This was written for the There Will Be Blood Contest and it won third place in the public vote. Enjoy!

Edward sought peace; it was his right, considering his gift of reading minds. Cities were a plague as thoughts ran rampant among the mundane, liars, and the psychotic. Small towns were only good enough to live in for a while. Moreover, he was never been cut out to be nomadic as other vampires were.

He wanted to be able to sit at his piano and play for days at time without bothering sleeping neighbors.

Forks, Washington leaned toward the small town category, except that it had many rural homes. The old Whitmore House, situated near the road that led to some hunting grounds, but he knew it would not fit him. It was too close to the road. The real estate agent that he was working with finally found the perfect place, deep in the forests that surrounded the sleepy town. It wasn't far from the first house.

Revving his red Ducati Streetfighter, he weaved through traffic on Main Street, that made up most of Forks. The humans that inhabited the town were already talking about the reclusive artist that moved into the Chatman Estate. Edward stopped at a red light and watched two busybodies at the crosswalk, staring. He rolled his eyes but a smile twitched at the corners of his mouth from their thoughts.

I wonder if he's rich? Maybe my Jessica will divorce that lazy Michael.

He seems young, maybe early twenties. A motorcycle in Forks!

He had to admit the idea of a motorcycle in Forks was laughable. It rained almost ninety percent of the year, making for bad road conditions. Slick roads and motorcycles didn't mix well—for a human.

Edward was far from human.

Twilight had given to night as he passed the Whitmore House. He noticed an old truck in front and a light on inside. It seemed that he wasn't the only new resident. The new development didn't matter much, since the house was far enough that their thoughts wouldn't bother him.

His motorcycle ran smoothly over the asphalt as it turned to gravel beneath the tires. After a mile of dense trees that bordered his driveway, he drove into the mouth of the gaping blackness at the end.

He really should've left a light on, not that he needed it. His night vision was perfect, far better than that of the creatures he hunted. After parking in his garage, he removed his helmet. He ran a gloved hand over his unruly hair and stubbled jaw. He shook off the moisture that had gathered on his leather jacket from his drive into Port Angeles. Once he felt sufficiently dried, he jumped off the bike to retrieve his purchases. It was when he hung his jacket that he heard it.

Distracted by the sound of a human heartbeat, he walked out of the garage. He turned toward the sound, confused that it seemed so close. Even with the Whitmore House more than two miles away, he shouldn't be able to hear it so distinctly. It also seemed strange that there weren't thoughts accompanying the heart. He should've been able to pick up his or her thoughts easily.

In the distance, a twig snapped. He followed the sounds that had intruded his peace, curious as to why the person seemed not to be thinking. He kept to the dark, hid behind thick tree trucks and inhaled deeply. The scent of this human's blood was sweet with a spicy edge to it.

From the west, the heartbeat continued, a slow melodic rhythm—one easily found in a sensual song. Edward swayed for a moment, struck by the notes that started to flow. Closer the sound came to him as he composed a new song. He wanted to hear more, so he sought out the inspiration. His fingers itched to reach out for the keys of his piano, but his mind was set on his task.

He wasn't worried about hurting whoever it was. He hadn't drunk from humans for over a century, his gift made the act distasteful. To hear the thoughts of those he killed, that look in their eyes when they knew they're going to die. Over time, he'd been able to overcome the call of human blood.

A mile into the dense forest behind his property, he heard the sound of water—a nearby brook. It was the same one that he'd heard it while hunting, but hadn't time to explore.

He'd been busy creating new music and conveniently dropping the song into the mind of up and coming composer. Suggestive mind control and insertion of memories were recent gifts that he had learned to develop. He figured if he could read them coming out, then he can certainly put some in. It took time to perfect it.

His music was his mark in the world even if he didn't get the credit. It was something that tied him to his humanity.

Edward heard the sound of rustling fabric, and the smell of cotton filled his nose. He could smell the sweet blood that rushed through the heart of inspiration. Vanilla and lavender accompanied the decadent scent and something that was distinctly female. His cock hardened immediately, surprising him. His fingers dug into the Cyprus he leaned on, as arousal punched through him. He'd never reacted to a scent in such a manner. Curious as to whom the mouth-watering smell belonged to, he followed the sound of her feet. She was barefoot, because there was no smell of rubber, vinyl or leather.

His breath left his lungs swiftly and powerfully when the girl came into view. He immediately corrected himself for she was no girl, but a woman. She wore a thin cotton dress, the hem falling a few inches atop of her knees, hiding nothing. Edward could see the soft, pale skin of her shoulders, the swells of her breasts, and the shape of her sex. She wasn't wearing anything underneath as she continued to walk.

