Disclaimer: It's all Stephenie's, whether she wants it or not.
A single lantern softly illuminates the bedroom. She feels the constricting stays of her corset loosen as he unties the tight ribbons that run down her back. The corset falls to the floor where her hoop skirt already lies in a heap of satin fabric. She wears only her shimmy as she turns to face her husband. He looks so striking in his Confederate Officer's uniform. The gold epaulets and braided trim are elegant against the gray broadcloth. She unbuttons his coat and it joins her clothing on the floor. He captures her lips in a kiss as his hand covers her breast. The kiss deepens as their mouths open. She moans softly as his thumb circles her hardened nipple. They sink back on the bed as he moves over his wife.
He pulls back and admires her porcelain skin, delicate heart shaped face, and wide set eyes. The little v of worry that has sat between her brows for the past day has finally faded.
"You're so beautiful," he whispers before he lowers himself down to her.
He kisses her again "Inside and out."
They both sigh as their bodies come into contact with one another. It's been too long since they've had the chance to be together like this. Her hand lightly caresses her husband's chiseled cheekbones and square jawline.
"You always know just what to say."
"It's a gift."
He smiles as he rolls her nipple between his thumb and forefinger. Her body responds to his touch as electricity bolts from her breasts to right between her legs, eliciting a louder moan this time.
"You are a very gifted man."
Her legs part and he grinds his hard length against her. Her hips lift as she attempts to increase the friction. He moves his hand from her ass to grip her side. He pushes even harder against her as they eagerly cling to each other. His lips trail down from her neck. He sucks on the sensitive spot where her clavicle meets her shoulder making her both writhe and giggle. He brings his lips lower, following the line of the décolletage created as she wraps her arms around his firm back. His tongue dips and swirls between her breasts as he quickly unties her shimmy. She pulls at his own shirt, which he sheds while she discards her top. The rest of their clothes fall away until they are skin to skin.
He takes a moment to admire her full round breasts before his mouth finally surrounds her nipple. She moans as he sucks and nips, his teeth providing just enough pain that it actually increases the pleasure. His hand matches the movements of his tongue on her other breast. She brings one hand up to his head, raking his scalp with her nails, while her other hand remains tight around his torso.
"Oh… that feels so good, don't stop."
He hums his response before flicking his tongue over one nipple, then switching and repeating his actions on her other breast. He slides the hand on her hip between them and rubs his finger over her clit.
"You like that? You know how much I love watching you come undone?"
"God, yes. Please I need to feel you inside."
He complies, pumping first one then two fingers in and out of her as she thrusts her hips to match his movements.
He recognizes the signs that she is close to climaxing. "You ready to come for me?" He pumps his fingers faster as he sucks her nipple hard.
Heat sweeps through her body as she tightens around his fingers.
She cries out as the powerful orgasm overwhelms her.
He waits for her to regain her senses before he aligns himself between her legs.
She opens her eyes and gazes up at her husband with love and longing. "I love this moment. I love the feeling of anticipation before you push inside me. I love you.
He kisses her gently. "As I love you."
He enters her in one long thrust, gasping with pleasure as he pushes in until his hips are flush against hers. He pulls back and drives into her again and again as she matches his rhythm. Her hands grasp his ass pushing him deeper into her.
They set a fast pace as he feels himself approaching the edge.
"Do you want the top?" He pants, wanting to see his wife orgasm again.
She nods and they roll over with him staying inside her. Once on top she immediately leans forward so he can capture her breast in his mouth. She begins a fast tempo of lifting her hips up and down, moaning with pleasure as his hard cock fills her over and over. She circles her hips as her clit rubs against him. He gives her total control, letting her set the pace, and in minutes she feels the sharp bolts of pleasure consume her as she falls over the edge again.
Before she has finished the last of her spasms, he rolls them back over and begins thrusting first slowly then faster and faster when he feels his balls tighten. He grasps her hands in his just as his orgasm engulfs him. He moans loudly as he comes inside her. They lay entwined together as they wait for their breathing to slow and sleep to overtake them.
