A/N: Okay, here it is! Another one. lol it took me forever, but I'm actually getting this chapter out in one of my busiest times, so I'm proud of myself!
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or (almost) any of the characters.
Chapter 10: Fall.
I spent the night watching Edward sleep. The irony of how our roles were now reversed did not escape me. I never understood what was so fascinating – as he called it – about watching me sleep. I was just a girl who laid there, eyes closed, mumbling embarrassing sentences every now and then, and probably snoring or drooling to add a little extra humiliation to the mix.
But now I realized there was more to it; the way Edward's eyes moved from side to side as he was dreaming, the way he sighed so sweetly every time he rolled over, and the way his chest rose and fell with his every breath. This was especially engaging, because watching him breathe, beat, live… it made me feel comforted. He was alive. And it also made me feel protective – like my sole purpose in this world was to make sure it stays that way. I needed him to be safe.
Let's just say that a lot became clear to me that night. Why Edward always acted the way he did. Why he risked himself to save my life even before we were friends. The way he constantly tried to protect me from the world – which was pretty much annoying, but I get it now.
It also became clear that he was trying his best to make sure I don't end up as dinner. Vampire hunger was the worst. I wasn't having much trouble before, when I was exposed to all these humans in South America, but now I was feeling it. I wasn't sure if it was because, as Nathaniel said, I was still filled with my human blood, or because Edward smelled especially delicious to me. If you tried imagining the best dessert you've ever had, and the aroma coming out of it – you wouldn't even be close to what he smelled like to me.
And that wasn't the only thing I was battling regarding Edward. Oh, no. If I thought I was immensely attracted to him as a silly little human girl, I didn't know what I was talking about. Even as I watched him sleep, I was fighting the urge to stealthily remove our clothing and just sit on top of him, surprising him with th…
He opened his eyes, and I let out a small yelp of surprise, sitting up in alarm. He just started laughing.
"You scared me," I huffed, placing a hand over my heart only to remember it wouldn't be beating anymore.
"You know, Bella, for a vampire… you have pretty bad instincts," he chuckled.
"What, was I supposed to know you were going to just open your eyes like that?"
"Have you ever seen me scream like a girl when you wake up from a night's sleep?" he raised an eyebrow as he sat up in front of me, still grinning like an ass.
"I do not scream like a girl," I protested with a lie. "It was more of a gasp, really."
He chuckled again and shook his head. "It's okay. You look cute when you scream like a girl." It seemed like he was contemplating for a moment, before he drew a deep breath, a serious expression on his face. "Actually, you look beautiful."
His hair was wildly astray from his tossing and turning during the night, and his eyes were almost gleaming with green beneath his dark lashes.
"I, I look the same," I mumbled, almost wincing at my lack of smoothness.
I look the same? Jesus…
I swallowed hard, licking my lips as I did. It occurred to me that I'd never even seen Edward shirtless. And I wanted to. A lot. Vampire hormones were even stronger than my teen hormones. And as if that weren't enough, he chose that moment to tuck my hair behind my ear again, this time letting the tips of his fingers slightly caress the skin below my ear.
I nearly freaking moaned.
"I love waking up to you, you know," he said in a low voice. It didn't slip past me that his fingers lingered on my skin, playing with the neckline of my sweater on my collarbone.
"I love watching you sleep," I smiled meekly, trying not to stutter this time.
"Did I say anything embarrassing?" he asked, trying to suppress a smile.
I wished he had said something embarrassing. God only knows how many times I had said embarrassing things while he watched me sleep. Also, that unsuppressed smug smile of his.
"Just professed your undying love for me," I said lightly, trying to ease some of the tension that was building up.
"Nice try, but I don't talk in my sleep," he said with an easy smile. "But I did have dreams about you," he turned serious again, slowly leaning towards me.
"Y-you did? You had dreams? About me?" There was that stutter again.
He nodded. "I, uh… there was something I didn't get a chance to try last night," he nearly whispered now, and I realized my body unconsciously pulled towards his.
He moved forward cautiously, tilting his head slightly to the side as he did. His slowness was killing me, but I was afraid to move even in the slightest, worried that I might go into a vampire fit and bite his neck; his delicious scent was just overwhelming as he came closer.
Our lips finally pressed together after a moment that felt like forever, my cold marble against his warm, soft silk. At first I didn't allow myself to draw a breath. Edward, however, drew a deep one, and when he breathed out into me, I made the mistake of inhaling.
Apparently, Edward's human morning-breath? Superhumanly good.
It drove me into a frenzy, as my hands grabbed at his shirt and I deepened the kiss, relishing in his scent, his taste, his close proximity. He felt so amazing, and I'd missed him so fucking much.
