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A Second Chance at Love

Bella dismisses Edward when he returns in New Moon. She moved on with Jacob, and promised Edward that he would find happiness and love someday. With the letter she wrote him in hand, he believes her and moves on with his life, in search of his love. Forty years later, he and the rest of the Cullens re-enroll in High school. Two new students throw his world out of orbit and he’s faced with the reality of the promise Bella made him. AU after New Moon. Edward is a little OOC because he doesn’t want to repeat history, otherwise, canon couples with the exception of Edward of course. Note: Jacob was a werewolf, but Bella wasn’t necessarily all human herself. Rated NC-17 for language and content in later chapters. Yes there will be lemons but not at first.


5. Chapter 5. And now - number one - the larch. The larch

Rating 0/5   Word Count 9618   Review this Chapter

Arbie POV

“Oh bullocks!” I exclaim after switching off the television in a fit of anger.

“I know you’re angry when you use old British words. What’s up, sis?” Jeb asks, popping his head in from the garage.

“The sun’ll be out tomorrow,” I reply. “Which means no school.” He looks at me as if I’ve grown a third eye. I’d never complained about missing school due to good weather before. “Which means I won’t see Edward.”

“Oh,” he replies, understanding. “Well thank goodness for that lovely invention of text messaging that came out what… early 1990s? I think he’ll understand if you miss school. Tell him the dinner we ate didn’t agree with you or something. He’ll probably give you hell for not accepting their invitation to dinner, but that kind of adds to the story, no?”

“I concede to your brilliance o’ brother mine,” I say. With that thought I head to bed, debating exactly what to write in said text message to Edward. I decide that a text is better than a call, it’s hard to fake a sick voice that he’d be likely to believe, texting a lie is much easier.

I wake up in the morning and after a hot shower, a hearty breakfast and a few laps around the living room, pacing, I decide it’s an appropriate time to text Edward.

“Jeb and I are staying home from school today. Dinner didn’t agree with us. Call me later?”

I wait a few minutes for his response. “Feel better my dear. I will call as soon as school lets out. Want me to bring by soup and crackers after school? Esme’s recipe is a cure all.”

“That would be lovely. Thank you :-*”

“Anything. Anytime,” he replies. He seems to be as head over heels for me as I am for him. Well that’s a relief. Now all I have to do is work on appearing ill by the time school lets out. I remember a set of stage make up that uncle Shasta used to fool around with to make himself look less… “ghastly” is the appropriate term. I dab some of the purply gray junk under my eyes to make them appear shadowed as if I didn’t sleep well, and some white powder to make my face and neck look sickly pale. Jeb suggests I make myself physically ill to add to the idea that we and dinner did not get along well. I decide against that idea on grounds of grotesqueness alone.

I do decide to rinse my mouth thoroughly with mouthwash, which Edward, smart as he is, will likely think is due to me not wanting my breath to smell like vomit when he’s near. Jeb plans to sequester himself in his room, feigning the desire to be alone with his illness. Setting up a gazillion blankets and pillows on the couch and strategically placing a waste basket near my feet, I settle in for the next couple hours before Edward arrives. I pop in an old Cary Grant movie and wait patiently for my knight in bronze hair to arrive.

“The weather channel says it’s gonna be sunny all week,” Jeb says, coming downstairs momentarily.

“Yeah I know. I’m debating calling uncle Shasta. I don’t know how we can pull off missing that many days of school when we just got here.” Jeb gestures that I should indeed call uncle Shasta, so I do just that. He says not to worry, that a storm front will be moving in late Tuesday night, that will cover the skies for at least the next three days. “Thanks, Uncle Shasta. You’re the greatest.”

“Anything for my favorite niece,” he replies. “See you soon.”

A tentative knock at the door an hour later signals Edward’s arrival. “If that’s Edward, come on in,” I say, trying to sound sick. I push the button on the house security remote that unlocks the front door.

“If I were a burglar, you just invited me into your house,” he chides as he strides into the living room, seeing me bundled up on the couch like a burrito.

“Only if said burglar was named Edward,” I replied, sticking my tongue out. He has no idea that in order to enter my house, one has to be expressly invited in by name. He walks to my side and presses his lips to the top of my head. How sweet is he?

“How are you feeling?” he asks.

I shrug my shoulders in response. “Not as bad as earlier, but still not tip top shape,” I lie smoothly.

“Would you like some soup?” he asks, tentatively, worried probably that I won’t be able to keep it down. It would certainly be a test of his devotion if he were to stand by and hold my hair back while I retch into a waste basket.

“Yes, thank you,” I reply. “But first, a kiss if you don’t mind.” I rinsed with so much mouthwash, he can likely smell it from where he stands. He leans in slowly, a crooked smile playing on his lips.

“Your wish, my command,” he whispers as he presses his velvet lips against mine. My hands automatically find their way into his silky hair. I fight everything in me from pulling him into my lap. I have to remember he’s supposed to be getting me soup, not me mauling him on my couch. And I’m supposed to be sick, not mauling him. No mauling. Drat.

“I brought your assignments. If you think you’ll be out tomorrow too, I can bring your completed ones in tomorrow. Oh and Jasper made a copy of his notes from Ancient Civ. for you too.”

“Wow. You’re really pulling out all the stops aren’t you?”

“Esme sends her regards. Carlisle too. If you want him to examine you, he’d be glad to.” He completely ignored my statement.

“Oh that won’t be necessary, but pass on my gratitude?” I reply. He nods his assent and brings me a steaming bowl of soup with a sleeve of crackers that he slid out around the bowl on the plate beneath. “How fancy,” I joke as I take the soup. “Thank you, Edward. This really means a lot to me.”

“It’s what any good boyfriend would do,” he replies.

