A/N: this is the last time I need to remind you that all things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer, and that I only own a very wild imagination. I guess I can also add that I have a lot of patience and perseverance as it took me 13 months to write this story first in French, and then 26 months to translate it in English, all the while knowing it was only for a handful of followers, constant in number from the beginning, but never the same, except for a few readers who have been there from the start and which I want to thank because if it weren't for you, my dear, I would probably have abandoned the task before the end:
Erika Shoval, my no.1 fan, who has read everything that I've written ever since I entered the universe of fan fiction, and who knows first hand what I'm worth as an author and as a translator.
Just4ALE, my dearest beta who I came to know thanks to the story MotU, better known as Fifty Shades of Grey nowadays, and who told me to have faith in what I do. She gave me the hope that someday I may become a published author myself.
Purradox, pnkats, and more recently Lizzard43, CanYouBelieveIt and twilightobsession, who helped me keep my spirits high when I thought everyone had left the ship.
I don't know what happened to any of the other readers I may have had at some point, because if you don't review when I post, there is no way for me to know you're still with me. Sad, but true.
As you're about to read the epilogue, you will see that I wrote it from the point of view of a third-person narrator. Well, it is no coincidence. I wanted this chapter to be a tribute to my friend Sebastien Robichaud, and I hope you will enjoy it. Good reading.
One month later...
The Master of the Universe was gently swaying over the Atlantic Ocean on a chilly morning in October as it continued its course toward the New World. Tanya was now so used to its constant motion on the water that it no longer bothered her. Jacob had taken control of the galleon as soon as they left Marseille, and as the captain's girlfriend, Aro's former favorite resided in the largest cabin on the ship with him.
It was hard to believe they were onboard a vessel in the huge room, which served as a lounge as well as a dining room and bedroom. It was located under the deck, right in the center of the ship. The interior was lit by a skylight that breached the deck, however, none of the crew could see into the captain's cabin through the transparent surface, since the skylight's glass was frosted and two inches thick.
If they had been able to see what transpired in the privacy of the captain's quarters, they would have likely gotten an eyeful once the Master of the Universe had passed through the Strait of Gibraltar. Indeed, as soon as Jacob relinquished the helm to Garrett, his second in command, he returned to his beautiful Russian girl and gave orders not to be disturbed unless there was an emergency. He spent hours making love to Tanya. Her experience and confidence brought him such pleasure as she did things to him he had never before imagined possible. If she had no problem taking initiative, it was due to the context in which she had lived the past twelve years of her life, and also because she was eight years his senior.
That morning Jacob just wanted some peace and quiet when he returned to his cabin. He had been awake all night because the ocean was turbulent and he wanted to oversee the crew personally to avoid any mishaps, which might endanger the ship. Jacob was exhausted when he entered his quarters, but seeing Tanya wide awake and eyeing him seductively, he knew instantly that he wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. He didn't mind, however, for when the former sex slave stared at him like that, it meant she wanted to have her way with him, and so he became her willing prey.
"I missed you last night, Jake," she said with a pout. "I hate when you have to be on deck for so long."
Jacob removed his boots and belt and joined her in the huge bed. He pulled the quilt down and saw that his lover was naked under the covers. The sight of her curvaceous body, her generous breasts and hardened nipples, and her parted legs revealing herself to him, caused his body to respond immediately.
"I may combust just looking at you, my little succubus!" he gently teased her, starting to untie his shirt.
Tanya sat up and jumped on him in an almost feline motion. "I can't have you fall asleep so soon. Come, let me take care of you and ... you can sleep later," she said with a smirk.
She didn't give him time to reply before she began to undress him herself. She dragged on the cords of his shirt, and each time she untied one, she threw her breasts forward in a provocative manner. When she reached the last cord, Jacob could take it no longer. He grabbed her wrists and pulled them high over her head, then dove forward and hungrily sucked on her right breast. The young woman responded with a moan of pleasure.
Jacob slowly glided his free hand between her breasts and down her stomach until he reached her mound covered with a red down. It had been more than a month since Tanya had been waxed by the eunuchs of the harem, but Jacob couldn't care less for there was nothing lovelier to him than a natural woman. She was sitting on her heels with her thighs spread exposing herself to the young man. He slipped two fingers inside and began pumping slowly while keeping his thumb pressed on her clitoris.
"Oh, Jake…Yes, please keep going. I won't last long," she breathed against his neck.
Jacob wanted to kiss her mouth, but he knew that she loved the attention he gave to her breasts. He was glad that Tanya was about to cum, for he was struggling to contain his arousal as he watched her flush from her own. He released her wrists and she obediently kept them behind her back as he began to massage her right breast and to suck on her left breast now. He felt Tanya's walls tighten around his fingers as he increased their rhythmic pace. Suddenly, she arched her back and threw her head back.
"Oh yes, oh yes, ooohhh!" She screamed before falling on her lover who released her breasts to kiss her passionately, smothering her last cries of pleasure with his mouth.
After a moment, Tanya ended their kiss and pushed Jacob back on the quilt. She finished untying his shirt and quickly removed it. She then undid his trousers, freeing his engorged shaft, and was about to drag his pants down his legs when Jacob stopped her.
"No time for that, Tanya. I'm about to explode," he panted.
