Age of Edward Contest
Title: The Beating Of Two Hearts In Tandem
Your pen name: thewasofshall
Type of Edward: Colonial (a.k.a. early eighteenth-century American political figure-ward)
C2 page: fanfiction. net/community/The_Age_of_Edward_Contest/70125/
A/N: The following one-shot is a complete work of fiction; all character names and personality traits have been modified from those created by, and copy to, Stephenie Meyer.
This piece was inspired, in parts, by The Scarlet Letter; it is supposed to be out of order and slightly confusing. It contains a Jacob/Bella relationship as well as a scene of verbal and physical abuse (however tactfully I have tried to portray it). Please do not read it you feel you will be triggered or offended by either.
Some outdated words are defined at the end.
"There was a fire in her and throughout her; she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment." The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
He was the most beautiful man she'd ever seen.
At twenty-two, Bella was expected to know such things: know how to sew coarse linen so it wouldn't rip at the first sign of friction and how to dig and pull at weeds so their modest garden could feed them through the winter, know when to bow and politely respond and when to simply stand mute beside her husband, know how to survive her practical marriage and then how to smile and lie through her teeth, know when to read the bible and mask the faith she'd lost and when she should confess such sins to the one person who'd caused them.
She was married, after all.
She thought, now more than ever, what faith was, how one could quantify such an abstract concept.
Did her wandering and hunched-over weed pulling mean she was a heretic, the fact that she knowingly paused within the dirt and thought such things? Or was it her belief in the absence of any sort of concrete deity that made her unworthy of God's love, the fact that she had a growing symbol of her unfaithfulness?
Maybe it was the baby, she would sigh.
Maybe their repeated nights of physical love (her father had warned such a thing impossible, perhaps because he knew she would never find it with Jacob) had shifted her focus and suddenly made Him laughably tangible whenever she hummed in contentment and felt her (for she was always a she) kick in joyous response. Two hearts sped up and the larger would feel the smaller and then the sun-kissed strands would pass, lids would close over both of his jade-green irises, and the moment would fade into nothing like the extraordinary it had inspired.
Maybe, Bella would think later, she hadn't lost all her faith and, instead, simply restructured her universe. Maybe God, she wondered, wasn't accessible through her obsessive memorization or within the four suffocating walls in which she'd first seen him. Maybe He surrounded her, had always surrounded her, and she'd been too blind to notice the mysterious ways under which He worked.
And then she would remember how Jacob would force his way inside of her, roll over without imploring her to finish, and steal the covers away from a body shivering in the draft.
And she would think, in secret, maybe not.
It happened like all wondrously magnificent things – by chance, unexpectedly.
She hadn't wanted it to transpire – not really, anyway – because even she knew that she shouldn't feel so much for someone to which she wasn't legally bound. But then again, he was new and she wasn't and he hadn't heard all the slander gossiped about her and her father (well, at least not yet anyway) and made her believe she was beautiful.
And, if nothing else mattered – if they were found out and she was condemned and he felt ashamed and refused to stand up for her (because, honestly, who would?) – for those few brief moments (in the grand scheme of her young life they were but fleeting) she would have known what it felt to be desired and, for that, she would endure.
"I'm going for a walk."
Jacob's chair was empty.
"I am going for a walk and I don't want you to wait up for me."
A defiant head nod and a swift swish of skirt against a missing acknowledgement; this wasn't the first time he had left on such short notice or been gone overnight – it was the first time she was brave enough to leave and she wanted to do it properly, respectfully, in secret.
Her chores had been tucked and fluffed and chopped and stacked; she wasn't hungry; it was twilight; she grabbed a lantern for good measure.
"Hello," he ventured behind her.
He was respectful even then. Alone with the talk of the town in a meadow at dusk and still, he was respectful.
"Excuse me but I seem to have deviated from my path and found myself lost." She turned towards him, fascinated by the timbre of his voice and how the dying sun produced an almost ethereal glow. "Would you be so kind as to escort me from the forest?" She liked to wonder, late at night as her belly grew and taunted her, how she would have survived had she simply said 'no.'
"Yes, of course, Governor."
