Beta: Midnight Cougar

Summary: "What do you mean, 'We don't celebrate Halloween'?" Bella hadn't bargained on giving up her favorite holiday when she chose to join Edward in eternity. Can she convince him to "just have fun" and if so, what in the world will the night hold in store for not only them, but their siblings and a tour group packed with humans as well.

Dedication: On behalf of Katalina, for my son, and for victims of cancer everywhere, I present...

A Very Cullen Halloween


"What do you mean, 'We don't celebrate Halloween'?" I growled in disbelief at Edward while his eyes shifted from my face to the right. "Don't look at Jasper for help," I warned, earning a faint chuckle from Emmett, who stood behind me.

For crying out loud, it was Halloween; my favorite holiday while human. No one told me I'd have to give it up to become a vampire. Not that it would have changed my decision, but still, it seemed a bit ironic.

They had me surrounded and with the training instilled in me by my dad, I was on edge. I hadn't tried bolting in a month; they could trust me now . . . but they didn't. It wasn't like the few times I had run, I had gone after humans. I'd just wanted to be able to run at full speed through the mountains and hunt along the way. The Cullen's claimed I'd been too careless and messy.

"Bella, love, we can't even eat candy, remember? There is no point in us going," Edward tried to calm me, and for a moment it worked, until I stomped my foot and hissed at Jasper to knock it off.

"But, Edward, we are vampires! More than that, we live in Dracula's castle. How can you not see the humor in that? Come on, just . . . let's have fun."

He pulled his plump lips into a tight line and sighed heavily. The way he was acting, you'd think he felt as if he were dealing with a petulant child.

"Please. I've been good, but we've been cooped up in this castle for ages," I whined, and again heard Emmett's amusement behind me—this time in the form of a snort. My words fell short when I noticed Edward was smirking at me. "What?"

Keeping the smile in place, he came forward and took my hands in his, coaxing them to uncurl from the fists I'd made. "You are adorable," he crooned at me, then leaned forward and kissed me. Gentle at first, just a whisper of movement as our lips brushed against the others.

At my involuntary whimper, he pressed harder, my lips beginning to smash against my teeth when he applied more force. Venom dripped onto my tongue, pooling there with the heightening arousal of my body.

Edward guided one of my hands to the front of his pants, showing me that he could smell me . . . and he liked it.

Feeling brave, I pulled back from the kiss and batted my lashes at him. "I could dress up as a naughty schoolgirl," I taunted with an innocent twist of my body while swinging my arms. I pouted, continuing to look at him from under my lashes.

My lover groaned.

Jasper barked out a laugh before slapping a hand over his mouth, and Emmett, well, he had his arms around his midsection while he guffawed with the gaiety of a circus clown.

A squeal, accompanied by a fluttering, clapping sound drew our attention to the door. Alice, with Rose right behind her, stood in the threshold, her topaz eyes sparkling. "I wasn't sure you were going to pull it off, Bella." She laughed and Edward threw up his hands.

"Fine, I give. Let's dress up," he relented to a chorus of yelps and hoorahs just as Carlisle and Esme walked by.

Carlisle shook his head and commented about "Not wanting to know," drawing a soft sigh from Esme. "You kids have fun tonight, just be careful not to draw any attention. Remember, only Edward is known around here, and even he is elusive. The rest of us would be considered strangers," she warned lightheartedly.

Like we could get in any trouble.


I looked at myself in the mirror and immediately regretted that I'd agreed to this. Alice's enthusiasm should have been a warning flag, especially her fierce giggles when she'd vanished to be reappear moments later with a large box. It was heavily decorated with shipping labels; she'd handed it to Emmett.

Alice had fessed up to not being sure of the outcome of my and Bella's little debate, but she'd gambled on Bella getting her way, which was usually the smart thing to do, and had prepared accordingly. She'd claimed that there would've been no way get such great costumes with no notice because, "These things take time, of course."

My eyes looked back at me, a golden amber as we'd fed recently. Atop my head my hair was covered by an awful, dark wig that hung straight and in my eyes. The wiry mustache I'd glued to my upper lip tickled . . . the glue smelled foul to my sensitive olfactory glands, too. My shirt, blue stripes on rough white linen, was long and loose, reminiscent of an old man's sleep shirt.