Without wasting a second, the former Volturi slave positioned herself between her lover's legs then grabbed his cock and completely engulfed him in her mouth. The ease with which she did it would never cease to amaze Jacob. None of his former conquests had ever succeeded to swallow him whole, given the significant thickness and length of his manhood. But Tanya had not hidden anything about her training as a sex slave, and though he knew it was Edward who had taught her how to please a man orally, he couldn't resent it since he was now reaping the benefits of her training.
As soon as the young woman started to suck his dick, using her lips, her teeth and her tongue, he knew that she wouldn't have to work hard to make him climax. He felt her skilled hands caress his testicles and the sensitive area just below, and he forcefully gripped the covers. Good God, this girl was a sex sorceress, there were no other words to describe her. After only a few moments, he couldn't hold on any longer and erupted. He felt his beloved swallow his cum as he released jerkily in her mouth while he clenched his teeth to suppress his own groans of pleasure, which would probably have been heard by everyone sleeping in the nearby cabins.
Jacob opened his eyes and saw Tanya closing the distance to nestle in the hollow of his shoulder. She whispered in his ear, "You can sleep now. You totally deserve it."
Just as they settled peacefully in each other's arms, someone knocked frantically at the cabin door and Jacob recognized Garrett's voice. "Captain Black, the Cap Breton Island is in sight!"
Tanya started giggling. "At last! We can all walk on solid ground again. Kate will be so relieved. No more seasickness. Maybe now she'll be well enough to confess to your second in command that she's in love with him!"
Bella wasn't feeling well of late. She seemed to be always somnolent and suffered from frequent headaches. But she wasn't a wimp, and she tried to convince herself that her ailments were merely due to the stress of preparing for her wedding, which was to take place the next day.
It had only been three weeks since they had arrived at the domain of the Cullen de Morvalle after the landlords' ten year absence. Carlisle had not returned from Versailles yet but was expected soon so he could attend the wedding. In his absence, Esme had taken charge of managing the estate. She hadn't had time to hire a staff yet to help her. First she wanted a thorough cleaning of the entire premises. It had been time consuming and demanded a lot of work; everyone had contributed except for Alice who could only sit and give orders to the others.
Even though it was the end of October, it was still quite warm and sunny outside, making the inside of the manor a little suffocating. Esme had sent Bella to the cellar of the castle to fetch the bottles of wine that were to accompany the meal she was preparing for the wedding. The cellar remained fairly cool and provided Bella with a welcomed respite from the ambient heat. She had brought a basket to help with the transport of the bottles to the kitchen, but it was clear that she'd be forced to make several trips to carry the thirty bottles or so that her nanny planned to open during the wedding festivities. All the people from Monbazillac had been invited to the feast following the ceremony, and that's why Esme insisted that the wine flow freely, as it was the only thing they had in large amounts in the castle right now.
Bella wasn't happy that she had to haul so many bottles by herself. She should have accepted their invitation to go picnic with Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett rather than staying alone in the castle with Esme. Edward had gone to town to get supplies before she woke up – she was no longer able to wake up early in the morning – and she couldn't wait for him to be back. The craving she had for him was almost sickly, she thought while filling the basket with bottles of red wine, dutifully obeying her nanny's requests.
Bella filled her basket with six bottles of red wine then rose and turned swiftly to take them upstairs to the kitchen. Suddenly she felt the stone walls of the cellar close in around her while she felt the ground slip from under her feet. She sank into an abyss of darkness.
Edward returned to the castle early in the afternoon. The cart he was driving was filled with the provisions Esme had asked him to purchase for her: apples, pears, plums, nectarines, sweet potatoes, shallots, onions, beans, parsnips, flour, sugar, and honey. When they had arrived on the property three weeks earlier, Emmett had fortunately acquired two cows and several chickens to provide them with milk and eggs. Edward was looking forward to starting a kitchen garden in April, but that was still far off. He fondly recalled when his mother, Elizabeth, was busy in the garden, from the early planting to the final harvest. The radishes that she picked in May were always for him, and she cooked them with butter and served them with a delicious stew of pig's feet.
Edward knew that his mother was in his thoughts right now because he wished that she was still alive to see how happy he was and witness his marriage to the beautiful marquise de Courville, the love of his life.
He knew that Isabella had not been feeling well lately, but he wasn't overly concerned since she was still well enough to seek his caresses night after night – and sometimes even during the day – since their arrival in Dordogne.
"Esme, have you seen Bella after I left this morning?" he asked his father's companion as he laid a crate of provisions on the huge worktable in the middle of the kitchen.
"Well, I sent her to the cellar to fetch the wine, but it's been a while. She should have returned with the first bottles by now."
Seeing concern on the face of the young man, Esme started to feel guilty for having charged Bella with the task of fetching the wine by herself. She could have waited for the others to return and suggest that they all work together to retrieve the damn wine. But it was out of habit that she'd asked her charge to help with the preparations for the wedding. At the Swan de Courville's castle, Isabella spent a lot of time in the kitchen helping Esme prepare meals, even though it wasn't what her parents expected of her.
"No matter. She probably got distracted and decided to take care of the wine later," Edward said as he quickly left the kitchen.
Esme sighed. Dear Edward, try as he might to appear impassive at all times, it was just impossible when it came to Bella. She wondered if she should tell him about her suspicions, but no, it wasn't for her to reveal such intimate details to a man. Besides, she really had no evidence to confirm her assumptions, only vague clues.
Leaving the kitchen, Edward rushed down the long corridor to the door accessing the wine cellar. It was a dark, cool and humid place that strangely reminded him of the foundations of the Volturi's fortress. Perhaps Bella had had the same thoughts and it had repelled her, although he strongly doubted it, for she was a young woman who, by her own admission, had no problem overcoming such traumatic experiences. He proceeded downstairs with an ominous feeling tightening his chest.
