Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 38

"Absolutely not!" Edward snarled at the whole room as he paced behind the piano. "We'll wait for them. Bella gave her word to that girl."
"But if we know where she is, then we can surprise her," Marcus reasoned. "We can end this, son."
"We don't know," he growled. Pointed to his chest, he continued, "I know. And there's a reason that girl is scared."
My eyes widened as I saw my husband behaving this way. I always knew he had my back, but this was almost fiercely protective. In fact, ever since he discovered that Tanya was more involved in this situation than we'd originally thought, he'd been almost out of control with his temper – he would snap instantly. But he was also being disrespectful, and he knew it.
"Edward," I chided softly, shaking my head.
His head snapped around to me, his harsh gaze softening immediately. "Sorry," he muttered, coming to sit beside me and picking up my hand. "I just think we should wait."
"You're honoring Bella's promise, Edward. And there's nothing wrong with that," Esme soothed, but turned her gaze to Alice. "Alice, what do you see?"
Alice was calm, a tiny smile curling at her lips as she sat completely still at Jasper's feet. Her eyes were closed, and she smiled a little wider when Edward chuckled next to me.
"It took a little while for Megan to get back," she said softly, but the whole room was watching her, waiting for her. "Mark didn't give me much," she sighed, opening her eyes. "But he did show me a brief glimpse of the lengths that Tanya has gone to in order to watch them. There's no sneaking up on them where they are...and you're not the only one that knows, Edward." She smirked, sticking her tongue out at him, which just caused a few chuckles around us. "Where they are is hard to get to."
"Even through the underground, pixie?" Emmett asked, sitting forward and resting his elbows on his knees.
"Yeah," she answered, but locked gazes with Edward. "You might as well tell them."
"Tanya's using the security cameras surrounding Ground Zero," Edward sighed, playing with my fingers. "Somehow she's tapped into the system, because she's not far from there. Any movement, any attempt we make, she's going to see it – it's going to trigger an alarm. That's what Megan showed me," he told us, his voice calmer now as I turned his wedding band around and around.
"So she is underground, but she's in the most watched part of underground New York there is...Fan-fucking-tastic," Emmett groaned, shaking his head.
Demitri stood slowly and walked to the window. Sometimes, his presence in a room was almost overwhelming, because he was so tall, such an ethereal presence. He was quiet when he was thinking, but spoke up when he had something to say. The Denali clan watched his every move, even when he came to kneel in front of me.
"You gave your word to the girl, little one?" he asked me, even though he'd heard the story.
"Yeah." I nodded to him. "I promised we would wait. She's scared, Demitri. Tanya has her followed, stalked. They report to her everything that Megan and Mark do and say."
He nodded, but his gaze didn't leave mine as he said, "Marcus, we wait. Mark has never been stupid, but if he's this cautious, then there's most likely a good reason."
"Megan's mind showed Tanya's loss of control," Edward said softly. "She may make a mistake now that Sinclair is dead. Maybe that's what Mark is waiting for."
Demitri nodded again, but looked up at me, a small smile gracing his very handsome face. "I made you a promise, Bells. I plan on keeping it," he said, his voice smooth and menacing, his eyebrow raising up. "I promised you that you could help me find her..."
I snorted at him, remembering that silly promise he'd made me when I found out they'd let Tanya leave her post in Russia, but my smile fell when I heard a low growl across the room. Rough whispers came from the Denali clan, all in Russian. I didn't need to know what they were saying, because their despair was all over their faces.
"Sorry," I sighed, looking over at Kate, who had always been kind to me.
"Isabella," Kate started, sitting forward, "we don't blame you, little one. At first, we thought her feelings for Edward were what was driving our sister to behave...poorly towards you. But then Mark came into her life. She's lied to us all, Bella. I know now, it's not about Edward, or even you. It's about revenge for things that you may not know about..."
I turned to Carlisle, whose expression was blank, and then to Edward, who just squeezed my hand.
"See, when we met Carlisle, he had been alone for a long time," Kate went on. "It was just the three of us...Irina, Tanya, and myself. And then Carlisle found Edward and Esme," she sighed, but sent a sweet smile towards our mother. "I think when he finally changed Rosalie was when Tanya became...upset."
I was starting to see where this was going, because I knew for a fact that Carlisle changed Rose in hopes that Edward would have a companion. I looked up at Rose, but she was smirking down at her hands. Those two always found that match-making fiasco on Carlisle's part to be humorous.
"I think Tanya felt shunned," Kate said, standing up and walking to the window. "She was always quick to temper, but this was slow building, because she respected him. And here Carlisle had been alone for centuries, but suddenly, he was building this amazing family, and she wasn't allowed in."
I nodded when she turned back to me.
"She took it out on you, Bella, but I'm not really sure it was aimed towards you," Irina piped up from the dining room table. She smiled sadly, but nodded as well. "Oh, she wanted Edward, but I think that's because he told her no."
We all chuckled, and when I turned to Edward, he just rolled his eyes.
"She coveted Carlisle's family," Demitri added with a sigh. He was still in front of me, listening to the girls, but he knew Tanya, had watched over her for quite some time. "Now...what she can't have...she wants to destroy."
We were all quiet as we let that truth sink in.
"Well, I won't let her," I stated, looking up to Carlisle. "I can't imagine you not showing her compassion. I can't imagine that you were unkind to her in any way. Any denial has to be perceived on her part. Not yours."
