Jealousy

"Hey Edward, something smells pretty good to the north", Emmett said with a broad smile on his face. "Wanna fight me for it?"

He was trying to cheer me up.

"I just want to get this over with and get back home." I had just caught the scent of a herd of elk to the south west and turned in their direction. It would take care of my needs and I could be on my way.

"We could have done that back at the park." Jasper complained, smelling where I was about to head. Having to put up with feeling my angst all day, he was not quite as pleasant as Emmett, but he was trying his best. "When was the last time you had the taste of a good mountain lion down your throat?" Would you please try to relax a little? Alice is keeping an eye on things at home.

Jasper didn't need to read my exact thoughts to know why I was feeling so anxious. He and Emmett knew I wouldn't be at ease until I was back at her side. I ignored Jasper reading the intensification of my stress and irritation. They were the ones to drag me out here and if they knew what was good for them, they to keep their griping to a minimum.

I was justified in my fears. Victoria was still out there and we all knew that she had no intention of giving up. Then there was the Volturi. I hoped what I told Bella was true. When you've been alive for several millennia, a decade or two probably did seem inconsequential. I tried to reassure myself, believing they had bigger fish to fry than us. But they were never far from my mind and despite Alice watching, I was terrified of being away from her for any length of time. Even hunting in the park was stressful and to have gone this far from home... I should have never allowed myself to be talked into this.

"It just doesn't matter. Let me find something and get the hell out of here. You guys can stay as long as you want."

I shut my eyes and inhaled again, trying to pinpoint where the elk were.

"We didn't drive the whole way up here just to listen to you mope."

"Then you shouldn't have forced me into coming, Emmett." I snarled back at him.

I was not in the best mood with my brothers.

Bella and I were over at the house when the subject of hunting came up. Emmett and Jasper had been bugging me to get out of town to hunt something other than the deer in the area for weeks to no avail. They devised this impromptu plan as Alice informed the family we were on the way there. They would broach the subject with her there, hoping this was a course of action that might work. I growled under my breath as they told Bella they were itching to get away and find something tasty. An out and out roar broke out of my chest as they made this trip out to be something I would regret missing. They pleaded with her, telling her I needed to get out and have some fun. They didn't need to put that much effort into it. She all but threw me out the door as they discussed their upcoming plans, not even paying attention to when it would be. My brothers knew she was aware of my preference for large carnivores, and the lack of them in this area. If shooting them would have had any effect, I'd gladly gone back to her house and borrowed Charlie's revolver for a few minutes.

Of course the local habitat was less than thrilling, but that was immaterial. It had been months since I had gotten any enjoyment from hunting. While I had been down south I hunted — when I forced myself — whatever animal had been unlucky enough to cross my path. But I had no complaints about staying close to home. Hunting regardless the prey had become a burden. It kept me a way from her. And despite Bella's best efforts to hide it with her enthusiasm for this trip, I knew what my leaving did to her.

It happened a couple days after our return from Italy. Waiting for several hours to be sure she was asleep, I slid myself out of her bed to make a quick trip into the forest, hoping that she wouldn't awaken. I had been gone for only an hour, but it was long enough to find her screaming in her sleep as I climbed back through her window, her unconscious mind aware of my absence. Since then I only hunted when I absolutely needed to, and then only when she was with Esme or Alice. Sure it was uncomfortable, but after the agony of the months away from her, it seemed like nothing. The burn in my throat was a small price to pay for the forgiveness she had granted me. I knew I didn't deserve it. Every human I came in contact with when I was with her showed me the results of my actions last September. Charlie, the kids in school, even their parents when we would happen by one, painted graphic pictures of what she looked like when I had abandoned her.

Charlie's memories were the most constant reminder of my stupidity. He loathed me for what I had done to his daughter. As soon as I walked in the door he bombarded me with the consequences of my crimes. Bella catatonic on her bed, not eating the first week… Bella, pale and drawn, sitting silent at the kitchen table rocking back and forth, her arms wrapped around herself… Bella screaming every night while she slept… There was no way I could blame him for his rudeness in my presence. I would ask for no pardon. What I had done was indefensible.

