The taste of her lips trampled my senses, my entire body was more highly aware of her presence than it was of its own. She leaned forward, turning her head slightly and parting her lips. I invaded her mouth, twisting my body so I was gradually lowering her to lie on the wooden dock and leaning over her. The past ten years of being apart from her was gone, there had never been a moment our bodies were not pressed against the others; every cell of my body felt as if it was melding with hers, breaking down and rebuilding around her. Her scent was all over me, surrounding me and suffocating me into blissful mindlessness. Bella pushed her palms against my chest and moved them upwards, her skin dragging on my shirt and rubbing the skin beneath; she moved her fingers to wrap around my neck and knot themselves into my hair. I could hear her breathing get heavy, labored and hot; every exhale rushing across my face and pulling me further into her mouth. I tore my lips from hers to focus on her jaw line, then beneath her ear, then down her throat and over her collarbone. My nerves were on high alert, my conscious thought was left somewhere around the base of her neck. She whispered my name in my ear and turned my face towards hers. Our eyes met and I watched realization dawn on her in one swift, sudden thought.
"Get off of me." God, I groaned to myself, please don't mean that. But I rolled off of her and sat back in the spot I had been before our incident. There was a long moment that passed before either of us said anything, and then her quiet voice broke through the empty air. "I'm sorry."
I turned my attention to her and cocked my eyebrow, "what for?"
"I… that was probably my doing." She seemed shy for moment before she locked her teeth together and met my eyes, "I have a gift and it frequently… disrupts the natural way of things."
"Disrupts the natural way how?"
"I produce pheromones; that's the easiest way for me to explain it." I was struck speechless for a moment; the image of Bella wandering the hallways of Forks High School with a less intense version of this power began roaming through my mind. As far as I understood it, most powers brought out by vampire venom were only heightened, advanced as far as necessary for them to be of use to a vampire. These gifts were there initially, only advanced enough for human use. The strange ability she had always possessed to accumulate devoted followers of the opposite sex was suddenly well explained. I laughed suddenly.
Bella scowled at me and I shook my head at her. While I had been thoroughly intoxicated by her, it had been no different than it had the first time I ever kissed her. Well, I corrected, without the overwhelming need to suck her dry. I smiled my crooked smile at her and attempted to explain. "I do not think you were using your pheromones on me, Bella. I've always responded to you that way." She studied me for a moment; not sure if she trusted my judgment, I assumed. Silence had become a large part of our time together and I was beginning to wonder why that was. I knew there were leagues of information she wasn't telling me but I wasn't sure how to ask, or what. Perhaps it was time.
"So what aren't you telling me?"
anberlin x dismantle. repair. (acoustic)
I was lying on my back in the sand, staring up at the clouded, starless night sky. I had my earbuds in, the volume as high as it could go. The same song was on repeat.
"One last glance from a taxi cab, images scar my mind." I could remember the way she smelled the day she left. "For weeks, felt like years since your full attention was all mine." She wouldn't let me come with her to the airport. She'd called a taxi to the house to pick her up. We stood in front of the house, the cab driver honking his horn. "The night was young and so were we. Talk about life, got death in your family." We ignored him. She stood in front of me, peering up at me through her thick lashes and feigning bravado. I knew she was scared, I could feel it like a shiver down my spine. "didn't want any promises, just my undivided honesty." I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and tell her she was being ridiculous. "and you say, oh, things are gonna change now for the better. Things are gonna change." I wanted to carry her to the bedroom and pin her to the bed and spend the next month proving to her that I was for her; that my purpose was to be hers.
"I am the patron saint of lost causes. A fraction of who I once believed."
I bit my tongue. "Only a matter of time; opinions I will try and rewrite."
I leaned down and pressed my mouth against hers, "if love has a background music, playing your song, I've gotta be honest – I tried to escape you." I inhaled her smell and memorized every subtle movement her lips made against mine. "But the orchestra played on." I wanted to snarl my fingers into her hair and ravage her neck. "Give me time to prove I want the rest of your prelude." Pleadings of mercy were on my lips, "call this a prelude to a lifetime of you," I buried the words to beg her to stay in her 1own lip gloss. "It's not that I hang on every word." She separated our lips and pressed her hand against my cheek. It was all the comfort she could give. "I hang myself on what you repeat." "Goodbye, James." "It's not that I keep hanging on; I'm never letting go."
