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Chapter Two: Sleeping
Bella sighed in her sleep and drew herself closer to me as we lay on her narrow bed. Her face, washed clean of the layers of makeup that Alice had subjected her to, glowed in the faint moonlight of this starry night. Despite how beautiful Bella had looked tonight, I preferred her face without makeup: she simply didn't need it. Women spent hundreds of dollars to have a clear, translucent complexion like hers. Her hair, though, retained its unusual curliness, courtesy of Alice again, but the heavy scent of the hairspray tickled my nose and kept her hair from falling naturally down her back as it did every night. Her hair didn't smell like hers at all, and I didn't care for it.
As Bella shifted slightly in my arms as she slept, I held her all the more closely. These nights spent with Bella seemed like a colossal waste of time to my brothers who much preferred to have my company tracking animals across the mountains and refereeing their frequent wrestling matches. But I was content here in Bella's small room, holding her ... protecting her. The few times I did leave her at night to hunt I worried about her so much that Emmett declared that I was no fun anymore and even Jasper looked peeved. Only after slipping back into her window and gathering her to me did the anxiety quiet, and only then I could breathe easier.
But even laying here, listening to the steady beat of her heart-the most profound sound in my world now-and her slow, quiet breathing, I couldn't completely relax. I could never relax around Bella-she was simply too fragile. Too many dangers lurked about her for me to ever feel completely at ease, even when I was with her. And sometimes especially when I WAS with her. Her scent, though long familiar, still burned deep in my throat, and when the breeze from her open window wafted her scent to me, the venom still filled my mouth, causing my stomach to lurch emptily. I wanted her-in more ways than one. So I could not be absolutely at rest around Bella because I knew. I knew what she would never admit: I was a danger to her.
Living out her human life alongside her seemed like the only right way now. There was no way that I would change her-no way I would damn her soul to an eternity of hell-in order to keep her "safe." She might be "safe" in one way-immortal, nearly indestructible, but with her terrible bad luck, should she die after becoming immortal, there would be no hope. None at all. I knew there was no hope of heaven for me-if was simply the truth, part of the definition of "vampire." But I refused to damn her, too. Her soul was too pure, too precious, too lovely, to risk just so I could be with her always.
And, yes, Bella's immortality would solve another problem, one not so pressing as her safety but one that both of us felt more and more as we spent time together: the fulfillment of our physical attraction. I had to constantly reign in my less pure desires for Bella. Even holding her night after night was hard for me when I wanted so much more. Morally I knew that I wanted to put a ring on her finger and say vows before a minister before we took our physical relationship to that level. And besides, it simply wasn't safe for her to remain human when we fulfill our physical attraction, and I certainly wasn't going to change her simply for that reason, no matter how much she undermined my self-control...which she somehow seemed to think was endless and perfect.
Each night here-with Bella in my arms, with her talking in her sleep about how much she loves me, with my desire for the best for her warring with my desires for both her body and for her blood raging in me-these nights were not peaceful. Yet, strangely, they were. I felt like a different person with Bella to love and protect-being with her felt so right in my heart, even if my logic and reason told me to protect her from all danger...and that included myself. For more than one reason.
"Edward," Bella whispered in her sleep.
I held her closer, my cheek against the top of her head, my arms wrapped around her, her body curled against mine. Her whispering my name brought a now-familiar warmth to my heart-to this heart that had not beat for eighty years but which somehow glowed in my chest every time she spoke my name.
She moaned softly, the sound sending a frisson of heat down my ice-cold back. How could my stone body melt? Her very voice seemed to bring heat to my cold face, almost as if I could blush as she so often does. Sometimes it amazes me how human she makes me feel without even trying.
|Robert Pattinson||as Edward|
|Kristen Stewart||as Bella|
|Ashley Greene||as Alice|
|Jackson Rathbone||as Jasper|
|Billy Burke||as Charlie|
|Kellan Lutz||as Emmett|
|Nikki Reed||as Rosalie|
|Peter Facinelli||as Carlisle|
|Elizabeth Reaser||as Esme|
|Sarah Clarke||as Renee|
|Taylor Lautner||as Jacob|