AN: Thank you to everyone who read and voted for our story. A special shout out to Fran, K, Alex, and Gail for your support and assistance. Love you all!
This was an entry for the TFN Revenge of the Nerds contest. It won 1st Place Public Vote, Beta Pick by Kimmie45, and Validator's Pick by Lyn-Sky.
DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.
The Bella Dilemma
Edward's golden eyes blazed as he zeroed in on his prey. With its head down and wings closed, the butterfly rested on a clump of lavender. Without warning, he pounced, his net held high in the air. A single swoop later, he had captured the American Lady.
Using his thumb and index finger, he lightly squeezed its thorax. It had taken him two decades to master his technique. Twenty long years to find the precise amount of pressure needed to kill a butterfly while still leaving its body intact.
After laying his net on the ground, he placed the butterfly inside a glassine envelope with meticulous attention. He recorded the specimen number, date, and location.
Bella had just finished trekking up a hill when a young man holding a butterfly appeared before her.
Who in the country-fried fuck is this? Her eyes soaked in his chiseled perfection.
Licking her lips, she studied him as he gently placed the insect inside an envelope. In desperate need of a cut, his unruly hair covered his ears and forehead. He pushed a lock away as he completed his task. The tip of his tongue stuck out from the corner of his mouth as he concentrated. Dark-rimmed glasses framed his pale face and prominent jaw.
Adorkable—just her type. Deciding to make her presence known, she stepped forward.
"Whatcha got there?" Startled, Edward dropped the envelope on the ground. Turning, he found a young woman watching him. Dressed in earth-toned hiking gear, she tucked a long strand of shiny, brown hair behind her ear.
As he berated himself for not being more cognizant of his surroundings, she bent to pick up the discarded container.
"Be careful!" Edward cautioned while pushing his glasses higher up the bridge of his nose. "That's a rare species of Nymphalidae."
Deciding to have a bit of fun, she lifted the butterfly for a closer look. "A nympho, you say?" With a raised eyebrow, she asked, "How can you tell it's horny?"
Bingo. Exasperation never looked sexier. The cotton of his white shirt stretched tight across his rigid shoulders as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"Not nympho," he explained with a sigh. "Nymphalidae. They're the largest family of Butterflies. That one is a Vanessa virginiensis."
Not able to stop herself, she continued teasing. She leaned close to him as she whispered, her breath soft against his cheek. "Well, if you ask me, I think Vanessa here was hurtin' for a squirtin'."
Thanks to her childhood friend, Emmett, Bella knew hundreds of crude expressions for sex.
After retrieving the envelope from the woman's grip and placing it in his jacket, Edward rubbed his temples. "Butterflies don't hurt for a squirt or whatever you said. They mate."
She shrugged. "Potayto, potahto. Call it whatever you want, but at the end of the day, it's all about taking the bone train express."
Not used to hearing a lady speak in such a lewd manner, Edward silently gaped in her direction, his lips forming a perfect O.
Bella felt amusement bubble inside her at his reaction; she was enjoying their banter even if she was the one doing the flirting. "I thought you were trying to catch butterflies not regular flies." She giggled as she gently placed her fingertips beneath his chin to shut his mouth. Noting the cold temperature of his skin, she said, "You're freezing! Don't you have a jacket? You'll become sick."
A buzzing sensation radiated along his jaw. The moment she had touched his skin, his body reacted in the most peculiar yet pleasing way. Realizing she was waiting for a response, he said, "Huh? No, I mean, I'm fine. I live close by anyhow, and was on my way home."
Her eyes widened at his words. She desperately needed to freshen up and clean her clothes; she had considered checking into a hostel, but this was even better. Now, if he agreed, she could do her chores while spending time with the hot guy before her.
"Can I ask a huge favor?" Not waiting for an answer, she continued, "Can I use your shower and maybe do a load of laundry? I wouldn't ask, but my next stop has been delayed by a week."
