Sunday, December 30, 2012 | By: Jenny

Haunted Angel Chapter 31

Chapter 31
EDWARD
"Hey, Archie?" Caroline called softly once we'd all piled out of the cars at home.
"What?" he snapped, unable to look her in the eye, but he flinched when Bella growled low right behind him. He sighed in defeat when Emmett's heavy hand landed on his shoulder. Archie gave in, finally meeting her worried gaze. "Yes?"
"Um, th-thank you," she said softly, allowing Rose and Alice to guide her inside the house.
The very second the door was closed, Bella spun Archie around to face her. "It won't work, Archie. This...angry, pushing her away thing. She already knows you're lying. I can see it in her eyes," she sneered.
"I messed up! I know!" he argued back to her.
"So?" Bella countered and then pointed a finger in his face. "She's your mate, Archie. You might as well face it. But lying to her isn't the best course of action. She's been lied to enough already by everyone else she knows."
I grimaced, but my girl had a point. Actually, she had several points. Caroline could tell Archie was lying because he was terrible at it. She just didn't know why he was lying about where he'd been standing when she started to fall. And she was incredibly hurt by his cold demeanor since the whole thing had happened.
Sighing, I clawed at my hair, looking to Bella. Damn it, she was beautiful when she was angry, which wasn't helping how badly I wanted her, and her warning glare to me told me more than her mind, but her thoughts were there anyway.
And don't you dare apologize for that stupid van...
I fought my smile and won, simply pulling her to me. "Bella, calm down, sweet girl. We'll figure it out."
She huffed, but Jasper helped me out. Her eyes locked back onto a very nervous Archie, who was hating that she was mad at him, but he was mad at himself more. "She'll figure out the truth, Archie. I can hear her asking now. She should hear it from you, and you know it."
Everyone around us agreed with her. It would be better if the truth came from Archie.
"She'll hate me, Bella!" Archie suddenly yelled, stepping forward.
"Archie, I'm going to ask you once to watch your step," I snarled, unable to control my instinct to protect Bella, no matter if she was able to defend herself or not.
Archie instantly backed down, but he was still seething.
"You don't know that until you try," Bella stated calmly, though it was through gritted teeth.
"Enough!" Carlisle snapped, having walked from the back of the house. "Bella, come here." He waved her forward and placed his hands on her shoulders. "Sweetheart, I need you to settle down because you're the only one that will truly understand what that girl is feeling. I need you to go talk to her, see if she really is starting to question things."
"Wouldn't Edward—"
"I need you," Carlisle stated firmly, giving a glimpse my way. "The girl is drawn to you, Bella. Your shield is pulling her to you, and you know it. She'll open up to you because you'll know what questions to ask."
In reality, he needed me with Archie – he'd told me so in his mind – but he was convinced Bella could read people just as well. The fact that she was spot on with how Caroline had reacted was enough encouragement for him.
"Okay," she sighed, shooting a scathing look to Archie before walking in the front door.
Carlisle's eyes looked to me, his mind filled with endless questions, but the most important, he spoke aloud. "Did anyone else see this incident?"
"No, sir," I answered. "Most of the humans had gone inside. The steps were clear, but they were wet. By the time Caroline had started down to where we were, Alice's vision came too late."
"Tara and her friends were there," Emmett added, "but the girls were talking to them, so they weren't facing our way. Archie's clear as far as that's concerned. But Caroline..."
"Right. I see." Carlisle mused, glancing up at me. A bit of deja vu, son?
"Funny, Dad," I muttered wryly.
He fought his smile, failing miserably, and then finally turned his ever-patient gaze on Archie. "Tell me what happened. I want your story."
"We were..." Archie sighed frustratedly, still trying to shake how angry he was that he'd messed up, but he respected Carlisle enough to not want to snap at him. "We were waiting outside for all the girls. They'd gone to the restroom with Caroline. When they came out, Bella, Alice, and Rose stopped to talk to those girls from town, but Caroline started down the steps. We'd just talked about how fragile she was..."
Carlisle shot a look to me, and I nodded, saying, "He was worried about her being out of his sight. We were trying to let him know that it was a natural feeling, especially when a human is involved."
"We didn't mean to make it worse," Adrian piped up, looking contrite as Kevin wrapped a loving arm around his shoulders. "He was just...concerned."
When Carlisle turned back to Archie, the nervous man continued. "I couldn't... I saw her start to slip. I didn't want her to get hurt, but I couldn't risk blood being spilled, either. I moved, and I guess when I moved, I went invisible. I know it was wrong. I know I shouldn't have done it, but I couldn't take that risk. There are nine of...us."
I wanted to laugh that the word "monster" crossed his mind, but the mood that Bella was in frightened him enough to censor it out of his story. At the time, I couldn't see what Archie's reasons were, but I could now. He was protecting her...and himself. He didn't want to risk bloodlust, despite the theories we'd discussed just minutes prior to Caroline's fall.
"I told you that you did the right thing," I reiterated with a sigh. "Everyone here understands that. You lucked out that the only human that saw anything was Caroline."
Archie breathed heavily through his nose. "She leaves in two days," he practically growled, holding up two fingers. "I can't exactly tell her everything and then send her across the country."
