Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Angel's Embrace Chapter 42

"No, Edward, please," I begged, shaking my head in denial.
"I don't want to go, sweetheart," he sighed, running his hand through his hair. "But I am the only one among us that has even a small knowledge of Russian."
"You know Russian too? Jesus," I snorted, the last word coming out high pitched and immature. I couldn't help it. It wasn't that he was going to look for Vladimir and Stefan, it was that Vittore was going with him and Demitri. It didn't help that I knew that the pain would kick in as soon as he was out of my sight.
"Yes," he huffed, his laugh sounding just as exasperated as mine. "I've set the phones up for international, baby." Again his hand went to his hair. "I can call you. You can text me. It won't be long, love, I swear."
"Right," I pouted, plopping down on our bed. I folded my arms across my chest. He had promised that we would stay together, that we would try to leave Italy soon, but Marcus wanted to find the Russians, to put Vittore to some use as a test, even after we had all gone to him to tell him how untrustworthy he was. That conversation was two weeks passed. "And why can't I go with you?" I growled, feeling my temper kick in.
"Marcus needs you here," he frowned, leaning against the door frame that led to the balcony. "Three days, Bella. We've gone three days, right?" The tone of his voice caused my head to snap up. He no more wanted this than I did and he was absolutely riddled with anxiety.
"Yeah," I sighed, nodding slightly. "What if something happens? I won't know...I won't be able to tell, Edward," I cried, looking away from him. "It will be like the ridge and Felix..." I mumbled, my voice trailing off.
"No, sweet girl," he whispered, falling to his knees in front of me. "I promise to stay in touch with you, I swear I won't lose contact," he begged. He had to do this. We had promised Marcus that we'd help clean up, though at the moment, I was sorry we were a part of any of it.
I ran my fingers along his face, tracing his sharp jaw line. I tried to calm his poor hair down, but he had used it as a release so much that it was nearly impossible. I gripped a handful of his unruly locks and pulled his forehead to mine. "You. Will. Come. Back. To. Me," I sobbed. "You read every thought Vittore has and if he fucks up, you tear him apart. Do you hear me?"
"Yes," he breathed, closing his eyes. His arms wound around my waist and he pressed his head to my chest.
The heart wrenching cry that tore through me couldn't be stopped. I was sitting on the window ledge of our bedroom, trying to read, trying to forget that Edward had only been gone for two days, but the pain in my chest was excruciating.
Esme burst into my room, wrapping me up, Jasper hot on her trail. "Come here, little one," he sighed, rubbing his own chest. Knowing that my pain caused his own, just added to my misery.
"Guilt?" Jasper growled, "Come on, Bells, don't worry about me," he chuckled, pulling me into a hug. He knew that if he was touching me he could send a stronger wave of serenity my way. It washed over me like a breath of fresh air. My crying eased; the pain did not.
Alice flew into the room, taking my face in her hands. "He's fine," she frowned, her little brow wrinkling. "In fact, they've already made the decision to head back. The Russians went back into their frozen state again. Marcus is going to post guards."
"And Vittore?"
"He's scared to death of Demitri and Edward," Alice smirked, brushing my hair from my face. "They've been threatening him on a minute to minute basis."
I snorted, letting go of Jasper. "Come on," my brother said with a smile, taking me by the hand. "Emmett's brought movies back. He even brought the Muppets for you and him."
I smiled, a light huffing laugh escaping me. I let myself be led to the common sitting room at the end of the hallway. I let myself be pulled into Esme's embrace with my feet in Rose's lap. And I let myself zone out, trying to ignore the pain of missing Edward to the point of agony. Did it work? Not at all. Not even a little bit.
We were halfway through the third movie – some hideous alien thing that Jasper and Emmett absorbed like children – when my phone finally rang. I launched off the sofa, flying into my room and falling onto our bed. "Edward?" I breathed, my chest relaxing slightly.
"Hey, beautiful girl," he sighed, sounding every bit as frustrated as I was. I could hear the pain in his velvet voice. "I miss you, love."
"Me too. Tell me you're on your way," I begged, gripping the phone.
"We are, baby," he said, and I could hear the relief in his deep sigh.
"And Vittore? Did you tear him apart yet?" I smirked, hearing the sexy chuckle I had missed with everything in me for the last two days.
"He heard that," Edward snickered. "And no, but he's been warned."
"I bet he has," I smiled, biting my lip. I sighed, feeling the venom sting my eyes. "I can't go this long, baby," I said, my breath hitching. "I miss you too much, I need you too much."
"I know," he growled, "and I'm sorry. I broke a promise to you. I despise breaking my promises, Bella," he snarled. "I will make it up to you."
"I'm going to hold you to that," I sighed, my head falling to the pillow. "I may not let you out for days, Edward," I purred.
"Bella," he whined, "please don't. Not now. I love you, but it's torture just hearing you and not being able to touch you."
"'Kay," I mumbled, curling up in a ball on our bed. "How long?"
"Before dawn, baby," he vowed. "They will have to keep up with me," he chuckled again, but I could hear his stress.
"Don't leave Demitri behind, Superman," I teased, smiling despite my pain. "He needs you too."
"Ok," he laughed. "Um, love?"
"I want to take you to Verona, can I do that?"
"I already said yes, Edward," I smiled. "When?"
"When we leave, we'll go through there. We'll go before we leave the country."
"And when is that?" I sighed, rolling onto my back.
"I don't know, but I hope soon, my sweet, sexy girl," he purred.
"Edward," I warned. I could hear the need in his voice, and it was deep and erotic, like smooth, warm melted chocolate. I felt it all over, like his hands caressing me.
"What are you wearing?" He chuckled.