When she originally decided to take a year off from school, Bella had planned short stays with various friends throughout the country. She had been scheduled to visit her friend, Angela, next, but her unexpected work trip had delayed that visit by a week.
He furrowed his brow. "What? Wait a minute...who are you?"
Offering her hand, she lit up with a smile. "I'm Bella Swan, and you are?"
If he were human, his palms would have surely been sweaty; he wasn't comfortable with social interaction.
After a few awkward moments of silence, he wrapped his fingers around hers and gulped. "H-hello. I'm Ed-Edward Cullen."
"It's nice to meet you, Edward." She lightly circled her thumb along his wrist. "So, what do you think?"
"A-about?" he stammered. Jumpin' Jehoshaphat! What was she doing to him? How was he supposed to focus with her warm flesh pressed against his?
"The shower...the laundry?" Mirth danced in her eyes. Even though she didn't have a lot of experience with men, she knew enough to know the effect she was having on him.
"Why can't you…" He cleared his throat as he imagined water splashing against every crevice of her body.
Sweet mother of Spock! What was wrong with him! He felt as if he was experiencing a seizure. Wait, can vampires even have seizures?
Get yourself under control; he thought to himself before adding, "Why can't you use your own shower, your own laundry?"
"That would be difficult since I live about a thousand miles away."
"A thousand miles?" He scratched his head. "Then what are you doing in Forks?" Sometimes humans confused Edward. He understood and even appreciated their desire to travel...but to Forks?
"Backpacking, I'm taking a gap year before I begin my master's program."
"Why would anyone take time off from school?" Another point of confusion for Edward. Other than butterfly collecting, he couldn't think of anything more enjoyable than learning.
Bella released another giggle at his statement. "I had the need to recharge, and it also gives me the opportunity to see other parts of the country."
Even though he didn't fully comprehend her need to abandon her education, he accepted her answer.
"So, are we going to your house or not?" she asked again.
Edward considered her question. He supposed having her over to his home wouldn't hurt - it wasn't as if he lusted for her blood. No, that hadn't been an issue for him since the late 1950s; he had long since had stellar control over those primal instincts.
However, he continued to hesitate. In spite of not desiring her blood, there was something unsettling about the girl. Something about her left him feeling off-balance and perplexed; more so than any other human he had ever come across in the past hundred years.
Perhaps, if he spent additional time with her, he could determine the reason for this strange phenomenon. Yes! The more he thought about it, the more excited he became. It had been years since he had conducted a thorough scientific experiment, and this would certainly fit the bill.
"All right, you may accompany me to my home."
Her entire face spread into a smile. "Great! Let's stop by my campsite and pick up my gear."
An hour later, they reached his house.
"This is impressive," Bella said soaking in the setting. A picturesque log cabin was nestled among stately pine trees on the soft slope of a mountainside. A narrow creek ran along the back of the property. The gentle sound of water washing over stone filled the silence.
While she marveled at the scenery, he observed her. After noting her liquid, brown eyes, he zeroed his sight on her full, rosy lips. Without warning, he became overwhelmed with the desire to kiss her. Fighting against his need to claim her mouth, he dug his feet into the dirt.
After scolding himself for his irrational thoughts, his gaze rested on her slender neck. Using his keen eyesight, he noticed a small patch of freckles sprinkled across its base. Alarm filled him as he recalled a medical study, which reported individuals who freckle are more likely to develop skin cancer. He quickly began scanning her skin for any abnormalities.
Once he was satisfied that she wasn't in any imminent danger, he answered, "Thank you. I built it myself."
"Y-you built this? By...yourself?"
"Well...it's not as if it's rocket science, I mean, there are numerous amounts of books on the subject."
As much as she had been astonished by the exterior of his home, she was more so by the interior. It wasn't the typical bachelor pad she had been expecting. Instead, she immediately noticed the lack of a large screen television or of any sports memorabilia. What she saw were numerous shadow boxes covering the walls. Not able to discern what was inside each of them, she stepped closer to get a better view.