Sighing, I gripped my hair, because he didn't know what Alice had seen. We didn't want him to know or worry or make any decisions that could drastically change everything. She saw that if Archie found out that Caroline was one of us, he'd snap. He needed to want her changed. In fact, she saw him beg Carlisle, but we still couldn't see why.
The one person that I didn't expect to speak suddenly piped up.
"I'll never understand this self-hatred bullshit," Kevin stated, shaking his head. "I just...don't get it. I mean, I understand that a lot of you had rough starts and terrible changes, but damn! That shit's over. You're here. You're surrounded by people that give a shit. Some of us didn't have human families that cared half as much as the people standing around us. And you sit there and act like finding your soul mate is the worse thing ever. Don't you want her? Don't you want to be with her? Or do you just want to wallow in misery for eternity?"
Archie glared at the ground, but Kevin stepped around him, heading for the front door of the house.
"I'm with Bella on this one. Pushing that girl away will only make it worse, and she'll see right through you. She's already observant. If you don't think she was watching us eat spaghetti at lunch, you're all fooling yourselves. And I guaran-fucking-tee you that she's noted that we all have the same color eyes – except for the Goddess – that we're all just a little too pretty, and that we all move just a little too gracefully. Believe me, I noticed those things, too. Didn't I, Heavy E?"
I smiled. "You did, Kevin. And you accepted the truth pretty well, I have to say."
"Psshaw!" he scoffed, shooting a wink my way. "I handled the truth with all sorts of style and grace."
"Well, except when you figured out Eddie read minds," Emmett pointed out with a laugh.
We all chuckled, except for Archie.
"Oh, yeah, that was a shocker," Kevin muttered, but grinned anyway and shrugged a shoulder. "Listen, Archie." He sighed, setting his hands on Archie's shoulders. "Sometimes, you have to tell the truth and hope things have a way of working out. This is one of those times when you have to follow your heart, not your mind. Yeah? She's a really cool girl, and she's crazy about you already. Her dad's lied enough; don't be like him. Be that one person she can count on." When Archie nodded, Kevin smiled softly. "Now... I'm gonna go help Bella drop hints so that you can man-up and answer the questions you need to answer. Truthfully."
Archie grimaced at Kevin's raised eyebrow, and the latter spun to walk into the house.
He looked to me. "Is he really?"
Snorting, I shook my head. "He's not going to drop Dracula into Caroline's lap, but he is considering handing her Bella's book."
"Aw, damn," Archie groaned, which made Carlisle smile, especially when Emmett, Jasper, and Adrian started to bet on whether Kevin would really do it. I tossed a fifty at them because I was pretty sure that Kevin was just shameless enough to do it.
"You're not alone in this, son," he told him. "We told you that before. You made a mistake, but I honestly can't fault you for it. You were doing what was best at the moment. From what you described, Caroline could've gotten really hurt."
Carlisle's praise settled Archie's heart a little, but Kevin's speech was still rattling around in his head. Following his heart would mean revealing himself, what he was, and what he'd done to the girl it affected most. With that route, he'd have to face the consequences of what he'd done ten years ago. On the other hand, following his mind and his need for self-preservation would mean he had to let her go, and he didn't know if he had the strength to do it.
"God, Archie," I groaned, shaking my head, gripping my hair, and bending in half at the memory of it. "It's the worse feeling in the world. I can't even explain the pure pain of it all. To lie, to push her away and watch her crumble... I can't describe how disgusted with yourself, how unbelievably low you'll feel. Worse than the change, I swear to God..."
"It doesn't come natural to lie to our mates, Archie," Carlisle explained, patting my shoulder in sympathy when I finally stood up straight. "You'll find that it's very difficult to do. First, they can see right through you, even when they've only known you briefly. Second, something about the mate connection makes you want to tell them everything, let them truly know you. This is something you really have to consider before you make a decision."
Jasper stepped forward, giving me a quick glance. "I'm merely offering an opinion, but I felt what Edward went through. I know what it did to him, and he's one of the strongest people I know. It nearly destroyed him. I honestly don't think you'd survive it. I think you should trust yourself enough to know that while the truth in this situation is tough and it's going to shock her, you should have faith in her strength. I'm beginning to see a pattern with human mates," he said, grinning my way. "They're built of stronger stuff. Just look at Bella...at Kevin."
"But that means..."
Sighing, I nodded. "Her immortality is something you will eventually have to consider," I said vaguely because Alice's mind was screaming at me not to divulge too much. "Both Bella and Kevin were fatally wounded. It was unavoidable. And both were changed in order for us to keep them." I gestured between myself and Adrian, who was nodding slowly. "I changed Bella myself, and Adrian asked Carlisle to help."
"I can't... Not now." Archie rambled, shaking his head fervently.
"No one is asking you to do anything," Carlisle soothed. "And that's a personal decision between mates. If Caroline knew the truth, accepted all of it, and was educated on what immortality truly meant, then the two of you could come to an informed decision. Understand?"
Archie nodded, but his mind was a little more calm. Having everyone explain some things to him, rally around him, and give him some much needed answers made him see that he had some thinking to do. He finally looked up to me.
