Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 13

CHAPTER 13
BELLA
"We're not going together to that party, are we?" I asked Edward as I ran my fingers through his hair.
We were lying in the bed, all curtains drawn as we reveled in our tiny little bubble of privacy. The canopy was so thick, I couldn't tell if the sun had risen yet or not.
We were still at the Cullen home, after going over all of the information that Charlie had sent for Alice. The whole family was there, but they were all coupled off, which suited me just fine, because I loved our room. Plus, we had all been so tuned to Alice's needs that we needed a break from the tension.
"Not according to the rules," he chuckled, placing a kiss to my stomach before lifting his head to look up at me.
I smirked at him, thinking he looked quite proud of himself for this whole bet.
"I know the rules," I snickered, rolling my eyes. "Kevin and I meet you and Alice at the school, and then we trade partners to get dressed. That's not what I meant. This is your first – and probably last – function at this school, since we may change everything soon, so are we meeting as strangers?"
His eyes blackened instantly, but they were mischievous like a little boy. The little crooked grin that crept over his face was sexy as hell.
I couldn't help but giggle at him. "I guess that's a yes."
"I've been to the school, Bella. I'm pretty sure someone will remember me."
"Maybe." I grinned, thinking that the way Kevin and I were dressing him would make that a little more difficult.
"However," he continued, slipping up my body so that his face was closer to mine, "Emmett got his judges' rules yesterday. There's nothing in there that says couples can't compete against each other. He read them pretty thoroughly. I was impressed, actually, because he wanted to make sure this bet stayed fair and square. It's the first time I think he's enjoying being out of the loop. The surprise factor and all…"
We both laughed.
"It's not about the competition, per se..." I dragged out the last of that sentence, biting my bottom lip. I had the need to mark him has mine in public for some reason. Maybe it was because of the reconnection we had both felt recently, or maybe this was the first time in a long time we were doing something just damn silly. To be completely honest, I didn't care who won the prize for best costume. "I just know some of those people…and…"
"Ah," he said with a smirk, dragging his tongue across his bottom lip. "Now I know what you want. It's the same thing I want when you come to the hospital. What's more…satisfying – the looks of disappointment on their faces or the knowing they never had a chance?"
"Neither," I giggled, wrapping my arms around his neck. "It's the look on your face." I grinned, biting my lip.
"And what look is that?" He tilted his head at me, his face highly amused.
"It's the look that you've saved just for me since I met you. Despite the fact that you can hear every thought in the room, you're only listening to me. You wore it the first time we talked in biology and the first time we sat at lunch together. It's different in public than when we're alone. No one else exists. I love it. I'm spoiled from it."
"You give the same look, you know," he chuckled, but kissed my lips lightly. "But I do love to watch you break hearts…"
"I should think that's wrong, but I don't," I laughed, my head falling back. I felt his lips on my throat and the vibration of his soft laugh. "Does that make us strange?"
"No." He smiled against my neck, pulling back to look at me. "You can't possibly believe that Emmett and Rose, or Alice and Jasper for that matter, don't…play." He tapped his temple, his eyebrow rising sexily. "We're not the only ones that will go to a club and meet…separately."
"Nice," I giggled. I could totally see Emmett hitting on Rose at a bar.
"But I have a small confession," he began, his face filling with mock innocence. "I love hearing thoughts on how people perceive us. It's intriguing."
"Tell me," I whispered, pushing him onto his back and crawling on top of him. "Just one example, please?"
"Hmm," he mused, cupping my face and then slipping his fingers through my hair. They continued along my spine, over my bottom, and down my thighs, only to make their way back up to my shoulders. "This counts as a story, you know."
"I. Am. Naked," I laughed, shaking my head. "There's no prize for this one."
"Then it will cost you one shower," he chuckled. "Or bath. With me."
"Wow, that's a heavy price, but I want to know," I sighed, shrugging dramatically. "Just tell it, you silly ass."
He barked a laugh, bending his knees behind me. "I'm not saying all thoughts are fantastic. Men can get downright…rude when it comes to you," he growled. "But sometimes, you knock them on their ass." He grinned, and he was stunning as he picked up my hand and turned my wedding ring. "I think my favorite moments occur when you walk into a room. There's this mental and physical silence just before their thoughts explode.
"Our time at Dartmouth was a prime example of that. Every first day of a semester, the first time you would walk into the lunch room, the new freshmen would just about fall out of their chairs," he chuckled. "And you were beautifully clueless. You would have this adorable face in a book, or looking at your phone, or talking to Rose and Alice, but you had no idea that ten feet away from you, half a dozen eighteen year olds were ogling you."
I laughed, remembering one incident when he touched me just to make them jealous.
"I would watch you through them," he said softly, tracing my lips with his finger. "They would notice these flawless, long legs," he purred, caressing both of my thighs. "They would note your skirts and how short they were. They were dying to find out if your skin was as soft and silky as it looked. If your hair was up, they wanted to tug it down, just to see exactly how long it was. It was everything I ever thought of when I first saw you."
