Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 35

CHAPTER 35
BELLA
"If I see one more red heart or a fat, little man in a diaper with a bow and arrow, I think I'll snap," I growled, walking from Government to the lunch room with Jasper.
"Aw, now, darlin'...what did St. Valentine ever do to ruffle your feathers?" Jasper laughed, wrapping an arm around my shoulders.
I snorted as he kissed the side of my head. "Oh, no," I said, tugging him by the hand. "Don't act all innocent. Come here," I snapped, tugging him down to the lockers. "Look," I insisted, pointing.
It had been a month since we had started at Memorial High. It had been a month since I thought I had claimed my husband in front of every girl in school, making him off-fucking-limits. However, Valentine's Day was fast approaching.
And damn it all to hell if Edward's locker wasn't covered, literally papered, with little red hearts.
Jasper started to laugh, but I smacked him. "Don't, Jazz. Because you and Em aren't exactly invisible." I pointed down the hall, to see more hearts on my brothers' lockers.
The stupid little hearts made out of construction paper had to be bought, paid for, signed, and delivered to the recipient's lockers. They were just tacked on and left there, like a flower delivery. Hell, for an extra dollar, you could add a red lollipop.
Edward had so many lollipops that he could open his own candy store. And this was just the first week they were selling them.
And no, I didn't care that the money went to the band and drama departments.
"I'm over it," I mumbled, folding my arms across my chest. "I'm not jealous. I just know it bothers him."
"Yeah, but how many hearts have you gotten?" Jasper teased, taking my hand.
"Forty-seven," I mumbled, fighting my smile. "Just from Edward."
"Exactly." Jasper's laugh was contagious as he stopped in front of the lunchroom doors. "And how many weren't from him?"
"Twenty-two." I grimaced, looking down the hall. "I threw them away," I chuckled, looking back at my brother.
"Yeah, Alice got four just before second period. It's a pain, Bells. We know. And poor Eddie has always been the focus on this holiday." My brother studied me for a moment. "You need to hunt soon, little sis."
"I know," I sighed. "I was waiting for the weekend."
"Bells," he snapped in a whisper. "It's fucking Tuesday!"
"I'm fine," I hissed back, finally opening the doors.
I really was fine. My crankiness was stemming from something else, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe it was jealousy, maybe it was the coming party we'd caught wind of that we needed to scope out on Saturday night, or maybe I just needed...
"Edward," I sighed, seeing him across the lunchroom.
He was playing with his phone, barely listening to whatever the rest of my siblings were joking about, but the sound of his name from my lips caused his head to snap up.
I crossed the large room, avoiding tables and walking students, practically falling into the chair next to his.
"My locker, I know," he growled, rolling his eyes. "Bella, I'm throwing them away after lunch, I swear." The poor thing looked angry, fearful, and completely at my mercy – yeah, the hearts weren't causing my grumpiness.
Jasper snorted, taking his usual seat between Rose and Alice.
I chuckled, pushing Edward's hair from his forehead. "You'd better sort them, mister. I think I sent you one or two..."
"Yeah?" He beamed, and I think I fell a little deeper in love with him, but his brothers were laughing.
He grinned, setting his phone on his lap, and I picked it up. My calender was now set to February, and it was his wallpaper.
"Shameless," I muttered, handing back to him.
"I had to update the month," he pouted, snatching his phone back like I would steal it from him.
I smirked at him, hearing Alice chortle from across the table, but I just pulled my book out. I had no idea if he had shown or even told his brothers about that calender.
"Hell, no," he purred softly in my ear, leaving an over too soon, open mouth kiss just below my ear.
I moaned softly when I felt his tongue just for a brief moment.
"Guys!" Jasper frowned at the two of us.
"Sorry, Jazz," we sighed together.
I looked across the lunchroom, seeing the little table set up to buy those stupid fucking hearts, and for a brief moment, couldn't decide whether to set it on fire or buy them all out.
Edward chuckled, shaking his head and linking our fingers together. "No fire, love."
"Is that for my safety, or theirs?"
"Yours," he said with a curt nod, grinning sweetly, but it fell quickly from his face as he turned to Alice.
"Yeah," she said, her little nose wrinkling. "We have to skip Chemistry. A broken beaker...someone bleeds..."
"Bummer," Jasper and I muttered wryly, which caused chuckles at the table.
It was no secret that Jasper and I didn't care for Chemistry. I wasn't sure if it was the math involved or the students that were in it, but we voiced our opinion on it regularly.
"It's not math," Edward laughed. "It's formulas."
"Don't care," Jasper and I sang at the same time, and I barely looked up from my novel.
"You're grumpy," Edward stated softly while kissing the side of my head. He looked up at Jasper.
"No, I don't need to hunt," I sighed, still not bothering to look at either of them.
Edward turned me to face him, studying my eyes, my face as he tucked my hair behind my ears. "You're sure?"
"Yeah...it's not that. Hell, I don't know what it is..." I shrugged, looking up at Edward with an almost painful feeling in my gut, begging him to tell me what I was feeling, because I damn sure didn't know.
He listened to my thoughts, a calm, concerned, but sympathetic look taking over his features.
He turned to Jasper, who shrugged. "I thought she needed to hunt, but she's just off or something."
I laid my head on Edward's shoulder, going back to my book and feeling kisses to the top of my head as Edward whispered, "When we skip Chemistry, we'll talk, okay, sweetheart?"
I nodded, but said nothing else for the remainder of the lunch period.
English class was torture, because my mood just continued to decline. We were discussing the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird, but it didn't hold my attention. Nothing could, I was convinced by now. Even sweet Mrs. Harris noticed and left me alone.
