Chapter 7: Temper

I was furious as I dialed Alice’s number. How could she let this happen again? I gave her a Porsche for God’s sake, and all she had to do was keep Bella in the house. My brothers and Carlisle were unmoving behind me, having heard the message and knowing how angry I would be. Jasper was desperately trying to send calming waves my way, but I was too far gone for them to even begin to help. I punched the numbers furiously, and Alice’s voice came over the speaker before it had a chance to ring.

“Edward, I—“

“HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?!” I roared, not caring enough to even pretend to be calm.

“It wasn’t my fault! I didn’t see –“

“Don’t start, Alice! Your job was to keep her safe while I was gone and you let her run off with that mutt again!”

“Edward, it wasn’t like that! If you’d just let me explain –“

“No!” I yelled, completely out-of-control of my emotions. I was angry, and I needed to take it out on someone. And Alice was the unlucky target. I opened my mouth to start again, when I felt an iron grasp on my shoulder.

“Edward,” Carlisle started, in a calm yet firm voice. “Let her explain.”

I growled slightly at him, but kept my mouth closed, waiting for her to speak.

“I swear, Edward, if I would have seen it coming, I would have stopped her. I was in the cafeteria, waiting for her, and her future was fine. Then in a split-second, there was just nothing. I ran outside just as she climbed onto the back of his motorcycle, and they sped away. I could have caught up to them, but I would have had to move at vampire speed, and there were too many people around. I couldn’t risk it, Edward,” she explained.

“Motorcycle?! So not only is she God knows where with a dangerous mutant canine doing God knows what, but she’s risking her life on a motorcycle. This just keeps getting better,” I muttered.

“I know you’re angry with me, Edward, but it wasn’t my fault. Bella couldn’t have known that he was coming for her until he was there, or I would have seen her future disappear earlier. There was nothing I could do,” she sounded upset, like she usually did when she realized how useless her visions were when werewolves were involved.

“We’re coming home. Now!” I snapped. “Then I’ll figure out something. There has to be some way to deal with the dog.”

“We’re not going anywhere until late tonight, as planned,” Carlisle stated simply. I turned on him, my eyes darkening as I growled. Emmett stepped forward, preparing to hold me back if I was stupid enough to attack. “You’re much too volatile right now, Edward. I’m not letting you go back like this.”

I realized I still had Alice on the phone. “Alice, I’ll call you back. I need to take care of something,” I said, and quickly snapped the phone shut without hearing her reply. “If you think I’m just going to sit here while Bella is potentially in danger –“ I started, but was cut off by Carlisle.

“That’s exactly what you’re going to do. You aren’t thinking clearly, Edward. This whole situation has gotten completely out of hand.” He glared back at me, not going to back down.

“I’ll run back, if I must. But I am going back, and I am going now.” I turned, fully intending to run the entire way back to Forks, but Carlisle gripped my arm with force. I turned on him, snarling violently. Emmett took another step towards me, his arms reaching to restrain me, but Carlisle stopped him.

“Emmett, Jasper, go back to hunting. I wish to speak to Edward alone.”

“Are you sure, Carlisle? You might…need me,” Emmett said. Edward’s pretty pissed. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did try to attack Carlisle right now.

“Yes, Emmett, please go.” They turned, grudgingly, and began running back towards the mountain range.

Carlisle and I remained in the same position, with his hand still firmly grasping my arm, both glaring menacingly at each other. Finally, realizing I wasn’t about to back down, he sighed and released my arm, backing away slightly.

Edward, please give me ten minutes to talk to you. Then you can make your own decision from there. He pleaded.

I contemplated for a brief moment before agreeing. I would give him ten minutes, and then I was going home and murdering Jacob Black. I found it to be a great plan. Of course, I’d have to make his death look like an accident, so as not to drag my family into a werewolf war. Maybe I could get him to crash his stupid motorcycle right over a cliff. Or just make it so nobody would ever find the body. If they couldn’t prove he was dead, they couldn’t blame us. I almost grinned as the different scenarios played in my head, each of them having the same perfect ending of Jacob no longer existing.

I was pulled out of my thoughts when Carlisle loudly cleared his throat, trying to get my attention. I attempted to read his thoughts, to make this conversation pass more quickly, but he was carefully blocking them by translating his medical dictionary into Italian.

I sighed. “What is it you need to say, Carlisle?”

“You’re going about this all wrong, son. I know you, and I know what you’re considering, and she’ll resent you if any harm comes to Jacob.”

