Disclaimer: Written under the derivative fan works act. All rights reserved to the original creator, Stephanie Meyer.

Title: You Can't Always Get What You Want

Rating: M for sexual situations, lemons, and hot, steamy, angsty vampire lovin', underage drinking, smoking, drug use and overall bad behavior.

Premise: Alternate Universe. Edward leaves Bella after their intimate relationship blossoms during the summer after Twilight. Bella is left to face the consequences of her love for Edward as her life changes drastically. OCC ExB Lemons

Alternate Universe: Canon pairings eventually, pretty much OOC, ExB of course.

POV: BPOV (Bella), Bella starts the story. Edward and Alice may have a say later on.

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Author Notes:

Please note that this story is rated M for a reason, if you'd prefer not to deal with mature themes, please do not read this story.

Significant portions of the first two chapters of this story are ported directly from New Moon, but have been heavily edited to put my spin on them to set up the rest of the story that continues in the future chapters.

It didn't really work to just say that "this story starts after chapter two" because the events in the previous chapters are similar but different in my version.

Before you say, why are you starting another new story, what about the other ones you're working on? I'm still working on them. I'm working on this one too. I've been working on it for a while in my spare time, and some of the people that know that were interested in reading it.

I'd really love to hear what you think if you like it.

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Chapter 1 Eighteen

I woke with a start–my eyelids popping open wide–and gasped. Dull gray light, the familiar light of an overcast morning, took the place of the blinding sun in my dream.

The dream was still so vivid in my memory. I'd been standing in the meadow with Edward sparkling in the brilliant bright sunlight. I thought I'd been looking at my Grandma Marie, but the dream had become a nightmare when I realized I was staring into a mirror.

The tiny wizened old lady with the soft and withered skin, bent into a thousand tiny creases that clung gently to the bone underneath, who stood before me like a dried apricot was me, not my grandmother.

Just a dream, I told myself. It was only a dream. I took a deep breath, and then jumped again when my alarm went off. The little calendar in the corner of the clock's display informed me that today was September thirteenth.

Only a dream, but prophetic enough in one way, at least. Today was my birthday.

I was officially eighteen years old.

I'd been both dreading and anticipating this day for months.

All through the perfect summer–the happiest summer I had ever had, the happiest summer anyone anywhere had ever had, and the rainiest summer in the history of the Olympic Peninsula–this bleak date had lurked in ambush, waiting to spring.

And now that it had hit, it was even worse than I'd feared it would be. I could feel it–I was older. Every day I got older, but this was different, worse, quantifiable.

I was eighteen.

And Edward never would be.

Of course eighteen did hold certain advantages that were now my prerogative as a result of coming of age. Certainly I could vote, but another advantage of being considered legally an adult came to mind. My relationship with Edward had blossomed over the summer and had matured into an intimate pairing as we explored being a couple together.

I had slowly been wearing down his resolve in regards to his outdated attitudes about dating and courtship rituals as he described it. I had taken it upon myself to educate him in the accepted mores and values of the twenty-first century, and had been helping him to adapt to a more modern outlook on what was considered acceptable behavior for a dating couple.

I had rewritten Edward's rules on appropriate contact and he had been a more than willing pupil. Considering that he had been my boyfriend for more that seven months, we had been to third base often. He allowed me to touch him intimately and he was gentleman enough to return the favor. We had done almost everything that a modern dating couple would consider acceptable with one glaring exception.

We had practiced every intimate act that a man and a woman could perform to bring pleasure to each other, but Edward still refused to consummate our relationship. I was still technically a virgin, despite my best efforts to move beyond that status.

Despite the fact that I could regularly get him out of his clothes now, and we had both become adept at providing oral pleasure, he wouldn't go that final step and actually have sex with me. It was beyond frustrating to have a naked Edward in my bed at night, and know that he would do anything to me that I asked but complete me as a woman.

Renée had always taught me that sex was an acceptable and expected part of a healthy relationship between a man and a woman. But because I was still a child in his eyes and the eyes of the law he had withheld this final act of love that I was more than willing to share with him.

His final argument was a moot point now. I was eighteen today, and could make my own legal decisions. I was considered an adult in the eyes of the law and now I could be a consenting adult in our relationship as well. I would no longer be denied, and that was the motivation behind my intense anticipation of this day.

Truth be told, I would have preferred to have both Edward in my bed making me a woman and remain seventeen with him forever, but I had made little to no progress on changing his mind on the subject of turning me. Perhaps allowing our physical relationship to mature had been a strategy on his part to thwart my efforts and resolve at being changed. I couldn't argue that the summer hadn't been fun and almost entirely fulfilling, but the significance of today's date would mark a turning point in our relationship.

Edward would be mine.

All of him.

When I went to brush my teeth, I was almost surprised that the face in the mirror hadn't changed. I stared at myself, looking for some sign of impending wrinkles in my ivory skin. The only creases were the ones on my forehead, though, and I knew that if I could manage to relax, they would disappear. I couldn't. My eyebrows stayed lodged in a worried line over my anxious brown eyes.

I was being pulled in so many different directions this morning. It was just a dream, I reminded myself again, but it was affecting my mood. Just a dream… but also my worst nightmare. I had more important things to focus on instead of letting a dream ruin what could be the best day of my life if I let it.

I skipped breakfast, in a hurry to get out of the house as quickly as possible. I wasn't entirely able to avoid my dad, and so I had to spend a few minutes acting cheerful. I honestly tried to be excited about the gifts I'd asked him not to get me. Part of me wanted to cry, while on another level the anticipation I could feel for getting Edward alone tonight was starting to improve my mood.

I struggled to get a grip on myself as I drove to school. The vision of Gran–I would not think of it as me–was hard to get out of my head, but I shoved it to the back of my mind. I concentrated on the anticipation while trying desperately not to form any definite plans for tonight until I pulled into the familiar parking lot behind Forks High School. I spotted Edward leaning motionlessly against his polished silver Volvo, like a marble tribute to some forgotten pagan god of beauty. The dream had not done him justice, and he was waiting there for me, just the same as every other day.

Despair, anticipation, conscious thought momentarily vanished; wonder took its place. Even after half a year with him, I still couldn't believe that I deserved this degree of good fortune.

His sister Alice was standing by his side, waiting for me, too.

Of course Edward and Alice weren't really related (in Forks the story was that all the Cullen siblings were adopted by Dr. Carlisle Cullen and his wife, Esme, both plainly too young to have teenage children), but their skin was precisely the same pale shade, their eyes had the same strange golden tint, with the same deep, bruise-like shadows beneath them. Her face, like his, was also startlingly beautiful. To someone in the know–someone like me–these similarities marked them for what they were.

The sight of Alice waiting there–her tawny eyes brilliant with excitement, and a small silver-wrapped square in her hands–made me frown.

I'd told Alice I didn't want anything, anything, not gifts or even attention, for my birthday. Obviously, my wishes were being ignored.

I slammed the door of my '53 Chevy truck–a shower of rust specks fluttered down to the wet blacktop–and walked slowly toward where they waited. Alice skipped forward to meet me, her pixie face glowing under her spiky black hair.

"Happy birthday, Bella!"

"Shh!" I hissed, glancing around the lot to make sure no one had heard her. The last thing I wanted was some kind of celebration of the black event.

She ignored me. "Do you want to open your present now or later?" she asked eagerly as we made our way to where Edward still waited.

"No presents," I protested in a mumble.

She finally seemed to process my mood. "Okay… later, then. Did you like the scrapbook your mom sent you? And the digital camera from Charlie?"

