I was so confused. I couldn't believe what was going on was real. I had fallen in love twice to the same woman. The old Bella, endearing, fragile, the person I would lay down my life to protect was gone. I felt guilty. Almost as if I was cheating. But cheating what? Not on her really, maybe fate. It couldn't be possible to be given such a gift. My wife had been replaced by herself.
This Bella was the most amazing creature I ever saw. Graceful, strong… I can't understand how it was possible to for her to have gotten more beautiful than she already was, but she somehow managed it. And her control, I was blown away. All the needless nights lying in bed with her while she slept planning how best to protect her from herself.
I watch Bella holding our daughter as she drifted off to sleep, her little hand pressed to her mother face. It was so wonderful. We could both watch our daughter's dreams at the same time. My speculation as to why Renesme could reach into Bella's mind and I couldn't was brief. I was sure I would ponder that question later, but for now, I was too overwhelmed with the events of the last three days to make much effort toward it.
Esme, Emmett, and Alice told Bella they were going hunting. I smiled.
Today was Bella's birthday. Bella's present from my family, the small cottage tucked in the woods a couple miles from here should have been ready long ago. Esme was in a panic. So many final touches spun around in her mind. So like my mother to worry over the details. Given the events of the last couple of weeks did she think we would be disappointed if a picture wasn't hung or a rug was missing? But her need to give my wife something special only made me love my mom more.
Finally they returned. Alice's exuberance was palpable in the air, cheering up even Jasper who turned up with them. I couldn't help but smile at Bella's horrified expression as my sister squealed happy nineteenth birthday. You would have thought nineteen was old enough for social security. But no one could win against Alice when she was like this, so my wife graciously accepted her fate of gifts and congratulations.
Alice, having won our mental game of rock, paper, scissors "escorted" us from the main house to our new home. I didn't really care if she saw my present now or a week from now. The cottage meant having my wife to myself. I watched the as the broad grin crossed my wife's face. She was radiant, chasing Alice through the woods. If ever I had miscalculated a step it would be now. I couldn't take my eyes off her. So absorb I was that for the first time, I almost ran into something. Her grace, the glow in her face as she gloried in the speed, wearing a ragged dress covered by my shirt, I could think of nothing but tearing that shirt off her. But I had to keep that to myself. We weren't alone, at least not yet.
Alice stopped several yards from the cottage. "Don't attack me" she instructed Bella and proceeded to leap on her back. Don't have a hissy, Edward. Saw it was safe before I came to get you. I rolled my eyes at her.
"What are you doing?" Bella exclaimed a bit stressed as Alice covered her eyes with her own hands.
"Making sure you can't see."
"I could have taken care of that without the theatrics." I would have no objection to touching any part of my wife. The only difficulty would have been stopping at her face.
"You might let her cheat. Take her hand and lead her forward" You'll have her to yourself soon enough, let me have my fun while I can.
"Don't bother, Bella. We're doing this my way."
As I took my wife's hand in mine, I could feel the current pulsing between us. I didn't understand the level of insane need that was intensifying through me by the second. The craving was so intense, far worse than any time when she was still human. But it wasn't right. I needed to give her time to adjust. She was a newborn. I would not put my own desires before hers. I focused on trying to comfort my clearly tense wife. "Just a few seconds more, Bella and she'll go annoy someone else." I took my wife's hand in mine. The current spiked as I gave her hand an extra squeeze and towed her toward the cottage.
"You might be a little more appreciative. This is as much for you as it is for her."
"True. Thank you again, Alice."
"Yeah, yeah. Okay" Alice, ever the voyeur was beside herself with expectation. "Stop there. Turn her just a little to the right. Yes, like that. Okay. Are you ready?"
"I'm ready," Bella replied. Hands still entwined, I gaped unabashed at her as Alice removed herself from Bella's back. Her bright red eyes took in the small cottage nestle in the woods. My self control was fragmenting on all levels. It was almost painful to be only touching her one hand when my body yearned to be with her… inside her. Then there was my obsessive curiosity. The need to know what was going on inside her brain was driving me mad.
"What do you think?" Alice saved me from asking myself.
Urgghh! She just stood there, staring.
"Esme thought we might like a place of our own for a while, but she didn't want us too far away." I tried prompting, but to no avail. "And she loves an excuse to renovate. This little place has been crumbling away out here for at least a hundred years."
"Don't you like it?" Oh no! Edward, she doesn't like it. "I mean I'm sure we could fix it up differently, if you want. Emmett was all for adding a few thousand square feet, a second floor and a tower, but Esme thought you would like it best the way it was meant to look". Alice was descending into full panic mode. "If she was wrong, we can get back to work. It won't take long to —"
"Shh!" Finally, a reply.
Alice and I stared, begging for a response.
"You're giving me a house for my birthday?"
"Us," I hoped that would soften the blow. "And it's no more than a cottage. I think house implies more legroom."
"No knocking my house."
I was sure that my smile was as wide as my sister's "You like it?" Alice asked.
Bella shook her head.
She nodded in response.
"I can't wait to tell Esme!"
