Okay, so I've been gone for a while. A long while. I've been without a muse or a desire to do anything but read and avoid my writing. I'm terribly sorry to everyone that I lost contact with and to all of the readers who were actually pulling for me to return to this. I appreciate all of your kind words and lovely reviews. They are everything to me! Even though my silence made it seem otherwise. : ) Okay, I lied about the platitudes. : )
Now onto a little chapter I like to call:
Conversations With Emmett
"Dragging you kicking and screaming," Alice said with absolute sincerity while she smiled with a wolfish grin that would have been home on Jacob's (twinge) face.
I already knew the answer was going to be something like that, so I just nodded my head and let out an audible sigh.
Actually, I had been kind of wondering when this was going to happen. I wasn't sure when or if I would get a look at the scandalous undergarments that the little imp would have insisted was fashionable for our honeymoon.
Alice had made only a passing reference when we'd been looking through a bridal catalog and asked, rather offhandedly, did I like this or that. It hadn't been all that painful at the time. I hadn't known about this little outing at that moment though.
"Bella… Have you ever been to a proper ladies apparel store?" Rosalie questioned with a look at Alice that said she doubted that level of initiation into womanhood.
"Sure. I've been to a few stores… you know, back in Phoenix." I spoke quietly, but it wasn't due to delicacy. I've been flirting with the concept that I'm an awful liar, but with a small taste of the truth wrapped in, maybe it wouldn't be so obvious.
The truth was that I had indeed been to a few lingerie shops with my mother when she was getting married. I didn't have to supply that I spent the whole time sitting by the door with my head in a pair of earphones and reading.
My mother, being who she was, had even gone about attempting to get me interested in a few less scandalous pieces myself. Renee's exact words, as I remember the moment with extreme clarity, were; "a woman can be wearing the most beautiful gown in the world and not feel sexy if she's wearing the wrong underwear."
I couldn't help the small blush that colored my cheeks with the thought that my mother had indeed talked me into a small purchase that most probably, as of this moment, sat in a box in Jacksonville, Florida.
It was by no means what I think Alice would consider being racy enough to entice anyone… but it was small and lacy and lacked the proper amount of fabric that one would consider appropriate for any proper underwear to have. It has also never been worn… and I believe I left the tags on.
Even the thought of that little shopping trip was just a little mortifying, and this had been done with the woman who ostensibly had seen me naked at every stage of my existence, and had passed me into the world through her own body.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I watched Emmett's lips turn up into a wicked grin. The only man in the group had just made some kind of connection. I hoped it had nothing to do with Alice's plans, or my seemingly internal responses to them.
Emmett had a delighted look on his face by the time he spoke up. "It's always the quiet ones, right Rosie? Nobody told me that we're going naughty underwear shopping! Do I get to watch?"
"No," everyone intoned.
Rosalie glared into the rearview mirror and growled as she spoke, "I thought you wanted to keep your arms."
"Right! Do I get to try things on then?" Emmett asked immediately afterward.
"No," they all spoke in unison.
"No… wait, whatever," I said with a bit of a smile. There was no question in my mind that if Emmett were running amok in the store they would hardly find the time or inclination to pay any attention to me.
Emmett's face got a concentrated look, "What am I supposed to do then? I know you didn't just drag me along to have me sit in the car. I could be kicking your husband's butt right now Alice."
"Hey," the little black haired vampire glared at the driver. However there was a twinkle in her eye that suggested that she wasn't really all that upset. What about though, I couldn't be sure, and that was the bit that was really bothering me.
"Really Emmett, it isn't something that is going to be worth watching anyway," Tanya droned. I hoped I didn't let her see how insulted that comment had made me feel. "I see what you mean with the lying thing. That was just horrible." One more time, ouch! She sure was a brat.
"That wasn't a lie!" I defended. "I've been to a few different stores. I just didn't buy much. Or try anything on. Actually, I didn't really look at anything either," I admitted, because the cat was already out of the bag at this point.
It was the truth. I had just grabbed what was on the shelf next to me and it had been only by chance alone that sister fate saved me from having to actually look for something my mother would have approved of. I was back in my corner with my book before anyone could have said "boo."
Kate called from the back up to me, "It's all right Bella. I think that it's lovely that you and Edward are on equal ground. Coming into a marriage in a virginal state is unusual for this time period. I think that you're showing a lot of courage in upholding your morals to each other. Don't let anyone tell you that your way is the wrong one."
"I couldn't have said it better myself Kate," Carmen shouted above the wind. "What kind of expectation and temptation would a drawer full of silk and lace be to an expectant couple? It's best that you separate yourself from sexual thoughts. They will only taunt your waking hours, especially with it being so close to the wedding, right?"
