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Dreaming I'm Alive

Summary:
After a speedy wedding, Edward & Bella return to find the Volturi on their way. Edward insists on running but when a man claiming to have a cure for vampirism shows up with an assassin on his tail, the lives of the Cullens are thrown into chaos. Meanwhile, Charlie struggles with the existence of vampires and having to let his daughter go. Bella learns about her real past and the question of why Edward can't hear her thoughts is answered once and for all.


Notes:
All smut has now been removed. Rated PG-13 for violence and minorly confusing plots. Every chapter is dedicated to a different Muse song.


5. Bliss

Rating 0/5   Word Count 5686   Review this Chapter

Charlie descended the stairs just as I fell to the floor. Edward caught me before my knees could hit the ground.

“Bells, you okay?” my father asked. I smiled up at him but the smile was forced and soon overtaken by the strength of my tears.

Edward lifted me up into his arms and into my bedroom. When he set me down, he stared at his hand like it was not his own. “My strength is going,” he whispered, contemplating his fingers. Charlie looked on both of us from the doorway. He had on the look he gets just as his courage reaches a new zenith, just when he decides to stand up for himself. I smirked at it and wiped at my tears.

As soon as I saw my room, my door now back in place, my smile came more naturally. Even my bed felt wonderful. Edward sat on the edge and waited, staring at his hand. We’d only come by for new clothes. I’d be spending the night at the Cullens where no one could hear me scream in the night.

“Since Mom’s gone home, we won’t be staying,” I told him as Edward ran his hand through my hair, smiling as if every sensation were new.

Charlie nodded in understand but he still looked like he’d swallowed a raw lemon. “Was all that true? About a cure?”

Edward and I both answered, “Yes.”

“You have to bite her?”

I shook my head quickly. “No, biting could kill me. He drinks my blood, yea.” Charlie gulped, disgusted. “I know it sounds wrong but it’s not.”

“What happens if he can’t stop himself?”

Edward looked down at me then answered, “I’ll stop. I would never hurt her. That’s a promise.”

“But what if you do, huh? What if she dies?”

“Then I’d die with her!” Edward snapped. I’d never seen him angry towards Charlie. Never. It must be a sign my blood was taking effect.

I let a moment of tempestuous staring pass and told him, “He’s right, Dad. Too much of my blood is poisonous to vampires. Besides, he thought he’d hurt me once and nearly killed himself. You may say whatever you want about his hair, his clothes, the whole blood-sucking thing but you will never, in my presence, even suggest that Edward is anything but the most selfless creature alive.”

I sat up in the bed and stared him down. “Where will you go?” he whispered.

I took Edward’s hand and set it on my lap. I stared at it as I answered, “Tonight, the Cullens’. Tomorrow, the world.”

He nodded in understanding but I could see him hurting again. He’d be alone. Just as I thought he’d retreat, Edward tensed up beside me and Charlie asked, “Edward, may I speak with you in the kitchen?”

“Dad, he already knows what you’re going to say--”

“Bella, no. I’ll go down.”

I watched him go, knowing he had to face this battle alone. I packed and waited about a half hour, sitting on my window sill and staring out into the forests. It was raining. How I’d missed the rain.

“Bella?” Edward called from the bottom of the stairs. “It’s time to go!”

His voice seemed steady. I ran down the stairs and slipped on the last step, right into his arms. He laughed, which I took as a good sign and we headed for the door, passing Charlie in the kitchen. He was putting back a bottle of half-drunk whiskey.

In the car, I kissed Edward just to taste the liquor. There was none. “What’d you two talk about, if you don’t my asking?” I asked honestly.

“He just had some rules, some questions.”

“He wanted to know if I had plans. Where we were going to live, whether we wanted children, how often we were going to visit, where I’d work, whether the rest of the family was coming with us…”

I didn’t have the answers to any of those things myself so I didn’t see how he could have answered. “What did you say?”

