted to end my life by the only means possible, at the hands of the Volturi, the royal peacekeepers of the vampire nation. Perhaps, if I believed in my soul, I would have been courageous enough, as Eliza and Edward would be there waiting.

It was called euthanasia now. I preferred the succinctness of suicide, for that's what it would be.

I wore my mother's ring on a long chain, close to the heart she'd given away. I'd forgiven her the moment I'd claimed Carlisle as my father.

Hopeless and foundering, I infected the lives of my brothers and sisters, my mother and father. Just as diseased now as I had been when influenza had made grotesque mess of Edward and Eliza Masen as well as myself…I was Typhoid Mary.

One morning in the winter of 2005, back residing in Forks, I growled and then laughed insanely at my reflection in the mirror. My clothing looked like I'd been to a London haberdasher; I stuck out like a sore thumb even without being a mythological nightwalker.

Trying on the vernacular of my peers while I prepared for another stultifying day at Forks High, I muttered, "Well, this sucks."

Alice saw it first. Meeting me at the bottom tread of the staircase, she turned to powder and vapor before my eyes and then recited the most recent Paris fashions, complete with details of trim, heights of heels, gold, silver or beaded accessories, effectively angering and emboldening me.

Blocking my advance to the door, she gated it with her wee powerful body while negating me access to her thoughts, "Don't go to school, Edward. Please, I'm begging you, don't go!"

Questioning my sister, I stamped back and forth in the foyer, knowing I could outrun her if I really wanted to; I needed to understand the reason for her odd reaction.

As if she had a migraine, she brought her hands to her scalp and her eyes cringed shut, "Bella Swan."

Bella Swan?

Isabella Swan?

My Isabella!

I had no choice.

Nothing could have kept me away!

Racing to the high school, I swung into my allotted space with precision. She's come to me! Through the leagues of time, Isabella…no, Bella Swan! My equanimity dissembled as I scoured the pathetic minds of the student body, looking for my one.

I heard her name spoken and they referred to her as Isabella, just as I'd done for almost a century. But I had insider information, and I knew her preferred appellation.

A spark of long hair, a sway of hips here and there, a bashful laugh and a chagrined look, I leapt from mind to mind as if jumping over stepping stones in my pursuit of Bella.

She was always one step ahead.

No, no, no, not her!

The bell rang for first period. Alice caught up with me and tried to tow me back to my car. Jasper stood aside while I struggled, Emmett thought, "I've got your back, bro." Rosalie spit mutely, "I wash my hands of this."

"ALICE!" My bellowing voice shook the tarmac like thunder and near-shattered the windshields of the pickups in our vicinity. Through clenched snapping teeth I teetered on the edge of lunacy, "Let. Me. Go."

I sped to Biology with my siblings forming a barrier around me. Since when did I need bodyguards?

The scent hit me before I even opened the door.

I cracked the plexiglass with my fists and fell to the floor. My eyes wild, my nostrils seeking more of the fragrance that crammed me with a yearning for blood so deep it sat inside my very spirit, jeering at me, ridiculing me like Lucifer. Half of me scrabbled with the door knob, and the other half wanted to crawl back down the hallway between the drab lockers, to run to the other side of the world, to find a black cave empty of all light, so I would never be tempted by her luscious lovely pure quintessentially tantalizing aroma again!

Bella Swan was my cantante. My song, my chanson.

Standing slowly, I buttressed myself and beseeched, "Please, let me try. Alice?"

She nodded, and they all let me go.

Opening the portal, I staggered beneath her luxurious bouquet. Stumbling, I made it to my lab table where she sat on a high stool.

I couldn't look at her. Not yet.

Seated, I watched Mr. Banner. Pitching forward, I trapped my fingers in my hair and denied the potent murderous intent that topped up the formerly empty vessel of my body.

I stopped breathing altogether, it was the only defense mechanism I had. Desiring to stare at my vision brought to life, I instead looked to the small glass square in the door finding four pairs of liquid metal eyes looking back at me. Like taking a sip of vintage wine, I supped sidelong glances at my swan.

