A/N: Okay, guys—we're finally here! I was basically just trying to get a little ahead on pre-writing, which is why I was trying to hold off on posting, but… I was just too excited! As I said before, you can find the playlist for this one over on 8tracks, as always, if you want to hear the musical inspiration behind my writing. (My username over there is WinterSunshine as well.)
A few of these chapters are—obviously—going to be pegged MA, NC-17, etc. We're adding in all the stuff we missed from the original, so things are gonna get… steeeeeeeamy.
Here's the first one (and with it, a couple of the conversations a few of you have been looking forward to ;] )
Let's get to it!
"I'm gonna miss you tonight."
I sighed, smiling softly up at Beau from where I laid beneath him on his pillow. "I'll miss you too," I whispered, reaching up to run my fingers through his thick, soft hair, raking my nails ever-so-softly against his scalp.
He groaned very softly, and suddenly our lips were very busy.
It was the night before the wedding, and I'd let things go as far as they could possibly go, by my standards.
Beau was wrapped tightly in the quilt from his bed, but otherwise, we were pressed as close together as we could possibly be. He liked to complain about the barrier between us, but it had been something I'd been unwilling to compromise on. I wasn't willing to put his warm, fragile skin any closer to me than was necessary. For the necessity of his warmth and health—and that of my own sanity, as well.
Where the blanket hindered the contact of his skin against mine, it did not do much for his hands. Every trail of his fingers across the exposed skin of my collarbones, neck, shoulders and arms did strange things to my body and mind, making it difficult to concentrate.
More and more often, coupling in with the swirl of distractibility and pleasure, was a feeling of anxiety I could only equate to stage fright. I had made my promises, and the inevitable fulfillment of those promises would be upon us soon. Not that I didn't desire to satisfy Beau's requests; I wanted that just as much as he did. But he didn't need to worry about what might happen in his fit of passion… He didn't bear the burden of his lover's life on his shoulders. He was not responsible for being hyper-aware of every touch, every move, every caress.
That responsibility was in my hands alone, and I was as equally terrified as I was anticipating those intimate moments.
Now, Beau's lips parted against mine, and his sweet, succulent breath fanned across my mouth, swirling down my throat with the fire of a thousand passions. It burned, yes, but the monster that had desired his blood with such vigor had long-since perished. However, that didn't mean I was any less dangerous to him… I constantly had to keep tabs on my thoughts, resisting the urge to pull him closer, to hold him tighter—always conscious that I could so easily wound him.
I could feel the familiar blur of my thoughts, unfocused and scattered by Beau's plush, warm mouth on mine, and the heat of his skin, the soft caress of his hands, one clutching my waist, the other tracing the indentation of my collarbone in an almost unconscious way.
I pulled back, putting an inch of space between us so I could clear the hazy fog from my brain.
But Beau, used to my hesitation, leaned in again, and his warm, soft lips pressed to the edge of my jaw instead.
"Beau," I cautioned him, careful not to let my voice shake, but his lips on my skin did strange things to my thought processes.
"What?" he whispered, and his warm breath washed over my throat.
I squeezed my eyes shut, shivering delightedly, and lifted my hands so I could push him back by the shoulders.
Where he leaned over me in his small, narrow bed, propped on one elbow, his eyes burned like liquid fire. His pupils were dilated, lush lashes thickly framing his gorgeous eyes—I would miss them so much. His lips were pink and full, and his hair tousled by my wandering hands.
He looked absolutely delicious, and as much as I would have liked to pull his mouth right back to mine, I knew this was where I needed to put a stop to things.
"You promised me you'd be careful," I tried to tease him, but my voice was just a little too breathless to convince, I thought.
He grinned widely, pearl-white teeth glimmering in the dull shine of his lamp. He shook his head at me. "No time for careful," he pressed, and leaned in to kiss me again.