Edward shot worried glances at me and the clock, almost looking helpless.
By the time the bell rang, signaling the end of class, Edward's knee was practically bouncing. He took my hand and my backpack, and led me silently through the school. We navigated down the halls, through the gym, and out the back. I could hear a band practicing somewhere to my left and traffic on the city streets to my right over the brick fence, but it was a lone outbuilding in the far corner of the walled lot that Edward was aiming for.
"What's this?" I asked, watching him reach through a broken window and flip open the lock.
"Storage," he said quietly, holding the door open. "I found it one day when I was skipping Current Events." He smiled softly, locking the door behind us.
"Couldn't take Miss Gibbons?" I teased. "She's not wrong, you know. You are really cute."
He chuckled, tugging my hand and drawing me farther into the building towards the back. "Yes, but I'd rather hear it from you. Not from her."
"You want me to tell you how cute you are? 'Cause I can," I sighed, but I still wasn't feeling this little banter we were doing.
"No," he snorted.
We stopped in front of an old upright piano. I could see that the tarp had been pulled away from the front of it, almost like someone had already played it.
"I did, and it's in tune, believe it or not. But I'm not here for that. Baby, sit. Let's talk this out."
He straddled the bench, and I mirrored him, my little skirt flaring around me and our knees touching, as he set our things down on the floor. He shirked out of his leather jacket and picked up my hands, kissing every finger as his eyes locked with mine, before saying, "Please tell me what I can do, love. If you don't know what's bugging you, then how can I?"
"I don't know," I whined, and I found myself wrapped in his embrace and in his lap before I could blink. I buried my nose in his neck, allowing just the scent of him to take the edge off. "I feel odd, like I'm mad or cranky...but I don't know why, Edward."
"And you don't need to hunt, sweet girl?"
"No," I sighed, hugging him closer and gripping his shirt in the back in tight fists.
"Let me look at you, baby," he pleaded, pulling my face from his shoulder. His sweet caramel eyes studied me, but I couldn't keep his gaze.
I looked down at the piano as Edward's fingers caressed my face. "Play something," I requested in a whisper, finally looking back at him.
He smiled softly, setting me beside him on the old bench. "What would you like to hear, love?"
I bit my lip, thinking my lullaby may just cause me to shatter into dry sobs, but I wanted something...
"Claire de Lune," I chose quickly, lifting the lid over the keys. "Please?"
He leaned over, kissing my forehead and holding his lips there for just a moment. "Anything, Bella, but just try to relax for me. Okay?"
I nodded against his lips, watching him as he began to play. The song started out so softly, slowly, that I watched his fingers, concentrating on the sound and the notes and the pure talent he had.
But as the song built up, I watched him. I watched as he leaned in with closed eyes and a calm, unreadable face. I watched his tongue as it darted out, barely touching his bottom lip. I watched the muscles in his leg flex through his black jeans when he pressed the pedals underneath the piano, and then I watched his fingers again. They caressed the keys so softly, but the crescendo grew and grew, until it felt like, if I had a heartbeat, it would match the tempo of the song.
It was then that I got it. I just really fucking wanted him. I needed him with an all consuming fire. And I didn't want to just make love...
I wanted to be fucked. And fucked hard.
Edward missed a note, the song coming to an abrupt end, and I looked up at him.
"I'm sorry," I breathed, starting to get up from the bench.
He stopped me with a gripping hand around my wrist.
My whole morning was a "moment," and I hadn't even recognized it, because it was so much stronger than I had expected. It was massive.
"Don't be," he rasped.
His eyes closed as he inhaled the room deeply, and when he opened them, they were pitch black. Those same eyes traveled over me as he reached over with a single finger, tracing the edge of my v-neck sweater and circling my collar bone.
"Bella," he croaked, swallowing thickly. "Here, baby?"
I winced, shaking my head no and trying to pull away from him. I felt weak for admitting how badly this was affecting me. "No, Edward... I'm..."
Suddenly, I was back in his embrace, straddling his lap.
"Do not say you're fine, Bella," he practically growled, but it was low and deadly sexy. "You can barely think today, sweetheart." He cupped my face as our connection swirled and danced around us. "Don't fight it, my beautiful girl. Let me take care of you. You helped me the last time..."
Yeah, I couldn't fight it. I couldn't fight it when he held me in his arms or begged me or was so close that I could taste his scent on my tongue with every inhale that I savored. I couldn't fight it when I felt every muscle he had twitch beneath me, because he felt it, too.
A whimper escaped me as I leaned in closer, resting my elbows on his shoulders, so that I could weave my fingers into his hair. There was a moment when time stood still, or at least slowed down, when I watched his tongue drag across his bottom lip. His jaw clenched and unclenched when all the dirty, filthy things I wanted that tongue to do flickered through my mind.
"Oh God," I growled, licking at his mouth as his hands slipped under my skirt. "I hope you can catch up to me," I snickered, my brow furrowing, because I really needed not so sweet, and not at all gentle.
"I'll do anything you want, my needy girl," he purred, fingering the edge of my bikini underwear at the curve of my ass as his mouth and tongue slid down my jaw to my neck and up to my ear. "But you need to tell me. Say it, baby..."
Edward's hands palmed my ass and started a steady, but very slow rhythm, bringing his arousal in direct contact with my aching center. My whole body shivered with need with each press against me. My teeth grazed his bottom lip as I ground down harder on him.
"More, Edward," I pleaded, finally capturing his mouth with mine. My hands fisted his shirt at his ribcage, pulling and tugging at it, grunting in frustration when he stilled my hips for just a moment. "Shit, fuck," I growled, pressing my forehead to his and panting hard. "Edward...baby, it's too much. I need you too much. This room won't survive it. You have to..."