"Bella, are you there?" he asked, trying to remain calm. "Esme told me she sent you to fetch the bottles of wine, and I thought that you might need some help..."
He stopped dead down the steps. He could see only his fiancée's legs in a corner of the room with the rest of her body concealed by a row of barrels. He ran toward her as she laid unconscious on the cool, hard floor. All the bottles from her basket had broken into a thousand pieces, leaving shattered glass and liquid everywhere, including on her. The wine stained her dress and bits of glass pricked her skin. He noticed small shards of glass piercing the skin of her neck.
Edward brushed his hand on her cheeks and patted them gently. Good God, she needed to stay still. She opened her eyes under his touch.
"I'm sorry, Edward. I must have fainted," she said with a slightly hoarse voice.
"Bella, love, don't move just now. You dropped the wine bottles when you fell and they shattered on the floor. There's broken glass everywhere. You've been cut by some of the pieces. Let me try to remove them before I lift you, okay?"
Bella just nodded. She could see the anxiety in his eyes and became alarmed. Perhaps she was injured far worse than Edward was telling her. Why would he want her not to move? Was it because he didn't want her to see the extent of her injuries? And what if the moisture she felt through her clothing was not only due to the wine that had leaked from the broken bottles? What if she'd lost blood? Edward must have realized she was panicking because a thin smile appeared on his face to reassure her.
"Bella, your injuries caused by the glass splinters are minor, but if you move too quickly, the glass could become embedded in your skin, and that's what I want to avoid."
He pulled out a small pair of tweezers from his pocket and began to remove the broken glass he saw on her neck. Considering the poor lighting in the cellar, it took him a while to remove all the glass splinters, after which he ran his hand behind her nape to make sure there was no glass there as well. Then he pulled out a handkerchief and he wrapped her neck to stop the light bleeding.
Bella remained silent while Edward worked on her. But her mind spun wildly as she convinced herself that she must be suffering from a very serious illness. It wasn't normal for her to sleep so late in the morning. She had been plagued by headaches for the past two weeks. She had recently lost weight even though she ate more than usual. And now she had blacked out for no reason. All proof that she was very, very sick.
Edward took her right hand and examined it carefully. He removed the glass splinters and used another handkerchief to bandage it up. It was as if the pieces of fabric appeared in his pocket as he needed them... how strange. He repeated his examination of her left hand. Luckily, her dress had long sleeves, so the amount of skin exposed to the glass was limited.
"All right, now I can move you away from all that broken glass and take care of your legs," Edward said as he finished bandaging her left hand. "I'll come back to clean up this mess later."
"Thank you, Edward," Bella said with a faint voice.
The comte took her in his arms and went to settle her against the wall near the stairs.
"You're soaking wet, darling. I'll go get you some dry clothes, it won't take long," he continued, but she put a hand on his arm when he tried to stand.
"No, Edward!" she shouted, desperate. "Please, stay here with me. I can still feel pieces of glass in my legs and it hurts..."
This wasn't true, but she was desperate to keep him from leaving her side. She was sure that she was dying and only had a few hours left to live. And she wanted to live them thoroughly...with Edward.
"But, sweetheart, I don't want you to catch your death. It's really cold down here," he replied, frowning and looking her straight in the eyes, trying to figure out what was troubling her.
Oh, Edward, if you knew! She thought, closing her eyes. I'm going to die soon. Please, make love to me one last time.
"It hurts!" This time she had tears in her eyes when she opened them.
"Okay, okay," he soothed her softly. "I'll stay and treat your legs, Bella," Edward sighed. "But I don't see what could be causing you so much pain. The glass has only scratched your skin."
Patiently, he removed every little bit of glass, and he finished by wiping the drops of blood with the last of his handkerchiefs. He sensed Bella was still extremely distraught but he couldn't understand why.
"Now you can take off my dress since you are concerned that it's wet," she said with a small smile.
"No, Bella. If you're hurting, I think it would be best if I carried you to your room and gave you something for the pain," her fiancé replied.
She was caught at her own game. She didn't want to return to her room – she and Edward were sleeping in separate rooms until the wedding – and be treated as if she was about to die, even though she thought that was the case. And if she confessed that she was about to die, he would never agree to what she wanted.
"I've got a better idea to make the pain go away, Edward..." she trailed off, hoping he would grasp where she was headed.
Edward was stunned that she had just implicitly asked him to make love to her. If she truly wanted him to take her right then and there in the cellar so soon after losing consciousness, she must be feeling better than he had thought. It didn't cross his mind that she was simply manipulating him.
She drew him closer to her and bent her head slightly so he could kiss her. Edward was only too happy to comply; he would happily spend his life devouring the sweet lips and eager mouth of his beloved. While teasing Bella's tongue with his, he began to untie her corsage, but really, he had to admit that the muslin dresses she wore as a slave of the Volturi had their advantages when it was time to strip her. He felt the young woman smile against his lips.
"Need help, my love?" she asked, momentarily pulling away from her fiancé.
As her throat was only a few inches from his lips, he covered it with light kisses. The marquise sighed in contentment.
"Just a minute, Bella," he answered with a husky voice.
Instead of persisting with his beloved's corsage, Edward removed his shirt and rolled it into a ball.
