Yikes! It's been far too long since I've posted for this story. I took a very long hiatus over the summer and completely forgot about it. I think I also had a bit of writer's block at the time. Anyways, new chapter! Enjoy! Let me know what you think!


Chapter 8

When I was done with my shower and dressed into my sweats, I felt like me again. These little human routines would keep me balanced. I could still be me. I sat on the small black, leather couch in Edward's room while running a brush through my hair. Moments later, he was standing at the door.

"I like that you still smell like you, but without the burn." He smiled pointing to his throat.

"I don't understand how you did it," I replied.

"Believe me, it was worth it."

"Thank you for thinking so."

I caught a snarl in my hair and tugged gently.

"Here, let me help you." Edward walked over to me, sitting down next to me on the leather sofa. I handed him the brush as he stroked it up and down through my locks.

"I remember doing this for my mother," he said. This was a first. He had rarely shared anything with me from his human life.

"You combed her hair?" I asked.

"Yes, when I was very young. She would sit in front of her vanity and comb her hair every evening. Sometimes she would hand me the brush and she'd hum to me as I combed through her hair. It's one of the most vivid memories I have with my mother actually. She was quite beautiful."

"Do you miss her?" I asked.

"Of course. She was the one who saved me really. She died before I did. She asked Carlisle to save me, no matter what cost. That woman loved me with her whole heart."

"And your father?"

"He was a strict businessman, but a wonderful father and husband. I liked watching him shave. I watched him give my mother a kiss every morning on his way to work. He always sat at the head of the table. I remember little things like that. Memories have become hazy, and I also wasn't prepared for this life. Memories fade if you don't make an effort to remember."

"I'm sorry, I can't believe I didn't know anything about your parents before now."

"It's alright. It was a long time ago. Carlise and Esme are my parents now."

"They're my family too, you know." I explained.

"They wouldn't have it any other way." He set the brush down and swept my hair back behind my neck. Carefully he took his right hand and pulled me in for a tender kiss. I had never believed in chemistry for love until this moment. The electrifying sensation through our skin was almost potent enough to restart our hearts. My heart was lifted and the pulsing between our bodies intensified as our kiss deepened.

"You know, it's all worth it for you just to hold me like this," I muttered.

"All I've ever wanted was to hold you this close. It was difficult at the time, but so necessary."

"I want you Edward. Please." I begged.

"Not yet, love. I want it to be special."

"When?"

"Soon, I promise."

"Okay." I succumbed to the fact that life was how it was. I nestled closer into the man that I loved as he continuously combed his fingers through my hair."

"Mmm, that feels good." I muttered.

"I love you so much Bella, I'm so sorry." He kissed me on top of my head as he pulled me in even closer.

"It's not your fault Edward. And how could I not be happy now that I get to keep you forever?"

"But at what cost? Your family? Your humanity? I'll spend the rest of my existence making it up to you Isabella."

"Hush. Just promise to never leave me." I lifted my head to his and he bowed to mine. This kissing was so much more than something you could ever describe. There was this warmth that built from inside of me, spreading from my fingers and toes. It awakened every acute inch of my body into a blissful jolt that magnified with every passing second. Our kissing intensified and soon Edward was pulling on my hair to lift my chin closer to his. I fastened above him quickly and took his face in both my hands.

"I don't want to wait anymore." I said and lowered in for another kiss. I heard him whimper beneath me as he seemed to give in to my request. It took me all but one second to rip the fragile cloth of his shirt off and admire his beautiful body. A possessive growl erupted from his mouth. Carnal lust. I would get what I wanted tonight as he tackled me to the floor with me wishing for just one thing; more Edward, more.

EPOV

I had already been a vampire the first time I kissed Bella. I had felt the magnified touch pass between us, even as she was a human. It was a constant battle in my mind to keep her safe; stay gentle with her, for if I held her too closely, she'd end up in the ER. We sat in this room as equals now. She had me at my mercy, and I wanted nothing more than to give myself to her. But everything in my mind was screaming stop! Because knowing myself, I needed to do this right.

My shirt was already in tatters across the floor, and I had Bella underneath me on my bedroom floor rug. Her eyes burned with desire as she thought I'd give into her, but I was adamant. She didn't fully belong to me yet.

"Bella, darling, please stop. Wait just a moment, I have to ask you something."

She lay as a statue with her eyes open in shock. She tried to register rejection through my face, but there was none. The look she was left with was only curiosity. She sat up looking into my eyes waiting for an explanation.

"Come here," I asked ushering to sit on the couch. She did so quickly without blinking.

"Wait here."

I ran to the corner of my room into a cabinet I had visited far too often most recently, and took from it a small velvet box. Ideally, I would have been doing this years from now, but given the current circumstances, I could wait no longer. I slowly walked back over to the couch and crouched to one knee. Her breathing hitched in surprise as I took her left hand in mine.

