Scene Stealers Contest Entry-

Title: I Don't Believe You

Book and Chapter you are stealing: Eclipse, Chapter 27 –Needs

Penname: Virginia May

Link to your profile: .net/u/2216692/VirginiaMay

Word Count: 7875

Rating: M

Beta: farawaymomo

Disclaimer: The characters and original text of the Twilight series are owned by Stephenie Meyer. All other characters, settings, lyrics, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The author of this entry is in no way associated with said owners and no copyright infringement is intended.

WARNING!- If you are under the age of 17, please come back after your next birthday per FF Terms of Service. This story is rated M!

Thanks so much for reading! :-)


**Excerpt taken from p. 618 of Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer**

~(~)~

"Stop, Edward. Wait." My voice was as weak as my will.

"Why?" he whispered into the hollow of my throat.

I labored to put some resolve into my tone. "I don't want to do this now."

"Don't you?" he asked, a smile in his voice. He moved his lips back to mine and made speaking impossible. Heat coursed through my veins, burning where my skin touched his.

I made myself focus. It took a deal of effort just to force my hands to free themselves from his hair, to move then to his chest. But I did it. And then I shoved against him, trying to push him away. I could not succeed alone, but he responded as I knew he would.

He pulled back a few inches to look at me, and his eyes did nothing to help my resolve. They were black fire. They smoldered.

"Why?" he asked again, his voice low and rough. "I love you. I want you. Right now."

The butterflies in my stomach flooded my throat. He took advantage of my speechlessness.

"Wait, wait," I tried to say around his lips.

"Not for me," he murmured in disagreement.

"Please," I gasped.

He groaned, and pushed himself away from me, rolling onto his back again.

We both lay there for a minute, trying to slow our breathing.

"Tell me why not, Bella," he demanded. "This had better not be about me."

Everything in my world was about him. What a silly thing to expect.

"Edward, this is very important to me. I am going to do this right."

"Who's definition of right?"

"Mine."

He rolled onto his elbow and stared at me, his expression disapproving.

"How are you going to do this right?"

I took a deep breath. "Responsibly. Everything in the right order. I will not leave Charlie and Renee without the best resolution I can give them. I won't deny Alice her fun, if I'm having a wedding anyway. And I will tie myself to you in every human way, before I ask you to make me immortal. I'm following the rules, Edward. Your soul is far, far too important to me to take chances with. You're not going to budge me on this."

"I bet I could," he murmured, his eyes burning again.

"But you wouldn't," I said, trying to keep my voice level. "Not knowing this is what I really need."

~(~)~ ~()~ ~(~)~

Edward regarded me a moment longer, several reactions crossing his face before he settled on one.

"I don't believe you," he accused, leaning closer.

"Wa..., what?" I sputtered, my eyes blinking under the scrutiny of his gaze.

He smirked at my reaction. Smirked!

"Bella, I've heard all about what Charlie needs, and what you think Renee, Phil, and your friends need. Heaven knows I've heard plenty about what Alice needs to be happy. So, love... tell me specifically what it is about all of your plans that you need?"

I swallowed loudly. "Um, I told you. I need to do this right. You need me to do this right." My voice fell to a whisper at the end. I realized my mistake instantly.

"Me? I thought this wasn't about me?" he asked, again moving nearer to me, stalking me.

"It's not. I mean, of course it is in part, but... I want to do right by you too, Edward."

He was hovering over me then, one hand woven into my hair. "I told you that we were doing this your way. It's not about me, Bella. It never was."

"But I want to marry you. It's such a small thing in comparison to every other way I want to be bound to you."

His eyes flashed with some emotion I couldn't place, making him frown deeply.

"Marriage is no small thing. I want to marry you too, but I would gladly wait for you to understand the significance of it and want that for yourself than allow you to do this just for me. If I change you now, you'll have all of eternity to figure it out. I've waited for you this long. I can wait a little longer to make you my wife," he crooned, stroking my cheek softly. "But I will not make you wait another moment, love. Not for anything."

His descent to my lips was, this time, agonizingly slow. His eyes, though black as pitch, were full of emotion, love and passion.

My body trembled against his, butterflies returning in full force now. "Edward, I..."

He paused just above my mouth, raising his brow in question. "Yes?"

My eyes fluttered closed. "I can't... please."

I felt his lips, icy and firm, brush mine before he pulled away. "Tell me why? What changed? You were so insistent about getting your way a few days ago."

"So were you," I countered, opening my eyes to see his face.

"I was wrong. I've been wrong, about a great many things."

"No," I said with a fierceness that surprised even me. "No, Edward. You weren't. I was being selfish and ridiculous."