She wakes when there is a loud knock on the door. He isn't there. It's been weeks since he was called away to fight. She hastens to fasten her gown and open the door.
"Alice? Are you home?"
She opens the door to find her father-in-law, his face pale and worn, standing before her. She sees the crumpled yellow paper of the telegram in his hand. Her head shakes back and forth, denying what her eyes already know.
"Alice, he's gone. Our Jasper has fallen in battle."
"Bella! Wake up! It's just a dream."
Bella startles awake. Edward helps her as she tries to sit up. She can't move too easily at this late stage of her pregnancy.
She strokes her husband's face as she tries to make sense of what she just experienced.
"I just had the strangest dream. It must be all the pregnancy hormones. We were us, but we weren't us exactly. You know how that happens in dreams sometimes?" She looks to Edward for reassurance. He nods so she continues.
"It was the Civil War I think and you were a soldier and we were making love. That part was really hot."
"Oh yeah?" Edward smirks.
Bella rolls her eyes as she tries to shift to a more comfortable position.
"Yeah but after you were gone, then your father arrived to tell me you'd died in battle. Except it wasn't Carlisle, it was someone else. I've never seen him before. And you weren't you; he called you Jasper and I was Alice."
Edward laughs as he rubs his wife's back in soothing circles. "See, now it all makes sense. You dreamt about my great-great-great grandparents because we decided to name the baby after them."
"But it felt so real, almost like a memory instead of a dream."
"But it wasn't real. Although, if you'd like to make the sex part real right now, I'd be happy to oblige," Edward waggles his eyebrows. Bella gives him a playful shove before she lies back down I the bed.
"Right now I can't even find my feet let alone other parts."
"You don't have to find them, I'll take care of that for you." Edward slides down next to his wife and reaches down between her legs.
Four years later
"I'm so stuffed." Bella leans back in the passenger seat of her husband's Volvo, adjusting the seatbelt. The heavy Amish meal was delicious and she ate entirely too much.
"It was that shoo-fly pie that pushed me over the edge."
Edward chuckles softly as he finishes securing the seatbelt on their son's booster seat.
"Hey buddy, did you like the pie?"
Their son nods vigorously, his mop of red hair shaking with the movement. Edward expects that by the time he turned seven, just a few years from now, the carrot-top color will fade to the same mostly brown shade of his own hair. The red was really only visible in bright light.
"But there were no flies, Daddy."
Edward laughs loudly this time as he meets his wife's warm brown eyes, which are crinkled in the corners. She's trying hard not to laugh. Brandon is an uncommonly serious and mature for his age and she doesn't want to hurt his feelings.
"Brandon, do you know what shoo means?"
Bella asks; her voice kind but not patronizing. Even though he's only four, Brandon hates when adults speak to him as though he was a baby.
Brandon raises one foot, pointing to his sneaker.
Bella nods, "Yes, that's one kind of shoe: S-H-O-E. Then there's S-H-O-O that means to scare away so the name shoo-fly means that the pie is so sweet it attracts flies and all the flies have to be scared away. Understand?"
Brandon considers her words before he nods. "Yes, mama."
Edward takes his seat behind the wheel and enters a new destination in the GPS. His eyes look upward into the rear view mirror where he can see his son sitting directly behind him.
"It's time. Are you ready for Gettysburg?" He asks.
Brandon's demeanor immediately changes. He sits up straight, his elbows rest of the arms of his booster seat as he clasps his hands just below his chin. His eyes lock on his father's.
His voice, though still that of a child, is somewhat deeper than it was moments ago. "Yes sir. I've been waiting one hundred and fifty years for this day."
2 years earlier
A piercing scream wakes Bella and Edward out of a deep slumber. Bella runs straight into their son's room across the hall. Edward glances at the clock and notes it's after midnight before he joins his wife. Two year old Brandon is thrashing on the bed and crying out.
Bella sits on the edge and gently strokes his arms and faces while whispering softly, "It's just a dream, it's o.k." over and over.
Edward runs his hand through his hair and lets it rest on the back of his neck as he hovers over his wife and child.
"Night terrors?" He whispers.
"Mmm-hmm." Bella hums in agreement as she continues to comfort their young son.
