Disclaimer: Wow... the last one.. Has anything changed since the last time I posted a chapter? Nope... so let's just forego the disclaimer, ok, guys? Anyway.. here it is! I hope you all love it and think it is worth the extra long time it took to finally wrap it up.
Without further ado... here it is. The final chapter!
The flight had been fairly smooth if you didn't count the layover and connecting flight that we all just barely made in time. Even though I had slept for most of the long journey, my dreams had been plagued with irrational fears and nightmares.
The worst had been the one about the flaming hamburger that chased Charlie around the house, trying to kill him. At long last, we had reached our destination. The cabin finally depressurized and my ears popped, painfully, as we taxied up the runway and connected to the terminal.
As the plane came to a stop, I jumped up, relieving the restless leg syndrome that had set in somewhere over the last few hours. But it was all worth it. The crisp cold air hit my senses all at once as the door of the plane opened, allowing the passengers to leave.
"Bella, Tervetuloa jotta Suomi!" I smiled as Edward spoke their native language. Then in English. "Bella, Welcome to Finland!"
I grabbed my carry on from the overhead compartment and waited for Rose, Emmett, Jasper and Alice to find theirs and make their way off the plane, first. Once they moved, Edward took my luggage from me and carried it along with his own duffel. Carlisle and Esme brought up the rear.
The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport was immense and quite beautiful. The decor leaned toward post-modern with tons of windows and a lot of white tables and chairs. Car rental companies were already busy, catering mostly to locals and the few tourists who had just flown in. Various gift shops loomed from every corner, but the focal point of the airport was the many sets of escalators, branching out from the center and criss crossing each other.
I didn't know how many floors there were at this airport or where the baggage claim area happened to be. Although I had heard that people in Finland also spoke English, it was apparent that they preferred only to speak it when absolutely necessary. And so, all of the directional signs were printed in Finnish. The wording was either too advanced or too slang for me to understand.
I had been teaching myself the Finnish language for the past eight months, hoping that one day I would have a reason to use what I'd learned. I'd studied from books, audio tapes, and internet C.D.' s, and wasn't very confident in my ability to hold a conversation, just yet. In my defense, I never thought I would actually be standing here so soon. It was a dream come true, but also a little daunting.
I pulled the sacred concert tickets out of my pocket, glanced briefly at them in amazement once again, and patted them lovingly before pushing them back safely down to their hiding place. When I looked up again, I realized there were still several stories above us. I almost fell over, trying to see all the way to the top.
"Wow. I can't believe I am actually here! In Helsinki!" I breathed, hanging onto Edward for support.
"If you're this excited already, I can't wait to see your face tomorrow when we go backstage." He smiled his famous, dazzling crooked smile.
Backstage! My mind was reeling! I couldn't believe the lengths Edward had gone to, already.
"Ummm. I hate to get technical on you, but we aren't in Helsinki, yet. This is still the town of Vantaa. It was the closest airport, though. We are about twenty miles outside of Helsinki right now." Emmett told me.
"We will hire a taxi after we get our luggage. It's only a half hour ride to the center of Helsinki. Now to find our luggage...We should probably just ask someone." Carlisle interjected, while looking around. He spoke fluent Finnish along with about thirty other languages. I remembered being shocked to hear him conversing in Finnish with the pilot of Finn-Air before our flight.
"Oh, let me. I've been dying to try out my Finnish." I said as I bounded up to what I hoped was an information desk. The blond put down her pad and pencil and regarded me for a minute before muttering "Hyvaa paivaa!"
I knew it to mean 'Hello' or more literally 'Good day'. It was the standard formal greeting and I beamed at hearing the words pronounced exactly as they had been on the audio tapes back at home. It was encouraging to know that I hadn't just wasted eight months on improper pronunciation.
I repeated the greeting to her but decided not to follow it up with the Finnish phrases for "My name is Bella and I am from America", as the books and tapes would've had me do next. It was obvious from the looks of our motley crew that we weren't locals. Instead, I tried my hand at the practical question that was burning on my mind. '"Miisa matkalautkut ovat?" Where are the suitcases? So far, so good.
The blond's face lit up and a string of incomprehensible sounds rushed from her mouth in a flurry. She was motioning and speaking at such a fast pace that I couldn't keep up with my limited knowledge of the language. My mouth dropped and I saw Carlisle supress a smile.
I held up a hand and stopped her, my face growing pink. "I'm sorry. I only know a little bit. I'm still learning."
The girl tried to hide her disappointment, but I saw it, all the same. "Oh. No problem. Just take the escalator down a couple floors and you'll see the baggage area on your right."
I nodded and thanked her in her prefered language. "Kiitos paljan."
