A/N...I think you guys would appreciate this on a Wednesday. ;)
This was an idea that came to me a long time ago – like Angel's Embrace long time ago – but this never fit into the story line. No matter how I tried to force it in there, it just wouldn't work. In all reality, this could've happened anytime or anyplace with our couple, but I decided to set it just after the o/s Angel's Kiss, so it's still Rochester, though I'm not sure it matters.
This is a quick glimpse of the family, but it's also the origin of Angelward's letter writing to Bella. It's also a little more than that. And unfortunately, you will have needed to read at least Broken Angel to catch the drift of this one...it's best if you've read the whole series, because some details won't make sense otherwise.
This rated M...and comes with a LEMON warning, not that you need a warning, but those of you – like me – who like to read at work... Well, you get it. LOL
Go on... I know you've missed him... I have.
Lost and Found...an Angel Series Outtake/Future-take.
"I don't want to go," Edward muttered, looking belligerent and utterly adorable as he pouted in front of me.
"You need to go, Edward," I said softly, tracing the dark patches under his eyes as I switched to my thoughts. It's been too long, baby. Plus, your brothers want time with you.
His nose scrunched up, but he sighed and nodded. He didn't move, though; he only stepped closer to me as I sat on the bathroom vanity. He pressed his forehead to mine, and I could almost read his thoughts.
No, I'm not coming with you, I thought to him with a giggle. I promised Esme that I'd help her with the baking she's doing for the hospital. And Carlisle's expecting that shipment today, so the girls and I are going to help him put it in the attic.
"Maybe I should stay and help..."
"Edward Cullen, go hunt!" I laughed, shaking my head and grasping his handsome and amused face. Just don't go too far, if that's an issue today, and come straight back, but you need to give Jasper and Emmett some time with you.
I knew why he was hedging, and I totally couldn't blame him, but he was afraid of separating for too long. If we were apart for too long, too far, we both were in pain – our connection just wouldn't allow it – but I'd hunted the day before with the girls. Rose had needed to stop on our way back from dress shopping for the Rochester Academy prom that was coming up.
"I like the dress, sweet girl," he said, a sexy crooked grin crawling up his face as he read my mind.
"No evading," I chuckled, shaking my head. "And I know what you like. I'm not stupid."
His laugh was deep and sweet, but his eyes were still so very dark, and not because he was feeling cuddly and handsy at the moment as he stood between my legs in our bathroom. He pressed his lips to my neck, causing his breath to ghost against my skin, but he held me closer, tighter, because he absolutely abhorred the mere thought of causing me pain.
"I love you. Go hunt," I sighed, practically begging him. Jazz and Em don't ask very often, Edward. They respect our boundaries, so give them this. Please?
Edward really needed guy time, because we'd been inseparable since we'd moved to Rochester. We were couples at school and at home, and not anyone in the family faulted another couple for holing themselves up for days at a time – especially Edward and me, because we were just trying to get used to living with the family again. However, when it came to our connection, the family let us choose, because they would never want to cause us pain.
It didn't help that I'd fallen into a deep moment just a few days ago, which had pulled Edward in right along with me. Those – no matter how loving and glorious they could be – drained us just a bit, so he really needed to hunt.
"Okay," he finally conceded, frowning just a bit, "but we won't go far, and we won't be long."
"You'll know if it's too far, so you can correct it," I soothed him, not really liking the thought, but it was just something we dealt with as best we could. "But if you do, then we'll make up for it later, baby. We'll stay in here to reconnect, so go be...a guy. Okay?"
He nodded again, kissing my lips softly, slowly, his hands grasping at my bottom to pull me flush to him. I smiled against his mouth when something stirred between us, grinding hard against my leg, which only caused him to chuckle.
"Ignore it," he snickered, rolling his eyes. "I can't help it. You're too beautiful...and I'm going," he sighed, finally backing away from me with his hands raised in surrender.
I giggled, trying my best to hide it behind my hand, but I loved him all cuddly and sweet. I loved him all gropey and unable to stop touching me. And I adored that he didn't want to leave my side, but there were times when it was necessary.
He grinned, shaking his head at my thoughts. "Cuddly and sweet later, love," he said, giving my lips a quick kiss. "Love you."
Maybe cuddly and sweet when you get back isn't what I want, Edward, I thought to him as a tease, just as he made it to the door, which he almost yanked off the hinges.
"Bella," he warned, but I could hear the smile in his deep tone, even though I hadn't moved from my perch on the vanity.
I laughed again as he bolted down the stairs, grumbling about "too beautiful for her own damn good."
"My poor son," Esme giggled, shaking her head when I finally made it downstairs to help her, which caused Rose and Alice to laugh. "I half expected you to throw him out the window."
"If it had come down to it," I muttered with a grin, "I just might have."
"He must've changed his mind a dozen times," Alice chortled, lining up the containers we were going to use to store the cookies in. "However, his last decision wavered so much, I thought for sure he'd stay."
I grinned, biting my lip and sighing. "God, he's so easy to tease."
Rose laughed, shooting me a wink as she pulled out the baking sheets. "That's my girl."
"But Lord, he had to go," I chuckled as I grabbed the milk and eggs out of the fridge. "I love that he wants to be with me, but he needed guy time. Seriously. He's been more worried about colors for prom and where pictures on our walls should go. I half expected him to start talking about Jimmy Choos, and if that was the case, I was calling Kevin."
That caused another round of laughter, but the mention of Kevin started a different line of talk. He'd been in Italy with his mate Adrian since his change. He was doing well, sticking to the vegetarian diet and slowly working his way out into public. We were proud of him, but he missed us like crazy, so his whole goal was to work up his tolerance of being around humans so he could join us soon.
We worked fast, talking and laughing the whole time, causing the occasional groan or chuckle from Carlisle from his study down the hall, but he left us to it. By the time we heard the moving van pull into the driveway, we had three large containers of cookies packed and ready to go.
"Carlisle, they're here," Esme called – not that she had to, but occasionally, he would lose himself to his work.
He emerged wearing a sweet smile, because he hadn't heard them. "Thank you, sweetheart," he said, kissing the side of her head. He turned to me, Rose, and Alice. "We'll just let them unload in the garage, and once they've left, we'll store the boxes in the attic."
"Okay," Alice and I chanted together.
"What is this stuff, anyway?" Rose asked, leaning against Emmett's Jeep.
"The stuff in storage at the Texas house," Carlisle answered, nodding to the delivery guys. "There was some damage after a storm a few days ago, and a water main broke. There isn't much, so I told them to bring it here."
"Gotcha," she said, eying the dozen or so boxes that were looking the worse for wear. "God, we haven't lived in that house since..."
"Nineteen forty one, I think," Esme mused, leaning next to her. "And that was for only a few months."
"Um, Texas?" I asked, looking at them like they were crazy for choosing a sunny, Southern state. "Really?" I raised an eyebrow at Carlisle, who chuckled and placed a kiss to my temple.
"Yeah, it wasn't one of our better choices, but I worked the night shift," he explained. "The rest of them tried night courses, but..."
"It sucked," Rose stated bluntly with a laugh. "But Jasper wanted to go home for a bit," she added, gesturing to a nodding Alice. "It wasn't all bad, because the house was in the middle of nowhere, so we could be normal at home, but still..."
"Ugh, water damage," Alice said, her nose wrinkling at the musty smell emanating off the stack of boxes as Carlisle signed the clipboard, tipped the drivers, and sent them on their way.
"I had a feeling that would happen," Esme sighed, shaking her head and grabbing a stack of brand new boxes. "Here, we'll just re-pack them quickly."
