Moondreams333 & amerymarie are a little beyond fantastic. Okay, a lot. I lost daisy3853 to technology, but I'll get her back next time.

And ff's word count is still lying. I know it shouldn't bother me. But. It. Does.

Chapter Ten.
Everything I Do
might be because of this spell. Or it might not be. Total mindfuck.

For Bella and Edward's first assignment in the field, shortly after they had completed their training, they were assigned a particularly difficult task. A group of Sirens had emigrated from Europe and taken residence in Niagara Falls, perhaps searching for a new audience for their song.

It was a tricky case, even if it hadn't been their first. To complicate matters, they were warned that the Sirens' song would affect Edward, as it did all men, and that the only antidote caused temporary blindness.

Bella had held Edward's hand the whole time they'd walked through the dank Niagara landscape, guiding him through his blindness, and pointing out things in his path that could have tripped him. She didn't release his hand as they found, and then argued fiercely with the three sisters, declaring them as alien interterrestrials, who had breached the immigration agreements of both Greece and the US. She gently turned his shoulders to face the right direction when he misjudged their placement and began warning a tree that if the Sirens didn't go back to their home country, Greece would not expedite them.

And for the hours after they were finished, while the effects were wearing off and his sight was returning in fits and starts, hands still clasped, she patiently narrated what was happening on the TV station they were watching—which was quite an involving task, since the only thing on was a silent Charlie Chaplin film.

Liking the weight and warmth of her hand in his, liking the authority and cadence of her voice, liking everything about her as you tend to when in the first flush of adoration, Edward may have stretched the truth a bit, claiming the effects of the blindness long after they had faded away.

Even after he confessed that he was completely recovered, she still hadn't pulled away—not her hand as he continued to hold it, not her lips when he leaned into kiss her, and not her body when he pulled her to him later that night.

That's a bit of a digression. The point is when faced with deadly Sirens on their first ever field assignment, Edward and Bella displayed grace under pressure, courage under fire and the ability to stay rational while doing their jobs. Most importantly, they didn't, not for one second, allow anything to weaken their greatest advantage—their quickly cemented alliance.

However, now, when faced with a love spell, they possess all the grace of two elephants playing leapfrog, and the courage of a turtle cowering within its shell. As for the ability to stay rational?

See for yourself.

Directly following Marcus' revelation, there's a definite "the killer is in the house!" moment as Edward and Bella stare at each other, horrified, and then dramatically leap apart.

Marcus is decidedly less than amused with the two agents in front of him. Thanks to their Olympics-worthy long jump away from each other, he can't see them, but he can only assume how ridiculous they're being. Still, he can't deny that he has a soft spot for them. They're children—well, he's 642, so everyone is a child to him—so confused in what they want, yet so determined to get it. They both have good hearts, though, and after centuries of seeing the worst of humanity, Marcus can appreciate how innocent and genuinely benevolent Edward and Bella's little drama is.

Doesn't make it any easier to stand though.

"Excuse me," he says, attempting to regain their attention. When he gets no response, he decides its time for Vampire Voice. Icy, dripping with authority, it's similar to the tone used by a parent when admonishing a child… if that parent were once a blood-drinking warlord. He saves it for rare occasions, but it has never once failed to command the attention of whomever it's unleashed upon. "Agents Swan and Masen."

Both snap to attention and sit down, once again within his view.

"The spell must have more parts to it, other than just what is in the water," Marcus continues in his liquid smooth tones. "This potion is what we classify as a 'primer', meaning those who ingest it are now susceptible to the magic. But it's missing a very important component that we usually see in spells, a catalyst."

"What does that mean?" Edward asks.

"It means there's another element to the spell, that when combined with potion in the water, triggers the full effect of the love spell."

"Does that mean that you're only under the spell if you're exposed to both elements?"

"No, we can't say that for certain yet. The potion in the water is so powerful that it may serve as more than just a primer, but the lab is still trying to test for that," Marcus informs them.

"So, essentially," Bella says, frowning as she works it out, "while everyone in Forks is now capable of falling under the spell, we can't actually figure out who is under it until we know what the second part of the spell is and who has been exposed to it."

