Twilight's Stephenie Meyer's. The M-rating is for language, suicide content (no one will die) and lime/lemons.

Chapter1/Love, like death

Fuck if I wasn't the last passenger to board the plane. I wanted to yell at the airport official to hurry the fuck up. I almost ripped my boarding pass from him before running on the flight gate passage way.

I was greeted with stony faces but ... ah well. Really glad I was flying first class, courtesy of my parents. I hurried to my assigned number.

The window seat next to mine was already occupied. I was expecting an irate stranger's glare for being tardy.

God, please, let it be female so I could charm her panties off of her. I grinned at the thought. I turned to my seatmate. Female. Good.

She appeared to be sleeping, turned away towards the small window. I could see little of her face, it was concealed by her long brownish hair.

I was seriously thinking of letting her keep both seats and find a place for myself alone but I didn't want the flight attendants to order me back here so I sat down beside the sleeping girl, careful not to disturb her. I would wait until we were airborne and the cabin lights turned off before I go hunting.

I needed to think my next move anyway. I would be in college soon and damned if I had any idea what I would fucking do with it.

I closed my eyes remembering Carlisle's often-repeated summation of Edward Cullen. Egotistical. Domineering. Overindulgent. Too many girls wrapped around my ...

My mind shut down, refusing to recall that conversation with my father. I mentally slammed the door on the good doctor, for now.

I focused on what was waiting for me, which was three weeks in Chicago with my brother Emmett and my sister's boyfriend, Jasper. They arrived a week ago. Alice was there now too.

As soon as I was buckled in, the plane moved in preparation for ascent.

I observed my sleeping seatmate. She looked depleted and fast sleep. How could that be? I was only 15 minutes late boarding the plane. She couldn't have fallen into deep slumber in just short a time. Her breathing was slow but somehow labored, as if she had been crying.

We had to wait for a quarter of an hour more before takeoff. My eyes were drawn to the girl. What happened to her that she could be this exhausted?

The plane increased engine power and we were off the ground.

The girl awoke abruptly, gasping. She grabbed my hand on the armrest between us, sending an electric current all along my arm and body.

She was startled by the ascending aircraft. I froze. Her small hand was cold as she gripped mine hard.

Motionless, she stared fixedly forward. I wanted to look away, pretend that I wasn't mesmerized by her ashen face but my eyes were glued to her profile.

Slowly, she turned her head to look at me, bemused at first then her expression cleared as if she knew who I was.

The moment I locked eyes with her I felt a rush of heat and my chest constricted, my heart inflating and cramping its limited space. Clear, brown eyes watched me intently. I held my breath - which made my palpitations even more sharp -and I stared right back at her.

Her face was pale, heart-shaped, framed by her long wavy hair. When I started feeling lightheaded, I realized I had stopped breathing. I gulped air, still focused on her intriguing face.

I waited for her to speak. I knew I was still fixated on her face. She looked at our joined hands, her lips trembled and she bit her bottom lip hard, as if keeping inside a strong emotion.

"Are you alright?" I asked her, tone low.

I was concerned for her, even though she nearly gave me heart failure a moment ago. She looked ready to cry. I was afraid if I talk too loud she would break.

She nodded, still not looking at me. But she did not let go of my hand. She continued to stare at our clasped hands and she slowly laced her tiny fingers through mine. I drew a long breath.

I was stunned by the simple intimacy of this gesture. Who fucking knew holding hands could be this ... I failed to think of a more apt word except arousing. I exhaled harshly.

She snapped her eyes to me, her impassioned expression piercing, unsmiling.

The girl let go of my gaze and she leaned back in her seat. She closed her eyes, my hand in her tight grasp.

I did not move, not even a twitch. I could feel her fingers warming as they clutched mine, her thumb slowly stroking my forefinger.

She was doing it unconsciously and yet her touch was ...

I shivered.

Her touch was pure tactile sex.

I was ashamed to admit that there were two prominent muscles in my body that were pooling blood; one's pumping it and the other one was engorging itself in it. Both were pulsating and veiny.

She tormented me for another half hour.

Her eyes were closed the whole time and finally, she removed her hold on my hand.

I almost grabbed hers back but I stopped myself. I flexed my tingly fingers. I looked quickly at her less this action offended her. Her eyes remained shut.

I wanted to ask her what was wrong but I didn't want to intrude. She had an aura about her – elusive, frail and ethereal. She turned her body towards me, eyes still closed. Her breathing was not normal as if every inhale was an effort. I felt a strong urge to touch her face and offer her comfort.