"Lie back and rest your head on my shirt," he told her in the same authoritative tone he used once in his training room.
Bella quickly obeyed and lay down. The anticipation of what was coming made up for the discomfort of her wet dress. She would soon be rid of it anyway...
Edward moved to be next to her legs and pulled her skirts up her thighs. He leaned over them and began to taste them with his tongue. Bella's skin was soaked in wine.
"Hmm, I think that for me the wedding feast will start right now," he stated before diving his head between the marquise's legs. She couldn't stay still and began to squirm.
She knew where her lover's ministrations were going to lead, and while he took his time tasting her, she began to untie her corsage herself and removed it so that when he looked up again, her breasts would be in plain sight to tease him.
"Oh, Bella, you'll have to be very patient, for I intend to taste every inch of your body before I take you," he said, raising his head again to speak to her.
She was already extremely aroused; how would she be able to hold back? As if he'd read her thoughts, Edward continued, "I won't let you close your thighs, and I won't touch you there again for now."
That said, he stopped his little sensual game and spread Bella's thighs wider so he could kneel in between and lean over her chest without crushing her with his weight. That's where he started to torment her again, alternating breasts, his tongue traced around her hardened nipples before he grabbed her whole areolas into his mouth and sucked them thoroughly. Bella arched her hips, but that's all she could do, what with Edward above her. A familiar twinge took over her insides.
"Have mercy on me, Edward, I can't take any more of this," she breathed, panting.
"I know, honey," he just said while switching from one breast to the other.
Bella started to move her head from left to right and right to left, overwhelmed by this singular torture, which was driving her to the edge of an abyss of pleasure. Her heart was pounding in her chest. She was probably going to die sooner than she'd imagined...
The comte de Morvalle's attention moved to another part of the marquise de Courville's half naked body, as he ran his tongue over the hollow in her forearm like a cat lapping up his bowl of cream. The young aristocrat let out another moan of pleasure. Obviously, Edward had found a new erogenous zone in his partner. He continued to stimulate her until she squirmed with ecstasy, and then he stilled her hips with his hands.
"Do you still hurt, Bella?" he asked with a smirk.
"Ah! What kind of an idiotic question to ask now that I'm itching all over my... my wetness," she stammered.
She wasn't thinking coherently and she was panting with desire, but she was totally at the mercy of her lover as he controlled her lower body. Her toes curled as the thrilling sensations spread from her core to her limbs.
"All right, love, enough playing with you," he said with feverish eyes.
He was going mad with desire while enjoying her tender flesh that tasted like Bordeaux. He couldn't restrain himself any longer, and he could see that Bella was languishing. She might even get angry with him for exacerbating her senses like this.
She didn't have the opportunity to reply before he turned her quickly onto her stomach, drawing her legs to him without concern for the cold and hostile floor of a wine cellar below them. Bella found herself resting only on her elbows when she heard him untie his pants, then suddenly she couldn't see anything at all. Edward had lifted her underskirts up over her rump, and now that her upper body was lower than her legs, her skirts had fallen on her head.
"Edward! I can't see a damn thing with my skirts over my head!" Bella complained.
"Oh? But I can see everything, and I have a stunning view of your rump," Edward replied mischievously.
This man was the devil himself, she thought at that moment, but since she could still breathe despite the fabric covering her face, she focused on the tactile sensations she was experiencing.
Even though Edward was almost certain that Bella was ready for him, he'd rather make sure and slipped two fingers into her dripping pussy. He heard her moan even louder.
"Please, Edward, take me. Take me now!" she said, uttering some kind of rattle as if she was agonizing.
Damn, she felt his erect cock between her buttocks and she thought she was going to climax as soon as he penetrated her.
He realized that the time for teasing her was over and he complied with her request. In one single motion, he slipped his cock deep into her core and she cried out her pleasure as he felt her tightening around him. It took a while for the orgasmic waves running through her to fade away completely, and Edward knew that if he could have seen her face at this very moment, she'd be grinning.
Yet he had no time to take her fucking underskirts off because he felt his release approaching at full speed. He withdrew almost entirely before thrusting again into the warmth of his beloved who continued to moan and sigh in content. He began to stroke her clit to see if he could induce another orgasm in her and make her cum at the same time as he climaxed. Her moans of pleasure increased in number and volume.
"Is it good, love?" he asked rhetorically.
"Edward, I'm going to... to... Aaaahhh!"
And as she let him know she was going to cum again, he felt her walls contracting again and milking him. With a few more strokes he shot his load like a frantic beast.
"Bella, my love!" he shouted at the height of his orgasm.
How much time elapsed between these seconds of pure bliss and the moment when he had recovered enough coherence, breathing and strength to withdraw from Isabella and settle her in a more comfortable position to help her get dress? A minute? Half an hour? When Edward pulled the marquise's skirts down in place, he noticed that she was fast asleep. Anxiety returned to distort his angelic features. There was definitely something wrong with her. He made a silent prayer for Carlisle to return very soon.
While Edward grew more and more anxious about Bella, his brother Emmett, his friend Jasper, as well was their respective companions Rosalie and Alice, were finishing eating their picnic. They had chosen to settle on the edge of a pond at the border of the domain of the comtes de Morvalle. It was a beautiful day, and the atmosphere was light as the air.
The comtesse de Marillac had just recently recovered the use of her left leg and she was all excited to be able to scamper everywhere like a little girl. She could have easily passed for one in the eyes of someone watching from afar, given her overall aspect.