"Who are you supposed to be, Eddie?" Emmett asked, a look of utter confusion on his face when he came up behind me. I sighed at the stupid name that I could not get him to stop using, and replied, "Salvador Dali." You could see the cogs slowly turning in his head, and then he grinned, his dimples flashing. "Alice dressed you up as a gay artist? That's priceless!"

I rolled my eyes at his childishness, and then took in what he had on. His feet were clad in leather sandals, his legs were bare, and he had on a leather skirt. My brother's torso was encased in solid gold-colored armor, and his wrists had matching guards. Hanging down from his shoulders, to complete the outfit, a brown leather cape was held in place by rivets.

"Really? I thought you were more liberal than that. Besides, you're one to talk, Emmett. You look like an overgrown superhero of some sort. Not exactly going to blend in with your brawn on display, are you?"

"Hey, I didn't say it was a bad thing. I just think it's perfect for you. And this, he looked down the length of his body, his arms out in the air to the side, "is not a 'superhero.' I'm a god, Edward. As it should be!"

That time I laughed. "A god, huh? Which one?"

"Judging by the nautiluses, I'd guess Poseidon?" Jasper said, exiting the bathroom. We turned to answer him and were left speechless for a minute. Jazz winked, then clicked his tongue at us, acting suave.

"Oh, dear lord. I thought mine was bad," I joked.

"Why did your wife dress you like the inside of a coffin?" Emmett asked, and I barked out a raucous laugh.

Jasper took my place in front of the mirror with a muttered, "Dali, nice," as he passed me. "Do you really think that was what she was going for?" he asked our opinion while turning himself in front of the mirror, checking out the crushed red velvet suit he wore. At least she'd gotten him a black satin shirt and vest, instead of keeping with the velvet.

A knock on the door came before either one of us could reply. Looking to my brothers, I commented, "That'll be the girls. Are we ready to do this?"

It had been decided that we would try to blend in with the tourists that flocked to Bucharest for the Halloween Dracula tour of Bran and other nearby castles. All in good fun, tonight's tours were costume optional, but usually most chose to participate. Obviously we were participating.

The castle proprietors were even encouraged to set out candy for the trick-or-treating tourists to collect at the end of the tour, when they turned in the woolen slippers that had become part of the touring process. The state of the ancient floors was becoming worse each year with the heavy foot traffic; the slippers were helping to extend their life.

"Sure," Jasper answered casually while Emmett clapped his hands and in an excited tone, announced: "Damn straight!"

"It's open," I called out, and Alice pranced in.

"Oh my gosh! You guys look fantastic. Just the way I envisioned it," she squealed rushing forward to tweak and straighten components of our costumes. "Rose and Bella are almost done. I came to see if you needed any help, but it looks like you were able to get yourselves dressed," she rambled happily.

Emmett had moved to stand in front of the mirror and was now preening, flexing his biceps, and striking an assortment of body builder poses. Jasper's jaw was nearly on the floor while he took in Alice's costume. Mine was too; not because I was getting turned on by hers, but because I was now very concerned about what Bella would be wearing. I'd never had to censor my sister's clothing choices, but there was a first time for everything.

She was in a short, very short, feathered dress. The bodice was tight, the feathers molding over her breasts like hands firmly cupping them. The skirt poofed out . . . more feathers. When she did a little spin, I finally saw the unmistakable 'eye' of the feathers splayed across her back. A glance down her legs to her shoes revealed heels with laddered straps ascending her ankle and calf and finished with more feathers, made it clear that she was a peacock.

Though, unlike any peacock I'd ever seen in nature.

With a knowing giggle, she strutted over to Jasper and teased his mouth closed by pressing her finger under his chin.

"Um, Alice?"

"Yes, dear?" she answered sweetly.

"Won't you be cold in that?" he asked and swallowed, the loose hanging velvet of his pants doing nothing to hide his reaction to his bride.

Her melodic laughter was soon joined by and Emmett and me. "Vampire; remember honey, I don't get cold," she teased him further by rubbing against him, clearly reveling in his velvety softness. "Oh, this is going to be fun. You feel so good under my fingers."

Clearing his throat, Jasper ran his fingers over her feathers. "What do you know? You feel good, too." He winked at her and we laughed. "So, darlin'," he cringed and asked, "what am I supposed to be?"

"Yeah, Alice," Emmett piped in. "You got some kind of necrophilia fetish?" he teased her, waggling his eyebrows.