I sighed. Of course she would know what my birthday presents were. Edward wasn't the only member of his family with unusual skills. Alice would have "seen" what my parents were planning as soon as they'd decided that themselves.

"Yeah. They're great."

"I think it's a nice idea. You're only a senior once. Might as well document the experience."

"How many times have you been a senior?"

"That's different."

We reached Edward then, and he held out his hand for mine. I took it eagerly, forgetting, for a moment, my fluctuating moods. His skin was, as always, smooth, hard, and very cold. He gave my fingers a gentle squeeze. I looked into his liquid topaz eyes, and my heart gave a not-quite-so-gentle squeeze of its own.

Hearing the stutter in my heartbeats, he smiled again.

He lifted his free hand and traced one cool fingertip around the outside of my lips as he spoke. "So, as discussed, I am not allowed to wish you a happy birthday, is that correct?"

"Yes. That is correct." I could never quite mimic the flow of his perfect, formal articulation.

It was something that could only be picked up in an earlier century.

"Just checking." He ran his hand through his tousled bronze hair. "You might have changed your mind. Most people seem to enjoy things like birthdays and gifts."

Alice laughed, and the sound was all silver, a wind chime. "Of course you'll enjoy it. Everyone is supposed to be nice to you today and give you your way, Bella. What's the worst that could happen?" She meant it as a rhetorical question.

"Getting older, of course getting my way for once might be nice too." I answered anyway, and my voice was not as steady as I wanted it to be.

Beside me, Edward's smile tightened into a hard line.

"Eighteen isn't very old," Alice said. "Don't women usually wait till they're twenty-nine to get upset over birthdays?"

"It's older than Edward," I mumbled.

He sighed.

"Technically," she said, keeping her tone light. "Just by one little year, though."

And I supposed… if I could be sure of the future I wanted, sure that I would get to spend forever with Edward, and Alice and the rest of the Cullens (preferably not as a wrinkled little old lady)… then a year or two one direction or the other wouldn't matter to me so much. But Edward was dead set against any future that changed me. Any future that made me like him–that made me immortal, too.

An impasse, he called it.

He had successfully used our physical relationship to distract me until now, but the final obstacle on that front was now within my grasp and I would be able to focus my efforts on getting him to accept that I had to be changed for us to be together. At least time was working to my advantage in that aspect of our relationship as a couple.

As far as changing me was concerned, I couldn't really see Edward's point, to be honest.

What was so great about mortality? Being a vampire didn't look like such a terrible thing–not the way the Cullens did it, anyway.

"What time will you be at the house?" Alice continued, changing the subject. From her expression, she was up to exactly the kind of thing I'd been hoping to avoid.

"I didn't know I had plans to be there."

"Oh, be fair, Bella!" she complained. "You aren't going to ruin all our fun like that, are you?"

"I thought my birthday was about what I want."

"I'll get her from Charlie's right after school," Edward told her, ignoring me altogether.

"I have to work," I protested. Edward usually met me after work and I had taught him about the joys of parking. We'd had a lot of fun in the backseat of his Volvo. I had been anticipating an interesting time tonight.

"You don't, actually," Alice told me smugly. "I already spoke to Mrs. Newton about it. She's trading your shifts. She said to tell you 'Happy Birthday.'"

"I–I still can't come over," I stammered, scrambling for an excuse. This was even better, but I didn't want to make plans, or Alice would see it, and so would Edward.

"I, well, I haven't watched Romeo and Juliet yet for English."

Alice snorted. "You have Romeo and Juliet memorized."

"But Mr. Berty said we needed to see it performed to fully appreciate it–that's how Shakespeare intended it to be presented." I had another performance in mind, but they didn't need to know that.

"You've already seen the movie," Alice accused with a knowing look in her eye.

Damn, I had let that slip, and now she could see what I was planning.

"But not the nineteen-sixties version. Mr. Berty said it was the best."

Finally, Alice lost the smug smile and glared at me. "This can be easy, or this can be hard, Bella, but one way or the other–"

Good, Alice was playing along. Hopefully she was blocking her thoughts from Edward.

Edward interrupted her threat. "Relax, Alice. If Bella wants to watch a movie, then she can. It's her birthday."

"So there," I added.

"I'll bring her over around seven," he continued.

Seven? I could work with seven. That should be plenty of time. More time than we would have had in the backseat of the Volvo, and my bed would be much more comfortable. We'd gotten pretty far in the past after school before Charlie came home. The only thing that had stopped us so far was Edward's reluctance to go all the way. Seven o'clock would give us hours alone before Charlie showed up tonight.

"That will give you more time to set up." Edward commented to Alice.

Alice's laughter chimed again. "Sounds good. See you tonight, Bella! It'll be fun, you'll see." Then she winked at me when Edward looked away to gage my reaction.

She grinned–the wide smile exposed all her perfect, glistening teeth–then pecked me on the cheek and danced off toward her first class before I could respond.

"Edward, please–" I started to beg, but he pressed one cool finger to my lips. I had a role to play, and he'd know something was up if I just gave in.

"Let's discuss it later. We're going to be late for class."

No one bothered to stare at us as we took our usual seats in the back of the classroom (we had almost every class together now–it was amazing the favors Edward could get the female administrators to do for him). Edward and I had been together too long now to be an object of gossip anymore. Even Mike Newton didn't bother to give me the glum stare that used to make me feel a little guilty.

He smiled now instead, and I was glad he seemed to have accepted that we could only be friends. Mike had changed over the summer–his face had lost some of the roundness, making his cheekbones more prominent, and he was wearing his pale blond hair a new way; instead of bristly, it was longer and gelled into a carefully casual disarray.

It was easy to see where his inspiration came from–but Edward's look wasn't something that could be achieved through imitation.

As the day progressed, I considered ways to get Edward into my bed this afternoon before we went to the Cullen's tonight. It would be bad enough to have to celebrate when I was in the mood to mourn. Hopefully the afternoon's activities would provide something worthy of celebration. Attention was never a good thing, as any other accident-prone klutz would agree. No one wants a spotlight when they're likely to fall on their face. And I'd very pointedly asked–well, ordered really–that no one give me any presents this year. It looked like Charlie and Renée weren't the only ones who had decided to overlook that.

I'd never had much money, and that had never bothered me. Renée had raised me on a kindergarten teacher's salary. Charlie wasn't getting rich at his job either–he was the police chief here in the tiny town of Forks. My only personal income came from the three days a week I worked at the local sporting goods store. In a town this small, I was lucky to have a job. Every penny I made went into my microscopic college fund. (College was Plan B. I was still hoping for Plan A, but Edward was just so stubborn about leaving me human…)

Edward had a lot of money–I didn't even want to think about how much. Money meant next to nothing to Edward or the rest of the Cullens. It was just something that accumulated when you had unlimited time on your hands and a sister who had an uncanny ability to predict trends in the stock market. Edward didn't seem to understand why I objected to him spending money on me–why it made me uncomfortable if he took me to an expensive restaurant in Seattle, why he wasn't allowed to buy me a car that could reach speeds over fifty-five miles an hour, or why I wouldn't let him pay my college tuition (he was ridiculously enthusiastic about Plan B).

Edward thought I was being unnecessarily difficult. But how could I let him give me things when I had nothing to reciprocate with?

He, for some unfathomable reason, wanted to be with me. Anything he gave me on top of that just threw us more out of balance. As the day went on, neither Edward nor Alice brought my birthday up again, and I began to relax a little. We sat at our usual table for lunch.