Fine and flushed with blood.

I pinched my nose shut at the bridge. Lowered my eyes to the black tabletop.

How utterly appalling, this killing instinct enlivened for the one woman who had inspired hope for almost one hundred years! In love with a figment I now wanted nothing more than to slay, even while I yearned with beating passion to know her, save and protect her, make her body mine instead of her blood. Wonderment to lethal intentions and eroticisms all roiled inside me as I sat in this nondescript schoolroom, a laboratory full of teenagers and the young woman who'd first enthralled me in 1918.

All these years, waiting.

It could have been no different. I should have been prepared. She was the epitome of life and death and wanting to kill and needing to love.

A cosmic joke.

Quietly sitting next to me was my one. The waved curtain of her hair secluded her. I wanted at once to pull the tresses over her shoulder and slice her throat with my teeth and tickle her perfect waist with my touch.

Ironically, this all made sense. My singer was my vision, the only woman I'd ever loved yanked lust and leviathan homicidal tendencies out of me. Forks, of course. For, had I not felt a taut, staunch link to this town seventy years earlier? And now, I was immune to her mind. Blank as the chalkboard behind our teacher, her thoughts erased.

All the things I'd never known were wrapped up like a devious, deliciously pure and lovely present in the singular woman I'd always aspired to meet.

She moved with human poise away from me when the bell tolled, beckoning us students to our next class.

I fell to the table and stilled. Breathing again, ingesting the last samples of her smell.

I'd done it. I'd managed.

I understood.

Nothing was simple. Love was bargained for.

I had a choice. I wouldn't be waylaid by my gut-deep wildness. Overcoming the loathsome gluttony of my thirst, I'd talk to her tomorrow.

I felt stronger than I had in years. Meeting my siblings in the hallway, I even smiled.

Their claps were singularly the best thing I'd ever heard.

Until I found her voice.

It pushed me to my knees, her light translucent mellifluous and slightly husky tone.

Staying away from Bella the rest of the day, I went home and lay on my sofa and believed.

Pain beyond measure made me fold into myself again the next day, but my desire for her heart was stronger than my starvation for her sanguinity. I felt.

It was either Bella Swan or the death of us both.

I chose life.

I chose love.

I spat on death.

I'd take it slow, I'd tell her everything, I'd probably overwhelm her. The shape of a grin sliding up my lips was foreign, splendid.

Week two and I was ready.

Though in ignoring her, I had a lot to make up for.

I found charm and smiles I never knew I had. They came effortlessly for her, and she welcomed my attentions, after a first snit that was decidedly endearing, in keeping with her obstinacy, and completely just.

We shook hands, and I almost dropped off my stool!

Venom filled my mouth like saliva, not for blood, but for her caress.

I yearned to feel that heavy chestnut hair sliding between my fingers as I pressed against her delicious mouth, a slightly more lively pink than I'd reckoned, to feel the heft of her small round breasts held up by my hands alone, fingertips striding up to test nipples. Clothed in the fashions of her contemporaries meant little was left to my imagination, and I squandered not an ounce of observation taking in her bottom shaped like a heart, her legs so long and slim I envisioned around my hips, her waist high and little. Bella's skin would be hot, soft, and smooth…oh to hold her in my arms!

A physical reaction, for the first time since I'd masturbated to hallucinations of her in Chicago, 1918, a young man about to be sent to war, my groin jerked with wanton need just as my weightless heart pulsed with broiling love. I was unschooled in how to contain this covetousness as much as the bloodlust pounding through my vitals!

I shifted slightly away, but held her hand nonetheless and questioned her lowly so as not to attract Banner's attention. Our fingers tangled and stroked, an impropriety I couldn't deny.

Not once did she shrink back, her answers were plainspoken. Her compelling reaction heartened me!

"Bella, I know this is a bit forward, but would you care to study with me this evening?" I smiled and that lifting was becoming more and more usual. My eyes leapt to hers, my legs quaked…what if she said no?

She said yes!

I shooed everyone away to far rooms of the house when her knock sounded.

I lived inside her words, "Good evening, Edward. Thank you for inviting me."