A full hour passed. For what seemed like a hundred times I caught myself staring at her serene face.

Look away, Cullen. Don't be fucking rude.

There was no one sitting in front of us, behind us and across the aisle. It was as if we were completely alone.

I could hear the flight attendants making their rounds, asking passengers their requirements, if any. Offering drinks, reading materials, blankets. I didn't mind this because I would know what her name was. As business class passengers, they would address us by name.

"Mr. Cullen, would you like a drink and something to read? Here's our movie list during the flight." The female cabin crew – I glanced at her ID badge her name was Amber – asked of me.

"Nothing for me, thank you," I replied.

The woman, Amber, surreptitiously looked down. I knew that coy look and I sighed, thinking she would slip a paper with her phone number to me later. She licked her lips.

I cleared my throat and inclined my head at my seatmate, who was still sleeping. I was disappointed when Amber, now looking at my mouth, turned away and spoke to the next aisle of passengers, not wanting to disturb the silent girl.

I forced myself to look straight ahead. I was so very aware of my seatmate's slow breathing and the occasional deep sighing.

And was that a moan? I closed my eyes.

That sound – that breathy sound she was making was doing fuck things to my dick. I knew she was asleep. I almost want to wake her up and do ... what? "Excuse me miss, but you exhaling air that way is stimulating my penis. Do you mind?" was not something you would say to a stranger. At least, not on the plane.

I looked at her face again. What happened to her? Should I ask her when she wakes up? Was she even planning to be lucid during this flight?

Another hour slipped by us. My attentive dick had subsided but would quiver a little whenever she would make that little moan-like whimper. I cheated a few times, gazing down at her.

Her skin was translucent, fragile-looking. Her frame was slender, small-boned. I estimated her height to be around 5'3 or 5'4. She was wearing thin clothes under her white cotton sweater. She must be cold.

Her face fascinates me it was so porcelain-pale. She couldn't be more than 16 years old. Her lips were pink and slightly parted as she slept.

I lost thirty-six hundred more seconds to time. By now, I had spent 180 minutes thinking about her – for most of that - when I should be planning my year-long school schedules. That was longer than I had ever allotted on a girl before.

With a mental shrug, I refocused on college and New Hampshire.

Ten seconds later I gave up.

My self-gratifying trivial life didn't seem to matter. I was not sure how it had happened but absurdly, I refuse to leave my seat now.

I could see there were several rows of empty seats behind us. For some reason, and I hoped not because I was depraved, she interests me. A whole fucking lot.

I passed the time trying to guess the girl's name. She would have a classic name, an out-of-style name like mine. She could be an Elizabeth or Katherine with a sweet nickname like Lizzie or Katie. I glanced lower and noted that her neck and tiny hands - my eyes purposely avoiding her chest area - were pale and delicate, the same color as her face.

She would love to stay indoors; liked to read books all day long. She probably cooks. Her laugh would be musical and sweet. I could easily visualize her in too innocent surroundings. No one would want to hurt this girl. I felt a sudden burst of protective impulse towards this stranger.

I resumed my staring, which was a real compulsion now, imagining her life.

My jaw tightened at a sudden thought. Maybe she was heartbroken, possibly missing a boy. Of course a girl like this, with her face, would have a guy somewhere. It was ridiculous not to have thought of this before.

So that was it then, she broke off with her boyfriend and now she was in pain, dejected. Would he come after her? I would. Surprised, I straightened up and made myself look away.

This was not good. How long was I fixated on her face?

Four fucking hours, Cullen. Maybe five.

I laughed soundlessly. I was obsessing with a stranger. I was too fascinated of the girl with the sad, too beautiful eyes. I was sexually aroused and she wasn't doing anything except breathe.

What if she was, indeed, attached? An emotion that I had no right to began to spread over me.

What was this?

Jealousy?

Fuck me.

So what if she was in a relationship with some stupid jackass. Who would leave her like this?

I gave her an eyeful again, as if I had no real choice but to gaze at her. My eyes absorbing every minute feature of her face, her smooth eyebrows, long eyelashes, pert nose and that mouth.

I groaned inwardly, dick throbbing.

I knew what was wrong with me. I was a man lusting after a woman with a face that makes men think sex.

A delicately appealing face, an Emma Lyon face.

How many times have I gazed with a bone-on at Lady Hamilton's portrait as Circe?

