It was a kind of happiness I couldn't fathom. A blissful weight I could barely hold. Bella was safe and happy and in my arms…loving me and kissing me, while my family was somewhere else inside the house.
I'd never had one.
And now I did…that and so much fucking more.
The entire day had been cathartic, healing in ways I never imagined. For me, for her…for all of us, really. Watching Bella sleep in my arms the night before had been both wonderful and painful. Knowing she was safe – knowing that I was keeping her safe – centered me. Calmed me. But knowing that she had suffered at the hands of someone from my life devastated me and continued to plague me as we lay there in the darkness.
But when she woke up, she knew. She knew exactly what I needed and she opened herself up to me. She showed me – more than anyone – what my life was capable of being. And with her in my life, I knew that I would be happy. I knew that I was blessed beyond measure. What once seemed so dark and lonely, so unfulfilled and desolate…now had promise. I could finally be happy. And I could be happy with her.
It wasn't until we left Carlisle and Esme and went back to the bedroom that I knew. It wasn't until I felt her under my hands, until I tasted her sweet breath and skin on my tongue…
She had to be mine.
And it had to be forever.
I could feel the blood pulsing under her skin, rushing through her veins like it was calling out to me. I could smell the sweetness of her arousal in the air. She still wanted me – even after everything that happened – she still responded to my touch, to my words. Just the way I fucking needed her to.
My body surged and called out to her as I held her close, removing the sweater that she wore. My cock was painfully erect; its only requisite to be inside her.
To fill her wet heat.
To consume her.
To make her mine.
And I could now. She had seen, and I had seen what love in this endless life could be like. Carlisle and Esme were together. They were living their lives. Mated. In love. And it could be the same for us. We could be together. We could love each other…and it would be forever.
I carried her to the bed. She was nothing in my arms, but the weight of what I was about to ask her was so great. I didn't allow myself to think of all the reasons she should say no. I couldn't let myself go back to that darkness when she offered so much light. So much hope. Her body and soul and heart a place that I could finally, finally call home.
Her body trembled under mine. I could feel the rapid and relentless beat of her heart. Her beautiful, caring, and forgiving heart. And I knew that she was right. After everything that happened – I knew she was telling the truth. There was nothing she wouldn't endure for me. She was so fucking strong – a warrior. She had already endured so much in her short life.
And I was going to ask her to endure one more thing.
"Tell me you want me," I commanded, needing to know. Needing to hear the words.
"I want you."
Her voice was nothing but a breath, a whisper meant only for me. And I heard it. I fucking loved it.
"Tell me you're mine."
"There's no one else," she gasped. "There's only ever been you."
And looking down at her, I knew it was true. I think I'd known all along. I remembered her lying naked in her bed…her body calling out to me and begging to be claimed. By me. Only by me.
And then the word was on my tongue…the tip…just waiting for me to say it. To speak it out loud, so I could show her, tell her what I wanted.
What I fucking needed.
"Tell me it's forever, Bella," the rough words fell from my mouth in a rough breath. Demanding yet questioning. And I couldn't wait for her response, so I covered her mouth with mine. Tasting, thrusting, licking at her lips. I wasn't gentle; my hands gripped too tightly, my lips and tongue too rough.
But she met every advance I made. She arched against my body's every surge. Her fragile skin and bones were on fire…I could smell it. I could taste it. And all of it was too much. It was so fucking much because how was it possible that I was holding everything pure and perfect, everything so fucking right and beautiful in my arms?
I was no longer cursed.
I was fucking blessed.
"Bella," I whispered, pushing myself up above her and looking into her eyes. "I want to be with you…always. I'm asking you…please…I'm begging you to let me change you. Be with me forever."
She looked at me with all the love in the world and every inch of her beautiful body pulled to me…came to me.
She was going to come to me willingly. She was going to spend the rest of eternity in my arms…in my bed.
She was going to say yes.
And then she didn't.
The sound of her voice pushed through everything else. And even as she clung to me, even as she still pulled me closer to her, she told me no.
I stopped in an instant, my mind spinning with the realization that I had completely misread everything she'd said. And even though I shouldn't have been surprised at her answer…I was. I was stunned, shocked….completely and utterly destroyed.
I withdrew immediately, pulling back and giving her the space I was sure she needed. She'd said no, and I didn't understand how I was supposed to live the rest of my endless days…in this fucking never-ending life without her.