Worst of all were the dog's pictures that burned in the back of my mind. The image of her alone that night in the woods when Sam found her…

I shuddered; all thoughts of my prey were gone. We were several hours by car away from her. If there was a problem I could run there in a third the time. Carlisle was working this weekend and told us to go without him. Alice, Esme and even Rosalie were staying close to her for me. She would be fine, I kept trying to convince myself. Alice would watch over her for me. It should be okay. She loved her almost as much as I did. Besides, Alice would call if there was anything wrong…

Maybe I should call her. Yes, just to see how things were going. I could no longer rely on my sister's visions now that I had put that mutt in Bella's life. It was the right thing to do, responsible. On second thought, maybe I should just start for home right now. I wasn't really thirsty anymore. I could wait. She might need me…

I heard Jasper give an exasperated sigh,

Edward, I can't concentrate when you're like this.

"I'm sorry Jasper; I've tried. I just can't stop it."

Just wonderful... Emmett had heard me. I groaned, waiting for it to start.

"He at it again Jasper?" They both came jogging up to my side. "Come on Edward. We're here to have a good time, all of us."

My only response was to glare.

"Just let it go man. Carlisle is at the hospital and the girls are nearby if there is any sign of trouble. I'm sure Alice isn't letting Bella out of her sight… either one."

"I ruining this trip for both of you Emmett" I surmised. "Maybe I'll head home early."

"No fucking way! When was the last time we were out like this? Jasper, throw a wave of Zoloft at him."

I snarled, launching myself at him. Emmett roared with laughter as we smashed into each other. We rolled a couple hundred feet down the steep mountain side taking half a dozen trees with us before we finally stopped.

"Now that's more like it," he chuckled. "I thought I was going to have to see if Rose had a dress long enough for you to wear."

"I'm not playing." I growled.

"You should be."

There was a time that Emmett's jovial personality was a welcome distraction from the tedious life I used to lead. It was wrong of me to be this way. I need to get a better hold on myself. Though my irritation at them for forcing me out here remained, I felt guilty about being rude about it. Their hearts were in the right place.

I sighed. "You're right. I'm sorry I lost my temper" I got up off the ground and extended my hand out to Emmett.

"You know what you should be sorry for?" he snarled in a futile attempt to sound menacing, refusing my gesture. "I thought I might actually get a good brawl out of you. But just look at you, you can't even get up enough spunk for a decent wrestling match" Pussy.

Emmett jumped to his feet hoping I would take the bait. "Nothing shakes a dark mood out of me better than some heterosexual male bonding."

"Can't say I disagree Edward." I know how much you love her, and I know how you worry, but it's not healthy.

"Healthy?" I looked at Jasper in disbelief.

"Okay, maybe not the best choice of words, but you get my drift."

"I know I need to work on this guys, but tell me something. Can you honestly say you wouldn't feel the same way if it was Rosalie or Alice?"

"Point taken." They said in unison.

As if on cue my phone vibrated in my back pocket.

I flipped it open to looked at the number, starting to run toward home as I spoke.

"What's wrong Alice?"

"Now I want you to remain calm." The phone went quiet for a second. "I guess that's the best I'm going to get."

"Alice, just tell me."

"Alright, I was watching her go work. When she got there, Mrs. Newton gave her the day off. I started to head over to her house to meet her, thinking we could get some shopping in. I saw her headed out of the store with a stack of papers in her hand then suddenly she disappeared. By the time I got there she had gone. I followed her scent…. It went straight to the reservation."

She went to see him. After what we discussed she purposefully disobeyed me and went to see him. A jealous rage washed over me. I stopped dead in my tracks; Emmett and Jasper blew past me and spun around back to my side. I would kill that dog. I'd pull his still beating heart out of him with my bare hands.

Emmett stared at my livid expression. As Jasper absorbed my murderous mood, his thoughts became defensive. I needed to explain.

"She went to the reservation."