I tangled my fingers in his hair as I propped myself up on my knees and then fully straddled him, fervently attacking his lips. We were both breathing heavily by now, but I could feel his heartbeat picking up, practically skyrocketing, as our tongues struggled together.
And suddenly, I was flat on my back on the bed and Edward's body was pressed to mine, and his hands were everywhere. Caution was thrown to the wind, and my defenses were slipping.
I realized I was close to somehow hurting him a short moment before it was too late.
I rolled him swiftly on his back and backed up to stand against the wall of his room, willing myself to realize that I needed to stay away from the man that I loved and wanted so badly, at least until I calm down.
He smiled crookedly. "This situation rings familiar."
"I'm sorry," I sighed; mostly mad at myself for my lack of control.
"I'm not," he said, amused. "Now you get to see my side of things. Why I rarely let control slip around you. Why I always stopped us both every time things were heating up."
"I remember. Every freaking time," I said, with a possible bit of agitation in my voice.
"You have no idea how amazing it feels to finally be able to just… lose control around you, Bella," he said, getting up from the bed and walking towards me slowly.
I put my hand in front of me, signaling him to stop what he was doing before I'd lose it again, because he looked too sexy and sounded too alluring for his own good. Then I shook my head, trying to focus.
"No, Edward," I said. "I could've seriously hurt you. I could've broken you to pieces on a heated whim. I could've…" I stopped, unable to form those particular words that wanted to come out.
"Bitten me?" he asked, not seemingly troubled at all. "Drunk my blood and drained me dry?" he smiled.
"You have some sort of death wish I need to know about? A danger fetish, maybe?"
He laughed again.
"It's not funny," I said, crossing my arms against my chest.
"Bella, relax," he said, unwrapping my arms and taking them in his. "You'll get used to it. We'll find our way. Together. It just might take some time."
I sighed. He sounded so confident that we will, I couldn't help but believe him. "I guess we could do that," I said. "But just… stop laughing 'cause it's not funny."
"I know it's not funny," he said. "But you finally get to walk a mile in my shoes, and for once, I don't have to play responsible adult. It's kind of liberating, really," he said as he pulled my body to his, one hand circling my waist.
This coaxed a smile out of me; he looked like a mischievous little boy.
Since my superhuman urges subsided for now, I pulled his face – gently – to kiss his lips – gently. Edward stayed in his place, keeping the kiss PG for now for my benefit. His lips were so soft, I couldn't get over it.
"I love those lips," he smiled against my lips as he kept pecking them lightly. "My lips."
I instinctively pulled away, struck by his words as reality hit my face like a tennis racket; I still hadn't told Edward about letting Nathaniel kiss me. He probably wouldn't be this affectionate towards me if he knew who had claimed these lips, his lips.
He would probably hate me. Feel disgusted by me – the girl who let her parents' killer kiss her. Hell, I was disgusted with myself, why wouldn't he be?
On the other hand, I couldn't keep hiding this from him. He deserved to know. I just needed some time to figure out what to do.
I tried to adjust my facial expression to one who wouldn't point to shame and revulsion, and put on a smile. "I think we should get some food in your system before you pass out or something," I said, trying to shake the nerves as I spoke. "When was the last time you ate, anyway?"
He looked puzzled for a second, but then just shook his head. "Uh, I think the last time was at that gas station we stopped at yesterday, on the way back from the airport."
I frowned. "Great. Now Esme's gonna think I'm a terrible girlfriend who doesn't feed her boyfriend."
He laughed. "Okay, okay. I just need to do a few… human things, before we go downstairs," he said.
Obviously, Edward had to brush his teeth now, and shower – even though I was sure he'd smell great either way.
"Okay, you go tinkle," I said, chuckling.
We finally descended downstairs, after a freaking long morning shower Edward took. Really, the world's natural water resources were better off with Edward as a vampire, because when he was human, he showered longer than most girls I knew.
I walked downstairs behind Edward, feeling a bit self conscious as everyone stared at us and tried to look nonchalant at the same time. Even Carlisle, who was reading a newspaper in the living room, looked at us.
But the worst pair of eyes was Charlotte's. She looked utterly distraught. I wondered if I should start worrying about her liking Edward.
"Goood morning," Esme chanted with a smile. She was holding a pan in one hand and a spatula in her other hand, just about to place something on Charlotte's plate. Alice, Rosalie and Emmett were sitting at the dining table with her.
"Morning," I mumbled awkwardly, smiling back at Esme.
"It's about time, sleepyhead." Alice called with a smile. Jasper nodded at us.
