Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Angel's Embrace Chapter 30

CHAPTER 30
BELLA
"I'm going to kill him," I growled to Alice, who was laughing hysterically. "Rose, say goodbye to that big dork."
"Bye, Emmett," Rose cackled.
"Damn, Rosie," Emmett frowned, sounding affronted. "You can't defend me?"
"No...I told you to shut the fuck up!" She laughed.
"All I'm saying is that between Jazz and Bells...it was a damn good night..." Emmett defended.
"Together," Jasper sighed, with a smirk. I laughed as Jasper and I both landed on Emmett, causing a grunt to escape him.
"That was sweet!" Jake laughed, tossing the football up in the air and catching it.
"Em, shut the fuck up!" Jasper growled. "First, there are human ladies present. Second, I'm damn sure Bells doesn't need her father to hear all the details of the undergarments that his daughter wears! One more word and I will make you eat an entire pumpkin pie!" Jasper and I had heard enough concerning the previous night. Our biggest brother didn't know when to quit. Jasper, being the Southern gentleman that he was, had finally reached his limit.
"With whipped cream," I sneered.
"Make me!" He scoffed.
"You don't think I can't trap you and force your mouth open?" I growled, gripping the front of his shirt. I heard Edward's chuckle behind me.
"Em, not only will they do it...they'll enjoy it," my husband laughed.
"And we'll help," Alice snorted, pointing to herself and Rose, who was nodding.
"What happens if you guys eat real food?" Jake mumbled to Edward.
"It sits uncomfortably in our stomachs until we get rid of it," Edward replied calmly.
"Throw up?" Jake laughed.
"Yes, Jake," Jasper chuckled. "What do you say, Em?"
"Ok, ok," Emmett sighed, as we finally let him up. "No pie...ok? Anything..."
"Emmett McCarty Cullen, get over here!" Esme growled, pointing to the ground in front of her feet.
"Aw, damn," Emmett whined, walking to her with his head hung low. "I'm sorry, Mom."
"I will rip the lips off of your face if one more word about last night comes out of them. Do you understand me?" She growled.
"God," Jasper sighed wistfully. "I just love when she tears into him. It's better than reality TV."
"Wow, Esme rocks," Seth chuckled.
"You have no idea," we all smiled, watching her describe to Emmett all the ways she could make his life miserable. When he mumbled something about me being the "baby" and her "favorite", she smacked the back of his head.
"I love you all!" She growled, glaring at him. "Behave, Em...I'm not kidding."
By now we were all on the ground laughing. Esme and I were about the same height and weight, but to see her wield her power over Emmett, the wolves were beside themselves.
Once he finally conceded to her, he plopped down next to Rose on the grass. She patted his head in sympathy, but her face was still showing her amusement. She loved him, but he got himself in trouble most of the time.
"So," Jake started, giving Emmett one last look and a shake of his head, "how's that Marcus guy?" For the moment, the football game was over.
"He's in Alaska," Edward answered, "in hiding. We can't let anyone know he's alive." He bent his knees and I leaned my back against his shins. His long fingers played with my ponytail.
"We didn't know he was important, dude," Jake sighed.
"Hell, we didn't know he was alive," Jasper shrugged. "He escaped Italy...but he may be able to help stop Felix. He's working on a plan. He's been trying to find others that may have run after the fire in Volterra."
"Isn't that dangerous...if he's trying to stay hidden?" Sam asked, leaning his elbows on his knees.
"Yes," Edward said, "but he's being careful. Eleazar is helping him. Demitri too."
Demitri and Carina had left for Italy to help find vampires in hiding just that morning. So far, they hadn't found very many by phone and thought that maybe going could help. Felix had scared or destroyed most of them, it seemed, so they were going to make sure. The two of them had moved to Denali to start planning a few months prior. We hadn't seen them in weeks and they were missed greatly. And we were worried to death about their trip.
Carlisle had worried about the two of them returning to Italy, especially Carina, but Demitri wouldn't hear of it. He wasn't letting her out of his sight ever again. It had resulted into a conversation that had the whole house on edge. I had forced the meeting out of my mind. I hated fighting with Edward.
Just before we left for La Push that morning, Demitri and Carina had stopped by to let us in on their plans before they left the country.
"Carlisle, it's the smartest decision," Edward urged.
"Edward, it's dangerous," our father sighed in frustration. "Carina, you barely have taken to this diet, plus Felix or Jane could see you. You too, Demitri, for that matter."
"I have to help," Carina pleaded. "We'll be sticking to the underground. Nowhere near the castle. Only I know where that is, Carlisle. I promise...I swear, we'll be careful."
"Yes, Carlisle," Edward smiled, "I'm sure they're aware that you feel that way. But in order to protect and help Marcus, they have to go. We can't stop Felix from here. We've tried. Someone has to go over there. I could go..." My ire flared. Only just months ago did he say that the war had to come to us. Of course, that was before Marcus had returned.
"Don't you even think about it," I growled, pointing to Edward. "I don't care if they land here in forty spaceships...we'll deal with that here...there's no way you're leaving this country."
"Easy, little one," Demitri chuckled, putting hands on my shoulders. "I pretty much told him the same thing."