She was the reason I was here. It had been her all along. Fate decided so long ago that I would need to be changed in order to meet her. In order to love her.
And she said no.
It was all I could hear – a constant repetition in my mind.
My hands gripped the sheets beneath me, shredding them between my fingers. I was undeserving. I knew I was undeserving. Had known it all along. But she – she had always been constant in her love. Constant in her forgiveness. And fucking constant in her understanding.
And her no was unacceptable. She couldn't do this. Not after everything…after all that we had been through to get here. I couldn't live with her no.
And I could never live without her.
And I knew that she felt that way, too.
I fucking knew it with every single thing inside me.
"Bella," I whispered, trying to control the sheer panic I felt in my empty chest from her refusal. "You love me. I know you love me."
"Oh, Edward," she cried, her voice breaking as she scrambled up to her knees. "I do. I love you so much."
"Why then?" I asked. "Why are you telling me no?"
I was afraid to look up. Afraid to meet her brown, beautiful eyes. I couldn't look at her again if rejection lay inside.
"Please," she whispered. "Please don't shut me out."
But wasn't that what she had done? Wasn't that exactly what she'd just done to me only moments before? When I'd laid my heart at her feet…and begged her to be with me forever.
"Please…please don't tell me no," I begged.
"Edward…it's not like that."
"Then what is it like?" I asked. "You have to tell me…to help me understand. Why? I know you love me. I feel it. I felt it before. You wanted to say yes."
I drew my eyes to hers and they were glassy and filled with tears. And her hand moved, barely reached out to me, before she threw herself across the small space into my arms. And I held her while she cried herself out.
"I love you, Edward…but it's…it's my parents," she whispered. "I know you'll think it's crazy, but you have to understand. I have spent every day since their death, hoping that one day…one day I'd be able to see them again. I don't know what I think about the afterlife…what happens when we die. Where we go. I don't know what to believe. But what if there's a chance? What if I could be with them again in…in heaven? I don't want to lose you, but I just…I don't know if I'm ready to lose them either."
And suddenly, all of it…every bit of her apprehension made sense to me. She was afraid of what changing would mean for her. I was like her in the sense that I didn't know what I believed in. If heaven and hell were actualities. I only knew that I understood what hell was to me. And my hell was existing on this earth before I knew her. Lonely and desperate and running. Absolute darkness. And even in the middle of the night, when I saw her in the street, she was the most beautiful light in the world.
She was heaven.
I didn't deserve the gift of her love, but she was mine. She belonged to me, and while I couldn't force her to choose an eternity with me, I could give her the only truth that I had.
"I don't know about heaven or hell, Bella," I told her before kissing her soft, welcoming lips. "And I hate that you never got to say goodbye to the people you loved most in the world. And I can't promise you – as much as I want to – that you would be able to see them again. But I can…I can promise you that I will love you forever. I will love you so much for every day of forever…and Bella, you will never have to be alone. No…you would never have to be lonely again."
"Oh, Edward," she cried, pulling me close and burying her face in my neck.
"Please," I whispered again. "Please choose me. Please, choose this life with me."
I don't know how long we sat there. Time ceased to matter or exist. There was nothing but her. I had nothing without her. As blessed as I felt to have found Carlisle and Esme, it was all insignificant without her love and presence in my life.
She was my soul.
She was my mate.
She was my love.
To me, she was everything.
But if she said no, as much as it would have killed me, I would have walked away. For her happiness, I would endure the pain of forever without her. And it was then, when my resolve was set and unwavering, that she pulled back and looked into my eyes.
They were filled and shining with love.
And she said, "Yes."
Her undulating body underneath mine was perfect, beautiful…everything I could hope for. Her breath in my ear came in soft gasps. Warm and wet and wonderful. She was mine. She agreed to be mine.
"I love you," I whispered, having nothing else to give her. There were no other words worthy of the gift she was giving me. No words capable of describing what she meant to me. "I will always, always love you."
She pulled me down closer, making room for me between her spread thighs. My weight rested on top of her, and though she felt fragile, I knew how unbreakable she really was. How strong…how fucking courageous.
"Make love to me," she panted. "I need to feel you inside."
Her hand reached in between our bodies – so warm, as she took my solid length in her palm. My cock jerked as she stroked me.
Hot and needy.
Desperate and engorged.