He thought she was achingly beautiful under the moonlight. Dark luxurious hair cascaded down her back, the tips of it touching the top curve of her backside. Her face was ethereal as she turned left and right in search of something. She must've sensed his upcoming approach, and this delighted him. She was aware of him, as he was aware of her. Her face was almost ashen white, except for the pink-tinge of her cheeks and lips. The stranger had luminous brown eyes, heavily fringed by dark lashes, a perfect nose that upturned a bit at the tip, and lush pink lips. Her lovely heart-shaped face led to an elegant neck and perfectly proportioned ears. It was then that he saw it.

It was visible under a short cropping of hair that surrounded it, and devastating to find.

Just behind her temple was a thin five-inch scar. This lovely creature had endured great pain recently because her injury was still looked raw. She stepped over sharp rocks as if they were nothing, as if they didn't hurt her. Edward inhaled again and could smell fresh blood. Luckily for her, he was almost immune to the call. She didn't wince or cry out with every step she took, even though he could clearly see she had rocks embedded in soles of her feet.

This angered him for inexplicable reasons. Here was a beautiful human, that had been given a second chance in life, and all she sought out was pain. He watched as she continued down a lightly worn path toward the brook on his property. Her feet twisted suddenly around a tree root and she fell. Instinct perhaps had him kneeling beside her in less than a second.

"Careful," he said, laying a hand at the small of her back. She had landed on all fours, an enticing position, but held little interest to Edward when he realized she was crying.

"I thought I felt someone near," she murmured and sniffled, not attempting to move. "I don't feel anything." The wind picked up her words and carried them to him, the ache behind them obvious.

"You're bleeding," he reasoned. She had to be feeling something.

"I am?"

"Yes, come. Let me help you." His voice was a smooth cadence in an attempt to get her off her knees, so to better assess her injuries.

"Take me to the water," she said in a desperate, breathy whisper. "Please."

He told her he would, unaware what drove him to do her bidding. He felt he'd deny her nothing if it meant that she'd no longer cry. She hadn't looked up at him yet. She trembled as his hand drifted up her back to cradle her neck. She gasped suddenly from his touch, making him back off immediately. Her eyes snapped to his.

"I felt your touch," she said in awe. He was confused by this confession. "I haven't felt a person's touch since the accident."

Then he understood why the tears continued to fall from her eyes, why she seemed not to feel any physical pain or why she hadn't known she was bleeding. Her injury had caused a horrible side effect.

"Oh, sweetheart," he whispered, kneeling again to take her in his arms. "I'm sorry. Were my hands too cold?" His hands ran across her shoulders and he felt her shiver beneath his palm.

"Not cold, but a tingling burn," she said, looking into his eyes. She seemed momentarily lost, his affect on her very similar to others. His looks, smell and voice all helped lure his prey. Looking into those glistening eyes, he could see she had an unmistakable lure more powerful than his own. She was enchanting and breathtaking.

With the almost limitless power in his arms, he lifted her and brought her achingly close to his body. She gasped, her eyes closing from what he could only read as pleasure. Her almost lifeless arms wrapped around his shoulders, her face settling at the crook of his neck. Edward felt her breath there, his skin warming from it.

"Can you tell me what happened to you?" he asked as he slowly walked forward.

She sniffled and nuzzled his neck. "It was a car accident and some flying debris from a big rig." It unsettled Edward, how much it hurt to know that something so awful happened to her. "Decapitated my friend," she said in flat tone. "Missed me, but not before causing the car to roll."

"I'm sorry," he said as he laid a gentle kiss where her scar was.

"I felt that," she said, shifting in his arms to look at him again. "Can you do that again?"

He understood why she asked him to touch her, kiss her again—she wanted to feel something. "I will, if you let me take care of your cuts."

She smiled and he felt his chest ache suddenly, as if his heart flipped over.

"Deal." She released an adorable laugh that ended with a snort. She clasped a hand over her mouth, her eyes no longer tearing but jubilant.

Edward sat her gently on an outcropping of rocks near the water. She whimpered when their flesh no longer met, he smiled. Careful now to keep contact with her at all times, his palms ran down her arms. Her fingers curled around his briefly, before his moved down further. Cold fingertips brushed against the sides of her breasts, earning another sweet gasp.

"Even through my dress, I feel you."

Edward swallowed, overwhelmed by how much he wanted her. "I'm going to take off my shirt to wet in the water," he said to her.

"But your shirt is so nice," she replied, fingering the collar of his button-up. "Take what you need from the bottom of my dress."

He looked at her warily, and thought briefly that exposing her more would drive him insane. He complied simply because she requested it. With nimble fingers, he tore two inches from the front hem of her dress, feeling the softness of her thighs under this cool fingers and palms. She was exquisite, and he wanted her all to himself.

