Alice, Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie were out hunting with us this afternoon. Esme had gone out with Carlisle earlier in the day because he had the afternoon shift at the hospital. She stayed back to keep an eye on Renesme.
Emmett was on the verge of badgering me once more to shield his thoughts so he could sneak up on my husband. Of course Edward would already know he was going to ask before he could try.
"I don't think that's gonna to work Em." Edward chuckled "My wife is not the materialistic kind."
"Aw, come on Bella, please. Just once and I will never bug you again."
"Just once and I am sure you will hound me for all eternity"
"Scout's honor." Emmett raised his right hand. His left was behind his back. I didn't need my husband's telepathy to know there was crossed fingers back there.
"Maybe for Christmas," I smirked, "if you can behave yourself."
Edward came up behind me wrapping his arms around my waist and whispered in my ear, "You better not."
I didn't say I would and it will give us four whole months of quiet. Edward startled as I pushed my shield off easily. I had gotten a lot of practice. It was fun to send Edward little messages. It never ceased to take him by surprise. I felt the grin on my face widen.
"You should have said his birthday." He murmured. His cool breath tickled my ear and I shivered slightly, not from the cold, I was the same temperature, but from his close proximity. "That's not till March."
My head turned and my gaze was transfixed by his beautiful golden eyes. I hadn't seen them dark in some time. Knowing that the newborn thirst was worse, he insisted we hunt more than the rest of the family. The crooked smile he wore only added to the perfect picture.
I couldn't help it. His lips were just too close and I was on autopilot. My mouth instantly glued to his, my body twisted, wrapping itself around him. Edward stiffened, surprised by my suddenness of my assault and his inability to have his usual advanced warning. Quickly he recovered however, happily obliging me.
They were all snickering in the back round. My lips froze on Edwards. I was instantly mortified.
"At least she doesn't knock him over anymore." Emmett chuckled
How many times had this happened in the last year? I knew the answer: one hundred twenty six. One hundred and twenty six times I embarrassed myself, all but attacking my poor husband in front of our family. At least resisting the urge to tear his shirt off was getting easier.
Edward gently pushed us apart looking slightly dazed and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead. "Now, now," he teased. "Behave yourself."
"Don't lay the blame for Bella's problem solely on her." Alice quipped "You do nothing to help the situation."
"Alice, he isn't any better than she is, he's just more astute at hiding it."
Edward lifted me off my feet. "Quite true Jasper." He said, returning his mouth to mine with enthusiasm.
"Why don't you two get a room?" Rosalie chided.
Edward pulled his lips off mine long enough to hiss, "I really don't want to hear it Rosalie." I'm sure the remark was meant to be snide, but his smile ruined the effect.
It had been almost a year since I became a vampire; Eleven months of hiding out, sneaking into town only to see Charlie. I didn't bother with contacts around my dad anymore. My eyes were almost the same golden shade as the others. He took it well. The brown lenses looked almost fake to me, so maybe they didn't fool him either. I knew it would be decades before I would be able to show my new and greatly changed face in Forks to anyone else. Honestly, other than Angela and Ben, there really wasn't anyone I would have wanted to visit there anyhow. But there were many people still in my life. Jacob's pack was a constant presence at both the big house and at our cottage. I would never say that I was bored. My days were full of my family, my nights full of Edward.
But as my first birthday as a vampire drew near, I knew it was time. Though Edward would never admit it in a thousand years, he was getting a little restless, and to be honest so was I. The others came and went as they pleased, but we stayed at home or in the woods. While the thought of heading out into the real world terrified me, I knew that I didn't want to stay isolated from society forever.
"We're going to head east." Jasper said.
"I know," Alice snickered.
"We'll go west. See you guys in a couple of hours." Rosalie called as she and Emmett took each others hand.
"Hey Jasper," Emmett called out before Jasper and Alice turned to go. "Two bits Edward's clothes don't make it back to the house again?"
"I only make bets on things I might have a shot at winning" Jasper replied back over his shoulder already heading away with Alice. I gritted my teeth in irritation, but Edward merely smiled peacefully tightening his hold on me. It surprised me when I finally found out the pitiful amounts the two of them wagered over. But then I supposed that when money is no object, it wasn't the prize that mattered.
"See you all later… much later" Edward called out as everyone took off into the forest.
We turned and ran north. I decided to broach the subject with my husband. "I was thinking Edward."
"I'm sure you were, but it is hard for me to be certain."
I ignored his attempt at humor. "You know Renesme's birthday is coming up."
"Yours as well."
"Well, I was thinking Edward; we haven't been any where that wasn't covered in trees in a long time."
"And what does this have to do with our daughter's birthday?"
"I'd like to try to go buy her something." I asked hesitantly.
I slowed to a stop. He spun around and pulled up to my side. "I was thinking that maybe it was time for us to try and get out of Forks for a couple of hours" I felt so nervous even asking but he grinned, pulling me into his arms and looking down into my eyes.
"Where would you like to go? Paris, London, New York."
I laughed and snuggled closer into his chest. Surely he was kidding. I didn't think either of us was up to dealing with me in a crowded city with millions of tasty humans about. "I don't know Edward, someplace small, maybe to a bookstore or something. We haven't gotten Renesme anything for her birthday and it's nearly here. I've looked on line, but I hate the idea of getting her something by mail. Maybe its old fashion, but I like the idea of touching something before I buy it."
"A book… I think it's a wonderful idea Bella." As his enthusiasm blossomed my anxiety did as well. It must have shown on my face and his finger went to my brow to smooth the crease.
"I remember well the first time I went out in public. I won't deny it's not frightening but you're a natural at this."
"I don't want to go far. I've just been thinking that maybe I am ready to try the real world, or least a bit of it." I said, my teeth going to my worry lip.
"Bella, you know I won't let anything happen."
"Its not that I don't trust you to keep me out trouble Edward, but it's still a huge step for me."
"You'll be fine. You're around Charlie all the time."
