If my family could see me now...

What a strange thing to say. Why are you wishing that your family could see you in the middle of a precarious situation? As soon as the thought entered my mind I batted it away. They'd be shocked for sure. Innocent little moody Edward being... well, rough and downright dirty. Though I will admit to smirking at the thought of Emmett's face.

"It's nice how you think of your brother while doing... ah... that."

I shut her up with my mouth as I wrapped my lips around her nipple. It was amazing how receptive she was. Honestly, how much had I been missing out on? I pushed forward, Bella pushed back. We'd have to leave the doors and windows open for a while. The scent of sex was quite pungent in the air.

We had set out with no destination in mind. Oh, how that had now changed. After getting her bearings and balance, I learned that Bella was a force to contend with. Her thoughts were disjointed and somewhat dark in her mind. Like a bad signal. The lust was blocking it. Her lips were fervent against my own, and it was all I could do to reciprocate and push right back. When those little hands of fire danced up my back I shivered. Bella pulled back and ordered the shirt to be gone.

One by one, Bella deemed our clothing unacceptable. Somewhat begrudgingly I set Bella on her feet again, her face flushed and her hair a mess from where I had buried my hands. With barely a pause to catch her breath, Bella stepped forward and paused when she was faced with my chest. Without warning her hands slipped beneath the hem and ignited my skin. I gasped at the feeling. I was such a pussy around her.

"I've never heard such foul language from you Mister Cullen." She purred, dragging her hands up my chest causing my shirt to rise and pool around her wrists. Laughing as I growled, she finally got the offending item off of me and threw it somewhere behind me. It had been nigh torturous to be stood still while she was touching me. Now that I was free, I lunged forward and caught her lips in mine. Shocked for a moment, it took her a second to register the speed.

"Oh, what you do to me." I growled as I peeled my lips from hers long enough to speak. Knowing that her own clothes had to go, I planted a kiss to her shoulder and dotted small ones over her collar bone as my hands wandered. I felt Bella's head fall to the side and a small moan escape her throat when I kissed a spot in the crook of her neck. Feeling a little playful, I licked at the skin, humming at the taste of her on my tongue.

My lips latched around that sweet spot, and Bella writhed in my arms. When I pulled away, I smirked at the small mark that was sure to last a while. It wasn't exactly the 'mark' I had in mind, but it was as close as I was going to get. My fingers scraped her low slung jeans, feeling her hip bones and nuzzling her neck when I felt the curve of her stomach and dip of her hips. I wasn't as patient or teasing as Bella. I quickly lost my patience with the amount of material and quickly stripped it over her head and left it to join my own.

She's beautiful.

I felt her lust decrease a little as nerves came into play. I was staring at her. I knew I probably helping, but I couldn't help it. How could she have been in front of me all these years? Feeling the animalistic lust wash away a little, I pulled her close. The feel of her bare skin against mine was one I wished to experience for rest of my life. Like a charring fire and smoking ice we were together, fuelling and extinguishing together.

Only ever together.

There was a quiet stillness to us. Like it was just us. No-one else here. No-one else mattered. Just us. Here. Now. That was all we had. I felt Bella's small hand on my chest and I looked down at her. Her eyes were large, pupils dilated with lust and smile small and content. Hearing my assessment, she hummed in agreement, tapping out a quiet rhythm with her fingers on my chest.

You know what would make me a little more content though...

Quirking an eyebrow at her, I allowed her to pull me back down into a kiss. But this one was different. Slower. Softer. It spoke less of lust, passion, urgency and desperation. Instead it sang a gentle melody.

I'm sorry.

I'm here.

I'm yours.

This is it.

My hand found its way to her cheek. My thumb stroking the soft, burning skin beneath it. Savouring, thanking. For everything. For her.

I knew when her lust was creeping up again. Her hands became less gentle and her lips a little more forceful against my own. "You're going to be the death of me." I groaned as I felt her finger tracing the waistband of my jeans. Her tinkling laugh answered me. She seemed to enjoy teasing me. My little demon.

With a small smirk, I utilised some of that vampire speed and hiked her over my shoulder. With a loud screech, followed by laughter and her hands dipping underneath the back of my jeans to palm my ass through my boxer shorts. My own laughter rang through the house as I carried her to a bedroom. I don't know whose it was. But it was ours now. I'd apologize later. I might even mean it.

Grabbing Bella by her hips, I lifted her like a doll and sat her on the edge of the bed. I got a shock when I found her without a bra. I hadn't taken it off. Feeling a little cheated by my smirking demon, I growled before diving on her. Her squeal of laughter turned into a moan of pleasure as I closed my lips around her breast.

Not too big, not too small... fit just right... I thought as I palmed the other in my hand. I was no stranger to the anatomy of humans. I'd seen it in person, touched even. But Bella was mine. These were mine. I rolled her nipple between my fingers and released the one I was laving with my tongue with a pop. Sitting back with Bella's legs either side of me, I smiled at her heaving chest and flushed skin that seemed to expand all the way through her body.

My hands reached out and flattened against her ribcage, feeling the pumping of her heart beneath the surface. I placed a small kiss to the spot directly above her heart before resting my head in the valley between her breasts and just breathing. Everything had been so fast, so sudden. I had gone from total stagnancy to such a fast pace that I was taking everything as it came at me. Bella's hand came to rest in my hair as she absently ran her fingers through the locks. I looked up after a moment, gently allowing my chin to rest on her chest as I struggled to keep my eyes on her face and not on the breasts above me.

With a move that I would later be in awe of, Bella hooked her leg over me and twisted her body. I followed like a bee to honey. Somehow she ended up sat on me. I don't know how. This little human was conquering a century-old vampire with a scary ease.

"It helps to know his weakness." Bella leaned down and pressed a small teasing kiss to my lips before sitting up. Sliding down off my stomach, she passed over where I wanted her the most. The friction made me groan deep in my throat. Bella laughed. I was about to rip every item of clothing off of her body and be done with it when I felt her hand on the buttons of my jeans.

Oh Lord yes...

With a steady hand she undid every button and pulled the zip down. I was ready for this. More than ready. Painfully ready. I lifted my hips off of the bed when she tugged at the bulky material. God knows where they went. There was silence for a moment and doubts began to creep in.