"Please," he blushed, "call me Edward." If she were anyone else, she would have obliged him.
"If I may be so bold, Governor," she looked at him and he nodded slightly, "I wouldn't tell every person you meet your name is Edward. It's best to make them fear knowing you as anything less than an appointed man of the law." She tried not to smirk at his resulting blanch, tried not to notice he avoided everything but her face when she was speaking. "Sir?"
"Yes?" He looked dazed and uncomprehending.
"Your quarters are just another half mile down the road." She pointed, studying his face as it worked its way to recognition. "I could run and fetch your carriage if you have found yourself too weak…"
"No," he focused abruptly, "that won't be necessary. I have taken up enough of your time already. Good day."
She watched him take long swift strides away from her and she knew a dismissal had never looked so beautiful.
"I'm going next door to fetch my father," she said.
"Maybe he'll die before you get back," Jacob mumbled. She didn't hear him; he meant her to.
They sat in the furthest pew from the alter and closest to the door: Jacob, Isabella, Charles. One man was hulking and aggressive, at church for the afterlife he knew he would receive regardless of his mortal behavior; the other was withered with sickness and debt, silent with his selfish guilt; sandwiched between: the only female who could hold them together.
She was slowly losing her faith, even then. Before she began refusing to consummate their un-love, before her father died and finally confessed his reasons for trading her, before she glanced up and found a new god to believe in.
"This is Governor Cullen," the minister said. "We will treat him just as respectfully as we treated his father, God rest his soul. Amen."
"Amen," she whispered. His cheekbones were high and defined, dignified. His lips were soft and red, winter-chapped. He stared at her without knowing she would become his Bella. She felt her faith shift, her own holy spirit.
It was the beginning of Spring and she worked tirelessly, weeding out their small and barren plot of land (how fitting, she would think later, unexpectedly, it was always there, staring us in the face), tending two gardens because she had to and because her father's presence let her get away with a quarter of the love Jacob should have given.
She didn't know it then, but it was a start.
"I'll be gone up river with Samuel for a fortnight." Don't burn the house down, he wanted to say. Don't visit him, he should have warned.
Bella said goodbye to one man, whispered hello to another.
She almost dropped her lantern and set the woods on fire.
"I'm sorry," he stood. "I come out here to think and I never intended to intrude. Please forgive me," he bowed, head down, eyes trained not to look at her.
"Edward," she reached out and touched him. He stopped at her whisper, at the licks of flame dancing up his forearm; she stared as he slowly turned and faced her, the lantern shaking but no longer a threat. "Please stay; we can sit and think together."
"Tell me about England," she asked him. "Tell me everything I want to know."
He felt her shift and lean into his warm midsection, heard her breaths even and slow down. He huddled around her petite form and swallowed painfully at the rapidly expanding bulge he wanted to lose deep inside of her, would ashamedly stroke in private and cry out her name when he was done.
He was tired; her soft skin and clean smell made him yearn for the downy mattress he had left and traded in for gnarled roots and wet, dewy grass. But he knew, even then, he would just go back and want to leave again, enter his bedchamber and not find sleep without her.
As the sun rose he watched her skin come alive with beauty, wondering how it was possible for something so exquisite to exist without–
he couldn't decide an answer.
She stirred and rolled over, clutching his chemise and squeezing tight. The warm caress she felt drift up and down her spine frightened her and then she quickly sat up and blanched at where she was and next to whom she had slept.
"Isabella," he hastened, "you merely fell asleep and I had no desire to wake you. Perhaps that was too selfish of me. May I ask for your forgiveness?" He had stood up and was bowing in a way Jacob would never be able to imitate. She glanced down and saw stray chestnut hairs peaking out over a toned, broad chest.
"Of course," she swallowed, "I would expect the governor to be nothing less than a gentleman. If you'll excuse me." She ducked and strode swiftly to the edge of the trees, her short stature still too quick for him to follow.
I didn't do anything, he had wanted to say. I desperately wanted you to, she would have answered.
"Please," she moaned quietly. Her injuries hurt and he could make them better. "Please show me how much you love me."
He waited three nights for her.
