I don't own Twilight. It belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
I had a lot of fun writing this (and not just for the obvious reasons, haha). Although this turned out to be much longer than I'd anticipated, mostly because they wouldn't stop, uh, consummating, once they got started!
I also got to research a lot of the old wedding traditions in my own country, and everything you see in this chapter is how it was, and is, done in Denmark.
A huge thank you to ChayaSara, my amazing beta, who must've been up all night working on this chapter to get it to me in just half a day! Let's leave some love for her in the reviews, eh? :)
"Edward . . . oh God, we have to stop."
A mere moment later, though, his lips are on mine again, and his hands travel dangerously low on my back.
"My aunt will check on us," I say in between kisses, all the while pressing my torso up against his.
"We have a minute more." Edward's voice is rough, and the sound makes me heat up everywhere. "God, I can't wait until we're married."
Abruptly, he pulls back, grimacing.
"Fuck, that's not, I mean, I shouldn't curse." He shakes his head, moving farther away.
"W-what?" I draw a much-needed breath to collect myself.
Slowly, he reaches forward to hold my face between his large hands.
"I didn't mean . . . that's not the reason I want to marry you, Isabella." His cheeks flush, and he lowers his eyes as well as his hands. "Uh, well, not the main reason, at least."
"I know. But I can't wait either."
He shoots me a crooked grin, his color still high. We move away from each other until we're seated at a proper distance. My aunt walks in just a second later, examining the both of us closely. Seemingly satisfied, she smiles. In my language she asks if we'd like more tea, and I translate to Edward, who politely declines. I'm happy to see her leave the room again, but I know she'll be back in five minutes time, having assigned herself as the protector of my virtue until I'm wed. This is probably a good thing.
Edward and Mr. McCarty have been staying at the hotel in town ever since they arrived a little over a week ago. I wanted them to stay here at the house but knew it was impossible. There were certain things that were allowed during the war, like my having Edward here without a chaperone. But the war is over, and the old rules are back in place. When my aunt and uncle, Michael's parents, learned about my engagement to Edward, they made sure everything was done properly, including making sure we're never alone together for too long.
"Is Mr. McCarty with you today?" I ask.
"I think he's in the stables with your sister. He says no one ever checks on them."
"They wouldn't. To them, Rose is . . . sullied. They won't even let her act as a chaperone for you and me. It's ridiculous."
Edward takes my hand.
"Have you told Mr. McCarty about her past?" I ask.
"No. That's her story to tell if she so chooses."
"But if they do become, er, involved, he should hear it from her and not town gossip, don't you agree?"
"Of course. I'm not sure she'd ever become involved, though. Mr. McCarty is a very nice man, but Rose is . . . she's different now. I'm worried she'll never be as she once was."
"I'm different now too," Edward murmurs. "Irrevocably. You said it didn't matter to you."
"It doesn't." I gaze into his eyes, running the tips of my fingers over the scars on the side of his face. "Because I'm different as well, irrevocably in love with you."
I blush at my own bold statement, looking off to the side. In the next moment, Edward's arms are around me, pulling me to him, and I come willingly as he holds me close.
"I love you, Isabella," he whispers. "I don't think I would've survived the war if I hadn't known you were here waiting for me"—he presses to a kiss to my hair—"No more waiting now, love. Tomorrow, I'm making you my bride, and our life together can finally begin."
I sigh happily, and not even my aunt's huff of disapproval as she enters the room and sees us embracing can dim my smile.
Later that night, after Edward and Mr. McCarty have departed and my aunt has gone home, Rose and I are in my bedroom getting ready for tomorrow.
"What do you think?" I ask her.
"It's perfect," she whispers. "I'm glad I never wore it. Mother's wedding dress was made for you."
A loaded silence follows her statement. Our father would never have allowed Rose to wear it at her wedding. We both attended, but Father refused to give her away, sitting quietly in the back of the church as his youngest daughter married a man he hated. He died that same night. It hasn't been easy, but I've forgiven Rose for her past, knowing she never acted out of evil. I only hope she can do the same for herself some day. Even now, six months after the war ended, she still wears a scarf around her head even though her hair is almost at her shoulders, and she never goes into town unless it's absolutely necessary. This is the first time she's mentioned anything regarding her former marriage or husband since we learned that he died.
"Your dress was lovely," I say, unable to come up with anything else.
She shrugs but quietly says, "I have something for you."
She walks out, and I hear her opening the door to her room just down the hall. When she comes back, she's holding a small parcel, which she places on the bed before opening it.
"I didn't have much time," she says, "so I hope it's all right."
She holds up a beautiful veil for me to see.
"Oh my God." I blink back tears. "Rose, it's so beautiful."
She smiles, draping it over my hair.
"Don't get too attached to it. You know what'll happen to it tomorrow."
I laugh, posing in front of the mirror. I can't believe I'm going to be a bride!
"The dress is old; the veil is new," she says, reaching into the bag again. "And I thought you could borrow these tomorrow—if you want."
She hands me a small box. Inside I find a pair of silver stud earrings with light blue stones.
"Mother and Father gave me those when I turned sixteen," she says.
