|The Naked Guy Upstairs
Author: AngryBadgerGirl PM
It's You've Got Mail meets Pillow Talk meets...eh, you get the picture. It's the usual ABG yuks and lemons. Playboyward v. Straightlacedella. Love/Hate/Love/Banter. RATED M COS WHY ELSE DO YOU READ FIC, HONESTLY? AH, CANON PAIRINGSRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 29 - Words: 192,615 - Reviews: 13,602 - Favs: 9,952 - Follows: 7,565 - Updated: 09-14-10 - Published: 09-17-09 - id: 5383757
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
THIS IS IT! FINALLY! Sorry I took so long. I'd offer my truckload of excuses, but…just read the darn thing.
Thank you to Nina, my beta-meister-meister-beta. Love and hugs to my friends Kerry, Reba, Marzy, Ser, Cass, Bonnie, and everyone else who has been so sweet about how much they enjoy TNGUS. HUGE THANKS to IHeartPairee and Adèle, aka Alterite, for the French translations. Merci beaucoup because my French is merde.
I recommend going back and re-reading the story so that some of the scenes in this final chapter make more sense. A lot of things come full circle and are re-visited. You might not catch them since it's been like an eon since I've updated. :oP
For the last freaking time, I do not own Twilight. I'm just unoriginal.
As the month of May draws to a close, so does Bella's undergraduate education. She turns in the last of her papers and sits for her exams, feeling confident that she did as well as she always does. When Renée arrives for her extended visit, the only major event on the horizon before the wedding is Bella's commencement. It's a significant day in her life and I'm really proud of her. Carlisle, Esme, and Patrick drive down from Hanover to attend, and we celebrate afterward by going out to dinner at a restaurant of Bella's choosing.
If this is what family gatherings are like, I must admit that I've been missing out on something rather gratifying. Getting together for Easter and meeting people close to my new family was a happy occasion for me, but Bella's graduation is more significant. The obvious pride in Carlisle's eyes as he hugs her and Esme's friendly pat on Renée's shoulder as she cries happy maternal tears bear out how close we've all become, even in this relatively short span of time. Carlisle and Esme treat Bella with a kindness and familiarity that truly makes me happy. To say that I'm glad I decided to seek out Carlisle and contact him is a really an understatement.
Even Patrick's heartfelt blessing during grace before Bella's graduation dinner reveals how well he's gotten to know her as a person—more than a mere casual acquaintance would:
'And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…'
It was obvious from the start that my grandfather took an instant liking to Bella. But their conversations over Sunday dinners sparked a truly convivial friendship, especially since they have a common interest in working in public service: Bella through social work, and Patrick through ministry.
Looking back and thinking about how I used to see myself…it sounds truly absurd, but I'm amazed at how little I expected of myself and out of life in general. I didn't especially feel as if I had any purpose outside my career. When not working at the hospital, I went from one trendy bar or nightclub to the next, wandering aimlessly through a social life that was busy, but also bereft—crowded with a whole lot of nothing, really.
The three weeks after Bella's graduation is a rush of activity. Bella, Renée, and Esme form an organized, crack-team of 'wedding militia', for lack of a better way to describe it. No man should question these women if he knows what's good for him, so I stand aside and dutifully comply with orders to have my tux fitted, pick out my ring, and answer honestly when asked for my opinion.
I learn a lesson about giving my opinion, and I learn it the hard way. Questions such as 'do you want a chocolate Sachertorte cake or a red velvet cupcake tier?' are deceptively complex. If, in the future, I ever happen upon another fellow who is a impending groom, I will strongly advise him to look up terms like 'Sachertorte' and 'cupcake tier' on Google before answering this question. The reason is this: answering honestly that you haven't the slightest idea what a 'Sachertorte' or a 'cupcake tier' even is will be deemed an insufficient answer—at least judging by Bella's frustrated sigh. It didn't take me long to gather that an honest, yet informed answer is what's expected.
Managing to survive the nuptial triumvirate that is my fiancée, my stepmom, and my future mother-in-law becomes less difficult as time goes on. Brown Eyes is busy, but it's obvious she's happy to spend time with her mom and Esme. Their help is a big relief for her, and it appears to be some sort of female bonding ritual for the three of them. I come home on several occasions to them giggling and speaking in hushed, conspiratorial voices. Sometimes Bella is laughing and whispering with them, other times she is blushing as red as a beet. I don't dare ask. Something in my masculine psyche and easily-battered ego tells me that I just don't want to know.
Brown Eyes and I settle in for bed the night before the wedding rehearsal and the dinner afterward. Curling up next to me, Bella wraps her arms around my torso and hums contently into my chest.
"In forty-eight hours, I'll be Mrs. Smoosher," she says with a laugh.
"That you will be. Any last requests?" I quip.
"Yes, I want my sanity back. And my natural inclination toward cynicism. All this romance is killing my edgier, snarkier side."
"I miss my ignorance about cake. I used to just think of it as, well, cake. Now there are fondants and butter creams and elaborate structures made of cupcakes."
"Don't mock the pastry that symbolizes the prosperity and fecundity of our union, Edward," she tries to say with a straight face, but can't. She quickly dissolves into giggles.
"How thoughtless of me. Here I am thinking it's just a cake. Wait…did you say 'fecundity'?" I ask, groping a boobkie to emphasize my curiosity.
"Wow, I almost managed to slip that by you," she says with feigned amazement.
"Comments about being fertile are fertile with possibilities. I'm surprised, Brown Eyes. You should expect this from me by now," I reply in a low growl before clucking my tongue at her.
"I've got forty-plus years to learn, Fresh Boy Edward," she tells me, patting my chest lightly and yawning.
"If it takes you that long to learn, I must be a horrible teacher. In fact, I think you need to repeat the course you signed up for back in September. I'm not sure I taught you enough."
"Oh, is that right? Well, I'm not about to disagree with you if there's more we should explore," she whispers, kissing my neck.
"Yes, and also, I've been terribly remiss about something—we never used your school supplies."
"You mean the basket from the horny Easter fuck-bunny? The stuff Alice and Rose gave me for my birthday?"
"The same. It's still sitting on the shelf in my hall closet. What do you say we pack it for the honeymoon?" I ask, praying silently that she says yes.
"I have class while I'm on vacation? You are a taskmaster, Professor," she complains in jest.
"I'm nothing if not thorough, Brown Eyes," I tell her before thoroughly groping her breast before kissing it lightly and drifting off into a peaceful slumber.
The rehearsal the next day goes smoothly, and we enjoy a nice dinner afterward at a private room we rented in a nearby restaurant. People from out of town have all arrived over the last few days, and many of them join us. Bella and I mix and mingle with some of my old friends from college who I still keep in touch with, and she introduces me to Renée's Italian-born mother, who Bella affectionately refers to as 'Nona'.
After dinner, Brown Eyes and I leave with our small group of friends for a co-ed bachelor and bachelorette outing. The two of us decided some weeks ago that neither of us was particularly interested in separate parties. A night of drunken lewdness at a strip club was an activity I partook in plenty of times in my past. In effect, I had my own bachelor party, over and over, for roughly ten years. What most men consider their last-ditch hurrah to freedom, I consider an old habit I'm not exactly going to miss.
"Are you sure you didn't want your own bachelorette party, Brown Eyes?" I ask her as the group of us all piles into a small pub nearby where we just had our rehearsal dinner.
"What, and have you miss seeing me wear this?" she asks, pointing to the white cowboy hat that sits atop her head. It's complete with a tiny veil attached to the back and says 'bride' in giant rhinestone letters on the front.
Alice and Rose, along with Jasper and Emmett, form a huddle around us.
"Aw, Bella ballsack, quit being a pill. I bet Edward loves it when you get all cowgirl," Alice snickers, elbowing Rose in the ribs.
"Alice, there's this concept called 'personal boundaries', and clearly, you have none," Bella informs her friend with a roll of her eyes.
"Whatever. You know, Edward," Alice says, turning to me. "Your little missy here wasn't exactly the campus jezebel when you met her. Rose and I were afraid she'd never see a guy naked. So, you know, thanks for getting that out of the way so quickly…and for getting her laid." She giggles as puts her arm around Brown Eyes and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
"Oh my God, is that how you convey best wishes to someone getting married, Alice? What do you say to someone when she tells you she's pregnant? 'Good thing he didn't pull out?'" Bella jokes as she lightly pushes her friend's shoulder.
"Uh oh, is there something you're not telling us?" Rose asks, smirking at Bella and me.
"A mini-ballsack!" Alice chirps. Bella's face goes crimson before she flicks her finger against Alice's ear, who shrieks in response.
"I swear to God, if you call my not-yet-existing future kid that…" she warns, shaking her head.
"Still not shitting rainbows, Bella," Rose informs her. "But as far as husbands go, you could do worse," she adds with playful grin before punching me rather forcefully in the bicep. I try not to grimace and appear a complete wimp.
"Wow! That's some jab you've got there," I say with a half-laugh, rubbing my arm.
"Careful Rose, that's his bum arm. It's the one all his pregnant patients love to mangle when they're in pain," Bella tells her, playfully cautioning her friend and making it seem as if I'm now a cripple from dealing with too many irate women in labor.
"Aw, I was just trying to congratulate you guys," Rose offers, patting my arm and laughing.
"Yes, congratulations are definitely in order," Jasper chimes in. He gives my shoulder a sturdy swat while Emmett shakes my hand.
"Last night as a free man, Edward," Emmett whispers conspiratorially into my ear. "We can wait the girls out, send them home, and then maybe hit a titty bar."
"Thanks for the offer, but no," I reply in a hushed voice. "I'm about to marry the only, uh, 'titties' I want to look at."
"Dude. Thank God. I thought I'd offer, you know, cos we're friends and all, but Rose would put my balls in a sling if she ever found out we actually went," he confesses with obvious relief. I shake my head and laugh, thanking him for his half-hearted invitation as well as his courage.