"I'm sending the lab results right now, and I'll send any updates as they come in. Keep being vigilant with your daily reports—Aro specifically mentioned wanting to see them when he returns," Marcus replies, clearly ready to sign off.

"And that'd be… when, exactly?" Edward fishes.

"Agent Masen, I'm not quite sure there's any reason you need that particular information."

"Sure there is."

"And what would that reason be?"

"To satisfy my curiosity," Edward quips.

Marcus rolls his eyes again. "Good night, Bella, Edward."

Any of the ease that might have been there when Edward was joking with Marcus, leaves the room when his image does, replaced by a blank screen. There's just the two of them now—oh and that giant pink elephant, too.

Even as Bella and Edward avoid looking at each other, their eyes darting around the room, they are reminded of the thing they don't want to think of, let alone talk about. However, there are telltale signs: the way Bella is still a little flushed; how Edward's hair is even more untidy than usual; the haphazard way the sheets on the bed are crumpled—if there's one thing more awkward than a morning after you've had sex, it's the moments after you almost did, but didn't.

This is that moment, the awkwardness borne of the doubts the love spell has just raised, highlighted by their confusing history and amplified by their growing feelings.



"This love spell."


"Can't tell who is under it."

"That's what Marcus said."

"Means that we can't really tell who isn't under it, either."

"Yes, logic would indicate that."

"So we—we can't…"

"No, I guess we can't. Not anymore."

"Because we could be under it."

"And not know we are."

"So what do we do?"

"Solve this case."



"How exactly do we do that?"

"I don't know."

Silence descends over the two of them as they contemplate both what they can do and perhaps more importantly, what they can't do anymore.

Bella speaks again a few moments later. "We just have to be… umm..." She searches for the word, but can't seem to find it.

"Pragmatic?" Edward suggests.

"Yes. Pragmatic. We just have to watch ourselves. Monitor our behavior and thoughts, and try to be more self aware than usual."

That shouldn't be too hard since they're usually not self aware at all, at least, when it comes to each other.

Proving that point, Edward nods in agreement. "Yes. Like we were taught in that training for mind-control resistance."

"Exactly. And we'll have to watch each other, make sure we're not getting weird," Bella suggests.

"Right. And be open about it—I'll tell you if you're acting strange, and you tell me if I am."

She shakes her head and says firmly, "If you were, I would tell you."

"Thanks. I'll—" He cuts off with a frown. "Wait. Is you telling me you'd tell me your way of telling me?"


"Are you telling me that you're telling me?"


"You said you'd tell me if I was acting strange. So by telling me you'd tell me if I was acting strange, are you, in fact, telling me I'm acting strange?" Edward asks, face screwing up as he tries to follow his own convoluted sentence.

Bella shoots a strange look. "Well... now you are."

"No, I'm not."

"If you're just going to argue with my answer, what's the point of asking me?"

"Asking if you're saying that I'm acting strange is not acting strange!" Edward replies, hotly, the frustration and futility of their situation emerging in his words. "That's just good sense."

"Yeah, but if you're not going to listen to me, then why ask me? Isn't the whole point that, in this situation, I'd be a better judge if you were acting under the spell?" Bella is so worked up in her words that as she says this, a tiny glob of saliva lands on Edward's cheek. He wipes it away with less disgust than you would expect, but then again, he's not exactly a stranger to her saliva.

"Jesus, Bella, you're spitting on me? Y—"

"If you crack a 'say it don't spray it' joke right now, so help me—"

"Please. That's so overdone. I was going to say you shouldn't take the term 'lover's spat' so literally."

"Ugh, I hate that word, 'lover'." Interesting how she doesn't bother to refute whether they are actually lovers or not.

"Funny how you seem to hate every word that I say. I'm beginning to think you'd hate anything that comes out of my mouth," Edward shoots back.

His mention of his mouth has drawn her attention to it, and she can't stop herself from recalling just what that mouth was doing to her hardly more than fifteen minutes ago. And when she stops running her mouth, all he can notice is how her lips are still a little swollen, how she looks like she's been kissed well, and how all he wants to do is keep that look on her for a while longer.

Silence falls over them as quickly as their argument sparked up, and they simply stand there, contemplating each other—what had just been, what could have been and now what was.

