|The Months Between
Author: BamaBabe PM
May-December Romance? Does age matter, or is it the months between that count?Rated: Fiction M - English - Friendship/Romance - Words: 4,237 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 7 - Published: 03-28-11 - id: 6852594
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: So, I know some of you are wondering where Changing Visions is. I have it and I haven't given up - PROMISE! This wouldn't leave me alone, so I jotted it down. The wonderful NCChris read it over for me and gave it a thumbs up. She even agreed to beta for me, if I choose to continue beyond this one chapter.
Once you read as far as you care to (to the end, or to the point of abandonment) I would love to hear your opinion - good/bad/ugly.
No one believed that she loved me. I mean, truly, honestly, loved me. My beautiful wife, Isabella, was twenty-three and I was nearly thirty years older than she.
While I sat waiting for Isabella to return to my side, I could hear the whispers. "What could they possibly have to talk about?" "What is wrong with him that he can't keep the attention of a woman his own age?" "How did that bastard get so lucky?" "She can't really love him, he must be hung or rich." Those were the things whispered behind my back. For those brave, or rude, enough to ask directly, the question I heard most often was 'how can you be so sure?' and my answer remains the same – I just know.
The times she would come home and tell me how this or that man had tried to woo her, would bring an ache in my chest. She always laughed at the feeble attempts and promises of money, love, fame and fortune. Never once did she show signs of longing, but I was ever insecure. What if the attempts were not feeble? What if the man was perfect for her? A younger man could give her the one thing I would never be able to – children.
I hate to admit that I tested our relationship before I asked her to marry me.
On paper, Jake was her perfect match. Both were exquisite to behold, they shared the same interests, and he grew up not far from Forks. Having watched her for months, he was more than eager to try to win her affections and never suspected my intentions. He bought the story that I was a 'benefactor' who wanted her to find happiness. I never explained that I wanted to be the one to provide that happiness or that she had already professed her love for me.
As always, she shared everything with me, and Bella was happy to tell me of the sweet young man she met at her campus job and all the places in which their interests crossed. Like how his friend, Paul, was in the same fraternity as my son, Demetri, and that they had memories of times on the beach in LaPush, possibly there at the same time. With increasing frequency, I heard stories of what Jake had brought to share with her for lunch, or funny anecdotes that had made her laugh. That was until I pushed him to make his move. The day he was to ask her out on a date, Isabella came home solemn and preoccupied. When I asked her what was on her mind, the burst into tears.
"I thought he was my friend, Aro! I just don't understand. He asked me out and when I said no, he grabbed me and kissed me! I swear I didn't do anything to encourage him, please believe me!" She sobbed and clung to my shirt while I comforted her. I was shocked that she was so candid with me. She hid nothing from me and I knew that I would always trust her because of it.
That night, I confessed everything. I confessed that I loved her beyond my sanity but because of my insecurities, I had encouraged Jake to pursue her. She was livid and railed at me for hours about trust and honesty. All of her arguments were true and valid. With a hushed voice, I reminded her of my insecurities and lack of faith in my ability to keep her happy. My insecurities were the driving force behind my actions, not a true distrust of her.
Taking my hands, she pulled me to my feet and walked me to the closet mirror in my bedroom. With tender hands and soft voice, she uncovered and touched every inch of my body, while telling me all of the ways she loved me. Of all the ways I belonged to her, and she to me.
Her fingers traced the scar on my eyebrow. "Brave", she whispered, kissing the raised line. I leaned into her touch.
Her hands gripped my biceps, causing me to flex. "Strong", she said. I shook my head 'no'.
She ran her fingers through the dark hair on my chest, pulling at the few strands of gray. "Beautiful", she said. I shook my head 'no'.
Her fingers traced down the flat of my stomach where the muscles were no longer defined. "Sexy", she breathed against my chest. Again, I shook my head 'no'.
She scratched across my shoulders and down my back to grasp my now slightly less-round ass. Before she could say anything, I shook my head 'no'. "Yes", she said between hot, open-mouthed kisses on my shoulders and back. Over and again, "Yes", until I could not bear it any longer.
"You deserve so much more than me, Isabella. Someone vital and young." My heart broke just at the thought of someone else loving her, touching her. Being everything for her.
"No," she said for the first time. "Never. Always you, Aro, always." She moved to stand in front of me again, her soulful brown eyes imploring me to understand her love and devotion to me. I could not understand it, but I was powerless to reject her.
My hands found her face, cradled it with such care, as though she would break. I kissed her mouth, each lip in turn. I kissed her nose, her cheeks, each eyelid. I luxuriated in the feel of her silken skin against mine.
