Chapter Image to be created at later date (psd on old computer). Special thanks to Bexie MC & Petersgirl for their cheerleading and Amy for her wonderful beta’ing. Onwards…!
Peter held onto the human girl, unsure what to do with her as he thought about the events that transpired. This girl happened to be the same person that his maker had been wishing for Charlotte and him to meet for some time now, only he’d neglected to share that she was human, their natural food source. Not that it really mattered if she had intentions of being turned, seeing as she held the knowledge of what they were.
Now that he’d met her, he certainly was ready to kick himself in the ass for not returning to Texas sooner because she was certainly a spitfire. He was sure that was Jasper’s intention but, having not seen him in so many years, he couldn’t trust the man’s motives with his seer wife always in the way. The bitch always loved to get his buttons riled up, challenging his gift with her own.
No. The problem, the complication, nagging on his mind as he carried the sleeping girl in his arms back to his ranch, was the Volturi’s involvement in a singular human’s affairs. A gifted vampire for invisibility, watching over her, concerned about her safety left him quite unsettled. What did they know about her? How did they know about her? Peter knew he needed to speak to his brother and soon, but the desire to try to get information from the human girl was stronger. To try to give her a chance perhaps.
Kicking the front door open, his red eyes flashed over the first floor. “Char?” Peter called out. “Can you ready a bedroom?”
The blonde zipped into the house from wherever she was and took in the sight before her. Bella’s head was tucked into her friend’s shoulder as she slept without a care. She never thought she’d see a human so comfortable around their kind like that, even in an unconscious state like Bella was. “I got one set up. It’s next to yours,” she whispered as she stared wide eyed, afraid she might wake her.
He nodded as he made his way up the stairs to the bedrooms where he easily found the room Charlotte specified and laid her down on the bed. He frowned as he looked at her body, pulling the covers over her only to pause when he caught sight of a familiar scar on her wrist.
Gently, he lifted her small hand in his as he peered at the bite mark, wondering how in the hell she was still human. He had dozens upon dozens, just like the singular one she held, marking his body and in his experience every human that experienced a bite like that, they either ended up dead as a vampire’s meal or turned.
“What secrets do you hold, Little Girl?” he whispered as he set her hand back down and covered her the rest of the way before backing away from her. He was torn at what to do about her. As attracted as he was to her, he was just as cautious because his gift seemed to be going haywire since he and Charlotte decided to visit that little bar. Now he believed this human had everything to do with it.
“Is she going to be alright?” Charlotte whispered from the doorway.
Peter lifted his head slightly as he was unable to pull his eyes from the sleeping form in front of him. “I think so,” he replied quietly. “I need to call the Major and find out why he wanted us back in Texas so much the last couple years. For some reason, I think it’s because of this girl but I can’t understand what he would have to do with her.”
“Do you want me to call him or watch over her so that you can call?” she asked.
He narrowed his eyes as he let out an unnecessary breath. “No. I want to see what she tells us when she wakes. There’s more going on here, Char,” he murmured. “There was another visitor after you left but for some reason, they were concerned for her welfare and that has me more confused than anything.”
She looked at him confused, waiting for him to continue but when he didn’t, she knew there would be little else she would get from him that night. Nodding slightly, her lips twitched as she looked to the bed. “I’ll run back to town for provisions in the meanwhile. We’re going to need something for her in the morning when she wakes.”
“Get some alcohol for us as well,” he said. After a moment, he added, “Stuff for strawberry pancakes.”
Charlotte looked back at him with curious eyebrow raised and he could only shrug a shoulder in response. “Just a feeling,” he muttered. She nodded, saving him from saying anything further as she knew that since she talked him into visiting that bar, her friend had been behaving differently. He was more quiet than his usual self and initially she’d been worried but when she saw him staring at Bella; she had never expected a human would get under his skin the way she did so easily.
It worried her.
Peter found himself unable to leave his vigil from their guest for long during the night, only leaving long enough to scout around the property before returning to the guest bedroom and falling tiredly into a chair near the window. He didn’t leave from that spot as he stared out as he watched the Texan sun rise in the distance, even as Charlotte returned with the human necessities she had left for some time earlier.
He was still sitting there with his chin in his hand, lost in his thoughts over the situation when Bella began to stir in the bed, her head pounding from what she thought was a night of too much drinking. She rolled over in the bed and paused for a moment, realizing that she wasn’t in her own as the sheets were much more luxurious than what she could afford despite how wonderful it felt. Stretching out her arm carefully, she let out a relieved sigh that she was in the bed alone.