Automatically, I felt my body lock down with stress. No time for careful… Careful, indeed. If I rushed things as he would have liked, who knew where we would end up? In abandoning even a sliver of my carefully-comprised caution, it would be far too easy to tear a handful of hair from his head, or break his arm, or fracture his spine, or crush his pelvis, or…
"Beau," I whispered, hearing the stress in my own voice as his lips touched the corner of mine again.
He sighed, and turned to press his face into the pillow by my head. "Sorry," he apologized, "Crossing the line again. What's one more night, right?" He laughed once, shortly, a little breathless—and there was no malice in his tone, only the strain that came with the difficult of self-restraint.
But his words only tightened my stressed muscles further. The anxiety whipped my thoughts into a tormented tornado of fretfulness.
"One more night…" I heard myself whisper anxiously, "I don't know, Beau… I just… I can't—I can't concentrate when you're with me like this… I get distracted, too distracted, and when that happens, I—I can't think straight… What if I can't control myself?" I fretted, "What if I hurt you?"
Beau lifted his head to look at me, his eyes serious.
"Shh!" He pressed his index finger to my lips to quiet my fretful monologing. "Enough," he said quietly, "It's going to be fine. Remember what we talked about… We take it as far as you're willing. When you say stop, we stop. All I want is to try."
I waited for him to move his hand away. When he did, I took a deep breath.
"Will it be fine?" Abruptly, my thoughts were drifting, easily distracted by the other anxieties that had been plaguing me. They skipped from the thousands of ways I could accidentally inflict injury on him to all the things he was sacrificing for a life with me. Regardless of the fact that he'd chosen this for himself, I still had a difficult time believing that he understood the pain it would put him through.
"It's not right!" I lamented. "I don't want you to have to give things up for me. I want to give you things, not take them away from you. I don't want to steal your future. If I were only human—"
"Hey, hey," he interrupted, his whole hand covering my mouth now. "Seriously," he insisted, "Enough. You are my future. You are enough for forever. Now stop moping, or I'll call El and Jess to come and get you. Maybe you need a bachelorette party or a bridal shower or whatever it is they're throwing you." He rolled his eyes, but sudden anxiety surfaced there.
"What is it?" I asked him.
He shook his head, casting his gaze away. "It's nothing." His eyes lingered on the various packed boxes piled around his room. This would be the last night he'd spend here, under his father's roof, and I was distracted, momentarily, by how he might be feeling about that.
"How are your feet?" I couldn't help but ask. I was mostly teasing, but I wanted to be sure he was absolutely set on this, that he didn't have any reservations whatsoever.
He turned to look at me again, grinning widely. "Toasty warm," he claimed.
"Are you sure?" I felt my brow knit together with concern. "No second thoughts about ditching me at the altar? No one waiting in the wings?" I grinned, attempting to come off as joking, but I had been unable to shake the fact that any of the human girls that had gone to school with us would be a better fit for him than I undoubtedly was.
"Hmm," he teased, narrowing his eyes, "Now that I think about it, maybe I should tell McKayla not to come after all…"
I hissed quietly, surprised by the strength of the possessiveness that rose up inside me—regardless of the fact that I knew it was just a joke. "I could do that…" I suggested, and my tone was thick with malice. "After all, who can defy the bride?"
Beau laughed and started to say something else, but just then, my sister's thoughts interrupted us.
Come out, come out wherever you are, baby sister! Or I'll huff and I'll puff—and I'll blow his house down!
I rolled my eyes, groaning quietly. "Oh, for the love of all that is holy…"
"Apparently, a phone call to El and Jess is not needed. They aren't going to let me skip the party tonight, it seems."
I felt his arms curl tightly around me for just a moment, and then he released me. "Well—have a good time," he requested, rolling onto his back so I could get up.
El leaped agilely and clung with one hand to the sill of Beau's window. She lifted her other hand and dragged her nails across the glass, eliciting a hair-raising screech. "Oh, future Mrs. Swaaan…" she sang out, "Let down, let down your hair!"
"Enough with the fairytale references," I complained. It was almost painful.
