Updated A/N (Sept. 2012) Hello, Readers. Warning: This story contains tons of steamy, descriptive, romantic, loving, intense sex. It is meant for adult readers only. If you're not a fan of lemonade, this is not the story for you.
. . . . . .
Great! Welcome to Defrosting Edward. :) This story is based on the "practice makes perfect" line from the series which was used in reference to Edward and Bella attempting to become more intimate with each other. The characters are mostly canon in personality, though of course it's AU in terms of their actions and choices which vary greatly from the books/movies. It was meant to be short, but somehow it got away from me and became so much more. I even began to affectionately call it my 'never-ending-lemon-monstrosity.' :P
Because this story was not planned or outlined in any way past the first 6 chapters, I often asked readers to chime in and give preferences for everything from whose POV to write, to specific types of content. I was extremely privileged to have many jump in and offer their thoughts, wishes, opinions and guidance. Because of that, I consider this story a joint venture between me and my readers, and I personally feel it makes DfE all the more interesting and fun.
In short, I loved every second I spent working on this story. It holds a very special place in my heart. I hope you'll enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)
. . . . . .
Disclaimer: The characters in this story and certain elements of the plot belong to the Twilight Series and their creator, Stephenie Meyer. I'm just a fan who lovingly and respectfully wants to take them different places and keep them alive a little longer in our hearts and imaginations. No personal profit is obtained and no copyright infringement is intended.
. . . . . .
Let the Thaw Begin
. . . . . .
I stomp down the final few yards of the Cullen driveway, not bothering any longer to even try and avoid the puddles or the mud that splatters my jeans in ever increasing amounts. I am soaked to the skin, freezing cold, and mad as hell.
What exactly is the point of having a psychic soon-to-be sister-in-law if she couldn't foresee that my ancient behemoth of a truck was going to break down over half a mile from here? In the middle of the pouring rain no less? And what is the point of having a fiancé with vampire 'superpowers' if all it's going to get me is an insanely expensive and complicated cell phone I can't figure out how to use? Not to mention painfully burned fingers from trying to check a blown radiator hose I didn't have any business touching. His fingers wouldn't be raw and blistered right now. Of course, I can't mention any of this to him. Not when he's been wanting, no dying, to replace my truck. No doubt with some insanely expensive vehicle with a name I won't even be able to pronounce, let alone drive. If I can't work a cell phone, I probably won't be able to operate some sleek foreign zillion dollar car. Has he thought about that? Irritating immortal that can't die anyway!
Full into sulk mode, I reach the door and wonder where everyone is. They have to know I'm here. Vampires can hear someone as heavy-footed and clumsy as I am approaching from a mile away.
No sooner do I begin to wonder if maybe they've all taken off on an impromptu hunting trip then the door swings open. It happens so fast I almost teeter off the steps and land on my ass in the mud. Not that it would matter if I did, seeing as I can't possibly get any wetter. Still, I'm grateful when Alice's very strong, very cold hands grab me just in time. Obtaining a few bruises seems like a small price to pay for whatever might be left of my dignity. That doesn't stop me from scowling at her, however. She, on the other hand, is smiling like the cat that swallowed the proverbial canary. I'm instantly suspicious.
"Alice! What the hell?" I hiss through chattering teeth.
She holds her finger up to her lips in a shushing motion, frowning back at me in warning. Her eyes, though, are lit up like Christmas tree lights.
"Oh, Bella, you're soaked. Get in here! What happened to you, you poor thing?" She winks, and I suddenly get that she wants me to play along. My scowl grows; I am so not in the mood.
Edward appears at my side, looking concerned as Alice pulls me into the house. I try to resist, which of course is pathetic. I don't have one ounce of her strength.
"Wait! Alice, stop," I cry. "I'm dripping everywhere; Esme is going to kill me if I ruin her floors."
Edward huffs. "Don't be ridiculous, Bella. Alice, stop pulling on her and go get towels." He sounds slightly annoyed as he pulls me from her grip, and I can't help notice how handsome he looks even when he's irritated.
