Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 42

CHAPTER 42
BELLA
"So is Kevin gonna have a talent?" Emmett asked Alice, like a child begging for a bedtime story. We all chuckled at him, but he wasn't to be deterred. "What? I'm fuckin' serious!"
"Emmett, I still have soap for that mouth..." Esme growled, looking up from the fire pit to raise a dangerous eyebrow at him.
I laughed, not even bothering to pick my head up from Edward's shoulder. "God, I think I actually remember him asking that question at the end of my change..."
Edward chuckled, kissing the top of my head as I sat sideways on his lap. "He did."
We'd run back from the woods, only to find almost everyone, aside from Marcus, hanging out by the fire. Marcus hadn't left Adrian's side, but Carlisle had taken a break to hunt. He and Esme took Megan and Mark with them, hoping to get Mark back onto the right diet, and to teach Megan that it could be done.
She hadn't liked it, but because Mark wanted to go back to it, she was willing to give it a try. Besides, everyone around her was on that very diet, so she said it couldn't be all that bad, especially when Carlisle explained that the diet would keep her calmer, help her to be able to go into public eventually, without fear of draining someone.
I let my eyes drift around the campfire, just taking in everyone that I loved. Emmett was still begging a smug Alice for Kevin's talent. Rose was laughing at him. Jasper, though chuckling at his mate, would still give the guest cabin a glance to make sure Kevin was still out. He, of all of us, was the most concerned about the after of Kevin's change. Carlisle was talking to Demitri about Italy and Brody and the possibility that we may need to accompany them all back before we went home.
But my gaze finally fell to Mark and Megan, who, like most everyone that wasn't used to us, were just enjoying the normal and real feelings that came from being with my family. For a long time, they'd been surrounded by violence and feral newborns. They'd been led by two older immortals that encouraged anarchy and bloodlust and just plain brutal actions, and now they were surrounded by love and silliness and laughter. They were encouraged to be themselves, to be better, and to relax and trust us.
"Come on, pixie!" Emmett begged again and again, but she just giggled.
"Holy crap, just tell him!" I laughed, sitting up. "Is there anything or not?"
Alice grinned, looking over at me. "No, but he takes to this life amazingly."
"Was that so damn hard?" Emmett pouted, folding his huge arms across his chest. "All you freaks with special talents..." he muttered, and I pushed his chair backwards with my shield, his legs kicking in the air like a dying cockroach.
"No one is a freak, you dork!" I pointed to him as he sat up with a huge grin, dimples and all.
"A dork is a whale's dong..." he chuckled, righting his chair and sitting back down.
"We know!" my whole family yelled, but broke into hysterics anyway.
"Kevin told me that," he laughed, nodding with pride.
"Of course, he did," Rose snorted, rolling her eyes. "I'm pretty sure Kevin knows every alternative name for the male genitalia there is to know..."
"That might be true," I sighed, shaking my head.
Edward chuckled, wrapping his arms around me and patting my leg. "He wants to learn the word in every language..."
That just caused more laughter.
"He's gonna make a helluva vampire," Carlisle snorted, shaking his head. "I thought Bells would be a force to be reckoned with, but I think he may be...more."
I grinned, shaking my head when he shot a wink my way.
"She is a force," Jasper and Emmett both countered.
"Just to you two," Esme giggled. "Never seen anything like it. Came in as a human baby sister immediately. Edward was concerned that we'd spoil her..."
"Edward?" I laughed, turning to him.
He was grinning and shaking his head.
"Um, pot...kettle..."
He barked a laugh, his head falling back, but he said nothing, because he knew he was the worst when it came to spoiling me. He kissed my cheek at that thought, whispering, "Sue me."
"So what's the plan with him?" Jasper asked Carlisle, but he looked at Demitri as well.
"Well, once he's awake, Marcus will take him and Adrian to hunt, teach him the basics. We'll ask them what they want to do, where they want to go, but I think..." Carlisle paused, looking to Demitri. "I think that they want to go to Italy for a while. And Marcus has agreed."
Alice took a deep breath, looking up from the fire. I felt Edward's head turn her way as she spoke. "Kevin will want us there. He's comfortable with us."
"I know," Carlisle said with a small smile, like he'd already thought about it. "And there's work to be done with him. We have to remove him from London, kill him in the eyes of his sister, and teach both him and Adrian how to live normally. His newborn days would be beneficial in Volterra, but his life would be better with us. Marcus and I have much to discuss when it comes to them."
"I agree," Demitri sighed, sitting forward and resting his elbows on his knees. "He can lose his temper and learn to hunt in Italy, but the support system with you guys is better. And you know him so well already. He trusts you."
I smiled, because Demitri was speaking from experience at this point. When he'd come to us to take care of Tanya the first time, he'd spoken endlessly with Carlisle about our ways, our diet, and our lives. He'd liked what he'd seen and had wanted to learn. He'd stayed with us for quite some time, even after we got Carina back from Felix, and she'd wanted to learn, as well.
