Disclaimer: We do not own any rights to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. We do, however, own SheriffWard below.

**Rated M for a reason! If you are not old enough to buy adult material, you are not old enough to read this story!**

Okay, now with THAT out of the way, this is a fic for AmeryMarie's birthday from me (RosaBella75/IslandWoman221), GasawayAlley, RowanMoon, and Viola Cornuta.

Also, if you haven't read Bad Habit by AmeryMarie, you are living under a cabbage bush! .net/s/5007065/1/Bad_Habit_Book_One

.net/u/1769777/AmeryMarie

.net/u/1750465/Gasaway_Alley

.net/u/1893582/RowanMoon

.net/u/1830787/Viola_Cornuta

Love ya Amery!!

~&~

1848 Forks, WA

Sheriff Edward Anthony Cullen walloped the living shit out of the nearest mangy, would-be robber who had the misfortune of coming too close. The ancient, nearsighted bartender tried to protect his till by holding his sawed-off twelve gauge with quaking hands. Squinting at the closest blob he could make out wearing the guise of an Indian, he squeezed the trigger - narrowly missing Edward, which was a feat unto itself given the wide scatter pattern the shot shell executed. The elderly man's enormous mutton-chop jowls shook with the force of the recoil.

The spare amount of local patrons in the bar knew better. Quileutes were a very peaceful tribe, and never in a million years would they try to steal from the townsfolk. Besides, the Quileutes would never be caught dead in greasy animal skins garb. They wore richly colored blanket coats woven tightly with cedar and were extremely conscious of their cleanliness, unlike these idiots trying to pass themselves off as members of the peace-loving tribe.

Right now, the town yokels were sitting back in their seats watching the tableau in front of them. They knew Sheriff Cullen could handle himself against two idiots trying to relieve Old man Pattsy out of his hard-earned money. Edward could even hear them placing bets, which didn't surprise him at all.

Edward's Celtic blood sang through his veins while he booted out the the two miscreants trying to rob Pattinson's pub. They picked the wrong night to fuck with Sheriff Cullen. But, they did catch him in the right mood. He still hadn't any luck on finding Miss Bella Swan, who was missing for three days now, and the failure in finding her made his skin itch and his fists clench with the need to pummel more flesh. He hadn't slept or eaten a decent meal since beginning his search for her.

Striding behind the bar, he placed his hand gently on old man Pattinson's shaking shotgun lowering it, telling him the threat was gone. Pouring himself and the barkeep a whisky, they downed it quickly while Edward took note of the two smelly vagabonds heading north towards the old gold mines.

Slapping the bar with a parting one-two pat, he launched himself over it and headed for his horse, and best friend, Alice. He'd won her in a bet from an old military buddy, Jasper Whitlock. Her aquiline lines were nothing short of a horse breeder's wet dream. She was fast, smart as a whip, and pig-headed when it came to the type of tack she wore. He'd never understand how she knew, she just did.

He hadn't been hopeful for an ease to his hell. In fact, the reason for him even being at the bar in the first place was to find some sort of respite, and finally there was a lead to follow. For days he had been coming up with dead ends on the missing woman. Now he had prey to hunt, and he couldn't be happier. He had a gut-punching hunch those two, wanna-be Indian, sons o' bitches from Pattinson's, knew the whereabouts of Miss Bella. Just before heading out of town, he stopped at the jail house, where he lived in the back, to change out of his work clothes and into his buckskins. He needed them for stealth and comfort. Edward left to saddle up and go after the men responsible for the ruckus back at the bar.

Edward had more reasons than justice alone to find her. She was the daughter of his predecessor, Sheriff Charlie Swan. Edward had been his Deputy and was there the day the Sheriff was taken down by a heart attack over a year ago. He had promised the dying, yet strangely resolute father he would look after her. Some job he was doing. Agitated, he reached into his front pocket for the rolling papers and tobacco, thinking of Miss Bella, while tightly forming his spliff with one hand. The snap of sulfur stung his nose as the match sizzled, giving off a quick flare of light in the darkness, and spent. He took a long, slow calming drag off his smoke.