Carmen continued, "In my time it was downright blasphemous to get married to someone without a clean visit from the matron of the village. It was considered disgraceful to marry off any woman that didn't have her innocence. I think it's refreshing to know a couple that waited for each other so patiently."
"I for instance, was completely unsuitable for marriage… and I still am!" Kate giggled from the back. "I respect your decision, Bella. Edward on the other hand… I have to admit I'm sad that he was not as forthCOMING as I wanted him to be!"
Everyone in the car laughed at the emphasis as I cringed at the thought of Edward being forthcoming with any of the Denali sisters.
"It is a sacrosanct communion of souls to meet in a virginal coupling. There are those that say that nothing else is seen by God." Carmen continued in a loud voice that had everyone suddenly quiet.
"Some of us weren't lucky enough to have that chance," Rosalie stated with an almost angry finality.
"That's not fair Rosalie, they weren't talking about you. That isn't what she meant," Alice said with a true sound of concern. "No one would ever say that you're not properly married!"
Carmen and Kate were looking rather green for a pair of the perfect undead. Everyone looked uncomfortable for a second… and then, Emmett spoke, "if a woman was a virgin when she was made into a vampire then she would still have her…"
"STOP!" Alice growled from the back seat of the jeep. "I don't want to explore this conversation with you Emmett."
"I think it's very scientific," The large smirking man in the driver's seat complained not at all believably.
Rosalie patted him on the shoulder, and I didn't have to look back for confirmation I could actually hear the smile in her voice, "We'll get you a lab coat baby."
"How come you're so sensitive about the topic Alice? Is there something we should know?" Emmett questioned with a raise of his animated eyebrows.
Alice seemed to bite the inside of her cheek for a second before making a decision and answering, "No, there's nothing you should know, and before you go haring off to Jasper and asking him, I would remind you that he doesn't talk about our intimate life with you or anyone."
"That wasn't a no," the big man next to me got an evil smirk on his face and looked at me as if we were sharing the biggest secret ever. Then he looked back at his supermodel-like wife and continued, "Did you hear a no Rosalie? I didn't hear a no…"
"Nope, I didn't hear a no either. Alice… is there something you haven't told me?" Rosalie questioned in a very saccharine tone.
It really never occurred to me that they would discuss things like this, especially Rosalie and Alice. Not because Rosalie didn't like me, and I couldn't picture her confiding in Alice. Okay, that was a lie. It was exactly that.
"No, we have a very dynamic relationship. Between Jasper and I and there are no 'boundaries' that anyone should worry about," Alice answered with a small bit of what I could almost call "timidity."
I sat there for a second trying to really recall a time when Alice and Jasper had been as demonstrative as Rosalie and Emmett. I immediately realized that even when Jasper had gotten Alice back from the Volturi, he had simply looked deeply into her eyes and taken her hands.
Jasper… was a gentleman. Not just the kind that people talked about opening doors, and helping a woman out of her coat, which I had actually seen him do unthinkingly a million times before at lunch that first year in Forks. No, he was actually adhering to the pre nineteen hundred concepts of manners. Jasper didn't indulge in any form of public displays of affection. They hardly held hands. My goodness!
"I see gears turning up there," Tanya suggested from the seat behind me.
"Alice," I began.
"Oh, not you too!" Alice actually seemed like she was exasperated… but I shook my head and waved my hands in a negative fashion.
"Your husband is a real gentleman," I stated. It was quiet for a second that seemed to stretch on for a bit. Had I accidentally said something wrong?
Alice bounced in her seat and nodded her head. "You've got that right!"
"Don't let them fool you," Kate and Carmen both laughed when Tanya stated this as though she were sharing a secret with her hand cupped away from Alice and toward me. "He gets off the white horse before they get in bed."
"Takes off the white hat too," Kate giggled as she pushed Alice's shoulder from behind.
"And everything else, when she is lucky!" Carmen cat called afterward which sent the three into an almost perfectly synchronized, "Ooooooh!"
"Not exactly… when she's lucky he leaves on the spurs!" Rosalie cried out with laughter.
I felt my face flame with embarrassment, but I still found myself laughing hard. In fact everyone laughed at that, including Alice who of course had something to say in answer, "THANK GOD!"
More cat calling and giggles descended from the back and from myself, and Alice didn't look at all upset by the not quite gentle ribbing she was getting from my awkward observation.
Emmett rolled his eyes, and then slumped forward onto the steering wheel. When he spoke, it was like those old cartoons when Superman is exposed to kryptonite. "Estrogen, getting too high… powers fading… must watch sports!"
