Song I listened to for this chapter: Change the World by Eric Clapton
Shaking her head, Bella asks, “What does it matter, you already have my love, and know that I am yours forever.”
Carlisle lifts his head from the shower wall, and just looks at her. “Bella, I know that and I do love you, sweetheart, but I want to give you the world. Since I cannot, I will settle in romancing you. You are a gift to me, one that I thank God for every second you are in my life. I want to show that appreciation to you, show you that I will never forget that you are gifting me with your presence, your actual life. I know what you are giving up for me, and while I am ecstatic for it, I want you to never regret it.”
Bella stares into his eyes. She shakes her head, and mutters, “One of these days I will wake from this dream, and be miserable. You just cannot be real.”
Carlisle lowers his head to hers, kissing her. He tells her softly as he lets her up for air, “This is no dream love. I am here, and all yours.” He kisses her gently, and then rests his head on tops of hers again. The two of them relax and bask in the love that they have for each other.
Bella had fallen asleep in his arms in the shower. Carlisle very carefully picked up his angel, moving her to their bed. He briefly gives thought to letting her sleep by his side as she is, but he sighs and, after blurring into their closet to grab one of his shirts, moves back to her side and dresses her in it.
After that, he carefully slides his love under the blankets and lies down beside her. He looks down adoringly upon the woman who has completely and happily captured his soul and heart. Moving her hair gently out of her face, he smiles when she turns to him in her sleep. Through the night he watches carefully over her though, and every time a nightmare threatens, he quickly finds that his touch is enough to banish it.
Jasper is downstairs, holding Alice to him as he smiles at the pure love coming from upstairs. He looks down at his mate, knowing they all need this down time. Jacob has been taken care of; Carlisle is upstairs with his mate. Alice is by his side, Emmett and Rose went hunting as Edward had left to call his mate.
Jasper then frowns, thinking about the situation with the Beta of the family, but before he can say anything, Alice tells him softly, “No worries, Jasper. She is already healing the family. Just give it time; Edward is happy with the future as it stands.” She smiles as she curls into his side as she finishes, “The next couple of weeks look to actually be quiet. There is something, but it won’t interfere with Carlisle and Bella’s bonding.”
Alice frowns, not liking the fact that she cannot see whatever it is. It is not like Jacob, she just can’t place the issue, almost like someone is aware of her gift and is purposely trying to get around it. If she can’t clear it up in the next few days, she will let Carlisle know. Once that decision is made, she nuzzles into Jasper.
Through the night, the Cullen’s go about their hobbies, being as quiet as possible to give their Alpha’s mate the rest she needs to start healing from everything that has happened.
The following morning, Bella opens her eyes and meets the golden gaze of her mate. He smiles gently at her as they stare at each other. Bella’s mind goes back over the previous day, her gaze fading out as she remembers all the words that were exchanged.
Carlisle watches as he feels her going through a wide range of emotions. He knows she needs to do this to start healing, and makes sure she can feel his love and support through the mating bond. Unable to help himself, he softly caresses her face. It is hard for any male to feel their love going through something like this, knowing that all they can do is just support them through it. Carlisle has done what he can, he has stood by her side to face her attacker, then, giving in to his own needs, defended her honor.
But now, all that seems like not enough. Nothing he can do will erase what has happened to his mate and he regrets that with his entire being. All he can do is love her and do as he plans, romance her as she deserves. Then a ghost of a smile crosses his face as he remembers last night.
Bella felt the amusement of her mate and uses it to bring her back to him. She looks up at his eyes and feels his frustration in the background of his amusement and guesses that it is because he is unable to heal her all at once. She tells him, “It will take time, Carlisle. But just give me time. You know I am yours.”
Carlisle leans down and kisses her softly. “You have all of eternity, my love. I am here and will always be at your side.” Then he smiles and tells her, “Enough of that for now. It is time for you to get up; Alice said something about your house needing to be finished?” Then his smile drops slightly as he asks, “If you want me to help, that is, sweetheart.”
Unable to keep her emotions to herself, Bella smiles as she answers him, “I can’t think of another I would want to help. But don’t you have something you need to do?” A slight frown mars her forehead.
