A/N: How lucky am I, and in turn, are you, that algonquinrt agreed to write this? I am so fucking flattered that she took time out of her busy schedule to do this for me. I think she was mostly kidding when she suggested it and then I practically begged, because Carlisle and Esme don't get nearly enough time, and I happen to think that algie has a perfect grip on them. She captured Carlisle so well here that I cried – twice – while reading it.
I was certain she heard me open the door and move into the steam shower behind her, but Esme made no move to acknowledge my presence. I reached around her to grab the shower puffy and squirted some gel onto it, rubbing circles on her back.
"I'm sorry," I said softly. I wasn't even sure she heard me until she responded.
"I know you are, but I'm not the one you need to apologize to."
"I know." I let out a sigh and finished her back, bending at the knees to soap up her lower half. Once I was standing again, I leaned into her. "Turn around so I can finish, please."
I felt her hesitation, not sure whether to forgive me or not. As she turned slowly to face me, I realized that neither of us could turn our back on the other. I couldn't remember a time when we'd gone to bed angry, so unwilling were we to deny our love for even the hours we were asleep. When my hands began to caress her, following the trail of bubbles left behind by her shower gel, I tried to imagine being in Edward's situation. What if loved another person as much as I love Esme? Could I turn my back on either of them?
I lost my train of thought as I dropped the shower puffy, a trapping of femininity I would never understand. Any further washing was going to be accomplished with nothing more than my hands, and as I traced my fingers over her full breasts, I was reminded of our shared past. My thumbs grazed over her nipples as I remembered high, pert breasts when we were dating. Full, burgeoning breasts in pregnancy, when their sensitivity was sometimes enough to bring her to the edge of orgasm without touching her anywhere else. The unfathomable eroticism of watching her nursing our son, her caramel waves falling over her shoulder as she gazed at him with adoration, then up at me with the deep, abiding love that has sustained us all these years. Her breasts were a reminder of all we had done, and shared, and she tipped her head back into the spray as I took one in my mouth, relishing that I could still cause that throaty moan.
While my mouth was at work on her breasts, my hands slid to her hips, fuller now than they'd been in our youth, before childbearing and life had their way with her body. I cherished their soft curves, allowing my hand to trace back and forth between them, crossing the faint silver lines that reminded me of the days when her belly was full with our child. Dipping lower, my fingers found her soft curls, and a small smile crossed my lips at the reminder that we were no longer as young as we once were; sprinkles of silver weren't hidden as easily here. I shifted my mouth's attention to hers as my fingers took advantage of the water, sufficient for stroking her. Her tongue met mine tentatively, reminding me that she was still hesitant about allowing me out of the dog house. We needed this, though, this reconnection with our bodies. I needed this.
The days of shower sex were long gone for us, so I reached behind her to shut off the spray, opening the glass door to grab one of the towels she'd set out on the warmer. I dried her gently, missing the days when that shower for us would have ended in a steamy interlude against the tiles, my hand over her mouth, and mine buried against her shoulder to keep Edward from hearing us. Instead, I toweled us both dry, taking her hand and leading her to the bed to continue where we'd left off.
She sat on the edge of the bed, pulling me to her, her cheek resting on my stomach as my fingers tangled in her damp hair. With a finger under her chin, I tilted her face to search her eyes, finding my own need reflected there. In a move born of years' experience, Esme slid back on the bed as I moved over her, settling between her thighs as our mouths met. I smiled as my teasing nips trailed to her jaw and then her neck, remembering that, at Edward's age, I assumed my parents had transitioned to a platonic relationship. At this age, I'd expected to be sitting on a porch rocker rather than licking every inch of my wife. Here we were, nearly 30 years married, and I still felt like I was discovering her body anew every time.
As my fingers followed open-mouthed kisses along her collarbone, then her breasts, then her ribs, I reached to her bedside table for the pretty pink and white bottle she chose after careful research and then a final decision based on aesthetics. I coated my fingers before sliding them between her legs, grateful for her research, yet nostalgic for our youth, when a few heated kisses were all the foreplay we needed. The slickness reminded me of those heady days, and as I stroked her before sliding two fingers inside her. She began to whimper; her moans and sighs the same from the woman as they'd been from the girl.