"Nothing," I teased.
"Bella," he whined.
"Don't start then," I giggled.
"Ok," he sighed with a slight laugh. "You're right. I'll see you soon, my love."
"I love you," I breathed, "so fucking much."
"Tell me that again when I'm kissing you," he purred. "Tell me that when I've got you in my arms, ok?"
"'Kay," I smiled, biting my lip.
With a few more I miss yous and I love yous, we ended the call. My bed moved and I looked up to see Alice and Rose sitting at the foot of my bed. "Dawn?" Rose asked, her face full of worry.
"Yeah," I sighed and nodded.
"Good, let's go out!" Alice smirked, bouncing on the end of the bed.
"No," I whined, frowning at the two of them. Why on earth would I want to go out when my dance partner wasn't around?
"Come on, Bells," Rose sighed, picking up my hand, "it will do you good to get out. We'll pass the time away and have fun at the same time."
"Jasper promised that he would keep you calm, and I'll tell you Edward's updates," Alice pleaded, crawling up the bed to snuggle against me. I sighed in defeat. I didn't even give my answer, but they smiled in victory.
"I know you're upset with me, Isabella," Marcus sighed, trying not to smile. I raised my eyebrow at him, folding my arms across my chest. When we had come to him a few weeks ago to tell him that Vittore posed a threat, he forced us to wait, making him take off on this mission with Demitri and Edward. He huffed a laugh and held his hands up in surrender. "Obviously so," he chuckled, "but if it makes you feel any better," he pointed to me, "the connection is brighter. Your Edward is on his way back."
"I know," I sighed, trying to stay mad, but it totally wasn't working. "He called."
"Good," he beamed. "Now, have fun," he smirked, looking at all of us. "I hear that this place can be loud and booming, just like you're used to in the states," he laughed.
"Sweet," Emmett beamed, shaking his head at Marcus. "Let's go, baby sis. I'm quite sure that I could use a dance or two with you."
Marcus' hand on my arm was soft and tentative. "I'm sorry I separated you two," he frowned. "I wouldn't have done it, but..."
"I know," I sighed. "It's not the first time that my husband's talent and my talent were needed in two different places, Marcus. I'm sure it won't be the last. However, if Vittore does something stupid, I reserve the right to tear him apart," I said, my voice low and more menacing that I expected. "I won't ask for permission. I won't even think twice. Understand?"
"And that's fair, sweet Bella," he smirked, breaking into a chuckle. "And I wouldn't blame you if you did. He has no loyalty to me. The reason I sent him with Demitri was to test him, but the reports I've gotten back is that he's proved himself a pain in the ass."
Jasper snorted, shaking his head. "Then I feel sorry for him when Demitri and my brother lose their patience."
"A-fucking-men," Rose laughed. "Let's go." She reached for Emmett's hand and he linked their fingers together.
Apparently the club we were going to was themed. It was a love for all things American – retro and current American – but American nonetheless. The locals not only learned the songs, but could sing along with them in perfect English. It was harmless fun.
I danced with my sisters to C and C Music Factory. I laughed through the entire "I like big butts"song with Emmett. And my chest ached when I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston came on and my siblings wrapped themselves around each other. I was jealous, wretchedly so, and I missed Edward with an anguish I couldn't even wrap my head around.
The bittersweet lyrics started to hurt, making jabbing stabs at my heart, and the forest just outside of Charlie's flew to the forefront of my mind. Lines like:
Please don't cry. We both know I'm not what you need and I hope life treats you kind. And I hope you have all you've dreamed of. And I wish you joy and happiness. But above all this I wish you love.
I couldn't take it anymore. With a whimpering sob, I launched myself from the bar stool to go outside just until the song was over. To hear lyrics about selfless love and giving up on what was best for the other person was way too much. I wove through the crowd and skirted the dance floor, hearing Alice call my name, but I ignored her. As I rounded the bar, aiming for the door, the pain in my chest suddenly evaporated, like it was never there. My head shot up, a hiccup bursting from me as the most beautiful sight stood before me. He was feeling everything I was at that exact moment. He stood there, his eyes dark, his hair everywhere. And he was the fucking most exquisite thing I had seen in a long two and a half days.
"Edward," I breathed, my relief with the sight of him caused a shudder to run through my entire being.
"Come here, sweet girl," he sighed and I fell into him. He smelled like honey and sunshine, like evergreens and some other floral scent I could quite place, but most of all he smelled like home. "I missed you so much," he growled, slipping his hands into my hair at my neck. When his lips met mine, I snapped, much like I always did. My hands gripped his hair as he turned my head to ravish my lips hungrily. I felt more than heard the moan that we both let loose.
"You're early," I whimpered against his lips. I felt his smile and I pulled back to look at him.
"I had to get to you," he smirked, tilting his sweet face at me and looking up at me through his beautiful long eyelashes.
I giggled, kissing him again. "I hope you didn't leave Demitri in the dust, Superman," I teased, kissing down his jaw line. His chuckle was a deep and unbelievably sensual sound to me. I had missed it.
"No, ma'am," he smiled, biting his bottom lip as his arms wrapped around me completely and he lifted me in a hug. "They are both back at the castle. Marcus sent me to you. For some reason he thinks you're mad at him."
I laughed, burying my face in his neck, inhaling deeply the scent that bound me to the earth.
"Oh thank God," Emmett boomed behind us. "New rule," he proclaimed, "no more separating you two. I can't take it."
I snorted, giggling into Edward's neck and squeezing him closer. "Was it bad, baby?" He whispered, kissing my cheek. I nodded, pulling back to look at him. His face was sad with my answer. He reached up and brushed my hair from my face, sweeping it off of my neck. He bent down, kissing my skin lightly at my shoulder. He set me on my feet. "It was for me as well. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I broke my promise."