He smirked at me and turned on the car. Soon, we were in front of the Cullens’ house. From the driveway, I could hear music playing and ran with Edward to the front door. The garage was open and Rosalie was tinkering over the hood of a lime green Lamborghini with Emmett. They waved to us as we went inside. Even Rosalie seemed considerably happy to see me.

Alice was dancing with two veils in a way I’d only seen in movies about ancient harems. Jasper was looking through Edward’s CDs for something better. Their eyes were bright gold. No doubt they’d fed as soon as they returned.

“Hello everybody!” I called. They all turned to me and smiled. I tried to smile back but Jake’s words were going through my mind still, the image of his face. Esme noticed it right away but she didn’t say anything.

Esme and Carlisle were both discussing a line in a book on the kitchen counter. It looked like a recipe book but I couldn’t be sure. Edward went to spirit away my bags upstairs but Carlisle called him back down before he could reach the top of the stairs.

“What is it?” I asked. They sat us both down in the living room and gathered for the reveal. Jasper called in Emmett and Rosalie, who were covered in grease and instructed to stay off the furniture. “Seriously, guys. You’re scaring me.”

Suddenly, Edward laughed beside me and I jumped. He leaned back, crossed his legs, and put his arm around my shoulders.

“That’s not fair! Not all of us can read minds!” I said.

Alice giggled. She jumped up and down and looked to Carlisle who seemed to insist he be the one to say it. They all waited on him.

“Well…” he began. “We all know how much newlywed couples need their privacy, especially human ones, so…”

“So…” I urged him on.

It was Edward who finished. “They’ve bought us a house,” he said bluntly, waiting with everyone else for a response from me.

I slipped back on the couch and stared blankly out into the house with wide-open eyes. A million thoughts ran through my head. Would the house be big or small? Would there be a yard? Would it be on some hut on a deserted island or a castle in Scotland? Two floors or one or six?

Edward, who clearly saw I was too speechless to ask these questions let alone breathe, clarified some for me from what he gathered in their minds. “It’s right here in town. We can stay in Forks, near Charlie. It’s a small house in a quiet neighborhood… It’s perfect, Bell.”

I gulped and walked up to Carlisle and wrapped my arms around him. I thought to deny the gift but I couldn’t do that, not to my family. It was too perfect.

“I don’t know what I did some lifetime ago to deserve you, all of you, but I--”

“We know, Bella,” he answered, patting my back.

“Oh, how I wish I could cry,” said Esme with a sigh. I laughed and back off Carlisle. “We should have known the day you walked into our lives that you’d be everything to us.”

Edward cleared his throat. “Excuse me,” he said, pointing at himself. “Some of us did know.”

“And! And!” Alice added, running upstairs and back in a manner of seconds. She held a long, thin envelope in her hands. “One more surprise!”

“Well, that one I knew about,” Edward added, coming to stand behind me. He rested his chin on my shoulder and his hands on my waist as I read.

“Two tickets to… Spain?”

“We have a castle there,” he added.

Esme hurried around the house but couldn’t find a tissue and apologized. I laughed and hugged her. Emmett offered me his dirty rag from the car but Carlisle scoffed and handed me a white handkerchief from his study. They looked at him strangely for having it though with his many years, I was sure he had a little bit of everything hidden away.

“Enough crying!” Edward demanded. “You’ve cried enough tonight. Let’s go see the house.”

I eyed my family one more time, still in shock. Edward picked me up into his arms, to the car. I waved goodbye again through the window. I saw only shadows from inside but I knew they were seeing us off and wishing us well.

--

Edward made me close my eyes before we turned the block. I tried to peek but he was too quick and placed his hand over them.

“Fine, fine,” I gave in.

I felt the car stop and he opened the door for me. His cold hand pulled me up and led me slowly up a stone path. I could see light in the distance. Then, he hand left me and I stood blind in the night air.

“Edward?” I called. No one answered, so I opened my eyes.

Before me was a small house, just like he promised. Two floors, with a large balcony. Behind me was the forest so we could cut right across to the Cullen house. The door was white like the house itself. I ran up to it and the porch light turned on.

