"Mentalward" Contest

Pen Name: FarDareisMai2
: Kindred
Summary: It was heaven and hell all at once, because I knew no one else would ever satisfy me the same way, but I didn't know if the monster would let me keep her.
Word Count: 15,246

To see other entries in the contest go to: www. fanfiction community/Mentalward_One-shot_Contest/75406/

A/N: First and foremost, my thanks go to Chicklette for being a fearless beta, cheerleader, title writer, summary genius, and wonderful friend. Thank you for not going soft on me! I also have to thank all my WC girls, you know who you are, for holding my hand and encouraging me to write this one. In particular, I also have to thank VanPireNZ and tjbaby for banging their heads on their desks along with me as we tried to come up with a title and summary. My PF, Zigster, love you hard girl. And, finally, all my Sookie-verse girls for being the best support system and least dramatic people I know!

I also want to remind everyone that I don't own Twilight, Edward, Bella or any of the characters therein. I wish I did. Instead I just get to mess up their heads a bit.

At high enough velocities, two positively charged atoms will overcome their natural repulsion and fuse, forming a single nucleus, in a reaction that can result in a thermonuclear explosion.

"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." – Albert Einstein

The thumping baseline vibrated through my body, pumping up through the floor of the club, surrounding me in the beat. Lights flashed intermittently in the darkened room, illuminating the mass of flesh that gyrated and ground to the rhythm. It was a primitive, primal beat, and the press of bodies against me set my blood boiling just the way I liked. In the dark, I had no idea who was pressed up behind or in front of me. I couldn't tell you if he had blond or black hair. I could only tell you if his chest felt good under my fingers or against my back and how big and...





...And, at the end of the night, wasn't that all that mattered?

Every night, for a few hours, I escaped the boredom, the monotony of my existence. Every night I danced, and sometimes, if he was very lucky, I took one of them home and fucked what few brain cells he had right out of him. If I was very lucky, he wouldn't talk and I could get off. There is no bigger turn off then a hot, well hung guy, with nothing going on between the ears, unless it's a hot, well hung guy, with nothing going on between the ears, that thinks he's smart or that I want to hear what he has to say. Shut the fuck up and let me come.

Strong arms wrapped around my waist. I could feel the well defined muscles as I ran my hands up and up and up to his shoulders. Mmmm. Tall. I brought my hands down and behind me, grabbing his hips and pulling him tighter to me, grinding hard against him, hearing him moan against my neck, his hot breath ghosting across my skin, making my nipples harden in response. I didn't want to turn around. I didn't want to be disappointed yet, because more often than not, someone that felt this delicious was hardly worth the effort. But eventually his thick cock pressed against my ass intrigued me enough to take him by the hand and head to the bar.

I ordered my usual, a Sloe Comfortable Screw, and finally turned around to look at my would-be-fuck-of-the-night. Russet colored skin stretched deliciously over a tall, very tall, well built body. If I hadn't known anyhow, the long black hair and dark, almond shaped eyes screamed Native American. I reached for my drink, thanking the bartender. I eyed the boy up and down once more and then flicked my hand dismissively. I was so not going to play this game.

But the boy wouldn't take no for an answer, and tried again. This time I turned my back to him, leaning over to talk to James, the bartender. The boy came up behind me.

"Do you have something against Native Americans?" he asked.

I sighed. Time to call bullshit. I turned to face him. He really was pretty. Such a shame. "No. I have nothing against Native Americans," he smiled at my response, "only against Quileute's." The smile faded from his face. I continued, "I used to change your diapers, Seth Clearwater. Did Jake really think I wouldn't recognize you?" I asked, as I hooked my fingers under the collar of his t-shirt, pulling it down roughly and exposing the tattoo on his left shoulder. I heard him hiss in anger.

"Go home little wolf. Tell your pack master to fuck off."

Seth's eyes suddenly flashed with anger, but perhaps a touch of fear as well. He grabbed me by the arm and began to drag me to the door. I looked for James, but at that moment he was at the other side of the bar, his back to me while he mixed drinks.

"Stop it, Seth!" I shouted as I tried to yank my arm back from his strong grip.

He turned to me again, his hands tight on my shoulders. "His orders, Bella, and you know I can't disobey them."

I pulled on my arm again. "Let me go, Seth. I'm not going any-fucking-where with you!"

"He wants you back, Bella. Enough is enough."

"Well I'm not one of his lap dogs, and I'm not his bitch," I seethed. "He can't order me around. I don't heel for him!" Seth continued to drag me toward the door. "It's been five years. Five fucking years, Seth! When is he going to let it go?"

Seth turned his eyes back to me once more. "Bella, don't you know that you're his? There is no other for him. You're it. He ordered me to bring you back, and that's what I'm going to do. He says you've had your time to play, and now it's time to come home."

"He's even dumber than I thought if he believes that," I said.

I never even saw the hand that hit me across the cheek, but his other hand gripped me so tightly, he held me up so that I just barely swayed in my heels. When my vision cleared I saw that we were even closer to the door. Where was everyone? How come no one was helping me? Then I understood. Two girls had climbed up on the bar and were dancing and stripping as James tugged at them, urging to get them down. The press of bodies surging toward the bar was obscuring me from anyone's view. I looked again and saw one of the girls glance in our direction. Leah. I shot a glance at the other. Emily. Fuck. They were the diversion.

"So what was that before, Seth? Were you going to fuck me before taking me back to him?"

"If that's what it took," he replied, his voice cold. "I meant it Bella. He said to bring you home by any means. Any means."

Then I heard a voice cut in. "I don't think the lady wants to leave with you."

I turned to look at my would-be savior and my breath caught in my throat. He was beautiful. Wild auburn hair, and dark, amber eyes, set in a pale face that look sculpted in its perfect symmetry. He was tall too, although not as tall as Seth. The Quileute's grow them big on the reservation in La Push, and Jake only conscripted the biggest or fiercest into his pack. Pack. What a crock. They were the Native American equivalent of the mafia, and they wrapped it all up in the myths and legends of their people, and claimed the wolf as their totem.

Jake: my ex-boyfriend, mob boss and a man who never took no for an answer. By all rights, I should have been dead. No one refused Jacob Black—no one who was still alive at any rate. I'd left him five years earlier, left Forks, and never looked back. He, on the other hand, couldn't stop living in the past where I was concerned.

Then out of nowhere there was a beautiful stranger, involving himself in this very dangerous game. Who said chivalry is dead? I couldn't let him get involved. Seth would kill him. I may not have seen Seth since he was a child, but everyone who worked for Jake had made at least one kill, and they had no compunctions about doing it again.