"She what?" Emmett's tone was incredulous. Jasper stood still as I was. Both of them immediately started to plan in their heads how best to come at him.

This was why I loved my brothers.

"How could this had happened, Alice? Wasn't someone supposed to be in town while she was at work?" I bellowed into the phone.

Alice was contrite. "I was in town Edward. I'm so sorry. I got too far in front of my vision. That's why I went to her house. It never occurred to me that she would take off like this… or go there. I don't think she even planned it, or I would have known soon enough to stop her."

"I'm on my way." I hissed, shutting the phone before she could respond.

Trip over… "We'll get the Jeep."

"No," I snapped. "You two stay here. I'll take care of this myself"

This was between me and the dog. I didn't want them involved in this. Nevertheless, as I began running again, they followed at my sides. Damn it, I hissed under my breath. I should have known better than to think my brothers would not let me go alone.

Emmett had a grim smile on his face. "We can leave the jeep here."

"Emmett, I'm not dragging you two into this."

"Yeah, you're really twisting our arms here. Maybe we'll just follow you home anyhow. Jasper and I have some knitting patterns to look over."

Jasper, ever the strategist was measuring the intensity of my fury. He was concerned it would cloud my judgment and hamper my attack.

"We're coming with you. You don't know how many you may be up against."

Of course this statement from Jasper only brightened Emmett's outlook. It didn't matter to me. I would destroy anything in sight to get to him.

"This is between me and him. I have no intention to start anything with his pack" It was a thin lie. Neither of my brothers was buying it.

Jasper's thoughts shifted to Alice and the others.

You won't be able to hide your intentions from Alice.

Right this moment I was sure that I was gone from her view. Would she go in blind and try to find me? I knew the answer.

"Edward, what if the girls and Carlisle get caught up in this? Esme is no fighter and Alice's gifts are useless against them." Jasper thoughts mirrored mine.

This got Emmett thinking about Rosalie. "You need us there, if not to keep you from trouble, to bail you out of it."

Emmett and I are more than willing to help you, but we have to stop and think about how this could impact the others.

This time I slowed to a stop. "I'm not waiting! What if he hurts her Jasper?"

Edward, from the sounds of it, she chose to go there.

A low growl came from my chest. I bared my teeth at Jasper. Emmett stepped in between us.

"That's not what I meant." Jasper said, trying to calm me down. "All I'm saying is that I think she should be safe. Let's get home and see what the situation is." Can you imagine what Bella will do if you come barreling in there and she sitting at the Black's kitchen table playing checkers.

Jasper's clear, rational thinking was starting to work on me. He could feel it.

"Alright Jasper, you guys take the Jeep home. I'm going on foot and will wait for you there." They both eyed me speculatively. "I promise to do nothing rash."

I just don't know Edward.

"Nothing that will put the others in trouble, I swear Jasper"

I'm holding you to that. "We'll be home directly." Jasper's words had a slight twinge of threat behind them as he and Emmett turned off toward the Jeep.

Facing my sister… and myself

If you can't behave yourself, I won't bother to tell you next time Edward. Her thoughts reached out loudly through the forest. Get yourself over here, right now!

I ignored her.

I hadn't meant to lie to my brothers, not really. But it was a long run home.

So help me, I'll chase your scent the whole way to the reservation if you don't!

I had no choice. A long string of obscenities poured from my mouth as Alice showed me where she sat in my car on the road that cut through the boundary line. I turned out of the forest and headed toward her. There sat the Volvo and Alice glaring at me. I opened the driver's door to her livid face.

"That kind of language is uncalled for." Her nostrils flared as she moved over and made room for me.

"Thanks Alice. I'm…I'm sorry for yelling at you on the phone."

"I know, I know. I can't say I am too pleased with myself either. What ever crap you told Emmett and Jasper must have been a good. I especially can't believe you convinced Jasper that you would behave yourself." I, on the other hand, am not that easily fooled.

I snarled at her in response.

"I was going to call Jasper and tell him, but then I would have just had to deal with all three of you idiots."

