Making Meadows Out of Nothing at All
A/N: Many millions of thanks go to my awesome friend Gleena for reviewing this for me, and for her invaluable suggestions:) This is a 'flashback' outtake to "Well, He Was Just Seventeen" If you've not read that story, you can read this as a lead-in to that one:)
The bright morning sun, so rare in Forks, crested over the towering tree tops, signaling the end of my cherished alone time with Bella. Even when the night promised to bring us together again, these hours between sunrise and sunset felt like years.
On this day in particular, I was not looking forward to removing myself from the bed I shared with my wife. Her muffled sigh was nearly inaudible, pressed as she was into my chest, but she had heard the evidence of what my gift had already given me awareness of.
Renesmee was rousing; her heart-rate and breathing were beginning to quicken, following her gradually surfacing consciousness as her dreams gave away to sleepy awareness. Our daughter was not fully awake yet, though, and I decided to make the most of my wife's time that I was still able to claim as mine and mine alone. I clutched Bella closer to me, a feat that would have seemed impossible moments before, but now, faced with our imminent separation, I couldn't seem to get close enough to her.
I did not want to let her go. I could not. I was completely addicted to her presence in my arms. To release her, and leave her behind for any time would be agony. I thought that leaving her the night before our wedding for my bachelor's party was difficult. I was so very naïve then. Now that I had given myself to her and experienced her wholly and completely, and had nearly lost her, twice, that night seemed trivial in comparison.
"We have to Edward."
I merely growled and pulled her ever tighter. It was fortunate that she was less breakable now than she had been the night of my bachelor's party.
"You can't turn them down again, Love."
"Who says?" I asked, fully aware of the extremely childish tone that my voice had taken.
"Edward, I'm not going anywhere. Ness and I will be here when you get back, you know."
I knew that. I understood that. I also knew what my father and brothers had planned.
They had proposed an extended hunting trip, just for the men of the family, two weeks prior. I had of course raised objections, but I found that even Carlisle and Esme would not allow me to use Renesmee as a reason to stay behind. Bella had insisted that it would be fine, that I should go with my brothers and father, but I could see her hesitation in her eyes.
We were out-voted.
This would be the first time that Bella, Renesmee and I would be separated for more than a few hours since that terrible day in January. I had been respectful and mature in my outward arguments against the outing, but inwardly, I wanted to stamp my foot and refuse. I knew it was the seventeen-year-old in me, but dammit; Bella and I hadn't even been married a full year. I could not stand to be away from her touches or her caresses. I felt lost if she wasn't close-by.
Only Jasper knew the extent of my dread.
Three days without Bella.
Three days without her touch.
Three days without her kisses.
Three days without her.
"It won't be that bad," Bella said. I could hear the false cheer in her tone.
"You have the satellite phone now. You can call every night to tell Renesmee her bedtime story."
I didn't want to tuck my baby girl in over the phone. I wouldn't be able to hear her dreams or comfort her when they turned dark.
"I don't want to go."
"I know." Bella's tone gave away her own reluctance. "We did agree to do this."
"48 hours of Emmett's mental run-down of every song on the Billboard Top 100 list starting with 1971 could make a monk break a fifty-year vow of silence, Love." Bella snorted, and I couldn't help but laugh with her. Her movements against me were highly distracting.
I began a trail of kisses along her neck and shoulder and she giggled quietly with each caress of my lips. I couldn't help the low purr that escaped me; I reached out mentally to determine how awake Renesmee actually was. I actually heard something much worse.
And I know just where to touch you,
And I know just what to prove;
I know when to pull you closer,
And I know when to let you loose.
And I know the night is fading,
And I know that time's gonna fly…
Emmett. Apparently Air Supply was on this morning's playlist.
Well, I think he's heard us finally. That lust just melted straight into annoyance.
Edward, we gave you thirty extra minutes, and we've been waiting here for fifteen, son.
Bella instantly froze at my growl.
"They're out there, aren't they?" she asked. I lay my head down upon the shoulder I had recently been worshiping and nodded wordlessly. "As if Emmett needs any new ammunition; they're not coming in are they?" Bella muttered.
"NO BELLA! YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET DRESSED FOR US!"
If my wife could still blush, she would have been crimson.
"Take his arm or something off for me while you guys are out there, will you Love?"
"I HEARD THAT!"
"EXACTLY MY POINT!" Bella yelled back.
Renesmee was fully awake now. "Momma? Daddy?" she called from her bed. Bella and I moved swiftly to get dressed; her clothing had survived the previous night. Mine had not.
"I'll go get her; you get something sturdier on."
Did she say sturdier? A little anxious were we?
Brother or not, maybe Emmett would be losing an appendage this weekend.
"Have fun, love," Bella murmured as we met in the living room of the cottage a moment later. I crushed her to me one last time, covering her lips with my own and kissing her with the depth of my feelings.
My daughter's mental call pulled me from Bella, and I turned to my daughter. "I'll be calling tonight; I've got to tell you your story, right?"