"You're welcome." she responded, her eyes dead, having given up hope of any further conversation in Finnish.
After reclaiming all of our luggage and making my phone calls to Charlie and Jacob, Carlisle secured a taxi, rather effortlessly, and we were on our way. The waking city of Helsinki came into view a little less than a half hour later. How strange! Jetlag hadn't set in even though I realized that if I were back home, I would be getting ready for bed right now.. Since it was the dead of winter, it would remain cold and slightly overcast during our stay. It was one of the reasons the destination worked so well for all of us.
I tried to look everywhere and take in as much detail as I could along the way. It was sensory overload. The beauty of the snow covered cathedrals took my breath away. "Wow." I muttered an understatement. The realization that I was halfway across the world was finally sinking in.
"This city was originally just a small fishing town. It wasn't until about eighteen twelve that it was modernized under Russian rule." Carlisle explained. He was way better than any tour guide I could've hoped for. Whether he spoke from life experiences or from what he had learned in books, I couldn't tell, but he seemed to have a story to tell about everything.
He pointed out the Kiasma Museum and the American Embassy as we drove past and promised we could visit each, if we wanted, at some point during the trip. Finally the taxi came to a halt in front of our hotel. Hotel KДmp was the only five star hotel in the city. That made it the best accomodations, which was the reason the Cullen's had chosen it.
"Reservations for Cullen. Four rooms." Carlisle calmly stated, as we all sauntered up to the front check-in desk, together. The attendant gave him a half frown and nervously typed away at his computer while scrutinizing everyone. I was sure in his mind, the scandal was almost too much to bear. He must've had his doubts about what kind of operation Carlisle was running, because he seemed reuctant to give each of the underage couples rooms together. Carlisle had to explain that we were all siblings and he and Esme were our parents in order to pacify him.
Once everything checked out and Carlisle had presented his platinum credit cards and passport to verify his identification, we were finally, grudgingly, presented with our room keys and a map of the surrounding area. Carlisle's generous tip to both the front desk attendant and the bellhop quickly eased any remaining doubt in their minds. After all, money was the universal language in this country as well.
As our luggage was loaded onto several dolly's and brought to our rooms, Edward came up from behind and wrapped his arms around me. He pulled me back against him and nuzzled into my neck and ear. The feel of his arms around my waist and his cool breath tickling my ear started to work me into a frenzy.
"You'd better be careful, there,... brother.. We wouldn't want people to get the right idea." I giggled.
The sound apparently turned him on, because his body instantly responded to me in drastic ways that made me blush profusely. "Ya know - it's too bad you're my sister. There were so many things I wanted to do during our stay."
Touche! "Oh yeah...? Like what?" I purred, turning to face Edward while I ran my hands through his luscious, perfectly messy, hair.
"An infinite spectrum of possibilities.." In response, his hands immediately found my hips and his smile became more pronounced.
"Ugh! Would you two get a room, already?" Jasper asked, pouting as Alice grinned up a storm.
"We're working on it." Edward smiled at Jasper and pointed to the bellhop who walked past, pushing our luggage to the elevator.
"Wow! And what's up with you, little Missy?" Jasper asked Alice, clearly confused. "Your emotions are a strange mixture. I'm sensing conspiracy, exhileration, guilt, and a hilarious secret. So...why exactly are you ready to bust, Alice!"
"No reason. It's just...Well, I checked before coming here to make sure they have internet connections in all the rooms."
Jasper was dumbfounded. "You're excited about the internet!" he asked, waiting for the rest of the explaination.
"Yes. That means we can look up any info we might need." she replied shyly, waiting to see if it would register with him.
"And, uh... just what kind of info might we need, Alice?" Edward smirked and joined in the game. He was the only one besides Alice who already knew what was in the works.
"Oh. You know. Just the usual things. Keeping up on the news, local weather, how things are back home, learning the occasional music video or two "
She said the last part so quickly I wasn't sure I had heard her right at first.
"Music vid - Oh no! You DIDN'T!" Jasper almost shouted as he rocked backward. His look of disbelief and then absolute fear confirmed my suspicions.
"Well, it wasn't fair the way we ganged up on you last time. I figured you deserved a chance to redeem yourself. A rematch, if you will. So I brought the twister game along." Her eyes glistened and she lifted her chin, assertively.
Jasper and Emmett both groaned at the probability of their impending doom, once again.
Fifteen minutes later, after all of the luggage was delivered, we each inspected our luxurious suites. Our four rooms were all in a row. It was very convenient in some regards, but it would make anonymity and discretion fairly impossible. I guess the front desk manager hadn't thought it would be an issue since we were all "family".