I wanted to tell him to take the edge off, but I couldn't even articulate that. I wanted his hands, his mouth. I wanted every naughty thought, every growl, every... hell, just everything. All at once.
When his hand palmed me possessively between my legs and began rubbing, curling his fingers just slightly over the fabric of my soaked underwear, I could have cried in relief and want as I looked into his intense but loving face. He was remaining calm, where I'd lost that capability way back.
"I've got you, Bella. Come for me quickly. Let go of some of it, and then I'm really going to take care of you. I promise."
His voice made my center clench. The low, deep purr of wanton approval that escaped my husband when I pressed my hand on top of his to feel more pressure caused my orgasm to hit me hard.
My head fell back, but he didn't stop. He did, however, slip my underwear to the side, his fingers delving into my wet heat. I was so sensitive that I just about slipped off his lap, but he held me tight.
"Uh uh, baby. This sweet pussy is so wet and ready to come again for me. Give me one more," he crooned in my ear, knowing it wouldn't take much, because my spasms had barely calmed down from the first climax. "Feel this, right here?" he asked, his voice deadly. He nipped at the soft spot right behind my ear. His fingers curled just right, and I cried out his name. "That's my fucking spot. I'm the only man that knows what it does to you when I do this," he growled low, curling his fingers again.
I fell completely apart, because Possessive Edward and Dirty Edward had just walked into the small, dusty room, offering me the menage a trois of the century. And I wanted it. Badly.
I barely registered Edward's wicked smile against my neck. His tongue flickering out against my flesh caused my mind to shut completely down, but it didn't stop my hands. I pushed and pulled at his long-sleeved polo, wanting him out of it, wanting skin, damn it.
Edward reached behind his head and grabbed his shirt, swiftly pulling it off and dropping it to the ground. His knowing fingers shot to the buttons of my sweater, and once it was open, he pushed it off over my shoulders, kissing his way to my sternum and swirling his tongue just inside the cup of my bra.
He bent me back, causing my shoulders to fall against the keys of the piano. The discordant sound echoed around us, but his smile was beautiful.
"A piano never made a more perfect note," he muttered, locking eyes with me as he licked and nipped across my chest and down to my bellybutton, only to twirl his tongue around in it just to hear me whimper. "It'll sound better when I set your ass up there and fuck you hard."
I think I stopped breathing after that statement, biting on my bottom lip as my thighs gripped his waist.
With quick, nimble fingers, Edward removed my bra and unzipped my skirt on the side, leaving me in just my underwear. With quick but careful movements, he stood, laying me down on the bench, tugging me to the very edge.
"Trust me, these are very pretty, baby," he said, gripping my underwear at the sides, "but if we didn't have two more classes, they would've been in shreds."
That being said, they were off of my body and added to the pile of clothes on the floor, almost before I could process it. Now I was completely naked, and Edward...wasn't.
I reached for his jeans, only to have him move away from my touch, a carnal, almost evil smile spreading over his handsome face. He was so deadly beautiful that I shook with the need to just fucking eat him alive.
"I know what you want, Bella. But I think we can get one more sweet come out of this pretty thing, don't you?" he asked, his fingers lightly slipping through my wet folds. And I swore I heard him mutter, "Besides, I just have to taste you when you want me this much..."
Kneeling at the end of the bench, he spread my legs as wide as he could. He made sure he had my complete and undivided attention when his tongue flicked out to lick my lower lips. "God, baby, you're so fucking wet," he purred, licking again and holding my legs so that I couldn't work against him or with him or move hardly at all.
I gripped the side of the bench, hearing a loud splintering crack as he twirled around and around my clit with perfect and precise pressure and rhythm. My head fell back when I felt his hand leave its place on my thigh, only to circle my other entrance and ghost up to my core.
"Yes, please, baby..." I begged, not even knowing what the hell I was begging for.
"Bella, look at me," he commanded, and my head shot up, my breathing coming out in bursting pants. "You watch me take what's mine, love. You watch me take care of you."
Again, my breathing stopped as I watched his face grow closer and closer towards my center. Two fingers slipped into me roughly, and I cried out, but it was all over when his teeth scraped against my nub, followed by a humming, suckling kiss. My third climax bloomed like a slow burn, causing his name to erupt from my lips like a prayer.
Edward looked rather proud of himself as he helped me sit up. "Wrap your arms around my neck," he said, cupping my bottom. He picked me up and set me on the keys of the piano, another odd sound hitting the air. "Mmm...I was so right," he purred, leaning back enough so that I could reach the button of his jeans. "That is a fucking gorgeous sound. Let's see what music we can make..."
I licked my lips as his rock hard erection sprang forth the second I shoved his jeans down. I wrapped my hand around it with reverence and need and awe and just pure hunger.
"Say it," he growled. "Say the words, Bella."
My fingers felt like claws as I pulled at him, touching the skin of his hips, chest, and neck. I brought his head to mine. "I really need you to fuck me, Edward," I stated, my breathing ragged, my voice husky.
I wasn't sure which sound was louder – my whimpering gasp, the piano's strange chord, or Edward's low, deep rumbling growl of appreciation – but all three escaped at one time as he slid into me balls deep.
"God, you feel good," I breathed, gripping his hair in one hand and his ass with the other.
My legs hitched higher around his waist as he reached behind me to use the back of the piano for more leverage, but his face was buried in my neck. "Fuck," he hissed in my ear, making me clench hard once around him, my grip on him tightening. "I love it when you want me this fucking much."