I opened my mouth to tell the beautiful stranger to stay out of it, when I heard what sounded like a growl emanate from deep within his chest. He fucking growled. It was the hottest thing I'd ever heard. "Let go of her," he demanded and I saw his eyes darken, becoming feral and dangerous.

Suddenly, I wasn't so worried about my beautiful stranger.

I watched him drag her toward the door, waiting until they cleared the mob of men who had pressed up to the bar to watch his accomplices, and then began to walk toward them. I kept to the shadows, moving along the walls, keeping my eyes on her the whole time.

It was really no different than what I had been doing for weeks. I'd spotted her almost immediately. She was the most beautiful thing I'd seen a in a long, long time, and I had no shortage of beautiful women throwing themselves at me.

Her long brown hair swayed along her back as she danced, and her eyes were a brown so dark, they were nearly black. They looked hungry, starved, and the way she prowled her territory it was obvious she was always looking for the one thing that would actually satisfy. She was sinuous, sexual, feline, wild. She wore her sexuality like armor, daring men to take her on, daring them to tame her. None of them did.

Once I walked past her on the way to the restroom, close enough to smell her, and my blood surged through my body at the scent. It was fruit and alcohol, sex and sweat, but underlying it all was the unmistakable smell that was just . . . her—woman and girl, sweet and spicy, Madonna and whore. She was on the phone, her back turned to me, completely oblivious to the fact that I was behind her, inhaling her. I stared at a single bead of sweat as it trailed down her neck along her pale skin—skin so white, so perfect, that porcelain was a poor analogy. I watched the little droplet of moisture roll down, until it snuck under the collar of her shirt. I heard her end her call, and moved away, making sure she did not see me.

I watched as some nights she left with someone, and other nights she didn't. I wasn't entirely sure of her criteria, although underlying most of her choices was the flavor of menace rolling off the men. Following her home every night, watching as she took them inside, I came to know her better. This girl had a thing for danger, and I was going to accommodate her.

So I watched, and I learned, and I waited. It wasn't my intention to make my move that night, but the boy forced my hand. I'd never seen Bella have trouble dismissing someone before, and I found myself leaning forward, elbows on my knees, fascinated, as he clearly refused to take "no" for an answer.

I made my way over to the bar, inconspicuous, hidden behind another man, but close enough to hear her exchange. Close enough to know that this boy, this man-child, was someone she knew but wanted nothing to do with. I watched as the two women he had entered the bar with made their way closer, but studiously avoided him and Bella, before finally creating their diversion. I watched as he dragged Bella toward the door. I watched, and I followed. My curiosity was piqued, and had been for weeks. I wanted to know her, to understand her, and maybe this boy would help me draw her out.

But then he hit her with the back of his hand—his knuckles marring her perfect skin with a large, red stain that quickly blossomed into an obvious bruise. He shouldn't have done that. Bella's skin was mine to mark.

I slipped along the shadows, until the three of us were away from the press of people, away from his would-be helpers. I listened to them argue. The boy was not taking her for himself. He was merely a lackey for some fool who didn't even have what it took to come get Bella for himself—a fool who had not been able to hold on to her in the first place, a fool dangerous enough to have errand boys willing to do anything necessary to bring Bella back to him.

I would have to teach the fool that he couldn't have her back—she was mine, or would be soon enough.

I walked up to them. "I don't think the lady wants to leave with you," I said.

They both turned to look at me, but my eyes were on Bella's and I saw her reaction as she took me in. I had to suppress the smile that threatened to break out when I watched her eyes travel up and down my body with approval. Then I watched her thinking, calculating, processing, before she opened her mouth to protest.

The boy still had his hand gripped tightly around Bella's arm, and I felt something in me release as I let my monster out to play. I canted my head to the side, as a growl tore from my throat. "Let go of her," I demanded again, my eyes now focused on the boy.

"I don't think so," he replied, as he edged his way to the door pulling Bella along with him.

I couldn't allow him to get outside; as I had no idea who might be waiting for him. So I moved. It was over in less than a minute, and as I stepped over his sprawled form, I reached out a hand to Bella. "You want to get out of here?" I asked.

She didn't hesitate, but took my hand and let me lead her to the back of the bar and out the back door. The girl had absolutely no sense of self-preservation. I pulled her along behind me, my heart racing at the feel of her hand resting in mine, the pulse of her blood beating against my skin. I turned to look at her and saw her face was flushed; her fair skin tinged pink with excitement, even under the forming bruise. I dragged her to the nearby alley where I'd parked my bike.

She stopped short. "Is that yours?"


"It's beautiful," she breathed as she stepped forward and ran her fingers over it, caressing it like I knew she would soon be touching me. She skimmed the tank and dragged her fingers over to the seat, stroking the leather with her hand, and I grew hard watching her. Each touch to the motorcycle was like a touch to my skin, eliciting a current of desire and electricity that coursed through me, pumping my blood straight to my cock. She continued, sliding her hand back and over the seat, stroking the twin exhaust pipes, clearly enjoying the sensation of the smooth, cool paint, warm leather, and rigid steel under her skin. She turned and looked at me from under her lashes, her eyes beckoning; taunting me, unraveling me.

Two long strides and my hand was tangled in her hair, tilting her head back and my lips were devouring hers...


...it was heaven and hell all at once, because I knew no one else would ever satisfy me the same way, but I didn't know if the monster would let me keep her.

Watching my beautiful stranger take down Seth Clearwater was one of the hottest things I'd ever seen. I don't know how to explain it, but there was something so primal, so basic in seeing him defend me, that it left me . . . wanting.

The entire fight couldn't have taken more than a minute, although calling it a fight might have been misleading. I'd always believed a fight required two participants. My rescuer had serious skills, professional skills, and I'd be lying if I said that watching the fluid way he moved wasn't incredibly arousing. He had been standing there, growling at Seth, but when Seth began to drag me to the door once again he simply . . . uncoiled. Seth never even saw what hit him. My stranger's movements were lithe, powerful, efficient—like a panther. They were the practiced movements of a killer.

I'd never been more turned on in my life.

When he reached out to me, and then pulled me out of the bar, I went willingly, even though I knew nothing about him—except for the fact that he could kill me without breaking a sweat. I didn't even know his name.

He pulled me to the alley closest to the bar, and for the briefest of moments I hesitated. What little sense of self-preservation I had, however, disappeared when I saw his bike. I'd always had a thing for bikes. It's what drew me to Jake in the first place. When he showed up at my house on his Harley, my seventeen year old hormones nearly had me creaming my jeans. My dad, Charlie, and his dad, Billy, hadn't told me he was coming for dinner. They just sprung him on me, like a couple of old biddies in a social circle trying to set us up.

