Thursday, June 5, 2014 | By: Drotuno

Masen Manor Chapter 23 & Pics

Chapter 23
April 2002
I gripped my hair to the point of pain, glaring at the door to my bedroom in Denali. Flashes of lips, tongues, and skin assaulted me from three different couples as I squeezed my eyes closed. It was sensory overload, because the lust I was feeling wasn’t my own. It was invasive and all-consuming, and it was a slap in the face that I was surrounded by three mated couples and my own mate was thousands of miles away.
They were all feeding on Jasper’s talent. He couldn’t control it. It was all new for him, and it only amplified his emotions…all over the house. It had caused Carmen and Eleazar and Kate and Garrett to tumble over the edge with him. It was even affecting Irina and Tanya separately, which was something I really, really didn’t want to witness.
When glimpses of women in situations I should never see infiltrated my mind, I finally caved, forgoing the door and launching myself out the window. I ran hard, fast, and as far as my legs could carry me. Once I was miles away and in the mountains, I finally slowed to a walk, taking a deep breath and letting it out. No minds. None. At least for the moment.

Pulling my phone out, I growled low at the fact that I had no service. Shoving it back into my pocket, I sat down heavily against a tree trunk that overlooked a wide expanse of forest. It was beautiful – stunning, really. One day, I hoped to show Bella, to bring her here. Maybe even this exact spot, just to see her sweet face take it all in.
With Alice’s change came the hope and want of one day, Bella being like me. I’d wait as long as she wanted, but the dream was still there. Watching Jasper revel in every small step that Alice took made me insane with jealousy, which was most likely a by-product of being so far away from Masen Manor. I ran a hand through my hair in frustration and anger.
God, I missed my girl. My chest ached with emptiness, and my whole body felt off. My temper was short and cutting, and more times than not, I’d had to apologize…to everyone.
Closing my eyes, I brought her beautiful face to mind – her sweet smile, dark eyes, her amazing giggle…then tears and clinging. Saying goodbye to her a little over two weeks prior had been the hardest thing I’d ever done in all my long existence. It was the right thing to do – we both knew it – but it didn’t make it any easier. And I honestly didn’t know how I’d make it another four and a half weeks without losing my mind…or dismembering someone.
I opened my eyes, taking in the setting sun and the slow appearance of stars for the next hour or so. That was the beauty of Alaska. The population was sparse, so it seemed every star in the sky could be seen. Yes, I was definitely bringing Bella here one day – a thought that made me smile for the first time in days.
I sighed and banged my head against the tree trunk behind me, but waited for Alice to approach.
“You’re getting better at tracking,” I stated without much inflection in my tone, but it was true nonetheless.
“Thanks,” Alice said softly, looking rather contrite as she stepped around the tree. She took a seat next to me, hugging her knees. “Though, I saw you coming here.”
Smiling a little, I nodded. “I figured.”
Alice was not quite three weeks into this life, and she was already showing amazing control and skill. Getting her to Denali had been touchy, with close calls with nearby humans and long hours in the car, but she felt more at ease when we set her loose in the woods. She was able to rest easy, knowing there weren’t humans around for miles.
Occasionally, she’d allow her newborn temper to get the best of her, but for the most part, she was easy to teach and tried her damnedest to focus. She’d come to terms with what she’d become. She’d said she’d felt things were changing for her way before she’d wandered down to Hunter’s Lake that day. Though, she’d flown into a rage when we explained that she could never see her family again. Jasper had calmed her down with his words…and talent.
The hardest part for her was her own talent, something the two of us worked on just about daily. Her visions, while overwhelming most of the time, were a key part of who she was and slowed down to something manageable when she was well-fed. They helped her hunt, helped her see humans as people, not food, and they showed her how much she was progressing. I could imagine that not far in the future, they’d be dead helpful to our family. With her talent and mine, we’d be able to protect the entire lot of us.