"I know I do well with Charlie. The pain is really getting better." Edward flinched as I said the words. I frowned at him, taking his hand and giving it a squeeze. Would he ever get over the need to protect me? "But he's my dad. Though I certainly don't desire to snack on anyone, I have to admit his being my dad saved both of us on more than one occasion."
I would never forget the early months. The gift of having my dad still in my life came with a price. The physical pain of being with him was close to intolerable some days. Edward would hold my hand, rubbing my back and distracting my dad when he thought I needed a break. I never truly realized what Edward went through to be with me until then. The realization made me love him even more; something I thought was impossibility.
"You do fine with the pack too." He prompted pulling me away from my thoughts.
"Yeah, but they all reek." Edward chuckled as I wrinkled my nose. "Even Sue smells like them." I thought about the fact that I have caught a slight werewolfy scent coming off Charlie as well recently and mentally cringed a little. I was so happy he and Sue had found each other, but I had no desire to think about them finding each other.
"We'll take Alice and Jasper with us if you like. Between the three of us I think we can keep you out of trouble."
"Did you honestly think that we could shop for dog food with out Alice wanting to tag along?"
"No" he shook his head and sighed.
We both caught the scent of a herd of elk farther to the north.
"Shall we?" I indicated.
He pulled our entwined hands to his face, kissing my wrist, before releasing it.
He was such a gentleman. We headed off together toward the herd. He pulled back slightly as we got closer, letting me get my kill first.
"You know you don't have to wait for me. I'm down to only one a trip." I said looking up from the dead elk in my hands. He was leaning lazily against a tree having not even bothered with the herd.
"I know. I just enjoy watching you hunt."
I'm sure if I could still blush, I would be deep crimson. But I did understand. Watching Edward hunt was almost an erotic experience for me. On more than one occasion it had turned out to be just that.
"Come on, let's get you fed." I smiled, an idea creeping into my brain.
Edward smiled back, oblivious. His eyes closed and he took a deep breath. I had never tried this before and it was fortunate the he couldn't see my poor attempt at keeping a straight face. I had observed him often enough that the timing would be easy. Firmly, I planted an image in my head, sure to catch his attention and waited for him to push off to remove my shield.
Not All Visions Are the Same
Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I prepared to take off after what remained of the herd with a smile on my face. It pleased me to no end that hunting had returned to an enjoyable activity rather than a stressful one. Actually, it had become far more fun than I ever imagined it to be, now that my wife could joined me.
So, she wanted to get out into the world. I had been pretty much everywhere I ever wanted to go, but the idea of revisiting those places with her at my side… it would be like seeing them for the first time. She had been almost nowhere while human and I relished the thought of showing her all the world had to offer.
I had already put a lot of thought into the two birthdays only a few weeks away. I knew my wife's stubborn aversion to presents had not changed, but I also knew she did like the CD I made her two years ago. A new piece, the story, a tale of a caterpillar changing into a butterfly... It was as much about me as her. I only planned to play it for her birthday, but I came across a company online in San Francisco that created custom made music boxes, all I needed was to send them the music. It was difficult to get it wrote down without her knowledge, we rarely left each others side. Finally, I stole a few minutes with Seth out in the garage under the pretense of tuning the Ferrari, a task guaranteed to ensure her absence. He looked over as I pulled a pad and pencil from my pocket and began jotting down notes off the muffler that had been swimming around in my head for days. When it dawned on him what I was doing and why I was doing it there, I had to poke him in the ribs to keep him from cracking up as we both lay under the car. A couple hours later Alice's face remained immobile as she brushed past me in the house and picked my pocket, promising me she would take care of it. However, I was clueless as to what to get my daughter. I was a guy after all…
"We aren't getting any younger here… or older for that matter." She said impatiently pulling me from my reverie.
Wonder what's up with that? Lately, I had been trying really hard not to ask out loud. My curiosity in regards to her thought was endless, but it must be annoying, so I had been refraining as much as I could from asking. I got back to the job at hand and took another deep breath. Hmmm… to the northwest, not far from here…. I let the scent take me and began to move toward it.
Without warning, a vision, so strong and clear it felt almost like it was happening burst into my head. She was behind me, her naked breasts, firm and round; the nipples erect grazing my back. Her hand wrapped around the front of me, sliding down my torso as well… touching me… her tongue trailing down my spine…
The shock of it blinded me. I ran head long into a three foot thick poplar, snapping it in two. Stumbling over the branches, I lost my balance flipped head over heels landing on my backside. Though the vision had vanished as soon as her laughter began, my entire body buzzed with the memory of it. I shook my head trying to clear it.
"I never… saw a vampire… trip before." She snorted trying to catch her breath. Still laughing like mad, she skipped over to me and extended her hand.
I rocketed off the ground, snatching her up as I shot through the air, twisting so that it was my body that caught the three trees we destroyed before we bounced to a stopped on the ground some seventy yards away, ripping the jeans I was wearing.
"Not funny." I growled into her throat, trying to sound irate.
"It was funny and you know it." She attempted to put her lip out to pout, but her giggling made it impossible. "Sorry, you didn't like it."
She wanted to play, did she? Well, I was the master of play. Years of being careful when she was human gave me, what I thought was unprecedented levels of patience. Ok, maybe I was not as in control as I thought. The moment should have been light, but as I stared into her unrepentant eyes desire ripped through me making my voice sound intense. "I never said I didn't like. It's just that amusing would never be the word I would use to describe that particular part of your anatomy."
I got myself together, resisting the urge to turn her wardrobe into rags and carefully pulled her powder blue t-shirt out of her jeans and over her head. She rarely wore a bra now, nothing jiggled anymore. Rolling us over, I kissed the shiny scar where her jugular had once throbbed. It was sacred spot as were the rest. Symbols of what she gave up for me and I treated them with the utmost reverence. I began to move down her body. My nose was at the base of her throat, making its way south past her heaving chest. With eager anticipation I began my plan of attack. I blew across the nipple of her breast, firmly dousing the last of her giggles as it began to draw up. With my tongue I lightly traced around the edge, watching with great satisfaction as it grew more and more erect. Her hands dug into my hair. I took a long last breath, inhaling her wonderful scent before allowing my lips to fall on it, tasting her sweetness.