As if they both sense that their minds are going somewhere their bodies are no longer allowed to, they do an abrupt about face away from each other—Edward to sit on his bed, Bella out the door—separating for the night without another word.

The next morning when they reconvene outside their rooms (the connecting door that has been swinging freely for the past few days, quietly shut and noticeably avoided), it's after a night spent thinking—prodding at 'what if's', poking at 'might be's', and generally working themselves into messes—rather than sleeping. When Bella did fall asleep, she dreamed that ten-foot tall, walking letters—'L', 'O', 'V' and 'E', to be specific—were chasing her, shouting "Spell me! Spell me!"

She's still trying to shake them off—er, her dream, she means, she's still trying to shake off her dream—when she and Edward meet in the morning.

"So, I was thinking, while I was in the shower—" Edward begins. With her fatigue, the filter she uses to restrict herself from thinking about Edward—the one she used for so many months and only dropped recently, the one she promised herself last night to resurrect—hasn't fallen into place, and she can't help but picture him in the shower.

It doesn't aid her focus.

"The spell has two parts." He's still speaking, but Bella is only listening with one ear, the rest of her attention still on the rather enjoyable visual in her head. He barely notices, so caught up in his ideas. This is Edward on a roll, talking fast while tossing his keys into the air and then catching them in curled fingers. "We know that everyone has been exposed to the first, but until we know what the second part is, we can't know who has been exposed to it. Only, what if we could?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, if everyone is exposed to the base potion and they're still normal—"

"Then the people who are not normal must be the ones who have been exposed to the second part of the potion as well," Bella infers, eyes lighting up in realization. "Like Rosalie and Ben and Tyler."

"Exactly." He tosses the keys one last time but misses catching them. When he bends over to pick them up, Bella's mind—which had slowly begun whirring to life—goes blank, focusing only on the sight in front of her.

"That's a nice ass," she says, under her breath, barely even realizing she is speaking. When Edward looks at her inquiringly, she adds, "—Umption. That's a good assumption."

"You don't agree?" he asks. Either he didn't hear her slip of the tongue or he's too tired to comment on it. Either way, Bella blushes slightly, wrestling with her brain to focus on what they were just talking about, instead of what she was just thinking about.

It's rather silly. There's probably not been a day in Bella's life since she met Edward where she hasn't admired some part of him. But now, with the revelations of the previous night clouding her brain, she can't help wondering if it's the spell that's making her feel like this, her hormones, or some unconquerable combination of the two. Just goes to show that the power of suggestion—regardless of whether that suggestion is correct or not—is rather influential.

"No, no, I agree. It does seem like the second part of the potion is what makes people act crazy. But by last count, that was about ten different people—how could we narrow down what they've been exposed to that might contain the catalyst?"

Edward frowns. "I know. I mean, we can limit it a bit—the lab report did say that since the first part of the spell was spread through the consumption of water, the second part was most likely something that had to be ingested as well. But I'm not quite sure how to narrow it down further."

"I think our best bet is to continue investigating the source. If we can find who did this, then we can not only understand the spell, but put a stop to it," she reasons.

"Alright. Well, we should probably check in with your dad, and then I thought we'd go see Tanya," Edward suggests. Bella's eyebrows stretch to her hairline. "I meant—the florist. We still need to meet Riley."

There is the strange, foreign feeling welling up in Bella, and she recognizes it from the previous time they met Tanya. Some silly part of her brain is wondering whether Edward is under the love spell, with her. And if he isn't, whether he could be—with Tanya. She knows this is probably unlikely, but the heat of jealousy burns away at her rationality and she finds herself inexplicably, but genuinely worried. Not knowing what to do, she tries to quell her growing worry by making it a joke. "Oh, we can go visit your girlfriend."

Edward shoots her a strange look. "My girlfriend?"


He frowns. "I've met her once—with you."

"But you liiiiiike her," Bella trills, even as she wonders in her head what the hell she is talking about, and why the hell she's acting like this.

"No, I don't."

Bella forces a smile, which only makes the expression even more awkward. "Yes, you dooooo."

Edward looks at her curiously. "Remember when we said we'd tell each other if we thought the other was acting strange?"