"What is your name, beautiful?" he asked as he stepped away to soak up some of the cold water.

"It's what you just called me but in Italian. It's silly, really."

He smiled at her and whispered, "Bella, how fitting."

She unconsciously touched her scar, causing Edward to shake his head. Quickly going to her, he took her hand. "Even with the scar you are beautiful."

She bit her lip, a nervous habit, he surmised. She suddenly shifted where she sat, and then he was hit with a heady, musky scent—arousal. He hissed lowly, unable to contain it. This scent was much harder to ignore than her blood. His pants tightened further, an impossible feat considering he was already popping some of the teeth of his zipper.

"Give me your hands," he said huskily, a tone he had rarely had to use. He'd been with other vampires, and even a few humans before he'd been turned at twenty-five years old. Since his transformation, sex had felt more like a chore than pleasurable. It was due to the inane inner chatter of a woman while he was fucking her. He hadn't taken the time to try again in a very long time.

He shook his head to dispel the sudden urge to take the quarry that sat before him. No, with her quiet mind he'd take the time to pursue her, enjoy his and her pleasure.

Taking one of her small hands in his, he noticed how cold she felt. "Are you cold?"

She shook her head and moved to get closer to him. "Don't feel the cold," she repeated.

"You may not feel it, darling, but you are still affected by it," Edward said in a no-nonsense tone. "Here." He shifted onto his feet again and took off his shirt to place over her shoulders. She stilled but her eyes roamed over his naked chest.

"Don't you feel the cold?"

"It doesn't bother me," he replied simply. She looked unsurprised of his answer, and he longed to hear what she was thinking. Her eyes looked so earnest and inquisitive that he felt as if she were questioning his very soul.

He averted his eyes, afraid that he might scare her off if he continued to stare. He turned her tiny hand in his to see her palm. There was dirt and a few small scrapes and he checked her other hand and found it in the same condition. With deft fingers, he wiped away the grime and the minute rocks caught in the scrapes.

"You scratched all your lovely skin," he said, following one that fell inside her lifeline with a fingertip. The blood began to pool in the center of her palm, venom coated his tongue and prompted him to take action. He quickly soaked up the blood in the wet cotton, marring the scent and color.

"I've been doing that a lot lately," Bella said softly. "I'm a little clumsy." Edward snapped his eyes to hers when her scent became more pronounced. She was blushing. However, he didn't dwell on that. His eyes immediately roamed over her sweet, tight little body. Her gorgeous luminous skin was littered with bruises.

Fury caused him to drop her hand harshly, so to prevent him from accidentally exerting his strength on her fragile bones. "Don't you have someone to help you?"

Bella's trembling hand clutched at her chest, her eyes wide as she tried to move far from Edward. He was scaring her—liquid fear coursed through her veins.

His face smoothed over, his eyes imploring her. "I'm sorry." He knelt before her to show her that he was ashamed of what he'd done. "Just the thought of you bruised and hurt upsets me."

"Why?" she asked, cocking her head to the side. "Don't you feel sorry for me!"

Edward schooled his features; the anger in her tone amused him. This defiant and proud little human had him smiling.

"I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's your beauty that enchants me, the music of your heart, or the sweet infliction of your voice."

"You're attracted to me," she squeaked. This time Edward couldn't contain his smile or his laughter.

"Yes," he answered honestly.

"Okay." She grinned and placed her hands in his—surrendering so easily.

"That's all you have to say. It's hardly fair that I'm the only one to put myself on the line." He was teasing her, he was sure she knew it.

Bella rolled his eyes and snorted. "Like you don't know you're handsome," she teased. "I'm sure you're told everyday by your—wife?" She raised a curious eyebrow.

"Do you really think I'd follow a beautiful young woman into the forest if I had someone at home?"

She bit her lip, blushing once again. "No, you're right. I'm sorry for insinuating."

It hadn't bothered him really, since he checked if she had a wedding ring when he first saw her, there wasn't. "It's quite alright," Edward said sincerely. "Let's get you cleaned up before you catch cold."

"Thank you." Her voice was sweet and gentle, as were her soulful eyes.

"You're welcome." Edward set on his task, continuing to clean the scrapes of her battered hands and knees. Most the wounds had clotted as he worked. Bella remained quiet, watching him.

"You're very good at this," she whispered.

"Thank you. I was a medical student before—" he broke off, unable to complete the sentence. His change had occurred late one night on the way from the library. His newborn blood lust hadn't allowed him to continue his education. It had taken decades for him to get the level to be around blood.

"Before? Did you quit?"

Edward grimaced, not wanting to lie to her. "It just wasn't for me."

"Oh, that's too bad." She leaned down so he'd have to look up at her. "You have an excellent bedside manner."

