She was surrounded by a lake, its only island the spot she stood on, and there were bodies floating in the water. The current pushed them towards her, and Bella curled back, calling out 'Edward'. It was such a trapping feeling, to not be able to rescue herself. She needed Edward, needed the Cullens to come in on their dark horses and save her.
It was too much. One day they would tire of it.
Suddenly a loud buzzing noise interrupted the lake, sending ripples through the water and erasing the dead bodies. And then she was no longer standing on an island. Edward's arms were around her, protectively, and her alarm clock declared its independence very loudly. Charlie would hear it. Automatically reaching an arm over to her nightstand, Bella swatted the alarm clock until it fell; the buzzing noise stopped.
Stretching, she turned, rolling into Edward's chest, and smiled.
"Do I have to get up?" Her voice was quiet, and as convincing as a human could be. She lived for the nighttime, when Edward came, and for the mornings, when Edward's face was her solace. He was unfailing in his promises. He would never grow tired of her, Bella reasoned silently. She wouldn't let him.
"Are you coming today?" It was a nonchalant question, but they both knew she was anxious to know the answer. Bella hadn't checked the weather for today yet, and yesterday the sunshine had kept Edward from Biology; Mike Newton offered to be her lab partner, and he accidentally spilled HCl on his hand. >.>
With begrudging effort, Bella slid herself out of his arms and stood up, moving towards her closet to get dressed.
Edward chuckled at her lack of desire to get out of bed. "Yes, you have to get up," he replied, although he wouldn't have minded if she stayed in his arms all day. He kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes. Maybe he could convince her to skip school, as wrong as that would be. This was her first time in high school. She couldn't afford to have the same attendance record as him.
He tucked her hair behind her ear and looked down at her in the bed. "I haven't looked outside yet. If it's overcast, I might be able to work it out, if I change where I sit so then I'm not near any windows..." he mused, absentmindedly playing with her hair. "What's today's bio lab?" he asked as she slid out of his arms. He got off the bed and looked out Bella's window, careful not to look at her while she was changing. He stuffed his hands in his pockets as he watched the clouds roll by, the sun making a very rare appearance.
Sometimes Bella wondered how comfortable a life Edward led. It seemed, on the outside, to be the epitome of desire; go to school when it's convenient (he'd been through high school enough times to merit a sporadic attendance record), never have to bother with not getting enough sleep, and if the world suffered an epidemic or a famine he'd smile through the whole ordeal.
This made her feel a sudden longing for the same nonchalant attitude. She could stay home with him if... well...
Edward's question stopped the thought from developing, and Bella searched through her closet for a simple t-shirt and a pair of jeans, while answering over her shoulder. "I'm not sure, actually. Probably something you can afford to miss. Don't you have a Masters in science? Multiple Masters?" Bella laughed.
Just as she settled on a t-shirt, something caught her eye. It was a small, crumpled envelope on the floor of her closet. A jacket had been covering it, but it was knocked askew in her search. Bella leaned down to pick it up, carefully pulling the edges apart. On the front of the envelope, in sloppy crayon writing, it read, 'HAPS BIRTHDY BELLS'.
"Ergh," she flicked the envelope out of her hand. "I hate birthdays." She muttered, grabbing a pair of jeans and turning back towards Edward. Eeek let's hope he didn't hear that.
Edward continued to look out the window, staring at the cars slowly passing by. He scratched the back of his head, still debating whether or not he wanted to go to school. Sitting dangerously close to Bella for an entire period was an inviting prospect. "I could skip, but then you wouldn't have a lab partner, and I don't think you want to be paired up with Mike Newton again." He smirked. "I have a couple of Masters and a doctorate, actually. I theoretically could be a doctor, but I don't think I'm quite strong enough to control myself around a person who's bleeding profusely," he said quietly, tapping his fingers on the windowsill.
He couldn't help himself from laughing at Bella's remark on her birthday. "Hate them or not, yours is happening. You can't stop it."