However, sometimes, her visions would show Bella. I’d seen amazing visions of a future with a golden-eyed immortal Bella. I’d seen horrific visions of my girl in a psych ward of a hospital – that one had sent me into a rage that caused the unfortunate demise of several acres of trees. And Alice showed me Masen Manor, which was painful, especially when I could see Bella struggling alone back at the castle. I’d see her curled up on my sofa in the east wing, doing her homework at my desk, or worse, letting Esme hold her when she’d wake up from a nightmare. The latter had returned full-force almost as soon as I’d left the castle.
Before I could actually ask my next question, she answered it. “Jasper’s down the mountain. He said I should show you the vision I had.”
Frowning, I glanced over to her. Her eyes were still red, though in a week or two, they’d start to show her diet. They’d be a bright golden honey by the middle of the summer. But they were the same happy eyes they’d always been, though at the moment, she was worried.
“What is it? Is it Bella?”
“Yes,” she said, swallowing thickly. She picked at her jeans nervously, trying her best to think of anything but Bella. Both things were actions she’d been practicing, and while I noted she was getting better, I was in no mood for games.
“Show me,” I pleaded in a whisper.
I flinched at the sight of Bella. She looked so damned exhausted and sad, but determined to trudge through her daily routine. My beautiful girl was closing in on herself. She wasn’t speaking much…to anyone. I could tell by her classmates that they weren’t surprised, considering she’d lost her roommate. But there were flashes of Carlisle and Esme repeatedly trying to get her to engage. And nothing. The hardest part was watching Bella practice her piece in the auditorium, only to break down into tears.
“Stop, stop, stop!” I begged, burying my fingers in my hair and my face into my bent knees. “I can’t watch that, Alice. You don’t understand… Just…no. Please.
“Go to her,” she stated, her eyes pleading when I glanced over. “Go. You need to be there for her recital. I don’t think she’ll perform unless you’re there.”
“What do you mean? She has to! It’s her final grade.”
She shook her head. “I don’t know. She keeps flip-flopping back and forth, Edward. Sometimes, she wants to really do it, and then sometimes, she gives up and decides to play Claire de Lune. Something stupid-easy for her.”
I laughed softly at that. No matter what, she was following what I’d told her from the beginning. When I first started teaching her, she’d worried that she couldn’t finish her song, so I’d appeased her, told her she could play Claire de Lune if she couldn’t finish her piece.
She tapped my arm. “Make the decision to go back just for her performance… Do it!”
That was easy. Ridiculously easy. When I did, a smile spread over her face, and Bella's beautiful smile was our reward, not to mention the kiss I received from her in Alice's vision.
Chuckling, I asked, “Seriously? It’s that easy? But I can’t leave you and Jasper…”
“Pfft. Sure you can,” she said with an adorable giggle. “I think I can stay out of trouble for a couple of days, Edward.”
“Maybe,” I snorted, shaking my head when she shoved me.
“Besides,” she chirped, shrugging a shoulder, “Carlisle should be here tonight, so you could trade for a day or two.”
I thought it over for a moment. Alice still had a long way to go, and I knew I'd be needed back, but God, I really wanted to see my girl play her piece. We’d worked so hard all year, and she’d created a beautiful song, but I knew it was emotional for her. If she was as closed-in as I saw in Alice’s mind, then there was a possibility Bella wouldn’t play her original song. And she should. It was brilliant and beautiful and an amazing showcase of her talent.
“I miss her,” Alice sighed sadly, looking over at me.
“Yeah, me, too.” I rubbed my chest, trying to ease the ache, but nothing worked. Though I still wasn’t sure I should leave Alaska.
“I’m sorry you’re here…away from her, I mean,” she stated, looking out over the star-lit sky. “I saw her make the decision to send you, but…I didn’t think you’d come.”
Smiling sadly, I nudged her with my elbow. “I wasn’t going to, but it’s what we do…in this family. You’re my brother’s mate, Alice. Bella merely reminded me of that.”
Alice nodded, her visions flickering through the current decisions and the ones far into the future. She settled on one of Bella and me laughing, smiling, kissing, which caused Alice to giggle.
“You make her happy.”
Chuckling, I shrugged. “I hope so. I want to.” Glancing over at her, I asked, “Can you… Do you see this summer? Her stepfather?”