By the end of the night, Charlie and Billy were smiling those stupid smiles—the ones they sport when they think they've pulled one over on everyone—as Jake and I rode off on his Harley to get ice cream, with a stern warning from Charlie about driving safely. What they didn't know was that we never made it to the ice cream store. Instead, I directed Jake to a clearing in the woods and...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE...on his bike, a fat cruiser that was Jake's pride and joy.

My stranger's bike was no cruising bike. Oh no. The Ducati 848 is built for one purpose—to go very, very fast. With speeds topping out at over one hundred and sixty miles per hour, it's a racing bike disguised as a street bike, and that particular one came attached to my beautiful stranger. I traced the lines of the machine with my fingers—each texture a testament to the erotic pull of the stranger in front of me.

The expression on his face when I looked back up at him was of raw sexual need. He wasn't trying to be coy. He wasn't trying to seduce me. He wasn't making any "moves." He was simply exuding the most base, most primal, most animalistic aura of desire, and I wanted nothing more than to give in to him. When I did, it was like he'd been made for me, as if...


...he picked me up, carried me to his bike, and drove us to my place. I didn't learn until much, much later, how he knew where I lived, but it didn't matter anyway because by then I was completely ensnared.

He took me again almost as soon as we walked into my apartment, his mouth on mine the moment the door shut, as he moved us until the backs of my knees hit the ottoman that doubled as my coffee table and I sat down hard. His left hand reached behind my head, grabbing my hair, as...


...I did exactly as he asked.

Three days later, I still didn't have my fill of her. We'd hardly left her apartment, except to pick up food and drinks. Sometimes we fucked, and sometimes we made love, slow and tender, our hands entwined and stretched above Bella's head as our hips rolled together. I marveled at her capacity to keep up with me because I was insatiable, hungry for her all the time.

We sat on her bed and I fed her Chinese food from the containers. I discovered that my Bella was brilliant, literally, with an IQ well over the norm. A voracious reader, she'd quickly eclipsed most of her teachers. Bored with school, the small town she lived in, and the strictures of having a police chief for a father, Bella found her kicks in risky behavior—slumming it with the town's trouble makers, reckless sex, motorcycles, cliff diving at the local reservation, even sky diving once before her father found out and put a stop to it.

It was her penchant for risk taking and thrills that led her to Jake—her town's equivalent of a crime boss, who ran his self-designated Pack like an old school Chicago mafia boss. She described it as exciting, the life Jake exposed her to. When he first returned home, after living in Seattle for three years, he was a small time thug, but the fights, the drinking, the gambling, the money, the parties—it was fun for her. Plus, Bella got a perverse thrill knowing that they were doing this under the noses of their fathers; a police chief and a tribal elder. Eventually, however, both Charlie and Billy became aware of Jake's proclivities and tried to intervene. Charlie put his foot down, and Bella moved out of her father's house and in with Jake.

Bella's voice was soft as she spoke. "After a while, as he got more powerful, as he solidified the Pack, being with Jake stopped being fun. He wouldn't let me near anything dangerous. Hell, he even tried to keep me from going to bars or going out dancing. He kept saying I was too precious, and that he wouldn't risk my safety. He didn't want me to become a target. I was living in a gilded cage, suffocating." She took another bite of the lo mein and continued, "Jake became a bureaucrat—a bureaucrat with a gun, but still, an office guy. I realized that without the fights, the bars, the drinking . . . Jake was incredibly boring and we had nothing in common. He's smart, but he doesn't read, he barely finished high school, and has no appreciation for art or music. Then the sex became routine and stale, and I did everything I could to avoid it. God, he didn't even push me then! He treated me like a fucking china doll until I just snapped. I destroyed everything in the house, emptied the account he gave me for shopping, emptied his safe, and I left."

"What about your father?" I asked as I fished out more General Tso's Chicken with my chopsticks.

Her face fell slightly, and I dropped the chicken back into the container and set it aside. "About a year after I moved in with Jake, Charlie had a heart attack. He died at home, alone. We hadn't spoken since the day I moved out." A small sob escaped her, and she quickly dashed away the tears that had begun to fall. "I'm sorry. I haven't talked about Charlie in a really long time."

"It's not your fault," I said. "Even if you were home, it doesn't mean you could have done anything to help him."

"I know that," she sighed, "I'm just sorry that I never spoke to him before it happened. I'm sorry that our last words were spoken in anger."

I was about to reach out to her, to try to comfort her but instead she jumped on me, pinning me down on the bed, straddling my hips.

"What about you, Edward? What's your story? Where did you learn to fight like that? 'Cause I gotta tell you Edward," and the way she said my name was like she was fucking purring, "watching you take down Seth, was the hottest fucking thing I've ever seen." She punctuated her statement with a grind of her hips, as she leaned over my chest, running kisses up my neck and along my jaw line, using her sexuality to mask her sorrow.

I growled and in a fluid move, flipped us over, pinning her beneath me, immobile. Her eyes widened, and I grinned down at her before grinding against her, letting her feel what her words and actions had done to me. "You mean moves like that?" I asked cheekily, before gathering both her wrists in one hand and holding them above her head. I leaned down and ran my nose along her throat, as my free hand explored her body.

"You can't distract me with sex, Edward. I want an answer."

"Are you sure I can't distract you?" I teased as my fingers toyed with her nipples.

"Edward," she tried to growl, but it came out more like a moan.

"Fine," I huffed and sat up slightly, not releasing her hands or her legs, which were still pinned by mine. "Army. Special forces. And I can't tell you more, or I'd have to kill you." And I wasn't exactly lying either. Some of the black ops I'd been part of were definitely top secret. And the fact that I was pressured into accepting an early retirement or risk a Section 8 discharge, well Bella didn't need to know that.

"Army?" she asked, surprised.

"Yes, now shut up," I replied as I...


for the time being, we took a bath together. We sat in the hot water, with steam swirling around us. Bella was nestled in between my legs, her back against my chest, my arms and legs wrapped around her. We were trading touches and caresses, and it was intimate but not overtly sexual; we were just exploring each other's bodies.

"How did your parents die?" she asked suddenly.

I took a deep breath and inadvertently squeezed her harder, not realizing I was doing it until I heard her soft gasp.

"Shit. I'm sorry," I muttered.

"It's okay, I'm sorry I asked," she said, and I felt her try to pull away slightly but I wasn't having it.

"The first time I ever played outdoors I was five years old and it was my first day of kindergarten," I began. "It was also the first time I ever interacted with other children." I felt her grasp my arms, like she was trying to hug me. "My parents were junkies. If I stayed out of the way and didn't make too much noise, I didn't get hit as often. On good days, my mom would remember to feed me. On the bad ones . . ." I couldn't finish the thought. "The only reason they even sent me to school was because someone pointed out that the state knew I existed because of the food stamps and if they didn't send me to school CPS would show up."

