Midnight Sun (14. Plans)

Coasting down the sweeping drive, I was reveling in the scent that was still lingering in the car. When I pulled up to the garage I saw Jasper and Emmett fooling around and wrestling outside.

Instead of leaving the vehicle I took another breath. The aroma was intoxicating.

Jasper turned to stare at me after he was immersed immediately in undulations of love, like a sponge absorbing water. My intense love was flowing through me as if there were blood flowing through my veins again. Each second, Jasper was being saturated in my bliss. He shook his head in absolute fascination at my involvement with the human girl that was swiftly taking over my existence.

I rolled my eyes at him, ignoring his preconceived notions.

He turned back to Emmett, grabbing his wrist and swinging him over his shoulder while Emmett landed with a loud thud on the ground.

"I'm going to get you for that," Emmett grabbed at Jaspers ankle, bringing him down to the ground, another loud thud issued through the small clearing. They both jumped up and began beating on each other.

Watching the pair of them brawl was always amusing to me because Jasper would use moves that Emmett had never imagined before and Emmett would ultimately be defeated. Though he was tremendously sturdy, Jasper had familiarity in fighting particularly strong vampires. Their grappling continued while Jasper attempted to throw Emmett down, which eventually worked, but fighting with Emmett reminded me of a human trying to wrestle a piano up the stairs.

Dammit! Where does he come up with those moves?Emmett rumbled.

Jasper was chuckling in a patronizing tone at Emmett's indistinct muttering. I couldn't help but snicker right along with him.

He's in a better mood. "Hey, wanna wrestle, bro?"Emmet smiled at the thought.

"Emmett," I tried to stifle my chuckle. "You know that you will just get angry because I will hear what move you are going to make!" I said in good spirits.

Whatever, Edward! Emmett replied sarcastically.

His lip curved up in a menacing way and in the next instant he visualized tackling me. He flashed towards me, and in that second I bounded up and on his back, ready for the attack.

A few choice curse words exited his mouth. Snickering, I leapt off his back and continued walking towards the house, Jasper's loud guffaws continued echoing through the forest.

"It's so unfair, you know?" Emmett complained.

I am beginning to see why Alice likes this human girl so much, Edward is not brooding anymore, Jasper hit Emmett with a small pine tree.


"Ahhhh," Emmett shouted while running full force toward Jasper like a train going full speed.


Emmett laid on the ground, giving up.

Jasper chuckled.

I threw them a quick smile over my shoulder before entering the house.

"I bet he won't bring her back," Jasper said to Emmett, knowing I could still hear.

I grimaced.

"What's on the table?" Emmett chuckled.

"I won't use my abilities during our next three football games," Jasper said, grinning.

"Yeah, no more warm fuzzy feelings about how precious the pig skin football is!" Emmett agreed.

"And if you lose, Emmett?" Jasper continued.

"I won't say another word about that incident in Alaska…you remember, don't you?" Emmett retorted with a smile in his voice.

"You're on!" Jasper exclaimed.

This was apparently the second bet Jasper had made today, though I never understood why he would bet against Alice. I continued to be in better spirits regardless of the banter between Emmett and Jasper and no doubt it was due to the exceptionally delicate girl, Bella. I saw Alice and Rosalie working on their fashion line when I walked inside and they both looked up. Rosalie was finally starting to rein in most of her frustrations.

Alice flitted toward me. Can I meet Bella now? Please! I just found the perfect dress for her to wear. Seriously, have you seen the girl's wardrobe? She needs help!

Alice's vision of Bella and her, arms around each other's waist, once more flickered in her mind. There was something new there, though, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

"Alice, please, not now," I pleaded.

Her bottom lip puckered out and she frowned.

"I'm sorry, Alice. I just don't think I am ready." Or I'm not willing to share her when I just so recently obtained her, I thought dubiously.

It will happen, Edward. I love her and you can't keep her to yourself forever!Alice's lower lip was still protruding.

She marched away from me and began working with Rosalie again.

Pig,Rosalie snapped. At least her thoughts were becoming less insulting.

When I entered my room I placed a classical CD in the player, trying to drive my thoughts away from the brown-eyed girl that was always at the forefront of my mind. Instead of listening to the intricate workings of the master piece I was listening to all I could think about is how Bella's heart sounded strangely like the melody flowing from the violin in the background, or how her voice sounded like some musical ballad that no instrument would ever be able to duplicate. Or how the rhythm of her pulse was perfectly harmonious with her very soul.