I had freaked her out. Or it was all too much.

All doubts, and thoughts for that matter were scattered and lost when her hand dipped beneath the band of my boxer shorts and grabbed a hold of me. I think I had an aneurysm. My body was caught between seeking pleasure and locking down to let her do what ever the hell she wanted. She won of course. My head was thrown back as she dragged the last shred of clothing off my body.

And she was touching me. Touching me like she knew exactly what to do. It felt like she knew exactly what to do anyway. Her thumb rubbed me tightly before gripping all of me in her palm.


She called to me in my mind and when I opened my eyes, I swore to never close them if my girl was partially naked. With her breasts on full display, she leaned down and licked. All of me. Before taking all of me into her mouth. Her eyes never left mine and I couldn't have looked away even if I had wanted to. Her thoughts remained somewhat neutral, but I searched for discomfort or, God forbid, pleasure.

When she pumped me a few times I had to close my eyes as the sensations washed over me. Her hand was scorching, and if that was hot enough to feel like fire, what is it going to be like once I'm inside her?

Like a lolly-pop. She thought as she released me with one last appreciative stroke. She stepped off the bed and I let her for the sole reason that my muscles were still taught with restriction and control. I looked at her though, messy hair and puffy eyes included. I saw a scar on the left side of her hip from when she fell and broke two mild bottles when she was thirteen. And the one just above her belly button from where glass had embedded itself in her from the accident.

Forcing myself to relax, I sat up before crawling to the end of the bed and sitting on the edge in front of her. I opened my arms and she willingly stepped into them. I pressed my face into her stomach for a moment before pulling away and pressing a kiss to both scars, thanking God that she was still here.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you." She whispered as she wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed the top of my head. I was getting a little tired of this switch that seemed to be swinging from rough and desperate to loving and gentle. It was making my head spin.

"Do something about it then." Bella mumbled into hair before leaning back a little and reaching for the button to her jeans. With a frown I playfully smacked her hands away. Sat face to breasts with her was something I had never expected, but I guess it had its advantages. It was with ease that I hooked my fingers in the belt loops of her jeans and tugged her towards me again. She came willingly and with a smile. Little demon knew how to get things going again.

Well it doesn't take much...

I rolled my eyes as she laughed at her thought. Getting back down to business, I slowly popped each of the three buttons before sliding the zip down tooth by tooth. She was getting impatient and I laughed at her discomfort.

You're sporting wood, and you think I'm uncomfortable. Bella snorted as her eyes travelled south. With a shrug and I smile I replied that I had been dealing with it for a while. It got the smirk off of her face and a pout replacing it.

I tugged the jeans from her waste and dropped them to pool around her ankles. She stepped out of them but caught a leg on her ankle and used it to kick it across the room. Something fell to the floor with a crash. We'd figure it out later.

Now I sat at breast height with my eyes a little lower. I was staring again, feeling like a kid on Christmas. I wanted to open it, explore and play with it. I ignored Bella's raised eyebrow at my apt comparison. But I wanted to keep the anticipation of mystery – you know?

"Edward, what the fuck? Seriously? Come on!"

She stepped away from me, slid her panties down her legs, kicked them away and them crossed her arms and huffed at me. All I could do was stare. Again, it wasn't the first time I had seen one. Again, I had even touched a few – drunken women, I found, were very forward. The aching in my groin had me shifting in discomfort.

Smirking the entire way, Bella sauntered over to me until she stood between my legs with my dick between her knees. I needed friction – anything. God, this was torture. The lust was back with a fierce vengeance and I could feel it as a growl crept up my throat. Bella didn't stop coming towards me, but put a hand on my shoulder to move me back a little. And then she proceeded to put a knee on either side of my hips and sit on me. She was oh so close.

I'd had enough of teasing. Too fast for her eyes, I grabbed her knees to keep her to me before turning us over so that she was on her back. Spread out. For me. I motioned for her to move up the bed – after all, I didn't want her to be uncomfortable. She complied quickly and without a word. The playful atmosphere was swiftly becoming thick with unspoken words and heat. Too much heat. I could smell my girl perspiring. It was only around five in the afternoon – the sun was still shining brightly in the sky. I wasn't surprised she was hot.

When she was comfortable, I put my hands on either side of her head to keep her. No more delaying. No more joking around. It was almost painful to be so close and yet to not...

I walked a thin line that night – the line between passionate and aggressive. I'll admit to swapping sides often but Bella made no complaint. There had been pain and tears at first. I had forgotten about that, and it seems that she had too. I kissed her tears away and stilled until she could get her bearings. She asked to me go slowly, and so I did. Inch by inch. I was burning alive, I was sure, but I'll be damned if I escape it. It took a long moment for Bella's heart to calm, but I waited. With our lower bodies crushed together in the most intimate of ways and my arms braced on either side of her head, she was trapped beneath me.

But somehow it felt more like she was trapping me...

And so began the age old rhythm. But this was so new. So foreign. So good. Pained gasps turned into quiet moans. One of her hands came to rest on my chest as I moved. And then she moved. I was dying. So much more. More heat, more depth. That was when I almost lost myself. A guttural snarl had ripped from my throat. It took me a moment to beat the monster into submission, and I looked beneath me to see how Bella was reacting.

Her eyes were clenched shut, her lips parted with stuttering breathes as her back arched with every one of my thrusts. So beautiful. The build was perfectly torturous. I heard her thoughts, such dirty thoughts coming from my sweet little Isabella. But the final fall... now there was something to be seen over, and over and over again.

And we did. Not too much. She was only human. I didn't want to hurt her. She didn't mind though. She wanted more, more more. That was all I could get from her mind. Apart from the words she would never say out loud. We made love, but the word wasn't spoken. Somehow I had the feeling that that declaration would be bigger than any other.

We finally rested when the moon was high in the nights sky and the air fell humid and damp around us. Bella was exhausted. And smiling. Happy. I smiled back at her, knowing I had put that smile there. We laid next to each other, Bella's head tucked into my chest and an arm slung across my stomach as our legs tangled together. I ignored her thoughts of sweat and stinking. She smelt like sex. She smelt like me.

