Warnings and Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Stephenie Meyer. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. This story includes difficult / sensitive subject matter that may include one or more of the following subjects: self-harm, vampirism, intercourse, character death.
A/N: Hello! I entered this story in the Season of Our Discontent Anonymous Angst Contest. This is slightly changed from the original that was submitted to the contest. I hope you read and give me your feedback, but it's a lot darker than what I usually write, so be warned before proceeding.
My beta for this oneshot is amazing! Her name is Madmum, go say 'hi' to her on Twitter (fiffy68). My WC gals unconsciously helped me with writing this (AlbyMangroves and mpg inspire me every time I chat to them on Skype). I wrote this in the hope it would get me out of my writing funk, so I could finish the next Episode chapter. Thank you to all my Episode readers that have checked in to encourage me and tell me they are missing the story. It's on the way :)
~Edward Anthony Masen Cullen~
I pulled along my sleek black suitcase—an important prop to blend into the crowd—anxious to get to the check-in counter. There was plenty of time to make my flight, yet my focus was to sit in the club lounge where I could concentrate enough to block the inane cacophony of hundreds of errant thoughts.
I loathed airports. I avoided them, usually. This international flight was a necessity.
Then my world—the one I'd mentally constructed in a vain attempt to function from day-to-day—completely inverted.
I heard her.
I would have recognized her voice anywhere.
I stopped dead in my tracks and inhaled deeply. Her unique and maddening scent wasn't there. I exhaled. This happened often; my mind would select the most sporadic times to remember everything I'd lost. Everything I'd discarded.
I stood, desolate.
Bella. My Bella; her soft hair, alluring body and expressive eyes. The way she looked at me. The love she poured over me. Her silent, complex mind. The hurt in her voice when I made her believe she was nothing more than an intriguing distraction in my immortal life.
I pinched the bridge of my nose, willing her sweet voice to stop. On days like these I would wallow. I would sit and contemplate her. I would remember what it was like to hold her in my arms as she slept. I would decide to find her, and then, just as quickly I'd bury that desire, squash it completely. I would remember being with her in the meadow, then in stark contrast I'd remember Jasper's thoughts and the hunger in his expression as he lost control.
Days would pass into weeks, until I'd be too thirsty to sit any longer. Then the anger, my rage at my fate would unravel, as I stalked deer, elk, bear, whatever just happened to be nearby.
"Edward, please don't run from me," her voice sobbed. "I know you can hear me," she was pleading.
It had been eleven years since I left her in the forest. Eleven years since I lied to her. Every day the pain of the loss of her was immense.
My phone vibrated.
I answered it.
"Edward, you have to talk to her! If you don't, she'll...she will... it's really bad. Please Edward," Alice wailed on the phone. "I love her too!"
The realization hit me just before I inhaled again and I smelt her. Bella's scent. Unchanged by time. The perfect and delicious aroma of her blood.
She's here and she's seen me.
"Please Edward, you must talk to her! I've seen what happens if you don't. She thinks you'll keep walking. She's decided... Go to her Edward!" Alice demanded, she was screaming through the phone at me, distraught and frustrated.
I slowly turned. I knew Bella was a fair distance from me; her scent was faint, mingling with every other humans scent in the vastness of JFK.
There she was. My beautiful Bella. She was standing, clutching her arm around her body as if in pain, her face contorted with grief and sadness. I could hear her heartbeat; it was pounding. Her body trembled, her eyes full of tears.
She's in shock.
"EDWARD!" Alice shouted. "If you do not speak to her SHE WILL DIE!"
I'd never heard Alice so infuriated.
Then I watched as Bella's body swayed, she gasped and then lost consciousness. She collapsed heavily to the ground.
I stood staring, her heartbeat reverberating through my body. I was unable to move, frozen by the intensity of her scent and my disbelief that Bella was here in New York, and that she had seen me.
"Edward, get her out of there NOW!" screamed Alice.
I watched, as several men gathered around Bella's limp body. I listened to their thoughts.
'Poor girl, did she faint, should I call 911?'
'She's hot; maybe I can get her phone number when she wakes up'.
'I'll take her back to my car and—fuck yes!'
I was a blur as I descended on Bella. Venom excreted from the walls of my mouth.
"Hey!" one guy shouted at me as I scooped Bella up in my arms.
"I'm her boyfriend," I scowled at him. "She needs her medication," I barked and he stepped back.
I cradled her body in my arms and then picked up her bag. Carrying her and our two bags would have looked strange, but I didn't care.
I started walking. I forced myself not to breathe.
How could I have ever thought my perfect recall of her would be enough to sustain me in my pitiful existence? The memory was nothing—nothing compared to her. Even now, eleven years later, Bella was everything to me. Her warm body was in my arms. The hypnotic rhythm of her heartbeat was like a bomb exploding over and over.
"You forgot her ticket and passport."
I stopped walking; a young mother with a child held out Bella's documentation to me. I smiled and accepted.
"Thank you," I said politely.
Her thoughts relayed to me that she was now sure—by the way that I was looking at Bella—that my statement about being her boyfriend was true. She seemed thrilled that even though I was young, I was so concerned and enamored of my more mature girlfriend.