"How about a round of shots?" Jasper asks the group of us. "A toast for the happy couple. What'll it be?"
Alice perks up then and leans over to Jasper, murmuring softly into his ear.
"This is why I love you, baby," is all he says back.
Soon, we're belly-up to the bar as the server places a shot glass full of creamy, pinkish liquor in front of each one of us. No stranger to the long tradition of pub crawling, I recognize the concoction right away and try my best not to smirk.
"To Bella and Edward," Jasper says, holding up his shot glass and looking right at me. "Edward, hope you get to taste this til you're an old fucking geezer, friend." And with that, we all down our drinks. I let out a satisfied 'ahh' a little too loudly, causing Bella to look over at me and eye me curiously.
"That was yummy. What's it called?" she asks.
"A Creamy Pussy," I say with a wink.
"Jasper!" she snaps, playfully poking him in the shoulder with her finger.
"Hey, it was Alice's idea," he says, pointing at his girlfriend and chuckling when both Bella and Alice start slapping his arms.
"Okay, I'm getting the next round," Rose announces.
Once again, more full shot glasses are brought to us, and this time, Rose makes the toast.
"A toast for the soon-to-be Dr. and Mrs. Cullen. I ordered these because a little bird told me that you both enjoy them," she chuckles.
"Oh God, what's this one called?" Bella groans as she puts her hands over her eyes and leans her head toward me so I can whisper in her ear.
As if I'd let her off the hook that easily.
Instead of answering her question, I take her shot glass and lift it gently to her face, watching as she closes her eyes and parts her lips. Slowly, I pour the drink into her mouth. Closing her eyes, she hums softly to herself, then licks and snaps her pert, pink lips in a way that makes me feel as if I'm about to lose my mind.
"So good," she sighs.
"It's called a Blow Job. And 'good' doesn't even begin to describe them," I softly whisper in her ear, pulling her to me so that she's standing between my legs as I sit on a barstool. My hands slowly creep up the back of her thighs before making themselves comfortable on her shapely little rump.
"Edward, be good," she warns, moving my hands from her ass to the safer territory of her waist. "You promised, remember? No funny stuff tonight. Let's at least try to build some anticipation for the honeymoon."
"Yes, I remember. Doesn't mean I have to like it," I pout, giving her that sad expression that I always do when I want her to feel sorry for me. I'm certainly not above such tactics.
"Okay, the pout is kind of irresistible, but it's not gonna get you your way this time," she informs me as she folds her arms across her chest and sticks her chin in the air.
"My pout has no clout?" I ask.
"Not when the pout's on a lout."
"You flout my pout?"
"Only because you tout your pout!"
"So my pout is a rout?"
"No doubt. But it does suit the snout that looks so put-out," she reassures me before kissing the tip of my nose as she is wont to do from time to time.
"I'm still your suave swine?"
"Just call me Little Bo…Peeved," she says with a laugh.
She wraps her arms around my neck and gives me a long, slow kiss. If she's trying to tease me by just giving me a taste but not the full meal, it's working. My hands skim up and down the sides of her slender torso, and when she moans dreamily, I know I need to stop soon or I'll drag her out of here and to the nearest enclosed space. It doesn't even have to be a room: a tent, a cave, even a sturdy cardboard box would do.
"Okay, you two," Rose begins, breaking up our little impromptu make-out session. She looks at us with mild disapproval, and if I'm not mistaken, I feel one of her classic insults coming on. "I don't know what's worse, watching the two of you try to eat each other alive or listening to you guys talk like Dr. Seuss and his Cat in Heat in the Hat."
"Jealous?" Bella snorts, screwing up her face at her friend.
"Yeah, I'm jealous of your cornucopia of corny cacophonous quips," Rose says in what I can only discern as a sort of 'neener, neener' tone of voice.
"Oooh, burn. Only took you…uh, ten months to think up a comeback to something I said to you," Brown Eyes replies, being playfully dismissive.
"Do I have to be your bridesmaid?" Rose teases.
"I dunno. Did I have to hear you through a really thin wall for three years whenever you rode your stud ponies?"
"Watch it, cowgirl. You might be wearing the hat, but you're new to this rodeo," Rose teases as she elbows her friend in the ribs.
"Well," Bella replies with a sheepish smile. "I have a really good mount." She hugs me closely and blushes a little, surprised by her own uncharacteristically catty 'girl talk,' in front of me, no less.
"Edward, the cooch whisperer," Alice interjects with a wistful sigh. "So tender and romantic, yet so perverted. My favorite, really."
"Alright, enough," Bella huffs before laughing along with her friends.
As the night rolls on, Emmett and Jasper treat us to several more shots of alcohol with suggestive names. Brown Eyes has given up on the hat and passes it off to Alice, who seems delighted to wear it while straddling Jasper's lap and squealing 'giddy up, horsey!' But I have to draw the line when Bella, more than a little tipsy by this point, approaches me with a drink in her hand and puts it to my lips just as I'd done for her earlier in the evening. She knows what it does to me when she takes control—how turned on I get when she's so forward, so brazen.
"Throw Me Down and Fuck Me," she whispers in my ear.
Blinking slowly and drawing in a deep breath to quell the gargantuan urge I'm feeling to do exactly what she just said, I turn my head and lean into her profile, my nose lightly touching her temple.
"If I begged, would you let me…throw you down and fuck you?" I murmur.
"You don't ever have to beg, love, but I certainly wouldn't mind hearing it," she sighs as her palms gently press against my neck.
"I want to get out of here…badly," I confess before unabashedly burying my nose into the lush locks of hair by her neck and kissing her collarbone.
"Mmm, so do I," she confesses.
"I thought you wanted me to be good?" I say with a raised eyebrow before removing her hand from where it strokes my chest and kissing her palm.
"Oh, you are good. You're too good. That's the whole problem," she replies, tilting her head at me. What she says next is so 'classic Brown Eyes' that I start laughing mid-way through. "Well, maybe not the whole problem, because I think part of the problem might have something to do with all those shots with perverted names, because alcohol plus sexual innuendo plus the most beautiful man I've ever seen, I mean, so beautiful, he…" she rambles before her voice trails off from my chuckling.
"He what?" I ask, holding her chin with two fingertips and raising my eyebrow at her.
"I don't want to say now. You're laughing," she answers, her lips forming a pout just like the one I made earlier in the evening.
"Oh now, don't you pout at me. I don't have your willpower, Brown Eyes. Besides, I was only laughing because I love watching you do that," I say, gently pushing a stray lock of hair behind her ear.
"Do what?" she questions, looking a little perplexed.
"When your face changes like that so quickly," I explain. "I can see them all so vividly, though, all the different expressions—sexy, thoughtful, even a little embarrassed—I want to say it's gorgeous, but it's better, it's…"
"Perfect," she interrupts. "I was going to say 'he's perfect'."
"That's the word," I agree, pulling her to me and kissing those tasty, pouty lips.
It doesn't take long for our friends to notice the late hour and how Bella and I seem increasingly more interested in one another than in celebrating with the group. Alice and Rose insist that the two of us get a good night's sleep while we still can, and soon we're ushered into a cab so we can at least try to get some rest.
Attempting to squire my more-than-slightly inebriated fiancée into bed is more challenging than I anticipate. She's a very entertaining tangle of comedy, awkwardness, lust, and bald candor when she's drunk.
"Brown Eyes, hold still," I laugh, trying to take her shoes off. She's perched on the edge of the bed as I sit across from her in an armchair.
"Trying…but…teet ficklish," she gasps, struggling to stop laughing.
"If there's an award for best drunken Spoonerisms, you'd be a shoe-in. Even with your shoe off," I joke, gently caressing her ankle.
"Thank God I stubbed that toe," she replies nonsensically. Her drunken non sequiturs are almost as good as the Spoonerisms, and I can't help but laugh again.
"Which toe, Cinderella?" I ask, patting the top of her foot.
"The baby one. I hurt my foot, you remember—that night I brought over dinner when I first moved in. You looked at my toe like it was…the most interesting thing you'd ever seen. No one ever looked at my foot like that before. No one ever even looked at the rest of me like that before," she confesses, her round eyes wide.
"I wanted to make sure you didn't really get hurt," I explain, rubbing her calf up and down.
"I know. You've always been that way. You even tried to keep yourself from me. It didn't work. I only loved you for it," she admits, giving me that shy half-smile that has done more to warp my brain than I care to admit.
"You're getting sentimental on me. Something's wrong," I accuse.
"When is it not?"
"Shoosh up and smoosh me," she insists, sprawling herself out spread-eagle on the bed and holding her arms out to me.
"I can't, we agreed to sleep apart tonight, remember?" I say, easing myself onto the edge of the bed. It's a safe, comfortable distance for my willpower.
"No, I don't remember that. In fact, I remember telling myself to forget to remember. Or remember to forget. I can't recall which," she rambles before breaking into a fit of snorty giggles.
"You're adorable when you're plastered," I inform her while rubbing her midsection with the flat of my palm.
"Edward, poodles are adorable. Babies are adorable. I'm not adorable," she protests with a very stern, very indignant expression. I can only describe it as, well, adorable.
"See what happens when I compliment you? I'm calling a moratorium on compliments," I tell her, snickering as she screws up her face at me.
"You're only using that word to try to get me to say it when my mouth is all twisty and rubbery," she pouts.
"Motorarian. Mortuarium. God, I hate you right now."
"I should go, Brown Eyes."
"No, you shouldn't."
"Yeah, I should."
"You're actually fighting to get out of a woman's bed. Either I stink at being seductive…or maybe I just stink, period. Not sure. Both?"
"Enough of that nonsense, Brown Eyes. I'm fighting my resolve so I can keep a promise to the woman I love so I don't disappoint her. You're my sexy girl, you know that, baby," I reassure her, giving her shoulder a gentle rub.
"Yeah, but is you is or is you ain't my baby?"
"Excellent song choice. Which version is your favorite? Louis Jordan or Dinah Washington?" I ask, hoping to change the subject away from her begging me for something I only want to give her more than anything.
