It may be just one day, but it's gonna be a good day. A lemontastic day. A lemon-zesty, smutty, "so happy we don't need to sleep" sorta day. This is the first chapter, in which Bella learns that the Cullens have a special tactic for staying married so long. This is the setup (a.k.a "plot"). Once it's up, you may skip to the PWP part starting in chapter 2 if plot means nothing to you. Hey, I don't judge! *grin*
Twilight and the Twilight characters are solely the property of Stephenie Meyer. She owns them. I just let my keyboard do very wicked things with them. Naughty keyboard!
Special note: If you start reading this and decide it's not for you, please leave a review saying why.
September 18, 2020 - 7:56 a.m.
Things had been more perfect than I ever could have hoped for. I still couldn't believe my luck. It had been twelve years since our wedding -- twelve years since those dark days of pain and fear. Each day with Edward was wonderful. Each night was never enough. My mind wandered for a moment, thinking of those nights together. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought they would be so wonderful. Edward was the most loving, beautiful, sensual man, and he paid tribute to my body in ways that left me both utterly fulfilled and feeling like I'd never had enough. A small ripple of pleasure went through my body as I dwelled on this thought. I would definitely have to wear something special tonight.
I had to force myself to tuck those thoughts far back into the recesses of my mind. I drove them out with thoughts of my daughter and her husband. I still smiled inwardly at that thought. Her husband. My son-in-law. I gave an ironic snort -- the idea of Jacob as my son-in-law always made me laugh a little. He looked a good ten years older than me, and had been both my best friend and would-be lover in our past. But I couldn't be happier that he was in love with, and married to, my beautiful daughter.
Renesmee and Jacob were traveling for the next year. They left six months ago to see the world, and were having, by all accounts, an amazing time. A few years after Nessie's birth we finally moved from Forks. The Cullens had already been there several years too long. Because of Jacob and Charlie, we didn't go far. First to Seattle, living there for eight years, then subsequently to a rural area outside of Portland. Nessie and Jacob were married here, and after working through some issues with his pack, they decided to spend a little "alone" time seeing the world.
Our new home in Oregon was made up of a main house and three smaller cabins. These were occupied, for the most part, by the younger couples of the family. Carlisle and Esme lived in the main house, as did Jasper and Alice. Edward and I, still "newlyweds" by vampire standards, had one of the cabins. Emmett and Rosalie, who were not newlyweds but still acted like it, occupied another. The third was Nessie and Jacob's. Though I was sad to see it stand empty, it heartened me to know they had a home to come back to whenever they chose.
I tried to spend a few hours each day doing the vampiric version of sleeping -- laying on a bed or couch and just closing my mind and senses as much as possible. I hoped to maintain whatever vestiges of humanity I could, and this was a comforting practice. I was about to get up from my "sleep" when Edward came in. I had heard his footsteps long before he came into the cabin, and had been surprised at their tone -- familiar, but different. They were hesitant, almost, cautious, in their approach. Edward normally carried himself with a confidence I envied. Something must be wrong. A finger of anxiety began to claw at me.
Sitting up as he came in, I saw he was frowning slightly. When he looked at me and his face relaxed some, but the crease between his eyes remained. He was so beautiful. It still took my breath away that he was mine. And what's more, that I could see every day that he felt the same sense of awe and wonder at having me. He looked thoughtful when he spoke.
"Bella, I need to talk to you about something. It's a little...awkward. But..." he broke off mid-sentence. I waited for a moment for him to continue, but he didn't.
"Edward? What's the matter?" He had me worried now. I walked over to him and squeezed his arm gently. He looked down and smiled.
"Don't worry. It's nothing that you should be...concerned about. It's just, like I said, awkward." He released a sigh and continued, "Let's sit down."
Something was very wrong. Edward was never at a loss for words about anything! We walked to the bed together and sat on the edge. He held my hands in his, looking down at them while collecting his thoughts. It was hard as hell, but I kept quiet, trying to be patient and give him time to speak. He finally did.
"We've only been married twelve years. I know that seems like a long time to humans, but to us, it's just the very, very beginning." I started to interrupt, to let him know that he didn't need to explain this, but he held his finger to my lips in the universal "let me finish" gesture. "Carlisle and Esme have been together for almost ninety years, and Emmett and Rosalie for almost long. Alice and Jasper have been together for more than half a century. You are a part of this family, so you know without a doubt the love they have for each other. Each person is as devoted to their spouse as you and I are to each other."
