Author Note: Thanks again for the continuing support for this story! I love to hear from all of you.
Thanks again to moosals for pre-reading. Stephenie Meyer owns all characters.
Chapter 8 — Christmas Vacation
Snuggled up to Edward's side, I close my eyes, trying to take a nap during our two-and-a-half-hour flight to Chicago.
It's not my fault I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.
Given the fact that we'll be sleeping in separate bedrooms for the next five nights, Edward declared that he needed to get his fill of me before our trip. I think my body is still tingling.
Having that tough discussion with my boyfriend last month was the smartest thing I ever did. Once he realized that he didn't have to hold back with me, I became acquainted with the "real" Edward.
I'd thought our sex life was amazing before, but the last several weeks have been… I'm a writer and I can't even describe it in words. While Edward isn't exactly kinky, he's definitely adventurous, up for trying anything once. He's having fun learning and trying out all of the different positions in which men and women can have sex. And me, I'm reaping the benefits — big time.
A couple of weeks ago, he asked to see my stash of sex toys. His eyes lit up when I showed him, and he suggested using one of my vibrators on me while he fucked me. Holy shit, that's all I'm gonna say.
Of course, I do catch him looking longingly at my ass sometimes. I've told him in no uncertain terms that the entire zone is designated as "exit only." Somehow, he managed to convince me to at least think about letting him use his tongue or his finger. And I know he'd never hurt me, but… I still think I'd have to be pretty drunk to agree to either one.
It's around 2pm on the Sunday before Christmas when we land at O'Hare Airport. Edward and I get our bags then make our way to the car rental desk. Given the unpredictable December weather in Chicago, he's rented an SUV with four-wheel drive.
Edward's parents live in the northern Chicago suburbs, in Lake Forest, still in the same house he grew up in. I don't start to feel nervous until we pull into the driveway — probably because Edward seems nervous.
"Are you ok?" I ask him.
"Yeah, I'll be fine," he assures me. Edward grabs both of our bags from the back, insisting on handling mine for me, even though it has wheels and a handle so I could totally manage it myself. Once we've reached the Cullens' huge porch I ring the doorbell, as his hands are full.
"Edward!" his mom calls as she throws the door open. "Look at you, ringing the doorbell. You could've used your key."
"Sorry, Ma," he replies, stepping over the threshold.
"Hello, Mrs. Cullen," I greet her.
"Good to see you again, dear," she smiles warmly. "I've made up the same room for you as last time."
I thank her, following Edward up the curved staircase to the second floor. He leaves my bag in the lovely green-themed guest room, shaking his head. After dropping his suitcase in his old bedroom, we head back downstairs.
"Your father is still at work, but we have reservations at Lovell's for six o'clock," Mrs. Cullen says. "Your brother and his wife will be joining us."
"Sounds good," he nods. "Um, Bella and I will meet you there. I wanted to show her around the area a little bit since we never got much of a chance to go sightseeing when we were here for the wedding."
"Oh. All right," she replies with a frown. "See you tonight." She hugs him goodbye.
Outside, I wrap my arms around myself. Chicago is cold in December and even my heaviest coat isn't really enough. At least Edward's not complaining about having the heater on full blast in the SUV.
We spend the next couple of hours driving around while he points out his old high school and any other place for which he has fond memories. I feel like it helps me to know my boyfriend a little bit better.
Just before six, we pull into the parking lot of Lovell's of Lake Forest, which Edward tells me is an upscale "New American" restaurant. Inside, his parents are already seated at a table.
"Did you guys have a fun afternoon?" Mrs. Cullen asks once we're seated.
"Yeah, it was great," I reply.
"How was your flight?" Dr. Cullen asks.
"Perfect," Edward replies. "No delays, which seems to be more and more rare these days. Of course, Bella slept through it."
I feel myself turning bright red. "Not my fault," I insist, kicking him under the table. I doubt he wants me to tell his parents what we were doing until 2am.
I'm saved by the arrival of Edward's brother, Emmett, and his wife, Rosalie. Emmett is a huge bear of a guy, easily a couple of inches taller than Edward and with 50 pounds of added muscle. He's a paramedic in downtown Chicago. Their father had wanted Emmett to go into medicine as well, but when I first met him, he joked that he wasn't smart enough to get through medical school. Rosalie is a stunningly gorgeous blonde — the type who makes me feel plain and mousy — who works as a social worker and advocate for abused women.