Lovemaking with Esme was like a Broadway dance routine with an established cast: so familiar, we could do it asleep or with eyes closed, yet in that familiarity was the ability to focus on the tiniest changes and movements. Lost in her sounds and the sinuous flow of her body under mine, small things seemed huge: her nails on my back... the warmth of her mouth against mine... the feel of the skin of her thigh as I ground against her.
I rolled us so that she was over me, letting her take control as she positioned me at her entrance, reveling in the beauty of watching her move over me. She took me into her, and I watched her, amazed at her dazzling brilliance as she increased the speed of her movements, as she got closer to her release, tilting her head back and letting her damp hair cascade down her back. Even in the unbearable heat of seeking my own release, I could see the singularity, the magnificence of this moment of pleasure that required its own additional work to achieve.
As Esme gasped above me before crying out my name over and over again, I rolled us over again, watching her face as she floated back down, her eyelids heavy, her lips swollen from our kisses, her breasts heaving as she caught her breath. I followed her into my own climax, my face buried in her neck while I chanted over and over again that I loved her. I slipped out of her, kissing her softly before reaching for a towel from the floor to help her clean up. She was drifting off to sleep before I could even thank her, and I sighed as I realized sleep would not come quickly for me. My mind was too busy; our lovemaking had created more questions.
My entire frame of reference for judging Edward, Jasper, and Bella was based on my own experiences. My parents had been shocked and disgusted by the sexual revolution of the 1960s. I had friends and acquaintances who are homosexual, but I'd also seen first-hand the lack of acceptance for those same friends. I watched the ostracism of gay patients during the worse of the HIV crisis, saw medical personnel who would refuse to go into a room if a patient even appeared to be gay, even with no evidence at all of HIV infection. It was difficult enough to come to terms with how much adversity my sons would still face being gay; adding in a third party and building a future on that was even less understood and accepted by society. A parent wants to protect his children.
My thoughts turned to Esme and her calm acceptance. In her role as nurturer, anything that makes her children happy makes her happy. Yet if I was honest, I could admit that our marriage had not been without its own trials; the crazy hours of residency and overzealous nurses can wreak havoc on a marriage that had no trust. There had been times when jealousy has reared its ugly head. Times when gossip and innuendoes weaseled their way into others' perception of our marriage. Was it really any different than what Edward, Jasper, and Bella would face? What was I more worried about? The adversity that they would face, or the possibility that some of that adversity might creep my way if tongues began to wag?
I made my way downstairs for a book when I heard Jasper and Bella on the couch talking. I stayed hidden in the dark, too tempted to avoid eavesdropping. They spoke of their future, of how they would spend the summer. Of what they would do when Edward's Match was made. Of how the rest of this trip would go. Of how to deal with my resistance. Listening to Bella and Jasper talking made everything shift inside me. This wasn't about three young people indulging a kink; this was my Edward, and Jasper, my second son, finding a soul they wanted to build a family with. It certainly wasn't conventional, but my eavesdropping gave me a new perspective: that of three adults looking at all the factors, big and small. Above all, Jasper and Bella seemed willing to pull up stakes to follow Edward, and Edward wanted to come home. This was home. He wanted to move his new family to be near his first family. Could I really be the one flaw in that plan?
When they finally moved upstairs, I moved to the couch. I sat in the dark living room, trying to process everything I knew. I loved my son. I loved Jasper. I liked what I'd seen of Bella: her fierce protectiveness of my boys. Esme accepted this whole-heartedly. The real clincher was that these three planned a future that might involve children. My grandchildren. Whether by blood relation through Edward or chosen family relation through Jasper, any children they had would be my grandchildren. I reacted earlier with shock. I hoped that any future conversations I had with them would go differently. Mostly, I wanted them to be as happy as I've been with Esme all these years. You can't predict the things that life will throw at you, all you can do is accept them as they come. Maybe tomorrow I could work more on that acceptance.
Sitting in the dark, I was so lost in thought that I failed to hear Jasper return after walking Bella upstairs. Perhaps I thought they would rub my face in their relationship and all sleep together. I was no longer sure what was going through my mind. I only knew that Jasper returned to the living room, and when my presence startled him, his immediate reaction was to call me "Dad."
I sincerely hoped that I still was.
A/N2: Did you love it as much as I did? I don't even care if you leave me a review (okay, that's only half true), but please, go to algie's account and leave her a review thanking her for this fabulous outtake.