Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Angel's Embrace Chapter 35

Sensing my change in mood, my angel sat up on her knees in front of me. "Look at me," she said firmly, "you really don't have to tell me."
"Yeah," I nodded, "I do. You see..." I sighed, shaking my head. "I killed her."
"Oh God, Edward," I breathed, looking down at the picture and back to his guilty face. "What happened? You didn't..." I immediately assumed that as a young vampire, he drained her by mistake, but he shook his head from side to side.
"No," he sighed, "I was human. It was just before Carlisle changed me, just before me and my family became ill." He frowned, staring at the photos again, his gaze far, far away.
"I thought you didn't remember many of your human memories," I said, cupping his tortured face. He was killing me. Nothing he could say would change the way I felt about him. Ever. I didn't care what he did, but I would have done anything to take away the expression on his face.
"I don't think this will ever escape my mind," Edward huffed a laugh, but there was no humor in it. "Amelia Watson," he smiled sadly, holding up one of the pictures. "Everyone called her Amy. Her mother and my mother were friends. We lived in the same neighborhood in Chicago." He sighed, clearing his throat and swallowing hard. His brow furrowed and his beautiful hands shook slightly.
"I don't have to explain to you," he continued, "what it was like to look at someone and know deep...way deep down that you can't love them. Not they way they want you to. We," he said, motioning between us, "were meant to be." I leaned forward to kiss him quickly, to give him courage and to let him know I understood. "But Amy...I'm sure if things had turned out differently, our mothers would have succeeded in binding us together," he smirked at the memory, but he didn't look me in the eye. "I liked her, she was fun and a really good person. A good friend. But I didn't love her." He said the last sentence with a finality that I completely identified with. Had Edward never come into my life, Billy and Charlie would have worked relentlessly to push me to Jake.
"I see you understand," he nodded, a slight smile on his face. He was listening to my thoughts. When he told stories, fun or not, I always left my mind open. "And I thank you for that," he snickered, reaching up to tuck my hair behind my ear.
"Anyway, she was in school with me. I would walk her to and from school, and I knew how she felt," he sighed. I could tell that this went deeper than his frustrations with girls that crushed on him. Deeper than women that found him attractive. "I would have never wanted to hurt her. She felt like family to me," he said, looking out the window into the now darkened sky. "Her mother was one of the first to become ill."
"Edward," I groaned, almost sensing how this was going to turn out.
"Instead of grieving, Amy turned to me when her mother died. She needed...um, more than comfort or a shoulder to cry on. God, Bella, I was sixteen. A foolish boy with dreams of becoming a soldier – with no idea what I was doing, especially with someone I didn't love. The gentleman in me would have never done anything to steal Amy's virtue. Never."
"I know, love," I sighed, wincing when his hands shook.
"But instead of explaining that, I laughed at her," he said, his voice sounding shocked at himself. "Laughed," he growled. "As delicate as the situation was...the loss of her mother had wrecked her...and I laughed." His whole body shuddered. "She tried to kiss me and I shoved her away with a heartless laugh," he whispered almost to himself.
I groaned, shaking my head. Not in admonition, but sympathy for the obtuse boy that Edward was. He shattered her.
"I did," he nodded, his pain-filled eyes locking with mine. His voice was barely a whisper, his breath hitching. "She stopped talking to me, stopped walking with me to school. She would stay inside her apartment and wouldn't answer when I tried to apologize."
Edward was quiet for a moment and I took a minute to look at her. Really look at her. She was stunning. Petite with dark features. Italian bloodlines maybe.
"Her mother was Sicilian," he nodded, running a frustrated hand through his hair. It was still slightly damp from his recent shower, and it stuck up in every direction.
"Looking back," he sighed, another hand through his hair, "she was probably in a seriously deep depression. Her father continued to work and once she stopped talking to me, she was alone all the time. Her father wasn't exactly a nice man. Not once do I remember him showing any...kindness or compassion towards his daughter."
"She killed herself," I guessed, groaning when he nodded. A sob escaped him, but he reined it in.
"Not long after that, my father contract the same illness," he frowned, stacking the pictures together. "The whole city was in chaos soon after, people were dying left and right..." His soft voice trailed off and he looked down in shame.
I scooted closer to him so that our knees were touching. "Edward," I sighed, taking his face gently in my hands, "sweetheart, I know it's in your nature to shoulder these things, and while you were unaware of how Amy would react, her death is not your fault." He nodded, his gaze not quite meeting mine. "The blame rests with her father," I stated firmly. I brushed his hair from his forehead, leaning in to place a soft kiss there.
"Her father should have paid attention, taken a few minutes to really look at her. Maybe he would have seen that her heart break went deeper than she let on." I took a deep breath, stating, "Because I promise you, she hid it. He would have seen it was more than a boy at school who broke her heart with unrequited love."
"Hid it?"
"Absolutely," I nodded. "It's hard enough being a sixteen or seventeen year old girl to begin with. Not to mention being in love with a handsome boy that doesn't feel the same. Add the loss of her mother, who she probably would have talked to about you and her feelings for you. But instead, she had to assume the responsibilities of the house. I bet you that her father expected it of her."
"I will always be responsible for my actions, Bella. She needed a friend..."
"Hmm, maybe." I studied his face, regretting finding the picture and teasing him, but I continued. "You should know better than anyone that there's not a sixteen year old boy that could have handled that situation correctly. Some would have even taken advantage of her. You didn't. How long was it after she told you how she felt?"
"I don't know, weeks maybe," he shrugged. "Why?"