Exhaling he closed his eyes and tried to ignore the way his stomach flip-flopped when he thought of her. His obstinate cock hardened, straining against the soft leather of his pants as he mentally recalled the creamy promise of her skin, the delicate swell of her breasts and waspish waist giving her the perfect hourglass form. His heavy heart quickened at the memory of her teasing laugh and knowing smile. He ached for her return, her safety. Pushing his heels into the flanks of his horse increased her pace, and he headed north for the mines away from the safety of town. Strange they would head for the mines. They had been shut down for a few years now. Although, they were a good hideout.

Soft nickers of horses nearby alerted Edward he wasn't alone in the woods. He slid out of Alice's saddle in silence and tethered her to a knot of fledgling spruces. They both knew she could get herself free and take off anytime, but her excellent military training kept her in place.

All of his years spent hunting with his Indian friend, Jacob Black, flooded his mind, and he dropped into stealth mode. Creeping through the slick foliage of the Hall of Mosses with his Bowie knife drawn, Edward spied smoke and a flickering firelight as he came upon an encampment. Wreathed around the fire were the two men who tried to rob Pattinson's an hour ago, and lo and behold, Bella was sitting on a stump almost beyond the shadow of light. The third man must have been the one to keep Bella captive while the others were gone.

Edward's heart sputtered then dropped to his toes when he saw the state Bella was in. Her once fine dress was torn down one shoulder and hanging in shredded fingers blowing across her barely covered breasts. Her wrists were tied behind her back, making her sit up ramrod straight, and she was tethered by a cord to a small tree. Thank God they hadn't beat her down. Her eyes roved around the men sitting by the campfire gathering its heat denied to her. Hatred bled from her eyes. Edward had seen the same look on her face when he used to pull at her curls when she was a teenager. She didn't like it when he treated her like a little girl with him being only three years older than her.

Now, she was twenty and no longer a precocious teen. No, now she was a stunning woman with enough hell-fire in her to light up the night sky for miles. Right this moment, Edward needed her to be brave, be aware of his presence, and keep her fucking mouth shut. Once sure the men were still unaware of his presence, he threw a small pebble at her and missed. Bella's head swung towards the sound, and she cringed. She probably thought a wild animal was creeping up on them. He threw another one, and this time it landed in her lap. When she looked up, he held his Bowie to his mouth to silence her.

Seemingly confused, Bella gasped and stared at him, as if he were a ghost, holding that gigantic knife to his mouth like a finger. Every nerve and pulse-point fired between them at once, and she opened her mouth to scream with fright. Edward ducked down as she loosed a banshee cry. All the men swiveled to see what was wrong with her.

"What the hell, bitch?" A man, who Edward could see had a wholly swollen eye, cursed at Bella.

He's first, thought Edward. And, so much for Bella keeping her mouth closed.

"You caterwauling for some attention, Miss Kitty?" the blackened-eyed man asked. "You need some cream to lick?" He grabbed himself crudely by the front of his dirty tweeds and fondled himself.

Oh yeah, fucker, you're definitely first. Edward had already thrown off his mantle of oath and badge during the bungled robbery attempt earlier. Now it was all about Man versus Man, and he didn't give two shits for any of the lives threatening his wanted-to-be woman.

"Knock it off, Felix. Aro wants 'er for hisself," the squat, fat-ass warned.

~&~

Aro? No fucking way. Charlie sent him down the river three years ago for murder when some local girls went missing and were found cut to pieces with a doctor's precision in his home. One girl had escaped... Rosalie. She had gotten away after he'd tried to force himself on her. When he exposed his flagging cock to her he'd failed to secure her legs so she was free to kick him as hard as she could in the balls, leaving him crying on the basement floor. Aro's dick hadn't been the only thing he was lax in, he'd forgotten to secure the front door.