I dismissed her presumption, regardless of its accuracy in people's eyes. I did still appear to be a teenager, while Bella had matured into a beautiful woman.
I continued walking, frustrated that I couldn't run at vampire speed.
I had one focus—to get Bella into a cab and back to my families' Manhattan apartment.
"Edward!" I could hear Alice's voice. My cell in my jeans pocket; I hadn't disconnected from her.
I approached the cab driver. He looked at me as I placed down our bags on the sidewalk.
He cocked his head. "Jet-lag right? I mean, she's not sick or anything is she?" he questioned.
I held out a crisp $100 to him and smiled. "Fifth, Upper East side," I stated and slid into the backseat cradling Bella in my arms while swallowing mouthfuls of venom. I tried to resist inhaling in her delectable scent.
Bella's breathing was shallow. I was thankful that she was layered in warm clothing as I cradled her sleeping body across mine.
The vehicle started moving. I wanted to turn off the annoying touch screen advertisement, but knew my heat-less fingers wouldn't register.
I had to focus on something because I couldn't seem to believe I was holding her in my arms, in the back of a New York cab.
The drizzling rain and cool temperature reminded me too much of Forks.
Bella's weightless, warm body was like a miracle in my arms.
It took me five minutes before I could clear my head enough to reach into my jeans pocket and retrieve my cell to speak to Alice.
"Is she OK?" Alice whispered calmly. I knew Jasper would be standing by her side, soothing and consoling her, both mentally and physically.
I took in a long breath. My throat burned and pulsed. Venom instantly drenched my mouth. I swallowed it down.
"She fainted. I'm in cab taking her back to the Manhattan apartment. I'll call you as soon as I get there."
"Oh thank goodness. Edward I have to tell—"
"Alice," I said dismissively. "I'm in a cab, with Bella. I cannot speak right now," I growled and the monster awoke.
The vision in my minds eye saw a crazed red-eyed version of me, sinking my teeth into the delicate skin of Bella's neck and slowly, succulently draining...
"OK!" Alice said hastily and disconnected.
I prayed that Bella didn't wake until I had her alone. I couldn't comprehend what she would say to me. Every day I'd imagined a moment like this, well, not exactly like this. I would have been prepared to see her. I would have had the perfect words for her, the perfect apology for leaving her. Now she was in my arms and her heat and scent surrounded me, I couldn't think logically. My emotions, the ones I'd been trying to stifle and bury for so long, were clawing their way through my body.
Possession, desire, love.
How could I ever let her go?
She's all I've ever wanted. How could I ever contemplate walking away from her a second time?
I looked at her face, she seemed at peace. The 'V' between her eyebrows was deeply etched, her skin still pale and youthful. She was slimmer than I'd have liked, her fingernails had been bitten to the quick, her hair was longer yet listless, not as thick and glossy as I remembered.
I did this to her. I took my love from her and she'd felt the loss like I had. I knew, as soon as I heard her voice; Bella is still in love with me. She hasn't moved on, like I'd hoped.
I tried to make it look awkward as I carried Bella and our bags from the cab. The doorman dipped his head as I strode past him to the elevator and up to my floor. Relief encompassed me as I unlocked the apartment door. Bella was still unconscious.
I dropped our bags in the entryway, locked the door and walked into the main bedroom. I lay Bella on the bed, limp, but breathing.
I gazed at her. Her face in repose was more mesmerizing than I remembered. She was only twenty-nine. She'd barely experienced the world, or so I thought.
I took Bella's passport and ticket from my pocket and sat on the chair in the corner of the room. The ticket was for a flight to Rome. The thought of Bella being any where in Italy was terrifying to me.
I fingered her passport then looked inside. The picture of her; I saw she'd had this passport for three years.
I looked at the stamps; she'd been to the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
So many places in such a short time-span?
I was insanely curious, she'd also been to Cuba and Mexico...was the reason for her extensive travel something to do with her career? Or was she looking for something, someone.
I inhaled her scent, dragging it into my lungs, absorbing it, reveling in it.
The room was cool. I looked at Bella's body; she was wearing a high-necked sweater, jeans and tan leather boots.
I walked to the climate control dial and set the temperature so it would be comfortable for her. I hesitated before I slowly lifted one of Bella's legs, unzipped her boot and gently removed it. She stirred as I removed the second boot, but she did not wake.
Then I walked to closet and retrieved a blanket to cover Bella with. I was pleased that Esme had thought to decorate this apartment with human props, like blankets and pillows that I would normally never use.
My cell vibrated.
I was just about to answer, when Bella's body jolted awake. Her hands touched her chest; she didn't open her eyes. She curled her body in on herself and started rocking slowly.
"No, no, no," she chanted.
I depressed the button to turn off my phone. It disintegrated in my palm.
The sound halted Bella's rhythmic rocking.
How will she react when she opens her eyes and sees me?
I stepped back. I didn't want to frighten her.
"Bella," I whispered.
I watched her. She took in deep breaths and chanted again.
"It's not real, it's not real...he's not, he's not..."
She started rocking her body again. Her knuckles were white and she curled herself tighter. I could smell the salt of her tears as they dripped from her eyes.
