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  • Home > Stephenie Meyer > The Twilight Series > Midnight Sun (Chapter Sixteen)     
    Midnight Sun(The Twilight Series Book 5) by Stephenie Meyer
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    I was flowing through the forest effortlessly. Running like this was something that I did on a daily basis. Even after all these years, it was still invigorating. The velocity I was moving at felt freeing, as the air moved rapidly past me. I was feeling boisterous. To a human, moving this fast would be inconceivable; it was without effort that I moved over rocks, trees, and the slippery forest floor.

    Bella was still securely entwined on my back, warming my cold skin. The wind whipped her scent behind me, but her arms were around my neck and so I was able to continue to breathe in her warm aroma. I was wondering what her thoughts were in these moments. All I could think about is how I was able to hold her, clutch her to my chest, and not harm her when we were in the meadow. How her scent enticed my hungry desires to bring her warm lips to mine. Maybe I could? If I were to use just the right amount of pressure, I wouldn't harm her. It had taken us hours to reach the meadow going at Bella's pace, and within minutes we were at the road, next to her truck.

    "Exhilarating, isn't it?" I asked, elated.

    She didn't move or say anything. Her grip was just as secure as if I were still running. I waited. Still, she didn't even make a sound, though I knew she was alive, I could feel her pulse and smell her breath. I waited another second, and still, nothing.

    "Bella?" I asked, concerned now.

    She finally spoke, though her voice sounded strained, "I think I need to lie down," she panted.

    Instantly I was nervous. After the whole day in the meadow, did I finally make a mistake and not realize it? I was apologetic then, "Oh, sorry."

    I stood there, still, waiting for her to release her grasp on me. Honestly, I didn't want her to, but my insatiable desire was instantly dissolved at my growing panic.

    "I think I need help," she admitted.

    I laughed under my breath, but it was because I was relieved, not because the situation was humorous. I placed my hands on her locked fingers and gently pulled them apart. I continued to hold on to her, and pulled her into my arms. I gazed into her eyes in that moment, never wanting to put her down. Her warmth, her smell, everything about her was begging me to feed; yet, I did not want to, my hungers were strictly about the love and adoration I felt for her. I thought about bringing my lips to hers in this moment, how she would inevitably wrap her arms around me once more, and embrace me back. Maybe this wasn't the best time though; she did seem a little faint. Slowly, not wanting to, but slowly, I lowered her to the ground, as gently as I could, like she was especially breakable; which she was. Now that she was no longer in my arms, I could concentrate on her well being without being distracted.

    "How do you feel?" I asked, still anxious.

    She looked like she couldn't focus, "Dizzy, I think."

    From my years of medical schooling, I realized that she must have motion sickness. I didn't think of this before I made yet another mistake by throwing her on my back and running.

    "Put your head between your knees." I insisted.

    She obeyed, and lowered herself to the ground and gently placed her head between her knees, closing her eyes tightly. I moved closer to her, lowering myself to the ground, also. I sat beside her, thinking I might have damaged her. The thought sent sharp bristles of pain through my body. I stared at her for several minutes. She finally lifted her head, looking a little sick. Her eyes were still securely closed. She had the same expression on her face the day I found her practically laying on the ground, recovering from her dizzy spell after smelling blood in biology class.

    "I guess that wasn't the best idea," I contemplated.

    I thought back to the moment before we left the meadow. The thought of this hurting her never crossed my mind. I continued to stare at her, she was a little green, and her skin was beginning to lose all color.

    "No, it was very interesting," she tried to sound affirmative. She couldn't fool me.

    "Hah! You're as white as a ghost – no, you're as white as me!" I exclaimed.

    "I think I should have closed my eyes," she concluded.

    "Remember that next time," I told her. Would there be a next time? Surely a dizzy spell would not prevent her from wrapping her arms and legs around me and enjoying a run would it?

    "Next time!" she moaned.

    I couldn't suppress a laugh at this point. The day had fared better than I could have expected, and even this wouldn't damper my mood.

    "Show-off" she grumbled, though I know she wasn't really mad at me.

    Her face was slowly beginning to gain back some of its color. Her eyes were still shut tightly; she was even straining to keep them that way. I couldn't hear what she was thinking, and one of the only ways to read her was to look into her deep soulful eyes, where I could usually decipher her thoughts. With them closed I had no outlet and I wanted to beg her to open them. I couldn't restrain myself, "Open your eyes, Bella," I whispered.

    I had moved so I was only a few inches from her face now, breathing in her intoxicating scent. She opened her eyes then, and she looked stunned. She wasn't nervous though, I could read in her eyes that she was just as absorbed as I was by our closeness. Her eyes beckoned me to move closer.

    "I was thinking, while I was running..." I hesitated.

    Bella interrupted me, "About not hitting the trees, I hope."

    "Silly Bella," I laughed, 'Running is second nature to me, it's not something I have to think about."

    "Show-off," she grumbled again.

    I smiled, but glad she dropped it because I was instantly hungry for her.

    "No," I whispered, "I was thinking there was something I wanted to try."

    Slowly, I moved my hands to her face and held it securely in my palms. She stopped breathing then; worried I did something wrong, I hesitated, but she continued to stare at me with hunger in her eyes now. So many emotions raged through me at once, desire, passion, ecstasy, thirst. I began leaning closer to her, until our lips were only an inch apart. She closed her eyes. I paused when I could feel the electricity flowing between us already. Every centimeter I moved closer to her, a new emotion would flit through my body sending shivers of pleasure and pain down my frozen veins.

    I was in control, I could feel it. I continued to lean in, until the very tips of my lips brushed lightly against her supple warm ones. I pressed a little harder to her lips until our lips were moving with each other, her sweet breath was enveloping me and her taste was like an explosion in my mouth, so much better than any blood I had ever tasted. I could hear her pulse hammering and feel her skin becoming warmer.

    Our lips only parted for a second at a time, and each time she caught her breath. She was breathing heavily now. Suddenly, she gasped in pleasure and her arms came up around my neck. I embraced her back fiercely. She knotted her hands in my hair and pulled me closer. Her mouth was warm and inviting. She parted her lips breathing heavier. Her scent rushed through me and the monster inside me clawed up my throat.

    I clenched my teeth and then I froze. She didn't let go, she continued to clutch herself to me. I didn't want to let go, I wanted to bring myself closer to her. I had never felt these feelings before. I couldn't let this continue, NO MISTAKES, I yelled at myself. My hands were still wrapped around her face, and I slowly, but forcefully, pushed Bella away. How could she have such a hold on me? She opened her eyes then, and she was breathing heavily.

    "Oops," she said breathlessly.

    "That's an understatement." I replied.

