A misconception kept them apart. A once in a lifetime experience might be enough to bring them together. Bella and Edward are about to learn some home truths about themselves and each other as they take a journey to Australia and find that things aren't always what they seem.
I know I said I wasn't sure if I would write another one but I couldn't help it. This was planned before I decided to help AnahyR bring her story ideas to life and I put it on hold. It keeps going around and around in my mind so I have chosen to just go with it and see how it pans out. I hope you enjoy.
Previous stories of mine you might be interested in:
The Heart is a Bloom: Is fame worth it? A different take on the characters of Twilight and how they met. Edward is a famous musician who has a past demon that is about to catch up with him. Unfortunately it is just as he has met the woman of his dreams.
No Choice: Edward returns to Forks to fight for a hurt and angry Bella. Not such an easy thing to do in this story. This is set after the Cullens have been away for quite a few months but before Bella makes the decision to cliff dive.
Loss to Love: Sometimes love just can't be denied - no matter how untimely it hits us. Sparks fly between Edward and Bella the very first time they meet; problem is that Bella is already committed to another. See how the two of them deal with their unspoken attraction and how a tragedy could bring them closer together or push them further apart.
Loss to Love was written on the basis of AnayhR's ideas.
They sure will Izzy Ness Black. It's the waiting that is not so much fun right??
Thanks for reading
Let me tell you first of all that all I have been able to think about whilst my back was hurting was that you have been dealing with this for months and in so much more of a negative way than me. My heart goes out to you putting up with this day in and day out. Know that I am always thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way in the hopes that you get the improvement you so desperately need. Thankfully my back has been improving with treatment and although not a hundred percent it is definitely better.
Thanks for all your thoughts on the chapter. You are right on with some of them and others not so much. Of course I tend to drag these things out.....oops....can't help myself.
Keep yourself well. Have just posted the next chapter so hope you enjoy the interactions in that one!!!
I'm so sorry that you've been down in your back, how horrible for you. I hope you're feeling better and taking it easy. Thank you so much for the wonderful update as always it was absolutely amazingl!! I loved that Bella and Edward had a brief moment where she forgot to be snide and reproachful toward Edward. I think it is really hard for her to not like him and eventually she'll have no choice but to talk to him about what it is that she thinks he's done. I'm also worried about what James has up his sleeve and Victoria just makes me want to scream "stomps foot and yells" but I will try to control my rage. I hope that Em and Edward are able to keep Bella from being hurt by James whatever his intentions are.
This chapter was full of so much detail and you described it so beautiful I wish I could see it all first hand but since that will more than likely never happen I will have to see it through your wonderful writing. I absolutely love this story and you always make me feel like I know the characters personally and I feel such a deep connection to them. I want to pick up my cell and call Bella and tell her to lighten up, to give Edward a chance; then call Edward and tell him not to give up on Bella after all she is a girl and we don't always know what we want until it's too late.
I will patently wait for more because your story is so worth waiting for. I hope you feel better soon and don't push yourself too hard we'll still be here when you post.
Hey Michelle ,
I'm so so sorry that ur back was down , I hope that u r ok now and not making too much effort ..
this chapter is ridiculously amazing and great as always !! I totally loved the moment between Bella and Edward at the Bridge it was the Highlight of this chapter .. I really liked that she stopped Being so impolite to Him and that she Tried to be as civil as she could be ..
My thoughts were in line with Edward's about James's intentions and I really believe that James is the one whose making Victoria peruse Edward ..
another thing I loved is when Bella Told James that she doesn't need a guy to carry her things THAT WAS SO COOL !! I was yelling " yeah Go Bella " .. I can't help to wonder what the heck happened to Make Bella be like that with Edward but I guess I'm going to have to wait and be patient for the Explanation of her actions in the next chapters !!
I will be waiting for more chapters of this wonderful story .. and Take care of ur self honey don't push it on ur self .. and be sure thatall of ur loyal readers will patently wait for u ..
ur # 1 fan
Firstly I am feeling a whole lot better - it is just hard now not to be as active as I usually am but we are working on that and hopefully soon I will be back to my reguclar sports and exercise, etc :)
You are right about Bella - it is hard for her to maintain her distance from Edward and now that they are in constant contact it is proving even harder for her. She is so mixed up!
