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Starless Night

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I woke slowly to the warmth of sunlight coming through the blinds. Its rays were hot on my face and I kept my eyes closed enjoying the sensation. It was such a rare treat here in Forks, Washington. I had really taken the sun for granted living in Phoenix all those years. What I would never take for granted was the feeling of waking up with my amazing boy in my arms.

Over the summer it had become a rare thing not to have my boyfriend, Edward Cullen in my arms when I went to bed and when I woke. I know he left for good chunks of his sleepless night but for me it represented the kind of commitment we had. As a human who needed to sleep, being able to start and end each day with him close to me meant a lot.

I pushed my face into the back of Edward’s neck and tightened my hold on him. I took in his sweet scent before greeting him with, “Good morning kitten.”

His usual response of, “Morning, Alpha,” still makes me crazy happy, even after months of dating.

What wasn’t usual, was him pushing his ass back into my groin. Like most teenage boys, I was hard in the morning and my little kitten was only making me harder with his movements. I also realized that he wasn’t wrapped in his usual blanket either as my hands were in direct contact with the smooth, hard skin of his chest.

I figured, if he was going to be playful this morning, I would take a little advantage before things inevitably shut down. I moved my top hand from his chest down to his stomach where I knew he was sensitive to my touch. Sure enough, I felt his body flutter as I strummed my fingers over his flat belly, creeping lower.

We had still not moved past watching each other jerk off, as Edward wasn’t comfortable trying to be intimate with me. Not because he didn’t want to, but because he was worried about losing control. I hadn’t nudged that line in several weeks so I expected my move to put the brakes on things. Instead, I was suddenly on my back and he was straddling me. I opened my eyes and took him in. Edward at any time was beautiful but right now he nearly took my breath away. He was absolutely gorgeous, the sparkling not, withstanding.

“What’s gotten into you this morning?” I couldn’t help but ask.

“I was laying in your arms thinking about you. I do that most nights but one thought in particular kept repeating on a loop and I’ve decided on something,” he replied in a serious tone only undercut by the smile on his face.

“Are you going to make me guess?” I teased in return.

He ducks his head which is quite rare these days since we have been together for so long by now. His head comes back up and he looks me directly in the eye before saying, “I want you and I intend to have you.”

Before I can even respond, he is moving down my body and removing my boxer briefs. From the look in his eyes, he’s liking what he’s seeing.

My voice is smug, “I’m glad you like what you see but it’s only fair if I get to look too.” He is already shirtless but he’s still wearing the sweatpants he wore to bed. Faster than I can follow, the sweatpants are gone and I’m seeing all of my boy for just the third time.

“So, fucking, gorgeous,” is what I whisper to him and he gives me my favorite smile in return.

“I, um, took the liberty of getting myself ready,” he says shyly and I’m starting to wonder who replaced my little kitten with this minx. Then it hits me exactly what he said.

“Edward, are you sure?” I didn’t want him regretting anything but the thought that he was finally ready had me crazy excited.

“Yes, Dan. I’ve made you wait long enough. Happy birthday, love.”

I’m about to ask him how he wants it but before I can, he is back straddling my hips and his intent is clear. He’s going to ride me.

This is it. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since I could finally call Edward mine. I feel him settle over me, his ass just at my tip and…

My alarm goes off and my eyes snap open. “Fuck!!!”

If dad is home, he definitely heard that but since I’m waking to my alarm, he’s probably long gone. I look down at the state my dream has left me in and not for the first time I find myself feeling some extreme sexual frustration.

I knew from the start that Edward had major reservations about us having sex but he also had reservations about us being together at all. As we had navigated becoming a couple and later having some naked fun, even without any touching, I’d honestly thought he could get past his issues with us having sex too, but so far, no go.

I love my kitten to pieces and I promised him we’d wait until he was ready and I will but sometimes, like now, it’s really hard. No pun intended.

This was the third similar dream I’d had like this. The first time, Edward had stayed the night and boy was that awkward to wake up from with him right there in my arms. All innocent, looking at me with his adoring face and cute smile while I lay there with a raging boner, just wanting to take him. I was never so thankful that I was the lone person immune to his ability to read minds.

There is really only one good way to deal with a hard on this extreme and if he was here, I’d be staring down blue balls all day. Today, I was lucky. Alice had seen that yesterday would be sunny, so the whole family was camping, aka hunting so Edward didn’t stay the night.

