hey guys, im back! my holiday was more full on than i thought it would be, but i still managed to get this done. hope you like it!
Still carrying most of her weight, I led Bella out following the directions Gianna had given us. When we reached the rough cobble stones, Bella breathed a sigh of relief. She was the only one who looked back at the ancient castle, almost tripping on the uneven surface. I lifted her slightly, so her feet were off the ground for a second, remembering moments like this from almost eight months ago. She was still as clumsy as ever.
The Saint Marcus celebrations were in full swing in the streets, all the adults wearing black satin cloaks and absurd plastic fangs now that the children were in bed.
Bella seemed absorbed in the sights and sounds of the party, so she didn’t notice when Alice left to go and get the bags and find a car.
We walked through the narrow alleys, avoiding the celebrating people. We almost ran into one man, plastic fangs a predominant feature on his face.
“Ridiculous.” I muttered. But of course that’s how humans portrayed us.
Even while we were walking my eyes kept flickering to Bella’s face, so I was watching when confusion and a slight look of panic crossed her face.
“Where’s Alice?” she whispered, the panic spreading to her voice.
“She went to retrieve your bags from where she stashed them this morning.” I answered quickly, soothingly.
A slight smile lit up her face and the corner of my mouth lifted in response.
“She’s stealing a car, too, isn’t she?” she guessed shrewdly.
I couldn’t help grinning this time. “Not till we’re outside.”
I kept my arms tight around Bella’s waist. Every little bump in the road was causing her to stumble and I almost picked her up and carried her. But of course she was the quiet martyr, preferring to suffer in silence.
We reached the dark stone archway that marked the exit to Volterra without incident, and as we walked through Bella shuddered.
I led her over to a navy blue, low class BMW sitting in shadow. I helped Bella into the back seat before sliding in next to her. Alice could drive, even though she was slower than my usual driving speed. I wanted my time with Bella to last as long as possible.
Alice started in an apologetic tone “I’m sorry” she gestured vaguely toward the dashboard. “There wasn’t much to choose from.”
I almost laughed out loud at the longing tenor her mind took on when she thought about the yellow Porsche.
“It’s fine, Alice.” I grinned. I had been smiling so much today, all because of Bella. It felt right.
“They can’t all be 911 Turbos.” I finished.
She sighed. “I may have to acquire one of those legally. It was fabulous.”
I was feeling generous and happy so I made her a promise. “I’ll get you one for Christmas.”
Alice turned and beamed at me, completely ignoring the road for a minute.
“Yellow.” She said, smiling, before turning back to the twisting road.
I kept Bella tight in my arms, and her incredible scent quickly filled the entire car.
Her breathing was deep and even, but her eyes remained open. Why wasn’t she sleeping?
“You can sleep now, Bella,” I murmured, trying to sooth her. “It’s over.”
I saw and heard her swallow hard before answering me.
“I don’t want to sleep. I’m not tired.” She said quietly, the lie exceedingly obvious. I couldn’t help but smile softly.
I learned down slowly, pressing my lips to her smooth, soft skin in the hollow under her ear.
“Try.” I encouraged. She needed her sleep.
But all she did was shake her head.
I sighed. “You’re still just as stubborn.”
I was about to lean down and kiss her lips, making her see sense, but I stopped myself.
I remembered her hesitance from before and pain rippled through me. Had she moved on? Depression swept into me, but I kept a hold on it. If she had moved on... I ignored the pain that thought brought and finished my sentence. If she had moved on than I only had so much time left to be with her, and I would make the most of it.
I sat with her in my arms and I longed to touch her soft skin, but she was wrapped in the cloak Aro had given me.
Her scent filled the entire car, but my usual reaction didn’t take place. There was no extra venom in my mouth, my limbs were relaxed and went with the contours of Bella’s body. I found myself just enjoying her scent, not longing for it as I usually did.
I couldn’t keep my eyes from her and Bella seemed to share my feelings. I spent the entire car drive to Florence with my eyes focused entirely on Bella’s beautiful melting chocolate eyes.
She seemed so tired and I hoped she would fall asleep. She almost did, her brown eyes closing briefly, but the city lights of Florence woke her.
After abandoning the car, Bella had the chance to brush her teeth and change into clean clothes, and looked noticeably happier after.
Alice disappeared but quickly returned with a change of clothes for me and three plane tickets to Atlanta via Rome.
I hoped that once we got onto the plane Bella might go to sleep, but instead, she asked the flight attendant for a coke. I knew that she had a low tolerance for caffeine, so she was purposely keeping herself awake.
“Bella.” I said disapprovingly. I waited for her answer, barely listening to Alice telling Jasper when our flight was scheduled to land.
Her mouth became a hard line and her expression looked like that of a stubborn child.
“I don’t want to sleep. If I close my eyes now, I’ll see things I don’t want to see. I’ll have nightmares.” She probably didn’t notice, but her voice trembled very slightly at her words. I didn’t argue with her after that.
The whole flight back to Atlanta was filled with silence. I so desperately wanted to talk with Bella, to get the answers I needed—needed but not really wanted—but I knew that if I talked with her now, our time together would be cut drastically short. I could feel myself sinking into depression. It would be worse this time, I could feel it.
I managed to keep these emotions under lock and key. If these were my last hours with Bella, I would make them as good as possible.
Bella still wouldn’t concede to sleep, stubbornly drinking soda, while she sat contently in my arms.
I constantly traced her delicate, beautiful face, over and over. She touched my face too, her warm fingers leaving blazing trails on my skin.
I kissed her too. Her nose, her wrists, her forehead. I wanted to kiss her lips, but restrained myself.
As much as I loved her, she might no longer love me.
Her eyes were still open when we touched down in Atlanta, and although I was carrying her whole weight, she still would not sleep on the plane to Seattle. When we landed her eyes were barely open, but the rising sun woke her again.
i've got one more week of holidays so ill see what i can do. stay tuned!!