"Why didn't she come?"
A brief memory of a vision Alice had this afternoon when she was here froze me where I stood.
"Oh, you know… they all remember how you are about presents." I'm sorry Edward. I hate when I catch glimpses of this stuff. It's so embarrassing.
I thawed enough to shrug my shoulders and give my poor sister a small smile. Embarrassed wasn't even close to how I felt some days living with the six of them.
"They didn't want to put you under too much pressure to like it." Alice was concentrating hard. What else had she seen?
"But of course I like it."
"They'll like that. Anyhoo, your closet is stocked. Use it wisely. And…I guess that's everything."
"Aren't you going to come inside?"
"Edward knows his way around. I'll stop by…later." Eww, sorry…sorry... sorry. Alice mentally cringed as she a new vision spontaneously erupted out of her. I should have been embarrassed, but I couldn't find it in me to be so.
Call me if you can't match your clothes right" I've got to get out of here. "Jasper's wants to hunt."
With that she bolted toward the big house as fast as she could, reciting pi out to the four hundred sixty-fifth decimal in Turkish.
"That was weird." Bella looked up at me confused. "Am I really that bad? They didn't have to stay away. Now I feel guilty. I didn't even thank her right. We should go back, tell Esme —"
"Bella, don't be silly. No one thinks you're unreasonable."
"Then what —"
"Alone time is their other gift. Alice was trying to be subtle about it."
"Oh" was all she said. What on earth was I suppose to make of that?
"Let me show you what they've done." I could be patient, stay focused. I pushed the brief glimpses of Alice's vision aside as I pulled her toward the door. They would not be helpful in maintaining my self control.
She let out a quick nervous laugh, pulling me from back to earth. Was there something funny, wrong…?
"Do I get to hear the joke?"
"It's not a very good one. I was just thinking — today is the first and last day of forever. It's kinda hard to wrap my head around it. Even with all the extra wrapping room."
I chuckled with her, just as amazed as she was. It was the first and last day of forever for me as well. I gestured to the door. She placed the key to our new life into the lock and turned the knob. "You're such a natural at this, Bella. I forget how very strange this all must be for you. I just wish that I could hear it."
Holding her hand was no longer enough for me. I scooped my wife up into my arms.
"Hey!" She exclaimed, her sweet cool breath caressing my face. I leaned in closer, inhaling the intoxicating scent.
"Thresholds are part of my job description," I smirked, doing my best to appear nonchalant. My insatiable nosiness was my best defense against my desire to throw her down on the floor here and now. "But I'm curious. Tell me what you are thinking about right now."
I pushed open the door and carried her into the living room of our new home. I had seen it in all my family's thoughts, but the hominess of it was lost in translation. Maybe it was because their memories didn't include what I was gazing upon right now. As I watched Bella taking in her gift, I instantly envision us sprawled on the couch watching Nessie…oops, Renesme playing in front of the hearth rug. A true family… I never wanted to leave this place.
"Everything, all at the same time, you know. Good things, things to worry about, and things that are new. Right now I'm thinking Esme is an artist. It's so perfect!"
Still in my arms I looked at her beautiful face as she took in our home, trying to keep my mind off her lips so close and inviting. "We're lucky Esme thought to add an extra room. No one was planning for Ness — Renesme."
"Not you to," she half snarled at me.
"Sorry love, I hear it in their thoughts all the time, you know. It's rubbing off on me." I gave my most sincere smile, praying her reaction would not be the same for me as it was for Jacob. She sighed, her laying her head on my shoulder, giving a forgiving embrace.
I headed us down the stone hall toward the bedrooms. "I'm sure you're dying to see the closet. Or, at least I'll tell Alice that you were, to make her feel good."
She looked up at me, mock horror on her voice. "Should I be afraid?"
I continue into the hall, nodding toward the first room on the right. "That will be Renesme's room. They didn't have time to do much with it, what with the angry werewolves…"
Begrudgingly I put her on her feet to open the door to our bedroom. "Here's our room. Esme tried to bring some of her island back here for us."
"Oh." She said.
"I know," was all I could manage. Hand in hand we stared into the room, a miniature version of the island flooded my mind with memories I spent to entire afternoon trying to repress. I could feel my self control eroded from underneath me.
"We're going to tell Alice I ran right to the clothes." She turned to face me, forcefully pulling my head down to her level. "We're going to tell her that I spent hours in there playing dress-up. We're going to lie"
I took her face in my hands and crushed my mouth to hers. This was ecstasy…to taste her without pain…without fear. I didn't fully realize the pleasure I had been missing until this moment. Her breath no longer scorched my throat, but was warm, inviting me to taste where it came from. And her scent… maddening delicious in a whole new way It was truly a new experience for me. Our clothes, rent by each others hands fell to the floor. I warred with myself for the first few seconds or so. It was difficult to get the need to be careful out of my head. But her strength eroded my fears quickly. She was an untamed animal. She pounced on me, wrapping her legs around my waist, knocking us to the floor. It shook the need to be cautious right out of me.