It was the usual items my family usually left behind – vases, artwork, old clothing, and the occasional book or record. Why they saved some of that stuff sometimes was beyond me, but I couldn't judge them. They'd lived long lives, making many memories, so a vase here or a painting there was probably nothing in the grand scheme of things. I was pretty sure that fifty years from now, Edward and I would end up saving some pretty odd things, as well. But considering I was still the newest member of the family and still getting used to moving all the time, I tended to take most of our things with each move – especially pictures and personal items.
"This box looks okay, Carlisle, but it has Edward's name on it," Alice pointed out, pushing it toward him.
I looked up as he studied the box. It was newer, not as damaged and broken down as the other boxes. And it looked like it had a shipping label on it.
"Huh, the drivers said there was a box just inside the door. Bella, sweetie, you want to take this one? Let Edward decide what to do with it?" he asked, picking it up.
"Yeah, sure," I said with a shrug, standing up from where I was kneeling on the garage floor and brushing off my jeans. I took it from him, trying to read the smeared label. "What does that say?" I asked no one in particular, but Alice took a look over my shoulder.
"Hmm, Boston...no. Um, Brazil?" she said, although it came out in the form of a question, but then she did what Alice always did – she froze, seeing a vision. "Oh, Brazil," she said, and this time, her voice came out with a slight groan to it.
I tilted my head at her. "Brazil. As in...where he was after he left me...Brazil?" I verified, but she didn't answer me. In fact, the whole garage sort of came to a halt. "What do you see about this box, Alice?"
Her nose wrinkled and her brow furrowed, but she let out a deep breath. "It's the things Edward left behind once he decided to track Victoria. It looks like the landlady sent it to the address in Texas."
"Okay," I sighed, pointing a finger at her. "You know more than that, because you're giving me history, so should I just toss this in the attic?"
She grinned, shoving my shoulder. "No, you'll look through it together later."
"No meltdowns? No guilt?" I asked, which caused Carlisle to chuckle. "Because I just don't want that for him. If that's what this thing brings, it's getting stashed away. I don't care what's in it if it hurts him."
I watched her carefully, because I knew that she'd urged Edward to come back to me every day while he was gone and to come clean about his time away. She'd forgiven him for leaving and the things that had happened in Brazil between them, but he was so guilt ridden over that period of our lives that she often made him push through explanations, like ripping off a band aid. She'd done it once before when Edward and I were staying in the Redwood Forests of California. It wasn't that he wouldn't tell me, but it was a time that we were grateful was over.
"Not that I see, Bells," she said, and she sounded truthful.
"Bella," Carlisle said calmly, giving Alice a second glance, "perhaps you should keep it out for him. There's not anything he wouldn't share with you, because I'd be willing to bet he didn't know it was sent there."
My eyes narrowed on the man I loved just as much as my own father, but I knew him well enough to know that he saw everything as an opportunity for therapy and growth when it came to mine and Edward's time apart. He'd helped us from the moment Edward returned to me.
"Fine," I groaned, setting it down by the door. "I'll take it up when we're done."
Alice and I took the attic, while the rest of them handed us the newly packed boxes. We labeled them, stacked them, and arranged them as best we could toward the back and out of the way of things we used more frequently – like blankets, Christmas decorations, and winter clothes, not to mention Emmett's endless sports equipment.
When we were done and the attic ladder was folded up and back in its place in the ceiling, I grabbed the small box by the door, telling the rest of them that I needed a shower after all that mold, dust, and mildew.
I set the box on the end of the bed, eying it warily. Frowning, I shook my head and let out a deep breath I didn't really need, because by now, my curiosity was getting the best of me. Recalling his conversation with me in California was as easy as playing a DVD in my memory. He'd been distraught, practically starving himself with the loss of me, but it had been more than that. It had been a fight with Alice and Carlisle over hunting, because he'd go weeks on end without moving. It had been the the pain deep in his chest that we now knew was our connection, after it was stretched too far, too long. And it had been how he'd left me, with lies and deceit, with a harshness that he regretted to the depths of his soul. Edward had long been forgiven, those old wounds healing, but there was still a part of me that wanted to just...know what he'd left behind.
"Nosy much, Bella?" I groaned to myself with an eye roll, backing away from the bed and leaving the box alone as I walked into the bathroom.
As the water poured over me, imagination took the lead from curiosity, racing neck and neck through my mind, which was a bad combination when it came to Edward. Was it clothes? Was it pictures of me? Was it a journal I'd never read? Was it music?
I reasoned, rationalized, and coerced myself into only taking a peek inside. Edward had never cared what of his old possessions that I snooped through, because he loved that I just wanted to know more. Always more when it came to him. More history, more stories, more...just everything. Once I was in clean clothes, my hair brushed out, I plopped down next to the box, giving it a glare.
"Screw it," I huffed, tugging the tape off and cracking it open, but I stilled when I glimpsed inside. "Oh, Edward," I sighed and groaned at the same time, feeling the venomous sting of tears I couldn't shed, because he was a collector of all things...well, me.
Inside the box was a random collection of just...stuff. There was a t-shirt of his folded neatly on top, and I couldn't help but bring it up to my nose. Despite the length of time, the box had successfully kept his beautiful scent contained, so the delicious aroma of honey and sunshine filled my lungs, which settled my heart just a bit in his absence. I set it in my lap, rummaging around in the box for more.
Underneath the shirt was an old blue folder of mine from Forks High, something I'd thrown away because the paper binding had worn out, but his name, my name, and scores of endless heart doodles covered the thing. Next was his old cell phone – the one he'd had before he left – but it was shattered and broken, like he'd gripped it too hard. Along the side were things I could barely remember going missing from my old room at Charlie's – a hair tie, a pen that I'd chewed the cap, an almost empty bottle of my strawberry shampoo, and a post-it note with "I love you" written on it, the latter of which he'd stuck in my truck one sunny day when he couldn't be at school with me. I'd used it as a bookmark for months, but had forgotten all about it. The absence of the note was insignificant in comparison to the absence of its author, so I hadn't even thought to look for it back then.
Tucked away in the corner of the box was a tattered piece of cloth. I pulled it out, my breath hitching, because the threadbare, barely there material used to be my pillowcase, and one had gone missing from the set ages ago. It was shredded and worn away, like Edward had constantly touched it. The purple color was faded, and it barely maintained its shape, much less the flowers that used to be on it. I didn't even need to ask him, because clearly, he'd taken something with my scent on it.
But it was at the very bottom that made my breath catch. Isabella Swan was written on three envelopes in Edward's perfect script. They were addressed to Charlie's house, stamped, and completely sealed, but he'd obviously never sent them. There was no return address on them, of course, but I pulled them out, setting the box aside.
I could tell which one was the first he'd written, because the postage was less money than the other two. Unable to resist anything he'd ever written to me, I opened it.
My beautiful Isabella,
I know I promised you'd never hear from me, but I had to tell you the truth. The whys, however, do not overshadow the hows of what I did. If I had a soul, it would be black and withered with the lies and vitriol that I spewed at you. With every false proclamation, every mendacious statement I dropped in front of you before I left, a piece of my sanity fell to the forest floor at your precious feet, begging instantly for forgiveness. Never have I been more the monster than I was when I walked away as you cried out for me. Never!
My disgusting reaction with Jasper's mistake replays over and over in my mind. I should have prepared for it, should have seen the thirst in his mind – only... my sole concern was your happiness. One single lapse in judgment, and my whole world is turned upside down by a single piece of paper, shattered, right along with the vase that cut you that much more.
I miss you with an ache that consumes me, and it's only been two days since I ran like the coward I am. I did not want to leave you, my sweet, sweet girl. I will forever want you, my Bella. Forever do I need you, but my world is too dangerous, too full of uncertain darkness. I will not allow my world to taint you, to ruin the sweet perfection you are to me.