"I'm just going to sit here until she comes out."

"Do I look stupid?" I'm not leaving you alone in this car. She sat in the passenger seat with her skinny arms crossed over her chest.

"Yes, you are." I growled back at her. "…leaving me alone here, that is."

"Edward, I've already lost Bella from my view, I will not lose you as well." You know what it will mean if you cross the line.

Alice's eyes shifted focus. Her vision swayed between me brooding in my car to blackness.

"She'll be fine"

"You can't know that." I snapped at her "What if one of those wolves loses control?" What if he kisses her? What if she likes it?

"I don't like her with those mutts anymore than you do, but I have faith. I have faith in Bella. If only you could have a little faith in yourself. She shook her head in exasperation. "I don't need to see to know it will be alright."

I knew that she was trying to reassure me, but she could have been talking to the dashboard for all the good it was doing. She knew to and shifted her argument to another tack.

"Nobody wants a war. I can't guarantee you'll be able to stop yourself." Her thoughts were far more damning than her words. Do you want to do that to Carlisle?

Like Jasper, she knew where I was vulnerable. My father and also my mother were still recovering from what I had done to them with my trip to Italy. My head dropped.

Her vision was changing. Emmett, Jasper, they were fading out of her site. They must be deciding to intercede. Things shifted again. Now the rest of my family followed them into the blackness.

"Edward!"

Of course I was concerned for Bella's safety, but I knew deep down that wasn't why I wanted to find them. Apprehension about Alice's vision finally overrode my jealousy. Being the possible cause of my family getting hurt would keep me here. Alice's vision cleared some. She figured about an eighty percent chance I would keep myself out of trouble.

"This doesn't mean I won't still be watching." Alice glowered at me.

"Go home. I promised them and I promise you, I will do nothing on my own. Besides, Emmett will be mad if I start chewing up werewolves without him" I forced a smile onto my face, trying to calm her fears. It seemed to have some effect.

"Alright, I'm leaving, but I won't be far"

I wouldn't admit to Alice that protecting Bella was not my primary goal. I didn't want her to know that I was jealous and weak. She wouldn't understand. She always thought me better than I was, just like Esme. But my mind was consumed with one question. A question that had haunted me since the day he dropped off her motorcycle. What if Bella did want him? The idea was agonizing. I thought about my first reaction when Alice called… my anger for her disobeying me... I was angry and hurt that Bella would do this to me. It was wrong of me to think like that, to treat her like a child. I didn't own her. Part of me knew it wasn't right of me to force her to stay away from him, but it didn't lessen the resentment or the pain. It was my fault that she had found comfort from this mongrel to begin with. I had sewn these seeds and now I was reaping my reward. His goals were as simple as mine. He wanted her. He would do whatever was in his power to get her, to take her from me….

My pain and rage erupted so strongly that I couldn't think straight. My head pounded, I felt sick to my stomach because I wasn't in motion. I needed to find some way to siphon off this aggression. The minutes ticked on as I contemplated how something that smelled as bad as him would taste in my mouth were I to rip his throat out with my teeth. My envy and hatred for him knew no bounds. The fact that we were already natural enemies only fanned the flames of my jealousy. He would certainly fight me. I smiled at the thought. I started to puzzle out the steps to dismember a werewolf. He was a young one too, young and volatile. I thought about what could happen if Bella got in an argument with him. Years ago I had seen in Ephraim Black's mind the transformation process. It could happen spontaneously. All it took was a temper flare up. A small argument could easily set a younger wolf exploding, anything nearby became collateral damage. As I thought about how easy she was pushing my buttons at that very moment and she wasn't anywhere near me, my hand went to the door. I couldn't sit in my car any longer. I had to know she was safe. I had to find him. I decided to get out of the car and look for them both.

My phone vibrated. Alice… I picked up

"Okay, okay Alice. I'm not going to do it." I snapped the phone shut before she could speak.