Alice shook her head. “I can see you two spending time together, but not much about her home. I think it’s because I’ve never met her parents. But also, no one’s made any decisions when it comes to her…or you.” When I sighed in frustration, she added, “But I won’t stop watching over her.”
“I know, Alice. Me, either,” I vowed, looking over when her visions went haywire. They weren’t anything significant or important, simply small decisions. “Control it. Focus on something. Anything else. Don’t let them control you. You’ll learn that there are several layers in your mind now that can do a ton of things all at once. Learn to filter out what’s unimportant. It’s a muscle, and it’s time you start flexing it.”
Alice nodded, but stayed quiet as she tried to do what I’d advised. She struggled, finally rolling her eyes up to me. “Thanks.”
Nodding, I took a deep breath and let it out, smiling at the scent that assaulted my senses. “Bear,” I told Alice with a grin. “Now, grizzly is a good hunt.”
She laughed, pushing off the tree. “Race you,” she sang, taking off down the mountain.
We passed by a confused, yet amused Jasper, but he caught up quickly as we raced through the woods toward the grunting, growling bear. Jasper and I let her take it. She needed the blood and the practice. Once she got the hunt down, she’d need to work on slowing her movements down, controlling her strength, and normal activities, like picking up a pen, holding a phone, and using a remote control. There was a reason they were called newborns… They had to relearn everything from scratch.
By the time we’d all hunted, we made our way back to the Denali home. I stepped into the living room, my gaze meeting Carlisle’s, who’d arrived while I was out. His face was grim, his thoughts controlled, but it was what was in his hands that made me just about claw out of my own skin: Bella’s blue journal…our journal.
My eyes flickered from it to his face and back again as the members of the family left us alone. I wanted that notebook so badly that I was about to fight him for it.
“Relax, son,” he said, getting up from the chair. He placed it in my hands, gripping my shoulder at the same time. “Bella asked me to bring you this,” he said softly, but his mind was almost loud with its urgency. She needs you, son. Her nightmares are…atrocious. She’s stopped interacting with even Rosalie. I think a visit would do you both some good. Her recital is—
The belligerent son in me escaped before I could rein it in, interrupting him. “I know, okay? I know!” I sighed, shaking my head. “I feel responsible for Alice, but my mate is suffering. I feel torn by what’s right and what I want. I’m needed in two places at once; it’s almost debilitating.” I fell down onto the edge of the sofa, my hands gripping our journal like a lifeline. I felt like a drug addict having to wait for my next hit.
Carlisle sat next to me, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. “My intention was not to hurt you…or Bella, son. We can work this out. Go to her. That recital means so much to the two of you. I’ll stay here until you return.”
I nodded that I’d heard him. “I…I can’t let her go to Boston without me, Carlisle. I’ll be leaving here the day she steps on the train.”
“I never would suggest differently,” he soothed me, squeezing my shoulder. “With it being summer, Esme and I can come here. By the time the summer is over, Jasper will be able to manage Alice on his own. It’ll be up to them where they decide to stay after that.”
That was a topic I couldn’t focus on at the moment. Jasper was determined to get back to Masen Manor, but I didn’t see how that was possible. Alice wouldn’t be able to show her face in public for at least a few decades. It was their decision to make. I had my own worries.
Standing, I held up the notebook. “Thank you.”
He smiled. “She thought you might need it.”
Grinning, I sighed happily at the thought of my selfless Bella. “She’s right.”
The Denali home was large, spread out, with an open floor plan and thick walls that were built to withstand heavy snows. My room was at the far back of the house, looking out over the backyard. Admittedly, the place was beautiful and the entire family had gone out of their way to make us feel welcome, but it just wasn’t home. It wasn’t where Bella was.
Closing myself up in my room, I kicked off my shoes, and fell down onto the edge of the bed. I stared at the journal in my hands, now worried as to what I might find inside. As I began to flip through the pages of our words to one another, I passed by several pressed flowers, a few sketches I’d drawn for her, and finally, her last entry to me.
I miss you. You’d warned me it would be painful to be apart, and while I knew you were right, I didn’t expect it to be this bad. I don’t regret sending you. I know Alice needs you. I also know firsthand what an amazing, patient teacher you can be, so I know she’s getting the best help she can.