We lay side by side, kissing and touching each other for some time, relearning what we thought we knew about each other. I had longed to be able to appreciate her like this. Though I had enjoyed the heat she gave off when she was human, this was different, better. My hands went everywhere. Her skin didn't give way under my firm grasp, yet it didn't feel at all like stone. It felt natural. I relished the freedom at hand. I had never been able to hold her as I wanted, as I now realized I needed. Even back at the house I had held back fractionally…old habits die hard. She returned my every touch with a crushing embrace of her own. I was so absorbed in the experience that I was taken by surprise, my eyes popping as she threw me onto my back. Damn, she was strong! Instantly she was on top of me. Maybe in another place and time it may have hurt, yet I felt nothing but liberation. So I was surprised as she pulled up off my chest, straddling me between her legs. Confusion and fear crossed her beautiful face as she looked down on me.
"What's the matter love?"
"I'm not hurting you, am I?"
I couldn't help but laugh. "I'm alright…more than alright. I'll grant you I am a little disarmed, but at this moment I don't think I am capable of feeling pain."
"Quite the reversal of roles" she smiled as she said the words. "How did you manage to be so careful Edward?"
I chuckle again. "It wasn't without effort, but believe me," I smiled at the memories, "I was well rewarded for it. Don't worry, we can take it slow if you wish."
I pulled her body back down to mine and rolled us over. I hadn't given my lips proper opportunity to fully explore the new creature before me. This was a wonderful excuse. I pulled my mouth from hers moving down her smooth neck, knowing what my first objective would be. Pregnancy had made her breast fuller. My nose remapped the previously known area, working its way to the nipple. She moaned and her back arched as my mouth fell onto it, learning the new texture. I glanced to the sides to see her trembling hands clenched in fists, trying to control her need to touch me. I pulled one up to my mouth, kissing each knuckle until she relaxed her grip.
"Relax; you're not going to hurt me. Besides, if you start pounding these on the floor you'll crack the stone."
I returned my lips to hers, taking her hands and wrapping them around my neck. My hand made it down between her legs. I began to stroke the wet opening. She began to pant in response to me rocking her pelvis in time with my fingers. Her muscles constricted. I knew her orgasm was eminent.
The snarl that came from her chest stunned me. She moved so fast that I barely register the motion. I was on my back again.
"No, I'm not first this time." she all but hissed the words.
What was I going to do, argue with her?
She took me into her. It was if it was the first time. Current tore throughout my body in a whole new way. I had no bloodlust to beat back. I wasn't ignoring the pain in my throat. I wasn't controlling my every move so as not to crush her in my hands. We both froze, just as we did the first time we fused together on the island. She straddled me, her expression fierce as her legs began pumping, pulling her wet cervix up and down on my erection. As I stared up at her face, I thought of the Hawaiian goddess Pele. Her red eyes were volcanic, intense, brighter still from the need to satiate us. Her long hair swung and she snarled, her mouth hung open, taking in as much oxygen as it could. Though she needed no help, my hands were on her waist, each plunge sent shockwaves of divine pleasure through me. I felt the muscles inside her tighten down around me. My name erupted from her mouth as her first climax exploded out of her.
I yearned to taste her lips again, but I could not get to her mouth from this position. I reached up drawing her into my chest, rolling us over and keeping myself inside her. I had never been able to have my lips on hers as we were making love. Now I could do so much more than that. My tongue exulted inside her as I thrust into her. Her legs held my torso in a tight embrace, an ever present reminder that I didn't have to be careful. Though I loved her more than any words ever invented could describe, this was lust, pure and wild and I was not ashamed to think of it that way. My mouth pulled away from hers so I could catch my breath only to find itself on her throat as her head rolled back and her back arched in response to my driving need to quench myself. My palms were flat on the floor and my chest rose from her breasts as I pushed myself harder into her. She let out a low growl, reaching up and putting her fingers into my mouth. I could feel her swelling again, the muscles in her womb clamped down as she came once more. I knew I could not hold out any longer. My orgasm was so intense that for a moment it blinded me, deafened me. I became detached from the world, incapable of absorbing any other sensation but this.
My body collapsed on to her, just as it did the first time. This temporary feeling of physical exertion was almost the best part…well, almost. We were both panting as I started to pull away. She laughed breathlessly holding me tight to herself.
"You are not going anywhere."
"Never." I rolled us to our sides, pulling her to my chest, burying my face in her beautiful hair.
"I am a little disappointed." She said looking up with a broad smile.
"I didn't want to be first."
"I'm sorry." I said sheepishly. "Nothing makes me happier in this world than to see and feel your orgasm. It's really quite selfish of me. If you give me a moment or two to recover, I'll try my hardest not to be greedy."
"Well, I would hate to see you not exploit your own self interests."
She took my hand kissing the gold band on my finger.
"I love you so much, Mr. Cullen."
"I love you too, Mrs. Cullen." I pulled our entwined fingers from her lips, kissing first one of the several crescent shaped scars I gave her just three days ago, secure in the knowledge that what ever lay ahead, we would be alright.