I was sorely tempted to speak -- To agree? To hurry him along? -- but I didn't. He needed whatever build-up he was talking through.
"The thing is, there's something you don't know about the family. Something that we haven't talked about. It doesn't come up often, and I'll be honest with you, I kept it from you last time it did come up. We kept it from you."
Cold fear suddenly gripped me, coiling in the pit of my stomach. My mind went back to the dark days when the Volturi almost stole our very existence, when everything about "eternity" seemed unbearable temporary. Edward saw me tense, and looked up from my hands, meeting my eyes. He smiled a little then, and I relaxed.
"Love, please don't worry -- it's nothing to fear. It's just a sort of...family ritual that comes up once every ten years. It's something that the couples in the family came up with several decades ago as a way to keep their relationships...fresh. I've never been a part of it, and last time it came up we had barely been married two years. I didn't think I could handle you knowing about it. Plus we had Renesmee to think of. So, I admit, I was a coward. I took you and Nessie away rather than give you the option of participating."
I was completely lost. A family tradition? That didn't sound like something to run away from? And what did it have to do with marriage? The cold knot uncoiled itself from my stomach. I had to speak -- I couldn't help it.
"Edward, back up. What do you mean by "fresh?" What is this tradition?"
Edward looked decidedly uncomfortable, and began to pick at invisible threads at the hem of my short cotton skirt with one hand, the other loosely holding mine. He thought for a moment and then took a deep breath, sighing as he exhaled.
"I don't know how to say this any other way, so I'll just spit it out." Another deep breath, and long pause. "Once every ten years the couples of the Cullen family...um..." another pause "...trade partners. Sort of. It's something they do in the interests of keeping their relationship "alive". At least that's what they tell me. They see it as a way of having an outlet for any unfulfilled desires, and reaffirming their bond. It's, well, oh god Bella, I'm not sure how to say any of this. I'm really afraid you'll judge them. Me. All of us. But you should know it's something we...or at least they...do. It's something they want to open up to us, and I have promised to discuss it with you."
I was more than a little shocked. I knew the depth of the bond between the couples in the Cullen family. But then, if it was something they did in the long-term interest of their relationships, I guess it wasn't that surprising. And forever with the same partner was a very, very long time. I smiled a little inwardly. I honestly don't think I'd seen Edward that uncomfortable. Ever. He was fidgeting, and his normally calm visage was stamped with both fear and...embarrassment? Yes, he was mortified to be telling me this. He honestly thought I would be angry!
"Edward?" I watched his face, waiting for him to meet my eye. "Edward? Please look at me." Finally he looked up, grimacing slightly as he did so -- as if preparing himself for an attack. "So, let me see if I can recap a little, to make sure I understand." He nodded slightly, but the frown on his face made it look as though I'd just suggested slowly pulling his fingernails out one by one and feeding them to him. "You're telling me that in order to keep their marriages...um...alive...so to speak, our family essentially participates in group sex once every ten years? Then they go back to their husbands and wives and enjoy...a greater bond, for the next ten years?"
Edward shrugged a little, looking every bit the seventeen year old he was. When he spoke, it was with a pained tone.
"Sort of. There are...rules. It's not group sex. More like partnering. And it's not technically sex, actually. It's...well..."
"What are the rules?" I interrupted him.
He sighed, and rolled his eyes at me. Interrupting with a barrage of questions fell solidly under the "typical Bella" category. I was routinely teased about it.
"Only a few. First, it's the women's choice. They are the only ones allowed to ask. That was the women's rule -- they didn't want to feel pressured by any particular male member of the family. Secondly, no "sex", as in, intercourse. Everything else is fine, but," as he paused, the crease between his eyebrows deepened visibly uncomfortable, "no vaginal penetration. That's for husbands only. That was the men's rule. Thirdly, it lasts twenty four hours, once a decade. The final rule is, no-one is allowed to discuss what happened with the...other people."
I was utterly silenced by this. While my mind could process it, the number of questions swirling around shut me up until I could choose which to ask first. I blurted out the most obvious one.
"And they want us to...participate...in this?"
He took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. "Not necessarily. It's up to us. They know that each couple has to decide, together, to do this. And not every couple does every time. We may not want to ever, or maybe not for another decade, or more. But I agreed to at least let you know about it so we could discuss it. I didn't feel right keeping it from you last time, but everything was still so...new."