"I know I should let you go, but God help me, I am too weak to watch you walk away from me. I want to spend the rest of my life trying to be the man you deserve. I will never be able to give you the things a younger man could, but you will never want for anything if it is within my power. I love you, Isabella Swan. Be mine forever, marry me."
"Yes," she breathed, "forever and always, yours. I love you, Aro Edwards."
On her knees before me, she told me how she would love and honor me until the end of days – not hers, not mine, but all days – forever.
Overcome with love and passion for this sweet, beautiful girl, I covered her body with mine and took her for the first time. There, in front of the closet mirror, I broke through her innocence and claimed her just as surely as she had claimed me those years before.
After a soothing bath, I carried my relaxed Bella to my bed and held her delicate body close to me. As I watched her drift to sleep, memories of her danced through my head.
I remembered the day my best friend, Police Chief Charles Swan, told me he was getting married and the day he told me he would be a father. Every day he would ask my advice on parenting or to make sure some new development was normal, on time, or advanced. He laughed when I told him to relax, that what the child does, she does in her own time and she was smart, clever and the best child to draw breath. Of course, so were my own boys, Demetri and Felix. We joked about Felix and Isabella one day marrying and taking over the world together. I remembered chubby little hands and big brown eyes that didn't miss a thing around her. I remembered sweet, toothless baby grins and big, wet tears tracing past quivering pouts. I remembered skinned knees and heartbroken sobs over the loss of a pet gerbil.
I remember how devastated Charlie was the day his wife left with their sweet little girl. My neck was wet with her tears as tiny little Bella hugged me goodbye. Charlie spent almost every day with my family for months. My wife, Sulpicia, joked that she had gained another husband.
My heart clenched at the thought of my late wife. She welcomed Charlie into our home without hesitation or question. He was part of our family and his loss was our loss. Each summer, Pia helped Charlie get ready for Bella to stay with him. Pia helped update the bedroom, so Bella wasn't a teenager staying a baby's room. She made sure that the clothes provided were fashionable and many other little things a single man would never consider.
She kept us all in line and raised fine, handsome boys to adulthood before her body gave out. After the boys moved away to college, Pia began to complain of headaches. When I encouraged her to go to the doctor, she dismissed them as 'change of life' problems caused by hormones. She spoke with confidence and so I let it pass.
On a rainy Thursday in July, my beloved wife died in my arms, taken down by an aneurism.
I wiped the tears from my eyes and wondered, not for the first time, if she would have approved of my love for Isabella. Would she have been as understanding as Charlie, or been disgusted with me as Renee had been with Bella?
As my family had for him, Charlie made sure that I spent nearly all my free time with him. When he announced that Bella had asked to move 'home', as she put it, I had reached a calm place in my life and was happy to step to the side and make sure that Charlie had all his free time for his little girl.
The day Isabella came home, was full of bittersweet joy. Charlie admitted that he was scared of having to be the parent to a teenage girl and heartbroken that Pia was not around to enjoy the time with 'our' little girl. She would have loved every minute of it.
My boys came home for a long weekend to help welcome Bella and make sure she was settled in before having to start her last year of high school.
Like proud papa's, we watched our children catch up and reacquaint themselves. Demetri asked Bella why she decided to move home at long last. She said she was finally of age to tell her mother that she no longer wanted to live as a nomad and wanted the stability Charlie provided. Renee was livid, but acquiesced. Charlie never looked happier.
Over the months, the three of us spent a lot of time together. So much, in fact, that I had a room at their house and they each had rooms at mine. I looked forward to quiet nights with the three of us having dinner together. Bella would start discussions about topics she learned in school or hot topics from the news. I was struck by how grown-up she seemed while she listened to the points of view Charlie and I had. During those rare occasions when Charlie and I disagreed, Isabella was treated to a very lively discussions and often pretended to be a referee between us.
Though Isabella showed little interest in dating, Charlie thought it was great fun for both of us to greet her would-be suitors. She said it did little in the way of intimidation and much in the way of starting a rumor that the Chief was gay.
There was one boy we thought we would have to worry about. Emmett was tall, nearly my height, with curly black hair and big dimples and had an air of mischief about him. With all that, he seemed too polite to do more than hold our Isabella's hand. Charlie even stopped answering the door with his gun on. After a few months, we didn't see Emmett around any more. Bella simply said she wanted 'more', so Charlie and I left it alone.
When Felix asked Charlie if he could date Bella, I thought nothing of it. After all, it was a scenario Charlie and I had discussed several times over the years. With the understanding that it was ultimately up to Bella, Charlie agreed.