“Is that what you are?” He looks sheepish.

“Er, yeah. I guess I’d like to be. Even though that’s odd after only one date, right? I should be courting you a while before asking to be your boyfriend. And I should definitely not be kissing your or bringing you soup.” He looks like he’s about to have a fit.

“Edward, calm down,” I say, reaching out to bring him out of his rant. “Would you like to be my boyfriend?”

“Are you asking me?”

“It looks that way. The way you say. He talks as if he knows,” I reply, singing a line from a famous musical.

“Rodgers and Hammerstein?”

“Is that a yes?”

“You’re seriously asking me to be your boyfriend,” he states.

“Edward, we’re halfway through the 21st century. A girl is able to ask a boy if he wants to be her boyfriend.”

“But I mean, you want me to be your boyfriend? I mean you want me to be your boyfriend?”

“Yes, Edward. I do. Most definitely.” I take a sip of soup and let my eyes roll back into my head. Esme certainly knows her way around a kitchen. “This is delicious by the way.”

“Yes,” he states.

“Are you saying yes to the soup being tasty or yes to being my boyfriend?”


“What?” I am completely confused.

“Arbie, I would absolutely love to be your boyfriend,” he finally says. I smile widely and gesture for him to plant another kiss on my now broth warmed lips. He settles in next to me, keeping me company while I start yet another Cary Grant movie. I want nothing more than to crawl into his lap and kiss him fiercely, but since I’m supposed to be sick, I stay in my spot. Edward seems to notice the spike in my body temperature. “Are you well? Do you need me to escort you to ah… the… restroom?”

“I’m fine. Just a little flushed, I guess. I am wrapped up pretty tight in these blankets.” He takes the initiative to loosen one side of the blanket and sidle up next to me, pulling me partially over him to rest my head against his chest. The cool of his body cools my overheated skin right down to normal. Well, normal for me anyway.

Edward POV

“Arbie, can I ask you something?” I ask as she finishes up her monstrous bowl of soup. I hope she can keep it down. Her face looks sick, but she doesn’t seem very sick, unless she’s incredibly good at hiding it. Which wouldn’t surprise me. The slight nod of her head indicates I can indeed ask her something. My hand has been steadily stroking her silky tresses ever since I pulled her against my chest. “You mentioned something to me a while back about your parents disappearing, and your moms taking you in. I was wondering how much you knew about that.” She sits up and turns to look me in the eye.

“Well, I don’t know much other than what I told you. Mama Bree found us in an abandoned house. The door was pulled off its hinges, which indicated foul play. I don’t know if something was stolen, if our parents were taken or what happened. I just know that we never found anything when we tried to search for them years later. The only reason Bree knew our names is because they were painted on the wall above our cribs.

“She knew all too well the foster care system and didn’t want us to be put there. The odds of us being kept together were slim. So she did the only thing she could think of, and stole away with us in the night, and never looked back.”

“I don’t mean to offend, but that seems like something out of a fiction novel,” I reply.

“I know what you mean. It seems completely crazy, and I’ll admit, I’ve wondered many a time if my moms made up the story, but I believe them. And trust me, if I were able to stumble upon anything about where we came from, I’d be all over it, but we’ve scoured the globe for clues, and came up empty handed.”

“Well, if you’d ever like to go digging again, I’d be happy to offer any assistance I can,” I vow.

We spend the rest of the afternoon cuddled up on the couch. She never appears to be getting sick, so whatever was ailing her has passed. “You seem to be feeling better,” I say as she gets up to bring her empty dishes to the kitchen.

“Yeah, I was feeling pretty darn awful until you stepped through the door,” she said with a wink. “Forget Esme’s soup. You are the cure all.” She wraps her arms around my waist and looks up at me, expectant. I press my lips gently against hers. As per usual, her fingers find their way into my hair and tug gently as I beg for entrance into her glorious mouth. As our tongues dance together I think about what her tongue could do to other parts of my anatomy. Disgusted with myself, I pull away from her lips and throw myself against the cupboards.

“Did I hurt you?” she asks, suddenly looking incredibly concerned.

“No! Not at all I… I’m sorry. I’m just so used to having to control my… urges, that I forget that you appear to be a lot more durable than…”

“Than the chaste kisses girl?” she asks, finishing my sentence. I nod in reply. “I understand it might take you a while to get past that, which is why it’s a good thing that I’m endlessly patient.”

“It’s not just that it’s that… my mind wanders to inappropriate places.”

“Inappropriate like how?” she asks. I glance at her bashfully. “Edward, there’s no need to be shy around me. You can tell me anything. You know that right?”

“I’m learning that more and more every day.” I wait a moment before continuing. Can I really tell her anything? “When we were kissing, I was… imagining…” I trail off.

“Imagining what?” she presses.

“I was imagining… your tongue… ah… elsewhere.”

“Oh! That. Right. Well perhaps someday you’ll get to experience that… elsewhere,” she says closely to my ear whispering seductively. It takes every ounce of control I have not to throw her onto the kitchen table and have my wicked way with her.

“You’d really do that?” I ask, flabbergasted. I can’t imagine she’d actually be willing to put her tongue… on my… wow. No there’s no way she’s thinking the same thing that I am.

“Edward, when we get to the point in our relationship where we want to express our feelings for each other through physical acts, that is one of them that I will be more than willing to do.”

“I’m not entirely sure we’re talking about the same thing.”

“Fellatio?” she blurts. If my face could go red, I’d resemble a lobster right about now. She senses my distress. “Edward, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to concern you. I forget sometimes that you are apparently much more old fashioned than me.”

“But isn’t that act… ah… degrading?” I try to keep my mind from wandering to images of her mouth on my…. No! there’s no way she’d ever actually do that.