"I remember," I whisper. "They're the same color as your eyes."
"They'll look beautiful on you. Mr. Masen will go crazy when he sees you."
I smile at her.
"You can call him Edward, you know. You don't have to be formal with him here in your own home."
She takes a seat on the bed, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth.
"Isabella, there's something we have to talk about."
I sit down next to her.
"What is it? Do you not like Edward?"
"No, I do. He's very nice and obviously in love with you. I-I know he'll be a good husband, and you'll take care of each other."
"Then, what is it?" I ask, dread filling my gut as I watch her serious expression.
"Mr. McCarty has made me an offer of marriage, and . . . I've accepted it."
"Oh." I swallow. "So you'll . . ."
"I'm leaving with him. Going to America."
I feel stunned. I knew he'd taken a fancy to Rose—the way he looks at her is unmistakable—
but I didn't think she was interested in him. Not in that way.
"Is this what you want?" I whisper.
"Yes." She answers without hesitation. "There's no real future for me here. Everyone hates me, Isabella."
Rose tears up.
"I know. You're the only one I don't want to leave, but I have to. I'll only be a burden to you. You're getting married, starting a home. You can't do that with your sister down the hall. It isn't right."
"We'd make it work. Edward would never ask you to leave. Do you . . . do you love Mr. McCarty?"
"I'm sure I'll learn to with time," she says. "It's not the same as what you and Edward have. But he's very kind. And funny. He'll keep me safe and give me the chance for a real life. That's more than I could hope for."
"Oh, Rose." I can't hold back my own tears. "I don't want you to go."
"I don't want to either, but I've made up my mind. I want children of my own someday, a family, and I'd never get that here. No man would ever want me."
"Does Mr. McCarty know . . . about your previous marriage?"
She nods, wiping away a tear.
"He knows. I told him today after he asked me. I didn't want to hide it from him. He says he doesn't care. And no one in America will ever know. His parents are farmers. They have a lot of land in Minnesota, and Mr. McCarty, uh, Emmett, says they'll help us out with a place of our own near theirs."
"So it's all settled?" I ask, drawing a deep breath.
"It is. I probably don't deserve a second chance, but I want it. I know I can be a good wife to him, and hopefully we'll have babies too. I've always wanted to be a mother. The only thing I'll miss is you. I hope you'll write to me."
I nod, pulling her into a hug. While we embrace, Edward's words from the night he came back to me rattle around in my brain. He said it didn't matter to him where we ended up, that we could go to America with Mr. McCarty. I don't tell this to Rose, though. There's so much to consider, most importantly this farm. It's been in our family for generations, and Father left it to me.
"You deserve every happiness in the world," I say, sniffing back more tears.
"Oh, I'm sorry." Rose pulls back, looking at me. "I shouldn't have told you now, on the night before your wedding. This is a happy occasion. And I am so, so happy for you and . . . Edward."
"Thank you. I wish I wasn't so nervous about tomorrow though."
Rose nods slowly.
"The wedding night, you mean?"
I stare at her for a second.
"No. No, I meant the church, the luncheon. We've hardly had any time to prepare. It won't be a grand affair like the other weddings around here."
"Oh. Isabella, I don't mean to pry, but when Edward stayed here before, did the two of you . . ."
I shake my head quickly.
"No. I can wear white tomorrow," I say with a smile.
"All right. I realize this is backwards, the younger sister giving the older one advice like this . . . but I wish someone had prepared me."
"What do you mean?"
She twists her hands in her lap.
"You know, what to expect from your new husband. His demands of you and such."
"Oh." I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been thinking of my wedding night a lot, but Edward's "demands" haven't entered my mind once.
"It'll hurt the first time," Rose says quietly. "And it can be . . . a little frightening seeing your husband like that, so . . . unhinged. But it doesn't last long, thankfully, and he'll fall asleep quickly afterward. Put a towel down underneath you. It will make the cleanup much easier. You'll, uh, you'll bleed the first time."
I stare at her with wide eyes, my ears ringing.
"But that's just the first time though. It gets better, right?"
"It's tolerable, certainly," she says, nodding. "I understand why a man feels that need, and it really doesn't last very long at all."
"Oh my god."
"I'm sorry!" she exclaims, grabbing my hands. "I don't mean to scare you. I just want you to know what to expect. No one told me anything beforehand."
"Rose, no," I say softly. "I'm not scared. I'm . . . sad."
"Why? What do you mean?"
"Edward and I didn't do everything. But we did do some things when he stayed here, and it was . . . amazing—for the both of us."
"You enjoyed it . . . like a man does?" She sounds incredulous.
"I don't know if it's the same for a man, but it felt wonderful. He, uh, kissed me and touched me. Everywhere."
My cheeks are burning. I never expected to be this candid with her, but I want her to know it doesn't have to be the way she described it. Edward and I haven't made love yet, but I know he'll be both gentle and attentive with me. I'm nervous but not afraid.
Now it's Rose's turn to look stunned.
"That was my only hesitation about accepting Emmett," she confesses, "having to do that again every night. But maybe it won't be so bad, then?"