Pictures of Felix and Isabella lined each of our mantels – fall dances, spring formals, trips to the beach, eating ice cream in December, prom, her graduation, and fraternity parties.
The night Bella decided to make a surprise visit to Felix's apartment changed things for us all. I found out that my youngest was a cad and deserved the beating his older brother gave him. Bella forgave Felix for his indiscretions with Heidi. Much to my dismay, several months later, Felix announced that Heidi had agreed to marry him.
We talked about this new revelation one afternoon while Bella was visiting. Rather than go home to wait for Charlie, she had come directly to my house.
"Really, I'm over it." She had said. "What do you think of Heidi being your daughter-in-law?" She had asked.
"She's a hussy and I don't care for her much." I said. "You forgive far to easily, Isabella." I had admonished.
"Don't be so harsh, she had no idea about me. You should give her another chance. She really is quite nice and very funny." Her smile was so sweet, I couldn't help but smile in return.
"Felix deserves to be beat about the head and shoulders for hurting you. I didn't know that Heidi was in the dark, though. I will be more patient with her."
"Siding with me over your own son, Aro. Besides, Demetri did give him a sound beating!" Bella said, as though scandalized, and swatted my arm.
Startled, I sat in silence. Even with my lifetime friendship with Charlie, she'd only ever called me 'Mr. Edwards'. Calling me 'Aro' was not, in and of itself, an issue. What startled me was my reaction to my name on her lips. And then my reaction to her lips.
"Are you alright? You got so pale!" Isabella's hand was on my forehead, then hands on my cheeks. "Oh, you're burning up!" She brought her hand to my wrist, checking my pulse. "Your heart is racing!" She pulled me to my feet and lead me to the bathroom and sat me on the toilet. She fussed about, brushing against me to pat my face with a cool cloth.
My mind was full of static and panic. I was keenly aware of the soft warmth of her breasts against my arm. Of the reedy quality of her angelic voice. No longer high and childlike... a child! My best friends' daughter! How could these feelings be affecting me? How could I even entertain the idea that she was a woman now. This is so wrong! My brain screamed at me to walk away. To get as far away from Isabella Swan as possible. I sat, leaden, in my spot as this ethereal being cared for me.
Her cool hand cupped my chin, encouraging me to look at her. Those brown eyes that express so much and have looked to me for care, advice, and love. But familial love – not the heat and passion I was now flooded with.
"Where did you go, Aro? I've been talking to you and you look a million miles away. I was so worried about you, but you don't have a fever. Your pulse is still high, though. I think you should lie down. Do you want me to call Dr. Cullen?" Her sweet face was painted with concern and all I could think of was laying down with her. Pressing her body into my mattress and hearing her call out my name over and over. With a start, I jumped up, pushed past her and ran to my room. Damn me for not closing the door behind me. I hadn't spoken a word to her, too afraid of what sinful suggestions might slip from my mouth. She found me sitting against the wall near my closet, banging my head against the wall, elbows on my bent knees.
Without a word, Isabella removed my shoes and pushed her slight body between my knees to loosen and remove my tie.
"I don't know what has disturbed you so much, Aro, but it's okay. I'm here for you." She whispered, her breath tracing across my neck as she leaned forward to kiss my cheek.
"Isabella" was all I could say before my hands wound in her hair and I pulled her mouth to mine. Her eyes were wide as I caressed her lips with mine. After a moment, her body molded to mine and she returned the kiss with a passion that almost matched my own. The heat of her mouth and the softness of her lips drove me to madness. My body remembered the feel of a woman and reacted, aching deep within me.
"Oh, yes, Aro." She whimpered while pulling on my now open shirt. For such a small thing, she managed to wriggle her body beneath mine while maneuvering me above her, and pushed her hips against mine. I thrust against her, reveling in the feeling of her softness against my hardness. I covered her body with mine and kissed every inch of her face and neck. The fingers of her one hand tugged on my hair while the other traced down the flat of my stomach toward the waistband of my trousers.
"Please, Aro, love me." And again, I broke. With sudden clarity, I was able to move from over her. My body, still humming from the life she brought forth, ached to be ever closer, but my mind, my conscience, could no longer be quiet.
"I do love you, Isabella. I do, but I can't do this to you." The truth of my words weighed heavily on my heart. I did love her. I had always felt protective of her and wanted to keep her safe and secure. I had always loved the funny things she did and said. I loved her intelligence and her enthusiasm. Now, in a matter of mere moments, I found that I loved the woman she had become. If it can be said that a nineteen-year-old is, in fact, a woman.
"This is so wrong in so many ways."I shook my head, crawling back to my defeated pose against the wall.
