Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chapter 9

Edward POV

I dropped Bella off at her house and drove home. I was pleased with the small progress I made with Bella tonight. I held her hand and kissed her cheek. Her heart rate had sped up at my kiss. She felt the pull toward me even if she wasn’t aware of its meaning yet. I was confident courting her wouldn’t take long before I could claim her. My only concern now was to be sure I hunted frequently enough to combat the scent of her blood. Alice should have warned me she was my singer. Had Bella been a vampire already she would have known me for her mate immediately. Being that she was human, I was the only one to recognize the pull for what it meant.

I pulled up to the house and got out of my car. I laughed as I walked in the door hearing Esme and Alice going through wedding magazines.

“I’ve been saving these up for a while waiting for Edward to meet her,” Alice was telling Esme. “I knew these flowers would be perfect for the wedding.”

Alice,” I said, coming into the dining room, “while I appreciate your confidence in the outcome; don’t you think it’s a little soon to be planning our wedding?”

Alice looked up from her magazine and smirked at me. “Why don’t you take a look for yourself.”

I took the invitation and delved into her mind. Bella took my breath away. She was dressed in a beautiful white satin gown, her hair cascading in soft curls from a diamond hair piece. We were dancing at what was obviously our wedding reception. What surprised me wasn’t the look of love in Bella’s eyes, but that they were still chocolate brown. She would still be human.

Alice, how is that possible? I would think I’d have turned her by then,” I asked in confusion.

She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, Edward. I’m just certain she will be human when you marry. Oh and the weather will be perfect for your date,” she smiled.

“Oh Edward,” Esme stood and hugged me, “I’m so happy for you. Bella is such a lovely young woman. I know you’ll be very happy together.”

Jasper came in and wrapped Alice in his arms. He kissed her gently. Alice, we need to hunt. Let’s go make a night of it.”

I noticed he had a blanket in his arm as they left the room. I guessed they were going to be doing more than hunting. I felt a pang of envy.

“Soon, Edward,” Jasper called out before the door shut.

“I’m going to head up to find Carlisle,” Esme said. “I’m glad you found your mate. We’re all here for you and will do everything to help you.”

She hugged me and headed up the stairs. I heard the soft click of their door shutting. I could hear movement above me that indicated Rosalie and Emmett were in their room.

I didn’t want to be alone so decided to go for a run. I stopped when I realized I was standing on the street in front of Bella’s home. The lights were out and I could hear the quiet snores of her father. I heard the steady heartbeat of my Bella. I heard her soft murmur and decided to investigate further. I ran to the back of her house and leaped to her window. Her window was open to catch the night breeze. I climbed silently into her room and froze. My beautiful angel was lying there, her shirt having ridden up to bare her stomach and her sheets slipped down to her feet exposing her to my perusal. I knew it was wrong to gaze upon her unknowingly, so I carefully pulled her sheet up to cover her body.

“Bronze god,” she murmured before turning onto her stomach.

I frowned. What was she dreaming of? I wished again that I could see into her mind. I couldn’t resist pushing her hair back off her face. I trailed my finger gently across her cheek, smiling as I thought again of her beautiful blush. I sighed as I realized I needed to leave.

“Edward,” Bella breathed.

I swung back to face her, afraid I’d woken her. I breathed a sigh in relief as I saw her eyes were still closed. Her breathing was still even so she was still asleep. I smiled knowing she was obviously dreaming of me. If I could dream, she would star in every one. I quickly walked back to her bed and bent down to her. I inhaled her soft fragrance and brushed a soft kiss against her cheek. Her brow wrinkled before smoothing back out. A soft smile formed on her lips as she exhaled, saying my name again.

I leapt out her window and ran home, grinning the entire way. Her subconscious knew me and was just waiting for me to claim her.


Alice, how could you not have seen this happen?” I growled. I was pacing the living room floor while Jasper crouched protectively in front of Alice. They had gone to Canada to hunt and by the time she had the vision it was too late to stop Bella from going. They had only recently returned home and I was trying to find any solution to bring Bella home that wouldn’t start a war.

“Back off, Edward,” Jasper warned. Alice can’t see everything. You know this.”

I continued pacing the room trying to calm my emotions. I knew Alice wasn’t to blame but I couldn’t stop myself. My Bella was on Quileute land unprotected and because of the treaty I couldn’t go to her. I could only wait and pray that the wolves left her alone. Then there was the added problem that she was there with that boy again. He was becoming a real nuisance.

“I’m sorry,” Alice mumbled. She was curled up on the sofa with Esme’s arm around her. She was rubbing her temples trying to see anything to assure me that Bella was safe. She could only see brief glimpses of Bella and her friends. It didn’t appear that the wolves were on the beach with them so Bella should be safe. “I just can’t hold onto any images. The wolves must be nearby, but I can’t see them. I’m so sorry.”

Alice darling, you know Edward doesn’t really blame you. We’re all just worried about Bella,” Esme soothed. She looked up at me with motherly concern. “Edward, I’m sure she’ll be fine. Alice still sees your date tomorrow.”

“I knew it was a bad idea to go for a human. Now we’ve got dogs involved also. I hate dogs, they smell,” Rosalie interrupted, grumbling.

“Rose, you’re not helping,” Emmett warned. She huffed and went back to flipping through her magazine. “Edward, man,” he turned to me, “you know if she’s in danger I’m right there by your side. She’s my little sister, after all.”

I heard Carlisle’s car turn into the drive and heard his thoughts of worry for his newest daughter before he made it into the house. He came from the hospital at our call of the situation.

Carlisle, there has to be a loophole in the treaty that will allow me to go onto their land to get her,” I begged.

“Edward, there isn’t and you know it. You were there when it was signed. The treaty is very clear that under no circumstances are we allowed on their land. If we cross the border without permission they will attack and you can’t tell them that you’ve chosen a human as your mate. Their only purpose is the protection of humans and they would see that as a threat. I’m sorry, son, but you’re going to have to wait until she leaves on her own,” he said. “You have to think positive. Alice said she doesn’t see the wolves on the beach with her so she just another teenager hanging out as far as their concerned. There’s no reason for them to bother her.”

“Edward,” Alice jumped off the sofa and jumped into Jasper’s arms, hugging him, “they’re leaving! She’s headed home now.”

“Oh, thank God,” Esme exhaled in relief.