“I suppose one could look at it that way. But only if you were forcing me to do that. Or said something like, ‘I’ll break up with you if you don’t.’ But I know you won’t do that. And it will likely be something that I will be more than willing to do for you.”

“And if I return the favor?” Having smelled her arousal the other day, I can’t imagine what she’ll taste like. And I look forward to finding out.

“I’m sure will get along swimmingly in that department, Edward. But you’re the one who wanted to wait, so why the sex talk all of a sudden?”

“Ah, it’s just your body is so warm today, I imagine from the illness, and you kissed me so passionately, it sent my mind right into the gutter. For that I am very sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize for that Edward. My mind was there too, imagining your tongue ‘elsewhere’ as you put it.” I gawp at her as if she’s sprouted a second head. I have to keep reminding myself that she’s from an entirely different century than I am. A different millennium, at that. Jeb chooses that moment to stumble into the kitchen. He looks far sicker than Arbie has all day.

“Water,” he belches. I can’t be sure, but it seemed as though Arbie rolled her eyes at his dramatics. I had noticed that she hardly seemed ill at all, and like she’d taken the day off of school for some other reason. Maybe she needed to recuperate after spending nearly the entire weekend with me. But then why would she invite me over after school? Something was definitely up.

“Jeb, you look awful,” I say, playing along. “Did you fall ill worse than Arbie?”

“Probably. She always gets over illnesses faster than I do. It’s a gift or something.” She winks at me when I glance at her for a response. Women and their damn cryptic winking!

“Oh, hold that thought,” Arbie cries from behind her hand over her mouth and bolts for the bathroom. Slightly faster than a human, I note. I hear the tell tale sounds of Esme’s soup disagreeing with her, much in the way her dinner must have the night before. I ask Jeb what they ate, and he said she made fried chicken with mashed potatoes and corn. One of their staple meals. Maybe the chicken was bad. Maybe the chicken was purchased at the same grocer as Esme bought hers. That could be it. I’ll have to remember to put in a call to the market to find out if anyone else has complained about their chicken making them ill. Generally vampires can tell when a meat has gone bad, but when it’s masked with all those seasonings and mixed with other foods, it’s sometimes hard to tell. She comes back from the bathroom, her breath reeking of mouthwash. I’d almost rather have the scent of her vomit coming out of her mouth than that stuff. It stings the nostrils.

“I’m terribly sorry you had to witness that,” Arbie said, blushing in embarrassment. I give her a look that conveys that I don’t care. Add to that, I pull her in and kiss her hard. If that doesn’t tell her that I don’t care that masticated soup came back out of her stomach moments ago, then I don’t know what will.

“My parents are expecting me before dark, I’m afraid I must bid your leave,” I whisper into her hair.

“Okay. I’m guessing you know by my recent bout in the loo that I won’t be attending school tomorrow,” she replies. I decide to overlook her use of the word “loo” for the moment.

“Noted. I’ll take copious notes and bring any necessary assignments to you after school again. Okay?”

“Best. Boyfriend. Ever.” She kisses me fiercely again just as I’m on my way out the door.

Once I get home, Emmett all but pounces on me. “Am I to seriously believe that you endured an entire day wearing that caked on crap on your face only for Arbie to not even be at school? And am I also correct in my learning that you’re doing it again tomorrow?”

“She’s not well. She needs her assignments from school.”

“She’s as smart as us,” Emmett replies. “I highly doubt she needs you to pick up her assignments for her. It’s not like she can’t make up the work quickly.”

“But I offered to do just that, and she then called me the best boyfriend ever. Oh by the way, I’m officially her boyfriend.” I forgot that little detail momentarily.

“Eddie’s got a girlfriend! Eddie’s got a girlfriend,” he chants. Upstairs I can hear Alice singing a song involving trees and spelling out the word kissing. You can come in 20 minutes before you leave for school tomorrow for a reapplication of the sparkle concealer¸ she thinks to me.

I go up to my room to take a few minutes to finish my assignments for the next day, and to reminisce about my afternoon with the lovely Arbie. At first I wondered if she was feigning being sick, but she most definitely expelled that soup from her stomach into the commode. I both heard and smelled it. Vile smelling dreck, human food. How I wish I could have stayed by her side all night, holding her while she slept, holding her hair while she vomited. Helping her keep down crackers and club soda, which she vowed to eat first thing in the morning. I couldn’t have her being malnourished.

By Wednesday morning, an unexpected storm comes in, covering the sky with clouds once again. I greet Arbie in the parking lot at school, thankful that I don’t have to have that sparkle concealer caked on my body again. Invisible to the mortal eye, it still feels like I was dipped in a vat of mud. Any immortal would take one look at me and think, wtf? As Emmett would say. I’m not sure how public she wants our relationship to be, but as soon as that worry hits my head it disappears as she pulls me in for a passionate kiss. Right in the middle of the parking lot. In front of half the student body.

The collective “holy shit!” I hear from nearly every nearby human both aloud and in their thoughts is deafening. Seriously people, you’ve seen us wander the halls together every day since she started here, often hand in hand, as if you wouldn’t see us kiss eventually.

And as if she were reading my thoughts, Arbie chimes in. “Really people?” she turns away from me to address the onlookers. “Have you never seen two people kiss before? Get lives.” Everyone who heard her suddenly turns away, fearful for their lives. Arbie can be very intimidating when she wants to be. Extremely so, actually. I recall the moments when she put the Sharpe twins in their place. Those two are still quivering in their uggs whenever they catch sight of Arbie, and are steering clear of Jeb like there’s a 15 foot pole between them at all times. Jeb knows better than to cross his sister, so while he may disagree with her verbally attacking the two, he knows she’s right about them. Deep down. Somewhere. He knows she’s right about the “tarty slags.”