"How can what I feel for you be wrong?" Her eyes and voice held so much pain and hurt. "I have loved you for so long, Aro. Please, look at me." I did, I met her gaze and found my passion reflected.
"That's lust, sweetie, not love. And lord only knows why you feel that for me, but it doesn't change the nature of the feeling." I could feel the sad smile on my face as I watched her wrestle with my words.
"No!" The stubborn little girl stamping her foot, flashed through my mind. "It is not just lust. And don't you tell me I don't know about real love, or that I'm transferring some kind of Electra complex to you, or whatever other psychobabble bullshit you can come up with, Aro Edwards! I am in love with you." Her face was defiant and her eyes flashed with anger. "It's always been you I wanted." her voice softened.
"I thought I could fall in love with Emmett and then that I was in love with Felix all that time, but I wasn't. He's just so much like you. He saw it, too. That's why I forgave him. He may have cheated on me with Heidi, but I cheated, too, because my heart was never with him. It was always with you." She crawled back over to me, pushed her body between my legs and laid her head against my chest.
"If you tell me that you don't feel anything for me, other than the obvious," she smiled and brushed her hand across my still-standing erection, sending a jolt through my body, "then I'll never bring it up again and I will act like this never happened." She kissed the base of my neck and along my jaw before winding her way from between my legs and walking out of my room.
From my shamed spot on the floor, I heard the front door shut. Night settled around me and still I sat. I thought about my new-found feelings. I weighed the consequences of my actions this afternoon. I considered my friend Charlie and how he would react. I wondered at her revelation that my son knew of her feelings for me. I thought about how many times Charlie mentioned that Emmett reminded him of me when we were kids.
As daylight broke, I realized that my feelings for Isabella could never go back to familial. She had irrevocably changed my life, my heart, and I would forever be hers. My decisions would be weighted by Charlie's reaction. It was time to face the man who had entrusted me with his child in the same way I had entrusted him with my own children.
I was so nervous as I waited on the porch for the door to open. That alone would set Charlie on edge, since I had a key to his house and always let myself in.
"She's a force to be reckoned with, isn't she?" Charlie said when he opened the door. I stood struck dumb.
"Well, get your ass in the house, old man." Charlie cracked a smile at the sound of Isabella calling from inside "Daddy! Be nice!" I had no idea what to expect, but this wasn't it.
"Don't look so scared, Aro. I'm not going to shoot you, or anything else for that matter. When have I ever denied my little girl anything?" Charlie laughed at me.
Over pizza and beer, Charlie and Isabella talked over each other to tell me how she had already broken the news to her father. And that she had told him of her love for me when she was only fifteen years old.
"She was so serious when she sat me down." Charlie laughed. "I chalked it up to a teenage crush and that she would outgrow it soon enough. You know, find a boy her own age to push those feelings toward. I was happy when I saw Emmett, but... I guess not, huh?" In his eyes, I could see that Charlie was struggling with Bella's revelation that nothing had changed for her and that she had confessed her feelings to me.
"Charlie, I... I never, ever did anything. I swear it! Please, please believe me!" I begged him.
"Shit, Aro! I know that. I never doubted you for a moment. Uh, that's why you're alive, buddy." His smile was genuine, as was the steely glint in his eyes.
"So, I guess you two have some things to talk about. Just, I need time to adjust to this, if there is a 'this', so I don't want to, uh, see anything. Okay?" Charlie smiled while I nodded like an idiot, still stunned by the strange turn of events in my life over the last few days.
Once Charlie left the room, Isabella sat next to me on the couch, her delicate hand resting on mine.
"You look like you've been up all night, Aro. I guess you thought about what I said yesterday. Do you... how are you?" Her eyes were so cautious and at the same time, so full of hope.
My decision was made before she left my house yesterday and I had no desire to keep away from her one moment longer. I moved to kneel on the floor in front of her. Almost as a reflex, she parted her knees to bring our bodies closer together. Even like this, on my knees, I was taller than Isabella. Slowly, I leaned a hand against the back of the couch, with the other, I held her hand over my heart so she could feel the frantic beat that was for her alone.
"All that I am, Isabella, is yours. I am scared to death, but no less yours." Her answering smile was glorious and she threw her arms around my neck and kissed me.
That time, when I kissed Isabella, I held nothing back.
So... you made it this far - because it was like a car wreck you couldn't look away from? Because you liked it? Whatever the reason, I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you feel like seeing my image of Aro Edwards, check out my profile pic to see the mock up I made, or go here: s1115(dot)photobucket(dot)com/albums/k541/BamaBabe_Ffn/