A strange kind of truce existed at that table. The three of us–Edward, Alice, and I–sat on the extreme southern end of the table. Now that the "older" and somewhat scarier (in Emmett's case, certainly) Cullen siblings had graduated, Alice and Edward did not seem quite so intimidating, and we did not sit here alone. My other friends, Mike and Jessica (who were in the awkward post-breakup friendship phase), Angela and Ben (whose relationship had survived the summer), Eric, Conner, Tyler, and Lauren (though that last one didn't really count in the friend category) all sat at the same table, on the other side of an invisible line.

That line dissolved on sunny days when Edward and Alice always skipped school, and then the conversation would swell out effortlessly to include me.

Edward and Alice didn't find this minor ostracism odd or hurtful the way I would have. They barely noticed it. People always felt strangely ill at ease with the Cullens, almost afraid for some reason they couldn't explain to themselves. I was a rare exception to that rule.

I know it had bothered Edward how very comfortable I was with being close to him in the beginning. We had gotten much closer over the summer, and he was used to it now.

He thought he was hazardous to my health–an opinion I rejected vehemently whenever he voiced it. He was as necessary to me now as the air I breathed, and I wouldn't be able to exist without him.

The afternoon passed quickly. School ended, and Edward walked me to my truck as he usually did. But this time, he held the passenger door open for me. Alice must have been taking his car home so that he could keep me from making a run for it. She was good, covering all the bases, as though I would run from this, but I had to make it look good.

I folded my arms and made no move to get out of the rain. "It's my birthday, don't I get to drive?"

"I'm pretending it's not your birthday, just as you wished."

"If it's not my birthday, then I don't have to go to your house tonight…"

"All right." He shut the passenger door and walked past me to open the driver's side. "Happy birthday."

"Shh," I shushed him halfheartedly. I climbed in the opened door, wishing he'd taken the other offer. It would have given us more alone time.

Edward played with the radio while I drove, shaking his head in disapproval.

"Your radio has horrible reception."

I frowned. I didn't like it when he picked on my truck. The truck was great–it had personality.

"You want a nice stereo? Drive your own car." I was so nervous about Alice's plans, on top of the butterflies in my stomach from my own plans, that the words came out sharper than I'd meant them. I was hardly ever bad-tempered with Edward, and my tone made him press his lips together to keep from smiling.

When I parked in front of Charlie's house, he reached over to take my face in his hands. He handled me very carefully, pressing just the tips of his fingers softly against my temples, my cheekbones, my jawline like I was especially breakable. Which was exactly the case–compared with him, at least.

"You should be in a good mood, today of all days," he whispered. His sweet breath fanned across my face.

"And if I don't want to be in a good mood?" I asked, my breathing uneven, playing along.

His golden eyes smoldered. "Too bad."

My head was already spinning by the time he leaned closer and pressed his icy lips against mine. As he intended, no doubt, I forgot all about my worries, and concentrated on remembering how to inhale and exhale.

His mouth lingered on mine, cold and smooth and gentle, as I wrapped my arms around his neck and threw myself into the kiss with all the enthusiasm he had come to appreciate over our summer together.

I could feel his lips part and his tongue lightly traced across my bottom lip, begging for entry. My lips parted and the tip of his tongue touched mine gently circling and slipping together as he deepened our kiss. His hands moved on me as he gently cupped my breast with one hand and pulled me closer with his other on the small of my back.

Edward started to pull back and I felt his lips curve upward as his finger tips traced my jaw and stroked my cheek. He let go of my face and reached back to unlock my grip on him.

Edward had drawn many careful lines for our physical relationship in the beginning, with the intent being to keep me alive. Though I respected the need for maintaining a safe distance between my skin and his razor-sharp, venom-coated teeth, I had successfully blurred those lines, and then erased and redrawn them to suit my own needs. I had pushed the boundaries of our relationship to the limit and then kept going, but I still tended to forget about trivial things like that when he was kissing me.

"Let's go inside," he breathed against my cheek. He pressed his lips gently to mine one more time and then pulled away, folding my arms across my stomach.

My pulse was thudding in my ears. I put one hand over my heart. It drummed hyperactively under my palm.

"Do you think I'll ever get better at this?" I wondered, mostly to myself. "That my heart might someday stop trying to jump out of my chest whenever you touch me?"

"I really hope not," he said, a bit smug.

I rolled my eyes. "Let's go watch the Capulets and Montagues hack each other up, all right?"

"Your wish, my command."

Edward sprawled across the couch while I started the movie, fast-forwarding through the opening credits.

When I perched on the edge of the sofa in front of him, he wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me against his chest. It wasn't exactly as comfortable as a sofa cushion would be, what with his chest being hard and cold–and perfect–as an ice sculpture, but it was definitely preferable. He pulled the old afghan off the back of the couch and draped it over me so I wouldn't freeze beside his body. We would have been more comfortable under the electric blanket on my bed, but I was working up to that.

"You know, I've never had much patience with Romeo," he commented as the movie started.

"What's wrong with Romeo?" I asked, a little offended. Romeo was one of my favorite fictional characters. Until I'd met Edward, I'd sort of had a thing for him.

"Well, first of all, he's in love with this Rosaline–don't you think it makes him seem a little fickle? And then, a few minutes after their wedding, he kills Juliet's cousin. That's not very brilliant. Mistake after mistake. Could he have destroyed his own happiness any more thoroughly?"

I sighed. "Do you want me to watch this alone?"

"No, I'll mostly be watching you, anyway." His fingers traced patterns across the skin of my arm, raising goose bumps. "Will you cry?"

"Probably," I admitted, "if I'm paying attention."

"I won't distract you then." But I felt his lips on my hair, and it was very distracting.

"I think I would prefer a little distraction this afternoon." And I felt a low rumble of arousal growl through Edward's chest.

"Is that what Alice was hiding from me at school?" His cool hand slipped under my shirt and traced patterns across the skin of my stomach as he spoke. "You were planning this all day weren't you, you little vixen?"

"It is my birthday after all, and I'm supposed to get whatever I want. You know I only suggested that I had to watch this movie today so we could have some alone time together before we went to your house tonight."

I reached back and ran my hand along the length of Edward's body, stroking across his stomach, along his hip and then back up to rest between his legs where I could feel the hard bulge in the front of his jeans. He inhaled sharply and gave a little shudder as my hand came to rest of the bulge. I gripped the shaft of his cock through the fabric.

"What exactly did you have in mind for this alone time that we seem to be blessed with this afternoon?" he asked, his voice already husky with passion.

"Well, I suppose we could be good and sit here and watch the movie," I squeezed Edward's erection through his pants as I stroked him, "Or…"

"Or what, love…?" Edward gasped at my touch as his hand traveled up my body under my shirt and his fingertips found my nipple through the satiny fabric of my bra.

"Or we could forget about the movie, and go up to my room… Charlie won't be home until at least six o'clock…"

I hadn't finished speaking when I found myself whisked off the couch into Edward's arms and we were moving up the stairs. We entered my room and I heard the door close behind us. There was no lock, but Edward would hear Charlie long before he got home.

I had convinced Charlie to replace my twin bed with a double bed at the end of spring break when I had been convalescing with my broken leg. Alice had spent the night often then, and I told Charlie it wasn't right that she should have to sleep on the floor or downstairs on the couch. Of course Alice didn't sleep, but I knew Edward would appreciate the extra room.