"You didn't break it, Edward, someone broke it for you. And you're here, that's all I care about," I sighed, smiling up at him. He nodded, kissing my forehead. I led him back to our table, giggling again when he tugged me into his lap.
"How'd it go, dude?" Jasper asked, smiling at the happiness that surrounded the table. He had suffered right along with me. "Bells, stop," he growled, raising an eyebrow at me.
"Can't help it, sorry, Jazz," I mumbled, laying my head on Edward's shoulder. I picked up his hand, turning his wedding band.
After kisses to my fingers, Edward told us about his time away. "The Russians are able to put themselves in this trance-like state, it's strange. It's like they're asleep, but their minds are...aware. Anyway, they're being watched now. Marcus called in two guards and they're going to keep a watch out. I actually don't expect much out of them. They were tricked like Garrett. Felix had promised them all sorts of territories, but they didn't trust him. Once they realized that the rumors of Marcus being alive were true and they actually saw him, they ran. They wanted no trouble with the Volturi. They never liked Aro, but were aware of the powers that Italy held."
"So you just left them there?" Emmett growled.
"Demitri wanted to tote them back," Edward chuckled, "lock them away somewhere in the castle, but when we called Marcus, he said no – to let them stay where they were. They weren't really a problem – that they could be controlled."
"And Vittore?" Rose asked, her lip curling in hatred.
"He's clever," my husband sighed. "He's learned when not to allow his thoughts to get away from him around me. It was when he would get quiet that I would pay attention. He hates Marcus and Demitri. He's attracted to all three of you girls," he frowned. "But it's Bella's – and I quote – 'smart mouth' that pushes his patience," Edward sighed and I smiled, pulling back and biting my bottom lip. Edward's eyes gleamed with a combination of pride and understanding.
"She's only tried to explain his rudeness," Alice defended, her innocent face not fooling any of us. The whole table laughed.
"Well, don't sweat it," Emmett chuckled, "Bells told Marcus before we came out that she would tear him apart without apology if he fucks up." Edward rolled his eyes to me, but I shrugged.
"I was mad," I huffed, folding my arms across my chest. I was in pain. I missed you something fierce.
Edward's handsome face went from amused to sympathetic instantly. "I know," he smiled softly. "Me too, beautiful," he said, lightly touching my cheek with the back of his hand, his eyes darkening ever so slightly as he took in every inch of my face. The song changed to Madonna. "Where did you find this place?" He smirked, looking around the table.
"That girl at the front desk...Tessa is it?" Emmett chuckled.
"No, Elena," Alice nodded with a smile. "They said they were coming, but I haven't seen them yet. Stay out longer, Edward." I snickered as she predicted his desire to leave. I looked up at him. His face was unapologetic as he chuckled, still gazing at me.
"Yeah," Jasper smiled, "hang out for a little while, bro." He stood, slapping Edward's shoulder. "We were worried," he nodded.
Edward smiled, nodded and squeezed me closer as our siblings stood and made their way back out to the dance floor. "How much of that worry came from you?" He smirked, tilting his head at me.
"Most of it, I'm sure, but they did miss you," I smiled, kissing his cheek. "I can't help it, baby, I think the worst when we're apart." I sighed, pressing my forehead to his temple and closing my eyes.
"Hey," he whispered, pulling me back, "let me see that stunning face of yours. I've missed it. My mind is flawed, only the real thing will do," he crooned, kissing my nose and then lips. Did I ever understand that. We stayed wrapped in each other's arms, occasionally kissing, but remaining quiet. "Do you want to dance, sweet girl?"
"No," I sighed, wrapping my arms around his neck. I shook my head profusely, my brow wrinkling in an childish pout. I had missed him with every pore, and I wasn't quite ready to leave his lap.
"Then I need you closer, baby," Edward breathed, adjusting me in his embrace so that I was straddling his lap, my short, pleated skirt riding up.
"'Kay," I sighed, crashing back into him. Edward's hands were everywhere as our tongues swirled together with long, slow caresses. One of his hands slipped up my thigh as the other snaked up the back of my shirt.
With a roll of my hips, he pulled back, his breathing heavy and his dark eyes gleaming with arousal and mischief. "We should probably stop, Bella," he whispered, his fingers tracing circles on the skin of my lower back while his other hand cupped my bottom with a squeeze. Growling low, he discovered that I was wearing a thong. My eyes rolled back into my head when he squeezed again. "At least it's a dark corner," he groaned, pulling me back in to kiss my neck and surrendering to what we both couldn't stop.
The music was not helping. Closer by Nine Inch Nails throbbed around us, only adding to the lust that I was sure Jasper was battling.
"I missed you," I whimpered, trailing my lips down his jaw as my hand stealthily popped open a few buttons on his shirt. I needed his skin like I needed air. We both moaned when my hand caressed his torso, my fingers lightly teasing the soft hair on his chest all the way down to the trail above the waistband of his jeans.
"Now say it, love," Edward begged against my earlobe.
"I love you," I whispered, "so fucking much." His sweet, low purr rumbled around me as he pulled me back to his lips.
We were losing ourselves and quickly. My tongue met his again and my hips bucked when his talented fingers slipped just inside my thong, gliding through the wetness and teasing me.
"Baby," he gasped, pulling back. He gripped my hip to still me, his heated gaze meeting mine. "We're being watched," he smirked, his tongue snaking out to slip along his bottom lip.
"Who?" I panted, pressing my forehead to his and squeezing my eyes closed. I was hanging on to my control by a mere thread. I wanted him.