Butterflies. Thousands and thousands of them. And each appeared to be a different shape, color, and size.
"Amazing." One, in particular, caught her attention. With silvery-blue wings edged in black, the butterfly's regal beauty was showcased in a museum quality frame. Bella could barely detect the tiny pins that held it delicately to the setting board. She ran a fingertip gently along its wooden edge.
"That's a Blue Morpho. They hail from South America." He didn't share that he had captured it himself during his ten-year stint in Brazil.
Edward moved to stand beside her. His nose filled with her scent; he suddenly felt dizzy from her distinct floral fragrance. Instinctively, he inched toward her.
"Do...do you wear perfume?" he asked bewildered by his response.
"Your smell...it's just that it's ...it's...so unusual." For the second time that day, he longed to kiss her. After stepping away to regain his composure, he considered her unique pheromone signature.
Unusual? She wasn't sure if that was a compliment or not. "Thanks, I guess," she muttered before returning her attention to his art. "How long have you been a collector?"
"Since I was a teenager," he answered. It wasn't a total lie; he had begun his collection at the age of sixteen.
Turned at twenty-two, Edward had been a vampire for one hundred and six years. Ample time to accumulate over sixty-seven thousand specimens of Lepidoptera.
"Please, have a seat." He gestured toward the grey suede sectional, which occupied the majority of his living room. Rarely used, he purchased it at the suggestion of his sire's mate. Esme had advised him to set up his home in typical human fashion just in case he ever had an unexpected visitor. He would need to thank her the next time they spoke.
Instead of sitting on the sofa, Bella chose the dark leather club chair.
"Don't sit there!" He called out in a panic. Edward lived an orderly, routine life. He didn't adapt well to change, and that included someone else sitting in his spot.
"O-okay," Bella said before standing and moving to the sofa.
"Sorry, it's just...that's where I sit." He explained after realizing his behavior may have seemed odd.
"Oh, I get it. Sort of like Sheldon, right?" She laughed.
"You know, Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory?"
His nose scrunched. Maybe this was a bad idea. First, she takes his chair, and now she's talking nonsense. He couldn't recall any scientists named Sheldon associated with that particular theory. "I'm not sure which astrophysicist you're referring to. Did he recently publish a paper?"
"A paper?" She repeated. "No, I don't know anything about astrophysics. I'm referring to the television show. You know, Sheldon...Leonard...Raj...Howard?" She listed the characters in an attempt to jog his memory.
"Oh, I don't watch television."
"You don't watch TV? None at all?"
"No, it's a waste of time," he said confused by her evident surprise. "Well, I take that back; I did view a few episodes of Star Trek, but after determining the books were far more superior, I stopped."
"Do you watch a great deal of television, Bella?" He asked as part of his research. According to an article he had recently read, heavy exposure to television hindered the development of several key areas of the brain. Perhaps this was the reason for his sensitivity towards her; yes, that must be it.
She simply had some type of brain damage.
"Just as much as the next guy, I suppose," she said before adding, "excluding you, of course."
"So would you say your television consumption is average, below average, or above average?"
What a strange question…
"Since beginning at the university, I'd categorize myself definitely as below average."
So, no brain damage caused by heavy exposure to TV. Edward grimaced as he made a mental note, marking that specific conjecture from his list. He found himself back at ground zero.
After showing Bella to the guest bathroom so she could shower, he returned to his study and grabbed a steno pad. He drew a T-chart on the center of the paper and began writing. On the left side, he listed everything he already knew about Bella.
TV watcher (Below average)
After reading what he had written, he continued.
Five feet two (approximately)
BMI of 20 (Approximately)
On the right side of the chart, he jotted information he still needed to gather.
State of residence
After making a note to have her sign a release so he could access her medical documentation, he continued his list.
His pencil snapped in half. The thought of her being married or even in a relationship left him tense. He ran a hand through his messy locks and groaned.