I had no response to that, because I always wanted him, but this was almost overwhelming. This was as close to feral and carnal as it ever got. I was desperate for him, needed to feel filled and complete by him, and wanted to be utterly taken over by him.
My forehead fell to his shoulder, and I could see every inch of him sliding in and out of me. I could see his strong abs flex, his hips meet mine, and his thick shaft disappear inside of me.
"Are you watching me fuck you, beautiful?" he asked, his head now on my shoulder. I'm not sure my answer was a real word, much less English. "Are you watching me take care of what's mine?"
I was literally going to explode soon. Not because I was that close, but because the combination of Possessive Edward and Dirty Edward was just about to cause my sanity to snap.
Edward kissed up the side of my neck, pressing his forehead to mine. He let go of the back of the piano with one of his hands, bringing his thumb to his mouth and wetting it thoroughly.
"Oh, baby," he crooned, sitting down on the bench, but helping me keep the rhythm he had going. "I want you to come so fucking hard on me, and I want to feel it...everywhere."
He played my body like he played the piano – with perfect timing, with passion and grace, and with a love that was breathtaking. He knew exactly when to grind my hips harder, when to apply his wet thumb to my clit, and when to capture my mouth his, swirling our tongues together just as my whole body shattered into a million pieces.
I held him close, my arms wrapped around his head as he came hard, shuttering in my arms.
My body was goo and useless, and I snuggled closer to him as our breathing evened out. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving his arms. My last two classes were out of the question.
"No one said you had to, sweet girl," he whispered, placing a soft kiss to my neck and then shoulder. "I'm at your disposal."
"No, no disposal...just hold me," I sighed, but at least I was coherent and no longer angry. However, I was curious if vampires could become paralyzed after four amazingly huge orgasms, because my legs felt like jello.
Edward shook with his silent chuckle, pulling back to look at my face. "That would be a no," he answered, fighting his smile.
"Well, that's good," I said, nuzzling my nose along his. "It's a shame the ratio there – your one to my four."
He grinned, tilted his head at me, and cupped my face. He placed the sweetest of kisses to my lips, before pulling back and saying, "Oh, but love, it's the quality – not the quantity."
~oOoOo~
EDWARD
"So that rave or party or whatever is tomorrow night?" Jasper verified as he, Alice, Bella, and I all rode the elevator up to the penthouse.
"Yeah," Bella said with a nod. "I heard Whitney and Kimber talking about it today."
"Sweet girl, you should hunt," I told her, kissing the side of her head.
After her moment a few days earlier, I was worried that she was pushing herself between hunting trips. Not only had I needed to keep her in the outbuilding for the remainder of the school day, but we'd practically wrecked the storage room. Her moment was all consuming, though I would never complain when she wanted me that much. She was beautiful and needy and so very...feral, that because I was her mate, I'd almost fallen into the abyss with her.
However, I feared that it had drained her, even though she told me I worried about her too much – impossible – but she swore to me we could go before the party we were supposed to check into on Saturday night. It wasn't like the old days, where we could walk right out the back door. Going hunting in New York required actually leaving the city. It was inconvenient, but necessary.
"I know," she sighed, looking up at me. "Tonight?"
The doors opened before I could answer her, and the noise that filled our ears made us all rush into the apartment.
"That's such a lame fucking excuse, Adrian!" Kevin growled, pounding his fist on the wall of the hallway. "It all sounds like bullshit to me."
"It's not bullshit, Kev," Adrian groaned, but I could see from his mind, and the color of his eyes, that he was pushing his boundaries at this point.
"What-the-fuck-ever," Kevin frowned, pulling his jacket off the hook and leaving the apartment.
"Whoa," Jasper growled, turning to Adrian. "What the hell? It's like pure...oh, damn..."
I snorted when I read my brother's mind. The house was filled with lust and tension and frustration, most of it still radiating off of Adrian.
"I need to talk to him," Adrian sighed, getting up from the dining room table.
"Not like that, you aren't," I snapped, putting a hand out to stop him. "You need to hunt. You've gone too long."
He sagged in defeat, looking up at me and then Jasper. "You're right," he sighed, "but Demitri and Marcus have both been out of contact for a few days."
"Well, hell," Bella chuckled, taking a deep breath. "It's my turn to hunt with you, it seems." She held her hand out for Adrian, but he looked to me.
"She needs to go, too," I chuckled. "Jasper? You do, too, if we're going out tomorrow."
Carlisle and Esme were with Marcus and Demitri, so I felt every bit of the role of eldest brother in charge at the moment.
And Bella saw it, smirking and thinking, It's tough keeping us all in line, huh, handsome? I couldn't help but shoot a wink her way.
"I'm going, I'm going," Jasper snickered, giving Alice a quick kiss.
"Edward..." My sweet girl walked to me, cupping my face. "Find him? Please? He shouldn't be alone."
"We've got Kevin," Alice said with a frown. "Adrian, you need to go!" In Alice's mind, her visions were showing Adrian not quite maintaining his temper or his diet, if he were to locate his mate.
"Yes, ma'am," I sighed, nodding. "You...be safe, love."
"Can you meet me there later?" she asked, brushing my hair from my forehead, and I nodded against her lips when she pressed a sweet kiss there.
With that, I handed Bella the keys to Carlisle's rental Mercedes.
She kissed my lips softly, with a mumbled, "Love you," between us. She tugged Adrian's hand as his face took on the appearance of a scolded child, but his mind was already filling with remorse.
"I'll tell him," I sighed, trying not to roll my eyes, because they were so similar to Bella and me when she was human that it was almost comical. And yet...it wasn't.