"Thank you, Bella," Carlisle said, smiling softly. "I suppose if I thought about it, I might be able to look back and see the signs throughout the years. Times where she wanted to stay with us, but we were moving around, trying the school thing. She didn't want to go to school like the rest of them did. So I assumed she wanted to stay in Denali..."
"That may be why she attached herself to Edward," Jasper mused, looking up at him. "Sorry, bro."
Edward just waved him on.
"As time went on and our family grew, she saw that you stayed alone. She may have hoped that was her way in."
"It could all boil down to self esteem." Esme frowned, looking over at Carlisle. "We've always been such a close family, so that alone could have come off as rejection."
"I never meant to offend..." Carlisle sighed, sitting forward and resting his elbow on his knees.
"Offended or not, Carlisle, she became obsessed. That's not your fault." Demitri finally stood up, looking at Marcus. "Let's wait. We've waited this long, so a little longer won't hurt anything. We'll continue to hunt the newborns, but we won't touch her hideout until we hear from Mark."
Marcus was quiet, but he looked around the room. He's eyes looked weary, tired, and just plain sad at this whole situation. He nodded and took a deep breath, looking to Alice, who was nodding already. "You'll let us know, then, Alice." With that, he stood up and turned to the Denali family. His face was unreadable as he left the room.
"So that Sinclair guy is dead?" Jake asked when I called to tell him about Megan. "That's awesome, Bells." He chuckled a little. "Way to go, Ed! I know he's listening."
Edward chuckled from the driver's seat, shaking his head as he drove us home from school. "Jasper, too, you know..."
"Sure, sure," Jake snickered, "but no matter who did it, congrats. So what now?"
"We have to help Megan and Mark," I sighed into the phone. "They've been...deceived."
"I told you that Tanya bitch was gonna come back to get revenge," my old friend groaned, and I could practically see him shaking his head.
"No," I corrected, "I distinctly remember you telling me to knock her out."
"Which you did...with grace and style," he laughed, and even Edward chuckled on that one. "You guys need help again?"
I took a deep breath, thinking for a moment, but it was Edward that answered.
"As much as we appreciate it, no. We need Alice's visions to work with complete clarity, Jacob."
"Oh, yeah," Jake mused, "we make her reception fuzzy." There was some noise in the background, and he added, "Hey, Charlie's here. He wants to talk to you."
We pulled into the parking garage of the apartment building, and Edward turned off the car. "Take your time, baby. Tell Charlie hello from me. I'm going to talk to Carlisle," he told me, kissing my forehead and getting out of the car.
"Bells," my dad sang on the other end, and I couldn't help but smile.
"Hey, Dad. How are you?"
"I'm good, and I heard the news. You guys got that guy that hurt Alice," he gushed, and his voice was filled with pride and awe.
"Edward and Jasper did."
"Well, she said it was gonna be one or both of them, didn't she?" he asked with a chuckle.
"She did." I couldn't help but smile.
"So is it over? Are you heading back to London?"
"No," I sighed, my head falling back to the car's head rest. I hadn't even bothered to get out of the car. "There's...another threat."
"Oh damn, what is it?"
"Tanya," I growled, unable to stop myself. "Jake can give you the details on her. He's met her."
"'Kay, Bells. You okay, though?"
"I'm ready to go back to London. I miss..."
"Your life?" he asked, and I heard him step through a few doors. He must have left the boys and stepped outside.
"I guess that's about right."
"I wonder how many lives you've saved just by staying there these last few months," he mused, but I knew what he was doing. He was trying to show me that we were doing something good for the big picture, not just revenge against Sinclair and Tanya. My dad the cop would always see things in good versus evil. "You know the missing persons list and the death toll before you got there was in the hundreds..."
I grimaced, gritting my teeth. "I know, I know."
"You know, when you were born," he started, his voice soft but commanding my attention, "Renee used to worry that I wouldn't come home. That I would pull someone over and they would be carrying a gun or try to run me over." He chuckled. "She watched way too much TV, but she was right. There was always that possibility. One day, she was right. I stopped by a convenience store just outside of Port Angeles to get milk for you, on my way back from transporting someone with a warrant. I stepped inside the store just as a man reached across the counter to grab a poor girl at the register."
My mouth fell open with my gasp. I'd never heard this story. "What happened?"
"He pulled a gun on me, but I was quicker. I caught him in the leg, and he dropped his weapon," he stated, almost sounding like he was making a report. "But I found out later, when we were interrogating him, that he was heading into Forks. He was wanted in two other counties for sexual assault."
I was quiet as he paused for a moment. I realized that my Dad could've not come home that day. I would've never known him.
"Your mother kinda freaked out," he chuckled darkly. "I'm pretty sure that was the beginning of the end for us. But I didn't see the threat against me. I saw him as a threat to my town, as a threat to you and your mother. What if it had been a different store? What if your mother had gone in for milk for you instead of me? You see?"
"Yeah," I sighed, closing my eyes.
"Isabella, we may have plans or ideas that we want to do, but sometimes...we have to do the right thing. I wanted to do something good, despite the danger, despite that it drove your mother away. We can't always do what others want, when there's a job that needs to be done..."
I took a deep breath, shaking my head. "Thanks, Dad. Love you..."
"Love you, too, kiddo."
"You ready, sweet girl?" Edward asked softly, snapping me out of my thoughts as we rode down the elevator.
