Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight series, nor any of the characters created by Stephenie Meyer. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
and so.... the final chapter.
We have dueling POV's.... enjoy!
The sun was setting at our backs, turning the beach a glowing deep pink. I could see the island long before she could. When she finally caught sight of it, she was as speechless as I expected. The lights in the house were on, reflecting off the powdery sand as we docked the boat in a small lagoon. Once the boat was secure, I turned to her.
"Isle Esme," I whispered, and she launched herself into my arms.
"An entire island?"
He smiled at me and swept me into his arms. "So, am I forgiven for the last eighteen hours of travel hell?"
"Not quite, but you're on your way."
He carried me up the path to the house, then across the threshold, beaming.
"Home away from home," he whispered as he put me down.
The entry was beautiful, with a direct line of sight to a great room facing the beach, and an open central courtyard.
"Come on, I'll give you the nickel tour."
The house was shaped like a wide 'C", with four individual suites radiating from it; one for each of the couples in the family, connected to the central courtyard and the shared great room. He showed me through the rooms, each of them reflecting their owners' taste but still conveying an island vibe. Rose and Emmett's suite was done in darker tones than the rest of the house, with heavier, more masculine furniture. Jasper and Alice had their rooms decorated in pale woods and soft blues and greens, blurring the line between indoors and out. Carlisle and Esme's suite was my favorite. It was furnished in a retro theme, with vintage rattan furniture and bright, tropical barkcloth fabrics. I could just picture Esme reclining on one of the matching chaises, wearing a strapless wrap dress with a huge red hibiscus behind her ear, like a 1940's pinup.
Edward apologized to me before opening his door – our door. "It's not as elaborate as the other rooms. I refused to turn Alice loose."
For a moment I was afraid that might mean milk crate tables and a mattress on the floor, but realized this was Edward, after all.
"I decorated it myself," he whispered, swinging the door wide.
It took me a minute to start breathing again after the door opened. The first thing I noticed was the expansive view of the main beach, visible through three enormous floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Gossamer white curtains framed the view, and my eye drifted to the rest of the room. The floors were covered in pale tan Japanese mats edged in black, accenting the ebony furniture. There was a pair of small sofas and a low table near the patio doors, and bedside tables flanking the enormous pencil-post canopy bed. The bed was dressed with ice-green linens, drawing color from a grouping of prints over each nightstand; beautiful fern leaves on white mats, framed in black. The entire room was perfectly Edward; cool and understated, quiet and elegant.
"It's… beautiful." I felt him smile as he kissed my temple.
"I'm glad you like it."
Through the open doors I could hear the surf lapping, only yards away. It was dark already, the beach illuminated by what light spilled from the house. Aside from my own breathing, the only sounds were of water meeting sand. I was instantly rejuvenated, surprised by the jolt of adrenalin and arousal I felt. For the first time since arriving I realized we were alone, and this was it. We were married, and this was our honeymoon. I took a sharp breath at the realization. Edward squeezed my hand, apparently having been struck by the same observation.
"I'm going to bring our things in. You can look around if you like, and then I'll make you something to eat?"
"Yeah, okay." He kissed my cheek and left me to explore. The closet was large, but the bathroom was positively opulent. I poked around briefly, then made my way back to the great room. The kitchen was all bright stainless and Carrera marble, and the great room was like something out of a travel magazine. I was startled from my reverie by the sound of Edward opening the refrigerator.
"I had some things prepared for you in advance, but the kitchen is fully stocked if there's something specific you'd like."
"No, whatever you have on hand… Who…?"
"Caretakers. We probably just missed them when we arrived. They made sure everything was ready for us."
I picked at what he laid out for me, but I was distracted. I couldn't get out of my head why we were here, and it just kept playing over and over again in my head on repeat: Honeymoon. Sex. Married. Wife. Husband. Sex. Married. Honeymoon.
I realized my eyes must have glazed over. Edward was babbling nervously about something, and then his tone of voice took a nosedive.
"I mean, it was just a thought. If you want. Or we don't have to. We could… I don't know. …Bella?"
"What? I'm sorry, got a little lost there."
"I was just asking if you wanted to go for a swim. Or if you're tired, we don't have to. Or we could just sit and…"
"I'm sorry," I whispered, placing my fingers lightly over his lips. "It's okay." I kissed him softly, hoping to pull him back from the edge of panic. "I'm nervous too. Everything is going to be perfect, because it's us."
He nodded, pressing his forehead to mine.
"Yes, let's go for a swim. How about if I take a shower and wash off some of the last three thousand miles, and you straighten up in here?"
I left him standing in the kitchen, and walked back to our room. The shower was huge, with a bench seat and a dozen shower heads pointing at every inch of my body. I wondered how long it would take to drain the hot water heater.
Perhaps we'll have to figure that out…
I scrubbed off three airports' worth of grime and exhaustion, letting the pounding water wash it all away.
I'm a wife.
The thought made me stand a little taller, and made me feel surprisingly womanly for once, which made me smile.
She kissed me, all too briefly, before walking back to our bedroom. I had the remnants of her meal disposed of before I heard the bathroom door close. I waited until I heard the shower start, and then went in. I dimmed the bedside lamps, pulled back the bed covers, fluffed the pillows, changed how the sheets were arranged at the foot of the bed, and fluffed the pillows again.
Oh god. This is it.
I realized I was basically fidgeting, and had to laugh at myself.
Stop over-thinking. It's going to be perfect, just like she said. It's just us.