Carlisle sits up, showing he is shirtless as he draws her up to him. “Bella, there is nothing I need to do that is more important than you. Plus, I was not supposed to be here for a couple more weeks.” He drops a kiss on her nose, then helps her stand up from the bed.
Bella just chuckles to herself as she starts to move from the bed. She glances back at the god still reclining on the behind her. She blushes as his grin turns into a smirk as he feels her feelings. But who can blame her?
An hour later, Carlisle is escorting her through the gate between their houses. He is guessing that Alice is responsible for the garden between the two properties, he could not see that the previous owners would have put it in. But it makes for a pleasant journey between the two, and the perfect illusion of separation between them. Of course, as vampires, they can be there in an instant if needed.
Bella looks up and notices that Carlisle is grinning at her, still amused by her blushing from earlier. He had tried to tease her during her breakfast, only to find that she was trying to give him the silent treatment whenever he brought it up. All in all, it had helped with his intention to have this morning be light. Too much heavy stuff has been brought up the last two days and his Bella deserves nothing but happiness.
Bella is well aware of what Carlisle is doing. And after feeling his frustration this morning, she is more than willing to allow him this time for them. As he gently hands her through the gate, she smiles at him. “Now explain again why Alice made such a big deal about who has been in the house?”
Carlisle just shakes his head. He thinks about how to phrase something that as a vampire, she would know instinctively. “When a couple becomes mated, they often need to spend time by themselves. Unfortunately, with me being Alpha, I am much closer to what I guess you would call the animalistic side of being a vampire. Basically, I am very territorial. It bothers me that Alice has been in our rooms in the house. It bothers me very much that only because you needed me have I not marked our rooms.”
He guides her down the path, his nose slightly wrinkled from Jacob’s scent on the path. It smells like Jacob had tried to mark this area as his. He will take care of that, hopefully later when Bella is asleep. Though, he will be remarking everything later once they are mated, he very much wants to make others aware that he has a mate.
Carlisle rests his hand on her back, needing the touch to center himself back into their conversation, and continues, “Your house, if you don’t mind, will become our safe haven. Our home is open for others to come there when I am done with your home, no one will come close unless they want to challenge me.” Not that many will try nowadays. Carlisle had taken care of most of the vampires who thought they would be better suited as the King of the Americas.
Bella’s forehead is furrowed slightly as she tries to understand what he is saying. She tries to clear up her confusion by asking the first thing that caught her attention. “Our home?”
Carlisle pulls out of his pockets the keys she had handed him when he had requested them earlier. He answers her absently, “Our home. Everything I own is now yours too. We are mates.” He frowns as he tries to explain to her that he is willing to try to work with her on items she owns. He knows that it will change once he changes her. “However, I know that you are human and may not want to share your home with me. I will respect your wishes. But you need to understand, everything I own, have, and am is yours. I will have it no other way, sweetheart.” He can’t have it any other way. That is how he is, and his instincts for being a vampire are the same. He guides her forward with a hand on her lower back.
Thinking over his comments, Bella struggles to understand. She knows that Carlisle is it for her, and she for him. She understands this from their discussions over the last couple of days. She looks up at Carlisle as she thinks it through, feeling through the bond his constant love and patience as he waits for her. Then understanding dawns on her. When you have forever with someone, physical belongings just don’t last as long as that type of commitment.
Bella stops and turns to Carlisle. She really looks at her mate as he stands there in a black polo shirt over some light jeans. The light misting rain has dampened his blond hair and it is still messy from this morning when she had given in to her temptation to touch it. She remembers how his eyes had softened and then slowly closed as he purred his contentment over his mate’s touching him.
Now his golden eyes are playful as they have been the rest of this morning, and his grin is easy. His shirt is resting over a body most women would pant over, and Bella is no different, the only difference is that she knows that he is hers, just as she is his.
Carlisle is just watching her, aware of everything around him. His mate has been hurt enough, and when she is with him, he will never allow her to be hurt again. Woe betide the being who even thinks of doing so. But he is curious, wanting to know what his tiny love is thinking. Though he doesn’t try to hide the smirk that dances on his face as he can feel the desire his mate has as she studies him. He just cocks his head to the side as he waits for her.