It didn't take her long to drift off into a somewhat peaceful slumber. I had always been inside of her dreams. Always observing. It was strange now to see her eyes closed and breathing evenly beside me. Even as I watched her, her murky dreams played in my mind. I found that she wasn't a comfortable sleeper. She was forever shifting around, nuzzling into me, muttering words, and even licking me at one point. I wasn't sure it was on purpose since nothing in her dreams was to do with licking.

I was happy. She was happy. But there was so much left over. Baggage. We both had tonnes of it. I had gotten her to listen, to watch and understand. But she hadn't forgiven me. She hadn't said it out loud or in her thoughts. I had hurt her, I knew it.

But the doubts and insecurities were far from my mind. Confidence was an alien concept but it bloomed in my heart. With her. Because of her. For her. She had been my mate. And I was hers now. The act had been completed – she had given in and accepted it. Maybe not in her mind but in her heart. Everything else could be dealt with. Our lingering problems were a hole in a wall. Quickly fixed. They leave a mark, for sure, but the wall remains standing and strong.

So I pushed those thoughts away and soaked up the smiles and girl in my arms. Who would have thought it? I, Edward Cullen. No longer a virgin. Bella swan, no longer my best friend. No questions and mistrust. For there had always been mistrust. She thought she was crazy. That I wasn't real. I had much the same ideas. We were real. The both of us. Everything we knew was true. The doubts of 'it's not real' were disregarded in the face of the reality we faced.

Bella rolled away from me once again. For the fourth time. The sun was rising in the sky – the glass door allowed the light to illuminate Bella's side of the bed. I hoped she was warm. I didn't try and pull her back to me this time. I watched. She now laid on her side. Half of her arm trapped beneath her while her hand hung over the edge of the mattress. Hair fanned out behind her. Thin sheet barely covering her ass. Way too little threads. My eyes could see through the material.

I found my entertainment in the form of Bella's curved back. I fascinated at the dip between her shoulder blades. My finger traced the crevice all the way down to the small of her back. I pulled my hand away. The lust had dulled somewhat. The craziness had receded. Logic told me to let her rest. She must be tired. Even I felt tired. Or lazy. It was a strange feeling.

At some point, my family returned somewhat hesitantly. Their thoughts were full of shock and amusement. I was too blissful to care. I had forgotten about the clothing in the kitchen. And to open the windows and doors. There was no way to hide anyway. Not with us. I just didn't know how Bella would take to it being common knowledge. I wanted to wear it like a medal. It was how we were. How could I not be proud that she was mine? That we were together?

"Get out here Edward."

So it was with a smile and placing a small kiss on the back of Bella's shoulder that I climbed out of bed. I was almost at the door when I heard Alice screech clothing! I looked down and saw that I was still naked. So much for our perfect memory. After quickly pulling on a pair of trousers and pulling a clean shirt over my head, I stepped out of the room. It was difficult to do so. She was laid there, naked, trusting... mine. How could I ever leave that behind?

"Easy there Lover Boy. She's just a few feet away." Jasper smirked from the sofa. I didn't know whether to be angry or not for his teasing. Honestly, I couldn't be angry right now. He laughed at me. I wasn't surprised. I was smiling like a fool. I was a fool, but damn it was good.

"So everything's okay now?" Alice asked, tucked into Jasper's side. Her eyes knew my answer. Her smirk told me so. When I shrugged she giggled. My smile ruined the façade. She jumped up and gently hugged me this time. No jumping on me. No squealing. But her excitement was no less. Her pride was overwhelming though. And she was happy for me. Happy to see me smile again. Happy for me to be happy. So I held her a little tighter and whispered my thanks. She was my little angel when the devil was whispering evil plots in my ear.

Congratulations went around the family. Gentle hugs were shared while my love slept in the next room. Her soft snores kept the smile on my face. Even when Rosalie held up Bella's shirt on the end of her finger with a raised eyebrow, I had it in me to laugh. Because how could this be wrong?

"It stinks in here." She complained, but then opened her arms to me. Rosalie and I have always clashed. Always. But there were reasons. She was a private person. There were things in her past that she only felt comfortable sharing with her mate. Unfortunately, around me that wasn't an option. She resented me for making her feel weak. Deep down, she knew it wasn't my fault. But then she would have to think about it, which she hates doing. It was easier on her to let the others think we didn't get along. But I felt her shame and mortification when she remembered. When I saw what she saw.

I'm happy for you, brother. And she even kissed me on the cheek and stepped away with a tender smile on her lips. I guess I had been the baby of the family for a long time. For all of the time really. With a somewhat abashed smile, I accepted the thought, knowing that to say it for the others to hear would make her feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.

I turned to Emmett. He was watching me so carefully. But his mind, his thoughts were focussed on Bella. My Bella. When a growl tore from my throat and I made a move to advance on him the others stepped forward. Emmett knew what he was doing. He knew what his thoughts would do. He knew me too well.

"Emmett, stop what ever you're doing." Carlisle commanded, looking me in the eye with a hand on my chest as he urged me to calm myself. Bella was restless in the other room. My growl had been loud enough to rouse her. Anger welled as I switched my glare back to my brother. "Stop it! The both of you!"

You're going to hurt her! Emmett growled and moved to approach me, but Carlisle and Rosalie held him back. She's human – you're a vampire. It's unnatural! You think you'll be able to control yourself? What about when she gets sick? Or when she moves away? She's not going to stay by your side Edward! She's not a vampire!

I growled loudly at his thoughts, ignoring Carlisle as he continued to implore that the both of us calm down. She has a life. She has a family. How can you make her choose between you and Charlie? She's not even mated to you! Human's can't mate Edward! She's not your mate!

"Get Emmett out of here. Now!"

But it was too late. My thoughts our actions had woken her. I heard the patter of her bare feet as she quickly dressed. Her thoughts were concerned for me. For the family. And shamed. Ashamed that she was pulling us apart. She blamed herself. I was too angry to talk to her. I didn't want to snap at her. It wasn't her fault.

I didn't turn as I heard the door open behind me or when she walked towards us slowly. Edward, are you alright?

My brother and I were locked in some battle of wills. Our quiet growls a warning to one another to back down. Our blackened eyes a threat. Alice let go of my wrist as Bella stood in front of me. Carlisle had moved to make room for her between Emmett and I. He shook his head at Bella's questioning look.

