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Twelve years ago Edward left Bella thinking she would be safe and happy away from the dangers of his world. She wasn't. How can he make it up to her?
Each chapter written from a different POV with some overlap as the same incident is seen from a different perspective. Some new characters of my own imagination.
You know, all the recognisable characters are not mine. They belong to Stephanie Meyer and I hope I've used them in the spirit in which she created them.
9. Edward - Knobbly Knees
Word Count 4133
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“It’s your turn next time” Bella said. I was sure that I could hear smug contentment permeating every word.
“I don’t know if my self control would allow for that.” I felt very satisfied that I had clearly brought great pleasure to Bella, but regretted the fact that I couldn’t be sure that I wouldn’t grab or crush a part of her unknowingly should I receive the same pleasure.
“I don’t believe that. I have always trusted your self control. I have always known that you have wanted to not hurt me physically so much that you never could. So next time, my pants stay on and everything of yours comes off” she sounded so sure.
How was it possible to feel ten feet tall at the same time as just ten inches? Bella’s pride and confidence in me overwhelmed me. My lack of confidence shattered me.
“I hurt you when I pushed you out of Jasper’s way on your birthday.”
“That was nothing. Your cold touch eased the pain, or it did until you absented yourself. I couldn’t tell you how many stitches I have had over the years through injuries sustained while falling over, down, or off something. I am accident prone.”
“I love you so much Bella and I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt you again.”
“Then make sure you don’t. Don’t hurt me by refusing me.”
“Are you sure you are not a witch? You have surely spellbound me.” I knew I would face torture under her hands, but if it made her feel better then it would be worth it.
I got off the bed and lifted Bella into my arms. She put her arms around me, snuggling her head into the crook of my neck and shoulder, sighing blissfully all the while. I carried her to the bathroom and asked what she needed.
“Ten minute steam, then power shower, hot turning gradually cooler” she sighed, this time not quite so blissfully.
I set her down and stripped the rest of my own clothes off. Once again I felt ten feet tall. Bella couldn’t keep her eyes away from my body. Trying to ignore everything except Bella’s need to relax her aching muscles I turned on the steam chamber and saw to her needs.
When she was dry, I left Bella alone to get dressed. I didn’t think I would be able to take much more. I was reminded of our Biology lessons when we first started to see each other and were shown some movie. The magnetic force that kept pulling us together, yet lighting us up with jolts of electricity was very powerful. I redressed in the bathroom.
Did I confess to Bella that I had planned to seduce her as part of my plan to show her that her scars, her age had no effect on my love for her? Perhaps it would be best to say nothing, let her assume it was spur of the moment? But I had promised to never lie to her. Did saying nothing constitute a lie? I hated moral dilemmas. There was never a clear cut answer. I decided to say nothing, unless Bella asked, or said something that suggested she thought it was spur of the moment. Then I would tell the truth.
“I’m decent again, you can come in now” I heard Bella’s quiet words.
I was worried that she now regretted what had happened between us. Had I taken one giant step forward only to discover that it had put me on the wrong road?
I went to pick Bella up to carry her through to her living room.
“Kitchen, I need to eat” she said in such a way that I instantly knew meant she was thinking about something and wondering how to ask me.
“Just ask what you want to ask Bella” I tried to sound normal, not worried.
“Okay. Will you stay with me at nights like you used to?” and Bella’s head dropped to her chest as she awaited my response.
I was so overcome with pleasure at the question that I didn’t reply as quickly as she expected.
“Of course I know it would be very boring for you, forget I asked.”
“No chance. I’m not forgetting you asked me that. Are you sure you wouldn’t mind me here every night, well nearly every night since I would have to go and hunt every so often? I promise I won’t be bored. I would feel so much better being able to see for myself that you were as comfortable as possible and getting all the rest you need. And if that wasn’t enough, another reason to stay is that Esme has me working on her latest renovation project and this is the perfect excuse to get out of doing the night shift for her.”
“You really don’t mind staying?” Even after all we had shared, Bella still needed reassurance.
“I promise you, I really want to stay with you for the nights.”
“Okay. So what’s Esme working on now?”
“Why don’t I take you and show you next Saturday? This one has been a bit of a challenge. We’re using salvage as much as possible, and, in the light of the shortage in fossil fuel, we’re building a power system that is self generating as much as possible – Rosalie did all the work there. She really is very clever at technical things. If she had been a human now, there is no doubt that Rosalie would have been an engineer.”
“Are you sure Esme wouldn’t mind me seeing the work in progress?”