Hell, it was Tanya that had showed him the diet, once he'd taken her away. That thought caused me to snort and roll my eyes to myself, but Edward heard it all.
"At least she did one good thing," he whispered in my ear.
I turned to look at him, and his eyes were soft, warm honey. Despite the fact that everyone around him was thinking one thing or another, and the fact that he was most likely listening to the guest cabin, my thoughts came first.
"Loud and clear," he chuckled, reaching up to tuck my hair behind my ear.
He turned his head quickly to Alice, who was smiling.
"It's time," she said, practically beaming.
Carlisle chuckled, standing. "Jasper...and I think Bella and Edward. Maybe we can see if they need help, okay?"
"Yes, sir," Edward said, setting me on my feet as I nodded up at him.
Jasper looked worried as we walked into the small cabin. At this point, I knew what my job would be. If Kevin woke up out of control, I'd hold him with my shield, letting Jasper do his thing. Edward was there for all thoughts – in case Kevin wasn't able to articulate everything. It was damn hard to concentrate when everything was so damn vivid and new and loud and shocking.
Kevin was utterly still as he lay on the bed. Adrian was pacing, his hair being his release as his fingers wove through it every few steps, and Marcus was just beaming.
"His heart stopped a little while ago," Marcus said softly. "It should be any time now."
I took a good look at my friend, and boy, did he look good! Kevin had always been a handsome boy, but now, he was just flawless. His short, light brown hair now had golden highlights in it, his skin was smooth, covering taut muscles that he'd already had but were now enhanced, and his lips were a gorgeous dark pink. He was going to be beautiful – and most likely smug, if I knew him well enough.
That last thought made me giggle, and in turn, Kevin finally shifted on the bed, his movements almost blurred with the speed in which he lifted his hand.
"Kev, if you can hear me, open your eyes," Carlisle said gently from the other side of the bed.
Crimson, newborn eyes opened to the room, and Kevin pushed back against the headboard.
"Easy, Kevin," Edward said, keeping his voice soft and low. "It's just us."
Kevin squeezed his eyes shut tight, and then opened them again. He raised his hand to rub his face, his eyes widening. "I feel so funky," he muttered.
"I bet," I chuckled, and he finally looked up at me. "Everything's a little strange at first..."
Kevin grinned, and it was blindingly beautiful. "No shit," he chuckled softly. "Adrian?"
"Right here..." Adrian said, his pacing coming to an abrupt halt. "God, Kev, I'm sorry..."
"What happened?" Kevin asked, reaching for Adrian's hand, but looking up at Carlisle, and then Edward.
"You got really hurt," Edward answered. "Adrian made the decision to change you."
Kevin nodded, swallowing thickly, but turned to his mate. "I thought you didn't want this... You said..."
"Just...never mind," Adrian said, unable to hide his smile. "I had no choice. I just couldn't..."
Kevin's eyes flashed darkly, and I flinched just a little, because his temper was going to be on edge for a bit.
"Kevin," Edward said, with a deep warning to his tone. "That's in the past. All of it. Now everyone needs to move forward. He couldn't live without you, so he chose what you wanted. What you both wanted." That last statement was said with a raised eyebrow at Adrian – another warning, of sorts.
"You need to hunt," Jasper said from the back of the room. He was leaning against the door with his arms crossed, sending out small bursts of calm into the room.
"Is that what this is? My throat feels like it's on fire," he rasped, swallowing again.
"Exactly," Marcus chuckled, standing up. "Kevin, I'd like for you to stand up, please."
Kevin nodded, his movements so far from the human I once knew. He threw back the covers, and I noticed that someone had finally dressed him in jeans and a t-shirt. He spun his legs off the bed and stood up, again with very quick movements.
Carlisle walked to stand directly in front of him to look him over, and Edward chuckled.
"Damn, Dr. Feel Good," Kevin snorted, shaking his head. "How does Esme let you work with nurses all day?"
I laughed. I mean, doubled over and had to turn away with my arms around my stomach, because that was my very first thought the first time I looked at Carlisle with new eyes.
"Really?" Edward laughed, looking over at me with a wrinkle to his brow.
"Yeah," I snorted, trying to cover my giggle with my hand, but it was virtually impossible. "Sorry, Carlisle," I sniffed, waving him on as Edward draped an arm around my shoulders, planting a rough kiss to my head.
"Distractions, Kevin," Carlisle said with a wry smile, trying his best to not roll his eyes at us, I was sure of it. "They happen to the best of us."
"Obviously," Edward muttered sarcastically, squeezing my shoulder.
"Heavy E," Kevin said, shaking his head. "You're one to talk. Looks like a freakin' angel..." he muttered, rolling his eyes when Jasper laughed.
It was then that I think Kevin really noticed Jasper for the first time – and the scars that covered him. Instinct kicked in, causing a hissing growl to erupt from Kevin. He moved too fast, but Jasper stood his ground in a wide stance, because my shield stopped all movement.