"Tessa and Elena."
I didn't even recognize the sound that escaped me. It was a mix of a laugh and a sigh – maybe even a groan. It sounded wanton and needy, like I could have cared less.
"Mm, Bella," he chuckled so softly, "that was the single most sexiest sound I think I've ever heard from you. You don't care, my naughty girl?"
I fought my smile, shaking my head no, but unable to keep my mouth from his. His hand caressed my leg from my thigh to my ankle, occasionally stopping to grip for a moment and then continuing on. Did I care whether they were watching us? Not really. He was mine. And I was making up for two and a half miserable days of missed kisses.
I felt Edward's smile against my lips and he pulled back to look at me. I grunted in frustration. "What is it they are hoping to see, Edward?" I growled, not really giving two shits what the two humans wanted.
He smiled unabashedly as he tucked my hair back. "They want to see me touch you," he answered, his brow wrinkling for a split second. "They knew you had missed me, they find our reunion to be...mmm," he chuckled, "sexy and sweet. Actually, 'fucking hot' is what they're thinking – verbatim."
"And Elena is imagining herself in my place," I smiled, biting my bottom lip. He nodded, the smile not really leaving his face.
"What do you want, beautiful?" He smirked, leaning in to kiss my lips softly. "We can't leave, but I can't keep my hands off of you. I want you in any way I can get you," he purred, trailing his nose across my cheek. My breath caught with his admission. I agreed with him completely.
"Touch me," I begged, rolling my hips over his steel hard arousal.
"Everywhere," I whined, begging him with my eyes. "I don't care what they see. What I want is for you to take me on this table, but I will be happy if you just fucking touch me." I realized that this was like one of Edward's older fantasies, to be touched in public, to come when there were people all around. Quickly I made the decision to tell Alice to stay away from the table and to keep everyone else with her. If anyone understood our reunions, it was my sister.
"Bella," he growled, his eyes blackening to pitch, his hips bucking under me. "You call my name when you come for me," he commanded and I whimpered again, nodding against his temple. My breath caught, my mouth hanging open as his thumb brushed the inside of my thigh just under the edge of my skirt. His hands were hidden by my body from the girls that were just a little ways behind us. Edward's voice was just as deadly as the rest of him. "Mmm, sweetheart, so wet," he crooned against my neck. "I missed that," he sighed, pulling his hand up to swirl his tongue around his thumb. "When we finally get out of here," he vowed, biting my neck and slipping his hand back down between us, "I'm going to drink you dry. I'm going to lick that sweet pussy of yours until you can't remember your name," he vowed, his deep tenor was raspy and just about caused me to come right then.
"Oh, God, I hope so," I breathed, my center throbbing as his thumb brushed the apex of my legs on the outside of my underwear.
"Oh," he chuckled darkly, "don't hope...prepare for it."
"Baby," I growled, rolling my hips again, "I have to take care of you too, but I'm...shit," I sobbed, shaking all over from the coil that was about to snap, "so close."
"Beautiful, you are taking care of me," he panted, his head hitting my shoulder and his thumb pressing firmly just where I was aching the most. "I'm right there with you, sweet girl."
Knowing his orgasm was as close as mine, sent me flying over the edge. "Edward," I panted, pressing my forehead to his temple as he place a long, hard sucking kiss to my neck. I shivered, gripping his shirt at his biceps, my spasms wracking my frame.
My head fell to his shoulder, but I wasn't done with him. He was hard as steel, twitching between us. Slowly I slipped my hand to the waistband of his jeans. I didn't care if the girls saw me, but be damned if they were going to see him – any part of him. I shifted closer, raking my tongue up his neck.
"So hard, baby," I breathed into his ear. "Did you miss me this much?" I smiled against his skin when he growled and groaned at the same time.
"Oh, love," he chuckled darkly, "you really have no idea." The last word broke in his throat as I took him into my hand. He pulled my mouth to his, whispering against my lips, "More. And for God's sake harder, baby," he panted. His hands wouldn't be still. He gripped my hips, palmed my ass and fisted my shirt, all in an effort to prolong his climax.
I broke away from his lips with a gasp at the same time my thumb gathered up as much of his leaking juices I could. My eyes never left his as I swirled my tongue around my thumb, taking in his amazing flavor. I moaned, licking my lips as I took his now throbbing cock in my hand.
"Touch me again, Edward," I commanded against his jaw, squeezing and twisting my hand up and down his arousal. "Come with me."
There was hardly any room between us as I leaned in to capture his lips. Our arms and hands were trapped between our stomachs. Edward slipped my underwear aside, his fingers knowing exactly where to go and what to do to get me as close to the edge as possible.
I let my nails lightly graze along his shaft, eliciting a perfectly erotic moan from him. His whole body jerked, causing his fingers to delve deeper within me. We both growled into each other's mouths.
"Fuck, Bella," he moaned against my cheek, his breathing ragged. "There's a part of me that just wants to take you against that corner – right fucking now. I want to bury myself inside you and never come out."
"Please don't tempt me," I sighed, my head leaning away from him to give more access to my neck.
I squeezed my hand and twisted my wrist, and our arms collided. My whole body shook. Edward's other hand gripped my thigh hard. We were both so very close.
"You are the very definition of tempting," he panted. "Come for me, baby. Give me what I've missed so damn much." With that last purring statement, he curled his fingers, touching the perfect spot within me. He pressed his thumb hard against my clit and I shattered, pumping him harder and harder.
Edward stilled in my arms, his breathing heavy against my skin as he came silently but so fiercely.
The song changed again. Sex on Fire by the Kings of Leon started and I smiled against his neck. "I think we're affecting Jasper, who is in turn affecting..."