Bella stepped away from me and adjusted the strap of her pack on her shoulder. "It's like secrets are the hardest thing to keep from you." The destruction started in my chest, a violent beast beating its massive, wet wings against my ribcage. "Lines and phrases, like knives, your words can cut me through." Hurricane force winds whipping around my still heart, pushing up through my throat and swirling around in my mouth, pressing against my lips and expanding the flesh around my muscles. "Dismantle me down." Hundreds of narrow words caught up in the breeze, unspoken and decaying between my teeth. "Repair." I could feel my throat constricting around the feathers of the beast, choking off my voice. "You dismantle me, you dismantle me." My fingers ached with every inch she put between us, my body attempting to force me after her. "Save me from myself."
I followed her with my eyes, filing away every nuance and fragmented second I had left with her. "Help me." My mind was on fire with everything that wasn't being said, cancer eating at my tongue and sliding sickly down my wind pipe. "Save me from myself." I could feel the fabric of my life unraveling, a stray piece of threading embedded in her ribcage and pulling the rest away with each left - right, left - right step. "Save me." The honking stopped when her small hand wrapped around the handle of the door. She tossed her sack into the back and slid in, turning to press her palm against the back window and meet my eyes as the driver put the car in drive. "One last glance from a taxi cab, images scar my mind."
My knees buckled as soon as the taxi was out of sight.
It was an hour before dawn and I was beginning to get uncomfortable being out in the streets. The urge to stay with Bella kept me linked to her, her arm draped casually in mine as we strolled down the street, despite the illogic in the action. The night sky was lightening as we watched, the paler blue moving across the sky gradually.
"We should go out on a boat for the day." Her voice was quiet; I'd noted she had begun speaking softly. I wasn't sure if it was a habit she acquired over the last two or three days or if it was something she'd mastered in the past ten years. I imagined myself and Bella sailing out on the turquoise blue waves, the sun on our backs and our skin shimmering. The fantasy was short lived, even out at sea was a risk. Grecians did a lot of fishing. I shook my head sadly, not looking down to meet her eyes.
"You know how dangerous that is."
Her little bubble of laughter rose up from her throat and threatened to restart my heartbeat. I couldn't help but grin; it didn't matter that I hadn't the slightest idea what she was giggle about.
"Don't be so silly, Edward. There are ways around your dazzling."
She was being ridiculous. I smirked down at her. "Your jokes are amusing, Bella, but it really is too dangerous. Why don't we think of something else to do?" Bella retracted her arm from mine and crossed it atop her other over her chest. She was frowning.
"I am not a child, Edward; there is no need to be condescending. Aside from that, I was not joking." She checked the sky and looked back at me. "You have forty-five minutes before you will habitually go and shield yourself from the sun to keep your secret. I am going down to the docks to find a boat. You may join me, or you may return home. I am going sailing regardless." She nodded faintly, affirming her position to herself, and turned to walk down the hill toward the boat docks.
True to her word, she did not turn around once. I waited until she was at the base of the hill before I began to frantically think of ways to spend the rest of the day with her.
There was only one, and she was well on her way there.
I glanced forlornly at the corner a few blocks away that would lead me to the safety of the house. My eyes shifted back toward the docks. It was a single choice that needed to be made. I could trust her or I could hide. I'd grown tired of hiding. I missed her.
I sprinted down the hill and around two corners, slowing to a walk as I reached her. I extended her my arm once again and she took it without looking up at me. There was a smug grin on her face. "You win. What boat shall we rent?"
The noon sun was blazing in the sky above us, the water lapped gently at the sides of the yacht. Bella lay on a lounge chair in a dark brown bikini, her hair sprawled out beneath her head and dipping into the gaps of the chair to hang lazily through them. She had a pair of sunglasses on and smelled like coconut oil. There was classical music wafting through the speakers peacefully.
