Don't Say a Prayer for me Now, Save it Til the Morning After

Hi everyone, sorry for the long hiatus. I decided to wrap this fic up, I was having a tough time writing about being a vampire. So I'm backing the story up and re-writing it. I decided Bella has been through enough and she doesn't need a freaky power and continued angst. This is it, the final chapter, I'm changing it a bit and I'm marking the story complete. I've also gone back and added a few details to previous chapters to make it more consistent, nothing major.

If you want an epilogue to wrap up the loose ends and give Edward and Bella a chance to explain their feelings more, let me know and I can add one.

Warning: lemons.

Pain. I awoke to what should have been a haze of pain, but my senses remained cruelly clear and sharp. Excruciating pain shot through my legs and arms, daggers pierced my neck, a vise crushed my head, my heart pounding loudly, the ache growing with each throbbing pump. The pain washed over me in waves, and even as I cringed beneath each crest, I relished it as I recognized the searing acid eating me alive. Venom. I was exhilarated. I was going to get what I wanted. I win. I chanted. Win win win.

Vampires always spoke of transformation as burning, like being set on fire. In reality it was much, much worse. Win. It was like being slowly dipped in acid. It was like cutting open your nerves and flaying them to nubs one by one. Win. I heard someone screaming until there was only a hoarse hissing. Win.

Finally, after what might have been hours or weeks or perhaps a year, my heart gave one slow, final beat, the pain began to ebb and I became slowly aware of my surroundings. I was lying flat on a firm surface, like a doctor's examining table covered in soft fabric. Perhaps because my eyes had been closed for so long, my other senses were heightened. I could hear tiny creaks of wood expanding and contracting with the weather from far away. I could hear insects buzzing far away outside. My limbs were oddly still and disconnected from my rushing mind, so though I started in my head, my body stayed perfectly still.

Light. The room was filled with light, sunlight coming from the window, fluorescent light seeping under the closed door, reflected light from a large wood-framed mirror hung upon the wall. Instead of blending together in a whitewash of broad illumination, I could see every source, every reflected beam and shadow, separate, clear, yet somehow woven into coherent and accurate geometries by the time it reached my eyes. Color. Dozens of names for colors that had previously seemed redundant synonyms, useless letter arrangements cluttering up the dictionaries—crimson, scarlet, ruby, burgundy, cherry-suddenly seemed inadequate to describe the dozens distinct shades and hues of red in the luxurious oval rug occupying the center of the room. Even the off-white paint of the walls was not solid but eggshell, ivory, cream, crystalline quartz and vanilla.

I glanced down at myself, my gaze somehow taking in and processing every detail of the floorboards, every knot and scuff and waxy spot, in its rapid sweep. I was dressed in an incredibly soft sleeveless white cotton shift, which was simple yet expensive-looking in that it could have been a nightgown or a swimsuit coverup or an elegant cocktail dress just as easily. My legs and arms were bare, and impossibly smooth looking. Luminous. It was the only word to describe the pale glowing curves of my skin. I ran my fingers experimentally over one leg. The impromptu caress sent yearning through me. I felt every fingertip on every silken inch. I ached for more.

Where is … my mind came up blank. Who … I could picture him, blurrily. I slipped from the table in one swift motion. I need… The name came rushing back to me like the tide crashing in. Edward.

As though in answer to my mind's plea, the door swung slowly open, and there he stood in the doorway glowing softly in the sunlight like a demigod. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, wearing only worn dark jeans and a tight gray thermal, his feet bare. My legs carried me across the room of their own volition, closing the distance between us in a graceful rush of wind.

He smelled of sweet honey, freshly mown grass, and something musky that was indefinably and intoxicatingly Edward. He gazed down at me through his long dark lashes. My eyes lingered over his features, my body responding to each one, though the memories were hazy but forceful in my mind. I recalled his lips kissing down my neck. His tongue in my mouth, on my skin, on my inner thighs, then higher. His elegant fingers slipping tentatively, then urgently inside of me. His strong hands grasping me desperately against him, pressing my soft figure tightly to his rock hard form, as he struggled to control his desire for my body and my blood. His flat, hard stomach twitching beneath my caress. His strong thighs underneath my small hands. My wet mouth on his smooth, firm skin, with him heavy in my hand, hard as granite.

