Edwards POV:

I'd been lying in the sun all afternoon. And though my eyes were closed, I could feel Bella's eyes watching me. It was as if I could almost feel her every movement. They light sway of the wind when her fingers touched my cold, dead skin. I was happier than I had ever felt in my entire existence. The love I had for her made me unusually happy and cheerful. It almost radiated off me as I lied contently in the soft grass. I suddenly found myself singing to myself out of joy. Could my life get any better?

Occasionally she would catch my lips moving. I felt the feeling to tell her the truth about my every word. This would be the day when I would come clean about everything. I told her that I was singing to myself. Something I had never done before.

Even with my eyes closed, I could still feel her every movement. Every time the wind blew her scent hit me just as hard as before. Alice had seen this. She knew that today I would make my choice. Whether to love her and never hurt her or to kill her and end her life forever.

I could feel her warm hand tracing my arm. I opened my eyes and watched as small rainbows danced on her skin. It was a sort of reflection as the sun hit my skin. When she noticed me watching her, the corners of my mouth turned up into a smile.

"I don't scare you?" I asked playfully but honestly curious. I was still waiting for the screaming and running.

"No more than usual." She answered.

I smiled wider, showing my teeth. I was pleased by this. I didn't want to scare her, I wanted to protect her, to love her, to keep her safe, but I knew that she would never want to be with a monster like me. This idea saddened me and suddenly damped my cheerful mood. I closed my eyes not letting her see my expression as she spread her hand out and traced the contours of my forearm with the tips of her fingers. It trembled slightly but I didn't want to notice.

"Do you mind?" She asked softly, her voice full of hesitation.

"No. You can't imagine how that feels." I sighed. She had no idea how it felt. I could feel the heat from her fingertips as it sent shivers down my spine. I could feel the warmth of her body as she sat very still. She continued her path up my arm again. I opened my eyes and saw her other hand move to flip mine over. I flipped it over before she reached it. It was as if I knew what she would do next. I felt her other hand halt on my arm, and I knew I had startled her.

"Sorry," I murmured an apology, closing eyes once again. "It's too easy to be myself with you."

She picked my hand up and I opened my eyes to watch her turn my hand different ways, making the prisms of light dance off her translucent skin. She looked so beautiful in that moment, dazzling me as she called it. She brought my hand closer to her face and I could feel her breath on my palm. It was warm and made my throat burst into flames. I swallowed the sudden overflow of venom in my mouth. Making myself concentrate I thought happy thoughts, like how the prisms of light danced off her gorgeous skin. I suddenly wanted to know what she was thinking. The same curiosity that drove me mad in school made itself known.

"Tell me what you're thinking." I whispered, staring intently at her as she looked up at me. "It's still so strange for me, not knowing."

"You know, the rest of us feel that way all the time." A sort of bitterness crept into her tone. She was evading the question. Where her thoughts really that bad?

"It's a hard life. But you didn't tell me." I wasn't going to give up until she tells me. I needed to know. I wanted to know what she thought. I wanted to know how she felt about me.

"I was wishing I could know what you were thinking..." She trailed off. That makes two of us I thought bitterly.

"And?" I wasn't going to give up that easily.

"I was wishing that I could believe that you were real. And I was wishing that I wasn't afraid." A sort of sadness took over her voice.

"I don't want you to be afraid." I murmured, barely loud enough for her to hear. I suddenly realized the truth beneath my voice. I didn't want her to be afraid. I could almost see the future change in that second as I realized the true depth of my feelings for her. Alice would be happy.

"Well, that's not exactly the fear I meant, though that's certainly something to think about."

I sat up, propped on my right arm so she could still hold my left hand in her warm hands. I brought face very close to hers and I stared deep into her chocolate brown eyes. The windows of her soul.

"What are you afraid of, then?" I whispered, my breath fanning over her face.

Her scent consumed me entirely that I almost forgot my resolution my epiphany of not hurting her.