I groaned while Alice's nose pulled up into a cute, little curl and a, "Huh?" escaped her. At the same time, Jasper emitted a low warning growl toward our brother.

"Seriously, Emmett? You would think that, you big oaf," Bella's sweet voice whispered across my ear from the other side of the room.

My body turned toward the sound of her and I gasped, unnecessary air huffing out of me at the sight.

"'Skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and collaborations as good as sold.'" The famous story lines rolled off my tongue a trickle of honeyed seduction. My Bella could no longer blush, but she did bite her lip and duck her head with a shy nod.

"Do you like it?" she whispered, almost bashful.

Did I like it? Most certainly I did. The words wouldn't come from my mouth, but the images flashed through my head and my body reacted. Ankle length skirts, the fitted bodice, puffy sleeves sitting askew and exposing the creaminess of her shoulders and collarbone, all while her arms remained hidden from prying eyes; the components melded into a truly entrancing vision. She was exquisite.

And without doubt, the fairest in the land.

Alice kicked my shin, jump starting me again and I quickly moved to my wife. "Good eve, Snow White. Will you do me the honor of allowing me to escort you this evening?" I asked formally while rolling my body forward in an elaborate bow. Her answering giggles warmed the cavity that held my useless withered heart.

She curtsied, smiling wide while replying with a, "That would be lovely, kind sir."

"Okay, you knuckleheads, knock it off, where's Rose so we can get this show on the road?" quipped Emmett, interrupting our moment. Bella twisted in my arms, where I'd pulled her close to me, and her eyes popped just before she burst into laughter.

"Oh my god, Alice, it's perfect!" Bella cheered.

"I know." Alice smiled.

"You two want to let the rest of us in on this?" Jasper asked, coming up behind Alice. "And I still need to know who I am," he whined to a round of laughter.

She huffed and rolled her eyes. "You're Hugh Hefner, isn't it obvious?"

"Hef, huh? Yeah, I can see it," Emmett nodded while looking at Jasper. "So, if he's Hef, why aren't you a bunny, Alice?"

"A bunny? Please . . . bunnies aren't sexy, they're . . . cute," Alice stated like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Well, I think you're sexy and cute, so either costume would be great. But I have to say, I'm likin' the feathers," Jasper charmed his wife. "So," his eyebrows raised in question, waiting for the answer to his question.

Alice pecked his lips with a kiss, darting in and out quickly, then took his hand and told us to follow her to where the Goddess awaited.

This was going to be an interesting night. Though I could admit, it was shaping up to be quite fun, especially with the scenarios racing through my mind with regard to my princess and her many skirts.


As much as I loved seeing the surprise on Edward's face, which changed surprisingly quickly to one of hunger and lust when he laid eyes upon me, I couldn't wait to see Emmett's reaction to Rose's costume and vice versa. They were going to be a hot, horny mess all night, which was going to affect Jasper, which would in turn affect all of us.

Alice really was a devious little minx.

She was enjoying the freer, happier side of her brother that she'd never known before. This new enlightened, pleasant Edward had come from my appearance in his life. In payment, she wanted to make sure that I had a good time tonight. Meaning, a really good time.

I might have appeared a virginal Disney princess from the outside, but beneath the scratchy fabric, I was anything but.

The lot of us marched into Castle Peles' grand foyer to where Rose waited in the center, perched like a statue on the marble table which usually held a vase of flowers. Even without filtering through Jasper, the tension in the open space immediately thickened with desire. If just a look could elicit that reaction in them, it was a wonder they hadn't torn the castle down with actual physical contact.

She slithered off the table and took a couple of steps forward, then stopped to let Emmett close the distance. He clearly was impressed with her pale green Grecian gown. The sequin trim shimmered in the reflection of the many candles lit around the upper ceilings. Her hair cascaded down in soft waves. A naked arm was perched saucily on her hip, the other hidden at her side in a swirl of the gauzy material. I committed every line, angle, and shadow to memory so that I could sketch it later.

"Aww, a match made in Hea– I mean, Olympus," I cooed at the two of them when they greeted each other with a kiss.

Jasper coughed from behind us, mumbling that he and Alice would be outside. Poor guy, I thought as he walked out, a bit bow-legged, with Alice on his arm. Actually, poor Alice, because when Jasper figured out that she had used him for pleasure enhancement tonight, he was going to beat her ass. Although, from what I was learning of her, she'd probably enjoy that.