I couldn't stand it. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to kiss her tears away and bury my nose into her hair. I wanted to hear her voice say my name.
My internal conflict was destroying me.
To touch her or not?
I looked down to the crushed remnant of my phone. I was not in control. I need to be in control.
"Bella, open your eyes love."
I stood, frozen. Bella's eyes fluttered open. I held my breath, waiting for her to absorb her surroundings.
"Edward," she whispered as she turned her head on the pillow to look at me.
She blinked her tears away and stared into my eyes.
"You're really here? You...we, were at JFK...at the same time?"
I nodded, afraid my voice would falter.
"Where are we now?" she asked as she wiped her eyes and slowly pushed herself up to sit. She looked at the blanket covering her body and then glanced nervously around the immaculately decorated room. Her fingers curled to stretch her sweater sleeves down over her palms.
"You're safe," I said.
Then her eyes closed again. "This isn't real."
My body moved instantaneously. I gathered her into my arms and pulled her onto my lap, holding her in the same position I had the night before her birthday party—the last time before I crushed her spirit that fateful day in the forest.
"I'm here. I'm here, Bella," I soothed her.
My breath washed over her face. I inhaled her fragrance. I knew I could never hurt her. Eleven years of hell was enough to completely convince me that I was nothing without her love. I would not continue any existence without her. I knew I'd do anything she wanted, I'd give her anything she wanted, no matter the cost.
Her warm fingers reached up to brush lightly over my jaw.
Her heat, her smell, her heart beating in her chest and the life flowing through her body; how I'd missed this feeling.
"Edward," her voice was full of longing and relief.
She closed her eyes and pulled me down to her lips.
I never thought I'd ever kiss her again.
I was sure now that she had thought the same thing. The kiss was slow, tentative. I knew she was waiting for me to pull away, she expected me to; like hundreds of times before when she'd lost her restraint and kissed me without the thought of the consequence should I lose control.
Not this time. Never again.
I let her lead the kiss. I returned the intensity she showed me. I could taste her tears as they flowed to her lips. She didn't stop kissing me. I didn't pull away.
Her fingers slowly—tortuously slowly—ran up to thread through my hair.
I was so relieved that in preparation for my international flight, I'd glutted myself and showered. Eleven years of living a semi-nomadic life—as a self-inflicted, masochistic punishment of sorts—was now but a blur.
I could feel Bella and taste her lips. So warm, so fragrant.
Bella is heaven.
She gasped and took in heaving lungful's of air. I could have kept kissing and kissing; her taste was just as perfect as I remembered.
Bella's fingers toyed with my hair and then glided down to touch my jaw again. I kept perfectly still as she gazed at me, like she was reacquainting herself with every detail. I could only imagine what it would have been like for her, the last eleven years. I left her nothing to remember me by. I was certain that after three or four months her memories would have become muddled and hazy. The human mind was fallible, and influenced by the daily bombardments of life. I theorized twelve months after I left her, she wouldn't have been able to recall the sound of my voice, the coolness of my touch, the way I looked, or the whisperings of my love for her in any distinct detail.
Twelve months to forget and move on.
But, she hadn't, had she? Or was it seeing me that refreshed past feelings? Once again I desperately wanted to be able to read her mind, to know what she felt and how she had survived without the love I took from her.
I was depraved and selfish. I craved the confirmation that my leaving was the best thing for her, yet the thought that she was just as lost without my love was warming my dead heart.
I closed my eyes as Bella's sensitive touch traced my eyebrows.
"I love you, Edward. With everything I have."
I opened my eyes to see her pain and her love.
She silenced me with firm fingers over my lips.
"I regret not telling you, even though you didn't want me. I didn't want to believe what you said to me that day. I didn't understand. I couldn't have understood back then. That's my only regret. I just need you to know that I loved you, even after you left, after everything. I tried not to. I tried to stop. I tried to hate you and blame you, but... I loved you with everything I had and I still do. I love you Edward Anthony Cullen, until the moment my heart stops beating."
"Bella, I love—"
"No!" she pushed herself out of my arms and scrambled off the bed to stand.
"You need to let me say this. All I've had is time to think about what I could have done to make you love me, to have stopped you from leaving me that day."
No, no, no! She believed, still believes that I didn't love her? I couldn't bear it.
"I love you Bella Swan. I always have," she was shaking her head 'no' in disbelief. "I love you now, I never stopped. I left... because I knew I would only hurt you, or God forbid, my family..."
"No, you couldn't have left me if you loved me. You couldn't have... You don't have to tell me what you think I want to hear. I know why. I should have never expected you to change me into a monster. I didn't understand. I didn't know."
I stared at her. My mind tried desperately to comprehend what she had lived with from day-to-day. Thinking that I never loved her. I had the knowledge that she'd loved me, at least. Any thought that she didn't would have destroyed me.
"Where's Alice?" she asked. "Is she here too, in New York?"
"No. Alice and Jasper are in Europe."
"She knows where you are and that you're with me? She was the one speaking to you when you saw me?"
"Yes, she called. She told me to go to you."
"She had a vision? She told you?"
I shook my head.
