"She is - but mostly she's worried about you."

"Me?"

"She's afraid of why I have you here, all alone." He chuckled darkly and then looked toward the wall of movies. "Oh well, why don't you choose something for us to watch? That's an acceptably human thing to do."

"Yes, I'm sure a movie will convince her that you're human." I laughed and clasped my arms securely around his neck, stretching up on my tiptoes. He leaned down so that I could kiss him, and then his arms tightened around me, lifting me off the floor so he didn't have to bend.

"Movie, schmovie," I muttered as his lips moved down my throat, twisting my fingers in his bronze hair.

Then I heard a gasp, and he put me down abruptly. Kaure stood frozen in the hallway, feathers in her black hair, a large sack of more feathers in her arms, an expression of horror on her face. She stared at me, her eyes bugging out, as I blushed and looked down. Then she recovered herself and murmured something that, even in an unfamiliar language, was clearly an apology. Edward smiled and answered in a friendly tone. She turned her dark eyes away

and continued down the hall.

"She was thinking what I think she was thinking, wasn't she?" I muttered.

He laughed at my convoluted sentence. "Yes."

"Here," I said, reaching out at random and grabbing a movie. "Put this on and we can pretend to watch it."

It was an old musical with smiling faces and fluffy dresses on the front.

"Very honeymoonish," Edward approved.

While actors on the screen danced their way through a perky introduction song, I lolled on the sofa, snuggled into Edward's arms.

"Will we move back into the white room now?" I wondered idly.

"I don't know.... I've already mangled the headboard in the other room beyond repair - maybe if we limit the destruction to one area of the house, Esme might invite us back someday."

I smiled widely. "So there will be more destruction?"

He laughed at my expression. "I think it might be safer if it's premeditated, rather than if I wait for you to assault me again."

"It would only be a matter of time," I agreed casually, but my pulse was racing in my veins.

"Is there something the matter with your heart?"

"Nope. Healthy as a horse." I paused. "Did you want to go survey the demolition zone now?"

"Maybe it would be more polite to wait until we're alone. You may not notice me tearing the furniture apart, but it would probably scare them."

In truth, I'd already forgotten the people in the other room. "Right. Drat."

Gustavo and Kaure moved quietly through the house while I waited impatiently for them to finish and tried to pay attention to the happily-ever-after on the screen. I was starting to get sleepy - though, according to Edward, I'd slept half the day - when a rough voice startled me. Edward sat up, keeping me cradled against him, and answered Gustavo in flowing Portuguese. Gustavo nodded and walked quietly toward the front door.

"They're finished," Edward told me.

"So that would mean that we're alone now?"

"How about lunch first?" he suggested.

I bit my lip, torn by the dilemma. I was pretty hungry.

With a smile, he took my hand and led me to the kitchen. He knew my face so well, it didn't matter that he couldn't read my mind.

"This is getting out of hand," I complained when I finally felt full.

"Do you want to swim with the dolphins this afternoon - burn off the calories?" he asked.

"Maybe later. I had another idea for burning calories."

"And what was that?"

"Well, there's an awful lot of headboard left - "

But I didn't finish. He'd already swept me up into his arms, and his lips silenced mine as he carried me with inhuman speed to the blue room.

7. UNEXPECTED

The line of black advanced on me through the shroud-like mist. I could see their dark ruby eyes glinting with desire, lusting for the kill. Their lips pulled back over their sharp, wet teeth - some to snarl, some to smile.

I heard the child behind me whimper, but I couldn't turn to look at him. Though I was desperate to be sure that he was safe, I could not afford any lapse in focus now.

They ghosted closer, their black robes billowing slightly with the movement. I saw their hands curl into bone-colored claws. They started to drift apart, angling to come at us from all sides. We were surrounded. We were going to die.

And then, like a burst of light from a flash, the whole scene was different. Yet nothing changed - the Volturi still stalked toward us, poised to kill. All that really changed was how the picture looked to me. Suddenly, I was hungry for it. I tvanfec/them to charge. The panic changed to bloodlust as I crouched forward, a smile on my face, and a growl ripped through my bared teeth.

I jolted upright, shocked out of the dream.

The room was black. It was also steamy hot. Sweat matted my hair at the temples and rolled down my throat.

I groped the warm sheets and found them empty.

"Edward?"

Just then, my fingers encountered something smooth and flat and stiff. One sheet of paper, folded in half. I took the note with me and felt my way across the room to the light switch.

The outside of the note was addressed to Mrs. Cullen.

I'm hoping you won't wake and notice my absence, but, if you should, I'll be back very soon. I've just gone to the mainland to hunt Go back to sleep and I'll be here when you wake again. I love you.

I sighed. We'd been here about two weeks now, so I should have been expecting that he would have to leave, but I hadn't been thinking about time. We seemed to exist outside of time here, just drifting along in a perfect state.

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