I tried once again to shake off the nerves. Moving to the closet, I began to unpack. I hung up some shirts, admiring how they looked hanging next to the few things she'd unpacked. I reached for my swim trunks, and then thought better of it. I had a feeling most of the clothing we'd brought would end up unused. I stripped down to nothing, tossed my clothes into a basket in the back of the closet, threw a towel over my shoulder and walked down to the beach.
I stepped out of the shower and began to dry off, but realized that was pretty stupid because I was just going to get wet again anyway. I walked into the bedroom and saw that he'd readied the bed for us.
I wrapped my towel around me, tucking one corner in above my left breast, my heart pounding. I walked through the open patio doors and saw that he'd taken two chairs down to the beach. He'd draped a towel over one, but he was nowhere to be seen. I hoped he wasn't playing some sort of game with me, hiding from me, when I finally saw him surface a few yards out, just barely visible in the lights from the house.
God, he's beautiful in the moonlight.
I felt a familiar tight surge of warmth radiating throughout my body at the sight of him. I took a deep breath and laid my towel next to his. I hadn't planned any particular grand reveal for the tattoo, but figured this was as good as any. I took a few slow steps toward the water line, and was swept into his arms.
The water was warm, maybe eighty-five degrees or more, enough to take the chill off my skin if I stayed in long enough. I swam out, wanting to take a few minutes to calm myself, and then realized she wouldn't see me if I ventured too far. I turned and headed back in, finally standing when the water was about waist deep. She was there already, standing by the chairs, loosening her towel. I stopped walking for a moment, just watching her, backlit by the few lights I'd left on in the house.
I nearly stumbled when I realized she had some sort of… tattoo?... curling sensuously from breast to hip on her right side, resembling a sort of abstract treble clef, vined with delicate flowers.
She marked her body? For me?
My cock, already eager for what was to come, responded almost painfully. She took a few steps toward me, and I met her on the shore. My mouth and hands were hungry on her body, and I had to pull back when I heard her gasp. I was afraid I'd already forgotten my strength and managed to hurt her, but her look of bewilderment reassured me that I had not. She attacked me, her hands and mouth matching the assault mine had dealt her only seconds before. I lifted her into my arms and took her out to deeper water, stopping when the sea carried most of her weight.
She wrapped her legs around my hips, with my cock sandwiched between us, nestled amongst her curls, dangerously close. I stood wide legged, bracing against the chest-deep rolling surf. We stood that way, grinding on one another, kissing and groping and panting for I don't know how long. I reached down between us and rubbed against her, feeling every contour, ripple and fold of her sex.
I guess I hadn't thought this through very well. I was achingly hard, poised to plunge inside her should she invite me to, but I knew the saltwater wouldn't do us any favors. I moved myself against her, nearly out of my mind with need. She was so close; ready and just right there. I heard the words in my head that I'd told her so long ago, the first time I admitted to her how desperately I wanted her.
…I want to fill you, to feel you surrounding me, …to hear what sounds you'll make, to hear my name on your lips when I enter you, …to know what that feels like, to be where I belong, to give myself over to it, to be a man, inside the woman that was made for me…
Those words were never more true, and the sentiment never more urgent than at that moment.
"I need you, Bella… god, I need you."
She responded with a deep moan as I caressed her sex.
"Yes… inside… now."
Rather than stand there and debate semantics, I took that to mean 'take me indoors, please,' instead of 'penetrate me immediately.'
I carried her back to the beach, stopping only to retrieve our towels. We rinsed off in the outdoor shower, getting rid of as much salt and sand as we could. We dried each other briefly before giving up, our hands impatient for the next step. I laid her on my bed, our bed, and stood for a moment, looking at her in the soft light. She was brown and pink, warm against the cool sheets, all curves and sweetness and need. She reached for me with both hands, knees elevated and parted, inviting me in.
I knelt between her legs, our hands roaming everywhere they could reach. I wanted to taste the gift she was about to give me. I wasn't sure how long I would last the first time, and needed to make sure I'd made every effort to care for her first. I kissed her at the juncture of her thighs, eliciting a drawn out sigh. I took my time, tasting her until there was no remnant of seawater on her flesh, and only Bella remained. It didn't take long before she was grunting and quivering through her release. I laid my head on her thigh, watching her body's reactions to what I'd done. I wiped my face on her hip and smiled at the wet smear there – another laurel wreath, another token of victory, another reward.
I needed to kiss him, needed his mouth on mine. As soon as I could breathe again, I pulled him up to me, stopping him before he could wipe off his face entirely. I wanted to taste that, to taste myself on his lips, on his tongue. It suddenly seemed like the most erotic thing in the world, to see his wet face and know it was me that dampened his skin.
He held himself above me as he kissed me, and I was overcome by the need to feel him everywhere, for his skin to be my own, for his body to be my own. I felt that my chest would open up and swallow him entirely; that he might be able to crawl inside the void and become part of me. I felt the thick heaviness of his cock pressing against me, the tip barely angled inside. He leaned back from me a bit, putting enough distance between us that it angered me for a moment. I was astounded at his restraint.
His voice was soft and quiet. "This is it, love. Are you ready?"
His eyes were so beautiful in that moment, dark and eager, but still full of the tenderness and care than underpinned everything.
He resumed his position, hovering above me, perched on one elbow as the other hand slowly rubbed his slippery cock against me. My eyes rolled back in my head and I was unable to answer with more than a moan.
"You have to tell me if this hurts more than you expect, if I do something wrong."
I nodded vehemently, hoping he was unaware that, short of utter agony, there was no way in hell I'd make him stop. "I will. Please, Edward…"
"Love, look at me."
I hadn't realized I'd closed my eyes, so vivid were the images playing behind my lids. I looked at him and placed my hand on his cheek, nodding, softly saying yes as he pressed himself into me. His eyes grew wide and he clenched his dangerous teeth tight together.