He pulled back the covers now, deposited me on the sheets and then relieved me of my shoes and socks before joining me. He was beside me in an instant, gathering me into his strong arms as his open lips found mine. His cold hand caressed my cheek and jaw, and his cool moist lips were pressed to mine. I snaked my arms around his neck and tangled my fingers in his hair pulling him closer.

The anticipation that I had been feeling for this day energized me as Edward's body pressed against me and his cool lips moved on mine. His lips opened slightly wider and I felt the tip of his tongue trace across my open lips. My lips parted and I felt the tip of Edward's tongue slip against the tip of my tongue again. I was excited and I wanted more. Edward wasn't pulling back this time, and our kiss deepened and became more ardent.

The movement was light and gentle as our tongues met and moved against each other, teasing and exploring. Our tongues played with his circling mine and the feeling was just as incredible and electric as it had been earlier in the truck.

His kisses grew harder and more passionate as his cool lips moved on mine and our tongues tangled and slipped against each other. It was slick and sweet and velvety. I lost myself in the moment giving complete attention to the kiss.

He broke the kiss, letting me pant to catch my breath and his cold cheek nuzzled against mine. My hands moved down to caress the hard muscles of his shoulders and arms. He kissed the hollow beneath my ear, and I felt his cool breath against the side of my neck.

My fingers moved onto the buttons of his shirt working to open one and then the next. Edward opened the rest while I was working on the second. I ran my hands across the hard planes of Edward's chest, and he sucked in a sharp breath as my fingers found his nipples and teased and caressed them.

He pulled away and sat up to pull off his shirt and drop it on the floor. I sat up as well and took the opportunity to grasp the hem of my layered shirts and pull them off over my head. I dropped them onto the floor with Edward's shirt, and then reached behind my back to open the clasp on my bra.

Edward was kissing along my jawline and down the column of my neck. He gently eased the straps off of my shoulders and down my arms. He lifted the cups off of my breasts, and then pulled the scrap of satin and lace out from between us and let it drop to the floor.

His strong hands were cupping my shoulder blades as his lips kissed down to my collar bone and then down into the valley between my breasts. His cool lips were moving across my chest and wrapped around my nipple in a kiss as he gently sucked it into his mouth. He was pushing me back, easing me onto the mattress, but I pushed back.

"Wait, get these off first so we can get under the covers…" My fingers started to work on the belt on his jeans.

I got the belt buckle unfastened, and then I popped the button of his pants open. My fingers found the little brass tab of his fly, and I felt it moving down when Edwards hands slipped into the waist band of my jeans to pop the snap open. I was tugging the waist band of his jeans down, and he obligingly lifted his hips to allow me to pull both his jeans and boxer briefs down to his knees.

His hard cock sprang free and slapped against his stomach with a solid smack when I finally freed it from the confines of his clothing. My eyes were hooded with passion as I stared at his erection, mesmerized by its perfection as he kicked his pants free and they dropped onto the floor.

Edward turned to me and his fingers pulled down the zipper of my fly, and then he was pulling off my pants. I raised my hips to accommodate him, but it was really pointless as he pulled my jeans down to my knees and then slid back to pull them off my legs over my feet.

He moved back up the bed beside me, and then pulled the covers up over us as we were wrapped in the balmy cocoon of the sheets warmed by the electric blanket while the skin of his cold body was pressed along the length of my warmth. His body was cold and silky smooth as we touched coiling together pressing every inch of our flesh together from head to toe.

His hand moved between us cupping my breast, stroking my nipple, as his other circled my back pressing me to him, supporting his weight above me.

He trailed kisses along my jaw line and moved back to my lips. I greeted him willingly as he tenderly sucked my bottom lip between his for a second. Then my arms were snaking around his neck and my hands cradled his head as my fingers tangled back into his hair pulling him closer. Time seemed to stand still as we kissed and touched. Hands moving, bodies sliding against one another, caressing his face and shoulders, my neck, my collarbone, his hair, as our hands explored and his lips moved on mine. We moved together in rhythm as the passion hummed through our bodies and I lost myself in the sensations coursing through me.

His strong hands were on my breasts again, and then he was kissing down my neck. He nuzzled the hollow at the base of my throat and then kissed across my collar bone. His lips moved lower onto my chest and his cool tongue swirled around my nipple. His cool lips locked onto the hard pebble and gently sucked it into his mouth. The feeling was incredible and felt like it was hard wired to my core as the coil in the pit of my stomach wound tighter.

Edward's cool hand stroked down across my stomach and onto the triangle of my panties. I could feel his hand stroking me between my legs, and then Edward slid his hand under my ass and his cool fingers hooked into the elastic band of my panties. He pulled my underwear down off my bottom, and then pulled my panties down my legs and off over my feet.

He dropped them somewhere between the sheets next to me, and then Edward was moving between my legs, his strong hands hooked under my knees pushing them back, spreading my thighs. His cool hands moved onto me stroking and caressing me.

He kissed the inside of my thigh above my knee, and then trailed kisses down the inside of my thigh and onto my lower stomach as his hands stroked my smooth flesh ahead of his lips.

His strong cool hands were stroking through my pubic hair caressing between my legs. His hands moved onto my pussy, and I felt his cool nimble fingers trail along my lips and spread the folds apart. His finger trailed circles around my clitoris and I bucked involuntarily into him as a passionate moan burst from my lips.

My heart was racing and my breathing was hitched. The intensity of his delicate touch sent electric jolts down my spine and hot twinges ricocheting around my pelvis. I took in a sharp breath and tried to calm myself down as I felt his nose trailing back and forth across the top of my pelvic bone before slowly going further south into my pubic hair.

His cool probing fingers trailed back and forth spreading my slippery fluids around. My breath shuddered from between my lips and I laid my head back onto the pillows. My body was screaming for penetration and I fought to keep myself from bucking my hips up into his hand.

His fingers stroked back and forth inside my pussy slipping between my lower lips, wet and slippery with my arousal. His long nimble middle finger tip found my opening, and pressed deeper inside. I moaned as he pressed in to the first knuckle.

"God, Bella, you're so tight…" Edward moaned against my pelvis.

His fingertip slipped out caressing up from my opening, and stroked across my clit as it poked out of its hood. An electric jolt flashed through me as I reveled in the sensation of pure pleasure and carnal lust.

"Oh god… Edward, that's so good…" I panted.

"You like that…" His finger stroked circles around my throbbing clit. He caressed lower and his finger pressed into me again and then pulled out to slide back up to circle my clit.

"Yesss…" I moaned…

His fingers caressed down to my entrance, slowly teasing me before pressing his long sinuous middle finger inside. I felt myself shudder with pleasure, and I squealed as I let out a passionate cry.

I felt Edward quickly shift and lean into me between my splayed hips, and then suddenly I felt his tongue against me. I gasped at the cool wetness as it lapped flat against me from just above where his finger was penetrating me, and then up to the throbbing peak of my clit.

I heard and felt his smooth moan vibrate against my heated flesh. He circled his tongue around my clit, flicking and teasing the sensitive bundle of nerves as it poked out of its hood. He began lapping his tongue up and down between the folds, moving from where his finger pumped into me then back up to circle and tease my clit.

It was so tight as he pumped his finger into me and the sensation of fullness was incredible. It was amazing and fantastic and then he curled his finger upwards finding my sensitive spot at the same moment that his tongue pressed against and over my clit again.

My back arched and a yell of pure bliss rang out at the shocking, glorious pleasure that shot through me. I was sure people a block away could have heard my cry, but I didn't care as long as Edward kept touching me like that.

Edward pulled back startled at my howl of pleasure, "Are you alright, Bella?" Edward asked with concern in his voice.