“Feeling better Arbie?” my sister Rosalie asks. I’m still baffled about her attachment to my girlfriend. She’s never shown even the smallest inkling of interest in a human before. But somehow Arbie has got her wrapped around her little finger. She’s got all of us wrapped around her. Jasper is ecstatic because he can’t smell her and therefore doesn’t want to kill her all the time. Emmett likes that she’s as into sports as he is, but yet still has a feminine air about her. Alice is joyous that she doesn’t seem to be as adverse to shopping as Bella was, and then I am just crazy about her. All encompassing, completely crazy about her.

“What a handsome statue I’m dating,” she says, pulling me out of my thoughts. I hadn’t realized I was standing completely still. “C’mon. we don’t want to be late for calc.” She yanks my arm, pulling me with her. I notice she actually pulled me rather than me having to physically allow her to manipulate my body. She is strong. Very strong.

“So Arbie,” Alice says, taking Arbie’s arm in hers on our way out of calc. “What say you to a shopping trip to NY this weekend?” Jasper catches us up from down the hall and wraps his arm around Arbie’s shoulders. Completely blocking my access to holding her hand.

“No, what say you to letting me take your car for a spin this weekend?” he asks.

“Here’s an idea,” Arbie says, shaking off Jasper’s arm and removing Alice’s hand from her elbow. She reaches forward and grabs my hand, making me smile hugely and get all warm and fuzzy inside. “How about we double?” Jasper and Alice look at her confused. “How about we all go to New York? The four of us, as a double date. And Jasper, I’ll let you drive. Part of the way.”

“Yay!” Alice squeals. “I’ll book a hotel tonight!”

“Don’t worry about that, Alice. I got the hotel,” Arbie replies. Alice frowns slightly. “Just trust me, okay?” Alice gets that faraway glazed over look in her eyes for a moment, while simultaneously blocking me from her thoughts by singing “lollipop” in her head. She must have seen something about the hotel, but wants to surprise me. Though, I can’t figure out why. Apparently seeing Arbie is getting easier and easier the more time we spend with her. It doesn’t go unnoticed by all of us that she didn’t ask if we needed Carlisle and Esme’s permission.

At lunch, Arbie sits at the table, looking at Rosalie wearily. “So I hear you’re going to the city this weekend,” Rosalie says, breaking the silence.

“Yeah, Alice wants to go shopping and Jasper wants to drive my car, so we’re doubling. Um, did you and Emmett want to go as well?” there she goes, always trying to please everyone.

“I love the city, but Emmett and I were just there before school started. Plus, Carlisle and Esme are going on a weekend trip. With you spiriting Alice, Jasper and HappyWard away for the weekend, we’ll have the house to ourselves. So, no thank you. We’re gonna stay home.” She finished with a wink. Arbie seemed satisfied that she hadn’t offended them by not inviting them right away. Emmett was literally drooling at the thought of having a silent house for a weekend with his “hot blonde” mate.

“HappyWard?” she asked me as we were leaving the lunch room for gym class.

“They like to replace the ‘Ed’ in my name with various adjectives. Until recently I’ve been known to them as ‘EmoWard,’” I explain.

“As in emotional? Like those kids who let their hair fall into their face and wear too much eyeliner?” She is eyeing my face as if trying to picture me with eyeliner on.

“The same. Though I’ve never done either of those things. And I presume, that now that I’m exuding happiness most of the time, Rosalie at the very least has changed the pseudonym.”

“I like that. HappyWard sounds a little silly, but I like that you’re not EmoWard anymore.” She pulls me in for a kiss before we part ways into our respective locker rooms.

The rest of the week passes with Arbie and Alice making plans for the weekend. Jasper and I nod and hum our affirmation of the three day excursion they’re planning in the city. Apparently we’ve all been excused from school Monday and can take an extra day for fun, as Alice said. Arbie mentioned that she had her uncle Shasta call on behalf of her parents to excuse her from school. I wonder still what it is about her parents that keeps them away from their children so often. Esme hates it when we’re separated for even more than a day or two. She’ll likely give us all gigantic goodbye hugs and even bigger welcome home ones.

“Are Emmett and Rosalie coming with you when you come over after school before we head out?” Arbie asks.

“Emmett was going to, to drop us off then drive the Porsche back home. Why?”

“Bring Rosalie along as well. I have a surprise for them, and they both need to be there.”

“You never give me surprises,” I pout.

“Just you wait and see PoutyWard,” she chides poking me in the chest with her index finger. She pokes hard enough that it should have broken her fingernail at the very least, but instead, I feel a slight scratch in my granite skin.

Back at home, Alice is stuffing the hatch of the Porsche with our travel bags. She knows full well that we’ll be returning with likely thrice what we’re bringing with. Which makes it nice that we’ll be riding in Arbie’s spacious Bentley. The trunk on that thing is huge, and will easily accommodate their purchases. I hope.

At precisely 3:30pm we arrive at Arbie’s home with Emmett and Rosalie in tow. I notice that Arbie’s car is in the driveway next to another vehicle that’s currently covered in a beige tarp. It’s parked in front of an empty garage stall. At least she knows to cover up those nice cars when they’re out in the elements, Rosalie thinks. At hearing our arrival, Arbie pops out the door with one small carry-on size bag. “That’s all you’re bringing?” Alice chides. “Let’s go up to your room and repack your things.” She grabs Arbie's arm and goes to lead her back in the house.

Arbie stops her dead and says, “Alice, we’re going shopping in New York City. I’m not bringing much because I know we’ll find a lot of stuff there.”

“You make a valid point,” Alice replies. “Alright. Are you ready to go?”