    She was reading my face. I knew she could tell that I was feeling several different emotions. I refused to let her go, though. I didn't want to; I was fighting internally on whether I should kiss her again. My hungry desire was pounding through my body. Each electric shock made me want to clutch her closer. I would only have to move two inches to be back in her embrace.

    "Should I...?" she asked, knowing I would understand her unasked question.

    She tried to disentangle herself from me, but I wouldn't let her. Actually, I couldn't let her. I held her in place, refusing to let her go. I took in a few gulps of air and felt the fiery thirst burn my throat. I took in another breath and another. Each time it was getting easier to cage my thirst, with each breath my desire to kiss her grew.

    "No, it's tolerable. Wait a moment, please," I begged, not wanting to ever let her go.

    She stared into my eyes, surely reading the internal fight I was having. I was eager to bring our bodies back together. They fit so perfectly, but I couldn't make any more mistakes. If I were to hurt her now, I would surely wither and die. I continued to stare into her eyes. This kiss... it was the most pleasurable thing I had ever done. I smiled at her casually. I had caged all the beasts.

    "There," I exclaimed.

    "Tolerable?" she asked.

    Tolerable? It was the most amazing experience I have ever had, couldn't she tell? I laughed loudly at the absurdity.

    "I am stronger than I thought. It's nice to know." I explained.

    "I wish I could say the same. I'm sorry," she replied with an impish grin.

    I was high, excited, "You are only human, after all," I said playfully.

    "Thanks so much," she said sharply.

    I quickly stood up and offered her my hand, something that I had never done before, but after this afternoon, and after our kiss, I realized that contact with her was not something I should shy from. She looked at my hand in surprise, but reached up without any hesitation, bringing her hand to mine. The warmth was tremendously pleasurable. She wobbled on her feet, but I kept her hand to steady her, not wanting to let go. I was still a little worried about her.

    "Are you still faint from the run? Or was it my kissing expertise?" I asked playfully.

    "I can't be sure, I'm still woozy," she replied, "I think it's some of both, though."

    How amazing were the feelings I had. I felt so light hearted, like there was nothing in this world that could damper my good mood. I looked at her truck then, and remembered that she insisted on driving, "Maybe you should let me drive," I offered.

    "Are you insane?" she protested.

    "I can drive better than you on your best day," I teased, "You have much slower reflexes," I explained after she gave me a doubtful look.

    "I'm sure that's true, but I don't think my nerves, or my truck, could take it."

    "Some trust, please, Bella," did she really not think I could handle driving her truck? Was she that nervous I would harm her, after everything we went through today? I looked at her then, saw she was clutching something in her pocket, her key, no doubt. She tightened her lips, considering her options. She shook her head while grinning, her lips still tight, "Nope. Not a chance." She said.

    I raised my eyebrows in disbelief. I couldn't believe she wouldn't let me drive. Did she still not fully trust me? She stepped to my side to walk around me and I watched her unbalanced step carefully, making sure I didn't need to catch her. I stuck my arm out and caught her around the waist, refusing to let her go.

    "Bella, I've already expended a great deal of personal effort at this point to keep you alive. I'm not about to let you behind the wheel of a vehicle when you can't even walk straight. Besides, friends don't let friends drive drunk," I added playfully and chuckled.

    "Drunk?" she scoffed.

    "You're intoxicated by my very presence," I smiled at her, though it was me who was intoxicated by her presence.

    "I can't argue with that," she admitted with a sigh.

    I swear, in that moment, I might have felt my heart beat. She removed her hand from her pocket, holding the key. She raised her hand then, and opened it up and I watched the key fall. I snatched it up before it hit the ground, effortlessly.

    "Take it easy – my truck is a senior citizen" she muttered.

    "Very sensible," I agreed.

    "And are you not affected at all?" she asked me, a little pain in her voice, "by my presence?"

    All the sensations from this afternoon flooded back into my body and I was instantly eager to hold her in my arms and reassure her. Unthinking, I bent down and touched my lips to her jaw, where I slowly traced a line from her ear down to her chin, knowing if I were to place my lips to hers at this moment, I wouldn't stop her next time she clutched me to her chest. She shivered in pleasure in that moment, and it sent electricity shooting through my body.

    "Regardless," I whispered, "I have better reflexes."

    I drove Bella's truck with ease. I kept to the speed limit, in no hurry to bring her back. While driving, I kept one hand securely in hers. The windows were rolled down and the breeze whipped her scent all around me. I turned the radio on and began singing along with a song that was playing. Bella's eyes never left my face, and I returned her gaze as often as possible.

    "You like fifties music?" she asked.

    "Music in the fifties was good. Much better than the sixties, or the seventies, ugh!" I shuddered. "The eighties were bearable." I explained to her.

    I realized I made a mistake when she asked, "Are you ever going to tell me how old you are?" but her face was soft.

    "Does it matter much?" I smiled, hoping she wouldn't press the issue worried that she wouldn't like what she would hear.

    "No, but I still wonder..." she frowned, "There's nothing like an unsolved mystery to keep you up at night."

    "I wonder if it will upset you," I mused, hoping she would give me a hint of how old would bother her.

    I stared into the sun then, and she didn't respond. I could tell that her face was still looking at mine. After several minutes she insisted, "Try me."

    I sighed, turned my gaze on her, and realized I could never lie to her. Keeping secrets from her would be unbearable. Her gaze only made me want to tell her more than just my age. I turned and looked into the sun again, rainbows reflected off of every surface.

    "I was born in Chicago in 1901." I paused, and glanced over to gage her expression. She showed no emotion on her face. My lips twitched at her fa?ade, but I continued, "Carlisle found me in a hospital in the summer of 1918. I was seventeen, and dying of the Spanish influenza." I explained.

    She gasped and I turned to look at her, afraid I had said too much. I don't know why, but I continued, refusing to have secrets between us.

    "I don't remember it well – it was a very long time ago, and human memories fade." I tried to sift through my memories of that time, but they were dark and unfocused.

    "I do remember how it felt, when Carlisle saved me. It's not an easy thing, not something you could forget." I told her.

    I wanted to tell her the truth, but some things, like how painful the transformation is, and how agonizing it could be, were not something I wanted to divulge quite yet.

    "You're parents?" she insisted on more information.

    "They had already died from the disease. I was alone. That is why he chose me. In all the chaos of the epidemic, no one would ever realize I was gone."

    "How did he...save you?" she asked.

    There was no way I would explain the transformation process, so I tried to explain with as little details as possible, "It was difficult. Not many of us have the restraint necessary to accomplish it. But Carlisle has always been the most humane, the most compassionate of us...I don't think you could find his equal throughout all of history." I paused, "for me, it was merely very, very painful." And that was all I would say, if she were to ask anything more, I would refuse.