“Well, now that the drama is over, Emmett, I want to go hunt,” Rosalie announced. She never was one to show her emotions or care for anyone else.

“I’m sorry, Rose, but it’s just going to be you and me hunting tonight,” Alice frowned as she saw another vision. She immediately blocked me from her mind. “Jasper and Emmett are going to need to control Edward when he goes to Bella’s house. Mike is going to make another play for Bella.”

“Ugh, fine then,” she snarled. She walked up to me and poked me in the chest. “You, don’t do anything stupid. I want my husband home in one piece.”

Emmett laughed and swung Rosalie up into his arms. “Are you worried about me, baby? You know I can handle Edward. He may be fast, but I’m stronger.”


I paced the woods around her house. I could hear her inside with her father and that boy. I growled involuntarily at the wave of calm Jasper was sending my way. I didn’t want to be calm. I wanted to rip that boy apart for touching my mate. Emmett stopped me every time I tried to approach her house.

“Jasper,” I growled, “I don’t care what you have to do, just get him out of that house.”

“Alright Edward, but I think you’re worrying for nothing. She isn’t feeling all that warm and fuzzy right now on her own,” Jasper shrugged.

I turned back to her house. I saw her shift away from the boy and smiled at her explanation.

“No, I’m fine Mike. I guess I’m just tired. I should probably go to bed, after all I’m supposed to help open the store tomorrow morning,” she said. She stood to indicate it was time for him to leave.

“Yeah, I guess I should be going too. I’ll see you in the morning,” he told her.

I smiled when she walked him to the door, but then frowned when I realized she followed him onto the porch. Didn’t she know it wasn’t safe outside after dark? I waited for him to walk away while continuing to listen to their conversation.

“I’m sorry for being short with you, Mike. I don’t know what came over me. I guess I really am tired.”

“It’s okay, Bells,” he said smiling. “You know I’d never hold it against you.”

I saw him pull her into his embrace and growled. I took a step forward before I felt Emmett’s hand clamp down on my shoulder.

“Edward, don’t do it, man. It’s just a hug and he’s leaving,” he warned.

“So are you ever going to give me an answer, Bella?” I heard him ask her.

“I’m sorry Mike. I don’t want to string you along. I’m just not ready yet. Soon, okay?”

“Yeah, that’s fine. You know I want you. I really like you Bells. Can I give you a little incentive?” he asked her.

“Shit!” Jasper mumbled and darted his eyes to Emmett. “Hold him tight.”

“What?” I began then narrowed my eyes to focus on the boy on the porch. I heard his thoughts and realized what he was about to do. “Oh hell no!” I growled low in my throat. I felt the red haze of aggression take me over. I would turn my monster loose and protect my mate from the threat. I sunk into a defensive crouch to lunge as his lips came down on my Bella. I was thrown backwards into a tree just as my feet left the ground. Emmett and Jasper were both sitting on me, the tree now lying broken on the forest floor. I growled and fought them both.

I could feel the waves of calm crashing over me. I fought the effect, my focus only on wanting to tear that boy’s lips from my mate and take her away. I heard Jasper and Emmett as from a distance as my mind tried to come back into focus. My monster roared one more time before admitting defeat as reason came back to me. I couldn’t kill him. I would have to let him live as much as it pained me, but I knew I needed to claim her soon. I couldn’t take much more of seeing her with another man. I needed her to accept my claim soon.

“Edward, stop. You can’t kill him on her front porch. How would Bella feel about you then?” Jasper warned. “Remember, he’s her friend. I know it’s hard, but you chose this path. You’ve got to be patient. Remember Alice’s vision of the wedding. She’s going to choose you.”

“Yeah, Eddie,” Emmett agreed. “See the big picture. That boy is just a fly in the ointment. No threat to a smooth vamp guy like yourself. How could she resist you?” He slapped my chest with the back of his hand.

“Get off me. I swear I won’t kill him,” I promised as I stopped struggling. I lay there passively, taking unnecessary breaths to calm myself, “but Jasper, get him off her now.”

“Already done,” he smirked. “Listen for yourself.”

“Enough, Mike,” Bella said.

I could hear the irritation in her voice. I took another steadying breath. “Emmett, you can get off me now. I’m calm.”

He yanked me to my feet and we turned to listen to the exchange on the porch.

“I’m sorry Bella, I just want you so bad sometimes. Please say you’ll be my girlfriend,” he pleaded. “You know how much I like you and you know Charlie likes me too.”

Jasper chuckled. “Damn. Edward, this is all her now and boy is she pissed.”

“Don’t drag my father into this, Mike. This is between you and me. I’ll give you my answer when I’m ready and not before. If you’re tired of waiting for me, I’m sure Jessica would welcome you with open arms.”

“I’m sorry Bella. You know I don’t want Jessica. Please don’t be mad at me.”

“Just go home Mike, alright? I’ll see you in the morning at work.”

“Okay,” he sighed. “Goodnight Bells.” He turned and walked to his truck.

I sighed in relief as I watched him drive away. I turned back to see my Bella still standing on the porch. She seemed to be searching for something. I held my breath as I realized she was gazing directly at me. I knew she couldn’t see me in the darkness, but subconsciously she must know I’m here. I can feel the pull of her. My heart is drawing her to me. I watched her turn and enter her house. I heard her tell her father goodnight and her footsteps climb the stairs to her room. Jasper and Emmett each slapped me on the back.

“We’re heading back,” Jasper said. “You should be fine now.”

“Yeah, but you know my Rosie is going to be pissed at you.” Emmett fingered the tear in his shirt. “You tore my shirt.”

“So tell her to send me the bill,” I smirked.

I watched them take off through the woods, heading home to their mates. I turned back to the house as I heard Bella’s bed shift indicating she was going to sleep. I heard her sigh and toss and turn for a few minutes before her breathing finally evened out. I waited for her father to finally go to bed. He started snoring almost as soon as he turned out the light. I darted across her yard and climbed to her window. My feet landed quietly on her bedroom floor. She was lying on her back with her blankets over her head. I could only see her thick hair fanning out above the blanket. I gently sat on the side of her bed beside her still form. I waited to be sure I didn’t wake her before carefully pulling the blanket down to her shoulders. She let out a little huff of air and frowned, puckering her lips into a sexy pout. Her brow was furrowed. Whatever she was dreaming of was not making her happy. I softly brushed my fingers through her hair soothing her. She rolled toward me and curled her body around my leg that was propped up on her bed. My hand stilled and she curled tighter against me.