James is using Bella and she doesn't see it.
Thanks for enjoying the chapters and saying that you can see things through it - that is a lovely compliment. It would be good if you could make that call to Bella and let her now she is being way too harsh. It could make all the difference hehe.
Bushwalking in Australia is great - so many different ones to do but you do have to be careful. Thanks for reading and always commenting. Sorry I missed your last one for the previous chapter. Bella did have a little moment and when it comes time for her point of view we might get a better idea what was behind that. The camp trip will definitely be interesting and Bella and Edward will be forced together in an interaction that should change things a little ( if Bella can let herself go???)
EPOV - Mistakes
Carrying two backpacks had taken it out of me so by the time we found the camping area we would be staying at for the night I was more than ready to collapse in a heap and never move again. Emmett had offered to take turns with me but it had been my own stupidity that led to me taking Victoria’s pack so I felt I had the responsibility of following through on it. I dropped her pack on the ground and moved right away from the spot in the hopes that she would get the message that I did not want her setting up anywhere near me. Apparently she was thick skinned because she came over and tried to give me a kiss of thanks which I quickly thwarted by turning my face away from her. Bella caught my eye and the disgust was written all over her face before she crouched down to undo her pack and look for something inside.
“Victoria,” I growled so that only she and I could hear. “Stop the games. You know I am not interested. I just made that quite clear.”
“I don’t think you know what you want darling,” Victoria attempted to be seductive as she raised her hand to my chest and pressed lightly. It only made me want to lurch out of her reach. I kept steady though so she wouldn’t get any joy out of my discomfort. “But you’ll eventually work it out.” She winked at me and headed over to James who had been watching with amusement. The two of them started a conversation but before I could get any idea of what they were up to I was distracted by Tyler handing over a drink bottle with a sympathetic expression.
“I don’t think she is one that takes no too well.” Tyler rolled his eyes in annoyance. “But good on you for letting her know how it was earlier.”
“You heard that?” I asked with some trepidation, knowing that Bella had been walking with him and if he heard then so did she.
“Um yeah. Sound travels further in the bush Edward and you weren’t actually that quiet.”
“You heard everything I said?”
“Well that depends on what everything was?” Tyler seemed to be concentrating and I was starting to sweat about what Bella would have thought of my words. I could only imagine that she would be annoyed by my defence and me telling Victoria to report back to James.
“Just the part where you told Victoria that you would always put friends first and that had Bella needed help you would have given it. I think you might have even impressed Bella by saying that luckily she was strong enough to handle things on her own. She actually broke a smile out for that one.”
From Tyler’s comments I could tell that my threat towards Victoria and James hurting Bella hadn’t been loud enough for them to hear and it was something I was very happy about. I did not want anything I said or did to push Bella closer to James than she already was.
“Um. Okay. Good to know,” We both moved across the cleared space where we would be setting up camp and found Sam and Emmett already starting to pull out the tents. Tyler and I immediately gave our assistance and before long the majority of us were working together to put up the tents for us to sleep in tonight. Already the light was dimming so we were keen to be done with setup before we couldn’t see anything at all. Victoria and one of the guys from the other group Paul weren’t very helpful and Emmett sent them off to get firewood for the pit that Sam had asked James to dig for us. All too soon we were finished and Victoria and Paul had a small pile of wood waiting for the campfire to start. Ben and Tyler had found some largish logs and moved them over to produce a makeshift seating area around the outside where we would have the fire and I plopped heavily down on one of them as we all admired our handiwork.
“I think we are going to need more wood than that,” Sam eyed the small pile next to the fire and then stood up. “Anyone care to join me?”
Emmett, Tyler, Ben and Angela agreed to help and the five of them began scavenging a little way off from our campsite so that I couldn’t see them but I could still hear them. I felt guilty for not helping but really wanted five minutes of down time as my back was starting to seize up from the heavy load I had carried. I took stock of what was going on around me and saw that James and a girl named Jade were trying to get the fire going. I promised myself that if they didn’t have it going in a few minutes time I would offer my assistance but for now they were alright. Bella had been inside the tent that she was sharing with Angela and Ben but was making her way out again. I smirked when I thought back to when we were organising who was sleeping where and I had overheard Bella pleading with Angela not to allow her to be stuck with Victoria as a sleeping buddy yet again. Angela had very quickly offered for Bella to sleep with them and Bella had looked ridiculously relieved. I couldn’t blame her.