Bella decided to take the next chance and opened her eyes, regretting it as the sunlight that streamed over the bed nearly blinded her, causing her cry out in protest as she threw her arm over her face. Peter was unable to hold back from laughing at the sight and shook his head as he looked at her.
“Here I thought I was the vampire,” he remarked, drawing her attention back towards the window where her eyes were forced to cut through the glare of the morning sunlight. He smiled as he took in her wary look when he stood from his chair. Peter raised his hands in a peaceful gesture, holding them up where she could see them clearly as he spoke. “I mean you no harm Bella. Honest. I don’t know how much you remember of last night but I can tell you if you want me to. I won’t lie to you about the details as long as you don’t lie to me about what I’d like to know.”
She looked around, taking in her surroundings but knowing that trying to run from a vampire was pointless. If he intended on feeding from her, he could have long before that point, she knew, and if he wanted more, he would have just taken it. Narrowing her eyes on him, she was still highly suspicious. “What is it you want from me? Why not just leave me at the bar? Why did you bring me … Where the hell am I?” she asked as she threw her arms up and dropped them unceremoniously on the bed.
“You’re at my ranch. We’re just outside of Houston,” Peter replied as he looked over his shoulder with a shrug. “It ain’t much but it’s home. Haven’t been back here in several years to be honest. Char and I been doin’ a lot of traveling lately because of some bug up her ass but we’re back now. As far as why you’re here? You, Lil’ Bit, are here because one, I don’t know where in the hell you live. Two, you was all shades of messed up last night after that other vampire tried to take a bite out of ya and I couldn’t just as well of left ya on your own. What kind of man would that make me? Three, I’d like some damn answers. A lot of crazy shit happened last night that I don’t quite understand and it all has to do with you.”
Bella sat up fully in the bed as she kept him in her sight while she tried to make sense of what he said and wake up at the same time. It was difficult as she was still disoriented from being in different surroundings with the headache that was reverberating inside her skull making her want to hold her head.
“I’ve noticed most humans have a desire for coffee in the morning when they wake. I know I used to before my change,” he spoke, a little more cautious as he tilted his head at her. “Char brought up a cup not long before you woke when you started to show signs of waking soon. We just didn’t know how you liked it so the cream and sugar are next to it.”
She turned to look at the bedside table where there indeed was a small serving tray with the coffee he mentioned on it. “Thanks,” she muttered as she stared at it, not sure what to make of this particular pair of vampires. “I don’t understand. You are human drinking vampires, right? Why am I still alive again?”
“I thought Char already explained to you that you don’t exactly fit our criteria for dinner?” he replied back as he watched her mix her coffee, committing it to memory. “Are you some low life criminal or junkie that no one will particularly miss if you suddenly turned up missing? That’s what we feed on. You, Bella, aren’t someone I’d sink my teeth into – at least not in that way.”
Her eyes swung over to eye him as she did recall something vaguely mentioned but nothing specific. His implication of his wish to bite her, though, sent chills through her body, making her instinctively watch to make sure of his position. When she saw him in the bar, she had been too vexed by his presence by what he was that she hadn’t really taken a truly appreciative look. Unlike the vampires she knew back in Forks, this one certainly wasn’t a young teenager in appearance. Not even so much a young adult that would even be able to pass as one of the Cullen children.
“And just what way do you mean?” she questioned as she looked at him, her eyes watching as he pulled in a breath as he looked away from her. Bella couldn’t help but smile as he frowned at her question, trying to avoid it. It gave her the opportunity to really look at him when he turned his back on her to stare out the window. She certainly appreciated the view he gave her and, for a vampire, he was attractive. More so than she thought Edward was, even.
“I’m sure your imagination can conjure up something,” he replied with amusement in his deep voice. “But I can assure you, dead is not what you’d be by the time I was done with you, Bijou. While your heart may not be beating anymore, I can guarantee that I would try to make it fly if I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity. But this is real life so let’s get away from my fantasies and onto some things that I know are true. You know my maker. How is that?”