I stood, leaning against a railing and watching the light reflect off the water. I lifted my face upward toward the sun and let its warm rays heat up my chilly flesh. It had been too long since I'd been outside in the sun. Twenty, thirty years at least. Occasionally my family and I would move out to Esme Isle for a year or two; because it was so secluded we didn't have to worry about being exposed. But even that was considered a special treat; most of the Cullens enjoyed being around humans too much for our stay there to be too long.
Bella opened her eyes from beneath her sunglasses and peered up at the sun. Swinging her legs to the side of the lounge chair, she grabbed the bottle of suntan lotion and stood up. She came up beside me and rested both of her arms on the metal rail. "We should re-apply," she said, not really asking me whether or not I was agreeable to it. Oddly, I didn't mind. I rolled my shoulders and lowered my gaze, waiting the short moment for my eyes to adjust to the brightness. She popped open the top of the bottle and squeezed some of the lotion onto her palm, gesturing with the bottle for me to turn around so she could apply it to my back. I obliged and immediately her sun-warmed skin was rubbing cold sun-tan lotion onto my hot back.
I had to stifle a moan.
It had been ten years since anyone had touched me in any intimate way. The only person that touched me without backlash was Bella, before and now. I had issues with personal space and the rest of my family knew them. No one pushed me. After I had fled Forks, no one touched me, ever. I refused to accept a comforting touch, a personal tribulation I had assigned to myself. To live without the comforting touch of another creature, living or otherwise; and now Bella's small fingers were rubbing circles on my back. She didn't seem to think anything of it but the way the delicate pads of her fingertips moved like whispers against my skin sent my mind reeling. She was so tender, knowing nearly every inch of my body from those many years ago; I could feel her breath skimming along my spine and the intimacy of the moment captivated me. Meticulously, she moved from my back to my right side, continuing her lotion-spreading as she moved. She rubbed it into my shoulder, my bicep, my forearm. Her nimble hands rubbed lotion on my own hands and between my fingers, massaging it into the webbing between my digits. I watched her carefully once she was within my sight, studying her every motion and shift in expression.
The woman standing before me was impossible to read.
We'd had dozens of discussions by now about things. I knew of her gifts, I knew of some of the fond memories she shared with James. Hearing her speak so affectionately about him tore at my lifeless heart but I kept my mouth shut; I had left, I didn't deserve her back. I didn't deserve her to acknowledge my pain; I deserved hours and hours of intimate, harrowingly detailed descriptions of her love for him. It was only fair that I be punished for my idiocy.
She had told me Victoria had hunted her down, that James had rescued her. She told me of the human psychiatrist and the bullshit diagnosis, the threat of an institution and her absolute panic. She hadn't wanted to forget, she said, she hadn't wanted to be tricked into believing it was all an illusion, a made up fantasy in her head. She said she preferred the pain of knowing I had left her to the emptiness of a life spent believing it had never happened.
Inwardly, I beat myself up. I reminded myself of my disgusting actions, pointing out that I simply did not deserve her the first time; insisting to myself that to gain her forgiveness and make another attempt to be with her was overstepping my rights, talking myself into a fervid loathing of my very existence. Bella noticed this quickly, I should have guessed, and she stopped talking about things for a few days. When I brought up Charlie though, to see how he was, she dry sobbed into her pretty white skirt.
The one thing I heard very little about was James, at least as a vampire. I heard a few of their moments together, but nothing that gave me any inclination of who or what he was. What kind of power he had. I had asked once or twice but Bella just shrugged her shoulders and remained silent.
By the time Bella got to my chest, I couldn't hide my staring. She was so beautiful it nearly caused me physical pain. The delicate contours of her face, the subtle pout of her lips, her open, welcoming brown eyes; everything made me want her desperately. I could smell her skin beneath the layers of coconut oil and shampoo.
When Bella had finished with my torso and face, I took the bottle from her hand and imitated her gesture to turn around. I began the excruciatingly pleasant task of rubbing lotion onto her. I massaged her neck and shoulders mildly, moving onto the balls of her shoulders and her shoulder blades once I felt she was sufficiently relaxed. I thought I heard her purr but the noise had been so quick I wasn't sure of it myself. I squirted more onto my hands and continued, crouching down behind her to be able to access the small of her back and her sides. She stiffened slightly with my hands so intimately sexual on her body; I responded by moving on quickly.