“Edward,” she breathed. Her brow evened out and her pout turned into a soft smile. She rubbed her cheek against my hand and sighed, settling deeper into her blankets.

I smiled and continued to stroke her hair. My touch calmed her. I sat there watching over her sleep until the first rays of dawn broke through her window. I heard her father’s alarm clock go off as he began to stir. I gently pulled myself from Bella’s sleeping form as I stood. She stayed curled against me all night. I tucked her blankets around her, smiling at her little frown. Her hand slid across the now empty place I’d been sitting before curling back into her body.

I leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss on her cheek before whispering in her ear. “Soon, my love, very soon.”

I leapt out her window and decided to hunt. I would be seeing her again in just a few hours for our date.

Chapter 8

Chapter 8


I came awake with a yawn and stretched my spine. I felt so relaxed. My eyes opened to a quiet white living room. I remembered I was watching a movie with the Cullens before I fell asleep. My head was resting on someone's chest. I sat up quickly embarrassed to find I was sleeping on Edward.

“Oh my God, Edward, I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I’m so tired. I’m sorry for laying on you.”

He reached to brush my hair back from my face smiling. “There’s no reason to apologize, Bella. You’re fine. I honestly didn’t mind holding you.” He seemed to hesitate before saying, “I really liked holding you,”

I didn’t think I could turn any redder. I looked away and said the only thing that came to mind. “I guess I really should go now. I’m sure Charlie’s hungry and wondering where I am. Do you know where Alice went?”

“Why do you need Alice?” he asked. His brow furrowed in confusion.

“Well, I can’t walk home,” Duh.

“I can give you a ride, Bella. I’d really like to, if you don’t mind,” he offered.

I debated riding home alone with Edward. I didn’t want to impose on him, but I did need a ride. “Okay, I’d appreciate it,” I said. “Thanks. I just need to get my bags. Do you know where Emmett would have put them?”

He told me my bags were by the door and followed me to get them. He had placed his hand on my back again. I was really starting to like the feel of it. His hand was so cool. It made my heart skip.

I dug in my bag from the bookstore and pulled out Alice’s CD and Edward’s copy of Romeo and Juliet.

“I hope you didn’t think I’d forget our little agreement.” I grinned up at him as I handed him the book.

“I’d never forget, Bella. When do you want to start?” He smiled back at me.

I knew I had things to do tomorrow since I’d been gone all day today and I worked the following morning. “How about day after tomorrow in the afternoon? Would that work for you or do you already have plans?”

I hoped he could meet, but didn’t want to presume. I was being kind of pushy demanding that he read a book he obviously didn’t like. I don’t know what came over me at the store to even suggest this.

I was so relieved when he said he didn’t and offered to pick me up. I couldn’t wait to share my love of Shakespeare with him.

We left in his car and I gave him directions to my home. It was a quiet ride. He turned on his stereo and I recognized the music right away. It was Claire De Lune by DeBussy. It always reminded me of my mother. Sometimes I really missed having her in my life. I knew she was happy and that’s what was important. But still, sometimes it was hard.

“It’s one of my favorites too,” he said. Edward reached over and held my hand for the rest of the drive. It was really nice.

He pulled up to the curb in front of my house and opened the door for me. I got out and looked towards the house. I hoped Charlie didn’t look out the window. I didn’t want to go into explanations tonight why I let a strange boy (to Charlie all boys were strange unless he’d known them since birth) drive me home.

We stood there while I tried to find a nice way to let him know I didn’t want him to come up to the house in case he was planning on it. He reached to tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear. Then he surprised me by leaning in and kissing my cheek.

“Well, goodnight then Bella,” he whispered as he stepped back.

My breath hitched and I could feel my heart racing. I blushed so red I was sure he’d be able to see it even in the dark. I really liked it. His lips were so cool on my cheek. I briefly wondered what it would be like to have a real kiss from him.

“Goodnight, Edward,” I whispered when I found my voice.

I ran to the door stumbling on the way, naturally. Fortunately, I didn’t dive face first into the sidewalk. I really didn’t want Edward to see that. That would have been even more embarrassing than anything else I’ve done all day.

I went in the house and let Charlie know I was home as I ran up the stairs to put away my things. He yelled up and offered to order pizza instead of me having to cook tonight. I was really grateful. I couldn’t think what to cook for us. My head was still spinning from Edward’s kiss.

I sat on my bed absentmindedly brushing my fingers across where he kissed me on the cheek. It was just a peck, but it was so sweet. I didn’t know what to make of it. Did he like me? I couldn’t figure him out. He was annoying yet there was just something about him…

My cell phone ringing brought me out of my stupor. I dug in my purse until I found it. It was Mike. I felt guilty that I never called him today.

“Hey Mike,” I said.

“Hey, Bella, where were you today?” he asked. “I thought we were going to the movies.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I just got in.” I answered.

“I don’t believe you,” he accusing jokingly. “You hate shopping.”

“Yeah, well Alice and Rosalie love it unfortunately,” I sighed in response. “I didn’t think they’d ever want to leave. After, we went to their house and just hung out a while. I’m sorry about the movie.”

“Well, I guess that’s alright. So what are you doing tomorrow?” he asked. “It’s supposed to be sunny. We could hang out at the beach if you want and take a picnic?”

I thought about his offer. I needed to do some cleaning round here, but I felt guilty not going with him today. I sighed and answered, “Sure the beach sounds good Mike. Why don’t you come over around 11:00? That will give me time to get some things done before we go.”

“Great, I’ll call everyone and come get you. ‘Night Bella.” I could hear the enthusiasm in his voice before he hung up.

I put my phone on the charger and went to take a shower before the pizza arrived. When I was done I slipped into a cami and shorts and went down to eat with Charlie. We ate while he watched the game on TV.

“So Bella,” he started, “whose house were you at this evening? Mike called here a dozen times and I didn’t know where to tell him you were.”

I told him about all the Cullens and our shopping trip to the mall. He laughed with me as I described each of the Cullens. He really got a kick out of how I described Alice as a tiny ball of fire. I told him I was going with Mike tomorrow, which seemed to make him happy before heading to bed.

I lay in my bed thinking about Mike. I had thought I was ready to tell Mike ‘yes’ this year. I stroked my cheek again and wrinkled my brow. Now with just that little peck I wasn’t so sure anymore. I rolled over and fell asleep dreaming of a bronze haired god.