The seditious fuck had reveled in cutting her in several places. The scars upon her body included one particularly vicious one left her disfigured on her face for life. She was key to the incarceration of Aro Volturi. When the law men were alerted of the goings on at Aro's place at the edge of town, Sheriff Swan, Mayor McCarty and Deputy Cullen were dispatched to bring him into custody.

Once gaining access to the house and of course not finding Aro in residence, they went to investigate Rosalie's allegations of what was in the basement. Nothing would ever prepare the men for what they were about to see.

Mason jars containing various bloated body parts in pink-tinged formaldehyde, were found in the basement lined upon shelves like they were canned blood-peaches. Macabre decorations. Jars of blood were lined on the floor along the walls in pyramid formations. There was a mortician's trestle table erected in the middle of the stone floor resembling a sacrificial altar. His copper instruments of death were perfectly lined on a doctor's lab tablet cozied next to the table.

They caught up with him six hours later in his gold mining operation down at Ruby Beach. Aro hadn't gone quietly. He'd holed up with a couple of six shooters and a few bottles of some fancy Italian wine. The night ended in the lazy traces of dawn with a hole in Aro's leg, giving him a permanent limp, and a slug in Mayor McCarty's shoulder.

Lucky for McCarty, Rosalie was in hospice along with him. Needless to say, the two were married now and were working on their first child. Very lucky indeed.

Being down in the airless basement had been Edward's first and only real-life serial murder case, and was a sight to never to be forgotten. Aro swore vengeance on Charlie, Edward and Emmett when he was sentenced to life in prison at McNeil Island Federal penitentiary. Since the state of Washington was going lighter on the death penalty that week, he was remanded to the seven-mile island more known for its park-like environment than for actually making criminals pay for their horrific crimes. The townsfolk would have lynched his deranged ass. Hell, in hindsight, they shouldhave let them string him up.

~&~

These hired sacks weren't very smart, and were obviously greedy. Probably figured they could knock over the bar and be out of town right quick, then collect their money when they delivered Bella into Aro's twisted grip. Probably wanted a tasty stipend to head north for the Canadian border.

Well, that would not be happening, not on Edward's life.

He saw Bella's brow furrow while the men bickered amongst themselves. Had she figured out it was him after all?

"I saw something in the shadows, and it startled me. I thought it was a wolf since its eyes glowed," she muttered.

Good girl.

"See there, weren't nuthin' but a grangy 'coon! Geez, woman! Take years off a man's life bellowing outa nowheres like that, why don't ya?" Fat Ass exclaimed, then addressed the Jack Ass who propositioned Bella, "Now jest you go on back ta drinkin yer coffee there, Felix, an leave 'er alone. Aro'd be mighty displeased to find 'er less than fresh as he ordered."

Dead-man-walkin' went back to the other side of the fire from Bella and grudgingly took a seat on a log, glaring at her in a way that made Edward's already hot blood boil. This bastard didn't deserve a quick death. If he didn't watch himself, Edward was liable to try out a practice the Plains People used and scalp his ass – right after he cut his hair down to the bone, that is.

Hunkering down into the brush, Edward inched closer to Bella as the inky blackness closed around their shrinking campfire as the night wore on. Two of the men got pissed to the gills on moonshine and were sleeping it off soundly after polishing off a large jug. The idiot with the shiner didn't drink, in fact he made sure his buddies drank to the point of blacking out, his cold hungry eyes latched onto Miss Bella. Realization dawned on Edward, causing his blood to go cold and his grip tighten on his blade handle; he wasn't the only one waiting for everyone to fall asleep. Felix was going to take payment from Bella for his damaged pride. The only way to get to Bella was to put this lecherous asshole into the ground.