"Can she contact you here?"
"No," I looked over to my shattered cell phone on the chair. "I accidentally..."
Bella's eyes stared at what was left of my cell.
"She'll come. I know she'll be here as soon as she can," Bella sighed. "We have some time to be alone before she can get here?"
"Yes," I said. Even if Alice and Jasper managed to get the first flight, it would take them hours.
"Where's my bag, Edward?" Bella asked in panic.
"It's here. I'll get it."
I ran at vampire speed to retrieve her bag. Once she saw it, she looked relieved, yet a little shaken. I placed the bag on the bed.
She touched it, as if the contents were important, as if just feeling it calmed her immensely.
"I really need some water," she said.
"I'll be right back." I stated.
I walked at a human pace to the kitchen and poured Bella some water from the faucet. The action of leaving the room was almost painful. I was determined not to be as possessive and controlling like I'd been previously. I wanted to learn from my past mistakes and be open to her, open to us. I knew I had to change. I had to listen; I had to be what she needed. I'd never let her down again. I'd never give her reason to doubt my love for her.
I have to fix this.
Bella gulped the water as soon as I handed to her. I noticed her hands were trembling.
"Can we talk?" she asked softly.
I was itching to hold her again, to kiss her. I realized things needed to be said, but now that I'd tasted her lips and held her in my arms, it's all I wanted. My skin craved her warmth, my body felt more energized than it had in so long. I needed to reconnect with Bella and make her see that telling her lies in the forest I'd deemed necessary at the time. I was wrong.
I nodded and watched as she placed her bag on the floor and sat back on the bed.
I sat facing her, a safe distance.
She looked down to her hands, wringing them nervously. I could tell she had questions.
"It doesn't really matter now, but I want to know what you did after you left me?" her voice was timid.
How to answer?
I'd fled to South America and avoided everyone and everything. Ten months later, Alice had convinced me to meet her and Jasper in Seattle. They had a lead on Victoria.
I went, of course. The three of us tracked Victoria and when I found her, I ripped her apart. She'd been indiscriminately turning teenagers into newborns. Jasper and I disposed of them as well.
Alice tried to convince me to go to Denali and see Carlisle and Esme, but the pain was still too raw.
Rosalie was the only one that didn't think I was a fool for leaving my mate.
'Bella deserves a normal human life. You know it, Edward. You're doing the right thing.' she'd said.
I didn't want to tell Bella these things.
"Edward?" Bella's warm hand touched mine, bringing me back to the present.
"You don't have to tell me," she said. "I just wondered how you, distracted yourself. I imagined you were happy to be away from Forks."
She said it with an almost rehearsed detachment. I couldn't allow her to believe the lie for another second.
"No, Bella. I lied to you that day. I forced myself away from you. You deserved the chance at a happy, human life. Being near me kept you in constant danger. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if something happened to you. Leaving you was the hardest thing I've ever had to endure. I never stopped loving you."
I traced small circles over her palm.
"You loved me," she said bitterly. "You still do?"
I squeezed her hand gently.
She straightened her shoulders. "Show me," she challenged.
I knew exactly what she was doing. She expected me to reject her again. Bella expected me to push her away, to berate her about the dangers of being intimate.
I needed to show her. I wanted to show her exactly what she did to my body.
"You want me to make love to you?" I said, even though I could smell her desire; it saturated the room.
I watched as she squirmed and looked surprised by my question.
"Yes, I want that. I always have. I want you. I don't want you to change me though. I'll never want that, promise me, no matter what, you'll never change me?"
Panic and anxiousness. Desire and love. She wants me but not the transformation?
Some small voice in my brain thought she might be trying to use reverse psychology, telling me she didn't want to be a monster, when she really did want to be with me forever.
"You know I never wanted that, Bella," I said softly.
She let out a relieved sigh. "I don't want that now, I'd rather...die than be like you."
Her admission was honest.
"What do you want Bella?"
"You. Just now, whatever you'll give me. It's all I want."
"We can wait—" I started, but she cut me off.
"I don't want to talk about the future. I only want to live for now," she stated firmly.
It was an ache. It was like nothing meant anything without her, and I was determined to give her exactly what she wanted; what I wanted.
The physical expression of my overwhelming love for her.
I slowly stood. I held her hand.
There is nothing else but her.
I'd be damned if I'd ruin this moment. I gently placed her hand on her knee and started to remove my clothing.
Bella's heart rate spiked and her breathing sped as she watched.
I had no modesty, no apprehension. I wanted Bella to see me, know and see the effect she had on my body.
I stripped. I stood naked and erect in front of her. She wept and whimpered. Her eyes absorbed all of me.
"I love you. I can't exist without you." I said, never taking my eyes from her face. "I was wrong. I made a mistake. I'll spend the rest of your life making it up to you. Please Bella, I need you. I'm sorry. Can you forgive me?"
Tears streamed down her face and then she launched herself at me and kissed me, slowly suckling at my lips and running her hands all over my shoulders and back.
I was drowning in her scent. Not just her blood, but her arousal and tears, all perfectly blended to ignite a raging desire to love her, to give her pleasure.
Am I deluded to think that joining her like this will wipe eleven years of pain away?
