I jolt forward with a start, finding myself sprawled out over Rosalie's bed. It takes a few moments to recognize where I am and to notice the beauty who sat on the couch, staring blankly out at nothingness. It is odd, having caught a glimpse of her in thought. Usually she has such an intense stare, latent with emotion. She glances up, finally aware of my awaking. "Did I lose control," I inquired, but was already too aware of the truth. I had lost it when-
When our lips met.
We had kissed. It was an overwhelming thought that sent my mind off in a spiral of doubt. She had asked me before why I could not take control. I had said it was because she made me afraid, and while that was true, the more deep-seeded reason was a feeling of inferiority and insignificance. And not so much in the physical sense. Yes, she could overpower me with no strain on her, but this was different. I felt like I could not hold a candle to her beauty, her presence, or her clout. I am the impoverished, dirty farm girl to her elegant, regal queen. And a farm girl does not command a queen.
"Just a little," she allowed, granting me a floatation device for keeping my pride from sinking into the depths of an ocean of shame. "But do not worry – I think I can handle your advances."
I could tell she was trying to lighten the mood, but I did not have the presence of mind to stop myself from saying, "Well, at least that makes one of us." She eyed me with a sympathetic expression and I felt a lump rising in my throat.
"Hey, hey, Bella. Listen, this is something we have to work through. And we made a promise to be brave."
I returned her stare, but faltered when my gaze dropped to her lips. "I just cannot stop thing about you." I paused a moment, gathering my courage, before meekly continuing. "And things."
"Things?" she pressed, attentiveness coloring her expression.
"You know- things!" I could not bring myself to get the honest words out. "D-dirty things," I elaborated, at a whisper, my voice not allowing for anything more.
"Oh? Tell me about these dirty thoughts," she pestered, a grin spreading over her lips, making her look like a predator toying with her prey. I could not keep the warmth from spreading between my legs and the color that rushed to suffuse my cheeks. It was as if my body was admitting my deepest, most kept secrets; Admitting that I had spent the days since the encounter in the woods daydreaming about her forcing me into the acts of fiery passion; Admitting that my breath hitched when she became a predator; That my heart raced when she stared at me with a longing, or perhaps a hunger.
"Pl-please don't make me talk about it," I squeaked, my voice cracking despite my best efforts to keep it together. My thoughts scared me. The desire I had, being something I had never known, was an invasion I had no defense for. And I had no understanding of it. Part of my mind called it unnatural, fearing and hating the changes.
Her face took on a look of concern and she eyed me, trying to make out what was happening. I did not doubt that she could sense the shifts and reaction of my body. It was bothersome to know that I could hide none of my physical responses from her.
To distract my thoughts, I wondered what it was like for her. Could she really hear my heartbeat or smell my arousal? Could she tell when I began to sweat? Could she hear when I swallowed? I figured the answer to all of the questions in my mind was 'yes'. It was entirely invasive, but I knew it was not something she could help. It was part of being one of her kind. It was what made her the best of predators.
I did not fear being prey. As strange as it was, I felt a trust for her, in that regard. She might chalk it up to being deceived by her pheromones or whatever, but I think it is one of the few things my rational mind had grasped. She had no intention of hurting me and that was enough to make me trust her. However, I, like her, feared myself. I feared the way I changed, the way I made things difficult for her. I feared the day when she would realize I was not worthy of her time.
"Bella, while being entirely in control of myself, I would never make you do anything." She was contrite and looked down at her lap. "It is not my right," she added, somberly. My heart squeezed without my consent, bringing her eyes back upon me. I felt a helpless yearning for her to take the words back. My body screamed that all I wanted was for her to take advantage of my fragility. I wanted her to do as she pleased and to not hold back. I closed my eyes, forcing my head to the side in an attempt to hide my face. I told myself it was disgusting to want something like that. Not to mention dangerous. But still my body desired it.
I knew I was caught up by her. Her natural seductive qualities had me trapped in a war between my body and mind. And yet I still wondered – was it entirely the fault of her pheromones? Or was it a subconscious desire that was brought to the forefront of my mind, with the pheromones acting as a catalyst? I could not determine the veracity just by thinking about it, but I also could not bring myself to talk about it. While she could make guesses at the causes of my fluctuations in temperature or the quickening of my heart, Alice had said that none of them could see the inside of my head. My thoughts were something I could hold as my own.
"Bella, try not to strain yourself over there." I forced a weak smile. "Come on. Let's do something and act for a moment like we are normal people hanging out together." I protested, saying that I was normal. She exhaled sharply, a playful, but warm smile brightening her features. "A human that is not afraid of a vampire that sits across from her in a room is definitely not normal."
I grumbled at her accusations, but found myself acquiescing. "Fine," I allowed, "but you are the weirder of us."
"And how do you figure that?"
"You are weird enough to fall for me." There was a moment that she stared at me in silence, but then she burst into a fit of laughter. I got caught up in the laughter, joining her.
"I will have to concede that you have won this debate," she said when our giggles died. "But, you should think higher of yourself. I know I do." She thought highly of me? I wanted to press her, but did not want to seem as if I was fishing for compliments. So, I let the comment go unquestioned. Of course, I could not help the slight blush that colored my cheeks. "So, what is it you wish to do?"
I ran through a list of ideas. Well, Alice had said watching movies was more like watching a flipbook with audio, so I was not going to put Rosalie through that. I was sure I would have lost at any game we could play, which would become a bore after a while. I was not yet hungry. So, what else was there to do in the house?