He earned a kiss for that one. I leaned in and held his face as I pressed my lips to his.
"But the best thing," he continued, "is when you finally see me. Your face changes instantly. It lights up like the sunniest of days. You smile like you haven't seen me in ages, rushing to me just to kiss me. And they all saw it. They would shatter right there. Some were jealous, some just thought I was a damn lucky bastard." He chuckled. "But most just wished they were me. For just a few minutes, they wanted to be in my shoes. I wanted to tell them that having you was the absolute best part of being me."
I studied the face of my happy Edward while he told this story, and I wondered if he'd watched these interactions with his siblings while he was alone. I wondered if he'd hated it or if the loneliness drove him crazy. And on top of all of that, I wondered just how much of a shock it was when he realized someone loved him. Truly loved him – a strong undying, unconditional, forever kind of love. It was the kind of love he'd thought he'd never have.
"I love you," I whispered, my brow furrowing at my own thoughts. I just couldn't ask him those questions, because if he had asked me the same thing, I just didn't have the answer. Sometimes our love was just damned overwhelming and unbelievable. "You need to know that."
"I do know that." He frowned, linking our fingers together and pulling me closer to him.
I pressed my forehead to his, closing my eyes. "I know, but we say it all the time. I just never mean it any less. I mean it more every time."
"Your mind is closed to me, my sweet girl. What are you thinking?" he asked, sitting up but wrapping his arms around me so that I was cocooned in his embrace.
I was surrounded by his smooth skin and strong arms and legs. I was enveloped with his comforting, yet delicious scent.
"I can't open my mind right this second, baby." I smiled. "I'm sorry. We're talking about school, and your costume is still a secret."
He chuckled. "Fair enough," he said, nodding. "But tell me what's making this." He sighed, reaching up to the wrinkle between my brow.
"I was thinking about you and wondering if it was a shock to know that someone loved you after all that time alone," I answered, unable to keep anything from him, even if my shield was covering my thoughts.
"A shock is an understatement," he admitted, his head falling to my shoulder. "It was all new, baby. It scared me, made me angry, and made me feel vulnerable. And I couldn't get enough."
"Angry?"
"Yes, angry, because I couldn't control anything about it. And I was always proud of my control, but not with you. I couldn't see your thoughts, but I had to know more. You were breathtakingly beautiful, which left me speechless most days." He laughed, holding me closer as I giggled at him. "You were the perfect definition of frustration and temptation all rolled into one."
"Welcome to the club, handsome," I laughed, pushing him back down on the bed and slipping off of him.
"Hey, where are you going?" He pouted, rolling to his side to watch me walk across the room naked.
God, he was just so deadly. All skin and muscles, naked, lying there without a care in the world. His head rested on his hand, and his physique just looked like art work with a backdrop of deep burgundy sheets.
"Uh…bath?" I reminded him with a chuckle. "Duh!" I rolled my eyes and turned my back on him. I squealed when I was suddenly lifted up onto his shoulder.
"Shower," he corrected with a growl, setting me down on the bathroom mat.
The Cullens must have installed enormous water heaters, because no matter where we moved, the hot water would last just about forever. And Edward always picked the best shower heads. These were the inane thoughts running through my mind as I stepped under the waterfall of warm water.
Edward stepped in front of me, joining me under the water. My eyes locked onto a single drop of water that left the very edge of his bottom lip and slipped slowly down to his chin, finally dropping into oblivion. The next drop that caught my attention was traveling down his neck to his chest. Just before it made it to the small line of hair below his bellybutton, I caught it on my finger, bringing it to my mouth.
My husband's eyes were pitch black when I finally looked back up at him. He had been watching the whole thing. Leaning in, I placed a long, slow, open mouthed kiss over his heart. I swirled my tongue up to the crook of his neck. Why that was the place that his amazing scent was strongest, I had no idea. Why, whenever we were in the shower, that scent intensified a thousand percent was unknown, too, but it blew my ever loving mind.
I moaned, my eyes closing as I inhaled as deeply as I could. I gripped his shoulders as his hands held my waist, his fingers slightly twitching. Edward was letting me have the moment.
"Did you know," I purred, "that you have one single freckle…right here?" I asked, sucking the area that lonely beauty mark resided just behind his ear.
"No." His voice was soft, husky, but there was a touch of amusement there.
"You do." I smiled against his skin. "There's another one…right here." My eyes locked with his as I twirled my tongue over his right shoulder. "But my favorite," I sighed, turning him around, "is here." I knelt down, holding him by his hips. His beautiful ass was right in front of my face, and I couldn't help but cup each cheek before leaning forward.
Just above the hip bone on his side was one solitary freckle. I felt his hand on my head as he turned to watch my lips press to his skin. I suckled his flesh, giving a teasing nip with my teeth.
"Why that one, silly girl?" he chuckled, caressing my face as I stood back up.