"Don't worry about the proximity." Edward said, after correctly interpreting my bleak expression. "Rose and Emmett are loud enough to offer enough cover for the rest of us."
The remainder of the day flew by. We walked through the Center of Helsinki, shopping and eating along the way and marveling at the many differences and similarities in our cultures.
Before I knew it, Edward and I said our goodnights and headed back to our room for the night. Rose and Emmett had already excused themselves over an hour ago and I could only imagine what was going on in their room by now, since they didn't actually need to sleep.
The thought of being alone with Edward in a hotel room for nearly two weeks sent goosebumps all down my body. I knew his resolve was strong, but I wondered if I could finally convince him that we were ready to take our relationship to the next level.
Adrenaline coursed through my veins, briefly countering the fatigue that threatened to consume me. If only I didn't need to sleep.
My eyelids drooped and by the time we had walked the short distance back to the hotel, I was thoroughly exhausted. Damn! The combination of jetlag, a full stomach, and cold, fresh, air was finally catching up to me at the most inopportune time.
Sure enough, the noise coming from Rose and Emmett's room was obscene. Edward rubbed his temples and made a face, while doing his best to shut out the images and voices in his head. I excused myself and brushed my teeth and hair and dressed for bed in the bathroom. Alice had packed for me, and instead of my usual beloved practical sweats, all of my comfortable sleepwear had been traded out for satin and lace negligees, chemises and matching panties. I finally opted for a cream colored set with an intricate floral embroidery.
As soon as I opened the door and stepped out, Edward's jaw dropped. I was touched to see that he had brought his red flannel pajamas along and had changed into them while I was in the bathroom. His subtle clothing drastically clashed with my provocative nightwear.
Edward's eyes scoured my body, very pleased with what he saw. "I don't have to ask what kind of mood you're in tonight do I?" he asked in a thick, throaty voice.
I patted the bed next to me as I sat down, motioning for him to come closer. After debating for less than two seconds, Edward crossed the room and pulled me into his arms, throwing caution to the wind. His kisses started slow and gentle, but gradually grew in intensity as he laid me down onto the bed and pressed his body on top of mine. I was so consumed with him I could barely breathe. Not that I minded one bit.
The pleasure he incited in me was incomparable to any other thrill in the world. Edward slowly lowered the strap at my right shoulder and kissed me along my collarbone, taking his sweet time with me. When the other strap came down, I gasped in surprise and pulled Edward to me, desperately.
"Edward... Make love to me." I pleaded. My eyes closed as his lips brushed over my bare shoulders and neck. The reprieve of closing my eyes betrayed me, and when my eyes didn't open again, automatically, Edward correctly guessed the obvious.
"I will...but not tonight." Suddenly, he stopped kissing me and sighed as he moved to a more innocent spot, alongside me. He slowly lifted the straps of my chemise back into place, much to my dismay.
It took all of my will to force my eyes back open. "Why did you stop? And don't give me that chivalry crap, again. I can only go so long before I'm going to explode. The aching is awful and I have no way of easing it. And every time I'm around you it gets worse. I know you're afraid you'll ruin my reputation or something, but I don't care what anyone thinks about me except you. And you are torturing me by making me wait like this. Just answer me honestly. Do you want me?"
"I want you more than you can possibly imagine. And I know we're supposed to hold out until we're married, but maybe, given our situation, it's ok to be a little unconventional. I think we both knew we wouldn't make it that long. I only stopped, tonight because you're exhausted. I'm sorry. Sometimes I lose track of your human necessities. It's wrong of me to be so caught up in the moment that I'm neglecting your needs."
My needs? Oh, how I loved the way that sounded. I wanted him to satisfy my physical needs at that exact moment. I started to complain that I wasn't too tired for him after all, but Edward cut through all my fussing. "I promise you that we will have our time , when it's right. Tonight your sleep is more important. Besides, you'll want to be fully rested when we get to that level."
He slid in next to me and pulled the covers up over us as he turned me slightly and started to rub my back. He had already made up his mind and no amount of arguing on my part was going to get us back to where we were a minute ago. It was over for tonight.
It wasn't long before I couldn't fight the peaceful sensation coming over me, and after a few minutes I didn't want to, anymore. I hadn't realized just how tired I really was until then.
"That feels nice." I murmured, drowsily as Edward's hands floated over my back. The long soft strokes were reminders from our day at the spa. Ah, that wonderful day...
"I respect you and I love you with all my heart, Bella."
"Mmmm... you ...too..." I barely got the words out. The last conscious thought before I faded, was about vaguely hearing a soft lullaby being hummed over the moaning from the room next door.
