I hadn't truly appreciated the season in many years. But now that Bella had entered my life, I realized its true potential. With no school restricting our time, or homework, or high school boys to thwart off, it was a beautiful thing. Even better, the days were longer, and when it was sunny Bella would come over and we'd spend time in the yard or go to the meadow. When the rain made its appearance, we stayed in my room. I would listen to music and Bella would read. Or we would just talk for hours. Or kiss. That was a favorite of course. Sometimes too, we watched a movie with the family. Esme even made dinner a few times for Bella. It was heartwarming to have her so close with my family.
It's not that I forgot about the promise I'd made myself. I knew that I should've left and let her live a normal life, but I couldn't. I just physically could not do it; at least not now. I pushed the thoughts away as soon as they started. It was too easy to get upset with myself and I didn't want to ruin this day.
It was August 30th, next week we would be back in school, so decided to take Bella back to the meadow today.
The weather was sunny and warm. It was a rare day, actually. The temperature was a steaming seventy-seven degrees; many times it didn't go over seventy in August. Thin wisps of clouds dotted the bright blue skies as I drove.
"I don't want the summer to end. I need to work on my tan." Bella smirked, pointing at her one very pale leg; she'd gotten the cast off and her legs didn't quite match in color yet.
I grinned. "We'll catch up on sun today. With all the glare bouncing off me, you'll be bronzed in no time." I reached over to rustle her hair.
She smiled at me, a big, cheeky grin. It warmed me.
We turned off the road and got out. I gestured to my back. Bella's face contorted a bit.
"Will you go slower this time? I just ate, you know."
"Of course, silly Bella. I don't want you getting sick before the day has started. Now come on up."
Bella wrapped her legs around me. The feeling of her so close was like nothing else. I held her small legs gently as her arms hugged my neck. I felt her nose and lips on my neck and she sighed quietly. It sent a shiver of pleasure down my back.
I ran to the clearing, somewhat slower this time; it only took a few minutes. We burst out from the dark canopy of trees into the brilliant sunlight. The grass was soft and warm from the summer heat. I breathed in the fresh air as it mixed with Bella's scent. I turned to look at her. She was alight from the glow of the midday sun, her skin shone and her hair blew around her softly in the light breeze.
"Perfect." I murmured.
I reached out to take her hand, leading her to the middle of the clearing. We laid down, our hands entwined. There was comfortable silence for a while as I stroked her hand with my fingers. I closed my eyes…
"I see an elephant!" Bella said cheerfully.
"What?" My eyes shot open.
"The clouds right over there," Bella pointed with her finger to a cluster of puffy white clouds, "it looks like an elephant. Have you ever played that game before?"
"Yes, I believe I have. But it's been a while." I confessed. Aboutninety-fiveyearsago…
"Ok, well, it's your turn then." She offered, turning up on her side, to look at me. Her hair fell down over her shoulders and her face looked absolutely angelic. She glowed. I paused, trying to capture every facet of her image before I turned my eyes up.
"Hmmm..let's see." I watched the sky for a moment. "I see a bird…wait, no it's a plane…" I paused, grinning wickedly, as Bella searched eagerly, propped up on her elbows now. "No, wait! It's…superman!" I laughed, and pulled her to me.
"Ugh!" Bella rolled her eyes, shoving back against me. "You…." She trailed off; trying to think of some fitting insult I'm sure.
"What, love?" I asked politely, pulling her back to me. The top half of her was lying on my chest now. Her hair fell in sheets around her face and mine, like a shield.
In seconds, the mood shifted. The playfulness was gone. Bella's breathing hitched, her heart pounded against my chest. She was so warm, so close…I was tempted beyond reason.
Slowly, I lifted my fingers to her cheek, stroking her soft, now blushing skin. My throat burned a little more but I ignored it. Her eyes closed momentarily. I traced her eyelids. Her lips were next; they parted slightly under my touch. Bella made a slight noise, a sigh or a moan maybe? I wasn't sure but the sound and the vibration under my fingertip sent me over the edge.
I pulled her up further, so we were face to face. Our eyes blazed into each others.