"But why wouldn't they just give you to CPS? If you were such a bother to them, I mean."

"Because sometimes they didn't have enough cash for their fix," I said, willing her to understand what I was trying to tell her. "I was . . . useful."

For a moment she was quiet and then, "Oh Edward!" she cried out and turned her body to look at me. She lifted a hand to my face, cupping it gently. "I'm so sorry," she said.

I shrugged.

"What happened to them?"

"When I was nine—" I was cut off by the sound of glass breaking in Bella's living room. I was out of the bath in a flash. I grabbed the plunger Bella kept by the toilet, snapped off the rubber end, and padded down the hallway.

There was the man-child, Seth, standing in a pile of broken glass that had been Bella's window. His eyes went wide when he saw me, and then he smirked as he took note of my state of undress—as if my nakedness was, somehow, a handicap. "So, you managed to stick around?" he sneered. "None of the others ever has," he said, taunting me, trying to goad me into moving first.

"If you value your life," I warned, "leave now."

He laughed as he lunged at me. He was still smiling as he looked down at the makeshift stake sticking out of his chest. He looked up at me, the smile dying on his lips. "How?" He sagged to his knees. "How?" he asked again before he fell over. I checked for a pulse, knowing I wouldn't find one. It was a killing strike.

I looked up and saw Bella standing in the doorway. She had a towel wrapped around her, but her pale skin was wet and her hair was dripping all over the floor. I expected her to look terrified, or at the very least shocked, but instead what I saw was . . . excitement?

"Bella?" I asked.

"Fuck, Edward," she whispered as she walked toward me. "Fuck," she said again as she reached me and pulled me into a heated kiss. "You're amazing," she moaned against my lips.

"Bella, the police—"

"Self defense," she said as she tugged my lower lip with her teeth. My self control was failing.

I tried to explain to her that with my military training, my actions would be considered excessive. I pulled back, holding her by the shoulders and looking her in the eyes. "They'll say I could have subdued him with less force . . . and they would be right," I concluded. I didn't need to kill him, but I had and I'd enjoyed it.

I always enjoyed it.

"Oh," she breathed. She looked at me for a moment and said, "Then we have to get rid of him."

Fuck me. She was perfect. I grabbed her by the back of the neck, pressing my forehead to hers. "You are so my girl," I told her, and then looked her in the eyes. "Mine. You understand?"

"Only yours," she breathed and leaned in for a kiss.

"Uh uh," I admonished. "We have to deal with him first," I said.

Her eyes flicked to the body. "What do you suggest?"

"Do you have a cleaver?" I asked. My monster cackled gleefully in the back of my head.

Her eyes grew wide, but she nodded in the affirmative and an hour later I had two Hefty bags filled with the remains of Seth Clearwater. I sat back, being careful to keep myself on the garbage bags we had spread out over the floor.

Bella sat next to me, surveying the mess. I expected her to scream, faint, vomit . . . something. Instead she looked at me and said, "We should send those bags to Jake."

I looked at her and grinned. The two of us were covered in blood, but I took her there on the floor anyway.

She came twice.

Several hours later, Bella's apartment was sparkling, our clothes were in the incinerator, and we were driving to the reservation at La Push as the dawn began to pink the sky. We stopped along the way to dispose of most of the remains, leaving them out in the forest for the predators to find. The area was teeming with wildlife. We held our cups of coffee and watched, as a pack of coyotes descended on the bloody pile. When they were done we collected the bones, placing them in an airtight, plastic container. Later, we would fill it with rocks to weigh it down, take a boat several miles out, and throw it overboard. We started a campfire over the bloody ground, effectively destroying most traces of the blood or the coyotes' feeding frenzy.

We sat together in front of the fire, looking for all the world like any other couple snuggling in front of a campfire, as opposed to people who had the remains of a human being in the trunk of their car. We'd packaged several pieces of Seth in a box, lined with a plastic bag to keep it from leaking, making sure the shoulder with the tattoo was on top and the first thing Jake would see when he opened it. When the fire had burned sufficiently long, we kicked it over with dirt, smothering it.

We didn't want to start a forest fire.

A few miles away from the reservation, Bella instructed me to stop. There was a gas station with a liquor store nearby, and according to her, kids were always hanging around, trying to buy cigarettes and booze, and looking for ways to make some quick money. Fifty bucks later, one of those kids was heading to Jake's with a box and my note, which read:

Bella is mine. Come after her again, and I'll take the rest of your pack apart piece by piece.

I made no attempt to disguise myself from the kid who took the message. Bella said Jake would never involve the police, and I wanted him to know who it was from. No doubt Seth had discussed me with his two female accomplices and they would let Jake know exactly who I was. Hopefully he would take the hint, but I had a strong suspicion that he wouldn't—and my monster became positively gleeful at the thought. Jake was an alpha, a leader, and he wouldn't back down easily. I'd always known that eventually we would have to confront each other. Still, I felt like I should give him a warning.

It was the fair thing to do.

I don't know what it was about seeing Edward kill Seth, but it was like a switch flipped inside me. I knew, on a cerebral level that it was a serious matter—that a man's life had just been extinguished, justifiably or not—but at a basic level, my body screamed with desire for Edward. I was completely turned on by what I'd witnessed.

And when he told me that he didn't have to kill Seth, but did anyway? I knew what needed to be done. There was no way in hell I was letting anyone take Edward away from me. It was like all my years of random sex, hell-raising, my time with Jake—even my time before, in Phoenix—had led me to Edward. Watching the way he moved, how at ease he was in his nakedness, the glorious way his muscles flexed and moved as he danced past Seth and impaled him with the handle of my toilet plunger—my toilet plunger!—all served to heighten my attraction to him, something I didn't even realize was possible.

I knew I shouldn't be excited, but I was.

I was the daughter of a police chief, and I encouraged the willful destruction of evidence. I became an accomplice after the fact. I helped dismember a body.

And I loved every minute of it.

When we finished bagging Seth's remains, we sat down on the plastic garbage bags, covered in his blood. Its early warmth quickly diminished as Seth's body cooled and the blood was exposed to air. Still, it was slick and smooth against my skin. Suddenly, Elizabeth Bathory didn't seem so crazy.

Edward turned and looked at me, and the heat in his eyes rendered me liquid. He...[EDITED] SEE NTOE ABOVE

It was primal, animalistic, atavistic.

It was perfect.