An hour had elapsed and no matter how relentlessly I tried, all I could imagine was her magnificent bouquet, her blushing cheeks or her continuous, melody like heart pumping her soul with life. I was in dispute with myself about going to see her. Each grueling minute was passing at a snail's pace as I sat on my couch, yearning to be close to her. It wasn't long before I lost my internal argument, though; I sprang out my window and proceeded in the direction of Bella's.

There he goes again, Emmett saw me through the window.

When I arrived outside her house, Billy and Jacob Black were still there. I began searching their thoughts, hoping I hadn't missed something important. Jacob's thoughts were very irritating. He couldn't keep his eyes off Bella but his thoughts were not like Mike's; he put Bella on a pedestal in his mind and respected her. Regardless, I was still not happy about the way he fantasized her.

The Blacks were about to depart and I was able to listen in on them with no difficulty, easily probing their minds for information, secretly unlocking more of Bella's thoughts by spying on her. Here I was, being the vampire stalker again, like a falcon searching for prey.

"Are you and your friends coming back to the beach soon?" Jacob asked, excited. I really hope so…I think Bella likes me. Man, she is so good-looking!

"I'm not sure," Bella sidestepped Jacob's question.

Dang, I hope she comes to the reservation soon. I had a good time with her last time she was there. I think she likes me, too. She was flirting with me… I think.Jacob was picturing them strolling on the beach together.

I clenched my teeth tight enough to cut steel, I was so annoyed. Yes, I was undeniably aggravated.

Abruptly my mood was lightened when I saw how Bella was trying to flirt with Jacob in his memory. I suddenly couldn't suppress a laugh that came through my still clenched teeth when I saw how Bella was attempting to flirt. She truly had no idea what she did to the males around her, how her light flick of her lashes brought some boys to their knees, begging to go out with her. Unexpectedly, I felt sorry for the child. It couldn't possibly be his fault that she was entirely unaware to her exquisiteness.

"That was fun, Charlie," Billy said, though his thoughts were elsewhere. I can't believe I didn't get the opportunity to tell Charlie about Edward! Next time…

So, Billy did recognize me earlier. He probably weaved an intricate thread of lies into Bella's head. His recollection of his histories was more involved than I realized, but still, his opinions are based solely on half-truths.

"Come up for the next game," Charlie encouraged.

"Sure, sure," Billy said. "We'll be here. Have a good night."

He suddenly looked at Bella. I'm going to have a talk with her about this Cullen business. "You take care, Bella," he added gravely.

Billy had every right to be concerned about Bella. She was hanging around a vampire… for fun; what's more perilous than that? And not just any vampire; the one who hungered after her blood above all others of his kind. Though Bella's mind is cut off to my extraordinary gift, one thing was still certain: she was absolutely unique.

"Thanks," she mumbled and then looked away.

She didn't look incredibly pleased with Billy and without thinking about it, once again I tried to penetrate the solid wall surrounding her thoughts. Nothing, silence. So, instead, I was now observing Bella via Charlie's mind which was quite tedious at times considering his thoughts were sometimes non-existent and his human eyes were weak. I saw the back of Bella's head through his cloudy human vision as she began walking towards the stairs.

Charlie hurriedly called out to her. "Wait, Bella."

She jerked slightly and turned around warily. She had a severe look on her face, or maybe it was a look of guilt…shame? Hum, I really hope I hadn't missed anything for the short period of time that I was gone. What could she possibly be feeling guilty about? Again, I was chastising myself for not just giving up my hopeless effort to stay away from her. There was something I missed and now I was regretting my absence.

"I didn't get a chance to talk to you tonight. How was your day?" Charlie inquired.

"Good," Bella said, still hesitating on the stairs.

It looked like she was in deep thought and once again I was perturbed by the lack of thoughts emitting from her. What could possibly be going through that curious mind of hers? I tried to probe her mind once more, just to check, before I reached the silent and impenetrable barrier that was always there.

"My badminton team won all four games," she said dubiously.

I immediately remembered her hitting the net, herself, and Mike in one swing. Now that I knew she was all right, I laughed loudly. The poor girl really was the clumsiest creature I had ever known. She seriously had the grace of a drunk sailor playing golf.

"Wow, I didn't know you could play badminton!" Charlie exclaimed. Four games? Wow. I'm impressed.

I laughed even louder at the fact that he thought she was the reason why the team won. Charlie was truly taken aback and had every right to be according to her statement.

