Author: Amethyst Jackson
Category: Drama, Romance
Summary: AU. Edward Masen was changed in 1918 and abandoned by his sire. He feeds on human blood, unaware of any other way…until he stumbles across college freshman Bella Swan for a night that will change everything.
Disclaimer: A writer is like a goddess in her universe…but only one writer is making the money off Twilight, and that’s Stephenie Meyer. These are her characters, and I’m just having fun with them.
Bella with a broken leg turned out to be more of a struggle than I’d ever imagined.
Monday went well enough. Bella was able to get through her morning hygiene routine without major difficulty, and I poured her a bowl of cereal without screwing it up. Just as Bella and I were shuffling out the door, Alice turned up in the hallway.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, confused.
Alice rolled her eyes. “Hello to you, too.” She turned to Bella, ignoring me. “Morning, Bella. I’m going to attend the classes you don’t have with Edward with you, in case you need any help."
“I was going to –” I started to say.
“Alice, you don’t have to –” Bella began at the same time.
“I’m going with you, and that’s that,” Alice said decisively. If you go to every class with her like you’re planning, she’s going to want your balls on a platter by the end of the week. Just so you know, Alice thought at me. I scowled, but didn’t contradict her.
“Well, all right…but I can manage by myself, you know. I’ve done it before,” Bella frowned.
Alice tutted. “Of course you can. I remember; I was there. Still, you’ll fare a bit better if you do have help, and I miss college. Come along, now. We’re going to be late.”
I carried Bella down the stairs against her will. She wanted to try hobbling down them, but I could just see her tumbling head over feet and breaking even more bones. Never mind that I would catch her if she began to fall; I didn’t want to suffer that particular moment of panic.
Alice went straight to her car, even though I was veering toward mine.
“Edward, we can’t all fit in your car,” Alice pointed out.
I looked wistfully at my Aston Martin, dent and all. “Can’t we take two cars?”
“No,” Alice said firmly, hopping into the driver’s seat. “Now load up.”
Heaving a sigh, I helped Bella into the passenger’s seat and slid into the back. I hated not driving. Where was the fun?
“Where’s Jasper?” Bella asked Alice, trying to get comfortable with her crutches in her lap. I took them wordlessly from her.
“He’s ‘scouting the perimeter.’ His words, not mine,” Alice said with an indulgent smile. “I think he’s scouring the campus for signs of Victoria, but he’s also ridiculously paranoid most of the time.”
Bella blanched at the mention of Victoria. “Do you think she’s going to come back for us?”
Alice shrugged. “I can’t see what she’s up to, but if I had to guess, I’d say yes. Vampires don’t exactly forget about their grudges. Though, vampires also have an odd sense of time, so it might not even be an issue by the time she returns.”
“What do you mean?” Bella asked. I knew what Alice meant, but I didn’t interrupt. Perhaps Bella would benefit from discussing these things with another person. Another vampire.
“I mean it could be ten, twenty years before Victoria gets around to her grand revenge or whatever she’s planning. You’ll probably be a vampire by then.”
Bella’s eyes bugged. “I will?”
“The way I see it, yes. It’s very clear, clearer now that you know what we are. I can only assume that you’ve decided that’s what you want.”
“Oh,” Bella breathed. “I…well…what exactly do you see?” Bella asked. I leaned forward eagerly, waiting to see the vision in Alice’s head. Would it be different than the vision I’d seen in our first encounter?
“I see you as part of the family,” Alice said. Her mind showed me Bella with newborn-red eyes, tackling the huge Emmett to the ground. Alice furious with Bella after she’d ruined her new dress hunting. Esme teaching Bella to knit. Bella and I, running off to – I could only presume – have enthusiastic sex.
“And Edward, too? All of us together?” Bella asked, a barely noticeable tinge of hopefulness in her voice. “Are we happy?”
Alice grinned. “Yes, we’re all together, fortunately or unfortunately, and yes, we’re happy. You’re happy.”
Bella smiled. “That’s good to know.”
The short rest of the ride was quiet. I watched Bella and thought of Alice’s visions. I wanted it all, and apparently, Bella did, too. Now the only question was when. When should I change Bella? When was too soon for her? How long was too long to wait? What if Victoria didn’t take ten years to carry out her plans, if she had any plans at all?