Edward, it's fine. She implored as she rested her hand on my chest. Her mind was sluggish with sleep. She should have been dreaming sweet, sweet dreams. Had she heard what was going on? What Emmett had said?

I heard everything. It incorporated itself into my dream. She allowed a small smile to grace her lips but it fell quickly. I'll talk to him – make him listen. Make him understand.

I growled, taking my eyes from my brother and now resting them on the small girl before me. The very thought of her being near him had me wanting to tear my dear brother apart. I may allow Carlisle to be close, perhaps even Jasper. But not Emmett. He was against this. Against us. He couldn't be trusted.

Think past it Edward. Past this argument. She pushed against my chest until I understood and took a small step back. He's your brother. He's always been there for you, as you have been for him.

She took my hands in hers and wished for me to calm down. I hate it when you get like this Edward. It's like you can't think rationally. I never know what to expect from you. She admitted with sadness and trepidation colouring her mind's voice.

I know. I sighed and allowed my eyes to close. I can't help it though. It'll get easier – better. I assured her, resting my forehead against hers and wishing that my family would just leave us be. It had been fine with just the two of us here. My mind flashed to our activities during the evening, and Bella smirked before shaking her head and stepping back.

I don't think now is really an appropriate time for that Edward. She chastised before letting go of my hands and turning to face the six vampires who had watched the interaction with a great curiosity and awe. I could hear it in their thoughts – their pride and relief to see me happy. All but one.

"I think we need to talk."

It wasn't a question. My Bella was glaring at Emmett with such a ferocity I had never seen on her before. You're not the only one who's protective, okay? She defended herself. With a small smile, I stepped forward and wrapped my arms around her waist from behind. I watched her smile spread across her face through my family's minds.

My brother was watching us with a pained expression. His thoughts were muddled and confusing. He was confused. He didn't understand. He didn't believe. It doesn't matter. Bella gently pried my arms from around her but kept a hold of my hands and allowed them to drop to our sides. Us against them.

No. Never. Bella disagreed whilst watching my brother. Her brother, too. She loved him as he loved her. Fiercely. Protectively. I knew he loved her. They all did. But he was going too far. Way too far. He'd never seen someone become mated. He's only experienced it. It had been difficult for me to release Carlisle to Esme all those years ago. He and I had been companions for so long – father and son, as much as brothers and best friends. When Esme joined us, I admitted to feeling pushed out. I didn't like her. Carlisle was my father, not her mate.

If I could get past it, so could he.

My brother agreed with Bella's terms with a small nod. Rosalie and Carlisle released him and he simply sighed. We were still for a moment and I easily saw the line dividing the family. The others agreed with Bella and I, with the us, but they were stand by Emmett, help him understand. I felt Bella's distaste at the situation.

"What time is it?" Bella released one of my hands to reach up and rub her eyes. I stepped forward and encouraged her to relax. She was still exhausted. She movements were slow, and her thoughts even more so. Carlisle answered her with a small voice.

"Half past five."

Outwardly, Bella had little response. Inside, she was cursing all of us for dragging her out of bed at such an ungodly hour. Annoyance tainted her thoughts and words as she bid us all a goodnight. Her thoughts threatened castration if I couldn't keep I control of my temper. She quietly asked Jasper to incapacitate us if need be. He laughed since she was in the other room and sent her a large dose of lethargy.

Or he could do that... Bella grumbled in annoyance but fell prey to the emotions Jasper was sending her way. After raising an eyebrow, he apologized and stopped sending her on her way into a coma.

Edward, you should go hunting. Carlisle suggested while Rosalie dragged Emmett out to the deck. I shook my head, feeling the overwhelming need to protect and attack recede as my brother moved away. But I didn't want to leave her anywhere near him. Logically, I knew that he would never harm a hair on her head. But if there was even the slimmest chance... and there was...

"We'll take care of her." Carlisle assured me. I knew, out of anyone, I could trust him with his word. They may mean little to others, but words are the only thing that bound Carlisle and I together. When I had woken up from my change, I had been so angry I could have killed him. But I hadn't. Because I had listened to the words coming from his mouth, and then to his thoughts. He spoke what he thought, and people very rarely have the ability to think extensively in lies.

I have always trusted his word – apart from when the monster was rattling his cage.

Even with the knowledge that she would be safe here without me, I didn't relish the thought of it.

"When was the last time you hunted?" Jasper's thoughts were much more poignant than his words. I know you don't lust for her blood Edward, but is that a chance you really want to take?

There was no foul play or ulterior motives behind his words and intentions. He knew how hard is was for a vampire to restrain themselves with humans. I watched his shudder at the thought of having to consciously restrain himself during sex.

"Too long." I admitted. I had hunted sparingly on my way towards Bella, but I had barely drained half of the deer when my urgency caught up with me and I carried on my journey. I knew that my eyes would be a constant black with hunger and emotions. Bella hadn't thought anything of it – no worry or concern about my attacking her anyway.

"Go." Jasper urged softly, remembering how he had stayed diligently at Alice's side and suffered his thirst because of it. He didn't want me to go through that – especially not when my mate was a human. We'll keep her safe.

The sentiment was shared by my family – even Emmett and Rosalie who were down on the beach. And so I left via the front door. It wasn't easy to leave Bella, but her dreams assured me of her safety. The forest was literally on our doorstep, so it took me only fifteen minutes to find a herd of wild boar. Boar wouldn't be my first choice, but it was either that or a few dozen raccoons to quench my thirst.

My thoughts had been focussed on the hunt and my prey. As a result, when the haze of thirst cleared I wasn't shocked to find Bella's dream being about animals stalking their prey. With Bella sleeping, my family's thoughts safe from my mind and the only noise being the lapping of waves on the sand, I chose to slowly make my way back into the chaos. Yes, my Bella might be the silver lining, but it felt surrounded by so much shit that I was glad to be away from it for a while.

Bella was with me in mind, at least. It reminded me of before; of when we were just thoughts in each others minds. No complications. Just friends. Someone to turn to when we got bored, or lonely. Someone who understood when no-one else did. And though I would never give up what has developed now, it would be ideal to go back and do it all again. But better. No messing around. No doubts.