"She's close to sleep, but she was concerned at how upset you were," I answered his unasked question. "Bella and the girls talked to her, and despite how careful we've tried to be, Caroline is silently questioning everything now. But she wants to talk to you. She feels that she upset you somehow."
Archie's face fell. "No, I was... And I just..."
"I know," I urged. "Believe me, I know. Just...don't be surprised when..." I stopped, grinning widely and shaking my head. Looking to Emmett, I said, "Split up the bet. Kevin just handed Forever to her for a 'little night reading.'"
"Motherfucker," Emmett guffawed, splitting the money between Adrian and me because Emmett and Jasper had thought Kevin wouldn't do it.
"Will it help you if I told you she's already read it?" I asked Archie with a chuckle.
"Oh boy," Carlisle sighed, shaking his head. "What were you going to say, Edward?"
"I was going to say that Archie shouldn't be surprised if Caroline corners him to apologize and ask what she did wrong," I said sadly. "Alice has already seen it."
"What else has Alice seen?" he asked, looking between all of us.
"She sees Caroline's future as muddled," I answered carefully. "You have to decide first if you're going to come clean with her. Everything after that is...blurry."
Archie wanted so badly to ask if Alice saw Caroline as one of us, but he kept the question to himself. I answered anyway.
"That is a possibility, Archie. It always is," I stated firmly, and he nodded once. I sighed deeply, feeling weary and turning to Carlisle. "I need to hunt. In fact, Bella's attitude may indicate that she needs to hunt, as well."
"Take her, then. Just don't stay gone long," he requested.
"Why is Bella mad at me?" Archie asked, looking heartbroken at the prospect of it.
I huffed a humorless laugh through my nose. "Because she's been on the receiving end of that very lie you tried to pull off tonight. She didn't believe it, either, but she was so pissed at how I'd delivered that lie that we didn't speak for a whole month. Archie, she's afraid you don't have a month. Like you said, her father is coming for her in two days. A lot can happen in two days...or nothing at all."
Archie nodded, but I didn't stay around to see what else was discussed. I went off in search of my Bella. I needed her, and I needed to hunt. I had to step away from the parallel that was Archie's life in comparison to my own. And I really, really needed to thank my girl for just...being mine.
~oOo~
BELLA
The snarl that echoed through the Canadian woods made me flinch. Stepping lightly, I leaned against a tree to watch Edward take down a bear...which never stood a chance. My husband was hunting with malice and frustration. His normally calm face was replaced with something I hardly recognized. When the bear was drained, my Edward stayed kneeling by its side, his fists balled up on top of his thighs and his head bowed, as if in prayer.
With movements so swift, they appeared a blur, he stood up, grasped the bear, and threw it, taking down several trees with his strength.
"Edward," I gasped, my heart breaking when his face spun my way.
"He doesn't get it!" he snapped, shaking his head and clawing at his hair. "Archie. He simply just doesn't understand how important this is. He thinks... He thinks that he can just let her go, that he can wait until she returns. I've seen him debating it!" He tapped the middle of his forehead. "The pain, Bella... He doesn't understand how much that will hurt him...hurt her."
Nodding, I sighed deeply and stepped closer. All of that was true. And it completely explained why Edward had barged into the house, grabbed my hand, and tugged me out the back door with barely a word said. But it was the dark look that he'd shot Alice that made me ask the next question.
"But she doesn't come back, does she?" I asked him carefully. "Alice's vision changed, didn't it?"
"It didn't change as much as it...split into two possibilities," Edward whispered, glaring unseeingly out into the dark woods. "Caroline..." He groaned, gripping his hair again to the point I was afraid he was going to pull it out at the roots. "Alice sees two options. And it's the two options that Archie keeps spinning around in his mind. The first is that he tells her the truth about everything, her father still comes...but she still sees her as one of us by the summer. But now there's another possibility. If Archie remains silent, he... He...breaks her, Bella. Her faith in everyone she knows will be shattered. She goes back despondent, and she... Her future..."
"Goes black," I groaned, nodding in understanding when he barely whispered yes aloud. "She's destined to be immortal," I whispered, my brow furrowing a little, but finally, I looked to Edward. "Like me. Like Kevin. Humanity kept trying to get rid of us. We were born to be vampires."
"He could so easily lose her," Edward whispered, his face heartbreaking to look at. He rubbed his chest, shaking his head slowly. "He doesn't know pain. He thinks he does, but he doesn't have a fucking clue."
"Edward, sweetheart... Sit."
It was a gentle command, but he obeyed it instantly, taking a seat on a fallen log. I knelt between his legs, cupping his face.
"They aren't like us, baby," I told him softly. "They are mated, yes, but they aren't connected like we are. No one is. She doesn't share his soul. Even I can see that. What you and I have is so very rare. Our pain is different."
"I know. But it's... He has no idea what he's setting himself up for – the loneliness, the anger, the jealousy, the isolation." His forehead fell to mine, and his eyes closed as he sighed deeply. "I understand his fears – probably better than he does. I've been there. But the reward for facing those fears," he panted, grasping either side of my face gently in his hands. "God, I'd do everything all over again just to have you. He doesn't get that."