"Selfish?" he cried. "Bella, you're giving me everything you have to give! Your heart, your life, your soul, and your body..." He paused and took a deep, if unnecessary, breath. His voice was softer then. "I've never known anyone less selfish than you are."

I disagreed. "I saw how much it meant to you, Edward. Having that silly, but beautiful ring on my finger? That meant something to you, something I probably can't even fathom. I will not take that away from you."

"But it doesn't mean anything to you! And the only thing you truly want, I've denied you. So, no more. No more waiting. I love you. Let me give you what you want, the way that you want it. Please, Bella..."

He lowered his mouth to mine, but I struggled against him and pushed up on his chest. He looked hurt by my actions, but let me go. I sat up beside him and put my head in my hands.

"I didn't realize how badly I've been screwing this up until just now," I sighed, letting out a frustrated breath. After a moment, I lifted my head and turned, placing my left hand over his sternum.

"You mean everything to me, Edward. Your needs are my needs. Your heart is my own. I may have my issues with the institution of marriage, but I have no doubts left about becoming your wife. Becoming your other half, forever –and in every way possible, is all I've ever wanted."

Edward smiled at me warily. His eyes, though still dark and demonstrative of the hurt I'd caused him because of my many rejections, began to lighten.

"You want to be my wife?"

I smiled. "Yes, I do."

He sat up and scooped me into his arms, kissing me once. "Really?"

I giggled at the magnanimous look on his face. "Yes!"

He stared at me the way he did when he was trying to determine my thoughts. When I couldn't stand it another moment, I kissed him.

My lips were undemanding, but infused with as much emotion as I could manage without making myself cry. Edward responded, but I sensed there was still hesitation. I pulled back and gazed into his eyes for an indeterminate amount of time before coming to a decision as how I could best convince him. I took his face between my palms.

"Marry me, Edward."

He startled, my words causing both extreme surprise and obvious delight.

"What was that?"

"You heard me," I smirked, making him laugh.

"Marry me, Edward Cullen."

Somewhere inside, a part of me was now screaming at the top of her lungs, trying in vain to get the rest of me to just shut up. That girl, one I hardly recognized anymore, was busy wondering what Renee would say if she could see me now. Amazingly enough, I couldn't find it in me to care.

Edward growled playfully and leaned back with me in his arms. "You stole my line," he whispered in my ear.

I tried to laugh, but it came out funny because of the trembling caused his icy cool breath on my skin. He chuckled and moved me so that we sat facing each other in the tall grass.

"I accept, but I have a condition of course," he said, taking my hands.

"A condition?" Mental alarm bells were starting to go off.

"Just one," he said, shaking his head a little. "You have me feeling quite... impatient."

"Okay..." I hedged.

With a delightfully crooked smile, Edward kissed each of my palms before clasping my left hand in both of his and removing them just as quickly. Lifting my fingers to his mouth, he kissed each one before lingering on my ring finger which was suddenly much heavier and shimmering in the limited sunlight.

"The ring stays on this time," he said smugly.

My eyes flashed to his in surprise for a moment and then back to my hand as I gaped at the intricate pattern of diamonds and gold. I hadn't even felt him put it on. But there it was; Edward's mother's ring. My ring.

"You don't know how it pleases me to hear you say that."

"To say what?" I asked.

He chuckled softly. "You said, 'My ring.'"

I smiled halfway. "Did I?"

"You did. I liked it," he admitted.

I really looked at Edward then. His expression was somehow more intense than it had been three nights ago when he first showed me the ring he'd been waiting so long to give me. The emotions I saw on his face now made his appearance almost severe, and for the first time, I truly felt something more than trepidation about accepting one of his many gifts. I felt excited. Because marrying Edward Cullen really was just that –a gift, and one I actually wanted.

I was surprised by my own thoughts, but happy. Gone was the sense of duty and obligation to others that my fiancé had quite correctly called me out on. In its place was a genuine desire to become one with him; in both name and flesh, word and deed.

I rose onto my knees and crawled onto Edward's lap without another thought. He accepted me eagerly and wrapped me in his strong arms.

"Thank you," I said and kissed him lightly, lingering for only a moment.

He pulled back and gave me a playful look.

"For what exactly?" he coaxed.

"For my ring." I overemphasized the possessive a bit on purpose.

He groaned and held me tighter. "You're welcome, love." His voice was rougher than usual, husky.

I giggled. "You really do like that, don't you?"

"Oh, yes," he answered, kissing me silly as soon as the word left his mouth.

I let out a breathy laugh when he finally pulled away, trailing his cool lips down my neck.