"The DJ," we both chuckled. I pulled back to look at him. "Did the girls see what they wanted?" I smirked, shaking my head as he shrugged. He handed me a napkin from the table to clean him up. Carefully, I put him back together.
"No idea, they left," he smiled, biting his bottom lip. His eyes were warm liquid honey as they traveled all over my face, drinking in the happiness that I'm sure was all over it.
"I'm glad you're back," I sighed, kissing his forehead.
"That's a very good thing," he sighed, wrapping his arms around me and dropping his forehead to my shoulder.
I couldn't help the lazy, almost wanton smile that spread over my face as I sat in the window of the common room, answering emails. Well, the laptop was open, but I wasn't really looking at it. I was remembering our first night back together.
"Edward," I moaned, gripping the door of the shower, my head falling back. With my leg over his shoulder and his black eyes locked on mine, Edward's mouth devoured me, licking, sucking and biting at my flesh. He ravished me like a dying man in the desert drinks water.
"Never again, baby," he growled, curling his tongue around my swollen and throbbing nerve. "I won't be away from this ever again."
I had no words, just inarticulate sounds, as he tried to make up for our time apart.
My computer alerted another email and it was from Jake, snapping me back to the present. All was well back home and he and Anna were checking in. They set up an email account for Charlie so that he and Sue would be able to keep in touch. I smiled at pictures of the kids tackling my dad, but my gaze drifted back out the window to the beautiful, sunny countryside just outside of the walls of Volterra.
Edward and Demitri were down in the auditorium with Marcus, catching him up on all they learned about the Russians and Vittore while they were away. Carlisle and my brothers were with them. Esme and my sisters were down the hall with Imelda, learning how to make the peasant skirts that she loved to create. I was happily sitting alone just remembering Edward's first night back.
I closed my eyes, letting flashes of thrown back heads, tongues on skin, naughty delicious smiles and hands pulling and tugging fill my mind. My phone went off with a text from Edward.
E: Sweet girl, you're killing me. I can hear your mind above and beyond everyone else's.
B: Then hurry up with that stupid meeting. ;)
E: Believe me I'm trying.
B: Not hard enough.
E: I'll show you hard. Behave, please, beautiful.
My head fell back with my silent laugh. Edward so rarely took the low road to innuendo. It was funny when he did it, because I could just imagine the wry smile spreading over his handsome face.
B: And my punishment if I don't?
E: Will be swift and severe...I will enjoy every second of it.
B: Tease. Hurry. I want to play with you today.
E: Yes, ma'am.
I've learned that "Yes, ma'am" from Edward was a resignation to whatever it was that crossed my mind and he was willing to give it to me – no matter what it was. I set my phone down, trying to turn my attention back to my computer. The smile still lingered on my face until I heard a voice to my right.
"What could possibly make a woman as beautiful as you smile so sweetly?" Vittore asked, leaning in the hallway across the room.
"Nothing that I'm willing to share," I sighed, chuckling to myself. "Not with you anyway."
"You have a serious attitude problem," he growled, stepping into the room. "All of you do."
"You haven't seen anything yet," I snorted, ignoring him and looking back at my screen. Suddenly, he was at my side, making me feel pinned in the window.
"So I gathered," he smirked, but it didn't reach his eyes. "They are quite tight-lipped about you, you know."
"I imagine they are," I smiled, turning to look at him. Edward and Demitri would have guarded my talent from Vittore the whole time they were with him.
"I want to know why," he growled, reaching out to touch my arm.
"Wanting something and actually getting it are two different things, Vittore," I sneered, "and don't touch me."
He gripped my arm, tugging hard. "You're a guest here."
"Yes," I growled, shoving him back. "Of Marcus', not yours. Back off of me."
His hand drew back and I caught it before he could make contact. "Huge mistake," I sighed, shaking my head. "But you will get what you wished for." I wrapped my shield around him, slamming him into the thick castle wall and holding him there. Dust floated around him as the force of my shield pushing him cracked a few ancient bricks.
"Check his pocket, Bells," Alice said knowingly beside me, showing up out of nowhere. She must have seen him make a stupid decision.
Vittore snarled menacingly as I reached into his pants pocket. He struggled senselessly against my shield as I pulled out what looked like a grenade.
"Flash bomb," Alice breathed. "That's what caused the fire here before."
"And just where were you going with this?" I asked, keeping it steady in my hand.
"The auditorium," Alice answered before he could. Vittore wriggled and squirmed again, fear covering his face. I was pissed, knowing he was disloyal was one thing, but seeing what he was planning was another.
"Oh look," Demitri chuckled, "he finally did it. Vittore finally reached Bella's limit."
Vittore's eyes widened as all the men filed into the room. Not only was my family and Marcus there, but Agosto and Stephano as well.
"Bella," Edward said softly next to me, "let me have that, love." He was slowly reaching for the grenade that was still in my grasp.
"He touched me, Edward," I growled and his hand stopped midway.
"I know," he whispered, his eyes darting to Vittore, who grunted in pain when my shield constricted in on him. "And he won't do it again, but you need to hand that to me." His voice was smooth, slow and cautious. I nodded, opening my hand so that he could lift it and place it into Stephano's awaiting grasp. "Good girl," Edward sighed, kissing my temple. A sigh of relief escaped him.
"Was that meant for me, Vittore?" Marcus asked, his hand landing on my shoulder.
An explosion of Italian curses erupted from the man I was holding five feet above the floor, his face contorted in pure hatred.
"That's not an answer," Rose snorted behind me and Marcus chuckled at her. She just shrugged, "I'm just saying."