He stood completely still under my scrutiny, love and a tentative hope shining from his dark eyes as he watched me drink him in. He'd always been the most attractive thing I had ever encountered, but with my newly heightened senses I realized I had never fully appreciated his perfection.

Of their own volition, my hands reached up to touch the V of bare skin exposed by the open buttons at the top of his cotton thermal. The fabric of the cotton clung to his torso appealingly, but I needed to see the detail of his flawless form. I tried to undo more of the buttons, but instead the shirt ripped from sternum to abdomen in my hands and hung open, exposing his muscled male chest, his perfect nipples, his hard rippled stomach above his low-slung jeans. He used to hold his breath whenever we were this close, but now his chest rose and fell under my stare with increasing heaviness. I wanted to say something, but I couldn't focus. I reached tentatively up with both hands, suddenly needing to know if his hair was as soft as I remembered, but still maintaining a few inches of space between my body and his bare chest. I ran my fingers through his soft hair and scratched my nails as gently as I could at the nape of his neck.

With a shudder, Edward pulled me tightly against him, his arms wrapping around me as he leaned his head down to place a gentle kiss on the top of my head. I don't know how long we stood there completely still in each others arms. My mind raced to catalogue the sensations, imprinting the way it felt when he pressed me to him without restraint. I squeezed him back until he made a small "erk" sound in the back of his throat and I realized with a touch of wonder how strong I was now. I loosened my grip and turned my head up, pulling slightly away so that I could look up into his eyes. I got distracted on the way to his eyes though, as soon as my gaze fell upon his lips I knew I couldn't wait another moment to kiss him.

I pulled his head down to me and kissed him, desperate to taste him. Sensing my urgency, he grabbed my waist in his hands and pulled me off the ground and closer to him, possessively spinning us around so that I was trapped between him and the wall. Our tongues moved together, stroking silkily against each other, wet and rhythmic, and oh god, the taste, he tasted like honey and heaven and desire and Edward. I wrapped both of my legs tightly around his waist as he pressed me higher against the wall, not caring that it caused my dress to hitch up, exposing half my ass against the cool wood as I suddenly realized with a naughty thrill that I wasn't wearing anything underneath the dress. I thought for a moment that I knew why that was and who had dressed me for this reunion, manipulative little pixie, but as I paused and grasped for her name, Edward strode swiftly to the bed and laid me upon it, effectively refocusing my chaotic mind on him.

He stood uncertainly by the bed for a moment, hesitation on his face battling with what I could clearly see was a bulge of pure, hard lust in his pants. I pulled the white dress over my head and threw it on the floor, ripping its seams in my haste. He looked up and down at my naked form and then hurriedly shrugged off the shreds of his shirt and pressed himself on top of me in one swift movement. I reveled in the delicious weight of him as he rested his lower torso upon me while his lips ravaged my neck, and his hands massaged and squeezed my breasts with an ardor that was almost rough. I could feel him hard against my thigh through his jeans, and I wiggled against his hard length eagerly, shamelessly. He groaned low in his throat and paused at the friction, so I took the opportunity to slip one hand between us, moving my small hand up and down over his jeans. His cock twitched and strained so hard against the denim that I thought it might tear through to me. I pulled my hand back up and slid it down his flat stomach to the waist band of his jeans, sliding my hand down until I reached the silky skin covering his granite hard shaft. Edward's eyes fell closed and his mouth fell open, a rumbling sound that was half-growl, half-purr vibrating through his chest as I wrapped my fingers around as much of him as I could and stroked my hand up and down a few times. "Enough," he rasped, capturing my wrist and meeting my eyes with a searing gaze. "I can't wait anymore. I need you Bella. Now."