I woke to the sound of Charlie closing the front door. I heard him pull the cruiser out of the drive heading to the station for the day. I glanced at my clock and saw it was 7:00. I lay there a moment thinking about my dream last night. It was fuzzy now that I was awake. I remembered a bronze god battling with a blonde demon. I couldn’t remember what the battle was about or see their faces. I shrugged and got up to start my day. It was just a dream after all. I don’t know why I felt it had any significance for me.

I threw on some old clothes so I could clean house. I had 4 hours until Mike would pick me up. I needed to do some laundry and get sandwiches made for our picnic. I ran downstairs to grab a granola bar and milk. While I stood propped against the counter eating I thought back to my dream. I wished I could remember more. I knew it mattered. I felt like I should know them. I swallowed the last of my milk and decided to give up. I had things to do anyway.


I slipped on denim shorts and a purple v-neck tank top for the beach and put my hair up in a ponytail before grabbing my flip-flops and heading back to the kitchen to finish the sandwiches. I was putting the last of the snacks in a cooler when I heard the doorbell.

“Hey Mike,” I yelled, “It’s open.”

I heard the front door open, “Bells, where are you?” Mike yelled back. I heard his footsteps coming down the hall.

“Kitchen. Come grab the ice chest for me.”

He came into the kitchen. He was wearing his old football jersey and basketball shorts with his converse. He came up behind me wrapping his arms around my middle pulling me back into a hug. He leaned down and kissed my bare shoulder.

“How’s my girl this morning?” he said playfully.

I put my arm over his to hug him back feeling a little uncomfortable now. He’s always holds me like this and we do kiss on occasion. I don’t know why suddenly it bothered me. It must be due to Edward's kiss last night.

“I’m good,” I said stepping away from his embrace. “So where is everyone?”

He pouted a little at me pulling away from him. “Ben and Angela are meeting us there. Eric and Tyler couldn’t come today. Their dad’s put them to work since the sun is out.”

I laughed at that. We don’t get many sunny days in Forks so when we do everyone tries to take advantage of it one way or another. Teens like to head to the beach and adults want to work in their yards.

“Alright, well I’m ready so we can go,” I said.

He picked up the ice chest and I followed him out to his truck. He put the ice chest in the bed of the truck and went to get in leaving me to get in on my own. That got me for a moment. Yesterday I never opened a door for myself. Edward was always opening doors for me acting a true gentleman. I guess I never noticed this about Mike before.

We drove off toward First Beach and I tried to dismiss the thoughts in my head. Mike was blaring the stereo so loud it was impossible to talk so I had nothing to do but think. I realized I was starting to compare Mike to Edward. I had no reason to. Edward didn’t like me that way, but putting him next to Mike just made Mike’s lesser qualities more obvious. I’d never thought about before how it felt to have the little things like opening doors done for me.

We pulled up on the beach and I saw Ben’s car already there. He and Angela were gathering driftwood for a fire later. Mike jumped out grabbing the ice chest and heading over to them. I sat there a minute with my lips pursed. This was stupid but it was starting to really bug me. He turned back seeing me still sitting in the truck.

“Hey, you coming or what?” he yelled.

I got out of the truck mumbling, “Yeah I’m coming…jerk.”

I shook myself letting my annoyance go. As I followed him I made myself think of all the things I liked about Mike. Opening doors was just a little thing after all and I’ve lived my whole life without anyone doing this for me. I started counting them on my fingers; 1-he’s tall, 2-he’s built really well being a football player, 3-he’s good looking, 4-he’s a great kisser, 5-he likes me, 6-he’s a great dancer, 7-he has a sense of humor, 8-Charlie likes him, 9-hmm, he likes me. Ok how sad is it that I can’t even get to 10 and 9 is just a repeat.

I decided to put it all from my mind and focus on having a good time. Maybe this would help me get over this feeling.


It was late. We had a wonderful day after I got over being irritated with him. We’d played football on the beach for a while, guys against the girls, their idea of course. They loved tackling us, which they did frequently. Each tackle brought a kiss, on the forehead, the cheek, my neck, my shoulders, my lips, and the most daring of all the ‘v’ of my top. The last one made me blush beet red and I punched his shoulder for it.

As the day turned to evening he and Ben lit the fire and we sat around eating and talking. Ben sat with Angela up against his chest in front of him and Mike held me the same way. They finally said they needed to go. I knew they wanted some private time since they were a couple. Mike told me he’d take me home. He knew I wouldn’t go to White Gravel Rd (where all the kids go to make out) with him since we weren’t dating.

He walked me to the door carrying the empty ice chest and holding my hand. Charlie’s cruiser was in the drive and I could hear the TV coming from the living room. I unlocked the door and Mike followed me in to set the ice chest down in the hall. Charlie heard and got up to come greet us.

“Hi Dad,” I said kissing his cheek.

“Hi Bells,” he gave me a hug before turning to Mike.

“Hey Mike. Good to see you,” Charlie said shaking his hand. “So did you kids have a good time today?”

“Hi Charlie,” he answered. “Yeah it was fun. I took Bella to the beach with Ben and Angela.”

“Good, well why don’t you come in and watch the game for a while. You got time?”

I went to the kitchen to get a couple of drinks for Mike and I while they went to watch the game. I was washing my hands at the sink staring out the window. I knew what Charlie was doing. He really liked Mike and figured the more time we spent together the sooner I’d make up my mind. He didn’t understand why I wouldn’t just tell him ‘yes’ and lately I didn’t understand it either. I saw something moving through the trees. I squinted trying to make it out. It was moving too fast. I assumed it was an animal, but it seemed awfully tall. I shrugged; maybe it was just my eyes playing tricks on me.

I went back to the living room and sat on the sofa next to Mike. I curled my feet under me and he draped his arm over my shoulder pulling me closer as I handed him his drink.

“Thanks Bells,” he said kissing the top of my head tucking it into his shoulder. I stayed like this for a few minutes.

A breeze caught the curtains making them billow into the room away from the windows. I thought I saw movement again outside. Mike kissed my head again, hugging me closely. I felt a little annoyance building so I pulled away sitting up against the back of the sofa.

“Is something wrong?” he asked puzzled by my sudden distance.

Charlie was looking at us now too. Now I was really annoyed. Why couldn’t they both just leave me alone?