"Because I wonder, as cold as you made her father sound, if he contributed to her depression," I sighed in frustration when he looked at me in confusion. "Edward, you don't know what happened in her house, what he said or did to Amy. Lack of compassion would have left her feeling very alone. Despite her feelings for you, she needed a parent first."
He nodded and quietly set the pictures aside, pulling me onto his lap.
"She would have forgiven you," I whispered, kissing his cheek.
"You don't know that," he frowned, almost sounding petulant.
"Yeah...yeah, I do," I smiled, placing my hand on his neck. "Do you know why she hid from you? Why she couldn't talk to you?" I asked, tilting my head at him. He shook his head no. "She knew that even though you rejected her...um, advances, one look at you and she would have caved, given in. I imagine she was trying to stay strong, not be embarrassed, but would have taken you back in any type of relationship she could get."
"You seem so sure..."
"I am," I nodded. "If she loved you even a fraction of what I do, then she would have never been able to stay away. And she definitely wouldn't have been able to resist your face when you're sincerely sorry for something. Ever." I chuckled, kissing him when he snorted. "You're very hard to ignore, Mr. Cullen."
I wrapped my arms around him, burying my face in his neck and placing a kiss to his skin. "Oh, baby, I'm really sorry."
"What are you sorry for?" His voice sounded incredulous as he cradled me in his arms, brushing my hair back and studying my face.
"I'm sorry you went through that. Sorry that you lost your friend."
"I don't deserve you," he whispered, wincing when I shot up out of his arms. "I know...I'm not supposed to say that," he pouted.
"Don't move," I ordered, walking to our box of clothes. After rummaging around for a moment, I found what I needed. I knelt behind him. "Do you trust me?" I asked, not letting him turn to face me.
"Yes?" It sounded like a question.
"Are you sure?" I giggled.
"Yes, love, with my life," he chuckled.
"Good," I smiled, kissing the back of his head and wrapping a scarf around his eyes. "I'm going to teach you exactly what you deserve."
"Hush," I chided, "now, can you see anything?"
I moved around him, pushing all the pictures and boxes we had pulled out of his trunk out of the way. We hadn't made the bed, so this little experiment was going to happen on the floor. I shielded my mind from him.
"No, love," he huffed.
"Peeking into my head is not allowed," I sighed, kneeling next to him. "Lay back," I whispered and he complied. "Rules, Edward. No touching until I say and you'll answer the questions that I ask of you." I got up, stripping to my underwear. He had told a story, but he didn't know that he still got a prize. I smiled to myself. "Palms flat on the floor, no matter what you feel, got it?" He groaned, nodding his head.
I straddled his thighs, reaching up to unbutton his shirt. "Lift up," I said, helping him take it all the way off. I tossed it over to the bed. There was a freedom that came with being able to stare at him without his knowledge or embarrassment at being caught. He had blindfolded me before, and I understood why he liked it. I skimmed my hands up his chest, my face looming over his. "Why did you laugh when she told you she loved you?" I asked, brushing my lips lightly over his.
"It seemed silly," he frowned, "we were friends. I didn't see her that way. I couldn't possibly understand how she could feel that way about me."
"Don't quite see yourself clearly, do you?" I teased, placing soft kisses down his jaw to his ear. "Do you know what I see? What Amy saw?"
"I didn't know you as a human, and I'm sorry for that," I smiled, laving my tongue across his Adam's apple and placing a long, slow kiss there. He tasted sweet, clean – fresh out of the shower. He tasted like my Edward. "But I imagine you the same...maybe less intense," I chuckled, biting my lip as I watched him fight his smile. "Carlisle said you had green eyes. Did you know that there are still flecks of green in there?" He nodded, a light purr rumbling from him as my nose traced his collar bone.
"Outside...huh," I shook my head, ogling my husband's magnificent physique, "you are just perfect, Edward." I sighed, licking my lips. "But it's inside that we fall in love with. I'm not talking the Laurens and Pams of the world. I'm talking about those of us that really get to know you. The choice few that you've let in." My nose traveled lower to one of his nipples, circling it before I flattened my tongue against it. His hands flinched. "No touching, baby." He growled and grunted at the same time – a deliciously sexy sound. His abs flexed under me, and I fought with all that I had not to grind against him.
I began to speak slowly, my mouth traveling all over his torso.
"With every politely held door, every kind word, every sweet laugh at something stupid we say, we fall that much harder. For every time you protect us from something as silly as a bug or as big as an immortal threat, we can't help but love you," I said, sucking hard on his nipple just to hear the rumble of his growl through his chest as my teeth grazed it. "Did you know? Do you do it on purpose to make us feel that way?" I asked, pushing up to watch his face.
"No," he shook his head, "it's just me...I need to do what's right." I smiled at his answer, the answer that I had been looking for.
"Every time you listen to us," I said, licking across his chest to his other nipple, "just listen...without having a solution to whatever problem...we love you that much more." I bit down on his sensitive nipple, my body rising slightly as his hips bucked. "Easy, Edward. With every sweet, encouraging smile, every hello, we love you more." I sighed, sitting up slightly. I slipped off of him, to unbutton his pants. "Here's where Amy and I differ..." I smiled, tugging his jeans off and tossing them on the bed with his shirt. My eyes rolled in the back of my head at the sight before me. Edward was hard and ready, a perfect specimen of sexual prowess laying on the floor in front of me.
"While you thought you were just saving her virtue, you were really saving yours...for me," I growled, licking my lips as I straddled his thighs again. His cock twitched slightly when I leaned over to lick the V of his stomach that I had been ogling throughout the entire basketball game.
