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A Litany at Dusk

Summary:
Thanks to hellacullen for the awesome banner! Edward’s rebellious period wasn't just a few years; it lasted seventy. Having spent his years hunting on the edges of society, he rejoins his family in Forks ready to abstain when he runs acorss a young woman praying. Can a choice be made between one's desires, one's heart and one's soul? Will Edward be willing to fight for her instead of fighting against her? A/U a bit OOC, rated for lemons and adult content, some violence


Notes:
Thanks to PTB for their assistance and to hellacullen, who is the wind beneath my wings! Her consistent and intelligent commentary, suggestions and cheerleading were incredible and I wish everyone a beta like hellacullen. I own nothing of Twilight. Let's see who could be the owner? Possibly SM?


18. Chapter 18 Pouring Gas on the Fire

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2760   Review this Chapter

Edward

Gradually, slowly, Isabella was awakening the humanity in me. The seed she had planted at our first meeting in the church had taken hold in the barren soil of my existence, and having pushed its rooted tendrils into my cold heart, was cracking it open like willow roots taking apart a granite boulder. Arrogant in my solitude, I had always thought of my heart as a stone. Unknown to me, my heart had been a geode, cold and gray on the outside, but crack it open and expose it to Isabella's light, and crystals of something rare and unexpected began to glitter. I could feel a change coming over me, a change I had longed for but thought impossible, and I was almost dizzy with the metamorphosis going on inside me.

Oh God, I ached for her. Not the least of all things awakening was my sexual desire, which had lay dormant for so long. The heat that poured off her was incredible. I wanted to dive into it, like diving into the face of the sun to be burned into nothingness by the nuclear incandescence. She would surround me and consume me and—I ran my hand through my hair. Alright, Edward, enough with the flowery language. Just admit it, you want to fuck the bejeezus out of her. At least that’s what my body was insisting, and I smiled to myself; the sentiment was more in tune with these times of blunt language and crass thoughts. Because it was true. Although it was just one of several things I wanted from her, it was certainly a good place to start. I wanted her breasts in my hands, to explore the mystery between her legs, to make her come as she rode me.

There were a thousand things I could imagine myself doing to her and her doing to me, and the images danced in my mind unrelentingly as I headed back to Forks. Finally, unable to stand the straining, throbbing erection any longer, I had pulled over to the side of the road and taken care of myself. Although it eliminated the immediate discomfort, it was a pale shadow of the pleasure I imagined lying within Isabella's arms. The way she had melted into my arms as we kissed convinced me that she was longing for the same connection.

It had never been like this with Tanya, never. She’d approached sex and lust with the same glee as a professional gambler at a card table. She’d initiated me and taught me some instructive techniques, but love and romance, no. For her, sex was a pleasurable pastime, worth doing well but hardly earth-shattering. Listening to her thoughts when we had made love for the first time had been almost anti-climatic. I had hoped that there could be—there had to be more.

Now with Isabella, I could see that sex could be so much more than miscellaneous body parts rubbing together. That shared ecstasy could be ecstasy squared. I wanted to give her that. I could feel the passion rising between us. I wanted the intimacy of bodies laid bare, so that all else would be laid bare as well. If I was to have no access her mind, I wanted to know her in every other way possible.

She hadn’t known how right I was when I told her I would be asking for everything: her love, her human life, even her soul. I understood more than ever when Carlisle had said making another vampire was the most selfish thing he had ever done. However, I couldn’t dwell on the size of the sin I was contemplating; it was easily the most monstrous thing I would ever do in my long and sordid life. But if someone so pure, so full of God’s light, could love me, then I would believe that redemption was possible for even the darkest of creatures.

Her scent, though, was starting to drive me mad; I was still stumbling for a way to handle it. Our kiss had sent my muscles into spasms, trying to fight the urge to let my lips trail down her jaw line and to the side of her neck where I could hear the blood racing through her veins. I knew I’d better come up with a plan and soon. Damn, I swore to myself. Why did I have to stumble across her here? Why now? If God was indeed watching, He had to be highly amused.

I started the CD player, letting the Clash’s retro punk fill the car, replaying in my mind how she had looked singing along with it. Yes, my heart was opening, for a seemingly ordinary girl of most uncommon grace.

