"Bella, you should sleep, sweetheart…we have school tomorrow." I pulled the covers back from the bed and sat down, silently inviting her to join me.

We were in Bella's bedroom and it was just past 11pm, which meant that Charlie had been down the hall soundly snoring for well over an hour now. Bella had showered and dressed in a matching purple pajama short and shirt set that stated she was 'Little Miss Naughty'. Fucking Adorable.

Bella stood up from the desk chair and shut the computer monitor off. She had been emailing her mother for the past 30 minutes. She smiled at me then ran over to the bed and jumped in, landing right in front of me. She giggled and grinned up at me.

"You are too cute." I smiled warmly back at her and kissed that little button nose. She reached up and gave me a quick kiss on my cheek.

"Lay down, Edward," she said softly and then yawned.

She had been really tired these past couple of days. My family and I had been back in Forks for three days now, and each of those days were filled with Bella. Everyone had missed her terribly. There was so much to catch up on. Apparently, for Bella, this included sleep. She hadn't slept very well, if at all, in the past 7 months. She let her health slip. She was thinner. This had me very concerned. She was thin to begin with, but now I would be surprised if she reached over 100 pounds if she stepped on a scale. I have to talk to Carlisle about giving her a check-up. Maybe I could get her some vitamins…

"Please?" Bella interrupted my reverie.

"I'm sorry, love. What do you need?"

She eyed me skeptically. I rarely ever get lost in my own thoughts enough to not pay attention to what's being said around me. Well, this is unnerving. My worries about Bella in general have dominated my mind since we arrived back in Forks on Friday. I sighed. I just need to relax when I'm with Bella, and I can worry about her while she sleeps.

"Lay down." She repeated the same request she had before.

Easy enough.

I laid down under the covers, dressed in the flannel pajama pants and soft cotton shirt I had recently purchased. I took Bella shopping with me on Saturday for this sole purpose. Pajamas. I bought a lot of them, and Bella helped me pick which ones she liked best. After all, it was for her benefit. It was a new concept for me, I never really had a need for them. Not even when I first began spending the nights with my Bella. She never complained about my jeans. But as Alice pointed out, Bella might enjoy snuggling up next to soft fabrics instead of rough denim.

I had never thought of that. The fact that it might be uncomfortable for her. I felt like an idiot when Alice brought it up, and I had looked at Bella sheepishly. She had insisted that it didn't bother her, but I was going to rectify the situation regardless. Bella's comfort may not be a big deal to her, but it is very important to me. I have to take very special care of her now. Especially now, since she doesn't seem to care too much about herself…her comforts…her safety…her health.

Bella straddled my hips and then laid down on my chest, her head fitting snugly under my chin. This was a new position for us, and it is still somewhat awkward for me. Just the act of her straddling me gets me aroused and that is really not appropriate right now. It's just that, in our new sleeping position, her delicious heat is just right there and it's enough to drive me mad with lust for her warm, fragile body. I have to block out those thoughts immediately, and reign in my control. Bella doesn't need me rejecting her need to sleep on top of me because I can't control my urges. It is not fair to her and it's my own damn fault she sleeps like this now, anyway.

She told me Friday night, very matter-of-factly, that in this new position, I simply cannot leave. That, if I make a move, she'll wake up.

Apparently, she's a light sleeper now.

So it would seem that my Bella has abandonment issues. Not to mention, quite a few insecurities now. Again, all of this is my fault.

I am such an asshole.

So I resolved that I need to do my best to remedy the situation and give her everything she wants and needs. Reassure her all the time. Be around her constantly. Let her sleep in ridiculously, awkward positions. I would do anything for her. I just need her to feel better. To trust me again. I know it will take a while and it won't be easy, but the tediousness of it all is driving me up the fucking wall. I need to learn to have patience with her, though. It's just that the evidence of her constant distrust in me breaks my heart.

It's your own damn fault and you did it to yourself. Because you're an asshole.

Last night illustrated for me just how difficult this 'trust-journey' might be. She was sleeping soundly on top of me, making those cute little noises and sighs in her sleep I had missed so much. I had just moved my body a little to the left, intent on getting the book off the nightstand to do a little reading while Bella cuddled close to me, but the second I moved to get it, she woke up. She darted straight up into a sitting position on top of my hips and started breathing hard. Amazingly, tears were already starting to roll down her pale cheeks, and she was looking around the room for about 3 seconds before her eyes shifted down and landed on me. I was stunned at her reaction to my little movement and reached up to wipe away her tears with my thumbs and shush her. I held my arms up to her, inviting her back onto my chest. She immediately complied and I enveloped her in my arms, rocking her a little bit from side to side, whispering loving words in her ear. She started to calm down almost immediately, and was back asleep within minutes. I spent the rest of the night holding her and gently rocking her, trying to think of a way to make her happy again. To make her fucking content with me again.

"So, what's the story Carlisle is going to tell the school in the morning?" she asked as her face nuzzled my neck.

"Well, it will be just me and Alice starting back at school tomorrow with you. The other's are supposed to be in college this year, remember?"

"Yeah. Just you, me and Alice. We're going to stick together, huh?"

I chuckled quietly and kissed her hair. This was her way of asking if Alice really was staying or if she was going to choose to stay home with Jasper eventually. Bella had missed Alice a lot. "Yes, we are definitely sticking together."