He held out his hand, and I took it with a smile and a nod as he led us through the lobby of our apartment building. Despite the fact that everyone was still upstairs, Edward still wanted to take me out. I'd started to argue that maybe it wasn't the best time, but his firm voice and raised eyebrow left no room for argument.
"Ah, Mr. Cullen, Miss Swan," the doorman said with a sweet smile at us. "Do you want me to have the car brought around?"
"No, thank you, Jeffery," Edward said, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. "I think we'll walk." His smile was sweet and slightly crooked. It made him look so very young and happy, a stark contrast to how adamant he was being upstairs earlier.
Jeffery was around sixty, with a quick smile and easy going personality. He lived to trade jokes with Emmett and Rose. He teased Alice about her height and shopping habits, but he was always so very polite with Esme and me. With Edward, he teased him as if he were any other seventeen year old, by talking cars and sports.
"Whatever you say, kid," Jeffery chuckled, holding the doors for us. "You guys have a good time."
"Thank you, Jeffery," I snickered as he bowed low with a wink.
"My pleasure," he said, closing the door behind us.
I looked up to Edward, who still had his arm around my shoulders. "Where to, Mr. Cullen?"
He smiled, kissed my forehead, and shrugged in a very non-Edward sort of way. "Let's just see where the night takes us, Mrs. Cullen..."
I giggled. "Okay."
I did have plans; though, as I listened to my angel's thoughts in the elevator, I realized my ideas were not enough, or maybe just not appropriate at the moment.
Her phone call with her father, who had put some things in perspective for her, had pretty much made her feel obligated to be in New York. While we were obligated, my Bella was missing...something. And I was, too.
We needed what Bella would call a night to play. A night to just be young, with no agenda or fights or plans or even family. A night out to be the ages that we were stuck in – like the time I'd taken her to Stonehenge. So forgoing the theatre tickets in my pocket, I wrapped an arm around my girl's shoulders and headed out into the city.
It was a cold night, the rain having ceased a few hours before, as we walked down 5th Avenue next to Central Park. Bella was quiet as we walked in that comfortable silence we'd always enjoyed. It was like putting in earplugs for me. I'd been not only listening to my family, but to the entire school for the last few weeks, and the addition of the Denali clan in the penthouse was almost mental overload. It was getting to me. I needed just the peaceful tenor of my wife's mind – and her mind only – which was currently going through the talk we'd had upstairs with the family and her dad's words.
"Hey," I whispered, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk.
She spun to face me, looking surprised. "What?"
"None of that, please," I begged, cupping her face. "Just...not tonight, anyway."
"I'm sorry," she whispered, her deep brown eyes filling with true remorse. "I'm sure you're tired of..."
I cut her off by bringing her mouth to mine. I didn't want her apology. I just wanted her. I wanted time, just us. I'd been going mad the last few days with barely any alone time with her.
She melted to me instantly, her arms slipping up my chest to my neck. My fingers slipped into her hair, gripping it and turning her head. I couldn't help the moan that escaped me when our tongues slipped languidly together.
My girl smiled against my lips when someone across the street yelled, "Get a room!"
I chuckled, kissing her temple as she giggled into my neck. "There's an idea," she snorted.
"Maybe later," I sighed, pulling back and cupping her face. "Right now, I just want to be away from everyone...and thoughts of this...thing that's going on, okay?"
She smiled so sweetly, nodding fervently. "'Kay," she said with an adorable grin, biting that bottom lip of hers.
I pulled her lip from between her teeth with my thumb, kissing her chastely. Taking her hand and linking our fingers together, we continued up the sidewalk.
"So no talk of current...events," she mused with the cutest false sincerity to her voice.
I chuckled, and shook my head no.
"Fine," she huffed, squeezing my fingers. "How about... we talk about what we're gonna do when we finally are done with this...crap."
I grinned, barked a laugh, and brought her fingers up to kiss them. "I want..." I started, gazing up at the trees around us in thought just to hear her giggle. "I want to board ourselves up in our house for like a week. I don't want any company, even if you have to shield the doors and windows."
She laughed, her head falling back. "We're such loners, you and I, because that's the best idea. Ever. I can deal with that."
"Good," I chuckled, looking over at her. "What about you?"
"You mean after that first week?" she teased with a laugh.
"Obviously," I snickered and raised an eyebrow at her, grinning when she giggled again.
"I wouldn't mind just seeing England some more. Maybe Ireland again. Just small trips, nothing big," she said, shrugging one shoulder. "Carlisle says Germany is beautiful."
"It is," I agreed. "So some travel, but not big trips. What about school?"
She took a deep breath, her brow furrowing as she shook her head slowly. "I know before we left London that we'd talked about college again, but I'd like to..."
"Take a break?"
"Yeah," she sighed, looking up at me as we stopped at a crosswalk.
I reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear. I listened to her thoughts for just a moment, but I didn't need to, really. Her emotions were all over her face. She just wanted to live as a couple for a while. My siblings had all done it, though we had always been close by.
I smirked, tilting my head at her. "So what would that story be, Mrs. Cullen?"
"What story?" she asked, slightly confused.
"There has to be a story as to why a couple as young as we are..." I snorted, rolling my eyes at that. "...is living in a home – no jobs, no school."
"Oh, Mr. Stock Market, I'm sure you'll come up with something," she teased, rolling her eyes back at me.
"Fair enough," I laughed. "I can play the spoiled trust fund kid."
