Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 29

CHAPTER 29
BELLA
"All those time you tried to tell me you were a monster," I groaned, my eyes rolling back, "I didn't believe you..."
Edward's dark, sexy chuckle pushed his sweet breath against my neck, just before his lips met the skin. "I did warn you, Isabella," he said so smoothly that I felt it all over, like warm honey dripping from my head to my toes.
We were supposed to be getting dressed. Demitri had called and said he was almost here, as well as Marcus and Stephano. We were supposed to meet everyone outside in less than an hour.
But Edward had different ideas.
Apparently, his hands were out of his control, because he shrugged nonchalantly in the mirror behind me, where I had been trying to put my hair up into a ponytail. My mistake had been not dressing completely, so as I stood in just my underwear and a t-shirt, I was accosted without warning.
Edward was shirtless, in just a pair of dark jeans, his body pressed against mine from behind as his hands slithered wickedly up under my shirt.
"Baby, please," I begged, spinning in front of him, but he was just as quick. He picked me up and set me on the sink, stepping between my legs without shame. "Edward," I warned, but it didn't carry any authority, just a sound that came across too much like a whine. "We don't have time. And I like time..." I raised an eyebrow at him.
He smiled so beautifully that I should have been blinded by the brilliance and sweetness of it. Instead, I saw it for what it was – he was totally playing me. "I know...I just want a kiss, baby..." He pouted, bottom lip jutting out and all.
Pouting, really?
"You...are...the...devil," I growled between kisses to his lips. "We won't stop, Edward..."
"Good," he breathed, his eyes hooded with lust and love and just plain seventeen-year-old hormones, which were just enhanced by immortal insatiability.
When his hands firmly gripped my bottom and squeezed, pressing me against that amazing bulge being held back behind the poor, poor zipper of his jeans, I lost all self control.
We immediately plunged into a full on groping make out session. One of my hands slipped into his hair, while the other found a home in the back pocket of his jeans, just to pull him closer to me. I turned my head with the help of his hand at the base of my neck, because I couldn't stop from tasting him.
As our tongues slipped languidly together, wet lips to wet lips, his hips bucked forward, hitting me perfectly.
I gasped, breaking from his mouth, but he just took the opportunity to suckle the soft spot just behind my ear.
"I love you, Bella...so much," he whispered, nuzzling my neck. "You know that, right?"
There was a sound to his voice that was almost heartbreaking, as I cupped his face and pulled him back from my shoulder. I studied his face.
"Of course I know that," I said firmly, tilting my head at him. "You tell me...you show me every minute of the day, baby. What is it?"
He shook his head, his forehead pressing to mine and his breathing heavy. "I never, ever want you to doubt it." He shrugged in a very non-Edward sort of way.
I smiled up at him, caressing his cheeks with my thumbs. "Of all the things in my life, that is the one thing I trust wholeheartedly."
He smiled again, sweet and simple, pulling back and looking at me through his long, dark lashes. It was his most deadly weapon.
We both flinched when my phone went off not thirty seconds before we heard a knock at the door. We both sighed, but I looked up at him with a look that said, "I told you so, doofus."
He laughed, clearly hearing my thoughts, and kissed my forehead. "A man has to try, my beautiful girl. Sometimes, you are absolutely irresistible."
"Okay, pot...kettle," I snorted, gesturing between us.
He laughed again, setting me on my feet. He tugged on a white t-shirt and a dark green v-neck sweater, while I put on my jeans. As I sat down to pull on my sneakers, he opened the door to Kevin, who was flanked by my sisters.
"Oh, a girl meeting," Edward said wryly, looking to me as Kevin rolled his eyes behind him with a chuckle. "And I'm not welcome...I'm going, I'm going."
"Carlisle's looking for you," Alice said with a smirk, her eyes sparkling up at him.
"Of course, he is," he sighed, rolling his eyes. "Don't take long...everyone will be here soon."
"Oh, now he becomes responsible," I growled, shaking my head.
I rolled my eyes at his silly grin, before he stepped aside to let everyone in and left, closing the door with a soft click. His deep chuckle could be heard all the way to Carlisle's cabin.
"What this about?" I asked, looking at a nervous, but garnet blushing Kevin.
Rose smirked, sitting down next to me. "Kevin needs...advice."
"Oh?" My eyebrows shot up as I studied Kevin. "And we're not including Esme in a girl talk, why?"
Kevin winced, but looked up at me. "I love her...but she's a mom. This is more...personal."
"Okay, I can't get any more curious. Spill it," I said, leaning back in the futon next to Rose and folding my arms across my chest.
"I want Adrian," he whispered, turning red again.
I stood up and paced the room, knowing exactly what he was feeling, but Alice spoke first. "You're mated; it's only natural to want him."
"He kissed me," he breathed, looking up to me. "I just...snapped."