“Yep. All set. Rosalie. Emmett,” she calls out. They step out of the car and heads over to Arbie's side, a questioning expression on both of their faces. Arbie hands Rosalie a set of keys. “Have fun this weekend,” she says as she steps over to the covered car and removes the tarp in one graceful movement. She rolls it up quickly and stores it on a shelf in the garage stall this car must have once inhabited. My eyes travel back to the car and I realize that she’s given Rosalie the keys to a Bugatti Veyron.

“You’re… you’re letting… Bugatti… this is a Bugatti.” Rosalie has never had trouble speaking in all her years of immortality. And my mortal girlfriend has just rendered her nearly speechless. Emmett is staring at the car gob smacked.

“Feel free to pop the hood, but don’t modify anything. It’s got a full tank of gas, but should you need to fill ‘er up, come back here. She gestures to the empty garage stall where a legitimate 1950s gas station hub is set up. “It’s been retrofitted to fit the tank on that car, and it’s a higher grade than you can get at any gas station. Just don’t tell the government that we have our own gas supply at our house, and we’ll be all good.” She winks at Emmett just before tossing her bag in the trunk of her car and hopping in the driver’s seat. Jasper and I were carrying all of our bags to the car, but got completely sidetracked by my amazing girlfriend and her Bugatti. Shaking our heads simultaneously, we complete our task of packing the trunk. I slide in the passenger side while Jasper and Alice take up the back seat. “I’ll let you take over after about a half hour, Jasper, does that sound good?” he nods in response, still floored that not only does she truly own a Bugatti, but she’s letting Rosalie and Emmett drive it for the weekend, unsupervised.

“Did your parents approve you to let them drive that car?” he asks.

“No, but they don’t have to. It’s my car. Not theirs,” she replies. Taking my hand in hers just after putting the car in gear, she takes off down the driveway, leaving a still bamboozled McCarty couple standing in the driveway. Jasper is silent for the entire first half hour of the drive. Arbie’s car is silent and sleek, and moves gracefully between the lanes. We stop at a convenience store so we can switch drivers. She jogs inside to use the facilities and purchase a snack for herself. I hadn’t realized until she got back that she didn’t offer to get the rest of us anything. Not that we would have said yes, but it was almost as if she knew we would have said no, and saved herself the trouble of asking. Jasper and Alice don’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Yet again, they’re not privy to the minds of humans all day every day like I am. So they may not be quite as attuned to human hospitalities.

Arbie tosses Jasper the keys and requests that he keep it under a hundred. She’d been driving eighty five miles an hour thus far. Alice slides in besides Jasper, effectively switching places with us. She slides right up next to me and leans her head on my shoulder. “You should really put on your seatbelt,” I warn.

“Irrelevant,” she replies, as she adjusts to be more comfortable. I wrap an arm protectively around her waist. If she doesn’t let the seat belt protect her, she should at least let me take its job. Not that I doubt Jasper’s driving skills, but still. She can’t walk away from the car being wrapped around a tree. I think.

An hour and a half later, we arrive in New York City. Arbie indicates a valet parking area outside the Plaza Hotel. “Arbie, is this where you got reservations?” Alice asks, her face mirroring Rosalie’s when Arbie revealed the car.

“Not exactly,” Arbie replies. We get out of the car once the valets open the doors for us. One of them takes one look at Arbie and knows her face from somewhere.

“Welcome to the Plaza Hotel. Are you staying with us or visiting guests this evening?” he asks.

“Just park this car in lot 17a, would you, young man?” she requests, letting her eyes smolder at him as she passes him what looks to be several 100 dollar bills. It does not escape my attention that she legitimately just dazzled this young valet, much in the same way Bella once accused me of doing. Also, this valet must be at least 21, so compared to her, he’s not a young man. And what in the world is lot 17a?

She saunters past the doormen, nodding slightly at their greeting and smiling. We follow quietly behind her, realizing we’d left the bags in the car. One of the bellhops was packing them onto a cart, stumbling his way in the door behind us. Rookie, one of the doormen thought.

“Good evening, how may I be of service to you?” the concierge asks once Arbie reaches the desk.

“My companions and I would like to stay here for the weekend,” she begins. The concierge begins to punch buttons on her computer, about to say that they don’t have any rooms available. She’s already made it up in her mind that we’re just a bunch of kids trying to pull a prank. “The Presidential Suite please,” Arbie requests. This cements the concierge’s assumptions.

“I’m terribly sorry, but the Presidential Suite is not available. Especially not on such short notice. In fact, I regret to inform you that we do not have a single room available.”

“Oh I’m sure you can find something,” Arbie says as she passes what looks to be an American Express onyx card to the concierge, followed by a driver’s license. The concierge takes one look at the name on the license and freezes in place.

“Oh! Ms. Bentley! My apologies! I should have recognized you. I’m terribly sorry for my rudeness. Of course. The Presidential Suite? Yes, I believe we will be able to accommodate you there as the family who did request it for this weekend has yet to arrive, and check in ended…” she pauses to check her watch, “thirty seven seconds ago. “Rodrigo!” she hollers almost unprofessionally at the bumbling rookie bellhop. “Escort Ms. Bentley and her companions to the Presidential Suite,” she orders. She returns Arbie's credit card, ID and gives her a room key. “Enjoy your stay with us, and please do not hesitate to call me directly should you need anything.” The concierge passes Arbie a business card that has several phone numbers hand written on it. I notice one of them is her personal cell phone. It appears as though this woman has a crush on my girlfriend. Huh. Who’d a thought?

Once we’re alone in the suite, after Arbie handing the bellhop a hefty tip and telling him to hang in there, Alice practically attacks her. “Arbie Bentley, do you mean to tell me that you not only didn’t make a hotel reservation, but instead just waltzed into the PLAZA HOTEL like you owned the place, and manage to get the PRESIDENTIAL SUITE?!” by now Alice has climbed onto Arbie’s back and is basically screaming into her ear.

