Title: Promise

Author: Amethyst Jackson

Rating: M

Pairing: E/B

Summary: Eclipse AU. Bella and Edward in the tent, before Jacob joins them. EPoV.

Disclaimer: I think it's safe to say Stephenie Meyer did not write this, so it's just me, playing with someone else's toys. I'd prefer not to be sued.

This is for my darling Jacyevans, who gave me this prompt for her birthday fic. She's my partner in crime and the Bella to my Edward. So much love!


The temperature was dropping. Bella didn't seem to notice yet, but my senses were attuned to such things, although why a vampire should need to gauge subtle differences in temperature was beyond me. Yet another superfluous weapon in our extensive arsenal.

The wolves were distant, their thoughts little more than a hum in the background as they circled the area, sweeping the perimeter before settling down to sleep. Bella shifted restlessly in my arms and sighed.

"Bored?" I asked, amused. I'd expected her to be more anxious, but she'd been surprisingly docile thus far.

"No," she said, turning enough to look at me, her hair brushing like a whisper across my cheek. Her brow was creased, and I wanted to smooth the lines of tension away. "I just wish I could be doing something. I feel useless, just sitting here, waiting."

"I know, love," I soothed, kissing away the crinkle in her forehead. She relaxed against me with another breathy sigh. It astounded me, as always, that I could have any effect on her whatsoever. How impossible it seemed that I could be anything more than a blip on her radar, when her presence was as all-encompassing as the universe itself to me.

"Do you think you could distract me? Please?" she begged, and I didn't have to ask how. Her quicksilver body gave her away completely – pupils dilated ever so slightly, heart beating harder, breath coming faster, skin flushing with warmth…. I closed my eyes briefly, struggling not to drown in her scent as it became headier, tinged with her arousal, tempting me in a way that had nothing to do with the ever-present flames at the back of my throat.

"Of course," I agreed, pressing my lips with careful intent to hers, pretending she was only asking for a few kisses when I knew she wanted much, much more. To say I didn't want the same thing would be a lie, but I wanted it – needed it – to be under the right circumstances. Trying while she was human was enough of a stretch for me – just the thought of hurting her in an act of love was unendurable. More than having my own control in place, I needed her to be absolutely certain of me. I needed more than her unwilling acceptance of my hand, extorted with promises of sex. I needed more than the promise of forever; I needed her to choose me and only me before the world. But how could I explain that to her? She didn't even realize she still had a choice to make.

Bella kissed back with all her might and clutched my hair in her fragile fingers, oblivious to my tormented thoughts. I focused all of my energy on kissing her, savoring the gentle brush of her lips and the heat of her body flush against mine. Who knew which kiss would be the last? Even if she remained blissfully unaware of the urgency, I could not.

"Edward?" she mumbled against my mouth. I felt the words on my lips in fluttering vibrations.


"Please don't hate me for this," she sighed miserably.

"For what?" My body coiled in alarm, and I pulled back infinitesimally. Please, don't let this be the time she says she wants someone else; please don't let this be the moment she realizes she deserves more. And then came the guilt, because she should make that choice before it was too late.

"For making you stay with me," she said, still oblivious, and a flood of relief carried me off in its current. She was still on about that, as if she didn't realize she was my whole world, as if I hadn't been battling with the decision to fight or stay by her side myself, torn between two different ways of protecting her: acting as her shield or actively eliminating any threat to her well-being. "I know you want to be fighting with your family, protecting them, but I'm selfish, and I just can't stand the thought –"

"Hush, love, hush," I crooned, trying to stem the tide of her anxiety. "Don't you think I would be asking the same of you if our positions were reversed? Don't you know you are my family? Bella, every member of my family has thought about begging their mate to stay behind tomorrow, even if few of them said so out loud. How could I hate you for doing precisely what I would do?"

Bella ducked her head and nuzzled into my neck. "How do you always know just the right thing to say?"

"Decades of practice," I chuckled, smoothing down her hair.

"One day, I'll catch up to you," she murmured. Her lips pressed a kiss to my neck, a splash of warmth that soothed me to the bone. They continued a fiery path up to my jaw. "Edward?"

"Hmm?" I had to smile, knowing whatever she had to say next would likely be interesting. When Bella was in a mood like this, it was difficult to anticipate what would come out of her mouth.