Eventually, Emmett invited the duchesse d'Essanges to go for a walk into the small neighboring wood, leaving Jasper and Alice alone by the pond. Jasper noticed the way Alice was contemplating the body of water, and he wondered how he'd react if she told him she wanted to go for a swim. He'd be screwed if he saw her undress in front of him if that's what she had in mind. He was only a man after all, and he ardently yearned for that little woman. She possessed an almost unreal beauty and a dizzying joyfulness. He had told her so many times, for that matter, but she was fierce in that regard. She might not remember the difficult times she'd endured because of her pervert uncle, but her subconscious must have created some 'barricade' in her mind.
"I'm hot, Jasper," she complained, looking in the direction of the former slave tormentor.
"You should do like me and stay in the shade of this tree, Alice," her suitor said, pointing the cherry tree under which he was sitting.
"But I love the feel of the sun on my skin. I'm sure that if I removed my dress, I'd be much more comfortable."
"Alice, you know what might happen if you do that," Jasper gently scolded her.
"And perhaps I want it to happen," she replied mischievously.
Jasper raised a brow. "That's not what you said last time we discussed it."
Alice got up – she'd been sitting on the blanket where they'd eaten their meal – and stamped her foot to show her annoyance. "Jasper, the last time we discussed it, I was disabled and couldn't move by myself!" she huffed.
He was looking at her with both tenderness and curiosity, and she felt herself melting.
"How can you ask that? I have my pride, mind you, Jasper Whitlock!"
And with that, she walked with determination toward the small lake. With a mixture of dismay and fascination, Jasper watched as Alice, with her back to him, undid her bodice, lowering the sleeves of her dress, and letting the garment fall to the grass pooling around her feet. The unavoidable happened; he felt his cock become stone hard in his pants. But how could he have prevented it? Alice Brandon was the most gorgeous woman in all the kingdom of France, he thought as he watched her enter into the water without hesitation. Yet it must have been icy cold at this time of the year, Indian summer or not.
Jasper began to fear that Alice end up with hypothermia if she stayed in the water.
"All right, little wood fairy! No need to play the mermaid for grandstanding. I got your message loud and clear," he shouted to make sure she heard him.
All of a sudden, he saw her stop swimming and freeze on the spot.
"Jasper! I felt something touch me in the water... something big..."
It wasn't the moment to point out that the pond she was refreshing herself in was probably infested with aquatic creatures.
"Well, don't stand there then," he said, trying to stay calm.
But Jasper's advice arrived too late. Alice screamed and he saw her disappear under the water. He got up and rushed into the lake fully clothed in an attempt to rescue her from the invisible threat. Holy shit, the water was freezing! He could see the swirls in the spot where she'd disappeared and he hurried to immerse himself completely. The water was so muddy it was difficult to see anything under its surface. After a few seconds searching the water around him, he finally got a grip on the comtesse but she seemed unable to rise to the surface. In her state of panic, she was struggling and continuing to scream even under the water. He realized that something was holding her at the bottom of the pond, but to find out what it was exactly, he had to feel every part of her body. And he had to do so quickly. He was in rescue mode and couldn't linger on her sylphlike curves.
His hands felt a creature wrapped around Alice's thighs, and he immediately knew what it was: a water snake! He didn't waste a second, pulling a small penknife from his pocket and then thrusting it into the aquatic beast several times. The disgusting animal slowly relinquished its claim, and Jasper was able to finally pull Alice to the surface. She wasn't struggling any longer, but he knew she was okay because she didn't stay under the water long enough to empty the air supply in her lungs, and when she'd felt his presence by her side, she'd stopped screaming.
Jasper took her in his arms and carried her out of the water and laid her on the blanket. He saw that her eyes were wide open and staring at him.
"It's starting to seriously add up," she said, coughing up water she had swallowed in the pond.
Jasper went to pick up her dress and brought it back to her, looking confused. "What is adding up?" he asked, trying to cover her with the clothing.
She stopped him. "No, Jasper, don't. I want you to be able to admire me as much as you please, and besides, I want to dry off in the sun."
Jasper sighed. "Alice, I can't stay impassive in front of your beautiful body. You are a goddess. And you... you didn't answer my question," he replied, looking away because he didn't want to frighten her with the desire burning in the depth of his eyes.
The icy water hadn't even killed his erection and he felt the pressure in his pant. Maybe he wasn't human after all...
"I was just saying that you have saved me many times over. First from my uncle, then from the dog that attacked me, then from the Volturi, and the two sex fiends that kidnapped us, and now from this horrible serpent. I think you deserve a reward, Jasper."
Jasper wasn't a calculating man who acted in the hope of getting favors in return for his actions. Alice's comment made him uncomfortable.
"Alice, you don't owe me anything. All I've done for you, I did it out of duty; because despite the appalling acts that I've committed in the past, I like to think that deep down I am still a gentleman."
"And what if you abandoned your chivalrous manners for a moment?" Alice asked. She sat up and stared at him fervently. "I didn't decide to strip in front of you to provoke you. Shit! I'm not a cock-tease and I know that you're not a scrounger. But I long for you, Jasper Whitlock!"
At first Jasper wondered if he'd heard correctly. His little wood fairy had just confessed that she was longing for him. So his patience had paid off. He felt his heart swell in his chest, but then uncertainty darkened his features with concern.
"I'm not sure, Alice. If you're still a virgin, it may be painful for you-"
Alice's smile faded, but not the fire in her eyes. "I don't know if I'm still a virgin, Jasper. I have no recollection of what I endured at the hands of my uncle."