"Edward, you're needed here," Carlisle said firmly. "I won't allow it. Plus, I don't think my authority is as deadly as the five foot four ball of fury over there." He had pointed to me, a smirk playing on his face. My fists were balled at my sides.
"Love...I," Edward started.
"Please." I shook my head slowly. I blinked at the sting of venomous tears. "You promised," I whispered. "You swore you wouldn't leave me again."
"It's not like that, Bella...I'm fluent...I can..."
"You could get killed, Edward!" Alice and I yelled. I was shaking from head to toe.
"Edward," Alice sighed. "I can't see you coming back."
My husband sighed in defeat as I bolted from the room. He caught me in the garage just as I was about to get into my car. "Bella, wait."
"No," I growled. "You'll listen to Alice, but not me?" He squirmed, his eyes casting down. "I know you want to help...I know you want it over. But you promised me we would be together. Italy is not together."
"I know, baby, I'm sorry," he pleaded, his hands raised in surrender. "I didn't think...I just want to help, love. That's all."
"You'll help here," I sobbed, leaning my back against the Volvo. I folded my arms across my chest and looked away from him.
"Come on, boys...let's eat!" Sue called from the back porch. Everyone got up and headed towards the house. We weren't eating, but we were going to sit and enjoy just being with family – no matter how mythically dysfunctional it may be.
"Hey," Edward stopped me before I could get up. "I'm not going, love," he frowned. He must have heard my mind thinking of the fight from that very morning.
"We can't be apart, Edward. And I can't live without you."
"It was rash...that decision to want to go, love...I didn't think it through. I would have never gone through with it. Please, believe me."
"I do, baby," I sighed, tilting my head at him. "Always wanting to be a soldier. No more, Edward. You're my husband now...the word soldier has officially left your vocabulary."
"Yes, ma'am," he smirked. "For the record, love?" He started and I nodded. "I would have realized my mistake before I even got on the plane, my beautiful girl."
"You wouldn't have made it to the airport," I growled, smiling when he laughed. "Alice was planning on beating you into submission with me."
"I bet," he smiled, helping me to my feet. "Come on, baby. Let's get this holiday over with. Then you're mine for two days. I'll show you how many ways I can apologize for my stupidity in private."
"Hmm...the list is endless," I teased.
"Make some things up...I'll apologize for those too," he laughed, his eyes darkening as he raked his tongue across his bottom lip.
"You're so quiet, love," Edward frowned, looking at me from the driver's side of my car. "Are you still upset with me? Even your mind is closed."
"No," I lied. Technically, it wasn't a lie. I wasn't upset with Edward, but just the whole situation that had occurred that morning. I stared out the window and watched as everything slowed down. He was pulling the car over.
"Bella," he growled. "You've never lied to me before."
I looked back out the window and stared at the trees surrounding us. I sighed, shaking my head. "I'm not lying...I just...could you have left so easily?" I asked, leaning my forehead to the glass.
"No, Bella. I would have wanted you with me," he said quietly.
"And leave our family unprotected?" I turned to look at him. "Edward, what were you thinking? Honestly?"
"I wasn't," He chuckled darkly, running a nervous hand through his hair. My temper dissipated with that one gesture. I sighed, feeling my face soften as I looked at my strong-willed husband. "I knew I would mess up eventually," he muttered, looking out the windshield.
"A disagreement isn't messing up," I smiled, picking up his hand and turning his ring. "Scoot that seat back," I said, crawling into his lap. "Look at me," I growled when he wouldn't meet my eyes. His gaze snapped to mine. "It's ok to want to help. It's ok that we don't agree on everything," I laughed, shaking my head. "And it's really ok if you mess up. I've realized you're not perfect, Mr. Cullen." He fought his smile, rested his head back in the seat and tilted his head at me. Yeah, so he was really close to perfection. He was so handsome right then, I could barely concentrate.
"If it wouldn't have left our family unprotected, I would have considered it," I continued, making myself focus. "If you hadn't thrown it out there so quickly, I wouldn't have panicked."
"I know, love," he sighed, reaching up to tug my ponytail down. My hair fell to my shoulders in waves. He ran his long fingers through it in slow sweeps, disentangling it as he went. The act seemed to calm him, give him focus. "I'm definitely not perfect, but I didn't mean it the way you thought. They were talking about doing something. I'm worried about how the next attack will go. I wish there was a way to put an end to it."
"It's always something with us, huh?" I smirked, tracing his jaw line with the tips of my fingers. "Life was quiet for you before I came along," I chuckled.
"And boring," he smirked. "I wouldn't go back for anything."
"Well, then...we just have to deal with it, baby," I sighed, pressing my forehead to his. "But they have to come here."
"I won't leave you again," he whispered, frowning. "It was not my intention to make you feel that way. I did promise you that once. I will never go back on that promise, Bella," he vowed.
"I know and I'm sorry I threw that in your face."
"Don't," he smiled, wrapping his arms around my waist. "It made me realize that I was getting wrapped up in the moment. Don't apologize to me for that. You never need to apologize to me for the way you feel, love. Ever."
"You're allowed mistakes, Edward. You're just not allowed to put yourself in a situation I can't help. This is a team effort...us first. Our family is a close second."
