The Sandbox Presents: Things That Go Bump in the Night

Author: Edwardless

Story Title: As Long As She Needs Me

Rating: T

Vamp or Human: Vampire - One Shot - AU

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or anything Twilightverse. I am just a huge fan who took a shot at writing something enjoyable. Hopefully it worked.

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"Is she finally getting to you?"

I snapped my head up from the dusty cape laying across the left side of our iron bed to my wife, who had silently entered our bedroom while I had been deep in thought. Bella, dressed in her signature skinny jeans and hoodie had seated herself on the right side of the bed, her knees pulled into her chest, her eyes reflecting an earnest concern for my well being. . . of course.

"No." I shook my head, the cape all forgotten now that I had the company of my favorite person. I leaned across the bed to steal a kiss from my fair Bella's ruby red lips and as expected she pulled away last minute.

"You're a tease." I growled, contemplating how upset she would be if I leapt across the bed to just take the kiss I so wanted. . . so needed.

"Your evading," as if sensing my conflict she pulled her knees away and held her arms up, as if she could stop me and my vampire speed. "Edward."

"Bella," I purred her name but she didn't even flinch. Once upon a time such a gesture of want would bring her to her knees. I guess its true marriage does change things.

Sighing, I instead brushed my arm across our bed, pushing the cape to the floor. With one swift movement I hopped onto our bed next to her, "Your not going to drop this are you."

"I don't like when you and Alice fight."

Alice - ugh. I laid out onto my pillow and closed my eyes. After a moment I heard Bella's posture relax.

I opened one eye and watched as she lowered her head onto her own pillow, facing me.

For a moment we just watched each other. Bella, with her human eyes, taking in every inch of my face the best she could. Me, with my vampire senses, taking in everything.

Every moment with Bella deserved my undivided attention.

After precisely 342 seconds of blissful silence she spoke.

"Maybe you could humor her and get another costume."

Alice - again.

"You and I know its not about the costume."

A sadness crept into Bella's serene face and it immediately tore into me that I caused it.

"Bella forget I said that."

Bella responded with a half smile, through the tears that were suddenly, silently falling from her eyes in a steady stream.

If I could cry, which of late I often wished I could, I would have joined her. Instead my hand hovered a fraction of an inch from her cheek, unsure if I should even attempt to comfort her, knowing it would be vain.

"The Volturi cloak, in a sick way, makes me happy. . . no not happy per se, but brings me comfort."

Bella nodded knowingly, being the only other person in the world to truly understand the cloak was a memento, a fond reminder of when we were once again reunited. It was not an ode to the ruling monsters of the vampires I paid respect to wearing it ( Halloween or any other time I thought I could get away with it) but it was out of respect of us.

"Edward, I love you."

I lowered my hand away from her face and instead laid it on her pillow.

I watched in awe as she leaned forward and placed a kiss just above where it, "And I love you."

The stream of tears descending from Bella's big brown eyes lessened.

"Then will you please, for Nessie, Alice, Jasper and the rest of the family's piece of mind, put the cloak away."

My stomach clenched absurdly to her minor request. It sounded simple and yet a panic overtook me and I felt a weight sit heavily on my chest.

"Halloween is silly and Alice's parties are a waste."

I felt defensive and I sounded juvenile, but I didn't care.

"Edward, I love you so much but enough is enough. You have to snap out of it, you're a father before anything else and its about time you started acting like one."

I recoiled at Bella's words, more harsh than any blow Jasper or Emmett could lay on me with their fist. (Which lately had been quite often.)

"Bella. . ."

"Don't make me disappointed in you Edward. I don't want to leave if I don't have to, but if you force my hand I will have no other option."

* * * *

I opted for the window for my descent to the Volvo rather than the front door, not wanting to deal with the others downstairs. Before leaving, I turned one more time to Bella, who had turned her head to watch my departure, a smile of encouragement on her face.

"I'm doing this for you."

"I should hope your doing it for both Nessie and I."

Nessie, my head bowed slightly under the guilt of that comment.

"I haven't been the father I should have been. The father that I would have been under different circumstances."

"I know, but you have time to change that."

She had sat up, her hand brushing the stray hairs away that had fallen from her ponytail.

I nodded, trying hard not to notice the blood that was now seeping through the shirt I last saw her in. The blood my teeth had freed in attempt to save our daughter and Bella the night of her ill timed labor. The night Bella had lost her life and my venom had not been quick enough to save her.

"I'm not going to see you anymore am I?"

Bella stands up from where she laid, and I watch the stain of blood on her shirt spread. I do not smell the blood, because there of course is no blood, as there is no Bella.

Is she a ghost, maybe, but unlikely. Did a piece of me die when Bella died, yes, most likely my sanity.

"I will be here as long as you need me, but I think maybe Nessie, if given the opportunity, can help in ways you can't even imagine. She is the best of us after all."

Numbly I nod.

"Can I ask you one more question."

"Of course," Bella walks forward and I notice that her outfit has suddenly changed into her Prom Night attire, even complete with cast.

"What kind of costume to I get."

"Well I believe Rosalie has her going as a Dalmatian from 101 Dalmatians…" her eyes widen and eyebrows wag suggestively in my direction.

"Are you kidding?"

* * * *

Just after 8:00 pm I make it home. Who would have guessed finding an adult Dalmatian Halloween costume the day of Halloween would be so impossible.

Thank heavens the Olympia Firehouse 315 could be persuaded, with a heavy donation, to allow me to borrow their, "Sparky the Firehouse Dog," PR costume for the evening.

Parking in my usual spot in front of the house, I slide the heavy mask on.

Was Bella right, could my self imposed exile be forgiven in my daughter's eyes?

*****

As expected, Alice had her Halloween party in full swing, loud haunting music blaring out of the speakers, as I went to the door.

It was my house, I could walk right in, but I opted instead, on a last minute decision, to knock.

Alice of course answered immediately.

"Edward?" dressed as a bee, everyone opting for kid friendly attire this year, Alice questioned my identity in disbelief.

"Do I have to answer?"

She shook her head, her antennae clinking together in the action, "No, of course not." her voice was shocked, her usual self confident demeanor slightly ruffled, "it's just when I saw it earlier this afternoon I didn't believe it. I wanted to believe it, but I just didn't see how . . . "

Alice's confident voice faltered and without to much thought or warning she hopped up and threw her arms around my neck.

"The cape?"

I buried my face into the cool of her neck, taking comfort in the first non imaginary touch I've experienced in so long, to long.

"I buried it out next her grave. Maybe she will find comfort in it laying next to her, if I won't, ever."

I felt Alice's arms tighten around my neck.

"You promise you won't."

I nodded, lifting my head to eye Nessie, her eerie brown eyes, Bella's eyes, sparkling as she finally noticed the large Dalmatian hugging her Aunt Alice across the room. I watch her perfect mouth silently mouth one word, "Daddy."

"I'm here as long as she needs me, hopefully that is forever."