"No, definitely nothing to laugh about here..."
We rolled to our sides. She reached down, clawing at my shirt, poking holes instead of unbuttoning it. The muscles in my stomach tighten as her fingers brushed down them heading toward the fly of my jeans. I kicked off my hiking boots as she stared at my chest, and my now tattered shirt, with a slightly self conscious expression.
"Maybe you should get your pants."
I chuckled. "Maybe I should. The back pocket is already dangling precariously by a few threads. If I leave it up to you, I'll be running home in my boxers again." She frowned, looking both guilty and perturbed. "And we both know you don't want to prove Emmett right."
I kissed her forehead, hopped to my feet and had them off quickly. She propped herself up on her elbows, her eyes scanned down me and the giggling began in earnest again. I looked myself over, wondering what was stuck to me.
"The socks are a nice touch." she smirked
"Well, then I shall leave them on if they please you Mrs. Cullen."
She continued to snigger and her toe went to the heel of her own boot. I quickly got down on my knees, seizing her legs by the ankles and bracing them on my chest. This was my favorite part…alright, one of my favorite parts.
The giggling stopped as her breath caught.
I pressed my lips together, trying to hide my own amusement. "It's all about being careful and taking your time" I instructed sternly. Kissing her knee, I bent her right leg and placed her foot on the ground. The other I ducked my head down to, placing her shoe lace in my mouth. I pulled gently, pressing my lips tight against my teeth.
I couldn't keep the grin off my face as I burrowed into the boot with my nose, widening the opening. She squirmed as my breath tickled her ankle and I clamped down on her leg to keep her from wiggling away from me. In frustration her nails dug into the ground, crushing the rocky earth to dust. I pulled the boot off slowly, enjoy the torture I was inflicting on her. You know what they say about pay back… I slid my hand up into her pant leg. My fingers began to tingle with electricity when they reached the skin above her sock. As I removed it, exposing her ankle to my view, my mouth caressed another silver crescent, tossing the sock into the growing pile of garments.
My face continued down to her toes, kissing them one by one. "See, nothing torn or broken" I placed her bare foot on the ground and picked up the other to continue the process.
Her impatient groans only served to slow me down further.
I looked up at the sound of her calling my name. I planned to respond to what was sure to be a desperate plea for speed. But the sight before me resulted instead with the sound of her lace snapping in two in my mouth. This was no vision. Her right hand was stroking the crotch of her jeans; her left one was at the breast I hadn't visited yet, her fingers playing with it. With a wicked grin she removed her hand and it slithered up her neck. When it reached her mouth, her index finger ran over the pale pink tongue that protruded slightly from it.
The boot went whistling through the air, sock still inside. The snap of her jeans went flying as well, another casualty of indecent eagerness that now possessed me. I congratulated myself on not causing any more damage to the rest of her pants as I yanked them swiftly off her. Her panties…. Well, she really didn't need those, did she?
She rolled up on to her own knees, her lips on my shoulder.
"I thought it was all about being careful and taking your time. Clearly you seem to be having a problem with that this afternoon." She looked up at me with an air of superiority. "I'm pretty sure I heard the snap of my jeans ricochet off a tree."
Defeated, I pulled her tighter into my chest arguing my case. "It is not my fault that your jeans have been damaged. You don't fight fair."
She reached up, knotting her fingers into my hair dragging my mouth down to hers. "Neither do you."
There was a certain freedom that making love in the forest allowed. After all, our cottage was breakable. As she inhaled my tongue into her mouth, her hand had slid down between us. She seemed to love touching me. I surely was not going to dissuade her in her quest. Her lips pulled off mine, and I was grateful that vampire can't get hickeys. She sucked on my neck trembling slightly as her hand ran down my erection. My head rolled back and I moaned with pleasure as her fingers descended lower, fondling me as her lips moved to my shoulder. My own hand sought to touch her as well, leaving her breast and stroking the damp spot between her legs.
I couldn't play any longer; my need was just too strong. I lifted us both off our knees. Her legs wrapped around my waist and she was now eye level with me. She purred as her mouth returned to mine. I took a couple of steps and pressed her up against what I hoped was a sturdy looking tree. My hands reached down under her soft round backside to position her and I thrust into her, fusing us as one.
A shiver went through me, she was just so wet. We both gasped as I penetrated her, both our needs finally being satiated. My hips began to rock. She used my body for leverage, her legs tightening and her arms bearing down my shoulders, moving in time with me. She pulled her mouth from mine once more gasping for breath and calling out to me.
"Edward… Edward… yes… it's so good… yes…Yes… YES!!!"
This was why this activity was best left for the out doors. I could feel her orgasm blooming, the muscles inside her contracting around me. With her no longer human it was hard to control my actions when I knew that I was pleasing her and no need for prudence. She came and I uprooted the tree we were making love against sending us crashing down on top of it. Still keeping me inside her, she rolled us off it, her leg astride my hips on the ground. I was leaning against the fallen tree watching as her debris strewn hair whipped from side to side as her thighs pumped up and down. I lifted my body off the tree, the need to have my mouth on her overpowering me.
Louder and louder she became, her moans turning into something far more feral. Soon she was screaming my name again. My mouth pulled off her. My back arched over the tree as my release followed, my roar echoing down the valley.
The physicality of my orgasm was exhilarating. I had once told her that sex was a pleasure second only to tasting human blood. How could I have been so deluded? Nothing tasted better than her mouth when I was inside her. And as for the momentary exhaustion that accompanied it… there was just nothing else I could do physically to give me that feeling. I basked in its richness as I endeavored to catch my breath. She leaned forward, breathing heavily herself and laid her head on my shoulder.
"Five trees," I finally said, kissing her nose and still panting a bit. "Not too bad this time."
"Maybe we could take advantage of the situation." She said contemplatively. "Start a logging business."