"Bella, what happened? Look at you, you're soaking wet. You'll catch pneumonia." I don't know how I'm expected to answer him when I'm being suffocated in towels that seem to be coming at me from all directions. Somehow I manage to convey the need to breathe, and thankfully they let my head loose.
"M...m...my ttt truck died." My teeth are chattering so hard I can barely speak.
"Why didn't you call me, Bella? Did you lose your phone? Are you hurt?" Edward may be gorgeous, but his rapid-fire questions are kind of abrasive. I really just want to get out of these freezing cold wet clothes. Since vampires really don't require the comforts of heat, the temperature in the house isn't exactly toasty.
"Carlisle?" Edward calls as he is checking me over, scanning me from head to toe in a completely non-flattering checking for injuries way. Though I obviously look fine - drowned rat appearance aside - he apparently wants a second opinion.
"Edward, I'm fine, you don't need to bother..."
Too late, of course. Carlisle is already standing beside him. I see a brief smirk of amusement cross Carlisle's movie star handsome face before he quickly masks it and adopts the professional all-business look of a physician. "Bella, are you okay?"
I let him know I've seen the smirk by turning the full force of my scowl on him instead of Edward. It's really hard not to be rude when he's fighting not to laugh at me.
"Carlisle, I'm fine. Edward is just … being Edward." In my irritation I flap my hands, and Carlisle's sharp physician senses hone in on them.
"Let me see those hands, Bella," he demands, all traces of amusement vanishing behind sudden concern.
Before Carlisle can even reach for me, Edward has my wrists in his grip. He turns my palms up for inspection.
There is a shocked moment of silence, followed quickly by Edward berating me.
"Bella, what in the name of God have you been doing to yourself?" His tone is equal parts horrified and exasperated.
He relinquishes my hands to Carlisle, who also clucks disapprovingly, while I scowl even harder at Alice. I feel like a scolded child, and I don't appreciate it. She backs away a bit, shaking her head almost imperceptibly, her eyes imploring me to … What? Not rat her out? She obviously saw this coming; what is she up to?
My attention returns to Edward. He's down on his knees in front of me trying to absorb some of the water from my soaked jeans and warm me with chafing motions of the water-logged towel. The sight is enough to guarantee my cooperation with Alice, who obviously doesn't want me to implicate her. It's actually enough to make my mind go completely blank. Okay, well, not completely, but it certainly does a lot to improve my body temperature. In fact, the hot blush that consumes me seems to spread from his cold hands around my ankles all the way to the top of my head. I've had a recurring fantasy lately that involves Edward being in this exact position, although it doesn't involve rainwater or towels, or clothing for that matter. My frustrated human hormones are extremely inventive lately.
Still blushing, I force my attention back to Carlisle who's been speaking while my mind has been in the gutter. "I'm sorry, what?"
"We'll need to put some antibiotic salve on these, Bella, and they'll need to be bandaged I'm afraid, at least for a few days. The blisters could break and cause infection. These are fairly serious second-degree burns. It would be better if we don't take chances."
I instantly balk. The thought of a trip to the emergency room is enough to make me stubborn on any given day, never mind this one. "Carlisle really, I've burned myself before, it's fine. I mean, all this...fuss...isn't really necessary, is it?"
"It absolutely is necessary, Bella. Sorry." He smiles kindly trying to take the sting out of his demands. "Luckily I have everything I need to take care of that right here. So, if you'll accompany me to my office, we'll get you fixed up. Okay?"
Before I can reply, Edward scoops me up in his arms, cradling me like a small child.
"Edward, I can walk you know. My hands are hurt, not my feet," I mutter, sounding petulant in my embarrassment. Normally I'd never refuse any kind of contact with him, but I'm feeling more than a bit ridiculous right now. Not to mention human, unattractive, wet, cold, muddy... The list is nearly endless and not very flattering.
"This is faster, and I would hazard to say, safer." Case in point, he places me on my feet making me aware that we are already in Carlisle's office. I barely noticed the movement, and in my thoughts I grudgingly admit I probably would have tripped on the stairs. Definitely faster and safer, though I'm not about to tell him that.
A hard shiver racks me, and Edward takes his arms away, stepping back, frowning slightly. "You're freezing," he remarks.