Two hours later we pulled into the parking lot outside of the tour office on Unirii Boulevard. We could've run it in ten minutes if we'd wanted, but we needed to blend in and walking up from out of nowhere would've looked rather suspicious. Besides, we didn't want to ruffle our costumes with the speed.

Exiting the car, I stopped and stared at the large round fountain in the center of the square. From the single spurt in the center to each descending shelf and cascade came red. Somehow, the water had been colored to make it look like a blood fountain.


"You like that, Bella?" Edward purred in my ear and I nodded, nuzzling back into him. I grinned when I felt his stiffness pressing back. "You look amazing tonight, my love," he added quietly.

Lifting and turning my head, I sought out his lips for a swift kiss. "As do you, Edward. You make a really cute Charlie Chaplin."

"That's not who I am." He pouted.

"Sure you are, with the mustache and all." I tipped my head to the side, giving him a ditzy look. I wondered how long it would take him to figure out I was messing with him. Being an artist myself, of course I knew who he was.

"Very funny, Bella."

"I am, aren't I?" He answered by pinching my rump through my skirts, making me squeal unexpectedly and jump in my spot.

"Come on, guys," Alice hurried us with gentle shoves, "we don't want to get split up."

A strong sense of déjà vu washed over me as we bounced the down the bumpy road in the old creaky bus. Only it was much louder this time and much more offensive on the nose. Make up, body odor, motor oil and gasoline; underneath lingered the sweet bouquet of the forbidden: human blood.

With my eyes closed the scent intensified and I could hear their heartbeats like a hypnotic reggae band. Venom leaked into my mouth, hot on my tongue and setting my body on fire. I could feel my nipples pull up tight and that now familiar tingling between my thighs. Shit. Needing to squirm, but not wanting to be obvious, I turned a slight bit to look over my shoulder. Rose and Emmett were locked in a heated embrace, his hand beneath her gown and hers beneath his man-skirt. Double shit.

Shifting again, I looked the other way toward Alice and Jasper. His head was dropped back against the rest, his eyes closed and his mouth parted in a soft pant, while Alice pet the velvet covering his lap. He wasn't even trying to concentrate on not projecting the lust, in fact, the opposite was happening.

As I slowly brought myself back around to face front, I took in the other passengers. They were shifting and squirming like I had just done, and the stench of body odors spiked, as did their heart rates. We needed to get Jasper to put a halt to the full blown orgy that was gearing up to happen. Because six vampires, even vegetarian ones, would have trouble ignoring the racing pulses and heated scent of blood within such a small, confined space.

Edward's hand came to rest on my thigh, his fingers curling and uncurling, inching my skirts up. I tilted my head to meet his gaze and found him looking at me with a feral hunger that I didn't want to resist. His lips were on mine before I had a chance to say a word.

The sweet bouquet of his venom crept into my senses and I opened my mouth to him. He was my mate and as such, I could not ignore his pheromones. Cool air hit my calves when the skirts came higher and I registered a ripple in the humans' scents.

It was becoming tangy with fear.

The lust was still there, but they were realizing they couldn't control it or understand it, and that was frightening them. My own control, my gift to be able to remain calm and levelheaded, opened within me and I pulled away from Edward, stopping the ascent of his hand and shaking my head no.

"Look around, Edward. Hear them, smell them, read them. This is about to get really bad. You break up Rose and Em; I'll take Hef and Pea."

He rapidly caught up to me and pushed me out of the seat. Dropping into his "character," he plopped himself onto Emmett's lap and wrapped his arms around his neck before loudly pronouncing "what a handsome, big boy Emmett was." I laughed knowing this was payback for Emmett's earlier comment. Rose started to protest, but she'd been distracted enough from Em to take note of her surroundings and her eyes widened with realization.

I knew I had to play dirty to get Alice's attention immediately, so I leaned over and allowed some venom to dribble out of my mouth and onto her shoe. She bolted upright and spun to face me.

"What the hell, Bell– oh, no . . ." she trailed off when, like Rose, the situation made itself known. Jasper was blinking and raising his head.

"Why'd my li'l pea stop playing with my cock?" he slurred. Great, he was lust drunk on the recycled air.

"Oh, good grief." Alice sighed with a roll of her eyes. "Jasper. Jasper!" She slapped his face the second time and you could see his eyes clear. "Kill it, Jazzy. Kill the lust, baby," she whispered so low I knew the humans couldn't hear her.