Things are different without the two of you here. Usually, I had one or the both of you, but now I don’t. I feel lost sometimes, though Esme assures me I’m not alone. And I know she’s right, but missing you combined with my nightmares makes me feel weak. I’ve even gone to Carlisle a few times. He reminds me a bit of my dad. He lets me ramble and pace, and sometimes, he knows just to let me have the quiet. I know he’s watching over me. Is that your doing? Occasionally, I’ll see him in the halls, or he’ll stop by the east wing. He says he’s coming to get something, but he never takes anything.
Esme, on the other hand, tells me stories. I love those. She explained how Jasper came into the family. She’s also told me Carlisle’s history, her own – which was rather heartbreaking – and what you were like when Carlisle first changed her. The Edward she describes doesn’t sound like you, though you’ve told me some of the same things. I hate hearing how lonely you were, how you struggled, how you’d beg Giselle, then Leah, for any sort of hope. She said you lost that hope for a bit. I can understand why. I couldn’t imagine waiting as long as you did, or living as long as you with all of that looming over me. I lucked out. I hardly had to wait at all.
Jacob checks on me, too. I’m beginning to see a pattern, Edward Cullen. He’s told me stories, as well, but his tend to make me laugh – stories about you, Jasper, and himself. I know you call yourselves brothers, but I think he sees you and Carlisle as father figures. He loves you all, and it comes through with every teasing word. He’s offered to take me to his mom, but I’m afraid of what she may tell me. I’d rather you be with me if she’s seen something.
School is…well, just school. I miss Alice in my classes, and it’s hard to pretend she’s dead, knowing she’s not, but I don’t feel the need to speak, so no one bothers me. I can’t really sleep in our room, though. My nightmares are back, and they’re uglier and…loud. I’d rather wake up screaming in the east wing. At least it’s carrying on the ghost story. The students are now terrified that it’s Alice’s ghost they’re hearing. MG has officially been replaced.
My recital is this week. I don’t know why, but Mr. Harris is making me go last the day of our performing arts show. He’s got four other piano students, an oboist, a cellist, the choir, and a small scene in a play, and it’s me that has to go last. As nice as he is, he doesn’t understand me, especially when I can’t communicate with him. You did. Without you there, I just don’t know if I’ll play my song. It means too much. It’s too emotional. And I can hear you now… “You can do this, Bella.” Yes, but what if I lose it in front of the whole school? I don’t know if I can do it. You said I could just play something to shut them up. I’ve tried practicing, but it hurts without you there. Esme promised she’d video tape it. In fact, the whole show will be recorded, but still… I don’t know.
Carlisle told me he’s coming to Alaska to check on you, Alice, and Jasper. I made him promise to take this notebook with him and give it to you. I wanted to give him a thousand messages to you, but there’s only one thing I needed you to know.
I love you. As close as Alice and I were, as much as I miss my dad, you’ve become my best friend, Edward. You’ve told me a million times that I mean everything to you, but it goes the other way, too. I know you’re worried that one day, I’ll change my mind, but it won’t happen. I see it in your eyes sometimes when you look at me, like you can’t believe I’m real. Well, I’m real, and I love you. Thank you for taking care of me, of Alice, of all of us. And I can’t wait to see you in May.
All my love. Always.
I closed the notebook, bringing it to my nose. I caught the bare hint of her sweet scent just beneath Carlisle’s recent touch. She was flowers, fruit, love…and she was calling me.
Glancing up when there was a light knock on my door, I met Tanya’s worried gaze.
“Alice says you’re leaving,” she stated.
Chuckling a little, I glanced back down at the blue journal. “She would know, I guess.”
You know, Edward, she thought to me, no one would judge you for going to be with her for a bit. Not one of us. I know Alice’s talent is different, but we can handle a few days without you.
Smiling, I dragged my gaze from the journal to meet Tanya’s sincere golden eyes.
God, Edward…just go. You just found her, for Christ’s sake. You’re surrounded by all this lust that Jasper puts out. It can’t be easy, she concluded, but then grinned evilly. I’ve tried to behave.