I started to chuckle. Would she ever stop surprising me? "Maybe," I considered. "What would we name this company?"
"I have no clue." She smirked. "Do you have any ideas?"
"No, nothing that we could put in the yellow pages."
"What would we do for advertising?" she continued.
"That I would like to see."
"Yes, it would make for an interesting billboard, wouldn't it?"
I started thinking about interesting billboards and her still on top of me, with me still inside her. It wasn't long before we began to thin the forest again.
I gathered up our clothes. It took a couple of seconds to sniff out her boot. She was already dressed when I returned. How disappointing… Her tee-shirt was over her jeans instead of tucked in.
"Trying to hide the evidence?" I queried.
"It's your fault that I have to." She retorted.
"No, I dare say that I am not to blame for this. Duress is a frequently used defense. "
"I'm sorry that my actions resulted in you discomfort…and the loss of your shirt." She replied trying to appear penitent.
"I think there are still one or two garments unscathed on my side of the closet."
My wife bit down on her lip. I couldn't help but laugh at her absurdity. As if I would be bothered by what happened to my clothing, given what generally caused their demise. I sat down along side her, putting my arm around her shoulder and chuckled, "It is ok. Alice doesn't mind one bit the destruction of either of our wardrobes."
My phone rang as if on cue. I glanced at the number and flipped it open. I didn't even get the chance to say hello.
"I know just the place to go. We needed to go and pick up the music box anyhow." Alice trilled "I'm on my way home right now to pack. Oh, and Rose and Emmett are going to have a wonderful time tomorrow with Renesme."
"But you can't see her Alice."
"Rosalie is going to tell me all about it."
"Perhaps we should at least ask them."
"True, it would be rude not to, but you know will be more than happy to do it. Besides, Emmett is looking for a rematch after the thrashing your daughter gave him on the x-box."
It was an unusually cloudless starry night as we pulled out of the driveway of the big house and headed off to god knows where. I didn't bother asking about the weather. We wouldn't be going if it wasn't going to cloud over.
I told myself from the moment we got in the car that I would do nothing but focus on the day and how I would handle it. I kept the memory of Charlie's scent in my head. I thought about the dry burning sensation, trying to desensitize myself before we came across any humans. But as the minutes ticked, I gazed upon my husband in a medium grey suit with a crisp white shirt and silk tie, becoming distracted. It would be hard for anyone not to lose focus staring at something so gorgeous. I began to think about the pleasure we would both have of me showing him just how good he looked in that suit. I shook my head to chase the images away. It wouldn't allow myself think about that today.
Dutiful, I moved back on to my game plan, but soon other distractions began to encroach as well. Where were we going? All they would tell me was that it was a bookstore. I was highly suspicious. Bookstores I went to while I was human didn't require Edward wearing a suit or me a dress. I gritted my teeth, annoyed and distracted from what I was trying to concentrate on as I would catch Alice looking at what she could see of Edward in the rearview mirror in silent conversation as he drove down the highway. I knew she was giving him pictures of possible choices that might be happening today. He would make subtle movements in response. A quick nod or smile for yes or shake his head slightly or grimace for no. She just sat there quietly, occasionally stifling a giggle or a pout. Finally, I had enough.
"Doesn't this irritate the hell out of you Jasper?"
Jasper didn't need to ask what I was referring to. "It used to. I've learned to ignore them. Give it twenty or thirty years, you'll get used to it."
"That's unlikely," I grumbled.
Alice snuggled up closer to Jasper. Edward took his hand off mine, pulled me over and gave my hair a kiss. Damn it. They all might have hated my old Ford truck, but at least it didn't have bucket seats.
The sun was just beginning to rise when we stopped for gas in Salem. The sky had lightened but the sun hadn't quite climbed over the horizon. I stopped breathing when we got off the interstate and pulled into a convenience store. "Fifteen minutes." Alice called out to Edward as he got out, came around to my side of the car and began to fill the tank. I looked questioningly at her.
"That's when sun will peak over those trees" she replied.
A truck pulled up to the other side of the pump. A middle age man got out and began to put gas in his truck. As I watched him, I decided. Now was as good of time as any to test my self control. He noticed I was looking at him and smiled. I did my best to smile back, not wanting to make him uncomfortable. He seemed nice, old enough to have a wife and children. I started to get anxious. That this might be the last moments of this man's life weighed heavily on me. I turned my head away and stared out the windshield reminding myself of all the reasons I was here. The fact that Charlie was becoming fairly easy to be around, the fact that I was almost a year old, the fact that I wanted to do this for Edward as much as for me. These things all solidified my determination to go forward.
"You'll do fine." Alice said it as if it was a statement of fact. I never even opened my mouth. They already knew what I was planning. I could feel the others tensing around me. Edward reading Alice's visions and Jasper's take on my mood.
As I rolled down my window, Edward and Jasper looked at me. Alice closed her eyes again. I concentrated on not doing anything stupid and took a deep breath. My throat burned and I winced at the pain. Edward let go of the nozzle and stood between me and the man.
"It's not too bad. The gasoline smell helps." I whispered and they all relaxed. Edward bent down and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead.
I was please with my first attempt but still unsure. I wanted another test, one that was away from the pumps.
"Anyone need a bathroom break?" Alice snickered, having already seen where I was planning to go. Jasper rolled his eyes at her. Her door opened before mine did and Jasper went to follow. Edward was still filling the car. He looked up with questioning anxious eyes.
"We don't need any help" Alice chirped to the boys.
"But…" they both said at the same time.
"No buts about it." she cut them off. "We two girls can make it in and out of a store without your assistance."
Alice grabbed me by the hand and nearly dragged me in. Jasper got out anyhow, walked around and leaned against the car beside Edward. Alice insisting we could go alone was such a confidence booster. I looked back at my husband and smiled the same way as I did for the guy in the truck, hoping that it would calm him down. In spite of the fact that Edward would have seen Alice's vision and its apparent positive outcome, he still looked like he was on the verge of a panic attack
"I've never seen two bigger worry warts in my entire life." Alice made no attempt at keeping her voice down as she said it. I could hear the low hisses coming from behind us.