I reached for his head and tangled my fingers into his hair pulling him back between my legs.

"God… don't stop now! That was incredible…"

My fingers tangled into his hair, and my legs locked onto Edward's ears as he found the prefect rhythm and just the right spot to drive me to ecstasy. He was like a machine as he exerted just the right gentle pressure and lapped at my most sensitive flesh.

"God, Edward… that's soooo good…" I panted as he pumped his finger into me again and again and pressed deeper into my sopping wet pussy. His finger stroked into me as his talented tongue lapped circles around and across my clit.

I was so close, and then my orgasm was crashing through me.

I bit my lower lip so I wouldn't scream. I wanted to yell but I turned my head away and shrieked into the pillow as I clenched tight around Edward's finger. He pushed it deep to stroke my sensitive spot buried deep inside me driving me over the edge. His tongue pressed gently against my clit as it throbbed and pulsed under his sensitive touch. I felt a flood of wetness, my toes curled into the sheet and my eyes rolled back in my head as I plunged over the edge into my orgasm…

I was panting hard and I forced myself to take deep breaths to try and calm down as the heavenly bliss spread through me. Edward pulled his finger out of me when my pulsing muscles released their grip on him, and then moved up the bed to cuddle me in his strong arms.

He gathered me into his arms and spooned behind me as he had on so many nights, cradling my warm body against his cold chest. I could feel his erect cock pressing against the crack of my ass, as his strong gentle hands caressed my hair, my shoulder, my arm, and he pressed gentle kisses into my hair as he hummed to me. It was blissful and I was in heaven. I could have easily dropped off to sleep, which was likely his goal, but I wasn't done with him yet this afternoon.

I turned in Edward's arms, and took his face in my hands, pressing my lips to his once again. His arms gathered me in, wrapping around me to hold me. He had to lean back on his shoulder, and his hands were tracing up and down the bare skin of my back. I shivered in pure ecstasy as his cool fingertips traced up and down my spine, and then lingered lower cupping my ass cheeks and dipping into the wetness between my legs.

I placed my hand on Edward's shoulder and pressed him down onto his back. I knew I had no chance of imposing my will upon him, but we had been down this road many times, and he knew my signals like he knew my body. I wouldn't have been able to move him if he refused, but he complied with my desire as he settled onto his back and I moved over his body and kissed his neck. I was all about fair play, and he knew I wanted to reciprocate.

He had balked early on when our physical relationship had begun to develop. He was concerned about the composition of his semen, and was worried that it would contain venom. I refused to simply accept his worries without hard evidence to either confirm his fears or prove that it was harmless. It had been fun collecting samples for testing. Edward's semen had proved venom free and as safe as human semen, perhaps safer because vampires couldn't have children.

My hands caressed the hard planes of his perfect chest, circling and teasing his nipples as I placed wet open mouthed kisses from his collarbone to the middle of his chest. I kissed first one hard nipple, and then the other as my hot inquisitive hands explored lower, tracing lightly across his hard flat stomach.

I was always intrigued and fascinated with the exquisite definition of the hard muscles of his perfect six-pack abs, but I forced myself to not linger, and my hands moved lower as I slid down the bed between Edward's legs.

He slightly raised his knees and spread his legs to make room for me as my hands wrapped around his hard erect cock. I was still amazed by Edward's hard cock. It seemed like such a contradiction, hard as steel but silky smooth and velvety soft. My hands looked tiny trying to wrap around his girth, my finger tips unable to touch my thumb as I stroked up and down the length. It intrigued and amazed me that his skin could be so hard and impenetrable, yet the skin on his penis slipped easily over his erect member as I pulled the foreskin back exposing the bulbous head of his cock.

Edward moaned as my hands stroked him, and then I leaned in and swirled my tongue around the head. He groaned in pleasure, and I saw his hands clench into hard fists beside him out of the corner of my eye. Edward's control had been building for months and months, and I was confident that I was safe, even if he still harbored doubts. I leaned down and took the head of his cock in my mouth, wrapping my lips around him.

My tongue swirled around his cock and a wave of exhilaration and excitement flashed through me. The thrill was incredible as I slid Edward's cock deeper into my mouth, and I groaned as I felt the coil in my stomach wind tighter as I started bobbing up and down on his erect shaft.

My lips wrapped around his cock, and I swirled my tongue around the head as I moved on him. Edward was moaning loudly with each downward bob of my head. My hand was wrapped around the base of his cock, squeezing and stroking his shaft in time with my oral attention.

"Oh my god... Jesus, Bella… You're sooo good..."

I hallowed out my cheeks, and increased the vacuum in my mouth, sucking harder. Edward moaned and his hips bucked involuntarily as I used my tongue on him flicking against the underside of his shaft and then circled it around the base of his head.

"So good… You're so hot… God this is incredible…"

Edward moaned loud, as he lost himself in the pleasure. My lips wrapped around him, and my head was bobbing up and down. My hands wrapped around the base of his shaft stroking him and milking his cock. His hands lightly stroked my hair as it slipped between his fingers.

"Bella, love... I... Oh god… So good… God, I love you... Bella!"

His eyes slipped closed, and his head was lolling back, thrashing from side to side on the pillows. His whole body was shaking with the pleasure I was giving him and I knew it was an effort for him to hold back and not thrust his hips up into my mouth and possibly injure me.

I felt Edward tense up, and I sensed his imminent release. I was usually adamant about allowing him to finish, and I generally took him in my mouth, greedily swallowing his cum, but I had a different plan in mind today.

His cock slipped from between my lips as I pulled off and released him, and he groaned at the loss of friction and warmth as my hands stroked up his thighs onto his stomach. I climbed up over Edwards body, straddling his hips, and then slid forward pressing his erect cock back flat against his stomach again as I arched my back above him.

I was grinding against him, and I could feel his hard cock slip between the folds of my pussy, spreading me open, sawing back and forth between my lips as I moved on him. My hands were on his chest as I stroked back and forth, grinding my clit against the underside of his cock.

Edward was moaning again at the renewed heat and friction, and I was so close to my prize…

I leaned forward, letting my hair drape around my head in a cascade, tickling Edward's nipples as I raised my hips off of him. I reached back with one hand, and grasped his hard cock, stroking the bulbous head through my folds, grinding the head against my clit, and then positioning him against my opening. I was so close to what I wanted… I started to ease my weight back against him, settling back. I could feel the pressure spreading my lips around him and the head of his cock was pressing against my hymen…

Suddenly Edward's hands were locked on my hips and I couldn't move, suspended in mid air above him as I strained against his immovable grasp as I struggled trying to press down onto him.

"Wait… Bella love, we've been through this… You know we can't go all the way."

"Why, Edward? Give me one reason why we can't be together like this now?"

Suddenly our positions were reversed, I was lying back against the mattress and Edward was above me. His weight was gently pressing my body firmly down into the sheets. His cock was no longer lodged against my opening, but I could feel it between my legs pressing against the inside of my thigh as his hips rested between my knees.

"You know my reasons… I don't want to argue with you." he whispered. His sweet breath fanned across my face.

"I want to hear your reasons. How can I present a valid argument if you won't explain why you feel we need to stop?" I asked, my breathing uneven as my heart raced.

"I could so easily hurt you if I lost control. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if something were to happen…"

You're not going to hurt me. You have the control, you've proven that time and again. We've come so close so many times…"

"If I lost control, even for an instant… I would want to die–or whatever it is that we do."

"Do this for me, Edward. I know you want to. You want this too, but do it for me. Please?"