I laughed and nodded. “I know you have. It hasn’t gone unnoticed, Tanya.”
She laughed lightly, folding her arms across her chest. “C’mon, Edward. Pack. I’ll even drive you to the airport.”
With one last glance around, I listened to the minds inside the Denali home. Alice could already see me going, Jasper apologized profusely for taking me away in the first place, and Carlisle urged me to go.
Finally, I stood up and gave her a nod. “I’ll be ready in five.”
“I heard her piano tutor quit because she won’t talk,” Eric Yorkie whispered to his buddy, Brady, who was still sporting a Velcro brace on his sprained wrist that he’d received in Hunter’s Lake the day Alice had gone missing.
“That’s a shame,” Lauren sighed, smirking at them. “That was the sweetest-looking thing in this old-ass castle.”
I rolled my eyes at the papers in front of me when the boys all groaned at her statement and she merely laughed back.
Tyler laughed. “But I heard he left because she made a move on him and he turned her down.”
The rumors since Alice’s “death” had run the gamut. She was now haunting the east wing, Jasper had quit because he’d been the one to find her, Edward had quit because he hated me… Some said Mike and Jessica had been arrested on murder charges, which they weren’t, and others said they’d run off to get married, which also wasn’t true. They’d merely gone home to Washington D.C. to finish out their senior years at a local school. On and on it went. Esme had done her best to run interference, but the whispers only got louder when she wasn’t around.
I’d ignored most of it, living for my short conversations on the phone with Edward – and that was when the connection was okay. His reception in Alaska was sparse, at best. And I’d practically moved into the east wing. It kept Edward close to me, being surrounded by his things, in a room where he’d told me a hundred times or more that he loved me, where we’d shared more kisses than I could remember, and where the smell of him still hung heavily in the air. Esme had been concerned at first, but finally gave up, telling me that if I was going to sleep in there, to make it look like I was still going to bed in my dorm room every night. I’d kept that promise to her, though she’d done something to Edward’s room that I wasn’t sure he’d accept once he came back.
I turned the page of my Spanish textbook, making sure I’d conjugated my verbs correctly. All my classes were coming up on finals. The year would be over in just about four weeks. The teachers had eased up on daily homework, but started prepping us for the last tests. I was trying to focus on anything but the recital the next day. It would end classes early, and all the students and faculty would meet in the auditorium to watch the performing arts students do something for their final grade. Even the art class was involved; they were graded on their scenery for the drama students.
“Did you really hit on him?” I heard in a whisper.
Smirking, I glanced up at Rose’s rather amused face. I shook my head and snorted.
“Not that I’d blame you,” she teased, pulling out a chair and sitting across the table from me. “Mrs. C’s nephew is…pretty.”
Giggling, I tossed a pen at her, but she knocked it back my way.
“Where did he go?” she asked, and I pulled a fresh piece of paper out to tell her the planned response.
Family obligations, I wrote. He’s then off to college. I’ll have Mr. Harris next year if I decide to continue piano.
Rose nodded, though her face was saddened – I was assuming at the fact that I’d started writing again instead of speaking, and not that Edward was gone. She’d worried about me – hovered, almost – but she’d accepted it nonetheless. In some ways, we leaned on each other. The nightmares returning had brought with them a sense of fear, of weakness. Some days, it was hard to get dressed and go to class.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” she said, pushing a piece of paper across to me. “This is the final line-up for the recital tomorrow. We’re having a practice run in about thirty minutes. I was told to come get you. They kind of want an idea of how long it’ll be between each performance.”
Nodding, I sighed, closed up my books and notes, and stowed them in my backpack. I stopped when Rose didn’t get up. She merely looked up at me with a watery gaze.
“Alice painted the trees,” she murmured in shaky voice, her nose wrinkling a little. “They look amazing. She was very proud of them. She was helping me with the flowers. I miss her.”
My own eyes welled up, but I nodded. “Me, too,” I whispered honestly, holding out my hand.