“No I’m fine Mike,” I said letting a little annoyance come through in my voice. “I guess I’m just tired. I should probably go to bed, after all I’m supposed to help open the store tomorrow morning.”

He took the hint, thank God. “Yeah, I guess I should be going too. I’ll see you in the morning.”

I walked him to the door. I started feeling guilty for kicking him out so I stepped onto the porch with him to say ‘goodnight’.

“I’m sorry for being short with you Mike. I don’t know what came over me. I guess I really am tired.”

“It’s okay Bells,” he said smiling. “You know I’d never hold it against you.”

I let him pull me into a hug and put my arms around his neck hugging him back.

“So are you ever going to give me an answer Bella?” he asked softly.

“I’m sorry Mike. I don’t want to string you along. I’m just not ready yet. Soon, okay?”

“Yeah, that’s fine. You know I want you. I really like you Bells. Can I give you a little incentive?” he asked brushing my hair off my face.

I knew what he was asking so I nodded.

He leaned down and kissed me. It was gentle for a second before he let his tongue brush my lower lip. I opened my mouth for him to enter. He deepened the kiss pulling me tightly against him. He thrust his hands in the back pockets of my shorts so he could press my hips into his. I could feel him against me and instead of making me tingle like it always did before, it suddenly disgusted me. I heard a loud noise coming from the forest. I didn’t know what it was but it helped snap me out of it. I broke the kiss and pushed him back.

“Enough, Mike,” I said. I was frustrated with him and for some reason felt guilty for letting him kiss me like this.

He put his hands on my hips, putting his forehead on mine. “I’m sorry Bella, I just want you so bad sometimes. Please say you’ll be my girlfriend,” he pleaded. “You know how much I like you and you know Charlie likes me too.”

Now I was pissed.. “Don’t drag my father into this Mike. This is between you and me. I’ll give you my answer when I’m ready and not before. If you’re tired of waiting for me I’m sure Jessica would welcome you with open arms.”

He tried to calm me down. “I’m sorry Bella. You know I don’t want Jessica. Please don’t be mad at me.” He tried to pout and look contrite. It wasn’t working on me tonight.

“Just go home Mike, alright. I’ll see you in the morning at work.”

“Okay,” he sighed. “Goodnight Bells.” He turned and walked to his truck.

I stood and watched him drive away. I felt bad for what I said to him. I just didn’t understand what was happening to me. I’d never pushed Mike away in the past unless he tried to go further. I liked kissing him, but tonight it had felt wrong. I crossed my arms over my chest and stood a moment longer before going back in the house. Something was definitely moving in the forest. I kept getting glimpses of it, but it wouldn’t stand still long enough for me to make out what it was. I shivered and turned to go back in the house.

While I lay in bed that night, I thought about Mike’s actions today and the kiss on the porch. Then I thought about my dream again. Could the blonde demon in my dream be Mike? And if so, who was the bronze haired god and what were they fighting for? I threw my arm over my eyes in an attempt to shut off my mind. What was the point in thinking about it? Mike wasn’t a demon and there was no bronze god in my life. A flash of Edward’s face the other night when he kissed my cheek came to me. I thought about him for a moment. He had bronze hair. I groaned in frustration and pulled the covers over my head willing myself to go to sleep.

Chapter 7

A/N: Thanks so much to Lillie Cullen for her great beta job. I don't know what I'd do without you looking over my shoulder.

Check out The Writer's Coffee Shop. thewriterscoffeeshop dot com It's a great new site for readers. There are forums to chat about your favorite stories and even “Just A Sip” for teasers. TheSpoiltOne even has a link for merchandise for The Training School and The Perfect Wife!

This will be the last update before Thanksgiving. Have a great Turkey Day!

I don't own Twilight or its characters. But I do have fun with them.


I was starting to calm down with the help of Jasper and knowing I was taking Bella further away from the jerk at the bookstore. I swore to myself I’d never allow her to return to that store without me. No way he’d ever have the opportunity to approach her.

“Edward, chill, you’re jealous and insecure. Trust me, that's not a good combination to have right now with Bella. I promise the only emotion coming from Bella in the store was embarrassment. She wasn’t interested in that guy back there,” Jasper whispered.

“Edward, just relax. Trust me it’s all going to work out fine,” Alice reassured me.

Jasper and Alice were both reassuring me, speaking low enough that Bella couldn't possibly hear their conversation. I hated hearing or even admitting to myself that I was feeling insecure. I’d spent most of my unnatural existence searching for my mate and always felt confident in the outcome.

Of course, I always assumed my mate would be another vampire, therefore the connection would be instantaneous on both sides. I had no control with Bella. I had to wait until she accepted my claim.

I glanced over at Bella. She was looking out the window at the passing scenery. Her hair pushed back off her shoulders, exposing her jaw line and her slender neck to my perusal. I imagined what it would be like to trail kisses along her jaw and throat. I imagined Bella wrapping her arms around me, loving me as much as I was falling in love with her.

We were driving into Forks when she looked down at her hands in her lap. She cleared her throat, “Edward, do you mind stopping by your house on the way to drop me off? Emmett took my bags with him earlier by mistake.”

I smiled. It wasn't a mistake. I wanted her in my home. “That’s not a problem at all, Bella.”

She called her father. I could hear him on the other end telling her about his fishing trip. It seemed he was pleased with the number of fish he caught. Bella thought it was funny. I wasn’t sure what the joke was and would love to share in her laughter. His next comment made me angry.

“So Bells, where are you? I was starting to worry. You’re never out this long just to shop. Did you run away with Mike and not tell your old man?” Her father was laughing.

I failed to see any humor in the idea of my Bella running away with this Mike character. I would need to find a way to stake my claim soon even if only by human standards until she was ready for the rest.

I could feel Jasper calming me down as Alice patted me on the shoulder from the back seat. On the upside it seemed Bella was not impressed with her father’s humor either. She was actually frowning. Good.

“No Dad, I didn’t run away with Mike. I’ve actually been shopping this entire time, believe it or not.” She was rolling her eyes and laughing at the phone. “I just wanted to let you know I’m back in Forks and I’m going to stop at a friend’s house on my way home. I’ll talk to you later. Bye Dad!” She seemed embarrassed now and quickly snapped her phone shut, slipping it back into her purse.