"Yes, Daddy," Renesmee said, her lip jutting out for the first time. Clearly, leaving my daughter would be nearly as difficult as leaving my wife. Nessie's lip began to tremble; she was thinking of Alice and Jasper leaving before, and not coming back.
"I'll be home in a few days, Love," I explained.
"Ok Daddy," Renesmee whispered, mollified. I had to pull away now, before the tears fell. I would never leave then, and my brothers would drag me out in pieces before they let me stay. I kissed Nessie's forehead, gave Bella one last kiss and met my brothers and Carlisle outside.
As much as I tried to school my features into my oft-used poker face, I could not. Emmett and Carlisle knew of my unease just as well as Jasper. Saying nothing, the four of us swiftly began our journey north-east-ward.
We hadn't gone more than ten miles when Jasper came to a stop.
"Will you be able to handle this, Edward?" he asked. I was doubtful; I knew Jasper had felt it, but I bristled at being regarded as incapable. I glared at Jasper and insisted, "I'm fine."
The three of them raised their eyebrows at me, and I bristled anew. Carlisle and Emmett were doing their best to mask their thoughts, but Emmett let his guard down too soon. I glared at him now.
"I am not 'all touchy-feely' now," I said, exasperated. I wasn't sure why I was denying it; hadn't I myself thought this morning that I was addicted to Bella's touch? Emmett's slip caused Carlisle to let his guard down as well.
"I am not needy, either," I ground out, feeling entirely ganged up on.
"Well, Edward, consider the theory," Carlisle began. "When I originally surmised that you had been changed too young to take a mate…" Carlisle broke off as Emmett snickered at our father's choice of words. I rolled my eyes, and crossed my arms in frustration. "As I was saying, I originally felt that you had been too young for physical demonstrances of affection because the prevailing theory of the time was that older adolescents needn't receive such attentions; that they were too old for a hug, but not old enough for the ultimate sign of affection."
Emmett started laughing again, yet this time, his mirth bled over to Jasper who could also no longer remain silent.
"Yes, boys, I mean sex. We've all had it, there's nothing to laugh about here," Carlisle tried in his most authoritative Doctor Cullen voice.
"Yeah, Eddie here finally joined the club!" Emmett said, tactlessly as usual. I found myself rolling my eyes once again. Then my brother began his inner monologue.
I'm too sexy for my shirt…
I growled at my brother, "That was a terrible song in 1992, and it's even worse now."
"Emmett," Carlisle warned as though we were truly adolescents. Then my father turned back to me. "As I was saying, physical affection in your day was limited by a good deal of rules. You balked at our touch, and even dare I say, abhorred it, until you fell in love with Bella."
I looked down at my shoes, unable to deny what my father so perceptively understood. Bella was the first touch that I sought after; the caress that I craved every moment that my skin wasn't in contact with hers.
"That doesn't make me needy," I complained.
"Well, that is true to a degree. But I think your youth has a greater affect on your drive to seek that physical connection, now that you've discovered the joys of it, than any of the rest of us when we took a mate."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "Emmett and Rosalie were nearly unbearable for a full decade," I argued.
"I'm not denying that they have a strong connection; but even after they were married, they frequently hunted separately. Rosalie often with Esme, and Emmett with you or I. They did things more readily on their own as well. Rosalie had her cars and Emmett had...well something of everything I guess. Alice and Jasper were the same. This is the furthest we've gotten you from Bella in nearly six months."
"Even now, Edward, as we're discussing it, I get a feeling of unease; agitation."
"That's because this conversation is aggravating," I muttered.
"No. it's more than your usual annoyance. The Aussie's have a great word for it: sooky," Jasper explained.
"I am not sooky!" I denied.
"Sulky, moody, with a need for physical affection. I think that fits," Emmett laughed. At our raised eyebrows, he scoffed. "I do know how to read, you know."
"Even if that were true, my age has nothing to do with it. That could describe any of you when you miss your wives. And more than that, I have a child to miss, too. I'm bound to be more anxious when separated from them."
"That may be true, Edward, but you've been to medical school. You know that a male's sexual peak is around eighteen. Recent studies show that teens need the hugs, the pats on the back- those types of physical reassurances of affection more than, well, more than adults do, at any rate. I have a feeling that you may always feel this depth of need and desire for Bella. Not just in this 'honeymoon phase' that you're in now, but eternally."
"Whoa…Rosie and I are extremely active sexually as it is. I can just imagine how much more active Rosie and I would be if I was turned at seventeen and I had Eddie's drive here…"
At his comment, I snapped. Emmett's innuendos had been constant and embarrassing through the entire conversation with Carlisle. It had only gotten more colorful and crass with every passing moment. If he wanted an adolescent reaction, I could oblige.
Before he had truly realized what was happening, I had slammed him into a small stand of trees directly behind him. Four of the five pines went down beneath us with a thunderous crash. I knew that I had to get up quickly; if Emmett was able to roll us and pin me, there wouldn't be any fight left. Now that I had begun, I wanted to let off some steam.
