A/N: Here we go I don't own Twilight sadly, the fabulous SM does.
Chapter 1- Eighteen
I woke abruptly, in tears long before the dawn on my eighteenth birthday to the sound of my Edward whispering, "Bella?" with concern.
As sleep faded, I realized that it was just a horrible dream. I had been standing there, looking into a mirror reflecting my grandmother's face back at me. I refused to accept the old face, one I hadn't seen since I was twelve, was actually a future version of me. Edward had been standing there next to me in all his youthful perfection. This dream that foreshadowed the future Edward desired was heartbreaking and horrifying. I tried to slow my breathing and calm myself enough to speak to Edward so he wouldn't worry. I knew that Edward blamed himself for my nightmares after what I had been through in Phoenix. Most of my dreams were about the horrible events that had happened last spring, but now that my body was healed, I rarely had them. James, and my resulting nightmares were not Edward's fault; it was just part of being involved in the supernatural world. However, I knew Edward would automatically feel heavy guilt if I told him I had another nightmare. So, I pushed myself to calm down enough to relieve the worry he was probably already beginning to carry.
Edward pulled me into his arms, cradling me so close that all I could smell or taste in the air was his honeyed scent. Explaining my dream to him seemed half-witted, however, I wasn't exactly sure how to calm down enough that he would accept my "I just had a nightmare" explanation. I decided to just tell him, and try as best as I could to not make him as anxious as I did. I took a deep breath in an attempt to relax myself.
As I breathed out, I mumbled into his chest, "I just had a strange nightmare about my gram. I'm alright."
But, my voice gave me away. As I said the last word, meant to soothe the perfect man holding me, my voice cracked. From Edward's quick intake of air, I knew he could tell that I was definitely not all right.
I felt his hand swiftly brush the hair off my cheek and continue down to my jaw. Edward gently tilted my face up so that I would meet his gaze. I attempted again to compose myself. However as I looked into his topaz eyes, all attempts at composure quickly fell away.
"Oh, Edward," I choked out as I threw my arms around his neck, the sobs I tried to contain shaking my whole body.
After a brief moment, Edward stiffened slightly underneath my desperate grasp and frantically whispered, "Charlie," in my ear.
I looked up with wide eyes at Edward. He sat frozen for a moment, listening for sounds that were far too faint for my human ears to catch. It would be difficult to explain to him why Edward was in my room, and in my bed, if we were caught. Even though Edward and I had never gone anywhere past some unforgettable kisses, my father would never believe that; he would go automatically to the worst-case scenario because of his job as the police chief of our small town. After a moment Edward's body finally relaxed, and softened against me slightly. Once my feelings of panic dissipated, I could feel the tears threatening to resurface. Edward looked down at my face with an expression of sorrow as he took in my pain, and a hint of frustration at the chance of being caught by my father.
After a split second, he bent his head down and said quickly, "Let's get you out of here until you can calm down, sweetheart."
I looked up at him mutely and nodded my head once, tears swimming unshed in my eyes. Then I moved with sleepy clumsiness to my closet and changed into regular clothing, not wanting to show up at his house in thin cotton shorts and a tank top. Moreover, I knew the ride over was going to be chilly and my current ensemble would do nothing to protect me from the weather outside. I opened my underwear drawer to find that Alice had replaced everything with little bits of navy lace that were supposed to pass as underwear. I threw on a matching set and swore that my best friend was not going to hear the end of this anytime soon. That thought distracted me enough, allowing me to dress most of the way before the tears returned. Once I finished changing, I pushed my closet door open and practically ran across the room into Edward's waiting arms. The moment his arms encircled me, I reburied my face into his cold, perfect chest.
I felt the air rushing by as Edward swiftly ran through the woods. Normally being carried while he ran was enjoyable, now that I had grown accustomed to it, but I couldn't enjoy the experience with tears streaming down my face. Instead, I snuggled into him, trying unsuccessfully to push the nightmare away.
After only a couple of minutes, as I continued to cry into Edward's chest, I felt him shift me gently to one arm so he could use the other to open a door. Through my watery eyes, I could see a blurry outline of the Cullens' home - my other home. I was momentarily distracted as I realized we were the only ones in the big house.
I opened my mouth to ask where everyone was but Edward quickly said, "They are all out hunting."
Sometimes, even though Edward couldn't read my mind, I wondered how he knew exactly what I was thinking. One time I had asked him.
He had grinned and said, "I may not be able to read your mind, love, but your face is quite easy to read sometimes, especially your eyes."
Thanks to the distraction of the empty house, my tears had halted again. Edward ran up to his room and sat me down on his black leather couch, cuddled up in his lap.
In the light of a waning moon, Edward looked down at me trying to discern from my eyes what was really bothering me. I tried to start talking to him, but every time I tried to say something, the tears would threaten to return. The dream hit me with the horrible realization that even though Edward wanted me now, there was no way he was going to want me when I became the dried up and old version of myself I had seen in my dream. As much as I was trying to convince myself that the woman in my dream was Gram, I knew better. It was me.