There was no jolt of agonizing pain, no moment of tearing flesh that you hear about. I figured that was due to Pink, our weeks of practice, and Edward's patience with my body. I definitely felt myself stretching, yielding more and more, filling with him in a way that was incredibly right. I was hungry for him, my body taking him in, welcoming him. I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my face.
He stopped, and I was afraid it was because of my tears. I whispered his name, my hand still on his cheek.
His voice was strangled, weak, his brow furrowed as if he were in extreme pain. "Are you alright? I think you're bleeding a little."
My eyes grew wide.
"I'm okay," he whispered, calming my fears.
"Please, don't stop."
He nodded and firmly sheathed the rest of himself within me in one definitive thrust. I cried out his name, and he shouted words I couldn't understand. He buried his face in the crook of my neck, trembling.
"Shhh, baby, shhh." I ran my hands lightly up and down his back. "God, you feel so good, Edward."
"Oh, Bella… god, I never imagined..."
He grunted when I squeezed my hips up towards his, and again when I relaxed; effectively moving myself on his shaft.
"God, NO! Bella, please hold still."
"I need you to move, please..."
"I can't – god, the heat - I'm barely hanging on…"
"Just let go." Somehow in the course of our relationship I felt as though I'd become the teacher, that it was my place to support and encourage him as he figured all this out, even though it was really a matter of the blind leading the blind. I think I knew all along it would be like this, and that it would always be harder for him, no matter how much preparing we did. He spent too many years denying his needs for this to come easily, to let his sexual instincts take over. "Move for me, baby. Just try to move."
He pulled his hips back hesitantly, and moved back in, loudly growling at the sensation.
I could barely breathe. "God, again..."
He did it again, and again, never developing a smooth rhythm, each stroke choppy and coarse.
I wrapped my legs around his hips and crossed my ankles behind his ass. With his next withdrawal, I pulled him back to me sharply, making us both grunt at the new depth he hit.
"Bella! Can you – is that okay?"
"More…" was the only word I could get out through my rapid breaths.
He began to move more deliberately, still erratic, but with more purpose. The raw power bubbling behind every stroke left me yearning for a time when he could give me all of what I knew he had within him. After fewer than a dozen strokes, he groaned my name, low and throaty, and kissed my neck and my ear. "I can't hold on..."
I felt him shudder, and then twitch as his body emptied itself within me, his body straining as he shouted my name to god, then whispered his love for me over and over.
There was nothing that could have prepared me for that moment, that entire experience. There were no words adequate to contain it, or express it. I wanted to give her something, something more than words to equal what she'd given me, equal to my restored sense of humanity, equal to my renewed manhood, equal to my gratitude. There was nothing, and never could be. She took me, a lifeless monster, hideous to myself, and turned me back into a man, into a lover and partner and husband, and gave me back everything I'd lost, and everything I never wanted to admit I desired.
"I love you, I love you, I love you," I whispered as I kissed her, hoping she knew the words would never be enough.
He was ready to go again almost immediately, and I was also. He once cursed his near constant erection, finding it an embarrassment, but I think for once he saw it as a blessing. He smiled as he entered me the second time, no doubt thrilled that he finally knew what to expect. I was slightly tender, already feeling an ache in new places, but the combination of his cool flesh filling me and the look of complete joy on his face made me forget all of that. He kissed me the entire time, stopping only to whisper in my ear how good it felt to finally touch me like this.
It was still over too soon, but his movements were considerably more confident, more fluid.
As incredibly intense as the first time was, the second was almost better, even without my own climax. I didn't feel like I had to hold his hand, but could relax into the experience and appreciate it for what it was instead of some monumental event.
Edward and I were making love.
My incredibly beautiful husband finally made love to me.
I'm not sure how much later it was before I fell asleep. I remember him continuing to kiss me, his hands softly exploring my body, but I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I remember us giggling at the sticky mess our bodies had become, but neither of us wanting to do anything about it. Part of me liked feeling the evidence of what we'd done, but another part hated the thought of trying to sleep that way. Eventually he left the bed and returned with a fresh towel and a warm, wet cloth to help clean me up. It was embarrassing at first, but the tenderness of the gesture made me feel cherished and cared for.
The quiet sound of the surf, the sigh of crashing water tumbling in on itself and rolling against the waiting shore, lulled me into a perfect calm. I had my lover's arms, my husband's arms, around me in my marriage bed, and it was perfect.
I struggled throughout the night to keep my hands to myself, knowing she desperately needed to rest after the last two days, and especially the last few hours. I kissed and caressed her as she fluttered around the edges of wakefulness during the night. She occasionally tossed and turned, but settled only when our bodies touched: a leg thrown across my hip, an arm around my neck, or her rear pressed against my side. The contact seemed to sooth her back to slumber.
The greatest torture came just before sunrise. She flipped over to face me, resting her head on my chest, with her hand at my groin, fingers curling possessively over my penis. I had to smile at the implied possessiveness. I felt her begin to stir before long, her feet and legs straightening rigidly; then her back arched as the stretch worked its way through her body.
Her fingers slowly tightened around me.
"Ahh, OH! Easy with that hand there, gorgeous. That kinda tickles."
"Mmmmm. Good morning," she purred.
"Good morning, yourself.
She realized she had a grip on my hardening shaft and giggled, stretching again. "I think I strained muscles I didn't even know I had."
I smiled. Wouldn't Emmett be proud.
"Are you alright? I mean, you mentioned blood…"
"It wasn't much, but it was enough to make me have to regroup for a second to keep from mindlessly plowing into you."
"I saw you clench your teeth."