“Edward!” I called again, walking inside. The interior was entirely hardwood floors except for the carpeted stairway on my right. Beyond it was the dining room with a large dark wood table and a china cabinet against the back wall. The living room was to the left of the staircase and was currently empty. A million book titles popped into my head to fill them.

A wind blew the door closed but I knew it was Edward. He was playing with me. I supposed I should let him enjoy it while he still had his great speed. When I turned back to the bookshelf, it was no longer empty. In the middle of the middle stack was the collection he’d bought for me that day in Port Angeles. I ran my fingers over the spines and smiled. They were so like my Edward.

I heard a knock upstairs and ran to find him. “Edward!” I called one last time. “Stop playing with me! Where are you?”

Upstairs was a hallway of doors. Four bedrooms that I saw. At the end, the door was left open and the golden light called me in. It was the master bedroom. A soft piano piece was playing in the distance.

The walls were a combination of striped wallpaper and white. We’d have to repaint but I didn’t mind it. Décor was never one of my strong points. I’d leave it to Alice later on. There were bookshelves on the wall before the bed as well. On my right was a large window that faced the backyard below. It was large, for children to run.

I laughed and covered my mouth. I was silly to be thinking of children so soon. Edward wasn’t even human yet.

The water turned on in the bathroom behind me and I spun to find Edward sitting on the edge of a large white tub, fiddling with the handles. “Tell me if this is cool enough,” he said calmly, his hand gliding the surface of the water.

I shook my head and extended a hand out for him. He shut off the water and came slowly towards me. This time, he smirked, fearless. He took my hand and my waist and swayed me from side to side.

“Edward, you know I can’t dance,” I warned. Surely enough, I quickly stepped on his foot. He didn’t notice so I put both feet atop his and let him carry me through the song. It ended and on came Claire de Lune. He spun me about and soon, I was in our new bed.

“You’re going to be the death of me, Bella Swan,” he whispered. I knew it was a joke but I didn’t care. I wanted him to kiss me the way he had the night before. I wanted to wake up to pancakes and family again. I was in total bliss.

My shirt was soon off and my bandage was free to breathe. He pulled back the patch and I winced. “We need a knife,” I reminded him. He nodded and walked downstairs. He was in no hurry to cause me pain again. I sighed in wait and stared up at the ceiling as I undid my bra and pulled off my jeans.

When he got back up, I was waiting for him atop the red silk sheets. My heart caved in when I saw him. I didn’t think I could fall more in love with him but with the possibility of his humanity closer to coming true every night, I couldn’t help it. I smiled so brightly, even he was taken aback.

“What is it?” he asked, crawling into bed and straddling me.

I shook my head. “Nothing.”

“Liar,” he joked, remembering to get the alcohol from the bathroom kit.

He came back and lied down beside me. I shuddered so he covered us with the red sheets and went back to straddling me in bed. He left the knife on the pillow beside my head and went to run his chilly hands up my stomach towards my chest and onto my arms, pinning me to the bed as he kissed my neck. I arched my back by instinct. He was so cold. By now, he knew not to stop. The cold had become a shock to my senses, all of them.

I had so many questions to ask but they all died away as his lips drew nearer to the old wound. I reached for the knife and set it over my heart yet again, an inch below the last one. My eyes set on his. I nodded the go-ahead and we slashed open my skin again.

This time, he stared at it for a moment before going to drink from me again. This time, I didn’t scream. I knew the pain was coming and I waited for the plateau, the numbness. Only this time, the final step was replaced with arousal. My heart never slowed back down.

He drank and he stopped of his own accord. He smiled down at me and I wiped away a smear of blood on his bottom lip. I went for the alcohol but he stopped me.

“No need,” he said.

“Are you sure?”

He nodded and kissed me. I could taste myself in his kiss and pulled away. He got startled and started to sit up. “Wait. Just give me a moment!”

There was no way I was letting him stop now. I wanted every inch of him. I wanted him in me, his weight upon me. I wanted to smell like him for days. I never wanted it to stop.