"It's probably for the best, if you ask me, but it doesn't alleviate my concern, Alice," the young man admitted.
"There's only one way to find out. Please Jasper, take me. Whether it be out of lust, out of need, out of love, I don't care. I just can't wait any longer. Take me here and now!"
Jasper closed the distance between them and pulled her to him, kissing her passionately. Their kiss lasted an eternity, and when he finally parted from her, gasping for air, he said huskily, "Alice, you know damn well that I'm crazy in love with you. But there is something you should know."
Alice's doe eyes widened even more. "What?"
"I'm not sure if I have ever made love to a woman before. If I have, I don't remember it…because of my amnesia."
Alice looked at him silently for a moment before she burst into laughter.
"What's so funny?" Jasper asked, confused by her reaction.
"We make a great pair, don't you think?" And she laughed even harder.
"Wait, you hussy girl, I'll show you how well matched we are!" her wooer chuckled, starting to untie his shirt.
But Alice literally jumped on him. "Let me help you, big bad wolf!"
It took her less than a minute to remove his shirt and trousers. She probably really meant what she'd told him, for she was frantic. Jasper let her take the initiative. Soon they were both naked, on their knees and facing each other.
Upon seeing her companion's cock pointing almost vertically, Alice felt her desire spike. She couldn't resist and tried immediately to impale herself on it. She pushed Jasper to sit back down on his knees, then rose and straddled him, pressing herself against Jasper's chest and wrapping her arms around his neck. She then lowered herself slowly so that her lover's shaft slipped perfectly into her sex. The sensations she experienced from this intimate contact made her shiver with happiness, and this joy only increased when she realized there was a resistance that prevented Jasper's cock from entering deeper into her womanhood. She closed her eyes and smiled contentedly.
Her reaction was surprising. Jasper, who was watching her carefully to detect any sign of distress, asked, "You're not hurting, darling?"
"Yes, Jasper, I'm hurting right now, but it's the most wonderful pain in the world because it is proof that you saved me yet again!"
With that, she crushed her mouth to his before he could protest, as she pushed herself down hard onto his shaft, removing her barrier so Jasper could sink deeper into her.
She let out a scream of triumph and Jasper started to move with her.
"Did you hear that howl, Emmett? It sounded like Alice was being attacked by a wolf," Rosalie commented as she stopped on the footpath at the edge of the wood.
Emmett grinned at her. "I don't think it was a wolf, duchesse. Methinks Jazz and the little comtesse decided to act on their impulses."
His companion grinned in turn. "Ah! Well, it's about time. Better Alice finds out right away if she can put up with your friend, isn't it? Especially if they settle in the small manor annexed to my parents' domain."
"And your parents will agree to this arrangement, Rose?" Emmett inquired.
At the moment, he didn't know that his beloved had more serious matters to discuss with him.
"Dear Emmett, my parents are quite nice people and I appreciate them, but they spend over half their time at Versailles in order to stay in the King's favor. I'm not sure they even remember when my birthday is."
"So what you're trying to tell me, basically, is that your parents don't give a shit about you, and you can do as you please at the Hale d'Essanges' castle?"
"Exactly my point, Emmett-bear."
Rosalie resumed her walk in the shades of the tall elms until she came across a tree trunk laying in the middle of the path. She sat nonchalantly on it and motioned for Emmett to come join her. Suddenly she seemed much less carefree. He sat besides her and she placed her hand on his.
"I'd like you to tell me the circumstances of your departure from this domain ten years ago," she said in a tone that left no room for banter.
Emmett couldn't help but frown. Why did the woman he loved want to rehash his past? What could he tell her? Everything predating the time he had served the Volturi was lost in the meanders of his memory.
"To be honest, Rose, I think you should ask Edward about that, not me. Or, you can wait for Carlisle's return; I'm sure he can tell you anything you want to know."
"I already spoke to your father," the duchesse d'Essanges sighed, "and that is precisely why I need to hear your story."
"What do you mean? Why are you talking to me like that? It's like we're in a tribunal!"
Emmett got up abruptly and stepped over the dead trunk to continue walking, very upset. Rosalie had no choice but to run after him. She grabbed him by the arm and forced him to look at her.
"For heaven's sake, Emmett Cullen de Morvalle! Why are you running from me? I'm well aware that you're an honest and inherently good man. But it so happens that there are people in the region who think otherwise! And given that you're back, they could charge you."
The comte de Morvalle just stared at the duchesse d'Essanges in confusion.
"I have no idea what you're alluding to, Rosie. Charge me with what?"
"Carlisle told me that he was compelled to hasten your departure from the domain ten years ago because you were accused of having committed rape."
"Huh? Me, accused of being a rapist? That is totally ludicrous! I have never in my life had to force a girl! On the contrary, they all wanted to sleep with me, even the younger ones who were only thirteen or fourteen, can you imagine?"
Rosalie's smile made a small appearance. Yes, she could easily imagine all the girls in the region swooning over her big Emmett-bear. And she also began to consider what could have happened to get him wrongly accused.
"Emmett, just out of curiosity, how many "little girls" have you had to scold or turn away because they were too young?" she questioned.
"I don't really remember. Maybe four or five. And the strangest part is that they all believed I was older than I actually was. They thought I was twenty or twenty-two, when I was barely seventeen."
Rosalie's face brightened even more. "I think I will have some good news to tell your father, then."