She cracked up, leaning into me. "You're already spoiled. So that won't be a stretch for you."
I growled, gripping her waist and ticking her. She squealed, wriggling out of my hands and taking a few steps away from me. She was still giggling when she came to stop at the end of the next block, where her breath caught.
"Wanna go?" I chuckled, wrapping my arms around her midsection.
"Yeah," she breathed, nodding like a child.
With that said, I led her into the two-story tall bookstore.
"Hey, love," I chuckled, walking up to her in the classics section of the bookstore.
We'd been in there for some time. We'd separated for a few minutes, both of us getting lost in our own worlds, and I'd found something really amusing.
"Yeah, baby?" she said, looking up from a copy of Pride and Prejudice.
"Come here, you have to see this," I laughed, taking her hand.
She set the book down on the shelf quickly and allowed me to guide her through the many aisles and up the stairs. I came to a stop at an end-cap that was filled with...
"Forever," she snorted, shaking her head. Her book – our story – was on a large display at the end of a young adult section.
"Too bad she's dead," I teased her in her ear.
She giggled, picking up a copy, and flipping through it.
Her pen name was Marie Anthony, and she'd become way too popular. It took away something that she loved and caused a fame that we couldn't really afford her to have. So she and Jasper had decided to kill Marie Anthony off.
I often wondered if she missed writing; she certainly didn't think about it much.
"I wonder if they ever made the movie," Bella mused with a snicker.
"No," I chuckled, "Jasper's been watching."
"Really?" she huffed a laugh, turning to look up at me.
"More for the curiosity of who would be playing us, more than anything else."
"Oh, God," she snorted, rolling her eyes.
I couldn't help but kiss her. She was too cute for words.
"Are you just about finished in here?" I asked, lifting her hand that was holding two books.
She nodded with a sweet smile, and we made our way up to the register.
Stepping back out onto the sidewalk, I grabbed the bag from her and took her hand. I don't think we traveled fifty feet, before she stopped again.
"Oh, Edward...look," she gushed, pointing to a music store. "That's really pretty."
"Which one? The blue one?" I chuckled at her excitement as she nodded happily. In the window was a metallic, midnight blue acoustic guitar. "I think this is the same store Jasper bought his new one from," I stated softly as she dragged me inside.
"Good, then you can get this one," she muttered, giving me a side glance. "I like it."
"Where's my girl that doesn't like shopping or spending money?" I teased her, nodding a greeting towards the sales person as he walked towards us.
"Shopping with Alice is one thing. Shopping with you is completely different," she huffed, turning to the clerk. "He wants to see that one," she said, her voice giving me no choice.
Even Tony, according to his name tag, couldn't resist smiling with her as he handed me the instrument. When she was happy, it affected everything and everyone around her. As usual, her beauty was the very first thing he registered about her in his mind. The second thought was the fact that I had called her "my girl" as he'd walked up. His disappointment was amusing.
I smirked at my Bella, who was waiting for me to play. I tuned it, taking the pick that Tony was offering me. As I picked out a few notes, it was Bella's mind that made me decide to get it. It was a beautiful guitar, and I know that she only saw the color, but she didn't know that it was really well made.
Her thoughts centered around all the times I would sit around and practice the guitar, and I didn't bring one from London with us. Even Jasper had caved and bought one to play while he was here in New York. The guitar was something I could bring into our room, play just for her.
My gaze shot up to meet hers. "Okay," I told her, finally looking up at Tony. "I'll take it."
As we made our way into the Times Square area, I could see the gleam in my Bella's eyes brighten. It wasn't where we were or the fact that we were just wandering around the city, but that we just...were.
"What's next?" she asked, almost as if she were picking up on my thoughts.
"Um, let's see...there's a movie, a wax museum..."
"Ew, no...they look like corpses," she said, her nose wrinkled.
"No, they don't," I cracked up. "They are actually a damn close likeness. Look." I pointed across the street.
"Yeah, yeah...Morgan Freeman." She giggled, tugging me along. "Okay, so there's a game arcade, a toy store...a photo booth."
"Never been in one," I muttered, eying the tall thing that was just a little bigger than a phone booth. "Alice likes them. She drags Jasper into them all the time."
"Really? Never?" she gasped, her mouth hanging open. "My mom and I used to do these whenever we traveled some place new. Come, baby...let's do something you've never done." She smiled, tugging open the door.
Something happened as soon as she pulled the damn thing closed. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her as she set our things down and perched herself sideways on my lap. Maybe it was close proximity, or maybe it was the sweet glowing smile she had when she told me how the booth worked. Or maybe I just needed to lose myself in her without the eyes and ears of our family nearby.
All I knew, our connection kicked up to an all time high. My Bella felt it just as much as I did, because her speech faltered.
"Just tell me...when you're...ready," she said, turning to me, but her breath caught in her throat as she must've seen it all written on my face.
"Go," I breathed, cupping her face as the first picture went off.
She groaned, her fingers weaving into my hair, and leaned in to kiss me. By the time the four pictures were taken, we were completely lost in each other, and Bella had shifted on my lap, so that she was straddling my thighs, denim rubbing against denim. I gripped her hips to still them, pulling back to look up at the beautiful panting girl on my lap.
"God, I fucking want you, baby," I growled so very low, groaning when she whimpered softly, her eyes closing as her forehead pressed to mine.
"Edward," she groaned, locking gazes with me. "I want you, too. What do we do about that here?"