"Whatever you want, Bella. I'm yours. I'll always be yours."
"Make love to me..."
Bella's words were a soft plea. Her lips quivered, her body wanton and ready.
I held her, and my control and I then pulled down the covers on the bed. My mind was a mess of emotion and desire. In all my dreams and musings I'd never allowed myself the luxury to imagine making her mine this way.
My fingers tentatively touched to the hem of her sweater, about to peel it up and off, when her warm hands halted me.
"I need to leave it on," she said, her skin flushing pink.
My nostrils flared at the realization that the room was still cool and my cold hard body would chill her even more.
Bella unzipped her jeans and shimmied out of them.
She stood in her sweater, socks and panties and then she lay on the bed. The pristine glow of the smooth skin of her bare legs called to me. I wanted nothing more than to touch, caress and knead the soft silkiness.
Her limp hair now disheveled and wavy and her bottom lip red from her constant biting.
"This feels too surreal for words," she whispered.
I hovered over her, kissing and gently nuzzling her as she lay squirming with wet desire. Desire for me.
"You can't change me," she said in a breathy whisper. "Promise me," she pleaded.
"I would never," I asserted as I looked into her eyes.
I knew I'd never turn her against her will. I was selfish and the thought of losing her one-day was excruciating to think of, but I would never destroy her soul for my selfish desire to be with her. I could never.
"I love you. Bella, I love you." I punctuated each declaration with light kisses to her cheek, her lips and hair.
Bella's shaking fingers swirled over and gripped my shoulders.
"I've dreamed of this, with you. Only you," her hands glided up to my face and she guided my lips to hers.
I swallowed venom as I tried to decipher.
Only me. Had she not been with anyone?
A stab to my dead heart, that she could have denied herself intimacy with a human boy, or man. It was a shocking admission that, like me, she couldn't contemplate being with another.
My depraved mind exulted that I would be her first, her only, and that she would be mine.
Bella shivered. Practicality tried to seep into my consciousness.
This is all wrong, all rushed. She's barely been back in my life for two hours. We haven't talked, and here I am, about to soil her virtue, take her innocence without redeeming my abhorrent behavior. I had eleven painful years make up for. Waiting another day or two would be well worth it.
Plans of taking her to Isle Esme, or somewhere else warm, sunny and beautiful, constructed in my lust-filled mind. That's where she should lose her innocence, not here in a barely used and cold apartment, that didn't have any romantic accouterments.
"I'm sorry, for everything I put you through. I love you, Bella. I'll make it up to you. There's no rush, we should wait." I said.
I kissed her mouth, and forced myself to pull back.
I fisted my hands at my sides. The scent of her arousal and blood was intoxicating me, making me crazy with lust. I needed to be in control. I got off the bed and walked to the window, unlocked and lifted it open. The steady drone of traffic and the city hum mixed with the rain-scented breeze provided me the clarity I needed.
We have forever to be together this way.
I turned to look at her as she spoke.
"I'm not physically attractive to you. I never was, was I? It was always my blood, and that you couldn't read my thoughts. You never wanted my body, not like I wanted yours…" she sobbed and shuffled her body upright, clasping her arms around her bent knees and pushing her back against the headboard.
"Bella," I stood tall, still aroused and naked in front of her. "You can see that's not true. I want to make love to you. I just want it to be everything, and be special."
"That's bullshit!" She seethed at me. "I need to go."
I watched in horror as she scrambled off the bed and picked up her jeans.
"No! Go where? Rome?"
"Why do you care?" she said. "You asked me what I want, I told you. You don't want me. I can't, I WON'T do this again."
I saw the determination and anger in her eyes.
I stood in a daze. Confused and shocked.
"No, don't speak to me. Just let me go."
Let her go?
She was leaving because I wasn't man enough to give her what she asked for?
I let it snap. I mentally destroyed that part of me that would deny her. My outdated morals and stupid gentlemanly belief system; gone. I wouldn't deny her, not now that we'd found each other again.
I rushed to grip her jeans and pull them from her grasp, throwing them to the floor.
My hands cradled her face and I kissed her.
The passion was electric.
I was not gentle; I was forceful and urgent.
"I'm sorry, I'm an idiot. I want you, right now. You're everything to me, you're everything," my lips stayed, pushing against hers in desperation.
I guided her back to lie on the bed, my lips never left her mouth. My cool fingers tugged down her panties. Bella sighed and moaned. The sound empowered and encouraged me.
I can show her. There will be no doubt that she is my mate and loving her, this way, will be something I will give her whenever she desires.
I openly stared at her body then. The perfect triangle of pubic hair, a dark and inviting contrast to the paleness of her silky thighs and the stark white linen on the bed.
"Edward," she panted.
I touched her hip, slowly with a measured control, my fingers glided down. Bella opened her legs for me. I kept my mouth on hers in a soft kiss as my fingers found their way.
Female human anatomy was imprinted on my brain. Textbook pages picture-perfect as my cool hands found the most sublime heat. The sound of her heart thumping in her chest, the blood in her veins, the smell of her desire, was like a perfect sensory symphony. At the exact time my fingers found the spot they sought, Bella let out a gush of air and the most heaven-sent low moan that almost had me recoiling from her in a panic of lust-induced mania.
