The Sandbox Presents: Things That Go Bump in the Night

AND

Twilight Fright Night

Author: 1breezybri

Story Title: Phantom Dreams

Rating: M

Vamp or Human: Human

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

A/N: Blue October's "Hate Me" somehow inspired this one. I couldn't get the song out of my thoughts until the words were out of my head. I hope you like it.

Huge thanks to my girls on Facebook and on my forum...Iadorepugs (Casey), Jade, Kate, Jody, and my coven girl, Kat!

~Bella~

My beautiful fiancé was covered in smoke and ash, doing what it is he loved to do, saving lives. His friends and comrades in arms surrounded him on makeshift cots made from wood and spare pieces of material. With a stethoscope around his shoulders, he filled a syringe with morphine and injected it into his friend's bloodstream. As Edward looked away from the man, the pain was apparent in his eyes. This man would die. Edward brushed a single tear off of his cheek as it threatened to give his broken heart away.

A split second later, he heard gunfire in the distance. Every soul in the medic tent held their breath and prayed to a God they wished would save them. As Edward stood up to grab his gear, the bomb exploded. He was flung across the temporary room with the other bodies as blood flew and splattered on the canvas of the tent.

**

"NO, EDWARD!" I screamed as I wrenched myself up out of the bed.

I awoke with a searing pain in my chest. Goddammit. No. Not again. I can't handle this pain anymore. It's been more than a year and I still cannot get the image of my love's last moments of life out of my head. I wish that man had never come to my door that day.

He sat in my living room with my future sister-in-law at the time, Alice, and told us that Edward was dead. "Killed in Action," he said.

I felt Alice go slack on the loveseat next to me. She started to whimper and I put my arms around her back to soothe her. I was completely numb. I should have cried or screamed or broken things around the house but I couldn't. I couldn't feel anything.

The Officer told us that the good news, if you could call it that, was that Edward would be posthumously awarded with the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in action.

He apologized for having to give us bad news and took his leave. He left us empty and broken with a few short sentences. I saw Alice reach for her cell phone as she fired off a text reading "9-1-1Bella's." Within minutes Emmett and Rosalie were at our house, followed shortly after by Jasper, Alice's husband.

Alice tried to tell them but she broke down and curled up into a ball in Emmett's lap. Her big brother just held her awkwardly and looked to me for answers.

"What the hell is going on, Bella?" Emmett implored.

I had to tell his family, my family, that Edward was gone. I stood up and paced as I repeated the Officer's words to us.

"Edward is...he's dead. Killed..." I couldn't finish my sentence as I felt my throat begin to close. To say it out loud made it real.

Rosalie ran to me and held me as my knees threatened to give out. I heard her mumbling soothing words in my ear, but it didn't lessen the pain. She continued to hold me, refusing to let me go.

Carlisle and Esme arrived and Jasper let them in. He had wanted to console Alice, but all she wanted was her big brother.

He met them at the door and told Esme to sit down before he recounted what I had said mere moments before. I saw his lips moving, but I heard no sound. I saw Esme's skin grow paler and Carlisle grabbed her and held on tightly as she thrashed in his arms demanding to see her son.

The loss was palpable. Every being in that room felt like life had been ripped from their chests and replaced with a hollow shell of a heart. A dead, cold, unfeeling thing threatening to poison their bodies with its existence.

I sat on my bed with a pillow in my lap, hugging it in the place of my lost love. I was brought back to reality when the phone rang and startled my heart back into motion.

Grabbing my cell phone off of the bedside table, I saw that it was Alice calling me. She hadn't celebrated a single holiday since Edward was killed and tonight, Halloween, was her first foray back into her love of party-planning.

"Hey," I whispered.

"Morning, Bella! Are you excited?" She sounded more chipper than usual.

I groaned. "Alice, I really don't think it's such a good idea. I just..." she cut me off before I could finish my sentence.

"Don't be silly. We need a little fun and what better time to do it than on Halloween?"

"But I'm not..."

"So, you can get to Mom and Dad's at around 7 since the party doesn't start until 9 and that way I can make you gorgeous, k?"

There was no point in fighting off the little giant. "Ok Alice, I will see you there at 7," I sighed, defeated. "I'll bring the dress with me even though I think it's in poor taste. You have the mask?"