"Bella," he groaned, writhing under me. "It's painful, baby, please..."
"Not yet," I whispered, kissing his lips softly, "patience, handsome. You'll get the prize at the end." With that statement, the growl he let loose vibrated my body, as well as the floor, causing the trunk lid to slam shut. I fought my laugh, but at least I didn't have to hide my smile. His fists were balled up, his jaw was clenched as his hips rose from the floor. I leaned over and whispered in his ear. "I can take that edge off, baby. But I have more questions."
"Ok, anything, Bella, please."
My palms were flat as they glided down his torso and wrapped around his hardened shaft. I knew Edward. I had pushed a little too hard. This wouldn't take long. I sank my mouth over him, relishing the flavor of the juices that had already seeped out. I took him completely in, my hands gripping his beautiful thighs hard. I sank down again, flattening my tongue to the underside of his shaft and grazing my teeth lightly as I came back up. With a lick around his tip, my core clenched at the sound of his erotic moan. I watched in fascination as his beautiful mouth hung open with with every lick of my tongue, every grip of my hand. With every scrape of my teeth, his head would fly by, the tendons stretching behind his perfect skin. When I sank back down quickly with a moan, he hardened further, exploding in my mouth with a feral growl. I kissed the tip, smiling when he sighed with a slight relief. "Better, baby?"
"Uh huh," he nodded, smiling when I couldn't contain my giggle at his lack of vocalization.
"Do you want to touch me?"
"So badly," he begged, "you have no idea."
"Just a few more questions, love, ok?"
"Ok," he sighed and I smiled. He would let me do anything to him.
"Why do you spoil me?" I asked, crawling back up, so that our bodies were flush.
"I want you happy," he frowned as if the question was ridiculous. "I'd give you anything."
"Why do you protect me?"
"Because I need you safe and sound...I can't live without you. No one touches you but me." Again the look of confusion on his face was hard to miss. "You're perfect and sweet. I need you to stay that way." I felt the burn of venom in my eyes and I had to look away from him to gather my thoughts.
"And why do you love me?"
"You're everything to me. My other half, love. My heart and soul, my wife and mate. You're beautiful and brilliant...you're the ray of light in my dark sky, Bella," he sighed, his breath hitching slightly.
"So don't you think I deserve to feel the same way about you?" I asked, my hand itching to yank the blindfold off of him. I was ready to see the warmth and love in my sweet husband's eyes. The love that he had waited a century to express.
He was quiet for a minute, his breathing picking up. His chest rose and fell, me along with it as I waited for his answer. "Yes, Bella," he nodded.
I reached up, pushing the blindfold off of his face. "Everything that you do is sweet and gentle...by your own choice and nature, Edward. You deserve more than I can give you. Understand?" I said, my breathing erratic.
"Yes, sweet girl," he smiled, his eyes filling with the warmth I was hoping to see. "Please let me touch you now." I nodded and found myself rolled over onto my back with Edward looming over me.
His kiss was consuming as he settled between my legs. His hands were everywhere, gliding down to the back of my knee to hitch it up around his waist. We both groaned, our heads turning to deepen the kiss. "Baby, you're so wet," he whispered against my neck as he broke with a gasp from my mouth. "And what are you wearing?" He growled, pulling back to look at me, a slight smile on his face.
"It's Christmas," I teased, giggling when he lunged for my neck with a laugh and a growl.
"So you figured you'd dress like a candy cane?" He chuckled, pulling all the way back and sitting on his heels. My underwear set was red and white striped with an edging in green. "Santa would be jealous of me right now," he smirked, his eyes darkening.
"Ew! A beard," I grimaced, writhing and squealing when he tickled me.
He braced his hands by my head, leaning in to kiss me so softly, so sweetly that it almost took my breath away. "I love you," he sighed, pressing his forehead to mine.
"I love you," I smiled nuzzling his nose with my own. "And I'm sorry about finding that picture. I would have never..."
"I'm not sorry, love," he frowned, kissing my lips to shut me up. "There's nothing I won't tell you...nothing I won't share with you." With soft, gentle hands, he removed the last of my clothing. We came together as one with a whimpering sigh from me and a gush of sweet breath from Edward. He made love to me like he was worshiping my heart, soul and body. Every caress and kiss was languid and reverent. Every sweet adoration was meant to remind me that only we existed in that one moment, that I was everything to him.
He fed off of every one of my twitching muscles, every orgasm, every cry of his name, only to do something else to hear and feel it over and over. He was stunning as he came inside me. We clung to each other, relishing our connection both physical and emotional. There was nothing in the world but the two of us.
"What do you think you're doing?" My sweet wife teased as I eased out of her to get up.
"Before Christmas is over, I wanted to give you your present," I chuckled, kissing her quickly. I stood, pulling on my jeans and walking down to the car. By the time I came back, Bella had pulled my shirt on and rolled up the sleeves. "That beats lingerie any day," I growled, scooping her up and setting her on my lap.
"And cheaper when you aren't ripping my underwear off," she mumbled. I laughed, kissing her neck.
"I own stock, so it doesn't matter," I smirked.
"In La Perla or Victoria's Secret?"
"That's a damn shame," she cracked up.
"It is, but I can't help it," I laughed. "I wanted to talk to you about Jasper's present."
"Oh," she frowned, resting her head on my shoulder. I rubbed her bare legs. "I can't believe they want to publish me."