The lightest of my touches was counter-balanced by her desperate thrusting off the bed and onto my fingers as they swirled and plucked and rubbed her.
Bella panting out my name was sublime.
I was pleasuring my Bella. I was giving her what she'd always needed from me, but I'd been too stubborn and blind to see. I'd been so desperate to keep her humanity in tact, that I'd inadvertently denied the one thing that human's needed like air; intimacy and validation of both their body and mind.
I need her. I need to show her.
The not so subtle pounding of Bella's heartbeat and the way she kept her rhythm on my hand alerted me to her impending release. I didn't speak; I didn't change position or do anything to distract her from the mental as well as physical concentration she was maintaining to come.
When I felt and heard her orgasm, I felt a sense of consuming pride and excitement. I waited a few seconds, hovering over her as the shocks rippled through her body.
I positioned myself.
Bella clutched my shoulders, we kissed feverishly and then I pushed forward, slowly.
"Oh God Edward!" she moaned into my mouth.
I was deranged. Bella was so hot, burning, wet and welcoming and I could feel everything: her pulse, her precious blood made her plump and ripe and then, the evidence of her innocence tore away with a sudden intake of breath and a throaty growl.
Bella was mine.
I thrust slowly into her as she glided her hot hands up and down my back, pulling me closer and kissing my neck.
"I love you, Edward!"
She was crying. I knew she could feel pain and pleasure. In spite of that pain, she knew that I loved her and that I would take care of her.
"Bella," it was all I could say. My focus was on her delicate body underneath me.
Silk over glass, glass that felt molten to my cold hard flesh, but still able to be malformed with one false move.
I couldn't lose control.
I blocked out the smell of her blood. I was determined to never cause her pain again, just pleasure, for the rest of her life.
Bella was nearing another wave; another orgasm was peaking. I held my body in perfect sync with her. I wanted to give her more, but my confidence was waning.
What's going to happen when I orgasm inside of her? What will happen to her if I lose control for a split second?
My hand found the headboard and I clenched it, channeling the power and exertion of holding back my passion, to the palm of my right hand.
Then Bella let go. There wasn't an accurate adjective to describe the feeling of her climax; the feel of it happening around me, underneath me.
My release burst forth then, powerful and primal. The monstrous growl that escaped my chest echoed off the walls and rattled the glass in the windowpane.
The headboard snapped in my hand as my body spiraled out of control in a dizzying heat of ecstasy.
I could feel Bella clutching me, the heat of her breath against my skin, the soft wool of her sweater against my chest.
I held myself over her. Disbelieving, totally incredulous.
"I love you. I love you, Bella."
I pulled out of her heat and pulled her to me. She was panting and crying, but I knew it was from relief and love, I could feel it surrounding her. It encompassed us both.
We didn't speak. I listened and absorbed the sensation of her as her heart slowed to a normal rate.
The moment was profound and I was reeling.
I didn't hurt her. I never knew it could be so...
"Bella," I sighed and placed my hand on her face as I kissed her. "I love you, always."
Her hands roamed my body, searing me with her heat and the tangible connection we had to each other.
"I want to touch you. I want to memorize you, feel you. I want to drown in you until Alice gets here. Please?" she said in desperation.
I lay on my back and pulled her on top of me. "Yes."
Then I absorbed the feeling of Bella's warm body as she explored me. Kissing my chest, my nipples, my stomach. The pleasure was indescribable.
Her whimpers and moans just from touching me made me wish I could cry. I wanted to show her physical evidence of what this emotional connection with her meant to me.
Bella straddled my legs and I could feel warm liquid dripping from her; the evidence of my climax, my useless vampire seed inside her body.
I held no guilt. I'd made love to my mate. I shunned a God that would make me believe that the love and pleasure I'd just experienced was wrong or sinful.
I could feel the excitement and desire for her building anew.
"Are you sore, love?" I said as my fingers caressed her hair.
"No. I need you again. I want you, one more time."
"Whenever you want. Every day and forever."
"Now," she said and her warm hands touched me.
"Bella!" I growled as I hardened in her hand.
She watched me intently as she positioned herself over me. Bella took my hands and pushed them up to grip the headboard.
Then heaven descended. The wet heat as Bella glided up and down on me, breathing heavily and staring at me with an overwhelming sadness I tried to decode.
Then it came to me.
I should never have left her. If I'd listened to her, we could have been together, like this, and those eleven years of desolation wouldn't have been.
"I'm so sorry," I whispered. I doubted her human hearing could have detected my voice.
Bella's fingers dragged over my chest as she slowly and sensuously rode me.
The cool breeze with the smell of rain and foliage from the park wafted through the open window.
I watched as Bella bit her lip and then she clutched at her sweater. She stopped rocking for a second as she pulled it over her head.
The thought of seeing her, fully naked and over me was exhilarating.
The blouse she wore underneath her sweater was blue. The same blue that I'd always loved against her skin.
Did she wear it for me? No, she wouldn't have known we would meet again today.
I smiled at her. The sadness was still in her eyes, and something else.
