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The Locket

Summary:
A chance encounter in her local coffee shop brings Bella's life to a grinding halt. Who is this stranger that knows things about her, she had only dreamed of ever finding out? How do they cope when they face a common enemy?


Notes:


7. Chapter 6: A Troll's Tale

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THE LOCKET

Chapter 6

”A Troll’s Tale”

~*~*~

They had set up camp for the night in the small, peaceful meadow.

She had been eager to get started and begin exploring this new world. Somehow she had not doubted a single word he’d said to her, when he explained his reason for showing her this little piece of heaven hidden in the dense forest.

But he had been exhausted. His muscles were still aching, and he knew without a doubt, that if they met ‘resistance’ of any kind, he wouldn’t be able to fight back.

And while he considered himself somewhat self-centred and pretentious, he found the reasoning for wanting to be better prepared for their upcoming journey to be in favour of the fragile young girl he had brought here.

So after a lengthy discussion she had allowed him to leave the meadow to find some dry logs so they could set up camp, before beginning their travels in the morning.

She had seemed annoyed by his persistence to relax and stay put, but as the late day wound into evening – and inevitably night – she found she agreed with his reasoning. She saw the drag in his step and his shoulders hunching in on themselves as he set down the few pieces of wood he had gathered to light a fire.

Then as he had made the logs burst into flames a few minutes later, she had been in awe of him. ‘I never would have survived for a minute here alone,’ she thought and blushed as she embarrassedly realised the truthiness to that statement.

Her belly filled with a floating warm mass, as she felt grateful for her luck by being stuck with Edward off all people.

“Thank you.”

It had been a quiet utterance in the darkness of the late night, as they had settled in on different sides of the fire.

She didn’t think he had heard her when he didn’t say anything back for the next five minutes.

Just as she settled with the thought that he had already been overcome with sleep, came his reply, just as softly as her words: “What for?”

He had been utterly gobsmacked when her quiet words had reached his ears. The sound of the words was foreign to him. She didn’t struck him as someone who gave away thanks all that easily, yet he was completely clueless as to why she felt she had to thank him.

“For…” she paused as she thought of how to phrase her next words. “For bringing me here.”

Silence followed. He had thought she had been truly annoyed by his interference in her perfectly formed life and he honestly didn’t know how to respond to her revelation.

“I don’t know why… At least not yet – I just know I’m thankful to you… So thank you,” she said, this time her voice slightly stronger as it carried along the wind from her lips to his relaxing body.

He didn’t answer. A few minutes passed before she detected the unmistakable sound of soft snores carrying down the wind to her. He had fallen asleep.

She settled into the soft grass below her, turning on her side and tucked both her hands under her chin. Her soft breath caressed the small hairs on her arms as she drifted off.

~*~*~

The sound of running water and birds chirping woke them the next morning.

They had moved during the night, somehow once again ending up in each other’s arms. But this time they were facing one another, and they both woke up simultaneously.

They had intertwined their legs and Edward had locked his hands around Bella’s waist. She had fisted the front labels of his shirt tightly in her hands and had tucked her face into the soft skin of his neck.

She could feel his stubble scratch her forehead as she came to and the realization of her whereabouts came like lightening bolting through her body.

She jumped backwards unsuccessfully: their limbs were still intertwined, which resulted in him falling on top of her as she moved away from him.

He could feel the irregular and quick rise of her chest underneath him as her breath puffed against the skin of his face. Her brown eyes gazed back at him, her pupils dilated, and her cheeks became flushed with a dark red blush. He felt his own breath quicken as to match her irregular one and his fingers twitched against the fabric of the back of her shirt.

She had trapped his arms beneath her, causing her to be truly encased in his embrace.

His green eyes blazed back at her and she blushed as she felt sweet tingles erupting everywhere in her body. His sweet breath travelled by the skin of her face and landed on the soft skin of her lips. She felt the sudden urge to stick her tongue out and taste the air he omitted.

Edward’s breath hitched as he watched her small tantalizing tongue peek out and wet her ruby lips. He felt the need to descend down onto her fill every corner of his body, making every nerve ending come alive with pure need to fulfil the wish to meet her soft lips with his own.

He sighed softly and let his need overtake his actions as he slowly pressed his body into her soft one. His firm and strong body moulded perfectly into her small delicate one and he descended his lips down onto hers as he felt a deep satisfaction fill his body as he realised he liked the feeling of her body moulded as such into him.

“Wait!”

The soft cry from her lips barely registered in his mind. He froze above her with only one inch between their lips, their noses slightly touching.

“I-… I can’t…” she stuttered.

He felt deep disappointment settle in every pore of his being. Not really disappointed by her, more by him self. He had lost every sense of control of himself, and he was embarrassed by his obvious lack in control.