"Kevin," I whispered, making him look at me. "That's the same Jasper that you've always known, sweetie."
"But the scars...he looks..."
"Don't you remember hearing his story back at the house in London?" I asked softly. "Think hard..."
Kevin paused, looking up at Jasper, who looked smug, but calm. "Yeah...newborns...Civil War."
"Exactly." I nodded and smiled. "Good. He's still that same guy, Kev."
"It's a natural reaction to him," Carlisle said, walking up beside us. "You have instincts now that will rule your mind, Kevin. That's what we're all here for. But I'd like you to hunt first, before worrying about anything else. Okay?"
"It will help with your focus," Edward told him. "Things won't be so...overwhelming."
"I'll take him," Adrian stated, walking forward.
"Yes, that's probably best, because you are his mate," Marcus sighed, nodding, "but Adrian, you're still new to this diet, too. I'd like a few of us nearby." He gestured to everyone that was in the room. "We'll be there as back up if Kevin loses control."
I leaned into Edward's side, waiting for Kevin and Adrian to make their decision and remembering my own first hunting trip. Apparently, Carlisle had trusted that Edward could handle me alone.
"No," he whispered in my ear. "I knew exactly where to take you where there were no humans. Up here...there are small clusters of homes everywhere."
"Oh," I said with raised eyebrows, but smirked a little, changing to my thoughts. And the fact that we ravished each other into oblivion had nothing to do with you wanting me alone.
Edward smiled, wide and happy and unashamed, saying, "Perk."
I laughed, elbowing him in the ribs as we all made our way out the door to take Kevin hunting, only to be stopped by a very hyper, very bouncy pixie.
"Oh my God! Kevin, you look amazing!" she gushed, jumping up and down on her toes. "Did they show you? Have you looked? How do you feel? You should probably hunt, huh?"
"Damn, Alice," Carlisle snorted, shaking his head as her question came flying out of her.
"We're taking him now, Alice," I snickered, looking at her with my mouth hanging open.
"And no, we haven't shown him. I'm not prepared for the ego-mania," Adrian said with a grin. "We'll wait, okay?" he asked, looking up at a very amused Kevin and squeezing his hand.
But when Kevin chuckled, his hand shot to his throat.
"Okay, no more stalling," Jasper growled, waving us all on. "Darlin', we'll be right back." He kissed her head, and then we all took off into the forest.
~oOoOo~
EDWARD
The relief that was flowing through everyone's minds was almost to the point of giddiness. I saw it first in my wife, who couldn't keep the smile off of her face as she studied Kevin for the first time. It happened again when Alice practically assaulted Kevin with a hundred questions all at once.
It happened to Adrian when we were finally running through the woods. He laughed as they ran, really ran together for the first time.
Marcus took to the north, Carlisle to the west, and Jasper stayed back to guard the south. Bella and I both took the east, because there was a little town not far from there, and we didn't need any accidents.
"Come, Edward," my girl said with a beautiful smile, before taking off up a tree.
I laughed, chasing after her. "So we're doing the tree sitting thing, my love?"
"It's easier this way," she sighed, perching herself on a branch with her arms over another one. "This way we can watch the whole area, and you..." she chuckled, poking my stomach, "...can hear them coming."
"And we don't have to separate," I added with a smirk, sitting down where a thick branch met the trunk.
"Whatever, mind reader," she teased with narrowed eyes. "I'm just used to being put in high places for this stuff."
"Including the pedestal I've put you on," I teased back.
"True," she snickered with an eye roll. "I love it, though," she said softly, laying her head on her arms and turning her beautiful face towards me.
"Good." I scooted forward, straddling the limb next to her. I propped my elbow on the branch next to me, holding up my head and facing her. "I'm glad you like it. I don't know any other way. I want you to always know how important you are to me."
She smiled softly. "And vice versa, Edward."
My Bella reached up and cupped my face, and I turned to kiss her palm. We heard a loud, happy laugh in the distance, and my girl smiled, hoping that her friend was happy.
"He's confused and a little overwhelmed," I answered the thoughts in her mind, "but he's truly happy. He was never sure what Adrian wanted, because Adrian was not happy in this life."
"You said something to Adrian the night Kevin was changed, didn't you?"
"I did."
"And now?"
"Adrian will come to grips with his happiness just fine," I chuckled, knowing exactly how he was feeling.
My sweet girl looked out over the landscape, her thoughts not really narrowing in on anything. She took in the beauty around her, she thought about what it would be like to go back home, she wondered what Carlisle and Marcus would do about Kevin, but mostly, she was just completely content that my hand was running over and over her hair, starting at her head, all the way down her back.
I just was happy to touch her, to wait to see if we were needed.