“Just a moment,” I whispered. He understood when I wiped at my mouth. Instead, his hand caressed my cheek. I didn’t get the surge of cold and instantly I knew something was wrong. He saw it in my face.

“What is it? Are you hurt?”

I shook my head. “Edward, your hands are warmer.”

He brought them to his face but he couldn’t feel them the way I could. He gasped all of a sudden. “It’s going up my arms,” he said. “The warmth…”

He laughed, truly laughed. I didn’t care about the blood. I hooked onto his neck and brought his lips back onto mine. I threw the knife off the bed and spun him around so I’d be on top. He looked surprised but I just wanted to celebrate. I had every reason to be happy and too few to think about just then.

I drew close, nose to nose, and whispered as seductively as I could manage, “I want your hands all over my body.”

He smirked and did as I asked.

--

When I woke up, Edward stared at me lovingly. “It’s creepy when you do that, you know,” I teased.

“I know,” he answered, pushing the same lose strand as always back behind my ear. “Good morning.”

“Good morning.”

“You talked a lot in your sleep, you know.”

I played coy. “What about?”

He suddenly turned sour and never answered. Last night had ended in the bathtub for me. I looked down at us. I was in my pale blue pajamas but I didn’t remember how I got into them. I must have been exhausted. When I went to sit up, my back hurt and I tried to remember what part of the night before had been responsible. Ah, that. I remembered and set it aside in my mind.

When I got out of the bathroom, I led him downstairs to the kitchen. “Come on,” I insisted. “Human Lesson Number Two.”

“What was Number One?” he asked.

“Halfway through last night.”

“Ah,” he said with a single nod. “What’s this then?”

“Cooking 101.”

He laughed. “It’s silly to even try until I can regain my taste for food.”

I shrugged and opened the refrigerator. It was completely empty. “Yea, maybe you’re right. How ‘bout this! Shopping 101!” He groaned. I scoffed. “Typical guy.”

He took it as a compliment.

When we got back from the market, the phone started ringing the moment we walked in the door. Alice no doubt, I thought. Edward answered as I started to unpack the food. Surely enough, it was her.

Edward was smiling so it had to be good news. Then, for the first time in my life, I saw him blush. It was just the smallest hint of color but I couldn’t help stop and stare. When he hung up, he caught me.

“What does Alice say?” I snuck in before he could ask me what I was looking at.

“She said Angela heard you were back in town, married, and was going to pass by here later today. So, be ready for the questions.”

I squinted at him. There was something he hadn’t told me, something that had made him blush. He didn’t know I could read him as easily as he read me.

“No, she said something else.”

He chuckled nervously. “Uh, she congratulated us on last night. Actually, she congratulated certain parts. Don’t worry. I told her to get a life.”

I hadn’t realized she’d be watching! My eyes opened wide. “Oh crap.”

“Don’t worry. She won’t do it again. I’ll know.” It didn’t sooth my worries at all so he quickly changed the subject. “Hey, do you think we’ll lose our abilities when we turn back? I know Oliver still had his but do you think they’ll fade to the way they were back then?”

“No, you keep them. As far as I know. It’s all new now.”

He groaned loudly like a petulant child. I imagine he was exaggerating as a joke. “Does that mean I have to start going by Eddie now?”

I burst out laughing. “God, no. Never. No!”

--

Angela knocked on my door around three in the afternoon. She was in a sporty suit which meant she was off to work soon. She’d gotten a job as secretary with Charlie’s office, or so Edward had told me from Alice.

He’d left to get some more of my things and his from the houses. I stayed to cook and unpack. Tonight, I’d see if he wanted to try some food.

As soon as I opened the door, Angela jumped to hug me and we nearly fell back to the floor. I held the doorknob and that seemed to keep us upright.

“I am so glad to see you!” she mumbled loudly into my hair. “I can’t believe you got married!”

I closed the door and pushed her off me. “Come on in, Ang.”

I led her to the living room. “My god, Bella. This place is beautiful.”

“A gift from the Cullens,” I answered. “Where are my manners? Want something to drink?”

She shook her head no. “Are you kidding me? No! I want details!”

