"I could get used to this," I said.
"Don't tell me you've gotten over your dancing issues?"
"Dancing isn't so bad - with you. But I was thinking more of this, " - and I pressed myself to him even tighter - "of never having to let you go."
"Never," he promised, and he leaned down to kiss me.
It was a serious kind of kiss - intense, slow but building...
I'd pretty much forgotten where I was when I heard Alice call, "Bella! It's time!"
I felt a brief flicker of irritation with my new sister for the interruption.
Edward ignored her; his lips were hard on mine, more urgent than before. My heart broke into a sprint and my palms were slick against his marble neck.
"Do you want to miss your plane?" Alice demanded, right next to me now. "I'm sure you'll have a lovely honeymoon camped out in the airport waiting for another flight."
Edward turned his face slightly to murmur, "Go away, Alice," and then pressed his lips to mine again.
"Bella, do you want to wear that dress on the airplane?" she demanded.
I wasn't really paying much attention. At the moment, I simply didn't care.
Alice growled quietly. "I'll tell her where you're taking her, Edward. So help me, I will."
He froze. Then he lifted his face from mine and glared at his favorite sister. "You're awfully small to be so hugely irritating."
How did people do this - swallow all their fears and trust someone else so implicitly with every imperfection and fear they had - with less than the absolute commitment Edward had given me? If it weren't Edward out there, if I didn't know with every cell of my body that he loved me as much as I loved him - unconditionally and irrevocably and, to be honest, irrationally - I'd never be able to get up off this floor.
But it was Edward out there, so I whispered the words "Don't be a coward" under my breath and scrambled to my feet. I hitched the towel tighter under my arms and marched determinedly from the bathroom. Past the suitcase full of lace and the big bed without looking at either. Out the open glass door onto the powder-fine sand.
Edward's golden eyes were empty. "It probably just leads back to the house."
"Then I'll meet you there."
At first I thought he would let me go alone, but then, as I moved a few steps away, his blank eyes flickered to life.
"I'll come with you, " he said quietly. "We'll met you at home, Carlisle."
Carlisle nodded, and the others left. I waited until they were out of sight, and then I looked at Edward questioningly.
"I couldn't let you walk away from me," he explained in a low voice. "It hurt just to imagine it."
I understood without more explanation than that. I thought of being divided from him now and realized I would have felt the same pain, no matter how short the separation.
There was so little time left to be together.
I held my hand out to him, and he took it.