"I don't think I say it enough," she began, kissing closer and closer to my lips, "Because it seems so obvious to me – that I love you."

And she thought she didn't know the right thing to say? I couldn't even begin to explain how much I needed those words right now, when I felt as though my hands might be too weak to hold her. She probably wouldn't understand if I tried; my insecurities would probably surprise her, when she was so blind to the battle being waged at her feet.

I kissed her instead, letting the gesture say what I couldn't speak aloud. My hands in her hair said please, stay with me and my fingertips against her scalp said you'll never know how much I need you. My bottom lip whispered I want you as it brushed against hers, and my top lip begged please choose me.

The wolves were circling in closer. I could hear their thoughts encroaching on our private little bubble, and I willed them away, wanting to cling to this perfect moment that was only Bella and me and everything that couldn't be said with words.

"Edward," Bella moaned, barely pulling back, her voice a fluttering vibration against my lips. "I know you want to wait until we're married, but…we don't know what will happen tomorrow. Edward, please, I don't want to die – or – or to lose you," her voice cracked, "without knowing what it feels like to make love to you."

My focus split in two directions. I could hear the suddenly loud – yelling – thoughts of Jacob Black; he had heard Bella's last words, the words that had implied she would one day be married to me and the ones that asked me for the kind of intimate act Jacob couldn't bear to imagine. He was consumed with agony and envy. I simultaneously pitied him and reveled in his pain. I couldn't help it, loathsome creature that I was.

And then there was Bella, looking up at me with desperate, longing, beseeching eyes. I wanted to give her what she wanted. I wanted Jacob and his pack of mutts to hear and know who she belonged to, who she wanted. At the same time, I wanted to make love to her for the first time with the certainty that she wanted no one else. I wanted to possess her completely. And it should be us alone, no prying ears, not out in a cold tent on a sleeping bag. There should be candles, flowers, music, silk sheets…

"Bella," I sighed, hating that her face fell immediately at my tone. I was so sick of disappointing and denying her. "I don't want to make love to you because you're afraid. We will be fine, both of us, and when this is over, we will get married, and I'll give you anything you want."

Bella didn't waver for one second. "Edward, fear is a perfect reason in this case because my fear is telling me that I'll regret not being with you. If I die tomorrow, I'll regret not doing it for all eternity…and if I live forever, I know I'll never regret making love to you tonight. Please, Edward. I want you to be my first, my last, my only. Isn't that enough?"

My only. It was a beautiful promise, and I wanted to believe it – take it and hold her to it. I wanted to give in to her; I wanted to claim her body and with it, her heart.

"Please?" she begged, knowing how it would affect me, all wide eyes and pouting lips, and that put the proverbial nail in the coffin. I couldn't refuse her again.

"If we do this…do you promise you'll still marry me?"

Bella's eyes widened, then narrowed again in sudden understanding. "It's really that important to you, isn't it? Not just a stall tactic?"

"Finally, she gets it!" I teased. "Of course, Bella. We both know what you want – what I want more than anything is to call you my wife."

Her breath hitched, but her face softened. "I already said I would marry you, didn't I? But if it means that much to you, then yes, of course. I promise I will marry you."

"Before you're changed," I qualified. She rolled her eyes.

"Yes, before I'm changed. If you really want to give my parents heart attacks, that's on your head now."

"I'll take the risk," I chuckled before kissing her softly. "I'll agree to try now – I'm not sure I can, not sure I'm ready. Okay?"

"That's all I want," Bella agreed, following my lips as they retreated. "Please, just…touch me now…"

I couldn't refuse a request like that. As her lips clung sweetly to mine, I allowed my hands to follow their natural instincts for once, mapping roads down her back, over her hips and thighs…. They flattened over her stomach and reached up to cup her breasts. Pressing eagerly into my hands, she moaned against my lips. I concentrated on kissing her, on squeezing her soft flesh and fingering her swollen nipples through the fabric of her sweater. I tried not to think about how good she felt in my hands, lest I forget myself and touch too hard, too carelessly.

Bella was excited, panting against my mouth, filling the tent with the scent of her arousal. I moved my lips from her mouth to her neck, allowing her room to breathe. Her arms wrapped around my shoulders like warm, breakable little vices.

