Age of Edward Contest
Title: An Aquarian Exposition
Your pen name: radiofreeamy
Type of Edward:1969 Woodstock Draftward
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit: The Age of Edward C2 Community:
AN: Special thanks to my beta and friend, Jensy. I don't know what I would do without you! Thanks for not throwing sharp objects at me when my "one-shot" turned into a 12k word monster. Love you BB.
I realize there are a couple other Woodstockward fics submitted, but any similarity is purely coincidental.
The actual Lottery Draft for the Vietnam war didn't actually occur until Dec 1969. I moved this up a year so that it would fit within the Woodstock timeline.
An Aquarian Exposition
It was mid morning on August 15th, 1969, and I was crammed in the backseat of Jasper's turquoise '57 Chevy station wagon. Though the day was young, the temperature was already hovering in the mid eighties and the air was thick with humidity.
Most unfortunately, Tanya, the name Jasper had given the car after losing his virginity to Tanya Denali in the backseat over five years ago, didn't have air conditioning. We had the windows rolled down to cool us off, but all that accomplished was to whip my hair into a disheveled train wreck. I was sweaty, my ass was numb, and I was scared shitless of what awaited me in five days.
At the end of the semester last December, I had decided not to return for the second half of my freshman year at Harvard. My parents were disappointed, but I was restless and wanted to take a year to find myself. I planned to return to school eventually and I still wanted to go to medical school like my father before me, but I just needed a break. I should have been a little more specific when I asked for time to "find myself", because finding myself was what I was about to do . . . in the jungles of Vietnam.
I had been exempt from the Selective Service as a college student, but once I dropped out of Harvard, I became free game for the US Government. Imagine my surprise in February when I received letter asking me to submit to a physical exam. They had instituted a lottery draft in December, making my birthday one of the first drawn.
Confused, I approached my father, and together we contemplated what to do. My mother was frantic and begged my father to make phone calls on my behalf, to his friend in the Senate or even to Harvard to request my immediate re-enrollment. It would have been easy to allow my father to find a way out for me, but it somehow felt wrong to do that.
Her eyes swollen from crying, my mother begged my father. "Carlisle, this must be some sort of mistake. Edward can't go to Vietnam. He can't. I won't let them get their claws on my sweet boy!"
My father pulled my mother into his arms. "If I recall, war is what brought us together."
"That's different, Carlisle. World War II was real, not some political statement. I'll die if anything happens to him. He's all we have."
"Shh, it will be alright, Esme. Edward's a smart boy. I'm sure they will have something for him that won't be on the front line. And besides that, he doesn't want me to get him out of the draft. We raised him to be an honest and loyal man, and he's demonstrating that now. I have faith that he will come back to us."
I quietly crept away as my parents wept in each other's arms. I hoped I was making the right decision.
My father, Carlisle, had fought for his country in World War II, serving as a medic for the 45th Infantry Division. He spent most of his enlistment in Italy, where he met and fell in love with my mother, Esme. After the war they married and moved to Chicago where my father finished medical school and started his own practice. I could see the pride in my father's eyes when I told him not to buy my way out of the draft. If I was called to serve my country, then that was what I would do.
I had my physical exam in March and I received my Order to Report for Induction in July. I was to report to Ft Bragg, North Carolina on August 21, 1969.
I had never mentioned the original draft letter to my two best friends, Jasper and Emmett. They had both been away at college at the time, enjoying their lives, and the last thing I wanted to do was rain on their parade. I lived in denial, hoping if I didn't think about it, it would go away.
My buds came home for the summer and we had been having a blast after spending nine months apart. When I finally told them my news they were initially pissed off that I had kept it from them, but then they came around, proclaiming that they planned to give me the best three weeks of my life before I became property of the US Army.
We spent nearly every waking moment together—drinking, smoking, and chasing women. Well, they were more into the chasing women than me. They determined that it would be unpatriotic for me to go off to war a virgin, and made it their solemn duty to find a girl who would take my V card before I became Private Cullen. They didn't seem to understand that I had experienced plenty of chances to have sex before now, but I was still a hopeless romantic who wanted my first time to be something more than a quick, awkward fling in the back of my dad's car.
I went along with them by continuing to party with my friends, secretly keeping my eyes open for that girl who would affect my heart and soul, not just my cock.
So here we sat in a traffic jam along route 17B in upstate New York. Jasper had caught wind of a three-day outdoor concert that would host some of the hottest rock bands around. He had talked about it for weeks and when he heard about my being drafted into the Army, he declared we had to go. It would be our last hoorah of sorts.
The concert was to be held in the small town of Bethel, New York, and his plan was for us was a three-day non-stop party full of camping, drinking, and grooving to great music. After the show, the guys would drive me down to North Carolina and drop me off to report for duty.
It sounded like fun, so I agreed to go. I had never seen Jimi Hendrix in concert before and I thought it would be a cool way to spend my final moments of freedom. Plus, my mother was a wreck and I couldn't bear the thought of my parents dropping me off at the army base. We had said our goodbyes on Wednesday and it had been difficult, but I couldn't imagine how hard it would be for her to let me go right outside Ft. Bragg.
We had left Chicago two days ago and had driven to New York City to pick up Jasper's older sister Rose and her roommate Alice. Jasper, the driver, was unabashedly flirting with Alice in the passenger seat the entire ride. I was stuck in the back with Rose and Emmett, who were engaged in a heated debate about sexism and college athletics. Emmett was arguing that girls should not play sports in college because nobody really cared about their performance, which infuriated the feisty and sporty Rose.
The sexual tension between the two couples was as thick as the humid air blanketing us, and being the odd man out, I was suffocating. Thankfully we were supposed to meet a third roommate later at the concert venue, and I hoped that she would provide some diversion from the sex-fest surrounding me. She had been attending a writing seminar at Cornell and was driving herself. Bella, I think Jasper said her name was.
After an eternity of waiting in traffic, we finally were able to access the upper camping area. It was basically a huge field with thousands of people setting up tents, and after bickering about the best location, we eventually found a level spot to park the car.
We began unloading the camping gear out of the station wagon and it wasn't long before I heard the distinct hiss of a beer being cracked open. I looked over at Emmett, who was reaching into the red metal cooler and tossing beers to the rest of us. I was burning up and the cold liquid felt good going down. Maybe if I stayed drunk or high enough, I could forget about my future in the military.