He thought she was sweet and the urge to kiss her surged through him. "That may be because it's you." He bent his head down, placing a small kiss over one of the larger scrapes on her knee. Bella surprised him as her fingers wove through his hair.

It was wonderful not knowing what would happen next. With her thoughts kept from him, he had the ability to look forward to what could happen. He was sure that Bella would keep him on his toes.

"I know it should feel soft, like silk," she whispered sadly. His hand ran up the back of her calf, feeling her shudder as he tickled the back of her knee. She moaned softly, exciting him.

"You're soft," he told her. "And so warm."

"Your touch leaves me breathless," she gasped. "It burns and leaves a wake of fire beneath the surface."

"Close your eyes, Bella," he ordered in soft tone. "Let me take care of you."

She nodded, her eyes fluttered closed. Her fingers ran through his hair, while he lay short strokes over her cut up knees with the tip of his tongue. She shuddered beneath the touch of his lips. He wondered what she'd feel like moving under his body.

He took his time healing her cuts with his venom-coated tongue. She continued to play with his hair, tugging occasionally. It drove him crazy and he loved it. After healing her scraped knees, he looked back to admire his handwork. Her cute little knees were now scar free.

"Don't stop touching me, please," she pleaded.

"I won't, but I need to see your feet."

She nodded and shifted to lie on her back. Her arousal was pungent in the air that surrounded them. Edward licked and kissed a fiery trail down her a smooth calf, nipped gently at her ankle. He lifted her feet to see the underside and found a few cuts but nothing major. He wiped at the dirt and gave into his desire to heal her cuts again. There was hardly any blood, but enough to know she was the sweetest thing he'd ever come across before. He did the same to her other leg, kissing along the way until he took her foot in his hand. He winced when he saw a rock deeply embedded in the sole of her foot. He wiped up all the dirt that surrounded it, and he knew once he removed the rock that she'd bleed.

"Sweetheart, please tell me if I'm hurting you," he said. The last thing he wanted to do was to cause her more pain.

"I only feel you," she whispered.

Taking her heel in the palm of his hand, he removed the rock with the other. Once it was gone, he placed his mouth over the cut. Bella arched where she lay, moaning from his touch. It was taking every ounce of control not to drive into her—to claim her as his. Her blood trickled down his tongue and coated his throat. He moaned in pleasure, one of his hands moving over his cock, giving him temporary relief. After sealing the wound, he continued to heal the remaining cuts before moving over her body.

"It's time to take you home," he said, placing a small kiss at the corner of her mouth. Her hands cradled his face, her warm eyes watching him.

"What are you?" she asked. The question startled him, furrowing his eyebrows. "Friend? Foe? ... Lover?"

His lips hovered over hers, feeling the whisper of her breath on his mouth. "Whatever you want me to be."

"Take me home, Edward." Her eyes fluttered closed, sleep taking over.

She slept in his arms that first night.

He needed to leave early in the morning, due to the sun. He didn't want to. He loved how pleasant she felt in his arms and enjoyed her sweet murmurs throughout the night. Moving carefully, he shifted her so that her head now lay on a pillow. Covering her with a patchwork quilt he found in her closet, he laid another kiss at her temple. His eyes shifted to the clock on her nightstand, four-thirty in the morning. He knew the sun would soon filter through her windows.

His eyes focused on the multitude of bottles of medications on her dresser. He checked the labels and his heart clenched tightly in his chest. Most of them were anti-depressants and pain medications, all to make her comfortable. One alarmed him more than all the others did. One of the bottles helped with seizures.

Why did she live alone?

He left a note so not to be rude.

Had to run, didn't want to wake you. You looked much too peaceful and beautiful to disturb.

I can return tonight, if you'll have me.

Be safe, my sweet.


He left his phone number for her to call just in case she needed him.

Bella needed a puppy. A dog would sense if something was wrong with its owner. And if he was home, he'd hear it barking—alerting him.

He rushed home to get information for nearby animal shelters and pet stores. As the sun rose, Edward had the names and address of four different locations. He'd insist that they'd go today. Edward settled at his piano, the ivory keys called to him. He concentrated on the notes that flowed through his thoughts; the center of them was the rhythm of Bella's heart.

Even though every cell in his body wanted to be where Bella was, he couldn't risk exposure. He didn't want to lose her so soon after meeting. He vowed not to lie to her but keeping his secret would not be easy. As his fingers sought solace in his music, his mind listened for his inspiration—Bella's heart.

Concentrating, he found her heartbeat easily. It was faster now that it was an acceptable time in the morning. He longed to go to her, but remained rooted to the piano bench.