“She’ll forgive me,” I shrugged, although I wasn’t as sure as I tried to seem.

You think she’ll forgive you for murdering her best friend? I don’t think even the strongest of loves could survive something like that.

“And what do you expect me to do, Carlisle? I’ve tried to explain to her how dangerous the wolves are. I’ve tried to keep her…occupied…while I’m away so she couldn’t go to La Push. Emmett’s suggestion of tying her up in the basement is sounding better every day.”

Carlisle laughed slightly. “It isn’t your job to tell her what she can and cannot do. You aren’t her father. If she wants to associate with the wolves, even if you don’t approve, you can’t stop her from doing it.”

I stared at him, shocked. “I thought you were on my side! You know as well as the rest of us how dangerous they are. And you want me to just let her go? Just like that? I can’t do that!”

“I am on your side, in a sense. Of course I know how dangerous the wolves can be. But to Bella, Jacob isn’t a werewolf, he’s her best friend.” I growled slightly as he said that. “Sorry, son, but it’s the truth. He was there for her when she really needed someone, and now they have a bond. That isn’t just going to disappear because he’s now a werewolf. And if you try to force her to stay away from him, she’s only going to want to see him more and you less. Are you willing to sacrifice your relationship with Bella over this issue?”

“I never want anything to come between us, of course not,” I said, my anger rapidly depleting as Carlisle’s words made sense in my head. “But what if she gets hurt while she’s with him? How could I forgive myself if something happened to her that I could have prevented?”

“You can’t protect her from everything, Edward. Bella needs to figure some things out on her own. You need to decide what’s more important to you: your pride, or your relationship.” He turned away from me then. If you still want to run home, go ahead. Or, and I suggest you choose this option, you can stay here until we’re finished hunting, and we can go home then, as planned. And with that, he took off running towards where Jasper and Emmett had disappeared moments before.

I sighed in defeat, knowing Carlisle was right, as he usually was. Bella didn’t see Jacob as a danger, just as her best friend. And the more I tried to keep her from seeing him, the more she put herself at risk to get to him. Instead of keeping her safe, I was putting her in more danger. At least if I attempted to be accepting, although grudgingly, of their friendship, I could know when she was going, and where she was, and make sure she had a cell phone with her so she could call if she needed help. I could have some sort of control over the situation. That would ease my tensions, however slightly. Keeping her locked up with Alice had been a bad idea, and if she got hurt while she was with him this time, it would be entirely my fault. I had taken over protectiveness to an entirely new level, and I knew I would need to apologize when I saw her again.

I was significantly less angry when I dialed Alice the second time. She seemed to already know this as her voice was much brighter as she answered.

“I already saw that you decided to come home as planned,” she said.

“Yes, I think it’s for the best. I need some time to think anyway,” I replied. “However, I want you to call me immediately and let me know when she arrives home. I need to know she’s safe.”

“Of course I will.” Her voice became low again. “Edward? Do you hate me now? Because I’m really sorry and –“

“Of course I don’t hate you, Alice. It wasn’t your fault, I know that. Don’t apologize to me; I should be the one apologizing to you. Can you forgive me?”

“Oh, Edward, don’t be ridiculous. There’s nothing to forgive!” she was almost entirely back to her cheery self.

After acquiring confirmation that she would indeed call me the moment Bella arrived home, we hung up. It was still hours before we had planned to drive back to Forks. I briefly considered hunting more, but I didn’t really need to, and I wanted to be in an area with reception when Alice called. I started pacing the small clearing, an anxious habit I had acquired over the years. I watched the sun as it moved its position in the sky, willing time to go faster. I thought about Bella, about what I would say to her when I was finally back in her arms. I let my mind wander from there, thinking about the warmth of her skin, the sparkle of her eyes, the way her mind always surprised me…

It was early evening when my phone finally vibrated in my pocket. I picked it up quickly, and Alice began talking before I had even uttered a greeting.

“She home, Edward, finally. She’s soaked and covered in mud, but she’s safe.”

“Covered in mud?” I asked, curious.

“Yes, well, she kind of…drove her motorcycle home. In the rain.”

I sighed, not having the energy to get worked up again. “Somehow, that doesn’t surprise me. We’ll be home tonight, Alice.”

