Sunday, April 24, 2011

CBWR? Chapter 56

Author's notes:
Yeah, the kids shared too much of their candy, so I think I've been writing on a sugar buzz.

”I’m a guy!” I blurted out.  “I always want that!”
Chapter 56
I didn’t kiss her back.
She pulled back away from me, and her hand dropped from my face. 
“Don’t do that again,” I said.  My voice was so quiet I could barely hear it.  I didn’t want to hear it.  I didn’t want her to hear it.  I didn’t mean it, and I wanted to take the words back. 
“Why not?”
“It’s just not right.”  Whatever was going on with my mouth, there were a bunch of parts of me that did not agree with the decisions at all.  One part in particular seemed to be planning a mutiny with a couple other parts within close proximity of the first part.  I focused on her eyes in order to stop myself from looking at her lips.  If I looked at them, I was most certainly going to want to kiss her.  Every muscle in my body constricted – aching to reach out to her – to touch her, to comfort her. 
“Who says it’s not right?” she asked.
“Anybody from the outside looking in,” I replied.
“What if I don’t care what they think?” she said.
“Maybe you should.”
“Because!” I cried out and stood from the couch.  “Because doing that was fucking crazy.  I ruined your life!  Why in the world would you do something like that?”
I crossed my arms in front of me and waited for her answer.  My chest felt like it was caving in again, and I figured when I got back to the states I was definitely going to have to talk to my doctor about an acid reflux prescription.
“I wanted to,” she finally said softly.  “I’ve wanted to for a while now.”
“That’s just…it’s just…Bella, that’s nuts!” I finally said.  “It’s fucking Stockholm Syndrome or whatever.”
“It is not,” she yelled back at me.  “You don’t dictate what I do or how I feel, Edward!  Not anymore!”
Those words pretty much hit me right in the gut.  Not that I didn’t deserve them, because I did.  I deserved a lot worse, too.  Then there was the bit about how she was completely, totally, one-hundred and seven percent correct.
And there was that little piece of me that really, really wanted it to be okay.  It was the part I had shoved down and off to the side, because it was so fucking wrong I couldn’t even stand to think about it.  It was the part that wouldn’t let me get off in the shower, the part that desperately wanted to drag this trip out as long as possible, and the part that was completely and totally, head over heels…
Oh fuck.
I couldn’t say it, not even inside my head.
“How?” I finally blurted out.
“How what?” Bella questioned.
“How can you possibly…why…I mean…you just…kissed me.”
Her face turned red and she looked down at her hands.
“How could you want to do that?  I’m dangerous, Bella – don’t you see that?  Haven’t you seen enough of that?”
Her head turned back up and she looked at me.  It was nearly dark outside now, and we hadn’t turned on any of the lights except in the kitchen.  I couldn’t see her well, but I thought I could see the reflection of the lights in her eyes – off of her tears.
“Dangerous, yes, but you aren’t bad,” she spoke quietly.  “You’re not bad.  It’s just that…no one’s ever shown you how to care about someone else.  No one’s ever cared for you, and you’ve never cared for anyone else.”
But that wasn’t true…not anymore.  There was someone I cared about.
“I care about you,” I told her.  “I want you to be able to put all this shit behind you.  I want you to be able to keep going.”
Bella’s eyes dropped to the floor and she seemed to think for a while before looking back to me again.
“I think I will,” she said, though she didn’t sound completely convinced.  “The nightmares are better at least, aren’t they?”
“Not as often,” I agreed.  “But just as bad.”
Again, she went silent, and I thought better than to speak up.  For a while she looked from me, to the floor, and then back to me again.  I didn’t know what else to do, so I sat back down on the couch, but I kept my distance.
“When I have them,” Bella said, “and I wake up and feel you there with me…I know I’m safe.”
I met her eyes and was sure there were tears in them again.  My heart was pounding and my chest was tight.  When she would have those dreams, she would cling to me for the rest of the night, but if I was holding her, she never had the same dream again.  I might have killed all the ones who hurt her, but I couldn’t take them out of her head.  The very least I could do was try to make her feel protected from them when she did wake.
“I wouldn’t hurt you,” I swore to her.  “I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you.”
“I know,” she said.  “If there is anything I am sure of about you, that would be it.”
Her words calmed me a little, and I settled back against the cushions of the couch again.  I wanted her to feel safe.  I wanted her to know that there was no way I would ever let anyone ever hurt her again.  If anyone tried, they would never get a second opportunity.
My mind conjured up the feeling of her lips on mine again, and I thought about what she said –t hat she had wanted to kiss me.  I didn’t understand.  I didn’t understand it at all, but that mutinous part of me wanted to understand it better.
“You really wanted to kiss me?” I heard myself ask.  Bella nodded and her cheeks darkened.  My hand reached out to touch her, but I brought it back close to me again before it could.  Bella looked up, and she seemed confused and maybe even disappointed.  I didn’t want her to think I didn’t want it when I did.  I figured it was still stupid to say, but I needed her to know.  “I want you so much.” 
Bella smiled ever so slightly.
“I think that was apparent the first day we met,” she said. 
“Not like that,” I said.  “I mean…I do, but I didn’t mean that was what I wanted…I mean, yeah ‘cause…well…I mean I do want to…with you…I mean the kiss was…I just didn’t want you to think I didn’t…”
I didn’t have the slightest idea how I was going to dig myself out of the instant hole I had created, and though I looked frantically around the room for a ladder or some rope or something, I was unsuccessful.  What do you do when you dig yourself in that deep, and there’s no way out?  Make the hole deeper, of course!
”I’m a guy!” I blurted out.  “I always want that!”
I cringed at my own words and waited to see what she might throw at me.  She didn’t throw anything, so I looked up to see her covering her mouth to keep from laughing.  Her eyes were so beautiful and so full of life, I had to smile.  I shrugged a little, but I was too captivated by the light in her eyes to say anything else.  I shifted a little bit on the couch, and this time I let myself reach out and touch her.  My hand came up and cupped her cheek, and I ran my thumb over her cheek bone as I looked at her. 
“It’s not the same now,” I told her, wondering how I was going to explain that my physical desire for her would probably always be present, but that wasn’t the first thing I thought of when I looked at her.  I wanted to hold her hand, help her with the dishes and keep her safe.  Now how did I say all that shit without sounding like a total ass?
“I know,” she said simply.
“You know?” I responded in disbelief.  My eyes dropped down to her lips and the brief memory of how they had touched mine came back.
“Yes,” she replied.  “Believe it or not, it’s pretty obvious what you are thinking about most of the time.”
“It is?”  My eyes met hers again.  This was definitely news to me, and not what I would consider good news.  If she knew what I was thinking, then all the dumb-ass shit in my head I didn’t allow myself to say was still known to her.  I hoped that wasn’t really the case.  Did she know I was mentally at the bottom of a little sandy hole in the ground, tossing more and more dirt over my shoulder with a plastic toy shovel?
“Like right now,” she said as she shifted a little closer.  “I know exactly what you are thinking right now.”
“What am I thinking?” I asked, a little terrified she was going to say something about the tiny green beach shovel I was using inside of my head.
“That you want me to kiss you again.”
Oh.  That.  Yeah, I was thinking that, too.
But that was obvious, right?