"I can," I smiled, kissing her forehead. "But, yes, I'm biased, I know," I sighed, rolling my eyes as she sat up to say something. She snorted and laid her head back down. "Jasper will go over the details with you, but I want you to know he's worked it out so that you can do it and stay...um, anonymous...as the case may be."
"Yes, ma'am," I smiled as she sat up again to look at me. "He's developed some sort of alter ego for you. But he wants to tell you."
"Ok," she said, sounding wary. She leaned into my touch as I tucked her hair back.
"My gift isn't really a gift, but an offer that kind of goes along with that," I smiled at her confused face. "If you decide to take the offer and you want to write full time, I propose we...instead of going to college this time...that we move someplace where you can do what you really love."
"Where?" She asked, her mouth hanging open.
"Well, really anywhere you want, but I was thinking London," I smiled. "You liked Europe and Carlisle was thinking the next move would be overseas."
"We wouldn't live with the family?"
"Well, again, we can do whatever you'd like, but I was thinking of a little flat in the city, just ours, just for us," I smiled. "We would be near them. Alice would lose her mind without us, Esme and Jasper too."
"What about you? I mean, you can't possibly want to sit around and watch me type all day," she said, her mind flickering with curiosity.
"I was thinking about medicine again," I sighed, looking at her for approval.
"Oh, Edward," she smiled, kissing my cheek. "That's a great idea. Would you work with Carlisle?"
"I assume so," I nodded, "I haven't even talked to him about it yet. I wanted to see what you thought first." Her eyebrows shot up, a little laugh huffing from her. "I want you happy and I want a break from high school, even college."
"I think you've given this some thought," she smiled, cupping my face. "And I think if I decide to write full time, that it all sounds perfect. Would it upset you if I waited to give you an answer until I hear from Jasper?"
"No, not at all," I chuckled. "I wouldn't expect any different. But your present...if you choose to accept it," I teased, "is this." I handed her a folder. "It's some of the available flats in London. I really want you to pick it, make it yours. I've lived everywhere and nowhere was home until I found you, love. So whichever one you decide, it's yours. A done deal."
"You'd give me a house?" She chuckled, taking the folder.
"I already told you that," I smirked. "When we were in California, I said I felt the need to give you a place of your own. Can I do that?"
"Will you help me?" She giggled. "Because...yeah, not a clue as to what I'm looking for."
I laughed, pulling her closer. "Of course, but all of those are good choices, baby. You should recruit Esme to help you pick. In reality, she's amazing at it."
"Ok," she whispered, flipping through the folder. "And what if I decide not to write? I mean, what if I decide to take classes in London, or volunteer for the hospital like Esme..."
"You'd do that?"
"Life with you gives me so many options, Edward," she smiled, "I tried to tell you that from the beginning. I want to try new things," she nodded.
"Love, you could paint houses for a living for all I care...as long as you are happy."
"Yeah, that won't be happening," she snickered, looking at the folder one more time. "Thank you," she said, her brow wrinkling.
"No, thank you," I sighed, pressing my lips to hers. "It's you that makes this life amazing, thank you for that." She smiled, pressing her forehead to mine. Her breathing picked up as I caressed her bare thigh.
"Mm," she growled, "you in doctor's scrubs...that's wickedly sexy, Edward."
"Remind me to change at the hospital," I chuckled, biting at her neck roughly. "You'd never let me out of the house."
"Nope, never."
"You made me a fat recluse from Iowa, Jasper?" My love gasped, the whole house exploding in laughter. "That's freakin' hilarious!"
"I'm glad you think so," Jasper chuckled. "It was the only way. Marie Anthony can't be seen."
"I know, but damn," she snickered, shaking her head.
"Ok, so here's the thing, besides what you are supposed to look like," he sighed, pulling her down in the chair beside him at the dining room table. "The contract is for Eternity, which is what they want to publish. And another story...after that, they will decide if they want more from you. Your contract will be up for renewal at that point. You will never talk with them. Only me." He raised his eyebrow at her. It was his way of protecting her at all costs.
"And you know my feelings on the story you wrote for Edward..."
"No," she shook her head. "I don't think so. I'd have to rewrite it...completely. Different names, different places. I'd have to remove so much, Jazz," she sighed. "That was his only."
"Thank you, love," I smiled, "but it's really good. Even better than the first."
"Hey!" Esme growled. "I liked our story." I laughed, shaking my head. Bella's first story was based on Carlisle and Esme.
"You didn't read the second one," Jasper and I said together. Bella snorted and rolled her eyes.
"How long do I have to make this decision?" She asked, making us turn towards her.
"A month," Jasper answered, pointing it out to her in the letter of intent.
"You really don't know, do you?" Alice piped up from the living room. "I can't see a decision one way or the other."
"No," she sighed, shaking her head. "I don't know."
"It's a big decision, Alice," Jasper smiled, pulling her to his lap when she joined us. "If she decides to do this she's stuck. She has to write another book."
"That's not all," Bella smiled, "but yeah, that's most of it."
Neither one of us had mentioned our discussion at the old house concerning our future. And neither one of us was in any hurry. However, the deadline on the contract was pushing that boundary. "Take as long as you want, love," I said, raising my eyebrow at her.
"Ok," she smiled. "Thanks again, Jasper." She ruffled his hair as she rose from the table.
"We're doing what?" Rose laughed. "With all that's going on, Esme, you want to throw a last minute New Year's Eve party?" I groaned, my head falling back against the couch. Emmett chuckled quietly next to me.
"Shut up and play," I growled, shooting an enemy on the screen that had sneaked up on us.
"Ignoring it won't make it any less likely to happen," he teased, opening fire on our game.