"Bells," Emmett huffed a light laugh, "make him answer."
"'Kay," I nodded, using my shield to slowly pull Vittore apart starting with his arms.
"Yes," he screamed, squeezing his eyes closed.
"Thank you, Isabella," Marcus said, "you may let him down now. Agosto, Stephano, take him to the chamber." My head snapped around to Marcus. "He's my responsibility now, let him go, Bella." I wrenched my shield from him, letting Vittore drop to the floor where he was in the hands of Agosto and Stephano instantly. "Get him out of here," Marcus sighed, looking weary. I suddenly realized that Vittore would not live to see another day.
It wasn't minutes after Marcus, Stephano and Agosto left us with Vittore that I heard a cut-off scream echo through the halls of the castle. Vittore was no more.
"We got it, Alice," I chuckled, setting all of our bags down so that Stephano could load them in the limo. "If we don't go now, we won't see Verona."
"Right," she huffed, "rainy day." She smiled brightly, nodding happily. "We'll see you in London in a few days."
We both turned when our family joined us, Emmett carrying my wife upside down. "Damn it, Emmett," she growled, wriggling in his huge arms. "It's only a few damn days," she grumbled, trying to fold her arms, but couldn't due to the position she was in.
"Em," I chuckled, shaking my head, "let her down."
"'Kay," he sighed, a smirk on his face when she smacked at him. With one last sharp glance at him and Jasper, who was in hysterics, she turned to Carina, wrapping her in a big hug.
"I'm going to miss you," she smiled. "Promise us you'll come for visits." Carina nodded, her mind filled with sadness that she was now being separated from us. We had all come to feel like family.
"As if you could stop us," Demitri chuckled, wrapping Bella up in his arms and swinging her around.
Esme grabbed Bella by the face, kissing her cheek. "You guys are opening up the Cullen house, but when we get there, we'll start on your place, ok?" Bella beamed, nodding happily.
"Come on, sweet girl," I chuckled at her glowing face. "We'll miss that train."
With a few more goodbyes and well wishes, we started for the car. "Oh, Edward," Bella frowned, "Imelda...I didn't say goodbye," she held up one finger. "Give me a second, ok?"
"Yes, ma'am," I nodded, leaning against the car. She dashed inside, flying through the castle. Her mind was open as she urgently knocked on Imelda's door. The sweet old woman smiled softly at my wife, tears welling up at saying goodbye. With kisses to both her cheeks, she let Bella go.
"Son?" Carlisle said beside me. "Everything ok?"
"Yeah, Bella was just saying goodbye to Imelda," I nodded. I tapped my temple to let him know I was listening.
Bella ran back up, her hair windblown from running the whole way. I smiled, "You ready now?"
"Yeah, yeah," she sighed, smiling as she dove into the car. I could see a touch of sadness in her eyes.
When Bella loved someone, it was instantaneous. When she had to let them go, it was hard on her. And not for the first time did I wonder if she would ever see regret in this life. The words that Charlie had told her came back to me. He had explained to her that if she truly wanted someone in her life, she would figure out a way to keep them. Obviously, he meant himself, but still I wondered if this was harder on her that she let on.
"Hey," I heard softly in my ear, "where are you, handsome?" Bella smiled, kissing my temple. I came up out of my memory like coming up out of water.
I looked out the train window and saw we were further along than I expected. "Are you going to miss Imelda?" I asked, leaning my head back to the headrest.
"Of course," she frowned, "but we can visit. I won't be able to resist seeing Carina and Demitri – Marcus too, for that matter." Her brow wrinkled.
"She's not young, Bella," I sighed, looking down at our entwined hands.
"I know," she sighed, looking out the window. "But I'm a better person for meeting her." Her statement shocked me.
"What do you mean?"
"She, along with a lot of people that have popped in and out of my life, will always be a part of who we are. Don't you see?" She smiled so sweetly. "Imelda will be the one memory from Volterra that I can smile about. Aside from that shower," she sighed dramatically, letting her eyes close and her hand press against her heart.
I barked a laugh, shaking my head. My silly, sweet girl. "So when you think of say...Portland, what comes to mind?"
"Wendy," she nodded with a bright smile. "She represents how I wished my first high school experience could have gone. I had a friend that didn't care about money or the fact that my interests were different. She was a good friend. She could even ignore how handsome you are." She giggled, shaking her head. "That's an impossibility in my book."
"And Forks?" I chuckled, wondering why her mind was closed to me, but I let it go.
"Mike," she laughed, "believe it or not."
"What?" I growled, a smile spreading over my face due to her infectious laugh.
"Yeah," she sighed, cupping my face. Suddenly her eyes filled with a love that took my breath away. "See, if it weren't for Mike asking me out, you wouldn't have talked to me again."
"Oh, baby, yes I would have," I sighed, "I was failing miserably at ignoring you." I pressed my forehead to hers, kissing her nose softly.
"Maybe," she teased, "but it felt that way, so that's how I associate it."
"What about Dartmouth?"
"That's all you," she smiled. "That was about learning to control myself, my talent, getting closer to our family. We didn't make many friends in New Hampshire." She must have seen something in my expression, because she continued, "Did that bother me? No, not at all. I watched your happiness grow there. That was really good for me to see."
"You said so yourself, baby," she sighed, kissing my lips quickly, "you're a better man now. I got to watch that happen. I watched you shed the last brick of the wall you spent so long building. And that made me happy."
"Any regrets? At all? For any of it?"