"Do you not see where I'm going with this?"

Bella rolls her eyes. "I'm not acting strange." She is.

"You are."

"No, you're just saying that to get back at me for saying it last night." He's not.

"I'm not."

Angry at herself for acting so childish, she takes it out on Edward. "Yes, you are! You're just being silly and petty. Just admit you like her and are going to fall in love with her!" she bursts out.

Edward looks around him as if there may be someone else she's talking to, because none of her words are making any sense to him. "What?"

Bella scrubs a hand over her face and takes a deep breath, hoping to inhale some sanity. "I'm sorry… I didn't sleep much and I know I'm not making sense. Maybe…" It's his proximity, and the wondering he causes that is making her act like this, she realizes. Is this the effect of the spell? Or is she just thinking it is because... She stops herself before her brain can start turning in ten thousand more tangents, and says, "Maybe we should split up for the day? I'll check in with my dad—and we still have to interview Rose. I can do that. You can go see Tanya and Riley Chekhov."

Edward senses the sudden shift in her but doesn't say anything and nods in agreement. "But how are you going to question Rosalie without breaching confidentiality? Aro emphasized containment, even your dad advised against telling her what we're investigating since she is one of the victims."

Bella sighs. "I know. I guess I'll just have to think of some way."

"Alright, well, get in the car. I'll drive you over to the station—that should give you plenty of time to think. A whole thirty seconds," he jokes, hoping to bring some levity back. She gives him a shaky smile that says she appreciates his efforts.

He's mildly relieved to be spending some time away from her, hoping that it will calm her bizarre behavior and give him the opportunity to get his own thoughts in order. But the whole time they walk to the car, Edward trails behind Bella by a few feet, admiring her slim curves, as he so often does. After all, he is a man and she's got a rather nice assumption, too.

"I can get a ride back to the motel from my dad. I'll see you later?" Bella asks when Edward pulls up to the station.

"Sure. We can go over everything and write a joint report."


"Good morning," Rosalie says when Bella comes in the door. Charlie looks up with a large smile, and offers her the same greeting.

"Morning, Deputy Hale, morning D—," she begins then stops as she realizes she was about to refer to Charlie as Dad. The word feels foreign on her tongue, maybe more so because it feels right to say it. But even if it feels right, she still can't, not yet, and instead just offers him an awkward smile in place of a title.

But it seems nothing can wipe the smile off his face this morning. "So, I heard something in town," he says, as they sit down on opposite sides of his desk.

Bella's face loses its color and she suddenly, irrationally, worries that her father somehow knows that she's been kissing a guy. No matter that she's no longer kissing that guy or that there's no conceivable way that Charlie could know this—having not been faced with this feeling since she moved out of her mother's house at eighteen, the paranoia hits her rather hard.

"What do you mean?" she asks, shakily.

"Well, this town talks a lot, so when I first heard, I thought it might just be a rumor, but then, I heard from more and more people, and thought that maybe you were just too… I don't know, nervous, to talk to me about it?" Charlie says. He's different, even from the man he was just two nights ago when they had dinner. He's a little looser, and he trips over his words in his hurry to get them out.

"Nervous about what?"

"About moving to Forks," he says. He takes a little breath as if to give him a little courage for his next words. "Now, I know there's a lot for you to think about with your job and all, but I wanted to say that I'd really like it if—I mean, I hope you'd consider—that'd it'd be really nice if you came to live with me. At the house. Just for a little while. That way, you could decide whether you wanted to buy a place here—"

"I'm not moving to Forks," Bella blurts, instantly regretting her frank words when the smile slips off of Charlie's face.

"Oh. You're not. Moving to Forks. Right. Sorry, I guess, I must have misunderstood—"

"No, it's my fault," she says, biting her lip, wishing she could have bitten her tongue instead, if only to find a nicer way to have let him down. "I did tell people that, but only because they were getting nosy and suspicious as to why I was spending so much time here. It seemed like a good explanation…"

"Of course, you're right. It is. I should have figured out that you were just creating an alibi." Not only is his smile gone, but he's refusing to meet her eyes, arbitrarily rearranging things on his desk.

