so, we all know how Compromise ends, but since Edward and Bella's night didn't end there, I thought it would be fun to explore what happened next. Happy reading - please drop me a nice review if you like it!
Disclaimer - Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight saga; I'm only borrowing her characters from time to time.
"Bella… would you please stop trying to take your clothes off?"
"Do you want to do that part?"
I used the regular excuse of needing a human moment in order to slip out of the room. What I really needed was to be left alone for a while. My head was reeling – Edward might be used to doing things in the speed of light, but it was all happening way too fast for me. I felt completely overwhelmed. I needed a second to clear out my mind, to get myself together. Somewhere along the way, barely two hours after I got here, something in my elaborated plan had gone terribly wrong. The magical night I had come to fantasize about was starting to resemble a nightmare.
It started right there, with those two horrible words he'd spoken. Even now, they still made my eyes itch with the unwelcome presence of tears. I blinked angrily to send them away. There was this constant burn inside me now, but I wasn't sure if its source was the pain in giving in, or just this unquenched yearning for him.
Of course, there were other words spoken tonight that made this nightmare even worse.
I caught sight of the ring when I shut the door behind me, and frowned. I couldn't believe I'd let him go on with all of this ridicule. I couldn't believe I conceded. The miserable result was that Edward and I were now engaged.
I leaned against the door and raised my hand to better inspect the ring without his leering stare to distract me. The ring, because I couldn't bring myself to think of his mother's ring as my own. Not so fast, anyway. It was beautiful, of course, and I suspected it had cost more than I would ever be able to afford. I allowed myself a brief moment of vanity to admit Edward had been right; it looked nice resting there on my finger, a perfect fit. But the moment wavered as soon as the thought invaded my mind. If anything, the ring was concrete memento of the trouble I'd gotten myself into.
Marriage at eighteen. The thought sent a violent shudder through me, followed by goosebumps that quickly formed all over my skin. All I could think of was the bitter irony of history repeating itself. Despite all my attempts to defy fate, it seemed I was doomed to follow my parents' steps.
I heaved a long sigh, and placed my backpack on the marble counter.
While putting my strategy together for tonight, I also pondered what I should wear for bed. Granted, I was counting on the fact I wouldn't need it for much longer, but apparently it had turned out to be useful, an unfortunate Plan B. He had seen me at my worst, especially during those first nights he had spent in my bedroom, but I still felt something more was in order. Clearly, tonight was different, or so I had led myself to believe.
There was nothing overly sophisticated about my final choice of sleepwear; shorts and tanktop, both made of dark blue cotton. The shorts were arguably shorter than normally, but that was about it. No wonder Alice had narrowed her eyes at me that morning, when she had paid a visit to my room before the Cullens left. Clearly, she wasn't impressed with my choice; the cunning look she'd aimed at me meant she was going to get back at me someday, one way or another.
To be honest, I couldn't care less what Alice thought. I didn't care the fabric wasn't a frilly satin, or that it lacked a finishing touch of lace. I knew Edward didn't care about that kind of stuff either, so I thought a simpler garb would serve my purposes well. But when I changed into my nightclothes now, I couldn't help but eye my reflection with dismay. The garments themselves seemed to be mocking me. Not tonight.
They looked exactly as they should have. The color made my skin paler, almost as pale as his. My hair was tumbling down my shoulders, shiny because I had just washed it this afternoon. It was just the look I'd been after – chaste yet seductive. The ring glimmered when I ran a hand through my hair, an ironic reminder to my clearly unchaste thoughts. I sulked, then grumbled. Not that it mattered anymore. All my bother seemed pointless now.
Nonetheless, when I reemerged into Edward's room, I thought there might be the slightest chance for a breach in our newly-sealed deal after all. His eyes actually popped as he took in my outfit (and the skin it had left exposed), momentarily betraying his cool façade. It was as if the enormity of my scheme had only just dawned on him. His jaw clenched and unclenched, his fists tight at his sides. He was the epitome of restraint standing there watching me.
He changed too while I was out of the room. He had on dark sweats now, and a white tee shirt that showed off his muscled torso and biceps without being too tight. His hair looked its usual tousled mess, its shade a strange orange because of a single lamp that remained lit.
I advanced slowly towards the bed, painfully aware of his gaze on me. He said nothing, and I didn't trust myself enough to even attempt speaking. He had swept the golden covers aside during my absence. I crawled onto the bed and, leaning against the pillows, I tucked my feet under the covers. As I did so, my shorts rode high on my thigh, revealing more skin than he seemed prepared for. I tried very hard not to look at him as he stood there frozen by the end of the bed.
Eventually he snapped out of it and walked over to the side of the bed. He hovered over me as he reached for the comforter on my other side, about to tuck me in, I assumed.
"No," I whispered, and lay my hand over his. With my other hand, I patted the space next to me, a wordless invitation, and raised my eyes to his for the first time since I got back into the room.
"You'll be cold."
His protest was nothing but a murmur; it obviously reflected concern for my well-being on a level much higher than the difference in our body temperatures. As I shook my head, I could feel my resolute slowly crumpling again. He looked so petrified. "Nothing has to… I mean, we don't have to… do anything," I stammered, blushing furiously now. Then I swallowed my embarrassment and looked at him earnestly. "You got your way on the other thing; why can't I get mine on this one?"