Many hours later, as we huddled before a campfire like any other couple, I realized that I was relaxed and happy—truly relaxed and happy—for the first time since I was a little girl. I knew I should be nervous. I knew I should probably be feeling remorse. I knew I should be horrified by the things Edward and I had done. Yet I felt none of that. I felt whole, centered, and alive.

After we sent the kid, who I think was a Newton by the looks of him, off to deliver the package to Jake, I took Edward to the cliffs at First Beach. I walked him near the edge, then turned and kissed him. I took a step back and as I gazed into Edward's eyes, I slowly stripped off my skirt and top until I was only in my bra and panties. I could see the bulge in his pants as his eyes roved over my body and I smiled at him, then turned and dove into the frigid water below. I surfaced in time to watch Edward's graceful dive into the water, and then . . . nothing. I waited for him to emerge but he didn't. Then I felt it: two hands grabbing my ankles and yanking me under water. He pulled me to him, his fingers digging into my hips painfully, before his right hand caught my neck. Under the water—with the roar of the Pacific above us and silence below, the white turbulence of the waves topping the still, icy depths—Edward kissed me, sealing his lips to mine and stealing my breath. His legs wound around mine, keeping them still, keeping me from kicking to the surface. His fingers...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE.

And then suddenly I was gulping cold, fresh air, as Edward's arms held me tight and began towing me back to the beach. I wrapped my legs around his waist as he carried me out of the water, and I could feel his...


...laid his head against my neck, panting, before grabbing me by the hair and lifting his head to kiss me deeply. When he let go of my lips he said, "I love you Bella Swan."

He looked at me and I could see the truth of his words, even though his eyes were still dark and feral, perhaps because of that. It sent a shiver through my soul, and I'd never felt more complete, more wanted, more possessed, than I did at that moment.

"You'd better," I warned as I took his lower lip between my teeth, biting lightly before smoothing it over with my tongue, "because I love you too, you fiend."

He moaned into my mouth as we kissed once more, but I whimpered when I felt him...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE... "C'mon," he whispered, "let's get you dressed before I have to kill someone else just for looking at you."

I giggled at his words, as I saw another couple making their way over some rocks toward the beach. We scrambled back up to the top of the cliffs, where we'd dropped our clothes and quickly pulled them back on. I was shivering by then, the heat of our lovemaking having dissipated leaving me with only the cold Washington air fanning over my wet hair and skin.

We got to the car and Edward cranked up the heat. As he turned the car back onto the interstate, heading toward home, I wondered if Jake had opened our package yet. I got my answer twenty minutes later when my cell phone rang.

I didn't recognize the number at first, but when I flipped it open there was no mistaking the voice on the other end of the line.

"What the fuck, Bella?! Who the fuck does he think he is?"

"Jake," I said by way of greeting.

"Bella, do you know what he's done? Don't you have any idea who this guy is?" I heard him take a deep breath before he continued. "Come home now, and this doesn't have to get any uglier, but Bella, so help me, if you don't get your ass here immediately—" but he was cut off when Edward grabbed the phone from me.

"Black," he said, as calmly as if he were on a business call. I couldn't hear what Jake was saying, but Edward's gaze remained steady and on the road, although I noticed his knuckles clenching a little bit on the steering wheel, the only sign of anger in his otherwise calm façade.

"Now you listen to me Black," he said, and the fact that his voice was so normal was what made him sound so threatening, "if you, or any member of your Pack, hell if any other people from this area, so much as think about Bella again, I will take you apart piece by piece, and unlike your young friend, you will still be alive when I do it." And with that, he snapped the phone shut and tossed it back into my lap.

I looked over at him and once again marveled at his perfection. He was the most terrifying of angels, beautiful and frightening all at once. His skin was marble smooth. His cheekbones were angular and high, and his profile was strong and masculine. Only his mouth held any sense of femininity. It was wide and his lips were full and crimson in color—it was sensual, lush, and evoked the most lascivious thoughts. When his tongue darted out to wet his lips, I nearly moaned aloud.

His voice broke through the sexual haze that enveloped me whenever he was around. "Are you hungry, love?"

"Starving," I replied, grinning like a loon.

We pulled into a diner about three miles farther on the interstate. I made my way to the restroom after we were seated and nearly laughed aloud at the state I was in. There was no doubt about it: I looked as freshly fucked as a woman could. I washed my hands, and tried to tame my wild hair somewhat, but gave up. I actually liked the fact that people would look at us and know what we'd done, that they would know I was his and he was mine.

In fact . . .

I made my way back to our booth and slid in across from Edward. I noticed there were no menus, but before I could signal the waitress to bring us some, Edward said, "I already ordered for us."

There was something incredibly arousing about his complete control of the situation, but at the same time, the wild child in me instinctively rebelled against it. "I'm perfectly capable of ordering my own food, Edward."

"Don't you trust me?" he asked, turning the subject around on me.

"That's not the point," I huffed.

"Of course it is," he replied. "If you trust me, you do so implicitly, knowing that I love you."

Grrr. How did the conversation become about me, instead of his behavior? "You know I trust you," I said, but before I could continue he whispered, "You shouldn't."

"You are infuriating," I told him as I played with the flatware in front of me.


"Are you serious?" I said. "You completely changed the issue around, insist I trust you and then tell me not to! What the fuck Edward?" I asked, as my fingers played with my fork, until it finally fell under the table.

Edward ducked below to pick it up, and I heard a sharp intake of breath.

He sat up slowly. "Bella," he growled.

My stomach clenched at the heat and menace in his voice.


"Where's your underwear?"

Jesus-fucking-Christ, the woman was trying to kill me. Or get herself killed. I honestly wasn't sure.

She held up her purse. "In here," she whispered.

"You are such a naughty girl," I reprimanded her, even as I felt my...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE...This woman was like an addiction, a drug, and I couldn't get enough of her. "I think you need to be punished," I threatened.

I saw her eyes darken and her skin flush with heat. She was as insatiable as I was. We were perfect together. I couldn't wait to tell Peter about her. Peter was my therapist – an unfortunate condition of my inheritance. Ironically my junkie biological mother came from money, but my grandparents had put the money in a trust she couldn't touch. Unfortunately, they were not alive to take me in and away from my birth parents, but when I turned twenty-five, the trust reverted to me, sort of. It was still administered by a trustee who was aware, somehow, of the nature of some of my behavior in the military. That I wrangled an honorable discharge from the Army was only because of the information I possessed about some of my missions and Jasper, the trustee, knew that. He was also ex-military and must have had serious connections. So, as a condition of receiving my monthly stipend, which was quite generous, I had to see a therapist.

