I have promised this little wrap-up of Honeymoon Suite for so long, I motivated myself by setting the goal of posting it as a Christmas gift from me to Honeymoon Suite readers to thank you so much for the support and wonderful words you have given me. I wish you a very happy and healthy New Year. I hope you enjoy Bella's first hunt, reunion with Renesmee, and the romance of the "cottage scene" through Edward's point of view...
Epilogue – Let's Start with Forever
Bella stared speechless at her shimmering new vampire image in Rosalie's oversized mirror.
Of course, she was physically flawless, as we all were in this existence. The pale silk dress Alice had dressed her in accentuated the darkness of her longer, thicker hair, and complemented the fairness of her supernatural complexion.
I listened to my family members' thoughts centered on the glorious beauty of my born-again Bella. Yet, I was looking far beyond what they saw in the ornate mirror. I saw my future, my dreams come to fruition, the mother of my child, and my only desire. My sacrificed lamb resurrected.
It was a rebirth worth rejoicing.
Could the Fates be smiling?
I wanted to run to her, to hold her in my arms. I wanted to be alone with her to just stare into her eyes and absorb the truth that she had indeed had returned. Nevertheless, this moment couldn't be about me – not yet.
I opened my mind, focusing on Bella. She was more like me – could I hope to hear her mind? My optimism soon faded as there wasn't anything unexpected in the hum of thoughts around me. I had heard them all before, their minds as familiar to me as my own. I tried to hide my disappointment.
Never before had I so wanted to hear her thoughts. I needed to know if she held any regrets as she made her initial assessment in the looking glass, but even more than that, I felt it was my responsibility to anticipate her next action as everyone's thoughts had now turned from wonder to concern over unpredictability of newborn behavior.
I became aware of a new instinct bubbling to the surface. It demanded my attention. Renesmee. She was suddenly foremost in my thoughts. Jacob had insisted Renesmee be removed from our home, but I didn't trust what lurked on four legs beyond these walls. Even with Bella's potentially aggressive behavior, I still placed more trust in the strength my coven than in the good intentions of one imprinted wolf. Renesmee stayed.
I checked Jasper's mind for guidance. He was completely focused on Bella. Though we had all experienced the emotional volatility that comes with rebirth as our wild bewildered behavior was forever etched in our vast memories – the havoc Emmett wrought…what I had done to Carlisle…
I cut off the regretful train of thought, instead placing my complete attention on reading Bella. Even without feeling Bella's emotions or reading her thoughts, I could see the rapid shift of emotion flashing across her flawless face. Fascination appeared to be moving toward dismay.
Jasper's muscles tensed and everyone in the room mimicked his readiness. We all knew Jasper not only could sense her fluctuating emotions, but he had unprecedented experience with newborns. Logic dictated I defer to him, however, a low rumble vibrated in my chest, warning that she was mine and I would be the one to restrain her if necessary. Unfortunately, by now my family had discerned Bella's mind was still locked away by the uncertainly in my movements. They ignored my threat and watched Jasper for clues to her potential behavior.
Jasper was frowning.
Bella finally gave words to her distress. "The eyes?" her pitch-perfect voice quivered. "How long?"
What concerned me most was that she knew this detail. Again, I reminded myself that at this point in her existence, emotion, not logic, directed her. Instinct ruled her.
I spoke calmly, "They'll darken up in a few months. Animal blood dilutes the color more quickly." I kept speaking, hoping to divert her attention toward me and not the wet heartbeats a floor below us. "They'll turn amber first, then gold."
"Months?" she stressed.
Jasper leaned forward and everyone shifted slightly in response. Carlisle toward Bella, Esme toward the door as if to block any exit Bella might consider. Esme's thought reflected her concerns: Can't let her hurt Nessie or Jacob! She'll never forgive herself if she did.
Only Alice and I held our positions. Strangely, our lack of movement drew Bella's gaze and response. "No, I'm fine." She assured us, "It's just a lot to take in."
Well, I'll be damned. Jasper relaxed his posture slightly. How's she doing it?
Though I deserved none of the credit, I nevertheless, felt a twinge of pride. "I don't know," I answered him honestly, mildly amused. Bella always had a way of surprising me, and it appeared the "new" Bella would be no different. In this sense, she remained unchanged.
Jasper, however, couldn't comprehend her control. It defied all understanding he had of newborns. Though I couldn't comprehend how she handled the taunting beats of the two hearts below, I did know she had one distinct advantage over all of us at this stage: she know what had happened to her, and what she had become. The rest of us were unprepared for the onslaught of the gruesome reality we awoke to.