"Tell him, Edward," I urged, unable to not get closer, so I scrambled into his lap. "Tell him that Carlisle would relive his two centuries over again just to have Esme; that Rose would fight ten thousand bears to just get Emmett at the end of it all; that Jasper would destroy hundreds of newborn armies in order to fall into Alice's arms; that Adrian would walk through fire to reach Kevin. And that you...you would face the Devil himself for me."
"I would," he whispered, nodding against my forehead, his eyes remaining closed.
"I know you would, baby. I have no doubt. And I'd kinda feel sorry for the Devil," I teased softly.
Edward's lips twitched at the corners. "My biased girl..."
I smiled a little, brushing my lips across his. "Look at me," I whispered, and his long eyelashes swept up to reveal a darkening gaze. I knew what I was looking for, and I found it, but I wasn't going to address it just yet. It had been growing for almost twenty-four hours, but it needed to wait just a little bit longer. "Handsome, I know you never, ever want someone to go through what you and I did, and I agree – wholeheartedly. Some of this needs to be worked out between them on their own. I'm not saying we can't help, but I'm just wondering if we shouldn't tell Archie what's been foreseen. Carefully, gently."
"Me, too." He sighed wearily. "And help, how?"
"I don't know." I shrugged a little. "But I know she's really close to asking some tough questions. She's watching us closely now. Like I did. She's going to notice more and more."
"His time is so damned limited," Edward growled softly, pulling back, but his fingers swept through my hair over and over. "And he's absolutely terrified to face the truth about Caroline's mother. But wouldn't he rather have eternity to beg for her forgiveness than to lose her completely to ignorance?"
"Oh, Edward," I groaned, nuzzling his nose with mine. "Perhaps...maybe that's what needs to be asked of him. Hmm?" I ran my fingers through his hair to calm him, but also to give him what he needed. He was on the edge of a moment that was about to pull him into the abyss. It was heavy against my heart, and I could see he was just about helpless to it. "And maybe she needs to know what questions should be asked..."
I smirked when his eyes darkened even further. His face was fierce and mischievous and gloriously beautiful, and I could tell he was almost agreeing with me.
"I had time to come up with the right ones," I continued, tilting my head a little. "She isn't quite so lucky. She has two days before whatever happens, happens. It seems all this boils down to Archie revealing the truth and the arrival of her father."
"Yes," he simply said with a single nod. "Fuck, Bella..." he barely said aloud. "You're so beautiful... I can't imagine my life without you. It hurts to try. And... And...you're everything to me."
Smiling, I thanked him with a kiss, but I knew the talk of Archie and Caroline was over. Edward's moment had completely engulfed him. It most likely had been brought on by the stress and similarities of Archie, but that was okay. I loved him like this – sweet, desperate, unable to take his eyes off me, and almost inarticulate. They were usually harder on him than me, only because he had to give up control. A giant troll could've walked up into the clearing in which we were currently sitting, and he'd pay it no attention whatsoever.
"Edward, baby... Tell me what you need," I urged him in a whisper, again running my hands through his hair.
"You."
"I know that much, handsome. How do you want me?" I asked him, trying to coax an answer from him, which was probably futile.
His long, strong fingers slipped into my hair on either side of my head, gripping it in fistfuls. "In every way possible," he rumbled, his eyes now pitch black and wanton.
I couldn't help the purr that pushed out of me against his face as I barely swept my lips across his. "Mmm, now that sounds just...delicious," I crooned, grinning at the slightly crooked yet completely carnal smile curled up one side of his mouth. "You want me to take the edge off?"
"Bella...love, I can't fucking think," he admitted, begging me with his eyes to do something – anything.
"Okay, okay," I soothed him, slipping slowly back into a kneeling position between his legs. "Let me see if I can help with that..."
Normally, I would tease him. I'd unbutton his shirt slowly, taking my time at revealing every inch of his glorious skin, but I couldn't do that now. He'd lose his mind. So with quick, nimble fingers, I rid him of his black button-down, pushing it off his shoulders and onto the forest floor behind him.
"Come here," I ordered, tugging until his ass was on the ground and his back was propped up against the log on which he'd been sitting. Again, I moved quickly – sneakers, socks, belt, the button of his jeans, and finally, the zipper.
He lifted up enough for me to remove his jeans, freeing his heavy, hard, already-leaking cock.
My eyebrows shot up at the low, deep, rumbling growl that vibrated around me, and I smirked. Now I knew what Edward wanted. And it was something I totally understood.
Gliding my hands up his shins, over his bent knees, and down his thighs, I tilted my head at him, my eyes locking with hungry, desperate...and dirty. I spread his legs a little, inhaling the scent of him, dragging my nose up the inside of his thigh as I bent closer to where he needed me most.
"Mm, Edward... I do love how your cock stands at attention for me," I told him, hiding my smile as his breathing became heavier, labored. My sweet, moment-infused Edward needed dirty talk. "So hard...so fucking beautiful."
That was no exaggeration. Edward's cock was perfect, beautiful, and so very hard. I couldn't help but trail my nose up the vein along its bottom, only to do it again with the tip of my tongue.
"Bella," he groaned, his fingers fisting one side of my hair out of the way so that he could watch.