"Oh, no? I'd have thought you have wonderful self control," Bella smirked, walking past him towards the bathroom. Although she did not particularly mind Edward watching her change, she knew that he might find it startling. Aside from crumbling from just one kiss, she hadn't expressed any physical desires from him. There was the occasional cheeky comment, but nothing to make Edward believe that she wanted more than a life-threatening kiss.
They were incredible kisses.
Slipping into the bathroom, she quickly changed. There wasn't much time to sidetrack with vanity, so she pulled her hair up into a careless ponytail. Through the bathroom door she yelled, "Please, don't leave me with Mike Newton!"
Charlie had gone to work long ago, so it was perfectly fine to yell at Edward all she wanted, until he caved.
Emerging from the bathroom with flecks of water still on her face from where she washed it moments earlier, Bella smiled hopefully at Edward, moving towards him for a hug. Her voice was muffled against his soft chest, as her hands wrapped around his body. Even through the fabric of both their t-shirts she could feel his icy skin. It was soothing.
"You can put a sheet over your head and call it Halloween."
He was grateful that she went into the bathroom. It was bad enough feeling her body pressed against his in the night, but seeing the slightest bit of exposed skin would be going too far. He turned around and leaned against her wall, waiting for her to return. C
rossing is arms over his chest, he sighed heavily. She was going to get him to go to school against his will. "Fine..." he said as she walked back into the room. "I could practically hear you using your puppy dog eyes in the bathroom," he said as he wrapped his arms around her, pressing his lips against the top of her head. He was being selfish, wanting her to stay home from school.
"I can't use your sheets, they're not exactly ghost-costume colored. And I don't have sheets...I don't have a bed. But I'll run the risk of sparkling just for you," he joked, wiping beads of water from her cheek.
The feel of his protective embrace was what Bella thrived on. She lived for his affectionate kisses on her forehead, and his subtle brush-against-her-cheek movement with the back of his hand. Nothing could match his... his dazzling demeanor, and she would never give it up.
She could not banish Edward to a life of loyalty to an old woman, however. Eighteen was a good age -- it seemed like the right age -- for one to change. Enough of life had been lived out to be satisfying, and humanity offered prime suffering, so now she felt ready to move on.
Eternity with Edward was one bite away and it kept slipping from her grasp. Perhaps Alice...
Edward's soft brush against her cheek made her forget how to form coherent thoughts, as she looked up at him dizzily. Without thinking, she caught his hand and brought it to her mouth, kissing the knuckles gently. They were so white, but alluring in their pallid nature. "Now how are we going to spend an eternity together without a bed? Sleep I can give up, but a comfy mattress? Compromise, Edward." Bella winked, pausing in her sprinkle of kisses to meet his topaz eyes.
Hopefully he'd received the hint, and taken it in stride. Change us now!
He couldn't read her mind, but he knew what she was thinking. What she'd been thinking about, bringing up, for months. He knew what she wanted most from him. The look in her eyes made his knees weak, a feeling he was sure he'd never felt before, in his near century of living. His body stiffened at the mention of eternity together. "Bella," he said softly, the tone of his voice saying much more than her name. He sighed unnecessarily and stared into her eyes. Using his other hand, he threaded his fingers through her hair, unable to vocalize his thoughts on the matter.
It almost made him sad to think of her as a vampire. The months of struggle she'd go through after her change, trying her best to stay to their strictly 'vegetarian' diet. He couldn't bring himself to think of her in those first three agonizing days where she would turn into a soulless being, like him.
Her breath caught in her throat, as she shifted her expression from inviting to indignant. Did he not want to spend eternity with her? Bella pursed her lips, searching his eyes for a spark of possibility. Something to reprieve her from this longing.
Either forever with Edward or just another day with no one. Putting it in black and white may be wrong, but it certainly cleared up the gray areas.
Once, Bella had thought about asking Alice to explain the transformation in detail; it seemed like a touching subject, so instead she waited. Jasper wasn't keen on her (he was good at avoiding, however), and Rosalie... had her reserves. Emmett was never in the same room long enough to warrant questioning, and Edward was too protective...