Or, maybe it did not have to be in the house. "We could go for a walk," I suggested.
She was silent for a moment. "Yes, I think that would be nice," she agreed. She stood, her eyes soft as she smiled down at me. "Shall we go?"
I nodded as I maneuvered myself off the bed. I adjusted my wrinkled clothing, trying to look a little more presentable. She just watched, patient. Her expression was so light, very different from the strained one I was used to seeing. It was like a giant weight had been lifted from her mind and it was nice to see, but made me wonder what had changed.
When I nodded in response, she led the way downstairs and outside. The house where the Cullens lived was surrounded by woods and perfectly secluded. I had figured we would just walk down the long drive, but it seemed that Rosalie had different plans. When we had reached the end of the walkway, she stopped short and turned about. "Bella, could put your arms around my neck?"
Do you ever have those moments where your brain just shuts off, being overloaded by shock? Yeah, well, I get that all the time and I tripped over my own feet as my brain could no longer concentrate on making me walk properly. When I had steadied myself, I proceeded to stumble over my words. "Wh-what? Why would I put m-my" -I waved my arms, being unable to pull the word out of my cluttered mind- "a-around your neck?" This was not what I needed. The point was to stay in control.
"It is necessary," she informed me, but broke the connection between our eyes. "I want to bring you somewhere, but I need to carry you there."
If my arms were to go around her neck, then she would be- she would be carrying me in her arms! "Oh, no! No no no no! I am not being carried in your arms. It is so belittling."
"How is it belittling? I am just carrying you." She looked distant, as if her thoughts were not in the present.
"That is exactly what makes it belittling! That I have to be carried!" I was shouting and Rosalie looked pained. "It makes it all the more obvious the difference between me and you."
Rosalie closed the distance between us at a human pace. I looked away, stubbornly, my arms crossed over my chest. "I told you," she soothed, "you must think higher of yourself." Her cool fingers came to rest on my reddening cheek, coaxing my head to turn back. "You cannot try to compare us. I am-"
"Perfect," I provided, spitting the words out like it was toxic.
"That was not what I was going to say," she refuted, her own tone rising with irritation. "No, I was going to say we are of different kinds. I hate to use such a clichéd comparison, but we are like an apple and an orange." The desolation of her words was sobering. "And I am, by no means, perfect."
"How are you not perfect?" My words held only a hint of scorn, curiosity overwhelming the wrath.
"I cannot blush." I opened my mouth to deny its qualification as imperfection, but her was over mine, bringing my lips together in a kiss. Taken by surprise, I did not react before her mouth moved on, her lips dragging across the line of my jaw and then hovering by my ear. "You are blushing." The fire in my face and the shiver that ran down through my body told me she was right. She pulled back, that sadness still in her eyes, their golden depths swirling. "When you blush, it is like a nonverbal compliment. Words can be spoken by anyone and to anyone, but a blush is something only afforded to someone who can bring it out. I cannot show you the same courtesy.
"I shall never change and I will look no different for you than I do for any other person."
I frowned. "You make it sound like such a big deal."
She smiled sadly. "To me, it is."
I closed my eyes for a moment, sighing deeply before I looked at her once more. "Fine. We will do this. But can't it be a piggyback ride?"
She chuckled. "No. There are too many dangers to me piggybacking you." A raised eyebrow from me urged her to continue. "If you were on my back, there is a far greater chance of your head snapping back, and, while I am holding your legs, you would be responsible for holding onto my shoulders. If your grip slips, injury is an almost definite possibility."
"Wow, alright then," I forfeited. Narrowing my eyes, I asked, "So, what are you basing that on?"
She gave a small exhale of a laugh. "Logic?" she responded, the question in the statement inquiring about the satisfactory level of her response.
"Nevermind," I huffed. I moved forward with caution, my arms looping around her neck. She excused herself, bending slightly to hook her far arm behind my knees, her other arm supporting my back. When she stood, my legs came up and I choked back a squeal. I instinctively tightened my grip on her neck and buried my face in her neck, but she did not complain. It took a few moments to get used to the fact that my feet were not on the ground.
"Are you ready?" Her voice vibrated through her body. I nodded, but did not lift my head. "Take a deep breath and hold it," she told me. I did as I was told, breathing in her scent. My head became a bit fuzzier, but I was still there.
She started out slow, accelerating at a fixed rate. I had my eyes closed, but I could feel us traveling at a speed unattainable by most cars. As I was beginning to struggle to hold my breath, she had begun to slow once more, until she came to a halt. "You can open your eyes now," she cooed. I cautiously lifted my head from her shoulder, looking out at where we were. We, well she, stood on a cliff overlooking a body of water that stretched out for miles. Surrounding the water was endless green forest and behind the trees rose mountains. She put me down, holding me steady as I regained my footing. She walked forward to the edge of the cliff, her hair being tugged forward by the wind.
When she turned around, I realized that where we were, the sun was at my back and not obstructed by cloud cover. Her skin had a radiant glow to it in the sun, and when she smiled, I swore to myself I was looking at a goddess. She made the beautiful landscape look like a child's painting. "I bet nobody has seen you like this," I said.
I want to thank everyone who has been reading my story. I know I have been absent for, gosh, seven months or something crazy like that, so I apologize for the wait. I have grown a lot as a writer but still find myself constantly dissatisfied with my work, so getting chapters out has been, let's say, difficult. But, I have received wonderful encouragement and that is what has gotten me to finally get this new chapter together. I hope you enjoyed it.