This was another one of those perfect times when we didn't need to say a word. Her thoughts wafted around me, and she was just happy to be near me. We had no agenda, other than to make sure Kevin stayed within the hunting range that we needed him to, and the thought of going home was something that we didn't want to speak about until we knew for sure when it would happen.
We'd joked about it not long ago. I'd said that I wanted to lock ourselves away in our home, not letting anyone in for a week at least. I wasn't kidding. I wanted to keep her to myself for a while. I'd shared her with the family, with Kevin, with fights and school. It was my turn for time with her, and if that sounded controlling or selfish, then so be it. She didn't exactly protest when I mentioned it – a thought that made me lean in and kiss her temple as she stared out over the tree tops.
We were on the same train of thought, because she turned to face me again. "We're going to Italy, aren't we?"
"We," I said, motioning between us, "don't have to do anything you don't want to do."
"Is Alice right?" she asked, mirroring my position with her head in her hand. "Will he need us there? Want us there?"
"Probably," I answered with a nod. "But if you don't want to go..."
"It's not only my decision, Edward."
"But I hold no opinion on the matter, Bella. If you want to make sure Kevin gets settled in, then we go. If you want to go home, then I just get my week at home with you earlier," I chuckled, shrugging a shoulder. "If we go to Italy, then this time, I'll show you Rome." I gave her the smile she liked the best.
She giggled, leaning in to kiss my lips, while still laughing sweetly. "Well, it's nice to know you and I can make the best of it, huh?"
"As long as you're with me..." I said, not even having to finish that sentence.
"That's all that matters."
~oOoOo~
Carlisle had a theory when it came to newborns. He'd started to wonder about it when Bella literally and gloriously stumbled into my life. It changed from wonder to theory when Brandon chose immortality instead of death a few years ago, after Tanya had used him to get to Bella, and Demitri had given him the choice. By the time that Mark came into Tanya's life, asking to be changed because he thought they were mated, Carlisle's theory looked pretty damn solid.
My beautiful girl had never been afraid of me, of my family, or of what we were when she was a human. She accepted us with a sweet smile and an open heart and mind. Changing her had never been something I'd wanted, simply because I loved her too much, thinking she would grow to hate this life and the darkness that it could hold. But Bella had never seen it that way. She had always seen love and me and brothers and sisters and laughter. And I simply adored her for showing me that side of this life, because it took a sweet, brown-eyed girl with a pure heart to prove to me that I didn't hate my long immortal life – I was just waiting for her.
Bella, Brandon, and Mark all had one thing in common. They chose this life. They wanted to become immortal, for whatever their reasons. Bella and I couldn't live without each other, nor by the time I came back to her was I even willing to try. Brandon opted to be changed to save himself from death, and Mark thought he wanted to be with Tanya – or she'd made him want to be with her, anyway.
Carlisle's theory was those that wanted to be changed had the easiest time learning to maintain their thirst, their newborn temper, and their easily distracted dispositions. Immortality was something they were willing to work at, not something that was thrust upon them by someone else.
Kevin was his final test on that theory—a test I wasn't sure he really needed. After Mark's change, I was pretty sure his theory wasn't far from fact.
Of all of them – Bella, Brandon, Mark, and Kevin – my talented girl had the advantage. Her shield helped her block out the scent of human blood, lowering her bloodlust and allowing her to go out in public sooner than any of us after the change.
So after a month and a half of everyone really working with Kevin in all aspects of his hunting, walking, moving, Carlisle and Marcus felt that he – along with Bella's shield – could finally take a chartered flight to Italy.
This didn't really shock anyone, except maybe Kevin himself. He'd been told over and over by just about all of us that it was hard to focus, difficult to slow down to a human pace when all your body wanted to do was to run, and he would be consumed by the need to hunt. However, he'd picked up everything almost as quickly as Bella had, though the scent of human blood still gave him a rough time.
His first few days were filled with learning how to use his new body, hunting more than the rest of us, and...Adrian.
Poor Jasper didn't know what to do with so much lust. He likened it to dealing with Emmett and Rose and Bella and me combined, but on hardcore steroids, Viagra – or crack; he wasn't sure which. A statement that earned him a smack from Rose and a full thirty minute wrestling match defending himself from Bella, which was fine by me, because if she didn't get him, Emmett and I were going to.
What had us in hysterics...the first time Kevin saw himself in the sun.
He'd squealed like a girl, spun in a circle, telling us all that he looked like a high end stripper all covered in glitter – that all he was missing was the Jimmy Choos. I thought my sisters and Bella would never stop laughing. Poor Carlisle and Marcus just walked away for a little while.
As the weeks progressed, though, Kevin showed amazing adaptation to his new life, and he dragged Adrian right along with him. It was like Adrian was relearning everything through his mate's eyes. The girls had endless patience with them both; my brothers, Carlisle, Marcus, Demitri, and I all worked with them on how to move slower, looking more human, and Megan and Mark joined right in.
It wasn't long until we were out hunting, and Kevin had smelled a human for the first time. He'd darted forward, but Bella's shield had trapped him instantly.