“Jasper,” Arbie addresses calmly. “Would you kindly peel your girlfriend off of my back?” Jasper giggles a few more seconds, feeding off of Alice’s excited mood, and gently removes her from Arbie’s back. “Now Alice. Need I remind you of who my family is?” Arbie asks, maintaining her tranquil demeanor. Alice is practically vibrating in Jasper’s arms. “El Ad Properties owns the Plaza Hotel. And if you were to look at who the major share holders of El Ad Properties, you would see Shasta Bentley. My uncle. That is how I did what I did.”

She walks away from Alice and heads towards what I presume will be her bedroom. She had the bellhop put my bags in there as well though. Not that we haven’t spent a night together before, but now there aren’t parents to supervise. She disappears with her bag into the cavernous bathroom without a word. I sit on the bed, to wait her return, not sure what’s going through her mind. Of course I’m not sure. Her mind is a silent as ever, but I can’t even get an inkling of what she’s thinking from the serene demeanor on her face. A half hour later, she emerges dressed in a very form fitting very sexy black dress. Her phone is in her hand and she’s speaking in French to what sounds like the host at Per Se. one of the most expensive restaurants in all of New York.

“Dinner?” she asks as she ends her phone call. “You can wear this,” she says as she opens the garment bag that Alice packed, holding a black suit. This must be what Alice saw. That Arbie and I would be going to dinner together. To Per Se.

“Alice?” she calls out. “I made reservations at Per Se for four. Can you and Jasper be ready in a half hour?” Alice hollers her affirmation from across the suite, which is much farther away than one might think. But this suite does take up nearly the entire floor.

“You look stunning,” I compliment once I’m capable of speech again. Which isn’t until after I’ve come out of the bathroom in the suit Alice packed. Arbie hands me my shoes and thanks me with a warm smile.

“You’re not so bad yourself, HandsomeWard.” I can sense a pattern in the making.

Precisely 30 minutes later, the four of us are standing at the elevator awaiting our departure. Rather than retrieving the car from the mysterious lot 17a, we are greeted by a limousine. Apparently sent to the hotel on the compliments of the host at Per Se. Apparently Arbie has a lot more brass in this town than I had ever imagined. She acts so laid back and almost small town like at home. But here in the city, she is every bit the debutant she was likely raised to be. It’s quite a contrast. A very alluring contrast. No one at school outside of our family knows that her surname is literally the Bentley car company. Let alone do they know that her family is anywhere near as wealthy as they are. Most of them assume that her daddy’s a doctor and that’s why she drives the car. They made the same assumption about our cars and they were spot on with that one, so they all figure the same about the Bentley family.

As she slides into the car, I become hyper aware of her proximity. And that dress. Dear god that dress. I’m very much aware of how much skin she is revealing, especially where the slit in her dress goes nearly up to her hip. Her entire bare leg is pressed against mine. Not that I’m complaining. Not that I’m mentioning that she has the entire other side of the car to stretch out on, and doesn’t need to be pressed up against me. Nope. I’ll be keeping my mouth shut on that one. I’m blatantly staring at her leg. Completely perfect. Like sculpted bronze from her shapely thigh down to her lithe ankle, and foot wrapped in sexy silver stilettos. And then my eyes shift to her bare back. Her entire back from the nape of her neck down to the small of her back, completely exposed. Every inch of her body is dripping with sexy. Just waiting for me to have a taste or ninety. Thousand. Times infinity.

Once we arrive at the restaurant we are greeted by the very same host who she spoke to so effortlessly in French not an hour before. He escorts us to their nicest table and insists that he will be waiting on us personally, despite his other hostly duties. He’s leaving that to his second in command.

Arbie orders a bottle of wine for the table, I notice that no one has checked our IDs. Not that they would in an establishment like this. And not likely with Arbie’s profile. She’s got to be the most subtle celebrity I’ve ever known. No one knows her face, except for a few people who may have met her once or twice. But everyone knows her name. When I looked her up online after learning her family heritage, nothing came up other than that she’s a member of the Bentley family. No photos, no age listed, no biographical information whatsoever. Much the same for her brother. It’s like her family has gone to great lengths to keep most of their identity hidden. But as soon as she flashes her name or ID at someone, they are willing to bend over backwards and upside down for her. I shiver to think of what’s going to happen on this shopping excursion she has planned with Alice tomorrow.

During the middle of dinner, Alice wonders if Arbie knows what we are. She deliberately ordered for us, stating that she knew the chef and what his specialties were. Everything that came to the table was in the smallest portions imaginable. Yet they each likely cost two hundred dollars a pop. Jasper even noted that it wasn’t too terrible going down. It reminded him of rat blood. That one time Emmett dared him to drink it. Blech. Emmett never got me to do it. Completely disgusting, but still somehow edible, Jasper thinks.

On our way back to the hotel, Jasper is having a hard time keeping his hands to himself, feeling the raw lust rolling off of me. I’m doing my best to reign it in, but Arbie is just so damned sexy. I can’t help it. it’s like she brings out the darkest part of the predator in me. I have no desire to bite her, at least not in any vampiric way, but I want to taste her every where. Touch her everywhere, and have her do the same to me. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the chef slipped some kind of aphrodisiac into our meals. In fact, all three of us notice that we don’t feel the need or desire to vomit the human food. Somehow whatever that chef made for us is digestible for vampires.