She pushed slightly against him as she felt his body weight to be almost suffocating against her. His soft sigh had brought her back into reality, as she had realised what was about to happen.

And she couldn’t let that happen. He’d regret it. ‘Just like before,’ she thought bitterly, as she remembered his desperate need to forget their earlier kiss. She would be absolutely devastated if he kissed her again, and regretted it once more.

Edward extracted his body from hers slowly and sat back on his heels. He put his face in his hands and felt like beating himself for being such a brute. Obviously she didn’t appreciate his cave-man’ish behaviour and he felt disgusted by his actions.

She lay back on the ground breathing deeply through her now open lips as she gazed upon his retreating figure. There was something absolutely devastatingly beautiful about his stature and she knew, without a doubt in her entire being, that her appreciation of him was dangerous.

A thick cloud of uncomfortable silence filled the air surrounding them, and she felt weighed down by the sheer force of it.

She shuffled slightly where she remained on the ground and cleared her throat trying to shake away the unwelcome feelings of doubt and regret filling her body.

“We better get going.” His voice drifted through the air as he stood back up and offered her his hand. “We have some travelling to do if we are going to find this Sulpicia woman,” he mused.

She took his offered hand, and much to her own chagrin, found the skin of her fingers and hand tingled where she touched him. “Alright… Do you know how to find her?” she asked him.

“No.” he stated. “But I know someone who might know where to find her.”

“Well then, lead the way.” She brushed of some of the dirt that had stuck to her shirt and pants and motioned for him to go ahead into the dense forest.

He nodded slightly and turned on his heels leading slightly north into the forest.

She stumbled slightly after him as she once again tried to keep up with his long strides. She felt a sense of déjà vu walking briskly behind him. The invisible string attached at her hips was back once again keeping her firmly planted a few feet behind him.

~*~*~

“Hold on, would you?!” she exclaimed loudly.

They had been hiking through the dense undergrowth of the forest for a couple of hours and she was already exhausted.

She had never been big on exercising, hadn’t really seen a point in it since she lived a few blocks from her workplace, and the trek to and from work was the only exercise she ever really engaged in.

“Just try to keep up,” he called back at her. He was frankly annoyed by the tiny little girl trying to keep up with him. ‘How could she be so…annoying?!’ he thought.

“Easy for you to say Mister – I’m practically at a complete disadvantage here,” she puffed and dodged yet another evil branch flying straight at her as he had let it slip through his hold.

“Hey!” that was the third branch he had let go of, and which had coincidentally flown straight at her. “Could you please look out for my position whenever you do that?!”

He briefly considered apologizing for his inconsiderate behaviour, but he honestly felt a slight satisfaction in annoying her. He figured it was fair play since she was really grating on his nerves. She hadn’t shut up once since they began their trek into the forest and he was fed up with her endless chatter.

“You could apologize you know?”

“I know,” he replied, a smug smile adorning his features as he briefly looked back at her and made a huge number out of holding the next branch out of their way.

“You are a real big pain in the ass,” she chided at him as she walked a few steps ahead of him. “Anybody ever told you that?”

She was walking purposefully forward, heading in the same direction as they had been on before she had overtaken him.

She made it a couple of feet before she noticed he wasn’t following her. She turned on her heels, her hands firmly planted on her hips and a menacing glare in place.

He was grinning at her, still standing by the offending branch. “Aren’t you coming?” she questioned with annoyance.

“Seeing as you’re heading in the wrong direction; no I’m not coming.” He grinned smugly back at her, as he turned slightly to the left heading further into the deep undergrowth.

She was fuming, her jaw slack with shock of the audacity of him. ‘How dare he!’

“Aren’t you coming princess?”

She could hear the laughter in his tone as he called out to her. She unfroze from her spot and strode purposefully after the annoying man walking ahead of her once again.

“I already told you,” she stressed. “Don’t call me that!”

He smiled mischievously back at her and replied, “and I already told you: I don’t care.”

She was boiling on the inside. “You don’t care, do you?! That’s just not gonna cut it!” she yelled.

“And how is that?”

“I-…” Her heart was beating wildly in her chest and she felt her face heat with a furious blush. “I don’t appreciate the connotation implied by the word princess.”

“And what might that be?” he wondered, now truly interested in her reasons for her obvious dislike to the endearment.

“I just don’t like it okay?” she whispered. “The term princess implies I’m acting the part of a spoiled, ungrateful child who know nothing of real life troubles.”

‘And that’s definitely not true,’ she mused in her mind, not willing to share this tiny bit of weakness in her to him.

He fell silent, not really knowing how to respond to her. He sensed she wasn’t sharing the entire truth to her dislike of the word, but figured it must be some petty reason, like an old flame calling her that or something. Somehow this thought bugged him more than any other he had had about her.