I’d never had so many things to consider before Bella. I wondered, would that go away once she was a vampire, or would I always be fretting over her?
Fretting. Like a mother hen. I physically shook my head at my pitiful state…my pitiful state that I wouldn’t change for the world.
Alice parked in front of the building where Bella had her first class, and she shooed me away, sending me off to my morning classes. I didn’t obey completely, but rather, stood there watching as Bella plodded along on her crutches beside Alice. Only when they were inside the building did I wander off toward my biology class, where I knew I would not be paying attention.
The time dragged. I was uneasy all through class, having to remind myself constantly to fidget and breathe and act human. Only when I was hurrying my way toward sociology did I relax.
Alice and Bella waited outside the classroom. Bella stood miserably on her crutches. Shoulders slumped, she looked so tired already. I wanted to scoop her up and carry her home, but I knew her sense of responsibility wouldn’t allow her to miss class.
“I’ll be back to collect her after,” Alice announced, handing Bella’s book bag to me. Bella scowled at the exchange, and I had to laugh at her.
“Bella, just because you could carry your bag on your own doesn’t mean that you should,” I pointed out as Alice wandered off.
“This is stupid. It feels like I’m six years old again and my mother is passing me off to Charlie for summer vacation,” Bella grumbled, hobbling into the classroom. I hovered nervously behind her, listening to the click of her crutches on the floor and bracing myself for the moment when she tripped, which I figured was pretty much inevitable.
“Alice is only trying to help,” I said. “And I’m only trying to keep you from breaking your neck on top of your leg.”
“How kind of you,” Bella said dryly. Somehow, miraculously, she plopped into her seat without having stumbled once. I sat in my usual spot beside her and took her hand.
“Humor me, will you? Seeing you injured was quite traumatic for me,” I said quietly, feeling the soft beat of her pulse in her palm.
“I know, Edward, really,” Bella murmured. “But what you have to remember is that even though I’m breakable, I can heal just fine, too. A few months from now, this cast will be gone, and you’d never know I’d been hurt.”
“I’m going to need some time to get used to that idea,” I said, dropping to a whisper as other students filtered in around us. “Still, I think I prefer the thought of you never being hurt at all.”
The rest of the day passed uneventfully, or so I thought. After sociology, I was only allowed to walk with Alice and Bella to Bella’s next class, and then I was left to my own devices. I had no more classes, and there was little else for me to do on campus. My “homework” consisted only of reading assignments, which I didn’t need to do, and wandering into a café for a cup of coffee wasn’t exactly an option.
Coffee. Bella’s job. As far as I could tell, she’d completely forgotten about notifying her employers of her injury. Either that, or Bella actually intended to work in a coffee shop while on crutches. I couldn’t allow that. Bella handling hot liquids was precarious enough without factoring in crutches and a bum leg.
I decided to take it upon myself to notify them. The walk took up some time, since I was constrained to a human pace. For most humans, it probably wouldn’t qualify under “walking distance” from campus.
At the coffee shop, I found that the current manager on duty was actually the owner of the place, an older man who was quite sympathetic when I told him about Bella’s unfortunate ‘hiking’ accident. After being assured that Bella would not have to work while recovering, and extracting a promise that she would have a job once the cast was off, I returned to campus.
Bored, I wandered around the building where Bella had her last class, listening for the high-frequency hum of Alice’s thoughts. They were all over the place, partly listening to the lecture, partly considering the merits of floral prints, and partly monitoring Bella. I focused on the Bella part, seeing her from the corner of Alice’s eyes as she listened intently to the professor. Her concentration was adorable, and enough to occupy me until class ended and the two made their way out of the building.
Bella was more than ready to go home by then, and once there, Alice busied herself making sure Bella ate something, because she’d bypassed lunch, as usual. I followed Bella to the couch, relieved to get her off her feet for a while.
“How are you feeling?” I asked, urging her to prop her leg up. It might be swelling still, and that wouldn’t do. “Are you in any pain?”
“No, I’m fine,” Bella said, and I wondered if she would admit to being in pain at all. I could see her lying about it just to keep me from worrying more than I already was.
“I heated up the chicken casserole Esme made; I hope that’s okay,” Alice announced, waltzing into the living area with a steaming plate.