Though I was certainly nervous, I couldn't help but giggle at Alice's teasing. "Maybe we should have a contest… see who's worse." I joked trying to show them all that I was indeed calm and in control.
She and I walked into to the little convenience store and began to peruse the aisles, pretending that we wanted something. It was early and only a couple tired looking customers were in the place. As I passed by one of them, I prepared myself and inhaled another big gulp of air.
This truly hurt. After Alice's phone call in the woods, Edward had me take two more elk down before we headed home. I wasn't thirsty, but still, the fire and desire to squelch it was there in full force. I grabbed a hold of Alice's arm to steady myself.
"There's no need to take such a deep breath, Bella. Just breathe normally." She whispered into my ear.
I took her advice and I tried to breathe even and regularly, noticing how hard that was when you were concentrating on the act. We walked around for a few more minutes, passing by a couple more customers that had entered the store. It wasn't so bad. Breathing shallow helped, so did the familiarity of the scent. My confidence grew. It was nothing I couldn't handle.
"Time to go." Alice said cheerfully, grabbing a newspaper. Wanting to look like I had something to buy, I snatched up a bright pink pen with feathers coming out of the top, tossing it on the counter with the paper. The sales clerk rang us out, oblivious to the fact that she had just encountered my official re-entry into the human world as vampire.
As I walked out of the store, satisfaction emanated from every pore. Edward was beaming. Unable to wait for me to get there, he pulled himself off the car where he had joined Jasper and jogged over to meet us, wrapping his arm around my shoulder. I presented him with the lurid pen.
"A gift for you. A symbol of my first foray into civilization."
"If it's from you I will treasure it always." He said with his lips pressed against my forehead.
"Time's a wasting you two." Alice complained. Edward reached out to mess up her hair. She easily ducked around his hand.
We hopped back on the highway. The sun was out in full now, but you could see the clouds coming on the western horizon. It was completely overcast by time we needed to stop for gas again in Redding. I made another trip into the store with Edward this time, Alice pouting when he said it was his turn.
We had driven over eight hundred miles in less than eight hours. We would have gotten here faster, but Edward had to slow down a couple of times for speed traps. It was about one in the afternoon as we got off the exit for San Francisco.
San Francisco? This wasn't at all what I had in mind. "Are we stopping for gas again?" I asked hopefully.
"Yes, among other things." Alice replied cryptically.
"What things?" I gulped already starting to think about the millions of delicious smelling people that live in San Francisco.
"Don't worry Bella," she said trying to reassure me. "We are going to a special bookstore. They have rare first additions and books that have been out of print for years. It's kinda off the beaten path so foot traffic will be relatively light."
I grimaced. I was beginning to understand the reason for the fancy clothes. We weren't headed to some big box store were you could grab a good paperback for under fifteen dollars. This was going to be expensive.
Edward glanced over at my face, misreading it as worried rather than grumpy. He lifted our entwined fingers off the gear shift and kissed my wrist.
"Alice already saw it. You'll do fine."
"But how much are these books going to cost?"
All three of them started to laugh at the same time.
As Alice predicted, the traffic on the street was relatively light, maybe a dozen or so humans out this balmy afternoon. She and Jasper were ahead of us. Jasper seemed to radiate contentment these days. Both of us it seemed were learning to let go of our pasts. His arm was around her shoulder as they walked down the street, leaning down occasionally to kiss the top of her spiky hair. I couldn't help listening to his loving thoughts about Alice; they came in so strong and powerful.
I couldn't shake my own contentment or the grin from my face as we followed them down the street hand in hand. Bella did wonderful at the gas stations. Maybe Alice was right, I did worry too much. As we continued on to the bookstore, there didn't seem to be a male in site that wasn't gawking at my wife. Let them look, I chuckled to myself. This would have bothered me at one time I was sure. But I had evolved. She had proved beyond all measure that I was the only one she would ever want. So I swelled with pride in the glory of what was mine.
"You seem amused by something."
I turned and kissed my wife's questioning face. "Just happy to show you off to the rest of the world," I replied. Her forehead crinkled even more in confusion causing me to laugh out loud. Would she ever understand how beautiful she truly was?
She let out a happy sigh and gave my hand a squeeze. My gaze drew down to the fingers entwined in my own and the scar on her wrist. I don't really know what came over me. Maybe I did still need to announce my claim to the watchful males in this town. I honestly doubted it. The truth was I had become overwhelmed by the necessity to have my lips on her body. I pulled us to a stop, grabbing her by the waist and hoisting her up on a nearby bench. Taking both hands in mine, I kissed the silvery crescents there.
"Edward! We're in the middle of the street!"
"Doesn't bother me a bit." I replied.
Alice and Jasper turned around and headed back to us. "Get her down." Alice half snarled. "I don't need to deal with Bella all worked up and we have work to do. You two can play with each other later."
Jasper chuckled, "You should know better by now Edward to slow my wife down when she's on a shopping mission."
"All right, all right." I took her again by the waist, lifting her off the bench. Before her feet could touch the sidewalk I stopped. Her mouth was just too close to resist. I pulled mine on to it surprised that though she didn't rebuff me, she seemed a little more in hesitant than usual.
Jasper let out an exasperated sigh. "Edward." If Alice doesn't get done what she came for, I'll have hell to pay. She told me before we left I was suppose to make you two behave.
I pulled my lips from hers laughing. "I'd like to see you try."
"Who are you talking to?" Bella asked as I put her back on the ground.
"Jasper," I replied. "Your sister in law asked that Jasper lower your libido for this trip."
"It was for safety's sake Bella." Alice retorted "And I didn't just say Bella's, it's your fault that she gets like that."
"Don't worry about Bella, Alice." Jasper said seeking to defend himself. "She has been on lockdown mode without any assistance from me since we got into the car. It's only him we have to worry about today."
I was horrified. I couldn't believe I had been this inconsiderate. I dropped her hand and tried to take a deliberate step away, but she would have none of it.
