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Chapter 18


I thought I remembered what it had felt like to ride Edward's cock but, clearly, my memories were lacking.

I remembered the way one touch from him set my body on fire from the inside and I remembered the delicious stretch of my body accommodating his - but now, there's more.

More burning, more passion, and more ecstasy - it's all-consuming and desperate as Edward holds my body closer to his, almost as if he's trying to fuse us together permanently. Wrapping one arm around my waist while the other hand grabs onto my shoulder, he pulls me down the same time he's thrusting his cock deeper inside me.

I take full advantage of being so close to him, my tongue and mouth roaming freely over his skin. Being able to taste him is maddening because I simply can't get enough no matter how many times I lick his jaw, nip at his throat, or suck on the area where his shoulders and neck meet.

Edward leans me back far enough to capture one of my nipples in his mouth and I gasp at the sensation. It could be the venom in his mouth making my skin tingle but I think it's simply him, and the fact that he was made for me. Only Edward makes me feel this way.

I arch my body so he can take more of my breast into his mouth and his growl is now one of my favorite sounds. I know his fingertips are marking the skin of my hips and ass, but I don't care. I feel his strength every time he pushes into me; I can also see in his eyes the way he still holds himself back, making me love him even more.

His fingers find my clit as I start bouncing harder on top of him, frantic to find my release.

"Fuck, yeah, baby! Come all over my cock! I love watching you take all of me inside you!" Edward groans, his eyes never leaving where we're joined.

My nails dig into his shoulders and I scream his name as my body explodes in orgasm.

Edward's movements speed up and I feel that familiar tightening in my core again, but I'm not sure I can handle this much pleasure. Suddenly, I'm on my back, my legs draped over his shoulders as Edward plunges inside, deeper than ever before.

"Oh, God, Bella! You feel so good! I love you so fucking much!" he exclaims as his body tenses then releases, pushing me over the edge again.

Once we've both settled down and Edward has cleaned himself off, he pulls me to him, cradling my head on his chest. I feel like my heart's in overdrive. Not only was that the best sex we've ever had, but hearing Edward saying he loves me and being so affectionate with me afterward is almost too much.

Can your heart explode from too much happiness?

After our little chat at Bellvue Manor, Edward and I couldn't keep our hands off each other - or our mouths, too, for that matter. We knew we'd never make it back to the penthouse without ripping our clothes off so instead, Edward sent McCarty and Rose back to the city and took me to his house here in Bellvue. A very select number of people know about this house because it's the one place where Edward can relax.

It's a gorgeous estate nestled in the thick, dark trees - perfect for hiding away from the world. As soon as the taxi dropped us off, Edward scooped me into his arms and carried me upstairs to his bedroom, which is where we've been ever since. At least now I know where he gets his strength and stamina from.

"You're being awfully quiet," Edward speaks into the top of my head before kissing it, bringing me back to the present.

"I was just thinking."

"About . . . ?" I should've known he wouldn't let me drop the conversation.

"Well, I was just wondering if you'd have to hold back so much during sex if . . . if I was . . . you know, like you. A vampire."

Edward's body instantly tenses to the point that it's as if his body is frozen. When I look up at him, I see that his face is like stone, but his eyes are wild with panic. I've obviously brought up a sore subject and now have to figure out how to make it better.

"Edward, relax! I wasn't asking you to turn me into a vampire. I don't even know if that's possible. I mean, you were bitten and turned; is it really that easy? You don't have to tell me, if you don't want to, I was just curious."

I cover myself with the blanket, feeling exposed and vulnerable now. I don't like it. I also don't like feeling that Edward wouldn't want to change me so I could be with him forever. Perhaps I really am dispensable to him.

My movements finally wake him from his stupor and I feel his hand tilting my chin up, forcing me to look at his face again.

"Bella, I can't change you."

"You can't or you won't?"

"I won't."

I feel like the wind's been knocked out of me, taking my heart along with it. We only just confessed our feelings for each other today, but the pain is instant and deep. The sting of rejection floods my eyes with tears and I scramble to the bathroom, desperate to be away from Edward.