"I'll make more mistakes," he sighed, tucking my hair back. His eyes were a sweet, warm honey color, filling with liquid remorse. "Of that you can be sure."
"Yeah?" I laughed. "Me too...imagine that." He chuckled, shaking his head as if he didn't believe it. He believed it, but he didn't care. Nothing I could ever do would change his love for me, and vice versa, so there was no point in continuing the conversation. "So," I smirked, "you're fluent in Italian..."
"Yes, ma'am," he chuckled. "I' amore del ll voi fino alla conclusione di tempo," he crooned, his hands slipping to the back of my head and pulling my neck closer to his mouth. The accent that dripped from his mouth was like nothing I'd ever heard before. And it was nothing but sexy. My eyes closed as his mouth ghosted across the flesh of my neck. "La vostra esistenza mi dà il motivo vivere."
Before I could stop myself, my hands slipped into his hair. "Jesus," I growled softly. "Tell me..." I panted, nipping at his lips. "What did you say?" Not that I cared. He could have been ordering from an Italian menu for all I cared.
"I will love you until the end of time," he smiled against my cheek, dragging his lips to my ear. I was barely keeping it together. "And the second one," he whispered, licking up the shell of my ear. "Your existence gives me reason to live."
I'm so sure he could tell what he was doing to me, because he didn't stop. "Le stelle nei cieli non possono confrontare alla vostra bellezza," he sighed lustfully. "The stars in the heavens cannot compare to your beauty."
Yeah, that was it – that was all I could take. With a whimper from me, I pulled his mouth to mine. I turned my head, drinking him in. With growls, our mouths met with a wet need. I leaned into him, trying to get as close as possible.
He broke from my mouth, breathing heavily down my jaw. "I'm sorry, love," he whispered.
"You're forgiven," I laughed softly. "What were we talking about?" He chuckled silently and looked up at me.
"How beautiful you are and how I should not always speak without thinking," he smiled.
"Oh yeah," I said wistfully.
"Can we get where we're going?" He smirked. "There's not enough room in this car for what I want to do to you."
"Where are we going?" I giggled, feeling myself being removed from his lap. He laughed, picking up my hand and kissing it.
"Patience, my sweet girl," he sighed. "Patience."
"Wow, Edward. This is really pretty," I gushed as he led me through the door of the cabin.
I gave up asking where we were going once we left Oregon and entered California; it didn't pay to question him when all he would do was turn up the radio and smiled secretively. He simply said, "You asked for a surprise, I'm giving you one." He chuckled at my huff and pout, but couldn't be swayed into telling me.
The cabin was mostly glass facing the beaches of Northern California. It was November, so the weather was chilly and somewhat misty, making the beaches look like England's coasts. From what I could tell, we had an hour or two before the sun set.
"I'm glad you approve, love. Esme said you would."
I turned to look at my husband. "This was her idea?" I smiled, walking to stand beside him at the backdoor. It led out to a deck and I could see a hot tub steaming at the far corner. He nodded and smiled. "Yes, ma'am, she said Carlisle brought her here. Everyone had ideas the minute you told me to surprise you." He laughed, putting his hands on my waist and pulling me closer.
"Let me guess...Alice said Vegas," I chuckled, kissing his cheek.
"Actually, yes," he laughed. "Come on, sweet girl, let me show you around. We only have two nights and we'll be out most of tomorrow." He took me by the hand and led me into a very spacious bedroom; the entire west wall was made of glass, giving us a glorious view of the ocean. It was stunning and I couldn't wait to see it once the sun went down.
I found myself standing on the deck, letting the sound of the ocean and the smell of the sea air drown my senses as Edward brought our stuff in. His warm, strong arms wrapped around me from behind. "Do you want to go down there and watch the sunset?"
"Yeah," I smiled, tugging his hand.
We found a nice spot and I settled between Edward's legs, my back to his chest. We let the sounds of waves and sea birds do our talking as the sun set slowly. Once again we were happy to just be. As the stars started to peek through the occasional cloud break, I wanted to hear more stories from Edward.
"Is it that time, Bella?" He chuckled, wrapping his arms around me. A rumble vibrated against my chest. "Mmm, does that mean you've been wearing my prize all day?"
"Yes," I laughed, laying my head back to his shoulder. He chuckled sweetly, kissing my neck. "But I had questions..." And I shielded my mind from him so he couldn't answer preemptively.
"Guarded questions?" He laughed, tickling my knee. "This must be serious."
"Not serious. I just wasn't sure which one to ask first," I sighed dramatically, "best to not confuse you."
"Just ask, silly girl," he chuckled.
"Ok, so what decade was your favorite?"
"Hmm...for music, probably the fifties. For history...definitely the sixties," he said, kissing my head. Before I could ask why to the latter he had an answer for me. "Everything seemed to happen in the sixties. The Bay of Pigs, The Cuban Missile Crisis, Muhammad Ali was champ," he chuckled. "The Beatles, Woodstock, the first Super Bowl...and the deaths...JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy...not to mention the arrest of Charles Manson...and the first man to walk on the moon. It was amazing to watch and a little strange. It was an intense era."
"We were in New York at the time," he continued. "There was the blackout. Which, by the way, caused a baby boom nine months later."
"No!" I laughed, turning to look at him.