"Well, actually I can't, but my partner is really good," she admitted with chagrin.

Oh. I should have known better. "Who is it?" he insisted.

"Um…" she hesitated. "…Mike Newton."

Jealousy ripped at me. This new emotion was masterfully working its way into my daily routine and continuing to aggravate me. She didn't like him, it was obvious, yet every time they talked or I had to listen to his every fantasy, the little green monster grew to another size.

"Oh yeah �C you said you were friends with the Newton kid. Nice family. Why didn't you ask him to the dance this weekend?" Charlie was smiling now and his thoughts were wistful.

There it was again, the now larger green monster tugging at my heart, making me want to bring my previous 'torture Mike' fantasies to reality. Blow torches came to mind.

"Dad!" Bella groaned, snapping me out of my unhealthy fantasy. "He's kind of dating my friend Jessica. Besides, you know I can't dance."

"Oh, yeah," Charlie muttered, disappointed. "So I guess it's good you'll be gone Saturday… I've made plans to go fishing with the guys from the station. The weather's supposed to be real warm. But if you wanted to put your trip off till someone could go with you, I'd stay home. I know I leave you here alone too much."

"Dad, you're doing a great job." Bella smiled at him and I saw a sign of relief in her eyes.

What was she so relieved about? Why wasn't she telling him she would be with me that day? Even if we weren't going to Seattle, as long as he knew she was with me…I'd have to bring her back. If she doesn't…No. Stop there.

"I've never minded being alone �C I'm too much like you." She winked at him, a sign of trust.

She went upstairs after that and I could hear her preparing for bed. As soon as she was asleep I would be in her room again, watching over her as her vampire protector.

Bella slept very peacefully that night. I was sitting in my usual spot and taking pleasure in the delectable fragrance that was now engrained in my mind forever. Each breath sent flames down my throat, but it was somewhat pleasurable, too. I was hoping that with each painful gulp of air I would eventually become immune to her scent.

Deep down, I was still mildly worried that I wouldn't stay in control for long when I had her alone in the far away meadow. I took in another breath and it was like swallowing daggers, but it was almost a good pain, a sweet pain. After several hours, the scent started to feel less agonizing and much sweeter. I was grateful that it was becoming easier to be around her. If I were to be away from her for any period of time I would be afraid I would have to start all over again. I sighed. I was just giving myself excuses to never leave her.

Tonight, I ventured towards her pile of books. Along with Shakespeare there were other classics. Her copy of Wuthering Heights was torn to pieces. Going through the small pile next to her bed, I learned that she still had several surprises up her sleeves. She was, undoubtedly, the most original and unordinary teenager I had ever met.

When dawn broke across the night sky, I decided I needed to leave before Charlie woke up.

Darting through the misty forest, I was whizzing past trees at a lethal speed. The air from the night was moving rapidly past me and my throat was still burning from her magnificent fragrance. I was thinking about hunting prior to Saturday so that I would be prepared before I was with her in the meadow… alone. Me and her delicate soul alone �C no thoughts, no nosy vampires – just me and her in the riveting meadow. The monster was too tightly bound and needed a release. Just a small ounce of prevention �C inadequate though I knew it would be.

When I arrived at home Alice was waiting for me, already in on the plan. Let's go this afternoon!She beamed at me.

Her eyes were twinkling and she couldn't suppress her radiant smile. I soon saw why she wanted to go hunting with me so badly. Her vision was clear; she would be introduced to Bella today. Even though the meeting would be quick and last a few seconds, she was elated.

"Is that the only reason you want to go hunting with me?" I raised an eyebrow in disbelief.

Of course not, silly! I don't want you to hurt her, Edward. Hunting before you see Bella is a great idea. You could use my company, too. I can tell it bothers you that you don't have the greatest self-control, and I am used to it with Jasper. I understand.

"Okay, but you better be good! Don't thrust yourself on Bella. I don't want to scare her off." I paused for a moment before adding, "even though she probably needs a good dose of fear." I frowned.

Alice just grinned widely and scampered off into the house as she sang joyfully in her mind about meeting her new best friend.

"I mean it!" I shouted.