Still, I relented to Jasper's wisdom and experience, and led Bella to the window to venture on our first hunt – no sense in pushing our luck. Leaping would be the first test of her new abilities.
"The window?" she asked hesitantly.
"It's the most convenient exit. If you're scared, I can carry you."
"We have all eternity, and you're worried about the time it would take to walk to the back door?"
I didn't want to remind her since she was well distracted, but I couldn't lie either. "Renesmee and Jacob are downstairs."
She gave a slight nod in understanding, and sadness shadowed her face. Then she stiffened.
"Is Renesmee…okay…with Jacob there? He doesn't like her very much."
Bella had whispered her words, but my family heard, and many of them could resist diving into a bit of unspoken levity…
Can't wait to see you explain that one. Make sure I'm there to experience it! Jasper mused.
Emmett's comeback was just as quick, I've got $500 down Bella throws him at least fifty feet – straight up!
I don't know if I could put Jacob back together again, Edward, Carlisle thought, struggling between genuine concern and humor.
Poor boy, he won't be able to outrun her… Esme fretted.
I frowned, finding none of it humorous, and there was no way I was going to explain it now. Instead I was evasive, "Trust me, she is perfectly safe. I know exactly what Jacob is thinking."
She accepted my answer, which surprised me. Anxiously, she eyed the ground below.
Everyone's mind went quiet as they awaited Bella's next move…and then a thought popped into Emmett's head - the idea to give her a little shove.
"Watch me" I said, quickly intervening in Em's devious plan.
I jumped and looked up at her. Her expression softened, and I knew she'd follow. However, I wasn't prepared for the rush of panic that ensued. It appeared I needed to acclimate to the unbreakable Bella myself...
With a smile, I took her hand and we ran.
It was indescribable. I had always found pleasure in running, but with Bella grinning widely beside me, I was the king of the world.
Bella again hesitated at the edge of the river, but proved her newborn strength by clearing it by twice the distance I had – that is after she made a slight but practical alteration in her dress. I burst forward to catch up with her.
Once I did, she grinned in my direction. "Was that good?"
As if she had to ask….
"Can we do it again?"
Her wide-eyed excitement reminded me of a child who had just experienced a fantastic new amusement park ride. I so wanted to share in her newfound fun…but first things first.
"Focus, Bella – we're on a hunting trip."
Her face fell, and I half expected a full-on pout.
I relented. Maybe a little fun wouldn't hurt.
"Follow me…if you can."
I broke into a full run, leading the chase. Bella's laughter rang out, echoing between the trees that I first ran among decades ago. I could listen to her joy forever…and actually, now I could.
As she passed me, I soaked in her peal of triumphant laughter and scent of sunshine, until it was tainted by a musky smell. Elk.
"Bella," I called to her in a low voice and stopped my pursuit.
She danced back to me like a wood nymph, hair wild from the breeze. My eyes were inexplicitly drawn to her porcelain thighs, exposed by her newly shorted hemline. Now I was the one distracted…
I instructed her on how to listen for and smell out our prey, and how to let instinct take over.
Her eyes glistened, and when I spoke to her, they roamed my face, investigating every nuance with her keener sight. The breeze shifted and the scent of the beast became stronger. Bella drifted toward it, having decided on the bearing of our target.
Again the wind suddenly shifted, and it was then I realize my careless mistake. Horrified I could be so foolish, I tore after her as she flew past the scattering elk.
I pressed myself to my top speed, but I knew my chances of catching her were slim to none between her newborn speed and her head start. Guilt weighed so heavily on me that my feet dug deeper into the ground as I ran. But it wasn't the innocent blood that would be spilled that I feared as much as the trauma their deaths would cause Bella. She'd never forgive herself…or me. Carlisle and Rosalie's disappointed faces blinked in my mind's eye, as well as Jacob's sickened expression.
Calling out to her would serve no purpose. Thirst controlled her now.
I had failed her already. And my family. Anger at my stupidity fueled my steps and blurred my senses. So much so, that I didn't her Bella's footfalls had ceased. Only her feral growl stopped me in my tracks. Her crazed glare and crouched posture alerted me to another error on my part – her need to defend her prey.
"Bella! Stop! It's me. Think, Bella! They're human. Don't do it!" my strained voice pleaded with her rational mind, but in her blood-obsessed state, I doubted her ability to hear my logic. I threw up my hands in surrender and braced for her full-bore attack, better that it be directed at me than the nearby humans.
Instead, her expression mirrored mine.
She popped out of her crouch and her eyes focused. "I have to get away from here," her strained voice asserted.
"Can you leave?" I asked, surprised to see reason in her ruby-red eyes.
She spun and ran in the precise opposite direction of the human scent.