"He cares about you. I can't see why he wouldn't want you to enjoy it too."
"I didn't realize . . . a woman even could."
"Neither did I. Neither did Edward."
I laugh, remembering.
"Maybe Mr. McCarty doesn't know either, but if you talk to each other, help guide each other, I'm certain you'll figure it out."
"And here I thought I was going to impart my wisdom to you. Thank you, sister. Truly."
I give her hand a squeeze.
"Help me get the dress off. Then I'll make us some hot chocolate, and maybe we can play cards?"
"That sounds wonderful."
Surprisingly, I sleep like a log all night long, which is good because the following morning is a flurry of excitement as my aunt as well as my female cousins come storming in to help me prepare. By the time we all leave for the church, I'm bathed, primped and made up like never before. Rose is looking beautiful in a new dress, and she's let her golden hair out finally. She's my matron of honor, something she was initially reluctant to accept, worried it would spoil the day. Naturally, I wouldn't hear of it. She's the only one I could think of for the position. I've asked Michael to give me away. Normally, it would fall to my uncle, but after hearing how it was Michael who brought Edward and me together, he agreed that it makes sense.
The church bells are already chiming as we arrive and my heart starts to beat faster. My aunt delivers me to Michael, who's wearing a proud grin. He hands me a beautiful bouquet, telling me it's from Edward. I don't know what the tradition is in England, but here it's customary for the groom to provide the bride with her flowers, and I'm glad someone has told him, because I hadn't given it a thought with everything else going on. There's even a smaller bouquet for Rose.
Usually, a wedding takes months and months to prepare, but neither of us wanted to wait. Tonight is New Year's Eve, and I couldn't think of a better way to start the new year than by becoming Edward's wife. As romantic as it is, there is also a practical reason, though. With many food rations still in place after the war, a small luncheon for family and close friends is much more manageable than a full dinner, given the short notice, and I honestly don't mind forgoing a large celebration. Marrying Edward is a dream come true on its own, and it's more than I could have ever dared hope for after having spent so many months thinking he had died in the war.
I hear the familiar notes of the wedding march starting from inside the church and grab Michael's arm to steady myself.
"Ready, cousin? You look beautiful."
I nod my thanks, trying to swallow.
"You look very nice too, Rose," he says quietly.
It's the first time he's acknowledged her since the war ended. I don't miss how Rose has to blink back tears as she thanks him. Michael nods, shuffling his feet, obviously uncomfortable with all the female emotion in the room as I, too, have to suppress tears.
Rose kisses both my cheeks, beaming at me before she lowers my veil and takes her place behind us. The doors open, and the sound of the organ envelops us. As we walk down the aisle, I faintly register the people in the pews, rising to their feet, but all I can truly focus on is the man who's waiting for me at the end and how I wish I could see him more clearly. Michael lifts my veil as the music crescendos all around us and takes my right hand, placing it gently in a much larger one. I look up into Edward's face, startled by the intensity of emotions I see in his eyes. He stares at me as though he can't believe what he's seeing, finally drawing a deep breath before lifting my hand to his lips and pressing a kiss to the back of it.
I blush furiously at the public display of affection, which isn't something that's normally done around here. My people are very private, but I'm glad to see that Edward doesn't share that belief as he even reaches up to touch my cheek.
The priest clears his throat, and I'm forced to turn my attention to him, letting go of Edward as is customary. The ceremony in itself is brief. Rose stands close to Edward, leaning in to translate everything to him since our local priest doesn't speak much English. I'm so grateful for her help. I doubt I'd be able to concentrate enough to do it myself with my heart beating wildly and my eyes tearing up already. We both answer yes when the priest asks us if we wish to marry, I in Danish and Edward in English, both our voices shaking with emotion. Then he asks us if we promise to love and honor each other, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death parts us. I have to choke out my yes, afraid I might start to cry at any second. The priest smiles and asks us to hold hands in agreement after which he puts his on top of ours and declares us husband and wife. Finally, we turn to each other. Rose takes my bouquet, and Emmett hands Edward the rings. There is no real ritual in my country's church when it comes to putting on the rings, but as Edward slips mine on, he clears his throat before speaking softly, for my ears only.
"I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honor you. All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
His shining eyes meet mine as I put his on.
"I love you," I whisper. "Forever."
His hands shake in mine and he blinks several times to compose himself. I've long since given up the fight, conscious of the tears on my face. Edward lets go of me and reaches up to brush them away.
"Happy tears?" he whispers.
"Go on!" Emmett stage whispers from behind him. "Kiss her!"
I can't help but laugh.
"We don't usually do that here." I look at the priest. "Pastor? May he kiss me?"
"I suppose," he grudgingly agrees. "After we're all done, Isabella."
We kneel down in front of him, and he places his hands on our heads, reciting Our Father and blessing us and our union. Then we stand up and face each other.
"Very well, young man. You may kiss your bride."
Edward grins at me.
"Did he say I could?"
I nod eagerly, and in the next moment I'm swept into Edward's embrace and thoroughly kissed. I swear I hear a few shocked gasps from the pews, but I couldn't care less at that moment. Edward is finally mine, and I am his.