"Tom and Jerry," she replies, giggling to herself.
"Is that the cartoon cat and mouse?"
"You don't know who Tom and Jerry are? How can you marry someone so pedestrian?"
"Well, I don't know how good she is at being pedestrian. She trips a lot."
"Thanks-a-lot, Sir In-My-Pants-a-Lot. Except now," she grouses, wrinkling her nose at me.
"I apologize profusely for simply doing what you asked of me earlier today."
"You ought to be sorry, sir. Here I am, waiting on you to have your wicked way with me," she says, leaning back on the bed with her hand against her forehead, looking like a drunken Scarlett O'Hara.
"Okay, Petticoat Malfunction," I tease. I get a kick in the shin for that remark. "Why don't I bring you a giant glass of water and some aspirin? Then we can curl up, will that do?" I offer.
"You're so practical and doctor'ish. Will you marry me?"
"Sure. How does tomorrow sound?"
"Hmm, lemme consult my calendar. What do you know? I'm free all day."
"Perfect. After that, I'll be more than delighted to…visit Hooterville," I say with a smirk.
"Mrs. Pervert." I narrowly escape a pillow thrown at my head for that one before trotting out of the room.
After bringing her some aspirin and a glass of water, we spoon on the bed, my arm curled around her waist. Kissing up and down her neck from the bottom of her earlobe to just above her clavicle is a practice in tortured restraint, but she soon drifts into a deep sleep. I lightly kiss her temple and whisper 'sweet dreams' before quietly slipping out of the bed.
I spend most of the night unable to sleep, my mind racing with all the little details involving the day to come. But I'm also restless from being so used to Bella sleeping next to me. It just feels wrong to not have her here. I used to crave being alone, but now it just makes me unsettled. I need my help-meet, my partner…need to feel her soft, cushiony breast under my palm. Heaving a low groan, I curl my pillow over the top of my head, and urge my brain not to go down that particular path. It will just keep me awake and make me hornier than I already am.
One very fitful night's rest later, I get up and shower, hoping the brisk spray of water will clear my head a little. It works, but only to a degree. I'm beginning to wonder why I'm not nervous and just hoping everything goes smoothly. In fact, as ludicrous as it sounds, not being nervous is making me…nervous. Shouldn't I feel at all reticent? Shouldn't I be uneasy, given that I'm getting married in a few hours?
I lather up some shaving cream, swirling it around my face. As I begin to shave, I realize that so many questions should be swimming through my head. What if I can't make Brown Eyes happy? Will we be able to juggle all of life's little problems—money, our careers, children? Shit, what if we just start truly start annoying each other instead of play-fight? None of these questions perturb me in the slightest. As each one scrolls through my brain, I merely shrug at my reflection in the mirror.
I emerge from the bathroom to see Brown Eyes standing in the bedroom, wearing a fuzzy bathrobe. Although she isn't dressed, her hair is styled delicately in a loose pile on her head and she's wearing a little more make up than she usually does.
She's got that same look on her face as she had the first time I saw her, when I mistakenly thought she was Jessica and not my new neighbor. Staring out the window, her thoughts are far off, somewhere in a daydream, as her finger lightly taps her chin. Her beautiful profile has the identical effect on me now as it did then.
"It's supposed to be bad luck for us to see each other now," I remind her.
"Oh. You know, you're naked again. Only now I'm not so shocked," she laughs a little too anxiously before biting her lip.
"And I'm dressed immediately, see? Just like the last time," I reply with a know-it-all smirk as I pull on a pair of black boxer briefs.
"Edward? Can I ask you something?" she asks, taking a seat on the edge of the bed and wringing her hands. The crease in her forehead makes me concerned. Something is troubling her.
"Of course. What is it, sweet girl? Are you nervous?" I ask, dropping down next to her and taking her hand.
"Well…kinda. Not about the wedding. Just about life in general. What if…what if something bad happens?" she ponders, her face etched with worry.
"You mean what if it doesn't work out? That being married doesn't work out?"
"Not just that. I mean anything bad. I woke up this morning and I thought 'today's gonna be one of the best days of my life, if not the best day ever'. And…I don't even know how to explain it. It probably won't even make sense. But when things are this good, maybe it can't sustain itself. I haven't felt this happy in…I can't even remember. Since I was a kid, maybe?" she asks rhetorically as her voice begins to shake.
"Hey, weren't you the one who wanted to think less and start living in the moment more? Wasn't that your idea? I have to say, as far as ideas go, that one was pretty brilliant. Look where it lead us," I reply, hoping to reassure and soothe her. I put my arm around her shoulders as she leans into me and presses a kiss to my neck.
"I'm being ridiculous. Only I would balk at being happy, like it was a bad thing," she mutters as she grabs my hand to rub my pinky finger.
"I don't think you're being ridiculous—just a little gun-shy. Things between us happened a little fast, even though it feels right. But if it's any consolation, I promise I'll do whatever it takes to make you happy. Always. Let's not even consider good things ever coming to an end. Not for us," I tell her, stroking her cheek.
"But I already messed up our good luck by coming to see you before the wedding," she says, chastising herself.
"Hmm," I reply simply, pretending to contemplate a solution to this. I only pretend because I have something that I was meaning to have Alice give her but now seems like the perfect time. "You know, they say putting a penny in your shoe is good luck."
"Is it? Do you have any?" she asks, her slight frown morphing into a smile.
"Let me check my pockets," I say, getting up to rummage through my jeans as they lay across a chair. "Would you look at that? All I have are two pennies—one for each shoe."
As I sit back down next to her, I hold the pennies in my outstretched palm. She inspects them carefully and notices something that I knew she'd figure out quickly.
"One of them is from the year I was born and the other is the year you were born," she notes, lifting her gaze to me and raising her eyebrow.
Now I must admit; I don't especially buy into superstition. I'm a man of science, and I make my own luck. So it's no coincidence that I happened to have two pennies that were both minted on a significant date. I spent an hour at the bank sifting through dozens of pennies to find those. I might not believe in superstition, but I do believe in making my Brown Eyes feel as lucky as I do.
"Yes, can you believe that?" I ask even though I can tell by the skeptical look on her face that she doesn't, really.
"No, but now I can believe why it took you so long just to 'run to the ATM' a few days ago," she says with a laugh.
"I knew I couldn't fool you. How about if I'm simply a fool for you?" I say with a sigh as I watch her drop the pennies into the pocket of her robe before wrapping her arms around my waist in a tight hug.
"Well, you know what they say about fools and rushing in," she teases. "But there's no one I'd rather rush with. And I can't think about life without you in it."
"I thought I made it clear, Brown Eyes. I'm not going anywhere. The omelets are too good."
"You should just marry a chicken. You and Clucky can live happily ever after."
"You have nicer breasts than Clucky."
"I take it back. Even Clucky's out of your league. She deserves better."
"You're downgrading me compared to an imaginary chicken?"
"Never. You're the only bird for me, Swan," I quip, kissing the inside of her wrist.
"That's my cock of the walk, walking down the aisle. Who'd have thunk it?" she muses, a playful smirk forming on her face.
"Hey, speaking of birds. About that furcula—the wishbone—from Thanksgiving. What did you wish for?" I ask, having been curious about this for quite some time. I gingerly lift her by the waist and settle her on my lap.
"I guess there's no harm in telling you now, since it already came true. I wished that you'd realize that I loved you, and that you'd love me back," she says sweetly, entwining her fingers with mine.
"Alright, now I just feel inadequate," I huff as I feel my brow crease in mild vexation.
"What? How come? Uh oh. How many deviant sexual fantasies did you wish would come true?" she jokes, playfully squinting her eyes at me.
"No, nothing like that. You wished for me to see what you were already giving me. All I wished for was something far more selfish," I explain as I run my thumb down the side of her cheek.
"Yeah? Like what?"
"I wished you'd be with me. I wished for you, basically. I just wanted…you. All to myself," I confess in a soft voice. Even though I know it's selfish, I can't seem to summon a guilty conscience over it, no matter what. She takes the same thumb that now grazes her jaw line and kisses it lightly.
"You're right. You are greedy. In the most amazing, loveable, charming, sweetest way possible. You, Edward, are the Gordon Gecko of my heart."
"Greed is good?"
"This kind of greed? Very good. Take all you want," she offers.
"Hey, what do you say we get this wedding thing taken care of? I have a honeymoon to go on and a wife I need to have my way with."
"You're marrying me just so I'll sleep with you? Wow. All I had to do to get you to sleep with me was ask for a favor. I have to say, I think I like wearing the pants around here," she teases, doing a happy little jig as she stands in place. A wide grin erases all trace of the frown she wore just a short while ago, and it's a far more welcome sight. I wrap my arms around her as she laughs that I'm squeezing the life out of her.
It dawns on me why I'm not nervous. The waters we're about to tread in a few hours might be unknown, but we can navigate them as long as we're together. I'll take the open sea and every storm that may come if it means leaving the deserted island I've lived on for so long. Every fight, quarrel, and emotional hardship we work through etches out a new piece of the map in our relationship. With Bella as my partner, I'd like to see the entire world slowly charted and revealed to me.
A gentle kiss on my lips pulls me out of my daydreaming. Brown Eyes looks at me, and with a wink tells me that her once cold feet are now gloriously toasty. She points to her spa slippers and wiggles her pink-polished toes to emphasize her point. With that, I walk her to the door and kiss her forehead.
"See you soon," I tell her before giving her backside a nice swat.
"Hey! What was that for?" she pouts, rubbing her behind.
"That," I begin before letting my own hand take over where hers was just soothing. "Was to remind you that you might wear the pants, but only I get to peel them off."
"Why, I oughta!" she huffs, her hands balled into small fists as she shakes them at me. All I can do is chuckle. She's less intimidating than Moe the Stooge, and much, much prettier.
"Yes, dear," I say with a playfully dismissive air as I usher her out the door. She leaves, but not before swatting me back and running off with a loud squeaky giggle.