But that's hindsight for you. Like I said – what a bitch.

Still, no matter how we got here, the fact remained that we were here. We got here, eventually. Finally.

I returned quickly despite my intent, and found my family dispersed around the property. Carlisle and Esme were curled up on the sofa when I walked in. they bid me a small hello before acknowledging in their minds that I needed to go to Bella. I slipped into our room quietly, almost silently had it not been for the click of the door behind us. She was still sleeping, on her back with her arms splayed widely. The picture of ease. I thanked God that she'd chosen to keep the clothes on. With the covers piled on the floor beside her, I shuddered to think of what others would have seen if they had entered in my absence.

What they had no right to see.

The thought irked me. My family shouldn't see her like that. Only me. Because she was mine. And those things were private – at least to me they were. I knew Bella would hardly walk around my family naked. Still, the thought of it had me sliding into bed beside her and pulling her close. To keep eyes from her. Because only my eyes should be seeing her like this. Vulnerable.

In her dreams, Bella acknowledged my return. In reality she rolled over so that her arm was, once again, splayed across my stomach and her leg was hitched over mine. Her heated breaths were soaking into my shirt and skin gently, and I allowed my eyes to slip shut. This would be my sleep. Who needs to dream?

At half past nine, Bella woke up. When she was a child, she would run and hide so she could sleep for longer. Every time, Bella would find new places to conceal herself as she dreamt. Her poor mother ran around after her, searching blindly. Needless to say that Bella had never been a morning person. And things hadn't changed from when she was younger.

In a bid to hold on to her dreams, she buried her face into my shirt-clad chest and tightened her grip on me. The more the held on, the faster the dreams slipped away and so she was soon yawning against me and yet still refusing to move.

It's too early.

She had actually refused to move. At all. Truthfully, I didn't want to move much either. In here, where the scent of sex was strong in the air, where the memories were still fresh. Why would I ever want to leave? But for once, I was the voice of logic. My family wanted to talk to her – us really. They were worried about her – the effect mating with a vampire would have on a human is unknown. There had been Esme and Carlisle, but they had only bonded after Esme had been changed.

"Get up." I poked her as I stood at the bottom of the bed. She groaned loudly and snuggled into the pillow next to her. She knew sleep was too far now, but the relaxation was the thing she didn't want to relinquish. It was similar to the feeling vampires had after feeding. Just... utter contentment and peace. Physically anyway.

I'll drag you out if I have to.

She had picked up the quilt from the floor when she had woken. It was the only time she had moved really – rolled over and blindly reached her hand down the side of the bed. The air in here was warm but she felt somewhat naked and bare without something on top of her.

You didn't mind last night. I had reminded her, curious of her thought. As a child, she had believed as many do, that any limb outside of the duvet would be sacrificed by some axe wielding murderer. She knew it wasn't true, but still felt uncomfortable about leaving any skin vulnerable to attack at night. It was similar to letting hands or feet dangle off the edge – she'd gotten it into her head that someone would grab her and drag her away.

Like a quilt or bed would stop them...

But she had answered my enquiry with a simple, But you were there last night.

It made me smile stupidly that she felt safe enough with me that she allowed limbs to be threatened. At that point, I had hoped to coax her out of bed by my presence. That was when she'd grabbed the quilt. I then offered breakfast. She said she wasn't hungry. I even offered her some shower sex – not out loud of course. She'd thought about it for a moment before disregarding the offer and seeing my blackmail for what it was.

So I did the last thing I could think of. I tore the quilt off the bed and dumped it on the floor behind me. She'd have to climb out of bed to get it. Instead, she sat up in bed and glared at me. Her mind was clear of sleep or other intrusions. It was now almost eleven in the morning. She had woken up fully. And was now angry.

"Get your lazy ass out of bed." I teased her as she pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. I tried to keep my eyes from her chest. And failed. She smirked when she heard my thoughts.

"So you drag me out of bed and then expect me to be... nice?" She had remembered my family's return and edited her words quickly. Her mind was another story. Limbs, groans... a shower wall, water...

"Its not totally out of the question..." I sincerely hoped it wasn't. As much as I liked teasing her, she played the game well. She knew just how to get one up on me. And she knew it.

"I don't see why I should be so nice to you." She shrugged, climbing off the bed without a huff, now that she was having sufficient fun teasing and torturing me with mental images. Memories. I watched her, searching her mind for a sign of weakness so that I could strike. I found none. Damn. So she smirked as she walked past me, and I decided to play my own little game.

Vampire's mind are extensive with immeasurable space for memory. And imagination. It wasn't hard to conjure up one of many scenarios. I watched Bella's smirk fell as she gasped and flushed. "You play dirty." She narrowed her eyes before turning and continued on her way to the bathroom.

That was never going to happen.

Before she could hear it in my thoughts, I rushed forward, threw her over my shoulder and then threw her on the bed. Her mind stalled at the sudden movements, but she was amused by them more than anything. While her body was still bouncing on the mattress I pounced on her. Pinning her beneath me. It had been too long.

A few hours... Bella agreed as she stopped teasing me. I let my face hover above hers, keeping our eyes on one another as I once again steadied myself with my hands on either side of her head. Kissing was almost as good as sex – and much less awkward to do in public of course. But it was difficult to do whilst smiling like a fool – as we were both finding out.

Are you going to let me go? She hummed into my mouth as I growled quietly. Her nails scraped against my scalp. My Girl was learning to play me like an instrument. While I fought off the urge to rip the clothing from her body and claim her again, I shook my head. I need a shower Edward. I stink.

Sure enough, she laid back down and pulled a face. I sniffed her and dodged as she made to hit me away. I assured her that she smelt lovely. And of me of course, which she smiled at. I still need a shower though. She rolled her eyes when I pouted. Letting her up, I pulled her close before she could get too far.

I'm sorry about this morning. Things got out of hand. I wrapped my arms around her and kissed the top of her head. She hummed in agreement and I felt her snuggle into my chest slightly.

It's okay. I'll talk to him and sort it out. Her mind recalled Emmett at various times over the past month or so. Threats aimed at me and my anatomy were frequent. But even I could see the sincerity as he held My Girl in his arms and comforted her pain. I could see that he was protecting her as much as he could. But she wasn't just a human.