"It sits just above the waist of your jeans," I explained, biting my bottom lip. "And occasionally, it peeks out when you wear certain t-shirts. But only I know about it. I'm quite possessive of it, actually."
He fought his smile and nodded. "Have a seat," he smirked, pointing to the bench in the corner. "Let's talk about possessive." He sounded commanding, but I could see he was feeling just as silly as I was.
I sat down on the edge of the bench, and he knelt between my legs. "Did you know that you have a birthmark? Right here?" He picked up my leg, cradling my thigh in his large hand while the other light traced my skin up to the sensitive tendon just outside of my center between my legs.
"Yeah, because I can truly see that," I giggled, gasping when he leaned in to place a long, wet kiss there. When he sucked my skin into his mouth, I moaned, my hips rising off the bench.
"If anyone is possessive, Bella, it's me, because no one knows about that but me," he growled, placing kiss after kiss up my stomach, finally taking one of my nipples into his mouth. His teeth grazed the super sensitive skin, causing my breathing to come out in pants. "In fact, I'm so possessive – of every damn inch of you – that I want you. Right here."
"Yes, now…"
Bracing his hands over me, he lifted slightly, positioning himself at my entrance. With one swift thrust, he sheathed himself deep within me. Warm water pelted all around us, but all I could see was Edward. All I could feel was the perfect and complete rapture that came with uniting our bodies.
With the water of the shower, our bodies slipped easily against each other. We were shared breaths and not quiet. Erotic moans and grunts erupted from us that seemed to echo in the bathroom. I whimpered when he snaked a hand under my ass to lift my hips up. My eyes rolled back as he hit deeper and deeper.
We didn't say a word, but everything was communicated with incoherent gasps and long, deep kisses with exploring tongues.
Fuck, Edward! I thought to him. God, you feel so fucking good!
I knew we weren't alone at the house. I knew that everything that was said and done was sensed by our family, but I just couldn't help it. And I damn well wasn't letting Dirty Edward out of his hiding place. He had been safe and sound for years, and I was quite fond of his deadly ways. I still wasn't quite ready for him to announce his existence. I probably never would be.
"More, love…" he growled, swiveling his hips to hit a spot that made me cry out.
I couldn't give him more, because my mind suddenly went blank. My climax hit me out of nowhere, but I didn't want that sweet connection to end. I could barely register when Edward pulled out of me and stood me on my feet.
"I'm not done, baby," he whispered in my ear, turning my back to his chest. His hands were everywhere – touching, grasping, squeezing. He lifted my right leg, setting my foot on the bench, and I cried out when he thrust back inside of me with a feral growl. "I'll never be…done," he said, his voice a sexy, husky snarl.
I reached back to thread my fingers into his wet locks to hold him to me. My head fell back to his shoulder as he continued to take me in one of the most basic of ways. I could feel everything about him this way. It seemed there wasn't an inch of us that wasn't touching, and the water pouring over us just made it all the more erotic.
Edward's chest pressed into my back, and I could feel every breath, every vibrating growl and purr. His left hand cupped my breast, pulling and tugging on my nipple until my stomach contracted with the want for another orgasm.
His right hand had a mind of its own. He would flatten it on my stomach to feel himself moving inside of me; it would slip down to my apex just to press my clit. He would bring me to the very edge of bliss, only to pull away to prolong the feeling.
I gripped his hair the last time he stole those perfect fingers away, tugging his mouth to mine. The kiss was wet, messy, twisting tongues, swollen lips, and nothing but gasps of pleasure. My mind was screaming to come, for him to come with me, and for him to end the exquisite torture.
"So close," he begged so quietly in my ear, finally giving back in to touch me where I was aching most. "Baby, please…"
His plea was my undoing, more so than anything else. My head fell back to his shoulder as his hand gently tugged it to the side with his fingers under my jaw. His teeth scraped across my skin as we both completely shattered in that shower. My breathing stopped altogether when he squeezed me closer, spilling into me.
His voice was soft in my ear. "You have no idea how amazing it is to watch your mind completely go blank when I'm inside of you."
"Uh huh," I mumbled, still unable to move.
He smiled against my shoulder, turning his head to kiss my cheek. "Yup, just like that," he snickered sexily.
"Don't break your arm when you pat yourself on the back, Edward," I sniped, but smiled when he laughed softly in my ear.
We finally separated, and I turned to face him. I couldn't help but smile. He was just painfully handsome and shameless and insatiable. And I loved him with an absolute insanity.
"Me, too, baby," he agreed, pulling me under the water to finish our shower.
EDWARD
I looked across the yard from the patio deck to watch the girls on a blanket. It was a rare sunny day, and Bella, Alice, Rose, and Esme were all soaking it up in tank tops and shorts. It was sweet, innocent, giggly chatter that I had missed. It ranged from clothes to shoes, and from nail polish colors to celebrity gossip.