Once we’re in the room, Jasper and Alice disappear into their bedroom. Far enough away that any noises they make won’t be heard. Not by Arbie at least. I hope. I follow Arbie into our room, and as soon as I am through the door, she dashes behind me, closing it quickly and jumps into my arms, wrapping her legs around me. “I’ve been waiting all day to do this,” she says as she demands my lips with hers. I wrap my arms around her tightly, securing her warm body to mine. Her fingers knot in my hair, as I caress her back during our kiss. Before I realize it, I have backed up and am standing against the bed, my knees about to buckle. She adjusts her weight in my arms, and the friction she causes against certain parts of my body does make me lose my balance. I fall backwards onto the bed, with her now on top of me. Straddling me. Oh lord. Is what I think is about to happen actually about to happen? This has been a perfect night, that’s for damn sure.

She unbuttons my shirt, and begins peppering my torso with kisses. Digging her nails into my skin she slides the sleeves off my arms leaving me shirtless on the bed. Her kisses slow and become much more sensual. She places open mouth kisses along my neck and across my collar bone. “Oh Arbie,” escapes from my lips as her tongue peeks out and flicks my nipple. She kisses lower and lower until I can’t take it any more. I grab her by the waist and flip us over so now I’m hovering over her, kissing her deeply. Her legs wrap around my torso and her fingers are digging into my shoulder blades as I suck lightly on her neck and collarbone. “Oh God. Arbie,” I breathe. “I… I…”

“Tell me,” she whispers.

“I… I want…” I pant.

“Yes. Tell me what you want,” she says seductively into my ear. I nearly collapse on top of her as her breath tickles my neck.

“I want… you,” I say. “I want to make love to you,” I finally blurt. How is she going to take this? I pull away from her neck to look her in the eye. She’s smiling widely, her eyes practically sparkling.

“Yes,” she replies. I freeze. “I want that, too.”

“Really?” I ask, in complete disbelief.

“Yes, of course,” she says as she begins to undo the clasp on her shoes. I take over, placing her hands on my shoulders once again. She reaches up to my hair and begins to thread her fingers through it. I reach around her graceful neck to untie the straps of her dress, she sits up as I do this, and the fabric falls to her lap, revealing her plentiful bosom covered by a barely there purple lace bustier. Designed to have all the effects of a bra, but works with backless dresses. I listen to Alice way too much. Arbie lays back down to allow me to continue worshipping her with my eyes and hands.

The image I had conjured up of a shirtless Arbie does her absolutely no justice. She is absolutely stunning. I run my hands along her torso from neck to navel with a feather light touch. She shivers in response, which I can tell is a shiver of pleasure and not of being cold because as soon as the fabric of her dress has slid down to her hips, she covers my hands with her own, and gestures for me to push the fabric down her legs and let it fall in an ebony pile on the floor.

I do just that and she assists me in shimmying the silky dress down her glorious, endless legs. Then I notice that her barely there panties match her barely there bustier. I freeze again, in shock. “Why don’t you take a picture? It will last you longer,” she teases, bringing my gaze back up her torso, across her taut stomach, over her gorgeous breasts, her long neck, past her luscious lips, her cute nose and finally to the depths of her beautiful eyes. I’ve never wanted anything in my life more than I wanted to be connected with her on the most intimate level. I press myself against her, touching my bare torso to hers. The warmth of her skin against mine sets off a desire in me that I never knew I had. “Um, excuse me, Mr. Cullen, but you’re a little over dressed.”

“Oh yeah, pants,” I mumble, practically incoherently. She slides her fingers down my arms and across my stomach, latching on to my belt buckle. She slowly slides it off in one fluid motion and wraps it around my shoulders pulling me flush against her. Once again, I’m completely flabbergasted by her immense strength. Definitely inhuman. She hooks her toes into my belt loops and slowly pushes my pants off my hips. She stops mid way and gasps. Oh crap. I forgot to warn her.

“Commando, eh Cullen?” she says smiling. “I like.” I smile at her, no longer embarrassed as she pushes my pants off my ankles and they fall to the floor, leaving me completely nude, save for my socks. Which now I can feel her toes tugging at them and pushing them off my feet.

“Now you’re the one who’s overdressed,” I coo.

“Then do something about it,” she retorts. I feel myself brush against her thigh, feeling the warmth of her skin on mine without the barrier of clothing sets off a new fire in me. I grab the offensive purple lace, ripping it off her body and pressing my body against hers, feeling every curve mold to my stone form. “Oh god, Edward,” she cries feeling my erection rub against her wet core. “I want you,” she whispers through gritted teeth. “So bad.”

I can hardly contain myself. It’s all I can do not to thrust into her in one motion. But I know she’s a virgin and the first time is going to hurt enough as it is. There’s no sense tearing the poor girl apart in my frenzy. “Arbie. I’ve never wanted anything as bad as I want you,” I say back to her. “All of you. Mind body and soul,”

“Edward?” she calls, pulling me out of my stupor.

“Yes, Arbie?”

“I… I love you,” she whispers. My heart soars. Those three words were all that was standing between me and complete bliss. Well that and not being buried inside her. That will be utter bliss. “Make love to me,” she requests shyly. There’s no need to test whether or not she’s ready for me as I can already feel the heat and moisture pooling between her thighs. Not to mention the glorious scent of her arousal. If I had been standing, it would have knocked me to the ground when I first smelled it. More delicious than any blood I’ve ever smelled before. Maybe she’ll let me taste her there some day. But tonight, all I can think of to do is plunge into her, filling her completely, in every way possible.

I position myself at her entrance and begin to enter her, one centimeter at a time. “Oh Arbie. I love you,” I say as the warmth of her core engulfs me in the flames of her passion. “I love you so much.” I can feel her muscles clench around me, tightening in the most glorious way. She doesn’t even wince when I push past her barrier. If this were forty years ago, and her name was Bella, I never would have allowed our relationship to get this far. Merely for fear of hurting her and the fact that I was so stuck in my morals that I was terrified to lose my virginity out of wedlock. None of that applies anymore. Hardly anyone even gets married these days, let alone saves themselves for it. As far as I’m concerned, the bond we’re making right now in making love to each other, is stronger and more permanent than any ring and a piece of paper could ever be.