Victoria was currently trying to beautify herself as she looked into a hand held mirror. She did understand we were in the bush, right? Bella’s roll of her eyes made me think that she was asking herself the same question and she almost gave me a smile when she saw that I was amused by Victoria’s vanity. Almost…..
“So I’ve heard that the sunset is pretty spectacular if you watch it from the top of the ruined castle,” Jade said as she tried to light the fire. She wasn’t too bad at it actually; it was only when James interfered that her attempts were squandered and she would patiently start again. She was being a good sport about his shortcomings in the area of lighting fires and held it together really well.
“Why would there be a ruined castle out here anyway?” Victoria questioned as she slavered more lip gloss onto her already shining lips. I almost choked on nothing as we all looked at her aghast.
“Ah there isn’t a real ruined castle out here Victoria,” Jade spoke as if she was talking to a child and I looked to the ground so that no one else could see how hard it was for me not to burst out laughing. “The ruined castle is just the name they came up with for a rock formation out here. You know because it kind of looked like one.”
“What?” Victoria screeched. “You mean I’ve walked all this way just to see nothing but a pile of old rocks.”
“You’ve walked all this way to experience nature,” Bella explained through gritted teeth. “Didn’t you hear Aiden explain what it was we would be seeing if we chose to do the walk?”
“I had better things to do than listen to some boring spiel about the bush Bella.”
“Apparently using your brain wasn’t one of them,” Bella mumbled under her breath and Victoria took a step towards her as if she had heard the insult. My own body moved to intercept before I even knew what I was doing and then I quickly froze before my intention of going into protection mode would be noticed by anyone else.
“Well I say we should go for a walk up and take a look at that sunset,” James interrupted the glare down between the two girls. The slightest shake of his head towards Victoria made me frown because she instantly looked contrite and turned her back on Bella. Jade quickly agreed to taking the walk as if she too wanted to alleviate some of the tension between Victoria and Bella. “What do you say Bella? A quick walk to watch the sunset sounds like a lovely way to end the day doesn’t it?”
“Actually I think I will pass on that thanks,”
“What? The all so perfect Bella who enjoys nature so much is not as interested in enjoying the bush as much as she wanted us to believe? Maybe there are other reasons you want to stay behind Bella?” Victoria’s snide remark hit the mark as she looked very pointedly at me suggesting to Bella that the only reason she would be staying behind was to spend time with me. Bella’s face reddened at the suggestion and I could tell she was in two minds as to what to do. Bella wasn’t one to step down from a challenge; I had learnt that a long time ago.
“Come on Bella. There’s enough of me to go around,” James said with his usual cockiness. “You’ll enjoy the view.”
“And I could do with the added company,” Jade admitted, looking at James and Victoria with a slight sigh of trepidation.
After a whole lot of nagging from James and a few barbed remarks from Victoria about how she was better than Bella, Bella conceded and decided to go with them. I considered going with them just to keep my mind at ease about Bella being with two people I disliked so much but I was aware that someone needed to stay behind to watch the fire and Bella was a big girl who could look after herself. Besides Jade was walking with them and as far as I could see she was pretty savvy when it came to nature and I was sure that James and Victoria would behave themselves with someone else there.
“Aww shucks Edward. I didn’t know you cared,” James threw at me with a sarcastic sneer to his face. I concentrated all my attention on Bella so that she would see the message was for her.
“Jade, Bella. Be careful. It isn’t too far to the ruins but the light is fading fast. Stay on the track. Once the sun has set, get back here as quickly as possible. I don’t want to ruin your fun but seriously you need to be careful on the track at night, even if it is such a short way.”
Jade clicked her heels together jokingly and gave me a ‘aye, aye, captain.’ but Bella merely looked at me blankly.
“Promise me, Bella.” I said with a little too much concern in my voice. If I could have my own way they wouldn’t be going up at all.