He peered around at all of us and nodded.

By the time we began the approach to Bran, the general consensus being whispered among the passengers was that they'd just had some kind of haunting experience and the more they tossed the idea around, the more giddy they all got.

Bran came into sight with claims of, "This is the best tour ever," being shared amongst the tourists.


Once again my beautiful Bella, my Isabella, had surprised me. Without her amazing control, that bus full of innocents would have turned into a slaughterhouse. Granted, we wouldn't have been on the bus in the first place had it not been for Bella, but I refused to hold her responsible for an unforeseeable event.

I held her hand in mine, silently thanking her for the quick diffusion of the situation, and looked out the window at our home while it came into view. Rising tall and majestic against the night sky, the sheer walls were lit with orange floodlights from below; during Christmas they would be red and green.

One close call already averted, I didn't want to take any more chances tonight. More than that, I really needed to get into Snow White's pants.

"Bella, my love," I whispered after leaning close to her, "can I give you a private tour of the castle?" I smirked at her while saying private, knowing how it affected her.

"Why, Edward that would be delightful. Do you know about any secret passages?" she played back and I had to adjust myself.

"You two behave until we're off the bus," Jasper snarled at us under his breath and we instantly pulled apart like bad children that had been caught being naughty. We could hold off a few more minutes.

We were the last to get off the bus, having taken our seats in back. Once the tour guide began her well-rehearsed speech, Alice leaned in, telling Bella and I to go ahead and take off if we wanted. The rest of them would pace themselves in separating from the group, hoping that would be less noticeable.

Not needing to be told twice, we thanked Alice for her preparedness and assured her we'd meet up with them tomorrow evening for a hunting trip.

Upon reaching the inner courtyard, I took Bella's hand firmly in mine, then, once we were inside the foyer, we hung back, allowing the crowd to move forward. Separated from the group, I tugged her over to what appeared to be a half staircase which led to a "fake" heavily embellished oak door.

It always amused me when the tour guides brought attention to it, then indicated a shortage of funds had halted the completion of the staircase. When, in actuality, there was a secret stair behind that door, only the doorknob was fake. I knew where the catch was, and I ran my fingers along the specially carved groove to find the release.

The door swung open and I ushered Bella inside.

She giggled as I pulled the door closed behind us, waiting to hear the mechanism drop into place, ensuring it wouldn't swing open and reveal our escape. Darkness closed around us in the narrow passage and I used it to my full advantage to "assist" her up the stairs.

"Take your time going up, love, the steps are steep and narrow." I heard her skirts rustle, and as she moved away from me, the lingering scent of her arousal wafted my way, escaping from beneath her skirts. "On second thought, don't move," I requested and she halted.

Coming up behind her, I knelt on the stair, placing my hands about her ankles. With a controlled slowness, I allowed my fingers to run up the length of her smooth, toned legs. She exhaled a soft sigh and I continued until I was met with the plump swell of her ass . . . which was bare.

"Where are your panties?" I asked in shock.

"Oops, I must have forgotten them," she teased back and wiggled against my hands.

"Want to play, do you?" I questioned while spinning her around and guiding her to lie against the steps. Her breaths became more ragged as I crawled beneath her skirts, the aroma of her secret passage concentrated beneath the layers and thick on my tongue.

My tongue sliced through her folds and she answered me with a low groan that echoed off the stone walls around us. That one lick had saturated my tongue with her flavor and I pulled back to warn her to be quiet.

"We are not alone in the castle, Bella; we do not need rumors starting of a ghost within Bran's walls. Please try to contain your enthusiasm this night, my love," I pled as my tongue returned to lapping her. Quick flicks over her swollen nub soon had her whimpering her pleasure into the darkness and I wasted no time in pulling her upright, then lifting her so I could traverse the stairs.

We quietly entered the third floor library, where my piano was kept and now, Bella's drawing table. We could spend hours there, lost in our artistic obsessions. My erection jerked as my thoughts turned to how those sessions usually became passionate love making . . . unhurried against my piano, the keys plunking in weak protest, or if the hour was late, exposed on a turret balcony, the twinkling stars in the heavens above our only audience.

Peeking around to ensure no wayward tricksters had found their way up here, a lesson I'd been taught twice over now, I returned the door to its closed position before scooping Bella up into my arms and running us down the hall to the old master bedroom.