"You do not have my permission to let go of me today." She said entwining our fingers back together again.
"I'm so sorry. I promised to behave myself from now on."
"You can make it up to me…later."
I kept my seventeen year old hormonal impulses to myself and we turned the corner and walked up to a large brownstone bearing the simple sign "Fine & Rare Books". The neighborhood must at one time been a fairly nice one, given the size and architecture of the buildings, but the houses now were no longer residential. Instead signs hung from the building advertising antique shops, restaurants and the not.
We opened the door and entered the foyer. A large chandelier hung from the twenty foot high ceiling. A grand staircase of oak lay directly in front of the door leading to a balcony that wrapped itself gracefully in a semi-circle around the front entrance. As I turned to close the door behind us an elderly man came from one of the other rooms on the first floor.
I held out my hand, keeping Bella's in my right. I spent the last hour keeping the left one on the heated steering wheel. The balmy August day had not dissipated the warmth in my hand and the curator didn't even flinch as he took it to greet us.
"Welcome to Fine and Rare Books. My name is Arthur Fletcher, curator and proprietor of this collection." His greeting was direct and to the point. He appeared almost humble in his demeanor. But his thoughts were full of pride. His books were his children.
"Good afternoon, my name is Edward Cullen. This is my wife Bella and this is my sister Alice and her husband Jasper Hale."
"We've been expecting you." He replied. "Doctor Cullen called this morning saying you would be here today. I have corresponded with him over the phone and in letters many occasions, but I haven't seen him in years. Is he in good health?"
Even when we had to move in a hurry, Carlisle never left without his books. Mr. Fletcher and my father had been trading books for years. However, his last face to face with him was in 1970.
"He's doing fine. I'll be happy to pass along your regards."
"Well now, what can I do for you nice young people?"
"We're looking for something special for our sister's birthday. She loves books, takes after her grandfather."
"How old is she?"
"She's twelve, but quite a bright girl." Bella answered.
"Hmmm…. Let's see… I just got in a first edition of Anne of Green Gables."
"Already got it." Alice chimed in.
"Dickens perhaps… No, your grandfather completed his first edition set in the mid seventies" he frowned trying to think of something that would appeal. I kinda liked this fellow. Not once did he think about how much money he was going to get out of us today, just how happy our daughter would hopefully be to get a nice present.
He's got the Jungle Book upstairs Edward, Pollyanna, the Hobbit, the Sword and the Stone... Alice began mentally trilling out everything that was upstairs. She had already picked out what she was planning to get. Trust Alice to find one of the most expensive books in the place.
"Would you mind us looking around a bit?" Bella asked with an expression akin to a kid in a candy store, a very expensive candy store.
"Certainly, anything for Doctor Cullen's grandchildren."
I did my best to relax. Edwards hand never left mine and his touch did more than anything to calm me. The stops along the way to test my endurance helped as well. My throat ached with a slight burn at his scent as I stood about a foot and a half away, but my confidence was strong enough that I even spoke to Mr. Fletcher. He seemed very nice. I used my head this time, breathing even and shallow. The elderly man's scent continued to waft down to us as he led us up the stairs to the children's section. The scent of thousands of humans lingered here as well, but surprisingly it didn't really bother me. It was an older aroma. Not really unpleasant or stale, more a compliment to the scent of the ink, the paper and the leather the books were bound in. It was what I concentrated on and the longer I was there, the more I liked it. I imagined all the people over the years that owned and loved these books. People just like me. It made me happy to think that there were things I still had in common with the human world.
We stopped at the second door on the right. Along with hundreds of books, antique teddy bears and dolls decorated the room. Many of the items were displayed in glass jewelry cases. The light in the room was low and the curtains drawn. The humidity was nothing like outside. I assume these were precautions taken that safe guarded the treasure that lied with in this room. A middle aged woman with a tight bun and glasses was halfway up a ladder that was on rails running the perimeter of the room. She turned to look down at us as we entered.
"Eve, these are the people I told you about this morning."
"Welcome," she replied. "I have heard so much about your grandfather over the years from Arthur. I'm surprised that he never mentioned having children."
"I think the doctor is just like me Eve. When the topic of books is being discussed, everything else goes by the wayside."
Edward chuckled very naturally "Yes it seems you do know my grandfather well."
"What can I help you find today?" Eve inquired.
"I'm looking for a copy of Through the Looking Glass. Would you happen to have one?" Alice asked hopefully, sounding as though she expected to be told no. I snorted, covering it up as a cough. I knew darn well she had already seen herself buying it.
"Most fortunately for you dear a signed first edition came in just last week." Eve smiled smugly. I got the impression that she didn't think Alice would be interested in it… or maybe couldn't afford it. Climbing down off her ladder and crossing the room to a glass cabinet, she gestured to a red cloth book with gold lettering lying against a clam shell box. "Very rare, virtually the earliest obtainable. It was published in 1866. Only a thousand copies were printed… "
Eve appeared as though she was about to continue with the description but Alice cut her off.
"We'll take it." she said it as if she had just ordered a pizza.
For a moment Eve gave a looked that seemed to me like she thought we were wasting her time. But she hid it quickly and walked behind what I now recognized was a glass jewelry case, pulled out a key and unlocked it. I read the little card folded in the case with the book and gasped: twenty seven thousand dollars.
"Alice," I said shocked. "Don't you think our sister is a little young for this kind of present?"
"Nonsense," she chirped. "She'll love it. And besides, it's my favorite book."
Eve, appearing as shell shocked as I was, pulled the shell box and book from the case and laid it on top of the glass allowing Alice to inspect it. She pranced over to the case, closed her eyes and grinned, brushing the gold lettering with her fingertips before placing it in the box and scooping it up in her little arms.
Recovering from her apparent underestimation of my sister in law Eve smiled and said. "It's a fine choice and a wonderful investment for the child."