Edward's phone rang in his pocket, stilling his hands for a moment. He answered with a breathless whisper of her name. He knew it had to be her, because he'd never given his phone number to anyone before.

"Hello," she said groggily. "Why did you go?" He could almost see her small teeth biting into her bottom lip.

"Trust me, I didn't want to," he answered honestly. "I had to finish some work."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm disturbing you."

"Not in the least, Bella. What are your plans for the day?"

She was going to work on the house, starting with stripping the wallpaper in the living room. Some friends were coming to help.

"Please be careful, Bella," he said, almost pleading. "You were bleeding yesterday and you didn't even notice. I'd hate to think what you can do to yourself while renovating."

"I'll try, but I need to do this. I don't have a lot of time."

He feared what she meant by this, but didn't pursue more information. Her health was not a topic for a telephone conversation.

"How about we go do something tonight? Dinner?"

"I'd like that."

After making plans, Edward went for a quick hunt and shower, but curiosity got the best of him. He wanted to see just who her friends were. He kept to the comfort of the trees, hiding him under their shadows. He approached slowly, cautiously.

There were men working on the outside of the house, some were discussing the foundation, painting and the landscaping. They were strong, able-bodied men, warm in both blood and skin—Quileutes. When Edward had decided to move to the area, he had done research on the neighboring areas. He'd heard of the legendary people and they smelled awful.

A rustle behind him alerted him to a strong presence. "She's not for you to eat."

"I don't drink from humans," Edward answered, refusing to turn back to see whom he was speaking with. He listened instead on the beat of the woman's heart inside the house he watched.

"Are you with the Cullens?" A coven of six vampires filled his thoughts. Edward shook his head, noticing the tawny-colored eyes. The male's memories told Edward a little about the coven that moved a decade ago.

"No. I don't know them, but it seems they have a similar diet. Perhaps you can extend the treaty to involve me."

"Ho—how?" the strong male asked confusedly.

"I can read minds," Edward answered thoughtfully. "I'm not here to harm her."

"Then why are you?"

"I found her walking on my land, she was bleeding."

The male growled and rushed him, tackling Edward to the ground. However, Edward was prepared and his knees captured his opponent's stomach propelling his enemy over him. His newly named enemy—Sam—transformed to a fowl smelling, drooling wolf. Edward was on his feet and realized that the air crackled with energy around him.

Edward heard the growls of Sam's friends behind him. "As you can see, Sam," Edward reasoned. "Bella is just fine, considering she's breathing right now. I helped her, and that was all."

She's been through enough, Sam thought. Memories played like a fast-forwarding film in Sam's head. Bella knew of the werewolves, knew what the Cullens' were. They had saved her when a small coven of vampires sought her out.

"Enough," Bella said firmly as she weaved past four snarling werewolves. "Sam." Sam's large brown eyes snapped to Bella's, meeting her cold stare. "He's with me."

She took Edward's hand and led him carefully around the trembling wolves. "That was exciting," he muttered.

"Something tells me you don't do excitement often, Edward." Bella was teasing him.

"No, I live a rather boring life compared to you. You have werewolves, cliff-diving, motorcycles and vampires."

"Oh my," she said brightly.

They laughed and waited inside her home for Sam, they both knew he would come. Luckily, for Edward, the werewolves' minds could be easily influenced by his powers.

After a few hours, they came to an agreement. The treaty that Sam's people made with the Cullens' would extend to include Edward. Sam and Edward came up with a schedule to care for Bella, her condition making it a priority. She'd become upset and insisted that she could take care of herself. When Edward and Sam refused to listen to her, Bella locked herself in the her bedroom. Edward sighed, hating that Bella was upset with him, but it was for her own good. Sam sat across the table from Edward, watching him.

"You care for her," Sam stated. Edward nodded and kept his eyes on Sam's stormy ones. "She's dying."

Edward's breathing came to a halt; deep down, he knew this. "How long?"

"Three months, maybe a little more. She wants to finish the house as a tribute to her best friend." Memories of someone named Jacob filtered through Sam's thoughts. "It was the house he wanted to buy for her if she'd said yes."

"What are you saying?" Edward asked. He felt as if he was violating Bella's trust, but they'd had little time to talk since they met.

"The accident—" Sam started.

"Was my fault," Bella said from behind them. "Sam, I need you to leave. Take the rest of the puppies with you." Bella's glare told both men that she was very angry.

"It's my story to tell," she spat. "What's left of it, at least."

Edward sensed Sam's pain in his thoughts, the reminder of Bella's limited time sliced through him. Sam loved her like family, as did the others.

"Fine," Sam whispered and left. The door slammed closed behind them, and shortly after the remaining wolves joined him as they left in the various cars they'd come in.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Edward asked.