She leaned even closer making it worse to think. I suddenly had the urge to hold her tight and kiss her. My eyes stayed glued to her perfect face and her suddenly beautiful lips. The same hunger I had felt before came back. A hunger that scared me to death. Before I did anything that might hurt her, I tore my hand from her warm ones and ran across the meadow in half a second. I stared at her from the shadows of a huge oak. I watched as she stared in shock at me. Hurt soon made itself known in her face. I had a sudden flash of guilt as I looked at her.

"I'm...sorry...Edward," She whispered knowing I would hear.

"Give me a moment," I said just loud enough for her to hear. She sat there so still that I almost thought she was vampire. I was suddenly worried that she might not be breathing. I counted her heart beats making sure that she was well.

I walked back once I had made sure I was in control of that side of me. It seemed like forever as I craved her hand in mine. The whole time our eyes stayed locked. I took a couple deep breaths, and then smiled apologetically.

"I am so very sorry." I hesitated. "Would you understand what I meant if I said I was only human?" She had no idea how human I felt suddenly. The hunger wasn't vampire thirst; no it was a human craving for physical contact. She probably thought that I was thirsting for her blood, but I wasn't.

She nodded once, not smiling. I could smell adrenaline in her blood as the danger finally sank in. I almost smiled at her sudden human reaction.

"I'm the world's best predator, aren't I? Everything about me invites you in — my voice, my face, even my smell. As if I need any of that!" I suddenly stood up and circled the meadow in half a second again. How I wished that she understood my predicament. The anger boiled in me, but I wasn't arguing with her, I was arguing with myself. All the anger that had built up for my kind suddenly boiled in the surface.

"As if you could outrun me," I laughed in dark humor.

I grabbed anything near me and ripped branch out of a tree. Still trying to control myself I threw it with one hand at another tree as it shook at impact. Then I was in front of her, two feet away.

"As if you could fight me off," I said with sudden gentleness.

I realized too late that I had done the thing I didn't want her to feel. Fear registered as her face turned whiter than ever and her eyes where wide and blank.I felt my sudden excitement being replaced by ancient sadness. It was a miracle that my voice didn't shake.

"Don't be afraid," I murmured. "I promise..." I thought about what to say then continued. "I swear not to hurt you." I didn't know who needed more convincing, me or her. But right now I did. I needed to know that everything was going to be okay.

"Don't be afraid," I whispered as I slowly sat down until our faces were, but a foot apart.

"Please forgive me. I can control myself. You caught me off guard. But I'm on my best behavior now."

I waited, but her silence continued. It was becoming very frustrating not being able to just read her thoughts.

"I'm not thirsty today, honestly." I winked.

She laughed breathless and shakily and I was suddenly worrying about her well being. I mentally started to count her heart beats and slowly made sure she was fine.

"Are you all right?" I asked, placing my hand back in hers. She looked back and forth between my hand and my eyes and started tracing lines on my hand again. She timidly smiled at me. I gave her a reassuring smile.

"So where were we, before I behaved so rudely?" I asked.

"I honestly can't remember."

I tried to smile but I was ashamed. "I think we were talking about why you were afraid, besides the obvious reason."

"Oh, right."


She went back to doodling on my palm. Seconds passed and she remained silent. I needed to know her thoughts, and since I couldn't look at her eyes since she had them down, I felt a sudden annoyance.

"How easily frustrated I am," I sighed. She looked up and into my eyes, realization dawning her face. She understood, finally.

"I was afraid...because, for, well, obvious reasons, I can't stay with you. And I'm afraid that I'd like to stay with you, much more than I should." She looked down, blocking her thoughts from me.

"Yes," I agreed. "That is something to be afraid of, indeed. Wanting to be with me. That's really not in your best interest. I should have left long ago," I sighed. "I should leave now. But I don't know if I can." I knew that if I left her I would regret it. I would miss her terribly.

"I don't want you to leave," she mumbled staring at the ground. I could hear the sadness in her voice.

"Which is exactly why I should do, but don't worry. I'm essentially a selfish creature. I crave your company too much to do what I should."

"I'm glad." I had a sudden flash of anger. I did crave her company but I craved her blood more.