"It was a tense moment, but it passed as soon as you moaned my name." I smiled and kissed her ear, then whispered "are you alright?"
"Let me see." She reached between her legs and palmed herself. "I don't feel too bad… here... mmm, yessss."
I propped myself on my elbows, watching her touch herself.
With a devilish look on her face, she straddled my groin in one quick move. "Yeah… I think I'm fine."
"You are waaay beyond 'fine', Isabella Cullen, but that's not what I meant."
She leaned forward to kiss me, wiggling her hips suggestively over my straining erection. "Show me what you got, coppertop."
I hesitated for a minute, then laughed my ass off, remembering her words. Pink and a supply of coppertops... I think I like that nickname…
"Lifetime supply, right here…" I pressed myself into her fully, never breaking our eye contact.
This is what I'd wanted to see, that look on her face. She moaned as I slowly traveled within her, every muscle in her core, every ripple of her flesh wrapped around me without gaps; tension, friction, need, all in balance. I moved as smoothly as I could, withdrawing almost completely and filling her again, raising and lowering my hips as she held herself above me. I was stunned that this was real, that I was so easily in complete command of myself; the song of her blood but a fading echo in comparison to the sounds she made when we were making love.
Without breaking contact, she leaned back, her hips remaining elevated on my thighs. I placed one of her hands flat against her belly just above where we were joined. I carefully withdrew, and slowly stroked into her again, watching the awareness spread across her face as she felt me moving within her, under her hand. I could almost see the distortion of her abdomen as she accommodated me…
"That's me, inside you," I whispered. She moaned and pressed her hand tight against her belly, doubling the sensation.
All I could do was nod. I could feel every inch of him, burrowing deep in my body, beneath my flattened palm. My orgasm was slow and rolling, intensified by our position. His pace increased slightly and he closed his eyes, moaning and gritting his teeth as his sex twitched inside me, spilling out of me. It was over, again, too soon. I felt like an addict, desperate for that orgasmic high over and over again, as soon as it was over.
I collapsed at his side, panting for breath. He turned to me and smiled, brushing a lock of sweat-matted hair behind my ear.
"I love you a little more every time I touch you."
Each time he said something like that my heart did little flip-flops in my chest. I nodded and smiled, placing a small kiss on his lips.
"Were you planning to tell me about this?" He trailed one finger over the lines of my tattoo.
"Do you remember the morning after the first time you took me to the hot spring? When I watched you play?"
"I love watching the way you move when you play, and I kept thinking that soon you'd touch me that way."
"So, the treble clef. But a tattoo, Bella?"
I had to laugh, amazed that I'd actually been able to keep the secret. "Edward, it's henna. It's temporary. It's actually already faded quite a bit."
"Henn… ahh! The Kama Sutra, that same day!" He pulled me into his arms, softy laughing.
I smiled. "It was a good day."
"It was, and this is beautiful." His fingers trailed along the vine beneath my breast, making me shiver.
"So, what's the plan for today?" I asked, imagining that he had all sorts of things up his sleeves to keep me busy.
"You mean, aside from more of this?"
"Careful, big guy. You don't want to wear me out before you break me in."
He groaned at hearing me repeat Emmett's words, still from that same day. "No, I don't want to wear you out. I have no plans, other than me and you, that beach and this bed."
"Sounds like heaven."
I went to the kitchen to make her some breakfast, but got no farther than pouring her coffee before I heard the shower running. Of all the things we'd done, and not done, aside from sex itself, this was one thing I particularly looked forward to sharing with her.
I carried her cup down the hall and into the bathroom. The wall of steam that hit me was heavy with scent; hers, mine, and sex. I had to brace myself against the countertop while I inhaled deeply, twice, three times. I could just see the blurry outline of her body through the rippled glass door. She was standing under the main shower head with her face tilted up to the spray, letting the pounding water scour her face and scalp.
"Bella?" I didn't want to startle her.
She leaned back from the spray and turned towards me, wiping her hand through the condensation on the shower door. I held up the coffee cup for her to see.
"Mmm, you read my mind." She slid the door open far enough to grab the cup and take a sip or two. She handed the cup back and kissed me.
"Want some company?"
"Why? Are we expecting visitors?" I loved her sarcasm.
"Just one, but I'd like to help you get clean before he comes." I stepped in with her and slid the door closed. She laughed at me and turned me so I was under the shower head. I couldn't help moaning when I felt her soapy hands on my chest.
"Why haven't we done this before?"
"I was wondering the same thing," I whispered.
"Doesn't matter now, anyway." She turned me around and began to wash my back and arms, then my hips, legs and feet, and finally my… everything else. I'd become somewhat accustomed to having her hands on my balls and cock, but no one since my mother, wiping my infant ass, had ever touched me there. It startled me, but her touch wasn't indicative of any intent other than to be thorough.
When she finished with me, I returned the favor. I began with her beautiful hair, lathering her scalp and then working the resulting suds through the rest of her hair. I took my time, enjoying the feeling of her warm, slick skin under my fingertips, and the contour of her curves and muscles. I noticed a faint bruise blooming on each hip and stepped back in horror. My hands?
She must have been expecting the reaction because her hands were on my face before I could begin to apologize.
"It's okay. You didn't hurt me. I don't even know when it happened, but I guess it was this morning."
She kissed me, and when I calmed she spoke again. "I love your hands on me. I love to feel your strength, to feel you hanging onto me. I'll tell you if it's ever too much."
I pressed my forehead to hers and nodded, pulling her tight to me and returning her kiss. After a moment, I resumed my task, rubbing her shower gel up and down her legs, then finally between them. She pulled back abruptly.
"No soap, not there. Things are a little sensitive, so water only."