"Kev, stop," she'd said forcefully. "You can't let it take you over. Think of them as someone's child, brother, sister...lover. You can't."
"Bells..." he'd growled deeply, looking at her with his hands curled into claws. "They...I need."
"You don't need..." she'd countered coolly. "Not at all." She'd slipped her shield around him, and he'd settled down almost immediately. "Better?"
He'd inhaled deeply, nodding slowly and swallowing back venom. "Thanks, my goddess."
It was that hunting trip that Carlisle and Marcus started to discuss what the next step was. We had Kevin, Mark, and Megan that were all new to the diet – Mark just needing to relearn it. Adrian was a little further along, but still needed to be monitored in public. But we all sat down to talk about Italy and what everyone wanted to do.
Marcus and Carlisle both agreed that Volterra would be a good experience for the new ones. They would be able to be themselves inside the castle walls, choosing whatever diet they wanted – as Marcus insisted that was the way the Volturi should be run now...choice. Mark and Megan wanted a fresh start together, but the problem became getting Kevin to agree.
"No, no, no!" Kevin growled, standing up from the campfire, his temper so easily swayed now. "That's my family," he snarled, pointing to me and Bella, but he meant the Cullen family in its entirety. "They promised they wouldn't leave me," he told Adrian, but turned his heartbreaking gaze to Bella. "You promised..."
"We aren't leaving you," Carlisle intervened calmly before Bella could reply. "You will learn so much with Marcus and Demitri. We visit Italy all the time, son. And at the rate you're going, you'll be able to merge into humanity soon. Really soon."
"Kev, I would never take you away from them, but we need...time to learn. They'll help us..." Adrian urged, but in his mind, he really wanted to go. He wanted a life, wanted to see his friend, Brody, and he wanted time to really get to know Kevin...the new Kevin.
I shook my head to clear those thoughts. That was none of my business.
Jasper chuckled next to me, shaking his head, and whispered to Bella. "Shield Eddie. I think he's seeing too much."
Bella grinned, kissing my cheek. "Will do," she chuckled, and her shield fell over my mind like a comforting blanket.
"You...are the best," I sighed with a slight chuckle, running a hand through my hair.
It wasn't like I hadn't seen it all through my many long years, but still, it was nice to be able to switch it off, leaving only my sweet girl's mind.
"I do try," she said wryly, turning her attention back to Kevin and Adrian.
Kevin didn't want to offend Adrian, and he damn well wasn't going anywhere without him, but he really wasn't sure he was comfortable without my family.
"Kevin, that's enough, sweetie," Esme said softly, standing up and walking to him. She cupped his face, the simple motherly act calming him a bit. "What if we went with you? Hmm? Just until you got settled in. Once you're ready, we'll be waiting for you, okay?"
Kevin wavered, but at this point, I couldn't hear his thoughts anymore.
Esme went on. "You'll love Italy, son. It's beautiful, and the castle is just stunning. I think you'll be surprised just how...normal you'll feel there."
"You'll go with us?" he verified in a whisper, and she nodded. "And I can see you? You'll visit...you know...after you leave?"
"Of course, sweetie," she crooned, ruffling his short hair.
"All of you?" he asked, looking up at the campfire.
"Yeah, dude. Absolutely," Emmett laughed.
"Anytime you want, Kev," Bella sighed.
Her thoughts were the only ones I could hear, and she worried for him. She worried that "settling him in" wouldn't be enough; that no matter when we left him, he'd be heartbroken.
And then she was battling with another side of herself that she considered selfish.
She loved Kevin, wanted to help him, but my girl also wanted to go home. Our home. A "Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200" type urgency. The fighting, the battles, the things we were needed for were over, and she wanted our little life back. She wanted just quiet.
She wanted uninterrupted time with me, because we hadn't had it in so long that she felt that she would burst with the desire for it, but she felt wrong in wanting it, because in all reality...we were still needed.
She took a deep breath, looking up at me. "I'm okay. Stop worrying," she snickered, brushing my hair from my forehead, only using her thoughts. We'll go. Italy it is...
With that thought and with Kevin's acceptance of moving to Italy, we began preparation for getting two newborns and a recovering immortal to the vegetarian diet ready to leave the country.
~oOoOo~
BELLA
"All I want, for all my days is to kiss you," Edward groaned, shaking his head before it fell to my shoulder. "Everywhere..."
"Oh God, shut up," I whined, pushing at his bare chest when we finally got everything packed in the New York apartment.
He laughed, placing sweet kisses to my neck up to my ear. "Can't take it, love?"
"Uh, no...and we have a flight to catch, silly," I sighed, unable to stop my own arms from wrapping around him. "Don't make me tell you what I bought on our shopping trip yesterday, Edward," I warned, knowing full well that he couldn't take it.
"Bel-la," he whined like a spoiled child, but made no move to let me go.
