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Surrender by Justine Lark

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[Reviews - 14]
Table of Contents
- Text Size +
Story Notes:

Author's Note: The characters, the situation, the dialogue are all Stephenie Meyer.  The rest is stuff I made up.

Twilighted beta:vjgm

Bella had not given up. She said nothing about her wishes, not even in her sleep. She took part in all the activities I suggested. She ate the meals I prepared for her. She slept next to me, cuddling up to me for relief from the steamy heat of the island.

But I knew her wishes hadn’t changed. She was convinced that making love with me was worth the risk, worth the pain. How could anything be simultaneously so thrilling and so maddening?

Of course, I was ecstatic to know how much she’d enjoyed being with me that way. My crystal clear memories tormented me. I could remember every second, every sensation. At first I actually replayed these moments on purpose, in the hope that the memory alone could satisfy me, could substitute for the real thing. No such luck. I’d been crazy to think the memories would help. They only fueled my desire. To touch her again, to see and feel her reaction, to make it last longer, to drown with her in the pleasure again. My mind and body were full of ideas I had no hope of putting into action. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Our honeymoon was like a whirlpool. Together we’d plunged in. The feelings had swept us up and left us dizzy with joy. But the current was too strong for her. It wasn’t safe. She’d survived the first night, but that was no guarantee. I could see it, even if she wouldn’t. So I had to get us out. She didn’t want to go. I felt like I was pulling her with me as I climbed a rope suspended over the vortex. It would be so easy to let go and get carried away again in the warm water. I was barely hanging on. But I couldn’t let her know how hard it was for me. She’d only fight more fiercely.

Despite what I’d done to her, she wasn’t angry. Even so, I refused to continue to do things for which she should be angry. It was my responsibility to protect her priceless body and soul. Unfortunately, rather than cooperate, I could tell she was on the lookout for an opportunity to slip past my guard.

Her campaign began subtly. She was an expert strategist. She began wearing silky nightgowns to bed. Naturally, I noticed. She was so alluring. The sight of her in those outfits made me want to slide my hands all over her and feel the heat through the sleek, thin fabric. But I made no comment.

She raised the stakes. She strolled into the bedroom in a lacy, black negligee. My system reacted instantly. My mind immediately lit up with everything I wanted to do with her. I couldn’t handle this much excitement.

I imagined the skin displayed before me covered in bruises, as it had been following our first night. That vision helped calm me down.

“You look beautiful. You always do.” And I will make sure you always will.

She climbed into my arms. I took a deep breath of her intoxicating scent. It thrilled me and soothed me at the same time.

“I’ll make you a deal,” she murmured.

I wasn’t going to be caught that way again. “I will not make any deals with you,” I said firmly.

She wanted to give me something in exchange for giving into her. But the only thing I wanted and needed was for her to be safe, and it was already in my power to ensure that.

“Dang it. And I really wanted…Oh well.”

Something she wanted. It had to be a trap. But I’d spotted the trap, which meant I could avoid it. I’d find out what she wanted and give it to her, without agreeing to an exchange.

“…It’s really not such a big difference. It’s not like I’m going to get crow’s feet in the next year.”

How had everything gotten so mixed up? Nearly from the first moment she had understood what I was, she wanted to become like me. Just as fervently, I wanted her to stay as she was. We spent months in a deadlock. Eventually, my impulsive actions brought us to the attention of the Volturi, and they forced my hand. I accepted what I could no longer prevent, what Alice had insisted was inevitable. But now, on the island, I finally understood all the advantages. I had no intention of revealing my new impatience for her transformation— it would only be right if she were truly ready— but I was desperate to make love to her again, and that was the only way it could happen.

Now, just when changing would give us both what we wanted, she wanted to stay human. She was tempting me with two things I wanted so badly-- more human time for her and more intimacy for us. But along with the desire was the fear for her safety. My frustration spilled out. “Why are you doing this to me? Isn’t it hard enough without all of this?

But she must not know how hard it was for me. That wasn’t fair. This situation wasn’t her fault. It was my inhuman strength and my lack of control that stirred the water into a whirlpool. I shouldn’t expect her to congratulate me for the willpower required to protect her. Besides, my fear of harming her, of losing her to the deceptive undertow, was strong enough to keep us anchored to the rope, well away from the danger, no matter how she tried to loosen my grip. It had to be.