I followed, taking deep breaths through my nose – not just to track her as she streaked ahead of me, but also to be certain she wasn't running headlong into another potential human target. She was a blur of color against a background of greens and browns.
After some time, she unexpectedly stopped, and I ran past her. Tracking back, fear ebbed away, and I couldn't hide my shock. "How did you do that?"
Our banter flew from our lips at supernatural speed, yet I doubted Bella noticed she was engaged in another vampire skill. She explained her action, though admirable, were very inappropriate to her "condition".
All I could do was laugh. She was amazing!
And, as I learned immediately, amazing yet still emotionally volatile…
"Why are you laughing at me?" she hissed, her body stiffening.
"I'm not laughing at you, Bella. I'm laughing because I'm in shock and completely amazed."
I explained how untypical her reaction had been and though I could tell part of her was listening, another part was drifting somewhere else… and by her expression, it looked like… desire.
I hesitated. I needed to know, and I sensed I was close to getting the answer to the question I was too afraid to ask anyone.
I had known from my first exposure to her scent, that she was my singer. As such, her pull was undeniable. Before that, however, her silent mind captured my attention and curiosity. I truly believed I had fallen in love, yet mating happened between vampires. With Bella's change, how would our relationship-– the way we felt about each other-– change?
The way I felt now about her blazing eyes staring at me, I had half that answer. She was truly my mate. I knew her, and I felt her within me. More than love, I embraced an undeniable completeness and joy beyond description. She was more than my brand of heroin, she was my soul and entwined in my very existence. But what of Bella's instincts? What did they tell her about me? Was it possible that while I felt her as my mate, she did not have the same feelings for me? Would she choose me?
I gently laid my hands on her smooth face. "What I wouldn't give to be able to see into your mind for just this one moment."
She touched me in kind, her eyes reflecting the wonder in mine. Her touch was still electric.
"I thought I wouldn't feel this way for a long time."
Feel like what? In control? Not crazed? What?
"But I still want you."
A thrill shot through my body at the speed of light. She wanted me! My Bella, full of surprises.
I wanted to take her into my arms and spin her around. Instead, I gave her a crooked smile and asked, "How can you concentrate on that? Aren't you unbearable thirsty?"
Bella refocused and I watched her switch back into hunting mode. I follow suit, but longed for the time when we would reaffirm our bond.
By the reaction of Bella's body, I could tell she caught the scent two tenths of a second before me. A predator was not far from our position. Bella darted toward it; I followed, but at a greater distance so as to not distract her from her hunt. She needed to drink.
Pride filled me as I watched Bella move through the forest, focused, agile and sure. I even caught a glimpse of her smiling as she leapt from branch to branch in pursuit.
Could it be true? Was she really destined for this life? The face of fate changed in my mind. Bella was so beautiful as my sleek, sure-footed mate, it almost seemed plausible.
Just as Bella landed next to the doomed mountain lion, I froze. My need to protect her screamed in my head, but interfering in her first kill would be insanity-– on my part. I swallowed back the panic, digging my fingers into the nearest tree trunk for added stability.
And I watched.
This time, the thrill I felt was focused in just a single area of my body.
Though Bella, being a parched newborn, couldn't appreciate it yet, nothing was more arousing and sensual than hunting. Somehow, in releasing who we were, and in meeting our most basic and only need, it fed the fire of sexuality.
Bella had voiced wanting to see me hunt, I had discouraged it. I still wasn't sure if that was because I feared her seeing the killer in me or because I worried about the consequences of my possible arousal. I had seen it play over and over between the mates in my family. Much to my chagrin, I have even experienced the arousal and desire in myself while accompanying them. This was the probable reason I was rarely allowed to hunt alone with any of the woman in my family. Nature took its course, and this was our nature.
Bella drank in long pulls, her eyes wide. My body twitched.
When she finished and rose to a stand, I almost lost the casual demeanor I was trying to exude for her benefit. Her dress had several vertical rips from the cat's attacking claws. Her pale, glorious skin was on display and her scent washed over me. Blood was smeared across her face and lips.
My knees buckled slightly and I stored the visual for later. She would still be thirsty. In fact, my thirst seemed to grow exponentially in the last few minutes.
We hunted deer. Bella's nose wrinkled at their scent.
She hunted and also observed my hunt and kill. When her demeanor seemed calmer, I asked, "are you done for today or do you want to continue?'
Her posture shifted and her eyes changed. And although her words spoke about being full, her eyes hinted at another desire. Finally she gave it words, "I want to see Renesmee."
Of course, I would give her what we both longed for-– a family reunion-– but I also felt a shiver of resistance snake up my spine. Our child was flesh and blood.