It was really not my fault. This was purely neurological.

Perhaps I should move. Vacate this seat now. Find another seat and let her be. I was seconds away from making that decision when I heard a small sound.

Relieved, I whipped my head back to her. She let out another deep sigh and her fingers twitched.

Open your eyes. Please. Look at me.

She did and she looked straight at me, her soft eyes – liquid brown this time –focusing on my own face as she gradually gained lucidity.

My thumping heart was finally going to induce cardiac arrest, I grimaced at the thought. I instinctively rubbed my chest.

I wanted to charm her with my lopsided lazy grin but my emotions were too wired.

Why was I so fucking nervous? I had waited for her to wake up for hours and I couldn't even utter one word, my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth.

She frowned.

I held my breath.

Then she spoke for the first time, a mere whisper. "Where are we?"

I soaked up the sound of her melodic voice, felt it go through me. "We're somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean."

"Where are we going?" She turned her face away from me, as if suddenly shy. Her voice was soft, genteel.

I hesitated. My instincts telling me to tread carefully since a wrong answer could trigger something irrepressible within her.

"Where do you want to go?"

"I … don't know," she murmured, looking down at her hand and mine.

To my amazement, she laced our fingers tight. The same electric current traveled under and up my skin when she touched me.

I felt a little reckless. All I wanted was to make things easier for her, to remove that dejected look in her dark eyes.

"Tell me," I urged her. Her eyes flew up to me, startled.

"T-tell you ..." Her voice sounded panicked.

"Tell me what's wrong?" I finished for her.

"I don't know …" She trailed off, looking away. Her body stiffened and I knew without looking at her that her pale face had gone impossibly whiter.

Her silent suffering was making me crazy. I touched her arm lightly, hoping I would not frighten her. She didn't move.

I leaned down to her, my lips to her ear. "It's alright." I paused, knowing I meant every word. "I will take you where you want to go."

She turned her face, just inches from mine. I could smell her sweet breath. "I don't want to go home."

A tear rolled down her cheek. Our faces were so close her tear brushed my skin.

I didn't know how to answer that. I leaned away, my eyes never wavering from her face.

"Do you want to tell me about it?" It was a question I had waited too long to ask.

She shook her head, her free hand brushing her tears away. She sighed, looking at me apologetically, and closed her eyes again.

I clenched my teeth and prayed for patience. She let go of my hand. I suddenly felt empty.

I knew she would not sleep. Maybe she wants to be left alone. I would give her that.

I was about to get up but her eyes opened as soon as she felt me move. She grabbed my hand again, linking our fingers.

"Don't leave me," she pleaded.

There was something in her voice, a desperation that warned me she was about to go to pieces. But she was gazing up at me as if I was the only one who could hold her together.

"I may be disturbing you," I said at last. It took me a second to reply to her. My wits seemed to have left me.

"No," she said simply. "Don't go." She closed her eyes once more.

I stayed, but I kept my silence and I waited for her to speak to me again. Oddly, this was enough for me, for the moment. She still had possession of my hand and I tightened my fingers around her fragile ones. I barely stopped myself from taking her in my arms. I wanted to comfort her badly, however I could.

We didn't speak for awhile, just sat there, our shoulders touching and our hands wound tight.

She looked at me finally. She smiled a little. What the small expression did to her face made me catch my breath. My heartbeat was racing too fast.

"I think I'm hungry," she whispered.

I hate to let go of her hand but I need both to reach above our heads to get my bag of chips and bottled water in the overhead compartment.

"It's not a meal but this will do. They'll give us food soon," I promised her. "If that can't wait, I'm sure I can get you yours before everyone else's."

"Thank you." She nibbled at the chips slowly.

How could watching someone eat be that interesting? I find her gestures, the way her small mouth moves while she ate provocative. I barely knew her but I couldn't stop staring at her.

When she finished almost half of the bag, she opened her bottled water, drank from it and looked at me. I took the bag of chips and stored it in the front seat holder.

"Want a fuller meal now?"

"No, it was enough."

"How long has it been since your last meal?"

She frowned, thinking about it. "It's been awhile."

Wordlessly, I got up and looked for Amber. And as expected she didn't say no to me. I came back with the food.

She murmured her thanks and I watched her eating, again. She tried to share some of her food with me, which I did. I wasn't really hungry but I wanted her to be comfortable with me.