Emmett, Jasper, and I had all been in boy scouts together as kids and we had the two green canvas tents up in no time. The girls claimed the larger of the two tents, positioning their blankets and pillows inside while chatting happily.
Observing this all with a smirk, I somehow doubted these sleeping arrangements would stick. Jasper was practically drooling while watching Alice bend over to enter the tent, and I figured it wouldn't be long before he made his move. Rose and Emmett already had somewhat of a history. They had a fling a couple of summers ago and she had even visited him once at Notre Dame, where he played football. Well, there was plenty of room in Jasper's car, so I could always crash there if my friends got too personal with each other.
It was a little after noon by the time we finished constructing our campsite. The area around us began filling up with more people, spreading rumors that so many concert-goers had come in that they had torn the fencing down around the festival area and would no longer be charging admission to the concert.
Jasper excitedly made some comment about having more money for mind altering substances now. I shook my head. Jasper was the guy in our group that would try anything once. This was going to be one interesting weekend.
The concert was set to begin that afternoon and folk singer Richie Havens would be first to perform. We were still waiting on Rose's other roommate to show up, and figured we would make our way down to the concert area in a few hours.
We were interrupted from our lunch of sandwiches and beer by the loud backfire of a car engine. It cracked like a gun-shot, leading Alice to let out a little yelp of surprise. I turned toward the direction of the sound to see an old beat-up red pickup truck making its way through the crowd. The cars and tents were pretty thick at this point and I had to look away, unable to watch if the driver might take someone out. The truck passed us and kept going, headed to the less populated camping area. Rose looked over at the passing vehicle and then jumped to her feet, waving her arms.
"Hey guys, there's Bella!"
"Bella, over here!" Alice and Rose shouted as they ran after the truck.
The truck came to a screeching halt. Alice and Rose jumped in the passenger door and the truck started moving again, I assumed to find a place to park. I resumed chewing on my sandwich and listened to Jasper attempt to channel Bob Dylan on his guitar. A few minutes later the girls were back, this time with the new girl in tow.
"Guys, this is Bella."
I stood up and took in her appearance for the first time. Her wavy hair was a rich mahogany color and draped down her back almost to her waist. Her eyes were chocolate brown and alluringly feminine. She was wearing a white tunic shirt with embroidered flowers adorning the collar, accompanied by a pair of faded jeans and leather sandals.
She was breathtakingly beautiful and I doubted that I had ever been quite so attracted to a woman before. My eyes wandered down her body and then back up again, landing on her attractive face, gazing into her eyes. She was staring back at me and I blushed when I realized she had likely witnessed me undressing her with my eyes.
Rose continued, "Bella, you know Jasper. These are his friends Emmett and Edward."
I reached my hand out to shake Bella's. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Bella."
"Likewise," she replied.
Bella sat down and joined our picnic, explaining how she almost didn't make it onto the festival grounds. The police had shut down the park entrance not far behind her and there were now thousands of cars stranded along the road. I was grateful she had made it in. I hated the thought of her having to walk several miles alone, mired in a sea of strangers.
After countless beers, Jasper started passing around the obligatory joint. Drugs, especially marijuana and acid, had become very popular in the past few years. Jasper was our resident pharmacist, and Emmett and I would sometimes partake as well though we definitely were not habitual users.
"This is good stuff—is it from your mom's garden?" I asked, grasping the joint between my thumb and index finger.
"One-hundred percent organic," Jasper winked.
By the time we started making our way to the concert area, we were all feeling relaxed and happy. Bella's warm laugh only enhanced the experience for me.
The amount of people attending this event was overwhelming. The stage was set into a valley of an enormous field that took on the shape of a natural amphitheater. We were pretty far away from the stage, surrounded on all sides by thousands of people. The smell of marijuana and alcohol was thick in the air, and though we were crowded tightly together in a sea of sweaty flesh, everyone was happy and peaceful. The atmosphere was entirely positive and only became groovier as the music began to play.
When the first act took the stage, the crowd let out with a deafening scream. We were all jumping and whooping with excitement. The smiles around us were contagious and I was so glad I had allowed Jasper to talk me into this trip.
Our group of six sang, danced, and laughed together for hours, as the different artists played their sets. Jasper and Alice had taken their innocent flirting to the next level and had been groping and making out for over an hour. Emmett stood behind Rose and had his large hands on her slender hips as they moved together to the music. Emmett would occasionally whisper something into Rose's ear to make her giggle. It was certainly going to be a weekend love-fest by the looks of it.
I stood next to Bella as we listened to the music and laughed at our horny friends. We frequently exchanged nervous smiles and as the night went on, we slowly crept closer to one another.
Before we knew it, the luminous moon, high in the night sky, was announcing the arrival of evening. Jasper, Alice, Emmett, and Rose left to head back to the tents. They said they were tired and wanted to save their energy for the next day, when the more popular artists would be playing. I knew resting was the last thing they would be doing, and I shuddered at the thought of what would soon be happening on my sleeping bag.
Also seeming to sense the orgy that awaited us back at the campsite, Bella wasn't ready to return just yet. She really wanted to hear Joan Baez and asked if I could stay to keep her company. I heartily agreed, as I found that watching her was even more enjoyable than the concert. I caught myself frequently sneaking glances at her and smiling when she returned my gaze.
She swayed to the music, eyes closed for most of that final set. The glow of the moonlight reflecting off her luxurious hair made her strikingly beautiful, and I longed to touch her. However, I hardly knew this woman so I kept my distance.
It was early morning when the band played their final song that first night. When the crowd began dispersing, Bella and I made our way back to the campsite. It wasn't a short walk and we had to move slowly through a field of discarded trash and sleeping bodies. It had been too loud to have a real conversation at this point, so I took advantage of the quiet to get to know her a little better.
I learned she was working on her PhD in Literature at NYU. I was impressed by her lofty career goals. She fancied herself a writer and her dream was to be published one day. To that end, she had just taken part in a writing conference where she was a guest lecturer.
More personal information that I learned was that she was twenty-five and had grown up in a small town in Washington state. I was shocked that she was six years older than me. She looked barely over twenty and I feared when she heard my age she would consider me a child.
