I sat on a cushioned dining room table chair across from Alice and Jasper. Edward leaned against the counter behind me, silent and eerie and glowering at Jasper as if Jasper was debating ripping my throat out.
"You've done something terrible by being here," Alice's voice was accusing.
"Excuse me?" I pulled back from the table, furrowing my brows and studying her carefully. Was she really addressing me that way?
"Aro and the others have taken an interest in you. You're bringing them all down on our heads." Her eyes shot angrily to Edward, her little pixie face taking on a frightening darkness. "Again," she spat.
Now this was Edward's fault?
I stood from my seat and pressed my palms against the rounded edge of the table, narrowing my eyes as I met Alice's butterscotch gaze. "If you have a problem with me, Alice, you may address me. Leave Edward out of it; he is not my keeper."
Jasper rose from his seat and straightened his back, I could feel the waves of calm he was sending me and I lifted my sights to him. Letting out a heavy, tired sigh, I said, "Jasper. That's enough." I let the power radiate from me, sparking the air and raising the hair on the backs of their necks. I felt another wave of his power pressing against my skin and I growled fiercely when I met his eyes again.
James had told me that when I got particularly angry, my eyes got so light it was like staring at pale sand swirling around a black hole. I eventually learned to know when I could feel it happening. I felt my vision changing, almost expanding to accept more light, and I focused on a different power. "I said that's enough, Jasper." The purr of my voice was deceptive.
I shut down his power.
Jasper fell into his chair as if the strings holding him up had been cut. Alice cried out and spun to touch his face. He batted her hand away and stared at me. "Alice, she's dangerous."
"Get out of my house, Isabella. Get out now." Alice wasn't looking at me but the hate dripped from her voice. "I won't have you bringing Armageddon upon us."
I shoved the chair I had been sitting in towards the table and left the house. Edward followed behind me, slamming the door and jogging to catch up. "Where are you going, Bella? Your house is the other way."
"I know that." I walked faster.
He kept pace. "Where are we going, then?"
"You aren't coming."
"I have to say you're wrong about that."
I stopped walking and frowned at the back of his head. "You don't even know what I'm doing, Edward, why would you come with me?"
"Because you can't go alone." He didn't turn around, merely turned his head slightly so I could see the side of his face. He appeared to be peering at me from the corner of his eye.
"Yes, I can. I will; you're not coming."
"Why not?" He was insulted; agitation rang clear in his voice.
"Because it's dangerous," I was sure of this; he shouldn't come along. Jane alone could kill him.
"All the more reason I should be going." His voice was softer, calmer and steadier than mine.
"Goddammit, Bella; I'm coming! Whether you walk with me or not, I will be going where you go."
I scowled at him but started walking again. Towards the center of town I waved down a midnight taxicab and we both crawled in. I gave the driver instructions to take us to the airport and within an hour we pulled up to the drop-off zone. Edward paid the fare and we exited the cab, walking swiftly into the airport.
Edward bought two tickets to Italy on the next flight out. We had more than three hours to kill so we wandered through the airport, passing the shops and small eateries. Edward took my hand in his; I wasn't sure why I didn't pull away, but the gentle pressure between my fingers gave me a sense of safety. Edward was acting the anchor in my life and I wasn't sure why I was letting him. I thought about James, I thought about him every day. But it had been eleven days since I had made the decision to go home and I had yet to get on a plane to go there. I was already here four days longer than I had told myself I would be. I was making allowances I wasn't sure I should be making.
Every day Edward was with me, every day we walked through town or on the beach with our arms looped together. We hadn't kissed again, not since the first time on the dock. I hadn't fed from him again, either; but the urge was there all the time. The feel of his heated blood filling my mouth haunted me whenever he was close. There was something about the way he tasted; I wanted more of it but I knew how intimate feeding could be. Especially if the feelings were already there.
Edward had been limp in my lap for two hours after I fed the last time. A vampire remaining entirely slack for two hours was nearly unheard of.
But he tasted fantastic.
I shook the thought from my head and decided I should eat something. I turned us into a small Irish-themed restaurant and ordered us each a beer as I looked over the menu. Edward stared at his beer quizzically, seeming to contemplate whether or not he wanted to attempt to drink it.
I knew of one way he could.
"Do you want to try it?"
"No; I will only get to look forward to vomiting it up later." He did sound disappointed.
"Would you drink it if that wasn't in your future?"
Edward sat in silence for a moment, staring at the beer glass. He lifted his eyes to mine and said, "Yes, I think I would like to try food again if I would not get sick afterward."
I smirked at him mischievously and stood up, grabbing his hand and tugging him toward the bathrooms. I locked the door behind us and turned to face him. Edward's eyes darted around the bathroom suspiciously and I laughed at him.
"I want you to drink from me." Edward's eyes widened and I could practically see him remembering when I fed from him. His left eyebrow rose up curiously.
"I do not understand why."
"If you feed from me, you will be able to drink your beer." The eyebrow rose higher.
"Are you sure about that?"
"Yes, yes, of course I'm sure, Edward. Come on, already." I waved him toward me casually.
"Bella…" I looked up at my name and met his eyes; I froze where I stood.
There was so much more than simple curiosity in his eyes. I could see them darkening as I watched, the lust and hunger rising and casting heavy shadows in the warm butterscotch. His mouth was set in a hard line, no sign of emotion on his face, but it was telling enough. This wouldn't be just a quick sip so he could enjoy a beer for Edward; this would be powerful, it would be consuming and thrilling and intimate. My feet brought me closer to him; my brain was running wild with concerns and reservations. My left hand reached up behind my neck and pulled my hair to one side. My neck was exposed to him completely, pale and porcelain and fatally alluring. His fingertips grazed the sensitive flesh teasingly as he lowered his face to my throat. I felt his breath lifting the hairs on my neck; the sweet smell of his skin invaded my nose.
I would not make this sexual. I focused all of my attention on reigning in my hormones; I carefully narrowed my world down to nothing except the basest of instincts. Even narrowing it down as much as that would leave me with a small plethora of choices but today I saw only two. Rage and lust; products of our past, no doubt.
An angry feeding would be better than a lustful one, I guessed.
I pushed the pheromones through my skin, tainting the air with their destructive powers. Edward bit my neck hard, swiftly moving to shove me against the metal wall of the bathroom stall behind us. He took a long suck of my blood as I slammed against the metal and my body responded. Sometimes anger was erotic.
Edward had always been incomparably sexy when he was angry.
This was not an oversight I could afford right now. I let him swallow a few more mouthfuls before I pushed him off of me. Edward may have been older than me but surprise was on my side. The electric want that buzzed between our separate bodies was damn near impossible to resist. I wanted to lunge at him, pin him to the counter and take my pleasures from him. I bit my lip and covered the wound with my hand so he would stop staring at it. Once it was covered, his eyes snapped to mine and I realized he was panting. His eyes were wide and alert and nearly panicked. I could smell the adrenaline searing through his system.
I waved off the idea of conversation. Right now, we needed to get back in public. We needed to be in a crowd, surrounded by humans. We needed to focus on something else, something more important than the fire raging through my veins.
"You should try that beer now."
It turns out Edward is a big fan of beer.