"Because your way always proves to be extremely dangerous," he muttered. There was a split second of hesitation, one which he tried to disguise by leaning over to turn off the lamp. When he straightened up I detected certain strain in his body that hadn't been there before. I was ready to put my newly-found begging tactic to good use, but a moment later it turned out to be unnecessary. He slipped into bed and pulled the comforter over the two of us. His lips were pressed into a thin line of discontent.
"Thank you," I whispered in what I considered a sultry smile, hoping to soften him.
"I'm already regretting this," he said lowly.
"Anything I could do to change your mind?" I asked deviously, and pressed my body against his as I leaned over to kiss him. He didn't kiss back at first, but I didn't let his attempted resistance deter me, and pressed one kiss after another to his pursed lips. Then his lips parted ever so slightly beneath mine, and I kissed him harder, reveling at my victory, as meaningless as it was. I thought it was my name he murmured before he surrendered with a groan.
We were curled around each other, a tangle of arms and legs perfectly intertwined with one another. Our lips only parted when the need to breathe became unbearable. With his mother's ring on my finger as an assurance he'd gotten his way, he was more valiant, almost reckless, despite the initial reluctance he'd displayed. I didn't question it; I decided to just go with it. Who knows, a while longer of this and I might be able to change his mind altogether.
And then, as if he suddenly could read my mind, he broke the kiss abruptly. I sucked in some much needed air. I was laying against the pillows again, and I leaned back with my eyes closed, heaving. Then, just when my heartbeat returned into something close enough to normal, my eyes snapped open with a sharp gasp when his cool breath danced along the skin of my neck before he pressed his lips to my throat. I tugged at his hair to keep him there.
"You should…" – kiss – "…really…" – kiss – "…get some…" – kiss – "…sleep…"
His lips hovered over mine for a moment before they clashed together again. Unwillingness to pull away was there in his every movement, sharp contradiction with his statement.
"Not… tired…" I managed brokenly between frenzied kisses. For this one single night, we had this entire house to ourselves. It seemed silly to waste it on such mundane necessities like sleep.
I was still pinned beneath him when his hands began to wander, very slowly, over my stomach. His touch was cool even through my tanktop. Hitching my leg around his waist was nothing but an instinct; as was the shift of his hand, suddenly trailing up the back of my thigh. I all but held my breath when it continued a cool path up the back of my leg, disappearing beneath the material of my shorts. But as if he could suddenly feel the soft fabric against his hand, his body stiffened, and he withdrew his hand, pulling away from me at the same unfortunate moment.
"God, Bella," he grunted, and clutched the sheets over my head so tightly I was sure he would soon rip them.
"I'd apologize, but I'm such a bad liar there's really no point," I breathed.
"At least you realize as much," he replied, his face wearing this calm façade again.
"Aren't you even curious?" I asked, pouting, and wrapped my leg a little more tightly around him.
His expression was sealed, severe. He was clearly fighting for control. Holding back a sigh of exasperation and a string of petty complaints, I slowly lowered my leg and waited. "Bella, I may be a century old, but inside, I'm still seventeen." He paused, and his beautiful face was serious, although not as livid now. "Of course I'm curious. But it's not worth hurting you… and I'm bound to, as long as you're human. Besides;" A hint of a smile graced the corner of his lips. He reached for my hand where his mother's ring rested, and held it out in front of me. "A deal is a deal."
One I had already begun to regret. "I'm not going to go back on my word."
Apparently, my innocent expression wasn't innocent enough. He snorted. "Bella, it doesn't take my mind reading abilities to see what you're trying to do." His fingers fluttered over the thin straps of my tanktop, a touch so light it made me shiver.
"May I remind you I chose this outfit before I knew what you were up to?"
"What I was up to?" His expression was a cross between amusement and outrage. "I thought I'd made my intentions quite clear a while ago." He lay a brief kiss over the ring before he lowered my hand.
"I thought I did, too," I retorted, clawing at his tee shirt. He grumbled something unintelligible in reply. "Have you really not seen it coming?"
"I stupidly hoped you would have more sense than that," he grimaced. "I still can't believe I submitted myself to this so called deal."
"Are you going to go back on your word?"
There was a pause as if he was actually considering it. Then he let out a heavy sigh. "No. I'm not."
"Good," I grinned, knowing that under the circumstances, his reply, no matter how unenthusiastic, should satisfy me. Sensing his discomfort, I decided to change the subject altogether. "Are you nervous? About this weekend?"
He chuckled darkly. "As it appears, I'm much more nervous about spending the night alone with you." Then he looked into my eyes. "It's going to be fine. Please stop worrying about it. I thought we agreed to keep tonight about you and me."
"I can't not worry about it," I frowned.
"Well, try. At least for tonight. I don't want you to waste any sleep on it."
"I might as well do just that, as apparently there's nothing else to waste any sleep on."
He actually laughed, an open, honest chortle that caught me a little off guard. "Someone has been hanging out with Emmett far too much recently."
My planned backfire was swallowed by a yawn. He chuckled again, knowingly now, and brushed a finger along my cheek, so slowly that I'd become more aware of my drooping eyelids. I nestled into his embrace as he tucked the covers tighter around us. "Sweet dreams, Mrs. Cullen."
He sounded so smug; I sulked as I pressed my cheek against his chest. "Hey, this is the 21st century; I'd like to at least add my name in there," I murmured sleepily.
But if he had made any reply, I was fast asleep before I heard it.