In a flash I was up and out of Emmett's reach. He stood up with a cocky grin on his face. I knew that he'd been hoping for this to happen while we were out. He just hadn't counted on it being so early in our excursion. Jasper and Carlisle weren't concerned; they had been expecting this too.
Please remember, Edward; minimal environmental impact.
I spared a glance and a nod for my father as I crouched and waited for my larger opponent to think through his plan. Unfortunately, Emmett had been practicing a lot lately. I Got You, Babe ran on a continuous loop in his mind. Cher was bad enough alone; the addition of Sonny was enough to ensure that, for the moment, Emmett's thoughts were his own. There was always distraction.
"Think you got me, little brother?" Emmett taunted. He knew I didn't enjoy that particular diminutive. I was no one's little brother.
"I'm older than you, little brother," I tossed back at him.
"Ah, but I'm physically older, and bigger. And you know, I'm not all sooky," he yelled back. I narrowed my eyes at him, and he laughed at me again. "Did that hit the mark?"
"What's the wager on this little match going to be, gentlemen?" Jasper asked, ever the speculator.
"If I win, the arm wrestling bet is off, and I can make any and all jokes I want," Emmett said immediately. He had obviously thought this out before we even left. Possibly from the moment the trip was conceptualized.
"If I win, we never have this conversation again; my sex life with Bella stays just that; with Bella."
"Bring it on, Eddie."
I growled and charged at my brother, catching him around the arm and attempting to swing him into the air. I caught his thought a moment too late; I darted backwards but not before he tore my sleeve.
"Guess we'll have to get you sturdier clothes," he teased. Then, he charged me. It was simple enough to dart around him this time; he hadn't blocked his thoughts at all. His concentration was slipping.
Evading Emmett was simple enough, but in order to win our little match, I had to toss or tackle him three times in succession. Carlisle had had to dictate clear rules several decades before; in the light of the gifts and competitive natures in our family, something had to be done to declare a match won.
Startled by Emmett's sudden exclamation, I turned, I realized, hoping that my wife was really there. I should have known better, however. Emmett took full advantage of my distraction and flattened me from behind.
"WHOO! One to one!"
"That wasn't fair, and you know it," I groused into the dirt.
"Well, now you know how it feels. I just have something to use against you now, Mr. Needy."
That did it. I summoned all my strength and anger and frustration, and threw Emmett off of me, taking down three more trees in the process.
"Two-one," I said.
After that, we traded back and forth a few more times, until I took my brother down twice in a row. There was now a sizeable clearing amongst the tall pines.
"Makin' meadows, out of nothin' at all!" Emmett crooned in an atrocious falcetto.
I was ready to end this; I only needed one more toss or tackle and I would save my sanity and Bella's until the next bet rolled around. Emmett's 1983 playlist suddenly morphed into 1990, and my brother was now dancing in a painfully familiar manner. He was only missing the parachute pants.
"Hammer Time, Edward. Bet you can't touch this!"
Taking advantage of Emmett's horrible dance skills, and his even worse attempt at distracting me, I circled behind and launched him into the last tree standing in our makeshift-meadow.
"How's that for touching?" I asked, unable to avoid a dig at the atrocious song still running through his head. "You've successfully used an imaginary Bella as a distraction once; it isn't going to work again. It was more than a little absurd to try it three more times, Emmett."
"Can't blame a guy for tryin," Emmett responded, brushing the pine needles from his hair. He was pouting.
"I won, and you know it. No more innuendos and none of you will ever repeat this conversation again," I stated firmly, in my best fatherly voice. I was slightly chagrined to note that my hands were planted on my hips.
"Oh, look, Emmett; Edward's getting all parental on us."
I growled, but Carlisle's hand on my shoulder and his laughter kept me from chasing both my brothers down again.
"Don't let them get to you, son. Let them get their aggressions out together, while we fathers ruminate on the impetuousness of youth," Carlisle said. I raised my eyebrow at him. There was a glint in his eye and a trace of humor in his dry delivery. He was teasing me too. How would I last three days of this without Bella? I needed her arms around me to deal with them. Perhaps I could sneak away after a meal or two now that Emmett had had his wrestling match.
A beep from my phone signaled an in-coming text.
Don't you dare!
Damn pixie. I'd had a fleeting hope that it was Bella asking me to come home.
Maybe I was getting sooky.
Not that I would admit that out loud.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I hope this was enjoyable:) Stay tuned for Bella's girl-talk about Sookyward;)
Just as a heads up, The Mystic Awards have begun the voting round! My story It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This is in the category for "Mr. Perfect." There is a link on my profile.
I don't know about you, but Dr. Magic-crepe-hands-wet-in-the-ocean Masen seems pretty perfect to me!
The Sparkles are also accepting nominations. Getting to Know the Cullen Coven has already been nominated:) Voting will begin October 15, 2009.
Please review! Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?