Beau, however, seemed to think it was pretty hilarious. He laughed, the notes chorusing and easy. "Go!" he urged, "Before they break my dad's house!"
I rolled toward him for just one moment, pressing my lips to his.
Ugh, come on! I can hear you kissing! Get down here already!
I giggled softly, and advised Beau to get some sleep. Then I wheeled on the window across the room, sank into a crouch, and launched myself cleanly through the opening. I sailed through the air soundlessly, sightless to Beau's eyes, and fell back toward the earth, timing my velocity just right so that I landed directly on El's shoulders. The maneuver wiped her clean off her feet. Her head hit the ground so hard it left a little dent in the lawn.
El cursed and I grinned down at her from where I stood over her prone form.
She swiped at me, missing my calf by just an inch as I skipped away, out of her reach. My giggle was high and shrill in the black of night around us.
Above our heads, as El tried once more to catch me, I noticed that Jessamine was hanging from Beau's windowsill.
"We'll get her home in plenty of time," she was promising him, and she exuded soothing vibes.
"Uh, Jess?" I heard him say as she began to turn away, "What do vampires do at bachelorette slash bridal parties? There's not going to be any, like, half-naked firemen or anything, right? No one-dollar bills packed away anywhere?"
Eleanor burst into laughter, momentarily distracted from her offensive circling. "Don't tell him anything!" she called to Jessamine, and I took the opportunity to roundhouse kick her legs out from underneath her. She landed flat on her back, eyes wide in shock, and I laughed gaily again.
This was fun! And I was suddenly very much looking forward to the night of festivities with my sisters.
"No need to fret," Jess assured him, "We Cullens have our own version—just a few mountain lions, a couple of grizzly bears. Pretty much an ordinary night out." But suddenly, Jessamine was concentrating very hard on the wildlife we might stumble across tonight. Something flickered on the edge of her thoughts—hers and my sister's both—and immediate suspicion rose inside me.
As abruptly distracted as I was, I almost didn't see El's advance. As it was, I ducked just in time and scampered across the lawn toward the cover of trees. El barreled after me, and I leaped up into the boughs of a nearby hemlock.
"What are you two planning?" I asked suspiciously as she paused at the foot of the tree.
"Nothing," she blurted immediately, concentrating very hard on her next move, which was going to be to shoulder into the tree in an attempt to knock me loose.
At that moment, Jessamine joined us.
I leaped the thirty-five feet and landed between my sisters, glancing between them. "Hold on." I held my hand up to ward El's playful advances off. The game was over. "What's going on here? We are just going hunting, right?"
I didn't particularly need the sustenance at this point in time—I had fed well just days ago—but I would like to stay true to form and ensure I was adequately prepared. I'd rather be over-fed than under. Besides, this way, I wouldn't be required to leave Beau's side for at least two weeks. If all went according to plan, we'd be able to spend a lovely two fortnights together in the secluded paradise of Earnest Isle.
I had insisted the planning of the honeymoon be entirely left up to me—Beau hadn't cared in the least that I was taking that task off his hands. Not that he'd been involved in much of anything else. Beau's easygoing attitude let me and Archie make most of the decisions, which was fine by me. Archie and I had theoretically been planning this day for decades, and I was glad to have a betrothed who was happy to let me see my vision to fruition.
Earnest Isle, the honeymoon destination in question, was a small, secluded island a couple hundred miles off the coast of Rio de Jenairo, a gift Carine had bought for Earnest on their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Beau had made it clear he didn't care where we honeymooned. I was under the impression he was expecting we'd be spending our time somewhere gloomy and cloudy—so that I'd be able to do any sight-seeing or tourist-ing if we were so inclined. I was looking forward to surprising him with a healthy dose of sun—he certainly wouldn't be seeing it for a while after our homecoming.