"Edward, come sit, I've made you and Charlotte my famous banana-nut pancakes. And when I say famous, I mean they were in the early 20th century," she laughed, while placing a few pancakes on Charlotte's plate. "I'll go get you some."
"Thanks, mom," he smiled and sat down at the table. I did the same.
"She seems chipper," Charlotte chuckled, cutting into her pancake.
"Esme doesn't get many chances to cook for people, let alone her own son," Edward said.
Esme came back to the living room with a plate stacked with pancakes and syrup for Edward.
"Wow, this smells amazing," Edward said.
"Wait until you taste them," Esme replied and sat down as well. "Oh, Charlotte, I forgot to ask! Did you sleep okay in the guest room?"
"I slept great, thanks," she said in between bites. "And these pancakes are extraordinary. You really didn't have to go through all this trouble for me. The chocolates on the pillow. The Potpourri in the bathroom," she said, seemingly embarrassed by all the attention.
"Don't worry about it. She loves it," Emmett reassured her.
"It's true," Esme laughed softly.
"Oh my god, mom, these pancakes are sogood," Edward nearly moaned, with food still in his mouth.
Should I feel bad that this is turning me on a little bit?
"I'm glad you enjoy them," Esme said proudly.
"Just enjoy them with your mouth closed, would you?" Rosalie said, only half jokingly. She was right, though. Clearly Edward had forgotten his old aged eating manners.
"So Bella," Alice started, and I could already see where this was going. "How did you like watching Edward sleep, for once? Edward used to watch her sleep all the time when she was human. It was adorable, really," she explained to Charlotte, who nodded with a smile, but looked more like she was going to be sick than anything else.
I felt mortified. Why did she always have to put me in the embarrassment spotlight?
"Seriously, Alice, what is wrong with you?" Edward said, and I silently thanked him.
"What? I'm just making conversation," she said innocently.
"Find another topic," he said.
"I know. How about the serious Volturi ass we're going to kick?" Emmett enthused.
"Emmett," Esme said.
"Sorry. Serious Volturi… butt," he corrected his language.
The Volturi. I had forgotten about them. They were going to go after Charlotte at some point, and apparently these were pretty scary folks.
"They haven't decided yet," Alice said with blurry eyes, like she was searching for something in her mind.
"Why would they want to go after Charlotte, again?" I asked.
"Well, a few reasons," Jasper finally spoke up. "First off, she spied on them, which is already enough reason for them to want her killed. She also shot a paralyzing dart at one of them, and finally – she turned Edward human, effectively taking away his gift, which they wanted to eventually use."
There was silence for a moment, as everyone considered his words.
"Plus, they really fucking hate witches," Charlotte said with a smile. "Oh, I'm sorry, Esme," she smiled apologetically for swearing. "Old habits."
"That's alright, dear," Esme smiled back sincerely.
"So it's okay when she does it," Emmett muttered under his breath. Esme pretended not to catch that.
"Speaking of my darts, though," Charlotte said, sipping her orange juice, "they were left in the woods."
Edward stopped eating at once. Everyone looked at Charlotte, who stopped eating as well as she caught up with their stares.
"What?" she asked confusedly.
"Are you being serious right now?" Edward asked.
"Yes, I am being very serious," she replied.
"What if somebody found them?" Carlisle asked and started walking towards us from the living room, reveling that he'd been listening on the conversation the whole time.
"Well… I never tried them on human tissue, but I suppose some of them would be lethal to humans. Especially the experimental ones," she said. "But what human in his right mind stick a dart he just found in the woods into another human?"
"Clearly, you've been isolated from society for much too long," Edward told her, maybe a bit harshly. There was something about the look he gave her, and the way he berated her, that was disturbing. It seemed as if he knew her, better than I expected; as if they had their own shared secrets or something. I hated that.
"Why haven't you mentioned this until now?" Alice asked, more softly.
"I just realized they were gone late last night, and I didn't want to… disturb anyone," she said, ducking her eyes to her plate.
Does she mean Edward and me?
"What do you mean, 'experimental ones'?" Jasper intervened.
"Some of those darts were of a new compound, one that I had yet to try… I really only brought them for a case of emergency, because it would either kill a vampire or enhance his powers – which would be an unwanted effect in the case of Nathaniel."
"Some witch you are," Rosalie muttered silently.
"Be nice, babe," Emmett said quietly in return.
I wasn't sure if Charlotte had heard that, because she didn't respond. But at least, thank heavens, not everyone loved her.
"Well, fine, then. If anyone finds them and decides to use them, I guess it would be their own problem," Carlisle summed up, and everyone seemed to agree.