Shaking her head as she sees his smirk, Bella chuckles. “So sure of yourself, Carlisle?”
Not bothering to hide the pleasure he feels with hearing his name from her mouth, he tells her with desire lacing his voice, “Only with you, Isabella.” He walks closer and gathers her in his arms as he looks down at her. “Only with you, my love.” His purr gets louder with the pleasure of holding his mate.
Smiling up at him, she leans forward, resting her body and head against him. The strange warmth she always feels around him is comforting to her in the misting rain. She can feel the contentment that he is feeling with her in his arms. She feels him kiss the top of head and then rest his head on hers as they just stand there in the garden between their houses.
After a few minutes, Bella looks up into his face as she tells him, “It’s yours. Everything is yours.” She smiles, “It seems everything has been yours for years.” She sends him her feelings so that he knows that she has no resentment, that she understands.
His eyes soften as he gazes into hers and he tells her, “I don’t want you to feel lost, that there is nothing that is yours.”
Her smile grows as she tells him, “But, you tell me that you are mine. So, I do have something, and to me that is everything I need. You are more than anything I could have wished for.”
Carlisle grins, his joy at her statement coming through their bond. Unable to do anything but kiss her, Carlisle’s lips catch hers, caressing, loving. His dead heart soars as he feels her answering him.
He draws away to murmur against her lips, “Always. I love you, my Bella.”
Then he captures her lips again, his hands coming up to frame her face, then one hand slides to the back of her head. He breaks the kiss, knowing that she still needs to breathe. He holds her to him, supporting her weight negligently as his face is looking down at hers. His other hand is on her back, helping to support her.
He looks into her eyes, then wanting to make her laugh; he quickly picks her up bridal style. Bella laughs as he had planned and when she looks up at him, her eyes are sparkling.
She has been relishing in the time with him, trying to catch her breath from the last couple of days, though in reality it is from the last couple of years. Then out of nowhere, he swings her up into his arms.
Carlisle walks with her up to her door, not setting her down as he unlocks and opens the door to carry her through. He takes her to the alarm box, remembering from his conversations with Edward that he had helped her set up the system. He watches as she punches in the code, his vampiric memory will be able to recall it at any time he needs it in the future. Hopefully he has taken care of the reason she had been adamant about setting it, but he would still rather her set it. Nothing would be worse than for her to come home to a human threat after he had just found her. Not that she would be here without him if he has his way.
Bella punches in the code and then turns to Carlisle, waiting to see what he is really going to do. Her house still needs to be put together, which would be good since she hasn’t had the chance until now. If this is really going to be their place, she wants it to reflect both of them, not just her.
When Carlisle does nothing but stare at her as he holds her, she gets lost in his eyes. The love flowing through their Bond s breathtakingy beautiful.
Feeling her amazement, Carlisle tells her softly, “Imagine how the feeling will be once we are fully mated. And the feelings will only increase when we are both vampires.” Then he thinks of what he has done to Edward and admits to Bella, “Bella, I never knew Mates felt like this.”
Bella smiles. “I love you too, Carlisle. But you need to put me down if we are going to get anything done today. You may be able to stand here holding me for the rest of my life, but I cannot.” She wonders absently at the feeling of guilt, but will wait for him to explain. Carlisle has been better than she has been at letting her into his thoughts; she is still getting used to it.
Carlisle grins sheepishly as he puts her down. He has her back to his chest with his arms around her as he looks around the house. He cocks his head to the side as his mind takes in the details that tell him that a certain pixie did have her hand in the pot for this place too. It is more him than the other house, but there are touches here and there that tell him that Alice had taken someone else’s style in mind. But it looks half done and he is confused by that. Alice never leaves things half done.
Bella looks around and sees the few boxes she has. She sighs, knowing that the house needs more overall. While the house is decorated and furnished, it doesn’t seem complete. She bets that was on purpose so that both she and Carlisle can put their own stamps on their place.
With that in mind, she is just about to call Alice to ask where the stuff from yesterday’s shopping trip is when Carlisle’s cell phone rings. He pulls it from his back pocket and glances at the screen as he answers, “Yes, Alice?”