"He's on the roof," Alice muttered, watching the elevator doors close on Bella, Kevin, and Jasper, before taking my hand and leading me to the upper level stairs. "I have to give him credit. He knew not to leave the building."
I snorted, but held the door for my sister as we found Kevin looking out over the afternoon New York skyline. He was gazing over Central Park, but his thoughts were everywhere.
"Kev, sweetie," Alice sighed, leaning against the roof wall next to him. "Are you okay?"
"I'm so fucking tired of being fucking babysat," he ranted, rolling his eyes, but he didn't turn to face us. "I'm fucking tired of..." He snorted, but said no more. However, his mind said it all.
I sighed, shook my head, and leaned on his other side. "You don't think Adrian is frustrated?"
"Damn, Heavy E, please get out of my head right now..."
"I can't help it, Kev. Honestly," I said with a shrug. "Unless Bella is here, it's something that just...happens."
"I know." He winced, looking up at me and then Alice. "I should apologize to him..."
"He's gone, sweetie," Alice said, cupping Kevin's face. "He needed to hunt, so Jasper and Bells took him. You could have gotten hurt, had you pushed him any further."
"You saw that?"
"I really try not to see...the love lives of my family," she giggled, looking up at me as I chuckled. "It's not my favorite part of my...talent."
Kevin snickered, shoving his hands in his coat pockets, and his thoughts showed he really liked being considered part of the family. "That has to suck," he sighed, looking back out over the skyline. "Yours, too, Heavy E."
"I suppose, but after this many years, I'm used to it," I said, following his gaze.
Kevin was quiet, but I had a feeling he was letting me see his mind, his thoughts. And again, I couldn't believe how much like Bella he truly was.
I turned, leaning against the wall and looking to Alice and then to Kevin. "It's not that he doesn't want to change you, Kevin. It's an immense decision. Has Adrian told you how he was changed?"
"Just that Sinclair did it to him and Brody the same night."
"He should know," Alice sighed, frowning up at me. "Adrian is...sugarcoating it."
"Fine," I conceded, pointing to a table and chair set that Esme had finally put up here, because we all used the roof. "Sit, Kevin."
So I told him. I told him what Adrian's and Brody's minds had shown me. They were out in the city, seeing a movie with Adrian's sister, Zoey. They were unaware that they were being watched, stalked, hunted. They were unaware that as they took the alley back to the subway, they were walking into a trap. Kevin didn't know that Brody and Zoey were dating, and that Sinclair had either sensed it or watched it, because once the few days were over, Zoey was left unprotected – two starving, raging monsters trapped in the warehouse with her. Monsters that she used to know...that she thought loved her.
"Brody...killed his own girlfriend?" Kevin gasped. "Why couldn't Adrian just tell me this shit?"
I took a deep breath, sitting forward and resting my elbow on my knees. "Because it's a horrible thing to think about, much less see first hand. I was really lucky – which took me a long time to realize, mind you – that it was Carlisle that changed me. Alice, Adrian, Brody...hell, even Jasper had horrible beginnings to this life. And when you're mated, your first and foremost thoughts are for the well being of that other person. I never wanted this for Bella. Ever. But I'm not going to lie to you. My life is infinitely better with her in it. And she's as happy as she can be. Almost...silly." I grinned, shaking my head at my girl's complete and utter bliss, that at one point I thought would be impossible.
"Edward wouldn't listen," Alice giggled, shoving my shoulder, and I couldn't help but shrug and chuckle at her. "I tried to tell him that's how it would turn out, but he's right. When you're mated, you never want anything bad to happen to your significant other. The mere thought is devastating."
Alice paused for a moment, pacing in front of us. Her visions were disturbing when it came to Kevin. The threat of Tanya was still hovering in the future. The flash of Kevin with red, then golden eyes blurred through, and then a panicking Adrian begging Carlisle to save him. Then it jumbled again. Adrian losing his control with Kevin and hurting him, the snap of a broken bone making me flinch.
"Alice, damn," I groaned, watching her every step. "Really...that's the only two options?"
"I don't know," she sighed, stopping in front of me. "It's never in order. It's never a solid fact. Adrian changes his mind constantly."
I nodded, understanding the wavering on Adrian's part. "Kevin," I said, turning towards him. "You aren't out of the woods yet when it comes to Tanya. And as far as Adrian goes, you really need to have patience. He's not quite...there yet when it comes to his diet or the control of his strength."
"Bella said..." Kevin started, gritting his teeth in frustration. "Bells said that you guys...that it worked for you."
"I am over a hundred years old, but I still could have very well killed Bella," I stated. "Adrian is just barely over a year. That is difference number one. Number two is control. My whole being was about control from the very beginning – control of my thirst, my strength, my...needs," I said, raising an eyebrow at him.
He snorted, but waved for me to go on.
"Adrian, being as young as he is, still carries some of his newborn strength and his easily swayed disposition."
"Yeah, he got mad," he sighed, rubbing his face with his hands roughly.
"He's not mad. He wants to give you everything, because you're his mate. But he can't give you the one thing that is drawing you two together. It's so very frustrating," I sighed, looking up at the evening sky.
I could feel Kevin's stare, but it was Alice that spoke, almost as if she could read his mind. Or maybe he made some sort of decision.
"No, Kevin," she groaned, folding her tiny arms across her chest. "Adrian is not like Edward...in any way. It's completely different circumstances." She sat down next to him, picking up his hand. "I know what Bells told you. I know it was very, very difficult for them. But you really need to understand that Adrian is not as sure of himself with you as Edward was when he came back to Bella."