Bella didn’t know what to say at first to his admission. Her imagination certainly did create some interesting possibilities and one of them had already had him over her in the bed she was in. The thought made her bite her lip and blush, shaking her head to try to clear it away. “I’m not sure who your maker is. How about you tell me who it is and maybe I can tell you what I know from there. I can’t say anything if you give me bits but you know what? How about letting me freshen up? I am still in last night’s bar clothes and am feeling a bit ugh!”
“Peter!” Charlotte’s voice echoed from the hallway, causing the man to roll his eyes and his head to fall back to his shoulders in irritation. “Let the girl wake the fuck up fully before you interrogate her! Jesus-fuck, you asshole!”
“Fucking bitch,” he muttered as he glared at the door that opened.
The buxom blonde walked in as she flashed him the middle finger on her way to the bedside. “You get tired of this idiot, just let me know and I’ll drag his sorry ass out for you. Here’s a change of clothes for you. They should fit but the shirt may be a little big, sorry,” she shrugged, a smile on her lips. “There is a flannel that you can throw over if it’s uncomfortable for you.”
Peter eyed her and the clothes in her hands before moving open his mouth but she turned to glare at him. “You. Get out and leave Bella alone. When she’s ready to talk, she’ll come down to find us. Am I clear?” she barked, making him fall back and blink at her. He turned to look at Bella, almost as if she might support him but she only watched them silently, waiting.
Huffing, he shook his head. “Fine. You win. I’ll be downstairs,” he groused before he stormed out of the room.
Charlotte watched him leave entertained. “Dumbass,” she muttered, listening for him. She heard him leave the house, pleased that he was giving them a moment to talk and turned back to Bella. “I’m sorry for his ambushing you when you woke. I told him not to do that but he doesn’t like to do what people tell him to.”
“I figured as much,” Bella replied as she started to get out of the bed slowly, feeling a little more comfortable around her. “He mentioned that I knew his maker. Will you tell me who that is?”
“Our maker? You mean the Major?”
“Major? I don’t know who that is. I honestly wish I can help you but the vampires I knew aren’t exactly like you,” she said.
The vampire was confused for a moment as she knew that he had been very clear when he called and warned them of her impending danger. “Hm. I do know he has not gone by that name in some time and only Pete and I still refer to him by it as we had to call him by his rank during our time in the wars. You would know him as Jasper.”
Bella paused as she had been making her way to the attached bathroom at the mention of her friend’s name and turned around. “Jasper? As in Jasper Hale?”
“Mm, yes. I guess that’s the name he uses with the coven time to time. His surname is actually Whitlock. He sired us and, seeing as we don’t remember much of our human lives, such as our family names, that makes us Whitlocks as well,” she grinned back as she fell onto the bed. “His little sprite of a wife had made him call to give us warning that something was wrong with you just before we heard your scream last night. Even if he hadn’t called, we would have come for you, you know. We have taken a liking to you. You’re nothing like anyone I’ve ever met.”
“Thanks,” the human girl said dryly as she narrowed her eyes. “Did that asshole say when he was coming down to visit because he’s been ignoring my calls lately and I have a feeling it has something to do with that sprite bitch.”
“No. He mentioned that he was due to visit but would try to move it up. Other than that just to try to get us to help you out of whatever danger they believed you found yourself in because she couldn’t see you,” Charlotte admitted as she turned her head to look up at her. “You don’t like Alice?”
Bella’s lips pressed together flat as she considered the question. It wasn’t that she hated her but she still had some strong animosity toward her that she was having a hard time shaking because the one request she made of her, the vampire was unable to commit to, breaking her promise over and over. When her life was in danger was one thing, but random calls before she went on dates about whether something was going to happen or not eventually wore on her nerves, stressing the already delicate friendship further. “It’s complicated.”
“Well … I’m sure Pete and I will enjoy that story when you tell it but for now why don’t you go shower and change. I’ll wait for you downstairs. Hopefully he will be back and less moody by the time you’re done,” Charlotte grinned as she bounced off of the bed and skipped out of the room before any further words could be said.
With a sigh, all Bella could do was do as she was instructed. She went into the bathroom and stopped short. Her jaw dropped as she stared at the bath. It reminded her of the fancy ones in hotel suites that she stayed in with her friends during spring break when they went to Florida the year before. “Holy shit … I think I’ve died and gone to heaven,” she murmured as she eyed the large soaking tub.