“Yeah, yeah she promises but you needn’t worry Edward, I am more than willing and able to keep Bella close and safe.” James emphasised the word close as his arm fell across Bella’s shoulders in a suggestive manner that made me want to rip them from him without any remorse whatsoever. Bella shrugged herself out from under his arm and grabbed a drink bottle from her pack. She followed Jade, Victoria and James as they walked away from the campsite with my eyes watching every move she made. At the last moment she turned back to me and the disconcerted expression was enough to tell me she was baffled by my concern for her. She nodded at me and mouthed the word ‘promise’
The campsite seemed empty once they left and I began to worry that I should have done more to stop them from going up to the ruins so close to nightfall. I pacified myself with the knowledge that Jade had stated that the sunset was meant to be beautiful from the top of the ruins which would indicate that it was a popular thing for people to do when camping out here. If that was the case then the track must be good and the trail had to be safe. I convinced myself of my own paranoia and tried to put it out of my mind that I had left Bella to the wolves; the wolves being James and Victoria.
The rest of our group returned laden with sticks for our campfire and I busied myself with helping get the fire going into a blaze. When I explained to Emmett, after his question about where Bella was, about the trip up to watch the sunset, he didn’t show any anxiety at all, telling me that he had also heard that the sunset was meant to be exceptional viewing from up there and it wasn’t a hard trip to get there or back. A small amount of tension eased away with his words and I relaxed into the group’s conversations as we settled in and started preparing food for our dinner.
Fifteen minutes after sundown I began to get that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that told you something was not right. Bella’s group had not returned yet and my constant peering into the darkness beyond our campfire alerted Emmett to my apprehension.
“They will be here any minute Edward. Relax. If Bella knew you were stressing like this over her she would be absolutely put out that you didn’t trust her.”
“It’s not her I don’t trust,” I murmured.
“Yeah well besides tying her down against her will and forcing her to stay at camp, there was nothing you could have done to stop her from going off with James. She is her own woman Edward.”
“I know that Emmett, which is why I didn’t even attempt to stop her but what if something has happened?” Sudden light from torches and the scuffle of footsteps through the bush to our right ended my bleak musings. They were back finally.
Jade’s sudden appearance in the light of the fire exposed her ashen face and her panicked expression so that I rose instantly to calm her down.
“We’ve lost Bella. I told James we had to go back but he wouldn’t let me. Said she was probably ahead of us but I knew she wasn’t. She’s not here, is she?”
Fear threaded its way through my body. I felt it sharply right in my heart so that the only thing I was registering was Jade’s assertion that Bella was lost. I grabbed Jade’s arms by the elbows as gently as my alarm would allow.
“What do you mean lost? Where is she? How did you get separated? Where are James and Victoria?”
“As soon as I saw the fire I ran the last bit of the trail because I just knew she wasn’t here and we need to get back out to find her. It will be freezing out there soon. I shouldn’t have let James push me into returning. We should have stayed there and found her.”
Emmett’s abrupt interruption mirrored my own thoughts. “Don’t worry about what you should have done; tell us where she is likely to be. We need to get out there to her.”
Before Jade could respond James and Victoria sidled into the campsite looking rather sheepish and obviously searching the area for a sign that Bella was ahead of them and safely here with us. They found nothing in return. I leapt at James before Emmett, Ben or Sam could stop me and had him by the scruff of his shirt as I spat my fury at him.
“You left her out there on her own. You said you would keep her safe and you’ve returned here WITHOUT her. I should just........”
“Woa, woa, woa,” Sam took hold of my arm and pulled me forcefully away from James who was looking at me belligerently. “You’re not helping Bella by standing here and fighting with this cockroach Edward. Let him be and concentrate on what matters.”
My chest was heaving with the effort of restraining myself from letting out all my fear and concern onto the man in front of me. Sam was right and we needed to get out there and find Bella. I could only assume that she was hurt somewhere because otherwise she would have been able to get herself back to camp. She wasn’t an ignorant person who would easily get herself lost.
I stepped back towards James and pushed my pointed finger into his chest. “If you have done anything to hurt her, I will seriously end you. If we don’t find her, you better make sure that you are as far away as possible from me that I never find you. This is not over. Not by a long shot.”