"Shut up!" I laughed, "Let me have my 'head in the sand' moment." He laughed, nodding and punching buttons quickly on his controller.
"It's just for Carlisle's staff and a few others," Esme defended.
"Move over in that sand," Alice frowned, "just wait for this next part."
"And a few of your friends from school," Esme murmured. I laughed and groaned at the same time. Alice killed me sometimes with her predictions.
"Pam's mother works at the hospital," Esme continued, "so why not invite a few others?"
"I just hope Wendy and Drew come," Emmett laughed, shrugging. "Anyone else I could care less about."
"Exactly," I agreed. "Go, Em...sniper one o'clock!"
"Got him, got him, got him," Emmett growled, furiously working his controller.
Esme sighed in frustration, stood up and shut off the TV.
"Hey!" Emmett and I protested. My brother adding, "The Nazi's will win now. Are you happy?" I laughed, burying my face in his shoulder.
"Pay attention, both of you," she frowned, but I could see a gleam of amusement in her eyes. "We need to get this place ready. New Year's Eve is tomorrow night."
"Ok," we whined. Occasionally, Emmett and I drove everyone crazy with our immature moments. He was the one person that I could completely let loose with, be unbelievably silly.
"Now, Carlisle has taken Jasper and Edward to rent a few tables. They'll be back any minute. We need to move things around in here to allow people to move freely. Bella, I need your help with food. You're the only one that remembers how to cook."
"Ok, got it," I sighed, getting up and handing my controller over. "Anything in particular you want, or do you want me to plan a full dinner?"
"Not a full course meal, sweetie, just finger foods."
"Who's going to the store with me?" I asked, walking into the kitchen to grab a cookbook.
"I will," Esme nodded. "Call Edward and have the boys stop to pick up some wine and champagne."
"Yup," I sighed, pulling out my phone and dialing Edward.
"Hi, sweet girl," he answered immediately, "did the Nazis win?"
"Yes," I growled, "because Esme shut the TV off!" His chuckle was like smooth, thick velvet. "She's put us to work." I teased her as she shook her head at me. "Some party nonsense. And now she's sticking her tongue out at me. I shouldn't have to put up with this abuse, Edward." I laughed, as she walked over and shoved me.
"You're right, let's run away," he chuckled sexily.
"Sweet," I sighed, thinking it sounded like a really good plan. At least until after the party.
"Edward Anthony Masen Cullen," Esme growled, "I will hunt the both of you down!"
"Damn," he sighed. "What can I do for you, love?"
"She needs wine and champagne," I chuckled. "Can you guys please pick that up?"
"We got it!" Jasper boomed in the background.
"We stopped already," Edward said, "Carlisle wanted something specific anyway."
"Ok. Esme and I are heading to the store for the food," I sighed, "we'll probably just miss each other."
"Ok, beautiful, I'll see you soon," he sighed, ending the call with, "Love you."
"So are you going to talk to me about London, Bells?" Esme smirked, grabbing two jars of olives, one green and one black.
"Oh," I nodded. "I suppose I should. When are we going?"
"Carlisle was thinking after Rose and Emmett 'graduate'...but nothing is set in stone."
"So, a year," I mused, "at most?" I was really thinking out loud. If I took the contract that the publisher offered me and if I decided to write another book, I could very well start that once we moved. Jasper had told me once the contract was signed, that it would take a year for the first book to be printed, shipped and promoted. During that time, I could either write another book or rewrite the story of me and Edward. The latter was being pushed by everyone in the house, including my husband.
We stopped at the deli and handed over a list of meats and cheeses, waiting for the clerk to slice them for us. "You do what you want, Isabella," Esme whispered. "No one is forcing you to do anything." I must have been too quiet. I turned to her with a smile.
"What's it like being married to a doctor?" I asked suddenly.
"Edward's thinking of going back into medicine, isn't he?" She beamed with pride over her son. I smiled and nodded. "It's hard sometimes. I won't lie. He'll get calls in the middle of the night, stay late at work. Edward is a lot like Carlisle, so he'll be dedicated once he sets his mind to it. You'll find him studying late, trying to fix something no one else can. Edward has done this before, you know," she smiled, taking the packages from the deli clerk.
"He wants a place of our own when we go," I said quietly.
"Good," she smiled with a sigh. "It's about time you separated from us – take a little time for the two of you. You can live like a newlywed couple should."
"We've been married for almost five years," I chuckled.
"And you'll live a very long time, that's still newlywed," she whispered with a teasing tone to her voice. "And you're so private, it has to drive you crazy."
"It does," I laughed, "but we're ok." We grabbed bags of every chip imaginable, throwing them in the basket. "He's giving me the responsibility of choosing the house," I sighed, picking up three different types of bread and putting them in the cart.
"Want help?"
"Oh God, please," I begged, "with all of it."
"Ok," she smiled, wrapping her arm around me. "Show me what you're working with when we're done with this party and we'll see what we can do."
"What was he like as a doctor?" I asked, looking at her. "I know how Carlisle is..."
"Oh Bells," she giggled, her brow furrowing. "Edward is amazing. First of all, he'd rather work with children. Something about their minds draws him in. I want to say it's the innocence of them or the pure honesty, but I really think he just wants to save them all. He's calm and decisive, quiet and unassuming." She smiled with unabashed pride. "He has every bit of the same control that Carlisle does – he's worked very hard on it over the years. Though he holds Carlisle in such high regard that he doesn't agree with me."
"Oh, but," she gasped, pausing to stare at me, a smile playing on her lips. "Bells, you'll absolutely have to visit him often. The nurses will be on him like white on rice."