A wave of lust surged through me at his heated words, and I nodded dumbly, unable to concentrate enough to speak the words. He looked searchingly into my eyes for a moment while his hand rested upon my cheek, then, apparently satisfied with the open love and desire he read in my face, stood and quickly divested himself of the rest of his clothing. Once we were both naked, I expected him to plunge immediately into me and ease the uncontrollably throbbing ache. Instead he knelt on the bed at my feet, and placed wet, open mouthed kisses up my ankles and calves to my inner knees, and then licked all the way up my inner thigh with one long sweep of his silky tongue. My knees bent and my legs spread wider involuntarily in anticipation at the familiar sensation of his tongue licking its way upwards, and he smiled mischievously up at me, showing off those fucking eyeteeth. I shifted my hips impatiently, a small humiliating whine escaping from the back of my throat. His eyes darkened at the needy sound, and he lowered his head between my legs. I moaned desperately as he lathed his tongue against me, unrestrained for the first time, licking me urgently and pressing his mouth against me, even letting his teeth very lightly scrape against me. Just when I felt I could take no more of his teasing, he pulled back and positioned himself above me, a familiar wild look in his eyes as he struggled to control himself.

"I'll try to go slowly," he murmured. He did go slowly. Agonizingly slow. He pushed into me carefully, bit by bit, inch by inch until he filled me completely. Then he unhurriedly drew back and ever so slowly in again, staring into my eyes the whole time, as though there were no hurry in the world, as though he would do this all night, although I could see his arms trembling with the restraint of it. "Edward, please," I begged, "Do it faster." He picked up the pace, fierce concentration written across his face as he thrust faster in and out of me. His eyes left my face and raked up and down my body, intently studying every twist of his hips, every bounce of my breasts. I wrapped my thighs around him, trying to get even closer, more. "Harder," I moaned.

Instead of grabbing me harder against him, he automatically grabbed onto the headboard for leverage instead, in an echo of his old fear of accidentally hurting me with his strength. It broke off in his hands and he looked at it for a moment in confusion before tossing it aside. I reached out and put his hands on the sides of my ribs, encouraging him to hold onto me while I rested my own hands above my head, afraid to grab him in passion lest I hurt him. Soon he wasn't just holding on to me, he was grabbing me closer, he was handling me, moving my body hard against his own, with determination. His fingers dug into my back and his thumbs pressed against the underside of my breasts and the foot of the bed rocked slightly off the floor with the force of his thrusts. Still I needed more. I wanted to caress him, but instead I lowered my hands from above my head and put them on my own chest, massaging and stroking tentatively. Edward saw me touching myself and groaned loudly, thrusting even faster. He looked so beautiful as his muscles worked above me, taking his pleasure from me, giving my pleasure to me. I felt my peak approaching as he picked up speed. My thumbs brushed over my nipples and the sensation shot straight to my core, and I fell over the edge, crying out loudly in my ecstasy. A few erratic thrusts later, Edward stilled and joined me, spilling into me with a hoarse cry of my name.

We lay side by side for a long time after, resting quietly in each others arms, gentle caresses and light kisses taking the place of the urgent embraces that had gripped us before. Finally I pulled away. I turned onto my side to face him, wantonly unashamed of my nudity, resting my hand on the curve of my own bare hip. "You love me," I said, because I knew now, I could see that this was what he always wanted. Whatever he had said, whatever he had done, when he first saw me after I woke up, he had the look of someone who had been given his heart's desire. He smiled. There was some small shadow of regret in his expression, he was still thinking of the life I'd left behind, the life I would never have. But the regret was not mixed with resignation or disappointment, instead it was nearly washed away by happiness. "Yes," he replied gently, "I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you."

I felt so happy that if it were still physically possible, there would have been tears in my eyes. "Me too," I whispered, and the happiness in his smile grew into joy.

My name is Bella Swan. I am eighteen years old. I will always be eighteen years old. Edward Cullen is my best friend. Edward Cullen is my lover. Edward Cullen is my mate. And we will never, ever, ever be Just Friends.