you loved me more than you wanted to kill me, or the first morning I woke up and you were there waiting for me.... Not when I heard your voice in the ballet studio" - he flinched at the old memory of my close call with a hunting vampire, but I didn't pause - "or when you said i do' and I realized that, somehow, I get to keep you forever. Those are the happiest memories I have, and this is better than any of it. So just deal with it."
He touched the frown line between my eyebrows. Tm making you unhappy now. I don't want to do that."
"Then don't you be unhappy. That's the only thing that's wrong here."
His eyes tightened, then he took a deep breath and nodded. "You're right. The past is past and I can't do anything to change it. There's no sense in letting my mood sour this time for you. HI do whatever I can to make you happy now."
I examined his face suspiciously, and he gave me a serene smile.
"Whatever makes me happy?"
My stomach growled at the same time that I asked.
"You're hungry," he said quickly. He was swiftly out of the bed, stirring up a cloud of feathers. Which reminded me.
"So, why exactly did you decide to ruin Esme's pillows?" I asked, sitting up and shaking more down from my hair.
He had already pulled on a pair of loose khaki pants, and he stood by the door, rumpling his hair, dislodging a few feathers of his own.
"I don't know if I decided to do anything last night," he muttered. "We're just lucky it was the pillows and not you." He inhaled deeply and then shook his head, as if shaking off the dark thought. A very authentic-looking smile spread across his face, but I guessed it took a lot of work to put it there.
I slid carefully off the high bed and stretched again, more aware, now, of the aches and sore spots. I heard him gasp. He turned away from me, and his hands balled up, knuckles white.
"Do I look that hideous?" I asked, working to keep my tone light. His breath caught, but he didn't turn, probably to hide his expression from me. I walked to the bathroom to check for myself.
I stared at my naked body in the full-length mirror behind the door.
I'd definitely had worse. There was a faint shadow across one of my cheekbones, and my lips were a little swollen, but other than that, my face was fine. The rest of me was decorated with patches of blue and purple. I concentrated on the bruises that would be the hardest to hide - my arms and my shoulders. They weren't so bad. My skin marked up easily. By the time a bruise showed I'd usually forgotten how I'd come by it. Of course, these were just developing. I'd look even worse tomorrow. That would not make things any easier.
I looked at my hair, then, and groaned.
"Bella?" He was right there behind me as soon as I'd made a sound.
"I'll never get this all out of my hair!" I pointed to my head, where it looked like a chicken was nesting. I started picking at the feathers.
"You would be worried about your hair," he mumbled, but he came to stand behind me, pulling out the feathers
much more quickly.
"How did you keep from laughing at this? I look ridiculous."
He didn't answer; he just kept plucking. And I knew the answer anyway - there was nothing that would be funny to him in this mood.
'This isn't going to work," I sighed after a minute. "It's all dried in. I'm going to have to try to wash it out." I turned around, wrapping my arms around his cool waist. "Do you want to help me?"
Td better find some food for you," he said in a quiet voice, and he gently unwound my arms. I sighed as he disappeared, moving too fast.
It looked like my honeymoon was over. The thought put a big lump in my throat.
When I was mostly feather-free and dressed in an unfamiliar white cotton dress that concealed the worst of the violet blotches, I padded off barefoot to where the smell of eggs and bacon and Cheddar cheese was coming from.
Edward stood in front of the stainless steel stove, sliding an omelet onto the light blue plate waiting on the counter. The scent of the food overwhelmed me. I felt like I could eat the plate and the frying pan, too; my stomach snarled.
"Here," he said. He turned with a smile on his face and set the plate on a small tiled table.
I sat in one of the two metal chairs and started snarfing down the hot eggs. They burned my throat, but I didn't care.
He sat down across from me. "I'm not feeding you often enough."
I swallowed and then reminded him, "I was asleep. This is really good, by the way. Impressive for someone who doesn't eat."
"Food Network," he said, flashing my favorite crooked smile.
I was happy to see it, happy that he seemed more like his normal self.
"Where did the eggs come from?"
"I asked the cleaning crew to stock the kitchen. A first, for this place. I'll have to ask them to deal with the feathers.... " He trailed off, his gaze fixed on a space above my head. I didn't respond, trying to avoid saying anything that would upset him again.
I ate everything, though he'd made enough for two.
"Thank you," I told him. I leaned across the table to kiss him. He kissed me back automatically, and then suddenly stiffened and leaned away.
I gritted my teeth, and the question I meant to ask came out sounding like an accusation. "You aren't going to touch me again while we're here, are you?"
He hesitated, then half-smiled and raised his hand to stroke my cheek. His fingers lingered softly on my skin, and I couldn't help leaning my face into his palm.
"You know that's not what I meant."
He sighed and dropped his hand. "I know. And you're right." He paused, lifting his chin slightly. And then he spoke again with firm conviction. "I will not make love with you until you've been changed. I will never hurt you again."
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