I snorted, shaking my head. "It's too much, Kev. You really have to take this slow with him. Please don't forget that he could lose his concentration. If you push too hard, it could have disastrous results."
"You mean like you did, Bells?" Rose teased.
"You have no idea," I sighed, wincing at the many, many memories. "When we first met...my muscles would ache with how much I fought the need to just...touch Edward. I knew what he was capable of...and I knew what my blood did to him."
"And when he came back?" Alice smirked, rubbing Kevin's back softly.
"He was different." I shrugged, shaking my head. "You said—" I pointed to Alice, "—that he'd made up his mind to try. I trusted that."
"He did, and you were fine," Alice huffed. "Their future is all over the place. Adrian is nervous...he's not...experienced."
"Oh," Rose, Kevin and I all groaned.
"Edward wasn't experienced either," Rose said softly, looking up at me. "You two were the blind leading the blind."
I snorted, rolling my eyes at their chuckles. It was a tease, but they had no idea. "Blind, you say?" I smirked, leaning against the dresser and looking at all of them. "He may have waited, sure...but he's heard everything for a hundred years. Every deep, erotic thought, every sensual idea, every success story and every failure – it was all filed away, because he thought he'd never need it, and he hated it." I sighed, looking out the window into the snowy morning. "He knew me better than anyone on the planet. He knew my heart rate, my sounds, the meaning behind everything I uttered to him. Imagine all that knowledge put to use to just make me feel good. He was not blind."
"Oh, damn," Kevin and Rose breathed, looking at me with wide eyes.
"Tentative, sure," I sighed, waving off their surprise, "but never blind. His whole being revolves around me and my happiness. And it's him that makes me happy. He was only too willing to hand his heart and soul over to me for safekeeping."
"Oh," Alice giggled, shaking her head. "Add now that he can hear your thoughts..."
I laughed, my head falling back. "Exactly. Never underestimate your brother," I chuckled.
"He so talks dirty," Rose growled with a wicked grin and narrowed eyes, pointing to me. "Admit it. You're so lying about that shit!"
I made my face impassive, a talent that I learned, with pride and gratefulness, from Edward. "He's a perfect gentleman," I sighed, rolling my eyes and folding my arms across my chest. "And a romantic down to the center of his very being." That part was no lie.
"Yeah, right," Kevin snorted, looking up at me as he fought his smile. "And that just makes the dirty talk all the more hawt, my goddess. Behind that cool, calm, Heavy E facade is a foul mouth that just makes you all sorts of weak in the knees."
"Yeah," Alice giggled, bouncing on the futon. "All that knowledge probably just gives him all kinds of ammunition."
"Sweet," Rose and Kevin cooed, their faces wearing matching grins.
"You are way too much like Emmett sometimes," I laughed at Rose, shaking my head.
"Just admit Edward's got a dirty mouth, and you will end a five year long bet," Alice chuckled. "Even I'm in on this one...because I can't see it...ever."
"Whatever," I said, waving them all off with an exaggerated eye roll, but they truly were gazing at me with hilarious looks of curiosity. "Drop the bet...it's a waste of time." I internally smirked, shielding everything about me for the moment.
I turned to my friend, whose head shot up at the sound of Adrian's laugh coming from the fire pit just outside. "Kevin...sweetie, you need to wait. You need to take this slow. I know that all the feelings are huge and overwhelming and completely new. But if Adrian needs time, you need to respect that. He's a year old in this life. Edward was a hundred. Just...patience."
"How do I stop these feelings?" he asked, his eyes pleading with me for answers.
"You don't," I sighed, walking to him. "There's no stopping them. And if you asked Adrian, he probably wouldn't want you to stop, but you need to be aware of what it's doing to him."
Alice grimaced, but nodded when she figured out what I meant. "Kev, imagine when we are...thirsty, our throat burns...and it hurts. It's what tells us to hunt. Adrian just went on his first...non-human..." she snorted, shaking her head, "...hunt last night."
"It hurts him to be near me?" Kevin gasped, placing a hand over his heart.
"Not that it'll stop him," Rose smiled sweetly. "It didn't stop Edward. But I'm not sure if it's the whole...love conquers all thing."
"Girls," Carlisle called from outside, "let's go."
We walked out of the cabin, and I tugged on a jacket. My eyes locked with Edward's as I made my way to the fire pit. He was barely fighting his smirk and head shake.
Don't start! Did you know there's a bet over the existence of Dirty Edward? I grinned, walking to him.
"Mmhm." He nodded slowly, his eyes sparkling a bright amber of wicked happiness.
Do I want to know the wagers?
"Nope," he chuckled so, so softly in my ear, inhaling the scent of my hair. "Obscene, I tell you."
Are the parents in on it? I found the humor in it, and couldn't stop my giggle when he nodded with another deep chuckle. And it just grows larger with the passage of time, correct?
"Indeed, ma'am." He smiled, picking up my hand and playing with my wedding ring.
"I love that," I laughed, kissing his lips softly.