I actually didn't mind. Peter was a very nice man, and very easily fooled by the part of me that I'd always dubbed "my monster." Frankly, I could have duped him with my eyes closed. How does one psychoanalyze someone like me? When I was eleven my parents—my adoptive parents Esme and Carlisle—had me tested because one of my teachers said I was gifted. My IQ came back at over one hundred seventy-five. Peter was bright, but not that bright. After a year of therapy, my "slips" in the Army were declared to be a result of post-traumatic stress, brought on by the nature of some of our missions, and from watching my parents die.

If he only knew.

But Peter didn't know, and that was the point. What he saw was a man who was a product of abuse and neglect as a young child. A man who was conditioned to violence by the military, and not given the proper resources to vent his anger, his pain, and who, therefore, occasionally lashed out violently and inappropriately. It was so very text book for him. Of course it was. I made sure of it. Still, Peter was a sweet, sweet man, and he really cared, but he never had a chance.

He'd been insisting that I get out, socialize. I had taken to staying in, bored with the people around me. I'd had a couple of jobs since I got out of the Army, but the people I worked with annoyed me completely. I did some security consulting on the side, and the pay was exceptional, although I'd recently walked away from a very good paying snatch-and-grab job, but I didn't regret it, as it led me here, to her. Otherwise, however, I'd become almost a recluse. Peter was the one who pushed me to get out, to meet people, and even though my relationship with Bella was unintentional, I knew he'd be happy.

Oh my Bella. She was my match in every way: brilliant, deviant, sensual, and wild. Plus, she seemed to accept my monster, revel in it even. When she dove of the cliff earlier that day I didn't worry or wonder if she was safe, it was unimportant. What was important was that she had shared that moment with me, that instant of complete surrender to the wind, the tides, and gravity. That split second where she was completely without control? She allowed me to witness it, and it was glorious. There wasn't any hesitation before I followed her, and when I saw her legs kicking in the water my monster knew what to do.

I pulled her under the surface and held her there—kissing her, using up her oxygen, until her lungs were burning and her brain was becoming hypoxic, teasing her with...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE...as she was on the brink of losing consciousness—erotic asphyxia, of a sort I suppose. And she loved it. I don't know whether she...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE...because of the danger or because of the physiological effects of the oxygen deficiency, but if I had to guess about Bella, I'd say it was the former.

And I'd be lying if I said a part of me—my monster—didn't want to continue holding her under water.

But I wasn't going to let him win with Bella. I wanted her. I wanted to keep her. I just had to convince the monster not to lose control with her. Where would we ever find another like her?

I stared at her across the table, wanting nothing more than to throw her across it and take her right there, the people in the diner be damned, but getting arrested for indecent exposure didn't seem like a good idea just then—particularly with human remains in the car. "You're lucky we're in public," I whispered. "But when we leave . . ." my voice trailed off menacingly and I saw her shiver—not in fear, but in anticipation, and I fell a little more in love with her just then.

Our food arrived before we could continue the conversation and we both set to it with gusto. I realized then that we'd eaten almost nothing since before Seth broke into Bella's apartment, except for a donut with our coffee earlier that morning. As soon as we were done, I threw some money down on the table and we left. I could see Bella looking over at me, wondering what I had planned. I decided to do nothing for the time being, enjoying her discomfort, drawing out the anticipation.

We drove a little longer, until I finally pulled into a small marina. We rented a boat, and I grabbed the duffle bag with the box of remains out of the trunk. I took the boat out a few miles and we dropped the box overboard. I turned and moved behind Bella. I quickly pushed her against the railing...


...we pulled the boat back to the dock. I should have realized something was wrong, should have sensed it, but I think Bella fucked some of my common sense right out of me. My CO would have kicked my ass up one side and down another. As we walked to the car, we were approached and surrounded by several men, all of them holding guns and standing at a respectful distance. I could take some of them, but not all and certainly not without risk to Bella.

"Mr. Cullen," the large man in front of me said.

I nodded. There was no point in denying it. I knew Jake would make his move, I just didn't think it would be so quickly. I had to admit I was almost impressed. Almost.

"Mr. Black would like a word with you," the large man continued.

"Shut the fuck up, Quil," Bella spat. "Mr. Fucking Black," she huffed haughtily. "If Jake wanted to see us, why the fuck isn't he here? I'll tell you why. Because he's a fucking pussy!" she shouted. "Fuck you, Quil. I'm not going back to him!"

The large man, Quil, turned to Bella. "He told me to tell you that if you didn't get in the car, I was to shoot Mr. Cullen in the . . . uh . . . privates. Please, Bella," he all but begged.

Bella visibly blanched at his words, while I found it humorous that the man was willing to shoot me in the dick, but couldn't say the word. Jacob Black ran a criminal empire on the backs of young men, boys, who would readily idolize him and not question his judgment or orders. It made me wonder what happened as they got older. Was it like a true wolf pack? Submit or be ostracized, a lone wolf? Or, worse, killed? The better question was: was it something I could exploit?

We got in the black Suburban—Bella in front, me in the back, guns trained on both of us, and we headed back in the direction from which Bella and I had just come. By the time it was full dark we were nearing La Push. I closed my eyes for a while, knowing there was nothing I could do in the interim and that Bella and I had not slept in over twenty-four hours. I wasn't sleeping, but my body needed time to recuperate for whatever lay ahead.

Soon enough we pulled up to a large house. It was ostentatious and gaudy. I looked at Bella. I could only see her profile, and she looked terrified and angry. Angry was good. I didn't want to think of my Bella scared, or what she would do if she was.

With guns still focused on us, we made our way out of the car and into the house, and were ushered into what appeared to be a library or office. Jake sat behind a large desk, but when we entered he stood. "Bella, love, welcome home."

"Fuck you, Jake."

"Now, now, is that any way to talk to your husband?"

"We're not married, Jake," she hissed.

"Well, we'll just have to fix that, won't we?" he continued, for all appearances ignoring my presence, although I knew it was just show. He walked over to Bella and leaned in for a kiss. She turned her head, and all he managed was to brush against her cheek. He grabbed her chin and forced her face toward his. "I've waited long enough, Bella," he snarled and kissed her roughly.

I growled, low and in my chest.

Jake's gaze swung in my direction. "And you, Mr. Cullen, how very unprofessional. I hire you to bring my Bella back, and instead you disappear on me, kill my employee, and run off with my girl. What am I going to do with you?"

Bella's head swung in my direction as Jake's words sunk in.


No. Fucking. Way.

I looked over at Edward and saw confirmation in his eyes. Then he just shrugged.

"I returned your money, Black. I declined the job."

"Yes, and now I know why. Tell me Edward, may I call you Edward? Exactly how long did it take for you to compromise your professional principles for Bella?"