When she was done and the food taken away, she looked lost again. I asked her if she would like to go to the washroom. When she was settled back in her seat, she stayed quiet for awhile, looking down at her hands.

I was content to gawk at her. I knew that she was aware that I was watching her. She didn't seem to mind that at all. I was sure she was used to people ogling her and that was exactly what I was doing.

I realized that soon we would get off this plane. Six hours had passed since we took flight, which meant in less than two hours we would land.

The other passengers were served their food. The bosomy Amber, no surprise, lingered on me flirtatiously but I declined her service - both the food and whatever else she was offering. The flight attendants cleared all seats and dimmed the aisle lighting. It would be all over soon.

It felt strange for I miss this mysterious girl already. Not seeing her again would be unbearable, like losing a limb. I didn't even know her name. But I didn't ask her. I wanted her to volunteer the information. Disclosing her identity to me meant she wanted this not to end somehow, for the two of us to go beyond the last two hours, to continue to know each other.

But go beyond as what? Friends? Hell, no. I didn't want to be just friends with her.

I clenched my hands into fists. My still body alerted something in the sensitive girl. She moved, fully turning to me. I did the same and we were facing each other now.

She ran her eyes all over my face, her expression soft. I became still, hardly breathing. And when I did breathe, it was quickened.

What would it feel like to touch her face? And then suddenly, without conscious thought, I was touching her face. I stared at my large hand, caressing that precious face.

She did not drop her eyes from mine but her cheeks flushed with healthy pink. Fucking adorable. Soft pink skin, not so pale anymore.

I stroked her cheek. She closed her eyes and sighed. I ran a fingertip to her eyebrows, tracing the line of her perfect nose and around her soft lips. I caressed her there, moving back and forth across the opening of her mouth, imagining my tongue doing that.

I wanted so much to touch my lips to hers, to take her breath into mine. To merge with her soul, to be that close to her as if we were silent lovers, lost in our own private bubble.

I guess I was dreaming because I suddenly felt her silky lips against mine. Did I move? I froze.

Unbelievably, I was kissing her. I was sucking on her bottom lip. Was I forcing this intimacy on her? I slowly opened my eyes – just realizing they were closed while I kissed her – and gazed at her, afraid to make a sudden move.

"I'm sorry," I apologized, not knowing why.

She opened her eyes, her gaze half-lidded.

"I kissed you," she whispered.

My eyes widened. Yes. She. Did.

She was leaning onto me, having been the one to close the gap between us. She kissed me. I cupped her face and looked deeply into her eyes.

"In two hours we will land," I said, not liking this subject but I couldn't ignore it either. Knowing this, I started memorizing her exquisite face.

She leaned forward to brush her mouth with mine again. I forgot what we were talking about.

I tried to do this with my mouth closed. I didn't want to overwhelm her but she gently pulled my lower lip open and licked it. I tilted my head slightly to one side and slipped my tongue inside her mouth.

She pressed her body closer and our tongues mated, moving in a slow, circular motion. Her taste was pure.

It was she who broke the kiss after many minutes. She held my hand and leaned her head against my shoulder.

I could feel myself going numb. Was she saying goodbye?

"No," she murmured, as if in answer to my silent question. "I don't want to say goodbye," she said quietly, still not looking at me.

I put my hand under her chin, lifting her luminous eyes to me. "Tell me what you want me to do." I knew exactly what I wanted to do but this was all too new for me.

She hesitated, unsure. She started to pull away but I refused to let her move even an inch.

"I'm not going to say goodbye to you," I told her and I didn't care if I sound lunatic or worse, like a lovesick and obsessed boy.

She put her small hands to my face, tenderly stroking my scruffy jaw. She whispered intensely to me, "I don't know what to do or who I am anymore."

I absorbed her brown eyes, her sweet breath, her alluring scent and I could stand it no longer.

"Tell me your name."

She didn't answer that but pressed her lips against mine again. I opened my mouth and forced hers to open too. After several more rousing minutes, she murmured against my mouth: "Bella."

Perfect and beautiful, like the girl.

"Edward Cullen."

She blinked as if dazzled. "Edward?" she breathed my name.

She kissed my mouth with a bit more force this time, her fingers tangling in my hair. I raised the armrest between us so I could put my arms around her and pull her closer.

I kissed her like I wanted to from the first moment I looked into her brown eyes. I angled my head so I could access her mouth better.