I feel her thighs tighten around my hips, her pelvis angling upwards giving me deeper access to her. The moan of pleasure she utters tells me that I’m doing something right here. “Arbie, this is amazing. You’re amazing,” I say as I feel the fires build in my center, waiting to explode out of me. My growls of passion erupt from my throat, rumbling loudly through the room. She seems to like the sound as she wraps herself more tightly around me, her teeth grazing along my neck.

“Oh God, Edwaaaaarrrd!!” she cries and bites down on my shoulder. She actually breaks my skin with her teeth! I can feel the venom seeping out of my wound, then I hear her swallow. Did she drink my venom? After a moment she releases me, I feel the skin of my shoulder knit itself back together. She’s still moaning her climax. I can feel her muscles clamping down around me, signaling her release. Her fingers dig into my back causing more pleasurable pain, which sends me over the edge and to my own release. I collapse on top of her, panting wildly, my breaths matching the rhythm of her heartbeats.

“You’re a biter,” I quip, giggling internally at the irony of that situation.

“Sorry,” she replies. “I didn’t mean to bite you so hard.”

She falls into a blissful sleep in my arms not long after. I lift her up and place her under the covers, sliding under them with her. I just lost my virginity. I just took hers. Well she gave it to me, it’s not like I just took it. That would be wrong. On so many levels. This girl is the most amazing thing to ever come into my life. In this moment, I know that whatever she is, and I know for a fact that it can’t be human, I don’t care. Maybe she’s a humanoid alien, or hey, maybe super heroes really do exist. Whatever it is, I am hers, forever. And she is mine, for as long as she’ll allow it. Though if she ever leaves me, I don’t know what I’ll do. Stop worrying, Jasper thinks from his room. I don’t have to be able to read her emotions to know she’s absolutely crazy about you. She’s got it bad. Almost as bad as you. She’s not going anywhere. Trust me, bro.

The next morning, she awakens to me pulling the drapes closed in the bedroom. The sun decided to peek out for a moment or two this morning, and I can’t have that. Alice confirms that the sun will be behind clouds once again in an hour when we plan to leave to go shopping. Or rather Alice and Arbie will go shopping and Jasper and I will be dutiful boyfriends by holding shopping bags, opening doors, and commenting on how lovely everything looks on them.

“Good morning, TigerWard,” Arbie greets. “Have a pleasant night?”

“Oh yes. Very much so. You?” I ask. She nods in agreement before slipping off the bed to patter into the bathroom. She emerges a few minutes later dressed stylishly in a purple sweater and grey slacks. Classy, sophisticated and fashionable all in one. I wonder if she’s going to breach the subject of what transpired last night, but she remains silent on that topic. A large part of me is wondering when she’s going to do me the honor of letting me ravage her like that again. I try and suppress that monster to be the gentlemanly affectionate boyfriend that she loves. That’s right. She loves me. She told me so. I should tell her again. In case she forgot.

The bell hop brings up an assortment of items for breakfast, and Arbie picks at it for a few minutes while we wait for Alice and Jasper to be ready. Alice drags Arbie out of the main room, practically by the hair. Demanding details I imagine. As if she doesn’t know exactly what happened last night.

“Emmett owes me 10 grand,” Jasper says as he enters the room.

“And a good morning to you too, brother mine.”

“He thought you’d still be PrudeWard and make Arbie wait. Looks like he was wrong!” Alice and Arbie emerge from the bedroom, Alice with a clearly frustrated look on her face. Apparently Arbie didn’t give her any details whatsoever.

We head out of the hotel on foot, ready to hit up every top designer in the City. Some of which even Alice has never been to. Elite places, where you have to have a last name like Bentley to be even considered to be let in the door. A few places even beg Arbie to let them take photos with her, or model their latest line. “Who knew that the Bentley heiress would be so gorgeous?” one particularly flamboyant designer stated.

“Sorry, I’m not a fan of photos. You may like my face in person, but I’m terribly un-photogenic,” she lies smoothly. She takes a lovely picture. There are a few of her and Jeb scattered on tables throughout their house. By Monday afternoon, Alice and Arbie have all but bought Manhattan’s designers out of stock. Somehow we manage to pack it all into the car, some of the bags having to accompany us in the back seat. Arbie concedes to letting Jasper drive all the way home, promising me a chance to drive to school tomorrow.

She dozes on my shoulder on the way home, awakening shortly before we arrive at her house. “Something’s not right,” she says as we pull up. I take a quick sniff and realize something is indeed off, but I can’t put my finger on it. She rushes inside the house and lets out a blood curdling scream. Forgetting about the human façade, I materialize next to her at vampire speed. She’s frozen in place staring at the wall. A large piece of what looks like papyrus has been stuck to the wall. Written in red ink that can only be Jeb’s blood, by the lack of scent, it says, “Bree~ You knew you’d never escape me. I have the boy. Bring me the girl before sundown tomorrow or he dies.”

“I’m calling the police,” I say.

“No!” Arbie cries, stopping me. “I’ll find him. I know how to find him.” She walks up to the wall, and sniffs at the blood. If I can’t smell it, she surely can’t. Can she? The next thing I know she’s out the door and into the woods. Running faster than any human can. Nearly as fast as me, in fact. I chase after her, calling her name, but she ignores me. Mile after mile she runs, following some kind of invisible trail. It could be the twin bond that she’s following. Many sets of twins have a kind of supernatural connection.

An hour later she stops dead in her tracks. I stop beside her, follow her gaze and meet a pair of eyes that I hadn’t seen in over 40 years.