I turned my attention back to the laptop in front of me. As promised, I was researching universities that might be suitable for Bella and me if she decided to continue into a PhD program. And the decision was clearly and solely up to her, because after these last few months, all I wanted was to be near her. If she wanted to travel, we would. If she wanted to go to school, it was a done deal. Even if she wanted to play all day just like she was right that minute, I had no problem with it.
I looked up at the pile of hysterically laughing girls, and realized that it was contagious. I snorted as they fell over on each other, clutching their sides. I couldn't hear their thoughts, so Bella's shield must have been around them.
"That's a sound I've missed," Carlisle chuckled, sitting next to me at the patio table.
"No kidding," I laughed softly. "They've been at it for about an hour."
I turned my attention back to the computer, hearing Carlisle's thoughts. College courses?
I nodded, looking up at him. "Bella," I answered. "It's a back up plan. She's thinking about going for her PhD," I told him with a slight shrug.
His pride in her filled his mind. For what?
"Child Psychology," I smirked, waiting for his reaction. I was the only member of the family that had ever had any interest in medicine. This would truly make him proud.
"Huh," he huffed, his eyebrow almost disappearing into his hairline. His mouth hung open in a half smile, his mind flooded with ideas for encouraging her.
I laughed at him. "That's your doing, you know. It was that conversation with Danielle that made her consider it. But she hasn't made up her mind. As she told me, don't get your hopes up."
"She said that?"
"She did."
And you're going with her, I assume, he thought to me.
"Yes." I nodded. "It sounds interesting – a different avenue."
"And she doesn't want to be apart from you…"
"I don't think we can. And it's not just her," I said, looking him in the eye. "I won't ever take that chance again."
Carlisle nodded, placing a hand on my shoulder and squeezing. "I don't blame you, son, but what about what you want?"
I looked up at him with a frown. "I've done what I want. I did it for a hundred years. I want to enjoy her. And it doesn't matter how that happens." He nodded in acknowledgement. "She makes everything old…new again. Does that make sense?"
"Yes, son, it does. Are you forgetting that I waited, too?"
"No, I haven't forgotten. I had hoped that you would understand."
Another peal of girly laughter floated across the back garden, and we both turned to watch them. Rose, Alice, and Bella were telling Esme silly school stories, and she was loving them. They were mainly from Dartmouth.
"So Jasper's making fun of me," Bella huffed, rolling her beautiful eyes and folding her arms across her chest. "I can't draw. That's Ali's thing. He tells Edward that I get to use macaroni in my art project – like I'm a freakin' toddler."
I chuckled, shaking my head, listening from my seat across the yard.
"And Jazz gets all nervous, because he knows she's going to get him back when he least expects it," Alice giggled. "And it was hilarious!"
"What? What?" Esme begged.
"She waits until the next class is fully underway before she seeks revenge. Jasper likes to lean back in his chair, so as he's taking notes, Bells shoots that shield of hers right at the legs of his chair, and he goes down with this huge bang."
"The whole class turned around, because he was cussing like a sailor," Bella snorted.
Rose and Esme laughed, their heads falling back.
"She did that?" Carlisle snickered.
"Oh yeah," I answered, smiling at the memory. "It was constant at Dartmouth – the pranks. They were even better when Alice and Bella teamed up against that teacher in Portland."
"Oh right, the one that didn't like you." He nodded, laughing when I rolled my eyes. "She'd fight tigers for you, Edward. And you know it." I smiled, but his gaze was drawn passed me. "Oh hell, Jasper lost a bet."
I turned to see both of my brothers emerge from the woods, Emmett wearing an arrogant smirk and carrying Jasper's clothes. Jasper was wearing…well, the woods. He was holding up two branches – one for the front and the other for the back.
"This I have to hear," I snorted, shaking my head and leaning back in my chair.
"Jazz, what the hell?" Alice stood up, a tiny little ball of fury.
"Em cheated on a bet," he growled, shooting a scathing look at our largest brother. "That's not a correct replacement, you jackass."
"It is a perfectly fine replacement. You're just pissed that you didn't come up with it!" Emmett laughed, tossing Jasper's clothes onto the blanket between Rose and Bella.
"Replacement for what?" Rose and Bella asked.
"We had a contest when we went hunting…how many replacement words are there for the term penis?"
"Euphamism," Bella said wryly, rolling her eyes.
"That's not one!" Emmett argued.
Carlisle and I snorted into silent laughter. Alice had to cover her face.
"No, dip shit," Bella growled. "Euphamism is the term for…oh, never mind!"
"Give up the list," Rose commanded. "Let's hear it. We'll be the judge of whether they're correct or not."
"I said," Jasper started, "cock, dick, schlong, shaft, dork, pecker, porker, meat, skinboat…"
Emmett rolled his eyes, holding up his hands to start counting off. "And I said…johnson, peen, hooha…"
"Hooha is for girls," Alice countered.
"Is this really important?" Esme laughed with a wrinkled brow.
"I'm naked by cheating," Jasper pouted, adjusting his shrubbery. "Yes, it's freakin' important."