After some mindless chatter, and a couple of stolen looks Edward gave me and I pretended not to notice (still feeling guilty about my lying to him), everyone quieted down.
"So, Bells," Alice smiled. "We were thinking… you must be starving by now. So how about we take you hunting? You know, teach you the fine art?"
I hadn't even thought of that. Though now that I had, I realized I was famished. It occurred to me that this may had been the cause for my nearly attacking Edward before. The incredible thirst I felt for his blood.
"I guess," I said, and then regretted for sounding so ungrateful. "I mean, that's really nice of you." I tried to pull on a smile.
"Great. So we will all go this afternoon," she smiled back perkily.
I cleared my throat. "Weall?" I asked, a particular concern going through my mind.
"Of course! Well, obviously not Edward and Charlotte," she said.
Yup. Exactly my concern. Edward and Charlotte. Staying here. Allll alone. And she wants him. Awesome.
"Obviously," I breathed out with a casual smile, trying not to sound as worried as I actually was.
The rest of the morning went by with some more chatter, especially on Alice's side, as I kept to myself mostly. I didn't really feel like talking about this and that, but it did help to listen to the Cullens talk. It helped take my mind off things, everything that had happened. My parents. And kissing their killer.
Everyone was getting ready to leave, when a hand pulled on my hand and hijacked me into the kitchen. Edward was right. I really did have bad instincts for a vampire, 'cause I did not see him coming.
My body crashed lightly onto Edward's, as his one hand circled my back and I placed both my hands on his chest to stop myself from falling when he pulled me.
"Hi," he said, smiling brilliantly.
"Hi," I stammered back, unsure what to say. I'd be blushing under his gaze if I were still human.
"So what's going on?" he asked, still smiling, but his eyes narrowing a bit.
"What do you mean?" I asked in reply, baffled by the question.
Does he know that I'm hiding something from him? How could he know? God, I hate this.
"I mean, why were you acting so strangely before?"
"I was?" I asked, trying to sound as normal as possible.
"Do you intend on answering all of my questions with questions?" he seemed amused, his lips wearing a big grin. I didn't miss on the fact that his lips were also incredibly close to mine, and his heartbeat was picking up.
"Possibly," I chuckled lightly. "When was I acting weird?"
"Right around the time Alice mentioned I would be staying home alone with Charlotte," he raised his eyebrows at me.
So that's what he was referring to. Thank god. And also damnit, he knows me way too well.
"No idea what you're talking about," I said innocently.
"Oh really?" he chuckled. His eyes stared down at mine with amusement, but also… something more lustful, as he let his hand trail down my spine. "Are you sure about that?" he whispered.
I nodded determinedly. "Extremely," I said. My voice betrayed me, despite my determination.
"Are you sure you weren't just a little… jealous?" he said with a low voice, as he stepped forward with each word until he had me with my back against the wall, and he was pressed against me.
My eyes went blurry as I breathed in and his scent hit me again, like a tow truck. "Jealous?" I whispered, so my voice wouldn't break again. "No, I wasn't… wasn't jealous."
…except that I was so totally jealous.
"Because you know," he said, lowering his mouth onto my neck and planting small kisses there, kisses that drove me up the wall. "It's okay if you were."
I swallowed hard. How the hell could Edward stand to be so resilient and self controlling all the time? Thankfully, I could hear everyone busy with their own preparing upstairs, which served to distract me a little.
"It's actually quite… hot when you're jealous," he whispered in my ear, after his trail of small, wet kisses led him there.
Then his lips neared mine, and I was gone again.
Our lips didn't quite press together, but more like brushed against one another as mouths opened to contain each other's hot breaths. He seemed insistent on breaking my defenses as he lifted one of my legs to wrap around his waist, and thrust himself gently against me. I shuddered, gasping quietly into his mouth.
That boy freaking owned me. I didn't even care if his family could hear us. But the thirst was driving me crazy, and I couldn't allow this go any further.
Damnit. I really am turningin to Edward.
"Okay," I breathed, breaking from his kiss. "Maybe just a little bit jealous," I said, panting. "Can you please back away, like a feet or two? Please?" I asked him, because my will was starting to crumble.
My body practically ached at the loss of contact when he let me go and took a small step back.
"Huh," he said, smiling slightly.
"What?" I asked, trying to sort my breathing as I realized I didn't really need to do that, now that I was a vampire.
"I never thought your side of things was this… difficult."
"How do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, I used to have to put a stop to things so that I wouldn't hurt you, even though you made that extremely difficult for me," he said, and I rolled my eyes. "But the only thing stopping you was me. And I don't know how the hell I'm managing to stop myself from jumping you again right this instant." He looked gorgeous with his piercing green eyes, and his heaving chest, and his disheveled hair… god, the hair.