Swirling my tongue around his sensitive tip, I locked gazes with him before savoring the flavor and the essence of pure, unadulterated Edward, letting him read my mind for every feeling, thought, and reaction. Fuck, he tasted good – like he smelled, only stronger. I sank my mouth down around him, knowing this was just the beginning and wanting to help take the edge off that desperate feeling he was most likely experiencing.
"I won't last, I won't last," he chanted in a voice that almost sounded like a sob of relief. Fingers twisted into my hair while his other hand guided my head. "Baby, fuck... Please. More. Just...more!"
I locked gazes with him, my hands joining in on what I was doing. While my mouth feasted on him, swirling, sucking, licking, my teeth scraped along his shaft gently and my hands cupped, squeezed, massaged. My thumbs teased where the crease of his thighs met his scrotum, my fingers caressed skin, reveled in wiry hair, and trailed back to stroke places that I knew would send him over the edge.
There was nothing as perfect, as sexy, or as amazing to watch as Edward lost to us. Just us. It was such an erotic sight to watch him chase his orgasm at the same time he was trying to hold back, trying to stave it off simply because it felt too good to end. He was beautiful as his head fell back, the chords in his neck standing out and his teeth latching down hard onto his bottom lip.
Edward's hips lifted up off the ground as his cock twitched hard. My own legs squeezed together to fight the ache that pulsed deep in my core. I could feel the swelling of my clit and the throb that watching Edward caused. My hand gripped his base hard, moving in tandem with my mouth as I took him inside as deeply as I could at the same time I mentally told him how delicious he tasted, how wet he was making me, and how my pussy needed him so badly.
With a snarling growl at that last thought, my sweet husband lost the last shred of his control. He stiffened, gripped, and rose up as he came harshly down my throat in several long spurts. The power trip that came with his orgasm was hard to ignore. No one...literally noone had ever had the honor, the blessing, the pleasure of causing Edward to fall apart. Except for me. He was mine. He'd waited a hundred years...for me. And sometimes, that knowledge, that fact caused me to feel so very powerful, so very proud, yet so very humble at the same time.
Bracing my hands on his bent knees, I trailed my lips up his stomach, along his chest, and finally dropped a heavy kiss to his open mouth before standing up in front of him.
"I know you need more, handsome. Hang in there for me, okay?" I asked him, smiling when he nodded quietly, but his eyes remained on me as I reached for the bottom of my sweater.
I tossed my shirt on top of his jeans, kicking out of my sneakers. I shimmied down my own jeans, looking up at Edward when his gasp met my ears. His eyes were drinking in every inch of me. Edward licked his lips, growling low as he took in what I was left wearing. I felt myself smile – his smile – all crooked and smug, because I just couldn't help it.
"You've earned this, you know," I told him, gesturing to the lingerie that I was wearing – sheer white, embroidered with small, purple flowers along the edges.
"Yeah?" he whispered, barely tearing his eyes from my body to gaze at my face. "I can't imagine how..."
I giggled. I just couldn't stop it. "You think I don't know how grateful you are, Edward? You think I haven't seen every time you look at me since Caroline's been here? I see it. I know how many times you've counted your blessings, baby. I'm not blind, nor am I stupid. You look at me like I'm your salvation."
"Oh, God, sweet girl. You are," he whispered, reaching out to pull me closer. His hands skimmed up my thighs, his fingers taking in the feel of the flowers along my ass, only to grasp the tie at the back of my neck. He untied it with a slow, gentle tug.
With flat hands, I reveled in the strength of his biceps up to his strong shoulders. Pressing my forehead to his, I said, "You've earned this simply for trying so hard to prevent others from missing out on this...this feeling right here," I whispered, trying to keep the emotion out of my voice. "I love you...so fucking much. And you've been amazing through this whole thing. I wanted to show you that I know, Edward." I pointed to my chest. "I know how happy you are. You never, ever have to thank me. For any-fucking-thing. Do you understand?"
"I know, Bella...but I want to," he insisted with an urgent tone coming through his gritted teeth as he slowly pulled my bra away and then untied my bottoms, as well. "I want to worship you, bow down to the God that made you and allowed me to have you, and beg you let me love you every day for the rest of my existence."
He panted, his eyes squeezing closed as I slowly straddled him. His hands shook as he barely allowed his touch to leave my skin. His breathing was in spurts, and a long, slow moan ghosted between us.
"Love... It hurts. I love you so much it hurts sometimes," he rambled. "I need you, sweet girl. Please, please... Just...take..."
"Shh," I hushed against his lips. "I will always take care of you, baby. Always. And I need you, too, Edward. Feel it?" I growled as my sex coated his renewed erection with my arousal. Rolling my hips slowly, I coated him again, gasping when the tip of his cock grazed against my overly sensitive clit. "Oh fuck, baby... So hard..."
Lifting myself up just a little, I lowered my soaking wet pussy down over him but held still. Holding his face, I kissed him slowly, deeply, languidly. He needed to feel me, ground himself in me. His grip, his kiss, his low growl started to increase in urgency, but I shushed him gently against his lips.
"Edward," I whispered, bringing his gaze to my face. "Touch me, baby. Feel that I'm right here, I'm not going anywhere, and that we're one again. Do you feel it?" I asked him, and he nodded vehemently against my forehead.