Your life, your soul, your future mean more to me than you could ever know. I'm unable to give you a that...a real life or future. With me, you'd never know family or children. You'd be trapped in dark nights, rarely seeing the sun. And the mere thought – no matter how much I want it – of taking away your options, your humanity, your soul, makes me the most selfish of creatures. I love you too much to let my presence in your life destroy you. I can't. I won't, Bella. You deserve all that life, true life, has to offer.
I love you enough to step away so that you can experience these things. I love you with a fierceness that I can barely grasp, and if you truly knew its depths, it would scare you, I think. I would hand you the world, and this is the only way I know how to do it. To give you that, I had to walk away from the one thing that made my own existence infinitely better. You were always good enough – too good, really. It's me, my love...I never deserved you.
I'm sorry that I lied. I'm sorry that what I am makes us impossible. And I'm sorry for how I left you. In retrospect, perhaps I should have done things differently, but you'll never know what your cries, your denial, and then your instant acceptance of my untruths did to me. To think that you believed me so easily...
I'm begging that you keep your promise to me, Bella. Begging. Please take care of yourself. Nothing foolish, nothing dangerous. Your place on this Earth is so important, so crucial, that I'm convinced the sun wouldn't shine without your heartbeat.
You will forget me, and it will be for the best, my beautiful girl, but always know that you were never, ever a distraction. You are everything.
I groaned, my head falling back, because I could hear the contradiction with every word he wrote. He wasn't good enough, but I was still his sweet girl, his love, his Bella. He'd wanted me, wanted my change, wanted everything, but he'd denied himself his own happiness in order to make sure I lived on without him, because he'd never thought he deserved it.
Nothing about his leaving bothered me anymore, except his needless guilt over it. He'd left to protect me, to keep me safe, if only from himself. We'd worked through it, healed even, but our past did sometimes show up as a reminder, something that I think kept us grateful that we had each other forever, that we were blissfully happy.
Suddenly, I just really wanted him home, but I picked up the next letter on top, not knowing if it was in order or not and opening it to see that it was dated six months later than the first. I frowned at the script, because it seemed rushed, almost angry, starting only with my name, not the usual sweet endearments.
You promised me nothing foolish. You swore to me that you would take care of yourself, at least for Charlie's sake. Cliff jumping? What were you thinking? You could've gotten yourself killed.
I realize that I have no right, no justification in admonishing you, but you have no idea what tidal wave of events would occur if you suddenly didn't exist. And I'm not ignorant, by any means, Bella, so I know that you owe me nothing, but I was hoping that you would at least stand by that particular promise.
I'm not watching you, I swear. I'm trying my damnedest to leave you alone, which is nearly impossible with my own family working against me. I asked them to not bother you, to let you forget us in peace, but it seems you've left your own permanent mark on them, as well as myself. I wouldn't have known about the jump if it weren't for my sister. Christ, Bella, it looked like you'd given up, and I just had to prove to her that she was wrong, that her vision was false. That it would never happen.
Alice's vision aside, nothing could prepare me for what I actually did see when I arrived. You in the arms of another.
What do I do? How do I accept it, when it was my idea to begin with? I wanted you to move on, to live your life, but the sight wounded me to my very core. It ripped my still heart out of my chest and shattered it as he touched you, carried you. I was wrong. I'm not sure I can just stand by and watch you, knowing that you're with someone else.
I so want you, love. God, I never stopped. It's so very selfish of me and wrong on all levels, but just the small glimpse of you made me realize my love for you has only grown that much bigger. And seeing you with him...
I thought maybe one last jump through your window would allow me solace, comfort that you were happy...or maybe I was hoping for my name to slip from your sweet lips. Maybe I just wanted a reason – one single reason – to wake you, see you, beg you to let me back into your life in whatever capacity you'd allow. Just being near you again as you slept, just breathing in your sweet scent, despite the raging burn in my throat, caused the ache, the cracked open feeling in my chest to not only lessen, but to stop altogether. I found peace by your side, if only for the few hours that I watched you sleep.
But it was not my name on your lips that you whispered; it was his. I fell to my knees at your bedside, everything in me wanting to wake you, beg you, kiss you. Oh God, how I wanted to just kiss you! I wanted to prove that I was better than he was, that no one would ever hold your favor like I had, but I'd promised you that I wouldn't do that. I vowed that you wouldn't see me again.
However, I made you another promise as you slept peacefully. I swore to you that I would watch over you, waiting in the wings for the boy to make his first mistake. He can't love you forever, my Bella, because he's young. I will. I will love you until the end of time, until you breathe your last breath, and then I'll take my chances and follow you. I swear it.
If he's who you want, though, I will stand aside, and I'll give you that shot at a life, a family, because the boy can give you things I'm unable. And you deserve them all.
While you love another, always know that my heart – still and cold as it is – belongs to you. That will never change.
I rubbed my face, letting out a deep breath and shaking my head. It seemed Edward had found an outlet while he was away from me, and he'd never mentioned it. This letter's information wasn't new; he'd told me these very things before, but the anguish that came through his script was almost painful. He'd been angry – at me for doing something reckless, at himself for his weaknesses, at Jake for simply existing – but Edward was nothing if not loyal to his promise to me. He'd still stayed away, because seeing me with Jake had broken something in him; he'd thought I'd done exactly what he'd asked of me – moved on.
Taking a deep breath and steeling myself, I glanced down at the last letter. I was unsure now whether I wanted to see this next one, because there was no telling what it contained, what point in time it was written. I slipped my finger under the flap, ripping it cleanly open. My heart sank when I realized it was dated almost a year to the day that he'd left me in the woods just outside Charlie's front door.
Scanning down the pages, I shook my head. The writing seemed disjointed and scrambled, and it looked like he'd stopped and gone back to add to it more than one time, because there were different types of ink on the paper. As I began to read it, I realized that my Edward was losing it; he was not in his right mind at this point.
"Oh, sweetheart," I sighed, finally sinking into his words.
My sweet Bella,
You haunt me. You appear and disappear so rapidly that I wonder if you're not immortal. There's no scent to you – no freesia, no strawberries, no sweet, sweet blood – so I know you can't be real. If you were real, you wouldn't smile at me so sweetly, you wouldn't tease me with your milky skin that I can't reach out and touch, and you wouldn't look at me like you still loved me. After all I've done, all my lies and the way I left you...I'm damned sure your forgiveness doesn't exist. You must hate me...or even worse, you've forgotten me. I honestly don't know which would be worse.
It's a razor's edge to see you. You're so beautiful, taunting me, teasing me. But you're a blatant reminder of all that I can't have. Things I don't deserve. The pain lessens with these visions of you, only to return that much more excruciating when you evaporate. If I don't hunt, then you appear, and you stay, and you still love me.
So I haven't hunted in two months.
Nor have I left this room.
God, I just want you. I want you in ways that shame me as a gentleman. I want you in ways that make my breath catch, because I never thought I'd have the courage to admit it to you. The draw of your blood is nothing compared to the draw of your body, my love. Nothing. I can say it now... I want to know how you feel, really feel. I know you're soft, but do you feel like silk? Would your skin prickle with my cool touch? I want to see your face when you reach the highest peaks of desire. Would your beautiful deep eyes roll back? Would your mouth gape, a breath caught in your throat? I want to know what it feels like to be one with you, to be completely pulled in by you. Would the heat, the wetness consume me? Would it feel like the ultimate in completion? I want to know the sounds you make. Oh, God, my name! What I wouldn't give to hear my name from your sweet lips as I moved inside of you! I'm obsessed with the idea of what you'd look like utterly bare and underneath me – all smooth, warm, molding perfectly against me. My imagination can't possibly come close to the real thing, I'm sure of it. I want to thread my fingers into your silky hair while whispering how beautiful you are, how perfect I know you must feel, and how much I love you against that sweet skin along your throat. I want to tell you that you're everything, that you're all I need, and that I'm so damn sorry. I want to whisper that I need you and that I'd follow you to the ends of the Earth if only I could just...touch you.