Outside the church we're showered with rice as people cheer in congratulations. The rice itself is a statement of everyone's high approval of our marriage since it's still rationed heavily and would serve a better purpose in people's kitchens than raining down on Edward and me. The gesture is beyond lovely, and I can't help but stand up on my toes to kiss my new husband again, my heart so filled with love and happiness.
The luncheon at the town's one and only inn is wonderful. My aunt and uncle have insisted paying for it, being the closest thing to parents I have, and they have spared no expense. The mood is warm and thankfully informal, everyone eating, drinking, and conversing. Celebrations like this one have helped heal the wounds of the war, and I'm happy to see that my sister is enjoying herself, too, with Mr. McCarty by her side the whole time, his loud laughter at times overpowering the general chatter of the room. The townsfolk are fascinated by him and Edward, both of whom hold a certain exotic mystique to them, especially since many of the residents here have never left the county, let alone the country. Edward and I have hardly spoken a word since the church, or eaten, as we're treated to a seemingly unending parade of people wanting to congratulate us as well as shower us with gifts and money. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I never expected my marriage to Edward would garner so much attention, but it seems as though everyone I've ever met is here, many of them merely stopping by the inn for a chance to shake our hands and offer well-wishes for the future. Edward takes it all in stride, listening attentively as I translate for those who don't speak English and dazzling some of my younger female relatives with his smile. I come from a big family with many aunts, uncles, and cousins all of whom are here today, and while I'm happy they're all getting a chance to meet Edward, I can't help but feel a bit saddened that the guest list is so uneven. Finally, there's a lull in the stream of guests at our table—a chance to take a breath.
It isn't until now I've truly had a moment to admire him: his face, somehow all the more rugged and handsome with its scars, his new suit which serves to highlight the broadness of his shoulders, and his carefully styled hair, now a bit longer than when we first met.
"You look . . . very nice," I manage. "I didn't even tell you earlier when I saw you."
"You did in a way," he says, leaning closer to me. "I dare say you couldn't take your eyes off me. "
His roguish grin makes me blush. I love how his old personality shines through in moments like this, a reminder of our brief time together before the war nearly tore us apart forever.
"I certainly couldn't take my eyes off you. Still can't." He leans all the way in and steals a kiss. "My beautiful bride."
Mr. McCarty's laugh draws our attention for a moment. He's sitting with Rose and some of my cousins, his arm draped over the back of her seat. Rose looks entirely at ease there, and she even joins in the conversation with our relatives, thank God.
"Mr. McCarty is quite a character," I say, turning back to Edward. "I'm happy he came with you, for both you and my sister."
"I hear he's going to be your brother-in-law soon. Time to start calling him Emmett, wouldn't you say?"
I nod, smiling.
"I hope his family will be good to Rose."
"Why wouldn't they? Yours has been wonderful to me."
I take his hand in mine.
"I wish you had family here today to celebrate with you. I know your parents are gone, but are there any others?"
Edward shakes his head.
"I'm the only child of two only children. It's rare but it happens."
Giving my hand a squeeze, he continues:
"As far as I'm concerned, I do have my family right here with me today. It's you, Isabella. When I'm with you, it feels like home."
I nod eagerly, wiling myself not to tear up again. There was plenty of that at the church.
"As much I'm enjoying this, there's nothing I want more than to simply be alone with you," he whispers, "the way it was when I stayed with you before, just the two of us."
My heart skips a beat.
"Soon," I promise, giving his hand a squeeze in return.
After the meal, the tables are moved away from the center of the room, creating a space in the middle for dancing. It's time for the wedding waltz, our first dance as husband and wife. Edward holds out his hand to me and I take it, letting him lead us onto the floor. He smiles at me as he draws me into his embrace.
"I've been waiting to dance with you ever since that night outside when we first talked about our lives before the war. Do you remember?"
"Of course. You said you'd want every dance with me."
"And now I will."
Neither of us are very skilled dancers, but I think we manage quite well. Everyone has formed a large circle around us and has started clapping to the rhythm of the music as we waltz around the floor, moving closer and closer to us until we can't take another step without bumping into them. We're surrounded. Then, they lunge for us and pull us apart. With excited shrieks the women start ripping my veil, each of them claiming a small piece to take home. Through the mayhem I catch a glimpse of Edward being hoisted onto the shoulders of the men as they take his shoes off, hollering and cheering. The music changes and many couples pair up to dance. I find Edward off to the side, crawling around, looking for his shoes. The toes of his socks are missing.
"What on earth was that about?" he asks. "And what happened to your veil?"
I help him to his feet after he has put his shoes back on, reaching up to kiss him.
"One of our wedding traditions," I reply. "They say the more the bride's veil is torn, the happier the marriage."
"Well, in that case we can look forward to many, many years of wedded bliss. They tore it to shreds!"
"You don't do that in England?"
"No. I think most brides would be furious if anyone did that."
I shrug, smiling as we sway to the music.
"And my socks? They cut them up!"
I can't help but laugh at his expression.
"We have this saying that when a man goes courting, he wears his finest socks. Now yours are ruined."