His hands were flat, open, skimming over every inch of my skin. He glided up the outside of my thighs, along my spine, and over my ass. Thumbs caressed the sensitive skin just under my breasts, only to brush across my nipples that were high and tight for him. I could feel it settle him down a little, and slowly, he started to guide me over him.
"Please, Bella. You have to move," he begged, moaning low when my hips rolled over his, taking him that much deeper inside me.
"Shit," I hissed with a shaky breath as his cock brushed against spots inside me that drove me mad, and I was so damn wet that there was barely any friction. I could hear it, feel it coating him. "Fuck..."
"Yes, yes, yes," Edward panted, grabbing both sides of my face. "More...say it out loud, Bella."
Smiling, I started to move over him and gave him exactly what he wanted. "Your cock feels so good, baby. I feel so empty when we aren't like this. My pussy's so full, Edward. Do you feel how swollen and wet you make me? I love claiming you like this. You're mine, baby, and I love taking what's mine."
Instantly, I found myself planted atop our pile of clothes, with a growling Edward looming sexily above me.
"I am yours," he agreed, bracing his hands on either side of my head, pulling out slowly, only to slam back into me. "Just like you're mine. Always."
"Always, Edward... Ungh!" My head pressed back into my sweater as he used swiveling hips to glide his thick cock along the spot that made stars explode behind my eyelids.
"You're mine...forever. Mistakes or not?"
"Yes, baby," I said, gripping the back of his neck to pull him closer. "No mistakes."
And there was what had kicked in Edward's moment – he never wanted to relive any sad part of our past. However, it was inevitable with the things happening back at home. I pulled at him harder until his face was hovering mere centimeters above my own.
"Get rid of it, Edward," I commanded. "There's nothing that could take me from you. Kiss me, fuck me hard, baby...just let go."
His kiss was searing and deep and claiming. His tongue curled around my own, sucking, tasting, and dancing. Teeth latched down on my bottom lip as he suddenly reached down to bring my leg up between us.
"So good, so deep..." he ground out, losing himself to the feel of us getting closer and closer to the same edge.
My eyes rolled back into my head as I felt the electric current that usually surrounded us kick into overdrive. Our connection was fusing us together, reconnecting us in a way that made us both almost incoherent. My chest expanded with my love for him.
"Do you feel it?" he asked, pressing his forehead to mine. He kissed me again as my core clenched hard around him.
"Yes. God, yes!"
He buried his face in my neck, his lips, teeth, and tongue assaulting the spot that always sent me over the edge as my leg slipped down to the crook of his elbow. Nonsensical words, grunts of need, and groans of satisfaction mixed with my name and terms of endearment ghosted against my flesh. Edward was losing it and quickly.
"Everything, Bella," he said, finally making sense.
Dragging my teeth across his shoulder, I whispered, "Yes, Edward...everything."
I knew what he meant. I was his everything, he was mine, and he'd endure everything all over again as long as we were right back in each other's arms when it was all said and done. My Edward carried the weight of the world on his shoulders due to his ability to hear minds and therefore took things to heart. He always had, and he probably always would. And he was so very happy that he'd never, ever want the scared, oblivious couple back at the house to ache, to suffer the way that we had.
When we finally came, it was together, and it was a thunderous cry of names and claims of love.
Edward panted heavily against my neck, unlatching his teeth from my flesh.
"Don't move, don't move, don't move," I begged. "Stay right here. I know you need it."
He nodded, staying quiet as he gently released my leg, but I wrapped them around his waist to keep him close. He kept his face buried, stayed inside me in the most intimate of ways, but his arms snaked beneath me in order to hold me tight all the while I whispered that I loved him, that he was okay, and that I felt truly worshiped.
~oOo~
EDWARD
A shudder wracked my frame as the last of my moment ebbed away. I gazed up at the beauty that was straddling me. I'd taken her a total of three times before I could even think straight. I felt sated, more in control, and absolutely head over heels in love with her. Rubbing the outside of her thighs, I took in my girl's appearance. She looked wrecked, with dry leaves stuck to her skin and sticking out of her hair. Her lips were kiss-swollen, her eyes a sated, chocolate brown, and I was pretty sure that she had a new immortal bite mark on the inside of her thigh, but that moment was a little blurry. However, her smile was happy as she planted her hands on my stomach.
"You look pretty proud there, Smug McBraggerson," she teased with a giggle.
My head fell back with my laugh. "Yeah, well... I'm a possessive kinda guy, Bella. I can't help it. You look..."
"Thoroughly fucked?" she provided, and I laughed again. "You should see what you look like, handsome. Hmm?"
I sat up, keeping her in my lap. I inhaled deeply and let it out slowly. We smelled so good together – like a spring breeze laced with the tang of arousal. I set about pulling the leaves and twigs out of her hair. It was only fair because she'd taken very good care of me.
"Better, Edward?" she asked simply, running her fingers through my hair.
I nodded, keeping my eyes on the task at hand, but fingers beneath my chin forced my gaze to hers.
"Talk to me," she demanded gently.
"I'm okay," I vowed with a nod and a shrug of one shoulder. "Thank you...for being there."