"Yes, I made the decision to be with her – in every way that detailed," I told him. "We'd been apart for two years, and I needed her on levels I can't even begin to explain to you, Kev. But Adrian isn't there yet." I sighed with frustration when Kevin's mind felt rejected. I got up and went to the side of the building, looking down on the street below, before turning to face him. "It's not rejection. At all. It's about saving your life. Kevin, you do remember showing up at my door, broken and bleeding, yes?"
"Yeah, Hot Doc," he huffed, rolling his eyes.
I snorted at Bella's old nickname for me when I was working at the hospital, but shook my head. "Humans did that to you. Had it been Adrian, there would've been nothing I could've done to save your life. If Adrian loses control, there's no stopping him once the frenzy takes over."
"He says he can't lose me, but then he pushes me away..." Kevin growled.
"Pushing you away is preventing the loss of you," Alice sighed. "Please trust us, Kevin."
The next statement out of Kevin's mouth could have been a quote from Bella when she was threatened by Victoria.
"If this Tanya gets to me—" he pointed at the both of us, "—you help Adrian save me. He's suffered enough already. If he's that worried about me, then he'll panic all to hell if something were to really happen."
I shook my head, shoving my hands into my front pockets, but Alice looked up at me, her thoughts pretty certain. Well, that is one of those two options we saw earlier, because now look... Her mind showed me Kevin – strong, red eyes, immortal – and Adrian at his side, both very happy. It wasn't as clear before.
"That's you making that decision?"
"No," she chuckled. "That's Adrian...Bella's tearing him a new one."
I laughed, shaking my head, because I could see in Alice's mind my Bella very upset with Adrian. It wasn't for losing control, or needing to hunt; it was for leading Kevin on, teasing him, because sometimes, kisses weren't enough. But more could be scary and damn dangerous, like the edge of a knife.
My nose wrinkled, and I took a deep breath. "Yeah...guilty of that myself," I mumbled, rolling my eyes at Alice's giggle.
"No wonder she's telling him what-for!" my sister snorted into laughter.
"I'm sure, if Adrian is as concerned as I was, that he's trying to push his limits, but he's not...communicating to you what those limits actually are. I didn't, and sometimes I'm sure I drove Bella crazy," I said, pacing in front of an alert Kevin, but a still very amused Alice. "That's what you two need to do. I didn't really know my limits then, and couldn't have even vocalized them if I'd tried."
I stopped, looking at Kevin. "You need to talk, but Bella's right about one thing. She said you have to be the vocal one. Adrian is shy, and well...innocent on certain things, so you have to lead each other."
Kevin nodded, looking at Alice, who was agreeing with me.
"Thanks, Heavy E," Kevin said, starting to stand.
But as we all started for the door, I felt there was more that needed to be said, but privately to Kevin.
Alice stopped, rolled her eyes up to me. "Fine, I'm going."
I stopped Kevin one more time after she had left us alone. "I was, at one point, your doctor, Kev. You know, as well as I do, that the...physical part of your type of relationship between two humans needs planning and trust and control. And still there can be issues or concerns. Have you even considered this? I mean, really thought about that?"
Kevin looked embarrassed, but it wasn't due to the topic, because he'd gotten used to me acting in his care. He hadn't thought about it at all. "Is that what you really mean when you say he could kill me?"
"Um, yeah. He could reach to touch your face, and smash your skull in, because sex can cause you to lose focus. And trust me, it takes a lot of focus just to be able to do this—" I reached out to pick a poinsettia, carefully plucking it off the plant, "—when, really, we have the capability of doing this..." With the flower still in one hand, I reached over to snap off a piece of iron from the planter fencing. Squeezing it tightly in my hand, I opened it to show the pile of what was now dust and dropped onto the rooftop.
"'Kay," he said, nodding and finally locking eyes with me. "Okay. I get it, Edward."
"Good." I opened the door for him, following him downstairs.
Alice was waiting for me at the elevator. "Em and Rose are back, so we can meet up with Bells and Jazz," she said, hugging Kevin. "We'll all be back soon."
"No prob." He smiled, opening the apartment door. "Just...when you see Adrian...tell him...I'm sorry."
"We will, sweetie," Alice sighed, stepping onto the elevator. As we made it to the car, she snorted and looked up at me. "You were kind of a tease, Edward."
"Shut it, Alice. Just get in the damn car," I laughed, rolling my eyes at her loud giggle.
~oOoOo~
BELLA
"Oh, little one," Jasper chuckled from the backseat. "Either shield me from your anger, or calm the hell down."
I snorted, but looked over at Adrian and then back to the highway. I'd been quiet, giving Adrian a few moments to calm down from his fight with Kevin, but I recognized the level of frustration radiating off of the two of them. I recognized Kevin's rejection filled face.
With one last look to Adrian and then Jasper in the rear view mirror, I shielded my emotions for the rest of the ride out to the northern part of the state.
Once I parked, I told Jasper that I would hunt with Adrian, but really, I wanted to talk with him. We found a herd of deer, each taking down two fairly decent sized does. However, Adrian needed more, so I sat down beside a creek, waiting until he was finished taking down a large buck.
"I wouldn't have hurt Kevin," he said with a sigh, but his face was apologetic when he sat down across from me.
"You can't promise that," I stated, throwing a few pebbles into the water. "In fact, what you did hurt him." Adrian was quiet as I tossed a few more pebbles. "I've told you before, Adrian, that Kevin's emotions are way out of control. This is too much to feel all at once."
"I'm trying to—"
"Acclimate yourself. Yes, I can see that, but you have no idea how it feels to want someone that isn't human, where your entire being draws him in...smell, taste, love. One kiss, and it's impossible to stop. You can't just let it get further and further along without telling him what you're doing. It's so freakin' frustrating. When you stop all of a sudden, it feels like pure, mean rejection. Like you can so easily stop, when Kevin is probably about to explode."