I close my eyes and bring up the image of him naked from my dream. My boy naked is amazing. I don’t let myself imagine us doing anything, I just keep him standing there looking at me with his crooked smile. It’s just a couple of minutes before I’m coating my abs.

Once I’ve relieved the tension and my breathing calms, I start thinking clearly again as something else from my dream hits home. I’m eighteen today. I am officially, physically older than Edward. Something about it makes me smile. He will always have ninety-five years of existence on me but knowing my body has matured past his has a significance to me that I try not to examine too closely. In any case, I know that my fate is to be with him which means becoming like him sometime in the near future. Much like the sex thing, he’s not quite as sure so I’m working him up to it.

My dream had made my normally mandatory double snooze on an alone day unnecessary, so I decided to whip out a couple of sets of my Bowflex routine.

I stop at two sets rather than my usual three because I also want to run a quick routine with my new birthday presents. I thought I had been quite clear with my parents that I wasn’t expecting presents this year but last night after dinner I found dad suddenly pulling out a wrapped box from the hall closet. It was about four inches square by two and a half feet long.

After a bit of grumping about him getting my anything, I opened the box to find two identical, shiny metal cylinders. Each one was cap welded on the ends with the bottom six inches covered in a coating of grippy material.

As part of my recovery from the acid-burn I got last spring, I’d taken up learning a new martial art called Arnis. Arnis focuses on a flowing style of striking and defending that can be done unarmed or more commonly with a set of sticks, often called escrima sticks.

Last spring, I'd gotten a severe acid burn due to run-in with a psycho-bitch vampire who thought I'd be her new trophy. While getting my wrist burned wasn't exactly awesome, the crazy vampire, Victoria, got charred to no longer immortal, so I figure I came out ahead. I'd started learning Arnis as a way to build back strength in my wrist and forearm after being idle from the recovery period. I’d been using a simple pair of bamboo sticks which are great for learning and exercise but are lacking a bit as actual weapons of defense.

The sticks or more truly rods that dad had gotten me were amazing. They were made of titanium and miraculously, weighed about the same as the bamboo sticks, I was used to. Him getting them for me was quite a surprise because in the right hands they are a deadly weapon. He was showing a lot of trust in me to even let me have them. After extracting the promise to only ever use them for life and death defense, I got to play around with them.

I run through one of the systems I had learned and after that, I make quick work of getting ready for school. I decide to skip breakfast since I don’t want to be late picking up my boy. I never get tired of saying or even just thinking that. Edward is my boy and I love him. I’m a sap but apparently that’s what love does to a guy.

I arrive at the Cullen house just a couple minutes past my normal time but still get out of my truck and walk to the door to retrieve Edward. Before I can even knock, the door is opened but rather than my boyfriend, it’s Rosalie, my car buddy.

“Happy birthday Dan,” she tells me. “Edward is running a couple minutes late.”

Before I can even think about how odd that is because Edward is never late, he sprints into the room.

I open my arms and that’s all it takes for me to get my morning hug. I kiss the top of his head as I give him a quick squeeze before letting go. “Morning, gorgeous,” I tell him before giving him a lingering kiss on the lips. His hands reached up and carded through my hair, something he’d come to love doing in our time together.

I’d inadvertently let my hair grow out quite a bit last spring and Edward loved it. I wasn’t as big of a fan of having it that long but decided to keep it for his benefit. Right before school started, dad brow beat me to get it trimmed just a bit, though. It is still below my ears, but Edward actually pouted for two whole days afterwards.

Breaking the kiss, I look back to Rosalie, “See you tonight, Rose. See you later, anyone else who can hear me.” I say with a laugh, knowing any Cullens in the house will hear. With that, I take Edward’s hand and lead him to the truck so we can go to school.

I notice Alice and Jasper, two of his adopted siblings, pulling out of the garage in Edward’s Volvo. Edward waves to them as they pass us and gets one in return from Alice. I’m glad to see she isn’t in one of her bad moods today. Her attitude about Edward and my relationship has certainly improved a lot in the months we’ve been together but every once in a while, she slips back into old habits.

“You seem rested with plenty of energy this morning,” is how he decides to open the conversation once we are loaded into my truck.

I was already over my frustration from my dream. The combination of getting off and being with my boy was enough to make me feel good. “I’m in a great mood. Who isn’t happy on their birthday?” I ask in return.