Emmett frowned again. "You speak in riddles, Rosie, and I'm having a hard time following you."
Contrary to Edward, Emmett wasn't much focused on reflection and introspection. He didn't cogitate much and preferred that people express themselves clearly when talking to him.
"It's really quite simple, darling," Rosalie explained. "I'm pretty sure these girls you rejected all those years ago were crushed, and they accused you of raping them as a means of revenge."
"Holy shit, what an idea for revenge!" Emmett exclaimed upon hearing Rosalie's hypothesis. "It wouldn't have served them well if I'd been apprehended by the police and hung for my so-called crimes, when they only needed to wait a few years to get laid by me."
Rosalie laughed. "Oh, but it served me very well that you were forced to leave this region, otherwise we would probably have never met."
"And you would have settled for lousy lovers for the rest of your life," the young man quipped.
"Ha! Ha! You're quite a cocky aristocrat, sir," the duchesse giggled. "I would likely have ended up in the king's bed, and entertained myself by having him lick my boots!"
"Poor sovereign, he doesn't deserve you at all, and I have a much better idea for you," Emmett replied.
Rosalie raised a brow and stared at him defiantly. Fucking Lord! Did she want him to cum in his pants or what? She knew how it affected him when she gazed at him like that.
"Really, comte? I thought only Edward knew how to use his brain."
She took off running down the trail, for she was sure he would want her to pay for her sarcastic comment. Indeed, he began to joyfully run after her.
"If I catch you, pretty girl, you'll see that there's something else I know how to use very well," he replied, trying to sound threatening.
"I can't wait to see it, love," she cooed in her most sensual voice.
She hid behind a bicentennial oak. When he found her a few seconds later, he had untied his shirt, undone his fly, and he was ready for action.
The afternoon was ending, and Esme was still busy with the preparation of the wedding feast. Edward had come to warn her that Bella was resting in her room, and he'd brought the bottles of wine from the cellar before disappearing, looking very anxious.
Bella's nanny let out a deep sigh. She was eager for Carlisle to return so he could check the marquise and confirm her suspicions, because she hated to see Edward worry unnecessarily about his fiancée. Had she known that her protégée thought she was dying, she would never have remained silent, but Esme was convinced Isabella knew the reason for all her symptoms, and that she just wanted to wait until she was officially Edward's wife before telling him the good news.
Bella had started to experience some discomfort two weeks prior, and her governess had occupied her free time – mostly late at night to distract herself in Carlisle's absence – knitting various baby clothes: two tiny tops and matching little pairs of pants, two infant dresses, socks and mittens to prevent the newborn baby from scratching his face during the first days after his birth. Esme had managed to find wool in shades of yellow and she wanted to offer the baby outfits as a wedding gift.
Esme was so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn't hear the person walking down the corridor leading to the kitchen. But it was also possible that the intruder had made very little noise with the intention of surprising the cook. Still, it was only when she felt strong arms circle her waist that she realized she was no longer alone in the huge room. She jumped and turned swiftly. Her scream of fear turned into cries of joy upon seeing Carlisle warmly smiling at her. She couldn't help but throw herself at him and cover his face with kisses. He responded by doing the same to her.
"My Lord, dear Esme, I didn't expect to receive such a warm welcome from you! I feared that you had forgotten all about me after such a long absence," he said, stepping back to have a better look at her.
Esme addressed him a sheepish smile. "It's rather I who thought you would forget me in the whirlwind of Versailles festivities, dear Carlisle."
The comte's expression darkened a bit even though he knew Bella's nanny was gently teasing him.
"Ah, madame! I wasn't there to enjoy myself, and you should know that much!" he teased her in turn. "But more seriously, how has it gone here? Did you have any trouble reopening of the manor? Have the police of Bergerac come by?"
"I don't think the news of your return has reached them yet," Esme replied. "As for the manor, after all the cleaning we did, it's as if you were never gone, except for the abandoned vines and the fallow garden. But those can easily be restored in time."
Carlisle noticed the mountain of vegetables on the table as well as the multitude of wine bottles in preparation for the wedding feast. And yet the manor was silent. Surely Esme was not doing this all on her own.
"Tell me, Esme, where are my sons and our guests? Shouldn't they be helping you with all of this?"
"Bella's parents are expected later on this evening. As for Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice, they went picnic to enjoy the Indian summer."
"Edward and Bella are not with them? I thought the marquise wanted to spend as much time as possible with her friends before they return to Vichy."
Esme resumed peeling the parsnips. Then she had to fetch water to wash all the vegetables. One thing she regretted about her captivity in Volterra was the access to running water. Here, she had to go outside and use a pump. Then again she couldn't complain. She used to do the same at the Swan de Courville's castle, and she had worked there for over twenty years...
She scoffed lightly, "Carlisle, Vichy's not a backwater in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. It's only a few days trip from here. The girls will be able to visit each other frequently. But you're right; I should have insisted that Bella accompany them on their picnic, especially since Edward had gone to Monbazillac to buy these supplies for me. But she's been very moody lately. I've heard her arguing with Rosalie and Alice more than once about such trivial matters. It always ends with her bursting into tears, and then she's ashamed of herself and hides in her room."
"Did that happen today?" the comte asked in his capacity as a physician.
"No," the cook replied, "but she fainted in the cellar and she cut herself on broken glass. Nothing serious, but she has spent most of the day in bed after the incident. She's been very tired lately, Carlisle. She rarely rises before eleven o'clock each morning since arriving here."
