He smiled a wide, gleaming smile and then laughed. "The closet is through those double doors. I should warn you - it's bigger than this room."

I didn't even glance at the doors. There was nothing else in the world but him again - his arms curled under me, his sweet breath on my face, his lips just inches from mine - and there was nothing that could distract me now, newborn vampire or not.

"We're going to tell Alice that I ran right to the clothes," I whispered, twisting my fingers into his hair and pulling my face closer to his. "We're going to tell her I spent hours in there playing dress-up. We're going to lie"

He caught up to my mood in an instant, or maybe he'd already been there, and he was just trying to let me fully appreciate my birthday present, like a gentleman. He pulled my face to his with a sudden fierceness, a low moan in his throat. The sound sent the electric current running through my body into a near-frenzy, like I couldn't get close enough to him fast enough.

I heard the fabric tearing under our hands, and I was glad my clothes, at least, were already destroyed. It was too late for his. It felt almost rude to ignore the pretty white bed, but we just weren't going to make it that far.

This second honeymoon wasn't like our first.

Our time on the island had been the epitome of my human life. The very best of it. I'd been so ready to string along my human time, just to hold on to what I had with him for a little while longer. Because the physical part wasn't going to be the same ever again.

I should have guessed, after a day like today, that it would be better.

I could really appreciate him now - could properly see every beautiful line of his perfect face, of his long, flawless body with my strong new eyes, every angle and every plane of him. I could taste his pure, vivid scent on my tongue and feel the unbelievable silkiness of his marble skin under my sensitive fingertips.

My skin was so sensitive under his hands, too.

He was all new, a different person as our bodies tangled gracefully into one on the sand-pale floor. No caution, no restraint. No fear - especially not that. We could love together - both active participants now. Finally equals.

Like our kisses before, every touch was more than I was used to. So much of himself he'd been holding back. Necessary at the time, but I couldn't believe how much I'd been missing.

I tried to keep in mind that I was stronger than he was, but it was hard to focus on anything with sensations so intense, pulling my attention to a million different places in my body every second; if I hurt him, he didn't complain.

A very, very small part of my head considered the interesting conundrum presented in this situation. I was never going to get tired, and neither was he. We didn't have to catch our breath or rest or eat or even use the bathroom; we had no more mundane human needs. He had the most beautiful, perfect body in the world and I had him all to myself, and it didn't feel like I was ever going to find a point where I would think, Now I've had enough for one day. I was always going to want more. And the day was never going to end. So, in such a situation, how did we ever stop?

It didn't bother me at all that I had no answer.

I sort of noticed when the sky began to lighten. The tiny ocean outside turned from black to gray, and a lark started to sing somewhere very close by - maybe she had a nest in the roses.

"Do you miss it?" I asked him when her song was done.

It wasn't the first time we'd spoken, but we weren't exactly keeping up a conversation, either.

"Miss what?" he murmured.

"All of it - the warmth, the soft skin, the tasty smell... I'm not losing anything at all, and I just wondered if it was a little bit sad for you that you were."

He laughed, low and gentle. "It would be hard to find someone less sad than I am now. Impossible, I'd venture. Not many people get every single thing they want, plus all the things they didn't think to ask for, in the same day."

"Are you avoiding the question?"

He pressed his hand against my face. "You are warm," he told me.

It was true, in a sense. To me, his hand was warm. It wasn't the same as touching Jacob's flame-hot skin, but it was more comfortable. More natural.

Then he pulled his fingers very slowly down my face, lightly tracing from my jaw to my throat and then all the way down to my waist. My eyes rolled back into my head a little.

"You are soft."

His fingers were like satin against my skin, so I could see what he meant.

"And as for the scent, well, I couldn't say I missed that. Do you remember the scent of those hikers on our hunt?"

"I've been trying very hard not to."

"Imagine kissing that."

My throat ripped into flames like pulling the cord on a hot-air balloon.


"Precisely. So the answer is no. I am purely full of joy, because I am missing nothing. No one has more than I do now."

I was about to inform him of the one exception to his statement, but my lips were suddenly very busy.

When the little pool turned pearl-colored with the sunrise, I thought of another question for him.

"How long does this go on? I mean, Carlisle and Esme, Em and Rose, Alice and Jasper - they don't spend all day locked in their rooms. They're out in public, fully clothed, all the time. Does this... craving ever let up?" I twisted myself closer into him - quite an accomplishment, actually - to make it clear what I was talking about.

"That's difficult to say. Everyone is different and, well, so far you're the very most different of all. The average young vampire is too obsessed with thirst to notice much else for a while. That doesn't seem to apply to you. With the average vampire, though, after that first year, other needs make themselves known. Neither thirst nor any other desire really ever fades. It's simply a matter of learning to balance them, learning to prioritize and manage___"