“And what if that is not what I am implying when I refer to you as princess? Am I allowed to use the term to refer to you then?” he asked as he resumed walking.

She struggled once again to keep up with him as she replied: “Well what do you imply when you say princess then?”

He laughed, amused by her reluctance to agree with him without having all the facts presented to her. “That’s for me to know and you to find out…”

~*~*~

Silence had followed the rest of their trek until they had settled down sometime in the late afternoon. He had spotted a huge redwood amongst the different trees littering the forest and he had instructed her to stay put as he went in search of something edible for them.

She would probably need to recuperate before they could continue and he had to be considerate of her obvious lack in muscle strength and stamina.

These thoughts brought some very unwelcome musings on about her stamina in other situations, and he found himself fairly distracted by thoughts of her soft lips and soft body as he stalked through the different greenery in the forest trying to locate some berries or mushrooms.

She was resting against the huge tree as a rustling sound from her left disturbed her moment of peace and quiet.

She sprang to her feet, wildly searching for some kind of weapon around her she could use to fend off her possible attacker.

“Edward?” she stuttered as she stumbled slightly backwards, not once taking her eyes off the couple of bushes that had initially alerted her to the possible intruders.

No answer came and she felt her heart beat rapidly in her chest, her throat closing up and making it hard for her to breathe deeply into her stomach. She struggled to catch her breath as she blindly grabbed for the nearest branch and snapped a twig from the arm of the tree.

She stretched her arms in front of her, both of her hands having a firm hold on her weapon of choice, ready to inflict serious damage to whoever was sneaking up on her.

A rustling from behind her startled her and she turned too hastily, resulting in her stumbling over her own feet and falling hard onto her bottom, her breath leaving her in a whoosh and momentarily stuns her.

Edward emerges from the greenery to her sprawled haphazardly onto the ground; a few cracked twigs crushed in a tight hold between her fingers and pointed accusingly at him.

“Oh thank God!” she exclaimed and jumped with almost inhuman speed from her place on the ground into his body.

Without realising what or how it happened, she was somehow curled around his body, her arms tightly wrapped around his neck, her head tucked into his chest and her legs wrapped around his waist, keeping her ankles locked behind his back.

“What’s going on?!” he stuttered as he stumbled back a few feet from the impact her tiny body had on his.

Her breathing was almost hysterical and her tight hold on him didn’t let up as she tried explaining her erratic behaviour. “I heard a noise from the bushes over there and became really frightened… I sort of realised I was all alone, and grabbed the first thing I could to, you know, defend my self if it came down to a fight.”

She gestured slightly towards the offending bushes and he gazed intently into the greenery trying to determine if there were any real danger ahead. When he came up empty he reached behind his neck trying to free her death grip around his neck and settled her onto her unsteady feet on the ground in front of him.

He checked her over, worry clear in his bright green eyes, before his gaze once again settled on the couple of twigs clutched in her tight grip, now poking slightly into the skin of his stomach. He grinned as he once again heard her shaky voice telling him she had been prepared ‘to fight off any danger’.

“So…” he grinned down at her. “You thought you’d fight off a possible dangerous opponent with a couple of measly twigs?”

He was laughing slightly at her antics, and she felt the embarrassment and anger rush through her body.

“Yeah well, I-…” she paused, her cheeks highlighted in a bright red colour. ‘It really brought out the depth of her eyes,’ he thought and became instantly mesmerized by the expressiveness reflected back at him in them.

She stumbled through some half-hearted explanation as to why she had thought the twigs would have inflicted serious - if any - damage to a possible attacker. Honestly she had just grabbed something in her panic. She might as well have grabbed a handful of moss and used it to blind her opponent.

He laughed at her explanation and found her desperate actions to defend her innocence quite endearing.

“You can stop laughing now,” she muttered, her chin tucked securely into her chest and her feet shuffling back and forth on the ground below. Her cheeks were still flaming red from her embarrassment. “It’s not really all that funny.”

“On the contrary princess,” he chuckled. “I think it’s hilarious.”

He laughed openly at her chagrined expression.

“Hardy ha! Could you cut that out please,” she huffed at him and returned to her spot leaning against the big redwood.

“I’m sorry,” he kept chuckling quietly as he dropped the few berries and mushrooms he had collected on his hunt and went over to the bushes she’d pointed out to check them out.

He didn’t think they were hiding any unbidden visitors, but he decided it wouldn’t hurt to check and be sure that they were in fact alone. ‘At least for now.’

When he was satisfied he didn’t find any intruders, he settled down next to her and handed her a handful of his ‘prey’. She sniffed the pieces of mushrooms before looking questioningly at him. “Aren’t some mushrooms usually poisonous?”

He gazed briefly at her and held out a wide selection of what he had collected for her to inspect. “Well, mushrooms generally come in many variations. Some are poisonous, yes, but generally most species are edible… It’s the berries you have to look out for.”