She inflamed me, body and heart. She owned my every needless breath. She commanded my every single action.
Pushing up, I kneeled between her legs. She lay there on the bed open and wet and ready for me. Her body was perfect. Rosy and pink with the flush of her desire – the blood that pulsed in her veins. And soon, I would taste it. Soon, I would taste her…take her inside and make her my wife.
I trailed one finger between the slippery lips of her perfect pussy. I remembered with each stroke the way she felt the first time I touched her…the first time I tasted her. She was everything soft and female…everything pure and good and light.
Her heat burned and soothed me simultaneously. And as I pushed a finger inside, her warm, wet body contracted, sucking me in deeper, pulling me in closer. All the way inside her. I could never get close enough. Even inside her, I would never be close enough.
And then it hit me.
This was really happening. She'd said yes. She was going to be mine forever. She was going change for me…with me.
Did she want it to be now?
My cock surged and my mouth flooded with venom at the thought.
Her perfect legs were spread before me. The milky skin open and vulnerable. I could taste her. I could lap her pussy until she came on my tongue. Pulsing cream with her promise of forever. And then I could sink my teeth into the delectable flesh of her thigh. I could suck her blood, drink her in…even as I filled her with the burning essence of who I was.
Need consumed me. It was almost too much. My mouth was so full, I couldn't speak. Couldn't think. Not of anything that wasn't about her changing…of her being mine forever.
Swallowing thickly, the venom burned. And I looked down into her eyes that were open wide and responsive.
The question I wanted more than anything to ask, hung suspended on the tip of my tongue. And I was so desperate to know…but terrified of the answer.
"Now." My voice sounded foreign and pained. "Tell me you want this now."
And I realized it wasn't a question. Not really. It was a request. A demand. It was me fucking begging for her to agree. It had to be that moment. But the truth was that it had been every moment leading up to this. Every second of every moment had led me to her. To this.
Her eyes widened as she tensed.
"Now?" she asked softly. "You want to…you want to change me…now?"
My entire body tensed, but my heart, my being…everything melted and became liquid. I looked at her as softly as my hunger would allow. I tried to pour myself into her. So she would know. So she could finally understand. Her eyes softened, too. And when I looked into their deep brown depths, It struck me that she did. She must. She could hear my thoughts.
She needed to hear the words.
"I've wanted to change you since the first moment I felt you under my hands."
She drew a quick, gasping breath.
"I knew you were mine, then," I continued. "Even if I couldn't admit it to myself. Your mouth…your heart…your body called out to me, Bella. Even in your sleep."
"But not my blood," she said, her voice thick and beautiful…and filled with a desire that nearly crippled me.
"No," I told her. "Not your blood. Not in that way. You were such a mystery to me. Confounding…alluring. You were like a flame. And like a moth, I came to you. Utterly and completely enchanted."
She moaned, and then moved up. My mouth covered hers, taking in her breath, breathing in her scent.
"I remember," she breathed against my lips, her quivering body undulating under mine. "I thought you were my own erotic dream. I thought I'd created you in my mind. And you wanted me like…like I was the fire. I had never been the fire."
Something about her last words were wholly significant and entirely seductive.
"And yet," I pulled back so I could look at her. "And yet…you burned me so completely."
Her tongue traced the skin of my bottom lip, and then she whimpered before sucking it in her mouth. I was so lost to her in that moment. She could have asked anything of me – anything at all – and my mind and body would have complied. Her hand reached in between us again, stroking first, and then wrapping around my hard and aching erection that was so hungry for her.
I was fucking ravenous for her.
"And what about now?" she asked, her voice breathy yet determined.
"What?" I asked, clouded. I couldn't focus on anything except the feel of her beneath me, her hand hot and soft against my cock.
"My blood," she murmured, squeezing me tightly. "Does it call to you now?"
Her words were too much. Too aching and erotic to be true. Her thumb traced over the head of my cock. I could feel it pulse and twitch in her hand.
"Yes," I moaned, unable to stop myself. "But…but not in the way that you think."
I could feel myself leaking on her hand. Her fingers sliding down my length easily…hungrily.
"How?" she asked, her breath sweet and soft in my ear. "How then?"
"It calls to me because it's you," I said, forcing myself to say the words, when all I could do, all I could think about was the feeling of her hands on me. "It's who you are…what you're giving me. Your blood…it's…it's fucking everything. I want to taste you in my mouth…while I feel you around my cock."