The thought of Renesmee send me into a tailspin. Our daughter. For the first time, I was part of creation... not destruction. I found Bella staring into my eyes, a dreamy look on her face as if seeing me in a new light. We both had been reborn.
She reached around my neck and for the first time in this life, I didn't hold back my passion. I kissed her with all I had, knowing I was probably the only one at risk for harm.
Her grip tightened, actually resulting in more force against our lips. I licked and nipped at her lips, a wonderful mix of Bella's taste and the taste of fresh kill. We pulled each other closer, as if we could become one. Instead, physics toppled us over.
"Ooops. I didn't mean to tackle you like that. Are you okay?" she asked.
Looking up at my angel, I caressed her face.
"Slightly better than okay."
I didn't want to hold back. I wanted to consummate our new life, our new love, right here and now, but I needed to clarify what it was she wanted at this moment. "Renesmee?"
"Renesmee," she nodded, her eyes cooling and drifting in the direction of her longing-– toward home.
We took off, hand in hand, our excitement to see our daughter propelling us home as urgently as the hunt had taken us away. "Going home" had a new and thrilling meaning now.
On the way, Bella assaulted me with questions about Renesmee. I answered them in short responses, not wanting to give away too much – selfishly, I wanted to see the incredible surprise on her face when she laid eyes on perfect Renesmee for the first time with her new eyes. Unfortunately, I still let too much slip…
"She doesn't speak yet? What do you mean, she communicates effectively?"
I could tell my shortened answers were playing havoc on her newborn emotions, so I tried to back off.
"I think it will be easier for you to see for yourself. It's rather difficult to describe."
That seemed to appease her, but unfortunately, I soon found the questions just merely changed subject.
"Why is Jacob still here? How can he stand it? Why should he... Why should he have to suffer more?"
This was harder to deflect as my emotions came to the surface. Baby made a happy family of three-– Jacob made a crowded, smelly four.
"Jacob isn't suffering, though I might be willing to change his condition."
However, this still wasn't about me, it was about a family reunion, so I silently endured a chiding from Bella. It made me begin to hope Emmett would win the bet.
Emmett! We were nearing home, and I quickly covered Bella with my shirt to avoid most of Em's lewd thoughts and comments.
"I'll race you! No throwing the game this time!" Bella said, and we took off. I struggled to stay ahead of her, to reach home first in order to protect her and our child, but she bounded early over the river, leaving me to play catch-up. To my surprise, she had stopped short of the property line.
Jacob's thoughts greeted me.
Alright, bloodsucker, this is a test. If she can keep from mauling me, I may let her pass.
"Careful, Jacob. Maybe this isn't the best way-," I cautioned him.
"You think it would be better to let her near the baby first?" Jacob challenged me. "It's safer to see how Bella does with me. I heal fast."
I shrugged. It was his hide to risk.
I could tell all this was confusing to Bella, and confusion was probably trying her patience, which newborns are definitely not known to have. Quickly enough though, Bella and Jacob fell into their old banter, reviving that connection I never could understand. The tension eased a bit as I could feel Bella sensed she had not lost her friend- yet.
Then as if he had a peek into my thoughts, he said, "Thanks. I didn't know if you'd be able to keep it from her, promise or not. Usually, you just give her everything she wants."
A wicked grin formed on my lips. "Maybe I'm hoping she'll get irritated and rip you head off."
Then to my surprise, he damn well put his words to the test. He closed the distance between us and goaded her, "C'mon, Bells. Do your worst."
The Bella delivered the funniest line I had ever heard come from her mouth: "Huh, I can see what everyone's been going on about. You stink, Jacob."
There was plenty of laughter all around, but what set me most at ease during the whole exchanged was the lack of response from Jacob when I wrapped my arms around Bella. I had been conditioned to hear his snide, jealous, and determined remarks in his head since the beginning of our relationship, but this time, nothing. I pushed the envelope, whispering "I love you" into Bella's ear. Still, nothing from Jacob.
Bella stiffened. "Renesmee."
It was then I realized I could hear our child's heart fluttering.
"Come and see. I know you can handle this," I spoke softly.
It took some reassuring, but she began to move forward. When Jacob started resisting, I laid down the law in a tone I knew he'd understand. He and his pack were outnumbered, and my family reunion had been delayed long enough! Jacob spun and sprinted for the house.
I took her hand and knowingly, determinedly, stepped toward the next chapter of our lives. As we walked, so much flashed though my memory as it retraced the bittersweet journey leading up to the moment that was about to be. Anticipation filled my thoughts, as everyone I loved would be together in one room, as one family.