I could hear people milling around outside, waiting for us to finish.
"We're going across the street to that hotel," I chuckled darkly, running a hand through my hair as she stood up from my lap.
I knew as we made our way across the street that we were going off Alice's radar for the night, because she texted me just as I walked up to the front desk.
A: Don't worry, silly. Just keep your phone on. Enjoy your night. ;)
I chuckled at the winking smiley face. She knew what we were up to, but she wouldn't watch. She never did.
As Edward made arrangements at the front desk, I checked my voice mail. There was a message from Jake's phone, but it was Jessica's voice I heard.
"Hey, Bells," she sighed. "I just heard the news about Megan. They tell me you're waiting to hear from her again. I know that we're supposed to be enemies or whatever, but Bella, I need to make sure she's okay. I need you to tell her that I don't care what happened – just like I don't care what you are. Does that make sense?" She paused, sniffling just a bit. "I want to see her. I want to make sure she's...happy. We were family, once...roommates. Please, please keep me posted. All right?"
I sent a text back to Jake's phone, telling them all that we were doing our best to help Megan. I pocketed my phone, looking up when I heard the usual swoon of a young girl.
"Oh, God, please tell me he's on my floor," the girl groaned, leaning into her friend.
They were wearing the uniform of the cleaning crew, but her friend wasn't buying into Edward's perfectly handsome looks, and it probably didn't help that he was dressed so well, with black dress pants, button down shirt, and leather jacket. The new guitar in its case sat at his feet, so I was sure that just added to the mystery of my husband.
"He's gay. Anyone that pretty is gay," she snorted, rolling her eyes.
"Oh, no," the first one whined, shaking her head profusely. "I refuse to believe it. Just look at...that..."
I grinned, shaking my head, because I caught myself ogling him all the time – and he was mine. I had to really fight my laugh when I caught him giving me a glance out of the corner of his eye. He could hear every word that they were saying, and their thoughts, as well, but I couldn't resist listening to the girls.
"What you gonna do? Offer him room service, Joanie?" her unconvinced friend asked with a snort.
"I wish," Joanie sighed. "Not allowed to fraternize with the guests," she whined, liked she was quoting the employee handbook. "Peg...he's not gay."
Her friend laughed. "I'm telling you...gay. I'll buy lunch if he's straight..."
I had to really catch my laugh, because Edward was just about finished at the desk. I stepped up even with them, chuckling low. They spun their heads my way.
"Not gay," I whispered conspiratorially. "I promise."
Peg burst into hysterics, but Joanie turned a bright crimson with her blush.
"Oh, you're in so much trouble," Peg sang, nudging her friend with her elbow.
"I'm so sorry," Joanie groaned, shaking her head.
"Don't be. You got free lunch," I snickered, waving them off when Joanie grinned, pointing to her groaning friend.
"I want pizza!" she laughed, walking away towards the employee only door.
"Well, you're getting a street dog from Alphie outside!" Peg growled back, but they were both smiling as they disappeared through the door.
"Are you quite finished?" my favorite velvet voice rumbled in my ear.
"Hush, pretty boy," I laughed, turning in front of him. "You know, if you weren't so damn hot, I wouldn't have to swat girls away all the damn time."
He rolled his eyes, taking my hand, tugging me to the elevators. "Do not make me tell you the thoughts of the salesman at the music store, my beautiful girl," he threatened so smoothly that I felt it everywhere.
"I won't," I said with a grin, leaning back against the wall of the elevator.
Edward muttered, "Silly girl," before pressing the button for our floor.
As the doors slid closed, the same feeling surrounded us like the photo booth. I looked up at Edward, who was staring at my neck, my mouth, all the while licking his lips like he couldn't wait to taste me.
"I can't," he said through gritted teeth.
I took in his features, trying to figure out if he was having a moment, but he was shaking his head no as he listened to my mind.
"You sure?" I verified, my brow wrinkling.
"I'm not," he sighed, reaching up to rub away the wrinkle on my forehead. "I just need..."
"Time alone," I guessed, taking his hand when the doors opened.
It had been a rough few weeks for him. He had to listen for Alice, the kids at school, the Denalis, and I was sure I was the very first thing he listened for, but I knew it got to him occasionally.
And it wasn't like we didn't have time alone together. We had our own room and tried to block out the numerous people that flitted in and out at all hours, but we were such a private couple that the mere thought that they could hear us was frustrating. Having to contain our love, which could explode into a room at the most unexpected moments, was really difficult. Even though Edward was excellent at control, we shouldn't have to. We should be able to be ourselves, but we weren't Emmett and Rose; we couldn't just let loose like cats in an alley – everyone hearing be damned. That wasn't us.
I tried to shield them – shield Jasper from our lust, shield Edward from their thoughts, shield Alice from our decisions – but with all that was going on with the situation with Tanya, we needed to be open and ready for anything.
As I watched my husband set his new guitar down in the chair of the hotel room, I saw his need, his weariness of mind, and his sweet face filled with a love for me that was just breathtaking.
"I can't fucking help it, Bella," he growled, pouting like a grumpy kid.
I grinned, but God, I loved it when he dropped f-bombs out of nowhere. "I know, baby," I sighed when he frowned at my soft giggle. "Stop, Edward," I crooned, walking to him. "We're alone now," I told him. "No minds, no visions, nothing but Edward and Bella." I tilted my head at him.