The phone rang two more times in that long hour. I didn't answer it. I didn't want to talk to her. I was annoyed at Alice as much as I was grateful for her interceding. She was right of course; maybe that was part of my irritation. I was sure as soon as she picked up the phone to dial my number her vision cleared. I knew that if I answered I would just vent on her. There was no need to be cross with my sister when she was only helping. So I just sat there fuming.

At last her truck came around the corner. I spun out from my hiding place. In seconds my bumper was glued to hers. She glanced once in my direction through her rear view mirror, her eyes wide with fear… or was it guilt. She shuddered and looked straight ahead from that point on. Apparently, I was not wearing a pleasant expression. Flames of anger and jealousy ignited when she didn't pull off as I expected her to. It was at full boil by time we came into town and she didn't head home. I wasn't sure where she was leading me then I remembered, she was supposed to help Angela after work today. This only got me more livid. She had no intention of talking to me. She wasn't even going to acknowledge my presence, was she?

Fine then, if that's how she wants it. She had to go home sometime. I followed her to Angela's house…I wasn't so angry that I didn't want to make sure she made it there safely. She didn't look up as I drove by. I went straight home, and dropped my car off.

Alice was waiting for me in the garage.

"I called Jasper and Emmett and told them to take their time."

"Thanks Alice" my tone didn't sound grateful, but I was.

"Why don't you talk to her about it?"

"Talk to her about what Alice?"

This isn't just about her safety and we both know it.

"Alice!"

"She needs to know how you feel Edward. I don't need psychic ability to see this jealousy eating you up. I don't blame you for feeling deceived, but you haven't made your feelings about this clear. Bella loves you. You know she wouldn't purposefully do anything to hurt you. But you hide too many things from her. I know you think you are protecting her, but it's dishonest and it's not fair to her."

She did know me well. "I don't know what to do Alice." My eyes started to sting. "I get crazy when she even mentions his name. All I can think about is hunting him down and shredding him to pieces. But I'm far angrier with myself than I am with him. It's my fault for her wanting to be with him in the first place. He has saved her life… twice. I know I don't have the right to object, not even to the fact that he is trying to take her from me." I hung my head. "...And he is human."

Alice raised a black eyebrow.

"More human than me." The words caught in my throat. "If she was with him, she wouldn't suffer unending thirst. She wouldn't have to spend eternity fighting against what she had become. He could give her a somewhat normal life. She wouldn't have to move on every few years. She wouldn't lose her mom and her dad. And he can protect her Alice, he's proven that."

Alice took a step closer and gave me a hug. "Edward, this isn't your choice to make. Remember what happened that last time you tried that?"

"I know, I know. I won't do that again." I couldn't even If I wanted to.

"Just don't hide your feelings from her. It's not good... for either of you."

"I know."

"You've got a couple of hours before she gets home." You're a mess. "Go change."

I looked down at the damage my roll down the hill with Emmett had done to my clothes and smiled.

Alice jumped up and pulled a couple leaves from my hair. "Rosalie is gonna be pissed at you for trashing Emmett's new jacket."

"He provoked me." She laughed at my defensive tone. "Besides, I hardly think you mind the excuse to buy him another."

"Good point." Alice grinned.

"Thanks Alice." I gave her a big squeeze and a kiss on top of her spiky black hair.

I cleaned myself up and headed back down stairs to the piano. I knew that she'd be a while at Angela's.

As much as I wanted to go over there and watch her, I refused to be a stalker. Alice was right…again. I would wait for her in her bedroom and we would talk.

I sat down at the piano and started to play her lullaby to calm myself. As I played I watched her in Alice's vision. I told myself this wasn't the same as hiding in the trees at Angela's. It wasn't my fault that Alice was in the house watching her… for me.

She smiled and talked to Angela as they addressed graduation announcements. Her head was down trying to write. I only caught a word or two. Too bad Alice's vision didn't have audio.

It was all right, I reminded myself. I would let it suffice just to know she was safe. Her head would lift as she reached for another envelope and I would catch a momentary glimpse of her face. It was enough to make me content. I was glad she was spending time with her friend. She wouldn't be able to all too soon.