"Excellent." Alice was already pulling her credit card out. "Just show us where to pay." She glanced over toward my husband. "Throw Jasper the keys Edward. We are getting behind schedule and Jasper and I have a few errands to attend to in town." Mr. Fletcher stared at her curiously for a second, shrugged and began to lead them toward the door. Edward pulled out the car keys, tossing them lightly to Jasper. "Call if you're ready to go before we get back." She said over her shoulder, pulling an amused Jasper along and giving Edward a smile that made me sure yet again they were trying to hide something from me.
We spent the rest of the afternoon looking around. I could have spent days in there. All my favorites from childhood were here. With my mom being a teacher there was never a week that passed by without her bringing home some classic from school for me to read. Edward continued to hold my hand looking tense as a couple of different employees drifted in and out, giving suggestions. It pleased me that he was doing his best to keep me out of trouble, but I felt good. I was really getting the hang of it. I wanted him to relax a little so every time someone entered the room I would stop, stick my nose out, giving a little bunny sniff. He just rolled his eyes at me.
I needed to up the ante. "Smells like chicken." I whispered in his ear as a skinny looking boy came in with what looked like a delivery.
With the poultry so nearby, his efforts at keeping straight faced were hilarious. It was the first time he had left go of my hand since we walked in the door. He walked to the opposite end of the room and stared at the shelves of books, trying to compose himself. I stifled a giggle, pleased my mission was accomplished. But staring at him from behind, my amusement faded and I became distracted. Though no one looked better in a suit than Edward, his shoulders not bulky, but broad enough to balance the cut of a jacket, the trousers hinting teasingly at what lie beneath, I pictured him standing there, no shirt, just his kakis hanging low on his hips. I also picture me, walking up behind him, taking my finger and running it down his spine, my lips touching his shoulder blade, my hand reaching around the front of him…
I shook my head grateful that the reason for my distractions couldn't see the expression on my face. He might have taken the desire burning in my eyes as something else. I turned and faced my own bookshelf. I needed to behave myself.
After about two minutes he must have gotten himself back together. I listened to him inhale deeply and return to my side. Still with an amused lilt to his voice he exhaled and asked. "What do you think we should get?"
"I don't know Edward." I could no longer concentrate on anything but being good. "Pollyanna, The Secret Garden, Oliver Twist. Everything I see involves orphans."
"Did you see that copy of the Hobbit in the glass case by the desk?" I knew he was trying to pick on me, choosing the most expensive book in the place.
"Yes I did, and it's seventy five thousand dollar price tag." Somedays their wastefulness blew my mind. "Honestly, you people, I could have bought a new car with the money Alice just laid down for that book."
"It wouldn't have been any car I'd want to drive." He said, one side of his mouth curving upward.
"Snob." I teased. He responded by shrugging his shoulders. I wrapped my arm around his waist trying to make amends. "You pick something out Edward."
He led us over to a shelf and gestured to Eve. "I noticed a reasonably priced copy of the Sword and the Stone."
"A fine copy and near fine dust jacket." Eve began rather quickly looking like she thought she wouldn't get through her speech "You'll notice its original price is on the on front flap. There is fraying and shallow chipping at spine ends, two tiny tears at top edge of rear panel, and some tanning to spine panel, but all in all a very respectable copy, better than most. Very reasonably priced at thirty-five hundred."
Reasonably priced… right… practically giving it away. But I didn't want to argue with him when it was clear that he loved the book so I kept my opinions to myself and said "I've never read it. Do you like it?"
His eyes lit up as he responded "It's one of my favorites."
"Well then it's settled, we'll take it."
A Night in the City
I remember at one time being frustrated by my lack of ability to read my wife's thoughts. When you've spent the last ninety years with never an unanticipated moment, it takes time to adjust. Now that surprise was a constant in my life, it was a welcome pleasure and yet one more reason to love her. We decided to spend the night in the city. As I drove to the hotel we were staying at I couldn't stop my snickering. Chicken… I didn't think I would ever be able to hear the word again without chuckling.
"What's so funny?" Jasper asked
"My wife," I pulled our hands off the gear shift and gave her a quick kiss.
We got to through the lobby quickly and headed up to the penthouse suite. Alice went and changed into a slinky party dress and she and Jasper went out to explore the city. Dancing was on her agenda tonight. She didn't try to talk my wife into joining her. Warm tasty bodies sweating in a club… I truly felt bad for Jasper.
I sat our bags down and walked over to the curtains hiding glass doors and opened them, letting the sea air in from the breeze coming off the wharf. It was not so much a balcony as an outdoor room. Netting canopied the space where comfortable looking patio furniture sat. Palm trees framed a sunken hot tub giving it the look of a roof top oasis, a large comfortable chaise placed beside it.
"I'm taking this stupid dress off and getting my sweats." My wife said as she grabbed her overnight bag and headed to the bathroom.
I smiled and shook my head. We've been married over a year and I had seen literally every inch of her beautiful pale body and yet here she is, changing in the other room. Well, maybe she was still on lockdown mode as Jasper had called it. I grabbed our purchase from this afternoon and walked out on to the patio eyeing the hot tub guiltily. I sat down on one of the outdoor chairs, still chastising myself for my earlier display today. How could I have been so thoughtless?
Aside from my own transgressions, it had been a wonderful day. I sighed, thinking about how much I would have liked to have gotten her something from there. But the staff of the bookstore followed us around giving full descriptions, including the prices of everything she looked at. Her mouth hung open as Alice picked out the one she wanted. Alice in Wonderland… What a surprise, I mused. Our choice was one of my favorites, and I was happy that I would not only get to share it with our daughter but my wife as well. She did raise an eyebrow, and I readied myself for and argument but none came as I handed over the credit card for the first edition. A little overspending didn't seem to be a problem for her if it was on someone else.
I pulled the book we bought today for our daughter out of its case. I hadn't read "The Sword and the Stone" in years. I remembered being pleased that it would occasionally crop up in some literature class.