I snapped the phone shut and placed it back in my pocket. I squeezed the bridge of my nose, but that didn’t seem to help. The motorcycle was just another reason to add to the “Why I hate the mutt” list. With Bella’s luck, that thing would literally be the death of her. I wished she would just sell it, like she had promised her father, but that didn’t seem to be happening, so I was at least going to get her a helmet and riding jacket. If she kept insisting on doing dangerous things, I was going to have to attempt to make them as safe as possible.

Night finally fell, and my family made their way back to the clearing by the Jeep. Jasper braced himself as he approached me, preparing for an onslaught of angry emotions, but visibly relaxed when he realized I was much calmer than before. Bella was home and safe, and I resigned myself to feeling weary more than anything else. The drive home was a quiet one, with everyone’s thoughts centered mostly on their significant others, with the occasional inquiry as to how I was holding up. I assured them all I was much better after speaking with Carlisle, and Emmett placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder.

When we finally pulled into the garage, it was late. I assumed Bella would be fast asleep, so I didn’t bother hurrying. I walked to the door at a human pace, and winced when I saw the motorcycle caked in mud, leaning against the garage wall. The house was quiet; I assumed everyone was in their respective bedrooms. Bella’s scent hit me immediately, and I inhaled deeply, happy to be near her again. I made my way up the stairs slowly, the anticipation of seeing Bella growing with every step. It would be difficult not to wake her up just to hear her voice. Even through the wave of negative emotions I had gone through today, I had missed her terribly. I wanted nothing more than to hear her talk, and feel her arms around me.

I was stopped on the second floor by Rosalie. “Edward?” she called timidly. I glanced towards her door, and saw her head sticking out.

“Yes, Rosalie?” I asked, my voice sounding tired even to me.

I had a talk with Bella last night. I figured I should let you know. I told her my story…all of it. She glanced at me, apparently gauging my reaction.

I briefly saw part of the conversation in her mind. “Okay, Rosalie,” I said simply, and turned to head up to my own bedroom.

Wait, that’s it? You aren’t going to get angry with me?

“I don’t have the energy to be angry at you, even if I wanted to. It’s your story to tell, Rose, so what do I have to be mad at?” I continued walking, not wanting to continue the conversation.

Of course, I was stopped once again before reaching my destination by Alice. “Umm, Edward? There’s one more thing…” she trailed off.

I closed my eyes. “What now?”

“Well, Bella’s kind of sleeping on the couch,” she said it gently, like telling me one more thing would send me over the edge.

“Why is she sleeping on the couch?” My voice was monotone. I didn’t have any more emotions left in me.

“I’m not one hundred percent sure. Something about it not being necessary and I think she was mad we spent money on her again.”

I shook my head and continued walking

Have a good night, Edward. Have a good night, Edward.

Finally arriving at my room, I opened the door slowly, being careful not to disturb my sleeping beauty. I entered noiselessly and did a quick survey of the room. The bed had been stripped of the quilt and a pillow. I glanced to the couch and Bella was indeed located there, sleeping peacefully. I smiled slightly at her stubbornness. I approached her slowly, drinking in her beauty. Her heartbeat was steady, and the only movement coming from her was the rise and fall of her chest. Her lips were slightly parted, and a faint blush painted her cheeks. Her hair was fanned out behind her onto the pillow. She was an angel. My dead heart swelled with love as I stared at her perfection. I didn’t want to disturb her when she was so very serene looking, but I couldn’t resist the urge to touch her. I kneeled beside the couch and gently ran my fingers through a section of her hair. With my other hand I faintly brushed her cheekbone with my fingers. A small sound came from her lips, and she instinctively leaned into my hand.

I sat watching her for several minutes before picking her up gracefully and carrying her to the bed. I laid her down gently, never jostling her, and covered her with the quilt. She shifted slightly, getting comfortable, but never awoke. I stole one more glance at her before disappearing to the closet to change. In less than a minute I was back by her side, lying on the opposite side of the bed, facing her. I was prepared to not move an inch the rest of the night, content to watch her sleep. But she shifted suddenly, stretching, and rolled over. She must have realized she wasn’t on the couch anymore, because she turned back towards me and opened her eyes, trying to see through the darkness of the room.

“Sorry,” I murmured softly, not wanting to startle her. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Her body tensed at the sound of my voice, and her heart rate increased ever so slightly. We lay in silence for a minute, both of us waiting for the other to speak. I wanted to reach out to her, to hold her, but I wasn’t sure if she was still angry at me, and I didn’t want to upset her. As if she were sensing my thoughts, she reached out to me, grabbing my cold hands with her warm ones. She pulled herself close to me, and I held her close to my chest, my arms encircling her waist. She made a trail of kisses up my chest, throat, chin, and finally reached lips. I kissed her back, reveling in the warmth her lips left behind on my skin.

