Chapter 1 – Mounting Frustration

Alice sat quietly on the bed, watching Bella sleep as per instruction by Edward. He was out hunting again, trying to put some distance between the two of them for a while. Ever since they had gotten engaged, Bella and her very healthy libido had gone into overdrive and had been pushing him to his self-control limits. He was trying to cool his own raging hormones and maintain his gentlemanly demeanor until their wedding night. However, at the rate they were both going, the world was soon likely to see the first incidence of sexual-frustration-induced, simultaneous vampire-human spontaneous combustion in history.

As per usual, Edward was being an idiot.

He also was trying desperately to keep Bella away from Jacob Black, who would do or say anything to have Bella choose him over Edward. Bella had told Edward time and again that she wanted to be with no one but him; but Jacob's thoughts and actions spoke volumes about his own desire for Bella, and Edward knew Jacob would go to any lengths to change her mind. Edward had tried everything short of forbidding her to see Jacob trying to keep her away from him. But Bella was stubborn, and he knew that given the opportunity, she would be off to La Push. Edward's jealous and suspicious nature concerning Jacob couldn't stand that.

Alice could see the girl flopping restlessly. "Are you sleeping?" she whispered. She didn't really know what sleeping entailed so this very well could have been sleeping for all she knew.

"No, Alice, I'm not sleeping, dammit!"

"Oh, sorry."

"No, Alice, it's not your fault, Edward just has me all…" Bella huffed and flailed her hands.

"Oh, yeah, it's been pretty hard on Jasper, too. That's why he went his own way to hunt tonight. He needed to get away from the both of you."

"I find that hard to believe. I don't see how he'd have any trouble being around Edward Mr. Perfect-Self-Control Cullen. God, Alice, I feel like I'm going to freaking explode! I don't know why the hell he wants to marry me because he obviously doesn't want me; he's not attracted to me at all."

Without warning, Bella burst into tears and Alice quickly took her in her arms. "Bella, you know that's not true."

"But it is, Alice; he doesn't want me at all!"

"Jazz says he's scared, horny as all hell, but scared; he doesn't want to hurt you."

"He can touch me without hurting me. Hell, I'd settle for him touching himself while I watched just so I'd know he was thinking of me."

Alice's face lit up with a wide grin. "Bella, how acquainted are you with teenage boys' pressure tactics?"

Bella just shrugged. "I've heard about a few, but I don't really know that much."

"Can you fake liking Mike Newton?"

Bella jumped up from Alice's lap. "What the hell, Alice? That's just gross!"

"I can see that Tyler would play along as well if you'd preferred him."

"No! No, that's okay. I prefer Edward, as I'm sure you're aware. There really is no comparison."

"Yes, but Edward doesn't know that."

"Ah, yes, he does, it's obvious."

"Bella, we both know damn well that there are boys who would be more than willing to touch you where Edward won't, right? So, let's just say you were to go about getting one of them to do it if Edward didn't. I'll bet if you showed up at Newton's and just suggested it, Mike's brain would go nuts with thoughts of touching you, and hearing his thoughts and getting the idea that someone else would touch what he thinks is his would probably pressure Edward enough to crack."

"Probably?"

"You have to be resolved in your decision to let Mike touch you. No wavering, and be straightforward with Mike about it. Tell him outright what you want him to do to you. Don't worry, Edward will stop you and I can see him going to second base."

"Second base?" Alice reached up and grabbed Bella's boobs. "Oh, that's second base."

"Yup. Now, show complete resolve in the decision to have Mike touch you so I can get a vision of it and he'll know you're not playing."

"God, Alice, that's so gross."

"Hey, orgasms are orgasms; take them where you can get them, and if you want Edward to give you one, you need to be resolved in letting Mike warm you up first. You can always close your eyes and think of Edward while Mike does it. He won't even care if you scream out Edward's name. He'll invite you back every Wednesday, happy to take care of the little problem Edward leaves you with on a regular basis. He's not ugly, Bella, he's the most popular kid at school, and he'd do it in a heartbeat. He really does like you and would do anything for you. I know you don't see him as more than a friend, but hey, what are friends for, anyway?"

"What would Edward say about this Wednesday arrangement?"

"Oh, he'll lose it before then, don't worry, but if it comes up, you should definitely agree to it. Edward will be watching Mike's thoughts and it'll tear him to shreds, but he'll physically remove you before Mike can ever touch you."

"I don't know, Alice, this doesn't sound like such a good idea."

"Oh, don't waver now. The picture flickered. Resolve, girl, don't you want my brother?"

"Yes, and that's why I don't think this will work. I don't want to hurt him."

"Look, you're not the only one suffering here, okay!" Alice snapped pointedly. "We need you to fix this, and that stupid idiot is too scared to even touch you. You need to force him into it so he'll realize he can trust himself. He doesn't have any faith in himself at all. Please, Bella, will you at least try this for me?" Alice gave Bella her best puppy dog eyes. Bella knew even if she told her no now, Alice wouldn't leave it at that and would continue to push her until she finally gave in. It was best to just give in now and get it over with. She rolled her eyes at her friend.

"Okay fine, I'll do it. I'll see if I can talk Mike Newton into…touching me."

Alice smiled brilliantly. "Yes! I can see you will. Wonderful, just wonderful!" Alice started bouncing up and down excitedly. "Oh, Bella, it gets better in the meadow. I can't give you any more details because I don't want to accidentally change things. So, just lay back and imagine Mike Newton and his baby blues making you feel good. I'll go out and give you some privacy."

Bella fell asleep thinking about Mike. She thought it wouldn't be so bad if she could close her eyes and pretend it was Edward. Maybe she could take an icepack and make him hold it for a while before he touched her. Yes, that might work. She would take an icepack with her and think of Edward. Alice said Mike wouldn't mind.

She suddenly felt Edward's icy body against hers. He was home; she rolled over in his arms and smiled up at him. He kissed the top of her head. "Hey, I didn't mean to wake you."

"It's okay, I'm glad you did. I love being in your arms here in your bed." It did not go unnoticed that he shifted away from her a little. She let out a frustrated sigh.

"What's wrong?" he whispered into her hair.

"Why don't you want me?"

He smiled. "I do."

At that, she snapped and shoved him back away from her. He was surprised and pulled her back into his arms. "Really, love, I do want you, more than anything."

"Then prove it."

"What?" He was completely baffled.

"Touch me, Edward."

"I am; I'm holding you in my arms right now." His arms were safely on her waist and shoulder, nowhere near where she wanted to be touched. She grabbed his hand and started to pull it up to her breast, but he halted the movement with his stone strength. "I can't touch you like that, Bella, you know that."

"NO! I don't know that! In fact, I think you're just a scared-shitless liar!" she yelled at him as she jumped off the bed.

"Damn straight!" Emmett yelled from downstairs in agreement with her assessment.

Edward stood quickly, stunned by her use of language and her accusation. "If you can't stand to touch me, then why the hell are you with me, Edward?" She was quickly gathering her things.

"Bella, please, you know I love you."

"Really? Is that why Laurent thought I was your pet? People don't fuck pets, do they, Edward? Is that why you won't touch me?"

"Bella, please, you know that's not true."

She was storming out the door. Alice smiled at her as she passed, but Edward was too focused to notice the little exchange between the two of them. Then suddenly Edward stopped and froze stock still, but Bella continued running out to her truck, roughly tossing her bag inside and climbing in, slamming the door shut. She looked back toward the house, watching the exchange between Edward and Alice. He turned in slow motion, eyes wide with panic. Everything was going as planned.