"Yes," he nodded, turning me back to his chest, "and I can attest that most of the people in our area...were...taking advantage of the loss of power." He huffed a laugh and I could feel him shake his head. "I couldn't escape it. Even my own family couldn't find anything better to do," he snorted. "So I took off into Central Park. Anywhere that didn't involve open windows or rampant minds."
"It was 1965 and the US finally decided to go to Vietnam," he sighed. "We kind of expected it after President Kennedy's death. And it wasn't long after that Lyndon Johnson gave the go ahead. The reason I say that is...being the ages we were at the time, they started the draft. It was scary times for human men over the age of eighteen, especially since it was the protesting era. Make Love Not War..."
"I bet that was hard," I sighed, entwining our fingers together. "Staying in school to avoid the draft and I heard they defected to Canada too."
"Yes, ma'am," he sighed and was quiet for a moment. "I walked as deep as I could into the park to try and drown out the minds around me. It was next to impossible, really, with a city that large, but I tried. I found a bench and sat down." He paused, and then turned me to sit in his lap, completely facing him. "I've never told our whole family. Only Carlisle knows what I'm about to tell you."
"Ok." I stared up into his nervous eyes.
"Love, do you remember when we went to that fair and the two children thought we were angels?"
"Yeah," I nodded, resisting the urge to rub away the worry between his brows.
"That's not the first time that's happened. As I was sitting on that bench, a little girl wandered up to me alone. Her mind was filled with questions. I could barely grasp one before her mind would think of another. She couldn't have been more than six or seven. She was dirty and not taken care of...alone...but stopped cold when she saw me. I thought for sure that she would be scared of me, but she wasn't. She should have been." He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Without fear, she ran up to me. Her mind filled with images of golden angels with wings," he snorted. "I didn't feel like an angel. I was a killer, but she had no idea. She begged me to help her mother."
"She grabbed my hand, taking me through to the other side of the park and into a small apartment. Her mother was sick, Bella. Sick, during a blackout, and the little girl was alone."
"Oh, Edward," I frowned. "What did you do?"
"Her mother was begging for death and for someone to take care of her daughter...every other breath was one of those requests, pleas." He frowned at the memory. "I did what I could only think of. I told her to stay there, that I would be back and I ran for Carlisle."
"Since the lights were out and it was the dead of night, I was able to run back to our brownstone. When Carlisle came back with me, he sent me and little Diana from the room. I could hear his mind as he looked her over. Bella, there was nothing physically wrong with her." He sighed, his face full of despair. "The little girl sat in the corner of her sofa...so small and sad. She picked up a piece of paper and handed to me."
"'Daddy's gone' was what she said. I looked at the paper and it was from the War Department. Her father had been killed in active duty. Her mother was dying of a broken heart, love."
I took a deep, ragged breath. "What did Carlisle say?"
"The same thing...that she had grieved herself to the point of sickness. Carlisle looked around the woman's apartment. We could see pictures of the man and woman everywhere. The woman died that night. Carlisle made her comfortable, but couldn't do anything else. The little girl never shed a tear. She told Carlisle that her mother didn't love her."
"That can't be true," I gasped.
"That's what Carlisle said," he smiled sweetly, tucking my hair back. "He told her that her mother's heart was broken, sick. He told her about a kind of love that was so deep, so strong that to live without it was next to impossible." He huffed a laugh. "I found myself listening to him just as intently as she was." I smiled, cupping his face.
"You didn't know, Edward," I sighed, kissing his forehead. "You weren't ready for it yet."
"You're right, sweet girl." He nodded, seeming to snap out of his temporary sadness from telling the story. He pressed his forehead to mine, sighing contentedly. "You weren't born yet," he chuckled.
"That's right," I snickered. "What happened to Diana?"
"Her mother's sister lived in the next building. Carlisle took her there. He told her what had happened and her aunt took her in. We left before they came to get Diana's mother, to take the body away."
"I'm so proud of you," I smiled, kissing his lips softly.
"Carlisle said that too," he chuckled, pulling me closer.
"Why didn't you tell the rest of the family?"
"Oh, well," he shrugged, frowning slightly, "It didn't seem like I needed to let them in on it. Carlisle didn't say anything, so I just followed his example. I'm sure Esme knew."
I studied his face. He had pride in himself for doing the right thing with the little girl. But what I noticed most was the look of understanding at what Carlisle had told little Diana. He now knew, was now holding in his arms the kind of love Carlisle had talked about so many years ago in that tiny apartment in New York. Edward had wanted it for so long and it eluded him, confused him.
"You need to know, Edward...you were never a monster..." I sighed, making him look at me. "Even in your time away...hunting criminals...you still made a specific decision to leave the innocent alone. A monster can't do that."
"I know," he smiled sweetly. "You've told me."
"And I'll keep telling you." I stood up, reaching for his hand. "Come on, that hot tub's calling our names."
Stepping up onto the deck of the cabin, we stopped at the foot of the bubbling, steamy hot tub. Without letting him speak, I removed his clothes. "Get in," I whispered, watching the glorious perfection of his naked body sink into the water. I took off my t-shirt and jeans, leaving them in a pile next to his.
"Wait," he rasped, "let me see my prize before you remove it." He patted the side of the tub and I sat down, sticking my feet into the hot water. He stepped between my knees that were about level with his ribcage. "Mm...I think this is my favorite."