We pulled up to the front of our home and we all got out. I opened Bella’s door for her as Alice and Jasper went in the house. She didn’t notice me standing there holding her door open. She seemed to be in a trance looking at my home. I was proud that she liked my home. Our home, I corrected myself. Soon.

Esme and Carlisle were standing in the foyer with Alice and Jasper. They were all smiling at Bella as I ushered her into the house.

Oh Edward, she’s beautiful,” Esme was thinking to me. “I can tell I’m going to love her as much as my other daughters.”

Good choice, son. I can see why you’re so excited about her. I hope everything goes accordingly.” Carlisle was naturally more reserved in his thoughts about Bella.

He was researching how I could safely make Bella my mate without harming her. When a vampire claims their mate they bite them, injecting venom into the body so that any other male vampire can smell they've been claimed and knows to steer clear. Eventually I would turn Bella the same way, only injecting much more venom into her bloodstream. Since I've promised my family I wouldn't turn her until she was ready, I needed a way to stake my claim without harming her.

“Bella, these are my parents, Carlisle and Esme,” I said. “Mom, Dad, this is Bella.” I looked down at Bella to gauge her reaction, and saw a very attractive blush spreading across her cheeks. I knew this would be one thing I would miss about her when she’s turned. I’d just cherish every one of her blushes until there were no more.

Bella shivered. I smiled, knowing I caused it. I was stroking my thumb on her bare back where I had placed my hand. I loved her reaction to me.

Nice move, Edward. Keep that up and I won’t be needed anymore.” Jasper was thinking.

“Hi Dr. and Mrs. Cullen, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” she said.

My parents stepped forward. Carlisle stuck his hand out to shake hers. “Please Bella, call me Carlisle.”

“And please call me Esme, dear. There’s no need for formalities here. We’re all family.” “I’m so happy for you Edward. I will do everything I can to help you win her heart.”

She gently gave Bella a hug. I could tell she was unsure of how Bella would take the gesture. Bella hugged her back and had a distant look in her eyes.

“Thank you, Mrs. Cu – Esme.” My Bella, she was blushing again.

Alice was pulling Bella away from me. I growled. I wasn’t ready to be separated from her. Alice had gotten most of the day with her. My time had been spent sharing her, first with my family then the jerk at the bookstore. I really needed to let that go before Alice or Jasper started up again at me. Too late.

“Come on, Bella. Let’s go upstairs,” Alice started, laughing. “Edward, you and Jasper can hang out down here for a while. I’ll bring her back, I promise.” She smirked as they went up the stairs. “You have it so bad, Edward.”

I sat next to Jasper on the sofa. He started watching a baseball game on the television while I focused on the conversation taking place on the floor above me. Alice was already laying claim to Bella. She was determined that Bella was going to be hers almost as much as she was mine. I sometimes wish Alice and Rosalie spent more time together. Then she wouldn’t need to make Bella her new best friend. I’m selfish, I admit it, but I don’t want to share.

I was glad Bella said she had fun, even though it was obvious from her lack of bags and her comments in the car that shopping wasn’t ranked high on her list of fun things to do. Bella had gotten awfully quiet. I was starting to worry. I hated that I didn’t know what’s going on in her mind. I listened carefully holding my breath. I wasn’t prepared for her next statement.

“Can I ask you a question without offending? Does Rosalie not like me?”

That’s it! I jumped up knocking over the coffee table in front of me. I had asked everyone to make Bella feel comfortable around us. My family knew how important this was to me. How much I needed to find my mate. Rosalie promised she’d help and be on her best behavior the other night when we discussed Bella. I was going to hunt her down and demand answers from her. Emmett wasn’t going to be very happy when I tore his wife up.

Edward, I’m sorry. I had no idea she’d take Rosalie’s behavior that way. Please don’t overreact.” Alice was trying to reassure me. I wasn’t so sure. Rosalie can be very intimidating and cold when she wants to be.

“Calm down, Edward. You can’t go off half cocked. Emmett will never let you hurt Rosalie and you know you really don’t want to.” Jasper was trying to calm me down and stop me from leaving the house.

“Rosalie promised she'd help with Bella,” I growled. “She and I are going to have a talk whether Emmett likes it or not.”

I pushed him away knocking over a chair in the process as I slammed out of the house. I headed for the woods following Rosalie and Emmett’s scents. I found them taking down a couple of deer in the woods. I waited until they buried their meal to confront Rosalie. I stalked towards her growling as she was brushing off her hands. Emmett was immediately on the defensive and stood in front of her.

“What do you want with Rose, Edward?” He lowered himself into a protective stance, growling at me.

Rosalie stood looking at me and crossed her arms over her chest and sighed. “What now, Edward?”

“What is your problem, Rosalie?” I yelled at her. “I ask you for one thing. One thing! Be nice to Bella and help me win her.” I was stalking back and forth in front of Emmett looking for an opening to Rosalie I knew he would never give. “You couldn’t even spend one day with her without making her feel your animosity. I want to know why. What could you possibly have against her already?” I threw my hands in the air at her.

Emmett never moved from his protective stance with Rosalie behind him. We all knew I wasn’t going to hurt her, but she was his mate. As vampires, we are very protective of our mates, but male vampires are the worst. We take protective and possessive to the extreme. We don’t allow anyone or anything to threaten them. The female is our other half. Losing a mate meant grieving for all eternity. There is no coming back from that kind of pain. That’s what Rosalie was to Emmett and I knew Bella was to me.

Rosalie frowned at me. “I’m sorry if she feels like I hate her. I don’t, okay? I already told you I’m not in favor of you picking a human for a mate. You know this. You know how I feel about being a vampire. I don’t wish this life on anyone.”

I knew Rosalie had problems adjusting to this life more than any other member of my family. Her biggest desire was to have children and grow old with someone. She had been so close when she was human to fulfilling her dreams. She had just picked the wrong man. If she’d been with anyone else besides her sleaze of a fiancĂ©, she probably would have had a long happy life.

“Rose, this isn’t about you. It’s not about what you lost. This is about me; my dreams, my eternity. I want Bella. I need her. Can’t you understand that?” I was going to face enough obstacles without trouble within my own family.

“What about what Bella wants? What about what she needs?” She stared long and hard at me. “Have you thought of what this means for her?”

“She has a point, Edward. Have you really thought this through? It’s not too late to change your mind and leave her alone.” Emmett was trying to get me to understand Rosalie without siding against me also. I knew he didn’t care one way or the other. He was just thrilled having a new sister. He takes his role as “big brother” seriously.