Bella's eyes became heavy with the need to sleep. As soon as her head bowed into her chest, Felix licked his lips and made to get out of his sleeping roll. Edward swooped soundlessly up behind the man, cleanly slitting his throat with cold precision. Quietly lowering him to the ground, Edward stalked over to Bella to cut her bonds and got her to his horse. He didn't have time for the other two, nor did he want to take the risk of not being able to protect Bella. His main concern was getting her out of there and to safety.

As he got closer to her, his heart was inside out with rage at her captors for the state she was in. Being up close to her he could see dark circles under her eyes from malnourishment and lack of sleep. Bruises laid a nasty patchwork across her skin and it was ravaged and broken beneath her restraints. Bringing the knife to her bonds, Bella startled, eyes wide and terrified staring into his. Her eyes shimmered with tears of relief, when she recognized him, her body tightened, ready to flee. A gasp escaped her lips as she noticed with horror the blood seeping into the rope from the bright gore on the knife. She whispered so faintly Edward could barely hear her,

"Are you hurt?" Her fingers latched on to his arms as she turned them over, inspecting him for wounds.

The phrase stunned him. This woman had been held captive by these brutes for days, and she was asking if he was hurt? His vision blurred as tears threatened. She was so brave.

"The blood isn't mine, but we need to go before there is more shed." he nodded towards Felix's resting place.

She exhaled unsteadily as she glanced over at Felix's body, a black pool of blood growing around his head.

"Thank god," she whispered.

Edward gathered her small shaking frame into his arms and made his way silently back to Alice. Bella clutched him with a confounding amount of strength, her fingers digging almost painfully into his flesh. After getting her situated, Edward launched up into the saddle behind her as the first drops of rain came down on them, and a restless wind whipped up. The men would wake soon with the wet pelting them out of their drunken stupor, and he needed to make ground. He dug his heels into Alice's flanks, and racked his brain on where he could make shelter for them for the night. They wouldn't be able to make it all the way to town in this rain without Miss Bella catching her death. She felt so small and frail in front of him, yet as steely as his Bowie. He pressed his body against hers, convincing himself it was to shield her, when really, he just needed to feel her against him.

The rain, but not the wind, let up just in time to reveal an old abandoned cabin Edward had found the previous year, nestled against the hillside. He'd been hoping to locate it when he brought them through the forest closer to the mountain. He knew there was a small barn out back Alice could be paddocked in. He hoped it was still standing since it was questionable the last time he'd seen it.

They were both soaked to the skin, Bella clinging resolutely to the saddle horn, but noticeably trembling from cold. The only warm place on either of them the narrow band where her back was pressed firmly against his front. Her thighs were surely being pinched by the swell of the saddle in front of her, and he could only hope she was innocent enough to not recognize the firm shaft at her back. Edward had given up hopes of mastering the protrusion hours ago. She just felt too good pressed up against him, especially with his protective instincts still in full force.

He'd been patient so long, been a gentleman about his feelings for even longer, and now in light of the recent event of winning Bella free from those beasts, he was having trouble suppressing his own carnal instincts. His desire to claim her in an identifiable way, to make her his at last and then lock her away from all possible harm, was strong, nearly stronger than him.

Her head lolled back against his shoulder, and her face turned toward his neck. The heat of her breath was like a flame against the freezing skin of his chest where his shirt had come open in the struggle to free her.

It was his turn to shiver, though for a different reason than cold.

"We're almost there, Miss Bella. It won't be long now, and I'll have you all warm and snug as possible."

Another tremor shot through her frame at his words, making him struggle not to push Alice to move faster, but he couldn't risk his friend breaking a leg in the dark, not even for Bella.

Edward dismounted, pulled a quaking Bella down into his arms, and carried her up the rickety steps to the door. It was still latched by some miracle promising a chance at warming the interior. He could only hope there was dry wood to be found for a fire and the chimney was still clear.

"Can you stand, Miss Bella?" he asked when he'd gotten the door open.

"Yes," she answered in a soft voice.

"Let me see what I can do about some light and a fire to get you warm."