“No, we all love to show off. Being vampires and having unlimited time on our hands can lead to occasional bouts of boredom. This project has provided us all with a bit of entertainment. I think we might impose similar restrictions on future work as well to make it more interesting. I’ll tell Esme I’m taking you in the afternoon, after you’ve taken your meds.”
“Why is this one different to usual?”
“Usually we buy the property before we renovate so it doesn’t matter how much we spend because we get the increase in value to the property, but this time we could only rent it so we are doing as much of the work as we can at zero or very low cost. The owner is going to get a big shock when he gets it back in five year’s time.”
“That’s why you couldn’t just go to the timber yard and buy the pine you were looking for.”
“You remembered. That pasta doesn’t look very tasty, is it?” The food Bella was eating was colourless and it smelled awful, and I wanted to steer the conversation away from the house.
“It’s one of my favourites. As long as I don’t look at it, that is” Bella said as she pulled a face because she had been staring into her food rather than look at me.
“Is there anything you need to do today?” I knew that she left our home the previous day to do some school work and I didn’t know if she had finished.
“There is actually, but I had decided yesterday that I was going to ask you to do it for me.”
I was so surprised that she had actually decided to ask me to do something for her. “What?”
“My bedding has to be changed and it takes me hours of painful manoeuvring to do it and I expect it would take you just seconds. So would you do that for me please?”
“Where do you keep the other set?”
“Ottoman at the foot of the bed.”
I left Bella where she was eating her nasty looking food and changed the bedding, putting the old set in the laundry. She was still eating when I returned.
“That would really have taken you hours?”
“Last week was one hour forty-two minutes, my quickest was just over an hour, but I was living in the warm south at the time.”
I was reminded yet again how much Bella needed someone to look after her. I only wish she could understand how much I needed to be that person.
We spent the day just talking, holding hands being a couple. The only difference was that I gazed at her adoringly, but she never saw because she never looked at my face. I told her about my move into computers.
“Jasper said it would better if we could change our data officially rather than rely on forged papers since more and more security work was done by computers. Since I wasn’t doing anything else and am the most mathematical of us, it was decided that I would study computers. It’s quite easy for me since they work on simple logic. It didn’t take me long to learn all I needed computer wise. It was the different strands of Government that I had to hack into that was more difficult. But it now means that we carry legitimate identification. I just have to remember to make sure that Carlisle’s medical degree is unlikely to be challenged by anyone. That means finding out details of all the others who were in his alleged class so that he can convince someone he was there even if they can’t remember him. He hasn’t had to use the knowledge yet but he says that it is better to be prepared and for it not to happen than to run into someone who was really in his alleged class and not be prepared to know the other students and lecturers.”
“Hmm. I remember how most things were easy for you, the only thing that wasn’t is tracking.” Bella’s words were starting to sound a little slurred.
“Come on, you need a nap. You were up early this morning. While you are sleeping I’ll go home and change and tell the family not to expect me until tomorrow morning and when I come back I’ll talk you into coming to Denali with us in a couple of week’s time.”
I got Bella settled in her bed then left through the kitchen window.
I found Alice to ask her to do me a big favour.
“Wonderful! I would love to. I think I should stock up so that they’re ready when you need them. I do love shopping.”
“Alice, please remember that Bella has to wear them so bear in mind that she has to like them and be comfortable in them.”
“Spoil sport” and she stuck her tongue out at me.
After I had showered and changed I went to the house to speak to Esme. I told her what I had said to Bella about the work on the house so far and that I had secured her agreement to coming to see it on Saturday afternoon.
“You are definitely improving on the tact and diplomacy front. Well done.”
“I’m returning to Bella’s now and won’t be leaving until tomorrow morning so you’ll have to re-arrange the work plan to take into account that I won’t be available during the night anymore.”
“That is good news. Anyway, we should be finished by Saturday except for the bathroom so your absence doesn’t really matter.”
Checking that no one was about to spot me, I quickly went back through Bella’s kitchen window. All was silent, she was still sleeping. That gave me the chance to sort out her laundry and check that nothing else needed doing. Being brought up in the age that I was, I had always hated that Esme insisted that we should all be able to look after ourselves and the house. I was now glad that I had been taught how to look after Bella.
I was putting the clean bedding in the ottoman when she began to stir.
“Hey, are you waking up now?” I asked as I went to kiss behind her ear.
“No, I’m having a very nice dream, thank you.”
“Is it something like this?” I asked as I trailed kisses all over her face.
“Hmm, very much like this.”