When she bit my lower lip and then sucked on it, I put my arms around her waist and pulled her against me until she was almost lying across my length. I didn't want to startle her but my lips came down on her with more urgency. She opened her mouth and I slid my tongue inside, exploring every part of her luscious mouth.

I kissed her with eager passion and I almost completely lost my head when she moaned that sexy breathy sound only she could make and she put her arms around my neck and pulled herself even closer.

I lifted her onto my lap, not hiding that part of my body that was poking her hard in her stomach.

The way she was stroking my tongue was so fucking good. This was more than lust. The kiss was needy and desperate.

When she straddled me, I wrenched my mouth from hers. She whimpered and I calmed her, gently pushing her head on my shoulder, both of us panting.

I had to stop. I was seconds away from an embarrassing situation.

I took a deep breath. It was hard to believe that only seven hours ago, I didn't know this girl existed.

I held her trembling body closer. Her response was a tighter embrace, her crotch against my erection. She lifted her face and kissed me open-mouthed and I felt both pleasure and pain and I lost my grip on whatever flimsy control I had.

Someone cleared her throat. We both froze, still locked in the heated embrace. I tucked her head against my chest, hiding her.

I looked around the darkened aisle and nodded at the flight attendant, acknowledging her admonition.

After a few more moments, while the flight attendant completed her rounds, we were alone again or as much cocooned as we were in our little universe.

Bella lifted her head to look at me. Her eyes were blazing. I knew mine would be smoldering as well, my body still very much excited.

I smiled crookedly at her.

"Bella, what the hell did you do to me?"

My voice was soothing as if I hadn't been damned near exploding only minutes earlier.

"Edward ..." She rolled my name on her tongue as if tasting it. I felt my cock grow impossibly harder, my forced calm ebbing away. She had such a strong effect on me.

"Would you like to sit on your side now? You're wreaking too much havoc on my poor self."

She shook her head and hid her face on my chest again.

This was not a very comfortable position for me. I couldn't think straight with her like this. I was a teenager like herself after all and like all teenage boys I was prone to our legendary ornery testosterone.

My testosterone level was at all-time high, as it were. I hate to let her go but I need to if I was to survive the next few hours.

I shifted her weight and placed her in her seat, keeping my hold on her, my arm around her waist. She looked up at me sharply. I grinned at her, knowing that she didn't want to sit like this.

"I don't know if I can control myself," I said bluntly.

She blushed and put her arms around me. I kissed the top of her head.

"What do you want to do when we get off this plane?"

Her face turned deep red, I could tell, even in dimmed lighting.

Now what was she thinking? "What I meant was where do you want to go?"

"I'm not sure."

"Are there any options?" I prodded her.

She shrugged delicately. I wanted to ask her about her parents, her family, and why was she on this flight? But I didn't want her to be sad again. Better to discuss locations first.

"Do you want me to take you where I'm going?" I murmured to her, suddenly nervous.

"Where are you going?"

"To my brother in Chicago," I told her. "We were supposed to stay there until the end of the month."

She caught my intended meaning. "You were supposed to ..?"

"My plans will change, depending on where you want to go." It felt like a commitment, saying those words. Would she balk? Did she realize what I meant?

"I don't care where you take me."

I went still, digesting her words. She wanted to be with me?

"You will stay with me?"

She nodded, biting her lower lip. I stopped her doing that before she actually hurt herself and kissed her. I didn't want to take her words too literally. I didn't want to hope.

"How old are you?"

"Eighteen," she said in a tone suggesting both vulnerability and defiance. This made her quiet for a moment as if it brought her cheerless memories. I lightly squeezed her arm.

"What is it?" I asked. She shook her head. "Your relatives could be looking for you," I said, and by the way she stiffened, I could tell I guessed right. That she ran away and nobody knew where she was right this very moment.

Why did she leave her home? Family disputes? Someone closed to her passed away? Grief would make anyone feel lost and adrift, disconnected, and she was so young to have to endure this alone.

"I tried to kill myself," she said quietly.


***a/n

I've re-posted the story to "re-chapterize". It will be exactly the same but the pacing will be different, in terms of word count. To all who left reviews before (sorry they were all deleted when I re-uploaded), I really, really appreciate your words of encouragement. To all who put it on alert and favorites, thanks for reading!

Lady Emma Hamilton as Circe was painted by George Romney (1782).


All character names in the story, except for some not generally recognized, belong to the author of The Twilight Saga. Plot lines and settings not identified or familiar to Twilight belong to the writer.