The scent of sulfur once again danced around his nose as he struck a match with his thumb. The brief flare of light was enough to illuminate the interior of the tiny cabin.

Edward quickly spotted a kerosene lamp on the table and crossed the room to see if it would still work. They were in luck, the wick, dusty from neglect, caught immediately, though Edward had to spend several more precious matches in the process. By the cheery light of the lantern Edward could see there was still a stack of wood by the fireplace and an old fire already laid on the hearth. He easily lit a small twig from the lantern and threw it into the waiting kindling. By some miracle it caught after a brief struggle, and soon they were both staring hungrily at the eagerly licking flames.

Travelers or miners must have been there recently, for the dwelling was sparse, but adequately stocked, and much of its features hadn't been too badly ruined by vermin and time. At least the floorboards seemed safe and sound.

"There. I'll just take this lantern with me to get Alice settled and then be back in, Miss Bella. Don't worry. I won't be long," he added with a small smile. Even dripping wet and looking like a half-drowned cat, she was the most beautiful sight his eyes had ever beheld. The golden light from the fire illuminated her specter skin giving an illusory subtle hint of frosty pearls.

Appreciation for Edward's form lit her features as well. Did she find his six-foot-three inches of animal skin covered maleness appealing? Did she see him now as the knight-in-shining-armor she read of in the romance pamphlets she subscribed to? Yes, he knew she got such mail since the Forks postmistress, Miss Victoria, told him so. She knew everyone's business.

Taking a firm grip on himself, so he didn't do something foolish and utterly ungentlemanly, Edward turned on his heel and strode through the door out into howling winds. He quickly unsaddled Alice and placed her saddle on the stoop before leading her to the barn. The old structure fared far worse than the cabin, but there was straw in the rude stall and a bucket for water. Fortunately the rain barrel was reasonably clean from the steady pounding of the recent rain.

Edward rubbed Alice down well, then left her with a pail of water, her measure of grain (grateful it stayed dry in its oil cloth sack) and an arm-load of hay. She looked askance at him, tossed her glossy black head and snorted at the meager amenities, but seemed to understand beggars couldn't be choosers. Giving her a thankful scratch behind the ears, she swung her head around and nipped him on the shoulder with a love bite, and horse-lipped a sticky kiss on his cheek and nose. A respite of playfulness in a most uncertain situation. He closed the cross bar before leaving her to herself for the night. On his way past the hay stack, he filled a large tarp with the prickly grass.

Lugging the large bundle across his back, intent on fashioning as comfortable a bed for Bella as possible, he picked his way back across to the cabin. Edward found it extremely difficult not to run, but again clamped down his steadfast will and restrained himself, not wishing to risk injury in the darkness. Presently, he lifted the latch on the cabin door to enter, a sigh of relief quietly slipping past his lips.

The sight greeting him took his breath away. In his absence, Bella had removed her damaged gown and now stood clad only in the rough blanket from his saddle pack. Her creamy shoulders were completely bare, her fists clutching the cloth - the only thing preventing the blanket from falling past her breasts to reveal the entirety of her form to his hungry eyes.

Suddenly remembering himself, Edward spun around, turning his back as was only right.

"Edward, you don't have do that. I trust you. Come in and get warm. No use having you rescue me just to catch your death of cold."

"Yes, ma'am. I'll just take this over here." Propriety slid into place even though they were no strangers to each other's company.

Leaving the lantern on the table, Edward pulled his bundle through the door and promptly began fashioning a nest next to the fire, the old ropes on the bed undoubtedly too weak to be of use, and certainly too far from the heat of the fire for Edward's peace of mind. He wanted Bella warm now, not in a few hours.

She had been busy while he was gone, having not only retrieved the supplies off the saddle, but had also hung her dress and underclothes to dry from a rope near the door and lit another lantern, filling the cabin with a warm, friendly glow. She was breathtaking, a naked goddess. Oh, how he wanted to worship her...all of her.