    I stared at her then and could see the curiosity in her eyes, but she could tell that I wouldn't say anything more on this subject and didn't ask any more questions. Her expressions made me feel like I should explain why Carlisle turned me, "He acted from loneliness. That's usually the reason behind the choice. I was the first in Carlisle's family, though he found Esme soon after. She fell from a cliff. They brought her straight to the hospital morgue, though, somehow, her heart was still beating." I clarified.

    "So you must be dying, then, to become..." She didn't say the last word, and I was grateful.

    "No, that's just Carlisle. He would never do that to someone who had another choice." I spoke of him with respect, "It is easier he says, though, if the blood is weak." The sun finally went below the horizon, and I gazed down the dark road.

    "And Emmett and Rosalie?" She wondered.

    She was curious about our family, and I would inevitably give her whatever she wished, "Carlisle brought Rosalie to our family next. I didn't realize till much later that he was hoping she would be to me what Esme was to him – he was careful with his thoughts around me," I rolled my eyes; like anyone, except Bella, could conceal their thoughts from me, "But she was never more than a sister. It was only two years later that she found Emmett. She was hunting – we were in Appalachia at the time – and found a bear about to finish him off. She carried him back to Carlisle, more than a hundred miles, afraid she wouldn't be able to do it herself. I'm only beginning to guess how difficult that journey was for her." I raised our hands and I brought them to her face where I brushed her cheek, to point out that after smelling her sweet blood, there is no way that carrying a bloody human for miles would have anything on the thirst I felt for Bella.

    Bella looked at me then, "But she made it." She was looking for more answers.

    "Yes," I whispered, "She saw something in his face that made her strong enough. And they've been together ever since. Sometimes they live separately from us, as a married couple. But the younger we pretend to be, the longer we can stay in any given place. Forks seemed perfect, so we all enrolled in high school," I chuckled, "I suppose we'll have to go to their wedding in a few years, again." Which I will inevitably have to play the best man, again, I added mentally.

    Bella continued to question me, now that I was being flippantly open with her, "Alice and Jasper?"

    "Alice and Jasper are two very rare creatures. They both developed a conscience, as we refer to it, with no outside guidance. Jasper belonged to another...family, a very different kind of family. He became depressed, and he wandered on his own. Alice found him. Like me, she has certain gifts above and beyond the norm for our kind."

    Bella interrupted me then, "Really? But you said you were the only one who could hear people's thoughts."

    "That's true. She knows other things. She sees things – things that might happen, things that are coming. But it's very subjective. The future isn't set in stone. Things change." I explained to her, hoping this bit of news wouldn't scare her off.

    I suddenly remembered her vision of vampire Bella. I instantly became furious at myself, and clenched my teeth. I looked at Bella then, her eyes were intrigued, and I looked away before she could read my anger.

    Bella pulled me from my distraction, "What kinds of things does she see?"

    I wouldn't dare tell her about Alice's visions of her, so I settled on a story, "She saw Jasper and knew that he was looking for her before he knew it himself. She saw Carlisle and our family, and they came together to find us. She's most sensitive to non-humans. She always sees, for example, when another group of our kind is coming near. And any threat they may pose."

    I remembered Alice and Jasper showing up at our house. She knew all of our names and asked which room she could move into. I was out on a hunting trip when she first arrived, and she decided she wanted my room and packed all of my stuff up and put it in the garage. Bella's question pulled me from my musings; "Are there a lot of...your kind?" she looked surprised.

    I tried to reassure her, "No, not many. But most won't settle in any one place. Only those like us, who've given up hunting people." I quickly looked in her direction, hoping I hadn't made yet another mistake. She didn't flinch so I continued, "can live together with humans for any length of time. We've only found one other family like ours, in a small village in Alaska. We lived together for a time, but there were so many of us that we became too noticeable. Those of us who live...differently tend to band together."

    "And the others?" she insisted on more information.

    "Nomads, for the most part. We've all lived that way at times. It gets tedious, like anything else. But we run across the others now and then, because most of us prefer the North."

    "Why is that?" she asked, and I realized I gave more information than I intended.

    I parked her truck in her driveway then, and turned the truck off. I decided I wouldn't mention anything about the Southern Wars at this moment.

    "Did you have your eyes open this afternoon?" I teased. "Do you think I could walk down the street in the sunlight without causing traffic accidents? There's a reason why we chose the Olympic Peninsula, one of the most sunless places in the world. It's nice to be able to go outside in the day. You wouldn't believe how tired you can get of nighttime in eighty-odd years." I mused.

    "So that's where the legends come from?" she asked, interested.

    "Probably," I smiled.

    "And Alice came from another family, like Jasper?" Bella inquired.

    She had so many questions, but I answered anyways, "No, and that is a mystery. Alice doesn't remember her human life at all. And she doesn't know who created her. She awoke alone. Whoever made her walked away, and none of us understand why, or how, he could. If she hadn't had that other sense, if she hadn't seen Jasper and Carlisle, and know that she would someday become one of us, she probably would have turned into a total savage." I explained to her.

    Suddenly, her stomach made a rumbling noise. I suddenly realized that through the day I had forgotten to feed her! I was instantly angry at myself for not making sure she was taken care of.

    "I'm sorry, I'm keeping you from dinner." And I was sorry.

    She tried to play it off, "I'm fine really." But her stomach was still making hungry grumbles.

    "I've never spent much time around anyone who eats food. I forgot." I tried to explain, hoping she wasn't angry at me, like I was with myself.

    "I want to stay with you." She admitted.

    I wanted to stay with her too, very much so.

    "Can't I come in?" I asked, hoping for an invite.

    Her eyes sparkled then, like she never thought of this idea before, "Would you like to?" she asked, excitement in her voice.

    "Yes, if that's all right." My excitement over powered me and in one second I was out the driver's side door, and opening the passenger's side.

    I never wanted to leave her, and the feelings that were pulsing through me were extremely pleasant. Bella didn't flinch at my instantaneous movement.

    "Very human," she complimented, sarcastically.

    "It's definitely resurfacing," I teased.

    Bella stepped out of the car and we slowly made our way to her front door. I walked closely beside her, reveling in her warmth and beauty. Bella glanced my direction several times, like she was checking to make sure I was still there. Before we arrived at her front door, I strode ahead of her to swipe her key from the eave and open the door for her. She began to walk in, but paused in the door frame, realizing something, "The door was unlocked?" she questioned me.

    "No, I used the key from under the eave," I admitted to her, instantly realizing my mistake.

    She had never used the key in front of me that she knew about. She stepped inside the house and turned to flip the porch light on. She stared at me dubiously and raised her eyebrows. I knew I had to tell her the truth.