"I know that we have enjoyed many forbidden pleasures together that we shouldn't have… I have endeavored to cultivate a more modern attitude to accommodate your needs…"

"I have more needs Edward. I want this. I want you…"

"Still, there are things that I feel should be reserved to the marriage bed..."

"And I don't. This is the twenty-first century, not the nineteenth. We've had this discussion before. When you find a time machine and we travel back to your time, then we'll play by your rules. Until then, this is my century, and the rules have changed."

"You're still so young," his cool fingers caressed my cheek. "You have so much life ahead of you yet to live... In my time, I would have spoken to your father by now… I would have long since made you my wife."

"This isn't your time, and I don't need a piece of paper to know that you own me body and soul. I belong to you for as long as you want me. Make me a woman tonight, and we can talk about marriage some other time." Hopefully some time far in the future.

"This is truly what you want?"

"Today is my birthday and you're supposed to give me whatever I want. Give me yourself tonight… all of you… I need to feel you inside me. Please Edward…" I didn't want to beg, but I needed this so much…

Edward shifted subtly, and then his lips were pressed to mine again. His tongue pushed into my mouth and tangled with mine. My arms wrapped around his neck as my fingers tangled in his hair pulling him closer. My heart raced in my chest thumping frantically and it felt like the only thing keeping it from bursting from my chest was Edward's body pressing down against me.

He broke the kiss trailing open mouth kisses along my jawline to the hollow below my ear. I could feel his cool breath against my neck.

"Tell me if I hurt you, love, and I'll stop. Don't try and hold anything back just because you want this. I have to know so I can keep you safe…"

My heart thrilled with excitement, and I nodded, unable to speak. Edward was moving between my legs… His hand reached between us, and then the head of his cock was stroking between the lips of my pussy again. The head of his cock slipped down to my opening lodged between my folds. His cock head was straining against my hymen… it would never fit through the much smaller opening his finger had stretched through. There would be pain and some blood when it tore…

"You're sure, love? This is what you want?" he breathed. His sweet breath fanned across me as his face was suspended inches above mine. He was staring deeply into my eyes and it felt like he was staring into my soul.

"Take me Edward… I need you inside me! Do it now…" I moaned looking into his eyes as I spoke.

His hips rocked forward… there was a short sharp pain and I felt something tear. The head of his cock popped inside of me, pushing through the thin layer of membrane, and I felt him sink deeper inside. I was amazed at the intense sensation of fullness. He froze at my sudden sharp intake of breath as I gasped and I held him tight while I adjusted to the feeling of him pushing inside of me.

"Unhhh…Oh My Fucking God… Fuck fuck fuck…It's so big …" I panted. I needed him to stop right there and he stopped moving and held still while I adjusted to the feel of his cock inside me splitting me open.

The coil in my stomach started to wind tighter as I relaxed my death grip on his cock head and let myself adjust to Edward's cock pressing into me.

"Are you alright, love? We can stop…" he breathed. His sweet breath fanned across my face as he spoke, his face was touching mine as his lips moved against me.

"God, don't stop…! Give me a moment to adjust… It's so big …" I panted trying to calm myself inhaling his sweet breath. My knees were pressed tight against him, and I wrapped my legs around him pulling him into me.

Edward felt me relax, and I tried rocking my hips up against his, testing myself, driving him deeper. Then he raised his hips pulling back and thrust deeper into me when I didn't react like I was in pain anymore.

"God, Bella… You're so tight…" Edward moaned as his strong hands fisted into the sheet on either side of my torso.

I was panting hard, but I was adjusting to the feel of Edward's massive cock invading my most intimate opening. I moaned as he let his weight settle against me, slipping lower an inch at a time. More of his cock pushed inside of me as he thrust deeply into my core.

"Unhh… God…! You're so fucking big… Edward… Unhhh…" I panted.

I was moaning almost incoherently and panting hard as Edward pushed into me. His pubic bone hadn't reached bottom yet, but I could feel the head of his cock pressing against my cervix deep inside of me. He stopped again to let my body adjust to the feel of his cock.

"I love you… Bella…"

I nodded as I bit my bottom lip. My hands were gripping Edward's shoulders as I clung to his body above me. His hips eased upwards a little and rocked forward as he slid back into me. The sensations that flashed through my body made me shiver with pleasure and another groan escaped my lips.

"Unhh… Oh god! … Unhhh… Edward… Soooo good…" I panted, as he picked up the pace.

He started to move faster inside of me as he took me and thrust deep into me. Waves of pleasure shuddered through me with every movement as he lifted his hips and then pushed back into me.

"Oh my god… Edward fuck me…!" I moaned as he drove deep into my tight pussy.

I was more adjusted to having him inside me now and he thrust harder and deeper driving his invading cock into me. My bones felt like they were turning to jelly as waves of pleasure shuddered through my body. The coil in my stomach wound tighter as Edward pushed me closer and closer to my peak. I felt my chest pressed against Edward's as I lay panting under him.

"God, love… You are so hot… so tight… I love you so much..."

Edward's hands were fisted into the sheets as his body pressed onto mine, but he didn't crush me down as he supported his weight on his elbows. He rocked forward again driving in deep. I could feel every ripple and vein on his cock as it slid so very deep into me.

"Unhhh… God…! Unhh… fuck…" I moaned.

He was rhythmically pounding into me, driving his massive cock deep into my core with every stroke… Sliding it almost all the way out and then driving forward again and again. He hit bottom with every stroke and I could feel his pubic bone grinding hard against my clit with every stroke, driving me closer and closer to the edge.

"Oh god… Edward Harder! God… Fuck me… Fuck me harder!" I groaned as I panted against him.

He moved faster lifting his hips as he slid out then thrusting deep into me harder and faster again and again, thrusting deep into my hot slick wetness.

"Fuck… Unhhh… fuck… Edward… Unhhh…fuck…"

I was panting hard I was so close as the coil in my stomach wound tighter spiraling higher and faster towards my peak. I seized him with my legs and our bodies moved together, rocking my hips to meet his thrusts. we crashed together as our bodies moved to the pulse of my racing heart.

He cupped his hands behind my shoulders as he pressed his body against mine and hammered into me, thrusting hard and fast. My legs coiled around him and my hands gripped his arms as I pulled his body closer to me.

"Unhhh…Oh God… Fuck… God, I'm so close…" I groaned.

I was on the edge of the precipice and I was moaning his name, "Edward… God I'm almost there! I'm going to… I'm going to cum… Edward, I love you!" He thrust hard and fast once, twice, again, and then suddenly I reached my peak.

My core clenched hard around his massive cock buried deep inside me. I squeezed him with my legs as every muscle in my body contracted. I felt a flood of wetness, my toes curled tight and my eyes rolled back in my head as my hands frantically gripped Edward's body closer. I plunged over the edge as I came undone around him and my orgasm crashed through my body.

"Uhnn… God… Bella! I'm so close… I'm almost there…" Edward panted against my neck as he drove deep into my pussy, plunging to the hilt hard and fast!

Edward's orgasm was building towards his own climax as he thrust urgently into my core, and as I reached my peak, I pulled him over the edge with me.

I felt Edward's body stiffen, and he thrust into me hard one more time and stopped buried to the hilt in my hot pulsing core. Edward grunted as the orgasm pulsed through him. I felt his cool liquid flood into my center and fill me as I lay panting beneath him with my legs still wrapped tightly around him. He held himself still, buried to the hilt as my clit throbbed and pulsed against his hard shaft.

