Thank you to everyone who reviewed and voted for this story in the Commander in Chief Contest! Thanks also to the team who ran the contest, doing a fantastic job in inspiring us to write and meet their deadline. We nearly didn't make that date, and it's only now I've been able to incorporate sections I cut to make the word limit. There will be several chapters now, so I hope you enjoy!

Thank you so much to VampyreGirl86, Ipsita and SarcasticBimbo for all your help. We had to work like an army to pull this story together.

Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong solely to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 1

I woke up hard on the day of the inauguration. It was my wife's fault, bringing me to life caressing the tops of my thighs, and I pretended to be asleep until she took hold of my cock.

"Good morning," I greeted her, thinking she'd startle, but she wrapped a leg around me, scorching my thigh with the heat of her enthusiasm. "Horny are we?" I chuckled when I noted she'd already removed her underwear.

"A little," she purred in that husky, just-woken voice I loved, running her nose along my jaw. Bella was always sexy first thing, especially when her ambition was obvious. "I have some tension to relieve."

"Hmm, I can help you with that." I closed my eyes for a particularly hard squeeze and twist while she ground herself against me, and I reached for the buttons of her nightgown. It was one of several new items of sleepwear she'd purchased in preparation for our move, knowing people might enter our bedroom in the middle of the night. She referred to these soft nighties as "modest," but getting the buttons undone made what was underneath incredibly enticing. After two children and fifteen years of marriage, Bella was just as desirable as she was at seventeen.

Peeling back the fabric, I gazed at her breasts and watched her chest rise and fall in anticipation. Keeping myself in check, I withstood the exquisite sensation of her pumping me and traced her nipples, savoring the experience of making love in this opulent suite. The incoming First Family always stayed in the historic Blair House before the inauguration.

"Kiss me," she demanded, and I obeyed, taking a handful of breast for myself. Bella usually led me down a slow tease when we were truly alone, but what she needed now was fast and rough—a pre-dawn tension reliever.

Her hips rose off the bed when I slipped my fingers inside her, the slick heat almost irresistible to my ready-to-fuck cock. She watched her hand slide up my arm, lingering on the scar on my shoulder before our eyes met again.

As her fingers crept into my hair, she said, "I love you more than ever." Pulling me down for another kiss, she moaned as I spread her liquid silk and worked her inside and out. The speed and power of her orgasm surprised me, but she wasn't done with me yet, climbing on top and riding me with the nightgown falling off her shoulders, her tits bouncing in the palms of my hands.

It was a great way to start the day.

"Go and tell your mother they have fifteen minutes left," I said to my fourteen-year-old son who was still picking at the lavish breakfast they'd laid out for us. When he didn't react, I glared at him. "Liam?"

"I'm still eating, Dad." The challenges were coming more frequently lately, ever since he'd grown past the height of my shoulders.

"No, you're overindulging, son. Please do what you're told." Liam rolled his eyes and huffed, snatching another piece of bacon, and all I could do was sigh as I watched him walk out.

"He's a fine boy, Edward," Renee stated, placing a reassuring hand on my arm. "Cut him some slack while he goes through this monumental change."

"When has it ever been any different?" I was worried how both of our children would adjust. We'd asked a lot from them over the years, moving to new homes, new schools and cities, having to go without one of their parents.

"You know this one is very different."

I smiled at the incredible woman who had become like a mother to me. "Yeah, I know. What would we do without you?"

She picked up a napkin from the table and wiped at her eyes. "It's been a privilege, Edward."

Two enormous arms surrounded her from behind. "Come on, love. Pull yourself together." Major General Charles Swan, now retired, grinned at me over his wife's shoulder. I still felt the urge to salute, and would never get used to seeing him out of uniform. He wore it proudly with all his medals and ribbons at military funerals, on Veteran's Day, and for every Memorial Day Parade, but today he was a civilian—just a doting dad.

He was so proud of his daughter, the girl who caught my attention on her very first day at West Point.

Bella fell under my command when they assigned me as her company leader, known to the fresh recruits as their "red sash cadet." It was our job to take them through the stations required to complete Reception Day. We had to yell at them to keep moving and stop fidgeting while getting on and off buses, lining up to have their hair buzzed off, and collecting all their gear.

The first test came when they had to rush and transfer everything to their issued bag with several voices screaming at them to hurry up and not finish last. Bella was the first to stand, straight backed with eyes forward, ready for inspection. The platoon sergeant glanced at me sideways and winked.

They then completed a set of drills where they learned the art of saluting, how to stand a certain way on an exact spot, how to walk and turn on a corner. By the evening, they would be marching with the whole school to farewell their families.