Arriving at school, I park in my usual spot near the front of the lot. There aren’t assigned spots or anything but people seem to know this is my spot and steer clear. Ah, the perks of popularity.

I’m barely out of the cab before I’m being grabbed from behind and swung around. A blur of blond is all I can see over my shoulder but it lets me know that this is my best friend, Mike Newton. “Happy birthday Dan-Man!” he yells before setting me back on my feet. He squeezes me a bit before finally letting go of the hug.

When I first got to Forks last school year, Mike was the first person I really connected with and he quickly became my best friend here. We also had a period of time where we added benefits to our friendship. Things have been platonic with Mike since Edward and I became a couple but unlike with my other good friends Jared and Paul, I never feel compelled to settle for bro hugs with Mike.

“Are you still going tomorrow?” he asked me before I'm completely solid on my feet again.

“Hell yeah, I am. I’ve been waiting to get my tattoo for over a year.” I tell him. I look at Edward as I say this and he is mid eye roll. Edward is less of a fan of me getting a tattoo but after explaining to him how much it meant to me he finally gave his blessing.

“Still the bear?” Mike confirms.

“Of course. They’re my people,” I laugh. I’ve always felt a connection to bears. I’d had the design for a roaring grizzly bear made up months before I moved to Forks. Now, I was finally booked for my first session after school tomorrow.

Mike and Edward both knew the story about where I got my love of bears. During the summer I was seven, dad took me fishing with him and Billy. Instead of fishing in one of the local rivers, we’d gone to a small hole along an isolated creek that Billy and Harry had found the week before and had a great catch. We’d been there a couple of hours and my young self must have gotten a bit bored so I wandered down the stream, probably only a few hundred feet from dad and Billy, but it was enough.

I was skipping rocks out over the creek when I heard movement behind me. When I turned, instead of seeing dad come to collect me, I found myself not five feet from a full, grown grizzly bear. Later Billy would tell me it was a female but, in that moment, I was too terrified to worry about anything else. I froze up completely, too scared to move a muscle. I thought for sure the bear was going to attack but instead it simply moved over to me and pushed its nose into my neck.

I’ll never forget the feeling of that cold, wet nose and how all the fear I’d been feeling a moment before was gone and for some crazy reason I felt at peace with this huge bear nuzzling me. Without even thinking, I moved my hand to run my fingers through the thick fur on her neck. We stood like that for a few moments, when out of nowhere she licked me, her huge tongue right up the side of my head and I yelled out, “Ah, man!” and I swear she actually laughed, or at least the bear equivalent. Then I heard dad yell my name. As I turned to look at him the bear touched her nose to my neck one more time and headed back into the woods.

In seconds, I was picked up and crushed to my dad’s chest. His heart was beating a mile a minute. In hindsight, I totally get his fear but back then I was actually mad he chased off my new friend. Ever since that day I’ve felt a deep, odd kinship to bears. Enough that I want one tattooed on my bicep.

“You should come Mikey. We can find you something good.” I’d been trying to convince him to get some ink for a while.

“My mom would kill me. You know my birthday isn’t until January.”

“Excuses, excuses. Just get it on your ass,” I tease as I reach for Edward’s hand. “Gotta get to class, see you third period Mike.”

With that I pulled my boyfriend along to our first class of the day. Unlike last year where we shared only Biology together, this year we were in all the same classes, expect math. It was amazing what my boy could get people to do for him with that persuasive voice and face of his.

I could have chatted with Mike a little while longer but I knew Mike hugging me would already have Edward less than pleased. Even though Mike and I had stopped having sex when Edward and I became a couple, he could still get jealous. That jealousy had actually led to our one and only fight over the summer.

After a week of the silent treatment, we finally sat down and talked things through. It made things between us stronger and now he knew not to get shitty about Mike and I being affectionate and I knew better than to let it go too far.

“You really still plan to have yourself mutilated by a needle wielding, maniac?” Edward asked me as we arrived at Spanish.

“Edward, Craig only looks like a maniac,” I respond. The tattoo artist I found in Port Angeles looks like he’s straight out of the Hell’s Angels but he’s actually a nice guy and his work is amazing.

I don’t think I meant to hear him but I know he mutters, “At least it’s not a wolf…”

Walking into class, we no longer get the immediate attention of everyone in the room. The novelty of Forks High’s first openly gay couple had finally worn off before the school year ended last year. The first week or so of classes this year had seen us get looks from some of the new Freshmen but otherwise people were used to it.