"Is she catatonic or something?" someone whispered.
"I don't think so but I don't know. Is it supposed to take that long to snap out of jetlag?" came the soft response.
"Now how would I know that?" An angrier voice. It sounded a little like Rosalie.
"Let's poke her with a stick and see what happens." That was definitely Emmett's voice.
"If anyone pokes me with anything, they're not going to like what happens to them!" I spat my idle threat, and tried closing my eyes even tighter, willing them all away.
I reluctantly cracked opened one eye and noticed Alice, Jasper, Rose and Emmett still there. They stared at me sideways, like they'd never seen a human sleeping before. Emmett actually smiled and waved at me. " Ugh! Why are you guys all in my room? Where's Edward?" I grumbled.
"Out getting something for you to eat... in case you ever woke up again. And he's probably getting everything ready for your ultra romantic surprise after the concert, too."
"Rose! Why did you say that? You know Edward wanted to surprise her with it." Alice shrieked, reprimanding her.
"Well, then HE should've been here instead of telling all of US to keep an eye on her. It's his own fault, really. Besides, I didn't give away his big secret. She still doesn't even know where she's going." Rose puffed out her chest in defiance and stared at Alice with a very bitchy expression on her otherwise perfectly beautiful face.
"Um, guys? I'm right here. I can hear you, ya know. So. Edward's taking me somewhere after the concert, huh? Come on! You can't leave it like that. You might as well tell me the rest of it, now. You've already ruined his surprise."
"Oh, crap. Don't say that!" Alice looked horror stricken as she turned and stared down Rosalie. "Damn you, Rose! You're going to get Edward all pissed off and I'm not in the mood to deal with him being grumpy on vacation. If this hits the fan, you're going down alone."
"So...Why don't you guys just tell me what it is and I promise to act surprised when Edward finally reveals the secret." I was so bad. I'd never been one to let myself be surprised if I could help it.
One year for Christmas, when I was seven years old, I had gone as far as opening all my presents the night before and rewrapping them again by Christmas morning. Of course, the bad wrapping job had been a big tip off for Charlie.
"No. There's no way you'd be able to contain the excitement and act nonchalant if you knew what it was." Jasper said, looking very serious.
"And if you started screaming and spazzing out, then Edward would know that you knew. And he'd know HOW you knew. Then he'd come looking for us to kick our asses and we'd ALL know that HE knew that WE knew. Anyway - we'd be 'up the river'." Emmett finished, drawing blank looks from everyone in the room.
"The phrase is 'up a creek"... but, yeah." Jasper nodded, solemnly.
"There's no way in hell we're telling you. None of us wants to incur Edward's wrath right now. And this way, you can REALLY be surprised when he takes you there. Wont that be more fun?"
"Hmmph." I grumbled.
"Besides, nevermind about all that! Right now you should be focused on getting ready for the concert." Alice stated.
"There's still plenty of time for that. The concert doesn't even start until five o'clock, right?"
"Yeah..." Alice and Jasper both looked at me expectantly.
"And it's only..." I turned my watch around on my wrist and read the time. "...only two o'clock now. Wait! That can't be right. I must not have changed the time when we got here. Someone - give me the correct time!" I tapped the glass face, wondering if the battery had died.
"Um.. no. That time is correct. You've been out cold for almost fifteen hours." Jasper said.
"WHAT! Why didn't anyone wake me?" I shouted, instantly awake and panicked.
"Hey, I wanted to. They..." Emmett gestured, pointing furiously at his siblings "... told me it was mean to tickle you or poke you with a stick or put your hand in a glass of warm water..."
Jasper gave him a disgusted look and turned back to me. "Anyway..Edward said you were really out of it and needed the rest... so we just let you sleep it off."
"Ahhh! Sleep it off! What if I'd slept through the concert!" I jumped out of bed, not caring what I looked like and rushed to the bathroom slamming the door behind me."You guys can all go, now. I need to get ready and quick!"
"Fine with me." Rose said to Emmett. "Well, our job here is done. Little Miss Sunshine is awake and fine. Let's go back to our room, now..." Rose's syrupy sweet tone could only mean one thing. She turned dramatically and stomped out of the room.
"Wait. I'm right behind you." I heard Emmett giggle as he ran out of my room after Rose. Good riddance. I pulled on a tight pair of jeans and my favorite black Rasmus shirt and started applying my makeup.
"Bella. Do you need any help in there?" Came a faint voice.
"No, Alice. Thanks. I'm fine." I rolled my eyes. The last thing I needed was an Alice makeover right now. Her 'pretty preppy princess' style would not do for this concert. I needed an edgier look to fit in with the likes of this crowd.