"Edward?" I squeaked, reacting to the open mouthed kiss on my collar bone.

"Mmm?" he mumbled against my overheated skin.

"Would you really have... um, you know? I mean, if I hadn't stopped you..." I stammered, pulling myself closer to him to try and hide from my own blush.

Edward leaned back despite my efforts and met my eyes.

"Yes. I would have. I will, if that's what you want."

The intensity in his liquid gold eyes almost undid me.

"Are you ready for that?" I managed to whisper.

Edward nodded, looking undeterred.

I took a deep breath and very slowly began opening the buttons of Edward's shirt. "You're ready right now?" I asked again, suddenly feeling brave and a little mischievous.

"Yes..." Edward answered. There was a hesitation in his voice that I doubted anyone else would have noticed.

I continued to work the buttons of his shirt. When I'd pulled apart the fourth one, I leaned forward to kiss the indentation at the joint of his collar bones and opened my mouth to taste him with my tongue. Edward dropped his head back and tightened his hold on me enough to encourage me.

I tilted my head to kiss his neck, tasting him there as well, before moving my lips to his earlobe.

"Are you sure you're willing to give up your virtue before we're married? Along with mine?" I whispered.

Edward sucked in a breath and I felt him go completely still beneath me. I smiled to myself and shook my head. "That's what I thought..."

Even though I knew things couldn't go much farther, I ran my fingers under Edward's now unbuttoned shirt and over his hard chest, pushing the fabric aside as I moved. I leaned into him, placing feather light kisses on each of his now bare shoulders.

"It's okay... we don't have to," I comforted.

"Bella..." He groaned my name and it sounded like a mournful plea, conveying his own displeasure with the situation.

His fingers found their way under my shirt just barely and I imagined him struggling not to use his full strength against the delicate flesh at my waist. Even though I was finally starting to believe that he really wanted me as much as I wanted him, it didn't change the fact that anything physical between us would always be harder on Edward than it was on me.

"Shhh..." I kissed his neck again. "It's alright. There's no pressure. We can wait until we say our vows. Until you've had some more time to prepare. I don't mind so much anymore." My words came out shakier than I meant them to.

Edward raised his head and pulled back so that he could see my face, most likely wondering if it was the vows part, or the waiting part that had set off my apparent nerves. He smiled softly and leaned in to kiss me, sweetly, slowly, his mouth lingering on mine for a little longer than usual.

Wow...

"Bella?" Edward spoke against my lips.

"Mmm?" I hummed, having forgotten for a moment anything but kissing him.

"I would like to try something."

I smiled at a particularly happy memory those words brought to mind.

"Bella, I want to practice. Here. In our meadow."

I looked up at him and found his facial expression to be unusual. He appeared both nervous and excited, but solemn at the same time.

"Practice?" I asked.

"I'd like to run through our vows, love. Then maybe we can practice what comes after?"

Holy Crow! I hadn't even considered our vows yet. We'd only just decided to get married a few days ago! My eyes opened wide. What would I say to him? And, wait...

Did he just say what comes after?

Edward must have sensed my hesitation and misinterpreted it. "I just thought that we could-"

"Yes... Or I do... Or whatever it is I'm supposed to say," I answered quickly.

He smiled brilliantly, showing me the face of the angel I knew he was.

Suddenly we were standing in the middle of the meadow. Edward gave me only just enough time to gain my balance before unleashing the full force of his smoldering eyes on me. He was obviously exited and it left me dizzy.

"Stay with me, beautiful," he chuckled.

I nodded silently. The sound of his voice always soothed me and I wondered if it would be this easy to forget everything else but the two of us on the actual day we were meant to pledge ourselves for life and longer.

"Okay then," he began. "I believe it goes something like this..." Smooth fingers ran patterns over my knuckles.

"Isabella Marie Swan, on this day I take you to be my wife. To have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live." At this he released one hand to stroke my cheek affectionately.

My eyes filled with tears that spilled freely.

"Bella, these are my vows to you. Vows made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and eternally made new."

I took a shuddering breath and let it out as a new wave of tears trailed down my cheeks. Edward smiled and wiped them away with his thumbs. I refused to let go of him, clasping my hands around his wrists.

Not only was I stunned speechless, but the way I was crying would have made any attempt to speak almost impossible anyway. Edward sensed my dilemma and pulled me into his arms, rubbing my back and whispering to me to breathe deeply.

"Was this a bad idea?" he asked quietly.

Without allowing an inch of space between us, I shook my head vehemently and mumbled "No," into his chest. I felt him kiss my hair.

"Breathe, love," he soothed.