Attempting to resume his task, he retrieved a new writing instrument. But after breaking twenty-five pencils, he gave up and marched toward the guest bathroom.
After reaching the door, he gave it three rapid taps. "Bella...Bella...Bella."
The water wasn't running so he knew she was no longer showering. Why wasn't she answering?
He knocked again; this time louder. "Bella...Bella...Bella."
The door swung open. "Are you absolutely sure you haven't seen The Big Bang Theory?"
She stood before him wrapped in a fluffy, white towel. Still warm from her shower, her scent had become even more potent.
At the sight of her bare shoulders and lean, long legs, Edward felt himself become light-headed. Spots suddenly appeared before his eyes as he swayed from side to side. Just as he heard Bella call out his name, he collapsed to the floor.
Moments later, he awoke. Still groggy, he shook his head as he took in his surroundings. After inspecting the tan carpeting where he currently lay, he quickly realized he was in the hallway outside his guest bathroom.
"Edward?" A soft voice sounded above him. He glanced up and found Bella, concerned etched across her face. "I went to get my cell. Are you okay?" Gesturing to the phone in her hand, she asked, "Should I call 911?"
"B-Bella," he croaked as he ran his hand across his forehead. "What...what happened?"
After squatting next to him, she gently pushed a lock of hair away from his eyes. "You fainted."
"I fainted? But that's not possible."
"Well, you did. You were out cold, and it scared me to death."
Standing, he scrubbed his palm across his jaw. His face skewed in confusion as he tried to comprehend. Vampires don't pass out. There had to be a logical explanation.
Bella observed him. He didn't appear to be entirely coherent. Taking his arm, she urged him to sit. "Let's go back to the living room. Have you eaten anything today?"
After sitting in his chair, he answered. "I'm fine, I've eaten."
"I'll make tea. You need some sugar in your system."
Edward watched as she exited the room.
Dear Lord. She was still in a towel.
"B-Bella," he called as something akin to nausea crashed through him.
She peeked her head around the corner.
Unable to think clearly, he sputtered, "Should you...would you...could you...please get dressed?"
After looking down at herself, she giggled. "Oops. With all the excitement, I guess I forgot. Be right back."
She jogged by him and returned to the bathroom. The sight of her bouncing body caused his stomach to once again flip. Moaning, he placed his head between his knees and took a series of deep breaths.
After dressing, Bella returned to the living room carrying two mugs. "The tea expired four months ago, but it should still be okay. You really need to get some groceries. Your cupboards are practically bare."
He hadn't thought about food when he invited her to his place. Once she fell asleep for the night, he would go to Port Angeles and pick up supplies.
"I eat out most of the time," he said as a cover. And it wasn't a lie; all of his meals were eaten in the forest.
She studied him as she sipped her tea. Even though he remained pale, overall, he seemed better. "Edward, may I ask you a question?"
"Why did you say it was impossible for you to faint?"
"I said that?" he asked incredulously as he berated himself for being so careless.
Standing, he paced the room trying to think of an appropriate response. After several minutes, he said, "There are things about me that you wouldn't understand. I'm not like most people…" He pinched his nose. "Just… just nevermind."
Bella crossed the room and placed a hand on his arm. Her touch soothed him, and he immediately felt calmer. "Relax. I'm not judging you; I already knew you were different, and as a matter of fact, I find it quite refreshing."
His brow furrowed in confusion. "Wh-what do you mean I'm different?"
After giving his arm a gentle squeeze, she said, "Edward, I know what you are."
He stared at her and gulped. "You do?"
"Of course, I do. It's quite evident. In fact, I knew it from the first time I laid eyes on you."
Running a hand through his hair, he groaned. She must have seen him leaping through the air to catch the butterfly.
Deciding to rip off the proverbial Band-Aid, he said, "Go ahead and say it. Say it out loud."
Bella slowly closed her eyes and took a deep breath. After exhaling, she said, "You're...you're a nerd."
Tilting his head to one side, he said, "Huh?"