When the red fire of my temper had abated enough that I could actually take in my surroundings I saw Emmett quickly thrusting things into a bag and gathering torches. His intention was clear; we were going to go search for Bella right now. Jade was sitting on a log sobbing to Tyler about how she shouldn’t have allowed herself to be distracted by Victoria and James and that she would never forgive herself for leaving Bella to fend for herself. I couldn’t focus on her grief and guilt though. She would have to explain to me later how this had happened when the track they had been on was meant to be so easy to find and follow.
“Come on Edward. Let’s go,” Emmett passed a torch to me along with a bag that had extra clothing, first aid kit, food and water in it. I took the bag without sound and flung it onto my back.
“I’m coming too.” Ben stood steadfastly and Emmett and I both nodded in agreement. Tyler and Sam made to follow us as well but Emmett asked them to stay and keep things in order back here at camp. Sam sat down beside Jade and asked her a few questions about the last place she had seen Bella. I took in her answers and put them to memory. As far as Jade was concerned Bella had been right behind her taking a few photos of the rocks in the setting sun. Once she had realised that Bella was no longer there she had told James that they needed to go back but James had said no.
“I didn’t think it was a good idea to separate.” James defended himself and in a way he was right. “I’ll come and help......”
“Don’t even think about it.” I growled at James. He sat back down and allowed the three of us to head towards the ruins.
One would expect that it would be eerily quiet out in the bush but there were so many sounds invading my senses as we carefully made our way up the short track to where the ruins were marked on our map. The only noise I wanted to hear, however, was Bella but that remained unreachable. She was nowhere to be seen or heard on the track and once we got to the ruins there was still no response to our shouts of her name.
“Maybe she got confused in the dark and took the track towards Mount Solitary rather than towards our camp,” Emmett speculated when we realised that she was either not here or was hurt and couldn’t hear us. We searched every little rock and crevice and tried not to think about the fact that we were dangerously close to cliffs if she had in fact wandered off the track. We set off in the opposite direction to where we had come from until we came to a fork in the track. One led to Mount Warning and eventually Wentworth Falls and the other led to an unused mine. We argued for a small amount of time about which way to go, knowing that it was not safe to split up but my need to get to Bella as soon as possible outweighed our own safety and I chose to go alone towards the mine whilst Emmett and Sam would walk towards the famous plateau. With a muttered good luck we separated and went in our own directions hoping that one of us would be able to find our missing friend.
Twenty minutes later I was within the mining area and saw that it was littered with so many holes and places where Bella could have accidently fallen. I yelled out desperately for her but only the echo of my own voice could be heard through the stifling darkness. It was near impossible to find anyone or anything in this situation and I was beginning to lose heart. I wouldn’t give up of course but the twinge of fear that I had been feeling since we left the camp was growing into a much more uncontrollable monster that could easily consume me. I needed for Bella to be alright.
My voice was becoming rough with the strain of yelling and I stopped for a moment to wet my throat with a quick drink of the water I was carrying. Unexpectedly the silence was broken by a faint response to my own shouting. It came from the direction I had already come from and without hesitation I walked briskly back, listening for the sound of my name to come again.
“Edward. I’m here Edward.”
The disembodied voice came from the side of the track and I stopped to get my bearings.
“Oh thank god. I’m down here. Be careful there is a bit of a drop off the side of the track.”
My light flashed downwards and there I saw what I had been hoping for ever since Bella had left our camp for her walk. Her returning gaze appeared to be a little out of it and my quick scan of my body told me that she had hit her head somewhere along the way because there was a cut on her forehead that was seeping blood but at least she was alive and functioning well enough to call out to me.
“Okay hold still. I’m coming down to you,” I scuttled down the side of the ravine and although all my attention was on the girl below I still took stock of the situation and knew that I was going to need Emmett and Sam’s help to get back out again. I wasn’t going to leave her down there to wait alone though. The temperature had dropped considerably and although I was warmed up from the efforts of searching for her, she had been sitting or lying in a gully on the damp ground. I wanted to check her out with my own eyes and my own hands to ensure she wasn’t in anymore danger.