"Will you take off your shirt?" she asked as I kissed her neck. Her hands fisted in the fabric.

"Whatever you want," I murmured, pulling away to oblige her. Her hand stopped me.

"I want to do it," she said, chewing on her bottom lip. I couldn't fathom why she felt nervous asking to take my shirt off when she'd had no problem requesting sex.

"By all means." I lifted my arms for her, allowing her to tug the material over my head. Her tongue flicked out to wet her lips as she placed her hands on my chest. I sighed as my nerves tingled and ignited at the touch of her hot palms.

"You're so beautiful," she breathed, trailing her fingers over my nipples and then downward, tracing the crevices in my abdomen. "I still can't believe it sometimes that you want me. It doesn't make any sense."

"Of course it does," I said, shaking my head even as I brought her back into my arms, flush against my body. "Your outer beauty is timeless and continually reinforced by the beauty of your soul."

I felt Bella's heated blush as she buried her face in my shoulder. "When you say amazing things like that, it just makes it harder to believe."

I turned my head and kissed her temple. "Someday you'll see, even if I have to spend a thousand years showing you."

She kissed my shoulder. "Start showing me now, and I'll be happy."

I chuckled, fingering the hem of her top. "Will you be too cold if I take this off? The temperature outside is dropping."

"I think I'll manage," Bella breathed. "As long as you're touching me, I'm sure I'll feel thoroughly overheated."

I laughed, though I felt like I'd be blushing as well, were I human. "Very well, then."

I lifted the sweater over her head, sending her hair into chaos before it fell over her shoulders, bare save for the thin straps of the tank top and bra she wore beneath. Despite her assurances, goose bumps appeared on her forearms, and her nipples tightened further. I kissed her thoroughly, hoping that she was correct and that getting her worked up would also raise her body temperature enough to keep her from freezing tonight.

"Please keep touching me," she whined against my mouth, grinding against me. She shifted impatiently to straddle my lap, and I struggled to restrain myself as her heat pressed into my aching arousal.

"Easy," I managed, holding her hips still. "Just because I'm not a normal man doesn't mean I have that kind of control."

Bella grinned, entirely too pleased with herself. "But I was having fun."

"I'm sure you were," I groaned, guiding her to lie back on the sleeping bag because I desperately needed to regain the upper hand if we were going to manage this. "I think I can provide better entertainment for you."

Bella groaned. "I know you can. The question is, will you?"

"Oh, I will," I growled in response to her challenging tone. To prove my point, I peeled the tank top from her body. Her breathing accelerated, forcing her breasts to rise and fall dramatically. The male in me couldn't help enjoying the view.

"So lovely," I groaned, kissing the smooth, white slopes of her breasts. I'd been fantasizing about this forever, it seemed – even before Bella, I'd daydreamed of a faceless woman that was soft and petite and curvy. The reality of Bella trumped every fantasy. I struggled not to drown in the heat of her skin, the intoxicating cloud of scent surrounding her, the taste of her skin…

"Edward," she sighed, grasping my hair with shaky fingers. I glanced up at her face, finding dazed eyes looking back at me. I smiled, and her expression turned adorably dreamy.

"How can you not know how beautiful you are?" I asked, sliding her bra straps down carefully, taking it slow. As much as she said she wanted this, it was still something new and overwhelming for us both. I didn't want to rush it. "You're everything I ever wanted, and then some."

Bella sighed again and pulled herself up to press her lips hotly to mine. I groaned at the dual sensation of her tongue against my lips and her bare skin against mine. Deciding she wouldn't mind that I couldn't wait any longer, I unclasped her bra and felt it slide further down her arms.

She pulled back minutely, biting her lip nervously as she let the garment fall away. I resisted the urge to lower my eyes and instead pulled her back to me, gasping as I felt her puckered nipples and soft breasts against my chest. Just feeling her overwhelmed me.

"Oh my God," Bella moaned, pressing herself tighter to me. "That feels so good."

I was in agreement, but I wanted to make her feel better. I reached up to touch her naked skin, filling my palms with her breasts, drawing circles around her nipples with my thumbs. A little whimper escaped her throat.