Closing his eyes and drawing a deep breath, Edward collected his thoughts, determined to be a gentleman and return her to town in as much the condition she had left as possible. He would not be like those fu... animals and accost her virtue. He shoved back the scalding profanity customary to a lawman and focused again on Miss Bella. It was going to be bad enough when they got home as it was. The town gossips would never believe a young lady had remained untouched during her time in captivity, such men had one thing in mind, after all. Still the thought of touching her naked skin sent a tremor of desire down his spine and worsened the already straining situation in his skintight leathers.

"Edward, you're cold!" Bella exclaimed. "We must get you out of those wet clothes before you catch your death!"

In a flash Bella was across the tiny room and determinedly unbuttoning his shirt with one hand, the other too occupied with holding the scant protection of the blanket to be of any additional use to help her efforts.

Shocked, he pulled back, "Oh no, Miss Bella, that wouldn't be right. Besides, there's just the one blanket, and I wouldn't want to damage the innocence of your eyes."

He couldn't be sure, but he thought he heard her mutter, "Yeah, but I would."

"No, Edward. Your health is more important than any other consideration. How would I get back to town if you fell ill from chill and were not able to take me. If my modesty concerns you so much, Sheriff, I will put my dress back on so you can wear the blanket."

"No!" Edward took a calming breath, the thought of her covering up caused him to speak more harsh than he meant to. "No, Mi... Bella. I couldn't live with myself if you took ill now that I've gotten you away from those filthy beasts. I will take off my wet things if you will turn your back." Although, he didn't relish the thought of trying to peel off the saturated skins, they tended to pinch in the wrong places.

Huffing, she nodded her head and complied. It was more erotic than he'd ever imagined having her creamy back an arm's length away as he undressed. The blanket had dipped low on her back, begging his lips to travel its length, placing kisses on every inch he could reach. The sounds of the sodden garments moving as he stripped were incredibly loud in the stillness of the room, only the pop and crackle of the fire disturbing the near perfect silence. His restraint held... barely.

Once down to his smallclothes, Edward was at a loss. It felt wrong to be utterly nude in Bella's presence - especially with his not so little problem.

Perhaps he should bed down in the barn with Alice. But no, even the fire would not be enough. He should help warm her. Perhaps if they sat like they had when they were riding. Surely then decency would be satisfied. The blanket would still be between them and Bella would have the benefit of both the fire and his own warmth to heat her. But the wet cloth of his under things could soak through the blanket, they would have to come off.

Taking a deep manly breath, Edward unlaced the tie holding up his undergarment and let it slide from his hips to the floor, his swollen cock bouncing lightly against his belly as it came free.

He couldn't quite suppress a groan as the cold air touched his flesh. He'd never been so aroused in his life, and he could do nothing about it. He would be a perfect gentleman, damn it!

Stepping forward he raised his hands to her shoulders, "Don't turn, Bella, but come this way. We will both benefit from the fire over here."

Her sharp inhalation as his flesh touched her bare skin shot straight to his cock. Doing his best to ignore it he guided her onto the pallet in front of the fire. "Sit down, Bella, facing the fire, and don't look, I'll sit behind you with the blanket between us."

"But you will be cold, Edward, we should share the blanket!"

"Thank you, Bella, but I can't compromise your virtue that way. I'll be fine. The fire and your back will keep me warm."

Sensing she recognized there would be no arguing with him on this point, he watched as Bella sank onto the tarp, her legs extended in front of her. As soon as she was settled, Edward's strong thighs slid past her own as he pulled her back against his chest just like when they were riding. Only this time her back, still exposed where the blanket could not reach, the scattered bruises on her shoulder only slightly visible in the firelight, pressed deliciously against his bare chest, making her breath leave her lungs in a rush. They were both in heaven, though trying desperately to disguise their enjoyment. He couldn't fool her, however, for she had to feel the… depth of his feeling for her pressed against her lower back, the blanket far too thin to disguise its bulk.