Adrian smirked, running a hand through his hair and looking up at me with a tilted head. "This sounds like experience talking."
I sighed, rubbing my face. "You have no idea," I growled, throwing another pebble. "Don't. Be. A. Tease. Adrian, it's just damn mean."
He winced, looking away from me. "Is that what it feels like?"
"Haven't you ever been teased? Wanted someone and couldn't quite...get there?" I asked.
He huffed a laugh, but shook his head.
"Fine, so have you ever been rejected?"
"Yeah," he sighed, staring down at his sneakers. "I had a crush on this guy once. He was...not gay. And I was just coming to realize that I was..."
"He turned you down?"
"He was...a little phobic." Adrian laughed bitterly.
"Well, that's what it feels like when you push your boundaries, say yes, yes, yes...and then no." I growled, rolling my eyes. "When we first met, Edward would try to touch me. And just his fingers on my cheek would set me on fire. Our first kiss?" I laughed, shaking my head. "Yeah, totally lost control on that one..."
Adrian snorted into a chuckle, but nodded as if he understood.
"We were mated," I sighed, still smiling at the memory of Edward's first kiss. "So our entire being was...sexually charged. It's what we are. But Kevin being human makes it difficult." I paused for a moment, remembering Edward's demeanor back then. "I know you want to make Kevin happy. I know you want...more, but don't exactly know your limits. I know you fear what you are will hurt him, but don't make the same mistakes Edward did. Don't withhold your feelings, your goals. He never told me why he would randomly touch my face or play with my hair or just breathe me in, and I was confused and ravenous for him, only to be stopped when I would react to it instantly. Had I known that he just needed to get used to me...then I might not have pushed so much. You need to work together. Edward and I did that after he came back, but I wonder sometimes how it would've been had we talked before he left. Would he have felt the same way? That he wasn't worthy?"
Adrian's nose wrinkled, but he took a deep breath. He started to open his mouth, but I saw the look on his face.
"Don't sit there and tell me that you don't deserve Kevin," I snapped, standing up and tossing the rest of the pebbles down onto the ground. "Just...don't. Because it's bullshit. Everyone deserves love, Adrian, and you can't convince me otherwise. I don't care how you got here, but you should be grateful that you found something so damn special. Got me?"
He looked up at me, a touch of fear in his eyes. "Yes, ma'am." He followed my pacing with his eyes, quiet for a few minutes, but finally said, "Kevin wants to be changed."
"That's between you two," I told him, coming to a standstill. "Edward didn't want it. But we also can't live without each other, and I got hurt."
"Do you have any idea how many things could take him away from me?" Adrian growled, like he'd just realized it.
"Yes. Ask Edward. He was convinced that a meteor would hit me." I chuckled, shaking my head. "Or a bear, or a car, or...or...or..." I giggled, rolling my eyes.
He snorted, but nodded. "Right." He took a deep breath and said, "I want this to work, but I don't...I can't always fight my urges, Bells."
"I know. But you can't just...try alone. Kevin knows us, knows how we think and work. He would be more than willing to work with you, instead of being led blind down whatever path you're taking him on."
"What does Alice see?" he asked, standing up and brushing the dirt off of his jeans.
"I asked her that the other day," I sighed. "She sees two possibilities: Kevin immortal...and Kevin dead."
He winced, but nodded, shoving his hands into his front pockets. "I want him with me...always. Is that fair?"
I shrugged. "It's love. Whether it's fair, I have no idea, because I know...for a fact...that if the situation had been reversed, I would have begged Carlisle to change Edward for me, especially if I couldn't do it myself." I shrugged again, because that was the truth, and I couldn't defend my feelings.
I started to walk away, smelling a bear nearby and wanting to beat Jasper to it, but Adrian stopped me. "Bells, wait," he said, rushing to me. "Um...thanks. I mean...to your whole family, really. I have no idea what I'd do if I were alone in this..."
I nodded and smiled, turning to disappear into the woods.
~oOoOo~
EDWARD
I pulled the car right behind where Bella had parked the Mercedes, leaving Alice in the search for her own mate. Suddenly, I just really needed to see my girl. I couldn't hear her mind, but I could sense her, smell her sweet scent, so I followed it, until I came to a little clearing just outside of a rock formation.
I watched her drain a small black bear, standing up with her strong back facing me, and I couldn't resist her any longer. With a grin on my face, I tackled her, squealing and giggling, in my arms, coming to rest at the edge of a cluster of trees.
"Edward," she snorted, her head falling back to the snow. Her laugh was the best sound I'd heard all damn day. Hell, it was the best sound...period.
I chuckled, placing random kisses to her face, neck, and hair. "I see Emmett has taught you well, sweet girl. Are you finished?"
"Yeah," she sighed happily, running her fingers through my hair and gazing up at me with a breathtaking amount of love. "Your turn, baby. Go. I'll wait right here."
"'Kay," I said, kissing her with a wild abandon and leaving her breathless on the snowbank we'd made when we'd slid.
I left her there as she muttered about teasing and snow and silly-ass hundred year old vampires, and went to hunt down my own meal. I found two deer and a wolf, and then came back to see her sitting with her back against the tree. Her thoughts were open and were circling around Kevin and Adrian and the party we needed to scout tomorrow night.
"Kevin's fine," I told her, sitting down behind her and pulling her back to me.
"So is Adrian," she sighed, laying her head back to my shoulder so she could place a kiss to my jaw. "What about tomorrow?"