"Don't be late," I call after her.
"Like I have someplace better to go," she shouts back, waving her arm high over her head but not bothering to turn around.
Shaking my head and laughing to myself, I shut my door and finish getting dressed. Just as I'm about to stick the small, white flowered-boutonnière into my lapel, Carlisle knocks softly before entering my room.
"Holding up okay?" he asks as he pats my shoulder.
"So far, so good," I reply with a smile. "Thanks, by the way. For everything."
"Don't mention it. I'm getting the chance to make up for a lot that I missed. I'm the grateful one." I smile modestly and shrug my shoulder, unable to more aptly articulate how I'm feeling, even though hearing him express his gratitude does make me happy.
"Listen, Edward," he begins, clearing his throat. "We probably won't get the chance to talk privately today, so I just wanted to let you know…I'm proud of you. I'm proud that you're my son," he tells me, his lips tight across his face, holding back the emotion behind his words.
I nod and my face forms its own stiff expression before thanking him with a hug. I just can't fathom what words to come up with to reply to something I've wanted to hear my entire life. If I was speechless before, now I'm simply mute. Despite the fact that my father is more attuned to his emotions than I am to mine, he also seems to inherently understand that words between men—even father and son—sometimes just aren't necessary.
"Let's get you to the church. Dad's waiting," he prompts, quickly changing the mood between us with a warm grin.
We exit the small New Hampshire bed and breakfast where Bella and I had spent the night, albeit in separate rooms. The warm sun greets us, and I take in a large breath of fresh air, grateful for the cloudless sky and the pleasant temperature. The fact that it's all happening today, on my twenty-eighth birthday, makes it all the more perfect.
Patrick greets us at a side door entrance of All Saint's church, the very same place he's been preaching for many years, and the place Carlisle was hoping I would be baptized when I was born.
"Now don't the two of you clean up awfully well?" my grandfather jokes as he takes in the sight of Carlisle and me in our tuxedoes. He's wearing his best bright-green-and-gold vestments over a stiff white collar, so I know my father and I aren't the only ones dressed for the occasion.
"Didn't you hear? There's a wedding today," Carlisle jokes.
"Ah, yes. The youngest Cullen man finds a wife," he says, smiling brightly at me. "I believe I'm ready to redeem that favor your father asked of you, Edward."
"Good, because I am too," I agree enthusiastically.
"An eager groom!" Patrick says with a hearty laugh as he slaps me on the back. "We like those around here. Much more preferable to the ones who pass out cold."
"I've got the rings right here," my father informs me, patting his lapel to gesture at his inside jacket pocket.
I breathe a sigh of relief as I realize that I didn't even remember to ask about that. I'm getting anxious: not about marrying Brown Eyes, but about getting all these details pulled off without any major gaffes. It's a big day for her, for our families. I know this is it for me. She's it for me. I don't want or need to ever have anyone else in my life. Today's the day to make it all a reality and I'd really rather not screw it up.
My grandfather notices the slightly panicked look on my face and gives me a reassuring grin before wrapping his arm around my shoulder.
"Son, there's nothing to be nervous about," he says. "Your old granddad is a pro at this wedding business. And I know how much you and Bella care for one another, and that's what really matters, after all is said and done. Just remember: 'the wicked flee when no man pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion'."
He gives me a wink and shakes my hand before reminding Carlisle and me of where to walk and stand, just as we'd rehearsed. Once he proclaims 'let the games begin,' he's out the door.
Carlisle approaches the altar first, and I'm to follow suit a moment or so later. For approximately ninety seconds, I have nothing to do but think. It's not an excessive amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but it's akin to what's described as 'life flashing before your eyes,' only what flashes isn't 'Edward Cullen: from birth until right now'. It's 'Edward Cullen: your life from right this minute until you close your eyes for good', and it's filled with all kinds of incredible, exciting, contented, yet terrifying ideas and images.
I stand, literally and figuratively, in the threshold and about to take myself through it. It's only terrifying because it's unknown, yet the things I envision, I want so badly. There's just no guarantee, only a good faith effort.
In my 'life flash', I see Bella's face display a myriad of stunningly beautiful expressions, all of them full of life and possibilities. From there, my mind drifts to babies in a happy, crowded, and loud home to wake up to and fall asleep in. There are people called 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa'. I see family vacations in the summer sun with me yelling 'be careful' despite the fact that I laugh as I say it.
Suddenly, it feels like the shortest and longest ninety seconds of my life: the shortest because, frankly, I could stand here for eternity if every daydream is as good as this one. But it's also the longest ninety seconds because I need to get myself married and get on with the flash forward. As it is, I took one hell of a circuitous route to finally get to this minute-and-a-half-long wait.
My feet are the most determined they've ever been, and I take nice, healthy strides down the aisle while the light fluttering of a harpist's music drifts around me. The happy faces whose eyes follow me from their seats in the pews create an infectious mood that I'm all too eager to share in. Carlisle and Patrick take turns to shake my hand as I stand between them. The music shifts to the light strains of Vivaldi's Spring from the Four Seasons concerto.
It's time for that 'flash forward' to start, Cullen.
And there she is, my brown-eyed Bella—the bookworm turned bride. She stands arm-in-arm with Renée as her round eyes skitter owlishly at everyone. Her smile is fragile, from what little I can see of it. The downward tilt of her head toward the floor makes it difficult to make out clearly. I let out a long breath, probably in a subconscious effort to channel some calm in her direction because I can tell that being the center of attention for a large group of people is making her nervous.
She looks like an angel, wearing an ivory-colored ankle-length dress made of delicate, gossamer-like lace. There are tiny flowers in her upswept hair, and her long, graceful neck makes a perfect silhouette as she turns her head sideways to look at the guests who've stood up just for her entrance. As she recognizes the people she walks past, her demeanor becomes more relaxed, and her face glows with truly warm smile that makes her look almost ethereal. As she steps closer and closer toward me, I realize that I've never seen her look more radiant.
With her hand firmly grasping her mother's arm, Bella slowly but steadily approaches me. As I take in the sight of her, my heart rate accelerates, and I contemplate for a moment if I've dreamt this all up: falling in love with and marrying my charming and beautiful co-ed neighbor; meeting my father and discovering a whole new family and community who readily welcomed me.
Renée smiles at us after placing Bella's hand in mine. Mother and daughter exchange kisses, tears, and then Bella's bouquet for a handkerchief monogrammed with the initials 'C.S.' as her 'something old' and a reminder that her father is very much with her, albeit in spirit.
"You made it," I whisper, smiling into her ear.
"I couldn't back out. The dress is paid for," she teases, despite the small tear that escapes down her cheek as she tries to hold back a sort of half-cry, half-giggle with the back of her hand. I brush her tears with the tip of my finger, and softly 'tsk tsk': both at her teasing and her tears.
The wedding service begins, but luckily, my grandfather is the sort of reverend who doesn't mind straying from standard protocol. When we asked him during the rehearsal to let us change the order of the vows, he was happy to indulge us. He even let us get away with planning something scripted that we didn't run by him first.
So, when he asks now if we're ready to say our vows, Bella and I simply look at one another, then barrel headfirst into a fake disagreement. However, we decided to let fate determine who wins this particular tête-à-tête.
"I'll go first," I tell her.
"No, I want to go first," she pretends to argue.
"But it's traditional for the groom to go first."
"Oh, so you're old-fashioned now?" she counters, putting her hand on her hip.
Our guests begin to chuckle, no doubt catching on that we're doing this deliberately.
"Fine, let's settle this the fair way," I offer, holding out my hand as I make it into a fist with my curled fingers facing down. "Ready?"
"Yeah. I'll call it," she agrees, mirroring my posed fist with her own. We're trying not to laugh and ruin it, but both of us let out a snicker as we stare one another down and try to assume our 'game' faces.
The rest of this is unrehearsed. We really do want to leave it up to chance.
"One…two…three…shoot!" Brown Eyes chants as we flex our elbows up and down. Just as she does in all things, she plays the dark horse—opening with scissors—but it pays off because I throw paper…and lose. Just like always, and like in all other things, Bella cuts right through me, like a pair of scissors through thin paper.
"Best of three?" I offer jokingly.
"Don't be a spoil sport, love," she says with a laugh before turning her attention back to my grandfather.
Somehow I knew she'd best me. I want to gripe about possible player misconduct in the middle of my own wedding because Brown Eyes just has a way of summoning every irrational urge I could ever have.
I think better of it, however, when I notice that her right hand is shaking as she reaches to clasp mine. I offer a smile of comfort, and it seems to help because she smiles back. But my face breaks into a wide grin when she promises in the name of God to take me as her husband from today forward, no matter the hardship, until the end of our days. By the time I repeat the same promise back to her, her hand isn't shaking anymore, and she's grinning, too.
Bella looks up at me as she places a simple gold band on my ring finger. I see every little facet of the color in her eyes, and the emotion in them. Her eyes, so perceptive and at the same time so revealing, enable me to feel a bond with her I've never shared with another person before. It's the enormous humanity, wit, curiosity, and love displayed in them that I fell in love with, and will love always.
"I promise that today is just the start, just the beginning...let's continue blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our happiness. I love you, Edward. Forever and forever and forever," she professes with a slight tremble to her voice. She slides the ring past my second knuckle and beams at me.
"Brown Eyes, there are three things of which I am absolutely positive. First, you are my soul mate. Second, there's a part of you, and I know how dear it is to me, that is with me always—in my heart, in my blood. And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with you," I declare, looking into her eyes.
The loud sniffles coming from some of our guests adds levity and a touch of humor to our moods and we laugh in spite of the solemnity of the moment. Bella's face turns creamy pink as her eyes crinkle shut briefly and a small chuckle escapes her.
After observing the rest of the traditional rites of an Episcopal wedding service, my grandfather looks at me and Brown Eyes with a broad smile and finally pronounces us man and wife.