As I perused the T. H. White's book recalling the legend of Arthur, Merlin and Excalibur, my mind was pulled from the pages by the unmistakable sound of purring. Turning my head and glancing over toward its source, I was shocked into immobility. My wife, on her hands and knees, clothed in a blue cotton tank top with spaghetti straps and matching panties was crawling slowly across the floor. The book fell out of my hand, hitting the patio floor with a dull thud.
She moved like a cat, her eyes boring into mine. I wouldn't have been surprised to find smoke pouring out my ears. She took her time, but finally she was near enough to touch me. Her lips found my kneecaps kissing them both before she nuzzled her nose between my legs. I could feel her breath, heavy and deep on the inside of my thigh… and still the purring continued…
Her nose rubbed up and down my crotch. I was hard so fast, my erection straining to escape my trousers. My head fell back and I growled; an involuntary response to the shudder that ran through my entire body. She took her hands off the floor, dropping her penetrating stare and, with the precision one would associate with brain surgery, unbuckled my belt, unbuttoned my pants and slowly lowered the zipper. Her hand lingered on the waistband of my boxers for a moment, her fingertips tracing around it before sliding in and freeing the bulge that was on the verge of escaping the confined space on its own. She examined me for a moment then looked up again, grinning for the first time since she started.
Her hands came off me, pulling her shirt off and tossing it on the floor. She wedged herself tightly between my thighs. Taking a breast in each hand and sandwiching my erection between them, her long brown hair swung as her body moved up and down on me.
I finally thawed from the shock, my need to have my mouth on hers over riding all other functions. I put my hands under her armpits and pulled her lips up to mine. Ahh… the taste of her sweet mouth, once a source of both pain and pleasure, now only filled my being with ecstasy. I lived to taste her.
Our mouths still fused together, she wrapped the tie I still had on around her hand. Pulling herself up off her knees, she tugged on the tie like a leash and dragged me up with her as I shed the trousers pooled at my feet.
"Come with me." she whispered into my mouth. My brain was overflowing with questions. What was she doing? Where were we going? How didn't she tear off my tie when she pulled at it?
She pulled us out to the rail of the balcony. Once there she released her hold on my tie, and pulled it off me. Her face almost severe in concentration as she slowly, one by one, unbuttoned my shirt. I tried to help, but she brushed my hands aside.
"I want to do it myself."
When the last button was taken care of I pulled her into my arms.
"I felt you should be rewarded for your behavior today. It was a long day for us both in more ways than one." I was grateful that she had at least answered one of my many silent questions.
She turned, facing the rail of the balcony and leaned over it. She didn't have to spell it out for me. In too much of a hurry to remove my shirt, my body curved to her form. My hand slid into the little cotton panties while my teeth nibbled on her ear. She shifted slightly, placing her foot on the bottom rail to allow my fingers between her legs. As I stroked her, the scent wafted up from her loins. The rail began to vibrate.
"Yes, Edward." she moaned as she moved with my fingers. How I loved to get her off. It didn't take long. My free hand dug into her hair, pulling her head back so I could taste her once more. Her body tightened up and her orgasm spilled out over my other hand. I tore the panties from her. The need to be inside her almost took over me. But I eyeballed the railing. I didn't want to launch us off the balcony… people might notice something like that. I took a couple steps back, pulling us both from the edge of the large patio.
She turned and as I stared into her eyes the flavor of my desire changed, intensified. Was there some plateau that my desire for her would eventually reach? Would I burst into flame when it did? I just didn't want to drop to the floor and screw her. I wanted to make love, slowly, passionately. I scooped her up in my arms, my lips retuning to hers and carried her over to the chaise, kicking the headrest down with my foot. I laid her down gently and slid in beside her.
We lay side by side, our bodies tangled up together. My hand ran down her back, tracing around her hip, pulling the thigh that was already draped over my torso tighter. She rolled up on top of me, pulling me into her. As her legs moved her, I could feel the muscles in her cervix tightening on the upstroke and relaxing on the down and my fingers tightened on her backside in response. She didn't pull off my chest as she usually did, wouldn't let her mouth leave mine as she clutch my head with a force that would have crushed a human skull.
Keeping us together in every way, I rolled us back over. Her thighs wrapped high around my waist. My hips rocked, thrusting into her over and over. I pulled my mouth from hers, my body demanding that I vocalize my feelings.
"I love you… I love you… I love you…"
A low, throaty moan escaped her lips as she came on the spot. Her body shook with it. My back arched and I joined her. As many times as we had made love before, this had taken it to a new level. We had, on numerous occasions been far more physical in our love making, but the forcefulness of this was almost painful and my eyes stung. I knew I would have produced tears if I had been able to.
"I love you too Edward." She panted and a tremor ran through me, my body still reeling from the aftermath of my orgasm.
I rolled us to our sides and eventually our breathing returned to a pace that allowed conversation.
"How can this get any more intense?" she whispered into my shoulder.
"I just don't know."
"You never did take your shirt off."
"Opps" I was surprised. It was the first time I realized I still had it on.
"It's ok, I kinda liked it." She said with a sigh, snuggling closer into me.
My mind was beginning to function rationally again, "Sorry about your panties," I apologized. That got me to thinking "By the way, how did you manage to not destroy anything?"
She shrugged. "After today, I just decided that I could do it."
"You can do anything." I smiled down at her.
"I didn't say it was without effort."
I laughed to myself remembering how hard she had concentrated a little while ago.
"Anything to keep Emmett from teasing you." She grimaced and I kissed her on the forehead. "Don't worry about my clothes." My smile grew wider. "I kinda like that too."
We lay quietly outside for a few more hours; both of us content just holding each other. We would have to get up eventually. The clouds had dissipated, giving us a clear view of the moon and starts. Though it was beautiful, it also limited our time here. We were leaving before sunrise and Alice and Jasper would be back soon. It didn't bother me though. There was an eternity of perfect nights yet to experience.
Thanks for taking a look. Reviews good or bad are always welcome. It's a bit longer than my usual one shots. I can't seem to figure out how to do the chapter download here so I gave up and stuck it all together. Anyhoo, hope you enjoyed it.