I applied a thick line of black eyeliner on my eyelids and smiled as I looked at my reflection.
"Please, Bella. Can I come in?" She wailed outside of the door like a cat whose tail was being stepped on, repeatedly.
When she didn't go away, I finally opened the door and let her in. I couldn't afford a migraine before the concert.
"Oh!" her hand flew to her mouth once she stepped inside the bathroom and noticed my dark transformation. Her wide eyes stared at me as if she were afraid.
"It's still just me underneath all this makeup, Alice." I laughed. "This is pretty much the norm at any Rasmus concert." I said as I applied my black nail polish, carefully.
Alice watched me in work in silence, her face solemn. "Bella. I need your help." She said very sweetly and softly. "I like the group and their music and I'm glad Jasper and I will be going to the concert with you guys, it's just...Well...This style is so new to me...I don't think I could..." She looked at me with a lost expression as she tugged at her pink shirt and held out her matching mauve purse with a lower case 'a' on it.
"Alice Cullen! Are you asking me to give you a makeover?" I asked, stunned beyond belief.
"I can't even remember the last time someone worked on me. Do you think you can make me into a goth princess like you?"
I wasn't necessarily going for 'goth princess' as she called it, but I smiled and motioned for Alice to sit down as I walked toward her with the thick black eye liner and mascara. This would be fun for a change. I rubbed my hands together, and laughed a maniacal laugh as I approached Alice.
"There! My work is almost done... It just needs ..." I looked around for the black crow feathers I had purchased at one of the local vendors during my walk with Edward, yesterday. "Aha!" I exclaimed, attaching the feathers to her hair with bobby pins at various angles.
Alice shrieked as she looked into the mirror. "Oh.My.God. Look at me!"
"Bella. How's it coming along in there?" Edward's velvety smooth voice called to me. He was back!
I flung the bathroom door opened, and found Edward already dressed in jeans and a dark 'Rasmus' shirt, with a picture of their latest C.D. on the front. His hair was wind-blown and sexy as hell. A similar looking Jasper, stood next to him. Jasper wore black jeans with a studded belt and a black 'HIM' t-shirt. Very appropriate since both bands worked closely together under the same manager. I was impressed.
Both Jasper and Edward had paid attention to one small, important, detail. They each had painted the nail on their ring finger jet black like the lead singer. I was so proud that they had noticed and were dedicated enough to do that.
"You both look sexy as hell! This is going to be so much fun! " I couldn't contain my excitement as I ran to Edward and hugged him tightly.
Jasper's jaw dropped and he stared, shell shocked, at Alice who had been hiding behind me. She lost her cover when I ran to Edward. "Holy shit, Alice."
"I know ... it's a different look than you're used to seeing on me. Bella helped me so I wouldn't be embarrassed at the concert... What...what do you think?" Alice's already beautiful and pale features had taken on an even more exotic look. Her eyes almost looked Egyptian, courtesy of some creative contouring with the eye liner and dark shadow.
"It's so hot!" Jasper whispered with an intense, lustful look on his face.
"Wow. Why don't you two get a room?" Edward laughed, tongue in cheek.
Jasper raised one eyebrow, smiled at the irony, and asked Edward "That's a good idea. Do we have time?" He nudged Alice, causing a small laugh to escape from her throat.
"No! Not if we're going to make it to the backstage meet and greet before the concert." I answered for Edward. I grabbed my purse and walked to the door, taking charge. "Come on. There's no way I want to miss that part!"
A little more than two hours later, we waited in the front row for the show to start. I was still tongue tied. I had tried to maintain my composure during the backstage meeting, but in all actuality, I couldn't remember if I had made much sense. I probably just ended up looking like every other crazed fan who had ever gone in there before me. At least Alice's feathers were a big hit and the guys had been impressed that I knew how to properly pronounce all of their first and last names and even say a little in Finnish to them.
I smiled and pulled my newly autographed pictures and C.D. out of my bag and re-read the inscription on each one again, hugging them when I finished. Surreal didn't even begin to describe it. Rose and Emmett had no real interest in my music and hadn't come to the concert with the rest of us. I wondered if they were having anywhere near as much fun as we were.
The show started ten minutes later, with some opening band that I'd never heard of before. They were a little too screechy for my taste, but I waited, patiently, biding my time. After their seventh song, the crowd became restless and began chanting "Rasmus", which infuriated the band, causing them to throw down their microphones and equipment and promptly walk off the stage while giving everyone the finger.
An eruption of clapping and cheers continued and eventually the chants of "Rasmus! Rasmus!" got louder. The crowd was undeterred.