"I see." He laughs too. "So my courting days are over, then?"
I grin up at him.
"They'd better be."
"I love you, wife. Are there any more traditions I should be aware of today?"
"I don't think so. Are there any English ones you'd like for us to do?"
Edward lowers his voice.
"I can think of a lot of things I'd like to do when we get home."
Instantly, his cheeks color.
"I mean, uh, carry you over the threshold, and . . . and kiss you without interruption. Just being with you, Isabella. I didn't mean . . . well, I did too, but . . ."
He sighs, resting his forehead against mine as he pulls me closer.
"I want you desperately."
I don't have time to respond. My uncle approaches and holds out his hand for a dance just as my aunt commandeers Edward for one too. With longing looks at each other, we're both pulled out onto the floor to dance with other people. I never thought I'd entertain the idea, but I can't wait for my wedding day to end.
As it turns out, I don't have to wait that long. Tonight is New Years Eve, and as the afternoon comes to a close, everyone rushes home to prepare for tonight's festivities, already in high spirits. Mr. McCarty is invited to my aunt and uncle's farm, and he accepts immediately. I assume Rose is coming home with me and Edward, but as we're dropped off, she stays in the car, saying she's spending the night with my aunt and uncle.
"Don't worry about a thing," she says. "I've already talked to Michael, and we're going to take care of the animals tomorrow, so you can, uh, sleep in."
I flush at her implication and say my goodbyes to my family, leaving Edward and me alone, unchaperoned for the first time since our engagement. The moment the car is out of sight, my husband scoops me up into his arms, making me yelp with surprise before his mouth is on mine, demanding and eager. Somehow, we manage to get inside without incident with Edward carrying me and kissing me at the same time. He kicks the door shut behind us, and we end up in the kitchen in a flurry of heated kisses and entwined limbs as he sets me down on the kitchen counter and wraps my legs around his middle. His hands fumble with my dress in the back, undoing the tiny buttons and revealing more and more of my upper body to him. I gasp as he pushes my bodice down and palms my breasts before lowering his mouth to them, licking and sucking me as he groans deep in his throat. He gathers me closer, pressing his erection against me and pulling up the hem of my dress, his large hands caressing my bare legs underneath. My head is swimming, my body overwhelmed by sensation, and I'm only barely aware of it when his hands reach my underwear, tugging impatiently to get them off. Suddenly he stops, breathing harshly against my skin as he clenches his fists.
"Not like this. Not like this."
He lets go of my underwear and drops his forehead against my chest for a moment before he pushes away from the counter. I'm panting, my breasts bared and my dress up around my hips.
"Jesus," Edward whispers, whirling around to look away from me. "Isabella, please. I'm, I'm struggling here."
Still trembling, I manage to gather my bodice up around me and lower my dress before I slide off the counter. The moment my feet touch the floor, Edward turns around again, a sheepish look on his face.
"That was not . . . I apologize."
I manage to shake my head.
"This is our wedding night," he murmurs. "We're going to remember it forever, and I want to do it right. Do right by you."
My heart swells with emotion. He's right. A fast, messy encounter isn't how I've imagined our first time.
"Neither of us ate much. I can find us something, and we can sit together for a while—just the two of us alone together?"
Edward's face lights up, and he nods.
"I'll just go change out of my dress first," I say. "Would you see if there's still a fire going in the sitting room?"
He's off in a flash, and I draw a deep breath before heading upstairs where I hang the dress up carefully before putting on my nicest nightgown and a robe on top of it. Back downstairs, I smile as I open the refrigerator. Someone, I suspect Rose, has prepared a cold repast for us: meats, sausages, cheeses, and fruits. There's even a bottle of champagne; God only knows how she managed to find that. It's perfect. I put everything plus homemade bread and butter on a tray and carry it into the living room, my heart beating faster at the sight of my handsome husband who's waiting for me. He's taken off his jacket and tie, unbuttoned his collar, and his hair is messier as though he's been running his hands through it—a nervous habit of his.
"Will you sit with me?"
Edward nods, giving me a shy smile. I ask him to open the champagne as I fix his plate, and he hands me my glass.
"Happy New Year," he says softly, "my wife."
"Happy New Year," I whisper, touching my glass to his.
We sit close together, nibbling our food and listening to the radio. It's dark and cold outside, but here in our own little world, it's warm and safe, and we're together. That's all that matters.
"I think I'd like to go upstairs now," I say, setting down my empty glass.
Edward swallows audibly.
"If, I mean, if you do."
He drains his champagne, his hand shaking as he puts the glass on the table. The air between us is charged as we walk up the stairs and into my, our, bedroom.
"Should we . . . get ready for bed?" he asks.
"I'm already changed."
"R-right. Me, then."
The moment he's out of the room, I draw in several large gulps of air, trying to calm myself. Slipping out of my robe, I decide to get into bed, leaving on just the small lamp on the bedside table. Edward comes back a few minutes later, still wearing all of his clothes.
"I realized . . . all of my things are still at the hotel."
"Oh. We can get them tomorrow."