"Don't be!" I took my hand back; my voice regrettably harsher than ever. "It's not only your company I crave! Never forget that. Never forget I am more dangerous to you than anyone else." I stopped not wanting to scare her any more than I had already.

There was silence for a moment.

"I don't think I understand exactly what you mean — by that last part anyway."

I turned back and smiled at her. Of course she wouldn't understand.

"How do I explain? And without frightening you again... Hmmmm." I placed my hand back in hers without even thinking about it; she grabbed it with both of hers tightly like she wanted to hold me there.

"That's amazingly pleasant, the warmth." I sighed at the pleasant feeling.

"You know how everyone enjoys different flavors?" I said after a moment. "Some people love chocolate ice cream, others prefer strawberry?"

She nodded obviously not understanding.

"Sorry about the food analogy — I couldn't think of another way to explain."

She smiled as I tried to think of another analogy.

"You see, everyone smell different, has a different essence. If you locked an alcoholic in a room full of stale beer, he'd gladly drink it. But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic. Now let's say you placed in the room a glass of hundred-year-old brandy, the rarest, finest cognac — and filled the room with its warm aroma — how do you think he would fare then?"

We just stared into each other eyes silently while I waited for her answer.

"Maybe that's not the right comparison." I suddenly said. "Maybe it would be too easy to turn down the down the brandy. Perhaps I should have made our alcoholic a heroin addict instead." Yes, this was the metaphor I was looking for. She was my drug my addiction.

"So what you're saying is, I'm your brand of heroin?" She said, trying to make lighten the mood. I smiled to let her know I appreciated the effort.

"Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin."

"Does that happen often?" She asked, curious.

I looked over the tops of the trees, thinking of a safe way respond. I suddenly thought of my brothers.

"I spoke to brothers about it." I still wouldn't look at her because I knew she would see the anger in them. "To Jasper, every one of you is much the same. He's the most recent to join our family. It's a struggle for him to abstain at all. He hasn't had time to grow sensitive to the differences in smell, in flavor." I quickly glanced at her apologetic. "Sorry." I almost forgot how easily I scared her.

"I don't mind. Please don't worry about offending me, or frightening me, or whichever. That's the way you think. I can understand, or I can try at least. Just explain however you can."

I took a deep breath and looking away again. This was going to be hard.

"So Jasper wasn't sure if he'd ever come across someone who was as" — I hesitated, trying to find the right word for it. — "appealing as you are to me. Which makes me think not. Emmett has been on the wagon longer, so to speak, and he understood what I meant. He says twice, for him, once stronger than the other." I vividly remembered what happened.

"And for you?" She asked again curious. I could sometimes sense a note of jealousy in her voice.

"Never." There was a moment of silence and then she asked a question I was not ready to answer.

"What did Emmett do?"

I didn't want to think about that. I clenched my hand into a fist inside her soft hands and looked away from her face. I didn't want her to see the dark look in my eyes.

"I guess I know."

I looked at her, pleading for her to drop the subject. It wasn't something I wanted to talk about. It was too dark for her.

"Even the strongest of us fall off the wagon, don't we?" My voice was full of sadness.

"What are you asking? My permission?" Her voice was sharp. She tried to soften her tone, "I mean, is there no hope, then?" Her voice was almost a whisper. I suddenly regretted telling her anything. I wanted there to be hope. I loved her, and I wanted her to be with me.

"No, no!" I said, "Of course there's hope! I mean, of course I won't..." I stopped, staring into her eyes, trying to destroy the thoughts about hurting her.

"It's different for. Emmett...these were strangers he happened across. It was a long time ago; he wasn't as...practiced, as careful, as he is now."

I stopped and stared deep in her eyes. Comprehension flickered like a flame in her gorgeous brown eyes.

"So if we'd met...oh, in a dark alley or something..." She trailed off probably imagining how I could have easily killed her.

"It took everything I had not to jump up in the middle of that class full of children and —" I stopped, and looked away, trying to forget the thoughts from that horrible day in Biology. "When you walked past me, I could have ruined everything Carlisle has built for us, right then and there. If I hadn't been denying my thirst for the last, well, too many years, I wouldn't have been able to stop myself." I scowled into the deep forest remembering my thirst for her blood. How I wished I was strong enough to keep her safe, to not hurt her.