He nodded, his crankiness dissipating a bit, but I studied his features.
"Baby, do you need to hunt?"
He shook his head, looking down at our hands as I pulled him to me. "No, I'm fine," he mumbled, his brow furrowing.
I could see this was just my grumpy, hundred year old vampire being...well, grumpy. Maybe I needed to take control. With that thought, his head shot up, his eyes the darkest black I'd seen on him in a long time. A deep, rumbling growl erupted from him, just low enough that I could feel it in my very bones.
"Tired of being in control, my handsome man?" I asked, letting go of his hands and pushing his jacket off of his shoulders. "You know, the last time...you fought me," I smirked, unbuttoning his shirt and pulling it out of his pants.
"I won't." His voice was soft, almost pleading as he shook his head this time.
"On your knees, Edward," I stated, and he did exactly as I'd asked. I glanced around the room as I shielded my thoughts from him, looking for something that I could blindfold him with.
Finding only my scarf, I tugged off it and my coat, dropping the jacket to the floor. I went back to stand in front of Edward, whose eyes had gone wide as I started towards his face with the scarf.
"Bella, I want..."
"I don't care," I chuckled, leaning down to kiss him. "You do trust me, right?"
"Um, yeah...of course," he said, nodding slightly. His eyes locked on mine, just before I cut off his sight.
"I'm walking you to the bed, baby," I told him, taking his hand and guiding him over to the end of the large king size bed. "You're at the end. Sit down," I commanded, smiling when he did what he was told. "Good. Now scoot back...farther...a little more. Perfect. Stop."
There was something totally freeing about being able to stare at him without his knowledge. Better than that was the freedom of taking control over him. We rarely did it to each other, and I loved it when he did it to me, but the first time I pinned him under my shield on top of my Volvo in London, I could have eaten him alive.
Mr. Edward I-Have-Perfect-Control Cullen was fun to boss around.
I smiled to myself as I kicked out of my shoes, pulling my sweater off over my head. I stripped down to my underwear, crawling onto the bed beside him.
He was still sitting up, wearing just his pants, but using my shield, I pushed him down flat on the bed, holding him there. I smiled when that beautiful moan escaped his lips as my shield caressed him all over. He told me it felt like ten hands touching him all at one time.
"Oh, baby. Don't you dare hold back," I said, straddling his stomach. "I want to hear you."
"Bella..." It was all he said as he writhed under me.
I knew him well enough to know that he just wanted to touch me, and I bent to his ear, tracing my nose up the shell of it. "Not yet, Edward. Soon, I promise," I whispered, placing a long, slow kiss just behind his earlobe.
Pulling back just a little, I watched as his tongue dragged across his bottom lip, his mouth perfect and ready for the taking. I leaned in, barely brushing his mouth with mine, bracing my arms on each side of his head, and finally suckling his bottom lip.
"Mm," I groaned, "you taste so good, baby. Can I taste you everywhere?"
"Yes," he breathed, and again, his hips raised up slightly.
"Good," I said, slipping down his torso just a bit. "How many times have you blindfolded me?"
"Uh, like three or four," he guessed, but his lips quirked up into a small smile.
"Mmhm," I agreed, swirling my tongue over his collarbone and brushing my thumbs across his nipples. "And how many times have I blindfolded you?"
"This is the second," he answered, his smile growing just a little more.
I fought my laugh, but said, "Right, so in reality..." I paused, nipping down his sternum all the way to his bellybutton. "...I have more experience being blind." He huffed a laugh, but said nothing. "So tell me what you feel, because everything else enhances, doesn't it?"
"I can't hear your thoughts," he growled, but his smile was still there.
"Right. Can't have that," I chuckled, slowly tugging his belt open and pulling it through the loops of his pants. I tossed it off the side of the bed. "If you knew what I was thinking, we wouldn't get a chance to play."
"I can hear every breath you take. I can feel your hair brush my skin. I could feel you're already wet for me. I can smell you, baby," he groaned the last sentence.
"I bet you can," I teased, not bothering to fight my laugh. "It doesn't take much to make me ready for you, Edward."
He groaned again, his hands fisting over his head.
I unzipped his pants, whispering, "Lift that pretty ass up, love."
He laughed, shaking his head as he raised up his bottom for me to tug his pants completely off.
"If you roll your eyes behind that blindfold, I'll know, and I'll stop everything, Mr. Cullen," I snapped, watching as his mouth fell open slightly.
"How did you..."
"Because I know you. Take the compliment, baby," I crooned, grazing my fingertips down his thighs and licking my lips at the sight of his twitching erection. "My, my...you do like it when I tell you what to do, don't you?"
"You have no idea," he muttered.
"I have the...very large proof in front of my face," I chuckled, "but can you turn over without damaging the mattress with that weapon?"
"I won't guarantee anything, sweet girl," he snorted, rolling onto his belly as I stepped off the end of the bed. He smiled when I couldn't stop the giggle that erupted from me.
"Don't move from that spot," I commanded, barely able to drag my gaze from the sight that was in front of me: broad shoulders, strong arms stretched out, the most beautiful back tapering down to a narrow waist, and that God blessed perfect ass.
Shaking my head, I stripped the rest of the way. I crawled back onto the bed, straddling his thighs, and smiled at his groan when he felt me bare for him.
Starting at his shoulders, I massaged every inch of his back, digging my fingers into his muscles deeply.
"Fuck, baby, that feels good," he groaned, grinding his hips into the mattress.