"I know you do," he said smoothly, giving me a sweet wink. "Let's go, sweet girl. We're meeting Demitri a few miles away."
With that said, he scooped me up onto his back and followed the rest of the family into the woods.
~oOoOo~
"I can't fucking find them...anywhere," Demitri growled, pacing back and forth in front of all of us like an avenging angel. "It's really starting to piss me off!" He hated it when he couldn't track like he was used to.
Brody and Carina nodded in agreement with wide eyes.
"I see that," Carlisle chuckled, shaking his head. He turned to Marcus, who was watching Demitri with a slight smile on his face. "What now?"
But it was Alice that piped up. "I don't think he's done in New York," she stated, her eyes glassy. "I've been blind to Sinclair since the fight...but during...I saw glimpses of more newborns, different newborns."
"Younger?" Edward growled, looking over at our sister and obviously seeing what she could. "That's...high school...and insane!"
I picked up his hand, turning his wedding band to calm him. I felt his sigh and kiss to the back of my head.
"It's easy to get away with in the city," Adrian quietly muttered, his brow furrowed. He stared at the ground, but his hand was firmly planted in Kevin's. He wasn't about to let him out of his sight. "You can distract a teen easily as they walk to or from the school." He winced, looking up guiltily.
"Do you see where, Alice?" Jasper asked, kissing the side of her head.
"No...just...5th Avenue..."
"Upper East Side," Kevin said, looking over at her. "Those are rich schools, Princess."
"Which was my theory a few days ago..." Demitri mumbled, looking around at the lot of us. "Sinclair's not poor, and he likes his nice things. He may use the sewers and old warehouses for what he does, but I'd almost guarantee his 'living' quarters are cushy."
"So what now? He's aiming to torture kids?" Emmett growled, his fists balling up in his lap.
"Easy, Em," Carlisle sighed, placing a calming hand on my big brother's shoulder.
I felt Edward's head turn to Alice again. She shrugged as she met his gaze, her face forlorn. "I need time...and quiet. I need to catch a vision when one of them isn't covered by whatever it is that Mark can do..."
"Do you want to go back to the city?" Carlisle asked, sitting next to her.
"Doesn't matter," she mumbled, closing her eyes. "Just...time."
"Fine," Marcus said, standing. "Then take a few days. Hunt, relax, and let Alice...do what she does."
"Should we open up the old apartment, Carlisle?" Esme asked, looking up at him.
"Yes," Alice answered for him, nodding, her eyes blank.
"Okay." Carlisle smiled over to the little pixie. "We'll talk about it later at the cabins after everyone is hunted. Edward, Bella..."
"We don't need to hunt," Edward answered the question before it was verbally asked. "We'll go with Kevin back to camp."
"Perfect." Marcus smiled, clapping his hands once. "Then we'll meet back in a few hours. Adrian...son, hunt again. It's important if you're changing your diet."
"Yes, sir," Adrian sighed, standing and squeezing Kevin's hand. "I won't be long, Kev," he promised.
The three of us walked back to camp at Kevin's pace, and my usually verbose friend was quiet. I looked over at him to see his eyes on his feet, his face pinched in concentration, but it was Edward that spoke softly.
"It's not babysitting, Kevin," he chuckled silently, shaking his head.
"Yes, it is," I teased Kev in a whisper, giving him a wink when his head shot up.
"Shut up, my goddess," he laughed, shoving me with his shoulder. "I know it's not...but it feels that way."
"I used to feel that way," I commiserated, looking up at Edward, who rolled his eyes but broke into a beautiful grin. "We just want to keep you safe, sweetie."
"I know, but..." He sighed, shoved his hands in the front pockets of his jeans, but didn't continue.
"Kevin." I frowned, stopping him by the sleeve of his jacket. "Trust me when I tell you that if we weren't here and Tanya wanted you...there would be nothing that you could do... Nothing!"
Kevin looked up at Edward, who chuckled. "Told you. The girls would snap, Kevin. It's easier to just do what they say."
Kevin grinned, nodded and started to walk on.
Responding to some unasked question, Edward continued, "No, Kev, you can't imagine. Honestly."
"Imagine what?" I asked, looking between them.
"It's nothing," Kevin huffed, his ears turning pink.
"Kevin has no...reference for the strength we're talking about, love," Edward explained. "No one has bothered to explain the danger."
"Well, hell, you did that when we met," I giggled, causing Edward to smile. "Speed, baby...go."
In a flash, Edward was gone. The only evidence that he had moved were the branches in front of us snapping off and hitting the forest floor with a heavy thump.
"Oh, fuck," Kevin breathed, spinning in one spot and finally meeting my gaze.
"You couldn't outrun any of them, honey," I sighed, holding out my hand so Edward would reappear coming from around the opposite side. "And strength, Kev..." I shook my head, leaning against a boulder. With a twisting shift of my hand and fingers, I bore a hole into the hard stone up to my elbow with barely any effort. "They could, without batting an eye, crush you with one hand. You wouldn't even have time to register it."