I glanced at her humor in my eyes. "You must have thought I was possessed."

"I couldn't understand why. How you could hate me so quickly..." No I could never hate her. The feelings I had for her where far from hate. I quickly changed the subject knowing if she continued telling me how I 'hated her' that I would confess my true feelings.

"To me, it was like you were some kind of demon, summoned straight from my own personal hell to ruin me. The fragrance coming off your skin...I thought it would make me deranged that first day. In that one hour, I thought of a hundred different ways to lure you from the room with me, to get you alone. And I fought them each back, thinking of my family, what I could do to them. I had to run out, to get away before I could speak the words that would make you follow..." I vividly remembered that horrible hour. Her scent nearly drove me mad.

I looked up at her as I let this information sunk in. I knew she would have come. "You would have come." My expression saddened as I thought about losing her. "Without a doubt," her voice sounded troubled as she realized how I easily controlled her.

I looked down at our hands frowning. "And then, as I tried to rearrange my schedule in a pointless attempt to avoid you, you were there — in that close, warm little room, the scent was maddening. I so very nearly took you then. There was only one other frail human there — so easily dealt with."

I could feel the shiver as it passed through her. I suddenly wondered if she was cold.

"But I resisted. I don't know how. I forced myself not to follow you from the school. It was easier outside, when I couldn't smell you anymore, to think clearly, to make the right decision. I left the others near home — I was too ashamed to tell them how weak I was, they only knew something was very wrong — and then I went straight to Carlisle, at the hospital, to tell him I was leaving."

"I traded cars with him — he had a full tank of gas and I didn't want to stop. I didn't dare to go home, to face Esme. She wouldn't have let me go without a scene. She would have tried to convince me that it wasn't necessary..." I could almost see it happening. Esme only wanted me to stay. Out of all of my brothers and sisters I was her favorite which only made her worry more. She wanted me to be happy.

"By the next morning I was in Alaska. I spent two days there, with some old acquaintances," I could see Tanya now. She had always showed interest for me but I graciously declined, "but I was homesick. I hated knowing I'd upset Esme, and the rest of them, my adopted family. In the pure air of the mountains it was hard to believe you were so irresistible. I convinced myself it was weak to run away. I'd dealt with temptation before, not of this magnitude, not even close, but I was strong. Who were you, an insignificant little girl" —I found myself smiling. She was not so insignificant anymore— "to chase me from the place I wanted to be? So I came back..." I trailed off looking over the tree line.

"I took precautions, hunting, feeding more than usual before seeing you again. I was sure that I was strong enough to treat you like any other human. I was arrogant about it." I should have stayed away, I left this part unspoken.

"It was unquestionably a complication that I couldn't simply read your thoughts to know what your reaction was to me. I wasn't used to having to go to such circuitous measures, listening to your words in Jessica's mind...her mind isn't very original, and it was annoying to have to stoop to that. And then I couldn't know if you really meant what you said. It was all extremely irritating." Like it is right now, I whispered so she wouldn't hear me. The only way to know for sure was by looking at her eyes. The windows to her soul.

"I wanted you to forget my behavior that first day, if possible, so I tried to talk with you like I would with any person. I was eager actually, hoping to decipher some of your thoughts. But you were too interesting, I found myself caught up in your expressions...and every now and then you would stir the air with your hand or your hair, and the scent would stun me again..." Even now it was strong. I knew I needed practice; I needed to memorize her scent. I needed to make sure that I could control myself.

"Of course, then you were nearly crushed to death in front of my eyes. Later I thought of a perfectly good excuse for why I acted at that moment — because it I hadn't saved you, if your blood had been spilled there in front of me, I don't think I could have stopped myself from exposing us for what we are. But I only thought of that excuse later. At the time, all I could think was, 'Not her.' "

I closed my eyes and waited for the fear she never showed. I was confessing my true feelings about her. A monster loved her. She should be running right now.

"In the hospital…?" Her voice was faint but strong.

