Chapter Thirty: Before Work

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This is my longest chapter yet!!  Enjoy!!!!

Chapter Thirty: Before Work

Through the persistent rain that started to fall a short time before I arrived at Bella's home, I slipped through her window into her room. Wearing her pajamas—thin dark blue knit pants and a matching tank top—Bella lay atop her quilt, having fallen asleep while waiting for me. Kneeling at the side of her twin bed, I worshiped her as devout believers have worshiped their gods since time immemorial. My eyes hungrily caressed her features, noting the faint pinkness of her face and neck from our time in the meadow today. The patter of rain on the roof made me smile, thankful that our day together had been free of the near-constant precipitation of this rainiest summer in Forks' recent history.

As I leaned closer, drinking in Bella's beauty, she shivered, drawing her bare arms around her body to warm herself as the rain sent the temperatures plummeting. Standing, I gently lifted her feather-light form while pulling down her sheets and think summer quilt. Careful not to wake her, I slid Bella into bed, drawing the bed covers over her shoulders. She shifted position, curling onto her side facing the window I had closed against the rain and cold. As much as I wanted to lie beside her tonight and gather her against me, my frigid body would make her too cold; she needed warmth at the moment, and I wished with all my heart that I could provide the heat that she needed. Instead of pulling her body against mine, I returned to my kneeling position at her side, not breathing so that my exhalations would not be too cool against her fragile skin.

She was so beautiful, my Bella. Her lovely features were relaxed in sleep, her lips parted as her breath came and went, slowly and deeply. Her heart, the most beautiful music I have ever known, slowed more and more as she slipped into a deeper level of sleep. Her dark hair, lightened a little from being outdoors this summer, splayed across her pillow in long, graceful strands. Her beauty stunned me once again as I continued to worship at her altar.

I couldn't help it; I had to touch her. My hand reached tentatively toward her, my long fingers tracing the shape of her beautiful lips pale with sleep, her lavender eyelids, her smooth forehead, her pointed chin, as my heart, silent as death, somehow swelled with the immense, eternal love I felt for this fragile girl-woman who so bewitched me with her goodness, her beauty, her courage, her compassion.

Through the tight feeling in my chest, I whispered into Bella's ear, barely a breath, “I adore you, Isabella Swan.”

Bella stirred at my words, shifting her position slightly as she instinctively moved toward my voice. “I love you, too,” she exhaled, nestling her delicate fingers into my cold, hard hand as she slept.

I smiled as her words and actions brought an unnatural warmth to my frozen chest, to my entire being, as I settled onto the wooden floor beside my Bella's bed. I couldn't help hoping for her to speak during her sleep as she often of the few windows I had into her silent mind, the only mind closed to me. But I was more than content to wait through the long hours of this rainy summer night for her to awaken.

During the night I felt drawn to Bella, forced by the inexplicable magnetism between us to lie beside her at last after she had warmed, but on top of her quilt. Bella immediately curled against my icy body, her head nestled under my chin as she sighed contentedly. I slid my arm beneath her neck, wrapping my fingers around her fragile shoulder. After our change of position, Bella slept soundly for the remainder of the night.

While she slept, I alternated between watching her sleep—a sight that endlessly fascinated me—and reliving the highlights of our weekend getaway in my perfect memory: Bella kissing me on the island, the bright day turning her dark hair a deep, sun-kissed auburn; Bella dancing in my arms on the hotel's dance floor, our eyes locked together as if no other being existed on the entire planet; Bella splayed atop the grand piano in the hotel suite, the blue silk robe parted slightly over her stunning form....

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