It was a love story that more than rivaled Romeo and Juliet. Our story went something like this: Lost boy meets quiet girl. Boy wishes to devour girl, but instead, finds himself hopelessly enraptured by her silent mind and gentle heart. Despite his heart's growing desire for her, boy leaves girl for her own good, unknowingly creating the perfect storm that nearly replicated the tragic ending of Romeo and Juliet. If it had not been for the strength of a fragile human, all would have been lost before it could reach the perfect storybook happily-ever-after climax. Found boy gets beautiful girl, marries her, and in a twist of fate that almost costs them everything, they are blessed with a miracle of pure love. I was certain no one could have ever thought up this epic love story...
My family was assembled. Smiles graced their faces, but their thoughts ran a full gamut. Tension filled the air, and I wondered what Bella's new senses told her about the scene before her.
Then I heard her gasp. Renesmee had caught her eye. I wished with every fiber I possessed Jasper's gift. What a high…
"I was out just two days?" Bella struggled, unbelievingly.
Her words asked for answers, but her eyes, locked with Renesmee's, told the rest of us that the answer really didn't matter. She knew Renesmee was her child.
And Renesmee recognized her mother. She smiled brilliantly. My heart silently leapt.
My family was at the ready, I knew that. However, no warnings were sounding. I soaked up the moment like a dried-out sponge. It was the moment I felt complete. I had all anyone could ever ask for. I longed to rush them both, and pull them into a hug. I wanted to drown in the laughter I had always dismissed in others, seeing it as false and a mere pretense.
But it was real. As real as the happy ending I was living.
Bella moved toward Renesmee and everyone moved with her- except Alice.
"Oh, give her some credit. She wasn't going to do anything. You'd want a closer look, too."
We knew to never bet against Alice, and the tension eased a bit.
Renesmee began to squirm in earnest. At this point, there was no keeping them apart. Now the tension was building in a different way- the anticipation of the physical reunion between mother and child. To ease the anxiety still tainting the air, I explained how Bella had handled the "situation" during our hunt, risking the admonishment I knew I'd receive from Carlisle.
All those present were in awe of Bella's ability to resist. They parted like the Red Sea before Moses, and Bella faced a clear path to Renesmee.
Our child cried out in anticipation.
Almost everyone in the room, especially Jacob, who rushed to take her into his arms, promptly misread Renesmee's reaction. But I knew her mind. She so wanted to touch her mother her frustration was voiced. Renesmee knew Bella in her mind. She needed to show her mother everything she had missed. Even more so, Renesmee ached to know her mother remembered her. And forgave her. It was time for emotional healing and bonding for both of them.
"She's been waiting for you for three days," I added.
But Jacob did not relent in his protests, both in his mind and his body language. I understood all too well that he had found his forever and the thought of risking that was overwhelming, however, he was not family... yet.
"Jake- I'm fine," Bella assured him.
I felt a grin forming on my lips as I saw him give Bella what she wanted. Were we that different after all?
As they touched, electricity shot through my body as if a shockwave emanated from them. Bliss exploded from Renesmee's mind. I glanced in Jasper's direction to catch his smile. I felt sorry for those around us who couldn't share in the magical moment- all but Alice, Jasper, and I took a protective stance. They didn't understand.
Renesmee was already feeding Bella information through her gifted touch. I waited with baited breath for Bella's reaction.
Everyone's thoughts diverged on the wonder of my daughter's gift; each thought had a positive tone. I beamed with pride, and the thought my child had already won the whole family over.
"What did you see?" Rosalie asked excitedly.
"She showed me that?" Bella exclaimed with wide eyes.
I leaned toward her and whispered, I told you it was hard to explain, but effective as means of communications go."
Jacob asked again what Renesmee had showed her, and that was when I saw pain in Bella's eyes. I had seen Renesmee's last memories of Bella, and they were indeed painful. More than what a child should have to bear. I thought I had mended some of her hurt, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe she needed more intervention. I tried to catch Carlisle's eyes to see what his assessment might be. However, he looked more fascinated than pensive. He was already trying to come up with theories on Renesmee's half vampire/half human gift- that actually shouldn't have occurred as she was not full vampire.
Torn between theorizing with Carlisle, and comforting Bella's distress, I tried to explain gently, "It was the only memory she had of you. She's letting you know that she's made the connection, that she knows who you are."
"But how did she do that?"
"How do I hear thoughts? How does Alice see the future? She's gifted," was my simplified response to my wife's question.
But Carlisle was at his bursting point, and blurted, "It's an interesting twist. Like she's doing the exact opposite of what you can."
