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It's halloween and the 'younger' Cullens, plus Bella, have been invited to Mike Newton's party. What will Edward think of the coustume Alice has chosen for Bella? What will Bella think of the coustume chosen for her?

Um, I'm sure the What-Will-Bella-Dress-Up-As-If-Forced-To-Participate-In-Halloween has been done before, but seeing as I haven't found it, I thought I'd give it a try! By the way, this is going to be a multi-chapter story... Enjoy! Much love, Sammy :)

4. Chapter 4; Painful... In more ways than one.

Rating 4/5   Word Count 1060   Review this Chapter

Edward POV

“Oh. My. God,” I heard myself whisper, but I was hardly aware of what I was saying or doing as I subconsciously took a step towards Bella, my Bella.

A million different emotions crashed through my system when my eyes fell on her, and I saw Jasper wince from the couch. I listened to his diagnosis of what I was feeling - I certainly didn’t have a clue. Hurt, Jasper was thinking. Sadness. Anger. Mostly hurt.

And something else… Something that was so achingly similar to desire that I hated myself for it, for wanting her, like this.

“You hate it, don’t you?” Bella asked, her eyes still shut; they had been since the moment I’d turned around. I figured she didn’t want to see my expression. I honestly didn’t blame her.

I didn’t speak, only took the last few steps towards her, pausing directly in front of her, close enough that I could feel the reassuring warmth of her body, hear the heartbeat that I’d paced my breathing to so many times before…

She was stunning, of course. She always was. But this time, Alice had added her own touches to Bella’s natural beauty. I couldn’t say I approved. She was wearing a low-cut, pitch black dress that tied in a halter behind her neck and hit just above her knees; and most of the fabric was actually black lace, allowing some of her flawless skin to show through. I almost smiled to myself as I glanced at the knee high, matching lace stockings, envisioning how vehemently Bella must have protested to the entire outfit; she looked very unlike her normal, innocent self…

She looked…well…sexy. But I controlled my very human instinct at the moment with ease; the rest of her hurt me far too much for me to concentrate on the very natural, non-life-threatening way she appealed to me.

No. What really, really hurt was the way Alice had somehow enhanced Bella’s normally pale skin until she was white as a sheet… As pale as a vampire. Not to mention, her hot little dress - if it was even enough material to be considered a dress - was such a dark shade of black that it seemed like night had been woven in with the fabric; making the white of her skin stand out from the contrast.

The dress was beautiful. Bella was beautiful. And she looked far too much like what she’d always wanted - frozen, unchanging, never moving forward… She’d sacrifice it all for me, when I was hardly worthy of her in the first place.

Her earlier conversation with Alice made sense to me now - Bella had been worried about hurting me. She loved me far more than I’d ever deserve; and I knew it would hurt her to see me upset. Carefully, I wrapped my arms around Bella’s waist, burying my face in her neck so I could hide my expression.

“You look beautiful,” I whispered in her ear, miraculously keeping my voice from breaking. It was true. Horribly true.

“You outshine me,” she accused teasingly, her arms twisting up and loosely wrapping around my neck; not like she normally did. Usually, she’d be closer than close, tighter than tight… But she was being careful now, like I was the human. Like she could hurt me.

“Impossible,” I said quietly. After all, she was convincingly posing as a vampire for Halloween; her beauty was far superior to any mere mortal.

“You’re not mad?” She asked in a small, almost scared voice. I rolled my eyes internally - trust Bella to be afraid of my reaction to her Halloween costume. She should have been terrified of me for other reasons; but she never had been.

“’Course not,” I assured her. It wasn’t entirely true. But I couldn’t exactly be mad at my Bella - it was hardly her fault, anyways. Plus, I was starting to get over the pain of her paler than pale skin, alabaster, matching mine. It didn’t hurt so much when I was holding her in my arms, when her heartbeat was fast under her skin, proving that blood still flowed through her veins, that she was human. I could deal with anything else as long as I had that assurance.

“You haven’t seen the worst of it,” Bella muttered into my shirt. I pulled back to look at her, trying to understand what she meant.

“What do you mean?” I asked, looking her up and down, trying to see anything that could be offensive besides her unnatural pallor - unnatural even for her. And then my gaze was back on her face, and I realized that her eyes were still squeezed shut. “Bella?” I asked when she didn’t respond.

Shyly, and ever so slowly, she opened her eyes, raising her gaze to meet mine -

Oh. The breath rushed out of me, like I was human and I’d been hit hard in the chest. I couldn’t breathe. My first reaction was to try and fit three days into the four hours that Bella had been completely at Alice’s mercy, desperately scrambling to deny or at least understand what I was looking at.

“Edward?” Bella asked, her voice concerned, her eyes piercing into mine, questioning… I couldn’t tare my gaze away, but her voice calmed me down enough that I could be rational.

Her eyes were a rich, golden butterscotch, boring into mine with an intensity that didn’t allow me much space for thinking; her eyes occupied nearly all of my available brain cells.

“They’re color contacts,” Bella said gently when I still didn’t speak, lowering her gaze, her thick, curly lashes partially obscuring the eyes she was so obviously scared of letting me see for too long a period of time. “You know Alice; she insisted on going all out. I can take them out if you find them…offensive,” she whispered, pain of her own coloring her tone though she tried to hide it. “They’re not that comfortable, anyways.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” I said, and her eyes raised unwillingly to mine again.

“You sure?”

“Absolutely,” I told her with half a smile.

Alice cheered like she was attending a sporting event and Bella had just scored the game-winning touchdown. “I told you he’d get over himself, Bella,” she grinned hugely, then rushed over to where Jasper sat on the couch, pulling him up. “Your turn, Jazz!” She said cheerfully. Jasper groaned. Despite myself, I joined Bella when she laughed.