Quickly, I forced off the melancholy thoughts that attempted to cloud my mind. For an instant, I paused, listening to the throbbing pulses of Beau's heart, in the house across the lawn. So little time of his humanity remained, and yet… I'd gotten so much more than I'd bargained for…
Two months ago, he'd made all of my wildest dreams come true when he'd dropped to one knee in the middle of our meadow, and had pulled his great-grandmother's vintage engagement ring from his pocket… The ring that sat on my finger at this very moment, glimmering softly in the mid-August moonlight…
"Let's go already!" Eleanor complained, tugging on my free hand.
I didn't know what they were planning, but I'd been a part of El and Royal's reoccurring weddings enough times that I had a slim idea. Eleanor had always been more of an extravagant bride than I thought I was, so I doubted it would be very similar to the celebrations we'd had in the past… This was why I'd given them joint title of Maid of Honor. Jessamine would be sure to balance out my other sister's antics—ensuring she didn't take things too far.
But as we grew closer to the house, my suspicion continued to increase.
"Why are we going inside?" I demanded as they towed me past the garage, where El's Jeep waited, toward the house.
Again, that same ghost of discipline flickered on the edges of their thoughts as they exchanged a glance, and Jessamine gripped my other elbow.
"What is—" I started to demand, but at that moment, El's mental restraint gave way, and I saw what they were planning. "Ohh no," I protested, digging my heels into the dirt, but they continued to drag me forward anyway. "I said no parties!"
"Oh, come on, Edythe," Eleanor complained as Jessamine rolled her eyes over my head at her.
Some self-control you have…
"Unlike me and Royal, we know you and Beau are traditionalists, and you'll probably only get married once… So let us have our fun, too!"
"I'm the bride!" I cried as they pulled me through the back door, still resisting. When I saw what they had put together in my absence, however, I skidded to a stop, my back-pedaling feet stilling. The white balloons, the streamers twisted tastefully amongst the ceiling beams, the metallic gold banner over the gossamer draped chair—Miss to Mrs… And, not to mention, the impressive pile of gifts on the table and gathered on the floor next to said chair.
"Awesome-sauce, right?!" Eleanor interjected, sweeping her arms out grandly.
Just then, my eyes fell on the cake table in the corner. "Is that a…?"
"Yep! It's a penis cake! Can't have a bachelorette party without a penis cake!"
"Oh God," I moaned, pushing my fingers into my eyelids, as if I could blot out the disturbing images, "How did you convince Carine to let you get away with this?"
"I've been looking forward to this day just as much as your sisters have," she said then as she stepped into the room. In her hands, she was holding a platter of clear plastic goblets, and a dish of maraschino cherries.
"No," I argued, "You've been looking forward to tomorrow. Don't misplace your excitement, Mom!" I begged as they pulled me toward the stairs. On the way up, we passed Archie, who poked his head out of his bedroom to grin at us.
"Why didn't you warn me?" I spluttered at him as Jess and El dragged me past.
"Warn you?" he repeated as we mounted the stairs to the third level, "But that would have ruined the surprise!"
Ten minutes later, my sisters had managed to squeeze me into an effervescent white dress several inches too short, a gaudy sash, and an equally as garish veil.
"This is so not necessary," I pouted when Jess held out the pair of six-inch sparkling heels. They were not the shoes I would be wearing tomorrow—these were far too kitschy for appropriate wedding attire.
"Smile!" Eleanor chirped. As I glanced over at her, scowl still firmly in place, the flash went off. "Aw," she complained, peering down at the digital screen, "C'mon—at least act like you're having fun."
Jess dropped the shoes and looped her arms around me, pulling me close.
"We're doing this because we love you," she sang before planting a sisterly, red-lipstick kiss on my cheek. I couldn't help laughing, and the flash went off again.
"Yeah," I said, "Like this is for my 'own good' or something."
"You never know," El said, turning to the mirror to adjust her glittery halter top, "Maybe it is." I've got plenty of tips and tricks for you if you want them… All you have to do is ask.
Downstairs, I could hear the female half of the early guests gathering in the living room, and the familiar opening beat of Madonna's 'Like a Virgin'.
I sighed heavily, knowing I was helpless to stop the night's occurrences ahead, and let my sisters take me downstairs, where the party was waiting.
