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01 August 2008 @ 01:15 am
Illegal Update: Only Human  
Can you believe I'm back already?

Title: Only Human (22/???)
Rating: M/NC-17
Category: Drama, Angst, Romance
Pairing: Edward/Bella
Summary: A wish sends Bella back in time to Chicago, 1918, and to a human Edward.
Disclaimer: All this genius belongs to Stephanie Meyer. I’m just having a little fun.
A/N: We're visiting vampire!Edward this chapter for a short reprieve. The next chapter will likely be out tomorrow afternoon. After that, I would say we have two or three chapters to go. I don't know how much space I'll need. So there you go.

Chapter Twenty-Two

It had taken three weeks of working and saving, and then begging my mother to lend me the rest, but I had done it. I finally had enough money to put a ring on Bella’s finger. It wouldn’t be much, but I knew she wouldn’t mind, and besides, I would buy her a better one someday. This was about making it official. Making her mine in the eyes of the world.

The small jewelry store didn’t look like much, but a friend at work had recommended it, and it was in his price range.

The clerk, a dark-haired man in his thirties with a mustache that curled at the ends, smiled when I entered. It wasn’t really a friendly smile; rather, the smile of someone who had just locked on a target.

“How may I help you today, young man?” he asked. “Looking for a special present for your sweetheart, perhaps?”

The idea amused me. My sweetheart. Bella was so much more. “I’m looking for an engagement ring, actually.”

“Ah,” he smiled knowingly as if I’d just shared some secret. “We have a fine selection of rings,” he went on, pulling a tray out of a case for me to browse from. “See if there’s anything you like here.”

There were diamonds, rows and rows of diamonds in different shapes and sizes, different arrangements on different bands, but none of them were quite right. Bella wasn’t a diamond, some shiny, pretty little thing to be thrust under noses at parties and oohed and ahhed over. She was something much better.

“Do you have anything more…unique?”

His expression registered surprise, but he didn’t voice it; instead he reached for another tray. “Perhaps one of these will suit you better.”

There were more diamonds, but other stones, too – configurations of rubies, pearls, opals…they all seemed too garish or too…girlish for Bella. She was a woman who deserved a woman’s ring.

When my eyes landed on the sapphire, practically hidden off to the side, I knew it was the one. Deep and elegant, small but powerful…it was very much Bella.

“That’s the one.”

Her acceptance of the ring was so laughably easy that I almost felt offended…almost. But I could see in her eyes what my human heart didn’t want to acknowledge – the fear, the guilt, the sadness. Even though I remained blissfully unaware in the past, Bella knew what was coming, and she wouldn’t dare ruin my last human memories arguing about rings and weddings. I was grateful for it, because in those memories, I was blissfully happy. Nearly as happy as I’d been when I saw Bella walking down the aisle to me.

I wondered if she had any idea how close the end was. I had wakened as a vampire September 29th. Nine days, including the transformation, from my best count, unless she somehow changed the past. But could she? If I wasn’t changed at that precise moment, would I be sitting here reliving the memories now? It was…impossible. More impossible than vampires or werewolves or wish-induced time-traveling.

I’d never seen my father ill before. He’d been healthy every day of his life, as far as I knew. My mother was afraid; I could see it every time I went to check on them. Bella was always there, holding my hand, but I knew she felt as helpless as I did.

“…he keeps asking for you…” My mother’s voice faded to the background as I thought of climbing those stairs and walking into that room, but I made myself do it somehow. He was so incredibly pale, white as the sheets beneath him, but he forced a smile for me.


“Edward, I want to…apologize.” A cough. “We always think we know how our children’s lives should go.” Another cough. “You do what makes you happy, Edward. Don’t waste a moment you have with her.”

“Come now, Father,” I said, trying to lighten the mood, “tomorrow you’ll be feeling back to normal and get straight back to telling me what to do again.”

His laugh turned into a long cough. He held a handkerchief to his mouth, muffling the awful hacking sound. When he pulled his hand away, the cloth was stained with blood. I could only stare in horror.

“This isn’t an ordinary summer cold, Edward. You should…prepare yourself for the worst.”

I felt sick all over at how easily my father discussed his own death. He was serious, and I wanted it to be a joke.

“Take care of your mother,” he went on. “And hold on to Bella. Nothing has ever motivated you like she does. Elizabeth was right…she’s exactly what you need.”

I swallowed past the lump in my throat and tears burned my eyes. “Father…I…”

He smiled; it looked like an effort. “Run along now, son. You needn’t stay and listen to me cough.”

I realized with horror that he was trying to spare me the pain of watching him die, and then I had to flee. This was impossible. He was young. He was healthy. Impossible.