Putting these new skills into practice, they each had to memorize a sentence, walk up to one of the red sashes and stand on a line marked with tape, heels together, feet at forty-five degrees, and then salute. If they got that right, they were expected to recite the sentence perfectly. It was a simple task, but many of them found it unnerving standing so close to an older cadet and had to retrain before making another attempt. While I had made it clear I was not their enemy, it was essential that each of them pass the test before we could move on, and it was not my mission to make it easy.

The first of the two females in my company almost passed, missing the end of the sentence and spitting out, "Damn."

"Are you cursing a superior?" I asked, straight-faced and stern.

Her eyes widened. "No."

"No, sir?"

Aware her anxiety was causing more errors, she sighed. "No, sir. Sir, I'm sorry."

"Sorry is not acceptable, new cadet," I said loud enough for everyone to hear. "Recover by coming back with a new attitude next time."

I put her out of my mind and looked at the next victim, the girl who was first to pack her bag earlier. Calling her forward, I issued the same command I'd used for the others she followed. "Stand on my line and salute."

She strode up confidently and stopped, lowering her gaze to her feet. When I checked, the toes of her shoes were sitting right on the line. Then she raised her arm in a salute I couldn't fault. Her eyes were on my chin when I asked her to look at me to recite the sentence, and she delivered it precisely, if a little softer than I would have liked. Really, I could have passed her immediately, but part of today was about rattling them, making them aware they were transitioning from civilians to military personnel.


After a couple of blinks, she responded, "Yes, sir," then repeated it word for word, loudly, clearly, without a hint of hesitation.

I made sure I conveyed I was pleased with my eyebrows rather than actually smiling. "Good work, new cadet."

During the afternoon, she never spoke and did exactly what was expected of her. The fact that I hadn't had to admonish her once drew my interest, expecting her to slip up somewhere. By the end of the session, I felt sure she had either come from the Junior Reserves or must have grown up in a military family.

I didn't see her again until I was starving one night and swung by the dining hall early to see what we were having. She was setting tables, along with other new cadets, and as I approached, she recited the evening's menu.

"How is Beast?" It was the term everyone used for the first six weeks of basic training.

She blew out a breath and replied, "One day at a time, right?"

"Don't let it overwhelm you. You'll enjoy Camp Buckner, and marching back into school as a real cadet is exhilarating."

"If I live that long, sir."

I had to laugh, because it only seemed like yesterday I was here, just like her, thinking I'd never survive it.

"If you don't mind me asking, did you come here from a military background?"

"Yes, sir." She never looked up, moving on to the next table.

"Junior Reserves?"

"No, sir."

"Your family, then."

"Yes, sir."

At least I had my answer. "You seem more at ease in this environment than most of the other new cadets."

"No, sir, I'm not."

If she was scared of me, I hoped it wasn't through some thoughtless thing I'd done. I was determined to graduate as someone who could lead without fear.

"You can speak to me, you know. It's not against the rules."

Adjusting the fan of forks on the table, she responded, "As long as you speak to me first."

"I'm supposed to help you if I can."

Finally, she looked at me. "I've been looking at the sports list, and I've never played most of them before. How serious are the intercollegiate games?"

She was going to die when she saw this place on Saturdays. "Fairly serious, but there are plenty of other sports. Have a look at athletics."

"I already did," she replied with a sigh. "What the heck is handball?"

"It's popular in Europe, played on a court like basketball, but with a smaller ball and soccer net. There's a lot of running, throwing, jumping and blocking."

"Oh." She seemed to brighten a little. "Well, I'll check it out. I was thinking I'd have to swim."

"My advice is to sign up for team sports. No one here is planning to graduate and go on to the Olympics. Sport at the Point is supposed to promote teamwork and be a fun way to keep fit."

"Is PT as bad as everyone keeps saying?"

"Yes." It wasn't right to mislead her. "It's brutal to start with, but it does get easier."

She groaned, not liking that answer. "Well, thank you." Extending her hand, she smiled. "I'm Bella, by the way."

"Swan," I corrected her, pointing to the name on my jacket. "Cullen."

A few weeks later, I was hurrying back to barracks close to curfew, after a weekend pass got me laid, and I was feeling quite satisfied with myself when I noticed Swan hauling two enormous bags of trash into a dumpster.

"I see you're still alive, Swan."

"Yes, sir." She dropped the lid and smiled. "Did you enjoy your weekend?"

I thought about my answer, knowing it would be a long time before she got her first leave pass.

"Yeah, it was okay." I kept walking, wondering if her question meant she'd noticed I hadn't been here. I turned around and caught her still standing there, watching me, and after we waved goodbye to each other, I entered the barracks with a stupid grin on my face and an extra spring in my step.

The following night, she was in the dining hall again on table duty, and I realized I had no reason being in there early other than hoping I might catch her without a thousand people around. It was a little unsettling when it was forbidden for older cadets to date plebes, but no other female here had ever attracted me before.