Eventually, I pulled it together; cursing myself for falling apart on Edward yet again. After the shameful way I'd handled my grief over saying goodbye to Jacob, I had sworn never to let him see me like this under any circumstances. The only thing I could do now was make sure that Edward knew these were happy tears.

I breathed deeply, inhaling Edward's scent until I could find my voice.

"Edward..."

"Yes, love," he answered, pulling back a bit to look down at me.

I smiled as much as I could and allowed myself to get lost in the depths of his eyes. Before I became too dazzled, I gathered my courage and found my voice.

"Edward Anthony Cullen. On this day I take you to be my husband. To have and to hold... in sickness and in health... uh, forsaking all others?" I asked, struggling to remember his exact words. He nodded in encouragement. "Right. Forsaking all others... as long as we both shall live."

I paused and Edward squeezed my hands. "You forgot, 'for richer or poorer'."

I rolled my eyes and shook my head, choosing to ignore him and just move on. I knew that I would never forget these next words as long as I lived, or existed, whatever the case may be.

"Edward, these are my vows to you. Vows made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope... and eternally made new."

No sooner had the words left my mouth, than I was swept up into strong, unyielding arms and kissed thoroughly. It was the first time I could remember Edward kissing me with such ease and enthusiasm. At least, he made it seem easy.

I giggled unexpectedly when Edward stopped his exploration of my mouth and lay me down gently in the soft grass of the meadow.

"What's so funny, Mrs. Soon-to-be-Cullen?"

I shook my head. "Nothing." He gave me an exasperated look. I giggled again. "It's just... are you planning on doing that at our actual wedding?" I asked, referring to the make-out session that he initiated after our practice vows.

He chuckled. "No. Do you see why I wanted to practice?"

"Mmm," I agreed. "I think you were very wise. I wouldn't want to give poor Charlie a heart attack if we can avoid it."

"Exactly," he said, his eyes darkening yet again. "I will be better prepared now. I wasn't sure before what it would do to me... finally hearing you say those words."

I swallowed hard. "I meant each one."

"I know."

"I love you."

"As I do you."

Once again Edward's hands were in my hair and his mouth was moving softly against mine before I even had the opportunity to register his movements. His body pressed against mine more fully than it had ever before as he pushed me gently into the cool ground beneath us.

I felt brave, trailing one hand from its usual place of residence in his hair down his neck and over the planes of his back. Edward moaned into our kiss softly, causing me to echo the sentiment with sounds of my own. Soon both of my hands were running along the curves and indentations that his muscles made under the smooth, hard expanse of his back.

My breath hitched as Edward allowed his fingers to travel from my hair, down my neck, and over my shoulders. His kisses continued as he slid his long digits down my arms towards my wrists, there he captured my wandering hands and brought them up to rest on the ground above my head.

I was about to protest and began struggling to free myself when suddenly I felt his tongue dart out and tease my bottom lip.

"Be still for a moment, love."

His breathing was as fast and unsteady as my own as he gazed down at me. Edward closed his eyes briefly, his lips moving in a flutter of words I was unable to pick up on.

"Are you alright?" I asked.

He opened his eyes and reassured me with just a look. Slowly, he raised himself up on an elbow and let go of my wrists, sliding his free hand down the inside of my arm. He continued his slow pass over my ribcage and along the curve of my waist. His hand settled on my hip, his thumb and forefinger stroking the heated skin beneath my shirt.

I recognized the question in his eyes; a question the gentleman in him was struggling to put into words.

"Yes," I breathed. "Yes, please?"

My shirt was gone in one fluid motion, my hair fanned out behind me where it had been pulled through the neck.

"Beautiful..." He ran the back of his fingers along my side again, burning a trail of icy fire along my overheated skin. "Oh, Bella... You're so beautiful."

I blushed furiously, but tried not to look away from him. I was oh so very glad that I did not.

With reverent caution, Edward lowered his body to mine and then took my mouth in a searing kiss.

It didn't take more than a second for me to lose all control. Every nerve ending that made contact with Edward's bare skin sent my brain an overwhelming amount of sensation that resulted in fiery need. I wrapped my arms around Edward's neck and pulled myself up fully against his chest as I sought his mouth in return. As if the heated electricity of our kiss wasn't enough, my desire to get closer caused me to shift beneath him and our lower bodies lined up in a way that had never once happened before.

I gasped and closed my eyes, overcome by the throbbing waves of pleasure that wracked my body.

"OH!"

I wasn't sure who cried out first, Edward or me.

