"Mama, what's taking Daddy so long?" Renesmee's high little voice questioned.
I smiled at her impatience although I was missing him too.
"I don't know," I sighed. "Maybe he got talking to Uncle Emmett."
She pouted. "I want to show him my picture."
She was bent over the table, eyebrows furrowed as she concentrated deeply on her project. A rainbow of crayolas were scattered across the polished wood. Crumpled balls of paper were dotted across the floor. We had bought Renesmee every art supply imaginable for her to experiment with and more often than not, she favoured the crayons.
I reached across to brush a fallen strand of hair behind her ear. I knew she wanted to squirm away from my intrusion but she let me do it anyway. With the curtain of her ringlets no longer obstructing my view, I could see clearly the picture she wanted to show Edward.
And I marvelled at how she was able to create such a thing with her chosen tools. To a stranger, it may have seemed like random scribblings. Mothers know better. It was a swirl of honey and gold. A circle of brown and a dot of black. She had created an exact replication of her father's eyes and it was beautiful.
"I'm sure he'll be back shortly," I told her. "And Daddy's going to love your drawing."
Her sweet face lit up. "I hope so. He always says he loves what I do but I think I finally got it right with this one,"
"He does love everything you do," I assured her. How could he not? "But that is especially beautiful."
Before she could answer, I heard the welcome and familiar footfall of Edward's return. His scent, always strong in our cottage, became more intense and I couldn't help but feel a little bit excited.
"I'm home!" he called as he swept in the door. He bent to kiss Renesmee's forehead and slipped one arm around my waist. "How are my girls?"
"Missing you," I replied, leaning into his embrace. "But we're fine now,"
Nessie reached up to touch her father, presumably showing him just how displeased she was at having to wait for him.
He nudged me with his shoulder and shifted his expression into one of shame. I suspected it was only half exaggerated.
"Well Miss Cullen, I am very sorry to have kept you waiting. Will you forgive me?" he beseeched her.
"I suppose," she pursed her lips and wrapped him a tad tighter around her little finger.
Edward kind of laughed, amused and disbelieving all at once. He picked up her crayoned masterpiece and examined it carefully, giving it the attention it deserved.
"Is this what I think it is?" he asked. I knew the swelling of emotion in his voice.
She touched his face and showed him her confirmation.
"Thank you," he said, simply and sincerely.
"Isn't it wonderful?" I agreed.
He nodded. "She's so talented. She gets it from you,"
I shook my head but didn't argue. I sifted through fuzzy memories and saw myself as a child - labouring over messy artwork and never thinking it was good enough.
We waited while Renesmee tidied away her things, just holding each other and watching her. There was a tiny smudge of dirt beside Edward's ear. It was a stark blemish on the perfection of his face. My fingers twitched to wipe it off but I left it, deciding I liked the little semblance of normalcy it brought.
"So," Edward addressed her when she was done. "If I told you I was delayed because I was working on a present of my own would you be less mad at me?"
Her mouth spread into a smile at the mention of a present. Our daughter, and there was no denying it, was spoiled rotten. But how could we look at her loveliness and not wish to give her everything? And she was immensely grateful for every gift, showing no more happiness at the diamond bracelet Alice bought her than the fishing rod she got off Charlie.
"I'm not mad at you, Daddy." she told him.
"I see," he nodded seriously. "Does that mean I don't have to give you your present so?"
"No!" she squealed and giggled. "Stop kidding. Please show me!"
"Well what are we waiting for?" he asked, pulling me to my feet with him.
Nessie laughed as he ushered us out the door. He cradled her against his chest, held my hand and we ran in the direction of the main house.
"What did you get?" I asked as we ran, a little worried at the possible extravagance. We could conduct a normal conversation as we hurtled through the trees.