"A nerd. I know you're a nerd." She shrugged her shoulders. "And it really isn't as horrible as you make it out to be. Some of my best friends are nerds."
Collapsing in his seat, he removed his glasses and released a deep sigh of relief.
In an effort to garner additional data for his research, he asked, "Would you say you have a great deal of friends?"
"Sure, I guess," she replied.
He slid his glasses back onto his face. Even though he no longer needed the prescription lenses to aid his vision after his transformation, he had continued wearing them out of pure habit. "Can you give me an approximate number?"
"Of friends?" She repeated confused by his question.
"Yes, and if you can classify them by age and sex that would be helpful as well."
"Edward! I don't know, and why would you ask such an odd question?"
"I'm curious. What's so peculiar about that?"
She knelt in front of him and placed her hand across his forehead. "Are you sure you're feeling okay? Maybe, I should leave so you can get some rest."
"You want to leave?" Panic filled him at the thought of her departure; he had assumed she would stay the night.
"It's getting late." She gestured to the darkening sky outside the window. "Do you mind if I come back tomorrow to do some laundry?"
"No! I mean, yes!" His voice shook with alarm. "Why don't you stay? I have a guest room, or if you prefer the master?"
Surprised by his invitation, she said, "You want me to stay in your master bedroom?"
Mischief sparkled in her eyes. "Are you asking to test my humidity?" She trailed a finger along his chest.
"Do you want to churn my butter?"
When he turned paler than his normal shade of alabaster, she bit the inside of her cheek to stop herself from giggling.
"Test your humidity...churn your butter...wait, are you...you...you implying we...copulate?"
She nodded before leaning into him. Her warm breath tickled his ear. "All. Night. Long."
Edward gulped before standing. His mouth became dry, and it felt as if his skin was on fire. After unbuttoning the top two buttons of his shirt, he stammered, "B-Bella, I...I...I…"
Laughter escaped her. "Take it easy, stud; I was only kidding."
Color spread across her cheeks. "Yeah, I'm sorry; sometimes I forget not everybody has my weird sense of humor."
Unfamiliar with the navigation of social interaction, Edward had difficulty interpreting the nuances of her humor, and he definitely didn't understand her euphemisms for coitus.
However, since she opened the subject, he asked, "So do you…do you have your butter churned often?"
His stomach knotted as he waited for her response.
Please say no.
Please say no.
Please say no.
"Fornicate. How often do you fornicate?"
"Edward! That's none of your business!" She scoffed as she stood and returned to the sofa. Sitting, she crossed her arms over her chest. "Why would you even ask such a thing?"
After rubbing the back of his neck, he shuffled his feet. "I'm attempting to understand you better."
Bella softened as she contemplated the socially awkward man before her. His discomfort was apparent. "Edward, it's okay. But for future reference, you shouldn't go around asking people such personal questions."
"No, that's only an appropriate question for someone you're in a relationship with," she explained.
Rubbing the back of his neck, he considered what she said. Since that topic was off-limits, he asked, "What about family? Do you have any siblings?" Since research showed the position a person shared with their siblings had a lasting impact on their life, he felt it was important to learn her birth order.
"No family," she replied in a hushed tone.
"Do you mean you don't have any brothers or sisters?"
"No, I mean I don't have any family period, Edward," she said in a clipped voice. Her parents had died early that year in a car crash, now she was alone in the world.
A stab of heartfelt sorrow radiated in his chest. "I-I'm sorry."
He walked to one of the bay windows in the room. As he watched a lone deer graze on the greenery along the edge of the property. "Are you in a relationship?"
Please say no.
Please say no.
Please say no.
"Are you asking if I have a boyfriend?"
"No, Edward, I don't have a boyfriend." She raised an eyebrow. "Why? Are you interested in the position?"
"Interested?" An urge to shout yes passed through him, but instead, he replied, "Um... of course not." Frustrated by his feelings, he yanked his hair. He needed time to think, and he couldn't do so in her presence. In an effort to get some space between them, he said, "Bella, you're right. I'm not feeling too well. I think I'll turn in for the night." Gesturing toward the hallway, he asked, "Can I show you to the guest room?"