I'm your mate.

She pulled away and stared me in the face. Searching. I didn't know what for, but let her search continue. We hadn't talked about that yet. But with the physical instincts somewhat dealt with, it was easier to see things normally again. We could talk now, or later. It was going to be said either way. I just didn't know how to say it. I wanted to declare my undying love for her, but at this moment I doubted that she would believe me all too much.

Up till now, things had been running strictly on primal instincts. Now it was time for decisions and logic and I was in over my head. Deep. But at least I wasn't alone.

That you are. I assured her, kissing my mate on her cheek.

I was glad she seemed to be taking it so well. It was the one thing that was left to chance. Her reaction to all of this. But her thoughts were happy. No shock. I guess she'd figured it out before I had. The smile on her lips had me smiling back. Everything would be alright. Even after we got through this part. With a quick peck on my lips Bella skipped from my arms and disappeared into the bathroom.

So no shower sex? I asked, only half joking.

Your family can hear everything we say and do, Edward. I heard her turn the water on and her peel her clothes off. For the first time, she didn't avert her eyes. She let me see. I had seen it all before. Last night when I had attempted to memorize every inch of her skin.

"Are you serious?" I muttered whilst dragging a hand through my hair. I knew it wasn't all about sex. I was the century-old virgin after all. But the physical connection... it was truly amazing. Though I could understand her need for rest, I was a little perturbed that my family's presence would hinder us.

"Very." She spoke from beneath the water. I sighed in defeat and left her to clean herself up. Her hands not mine. Damn. So I joined my family in the kitchen. Esme was cooking pancakes after learning they were Bella's favourite. Carlisle, Alice and Jasper were sat at the dining table and Rosalie and Emmett were idly watching television. Since Esme had designed this entire place and had put the kitchen, dining area and living room all in the same place. In one large room.

Emmett quietly promised to behave himself. He didn't even turn his eyes from the television he was pretending to watch. For a moment I worried about Emmett and I – if he could get past this. But his casual dismissal had me pushing the thoughts aside as I sat beside Carlisle and opposite to Alice. Alice and Carlisle said a cheerful good morning but said nothing about the activities they undoubtedly heard. Not out loud anyway. Their minds were full of teasing and happiness.

Well, apart from Jasper. If you both keep this up, I'll have to relocate somewhere and take Alice with me. I cringed at the thought of my brother and sister together. Even after these many years. I honestly hadn't concerned myself with the empath who would be feeling everything we were too. The lust, passion...

"I'm sorry." I told him.

"No you're not." He smirked and leaned across Alice to punch me in the arm. I shrugged as I smiled. I wasn't sorry. Not one bit. After the years of listening and being subjected to their thoughts of one another my family were the furthest concern in my mind when it came to sex. I had to convince Bella to come out of the bedroom. Without the sleepy haze over her mind, she was extremely conscious of everyone knowing what had happened between us.

So I pulled her chair flush with my own and let her curl into my side as she got more comfortable. My family found it amusing but didn't mention it. Her burning cheeks and mortification were enough to keep their teasing to themselves. She ate quietly beside me, tucked under my arm and almost in my lap.

Edward, would you mind if I spoke to the two of you after Bella has finished? Carlisle asked me quietly in my mind. The house was quiet, but it was nice. The calm after the storm. He didn't want to disturb it and I could hardly blame him for it. He also wasn't sure how Bella would take his probing questions.

I nodded vaguely in his direction, knowing he would understand the gesture. "Bella, I was wondering if-"

"I heard it." She looked up at him somewhat shyly, her voice soft. The only few words she had spoken this morning. Carlisle smiled and nodded in understanding. Her skin flushed before she looked back to her plate and continued eating. I squeezed her gently in encouragement, hoping to get her back to normal.

It's too weird. They know everything. This is mortifying! This is like... like Charlie catching us... Ugh!

I chuckled at her thoughts and kissed the side of her head. My sweet girl. I wanted to tell her to just be happy. Fuck everyone else. But she wouldn't. She was too self conscious. Of herself and everything around here.

The others dispersed, leaving Bella to relax and eat without eyes watching her. Well, apart from my own. I was somewhat entranced by how her mouth moved. In turn, she watched Emmett and Rosalie on the sofa, her thoughts quiet and thoughtful. I stilled upon hearing the inflection in her tone. For Emmett. Her brother.

You have to understand Edward, they helped me. I guess they understood even when I didn't, she implored, not needing to turn to know that I was listening.

Indeed, I knew that Bella had been the last to discover our mating. I, being stubborn, had refused to believe such things. My family, however, had seen and experienced such things for themselves. Vampire's don't get as close as I was to Bella without there being something between them. It made sense that my family would help – though not telling her a word of the truth. Finding out for yourself was the best way after all.

I don't like sharing.

I nuzzled into her neck as she giggled quietly. It was only too true. My things were my things. No-one touched my music. Just as no-one touched Esme's kitchen or Alice's clothes. They were ours.

I'm not a possession.

No need to turn into a feminist on me. I chuckled, pressing a kiss to her bared shoulder. I'm as much yours as you are mine.

Bella gave no outward response to my thoughts. Though her pancakes were finished, she kept a hold of the fork. The others paid us little mind. Privacy. They saw it as the greatest gift they could give to us at this time. Especially Bella. With them no longer in the immediate vicinity they didn't enter much into her thoughts. Just the two of us in our own little world. When she stood, I searched her mind for a reason to her heavy sigh.

She seemed torn. After putting her plate and fork on the side, she turned, beckoning me in her mind to look at me. Without hesitation, I twisted in my seat and sat sideways to watch her. Her eyes were steely as she watched me. No jokes. No playful atmosphere.

I'm still angry with you. I haven't forgiven you.

It stung, her thoughts. I knew they were deserved, and I had anticipated them eventually. It still hurt. Solemnly, I nodded in understanding. I could expect nothing more. My agreement caught her off guard. She had thought I would deny it, that I would beg for forgiveness. I snorted at the very thought and stood to approach her.

I know you too well. If I begged it wouldn't make one bit of difference.

She smothered a grin but rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. Walking forwards and almost pinning her to the counter, we stared at one another without any thought of backing down. A quiet voice told me to force to her to see it from my perspective. To make her understand the pain I had endured along with her.

