Paved With Good Intentions
If you loved someone, how much would you be willing to sacrifice? Bella makes the most difficult decision of her life; now she has to live with the consequences. A Bella/Edward story.
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1371 Review this Chapter
I wasn’t surprised to find Charlie waiting up for me when I returned home. Edward looked at the light shining through the front windows, an amused smile flitting across his lips. Pressing a gentle kiss to my hair, he murmured, “Don’t be long.” The next moment found me standing alone on my front porch.
Sighing, I walked into the house. “Hi, Dad. You’re up pretty late, aren’t you?”
The look he gave me was pure Charlie Swan: one part sheepish and two parts pure stubborn. I really do take after my dad. “There was a game on TV. Plus, I wanted to make sure you got home all right.” He eyed the stuffed lion. “Apparently you had a good time.”
“Yeah, Dad. We had a great time.” I wasn’t about to discuss the less enjoyable parts of the evening with him. “I’m going to bed; I’m pretty tired.” Lately I seemed to spend so much of my time shutting him out, slipping away even as he tried to hold me close. I hated it, but it came with the territory. Feeling a sudden burst of remorse, I slipped my arm around his shoulder and gave him a quick hug before making my way upstairs.
Edward was sitting in the rocking chair when I walked into my room. We were settled into our routine by this point; he waited patiently while I showered and got ready for bed. As always, when I returned to my room he wrapped blankets around me like I was a child. There wasn’t an easy answer to the temperature difference between us. He started to lie down beside me, but I shook my head and pointed at his shirt. “Off.” I blushed as I said it, but tonight’s events had left me feeling reckless.
His eyes were laughing. “Demanding, are we?” Elegant hands reached up and undid the top button of his shirt.
I could have sworn the temperature in the room went up at least a degree. There was a thought. If I could get enough clothes off of Edward, maybe I wouldn’t need any blankets at all. “We’ve been practicing, Edward.”
“I realize that, Bella.” The laughter had made its way to his voice now. Skilled fingers slowly loosened the second and third buttons.
The sight of his pale white flesh stole my breath, but I refused to be distracted. “And last night, we practiced until we were able to get that shirt all the way off.”
“Technically, it wasn’t this shirt. I have been known to do laundry, you realize.” His hands stopped at the fourth button.
I had reached my limit. Sitting up, I pulled my arms free from my blanket cocoon and finished unbuttoning the shirt myself. “I don’t care which shirt it is, and I really don’t know why we’re discussing laundry at this particular moment in time. All I know is that from now on, when you climb into my bed, you will not be wearing a shirt!” As I finished speaking, I slid the offending article from his shoulders, my hands glorying in the cold, hard strength of his body. I ran my fingers over his chest, stopping only when I reached the line of darker hair that led to his navel. I wasn’t breathing at all now, and neither was he.
His eyes, dark with hunger and need, met mine. “As the lady wishes,” he whispered, and the word resonated through me, making me flinch.
Wish. Echoing as his arms imprisoned me and his hands stroked my back through my thin T-shirt. Wish. Echoing as my hands slipped upward to helplessly rest against the tethered strength of his shoulders. Wish. Echoing as he bent his silken head to mine and ran his lips along the trembling pulse in my neck. Echoing, haunting, accusing, until I closed my mind in defiance and fell back on my bed, my all too willing accomplice following me eagerly.
His control was in short supply tonight, his eyes as they met mine tinged with the same defiance I felt in my own soul. We were so tired. It was exhausting, always trying to be good, always following the rules, waiting for the universe to give us a chance. All we wanted to do was be in love. We had already sacrificed so much, suffered so much. Why couldn’t this one thing be easy? Why did we have to make choices, and why were the things we wanted not necessarily what was best for us?
…What would you say if I told you that I could grant you a wish…
Angrily I pushed the thought away, closing my eyes as I arched my body beneath his. His lips were tracing my collarbone, and his hands stroked me in a way that made my covering of blankets feel like the thinnest barrier of silk. I ran my fingers through his hair and down the corded muscles of his back. We flew past every stage we had reached with our previous, tentative “practices”, and we were racing toward something I couldn’t even fathom. “Edward,” I whispered.
He moaned and pressed me further into the bed. His hands were on my shoulders, my arms, the gentle slope of my waist. His lips trailed upward from my collarbone, to the soft indentation above it, to the tender skin of my neck. I whimpered, and the softest graze of razor sharp teeth burned a path that could only end in blood.
In an instant he was across the room, fingers digging into the windowsill until I was surprised the wood didn’t crumble to dust in his hands. He faced away from me, every muscle straining as he denied himself what was his instinctual right. “Bella,” he murmured, his voice rough with longing. “Forgive me.”
I pulled myself up on the bed, wrapping my arms tightly around my knees and willing my heart rate to slow. “There’s nothing to forgive,” I whispered.
He groaned, the most heartbreaking sound I had ever heard him make. “How can you say that? Do you know…” his voice trailed off as he stared out the window. When he spoke again, I could barely hear him. “I haven’t been this close in a long time.” His voice broke as he bowed his head. “Please forgive me.”
I closed my eyes, unable to bear the anguish I saw in his trembling frame. “Only if you’ll forgive me,” I replied softly. When he made a noise of protest, I continued, “There were two of us in this bed, Edward.”
“There still are,” he replied, and I felt the mattress give slightly as he returned to sit on the very edge. When I opened my eyes, I gasped at the passion and bitter sorrow I saw on his face. “Do you know what I would give to be with you? To love you as a human man, instead of this monster who only pretends to be what he is not?”
“You’re not a monster,” I said fiercely. “I love you.”
“And I love you.” His voice was tortured. “That’s why I can’t bear to hurt you.”
“You won’t,” I replied. “Edward, you know you need to hunt. You only held off because you wanted to go to the carnival with me tonight, and we should have had enough sense to keep things under control. We didn’t, and that was a mistake, but it’s okay now.”
“It will never be okay,” he growled.
I reached out slowly, giving him the chance to pull away. He didn’t move, and finally my hand rested gently on top of his. “Go hunt. Jasper and Emmett are waiting for you; they won’t mind getting an early start. I’ll be here when you get back.” I could feel his hesitation; I pressed my hand gently against his. “Go.”
Finally he moved, bringing my fingers to his lips for a gentle kiss before resting his cheek against the back of my hand. We sat like this for what seemed an eternity, the only sound the rise and fall of my breathing. His eyes held mine, and the burning depth of love I saw there wrote his name on my soul.
Then he was gone.
I couldn’t sleep. I stayed in the same position I’d been in when he left, staring into the night sky as I thought a thousand unimaginable thoughts.