"No, I should have told you..." she says, letting her sentence hang. They sit there in awkward silence for a few more minutes, Bella watching as her father shifts his stapler to four different places on his desk, before standing up.

"Well, I have to go have a chat with the Herrings about keeping the noise down. They seem to not understand the term 'domestic disturbance'," he says, abruptly. "Rose, I should be back in a half hour, if those idiots listen to me."

"So in an hour then, Chief?" Rose asks.

Charlie snorts. "I can only hope." He turns to Bella but still doesn't meet her eyes. "I'll see you when I get back. If you're still here. Not that I expect you to be. I… Bye, Bella." With that, he walks swiftly out of the station, leaving Bella to stew in disappointment at her behavior.

"Don't be so hard on yourself," Rosalie pipes up. "It's an awkward situation. You're both doing the best you can."

"Am I?" Bella asks.

Rosalie gives her a small smile. "You should be. Relationships are hard. Anything but your best is doomed to fail."

Rosalie doesn't know it—or maybe, from the knowing look in her eyes, she does—but Bella is contemplating her relationship with both the men in her life. In past two days, they've swung from being the best they've been to the worst. She sighs and decides that, for now, the only thing she can do is her job.

"So listen… about that whole Emmett thing…" Bella begins, unable to find a better segue.

"Yeah, I knew it was a matter of time before you asked me about that," Rose says with a little laugh. "Charlie mentioned you guys wanted to talk to me but even if he hadn't, I have eyes. I've noticed what's been happening around town. And I've noticed that I was part of it. I know you can't confirm it, but I figured that was the real reason you and Edward were in town. You just don't seem like EPA agents to me."

Bella laughs. "We don't? That's not good."

"No, it's more like… maybe my own instincts as an officer are kicking in or something. I don't really think anyone else is town is thinking about it too much. They'd rather just know the gossip, about you and Charlie or you and Edward."

Bella rolls her eyes and walks over to Rose's desk and takes the seat in front of it. "So, can you remember anything out of the ordinary happening? Before you started acting like…"

"Like a lovesick idiot? A teenybopper fangirl? A stalker? Don't worry, anything you call me can't be worse than what I've called myself." She chuckles. "I honestly can't. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I do remember feeling sort of strange for a little while though—but it was prolonged. It had been for the month before."

"What did it feel like?"

"Well, I was happy. Not euphoric or anything but just… content. Like… this is going to sound strange, but like I could stop worrying." She ends her sentence like it's a question, and frowns as she attempts to arrange her thoughts. "Not like I could stop worrying about everything, just… like I was going to be okay. No matter what, it was all going to be okay."

Bella finds herself envious of that feeling. Maybe she's not under the spell, because she definitely doesn't feel like that. But then again, this is just Rosalie's testimony—maybe the spell acts differently for each person who is under it. That's how love works, anyway.

"And then," Rosalie continues. "All I remember was that I was filled with this feeling, this urgency, that I had to be with Emmett and it had to be now. I couldn't spend another minute away from him, another moment not being his, him not being mine, and I would do whatever it took to make that happen."

"Well, clearly, you were successful. Although, I'm still wondering what made him change his mind," Bella comments.

"I know! I remember even when he was repulsed by my actions, that feeling that I'd be okay, that it would all work out—it was still there. He shook me off, but somehow, the next morning, he found me. He was so sweet—he handed me a bunch of flowers, and told me that I wouldn't have to chase him anymore because he'd always be right there next to me."

"You don't know what changed his mind?"

Rosalie shrugs. "No idea. I didn't even bother to question it—it just felt right. Like that was what should have happened, so why would I, you know?"

"Why would you wonder about something you're sure about?"

"Exactly. I'm sorry, I'm not sure that's much help, but really, I can't think of anything strange—other than my own behavior—that occurred."

"And were you in contact with anyone suspicious? Maybe Leah Clearwater or Tanya Amadeus or Riley Chekhov—or the Herrings?"

Rose shudders. "Are you kidding? I keep away from the Herrings as much as possible. James is a creep and Victoria is a bitch. Other than in passing, I've never interacted with Leah Clearwater or Tanya Amadeus. And I've never even met Riley."

Bella sighs. "Alright."