Relieving her of her coat, I ushered Bella up the stairs.

She turned on the landing and cajoled, "You know, you do have a lot to make up for. You were less than a pleasant lab partner my first week."

I chuckled. Flustered, I ran my hands up and down her bare arms, saturated in her warmth and ripeness, "I'm sorry, Bella, I have my reasons," I hushed against the swarthy twine of her locks, just beneath her ear.

At the door of my room, I realized my mistake.

Why hadn't Alice reminded me?

With no recourse, I ushered Bella in, her hand still braided with mine.

The haunting acoustic ruminations of Ray LaMontagne clouded my bedroom. Can you see the wise man simply living, loving quietly, every breath he takes eternity, till the sun turns black...

Releasing her, I watched her walk around my bedroom.

I sank against the wall and waited retribution.

Sketches of her spilled over every surface. Paintings, pastels, pointillism, line drawings. Almost one hundred years of Bella was everywhere to be seen.

Her fingers lingered, her eyes widened and deepened to dark brown and queried silently.

I couldn't look her in the face.

Inspecting the images more closely on her second pass, Bella took note of the diverse materials, and I saw her stroke her fingers across the dates at the bottom right corner of each piece.

Perception like earthen quartz crystal lit her eyes as she came back to me, her hands rummaging up my body as they had through the canvases and boards and thick papers, "It's me."

Her mouth was so close. She hadn't run screaming. I leant down and pulled just her lips into mine, mumbling against heat and wet, "It's you."

With her fingers on my neck and mine like melted iron to her dainty hips, pressing her up to me more strongly, Bella nipped once, twice, thrice against my mouth. Groaning, I ran a hand to her rear and my purchase there was needy and dear. Our tongues touched innocently, our hips moved around each other, at first tentatively before inimitable yearning crossed over us like ribbons of silk robbing me of breath and sense. Her breasts sweltered fully against me to an earthly feeling of such utter softness and sensuousness.

My body was alive as my mind.

With a gasp, Bella stole back. Her palm remained to my torso where nothing beat. She rubbed like a heartbeat and kissed my jaw from one side to the other, a fiery feasting of plush humidity until I groaned lowly, and then she asked, quiet and clear and fearless, "How long, Edward?"

Raising her to me, her legs around my waist, her knees resting sideways on my hips, her heels locked atop my bum, my erection growing with a heady pulsing into her body just where all of her ardor centered, the nape of Bella's warm neck nestled in one hand, my voice thick and raw and subdued against her pillow pink mouth, "Eighty-seven years, Bella. And I would wait that long again to know you."

"It's always been you," I pursed my mouth to her shoulders, opened my lips to her bosom, brought her nipples inside my lips, lapped her belly, bringing her clothes down her body.

Every limb unveiled, every twist and arch of her shivered constellations through my body, centering in my cock.

All supple, a texture I'd never known. Arms and legs,

breasts and belly flushed and thistledown smooth. Oh, god, her back! The length of it, sweet and straight, knew the path of my cool hands, my fingers lingering in hollows, the dips, the swales that made a sumptuous fruitful boundary to her buttocks. Sitting on my knees, sinking to my heels, I stared. Curving in, her waist was completely womanly. I made my fingers fit into the slopes. I curled my palms around her hips, like bowls, I held her bottom rounds in my hands and placed a long kiss to the base of her spine.

My paintings could never compare.

How much I'd missed!

"It's us," Bella's smoky words, no more than a sigh as she braced her hands on my shoulders, floated into my inexpert adulation.

I stood. She stepped back. I wondered, and smiled and replenished my century's deadened sight with the full gorgeous nudity of her milk and rosebud skin. She hefted her breasts beneath an arm, not concealing them...offering them. And she came closer again.

They were buds of silk, the nipples more vibrant and erect. Minute goosebumps surrounded the palest pink areolas when I breathed and then lapped and then sucked.

My cheeks rasped her cleavage while I licked up and down and side to side, down to her navel, over the points of her hips that tasted like a promise of eight decades about to make me a man, I whispered, "It's us."