It was the one room of the castle that we had not christened yet. Selfishly, I had been unable to bring myself to take Bella on the bed that had been hand carved so long ago as a part of my dowry with Irena. Bella had often gazed upon it, however; she was fascinated by the intricate handwork with its dips and spirals coming together to create a fresco of sorts on the headboard, while leaving animals to guard each of the tall spindly posts that held the elaborate wooden canopy. Even the footboard peaked high; proud, beautiful, and ornate.

I lowered Bella to her feet, she glanced her eyes up to me, and I nodded with a gentle smile. She seemed to float while she crossed the room to the bed, entrancing me as she reached out and caressed the twisted post with her fingertips. I almost missed her breathy, "Please."

"Anything," I whispered back. Her topaz eyes shimmered and took on a golden hue and her desire filled the room. I watched while her fingers went to the ties on her corset and began unlacing. As the pressure released, her breasts reclaimed their natural fullness and pushed the offending material away. Her excited nipples, my most favorite part of her to lick and suck, stood proudly through the thin cotton shift she wore.

Unable to stay away any longer, I lurched forward, my hands shoving hers aside and tearing her bodice open in one swift yank. Her ivory breasts sprang into view; my lips were around a peak instantly. With a lustful growl, her hands wove into my hair and she pulled me to her breast.

I thoroughly lavished each one. Flat licks of my tongue, then swirling around her nipple, nips and bites that threatened to pierce her marble skin. Back and forth I teased her with my tongue and teeth until her hips began grinding against the air. I chose that signal to switch to a strong sucking, pulling her nipples deep into my mouth, my fingers rolling and mimicking my lips on her other bud.

Only her undead state kept her flesh "white as snow" when her orgasm crashed over her. I continued to stroke and tease her, easing up as the minutes passed and she came down from her high. Finally, she was able to open her eyes and look at me again.

"Welcome back, my love."

She bared her teeth and with her ragged top hung around her waist, leaving her arms still covered, she dropped to her knees in front of me. I knew what was coming and had no plans of stopping it. Bella did not disappoint.

My breeches were opened and my erection disappeared between her lips. Time had no meaning whilst she sucked and did magical things to me with her tongue. Knowing just how to scrape her teeth beneath the ridge of the head so that it was almost painful, but not, she had me lingering on the edge, my body swaying close, and then retreating, while she teased me.

I felt my disposition spiraling toward that of a madman and I could only go along for the ride. My undoing was looking down upon her. Her eyes looked back up at me, glossy red lips stretching around me, and the combination of our venom, hers dripping from her mouth while mine leaked from my cock, was making my cock hum and tingle.

"So close, Bella," I warned her and she did as she always does: opened her mouth wider and slid me deeper into her throat then swallowed, repeatedly, literally milking me with her throat muscles. When I began spurting my venom laced spunk, she continued to swallow. Even when I could give her no more, she kept up her ministrations, ensuring my erection was not going to wither.

Feeling the faint tingle in my ball sac once again had me slipping from her mouth and helping her from the floor. I peeled the fabric from her arms and pushed her skirts down over her hips. Taking her hand, I guided her over the mound of fabric before seeing to the removal of my own clothes. Reclaiming her hand, I led her to the bed.


When we crawled upon the undressed mattress, a plume of dust rose into the air, visible in the moonlight casting a sensual glow over the room. I had seen him like this many times, but Edward naked was still something to be cherished. His pale skin sparkled in the moonlight, causing my craving and need for him to grow tenfold.

I feared I might cry at his ethereal beauty.

"Come to me, Edward. Claim me as yours again," I whimpered at him and he moved between my legs. Nudging them apart while he took his place at my center, I watched with rapt fascination while his hand wrapped around his length and he applied steady strokes from the base, up and over the weeping head.

When he slid into me, my aching need to be filled diminished as he pushed forward. Connected as one, my world now felt right while in and out he moved, never removing himself fully from my body. Knowing we would be at this for hours, I settled in to enjoy myself, unconcerned if we alarmed the tourists three floors below.

At some point I faintly became aware that the chaotic heartbeats were gone and the only smell on my palate was the evidence of Edward's and my lovemaking . . . and old dust still billowing around us. Castle Bran was all ours once again.

With the morning sun, I was able to see the mark over my heart, where Edward had first bit me and made me his own, newly refreshed.

He'd said we would start with forever. He'd also said no measure of time would be enough.

I tended to agree.

The End