Lunch was an interesting affair these days. The lunch crew I spent much of last year sitting with had broken into groups, mainly the pro-Dan and anti-Dan factions. Now my lunch table was comprised of four couples. Edward and myself, Mike and Jessica (whose relationship had survived the summer), Ben and Angela, plus Eric and Connor.

The last pair weren’t a couple but everybody other than them knew they should be. They were always glancing at the other when the other wasn’t looking. Eric could still be a bit annoying but once he stopped being such a little stalker, I realized he wasn’t a bad guy.

No longer with us were Lauren and Tyler (neither of who seemed willing to forgive my slights last year) nor Samantha and Lee who decided to stick with them. I figured good riddance but whatever.

Edward and I both had invited Alice and Jasper to sit with us several times but as yet they still hadn’t taken us up on it. The excuse given was that Jasper had a hard time being close to humans but he sat in a desk surrounded by them in classes all day so I didn’t see how lunch could be more difficult.

I wasn’t expecting any gifts but Mike and Angela, both surprised me with gifts for my birthday. Angela got me a set of in-ear headphones. I hated how the band on my current headphones made my head sweaty and had commented a few times about trying the in-ear kind.

When I opened the box from Mike, inside a I found a t-shirt. When I pulled it out of the box, I saw it was a plain white T which read on the front – Smarter than I look. He was standing over my right shoulder so I turned to give him a flat look. “Look in the bottom of the box,” he says with a smirk.

Under some tissue paper was his real gift. Sitting there were a pair of window cranks but not just any cranks. They were original, 1963 cranks for my truck with prefect chrome coating. I’d been searching for these for six months.

I hopped out of my seat and grabbed him in a bear hug, lifting him off the ground but not spinning him as there wasn’t room without kicking several people. “Holy shit Mikey, I’ve been looking for these everywhere!” I say after putting him down.

“I know. Pretty sure everyone at this table knows, maybe even everyone in town,” he says smirking. “Now you’ll finally have him fully restored.”

It was an incredibly thoughtful gift. My truck, an old 1963 Chevy Step-side, was my pride and joy. While it ran ok, it had been in pretty rough shape when my dad gifted it to me upon my return to Forks last winter. I’d put a ton of time and money into restoring it but the one part that had eluded me were vintage window cranks. Now I had them. I’d definitely need to start thinking of what to get Mike for his birthday to rival this.

When the school day had finally ended, I had planned to drop Edward off at home before I went to my shift at work. With my truck all but finished and a lack of an upcoming auto project on the horizon, I’d approached old man Dowling about giving me a part-time job. He’d been skeptical at first but after giving him a demonstration of my skills he was convinced enough to hire me on. He paid me less than I deserved but I was doing it more to get to work on cars than I was for the money anyway.

I was opening the door for Edward to let him in the truck when a text came over my phone. It was from Dowling, telling me to thank my boyfriend for convincing him to give me the afternoon off since it’s my birthday.

My party wasn’t until eight. “So, I now seem to have the afternoon off, thanks to you apparently.” He smiled his special crooked smile I loved. “Let’s go to my house for the afternoon. We can head over to yours in time for the party.” He nodded.

When I got in the cab, he immediately scooted over until he was nestled into my side. This was the normal way we traveled together in my truck. Bench seating was the best.

As we pulled up to my house, he asked me, “Any ideas on how you would like to spend our afternoon?”

“Hmm, well we do have the Romeo and Juliet assignment in lit and we still haven’t watched the movie.”

He raises and eyebrow. “That’s how you would like to spend the afternoon of your birthday?”

“Of course not. I want to spend the afternoon making out with you, maybe have one of our Dan and Eddie shows.” I put my hand under my shirt and lifted it a bit exposing my abs to him. The obvious way his breathing catches gives me hope we may do more than kiss today.

Moments later we were on my bed kissing like mad with our shirts off. I have him beneath me but I’m careful not to put all my weight on him. He told me it challenged his control when my weight was pressed down on him and I always tried not to make things too hard for him, beyond what was supposed to be hard anyway.

It had been almost a month since we had last gotten off together and I was feeling extra horny today. Maybe it was my dream from this morning or Edward was just that sexy but even after getting off before school, I needed release again. I pulled back from out kiss and looked him in the eyes.

“I love you, kitten. You’re so, so sexy.” At that he ducked his chin. “Can I show you how you much affect me?”