I opened my eyes and stared at the emotion in hers. "I was appalled. I couldn't believe I had put us in danger after all, put myself in your power — you of all people. As if I needed another motive to kill you." I couldn't help but flinch at how the word slipped out. "But it had the opposite effect," I continued, hoping that I could make her forget what I just said. "I fought with Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper when they suggested that now was the time . . . the worst fight we've ever had. Carlisle sided with me, and Alice." I glowered as I remembered how annoying she has been these past few days. She had seen a vision of where I had killed Bella. I would kill her in this meadow unless I could control myself. She begged me to stay, telling me that she and Bella would be great friends.

"Esme told me to do whatever I had to in order to stay." I slowly shook my head.

"All that next day I eavesdropped on the minds of everyone you spoke to, shocked that you had kept your word. I didn't understand you at all. But I knew that I couldn't become more involved with you. I did my very best to stay as far from you as possible. And every day the perfume of your skin, your breath, your hair . . . it hit me as hard as the very first day." I could feel the pride in my voice. She was amazing and she didn't even notice it.

I locked gazes with her once again.

"And for all that," I continued, "I'd have fared better if I had exposed us all in that first moment, than if now, I was to hurt you."

"Why?" She barely whispered. 'Because I love you'… The thought ringed though my mind.

"Isabella." I felt as if it just filled me. A beautiful name for a beautiful lady, I remembered the saying from Esme's thoughts when she first spoke to Rosalie. "Bella, I couldn't live with myself if I ever hurt you. You don't know how it's tortured me." I looked down ashamed at myself. "The thought of you, still, white, cold . . . to never see you blush scarlet again, to never see that flash of intuition in your eyes when you see through my pretenses . . . it would be unendurable." This was the moment I was waiting for. My confession of my true deep feelings for her. "You are the most important thing to me now. The most important thing to me ever." It rolled out of me and I instantly regretted it, not because it wasn't true, but because I knew I had said too much. She instantly looked down as my thoughts swam in panic. I knew in that moment that she didn't feel the same way. The sorrow that filled me was overwhelming. I wasn't prepared for this.

I watched her the whole time, waiting for her rejection.

"You already know how I feel, of course," She finally said. "I'm here . . . which roughly translated, means I would rather die than stay away from you." She frowned. "I'm an idiot." I felt as if I had burst into flames of joy. I could only agree with her as I hid my emotional outburst.

"You are an idiot," Our eyes met we both laughed in the sheer of the moment.

"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb . . . ," I murmured. She looked away but I saw the emotion in her beautiful eyes.

"What a stupid lamb," She gently sighed.

"What a sick, masochistic lion." I stared into the dark forest wondering what to do next.

"Why . . . ?" She began but hesitated.

"Yes?" I smiled at her reassuringly.

"Tell me why you ran from me before."

"You know why." A slight hint of frustration went to me. Why couldn't I just read her thoughts!

"No, I mean exactly what did I do wrong? I'll have to be on my guard, you see, so I better start learning what I should do. This, for example" — she stroked the back of my hand as I felt the warmth of her single touch — "seems to be alright."

I was amazed at how she made everything her fault. She was so selfless.

"You didn't do anything wrong, Bella. It was my fault."

"But I want to help, if I can, to not make this harder for you." Her voice was softly concerned.

"Well . . ." I thought about it for a moment.

"It was just how close you were. Most humans instinctively shy away from us, are repelled by our alienes. I wasn't expecting you to come so close. And the smell of your throat." I stopped sure that I had scared her.

"Okay, then," She tucked her neck into her shirt. "No throat exposure."

"No, really, it was more the surprise than anything else." I laughed at her horrible acting skills.

I slowly put my free hand and gently placed it on the side of her neck. She sat very still with a light blush that I loved on her cheek. In her eyes I could see an emotion that I had barely started to recognize.

"You see," I said, "Perfectly fine."

I could feel her blood pounding beneath my fingers. The most beautiful melody I have ever heard. Her blush intensified.

"The blush on your cheeks is lovely," I murmured, I took the hand that was in her grip and I gently brushed her cheek. I suddenly wanted to hold her closer. My hands yearned for her touch. I cradled her face in my palms and I whispered, "Be very still."