"We're all going," I said, tracing my finger over her knee as she bent it up. "Alice can't really see much—just that we're all there. Carlisle and Marcus just want us to make sure that Sinclair doesn't do anything."
"Will they be going?"
"Yes. Demitri and Carina, as well."
"Do we even know what we're looking for?"
"Trouble," I said simply, giving her temple a kiss as she nodded. We were quiet for a few minutes, but I basked in her thoughts. They were simple, sweet, revolving around me and what she considered home and just how easy love was if you just gave in. I smiled into her hair.
"Edward?"
"Hmm?"
She didn't say anything, but turned around in my arms to face me, straddling my lap. I welcomed her beautiful face with kisses and a silly smile that made my girl giggle.
"What, my sweet girl?"
She smiled warmly, tracing my eyebrow with tiny, feathery touches, but it was her mind that I saw. "Can we?" she asked, grinning so adorably, I couldn't help but chuckle.
"We're supposed to be working, Isabella," I chided with a false sincerity.
Her grin got bigger, because she knew me too well. "I know, but...please?"
"Like I could deny you a dance, my beautiful girl," I snorted, rolling my eyes. "But we really are there to hunt down newborns, baby."
"I know...but one?"
I chuckled, unable to not keep my lips from hers. "Oh, twist my arm, Bella... Fine, one."
"You know," she huffed, putting on the most comical and falsely serious face I'd ever seen, "we have to fit in..."
"You're right. We do," I snickered. "Come on, my love. Let's get Adrian back to his mate. Kevin doesn't like to sleep without him there."
She didn't get up, but wrapped her arms around my neck and stayed in my embrace as I made our way back to the cars and the sound of Jasper, Alice, and Adrian. She laid her head on my shoulder as I carried her through the trees at a human pace.
"Oh, yeah, and Edward?"
"Yes, Bella," I snorted, loving when she was this sweet and cuddly.
"If no one's ever told you...thank you for watching out for all of us."
I stopped cold, pulling her face back so that I could see it. No one had ever said that to me. I'd been the oldest, the mental and physical security, the brother, the hunting trainer, and the finance manager for who knew how many years, but I just...did it. I'd never thought about it. It probably stemmed from being changed by Carlisle first, but I never gave it much thought. Really. Even though Jasper was older than me by immortal standards, it was me that helped him with our diet when he and Alice first joined us, so he conceded to me more often than not. And even though Esme fell into the role of mother for the group of us, she still deferred to me in most of the decision making.
My heart swelled with my love for her, because it meant more coming from her. I nodded, kissing her lips softly.
"It's just that you do so much!" she gushed, cupping my face. "Especially if Carlisle isn't here, but even then... You make sure everyone is in line, that they've hunted, that they don't make mistakes, and you do everything for me... You should know, Edward..."
"Why would you say that?" I asked, leaning into her hand on the side of my face.
"I watched you earlier at the apartment. You knew what we all needed, you made sure that Emmett and Rose went hunting right after school, you took care of Kevin and made sure Adrian didn't lose control...and with me this week, you've watched me like a hawk... I just want to thank you. That's all. It can't be easy. I'm just sayin'." She shrugged one shoulder, but leaned in to kiss me softly. "'Cause I love you." She grinned, nuzzling her nose up one side of mine and down the other.
I stared up at the best thing that had ever happened to me, feeling almost overwhelmed emotionally. In fact, my eyes burned a little from the venom of tears that could never fall. I swallowed thickly, kissing her cheek. "I do it for them, because I always have. I do it for you, because you're my Bella," I whispered against her sweet skin.
She smiled, tilting her head at me. I kissed her other cheek, because if I told her I loved her at that very moment, we wouldn't leave the woods. That was a fact, and we needed to go back to the city. Now that everyone had hunted, we needed to talk about the party tomorrow night.
"Did you hunt enough, baby?" I asked, and she nodded. "Then let's go, huh?"
She stayed in my arms, but I didn't want to put her down anyway. I did, however, set her on the hood of the BMW, staying between her legs until the rest joined us. I could hear Alice going over with Adrian everything she and I had discussed with Kevin, practically escorting him out by his ear.
But my eyes were on my Bella. "Just...one dance?" I asked, with her favorite crooked smile and my brow furrowed.
She giggled. "Hell no! I'll take all that you'll give me!" Her arms snaked around my waist, her lips pressing to my chin.
I chuckled, kissing her forehead. "Good. That's good to know, my Bella."
We both turned when they all came out of the woods, Adrian wincing at Alice's tiny finger pointing his way.
"And when we get back...guess what you get to do!" she ranted, huffing and rolling her eyes when he shrugged.
Bella chuckled, squeezing me closer.
"You get to convince Kevin not to go tomorrow night, because right now, he's decided to go."
"Aw, damn," we all groaned, except for my sister.
Kevin never really understood the danger he was in.
"Um, Bells..." Adrian said, looking our way, "have I ever told you how much I love you?" He knew Kevin would listen to her if she totally laid down the law. It was just the way she and Kevin worked.
"Don't even try it. It doesn't work with Jasper or Emmett. It won't work with you, either," she stated, pointing at him as Jasper cracked the hell up in the background. She hopped down from the car, rolling her eyes up to me. "Come on, this should be fantastic."
Adrian groaned again, but we all laughed as we got into the cars.
As they pulled away before us, I turned to my girl, leaning over to kiss her lips softly. "And you're welcome, sweetheart. I love you, too."
Her smile was sweet, soft, her eyes filled with love and warmth.
I pulled onto the road, linking our fingers together and hoping that the next night would go smoothly as I turned towards the city.


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