The longer I read aloud the droopier her doe like orbs became and eventually, she laid down and nodded off.
She was startled awake when I growled after I heard Esme coming our way. This time she scrambled onto my lap looking for protection from the outside world. Thankfully, Esme was calmly telling me she was dropping off more food and water for my mate, so I hushed my Bella and held her shaking body tighter, "Shush, Bella. It's only Esme with your dinner."
After her dinner was eaten, we resumed our reading until she slipped into a peaceful slumber. When I lowered my massive body across her tiny form to cage her in, she didn't resist like last night. Her dreams were different, tonight, she dreamed of me protecting her.
Over the next few days, I managed to keep from ravishing her body. It was the longest week of my life. Bella dreaming about it didn't help.
On the seventh day, Jasper charged into the camp while screaming in my head.
'We have company. Three carnivores headed in from the north. Two male, one female. Lock down the cattle.'
That was the last thing we needed. I grabbed Bella and threw her over my shoulder. She'd been picking flowers. For a short moment, she looked happy and carefree. There was no better sight than watching her dancing around in the tall grass with flowers in her hair. Now she trembled against me.
'Edward, get Bella to your hut,' Carlisle instructed.
Once through the door, I slipped her onto her feet, still cradling her in my arms. "You have nothing to worry about. I'll protect you with my life."
I couldn't deny her when she looked up thinking about being kissed. If that's what it took for her to feel secure, I'd happily grant it. Capturing her lips with mine, I could feel them trembling. Still, she opened her mouth to let me in. While I explored her heated mouth, I scanned for the thoughts of the incoming. Multitasking I could do. Pulling back, I listened closer.
'They have humans. I wonder if they'll share,' one of the males thought.
'They'd better all be mated,' the female seethed.
'I smell females. I wonder they're mated?'
"Edward, mount your female. Jasper and I are coming into protect you both," Alice whispered.
Without hesitation, I whisked Bella beneath me. Her eyes darted around the room, no doubt, trying to see who was coming. Caging her in, I still growled when they entered. It went against my nature to have a male near my unclaimed mate.
Jasper seemed to understand. He started pushing calm and serenity toward me before he entered. It barely scratched the surface. The rising agression boiling to the top had me shaking to keep still. Bella's thought was the only thing keeping from tearing out there and ripping them apart.
Her tiny hands cupped my checks. 'Mine.'
The outer gate creaked when Carlisle opened it. I knew from their thoughts everyone else had formed an arch around the opening. Our three intruders each wore a friendly smile. The redhead stood behind her mate, the blond one. Off to the side, stood a caramel-skinned traveling companion.
"Good afternoon. We're passing through and hoped to just rest for a bit."
"You'll have to pardon us for being cautious. You can't be too cautious, nowadays," Carlisle spoke to the apparent leader.
"No, you can't be. We mean you no ill. We've been traveling nonstop for months trying to stay one step ahead of the Volturi."
"Are they headed this way?"
"They are zigzagging this way. There is no way to tell if they'll come across you. My name is James, this is my mate, Victoria, and our friend, Laurent."
"We're the Cullens. This is my mate Esme, my son, Emmett, and his mate, Rose."
"And who might the other three be? The ones with the human?" Laurent questioned.
"You've picked a rather difficult time to arrive. One of my son is in the process of taking a mate. The other two are to ensure he doesn't come out thinking you're a threat."
"He's taking a human mate? That's unheard of." James snickered.
"Yes, well, she's human now. He'll turn her once she's trained." Doing the math in her head, Victoria calmed, knowing we would all be paired off with the exception of Laurent.
"I can promise you we have no interest in taking any human mates with us. Do you have room for three weary travelers?"
"Before I say yes, there are two conditions. First, you will stay on the opposite side of the compound, giving Edward as much room as possible. And second, our humans are not for consumption. But there are plenty of animals in the neighborhood."
"This won't be the first time we've eaten animals. With so few human left we've had no other choice but to adapt," James replied with a nod, "as for your so-called son, we're uninterested in a fight. He and his mate are safe."
A/N Not as long of a wait this time. Leave our member a pretty review, so they know you liked it.