"I don't doubt it," I sighed. "Won't he look too young?"
"Um, no," Esme shook her head. "Carlisle brings him in as a prodigy during his internship. Pretty soon his youthful appearance isn't an issue."
"Prodigy," I snorted. "He is that."
My phone chirped, signaling a text message.
E: Are you done picking our mother's brain?
I laughed, holding up the phone so Esme could read it.
"Alice," we said together.
B: Tell Alice to quit being a tattle tale.
Alice decided to put her two cents worth sent a picture of herself sticking her tongue out at Edward. I laughed shaking my head.
E: I'll never understand how someone so tiny can be so annoying. Hurry home to me and save me from her.
B: I'm afraid you're on your own for a little while longer. Threaten her closet.
"You're mean," Esme laughed. "But it will work."
"Exactly," I sighed, continuing to wander up and down the aisles.
The next message was from Emmett. It was a picture of Edward with Alice on his back as she tried to stop him from going into her room. Jasper and Rose were in the background laughing their asses off.
"You know," Esme smirked, "that's just proof they aren't getting anything done." She smirked as she called Carlisle to tell him. The next picture was everyone back to moving furniture and cleaning. That one was from Carlisle. They were all children, honestly.
About an hour later, we pulled back into the garage, Edward and Jasper running out to help us bring everything in.
"You didn't have to tell her," Jasper pouted.
"I was laughing in the middle of the store," I growled with a laugh, smacking his arm. "It's not like she wouldn't have found out once we got home and you slackers hadn't done anything."
"Slackers," Edward scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Like shopping is getting anything done."
"Shut it," I huffed, "Or you'll be putting the trays together. I know how you just love the smell of cheese, baby."
His nose wrinkled adorably. "It smells foul," he grumbled, pouting like a child as he set everything in the kitchen. "Who can eat bacteria like that?" He mumbled to himself, but I had to bite my lip in order not to laugh at him.
In reality, human food smelled terrible to everyone in the house. Some things were more potent than others. Not to mention just about all of us had something we just couldn't stand to deal with. Edward hated cheese, Emmett fish. Esme had to leave the room if raw chicken was involved. The only thing that was tolerable was fresh fruit. The sweetness of it was actually nice.
"I'll make the fruit tray, but the meat thing is all yours," Jasper grimaced.
"Just..." I sighed, shaking my head. "Everyone out," I barked, knowing that years of taking care of Charlie and Renee was the only thing saving me in this moment. I shooed them all out, unable to resist smacking Edward's muscular ass on his way out of the kitchen. "I got this."
"Ugh, shrimp!" Emmett growled from the other room. I rolled my eyes to the ceiling, hoping to find patience and speed for getting this done.
It was early in the morning as I worked on the last tray. I saved the fruit for last, hoping the sweet scent would clear the other smells out. Edward was sitting on the center island, flipping through a magazine and waiting for me to finish. Everyone else decided to go hunting since so many humans would be at the house that evening. "I'm almost done, baby," I sighed, peeling kiwis. "Then we can go too."
"Take your time, love," he said softly. "A quiet house is a good house," he chuckled.
"So very true," I nodded.
I pulled the strawberries out of the sink where they had been draining and began to cut the stems off of them. I heard Edward inhale deeply beside me. "Those smell like you."
"So you've told me," I smiled, looking up at him. He reached down and picked one up, holding it to his nose and inhaling again. He set his magazine aside.
"Should I find some freesia for you too?" I teased and smiled at his chuckle, continuing to place the finished berries in a bowl. I picked up an almost over-ripe one, holding my hand over the bowl as the juice ran down my hand. Before I could reach for the towel that I kept on my shoulder, he grabbed my wrist. He caught the droplet of liquid on his finger before it reached my elbow, bringing it up to his mouth. My eyes widened and my brows shot up as he licked his finger clean.
If that wasn't enough to get my attention, his eyes instantly blackened at the taste of it. "Really?" I asked, a smile on my face. All he did was nod, pulling me to stand between his legs. He split open the berry he still had in his hands, squeezing it slightly in order to bring forth more juice. With a quick swipe of his finger, he dragged it across my lips.
I couldn't resist pulling his finger into my mouth. I heard a low purr come from him, but my attention was on the explosion of flavor in my mouth. Unlike solid food, the juice mixed with the taste of Edward's skin was amazing. It was sweet, a touch tangy. I felt my own eyes blacken. "Hmm," Edward mused. I could see his mind working feverishly. He hopped down from the counter to grab a storage bag from under the sink. He walked to my tray, taking a few pieces of everything and a handful of strawberries. "Finish that tray," he crooned. "This," he smirked, holding up the bag of mixed fruit, "is coming with us to the pond."
"Indeed," I giggled.
"You know..." He sighed, leaning against the counter, "Alice mentioned something about mangoes at our wedding. We never tried it."
"Oh yeah," I nodded. "I totally forgot about that. And you know there were mangoes on Isle Esme."
"Fruit was not on my mind there," he smiled, licking his bottom lip.
"Mine either," I laughed, arranging all the fruit on the tray and leaving the center open for the dip. I covered it up, slipping it off the counter and sliding it in the refrigerator. By the time I turned around the counters were clean and the garbage was disposed of. "In a hurry?" I teased, laughing as he shoved me out the back door with a deadly sexy smirk.
Hunting was quick and easy. There weren't any bears or cougars, but there were plenty of deer. I was a little clearer headed after I finished, the human food had made me aware that I hadn't hunted in quite some time. My mind was a jumble of decisions I needed to make as I walked slowly to our pond to wait for Edward.