As soon as I reached her side she seemed to relax and gave me a self deprecating smile. “I feel so stupid,” She spoke through chattering teeth and I didn’t answer her; just opened my bag and pulled out the extra jumper and blanket that Emmett had placed in there. I gently helped her put it on when she told me that there was nothing wrong with her arms or back. Once she was enclosed in the blanket and had taken a sip of the water I gave her I started appraising her condition.
“Are you hurt?” My fingers grazed the small amount of blood that had already dried at the edge of her hair line. It didn’t look deep enough for stitches but it could have definitely been a hard enough knock for her to have been out for a while. I watched her carefully for any signs of shock. She seemed to be breathing normally and her skin did not feel clammy to touch. She was definitely cold but that was more from the weather and she seemed to be well aware of what was happening around of us. I gave a sigh of relief that we didn’t have the added problem of dealing with the onset of shock, although I would keep my eye on her to make sure I didn’t miss anything that would say otherwise.
“Um. Only this,” She raised her hand and her fingers skimmed my own making me suck in my breath at the unexpected coil of emotions that hit me that she was really okay and actually touching me to prove it. “And also my ankle; I rolled it which led to me falling down here. I didn’t see the edge.”
“Well it’s kind of hard to see anything out here in the dark without a torch. How on earth did you get separated from the others?”
When I moved the torch so that it could shine onto Bella’s ankle the swelling appeared quite considerable and I blanched at the amount of pain she must be in. The doctor in me told me that she had managed to sprain her ankle. It needed to be iced but all I had with me was water. I grabbed one of the bandages and proceeded to wet it thoroughly and hung it on a branch near us so that it would hopefully get as cold as possible in the dropping temperatures. Whilst we waited I gently manoeuvred her foot and retreated into doctor mode when my ministrations made her cringe in pain. I hated that I was hurting her in any way.
“I’m sorry Bella. I don’t want to hurt you. I want to see how much damage there is,”
“Fine. Just get it over with please.” Her hand clutched at the blanket I had placed around her every time I touched her foot in any way.
“It’s sprained Bella and once we are out of here you will have to get xrays to make sure there is no fracture.” I grabbed the wet bandage and folded it into a kind of pretend ice pack, placing it on her ankle to try and alleviate some of the swelling. She hissed at the contact and yet again I flinched for my part in making her hurt. We both needed a distraction.“Why don’t you explain to me how you managed to lose your hiking buddies Bella.”
Bella managed to look chastened as I moved into a position where I could keep her leg elevated by resting it on the backpack in my lap. I motioned for her to tell me her story whilst I looked for something for her to eat. She took my offering gratefully and ate before speaking.
“How long will we be out here?” So much for finding out what had happened. I decided to ignore her change of subject and answered her question the best way I could.
“I’m not sure. Emmett and Sam were with me and when we got to the fork of the track we split up. I imagine after they’ve had no luck finding you in their direction that they will come back to find me in this one. The mine is the end of the track this way so they will have nowhere to go if we accidently miss them on their pass through. They’ll help get us out and we will get back to the camp. Easy.”
“Yeah easy,” She whispered back to me, clearly concerned that we were in more danger than I was letting on. I was actually pretty honest in my assessment though. As soon as Emmett and Sam came back this way we would be fine. We had already determined that if nothing was found within half an hour we would return to the fork. When I didn’t turn up there they would follow the track further towards us; I trusted Emmett explicitly in this. It was just keeping ourselves warm as well as stopping Bella from going into shock that was important at this stage and we could work together to do that.
“Bella, I am going to wrap your ankle okay?” When she nodded I took another bandage from the first aid kit and began to bandage her foot as carefully as I could. “Did you pass out at all when you fell?”
“Um no not at first. I felt a bit hazy when it first happened but I think I must have fallen asleep after a while because it felt like you were calling out to me through a fog and it was then that I realised I wasn’t imagining the yelling but you were actually calling out to me.” She was shivering violently as she answered my question and I rubbed my hands up and down her arm to get some warmth back into her body. She stared at me with gratefulness. “Thank you for coming to find me Edward. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been stuck out here all night alone.”
Luckily the darkness covered the reddening of my face as I listened to the first direct words to me that were positive from her mouth for the past seven months. I felt remarkably out of my depth as my gaze bore back into hers.
