AN: I know. I'm a really terrible person. I didn't intend to make you guys go this long without an update, but school got the best of me this past month. Luckily I'm in a less busy portion of this semester now, so I was able to actually pound this thing out.

Thanks to everyone who has added me to alert and favorited my story. Dead Girl is now my top favorited/alert listed fic, and you guys don't even know how happy that makes me! Your support really encourages me to finish this.

So, I hope since the wait was long, this longer chapter is well worth it for you guys. And hopefully you all like the end. Leave lots a review and let me know! The response to the last chapter was seriously amazing! I hit my highest reviews/chapter of 18! Speaking of last chapter... some of you were thinking that the villian, Mr. Thibodeaux is actually Laurent. The similarities completely went over my head as I was constructing this character, so I'll just make it clear now that he is NOT Laurent, though I can totally see why some of you thought that. He is a complete OC that I made up.

Enjoy and leave a review!

- Chapter 11 -

Watching Alice hunched over her knees entranced by the figurines on the dusty chess board is a sight to see. Little Alice is always light on her feet, grinning a wide, welcoming smile as she glides through life with the knowledge of fate. So, it's humorous to see her usually free flowing arms tucked tightly in her lap and her bright eyes darkened by the shadows of her eyelashes as she squints in concentration. She had been in this packaged trance for almost ten minutes, an anti-meditation where, if she were human, her hair line would be dripping sweat down her crinkled brow line.

What got me the most, however, was Edward's nonchalant slouch, enjoying every second of Alice's mental labyrinth. If Alice was the sun of the Cullen household, Edward was the moon: her natural opposite. Always wound tight and never deviating from a set pattern (and certainly never slouching!), Edward balanced her perpetual optimism and cheery delight with cynicism and gloomy opposition. It actually made sense, in their own magnetic way, for Edward to polarize Alice's actions in this moment, a subtle, amused grin dimpling his cheeks as he lounged in his chair across from her.

When Edward had said that they would play chess, I actually expected some kind of external game to commence, not be a witness to the invisible moves worked out in their minds. I held my gaze on Edward, willing him to look my way and give some sort of explanation. He either didn't pick up on my urgency or chose to ignore it because he kept his smiling eyes on his sister, who now was rocking in place, a humming noise vibrating through her lips like a small plane coming in to land.

"Blah!" She finally broadcasted to us, unraveling her body as she stood up from her seat. She threw her hands in the air, closing her eyes to the chess board as she turned and bolted for the stairs.

I remained quietly confused as Edward chuckled from his spot, being released from whatever faraway place he had gone off to with his sister. He turned his eyes on me, his golden globes bouncing as he smiled.

"So, what was that all about?" I questioned as he made his way to sit next to me on the couch. "You guys didn't even do anything."

"That's one way of looking at it," Edward began, wrapping his arms around my waist. "To anyone paying attention, it looks like we've been at the same game of chess for 15 years now, but really we've played thousands of games."

"Thousands? But what are you're even doing?"

"She's looking into the future, seeing if there are any moves that would lead to her somehow winning, which is clearly impossible since I can everything she does."

I could feel Edward's elation bubbling off of his skin. He got some kind of kick out of this power game with his sister, and I now correctly interpreted his sleek smile from before for its true nature: smugness.

"Why keep trying then, if it'll never end up working?" I sunk myself closer into his side, relaxing as he moved his arm up around my shoulders.

"Alice is firmly convinced there is a way that she just hasn't seen yet. She's a firm believer that there is always a path not taken."

His nose skimmed across the top of my head as he squeezed me closer to his body. The pressure of being pressed against him in this way felt indescribable. My body purred in satisfied content but still hungrily sucked at his energy, desperately needing this connection to continue. Who knew cuddling could feel this intense? I closed my eyes and rested my head against his shoulder, soaking in the flow where my side rested deliciously against his own. I briefly wondered if he felt any of this at all, or maybe cuddling was just different for men and women, vampire or not.

"You could always just play anonymously," I muttered, a scheme entering into my mind. "She can make a move when you're not close enough to hear her thoughts."

He paused a moment, pondering my proposition, "That would be cheating, Bella."

I rolled my eyes, "The whole thing is cheating."

"Perhaps, but that isn't a part of this game."

"You would just stop having fun, if it were the case," I poked, puffing out a small laugh.

"I wouldn't say its fun," he clarified. "Amusing, maybe."

I lifted my head from his shoulder to show him my pointed expression, "What do you mean? You're practically beaming from it!"