Awkward was not what I wanted her to be.
When I'd finished, I set the bottle on a table beside her lounge chair and turned to face her. Her brown eyes seemed darker, sultrier in the warm sunlight with the oils of the lotion glistening on her skin. I stepped toward her and stopped only when our bodies were a breath apart, my eyes meeting hers, and I felt hungry. It was a surge of urgent need coursing through my body, so intense that venom began to pool in my mouth. I hadn't even smelled an animal! I stepped back a step and broke eye contact with her. I took in a rush of warm, salty air and attempted to focus.
"How long has it been since you fed, Edward?" She took three steps to her right, angling herself so her legs pressed against the side of the lounge chair.
"Three, four days, maybe. I shouldn't be thirsty." Something clicked deep in my subconscious, a wheel fell into place and my eyes flew up to hers. "This isn't me, is it?"
She said nothing at first, simply continued to meet my gaze as if I would find the answers there in the tranquil browns of her eyes. "No, it is me." She took one tiny step forward, not hesitantly like she usually did, but forcefully. There was something stirring deep in the browns of her eyes, lighter hues began swimming out toward the outer regions of her eyes. I was transfixed, my entire body felt paralyzed by her gaze alone. I took in a sharp breath and continued staring.
I'd never felt so alive before.
She stepped forward again and I realized what it was that was different.
She looked predatory.
She was within arms reach now and she stretched out her hand to grip the hair at the base of my skull. Grabbing a thick chunk, she yanked me forward and I felt my knees collapse beneath me and hit the slick wood flooring with a heavy, crunching thud. I watched her as I plummeted the few feet to my knees, her smooth movements entirely graceful as she seated herself comfortably on the chair. My head was turned slightly to the left, my hair still gripped firmly in her right hand, with my neck completely exposed to her. She leaned forward and delicately ran her nose up the side of my throat, inhaling deeply and exhaling with an appreciative sigh.
I could almost feel my heart beating; adrenaline was pumping through my veins so quickly I was nearly quivering with it.
In a single swift motion, Bella sank her teeth into my neck and instinctively I uttered a guttural growl. I felt the venom pool in my mouth again and swallowed; the venom continued to pool relentlessly. My entire body was vibrating with energy, every molecule of my existence standing at alert for her. There was a rough throbbing in my jeans; I could feel myself straining against the restrictions of my pants. She sucked hard, one large gulp, and a moan erupted straight from my chest to my lips.
There was something strange about what was going on but my mind was reeling so intensely that I couldn't pin down the reason.
Her right hand loosened its grip on my hair but I didn't move my head; she seemed to be pleased with my obedience and she dragged her short nails along the back of my neck as she took another long drink. My eyes rolled into the back of my head, I felt struck dumb with the sheer pleasure of what she was doing. I felt her tongue dance along my skin, darting between her teeth to the sensitive flesh she was subjecting to her fangs. I nearly convulsed with the sexuality of the sensations. Bella let out a moist, hot breath against the goose-bumped flesh of my upper back and drew in one final pull of my blood into her mouth and the nerves in my body felt like they were on fire; the eroticism of the past few moments taking full hold of my existence and forcing my body to release in dozens of great, obliterating waves of climax. Every muscle in my body went limp just before Bella's hand released my neck and she pulled her mouth off my throat. I collapsed onto her lap weakly, panting for breath I didn't technically need from the continuous waves that rocked my lower body.
My consciousness began to develop once again, gradually filling my head with questions and ponderings in place of the inward moans and flashes of memory. I realized as I attempted to move my hand, a small experiment in preparation for the much larger task of moving my entire body, that I felt human. My appendages did not move upon my command, instead, they remained limply where they were; I was tingling with pleasure and exhaustion and my head was swimming in blurred words. I could feel the higher reasoning in my brain spewing out from my cerebral cortex, gushing and propelling forward to splatter along the inner walls of my skull like a geyser.
I felt vulnerable.