"I'm not done," Emmett growled, starting his count again. "Anaconda, trouser snake, baloney pony, cupid's arrow, knobgoblin…and root."
"Root?" we all bellowed.
"Really? Root?" Alice and Bella asked.
"That's what I said!" Jasper snapped. He pointed to Emmett. "Root doesn't count."
"No, hooha doesn't count," Esme countered, "because that's female. If we accept…root, then you're tied."
Just the fact alone that Esme was in the conversation made me laugh.
"Root shouldn't count. I'm really fucking old. Root is not a term I have ever heard of, but let's ask the old man…Carlisle!" Jasper was really standing his ground with this one.
I laughed, looking over to our father. "This is a Mensa meeting if I've ever heard it."
He laughed, shaking his head at all of us.
"Shut up, Edward," Emmett growled, but Bella laughed, hiding her face in Esme's shoulder.
"Fine," Carlisle snorted. "I personally haven't heard it, but I only recently discovered what a…"
"Oh no," I snorted. "Root accepted. It's a tie!"
I turned to my father. "You would have never heard the end of it. They would love to tell Kevin you know what a 'Disco Stick' is," I whispered low to him with a raised eyebrow. His amusement was all over his face.
"Fine!" Jasper beamed. "A tie means I can get dressed!" Everyone started heading our way.
"No! No tie," Emmett whined.
"Fine, then you get naked, too," Bella countered with a shrug and an eye roll. In her mind, she was just ready to shut Emmett up.
I chuckled, opening my arms for her and pulling her to my lap. She smelled like grass, sunshine, and freesias as she wrapped and arm around my shoulder and sat sideways on my thighs. I leaned in, kissing her cheek, only to snap my head around to Emmett.
"Let it go, Em. Or I'll tell everyone what you call yours," I smirked.
Rose laughed, waving me on, but Emmett froze, saying, "A tie it is."
"Whoa," Jasper and Bella gasped, and turned to me. "What is it?" they asked at the same time, both wearing evil smiles.
"No, no, no," Emmett chanted, holding up his hands. "See, this is why we can't let Eddie play these games. He's probably heard it all."
"Ew," Bella winced, "that must be awful. I never thought of it that way." She giggled, her nose wrinkling adorably, and I couldn't help but kiss the tip of it with a chuckle.
"That just means he has more access to the best creativity. What do you call it, Bells?" Emmett teased.
"Mine," she growled, standing up and pulling me up beside her.
I laughed, kissing her head. "Good girl!" We left them on the patio, the girls giving her fist bumps on her way by.
BELLA
"Wow, Kev, that looks amazing!" I exclaimed, my mouth hanging open.
"Years in theatre," he chuckled, his chest puffing with pride. "It was too clean, too bright. It needed to look this way. All it took was a little paint, some soot…it was easy." He shrugged adorably.
"Damn, you're so right," I beamed. "Think he'll win?"
"I hope so." He smiled an evil smile. "My goddess wants to go to New York, then she should get New York!"
"Thanks, Kev," I said, kissing his cheek. "There's only one problem with that theory. Edward and Alice…together…pure evil. Especially when it comes to bets."
"We'll see. So let's pack up and get to the school."
Kevin was playing on his cuts and bruises for his costume. He was going as a zombie. A little white and gray makeup and some fake blood... he was perfect. As we packed up Edward's costume, my mind reeled with what I could possibly be asked to wear tonight.
We were meeting at the sports center to get dressed. As we pulled up, I shook my head at a excitedly bouncing Alice. She was grinning from ear to ear.
I shielded Kevin for the last few minutes of this situation, turning to him before we got out. "Don't ogle him," I teased with a wink, and he blushed. "Let him get dressed and then makeup. When you're done…come see if I need saving." I snorted, rolling my eyes.
"Grin and bear it, my goddess," he smirked. "I can't imagine it will be all that bad."
"We'll see," I growled with a sigh and opened my door.
Edward was leaning against the wall between the two restrooms, his long legs crossed in front of him. His arms were folded, and he was watching us with a tilted head and a sexy smirk.
"Are you ready to sing with me?" he chuckled.
"Are you ready to pack?" I countered with a giggle.
"Start spreadin' the news…I'm leavin' today…" Kevin sang dramatically, dancing a chorus line kick or two. "Come on…hand over the Hot Doc, Alice. I've got work to do."
I laughed at him as he continued to hum New York, New York while tugging Edward by his shirt sleeve. "Come on! Let's redefine the word 'hot,' shall we?" Kevin huffed, pushing at Edward.
"You, too," Alice snorted, grabbing my hand and tugging me into the bathroom. "Sit," she commanded. "Hair first."
I took a deep breath, preparing myself for the next few minutes. I closed my eyes and sat down on a lower part of the counter. I let Alice do her thing. She tugged my ponytail down and began brushing it. Soon, I found myself wearing two French braid pigtails.
When she backed away from me, she walked over to the garment bag and unzipped it.