Chapter End Notes:
Can't you just see Doofus and a plastic shovel, digging himself in deeper and deeper?
Typical Edward - he's trying to "do the right thing" and Bella just wants to make everything...hard for him.

CBWR? Chapter 55

Author's Notes:
One last "Easter Egg" for ya today.  Things are starting to get...interesting.
And nothing I did now would ever, ever change that.

Chapter 55

I really, really didn’t want to talk about this. Not at all. But when I looked at Bella and saw the earnestness on her face, I couldn’t deny her anything.

“I don’t think I’ll ever know,” I finally said. “I mean, not really. I have enough of an idea that I feel like…well, I’d say I feel like shit, but that doesn’t even begin to cover it.”

Bella bit down at her lip and kept her gaze on me.

“They took me because of what you asked for,” she said, and I nodded in response. She already knew, so it was only confirmation anyway. “If you hadn’t asked for someone who looked like me, what would have happened?”

“They were there to pick up another girl,” I told her. The conversation with the one hostage at Aro’s place ran through my head. “If it wasn’t for me, they would have picked up someone else, not you.”

“Did they ever pick up that other girl?”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “He said they were full and drove back after getting you.”

She sat back a little and seemed to contemplate that information. I wondered what she thought about that other girl – the one that was targeted but not picked up. Did she wish the other girl had lived through what she had? Or was she glad the other girl was okay?