"Isabella Marie Swan. I wanted to give you the world. I wanted to give you life, but it seems that I have taken that from you. I will spend the rest of my life showing you that all I have to give is love. No one will ever love you as much as I do.

Up to the moment I met you, my life had been a moonless night. I lived without meaning without knowing what true love meant. You brought me back to life. You are my heart, and my soul. Will you do me the extraordinary honor of becoming my wife?"

Her facial expression showed shock. Was it joy? Horror? I could not tell. It must have been only seconds since I asked her the question, but it seemed like a millennium.

"Please baby, say something?" I asked.

"You know, if I were still a seventeen year old human in high school, my answer would have been hell no, but now being like you, I couldn't imagine a day without you. I want nothing more than to be yours Edward Cullen. Of course I will."

I let out the unnecessary breath I was holding in and let my smile widen to the sides of my face. I kissed her exuberantly as I placed the intricate Victorian ring onto her ring finger where it placed perfectly. My family thankfully gave us the privacy we both craved as we relished being in each other's presence as the other's betrothed.

"Is this why you want to wait?" Bella asked.

I nodded. "I know it's silly and old fashioned. But it's the only rule I haven't broken. I don't care if we marry in Vegas tomorrow. I just want you to be officially mine first."

"Edward, I was yours the moment I first saw you in the cafeteria."

"All the same, can we just do this one thing my way?" I asked.

"Anything you want. Let's just not wait long okay?"

"I don't think I could wait longer than this weekend." I admitted.

"Yay yay yay yay!" Alice was already running up the stairs in full wedding planning mode. She burst through the door in all smiles.

"Don't you dare Alice. Small wedding, no exceptions."

"Well no duh! It will just be our family. We could go to Alaska this weekend and invite the Denali's! It's beautiful there this time of year."

I looked at Bella for confirmation. "What do you think?" I asked.

"Fine with me, I just want it to be official," she answered.

"Well we unfortunately have to go to school for the rest of the week Edward. We need to leave in about an hour so you should get ready. Bella? The police will be coming by our house around noon, so you may want to be somewhere else around that time."

"Where am I supposed to go?"

"How about the meadow?" I suggested.

"I'm not sure I remember how to get there."

"I'll show you before we go."

"Well you two better get going if you're going to be ready in an hour." Alice chimed.

It took less than ten minutes to run with Bella to the meadow.

"I like that you still wear these," I mentioned pointing to her old sweats she donned.

"It makes me feel more like me."

"You're still you, just a little more durable."

"Thanks for bringing me here. How about the next time we visit this place is as husband and wife." She waved her ring finger in my direction which caused me to attack her with kisses.

"Yes please." I muttered in between pecks.

"Okay, we need to get back before we get too carried away. Let's go."

Before I could respond, she was already running back in the direction of the house.

Just an hour later, I was driving my Volvo back to Forks High School with the rest of my family.

"You're going to have to act better than you ever have before Edward." Alice reminded me.

"Remember the love of your life has just disappeared. You are not supposedly engaged to her. Just sulk, okay?" We hadn't told the rest of the family about our engagement yet, so I was thankful Alice shared this bit of information to me privately.

"I don't have to act much. I hate being away from Bella." I muttered.

As I entered the hallways, I received several glances from familiar classmates, all wondering what had happened to Bella. I hung my head in response trying to avoid exclusive eye contact.

During lunch, I sat at mine and Bella's table by myself. My sulky mood must have been pretty convincing because Mike and Jessica's table were all wondering whether they should approach and console me. Before they could make a decision, I took my cell phone and headed out to the woods behind the school. After I was sure I wasn't being followed, I called over to Bella. She still had the cell I gave her a few weeks ago, and picked up after only one ring.

"Hey beautiful, what are you up to?" I asked.

"I miss you. I'm actually just laying in the meadow reading a book."

"Really? You have reception out there?"

"Just one bar, but not too shabby given the location."

"Did the police already show up at the house?"

"Not sure. I came right back to the meadow with a pile of books after you left. You know I've read four already?"

I chuckled. "Yeah I know. Vampire brain will do that to ya."

"Hurry home. I really miss you."

"I miss you too love, more than you know. It's hard sitting here through the day with everyone basically blaming me for your disappearance. Everyone thinks I broke up with you and the reason you ran away was a result of that

. I'd never leave you Isabella."

"I know. Just be a good student and come home as soon as you can. I'll be back at the house waiting for you when you get back."

"It's a date. See you in a few hours. I love you."

"Love you too."

I hung up the phone with a grin on my face which I forced away by the time I reached the school parking lot. Three more hours of misery until I could go home.