I slowly leaned closer not wanting to break our connection. I was suddenly close enough to lean in and kiss her, I felt the need to kiss her but my mind was screaming and my throat was reeling, so instead I gently rested my cheek against the hollow at the base of her throat. I started to move my hands down the sides of her neck. I felt her shiver and I inhaled a quick breath, enough to send my throat into flames. The venom in my mouth filled quickly as I fought for control. I moved my face to the side, my nose tracing her collarbone. My throat flamed like a hot air balloon. I could smell her delicate flowery scent. I stopped with my ear just above her heart listening to it.

"Ah," I sighed.

We both stayed like that for what seemed like eternity. Three hours went by and I never wanted to let go. Her heart eventually calmed, as I held her in the glory of that moment. She just let me hold her.

Too soon for me, and I am sure for her too, I let her go.

I looked at her peacefully knowing that I would finally be able to control myself.

"It won't be so hard again." I could feel nothing but bliss.

"Was that very hard for you?" Her curiosity amused me.

"Not nearly as bad as I imagined it would be. And you?"

"No, it wasn't bad . . . for me." I could feel her shyness and hesitance.

I smiled. "You know what I mean."

She smiled back at me with a loving look on her face. I could feel my cold skin warm by the sun in these hours.

"Here" I took her hand and put it on the cheek that I had put against her heart not wanting to relieve it form the warmth.

"Do you feel how warm it is?"

"Don't move," she whispered.

I closed my eyes and froze completely. I felt the heat of her hands as she caressed my cold cheek. She stroked my eyelids. She traced my nose. Then my lips; I parted them wanting to breath in the delicious scent coming from her fingers. Suddenly, as if she stopped herself, she dropped her hand as I felt the heat of her hand move away from me.

Unfamiliar feelings and emotions surfaced. My mind was clouded with them. Some I recognized but barely understood. They seemed to be accelerated and more complex than before. There were two that until now I didn't understand. One filled me completely. I felt warm from head to toes for the first time in my immortal existence. I recognized it from thoughts of my family: Emmett and Rosalie, Carlisle and Esme, Alice and Jasper, and finally Bella and I. The second emotion scared me more than the thirst for her blood. It was a hunger to lean in and kiss her, to feel the warmth of her body against mine… I immediately stopped my thoughts from going too far. I felt confusion, anger, fear, and all these emotions piled up into a stack; emotions that I had been holding inside me for a century. I opened my eyes and explained the hunger I knew she could see in my eyes. My hand burned with an urge to stroke her face.

"I wish," I started, "I wish you could feel the . . . complexity . . . the confusion . . . I feel. That you could understand."

I picked my hand and brushed her hair unable to stop the tingling urge to touch her.

"Tell me," she whispered.

"I don't think I can. I've told you, on the one hand, the hunger — the thirst — that, deplorable creature that I am, I feel for you. And I think you can understand that, to an extent. Though as you are not addicted to any illegal substances, you probably can't empathize completely.

"But . . ." I gently touched her lips and felt her shiver. "There are other hungers. Hungers I don't even understand, that are foreign to me." Hungers that may kill you… I murmured under my breath.

"I may understand that better than you think." Her eyes where full of understanding like she knew what I was talking about. I felt a shock of an emotion I had felt when Mike asked Bella out for the Spring Dance. Jealousy ran through me as different thoughts emerged. Had she felt like this before? Who did she feel this with? Was it Mike? Was it Tyler? Was it Eric?

"I'm not used to feeling so human. Is it always like this?" I asked trying to keep my calm composure.

"For me?" She thought about this for a minute. "No, never. Never before like this."

I grabbed her hands in one of mine. I held her to me, making sure that I never have to let go.

"I don't know how to be close to you, I don't know if I can," I continued the thought in my head, without killing you, but I was sure that she understood. She came closer to me and placed her cheek right about where my cold dead heart lay. I could feel a burst of joy go through me.