Edward turned to look at me, and without looking back at Jake said, "After the first night I watched her."

From the first night. While a part of me was thoroughly pissed at Edward for not disclosing this to me, I couldn't deny that the fact that he had watched me, and that I affected him enough to make him back out of a job, made me fall for him even more.

"How long?" I asked. How long had he watched me?

"Six weeks," he replied, knowing instinctively what I was asking.

"I didn't think mercenaries were romantics," Jake interrupted.

"I'm not a mercenary," Edward retorted.

Funny. He didn't deny being a romantic.

"Whatever. You decided to try and take something that belongs to me. I can't allow that."

Edward growled again.

"I'm not yours Jake! I never was. Jesus! When are you going to realize that I don't love you Jake! And I never will. FUCK!" I was yelling by that point, my patience and my nerves were ready to snap.

Jake hit me then, and I landed on the floor with a thud, completely stunned. Whatever else had ever transpired between us, he'd never hit me before. I wiped a trickle of blood from the corner of my mouth. Then I looked at him and licked it off my fingers.

As Jake's eyes went wide, Edward moved. There was a flurry of noise; grunts, screams, even a gunshot, and at the end of it, Jake's men were down, and Edward had a gun pointed at Jake. The only problem was that Jake was holding me.

One of Jake's guys, I think it was Embry, slowly stood back up on swaying legs and lifted his gun, pointing it at Edward.


No way was I going to let Edward be killed. "Stop! Please, Jake," I begged. I swallowed thickly. "I'll come back. I'll be yours, just don't hurt him." I stared at Edward, pleading with my eyes for him to understand, but his eyes went flat and his gun lifted—pointed directly at me.

"What the fuck are you doing, Cullen?" Jake yelled.

"I'd rather see her dead than with you," he said.

And at that moment I saw how much Edward loved me.

"Do it," I whispered. "Just do it."

"Shut up, Bella," Jake hissed in my ear. "Shut the fuck up! Don't you see how crazy he is?" he asked, as his grip tightened around my throat.

I laughed. Edward smiled.

"You'll die, Cullen," Jake said.

"We all die, Black. It's just a matter of when. The question is whether you think that boy can kill me before I pull this trigger?"

"Shoot him, Embry," Jake ordered.

Time froze.

There was movement. There was sound. There were gunshots. There were screams.

When time began to move again, I was in Edward's arms. Embry was dead, and Jake was writhing on the floor, blood trickling from a wound in his shoulder.

Edward grabbed my face and kissed me, hard. I moaned into his mouth, desperate to feel him on me, in me, around me.

"I love you so fucking much," he whispered before attacking my mouth again.

"Would you have really killed me?" I asked.

"Fuck yes," he replied.

"I love you too baby," I told him.

"Bella?" I heard Jake's voice intrude. "Bella?" But I tuned him out.

"I need you baby," I whispered against Edward's neck. "I need you inside me."

"Patience, love. Patience."

Edward disentangled himself from me and proceeded to put a bullet in the head of every one of Jake's men, ensuring that they wouldn't be getting up again. Then he grabbed Jake, who was still cowering on the floor, trying to stop the flow of blood from his shoulder. Edward shoved him into a chair and yanked the phone and electrical cords from the wall, before tying Jake with to the chair with them in quick, deft movements.

Then he fucked me.

On Jake's desk.

While Jake watched.

It was a show of dominance, and I knew that. After, Edward turned to my former boyfriend and asked, "Do you remember what I told you?" Before Jake could respond, Edward continued. "I said I would take you apart piece by piece. I'm a man of my word Jacob Black."

And then he proceeded to prove it.

By the time Edward was done with Jake, there was little left of the man I once thought I loved. Strangely, that didn't bother me in the least. It took hours for his screaming to stop when, finally, Edward cut out Jake's tongue. I watched with fascinated dispassion as Edward removed pieces of Jake's extremities, but provided enough first aid to keep him alive, occasionally allowing Jake to slip in unconsciousness, only to rouse him a while later with a little ammonia I'd found under the sink—a poor man's smelling salts.

When he was done, I led him upstairs and we showered, making love under the warm spray of the water. We went to bed in Jake's bed, my bed, and loved each other once more before falling asleep, exhausted and sated. In the morning, Edward rigged the gas line in the house to blow, and by the time we were heading down the highway, there was little left of "The Pack" to identify.

I was free.

I slept most of the way back to Seattle, exhausted from the events of the previous week. I woke to the gentle sway of Edward carrying me up the stairs of my apartment.

Edward was a mass of contradictions: violent and tender, animalistic and humane, selfless and domineering, loving and monstrous. And I loved every inch of him. I loved that...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE...twice.

But mostly, I loved how Edward loved me. It was all-consuming. It was fire and ice, pain and pleasure, fear and security. It was perfect.

He was perfect.

My perfect angel. My perfect demon.


We never discussed it, but the day after we returned from La Push, Edward packed my things and moved me to his house.

I'll admit, his house surprised me.

It was tastefully decorated, and Edward informed me that Esme, his adoptive mother, was an artist and that she had taken over decorating the house. He showed me some of her work, which was hanging in the library, and I knew immediately that I would like her.

Finally, as we sat on the couch in front of the fireplace, I asked him again about his biological family. Edward pushed the small table holding the remains of our dinner to the side. He pulled me into his arms, tucking me into his side, and spoke—this time, there was no intruder to interrupt us.

"As I told you," he began, "my biological parents were less than nurturing. The first time," he broke off, clearly having difficulty talking about it.

"You don't have to—" I tried to say, but he stopped me.

"Yes, I do," he said as he looked directly into my eyes. "I love you. I'll have no secrets from you." He took a deep breath. "The first time was when I was about five or six, I think.

"My parents took me to another apartment. I think it may have even been in the same building, I'm not sure. I remember them whispering with the man that was there. I remember being afraid of him. He was wearing a wife beater and jeans. His hair was long and greasy, and his smile didn't touch his eyes. My parents left, telling me to listen to James, and that he was in charge while they were gone.

"I know people talk about blocking out the horrible things that happened to them when they were young. I wish I could have. I remember everything about that day—everything. I remember the way his breath smelled as he kissed me. I remember the pain in my scalp where he grabbed my hair as he...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE...mouth. I remember the taste of him," Edward shuddered as he continued, unconsciously gripping me tighter, painfully so, but I didn't say a word, knowing he needed me.

"I remember the pain as he took me. I remember crying and James giving me ice cream after. I remember my mother coming to get me later, and slapping me because I'd cried." He paused and looked at me. "I remember that night, and every other night like it in perfect detail," he said.