He nods and starts unbuttoning his shirt. My eyes dart away from him as he undresses, which I realize is silly, but I can't just lie here and ogle him, especially since I'm covered up. I feel the bed dip under his weight as he gets in and finally turn my head to look at him. He's on his side, right next to me, but not touching me anywhere. His eyes meet mine, and he draws a shuddering breath as he reaches out to touch my face.
"Isabella . . . I'm nervous," he admits.
He nods, pulling down the covers a little.
"This is so pretty on you."
He caresses the delicate lace trimming on my nightgown, right above the swell of my breasts, but makes no move to touch me any further than that.
"You weren't nervous a-about this when you stayed with me those few days last year."
"Yes, I was. But it was different then. It felt like every day could have been my last. There wasn't time to think."
I place my hand on top of his, guiding it down until he palms my breast. His breath hitches.
"I know what you mean," I whisper. "Everything seemed so urgent back then."
Even though there had been very little fighting going on during the occupation of my country, it was on everyone's minds that this could change at any moment; we were all living in a state of constant fear. And Edward, being on active duty, would have felt it stronger still.
"I don't regret being with you then, not for a second," he says. "But now I want to do things right, give you the wedding night you've always dreamed of."
"The only thing I've dreamed of is being with you. And I am, so you've already given me all I want."
He smiles, sliding a bit closer to me.
"I'm nervous too," I whisper. "Please kiss me and make that go away."
"I will; I promise."
His lips are warm and soft, his kisses slower than they were downstairs in the kitchen but just as intoxicating. By the time Edward lifts my nightgown over my head, I've forgotten why I was nervous before. He teases and licks my nipples, slipping his fingers into my underwear. I nearly arch off the bed at the first touch, clutching him to me.
"God." He groans. "I'd almost forgotten. You're so soft everywhere."
I run my hand down his naked torso, blindly searching for him to return the pleasure.
"Please . . . don't," he mumbles, sliding my underwear down. "It'll be over before we even begin, love. I-I want you so badly."
"Have me. Please, Edward. Oh God, that feels . . . "
I moan loudly when he pushes a finger inside me, his warm mouth raining kisses on my chest, neck, and finally my lips.
"Now? Are you sure?" he asks, moving on top of me, his naked legs brushing against mine.
I nod, lifting my face up to kiss him again, loving the feeling of his large body on top of mine.
"I'll . . . I'll be gentle, I promise," he whispers, "I love you, Isabella."
"I love you."
His eyes seek mine, and he keeps my gaze even as he lifts up slightly to handle himself. I inhale sharply as I feel him sliding against me.
"H-here?" Edward's voice is strained, his body trembling as he gently pushes against my entrance.
I watch his face as he sinks inside me, his expression a mix of pleasure and shock. The pain I feel is brief and insignificant compared to the feeling I get seeing him so completely enraptured, so lost in me.
"O-oh," he stutters, "Oh, Isabella."
He swallows and draws a breath.
"Is it . . . do you feel . . . can I . . ."
I blink back tears, smiling up at him as I run my hands up and down his back, feeling all of his muscles tense, his slightly sweaty skin.
"You're inside me," I whisper, trying to absorb the wonder of it. It feels strange and wonderful all at the same time.
His lips brush mine.
"Please, I need to—"
He pulls back slowly, his eyes fluttering closed as he thrusts, a soft grunt escaping his parted lips.
"It feels so good inside you. So good, so good, so—"
He gasps, his hips snapping forward with more force than before.
"Oh, not . . . not yet!"
A strangled sound erupts from him as his body tenses even further, his lower half grinding against me, his gasped breaths warm against the side of my neck. Then it's as if all strength abandons him, and he collapses on top of me, still making little sounds at the back of his throat as he pants. I hold on to him, running my fingers through his hair until he lifts up his head.
"You're smiling?" He watches me closely. "You're not, uh, disappointed?"
I shake my head.
"But I was . . . awful," he whispers.
"You didn't like it?" I ask, suddenly nervous again.
"Like it? I-I loved it." He draws a deep breath. "It was too good. I lasted . . ."
He makes a face before staring intently at me.
"Did I hurt you?"
I shake my head again. There was a slight pain, but Edward already feels so badly about it being over so quickly. A relieved smile spreads across his face and he relaxes, shifting his hips until he slips from me and moves his lower half off me.
"God," he murmurs, dropping his forehead against my chest. "That was amazing."
Suddenly, he moves up to capture my lips with his, kissing me tenderly. His hands roam over me, stroking my breasts and my thighs before he cups me intimately, his fingers gently stroking me.
"A-again?" I stutter, moving my head to the side to grant his mouth access to my neck.
"No. Just for you. I want to make you feel."
And he does. He caresses, strokes, and rubs me until I writhe beneath his mouth and hands, whimpering and moaning. I shatter, crying out loudly, clenching and trembling for him.
"I want that every time," he says, pressing kisses onto my damp skin.
I chuckle, still breathing fast.
"Are you tired?" he asks, rubbing his nose against mine.
"Good. I don't want this night to be over."
I smile at him.
"I'll get the radio and the rest of the champagne. We can stay in bed."