"This is enough," she sighed. In that moment I felt a human emotion that I rarely felt. I felt a memory of some human gesture that I had forgotten. As an instinct I put my arms around her and pressed my face into her hair.

"You're better at this than you give yourself credit for," she stated.

"I have human instincts — they may be buried deep, but they're there."

I felt sadness as I thought that I would soon have to let her go. It could have been days, months, years, and I would never want to let go. She sighed a sad deep sigh and I knew we had to go.

"You have to go." I sadly reminded her.

"I thought you couldn't read my mind." Ah! I guessed right.

"It's getting clearer." I smiled at how good I was getting at this.

As I thought about leaving I knew that if we went at human pace, it could take us hours to get down. I suddenly had an idea for transportation.

"Can I show you something?" I asked as excitement filled me at showing her my fast way of transport.

"Show me what?" She asked curious.

"I'll show you how I travel in the forest." She looked hesitant. "Don't worry, you'll be very safe, and we'll get to your truck much faster." I gave her a persuasive smile and I heard her heart stutter as I dazzled her.

"Will you turn into a bat?" I roared in laughter. That was a new one I hadn't heard before.

"Like I haven't heard that one before!" I replied amused.

"Right, I'm sure you get that all the time." She rolled her gorgeous eyes.

"Come on, little coward, climb on my back."

I could see the hesitation and fear in her eyes, so I picked her up and swung her on my back. She locked her arms around me tight and I suddenly became very aware of her body against my back.

"I'm a bit heavier than your average backpack." She warned.

"Hah!" She barely weighed anything. She was as light as a feather. I rolled my eyes trying to focus on anything but her smoldering laugh.

In a fast movement I grabbed her hand and pressed her palm against my face. The burning in my throat was getting easier to ignore.

"Easier all the time."

I then started my minute long run. As I ran I thought about how everything could change in one day. I found my heart, my soul and I never wanted to be parted from her ever again. My self control had increased as I got used to her intoxicating scent. I could touch her. I could feel her heart against my hand and I was not tempted to drink her blood as much as I was before. Maybe I could get closer to her. If I was human I could couture her and I would steal a kiss or two. I yearned for that human touch. You never really know how much just one kiss means until you become one of the eternally dammed. But maybe just maybe I could try that with her. I might be able to control it, my thirst for her blood. I hadn't realized how fast I was going until I was suddenly at the truck.

"Exhilarating isn't it?" I asked her wanting her opinion.

I waited for her reply but she stayed still on my back.

"Bella?" Worry leaked into my voice.

"I think I need to lie down," she gasped.

"Oh, sorry." I waited for her to get down but she didn't.

"I think I need help," The embarrassment in her voice made me laugh.

I quickly pulled her around me and laid her down on the soft ferns.

"How do you feel?" I asked worried that she might be in shock.

"Dizzy, I think." Probably motion sickness I thought.

"Put your head between your knees." I ordered feeling a flashback of my doctor days with Carlisle.

She did as I said and breathed deeply. After a few minutes she raised her head her eyes closed.

"I guess that wasn't the best idea." I was angry at myself for not thinking of her well being.

"No, it was very interesting;" she sounded weak so I immediately worried about her health. I checked her and saw her pale completion.

"Hah! You're as white as a ghost — no, you're as white as me!" My laughter boomed off the tree tops.

"I think I should have closed my eyes." She sounded worried and upset.

"Remember that next time." I said teasingly.

"Next time!" She groaned while I laughed at her fear.

My thoughts where now heading in a horrible direction. This was it this was the time to lean in and get that kiss I was dying for. I moved in slowly cautious and unsure if I was in control.

"Show-off," she muttered a small smile on her face.

"Open your eyes Bella," I told her quietly. Still thinking about what I was going to do. It would be simple. Easy. I had my thirst under control, but that could all change.

I was in between a conflict when she looked up. Her brown eyes confused then they suddenly went blank for a second a light blush rising to her cheek.

I knew it was the right thing to do. I loved her. I have never been so sure of anything in my life.

She dazzled me completely making me forget about my conflict all together.

"I was thinking, while I was running…" I paused unsure about how to phrase my words.