"Should we wake him up?" He asks, as he bites the cuticles of his other hand.
"Uh-uh," Bella replies in a soft whisper. "They say not to wake them."
Edward doesn't bother asking who they are. The next day, it's as though the nightmares never occurred and they put it out of their minds. However, once again after midnight Edward and his wife are awakened by the sounds of screams.
"Sniper! Sniper on the hilltop!" Brandon yells as he again thrashes on the bed. "I'm hit."
Bella once more soothes him back to a peaceful sleep. She and her husband return to their bed. He embraces her as she lays her head on his chest.
"Edward, did he see you playing Call of Duty?" She asks, disturbed by the word she's heard.
"No, I haven't played in months and there's no way he's seen it anywhere else."
Their son's television watching was limited to DVDs like Barney and Blues Clues as well as a few carefully approved shows such as Sesame Street. Bella nods absently before drifting back to sleep. Over the next few months, a pattern emerges. Three or four nights a week, they are awakened by the son's screams. He cries over and over again about snipers and getting shot. Edward and Bella consult various parenting books and the internet, looking for information about night terrors and nightmares but a two year old isn't supposed to be capable of the types of dreams Brandon is having.
"Mom, we've made an appointment to see a pediatric specialist." Bella speaks into her cell as she walks up and down the aisles of the supermarket, her phone lodged between her shoulder and ear.
"Bella, dear. I really don't think a medical doctor will have the answers you're seeking. It's time to consider something more …. ethereal."
Bella sighs. She doesn't share her mother Renee's penchant for the holistic and sometimes just weird.
"Like what, Mom?"
"Bella, please, don't take that tone. I'm just asking you to consider that there could be another explanation. You and Edward and poor Brandon have endured this now for months."
Another sigh, this one softer.
"O.k. Mom, what are you asking me to consider?" She emphasizes the last word, as though her mother could see the quote marks Bella makes in the air.
"Brandon might be remembering a past life experience."
Bella huffs. "Reincarnation? Really Mom?"
"Bella it's very possible. I've been reading a book, a New York Times bestseller, about this woman whose children all remembered their past life experiences. It says children under the age of five are the most open to recalling their former lives. I've already sent you the book on your e-reader, just take a look."
Bella knew her mother's emphasis of the book's bestselling status wasn't an accident. However, she knew no matter how many others believe this malarkey, there would be some close to her that would never accept it.
"And then what Mom? Can you see Carlisle or Esme believing that their grandson is reincarnated? They are devout Catholics- Carlisle is a Eucharistic Minister and Esme founded the parish's Rosary and Altar Society. They don't believe that a soul has more than one life and they'd never accept that idea and I'm sure Edward wouldn't either."
"I'm not looking to change a narrow-minded Christian viewpoint, Bella. I just want my grandson and his parents to be able to sleep peacefully through the night. Before you start rolling your eyes, just read the book; be open to some of the techniques discussed. If you try some of ideas and they work, isn't it worth it? Nothing else has helped so far. Check your Kindle. I'm sure the invite to borrow the book is already there."
Bella thanks her mom and ends the call. She shakes her head, knowing that Renee has a point. Even if she doesn't like the source of the information, if it helps Brandon, does it really matter? There is no more helpless feeling in the world than watching your child suffer. Bella opens up the Kindle app on her phone and finds the invite.
"Brandon, can you tell me more about your dreams?"
Bella pulls the covers up to her son's shoulders as she casually tries to follow the book's instructions. According to the book's author, this is the best time to get him to open up to what the dreams entail.
"Lots of fighting." He replies, his voice heavy with sleep . His enunciation is good for a boy his age but even so the L in lots still sounds like a W.
"Who's fighting, Brandon?" Bella probes, keeping her voice soft as she pushes his hair back from his forehead.
"The soldiers." Brandon settles his head deeper into the pillow.
"Are you a solider too?" Bella repeats the motion, caressing his head over and over.
"Yes, I'm a major."
Bella's hand hesitates. How would he know that rank? Maybe general, but a major?
"A major? Is that good?"