"So far," I teased. "I have one I'm holding out on."
"Do you now, my beautiful wife?" He chuckled, rubbing his warm, wet hands over my thighs.
"Mmhm," I nodded, smirking.
"She spoils me," he crooned, leaning in to trace his nose across my collar bone and up my neck.
"She tries," I giggled as he roughly bit at my neck with a chuckle. "However, your love for me in all things blue, Edward...that's no secret."
"True," he smiled against my skin, "but such a rich, deep shade, my love. You look good enough to eat."
"Midnight blue," I sighed, my eyes rolling as he licked the shell of my ear. "Alice would be appalled that you didn't know that."
"Whatever," he sighed, pulling me closer to the edge of the hot tub. "Are you attached to this set?"
"Nope," I laughed as they were roughly ripped from me.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and my legs around his torso, pulling myself as close to the edge as possible. A low appreciative growl escaped him as my heated core came in contact with his stomach. We moved with a shared slowness. Light touches, soft smiles. With palms flat on each other's backs and shoulders, we felt the build of desire increase. I sighed, staring up into his perfect face.
"What?" He asked, caressing my cheek with the back of his hand ever so softly.
"I want you...to the point of madness," I frowned. "Did you think it would feel like this? So completely consuming?"
"Never," He growled, crashing his mouth into mine. My whole being arched towards him, melting with his wet skin. My hand snaked up to Edward's neck, gripping him with a fierceness that I couldn't explain. I wanted to crawl inside of him, drink him in, be surrounded by him.
"Edward," I breathed, as he slowly pushed me back until I was laying flat on the deck, my feet still in the water. My voice must have sounded desperate, because he pulled back to look at me. "I...please, baby..." I panted, my eyes begging him. "I need you so badly," I gasped, my brow wrinkling.
"You have me," he smiled, "I'm yours for the taking, my sweet girl." He cupped my face, kissing my lips, cheek, dragging his tongue to my shoulder. "Tell me what you want and it's yours, Bella," he whispered against the swell of my breast, placing a long, wet kiss to my nipple. His hand palmed one breast as he laved his tongue on the underside of the other. I grunted in a strange combination of ecstasy and frustration. I wanted more, but I never wanted him to stop what he was doing at that moment.
"Tell me," he urged, placing open mouthed kisses to my stomach until he reached my bellybutton. I huffed a laugh and a growl at the same time as his tongue twirled into my navel. I felt him smile against my skin. "I'll torture this spot all night, love, if you don't tell me," he chuckled sexily, swirling his tongue again.
"Anything, Edward...please," I half-laughed, half-begged, trying to grind against him, but he stilled my hips with his hands.
"That's awful vague," he mused. When his warm breath blew against the apex between my thighs, I just about jackknifed off of the deck. His strong hands pushed my legs further apart and I whimpered. "Hmm...perhaps some suggestions, love?" He chuckled. "You seem to be speechless at the moment." He sank a little lower into the water, wrapping an arm across my hips. "What about if I tasted this sweet pussy of yours? Would that help?"
And Dirty Edward had just arrived in California. Roll out the fucking red carpet.
"Fuck," I growled, unable to say much else as my hips fought against the strength of his arm. My fingers were in claws at my sides.
"Oh, I plan on that, love. I can't wait until you're riding my cock in this water. To hear you call my name out to the stars, come all over me. And then...I'm just going to do it all over again in the bedroom, my sexy girl," he said. His voice was dirty silk, caressing against the skin of my mound. "So tell me...can I have my taste first?"
"Holy hell, Edward, please!"
His mouth seared my flesh as his tongue swiped through my folds. "God...so fucking good," he purred into my core as my hands slid into his hair. I felt him open me up as he devoured me, sucking at my clit briefly only to bury his tongue in my entrance. He lifted his arm from across my hips in order to slip two fingers into me as his mouth met my swollen nub again.
I couldn't stop the sounds I was making, the writhing I was doing. His thumb traced tight circles over my nerves. "Your sounds, baby," He growled, leaning over me, and I could hear the water cascade off of him as he shot up out of the hot tub. Warm drops of water dripped on my upper legs as he pumped his hand in and out of me with long, deep curls of his fingers. "They make me so fucking hard," he growled, taking my nipple into his mouth.
"Oh, God," I gasped, my head flying back. I shattered completely, my fingers gouging into the wood of the deck. Edward's name flew from my mouth in a repetitive, breathy prayer. My whole body shook with the last of my spasms as Edward sat me up.
I moaned when his mouth met mine in a deep kiss. He tasted like me and I growled against his lips, pushing him back into the water. I held onto his shoulders as he grabbed my hips to pull me to his lap. The water was warm, swirling around us as I shifted my hips just right to glide over his arousal. "God, Bella," he gasped, pulling away from my mouth, his eyes squeezing closed.
I smirked, lining him up with my entrance. "Now, what was that you wanted me to do in here, Edward?" His chuckle was cut off as I slipped slowly down over him.
EDWARD
"Why didn't we do that in the hot tub in New Hampshire?" I snorted, rolling onto my stomach, mirroring my angel's position on the bed. She was still gloriously naked, lying across the bed as we looked out the bedroom windows. The sun had yet to rise and there wasn't a light on in the house. It was like looking into a painting.