Of course, the discussion eventually turned to me. I hesitated, but then forged ahead by telling her I was nineteen and was taking a break from Harvard. She seemed confused as to why I would leave school, but she didn't pry, thankfully, as I really didn't know the answer to that question myself. I told her how I was born and raised in Chicago and hoped to follow in my father's footsteps as a physician. I conveniently left out the fact that I had been drafted. I wanted to get to know her without her pitying me.
We made it to the tents, and based on the gasps and grunts coming from inside, our friends were busy. Not sure what to do, I looked over at Bella and shrugged.
"Um, so I guess we'll be camping out here."
I remembered the station wagon. It was pretty big and roomy. We could always crash in there. However, the doors were locked, barring our entry. I could tell we were both uncomfortable being in such a close proximity to our friends as they had sex. I flinched as Alice began moaning Jasper's name.
Sensing my discomfort, Bella grabbed my arm and led me away from our campsite.
"We can camp out in my truck. There's plenty of room in the bed for the two of us."
"Sure, if that's okay with you." I had just met Bella today after all, and I didn't want her to think I was expecting anything from her.
As we made it over to her truck, she opened the creaky door to pull out some blankets and pillows. I opened the truck's tailgate and took the blankets, spreading them out along the rusty, metal bed. I helped Bella up onto our makeshift bed before I joined her, nervously sitting next to her. Not knowing what else to do, I took off my shoes and socks, while she kicked the sandals off her feet. I laid back, my head resting on my borrowed pillow. I respectfully scooted away from her, making sure there was plenty of space between us.
I looked up, taking in the stars in the night sky. It was a beautiful night and now that the music had stopped, I was reminded that we were far from the city as the chirps of crickets and the low mumble of fellow campers were the only sounds filling the air.
We lay in silence for what seemed an eternity. I was fatigued but still wired from the concert, clearly not ready to sleep. I glanced over and noticed that Bella was awake as well.
"Wishing on your favorite star?" I asked.
Bella chuckled and turned to face me. "Something like that. You?"
"Not really. I'm just admiring the constellations. You can see the stars so clearly out here. The lights from the city make stargazing almost impossible."
"It's even worse in New York." She paused. "I do love experiencing all the culture of the big city, but sometimes I miss the slower pace of a small town."
"I wouldn't know; I've been a city boy my whole life. But we did vacation in the gulf coast of Florida once. My dad insisted we drive there, and we stayed over in rural Alabama on our way. Things seemed so calm and peaceful there . . . I can see how you would miss that."
She laughed. "One thing I don't miss is the rain! It's so wet in the Pacific Northwest. I love being able to leave the apartment without a rain jacket and boots!"
I had never been to Washington state, but I had heard it was lush, green, and beautiful. It appeared those traits referred to Bella as well. I loved seeing the sparkle in her eyes as she laughed. She was breathtaking.
There was no awkwardness whatsoever to our conversation. We talked and laughed like old friends as we recalled our home towns and our childhoods. She had a million stories about how her so-called lack of coordination got her into trouble. I didn't say anything, but I had noticed she had tripped multiple times as we navigated the concert grounds. I had attributed her clumsiness to the pot or the beer, but apparently such stumbles and falls were normal for her. I made an internal promise to watch over her for the next two days and not let anything bad happen to her.
Eventually our fatigued bodies craved sleep, causing the frequency of our exchanged words to fade off. I could feel myself lose consciousness, softly whispering goodnight to Bella before drifting to sleep.
I woke up to the sun shining in my eyes and the sound of people chattering all around us. I quickly sat up, and then feeling a throbbing in my head, returned it to the pillow. I had a light hangover and my mouth felt full of cotton. I had not remembered to brush my teeth the night before, since my bag was locked in Jasper's car. I felt sticky and dirty and hoped that I didn't reek of body odor, especially with the woman of my dreams lying next to me.
I rolled over on my side to face her. We had naturally gravitated towards each other through the night and only a few inches separated us. I was mesmerized by her beauty as she slept. She had pulled her hair back, leaving her face at my disposal. Her lips were full and her eyelashes long and curled. She was snoring lightly, which was utterly adorable.
I would have given anything to kiss her at that moment but I figured that she must have had a boyfriend. It would be ludicrous for someone as nice and pretty as her to be surrounded by so many men in NYC and not be involved with someone. I decided to try to find a way to ask her later without appearing too nosey. Even if she was single, it would be unfair to initiate anything with her, as I would be leaving for basic training in four days. After that I would likely be shipped off to Vietnam. How could I ask someone to wait more than a year for me; if I came back at all.
I sighed loudly enough to cause her to stir. I rolled on my back, figuring my voyeuristic tendencies may frighten her. She let out a quiet moan as she stretched and I took that as my cue to turn and speak.
"Good morning, Bella. I hope you slept well."
"I guess it was as good as sleeping on a metal truck bed can be. How about you? Have you been up long?"
"No, I just woke up myself."
"What time is it?"
I reached into my pocket to retrieve my grandfather's watch.
"It's 10:30. I guess we better get a move on if we are going to make it to the first show."
The concerts today began at noon and would continue into the wee hours of the morning. The best acts would be playing later tonight, but I knew we needed to get to the concert grounds early if we wanted a spot.
We slowly sat up, feeling soreness in our joints, and I escorted Bella to the portable toilets. We wandered back to our campsite and found Rose and Alice washing their faces with a canteen and a soapy washcloth. Bella squealed and ran to join them. Japer and Emmett looked exhausted yet sated, and were cooking eggs over a propane stove.
"Where the heck were you guys?" Emmett asked. "We were afraid you had passed out somewhere—Jasper was ready to form a search party."
"Well, we could tell you four were busy in the tents and we didn't want to interrupt. So we camped out in the back of Bella's truck."
Emmett and Jasper both looked at me questioningly.
"So Eddie, you and Bella spent the night alone, huh?" Jasper smirked.
"Yeah, we talked and then slept some."
"You just slept? You didn't make the move on her?"
"Um, no. I don't even know her. What if she's got a boyfriend? You know I'm not that kind of guy."
Emmett shook his head. "Edward, I swear you are going to be a virgin forever. And for your information, Bella is single."