I knew then that what Alice had said was true, I was already forgiven. We didn’t need Jasper’s help to realize how badly we wanted each other; our love was strong enough that we could never truly be angry.

After a moment, I couldn’t help but laugh. “I was all braced for the wrath that was going to put grizzlies to shame, and this is what I get? I should infuriate you more often.”

“Give me a minute to work up to it,” she said, a joking tone in her voice. She leaned in to kiss me again.

“I’ll wait as long as you want,” I whispered. I kissed along her jaw line, running my fingers through her silky hair as her breathing became erratic.

“Maybe in the morning.”

“Whatever you prefer,” I replied, never letting my lips break contact with her skin.

“Welcome home. I’m glad you came back,” she whispered.

“That’s a very good thing.”

“Mmm,” was her reply, and she tightened her hold around my neck.

I ran my free hand down the side of her body, starting at her shoulder. She was perfect. Her skin seemed to radiate electricity as I felt down her arm, and over her waist and hip. I paused for a moment when my hand reached her calf, debating with myself before deciding to show her the benefits of having the bed she despised. I gently gripped her leg and hitched it around my hip. She was caught off-guard, and quit breathing completely for a moment. I let a small chuckle escape, though I doubt she’d noticed. I kept kissing her throat, enjoying the feel of the blood flowing through her veins. Her heart was hammering in her chest, and it was the most beautiful sound in the world.

“Not to bring on the ire prematurely,” I whispered, trying not to ruin the mood, “but do you mind telling me what it is about this bed that you object to?”

I moved to my back, pulling her on top of me, before she had a chance to answer. I took her head between my hands, positioning her so my lips could return to her throat. She was breathing loudly now, and a smile played on my lips.

“The bed?” I prompted. “I think it’s nice.”

“It’s unnecessary,” she said through gasps.

I brought her face to mine and kissed her with as much passion as I dared. Slowly, never breaking our kiss, I changed our position so that she was underneath me. I easily supported all of my weight, so she felt none, but kept our bodies pressed together. I didn’t think it was possible for her heart to beat any harder, but it did. In this close proximity, it was almost as if my own heart was beating again, and if it had been, it would be for her. With her body pressed against mine, and being overwhelmed with her scent, it was hard to keep my thoughts straight and remember not to throw all boundaries to the wind. I wanted her as much as she wanted me, but I wasn’t as convinced as she was that I had the self control it would take not to hurt her. And so the boundaries remained, although I was pushing them gently.

I laughed gently at her body’s reaction to my touch. “That’s debatable. This would be difficult on a couch.”

I allowed my tongue to trace the outline of her delicious lips. Her breathing became shallow and ragged, and I was sure she would start to hyperventilate soon.

“Did you change your mind?” she asked in a breathy voice.

I sighed, knowing we had to stop now before I did something we’d both regret. I had let this get too far. Rolling to the side, I said, “Don’t be ridiculous, Bella. I was just trying to illustrate the benefits of the bed you don’t seem to like. Don’t get carried away.”

“Too late,” she muttered, sounding frustrated. “And I like the bed.”

“Good,” I smiled, kissing her forehead lightly. “I do, too.”

“But I still think it’s unnecessary. If we’re not going to get carried away, what’s the point?”

“For the hundredth time, Bella –it’s too dangerous,” I sighed.

“I like danger.”

“I know,” I said bitterly. Visions of werewolves and motorcycles came to mind.

“I’ll tell you what’s dangerous,” she said, too quickly. She was trying to distract me. “I’m going to spontaneously combust one of these days – and you’ll have no one but yourself to blame.”

I pushed her away, moving towards the far edge of the bed.

“What are you doing?” she whined, clinging to my shirt.

“Protecting you from combustion. If this is too much for you…” I trialed off, still inching away from her.

“I can handle it,” she insisted, and pushed her way back against my chest.

“I’m sorry I gave you the wrong impression,” I apologized. “I didn’t mean to make you unhappy. That wasn’t nice.”

“Actually, it was very, very nice.” She smiled an alluring smile, and it was very hard to not let this go farther.

Drawing a deep, unnecessary breath, I replied, “Aren’t you tired? I should let you sleep.”