I washed up, jumped into my Volvo and hurried back to Bella's, pulling into the driveway as soon as Charlie was gone. Bella ran out of the house quickly, and this time she didn't hesitate before she got into the car eagerly. Her hair was shiny and smelled like strawberries, a strong whiff of it hit me as she shut the car door. As soon as the door was shut, her aroma swam around my nose. I was beginning to enjoy her scent, embracing it instead of cringing away from it. No mistakes. As soon as I saw her smiling face and recognized that she was pleased to see me, too, I couldn't help but smile back at her, it was an automatic response.

"How did you sleep?" I asked. I knew she slept well. I kept watch over her all night. She didn't even speak. It must have been a dreamless night for her.

"Fine, how was your night?" She smiled wider.

"Pleasant." I was thinking about how Bella had another suitor she didn't want, Jacob Black. She said yes to me. I couldn't help but feel euphoric.

She looked at me and her eyes were so warm and inviting. Her hot, delicious breath surrounded me and I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her. Couldn't she tell? It must be obviously splayed across my face. I took in the air between us. Mouth-watering; there were no other words to describe it.

"Can I ask what you did?" she inquired with a smirk.

She wanted to know what I was doing last night. Did she really care what I did, or was she just being polite? No, she did think about me. She even thinks that her feelings for me overshadow my own. She couldn't comprehend the mere complexity of my love for her. She didn't realize how lucky I really was.

"No, today is still mine," I said.

She looked at me in disbelief and kitten outrage. Today I had a brand new list of questions to ask her. I asked her about Renee, her hobbies, and what the two of them did in their free time together. I wanted to know about her grandparents, even her school friends. Every thought I unlocked was like opening a door to a new world.

During our lunch break together, I remembered I wanted to know more about her past relationships; or not, actually, but I still had to know her complete story. My lips moved and freed the question before I gave them permission to do so. She looked embarrassed and I watched as her face went from her lovely white and slowly began to flush pink. The flood of blood up to her face made me bite down on my cheek. Her flush was utterly stunning, and delectable. My surprise kept the monster at bay as the realization of the fact that she had never chosen anyone before me hit.

Were we dating? Is that what this is called?It was hard to believe that she didn't have someone in the past. Every male she has come across has had to mentally remind themselves to put their tongues back in their mouths. They flock to her. Did she say no to every one of them, even before me? She said yes to me, I reminded myself.

"So, you never met anyone you wanted?" I asked.

"Not in Phoenix," she answered, blushing again.

What are you thinking? My lips pressed together into a hard line. I watched her across the cafeteria table as she took a bite of her bagel. Human food did look utterly disgusting.

What does Edward see in Bella? She isn't even pretty, Jessica glared at her.

I wanted to shield Bella from her thoughts, but at that moment I remembered my hunting trip. "I should have let you drive yourself today."

"Why?" she demanded. She looked confused.

"I'm leaving with Alice after lunch," I said

She blinked, "Oh." She looked disappointed and then said, "That's okay; it's not that far of a walk."

What? She couldn't be serious. After all this time did she not think of me as a gentleman? I would never make her walk. I was frowning. "I'm not going to make you walk home. We'll go get your truck and leave it here for you."

"I don't have my key with me," she sighed. "I really don't mind walking." She looked upset then.

What are you thinking now? This was getting exasperating. I shook my head.

I know where the key is, Edward, Alice's thoughts chimed in.

"Your truck will be here, and the key will be in the ignition �C unless you're afraid someone might steal it." I laughed. Who would want to steal that truck? If someone did I would hunt them down.

"All right," she agreed. She pursed her lips like she was thinking hard and I could almost see a hint of a challenge. I smirked at the thought. Having a psychic as a little sister had its advantages.

"So where are you going?" she asked casually.

"Hunting," I answered grimly. "If I'm going to be alone with you tomorrow, I'm going to take whatever precautions I can."

Run, Bella, run! Stay, Bella, stay, I was pleading silently. I had to give Bella the choice. It had to be her choice, always. "You can always cancel, you know."

She looked down and I was frustrated because I couldn't see her face.

"No," she whispered and looked up at me again. "I can't."

She can't? I sighed mentally and realized that I couldn't cancel either. "Perhaps you're right."

She changed the subject, "What time will I see you tomorrow?" she asked.

She looked upset. Had I said something to upset her? Exasperating, not knowing her thoughts was purely frustrating. Did some god send this wonderful creature here to drive me mad? Hoping I hadn't upset her I answered, "That depends… it's Saturday, don't you want to sleep in?" I offered.

"No!" she answered quickly.

I almost felt my heart restart after 80 years of being still. She didn't want to sleep in because she wanted to be with me. I tried my best to suppress a smile so she wouldn't be able to tell how pleased this actually made me.