I was trying to take deep breaths as awareness returned and the heavenly bliss spread through me. I just needed to hold him and we lay like that for a couple of minutes as I enjoyed the feel of our bodies joined together like one being.

Finally I let my legs settle back on to the bed as I released him. Edward kissed me deeply one last time, and then pulled back and let his softening cock slip out of me.

"Welcome back, love," Edward whispered in my ear.

Edward rolled off of me to my side, and gathered me into his arms to cuddle me close. His hands stroked up and down my spine and caressed my back as he held me and pressed gentle kisses into my hair. We held each other like that for a long time, just basking in the post coital bliss, gently touching, caressing and kissing.

"I love you so much, Edward." I said when we were able to speak again. "I know this was hard for you to give up this final change and truly step into the twenty-first century."

"I love you, Bella, completely with all of my being for all eternity. Nothing will ever change that. I'll always do what is best for you."

"I love you, Edward, more than you can possibly imagine."

"I can imagine a lot."

"Well that much and more."

"We should probably be getting up to clean up. Your father will be returning home soon."

I stiffened. I might be eighteen and considered an adult now, but that didn't mean I wanted to get caught with Edward in my bed if Charlie came walking into the house. This might be a modern world, but Charlie had a gun, and fathers were still protective of their daughters.

"Did you hear something? Is he coming? How much time do we have?"

"Relax, he isn't coming yet, as far as I know. But I thought you might want to get in the shower before you change to go to my house for the evening."

"Right, the shower… You're still going to make me go through with this tonight, aren't you?"

"It won't be so bad, love. Besides, if I don't bring you, Alice will show up here and drag you over to my house kicking and screaming. I thought you'd prefer a little more dignity."

"I suppose if it's unavoidable, I can make an appearance. At least I have something to be happy about that's worthy of celebration tonight."

"There always was something worth celebrating, love. This date should be praised and ring from every mountaintop to celebrate the occasion of your birth."

"It wouldn't bother me so much if there was less aging involved with the celebration."

"Unfortunately that is an unavoidable consequence of being human, love"

"It's not unavoidable, because I don't have to be human!"

"There are still so many human experiences you should be able to live for. I have been selfish enough for one evening. Let's discuss this some other night, please?"

"So long as you understand that it will be a topic of discussion, I'll leave it for this evening. Will you join me in the shower?"

"That's not advisable, love. Go take your shower and I'll clean up the room."

"What about you? Don't you need to wash too?"

"I do, but we would most certainly be late and would have to endure the wrath of your father. Trust me, love, I am only so strong."

"Fine." I got out of bed, but a smug grin turned up the corners of my mouth.

I collected my toiletries, a pair of clean panties and a robe and went down the hall to the bathroom to shower. I looked in the mirror and the same girl I had been this morning stared back at me. I might look the same, but I felt subtly different. I had crossed a line tonight, and my world had changed, but whether for good or bad, I didn't yet know. I had taken our relationship to the next level, and I was a woman now.

Edward had finally given in, and I had successfully shattered the final barrier in our physical relationship. Now I just had to get him to agree to change me, and we could be together for eternity.

I showered and brushed my teeth. My body was pleasantly sore in a good way, like I had been doing heavy exercise and had exerted muscles I didn't normally use. I suppose I had. There was some blood when I got into the shower and washed. that was normal from what I had read, and was an expected consequence of what we'd done this afternoon.

There was still some light bleeding when I got out of the shower, but it was lighter than my period. I put a panty liner in my underwear when I put them on. Normally I'd use a tampon on my period, but I was still a little sore, and didn't want to irritate anything down there while it healed. It might be a problem if it got worse, but it honestly wasn't that bad, and I didn't worry about it.

Edward had the room in order when I returned to get dressed, and excused himself to go down the hall to shower before he got dressed. We were back downstairs on the couch watching the movie long before we expected Charlie to arrive. I was fast forwarding through the film, stopping to view some of my favorite scenes.

"I don't really see what you have against Romeo. Sure, he screwed up, but he was such a romantic."

He was about to argue, but then he let it go. "Moot point," he reminded me. Abruptly, he pulled himself up into a more formal posture, shifting me to the side so that we were no longer touching.

"Charlie?" I guessed.

Edward smiled. After a moment, I heard the sound of the police cruiser pulling into the driveway. I reached out and took his hand firmly. My dad could deal with that much.

Charlie came in with a pizza box in his hands.

"Hey, kids." He grinned at me. "I thought you'd like a break from cooking and washing dishes for your birthday. Hungry?"

"Sure. Thanks, Dad."

Charlie didn't comment on Edward's apparent lack of appetite. He was used to Edward passing on dinner.

"Do you mind if I borrow Bella for the evening?" Edward asked when Charlie and I were done.

I looked at Charlie hopefully. Maybe he had some concept of birthdays as stay-at-home, family affairs–this was my first birthday with him, the first birthday since my mom, Renée, had remarried and gone to live in Florida, so I didn't know what he would expect.

"That's fine–the Mariners are playing the Sox tonight," Charlie explained, and my hope disappeared. "So I won't be any kind of company… Here." He scooped up the digital camera he'd gotten me on Renée's suggestion (because I would need pictures to fill up my scrap-book), and threw it to me.

He ought to know better than that–I'd always been coordinationally challenged.

The digital camera glanced off the tip of my finger, and tumbled toward the floor. Edward snagged it before it could crash onto the linoleum.

"Nice save," Charlie noted. "If they're doing something fun at the Cullens' tonight, Bella, you should take some pictures. You know how your mother gets–she'll be wanting to see the pictures faster than you can take them."

"Good idea, Charlie," Edward said, handing me the digital camera.

I turned the digital camera on Edward, and snapped the first picture. "It works."

"That's good. Hey, say hi to Alice for me. She hasn't been over in a while." Charlie's mouth pulled down at one corner.

"It's been three days, Dad," I reminded him. Charlie was crazy about Alice. He'd become attached last spring when she'd helped me through my awkward convalescence; Charlie would be forever grateful to her for saving him from the horror of an almost-adult daughter who needed help showering. "I'll tell her."

"Okay. You kids have fun tonight." It was clearly a dismissal. Charlie was already edging toward the living room and the TV.

Edward smiled, triumphant, and took my hand to pull me from the kitchen.

When we got to the truck, he opened the passenger door for me again, and this time I didn't argue. I still had a hard time finding the obscure turnoff to his house in the dark.

Edward drove north through Forks, visibly chafing at the speed limit enforced by my prehistoric Chevy. The engine groaned even louder than usual as he pushed it over fifty.

"Take it easy," I warned him.

"You know what you would love? A nice little Audi coupe. Very quiet, lots of power…"

"There's nothing wrong with my truck. And speaking of expensive nonessentials, if you know what's good for you, you didn't spend any money on birthday presents."

"Not a dime," he said virtuously.


"Can you do me a favor?"

"That depends on what it is."

He sighed, his lovely face serious. "Bella, the last real birthday any of us had was Emmett in 1935. Cut us a little slack, and don't be too difficult tonight. They're all very excited."

It always startled me a little when he brought up things like that. "Fine, I'll behave."

"I probably should warn you…"

"Please do."

"When I say they're all excited… I do mean all of them."

"Everyone?" I choked. "I thought Emmett and Rosalie were in Africa."

The rest of Forks was under the impression that the older Cullens had gone off to college this year, to Dartmouth, but I knew better.

"Emmett wanted to be here."

"But… Rosalie?"

"I know, Bella. Don't worry, she'll be on her best behavior."