He was strange, after all: the eldest son of Carlisle Cullen (god rest his soul, may he lay in peace, amen) a self-confirmed scholar of the Enlightenment! No wonder he had been sent to the colonies, ripped from the breast of his most revered English thinkers, constrained to rule a people so politically behind his own.
Why wouldn't he sneak out of his own house and sit in a meadow? Wait for the bob of her lantern as she confirmed that she wanted it too?
He knew she was married; he did it anyway.
Their talks were chaste at first – who are you? why are you here? (and never in the sought after sense of the word) – before they turned intellectual. She didn't know what he was speaking about so passionately, just that their short burst of confidence had given her more of a reason to feel that this tryst was sound and morally un-corrupt. She liked to watch him stand up and pace before her, liked to agree to his imploring manner just because he smiled slightly and always almost hugged her.
They both snuck away to the meadow (their meadow, he would imply) and tried not to fall asleep even though it suddenly came too easily. She tried not to think what would happen once Jacob came back and stole her nights away and he was too much in love to remind her.
"Harder," she whispered into his ear, tickling the tiny hairs with her breath. "I want you to erase what he feels like."
She was five months larger than she should be and he was still making her do most of the work. He didn't go to church anymore; she only went to watch a certain tousled head of hair bow and then feign prayer to a god in which she no longer found belief.
She sat in their bench and kneeled audibly, looking to her right and wishing her father was there, not even looking to the left when she pretended to close her eyes and falsely prayed she could find the strength to run away. (It was never: how could she stay with Jacob – because she couldn't and wouldn't any longer – it was: how could she leave him behind, never see his sometimes-dimples and let her baby do all the heart-pattering for her?)
Her father died a week after he came back without fish or any quantifiable object to let her know he had really been upriver with Samuel.
It was the beginning and the end of everything.
"Bella," Jacob would huff into her unresponsive neck, right before she felt him explode in a way only a man can mimic. He would drop down hard and breathe into her breast, roughly caressing her not-hard nipple; she would wait until he started snoring before she would feel less guilty about pushing him off of her and running a wet cloth through her thighs, trying to erase his existence.
He was drunk.
She could see it in his stumbling swagger, hear it in his faltering of words, smell it on his warm hot breath whenever he came too close.
Her father's death had given him more farmland (she learned that's why they had been married), another house (his behavior tonight only confirmed her suspicion that he would waste it), and enough whiskey to last weeks if he was smart about his consumption (she already knew he wasn't). It had been six nights since the funeral and it was already gone.
For six nights he had fallen asleep too early to touch her; six nights and never once did she feel like crying herself to sleep. But today, this afternoon, tonight – he was suddenly sober and she felt herself wishing for the burden of a drunken husband over an obviously abusive one.
She had wondered, privately, if he had even remembered what the day signified, how it unabashedly mocked them and marked a third anniversary. She didn't want him to recognize the occasion because then she would have to acknowledge that this had happened – this life she was surviving had been growing and expanding for far too long for her to justify their inability to function when together.
"Bella," he growled, grabbing her hair and forcing her still, "why haven't you given me a child?" She cried (almost), shook her head (as much as she could), and stammered.
"Perhaps God feels we do not deserve a child." She meant: if I know god at all, he is doing me a favor.
"Is that what you think, wench?" he thundered, pulling tightly. "You think we are unfit to raise a son? That I am unfit as a father, a husband, a man?" He let go, starting to walk away before he chose to turn around and slap her. "Am I not a man now, Isabella?" Another step and she was pressed against the wooden wall of their small home (not a home, she would think later, that was never a home), almost not-touching the ground with the force of his palm around her neck. "Is not a man but someone to keep a woman in line? Keep her fed and clothed so that she may serve him under God?" She wasn't crying, not for him. "Tell me, Isabella. Tell me how I have failed you." She was struggling and he started to laugh without humor, a dry clanging sound that only reminded her of Edward's because of its difference.
His hand released her and she felt hot all over. She saw a gleam in his eye meant to placate her already terrified state (she would never tell him, but it was working) and he took a step forward, un-romantically caressed her exposed neck and heaving breast while he whispered heavily in her ear.