"The same time as usual, then," I decided.

Then I wondered about Charlie. She didn't tell him that she was going with me, I speculated how she was going to explain me showing up at her house, "Will Charlie be there?"

Her eyes grew tight and she said, "No, he's fishing tomorrow."

She seemed enormously pleased about something. I thought about taking her and never bringing her back. Stop! That fantasy, above all the rest, should be the one I would will myself to never think. Didn't she want me to bring her back? I was feeling frustrated and my voice came out a little sharper then I meant, "And if you don't come home, what will he think?"

She looked at me like she was prepared to answer this question, "I have no idea, he knows I've been meaning to do the laundry. Maybe he'll think I fell in the washer."

She was tempting me to seize her and run for it! I scowled at her and she attempted to be angry by scowling back. Just like always, she was just a vicious kitten. She scowled at me for a few more moments and then her expression changed. She looked thoughtful. What was she thinking now?

"What are you hunting tonight?" she inquired like she was asking me to pass the salt. It was so causal, like she was asking about the weather or what was on TV.

"Whatever we find in the park. We aren't going far." I mused.

"Why are you going with Alice?" she asked with obvious curiosity.

I considered this for a moment. She talked about my clandestine existence like it was normal. I mulled things over; how to tell her that it was Alice that was going because most of my family members were… un-approving of my newly found obsession with a human girl.

"She is the most… supportive." I frowned, thinking about her visions of vampire Bella.

You know it is because I am your favorite sister. Alice thought. Great, she was listening.

Bella looked up at me with her beautiful chocolate eyes, "And the others?" she asked apprehensively, "What are they?"

Pissed off that is what we are. Rosalie thought.

Emmet looked at Rosalie then and followed her stare. I try to rein her in bro, but she is feisty. That's Rosalie for ya. Emmett thought.

I wrinkled my brow and replied the best way I could without hurting her feelings, "Incredulous, for the most part."

I watched her gaze go from my face to over her shoulder. I watched my family with disbelief. They were staring off in different directions, acting like they weren't listening. I couldn't be so lucky.

"They don't like me," she guessed.

She wouldn't think that Edward if you would introduce us. You know Bella and I are going to be best friends. You know how much I love her. Alice mused.

"That's not it," I disagreed.

Liar, Rosalie thought.

"They don't understand why I can't leave you alone." I said.

Damn right I can't understand. She's a human. Rosalie thought with disgust.

It's true bro, I can't really understand the appeal, but if it makes you happy then I got your back. Emmett contemplated.

"Neither do I, for that matter." Bella added on top of the already massive amounts of thoughts coming from my family over this conversation.

I couldn't accept that she would consider something like that. Didn't she know that her beauty was one of a kind, inside and out? I've never meet a being quite like her before. I shook my head and rolled my eyes towards the ceiling, partially for her answer, and partially answering my family's thoughts. I looked back at Bella, "I told you �C you don't see yourself clearly at all. You're not like anyone I've ever known. You fascinate me."

She glared at me with her furious kitten face again. I smiled at her face, "Having the advantages I do," I mused, touching my forehead, "I have a better than average grasp of human nature. People are predictable. But you… you never do what I expect. You always take me by surprise."

She looked away then, and back at my family. She looked… embarrassed? Upset? I couldn't tell, "That part is easy enough to explain," I added. I wished she would look my direction, "But there's more… and it's not so easy to put into words-"

What the hell are you thinking of saying to her, Edward? Rosalie then turned and glared at Bella. What is so special about this girl? Huh? I don't see it. She is so breakable and human. You just keep her around because she smells like the greatest snack you'll ever have! Rosalie continued to give Bella a fierce look. If you take a bite out of her this will hurt our whole family, you know that!

I had it with her and I snarled under my breath.

Whatever, nitwit. Rosalie turned her head then.

Bella looked back at me then and I was relieved to see her face. She looked… frightened? Was that possible? Did Bella even know what fear was? I was going to have to give Rosalie a good scolding later.

"I'm sorry about that. She's just worried. You see… it's dangerous for more than just me if, after spending so much time with you so publicly…" I didn't want to finish my sentence. I was hoping she wouldn't ask to hear the rest, but of course, she would want to know.