"That's your cue to kiss her, son," he tells me as he winks, but he's too late. No sooner are the words out of his mouth that Bella locks her arms around my neck, pulling me down into one hell of a kiss, complete with soft moan into my mouth. I grab her face in my hands and put my mind to the task of returning that kiss with equal fervor. Our guests burst into applause and some very indecorous cat-call whistles.
After walking back up the aisle arm-in-arm, we manage to steal a few moments alone inside a private room at the back of the church before greeting our guests in the receiving line.
"Come here. I want a birthday kiss from my wife," I chuckle as I pull her hips toward me and kiss her softly.
"Happy Birthday, my husband," she replies, lightly patting the left side of my chest.
"So, we just got married, huh?" I ask, just like I did that night we had our 'role play' and only pretended that we were newlyweds.
"Yep. This time we really are a couple of lovesick fools, you and me," she replies again, only with a far less bashful smile this time. "But this is infinitely better than acting: to know I really love you, and always will."
I can think of no better way to spend my time than to kiss a trail up and down her neck, but Brown Eyes insists we have guests to greet and cordially accept congratulations from. I mumble something about having plenty of opportunities for that at some other time—after we're back from our honeymoon, for instance—but she just glares at me.
I let her pull my arm behind her as she scurries toward the double doors of the church, the sleeve of my tux jacket in one hand, and her bouquet and a generously gathered bunch of her dress's skirt in the other. A gleeful laugh floats out of her as she turns and looks at me, her face glowing and perfect. My flash forward has already started, and I don't want to miss a single second.
"Come on, you're always the fast one," she urges. "Hurry up before God sees you in here and laughs so hard at the idea of you being married that lightning strikes us both down."
"Married for all of five minutes, Brown Eyes. Five minutes," I tell her, shaking my head and pretending to look genuinely offended.
Her response is captured by a very quick and observant photographer, who seizes his chance just as Brown Eyes and I emerge from the church, her arm clutching mine. The result of this photographer's keen eye and quick finger will later grace the mantle of our future home. It's a photo of the two of us, just married and flushed with happiness, looking at one another in profile, with Bella very prominently sticking her tongue out at me.
Just as we'd anticipated, a long line of people begins streaming towards us, their faces eager. They smile and clap when Brown Eyes and I join our parents to greet everyone. It's nice to see people I recognize from work and other acquaintances I've made through the years, but what's even better is to be congratulated and offered well-wishes from those I've only just met through the new extended family of my father's friends and neighbors.
This tiny town in New Hampshire, so small on a map, is filled with people who are significant to me. In one way or another, they all play a part in my family and its history. From the blue-haired grandmothers who knew my father when he was a kid, all the way to the newest infant just baptized by my grandfather, they're all here now. And by wishing me a contented future, they help to reshape my painful, empty past into something more meaningful, into roots that although they were unknown to me, had always existed.
My boss Aro and his wife Heidi make their way toward us and offer their heartfelt words.
"Congratulations, Edward, Bella," Aro says, patting my arm soundly. "Edward, smartest thing you've done since accepting your promotion." I'd be slightly insulted if I didn't agree with him wholeheartedly. Heidi hugs us both after confessing that she never laughed and cried so much at a wedding before.
James saunters over to us and I'm less than thrilled with seeing him here. In fact, I don't even want him here at all. But it was Brown Eyes who invited him—deciding it was insensitive to include all of my co-workers on our guest list—except for James. She also noted that perhaps making a point of showing that we are now officially committed to one another will result in James changing his own ways a little.
He'd given up some time ago on his attempts to coax me into anymore nights of bar crawling. In fact, over the past few months, I'd see him with that leggy redhead more and more. And if my eyes aren't deceiving me, it appears as if she's his guest right now. He's got his arm wrapped tightly around her while she leans her head on his shoulder. Her brow is creased with a deep frown and she's pouting quite noticeably.
"Hey, the happy couple!" James greets us, shaking my hand and giving Bella a very loose hug. James might be brazen, but he isn't stupid. I've given him enough caustic and irate glares in the past to make the message quite clear that his attention toward Brown Eyes ought be so banal and sanitized that I should be able to eat my lunch off his comments and behavior.
"Jamie Bear, my feet hurt!" his leggy redheaded friend huffs.
Bella's eyes meet mine as she mouths the words 'Jamie Bear' with a quizzical, slightly horrified look on her face before we both mask our shock with polite nods and some rapid blinking.
"I did tell you not to wear those shoes, lamb chop," Jamie Bear coos at the redhead before they rub noses and kiss.
"I know, but now my tootsies are all boo-boo'd," she pouts, pointing at her foot and frowning. He taps her chin with his finger and pouts back at her, speaking in a hushed voice about how he'll take care of lamb chop's tootsies as soon as they get home.
I'm not sure how much more I can listen to this. It's not fair or appropriate for a man to feel this nauseated on his wedding day, of all days. The only thing that's keeping me from spontaneously projectile vomiting my last meal is the rich irony of the situation.
James: perennial playboy, bar crawler, womanizer, and player…is completely pussy-whipped by a woman with a voice like Minnie Mouse and the temperament of a five-year-old.
"James," Bella says with a raised eye brow. This breaks up the impromptu canoodling and sweet-nothing murmurings that have overtaken both James' and his friend's sense of decorum and regard for others around them.
"Oh, I guess I should introduce you guys. Edward, Bella, this is my lamb chop. Vicky," James tells us, positively beaming as he squeezes her tightly around the shoulders. "You're my lamb chop, aren't you?" he asks, like he's talking to a puppy.
"Jamie Bear, you're so silly!" she says in a squeaky, high-pitched voice that almost pierces my eardrums.
"It's nice to meet you, Vicky," Bella says politely. I can tell she's desperately trying to disguise a look of abject horror with a completely forced and plastered-on smile.
Jamie Bear and his lamb chop kiss and snuggle their way from our presence after what seems like an eternity. Brown Eyes and I look at each other for a moment, our mouths screwed shut tightly. Bella's lower lip twitches and I'm biting the inside of my cheek to keep my composure. Once our two guests are out of earshot, all bets are off and we begin laughing hysterically.
"Oh my God, please tell me other people don't see that when they look at us, Edward," Bella says, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand after literally weeping with laughter.
"I should hope not. Vicky seems a little…picky," I muse, trying to be delicate in my description of James' new girlfriend.
"And icky," Bella adds, her nose wrinkled in distaste.
"Can I call you 'lamb chop'?"
"If you do, you'll be 'Eddie Bear' for the rest of your life," she warns, swatting my hand after I playfully tap her chin.
Our wedding reception is a 'family affair' in every meaning of the phrase. It's held in the backyard of Carlisle and Esme's home. Renée, Esme, and Bella's Nona worked continuously for the past several days to prepare all the food on their own—it was something they insisted on and urged me and Bella to consider a wedding gift from the three of them.
After negotiating the swell of people who applauded our arrival to the reception, Brown Eyes and I enjoy our first dance with music provided by a string quartet.
"Just let me lead," I assure her. "You'll be just fine. I won't let you get tangled up."
"Ha. Remember the last time you said that? Look where you lead me now," she jokes, a bright smile spreading across her face.
"Yes, holy matrimony. Truly awful all this wedded bliss business, isn't it?" I agree with mock sincerity, a smile of my own matching hers.
"Don't ask. I feel stifled already. Actually, it could just be this corset I'm wearing. Alice tied the thing so tight, I can hardly breathe," she says softly, her lips against my ear as I crane my neck to listen.
I swallow with a loud, very uneven gulp at the thought of what that corset must look like. My mind spins with the possibilities. What color is it, I wonder. It must be white or off-white, since her dress is ivory. Are there cups on it, because the material around her cleavage is rather filmy and silky, and the outline of her breasts doesn't look particularly obscured, now that I take a close look? Well, truth be told, I've taken several close looks today, but the idea of Brown Eyes' shapely torso, with her delicate waist cinched and her hips gently flaring, clad in a white, satiny, smooth, cup-less corset with ribbon laces up the back sends me into a veritable stupor.
"Edward? Hello? Husband?" Bella chirps, looking at me with a confused expression as we continue to slowly twirl around the temporary parquet dance floor put down in Carlisle's expansive back lawn. Her use of the word 'husband' wakes me out of my lascivious daydreaming.
"Yes, wife?" I answer, looking entirely too smug.
"Is there something more interesting than your first dance at your own wedding?" she inquires, tilting her head at me and giving me a stern squint of her eye.
"Yes, actually," I purr, craning my neck once more to speak into her ear this time. "I'm very much more interested in seeing your corset."
And with that, I pivot her neck slightly and lazily trail my nose from the back of her ear down to her collarbone. I pay no attention to the 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' of guests as Bella and I dance under the setting sun, our shadows cast by the dim glow of tea lights hanging from the birch and crabapple trees around us. I'd like to think that the sun, the trees, the soft lights, the happy sighs of our guests, and even me, here in my tuxedo—we're all just a backdrop. We're the scenery that showcases the beautiful woman in my arms, who is now my wife.
After what seems like a very long succession of toasts, food and drinks being served, and cake-cutting, Brown Eyes and I steal away to change our clothes and finally say goodbye to our guests before heading straight to Logan Airport to catch our red-eye.
People feel the well-meaning need to dispense all manner of advice to us. Some of it is practical. Heidi Volturi tells us never to go to bed angry at one another. Some of it is questionable in its wisdom: Emmett pulls me aside and says in a low voice that 'when in doubt', I should just 'whip it out', whatever that means.
"Thank you for everything you've done," I tell Renée and Esme as they stand side by side to see us off. They've got their arms around each other, literally propping one another up as they dab their wet eyes, bearing out emotions that are part sentimental, part a few too many cocktails.
"Take care of each other," Renée says to me with one final hug.
"We will. And, um, thanks for helping. Not just with the wedding. But with helping me see things more clearly," I reply, referring to her advice to me when I first met her over Thanksgiving. She simply nods and smiles back at me.