Either way, by the time I opened my eyes there were only grey skies and a cool breeze above me. I heard Edward's breathing nearby, but felt the loss of no longer lying beneath him or being wrapped in his arms. A sort of groan escaped my lips just before I felt cold, hard fingers find their way into my left hand, telling me I was not abandoned. Edward made soothing circles in my palm and then played with my ring, his touch communicating to me somehow that he had become as overwrought as I had been.

Lazily, I let my head fall to the side where I knew he would be. I spotted him lying a few feet away breathing deeply and gazing up at the clouds. Sensing my eyes on him, he rolled over onto his side and faced me.

"I'm sorry," he began.

"Don't be. That was wonderful. Maybe a little overwhelming, but wonderful."

He frowned and interlaced our fingers together.

"Did I hurt you?"

"No, not at all. Quite the opposite, actually," I admitted.

He sighed and smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes at all. "I'm glad you're alright."

"What's wrong?" I asked, only to feel the splash of a raindrop on my cheek.

Edward smiled my favorite crooked smile and flopped back onto the ground. I scowled at the sky and rolled over towards him.

"Time to get you home," he remarked.

"The rain isn't a problem for me."

He smiled and wiped away a few new rain drops that had landed on my face. I shivered and trembled against him.

"You're cold."

"Nope. Not at all."

This time he laughed when my stupid body betrayed me and sent an almost violent tremor through my muscles. I rolled my eyes. Even I had to admit that it was caused by more than just Edward's skin against mine.

"Come on, love... let's get you somewhere dry and warm."

I nodded and sat up. I felt a little shy when Edward helped me put my shirt back on, but the love in his eyes wiped away any real embarrassment. Not to mention his shirt was still hanging half off of him. He looked more adorable and unkempt than I'd ever seen him.

As soon as we were both presentable, I was climbing onto Edward's back for the run home. I really wasn't ready to face reality just yet though. A few more rain drops fell and I wondered what exactly Edward and I would have been doing right now if it hadn't started raining on us.

"Home?" Edward asked, pulling me back from my fantasies.

I shook my head. "Not yet."

"Alright..."

"Can we go to your house for a little while?" I asked.

Edward shrugged. "If you'd like to."

I tried to see his expression, but he wouldn't let me. I could have sworn that I heard a slight pout in his tone though. He leaned back and kissed my cheek quickly just as the rain picked up.

"Hang on tight."

I nodded into his shoulder and closed my eyes just in time to feel the wind and rain start flying by. I thought we'd both get soaked, but we were surprisingly dry when we got to the large white house that was my second home. It seemed that Edward was even able to out-run the rain. I giggled a little as I slid down to the ground.

I expected Edward to look at me curiously as he always did when I laughed at nothing, but instead he was staring towards the house with a confused, possibly even concerned, look on his face.

The stress of the last few days came rushing back easily and I grabbed his hand in a vice grip.

"Edward, what's wrong?" I whispered as low as I could.

He snapped his attention back to me and pulled me into an embrace. "Everything's fine, sweetheart. I'm sorry for alarming you. It's just that..." he hesitated.

"What?" I asked, looking to the house.

He glanced from the house back down to me and shrugged. "Nobody's home. I can't hear anyone's thoughts nearby either."

I'm sure my face was just as surprised as his. "Why? Where is everyone?"

Edward shook his head. "I don't know, but I think Alice may be up to something. Come on..." He pulled me gently around to the side of the house. "Do you trust me?" he asked.

"Yes... You know I do."

"Good, come here." And he swept me up into his arms, holding me bridal style. I laughed and asked him what was going on, but he just told me to hang on.

The next thing I knew we were standing inside Edward's room– on the third floor.

I was so surprised by the fact that he'd just leapt up and in through an open window with me in his arms, that I almost didn't notice how the room was bathed in the flickering light of at least two dozen candles.

I looked around in astonishment too see that ivory and wine colored candles of various heights had been placed on almost every solid surface in Edward's room. They were intricately arranged and looked like something out of a movie. The softly glowing colors matched the linens on the large wrought-iron bed, which was turned down and covered in rose petals. There were also large arrangements of roses in the same shades of ivory and wine on the night tables on either side of the bed.

"What is all this?" I asked Edward as he put me down.

"I give you my word, Bella, I honestly have no idea."

"Alice?" I asked, as Edward went to pick up a note that I only just noticed lying at the center of the enormous bed.

"See for yourself," he answered quietly, handing me the note.

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Soon-to-be-Cullen,

I'm so happy for you both.
I'm not even offended that I wasn't invited to witness your first exchange of vows,
because at least I know now that the wedding I'm planning truly is what Bella wants!
That said, the private ceremony you shared today was perfect and you two deserve this time together.