“Okay then, you carry on sleeping and enjoying your dream, and I’ll carry on enjoying myself too” and I went straight for the lips with a hunger that I knew she could not ignore.
“No fair, you know I could never resist when you kissed me.”
“I have to take advantage of every opportunity I get to persuade you of the benefits of living with me. Having someone who can do all the housework, in minutes, has got to be a good thing. Having someone to wake up to is also a good thing. And having someone who can carry you to the bathroom and make you a hot drink and snack while you have some human minutes has certainly got to be a good thing” I finished as I carried Bella to her bathroom.
“Show off” she muttered as I closed the door.
While Bella was occupied I prepared a drink and scrambled egg for her.
“Why do you think I should go with you to Denali? Don’t you think Irina will find it hard enough to hear about Laurent without me being there to rub it in?” Bella asked as she shuffled to the kitchen.
“Because you can tell Irina exactly why the pack had to take him down. I only wish it had been me who was there to do it. He said that he was going to stay out of the fight between us and James and Victoria, but he didn’t; and you are part of our family and they need to know and accept that.”
I was surprised that Bella’s only response was a grunt.
“Well? Are you coming with us or not?”
“I’ll think about it and let you know.” And with that I had to be satisfied.
“Why did you decide to be a teacher?” I didn’t know if that was a difficult question for Bella so I listened to her heart beat just in case.
“Because I couldn’t think of anything else I could do to earn my living. I didn’t think I had the imagination to be a writer, which would have been ideal. I did consider writing the truth about our relationship, except changing a few of the details, and trying to get it published as a work of fiction, but I thought I would come a bit of a cropper if I ever tried to write a sequel. I don’t have the aptitude for languages to do translations, I’ve never really got on with people so wouldn’t be able to do a job that required understanding what people want. The distance between pupil and teacher suits me. I love the subject I teach; and provided I prepare properly, I can do much of my teaching sitting down and don’t need to leave my room between every lesson.”
This time it was my turn to grunt in response to her words.
“What are you going to do with your time when you’ve finished the renovation project?”
Damn, it was one of those questions that I really didn’t want to answer yet. “I wish you hadn’t asked me that yet. I have arranged to commute to Anchorage to do a physiotherapy course.”
I looked at Bella to see how she was taking my declaration. Her heart was still normal. Her face was a mixture of chagrin, annoyance and pleasure.
I pushed my luck a bit further. “I’m hoping that you are going to let me be your Daphne Moon: with a few extras of course.”
I looked at Bella again to see how she was taking that declaration. Her heart was still normal. Her face was still a mixture of chagrin, annoyance and pleasure.
I decided not to push my luck any further and went to collect the timer to indicate that I was planning on working the muscles on her left hand. While I did that, I pondered the conundrum of how to get Bella to listen to music again.
Bella woke just after five, clearly in pain.
“What can I do?” I hope I hid my anxiety knowing it be of no benefit to either of us if she spent the next half hour trying to reassure me.
“Twenty minutes massage programme number four, ten minutes steam, hot shower. The more I groan during the massage, the better it is.”
I didn’t like to contradict her but how could it be good for her to be groaning when she was in pain? I was glad I didn’t ask.
“You know what this reminds me of?” I asked hoping she could hear the smile in my voice.
“Yes, and I just hope my downstairs neighbour is a heavy sleeper or the most non-gossipy person in the world because otherwise my reputation in this town is already shot. This feels so good.”
When the massage programme had ended I carried Bella to the steam chamber, hoping that not only was I helping her, but that Bella appreciated it rather than felt embarrassed.
While she was eating her breakfast I asked Bella why she slept in nightclothes.
“Habit, warmth, in case I need to call the paramedics, or there’s a fire, why?”
“Because it pains you to get into them and pains you to get out of them. Why bother? If you need to call the paramedics, or there’s a fire I can wrap you in a blanket quickly enough and if you need more warmth, then I can add a blanket or turn on your heat pad.”
Bella took so long to respond I started to worry that I had crossed some kind of line in her mind.
“Sounds reasonable, okay.”
It was seven o’clock when I got cross.
Bella insisted I leave her apartment and make sure that I wasn’t seen. That wasn’t the problem. It was when she said that I should return at eight like I had the previous week.
“No. You know it is better if I am here for you.”
“I prefer to be able to get home, rest, eat and do any school work before you arrive.”
“That’s fair enough then I’ll come at seven. Twelve hours without you Bella, that’s long enough.”
I could see she was going to argue the point, using the twelve years of absence as exhibit number one so I had to get in first.