The both laughed, and though I was annoyed, I accepted their teasing good-naturedly since they had been mocking my virgin status for years.
"Who is a virgin?" Rose called out. "It's certainly not you, Mr. McCarty. Unless those four times last night were a dream."
"No Rosie, last night was all me, baby. I'm referring to dear, sweet Edward. He's our resident prude."
Mortified, I looked over to see Bella laughing at us. Thanks a lot Emmett and Jasper.
Luckily the guys' attention span was short and they were onto another topic quickly. The dreaded V-word wasn't brought up again.
I felt like a new man once I had brushed my teeth and changed into fresh clothes. Bella had put on a purple peasant skirt and tank top, leading my breath to catch at the sight of her bare arms and exposed collar bone.
We enjoyed a day of great music and fellowship out on the concert lawn. We took a blanket this time and spread it out, continuing to drink and smoke. Jasper and Alice each took a hit of acid, but the rest of us declined. Bottles of wine were being generously passed around the crowd and we were soon pleasantly drunk. Bella and I didn't do much talking, but I watched her dance and laugh with her friends. Occasionally she would look over at me and smile.
Before we knew it, the sun had already gone down. We were seated on our blanket, waiting for Janis Joplin to take the stage. The girls were nuts over her and couldn't wait for her set. When she came on stage, Bella jumped up and grabbed me by the hands to pull me to my feet. She danced and sang along to the music and I stood close by, enjoying the sight of this beautiful, passionate creature.
When Janis started singing To Love Somebody, Bella put her arms around my neck and whispered into my ear, "Dance with me, Edward."
Immediately I placed my arms around her waist and held her close to me as we swayed to the music. She rested her head on my chest and I placed my head on her shoulders, leaning into her neck. She smelled of sweat and salt and I longed to take my tongue and taste her. I ran my hands along the soft curves of her hips and stomach, pulling her tight against my body.
I was hard and I knew she could feel it. Normally I would have tried to conceal my arousal, but I was less inhibited by the drugs and I wanted her to know what she did to me. I pulled away and looked into her eyes. She stared back at me with a longing, lustful gaze, and I knew she wanted me too. By the time I had gathered up my courage to move in and kiss her, the song abruptly ended, leading the rest of our group to come charging over screaming and jumping.
The moment was lost.
Rose and Alice grabbed Bella and they began to dance together. She looked over at me apologetically and winked. I smiled back, but I was pissed that I hadn't had the balls to kiss her when I had the chance. I grabbed another beer and hoped my erection would go away before the guys noticed. I loved Jasper and Emmett, but they acted like twelve year olds when it came to sex and would taunt me for the rest of the night.
Once Janis' set was complete, the other two couples were lounging on the blanket, conspicuously making out. Bella announced she was going to take a walk and asked me to join her.
"We'll be back in time for The Who," she announced, grabbing my hand.
We began weaving our way through the crowd when I asked her where we were going.
"It's a surprise" was all she said as she winked at me. It didn't really matter, as I would follow this woman anywhere.
We made our way behind the stage and into a wooded area. There were very few people around and I was really confused, but followed along.
Eventually we stumbled upon a small pond. We had passed several other ponds along the way, but this one was secluded by a row of trees and was deserted. The water looked warm and inviting with the moon reflecting off it.
Bella began to pull off her tank top, when I stopped her.
"What are you doing?"
"What does it look like, Edward? I'm hot and sweaty and I want to go for a swim. Are you going to join me?"
I gulped and didn't answer. She continued to remove her clothing and she was soon naked, hanging her clothes on a nearby tree. I was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of her naked form and my eyes scanned up and down her body, taking in her round breasts and the patch of dark curls at the apex of her thighs.
I still hadn't made a move to disrobe as she entered the water. I was unable to form a coherent sentence, as all the blood in my body had drifted south.
She was in the water completely now, and her hair was wet and slicked back on her head. The surface of the water was just below her breasts and I watched as a drop of water slivered down her neck, toward her chest, where it beaded on her nipple and returned to its home in the dark pond.
At some point I had stopped breathing and I gasped to let the air fill my lungs again.
"Are you coming in or not, Edward? It feels divine."
I realized I was letting a perfect opportunity pass me by and began haphazardly discarding my clothes. Embarrassed to let Bella see my blatant arousal, I turned around, leaving my back towards her as I removed my briefs.
I quickly entered the warm water, feeling the sliminess of the mud on the pond floor between my toes. I dove under the water and swam towards Bella, coming above the surface right in front of her. Water from my body splashed her lightly and she giggled.
We stood in silence for a few moments and I willed myself to keep my eyes on her face and not her chest.
She began splashing me without warning, and before I knew it we were in the middle of a classic grade-school water fight. She giggled and tried to swim away but I quickly caught her and pulled her to me, dunking us both under the water. We came up for air and I was standing on my tip toes to keep our heads above the water. Bella was tightly holding herself to me with her arms around my neck and I nearly came undone when she wrapped her legs around my waist. I could feel the heat radiating from her center onto my erection, and it wasn't lost on me how easily I could slip myself inside of her.
I slowly walked us back towards the more shallow water and Bella continued to cling tightly.
"Are you ever going to kiss me?"
That was all the invitation I needed. I raised my hands to cup her face, gently pressing my lips to hers, feeling electricity coursing through my body from the point of impact at my lips down through my stomach and into my legs. She deepened the kiss and I moaned as her tongue requested entry into my mouth. Our tongues moved together in an erotic dance and I began caressing the sides of her body, enjoying the feel of her womanly curves.
Sensing we both needed to come up for air, I pulled away slowly and looked deep into her eyes. "I've wanted to do that since the first moment I saw you."
"Me too," she replied huskily.
We began kissing again and I kissed every inch of her face and neck, particularly enjoying the sounds she made when I began nibbling on her earlobe. Becoming bolder, I moved my hands down between us to caress her breasts. Her nipples were small and erect, and I rubbed my thumbs over them before leaning down and placing my mouth on her. She moaned my name lightly as I sucked and caressed her nipples with my tongue and teeth.
Her hands had been busy, caressing my back and chest. I knew I was lost when she placed her hands on my ass and pulled me tightly to her body. I whimpered at the friction of her stomach rubbing on my cock.
