Chapter One: Relax, Take It Easy
A/N: My goodness, I just saw New Tricks, and it was extremely brutal – an old woman was killed in an old folks home, and it turns out that her daughter-in-law killed her for money for her children. It made me very sad.
Disclaimer: Don’t own Twilight series. Stephenie Meyer does, and she’s a great writer. XD
Dedication: For all of you poor, suffering people like I who can’t afford Breaking Dawn or haven’t bought it yet. Oh, and for all of you who hated Breaking Dawn for goodness knows what reason and have decided to ignore that book. This is for you too.
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I was awakened by a subtle tightening around my waist, and I sat up immediately from my comfortable position, blinking.
“Morning, sweet Bella,” a familiar, velvety voice whispered in my ear tenderly. I shivered with delight and turned abruptly to take his face in my hands. The breath he didn’t need still hitched in his throat as he smiled my favourite crooked smile at me. I swear he felt my heart start spluttering hyperactively.
“Morning,” I murmured, and, taking me by surprise, his face flew from between my hands with fluid grace and I felt his marble lips against mine in a kiss.
“Be very still,” Edward whispered softly, and I held as still as I could manage with him touching me. I felt the familiar motion of him leaning forward to hear my heart beat. I slowly and naturally rested my cheek against his bronze silky hair, and much to my relief, he didn’t move.
After a few more silent moments of listening to my heartbeat slow down, Edward sat up straight, golden butterscotch eyes staring deeply into mine. They were light, I noted automatically, so he must be in a good mood.
“What do you want to do today?” Edward asked softly.
“Relax,” I replied automatically.
I felt his low chuckle rather than heard it.
“More,” he prodded.
“Um… take it easy?” I suggested.
“Okay, so… maybe I should get up now.”
“Charlie hasn’t even gotten up yet,” Edward reassured me, “so you can still pretend to sleep another hour or so.” He suddenly frowned, lines creasing his flawless brow. “He’s feeling a little restless this morning – about our wedding on Saturday,” he admitted to me softly.
“At least you’re not banned from the house anymore,” I grumbled.
Ever since we had announced our engagement, my father had almost gotten so far as to excommunicate Edward entirely from the house. In most probability, the only thing that had stopped him was my idea of an elopement.
Edward’s smile was sad. “He’s still considering it.”
I gaped and felt my cheeks flame with anger. “What is wrong with Charlie?” I hissed. “I’m getting married to you in a few days, and he’s still not over his prejudice?”
Edward smiled wryly, but his eyes suddenly grew hard. “You’re marrying me, not Jacob Black.”
I could only stare in shock at him for a few minutes. My face flushed with anger again. “Jacob is my friend. He will always be my friend, even if I’m not his. I made my choice, and I chose you. Charlie should be able to accept that.”
Edward shrugged, and I changed the subject. “What do you want to do today?” I asked him, genuinely curious.
“Go running,” Edward replied promptly, grinning at me.
“Okay,” I agreed, smiling back. Edward looked surprised. “What?”
“You said yes,” he teased, and I shrugged.
“I’m not so afraid of running – when I don’t have to run,” I clarified. “And with you, really, the only thing I’m afraid of is your driving – especially when you don’t look at the road.”
Edward gazed at me thoughtfully. “Afraid of sadistic vampires, oh no, afraid of hanging out with young werewolves, you make excuses and call them adolescents – while a normal person would stay away from cliffs, you go diving off them for fun,” I could tell he was really getting worked up by the way his voice upped an octave, “Hunted by the Volturi and considering selling your soul, sure, why not, but heaven forbid that we hit a tree or I go over the speed limit.”
I made a face at him. “Are you quite finished?” I asked.
He sighed at me, relaxing his stance, his voice growing lower and more velvety than I would have thought possible. “No, and that’s just my point,” he replied. “But if it makes you feel better, I’m not going to hit any trees,” he whispered, his soft breath flowing over my face.
“You’re doing it again,” I murmured, remaining still as his cool nose skimmed my cheek.
“What?” Edward asked, genuinely curious. He pulled back and frowned, as if afraid he was doing something wrong.
“Dazzling me,” I muttered in reply.
His soft, delighted laugh was everything I could have hoped for.
“You seem to be enjoying this,” I grumbled under my breath, but Edward heard me nevertheless.
“Naturally.” His smirk was absolutely ridiculous: flawless and perfect.
Suddenly, without warning, Edward lifted me up in his arms, and in a blur I was sitting on my rocking chair in the middle of the room, Edward hovering over me, blocking any way of escape.
“What?” I wondered, and then gulped when Edward gave a small, low, playful growl.
“Bella,” he whispered, and in such a tender voice I felt my breath catch in my throat. “Won’t you tell me what you dreamed of last night?”
“No,” I answered without hesitation.
This did not deter him. “You had a nightmare, Bella,” he continued, leaning over so that his soft, scented breath washed over my face again. It was cool, comforting and delightful. “Won’t you tell me about it?”
If last year hadn’t stood out so prominently in my mind, I might have said yes. If I hadn’t remembered Edward’s eyes so full of pain and aching despair, I might have given in. But I didn’t want to cause him to hurt, no matter how much he seemed not to mind.