Between the bruises and this, I was beginning to hate myself. I'd hoped the amount of venom my body produced during sex would help heal any abrasions, but apparently Carlisle and I were mistaken in that assumption.
"It's okay, we just need to take it easy for a little while. It will be fine. I expected this."
I nodded and rinsed the gel off, then cupped my hand over her sex to funnel warm water across her irritated skin. I could tell she was a little swollen, inflamed. I finished rinsing her off and we stood under the hot spray for several minutes, enjoying the warmth and the closeness. Eventually she turned off the water. I guess she knew I never would. I loved the water. I must have been born part fish.
"I'm hungry," she muttered, tossing a towel at me.
"Well, we can't have that."
I pulled my wet hair up with a clip, threw on a short cotton sundress and carried my coffee cup to the kitchen for a refill. Edward was already whisking eggs for an omelet, and had a bowl of cut fruit to go with it. I watched him work, shirtless and wearing only a pair of low-slung, soft linen pants.
"When I'm turned, will I be as graceful as you?"
He turned from the cook top to look at me, confused.
Everything you do, from driving you car, to whisking eggs, to just standing there – you're just so beautiful."
He plated my breakfast and walked around the island to where I was seated.
"I can't even begin to imagine you more beautiful than you are at this very moment."
I nodded against his chest, my heart full with his words. He kissed the top of my head.
"Your eggs are getting cold."
He carried them on a tray out to the patio and watched me eat.
"Hey – there are two black books on top of my suitcase. Why don't you go get them?"
"Are they what I think they are?"
"Albums from out photo shoots?"
I just smiled. He was up and back before I finished chewing the last of my eggs.
"Do you want to look at your own first, or mine?"
He pulled his chair up close to mine. "I want you to see my pictures first, and save yours for last."
I pulled the book marked with my name and the date out from it's protective sleeve, running my fingers lightly over the black leather. I opened the cover and smiled. What would have been a title page bore a single image and a dedication.
The image was of Edward, seated in a wing chair in front of a window, wearing his tuxedo. He was leaning forward, elbows on knees, hands loose between them. He wasn't facing the camera, but sort of down and to the side, a soft smile on his face. After a moment, I realized the angle of his face made it look as if he were looking at the words beneath his picture.
Isabella, my Beloved Bride,
I give you myself, body and soul, for eternity.
I lightly ran the back of my fingers over the image and his words.
"Go on," he said. "Look."
I took a deep breath and watched his hand reach out to turn the page for me. I couldn't suppress the giggles that erupted when I realized what the first pair of pages held. You could almost hear their voices and the banter back and forth. It was a collage of Emmett and Jasper 'helping' him get into his tux.
"These weren't posed," he said. "I wasn't really even aware she had begun shooting."
"She's good like that. She did the same to me."
The first I noticed had Jasper and Emmett standing aside, smiling, their hands on their hips as Edward tucked in his shirt. In the next picture you could see Edward swatting at Jasper's hand, fiddling with his tie. In another, Edward stood tall while Emmett smoothed the jacket across his shoulders. The single image on the opposing page was of Edward, looking pensive, holding an open ring box in his hand.
"God, she's really good." I wiped a tear from my cheek. It amazed me the series of emotions she evoked, all within a single two-page spread.
"They came out even better than I thought."
I nodded and turned the page, holding back a snort with my hand clamped over my mouth. I slowly turned to look at him, and discovered a mile wide grin. "You didn't."
"I did," he laughed. "Don't ask me how, but I did."
The two-page spread was almost like a stop-action filmstrip of Edward, doing a striptease with the tux.
Bow chicka bow-bow.
"You know what this is, don't you?"
"What?" he asked.
"It's wife porn, made just for me."
"Just wait," he whispered, nuzzling my ear. I felt my face heating instantly. "It gets worse. Or better…"
The next page made me laugh even louder than the last.
Edward, Emmett and Jasper were shirtless, wearing only beat up jeans, each of them a stunning specimen of deliciousness in their own way. They had their arms draped loosely across each other's shoulders, obviously teasing each other fiercely, wearing, of all things, fake vampire teeth.
"Oh my god, Edward!" My side hurt from laughing.
He laughed right along with me, obviously pleased with himself. "I liked it so much I had it enlarged and framed for Esme."
"What on earth did the photographer say?"
"She laughed and just sort of went with it. I told her you'd think it was funny, and she didn't ask for any more explanation than that. She was thinking some interesting things about biting, though."
"That? Right there?" I said, pointing at the teeth. "That is priceless. Brilliant."
When I stopped wheezing, I was able to focus on the right hand page, and was again astounded at the erotic sweetness the photographer had captured. Edward was leaning against a wall, half facing a tall window. He was still shirtless, the top of his ratty jeans popped open, hanging low on his hips. He had one knee bent, his bare foot propped on the wall, and his arms hanging softly at his sides as he looked out the window. The raking light from the window casting beautiful shadows across his face and torso.
"What were you thinking about?"
"Can't you tell?"
"Well, you do look a little happy, in places."
"I was thinking about you, of course, and I had a hard time with that the entire day. You should have heard Emmett. Plus, she kept asking me leading questions about our relationship, and her thoughts were always very erotic."
I continued to go through the book, filled with page after page of beautiful images. One entire spread was dedicated solely to close-ups of his hands; draped languidly across his body, twined in his hair, dipped below the waistband of his jeans, clasped softly behind his head, covering his eyes as he laughed, spread across the keys of a piano, and covering my breasts. Another spread was dedicated to his face, deep in shadow and full of emotion, and another to his body; stretched taut, twisted, flexed. One spread towards the end really surprised me, and I gasped when the page turned to reveal it.