"I only met you last night," she said, walking past him and into the kitchen. "I guess in a way I wanted you to tell me what you were. To see if you'd be honest."

"That's not what I was talking about and you know it. Why didn't you tell me you were dying?"

Bella turned on her heels swiftly to face him. "I was scared that you wouldn't want me!"

Edward ran his hands through his hair roughly, agitated with the turn of events. He thought he had time to pursue her, time to savor her, and to fall in love with her. It would be so easy to. "Do you really think so little of me that I'd leave because you're dying? Bella, I'm a monster, but not a fucking animal. Hadn't I shown you compassion last night?"

"You're not a monster," she said angrily. "If you want to stick around, you're welcome to. I have work to do."

Edward's nostrils flared and his jaw clenched in anger at her dismissal. He grabbed her by the shoulders, pressing her lips against his. "I want you," he said aggressively. Harsh, cold lips met soft, sweet ones as he poured every ounce of his emotions into the kiss and she returned it with the same intensity.

Cold hands ran over the warm curves of her body. Her fingers trembled but explored Edward's body, the warmth of her touch felt amazing to him. Suddenly, her clothes lay in shreds at her feet, his followed soon afterward. "I could hurt you," he whispered as he sucked a sweet peak in his mouth. Her head fell back, steadying herself with urgent fingers in his hair.

Bella's chest arched toward him and his mouth, barely able to remain standing. "You won't." Gasping for breath, she took a hold of Edward's cock and brushed him against her. He groaned at the feeling, wanting so much more of her. He lifted her up off her feet and placed her at the table's edge. He was still angry that she was dying. Angry that she refused to be looked after. He needed a way to know if something was wrong, so that he could be there a a moment's notice. His kissed her with the same aggression as before, savoring and wishing for more.

"We're getting you a damn dog, if you insist on not being watched," he said breathlessly. "And one that doesn't turn into a naked man when you pet him."

He thrust inside her and growled as her wrapped her legs around his hips. He was hers from the moment he first heard her heart. He'd be hers well beyond her last breath.

That was the first time they made love.

The weeks following, they spent their nights talking, walking, and making love. Edward spoke of his past, both human and vampire. Bella spoke of her childhood, losing each of her parents, and the accident that took her friend from her.

Jacob loved her, and he told her that night that he wanted to marry her. She broke his heart, because she hadn't felt the same. They argued on the way home, and Jacob had failed to see the truck in front of them. She bought the house he'd wanted to buy her if she had agreed to marry him. She felt it was the least she could do before she joined him after death.

Edward hated a dead man.

They spent their days listening to his music and working on Bella's home. Her puppy, a terrier mix named Penelope, usually laid curled at their feet. It had taken a few weeks for her to grow accustomed to Edward, aware that he was something to fear.

Edward had become aware of time, as he spent most of it in the company of Bella, when usually, he had ignored it. However, he couldn't any longer. The woman he'd fallen in love with would soon die.

One day, weeks later, he returned home for the day to change and left Bella to clean up. He knew she needed time on her own, and he respected that. After a shower, he pursued his piano again, another song on his mind. This song flowed and curled around him, a sensual piece that reminded him of what it felt like to be inside Bella. It was consuming, life altering—an emotional roller coaster.

As he was putting the final changes on the new song, he heard Penelope barking insistently. Edward was out his door in less than a second, and in her house in under a minute.

"Bella!" he called out frantically. Edward ran toward the barking. He could smell Bella's blood in the air as he approached the kitchen. Lying on the ground, Bella was on her side, her legs stiff as the rest of her body jerked violently. He gasped as he saw her wide eyes stare blankly ahead. Blood trickled from her mouth and he quickly wrapped himself around her. He sobbed dryly as she shook, and he felt her relax and flex her muscles involuntarily. He placed his hand between her lips, so she wouldn't bite down on her tongue any longer. He felt the slight pressure of her teeth against his granite skin.

The seizure lasted only a minute but if felt infinitely longer to him. Her body relaxed against him and her eyes fluttered closed. As her body and mind gave into sleep, he was given a glimpse into her mind.

I love him. I wish he didn't have to see this. I love you, Edward.

He held her close as grief struck him, racking his body with pain. "I love you, always," he murmured, touching her.

Penelope lapped at their faces as Edward heard the internal pain of another—Sam—outside at the edge of the forest. You have our blessing. Sam howled a deep bellow of sadness. Take care of her.

Edward felt sick to his stomach at the idea of causing his beloved more pain—just so that he'd have forever.

A frying pan spun and hit the wall behind Edward. "Get out!" she screamed at him. "Just leave, you fucking coward!"

They'd had this argument several times since she had the seizure two weeks earlier. She wanted him to change her so that they'd be together forever. He refused because he didn't want to cause her pain.