I turn to Brown Eyes and notice that Nona is very animatedly telling her a story. Bella looks part amused and part mortified, holding a laugh back by putting a hand over her mouth.
"Listen to me, Bella mia, I am an old woman, but I know things. Food. Food makes your man happy," she proclaims, gesticulating for emphasis. "Your Nono, when I met him in Italy, he was Americano in the Army. Always follow me because he says 'street not safe for pretty girl.' I say 'go away', but I give up, you know?
"We married and we happy. But Marco…oh, he gets so jealous! All the time jealous if another boy looks at me. Makes face, like this," she says, glowering mischievously. "My friend Giana, she was a little older, knows more. Tells me 'when he makes that face, cook his favorite meal. He won't make that face no more'. So, I make your Nono eggplant parmagiana that night. Nine months later, your mama was born!"
Brown Eyes makes an honest attempt not to look mortified over having been told how her own mother came to be when she didn't exactly ask for this particular piece of information. Esme stifles a chuckle while Renée simply shakes her head, lamenting that her mother has been telling that story at every wedding she's gone to since her daughter's birth.
Bella's eyes go wide as she whispers loudly to me, the back of her hand covering her mouth.
"We better go before my mom starts telling me stories about how my dad loved fish fry. I just don't need to know!" she complains adamantly.
"What, no eggplant for me, Brown Eyes?" I tease jutting my lower lip out at her.
"No eggplant. No egg implanted, either. Not yet, anyway," she replies, kissing my palm as we slip away out the door to our waiting cab.
We slide into the backseat, and I snake my arm around her the small of her back and rest my hand on her lower abdomen, the words 'not yet, anyway,' echoing in my ears.
Twelve jetlagged hours later, we finally arrive at our hotel. It's mid-day, local time, and after a fairly painless check-in, we collapse onto the king-sized bed that's housed in the middle of the stately bedroom of our suite.
Brown Eyes and I have just enough energy to undress before falling asleep, and it's evening when I rouse. Feeling her soft body shift under me, I drift back into consciousness with a lazy smile as my fingers absentmindedly swirl unseen patterns around her bare breast.
"Good morning, or good evening, as the case may be," I drawl into the top of her head before gently placing a kiss there.
"Hi," she replies, lifting her head and smiling at me. Her hair is utter chaos, partially obscuring her face. I smile back as I sweep several locks out of her eyes and let my palm graze across her cheek.
"You're a married woman now, but your husband's neglected something very important," I say, feigning regret.
"Has he? Only just married and already he's messing up. What's he done this time?" she asks with a light laugh.
"He hasn't insisted on consummating your marriage. It's not official until you do, you know," I explain.
"Really? You mean, I can still back out of this? Kind of like 'buyer's remorse'? 'Bella's remorse'?" she quips, kissing my chest, directly over my heart.
"Well, technically, yes. But I doubt he has any intention of not following through. He takes this sort of obligation quite seriously, you know," I inform her. I begin kissing her by starting at her temple, then down her long, graceful neck—just to make sure my point gets across, of course. I feel her shudder slightly when the stubble of my beard causes her skin to prickle.
"Edward?" she whispers, pulling my face toward hers. I reluctantly disengage my lips from her smooth shoulder and look up at her face. "I think we should wait just a little longer, if that's okay. This just doesn't…feel right."
I'm mildly surprised by this. We just promised to commit ourselves to each other and to our relationship for the rest of our lives. If ever there was a right time to have sex, one would think this would be the ideal circumstances. Not to mention, she adamantly wanted sex from me the very first time.
"But…we're married. This is about as opposite a one-night stand as you can get. This is sanctity, Brown Eyes. Even God wants us to do it," I argue tenaciously, unable to help feeling a little frustrated, in more ways than one.
"I just want it to be special, that's all. I did have something in mind; I just need a little time to get ready. There's a bar downstairs. Go get a drink, and be back in half an hour," she asks. She looks at me expectantly, hoping I won't protest or make more out of this than I should. So, of course, I give in with a rather unenthusiastic 'okay'. This must be important to her if she's put some thought and planning into it. Letting out a long sigh, I lift myself out of bed and extract a clean change of clothes from our luggage.
"Oh, don't look at me like I took your only toy away," she scolds, wrapping the sheets around her as she walks toward the bathroom. I grumble my annoyance into my shirt as I pull it over my head.
"You did take my only toy away. It's under those bed sheets," I complain after her as I throw on a pair of jeans and slip my shoes on. She doesn't respond and merely shuts the bathroom door behind her with a small laugh. Frankly, I fail to see the humor in this, but I oblige her. Pushing my keycard into my back pocket, I slump my shoulders in defeat and head out the door.
I head down to the hotel bar, very aptly named The Waterloo. I chuckle to myself as I take a seat, thinking that this certainly feels like my libido's equivalent of Napoleon's disastrous military failure.
The place is completely desolate, being that it's a Monday evening. I'm the only poor bastard in here, and not even a minute passes before the bartender approaches me. He's a fairly affable looking fellow, wearing the customary crisp white shirt, dark vest, and black bow tie of the usual wait staff at an upscale hotel.
"Puis-je vous proposer quelque chose à boire, monsieur?" he asks with a smile, offering me a drink.
"Oui, s'il vous plaît. J'aimerais une bière—une Kasteel Bruin. Tout compte fait, mettez-moi une Kasteel Bruin et un doigt de jenever," I reply. I opt for a shot of very strong Dutch gin along with a Belgian beer for a chaser.
"Bien sûr, monsieur. J'en déduis que vous avez eu une dure journée si vous avez besoin de ce que nous autres Belges appellons un 'kopstoot'," he replies with a laugh. He notices my obvious sour mood and how I must be having a rough day if I'm ordering what the natives refer to as a 'headbutt'.
"Oui, j'aimerais plutôt être en haut avec ma femme qu'ici, pour être honnête," I agree, explaining that I'd much rather be with my wife at the moment.
"Pardonnez-moi, mais si je peux être honnête, je serais plutôt à la maison avec ma femme, moi aussi," he tells me with a smile. I laugh in response to his earnest admission that he'd rather be with his wife, too. He sets down my beer chaser and pours my gin into a miniature cordial glass.
"Merci. A votre Santé!" I say, thanking him and offering a toast as I make quick work of downing my shot. I grimace and squeeze my eyes shut at the very strong burn as the gin practically ignites my throat and shoots out my nostrils. I take a long pull of my beer, which does an admirable job of extinguishing the inferno caused by the intense spice of the gin's juniper berries and very potent alcohol.
"Vous sentez comme ça vous donne un coup à la tête, n'est-ce pas?" the bartender jokes, inquiring if I do indeed feel as if I've been hit in the head.
"Oui, plutôt! Pour votre peine," I concur before offering him several Euros that I leave next to my empty shot glass.
"Merci, monsieur," he replies.
The bartender turns his attention to retrieving his tip and my used cordial glass, leaving me to contemplate how much more time I should kill before heading back upstairs. The shot of gin and subsequent chugs of dark ale definitely loosen my mood, and I feel the edge of my annoyance become slightly dulled.
"Puis-je vous être utile, madame?" I vaguely hear the bartender ask a new customer at the far side of the bar. I'm too busy rolling a fifty-cent Euro coin around my knuckles, watching as it flips, over and over, between my fingers.
Suddenly, I'm very aware of the scent of perfume, and not just any perfume. It's Tartine et Chocolat. I'd know it anywhere because I bought a bottle of it myself as a Christmas gift for a very special someone—a 'someone' who gives me a raging erection when she smells of chocolate.
"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" I hear a woman coo over my shoulder. The voice is so overly and deliberately sultry, it's almost comical. She sounds like she's trying her damndest to impersonate the type of lady who trawls bars to meet men. Combine that with the most clichéd pick-up line in any language—let alone French—and I can't stifle a loud, yet amused, laugh.
'Will you sleep with me?' Really, Brown Eyes? Unless you're Patti LaBelle, that come-on should never be uttered.
"Votre mari sait-il que vous êtes assise dans un bar, à essayer de flirter avec un autre homme?" I ask, demanding to know if her husband is aware of what she's up to. Obviously, he's only beginning to catch on now, because I never would have guessed this is what she planned. She doesn't answer, and just looks down at her drink before giving me a sheepish shrug of her shoulders—which, incidentally, are completely bare, save for the thin little straps holding up the sleeveless, very low-cut blouse she's wearing.
"Je dis 'essayer' parce que c'est probablement l'approche la rebattue que l'on m'ait jamais dite," I inform her. It really is true that hers is probably the corniest line anyone has ever used on me.
"Je...uh, je n'ai rien trouvé de mieux à dire," she stammers, blushingly admitting that she couldn't think of anything better to say. I raise my eyebrow at her. It's not necessary for me to acknowledge how obvious a confession that is. "Peut-être pourriez-vous m'apprendre quelque chose de mieux?" she asks, once again requesting that I help teach her something.
"En français ou en anglais?" I ask back, despite the fact that I know she would rather hear me speak in French.
"En français s'il vous plaît. J'aime votre langue, surtout quand elle est française," she says in a low, shaky voice. Asking me to speak French because she loves my 'French tongue' is enough to make her lose her already-tenuous grip on the barfly façade she was trying on just a minute ago.
"Ma langue a beaucoup d'usages, Yeux Bruns. Mes mains, aussi," I reply, unabashedly bragging that my tongue has many uses, as do my hands.
I lean into her so that I can whisper in her ear.
"Pourquoi êtes-vous ici, habillée de cette façon?" I want to know, wondering why she'd show up dressed so provocatively. I emphasize my question by running the tip of my finger along the deep cleavage of her blouse.
I quickly scan our general vicinity to make sure no one is around, and notice that not a soul is within hearing or staring distance. Even the bartender had the sense to give me a short nod and make himself conveniently invisible a minute ago.