I smile as Edward stands to give his brother one of those typical slap-on-the-back, one-armed man hugs. Emmett is younger by two years, but for some reason Edward seems to be the "little brother" in their relationship, enduring all of the teasing. I assume it's due to their size difference. I remember Edward telling me that his brother doesn't share their parents' views on social issues, which I'm glad for.
I look over the menu and it looks great, American food with some Cajun influences. I finally settle on Idaho mountain trout, shaking my head at Edward's huge rack of lamb.
"Where are you working these days, Bella?" Edward's father asks.
"Oh, um, I'm a waitress at a seafood restaurant. I've been there for a little less than a year now," I answer. I don't know if the question was meant to make me feel bad, but I do. I know I'm not in the same league with these successful, accomplished people.
"Bella is a writer, and she recently sent out a novel to several agents and publishers," Edward speaks up. "She's very talented; someday everyone will know that."
"Oh, what kind of novel?" his mom asks.
"It's kind of a mystery-thriller," I reply quickly, wisely leaving out the "erotic" part; I'm sure Edward's mom would just die reading the sex scenes in it. I nearly choke on my glass of wine just thinking about her reaction.
After a long, leisurely dinner, we say goodnight to Emmett and Rosalie and follow Edward's parents home. Edward and his father go into the study to talk medical stuff, leaving me alone with his mother. She offers to make a pot of decaf coffee and I readily agree.
"Your kitchen is just gorgeous, Mrs. Cullen," I tell her, looking around from my stool at the large granite island.
"Oh, please, call me Esme," she smiles. "And thank you. I decorated it all myself, of course."
"I don't know why Edward hasn't called you to come decorate our beach house." Esme sets her cup down, staring at me. It takes me a full 15 seconds to realize what I said. I'd called it our house.
"You and Edward… live together?" she asks in horror.
"Um, yes," I reply, clearing my throat. "I, um, moved in back in March." Even if it was into my own bedroom.
"Are you engaged? I don't see a ring," she adds with a frown.
"No, we're not engaged." Oh fuck, Bella, you've really put your foot in your mouth. I'm afraid that if Edward wasn't almost a foot taller than his mom, she'd turn him over her knee.
"Carlisle!" she yells.
In less than a minute, Edward and his father rush into the kitchen. "What is it, dear?" he asks.
"Edward and Bella are living together," she tells him, the dismay evident in her voice.
I look over at Edward, trying my best to silently communicate how sorry I am.
"Is this true, son?" his father asks.
"Yes," Edward replies defiantly. "Honestly, Dad, it is the 21st century. Millions of couples live together." He shakes his head, stepping over to me and rubbing his hand in circles on my back.
"I'm so sorry," I whisper to him. "I accidentally called it our house." He kisses my temple, letting me know that he's not upset with me.
"The Bears game started at 7:30," Edward says to his parents. "Bella and I are gonna go watch it." He helps me off the stool and we step into the large family room, complete with what must be at least a 60-inch flat screen television.
"I'm surprised you don't have one of those," I tease him. Our TV is "only" about 45 inches.
"Hmmm… maybe I'll get one," he replies with a wink. He turns on the TV, settling into one end of the couch and pulling me into his side.
"I'm sorry," I tell him again.
"It had to come out sometime," he shrugs. "I'm so fucking tired of hiding." I lean up to kiss his jaw and snuggle into his warm body.
At some point, Edward's parents join us, sitting together on the loveseat. They look like they want to chastise him, but they don't, and I'm grateful.
The Bears play a horrible game, losing 54-11 to the Philadelphia Eagles. If we were at home, I'd drop to my knees to try to make Edward feel better. I have to remind myself repeatedly that his parents are sitting a few feet away and I can't do that.
"I'm going to head up to bed," I say with a yawn as I stand up. I feel a little bit like I'm leaving Edward to the lions, but I really am exhausted.
"Goodnight, baby," he says, squeezing my hand.
Upstairs in my bedroom, I change into my pajamas then move to the hall bathroom for my nightly routine. Edward's childhood bedroom has an en suite bathroom, but mine does not, unfortunately. After I've brushed my teeth, I head back to my room and crawl under the covers.
I'm nearly asleep when I hear the quiet squeak of the door opening and footsteps padding across the floor. Someone that I really hope is Edward lifts the covers and then I feel his weight on the mattress. A warm arm wraps around me, pulling me back into an even warmer chest.
"Are you awake?" he whispers.
"Liar." He brushes my hair back and begins kissing along my neck.