I want you in ways I have no business wanting you, but I can't stop. I can't help myself. I only writhe in the agony that I'll never know those things, because only you – in a hundred years of existing – have opened up that side of me. Very rarely does our kind change, but I have, and I can't stop thinking about you in every way.
If one good thing came from seeing the ghost of you, it's the knowledge that the man inside of me still exists alongside the monster, that not only does my heart belong to you, but my body does, as well.
Oh, how I miss your heartbeat, your smile, your laugh – especially your laugh. I wish I'd heard that one more time before I left. Instead, your cries, your tears, your shattered heart...they follow me. They echo, they replay in perfect, utter clarity over and over, until I think I'll go mad with the sound, the memory.
I want to rage. I want to fight for you, but it seems justifiable that I suffer. I deserve the pain, because I love you too much to steal your life. I've stolen too much from you already.
Why won't you leave me alone? Why do you torment me so? I thought this life was torture before you; now, it's utter hell without you. There's nothing worthy of anything without you, because the apparition of you seems cruel, not the sweet girl I first fell in love with. She seems to revel in teasing me with skin, with breasts, with sensual smiles. She crawls up my body, only to vanish when I try and touch.
I can't do this. I can't see you like this anymore. I have to stop the suffering, and that means hunting. You'll go away, and so will the memory of these visions of you, most likely, but at least you'll stop haunting me. It hurts to see you, my sweet girl. It makes me cry for you, wishing I could shed real tears, if only for the release it would bring.
Does that make me weak? I'm not sure, but I'm not sure of anything anymore.
Do you still love another? And why does that thought make me almost feral with hatred and betrayal? It's what I wanted for you, damn it, but it breaks me to think you're in another's arms. You're supposed to be mine...my Bella. Not the apparition, not the memory, but the beautiful, sweet girl that told me she loved me once.
It's time to move, time to focus. If I can't have you, then at least I can still protect you, keep you guarded from the darker side of my world. The red-headed one...she's still out there, she still hunts, but she won't for much longer. Perhaps if she no longer walks this Earth, you'll be safe, and I'll have earned that brief glimpse of Heaven I once had with you.
You turned nineteen this week, my love. I'm sorry I missed it. Happy Birthday. May every wish from every candle that you've ever blown out come true.
I gasped, my hand flying to my mouth at how wrecked Edward had been, how devastated he sounded. He sounded so...broken. I'd told him that I'd seen apparitions of him while he was away, but he'd said he wished he'd been able to see me. Was he so crazed with thirst that the first hunt after two months of starvation had caused this memory to disappear just like he'd written?
Carlisle had explained to me once that when he'd first been changed, he'd fought what he truly was. He didn't hunt, didn't kill humans, trying to starve himself. He said that he barely remembered seeing things, things that weren't real, but that once he'd finally taken that first sip of animal blood, his head had cleared.
I folded the last letter back up, slipping it back into its envelope. There was a part of me that wondered how I'd have reacted had these shown up in my mailbox at Charlie's. Would I have held on to the hope of his return? Would I have had the courage to let Jake go, especially considering how things changed about the time the second letter would've arrived? I wasn't sure of the answer, but I did wish I'd have known about them. They explained a little more, because despite his honesty, Edward still protected me, even if it was from the harsh reality of what we'd both gone through while we were apart.
Honey and sunshine hit my nose and heart hard, and I looked up at the doorway when the pure source of my favorite scent filled the room.
Edward stood there, golden eyed and beautiful...and worried. "I thought they were gone...that's why I never mentioned them." His voice was subdued, meek, as he looked at me, and then the box, and finally, the letters.
I shook my head, patting the bed next to me. "No, just sent to this Texas house."
"Oh," he said, pushing away from the door. "That may have been the identification I used in Brazil. The old woman would have had it on file... I can't be sure about much back then..." His voice trailed off as he peered inside the box, before sitting next to me.
"I'm sorry I opened it..."
He held his hand up to stop my apology, taking the opened letters from me, only to hand them right back. "What's mine is yours, love. You know that," he murmured, poking around in the box and pulling out his old cell phone. I tilted my head at him, questioning him silently. "Crushed it...in my hand...the very second I saw you with Jake."
I nodded, having almost come to that conclusion myself. I stacked the last letter with the others and looked up at Edward's sweet face as he continued to concentrate on the contents of the box.
"That's not the last one," he said softly, finally meeting my gaze. "There's one more."
He got up, left our room, only to reappear just as quickly, another envelope in his hand. He handed it over silently, and I gazed up at him.
"Why wasn't this one with the others?" I asked him, thinking he was upset with me, because he was so damn quiet.
He was shaking his head before I even finished the thought. "I'm not upset, love. I really did think those were gone. I thought she would have just thrown my things away once I left Brazil, because I went for a hunt and just never came back," he explained, picking up the letter I'd read last. His beautiful eyes scanned the text, and he groaned, shaking his head. "I don't even remember this one," he sighed, locking gazes at me. "I was..."
"Starving," I finished for him. "And apparently, the ghost of me was pretty mean."
He grinned at my teasing. "I guess so. It's not a period I can clearly bring back. Mean or not, I kind of wish I could remember it."
"Well, at least your apparition was helpful," I said lightly. "I must apologize for mine."
He needed to know that I wasn't upset, that this didn't bother me, because we'd both suffered. I was just really happy we had each other now. His brow smoothed as he heard my mind, and he nodded almost imperceptibly. He stepped to the edge of the bed, one hand tucking my hair behind my ear, the other tapping the newest letter in my hands.
"And this one..." He sighed, shaking his head and smiling slightly. "This one wasn't needed, but I wrote it as a precaution. And you really would've gotten this one."
His sweet, crooked smile was contagious, and I giggled softly up at him as I took the fourth letter from him.
"Sit and explain that silly grin you're sporting, baby," I snickered, patting the bed again, "and then I'll read it. So just where was this one?"
He laughed, settling behind me against the headboard and pulling my back to his chest. He smelled of black bear and deer, but he smelled like sweet grasses and fresh water, too. Warm, strong arms wrapped around my torso as he set his chin on my shoulder, quiet for a moment. I nuzzled his jaw to temper my impatience, and he smiled again, placing a kiss to the top of my shoulder, and then my neck.
"After I stopped Victoria right in front of you, after I dropped you at home," he started, wincing at the memory, "I wrote that one." He turned to look at me, and God, he was so sweetly and surprisingly happy at this memory. He grinned, kissing my cheek. "I am happy, because I wasn't sure that you'd call me. I'd given you my number, gone to hunt, and while I waited – painfully waited – I went back to the Forks house and wrote this in Carlisle's study." He chuckled, shaking his head slowly. "Just as I tucked it into an envelope, my phone rang."
I giggled, leaning into his loud kiss to my neck.
"So I stowed it in one of his books," he said with a shrug, "and was at your window in minutes."
"And the rest is history," I chuckled, eying the envelope, and then his handsome face.
"So they say," he laughed, hugging me closer.
"Are you okay with me reading it?" I asked, because by now, I was curious about that simple, sweet smile that this envelope had caused to crawl up my husband's face.
"It's nothing you don't know about by now, my sweet girl," he chuckled. "And it's not much different than the notes I write you now."
"Oh, I love those," I giggled, ripping open the envelope as he laughed at me, but lips smiled against my neck, and then my cheek.