Renee, Elena, Amunet, Benita, and Patricia were waiting with my mother. Three pairs of maroon eyes, two pairs of gold, and one striking pair of blue eyes stared back at me expectantly as we made our way to the first level. I was passed through the crowd, my mother's friends and Beau's mom kissing and greeting me. For many of them, they'd only arrived this evening while I'd been with Beau, and it had been years since they'd seen me.
Such contentment in her eyes, Elena noted, Carine was right. This human boy has been very good for her.
Look at her smile, Patricia marveled, She was not as jubilant when Charles and I were here only eighteen months ago.
"Okay, ladies!" Eleanor called over their excited babble, and the music—the poppy, bouncing beats of Madonna had since shifted to the latina cadence of Pitbull's 'Fireball'. "We're gonna do gifts first, and then games!" she grinned salaciously at me, and I groaned when I saw the various plans they had for this evening in her mind.
She pushed me into the seat of honor and shoved the first gift bag into my hands. I opened package after package of lingerie—each varying in color, material and modesty.
As I went on opening, each piece only seemed to get worse and worse—comprised of less and less material. If I could have blushed, my cheeks would have been steaming.
At least the guests' cards that had come along with their gifts were kind and filled with words of encouragement and happiness for me and Beau.
When Eleanor handed me the last parcel—a joint gift from her and Jessamine—I glared suspiciously.
She nodded at the bag in my hands. Go ahead, open it.
Cautiously, I reached my hand into the bag in my lap. Along with the scantiest, laciest, blackest piece of lingerie yet, my sisters had felt it necessary to pack flavored condoms, titanium-grade fuzzy handcuffs, massage oils, edible underwear, and chocolate-flavored body paint.
When that humiliation was over with, the games were presented. They began innocently enough—a questionnaire featuring the answers Beau had written, wherein I was to answer in the way I thought he would have. I passed that one with flying colors.
But the games steadily grew less and diffident, and more mortifying. Not only did they make me cut the cake—which boasted the lovely message that 'the best was yet to cum'—and swallow a disgusting piece of it, but I was also forced to play the 'Cherry Game'. Obviously, this had been one part of the evening Eleanor had been looking forward to. As if forcing me to swallow a glob of the confectionary nightmare hadn't been enough for her, now she set one of the clear goblets in front of me, one of the cherries in the bottom. As I watched, she filled the entire cup with whipped cream.
Ready to pop your cherry? she baited.
When the games mercifully ended, I was relinquished from their entrapment to shed the gaudy sash and veil. I changed out of the dress quickly, into a comfortable pair of jeans, and then we headed down to the garage, where Eleanor's Jeep was waiting. At least this part of the evening was holding true to its promise.
Ignoring the off-roading harnesses, we leaped into the vehicle and El revved the mighty V8 to life. She took us down an old abandoned logging road as we chatted and giggled easily. Unfortunately, I could not escape Eleanor's teasing as we eventually abandoned the vehicle and took off into the trees on foot.
Eventually, she tired of her goading, and we ran in companionable silence. For the first time in a long time, I was able to tune out my sisters' thoughts, more or less, and focus on the silence of the forest around me. It had been some time since I'd been able to run—just run. It used to be one of my favorite things to do, one of my first positive experiences in my new life. But in recent times, over recent struggles, I had found it difficult to keep my usually crowded head silent.
But this summer, all of my anxieties had been put to rest. Victor was dead, the Volturi knew of Beau's coming change, and most importantly of all: Beau had chosen to spend forever with me. He'd proposed, we were engaged, and tomorrow, we would be husband and wife!
I felt weightless as I practically flew through the trees, winding along the moss-carpeted woodland floor. I didn't realize how hard I was pushing my legs until my sisters cried out from almost a mile behind me.
Are you trying to ditch us?
I forced my too-keen body to come to a stop, and waited for them to catch up to me.
"Sorry," I apologized when they came into view, "Lost myself for a minute there."