"It is not in poor taste. It is a beautiful dress and it's time you got to wear it. No one has to know its original purpose except for us. Besides, you looked beautiful in it when we picked it out." She gasped a quick breath and continued, "And yes, I have the mask. I also have everything else you need to get ready. Just be here at 7, k? Ciao!"

Ciao? Did some sick unicorn take Alice up to Candy Mountain? I hadn't seen her so chipper since, well, truthfully since the last time she saw her brother alive.

**

I pulled up to the mini-mansion that the Cullens called a house and got the garment bag out of the back seat. I also grabbed the box of shoes I had bought to go with the dress but had never gotten to wear. Before I even reached the front door, it swung open and there was my little pixie waiting for me, make-up bag in hand.

She greeted me at the door and kissed me on the cheek, shouting, "Oh, Bella! I'm so excited. You'll see it's going to be AMAZING. You can take my word for it. The whole family is busting at the seams." Jasper came up behind her and placed his hand on her back, quieting her.

"Ok sweetie, why don't we let Bella inside the house before we attack her, deal?" He gave her a pointed look and she quickly held her tongue.

"Deal," she said a bit more humbly, stepping aside so I could enter.

Jasper and Alice both hugged me at once and then she grabbed my garment bag and took off up the stairs. I looked at Jasper exasperatedly, "She seems to be in a fantastic mood."

"Yes. Well, as you know, she loves parties." His eyes darted around before he excused himself to help his parents-in-law finish setting up in the great room.

I sighed at the strangeness of the burgeoning evening and started up the stairs to Alice's old room.

**

After over two hours of being poked and prodded with every beauty tool and product known to man, er, woman, Alice declared me suitable for dressing. I walked over to the full-length mirror in my underwear and shoes. My dress had been airing out since I arrived. I had yet to fully look at it for fear that an emotional outburst would prevent me from being able to put it on.

Fortunately, Alice always knew what she was doing when it came to making people beautiful. Her pixie hair was smoothed back into slick pin curls that framed her face. She had minimal make-up on except for dark eyeliner and pale pink lips. As for me, I really did look like a princess. My hair was swept up halfway in a crown of curls at the back of my head, while the remaining curls swam around my shoulders and down my back. My make-up, on the other hand, was in complete contrast to Alice's. Hers was a bit bolder, making a statement. Mine was light and luminescent. My lips were covered in a pale cranberry gloss and my cheeks shone with a shimmery pink blush. My eyes were a dark taupe with a gold sparkle frosting the upper lid and the mascara was a soft brown-black.

Somehow, she made me look as if there was a heart still beating in my chest.

As soon as I laid my eyes upon the silk and lace, however, what was left of my heart sank. How could I possibly do this? Even if only Alice and I knew what this dress really was, my whole body was shaking with the knowledge that I'd never get to wear it the way it was meant to be worn.

Alice came up behind me and stretched up a bit to put her chin on my shoulder. "Wear it, Bella. He would have wanted you to. You look beautiful in it. No one will judge you, I promise. I love you." She kissed me on the cheek and walked around me to take the dress down from its rack and held it open for me to step into. I held onto her shoulder as I lifted one leg into the center and then the other. I took the bodice from Alice's hands and brought it up to my chest, holding it to myself. She stepped behind me and began to fasten the buttons that adorned the back seam. I closed my eyes, not daring to look at myself in the mirror as she did so.

After what felt like forever, Alice came out from behind me and told me to open my eyes. I shook my head "no" as my hands trembled at my sides. She grabbed my hand and held it up to her chest.

"Bella, please," she pleaded. "I want this for you. I need to see you happy again, please."

Alice was right. I knew she was right. I needed to enjoy whatever was left of my life if I ever planned to make it through.

I took a deep breath and steeled myself. I opened my eyes to look at the woman in the mirror.

She was beautiful. She was a vision. I could do this. I could play the part, just for one night. No one would have to know and then I could take it off and put it back in storage and never think of it again. This would be my little indulgence. I grabbed the mask from the dresser and started to fasten it around my hair.

"Let's do it," I told her with my new found confidence.

Alice giggled and shimmied into her costume before opening the bedroom door with a flourish and leading me down the staircase into the large foyer.