"Damn it, Bella!" he roared, loose tiles trembling on the surface of the unfinished kitchen counter-top. "I can't. Don't ask me to put you through that!"

"You don't love me enough," she spat. "Is that it? You don't love me enough to keep me forever!"

"Don't be fucking ridiculous! If you weren't so damn fragile, I'd throttle you for thinking that! You know it's not the forever part. It's the fact that it will hurt you. Take your warmth and your humanity," he pleaded with her.

"If this is about my soul, take it. It's already yours."

Anger caused Edward's fists to pound into the counter, shattering it. "I will not hurt you!" He dislodged his hands from the broken tile and the fragmented wood that lay beneath. "I feel—as if you only want me so that I could save you."

Bella's eyes widened, not in shame or sadness but in anger. Her fists clenched and suddenly her hand flattened against his cheek. "I can't believe you said that!" Edward could see he had hurt her with his words. "This has nothing to do with me dying, but everything to do with loving you. Edward, you saved me that first night. I went out there to die."

He knew this was true, he felt it deep down. She wasn't dressed for winter weather that night. "I can't do this," he said angrily and ran out. The front door fell from its hinges as it slammed closed, leaving a sobbing Bella behind it.

She whispered, but he heard every word, "You're hurting me now."

Edward maimed and destroyed everything in his home. Nothing survived his anger and his grief. Three days without his beloved had left him feeling empty. How was he supposed to live without her after she was gone? His piano laid in pieces at the foot of the stairway. He hadn't had a chance to play her his new song, perhaps now, he never would. They'd never be able to do many of the things he wanted to share with her.

His phone lay behind him as he looked up at the night sky, willing it to ring. He wanted to hear her voice, to see her, but his resolve to keep from turning her would break if he did. However, he gave in to listening for her heart. He allowed his mind to open, to seek out the sounds around him. He heard a small family of deer to the east and the fast beating heart of Bella's dog.

Then he heard her scream. Instinct drove him to pump his legs faster as he ran to her. The gut wrenching sounds of Bella's crying almost sent him to his knees.

"Edward!" she sobbed from inside. "Please!" He ripped the back door from its hinges to get to her. In seconds, he had her cold, sweat soaked body cradled in his arms. She must've had a nightmare.

"I'm so sorry," he said.

"I understand your reasons," she whispered. "They suck but I can't lose you because of it."

Edward didn't know what to do. Would he change her or watch her die?

"And that's why I called Carlisle and Alice."

Edward stiffened in response as a low rumble of a growl started in his chest. "And why would you call them?" He knew from Sam's memory that the Cullens' cared for Bella.

"I told them about us and that you refused to change me. So he offered."

Edward pushed her off his lap and roared before turning to her again. "You'd allow some sanctimonious patriarch sink his teeth into you. You are mine."

"Yes, I am. That's the problem. It lies with your refusal to turn me. You love me, don't you?"

"Damn it, Bella! You know I do."

"Then problem solved. You don't want to be the bearer of my pain, so someone else will do it. After the transformation is complete, he'll return me to you."

Edward shook his head and punched several holes in Bella's newly wallpapered walls. "I will not allow another vampire bite you!"

It was primal and instinctual that had him take her in his arms. Bruises were forming under the strength of his kiss on her lips. "Mine," he growled repeatedly. His lips swallowed her cries of pleasure, as his hands found purchase on her hips. He pushed his hips against her, allowing her to feel him. "Mine."

No one would take claim of her, only him. The thought of another man's teeth on her, infuriated him. The fact that she asked for another to do it really caused his to temper rise. "How could you ask that? It's my task, my burden to bear."

"You won't do it, and if you don't allow him to, I might as well end it all now."

"Don't fucking do that," he snarled, gripping her backside roughly. "Don't give me an ultimatum. So because I won't change you or allow another to do it, you'd rather die now?"

"Yes," she said with conviction. "I'd rather die on my terms than wait for it to happen. Not knowing if I'll wake up the next day."

Edward backed away, his anger and natural state of aggression, getting the best of him. "Shut up! Do—don't say that. You—we'll find another doctor—treatments, something! I want more time."

Bella stood still in the middle of her living room. Her blanket draped over the bottom half of her nearly naked body. "You can have more time."

Edward grabbed her roughly, grasping her face in his hands, his decision made. "Damn you!" His lips pressed against hers as he tore the blanket away from her body. "I'll never forgive myself for this," he spat, pulling her legs around him. He ran with her in his arms and laid her on the bed.

Bella arched and Edward's mouth explored. His lips pressed harder, his tongue stroked with more pressure. He wanted to make sure she felt him, felt everything he was doing to her. There were bruises forming, he knew. However, they'd heal during her transformation. "I love you." He kissed her navel, circling it with the tip of his tongue. "I can—can't be gentle tonight."