Arriving in Forks, I drove around town for a while, seeing the different places and imagining Isabella in each one, picturing her as a young girl. I drove by the high school, wondering what kind of a student she had been and what it would have been like to be in the same class as her. I might have sat beside her in class, eaten lunch in the cafeteria with her and walked her to class. I would have held her hand and asked her to the prom. Isabella's youth and untarnished optimism were salves to my stained and broken psyche, and I could imagine myself coming to her in the same state of grace as she was now. I let myself dream in this vein for a while before I put those thoughts away. That avenue had been closed to me for decades now. Perhaps it was just as well. It had taken a lifetime of wallowing in the mud to know a true diamond when I came across one. I would not allow her to escape me.

I pulled into the one all-night gas station in town, thinking to fill the car up before returning it to Jasper. It was quiet this early in the morning; dawn had yet to break, and I jumped out of the car, dispensing with my contacts since I would be using the pump’s card reader. I ran my card through the reader and was holding the nozzle as the numbers whirled. A car pulled up along the other side of the island, its muffler rumbling. I didn't have to look to know it was full of teenage boys; their minds were boisterous and rowdy, full of images of sports, girls and video games, as was so often the case with young men these days. I chuckled to myself as they told each other to stash the beers they were holding. It wasn't until the driver got out of the car and approached the pumps that I felt his instant alarm when he caught my scent.

I whirled around and we stared at each other, mere feet apart. His eyes were black, his skin a dark golden brown, and he had short, black, straight hair that bristled from his scalp like a porcupine’s needles. I could tell by his smell he was a Quileute and a shape shifter, to boot. It had been a long time since I’d sensed that particular scent. They were among the rare group of mortals who knew of vampires, but having a supernatural existence themselves, had been considered exempt from the edict of our secret presence.

More immediately though, chances were good that one of them was either Isabella’s ex or knew of him, and I was instantly annoyed. I wanted to erase any trace of history of Isabella with anyone but myself, and now here were these boys that may have known Isabella, even played cards with her. It might have been fun to take some of the frustration I was feeling out on them, but I had no wish to create problems for my family with their neighbors. The boy outside the car growled to those inside, and they all jumped out of the car, their eyes flashing, dark looks promising violence on their faces. I was sure I held the same promise on mine, but I put the fueling hose back in its place, listening to their minds as the five of them came around the pumps to form a semi-circle around me while I screwed the gas cap back into place.

They were all shape shifters, I saw in their minds. Unfortunate to have to run into them here, this land was neutral territory but ruled by Carlisle’s treaty with Ephraim Black. If they wanted to mix it up, I’d be willing, but not here in the lands bound by the treaty.

They were young and arrogant and ruled by their own testosterone. They came popping out of the car, like so many jack-in-the boxes, eager to defend ‘their’ territory. None of them recognized me for a Cullen. Oh, but their minds were full of hate, the names they were calling me in their heads almost stereotypically funny.

The obvious leader, a few years older than the others, powerfully built with thick dark hair, stood directly in front of me. I snapped the fuel tank door shut and turned slowly around, smiling. They’d be so terribly disappointed when they found out there would be no rumble tonight.

“You’ve stumbled into the wrong place, bloodsucker,” the eldest hissed. From the minds of the others, I gathered his name was Paul. He was not their pack leader, but he outranked the rest of them.

“Oh, now, Paul, I don’t think so,” I taunted. Feeling their confusion that I knew his name, I searched among their minds. Only Paul and two others, Jared and Quil, had seen action with vampires; their eyes were hard and alert, aware of the danger. The other two, Brady and Collin, were excited and scared. I was the first vampire other than my family they’d encountered, and they were eager to use their new skills. I looked over at them. “I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not who you think I am.”

Jared stepped forward. "We know exactly what you are, leech. You call yourselves vampires, but we know parasites when we see them."

Collin seemed especially belligerent and eager to prove himself in front of the others. “Yeah, if you think you can come on our territory, you'd better—"

Paul cut him off with a raised hand. He was deadly serious. “These lands are protected. We kill those who come hunting on our lands.”

I leaned back against the car and crossed my arms. “And what of the treaty, dog? Will you break the word of Ephraim Black?”

Surprise rippled through them. I was actually having a good time, playing with them. Paul's eyes narrowed. “What do you know of the treaty?”

“I am a Cullen. I was there when it was signed. Where were you, mongrel?" I didn't have to be a mind reader to see the confusion and consternation I was causing. This was almost too much fun. And it was certainly a nice outlet for the frustration I'd been feeling. "Oh, that's right. Your grandfather hadn't been born yet."