Finally the lights dimmed briefly and surged once, shining on the new backdrop on stage. The enormous butterfly symbol that was illuminated was the same as the one on Edward's shirt. It was the cover of the latest C.D. and was scaled to perfection.
The crowd went frantic. People screamed and cried. When the band finally took stage, several girls fainted and had to be carried out by security.
As the music and beat became fast and more pronounced, Edward leaned over and yelled loud enough for me to make out what he was saying over the bass. "So...Why don't you show me some of the dance moves Jacob was teaching you?"
"What! Here! Right now? There's not really enough room and I'm not very good at it. Besides, the steps are complicated and will take a lot of practice to get down." I admitted.
"I figured. Leave it to Jacob to make things more difficult and complicated than they need to be." Edward said in a rather smug voice.
"What do you mean by that?" I asked innocently while hopping up and down to the music. Jasper and Alice already had their arms around each other and were lost to the rest of the world. They kissed occasionally, and danced much slower than made sense for the beat of the music. I envied them.
"Come closer, Bella. I'll show you a kind of dancing that you'll like better. The moves flow nicely and are easy to get th hang of. No memorizing needed." Edward promised as he pulled me to him, from behind. His hands snaked around my waist, then lowered to my hips as he rocked his body with mine in a single rhythym. I gasped at the very sexual nature and how effortless he made it.
Natural instinct kicked in and my body responded in a primal way. The music slightly faded into the background as I became completely in tune to the feel of Edward's hips grinding into mine and his breath on the back of my neck. I would've never danced like this with anyone except Edward. My heart fluttered erratically as his hands flew over my body, seductively bending and twisting me so that I moved simultaneously with him.
The concert lasted for two hours and was adrenaline filled, high-octane good! It ended with one of their older songs and a dedication.
"We wanted to give a shout out to a few of our new friends from the United States and play this one since she mentioned that it's her favorite. Some of you newer fans might not recognize this one because it's not from our 'Hide from the Sun' C.D. It's actually an oldie, but a goody, so I hope you like it. This song's called 'One and Only' ! Sing along if you know the words." Then to me he said "Bella, Se arka kokous te ja sinun ystДvyys! Se on sinun aika! Ajaa kaikki mikД johtua jotta sinun huolehtia, tДnД iltana! Nyt kuluva ainoa on ajaksi te!"
I blushed, waved at the guys and smiled. "So, what did he say?" Edward asked me, in a slightly edgy, jealous voice.
"You mean you don't know?" I gasped.
"Carlisle knows the language, not me. I never bothered to learn it. Oh, Don't look so surprised. Just because I've been around for a hundred odd years doesn't mean I've learned everything that there was to learn in that time."
"Wow...I guess I finally found something I'm better at." I smirked.
Edward pressed his body tightly to mine, his teeth barely touching my neck, teasing. His tongue danced along my neck and my earlobe, intoxicating me. "I know something I'm pretty good at...So...Do you want to tell me or not?" he whispered, dazzling me like only he could.
"He said 'It was nice meeting you and your friends. It's your time. Do whatever comes to your mind tonight! This one's for you." I breathed heavily, and closed my eyes as I leaned into Edward's hard body.
"Well...I guess you're still better at persuasion techniques than I am." I pouted.
He grinned and chuckled softly. "No. I'm not. You've done that same thing to me so many times it's not even funny. I've just had more practice with fighting my urges when you do it."
As the final song started up, we both sang along, loudly, to make up for anyone around us who didn't know it. The moment couldn't have been more perfect. I was exactly where I wanted to be, with Edward, listening to my favorite group sing my favorite song.
"Have I been away too long? Did I miss all the action?
What happened to the neighbors and the girl next door?
Did you get my greetings? What happened to the graffiti?
And what about this crap on the walls?
Did I forget about someone? No offence but I had to.
I didn't have respect for the violence.
And what about this music? Did I forget about something else when I left in silence?
Don't let the shadows reach me [don't let the shadows reach me
Don't let the shadows swallow the light while I'm sleeping.
Whatever comes to your mind just hit me.
It's my time! My time! The one and only lonely [ahahahahaha
It's my time! My time! The one and only lonely
Did I win the first prize? Have I crossed enemy lines?
Got stabbed in the back but I don't know why.
Like walking on the eggshells. Stepping over landmines.
Waiting for the bombing from the open sky.
Did you forget about something? Did you forget about you and me?
And what about this envy around me?
Did I do something wrong? Have I been away too long in the middle of these changes?
Don't let the shadows reach me [don't let the shadows reach me
Don't let the shadows swallow the light while I'm sleeping Whatever comes to your mind just hit me
Whatever comes to your mind tonight."
We dropped Jasper and Alice off at the hotel after the concert.