    "I was curious about you."

    "You spied on me?" she said, with little inflection in her voice.

    She hadn't convinced me she was angry, I knew I'd be forgiven, "What else is there to do at night?" I explained.

    She turned away from me, and I quickly raced by her and entered the kitchen before she did. I sat in a chair at the kitchen table. Bella's eyes didn't leave mine for several moments. She finally looked away. I hated it when she looked away from me; I could no longer see inside her mind by means of her deep brown eyes. I watched her curiously. She rummaged through the fridge until she pulled something out. It smelt like tomatoes and oregano, blah. I watched her place the food onto a plate and put it in a microwave. She never took her eyes off the plate of food as it rotated in the microwave.

    "How often?" she questioned.

    "Hmmm?" I asked. I was distracted by my internal babbling.

    She still didn't turn around when she spoke, like she knew she was able to hide things easier when I couldn't read her expressions. "How often did you come here?" she asked very softly.

    "I come here almost every night," I admitted, hoping she would forgive me for being the peeping tom.

    She whirled around then, the vortex of air she made sent her warm aroma all around me and I took her scent into my lungs. My throat ached dully. "Why?" she gasped.

    "You're very interesting when you sleep." I suppressed a laugh, "You talk." I explained.

    "No!" she gasped, with a little O of horror on her face.

    I heard her pulse begin to hammer rapidly, and watched as the blood made its way swiftly up to her cheeks, coloring them red. She leaned into the kitchen counter, grasping it for support, I assumed. If she were to fall, I'd catch her. She didn't say anything else; her face was expressing many emotions, embarrassment, fury, and annoyance. I was immediately displeased by my actions, would she ask me to leave now?

    "Are you very angry with me?" I questioned intently.

    "That depends!" she said breathlessly.

    I paused, waiting to hear her rebuttal.

    "On?" I urged.

    "What you heard!" she almost yelled.

    Instantly, I was relieved that she wasn't mad at me sneaking in, that she was just angry because she was afraid I heard something she didn't want me to hear. I rushed to her side, taking her warm hands into mine, "Don't be upset!" I pleaded.

    I lowered my face to hears, looking into her eyes. She tried to look away, but I distracted her, "You miss your mother," I whispered, "You worry about her. And when it rains, the sound makes you restless. You used to talk about home a lot, but it's less often now. Once you said, 'It's too green.'" I laughed, but I continued to hold her gaze, hoping she realized that I wasn't trying to offend her.

    "Anything else?" she demanded.

    I remembered the many nights I sat in her room and watched her sleep. How, when she said my name, it sent a jolt of pleasure through me.

    "You did say my name," I confessed.

    Bella sighed then, "A lot?" she asked.

    I was suppressing a smile, "How much do you mean by 'a lot', exactly?"

    She instantly looked mortified, "Oh no!" she hung her head, taking her gaze from me.

    I heard Charlie's thoughts in that instant. He was just down the road from us. Before he arrived I wanted to let her know it was alright, that the many nights she said my name only made me love her more. I placed my arms around her, exerting the right amount of pressure, and pulled her to my chest tightly. I put my lips to her ear and whispered, "Don't be self-conscious. If I could dream at all, it would be about you. And I'm not ashamed of it." I admitted.

    I heard Charlie pull into the driveway at that moment, and realized Bella heard it too. She froze in my arms and ascertained that maybe she wasn't ready to introduce us, after all.

    "Should your father know I'm here?" I asked.

    "I'm not sure..." she hesitated.

    "Another time then..." and I released her and ran swiftly from the kitchen.

    "Edward!" Bella called out to me.

    I laughed softly then. Charlie placed the key in the lock at that moment and opened the door.

    I had moved up the stairs and into Bella's bedroom with a quick motion that no human would have seen. Charlie stepped through the front door in that moment, "Bella?" he called out.

    "In here" Bella responded a little breathless.

    I heard her open the microwave, pull her dinner out, and pull a chair out to probably sit on. I heard Charlie's footsteps as he walked from the front door to the kitchen. I still had a difficult time reading Charlie's thoughts, though it was obvious what they were this evening; tired and hungry.

    "Can you get me some of that? I'm bushed." Charlie asked.

    I heard some scuffling on the floor, as if he were taking his boots off. I had to concentrate hard to see Bella in Charlie's mind. He watched her take her food to the counter to eat it while she was preparing food for him. She was eating like she had never had food before, like she was completely ravenous. I instantly scolded myself for forgetting to bring food to the meadow today.

    "Thanks," Charlie said, and continued to watch Bella.

    Charlie could tell there was something off about Bella; he just couldn't put his finger on it. He watched as she took large bites of food, rushing her meal.

    "How was your day?" Bella rushed the words in between large bites of food.

    Was she anxious to see me again? Is that why she was rushing? Charlie knew there was something up, but he still didn't say anything, "Good. The fish were biting...how about you? Did you get everything done that you wanted to?"

    "Not really – it was too nice out to stay indoors." She explained while taking another large bite of food.

    "It was a nice day," Charlie agreed, and he continued to watch his daughter eat her food like she was a starving child from Ethiopia.

    She had finished the rest of her food and gulped her milk down in a couple of chugs. I chuckled internally. I was standing in the corner of her room, breathing her scent in, while I waited for her.

    Suddenly, Charlie decided to say something about her behavior, and I listened intently. "In a hurry?" he asked.

    Was she in a hurry? Charlie imagined she maybe had plans with some friends this evening, and was actually surprised to hear her response, "Yeah, I'm tired. I'm going to bed early." she clarified.

    He wasn't convinced, "You look kinda keyed up."

    "Do I?" Bella responded.

    "It's Saturday," Charlie mused.

    Charlie's mind then began to wonder towards reasons of why she would be keyed up. Was she sneaking out? Was there a boy involved? Did she have plans with someone she didn't want to tell him about? I grinned widely at this, because there was someone she wasn't telling him about, and that person is in her room.

    "No plans tonight?" Charlie asked, trying to figure out what was going on.

    "No, Dad, I just want to get some sleep." Bella replied, a little annoyance in her tone.

    "None of the boys in town your type, eh?" Charlie asked, still trying to get more information.

    If only she knew the type of boy she was interested in.

    "No, none of the boys have caught my eye yet," she told him, and she slightly emphasized the word boy, though Charlie didn't notice.

    Suddenly, I was...angry...or jealous when I heard Charlie's next thought. He wants Bella to date Mike Newton. If only he knew what kind of kid he really was. Mike would easily trade a girl out for another one that is a better model, how could he want that for his daughter?

    "I thought maybe that Mike Newton...you said he was friendly." Charlie smiled at the thought.

    "He's just a friend, Dad." Bella said, annoyed.