"Oh, you're fucking kidding me, right?" I growled, hearing Edward in the next bathroom laugh, a sound that I'm sure Kevin missed. Alice smirked, folding her arms across her chest and tapping her tiny foot, but she didn't say a word. "All him?" I winced.
"Y-up!"
"I suppose I should have guessed this, but I honestly never gave it much thought. Not a nurse, but Catholic school girl?" I snorted, not even sure if I was mad or not. "Hand it over," I growled. "If he wants to see this, then let's give him something to look at," I mumbled.
"Ha! I knew it," she sang, jumping up and down. "Come on, I'll help you."
She pulled out the clothes first. There was a blue plaid, practically non-existent, layered, pleated skirt. It had a matching tie, already hanging on the white button down shirt. Long, white socks were thrown at me, and I rolled my eyes at the black, baby doll shoes that thumped to the floor.
With a smirk, I dressed, not bothering to tuck in the shirt. In fact, I hitched it up, tying it in a knot just under my bra and leaving my midriff showing. And Alice snorted into an evil giggle.
When I finally buckled my shoes, I looked in the mirror and shook my head. The short skirt made my legs look really long, which was only enhanced by the white socks pulled up and folded over just under my knees. The tie hung down to just above the waist of the skirt, and fell against my bare stomach. With my hair in braids, I looked about sixteen.
I was straight out of either a Britney Spears video or a fetish porn movie, and the thought made me laugh out loud.
"Are you gonna kill him?" Alice asked, tilting her head at me.
"Nope." I smirked. "This," I gestured up and down my body, "is his own doing." I raised my eyebrow at her, and then turned towards the door. "Let's go. Because I can't wait until you see him." I laughed, my head falling back.
As we walked passed the men's room, I heard Kevin keeping Edward in line. "Sit still. You're not leaving this room until I get this makeup on your face. Would you want the goddess pissed?"
I laughed, shaking my head when I could hear Edward's pouting voice say, "No."
"Oh, Kev, please…take your time," I yelled through the door.
"Nice, Bella," Edward sighed.
"Oh ho!" I growled, shaking my head. "We'll talk about nice when you find us at the fair, mister."
Edward's laugh was deep and sexy, yet touched with a slight nervousness. "I love you, baby," he sang with a chuckle.
"Mmhm," I snorted. "We'll see about that."
"Don't you move," Kevin ordered again. "I just gotta see what you did to my Bells."
The bathroom door was jerked open a crack, and I immediately wrapped my shield around his mind so that Edward didn't get a sneak peak. It had already been around Alice.
"Holeee Shit!" Kevin gasped, his hand on his heart. "Oh, Doc, you've got issues. Good issues, but issues nonetheless."
Alice and I laughed, nodding in agreement.
Edward groaned from inside the bathroom, and Kevin smirked. "I have work to do," he sang, waving us away with a makeup brush in his hand. "We'll meet you by the stage."
"I'm going to get dressed," Alice smiled, kissing my cheek. "Jasper's already out there. I'll meet you over there, too."
"'Kay," I told her, walking towards the sounds of music, laughter, and screams.
By the time that I made it to the stage, the festival was underway. I wove in and out of small groups of witches, wizards, and mummies. I snorted at a few vampires, and then found my brother just outside the exit of the haunted house. He was dressed as an old Western sheriff, ten gallon hat, chaps, a gun belt, and all.
"Let me guess... Alice will be a saloon hooker." I grinned at the idea.
"Yes, ma'am," Jasper chuckled, tipping his hat to me and offering me his arm. We walked slowly around the festival together. "My, my. I'd say my brother has a fetish, but I think we all know that. His fetish is you…in anything…any time, any place."
"You might be right, but this is something I should have guessed," I giggled, pointing up and down my body. "This was a joke when we were going back to high school."
"Ah." He nodded. "Well, then he should be very proud of himself. You look…wow."
I snorted, nudging his shoulder with my own and shaking my head. We both turned when we heard our names called.
Myra was leaving a group of girls, heading our way. "You look amazing. Both of you."
"Thanks," we both said together.
"Where have you two been?" she asked, looking between us. She was dressed adorably as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She was even carrying a basket with a stuffed toy dog inside.
"Family emergency," Jasper lied smoothly. "We just got back this past week." It was a smooth fib to cover up Kevin's emergency and my still wavering decision on whether to go back to that school or not.
"Oh, well, class wasn't the same without you two. I lost my research partners." She grinned. "Glad you're back…though…" Her voice trailed off, her eyes growing wide. Her group of friends that were next to us all gasped at one time.
"Oh, Lord," I chuckled, looking up at Jasper, who was barely containing his amusement as he looked over my shoulder.
"Oh, little sis, he's not the only one with a fetish," Jasper laughed.
I didn't turn around, but I bit my lip in anticipation. Soon, I smelled Edward's wonderful scent, mixed with a touch of vinyl and makup and soot. I felt him pressed against me from behind.
"And exactly where is the fire, love?" I heard his smooth, sultry voice ask in my ear.