Edward shook his head. "Wait and see,"
He slowed our pace as we neared the edge of the meadow that surrounded the main house. He looked at me and nodded his head in the direction of one of the large cedars that bordered the field. They were ancient, strong, a reminder of how there was more to this earth than what met they eye. On the second one from the left - the narrowest huge tree with the lowest branches - hung a tire attached to a rope.
"What is it?" asked Nessie, following our line of vision.
"That," Edward began, setting her down. "Is a tire swing."
She nodded. "Is it for me?"
"Of course," he answered. I let him have his moment with her, taking more pleasure than I would have thought from watching the exchange.
She looked at it again, eyes wide, before sprinting towards her new toy. Laughing indulgently, we followed after her. It was a simple design, crude almost, but it was a perfect gift.
"Did you make it yourself?" I asked.
Edward nodded in confirmation. "Just something I threw together."
He was trying to act nonchalant but I could see he was almost bursting with the pride that came from knowing he was the one who cause the look of awe on our daughter's face. I pictured him and the effort he put into it. I imagined him carefully selecting the tire from the supply of spares in the garage. He would have cleaned it thoroughly and checked for any loose screws or potentially dangerous items. He would have picked the softest rope that was strong enough to hold the combined weight of the rubber swing and it's passenger. He would have methodically considered which branch on which tree was best in terms of strength, distance, trajectory and safety.
I didn't need for him to tell me he had done these things. I just knew he did. I watched as he lifted Nessie and placed her on the swing. He didn't let go until he could tell she felt secure and it was perhaps the most perfect scene I had ever witnessed. A swell of emotion surged in my chest and my eyes pricked strangely at all the love and pride I felt.
Naturally, Renesmee loved her swing. Her little hands gripped the rope while Edward gently pushed her. The more she relaxed the faster he pushed. Soon she was soaring back and forth, going high and low among the trees. Her delighted peals of laughter carried on the wind.
"Higher!" she called." Faster."
As Edward complied I made myself swallow the worry I was feeling. He wouldn't let anything happen to her.
Soon, she was swinging on her own. Her chubby legs pumped back and forth as she worked to keep up her speed. Her childish freedom was almost enviable.
Edward came to stand beside me and we watched her soar.
"She adores it," I commented.
"I'm glad," he answered with a smile.
"What made you do it?" I asked.
He sighed. "I just want things to be normal for her. I know that's an unattainable desire considering we're not normal and I don't want us to be. But…I don't know how to explain it…I just want to bring some aspects of regularity to her life. I don't want her to miss out on anything."
I completely understood and I told him so, concentrating intently to bring down the barrier in my mind and share what I had been thinking with him. When I was done, he beamed and embraced me.
"C'mere," I murmured, pulling his head down to mine. "You've got something on your face."
I used my thumb to wipe off the smudge and pressed my lips to the same spot. I opened my mouth to suck on that spot below his ear and -
"Mama!" called out Nessie. "Push me on the swing."
I did as she asked, enjoying the feeling of contributing to her fun like this. At one stage Edward placed his hand on my arm.
"Careful," he whispered, interrupting our rhythm. I had been getting carried away with the frivolity of it all and forgot to mind my strength.
"Isn't this great?" called Nessie and I relaxed again. "I can't wait to show Jake."
For a split second, I saw Edward's expression drop slightly and I knew exactly how he was feeling.
Nessie continued. "This is so much better than the one he told me about. I have to tell him my Daddy makes a better swing than his did,"
We both broke into a kind of relieved laugh which didn't phase her in the slightest.
Our activity attracted an audience and soon the rest of the family emerged from the house to share our fun. They take almost as much joy from observing Renesmee as we do. It was quite amazing - the way such a simply engineered endeavour could bring such enjoyment to this family of immortals.
Rosalie watched in fascination while Emmett relayed a raucous story involving him and a swing-set. Alice, the doting auntie who was frantically trying to make up for lost time, took Nessie on her lap and Edward and Jasper took turns pushing them. Carlisle and Esme quietly observed their family and I knew what it was like for them; to take delight in watching what you've helped create. And I thanked my lucky stars that I was blessed with such good fortune.