"About not hitting trees, I hope." She replied.

"Silly Bella," I chuckled softly, "Running is second nature to me, it's not something I have to think about," I clarified.

"Show-off," she muttered. I slowly smiled at her.

"No, I was thinking there was something I wanted to try," with this I took her face in my hands.

I hesitated unsure if I was still in control. What if I hurt her? What if I lost control?

I quickly hushed those thoughts and pressed my lips against hers.

The feelings where more powerful than I could imagine. I felt a rush of lust boil over the surface.

She attacked me. I didn't know it would be this strong. I felt as if my heart had just restarted for those few seconds. Her breath came in a wild gasp, her fingers knotted my hair, and her lips parted breathing in.

That did it. I felt the monster awaken once more. The venom filled my mouth, but that wasn't what made me stop.

It was the hunger that was rising in me. It wasn't my thirst, no. It was a hunger that was foreign to me.

I felt the sudden need to kiss her harder. A small amount of fear tainted the feeling, stopping it dead in its tracks. I needed to stop before I got out of control.

I gently pushed her away. I felt as if I was burning. A new fire spread through my cold, dead body.

She opened her eyes and looked into mine.

"Oops," she breathed slowly.

"That's an understatement." She had no idea how much it took to let go.

"Should I . . . ?" She tried to get away, but I couldn't let her. I needed her near me.

"No, it's tolerable. Wait for a moment, please." My voice was unnaturally polite as I struggled for control. She watched me intently as I gradually gained control. The excitement faded from my eyes as I gently smiled.

"There," I said.


I laughed in bliss. "I'm stronger than I thought. It's nice to know."

"I wish I could say the same. I'm sorry." She actually looked guilty.

"You are only human, after all." I couldn't help but smile at her light blush.

"Thanks so much."

I swiftly got to my feet and held out my hand to help her. She took it and shakily stood up. She looked seriously unbalanced. I held her tight afraid she might fall.

"Are you still faint from the run? Or was it my kissing expertise?" I couldn't help but ask playfully. I felt an unnatural bliss of joy in me. I felt as if nothing else mattered but us two.

"I can't be sure, I'm still woozy. I think it's some of both, though." She seemed dazzled so I took the opportunity to ask her something I wanted to do.

"Maybe you should let me drive." Her smile quickly faded and she reddened in anger.

"Are you insane?" She said in absolute chagrin.

"I can drive better than you on your best day," I teased. "You have much slower reflexes." She can't argue with that I thought.

"I'm sure that's true, but I don't think my nerves, or my truck, could take it." Her voice was amused. I was hurt that she didn't trust me enough, but I quickly composed myself before she could see.

"Some trust, please, Bella." I begged.

She thought about it for a moment, and then shook her head.

"Nope. Not a chance." She said with a light smirk on her face.

I raised my eyebrows not accepting defeat.

She tried stepping around me, but I was already about to grab her when she wobbled faintly. My arms where instantly on her waist not letting her go.

"Bella, I've already expended a great deal of personal effort at this point to keep you alive. I'm not about to let you behind the wheel of a vehicle when you can't even walk straight. Besides, friends don't let friends drive drunk," I chuckled in her ear.

"Drunk?" she objected.

"You're intoxicated by my very presence." I could feel the pleasure at my words.

"I can't argue with that," she sighed. A sudden warmness filled me as she accepted my statement.

"Take it easy — my truck is a senior citizen."

"Very sensible." I said resisting the urge to laugh. Though she was right. Her truck was senior citizen.

"And are you not affected at all? By my presence?"

I felt the urge to tell her everything. I wanted her to know how I felt exactly. How her presence affected my every thought. How she constantly dazzled me with a smile or a laugh. How I wished there was a way to hold her forever and never let her go. How I felt human emotions that I thought I lost forever with her. How I felt like spoiling her and making her happy. I wished I could tell her just how much she affects me. I could feel the warmth and love on my face.

I felt the urge to touch her again. My hand burned with the intensity of it. I slowly traced her jaw with my lips and back and forth. I could feel her tremble with my touch.

"Regardless," I answered softly, "I have better reflexes."