I used my shield to stop him from finding friction. "No, Edward. Let me make you come, but only when I say, okay?" I asked, palming his ass and giving both cheeks a damn good squeeze.
He groaned again, his whole body vibrating underneath me as I stretched out over him, our bodies completely aligned, skin on skin. I nuzzled his neck, practically purring as I felt every inch of his strong back shift under me.
I couldn't stop from slipping down to place open mouth kisses on each shoulder blade, down his spine, swirling my tongue in those little dips just above his ass. And his ass – I growled low as my teeth grazed the skin of each cheek.
I helped him roll back over, smiling as his breathing was heavy, deep, his fists shaking on the pillows above his head. His abs were tense as I ran my palms flat up his stomach. His beautiful erection stood proud and straight, leaking deliciously.
"God, Edward. I could touch you for days," I said through gritted teeth, because it was all I could do not to just take him right there, to sink down over him and ride him hard.
"I can't take much more, Bella... Please..."
I crawled back up his body, like he was the best of jungle gyms, smiling down at my tortured husband. "If I let you go, what would you want first, Edward?"
"As good as you smell, right now," he growled, writhing under me again, "I want to taste that pussy, baby. You smell fucking delicious."
"Would you make me come?" I crooned, nuzzling his nose with mine.
"Oh," he chuckled darkly. "As many times as I fucking could..."
"What if I wanted to taste you, too?" I asked, reaching behind me to finally touch him where I'd been aching to, gathering the juices at the tip with my thumb, only to bring it to my mouth.
"Damn it, Bella," he gasped, his head pressing into the pillow when I let go of him.
I leaned back over him, kissing him senseless, my tongue claiming his mouth. "See? You taste...amazing," I whispered against his lips.
"Bella...baby, please," he growled, his whole back arching, raising me up off the bed.
I reached up, tugging my scarf off of his eyes and pulling my shield away from his hands. As soon as his eyes opened, I felt his hands grasp my face, so that he could pull me in for an all consuming kiss.
"I want my taste, sweet girl," he whispered against my lips, but his voice came across as sexily menacing.
"I want mine," I growled back, grinding my center down onto his stomach.
A wicked, carnal smile crept up his handsome face when he said, "Turn around."
I gasped when his hands gripped my hips, his touch rocking me since I'd kept his hands bound. He turned me, bringing my center to his face. Bracing my hands on his thighs, I sank my mouth down over his cock, moaning when his tongue licked through my wet folds at the same time.
Damn! She felt good. Her skin against mine, even when I damn well couldn't see her, her touch, her words, her reprimand – all of it was just fucking perfect, but she was so very turned on. I could smell her, taste her in the air, and feel her wet heat every time she straddled me.
I didn't need to read her thoughts to know how touching me was affecting her. I was well aware. I'd experienced it myself on many occasions.
By the time my Bella tugged my blindfold off, kissed me senseless, and growled, "I want mine," I was just about to come, right there, before she even sank that perfect hot mouth down over me.
I absolutely loved it when my girl took what she wanted, especially when it was me that she wanted. I loved giving control over to her, and as my mouth drank her in, as my tongue slipped languidly through her center and around her clit, she was still in control, because she was allowing me to ravish her as she took what she needed from me. I let Bella set the pace, and I matched it with my mouth, giving her sweet bottom a good grip, so that I could open her up for me.
My girl was close, her moans vibrating against my erection, but as soon as she pressed back against my face, sucking my cock hard with her tongue laving around the tip, I was done for.
Her sounds, her movements, and her hums against my skin, caused a deep growl to erupt from me, which sent my girl over the edge the same time I came full force into her sweet mouth. I lapped up all that she would give me, before slipping her tiny body down my torso.
Her eyes were black fire when she turned in my arms, squirming until she was facing me and straddling me again. She sat up on her knees, pressing her forehead to mine, her fingers weaving into my hair, and I was lost in her eyes.
"I want you...like this," she sighed, her gaze never breaking from mine.
"Yes, ma'am," I breathed, nodding against her head, licking at her lips once, twice, three times, before I captured her mouth fully.
My vampire stamina didn't take long to rejuvenate. A curse when I met my beautiful girl, because I wanted her so badly, yet didn't trust myself one bit, had become a blessing with my amazing wife, whom I wanted to ravish just about every minute of the day. My angel didn't need to do much to have me wanting her like the hormonal teen I was frozen as.
It was as I shifted her down over my renewed arousal, that her mind fluttered open like a spring flower. And her thoughts were so pure, so beautiful...
"Oh, baby, I know," I sighed, cupping her face and making her look at me. "My sweet girl, I know you love me."
She nodded, but her mind was set on showing me, proving to me that she could take care of me as I could her. She started a slow pace, barely a centimeter between our bodies, our lips brushing as we shared breath for breath, but her movements picked up.
She gripped my shoulders as I fisted her hair on each side of her head, letting her lead, letting her set the pace. My Bella was in charge, and I wanted it to stay that way.
Her next orgasm came swiftly, causing her head to fall back, and I couldn't resist that sweet neck. I latched my mouth to her, dragging my lips and tongue up to her ear.
"Wrap those perfect legs around me," I told her, and she did.
I rolled us so that I was on top of her, because her mind wanted to feel my weight on her, feel me in her arms. Lifting up slightly, I pulled one of her legs between us, dragging my teeth on the inside of her knee, just to hear her gasp my name, just to be able to go deeper, closer. It was never close enough.