For the first time, Edward wanted something that depended on my decision. I knew in my heart of hearts that if I had said I wanted college in Canada, he would go, but I couldn't do that to him. He seemed to really want to practice medicine again. He had gone through medical school twice, and with his perfect memory, he could probably step right back into it without question. I also knew that I had a little over two weeks left to sign my contract for my book and I still hadn't decided whether I wanted to do that or not.
It wasn't that I didn't love to write. Or that I couldn't do it. I could. I had graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in English Lit, but did I want to pour my soul onto pages and let the world pick it apart? It was one thing to let my family read it, but a completely different thing to hand it over to critics and women hunting for something to read off of a grocery store shelf. The only tempting part was the anonymity that Jasper had created for me. That alone gave me a slight sense of freedom.
And then there was the house in London. I sighed, stepping over a fallen tree just outside our pond. That, above all else, I wanted. And I wanted it badly. I never gave living alone with Edward much thought. We had always been with our family and I assumed we always would. When he handed me the folder for Christmas, I was shocked, but the more I looked through it, the more I imagined it, the more I truly wanted it. Just picking one had become a daunting task. I definitely needed Esme for this one, because all of them were beautiful – not too big, not too small, just perfect. Edward knew me so well.
I paused at the edge of our pond. I hadn't been out here since the winter started. It looked like something out of a fairytale. Untouched and pristine, the snow covered the entire area. The little pond was mostly frozen over, except for the soft trickle of water that came down the rocks. I leaned against a tree just taking it all in. Edward wasn't far, I could smell his scent above the smell of snow and evergreens and the rabbit that was foraging for food a few yards to my right.
The complete and utter sense of home came over me just as I felt a kiss to the back of my head. I smiled, turned and wrapped my arms around my husband's waist. He pulled me close, both of us just enjoying being alone.
"Your mind is so full, my love," Edward smiled, kissing my forehead. "Would it help to talk about it?"
"Yeah," I sighed, nodding with my face buried in his chest.
Before I could blink, he reached down and picked me up, only to deposit me on the blanket of snow in the middle of our clearing. "Talk to me, Bella," he said, pulling me so that we were face to face, my legs draped over his. He reached up and tucked my hair behind my ear.
"You want the house," he stated, a smile playing on his face.
"Most definitely," I nodded. "That was the easiest decision to make."
"Good, I'm glad," he sighed, kissing my nose. "So you're ok with the move...and me going back to medicine?"
"I can't deny you that, Edward," I smiled, cupping his face. "You've given me everything. It's my turn to give you what you want."
"Thank you," he whispered against my lips. "I just want to try one more time, love," he said, sitting back with a frown on his face. "Rose mentioned something about it when we were at the children's hospital and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since."
"And you should...if you want it, it's yours. Rose is smart," I smiled, leaning forward to rest my forehead on his shoulder. "So, the book thing is the only decision that I'm having difficulty with..." I felt my body relax under Edward's touch. He rubbed my back slowly, softly with the flat of his hands.
"What do you see yourself doing when we get to London?" He asked softly.
"Beating nurses off of you," I laughed, placing a kiss to his neck as he chuckled.
"I never paid them any attention before...what makes you think I will now that I have the most beautiful woman in the world to come home to?" He crooned, kissing the top of my head.
"And you should wear a sign that says that very thing," I teased, wiggling closer when his fingers dug into my sides. "I don't know what I see," I sighed, pulling back to look up at him. "I can't see past this...this thing...with the Volturi, Edward."
"Oh," he nodded, "yes, Demitri's leaking Marcus' whereabouts in the next few days," he sighed, frowning in worry. "I can't say that I'm not concerned, love. I am, but we can't let it control us." He smiled, tilting his head at me. "You were right when you told Jake that we were going into it blind. Alice can't see anything past Felix making a decision once he hears where Marcus is. The fight is blank. But, Bella," he said, taking my face in his hands, "we are more than what they are expecting. Despite the fact that you are what they plan to target, they have no idea what awaits them when they try."
I nodded, closing my eyes when he kissed my temple. There wasn't a member of my family, vampire, human or werewolf, that wouldn't fight until the end. "Then to answer your question...I see myself writing, maybe taking another class or two," I sighed, looking up at him. "I really need your opinion on this, baby. Should I sign that contract?"
He studied my face for a moment. "I'm biased, remember?" He smirked, chuckling when I rolled my eyes. "I think you're so very smart," he sighed, love filling his eyes and radiating from his entire being, "and I think that writing makes you happy. I say sign it, but when it comes time for renewal, if you don't want to do it anymore, then don't. You can hide behind the identity that Jasper's created for you and no one would be the wiser. You have plenty of time to write the other one...or rewrite our story," he hinted with a smile.
I laughed, shaking my head. "Ok," I nodded. "I'll sign it."
"Then you have my full support, my sweet girl."
I pulled him in for a kiss, cupping his face. I couldn't resist his sweet bottom lip. My favorite sound emitted from him as I dragged my tongue over it. Turning his head and slipping his hands into my hair, the kiss became so much more. There was too much space between us. I sat up on my knees and he shifted positions for me to straddle his lap.
We broke apart, breathing heavily, but Edward's mouth never left my skin until he said, "Baby, I really want to try something."
"Ok," I breathed, frowning when he pushed me back a little. He reached into the inside pocket of his jacket, pulling out the bag of fruit he'd taken earlier. I smirked, shaking my head as he opened it.