Instead of taking it, she hugged me. “I know you do…and I know you miss Edward, too.” My breathing caught, and Rose stopped and looked at my face. “Oh damn…yeah… Sorry, Bella.”
Nodding, I swiped at my tears, trying to keep from sobbing. I just missed Edward – and Alice, for that matter – to the point of madness.
All students performing in the recital may now be excused from class. The rest of the student body will assemble in the auditorium after the end of the fifth period…”
My Spanish teacher waved a hand toward the door of his classroom when a couple of us stood up at the overhead announcement. I felt sick and shaky. My piece ran through my head, and knowing what each section meant, remembering every small step it took to get it finished, made me want to throw up. I wouldn’t make it through the song without losing it. I just knew it.
If Edward were there, he’d be cheering me on, urging me to block out every bit of the stuff around me, and simply play…to him. To not look at anyone but him or the keys, that nothing else should matter. But his absence made me feel empty and weak.
I took my time setting my things in my dorm room, forcing myself not to look at Alice’s empty side of the room. I gathered my sheet music, not that I needed it, and took it with me down to the auditorium. It was loud, filled with practicing voices, lines, and instruments as Mr. Harris sorted us out in order along the front row.
I was down on the very end, balling my hands into fists as I took a seat. My eyes were immediately drawn to the backstage area, and I took in the chalkboard Edward used to use, as well as the door to the costume closet that was hidden in shadows, yet surrounded by the drama class and the choir pulling on their robes. I sighed, wishing like hell that my favorite face, wearing my favorite smile, would appear in those shadows, but I knew he was thousands of miles away.
It took about an hour to get everyone settled. The students started to take seats behind us, and I smiled at Esme when she walked up the aisle. Just before she stepped on the stage to say a few words to everyone, she set something in my lap on the way by, saying nothing.
My brow wrinkled at the sight of my blue journal. I’d just given it to Carlisle a few days ago to give to Edward. I glanced up at her as she stepped up to the podium, and my heart stopped when she shot me a wink.
“No,” I whispered, glancing around the auditorium and at the back of the stage. I didn’t see Edward anywhere, but I quickly opened the notebook to the last entry, the butterflies in my stomach donning their heavy armor at the sight of Edward’s beautiful script.
My sweet, beautiful girl,
You’re damn right I’d tell you that you could do this. I’d tell you that you’ve got more talent in your little finger than anyone up on that stage today.
Play your song, Bella. Play it because you’ve earned it. Play it because the world should hear it. And play it for me. I’ll hear every note, my love. I swear to you.
Play it, and then come to the east wing. I’ve missed you more than I could possibly put down into words.
You can do this, sweetheart.
All my love,
It was the sweetest, yet worst thing he’d ever done. Now, time would drag through the recital. As performer after performer was introduced, I’d look around, trying to find him, but I couldn’t see him anywhere. I wanted to strangle him, thank him, and kiss him all at the same time. But more than anything, I needed to set eyes on him.
The recital pressed on – piano players, the choir, the cellist. The small scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream took forever. Another piano player, who played something contemporary, the oboist, which earned snickers from the class, and finally, Mr. Harris introduced me.
I walked on shaky legs up the stage steps, setting both my sheet music and the journal down on the piano. It was as I sat down on the bench that I felt him. It was a rush of calm, a tidal wave of need, but when I looked across the stage to the other side, he was there. He was hidden from the audience in the shadows of the curtain, but he was straight in front of me, smiling the smile I needed so badly. My breath caught at his beauty, my eyes tearing up as I realized he’d come back just for me. And I wanted to make him proud.
My fingers found the keys, my song bringing back every memory with it – my dad, my heartbreak, my emptiness, and finally…my coming back to life – and all of it was coming through my fingers. The last part was my love for Edward, and I did my best not to rush it.
When I hit the last note, my blurry gaze sought him out as he clapped with the rest of them. When I stood up, took a bow, and then glanced backstage, he was gone.
Esme’s hand landed on my shoulder as she dismissed everyone for the day. She leaned to my ear. “Bella, that was beautiful. I’m so very proud of you.”
“Thanks,” I stated, shifting on my feet and holding my music and notebook closer.