I laughed and sat across from her. Her childlike face stunned me. I wondered if this was how I looked to Edward, like someone who knew very little of life. After all, he had more than a hundred years worth of experience. I was tied with Angela.

“Where to begin?”

“The wedding, duh!”

I told her about Port Angeles and the books, even pointed to them behind her head. She didn’t get what was so special about them. I could tell by her false smile when she held them. They were just old books to her. Then I told her about the false honeymoon to Chicago.

“Why Chicago?”

“Edward was born there. We visited his old house. Mostly, we spent it on the road.” It was as close to the truth as I could get.

“Well… how was the honeymoon?” I pretended I didn’t know what she was talking about. She got tired and burst out, “The sex, woman! How was the sex?”

“Uh… good?” I answered. It was a lie. It was beyond good, beyond astronomically good. She looked annoyed and went to abandon the question when Edward came through the door carrying some boxes of books.

“Hey you,” I greeted sweetly.

Angela stood up and offered, “Hi, Edward! Do you need any help with those?”

He smiled. “No, I’m fine. Thank you. It’s nice to see you again, Angela,” he answered politely, going up the stairs like the boxes were nothing. “Make yourself at home!”

“Don’t worry. He’s strong as an ox,” I guaranteed.

“He doesn’t look it.”

I repeated in a sterner voice, “Trust me. He’s just fine.” She took it as an answer to her sex question and who was I to deny it? “We’re still unpacking.”

“Well, you haven’t missed much. Nothing changes around here. Well, there was that animal they caught last night but that’s about it.”

My eyes shot up to her then up the stairs to Edward. “What sort of animal?”

She looked frightened of me so I calmed down and leaned back into the seat. I had no reason to suspect werewolves. “Just a tiger I think, from the zoo.”

I sighed but my heart still ran a mile a minute.

“So…” She smiled. “Have you two thought about children yet?”

I heard Edward come down the stairs again. “Uh… Uh…”

He sat down beside me and answered for me, “We don’t know yet. There’s a chance we can’t.” She made a noise of inquisitive pity. “I was really sick like a hundred years ago. We’re just going to have to wait and see. How are things with you and Ben?”

I smiled at his craftiness. It was exactly what she wanted to hear. “Oh we’re fine! Off to college soon.”

“You’re going together? That’s great. We were going to Dartmouth but I think we’re going to postpone it for a year,” he said. I didn’t even think about Dartmouth. Now that I wasn’t going to be a vampire, it meant rethinking every plan in my head. I had no desire whatsoever to go to Dartmouth right now and Edward seemed to feel the same. After all, he’d gone through college so many times he lost track and I didn’t care about any of that. I just wanted to be with him.

Angela had to leave for work. I told her to watch over Charlie for me. After she went, Edward headed for the door again, the keys in his hands.

“Going back?”

“Well yea. Do you have any idea how much stuff we have collectively? I thought you needed a little rescuing but I should really get back to it.”

I laughed and kissed him goodbye. Five minutes after he left, a knock came at the door and I imagined he’d forgotten something. I opened the door without even looking and froze when I saw him in the doorway.

Jacob.

“Hi,” he whispered. I stood staring up at him, caught between anger and joy. “Look, I just want to apologize.”

I knew it wasn’t smart but he meant too much to me to let him leave angry. The pain was clear on his face. He leaned both arms on the doorway and towered over me. I sighed and stepped aside, praying Edward didn’t come back yet.

He looked around and quickly said, “Wow. The guy sure knows how to live in style.”

“We’re comfortable.”

He sat down where Angela had sat and leaned forward onto his knees. “Are you going to live here forever?”

I smiled. Forever didn’t mean much anymore. “For now, yea. I’m ten minutes from Charlie, five from the Cullens. Well, faster given how they drive. I bet I can get to La Push in under 20.”

He looked down at the floor and brought his fist to his mouth. “Bella, something’s happened. I didn’t mean for it to happen but I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t hide my thoughts from them--”

“Jake, you’re scaring me.”