    The jealousy was still raging inside me, I loathe the Newton kid. I would damage him if he were to try to take Bella from me.

    "Well, you're too good for them all, anyway." That's an understatement, I thought, "Wait till you get to college to start looking," Charlie was pleased she wasn't dating anyone, or looking to date anyone for that matter...if only he knew.

    "Sounds like a good idea to me," Bella agreed.

    I was hoping I was excluded from that statement, though I am sure that I was, since I am the one waiting for her in her bedroom with her unsuspecting father in the kitchen below.

    I heard Bella's light footsteps going up the stairs, slowly. I wanted to run down them, grab her up into my arms, pull her close to my chest and race back up the stairs, just so I wouldn't have to waste another second away from her.

    "'Night, honey," Charlie called to her.

    Charlie was still not completely convinced, and he was making plans and arranging ways to keep Bella home, just in case she were to try and leave without his permission. I didn't blame him though; I was just as protective of her as he was.

    "See you in the morning, Dad." She called out.

    Bella was still climbing the stairs, slowly, deliberately slow, even. I was becoming impatient. She finally reached the top of the stairs and entered her bed room. She rushed across the floor on her tip toes in an attempt to muffle her footsteps. It worked for Charlie's ears, but not mine. She didn't see me, and I just continued to watch her. She reached the window, flung it wide open, looked back and forth, squinted her eyes, and then whispered, "Edward?"

    During her scuttle to the window, and her searching outside, I walked swiftly to her bed and lay there, placing my hands behind my head all without making a single sound. I chuckled then, and whispered, "Yes?"

    She turned around so quickly that I felt a breeze from her movement. Her fragrance lapped at my tongue when I caught my breath. It was still amazingly sweet, and doubly tempting. Her hand reached up and grabbed at her throat while her heart starting pounding out loud palpitations.

    I had a large smile splayed across my face.

    "Oh!" she gasped and sank quickly to the floor.

    I pursed my lips, trying to hold back a chuckle, "I'm sorry."

    Her heart was beating rapidly, "Just give me a minute to restart my heart."

    I sat up slowly, as to not shock her again. I leaned forward then, and reached out, grabbed her by her arms and placed her on the bed next to me. I didn't want her to be sitting on the floor. And I want to be closer to her, I added mentally.

    "Why don't you sit with me," I suggested. I put my hand over hers, "How's the heart?"

    "You tell me – I'm sure you hear it better than I do." She said sarcastically.

    I chuckled low, it was true, I could hear her heart, and tell her that it was beating at eighty beats per minute, which is fast for her heart, but it has lowered since I startled her, then it was ninety beats per minute. We sat there in silence for several long moments. I was listening intently on her heart, as it finally reached about her normal heart rate of sixty-five beats per minute. Once she calmed down she turned to look at me, "Can I have a minute to be human?" she asked.

    "Certainly," and I motioned my hand to indicate she should go ahead.

    She looked at me for another moment, "Stay," she commanded.

    "Yes, Ma'am." I replied and in that moment I froze, showing her that I wasn't going anywhere.

    She rose from the bed swiftly, grabbed some clothes off the floor, a bag off the desk and left the room. She left the light off, but that was not an issue, I could see clearly in the dark. Her scent was still lingering, and I breathed in several generous gulps.

    I heard her bang a door loudly, probably the bathroom door. I could hear her running water in the bathroom. After a few minutes, the scent hit me...she was in the shower. Her aroma floated under the bedroom door and right to my nose, surrounding my whole body. I could smell the soap she was using and I could smell her blood, as the shower water warmed it. Bella's scent when she was in the rain enriched her scent beyond belief...but this, this was almost torture.

    Her scent was so extravagant and delicious that my mouth was watering and venom flowed freely in my mouth. I didn't know if I could take it, I grabbed at her mattress and pulled my free hand to my chest as I tried to cage the monster that was breaking free in this moment. As the scent continued to flow through the room, I was beginning to see her as my prey. All my desires had reared up in this moment, and I knew that I needed to keep them in check.

    The water shut off then and I heard movement in the shower. The thirst was still overwhelming. I was becoming anxious at this moment that I would do something I would regret. Should I flee? I was quickly going through all the outcomes that could happen in this moment. Suddenly, pulling me from my distraction, I heard a thought that was screaming loudly.

    Edward! I've only come here to warn you of the many flashes I have seen in my head since Bella left you alone in her room. Please, please, be careful. Alice's thoughts were a warning.

    The visions that she had in her head had pulled me out of my hunting status. I was very grateful to her tonight. She could have easily let it play out, and see Bella possibly become a living statue like me. She had stayed close, just like I asked her to, and she might have saved Bella's life. Her visions had flashed through my head and shown me what I might have done. The thoughts instantly burned me, not in a thirsty way, in an way that would make me beg for death if they were to come true. The monster was now securely caged in my chest. I went to the window where I saw Alice standing in the trees, and whispered, "Thank you."

    You're welcome, Edward. By the way, I hope you are still planning on asking her to come over. Alice mused.

    I whispered with a little bit of a growl this time, "Thanks, Alice, you can go now."

    Just a thought, Alice chuckled and ran swiftly from the house.

    I heard the bathroom door open in that moment. I moved quickly back to her bed, and resumed my statute pose. I could hear Bella literally running down the stairs. She stopped in the middle, "'Night Dad," she called down to Charlie.

    Charlie's thoughts were confused, and he was still not convinced she was not up to any good.

    "'Night, Bella." he called back up to her.

    I heard her jumping up the stairs. The bedroom door flung open, she turned quickly, and shut the door slowly behind her. She smiled at me and I returned her grin. I gazed at her appearance, her hair was still wet from the shower and she was wearing a holey t-shirt with grey sweat pants, and she was absolutely striking. Her smell was tremendously intoxicating, but now that she was here in the room, the monster who almost got free, didn't even scratch at my chest. I raised one eyebrow then, "Nice."

    She frowned. She had gotten the wrong impression, "No, it looks good on you." I tried to explain.

    "Thanks," she whispered.

    She crossed the room and sat on the bed, crossing her legs beside me. She wasn't looking at me; she was staring at the floor.

    "What was all of that for?" I asked about her running down the stairs and running back up.

    "Charlie thinks I'm sneaking out." She mused.

    She is perceptive, "Oh," I said, trying to sound like I had no idea, "Why?"

    "Apparently, I look a little over excited."

    I reached over and lightly placed my finger under her chin to lift it up so I could see her face, and read her eyes. I took air in my lungs then, and the aroma coming off her body should be illegal.

    "You look very warm, actually." I mused.