I jumped when I felt her small hand surround the tip of my erection.
"Bella, what are you doing?"
I regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth, but I was battling the lust that had taken over my mind and body. I wanted to make love to Bella, but not here in a muddy pond.
"Relax Edward, enjoy this. I want to make you feel good."
"Okay," I hissed as she began stroking me. I closed my eyes and clung tightly to her hips as I let myself lose control. Too soon I was gasping her name as I came into the warm water.
I kissed her with as much passion as I could muster; thanking her for the gift she had given to me. I wanted to reciprocate, but she grabbed my hand and began leading me out of the water.
"We should get back to our friends. I know you don't want to miss Creedence."
She remembered from our conversation the previous night that CCR was one of my favorite bands.
We silently got dressed in the dark and walked back towards the concert with our hands entwined and lips curled into secret grins.
When we made it back to our friends, we began laughing at a group of naked revelers. Jasper eyed our joined hands and opened his mouth to say something, but Alice elbowed him. "Let them enjoy this, Jazz," she whispered.
We spent the rest of the night swaying to the music, taking pleasure in each other's company. We touched constantly and I held her tight as she sat between my legs on the blanket, her back resting on my chest. She drifted off to sleep and I regretted waking her at the end of the Jefferson Airplane set. The sun was beginning to rise and we desperately needed to eat something and get some rest before the next day's festivities began.
The rest of our group immediately passed out in the two tents and I cooked Bella breakfast as she washed up and changed clothes. We ate a simple meal of eggs and toast before settling into the bed of her truck for a nap. It was cloudy and looked like rain. I pulled an old tarp and some rope from Jasper's car and tied the tarp so that it formed a tent of sorts over the back of Bella's truck. It also gave us a little privacy and I gathered Bella in my arms as we settled down on our makeshift bed. We kissed for several minutes before both collapsing into a peaceful slumber.
We were awakened by Jasper and Emmett standing on the tailgate, jumping up and down. The truck shook under their movement and I rolled my eyes at the immaturity of my two best friends.
"She pop your cherry yet, Cullen?" Emmett called out, laughing.
I jumped up with the intention of throttling the two of them when Bella answered.
"A gentleman never kisses and tells." She took my hand and winked at them.
Mistaking her wink as a confirmation, they jumped off the truck and congratulated me on finally getting laid. I cringed when Jasper exclaimed. "I'm happy for you man, it just wouldn't be right to go to war a virgin."
"Shit," I whispered under my breath. I had neglected to tell Bella about my future in the armed forces last night and I could see that she was confused at Jasper's words.
"What did he mean by going to war?"
I rubbed my hand through my hair.
"Um, I got drafted a few months ago and I'm due to report to duty on Thursday."
"Oh." She paused. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I don't know. I didn't want you to feel sorry for me. Plus, I've been trying to not think about it."
She slid closer to me and pulled my side to her chest. "Are you afraid?"
She kissed my temple and rubbed my shoulders lovingly.
"Let's make the best of these last few days, shall we?"
We joined our friends for the final day of music. Rain and thunderstorms interrupted the first act and the concerts were put on hold until the bad weather passed. We stayed out among the crowds for a while, laughing and enjoying the relief from the heat that the rain provided. The concert grounds were quickly becoming muddy and thousands of people began sprinting forward and then sliding in the mud, careening into each other in a chaotic, gleeful mess. We got a kick out of watching all the naked people running around with mud seemingly oozing out of their pores.
Bella, the girl who was already way too familiar with rain, wanted to go somewhere dry, so we trekked back to her truck. Realizing that our clothes were soaked, we stripped down to our underwear. As I took in the sight of Bella shivering in her wet bra and panties, I mouthed a silent prayer to the heavens for dumping the rain down upon us.
Our tarp was doing a good job of keeping our makeshift bed dry, so we curled up together and began fervently making out like a couple of high school kids. There were no repeat below-the-belt performances of the previous night in the pond; we were content to stick with deep kisses and light touches, and it was the most erotic experience of my short life. As my hands skimmed over the curves of her warm, smooth body, we were both lulled by the steadily falling raindrops tapping the leaves of the trees.
My heart was silently breaking at the thought of leaving her in less than twenty-four hours. I cursed myself for not allowing my father to get me back into Harvard. New York was only a four hour car ride away from Boston and I could have visited her on weekends.
I felt like she was the girl I had waited so long to find, and now I had nothing to offer her but the pain of separation. I decided to cherish our remaining moments together, losing myself in the softness of her hair and the comforting touch of her embrace. We were both so involved in our kisses that we didn't notice the rain had stopped until we heard the music begin to play again.
Unable to find our friends in the massive crowd, Bella and I enjoyed the final day of Woodstock together. We danced, sang, and held one another until Jimi Hendrix played the final note on his guitar early Monday morning.
The crowd had thinned tremendously as morning approached. We made our way back to the campsite and I was disgusted by the sea of mud and trash surrounding us. I would have given all the money in my wallet for a shower and though I hated the thought of leaving Bella, I was ready to leave Woodstock.
Jasper, Emmett, and the girls had already packed up the tents when we found them. The plan was to take the girls back to their apartment in New York City and then Jasper and Emmett would head south with me to my drop-off point in North Carolina.
Nervously glancing around at the six of us and the two vehicles, I was thrilled when Bella asked if I would like to ride with her to New York.
The drive to their apartment took around four hours due to traffic, and Bella and I talked non-stop. We were all filthy and exhausted by the time we arrived, but luckily the girls were nice enough to allow us the use of their shower. Bella insisted on doing my laundry so that I wouldn't be arriving to Fort Bragg with a duffel bag of filthy clothes.
After the showers and laundry lasted well into the afternoon, we decided it would be best that we stayed the night with the girls, before our twelve-hour drive. Jasper insisted that the delay would be for safety, but I knew he just wanted to have a few more hours with Alice. I didn't argue, because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Bella either.
The other two couples disappeared and Bella motioned toward her bedroom.
"Are you ready to go to bed?"
"Yeah, that would be great. I'm exhausted from the weekend."
Her room was small, with the dresser and twin bed almost completely filling the room.