We laughed and played until the sun set, the stars came out to twinkle and Nessie grew tired. I picked her up and brought her into the house. Edward must have caught an errant thought of Emmett's and I had to suppress a giggle when he warned him not to attempt to get on the swing.
I sank onto the leather couch on the living room and Alice put on that movie Nessie liked so much. Edward draped his arm around my shoulder and Renesmee rested with her head on his lap.
"I had fun today," she told us sweetly.
"So did we, baby." I said.
We all settled and watched Nessie watch the movie. Edward and I played with her hair and she soon drifted off to sleep.
With the absence of Nessie's reactions the movie soon grew tiresome. Edward began to use the hand that rested on my shoulder to trace my collarbone. He pressed his thumb against my parted lips and I swallowed a groan.
Alice cleared her throat. "Why don't you guys go get some fresh air,"
I began to protest and gesture towards the sleeping child, though Edward was silent. Alice wouldn't listen. "Go," she urged. "We'll look after her.
"Thanks," I told her, grinning. "I really need some fresh air."
I smooth Nessie's curls, while Edward placed a blanket over her shoulders and a kiss on her forehead. We both ignored the smirks that followed our departure.
Outside, the moonlight cast a translucent glow and I was stunned once again at the beauty of my husband. We strolled hand in hand through the starry night in a comfortable kind of silence.
"That was a wonderful thing you did," I said, referring to the idle swing.
He shrugged. "It was nothing really. Did you ever have a swing like that?"
I paused to sort through hazy memories. "I don't think so. Could you imagine my mother making a swing?"
We both laughed. "I think it's something Charlie would have liked to have done, if I was in Forks enough as a child…" I continued. "I'm not sure…I think I might have been on one on LaPush."
It was frustrating- the not knowing- and I wondered if the possible memory was only a result of what Nessie had said about Jake.
Edward waited while I processed my thoughts. "Fancy a go?" he asked.
I shook my head. "I couldn't-"
He didn't wait for me to come up with an answer. He swept me into his arms and carried me over to the tree. I shrieked and jokingly pushed against his chest. I could have escaped if I really wanted to.
He set me onto the swing and I could feel the cool rubber through the cotton of my skirt. He gave me a lingering kiss and moved behind me.
"You ready?" His breath tickled my ear and then I was swinging through the air.
I couldn't help but laugh as he pushed me. Despite the strength and agility that came with being a vampire I still enjoyed the freeness of gliding back and forth. The night wind whipped around my kicking legs and I let my head fall back to look at the stars.
When I neared the ground, the teasing touch of his hands was on my back, and then he sent me off again.
"Edward!" I exclaimed after one particularly forceful push.
"Sorry," he murmured in my ear when I came back down. He held onto my waist, splaying his fingers across my stomach and pressing me against his chest. I felt him suck lightly on my earlobe. "I seem to remember you like it hard."
I shivered and he released me into the night again. When I came down, his hands didn't catch me. Rather, Edward appeared in front of me. He loomed over me, holding onto the ropes either side of my head. I knew that determination on his face - the wicked quirk of his eyebrow and playful tug of his lip. I knew the desire in his eyes was reflected in my own.
After a taut nanosecond he leaned closer and kissed me full on the mouth. I opened my lips and enjoyed the sweet taste of his tongue on mine. I moved to wrap my hands around his on the rope but didn't get the chance. He pushed me backwards and I was swinging again.
As I descended, I dug my feet into the ground to keep me in place.
"No fair!" I growled.
He merely smirked - didn't even have the decency to look ashamed at his blatant teasing. He crouched down in front of me and flashed me a smile that was positively sinful.
"This really wasn't my intention, Bella," he uttered in a low tone. "When I made this, when I invited you out here,"
I knew that and I loved him for it.
"I just can't help it," he continued. "I can't help but want you."