"Because...we live with six other people?" She giggled adorably.
"Oh yeah," I nodded, smiling as she giggled again. "Do you ever think about living alone? Just the two of us?"
She shifted on the bed, rolling to her side. Her mind was set in deep thought as she ran a hand through my hair and down my bare back. "I suppose I have," she said softly. "I would miss them, but the privacy would be nice. Is this something you want to talk about?"
"We can, love," I sighed, starting to turn to my side.
"Uh uh," she smiled, stopping me, "don't hide this from me," she giggled, patting my ass. "Keep talking." I chuckled, shaking my head at her.
She straddled my thighs, her hands running flat up my back only to dig her fingers into the muscles of my shoulders. "Oh, God...that feels..."
"Should we live alone, baby?" She laughed softly, reminding me of what we were supposed to be talking about.
"Um," I growled low as her thumbs massaged along each side of my spine. "I want whatever...damn, Bella...you want. I would miss them too. But there's a side of me that thinks I should provide you with a house of your own."
"Which side?" She teased, a chuckle escaping her as she gripped my ass.
"Bella," I growled, wanting to turn over, but she wouldn't let me.
"Ok," she sighed, running her hands back up my skin to plant herself on each side of my shoulders. She spoke so softly in my ear. "Here's my opinion...I love our family. I didn't have that growing up. I didn't have two parents that loved each other and lived together. And I love even more that the time we do get to escape is just for us. It means more than I think it would if we were alone all the time." My eyes rolled back as her tongue swirled over my shoulder, ending in a biting kiss on my shoulder blade.
"I love that you want to give me my own house and at one time I would have balked at the idea," she continued, slipping down as she trailed kisses down my back. "We have Charlie's and yes, at some point, living together would be heaven." Her own voice was faltering at what she was doing to me. I was rock hard, pressing into the mattress.
"Love...let me roll over."
"Not yet," she sighed. "God, Michelangelo's David doesn't have a more beautiful back," she muttered. I felt her teeth against my lower spine, her hands palming my cheeks. I pressed into the bed for friction, any kind of friction.
"My turn," I growled and flipped her, unable to take not touching her. She squealed, laughing as she found herself in my previous position. "If we're talking art, my Bella, then we should discuss you. Venus can't compare, beautiful girl." I straddled her thighs, bracing my hands on each side of her head. "It's like someone went into my mind, making you exactly for me." I purred into her ear, licking down her neck.
"Who says they didn't?" She grunted, reversing my hold on her and pushing me onto my back. "Who says that someone didn't just make you wait, picking your brain for every detail until I was born?" She leaned over me, kissing me roughly. She pulled away with a gasp, pressing her forehead to mind. "Don't discount answered prayers, Edward. I didn't know what I wanted, but I'm thankful for it nonetheless."
"God, baby," I sighed, cupping her face and bringing her lips to mine. "I love you so damn much. Have I said that since the sun has come up?"
"It's not up all the way. Say it as much as you wish," she smiled against my lips, pulling back to sit up straight. I grasped her hips, guiding her over me, and we both let out a moan of pleasure. As I watched her rise and fall over me, I wondered if I would ever be worthy of her.
"You know," my angel laughed, "I've seen these in pictures. They're bigger than I thought." She pointed to one of the trees. "It would take like ten people to reach all the way around."
"Yes, ma'am," I chuckled. I loved watching her experience things she had never seen before. It was like seeing it myself for the first time – only through her eyes. And her eyes were more open, carefree.
"I bet we couldn't break one of these," she mused, biting her bottom lip to stop her laugh.
"We could try," I growled in her ear. She shoved me away with a laugh and took off deeper into the forest. "Oh...Bella," I chuckled. "I can find you," I warned, letting her take the lead.
I listened as she ran a little more and stopped suddenly. I caught up to her as she stood on the edge of a small clearing. A pair of elk grazed lazily in the dewy, overcast morning. Her mind was open and she was debating on hunting in the preserve.
"There are plenty of those. Take what you want," I smiled, kissing her head. "Unfortunately, panthers are rare here, so we have to leave them alone until their numbers rise."
"'Kay," she nodded, her predatory eyes locked on the buck. Her whole body hummed with her strength, her readiness. I could almost see it flow beneath the surface of her sweet, milky skin. I almost felt sorry for the thing. He never knew what hit him. She was at his throat before he could smell her or take one step.
The ground vibrated as the large animal collapsed at her feet. I shook my head to clear it. She had no idea what she did to me. She looked at me with a raised eyebrow as the doe started to run. I smiled, realizing she was letting me have her.
After we disposed of our kills, we began a slow walk back to the cabin. I was listening to her mind decide that she needed a shower and another story, but it was suddenly cut off from me. I turned to look at her. She was worrying her lip, her brow furrowed.
"Just ask, my girl," I frowned, wondering what question she could possibly have. I loved telling her the stories, both fun and sad. It meant so much to me that she just wanted to know me that well.
"I don't know if I can, Edward," she sighed, looking up at me. Her phone went off at that very moment. "Alice," she snorted, holding the phone up so I could see the message.
