Ack! Please, please, please don't kill me!

On me second thought, I deserve it. Here, take an electrically powered pitchfork. Oh, and there's a pile of phasers over there, so feel free to take one. Did I mention that arsenic is particularly effectual? You should try it out.

I'm such an awful person! I am not worthy of your forgiveness, nor your forced patience! I am beneath the scum of the scum of the droppings of the scum under your shoes and betwixt your little toesies!

I'm so terrible that I can't even stand groveling anymore. How selfish is that?

Ah, well, here's the LONG awaited Part IV of Awake, My Angel.


Part IV: Trouble

I woke slowly, at first, gazing foggily at two sun-like, glowing orbs. It took a moment to focus, but...

I gave a start when I realized that the bleary golden shapes before me were actually a pair of eyes.

Gorgeous, scorching, breathtaking eyes.

A grin lit my face and I threw my arms about Edward's neck, allowing the pure excitement and joy of the moment to completely wash over me as his own arms encased my small form. Fragile as I was compared to him, I felt safe.

"I'm so happy you're back," I whispered, warm ecstasy flowing off every word.

His chilled digits caressed my cheek, but he kept his gaze locked with mine, a softly crooked smile gracing his perfectly curved lips. The icy slopes of his cheeks and nose were reminiscent of Michelangelo's David, thrown into sharp relief by the shadows of late morning. There was nothing more achingly beautiful than his pale, sculpted visage in this moment.

Abruptly, he pulled away. Not much, but enough for my heart to throb with longing and my eyes to rejoice at the fuller view of him.

"I hear that you went shopping yesterday. Did you get anything...interesting?"

I blinked at his sudden change in mood, trying to wake up more fully so that I could concentrate on more than his perfection and the size of his muscles.

"Um...interesting? What's that supposed to mean?"

He chuckled.

"Nothing. Alice has been...well, never you mind. What did you get?"

I sighed, perplexed, but unwilling to think too hard this early in the morning, especially since his presence was so relaxing...

"Just a bunch of clothes and junk that I'll probably never wear."

Distantly, I heard a door smashing open.

"ISABELLA MARIE SWAN, YOU TAKE THAT BACK!" Alice screeched from down the hall.

Oh, dear.

"I'd rather take the clothes back," I muttered under my breath, and Edward laughed.

Without warning, Alice was at the doorway, a seething vision of barely restrained fury. Her eyes swam with indignation and unspoken threats and her hands clenched at odd intervals, causing the suddenly prominent muscles in her arms to bulge menacingly.

She was terrifying.

"Don't. You. Ever. Ever. Say that again," Alice cut out through tightly clenched teeth.

She then turned on her heel and disappeared.

I gulped and Edward sighed, gathering me into his arms.

Well, his muscles weren't so terrifying...

I was able to smile a little at that thought, still recovering from Alice's fearsome outburst. When had I gotten so hormonal? Probably about the same time that Edward came into my life...hmm...yes...

I tried to snuggle closer to him, but he pulled away again.

What was with him this morning? Did I do something...?

But then he chuckled, "Come, Bella; you need breakfast."

Oh.

I was a bit hungry...

I could have smacked myself on the forehead for being so thick; he pulled away just twice, once to talk and once to feed me, and suddenly I had to wonder if something was wrong?

'I must need professional help,' I thought depreciatingly.

... ... ...

Once I was properly dressed and had my 'human moment', Edward took me to the stairs. Then he paused briefly and groaned.

"Emmett," he explained to my questioning glance. "Come on."

Sure enough, there he was, grinning hugely and waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs.

"So, Bella...did you have fun last night?" he teased, eyebrows waggling.

My entire face went bright red.

"I mean, normally I wouldn't question your activities in Edward's room, but...well..."

Even my ears and neck had no escape from the flaming heat of mortification.

Edward looked confused for a moment, then utterly disgusted.

"Emmett, please, spare me."

Emmett winked at me, and chortled.

Apparently, Emmett had been able to conceal the true implication behind the comment-my somewhat narcotic adventure with the pillows-with lewd memories, most likely, but that didn't make it much less embarrassing.

Sensing my discomfort, and perhaps thinking of his own as well, Edward picked me up and swept me away to the kitchen, quickly leaving a highly amused Emmett behind us.

Once there, Edward set about getting me breakfast-just cereal, but it was still cute to see him moving around the kitchen with such a purposeful look on his face.

When he came back to the table, though, he set the bowl down and sat next to me. This struck me as odd, because, well, lately, he'd been in the habit of sitting with me in his lap whenever possible. I shrugged it off, however, and focused on eating.

"Bella," Edward began hesitantly, as if considering his words with great care, "do you know if, perhaps, Emmett was referring to something...specific? He seemed rather reluctant to let me see exactly what he was talking about, as if it were...an inside joke that only he thought was funny."

I swallowed loudly, and my cheeks warmed.

"Uh...It probably wasn't very important. I mean, you know Emmett. He likes to tease-make things bigger than what they are. You're sure he was actually hiding something?"

If it hadn't already been made excruciatingly clear, now evident was the fact that I couldn't lie convincingly to save my life. Edward's life, maybe. But anyone else? They'd be toast.

Edward's eyes narrowed, and he looked as if he were about to press further, but then seemed to think better of it, and went back to watching me eat.

"Alright, I'll drop it. But I'll probably find out eventually, you know."

... ... ...