"So lovely," I sighed again, kissing her delicate shoulders. Her fingers pushed ineffectually at my head, trying to force me lower. Her impatience only fueled my own, and I dipped lower, finally getting a look at her naked breasts. I moaned a little at the sight before I took one pink tip between my lips, carefully running my tongue over it.

"Edward!" she gasped, clutching at my hair. I smiled and tugged at the soft flesh with my lips. She keened and arched her back. I adored her responses to me; I repeated my actions on her other breast just to see them again.

"Oh God," she gasped, tugging frantically on my hair. It almost hurt. Almost. Her heart was beating too fast now, though, so I pulled back, receiving a pout and a little growl in reaction. I chuckled.

"Easy, love," I chuckled, running my hands over her smooth back. "I thought I'd give you some time to catch your breath. And I was considering taking your jeans off, if you're amenable."

Bella laughed. "Amenable? I think I've proven to be more than amenable to anything you want to do to me."

I groaned, her words forcing me to consider the possibilities, and laid her back again. I had to pause to look at her. With her hair spread out beneath her and her skin flushed with desire, there was nothing I could compare her to that could adequately describe how beautiful she was to me. She stared back at me with trusting eyes as I took off one shoe, then the other, and then her socks, though I wondered if perhaps she should keep them on. Finally, I reached for the button of her jeans, and she took in a sharp breath.

I glanced up to her eyes to confirm that the reaction was anticipation rather than fear. Her impatient squirm said everything. Reassured, I popped the button and pulled the zipper down quickly, knowing she was tired of waiting on me. As unsure as I was of my own control and abilities, I was tired of waiting, too; I wanted her naked and moaning for my touch.

I watched skin become exposed as I pulled her jeans down her legs. I smelled the pooling heat of Bella's blush as I tossed them aside and cast her a questioning look. "Why are you embarrassed?"

"I just wish I'd put on the good underwear today," she mumbled.

"I think they're adorable on you," I said, fingering the white cotton. "Does it even matter? They won't be on for long."

Bella exhaled sharply. "Promise?"

"Whatever you want, remember?" I smiled, tugging down the offending fabric. Bella gaped at me.

"Who are you and what have you done with my virtue-loving boyfriend?"

"Fiancé," I corrected, a little smugly as I allowed my eyes to travel down her exposed body. "And you're the one who talked me into throwing virtue out the window. You'll just have to face the consequences, won't you?"

Bella was blushing, but grinning. "I like the consequences. Now take your clothes off, please? This is seriously one-sided."

I stood as best I could in the small tent and quickly removed my shoes and socks. Bella was up leaning on her elbows to watch by the time I got to my pants, and I felt the first twinge of nervousness – or at least, the first that had nothing to do with the problems inherent in my being a vampire and everything to do with very human insecurities. It was obvious that Bella was pleased with the parts of my body she had seen…but would she appreciate all of it?

Realizing I was being ridiculous, I unfastened my pants, shoved them down, and stepped out of them, unable to bear slowing it down to Bella's speed.

She let out a gasp as my pants hit the ground, and I realized I probably should have warned her that I tended to go sans underwear. I studied her expression carefully. Her eyes weren't meeting mine, but they were certainly on me. She let out a little groan, an unhappy groan, and I sunk to my knees, concerned.

"What's the matter, love? We don't have to do this now if you're having second thoughts."

She closed her eyes and shook her head. "It's not that, it's just…do you really have to be so perfect all over? It's ridiculous."

I let out a relieved laugh. "Is that all?" I said, crawling over her body until our faces were level. "If that's the case, then you're a horrible hypocrite, because you're most definitely perfect all over."

Bella rolled her eyes, but blushed. "You really are beautiful."

I took her face in my hands and kissed her, because there were no words. No words to tell her how much I adored her, how much her unconditional acceptance meant to me, how much I'd grown to love life with her in it.

Her kisses were hungry in response, and as her fingers tangled in my hair once more, her legs parted beneath me. I wanted her badly, but this couldn't be rushed; if our first time was in a tent, I was going to compensate by making everything else perfect.

While she was distracted with my lips, I touched her – touched her everywhere. Her shoulders, her arms, the creases inside her elbows, her breasts, her stomach, her belly button, her feet, her calves, her scarred knees, her thighs. Finally, I reached the apex of her thighs, covered in soft curls. I liked that she wasn't overly groomed, natural like the women were in my time. No amount of plucking or primping could make her better than she was just like this.