But she wanted to know.
Drawing back from his chest, Bella took his cold hand and tugged him towards the door. "Come on, we'll be late," she said in a dulcet tone. Best to loosen him up before introducing the storm.
Once they were downstairs, Bella forced some cereal in her mouth, and in between spoonfuls she put on a jacket and grabbed her backpack. Finally she stood at the doorway, hand out for Edward to take, and a contemplative look hiding her normal smile. How would she ask him?
He sighed in frustration at her reaction. He wanted to spend every day of the rest of his existence with her. But he wouldn't risk her soul for his selfish desires.
He told her that he was dangerous. That they shouldn't be doing this. Someday it would have to end. Either with him leaving, hoping she'd have a better life without him...or her death, at a very old age. He couldn't think about changing her, not now. It killed him that uncertainty coursed through her whenever he denied her the thought of changing.
He watched her intently as she ate, silently trying to break down the wall between her mind and his. He grabbed his backpack and took her hand, squeezing it slightly. She had to know how much he loved her, how much he wanted things to stay as they were, without worrying about the rest of eternity. "Should I run and get my car or are we going in yours?" he asks, finally breaking the silence.
The silence was filled with more than Bella could verbalize, as she slid her fingers between his. She wanted this forever; to be with him and to feel the softness of his chilling skin, never worried about losing him. Otherwise life seemed a worthless anomaly, living every day only just to wake up next to the forever young love of her life.
That was no way to exist.
The truck was neutral territory, as far as Bella was concerned, so she responded in a warm tone, "let's take my truck. I want to drive you around for once." She smiled wanly, and slinked her arm around his waist so that she fit snugly underneath his arm. They walked to the car like that, and Bella rummaged for her keys in the front pocket of her backpack.
She unlocked the door, and as she climbed in her mind was racing. How to word this? Would Edward be angry? He'd have no choice once inside the car.
... then again, as a vampire, he'd have no trouble jumping from a moving vehicle.
"Edward?" She put her hand out for him to take, fretful of initiating the contact. It was a nervous habit of hers when there was something important to be said. True, Edward could not read her mind, but Bella was convinced he could understand all her mannerisms. "I need to ask you something."
Deep breath. Her voice was even. "What did it... feel like? And, don't give me a cryptic answer. I really want to.. to know."
"it'll take hours to get to school, then," Edward joked as they walked to her truck, practically wrapped around each other. He took in the feeling of her warmth against him and mourned the loss of it when she got into the drivers seat. He looked at her old car, disbelieving that such an old thing could still run, and well. Even though it couldn't go over 55 miles an hour.
He looked over at her as she spoke, taking her offered hand in his. The second the words were out of her mouth, every muscle in his body tightened once again. He rubbed his thumb over the scars on her hand, the ones that James gave her before the summer and shook his head. "Remember how it felt, when he...when he bit you? That feeling after?" he asked quietly and slowly. "Multiply that by about a million...and that's still no where near it." He clenched his jaw and tore his eyes away from her hand. "Was that uncryptic enough?"
At the mention of James Bella's hand froze in Edward's soft stroke. Usually he was the one who automatically went rigid when something unpleasant surfaced. The memory of that day, in the dance studio with James, was something Bella worked hard to bury. It was deep in a file cabinet in the back of her brain, where everything that threatened her sanity lay dormant inside folders of memories.
Now it was back. Every time she blinked James' face was burned into her eyelids. The way he set up the camera, the way he crouched like a venomous monster circling helpless prey; James encapsulated all that frightened Bella, even after his complete death.
"Everything... was on fire," she whispered, "I couldn't put it out. It was in my veins, my whole body." She tried to imagine suffering like that for days, and it made her involuntarily shiver. Edward did not receive the credit he deserved. Bella slid gently across her seat so that she could comfortably place her head in his lap. It was just for a moment -- otherwise they'd be late for school -- but she needed it.