My momentary peace evaporated. I hated that being with me would make her lose pleasant days like this.

"Fifteen minutes" Alice called from upstairs… as if she didn't know I had been hanging on her every thought.

"See ya later," I called out to her.

Alice giggled, "I know, about 10:18 tomorrow morning"

Confrontation

I chanted my mantra in the couple minute run to her house. Be calm… don't get angry… tell her how you feel…

Charlie was on the phone when I got there.

"… glad she got out to your place Billy. Apparently my talk with her did some good. I know I gave you a hard time about the Cullens when they first got here, but you were right… at least about one of them. I can barely stand to have him in the house after what he did to her."

"Jake's putting his best efforts toward her."

"I sure do miss the boy, and I know she likes him. If I could only get her to see that Edward kid is no good for her. Well, for her sake I hope Jake is giving her the full court press. Nothing would please me more."

I could hardly stomach listening anymore. If he only knew… I wanted to launch myself downstairs and spill my guts to him. Yeah, his opinion of me would certainly not improve, but I highly doubt if he would feel the same about his daughter and Jacob Black if he knew the whole story. But I couldn't, no matter how much I wanted to.

"Billy, I hear the truck pulling in. Don't want to be caught on the phone with you.

"Talk to ya later Charlie."

"Yeah, later." Charlie hung up the phone. He quickly headed to the living room and flipped on the TV, trying to look like he had been there a while.

I could smell his scent on her as soon as she opened the door of the truck. I stood there by the open window with my fists clenched at my sides, frozen with rage.

"Bella?" he called out to her as she came into the house.

"Hey, Dad."

"So, how was your day?" Charlie asked innocently.

Bella walked into the living room. Furious as I was at her, I still was happy to finally see her face, even through Charlie's eyes.

"Good, they didn't need me at work, so I went down to La Push." She eyed her father suspiciously as she spoke. I could tell from her expression that she knew he had talked to Billy.

"How's Jacob?" She knows…O well, I really don't care…

"Good"

"You get over to the Webers'?"

"Yep. We got all her announcements addressed"

"That's nice. I'm glad you spent some time with your friends today" I glad you didn't spend the day with him.

"Me too."

She must be aware that I'm here. She looked worried as she turned toward the kitchen. She should be…

Bella puttered around downstairs for a few more minutes. "I'm going to go study." she announced nervously, her heart racing. Yes, she was aware... well aware. I listened to her footfalls as she climbed the stairs at a snails pace.

Finally she made it to her room. The door creaked open slowly; she pulled herself in, closing it behind her and turned to face me.

All I could smell was that dog. It mixed with her own floral scent in a way that gnawed at my sanity. Alice's words to me were a distant memory. My head was throbbing; I could think about nothing but his slow brutal death, the need for retribution burned like acid on my tongue. There would be no relief until his blood ran down my throat. I stood there immobile, too incensed to speak. They'd have to identify him by paw prints when I was through. But my anger was not only for him. I was so angry and upset by her behavior today, though I knew I had no right to be. The mere fact that she allowed me in her life excused any behavior on her part. I glared at her trying to get a fix on my emotions.

Betrayed, that's how I felt. Recognition of it relieved some of the confusion, but not the sting of it.

"Hi," she squeaked out.

I just glared, my ability for speech had not yet returned.

"Er… so, I'm still alive."

Did she not have a clue to what I went through today? My worry… my fear… my anxiety…my brutal need for violence… The only response I was capable of was a growl.

"No harm done." How could she be so flippant about this?

I shut my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose trying to force the anger and pain from my mind so I could talk to her.

"Bella," I only just managed to get the words out. "Do you have any idea how close I came to crossing the line today? To breaking the treaty and coming after you? Do you know what that would have meant?"

Her gasp broke through my anger. "You can't" she almost yelled. "Edward they'd use almost any excuse for a fight. They'd love that. You can't ever break the rules!"

"Maybe they aren't the only ones that would enjoy a fight."

"Don't you start, you made the treaty — you stick to it."