Bella was panting against my lips when I slipped my fingers between her folds and explored the soft, slippery skin. Though I'd heard thousands of thoughts about touching women this way, I was wholly unprepared for the reality. The heat was overwhelming on my fingers; I couldn't even contemplate being inside of her yet. And the texture…so silky smooth. If I'd never see heaven, this was a fantastic substitute.

I brought my index finger up to circle her swollen clitoris, watching with satisfaction as her head fell back and a keening sound escaped from her throat. She was incredibly beautiful in her pleasure, and I felt a heady rush of triumph and arousal knowing I was the cause.

"I had no idea that could feel so good," Bella gasped, grasping at my shoulders. I moved my thumb to her clit while I slid one finger gradually inside her, and I watched her lips part on a moan.

I wanted to kiss her – her lips, her neck, anywhere – but that would mean looking away from her face, and expressions were riveting as a slid another finger inside her and – very carefully – began to stroke in and out. I watched her hips start to rock against my hand. I watched a warm flush steal across her body. I watched her mouth fall open while her muscles contracted around me, and I watched her arch her back and heard her breathy cry as she fell apart under my touch.

I closed my eyes, feeling her inner walls flutter feather-light around my fingers, feeling her pulse thrumming under my thumb. Heavens. If touching her felt this good, how was I going to control myself making love to her?

"Edward, that was amazing," Bella panted, her hands suddenly everywhere – my back, my shoulders, my arms, my chest. I started to feel a little dizzy. Her fingers trailed aimlessly over my abdomen, and then one was moving even lower, just about to grasp my –

"Bella, stop," I gasped, catching her hands before they could do any more mischief. "I don't think I can – not this time – I need to be inside you, Bella."

"Please," was her response, wide-eyed and eager. "Please, I want you." Her legs parted further, making room for my hips. I held myself a fraction of an inch away, trying to quell my nerves.

"Last chance to back out. There's no undoing this," I reminded her quietly, half-hoping she would stop me so I could have more time to prepare myself, half-praying she would allow me to continue.

"Do it, Edward, please," she breathed.

There was only certainty in her eyes, and I envied her easy assurance just as I was baffled at her unwavering faith in me. Could I possibly be as strong as she thought I was?

I took in one last breath; while I couldn't fathom ever losing control in that way, I didn't want to risk her scent clouding my head more than it already would be, so I would hold my breath until it was over.

"I love you, forever," I said to her trusting eyes with a fraction of that air.

"Show me," she said softly, putting her hands on my hips. It felt like she was trying to pull me closer, but I had to go at my own pace this time.

I swallowed, terrified and ecstatic all at once, and carefully guided my tip inside her.

She moaned, and I felt like I was going to die. She was hot as fire and as each millimeter of my shaft came into contact with her, the searing pleasure increased tenfold. I kept pushing, slowly, waiting for her body to accept me, though her sounds and her hands were urging me to go faster. I felt her barrier and winced. This was the part I'd been dreading, the part that would mean pain for her.

"Just do it, Edward," she whispered to me, stroking my hair, comforting me like the absurd little creature she was. "It has to happen sometime."

I kissed her, because I didn't know what else to do, and pushed inside her until I couldn't anymore. She gasped, and it wasn't a good sound; it was full of pain. She was trembling and I felt like the vilest creature in the world because I couldn't not exalt in the feel of her all around me, hot and wet, pulsing in time with the beat of her heart. It was too good, too much.

"Are you okay? Was I too rough?" I rasped, almost out of air but unwilling to take another breath, especially with the possibility that she was bleeding now.

"Fine, it's fine," she murmured. I could see the lines of pain around her eyes, but there was also the same awe I felt mirrored in her expression. "It hurts, but it feels so good to have you inside me…please just keep going."

I pulled back gingerly, arms shaking with the effort of restraining myself, and eased back in. A little of the tension left her face. I repeated that slow action again and again and again, thinking only of her face beneath me and forcibly ignoring the fire racing through my veins, until at last she relaxed. We could have been at it for hours, for all I knew.

I tried thrusting a little harder, a little faster, and had my reward in her low moan. Yes. I would make this good for her if it killed me…and I had a feeling it just might.