"I'm sorry," she mumbled. For what, she did not know, but it felt necessary.
"You have nothing to be sorry for," he whispered, stroking her hair. "I know it's something weighing heavily on your mind and I'd be lying if I hadn't been thinking about it too..." Edward closed his eyes as his fingertips danced over the skin of her neck. "I just want you to know that's what you're in for, if you insist upon it..." He stuck his other hand out the window as a stray ray of sunshine poked out from the dreary clouds and he watched his skin sparkle for a moment before the sun disappeared again. "It's so much more than eternal life," he continued, still looking out the window. "More than hunting every few weekends in the woods for grizzlies." He didn't want to get into the gory details, but he felt as though leaving things cryptic was better off for her.
It was forever with Edward, and that was all Bella could comprehend. Subconsciously, she knew there were big consequences being overlooked by her fickle human nature, but it faded into unimportance. To her it seemed that even hell could be tolerable, fun even, so long as Edward was there.
Her eyes were drawn to his hand as it sparkled fleetingly in the sunlight. It briefly reminded her of that day in the meadow, when she saw him entirely emanating, pure and god-like, surrounded by trees with only her eyes to see. It made her smile, as she shifted in his lap. They were really going to be late to school.
Reluctantly, she lifted her head and stifled a yawn, while sliding her body back over. The car started with little trouble (although, the engine always stalls at least twice), and she drove towards Forks High School.
Once they arrived in the parking lot, Bella parked in an obscure back corner. She wasn't done with him quite yet. "Now," she grinned, leaning towards him, "I demand an early birthday present from you. It's the only present I'll willing accept. Besides..." She shrugged her shoulders, making sure to avoid bringing it up again; it was time to lighten the mood.
So, without warning, she grabbed the collar of his shirt and yanked him over to her side. Bella was never the one to initiate kisses, as they both knew the effect on her... but a little daring can go a long way.
There were fireworks, and she could feel Edward's shirt almost ripping in her hands. Well -- oops.
He could have spent all day parked in Bella's driveway, just sitting quietly together. He once again felt a twinge of sadness when she separated herself from him, starting the car and heading to the high school.
The drive to school was long and Edward became increasingly confused as they winded through the parking lot, parking much farther away from most of the other cars.
She leaned in close to him, a look in her eyes he'd seen a few times before...all of those times ending in him pushing her away, trying to maintain his self control. "Bella, what-" before he could finish his question, her lips were on his in a kiss like he'd never experienced before from her. He placed both hands on either side of her head, ready to push her away, but not yet. He knew they had to stop, that one, they couldn't do anything inappropriate in the parking lot, and two, couldn't do because he was afraid of what he could do if he wasn't completely rational. "Bella," he whispered warningly against her lips, cupping her cheeks. He couldn't bring himself to stop, and that fact scared him.
Bella usually relied on Edward to be her conscience, and end it before the bloodlust, or any lust for that matter, overcame his self control, but when he didn't pull away she just pressed on. The way he said her name was too inviting to ignore. They'd never kissed like this, and Bella was beginning to think it a shame.
Yet, when she felt soft fabric slip through her hands, she realized that Edward's shirt now had a gigantic tear in it. This prompted her to stop, however averse she was to removing her lips from his.
In a quick, parting movement Bella pulled herself away from Edward, her skin flushed and her lips almost red from kissing. She held up a piece of his shirt and grinned sheepishly.
"Ehehe," she gave a nervous laugh.
He was grateful for her pulling away from him. He wasn't sure he would have been able to stop. She didn't know his inner struggle. How much he wanted to be like a regular 17 year old boy, fooling around with his girlfriend without worrying about being too rough and possibly killing her. Part of Edward wanted to scold her for being so careless, she'd been warned multiple times that he couldn't be able to control himself if things went too far.
He looked at the piece of his shirt in her hand and couldn't help the crooked smile spreading across his face. "And that, dear Bella, is why we have to be more careful than we just were. Although I'd never imagined that you'd be the one tearing my clothes off..." he said tentatively, trying to keep the mood light, but still giving her a warning. "Looks like I'm going to have to run home and change my shirt during homeroom," he said, taking the piece from her. "And I liked this shirt, too," he joked, placing the fabric over the hole.