I stopped pacing and stood pinching the bridge of my nose. I was desperate to make her understand. I took an unnecessary breath. I thought about my years of fruitless searching. I thought of searching for another 100 years. I pictured every female vampire I had ever considered.

Then I imagined Bella’s face gazing into my eyes. I pictured her mahogany hair framing those chocolate eyes that made my dead heart beg to beat again just for her. I remembered how her eyes sparkled as I received one of the few smiles I earned today. Her heart skipped and she shivered at my touch earlier in the house. She felt something for me.

I turned to Emmett and Rosalie and spoke with more conviction than I’d ever felt before. There was no more doubt. There would never be any turning back. I had just solidified my decision in stone. She was mine. The only thing left was to convince her.

“Yes. I’m sure. She is the one. There will be no other for me.” I smiled at her softening my tone, “Please Rosalie, I understand what you’re saying. I know I haven’t chosen an easy path. She will have to adjust and give up her life. I’m sorry about that. Imagine your life without Emmett. Rose, I’ve never asked you for anything. I’m asking for this.”

She looked at Emmett, thinking about what I’d said. I saw her thoughts about Emmett and the love they shared. She thought back to when they found each other. She remembered when Emmett bit her; claiming her, the first time he told her he loved her. She then looked at me with resolve in her eyes.

“Alright Edward, I’ll compromise. I’ll be more supportive and help where I can. You agree not to change her unless she asks for it. Agreed?”

We both knew that changing Bella was inevitable, but if it made it easier for Rosalie to come around then fine. “Agreed.”

Emmett stood and relaxed for the first time and clapped his hands together. “Alright you two, now that’s settled. It’s movie time. Tonight is my turn to pick.”

I got back to the house with Emmett and Rosalie in time to hear Alice ask Bella about me. I didn’t want to miss this. It was what I’d been waiting for all day.

“So what do you think of Edward?” Alice asked. “It’s about time. I’ve been waiting to ask her until you could hear.”

“Um, he’s okay?” Bella seemed distracted in her answer.

“Just okay?” Alice asked. “She does take some coaxing to get information out of her.”

“Well, I don’t know. I just met him today. He’s very attractive, but he doesn’t talk much. Then when he does, he just seems to piss me off.”

I was happy to hear she thought I was attractive. I thought she was beautiful. I was upset hearing her remember that I’d made her mad at the bookstore. I didn’t want to be reminded of that incident.

“There,” Alice said. She sounded very pleased with herself. “Wait til you see her Edward.”

“Thanks, Alice. I don’t know why you did all this. I’m just going home,” she told Alice.

I didn’t want her to go home. I wasn’t ready for our first day together to be over.

“Well, let’s go down and see what the guys are doing.” I heard them coming down the stairs. Bella was walking slowly.

Alice came into the room, grinning widely. “Wait ‘til you see her Edward! You’re going to love what I did,” she whispered.

I stood to meet her at the door but couldn’t move as she came into the room. I was mesmerized. She was beautiful before. Alice only enhanced her natural beauty. Alice had put her in a snug shirt and short skirt that showed off all her curves and her long slender legs. She had her boots on and she looked ‘really hot’, to borrow an expression from Emmett. Her cheeks were warmed by the blush that I loved so much. She was so timid and shy.

I walked toward her and lifted her chin with my hand. I tucked a loose curl behind her ear with my other hand. I gazed into her eyes trying to convey all my feelings in a look. “Bella, you’re beautiful,” I whispered.

She blushed again, but I wouldn’t let her look away from me. I couldn’t. I needed her to see me.

Emmett had to break the mood, of course.

“Get a room,” he said trying to smother it with his hand.

I guided her over to sit on the sofa next to me. I didn’t want to take a chance she’d sit somewhere else. Esme had brought in food and a drink and left it for Bella before she and Carlisle went hunting. I handed her the glass.

“Thank you,” she whispered to me.

“Alright, now that we’re all here, let’s start this puppy!” Emmett bellowed. He turned off the lamp next to him with one hand while hitting ‘play’ on the remote with the other.

It was dark in the room other than from the movie on television. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ was starting. Everyone groaned, “Again, Emmett?”

“Hey, I like Johnny Depp. So deal.”

Rosalie was curled up with him in the recliner and kissed him on the cheek.

I scowled at her then looked pointedly down at Bella next to me.

She looked at Bella and sighed. “Thanks for going shopping with us today, Bella. It’s going to be nice having a friend already when school starts.” “See Edward. I can play nice with the human too.”

I handed Bella a plate of some type of awful smelling food. I guess Esme used one of the cookbook props in the kitchen to cook for her. I hope it doesn’t make her sick. The smell was nauseating to all of us. Bella moaned a little with a smile. I guess that meant it was good. I’d have to thank Esme later and maybe take a crack at cooking also. I’d love to be responsible for that expression.

I noticed Alice got still and had a worried frown on her face as she looked at Bella. I delved into her mind and saw Bella going out with that boy, Mike. It was dusk and she was smiling my smile at him, nodding her head. He grinned and scooped her up to swing her around. I wanted to tear the room apart at her vision of them kissing. That would not happen!

“When?” I mumbled low enough that Bella couldn't hear me over the sound of the movie starting.

“Tonight,” she answered worried. “She can't go home yet.”

I whispered to Jasper low enough that Bella wouldn’t hear me. “Could you make her feel more relaxed? I need to keep her here so she doesn't go on that date.”

“Sure. No sweat,” he smirked. He sent waves of relaxation at Bella, causing her eyes to droop.

“Pervert,” Emmett laughed.

I gently pulled Bella into my lap as her eyes closed so her head was against my chest. Rosalie came over covered her with the blanket off the back of the sofa so she wouldn’t get cold laying on me. She gave me a nod and I smiled back my thanks to her. I gazed down at my angel unrestricted and stroked her soft hair to my dead heart’s content. I sighed in relief as Alice's vision shifted. I saw Bella and I laughing and holding hands again. Things were back on track.

The movie was ending so I told Jasper to ‘release’ her so I could take her home. I knew I couldn’t keep her any longer. I didn’t want her father to worry. I needed to make a good impression with him so he’d allow me to spend time with Bella. I could feel her stirring as her heart rate increased, becoming conscious again. Everyone left the room to give us time together alone.