"Or is it just that you do not deserve me? That your father was the lame village laughing stock and you, the idiot's only daughter. Not even pretty enough to tempt the poorest beggar but, I heard, very skilled in the kitchen. Did you know that, Isabella? Know that you were bartered for your father's gambling debts? For a way to keep him alive and out of pain while you lived next door and the kind Jacob Black took pity on an old fool and married his sole heir?" He was close now, breathing her air for her. "I will be saved, Isabella, because I took pity on you and what was left of your degenerate family. Except now, you're too filthy to bare my children, is that right? Too proud and noble to carry on the Black family name? Tsk tsk, Isabella. This is where you prove me wrong." He sucked greedily against her soft flesh, tasting the sweat and salt of tears she refused to cry. One hand kept her shoulders from moving while the other failed to seduce her as it trailed to the opening of her frock and swiftly pulled. Her hands were clenched and she was willing to fight him.
"Get off me," she snapped back. "Get your filthy hands off me."
He stopped his ministrations and glanced up, smiling at the kitty that decided to play.
"Oh, Isabella, you should know better than to provoke me." He slipped his finger around her mouth and then, in one moment, she was biting it, stomping at his large feet, trying with all her strength to push him away from her, off of her, anywhere but where he was. He ripped his bloodied finger away and grabbed her again, this time with sadistic glee and fully knowing how much it would hurt her. "Don't you ever disrespect me again, Isabella. If you have no regard for your wellbeing than maybe I should treat you like the whore you would be if I hadn't taken you in! Is that what you want, Isabella?" He paused. "Answer me!" he thundered.
She spit in his face and he backhanded the side of her mouth, drawing blood both on top of and underneath the skin. He paused for one moment, stunned, and she took it, biting and scratching whatever skin she could reach, smacking and clawing her way up to his face, kneeing and grinding bone into his groin, lifting and swinging a chair when he fell to his knees.
She ran then, ran the long way to her meadow and hoped that he would follow her and get lost among the branches.
She gave one last look to the docks and remembered what he had done to her, remembered and locked it away. Embry nuzzled her leg and lay down at the feet of his masters.
"I do not think you a coward," she said, voiced to the sea but aimed at the strong arms that enclosed her.
"It is settled then," he smiled into her neck, "we are both not cowards." He kissed her softly and she closed her eyes in warmth. "It is hard to feel guilt for something with which one does not regret," he whispered. She sighed and he knew that she understood.
She arrived in the meadow and sank to her knees, pounding the ground and bawling before the air in her lungs ran out and she had to stop.
She felt weightless as if she were dreaming and then she was settled into him and knew she had said 'yes.' All those weeks before, all those hours lost to palpable sexuality and a burgeoning desire to live a life she chose – she had said 'yes' to him, had guided him out of the forest and called him what he asked her to; she had said 'yes' once and that meant she could never again say 'no.'
"Shh, shh, my Bella," he consoled, "you are safe here. We are safe here in our meadow. Dry your tears, love, save them for someone who is worth it." She quieted her sobs – not because he asked her to and only because she knew he was right – and stretched out beside the firmness he was always shyly hiding in public (a firm broadness no woman could ignore).
"I like you like this, Edward," she whispered. "When we are here we are just us."
"I know," he whispered back, "I know exactly what you mean."
Jacob cursed and gave up, too angry to fight for a woman he would never think was worth it. He stumbled into his lumpy bed and fucked his hard cock, pumped himself dry not once thinking of Isabella.
He kissed her, once, on the forehead.
It was a this-doesn't-mean-anything kiss, the kind a father gives to her daughter when she skins her knee and, at eight, doesn't understand the word 'death,' can't yet fathom what it means for a mother never to come home again.
Except, both of them knew it wasn't just a nothing kiss. His lips burned at the contact and he felt almost lightheaded, knew his breeches were straining tight as she stirred softly beside him and shivered with how much he made her feel.
She clutched him tighter, palming her way down his broad clothed chest until she could feel his desire pulsing beneath her cold April fingertips.
"Don't be ashamed," she whispered.
She shouldn't have been surprised, except, the weight of him was pleasurably unfamiliar above her exhilaration.