That God dammed treaty didn't cover this. "If he'd hurt you —"

"Enough! There's nothing to worry about. Jacob isn't dangerous"

"Bella, you aren't exactly the best judge of what is or isn't dangerous."

"I know I don't have to worry about Jake. And neither do you"

Maybe she was right about being safe with him, but it was irrelevant to my envy and pain. His goal was to steal her from me. She wouldn't have went to see him if she didn't have feelings for him on some level. And I couldn't deny that she might be better off with him.

Pain and fear of that truth alone superseded all others. He could give her what I never can. How could I not worry?

She crossed the room and wrapped her arms around me.

"I'm sorry I made you anxious." She whispered into my chest.

Ah… Her warm touch was like a balm. The fear remained but the pain started to ebb away.

"Anxious is a bit of an understatement. It was a very long day."

"You weren't to know about it. I thought you would be hunting longer."

The sting of betrayal surfaced again. Would she have ever told me? Would she do this again? It hurt so badly. I never felt so powerless, not even when Jane had me pinned to the ground. I would find away to stop this. If I had to, I would never leave her side again. I would demand that she never go near him again.

I was getting carried away. I would not behave like a controlling maniac. I stopped and took a deep breath. I would take Alice's advice and tell her how I feel.

"When Alice saw you disappear, I came back." I would be calm, discuss this rationally.

"You shouldn't have done that. Now you have to go away again"

It comforted me that she didn't want me away. "I can wait." I could wait forever if it kept her away from Jacob Black.

"That's ridiculous. I mean, I know she couldn't see me with Jacob, but you should have known—"

"But I didn't. And you can't expect me to—"

"Oh, yes I can. That's exactly what I expect—"

"This won't happen again." I retorted my temper starting to flare.

"That's right! Because you are not going to over react next time,"

"Because there's not going to be a next time." I didn't care if it sounded controlling. I would not allow this.

"I understand when you have to leave, even if I don't like it —"

"That's not the same. I'm not risking my life." How could she compare my forced needs to her desire to be with him?

"Neither am I."

"Werewolves constitute a risk" I pushed my point. This was the best argument I had for her staying away from him.

"I disagree."

I'm not negotiating this, Bella."

"Neither am I."

Pain, fear, envy... She wanted to be with him. I froze solid again, caught up in my agony.

"Is this really just about my safety?"

How dare she question my motives? "What do you mean?"

"You aren't… I mean, you know better than to be jealous, right"

Behind my back she purposefully spends the morning with a guy who loves and wants her, knowing I'm well aware his feelings for her, and she thinks I wouldn't be jealous?

"Do I?"

"Be serious."

"Easily—there is nothing remotely humorous about this."

"Or… is this something else altogether? Some vampires-and- werewolves-are-always-enemies nonsense."

Did she really think I give a rat's ass about some pack of shape shifters? How was it possible for her not to understand how much I loved her… how much I feared losing her? "This is only about you. All I care is that you are safe." …and in my arms. I glared down at her forcing her to understand.

"Okay, I believe that." Finally… she heard me. "But I want you to know something — when it comes to all this enemies' nonsense, I'm out. I am a neutral country. I am Switzerland. I refuse to be affected by territorial disputes between mythic creatures. Jacob is family. You are…well, not exactly the love of my life, because I expect to love you for much longer than that. The love of my existence. I don't care who's a werewolf and who's a vampire. If Angela turns out to be a witch, she can join the party too."

The words that she loved me could sooth me like nothing else. But did she think it could be that simple? I stared into her brown eyes. I wanted to argue, to explain.

"Switzerland."

As if that would solve it all…

"Bella…," I inhaled into her hair. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her and that I knew that she loved me. I wanted to tell Bella her actions were hurting me, bend her to my will and demand she not go there again. But the smell of him coming off her reminded me not to give her any reason to push away from me…and pull closer to him. So I kept my feelings to myself.

"What now?" she demanded

"Well… don't be offended, but you smell like a dog."

I smiled. I would keep her away from him if it was the last thing I did.

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