She yawned and did a little stretch that was just too cute. She opened her eyes and blinked a few times trying to adjust her vision. She sat up suddenly.

“Oh my God, Edward,” her blush was already spreading, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I’m so tired. I’m sorry for laying on you.”

I gently brushed her hair back from her face. “There’s no reason to apologize, Bella. You’re fine. I honestly didn’t mind holding you.” I took a chance with my next statement to gauge her reaction. “I really like holding you,” I said softly to her.

Her blush turned a deeper red as she quickly turned away. “I guess I really should go now. I’m sure Charlie’s hungry and wondering where I am. Do you know where Alice went?”

“Why do you need Alice?” I asked. I couldn’t think what she needed Alice for. I hate not hearing her mind. And, yes, I know I’ve said that, but I do.

“Well, I can’t walk home,” she looked at me like she was stating the obvious.

“I can give you a ride, Bella. I’d really like to, if you don’t mind.”

She looked at me for a minute. She seemed to be working out a decision in her mind. “Okay, I’d appreciate it. Thanks. I just need to get my bags. Do you know where Emmett would have put them?”

“Sure. They’re on the bench in the foyer with your bag from the bookstore. Alice put them there earlier.”

We both stood and I put my hand on her back to usher her to the door. I couldn’t get enough of her. I loved being able to touch her any way I could, even if it was just in a polite gesture, for now.

I thought about what it would be like when she finally lets me hold her hand or put my arms around her, showing her how much I loved her already.

She was digging through her bag from the bookstore, pulling stuff out. She handed me a CD first.

“This is Alice’s. I owed her for the shirt I ruined last night. Could you make sure she gets it later?”

“Sure, I’ll leave it here and give it to her when I get back home,” I responded, setting the CD back on the bench.

Thanks Edward. I’ll get it when you leave.” Alice thought to me.

She reached back in the bag and pulled out a paperback book handing it to me grinning. “I hope you didn’t think I’d forget our little agreement.”

I looked down at the book in my hand. Romeo and Juliet. I looked back up at her grinning. “I’d never forget, Bella. When do you want to start?”

She thought a minute. “How about day after tomorrow in the afternoon? Would that work for you or do you already have plans?” She looked down at the shopping bag in her hands with the last comment.

Could it be she was sad at the idea I couldn’t spend time with her? I knew it was unrealistic to think that, but the concept gave me hope. Maybe she was already falling for me, at least a little bit.

“No I don’t have plans. How about I come pick you up and we’ll go somewhere and talk?”

She looked up and her eyes shone, “I’d really like that. Could you pick me up around 3:00?”

“That sounds great. I’ll be there.” I was going to have my first date with Bella.

She picked up her other two bags and her purse as she turned back to me, smiling. “Okay, I guess I’m ready.”

We went outside and I opened the passenger door for her to get in my car. I ran around to the driver’s side remembering to do this at human speed even though I couldn’t wait to sit next to her again.

We drove home silently, but it wasn’t awkward. I turned on the stereo in my car to listen to a CD. Debussy was playing Claire De Lune.

She listened for a minute before sighing wistfully, “I love this song so much. It is one of my favorites.”

I took my hand off the steering wheel and reached over to hold her hand sitting in her lap. “It’s one of my favorites, too.” I gave her hand a soft squeeze and left mine holding hers. I held my breath. I’d let her decide.

I smiled when I realized she wasn’t pulling away. I laid my head back against the seat and smiled. We were holding hands. Human Bella Swan was holding Vampire Edward Cullen’s hand and not pulling away! I wanted to jump out of the car and do one of Emmett’s ‘happy dances’ as he called them.

Too soon we pulled up in front of her house. I got out and ran to open her door. I wanted to walk her to the door. She stood and looked at her house debating.

“Thanks for the ride Edward. I better go in.” She was silently letting me know that I couldn’t walk her to the door.

I could hear the TV in her living room on a ball game and her father was starting to worry about her. I listened to his thoughts of worry for her.

“I hope she’s okay. Mike said she wasn’t answering her phone the last time he called here. Hell, he’s called here 10 times in 3 hours. No telling how many missed calls she has on her cell from him. She didn’t say which friend’s house she was going to so I don’t know who to call. I wish she’d get here soon. I don’t know why she won’t just let Mike off the hook and date the poor boy. He’s crazy about her. I’d always know where she was then. I could stop worrying so much, knowing someone else was looking out for her also.”

I would love to be able to growl at her father for his thoughts, but knew I couldn’t. I would just have to prove to him that no one can protect Bella the way I will. I am the best choice. I just sighed and remembered that I got to hold her hand on the way home. One step at a time. I had a date to look forward to, even if she didn’t see it that way yet.

She was looking up at me chewing on her bottom lip. I decided in that second to try something bold. As I reached to tuck her hair behind her ear I leaned in and gently kissed her cheek. I stepped back quickly. I didn’t want her to feel threatened by me being that close to her throat. I’m still a vampire, after all. Even though I knew I’d never hurt her.

“Well, goodnight then, Bella,” I whispered.

I could hear her heart racing and her breathing hitch. She was blushing scarlet red. The scent of her blood was growing more intense with the increase in her body temperature.

“Goodnight, Edward,” she whispered back to me. She quickly turned and ran up the sidewalk, stumbling once before catching herself. She let herself in the front door with her key, turning to wave ‘goodbye’ to me before she closed the door.

I hated that I couldn’t stop her from stumbling, but she wouldn’t understand how I got to her so quickly if I did. No human would have made it from the car to her on the sidewalk that quickly. So I just sighed in relief when she caught herself without falling.

I got back in my car and sat there a moment. I wasn’t ready to drive away yet, so I eavesdropped on her conversation with her father.

“Hey, Dad. I’m home. I’ll start dinner for you when I come back down, okay? I just need to run up to my room.”

“Glad you’re home, Bells. I was starting to worry.” “I’ll tell her later about Mike’s calls. Maybe I should just order pizza for us tonight. I’m sure she’s tired from her long day and she does so much for me already.”

“Hey Bells, how do you feel about pizza tonight instead?” He was yelling to her since she was upstairs in her room.

“Sounds great actually, Dad. I am kind of tired,” she replied.

I heard her dad pick up the phone to order their pizza as I drove away. I felt lighter inside remembering holding her hand and kissing her cheek. I started counting down the hours until I’d see her again.