I nodded and his hands crept up from my knees, bringing my skirt with them. Looking at me through his eyelashes he exposed the skin on my thighs inch by inch. His knuckle grazed the seam of my panties. I bit my lip in anticipation and Edward chuckled as he pushed me away again.
Flying backwards, I let out a frustrated cross between a snarl and a scream. My mind instantly came up with a contingency plan. It was time to put Edward in his place.
When I reached the right height, I let go of the rope and launched myself off the swing. For a second, I was effortlessly airborne before I landed neatly on top of Edward. We crashed to the earth with a bang and I pinned his arms above his head.
The shock was plain on his face and I relished in the fact I was the only one who could surprise him like that. Or hold him down like this.
See that was thing about us. I could exert just as much control over him as he could me, and when I wanted it he willingly gave it up.
"You're such a tease." I hissed against his lips.
He was unapologetic. "You know you love it."
That was true. I kissed him, pressing us into the dewy grass. It didn't matter how often we did it, I would never tire of kissing him. Open mouths and licking and sucking and tongue and teeth. He returned my actions with fervour, straining his body up to meet mine. He nipped at my bottom lip and I tightened my hold on his wrists, shifting my lower body in order to reach.
"Bella," he groaned. "I need you."
I could have played the game a while longer. I considered teasing him some more to get revenge. But I could deny him nothing.
"You have me," I answered. "Always."
The kiss softened and I let go of his wrists so I could caress angle of his cheekbone.
"Now," he said, using his now free hand to squeeze the curve of my behind. "Now but not here."
Here? Oh right, I had forgotten our somewhat public location. It had always been too easy to get carried away when we were together. And though it's not like we hadn't been unwilling witnesses to the some exploits of the rest of the family, now that he had brought it up it would have been rude to continue.
But how could we possibly make it home?
Edward rolled me off him, jumped to his feet and pulled me up with him.
"Come on," he urged, taking my hand. We half ran into the trees. Edward kept looking back at me, laughing and smiling as we went.
We were surrounded my the earthy density of the forest but I was scarcely aware of anything but Edward and our need for each other.
He moved behind me and clasped his hands around my waist. He kissed the side of my neck and let me lead us. We passed smoothly over gnarled roots and fallen branches until I could take no more and halted beside an oak tree.
"Is this deep enough?" I asked, meaning our progress through the woods.
"I'll let you be the judge of that," he smirked and pushed me against the tree.
We kissed again, hungrily trying to consume each other. He pulled my top over my head and I popped the buttons on his shirt and forced it off his shoulders. The bark was painlessly rough against my back and I enjoyed the sensation.
Edward palmed my breasts with one hand and used the other to hitch my leg around his hip. I twisted my head to the side, hinting to him that I wanted him at my throat. He willingly complied and began to suck and nibble at the spot where my neck met my shoulder.
My hands went to his belt buckle and he pushed my bra down, both of us trying to free what we wanted. My bra rested around my ribcage and Edward pinched my taut nipples between his fingertips. I pushed his trousers down around his knees and I could feel him, hard and waiting against my damp thigh.
"You," he breathed "The things you do to me…"
Our glazed eyes met. "Believe me when I say the feeling is mutual." I told him.
Edward reached down and slipped his hand under my skirt. He touched me through my panties. I squirmed and he groaned when he felt just how ready I was for him. Without hesitation, he ripped my underwear right off me and shoved my skirt up around my waist.
I wanted him so badly. Well in fairness I always did, but this moment was more urgent. I was made to be with him and couldn't feel satisfied until we were joined.
"Now." I told him, writhing and squirming as his fingers played with my clit.
I could wait no longer. Enough teasing. Enough foreplay. I needed all of him.
Edward was a dutiful husband and he willingly obeyed my request. With one smooth thrust, he filled me completely.
And it was wonderful. Every time was better than the last, as exciting as the first and more pleasurable than I would have thought possible.