She hadn’t been one for girly indulgences growing up but when you were friends with Amy, sometimes you had to develop a taste for certain comforts. When the Cullens forced their extravagances on her she hated it but together her and her friend shared in the costs and were able to appreciate the comforts of the luxury much more. If she were honest with herself, she knew she enjoyed certain things a little more than others and possibly even more than she should have.
Biting her lip, she barely suppressed an excited squeal as she shuffled to the bathtub to get the water running while she undressed and thought about everything that occurred over the last day. She knew she had to call Amy to check on her and make sure that she was alright. It was going to be hard to talk her away from the vampires and she wondered just how she would be able to do that. She really didn’t want to have to move suddenly and disappear on her.
When her bath water was ready, she slipped into the tub and slid underneath the water as she thought about Peter and Charlotte. The human drinking vampires had done little to have her do anything against her own wishes. Alice did what she wanted, then asked for consent or apologized after the deed was already done. Such a simple gesture had her wanting to reciprocate in a some way. She knew they wanted information about her and learning that they both knew the Cullens, she could give them some of that story depending on how much they already knew from Jasper. If he told them anything about her, it would have been highly disappointing because she’d come to trust him so much since they came back into her life.
Bella found it hard not to like Charlotte despite her initial fear of knowing that she drank human blood. She could easily see herself hanging out with her like any of her human friends. Peter, on the other hand. Her hazy memory before she was attacked, recalled little contact. He seemingly had avoided interacting with her and Amy and hadn’t appeared to be very friendly but that morning, he’d been somewhat – pleasant and rather flirty. And fuck if she liked it. She just wasn’t sure how she felt about her being attracted to another vampire after her experience with Edward. She did know it was inevitable that she would have to be changed as her visit to the Volturi had put her on their radar, but she’d lucked out so far since they hadn’t followed up yet on their demands.
She took her time getting out of the bath and dressing before slowly making her way downstairs. Her curiosity got the better of her and couldn’t help but take in much of the decor of the house, surprised at how different it was from the Cullens. This place actually felt more like a home rather than some modern art museum, she thought with a smile as she found her way into the living area where Charlotte was waiting, stretched out on the loveseat, as she read a magazine.
Charlotte looked up with a smile, setting the reading material aside to give their guest her undivided attention. “Feeling better?”
“Yeah,” Bella answered as she stopped behind the couch. She stared back at the vampire, still feeling conflicted about their connection to her former vampire family even if she was on semi-friendly terms with a couple of them. “So … what now?”
She smiled at her and shrugged. “That depends on you, I think, Cherry. I’m sorry if Peter bothered you with the way he ambushed you. He’s … not usually like that…”
Shaking her head, Bella smiled slightly, her lips turning into a sneer at the corners. “It’s not the first time a vampire stalked me in my sleep. Edward used to visit to get used to my scent before I even knew what he was. I do have a question about him though. Yesterday he appeared to be rather … unfriendly. This morning he was quite the opposite. What is up with that?”
Charlotte couldn’t help but chuckle. She tried to think of a way to put her thoughts into words for her without making it seem like she was deliberately withholding information to piss her off. “Peter can be complicated. He is a good guy, and I can assure that you are more than safe with him if you are ever concerned about his thirst. The way he was in your room before is very much how he is normally. Sarcastic, flirty, just living. Yesterday, I think it was more that you caught him off guard. He has a gift and it wasn’t giving him enough information to anticipate you.”
She pursed her lips as she considered what she said, unsure of how she felt about the stranger vampire being gifted with her previous experiences. Despite everything, she wanted to trust them. If she were honest with herself, she had to give something somewhere as there was nothing she could do to defend herself against them. What was unsettling was not knowing the how his gift worked and that it was used in relation to her, making her want to discuss that in more detail with him when she had the chance.
Her hands that settled on the back of the couch that she stood at grew restless and fisted as she looked around. The vampire watched her with caution as she had no idea what thoughts were going through her mind, but the quickly rising heart rate was an indicator that something was not right. “So this is about me?” she asked irritably, her dark eyes snapping back at her. “Does he have some idiotic idea that this walking blood bag is his mate too? Because if he does, I have a zippo with his name on it.”
Char narrowed her own burgundy eyes on her, confused at first at her accusation. The human had several years of history with a coven of vampires as far as she was aware, at least by her association with her sire. “What are you talking about Bella? I don’t understand.”