Edward's eyes softened and he smiled down at me, "Only because you're here now."

A small, impossible flutter danced in my chest seemingly originating from my still heart.

"For decades I've been walking this earth only going through the motions. Sure, I had my family and I love them dearly, but I couldn't feel it right here." He lifted my hand, pressing it to his chest right over where his heart would be "But ever since you've come into my life, none of it feels like I'm just existing. I'm living."

With my hand still touching his chest, I ducked my head down and pressed my ear to his sternum. The wells of my eyes pricked drily as I thought about his words, feeling their meaning spread through my body and inhabitating every cell spinning in unison. If spending the rest of eternity with this curse meant being Edward's mate, then I was more blessed then any creature. I snuggled in closer, listening for his own flutter.

"That's why ridiculous stuff like this makes me grin like a fool," he continued, cradling my head against him. "Everything makes me happy now that you're here to share it with." He let out a chuckle, "I'm sure if the others saw me now, they'd make some sarcastic remark about my "sense of humor of steel". Especially Emmett."

"Especially me what?" Emmett's booming voice bounced off the walls as he and Jasper appeared, carrying wood and glass panes from their trip to the hardware store.

Edward grumbled grumpily underneath his breath, and I sat up from my position chagrinned that our moment was ruined.

"Don't break up the frisky love-fest just because of me," Emmett raised his eyebrows provocatively. "But since you're hands are free, come help me with this window."

Edward sighed and looked in my direction, his annoyed expression either saying "this won't take long" or "help me, please!" I shrugged my shoulders and gave him a half smile, encouraging him to choose and assuring him I was fine. He sat up from the couch and sulked over to the window, shoving Emmett as he passed.

I wondered if living in a house with 6 other vampires would ever allow for Edward and I to have real private time. My mind replayed Emmett's mocking words, stewing at the way he could see right through our innocent relationship. If I wanted to finally seal the deal with Edward, twining us in the way only nature could, did I really want the whole house being an audience to it or Edward being bombarded with their snooping thoughts?

Jasper announced he was going to the garage to get some tools. This reminded me of my previous plan. There really couldn't be a more perfect moment with Edward now busy fighting with Emmett about how they were going to fix the mess he made. Making a quick decision, I slithered off my seat and quietly followed Jasper out of the house.

Jasper didn't turn to look at me when I shut the door behind us. He simply walked over to a work bench, combing through the drawers as he called over his shoulder, "Was there something you wanted, Bella?"

I froze realizing that I didn't have any sort of plan on how to approach this situation. Hey, Jasper! I just wanted to know how you got those big ugly scars on your face and if you know a nasty, kidnapping rapist with some just like it?

I shrugged my shoulders, holding onto the door knob behind my back. "We just haven't really talked much. So I thought to come and say, 'what's up'?"

Jasper cocked an eyebrow up as he set a hammer down on the table. A long silence pushed the seconds one by one as Jasper continued to look for supplies, and I grew steadily more uncomfortable. Just as I decided to bail on this plan, Jasper opened his mouth.

"Are you handling everything okay, Bella? No control issues?"

I considered his question, confused by his direction. "No, no problems."

"Hmmmm… strange. Very strange," he mumbled, directing the utterance only to himself.

"You're always mentioning that," I asserted, leaving my place by the door and approaching his work area. "Why is that?"

Jasper turned to me, his eyes boring into mine, making me reconsider this path as a way into a conversation. I took the moment to get a better looks at his scars, the jagged indentions carving a chaotic design across his features. It looked like he got into some kind of fight with an animal, but my own hunting experiences allowed me know better. No animal could do this.

"Has anyone told you how I was changed?"

It felt like a weight dropped in the room and the thick air dissipated around us. I shook my head, and waited for him to continue.

"I joined the Confederate Army at a very young age and moved up in ranks quickly because of my natural charisma and ability to make people trust and feel comfortable around me. In 1863, only two years later, I was discovered by my creator Maria, and she recruited me into a far deadlier war."

"She used me to train her army of newborns because of my powers and experience. As you've probably noticed, newborn strength is much more powerful than an aged vampire. In the south, things weren't the same as they are up here. Vampires conquered and divided, battling for territorial grounds. Maria was the most power hungry vampire I ever met, and I served the last half of the 19th century fighting her war… until the Volturi came in and stopped it all."

Hearing that name again sent an involuntary chill up my spine. Their name always seemed to touch multiple points in my new life, in one way or another.