She peeled off her jeans and slipped into bed wearing just an old t shirt and panties. She seemed oblivious to what the sight of her bare skin did to me. I stared open-mouthed at her beauty. I was tempted to offer the other four occupants of the apartment a thousand dollars to get lost for a few hours.
She noticed my gawking and blushed, pulling the covers up over her legs.
"I just wanted to be comfortable. Feel free to do the same."
I followed her lead and then joined her in her small bed. There was barely enough room for the two of us so I rolled onto my back and pulled her with me, her face resting on my chest. We reminisced about the fun weekend we had just shared, followed by her telling me a little about her dissertation for grad school. We conveniently avoided the giant elephant in the room: the fact that I would be leaving the following morning. I kissed her forehead and then we both drifted to sleep.
Sunlight was streaming into the room when I awoke. I was surprised to find myself alone. The tantalizing smell of bacon was in the air, drawing me out of bed to get up and stretch before putting on my jeans. The whole gang was in the living room, apparently deep in discussion. They all turned to look at me as I walked in the room.
"What's up, guys?" I asked.
Jasper stood up and walked toward me.
"Nothin' much, man. Just waiting on you so we can eat."
We all crammed around the girls' small dining room table. I looked over at Bella and she was smiling at me.
"Edward", she began. "What would you say if I offered to drive you down to North Carolina?"
I was shocked by her question.
"Um, I would say, cool, I suppose. Are you offering?"
"Yes, I am."
"What about the guys?"
Emmett chimed in, "Don't worry about us, man. We're gonna stay a few extra days with the girls. They promised to give us an insider's tour of NYC."
I glanced worriedly at Bella. "Are you sure about this? It's an awfully long drive. I don't know if I like the idea of you driving back alone."
"Edward, shut up. You're being given the chance to spend two more days with Bella. Let her drive you."
I loved Emmett and his blunt honesty.
Bella was nodding."It will be fine, Edward. I drove all the way from Seattle to New York by myself, and that's much farther than North Carolina."
Of course I agreed. I would be a fool to turn down the chance for us to be alone together for two days.
We gathered up my things and I told Rose and Alice goodbye. When Rose enveloped me in a big hug, I was surprised to see tears in her eyes.
"Edward, you've been like a brother to me. Please take care of yourself. You will be in my thoughts."
I was touched by Rosalie's concern. We had never really gotten along all that well. I always thought she had just tolerated me because I was best friends with her brother.
I kissed her cheek. "Thanks for that, Rose." I motioned to Jasper and Emmett. "I'll be back before you know it, to keep these two jokers out of trouble."
Jasper and Emmett carried my bags as we walked down to the parking garage to Bella's truck. Bella was saying goodbye to her roommates and told us that she would be down in a minute. She knew that I needed a moment alone with my best friends.
The smiles and laughter from the weekend were now gone, replaced by serious looks that unnerved me.
Emmett spoke first. "Edward, don't take any shit from anybody. Make sure you earn the respect of the guys in your unit. If they respect you, they will have your back at all times. Do whatever you have to do to stay alive and get your ass back home." He enveloped me in a bone crushing hug and we both began to cry.
"I love you, man. I'll see you soon."
"Thanks Em, I love you too."
I turned to Jasper. "Well man, I guess this is goodbye."
"I never say goodbye, Edward—that's too final. I'll see you next year when you return from your exotic jungle vacation. Just promise to stay out of trouble. I'll be sure to mail you inappropriate pictures of scantily clad women to keep you from getting bored."
I had no doubt he would keep his promise. Tears streaming down his face, he hugged me and told me he loved me.
Bella appeared behind the guys and asked if we were ready to go. Gulping, I nodded, and Emmett and Jasper told us to be safe. They walked back toward the stairwell while Bella and I climbed into the truck.
I offered to drive, but Bella insisted. She said she liked driving and that she wanted me to relax and enjoy my last days of freedom.
We headed south down Interstate 95. Traffic was heavy, as we left in the middle of the morning rush hour. We were quiet for the first hour of the trip. Bella had assigned me the task of finding a suitable radio station and we listened to folk music as we took in the lush scenery.
"How come you didn't try to get out of the draft? I heard it was pretty easy to dodge if your family had money. You said your dad was a doctor—couldn't he have found a way out for you?"
This was the first time she had mentioned the draft. We had been avoiding the subject like a vampire avoids garlic.
"Yeah, I suppose he could have. He even offered to do so. I don't know, Bella. It just felt wrong to buy my way out of this. If poor kids can't get out of the draft, then I shouldn't have that opportunity either. Are they any less expendable because of how much money their parents have?"
"I agree completely, Edward; I think the draft is a horrible idea. Several of my friends back home have been drafted. I find it convenient that all my middle class friends are in college and ineligible for the draft, while my Quileute friends who couldn't afford to go to college are ripe for the choosing. It really pisses me off. "
"I'm sorry about your friends."
"Me too. I'm sorry they drafted you, too."
We talked more about the draft and the military. Bella laughed when I admitted I had never touched a gun before.
"I pray they give me a position that doesn't require a firearm!" I laughed.
"I pray they give you a job that keeps you stateside," Bella whispered.
"As awesome as that sounds, I really doubt that's a possibility."
We stopped just out of Washington DC to get gas and stretch our legs. I managed to convince Bella to let me drive for the next leg of the trip. She must have been exhausted, because she was sound asleep within minutes.
I smiled at her sleeping form, but frowned when I noticed her head was bent over in what appeared to be an uncomfortable position. I worried she would be in pain when she woke up, so I wrapped my right arm around her and slid her across the seat towards me. She opened her eyes briefly, smiling drowsily before setting her head on my shoulder. Every few miles I would kiss her forehead and breathe in her essence. Leaving her on Thursday would be the most difficult thing I'd ever have to do in my nineteen years on earth.
We passed into Virginia and it wasn't long before I saw the sign welcoming us to North Carolina. The afternoon had passed into early evening and I knew we only had an hour until it would be dark.
I stopped for gas at a small town called Rocky Mount. I regretted waking Bella up, but I was sure she needed the restroom, and it was also necessary to figure out where to stop for the night. I figured we were two hours from Ft Bragg, and I didn't know if she wanted to continue on or stop for the night here.