I hadn't thought of that, and exploring this theory was worth investigating. Besides, Bella and Renesmee deserved some time alone to be reacquainted. I hoped others would follow my lead as I stepped several feet away from Bella to dive further into speculation with Carlisle, but I did keep my mind open to Jasper's.
That was when I picked up the first signs of trouble- Jacob had pushed the envelope with his over protectiveness, and Bella wanted to know why.
"What is your problem, Jacob?" she inquired with narrowed eyes.
I felt instantly guilty because everyone knew Jacob's problem except for Bella. I suddenly realized how wrong was to keep Bella in the dark. We'd probably all pay for that mistake once she found out.
Jacob moved in to take Renesmee from Bella, and we all responded afraid a confrontation was inevitable. We were all bunched into one huddle in the middle of the room with tension so thick it was palpable.
"Just because I understand, it doesn't mean I won't throw you out, Jacob. Bella's doing extraordinarily well. Don't ruin the moment for her."
No one breathed or moved, save Jacob and Renesmee. Then Jasper took a sharp inhalation, and I knew the wolf was just about to hit the fan. Bella had figured it out.
"No!" Bella exhaled with a venom-laced breath. She trembled, and I knew fury when I saw it. Emmett couldn't hold back, and all vampires heard him warn under his breath, "Look out, she's about to blow!"
While everyone heeded his warning once Rosalie was in possession of Renesmee, I moved to secure Bella. Although seeing the boy get a trouncing by Bella would have been quite welcome, I knew it was not ultimately what she would have wanted on her joyous rebirth-day.
"Edward, I don't want to hurt you, so please let go of me."
Did she mean that? Perplexed, I didn't move.
"Go stand in front of Renesmee," she added.
Well, given the option of protecting my daughter or protecting the dog, my fatherly obligation gave me no choice, really. I released Bella. Immediately Emmett did the mental version of a fist-pump. Sweet money, come to papa!
It was as if I was watching myself from just a few days ago, only this time, in Bella-form. Jacob again backed out of our front door begging for reason with Bella on his heels. No doubt, she felt the same way about Jacob's imprint as I did. He was robbing the cradle, and after Bella and I had been to hell and back for our child, we were not about to give her up so easily.
Their banter was heated, but Jacob was confident in his mind he could reason with his best friend… and future mother-in-law. Emmett was calling for pay up while Esme pleaded for intervention. Carlisle was still analyzing Bella's incredible control.
It looked as if Jacob might have been making a bit of headway with Bella, and then he made a major mistake-– he called Renesmee, "Nessie".
It was the last straw. Bella sprang.
I heard Seth's decision just a second too late. Being a compassionate soul as well as too young to understand the dynamics of the situation before him, he lunged between Bella and his alpha. The resulting crunch of Bella colliding with Seth upset everyone immediately.
Carlisle rushed to his side as Seth curled in his human form on the ground. Leah appeared at his side a moment later, placing one hand on Seth while she shouted expletives at Bella. Bella froze, staring at Seth on the ground while she chewed on her lower lip-– I guess some habits don't change. I gently placed a hand on her shoulder.
The imprinting was completely forgotten for the moment.
"Seth, why did you do that?" Jacob blurted.
"Gotta protect my fearless leader- even if he is stupid by baiting his baby-vamp mama." Seth managed to get out between clenched teeth.
"Actually, a good ass-kicking may be just what he needed to get his head on straight," Leah remarked to her brother.
Seth smiled. "Didn't think Nessie should have to see either Jacob or Bella get hurt, so I took one for the team…for our family."
Leah rolled her eyes. "Oh, brother. What a sap!"
"Well, looks like I'll be able to put that x-ray to more use," Carlisle stated as he scooped up Seth and took him into the house. Everyone else followed and assembled in the living room to await the results.
In the time we worked closely preparing for the newborn army, and realizing Seth was the first to join Jacob in defending Bella and our daughter, I had become quite fond of Seth. Though he was young, he showed incredible maturity and conviction, and had a good heart. His father would be proud. For what it was worth, I made a promise to his father's spirit to protect Seth, and try to be a good role model or father figure for him.
My first step in the direction was to offer apologizes to Jacob and Leah. I should not have let things go as far as they did between Jacob and Bella. Bella was relying on me to help her make level-headed decisions, and I failed to do so-– even though Leah had a good point about the ass-kicking.
For some reason, though, my apologies annoyed Bella.
Luckily, all that had been broken was a collarbone and shoulder-– most of which had been healed by the time Carlisle finished the x-rays. Carlisle applied a little manual manipulation and tight wrapping to keep the bones in place as they mended.
Seth was gracious and forgiving, taking the whole incident in stride. In fact, he took the opportunity to explain quite animatedly how Sam's pack could not cause harm to Renesmee because of Jacob's imprint. I could see the relief in Bella's worried face. I definitely owed Seth one.