"Your parents' room is right next door. I'm not having sex with you." Oh my God, I never thought I'd say those words to my gorgeous boyfriend.
He sighs, pulling me even closer. His left hand moves to cup my breast and I let out an involuntary moan.
"I'm serious, Edward," I protest. "I am not getting caught by your mother."
He groans loudly, dropping his head to my neck. "I love you."
"I love you, too. Now let me get some sleep."
Way too fucking early, I feel Edward shaking my arm until I open my eyes. "I hear the shower in my parents' room. I need to get back to my bedroom before they catch me in here."
"Ok," I mumble, closing my eyes again.
When I finally do wake up fully, I shower and get dressed. I find Edward downstairs eating a piece of toast. "Where are your parents?" I ask.
"At work," he replies with his mouth full. I still haven't cured him of that. "I thought we could go downtown today and get some shopping in, go to Michigan Avenue and all that."
"Mom left a note that she's cooking dinner tonight. She's making my favorite meatloaf with a side of mac and cheese."
"Ooh, comfort food," I joke.
"You know it."
"I really am sorry that I let it slip to your mom about us living together."
"It's fine, Bella. Really. I was planning to tell them anyway. I don't care if they're disappointed in me; we're not doing anything wrong," he says forcefully.
Once I've had breakfast, Edward and I drive downtown, where the city is decorated for Christmas. Growing up in Phoenix, I've never had a white Christmas, never understood the meaning of all of the Christmas songs about riding in a sleigh, or sipping hot chocolate in front of a roaring fireplace. It's beautiful.
And also fucking cold. Give me my Florida Christmas any day.
I've had Edward's gift purchased for a couple of weeks already, but I still need to pick up gifts for the rest of his family. I knew we wouldn't have been able to wrap the boxes before putting them in our checked luggage anyway.
I always find it so much easier to get gifts for women, so I quickly pick out lovely scarves for Esme and Rosalie at a store on the Magnificent Mile. Edward tells me that his brother has really gotten into golf, just like their father, so I end up buying both of them some golf balls and tees.
After lunch, we stop at the John Hancock Center building, riding the elevator to the 94th floor to look out over the city.
"The lake looks beautiful," I note.
"Yeah," Edward agrees. "When I was a kid, we had a boat and used to go sailing on Lake Michigan. But I think I prefer the ocean."
He comes to stand behind me, wrapping his arms around me as we stare down at the city below. When he starts nibbling my neck, I tilt my head, letting him have at it.
"My parents aren't home," he whispers. "Maybe we should head back and take advantage."
My girly parts tingle at the thought. But no, we can't. "As tempting as that is, isn't there a lot more you wanted to show me?"
"Fine, fine," he pouts, letting me go. Outside we head south and east, as Edward shows me the campus of Northwestern University, where he went to school for his undergrad.
"So you lived on campus?" I ask.
"Yeah," he replies. "For one thing, it was better than facing the traffic driving down here and parking every day. Plus, my parents thought it would be good for me to have some independence."
"So that's how you managed to date a boy right under their noses," I note.
"Yeah," he smiles, "That's how."
"Was Riley from Chicago?"
"No," he shakes his head. "He was from a small town in southern Illinois." Good, I think to myself. No chance of running into him around here.
After touring the campus, we continue southeast to Navy Pier. It's really fucking cold down by the water, but at least some of the sights are indoors. Edward tries to talk me into riding the Ferris wheel, but no chance in this wind. Maybe if we ever come back in the summer.
Eventually we have to go find where we parked the car so we can reach Lake Forest by 6:30pm. At least traffic seems to be relatively light; there must be a lot of people off work this week.
We make it to Edward's parents' house with enough time for me to wrap both my gifts and the ones Edward bought in my room before dinner. He helps me carry them downstairs and place them underneath the gorgeous real Christmas tree; no artificial tree for Esme Cullen.
Once Emmett and Rosalie have arrived, we step into the dining room for dinner. Conversation at first centers around the calls that Emmett went on today. After a short lull in the conversation, Esme says the dreaded words:
"So, Edward, when are you going to make an honest woman of Bella instead of living in sin?"
All eyes turn to my boyfriend and I feel so bad for him, being put on the spot like that. He clears his throat then answers, "It's still early yet, Ma."
"It's not that early," she frowns. "You two have been dating for at least 18 months, and Bella said she's been living with you since March."
Edward is quiet for a moment, looking over at me helplessly. "Mrs. Cullen — Esme — I know without a doubt that I love your son. He makes me very, very happy, but right now, we don't need a piece of paper. We're fine just as we are."