It takes a lot of effort not to roll my eyes at him for stating the obvious.
"Edward, why don't you go and see if Alice has something dry for Bella to wear." Carlisle takes my hands, gently beginning the process of cleaning them with something that stings like fire and smells medicinal. I hiss in reaction and Edward groans. I know that he hates seeing me in pain so I look up apologetically. He sighs then brushes a soft kiss against my cheek before disappearing.
"So, Bella. How exactly did you do this?"
I turn my attention back to Carlisle. "Radiator hose." I'm not in the mood to explain and doubt I need to say anything more than that anyway. I've always been accident prone, something he is well aware of. This isn't his first time patching me up after all.
"Ah, I see."
His simple reply confirms my suspicion that a lengthy explanation isn't necessary, and he finishes with one torture and begins another. The ointment he applies on my cleansed hands smells medicinal as well, and even his cool, gentle touch hurts.
"I'm sorry," he apologizes gently, his eyes sympathetic when he glances up without pausing. "I know this is painful. The salve has an anesthetic effect, though I'm afraid it takes a few minutes to work."
I bite my lip, managing a tight nod in response. Edward is already back, and he reaches for me, turning my head towards him and carefully pressing it against his shoulder, effectively blocking my view of Carlisle's efforts. The comfort he's attempting to offer is more than welcome. I press my forehead hard against his solid granite muscles with a slight whimper while he rubs my back gently. I'm in too much pain to protest being babied, not that I ever protest any physical contact with him.
Still, this stings like hell. Aggravating tears prickle hotly behind my eyes, and I blink rapidly to get rid of them.
Luckily, Carlisle is done in only a few short minutes, and thankfully the salve is indeed beginning to work. The numbing agent in the ointment begins to kick in, dulling the pain to a slight tingle of discomfort. I flex my fingers a bit, wiggling them in the loose gauze bandages Carlisle wrapped them in. Already I'm foreseeing a world of difficulties ahead of me thanks to my impulsive attempt at being a mechanic.
Edward turns me away, guiding me out of the room as soon as Carlisle is done telling me all the things I shouldn't do until he checks the burns again later. I add to the list of difficulties ahead of me with growing dismay, unfortunately not concentrating at all on where we're going. Between trying to turn my head and thank Carlisle, and not trip over my own feet under the pressure of Edwards hand on my back, I almost run smack-dab into Emmett.
"Whoa there, Bells. Hey, what the heck happened to you?" He's already laughing before I can say anything. "Whatta'd ya do, fall in a swimming pool with all your clothes on?" He belatedly notices my bandaged hands, and laughs harder. "Wait, I know. You fell into a swimming pool while holding onto an angry cat."
"Shut-up, Emmett," I reply in exasperation. I'm really not in the mood for Emmett's brand of comedy at my expense. I'd actually like to think of something wittier to say in response, but intelligent comebacks are currently beyond me.
Edward steers me around Emmett, no doubt giving his brother the evil eye as he does it. Not that it would bother Emmett. He never misses an opportunity to tease anyone, least of all me. As if to prove that point, Emmett completely ignores me telling him to shut-up.
I shouldn't, I know, but I stop and turn because I'm polite to a fault sometimes.
Before I can react, Edward and Emmett both vanish from sight. The disappearance is instantly followed by a loud crash and a slight grunt of pain from Emmett. Another crash follows that, then, "Aw, damn it, Edward. Rosalie's gonna kill me! She freaking loves that chair."
Ignoring the continuing sounds of wrestling, I look down at my top and cringe in sudden realization. My wet blouse is nearly transparent. Luckily, I'm wearing a bra with a little built in padding that prevents a complete showing of my less than stellar assets. Unfortunately, the cold has puckered my nipples into rather prominent points, and well hell, could this day get any worse?
Edward returns, brushing something off his pants. Probably the remnants of whatever chair they broke. He resumes guiding me into his room and gestures at the bed. "Alice left you some clothes."
Apparently he's going to ignore what Emmett tactlessly pointed out. Though I guess he would've already noticed himself and chose to say nothing! Always the gentleman, and why am I not surprised?