In daydream or nightmare? Jess wondered, sensing the anxiety thrumming beneath the surface, as it had been doing for weeks now. She'd long since become used to the constant-presence of it, but knew as well as I did that it had been increasing in the last couple of days.
And then, as I really stopped to think about it… Oh.
All that lingerie… All the innuendos and fanfare that had taken place at the party…
The fretfulness racketed to an all-new high, and my blonde sister noticed.
The conversation I'd shared with my mother days ago had not seemed to abate the unease. She had always had more confidence in me than I ever had; she'd always thought me more capable of success than I'd ever thought I was.
With only days left until the wedding, I'd gone to find her one evening after Beau had fallen into deeper unconsciousness…
"Take a walk with me?" I had requested when I found her in the upstairs hallway.
Certainly, she acquiesced immediately.
We headed out the door together and crossed the great lawn, in the direction of the Sol Duc. We paced along leisurely, the stars brilliant and uncharacteristically bright above us.
Archie says the weather on Saturday will be just perfect, she mused.
"Yes," I agreed, "He's almost regretting letting me do the ceremony indoors. He thinks a thick canopy beneath the trees would have been enough to shield us from the sun… But I didn't want to take any chances. He sure put up a protest, however…"
We chuckled softly together at my brother's overbearing manner—forever an inarguable part of him—and then lapsed once more into mutual contemplation.
When we reached the rushing stream, Carine turned thoughtful, patient eyes on me.
What's on your mind, daughter?
I sighed. "Isn't it obvious?" I wondered aloud. "The wedding's in a few days, and I… I'm anxious."
Not merely about tripping over your train, are you? she teased, smiling softly. However, when she saw how serious I was about this, her expression and thoughts immediately lapsed into perfect understanding and as much sympathy as she could garner. She pulled me into a tight embrace, and then leaned back and framed my face between her hands.
What has you worried, child?
"You must know I would come to ask you about the wedding night… Beau and I have decided that we're going to… Try to have a real honeymoon, a real wedding night, and though it's something we both want desperately, he seems to have more confidence that we'll be successful than I do, and I know he won't pressure me to continue if I refuse, but there are just so many conflicting sensations inside of me, and…"
"You're worried you'll hurt him," she said out loud, hoping her physical voice would help to ground me. I hadn't realized until then that my breaths had become strident, my affect sharply distressed.
I released a long breath, and finger-combed my hair out of my face. "Yes," I sighed, "Very much so."
"I can't deny the prospect of your love-making has the potential to pose a very real danger to him," she said thoughtfully, "But Beau and I share similar viewpoints about your nature, Edythe." She paused, regarding my face and seeing only goodness, and the power of redeemable forces, of love. "We have faith in you, Edythe—well-placed confidence. As we discussed a few months ago, regarding your ability to start the change in him, your love for him, your regard for his safety, will give you all the fortification you need."
"I know that will undoubtedly play a role in things," I acknowledged, "I'd be foolish not to see its evidence in past experiences, but…" I felt my brow crumple with consternation, "This is one thing neither of us have any prior experience with… What guidance will we have, what instruction? Though we've been very careful, I know how easily he tends to distract me, and I'm afraid, with my every sense filled with him, that I won't be able to concentrate… As overwhelmed with sensation that I will be, that I won't be able to control myself. And from what I know of lust, caution is often not a powerful enough force to quench its fires…"
"There is some truth to that sentiment—but if you're thinking what I believe you are, the love between you and Beau does not parallel the same simple desire and affection of human contrivances."
"Maybe that's so."
"Physical love has its own unprecedented strengths, and if Beau hadn't changed your essential makeup so completely already, I would be concerned at how your coupling would alter you… As it is, I don't think you'll have those concerns to ruminate over." She offered me a soft smile. "As for the mechanics of it, I think you'll have enough wherewithal to be aware of your sensitivity and control; it'll merely be a matter of resisting the urge to clutch or grab or push. Try to stay as relaxed and lenient as you can. You'll see," she said with a soft laugh, "That you won't be required to make as many efforts as you assume you will."