Renesmee seemed to be in hyper-mode, catching Bella up on everything she had missed, the flashing of images passing through Bella's mind reflected in her emotions. I could read her expressions and almost could guess what our daughter was showing her. It was taking a toll on Renesmee as much as it was on Bella. The both began to look worn.
We had been over the crisis of Bella's control with Renesmee, Jasper's soul-searching departure, imprinting, first hunt, and the questions about our daughter's growth, that Carlisle and I were as of yet, unable to answer. The excitement and anxiety were actually wearing everyone down. I was glad when I read in Alice's mind, "I think it's time."
"Happy Birthday!" Alice squealed as she dropped the key into Bella's hand.
"No. No way! No, this doesn't count. I stopped aging three days ago. I am eighteen forever," Bella insisted.
Alice blew off her protests; nothing was going to spoil this moment for her.
"Are you ready to open your present?"
"Presents," I corrected her, pulling out the key to her "after" car, just as I had promised. That was not the surprise. She knew that gift was coming.
My family made preparations for Bella and I to be reunited in a proper husband and wife manner. Despite the lewd thoughts I had to endure from Emmett and Jasper, this was so going to be worth it.
My thoughts swirled around her. My happiness indefinable.
Fortunately, my brain could process both trains of thought - the one that enjoyed the excitement of showing her our new home, relishing the glee and appreciation I saw on her face and heard in her words, and providing a tour of our snug cottage. The other part watched every subtle, graceful move of her body, the lines of her face as she smiled, the glances in my direction that left no question she was in my life, part of my world forever. And we would be together in a way that I could show her the complete depth of my love, everything I had been holding back could be shared.
When we made it to our room, I did intend to follow through with my promise to Alice to make certain Bella's closet was on the initial tour, but Bella, as usual, surprised me.
"We're going to tell Alice that I ran right to the clothes. We are going to tell her I spent hours in there playing dress-up. We are going to lie," she hummed, breathing sweet breath across my face as she pulled me close.
I swallowed- hard.
The feeling started from somewhere in my middle, and radiated outward to envelop my whole body. I could see in the dim moonlight the spark in Bella's ruby eyes. I had seen that spark before in her brown ones. I knew what she was thinking, what she wanted. I was more than willing to oblige. And she thought she'd have to wait her whole newborn year for this- as did I. Now, I was confident we'd put Rosalie and Emmett to shame on this night.
No holding back. Not anymore.
No longer did I have to put my emotions, physical reactions and needs in separate silos hidden away from Bella's constant vigilance. Holding back from her was difficult; she always knew there was more. The pained looks she saw on my face were the barely concealed evidence of the things I had to hide.
This night, I would unlock the doors that kept parts of me divided. I would love her wholly.
This revelation alone filled me with such joy. The thought of what I could now give to her! I pulled her to me with fierceness and low moan emanated from my throat and chest.
I would give her what she wanted.
I don't know whose clothes began ripping first, but it was a frenzied blizzard of shreds and tatters. She was warm to the touch, perfect. Soft, but not breakable. The same, but different.
Unclothed, we sunk to our knees in an embrace. Nightmares over. Eternity ahead.
I had the advantage of knowing through the thoughts of others that sexual contact as a vampire was much more intense than the sensations experienced as human. I couldn't wait to give her that pleasure.
No caution, no restraint. No fear- especially not that.
Free of shackles, I breathed her in— allowing the most primal side of me to go where it willed. The want, the need, the unburdened passion rushing to the surface, flooding my body and brain, and all mindful thought flew away.
I did not pursue it.
Bella, until now, the model-perfect newborn, raked her nails across the skin of my back, clutching and pulling me to her. Pain and pleasure. The mixture permeated my being and drove me mad. I wanted to dominate her, show her the man I was. Not the seemingly timid boy who repeated rebuffed her sexual advances. I was no longer the virgin who knew nothing about the art of lovemaking. I was the man who could take her in the way she wanted the night I proposed, the way she wanted her new husband to consummate their union - with unhindered passion and abandoned logic.
What tore at the frayed edges of my sanity was the concealed desire to be rendered helpless beneath her. I wanted her to take...be the wild newborn I knew was pacing beneath her calm demeanor. No matter how controlled, she was a vampire. She was more than capable of the raw emotion and animalistic behavior at the core of all of us. I desired to see it, feel it, and experience it.
With a roar, I grabbed her hips and rose to a stand. Bella clung to me, wrapping her legs around my hips - and squeezed.