“Sounds great,” Bella agreed contentedly.
Bella ate, and we sat chatting until Jasper turned up to tell us what he’d found, which was, essentially, nothing.
Alice and Jasper left early in the evening, and afterward, Bella did her homework and I wandered around the apartment, trying to make things more cripple-friendly. Bella realized what I was doing, of course, and though she didn’t tell me to stop, her facial expression did. I eventually reconciled myself to pretending to read while Bella worked.
Later, I helped Bella through another shower, and afterward, she was so tired that she went straight to bed and fell asleep almost instantly.
And that was how the first day went, and how the next few days would go as well.
Carlisle was right; Bella was not the sort of girl to appreciate coddling. Actually, Bella wasn’t the sort of girl to appreciate any assistance whatsoever. I continually reminded myself that it was Bella’s fierce independence and not ingratitude speaking, but as she grew more and more irritated with me and the world in general, my own mood worsened.
It didn’t help that Bella was absolutely furious when she found out I’d taken it upon myself to get her excused from work. Furious enough to try hitting me with her crutches, even, though fortunately I ducked before the crutch ended up in splinters.
Having Alice and Jasper around was, for the most part, helpful. Sometimes I just wanted them gone – it had been so much easier when it was just Bella and me – but it was good for me to have people other than Bella around to occupy my attention. She wanted my attention so little these days, after all. It was also good for me when Bella could take out her frustration on someone else.
By Friday, I could tell Bella was reaching her limit, but I hadn’t the faintest idea how to avoid setting her off. Alice and Jasper had decided to let us fend for ourselves for the weekend while they moved into the apartment they’d secured a few blocks away. I suspected they would spend more time christening the place than unpacking.
It was late afternoon, after classes, and Bella was struggling to her feet off the couch. I stood immediately, still repressing the urge to steady her, which really seemed to set her off.
“Do you need something?” I asked as she settled onto her crutches. It was, from a practical standpoint, much easier for me to retrieve things for her than to let her get them on her own. She simply couldn’t carry things and wobble around on her crutches at the same time. Bella didn’t have that kind of coordination.
Bella’s eyes snapped to me and leveled me with a ferocious glare. “I need to pee, actually, so unless you can somehow do that for me, you can just sit back down.”
I pursed my lips against the sharp replies I wanted to make and let her make her way down the hallway.
This simply wouldn’t do. Having Bella annoyed with me all the time was grating on my nerves – especially considering I was only trying to be helpful – and I’d never been annoyed with her before, not like this. On top of all that, we hadn’t had actual sex since she’d broken her leg. It was no wonder, really, that I was a bit cranky. Maybe that was part of her problem, too.
I stalked down the hallway and waited outside the bathroom for Bella to emerge. I hadn’t quite decided what I was going to do or say, but the situation had become intolerable for me. We were going to sort it out, one way or another.
When Bella opened the door and saw me standing there, her face instantly twisted into a scowl.
“Cripes, Edward, if I didn’t need your help getting to the bathroom –”
“That’s not why I’m standing here,” I interrupted. “We need to talk.”
Bella’s face fell and her eyes went wide – scared, even. “Nothing good ever comes after those words.”
I gaped, considering the possibilities of what she thought I would say next. “No, Bella, that’s not – I just mean that we haven’t really talked this week, and you’re obviously displeased with me.”
Bella’s mouth hung open. “I’m not – it’s not you, I’m just…frustrated,” Bella sighed.
“Okay, that’s a start,” I said. “But standing in the hallway is probably not the best way to do this.”
Bella had opened her mouth – either to agree or disagree – but I picked her up and tossed her over my shoulder before she could speak. I grabbed her crutches before they hit the ground with my free hand.
“Hey!” Bella cried. Her protests were less effective when directed at my back. “Okay, now I am displeased with you.”
“Bella, do you really have to fight everything?” I asked, carting her into the bedroom.
“Yes,” she grumbled as I sat her on the bed. “I don’t like feeling incapable, Edward.”
I sat down facing her. “Fair enough. But how does me doing things for you make you incapable?”
Bella crossed her arms over her chest. “It’s not that it makes me incapable, it’s that it makes me feel incapable,” she clarified.