The joke that was so personal to her flashed too quickly and vaguely through her mind to catch hold of.
She squeezed my hand, her mood somber again. "Whichever way you choose to approach things, I have supreme confidence that you and Beau will find your own ways to change and develop your intimacy. I can understand why you might be anxious, but rest assured, my daughter, you have very little reason to be… I believe in you."
Now, in the thick underbrush of Mt. Rainier, Eleanor's thoughts cut through my contemplative reverie.
Poor little prudy Edy, so scared to lose her V card…
"I'm not scared," I snapped, an almost automatic reaction to her words—but how could I hold any flame of truth to those words? I was scared.
Jessamine could sense that, and regarded me with a serious expression. I can't tell if you're simply just nervous for the big day—as all of us were, or if there's more to the anxiety… It seems very deeply ingrained—not just surface level… You know we're here for you if you want to talk about something.
I sighed. Maybe it would do some good to confide in my sisters. As much as they'd joked and jibed, I knew at least Jessamine had the capability to take my concerns seriously. If El really tried, she could, too… Probably.
I went to sit on a nearby moss-covered tree trunk, wondering where to begin.
My sisters didn't move for a long moment, watching me struggle to form words. The distress was apparent on my face as I pulled my hair up into an elastic, and then curled my legs to my chest.
Eleanor seemed to notice my apprehension now. What's on your mind?
"It might help to talk about it," Jessamine urged as she came to sit beside me, curling a supportive arm around my shoulders. "Nothing's off-limits—I promise."
Of course, they suspected where my anxieties lay—how could they not? They knew I was looking forward to both the ceremony and the reception. They knew I had no reservations about the party. What else could I be worried about, except the wedding night?
Eleanor chortled to herself as she came to sit on the ground by my feet, stretching her legs out in front of her and crossing her ankles. "So, was this his idea or yours?"
"It was… Sort of both of ours," I admitted.
Eleanor snorted, unable to help herself. "How's that gonna work?"
"I don't know," I groaned, dropping my forehead to my knees, "That's what I'm so anxious about! I have no idea what to expect, and neither does he!"
"You mean…?" Eleanor's voice trailed off into shock. "Never…? For either of you?" There was genuine shock in her mind—and steadily gaining on that shock, severely ill-placed humor.
"I thought… I didn't think…" Jessamine trailed off, struggling to piece together the conflicting, scattered thoughts in her brain. Part of her simply couldn't fathom being that close to a human. The pictures she tried to form in her mind came up half-formed, every one of them invariably ending in my teeth piercing his windpipe.
A savage hiss ripped through my teeth before I could stop myself.
"Sorry," she said, her eyes wide. "I just… Don't understand."
"I… Won't speak for him, but for me… I fell in love with Beau as a human. I want to love him in every way possible as long as he remains in that form." I shrugged my shoulders helplessly.
"Even if…" It kills him? Jessamine couldn't finish the thought out loud.
"He said… He said he only wanted to try; that if I wanted to stop, at any time—then we'd stop and wait… If it became too much for me…"
Eleanor snorted. "Good luck with that!" In her mind, she pictured the inevitable course of numerous lovemaking sessions between her and Royal, and though I didn't want to picture them like that, I couldn't but find myself infuriatingly curious.
"See?" I seethed, "I have no idea why you think that!"
"Would it help?" Jessamine wondered, "If we tried to tell you what to expect?"
"We could totally share our experiences, if it'll do you any good," Eleanor added, for once not a hint of jest or suggestive innuendo in her thoughts.
I was astonished by such a selfless suggestion. For a moment, I could only stare between my sisters, deciphering nothing but openness and willingness in both their faces and minds.
"You would… You would do that?" I was finally able to breathe, nearly inaudible.
Jessamine squeezed me tightly. "Of course; you're our baby sister."
"We want you prepared, at least!" El interjected.