"But it's not right," she protests, "Living in sin like that."
"Not everyone thinks it's a sin, Ma," Edward says. He sounds so frustrated.
"Leave them alone, Ma," Emmett speaks up. "Rosie and I dated for two years before we got engaged." I send a tiny smile Emmett's way.
"Oh, speaking of marriage," Dr. Cullen begins, "Did you hear, Edward, that the governor signed a law last month recognizing same-sex marriage in Illinois? It takes effect in June."
"Such an abomination," Esme adds.
The room is quiet as Edward's fork falls to his plate. I can almost hear him gritting his teeth, and I quickly place my hand on his thigh.
"What's it to you?" Edward asks quietly. "What difference does it make to you if a loving, committed couple, who happen to be the same gender, want to get married?"
"It's not natural, honey," Esme says. "Marriage is for procreation. Allowing two men or two women to marry undermines the institution of marriage."
"But what's it to you, personally?"
"If we allow this deviant lifestyle, what's next? Legalizing polygamy? Or incest? If we legitimize this sick behavior, it's the beginning of the end for society."
"With all due respect, Esme," Rosalie begins, "The National Association of Social Workers, and many other groups, have found that homosexuality isn't a chosen behavior and that gay and lesbian people can form stable, committed relationships that are no different from heterosexual relationships. Same-sex parents are no less capable of raising psychologically healthy and well-adjusted children."
"But the Bible says—"
"Ma," Emmett says, "Just remember that not everyone believes in your Bible."
Esme frowns, turning to me. "And you, Bella, what do you think?"
"I… I don't see how gay marriage is a threat to anyone. Of course it should be allowed." She frowns again, and I know I just failed some sort of test.
"So, did you guys see that Bears game last night?" Emmett asks, blessedly trying to change the subject.
I keep my left hand on Edward's thigh for the rest of the meal, though it's difficult to eat one-handed. I look over at him occasionally and notice him just pushing the remaining food around on his plate. I want to hold him and comfort him so badly.
"You want to help me clear the table, Edward?" Emmett asks.
"Sure," he replies quietly.
"We'll make some coffee," Emmett says.
I sit for a few minutes while Edward's parents talk with Rosalie, then decide to join the guys in the kitchen. I don't trust my boyfriend with a coffee pot.
I stop in the kitchen doorway, moving out of sight, when I hear Emmett speaking. "… can't let their bigotry get to you. Rosie and I just stop listening when they talk like that."
"And don't let them bully you into proposing, either. Do what feels right to you," Emmett adds.
"They can't bully me into anything," Edward scoffs.
"Good. You know… you're different."
"What do you mean?"
"Just… you and Bella. Admittedly, I was distracted by getting married myself the last time I saw you two, but you seemed almost more like best friends than lovers. This time, I see the affectionate touches, the little looks between the two of you."
I hold my breath, wondering how Edward will answer that. Will he confess the truth to his brother?
"I think maybe this time I just don't give a fuck how we act in front of our parents," Edward lies.
Emmett chuckles. "Are they making you guys sleep in separate bedrooms?"
"Yes," Edward pouts, and his brother chuckles again.
"You know, Rosie and I lived together for a year before we got married," Emmett confesses. "We just never told 'em."
"Bella accidentally let it slip last night by asking Ma about redecorating our beach house."
The conversation seems to end there, so I plaster a smile on my face and step into the kitchen. "Hey, guys," I call. "Need any help? We all know how useless Edward is in the kitchen."
"Hey! I made toast this morning."
"We've got it; thanks, Bella," Emmett says. He loads a tray with four cups of coffee and carries it into the dining room.
"Are you all right?" I ask quietly, throwing my arms around my boyfriend. He hugs me tightly, kissing the top of my head.
"Someday I'm going to tell them. They're going to piss me off so badly that I'll just blurt it out."
I look up into his sad, green eyes. "And I'll be right beside you, supporting you, when you do."
Grabbing our own cups of coffee, we join the others in the dining room, then retire to the family room to watch Christmas shows on TV.
"You'll all come to the Christmas Eve services at church tomorrow night, won't you?" Esme asks. I look to Edward. I wasn't raised in the church at all, but I'll go if he wants to.
"What time?" Emmett asks.
"Eight o'clock," she replies. "I was hoping we could spend the next two days together as a family."