Once locked inside, I slide my body down the door, gasping for breath as my tears finally fall.

Why does this hurt so much?

Even when Edward admitted to being a vampire, the thought of becoming one myself never entered my mind. It's not like I want to drink blood or anything but the thought of living forever - with Edward - sounds wonderful to me. Obviously, he doesn't feel the same, and that's what hurts.

Pushing myself to my feet, I resolve to simply enjoy whatever moments I have with Edward. I love him and I'll gladly take whatever he gives me. A lifetime with the one whom you love more than anything is a gift not everyone gets to receive. Knowing our relationship has a time limit only makes me want to be with him that much more. If he wants me to live, then I'm going to live life to the fullest.

Damn, when did I become such a cliché'?

After washing and drying my face, I open the door, ready to face Edward again. What I'm not prepared for, though, is for him to be standing right in front of me, with his hand propping himself up on the door frame. The last time I looked into his eyes, they were filled with anxiety. Now, they show terror and grief.

I'm standing before this incredibly imposing figure - a freaking immortal who should fear nothing - and all I want to do is comfort him.

I always thought I was strange. Now, I have proof.

I gently lay my hand on his chest, relaxing at the sensation of our skin making contact again.

"Edward, I'm -"

My words are lost as he pulls me to him, wrapping me tightly in his arms.

"No, Bella, I'm sorry. Please, let me explain why I won't change you. It's important that you understand."

I nod my consent and he picks me up and carries me back to bed, as if I weigh nothing. He sits me on his lap so that we can see each other's faces but still remain touching, and I'm relieved that he needs to be physically connected as much as I do.

"Firstly, Bella, don't ever run away from me like that. Watching you leave and then having to hear you cry . . . it was more than I can take. Please, don't do that to me again."

"I only went to the bathroom, Edward."

"You left and I didn't know if you'd come back to me. I didn't know what else to do so I just stood at the door, listening to you cry. I'm not used to feeling helpless."

"I know this is all new to you, but it's new to me, too. When I said that I love you, I meant it. That means you're stuck with me. I'm not going to run out on you just because we have a disagreement or my feelings get hurt, okay? I just needed to process what you said."

I barely register his large hands on the sides of my face before his lips are on mine in a searing kiss. I can feel the emotions rolling off him as his tongue caresses my own while I simply drown in him.

He slowly pulls away, leaving me breathless, and whispers that he loves me. As if I could ever doubt that now.

"When I said I love you, Bella, that meant that I'll do anything and everything to take care of you and protect you, even if it means protecting you from me," he says, his voice tinged with regret.

"I don't know what that means."

"I was the one who changed Rosalie; I'm responsible for turning her into a vampire."

I don't know why this surprises me but it does.

"Why? Were you lonely? Did she ask you to?"

Edward scrubs his face with his hands a few times before answering. "No, I wasn't lonely, and she most certainly did not ask me to change her.

"After being with Carlisle for a few years, I felt it was time to come home and check on my family. I'd been gone for six years, so I had no idea what to expect.

"I knew I couldn't just knock on the front door and surprise everyone; I didn't know if they thought I was dead or if I'd run away. So, instead, I hid by some windows at the back of the house and that's when I heard the strangest sound. I heard Rose crying."

Looking down, I see that I'm gripping Edward's hands so tightly that my knuckles are white. I feel like I'm watching a horror movie and sitting on the edge of my seat. Edward gives me an understanding smile and begins rubbing circles on my hands with his thumbs. I'm amazed at how a single touch from him can light me up one minute and then soothe me the next.

I take a relaxing breath before urging him to continue his story.

"My sister and I used to be very close, but I hadn't heard her cry since she was a child. She always smiled freely and everything made her laugh. She didn't like crying in front of people because she thought it was weak. So, when I heard her in my father's office, crying, I knew something bad had happened.

"She was talking to someone, which I found odd, until I looked and saw that the room was empty. When I finally put the pieces together, I realized that our father had died a few months prior and she was talking to him, venting about being the one left behind to take care of everything. Because I was no longer there, it was Rose's responsibility to take care of the house, the bills, my father's business, and our mother. That was also when I found out Esme had dementia.