Kevin's brow furrowed as he studied the two of us. "Okay," he conceded with a nod. "I get it. And Adrian could kill me..."
"He's working on that," Edward stated, taking my hand as we continued our walk. "He wants so badly to be safe for you. Well, as safe as he can be."
I smiled, looking up at my mind reading husband. "Good," I sighed. "That's really good."
~oOoOo~
EDWARD
"What's it like to change?" Kevin asked as he took a bite of the sandwich Bella had made him. We were back at camp, waiting on everyone to return.
I winced at the question, but I knew he'd been thinking about it for days. He was so much like Bella when she was human that it was almost eerie.
"Painful," Bella said simply, not elaborating at all.
I looked up at her from Jasper's new guitar, but her thoughts were firm.
This is between them, Edward. It's personal and between mates...I'm not sure what Adrian feels at this point.
"You aren't going into detail, are you, my goddess?" Kevin asked, looking up at her, his brow furrowed.
"No," she sighed, plopping down next to me. "I can't, Kev. It's not my place." In her mind, Bella felt guilty for all the times she'd probed Alice for information when she and I first met. She now felt it was childish and selfish.
"I wasn't exactly forthcoming with information, love," I reasoned, kissing her head. "I never wanted this for you. Not then, anyway."
"And now?" Kevin asked, looking at me with a mixture of frustration and curiosity. He was worried that his blood was hurting Adrian. It was killing him that their proximity, while unavoidable and a pull neither of them were prepared for, was the source of pain for Adrian and a threat to his own well being. He was also feeling unsure of their relationship – like Adrian would grow tired of his humanity or wouldn't want him changed.
Like I said – so much like Bella, it was almost scary.
"I wouldn't change anything," I stated, frowning at him. "But you have no concept of what this life even means... You have no concept of the word immortal – to live forever, unchanging, watching everything you know fade away as you continually carry on." My voice came out sharper than I'd intended, because Bella winced.
"Edward," she chided, brushing my hair from my forehead gently. "Even I haven't completely grasped that concept," she reasoned, tilting my face to hers with her fingers under my chin. "I have no regrets. And I have no doubt that if I get worried or upset or concerned with this life that you'll help me, but I sometimes can't fathom...forever. All I know is that I'm happy to find out with you."
My girl was serious and open and honest – and the best thing this life ever offered me. "I love you," I chuckled, rolling my eyes as the two of them laughed at me.
She kissed my nose, still chuckling at me, but she turned her attention to Kevin. "As you can see, it's between you and Adrian. It's personal and intimate and a really tough choice, sweetie. I have zero regrets, but I got hurt, and Edward had to save me or lose me."
I wrapped an arm around her shoulders, burying my nose in her hair at the memory.
She took a deep breath, leaning into my embrace. "Kevin, if you don't learn patience now..." She shook her head, clearly frustrated with him and the entire conversation.
"Fine," he grumped, popping the last bite of his sandwich into his mouth. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, looking out the window.
"Adrian is trying," I said, urging him to listen. "Carlisle is counseling him about your mixed relationship, which he's an expert on now. Marcus is coaching him on the new diet. Demitri is just teasing him," I snorted. "Trust me, he's not taking this relationship lightly, Kevin."
He nodded, smiling slightly. Taking a deep breath, he changed the subject. "Do you think Alice will see something?"
"Most likely," I answered with a nod, turning my attention back to the guitar and plucking out a soft Spanish tune. "She only needs to see a glimpse of their future. Any of them."
"We're heading back to the city, aren't we?" he asked, taking his paper plate to the garbage can and dropping it in.
"Yeah." My Bella smiled evilly, looking over at me. "We could totally go under cover in a high school."
I smiled without looking up at her. "The Upper East Side has this fantastic Catholic school..."
"Damn it, Edward," she snorted, shaking her head as I laughed shamelessly.
"You, Heavy E, have serious issues," Kevin chuckled, rolling his eyes. "And isn't that all kinds of weird anti-vampire...crosses and holy water bullshit?"
"No," Bella and I cracked up.
"It's more along the lines of a plaid, pleated skirt and a tight sweater," Bella smirked, raising a dangerous eyebrow at me. "And I'm not going to a boarding school...period."
"Yes, ma'am," I chuckled, not bothering to correct her, because she was dead on.
"Issues," Kevin sang, falling back down on the futon.
I grinned over at my sweet girl, who was truly fighting her smile. "Shut it," I growled, leaning over and placing a kiss to her neck. "But yes...putting us in school did cross Carlisle's and Marcus' minds."
"Oh," Bella and Kevin winced.
"And you just know how I love to start in the middle of the year..." Bella muttered, rolling her eyes.
"The last time was pretty memorable," I teased, nudging her with my shoulder.