"Is this okay? I wasn't planning on going this far, but it all just flowed from one thing to the next, and this is where we ended up. I actually think they came out well."
He was completely nude in several of the shots, more or less facing the camera, and partially erect in one of them. My eye was drawn to that first, and I found myself a little angry, and jealous. I took a deep breath before I said anything, and allowed my eye to take in the rest of the images on the page. He wasn't looking at the camera in the nude shots, but slyly to the side, a half grin on his lips. In the image that concerned me the most, where he was clearly aroused, his face looked almost embarrassed, shy. It made me smile a bit, and took the sting off my jealousy.
"She was thinking about asking me about our sex life, trying to bring out different expressions in my face, and trying to figure out a way to get a bit of a physical reaction with just her words. It startled her that she hadn't even said anything, and yet there it was… I was reaching for the sheet to cover myself, and apologizing, when she took this."
Once I got past my juvenile concerns of another woman seeing him like this, I had to admit it was truly a beautiful photograph, and spoke volumes about the distance we'd come to build up this level of intimacy between us, that he allowed himself to do this. Here he was, completely sexual and male in the basest sense, but still my sweet, reserved Edward. It made my mouth water.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "It's beautiful."
He kissed me softly, but it quickly deepened. After a moment or two, he pulled back. "I'm glad you're okay with it. She and I talked about it for quite a while, whether or not to include it. She finally convinced me to keep it in."
"I have to admit, it pissed me off at first, that she saw you like this. But the look on your face, it's obvious you're not thinking about her."
"I was most definitely not thinking about her, except to apologize."
"I do think it means we won't be able to share this book with the rest of the family, though."
"I have a box back at home with several opaque sleeves she gave us to censor the books for family viewing… We can cover the pages we don't want to share."
I smiled and nodded, turning to the last page.
It was Edward seated at his piano with his back to the camera, a little like the morning after the hot springs. The astounding thing was that over the image was a transparent vellum overlay…
Me, lying across the topboard, wrapped loosely in the blue kimono, one breast exposed where my arm had dropped towards the keys, our hands almost meeting.
She had managed to merge the one image I specifically requested, with one of him at the same piano.
He took the book from my hands and looked at it, lifting the waxy sheet of vellum to look at the image of himself beneath, then returning the ghostly overlay to its original position.
His voice was just a whisper, almost as if he didn't intend for me to hear. "She told me to think about you like this, and I heard it in her thoughts… she had to have planned this, and I had no idea. I didn't know yet that you were having pictures made, too."
"Now I really want to see mine." I handed him the book with his name on it. He looked up at me and smiled.
Similar to his, the title page image was of me in my wedding dress, with my back to the camera, my face and the front of my dress reflected in an enormous cheval mirror. My words, below, were eerily similar to his.
He turned the page, laughing at the similarity of the layout to his own. The first spread comprised Alice and Rose helping me dress, with one image in particular catching his eye. I was clutching the front of my gown with both hands at my breasts, barely holding it up. The cheval mirror was behind me now, revealing the entire back of the dress wide open to my tailbone, with a white lace thong peeking out. Alice was kneeling at my feet fiddling with my shoes, while Rose stood back and laughed. The opposing page mirrored his. I was seated near a window, the camera shooting over my shoulder at my hands folded on my lap wile I touched my engagement ring. Just a small portion of my face was visible in partial profile at the top of the image.
He leaned over and kissed my temple. "I love you."
We continued to flip through the book, much of it similar to his, with spreads devoted to my hands, or my face wearing different expressions. He finally got to the spread I looked forward to most. They were extreme close-ups of various parts of my body. It took her a bit to talk me into some of them, but overall they were really beautiful; the back of my neck with loose tendrils of fine hair, the swell at the bottom of one breast, the corner of my jaw, a dimple at the small of my back, my navel with a faint line of hair headed south, a shadowed profile of one erect nipple. I got goose bumps looking at them.
"Wow." Was all he said, which made me smile.
The next image was the partner to the last one in the other album – the piano, with a vellum overlay. In this book, I was draped nude on the piano, partially facing the camera this time instead of on my back, again with one hand dangling over the keys. The overlaying image was of him standing so that he was just in front of my hips, one hand on the raised fallboard, the other ghosting perfectly over my own on the keyboard. I would have been hard pressed to choose a favorite between the two sets of images.
This was where I expected the book to end, but I remembered we'd done one final set of shots together, and the only thing we'd seen from that was one shot in the other book with his hand covering my breast.
This book had one final spread that the other did not. He looked at me and smiled, then turned the last page.
I knew the last spread had to be the images we'd shot together, but neither of us had yet to see them. We told her to pick out the best, and use her own judgment on how to use them in the book.
The first image that struck me filled the right hand page, the final image in the book, one of the final images she shot before laughing and leaving the studio. We were on the bed, with Bella leaning back on her hands. I was trying to get my legs out from under hers and had leaned forward, my lips reaching for her sternum, and my cock, tall and eager, was visibly reaching for home plate. While it was exceedingly more revealing than anything I would have allowed when I first agreed to the shoot, in the context of the albums it was the perfect culmination image. What began with our wedding clothes and reflections on our commitment, ended with the consummation of our vows, or very nearly so, as far as the picture was concerned.
My eye finally drifted to the collage on the left hand page and I had to laugh. Topmost among them was my 'Al Gore' moment, when she was posing us near of the window. We were still wearing the satin robes, and I had one arm draped across Bella's chest to cover her breasts, and she had one hand on my hip. She was blushing furiously, laughing and looking off to the side while I buried my face in the crook of her neck. I'd practically goosed her with my erection. Thinking about Al Gore was the first thing I latched onto to get myself under control, but it eventually worked.
