Even through sleep, my heart beats harder for the only innocent sound that's ever wrapped around my name.

When I don't budge or blink, love hums a sigh.

It's the sound of her smile.

Heartbeats warm my chest. I don't have to open my eyes to know it's so early it's still dark out. Tulip never sleeps through the whole night.

"Masen," she whispers again, almost inaudible over the patter of rain drifting through open windows.

She's been awake a while. I felt her shift in my arms and the change in her breathing.

Waking a little more as I gather her closer, I flatten my palm between small shoulders. There, underneath my tee-shirt, familiar as my own and a thousand times more important, I feel her heart, alive and awake, and awaiting affection.

Tucked under and against me, Bella laughs. It's breathless. It's breath-seeking, and it's the sound that makes my heartbeats overflow.

"Edward!" She demands in a hush, using both hands in an attempt to lift my arm. "You're crushing my entire respiratory system!"

I smile widely, much more awake now even though my eyes remain closed.

"Help," she playfully pleads, pushing and pretending to panic. "Help! Somebody! My bronchial tubes!"

Lifting my arm from the curve of her heart's cage, I shift lower. No less close, closer still, we lie on our sides, and I bury my face over her sternum. Smiling, I nestle back into sleep right where bronchial tubes carry inhales to the heart of love.

hi hi and bon matin!

this was originally written for the Dirty Talkin' Edward contest. in an effort to make the word limit, i had to cut around five thousand words from the original finished product. so, i cut cut cut, finally got it down to eligible, and entered it as Tender is the Day. but, when i read through it the next morning, it broke my heart to see so many pieces of it missing.

so, i asked it to be taken down.

this is the full story with all those little pieces restored.

it will be posted in seven short-ish segments throughout today and complete by tonight.

lovelybrutal kkbaby all my stars has held my heart and both my hands through all of this, and worked endlessly to find all my missing words and mistakes. she also let me borrow little glow, and showed me the staggering beauty of stuttering in the midst of adoring love. any mistakes left herein are mine, not hers. i love you, pink moonbloom. i'm with you right now, loving you with every single beat and breathe in-between.

if you're reading this, thank you so so so much, and good morning :-)