"There's this one set..." I started with a giggle, sounding like the girl from American Pie that said, "This one time...at band camp..."
Edward's head shot up from my shoulder, his eyes darkening by the second. "Just colors... That's it...just tell me the colors..."
My husband had a serious addiction to me, lingerie, and me in lingerie.
"Black, black and red, purple, aqua, pink – both hot and blush – navy blue, and..." I paused for dramatic effect, because he was drinking in my words like a dying man needing water in the desert. "White," I purred the last word, knowing that he had a special attachment to the pure virginal color, because it reminded him of our honeymoon.
"You...are a devil," he growled, but in all reality, my sweet, needy, oh-so-cuddly Edward was pouting.
"Well, Lucifer," I huffed, rolling my eyes at the fact that he still hadn't put a shirt on, "that may be, but hell awaits us both. We. Have. A. Flight. To. Catch, my handsome man," I growled. "Put on a shirt and grab our stuff. Don't make me get Alice, Edward."
He chuckled darkly, placing a long kiss to my lips, but it was so restrained, it was maddening.
It wasn't that we couldn't be together, but Edward and I were really private people, something that stemmed from the moment we met. We both loved our family with a sickness, but we'd been with them now for months, with barely a true moment alone. They'd tried to give us space, knowing our connection and our personalities, and that had been fine the whole time we were in New York.
Until Kevin's change.
At that point, we'd been just plain fucking busy. My shield was needed, as was his mind reading abilities, because it wasn't just Kevin we were working with. It was Megan and Mark, as well. They needed to be trained to hunt, to know when they were pushing their limits, how to pick the right animals, and how to slow down – to really assess how they were feeling in the presence of a human.
Edward and I weren't always working with them at the same time, because someone had to pack up the penthouse apartment, start the paperwork for Kevin, Adrian, Mark, and Megan to be able to leave the country, plan Kevin's "death," and charter the flight.
Any time that I did get with my husband was rushed, quieted, and over fucking way too soon. It was a good thing that our skin didn't dry out, because the shower was just about the only privacy we got.
It felt like when he was working at the hospital – like every time I was with him, there was a ticking clock counting down until we had other things to do. And as my beautiful pouting man, tugged a t-shirt on, pulling a long sleeved button down over it and leaving it undone, I just groaned, looking forward to getting to Italy...somewhat. At least in Italy, the castle was big enough, we could get lost.
Edward's head snapped up as he picked up our bags, a smug, crooked smile gracing his lips. "That's my girl. There's this alcove on the fourth floor of the east wing..."
"Oh, my God," I groaned, feeling my whole body clench in want of him. "I'm gonna kill him..." I muttered.
He barked a laugh, and I left the room. I couldn't take it. He was too cute, too fun, but too close, smelling way too good – he was fucking horny – and if I gave in now, we would never make that flight.
I made my way down the hall, only to see a smirking pixie waiting on me.
"You know," she chirped, taking on a way too innocent facial expression, "You forgot to mention that ivory set," she said with a smirk, knowing I was wearing it.
I was just sure he was getting the full picture of me in that new lingerie set, because at that very moment, the bags in my husband's hands fell to the hardwood floor with a smack in the hallway.
"Alice," I growled, raising a very dangerous eyebrow at her. "That's not funny."
"Well, then, he needs to get moving," she giggled, sticking her tongue out at her brother as he rounded the corner, looking as frazzled as ever.
"I need a vacation," I mumbled, turning from both of them and opening the door.
The drive to the smaller airport outside of the city was long, due to traffic, but a little bittersweet, as well. I was glad to be one step closer to home, glad that Kevin was okay and adapting to his new self, and glad that all the fighting was behind us, but I was a little sad, too.
Megan refused to let me call Jessica, fearing that she'd hate what she'd become, but I hadn't told her what Jessica was married to – or even what my old high school friend knew, because the Quileutes had their own secrets to share. I knew Jess would probably spill it all, but that was her call, not mine.
I was sad to see another chapter in our lives come to a close. Kate and the rest of the Denali clan were in deep mourning at the loss of their sister. They weren't angry with us, Edward had told us, but just wanted some space away from Carlisle and his family.
I was sad that we'd come to a city that held special memories for me from my human days – the Valentine's trip Edward planned prior to our wedding would always be amazing. However, that was currently overshadowed by fighting and blood and venom and death and heart clenching moments. We'd lost Peyton; though she was new to us, it still was upsetting, because she was young and happy and easy going. I'd watched Brody fall to his knees in pain, an already broken young man due to his gruesome first minutes as a vampire. And I'd watched the only man that truly mattered almost get broken in half by his own brother – an event so traumatic, that neither Emmett nor I would even speak of it.
I felt a soft hand link its fingers with my own as the limo pulled up outside the airport. I looked over at Edward, but he didn't say anything as he tugged me gently out of the car.