"I wouldn't have to tear your clothes off if you weren't so dazzling, Edward Cullen, so blame only yourself," Bella laughed, eying his sore attempt at patching the shirt up again by placing the fabric on top of the tear.
There was a small part of her that wanted to address his words; she wanted to remind him that, were she a vampire, self-control wouldn't be a constant source of stress. He'd be relinquished from a life of thirsting after his girlfriend, and she would be freed from the confines of a minimal-contact relationship.
"Oh, I'm sure there's plenty more like it. Just promise to wear a shirt you're less fond of tomorrow," she grinned, leaning forward as if she were about to kiss him again, but instead stopping short a few centimeters and winking. It was unnatural for her to be this coy, but the electricity from Edward's kiss was still governing her thoughts. She'd be the devil's right hand man for just another kiss like that.
From a distance Bella heard the shrill echo of the bell, starting homeroom. She gasped, quickly revving the engine and re-parking the car much closer. Clambering out of the car, she grabbed her backpack and rushed to the other side to hug Edward. "Going home now to fix it?" She smirked.
She was treading in very dangerous waters. He knew it and was trying to keep his guard up. "Well, don't let my dazzling overcome you too much, Miss Swan," he smiled and gave up his attempt to mend his shirt. If he had a beating heart, it'd be pounding through his chest.
He could still feel the way her lips were pressed against hers: hungry and wanting. He wished he could do more than kiss her a few times a day, but that's all he could allow himself. So much of him wanted to pull her back to his lips...to feel her pulse practically racing through her body as they kissed.
She leaned towards him again and he grew nervous at her forwardness. "We won't be ripping my shirts anymore, Bella," he warned, still trying to maintain a playful tone. "You're going to be the end of me, Bella Swan."
The bell rang and snapped him back to reality. "I suppose I should run home and change. I won't be more than a few minutes, if that. I might even make it back before they take attendance." He wrapped his arms around her, careful not to squeeze too tight. How could he spend an eternity with a girl he was scared he would break? The thought weighed heavily on his mind as he kissed the top of her head. There'd be a day when it was too much for her, where the frustration with their limited physical contact would bubble over and she'd find someone else. Someone who could touch her and be with her the way that a young couple in love should be together.
You're going to be the end of me, Bella Swan.
The words were so familiar; they became Edward's new maxim ever since they met. Though always in jest, Bella felt there was some sincerity in his words. The burden of knowing you might be the unraveling of your life's only love was disconcerting. But still, she found ways to combat the feeling -- remembering Edward's kisses.
Bella sighed, separating her body from his after a lingering hug, and the spot on her head where he kissed was burning. Every time he kissed her it lit her skin on fire; perhaps it should be called Edwardlust?
"Alright -- I should go. Unlike you, I'm a slow runner," she smiled, squeezing his hand. There was a moment of affection that had nothing to do with their body language, as Bella focused her eyes on his. Chills ran down her spine.
The late bell rang. She really needed to go.
"Ahhh, bye!" She tugged on his hand, but then let go, turning around and breaking into a run. So late!
Sometimes he hated how dependent he was on her, being with her, touching her. Especially the feeling that coursed through him when she separated her body from his. He'd never felt like this before. Sure, as a human, he had his fair share of crushes on girls, but this was so much more than a simple crush. This was love, something he'd only dreamt of all those decades ago.
It was a bittersweet feeling, being in love with Bella. He'd never been happier. But the feeling that this would someday have to end...that had the power to end his life all over again. When he looked into her eyes, he couldn't imagine a day without her in his life. He didn't want to think about who he was before the day he met her. And he really didn't want to think about the days after she would be gone from the earth that he was tied to.
"I'll see you in class," he called after her. Edward prayed that she wouldn't trip and fall on her run through the parking lot into the school.