    In the moment, I had to know what her skin felt like after being in that hot shower for so long. I slowly bent my face to meet her cheek. Bella didn't move. My mouth was to her ear, "Mmmmmm...," I breathed in her ear, she smelt absolutely delectable.

    Her breathing picked up along with her pulse. I was instantly eager, like I had been when we first kissed.

    "It seems to be...much easier for you, now, to be close to me," she thought.

    "Does it seem that way to you?" I murmured.

    It was true; it was getting easier for me to be around her. I'm afraid if I were to be away from her for any period of time that I would have to start all over, giving me yet another excuse to stay with her.

    I moved my nose so it lightly caressed her jaw line. I reached up to move her hair away from her neck with the lightest of touches. She trembled under my touch. I moved my lips to the hollow under her ear and kissed lightly.

    "Much, much easier," she breathed.

    Her pulse was hammering.

    "Hmm." I murmured in her ear.

    "So I was wondering...," Bella began talking, but I hushed her immediately with my touch.

    I started stroking her collarbone with my finger tip, but I was still curious, "Yes?" I breathed in her ear. She trembled again.

    "Why is that, do you think?" her voice was trembling with pleasure.

    I laughed lightly, breathing in her ear, realizing that it would cause her to tremble again. Her pulse picked up, "Mind over matter," I breathed.

    She pulled away from me then. Instantly I was nervous I had done something perverse. I wanted to pull her back to me. I froze; worried I did something incredibly wrong. I clenched my jaw in worry. She stared fixedly at me, her eyes cautious. I slowly and deliberately unclenched my teeth. What was the matter?

    "Did I do something wrong?"

    "No – the opposite. You're driving me crazy," she exclaimed.

    I was euphoric in that moment. She was enjoying this as much as I was.

    "Really?" I asked, exultant.

    A smile gradually spread across my previously worried face.

    "Would you like a round of applause?" she asked, her voice acerbic.

    My grin became wider, "I'm just pleasantly surprised," I explained, "In the last hundred years or so, I never imagined anything like this. I didn't believe I would ever find someone I wanted to be with...in another way than my brothers and sisters. And then to find, even though it's all new to me, that I'm good at it...at being with you..."

    Belle interrupted, "You're good at everything."

    The only thing I cared about being good at was being with her. I shrugged and we both silently laughed.

    "But how can it be so easy now?" she asked, pure curiosity in her eyes, "This afternoon..."

    "It's not easy," I sighed, "But this afternoon, I was still... undecided. I am sorry about that; it was unforgiveable for me to behave so." Before the self chastisement could commence she was quickly disagreeing, "Not unforgiveable."

    She was ever so self sacrificing, "Thank you," I smiled, "You see," I continued, taking my eyes from her so she couldn't read the chagrin, "I wasn't sure if I was strong enough..."

    I reached out and pulled her hand to my face, letting it warm my cheek, "And while there was still that possibility that I might be...overcome" I sucked in the air at her wrist, letting it envelope me, "I was...susceptible. Until I made up my mind that I was strong enough, that there was no possibility at all that I would...that I ever could..." I couldn't say the words that would condemn me.

    "So there's no possibility now?" she asked, hope in her voice.

    "Mind over matter," I repeated, and smiled at her, even though it wasn't completely true.

    "Wow, that was easy," she said, amused.

    Unbelievable, I threw my head back and chuckled in whispers at the ceiling.

    "Easy for you!" I told her as I lightly touched the tip of her nose with my finger.

    The touch sent electricity through me, like it always does when we touch. She needed to understand though, that it wasn't easy for me at all, I had been fighting with so many desires when I was around her I was unsure if I could constantly keep them all caged.

    "I'm trying," I whispered to her and to my thoughts, "If it gets to be...too much, I'm fairly sure I'll be able to leave."

    Who was I kidding? Would I ever be able to leave this wonderful soul now that I found her? I would never find someone like her again. She frowned at me then.

    "And it will be harder tomorrow," I continued, "I've had the scent of you in my head all day, and I've grown amazingly desensitized. If I'm away from you for any length of time, I'll have to start over again. Not quite from scratch, though. I think" I explained to her.

    I wanted her to realize that I am still a blood drinking killer, and that her blood was still the sweetest of them all.

    "Don't go away, then," she pleaded.

    More than happy, I replied, "That suits me," and I smiled at her loving face, "Bring on the shackles – I'm your prisoner."

    I encompassed my hands around her wrists. I laughed quietly.

    "You seem more...optimistic than usual," she ascertained, "I haven't seen you like this before."

    "Isn't it supposed to be like this?" I grinned widely, "The glory of first love, and all that. It's incredible, isn't it, the difference between reading about something, seeing it in the pictures, and experiencing it?"

    If this was not love, I would like to know what it was. I had never felt so euphoric before.

    "Very different," she agreed, "More forceful than I'd imagined."

    "For example: the emotion of jealousy; I've read about it a hundred thousand times, seen actors portray it in a thousand different plays and movies. I believed I understood that one pretty clearly. But it shocked me..." I frowned, remembering how all the boys in town lined up for Bella, "Do you remember the day Mike asked you to the dance?"

    She was looking intently at me. She nodded, "The day you started talking to me again."

    "I was surprised by the flare of resentment, almost fury that I felt – I didn't recognize what it was at first. I was even more aggravated than usual that I couldn't know what you were thinking, why you refused him. Was it simply for your friend's sake? Was there someone else? I knew I had no right to care either way. I tried not to care. And then the line started forming," I laughed at the memory of her face as she became angrier each time someone asked her to the dance.

    Bella frowned at the memory.

    "I waited, unreasonably anxious to hear what you would say to them, to watch your expressions. I couldn't deny the relief I felt, watching the annoyance on your face. But I couldn't be sure.

    "That was the first night I came here. I wrestled all night, while watching you sleep, with the chasm between what I knew was right, moral, ethical, and what I wanted. I knew if I continued to ignore you as I should or if I left for a few years, till you were gone, that someday you would say yes to Mike or someone like him. It made me angry."

    "And then," I whispered, "as you were sleeping, you said my name. You spoke so clearly, at first I thought you'd woken. But you rolled over restlessly and mumbled my name once more, and sighed. The feeling that coursed through me then was unnerving, staggering. And I knew I couldn't ignore you any longer."

    During my small speech, Bella's heart began to pound, and her pulse began to race, I continued, "But jealousy...it's a strange thing. So much more powerful than I would have thought. And irrational. Just now, when Charlie asked you about that vile Mike Newton..." I shook my head, I absolutely hated that kid.

    "I should have known you'd be listening," she grumbled.

    "Of course," I said, it should be obvious.

    "That made you feel jealous, though, really?" she asked, skeptical.

    Irrational, I repeated in my head, "I'm new at this; you're resurrecting the human in me, and everything feels stronger because it's fresh." I tried to explain my illogical thoughts.