Everyone was waiting for us, because the new ones needed me to shield them while we moved through the airport around humans. After one close call with Megan, one irritated flight attendant that was sent home because she wasn't needed, and Emmett almost losing his cool on a security guy that decided Rosalie needed "searching," I finally fell into my seat in the farthest back corner of the plane.
The pilot was reminded that we wouldn't need anything during the flight, that we would appreciate being left alone.
It felt like déjà vu being in this seat, because we'd traveled from London on a plane very much like this one. Except that this time, there were new faces and missing faces. And faces that were forever changed, I noted as Kevin took his seat next to Adrian.
My view of the plane's cabin suddenly improved when a lean, muscular figure stood in the aisle. He set the new guitar in its case in the empty row in front of us, falling down into the seat beside mine.
"This is a long flight," he sighed, rolling his eyes, but turned his body towards me.
"I know," I agreed, brushing his hair from his forehead. "And that's in more ways than one, I'm sure."
He huffed a laugh as the tips of his fingers touched my chin to bring my lips to his. "Hangman and Tic Tac Toe won't do it this time, sweetheart," he whispered against my lips, with a curving smile matching my own.
"We have to try, Edward," I giggled, sucking his bottom lip, before letting it pop from my mouth.
You know what could happen, baby. I thought to him. We could lose ourselves. They would hear us. The whole cabin would fill with lust. Em and Jazz have placed a bet on whether or not we snap on this plane. Did you know?
"Yes," he whispered, leaning closer until our noses just about touched. "But I crave you, baby..."
Edward's tongue dragged across his bottom lip slowly, like he could still taste my kiss, his breath caressing my face in his delicious scent.
I moaned in sympathy, because I was right there with him. "What can we do about that, my love?" I asked, tracing every beautiful inch of his face, every soft line and every sharp edge.
Despite the captain's request to put seat belts on, Edward stood, tugging me up and taking my seat by the window. He guided me onto his lap sideways, almost cradling me like a baby as we sank down into the plush seat as low as we could get.
I giggled softly, biting my bottom lip and wrapping my arms around his neck.
What was I supposed to do when the one I couldn't resist was looking at me with so much love that I could've melted? What was I supposed to do when we needed time together, despite the fact that we weren't alone? What was I supposed to do when my whole body ached for a kiss, and the lips I wanted were right there?
We made out. That's what we did. Long, deep, wet, languid kisses that went nowhere, but we made out like two teens in the back of a theatre. There were light touches over and under clothes, silly smiles, and soft chuckles. There were whispers of love, and whispers of nonsensical things. But mainly, there were soft lips, wet tongues, and sweet hums of happiness.
We were left alone for the better part of two hours – not that they didn't try.
Emmett was convinced that he'd won the bet concerning us, because he started laughing, though we ignored him thoroughly. The very second his butt was out of his seat, he was stopped.
"Leave them be," Marcus said softly, but it was a command all the same.
"Aw, Marcus," Emmett whined, "I've got fifty bucks riding on this..."
"I don't care if it's fifty thousand," Marcus countered. "Their color is off, and you'll leave them alone."
That made Edward and me stop, just to look at each other.
"Was it?" I asked in a whisper, my brow wrinkling.
"Rough few weeks, baby," he sighed and shrugged a little, but a sweet, soft smile played on his kiss swollen lips. "He thinks our connection was a little...frayed."
Edward reached up and rubbed the wrinkle on my brow away, pressing his lips to my forehead.
"I feel okay. You?" I asked, making sure that we were fixing whatever had become askew.
"Much better now," he chuckled, leaning back in to capture my lips.
However, the conversation continued without us.
"Color?" Kevin asked. "What does he mean?"
"I see the strengths of relationships, Kevin," Marcus explained to him. "Bella and Edward are connected so deeply that one can't live without the other. Completi l'anima," he said, his voice curling around the words. "One soul."
"Well, I kinda figured that they were...different," Kevin whispered, "but what does color have to do with it?"
"I see those strengths in color, in binding ties," he chuckled. "When the two of them are healthy, in touch, then they are wrapped in a blinding green, the color of spring grass. When they aren't, then it fades...first to blue, then to purple. When it gets to red, then we worry."
He paused for a moment, but it seemed like the whole plane was listening, including us, because we stopped kissing, our eyes only on each other.
"If they stay too long in red, they start to fail," he told Kevin.
"Explain 'fail,'" Mark requested, but he sounded protective, worried – something that had come back full force since we'd helped him and Megan.
This time, Carlisle jumped in. "Completi l'anima means just that...one soul. And that one soul can't be split up or be apart. They really have to watch how long they do things away from each other. One can never leave the other again."
"Not that they want to be apart," Jasper muttered wryly, chuckling at the same time. "But what color were they when they boarded the plane? 'Cause I thought they were fine..."
"A bluish-purple," Marcus told him. "So leave them alone, huh?"
"So did I win or what?" Emmett growled, but it came out sounding more like a pout.
