3. BIG DAY
“I miss you already.” “I don’t need to leave. I can stay…” “Mmm.” It was the eve of our wedding and Bella and I were lying in her narrow bed together, as was our habit. Though it was August, she was wrapped in her usual swaddling blanket, a protection against the chill of my skin. The bulky afghan did not prevent Bella’s hands from wandering about, exploring the unclothed parts of my body. If she had her way, both of us would be even less clothed. I found shirtless to be challenge enough. With Bella’s fingers probing the outlines of each muscle and bone above my waistband, her lips on mine, I was both awash in pleasure and sinking into concern. Some might call it performance anxiety and I could not deny it. When one’s performance was a matter of life and death, there was no shame in that. Bella dragged her tongue across my top lip and a surge of desire shot through me. It was all I could do to remain still and let the sensation fade. If she were a vampire, I would have rolled on top of her, stripped off the bulky afghan and pressed my entire body into hers. I would have kissed her passionately, tasting her lips, her tongue, and pulling her as close to me as the laws of physics would allow. Ahhh… I groaned and retreated from her caressing hands and her delicious, warm tongue. “Wait,” Bella murmured, clutching my arms. I watched as she kicked her right leg free from the blanket and wrapped it around my waist. “Practice makes perfect.” I chuckled. I’d heard that one before. Numerous times. “Well, we should be fairly close to perfection by this point, then, shouldn’t we? Have you slept at all in the last month?” “But this is the dress rehearsal,” she protested, “and we’ve only practiced certain scenes. It’s no time for playing safe.” Playing safe. My body froze as I considered how easy it would be to break Bella’s arm, or tear out a handful of her beautiful hair, or snap her spine, or… “Bella…” “Don’t start this again. A deal’s a deal.” “I don’t know. It’s too hard to concentrate when you’re with me like this. I—I can’t think straight. I won’t be able to control myself. You’ll get hurt.” “I’ll be fine.” “Bella…” “Shhh!”
Twilight: The Missing Pieces
Breaking Dawn: Edward
Bella put her hands on either side of my face and pressed her lips against mine. I would like to have been distracted by that, but it was too late. My mind was already elsewhere, drifting from the thousand-and-one ways I could harm Bella to enumerating all she was giving up for me…her family, her friends…her chance to be a mother, to grow old, to become something more than what she was right now. It was too much to sacrifice just to be with me. In my mounting distress, I revisited an argument that Bella and I had had repeatedly. I’d never convinced her before; I don’t know why I thought she might change her mind now. “It’s not right! I don’t want you to have to make sacrifices for me. I want to give you things, not take things away from you. I don’t want to steal your future. If I were human—” Bella stifled my objections by putting her hand over my mouth. “You are my future. Now stop. No moping, or I’m calling your brothers to come and get you. Maybe you need a bachelor party.” My brothers must have agreed with her, for Emmett’s thoughts suddenly interrupted my own. Maybe we’ll catch them with their clothes off! Hope so. Ha, ha! “Oh, for the love of all that’s holy!” “What’s wrong?” “You don’t have to call my brothers. Apparently Emmett and Jasper are not going to let me bow out tonight.” Bella tightened her grip for a moment before releasing me. “Have fun,” she said. Perhaps it would be better for Bella if I left. Then I wouldn’t upset her with the “cold feet” I’d told her I didn’t have. I had no second thoughts about marrying Bella—I could hardly wait to do that! My second thoughts were all about the wedding night. Yes, I should leave. Maybe she would get some sleep if I did. “If you...