As we reached the bottom, I could hear the music emanating from the back of the house. Apparently we were going to be fashionably late, as always. No doubt Emmett had his DJ equipment set up and was going to town with as many old school party mixes as he could make.

We walked hand-in-hand into the party room. It looked like a small ballroom and there were decorations hanging on every immovable object. The chandelier was sparkling like diamonds, and the huge grand staircase to the second level balcony was draped in gold garland. It glinted with the glow of the twinkle lights that Esme and Alice had added to every spare corner of the room.

This was Halloween, Cullen style. No orange and black in here. Only lights, sparkles, and magic filled this room.

Alice was back in action and her party was an occasion in and of itself.

Just as I suspected, Emmett was mixing on his soundboard. He was a perfectly randy looking Austin Powers and Rosalie stood off to his side dressed as a Fem-bot. I expected nothing less.

Alice, in her Peter Pan outfit, leaned over to kiss me on the cheek and then ran over to Jasper, who was a truly beautiful Tinkerbell. Apparently, Alice and Jasper had lost a bet to Rose and Emmett. The losing team had to switch costumes with their partner. I had seen Jasper in shorts before, but even in glittery tights, the boy had better legs than I did. Unfair.

I walked over to Rosalie and gave her a hug. She almost deflated me with her bot-boobs, though. Those suckers were sharp. For a brief moment, I wondered to myself what Emmett would have looked like as Fem-bot if he and Rose had lost the bet, but then my head started to hurt so I had to stop.

"Bella, wow...you look amazing. You are one beautiful princess."

"Thanks Rose, you look fantastic, too. I'm sure Emmett is having a hard time concentrating on the music tonight." I winked at her and looked over at Em. Sure enough, he was staring at her ass and I caught him looking.

"Bells! Wow. You look gorgeous. Come here and give me some sugar," he said, showing off his signature goofy grin.

I laughed at him and walked over to hug him. Even after everything, he still treated me like his little sister. I really appreciated that.

Actually, all of the Cullens still treated me like family and for that I was so thankful. After coming from a broken home, I couldn't stand the thought of losing the only family I had ever really known.

Rose and I spotted Esme and Carlisle from across the room as they were talking to what must have been one of Carlisle's associates at the hospital. The mystery man had beautiful auburn hair, similar to Esme's. From the back, the stranger looked like he was costumed as the Phantom of the Opera. Esme raised her arm to ask us over and Carlisle leaned in to whisper something to his friend. He suddenly looked anxious as if I wasn't welcome to join their conversation. The masked man turned quickly and walked away from where they stood. I almost didn't go to her, but Esme kept waving us over. We finally relented, crossing the room to join them.

"Bella, my dear, you are simply breathtaking. Perfect, just perfect." Esme said, glowing.

She made a very accurate Elizabeth Bennet in her period dress and hair. Her Mr. Darcy, Carlisle of course, perked up a little after his friend had left and we all exchanged hugs. I was still uncomfortable, though, because Carlisle kept looking at me as if I had two heads and I couldn't figure out why.

Oh no. Could it be my dress? Maybe I was making him uncomfortable by wearing it here. I felt ill. The last thing I wanted to do was disappoint anyone even if it was just my dress that was the cause.

I excused myself and went to the refreshment table and requested a ginger ale from the bartender. I looked to my left and saw Alice and Jasper very obviously spiking the punch. Esme still hadn't forgiven the Cullen kids from the last time they spiked the punchbowl at Christmas two years ago. Carlisle's Aunt Nancy was trying to limbo under her walker. It was quite the fiasco.

My eyes swept the room to take in all the details in the hopes of calming myself down. They landed on the Phantom standing on the balcony of the second floor. He was leaning forward with his forearms resting on the railing. From this angle, it looked as if he was looking right at me. I startled a little and the ginger ale went down the wrong way.

I put the glass down and grabbed a napkin to cover my mouth as I coughed.

Well, that was graceful.

I dabbed at my lip gloss to make sure it was still actually on my lips and not on my chin from rubbing the napkin across my face. When I looked up again, the phantom had vanished from the balcony. I glanced around the great room but did not see him.

Jasper came over to see me and he was obviously already in good spirits. Seems they drank more than they spiked.

He held out his hand to dance and I graciously bowed and took it. We giggled, taking the dance floor as Tinkerbell and the princess.