Don't worry, Bella~ Charlie was called in to work early
and will be pre-occupied for some time due to problems with the traffic lights in town.
(I assure you, I know NOTHING about it.)

The rest of the family is occupied elsewhere this evening.
I can assure you they will remain that way until just after midnight,
so you have the house to yourselves until then!

I know it's not really enough time for a proper wedding night,
but I guess you'll just have to wait for that until after your proper wedding.
In the meantime, Happy Practicing!

Love The World's Greatest Sister,
~A~

PS- Edward...
Cinderella is not as fragile as the glass slipper you believe her to be.
Have fun!

"Oh my gosh," I whispered.

"I know," Edward said quietly behind me.

"She did this for us."

"I know."

"And she means for us to..."

"I know..." His tone was disapproving.

"But then she saw..." my voice fell away again, I felt a little nauseated.

"Who knows what she saw," he answered, kissing my shoulder. When exactly had he circled his arms around my waist again?

I turned to face him, my heart racing wildly. "But it seemed like she saw that we would... you know? Need to be alone... tonight?"

Edward smiled morosely and placed his palm over my heart. "Forget about all of that for right now. Is this excitement, or trepidation?"

I swallowed, thinking for a moment. "A little of both?"

His smile grew and he kissed the top of my head, pulling me close. "At least we feel the same way then." His voice dropped to a whisper and he held me tighter. "Even if my heart can't race for you, you should know that it would be flying right now if it could."

I sighed and kissed his chest before turning my ear to where his heartbeat would have been.

"I'm not afraid. I may be a little embarrassed... and anxious. It's sort of a lot of pressure, don't you think?"

"Mmm," he hummed.

"Not that I don't want to find out if... maybe... Alice was right?"

I waited, unmoving, with my head listening for a rhythmic thumping that would never come. I did hear an intake of breath followed by a low rumble. The sound reverberated through Edward's chest and into my heart. I loved him so much; if I could make a sound like that, it would be for him.

"Bella..." He picked me up and held me in his arms so that we were face to face. His eyes were dark, but anguished. "I do want to try. I want you. I want to make you happy. I want to love you the way a husband should love his wife."

He kissed my lips, my cheek, my nose, my forehead. "But I am afraid... so very afraid."

"Don't be," I whispered, imploring him with my eyes. "Trust this. Trust us. After everything that's happened, all we've overcome, do you honestly think that we aren't meant to be?"

He sighed and carried me to the bed, laying me down gently. It was warm to the touch and smelled of roses and Edward.

"What if I ruin everything? I could kill you, Bella."

I removed my arms from his neck and began opening the buttons of his shirt again.

"I already told you I don't think that you could. It would kill you, too."

Edward shifted me up, closer to the headboard he'd already mangled once just to demonstrate his strength.

"It's so hard to concentrate when I'm with you like this, love."

I kissed his chest. "You're more than careful with me. You always have been."

"I've made mistakes," he whispered, his eyes seeking mine out, begging me for forgiveness of sins long forgotten.

All I could do then was kiss him. I was weary of the dialogue.

We'd been over this several times and I knew we'd likely go over it again. Even if we were successful once, Edward would remain ever diligent where it came to my safety. Each moment of intimacy would be a battle for him; something I knew I could never fully appreciate, at least not for another couple of months. Even after my change, I may never know the demons he'd faced or what he'd been through for me.

My mouth opened to Edward. I would always be willing to accept him, even if he wasn't comfortable or able to go that far. I teased his bottom lip with my tongue the same way he'd done to me in the meadow and relished hearing his breathing hitch. He pulled back, peppering kisses along my jaw until he reached my ear.

"Bella..." he whispered, sucking my earlobe ever so slightly into his cool mouth. The sensation sent shivers through my body but I knew it was a warning.

He started to pull away, but as usual, I had trouble letting him go. One of my legs was wrapped around his calf, and teased him almost subconsciously. While my hands tugged on the last two buttons of his shirt I felt Edward's fingers brush mine aside, but instead of stopping me as I expected, he took over. A moment later the shirt was gone, fluttering to the floor somewhere across the room.

"Oh, God. Edward..." I sighed, taking in the impossible perfection of his body. "Please?" I didn't even know what I was asking for, but I asked again. "Please?"

We became a mess of tangled limbs and soft moans then. Every nerve ending was pulsing, pushing us together and propelling us towards the final culmination of our love for each other. The many months of forced restraint had taken their toll, and there was very little that was soft or tender about our display in those first moments. Clothing went airborne, sheets and blankets got shoved aside, and rose petals were crushed and mangled by either my flesh or Edward's.