I rubbed my hand along her cheek and began peppering her hair with kisses to wake her.
"Hey, sleepyhead. It's time to wake up."
She groaned and dug her head into my side, hiding her face.
"Are we there yet?" she smirked, finally lifting her face to me.
"Well, we are in North Carolina, but we still have a couple of hours till Fayetteville."
She sat up and kissed my lips. "Thanks for driving, Edward. Sorry I went all comatose on you."
"Don't worry about it. I enjoyed watching you sleep."
We were both hungry, so we made our way to a small diner after filling the truck with gas. We sat across from one another in the booth and held hands over the table waiting for our food.
"So, do you want to stop here for the night or go on to Fayetteville?"
"Neither, actually. I had an idea of how we could spend our last day tomorrow—I definitely don't want it to be close to a military installation." She laughed.
"Cool, where do you want to go?" I was curious.
"Have you ever been to the beach, Edward?"
"Yeah, I went to Florida once as a kid. You?"
"I grew up close to the coast in Washington, but the Pacific Ocean beaches tend to be quite different than the ones on the Atlantic . The girls took me to the Jersey shore once, which was kind of ugly, but I hear that North Carolina has nice beaches, and Alice suggested Wrightsville Beach. I thought we could spend the day there tomorrow."
That sounded like a wonderful idea. My mind briefly flashed to the idea of seeing Bella in a swimsuit and I broke out in a bright smile.
"That sounds like fun. I'm all for it. I just have no idea where Wrightsville beach is."
"No worries, Edward. Alice says it's near Wilmington and I have a road atlas in the truck. I'm sure we can find it."
We checked her map to locate the directions we needed. It was barely eight and Bella was sure we could make it there before midnight.
Bella held my hand as I drove and I could feel a difference between us; a crackle of electricity in the air of the truck cabin. We had gone from dreading the moment we would say goodbye to excitement over spending one last day of fun together.
My navigator was so cute as she pointed out the various turns we needed to make. Her brows were furrowed in concentration while she carefully studied the road atlas, and as I snuck glances at her I realized that I was falling in love.
Bella's directions were impeccable, leading us to arrive in Wilmington just after eleven. We drove around until we found a small motel with a vacancy sign, which was right on the beach, and looked like a good place to spend the next two nights.
I checked us in and then carried our bags to our room. We were on the second floor, in a room with a balcony overlooking the beach. The room was small with one double bed and a tidy kitchenette. I was tired and stiff from the over twelve hours of driving, immediately getting ready for bed. Bella followed suit and before long we were wrapped up together in the bed, kissing each other sweetly. I fell asleep quickly with Bella in my arms. I could get used to this.
I awoke early. The sun had just risen over the horizon, providing slats of natural light to fall softly across Bella's face as I watched Bella sleep. She was holding me tightly and moaning softly. I silently eased my way out of her grasp and showered, remembering noticing a bakery a few blocks away when we had been driving in the night before. I left her an origami rose on my pillow with a note that I would return soon before I went to get us breakfast.
She was awake and brushing her teeth when I returned. She kissed me on the cheek, thanking me for the rose.
After breakfast I realized I hadn't packed any shorts. Bella laughed as I cut the legs off my most worn pair of jeans. The frayed ends of my new shorts came about mid thigh and she chuckled at my pale legs. She had packed a swimsuit and looked quite stunning in the black one piece. I was having a hard time keeping my eyes away from her ample cleavage, and she threatened to shorten my cut-off jeans if I didn't behave.
Wednesday was as perfect a day as I had ever had. We played in the surf and walked on the beach hand in hand. Bella was obsessed with hunting for shells and squealed with excitement when she managed to find some shark teeth in the sand.
That evening, we dressed up as best as we could, going out for dinner at a quaint restaurant on Wilmington's riverfront. We enjoyed the fresh seafood as the waiter kept our wine glasses full. We sat with our chairs close together and I couldn't keep my hands, or lips, for that matter, off of Bella. I would push loose strands of hair behind her ears and then lean in to kiss her lips softly. We were both tipsy as we left the restaurant and I was so thankful for her earlier suggestion that we take a cab to the restaurant. We hailed a cab to return us to the motel, where Bella suggested we take a walk on the beach before we called it a night.
The sand was cool beneath my toes, and the beach was dark. There were a few other couples walking the beach, but otherwise it was deserted. I had already removed my shoes and assisted Bella with her sandals. We threw them into the dunes and began walking, holding hands and dipping our toes into the warm water.
Her voice was colored by sadness and desperation. "Edward, let's just run away. We can go back north into Canada. I only have my dissertation left and I don't have to be in New York in order to finish it. We can come back when this fucking war is over."
She stopped walking and I could see the tears streaming down her face.
"I don't want to say goodbye, Edward. I realize we've only known each other a few days, but the way I feel when I'm with you is so incredible; it's like something I've always wished for but didn't think really existed."
I pulled her into my arms and looked deeply into her eyes.
"Bella, I feel the same way. You are everything I could ever want in a partner, a future. But the thing is, you make me want to be a better man, and I can't be him by running away from the military."
I leant down and captured her lips in mine. What started as gentle reassurance quickly turned into a passionate embrace of lips, teeth, and tongue. I had less than twelve hours with this woman, and we both knew this moment might never come again.
I roughly kissed her neck and collarbone. Her breathing had increased and I could feel the beating of her heart through her skin. I captured her lips again and pulled away slightly.
"I'll come back for you, I promise. Nothing will keep me away. Not the US Army, the Vietcong, or the Pacific Ocean. I will return, Bella. And I hope you will be waiting for me."
She gazed at me, her eyes clouded with lust and sadness.
"I'll wait forever."
I smiled and captured her lips again. My hands had drifted to her bottom and I was drawing her into me, trying to meld our bodies together.
She pulled away and whispered, "Edward, make love to me."
She took my hand and began leading me back towards the hotel. We found our shoes and practically ran back to our room.
Once the door was closed, Bella was like a woman possessed. She threw herself on me and began kissing me hungrily while stripping me of my clothing. Her hands were trembling from excitement and desire as she struggled to undo the buttons to my shirt. I placed my hands over hers and assisted her, fearful she would get frustrated and begin ripping off the buttons.