The exact second he took my waist, the music changed and Beauty and the Beast began to play from the strategically placed speakers throughout the room. I started to laugh hysterically while Jasper gave Emmett dirty looks behind my back.

"You ready for tonight, Bella?" Jasper asked, conspiratorially.

I looked up at Jasper and lifted my eyebrow. "Is there something I should be ready for, Jasper?" I asked curious and caught off-guard by his question.

"Just the time of your life," he stated simply.

All seriousness left our faces as we began to belt out the familiar tune from one of our favorite 80s movies.

"Now I...had the time of my liiiiife...and I owe it all to yoooooouuuuu!!"

We had to stop, however, when my dance moves proved not up to snuff. I got my heel caught in the hem of my dress and almost went down. Jasper caught me and helped me remove the heel, before I ripped the hem and ruined my dress.

I told him I was going to go sit over on the side for awhile and be a people-watching wallflower. He just chuckled and kissed my hand before I left.

Turning to leave, I caught a glimpse of copper out of the corner of my eye and my attention was drawn to the grand staircase. There, halfway up the stairs, was the Phantom. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. The draw was intense and I found myself walking to the bottom of the staircase to be closer to where he was.

As I walked toward the stairs, he began his descent. The closer I got to the stairs, the further down he came. His steps were purposeful, as if he was being pulled to me too.

By the time I was at the landing, he had left the bottom stair and was standing in front of me. He wore a sharp black tuxedo with a red and black silk cape flowing out behind him. His white mask was quite large and covered more than half of his face. I could barely make out anything but for his jaw and his eyes.

His eyes.

His emerald green eyes that transported me to a time and place where my soul had its mate and my love was complete.

I froze where I stood, unable to move from his gaze. He stepped closer and extended his white-gloved hand to me. The side of his face that was visible to me formed a beautiful half-smile.

I hadn't been anywhere near to a man other than family in a very long time. I was afraid I had forgotten how to be sociable.

My gaze had dropped to the floor as I was contemplating and I lifted my head slowly, meeting his eyes once again. He was now staring at my dress. I wondered if he thought me to be Christine Daaé, his lost costumed partner. I lifted my arm and delicately placed my hand in his. He breathed deeply and walked me out to the dance floor where "Unchained Melody" was permeating throughout the room.

We came together as his hand took my waist and mine rested lightly on his bicep. I could feel his musculature through his tuxedo jacket and he was substantial, a rock to lean on.

I hoped the rock could lead.

He took my other hand and began to slowly twirl us around the floor. Thankfully, he was a great leader and I followed his movements the best that I could. I felt lost in his eyes as we continued to float amongst the other dancers. He never broke his eye contact with me and I absolutely could not take mine away from his. It had been so unbelievably long since I had felt anything like this, and my stomach was doing back flips at the mere touch of his gloved hand on my silk-covered hip.

As "Unchained Melody" came to its chilling end, he moved his head to the side and leaned down to lightly place his lips on mine.

Time stood still when I felt his soft lips on mine. His warm breath escaping from his partially opened mouth warmed my face and lit my soul on fire. I backed away when the feeling became too familiar.

He was inches from my face, staring at me. He looked confused but then his eyes took on a pained expression as they glanced down to my lips and back up to meet my eyes several times.

Could I do this? Could I have any level of intimacy with another man after losing the one I thought I'd spend my life with? Would I be cheating on Edward if I let myself feel these butterflies that were threatening to tickle my stomach to death?

I was truly unsure, but then I heard the opening notes to Debussy's Clair de Lune and remembered what it felt like to have this man's lips on mine. From that moment on, all rational thought flew right out of my head.

I nodded a silent assent and his face smoothed. He leaned in once again and pressed his lips to mine. My mind was swimming with the headiness of the moment. He deepened the kiss and I felt his tongue dancing on my upper lip as I parted my lips minutely. I wanted to enjoy it but I secretly wondered if any of Edward's family was watching this delicate coupling in the middle of their party. I seriously hoped not because I couldn't take any judgment from them. Especially not when this was the first time I felt a spark of life in my dead heart in over a year.

This time, he was the first to break away. He took my hand and looped it through the crook of his elbow and began to lead me off the dance floor and toward the foyer.