“You show me every day, Dan.” I wasn’t sure if he was being oblivious or trying to ignore what I was suggesting.

Edward is always reminding me that us trying to have sex would inevitably lead to him losing control and hurting or killing me. To the outside observer, this would seem comical. Edward is nearly a foot shorter than me and I out-weight him by dozens of pounds. Physical differences aside, Edward could actually break me into pieces with his incredible strength, being a vampire and all.

I’ve always respected his wanting to wait, but after so many months together, I was getting more and more skeptical of this though. I’d watched my boy overcome situations and circumstances much more difficult but I’d made him a promise at the start of our relationship that while I would occasionally push him to see if he was ready for new things, I would not demand sex. I loved him too much to break my promise.

I’ve long since understood I need to just be honest with him. “Edward, I’m super horny right now. You do that to me and I want to get off. Since you’re unlikely to lend me a hand, I need to help myself out. Do you want to watch?”

His head snaps up and the pupils of his eyes are blown so I know he wants it. It kills me a little to do so and I so wish he would stop me but I slowly get up off of him to stand a few feet from the bed. I pop the button on my jeans and pull them and my boxers down just enough to reveal my hip bones. I walk backwards to my desk chair and just before I sit myself down, I pull everything down onto my legs. He knows exactly how hard I am now.

I can’t help smirking as his eyes follow my every move until the last moment, then his eyes glue themselves to my cock. I slowly start to jack myself, opening my legs wide while still leaning forward so the main event is right out front for him. Even with getting off this morning, I’m still on edge from our make out session.

“This feels so good, Eddie. Love you watching me. Do you like what you see?” I ask breathily after I’ve been teasing us both for several minutes.

“You know I do,” he responds, equally breathy. His hand is in his pants moving in rhythm with mine.

“Good. Of course, I could be over there sucking you off instead.” I get out just before I shoot all over my chest and abs. My eyes close through the orgasm and I sit there just enjoying the aftershocks.

When I manage to catch my breath, I open my eyes and look at him. He is still staring at me. His expression is wrecked and it’s obvious he got off in his pants. We’ve done this enough, with this exact ending for both of us, that he started leaving clothes here. After I wipe myself down, I grab him a change of clothes from my dresser. Even though I’ve seen him naked, he still insists on changing in the bathroom. I lose out on seeing him but think his modesty is still a little cute.

When he comes back into my room, I’ve put on some basketball shorts, knowing he’ll get uncomfortable if I don’t. I’m sitting back on the bed and he makes a b-line for me with a big smile. A sated Edward is a cuddly Edward, so he plops down and immediately melts into my side.

“Feel good?” I ask him.

“I can’t believe I waited a hundred years to start doing that,” he replies and we both laugh.

I can’t stop myself from kissing the top of his head. “I’m sure guys were jerking off in the nineteen tens, Edward.”

“Probably, but it certainly wasn’t something anyone would have discussed.”

“Not even just guys being crude? You know, like, shower room talk at school?”

He chuckles, “You do realize that indoor showers weren’t really a common thing until the nineteen twenties, right? We had changing rooms but not showers in school.”

“Ok, Mr. History. I guarantee that guys have been masturbating since the dawn of time, indoor showers or no.”

“Probably so. I suppose the theory that I was a late bloomer really does have merit. I sometimes lament that I did not have a bit more time to mature…”

I scrunch up my nose at that thought. “Baby, you’re gorgeous and definitely mature enough. I may like guys on the small side but I’m no pedo. You may be short but your body is not under matured, trust me.”

I wait for him to respond but he is silent for over a minute. He finally goes to respond but starts and stops a couple of times before saying, “I honestly thought you might ask for more from me today, with it being your birthday and all…”

That hurts to hear. I maneuver him so he is looking at me when I respond. “I want you to want to do more with me Edward. You know full well, I’m ready and want you in every way. You’re the one holding back and have every right to dictate when you’re ready but I obviously have more faith in your control than you do.”

“You can’t honestly tell me it isn’t frustrating to you,” he says, not as a question but as a statement. “I do want you. If it were only down to that, I would have allowed you take me ages ago but you know full well it isn’t.”

I let out a long sigh. “Of course, it does get frustrating sometimes. I’m a teenage guy, high sex drive is a given but it’s more than that. I want to make you feel good in every imaginable way. I want to…” I stop myself before I get up a head of steam. Instead of listing the myriad of sexy things I want to do to him I voice a different frustration.