She shuddered and moaned, her breath a hot tickle against my skin.
"And you," she panted. "You want me? Forever?"
"God, yes," I told her, thrusting up into her hand. "An eternity won't be long enough."
She bit down on her bottom lip, her heart-shaped face furrowing in thought. Her hand stilled on my cock, but still, she held onto me. Her heat searing me…the pulse in her fingers pressing in a steady beat against my head.
"What if…" she whispered, before trailing off. Her eyes dropped as she looked away from me. Scaring me.
"What?" I asked, panicked at the sudden change in her demeanor.
Her wide, brown eyes looked up at me again. They were wet now, and I could smell the salt of her tears.
"What if…what if you can't stop?" she whispered. "What if…you kill me?"
So quickly, it probably scared her, I took her in my arms, and flipped us both over. I was holding her in my arms while she straddled my lap. I needed to hold her for this. Her voice has trembled as she asked, I wanted her to feel safe while we talked.
"I won't," I whispered fiercely, begging her to believe my words. "I could never, Bella. I will never ever hurt you."
"What if…what if you can't help it?" she asked. "What if you…lose control?"
As she spoke, she shifted her body, sliding her pussy over my still-erect cock. This tiny little moan escaped her lips. Almost like she couldn't help the way her body responded to mine. And I couldn't stop the groan that came from me, either. Even though she was scared, she was so wet, so perfect…so right in my arms.
"I won't," I assured her. "I couldn't. Bella, I have waited for you so long. I would never do anything to take you away from me."
I lowered my head, placing my lips against the rapid beat of her heart. I kissed her once, then opened my mouth and licked her softly, feeling her blood pulse under my tongue. And she was so hot. Her heat seared me every place her body touched mine.
Her hands found their way to my hair, winding in the strands, pulling gently and then pushing me closer to her.
Her beautiful body.
Her guarded heart.
The word falling from her lip was the only heaven I'd ever known or would need. She said it. It was a question, rather an admission of the truth. That this was forever.
We were forever.
"Always," I told her reverently, pulling back to look in her eyes. "It has always been you, Bella. It will always be you. Forever."
Tears welled and spilled, and I wanted to kiss each one of them away. I couldn't hear her thoughts, but I could feel the emotion pouring from every cell of her being. It reverberated in the soul she gave me. It filled the silent heart that loved her so loudly it almost shattered from its scream.
"Now?" she asked, sucking in a thin stream of air.
"Yes," I told her, my voice hoarse and broken. "Please, Bella…now. Today."
Her arms wrapped around my shoulders, her face buried in my neck. Her breath came out in small pants – warm and wet. My hands stoked the long length of her hair that fell in thick waves down her bare back.
"Will it hurt?" Her voice was so small, it wasn't even a whisper.
But I heard every word.
I pulled her closer, knowing that horrifying pain waited for her on the other side of what I was about to do. Wanting nothing more than to be able to protect her from it. But it was the only way I could keep her. It was the only way I could be with her always.
"It will," I told her. "It will be painful, but I'll be here. I'll never leave your side. I'll hold you until it's over…until your eyes open again and you come back to me."
"Will it be different for you?" she asked, licking her lips, and looking at me with eyes that held limitless questions.
I kissed her softly because I had to. Because I couldn't not touch her, not connect to her.
"Will what be different?"
She kissed me softly again, the movement causing her to rub against my cock again. I felt the head slide between her lips as she settled there, clenching my firm flesh as she did.
"Me," she whispered. "Will I be different? Will this…" She moved deliberately; I stifled a moan. "Will this be different?"
"I don't know," I whispered. "I've never been with anyone else in this life. Only you. But I imagine that it must be. I won't be able to hurt you. I won't have to worry every moment that you'll bruise and break."
"You never hurt me," she murmured, her fingers trailing down my back. "Not once."
"I will never hurt you," I promised.
I kissed her again. She opened her mouth to me and as my tongue pressed inside, I felt the sweet, slick of her pussy grow wetter. I felt it cover and coat me as I smelled how she wanted me in the air. I was overwhelmed at the way she loved me…still. After everything. After learning what I was. After I failed her with Jasper. The need to thrust up and inside her body grew with such intensity, I had to force myself to calm down.