I ignore the clothes to turn and glare at him. "You could have told me," I spit out angrily, crossing my arms over my chest in embarrassment."Oh, my God, Edward! I stood in front of Carlisle like this!"
He has the grace to look mildly repentant. "Sorry, I wasn't thinking. I was concerned about your hands, not a little bit of semi-transparent fabric. And Emmett was just being crass. You're not indecent, Bella."
I stare at him, trying to decide why that explanation makes me angrier, only to realize that I kind of wish he felt something else in addition to his concern for some minor burns. Shouldn't seeing me in a wet nearly see-through shirt do something for him? At the very least get him ogling me a little? His self control isn't very flattering, I decide. Before I can think how to respond, another shiver runs over me.
Edward reaches for the clothes on the bed, looking concerned. "You need to get changed out of those wet clothes before you get sick."
I start to reach out, planning on yanking them out of his hands, when we both realize at the same time that particular task is going to be a little difficult under the circumstances.
"Uh, why don't I go track down Alice. She can help you."
So do I.
Lately, I've been seizing every opportunity I can to push Edward's self-imposed limits, and this one is just too good to pass up. If I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure Alice has made herself scarce. The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together, and this wouldn't be the first time she endeavoured to help me with my goals of loosening up my extremely moral fiancé.
"I think Alice left," I'm quick to point out. Instantly I see that my assumption is right when Edward's expression falls. His face is almost comical as he looks down at my hands, barely avoiding an overly long pause on my breasts. That little slip, brief though it is, does a lot to alleviate my earlier irritation. Maybe he's noticed more than he's letting on.
His mild look of panic would be cute, if I wasn't standing here in misery. I think this is the first time I've seen him at a loss, and it's all I can do not to grin.
"Is Rose or Esme here?" I ask innocently. I know they're not, but I ask anyway. It never pays to be too obvious with Edward. Sometimes he's beyond stubborn. I wouldn't put it past him to think of some other highly creative yet much less pleasurable way of helping me undress if he knew what I was thinking.
He sighs loudly. "No."
"Oh," I reply, biting my lip a little and waiting for him to take the bait. He doesn't, of course, so I purposely play up the shivering just the tiniest bit. It's not hard to do; I really am freezing to death. "Could you maybe . . . ?"
His eyes snap up to mine, then back down to my breasts before immediately coming back to my face. He swallows hard, and I see that look, the one I'm beginning to recognize as desire cross his features. That's the look I'm after. The one I've been able to coax out a time or two lately, but not nearly often enough or long enough for my liking.
Trying not to appear too pushy, I take a small step toward him, closing the distance between us. "Or I suppose you could just get me a blanket. I guess I can air dry."
His eyes narrow suspiciously. I swear they turn darker, and I know he's on to me. Damn it, I went too far. I wait for the inevitable. Either he'll help me but keep himself so restrained it will be awkward and embarrassing rather than arousing, or he'll get me a stupid blanket.
The waiting is painful, especially since I feel like I'm turning into an icicle. "Never mind," I sigh, turning in defeat and reaching for the buttons on my blouse on my own as I head for the bathroom. The simple movement hurts a lot.
Edward suddenly stops me with one hand on my shoulder, spinning me around before I can get to the washroom. "Come here, Bella."
I sigh out loud, figuring we're going for awkward and embarrassing when his hand cups my face softly. He lowers his mouth to mine, placing a gentle, lingering kiss on my lips. The kiss does more to warm me up than all the dry clothes in this entire house. And between Rosalie and Alice and their penchant for all things fashionably current and trendy, that's saying a lot.
I feel his hands slide down from my face, reaching for the buttons I wasn't able to undo. My heart stutters, and I forget how to breathe when the first one slides effortlessly from its enclosing loop.
Edward chuckles softly against my lips, still continuing to kiss me senseless. I'd curse my stupid traitorous tell-everything heart if his tongue, ice cold and sweet as heaven, wasn't sliding over my lower lip in a teasing caress, stealing all coherent thought from my brain.