He reached in taking out another strawberry, breaking it in half. I watched as the juice dripped onto the snow, staining it the softest color of pink. I took half and he took the other, running it over my bottom lip.
I couldn't help the sound that escaped me when his tongue licked across my mouth. And the taste. When he swirled his tongue again over my lips, I moaned, opening my mouth to him just to try and take as much of that flavor in as possible.
"Hmm," he smirked, licking his lips when he broke away, "that's not bad...at all."
"What else did you take?" I snickered, feeling my eyes go completely black. I reached in the bag to pull out a light orange cube of cantaloupe. "Jacket, off."
He shrugged out of his coat, leaving it in a heap behind him. Unbuttoning his shirt, I dripped the syrupy liquid from his collar bone to his sternum. Flattening my tongue, I licked up the same path, unable to stop the purr from escaping me. "Let me try," he whispered, taking the chunk from me and tossing it away. He pulled my fingers into his mouth, his tongue swirling around them from knuckle to tip. "I still like the strawberry better," he growled low.
"Ok," I smirked, "something else..." I reached in the bag again, pulling out a slice of kiwi.
"Uh-uh," he shook his head. "My turn." I smiled and handed the slice of bright green fruit over to him. I shrugged out of my own jacket, giggling when he tugged on the hem of my sweater. I reached down and lifted that off as well. With a raised eyebrow at my bra, I took that off too.
"You know," I teased, my eyes narrowing at him. "A simple, 'Bella, I want to drip this on your nipples' would have worked." He snorted, shaking his head.
"I always want your nipples, you should just assume from now on, alright?"
I laughed, my head falling back as he held my back with one hand, dripping juice on one. I arched up to him when his mouth sucked my hardened peak into his mouth. My eyes rolled back as he twirled his tongue around it, making it that much harder and more sensitive. He did the same to the other side, my body instinctively grinding against his.
"Still like the strawberries," he smiled against my skin, placing a sweet kiss to my scar.
"My turn," I smiled, sitting up a little and reaching in for a piece of pineapple. I pushed his shirt the rest of the way off, saying, "Lie back." I squeezed all of the juice I could into his navel, smiling as he laughed. "Hush," I chuckled, leaning over to dip my tongue in. It was tart, almost too much so. "Definitely not," I sighed, throwing the chunk away. "So far strawberries are winning," I sighed, still continuing to lave my tongue over his abs.
"Well, we should make sure that's the winner," he smirked, taking another strawberry out of the bag. He pushed me until I was on my back. His deft fingers flicked open my jeans, handing me the berry he said, "Hold that."
I laughed as he quickly removed my shoes, socks and jeans. I was naked in the snow, handing him his berry back. "Oh hell," I whimpered as the juice dripped into the soft hairs of my apex. "Edward," I gasped when the juice trickled through my now heated folds.
"Spread those perfect legs, my love," he sighed, his eyes roaming all over me. "You're beautiful just laying there in the snow," he said, his voice caressed my inner thigh just before his tongue licked up my slit. My body was now on fire, despite the snow that I really couldn't feel. His eyes were black fire when he looked up at me. "It's good, but I like the taste of you better," he growled, licking his lips and throwing the strawberry away. I cried out when his tongue met my flesh again. I gripped his hair, grinding myself against him and begging to come as his mouth and fingers played my body.
His mouth sucked my clit, his fingers curling into me. Continuing to suck, Edward swirled his flattened tongue over my nub and my whole body shattered.
"More," I growled, reaching for his jeans and tugging them down. "I need more, Edward. Please."
"You taste ever so much better than anything else," he growled, hovering above me. I wrapped my legs around his hips, crying out as he slipped slowly into me. "You feel better than anything else," he moaned, his eyes rolling back. "Hold still, baby. I can't move yet."
"Edward," I whimpered. "Please...move...something...anything," I gasped when his hips pulled away from me, only to slam back in. "Yes," I hissed, my neck arching with the feel of him filling me.
His lips crashed into mine as we made our own rhythm. Slowly, we sank into the snow, but neither one of us could care less. When he bit roughly at my neck only to swirl his tongue over my skin, I gasped. "You're close, love. Come for me, let me feel it."
He reached between us, his eyes never leaving mine as his finger brushed across my swollen nub. My whole body undulated under him, writhing with the coil that was tightening in my stomach. "Who makes you come, Bella?"
"Oh God," I growled, arching up to him and pushing my hips harder against his. "You...you do..."
"That's right," he crooned, biting at my neck and pinching my clit at the same time. "Mine," he snarled in my ear and I snapped, coming completely undone underneath him.
I gripped his ass, feeling every muscle contract under my fingers as he twitched inside me. His angelic face froze in a sensual face of pleasure as he spilled into me, calling my name like a prayer.
I didn't let him up, but pulled him closer, loving the feeling of his breath against my neck. "Yeah, those nurses won't even have a clue what they're missing out on," I smiled, giggling when he tickled my waist.
"I love you," he sighed, pulling back to press soft kisses all over my face.
"Love you," I smiled, running my fingers through his hair.
We spent as much time as we could away from the house before the party. We talked out most of the concerns I had about the move, the contract, and the Volturi. I voiced my fears, telling him to be separated would scare me. Edward agreed that we would stay together no matter what happened during the fight.
"We should go, love," Edward smiled, kissing my cheek. As we got dressed and headed back to the house, I finally realized this was how my life with Edward would always be. A series of decisions, endless options for the future and a feeling of being loved completely. My only concern was the fight that I knew was coming and I swore to myself that I would do everything in my power to keep my little slice of heaven untouched.


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