Down to the floor in front of me, Bella lowered, every motion filled with eroticism. Strumming against my mouth and then sinking her tongue deep inside, stroking my inner cheeks and slipping, satin, against mine, she found my untouched skin. Inside my trousers, the buttons undone, the buckle laying hastily sideways and clanking open, fingers pointed down, she worked under the waistbands and reached me quickly. Cold and hard, tall and rigid, I hissed when she lilted her fingers up and down lightly, figuring my length, my velvetiness, "So…oh, Edward!" Her cheeks were bright and her mouth open, like mine, her eyes almost completed by her pupils, the brown irises disappearing, "Cold, hot…hard. Oooh, but so so…silky."

Strengthening, Bella made my shaft her own with her fingers linked together after she wet them between her legs with her tangent arousal; liquid and heat and running over me as I shook and every muscle inside me topped up to the surface with rigidity!

I hauled my clothes away so I was naked as her.

My chest knew caresses. Fondling the metallic links of the chain that circled my neck, Bella took up the ring I'd made a pendant and kissed it before placing it aside, "Your mother's ring."

My heart soared!

She touched every sinew until I was toughened inside and out by the strain of exquisite awakening. The insides of my elbows to her mouth, my armpits and every centimeter of my throat to her lips. Around my back she moved languorously, clasping my ass. Pliant tits pressed into my shoulders and I moaned. Her arms beneath mine, Bella reached around, sliding her hands from my tensed ribs to the hair below my belly button, tangling and jerking it up. She skipped my cock, rained fingertips to the trembling flesh of behind my knees. Ascending my thighs, in between so my breath was spatters like rain slashing a windshield, Bella held my balls and bent forward to place those fast learning fingers on my shaft.

I jumped and jolted and cried out with such insurmountable hunger!

I stole her over me, her weight like feathers, her grace incomparable. I sat with her on my lap, her legs opening on either side of me, bending up at the knees in readiness. Palms to the floor, her ass and racy wetness against my cock.

I made certain first, the shakiness in my tummy tautening up my entire frame, "Bella, I want to make love with you."

Nodding her head, her lips curved up and she breathed, "Yes."

As soon as I clenched her hips, she arced, her breasts rising high. The most stunning sight I'd ever seen! One forearm locked behind her back, one to her waist, I burrowed slowly inside. Oh hell! There was nothing…there was nothing like this. With just my head inside, she clamped down, a vice of fire and juiciness.

I bit down on my lip and only unleashed it to assure, "I'll go slowly, my love."

Her face was craven with need.

A mirror of mine. A vision I'd witnessed once in my adolescent dreams.

Little lunges while I beat back savagery. Sensually, with all the gentleness I could muster, I made way inside of her virgin body with my own.

A slight tear, her mouth forming an 'O' and the twist on her face caused me to halt. I waited and tenderly rounded her clitoris until her hips started to sway.

The smile on my mouth was hard with desire to move.

"Alright?"

"Yes."

My hands formed a seat to lift her rear. Her legs shifted against me heightening all of my senses. Slick heat ran against me inside her tightness.

My back curled forward, hers ratcheted backward, my neck pounded to the side. and we both gasped as I tugged her down onto me!

My eyes were wide and young and amazed!

Her motions on top of me burnished my cock lightened my spirit.

The intense red of her swollen shell slid up and down my erection. Up and down. Over and over with my hands settling to her hips, her waist, switching to her breasts that tippled over my mouth.

Steeped in something so corporeal and completely out of body.

I nuzzled her neck, took her nipples to my lips, made them long and bright and delicious.

Euphoria of the flesh, the soul!

All I felt was the blaze of her. Over my body, touching my muscles with her fingers digging to my stomach, goring my ribs, pushing into my navel, stroking down the line of hair that led to my penis plunging in and out of her passage.

Her face to my shoulder where she bit helplessly, my teeth to her ear where I moaned penuriously, slicking into Bella, wishing I'd been able to stave my longing enough to bring her to bed.

I enfolded her and laid her back onto the floor instead.