"Are you sure you want me to stay?" she asked as she stood.
"Yes, of course, I do." He offered her a tight smile.
"Okay," she said.
He walked her to the guest bedroom and opened the door. "There are extra blankets in the closet; let me know if you need anything else."
She stepped into the room before turning to face him. "Okay, well...goodnight, Edward."
As she closed the door, he whispered, "Goodnight."
Later as she slept, he went to the garage and uncovered his car. Rarely used, the Volvo station wagon was in pristine condition. He had purchased it on a whim in 1972. At that time, it had been touted as one of the safest cars ever built. After checking the fuel and oil levels, he backed down the long, winding driveway and began his journey to Port Angeles.
In need of food to refill his empty cupboards, he drove straight to the grocery store. While perusing the aisles, he paused as a woman came across his path. Wondering if she would have the same effect on him as Bella, he observed her before inconspicuously smelling her hair.
While checking out, he examined the cashier. He studied her mouth before inhaling her scent, and once again, he had no reaction. After paying for his items, he returned to Forks.
As soon as he arrived home, he headed to the guest room where Bella continued to doze. Pulling a chair next to the bed, he watched her sleep.
With her hair spread over her pillow and her lips pursed, her eyes fluttered beneath her lids. Her soft brow furrowed as her breaths became more rapid.
She was dreaming.
As she began to toss and turn, he worried she was having a nightmare. Wanting to comfort her, he softly whispered, "Shh."
At the sound of his soothing, she mumbled, "Don't leave."
Something stirred inside him at her words. Was she talking to him? Did she subconsciously feel his presence?
For the first time, he wondered if he had the same effect on Bella as she did him.
Drawn by her essence, he found himself leaning toward her. Just as he started to press his mouth against hers, she murmured his name.
Snapped out of his stupor, he pushed himself away before racing from the room.
More confused than before, he returned to his office. Determined to find a resolution to his quandary, he studied the chart he had made the previous day. As he reviewed his data, a particular word caught his attention.
Even though he didn't recall writing it, he clearly had. But why? He knew beauty as a whole was subjective, not something resolved through scientific inquiry. So why would he list it as one of Bella's attributes?
After placing the chart down, he buried his head in his hands. Did he think Bella Swan was beautiful? An image of her appeared in his mind. As he pictured her porcelain skin and long, chestnut locks, he quickly deduced she was, indeed, lovely. In fact, she was the most stunning creature he had ever beheld - even more gorgeous than the rare Ceylon Rose he had captured on the coast of Sri Lanka back in 1945.
Realizing, he was no closer to discovering the reason for his reaction to Bella, he decided to get assistance. After checking the time, he picked up his phone and dialed his sire's number.
A vampire for over four-hundred years, Carlisle Cullen was the most intelligent person Edward knew. If anyone could help, it would be him.
The phone rang three times before Carlisle answered. "Edward, my boy, how are you?"
"If truth be told, not so well."
Distressed by Edward's statement, Carlisle said, "Why? What's wrong?"
"I'm not sure, and that's the problem." Over the course of the next twenty minutes, he described his Bella dilemma. Beginning with their first meeting, he left out no details - her scent, his fainting spell, and the burning need to kiss her lips. After recounting all his data, he said, "So what do you think?"
As he listened to his pseudo son's tale, Carlisle's face split into a wide grin; he had anticipated this day for over one hundred years.
"Do you have any theories? I think the next logical step is a CT scan of her brain; I'm still not convinced her prior television consumption didn't cause some type of neurological impairment."
Chuckling, Carlisle replied, "I don't think a scan is necessary."
"What do you mean? Of course, it is! Haven't you listened to a word I said?"
"Yes, Edward, but after analyzing the data you presented, I've already come to a conclusion."
"It's simple. Bella's your mate."