“No, I’m not. I don’t mind if you want to give me the wrong impression again.”

“That probably a bad idea,” I said. “You’re not the only one who gets carried away.”

“Yes I am,” she grumbled, and had to laugh again.

“You have no idea, Bella. It doesn’t help that you are so eager to undermine my self-control, either.”

“I’m not going to apologize for that,” she said, rather smugly.

“Can I apologize?”

“For what?” she asked, sounding genuinely confused.

“You were angry with me, remember?” I reminded her.

“Oh, that.”

“I’m sorry. I was wrong. It’s much easier to have the proper perspective when I have you safely here.” I held her tightly, thanking whatever God would listen that she was safe. “I go a little berserk when I try to leave you. I don’t think I’ll go so far again. It’s not worth it.”

“Didn’t you find any mountain lions?” she smiled.

“Yes, I did, actually. Still not worth the anxiety. I’m sorry I had Alice hold you hostage, though. That was a bad idea.”

“Yes,” she agreed, simply.

“I won’t do it again,” I promised.

“Okay. But slumber parties do have their advantages…” she trailed off as she curled herself closer to me, kissing my collarbone lightly. “You can hold me hostage any time you want.”

“Mmm, I may take you up on that,” I said, enjoying the feeling of her warm breath on my skin.

“So is it my turn now?” she asked.

“Your turn?” I questioned.

“To apologize.”

“What do you have to apologize for?”

“Aren’t you mad at me?” she asked, confused.

“No.”

Her eyebrows knitted together in confusion. “Didn’t you see Alice when you got home?”

She thought Alice hadn’t told me about her little trip yet. “Yes – why?”

“Are you going to take her Porsche back?”

“Of course not. It was a gift.” I was slightly offended that she thought I would take Alice’s car away. It wasn’t her fault, I realized that now.

“Don’t you want to know what I did?” she seemed slightly irritated at my lack of concern, like she had mentally prepared for my anger and was not sure how to take my calm demeanor.

I shrugged. “I’m always interested in everything you do – but you don’t have to tell me unless you want to.”

“But I went to La Push.”

“I know.”

“And I ditched school.” She sounded like a small child confessing to their parent.

“So did I.”

She was tracing my face with her fingertips as she spoke. “Where did all this tolerance come from?”

I sighed again. “I decided you were right. My problem before was more about my…prejudice against werewolves than anything else. I’m going to try to be more reasonable and trust your judgment. If you say it’s safe, then I’ll believe you.” I conveniently left out Carlisle’s involvement in my thought process, but figured how I reached the conclusion didn’t really matter.

“Wow,” she said, impressed.

“And…most importantly…I’m not willing to let this drive a wedge between us.”

She laid her head against my chest, closing her eyes. We enjoyed a few moments of peaceful togetherness. Finally I had to speak, although I did my best to keep my tone conversational. “So, did you make plans to go back to La Push soon?”

She didn’t answer right away, and her body tensed at my question. I assumed she was angry with me, thinking I was going to try to stop her again. “Just so I can make my own plans,” I explained. “I don’t want you to feel like you have to hurry back because I’m sitting around waiting for you.”

“No. I don’t have plans to go back.” She sounded sad as she said it, and I instantly felt horrible that she would give up her happiness for me.

“Oh. You don’t have to do that for me,” I said.

“I don’t think I’m welcome anymore,” she whispered.

I wanted to ask what was wrong, but didn’t want to push her into telling me something if she didn’t want to. I decided to keep it light. “Did you run over someone’s cat?”

“No,” she said, taking a deep breath before explaining. “I thought Jacob would have realized…I didn’t think it would surprise him.”

I waited, willing her to continue.

“He wasn’t expecting…that it was so soon.”

I realized she was speaking about her change. “Ah,” I said, not knowing how to react.

“He said he’d rather see me dead,” she said, her voice breaking.

I was glad at that moment that it was too dark for Bella to see my face. She would have recognized the anger that burned in my eyes immediately. He had hurt her yet again. He was undeserving of her friendship. I wanted to kill him more in that moment than I ever had before. I put the angry thoughts at the back of my mind, for now. Comforting Bella was more important. I hugged her to my chest and whispered, “I’m so sorry.”

“I thought you’d be glad.” Her voice was still small, like she was holding back tears.

“Glad over something that’s hurt you? I don’t think so, Bella.”

She sighed deeply, and relaxed into my embrace. I tried to do the same, but the tension wasn’t easing. Bella sensed this, of course, and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing,” I replied, not wanting to cause more pain for her.