"Oh yeah," she sighed dramatically, a sweet smile tugging at her lips, her eyes rolling up to the ceiling. "There was this guy..."
"Let me guess...he was fuckhawt," Kevin laughed.
"Yeah, and cranky and oblivious..." Bella giggled, kissing my cheek. "But he turned out to be just...awesome. With the best ass..."
"Well, that is important." Kevin shrugged, his face serious.
"You two think you're funny," I snorted, turning to my girl. "And we've compared that list, sweetheart. Don't go there..." I raised an eyebrow at her, but her bright, happy face was just about the most adorable thing.
"That's a great list." She grinned and nodded, licking her bottom lip. "Hmm...my rankings might have changed. We should compare again some time soon."
I laughed, my head falling back. "I know your number one hasn't..." Her top most favorite thing about me was my voice, and I'm not sure even she knew why – whether it was the tone or the things I said.
"Hmm, true," she giggled, shrugging. "Can't help it." She picked up a book from the table beside her and opened it. "Still, a refresher on the list isn't a terrible idea..." she mumbled, but her grin was so very cute.
"Soon," I chuckled, going back to the guitar.
~oOoOo~
"God, Esme works fast," Jasper muttered, looking around the large penthouse when we walked through the door. "It's a talent," he huffed, folding his arms across his chest. "I don't care what Carlisle says. Anyone that can move a family of eight, plus two more – one being a human, I might add – get new furniture for five bedrooms, have some of our shit over-nighted from London, and decorate for fucking Christmas, all within the span of ten fucking days, without so much as a single hitch...that's fucking talent. I'm just sayin'."
"Jasper! Language," Esme snorted with an eye roll from the kitchen, but her amusement couldn't be contained.
He chuckled, but didn't look remorseful at all.
"Bella and I decorated for Christmas, thank you very much," Rose growled, looking up from the TV. "And it wasn't easy with all of you tramping all over this place."
"Still," Jasper snickered, pointing around the room. "You have to admit, she's damn good."
I chuckled, shaking my head and taking a look around. While there were still boxes everywhere, the place looked amazing. Esme and Alice had brought the place from the sixties into the modern century. It was a spacious home, taking up most of a large apartment building's top floor. Carlisle had owned it for decades.
I pulled out a few gifts, starting towards the Christmas tree.
"You put those out, and Bella will lose her mind with curiosity, simply because she'll assume you spent too much," Alice chuckled from the hallway.
"Fine, then you hide them for me," I laughed, following the sound of her voice. "Here," I said, shoving them towards her.
"Okay." She smiled, placing a vase on a small table and brushing off her hands. "I'll stow them with the others that no one is supposed to know about."
"You've got mine, don't you?" Emmett bellowed from the next doorway. "Rosie totally won't tell me."
"Nor should she," I teased him, walking to the farthest bedroom to drop my keys and wallet off. I was hoping to see my Bella, but the room was dark and empty. "Where'd she go?"
"Roof," Alice said, carrying a few boxes. "She's been up there since she and Rose finished with the Christmas tree."
"'Kay." I nodded, walking back out of the apartment. I almost ran smack into Carlisle, who was talking to a package delivery guy.
He signed the electronic pad, and the man disappeared around the corner, heading towards the elevator. My father turned to me with a wry smile. "Does Bella still want Christmas in Forks?"
"You know she does," I chuckled, "but I told her that it was up to you. And she'll be fine if we don't go."
"Well, Esme and the girls have been begging me all day when she wasn't listening. Apparently, they all want to see Charlie." He laughed, shaking his head. "Tell her..."
"You tell her," I told him, clapping his shoulder. "And watch her face when you do. You'll feel like..."
"A hero?"
"Yeah." I grinned. When Bella truly wanted something, it was amazing to be able to hand it to her—even if it was as simple as a visit to see her father—because she never really asked for anything. "I'll bring her down in a few."
We were one level down from the roof, so I took the stairs, and saw the door was cracked open. I pushed it all the way open to see a dreary cold twilight over New York, but it was my beautiful brunette that I was truly searching for.
I found her at the corner of the building, her face illuminated by the screen of her iPod, the earbuds firmly in place. She was leaning against the wall that surrounded the top of the building. She was stunning as the wind blew the hair away from her face and she gazed out over the lights of the city. I had to smile, because she was so adorable in her knit hat and scarf. But it was the flash of the prettiest smile when she finally saw me that always took my breath away. That smile was mine and mine alone, and I lived to see it.
Tugging the earbuds out of her ears, she sighed, "Hey."
"Hey, sweet girl," I said, pulling her to me, and then taking her place at the wall. I wrapped my arms around her and pressed her body flush to mine. "What has you all alone?"
"You've moved with Emmett, right?" Her grin was hysterical, as was her eye roll at my laugh.
"Point taken." I nodded, pushing her cap up just a touch so that I could kiss her forehead.