She was definitely not scared of me now. The smile radiated over her face when she saw me.

"One week to go until camp?" I still knew nothing about her, but in an environment with everything in common, it wasn't hard to come up with small talk.

"Yes, sir."

When she kept setting out glasses quietly, I wondered if she was wary of my intentions, just as I was beginning to examine them myself.

"Do you have more questions for me?"

She glanced around, looking satisfied she'd completed her task. "I do, actually." As I waited for the question, I watched her eyes taking a tour of my face, her lips registering a tiny smile. "What's your major, sir?"

I smiled back, encouraging any kind of conversation. "Defense and Strategic Studies."

She nodded. "And have you already chosen your specialty?"

"Uh … you're getting a little ahead of yourself there. You have years to contemplate your branch."

"You asked if I had more questions," she reminded me and frowned.

I'd come across as rude, the last thing I'd intended, but I'd backed myself into a corner declaring that sorry was unacceptable, and now people were coming in. I hated the thought of walking away, having ruined the tiny gains we'd made.

"Yes, I did, Swan, and I'm going into Military Intelligence." I hoped she'd stay long enough to forgive me or at least continue to talk, but her eyes flitted around the hungry cadets entering the hall as if she was nervous about openly fraternizing.

"Are we … allowed to eat together, sir?"

Oh, hell, she was brave enough to ask the question forming in my head—one I couldn't answer. I had two options: sit down with her and hope there were no consequences, or do what I was supposed to do—ask a superior and follow orders.

"Get your food and I'll be right back with the answer," I replied, seeing my platoon sergeant enter the hall.

"Cullen." He greeted my salute and my mouth dried up. "Can I help you?"

"I hope so, sir. I was just speaking with one of the plebes about her academic options, and she asked if we can continue the conversation over a meal."

He turned his head slightly and looked me up and down. "In the mess?"

"Yes, sir," I answered, trying not to sound hopeful. "I honestly didn't know the answer, so I came to you."

"You didn't pre-plan this?"

"No, sir. She just asked only a minute ago."

"May I inquire which one of the plebes you are having dinner with?"

Was that a yes? "Swan, sir. Bella Swan."

He snorted. "Isabella Swan. Very well, but I'm warning you, Cullen. You may talk but not touch, understand?"

"Yes, sir. Understood, sir."

I had to stop myself from skipping over to where she was waiting to be served. "Apparently, it's a yes if we're just talking. We're only banned from dating."

"We could have a very nice date here."

The statement took me by surprise. "With all these people around?"

"If this was a real date, I wouldn't notice anyone else."

Suddenly, all I saw were thick black lashes and warm brown eyes. When she turned them away to accept her meal, I grabbed whatever was available quickly, leading her to two seats facing each other at the end of a table, trying to ignore the seniors behind her waving at me and elbowing each other. It was the first time I'd shared a meal on my own with a female in here.

As soon as she swallowed a mouthful, she picked up the conversation again. "I want to be a doctor, but they give out so few scholarships. Even if I got one, it's a year of service for every year of study. I'll be ancient by the time I get out."

I jumped on us having something else in common. "My father's a doctor."

"A military doctor?" she piped up, her raised eyebrows showing her curiosity.

"No, he's at Bellevue in New York. He practically lives there."

"So, you're from New York?"

I nodded. "Brooklyn, and you?"

"Originally? Seattle."

"Have you moved around a lot?"

"Yep." She sighed as if there were many.

"Is that hard?" I asked, wondering about my own future.

"It's hard to make friends, you know, the kind you have for a lifetime."

I saw it differently, but had yet to test the theory. "I think the friendships you make in the military are stronger. The shared experiences are more intense."

She looked at me, as if she was being careful with her response. "That could be true, but coming home, especially after deployment, is about switching off for a while, and a soldier can't expect the family to understand those kinds of experiences when they only occur within military life. We may inhabit part of that world, but we're essentially civilian."

Her perspective was humbling because I'd never really thought deeply about the loved ones we'll leave behind. I could probably learn a lot from this girl.

"I still want to join a medical team," she said. "But I'm not sure how I'm going to do that now."

"Then take the battery aptitude test as soon as you can. If you're suited to the work, you're more likely to excel and enjoy the job. Talk to your tutors about subjects."

Her eyes softened, as if she appreciated the help. "Well, thank you for the advice, and now I must go back and study."

"You're welcome," I responded, knowing I still had hours ahead of me.

We parted the evening as friends, but I already knew I would have pursued her had she not been so young. Disobeying a direct order could get us dismissed and destroy both our careers, so friends we'd stay, even though she'd given me an inkling there was the possibility of something more.

Thanks for reading xo