"God, Bella..." Edward breathed against my skin where his mouth was exploring my navel. "Tell me to stop. Tell me it's too much."

I broke out into a sweat, an actual sweat! It was something that had never happened before while I was with Edward. I realized that my entire backside from my shoulders to my ankles felt like they were close to catching fire.

"Stop," I panted.

Edward groaned but I felt him nod against my stomach. "Thank you."

I rolled my eyes. "No, Edward... the bed. The electric blanket. It's way too hot. I'm sweating." I started to laugh at the irony and pushed myself to sit, removing my back from the intense heat beneath me.

Edward mumbled something under his breath and rolled over onto his side, propping his head onto his elbow while still breathing hard.

It was only then that I really took stock of my state of undress, or his, and the first thing that came to mind was, thank god my undergarments match today! I was also exceedingly glad that the simple cotton bra and panty set I wore was opaque. After all, I hadn't been expecting to be seen in only this.

Of course, I hadn't been expecting to see Edward, like that either. My vampire demi-god was glorious in only his dark blue boxers and bright white socks. I giggled and blushed from head to toe, looking down to focus on my own still-covered feet.

"This is a very fetching look," I said, happily wiggling my toes around. " Although, I have to say you carry it off a little better than I do."

Edward growled and grabbed me around the waist quite unexpectedly. He rolled onto his back, taking me with him.

"I have to disagree with you there. You are positively mouthwatering, and that blush is not helping things."

Was it wrong that I felt even more attracted to him when he reminded me that he was, in fact, a vampire? It was so easy to forget under normal circumstances, but when he said things like that, I lost any modicum of concern for my safety or his sanity.

I put my arms out on either side of his head to raise myself up and look at him. "You don't make it easy for me either, you know."

"Oh? What did I do?" he asked, teasing.

I rolled my eyes. "You've done plenty."

He chuckled, which I felt more than heard as he shook beneath me. I leaned down and kissed him slowly. I could feel the smile in his lips as his hands started making slow circles on my back.

His cool chest felt so nice against my overheated skin, but lying on top of him in a half push-up position, as appealing as that might sound, wasn't very comfortable. I continued pushing myself up until my arms were extended and then slid my legs down on either side of Edward's hips. And...

Whoa.

Edward hissed and we both stopped breathing the moment my body molded around his the way a woman's body was made to do for a man.

Whoa... Don't move... Just. Don't. Move.

We both remained frozen, staring at each other and yet lost inside our own minds. I wondered whether or not Edward was feeling what I felt, but I also hoped to high heaven that the phenomenon which kept him out of my head would not fail me now. Oh, Lord. If he only knew...

I eventually had to breathe, which seemed to break our trance. Edward closed his eyes momentarily and shifted us just a bit. I inhaled shakily as he lifted his knees behind me, allowing me to sit up all the way and rest my hands on his stomach. Of course, I thought flippantly, his abs were perfect too.

Edward's fingers were around my waist, and his gaze traveled up from the point our bodies met very slowly to eventually lock on mine.

"Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?" he asked, his voice full of awe.

I found myself shaking my head slowly side to side. It amazed me that he could look at me the way he did now; like he was the one who had won the lottery. I knew for a fact it was I who'd hit the jackpot.

My beautiful vampire sat up and splayed one strong hand across my bare back, while the other tangled in the hair at my neck. "Then, let me demonstrate how every part of you is beautiful to me. Let me show you how much I love you."

Our lips met once more in the most tender and passionate of caresses. He opened his mouth to me ever so subtly, his breath coming out in pants and mixing with mine. I felt dizzy and shivered from head to toe.

Edward let go of my hair and began rubbing his hands up and down my arms. "Are you cold?"

I shook my head. Even though most of me was exposed and sitting in the lap of a man whose body temperature was closer to a marble statue's than my own, I found I was surprisingly warm. My feet were tucked under us, but on top of the toasty electric blanket which was more than enough to keep me warm.

"Are you sure?" Edward asked, leaning back a little to look at me. I knew in my heart that he was referring to something more significant than my body temperature.

"I've never been more certain of anything." I lifted a hand to his cheek. "Are you sure?"

"I am."

I took a deep breath and reached behind me slowly, almost expecting Edward to stop me before I accomplished my task. When the clasp came apart and the only thing left holding my bra in place were a couple of flimsy straps, I was honestly a little stunned. I looked down at the sheets beside us and tried not to blush.

Edward lifted my chin and locked eyes with me, then trailed his hands up my arms to my shoulders. He deftly took the straps in his fingers, sliding them off and peeling my bra away before sending it flying across the room to join the rest of our clothes.