He beams at me, kissing me quickly before jumping out of bed, naked and unashamed.
"I'll do it. Be right back, wife."
I laugh as he struts out of the bedroom, my eyes drawn to his firm backside. My husband is beautiful in both body and mind. While he's gone I make a quick trip to the bathroom, surprised at how weak my legs feel as I wobble down the hallway. As I wash the wetness between my legs away, I'm surprised to see I haven't bled at all. I thought that was supposed to happen.
While I wash my hands, I study myself in the mirror, but I don't look any different than before, except my hair isn't as neat, and the color in my cheeks is high, my eyes shining back at me, filled with happiness. I hurry back to the heated bedroom, already feeling chilled. Edward is placing the tray on the bedside table and turns to look at me, his eyes sweeping over my naked form and his lips parting. I resist the urge to cover myself as he approaches me, the hungry look in his eyes making my heart jump. I tilt my head back to look up at him, shivering as he runs his hands down my arms.
"You're cold." His voice is dark and low. "Let me warm you."
Before I can answer, he pushes the door to the hallway closed and lifts me up to place me on the bed, hovering over me.
"I dreamed of this so many times, of having you like this."
"S-so did I."
"Lie back. I want to try something."
I swallow nervously.
"It's for you," he says softly. "I think you'll like it."
Once I'm lying down, he starts kissing me, rubbing my body to warm me back up before he moves down to my breasts.
"Does this feel good?" he asks, teasing me with his tongue.
"One night, a few months after I'd been with you, and I was back on duty, we were sitting around talking, me and some other pilots. The other fellows liked to talk about their girls back home." He trails kisses down my stomach, his large hands spreading my legs. "I didn't tell them anything about you, I promise. But I still paid attention."
My breathing speeds up as he strokes me with his fingers, his eyes fixed between my legs.
"You're so pretty," he whispers. "Pretty everywhere. I love touching you, seeing you like this."
"Edward." My voice is tight.
"One of the French guys told us something." He lowers himself, brushing his lips against the insides of my thighs. "He said if want to make your girl happy, you should kiss her . . . everywhere."
Using his fingers to part me, he dips his head, and then he's kissing me. There.
I push against the top of his head, and he stops, looking up at me.
"You don't like it?"
I feel as though my face is on fire, just thinking of him having his mouth there.
"I-I don't know. It seems . . . wrong."
"Why? We're married now. "
He strokes me with his fingers, and it feels wonderful. Slowly, he lowers himself again, replacing his fingers with his tongue. I can't stop myself from moaning.
"Doesn't it . . . taste strange?"
"You taste like heaven," he murmurs, putting pressure on my inner thighs until I spread my legs wider. "Like Isabella and lust and making love."
"All—all right, then." I don't know what else to say.
I close my eyes as he puts his mouth back on me, trying to relax. His hands massage my breasts and he groans, his tongue teasing me until I can hardly stand it anymore. I feel empty inside, needing more, needing him.
"Your, your fingers," I gasp. "Please!"
His right hand slides down my body, and I cry out as he pushes inside, his fingers mimicking the act of making love while he licks and laps at me until I convulse with pleasure, screaming out so loudly that I startle myself. How could I have ever known it would be like this?
Edward kisses my stomach, my nipples, my neck, and finally my mouth, a satisfied grin playing on his lips.
"Did I make you happy?" he asks.
I nod, feeling irrationally shy but also curious.
"Can I, uh, do that to you? With my mouth?"
A shiver runs through him.
"Yes." His eyes burn with excitement. "But not tonight. I wouldn't last but two seconds, and I want to be inside you again if you'll let me."
I reach for him, lifting my legs to cradle him between my thighs, and he slides right in, filling me to perfection.
"Oh!" His face is a wonder. "You're so warm, so perfect."
He lies still on top of me, only his hips rocking ever so slightly as he kisses my lips. I run my hands up and down the large expanse of his back, and feeling daring, I move lower to gently massage his buttocks.
"Mmm, I like that."
He pushes his hands underneath me, and with a sudden roll, I end up on top with him holding onto my hips. I stare down at him, surprised.
"Sit up a little."
I shift my weight, acutely aware of how the angle of him changes inside of me. It feels good. For Edward, too, apparently.
"Wait, hold still, please."
He breathes deeply, tightening his hands around me for a few seconds.
"I'm sorry." He gives me a roguish smile. "You feel too good to me."
"You feel good to me too. I never imagined."
He reaches up to cup my cheek.
"I know. I'm so in love with you."
"Oh, Edward." Tears flood my eyes. "I love you."
He brushes them away, lifting up to kiss me gently at first but then more eagerly. His hands rock my hips, silently encouraging me to move, and when I do, our lips break apart as we both moan.
Edward lies back down, his gaze drawn to my breasts. They bounce with each careful movement I make, and he stares with his mouth hanging open, his hands tightening around me.
"Is it . . . am I doing it right?" I ask, hoping it feels as good for him as it does for me.
"God, yes." He groans, clenching his jaw. "Do you . . . like it?"
"I like it."
"Can you . . . should I?"
He cups my breasts, stroking my nipples.