"I was absolutely devastated. My father was dead, my mother was sick, my sister was burdened beyond compare and I didn't know what to do. Would they welcome me back like the Prodigal Son or turn me away as payback for abandoning them if I tried to help? I couldn't stand by and not do anything, though, so I decided to speak to Rose. As I walked around to the front of the house, I saw Rose walking out the door and heading toward her car. I followed her on foot so that I could keep track of her by her scent, but she still managed to lose me.

"I caught up to her in downtown Seattle too late - well, almost too late. I found her lying in her own blood in a dark alley, raped and beaten, and left for dead. Hearing her heartbeat get slower and slower sprung me into action. I knew I could fix her because venom cures just about everything. I was elated as I carried her back to my parents' house because this would be the ultimate way to repay her and make up for my absence. I was going to make her immortal. Who wouldn't want that, right?"

He chuckles, but there's no humor to be found in his voice or his face.

"Well, Rose didn't want to be immortal. When your body changes from human to vampire, it's the most excruciating pain you can ever imagine. You pray for death - anything - to make the burning stop, and I knowingly put my sister through that."

"But, Edward, you didn't do it to hurt her, you wanted to help her. I'm sure she understood that."

"Have you met my sister, Bella? There was definitely no understanding from her when she woke up. She was furious and ferocious, and took it all out on me. I gladly accepted my punishment and began teaching her all about being a vampire.

"Over time, Rose has calmed down, but she still resents me with every fiber of her being. She says I took her fate away from her, that I didn't give her a choice."

His caramel eyes are frightened again as he tells me, "I can't do that to you. I can't hurt you like that and cause you to spend the rest of eternity hating me."

"Is that why you didn't change your mother?"

"Yes. She wouldn't have understood, anyway. But, don't you see, Bella? Dying is natural. What Rose and I are is not natural. You're supposed to live a long life, get married, have children . . . all the things Rosalie wanted to do. I'd be the biggest asshole in the world if I took that from you. Even I am not that selfish."

"Edward, Rose didn't choose to be turned because she didn't know anything about it. One minute, she was being brutally attacked; the next she was drinking blood from an animal. How did you expect her to react?"

"I'd hoped that she'd understand that I did it to help her, not make her miserable, but she's never seen it that way. She wishes that I would've let her die, but I just couldn't."

I scoot my body up closer to him and wrap my arms around his neck. His delicious breath washes over me and I can't help but kiss his full mouth.

"Don't you see that you're taking my choice away just like you took Rose's choice from her? Just because being a vampire turned Rose into a major bitch doesn't mean the same will happen to me, you know? Maybe, if I'm better prepared, my change will be easier."

"Bella, please! You don't know what you're saying."

"Then, tell me!" I yell, catching him off guard. "Tell me what I need to know so that I can make an informed decision. Know this, Edward - if there's any way that I can spend eternity with you, I'm going to do it! Unless, of course, you don't want me for forever."

"I want you for as long as you'll let me have you and then, after that, I'll still want you for the rest of my unnatural life. But I refuse to take your soul and turn you into a killer for my own happiness."


Jiff: Well, alrighty, then. What does everyone think about their conversation? Are you happy to finally learn Rosalie's story?

Jenny Kate: Our beta was a little shocked, so I'm assuming that some of our readers will be too. It's weird, because I forget that they don't know what we know...until we tell them. LOL.

Jiff: Well, yeah, that's been a huge struggle all along. Our readers want to know the answers that we've always had but couldn't give until the right moment. Hopefully, they understand why we waited so long!

Jenny Kate: I think the last little piece of the puzzle is knowing more about McCarty and that's coming up in the next chapter! I'm anxious to hear some guesses on what everyone thinks will happen next.

Jiff: I know a lot of you are wondering what's going on with James. Don't worry, he hasn't been forgotten. :-)

Jenny Kate: We'd like to apologize for not replying to reviews on this last chapter. We really have no good excuse, except we suck. LOL. We've read each and every one of them and appreciate you guys so much! We promise to do better! A HUGE thank you to our awesome beta, Mauigirl60!