I chanced a look around and caught a smiling Esme as her eyes followed us out the door and into the hallway. I felt my heart swell from seeing her face. That beautiful woman just wanted me to be happy. My family in every sense of the word that mattered, I loved them so.

The masked Phantom led me back to the stairs that Alice and I had descended earlier. Reaching the second floor, he stopped at one of the doors to a spare bedroom as if he knew where he intended to take me.

My stomach began to lurch as I thought of what could happen. It should feel wrong to be here, contemplating being with another man in the house that my deceased fiancé grew up in. The only thing I could feel was the warmth his arm was still providing my hand.

He looked down at me and smiled as his free arm reached to turn the doorknob. We entered the dark room and were met with a dim shadow of moonlight floating in from the large window behind the bed.

The man turned to face me and took my waist again to continue our dance. I could make out a melody floating upstairs through the closed bedroom door, though the swooshing of my dress threatened to drown it out.

Not even a minute later he halted our movements and leaned his face closer to mine. He made eye contact for a brief second before focusing his gaze on my trembling lips. I couldn't explain it but I wanted this. I wanted to feel close to him. I closed the gap between us and kissed his mouth.

He seemed hesitant at first but then he deepened the kiss, opening my mouth with his tongue. I let him inside and I could feel the slightly rough texture of his tongue as it danced with mine.

The kiss ended and he leaned back slightly before he peppered my mouth with more tiny kisses. It felt so good. So natural.

He stared at me as he removed his gloves one at a time. He threw them over to the bedside table.

He moved to touch me and I felt his hands on my hips as they turned me to face away from him. I could feel the warmth of his chest on my exposed back. I leaned back further but felt him push me away. My hurt feelings were short-lived when I felt him begin to unbutton the back of my dress.

I began to shiver. Whether it was fear or anticipation, I couldn't tell. The top of the bodice began to come loose and I lifted my arms to hold it to my body.

The rest of the dress was now completely undone and I felt his hands on the small of my back. He slid them around to my hips where he began to massage my flesh. I let out a small moan from the contact. I had forgotten how good it felt just to be touched.

His right hand increased the coverage of its strokes until he had reached around my body and was rubbing my stomach.

The hot breath on my neck was a welcomed surprise. He had pressed himself against my back and now both of his hands were trailing their way up my stomach to the bottom of my breasts. I could feel his fingers lightly touching the lace that covered them.

He pushed at my hands from underneath the dress and I let go of the bodice. The strapless gown fell to my feet. I was left standing there in nothing but my white lace bra and panties, and the silver strappy heels.

I was about to turn around when he pushed my bra from below and his hands snuck in underneath it, enveloping my breasts. He squeezed them only a moment before I was left standing alone, chilled by the loss of his hands on my body.

He undid my bra in a matter of seconds and I took the initiative to slip it off of my shoulders and down my arms. I let it drop to the floor.

This time, I turned around and was greeted by his deep green eyes. They only stayed on mine a second before he looked down at my almost naked body. I watched him lick his lips as he stared at my nipples getting harder under his scrutiny.

Before I had a chance to react, his mouth covered mine and he was kissing me forcefully. He began to walk me backwards to the bed and I had to think quickly to step out of the dress so I wouldn't fall.

He sat me down on the bed and pushed me back towards the headboard, never removing his lips from mine.

Again he was gone.

He stood at the foot of the bed. I watched as he unclasped the cape around his neck and tossed it on the chair next to the bed. He removed his tuxedo jacket and walked around to place it on top of the cape. In place of a bow tie was a black collar. He pulled it out and continued downward, unbuttoning the white shirt that graced his beautiful body. With each undone button, more of his creamy skin was revealed to me.

The shirt joined the rest of his costume on the chair and he inched closer to the side of the bed. I closed my eyes briefly and felt the depression on the bed where his weight was. I felt him moving closer to me but he never touched me, and so I opened my eyes to see where he was.

My Phantom was right next to me, lying on his left side and looking at me. He lifted his right hand to my face and tried to remove the mask. When he realized it was pinned in place, he gave up. He slid his finger along my shoulder silently imploring me to help him.

I removed the pins from my hair and let the mask rest on my face. I was afraid to remove it. If I took it off and showed him who I was, the whole charade would end. I would no longer be the princess. I would be Bella again.