The longer I remained silent, the more pain I saw in Edward's eyes. He knew that my nightmare had been significant and that it was causing me serious grief.
Finally, I choked out, "Birthdays suck," and my tears started again, although not with the intensity that they had been at Charlie's.
Edward murmured into my hair, just loud enough that I could hear him, "What happened love?"
Through my tears, I finally stumbled through an explanation, and then told him my fears of losing him after I had aged. After explaining, I finally hinted that we could solve it by me becoming a vampire.
When I finally finished, Edward started down into my eyes with his golden ones, and then softly and tenderly said, "Love, your age will never change my feelings for you, but I cannot take your life away. I love you too much to turn you into a monster."
At Edward's words, I broke down into tears again, realizing that no matter how much I wanted it, he was never really going to give me forever with him. Edward whispered my name soothingly, willing the tears to stop.
"Bella, you know how much I love you, right?" Edward said to me, as he looked down with his eyes blazing at me, full of emotion.
I began to formulate an answer, but Edward must have seen my comment about his unwillingness to change me in my eyes. His topaz eyes seemed to be literally scorching through me as his hand went to my mouth, to silence my unspoken statement. After another moment of his burning gaze, he moved his hand away from my mouth at lightning speed. I saw a flash of resolution in his eyes, and then suddenly his mouth was crushing passionately into mine.
Edward had never kissed me this way. Not even the night that I had left for Phoenix with Alice and Jasper. This kiss had an edge of desperation and longing that I had never felt from Edward before. It was almost as if Edward was trying to communicate how much he loved me and wanted me with him, but also would not take my humanity, all in that single kiss. I responded eagerly as he kissed me with the desperate abandon. Suddenly, I felt Edward lift me up while continuing to kiss me thoroughly. He rapidly rotated my body so that I was straddling him. Then Edward wrapped one arm around my back, pulling me against his chest. His other hand tangled into my hair, as he continued to kiss me with as much intensity as he could without hurting me. I was starting to get lightheaded, so I pushed Edward away to catch my breath. I expected him to stop and reposition me once I broke the kiss. Our current position was already breaking his carefully set rules.
Edward looked into my eyes briefly and the glowing in his eyes intensified. He took in a quick, shocked breath, and then pushed the air back out in a growl as he moved his face down to my neck at a speed that no human could quite pull off. As Edward moved down to the base of my neck, I felt him attempt to push my sweater out of the way, only to then pull back in annoyance and aggravation. His eyes connected with mine again briefly and then my thick green sweater was in shreds on the floor. With an enthused look in his eyes, his mouth was back hungrily on my lower neck. I could only imagine the amount of control he was using to kiss me where the blood flow was so evident just beneath my skin. As he held me closely, I felt my whole body shake, slightly from the sudden chill of being left in just a tank top, but mostly from the amazing sensation of Edward's mouth on my skin.
Instantly, I was sitting on the couch alone. However just as my mind registered that fact, Edward was back and I was in his arms again with his lips moving on mine. I felt and heard the heater turn on and realized his decision to turn on the heat was one of surrender. He was not going to stop kissing me anytime soon and his careful rules were out the window for the moment. I wondered how long for a moment, before he captured my lips with his as his boundaries fell away.
I lay on the floor in his arms, covered with blanket that had been draped over the now destroyed couch. I found the destruction funny; Edward had no sense of humor regarding the destruction his supernatural strength had caused.
I finally got tired of his brooding attitude and said, "Edward, after holding back for so long and all your concern about injuring me the fact that the only casualty is your couch is amusing. Face it."
Edward grimaced and responded, "I was able to channel the excess energy into the couch destruction however it could have easily been you love."
I rolled my eyes at his excessive brooding and examined the couch in more detail. The legs were snapped from the frame, The back was detached from the seat and it looked like a couple of the cushions were ripped into. After a moment, I realized that the cushions on the back of the couch looked like they had been bitten.
I stifled a laugh and slowly said, "Edward, did you bite the cushions?"
Edward looked back at me sheepishly and then took a breath in to speak. Before he could get a word out I started laughing. After a moment, Edward chuckled and then rolled his eyes at me.
Once I gained control, he sobered and said, "Love I could have just as easily bitten you. You would be in the middle of transformation instead of enjoying the endorphin rush."
I wiggled back into his arms and he willing wrapped his body around mine. I used his upper arm as a stone pillow and said, "I don't think you could have hurt me. You love me too much to ever hurt me."
He looked down at me and didn't say a word.
We had been laying there for a while, wrapped in each other's arms, staring at each other lovingly, when I felt Edward scoop me up and carefully lay me down on the remains of the couch. Edward then lowered himself next to me, bending the protruding nails with the weight of his body, wrapping his arms around me.
Softly, with his sweetest and most velvety voice he said, "I love you my Bella. Happy Birthday."
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