Bella tries to hear the whole conversation but all she can hear is his side of the conversation.
Carlisle glances down at his Mate, then answers, “No, I don’t need anyone to come over here. As it is the wolf’s smell is all over the place. Once I get rid of that, no one is to come over unless it is an emergency.”
He then laughs at her reply. “If she needs more, I will take her, Alice. I thought I made it clear this morning that Bella and I are spending some time together.”
Carlisle shakes his head, his mirth traveling along the bond they share as he tells her, “Alice, No.” His Alpha timbre is in his voice as he continues, “My Mate, my time. Bye, Alice,” and he hangs up his cell phone.
Bella cocks an eyebrow at him as she waits for him to tell her where the bags are, since she figures Alice had seen her make a decision to call her and preempted her.
Carlisle grins at his mate. “Alice said that Edward dropped off the bags in the garage. She also mentioned that you hadn’t gotten everything you had planned, but I stopped her before she could invite herself along. I figured you would like to spend some time with me. At least I am hoping so…” He trails off at the first hint of unease that she wouldn’t want him with her.
Laughing as she feels the unease, Bella tells him, “You are way more preferable to Alice. I think if it hadn’t been for everyone being there, she wouldn’t have let me choose anything for myself. She kept making these faces when I would choose anything for myself.”
Pulling her close and bestowing a kiss to her head Carlisle answers her, “I am sure she would have. She has been in charge of the wardrobes for everyone in the house. No one bothers to stand up to her anymore. But now, after getting to wear these clothes, I may never let her choose for me.”
Frowning, Bella looks at him. “Why does what you wear now matter?”
Looking around and finding an armchair, Carlisle gently pulls her over to it, sitting first and then settling her in his lap. Sighing, he answers her, “Normally I let Alice pick my clothing and have done so for over sixty years. I had been more involved with starting my rule here in the Americas than what I was wearing. I also needed to look as though I am the father figure to the coven for the humans and I didn’t need my medical degree to be questioned too closely. So she dressed me to look older. I am really twenty-three, but normally have to pass for thirty. This time, I think because of you, she had me dress younger. And quite frankly, I love this more than the dress slacks and khakis.” He remembers the ease the jeans and tees had allowed in hunting and running; much more preferable to the dress slacks.
Covering her mouth as she chuckles, she gives Carlisle a long look. “I just can’t see you looking as though you are thirty.”
Carlisle’s eyes gleam with mischief. “Believe it or not, I never owned a pair of jeans until now. But now you can help me buy more clothes. And I will certainly model them for you, as long as you model the clothes I buy you as well.”
Laughing openly, Bella finally tells him, “As long as I have veto power. No slipping anything into my bags, mister!”
Laughing, the couple relaxes and settles into the chair. Carlisle breaks the silence by asking Bella, “What all do you want to do with this place. Alice had it decorated, but anything you want to change is yours. I will be happy with whatever you decide my love.”
Sighing, Bella tells him bluntly, “I am not in a place financially to really do anything, Carlisle. The house redecorating can just wait. What I need to buy I can, but to make this completely ours will be expensive.”
Carlisle turns her face so that he can look her in the eyes. “You’re kidding right? You do know I am one of the richest men on the planet. And that is only the wealth which is publicly known. I actually have much, much, more money so that neither of us has to worry about working for the rest of eternity. You could spend as much money as you wish each day and it would not dent the accounts, and that is not counting the interest that the accounts will be gaining,” he tells her.
Bella just gapes at him.
Carlisle sighs and tries to explain that she will never break the bank with him. “Bella, for one thing, I have a fortune teller that is 100% reliable in the stock market. With that alone, I would be rolling in money. She handles the stocks for the entire family. Each one of us is very wealthy. But then you need to think about how long I have been alive. I didn’t need anything really for those first centuries of life, so the money just sat there gaining interest unless I used it to purchase homes. I purchased a lot of property, and actually have more titles than the one I carry for the Vampire World. And as I told you earlier, all that I am is yours. It gives me a sense of accomplishment that I can provide my mate with the world. If I could, I would pull down the stars themselves to give to you.” He hopes she understands how proud he is to be able to provide for his mate in every way.