With a kiss to the tip of my nose, she said, "Always." Skimming her hands down to my chest, she rested them there. "We should head back."
"We should've been back sooner. Carisle's probably upset. I promised him we wouldn't be gone long," I admitted to her, grimacing when she shifted just enough that my dick slipped out from inside her. I hated the mere idea of separating from her, but it was unavoidable.
"There were circumstances beyond your control, Edward. If he complains, send him to me," she stated firmly, her face telling me that she meant every word. Her protection of me knew no bounds – even from members of our own family.
"Love you," I sighed contentedly, smiling up at her when she stood up.
"Love you, too, Edward. I need to...umm, clean up." She giggled, rolling her eyes when my possessive growl erupted from me.
The sight of not only my mark on the inside of her thigh but my seed on her legs was the ultimate claim on her, and it made me want her again. And again.
"Edward, focus! You are so shameless." Her laugh caused my own. It was infectious.
"Sorry, love. Uh, there's a creek right over there. Hear it?" I asked her.
Bella cleaned up quickly, and once we were redressed, she climbed up onto my back. Her mind was filled with the need to stay close, and with all that was going on back home, she was feeling a bit nostalgic. She giggled when I tickled her knee, burying it into my neck, as I took off at a run.
As we neared the house, I could hear Alice's mind. Of course, she saw our arrival but told me to slow down and to not approach the house just yet. Slowing down to a human-paced walk as the backyard became visible through the trees, I saw why. Caroline was on the back deck, book in hand and blanket wrapped around her as she sat quietly in one of the loungers. She wasn't reading a single word on the page, because she was angry.
And the reason for her anger was making his way tentatively out the kitchen door.
"Oh boy...she looks pissed," Bella said softly in my ear.
I nodded, slipping her down so that her toes touched the ground, but instead of making our way back into the house, we stayed hidden, per Alice's request. Leaning against a large tree, I wrapped an arm around Bella.
"She tried to talk to him, apologize, but he wouldn't budge," I whispered to her, barely making a sound. "And Alice says we're needed, but not yet."
Bella nodded, content to lean against me.
I could see the conflict in Archie even without reading his mind. He couldn't find the courage to talk to her, but he couldn't stay away, either. It was tearing him up on the inside. He sat down in the chair beside hers and eyed the book in her hand. It was Forever. The mere idea that it contained some of the truth of what we were made him shake with nerves. I wanted to tell him she hadn't put anything together...yet, but she was merely reveling in the love story in her hands.
Caroline's eyes narrowed, and her nostrils flared when she set her angry gaze on Archie. She was determined to wait him out. She'd tried to talk to him earlier, but he'd shut her down.
I grinned. "She's a headstrong thing."
"Good. She needs to be," Bella added. My girl's tone wasn't angry, but she was simply stating a fact. Archie was damaged and raw, and he needed someone strong to guide him.
"Caroline," Archie started softly, feeling completely and utterly lost. He wondered where I was but then thought maybe he needed to do this alone.
"What?" she sighed, closing the book in her lap and then folding her hands together. "Now you want to talk to me?" she asked him carefully. "You ignored me earlier."
From Archie's mind, I could see what had occurred while we were hunting. Caroline had waited until she thought everyone was asleep before approaching Archie alone in the living room. She wanted to know what had upset him earlier, to try to make amends, but he'd merely glared at the TV, muttering something about it not being her fault, but his. His cold brush-off had hurt her feelings, most likely more than his attitude after he'd stopped her fall.
As she glared at him, making him flinch with her ire, she silently noted his beauty, the color of his eyes, which happened to be the same color as everyone else's. She tried to figure out how we were all adopted or foster children, yet had some of the same features. She then replayed the incident at the movie theater over and over. The reason she knew that he'd been nowhere near her was because she'd been trying to make her way to him. He had been her goal while Bella and my sisters chatted with their friends. She had seen him just before she started to slip. She remembered that he shifted from beside me, only to completely disappear. His arms around her, his close proximity, and his absolutely terrified expression had shocked her, but she knew what she'd seen. She wasn't crazy.
Archie looked thoroughly chastised as his gaze focused more on his hands than anywhere else.
I frowned at what Caroline was about to do, because she sighed deeply in defeat. She'd dated a little back in school – nothing serious – but she'd been brushed off before.
"Look, Archie. I get it. You don't have to like me. I showed up on your doorstep, basically pushing my way in. I thought maybe we had...something, but I guess I was wrong. Your family is awesome, but I promise that I'll be out of your hair soon. Okay? Just tomorrow and the next day. A day and a half, and you'll be rid of me."
Bella crooned sadly, shaking her head.
"I do like you!" Archie argued a little louder than he'd intended and then dropped his tone down a lot. "I like you more than I could possibly explain. I just... It's..."
Caroline snorted derisively and shook her head. "Then, whatever I did to upset you... I'm sorry." Her tone was short, and she kind of wanted to be left alone, but she couldn't help but want him near. It made her feel like a masochist.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Caroline. I promise," he whispered, sighing deeply in frustration. "It was me, okay? It's all on me."
"Tell me the truth, then," she demanded.
"You don't know what you're asking," he countered with a grimace.