"Yes'm. I'm young but tough."
"How old are you?"
"Twenty." Bella's hand drops onto the blanket.
"What's your name?"
Bella smiles, relieved. "That's right, that's your middle name but your first name is Brandon."
Brandon sighs, his voice even more distant as sleep overtakes him. "No, my name's Jasper Whitlock Cullen. Brandon was Alice's name before."
Goosebumps break out on Bella's arms. "Before what?'
"Before I married her." He mumbles. His mouth doesn't close on the last word. He breathes deeply and Bella knows he's asleep.
"Bella, there's always a logical explanation. I'm sure at some point in the past two years; Brandon's heard one of us mention it." Edward rests his hand reassuring on his wife's back, pushing her long brown hair aside. It's been twenty four hours since Bella's bedtime talk with Brandon and she is still upset. She sits on the edge of their bed, holding her phone. The Kindle app is open to the book her mother sent her.
"When Edward? When has he heard that he was named after your great-great–great grandparents? When would we have ever mentioned that Jasper's middle name was Whitlock? I didn't even know that fact until I checked the family tree site last night after he fell asleep!"
Bella puts the phone on the nightstand. She crosses her arms, rubbing the skin. The goose bumps reappear every time she thinks of her son's distant voice as he told her he married Alice Brandon.
Edward sits next to her on the bed. He gently strokes her back with one hand while the other turns her chin so that he can stare into her deep brown eyes. "It might not have been us; he could have overheard my parents discussing it. My mom has him all day three days a week, who knows what he's heard."
Bella nods, feeling a bit better. "That makes sense."
Esme has watched Brandon three days a week since he was three months old, which is when Bella went back to work part-time. Esme volunteers for several local organizations, including the Houston Historical Society so it's possible Brandon could have overheard her discussing their family's colorful history. The Cullen's are very proud to be descendants of a genuine Confederate Civil War hero. Major Jasper Cullen had died on the battlefield of Gettysburg as he led the Houston Infantry charge through Devil's Den.
"Of course it does. I know your mom loves to try exploring the supernatural issues, but she's grasping at straws. Brandon's a normal toddler going through a night terror phase. It's already been a few months. I'm sure he'll outgrow it very soon."
"He did sleep all night last night without a nightmare," Bella smiles.
"Yes, he did. Mommy and Daddy got a good night's sleep for once. I know I'm feeling very well rested." Edward's eyes dance playfully as his hand slips from Bella's back below her waist to cup her bottom.
Bella smirks, knowing exactly what he's doing. "Oh are you?"
Edward smiles wider before leaning forward to capture his wife's lips in a kiss.
The screams awaken them two hours later. Brandon cries in his sleep, shouting again about a sniper on the hill. It takes Bella and Edward almost thirty minutes to get him to settle back down. Over the next week, Bella notices a new pattern emerging. On the nights where she and Brandon have their talks at bedtime, he sleeps peacefully. The rest of the nights, they awake to his screams as the night terrors continue.
"Well, I still don't believe anything about this reincarnated nonsense, but if talking about his dreams before bedtime gets them to stop, I'm all for doing it," Edward states as he and Bella once again discuss what they should do.
"I agree but the things he's says are disturbing, Edward. Last night, he described the battlefield. I looked up his descriptions and they match Devil's Den, where Jasper Cullen died. How could he know that?" Bella shivered involuntarily.
"Bella, it's just a coincidence. He doesn't know anything about Gettysburg. He's not even three years old."
Bella nods. She normally doesn't accept any of Renee's radical theories on life and the afterlife but the book Renee sent her is very persuasive. What if her son does have Jasper Cullen's soul? Without telling Edward, Bella decides to test a few more of the book's concepts. She buys Brandon a set of Civil War style toy soldiers. As she suspects, he's immediately fascinated by them. He sets them all up in a line that looks amazingly like a proper military formation.
"What are you doing Brandon?"