I wanted to say I wished it was the other girl, because then Bella would never have had all that shit happen to her. But if she hadn’t, I never would have known her. When it all came down to it, I was still a selfish bastard.

“Do you know why you did it?” She asked quietly.

“I’m a selfish bastard?” I tried to smile, but it didn’t work. I wondered if I was going to get the chance to go back into silent mode. Ever since Bella figured out she was going to go home soon, she had been peppering me with questions I felt like I had to answer. For every one I answered, two more unanswerable ones would show up in my head.

“That’s not why,” she said. Her tone was completely serious.

I felt her hand reach out and trace over my cheek. I looked over at her for a second, but I really didn’t have an answer for her. I wanted sex, but I had told her that before. I wanted someone who would obey me and do whatever I wanted. I still wanted all that…at least, I think I did. Sort of.

I wanted her. I wanted Bella. And the idea that I could ever have her – really, really have her, was as ludicrous as thinking your love life could be fixed by buying a sex slave. Because the only way I could – the only way I would even want to – was if she wanted it as well. Its why I couldn’t even masturbate to thoughts of her, because every time I did I felt like I was forcing her. Every image in my head would turn into her tears, and crying for me to stop.

Even though she never did – she never told me to stop.

I knew there was a lot of shit I was pretty inept at doing and understanding, but I wasn’t so stupid that I thought it made any difference. She couldn’t tell me to stop – she wasn’t allowed to.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” I said. I wasn’t trying to make excuses – I just…wanted her to understand. “I never would have done it if I had known. I should have known – all those fucking questions. I should have known and thought about it and not been so fucking stupid.

But I didn’t.

And nothing I did now would ever, ever change that.

“I’m sorry, Bella.” I moved sideways on the bed so I could face her. “I’m so, so fucking sorry…I can’t make it right. I can’t ever take it back. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wasn’t…I wasn’t thinking, not at all…I just wanted…I wanted someone…someone who…who…”

I didn’t know how to finish. My head hurt, and everything inside of it was so jumbled up, I couldn’t think straight. I kept seeing that little toy piano smashed on the patio, and Mom’s car askew on the driveway. Then they were taking the trailer away, and when I went into my room inside, there was nothing to try to keep before they hauled the rest away. Then Tanya was walking away from me, telling me not to bother to ever call her again…and then it was Bree…and then it was Irina…and then it was Jessica…and then it was Zafrina…and then it was Kate…

“You were always left alone, Edward.” I looked away from her, no longer wanting to meet her eyes. I could still feel the tips of her fingers along my jaw, though. They felt like a line of tiny fires on my skin. “No one ever stayed with you. Not your parents or the teacher you liked. Not the women you’ve dated. You don’t have any friends to speak of. You wanted someone who couldn’t leave.”

“Why would they,” I heard myself mumble. I shoved myself up and out of the bed, grabbing the pack of cigarettes on my way out the patio door. Bella came out and stood behind me, and I remembered I wasn’t supposed to smoke. I cursed and threw both the pack and the lighter against the brick wall before I dropped down into the plastic chair with my head in my hands.

“You aren’t all bad,” Bella said.

I let out a sharp laugh. I leaned back in the chair and looked over to her. My breathing wasn’t right, and I could feel my heart pounding hard in my chest.

“Yeah, at least after I fuck someone’s life up I try to fix it,” I snorted, then back-pedaled. “Actually, even that is a first for me. Usually when I fuck someone up they end up in the morgue.”

“Edward,” Bella sighed my name.

“What, Bella?” I snapped. I didn’t just snap at her verbally – I actually felt like something inside me had snapped completely. I started yelling at her. “You going to tell me how it all would have happened anyway? Tell me how you could have been sold to someone else, someone worse? Worse than me, the fucking arms dealer with a thing for oral? Because we both know that isn’t true. If no one ever eats the fucking burger, the cow gets to live!”

I punched the brick wall, and besides the serious scraping of my knuckles, I was about ninety percent sure I cracked a knuckle.


“Edward!” Bella was at my side an instant later, taking my hand between hers, then dragging me into the house and washing off my bloodied knuckles.

“Don’t do this,” I said over and over again. I didn’t try to stop her, but I didn’t want her helping me out when I was being a jackass, either. “I’m fine. It doesn’t fucking matter.”

Bella’s eyes swiveled quickly from my hand to my face, and the fire in them actually cause me to step back a little.

“Shut up,” she said. I flinched again. “I mean it, just shut the fuck up. It does matter. You matter.”