I laughed, shrugging. "I'm pretty sure if I turn around, the fire will be pretty easy to find," I teased back. But I turned around anyway.
"Mm, dayum," I growled. "Kevin's a genius."
I don't think there had ever been a sexier sight than what was standing in front of me. When I had told Kevin to think heroes, I had considered super heroes as a joke. It went back to one of mine and Edward's first conversations. It was after the accident with the van. He asked what I was thinking, and I told him I was considering that his strength came from radioactive spiders – like Spiderman. But Kevin's idea was so much better.
A real hero. And damn it all, if he didn't look fan-fucking-tastic.
Standing in front of me was Edward in full blown firefighter gear. I smirked up at his chuckling face, but he looked amazing. He was wearing a slightly dusty and torn black t-shirt that I was pretty sure Kevin bought a size or two too small, because every muscle he had was visible and begging to be touched. The yellow, reflective pants were bunched down around black boots. Red suspenders ran up his chest loosely, under a dark blue reflective jacket. His unruly hair was hidden by the black fireman helmet.
"Turn. Around," I growled, laughing when he rolled his eyes. Yup, Kevin even remembered to have "Masen" put on the back. The very best part, I noted as he turned back to me, was the dirty, sooty touches that Kevin added to the pants, shirt, jacket, and Edward's face and hands. My man looked raw and dirty and rough. And utterly delicious.
"My turn," he growled, twirling his finger in the air for me to turn around. I sighed, turning in front of him. "I'm so winning this," he chuckled, his eyes gleaming with a touch of lustiness, but there was pride and love in there, too. "You are so beautiful, sweet girl." He leaned in, kissing my forehead.
I wrapped my hand around one of his suspenders, and heard Jasper clear his throat, not to mention the whispers of Myra's friends. I rolled my eyes up to Edward's and turned around. I snorted when I saw that all eyes were on us…well, sort of. Myra and her friends were staring, open-mouthed, at my husband. And tonight, I couldn't even blame them.
"Oh, Myra." I smiled, having totally forgotten her. Really, I had completely forgotten where we were, never mind who was around us. "This is my husband, Edward." I tugged him by his suspender.
"It's nice to meet you, Myra," Edward smiled sweetly, which only caused her friends' hearts to speed up.
"And the world's smallest prostitute here," I laughed as Alice joined us, wearing the cutest of scarlet dresses edged in black lace, "is Jasper's wife, Alice."
The look she gave Edward was hilarious, as well as the warning glance he gave her back.
As Myra introduced her friends, Melody, Harper, and Corrine, I leaned back against Edward, feeling his fingers caress my bare side.
"You're not exactly conforming to the uniform requirements, Bella," he whispered low in my ear. His tone was pure sexy velvet.
I huffed a laugh and shrugged. "It was too restrictive, and I couldn't express my individuality," I teased. I changed to communicating with my thoughts. Mm, Mr. Masen, am I in trouble? Will I be suspended? Expelled? Ooh, detention?
He laughed silently behind me, his fingers digging into my side.
"Bells, Edward, let's go!" Kevin called from the edge of the stage. "It's time."
"You're competing?" Myra chuckled, looking at us both. "Against each other?"
"It's a bet," Jasper laughed. "Come on, I'll explain it."
The girls followed Jasper and Alice towards the stage, but Edward held me back. "Sweetheart, we don't have to," he smirked, wrapping his arms around my waist. "But, God, you look better than Alice's visions," he murmured with his darkening eyes roaming all over me.
"Why not? It's just all in fun, baby," I giggled, twisting a wide, red suspender around my hand and pulled him closer. "I like those."
He smiled, shook his head, and kissed my lips softly. "Well then, good luck, my love."
"You, too," I murmured, kissing him again.
"I have just the song for your voice, beautiful," he smirked.
"And I have a list of places I want to visit in New York," I laughed, pushing away from him when we were called again.
Kevin took my hand when I walked up to him. "Showtime, my goddess. The men will go first, and then the ladies." He leaned into my ear. "Your competition is hefty. Not that they hold a candle to you."
He turned me slightly to show me two other girls waiting to go on stage. One was dressed as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, and the other was one of the blue creatures from the movie Avatar. And the latter was simply flawless.
"Wow," I breathed.
"Airbrushed body paint," Kevin smirked. "She may win, which will leave our hot fireman free to take the men's prize." With that said, he pointed to where the men were on the other side of the stage.
While the other two men had excellent costumes – one was a perfect version of Michael Myers from the movie Halloween, and the other was the guy from V for Vendetta – neither looked as good as Edward. His toughest competition was Michael Myers. That guy was playing off the whole stiff posture, eerie silent killer thing very well.
"Once one female winner and one male winner are chosen, they will be judged. The final winner will receive the prize," Kevin finished explaining.
As I looked at Edward, I realized one thing. He really wanted me to win. He really wanted me to sing with him. And for Edward to want something so badly to go to these lengths meant that he had wanted this for some time.