“How so?” she wondered as she moved her studies from the mushy mushrooms to the wild berries. They seemed rather harmless to her and were actually quite pretty mixed together in the palm of his hand.

“Well it goes, if you’re in doubt whether a berry is poisonous or not, you should consider it to be poisonous. You can’t determine by their feature whether a random berry is toxic for humans, and that is why they are more of a risk for unknowing eaters.” He said.

“So how do you know these aren’t poisonous?” she wondered. “Or are you trying to poison me?”

He grinned. “Now that you ask, yes I am!”

She laughed slightly at his foolish look. He attempted to look very serious while trying to hide a wide smile.

“But seriously, you should always be cautious when you choose to eat berries from the wild,” he said. “Most berries which are blue, black or purple are good to go, whereas the ones which are white or yellow will harm you if you consume them. Also be sure the berries don’t grow on vines – those are often the most poisonous ones!” he added.

They settled in silence once again. She cautiously tried some of the mushrooms he had gathered for them. The taste wasn’t particularly pleasant to her, but it weren’t as revolting as she had expected.

He had popped a large amount of the fungi and berries into his mouth at once and was chewing healthily on the mix of sweet and sour.

She watched in awe as he stood from the spot next to her and retrieved a small pocketknife from the anklet of his shoes and began cutting off various branches around them.

“What are you doing?” she questioned.

He looked briefly towards her before he cut off yet another green branch and brought the lot he had collected back to where she was situated.

“Here, drink this.”

He held up the end of a couple of the branches and squeezed the ends until a thick clear liquid ran from the cut-off’s. He placed the ends against her lips and urged her to open her mouth.

“Now suck.”

She startled slightly by his comment, but as soon as the liquid hit the tip of her tongue she started sucking earnestly. The earthy taste of green leaves filled every taste bud of her tongue as she sucked the branches dry from the liquid they contained.

He watched hypnotized as her red lips closed around the end of one of the branches and began sucking in earnest. He could see her throat muscles constricting underneath the fair skin of her neck and he felt his mouth go completely dry. His lips tingled and he felt a surge of need and lust travel through him, settling deep in his stomach and tightening in his groin.

He groaned slightly as he slowly removed the branch from her mouth and replaced it with another.

When she’d sucked out two more she gestured towards him, questioning whether he wasn’t thirsty as well.

His tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth and he simply squeezed a couple more branches before putting them into his own mouth and sucking them dry, savouring the earthy and tangy taste.

She watched mesmerized as he drained the green sticks, feeling her cheeks heat with a blush once again and her gut tightening in delicious waves of pleasure.

A tense and awkward silence followed after their little dinner adventure, and as they settled down for the night – Edward leaning against the tree, and Bella curled up on the ground near his feet – they felt the air crackle with electricity as it had done once before on the beach back in her world.

Both fell asleep with a slight grin on their faces and the air around them seemed to have shifted from the somewhat erotic display they’d both been privy to earlier.

~*~*~

“Edward!”

He woke with a start, momentarily blinded in the dark of the night. His heart was racing as he tried to find the source of what had awoken him.

“Edward! HELP!”

Her loud screams were tearing through his shirt, skin and settled deep into his bones as her desperate tone sent a chill through every single part of him.

He jumped to his feet, fumbling blindly in the dark for a second, trying to locate his trusted knife to defend whatever seemed to be causing her this much distress.

“Ed-” her scream broke off, and he turned violently to the left searching for her. His eyes had adjusted to the low light and he could make out two looming figures dragging Bella’s tiny frame backwards into the woods.

“Hey!” he screamed and flew into action in hot pursuit of the two strangers and the girl. “Let go off her!”

One of the figures turned around noticing the man approaching hurriedly. He nudged his partner with the hand that weren’t grabbing the shoulder of the small girl, and motioned to the man approaching.

“Put her down!” Edward yelled at the two figures.

As he approached them he was appalled to realise the two figures were trolls. He hadn’t anticipated them travelling deep enough into the forest to be on troll territory, and he had seriously hoped they would not meet the vicious creatures at all.

Apparently his wishes had not been granted, as the second of the two trolls now approached him, its giant frame looming menacingly over his human form.

He stepped back slightly, trying to look around the big frame blocking his view of Bella. “What do you want?!” he desperately yelled at the two trolls, not really expecting an answer. Trolls weren’t wildly known for their excellent linguistic skills, but more known for their brute force and uncaring nature.

The first troll had grabbed Bella tightly around her small neck and waist, her cheeks turning slightly purple as he cut off her air supply. She gurgled before slumping slightly forward as her vision darkened. She called out to Edward one more time, and barely heard his desperate shout before she collapsed fully into the hard and bulky embrace of the troll behind her.

“ISABELLA!”

~*~*~