It was a strange memory to relive. Ever since I’d been changed, I’d struggled to remember what it felt like to cry. Now, as I re-experienced falling into Bella’s arms in grief, I could feel the tears running and the wonderful sensation of release and cleansing that went along with them.

I felt…peace. For the longest time, I had been left in the dark, wondering what my parents were like, how I had interacted with them…my remaining memories had never been enough to fully answer those questions, and I had been left unable to grieve for what I had lost – how could I grieve for people I didn’t know?

Now I could confirm things I’d only been told or had to guess at before – that my mother was kind and perceptive and loved me dearly. That my father approved of my choices. That I was happy and loved.

And now I had the benefit of knowing they loved my Bella. I hoped they would be proud now to see that I had tried to make the best of this life I’d been given, and that I had found some kind of redemption in love.

“I think sometimes, destiny has something bigger in mind than most of us can ever see, and sometimes, these things that seem so unfair and so wrong can serve a higher purpose.”

My past self hadn’t felt the full meaning of her words, but I did. I had lost a great deal when the Spanish flu struck – my family, my dreams – but I had eventually gained something greater. Her. And for the first time, seeing my previous mortality anew, I felt lucky to trade in a human lifetime for an eternity with the woman I loved.

It was harder and harder to remain in the painful memories, but I did, determined to watch Bella until I had her back in my arms. And she surprised me. My Bella had a large, loving heart, and she grew attached to people easily. I knew my family was no exception, and I expected, as they began to pass, that I would need to comfort her. But she never cracked. She was the one to comfort me, to calm me, to care for my mother, even to cook when the servants needed the sleep. I felt a swell of pride, seeing her so strong and capable, so…grown-up. And yet it came with a strange unease, forcing me to wonder what had inspired that strength…and I had to admit that I wanted her to need me in difficult times.

My memories soon turned dark again. Bella’s care had done a great deal to improve my state of mind since my father’s death, but everything turned on its head when I walked into my mother’s room to find her in the state my father had died in.

I’d never been so scared in my life. I hated to leave my mother alone in the hospital, but the doctors gave me no choice. I could only turn to Bella once more, though I felt guilty placing so much of my burden upon her. I couldn’t help it. She was all I had, and I needed her strength.

“…don’t think,” she said, “Just feel. Focus on here and now.”

And her lips made me forget everything. I knew I should stop; I had promised I would treat her the way she deserved. But she was offering everything, and I didn’t want to let go of the feeling her warm kisses gave me.

I was nervous. My knowledge about this intimate act was incredibly limited – I simply knew the basics of which parts went where. I’d always avoided hearing about it when the boys at school would joke and laugh about their experiences. My father had told me it was nothing I needed to know about until my wedding night, and so he’d refrained from explaining…and now he never would.

Bella seemed to know enough for the both of us, but I didn’t ask how. If she had been with someone else before, I didn’t want to know, and I didn’t know if there was a way to tell. That was one of the things I’d never learned. What mattered was that she was mine now, in my arms and wearing my ring, and she loved me enough to stay with me in this terrible time.

Her body was the most beautiful thing I’d ever laid eyes on, more beautiful than any Grecian goddess, more beautiful than any Italian master had ever painted. I could revel in her skin for hours, trace the soft curves of her breasts and hips, delight in her trembling form.

She showed me where to touch her, and I felt the most powerful surge of arousal at the sight of her reaction, her open mouth as she gasped and the arch of her back. My finger slipped into her opening, and the feeling of her flesh all around me drove me past the point of waiting. I needed to be within her so desperately, but I didn’t know how to voice that desire.

She seemed to know without being told, and somehow, through my fumbling and embarrassment, I still found myself in her arms, inside of her, into the greatest, most blissful feeling I’d ever known.

The images in my mind were so vivid, so fresh that I was surprised not to find myself sweating with the intensity. How naïve I had been, and so damned lucky. It had been everything I could have ever wanted or needed to lose myself completely in her, moving, touching, kissing without thought.

I was envious of my past. I wanted her here with me now; I wanted to be able to feel that way with her. To experience everything for the first time with her instead of witnessing it through the sordid thoughts of others.

Try as I might, I couldn’t merge the new memories filtering in with my own past. I couldn’t feel like the person having those experiences when I was here seeing them for the first time.

I knew I wouldn’t feel right again until Bella was with me, where I could see her and touch her and talk to her. I needed answers from her lips. I needed her reassurance. I needed more than ever to know her thoughts and feelings.