I pull her barstool over as close to me as possible. She presses herself against me as my arms form a cocoon around her. My hand slithers up her creamy-soft thigh. I expect my fingers to reach some kind of lacy fabric. Instead, all they're met with is bare, moist flesh, supple and velvety. And so very naked. Under a miniscule, tight skirt.
"Putain! Vous ne portez même pas de culotte," I snarl in her ear, the thought of her not wearing any panties with a skirt that could double as a head band sending me into a blistering haze of possessiveness.
"No, I'm not wearing any panties. I wasn't planning on needing any," she whispers provocatively.
"What if someone saw you like this? Someone other than me?" I demand. My voice is low and my lips are pursed in a tight, straight line.
"I just wanted to, um, dress the part. You know, look sexy…look like a woman you would want to pick up in a bar," she explains.
"You're better than that," I say, being serious for a moment.
"I know…but I've never tried this. I never felt like it was something I'd be comfortable doing, or even enjoy. But I want to now. Only with you," she explains sheepishly.
"I can't pretend I don't love you and don't want to keep you to myself. I can't pretend that, Brown Eyes."
"Just this once? Will you…pretend with me, please?"
I see the hopeful look on her face, and like always, I can't say 'no'. I couldn't say it on her birthday, I couldn't say it the first time I slept with her, and I can't say it now. Not when she looks at me like this and sees the man I used to be, along with the man I am now, but loves them both just the same.
"So, beautiful, what's your name?" I murmur, flashing my trademark smirk at her.
She's thoughtful for a moment. Clearly, this part of the role play wasn't something she'd considered ahead of time.
"Um...Tanya," she replies hesitantly.
"Tanya?" I repeat, tilting my head and looking slightly askance at her. "Huh. You don't look very much like a 'Tanya'. In fact, I don't think it suits you at all."
"No? What would you call me, then?" she asks coyly, her teeth sinking into that luscious bottom lip of hers.
"Hmm. I think you look more like a Candy. Sweet. Delicious. I'd very much like to taste you, Candy. Would you like that?" I purr, placing my hand on her knee and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"Yes," she moans as she leans into me. "Taste me."
My control, once so part-and-parcel of my subtle game of seducing women, dissolves like steamy beads of water on a glowing-red piece of hot metal. She turns me into nothing but one gigantic urge. I want to claim and covet, to indulge and surfeit. I am so unrelenting and predatory in my quest to have her that no one's to say whether I consume or am being consumed.
"Upstairs. Now." I say curtly.
"But we were..." she tries to argue before I interrupt.
"No more games. Upstairs. The room. 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the doorknob. Deadbolt locked," I snap hastily. I can't even speak in full sentences because I'm so focused on getting the hell out of a public place. I'm also too busy dragging her by the elbow toward the elevator, while keeping my eyes peeled for anyone leering at her.
Exactly six agonizing minutes later finds me fumbling with the damned cardkey so we can get inside the room. I'd have a much easier time getting that green light above the knob to blink at me if my wife wasn't nibbling on my ear and running her hand up and down the space below my navel. She stops just shy of my ridiculous hard-on, over and over again.
"Brown Eyes," I groan. "Please."
"Please what?" she whispers, running her high heel-clad foot up and down the back of my calf.
"Just please. Need to get inside," I mumble.
"Inside…where?" she coos suggestively.
"Fucking hell. God damned locked door," I mutter, just before I hear the glorious sounds of 'beep-beep-beep' and the sliding of metal being pulled away, unlocking the most secure door in the history of keyless entry security.
I think of all the times I'd watch her reactions to the way I touched her, how I'd find it so sexy and perfect to see her get lost in her arousal. I could never get enough of that look on her face when she abandoned control and just let her body take over.
But not now.
Tonight, on the first night we make love as a married couple, I discover something even more erotic, more captivating, and more completely fucking astounding.
Brown Eyes in complete control…over me.
The minute the door is shut behind us, she pushes me against it and kisses me hard, my face pressed tightly to her palms. I merely moan into her, my head spinning.
"What do you have here, handsome? Hmm? Something good for me?" she growls, cupping my crotch with her hand.
"Yes, just for you," I murmur into her hair, my fingertips feeling the soft slope of her ass as I bring her body flush against mine, so she can feel exactly how that something good is about ready to burst the seams of my jeans.
"You know, you said I look tasty. But I think you're the one who's delicious," she tells me before slowly—so tortuously slowly—passing her wet tongue over her top lip.
"Please," I moan again. I feel like a horny seventeen-year-old as I piston my hips so that my dick rubs against her hand.
"What do you want, Edward? Tell me, and you can have it. Whatever makes you feel good," she offers, pouting at me as she looks up at my face.
I've said the same words to her, more times than I can count. But Christ if isn't infinitely hotter hearing her ask me instead.
"I want you to touch me," I sputter, my brain unable to be more specific. Truth be told, I'll take anything: a handjob, a dry hump, anything.
"Touch you where, love?" she teases, her hand continuing its agonizingly-insufficient dance against me.
"Put," I gasp. "Put your mouth on me. Please, Brown Eyes."
I hear her chuckle mischievously as she looks down to inspect where her hand has been taunting my dick with barely-adequate friction. I can hardly watch as she kneels in front of me and pulls out my dick. My entire abdomen is wire-tight as she strokes me up and down with her hand.
"Put my mouth…here?" she asks.
"Yes," I whisper shakily.
"Like this?" she taunts, licking my frenulum with the tip of her tongue. She did this the very first time, from inexperience then…but now…now it's to hurl me headlong into the most exquisite oblivion I've ever experienced.
"Don't torment me, Brown Eyes," I plead.
"Say what you need, and I'll do it," she smirks.
"I need you…to suck me. Please," I tell her, weaving my hand into her hair and closing my eyes.
"Look at me, or I won't," she warns. My eyes snap open immediately. "I'll give you what you need. But I want you to watch me and talk to me…the whole time, okay?"
Nodding my head frantically, I can't hold back the half-sigh-half-sob that chokes free from my chest when her lips wrap around me.
"You're so beautiful, my brown-eyed Bella," I tell her. "I'm the luckiest bastard on Earth…still can't believe…I have you, all to myself. You're gorgeous…especially on your knees like this."
I keep my eyes focused on hers, so big and perfect, as her sweet mouth moves up and down my shaft. I feel her tongue swirl languidly around my skin as her moans reverberate against me and it's all I can do to keep myself standing.
"Oh fucking shit, oh my fucking holy hell, oh fuck yes, that is fucking amazing," I groan out, my mind a fog as base obscenities are the only words I can manage to say.
She opens her mouth into a devilish grin and waits eagerly for me to climax. I watch my cum pulse from my cock in short, hard bursts as it coats her tongue.
"You are delicious," she purrs as she re-buttons my jeans. The haze that inhabited my brain slowly lifts as my eager appetite is sated—for now.
"Come back up here," I urge, easing her back onto her feet. I kiss her face everywhere: her lips, her cheeks, her chin, her forehead…even her eyebrows get one peck each.
"Hey, I'll do that more often if I get this kind of gratitude," she chuckles.
"Oh, you might be thinking twice about that, little girl," I growl, my hands roaming down to her ass, where I slip them under her skirt, bunching it up around her waist in the process.
"Now, why would I regret driving you a little crazy? Hmm?" she asks, stroking my cheek with the back of fingers.
"Why, you ask? Because of this," I hiss playfully, spinning her around so that her back is pressed into my chest. "I'm about to…teach you a lesson, Brown Eyes."
"A lesson?" she squeaks.
"Mmhmm. Turnabout is fair play, is it not?" I ask back, sliding my arm around her torso, letting my fingers creep along the satiny fabric of her blouse until my hand settles on her breast. I rub and tease her just like she did to me. When she merely whimpers my name in response, I chuckle deeply at her inability to handle what she dishes out.
"Every cell of your body calls out to me, you know that," I tell her. With a gentle tug, I pull her blouse over head and toss it to the floor. The mini-skirt soon follows. I grumble a low 'fuck' when I finally see what she has on underneath. She's wearing the white corset she described to me at our wedding. It's just as I imagined, but the real thing is phenomenally fucking hotter. It is, indeed, cup-less, and stops just above her pubic bone.
"Look at us, Brown Eyes. You, dressed like that…me, out of control because of it."
Our eyes lock on the mirror that covers the hall closet door. My left hand pulls and flicks her nipple while my right greedily devours the feel of her pussy. It's soft, warm, bare…and wet. So wet.
I trail my nose up and down the space between her ear and her jaw, inhaling the scent of her. It's so purely erotic and so Brown Eyes, I want to lose myself in it. I growl possessively as I tighten my arms around her. The one around her waist has my hand working hastily between her legs. My other hand releases her breast and tangles itself into her hair, pulling her head to the side to give me free access to that neck of hers.
"Mine," I inform her before sinking my teeth into her sweetly perfect skin.
"Yours," she agrees in a tiny whisper. I hold her steady as I feel her slowly melt against me, her body losing its tension as all her muscles go slack. I look up, my teeth and lips still firmly affixed to her neck. Watching in the mirror, my eyes take in the exquisite image that is my Bella—my wife—climaxing from my touch. All the while, I hold her rigidly against me: hard, masculine predator clutching his soft, perfect prey.
"Edward," she sighs with a hum. Before I know it, a curious hand sneaks into the space between us, turning the tables once again as Brown Eyes gropes my dick through my jeans, quickly re-awakening it.
"Did you say something about 'turnabout'?" she asks with a laugh.
"Yes, now turnabout and let me see you in that corset," I quip as I gently maneuver her so that she's facing me.
"What do you think? I'd blame Alice and Rose, but it was actually my idea to buy it," she confesses, smiling up at me.
"I think that it's probably the hottest thing I've seen," I reply, ogling her breasts liberally as I push a lock of her hair behind her ear.
"Thanks. I'll leave it on, then," she says with a wink.
"The heels, too?"
"Your wish, my command."
"Is it now? Why wasn't I able to command my wishes when we first got back to the room?" I question, tilting her chin up with my fingertip so that I can see her pretty face more closely.