    "But honestly, for that to bother you, after I have to hear that Rosalie – Rosalie, the incarnation of pure beauty, Rosalie – was meant for you. Emmett or no Emmett, how can I compete with that?" She scoffed.

    I felt a sensation in my chest...she was jealous of me! It felt wonderful that she should feel that away. Irrational, I thought again.

    "There's no competition," I smiled.

    Her wrists were still in my hands and I pulled her closer, bringing her hands to my back. I held her to my chest. She was very still, and was taking light, even breaths. Her scent was amazingly warm and was oh so pleasant.

    "I know there's no competition," she muttered into my chest, "That's the problem."

    She thinks that Rosalie is better than her? Insane! If she knew Rosalie, she would understand that her beauty far outweighs Rosalie's!

    "Of course Rosalie is beautiful in her way, but even if she wasn't like a sister to me, even if Emmett didn't belong with her, she could never have one tenth, no, one hundredth of the attraction you hold for me. For almost ninety years I've walked among my kind and yours...all the time thinking I was complete in myself, not realizing what I was seeking. And not finding anything, because you weren't alive yet." I tried to explain, to show her how much she means to me.

    "It hardly seems fair," she whispered, still securely wrapped in my arms, "I haven't had to wait at all. Why should I get off so easily?" she wondered.

    "You're right," I chuckled, "I should make this harder for you, definitely."

    I released one of my hands that was holding her wrists behind my back, and quickly grabbed up both of her wrists in my one hand. I brought my freed hand to her face then, and gently brushed her hair, moving my hand from the top of her head down to her waist. She trembled under my touch and it sent pleasurable sensations rippling through me.

    "You only have to risk your life every second you spend with me, that's surely not much. You only have to turn your back on nature, on humanity...what's that worth?" I asked.

    "Very little – I don't feel deprived of anything," she murmured.

    "Not yet," I replied, grief thickly covering my every word.

    When she realizes her mistake, she will leave me, and it will be for someone who is human, someone who can grow old with her. She tried to pull away from me now, and I couldn't let her see the sadness that was on my face. I held her tightly to my chest.

    "What..." she began to ask something.

    I froze, because Charlie's thoughts were evident, he was going to check on Bella, She better be in her bed. Charlie thought.

    I released her hands, even though it caused me pain to do so, and moved into a corner of the room where Charlie wouldn't see me. I suddenly realized that Bella had no idea what was going on, "Lie down!" I whispered fiercely.

    She quickly wrapped herself in her quilt and lay down on her side. Charlie cracked open the door only a second later. I watched as she exaggerated each breath and I rolled my eyes. Charlie could tell she wasn't completely asleep either. He stood there for a whole minute before closing the door quietly. Bella never moved. Had she fallen asleep?

    I moved swiftly over to her and I wrapped my arms around her under the covers. Her heart skipped a beat and then began speeding up. Her pulse was racing. I was instantly eager. I put my lips to her ear, "You are a terrible actress – I'd say that career path is out for you." I breathed.

    She trembled, and then replied, "Darn it," she whispered.

    I held her securely to my chest and I began to hum her lullaby that I composed. I hesitated for a moment, "Would you like me to sing you to sleep?" I asked.

    "Right," she laughed, "Like I could sleep with you here!"

    "You do it all the time," I reminded her.

    "But I didn't know you were here," she said, her voice snippy.

    It was true; she hadn't known I was here. I didn't want to leave though, so I decided a compromise would be best, "So if you don't want to sleep..." I breathed in her ear.

    I had other ideas...of things we could do, but I knew that my insatiable desires could cause me to lose control, especially if she were to embrace me back like she did this afternoon. I couldn't imagine how I would feel if I lost control. I banished the thought from my mind immediately.

    "If I don't want to sleep...?" she responded.

    I laughed in whispers, "What do you want to do then?"

    She hesitated for a moment, and that moment felt like a life time...if only I could read her thoughts.

    "I'm not sure," she said timidly.

    I couldn't make this decision for her, she had to decide...it was her choice; it has to always be her choice.

    "Tell me when you decide," I replied.

    I brought my nose to her neck and engulfed her scent. Daggers were being dragged down my throat, I was sure of it. The burning desire enthralled me. I slid my nose up her neck to her jaw, breathing in her scent, her incredibly appetizing scent.

    "I thought you were desensitized"

    "Just because I'm resisting the wine, doesn't mean I can't appreciate the bouquet," I whispered against her ear, "You have a very floral smell, like lavender...or freesia, it's mouthwatering." I trailed my nose down her neck again, inhaling the sweet scent.

    "Yeah, it's an off day when I don't get somebody telling me how edible I smell," she said sarcastically.

    I laughed lightly and failed to suppress a sigh.

    "I've decided what I want to do, I want to hear more about you," she told me.

    I could handle this, "Ask me anything" I prompted.

    She paused for a moment, "Why do you do it?" she asked, curiosity flaring in her voice, "I still don't understand how you can work so hard to resist what you...are. Please don't misunderstand; of course I'm glad that you do. I just don't see why you would bother in the first place." she pointed out.

    I wasn't sure how to answer this, I had to think how the right way to explain it, "That's a good question, and you are not the first to ask it. The others – the majority of our kind who are quite content with our lot – they, too, wonder at how we live. But you see, just because we've been...dealt a certain hand...it doesn't mean that we can't chose to rise above – to conquer the boundaries of a destiny that none of us wanted. To try to retain whatever essential humanity we can." I explained to her.

    She didn't move, but she was still snuggled securely against me. I waited for a few moments, no sound. I was worried instantly, then realized she might be asleep, "Did you fall asleep?" I whispered in her ear.

    "No." she whispered back.

    "Is that all you were curious about?" I wondered.

    "Not quite," she said like I should know better.

    "What else do you want to know?" I asked, curious now.

    "Why can you read minds – why only you? And Alice, seeing the future...why does that happen?" she whispered.

    I shrugged then, not really knowing how to answer this question. I contemplated for only a second, "We don't really know. Carlisle has a theory...he believes that we all bring something of our strongest human traits with us into the next life, where they are intensified – like our minds, and our senses. He thinks that I must have already been very sensitive to the thoughts of those around me. And that Alice had some precognition, wherever she was."

    I only quit speaking for a second before she had another question, "What did he bring into the next life, and the others?" she was incredibly curious, which I don't blame her for.

    "Carlisle brought his compassion. Esme brought her ability to love passionately. Emmett brought his strength, Rosalie her...tenacity. Or you could all if pigheadedness," I laughed, "Jasper is very interesting. He was quite charismatic in his first life, he was able to influence those around him to see things his way. Now he is able to manipulate the emotions of those around him – calm down a room of angry people, for example, or excite a lethargic crowd, conversely. It's a very subtle gift."