“I get your hesitation about maybe hurting me. Believe me, death by sex would not be cool so I try to respect your feelings on that. What I’m having an increasingly harder and harder time with is your refusal to change me. It would get rid of the risks that are holding you back…”

“I won’t end your life just to get laid, Dan.”

“Do you realize that as of today, I’m physically older than you? Right now, we make sense as a couple but in just a few years, let alone decades from now, I’ll look enough older than you that it won’t make sense to people.”

“Your age won’t affect my feeling for you Dan,” he says like it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

“And when people look at us and I’m old enough to be your father, your grandfather?”

“Love, it’s your birthday. Can we please table this?” He was diverting the issue, just like every time it comes up. All of my post orgasm buzz was gone and while a part of me wanted to continue pushing my point, his pouting face was too hard to not give in to.

“For now, but Edward, I won’t leave it on the table forever. You should remember that you aren’t the only vampire I know.” A grimace flashes over his face but it’s gone in an instant as he must realize he’s won yet again, for now.

After a bit more cuddling and making out, I hear the house phone ringing downstairs. I make it just in time to be greeted with, “Happy birthday White Boy!”

I laugh at hearing my nickname from my best Quileute friend Jared Cameron. “Thanks Wolf Boy. You get me anything?” Before his birthday in July, we’d agreed no presents but I could bust his chops about it now.

“Hell no! You should consider yourself lucky I even remembered that this is the day the Great Spirit infected the Earth with you,” he replies. You have got to love great friends.

“Yeah, yeah. You love me.”

“Leave the loving for you boy. Anyway, you should come down this weekend. No gifts but we can pig out on hot dogs. I know you love wiener in your mouth.” Asshole.

I sneak a look at Edward who followed me downstairs. He is mid-eye roll. Thankfully, through my stories and overhearing enough phone conversations, he has a pretty good grasp on my weird friendships with Jared and my other Quileute friend Paul, who was amazingly the more vulgar of the two.

“Dude. Paul must be rubbing off on you Jared. Is that why you want wiener in your mouth?” So, sue me, I can be an asshole too when the situation deserves it.

“No way, there’s only room for one token homo in this friendship and that’s you White Boy. Anyway. Just wanted to tell you Happy Birthday and seriously, come down this weekend. We haven’t seen you since school started. I’m sure the Mrs. can live without you for one day.”

If circumstances were different, I’d want to bring my boyfriend with me to meet up with my friends but the Quileute Tribe has a long and superstitious memory. It was common superstition that Edward and his family were the fabled Cold Ones of their mythology. Cold Ones were their worst enemy and by treaty, the Cullens weren’t allowed on Quileute land. While most didn’t really believe it, there is the little wrinkle that it’s actually true.

I talked with Jared for a few more minutes before we hung up with the promise to swing by the res on Sunday. In the beginning, Edward was really bothered that I had friendships with guys from La Push. Eventually, after I made it super clear I wouldn’t stand for my boyfriend deciding who my friends were, he settled to the idea.

We do actually end up reviewing Romeo and Juliet. I’d read it as a freshman and expected to be able to remember the important bits but as Edward kept bringing up different elements of the story, I realized I had forgotten quite a bit.

“Man, Romeo was a total loser,” was my ultimate summation as we went over the story a final time.

“That might be slighting him a bit much but I always felt he was certainly fickle at the very least. One moment fancying himself in love with Rosaline, then immediately falling for Juliet,” was Edward’s take.

“He’s such a whiney little bitch though.”

Edward laughs, having gotten more used to my way of saying things. When we were first dating, he would scrunch his face up in response to the bad language. It was so cute. I sometimes miss it.

“He does seem to find every way imaginable to ruin his own happiness. At least it was simple for him to take himself out in the end. I envy that,” he says without a hint of sarcasm or irony.

Not sure why he would even say that, I ask, “What exactly does that mean?”

“For human’s it is just so easy for their lives to end. He simply needed to drink a poisoned tonic and the deed was done.”

“What the fuck is so enviable about that?” I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

He must not hear the tension in my voice, as I purposefully didn’t raise it. “I told you about how Carlisle tried so many different things after he was changed but with no success. I’d never put much thought to it before last spring but it really would be quite a difficult thing to pull off.”

Now I can’t help but raise my voice. “What exactly could have happened last spring that had you thinking about something so awful?”