She frowned, bit her lip and studied my face. She reached up, her thumb caressing my cheek bone. "Not really. I mean, I would have liked to have at least finished out the high school thing." She smirked, winking at me. I chuckled softly, shaking my head. "Joe will always be a regret," she frowned, nodding and looking out the window. "He was sick," she sighed. "He needed help, but then...would it have worked?" She shrugged. "Matthew too," she said, worrying her lip. If she were human, I would be afraid she would have drawn blood. "Which leads me to Tanya, I guess," she huffed a laugh, but there was absolutely no humor in her eyes.
I growled low and fierce at the mention of Tanya. Bella wasn't the only one that would tear her apart if she showed up. She had crossed the line with me. She had always been jealous. Now she was a threat to the one thing that she couldn't have, couldn't touch. Tanya was now my enemy. There would be no more chances for her to threaten my wife again.
"Marcus promised you that he would keep her out of England, love," I said through gritted teeth, knowing that Tanya went from a pest to an enemy in my wife's eyes as soon as she realized Tanya was responsible for Felix finding her on the ridge. In Bella's line of thinking, Tanya could have been the destruction of the two of us. That was inexcusable – going far beyond using Brandon or her former feelings for me or even how she had tried to ruin my proposal. Not to mention the fact that Tanya completely threw out our diet just for strength and revenge.
"I know," she sighed.
"Hey," I whispered, tilting her head back to me. "I understand, baby. I do. She better stay away, Bella. I'll destroy her myself, if she comes near you." I looked up as the train slowed down. "When you thought I was gone, sweetheart," I choked, swallowing thickly. My eyes closed, remembering my love's staggering heartbreak. I felt her lips press to my forehead. She was nodding, holding back her own emotions.
"I love you," she sighed, kissing my temple and then my cheek. "It's that simple, Edward. I just really love you. And that I will never regret." I nodded, unable to stop myself from pulling her into my lap. I wrapped my arms around her, resting my forehead to her shoulder. "Come on, Romeo," she snickered, kissing my ear and running her fingers through my hair as the train stopped. "Come quote to me, so that I can kiss you like mad under that balcony." I huffed a laugh, lifting my head to look at her.
"Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again," I quoted, pulling back to look at her. She giggled, pressing her lips to mine.
"You kiss by th' book," she quoted in return.
"Oh, Edward," my love half groaned, half giggled, "don't do it."
"Why?" I laughed, stepping up to Juliet's statue. The superstition surrounding that statue was hilarious, especially when you factored in the insatiability that Bella and I had. The tradition was if you rubbed the breast of Juliet, your sex life improved. That alone was too much to resist.
"Because the new house may not be standing after a week," she snorted, looking like she would be blushing if she were able. The few tourists that braved the drizzly day and that understood English were laughing at us.
My head fell back with my laugh. "That's if you believe the legend," I pointed out, still chuckling.
"This is us, Edward," she huffed, shaking her head and biting her lip to fight her smile. "It will more than likely be true."
"For me?" I begged, unleashing the face that she couldn't resist. "Please?"
"Oh hell," she chuckled, shaking her head. I hopped down from the pedestal and took her by the hand. "Edward," she whined. She looked away from me with a smile spreading over her face as I placed our hands on the statue. "We're in for it now," she laughed, looking back at me, but there was a wicked gleam in her eyes.
"God, I hope so," I whispered, kissing her quickly.
"Don't break my house," she tried to order, but her laughter betrayed her.
"I'll buy you another one," I smirked, pulling her down off of the pedestal and wrapping my arms around her waist.
"No," she snorted, "it took me ages to pick this one." I laughed, kissing her forehead. We walked along and came to the wall where there was another tradition I wanted to do. But I wanted to see her face.
"Oh wow," she smiled, looking at the names of loves written all over the wall. "Now this you can do!" She beamed.
"I figured," I chuckled, nodding and pulling out a permanent marker. "Which name?"
"Cullen," she smiled. "I married Edward Cullen. That will never change for me, baby."
"I know, sweet girl," I smiled, linking her fingers with mine and bringing our hands up to kiss hers. "Help me find a spot." She pointed to a fairly clear spot. "Date?"
"No," she shook her head. "Forever."
Verona was fantastic. Not because it was where Romeo and Juliet was inspired, but because it was the first time in a very long time that Edward and I just played. No threats, no impending danger, not even family to get back to. We acted our frozen ages and it was just plain fun.
I couldn't even find a favorite part. His silly reaction to Juliet's statue will forever be imbedded in my memory. I had never seen him as carefree as he was in that moment. When he wrote our names on the wall, his face was as youthful as I'd ever seen it. He was all of seventeen and completely in love as he wrote Edward and Bella Cullen Forever in his calligraphy-like script and then took a picture of it to print for later. My heart exploded with more love for him.
As the sun set, Edward wrapped his arms around me and danced on the sidewalk of the village as an old man played the violin. He sang so softly the sweet words of the Italian song while his lips barely left the skin of my neck. And he bought me a rose from an old gypsy woman, who in turn gave us a blessing with her toothless smile.
Did he quote Romeo to me? Oh God yes, to the point where I was practically panting. It took all the restraint I had to keep from attacking him as tourists crowded around us. And he knew it. He used it. He used it until my eyes blackened with lust and I was clinging to him, shaking with the desire to just kiss him senseless. He took pity and pulled me into an alley doorway so I could do just that.
As we pulled into the long winding driveway of the London home, my mouth fell open. "That's not a house, Edward," I snorted, looking over at him. "It's a freaking castle."
"Technically," he sighed, a smile playing on his face, "it's a manor."
"What. Ever," I laughed, shaking my head.
He laughed in spite of himself with a slight tilt to his head and a raise of his eyebrows. "It's Carlisle's," he smiled, shifting the car into park. "It belonged to a relative from centuries ago and when he finally could, he bought it."