“Oh yeah?” I growled back. “To who, huh? Who gives a flying fuck?”

“I do!”

I laughed again – a short, sharp and humorless sound. Bella’s eyes continued to glare at me, and I couldn’t hold her look for very long. She went back to cleaning up my hand, and I didn’t protest any more. After she washed it all off, she put some ice in a little baggie, dragged me to the little couch and held the ice against my hand. As we sat there in silence, her eyes lost their fire and eventually she was looking at me with what I guess was just…I don’t know…pity or something. I preferred her anger.

After the required twenty minutes, Bella lifted the bag of ice from my hand and examined it. It seemed okay, though it still hurt like a mother when I tried to make a fist. Bella ran her fingers over mine, stroking them slowly up and down and over my hand. It felt…nice.

Then she pulled my hand up and kissed the back of it.

I froze – completely unable to move. Bella dropped my hand into my lap as she looked up at me. Her fingers reached out and traced over the edge of my jaw, reminding me that I hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. Still motionless, all I could do was watch as she closed the short gap between us. Her fingers twitched, scratching slightly over my jaw as she moved. I watched her tongue dart out and moisten her lips as she paused, barely an inch from me.

“You aren’t all bad,” she repeated, and then her lips touched mine. I kept my own eyes open as I watched hers close. Her lips were touching mine, and they were warm and soft.

And they were willing.

She had to be out of her mind, right?

Chapter End Notes:

As if this shit wasn't complicated enough already!
Poor just about experienced an actual emotion there.
Stop by the twilighted thread and say hi and/or post your theories.

Next update will probably be tomorrow.  I dunno.  I'm kind of on a roll.