"Rosie and I are going to visit her parents tomorrow, but we'll try to come to church," Emmett says. "We'll be over on Christmas Day though."
"Edward?" his father asks hopefully.
"We'll come," he nods, looking over at me for my blessing. I smile encouragingly.
Once Emmett and Rosalie have left, Edward and I excuse ourselves. And once again, he slips into my room and my bed shortly after I do.
"Not gonna happen, Edward," I mumble as he sucks on my neck.
"Please?" he begs. "I need you."
God, he's so hard to resist, especially when he begs. I flip over until I'm on my left side, facing him. "We can fool around, but I'm not having sex where they could overhear us."
He frowns. "Then you should come to my room. They won't be able to hear us in there."
"Tomorrow," I promise, before taking his lips in mine.
As we kiss, I hitch my leg over his hip and I feel him there, hot and hard. Some part of me just wants to say fuck it and get naked, but I don't want Edward's parents to hate me more than they probably already do. They undoubtedly think I've corrupted him or something.
After several minutes, Edward rolls me on to my back and stretches out on top of me. I sigh when he moves from my mouth to my jaw and collarbone. He's making it very, very difficult to be a good girl.
"Edward," I warn when I feel him pushing up on my pajama top. He doesn't listen, of course, taking my aching nipple in his mouth as soon as it's uncovered.
"Please, baby," he whispers, tugging on my bottoms. I lift my hips, letting him pull my pants down, and suddenly I'm lying naked in the guest room bed. Edward quickly sits up and starts stripping his own clothes off.
"I said no sex," I remind him… though my control is slipping by the second.
Groaning, he flops onto his back, lying with his head at the bottom of the bed, and pulls at my legs until he can reach my hips. When I realize he's trying to flip me over, I comply, letting him position me over his mouth.
Wrapping his arms around me, he pulls me down even further, until his tongue can reach my very needy girl parts.
"Fuck," I curse lowly as he takes a long lick with his oh-so-talented tongue. I spend a few seconds enjoying his ministrations before I remember that I'm supposed to be doing something. Bracing myself on one arm, I take his hard cock in my other hand, bringing it to my mouth. He moans out his pleasure, and oh shit, that feels good.
I lavish his cock with attention as he does the same to me. Thank God his cock in my mouth is holding in my whimpers, or I'd totally give us away. As I feel myself getting closer, I begin riding his face, trying to keep his length moving in and out of my mouth.
And then I feel his finger lightly circling my back door.
"Edward," I warn.
"I won't hurt you," he promises. And then suddenly his tongue is right there, following the same path his finger just did. I'm so freaked out wondering what he's going to do next that I've all but stopped sucking him off.
"Relax, Bella." His mouth moves back to suck my clit into his mouth, and I do relax, sucking on the head of his cock once again. This time when I feel his finger there, I don't tense up as much, but I'm ready to bolt if he goes too far.
"Fuck… gonna come," he warns, and I suck him in deep to make sure I don't spill a drop. After a few seconds, he redoubles his efforts and I'm falling over the edge in no time, shaking and shuddering.
I collapse onto my back, eyes closed and breathing heavily. I feel the bed move, opening my eyes to see Edward staring into them. "I love you," he whispers. As he leans down to kiss me, I shove him away — hard.
"Don't even think about it until you go gargle with… something."
"Go!" I whisper-yell. In the moonlight, I can just barely make out his eye-roll. He pulls his pants on then tiptoes to the doorway.
I pull my clothes on, snuggling under the covers as I assume he won't come back now that he got what he wanted. A couple of minutes later, I hear the door opening again though.
I roll over as he climbs into bed, then blows his minty fresh breath in my face. "Now can I kiss you goodnight?" he asks.
He kisses me sweetly then pulls back, brushing my hair off my face. "I'd never hurt you."
"I know, but…"
"I won't do anything you don't want me to. Scout's Honor."
"You were never a scout," I snort.
"No," he chuckles. "I wasn't." He pulls me onto his warm, bare chest, and I snuggle up, laying my arm over his stomach. Inside, I'm trying not to freak out about the very real possibility that Edward's interest in off-limits parts of my body could spell trouble for us.
I lean down to lightly kiss his chest. "I love you too, Edward."
A/N: So, we've met Edward's family! What did you think of them? How many of you know people who think exactly like Carlisle and Esme?
The gay marriage law in Illinois is real. I couldn't believe my luck when I was researching and found something so perfect to jump start the conversation.
I will update again on Thursday with the second half of their adventure in Chicago.