"Is that how you got the scars," I asked, feeling like small as a child listening to a campfire horror story.

Jasper nodded, turning back to what he was previously doing, "So that's why I wonder about you, Isabella Swan. Because I know more about newborns then probably any vampire out there, and you are not normal."

A cold draft swirled around my back. The things I have been told about how newborns were supposed to act made me cringe and silently thank whatever force allowed me to remain myself throughout this whole process. But the delivery of Jasper's words planted a shameful seed, stabbing its roots into my gut.

I shook my head, trying to ignore the new tension in the room. I couldn't spoil this moment worrying about this.

"Were there others like you? That trained newborns?"

Jasper nodded his head, "There were some. Powers aren't very common, even if it may seem so with this family. But the very few Maria did end up recruiting, she kept for longer."

I wasn't exactly sure what he meant by "kept for longer". Did this Maria just exterminate newborns when their strength was no use to her anymore?

"And would these… others… would they have the scars like you?"

"Yeah, I suppose they would," he shrugged his shoulders. And then, I could almost see a light bulb clicking on over his head. "Why do you ask? Have you met someone who looks this way?"

Panic prickled my skin as a black hole sucked all of my thoughts away. Could I tell him? I could barely even tell Edward, much less attempt to do it without breaking down. The seconds ticked away as I deliberated with myself, the room growing hotter and starting to spin.

The garage door opened then, and a comforting calm wrapped around my body. I turned to find Edward standing in the doorway, his features turned down tightly in concern as he looked at me.

"We're just wondering what's taking so long with the tools," he stated to Jasper, making his way over to the two of us. His expression clearly showed that wasn't his true concern at all.

"Bella and I were just having a chat."

Jasper gave him a pointed stare, and I knew he was silently verbalizing the situation to him. Edward's strong arms wrapped around my middle, and he rested his chin on the top of my head, the stress leaving my body almost instantly.

"I'll just take these back inside," Jasper ducked his head down and carried his gathered tools as he walked out of the garage.

I turned around in Edward's arm to face him, worry lines etched across his face.

"What was that about?" he asked, rubbing my lower back in encouragement.

I shook my head as I buried my face into his chest, breathing in his unique, mesmerizing scent. We stood there, embracing each other for several moments, Edward patiently waiting for me to find my words.

"I'm an idiot," I mumbled, thankful for the first time for vampire super hearing. "I think Jasper might know him."

Edward tightened his hold around me, knowing exactly who the "him" was that I referred to.

"He had scars like him," I continued. "I thought maybe talking to Jasper would give me some answers into who he is." My voice cracked with pain and anger, and I could feel another sob welling up in my chest. "I chickened out though…. I didn't know how to tell him."

Edward nuzzled his face into my hair, engulfing me into his body. If I could, I would find a way to make a home inside of Edward, being surrounded by him always. I'd happily settle for this though, as long as he didn't mind.

"He's gone, Bella," Edward spoke, his voice sounding far away. "He's gone forever and never coming back."

"I know," I sighed.

"I know you won't ever forget. We never forget anything in this body. But don't live your life searching for him. He isn't worth it."

I nodded my head in affirmation against him, pressing harder into his body, seeking the warm pressure I needed right now. I understood Edward's sentiments and hidden warning, but I couldn't fully accept it. Not now. Despite tearing him to pieces with my own hands, seeing his separated parts scattered at my feet, there are moments when I feel a crawl up my spine and my mind always returns to his red, glowing eyes.

"You should get back to helping them," I said after a while, feeling my composure coming back to me.

"No, they can manage it themselves," he argued. "You need me."

"It's okay," I pulled my head away to show him my face. "I'm fine. It'll get done faster if you help, and I think if you leave them alone, Emmett will just end up chunking something else through it."

Edward gave a half-hearted smile at my attempt to ease the situation, concern still visibly holding him here.

"Tonight, it'll just be you and me," he said, his voice soothing over my skin. "I'll take you somewhere."

"Another one of your hide-a-ways?" I teased, secretly reveling in his proposition.

Edward smiled, "Not really. It's nothing fancy. Just a place I know."

As promised, when the moon was high in the sky, Edward came to my room and invited me to accompany him on a midnight stroll. I giggled and accepted his arm. He led us out of the house and on a trail winding south.

"So where are you taking me this time?"