CBWR? Chapter 54

Author's notes:
Everyone's off playing with Easter toys and eating chocolate, so I had a bit more time.  Here ya go!
“Quit smoking,” she said.  “Right now.”
Chapter 54
Bella started putting together her puzzle on the little table in the kitchen while I took a quick shower.  The warm spray relaxed the muscles in the backs of my legs, which hadn’t had near enough use lately and were aching after the long trek up the hill to Neuschwanstein. 
In the small house, even with the water on I could hear Bella in the kitchen.  I heard the refrigerator door open and I thought about when she might be pulling out to eat or drink.  Maybe she was thinking about making diner or something.  Thoughts of Bella floated around inside of me as I washed, and I felt the constant urge to jerk off.
I resisted the desire, which wasn’t difficult.  I never liked doing it on my own in the first place, and now it just seemed…well…even worse.  Every time I even considered taking it in my hand, I couldn’t only see images of Bella in my head.  As soon as I saw those, thoughts of the basement when she had been kept and what they did with her to train her to my liking pretty much killed the mood.
When I tried to think of other women – either ones I had dated before or even some freaking model or movie star – well…nothing happened.   If I wasn’t thinking about Bella, apparently my body wasn’t interested. 
I kind of wondered if I’d ever want to fuck anyone again.
Wrapping a towel around my waist, I made the quick jaunt between the bathroom and the bedroom.  I could smell something really scrumptious coming from the kitchen, and didn’t want to waste any time figuring out what it was.  I pulled some lounge pants on, but didn’t bother with a shirt or anything.  It was still pretty warm and humid, though the nights had cooled off a lot.  I grabbed a hand towel to rub over my hair, but the rest of me was still pretty wet as I walked back out and into the kitchen.
Bella was stirring something around in a big skillet, and kept adding bits of vegetables and sauce to it.  It would crackle and hiss, and she would stir it around some more.
“What are you making?” I asked.
Bella turned slightly and her mouth opened just a bit, but she didn’t say anything.  Her eyes widened a bit, and I wondered what could be so shocking about my question.  My hair fell all over my forehead – it was really getting way too long – as I stopped trying to dry it and wiped a few drops from my chest instead.
“Pad Thai,” Bella finally said.  Her tongue ran over her lips quickly as her eyes dropped, and then she looked back to the pan.
“Cool,” I said.  I honestly never considered that you could make something like that outside of an actual Thai restaurant, but she seemed to know what she was doing.  Everything she made was fucking awesome.  Going back to delivered pizza and Chinese carry out was going to suck.
“This is fucking awesome,” I told her when I slurped up the last of what was on my plate.  “Is there more?”
“Well, there are the ingredients for more,” Bella said.  “I didn’t cool any more though.”
“Would you?” I asked, trying to give her something like puppy dogs eyes.  She laughed at me, which was almost as awesome as the Asian noodle dish.
“I have to pretty much start all over again!” she complained, but she really didn’t seem to be upset.
“Please?”  I asked.  I leaned closer to her and looked up into her eyes.  “Purdy please?”
Bella pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at me.  She seemed to be thinking it over.  Finally, she spoke.
“All right, but only on one condition.”
“Anything.”  Okay – I knew that was a stupid thing to say, but I was going to have to go with it at that point.
“No more cigarettes.”
“Quit smoking,” she said.  “Right now.”
“No fucking way,” I said.  I wasn’t sure if she was being serious or not, but just the very mention of quitting had me jonesing for one.
“No fucking Pad Thai,” she said.  She raised her brows at me in challenge.
“Not even a little?” I asked.  I pointed over to the stovetop in the kitchen, and when Bella glanced that way I grabbed one of the noodles off her plate.  She looked back, catching me as I shoved it into my mouth.  She glared at me.
“Not even any more of mine.”  She pulled her plate in closer and wrapped her forearms around it protectively. 
I sat back and thought about my options.  The Pad Thai was freaking awesome, and I did want more.  I also knew there was no way I was going to quit smoking – not today at least.  Maybe a compromise would work
“What could I get for no more smokes today?” I asked.
“Hmm,” Bella hummed and tapped her finger on her chin.  “A small portion, I guess.”
“Deal,” I said with a smirk.  At least I was getting something out of this.  I still wanted a smoke, though.
I ate my second, smaller helping and watched the sun go down out the patio door.  Usually I’d be sitting out there having a cigarette while Bella was doing the dishes or something.  I sighed, and decided to help her wash up to keep my mind off of it.  She looked a little surprised when I offered to dry.  I guess I really hadn’t helped before.
“Sorry,” I said as I took one of the plates and wiped it with a towel.  “I haven’t been much help, have I?”
“It’s okay,” she responded. 
I wondered if I should say more, but figured that was a mistake, so I kept quiet.
“Did you have chores to do as a kid?” Bella asked.
“Did your mom do everything for you?”
I laughed a bit.
“Um…not really,” I said.  I shrugged and placed the last plate back in the cabinet and started drying a glass.
“But your dad wasn’t home much, right?”
“Who did it then?”
“Did what?” I asked.
“Things like this.”  Bella held up a soap suds covered bowl.  “Who washed the dished and vacuumed and cleaned the sinks and stuff?”
I tried to remember my mom doing any of those things, and couldn’t really remember much.  I remembered using the same plate lots of times in a row, and I think sometimes she would wash it.  I didn’t remember ever seeing a vacuum cleaner.  I remembered the trashcan in the kitchen, and how the brown bottles would fall out of it onto the floor and make everything sticky.  I looked at Bella and shrugged again.
“I guess my mom did,” I finally said.  “Sometimes.”
Bella’s eyes locked with mine, and for the longest time she just stood there with the soapy bowl in her hands and looked at me.  She did that sometimes, and I never understood why.  I would have questioned her on it, but…well…I tried not to say much.  It seemed to be working out pretty well.
Eventually she looked back to her hands and we finished the dishes without any other words.  It was weird – but I kind of liked helping her wash them.  I’d never really done that before.  I had some dishes at my place, but usually used paper.  Cups and forks and everything else went in the dishwasher.
That night, I was sitting up in bed with my back against eh headboard and reading a couple emails from Angela.  She was asking if my “extended vacation” was going to conclude in time for the meeting with New Moon Technical Resources, or should she have someone else take care of it.  I answered that one and a few others as Bella settled into the spot beside me.  She propped her pillow up so she was sitting as well.
I looked over to her and gave her a half smile, which she didn’t quite return.
“Edward, can I ask you something?”
“Sure,” I said.  I laced the phone down on the nightstand.
“Do you understand what you did to me?”
My chest and throat tightened up, and I couldn’t really breathe correctly.  This was not a conversation I wanted to have.  There was no way I could possibly say anything that wouldn’t make it all worse, but she had asked, and I felt like I had to answer her.
Honestly was the best policy, right?

Chapter End Notes:
Oh, Doofus - what are you going to say to her now?
I love Pad Thai.