"I just needed a break from bickering and teasing," she sighed, burying her face in my neck. "And I wasn't sure how long you'd be."
"Let's go out tonight," I blurted out. "I want to show you Rockefeller Plaza."
"Oh, they've put up the tree, then?"
"Mmhm," I sighed into her hair.
"Okay," she said, pulling back to look up at me. She ran her nose along mine, kissing me chastely. "Can we skate?"
I chuckled, looking at almost a childlike excitement. "If you'd like."
"I'd like." She nodded profusely.
"Then it's yours." I kissed her lips softly. "They'll want to come with us..."
"I'm sure," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "It's going to take some getting used to living with them again, no matter how temporary it may be."
I studied her face. She didn't seem upset, but her mind was closed from me. "I know you miss our home..."
"I do, but it's fine. I don't care where we are..."
I chuckled, squeezing her closer. "As long as we're together," I finished for her.
She giggled and nodded, wrapping her arms around my neck.
"I know you miss our alone time, too, sweetheart. I'll try and remedy that soon, okay?"
"We're alone...now," she smirked, her breath ghosting across my face and bringing every nerve ending I had to alert status.
"Oh," I groaned, unable to stop my roaming hands from cupping her bottom and giving it a good squeeze over her tight jeans. "Unfortunately, we're needed inside. Carlisle wants a family meeting," I lied smoothly, hoping she didn't call me on it, because I was going to enjoy the announcement he was going to make for her. My father had no idea how happy this was going to make my girl. Going skating had nothing on allowing her to see Charlie.
"'Kay," she sighed, starting to pull away with disappointment on her face.
"Wait," I begged, tugging her back to me. "Kiss me first. You aren't the only one that has to get used to being surrounded again."
She smiled, leaning into me. She cupped my face, rubbing her thumbs along my cheekbones. I reached up and slowly removed her hat, weaving my fingers into her hair. I watched, with an almost painful anticipation, her tongue drag across her bottom lip, before she captured my mouth with hers.
I moaned at the sharp electric zing that our connection made with the contact, turning her head with one hand and hitching her leg around my hip with the other. She gasped into my mouth when our centers pressed together, grinding at the same time. I could already feel her heat through two layers of denim.
"Edward," she purred, her eyes rolling back as I broke away from her mouth.
"I know..." I sighed, my forehead hitting her shoulder. I couldn't wait until she said my name like that, but for completely different reasons.
"Me, too," she giggled.
"I really need to work on my internal filter," I chuckled, shaking my head and kissing her neck softly.
"Never," she said, taking a deep breath and pulling my face back. "Focus, handsome. Carlisle...meeting...skating." She smiled so sweetly that it was almost impossible for me not to press her into the wall behind me and take her right there on the roof.
"'Kay." I smiled, kissing her forehead and pulling her hat back down on her head. "Come on, sweet girl. I'll get you alone eventually."
"That came across sounding like a threat, baby," she teased, kissing my cheek and taking my hand.
"It might have been," I chuckled, shrugging a shoulder. I watched her stow her iPod in her jacket pocket. "What were you listening to?" I asked as we made our way back down the stairs.
"You," she said, looking back up at me. "Your Christmas stuff on the piano."
"You made a playlist of that?"
"And just why wouldn't I?" she huffed, but her eyes were sparkling with warmth and love. "I'm your biggest fan, remember?"
"And President of the fan club..."
"Exactly," she giggled, opening the door to the apartment.
"Yay! Skating," Alice beamed, jumping up and down as we shut the door.
"Yes, Alice," Bella and I said at the same time.
"We're all going, but Carlisle wants to talk," Alice smirked, leading us into the living room, but we all stopped when the door opened again.
"There's nothing wrong with chocolate Poptarts," Kevin growled, rolling his eyes. "And seeing how I'm the only fucker eating in this kitchen..."
"Kevin! Language," Esme huffed, shaking her head. "What's with you boys today?"
"Sorry, Esme," Kevin sang, setting his bags of groceries on the counter.
I cracked up when Adrian whispered, "You got in trouble."
We waited until they put the food away and joined us in the living room, before Carlisle stood up. Alice was already bouncing next to Jasper, who was just as happy, and it was emitting into the whole room.
"Okay," Carlisle said, looking around the room. "So first thing...we're going skating tonight?"
"Yeah," we all chanted and nodded.
"Excellent," he chuckled, rubbing his hands together. "It's been years since I've been in New York at Christmas."
We all nodded, except for Adrian, Kevin, and Bella. The two boys had lived here at one point, while my sweet girl was seeing the city for the first time during the holiday season.
"Next," he sighed, his face a little more serious, "Marcus and Demitri are going to be staying in the area for a while. Demitri's pretty sure that Sinclair hasn't left town. As far as Tanya goes, we think she's with him, because there's nothing that Demitri or Alice can see, so Mark's new talent must be in full force. Nothing new yet, Alice?"