"They're not going with us..." I stated the obvious, using logic to deduce that our next destination must be much more private.
"No. Not to this place. This is something special just for us." Edward confirmed. "Besides, I don't think Alice is too sorry. She's seen it before up in Canada... and Jasper's been dying to get her alone ever since he first saw her in your room. So now she's off to help him prepare for a game of Twister."
"How can you really prepare for Twister? I mean, each game is different, so you never know where you're going to land. And, besides, I kinda got the impression he doesn't really like that game...?" I said, then noticed Edward's 'you've-got-to-be-kidding-me' expression.
"Please don't make me explain it." he groaned, mortified at the prospect of having to spell it out for me.
"Oh.." I said, my face turning red for the millionth time.
"It's a clear night. That's definitely a good sign that we'll be able to see it." Edward talked to me as if I knew what was going on.
"If you think we're going to see animals this late at night, you might be disappointed. It's already late and too dark for my eyes to see anything." I said, intuitively guessing that we were on our way to view some native wildlife. It fit with the clues he had given me and explained how Alice might have 'seen it in Canada'.
Edward's lips turned upward into a smile, though I had no idea what I had said that was funny. He stayed silent and continued to look around for something as he drove.
"What are we trying to find? Maybe I could help you with it, if you told me what to look for." I offered, looking for landmarks or anything out of the ordinary.
"I'll know when we get there." Edward replied, still concentrating on the road ahead.
"Aha! This is it!" Came the triumphant burst as he pulled off the side of the road near a lush tree line.
"It is? What's this? There's nothing here except some trees. That wasn't even a parking space. I don't think we're supposed to stop here. We'll probably get in trouble if we get caught out here. Is this a forest of some sort?" I rambled rhetorically to myself.
"Don't worry. We're not going to get caught and we aren't roughing it. I know how much you hate that sort of thing." Edward laughed, taking my hand in his and holding a basket in the other. "Come on. It's just up here, if I got the directions right."
"It's kind of late for a picnic, don't you think, Edward?" I asked, gazing over at the basket he held. In the dark, I could barely make out the faint outline of a few thick blankets. My heart skipped. Blankets. A basket. The woods. Privacy. This was it! It would happen here. Our first time. Alone, under the stars...
Wait! There was something else under the blankets. A camcorder!
"Edward Cullen! Are you planning on filming this? What kind of girl do you think I am?" I asked, shocked and yet, slightly turned on by the idea at the same time.
With that, Edward laughed, shaking his head and stepped through the tall grass, past the line of trees and into a clearing. I followed him and stood speachless as my senses were assaulted with a visual treat I had never seen before. In the sky, all around me, greenish-yellow lights fanned out like enormous ripples on water, extending as far as the eye could see. The tall trees had blocked the view from the street, but here, the secret light show played out for those who knew of the legends and had dared to venture out far enough into the cold to find it.
The colors were so bright and electric against the dark sky that it wouldn't have had the same impact in the daytime. I had heard of the Northern Lights before, but never associated them with Finland. I assumed Canada and Alaska were the extent of the phenomenon.
"Aurora Borealis. Northern Lights! This was what I brought you here to see, Bella. I hope you like it. We have a few hours before the clouds pull in and the visual is lost. The camcorder you saw was so you could have a little record of this to share with Charlie when you go back. A souvenir." He set up a tripod, mounted the camcorder on top, and aimed it at the sky to capture the magic on DVD.
"Oh my God, Edward. It's so... it's just so..." I gaped at the luminescant glow in the sky, not finding the right words to express the beauty all around me.
Edward smiled sweetly at my inability to form words and spread a large fleece blanket on the ground and pulled me down next to him.
"I'm glad you like it, my love. The Fins call this 'Revontulet!' It means fox fire." He explained to me as he wrapped another blanket around us and pulled a bottle of wine and some chocolate covered strawberries out of a container in the basket.
"See there. It looks like a fox spreading fire with it's tail. That's how it got the name. What actually causes the phenomenon is plasma from the sun coming through the earth's atmosphere. When they hit gasses in the ionosphere, the plasma particles glow like this. The green color indicates a lot of oxygen. Sometimes the lights will appear to be violet, blue or reddish..."
Edward fed me the chocolate covered strawberries as he explained the legends and folklore surrounding the lights to me. When I licked his finger, slowly, after swallowing my fifth strawberry, Edward stopped talking and drew in a shaky breath. He stood up and turned the camcorder off and I wondered if I had offended him in some way.
"Bella, you need to understand something. This.." he motioned all around us "this place... is a traditional rite of passage, so to speak. A young Finnish man in love will bring his lady here when he wants to be alone with her, in a romantic way." He said, looking slyly at me while his topaz eyes burned with intensity.