Stunned by Carlisle's statement, Edward argued, "But, that doesn't make sense. She's completely wrong for me. I mean for God's sake, Carlisle, her grasp of astrophysics is minuscule at best."
"A knowledge of astrophysics isn't typically a prerequisite for this type of thing." He laughed.
"I don't know." Edward sighed. "It's all so illogical."
"Love usually is."
As Edward contemplated his sire's words, Carlisle said, "Now, son, you know there's an easy enough way to test my theory. What's holding you back?"
A few hours later, Bella awoke. A broad beam of sunlight streamed through the window. Lifting her arms, she stretched.
An easy smile played at the corners of her mouth as she thought about the dazzling introvert who had haunted her dreams.
Any temptation to burrow back beneath the covers was overridden by her desire to see Edward.
"Good morning, Bella."
Startled, she yelped. She hadn't seen him sitting in the chair beside her bed.
"Edward!" She scolded as she pulled the sheet against her. "What in the world are you doing here?"
"Waiting," he replied gruffly.
"Waiting for what?"
"This." Leaning down, he placed a gentle, lingering kiss on her forehead. Slowly, he trailed feathery caresses over her eyes and cheeks.
A sense of belonging crashed through her as his soft lips pressed against her skin. Moaning, she tilted her head up, desperate for more.
No longer able to resist his desire, his lips claimed hers. As he nibbled and probed, his body ignited at her taste.
It was at that moment his soul recognized hers.
Mine! He thought as he pounced from his seat and landed on top of her. After grasping her wrists and pinning them against the mattress, a low growl escaped his throat as his mouth crashed into hers. With a feral intensity, he devoured her lips before beginning an assault with his tongue.
Bella trembled as he sucked the delicate skin along her jaw. Sparks of electricity pulsed throughout her as her back arched upwards, aching for his touch.
Dragging his nose along the side of her throat, he revelled in her scent. Nothing else mattered except his primal need to possess her. After brushing his tongue against her pulse, he slowly sank his teeth into her flesh and drank.
Ten Years Later
After giving the door three consecutive raps, Edward called, "Bella...Bella...Bella."
As he raised his fist to knock again, the door flew open.
"Why must you always be so impatient?"
"I'm not impatient, just anxious to see my beautiful wife."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh no, you're not impatient at all, Mr. Suck Your Wife's Blood Before Their First Date."
He shrugged as his face broke into a sheepish grin. She had him there; he had changed her during their first kiss.
"Are you ready to go? We're going to miss the peak hunting hours."
"One more minute, let me grab my journal." After her transformation, Edward discovered his wife was an aspiring writer. Over their decade together, she had documented his finds in hopes of publishing a book.
The midday sun shone brightly as they reached their destination. Located on the outskirts of the Charente region, they had discovered the meadow on their last trip to France. Brimming with wildflowers, it was a haven for butterflies.
After removing his gear from his knapsack, Edward watched as Bella spread a blanket on the ground. Her loose hair tumbled down her back, and his fingers itched to touch the silken tresses. His gaze remained on her as she stretched out on the throw.
With her eyes closed, she tilted her face toward the sky.
Awed by her beauty, his desire to hunt Lepidoptera quickly vanished. His sights were now set on another target...his stunning wife.
Crouching low, so she wouldn't notice, he prepared to strike.
With a giant leap, he flew through the air before landing at her side. After encircling her in his arms, he swooped down and captured her lips.
"Edward! What are you doing?" She giggled as he moved his attack of kisses to her neck.
Pulling away, he gave her a teasing smile. "I'm going to churn your butter, of course."
Eager to show off his newly acquired knowledge of euphemisms, he added, "And then I thought we might toss our cookies."
Laughing, she said, "I'm not so sure about your last suggestion, but I'm all for the first."
After explaining his error, she grasped his chin and stared into his butterscotch eyes. With a raised eyebrow, she said, "What's the holdup, mister? Get to churning."
And so he did.
All. Day. Long.