Oh my sweet angel,
You are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, and such a wonderful sight for sore eyes. Despite the circumstances, I can't regret stumbling back into your life again. I know there is so much left to say between us, and I know there is a possibility I won't get the phone call I'm so desperately waiting for, but there are some things you should know, my love.
You are my mate. I don't think I could accept that fact before, Bella, but now I can. It doesn't matter that you're human, that we're so very different. It just is. You are the one thing I've been searching for, waiting for, had completely given up on my entire existence. I didn't accept it, because I just never thought it would happen to me.
I honestly thought I was doing the right thing, that you were young and that my presence was wrong for you, but I see now that I was a fool. I wanted to protect you, even if only from myself, but I'm so very sorry for the way I did it. And I could still very well hurt you, sweet girl, but I swear on my life that I will do my very best not to. That is, if you'll let me even try.
Bella, I'll take any part of your life that you'll allow me to have, but I can't leave you again. It would be like severing a limb for me now. I should've never left in the first place, but now that I'm back – and I am back – I can't separate from you again. I've explained to you before that our kind do not change very often, but when they do, it's a shift in personality. It'spermanent, almost set in stone.
And I'm not the same man that left you, my love.
I am yours to command. There's nothing about me that I own anymore. It all belongs to you, and I'm laying it at your precious feet to do with as you please.
Beautiful girl, I want it all with you. I want love, laughter, and the friendship I missed so much. I want to hold you while you sleep, I want to beg for forgiveness, and earn back your trust, because I see that you don't trust me. And that's okay, because I deserve your wariness. I ruined something that was more precious, more priceless than all the money in the world, so I need to work to earn that trust back. I know the road ahead will not be easy, and I'm prepared to traverse it no matter what.
Oh, and to kiss you! God, how I missed your lips against mine. But I want to really kiss you, to lose myself in the taste of you that has nothing to do with your blood. I want to feel you against me, hold you close, and revel in the flavor of us. I want to hear that sweet whimper that you make as soon as my lips touch yours, and I swear before God and all that's holy, I won't pull away. Not this time. Not ever again. I'll never pull away again, Bella. I promise.
I'm not afraid to say this, my love... I want you. I've always wanted you, but now, I want you in so many ways that it scares me, and I can't deny it anymore. I can't fight the draw, the pull to my mate, my soulmate. I just can't. I want to feel you wrapped around me, connected to me, moving against me. I'm desperate to feel your skin against mine – no barriers, no clothes, no fears. I want to finally know what it's like to truly love you, because I'm willing to bet all I have that it's as close to Heaven as one man could get.
I'm willing to surrender it all over to you, and that includes my body, love. You're every fantasy I've ever had, and I'm pretty sure the reality is far better – your fiery touch against my skin, my cool lips against your throat, tangled legs, gripping hands. To taste your sweat, your arousal, to touch you everywhere, to make your body sing with my hands... Christ, Bella, I want it all. I'm dying to know what your breasts feel like in my hands, against my mouth, pressed against my bare chest – what your nipples taste like. I want to play your beautiful body, learn it, tease it, making you come over and over, calling my name. I want to memorize every glorious sound you make, every sweet scent each part of your body emanates, and every sensual look that changes over your stunning face as I move inside of you.
I need it, and I feel I'll go mad with the want of it. Seeing you again, feeling that spark, that thing between us that's still there only makes me want you more. Do you feel it, too?
Maybe it's crass to tell you these things, maybe marriage should come first, but I'm not sure of anything other than how I feel about you. I'm incapable of seeing past that. It's like you're at the end of a very long tunnel that I can't escape, and you're the only hope for survival. Honesty is all I have for you now. I can't lie to you. I won't do it again. Anything you ask of me, I'll answer.
I want my forever with you – however we define that term. All I know is I need to be at your side from this moment on. I know at one point, you wanted to be like me, and I still cringe at the thought, but not for the reasons you may think. It's the pain, the taking away of your options, it's the dark and lonely and endless nights. These things plagued me about my own life, so to put you through that would cause me agony. I'm still conflicted concerning this, because you're perfect and beautiful just the way you are, and to damage that, to cause you pain – it would end me, Bella.
Above all else, even though I know I've hurt you, I ache to hear you echo back my I love you again. I don't want to see you cry anymore. It wrecks me to see the tears in your beautiful brown eyes, to hear your sweet heart breaking. I want to be the one that makes you smile, that shows you the world and gives you whatever it is that pops into that glorious head of yours. Me. I want to be that man. I want to be your best friend, your hero, and your lover. I'd wish for husband, but I'm pushing my limits, I'm sure. I must let go of some old ideas.
I know there are changes that have occurred in your life since I've been gone, and there are things you have to deal with. I'm not such a fool as to think there isn't more to you and this...Jake than you're telling me, but I'm willing to fight for you. I'm willing to grovel at Charlie's feet in order to be with you. And I'll do it all, once you tell me.
When you're ready for me, call me. I won't run. I won't disappear again. I swear it. Take as long as you need, but the ball is in your court, as they say. Like I said, I know there's much for us to still talk about, but all you have to do is ask. The answers, my heart, and my love are yours.
My arms wrapped tightly around my kill, wrenching his body to the ground, and my teeth were at his neck instantly. The bear hadn't even heard me approach; he'd been too busy, too absorbed in the fish he'd just caught. I'd allowed him his final meal, if only to let the mother and her cub walk away from him.
"Damn it," Emmett groaned, rolling his eyes. "He was mine, jackass!"
I grinned, standing up after sating my thirst. "Obviously not."
"You did that shit on purpose, Eddie," he complained, stomping off to find another meal, his mind well aware that he couldn't touch the mother and her cub – it was a fierce rule Carlisle had instilled in us.
I chuckled, hiding the remains, only to see Jasper smirking as he leaned against a pine.
"You totally did that shit on purpose," he chuckled.
"Yeah, I did," I laughed.
"Well, that right there was worth you joining us," he snickered, slapping my shoulder. "Though he'll bitch the whole way home."
I nodded and chuckled in agreement, but soon, we found a few grazing deer. I took two down, almost over-hunting, because Bella had been right. I'd needed to go. It not only had been too long, but the moments we'd fallen into a few days prior had drained us both even further. We'd had to remove ourselves from the family home because it was so intense.
A wicked smile curled the corners of my mouth at the memory of shattered headboards, crushed plaster walls, and how my name sounded when Bella cried it out into a hotel room not far from school. I found a fallen log to sit down next to a small stream that wound around, gurgling in front of me as I waited for my brothers.
"Whoa," Jasper laughed, shaking his head. "Settle down, Ed. That's a lot of lust, bro."
"Sorry," I chuckled, rubbing my face to shake the sweet, carnal memories from my mind in order to save my poor brother.
"We okay?" he verified, raising an eyebrow at me. Not too far, right?
I smiled, shaking my head. "No, we're fine. We're not too far, but I can't..." I paused, trying to pick up Bella's thoughts, finding myself only able to catch glimpses. "She's most likely shielding me."
"Oh, the girl talk," he chuckled. "That's why."
Jasper and I both felt and heard our brother coming up behind us, although neither of us let on. I smirked, bracing myself, because Emmett was not as stealthy mentally as he was physically. Suddenly, I found myself tackled onto the bank of the small creek and in a full-on wrestling match. I allowed him the tackle, but nothing more, pinning him repeatedly with his head in the water.
"Damn it," he laughed, shoving me off of him. "You cheat, just like Bella."
"I'm pretty sure Bella can kick your ass without cheating," Jasper laughed from his perch on the log. "You're just pissed Eddie caught your bear."