We were a tangle of limbs that was still able to move. We were crying out, because we could, because no one was there to hear us. And we were lost in the moment, because despite our daily interaction, there was just some times we wanted to be alone, to be just...Edward and Bella.
It was almost checkout time, but I wasn't moving. I'd already called down once to extend our stay. There wasn't a natural force on this planet that could have ripped me from my Bella's arms at the moment.
We were skipping school, we were avoiding the family, and we were loving every second of it. We were hiding on the twenty-second floor of a hotel in Times Square. It was our secret hideout, our castle, our impenetrable force.
"Alice is gonna be pissed," Bella mumbled into her pillow as she looked at the four little pictures from last night, which were humorous and a complete testament to our love – my hand on her face, her fingers in my hair, turned heads, and a smoldering kiss. They were perfect. I wouldn't change a thing about them.
Her head was turned away from me as she lay on her stomach. I was tracing my fingers up and down her spine with one hand, while the other held my head up.
"No, she won't," I snickered, leaning in to place a kiss to her shoulder blade. "Didn't you say we needed to hunt?"
"I'm not sure of anything I said last night," she snorted. "I'm not really sure I could spell my name right now."
I smiled against the smooth, soft skin of her back, chuckling quietly. "You were a touch incoherent."
"This coming from the man that shattered the headboard. You're totally paying for that, by the way," she giggled, finally turning her face towards me.
"With pleasure and a tip," I said with a grin.
She giggled, reaching up to trace her fingers over my face. "Love you."
"I love you, too, sweetheart," I sighed, turning my head to kiss her palm.
Her eyes drifted past me and landed on my new guitar. "Play for me," she whispered, looking up at me.
"Sing with me," I countered, waiting until she rolled her eyes. "That song you were humming at school the other day."
"That's a sad song, Edward," she said with a slight frown, sitting up and pulling the covers around her. "If that had been around back when you were gone..."
"I know," I said with a nod, "but it's pretty close to us, don't you think?"
She paused, smiled softly, and nodded. "Yeah, it kinda is..."
I got up, fetching the guitar from its case. "Sit with me," I said, propping my back against the somewhat ruined headboard.
She situated herself between my legs, covering us up with the blankets. I placed the guitar on her lap, wrapping my arms around her as she placed her hands on my thighs to keep them out of my way.
"Ready?" I whispered, kissing the back of her head and smiling as she nodded.
It wasn't easy playing with her in between me and the guitar, but I just wasn't ready to let her go yet. And I just really wanted to hear her sing.
The song was somewhat new, a band classified as country, but I didn't hear them that way. Jasper and I had commented more than once that Lady Antebellum sounded like damn good old-school folk music more than country. They had great harmony and amazing arrangements.
And my girl's voice fit perfectly. As she started to sing All We'd Ever Need, a song about regret, but pure love, I waited until I needed to harmonize with her.
Boy it's been all this time
And I can't get you off my mind
And nobody knows it but me
I stare at your photograph
Still sleep in the shirt you left
And nobody knows it but me
I kissed the back of her head again, closing my eyes at how true and how painful her time away from me had been, but what I had now was what I should've had all along, and I was just damn grateful for it.
Everyday I wipe my tears away
So many night I've prayed for you to say
I should've been chasing you
I should've been trying to prove
That you were all that mattered to me
I should've said all the things
That I kept inside of me
And maybe I could've made you believe
That what we had was all we'd ever need
I loved the way our voices sounded together. It was a sweet, soft sound for the chorus, but the next verses were mine...
My friends think I'm moving on
But the truth is I'm not that strong
And nobody knows it but me
And I've kept all the words you said
In a box underneath my bed
And nobody knows it but me
But if you're happy I'll get through somehow
But the truth is that I've been screaming out
I should've been chasing you
I should've been trying to prove
That you were all that mattered to me
I should've said all the things
That I kept inside of me
And maybe I could've made you believe
That what we had was all we'd ever need
As we finished the song, I pressed my forehead to the back of her head, closing my eyes.
"That was pretty," she whispered, a little giggle escaping her as she nuzzled my jaw.
"You're pretty," I stated with a chuckle and a loud smooch to her cheek. "Everything else pales in comparison."
I was just about to kiss her senseless as she set my guitar to the side, but my phone went off on the nightstand. I was expecting Alice, but I answered to...
"Carlisle?" I said, not sure if I should be worried. He so rarely called me, always having the siblings do it.
"Hey, son," he said.
I could hear loud voices in the background, but I wasn't able to discern the problem.
"We need you two here. How far are you?"
"Mid-town. We can catch a cab and be there in minutes."
"Do it. There's been...Alice has seen..."
Bella's phone went off next, signaling a text. She looked up at me. "Jasper," she mouthed.
J: Baby sis, we need you two home. Now! Alice needs you both...
"We're on our way," I told my father, ending the call. "Damn," I growled, running a hand through my hair. "What's that all about?"
Bella took a deep breath, shaking her head. "I don't know, but the only thing that sets Alice off like that is if she's seen something to do with us or Jasper."
I winced, but my girl was right. Alice so rarely panicked, and if she did, it was for a damn good reason.
"Okay," I sighed, looking up at her as she stood by the bed. "Vision or not, nothing happens to you. Period."
"You, either," she agreed. "Come on, let's go see about our pixie."


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