"If this ends… badly." I put my head in my hands and tried to push the thought out of my head. Maybe she will finally see that this is serious. That I could… gulp… kill her at any moment. I could breathe her delectable scent in and one day the monster might break free from the darkness I put him in and decide to taste the delicious blood that I could see pulsing on her neck. I heard her drop her hand on the table. I kept trying to push those thoughts away, but then I took in a large gulp of her rich aroma. Instantly the monster reared up.

I heard Bella's shaky voice then, "And you have to leave now?"

The monster retreated then. "Yes," wait, she wasn't…. scared? She still didn't want me to leave? I relaxed and couldn't help but look delighted, "It's probably for the best. We still have fifteen minutes of that wretched movie left to endure in Biology �C I don't think I could take any more."

Bella gave me a look like she completely understood what I meant, she must have been feeling the same way about the dull movie, not like I was watching it anyways.

It's time to meet Bella! Yay! Alice trilled in her mind. I could see the back of my head from her vision as she skipped over to the table.

"Alice," I said.

"Edward," she answered, and added, this is where you introduce us, in her thoughts.

"Alice, Bella �C Bella, Alice," I introduced them, hoping that Alice won't start bugging me every five minutes about hanging out with her. I only barely obtained Bella, and I didn't want Alice to take all her time away from me.

"Hello, Bella," Alice smiled, "It's nice to finally meet you."

Once again I saw a vision of her and Bella arm in arm, smiling at each other, Bella's eyes bright, crimson red. I shot a dark look at her.

"Hi, Alice," Bella whispered shyly.

"Are you ready?" Alice asked me. I didn't want to leave Bella, but I was more than happy to remove Alice from her, "Nearly, I'll meet you at the car."

I met Bella, yay. Edward, you know this means that we get to start hanging out right? Alice beamed.

I glanced at Bella and as she watched Alice dance away.

"Should I say 'have fun,' or is that the wrong sentiment?" she asked, looking back at me.

Her expression showed a painful emotion, like me leaving her for a short moment in time would cause her great pain. She was so nonchalant about talking about my world that I couldn't help but grin.

"No, 'have fun,' works as well as anything." I said.

"Have fun, then" she said, I could tell there was an edge to her voice. Was she going to miss me while I was away? Being separated from her was overwhelmingly painful, was she feeling this way too? She couldn't possibly grasp the concept of the kind of love I felt for her.

"I'll try," I continued to smile at her, "And you try to be safe, please."

"Safe in Forks �C what a challenge."

"For you it is a challenge." I hoped that she remembered my last request about her safety; that she stays out of the woods. "Promise." I begged. If she put herself in harm's way or was hurt in any way because I wasn't there to protect her… it would shattered my cold, silent, heart into pieces.

"I promise to try to be safe," she mused, "I'll do the laundry tonight �C that ought to be fraught with peril."

If that were all she was going to do this evening, she should be safe. I remembered her incident in gym from the other day and grasped the concept that no matter what Bella was doing, there was always an opportunity for her to injure herself. The thought merely brought on an internal chuckle, though, and I teased, "Don't fall in."

"I'll do my best" she mocked.

I stood then, wishing I didn't have to leave. Bella got up too.

"I'll see you tomorrow," she sighed.

I was suddenly absorbed by my desires again. Maybe if I just lightly gripped her around the waist, I would only have to concentrate on the amount of pressure I used. No mistakes, I scolded myself. I suppressed a sigh.

"It seems like a long time to you, doesn't it?" I asked.

She nodded with a sullen expression. She was continually saying yes to me.

"I'll be there in the morning," I promised.

The infatuation I had over touching her was winning my inner dispute. I longed to hold her in my arms, to be engulfed in her warmth. I was craving her touch, too. My body was burning with the yearning to possess her and before I knew it I had reached over and touched her face, lightly touching her cheekbone. Her scent was lingering between us and I took air in my lungs slowly, as if to make the burning and aching of my throat a more pleasurable experience. It wasn't, it was only a burning pain and I knew if I didn't turn away now I wouldn't stop at her face. I'd grab at her waist and bring my lips to hers. No mistakes, I yelled internally. I turned on my heel and strode swiftly from the room, even though my mind was begging me to turn around and take the girl into my arms and… stop there!

When I arrived at the car Alice was sitting on the hood, "You know, Carlisle could help you turn her," Alice mused. I glared at her.

"I will not take her life Alice!"

"Sure fooled me, I thought I was going to have to drag you out of the lunch room with the visions that were flashing in my mind," Alice said, "Now I'm super thirsty after all the imagines I saw," she faux pouted.