While I leaned up and put my palms to the rug, she gyrated down and lapped my chest, my nipples, my armpits and the shivery skin hollowed from my elbows and wrists. Twisting below me, her hands cupped my bum and pulled a harder thrust out of me.

"Please, fuck please, Bella. If you don't stop, this will be all over!" I frowned at the expletive that exploded from my throat and grated and knew I couldn't halt the orgasm rippling from my sac up through my shaft with shivery waves that made collapsing sluices of my venom filled veins.

Each stroke in and every lunge out bred sounds that I'd never thought I'd hear. Gasping held my name sacrosanct, enveloping made a liquid home for my cock.

Arching her back, whipping up with her hips, Bella became a rainbow below me, a bowed arc, beating up, scraping my chest with her nipples and raking my musculature with nails that would never score me!

I held her buttocks to me, made her still, felt the striations of her whimpers and pleading into my shoulder. Diving in and out, licking the deep damp line of her cleavage, I brought her hard up to me, swung down fast into her, and felt the pulse-beat of our orgasms illumining the world and detonating my past!

Sweaty, wet and tired, Bella curled around me. Laughing softly, knowing love and closeness, I bore her up and wrapped her in my skin and soft blankets, billeting her in my soul.

I kissed her heartbeat, her wrist. She nuzzled my elbow, held my still hard penis with a lax hand and cupped my bottom with the other.

A leg lifted, one plied between. Arms wound. Sighs lifted and lowered with sleepy breaths and loving words.

Dearly, chanting, enchanting, "Nearly a century?"

Happily, infatuated, forever, "Yes."

Her palm cradled my face, and simply she said, "I have known you too." Bella's eyes were hazy now with slumber and repletion. Her body enwrapped me.

I swallowed back a lifetime of emotion. I let loose my untiring vigilance. I could hold her. I could hold Bella forever.

From tragedy and solitude to solace, and the beginning.

My soul was returned to me..

~ Commencer~



~So, this is only the beginning~

Rie:

Even though Mirror and Vivid own me, this is innocence and rebirth, opening curtain on our last night with The Men of Twilight. To me, to Vi, this is everything and everyone. And just the start of things to come.

Gillian:.

Prompt etomology:

c.1340, from . prompt (1219), from L. promptus "brought forth, at hand, ready, quick," prop. pp. of promere "to bring forth," from pro- "forward" + emere "to take" (see exempt). Theatrical sense of "to assist a speaker with lines" is first recorded 1428. The adj. is first recorded 1432.

Twenty-five prompts, three months

Thank you Rie, you are my Quicksilver Girl

She's a quicksilver girl

A lover of the world

She spreads her wings

And she's free

Jaques:
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

Many thanks to everyone who read and more specifically to all of you babes who reviewed every one of these! I know who you are, and you honor me with your love.

To the ladies who gave me ideas: Vi, Char, Christie,Tor,

biggest fucking thanks ever.

Always, my heart belongs to the devoted Dead Thread gals: Mer, Kari, Ape, Kat, Amanda, Jenn, Liz, Robin, Margie, Vi, Tosh, Diane, V. Special ta to Claudia…you tell me in wonderful words meant only for me, and I love you for it. Tracey, you pwn me?

Poll on my profile…vote for your favorite prompts; just a bit of fun y'all, because I'm sad to see these go. I've been generous, you get to choose four. Come to thread and tell me your top six!

I will be posting several of these as short stories in their own right. Alert me for, hopefully, more of the Play/Soft, Plea/Crave/Worship/Sky, Wood/Walls, Mirror/Vivid (maybe), and the Pedanticward series! I'll write when the muse hits me.

Voting info is now properly on my profile. I think you have two weeks. Please vote, if you enjoyed any of my stories, or anyone else's. This was a difficult but thoroughly satisfying task!

Voting for Les Femmes Noires has started. Remember blondie's and my The Bride of Edward Cullen? Links on my profile.

And yes, you should be reading Dead Confederates, Incarcerated, and Comeuppance by yours truly.

Thank you, lovelies, from the very depths of my heart,

Rie~