"Bella?" I breathed out.
Her shaking fingers undid the two buttons on her long shirtsleeves and then the button at her collar. Slowly one-by-one her fingers undid each button as she glided up and down on me.
She didn't remove the garment from her shoulders, instead she reached back to unclasp her bra and then shuffled it off awkwardly through her sleeves, still not revealing her breasts to me.
"I want to see you," I said in a daze.
She shook her head 'no', and closed her eyes.
I didn't question her. Bella always had a modesty that was alluring.
Her blouse gaped open as she picked up her pace. I could feel a rush of pleasure building at the angle and intensity of her movement.
The pale soft flesh of her torso and belly, the hint of her breasts under the clinging silk fabric and the heat her body was radiating, had me out of control quicker than I wanted. I closed my eyes. I was desperate to hold off, to allow her to come again before I did.
Bella's signs were different. Adrenaline rushed through her veins. I opened my eyes; a fierce determination covered her expression and the 'V' appeared exaggerated in the half-light of the room.
The soft sound of rain filled my ears. I heard the droplets splash and boom against the glass, rivaling the pulse of Bella's heart and wet sound of her arousal as she loved me.
"Bella, slow down," I begged.
Her intention was crystal clear when I felt her clench me, squeezing her pelvic floor muscles deliberately. I opened my eyes to stare at her in awe.
My beautiful lamb needs to dominate her lion.
I let go then, knowing it was what she wanted. I pushed the headboard back as my climax ripped through me and into her. The crack of the headboard sinking into the plaster wall was uniquely distinct.
Bella fell forward onto my chest. She kissed me.
"Keep your eyes closed," she panted.
I felt the movement as Bella discarded her blouse. Her soft warm breasts pressed against my chest. Her face against my neck.
"I've wanted this for so long," she whispered.
I inhaled her. I wanted to open my eyes, to see my angel above me. I was still inside her burning heat. So much heat and softness. I'd never been so content.
I felt Bella's hands dip under the pillow my head rested on. Her breath in my face.
"You'll never deny me again? Please Edward, say you won't change me. Tell me you'll give me what I want?"
"Anything you want Bella. I can't deny you. I won't," I said. "I love you."
"Open your eyes, Edward."
I stared into the depths of her gaze.
"I can give you what you've always wanted," she said confidently. "When Alice gets here," she laughed softly, "tell her I...wish it could have been different."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
Bella pushed herself up.
I basked in her. Her shapely body and taunt nipples were mesmerizing. I couldn't believe I was this blessed.
"You're beautiful," I whispered.
She took in a deep breath and stared at my hands.
"Touch my breasts Edward, please," she moaned.
My hands cupped her gently. Her softness was unparalleled.
Then my eyes saw, what my mind wanted to refute.
I saw scars up and down both her arms; silver pale slash marks that could have only been self-inflicted. They weren't fresh, but no more than five years old. My hand traveled from her breast to touch them, to try and compute what it meant.
"Please don't pity me," she said in a shaky voice. "I love you. It's what I want," she said cryptically.
Everything happened in blur. The smell engulfed me before the wetness spurted against my skin. Bella held her freshly slashed wrist firmly against my mouth as she rocked with me still inside her.
I forced my lips closed, but the taste was there; the perfect ambrosia of her blood in my mouth and on my tongue.
I grabbed her other hand to see the sharp razorblade she'd used. Bella's strength was shocking.
The monster inside me howled with thirst. When my mouth opened, nothing else mattered.
My horror was complete as I swelled and hardened again inside her, while her blood spurted down my throat. She braced her wrist to my mouth; her torn flesh on my lips as she rocked and whimpered.
"I can…let you go now."
I knew what was happening, but I was powerless. I couldn't stop. My hands latched onto her wrist as she pushed it to me. The vision of her through the haze of red was ethereal. She was giving me her life. She was giving me her body.
Then I heard her speak, but her lips didn't move.
'I love you. I want to be with you, Edward, always, but I can't be like you. I can't become what he was, and you'll never truly love me while I'm human…'
Then I saw her memories. It was just a flash; Charlie's drained body. I felt her fear and desolation. Then a blur of fur—what could have only been a Quileute wolf—rip the vampire's head from its body.
Bella shuddered, as she kept rocking sensuously on me. I felt her pleasure and all her pain. Her mind was open to me for the very first time. My eyes closed. I was voracious for every slither of thought or feeling emanating from her. I saw her memory of me in the meadow. I felt her overwhelming love for me. I felt her desolation when I left her. I felt her endless determination to search for me, to find me and love me, this way.
Bella's heart was pounding now, as she tried to focus on the pleasure of our connection and ignore the sting and drag of me sucking the blood from her wrist.
'Love me Edward and let me go.'
Nothing would have been able to stop what was happening to me. Her blood in my veins, her thoughts in my head, the burn in my throat a distant memory, replaced by the energizing nectar of the woman that had been made for me. I was completely sated for the first time in my entire existence.
I was in a state of shock and euphoria and yet still conscious of just how much control I'd lost.
My biggest fear.