"When I was nine, they left me with James again one night. He had a friend over, Laurent. When it was over, I couldn't walk or eat solid foods for a week. When I was able to, I found my parents' kit," he paused and looked at me, "and I made sure they never woke up again. Then I sat and waited for the police to find me.

"It took a few days for them to show up. There was a teacher at my school who grew suspicious about my prolonged absence, particularly since she'd noticed some bruises on me in the past, and she called CPS.

"Their deaths were ruled an accidental overdose, and I was put in to the system. I was lucky that Carlisle and Esme found me. Bella," he hedged, "I know I killed my parents because of what they did to me, but . . . I realized then that I liked it. It felt good. I felt alive for the first time in my life."

I turned toward him and cupped his face with my hand before kissing him gently. I looked at him and said, "It's okay, Edward. I understand better than you think."

She told me she understood, and then swept her lips against mine. Feather light almost-touches. Once, twice, and finally I groaned as she pressed them against mine firmly, softly, perfectly. Her mouth opened, allowing me to delve its depths with my tongue and to savor the taste of her. The taste I'd come to love and crave. My Bella.

She loved me there, on the couch in front of the fire, accepting all of me into her: my passion, my past, my love, my monster—every part of me, broken and whole. Her tight warmth comforted and excited me all at once. It was home and heaven, acceptance and freedom, capture and release. Even my monster sat quiet, enjoying the entirety that was Bella, relishing the approval for the first time in our lives, stunned by her love.

And as we peaked, the logs in the grate fell apart into hot coals and embers sparked and flared in time with us. Coincidence or prescience? Were we like the coals, hot and long burning, or like the wood that came before, sparking quickly and burning brightly? Honestly, I didn't care. I would take her either way, any way that I could, for as long as I could. For as long as my monster, and hers, let us. Because there was no doubt in my mind that Bella harbored her own monster.

It had to be her own monster, or at least her own demons that drove her, because not only did she accept and understand what had happened to me as a child, but she also accepted what I'd done and how I felt about it. I suppose I shouldn't have been so surprised, given what we had already done together and the way she reacted to danger and adrenaline, but it was still a relief to unburden myself.

I had never told another living soul about what my parents did to me or how I retaliated. The state shrinks, and later even Peter, assumed I was merely the product of neglect, and I was able to give them the answers they wanted to keep making those assumptions. It wasn't that they didn't care, but they were overworked and underpaid, and I was smarter and more cunning than they were.

It was not long after that the Cullens found me and took me in, approved both by the state and my grandparent's estate as adoptive parents. For a long time the novelty of living in a nice, new home, where everything was clean and shiny and where there was always more than enough food, sufficed. I received a lot of love from Esme and Carlisle, and they are certainly not to blame for the fact that once unleashed on my parents, my monster never went away.

Sometimes I think I was just born with it.

In the usual playground fights I always took it a little further, hurting the other kid that much more, and enjoying it. I know it shocked my parents when I joined the Army, but to me it seemed a natural fit. I would get trained and paid to do exactly what I loved doing: killing people. Frankly, I took to the military like a fish to water. The regimented life of a soldier appealed to my slightly OCD tendencies, and the high of fighting and killing was something I couldn't really get in the outside world. It was perfect.

Until I let my monster get away from me and killed a prisoner we were supposed to be interrogating. I'd had a few other slips—excessive violence, moments when I think my CO saw something in my eyes—but the killing of that prisoner, a high ranking member of the Taliban— was the end of my military career.

Lying there on the couch, still buried inside Bella, her hair spread across my chest and her breath fanning my body, I'd never been happier that my monster had gotten loose. Killing that man, being forced to leave the military, that led me to Bella, and I would never regret the loss of my career.

"I love you, Bella," I whispered. Love. It was a strange thing. The textbooks, magazines, online articles, they all say that serial killers are incapable of it. I beg to differ. I'm not a psychopath. I love people worthy of my love. Carlisle, Esme, Bella. I know I don't fit any of the traditional definitions and categories that the FBI and other "experts" love to use. I defy definition and expectation. So does Bella—it's only part of what makes her so perfect for me, why she seemed to be made just for me.

She pulled away from me, and I...[EDITED] SEE NOTE ABOVE..., whining a bit at the loss. She didn't go far, however, sitting up and rearranging herself...


...I gathered her to me; my arms wrapped tightly around her, and kissed her forehead. "Bella, where are Phil and your mom now?"

"They moved to Florida. When Phil couldn't play anymore, he took on a coaching position with a minor league team."

I rubbed my hand up and down her back and asked, "Feel like taking a trip to Florida?" The smile she graced me with? I would do anything she wanted just to see it every day.

The weeks passed as we planned for our trip, waiting until the baseball season was over. We fell into an easy rhythm, Bella and I. Sometimes we spent our days in bed, and sometimes we roamed the city—randomly wandering, courting danger when we found it. Our lovemaking those days was wild and raw, and occasionally bloody, but Bella never balked, and nothing seemed to scare her. We discovered little things about each other that we hadn't known before, each day bringing a new tidbit of information, another piece of the puzzle that linked us together.

We both enjoyed art, although neither of us had played in our mediums for years. The military didn't leave me time to draw, and Bella had not sculpted since the day Phil took her innocence. Our time freed us, opened us to it once more, and I could spend hours drawing Bella; although my favorite time was when we she was sleeping after sex, a perfect example of lustful innocence. Her hair sweaty and stuck to her face, her lashes gracing her cheeks, and her arm thrown back in complete abandon, her breasts moving with the cadence of her breathing.

As the time for our trip approached I could feel my monster getting restless, amped up on the anticipation of what was to come. I saw that Bella was likewise strung tight, an overly tuned guitar string just one twist away from snapping. We finished packing and she began to move about the house with a frenetic energy that would give a hyperactive kid a run for their money. Her body buzzed with it and she couldn't sit still.

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I came up behind her grabbed her by the hair, yanked her head back, and whispered in hear ear, "I know a better way to burn off that nervous energy." Her responding moan was all it took for me...


...into her—my eyes closed in reverence, the most incandescent pleasure burning through me—the monster jerked hard against his leash, leaving me to wonder if I would be going to Florida alone.

a/n: *bites nails* Umm, so yeah they're a bit . . . unstable. Just wanted to add another point here. In no way is anything that took place in this story supposed to make their relationship one based on BDSM or that of a D/s. Yes, there were some acts that may also take place in those settings, but that is not what their relationship or this story is about. This is not a Domward story, in any way, shape, or form.

I'd like to thank Yanxxx, YellowGlue, DurtyNelly, and Rparkerp for hosting the contest! Don't forget to read and review the stories, and to vote!