“You can tell me.”

I didn’t answer for a long moment. “It might make you angry.”

“I still want to know.”

I sighed. “I could quite literally kill him for saying that to you. I want to.”

She laughed, but it sounded forced. “I guess it’s a good thing you’ve got so much self-control.”

“I could slip,” I said, my thoughts drifting to my previous plans of getting rid of Jacob Black.

“If you’re going to have a lapse in control, I can think of a better place for it,” she said as she reached for my face, trying to pull me into a kiss.

I held her where she was, not knowing if I would be able to resist her when I wanted so much to make her feel happy again. “Must I always be the responsible one?”

I could see her smile. “No. Let me be in charge of responsibility for a few minutes…or hours.”

“Goodnight, Bella.” I said, not needing anymore temptation for the night.

“Wait—there was something I wanted to ask you about.”

“What’s that?” I asked wearily.

“I was talking to Rosalie last night…” she trailed off, gauging my reaction.

I tensed, but kept my voice calm. “Yes. She was thinking about that when I got in. She gave you quite a lot to consider, didn’t she?”

I assumed she wanted to talk about Rosalie’s reasons for thinking Bella should stay human, and I didn’t think it was the appropriate time for that lengthy conversation. But she surprised me when she replied.

“She told me a little bit…about the time your family lived in Denali.”

This wasn’t what I expected. “Yes?”

“She mentioned something about a bunch of female vampires…and you.”

Of course she did. The females in Denali were like lionesses ready to pounce, and I was the piece of meat. I hadn’t felt anything for any of them, for anyone ever, besides Bella. But Rosalie probably spun it to look like I had.

“Don’t worry. She told me you didn’t…show any preference. But I was just wondering, you know, if any of them had. Shown a preference for you, I mean.”

I didn’t know how to answer without her getting upset. One of the females in Denali, Tanya, had been somewhat obsessed with me while we were there. But I had pushed her away time and time again, and I think she finally understood that there would never be anything between us.

“Which one?” she asked. “Or was there more than one?”

I really didn’t want to have this conversation. I didn’t answer, hoping she’d let it drop. Of course, she didn’t.

“Alice will tell me. I’ll go ask her right now.”

I tightened my grip on her, not letting her get up. “It’s late. Besides, I think Alice stepped out…” I trailed off. My voice sounded strange, a nervous edge to it I couldn’t conceal.

“It’s bad. It’s really bad, isn’t it?” Her heart rate was accelerating at alarming speeds, and I knew she was panicking.

“Calm down, Bella,” I said, kissing her nose lightly. “You’re being absurd.”

“Am I? Then why won’t you tell me?” She was getting angry now.

“Because there’s nothing to tell. You’re blowing this wildly out of proportion.”

“Which one?” she insisted, and I sighed, just wanting to get this over with.

“Tanya expressed a little interest. I let her know, in a very courteous, gentlemanly fashion, that I did not return that interest. End of story.” I had omitted some details, like exactly how interested Tanya was. But what Bella didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.

“Tell me something – what does Tanya look like?” Bella was trying to mask the jealousy in her voice, but it was easy to recognize.

Not wanting her to panic more, I answered hastily. “Just like the rest of us – white skin, gold eyes.”

“And, of course, extraordinarily beautiful.”

I shrugged, keeping my voice indifferent. “I suppose, to human eyes. You know what though?”

“What?”

“I prefer brunettes,” I whispered directly into her ear. I wanted to ease her mind, as she really had nothing to worry about. I hadn’t loved anyone other than Bella, and I never would.

“She’s a blonde. That figures,” she replied, a bitter edge to her voice. Her jealousy was endearing.

“Strawberry blonde – not at all my type.” I started kissing her again, down her cheek and throat, then back up again. She remained silent, deep in thought, finally speaking moments later.

“I guess that’s okay, then.”

“Hmm. You’re quite adorable when you’re jealous. It’s surprisingly enjoyable.” I smiled. She frowned at me in the darkness. “It’s late. Sleep, my Bella. Dream happy dreams. You are the only one who has ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. Sleep, my only love.”

I began to hum her lullaby before she could protest. She gave in easily, cuddling closer to me, and fell asleep within minutes. I spent the rest of the night completely at ease, watching the beautiful creature sleeping soundly in my arms. Hers was a love I didn’t deserve, and I vowed that night to spend eternity showing her just how special she was.