I didn't answer. Like I could just not worry, that easy. Unlike Alice, Edward's other "adopted" sister, the golden blond and exquisite Rosalie didn't like me much. Actually, the feeling was a little bit stronger than just dislike. As far as Rosalie was concerned, I was an unwelcome intruder into her family's secret life.

I felt horribly guilty about the present situation, guessing that Rosalie and Emmett's prolonged absence was my fault, even as I furtively enjoyed not having to see her. Emmett, Edward's playful bear of a brother, I did miss.

He was in many ways just like the big brother I'd always wanted… only much, much more terrifying.

Edward decided to change the subject. "So, if you won't let me get you the Audi, isn't there anything that you'd like for your birthday? Besides stealing your virtue, of course."

The words came out in a whisper. "You know what I want."

A deep frown carved creases into his marble forehead. He obviously wished he'd stuck to the subject of Rosalie.

It felt like we'd had this argument a lot today.

"Not tonight, Bella. You promised. Please."

"Well, maybe Alice will give me what I want."

Edward growled–a deep, menacing sound. "This isn't going to be your last birthday, Bella," he vowed.

"That's not fair!"

I thought I heard his teeth clench together.

We were pulling up to the house now. Bright light shined from every window on the first two floors. A long line of glowing Japanese lanterns hung from the porch eaves, reflecting a soft radiance on the huge cedars that surrounded the house. Big bowls of flowers–pink roses–lined the wide stairs up to the front doors.

I moaned.

Edward took a few deep breaths to calm himself. "This is a party," he reminded me. "Try to be a good sport."

"Sure," I muttered.

He came around to get my door, and offered me his hand.

"I have a question."

He waited warily.

"If I download these pictures," I said, toying with the digital camera in my hands, "will you show up in the picture?"

Edward started laughing. He helped me out of the car, pulled me up the stairs, and was still laughing as he opened the door for me.

They were all waiting in the huge white living room; when I walked through the door, they greeted me with a loud chorus of "Happy birthday, Bella!" while I blushed and looked down.

Alice, I assumed, had covered every flat surface with pink candles and dozens of crystal bowls filled with hundreds of roses. There was a table with a white cloth draped over it next to Edward's grand piano, holding a pink birthday cake, more roses, a stack of glass plates, and a small pile of silver-wrapped presents.

It was a hundred times worse than I'd imagined.

Edward, sensing my distress, wrapped an encouraging arm around my waist and kissed the top of my head.

Edward's parents, Carlisle and Esme–impossibly youthful and lovely as ever–were the closest to the door. Esme hugged me carefully, her soft, caramel-colored hair brushing against my cheek as she kissed my forehead, and then Carlisle put his arm around my shoulders.

"Sorry about this, Bella," he stage-whispered. "We couldn't rein Alice in."

Rosalie and Emmett stood behind them. Rosalie didn't smile, but at least she didn't glare.

Emmett's face was stretched into a huge grin. It had been months since I'd seen them; I'd forgotten how gloriously beautiful Rosalie was–it almost hurt to look at her.

And had Emmett always been so… big?

"You haven't changed at all," Emmett said with mock disappointment. "I expected a perceptible difference, but here you are, red-faced just like always."

"Thanks a lot, Emmett," I said, blushing deeper.

He laughed, "I have to step out for a second"–he paused to wink conspicuously at Alice–"Don't do anything funny while I'm gone."

"I'll try."

Alice let go of Jasper's hand and skipped forward, all her teeth sparkling in the bright light.

Jasper smiled, too, but kept his distance. He leaned, long and blond, against the post at the foot of the stairs. During the days we'd had to spend cooped up together in Phoenix, I'd thought he'd gotten over his aversion to me. But he'd gone back to exactly how he'd acted before–avoiding me as much as possible–the moment he was free from that temporary obligation to protect me.

I knew it wasn't personal, just a precaution, and I tried not to be overly sensitive about it. Jasper had more trouble sticking to the Cullens' diet than the rest of them; the scent of human blood was much harder for him to resist than the others–he hadn't been trying as long.

Tonight, his expression seemed even more strained than usual, and I wondered what was causing his discomfort. I thought back to the bleeding I'd noticed when I got out of my shower.

Edward had long since explained that menstrual blood held little attraction to vampires, or it would be impossible for them to enter the high school with all those hormonal teenaged girls around. The pad I'd placed in my panties wasn't because of my period, though.

I'd been bleeding because of what we'd done in bed this afternoon, and I'd wanted to protect my clothes and catch the trickle of fresh blood until it healed naturally. I realized now that my scent must be affecting Jasper many times more than normal if the bleeding had continued and soaked into the pad, pushing him closer to the edge.

Jasper looked like he was teetering on the razors edge, hanging on to his cool and composure by the barest tips of his fingernails. I wondered if he could hold it together until I could make an excuse to visit the powder room and change the pad. It wouldn't take a lot to push him over the edge.

"Time to open presents," Alice declared. She put her cool hand under my elbow and towed me to the table with the cake and the shiny packages.

I put on my best martyr face. "Alice, I know I told you I didn't want anything–"

"But I didn't listen," she interrupted, smug.

"Open it." She took the digital camera from my hands and replaced it with a big, square silver box.

The box was so light that it felt empty. The tag on top said that it was from Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper. Self-consciously, I tore the paper off and then stared at the box it concealed.

It was something electrical, with lots of numbers in the name. I opened the box, hoping for further illumination. But the box was empty.

"Um… thanks."

Rosalie actually cracked a smile. Jasper gave a strained laugh. "It's a stereo for your truck," he explained.

"Emmett's installing it right now so that you can't return it."

Alice was always one step ahead of me. "Thanks, Jasper, Rosalie," I told them, grinning as I remembered Edward's complaints about my radio this afternoon–all a setup, apparently.

"Thanks, Emmett!" I called more loudly.

I heard his booming laugh from my truck, and I couldn't help laughing, too.

"Open mine and Edward's next,"

Alice said, so excited her voice was a high-pitched trill. She held a small, flat square in her hand.

I turned to give Edward a basilisk glare. "You promised."

Before he could answer, Emmett bounded through the door. "Just in time!" he crowed. He pushed in behind Jasper, who had also drifted closer than usual to get a good look.

"I didn't spend a dime," Edward assured me.

He brushed a strand of hair from my face, leaving my skin tingling from his touch.

I inhaled deeply and turned to Alice. "Give it to me," I sighed.

I really needed to make an excuse to get away for a minute and check, but it would be a huge faux pas to interrupt opening my presents to excuse myself to the ladies room. There weren't very many, and it shouldn't take too long.

I took the little package, rolling my eyes at Edward while I stuck my finger under the edge of the paper and jerked it under the tape.

"Shoot," I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage.

A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.

It all happened very quickly then.

"No!" Edward roared.

He threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table. It fell, as I did, scattering the cake and the presents, the flowers and the plates. I landed in the mess of shattered crystal.

Jasper slammed into Edward, and the sound was like the crash of boulders in a rock slide.

There was another noise, a grisly snarling that seemed to be coming from deep in Jasper's chest. Jasper tried to shove past Edward, snapping his teeth just inches from Edward's face.

Emmett grabbed Jasper from behind in the next second, locking him into his massive steel grip, but Jasper struggled on, his wild, empty eyes focused only on me.

Beyond the shock, there was also pain. I'd tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. Only now did I feel the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow.

Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm–into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

Author's Note:

The next chapter should be up shortly. As I said before, this is my spin on the events of the first couple of chapters of New Moon. It's setting things up for where this story will diverge from the original version.

If you liked this, please review and let me know what you think.