"After this – after today – I will only ever love you," I swore. "And I will live every single day…exploring your mind…memorizing your body…tasting your pussy…and searching for ways to make you feel good."
And then she cried. She cried earnestly and openly. Her body shook and trembled in my arms. Her hand clutched and grasped at the marble of my skin.
And at the sound of her tears, I wanted to cry with her.
"Why Bella?" I asked, pulling back and searching her face. "Why are you crying?"
She only cried harder…she only cried more. And once I knew she didn't want to pull away, I only held her closer.
"You love me," she cried into my neck. "You really love me and want to keep me with you forever."
"Oh, god," I rasped, pulling her so tight against me, I was afraid I'd hurt her. "I do. I love you so much. Bella, you're my life…my…my everything."
"I've never had that," she told me, her voice softer, yet somehow more determined. "I've never had forever. Not the promise…or even the hope of it. After I…after I…lost my parents, I didn't think I ever would. Not anyone to love…to spend my forever with. And then there was you. And yes, you were scary. But you were also perfect. For me, you were perfect. You made me feel things I'd never felt. You made me do things I'd never done. And you helped me find strength I never knew I had. And now…"
She choked back another sob, as my infinite mind hopelessly tried to process her beautiful words.
"Now?" I asked.
"Don't you see, Edward?" she asked. "Don't you understand? You're here. And you're offering me forever. Actual forever. An eternity with you."
I took her face in my hands, holding her…staring at her.
"And it still won't be long enough."
I'd never meant anything more.
I'd never loved anyone more.
"I'm ready," she whispered. "I want to be yours. I want you to be mine."
If my heart could have beat, it would have pounded in my chest.
"No regrets?" I asked.
I had to give her the chance to back out.
I had to hear her say 'forever' one more time before she gave it to me.
"None," she whispered. "I will never regret you."
I pulled her to me, kissing her deeply…passionately. Pouring every single bit of my love and my need for her inside as I breathed her in and tasted her sweet mouth. Her lips were like mint and honey drenched in rain. And I drank until I was dizzy.
"Make love to me," I groaned against her mouth. "I need to feel you one more time before I take you…before I make you… Bella, please."
Without another word, just her eyes on mine, I watched as she pressed up on her knees. My cock slipped from her folds, but stood up and erect…and waiting to be sheathed inside. She reached down and grabbed my base, squeezing me hard just once before lowering her hot, drenched pussy onto me.
I couldn't focus on anything but her as she rode me slowly. Her face, her feel…her fucking smell. Everything about her was sublime. Every part of her being was transcendent.
She was heaven.
And she was mine.
I whispered to her as she took me inside over and over. I told her how much I loved her. How she saved me. How she'd taken me from the darkness and finally, finally shown me light. How she made me remember the man I was supposed to be.
I talked of our future. Of endless nights and days of making love…of exploring the world she'd never really seen. I told her how precious she was to me. And how I would cherish and protect her every single moment of our forever.
I felt her body begin to tremble. I could feel the tension inside her as she fucked me so softly…so desperately. My eyes fell to her throat, zoned in on the beautiful beat of her pulse. And my mouth filled with venom…and I let it.
I fucking welcomed it.
"Tell me," I begged her, my voice desperate and broken.
"I love you," she cried.
"I love you, too."
Her heart pounded frantically. I cherished it…I loved it. It was the last time it would beat like this. It was the last time her skin would flush with desire. It was the last time I would hold her…fragile and breakable in my hands.
But it was the beginning of every single first in our new life together.
"Come," I whispered as I felt her begin to contract around me. "Come on my cock, Bella. Come all over me. "
"Forever," she cried, shattering all around me, as I fell to pieces underneath her.
And like she knew – like she fucking knew – she tilted her head to the side, exposing her flawless, white neck. Giving herself to me entirely.
"Forever," I whispered, closing my eyes as my open mouth pressed against her skin.
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Thank you for the love and support for this story. And thank you for your patience as you waited on updates. The words weren't always easy to find. But it was important to me that the words were always right.
Marvar, thank you for being my best friend, my beta...the reason I smile on multiple occasions throughout the day. None of this would be possible without you. And you continuously make my writing better.
Raina, Courtney and Laura…thank you for pre-reading and being just amazing in general. I love adore you all.
Thanks and love to Caren and ltlerthqak who were also a huge support to me during this story as well. I love and adore you both more than you know.