After I'd finished, Edward excused himself for a few minutes, explaining that he had a few things to discuss with Alice.

"What things?"

He smiled wryly.

"Oh, nothing to worry about. Just a few...annoyances. She likes to meddle when she oughtn't, and it's all too convenient for her to broadcast things mentally to me."

"Oh."

Weird...

He laughed softly at my bemused expression, and kissed my forehead before he lit to the stairs.

I shook my head and went to the living room, fully intending to just settle down on a couch and await his return.

When I got there, though, I saw Rosalie nestled in the cushions with at least a dozen magazines pertaining to various subjects.

When I paused, she looked up.

"Bella. Come sit down."

She seemed in a pleasant enough mood, but even after our 'talk' months before, I still felt hesitant around her.

She laughed musically at my reluctance.

"Come on, I don't bite."

Laughing a little shakily at the irony of the expression in this case, I did as she directed and placed myself on the opposing end of the couch and turned towards her, shifting a little.

She smiled, closed the magazine she'd been flipping through, and folded her hands in her lap.

"Don't worry about-last night," she began, mouth twitching in amusement.

I groaned, letting my head fall into my hands.

"Not you too!"

She chuckled, and I peeked at her over my fingers.

"Oh, Emmett showed me the cartoon Alice made-a play-by-play sequence of the whole thing, no less." She paused to look at the stairs, probably listening to make certain that Edward and Alice were still talking. "Don't worry, though; I figured you wouldn't want anyone else happening upon it-least of all Edward-so I disposed of it."

I looked up slowly, struck by utter amazement.

"Th-thank you," I breathed, not knowing how I could possibly express my gratitude and relief to this woman.

Then, though, something else struck me.

"What about Emmett, though? He can show Edward or tell anyone whenever he wants!"

Again, she smiled.

"I wouldn't worry about that; Emmett won't make a huge deal out of it if you don't, and he always likes keeping potential leverage to himself."

However comforting her first words were, the last bit made me blanche.

"Oh, don't look so horrified! He rarely resorts to blackmail, Bella, and I don't think he would with you, anyway. He'll find something else to laugh about soon enough. He always does."

Just then, Edward came back, and Rosalie gathered all of her magazines up in what seemed to be one swift motion, winked reassuringly at me, and left.

Edward settled next to me-again?-and looked in the direction that Rosalie had gone, his brow furrowed in concentration. He seemed to give up trying to find out on his own, and turned to me.

"What was that about?"

I smiled softly, thinking of her surprising kindness towards me.

"Just a chat."

He sighed in frustration, but seemed to sense that it was meant to be kept private.

I took his hand, trying to comfort him, and he smiled a little.

"How did things go with Alice?" I queried, trying to get his mind off solving the supposed mystery between Emmett, Rosalie, and me.

He frowned.

"Alice...is difficult to deal with sometimes. But I don't believe she'll be quite as troublesome now."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He smiled again and shook his head.

"Not right now. Is there anything in particular you want to do today?"

I rested my head on his shoulder.

"Not really."

Edward wrapped his arms around me, and we sat for a moment in comfortable silence. He began tracing patterns absent-mindedly on my thigh, probably grinning when my heart rate sped up, but then stiffened and pulled away.

Okay. Something was definitely wrong.

I leaned back a little so that I could meet his eyes, and demanded, "What's with all the distance today?"

He sighed, almost as if he'd been expecting this conversation for some time, but still didn't feel completely prepared for it.

"I just think that...in light of last weekend's events, we need to be a little more careful. The wedding is only a little ways off, and...well, we've been getting more and more...excited."

I was confused.

"Is there something wrong with that?"

Edward pursed his lips in concentration.

"Well...that's not exactly the kind of excitement I was referring to."

Oh. He meant that little stunt I pulled on him...and all that fun we had afterwards...

He noticed the dawn of understanding on my face, and continued, speaking softly.

"Playing with fire on our honeymoon will be dangerous enough without fanning the flames now."

My eyes narrowed.

"Or maybe getting used to the heat is just what we need."

Edward sighed again and pinched the bridge of his nose. He'd been expecting my resistance, too.

"Bella..."

I decided on a different approach.

"Edward. I understand being careful now, I really do. But this...I can't handle this, and I don't see how you can, either. I need you."

"I know."

There was a long pause as I let him think it over. At last, he looked up at me, a pleading expression saturating his liquid gold gaze.

"Let's just try it for a while, alright? If it proves too maddening, then we'll figure something else out. But, for now, let's keep to...small things. Please, Bella."

How could I possibly refuse him? This was obviously something that had been troubling him. I wouldn't enjoy it very much, of course, but...for him?

Reluctantly, I nodded.

"Okay, Edward. I'll...try. But if we're only doing 'small things'-whatever that means-then we'd better be doing a lot of them, or I'll go insane."

Finally, he grinned.

"I wouldn't have it any other way, love."

… … …

Dun dun duuuun!

Don't worry; the real fun starts in the next chapter. ;D

I'm sorry if this was too lame to make up for all the time it took to update…but at least it was a little longer than usual for me!

If you totally hated the way I did Rosalie, it's okay; I willingly admit that I'm horrible at her. She needed to be in there, though, so I tried.

Please review and let me know how Part IV measures up!

Suggestions and constructive criticism much needed!

Up Next: Finally! The part where Alice's vision comes to fruition.

…hey…that rhymes. Cool. B)