I allowed myself to focus just the slightest bit on how it felt as I flexed my hips at the new tempo. I felt hot from the inside out and ready to burst out of my skin…nerves ignited, chest tight…it was a sensory overload. It was like being human again.

"Yes," Bella gasped, tightening her arms around my torso. "Please go faster. It feels so good…"

I wrapped my arms around her to hold her still and thrust as fast as I dared into her too-vulnerable body. The increased friction sent ripples of heat curling through my fingers and toes, coiling low in my stomach. I was so close. I didn't know if there was a way for me to last long enough to bring Bella to climax. She wasn't helping at all. Everything she did was too much – her fingers flexing against my skin, her thighs clenched around my waist, her moans and whimpers – I could come just from watching her in the throes of passion.

I listened to her racing heartbeat, counting its pulses…one beat – her breathing turned sharp – three beats – I watched beads of sweat appear on her skin – eight – her legs began to tremble – twelve - sixteen –

"Oh, God, Edward!" she cried, beginning to tighten around me. "I'm so close, so close…"

I groaned involuntarily and reached down to press my thumb against her swollen clit, circling it quickly. She let out a sharp gasp and then threw her head back as her body spiraled into the throes of climax. I could practically hear her nerves zinging with pleasure, and I could see it in the rapturous expression on her face.

It was too much. I allowed myself two more thrusts into her stunningly tight heat before I stilled, forcing my body by sheer willpower to remain motionless as my orgasm wracked my body.

I'd never felt anything like it. Oh, I'd taken matters into my own hands over the years – no pun intended – but it had never overtaken my senses like this. With Bella, I saw stars, and my body shook uncontrollably. Finally, I had to breath to recover myself, though the scent of Bella's blood slammed into me painfully.

I forced my eyes open to look at Bella's face. If anything could ground me now, it would be the sight of her. Her eyes looked up at me, a little hazy, and her lips were parted with the slightest hint of a smile. She was gorgeous, and most importantly, she was fine. I'd managed not to harm her.

I felt a grin spread across my face, and Bella laughed. "We did it."

"We did," I breathed, laughing a little along with her. I kissed her soundly, unable to resist. "I can't believe it. I love you, Bella."

"I love you. I'm so happy right now, Edward," she sighed. Her hands cupped my face, roaming over my features. "Thank you."

"You're seriously thanking me right now?" I laughed. "Oh, Bella, thank you for not taking 'no' for an answer."

She chuckled in response, but the sound was cut off by a shiver. I finally bothered to pay attention to the air temperature and internally cursed myself. A deep chill had set in while we were…otherwise occupied.

"Damn," I cursed, pulling away from her reluctantly. "You need to get dressed before you freeze."

Bella pouted, but was evidently in agreement because she hurried into her clothing. I dressed, too, considering whether Bella would make it through the night up here. A northern wind blew furiously, and I could smell snow on the air. I had no way to keep her warm….

My phone buzzed as Bella was bundling her way into a parka. I noted Alice's number on the LCD screen before I brought the phone to my ear.

"What do you think?" I asked, knowing the timing of her call would not be a coincidence.

"Well, dear brother, once you chose to finally give up being a prude, the wolves cleared right out of your future. I can see clearly now, and it's going to get bad tonight. You need to get Bella out of there. Bring her down, and we'll re-strategize."

"Please tell me you haven't let anyone else know?" I groaned. In the heat of the moment, I'd forgotten everything – the wolves, my siblings, the newborns on their way…it was only Bella.

"That it's going to be a blizzard up there? I think that should be public knowledge."

I rolled my eyes, knowing after so many years that it was Alice's way of saying she respected our privacy as much as she could.

"We'll be down soon," I told her before hanging up. Bella was watching me with eyebrows raised in question.

"The weather isn't going to hold up," I told her, wrapping my coat around her shoulders on top of her own. "We need to get out of here and come up with a new plan."

"Oh…okay," she nodded, looking a little disappointed, and I understood why. I didn't want to leave the little bubble we'd been wrapped in, either.

"Just because we're leaving doesn't mean we're leaving this behind," I said, gesturing vaguely around us.

"Promise?" she asked, putting her small hand in mine.

"I promise," I said, sealing it with a kiss to the top of her head. "Now let's get moving before you're as cold as I am."

The End