"I'm asking for an explanation, Archie. Not brain surgery!" she sneered. "Tell me how you got to me so fast."
Bella snorted, thinking, She's good for him. She makes him squirm.
I grinned, pressing a kiss to the back of her head before bending my mouth to her ear. "Stubborn, love-sick men need it."
Bella smiled, turning to kiss my cheek. Yes. Yes, you do.
"I can't explain it," Archie stated, looking so conflicted that it was painful to watch. He thought back to what I'd said about lying to our mates, and he felt it. He literally ached for Caroline to truly know him – every single thing about him. But his guilt over Lisa Dixon overrode his mouth.
"Try," she huffed, rolling her eyes in frustration. "Because you know what? If I want lies and deception, I'll call my dad, okay?" she asked, throwing off the blanket and starting to stand.
Edward! You have to get to them now. He grabs her too hard! Alice's vision hit me like a ton of bricks, and I grabbed Bella's hand.
Skirting the woods silently, we ran as fast as we could so that we could quietly come in the front door, through the house, and out the back door. We opened the door to raised voices and Caroline's red face.
"Caroline, wait!" Archie called, reaching out a hand to her arm, but the sight of me made him come up short, especially when I shook my head.
"Don't touch her. You're not in control, Archie," I said just low enough that Caroline couldn't hear me.
Even though she was aware that Bella and I were there, she rounded on Archie. "No, I'm not waiting. I can see that you're lying. I fucking despise being lied to. I appreciate you helping me, but I can't... I won't stand for it, Archie," she snapped, her eyes a deep, dark blue as she turned to face us.
Again, her mind noted my eye color versus Archie's, but Bella's were different, and that made her sigh deeply. She was so very confused.
"You guys okay?" Bella asked, looking between the two like she hadn't heard every word.
"Yes," Caroline growled, gripping Forever in her hands in order to not wrap them around Archie's neck.
"No," Archie groaned, begging Bella and me silently for help.
Archie's answer made Caroline glare at him one more time before turning to me. "I'm... I'm going back to bed for a few hours. I'm so very sorry if I woke you," she stated.
I smiled as best I could since Archie was begging me to keep her there, but I couldn't. I could see that the poor girl was just exhausted, and her going back to sleep would give everyone a break for a moment.
"No blood, no foul," I told her with a grin and a shrug.
She'd started for the door but froze at my statement, her hand squeezing around the book she was holding. She turned to face me, her thumb caressing the edges of the book over and over.
She narrowed her eyes. "What did you just say?"
Yes, yes! Say it again, Edward! Alice practically screamed in my head. You'll make the connection for her so that Archie doesn't have to.
I chuckled. "I said no blood, no foul. No worries. It's okay."
She tapped the book across her knuckles, and I watched in fascination as she put it together. She glanced over me, noting my hair, my height, my demeanor. Her gaze drifted over to Bella, noting the same things. She remembered Kevin's smirk when he'd handed her the book even after she'd told him that she'd already read it. But the fact that she'd just reread Bella's time in the hospital after the van was what did it for her. Though the names, places, and some events had been changed, some of the original dialogue had remained untouched because Bella liked it that way. When Tyler had apologized to me about the ice and his van's loss of control from the next bed over from Bella, I'd said those very same words.
No blood, no foul.
Caroline's heartbeat picked up. Her teeth gnawed on the inside of her cheek, but I could see that I matched the exact description of Bella's "main character." In fact, all the characters started to come to mind, swirling around together – a short, feisty, dark-haired girl, a rather large but boisterous brother, the calm, cool parental figures. But Bella and I remained her focus, and I smirked.
"You okay?" I asked her.
"No... I mean, yeah..." She shook her head as if to clear it, but a very important conversation in the book came to mind.
"How old are you?"
"Seventeen."
"And how long have you been seventeen?"
"A while."
The last word that flashed through her mind was "vampire." Caroline had just put all the pieces together. She knew. And it was exactly what Alice had wanted to happen.
"What are you?" Caroline whispered, her eyes leaving me and drifting over Bella to Archie, both of whom had just realized what had happened, especially Bella. Archie, however, was about to explode in panic.
My sweet, patient girl stepped forward, unable to deny that poor Caroline was pulling on her shield. "If I promise that we'll talk about it later, would you get some sleep?" she bargained gently. When Caroline didn't answer, Bella went on. "It's a lot to discuss, and you're so very tired, sweetie. Just...try. Okay?"
"Will you tell me the truth?" Caroline snapped, ignoring Archie's gaping mouth.
Bella looked to me, but Alice's voice that gave her the go ahead just under Caroline's hearing range was what caused my girl to say, "Yes. I will. But you need to rest right now. Okay?"
Caroline studied Bella, and I could see she found nothing but sincerity. With a heavy, weary sigh, she went inside the house.
Bella locked gazes with me, but then we both looked to Archie. He looked like he could vomit right there on the spot.
"Oh God, Edward... What does she know?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
I studied him, unable to deny that it was perhaps a good thing that Caroline figured it out the way that she did. It took a little of the pressure off him. However, the tough part – according to the vision Alice was having – was yet to come.
"You have to face this, Archie," I sighed, placing my hand on his shoulder. "She just figured out...everything."

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