“The pack found out he’s been biting you and they want to recede the treaty. They want to attack.”

“WHAT?” I shouted. I looked to the door. “Are they attacking right now? Are you just the distraction?”

“No! No! They want to talk to Carlisle first. They’re going over there right now.”

I covered my mouth with my hand and headed for the door. “You brought the car?”

“Yea,” he answered dubiously.

“Good. You’re my ride.”

“Bella, I’m not going to take you into the middle of a possible brawl.”

I stormed my way to him and, despite how much I loved him, I grasped the collar of his leather jacket and pulled him down to me. “Listen and listen very carefully. That is my husband over there and he’s not as powerful as he used to be. If you love me, you’ll help me save him.”

He stared at me for a moment, his dark eyes pensive and caught between two horrid realities. On the one hand, he could help me and get me killed. On the other, should something happen to Edward, he’d lose me forever to another man. He must have figured he could protect me and soon, we were on our way to the Cullens’.

I saw Edward’s new car parked outside and ran to it. Jacob got out and ran after me. He stopped me in front of the door, taking both my arms to calm me. “Bella! You don’t know what you could be walking into! It could be a massacre!”

The door opened and Edward cleared his throat. “What’s going on here?” he asked, staring at both of us.

I pulled away and held his face in my hands. “The treaty’s being questioned. The pack could be here any second,” I told him quickly, a little out of breath. My chest hurt over my heart. I didn’t know if it was the wounds or the adrenaline but my heart was going a mile a minute.

I put my hand over the bandage but Edward’s eyes focused on Jacob. “He’s telling the truth,” he determined and stepped aside.

“Everyone!” I called. “Come down! The werewolves are coming! We need to do something!”

“Don’t worry,” Edward said in a calm voice. It only made me more furious. “Carlisle and Jasper will deal with it.”

“You’ll stay with me, then?” I asked, my hand flying from my heart to his. The others had come from the forest and the garages and gathered around us, all staring at Jacob.

Edward nodded. He knew maybe better than I the dangers of a human among “the dogs.” He could not risk a fight with them.

Jacob was allowed to sit at the head of the dining room to tell what the pack planned to do. “I don’t know if we can kill you… if we should… when all you’re trying to do is be human.”

I smiled across the table at Jacob. He smiled back. “Stop it,” Edward growled.

I looked up at him, who stood behind my chair with his hand on my shoulder. “What is it?”

“Memories.”

I looked back to Jacob, who did not seem ashamed. “What memories?” I asked.

Edward and Jacob’s eyes were fixed on one another’s, two hunters. “You’re both in a garage fixing a motorcycle, in his car, at the movies… STOP IT!” Edward shouted. Jacob stood up. His height was formidable but Edward was not scared.

My hand flew up to his on my shoulder. I hated to hear him shout. Jacob still showed no apology. He saw the ring on my finger and his brow relaxed, as did Edward’s grip on my arm.

Carlisle didn’t waste any time. He and Jasper looked at each other and with just a nod, they both ran out like two blond blurs into the forest towards La Push. “I should go after them,” Jacob whispered, bending down to kiss me on the cheek. I heard Edward growl but it didn’t matter. Before I could say a thing, Jacob was out the door and driving away.

I went to wrap myself around Edward but he pushed me away brusquely. “You smell like dog,” he said coldly but his face softened and he took me home while we waited for news.

--

“Edward, will you talk to me?” I asked him finally around seven o’clock that night. I had taken a shower and eaten dinner alone while he paced by the phone.

“Of course, love,” he said in his pajamas by the window. He didn’t look at me when he said it. It felt empty, but I let it go.

I realized I hadn’t turned on the television in weeks. Watching him pace back and forth, I became desperate for the Simpsons, Tom and Jerry… anything lively! I went to the box of books by the stairs but I’d read most of them. I saw the old Shakespeare books in the corner of my eye and brought them with me to bed. I’d read them all as well but if I could not have Edward in body, I’d have him in memory.