The mention of Bella made me automatically reach out to hear her mind. I knew we were within the ten mile limit of our connection, because there wasn't any pain in my chest. I couldn't hear much from my sisters or mother, but Carlisle and Bella were the strongest minds for me. Flashes and brief discussions of boxes and what to do with them were the only thing I could catch.
"Well, that shipment got here," I muttered.
"Ah, the Texas stuff. A shame, really," Jasper noted with a shrug. "I liked that house."
"Yeah, but we were only there for a few months," Emmett countered, shaking his head like a wet dog and shoving me when he took a seat beside me. "Jackass. Rosie's gonna be pissed that another shirt is ruined."
"Well, perhaps you shouldn't wear your school clothes when you go hunting, when you know I'll win," I stated, waving him off.
"Aw, hell, don't sweat it," Jasper laughed. "It merely gives Alice a purpose for shopping."
We all chuckled at that. And suddenly, Bella's sweet mind was so clear, I couldn't help that my breath caught. She wanted me home. I froze, trying hear what had made her mind sound so sad, so needful of my presence.
"Ed?" Jasper asked, feeling whatever emotion I must've been giving off.
I shook my head, tilting it, because familiar words drifted from Bella's thoughts. Words that I had written so long ago.
"No," I gasped, my mouth hanging open.
Letters. Three of them. I'd forgotten they even existed. Hell, I'd been pretty sure that all my things from Brazil were gone, because I'd never gone back to claim them, nor had I told the little old landlady that I was leaving. I'd just assumed she would have thrown them away once she needed to rent the room again.
I groaned, my hands fisting my hair, because I had written them, but never sent them. "Damn," I sighed, locking eyes with Jasper.
"You need to go," he stated, his brow furrowing just a bit. "What happened?"
"Come on," Emmett stated. "Talk while we run."
As we ran, I told my brothers that I'd written three letters to Bella after I'd left her. The first was an explanation as to why I'd left her, the second was written in anger, and the third... Hell, I didn't remember even writing the third one.
"Why didn't you send them?" Emmett asked, stopping us just outside hearing distance from the house.
"I couldn't," I sighed, shaking my head. "I'd promised her I'd leave her alone, but writing to her..."
"Helped," he finished for me, and I nodded. He smiled, a touch sad, I noted. "The baby girl is tough, Ed. You guys have moved past this shit. I bet she doesn't even get upset."
"She's not upset," Jasper stated, gazing toward the house. "At all. I feel pity, though," he chuckled.
She was reading the third letter by this point, her mind as clear as if I was in the same room with her. However, Jasper was right; it wasn't sadness, because she knew our connection had made us fail, that we'd both been hurting.
"Go on," Emmett urged, pushing me a little. "We'll clear out the house for you."
I nodded, shoving my hands into my jean pockets. Emmett slung a heavy arm around my shoulders.
"Bro, you did the best with what you knew," he said simply. "She was human, and we weren't. There's not exactly a Vampire Mating For Dummies book out there."
I laughed, and Jasper joined me. Sometimes, Emmett had a way of truly simplifying things. He took away all the unneeded worry, narrowing it down to the exact bulls-eye of the issue.
"And we were all dummies when it came to you two," Jasper chuckled. "Go, Ed. She's fine. Probably more devastated at how bad off you were."
I rolled my eyes, because he was spot on with that. We ran into the house, and I didn't even stop, hitting the stairs as my brothers encouraged our family to leave us for a while. Alice had already warned them, it seemed, because they all left immediately.
I leaned in the doorway, and Bella's mind circled around what she might've thought had I actually sent those letters, how it might've given her hope, and why I'd never mentioned them.
I walked to the box and peered inside, shaking my head at the few belongings the little Brazilian woman had packed up. I explained to Bella that I was sure the items had been lost, or I would've told her about them.
But that time, that point in my agony had been hard. I barely remembered what identification I'd used, much less where I was. I'd been wrecked with pain and starvation and the memory of Bella just eating away at me, not to mention the guilt of all I'd done.
Bella was just beautiful as she waited patiently for me. Her mind noted sadly that she'd read the last letter as she stacked them neatly and set them aside. But above all else, my beautiful girl was not upset. She was understanding and open for all I'd said in letters I'd never sent her.
"That's not the last one. There's one more," I told her, knowing exactly where I'd hidden it the day I'd penned it.
I bolted down the stairs to Carlisle's study and scanned the bookshelf, tugging out the huge volume of a medical journal from the late eighteen hundreds. He'd left it in his office of the Forks house, along with a handful of others, but the last move from there, he'd taken them all. For some reason, I'd never thought to retrieve the letter, so it had stayed there, perfectly hidden.
This letter was different, and apparently, it showed all over my face. I'd written it, thinking Bella would never call me, that she was too hurt, too mad, and had moved on. The fourth letter was laying my heart, soul, and my apology at her feet, with the hopes that she'd eventually let me explain. I didn't hold back, and I told her everything that I felt about her – something that I'd never done before that point in our relationship. I was a ruined man, because she owned me, and I didn't want it any other way.
My girl was a giggly, sweet thing as she teased me, making me sit down and wrap myself around her. She loved anything I wrote to her, and it showed as she opened the last letter with the most beautiful of smiles on her face.
Her mind was open and honest, happy and sweet as she read that last letter. Though, one thought flickered through her mind. Now, this one would've been helpful.
I chuckled, kissing her cheek, and she set the letter aside, turning around to face me. She straddled my lap and cupped my face, her sweet brown eyes locking with mine.
"Perhaps I should've given that one to you anyway," I stated softly, leaning my head back to the headboard as I swept her hair from her shoulders.
"Perhaps," she said with a sweet smirk, tilting her gorgeous head at me. "It would have been good to know that we were on the same page when you came back."
I nodded and pulled her closer, feeling slightly admonished, but she hadn't meant it that way. She was merely making a statement, because in her mind, we were just fine, that we'd discovered each other just fine.
"You were awfully explicit, Mr. Cullen," she teased, picking up the stack of letters and biting that delicious bottom lip of hers.
I smirked, shrugging one shoulder. "I felt wrong about writing those things then, but..."
She smiled, leaning in to kiss my lips. "Yes, I'm sure you did, my old-fashioned man," she giggled, but sat up straight to trace a finger down my face. "I saw where you changed, you know."
My gaze left her mouth and snapped to her eyes.
"I mean, I saw our connection in there, too – which would explain some of your...more needy statements – but I saw where you stopped trying to fight it," she said, holding up the first letter. "You were...well, your old self in the first one. Still in charge, still going to stay away, all for my safety. It's in the second one that you started to see the change in you," she sighed, holding up the next letter. "You were angry, because nothing had changed, yet...everything had changed."
I winced, but nodded. "I suppose. Jealousy was a powerful factor in that letter, Bella."
"Yes, it was." The statement was simple, but not mean. "But the change happened in the third letter..."
"Sweet girl, I barely remember writing that one," I groaned, frowning down at the crazy-filled pages.
"Hush," she chided softly, kissing the wrinkle between my brow. "We were both insane without each other, and that's not my point. My point is at the end. Where you finally decided to do something about it. There's the change, Edward. You yourself told me that once you decided to track Victoria, you unconsciously started making your way back to me."
"Well? There's nothing wrong with any of these letters, baby. You didn't do anything wrong by writing them, nor by not sending them. I'm not so sure I could've handled receiving them, actually."
"Really?" I gasped, looking up at her.
"Hell, no, Edward," she chuckled, shaking her head. "I would have lost it with the first one. It only reiterated what you'd said in the woods, and it didn't change that you weren't there, despite the fact that you'd lied as to why you'd left. And knowing that you came into my room six months later? Are you kidding me?"
I laughed, wrapping my arms all the way around her and letting my forehead fall to her shoulder. "Sorry..."