She might be a maid, but she'd grown up in a rural town, and he was sure she knew perfectly well the mechanics of interactions between men and women, if only through the congress of mating farm creatures.

They both felt their breathing increase as they sat lost in their own thoughts, aroused to the edge of bearing, and trying to think of how to progress through the night. Edward moved his hand to run it though his hair in frustration, the move causing his peaked nipples to slide across the smooth plains of her upper back, shooting shivers up and down his spine and causing a low moan to escape his lips.

"You are cold! This will never do!" And before he could protest Bella had pulled the blanket from beneath her and, pushing him back, forced both to lie down. She covered them equally with the blanket. "Much better," she murmured sounding highly satisfied.

Edward could hardly breathe for trying to keep a hold on his base instincts. Feeling her so close, her bottom nestled tightly against his most sensitive area, was bliss and torture all at once. His breath was coming in short pants when she reached back and grabbed his wrist, dragging his arm over her ribs, to settle it across her chest and cradle his hand in her own, pressed just above her naked bosom.

"Perfect," she breathed.

His breath sounded too loud in his ears, his heartbeat a strident pulsing he was sure could direct a parade ground from half a mile away. Her scent rose up to surround him in its warm femininity, guiding him to bury his nose in her hair just behind her ear.

"Edward," she moaned.

Surprisingly, hopefully, triumphantly, Edward found her head turned toward him, their lips a mere whisper apart, Bella's neck straining with the odd angle to bring her lips within range of his own. He had dreamt of tasting her full lips. For years the idea had haunted him, from the time he had pulled her pig tails all those years ago. And now it was real, and she was no longer a young girl.

Their lips met in a soft embrace, igniting a fury of sensation in their bodies. With a loud resonant groan he surrendered, slipping from behind her to lay next to her, partially encompassing her with his bulk. Their lips crashed together for a second passion-filled kiss; their need for one another rampant in the strident motions and intense pressure. The tension, fear and euphoria of the day's events heightened their desire in the most primal way.

Lips clashed, hands clutched, bodies arched and rubbed. What had been repressed for far too long was unleashed in glorious, wanton movement accompanied by the sounds of need and pleasure. Before long they found themselves at the moment of no return. His cock was pressed against her wetness, and Bella couldn't have felt more right.

"Mine," he growled the sound striking both with determination and desire.

"Yes, Edward! All those months ago, you promised my father to care for me... Please, at long last, make me completely yours!"

He meant to take it slow and gentle, be careful of her bruises and rope burns. It was the least he could do to salve his aching conscience, but he thrust just as she lifted, and they met in one glorious motion, his rod fully seated in her wet shaft. They both cried out with surprise and concern for the other, but mostly from pleasure. He felt her body flare at the intrusion, with a cacophony of sensation he was welcomed deeply. She seemed not to care to slow enough to be certain if the feelings were precisely good or ill. He hesitated; she had been bound and tormented for days by Aro's men.

"NO! Don't stop!" she cried gripping him tightly to her with hands and legs. "More."

So he surrendered to his desire and began to rhythmically surge into her, his hands finding their way into her hair as his lips attacked her skin with feral delight. Her gasps and strained cries spurring him on to cling to some kind of restraint, desperate to bring her pleasure before taking his own, while his quickening speed signaled the complete release of the other. Finally his hands curved from behind her back to firmly grasp her shoulders with his long fingers, anchoring her to him as his seemingly brutal rhythm reached its crescendo.

"Oooh! Yes! Yes! Ahhhhhh!" she cried as her body exploded, clenching tightly around him in every manner possible. His answering bellow of release struck, fracturing his mind, as the perfect accompaniment to her own wild cries before he collapsed in a boneless heap atop her. He offered his weight to make her feel more loved and secure than she had ever felt before.