The remaining images were from the same set; one of Bella's fingers fisted in my hair as I pressed my cheek against her bare belly, one of me looking down at her in profile while she took a playful bite of my pec, one of her hands holding fists-full of my ass. Every one of them made me smile, in stark contrast to the intensely erotic image that faced them, which I was drawn to again and again.
"It's a shame we didn't wait to have these printed until later. We could have included the ones from our wedding day as well."
"Yes, but this way we have something to look forward to when we get home. Did she take a picture of your tattoo?"
"Yes, sprawled naked on your bed, and another of me in your tuxedo shirt and nothing else…"
"Oh yeah? Well, she got me right out of the shower, dripping wet and laughing my head off, wrapped in the tiniest towel Emmett could find."
She stood to stretch, laughing at me, no doubt picturing me trying to cover myself with a hand towel.
She gave me a funny smile, then whipped her little white eyelet sundress up and over her head with a flourish and left me sitting there staring after her as she ran down the beach.
"Coming for a swim, husband?"
I had my pants off and was running before the words finished leaving her lips.
Day after day, we swam, we lolled in the sun, we made love, we bathed each other, he fed me, I slept, and then the cycle would start over again. We made love in the ocean, in the shower, on the beach, on the kitchen counter, on the boat, on the patio in the rain, standing against his bedroom door, bent over the living room sofa with his fist in my hair… each time better than the last. He indulged me by pretending he was tied to the bed, and I indulged him by letting him play naughty policeman. As the days went by, I slept and ate more and more, my body apparently taking quite a liking to either island life, or marriage, or both.
After we'd been on the island about two weeks, he surprised me with a bonfire on the beach. He'd apparently scrounged and collected dry wood from around the island while I slept. He dug a pit in the sand and lined it with stones, and assembled quite an impressive pyre. He fed me grilled fish and sticky rice with his own fingers while I lay on the back patio. I felt like a goddess being offered peeled grapes by my minions. After I ate, he lit the fire just as the sun was going down.
I lay back on the lounge chair, watching the stars come out, listening to the crackling fire and the gentle surf. I felt his hands idly playing with my hair, occasionally brushing my cheek with the back of his hand.
"Did you see that?" I pointed at the sky, for some reason thinking he'd know what I was pointing at, even though it was already gone.
"A shooting star!"
"Then you'd better make a wish."
I closed my eyes, trying to think of one. "I can't."
"What do you mean?"
"They've all come true already."
He smiled at me, running his thumb over my lips. "You're such a sap."
I smacked him on the chest with the back of my hand. "You love it."
"I do, indeed."
"Make a wish for me."
I turned to watch him, eyes closed in concentration, but with a slight smile at the corners of his mouth. After a minute or two he opened his eyes again and whispered "I love you."
"I love you, too," I said. We joined hands and watched the fire, and the sky.
I was beginning to fall asleep by the time the fire died down. Edward carried me to our bed, where he helped me undress and climbed in beside me.
"I'm going ashore after you fall asleep. I need to hunt."
I nodded my understanding, hating to be apart from him even while I slept. "Make love to me first?"
"I was hoping you'd ask." He moved his body above mine, touching me everywhere.
"Can you hear the surf?"
He nodded and whispered into my ear "it's a nice rhythm."
I smiled and nodded back, glad that he understood. I want this to be slow.
His movements were graceful, one slow thrust moving seamlessly into the next, the constant sensation of him exquisitely sliding into and out of me never faltering. There were no more halting thrusts, no urgent prodding. He was like the sea, pulling and pushing into me like unrelenting waves caressing the beach, joined so closely to each other you couldn't tell where one ended and the other began.
I reached my hands to where we were joined, spreading my fingers around him in a V. He leaned back far enough for us to look at what I was doing and we both moaned at the sight of his cock disappearing into me, shiny even in the low light. He hooked my knees with his elbows and brought his chest back to mine, knowing I loved the feeling of being held like this; claimed, possessed, owned.
"You feel so fucking incredible, Bella, so much more than I ever dreamed."
I listened to the wet sounds of our bodies, his breathy grunts with every advance and retreat, and the muffled slap of our skin as our bodies softly collided.
He nodded silently and increased the power of his movements, both of us racing towards the inevitable. I tried to meet his thrusts with my own, but the combined action threw his pace off and he slipped out of me, groaning at the loss. He quickly knelt between my legs and roughly pulled my hips atop his thighs as he reentered me. He hesitated for a moment with his hands on my hips, and I put my hands over them, giving them a squeeze.
"Go," I said, hoarse and pleading. Please don't hold back.
He nodded, unleashing a new level of need I'd not yet seen. He pounded into me, moaning my name, his hands hard and tight, anchoring me in place as he speared me.
I heard myself cry out as if from a distance, felt my body tingle and melt as he brought me to orgasm. He shouted my name as my body contracted around him, and then he gave in. I loved to watch his face, to see the ecstatic relief, the surprise and joy and, inevitably, the sadness that the high was far too fleeting. He slowly lowered himself to me, waiting to break our connection until my breathing had begun to return to normal.
"Are you alright, love? I intended for that to be considerably gentler than it ended up."
"Mmmm. I feel wonderful." I smiled and kissed him wetly, expressing my gratitude with my lips and tongue.
"You do feel wonderful, of that there is no doubt."
"Flattery will get you everywhere."
He kissed me back. "I'll have to remember that."
He pulled the covers up over me after a little clean up, then took a quick shower and dressed.
"I'll be back in a few hours. Will you be okay?"
"I'll be fine."
He kissed me on the forehead and left.