Suddenly, I was overjoyed that we could now laugh about the hardest time we'd ever been through. It had taken a long time to get to this point. Many long talks, a fair amount of arguing, and more than our share of counseling with Carlisle had taught us that we couldn't change anything, but that we could only let it go.
"But I hate that you were starving over me," she said softly, almost in a whisper, as her fingers ran gently through my hair.
"You mean...like jumping off of cliffs for me, sweet girl?" I asked wryly, raising one eyebrow at her.
She grinned, and then burst into an adorable giggle. "Yeah, something like that."
She pushed back a bit, picking up the fourth and last letter again and flipping through it. I couldn't help but press my lips to her forehead, because she was just adorable as she studied the pages.
She smiled softly, whispering, "I do like this part about kissing me, though."
I chuckled at her mischievous-filled eyes and smirk, but tilted my head when her thoughts were suddenly gone from my mind. "Do you now?"
"Mmhm," she hummed, nodding slowly. "Maybe this is the decision Alice saw that told her you were ready to be with me."
"Perhaps," I chuckled, trying to pull her closer, but she was sneaking slowly off of my lap.
"But the rest of these things," she sighed, tsking at me dramatically. "My, my, Mr. Cullen. Whatever do you mean by...wrapped around you, connected to you, moving against you?"
Her grin was sweet and evil, teasing and loving, but she also was off the bed, and that I simply could not have.
"Bella, come here," I chuckled, but suddenly, she was gone, out the door and down the stairs.
"No barriers, no clothes, no fears," she sang from somewhere downstairs, and I stopped at the top of the staircase to find her pajama bottoms had been discarded.
A low, rumbling growl escaped me at the sight and at the game we were now apparently playing. "Isabella, you shouldn't tease," I warned her.
She laughed, light and easy, which made me smile, despite how I wanted to catch her. "Fiery touch, cool lips, tangled legs, and gripping hands..." she continued to read from the letter.
I found her sitting on the kitchen counter, legs crossed Indian style, pages covering her face. She was only in a shirt, her bare legs so very tempting at this point.
She lowered the letter, meeting my gaze. "You know...the touch isn't fiery anymore. And I don't sweat, baby. Do you miss it?"
"No." My answer came out in a rough growl as I shook my head no. I tried to walk to her, but her shield was keeping me several steps away from her.
She giggled at my reaction, shaking the pages. "It seems at this point, you were a boob man, Edward."
I laughed. I couldn't help it. "Maybe," I chuckled, rolling my eyes at her continuous teasing. "I am seventeen, Bella."
She dropped her shield, using it to pull me to her. "You're over a hundred, you silly thing. Just admit you were a boob man."
"I'm a Bella man," I countered honestly with a shrug, gliding my hands up her crossed thighs to slip them just underneath the hem of her shirt. "That's it. No more. No less." I didn't know any other way to put it. I'd never thought about any of those things until the little brunette in front of me crashed into my life.
Her gaze softened, and she leaned in, kissing my lips sweetly. "So sweet, Edward...but I'm not done," she laughed, using her shield to push me away and launch herself out of the kitchen.
"Bella, please," I begged at this point, because she was killing me. I wanted to kiss her senseless, because she was too adorable all teasing and laughing, despite the fact that it was at my expense.
"I'm not done yet," she called from what sounded like the living room. "You want to play my beautiful body, learn it, tease it, making me come over and over..."
I groaned, because her voice had dropped to a sexy, slow tenor, and she leaned on the words tease and come. The air rushed from my lungs when I found her shirt tossed to my piano bench and the most beautiful of sights was laying on top of my black piano. Bella was in all navy blue lace, laying on her stomach, her little feet in the air behind her. And she was just stunning as the setting sun shone through the windows, casting sexy as hell shadows in every dip, curve, and muscle of her body. My eyes drank in skin and thong, bra and mahogany waves, a teasing smile, and the glorious curve of her back.
"Did you get to do that, Edward?" she asked innocently.
"And then some," I mouthed to her with a raised eyebrow, staring unabashedly at my wife, because she was just...stunning.
She grinned, rolling to her side, the pages forgotten for the moment as she allowed me to just...look. I shook my head, unable to even approach the piano, because I was afraid of ruining the perfection in front of me.
"Though," I sighed, my eyes raking from her feet all the way up to her darkening eyes, "the question should be posed to you. Did I learn those things, beautiful girl?"
"And then some," she mouthed back, which caused me to chuckle.
"I want to touch you, my love," I stated softly. It wasn't a request, and it wasn't begging; it was a simple declaration.
Bella smiled, giving me the slightest nod, and I strolled closer to her. Before she could touch that damned letter, I snatched it off of the piano, folded it, and tucked it into my back pocket, which caused my girl to laugh softly.
"Are you done teasing, Isabella?" I growled playfully, reaching out to glide a single finger down her side from her ribcage, all the way to her ankle.
"Never," she giggled.
I smirked at her silly grin, but patted her thigh gently. "On your stomach, baby," I said, allowing my eyes to caress every inch of her. My fingers brushed her hair away from her face and off her shoulder, only to trace down her spine. I slipped them teasingly underneath the lace of her thong, saying, "Mm, this is new."
"Well, I was going to ask for a story about this Texas house, but I got so much more..." she said, and I could hear her amusement.
"Oh, so I earned this?" I asked, glancing up to her face as my hand cupped her sweet bottom, rubbing it, squeezing it, and slowly ghosting closer to her center.
"Oh, you earned it, all right," she whispered, her eyes fluttering when my fingers just barely grazed the material that covered her, but the wetness was already seeping through. I applied just a touch more pressure, causing her to gasp, "Edward..."
Leaving my hand between her legs and cupping her possessively, I leaned over, placing long, slow, open-mouthed kisses to her shoulder, her back, the dimple just above her underwear, and then the round, firm skin of her bottom. I couldn't help but tease her a little as paybacks, so my fingers never quite made it to where she wanted them. Her hips rose up, but I pushed them back down.
"Please, baby," she moaned wantonly, rolling to her side, and I took advantage, making her roll onto her back.
With a flat hand, I caressed her stomach, gliding back between her legs and back up again, reveling in the glorious writhing wave that her body did. I dipped a finger just inside the cup of her bra, causing a low moan to escape her.
"You're just...beautiful, Bella." I sighed in contentment that she was mine and in longing, because I wanted her so damn badly, finally locking gazes with her. "Tell me what you want..."
"You." She reached for me, and I grasped her bottom, lifting her into my arms. "Just you, Edward," she said, wrapping her legs around me as she gripped my t-shirt and shredded it in the blink of an eye.
Her mind opened up like a flower to the sun. All I ever wanted was you.
Her thought caused me to stumble on my way to the stairs, because I couldn't stop myself from kissing her. It was such an honest and simple statement, but it caused a rumbling freight train of possessiveness to roll through me.
"Mine," I breathed, pressing her into the closest wall.
"Mmhm," she hummed soothingly, nodding slowly. "Oh yes, baby. All yours."
One of her hands grasped at my shoulder from behind, while the other threaded itself into my hair. I knew as soon as my lips touched hers that there would be no stopping us. I was already achingly hard and throbbing for her; just seeing her teasing smile and her glorious body had started that. But our connection was zinging sharp and frantic around us, and I could only imagine it was my short hunting trip, along with the memories that we'd just relived. It was pulling us, forcing us to reconnect.
I pressed more of my weight against her, one hand kneading the sweet, smooth skin of her bare ass, while the other slipped forcefully into her hair. "Bella, I..."
"I know, baby. Me, too," she breathed, closing the minute distance between us.