They lay twined together for many long minutes, drowsing in the warmth of the fire and the heat of their embrace. When Bella's breathing had been slow for several minutes she tentatively placed moist kisses along Edward's shoulder and nuzzled his head where it was buried into her own shoulder. She ran her finger tips over the softness of his skin and gentle fuzz of the hair around his ears. His humming response made her smile.

His muffled voice rose from next to her skin, "This isn't how I pictured doing this, but… marry me, Bella. Make me the proudest man in creation."

Rearing back at last to look her in her eyes, he asked again, "Will you be my wife?"

The concern, love and insecurity in his eyes was honest, and he hoped she found him completely endearing, but he feared she wouldn't accept anyone out of charity. Her hesitation cut him to the bone.

"Oh, Edward. You don't have to offer me marriage because of what we just did," she said curling in on herself and turning to the side. Unbeknownst to him, tears began to slide from her eyes as she hid her face from him.

"What? NO! I mean, no, Bella, not just because of our physical loving. I've wanted to marry you for as long as I can remember, I just never felt worthy. Tonight showed me you are too precious to me to ever let go of again. I want you, Bella. I will always want you… in any way you will have me," as he spoke he to fell to his side and pulled her against his chest, nuzzling her neck and hair.

"When those filthy men,"Edward felt the foulness of the name on his tongue, "took you, I almost went out of my mind. Each day that dawned with you - God only knew where, was a soul-eating eternity for me. Now that I have you back with me, I want to make you mine, visibly, tangibly mine. I want to scream it from the church tower for all the world to hear. I want to make you as much mine legally as you always have been in my heart. And yes, I want to make an honest woman of you, but mostly I don't want anyone to have any reason ever to part us again."

Bella's quiet tears became heaving sobs as Edward spoke, filling his heart with the icy fear of rejection. Maybe she didn't want him and viewed what they did as a violation. Finally through her sobs she drew steady enough breath to whisper, "Yes, Edward. In that case I want nothing more!"

His grip became nearly suffocating as his quiet relief, almost to the point of his own undoing, joined hers, both of them sharing the venting of their fears, relief and joy. Her tears soon quieted, and they lay closely, nestled as neatly as two silver spoons in a drawer. When the exhaustion of the day teamed up with the warmth of their new found security, they allowed sleep to gently steal over them together.

The wind howled through a chink in the weathered panes of the window. Dust billowed on the drafts wending through the creaking frame boards. Aro Volturi gazed at the two young lovers lying on the makeshift pallet in front of the fire through the glazed glass.

His venom stare bored nails of hatred into Edward. A flint of light reflected in the thunder shower from the scalpel he held. Sniffing deeply at the window, as he hoped to catch a thread of sexual aroma swirling heavily upon the air, Aro licked the blade of his instrument of pain.

Il suo strumento di scelta. His instrument of choice.

Edward gasped awake and desperately threw off the blanket of sleep from his brain. His gaze tore to the window where he was sure a phantasm had just been spying on them. Bella murmured in her sleep and reached to him for reassurance. He laid back down and held his soon-to-be wife close while his heart beat against the vulnerable cage of his chest.

This wasn't over. Not as long as Aro was on the loose and looking to get revenge on all those involved with his imprisonment. Placing a kiss on the crown of Bella's head, he wondered how he would keep all those he loved, safe...

~&~&~&~

Happy Birthday, Tosh!! Our planning went awry, and it turned into a period piece of fun!! We hope you love it as much as we loved writing it for you. - Ape

Happy Birthday, Tosh! - Kari

Loves from all the girls at the DW - Rie (of course - she wrote you a bad ass BH outtake!), Amanda, Kat, Jo, Jenn, Liz, Lisa, Mer, V, Rachel, Robin, Annette, Lori, Kristen, Did I forget anyone??

Excuse me? You forgot ME - I send birthday greetings too! xoxo, Vi - - I didn't forget you, I was waiting for you to write this, Miss Viola Cornuta! Sheesh! – Ape

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