"Like I said, I won't end her life," I eyed her evenly.

"Like I said," she mocked, "you should ask Carlisle. If you aren't biting her because you are afraid you will end her life, then why? To keep her human?" she looked at me in aversion, "but you know… Carlisle won't kill her." Alice continued.

"Alice, Bella will not be turned into a vampire, the first one who tries will suffer the consequences!" I growled.

"Okay, okay. Just a thought, Edward," she looked unhappy.

Alice got into the Volvo and we drove to Bella's.

She'll be fine, you know? Her night looks extremely uneventful. She really needs to get out more… Alice thought.

"I know, being away from her just makes me extremely anxious," I explained.

"I know," she trilled.

We arrived at Bella's shortly.

You'll find the key in her blue jeans downstairs in a blue laundry basket, Alice thought, figured I would save you some time. You would have found it eventually, of course, but this way you get out of there quicker.

"Thanks, Alice," I said, glad our little spat was patched up, or at least put behind us.

"You're Welcome!" Alice said while she jumped in the driver's side of the Volvo and drove off towards our house.

I was lurking inside Bella's house and found her truck key quickly. Her lingering scent was ever present throughout the house. I was breathing in deeper than I ever had before around the seductive scent, only because she wasn't here in the house. I was in no danger of hurting her when she wasn't here, I contemplated. So I took in another gulp of her perfume before I left the house, which I know I would regret later when I was hunting.

I drove her truck back to the school; her aroma was stronger in here than in her house. I tried to distract my mind by musing over all the things I could upgrade on her truck before Bella got out of school. If Rosalie and I were on better terms I would have her do some work under the hood. This truck couldn't possibly be that safe. I grabbed a piece of paper out of my backpack and decided to write a note to Bella. I have a keep sake from her, she deserves to have one from me, too. I thought of what to write while I was driving (more like snail crawling) back to the school. I decided simple was safer. When I parked the truck I left the key in the ignition and wrote "Be Safe" on the white piece of paper. I left it in her seat. I checked to make sure there was no one looking and I speed off through the forest and back home. Alice was waiting on the doorstep for me.

"Are you ready?" She trilled.

"Yes, let's go."

We sprinted through the forest in silence for several miles. I knew it was safe to hunt when the only thoughts I heard were Alice's. She was thinking about what she was going to pick out for Rosalie to wear tomorrow, whether green and pink or black and pink would look better on her new design for a shirt, and which shoe would look better with Esme's pants, open toed or not. Her thoughts wondered every which fashionable way possible, and I was grateful. I didn't want her to bring Bella up. She had so many visions and images in her mind when it came to Bella, and I would never be ready to see some of those visions come to light.

Her mind suddenly shifted to our purpose. She stopped suddenly and her eyes went blank. I saw flashes of a large animal in her thoughts but they were flashing and changing so rapidly I was unable to ascertain what she was seeing.

Her eyes focused on me now; there is a bear 5 miles from here. Go north and follow the river, you will run into him in 8.2 miles. Alice smiled at me.

"You know, Emmett will be jealous if I tell him you helped me catch a grizzly." I grinned.

"I know, but you need carnivore blood to help you out with tomorrow." She smirked.

"Meet you back here in 30?" I asked.

You've got it! She was gone before she finished her thought.

I ran north until I hit the river and followed it. I was letting the monster out of the cage, disengaging my ever flimsy hold on my growing thirst. The monster had been begging for release more than normal lately and I finally let my animal instincts take over. I thought of Bella's blood, and I was instantly ravenous. I came across a bear exactly 8.2 miles from my starting location. Alice really did have an amazing gift. The monster reared up and I let out a menacing growl. The bear stood on its hind legs and growled back unimpressively. I leapt towards the beast and quenched my thirst. I was right, Bella's scent and blood even made the bear's blood dull to the point of being dissatisfying. Bears were much more delicious then the deer I usually ate, but I had been exceedingly gluttonous with feeding since I met Bella, making my meals less than appetizing.

When the animal was dry of its blood I pushed the carcass off me and breathed in the cold night air. I rejoined with Alice shortly after.

"Are you going to Bella's tonight?" she asked.

"Of course, Alice, why?" I stared at her suspiciously.

"Oh, well, Jasper and Emmett have been missing you like crazy, I think I might have even seen Emmett pout the other night when you left so early," she chortled.

I didn't respond. I know that I had been spending an abundance of my time with Bella, but didn't they understand? They hardly leave their other half. That is what Bella had become though, my other half.