“It doesn’t matter. I won’t make any deals with you.”

She pleaded. She pulled herself close and kissed me. But I was resolved. I kissed her back, but we both knew it wasn’t going to go any farther.

I tried to help her fall asleep, but she began telling me about her dreams. Usually I had clues about her dreams from her sleep-talking, but through the island nights, her voice had been as silent as her mind. Her dreams bothered her, I could tell, but she shrugged them off. I had no idea how to help her. If she wanted to stay, I’d sing her to sleep, and if she wanted to leave, we could be on our way within the hour.

“Can’t we stay a while longer?”

At last, a request I could agree to. “We can stay as long as you want, Bella,” I vowed. She fell asleep as soon as I began humming her song.

Once again, her sleep was quiet, leaving me alone with my thoughts. We both wanted the exquisite intimacy again. In my mind, that kind of love was only possible after she became an indestructible vampire. In her mind, that kind of love was only possible while she remained a fragile human, controlled by her hormones, not by bloodthirst. It went against all of my instincts to choose what I preferred over what Bella preferred. But it also went against all of my instincts to endanger what I prized more than anything.

Everything I wanted, everything I remembered, everything I feared spun around in my mind. I forced myself to think through the situation step by step. Bella was never going to accept the plain truth that as a lover I posed a threat to her. She was not going make it easy for me. It was not her job to make it easy for me. She was wonderfully human. Feelings rushed through her body along with her blood, and she couldn’t help what she wanted. I wanted her to want me, despite the fact that her desire intensified my inner struggle.

I had savored human blood, even Bella’s incomparable blood, and I knew from painful experience that drinking it made it vastly harder to resist. The same inconvenient logic clearly applied to sex. We’d tasted the apple. Now that we were married, it was no longer forbidden. It was divinely good, and it was incredibly difficult not to go back for more. It was nearly impossible. But it wasn’t truly impossible. The only thing I wanted more than making love to Bella was for her to be safe and whole. No matter what she wore, no matter what she said, no matter what she did, I would be strong enough to keep her safe.

Suddenly I felt her body tense in my arms, and her eyes snapped open.

“Are you all right, sweetheart?” I asked gently, stroking her hair. She must have had another dream about the Volturi.

Hot tears poured down her face. I knew my gift was useless here and now, but I couldn’t help straining to hear the thoughts that were upsetting her. “What’s wrong?” I begged her to share what was in her mind. The only way for me to know was for her to speak.

“It was only a dream,” she said brokenly.

I tried to comfort her. “Did you have another nightmare? It wasn’t real.”

“It was a good dream.”

Why would a good dream leave her sobbing? How could I help her if I didn’t understand what disturbed her? “Why are you crying?”

“Because I woke up,” she cried, burying her wet face against my neck.

It had been decades since I was capable of shedding tears, but I understood bitter disappointment. It was so painful for me to witness her distress. I needed her to calm down. “Tell me about it. Maybe that will help.”

But she couldn’t seem to form sentences. What was so awful that she couldn’t describe it? What was so good that she couldn’t bear waking from it?

She didn’t speak. Instead, her arms tightened around me, and her mouth enveloped mine. In a flash the movement of her lips and the heat of her breath told me more than words ever could. We were about to make love again. The very thing that wasn’t OK, that I shouldn’t let happen. I pushed her away. “No, Bella,” I gasped.

She slumped in grief. Her emotions were out of control. Tears flooded her eyes. I didn’t understand what was going on with her.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled. My heart was jolted. She didn’t want to test my strength, to undermine my resolve. She would give up what she wanted most, because I couldn’t handle it. If only I were worthy of this love. If only I could satisfy her desire without damaging her.

“I can’t, Bella, I can’t!”

“Please,” she whispered. “Please, Edward?”

I didn’t want to give in. I didn’t give in. Instead, I discovered I had already given in. As soon as her lips had touched mine, I’d let go of the rope. We were falling into the whirlpool, and there was no way for me to stop us from going under. I was terrified. I was electrified. I ripped the thin fabric out of my way. My body had taken over. I felt the excitement surge over me. I’d stopped thinking, but two thoughts remained in my mind as I surrendered to the warmth of her mouth, her skin. Make this good for her. Don’t hurt her.

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