Instead, I let the amusement fade from my mind and I saw her smile slide from her face as a result. I was fully sincere. Prepared to do anything. Everything. I couldn't joke about the hurt we had both gone through. For a moment, I remembered the small child I had watched grow from the inside looking out. The first time she lost a tooth, the first -and only up till now – to hold her hand. Even though everything felt so new with her, it wasn't. Hadn't she been there for the past seventeen years? Hadn't she seen been my companion for everything I had been through since her birth?

My hand came to rest on the side of her neck, my thumb stroking the curve of her jaw. Her features used to be softer with youth. Age had given her curves. Delicious curves. I was truly finding it hard to merge the two people together in my mind. My mate, standing before me, and the girl I had watched grow for almost two decades.

It doesn't matter, I told her, thinking back to her anger and distrust. I'll spent the rest of my life trying to make it up to you.

For my mate, there was little I wouldn't do. It was programmed in there. To make your mate happy was the most important thing. To make sure they were safe came in a close second. For my little Bella, it was much the same. Even without the mating, I would have done anything for her. There was a slight negative emotion from her mind for a moment before she sighed and nodded. Her eyes, which had avoided mine up until them, now sought mine out as her arms fell from her chest. My thumb continued its ministrations while my other hand reached out and braced myself against the counter beside her, cornering her.

I knew the moment the air changed around us – we both sensed it. Her heart accelerated a little and her eyes darkened. I watched mine do the same from her mind. She imagined her hands on me, taking things off me. Memories of last night. And then more – blurry faces but clear intentions from her fantasies. My thoughts automatically took a dive into the gutter and I felt Bella shudder gently beneath my touch.

If the two of you don't stop I'll have to throw Alice down right here.

I blinked and forced my eyes away from Bella. We seemed to have gravitated together. Our chests now touching, her hands spread across my shirt, warmth seeping through to my skin. Her scent drenching me from the inside out. But as nice as that was, I did see the problems we were causing.

The result was six dark eyed vampires who's thoughts were flashing with nude images of my family. Of their mates. Jasper had tried to reel in our lust but had gotten too carried away and lost control.

Bella also turned and saw the scene. Immediately a beautiful blush rose on her cheeks, and her hands dropped from my chest as she buried her head there instead. Mortifying, was her one thought before extracting herself from me and swiftly exiting the kitchen and standing outside on the balcony. The space made me ache, but it was needed for us to calm down.

I can see it.

Emmett's thoughts made me turn to him. His eyes were trained tightly on mine, but he showed no relief in his discovery. I am happy for you brother, make no mistake. But she is a human. She needs a human life with human experiences.

Human experiences which meant being away from me. That she needed to be away from me. That it wasn't right...

A growl rose in my throat again and I pushed off from the kitchen counter to approach him. Emmett stood and made to step towards me. My family rose quickly, wanting to diffuse the situation but at a loss at how to get us to an even ground.

Edward calm down.

The command came from Carlisle first. His words were disregarded in the anger of my mind. My brother was so against us. Why couldn't he see how happy I was? How happy Bella was? Why did he have to ruin everything? He was so set on us not being together. It didn't make a difference what he wanted. We were mated. There was no going back from that. But that didn't stop my anger towards him.

The second command came from Bella. Again, she had heard my brothers thoughts and had anticipated my reaction. She came to stand in the doorway, making no move towards myself or Emmett. I did as I was told. But our movements stilled as my eyes turned to her. As if waiting for her next command. My family hovered, undecided, not knowing whether they should act now when we weren't attacking one another.

"I've had enough of this. I'm not some pole you guys can piss on and claim." She huffed, aiming her words at Emmett and then myself. The others laughed quietly, amused by her words despite the tense situation. Bella ignored it. "We need to talk." He told my brother sternly, to which he simply offered a stiff nod and a glance at me.


I shook my head and stepped towards her, wanting to hold her to me. To protect her. Form him, from Emmett. But she stepped back, requesting that I allow her to try and explain things to Emmett. My gut protested, along with my head and heart. I didn't want her anywhere near him. And definitely not by herself.

I'll be fine Edward. It's Emmett. He won't hurt me. She told me, her attempt at soothing me being marred by the irritation she felt. You'll be able to see and hear everything anyway.

I was revolted by the idea. My body seemed to be with me on this one. But I knew this was one of those things. I had to trust her – and I did. With my life. But I had to show her – let her prove herself. She was a feminist after all. So I let her go. To hold her back would only make the situation worse and her anger towards me escalate. She wouldn't appreciate being coddled and smothered by me.

Still, Emmett walked out first, commenting that he'd be down on the beach. I watched him go with a glare burning into the back of his head. He felt the threat of my stare, acknowledging it in his thoughts but not out loud. The family stood around the living area, still and silent as Bella heaved a heavy sigh and then turned and walked out, slamming the door behind her. I wasn't the only one to cringe at the offending noise.

Esme took my hand and urged me to sit with them. Eavesdropping was something that couldn't be helped. There was no point in hiding it. So we all sat together. In reality, I wanted to be alone to process and react to whatever would be said and thought. But I knew that my place was with my family. They were showing support and that wasn't something I should, or could push away. So I sat beside Esme and avoided the five pairs of eyes trained diligently on me.

If you touch him I will rip you apart.

Rosalie's thoughts were punctuated by her growl. No-one berated her this time. Though I knew she didn't appreciate Emmett siding with this human, she could also see that the situation had no other alternative. She too, saw faults with it, but accepted that there was little to do now. She wished her mate had handled it differently, and yet he remained her mate. Should I hurt him, she would hurt me.

"Ditto." I glanced at her, knowing that she would understand. Her less than accepting thoughts had circled and haunted my mind for weeks. I hadn't caught any such poisonous thoughts from her recently though. She shook her head gently, her exasperation with the situation escalating quickly.

The human isn't too bad to have around. I haven't seen Em like this for years though. And there it was – her one problem. Jealousy. Emmett had cared for all of us – I knew he would die for us as we would sacrifice ourselves for him in return. But our loyalties ultimately lay with our mates. Above all others, our mates remain our priority. In truth, Emmett was probably the member of the family most on the fringe of things. He spent most of his time with his mate and little time with anyone else. To see him so protective and caring for another person had Rosalie's hackles rising.