I woke up in a cold sweat; nightmares of swimming monsters and being eaten alive setting my nerves on edge. Edward had barely been gone two hours, and there was probably at least another two ahead of me before he returned. I threw on a flimsy robe and walked to the kitchen for a glass of water, but never made it that far. I heaved into the toilet, smelling my last meal. I wondered if the fish was bad. I splashed a little water on my face and brushed my teeth.
Thankfully, Edward had cleaned the kitchen before he left, so I couldn't smell the fish he'd cooked. I opened a bottle of water, flipped on a couple of exterior lights and walked down to the beach. I stood at the tide line, letting the waves lick at my toes until I felt them sinking into the sand. The cool night air felt good, helping to dissipate my nausea a bit. I walked back to the house and grabbed a blanket and pillow from the living room, and curled up on the daybed on the main patio, wishing he was home.
I found her sleeping outside, and wondered why. It was way too early to wake her, and assumed she must have had a rough night to have ended up out there while I was away. I took a quick shower and crawled in beside her, careful not to disturb her. She was restless, more than she'd been during the entire trip. She occasionally muttered sexy little nothings in her sleep since we'd been here, but nothing like the nightmare she currently appeared to be having.
"Bella? Love? Wake up, sweetheart." I kissed her on her shoulder and nestled in behind her warm body. She felt so good, like I'd been away for weeks, rather than hours.
Her hands caressed mine where they rested on her soft belly; I found myself strangely possessive of that spot. She'd put on a little weight since we'd been here, a fact I wasn't unhappy with.
"I'm so glad you're back. I feel like hell."
"What's wrong, love?"
"Do you think the fish I had last night might have been bad? I woke up sick after you left."
"I don't think so, but I imagine it's possible. It smelled alright when I cooked it – or at least, it smelled like fish should."
"Well, no more fish for a while, anyway."
"It's very early, would you like to sleep a while longer, or are you ready to get up?"
"I might as well get up, I guess. The sun's coming up."
I stood and held my hand out to help her up, but she was barely able to stand before clamping her hand over her mouth. I stood out of her way and opened the back door so she could rush to the kitchen sink. She made it just in time.
"Ugh. Go away," she groaned, no doubt hating me see her throw up. I held her hair back from her face while she rinsed out her mouth.
"No way. Job one is taking care of you. You think, after all this, a little of that is going to chase me off? Give me a little credit." I gently carried her to our bed and laid her down. "Can I get you anything?"
"No, I think I'll sleep a little more, after all."
I kissed her and tucked her in.
It was more than six hours later before I heard her stir. I checked on her hourly, but she seemed to be resting relatively peacefully, so I didn't wake her. I chalked it up to exhaustion, or a reaction to something she'd eaten, possibly the fish. When she finally awoke, it scared the hell out of me. I heard a loud crash from the bathroom, a gasp, and then silence.
I opened the bathroom door to find her in a heap on the bathroom floor, surrounded by all the toiletries that had fallen from her overturned cosmetic case.
"Bella, my god, are you okay? What's wrong?"
"I was looking for some antacid – rolaids or something…"
"Those aren't rolaids, Bella. Do you need some help?" She was holding up a box of tampons.
"What's the date, Edward?"
"Uh, August 31st. Are you telling me this is PMS?" I knelt down beside her when I saw her face go ashy white.
"No, Edward. I'm telling you I'm five days late."
"Late, as in… what?" I knew exactly what she meant. There was only one meaning to those words when a box of tampons is involved. I just couldn't fathom that she was serious. That's impossible.
"Late as in my period is late. Edward," she said, waving the tampons, "my period is late."
I looked at her belly, softly rounded beneath her robe, and I couldn't believe my ears.
"I think I'm pregnant."
She took my hand and placed it over her belly. We were both trembling. I was speechless.
Somewhere in the background, I heard my cell phone ringing.
~~~ The End ~~~
Please leave me a little love – you wouldn't part with an old friend without saying goodbye, yes?
As I planned all along, our story now rejoins Breaking Dawn in the middle of chapter 7, Unexpected, approximately page 127, when Edward's phone rings. The only difference is that Bella and Edward's relationship is now based on a more realistic intimacy, and you can ignore some of the self-loathing and angst Edward expresses during her pregnancy in BD.
This was truly my first fanfic of any kind. I go back and read it now from scratch and cringe at some of the things I'd do differently, but it has been a wonderful learning journey. When it started, I would have been thrilled to hit 100 reviews, and look at it now, close to 2000 reviews between here and twilighted. An amazing thing, for what started as a smutty little character study and a handful of naughty what-ifs.
Thank you to Easterner, my first fan and honorary Beta, wherever you are. To Stavanger1, for holding my hand when I was in crisis mode back in July and August, and for a fuckawesome banner that still brings in new readers over at Twilighted. To all my readers that found me early and stuck around, and to all my readers that found me late and reviewed every chapter in a single weekend – I wish I'd kept a running list of your names so I could thank you all. Close your eyes and imagine the smell of your favorite cookie, straight from the oven. Yep, I baked 'em just for you. :~D
And now, I bid "Mind Over Matter" adios. See you at the hot springs; I'll be the one ogling E's bare ass, shimmering like pearls in the moonlight... or, at least I'll be the one at the front of the line.
Just to reiterate - i have had several reviewers on Twilighted say 'write faster, update soon' but this is indeed the FINAL CHAPTER of Mind Over Matter. The intended story arc covered the period between the newborn battle in Eclipse, to the wedding and honeymoon in Breaking Dawn. I have kept the characters in canon as much as possible so that this story could still dovetail directly into BD... after having given Bella and Edward a more realistic foundation for their married life: intimacy and communication.