Edward's smile was even more gorgeous in the moonlight, "It's a guest cabin we have on our property. It's well over a hundred years old, and Esme renovated it as a side project the last time we lived here. We mostly use it for when the Denalis come to visit or Jasper's friends, Peter and Charlotte, so that they'll have a place for some privacy."

Privacy. My body hummed to the music in his voice as he spoke the word.

"Why didn't you put me in this place when I first came?"

"Alice knew you wouldn't be just a guest," his eyes shied down to the ground as his smile grew. "She had a vision of you arriving on the Denali's land and coming to stay with us. All she would really tell any of us is that you would be "a part of the family". At the time I wasn't sure what she meant, but now I think she saw this happening between us."

An enormous smile stretched the skin of my cheeks as I thought of all the times Alice had pushed me in this direction. She had been more subtle in the beginning, but in hindsight, I began cataloging her previous hints.

"She had been meddling in everything up until now," I responded, inflecting the up most of gratitude in my voice.

"For someone who can see the future, Alice is extremely impatient, especially when she knows it'll make one of us happy. She does everything she can to push us to that path."

The trail came to an end in front of a quaint log cabin, a fun-size version of the Denali's home. My mind briefly wandered to the human who built this long before, wondering how they were able to survive the harsh Alaskan winters… or if they even did survive. I felt a twinge of guilt at the disconnectedness I felt to their suffering. I could no longer freeze (at least not in this climate). I couldn't starve or fall to my death bed from a microscopic invader. I felt more connected to this building, solid and hard on its foundation, weathered by the natural elements, renewed from loving hands, and standing still through time witnessing the people, the trees, the grass, the earth die all around it.

Edward leaned in close and his voice dropped a few octaves as he spoke, "What are you thinking?"

Shivers ran down my body, descending to the point resting between my thighs. I was pulled away from my ponderings by the curiosity in his vioce, and I slowly turned my head in his direction, our lips grazing past one another. All thoughts of undead gloom erased from my mind as Edward's hard jaw and strong neck called to me. Consideration of his true intentions of bringing me out here flickered against the background.

"Edward," his name tasted savory against my tongue. "I love you."

Two strong hands grasped the sides of my head, tangling fingers through my hair. Edward's breath quivered as he steadied himself in front of me, blowing his sweet breath across my lips. With our foreheads pressed together, he spoke.

"I….," he stopped, sucking in a deep breath to steady himself. "I want you to be mine. I know now that all those years of waiting were meant for me to wait for you. I know my destiny is to spend the rest of eternity by your side, whether it's the rest of our time on earth or wherever we go after. I want you to be my partner, my friend, my mate, my family. And…" he paused again, shuddering as he exhaled.

"I want you."

The fluttering life force that Edward placed in my chest exploded, revving my body and setting my soul afire. I pushed up on my feet, throwing my arms around his strong shoulders, pressing my lips to his. His hands left the tresses of my hair, grabbing a hold of my backside and lifting me against his body. I hardly noticed as he pushed through the front door, carrying me inside.

My back hit a soft, spring mattress all before our first kiss could end. Edward pulled away first, and my body roared, upset at the loss of contact. I ran my fingers through his messy hair, pulling him back down. Edward met my insistence with an open mouth, kissing me with a new intensity. The pressure was harder now, pushing down forcefully on my mouth and hips, every place his body eclipsed mine. He kissed and held me in desperation, seeking the contact he had gone so long without. I ached for him. I grieved his isolation and yearned to be the one to erase it away forever.

I ran my fingers up his torso, my hands coming together at the center of his chest where the first button of his shirt resided. I pinched the fabric between the pads of my fingers, storing the texture to memory, and then flicked the shirt undone, my hands working like a determined spider down its web. I pushed the shirt open, the tips of my fingers gliding over his smooth chest, a light dusting of hair sparking electric currents down my arms. Edward's lips and tongue left my tingling mouth, and he shrugged the shirt off his shoulders. I stared unabashedly at his naked skin, the moonlight painting his already alabaster skin a creamy white. Contouring shadows carved ridges over his shoulders and down to his hips, finishing the last touches on this artwork of a man.

He came off of his knees, laying all of his weight down on top of me. He captured my mouth in another kiss, tenderly taking his time now as he nipped and sucked at my bottom lip. The slow movements turned my fire down to a slow simmer, and reality set in, giving me a moment to collect my thoughts. I had never been this way with anyone before, and just yesterday I was kissing Edward for the first time, learning what it was to love another being's body. I was surprised by how natural this came to me now and how unafraid I was lying underneath him, wanting and needing to be touched by him.