He kissed me, timing the movements of his tongue in sync with his thrusts. His right hand was slick and gripped my thigh, pulling my leg higher and tighter around him. His left hand was entwined with mine, stretched upwards towards the night sky. The tree was shaking from the vigour of our coupling and fallen leaves rained down around us.
I moaned and whimpered every time he slammed into me and my nails tried to make little half-moons on the impenetrable skin on his shoulders.
"Bella," he exhaled, his voice strained and husky. "Oh, Bella."
The sound of my name like that made me wild. More. I needed more. I think I told him that though I couldn't quite control the sounds coming from my mouth.
I wrapped both my legs around his waist, crossing my muddy heels at his back. I could take him deeper this way. I reached up and held onto a low hanging branch with one hand. It provided leverage for me to raise myself up and down on him. He clutched onto the fleshy curve of my ass, guiding our movements. They were both frenzied and controlled , deep and short.
We were always in harmony. He knew when to speed up and I knew when to slow down. We could be quiet or loud, talkative or silent. It didn't matter. It was all astonishingly good.
Our position left my breasts almost directly in front of his face. Really, what was he to do but take them into his mouth? I felt his nose nuzzle the sensitive skin and his tongue licked a circle around the puckered skin in the centre. He took my nipple into his mouth and sucked. Hard.
He was devilishly distracting - it was a good thing he was still guiding my hips or I would have stilled completely.
The sensations were becoming greater and better, climbing to that familiar high. I could hear the strong oak strain from repeated impact. I wouldn't have cared if the forest fell down around me.
We cursed and prayed and sighed each others names. Our bodies were pressed tightly together. Edward's lips travelled back up my neck, nipping and sucking on their journey. They reached my gaping lips and I could taste his delicious sweetness - the delectable taste that was unmistakably his.
His aroma, as well as the scent of our union, filled my senses. We moved harder and faster. Our kiss was wet and full of a fire that burned through every cell in my body.
"Edward!" I gasped and he drove himself deeper. I could feel his hardness fill me as far as he could. My muscles squeezed and stretched around him.
"I-" He pulled out and slammed in to me again.
"I-" I tried again but was overwhelmed.
I came - violent and intense. My muscles seized, my body quaked. My mouth opened in a silent scream as pleasure - indescribable, earth-shattering and given to me by Edward - coursed through my body.
The branch crumbled in my palm and I let it fall to the earth like a twig.
Edward was relentless. He didn't slow or still his movements. He kept going while I rode out my orgasm, prolonging it until it was too much to bear. Only when I was truly spent did I feel him spill inside me. He held me with a strength that would have broken the human me and his face was even more beautiful when he came.
I rested my forehead against his and completed the sentence I'd been struggling with.
"I love you." I told him.
"And I you," he answered.
Looking into his eyes, I saw the unwavering truth of that statement. I could know no greater happiness than moments like these - filled with the love and satisfaction of embracing my husband in the quiet of the night.
With grace and ease, I untangled my limbs from him and stood down onto the muddy ground. Edward gently rearranged my clothe before he fixed his own. I shoved my shredded panties into his pocket - an action I had done more times than I'd care to admit.
We had to laugh at our bedraggled appearance. We were caked in dirt and grime and leaves. I felt it heavy on my skin and it was absolutely worth it. Edward flashed me his crooked grin and plucked a twig from my hair.
"I don't think we can collect Renesmee in this state," he said.
"No, I guess not." I agreed.
"I wonder would you be opposed to going back to the cottage to clean up first." he asked.
"I have no objections," I replied with a mock-casual shrug. "A shower?"
"How about a bath?" he suggested.
Knowing my answer was always yes, Edward took my hand and led me home.
I apologise for any possible typos. It was hard for me to write 'tire' with an I rather than a Y but I didn't want people to think I mis-spelled the title.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. If you choose to review, I'd be happy to see whatever feedback you have to offer. But since I'm kinda testing the water with this one-shot I'd appreciate hearing what people think of the story as a whole.
Thanks for reading!