    She lay there, very still and quiet. Maybe she had fallen asleep. I waited for a few minutes, moving my nose up and down her neck, breathing in her fragrance once more. She finally spoke, "So where did it all start? I mean, Carlisle changed you, and then someone must have changed him, and so on..."

    She was asking an impossible question. I tried to think about it logically, "Well, where did you come from? Evolution? Creation? Couldn't we have evolved in the same way as other species, predator and prey? Or, if you don't believe that all this world could have just happened on its own, which is hard for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the same force that created the delicate angelfish with the shark, the baby seal and the killer whale, could create both our kinds together?" I mused.

    She hesitated, "Let me get this straight – I'm the baby seal, right?" she asked, a smile in her voice.

    "Right," I laughed, agreeing.

    I brought my lips to her hair then. I took a deep breath of her heady scent. She was silent then, "Are you ready to sleep?" I asked, "Or do you have any more questions?"

    "Only a million or two," she responded, and I grinned widely.

    It felt amazing to know that she wanted to know everything about me.

    "We have tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...," I promised her.

    I knew from this moment on, I would never leave her side. What her fate was, I was still unsure, but as long as I stood as protector, she would stay human and in my arms.

    "Are you sure you won't vanish in the morning?" she asked, seriously, "You are mythical, after all," she added playfully.

    "I won't leave you," and my promise was unconditional.

    "One more, then, tonight..."

    I couldn't see her blush, but I could smell the blood rushing up to her face and I could hear her pulse speeding up. I was instantly curious, "What is it?"

    She replied immediately, "No, forget it. I changed my mind."

    What was she thinking? It was so infuriating. I groaned in her ear, letting her know my frustration, "I keep thinking it will get less frustrating, not hearing your thoughts. But it gets worse and worse." I complained.

    "I'm glad you can't read my thoughts. It's bad enough that you eavesdrop on my sleep-talking," she replied, her voice acerbic.

    I would have gotten down on my knees and begged her if I thought it would help, but I decided to go another route. I brought my lips to her ear and breathed in deeply and let out a light gust of air. She shivered in pleasure. I tried asking then, "Please," I begged.

    She shook her head. Apparently I am not as persuasive as I thought, I decided to try another route, "If you don't tell me, I'll just assume it's something much worse than it is," I threatened.

    She said nothing, she didn't even move, "Please?" I pleaded.

    Finally she spoke, "Well," she began.

    When she hesitated I thought I was going to go insane. The never ending silence of her thoughts was driving me over the edge. I was extremely frustrated. I tried to convince her to continue, "Yes?"

    "You said Rosalie and Emmett will get married soon...Is that...marriage...the same as it is for humans?" she was blushing.

    I knew she was blushing; the scent of her blood was heavy in her face. Her pulse was still racing. I took air in my lungs at her neck. I understood why she was blushing though and laughed lightly, "Is that what you're getting at?" I asked.

    Suddenly, I realized what was different about Bella in one of Alice's most recent visions. Bella, crimson red eyes, arm in arm with Alice, a ring on her ring finger, a very familiar ring... my mothers. Bella interrupted my revelation. She began fidgeting, "Yes, I suppose it is much the same," I replied, "I told you, most of those human desires are there, just hidden behind more powerful desires." I explained, still lost in my new revelation.

    I was anxious. Is that what our future held? It looked peaceful, wonderful...but how could I take her soul? I wouldn't, I refuse.

    "Oh," Bella breathed.

    I was instantly curious as to why this was brought up, "Was there a purpose behind your curiosity?" I asked.

    "Well, I did wonder...," she hesitated, "about you and me...someday..." her sentence trailed off.

    I froze. She was thinking about us being married. I couldn't imagine losing control with her. I would kill her! I also knew I would never take her soul and change her. Alice had to be mistaken!

    "I don't think that...that...would be possible for us." I said, very serious.

    "Because it would be too hard for you, if I were that...close?" she wondered.

    "That's certainly a problem. But that's not what I was thinking of. It's just that you are so soft, so fragile. I have to mind my actions every moment that we're together so that I don't hurt you. I could kill you quite easily, Bella, simply my accident." I explained to her, hoping she realized that I would never hurt her, therefore – I can never lose control.

    I moved my hand to her cheek. The warmth only pressed my point on her breakable state, "If I was too hasty...if for one second I wasn't paying enough attention, I could reach out, meaning to touch your face, and crush your skull by mistake. You don't realize how incredibly breakable you are. I can never, never afford to lose any kind of control when I'm with you."

    She didn't respond. Her silence was unnerving. With every breath she took, I became more anxious, "Are you scared?" I asked, worried.

    She still didn't respond. Had she gone to sleep? No, her pulse was still hammering and her breath was still staggered. I secured my arms around her, hoping to reassure her that I would never hurt her. She finally spoke, "No. I'm fine." she lied smoothly.

    I thought about it for a minute. I had questions of my own now, "I'm curious now, though," I said lightly, "Have you ever...?" I didn't finish my sentence, hoping she would realize what I was asking.

    She responded immediately, "Of course not." I could smell the blood rushing to her face again, "I told you I've never felt like this about anyone before, not even close."

    I instantly felt appalled for ever thinking that Bella was like a normal human.

    "I know. It's just that I know other people's thoughts. I know love and lust don't always keep the same company." I explained.

    "They do for me. Now, anyway, that they exist for me at all," she sighed.

    I tightened my arms around her again, and took her fragrance into my lungs, letting my throat burn in pleasure, "That's nice. We have that one thing in common, at least." I said, pleased.

    In my whole existence, I had never been with another woman, human or vampire. I had never been this physically or emotionally close to anyone. I was grateful that I waited until this moment to be with Bella. Being with anyone else was unconceivable. The sensations I am feeling are incredible and worth the wait.

    "Your human instincts..." she began, I waited, "Well, do you find me attractive, in that way, at all?"

    I was taken aback. Did she seriously think I found her unattractive in any sort of way? I laughed low, to not let Charlie hear. I moved one of my hands to her hair and lightly fluffed it up.

    "I may not be human, but I am a man," I assured her.

    Suddenly, she was yawning. I was keeping her awake, she needed to get sleep, "I've answered your questions, now you should sleep," I insisted.

    "I'm not sure if I can."

    It broke my heart to ask her, but it always had to be Bella's choice, "Do you want me to leave?" there was sadness in my voice.

    "No!" She almost yelled.

    I laughed; I became light hearted immediately at her exclamation. I began humming her lullaby in her ear again. We laid there for only a few moments before Bella's breathing became deep.

    Then, the talking began.

     

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