I turned to the third volume, the tragedies. The first was Othello. I figured there was as good a place as any to start. The beginning was lively enough, with enough raunchy jokes to make me laugh. Edward must have heard because halfway through the second act, he abandoned the phone by the living room and came up to bedroom.

At least, I heard him coming and then, he stopped in the hallway outside. Everything went quiet so I got out of bed to see what had happened. The door to one of the smaller bedrooms was open. I’d gone in today to make sure the windows weren’t open should it rain.

I hadn’t paid much attention to the room itself and I suppose neither had Edward because he spent a good five minutes staring into the empty room.

“Edward, what is it?” I asked. “Have they called?”

He shook his head. “Had you seen this room?”

“Yea, what about it?”

He looked to me and pulled me closer, his face emotionless. He put his arm around my shoulder and we walked inside. At first, I just saw the large window in the back. That was what had drawn my attention last I’d been inside. But he wasn’t looking at the window. He was looking at the walls.

And then I saw it.

“Edward?”

“Yea?” he whispered, pain in his voice.

“Come to bed?”

He nodded and walked out. I stayed for just a second and ran my hand over the teddy bear wallpaper, pale blue. Something warmed in my heart and it seemed like Edward’s new humanity made him warm to me as well.

When I walked back into our bedroom, he rested back in bed, the book in his hand. I crawled in beside him and rested my head on his chest. “What would we name him?” he asked.

I looked up at him. “I hadn’t thought about it. What if it’s a girl?”

He shrugged. “We’d have to redecorate.”

I smiled. I thought of his mother, of 1918 and the choice that brought him to me. “I’d name her Elizabeth,” I said softly. I couldn’t see his smile but I felt it when he kissed my hair. “Anthony if it’s a boy.”

“Well that’s hardly imaginative. I say we just let them pick for themselves.”

I laughed. “Yea, why not name them Barney and Dora right now and save them the trouble of choosing.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Barney the dinosaur and Dora the explorer? They’re cartoons for little kids… Oh, forget it.”

He laughed and I got the idea that he was just playing with me. I’d never know for sure. Around eight, the phone finally rang. It was Carlisle with good news. “The werewolves agreed to break the treaty on the condition that we all turn human.”

“And we can stay?” I asked, setting down my book. He’d been reading with me, over my head. He nodded and stroked my arm, still pensive. “Edward, what are you thinking? Edward?”

I got off his chest and turned onto my stomach so I could see his face. He stared at the books but he wasn’t reading. “Jacob’s gone,” he whispered.

I sat up quickly. “WHAT?”

“He’s disappeared. They say he’s gone as human so they can’t hear where he is.”

I felt myself break apart but despite my tears, I grasped Edward’s hand for support. I didn’t blame him. I couldn’t. I blamed myself and I blamed Jacob.

“He said he’d never leave me like you did,” I whispered into his chest. “He lied… He lied.”

--

I spent the night in Edward’s arms. Come midnight, I realized how much time had passed and reached into the bedside table for the knife. He shook his head when he saw it. “You’re in no state,” he said, going to stand from the bed. I held his arm and pushed him back down.

“It’s not just about us anymore, Edward,” I said, cutting above the first wound. I saw him tense as soon as the blood started to flow. He stared at me for a moment. “Well? Go on!”

“You’ve cut too deep,” he whispered. I looked down at the blood now staining my pajamas in bright red all down my front. “Relax! You don’t want it bleeding any faster!”

His eyes went dark but he ran to the bathroom for a towel while I fell onto my back, trying very hard to control my breathing. “I can’t even feel it!” I shouted, terrified but steady. “Just drink, Edward! Forget about the wound.”

He shook his head but stared at the bloody sheets with great hunger. I pulled him closer to me. “I could bleed you dry.”

“I don’t care! Drink!” He tried to pull away but I brought him to my chest and he couldn’t deny the thirst any longer. The wound started to burn before his lips even touched me. I threw back my head and closed my eyes, dreaming of the basinet I’d put in the room and all the baby clothes and mountains of diapers and…

And it all went dark.

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TO BE CONTINUED...

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