"Bella? Remember when I told you that for a little while—when I was acting really crazy—all I could think was that I had to be with Emmett, that I had to do anything it took to make us work?" Bella nods. "It worked."

And though she was under the love spell at the time, Bella finds herself understanding Rosalie's advice—that sometimes, you have to be a little crazy, throw caution to the wind, and do something you may not be sure about to make a relationship work.

She knows what she has to do. "Thanks, Rosalie."

"No problem. I'll keep an eye out on them-everyone you mentioned—and let you know if anything catches my attention."

Bella nods her thanks and hopes that Edward is having some luck with questioning Tanya and Riley.


He's not.

The florist is open, unlike the day before, but when he walks in, only Tanya is there, reading a slim paperback.

He cranes his neck to see the title. "A Midsummer Night's Dream? Shakespeare?"

Tanya looks up from the book and smiles. "Ay me! For aught that I could ever read, could ever hear by tale or history, the course of true love never did run smooth," she quotes, reading from the book.

"Interesting," Edward says. "One of my ex-girlfriends once compared me to Nick Bottom. I hadn't read it at the time, so I thought she was complimenting me on having a great butt. Turns out she was just calling me an ass."

She laughs. "What can I do for you today, Mr. Masen?"

"Please call me Edward, because I plan on calling you Tanya," he says, his charm out in full force. It's not that he wants Tanya, since his head and heart are still stuck on the brunette he just left, but there's something about her that's irresistible. Even though she's stunningly beautiful, it's not the type of attraction that occurs between a man and a woman, more like what exists when in the presence of someone incredibly charismatic. He gravitates toward her, as he suspects that most people do.

"Actually, I was hoping to meet your associate, Riley Chekhov?" he asks, noting how her mouth forms a little line upon mention of his name.

"Why is that? I can assure you, whatever floral needs you have, I can ably fulfill them," she says, a little too breezily. Being in the profession he is, Edward knows how to deflect conversation. More importantly, he knows how to recognize when someone else is doing it.

"Well, I just wanted a male perspective," Edward replies, just as smoothly. "That's the one thing you can't help me with. Plus, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting him yet—he may be the only one in town." He lightens the statement with a small laugh. "I'm pretty sure I've met everyone else."

"Oh, yes. Well, Riley tends to be a bit reclusive—I'm actually the only one he really talks to," she says. "He doesn't really work here—he owns the establishment, but I'm the one who really runs it, so…"

Edward senses that pushing more will lead to suspicion and switches to his cover. "Well, then, roses, please. The type you give to a pretty girl."

"How many?"

"A baker's dozen?"

"Isn't that bad luck?"

"She'll only get twelve. The thirteenth is for you," he says, unable to resist adding a playful wink.

Tanya smiles. "I'd be charmed if you weren't gifting me with something from my own establishment."

"Well, it's a good thing I'm trying to charm someone else then."

As Tanya prepares his flowers, Edward's mind whirs. As soon as he's left the florist's, he makes his way to various venues in town, inquiring as casually as he can about Riley.

He gets the same answer every time. Everyone knows that he is Tanya's boyfriend and works at the florist with her, as people in small towns seem to know these sorts of details about everyone.

But no one has actually seen Riley Checkhov. It's only when he speaks to Lauren Mallory that he gets the breakthrough he wants. It turns out the only person who has seen or talked to Riley is the same person who could give him a run for his money when it comes to evasiveness: Leah Clearwater.


When Edward and Bella meet up again later that night, both are enthusiastic to share the information they've acquired. Edward's is more substantial, but nonetheless, as they write their daily report, they rediscover their rapport through working.

"I'm sorry about earlier," Bella says, once they're finished. She wants to say something reassuring, that it's not because of the spell, it was just her being odd. She doesn't think it was the spell, but then again, not knowing you're under the spell seems to be one of the characteristics of it, so how can she really know anything? And if there's one thing Bella hates, it's not getting a sure answer. It's why she took this job in the first place, the irony being that the job is now the reason she's doubting everything, including herself.

Edward smiles easily. "Don't worry about it. You seemed a little stressed, so," he holds out a bouquet of roses. "I got you these."