"Don't be. I know you've been holding back, Edward. I won't feel the pain, only the pleasure you bring me. Please."

"Bella," he hissed as he inhaled deeply, the scent of her arousal hit him harshly. He hadn't tried to bring her to completion with his mouth before, so tonight he'd try. His lips trailed from hip to hip, licking and nipping along the way.

"Yes," she gasped. "Please. I love you." She babbled incoherently as he continued to tease her with his mouth. Her tiny white panties torn from her body and tentative licks caused Bella to arch closer to him.

Edward savored, taking what she offered so freely. His lips wrapped around her clit, shattering her instantly. He continued stroking her with this tongue as he held her down. He felt her pulse on her thigh, kissed the area once before he sunk his teeth in.

As he took a mouthful of her rich, fragrant blood, his eyes closed as he groaned with pleasure. After a few seconds, he licked the wound closed. He captured a drop at the corner of his mouth, watching Bella.

"I feel warm," Bella gasped as Edward climbed over her body. "So warm."

Relief ran through him, she didn't feel the pain.

"I love you," Edward whispered against her soft lips. "I'm sorry." He trailed more kisses down her body, and then flipped her over. "I can't see your eyes when I do this. I can't see the look when you know you're going to die, my love." He placed a kisses along her spine, each shoulder blade and at the base of her neck.

"I understand," she whispered. Her hand snaked behind her to place it on his cheek. "Do what you think is right, Edward. I don't want this if you don't want me."

He growled and bucked his hips against her backside. "Does this seem like I don't want you?"

"I'm just saying if you don't want me to be a vampire, then I accept that. But you'll have to finish me off."

"It's a little late for that, and I'd never do that to you," he hissed. "I've already bitten you. It doesn't matter anyway." He laid his head against her back, pressing her into the mattress. "I won't live without you."

He slipped his hands around her waist, lifting her hips enough to slip inside her. He groaned as Bella's body surrounded him. "I'll always love you, Bella."

"And I you," she whispered, her words muffled by the blanket beneath her.

"I'll take you to a beach, where you'll lay out in the sun. It will be only us," he murmured, each word punctuated with another thrust of his body. "I'll watch you shine under the sun and the stars."


"We'll go to Egypt, see the pyramids and make love atop the highest one."


"On the Eiffel Tower," he said.

"We'd topple it if we tried," she mumbled. Edward laughed, shifting so he could bring her body closer. Sitting back on his calves, he laid an arm across her chest, grasping her shoulder to better move inside her. The other arm wrapped around her waist and touched her where their bodies met.

Bella's arms lifted above her and around Edward's head, gasping and moving with his body.

"A top the highest mountain," he continued. "In a boat, while sailing all the seven seas and the tallest building."

The build up was slow as he told her where they'd travel, do all the things he wanted to share with her. He truly loved her and he'd give up everything for her.

Even risk his soul so they'd be together. He had no way to bend her to his will. Her shielded mind prevented it. He didn't want to anyway. For without her, he would no longer be inspired. His world would've ended if he'd allowed her to die.

"More," she said loudly. "Give me more!"

Edward moaned as her slick body moved more urgently against him. He growled and snarled as his thrusts became more forceful. Brutally he took her, claimed her as his. Her body convulsed, warmed and shuddered around him. She was close and so was he.

"Forgive me," he whispered. He placed a final kiss on her neck, murmuring his love to her. His eyes closed as he clasped a hand over her mouth. He inhaled one more time and sliced through her soft skin, taking the last mouthful of her blood he'd ever have.

She screamed into his hand, her body convulsing around him. His body trembled, stiffened as he climaxed. She clawed at him, screaming to move but he held her close as venom seeped into her blood.

However, she surprised him by pulling him closer. "Warm, I just feel really warm." He closed his eyes in relief as he pulled out of her trembling body. "Edward."

"My love," he said gravely.

"I think you should've left Penelope at the pound," she whispered as he laid her down, covering her body with his and a sheet. He turned her, to see into her eyes. There was no pain there, he wanted to thank the heavens, but instead, he nuzzled her neck. He licked her bite closed, mesmerized as the tiny scars popped up—his mark on her.

"Why is that?"

"What if when I—"she gasped and arched off the bed. He took hold of her, keeping his arms around her. "What if I want to eat her?"

AN: Thanks to kyla713 for your help with this one shot. Thanks again to the amazing people that brought this contest to us.

***On another note. I'm up for bid for the Fandom Gives Back. I have three auctions, including a one-shot, an out take of any of my fics and a short story. The link is on my profile.