"I could never," he answered, skimming his lips down her breast as it heaved and breathed in response.
She was humming, moaning, breathing so heavily she felt like she should explode with the effort. First came her frock; then, her smooth underdress; after, her confusing stay.
She was naked in the moonlight, grabbing and pulling at his chemise while he refused to surrender control.
"Please," she moaned quietly. Her injuries hurt and he could make them better. "Please show me how much you love me."
He lifted his head in mirth and the small aside left her no choice but to grip his clothing and have him equally exposed. He (she? they never debated) rolled them over and she made quick work of his trousers. His erection sprang forth and she stared at it, fascinated by the uncircumcised length and how she was proud to have caused such a reaction.
She rubbed the indentations marking thigh from abdominals and ached to taste him, wanted unabashedly to feel him come apart in her mouth. Her tongue darted out and then she was gripping him, understanding how warm he felt in two different places. She could feel his breath hitching beneath her, and then, on a short educational pause, she was pulled up and they were kissing – lips between lips, tongue across tongue. His mouth was hot and wet and a welcome respite to dried salty tears.
He rolled them over and settled in between her open, waiting thighs. She was wet (could feel it begging to come out of her) and wanted him inside, knew more than anything that this is what they meant when they whispered about making love.
His mouth circled her swollen clit and her belly blocked everything but the tips of his hair. But she knew, without looking, what he was doing to her. He grabbed her hand when she came over his fingers, crawled beside their worked-around roadblock and settled blissfully into her waiting skin.
The ship rocked beneath them and he knew this is what they meant when they spoke of coming home.
"Harder," she whispered into his ear, tickling the tiny hairs with her breath. "I want you to erase what he feels like."
His maddening thrusts were not gentle (anything but a hard cock or two bent fingers spelled murder, they would soon frequently joke) but they felt divine to her sore– (cunt seemed too brutal and, well, pussy had always made her giggle) she didn't care what he called it as long as he rocked within its walls and tried everything he could to draw out their lack of virtue.
He peppered her clavicle with soft kisses, needing to fill himself up with her scent while she wrapped her legs around his moving thighs and closed her eyes in ecstasy.
She had never been this close before, had never known the existence of an orgasm until it ran around and smacked her in the face.
He came, swiftly, holding her hips down while he pushed into her and merely let go. She was breathing beneath him, panting and sweaty from her own desire to make it happen again.
It was dark but even he could see her flushed skin, her hard and erect nipples coated with the sweat he'd helped produce.
Her eyes were closed from exhaustion (and not because she wanted them to) and he smirked at her pale form. He pulled himself out and one thumb rubbed over a breast, teasing it, while his mouth found purchase with its twin. She gasped, uncertain.
"Just feel, love," he mumbled. "Let me reciprocate."
One hand pulled at the plush grass behind her while the other gently pushed his bangs away from his face as he sucked and nibbled at pleasure with which she was unabashedly curious.
He stopped at her cunt and stared, his already half-smirk widening as he gauged how wet she'd become, how sexually sweet she smelled leaking the fruits of both of their labors. He placed a soft kiss on her clit and his tongue escaped him, licking up what he could reach and crawling around in an effort to produce more.
Just when she thought could get used to the feel of him between her, worshipping on his knees, he stopped – she grabbed his hair and tried to move him into a more pleasurable position and he languidly kissed her clit for good measure and worked his way back up her body.
"I should hate you for that," she whispered, "but I can't deny that I liked it." Her eyes were still closed as she let her hair stand on end. He settled between her thighs and smirked to no one.
"It's not over yet," he told her.
She was riding him (the verb felt silly: they weren't moving in a way the term implied); knees bent into the soil, her hands splayed across his chest and gently squeezing for added support. Both mouths were parted as grunts and moans slipped out, air swirled between two bodies flushed to the brim with unholy desire.
She didn't know how she knew what she was doing, but each downward thrust was met in kind, the double force of his hips into hers made her already overworked muscles respond in new, fascinating ways.