A: Ask the damn question...he needs to tell it just as much as you need to hear it!
I stopped her. "What is it, Bella? I'll tell you anything."
"Where were you? For the two years you were away from me? Where did you go? What did you do?" She asked, her breathing a little ragged.
I sighed, looking around us, my still heart sinking. "Let's get back...it's going to rain soon." I looked down at her and she wouldn't meet my eyes. "Hey," I frowned, pulling her chin up with my fingers, "I'll tell you, but let's get back."
As we ran back to the cabin, I worried about what I was about to tell her. We had never really discussed it more than my attempt to track Victoria. Bella never asked and my behavior while I was away shamed me. I was never more the monster than I was the day I walked away from her in the forest by Charlie's house.
"Sit, love," I sighed, pointing to the sofa. I sat down and faced her. She mirrored my position, and I couldn't resist touching her face, tucking her hair back. "What did I do when I left?" I asked and she nodded. "I fell apart, my love. The minute I turned away from you that day, I broke into a million pieces. I couldn't watch you...I heard you...just about the whole way to my car." I shook my head. "I could hear you start to follow me, calling for me. I bent the Volvo's steering wheel as you cried out for me."
I sighed, sitting forward and resting my elbows on my knees. I stared at my shoes, gripping my hair. "I was fighting with everything that I had not to turn around with every mile that took me further away from you. I was supposed to meet the family in Denali and make a decision with them as to where to go next." I shifted my feet, but didn't look at her. "I went south instead."
"Alice called me," I sighed, "telling me it was all a stupid decision and to go back for you, that you had disappeared from her vision. I snapped, love...blew up at her...told her not to watch for you at all. Ever again." I sighed, leaning back to face her again. She was picking at a fray of the pillow in her arms. "Of course, you disappeared because Sam found you."
"Right," she sighed, her voice sounding dead.
"She told me I was an asshole and that I was making the biggest mistake of my entire existence, that it was unfair of me to take her best friend away. She was livid. Emmett was in the background threatening to pound me when he saw me again. The whole family was pissed. I couldn't face them and I couldn't go back, so I ran."
I met her eyes. "Please don't hate me," I begged.
"An impossibility, Edward," she frowned, rubbing my cheek softly. "Nothing you can say will change my love for you. You're already forgiven. I just want to know where you were." I studied her face, hating that her mind was closed, but I didn't dare ask anything of her. She was being honest, but I could tell she was bracing herself.
"The first thing I did was put the Volvo in storage. Your scent saturated that car. I bought a used late model car...I couldn't even tell you what it was...and I continued south. I crossed the Mexico border and kept going south."
"How far?"
"Brazil. I drove as far as I could and then swam to South America. I stayed there for months, love. I rented a small apartment, only coming out at night. I barely moved from the chair in the living room. I rarely hunted – months would go by. I was to the point of insanity. I began to have conversations with you in my mind. I would run scenarios in my head of what could happen if I crawled back to you."
She gasped, her eyes wide as she looked at me.
"Carlisle took sympathy on me, coming down with Alice to make me hunt. She told him I was losing it. That she saw me attack my landlady, a sweet little old Brazilian woman."
"Oh, Edward..."
"While she was there, she saw the vision of you jumping from the cliff. I practically broke her in half, telling her to stop looking for you. Carlisle had to pin me to the floor. She cried, telling me she couldn't help what she saw...that being close to me brought visions of you back without pause. She said you had made the decision for later that day."
"You came."
"Yes, I told Alice she was wrong, that you had promised me you wouldn't do anything foolish. I told her I would prove it. I was an idiot. I never wanted you back more than when I saw you. Carlisle wanted no part of it, heading back home. He missed you completely and Esme was grieving over the loss of you. He said he had been mistaken to let me coax him into leaving you." I sighed, frowning as she got up and went to the window.
"Alice and I were in the woods by your house when Jake brought you home, carrying you. He kissed your cheek and I wanted to snap his neck, but you looked...happy."
A sob escaped her as her forehead hit the glass in front of her. "I was blinded by jealousy, baby." I pleaded. "You had moved on and it was what I thought I wanted for you. If anything, it made it all the worse. I left Alice right there and took off for the woods. I waited until she had left and I went back. I crawled through your window one more time. I needed to see you."
"It was all I could do not to fall to my knees beside your bed and beg for you," I continued, resuming my position with my elbows on my knees. Staring at my shoes was far better than watching my wife turn her back to me. "It was as I was leaving that I caught Victoria's scent. I couldn't have you, but I could at least stop her," I growled, shaking my head.
"I followed her for months after that, losing myself in memories of you and then catching her scent again. She never really left the Northwest. She did go up into Canada once or twice, but she liked cities so she could hunt." I glanced up and Bella was leaning on the glass watching me. "Occasionally, I would just shut down and let the memory of you consume me. I writhed in agony without you." She nodded, knowing why. We shared a connection. "For most of the year before you so kindly let me back in, I followed her. She was in Port Angeles the week prior and I stayed around, but Alice kept warning me. She told me that I would screw up. That my mind was making the decision to go back to you without my control."
"I know the rest," she said, suddenly on her knees in front of me. She knelt between my legs, her hands on each side of my face. "Thank you," she whispered, her eyes filled with love and overflowing with forgiveness.