I helped her lift her sundress over her head and suddenly she was before me, resplendent in just her bra and panties. I couldn't stop myself from touching her; I quickly removed her bra and began caressing her breasts—pleasing mounds which fit my palms perfectly. Her nipples were taut and pink. She moaned as I began rubbing her nipples with my thumbs and gasped when I leaned forward to take them in my mouth. I took my turn with each breast, suckling and nibbling as she rubbed her hands in my hair and moaned.
"So beautiful," I whispered.
I skimmed my hands along her stomach and then clutched onto her hips, holding her tight to me. I dipped my fingers into the front of her panties and touched her where she was wet for me. She hissed my name and I began rubbing my fingers along her clit, generating more heat. She moaned as she thrust her hips in time to my fingers. Her panting breath tickled my neck and when she came she gasped "Edward", biting down on my shoulder.
Feeling her come undone and knowing I was the one who caused it was the most erotic experience of my short life. My cock was painfully hard and straining against my pants. I had waited nineteen years for this moment and I needed to be inside Bella now.
I quickly pulled her panties down her legs and began working on my belt. Bella stopped me with her hands. "I want to do this."
She unbuttoned me, pulling my pants and underwear off in one fluid motion. We were bare before each other and I was overcome by a brief moment of embarrassment. It had been dark when we were naked together at Woodstock, but here we were completely baring our bodies and souls for each other in the soft light of the hotel room. My erection stood long and proud and the man in me hoped she was impressed with what she saw.
She licked her lips and put her hands around me. "You're perfect, Edward. I can't wait to have you inside me."
We began kissing again and she led me over to our bed, never breaking contact. She pushed me gently to a sitting position and motioned for me to slide myself toward the pillows so that I was lying on my back. She climbed over me and straddled my waist, placing her wetness over my arousal. I panicked briefly at my inexperience and I worried that I would come the moment I entered her.
"Bella, I've never—"
She cut me off before I could finish. "I know, Edward. I love that no other woman has had you this way. Don't think. Just enjoy the feeling of this moment, of us together as one."
And with the last word she lowered herself and took me inside her. She began gently moving herself on me and though I wanted to watch her, I kept my eyes tightly closed in an attempt to delay my orgasm. I was overcome with the feeling of her hot, tight pussy around my cock.
My friends' descriptions of intercourse was sorely lacking in its vividness and accuracy. I had never felt such a level of pleasure. I knew I wouldn't last long and began reciting the periodic table in my head, hoping I could make it pleasurable for Bella. She seemed to sense my tension and bent down and whispered in my ear.
"Just let go, Edward. Come for me."
Her voice was all my body needed and instantly I was coming, filling her with my seed. I was overwhelmed by the physical and emotional release, feeling the burn of my tears when I gazed into Bella's eyes. She was smiling and crying, shedding what I hoped were tears of happiness.
She eventually lifted herself off me and I rolled over, pulling her into my arms.
"Bella, thank you. That was so much better than my dreams."
She kissed my lips. "It was perfect, Edward. Thank you for giving yourself to me."
I knew I was the one who had received a gift, but kept it to myself.
We made love three more times before the night was over, never really allowing ourselves to fall asleep. We got up before six and watched the sun rise from our balcony.
The drive to Ft Bragg was almost three hours and we were on the road not long after the sun came up. Bella drove and we were both quiet, not really wanting to acknowledge what was happening. When we entered Fayetteville, Bella began crying and I slid over to comfort her.
We followed the signs for new arrivals and ended up in a lot filled with young men like myself, reluctantly saying goodbye to their loved ones. A line of recruits formed at the registration table, feeding into a group standing in formation as a man in uniform barked orders at them.
Sadly I climbed out of the truck and gathered my duffle bag. I didn't know what my life would be like for the next year, but I reckoned being shot by enemy fire would likely be less painful than saying goodbye to Bella Swan.
"Thank you for everything, Bella. I'll hold the memories of the last few days close to my heart, always."
She pulled me to her and kissed me roughly.
"You come back to me, Edward Cullen."
I kissed her one last time and then pulled away.
"Nothing could keep me from returning to you, Bella."
I touched her cheek gently and made my way to the registration table.
I looked back to see her sobbing behind the wheel of her truck. I prayed she would make it home safely to New York.
Basic training was eight weeks of hell. I immediately regretted my lazy summer and suffered greatly from the demanding physical requirements. Bella and I exchanged letters frequently and her words of love and encouragement kept me strong.
I was immediately ordered to Airborne training and became a member of the 82nd Airborne division at Ft. Bragg. My knowledge of all things medical, absorbed from my father, earned me the role of medic. Airborne graduation was three days before Christmas and I was pleasantly surprised to find Bella attending the graduation ceremony with my parents.
I could see the pride in my father's eyes as he took in my uniform. My mother cried, and though she was afraid for me, she was also proud.
Seeing Bella was better than any Christmas present! She enveloped me in a suffocating hug and told me how incredibly sexy the uniform made me look. We had dinner with my parents and I spent the night with Bella in her hotel. She couldn't keep her hands off my shaved head and we stayed up all night making love and sharing our hopes for the future. I had received my orders that I would be leaving Christmas day for Vietnam.
I spent three hundred and sixty days in the jungles of Vietnam. I flew over two-hundred rescue missions as a medic on a med-evac helicopter. The horrors I witnessed still haunt my dreams, but I try to remember the lives I saved rather than the death and destruction.
I was never injured in battle and for this I credit Bella. She had hidden a small seashell we had found during our time together at Wrightsville beach in the pocket of my uniform the day of my Airborne graduation. Accompanying it was a note saying the shell represented her love for me and that she would be watching over me as long as I kept it close. That shell stayed in the pocket of my camouflage pants all three hundred and sixty days of that war.
The shell was also in my pocket the day I vowed to spend eternity with Bella Swan in front of our closest friends and family. I carried that token of my wife's love for over thirty five years until I handed it over to our own son as he left with his Marine unit to Iraq. As a father, I couldn't have been prouder of his voluntary service to his country, nor could I have been more relieved when he returned home safely.
When people talk about Woodstock, it's always about the sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. For me, it's about falling in love for the first time. It was the moment my life truly began.
Thanks for reading! Reviews are greatly appreciated!