I acted irrationally before, she continued softly, apologetically remembering how she had insinuated that Bella would have to be killed. But she is your mate. I would never harm her Edward, and nor would Emmett. Of that, you have my word.

With a nod, I agreed with her words. It was what she hadn't said that piqued my interest. She hadn't liked Bella because of how protective Emmett became of her. Had she felt threatened by Bella's presence in our home and lives? Was she relieved that she no longer posed a threat to her and Emmett because she and I were mated? I didn't voice my query out loud. For her tough exterior, my sisters mind is a mind field of insecurities and doubts.

And so we listened, unabashed to the words of the small girl and her large protector. It greatly amused my family to hear Bella using foul language and a sharp tongue with Emmett. How could I laugh when she was antagonising someone who could end her life in moments?

"I know what you're doing you know."

The yelling had stopped. Emmett hadn't said much – a few hums and nods here and there. He saw how his behaviour was effecting the both of us. That wasn't his intention. Emmett had sat himself on the soft sand of the beach, but Bella had chosen to verbally assault him whilst pacing back and forth in front of him. With a softer voice and eyes, she took a seat beside him and sighed.

"I just wanna make sure you're alright. This... thing, between you and Edward... a vampire and a human..." He shook his head, and I heard the block stopping him from understanding and accepting this. In his mind, a human and vampire could never be together. Carlisle had to change Esme to be with her. Rosalie changed Emmett to be with him. A human would die if a vampire acted as he would with another vampire.

"I am alright. In fact, I'm more than alright." She nudged him and I bit back a growl as he turned and smiled down at her. "I'm happy." There was a moment of silent communication, where they simply smiled at one another. After a few moments my brother threw his arm across Bella's shoulder and hugged her close to him, resting his chin on top of her head.

"If he's ever a dick-" my brother began.

"I know where to send him." Bella concluded with a small chuckle. I didn't like it. The ease of the both of them – the closeness they shared. I pushed away the acknowledgement of what was bubbling in my veins. It was stupid. Ridiculous to be jealous of the two of them. I had more, hadn't I? She had given herself to me.

"I still don't like it." Emmett mumbled quietly, stubbornly refusing to see around that mental block.

"Well it's a good job you don't have to then isn't it." Bella's snippy tone caught him off guard as he attempted to backtrack.

Are you alright?

I could be nice. Even when I wanted to rip her from him and run.

I'm sick of the wedge I'm driving between your family. She grumbled and I heard her thoughts as she edged away from Emmett and shrugged his arm off. You've never fallen out like this, and it's because of me. You're all so damn stubborn!

Emmett's thoughts were somewhat quiet and meek in comparison to Bella's. … don't know how I can make this better. But it doesn't make sense! She'll just get herself hurt, and Edward will probably run off again because of it.

"Hey... Bella... where're you going?" He called as Bella stood, dusted the sand from herself and then began to walk back towards the house. With a dejected sigh, he returned his gaze to the ocean before him.

You are your family are going to bond. To reconnect. Whatever you do. She informed me as she neared the house. I relayed the message to the others, who seemed reluctant but agreed. When Bella arrived and walked straight to the bedroom, they were rather glad to be away from her. They didn't know how fast human emotions could sway and change.

"I can hear you, you know." Bella griped from the bedroom and I sent a quiet apology.

The others stood, the lack of enthusiasm making them slow and reluctant to move at all. I can't believe I'm letting a human boss me around in my own home! I chuckled at Rosalie's thought, earning me a glare before she went outside to her mate. Jasper was wondering if I was going with them. I shook my head quietly.

But of course she heard.

You're going. You're the one who has this problem with Emmett. The two of you need to sort it out. Don't come back until you can be civil to one another.

Jasper watched my expression with a patience I couldn't comprehend. "So I'm guessing you're coming."

With a sigh, I nodded. Carlisle and Esme stood in the kitchen, watching the exchange with furrowed brows and heavy thoughts. They agreed with Bella. They didn't like how the family was dividing. We needed to be together in this, especially now. But Bella was still angry with me, and though I knew it wasn't the biggest problem we had at the moment, it was the one that had me digging in my heels.

There was no goodbye. It wasn't needed since she wouldn't be leaving me. Not really. We set off from the house and straight into the thick forest. Hunting was as close to a family meal as it got for us. Besides, Emmett may be a little more receptive if he wasn't hungry. As for myself, I sat and waited. I had already hunted.

I wandered to the designated meeting place and perched easily on a large rock off to the side. It was strange how my body seemed to ache without her. Was I that desperate?

With silence surrounding me, I turned all of my attention to Bella. She was more comfortable now – though I made sure to keep my thoughts quiet enough as to keep it that way. She needed privacy and time to think – as both Alice and Carlisle had told me. I was still loathed to leave her though. But they had been right. She sat, curled up beneath a blanket on the sofa, watching some film that she wasn't watching at all.

And it was all I could do as I heard her thoughts fall a moment before her tears followed. I knew that her emotions had been a roller-coaster for her before the mating. But I had no idea if they were supposed to magically even out afterwards. Maybe it wasn't the mating at all. I could hear the stress running through her mind, listing off worries and fears. The Volturi, Charlie, Myself, Emmett, the family, school, and of course, Renee. She was never far in her mind, sometimes bright but others a dark shadow scaring and chasing my girl to terror.

But I could hold her now! She's a few miles away now. There was no need to feel helpless!

Hadn't she told me that I was the one with the problem? She didn't understand the possessiveness of the mating in the first few months. She had ordered me away because she needed time to herself, to be herself. I heard my families approach, one by one nearing from scattered directions all around me. I was in no mind to be friendly or civil to any one of them. Not with Bella crying, her hopeless thoughts running through my mind and her own tears causing an ache behind my closed eyelids.

My place was at her side, not here.

Edward, I was hoping to have that talk with you...

When I looked up, I found my father watching me apprehensively. Lifting my head from my hands and standing, I sighed and nodded in agreement. Inside, I begged Bella to give me permission to return to her. But my wish fell silent. I would give her silence, and space for as long as she needed it.

As long as she came back to me afterwards.


Lemon... too much or too little?