But I couldn’t shake the nagging fear that she wouldn’t come back in any state to provide those things.
mlynn1985: bush_pretzelmlynn1985 on August 1st, 2008 06:46 am (UTC)
Ohh, vampire Edward! I'd missed him. And good lord, woman, you're pumping these chapters out like a machine! I can't wait to read more. Will you be writing their reunion?
Katie aka Amethyst Jcinnamon_kisses on August 1st, 2008 06:57 am (UTC)
Doncha know I am a machine? ;-D

Their reunion...hmm...I can neither confirm nor deny rumors of a reunion in the future.
(no subject) - mlynn1985 on August 1st, 2008 07:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kindoflove on August 1st, 2008 07:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladydemando on August 1st, 2008 07:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - papierblumen11 on August 1st, 2008 08:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
silvereyedsoul on August 1st, 2008 06:54 am (UTC)
I can't believe l've only just found this fic!

You are an amazing writer! I don't think l've ever become so obsessed with a fanfic before. The way you write Bella and Edward is stunning. You make me want to write lots of smutty scenes!

I'm a little sad about where l know the story is leading to. But l look forward to it. You've made eager to see Edward sick! What have you done!

Update soon, and l shall give you Edward in skin-tight leather pants.
Susanpooja_r on August 6th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
'and l shall give you Edward in skin-tight leather pants.'

kami_angel: oh no a fankami_angel on August 1st, 2008 06:57 am (UTC)
Wow you write fast...makes me ashamed at my lack of fic updates *blushes*

But this is a great fic, I was unsure at first but this is one of my all time fav fics now! Can't wait for more...did I mention I love you for this fic? I need it more now because as the release date approaches I've been fearing that Breaking Dawn will be epic!fail.

Please keep writing - oh and in my mind this is canon if BD is a disator...just thought you should know :P
Lauren: You. Me. Trailer. Now.unicornhime on August 1st, 2008 06:58 am (UTC)
...that last sentence has me worried.

But aww, Edward. I just want to hug him.

And you are an animal. I like it. :D
Cat: dazzledangelus_buff on August 1st, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)
YAY! I've been sitting here waiting and hoping you'd get it out tonight. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Loved it!

And that last line is making me worried. A lot worried. Can't wait for the next chapter. Keep up the great job!

☁☂☆thrown_rosesx on August 1st, 2008 07:10 am (UTC)
You've spoiled us readers tonight.

So, I'd like to say -

You're doing an amazing job. I'm totally in love with this story.
kevysgurl on August 1st, 2008 07:15 am (UTC)
Awesome as usual. Was very excited to have vampire Edward for this chapter to know his feelings. Can't wait for your next chapter!!!
apresmoi on August 1st, 2008 07:30 am (UTC)
Oh, vampire!Edward. Don't be so sad, it makes me sad. And curious, cause half the time, Edward's nagging fears are right. Course the other half he's being overprotective and silly.

And how awesome for him to have new memories of his parents.

This, was awesome, as always. And now I'm afraid I can't pick an Edward :\
emmy_jo18emmy_jo18 on August 1st, 2008 07:31 am (UTC)
Yay! This was like a wish come true. I just left a comment on the last chapter about how I wanted to see Vampire Edward's reactions. Then, on my way to bed, I thought, "hey, why not check your mail one last time?" And to my great surprise I find this lovely little chapter waiting for me to read it. So thank you! you sure did whip this chapter out fast!
I'm totally in love with this story- You are amazing.
tragickktragickk on August 1st, 2008 07:32 am (UTC)

so depressing. vampire!edward makes me feel all emotional.
human!edward makes me feel giddy.

total contrast, yeah? hahaha. thank youu!
Georgemllesinistre on August 1st, 2008 07:54 am (UTC)
But I couldn’t shake the nagging fear that she wouldn’t come back in any state to provide those things.

*is confused and worried*

I really appreciate you getting the chapters out so fast. This story is such an addiction for me. Poor Vampire!Edward, horny and sad...not a good combination. LOL Sorry I know I shouldn't be making jokes at his expense, but I'm using humor to cope with what I know is coming.

'Kay enough rambling. Loved it!
Susan: Kristen Stewartpooja_r on August 1st, 2008 08:11 am (UTC)
your story is so good! I cant wait for the next chapter!
papierblumen11 on August 1st, 2008 08:23 am (UTC)
YOU ARE AWESOME! 2 updates in one night?!? Life is wonderful! Keep writing and yea your awesome!
aracelimana1023 on August 1st, 2008 10:44 am (UTC)
Oh, a cliffy. That last line has me worried.

But yay! two updates in one night.
KaliLove: Edwardkalilove on August 1st, 2008 11:01 am (UTC)
I just checked my email quick before work....and now you've made me late

but i don't care, just update again soon!