“I’ve had to live without you for twelve years because I was an idiot, I don’t want to lose any more time because you’re being a bit of an idiot, no matter how much I deserve to.”
“Alright then. Seven o’clock it is. But not a second earlier mind.”
I kissed her, promised “Not a second before seven” and went home via the kitchen window again.
It was actually five after seven when I tapped on Bella’s door.
“Come in and then explain where the heck you’ve been for the past five minutes. Do you know what I’ve been thinking since you weren’t here exactly on seven?”
I knew Bella would be mortified if I let her know exactly how anxious she sounded. “That your neighbour was standing outside the main entrance and I couldn’t get in without her seeing?”
“The why didn’t you use the kitchen window? And what is that smell? It smells like gasoline.”
“I’ll remember for next time and it is gasoline. I didn’t think you would be able to smell it.”
“I’ve got a very good sense of smell for a human, remember.”
“So it’s not just blood then?”
“No. Get in the shower and get rid of the smell.”
I went in the shower, not liking to point out that the odour would still be in my clothes even after I was cleaned. If it made Bella feel like she was in control, then I would do it.
It was when I got out of the shower that I learned that Bella really was the one in control. My clothes were gone. In their place was a medium sized towel. I knew she was making a point, she had bigger towels. I walked into her bedroom full of trepidation.
“I should have left you a smaller towel” was her opening gambit. I dreaded what she would say next. “Come here and lie down, it’s your turn now.”
“Bella, I can’t. I could hurt you.”
“I’ll let you know if you do. Come here please.”
I walked slowly to where Bella was standing, trying desperately to think of an excuse that she would accept.
“On your front, to start off with” she said calmly as if she hadn’t a single doubt. Perhaps she hadn’t. Bella had always trusted my self control more than I had.
I decided it was time I trusted her judgement and I removed the towel, held it by my teeth and lay down on my front on her bed. I gripped my elbows and rested my head in the cradle of my arms, hoping that it would be my own body I crushed rather than Bella if I couldn’t maintain control. I closed my eyes waiting for the torture to begin.
“Don’t move unless I tell you” she ordered. “Do you know I’ve never seen your back before? It’s beautiful. One day I think I should like to see you naked in the sunlight. You would probably be safe from my attentions then since I would just be awe struck by your beauty” and I felt her fingers of her right hand gently trace the full length of my spine.
I heard the sound of Bella kneeling beside the bed. I knew I shouldn’t let her do it. It was bound to hurt her, but it was something she wanted to do and I had to trust her.
The brush of her lips and her hair trailed the same path that her fingers had. The softness of her breath was a balm. I tried to concentrate on listening to her heart beat. It was a little quick but still relatively strong.
I felt the tickle of one set of fingers on my inner thigh and the other set on my outer thigh, her hair and lips were following the path down the centre to my heel.
“I’ve never seen your feet before. They’re so smooth to the touch – stunning. Now turn over.”
Reluctantly I did as she bid.
Bella started at my toes and traced the three way path up my leg. She paused at my knee.
“It’s so not fair. You could at least have had knobbly knees” she complained as she kissed it to show she meant no real offence. Then she continued on her journey.
When she got to the top of my leg, she ignored the part of me that was straining and focussed her attention on the concave section of my pelvis.
“Bella, you’re killing me. Oh gosh that’s ... . How did you ... oohh?” I had never realised how sensitive that part of my body was. Of course no one had ever tested my body to discover its more sensitive areas before.
“Shshsh, it’s okay; I’ll be back” and she moved up my rock hard, in more ways than one, body.
My chest also responded to Bella’s touch, but it didn’t have the same shocking effect on me as my pelvis.
By this time I was dimly aware that I had shredded Bella’s towel and gauged two chunks from her headboard. I only hoped there was enough left to get me through the rest of her administrations.
My body had never felt as physically satisfied as it did when Bella lay on top of me and kissed me on my hungry, but grateful lips.
“Look at me” she said when she broke the kiss. It was with real trepidation that I complied and looked into her beautiful warm brown right eye. “I trusted you not to reject my flawed and badly scared body. I trusted you not to hurt me when your body was at one of its most vulnerable times control wise. I do not trust you not to leave me again when you deem it right.”
I lay there completely naked with the woman I loved more than my own existence fully clothed physically, but completely naked emotionally, and I wanted to cry.
My hands were shaking as I framed her beautiful face. I reached up to kiss her forehead. “And I cannot prove to you that I cannot leave you again. All I can do is ask you to give me one more day to not leave you, then another, and another.”
“I know” and as she rested her head on my chest, my arms wrapped around her.