“There was never any question Bella. You know that Emmett would move heaven and earth to make sure you were safe and I tagged along. Simple. You were never going to be left out here alone for long.” I broke our gaze and looked down at her foot to make sure she was still comfortable. The shaking was still apparent and the only way I knew to fix that was by doing something I knew she wouldn’t be happy about.
“I need to hold you Bella,” Her face immediately showed alarm and I quickly went on to explain myself. “You’re cold and I need to warm you up. The best way to do that is through our combined body warmth and the closer we are the better.
“Are....are you serious?” Her stuttering response made me defensive and it was hard to keep the narkiness from my voice.
“Yes Bella I am. I know it is the last thing you want; me anywhere near you but it’s the best way to stop us from being any worse off than we already are. I promise I have no intention of doing anything inappropriate. I only want to help you.”
For a few seconds she regarded me and a look of resignation crossed her face before she nodded to let me know we could get closer. I berated myself for feeling hurt by her reluctance and shuffled nearer until our bodies were aligned side by side. She lifted the blanket and let it fall back down so that the two of us were under it and her scent engulfed me more than ever. I tensed up at the initial bombardment and then yielded to the feel of her softness against me and the almost instant calming of her shivering that took place with our contact. I hesitatingly moved my arm to surround her shoulders and she snaked her arm across my stomach before burying her head into my chest. We both sat there, pressed together and our breathing erratic as the surrealism of the situation hit us. After a small amount of silence we both began to relax and soon I could feel her heart begin to move into a more sedate rhythm against my side that matched my own calmed speed. She felt divine against me and I wished with everything I had that this could have been for a whole different reason, rather than nearness for the purpose of survival.
After minutes of warming up Bella began to tell me how she had ended up in this place and time. She had been taking photos, not really noticing that the others had moved away as she was trying to stay as far away as possible from Victoria anyway and when she finally realised it, they had been out of view. She hadn’t really thought much of it, determining that she would easily catch up with them but in the darkness she had gotten her bearings mixed up and came out on the wrong track, leading in the wrong direction. Soon she had panicked because she couldn’t see or hear anything at all and as she began to yell out for them to help her she had slipped, rolled her ankle and slid into the deep ravine we were currently in. She sighed deeply at the conclusion of her tale and tilted her face so that her breath tickled my neck but her ear was still lying on my chest. “So stupid of me seriously. I can’t believe I let this happen.”
“We all make mistakes Bella.”
She stiffened in my arms and I could tell that she forced herself to calm down again before she responded. “Some bigger than others, right?”
“I guess......... but are we talking about you now or me?” My soft question seemed to lose itself into the inky blackness because she chose not to answer and for some reason, in the here and now of our predicament, that was alright by me; even maybe made me happy not to be bringing out old hurts and accusations when we were so vulnerable to the elements outside of ourselves.
“Do you think they will be long?” Bella murmured.
“I don’t think so,” My hand moved backwards and forwards over the top of her arm and I told myself it was to keep her warm even though I knew I was also doing it for the sensation of skin to skin touch. “Why don’t you try and rest? I will listen out for them.”
Neither of us spoke again and her even breathing made me believe that she had taken my offer to heart and fallen asleep. The top of her head was mere centimetres from my lips and wisps of her hair tickled at my mouth but I wasn’t willing to move in case I disturbed her. Instead I let my lips drop a little to press a light kiss to her temple and absorbed the fact that no matter what she was safe here in my arms. The outcome could have been so much worse and I tightened my grip at the thought that my entreaty to be careful had been ignored and almost resulted in a tragedy.
“You promised me Bella.” Fell from my lips in a hushed resonance and Bella stirred slightly before murmuring back.
“And I honestly never meant to break that promise Edward. I am sorry for making you do this.”
The shock of discovering that she was actually awake to be aware of my words and to feel my impulsive kiss kept me silent for longer than I should have been. When I eventually spoke again it was with the truth.
“No need to be sorry,”
Little did she realise that for her I would do this a hundred times over. She meant too much to do otherwise and regardless of her dislike, cool distances and barbed accusations I would do this time and time again to keep her safe. Really there was no other choice.