"You're giving me flowers because I seemed stressed?" she asks warily, thinking that surely this must be a sign that he's under the spell.

He shrugs and laughs. "I got flowers because they were my excuse to stop by the florists. I'm giving them to you because…" He shrugs once more and meets her eyes. "There's no one else I could give them to." But the way he says it, makes her think that he saying there is no one else he would give them to, not in this town, not anywhere.

It fills her with the kind of warmness that should make her happy, but now only brings forth all the doubts from before, so she quickly changes the topic. "So, there's something I have to tell you."

He frowns but says, "Okay, go ahead."

"I… I'm going to stay with my dad for the rest of the trip."


"Yeah. He heard that lie I told that I was moving here and thought it was true. He asked me to live with him, but I told him I wasn't moving, and he just… he looked so sad. So I decided to stay with him for the rest of the trip—I think it'll be a good way for me and him to spend some time together," she says, not adding that it is also a good way for her and Edward to spend some time apart.

The frown hasn't faded from Edward's face but other than that, he tries to remain impassive. "So you're going to stay with Charlie?"


"Not in the room next door." Is she imagining the disappointment in his voice or is he just not bothering to hide it?


"Okay. When are you leaving?"

"I'll move my stuff over in the morning."

"Okay. I'll drive you, " he says, but his words are distracted, his mind elsewhere so Bella quietly says, "Thanks. I'm going to pack and go to bed," and slips out of the room.

This is the right decision, she thinks. Isn't it?

It is, she decides. It's not only a way to get closer to Charlie, but it's a good way for her and Edward to get some distance while things are so confusing between them. She's been tricked before, with Jake, into thinking someone's feelings were real, only to have magic trump it. If she were to find out whatever had happened between her and Edward was just because of the spell—she doesn't think she could take it. So, contrary to her nature, she'll instead avoid it for as long as she can.

But is it really the right decision? She doubts herself again. She can't help but feel like she's abandoning Edward. No matter what, they are a team and, while this is merely a readjustment of location, she can't help but feel like the distance is declaring something she may not have really wanted to say.

But Edward recognizes running when he sees it—he did it before, inexcusably, just when things were getting serious between the two of them. He knows how miserable he was in the months that followed, and if Bella's idiom is once bitten, twice shy, then his is that he's learned from his mistakes.

Edward has that keen, sharp gift of being able to battle all doubt when he thinks he's correct about something. Even if he himself is wrong, his confidence in his belief can often make you doubt your own. It's precisely this sort of convoluted thinking he incites in people while still managing to keep track of everything himself, that makes him rather tricky. So as his thoughts thunder on, it doesn't matter whether he's correct or not in believing that neither he nor Bella are under the spell, just that all his future assumptions and actions will be undertaken with that belief in mind.

In movies and novels and dramatizations, there's often a poetic moment, accompanied by an evocative soundtrack, that marks the moment of the main character's revelation.

Well, insert your emo song of choice here.

It's not slow, it's not artful, it's nothing spectacularly refined or indescribably beautiful. Love falls upon Edward swiftly, like a slap to the back that helps him swallow whatever he was choking on, and now he can breathe (and think) freely.

Because in that moment, Edward realizes that he'll forgive Bella anything. Of course, this revelation came after he found out there wasn't really much to forgive since she had never actually been with Jacob, but still, it's the sentiment that counts.

And he knows now, with a solid sureness—the kind that Rosalie was talking about earlier—that it doesn't matter if Bella confuses or irritates or frustrates him, if she rains down ruin upon his career, if she invites Armageddon into her arms and then tosses it to him. He will happily pull the sky down for her himself. But he's hers. Before this damn spell, in, out, through it, and forever after it.

Now, he's just got to figure out how to make her see it.

Grad school, traveling, food poisoning, life, sleep, blah blah blah. You've heard all the excuses and you're still here reading even after I said I'd update more often and then... didn't, haha. Can't tell you how much that means to me.

As always, I take a few liberties with the stories, legends and myths I use to fit the story.

Come follow me on Twitter, I'm whatsmynom. I post teasers there, but mostly talk about what I'm reading/doing/watching/loving/hating. Also, I'll be posting some stuff in the near future so put me on author alert if you wish :)

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