Edward removed my clothes one by one, taking his time to drink in every patch of skin newly revealed to him. He kissed me across my shoulders as he pushed down my bra straps, running his slick tongue against my collar bone. My nipples hardened, and he removed the garment with a snap at my back, tossing it into the black abyss of the room. I waited with my arms splayed against the pillow, feeling the cold smoothness of the headboard above me. Edward stared for several painful moments, stroking a predatory path from my hip to the bottom of my ribs. He finally took the plunge, teasing the peaks of my breasts with his tongue. The intensity of his suckling caused me to clench my muscles in pleasure, contracting and relaxing my thighs as an area only touched a few times by me throbbed for contact. Since the start of this new journey, my whole body quivered for him, seeking out his mouth and running across the expanse of his back. But now all of that attention seeking centered in my center, pulsing even without a pulse.

I whimpered as he pulled away from his ministrations, finding that I had been pressing myself unashamedly against his abdomen. He sat back, unbuttoning his pants at a slow crawl, and I thought I had saw his hands shake as he tossed them to the floor. Edward now sat before me just as nature intended, naked and exposed for my eyes only. I sat up, joining him where he rested between my bent knees. Edward followed my movements closely with his eyes, the only movement coming was the subtle rise and fall of his chest from his shallow breathing.

I placed my hands palm down against his flat obliques, his muscles tensing under my touch.

"I'm nervous," I said, not feeling nervous at all.

"I am, too," he whispered back, still waiting for me to make my move.

I wrapped my hand around his engorged shaft, unsure about how to go about this. Instinctually, I moved my hand up and down by my wrist, and he released a violent quiver from his bated breath. He felt thick and warm, warmer than any other part of his body, in my grasping hand, and I watched in fascination as his smooth skin moved easily with my movements, the darkened head round and pulling his skin taut as he grew even bigger from my touch.

"Stop," he grasped my flexing wrist, his breath heavier than before. "This will end much too quickly if you continue."

I simply nodded my head, too stunned and shocked by the eroticism of what I just did to him. I couldn't believe my boldness, but seeing Edward struggle with his confidence awoken a new girl inside of me. A girl willing to take the lead. My risk definitely paid off because Edward now stared into my eyes, his golden irises smoldering as he leaned over me. I fell back on the pillow beneath me, my vision still trained on Edward's stare, his shoulders moving like a cat stalking its prey. I jumped slightly at the feel of his fingers pulling down on the elastic band of my underwear, the last barrier between us. The air around me felt cold, but I knew it was from the empty expanse between our now revealed, overheated bodies needing to close the space and finally feel complete.

I wrapped my legs around his slender hips, bringing him down to rest where I needed him most. His mouth sucked and nipped at the lobe of my ear, grazing down my neck until he came to rest at the base of my shoulder. He slid his shaft against my folds, an experimental thrust that tortured my ache for him.

"Please," I felt the word spill from my lips.

I tensed and squeezed the lower half of my body as he entered me, not prepared for the intensity of the pain or the pleasure. Both were sharp and hard in contrast, and Edward seemed to know before I did, kissing my eyes and cheeks to soothe the tension. The dual sensation dulled once he was completely in, waiting for me to adjust. I squeezed his shoulder blades in encouragement, needing to feel this. As Edward slowly pulled out, the pain spiraled out of the picture, leaving room for the tingling, electric sensations to two-fold, building and building as he pushed back inside of me again.

It wasn't long until I was moving with him, meeting his thrusts halfway, intensifying the surge flowing through us. He grew confident that the pain had finally left and put more power in his pounding hips, the wooden feet holding up the bed splintering beneath our force. Like before, I felt as if I couldn't get close enough, wrapping myself tighter around him, as he buried himself deep inside of me. The tight pressure inside of me grew with each thrust, feeling like the worst and best strain every place on my body. Just when I thought I couldn't squeeze myself tight enough, Edward bit down on the base of my neck, growling as I came undone beneath him. Edward's thrusts turned erratic, and in seconds he was joining me in my spiral through oblivion.

AN2: I hope that was in character enough for you guys. There is nothing that peeves me more then OOC smut fics for EB. LOL, also, I've noticed with my previous chapter fics, I tend to write shorter smut scenes and leave the longer ones for oneshots. IDK what came over me with this one, but I hope you all enjoyed it. I'm hoping to get back on a regular updating schedule like before. And remember.... Review please!