"Breathe, Bella," he whispers, parting the now gaping material of my shirt, already finished with the buttons. His hands only barely graze my flesh but it feels incredible. Little sparks of that familiar electricity that exists between us, dance along my nerve endings. I'm so cold I can hardly tell the difference between his temperature and mine, which is a startling first.
He makes equally quick work of the button on my jeans and then my zipper, before moving his hands to cup my hips and pull me closer. He groans softly, a completely different sound than the one he made earlier in Carlisle's office. I no longer notice the cold at all. Heat pools everywhere inside of me, the contrast between my outsides and my insides creating a tiny moan in the back of my throat.
Edward deepens the kiss, swallowing the sound with a slight growl that instantly starts to make me damp in a very new way. One that has nothing to do with rain or wet clothes. He slides his hands under the waistband of my jeans and guides them with excruciating slowness down my thighs. The touch of his fingers on my bare skin is almost too much. Combined with his continued kisses, my knees start to buckle.
Edward breaks away, lifting me away from the puddle of denim at my feet. "You are absolutely covered in goose flesh," he murmurs, letting his now very dark eyes roam my body.
Blushing, I pull the cold, damp edges of my blouse back together. His comment is not exactly the complimentary sweet talk I was hoping for.
He frowns at my actions, catching my arms. "Don't," he says, his voice sounding equal parts velvet-lined and rough. As he holds my arms out to the sides, he shakes his head, drinking me in. "Don't cover yourself. My, God, Bella. Do you have any idea?" He groans again, and it's all I can do to stay standing. "Any idea at all how exquisite you are?"
I try to move back into his arms, partly out of embarrassment at my near nudity, and partly because it's the only place I really want to be right now. He restrains me, and I can't help the slightly frustrated way I say his name. Unfortunately, the coaxing effect I was going for is completely ruined by my chattering teeth. Instead of sounding sexy, it just sounds silly.
He grins at my stammering and leans down to kiss me some more, careful to hold his body at a respectable distance. I realize he's concerned about his temperature making me colder than I already am, but it still feels a little like rejection. I'm soothed a bit when his tongue briefly touches mine, the little electric tingles feeling more like lightning bolts whenever he allows himself to be that brave. It's rare. He's hardly ever willing to risk any part of my mouth coming in contact with his sharp teeth and venom. Still, he continues to kiss me, the action a little more chaste yet still very pleasant.
"You can't shower with your hands this way, but I could draw you a warm bath?" He murmurs the question against my lips, barely even breaking the little kisses he's giving now. His sweet breath floods my mind and fogs it right up.
"What?" As usual I am brilliantly intelligent under the full force of Edward's dazzling abilities.
He smiles and pulls back, a slightly smug expression on his glorious face. "I asked if you'd like me to draw you a bath. You'll need to keep your hands out of the water, but a warm soak will help to thaw you out."
I can't help being slightly put out by his constant ability to deny me, even when I am trying to be my most alluring. I suppose to be fair, the whole drowned rat look I have going on probably isn't all that sexy, and a bath does sound wonderful. So instead of arguing, I sigh and nod.
He's gone in a flash, and only seconds later I can hear the water running in the tub. The sound makes me shiver harder at the thought of the warmth. It suddenly occurs to me that this is even better than what I was loosely planning in my mind. Edward isn't exactly going to be able to leave me alone in there. Not when there's no way I can use my hands for balance. Especially not when he's so hyper aware of what a klutz I am. The combination of those two things and the addition of a slippery tub just spells disaster for someone like me, a thought that won't be lost on him. His overprotective tendencies are suddenly my greatest ally.
Smiling, I glance at myself in the mirror. The smile grows as I contemplate my hair. I just washed it last night, but the wind and rain have made quite the mess. The only way to get that out is shampoo and conditioner, two things that definitely require fully functioning fingers for effective use. And just look at my poor hands. Suddenly, I'm beginning to see this day in a whole new light, and I'm not nearly as dismayed at that lengthy list of difficulties I was contemplating earlier. Especially since I'm not the only one who needs to thaw. Since defrosting Edward is my newest, most favourite activity in the world, this bad situation could actually be good.
. . . . . .
A/N Bella, Bella, so devious... I kind of like this determined side of her. Let the defrosting commence. ;)