"You didn't win," Jasper sighed, and even though I wasn't looking at him, I could practically see him roll his eyes. "That's not lust, dude. That's...something else. You didn't win," he repeated.
"Emmett, you lost," Alice barked, like she'd interrupted him before he could say something else.. "It's a long damn flight. They'll join us later, but for now...shut up!"
The whole lot of them laughed, including Edward, who chuckled softly against my neck, "Amen..." And he went right back to kissing me stupid.
~oOoOo~
EDWARD
I finally let my wife breathe. I'd needed her on a level I just didn't understand, until Marcus had said something about our connection. The pull to her, but not overly lust-filled, was something I couldn't stop, nor was it something I even attempted to fight.
We'd needed to touch, needed just a moment away from everyone to seclude ourselves in that bubble we'd always lost ourselves in. Curling up with her in the farthest back seat of the plane for the first few hours of the flight was just enough to smooth the rough edges of my chest.
There was a brief moment of turbulence about halfway through the flight that finally had Bella sitting straight up on my lap.
"Easy, sweet girl," I whispered, smoothing the worry from her brow. "Just an air pocket. I can hear the pilot's thoughts, baby."
"'Kay," she said, nodding a little. She looked over the seat in front of us, grabbing my guitar and pulling it over to her. "You guys should play something," she suggested just loud enough that Jasper could hear her.
He chuckled, more indulgent of her than Emmett was, because our biggest brother was still slightly put off he lost the earlier bet. Jasper had felt the difference, so he had been much more understanding.
"Sure, baby girl," Jasper said as both Rose and Alice cooed in agreement.
He stood up, pulling out his own guitar. "What shall it be, Ed?" he asked, sitting across from me.
The whole plane shifted in seating arrangements as they gathered around us.
The suggestions were yelled out by everyone.
"Love songs," Esme giggled.
"Something classic," Carlisle urged.
"Beatles," Alice chirped.
"Country," Demitri chuckled with a shrug when everyone turned to look at him. "What?"
"Rock, bros," Emmett growled, punching Jasper's arm.
"Nothing sad," Megan sighed.
"Sad?" Jasper chuckled, looking over at her. "Just about anything can be construed as sad."
"Saddest song ever written," Emmett laughed, pointing to us.
"Um, When I Call Your Name," Jasper stated with a nod. "Vince Gill."
"No, man," I argued. "He Stopped Loving Her Today. George Jones. Period."
There were groans around us.
"Don't ever sing that," Bella huffed, shaking her head. "Charlie used to play that... It's so sad..."
I chuckled, kissing her softly. "Yes, ma'am. So what are we playing?"
My sweet girl grinned. "Wild Horses."
"Nice," Jasper and I laughed.
So we sang the first song I'd ever sung to her – the first song I'd played on the guitar for her, all while sitting on the piano bench at our home in Forks. I'd just come back to her, and I'd been reveling in her sweet cuddly form clinging to me in her sleep. Her nightmares were horrendous, making me rethink every decision that I'd ever made when it came to her.
That night...she owned me.
There had been no leaving her again. Ever. There had been no more apologies – just open arms, warm, wet tears, and my beautiful Bella giving herself to me without fear. We hadn't made love that night, but God, I'd wanted to. That was the night that my forever with her truly began. That song was the epitome of us back then. There wasn't a single thing that could've torn us apart after that – wild horses being one of them.
She smiled so very beautifully as I sang it again.
As we neared our destination, Jasper and I played on. Different singers would take the "stage," so to speak. Emmett wanted a little Bon Jovi, so we sang Wanted, Dead or Alive. Alice wanted the Beatles, so we plucked out Hey, Jude, though that would have been better on the piano, to be honest.
Even Marcus sang an old Italian song, melting every woman on the plane into a puddle of goo. Who knew he had it in him?
Demitri confessed that he couldn't sing, but requested When I Call Your Name, which Jasper sang with a heartbreakingly soulful sound, because he asked my Bella to sing the backup on the chorus, leaving the entire plane in awed silence once they were finished.
They laughed, giving each other a fist bump.
"That was..." Esme whispered.
"Awesome!" Kevin boomed. "Hot damn... Country, my goddess?"
"It's Jazz's fault," she giggled. "Spend enough time sitting with him in class, and he'll sing them all."
Jasper chuckled. "Right, like Eddie doesn't go around humming to himself."
"Yeah, but that's usually his own compositions," Esme said with pride. "Come on, my talented kids. We're about to land. At least pretend to follow the rules, okay?"
We all chuckled, going back to our original seats, just because Esme asked us to. Bella fell into her seat beside me, leaning in to kiss my cheek.
She only had one small thing to say – a simple request that made me groan, laugh, and shake my head all at the same time, because God, I loved it when she remembered everything. I loved that she would always want me the same way I wanted her, that we were so in sync, it was almost scary. And that she was a touch naughty, because no one knew about that side of us. It was only ours.
"Now tell me about the east wing...fourth floor..."


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