"Because you wouldn't be nice," she answers. "Downstairs. You wouldn't play with me…pretend with me."
"I'm playing with you now, aren't I?" I ask with a sly grin as I ease my hand down her side. I hum at the feel of the luscious slope and dip of her hourglass shape restricted in its hard-boned corseted confines.
She looks fucking edible.
"Yes. Play with me," she moans.
Reason and control disappear with her lascivious words. The seductive contradiction of innocence mixed with allure erases rational thought from my mind like grains of sand swirled away by a strong gust of wind.
"Jesus, I need you. Do you need me like this? Are you insane like I am right now?" I ask, my voice mildly desperate as I clutch her cheek in my palm and stare at her, my face searching hers.
"Love," she gasps. "Always. Always…need. This," she says, tapping her fingers against my temple. "This," she gestures again, this time, patting the left side of my chest, above my heart. "And this," she adds, pressing the center of her hand against my once-again straining erection.
I kiss her fiercely, her declaration inciting me to touch her everywhere with my lips and hands. Between gropes, tugs, and moans, we meander our way past the small foyer, until the back of my legs meet the armrest of the large, plush sofa in the middle of our suite's sitting room.
"No more teasing, Edward," Bella hisses. A deep chuckle rises from my chest at the sound of her impatience. My lips are curled around her nipple, clamped down and suckling her eagerly while my hand mimics my mouth on her other breast. I'm ignoring the way she's grinding into my leg, and it's clearly making her as desperate as I am. With a little growl of her own, Brown Eyes balls her fists around my shirt and pushes me off her.
She spins on the ball of her heeled foot and clutches the arm of the sofa, bending herself forward, her naked breasts heaving above the taut corset that makes it impossible for her to bend at any sort of subtle angle. She has no option but to completely curve her body at the waist, her ass and glistening pussy completely exposed. Looking over her shoulder at me, she says nothing—she merely winks and licks her lips.
My jeans and boxers swiftly pool around my ankles, my need ignited once again. Sheer urge trumps the patience needed to remove my clothes properly. I can feel and hear my pulse as it rages loudly in my ears, like a drumbeat that summons my uncontrollable, base instincts. It beats…screams…the same mantra to me, over and over.
Fuck. Your. Wife.
"Before you make me beg, Edward…fuck me," she commands.
I sink into her with one long push, grunting out my satisfaction. Her gasp and subsequent whimper is accompanied by her own hips pushing back into mine. My hands, so big compared to her small, tightly-bound waist, practically wrap completely around her frame as I pivot her hips up and down. Skin slaps against skin. One surface is coiled, rippled sinew; the other is supple, pliant, creamy-white flesh.
"Lost…in you. Lost," I mutter. My jaw is too rigid for me to speak more clearly, and my forehead begins to moisten with sweat.
"I'm with you. Can't be lost…when you're never alone," she pants. Her fingers dig into the sofa's upholstery, and I'm not certain if it's to brace herself against my frantic thrusting, or to help her keep upright as she cums with a long, almost frenzied cry.
"Beautiful…perfect…mine," I groan, no longer able to stave off the intense, molten heat that erupts from the pit of my groin and explodes outward. I curl my hands around her shoulders as I plunge into her as far as I can, one last time. My entire body goes rigid as I spill deeply into her in long, throbbing strains.
I manage to use my last shred of energy to turn us both so that the sofa is directly underneath our bodies when gravity wins out and neither of us can support our own weight. The room is silent save for our breathing, both of us crumpled up against one another in a heap.
"Do you notice something funny?"
"Yeah. My pants are still around my ankles. I'm too tired to care."
"Not that. Although, that is actually kinda funny. I mean the way we're laying on the couch."
"Huh…now that you mention it, it is funny."
Our bodies are sandwiched between mounds of cushions and the back of sofa, effectively causing us to press into, and wind around, one another: two bodies, exerting equal weight on each other. We're holding one another, both propping up while anchoring down. In essence: we're smooshing each other.
I fall asleep with an idiotic grin on my face, passing into a pitch-black slumber.
The rest of our honeymoon in Brussels passes with many idle, content moments of lovemaking, sightseeing, and chocolate eating. When planning this trip, I had every intention of spoiling Brown Eyes with the best Belgian sweets made by some of the most world-renowned chocolatiers. I'm happy to say that my intentions are fulfilled, and nothing compares to hand-feeding my completely nude wife chocolate truffles while she lounges in the middle of our king-sized bed.
All too soon, we return stateside, and manage to make our way back to the brownstone—our brownstone. It's the home that we'll now make together. My flash forwards begin to accumulate into the many lovely and beautiful images of Brown Eyes that I'd anticipated on my wedding day.
I set our luggage down in the living room, neither of us having the energy to even contemplate unpacking a single thing. Bella collapses onto the leather couch with a very fatigued sigh before flipping open her laptop and checking her email and other messages.
"Come on, Brown Eyes. It's late. We should sleep if we want to shake off the jet lag," I urge, gently massaging her forearm as I attempt to coax her into bed. I try to kiss her to really distract her, but it doesn't seem to be working.
"Just gimme a sec. I'm updating my twitter status," she replies before glaring at me for reading over her shoulder.
I laugh when I read what she's typed into the text box.
So tired. Just got back from our honeymoon. TNGUS wants to…*gasp*…sleep with me! He's the married guy who gave me his heart. :o)
ANNNNNNND, PLAY ME OFF, KEYBOARD CAT!
www . youtube . com / watch?v=J-aiyznGQ
OMG, LONGEST A/N EVAR. Like, I have to break this up into sections.
My favorite version of 'Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby' will always be the one in Tom & Jerry, but here's Dinah Washington's lush pipes cos she blows my socks right the heck off:
www . youtube . com / watch ? v=7kefYrJQ9tc&feature=related
Patrick's biblical quotes are from 2 Corinthians 9:8 and Proverbs 28:1.
TRANSLATION OF THE FRENCH USED IN THE BAR SCENE:
Puis-je vous proposer quelque chose à boire, monsieur?: Can I offer you a drink, sir?
Oui, s'il vous plaît. J'aimerais une bière—une Kasteel Bruin. Tout compte fait, mettez-moi une Kasteel Bruin et un doigt de jenever.: Yes, please. I'd like a beer—a Kasteel Bruin. Actually, make that a Kasteel Bruin and a shot of jenever.
Bien sûr, monsieur. J'en déduis que vous avez eu une dure journée si vous avez besoin de ce que nous autres Belges appellons un 'kopstoot'.: Very good, sir. I take it you're having a hard day if you need what we Belgians call a 'headbutt'.
Oui, j'aimerais plutôt être en haut avec ma femme qu'ici, pour être honnête.: Yes, I'd rather be upstairs with my wife, to be honest.
Pardonnez-moi, mais si je peux être honnête, je serais plutôt à la maison avec ma femme, moi aussi. : Excuse me, but if I can be honest, I'd rather be home with my wife, too.
Merci. A votre Santé!: Thanks. Cheers!
Vous sentez comme ça vous donne un coup à la tête, n'est-ce pas?: It does feel like being hit in the head, doesn't it?
Oui, plutôt! Pour votre peine.: Indeed! For your trouble.
Merci, monsieur.: Thank you, sir.
Puis-je vous être utile, madame?: Can I help you, ma'am?
Votre mari sait-il que vous êtes assise dans un bar, à essayer de flirter avec un autre homme?: Does your husband know you're sitting in a bar, trying to flirt with another man?
Je dis 'essayer' parce que c'est probablement l'approche la rebattue que l'on m'ait jamais dite!: I say 'try' because that's probably the worst pick-up line I've ever heard.
Je...uh, je n'ai rien trouvé de mieux à dire.: I…uh, I couldn't think of anything better to say.
Peut-être pourriez-vous m'apprendre quelque chose de mieux?: Maybe you can teach me something better?
En français ou en anglais?: In French or in English?
En français s'il vous plaît. J'aime votre langue, surtout quand elle est française.: In French, please. I love your French tongue.
Ma langue a beaucoup d'usages, Yeux Bruns. Mes mains, aussi.: My tongue has many uses, as do my hands.
Pourquoi êtes-vous ici, habillée de cette façon: Why are you here? Dressed this way?
Putain! Vous ne portez même pas de culotte.: Fuck! You're not wearing any panties. -That one's my favorite. ;op
Okay, TNGUS: the Cliff's Notes version…skip this, I'm babbling.
There you have it. A funny story with some drama but no heartfail. I wrote this primarily to see just how far I could push my banter dialog without making people sick from it. :oP I think I might have failed a little.
Also, I wanted to take a seemingly mismatched couple and somehow get them to realize that they're actually more suited for each other than they think. TNGUS and Bella have a lot in common. Both are 'whoops' babies who lose a parent. Both live very busy, yet unfulfilled lives. I wondered what would happen if one of them was more affected by the loss than the other, and if by getting together, they could both move on.
So, two babies, born under similar circumstances, but one has a happy childhood and the other doesn't. Fate brings them together, and it all comes full circle. Edward doesn't get baptized in his grandfather's church, but gets married in it instead.
Reviews are awesome. In fact, I'd like to ask that you check out my list of fic favorites listed on my community page and leave some reviews for the lesser-known stories listed there. This fandom is full of wonderfully talented writers, and I'd like to shine a spotlight on some of them. Here's the URL, just remove the spaces:
www . fanfiction . net / community / ABGs_FanFic_FunFest / 83416 / 14 / 1 / 1 /
That said, I'm so grateful to everyone who stopped by and read this silly love story. If it made you laugh or smile or forget your troubles, then I think it was a success. I'm a comedy writer, and jokes are only funny if someone is there to laugh at them. So, thank you for joining me.
Oh, and Happy Slightly Belated Birthday, Bella Swan. You get to do the seksy times with Edward Cullen, and for this, I will always kinda hate you. Just sayin.
Epilogue in the works.