“No,” I murmured.
Edward didn’t turn to glare at me in reproach or suddenly back away as I thought he might. Instead he leaned closer, arms gripped on both sides of the chair, trapping me, and slowly, gently, raised his mouth to my ear and lightly brushed his lips down to my jaw and back again. He repeated the cycle several times while I tried to regain my clarity of thought with no success.
He paused to look up at me very closely. “Won’t you?” he wheedled in his most persuasive tone.
The most I could manage was a breathless, “Now you know what it feels like.”
Edward frowned lightly up at me. “What do you mean?” he asked.
I struggled to remain coherent. He was now lightly kissing my neck.
“I mean… that it must be… maddening… unable to read my… thoughts.”
This stopped Edward, and he suddenly let go of the chair as he stood back, though his frown had changed into a smile. “Yes,” he agreed softly, “it is rather maddening.”
Before I could move, his mouth pressed urgently against mine and it took all of my self-control and will power to stay still. Somehow remembering the fact that I was his exact brand of heroin as well as the danger caused by his venom-filled razor teeth helped me out quite a bit.
When Edward finally backed away, he was automatically surprised by my uncommon restraint. He leaned forward quickly to kiss my cheek as a reward and whispered lightly in my ear, “Charlie’s up. I’ll be back in a while to help finish wedding preparations.” He winked at me, and then before I could blink in response, he was gone, stealthily climbing out my window like a cat.
“Oh,” I grumbled out loud as I sighed in frustration, a little louder than I meant to, “I’m going to get him back later.” I could have sworn I heard an amused chuckle from outside. No doubt Edward was listening in.
I glanced at my alarm clock and blinked when the time registered. 5:30 AM. I was so going to kill Edward for waking me up early after my hard night. I trotted over to my bed, lay down again and pulled the covers up past my head, wanting to forget everything for a moment.
It turned out that Edward was right in vanishing when he did, for Charlie was quick to peek into my room. Lately – probably due to the late hours I’d been keeping with the Cullens going over last minute details for the wedding – Charlie had been rather overly protective over who came into the house and when they left, meaning no Edward past eleven o’clock.
I was pleased – probably more than I should be – that Edward didn’t appear to have any problems with disobeying Charlie’s rules and usually shared the night with me anyway. Although her brother was not allowed in the house after eleven, Alice was more than welcome anytime she wished; she had Charlie wrapped around her little finger. If she suddenly decided to pop in at two in the morning, Charlie would be there with a grin on his face and a coffee in his hand.
It seemed like an eternity before I heard the cruiser drive off, and afterwards I relaxed, knowing that until Charlie got home, Edward would be free to come and go as he pleased. Hopefully never to go for long, I thought with a sigh, snuggling down into the covers.
Suddenly there was a cool touch that I felt even from underneath my blankets that made me jerk up in surprise. Of course, it was Edward. I gave a sigh of relief, though it made him look at me in concern. I shrugged and Edward shrugged back before picking me up in his arms, cradling me on his lap as he lay on the bed, head resting against the bedpost. The look was so casual that it almost made me forget that he was barely touching it.
He began humming my lullaby to me in that low, soothing comforting voice that followed me everywhere I went.
“Are you trying to put me to sleep on purpose?” I murmured, eyes slightly drooping.
“No,” he murmured back softly, “Just trying to scare away the bad dreams.” He began humming again.
I sighed in contentment, letting that remark pass. “I should get up soon.”
I felt Edward smile into my hair and couldn’t help but smile in response. It was so calming and natural to be around him, to be held in his cool, inhuman arms, that it was always almost painful to be released.
“You could,” he reasoned, still smiling.
“Besides, don’t you want to go running?” I asked him, almost reluctantly.
“We could go running,” Edward answered noncommittally, and it sounded to me as though he was more reluctant to let me go than I was to leave him.
“Do I get another human moment?” I finally spoke again after a few minutes of rocking, humming and quiet.
Edward lightly kissed the top of my head. “Come back to me,” he murmured, and released me to climb off the bed.
I turned to grin at him before reaching my closet, planning on grabbing the first things my hands touched. Right before I touched any clothing however, I felt Edward’s hands staying mine as he softly whispered silkily, “Wear that one…” - his cool hands clasped mine and together we gently and slowly pulled a blouse off its hanger - “that colour blue looks lovely with your skin.”
At his too-familiar words, I let my mind play back to almost four years ago, to the night he had rescued me yet again, had taken me to dinner and had stared at me pretty much the whole time. I had replayed the scene over and over in my mind since then, such a forward compliment that I had been taken slightly by surprise. I had blushed and looked down – and the subject had taken on a different turn.
Edward didn’t seem to notice my slight flashback as he waited for me to pick out a pair of pants that I would wear. Not that there would be really anything to choose from besides jeans – thankfully Alice had left them where they were, but she had instead chosen to stock my closet with dresses, skirts and more dresses – but the fact that Edward didn’t release me or back away made me feel great.
I found some jeans and reluctantly slipped from beneath his hands and headed towards the bathroom to get changed… this was going to be an interesting day, I thought as I sighed and combed through my hair.