Again, I roared as I stumbled forward , her silky thighs gripped and threatened to crush me. She responded with a feral growl, rising to my challenge. She humbled me with her teeth locked around my throat as the predator subdues its prey.
With a loud crack, her back slammed into a wood pillar. Sandwiched between the pillar and my body, she pressed her apex into my pelvis, her resounding moan filled all the empty spaces of our room.
"Never...not like this before..." she panted. "So different...more...more. I love you."
"Pleasure, Bella. I will give it to you every day, my love," I promised her breathlessly. "All of me I give to you, and I will have all of you..."
My hands slid from her bottom to her ribcage and I pushed her further up the smooth wood, covering her breasts in fervent kisses, taking them with my mouth, nipping and pulling in response to her panting cries of "more".
"All of me... all of me," I responding, knowing she would understand my passionate surrender to her and her wishes.
"Mine!" Bella growled, accepting my offering.
With the strength of a metal spring under pounds of pressure, Bella unlocked her legs from my body and pressed them into the pillar, catapulting us across the room. The wood groaned and creaked in response. I let our momentum carry us in a freefall. The stone floor absorbed our crash landing, and Bella let out a peal of laughter. However, her mirth was short lived as she took my face in her hands and devoured my mouth with hers firm lips.
For the first time, our tongues danced together unimpeded by cautious restrictions. My hands roamed her curves and caressed her skin as we kissed, and time flew away. Her taste was exquisite, her movements upon my body slow and seductive. The sweetest torture imaginable.
Bella began to pull away, dragging her teeth along my tongue, before kissing my lips. She looked silently down at me, her garnet eyes shined; they beautifully reflected the nectar that her body still consumed.
"You drank me, Edward," she stated brazenly, her eyes locked on the scars of her arms and wrists.
"Yeeessss," I hissed, somehow not surprised she mentioned the blood I was currently longing for.
"Is there more? Does it still exist?"
"Mixed with the venom that courses through you, my love. It still moves within you. It's there in your radiant eyes," I crooned to her, aroused by the thought of having my singer the way I always wanted her - eternal.
"Bite me. Bite me, Edward," she commanded, lowering her body and extending her neck over my mouth. Her skin grazed my lips, so fragrant and smooth. "Do it."
My breathing sped, useless to my lungs, but her scent fed my temptation. It felt wrong, it felt right.
I pulled her neck to my mouth and teased her, running my teeth over her carotid and jugular. Over the scar I had left during my desperate attempt to bring her back to me. This time the scar that would take its place would reflect undenied desire. I sank my teeth into her flesh and took in the fluid that escaped her.
Bella moaned and I echoed hers with my own. Though the taste was diluted with venom, there still remained the blood that sang to me. It energized and fed me.
"Edward, Edward..." she called out my name in pleasure, and her body trembled over me. I drank in deep pulls until she stilled beneath me. In slow, dragging licks, I sealed her wound.
"That may be your first release of the night, but not your last," I whispered into her ear.
I nuzzled her neck, before placing open-mouthed kisses up her neck, jaw, and chin until her body responded. In one swift motion, I moved her onto her back and straddled her hips. She looked up at me with heavily-hooded eyes.
"I heard vampire women do not need recovery time between orgasms," I informed her.
"Oh!" Her fiery eyes lit up the darkness.
"Mrs. Cullen, you will want for nothing. I promise you."
We made love over and over again that night. The only words shared were words of thanksgiving, devotion, and joy. The road to our bliss was difficult, but anything worth having was worth sacrifice. No doubt, struggles lie ahead of us, but together we were strong, and for our daughter, we would give it all. Life now had meaning and purpose.
Our bond strengthens us, and never will either of us stand alone.
I kissed the ring I had placed on Bella's right hand, bearing the Cullen coat of arms. The lion representing courage, bravery, ferocity, and valor. The hand, a pledge of sincerity and justice. The shamrocks to indicate time without end; perpetuity. Finally, the banner- protection.
I no longer doubted Carlisle's teachings and Esme's faith. It wasn't what we were that defined us, but the choices we make.
I held my wife close as the morning light filtered into our home.
A new dawn.
I looked forward to what it would bring.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading! I have not ruled out outtakes for this story, but at this time I have none in production. If you have not viewed the video representation of Honeymoon Suite, please check it out on YouTube at http:/www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=XfpXgqbz1Vo (direct link available on my profile). It's so close to half a millions views!
In addition, I invite you to check out my new AU story, Future Imperfect. Updates are posted weekly. Honeymoon Suite has such wonderful readers, I'd love to have you back again with a new story!
Finally, thank you to Gasaway Alley for helping me get this to you in time for Christmas. Her beta skillz rock!
Best wishes for the new year!