Slowly she closed the space. Our lips met and I was lost. The sun, the warmth, the meadow, the smell of her warm skin and hair mixed into one intoxicating sensation. I took her bottom lip in mine, careful as always. She whimpered softly. I groaned at the sound. My hands moved down to her waist, trailing the hem of her shirt as I pulled her even closer. Our mouths moved in perfect unison. I pulled my lips away only to move to her cheek, and then to her neck, inhaling deeply. Bella sighed softly as I moved to her ear. Our eyes were closed. I felt my lips against her skin as I whispered.
"I love you."
She nuzzled her head down into the crook of my neck, running her hands through my hair.
"I love you too."
We lay like that for a long time. Eventually, Bella's breathing deepened and she dozed off, her head on my chest. My eyes were shut too, but sleep I could not, and my thoughts raced.
She was perfect. My match in every way. She made me whole. I would kill anyone who tried to hurt her and protect her in every way. But I couldn't keep myself away. And therein lay the problem. How could I think I could leave her? And how dare I be that senseless to think I wasn't a threat anymore. Why? Because I didn't kill her in Phoenix? I was so close. I shivered at the thought, trying to ignore the sense of urgency I felt.
Something made my eyes open as I held Bella. When I looked up the tone of sky had darkened. The weather seemed to match my thoughts. The whimsical clouds had taken on more sinister shapes. Against the grey sky, I now saw him. My eyes widened as the wind far above me blew life into that monster, he was hunched over something. Then I saw her at his feet. I closed my eyes tightly, trying to dispel the image.
Just clouds….they are just stupid clouds!
I opened my eyes again and gasped. Bella shifted slightly but didn't move.
The clouds had another image now. I knew it was Bella, she was lying down. Smaller, thin clouds formed her hair, sprayed out every which way. Another figure was holding her arm. The winds blew and the figure above her lowered its head to her arm and stayed there.
I tried to look away from it but I couldn't move. I knew my mind had to be replaying my actions in Phoenix and I wanted to ignore it, but I could not.
I lay staring in horror until something hit me in the face. And then again, and again. It took me a few seconds to realize it was raining.
I finally broke my gaze and gently shook Bella. I couldn't have her getting soaked.
"I'm up, I'm up. Sorry…" She looked over at me and trailed off. My expression was probably not what she expected.
I tried to smile. "It's ok, lets just get out of here. It's about to downpour."
She hopped up and I ran quickly back towards the car. She didn't complain about the pace this time.
We were almost there when the sky opened up and drenched us. Thankfully it was August rain; it wasn't freezing.
We got to the car and Bella literally slid off me, laughing. I couldn't help but feel my spirits lifted. Seeing her safe and healthy in front of me made me feel much better.
Her hair was matted down, dripping. The rest of her was soaked, head to toe. It was quite beautiful, actually. She turned to reach for the handle of the door. I stopped her and spun her around. She leaned back against the door.
"You are so beautiful." I whispered as I moved towards her.
"I probably look like a drowned rat." She rolled her eyes.
"No." I put a finger to her lips. "Actually, you are downright…" my eyes gazed over her form where her damp clothes stuck to her body. The rain ran down in rivets over her pink cheeks, "…seductive." I almost growled.
"Oh." Was all she got out as put my lips against hers. I'd never wanted her much as I did now. Normally I tried to be a gentlemen but rain and white shirts made that verydifficult. I pressed my body against hers, gently. I felt all of her against me and it was like nothing else.
She responded in kind, running her hands up my back to my shoulders. I deepened the kiss and held her face in my hands.
I wanted it to last forever, to forget all my fears and escape the reality of the situation. But I had to pull away, Bella needed air.
We stood in the rain for another minute just holding each other.
"I love you Edward Cullen." Bella breathed, her lips bright red.
As we parted I smiled down to her, placing a light peck on her cheek.
"And I you, Bella." I answered before turning around. I hoped she didn't see my expression falter. There was just too much weighing me down.
Debussy flowed through the car as we drove back. Bella hummed along.
I took the time to relish the moment, pushing my worries to the back of my mind, as I reached out to hold her hand.