He leaned up once again and tried to remove my mask. This time he succeeded. He lightly flung the mask over his shoulder, not caring where it landed. The moonlight shone across our bodies and I could see the look of adoration in his eyes as he used his fingers to trace my jawbone up to my cheek.

The light was too bright. He could see me now. I needed to even the playing field.

I raised my arm and tried to remove his mask too but he stopped me. He took my hand in his and placed a gentle kiss on the top before he put it on the waistband of his pants.

I was not allowed to reveal his face but he allowed me to strip him bare all the same. I leaned up on my elbow and began to unbutton his tuxedo pants. The small zipper made a loud noise in the quiet room.

Getting to my knees, I hooked my fingers inside the waistband and started to pull the pants down along with his underwear. He let me take them all the way off. I felt compelled to place them with the rest of their ensemble and I did so. I knelt back on the bed and he grabbed my arm to pull me down to him.

Once I was lying next to him again, he moved to his knees and situated himself near my hip. He gently placed his index finger in the silky band of my delicate underwear.

He tugged abruptly and they slid down my hip on one side. He was like a petulant child who wanted something done. I obliged him by pushing the panties down off of my other hip. His hands then grabbed them, dragging the silk across my legs and over my feet.

The underwear followed in the footsteps of my mask. He turned back to me, now kneeling at my feet. We were both completely bare except for the mask he refused to take off.

He reached down and held my calf. He brought my leg up to his face and lightly licked across the top of my foot and around to my ankle. As he placed my leg back down on the bed, he put it out to the side to better gain access to the heat between my thighs. He stealthily crawled up my body until he was hovering over me, his face mere inches from my own. He kissed me.

My hands went to his neck and I pulled him closer to me. I needed this contact, this heat. This passion that was so familiar and so missed.

The kiss was broken and he trailed hot, open-mouthed pecks across my cheek and on my ear. He continued the kisses down my neck and across my collarbone.

I knew where he was going and I wanted it so badly.

His tongue snaked out and licked the hollow at the base of my neck. He left a hot path of saliva down to my left nipple and circled it with his tongue. The anticipation left me panting until he sucked my stiff peak into his mouth, and I gasped loudly.

The sensation lit a fire in my core and I needed it quenched.

"Please! Please, I want you." I moaned out loud, grasping at his back and shoulders.

I was startled to find the skin was less than smooth. In fact, it was coarse. There were dents along his back and my small fingers felt along the ridges there.

He stopped his assault on my chest and slowly looked up to face me, staring at me for what seemed like ages. After a minute, he brought his arm up and released the clasp on the side of his mask.

I wanted to be the one to expose him, and so I took the mask from his face, myself. I closed my eyes as I did and held the mask in my hands for a brief moment before casting it off into a dark corner of the room.

When I opened my eyes, I saw a man that was heavily scarred on the top of his face. His right temple and eyebrow were melted flesh that looked like a doll left near the stove.

The rest of his face was breathtakingly familiar.

It's him...but it can't be.

"Edward? What...how?!" My heart felt like it was going to burst through my chest as he grabbed me and held me tightly to him. "Please, talk to me! I must be crazy. Let me see your face, please!"

He let go of me and backed away so I could take him in again.

"Are you real?" I said in a low whisper.

He smiled brilliantly at me and let out a loud chuckle.

"Answer me! Are you real? Are you really here?" I was yelling at him now, unable to control the volume of my voice.

His face smoothed. "I'm here, my love."

"But how?"

"The story is a long one. I will be very glad to explain it all to you later, but right now..."

"No, Edward! I need to know! All this time...I thought you were gone from me forever and I..."

"Shhh. I'm alive, Bella," he whispered. He trailed his fingers up to my face and ghosted them across my swollen lips. "Make me feel alive again."

Before I could answer, my love, my life, was kissing me with wild abandon. The tears were falling easily down my cheeks and onto his as our faces came together as one.

The music came through the space under the door and I felt like I was in some fantastical fairytale. No one gets a second chance like this. No one gets everything they want in life. Do they?

No more talk
of darkness,
Forget these
wide-eyed fears.


I'm here,
nothing can harm you -
my words will
warm and calm you.