He must hear my tone but answers anyway. “Dan, there was a window of time that I believed I would be too late and that she would have taken or killed you. Most of my focus was on getting to you in time but had I failed, I was making contingency plans. As I said, it’s not nearly as easy for me as it is for a human.”

I’m horrified hearing what he is saying. How could he even contemplate doing something so terrible? No matter what happened to me, how could he do that to the rest of his family? He knew how I felt about suicide and here he was telling me that he had actually thought about it himself just because I might have died!

Some months before I moved to Forks, my best friend from Phoenix, Greg, made the decision to commit suicide. He had developed feelings for me, feelings that I didn’t return. When he told me how he felt and I couldn’t return his feelings, he decided life wasn’t worth it and killed himself. That decision haunted me and I tortured myself with so much guilt about it for months. Sometimes, I still do.

Edward knew about Greg and was usually far more in tune with how I felt about things than this but in my silence, he just kept rambling on. “Obviously, I wasn’t about to live without you. I knew none of my family would help me so I finally settled on going to Italy and provoking the Volturi. Carlisle stayed with them for a time after he traveled to the continent, he has a picture of the four of them in his office. Do you remember them, Aro, Marcus and Caius?”

My hands are clenching under the table and the more he speaks the angrier I get. “How exactly would these Volturi, help you?”

The pure acid in my voice finally seems to register with him but he still responds. “You have to understand first and foremost that the Volturi are like the royalty, the ruling class of vampires. They make and maintain the laws of our kind. You do not irritate them unless you wish to die.”

I’d been silent for a good bit before whatever emotions Edward saw on my face led him to get out of his seat and move around the table to stand beside me. “Alpha? Dan? What’s the matter?”

I’m angry and hurt but also completely horrified. Without saying a word, I pull him into my lap. He is sitting sideways with his head tucked under my chin; one of our favorite positions.

“Edward, are you listening to me?” I ask in a flat, firm tone.

“Yes.”

I squeeze my arms around his small, hard body. “How in the hell can you sit there and calmly tell me you thought about killing yourself after what I went through last year? Even if I were gone, how could you even think about putting your family through what he did to those of us who loved him? It is the most selfish thing you could possibly do.”

He had been pliant in my arms but now he is rigid as he realizes his mistake. “If I were to suddenly lose you, it would kill me inside but I would never do that. Is that what you would want me to do, if things were reversed?”

He pulls himself out of my arms, his strength too much for me to keep him pinned to me. “No! I would never see you hurt for anything! I am so, so sorry Dan. I didn’t think about the tie to your friend.”

“Obviously. Look Edward. I need you to promise me that if something did happen you won’t do it.”

He looks away from me but before I can even attempt to force a response from him, the front door bangs open. Only a moment later, dad comes walking into the kitchen holding a giant pizza box.

“Hey boys. I figured I’d handle dinner tonight, birthday boy. Do you want some of this or will there be dinner at the Cullen’s for your party?” he asks as he sets down the box on the counter and proceeds to ruffle my hair like I’m nine.

I resist the urge to snap my head away from his hand because I don’t want my irritation with Edward to bleed out onto dad. When neither Edward nor I answer him right away and he immediately catches on to the tension in the room.

“Everything all right kids?” he asks a bit tentatively.

Edward is the one to speak up. “I said some thoughtless things and Dan is quite right to be upset with me.” He turns to me but looks down before saying, “I hope you are still up for coming over, the others are quite excited about it.”

I let out a bit sigh. “Of course, I’m still coming. I know Rosalie and your mom have put a lot of effort into it.” Dad and I had already done our thing last night for my birthday and he was being very cool about me celebrating with the Cullens tonight.

“I can’t imagine you really meant any harm Edward.” Dad is a huge fan of Edward’s. Normally it was awesome that my dad liked my boyfriend so much but at that moment it was less enjoyable.

Edward caught on to that too. “You are right Charlie. I didn’t mean any offense but my words were still thoughtless and insensitive.” He says this as he pulls a plate from the cupboard and dishes me up two slices of pizza. It’s a loaded supreme so, he pulls the few pieces of onion off of each slice, knowing I’m not a fan.

Fondness starts to overcome the earlier hurt as the plate is sat in front of me. I smile, almost against my will, at his unconscious thoughtfulness. It is nearly impossible for me to remain irritated with him.

“I’m ok Eddie, thanks,” I tell him, barely noticing dad serve himself up a couple of slices and retreat to the living room without another word.