She glanced around, squeezing my shoulder. “Go to him. He’s missed you so much,” she whispered, jerking her chin toward the costume closet. “The coast is clear.”
She didn’t have to tell me twice. With a giggle, I darted across the stage and into the closet, taking the hidden passageway at a run. I practically fell into Edward’s living quarters, only to be enveloped by the strong-as-steel arms that made everything okay, my music and the journal slapping to the floor.
“You were brilliant,” he praised into my ear as he lifted me up. “Simply perfect, love.”
I smiled, though my tears couldn’t be stopped, neither could my arms and legs from wrapping around him. “You’re here…”
He chuckled a little, and I found myself pressed into the door. “Not for long, sweetheart. I can’t stay, but I just…I knew I couldn’t miss this.”
Placing my hands flat on his face, my eyes drank him in.
Not a thing about him had changed, of course, but my mind didn’t do him justice. I envied his perfect memory, especially while we’d been apart. He was windblown and fierce, dressed in a black button down and dark jeans. His eyes sparkled with love and longing.
“How long can I keep you?”
He grinned. “The weekend. I fly back Monday.”
God, I’d missed that smile and the feel of his arms around me, but his smell was so much stronger than what had been left behind in his room. Reaching up, I pushed his hair from his forehead. I could feel everything about him – the movement of his chest when he breathed, the push of his exhale across my face, and the tremble in his arms.
“You’re shaking,” I whispered, frowning up at him.
His forehead pressed to mine. “It’s restraint, love. Too long apart. I just…”
I nodded, holding up my own shaky hand. “Me, too.”
Edward took my hand into his own, threading our fingers together. “Slowly, Bella… Please.”
Brushing my lips across his ever so softly, I whispered, “You won’t hurt me.”
“I might. I’ve missed you too much.”
I didn’t have a chance to argue back. He swallowed my words with his mouth on mine. Despite his hard, cool skin, his lips were soft and all-consuming and his touch like fire. His mouth molded with mine perfectly, but when his tongue tentatively flicked across my bottom lip for a taste, some sort of floodgate opened.
Edward pressed our hands to the door beside my head, and his entire being rocked forward. The moan that erupted from me caused him to echo it because we both felt what he’d just done. The friction was perfect and in the exact right spot, but it caused my breathing to hitch.
He broke away from my mouth, but I held him close, squeezing my legs tighter. “Am I hurting you?”
I huffed a light laugh. “No… God, no,” I vowed in a squeak, shaking my head, but I could feel my cheeks heat as I realized just how close I was and how little it would take to push me over an edge for which my whole body seemed to be searching. “Edward…”
Edward’s eyes were dark as they raked over my face, a small smile quirking up one side of his mouth. “Yeah?” he asked in a whisper across my lips, pressing me just bit more into the wooden door when I nodded vehemently. “I shouldn’t, but… You look…and the heat.” He let loose a low growl, burying it against my neck and opening his mouth to my skin. “God, Bella, I can taste you in the air…please…”
There were fire and shocks in my belly, and they struck like lightning and tightened to the point where I was shaking, but when they finally snapped, my entire being pulled him as close as I could get him. My head fell back to the door with a dull thump, stars still visible behind my eyes as I rose and fell with Edward’s own heavy breathing. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who’d lost it.
“You okay?” he whispered against my cheek, nuzzling it until my eyes opened and I nodded. “I didn’t hurt you?”
“I love you, and no, Edward,” I answered breathlessly, feeling invigorated, yet boneless.
He grinned. “I love you, too, beautiful.” He kissed the back of my hand, pulling me away from the door. “Though, I shouldn’t have mauled you like an animal against the damn door,” he murmured, grinning when I giggled.
“I liked it.”
His laugh was beautiful and sweet, but he carried me across his living quarters, coming to a standstill when he reached the corner.
“Bella…where’d the bed come from?”
“Oh, umm…” My cheeks heated even more. “Esme did it!” I blurted out, grimacing at his snort.
Glancing over, I saw the bed that I’d been using most of the week. Esme had been tired of finding me on Edward’s couch, so she’d put Jacob to work the weekend before.