Bella's thoughts were all of me, impressions from deep in her memory of the times we'd shared before I left her. They all merged together in a swirl of incoherence, faded and hazy. Then she opened her eyes and I saw what she could see. She looked upon me; my eyes closed in ecstasy, my mouth suctioned around her wrist, blood splattered over my skin. I saw what she saw and felt what she felt. Her distorted view made me appear like a demigod, the love of her life. She was in awe of me and blinded by her love.
She saw me as a beautiful angel.
The anguish I felt in counterpoint was infinite. All of this and yet I couldn't stop.
I thrust into her roughly, increasing her pleasure as her heart rate slowed. She didn't scream or writhe in agony, she was…happy. I could feel her bliss.
'So good, Edward, you feel…' Bella's head was dizzy from the loss of blood. 'You'll always be with me, Edward. I'll always be inside you now. I wish it could have been different'.
I opened my eyes then, and all I saw on her face was relief, contentment, and purpose.
She wants to die this way.
The scars on her arms, she'd endured self-inflicted pain, to build a resistance to it and to assure her confidence to see this plan through. Bella needs to give this to me!
A howl ripped through my body as the flow of her blood started to slow.
"I love you," her spoken words were like a whisper on the breeze.
Bella lost consciousness and fell limp against me. Her mind went silent; as soundless as the first day I met her.
The monster within howled and jolted with disappointment and frustration.
Still, I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop drinking her; I couldn't stop making love to her. I couldn't fight against her or deny what her thoughts confirmed. I was everything I had tried not to be.
As the last of her blood dripped deliciously into my mouth, I climaxed. I poured my seed, what was left of my soul and any slither of humanity I'd ever possessed, into my beloved.
Bella died in my arms.
Her blood surged through my veins. It was smeared over my face and hands, branding me with a mark that would never wash away.
I was frozen, yet warmer than I ever thought possible.
I was lost, yet I'd never felt more connected to her.
I clutched her to me. I was still inside her cooling body.
I looked towards the window to see the dripping water on the glass.
Alice told me later it was eleven hours. Eleven hours that I held Bella's lifeless body in a bed that smelt of blood and sex.
Alice also told me, it was eleven months after I left Bella in the forest that a vampire—Victoria's creation—had gone looking for Bella in Forks.
Victoria had disappeared without a trace. I'd made sure of it. I'd been oblivious that she'd turned a new mate. Her dying thoughts were only of her true mate, James.
When Victoria's new mate couldn't find her, he tracked Bella to Forks and took Charlie hostage.
The vampire called Riley tortured and then drained Charlie in front of Bella, in retribution. She had to watch her father die, helpless and alone.
Even though I'd pieced together the chain of events from the brief window into Bella's mind, I passively listened as Alice described what happened.
The Quileute wolves had sensed the vampire 'stench'. They made it to Bella's side, too late to rescue Charlie, but they saved my Bella. They tore the sentient creature into pieces in front of her.
Alice told me that Bella was never the same. She disappeared for a while; the mystery of Charlie Swan's disappearance and subsequent Federal investigation had devastated her. Bella sold her father's house in Forks and then her travels began. She'd been looking for me. She'd traveled halfway across the Globe in the hope of finding me.
She'd needed me and I hadn't been there for her.
Jasper and Alice removed Bella's body from the Manhattan apartment.
There would be an unmarked, never-to-be-found grave for my beloved in Central Park.
Alice had 'seen' what happened in that room. She assured me—even though I knew—it was what Bella wanted; that she'd spent every waking moment after Charlie was killed planning it, in case she did find me.
Alice reluctantly allowed me the vision of what would have happened if I hadn't taken Bella to the apartment, if I had decided to walk away from Bella at the airport. The outcome would have been infinitely worse. Bella had reasoned that if I walked away from her, she'd never see me again and her seeking me out would be fruitless. She'd decided on the spot to simply end her life with the sharp razor she had hidden in her bag, in the restroom of JFK. Her body discovered a few hours later, her passport photo broadcast on CNN; a sick and demented 'news story.'
The pain of Bella's life since I left her was so intense that she hadn't wanted to continue. She'd wanted to find me; she wanted me to know she regretted not listening to me, and communicate that she now understood my abhorrence at the thought of changing her. She'd searched the world, so she could let me go.
There was no explanation why I could hear Bella's thoughts when she was so close to death. A mystery that held no comfort, even though I'd felt her inexplicable love for me, and her contentment that she'd achieved her purpose.
Bella had been determined to give me what she thought I wanted all along.
And now I stood in Volterra.
I would die today, a final death.
I couldn't exist in a world that didn't contain her. I couldn't live with what I'd done.
I'd failed her in so many ways, and in the end, all I could give her was what she always wanted. She only ever wanted to feel my love and know I desired and loved her. She wanted to give me the one unique thing that was only hers to give, that no one else could give. She died knowing that I did love her. I loved her enough to give her what she wanted—the chance to leave this world and be at peace.
I prayed that this wouldn't be the end. That her soul had transcended. That she possessed the memory of our love and would have peaceful, eternal rest in a place my soul would never be able to experience.
My Bella is in Heaven.
I closed my eyes and stepped into the Midday sun.
A/N: Thank you for reading.