"Nope," she said with a frown, "but I'm still watching."
"Why would Mark betray us?" Esme asked him, her face showing a touch of hurt.
"I asked Kate that very thing the last time I spoke with her," Carlisle sighed, shaking his head. "She said that when Tanya was home for the wedding, she had taken on a more dominate personality with Mark. She said it was sad, because she liked Mark, but Tanya controlled his every move. She said it felt like she was holding something over him."
"Oh, damn. Blackmail." Emmett grimaced. "That sucks."
"You guys are totally forgetting how manipulative she can be," Alice growled, folding her arms across her chest. "Remember all those apologies to Edward and Bella? And then she would just turn around and pull the same shit. No, she's controlling him for a reason. I just can't see it. But I will, damn it."
"Good," he told her. "Now...last thing before we all head out. It's been brought to my attention that one of you really wants something for Christmas..." He grinned, shaking his head. "So I called, and Charlie will be expecting us by Christmas Eve."
"Stop it!" Bella gasped, her mouth hanging open. "I can see my dad?"
"Yes," he chuckled, looking up at me. Damn, you're right. Her face is too much.
She launched up off of the sofa and into his arms before he could say anything else, thanking him over and over.
"You're so very welcome, little one," he chuckled, cupping her face. "He's expecting all of us."
"You did this?" she asked me, her face a beaming ray of sunshine. The whole room was feeding off of it.
"I may have mentioned something," I chuckled, "but it was his call."
"Thank you," she whispered, falling into my arms. I miss him...so very much.
"I know you do, baby," I sighed into her ear.
"We're going to see Charlie," Alice and Rose sang, hopping up from their seats.
The whole room chuckled as they danced around.
Bella giggled, pulling back to look up at them. Her gaze shifted to Adrian and Kevin, who were snickering at the scene. "Are you coming?"
"No." Adrian smiled, shaking his head. "We're going to see Kevin's sister. Marcus and Demitri will help me hunt, so we'll stay here."
"Oh..." She frowned, already missing them. "But you're going with us tonight, right?"
"Of course they are!" Alice huffed, putting her hands on her tiny hips. "They have to!"
"I guess that's a yes," Adrian chuckled, looking to Kevin.
"Absolutely, it's a yes," Kevin beamed. "I haven't been since I left for school."
~oOoOo~
BELLA
I leaned back into Edward's embrace as we waited in line to skate. We were surrounded by the whole family, everyone in their own conversations.
Alice and Jasper were debating figure skates versus hockey skates. Emmett and Rose were talking about the last car they'd worked on, my big brother carefully avoiding the mention of the once destroyed garage that Edward lost his temper on and had to repair as punishment. Adrian and Kevin were talking about music and theatre. Carlisle and Esme were quiet like we were, standing beside us.
Esme wore a sweet smile as she watched people like I was. I followed her gaze, to see a little girl dressed in the puffiest of pink parkas being led around the rink by her father. Her limbs stuck out straight, due to being so bundled up.
The music wafted around us, causing Edward to hum softly in my ear. His fingers twitched at my waist, like he could physically see the notes floating in the air, which caused me to blurt out a question.
"Did you play music when you were human?"
He chuckled, kissing my head and turning me slightly. "Random train of thoughts..."
Carlisle and Esme laughed softly next to us.
"I know, but still..." I grinned, shrugged, and kissed his chin, trying to urge him for his answer.
"Payment for stories," he smirked wickedly, his eyes flashing dark for a brief second.
I huffed, my eyes flickering to the parents, who were beyond amused with our exchange, despite the fact that they probably had no clue as to what he meant.
"They don't." He smiled, and it was beautiful and evil and adorable all at the same time.
"Bill me, Cullen," I growled softly. "Answer the question, Edward!" I chuckled, poking his stomach.
He laughed, looking around and then back to me. "Yes, I started piano lessons at five years old. My mother wanted a well-rounded child. My father made me play baseball, so she countered with music. She was convinced it made school easier. She played, you see."
"Studies have shown that very thing," Carlisle chuckled. "Your mother was a smart woman...ahead of her time."
"She was," Edward sighed. His face held a different smile; one that was sad, yet prideful.
"And after?"
"Carlisle had the first piano delivered after I'd been changed a year. He said that by then, I should be able to control my strength enough not to shatter the keys," he said, turning to a slowly nodding Carlisle. "It was a test in control and restraint, I believe."
"And a reward," Carlisle added with a smirk. "He was ready to start introducing additional interests into his life at that point."
"I had to learn all over again," Edward mused, his eyes far away, but still warm with the memory. Apparently, it was a fond one. He smiled and nodded at my thoughts. "It was. And I had to learn notes in a different way, because I could hear the music more acutely."
"How do you see the music, Edward?" Kevin piped up, his face solemn and full of curiosity.
I hadn't realized it, but everyone was respectively listening to Edward's story, not one of them judging him. Even my brothers were keeping their teasing and snarky remarks to themselves.