Without breaking eye contact, he pulled me against him so that our bare chests were pressed together for the first time. I could feel the warmth as my body flushed, heated by desire. Edward quite obviously felt it too and lowered his forehead to mine, closing his eyes.

"I love you, Bella."

"I love you too, Edward."

"Forever," he murmured, his body trembling slightly.

I ran my hands through his hair gently. "Forever," I whispered in return.

He closed the small bit of distance between us to claim my lips, uttering words of love and desire until he was unable to speak and as lost in our kiss as I was.

We moved in tandem, each of us answering the other's unspoken requests. Edward explored the depths of my mouth, though I would have to wait a while to explore his. He placed wet kisses over my neck and collar bones. He moved lower and it was then that I could feel the resolve flowing from him.

His hands began a slow and progressively more intimate exploration of my flesh. I timidly followed suit, gaining confidence with each new touch. I vowed that I would feel every plane, dip and curve of Edward's body with my fingertips before the night was over.

We moved together tentatively at first, separated only by a thin barrier of cotton and Edward's need to occasionally take some time and space to acclimate. Only once did he feel the need to leave me to regain control and breathe deeply of the fresh air near his open windows. I pulled a sheet around my body to cover my bared breasts, but took the opportunity to finally remove my socks.

In a moment of inspiration, I threw them at Edward to distract him from whatever was going on inside of his head. I could tell he was feeling guilty for needing a moment. When he turned to face me, the surprise and amusement was evident on his face and he came back to me whispering his gratitude for my patience and understanding. I climbed back into his lap immediately and he pulled the sheet from between us in order to pick up where we'd left off.

I pulled back when a thought occurred to me. Something Edward used to tease me about suddenly popped into my mind and I wanted to address it before we went any further.

"Wait, wait..." I mumbled against his mouth.

Edward stopped and released my lips, looking a little befuddled.

"I need you to know that this has nothing to do with being ruled by my hormones, Edward. I need you to understand that it's so much more than that. I never want you to doubt that the only reason I want this is because I want you. All of you. Your heart, your soul, your mind, your body; everything. And I want you to have all of me, too."

Edward's eyes danced. "I know. I believe you now," he answered, and then he was kissing me again.

Minutes could have been hours, or days, for all I was aware of the passing time at that point. It passed in thrilling rushes and stilled moments of awe, but it did pass. Even for two would-be lovers finding their way.

At some point I opened my eyes to behold the face of the man who was making my body feel things I didn't know it could. I vaguely noticed that it had gotten dark and the room now was bathed only in the comforting glow of Alice's flickering candles. Their reflections danced in Edward's eyes, making the gold color appear molten.

"So beautiful..." I sighed.

Our lips met, our tongues touched, and Edward sighed. "Yes, my love, you are. Così bella... True to your name."

My breath caught and I was sure I blushed, but I never got the chance to reprimand my silly, romantic, vamp boy for his unnecessary flattery because the moment I feared would never come was finally upon us.

Edward moved me from his lap with no effort at all and rolled us over, bringing me beneath him. He lowered me to the bed with gentleness and reverence, stirring a quiet place deep in my soul. His love for me was so very obvious in that moment. All I could do was hope that by some miracle he could see that I loved him equally in return.

"We will try, Bella, but you must tell me immediately if I do something wrong."

Smiling up at him, I agreed. "I promise."

"Please, Bella. I mean it," he pleaded.

"Shhh..." I comforted him. "I will, I promise."

Holding himself up on his elbows, Edward gazed down on me, searching my face until he was satisfied. His eyes left mine then, lowering to follow the curves of my body down to the last of my clothing. My heart sped when he glanced up at last, seeking permission.

I smiled. As if I would ever deny him.

The minutes that followed were full of both innocent awkwardness and passion-fueled exploration. Edward went first, ever the gentleman, removing his own clothing before he lovingly undressed me. Timid at first, he stayed focused on my eyes until curiosity got the better of both of us. That curiosity gave way to desire, desire grew into passion, passion became overwhelming need.

I had been such a fool to think that I could make either of us believe that I ever needed anything other than Edward. I could only hope that he needed me just as much.

In the last moments before the final physical barrier between us was broken, the look in Edward's eyes alone was enough to banish any lingering doubts. In his eyes I saw more than just love and desire. There was wonder, and awe, and undisguised adoration.

The only thing I couldn't find were words. There simply were none.

In the end, there was only a boy and a girl coming together as one. His body claiming mine as our hearts and souls worshiped together in an act as old as time itself.

~(~)~

The End.