And so, with graciousness and a solemnity I had not expected, my sisters shared with me their most vulnerable, intimate moments. Each of their stories were very different in not only age and setting, but in the connection they'd shared with each particular man, the details during and after, and then, each of their further experiences with their now-husbands. But there was one major similarity across the board: Each of them described the experience as a very great pleasure, both physically and emotionally, which they both agreed had only ever been bested by the taste of human blood.
Despite the fact that each of their first experiences had taken place in their human lives, dimmed by the muddy perception of mortal eyesight, memory and sensation, it helped to know what to expect.
"Will my body… React in the same way?" I wondered, almost to myself.
"That old hymen myth is bullshit," Eleanor said flippantly, "I never remembered feeling a thing."
But Jessamine's experience had differed. "I don't think there'll be any risk of any sort of… Giving way of your anatomy," she murmured, "Beau's body is… Well, incompatible with yours, to say the least—weaker, by comparison, definitely. Even if we had been changed as virgins as you were, I have a difficult time believing you'll share the same experience as most pure brides."
I mulled that over for a moment, another question in my mind—but I struggled to find a way to voice it… However, they had been so personal, so uninhibited with me, that I knew they deserved my same willingness.
Jessamine sensed my hesitation at war with my burning curiosity. What is it?
"There's something else I've been wondering about…" I began tentatively. "What you said before, about… incompatibility…"
"I have no way of knowing, but don't you think that we might come across… Some trouble?"
Eleanor gave me a puzzled look, and Jessamine's thoughts, as well, were confused—though she controlled her patient expression better.
"… Fitting together?" I hinted. "I mean, my skin is so hard and cold… Don't you think…?"
"Ah," Jessamine murmured, realizing.
Oh! Eleanor thought, as if a light bulb had suddenly been turned on in her shadowed head. Then she chuckled. "You might be surprised," she said.
"I've heard of vampires coupling with humans," Jessamine said softly, "Though it's quite a rare occurrence, it does happen. Where do you think the term 'succubus' came from?" she asked with a wry smirk. "Again, I can't say for certain… But much of our biological processes remain preserved in our immortal bodies. From what I've learned from Carine, a lot of the venom-based fluids in our systems perform the same duties as blood or saliva or… Other fluids..."
She and El changed a quick, smirking glance, and I was met with an image—of whom, I didn't care to know—depicting that example of 'other bodily fluids'.
I cringed away from the picture.
"Sorry," El apologized, and I groaned. Of course, she'd just named the owner of… Said body part… in the instant of her apology.
"Okay, okay," I said, "I think I get it. You're saying my anatomy is smooth enough, and that there's enough… bodily fluid function… to make that sort of thing… Possible."
"Exactly," Jessamine said.
"Your shape doesn't change, no matter how long you've been immortal," Eleanor said, "And a man and woman's body have always been, y'know, made to go together."
"Got it. I think that's all the information I need." My voice was strained as I tried very hard to block out another example of the words surfacing in El's mind. "Please, can we go hunting now?"
That distracted her well enough, and she bounded gaily to her feet. "You bet!" she cried enthusiastically. "Let's go find us some grizzly bears!"
"Carine said the area's having another inundation of mountain lions again," Jess told me as El shot like a bullet into the trees.
"Just my poison," I said, grinning, and we turned in synchronization toward the place El had disappeared.
A/N: I hope I did that conversation justice, and answered some of your guys's questions about functionality and such. I think this gender-swap side of things required a little bit more explaining. With Edward and Bella, well—the details of their anatomy didn't really matter so much for obvious reasons.
From the research I did in the illustrated guide, this was the best conclusion I could come to that made sense. As we've mentioned before, in the original Twilight universe, the Denali women coupled with male humans often, and so we know it's possible… We just never knew the specific details of such a thing. Though a vampire's skin is hard, it is very smooth—giving the illusion of pliancy and softness, I feel. Along with bodily fluid functions preserved and facilitated by the venom in their systems, it seems to make sense to me. But if you have anymore questions, please let me know!
As always, please let me know what you thought of this first chapter! I would love to know! xo