CBWR? Chapter 53

Author's Notes:
Happy Easter!  Hope everyone has a wonderful day!  Increased the font to make it easier for peeps to read ont he phone.  Hope that helps!
“I can go home?” she asked quietly.
Chapter 53
“Oh my God,” Bella whispered.  “It’s beautiful.”
It had been nearly two months without incident.  No more trailers, no activity from any of Aro’s previous businesses.  Emmett did most of the monitoring, and he had certainly taken the lion’s share of the businesses he “divided” between the two of us.  Other times I would have cared, but not now.  Now I only focused on what I could do to make Bella’s temporary life here with me more bearable. 
I glanced from Bella to Neuschwanstein – the giant Bavarian castle.  She had a real smile on her face, and those were rare.  When I saw it on her face, my heart would start pounding in my chest like I had just run a mile or something.
Or just walked up this fucking insane hill for a closer view of the castle. 
I had wanted to take her more places and do more things, but it just hadn’t been possible after news of the second trailer on Alice and Jasper.  Until we could confirm these people were more the curious and not a missed cell of Aro’s operation, there would be no outings for Bella.  She took it in stride, as far as I could tell, but then – she always seemed to take everything in stride.  She only cried at night, when she had the dreams.
Taking a little trip south was the first time we had ventured out for something other than the necessities, and I wanted it to be something cool, at least.  The castle made the most sense, and wasn’t too far away from where we were staying.  Considering the look on her face, I had the feeling I just might have done something right for a change.
We took the usual guided tour, and I shoved a bunch of bills into Bella’s hand so she could check out the gift shop at the end of the tour.  I stepped outside to grab a quick smoke while she wasn’t looking.  While I stood there, my phone rang.  It was Rosalie.
“I think we got it,” she said.  “It was just a matter of the right frequency to cancel the signal…”
She went on for a couple minutes about shit that made no sense to me before I cut her off.
“So, what you are saying is you can shut the chip off?”
“Yeah, exactly.”  She hummed for a second.  “At least, we’re pretty sure we can.  The ones we’ve tried this on have been down for four days so far and haven’t reactivated like they were before.”
“Good news.”  I crushed the cigarette butt under my heel.
“Finally,” she agreed.
“How long before you know for sure, and you can get here to deactivate Bella’s?”
“A week to ten days,” Rosalie said with confidence.  “Are you going to tell her?”
“Yeah,” I said.  “She should be pretty happy about that.  At least she can get an idea of when she can go home.  I know all this up in the air shit has been kind of nerve wracking for her.”
I hung up just as Bella was coming out with a small bag in her hand.  Inside were a 3D puzzle of the castle and a model of it inside a snow globe, which she said was for her mom.
“Why are you smiling?” she asked me with narrowed eyes.  I shrugged, because I hadn’t really realized that I was smiling.
“Looks like Rose and Jasper found a way to shut the chip off,” I told her.  Her eyes went wide for a minute as she bit down on her lip.
“I can go home?” she asked quietly.
“Just another couple of weeks,” I told her.  “Then yeah, you can go home.”
“Two weeks?” she said, and her face got all scrunched up like she was upset, which wasn’t the reaction I was expected.  I looked at her closely, trying to figure out where I could have misread her.  For a brief moment, I wondered if she was going to miss being here with me, and then I told myself not to be so fucking stupid.  The chances of that were about as good as me finding all the right words to say at the right time.
“Is that bad?” I finally asked when I couldn’t stand it anymore.
“No,” she said softly.  She started heading back down the trail to the bottom of the hill.  I followed after her.
“Bella, what is it?”
She shrugged, telling me it was nothing, which was bullshit.
“Tell me,” I said.  I reached out and grabbed a hold of her elbow, which slowed her down, but she didn’t stop.  “Please?”
She stopped and turned to look at me.
“Next week is my birthday,” she finally said.  “I thought maybe…maybe I would be home by then.”
I remembered the date from the paperwork Aro had given me.  On September thirteenth she would be nineteen.  Today was the eighth.  As much as I wanted to be able to give her whatever birthday wish she desired, there was no way Rosalie would be ready by then.
“I’m sorry,” I said quietly.  I let my hand slide down her arm, and I took her hand in mine.  Her fingers were warm and a little damp with the humidity.  I twined our fingers together, and we headed back down the side of the hill.
It wouldn’t be too much longer, right?

Chapter End Notes:
I love Neuschwanstein. :)
The countdown to the will poor Doofus cope?
I may have one more update later today.  We'll see.