The human girl started pacing the floor, her hands jutting up to her wet hair as she was clearly troubled by the thought of another vampire being pulled to her. Even if she shared a strong physical attraction that she didn’t quite have with Edward. “You said that his gift led you two to me. His attitude is like whiplash. The last time this shit happened to me – well it got me hunted down by another coven of your kind and fucking bit. So forgive me if I don’t sound pleased if your boy has some twisted idea that I may be his fucking mate bitch!”
There was a snort of amusement from behind her, forcing her to turn around and glare at the subject of her ire. Peter had snuck in during their conversation and stood behind a pillar out of sight in attempt to figure out the human that drew in two powerful covens. It was obvious that she had some issues when it came to vampire abilities, but there were other particulars of his kind that she seemed uninformed on. Or at least, been misled and he had his suspicions on that as he thought about her connection to his brother while he gave time to his sister to make friends. When the girl leveled her glare on him, not an ounce of fear showing, he couldn’t stop the grin that came to his face that only served to piss her off more.
“I don’t know where you got your information on mates, but it’s a crock of shit, Peaches,” he told her with a flat expression. “Whoever told you that you were his or her mate lied.”
Bella froze in her position as she stared at him, the implication of his admission and the seriousness of the way he said it. He had no reason to lie to her himself, saved her from a random vampire’s feeding when he should have simply let her die for knowing of what he was. The heaviness of the further proof of Edward’s lies from the very beginning of their relationship hit her like a sack of bricks that even though she was long over him, she still had feelings as she continued to live with the repercussions of his decision to pursue her.
He didn’t take his eyes off of her for a second as he waited for her to make her move. She released a slow deep breath as she nodded. Swallowing before she spoke, she was still very much angry but her slim frame had relaxed in defeat. “Shouldn’t be surprised. All he knew how to do it seems now, was lie. If either of you want to have any kind of relationship with me, don’t think about pulling that shit. I’ll get Jasper to tell me.”
Peter nodded slightly but didn’t look any happier than her. “I’m not going to question your trust in him but I ain’t about to go running to him. I have questions for that asshole about you, I’ll admit, but he should have set you straight about how mates work after you cut your ties with his squirrel sucking family.”
“What the hell do you mean by that?” The anger flamed back up, earning a sigh from the male vampire.
He shifted uncomfortably as he looked over her shoulder where Charlotte was watching them silently, not willing to get involved with the discussion that would develop considering how much she knew he liked her. In a flash, she was out the door, taking her turn to give them their turn to get to know one another.
“Bella…” Peter started, trying to think of how to direct the conversation. Looking around he held his hand out towards the door in a gentlemanly manner. “Shall we take a walk while I try to explain what I was thinking about while you were chatting with Char? I’ll also tell you how mates really work and why I’m having an issue with Jasper right now.”
She sighed but made her way to the door and waited for him to join her without any objections. He was just as quiet as her as he led her down a well worn trail away from the house until they reached an old barn. Pushing the door open, he wandered inside, kicking around old straw hay that laid on the ground before moving over to lean against a stall post to look at her as she waited at the entrance watching him.
“You’re an interesting person, Peaches,” he murmured as he stared at her thoughtfully, drawing in a deep breath of her scent. “I don’t know what the draw is you have to our kind and as intriguing as it is, it’s fucking dangerous. You’re an unknown and being that somehow or another my family and I are now involved in whatever shit that is circling around you, I’m inclined to find out what it is and deal with it somehow.”
He could see that she was growing irritated with what he said very quickly as her eyes flashed and her posture shifted, ready for an attack. “I don’t give two shits what you’re inclined to do. You’re not obligated to do shit for me. I didn’t ask for any favors from you! If I get turned or killed, it’s going to happen one way or another…” she started off until he rolled his eyes at her and smiled before cutting her off.
“I never said I was obligated. I agree with you in fact. I shouldn’t give a shit and kill you right here and now. Who’s gonna stop me, Bijou? Not you. Not Jasper or his bitch wife certainly. Now, the Volturi might cause a problem,” he said, smirking as she stared back at him wide eyed at the mention of their royalty. “Hm yes. You’re tied up with the Italians, but in what capacity is what I’m curious about. It’s not everyday they send one of their coveted gifted vampires to look over a human. What the fuck are you involved in, Peaches?” Peter demanded now.