As soon as her lips touched mine, I felt whole again. I felt sure of us, despite our past. And I felt absolutely ravenous for her. Claiming her mouth, my tongue tasted her, filled her, and slid roughly along her own. I gripped her hair, turning her head so I could have more. Her sweet moan pushed out against my cheek, but I felt it through our chests, and her hips rolled slow and grinding against mine, causing me to buck against her.
"Oh, God," she gasped, breaking away from my mouth, her head falling back to the wall with a dull thump. "More, baby," she pleaded.
I rolled my hips again, dragging my teeth, tongue, and lips down her neck, but my final destination would most likely cause us both to snap. I pulled her from the wall, arching her in my hands, and locking eyes with her, before bending down to trace my tongue around the edge of her immortal scar – my scar.
Her eyes rolled back as my tongue met her skin, her body writhed against mine at the same time that her hands pulled and tugged me closer, and her breathing stopped for just a moment. It was one of my favorite sights – to see her lose herself in just feeling. Her thighs gripped my waist, but her hips rolled against me, her center grinding forcefully over my arousal, causing us both to growl low.
Bed, Edward. Now, now. Please?
I smiled that such a simple thing could render my girl speechless, but I obeyed her command instantly, flying up the stairs and into our room. Kicking the door closed behind me, I walked to her to the bed, and we fell in a tangle of arms and legs.
Bracing my hands on either side of her head, I gazed down at the only thing that mattered. I frowned, thinking back to the letters I'd written. I'd missed out on so much, but my girl...she was strong and beautiful. She had said more than once that the man that left her and the one that came back were two different men. She preferred the second man.
Warm hands slipped up either side of my face, forcing me to see her, to look at her, and deep, fathomless brown eyes gazed up at me, like she knew what I was thinking. "Make love to me, Edward," she said softly, bringing my lips to hers.
It was a request I'd never denied her, and she knew it. It was a plea that told me she didn't want naughty or dirty. She'd uttered those simple words as a human, and I'd obeyed her then. I'd given in to the little fragile human, knowing full well that I could have broken her, but the thought at the time had never even entered my mind. I'd just wanted her. I'd wanted to finally give into the mate that I'd waited so long for, and she'd owned me – then, now, always.
With careful but teasing hands, the last of our clothes were shed to the bedroom floor. There was no ripping, no destruction, just tickling fingers, warm smiles, and sexy chuckles. I slipped down her body, giving into and reliving everything I'd written about in those old letters. My mouth drank her in. Her body arched beautifully when my lips, my hands teased her nipples, dragging my tongue across them just to hear her gasp as they tightened harder for me. A sweet giggle erupted from her when my tongue dove into her bellybutton, swirling around until she writhed under me. And the most gorgeous sound – my name all breathy and sexy – came tumbling out of her when my hands spread her legs and my tongue licked her sweet, wet folds from one end of her to the other. And my mouth drank her in some more.
Curling two fingers deep inside of her, I sucked, licked, teased, and coaxed her to the very edge. "Come for me, love. Let me see you," I crooned, using the same words I'd used on her the first time we'd made love. And just like then, her back bowed as she shattered around my fingers and her legs pulled me closer.
I crawled up her body, settling myself in the cradle of her thighs and brushing her hair from her face. "I love you."
She smiled up at me, her legs and arms wrapping themselves around me like a shield, like an impenetrable force that made me feel protected, loved, and cherished, but it also made me feel heroic, strong, and incredibly lucky, because she was looking at me like nothing else mattered.
"I love you, too, baby," she breathed, her breath catching as I lined up with her entrance.
I bent to her neck, dragging my teeth lightly over her flesh, my lips at her ear. "And then some," I purred, sheathing myself completely inside of her.
"Ugnnh, yes," she hissed, her neck arching back, her fingers clawing down my back to my ass. She pulled me in deeper, holding me there. "Shit, just...don't move," she panted as my forehead fell to hers.
"I have to move, love," I pleaded, reaching back and taking her hands in mine. Linking our fingers together and pressing them above her head, I held still for as long as I could, but the fluttering of her insides around me just about caused me to come undone.
"I know, but you feel so good," she moaned, her eyes rolling back.
I smiled, pulling out of her, only to thrust back in, causing the same sound to erupt from her. Squeezing her hands, I did it again, starting a slow, deep rhythm. Her hips began to meet mine, her legs hitching up higher around my waist. I let her hands go, falling to an elbow and giving in to touching her. I ghosted my palm over her breast, giving it a squeeze before moving down her side. I tilted her hip so I could drive deeper, harder into her.
"Oh God, there," she gasped, gripping my shoulder and my ass at the same time.
"Here?" I asked, hitting the same spot again. "Is that where you need me, my beautiful girl?" I crooned in her ear, knowing full well what my voice did to her.
"Yes, yes...yes," she groaned with each thrust I gave her, but growled the last yes, her whole body arching, clenching, and fluttering around me.
She rolled us, and I found myself gazing up at her as she used my body for more. I grinned, dragging my tongue along my bottom lip. "You need more, baby?"
"Yeah," she breathed, nodding fervently and pulling me up so we were face to face. "More...tell me..."
I knew what she wanted, what she needed, because I could hear her sweet, needy mind, so with one hand guiding her hip to make her feel good, the other slipped into her hair so my mouth met her throat.
"You're all I've ever wanted, my sweet girl," I told her, licking up to the soft spot just below her ear. "Never think any different, baby. At first sight of you..." I purred, gripping her hips to force a rougher rhythm. "The first time I talked to you..." I told her, licking up her chin as her head fell back. "Mmm, and when my lips first touched yours..." I rumbled, nipping lightly at her lips. "With every fight...every time we made love...every step down the aisle when you married me...every moment I was away from you, and every moment I'm with you..." I continued, kissing every inch of her neck and chest as she arched in my lap. "With every sweet smile, every I love you, and every beautiful laugh..." I whispered, my voice lowering to almost a threatening tone, suckling on her earlobe at the same time my thumb slipped between us to her swollen clit. "I always fucking wanted you."
"Edward...oh, God," she gasped as she shattered in my arms, my words sending her over the edge.
I couldn't hold on much longer. She was too beautiful, too responsive to me, and her climax milked my own. My teeth latched on lightly to the side of her neck as I spilled deep within her, a low, rumbling growl erupting from me as my eyes rolled back in my head.
"Fuck, so good, so good," I muttered against her skin, unable to stop my mouth from kissing her or the sated shudders that wracked my frame.
Soothing hands caressed my back as our foreheads pressed together. Our eyes locked for just a moment as our breathing settled down. The sweet chocolate brown that I so loved swirled back into her eyes as she gazed at me. Her lips were kiss-bruised, her chest heaved, and her hair was a sexy mess, and she was perfect.
In her mind, she couldn't figure out which was a trigger more: my written words to her, or her lingerie to me. I grinned, kissing her roughly. She giggled softly and shrugged.
"Oh, my sweet, beautiful Mrs. Cullen," I chuckled darkly, shaking my head and wrapping her up. I fell back to the bed with her as she squeaked at the sudden movement, kissing her senseless, until she was breathless all over again. "I'm pretty sure...that's a tie."
A/N... I'm totally nervous about this outtake, because I think it means too much to me. It sort of sums up the whole Angel series. It's healing and struggle that are no more, but the road to get there was awesome. :)
I hope you liked this one. I need to thank JenRar for beta'in this. MedusaInNY and GooberLou for prereading it, who both told me to calm the hell down.
This is the last thing I'll be posting for a bit. I've got some ideas that I need to sort out, but as soon as I know something, you will. I'm not going away, merely taking a break.
I love you all, I love that you love my Angelward, and I hope that you liked this one. Let me know what you thought. Much love and until next time... Later! :)