"Just for you," I say. "Just for you."
He throws his head back, his skin glistening in the lamplight as all of his muscles tense.
"Oh, fuck! Faster!" he exclaims, grabbing my buttocks in his large hands. "Ride me, darling. So good!"
Using my thigh muscles, I do as he says; I ride him. Seeing him erupt in pleasure because of me is beyond thrilling, and listening to him chant my name as he finishes is everything. He is mine and I am his.
Afterward, we sit up in bed, and Edward practically attacks the food he brought up with him.
"You're hungry," I observe.
He grins at me.
"I was too nervous to eat downstairs before, and now I am famished. You've worn me out, wife."
I blush, giving him a shy smile. In the background the radio plays softly, and I sip my champagne, watching him eat.
"Have you thought about what happens next?"
"Well . . ." He puts the tray on the table and lies back against the pillows, reaching for me. "I thought I'd let this food settle a bit and then make love to you again."
I laugh softly, sinking down into his arms.
"No, I meant tomorrow, and the days after that."
"I like the sounds of that." He strokes my hair. "I don't know. I don't have much schooling, Isabella. You're an educated woman compared to me, and one of means too. I don't have anything, you see."
I sit up on my elbow to look at him.
"That's not true. You have me, and what's mine is yours. This farm is ours now. The real question is, though . . . would you be happy being a farmer?"
"I'd be happy doing anything as long as I'm with you. I mean that."
"And I feel the same."
"How do you see our future?" he asks, holding my hand against his chest.
"I thought I'd always live here," I whisper. "But now . . . Rose is leaving and . . . and part of me wishes I could go with her."
I don't miss the way Edward's eyes light up for a second.
"Why can't you?" he asks.
"I want to. But I can't bear the thought of selling my parents' property. It's been in my family for generations, Edward." My family. Something occurs to me suddenly. "Although . . ."
"Although what?" he asks.
"Michael is getting married next month. And he's still living with his parents."
"He'd probably like a place of his own. And he's family."
"Yes, he is. But can he afford this place, I wonder?"
"You own it outright?"
"We own it outright, yes," I correct him, making him grin.
"He could rent it. You know he'd take good care of the place and the animals."
"Yes, he would."
We look at each other.
"You know. Emmett has been telling me a lot about the city of Minneapolis. It sounds like a good place to live, and perhaps study too."
I smile at him.
"Has he now? Is it close to where he and Rose will set up their home?"
"Fairly close. Very accessible with a car of our own."
"Oh. We'll have a car, then?"
Edward pulls me down on top of him, his hands finding purchase on my backside.
"Certainly. How else would we transport the children?"
"And how many children will we have, husband?"
"As many as you'll give me, wife." He rolls me over, kissing his way down my chest. "In fact, I think we should practice some more right now."
I stroke his head, and he gazes up at me, his green eye so filled with love it takes my breath away.
"What's wrong?" he asks. "Should we give it a pass? I've been greedy with you, I know."
I shake my head, smiling.
"Everything is good. I'm so happy."
He gathers me in his embrace, kissing me tenderly.
"I love you, Isabella."
We kiss again, and I feel his body reacting, his very prominent erection pressing against my hip. His grin turns mischievous, and he looks just like he did when I first met him, only now he's not leaving. We'll be going away together to start a whole new life.
"I'm about to make you even happier, wife."
"I don't think that's possible."
"Well, I do like a challenge."
"As do I. Roll us over again."
Once he's on his back, I kiss his sweet mouth and move downward.
"Oh God. Are you going to . . .?"
His voice is rough with excitement.
"I'm about to make you even happier, husband."
Minneapolis, May 2, 1947
I hope this letter finds you well. Edward and I have just celebrated our first anniversary as American citizens, and life is wonderful here in the land of opportunity. We have settled into a lovely little house on the outskirts of the city and made it a home. As it turns out, there are quite a few of our countrymen here, and would you believe I have been offered a teaching position because of it? Many of the new arrivals are in need of English lessons, and the ones who have lived here for generations are interested in learning Danish, so there is plenty for me to do. Edward is close to receiving his high school diploma, and afterward he wants to take business classes at the local college. The economy is booming, and we have plans to open up a little shop in our neighborhood once he has his degree. His parents were grocers back in England, and he wants to follow in their footsteps. I know he will be a very successful shopkeeper since he loves interacting with people, and everyone takes an immediate liking to him.
We see Rose and Emmett often. They have been married a year now, and Rose gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Vera last month. Both mother and child are doing well, and she sends her love.
I know in my last letter I'd talked about coming home for a visit this summer, but certain happy circumstances of our own prohibit us from traveling. Hopefully next year you will have three American visitors instead of two.
Give my love to everyone, and take care until we speak again.
I hope you enjoyed this continuation. I just had to give them all happy endings and leave them in a good place before I could move on. I do admit I felt the slightest urge to write Rose's story, which is definitely a first for me since I've only ever written Edward and Bella before. I doubt I will, but it was pretty interesting to think about for a minute or two, LOL!
Anyway. I hope you have a good day and that this made you smile. It certainly did that for me. Take care!