The one called Quil spoke up. "There is no hunting. We kill bloodsuckers where they stand."

“I have not hunted on your lands, or anywhere bound by the agreement," I said calmly. “The treaty has not been broken on my side." They had as much at stake in keeping their supernatural powers secret as we did. "We are not the only creatures with something to lose if our natures become known," I reminded him, looking back at the store, where I knew the clerk inside was watching.

Paul was reviewing in his head a conversation with his pack leader. Carlisle had told him that there was another Cullen who had returned and was now staying with the family. Collin, meanwhile, was more than a little drunk and reckless. "We don't care, leech. We have ways to deal with you!" he shouted.

I ignored him, as did Paul, who was trying to assess the truthfulness of what I said. His eyes flicked to the car I was leaning against.

"You recognize Jasper's Camaro. Sweet ride. Of course," I said, smirking, looking over at the fourteen-year-old Rabbit they'd ridden up in, "it's no Volkswagon."

Brady was trembling, staring at me with his eyes glowing and his hands clenched at his side, trying to hold onto his human shape. Paul yelled sharply at him. "Brady, keep control or leave."

I saw Brady look away and take a deep breath, trying to control himself. "Fucking bloodsucker," I heard Quil mutter under his breath.

I looked at Paul who mimicked my stance of arms crossed. "Puppies," I said, shaking my head in mock sympathy, "I hope they're housebroken."

With that, Collin let out a roar and came at me. He was surprisingly quick enough to grab a handful of my shirt before I stiff-armed him away. He went flying backwards into Brady, and the two of them crashed against the gas pump, but not before he'd ripped off the patch pocket of my shirt. They stumbled backwards almost comically and wound up in a tangle on the ground. I looked down at myself; my shirt was ruined. Now I was starting to feel angry, and a growl erupted from my chest. It was met in kind by Jared, who took a step closer, his mind yelling ‘demon’ at me.

“Come any closer, wolf, and you’ll be tangling with the devil himself,” I hissed at him. He stopped where he was, but his eyes continued to throw daggers at me.

Paul stood in front of Collin and Brady, standing in their way as they pulled themselves upright, ready to spring at me again.” You two. In the car. Now."

The two of them picked themselves up, Collin still holding the scrap of fabric from my shirt in his fist. His face was hard and resentful. "Next time," he promised me as he and Brady got into their car.

"Next time I won't be gentle," I said, making a promise of my own. I turned back to Paul. "You know they have leash laws in this town," I said, examining my shirt.

"Don't push it, Cullen," he warned. "The color of your eyes tells me all I need to know."

I still hadn't gotten the information I wanted from them. I looked back at the convenience store abutting the pumps islands. "I'm sure Chief Swan would be interested in any trouble you want to start."

"I'll be watching you," he promised, ignoring my comment and starting to back towards his car, motioning with his head for the other two to follow.

"Chief Swan and his beautiful daughter, I should add." There it was, the image in their minds I'd been looking for. Paul did his best to remain poker-faced, but I got the distinct picture of Isabella with a Quileute and the name Jacob. There were some mixed feelings there about Jacob and Bella, some nebulous emotions that I would liked to have explored, but his mind was already moving on.

I got in the Camaro and let the tires squeal as I peeled out of the gas station. A small, petty gesture, but it held a small bit of satisfaction. It was more than the Quileutes were getting.

The house was quiet when I returned to it. The media room and the living room were empty; everyone was in their respective bedrooms. It never used to bother me; I'd found ways to shut my mind to the others' bedroom activities. I guess I'd been like a six-year-old where all sexual innuendo flew over my head, but tonight was terribly different. My own state of semi-arousal from just being in Isabella's presence was making me all raw nerves, and the hormones of the seventeen-year-old body I was trapped in were flooding me and destroying my equilibrium.

I sat down at the piano, trying the intricate pacing of Salonen's Piano Concerto, but the images kept breaking through: Alice's head thrown back, the feel of a cupped breast in Jasper's hand, Emmett's eyes closed in pleasure, Rosalie mounting him cowgirl, Esme's golden eyes, smiling. Like pornographic snapshots, they kept breaking through the walls I usually managed to keep around myself. Finally, it became too much, the images flooding my mind until I felt like I was watching three X-rated movies at once. I fled from the house to take solace in the woods, promising myself that it wouldn't be long before I, too, would have the satisfaction of a lover.