"So, this is like some 'Inspiration point' make-out place... kind-of-thing?" I asked hopefully, while wondering about Edward's sudden nervousness.
"Not exactly. This is where they would go when they realized they were past the making out stage and are ready for the next step."
"Oh!" My heart skipped a beat as I stopped breathing. I had waited so long to hear Edward say those words to me that I didn't know if it had really said them or if my mind had fabricated some wonderful delusion for me to slip into.
"I thought tonight was finally the perfect time. But I don't want to rush you, either. Our first time should be perfect. We will have eternity together, so if it doesn't feel right tonight, or if you've changed your mind and want to wait, that's ok."
"No!" I yelled at him, then collected myself and spoke in a calm manner. "I mean - no, I don't want to wait anymore! I'm ready, Edward. I've been wanting this ever since our time at the spa! Truth is - I would have given you everything right then and there..." I stopped, my face turning red, as I realized what I was so bluntly saying.
"I love seeing you blush. I'm going to miss that so much when I change you." He said, pulling me down on top of him.
"I'm not. Ummm, Edward.." I whispered, sedatedly, in between kisses. "About that...Is this safe? You know,... for me?" An unexpected thought crept into my head.
"I can't get you pregnant and I have no diseases. I can't spread anything to you, anyway." He answered, still kissing me, feverishly.
I giggled and sat up, distancing myself from him slightly, to gather my thoughts and better phrase my question. "I know that..No. I meant blood-wise. Is there any danger of you losing control? This is embarassing , but... I'm a ...a virgin. I'm pretty sure I will bleed a little bit...Is my blood going to tempt you?"
"No. Not tonight. I'm too full. All day while you slept, I hunted. I gorged myself, in preparation... and hoped I wasn't being too presumptuous..."
I smiled. "It's not too presumptuous at all. And as long as there's no danger...I can't think of a more perfect way to end the night. I'm ready and I love you, Edward." I said, misty eyed.
"I love you, too! I will be slow and gentle with you.." he promised.
"Show me." I shivered as Edward reached for me again, pulling me back down under the blankets with him.
An hour and a half later, as I lay naked in Edward's arms, finally emotionally and physically spent, the Northern lights started to fade.
"I'm sorry it has to end..." I uttered, looking at Edward's perfectly chiseled face reflected in the last of the faint light.
"They usually only last a few hours at a time. Maybe, if we're lucky we will have an opportunity to see another one before we have to go back." he smiled and gently kissed the top of my head.
"I love being with you. And the last hour and a half was the best of my life. Our time together has been so amazing. It doesn't matter if we do something spectacular or hang out and watch a hockey game on my couch.. I am happy to share my life with you. Every minute of it. You know, now that finals are over, I'm actually going to miss our tutoring sessions and your reward incentives."
"So am I!" he agreed. "But it was a little difficult to progressively outdo the rewards each time...and since you passed all of your exams with flying colors..." he shrugged.
I sat in silence for a few minutes and suddenly a brilliant idea popped into my head.
"Hey, Edward..." I started, innocently enough. "Next semester I have to take English Composition. I suck at writing a coherant thought and forget about actually structuring anything properly. Unless I get some help, I'm bound to fail the class..." I held my breath and waited.
His face lit up and he smiled a perfect, crooked, knowing smile. "I'm pretty good at Composition. What do you say we start an after school tutoring program for it...?"
I threw my arms around him and hugged him tightly.
"Of course, I don't know what I can possibly reward you with that will rival a grand prize of a trip to Finland..." he said sarcastically.
I smiled at him as the lights went out and replied "I do..."
A/N: Pouring champagne to celebrate finally completing my first story!
Thank you so much to all of my devoted and patient readers! This chapter goes out to all of you! You've touched my heart and brightened many days for me. This is the vacation I hope togo onone day. And like Bella - I am slowly learning the beautiful Finnish language. Not too good at it yet, but I'm getting there.
Well, now that it's over, I have mixed feelings. I'm relieved that it is done and I'mconfident with the way it ended, but at the same timeI am also a little sad to not be writing this anymore. If there are any of you on here who haven't read my other story (Bon Voyage) yet, this is the time to try it out and see if you like it because from now on out, all of my free writing time will be focused onthat. I hope to see all of you over there because I've come to be quite fond of you... Thanks again for all the amazing reviews and well wishes and suggestions and for the extraordinary few who've stayed up til the wee hours of the morning with me talking about everything and nothing and keeping me laughing. You guys are the best and I love you!
Hugs, Kisses, and Vampire Bites! - Goodnight