I sighed. “You acknowledge, then, that it makes absolutely no sense for you to feel that way.”
“Edward!” Bella groaned. “Just because it doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean I can just turn it off. I can’t help it. It’s hardwired.”
“Understandable,” I conceded, though I didn’t really understand. “Would you like to hear my side?”
Bella nodded reluctantly.
“You say you don’t like feeling incapable. Well, I don’t enjoy feeling as though I can’t be useful to the woman I love when she’s hurt.”
Bella’s face softened. “Damnit, Edward. Why do you have to say things like that? How am I supposed to stay irritated with you?”
I shrugged, smiling my triumph. “I like you better when you’re not irritated with me.”
“Oh, thanks,” Bella huffed. “Look, I really am sorry if you’ve taken the brunt of my frustrations. It’s not that I don’t appreciate everything you’re trying to do for me; I do, truly. I just hate that I need help at all. I hate that I can’t just get up and walk on my own two feet, or make dinner, or take a shower by myself.”
“Pity. I really enjoy the shower part,” I said offhandedly. “You don’t like it just a little bit?”
“I’d like it a lot better if I was in the shower with you without having a trash bag on my leg,” Bella clarified. “I just want things to be normal.”
I blinked. “Normal? You do realize you’re dating a vampire, right?”
Bella sighed. “You know what I mean. Aside from your…eccentricities –” I snorted – “I think we’re actually a fairly normal couple. And I don’t like that my stupid leg is throwing that off.”
“Off how?” I asked, suspecting we were reaching the heart of the matter.
“It’s just…different now,” she said defensively. “It’s like…I’m an invalid you’re taking care of or something. Every time you open your mouth, it’s to ask me how I’m doing or if I need something…I feel like your patient, not your girlfriend.”
“Okay.” I shifted closer. “Would I be correct in inferring, then, that you wouldn’t mind me taking care of you so much if I spent more time treating you like my girlfriend?”
Bella bit her lip. “I guess so, yes. But it would still be nice if you didn’t try to help me with every little thing.”
“I can work with that,” I agreed, cupping my hand under her chin.
“What are you doing?” she asked, evidently confused by the contact. That was when I knew I’d been going about everything all wrong this week if the silly girl couldn’t even tell when I was trying to kiss her.
“I’m treating you like my girlfriend,” I informed her before leaning in and pressing my lips to hers. She hummed lightly at the contact, a contented sound.
“Better?” I asked, pulling back minutely.
Bella shook her head. “Not yet. I think you have more work to do.”
“Is that so?” I guided her to lie back on the bed and held myself over her. “How much more work?”
“A lot,” she said, pushing my shirt up. I tugged it off and tossed it aside. “In fact, I think you’d better keep at it until I tell you you’re done.”
“Whatever the lady wants,” I agreed, kissing her neck and then her mouth again. Just kissing her, I realized this horrible week could have been much, much better if I’d only taken the time to do this every day. I could feel the stress seeping out of me, and Bella’s body noticeably relaxed under my hands as I undressed her. Her cast went largely unnoticed, except for when it made it harder to get her pants off.
Once we were naked together, though, Bella’s definition of normal finally became clear to me. This was normal for us. Bella’s hot hands warming my bare skin was normal. The sound of Bella moaning my name as I touched her was normal. The burning need I felt to get as close to her as possible was normal.
Sliding inside of Bella was normal, though the word didn’t do the experience justice as all. Normal only described the familiarity of the motion, the way my hips knew exactly how to flex to push inside her with just the right amount of force. But normal couldn’t describe the deep comfort that settled over me, just from being this close to her, and normal couldn’t describe the way it felt like the first time every time.
No, normal didn’t even begin to describe how it felt, rocking against Bella’s body, sliding in and out of that hot, wet space, feeling her breath in warm puffs against my neck, or hearing my name from her lips as she came and her body fluttered hard and frantic around me.
There was nothing normal about the way my otherwise unshakeable body trembled when I let go and poured everything I had into her.
When I rolled onto my back, emotionally spent, there was nothing normal about the way a warm, soft human woman snuggled against my solid and cold body.
Nothing about our lovemaking was normal, but I’d be damned if either of us could live without it.
A/N: Did I say this would arrive Tuesday evening? Because I meant in the wee hours of Wednesday…