"So, the story?"

"Well, the story is that Esme missed small town living and Carlisle saw that the he could offer Forks hospital the help it needs more than he could be an advantage at the well-off hospital in California, so they decided it was best if we just moved back…so, here we are. Alice and I will be re-enrolled in the morning, and…guess what?"

Bella yawned again and looked up at me, placing her chin on my chest. "What?"

"Alice saw that you and I will have all our classes together. My schedule will mirror yours. And she is in three of the classes with us."

That earned me a smile. I was momentarily dazzled by her perfection. "Really?"

I kissed her forehead and started running my fingers through her long, silky locks. They were almost down to her waist now and I loved it. I smiled. "Yes, really. Now go to sleep baby. Back to school in the morning," I reminded her. She hummed in agreement and laid her head back down under my chin. I continued my soft caresses through her hair down her back.

After a few minutes, her breathing slowed and I knew she was close to drifting off. I started thinking about when I should talk to Carlisle about Bella's health check-up. After some debating, I decided to just do it tomorrow after he got home from the hospital, while Bella eats her dinner. Hopefully, he can do it immediately and then I can have her on some kind of vitamins by the next morning. Bella interrupted my thoughts, deciding that she wanted to have a conversation at…I looked at the alarm clock, 12:03 in the morning.

Great. Well, this isn't good...she needs to sleep. Be firm with her, I told myself.

"Edward?" she mumbled sleepily.

"Yes, love?" I whispered back to her.

"What is Alice gonna make me wear tomorrow?" she asked softly.

I sighed. "I don't know, angel, you'll find out in the morning," I assured her. "But now, you need to sleep. Shhhh." I started rocking her a bit, along with my gentle caress on her back, hoping that would aid in helping her fall asleep. It worked last night, after all.

"Yeah, but is she gonna come over here in the morning, or are you going to take me to your house?" she insisted.

I knew what she was doing. I knew that she was fighting sleep, by trying to have this pointless conversation. I knew it was all just to put sleep off for as long as possible, for fear of me leaving, but this was just getting ridiculous. She needed more sleep than she'd been getting, and after this weekend of 'bedtime avoiding drama', I knew it was going to be up to me to make sure that this didn't have a chance to go on any further. The simple fact of the matter was, that it was just time for bed, and that was...just...fucking final. Yeah.

Dear Lord, I sound like her father. This could go wrong in sooo many ways.

I sighed deeply. I was going to have to be firm, and that scared me a little. I never had a problem with it before, but that was before she turned into an overly-sensitive, insecure mess. I had to be careful with her. And besides, I didn't want her upset, or have her thinking that I didn't want to talk to her. Because I do want to talk to her. All the fucking time, actually.

Damn it all to hell.

But I had to put my fears aside and just fucking do it already, because her health depended on it. So, I tried to sound stern and whisper back to her at the same time. I'm not sure how much I succeeded. "She'll be here at 6:30 to hug you 'good morning' and show you the outfit she picked just for you." I cleared my throat. "Now, go to sleep Bella. It's past midnight." I kissed her hair again.

Ok, well hopefully that's the end of that. Now she'll go to sleep and her sleep-talking will entertain me until the morning.

That thought made me smile. Bella was pretty funny when she slept. I can remember a few times having whole conversations with her in that state about the silly things in her dreams. One time in particualr, she was upset because I didn't catch her a fluffy white rabbit and bring it home to her from one of my hunting trips. She was going to name it SkuttleButt and apparently, was heartbroken that I had returned without it. She was fascinating.

"Ok, well then -"

"Bella," I interrupted her. She lifted her head at my tone and looked at me with wide eyes. I gave her a stern look and made my voice hard. "Sleep." But my gentle caress down her back betrayed my hard façade. My fingers reached her waist when she decided to speak again.

"I just -" I heard the whiny tone in her voice and without allowing myself to think about it, I lightly slapped her ass. Her only reaction was to bite her pink, bottom lip.

Ok, tread carefully, asshole...

I stared at her for a few seconds, trying to silently communicate with her. Tell her I was serious about this. I needed for her to quit being ridiculous and just go to sleep. When I finally spoke, it was just a whisper, "Naughty girl…" I admonished her, shaking my head a little, never breaking eye contact.

After a moment, I put the hand that had been running along her spine, to her cheek and lightly stroked my thumb under her left eye, across her cheekbone. Then, in the same hard tone of voice, I said, "Bella, you need to stop. Right now. Alright? I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to hold you all night long and then you'll wake up to my kisses all over your beautiful face in the morning. You have to stop all of this nonsense, baby. Avoiding sleep? It is NOT healthy. I won't tolerate it anymore. Do you understand me?" I asked, trying to keep my voice hard. After all, I'm supposed to be firm on this matter, right? Even if i do feel like a complete ass right now.

Please Bella, just go to sleep.

She nodded and without another word, broke our eye contact to lay her head back on my chest. She was asleep within five minutes. I smiled to myself, relieved, and proud that I was obviously doing this 'firm' thing right.

"No Alice, no pink…" Bella mumbled in her sleep.

I kissed her hair then, and promised, "No pink," in a soft whisper. I stared up at the ceiling and settled in for the night with my sleeping beauty.