"Why didn't he just ask?" I whispered to myself with a frown.
Alice must have seen my decision and walked over to me. "If you want to win this for him, then you need to work the male judges," she whispered in my ear. "It won't take much. You look amazing."
"Thanks, Ali," I told her softly, looking over at her.
"Oh, and pop open one more button," she giggled, reaching up to undo one the upper buttons on my shirt, allowing my cleavage to show just a touch more. "And," she laughed, pulling me down so that she could whisper a few more instructions as the men took the stage for judging.
Emmett and Rose were seated at a table with another girl and two other guys. The last three were familiar to me. I had seen them on campus before. They were usually heavy into school activities.
I locked eyes with Rose, who shot Edward an appraising look and then back to me. She smirked, shooting me a wink. She elbowed Emmett and pointed to me. His mouth fell open, and I rolled my eyes at him. He chuckled, rubbing his hands together and sitting forward in anticipation.
Michael Myers walked stiffly to the front of the judges table and just stood there. He didn't say or do anything, except stand menacingly in front of them. It earned him a few scattered laughs from the table and the audience. They asked him to turn around once before exiting the other end of the stage.
V arrived onstage with flair and a swish of his cape, earning more laughter and appreciative smiles from the judges. He exited the stage with a dramatic bow, and the applause was scattered, but the crowd was growing.
Rose had an evil look in her eye when my husband walked onto the stage with a long-legged grace. He earned a few whistles and whoops as he took his place in front of the table. Kevin and I snickered when he gave Rose and Emmett warning looks. But Rose was not to be deterred.
"Drop the jacket," she commanded, gesturing with the pen that was in her hand.
My mouth fell open as he shirked out of the jacket, exposing that gravity defying, perfect, muscular ass, and his strong upper body that was only accentuated by that damn tight black t-shirt. That act earned the reaction I expected. The females in the audience lost their minds with screams and whistles.
Yet again, my man had groupies.
"I love her," Kevin and I murmured together, which only caused another round of quiet giggles between us. When Edward left the stage, Kevin pushed me and the two other girls off the stage. I tugged his shirt.
"If he went last, so do I," I told him, smiling.
"'Kay," he nodded, letting the Queen of Hearts go first.
She received very little response, but the Avatar was well received. I had to admit that she looked really good. She wasn't ten feet tall, of course, but she wasn't short, either. She had an athletic body, barely covered by scraps of material, and a bow and arrow were strapped to her back. Her hair was black and pulled back into a tight ponytail.
With one quick adjustment, I walked on stage with an attitude. Alice said to work the male judges, and that totally included my brother. And he was the only man I would have dared pull what I was about to pull.
I walked up to the table, fighting my smile, because Emmett was leaned back in his chair with his big arms folded across his chest. I sat gently on the edge of the table right in front of him, bringing my right leg up into a bended position. I slowly pulled up the sock I had tugged down, taking my time straightening it. When I was done, I hopped down from the table with an exaggerated bounce.
"You missed the other one," Rose smirked, pointing to the other leg. She totally got what I was doing. I could even imagine that Alice texted her on the sly.
"Oh, did I?" I asked, bending at my waist to tug the left sock up and arching my back with a sigh.
It totally worked.
Besides Emmett's open mouthed stare, the other two male judges were just as stunned. In fact, one of them tugged off his glasses to clean the fog off of them.
Rose's eyes flickered behind me as she fought her smile. As I turned to make my way off the stage to wait for the final votes, I saw what caused her amusement. A small crowd of boys had gathered next to Myra and her friends, and they were watching me. But it was the deadly looking firefighter that I had to attend to.
Edward's eyes were black—feral—as he stared at the group of men in front of him. He still had the firemen's jacket off, and it was hanging from his finger over his shoulder. He was leaning against the wall, studying the boys.
Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, look at me. My thoughts were loud and aggressive, and his gaze snapped to mine instantly. Leave them alone. Everything you're looking at belongs to you, and you know it. I raised an eyebrow at him as I walked passed him.
"Yes, ma'am," he mumbled just low enough that the humans around him couldn't hear. "Dangerous creature," he growled, shaking his head.
The judges huddled together to discuss their votes. The three human judges avoided being too close to Rose and Emmett, but the page was finally handed to the judge with the glasses. He stood up, picking up two red ribbons.
He walked to me, and with a shaking hand he started to pin the ribbon to the front of my shirt. I folded my arms and tilted my head at him, raising my eyebrow. I didn't have to look to hear the low, barely audible growl and who it was coming from.
The poor be speckled judge broke out into a sweat, and I held out my hand for the ribbon. "I think I can handle that, big guy," I said wryly.
He slapped it into my hand, nodding profusely, but when he got to Edward, he squeaked, holding out the other red ribbon. My husband towered over him, using his inhuman nature to repel the poor young man. He took the ribbon from the judge, and we both followed him back up on the stage.
It was time to find out if we went to New York, or if I had a song to sing.


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