"Please, Bella," Edward croaked. The tears were streaming from his eyes now too. "I want to feel you. I've missed you so much. I never want to be apart from you again." Edward slowly pushed me back down onto the bed.

Let me be
your freedom,
let daylight
dry your tears.


I'm here,
with you, beside you,
to guard you
and to guide you.

My body knew that its promised partner was nearby and I opened my legs instantly without even realizing it. They fell to my sides easily and I felt his warm length pushing against my sex, begging entry.

Say you love me
every
waking moment,
turn my head
with talk of summertime.

Say you need me
with you,
now and always . . .
promise me that all
you say is true -
that's all I ask
of you.

The intensity of this moment was too much to handle. I couldn't imagine what he thought of me, going to bed with who I thought was a stranger. I guess my body knew differently before I even had a clue.

"I love you, Edward. I never stopped. You have to know that it was always you."

"I know, Bella. Of course, I do. You are my life."

He lined himself up with my entrance. He looked into my eyes with such adoration that I could feel my heart swell as if it would burst through my chest. He slowly pushed into me and I sheathed him perfectly like we had never been apart.

I cried out, "Oh God!" as he slowly removed his rigid cock and then forcefully pushed it back inside of me.

"Bella," he grunted my name hotly into my ear, "I'm not going to last very long." He was trembling so badly as he continued to push into me over and over. I could sense his trepidation as he slowed down, trying hard not to go too quickly. "It's been so long, but when I saw you in your wedding dress, I knew I had to make love to you."

Then say you'll share with
me one
love, one lifetime.
Let me lead you
from your solitude.

Say you'll share with
me one
love, one lifetime,
say the word
and I will follow you.

I threw my head back at the mention of the dress. My wish had been granted. Edward had seen me in my wedding dress. That was what I prayed for. I wanted him to know that I would follow him for the rest of my life.

We would get that chance now.

Share each day with
me, each
night, each morning.

"Edward, I'm so close," I whimpered. I was sure my face betrayed the emotions that I could never hide from him.

"So am I," he panted. His delicious breath was directly in my face.

I leaned up to taste him as his thrusts became more frantic. My body was shaking and I started to tip over the edge.

"Edward. I love you."

"Bella, marry me," was his response as I felt him begin to twitch and pulse inside me. He pressed his forehead to mine and the tears he cried were splashing onto my cheeks.

"Yes, YES! Edward, yes." I was both answering his proposal and screaming my pleasure as I came.

We had left the earth for a brief time and when we returned, Edward wrapped his trembling arms around me. He rolled us over on our sides while he was still wrapped within my walls. We stayed there together just breathing and listening to each others' hearts come down from their exertion. He kept one arm tightly around me as the other smoothed the damp hair back from my face.

I would never get tired of feeling his hands on me.

Suddenly, a nagging wave of fear swept over me. I didn't want to ever feel the emptiness of losing him again. I couldn't. Without a doubt, it would kill me.

"You are going to explain this to me, right?" I looked up at him with a critical eye.

"Of course, my love. But tomorrow, ok? Let's rest now. I just want to hold you and not let go."

"Mmm," was my only response as we lay there together until sleep claimed us.

Love me -
that's all I ask
of you.

**

~Esme~

"He's home, Carlisle. He's really home." I still couldn't believe that he had made his way back to us.

From what he told us when he arrived four days ago - and nearly gave us a heart attack, mind you – the bomb that went off nearly killed him. He was taken prisoner by enemy forces, yet presumed dead by our side.

The details he gave were sparse. From the fear behind his eyes, I suspected it would take Edward his whole life to overcome what he had endured in his adversary's charge.

"Yes, he is. Back where he belongs," Carlisle replied.

"Do you think Bella was surprised?" Alice chirped in.

"I guarantee it," Carlisle answered again. He threw his arm around me and drew me closer to him. I heard him sigh with contentment at the knowledge that his family was whole again.

"For a moment there, I didn't think you'd get her to come Ali," Jasper said.

"Yes, she looked terrified when she came to greet us," I agreed.

"She was afraid you'd realize that she was in her wedding dress and judge her," said Alice nuzzling into Jasper's side.

Tears brimmed in my eyes as I hugged Carlisle tightly. My heart soared.

"Her wedding dress," I whispered.

The beginning.