"Please, Edward… please," she begged.

I couldn't stand to see my little sister beg like this. I did owe my family a plenitude of my time after everything I had been putting them through lately.

"Okay Alice, but just for the earlier hours of the evening," I gave in.

During the evening Jasper, Emmet, Alice and myself decided that we were going to play cards. With the many talents my family members have, you would think that playing cards would be ludicrous. Jasper would be feeling the triumph or failure emitting from a card player, Alice would see future moves that you were going to make, and I could hear their thoughts. We didn't play games where we had to use our brains though. The card games we played were strictly speed based. With our vampire speed we tore through every deck of cards. Jasper and Emmet loved to gamble, and our games wouldn't be the same without a bet. Because of their constant opposition, Esme made us move our game outside before Emmett broke anymore furniture. Rosalie was still fuming about the situation with Bella, but even she couldn't hold herself up in the garage anymore and came to play. After 79 decks of cards, 2 broken tables, 1 broken vase, 1 ripped shirt (Jaspers), and 3 trees knocked down, we decided that we had caused enough destruction.

I did get pleasure from the time spent during the evening with my siblings. My regular moping had abruptly wilted away after I came back from Denali. I could tell that my family was enjoying the new Edward, the less mummy-like Edward. Something told me they didn't want the sulky one back again, which just gave me another excuse to stay with Bella.

Time passed slowly, even with the fun I was having with my family. I looked at the clock and noticed it was 10pm. I quickly stood up, ready to leave and watch Bella sleep. Emmett looked up at me and gave me a pleading look.

Come on bro, we are about to play some serious football. Jasper and I have come up with some new rules; you have to catch the ball with your elbows only. Come on, it will be hilarious! Emmett begged. Plus I have a bet that… he continued, but I interrupted him.

"Emmett, I'm sorry… maybe another time. It makes me uneasy to be away from her, you understand, right?"

Emmett scoffed and I grinned, "I knew you would understand!"

When I arrived at Bella's, she was already asleep. Any normal teenager would have been out with friends, going on a date, or shopping… but not my Bella. When I finally climbed through her window, I heard music playing. I was instantly intrigued. It was Chopin's Nocturnes. Once again, we shared a common interest. I knew this CD well. As I stepped closer to her, the scent that had almost taken me the first time we met entered my lungs and I felt like succumbing to the monster inside. She turned over once, and I heard her sigh my name. The clawing monster was instantly diminished.

She didn't move much after that, and she even lightly snored. I sat in the rocking chair breathing her scent in deeply. I was fighting all of my cravings tonight. She looked absolutely beautiful with her hair splayed across her face and pillow. Her pink cheeks lightly flushed. How long was I going to be able to suppress my growing desires to touch her? I knew that our trip to the meadow would either be our breaking or making point. Would she leave alive, or would she leave a vampire? I won't end her life, I promised myself. Tomorrow, of all the days I had spent with Bella, would be the one day I would not be allowed to make a mistake. I repeated, no mistakes, to myself for good measure. I suppressed a sigh. I honestly don't know if I will ever really leave her alone, but I would like to think that after tomorrow, I will have a plan.

When it started to get light outside I decided to leave, realizing Charlie would be up soon to go fishing. I was leaning over Bella, taking in her scent one last time before I left, and suddenly my hand was at her face lightly caressing. I pulled away immediately and flew out the window.

I decided that before I took Bella to the meadow, I needed to see Alice. Her visions were versatile lately. My future was a mystery and I wanted reassurance that Bella would come home to Charlie alive and unharmed. I knew what my decisions would be, but these new cravings were taking over. How many times had I reached out and touched Bella, not even realizing it until my hand was warming from her skin.

Alice greeted me at the door, "Edward, I know you are worried, let me show you what I see. There was one outcome where you bite Bella and she becomes a vampire, hum… but that one has become distant and fuzzy. This clearer vision shows you and Bella laying in the meadow, and my last vision shows you bringing her home safely." Alice showed me mentally.

I had a lump in my throat as I tried to thrust the first vision from my mind. That lump continued to grow as I began panicking. I didn't know how to ask, but I had to ask for her help. Before I could request her help, Alice answered, "I will be close by Edward. I won't let anything happen to Bella." I love her too, doesn't he realize this!

"Thanks, Alice." I whispered.

I swiftly rose up the stairs to prepare myself for our new journey together.