“Why?” he asked, but his eyes seemed to be taking in the entire thing.
It was a beautiful bed, with dark stain and what looked to be hand-carved designs. It was a canopy bed, but a masculine one.
“Because…I was sleeping in here…” I mumbled, my eyes focused on the buttons of his shirt. “She said if I was going to sleep in here, then I had to have a proper place and to make sure I looked like I was locked in my dorm at night.”
Edward’s nose nuzzled my own. “I’m not mad, love,” he soothed in a whisper, but he looked back at the bed. “Where’d she find it?”
Frowning, I studied his face. His eyes were still dark, but far, far away. He knew this bed.
“Jacob. He said he had it in the basement storage,” I answered, “but the mattress is new.”
Edward laughed. “I’d bet so, love. I shredded the one on it the last time this bed was inside this room.”
Gasping, I gaped at him. I squirmed down out of his arms and walked to the bed, tapping one of the tall, thick posters. “This…is yours?”
He nodded, smiling a little and trailing a finger over the dark wood. “Yeah, I told Carlisle to burn it when I realized I’d never sleep again,” he sighed wistfully, but he swallowed nervously. “Guess he didn’t…” His voice trailed off as he gazed up to the headboard. “And he fixed it, too.”
Tears welled up in my eyes at the sadness to his tone, but more the ancient grief on his face. “I’m…I’m sorry. I can…”
His gaze snapped to mine. “Why on earth would you apologize, my sweet girl?” he asked, cupping my face and wiping my tears away with his thumb.
“It’s your room… We meddled. Bad memories?” I stammered, but Edward moved gently and quickly, and I found myself in the middle of the bed with his beautiful face looming over me.
“Are you more comfortable in my room, love?” he asked, but his voice seemed deeper, a touch dark.
I nodded. “Yes. My nightmares don’t wake anyone when I’m in here. And I miss you, so…”
“So being in my room helps,” he surmised, brushing my hair from my face. He kissed me lightly when I nodded. “Bella, I can’t deny you anything, especially if you need something. But this…”
He smiled ruefully, shaking his head and glancing up at the dark red velvet material that draped the edge of the canopy over us. Edward seemed to be searching for words, so I waited while he licked his lips and bit down harshly on the bottom one as he still shook his head slowly. His eyes had gone from dark honey to almost black.
“You have no idea, Bella,” he said, a purr lacing his words as he leaned forward. His whole body shifted, and he settled between my legs as he kissed me until I needed air. “Seeing you here, knowing you’re sleeping in my room and in my bed…” He paused, his mouth opening and closing with a snap. “I want you here. Next year, you may not sleep in the dorms.”
He smiled when my giggle escaped me, and then I squealed when his fingers wandered to ticklish spots. He tortured until I cried for him to stop, but he fell down beside me, holding me close.
“Speaking of next year…we’re submitting that piece to whatever colleges you want to apply,” he stated firmly, but his pride in me was practically glowing on his face. “You played amazingly well tonight, my love.”
“Thank you, but I don’t think I would’ve played it had you not come,” I admitted, shrugging a shoulder and toying with his shirt.
“So Alice saw,” he stated, smiling when my eyes snapped up.
“Will you tell me?” I asked in a whisper, rolling my eyes when my stomach growled loudly.
Edward grinned. “If you think for one second that I’m letting you go to the dining hall, you’re sorely mistaken,” he said with amusement. “Let me umm…change clothes, and I’m sure Esme will feed you. I should update her, as well.” He stood from the bed and started for his closet, but stopped and faced me again. “Bella, I…” he started, but looked to the floor before meeting my eyes. “Love, I’ve really, really missed your voice, so…when we’re done, can we come back here? I want to hear what I’ve missed – from you. I don’t care how boring you think it to be.”
Grinning, I bit my lip and nodded. “Yes, Edward.”
He nodded once, smiling when I laughed. “Good. And I wanna hear everything!” he growled dramatically before slamming the bathroom door.


aelita48 said...

Edward returned, it is a good thing.
They are too unfortunate far one of the other one.
Thank you.

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