Bella googles it and discovers that the Confederate Pickett's charge was the key moment of the Battle of Gettysburg, when the South faced devastating losses resulting in their ultimate retreat and defeat. Bella next buys a picture book, designed for older children, that depicts the history of the Civil War. Brandon points out various weapons, including a bayonet. Bella learns that the Texas infantry at Devil's Den used bayonets during their charge. Every night, they talk, sometimes using the book as a reference. Bella points to the picture of a smoothbore musket, purposely making the mistake of calling it a rifle. Brandon immediately corrects her.
Six months goes by. Brandon's nightmares all but subside. Still, there are other things which she finds troubling. Brandon is unusually somber for a boy his age. Some would describe him as an old soul. However, Bella suspects there is far more truth to that label than anyone could guess. Brandon can't seem to shake his fixation with the Civil War. He draws crayon picture after crayon picture of soldiers in blue and gray, red colors their uniforms where they are wounded from battle. Brandon's knowledge of the area around Gettysburg and the details of the battles are a constant source of stress in their home. As much as Bella and Edward try to create an ordinary, happy life for their son, they know he isn't normal.
Bella reads every book she can find on the subject. She has further discussions with Renee, who does her own research on the topic. They discover that past life recollections usually occur because the soul has unresolved issues from its old life. Bella directs their nightly conversations to more personal information and gets startling results.
"Tell me about Alice?" She asks one night as Brandon skirts the edge of unconsciousness.
"Mmmmmm," He murmurs. "She's pretty."
Bella smiles. She has only seen one old daguerreotype of Alice Brandon Cullen. She stands stiff and solemn in her hoop skirt but there's no denying the petite brunette was a beauty in her day.
"Do you miss her?" Bella continues to with her questions.
"Yep. I need to say bye."
Bella freezes as she realizes that this could be the reason why Jasper's soul won't let go of his former life.
"How can you do that?"
"The note." Brandon mumbles. Bella knows he's seconds away from sleep.
"Where's the note?" She asks, trying not to stir him as her voice rises in excitement.
"In the space in the rock."
"The rock in Devil's Den, where I died." With that Brandon rolls over and goes to sleep.
"Bella, this is bullshit!" Edward shakes his head as though he could get the ideas she's suggested to fall out.
"I know you've been taught not to believe in reincarnation. I know you don't want to consider it but there's no other explanation for the things he knows. Please, just contemplate the possibility. We need a vacation anyway. Why not go to Pennsylvania? Even if you don't believe in this, it's part of your family history. We can visit Amish country and the Hershey factory in addition to Gettysburg. Brandon needs peace. He needs to let go of Jasper Cullen."
It takes several more arguments and several more months before Edward begrudgingly agrees to take the trip from Texas to Pennsylvania. They settle on spending the week after Brandon's fourth birthday in Gettysburg.
Bella can't stop the goosebumps that break out as soon as they begin walking across the wide expanse of grass towards the unusual outcropping of rocks. Devil's Den was known for its strange topography before the battle between the North and South. Thanks to the infamous picture of a fallen sniper in the rocks, it became one of the first Civil War tourist destinations after the bloody war ended.
Bella pulls her sweater around her body. It's only September but there's a chill that seeps through her clothing right to her bones. Various tour guides and Civil War reenactment buffs dressed in period clothing can be seen walking through the grounds. It only adds to the odd feeling of unease. Bella swallows down her fears. Brandon's soul must let go of Jasper Cullen's life so that he can live in the present.
She and Edward walk with Brandon between them. They each hold one of their son's small hands in theirs.
"Lead the way, Buddy." Edward tries to smile but he feels just as uncomfortable as Bella. Brandon begins to walk toward a large section of boulders. As they get closer, they can see that the rocks have a number of crevices running through them, creating small crannies and nooks throughout the hard stone.
As Brandon approaches, a straggly looking old soldier with a floppy hat appears from behind the rocks. He walks straight towards them stopping in front of Brandon. Both the soldier and Brandon straighten to attention.
The soldier salutes Brandon, "Sir."
Brandon solemnly returns his salute. "You may rest, soldier."
The old man's face creases into a smile. "Been waitin' a long time to hear those words. Thank you Sir."
The old man turns and walks toward a group of trees. He disappears just inside the tree line and within seconds neither Bella nor Edward can see any evidence he was ever there.