"If I had known...Bella, I'm sorry...I should have been there to protect you...I didn't know he was hurting you..." I was rambling even though we had been through this already and had healed from it.
"Shh," she whispered against my lips. "I love you."
"One stupid decision...it snowballed into something completely dangerous in your life...more dangerous than me," I growled.
"I said...I love you," she smiled against my lips again, pushing me back and crawling into my lap. "Say the words, Edward, and stop apologizing for what doesn't matter anymore."
"I love you," I breathed, gripping her waist as her mouth met mine. She knelt on the couch, straddling me, looming her perfect face above me. Her tiny fingers traced my jaw line, keeping my face to hers as our tongues twisted desperately.
"There it is," she smiled against my cheek. "I didn't want sorrow...just to know where you went, love," she crooned in my ear.
"I died without you," I said, hearing a sob tear through me.
"So don't you think that's punishment enough?" She asked, tugging my shirt up over my head. She threw it behind her and met my gaze, waiting for an answer.
I studied her face, reveling in the love that she had for me. It radiated from her, almost casting a heat against my skin. "Yes," I whined, meeting her mouth again. She gripped my hair, turning her head. Her tongue slipped languidly along mine. Whereas I was in a frenzy, she was controlled.
She pulled back and pushed my hands from her. "Don't move," she smirked, her hands reaching for the bottom of her shirt. "Your reward, handsome," she chuckled, pulling her shirt over her head.
"Jesus," I panted, staring at the most beautiful thing in this world. Without thinking, I ripped her jeans from her body. She was in stark white, nothing but intricate white lace. She looked like she did on our honeymoon. I couldn't stop as I lunged at her, crashing us to the floor. She looked stunning, innocent, perfect. "Fuck, if you aren't fucking gorgeous," I growled, kneeling between her legs, taking in the sight underneath me.
"I'm glad you think so," she giggled, hitting my thigh with hers.
"Oh, I do, love," I chuckled at her reaction. "Is this what you were withholding from me?"
"Oh yeah," she smirked, flicking open my jeans. "You may think you like blue, Edward, but I remembered your reaction on our honeymoon."
"I'll love you forever," I whispered the same words to her I had that night on the island.
"I know, baby," she smiled, reaching for me. I melted into her, feeling her wrap around me physically and mentally. I sighed into her mouth as her legs hitched up around my waist.
With slow, deliberate hands, we removed the rest of our clothes. A cry of ecstasy left my wife's lips as I sheathed myself deep inside her. I was received with warmth and wetness, surrounded by her slick walls that pulled me in. Her hands gripped my ass, pulling me even deeper, as I buried my face in my angel's neck. I braced my hands on each side of her head, trying to find the leverage to go deeper, closer still.
Her body arched up, her head flying back as I bit roughly at her neck. Reaching down, I picked up her leg, bringing it up between us. I felt desperate and out of control. My Bella's mind registered it instantly.
She rolled me over, taking control. She braced her hands on my shoulders to lean down over me. Kissing along my jaw, she said, "Do you love me?" She growled, nipping at my skin.
"Yes, Bella. Always."
"Do you think there's anything I wouldn't do for you?"
"No," I growled, gripping her hips and thrusting up. She gasped in my ear, biting down on my earlobe.
She sat up, pulling me with her so that I surrounded her. Pressing her forehead to mine, she whispered, "Then trust me when I tell you that you're forgiven." She crashed into my mouth, swirling her tongue with mine. "Forgive yourself, Edward," she gasped, gripping my shoulders as her muscles contracted around me.
I lost all thought as her orgasm milked my own. I buried my face in her neck, completely letting it all go.
"Sweet girl, the car's loaded...we should go," I said from the door to the deck. She was sitting on the steps typing on her laptop.
"Ok," she smiled, closing it and tucking it under her arm. "Thank you for this." She said, waving her hand around.
"You're so very welcome, but school..."
"I'm going, I'm going," she giggled, walking away from me and out the front door. I shook my head, locking the door behind me as I followed her.
I cranked the car and backed out of the driveway. My angel looked up at me, a curious expression on her face. "Did you ever apologize to Alice?"
"Yes, ma'am," I chuckled. "The day she came back to you...she forgave me instantly just like you did. So did Carlisle."
"Because we love you." She rolled her eyes adorably as if I couldn't believe it and it was silly that I didn't get it.
As we pulled into the parking lot of the school next to Emmett's Jeep, I noticed the school was decorated for the holidays. The Holiday Ball was in two weeks. "Hey, Bella?" I said, stopping her just as she opened her door. "Would you be so kind as to accompany me to the Holiday dance?"
She giggled, biting her lip and shaking her head. "I thought you'd never ask!" She was still smiling when I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and led her up to the school. "You know what this means, right?" She asked, looking up at me.
"Yes!" Alice beamed, linking arms with her and coming out of nowhere. "More shopping!"
I heard Jasper groan and then chuckle, mumbling something about, "'Tis the season."
"'Tis the season, indeed," I whispered against Bella's temple and then bent to her ear. "You know...shopping isn't a bad idea...I have tons of stories to tell you."
Bella laughed, looking up at me tenderly. "I'm sure you do, Edward...I'm sure you do..."


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