"So, it's really Cullen Castle?" I cracked up, opening my door, but he was there to help me out in an instant.
"Manor," he laughed, picking me up bridal style and nuzzling my face.
"Fine, fine...manor," I sighed, rolling my eyes. "All that's missing is the coffins, dungeons and moats."
"Silly girl," he muttered under his breath, rolling his eyes. I giggled, kissing his cheek as he set me down in the foyer.
It was much more cozy on the inside than it appeared to be on the outside – all Esme's doing, I was sure of it. From the front door, two staircases wound up to the second floor. The floors were a light marble and the walls were covered in rich tapestries and artwork. To my right was a door to a living room, the left the formal dining room and kitchen.
Edward gave me the tour as we walked through every room, uncovering furniture and opening windows to air the place out. He was working in the living room as I opened another door and stepped in. I didn't need him to tell me what was under the covers in the middle of the light and spacious room. I reached out and tugged the large square of white material, and gasped at the prettiest piano I had ever seen. It was shiny and stark white, sitting in a room surrounded by a few chairs and ancient bookcases.
"I'll need to tune it, baby," he whispered from right behind me as I traced a finger over it.
"It's so pretty," I smiled, "I never thought white..."
He smiled, nodding his head. "Esme helped me pick this one. She was encouraging my music more and more. She chose white, because of the light that comes in here early in the morning." He pointed to the windows on all three sides of the room where dawn had not quite risen yet. "She liked to sit in here and read when I played." I smiled, biting my lip and remembering Esme's defense of spoiling Edward. Now I saw that they spoiled each other.
He lifted the long, sleek lid and peered in. "I thought of putting this in our house."
"No," I shook my head, "let her have it. It's her memories, baby. We'll get one for our house." I knew without a doubt that had he asked her if he could take it, she would not fight him, but I couldn't see doing that to her when it obviously meant so much. It was how attached I was to the black one sitting under a tarp back in the Portland house. The thought caused my breath to hitch. A unexplainable sadness swept over me at the thought of Edward's piano covered and sitting without being used for who knew how long. It seemed so wrong, and suddenly I felt homesick.
"I can send for it," he rushed to me, hearing my thoughts. "If you want it, I'll bring it." He gripped my shoulders, pressing a kiss to my forehead. "I can have it shipped here, my love." His eyes searched mine, his face completely serious.
"Ok," I answered before I could change my mind. "Ok," I nodded again. I felt selfish and a touch childish in agreeing to it, but I honestly couldn't help it. There were just some things that meant too much to let go.
"It's not selfish, my Bella," he sighed, his eyes softening to a warm topaz. "You never ask for anything, and I'd give you the world. Do you want it?"
"Yeah," I sighed, biting my lip. "Yeah, I really want it here."
"It's done," he nodded. He didn't even let a moment pass before he pulled out his phone and started the process. As I made my way upstairs, he called Jake to ask him to meet the shippers. I shook my head at my indulgent husband.
As usual, I could tell which rooms belonged to which couple. Esme was always perfect in her designs, in her matching of personalities to d├ęcor. As I reached the stairs for the third floor, I heard Edward behind me.
"The piano will arrive in three weeks," he smiled, looking very proud of himself.
"Thank you," I giggled, unable to stop from cupping his face. He was too cute for words.
"My room," he pointed, opening the door. His room was just plain sexy. There was no other way to put it. It was dark and very old English with a huge four-poster bed in the center of the room with deep burgundy curtains all the way around it. The walls were stone on the outside wall and a deep, dark wood on the three other sides. There was a roll-top desk at one end of the room next to two very tall bookcases. The other end had a nail-head chaise next to a very old stereo. The floor was covered in thick, rich almost a wall to wall rug with the same deep red as the curtains of the bed. In front of the window sat two chairs on either side of a beautiful chess board. Most of the artwork on the walls were music related, except for a small Cullen Crest flag over the bed.
I looked around as he pulled covers off of everything. I lived for English literature, and his room was the epitome of every novel I had ever read. I bit back my groan or my swoon, or hell, both – I wasn't really sure.
"It needs updating," he mused, looking around.
"Don't fucking touch it," I snapped, wincing when he laughed at me. "I mean, a new stereo...yeah, but," I groaned, unable to hold it back, "it's perfect. It's so...you."
"I'll tell Esme you said so," he laughed again, his eyes darkened as he inhaled the air around him. "Mm, you do like it," he gasped, his mouth hung open in shock. "How can a room do that?"
"I'm a romantic, Edward," I whined, turning from him to look around. "Look at this room, it's just...exactly like I imagined your room to be. It's like the very essence of you." I laughed, not even making sense to myself.
He smiled, tilting his head at me. A slight, sweet smile played over his face as he looked at me through his long eyelashes. "We'll need a new mattress," he smirked. "I never even once touched that one."
"Whatever," I chuckled, waving him away as he laughed softly at me. "What else is left to do?"
"I think we're done," he whispered, walking to me. "However, I was thinking. We could go into the city."
"This morning?" I asked, my brow wrinkling. It was barely dawn.
He nodded slowly. "I was wondering. Do you want to see your house?"
Despite being completely enraptured by the room I was standing in, the temptation of seeing my first house was too much to say no to. His face blossomed into a huge smile as he scooped me up and rushed me down the stairs.
"You know," he smirked, his sexy eyebrow rising, "we could get a mattress delivered before the morning's over." He raked his tongue across his bottom lip, barely holding in his own laugh.
"Testing your Juliet theory, Edward?" I snorted, bursting into a laugh when he nodded. "Then drive, baby. Drive." He laughed, shifting the car into gear and tearing out of the driveway.


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