Bella shook her head in denial, not understanding what he was talking about and voiced it. “I have no clue what you’re talking about,” she breathed out. The look on his face as she repeated his words to herself, she grew into a panic. “I’ve never seen any vampires other than the occasional newborn Victoria would send to try to get me but Jasper would handle them before they could do anything. What the fuck are you talking about?!”
“Last night when we took care of the nomad, one of the Volturi guards gifted for invisibility or cloaking or whatever was there to assure your safety it seems. Now you can understand why I’m more than a little curious as to what they want with you,” he informed her.
Blinking at him, she shook her head as she bit her lip. “I have no fucking idea what they want or why they would do that. No. They want me changed, I know that. Aro couldn’t hear my thoughts when we went to save Edward from his masochistic idiocy. He went there to commit suicide when he thought I tried to kill myself. They haven’t said anything as far as I know…”
“Well, it seems you left a larger impression on the brothers than you thought for them to send you a personal bodyguard. Question is why would they do that. We can find that out later as I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time if you are interested. You’re planning on turning, right?”
“Yeah, I guess. I was going to ask Jasper to do it,” she shrugged. “Why?”
He shook his head. “No reason. Better him than the other squirrel suckers,” he smiled finally. “Now, this mate bullshit you were fed…Fucktard claimed you were his mate, didn’t he?”
Bella scoffed as she crossed her arms, finally crossing the barn to make her way closer to him and nodded. “Yeah. I thought I loved him, but I don’t even know what it was now. Teenage delusions I think. I was happy at the time, before the incident at the birthday party that I never wanted and when Jasper tried to take a bite when I got a papercut from one of my presents.”
“Hm. Happy doesn’t mean in love, or mutually in love. Being mated and feeling a mate bond is deeper. It’s nothing instant like he made it sound. Both partners need to share the same feelings, attractions for one another if there is any bond to develop. You’re aware that it takes a lot for our kind to shift and change emotionally. It’s the same for bonds. Mate bonds last a long fucking time so there needs to be something substantial for it to work. What you had with that pussy was nothing more than wishful thinking on his part, Peaches, and a little bit of teenage puppy love maybe,” Peter explained the best he could as kept his eyes staring forward but felt her movement as she leaned on the divider beside him.
She had always felt that the relationship wasn’t entirely whole. That there was something always missing and with his explanation, she understood it a hell of a lot better. Looking up at him, she couldn’t help but find him extremely appealing again, causing her breath to catch in her throat. “Um…Can I ask you another question?”
He smirked as his red eyes flashed to her, raising an eyebrow in silent question to prompt her on.
“Do you and Charlotte have a thing about fruit? Because she called me Cherry and you keep referring to me as Peaches. Should I be worried that I’ll end up as dessert one night?” she huffed.
Peter couldn’t stop the laugh at her remarks. “No. I bet you smell like cherries to her so that was the first thing that came to mind when she wanted to give you a nickname.”
“And I smell like peaches to you? Well I suppose it’s better than fucking freesias. I hate those damn flowers,” she grumbled as she clearly still held a deep grudge against the Cullen vampire.
“Yeah, I suppose. More like baked peaches and whiskey to me. Was my favorite dessert my momma used to make when I was still human,” he shared as he turned to her with a sigh. “Look, Peaches. Char explained that I was a bastard last night to you but don’t expect me to apologize. Whatever is up with you freaks me the fuck out.”
“Yeah. Speaking of that. Let’s discuss your gift. How does that work? Because I hate, HATE vampires who use their gifts against my permission on me,” she growled at him, impressive for a human as he nodded in acknowledgment.
“It’s not intrusive like Jasper’s, or as fucked up as the psychotic pixie. Basically, I just know shit. I get feelings, like if I need to be somewhere to go in a direction, or avoid someplace. I had a feeling that we should be in the bar last night, aside from the fact that Char wanted to see the band, but it was confusing because it was a good and bad feeling. It had to have been you. That’s one of the things I was thinking about before when I took off. I think it was good to be there to find you, bad because you were going to find trouble because of us, but I just knew we had to go. It doesn’t tell me more than that,” he huffed as he looked just as frustrated as she felt at the start of his explanation.
Bella remained silent for a long time, simply staring at him. It had started to unnerve him because for a human she actually became relatively skilled in maintaining her reactions around them, even down to her heart, so when red eyes held brown ones, he scowled. Her lips curled up slightly into a smile as she reached out to trace his face along the outside of his mouth. “You are more appealing when you’re happier. We should go back,” she murmured.