I laughed a little at this. He looked up at me surprised.
"Edward" I chuckled "I can understand why you did. This is pretty...huge. And not at all what I expected."
I then let the most important question out, "Do you want to do this?"
I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I loved Edward more than life itself, and had never thought of sharing him -- or being shared, for that matter. But on the other hand, we had only ever been with each other, and could possibly learn something from, not to mention enjoy, things with a new partner. Things we could bring back to each other. I let my mind wander, briefly, to the thought of being with the other Cullen men. Emmett, Jasper and Carlisle. Tried to picture myself in their arms, kissing them. I want to say it was uncomfortable -- and it was a little -- but my body betrayed me as I felt the rush of warmth shoot through my belly, and dampness pool between my legs. But could I open us up to this?
I looked at Edward to gauge his response, and saw from his visage that he was as conflicted as I was. When he looked at me I saw the love in his eyes, a glint of jealousy (I remembered that look from the "Jacob" days) and something else. His eyes were slightly darkened, and I could feel a tension coming from him that I couldn't quite place. I saw his nostrils flare slightly, and realized he could smell my arousal. Terrified I had offended him I was about to tell him that of course we wouldn't do this, when he lunged at me.
Edward pinned me to the bed with a ferocious kiss, wild and possessive. He owned my mouth, tongue dominating me, parting my lips without asking, holding my face between his powerful hands. My body responded in kind. I clutched at him, wanting to own him in kind. My hands roamed everywhere -- clutching at his hair, pulling his head closer to me, reaching my hand down to grab his wonderfully hard length as it pressed between us. Edward pulled away from our kiss, and looked directly into my eyes, a fierce expression burning in his eyes. He spoke in almost a growl, "Bella. You. Are. Mine."
"If we do this, you will remember that. You are mine. Forever. This would be for us. Do you understand?"
I nodded again, shocked at what I was hearing. I was trying to collect my thoughts. Were we going to do this? Really?! But before we could say anything else, the bedroom door flew open and Alice walked in, covering her eyes.
"Sorry! I couldn't see exactly what I'd walk in on. Cover up if you need to!" She was in a very chipper mood -- OK, Alice was almost always in a very chipper mood. I smiled up at my sister-in-law, staying exactly where I was under Edward. I felt no shame about loving him. Edward, however, was not so sanguine about the interruption.
"Alice!'' He almost bellowed. "What are you doing? Why are you here now?"
She looked nonplussed, waving away Edward's admonishment with a flick of her hand, "I came to stop you guys from spending agonizing hours discussing this thing and turning it every which way and sideways. I'll just cut to the chase and tell you what you decide and how it will turn out."
Edward and I looked at each other for brief moment, then looked back at Alice. He sat up, bringing me with him. To prevent Edward any unnecessary embarrassment, I tried to not draw attention to exactly which parts of him I was removing my hand from. Alice sat in the chair across the room, looking as if we were planning a simple shopping trip or a picnic.
"OK, so here's the deal. You'll do it. Both of you." She gave us a moment for this to sink in, "And it will be very good for you. It will make your marriage even stronger, I promise. But..." she sighed dramatically, and rolled her eyes "...being Edward and Bella, you two will be a little...different...about it. Of course." She rolled her eyes again, deciding, apparently, that the first eye-roll hadn't been sufficient to get her annoyance across.
"Edward, this is going to be harder for you, since you tend to be...ahem...overprotective...of Bella. You will worry about her too much to send her off on her own. So, you're going to stay with her at first." Edward gaped at her, shock written all over his face. He looked like he was about to speak, but she cut him off. "No, I don't want to hear it. I'm telling you what will happen, so just shut up and listen. Bella, you are going to need to get over your nerves about this, and Edward you're going to have to trust her. I've looked at every possibility, and there's only one person that can handle how you two are -- only one person you trust enough to do this with your first time."
Edward looked at me, obviously wanting desperately to speak, but stunned into silence. Alice continued, her voice trilling as she spoke.
"You're going to Carlisle!"
Alice jumped up from the chair and ran over to me, hugging me tightly. She leaned in to my ear and whispered to me.
"Call him Dr. Cullen. He loves that!"
She then hugged Edward quickly and flitted out of the room, singing "He's expecting you at nine!" as she left.
Please be kind and review – it's truly the only thing we get back from writing. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Unconstructive criticism will be roundly mocked by myself and my three cats. *grin*