"Who's making it difficult now?" I panted, because I wanted nothing more than for him to jump me again right that instant.
"Sorry," he said, chuckling softly and running a hand through his hair. "I wasn't really planning on… doing that. I actually just wanted to say something, but then you looked so tempting with those cherry-red lips and your flowing long hair, and – wow, those jeans you're wearing are tight."
Wow. Edward is actually into me almost as much as I'm into him… maybe it's the teenage hormones.
"Super skinny jeans. Alice made me wear them," I chuckled.
"Ah, should have known," he chuckled as well.
"So what did you want to say?" I asked curiously.
He sighed quietly and stepped forward again, this time with no intention of attacking me. He just ran a gentle hand through my hair and said, "just that you have nothing to worry about. I would never betray you."
I bit my lip.
I am the worst person on the face of this, or any other, planet.
"Bella, come on! We're going!" I heard Alice call, before I got a chance to even react.
"Go, have fun, and don't be worried," Edward said, and kissed the top of my head before he let me go.
I smiled to him weakly before I left the kitchen, with extremely heavy weight on my heart.
I was left dazzled in the kitchen by the exquisiteness that is Bella. It was very much amusing to watch her as my behavior bewildered her. Perhaps I did come on a little strong – maybe the leg hitching thing was a bit much – but I couldn't help it; I loved not having to be careful around her.
I loved it so much, I forgot that the less careful you are, the harder you fall. I also forgot how deep I could fall when it came to Bella. Hence, my dazzlement.
I was still standing in the same spot in the kitchen when Charlotte found me, a few minutes later.
"Oh, there you are," she said. "What are you doing just standing there?"
"Just standing here," I said nonchalantly, only half present. I was still thinking about how Bella's lips felt.
"Riiight," she said, her eyebrows pulling together. "Would you sit with me in the living room?" She asked as she took a mug out of the cupboard and poured herself some coffee from the pot. "It's kind of lonely out there. Edward!"
"Yeah, sure," I said, finally snapping out of it.
"Good to have you back with us on earth," she chuckled as she left the kitchen, and I followed.
The moment we sat down on the two couches, I remembered that I had actually wanted to be alone for a while with Charlotte. Badly. Urgently, even. There was a pressing matter at point.
"So…" she said.
"I need you to make me a new serum," I said bluntly, inconsiderate of what she wanted to talk about. As I mentioned, the matter was pressing. "One that would work on Bella, even though she's a newborn."
She exhaled sharply and smiled to herself. "I thought you might ask me that."
"And?" I pressed.
"And… I'll think about it," she said.
What the hell?
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked. What was she trying to do?
"It means, Edward, that I'll think about it," she said. "And frankly, so should you."
"Are you being serious right now?" I asked agitatedly, realizing it was the second time that day I had asked her that.
"Yes," she sighed. "No. I mean… I'll do it, Edward. Of course I'll do everything I can to help you. But have you really thought this through?" she asked with intensity in her eyes.
"What is there to think?" I asked, genuinely confused by her reaction.
"Bella, for one. Has it even crossed your mind that maybe Bella doesn't want this as much as you do?"
I just shook my head, unsure what to say. No, it hasn't crossed my mind. I'd assumed that we both wanted the same thing – spending our lives together. But I haven't considered the possibility that Bella's wishes lie elsewhere.
"She's immortal now," Charlotte continued. "She gets to do anything she wants. Live forever. Be free. I'm not saying she doesn't want to be with you, but maybe she wants all those things too."
It occurred to me at that moment that Bella had been acting strangely. I noticed that before, in my room and at the breakfast table. Maybe this was the reason. Maybe she wanted those things. And I had been a fool to even think of denying her of immortal life, super strength, super speed, freedom.
"But as a human she would have a chance at a normal life. Have children. Maybe she wants that, as well," I countered.
"It's her choice," Charlotte said with a shake of her head. "But you should probably sit down and talk about how you both feel about this matter. Before she's irreparably human. And another thing – do you recall what I told you before I injected you with the serum?"
"You said a lot of things."
"I said it could kill you. You took that chance with your own life. But would you really take that chance with Bella's?" she raised an eyebrow.
She had a really, really good point. But still, I couldn't live with the fact that I was human and Bella wasn't. That she would eventually have to watch me die. That we'd be apart.
"Why are you saying all these things to me? What's it to you if I've thought this through or not?" I asked, irritated by the entire conversation.
"Because I'm your friend, Edward, and I want to help you," she said.
"If you want to help me, please make me a serum that would work on Bella and not kill her," I said. "Okay?"
She sighed. "Okay."