Edward swallowed, his brow furrowing a little. "Like the music on the sheet, but more. I can hear a note, see it on the paper, and my fingers know where to be. It's as natural as blinking."
Kevin nodded, studying Edward for a moment.
"No, you don't lose your original loves," Edward said to Kevin's obvious internal question as we all moved forward to rent our shoes. "They're there. They just take time to get back to."
The poor girl behind the rental counter could barely function as she handed us skates. Her gaze fell to Emmett, glazing over and dropping the fourth pair of shoes within the last three minutes. The poor thing was more nervous under Rose's cool stare than the sweet oblivious dimples of Emmett's boyish smile.
"Rosalie," I hissed. "Give her a break! She's going to slice a foot off with a skate the next time she drops one."
Rose snorted, but relaxed a little. "Okay, Bells," she conceded, linking her arm with mine. "Girls and Kev skate first!"
Alice, Rose, and Kevin surrounded me as we skated to All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey. We all laughed as the boys tried to play some sort of skating tag in human speed, and it was hilarious, considering that they were barely able to keep their speed slow enough.
The four of us sang loudly, obnoxiously when Teenage Dream by Katy Perry came on, causing the boys and the parents to roll their eyes at us.
But as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by The Carpenters began, I felt strong arms wrap around me and turn me around.
"Put your feet between mine," Edward instructed, a sweet smile gracing his handsome face. "Leading, remember?"
I giggled, gripping the belt loops of his jeans and pulling myself closer to him. "'Kay." I smiled, biting my bottom lip.
Christmas future is far away
Christmas past is past
Christmas present his here today
Bringing joy that will last
I melted into his embrace, letting him steer us around the rink. With one finger still hooked into his belt loop, I wrapped my arm around his neck as he pressed his forehead to mine, the warmth of his eyes stirring a want deep within me. It was almost uncontrollable.Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Despite being bundled up in coats, jackets, and heavy sweaters, I could feel every inch of my husband pressed against me. When my eyes shot to his, he took a deep breath, brushing his lips across mine.
"I can't help it, love," he sighed, a sound that almost sounded painful. "Have I told you how beautiful you are today?"
"I'm sure at some point you've mentioned it, Edward," I smirked, trying not to roll my eyes, because he was all kinds of sweet and cuddly at the despite how much I loved Dirty Edward, Sweet Edward had him beat any day.
His fingers wove into my hair at the base of my neck, his thumb rubbing my skin, causing the sharpest of electrical jolts to scream through my when his lips met my cheek, sliding back to my ear, I couldn't help the sigh that escaped me.From now on
Our troubles will be miles away
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yule-tide gay
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
I let him skate us off the ice as he backed me into a dark corner.
"Look up," he breathed, his eyes now pitch black, but his hand didn't leave the skin of my neck.
My eyes rolled up above me to see a sprig of mistletoe hanging over us from the tips of his fingers. I smiled, dropping my gaze back to his. "We don't need it," I stated, wrapping my arms around his neck.
"I know, but I want it," he whispered, his lips barely touching mine.
Through the years
We all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star
Upon the highest bough
And have yourself
A merry little Christmas now
As the song ended, I found myself in the middle of the sweetest mistletoe kiss that ever existed since the tradition started. I wasn't biased. It was just a fact. I felt more cherished and more loved than I ever had, as his head turned to sweep his sweet tongue across my bottom lip, begging for entrance. His body pressed against mine, his hand slipping into my jacket and up my sweater to trace nonsensical circles along my lower spine.
I broke from the kiss, licking my bottom lip and still tasting him on my tongue. I studied his face and saw it all. My sweet, loving, cuddly husband was waist deep in a moment. I could see it in the way he looked at me as if nothing else around us existed, though we were surrounded by people and staring teen girls. Not that I cared how much they ogled him, because he was so focused on me that he probably didn't even hear their thoughts. I could feel it in the intense way he was holding me, like I would escape his touch. And his breathing...the poor thing was practically panting.
"Oh, boy," I sighed, smiling up at him and reaching up to cup his face. "We should go, baby."
"'Kay." He nodded, swallowing thickly. "I want you..." he said, his voice soft and deep, practically crackling with intensity. He grimaced, like he was admitting a weakness, but I just nodded and caressed his cheeks with my thumbs.
"Oh, sweetheart," I crooned, knowing that desperate feeling. "Let's go be alone for a while." I made the decision to beg Alice to stall the family, so that I could cater to Edward.
"She said she would," he whispered, squeezing his eyes closed and opening them slowly. "Can we please go home?"
"Okay, baby," I soothed, brushing his hair from his forehead. "Let's go home. Thank you for bringing me."
He stopped, shaking his head slowly and seeming to come to his senses for just a minute. "Anything for you, my sweet, beautiful girl. Merry Christmas, Bella."
"Merry Christmas, Edward."


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