How he fondled her lightly bouncing breasts as she bit her lip in concentration, how they seemed to hardly blink and then, when they did, never missed a moment, how she understood that the tight coiling in the pit of her stomach was meant to be worked through and endured, how the sudden clenching she felt around the hard cock inside of her made him groan just as loudly as she had.
She stopped (what else was she supposed to do? it was over, right?) and he immediately grabbed her hips, keeping the movement up with only a second's break in hesitation.
He rolled them over, hovering and doing almost all the work before he came inside her and she pulled him down, relishing in how hot his skin felt against her own. She needed their heartbeats to match, wanted to combust with satisfied happiness.
She snuck outside and vomited in the bushes. Let the flowers die, she thought, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, I'm going to church.
A temporarily satisfied obligation meant they didn't try to procreate anymore; but sometimes, when he caught her lightly drumming her almost-there belly, she maybe thought he knew.
Saturday night became their ritual. They went to the meadow and consumed one another.
And then, it changed them.
"I want to run away with you," she whispered, nakedly spent under the warm July heat. She pulled his hand and spread it across her belly. "We want to run away with you."
In September the harvest came and she sometimes felt big phantom drops slide down her grown breasts whenever she let herself look across the fence and into a forgotten future.
I'm happy he's dead, she thought suddenly, it will be so much easier to say goodbye.
In October she gave him everything she wanted to keep: a hidden book of Shakespeare and a necklace of rings. He kissed her in secret and felt two hearts flutter.
Jacob snored beside her and she rubbed his lips for good luck. She pushed him away one last time and softly stole as many layers as she could carry on her seven-month frame.
She hugged Embry and, when he followed her down the dirt road blissfully wagging his tail, she didn't stop him.
"Welcome home," he whispered into her ear, shooting shivers through her body. The cottage didn't look like home – not anything she'd known in her twenty-three years of life – but there was Embry, growling with expectation at the new smell, her fabled book of Shakespeare alone on the mantle, a familiar ring on her finger and its twin on his own, her legally unpronounced lover smiling at the pair of tiny pursed lips she clutched against her and breaking into his almost-dimples at the sight of jade-green baby eyes.
Yes, home indeed.
A/N2: all definitions taken from Wikipedia (fyi: there are pictures with some of these entries)
In all the late-night meadow scenes, Edward would be half in bedclothes and half-dressed to venture outside which, in this piece, equals no underwear (or the modern equivalent of underwear). During the colder spring months, his coat (redingote) would have been already taken off and used as a buffer between the wet grass and his and Bella's bodies. (The closest full-body shot of his outfit can be viewed on my profile [taken from Pride & Prejudice (2005)].) Bella, during the sex scene, would still be dressed in her everyday wardrobe and lacking a coat (where Edward's comes in!); shoes, for both, are relatively unimportant to the narrative.
breeches: an item of male clothing covering the body from the waist down, with separate coverings for each leg, usually stopping just below the knee (also referred to as trousers). Breeches were normally closed and fastened about the leg, along its open seams at varied lengths, and to the knee, by either buttons or by a drawstring.
chemise: a simple garment worn next to the skin to protect clothing from sweat and body oils (the modern-day t-shirt); it was loose cut with wide sleeves and was often made from excess material to avoid waste. (Edward's would have been high-end linen with a small 'v' neck that could be tied closed.)
fortnight: a unit of time equivalent to fourteen days.
frock: a woman's dress or gown, in the fashion of the day, often indicating an unfitted, comfortable garment for wear in the house.
redingote: a long coat or greatcoat in fashion during the 18th-19th centuries. A men's redingote could be in the tightly fitting frock coat style or in the more voluminous, loose style, replete with overlapping collars.
stay: a corseted undergarment with shoulder straps and flaps at the waist; it flattened the bust, and in so doing, pushed the breasts up. By the middle of the 16th century, stays were often made of multiple layers of stiffened linen with wooden shafts inserted in a pocket at the front in order to keep the corset and figure straight.
underdress: an undergarment worn beneath a dress or skirt to help it hang smoothly and to prevent chafing; also used as an added layer for warmth. (We would recognize Bella's underdress as a 'full slip': hanging from the shoulders by means of narrow straps and stopping just below the knees.)