Bella and Edward exchange a look. "Brandon, why did you tell the soldier to rest?"
Brandon glances up at his parents. "Because he was tired. He's been here a long time."
"O-kaaaay." Edward drags out the word, not sure what to make of what he's just witnessed.
Brandon continues to make his way toward the rock. Once he reaches it, he circles around it until he spots a small crack just over Edward's head. The crack is mostly obscured by another piece of rock that's fallen on a natural shelf below the space.
"Daddy, can you help me." Brandon raises his arms, asking Edward to lift him to reach the hole.
The small hole is just big enough to fit an adult's hand inside. Before either of his parents can protest, Brandon reaches in and finds a small leather pouch.
"Brandon, there could have been a snake or a spider in there."
"Mama, it's fine. I got what I wanted, " he triumphantly holds up the worn brown pouch.
Edward sets him down and they find a spot on the flat rocks where they can sit next to each other. Brandon opens the pouch and carefully removes it's contents: a gold pocket watch, a wedding ring, and a yellowed paper.
Bella reaches for the watch. "May I?" she asks Brandon.
He nods as she carefully takes it in her hands and opens the cover. Inside, in flowing script, are the initials J.W. C.
She hears Edward's low gasp next to her.
"All this time, up til this moment. I really didn't believe it. I was just going along with it, thinking if we did this, then you'd both give up this obsession. But, this…" Edward's finger traces the initials. "This is the real deal."
Brandon holds the letter in his hand. He looks at Bella, his eyes serious.
"Mama, this is for Alice. If you read it aloud, she'll know. Please."
Bella nods. This is the reason they are here.
Bella takes the paper and gently unfolds it. She clears her throat.
My Dearest Alice,
If this letter finds its way into your hands, it will mean that my life is forfeit for this Noble Cause. It is not in our gracious Lord's plans to see fit for me to return to you. Please know, my love, that I will love you now and forever from the depths of my soul. Tell our precious baby Emmett that his father lived an honorable life and I would expect my son to grow to be a God-fearing virtuous man. I trust that with your guidance, he will be everything I could ever hope for in a child. I only wish that I could be with you both on your life's journey. My time with you, Alice, has been blessed with a happiness that few experience. From the moment I first saw you in that ballroom in Biloxi, I knew that there was no other woman for me. My days with you have been filled with joy and love.
The tears flow freely from Bella's eyes, as she refolds the paper and hands it to Brandon.
"I'm sure she knew how much Jasper loved her."
Brandon nods as Edward wraps them both in an embrace.
"I read that there were so many bodies after the battle that they couldn't properly claim them. Jasper died on the second day when the Confederates down here were under heavy sniper fire from the hill above. One of Jasper's officers wrote to Alice afterwards. He told her that Jasper was shot, he knew he wouldn't survive. He was losing so much blood. The officer was trapped further back and couldn't get to Jasper because of the heavy gunfire. Jasper must have been afraid his body would be ransacked and Alice would never get the letter or the personal items so he hid them in that small hole. He wasn't thinking clearly, otherwise he would have realized that she'd never get them if they were hidden away." Edward rationalizes.
Brandon nods. He takes the wedding band, the watch, and the paper and puts them back in the pouch. He then hands the small bag to his mother.
"Alice knows now. Mama, I'm tired. It's time to go."
"Yes, sweetie. Let's go home."
Brandon is asleep in Edward's arms by the time they get to the car. The trip to Gettysburg marks a turning point for Brandon and his parents. When they return to Texas, they visit Alice's grave and read the letter again. Brandon's nightmares never return. In time, his fixation with the Civil War fades, replaced by monster trucks and superheroes. Other than Renee, Edward and Bella never tell anyone else what they discovered at Gettysburg. It's enough for both know that Jasper Cullen is at peace and his great-great-great-great grandson can live his own life now.
A/N This was the Halloween o/s I wrote for Countdown to 2014, it was inspired by true stories of children who believe that they are the reincarnated. For those looking for updates on my other WIP stories, I'm working on it. If you enjoyed this or anything else I've written, hit the review button and let me know.