"Don't worry Emmett, it'll all be over soon. I have that much on high authority. If I can get though it, so can you," I mock whispered.
"I didn't think you were having that awful of a time a few seconds ago," Tanya accused. "We can always go back to asking questions of you?"
"No thanks." I answered honestly. "I'm not that interesting to be honest. You won't be at all satisfied when you realize that I'm actually quite boring."
"Everyone says they are boring," Carmen accused with a laugh. "You are always boring to yourself. We, on the contrary, find you endlessly fascinating. Not just the mundane bits of your life, but to know the woman that could so completely ensnare such a complex man! You must be brimming with untold secrets!"
"We have known Edward for so many years, and we know much about the face that he puts on for everyone else's benefit. Yet we know so very little about Edward as a passionate man! The closest he allows anyone to view his passions, other than you it seems, is through his music," Tanya concluded quietly. "You are being granted a great gift."
"It's equal," Rosalie stated with more certainty than what I would expect from her. Especially seeing as she was against my most basic of decisions. "I've never seen Edward like this. Not once have I seen him in such a constant state of feeling. She drives his very spirit to take joy in the world again."
"Rosalie…" I was struck almost senseless from the ardor she showed in her voice.
Then… the beautiful blonde continued, "Which is really good, because I was going to start asking Carlisle when it would be medically feasible to remove that gigantic post from his ass!"
Everyone laughed again and I couldn't help joining in. "Okay, he can be a little… stiff… at times," I acquiesced.
"That's what she said!" Emmett crowed as the jeep turned off the freeway onto the streets of the city.
"You're just crass!" Alice stated with a delighted giggle.
"Crass rhymes with Ass, now keep your hands off my donkey!" the driver continued with a little too much glee.
"What in the world does that even mean?" Rosalie laughed from the back seat.
"I'm not sure. I made it up a few seconds ago, but I'll probably use it for the next ninety years or so. See Bella, you were here for the birth of an era." Emmett jerked into a parking space at Alice's behest and I was more than grateful for the prospect of being at the whims of my own feet for a while, even if they were completely ungainly.
Getting out of the Jeep was a little less mortifying than getting in because the Cullen family as well as the Denali's were in "blend with the humans" mode so they each in turn let Emmett help them out of what I was going to start calling "The Behemoth."
Alice smiled at me and took my hands once Emmett had lowered me to the ground. "We have parked in a spot where we won't be interrupted for any length of time for a reason. Bella, I'm really proud of you and Edward. We are all so very proud of you. Even those of us who choose not to be one hundred percent supportive for various reasons," at this Alice paused to glare in the general direction of Tanya and Rosalie.
"I'm not going to make you wear anything weird like a tiara or engage you in any strange ritualistic fun like collecting condoms. I want you to be able to see this day as a quiet reflection. I want you to feel free to talk to all of us about your hopes and your fears. Any concerns that you have, I want you to express them to us." Alice spoke with an almost angelic conviction in her voice.
My future sister ran her thumbs over my knuckles in an almost soothing gesture and spoke a little more. "Emmett is here for that purpose. He is here to answer on behalf of his gender, and although his answers may be…"
"Poetically and justifiably enlightened," Emmett burst in.
Everyone looked at the large man with us with varying looks of humor and disdain. Although to be honest I think everyone was laughing.
"Colorful, I was going to say colorful. He will be honest with you and you can't possibly ever upset his feelings of modesty. Edward is guarded in what he says to any woman, and I understand feeling uncomfortable speaking with Carlisle about more delicate subjects. Although in time you will lose that, and you'll find that both Carlisle and Esme are more than just excellent mock figures of authority. Jasper is uncomfortable speaking about intimacy with anyone but me… and sometimes that is a stretch." Alice rolled her eyes as she said the last bit. I wanted to know that story, that one right there.
"I want you to know that your family is not only on your side, but we are your best resource. We are a vast library of experiences and thoughts, and I want you to know that you have access to that library at any time for any reason. Everyone that is here has agreed to help you on your journey in their own way," Alice finished.
After a moment I realized that I had tears building in the corners of my eyes.
It was also a surprise when, of all people, Rosalie wiped the tears off my cheek. She smiled in an almost friendly way and spoke, "You two are going to be wonderful together. It's not hard to see. It might be hard for me to accept your decisions, but it isn't hard for me to admit that. I'm not going to be all that sad to see depressed Edward go either. He was starting to get on my nerves for the last few decades or so."
"I would never want to be on your bad side Rosalie," I spoke earnestly.
"Let's see what we can do about that, shall we?" Rosalie asked in what I would definitely consider to be a speculative tone.