Bella is still speechless. She can feel his sincerity and love for her through their bond but she is simply blown away. Finally she finds her voice and tells him, “Carlisle, I don’t want your money. I just want you, and you are more of a gift than I could ever give you. I could never equal what you give me just by being here for me every day.” She tries to explain what she is thinking so he can understand.
“Bella, do you not think that you are a gift from God yourself? Did I not tell you earlier that I thank God for every second you are with me? I spent centuries waiting for you. And as I just said, the money was worthless to me until you came and lit up my world. You are worth so much more than I can ever give you. All I can do is love you and I come from a time when men treated their other halves lavishly and supported them so that they could stay at home doing as they wished. I know that you may want to work, and I am perfectly fine with that. Plus there are my vampire instincts. The beast inside me demands that I treat you as our goddess. And I have absolutely no intention of ever denying my instincts. They are what make me the Alpha that I am. I told you before that I am not a normal human male.” Carlisle tells her this, reinforcing each word through their bond. Bella needs to learn that he is not going to change his stance on taking care of his mate. She had accepted it earlier, why is she having problems now? Is it because it is his?
Getting angry, Bella tells him, “I have every right to want to make my way through this world on my own merits-”
Carlisle overrules her, “Bella. Calm down, Sweetheart. Unfortunately, you are fighting a losing war, once you are changed, this will be clear to you, but until then, let me spoil you. I never want to take your independence away and I am getting the feeling that you think that is what is going to happen. I love you being your own person. And really, are you that afraid that having money is going to change who you are, or that I will treat you differently?”
Then responding to the emotions coming through their bond he asks her, “Do you really think that I would ever make you feel unworthy? How can you think that you aren’t worthy enough to receive anything from the other half of your soul, the person who loves you with everything he is?”
Her mouth still open, Bella shuts it thinking over what he said. He lets her take all the time she needs, time is a commodity that they both have in abundance, and this is important to their future, not that he will allow her to leave him over this.
Bella sits there debating the points that stood out in his speech to her. Does she really think that she iss unworthy of anything from him? Yes. And that answer there is the whole kit and caboodle of the issue she is having with this. Somewhere in her life she has come to the belief that she is unworthy of anything but love. She knows as well as anybody that Carlisle is talking about how men treated their wives when he came of age. Her independence? Yes, that is part of it. But did she really think that he would take that away from her? Not really.
Then she remembers how it was so much easier earlier when she agreed to his comment that everything that he was is hers. Then she was thinking of his love. Not material possessions even though she had no problem giving in to him about the house. It just seems different when you talk about that much money. But he is right. She won’t change and the person who she cares about the most won’t change his opinion either.
Carlisle is analyzing the emotions coming through the bond and staying quiet. He can feel her surprise at something she realizes and can feel her working through it all. He quietly marshals any additional arguments he may need to get her to agree with him. But he suspects it can all be brought back to how Jacob treated her, and maybe back further. They never really talked about her upbringing and he is curious about it. He then remembers when they first talked and one of her comments, but, why me? I am nothing! He controls his anger that he still has over the statement. Jacob must have really hurt her.
Bella finally looks back into Carlisle’s eyes. “Carlisle, I understand what you are saying, and you are right. I do feel unworthy to have anything but your love given to me. I also know that you are not going to take my independence from me, I have known that the whole time and I am sorry for that comment. But to change, well that will take time. Can you give me that and be patient with me?”
Smiling in relief, Carlisle cups her face in his hands. He kisses her lips gently and with his lips hovering above hers, he answers her. “Bella, I will give you anything. We can work together, that is what mates do. You are not an unworthy individual; you know our family does not believe that at all. And I will not shower you in gifts until you cannot move. But realize that if I am with you, you will not be paying for anything. We will start with that, I think that will be hard enough for you to accept. But, please darling, please accept that once in awhile I will not be able to help myself, and will want to give you gifts.”
Bella just sighs and nods. She tells him before he can say anything else, “I will try. And I really understand, it will just be something that you and I need to work on.”
Carlisle’s lips meet hers and he sends all of his love through their bond. When his lips release hers so that she can breathe, he tells her, “That is what I want. I love you, Bella. Now and forever.”
Final count, 4,783 words.