"I'll go check on her later, if it will make you feel better, darling."
Carlisle had slowly closed the distance between them.
"Why don't you go see her now?" Esme asked, as she continued with her work.
She gasped as she realized that Carlisle was just behind her, slowly pulling up all her underskirts to access her rump. She chuckled nervously as she felt his hardened cock press against her backside.
"Because right now I have a more urgent need," he whispered in her ear. "Damn, I've missed you so much, Esme! God is my witness that I've never desired a woman as I desire you, my beauty. I swear I left Versailles as soon as I could."
His words made her tremble. Carlisle quickly freed his erection from his trousers then spread her warm, soft thighs and brushed them with one hand while the other slipped into her corsage to caress her breasts which were as firm as an adolescent's.
"Carlisle, what if someone caught us?" the forty year old woman breathed as she felt her heart pounding in her chest.
"There's nothing shameful in what we're doing, Esme," the good doctor simply replied.
He trailed kisses on her neck to silence her, but instead of remaining mute, she moaned with delight. She felt her moisture flowing down her thighs and smiled inwardly. Carlisle would be pleased to see she was ready for him. But for good measure, he slipped his hand down to her sex and pressed three fingers inside her while he began to stimulate the most sensitive spot at her entrance with his thumb. He knew, from experience, that even if she climaxed very quickly this way, she would be able to cum again when he entered her.
It took less than a minute to successfully sweep Esme into a sea of pleasure with his expert ministrations. She arched her back and he felt her walls contract around his fingers. But she didn't scream out as she was swept away; instead she let out several little grunts.
Carlisle didn't give her the chance to catch her breath; he placed his hands on either side of her hips and sank his way in her to the hilt in one forceful thrust. This time Esme couldn't restrain herself from shouting.
"Yes, Carlisle, aaahhh!"
"You have no idea how good it feels when I possess you like this, my love," he whispered. "Is it the same for you?"
"God, yes, it's heavenly, but keep pushing harder and deeper, please."
She pressed her upper body against the table and focused on the waves of pleasure that were building as her lover increased the pace and strength of his thrusts deep inside her core. Though this was only the third time they had had sex, Carlisle had learned the reactions of Esme's body and he knew just how to exploit them to provide her with the greatest pleasure every time they made love. He had lost count of the number of orgasms he had given her in their brief time together.
Soon, Esme felt she was going to succumb anew as she guided his fingers on her clit. Touching her so intimately was an aphrodisiac that sent him to his own climax. Once Esme began to tremble with another orgasm, her walls tightening around his shaft, Carlisle followed with his own release as he poured into his lover's warmth, screaming like an animal.
But then he heard an anxious voice behind him.
"Carlisle, I think Bella is very sick."
Edward had uttered those words, and he was pale as death.
In her half sleep, Bella felt someone touching her face and neck. She didn't want to be disturbed; she wanted to die alone so she wouldn't see grief distort her fiancé's angel face. She wanted to keep the image of his beautiful features intact in her memory when the time came for her to leave this world.
She heard Carlisle's voice. And her mind realized that she wasn't dreaming, Carlisle must have finally returned from Versailles.
"Edward, I want to do a more thorough examination of your fiancée. I would ask you to leave the room, please," he said with an assertive tone.
Oh no! If Edward was the one who'd brought Carlisle to her room, it meant he suspected something about her condition... Yet she had done everything to conceal the seriousness of it.
Edward sighed deeply and left the room with a heavy heart.
"Bella, if you're awake, I need to ask you some questions."
The doctor had started to address her in a more familiar manner after their escape from Volterra, but it was hard for her to do the same.
She opened her eyes, resigned. "Please, Carlisle, don't reveal how sick I am to Edward. I don't want him to be sad on our wedding day."
"Bella, I told Edward that I must examine you, but it was only an excuse so we could speak privately."
Bella stared at her future father in law with a look of distress. "You don't want to examine me because you already know there's no hope, is that right?"
"Bella, please calm yourself. I examined you while you were sleeping. And Esme has told me several of your symptoms. Sweetie, you're not sick. You're pregnant." Bella's eyes widened immensely, but when she opened her mouth to speak, no sound would come out, so Carlisle went on. "Now, the reason why I dismissed Edward is because in my opinion, the decision for you to keep the baby or not isn't his to make. And if you think you're too young or would rather wait to become a mother, it would be wiser that he's not made aware that you were expecting a baby to begin with. I have everything here to trigger a miscarriage, but we need to be quick."
Upon hearing Carlisle's last words, Bella quickly emerged from her trance. She cut him off sharply. "Now I understand why the Volturi's sex slaves never gave birth in the harem... If I truly am pregnant, Carlisle, it's Edward's child I'm bearing. Your grandchild. It's not the product of a rape. A few moments ago I thought I was dying, and now you're telling me that I'm going to give life. Why on earth would I want to terminate this pregnancy? There's a little human being growing in my womb, and I'll do everything I can to bring it to term. Even though I'm young and could have waited, as you said, it's not uncommon for girls my age to give birth. After all, I was to be married to the duc de Cresson d'Alembert and would have been expected to immediately start producing his heirs. But now it will be Edward's heir…and yours. And if all goes well, in early summer there will be a new branch to add to the family tree of the Cullen de Morvalle!"
Bella's exalted speech reassured Carlisle and brought him great joy, however he felt the need to correct her misconception with regard to his actions as the Volturi's physician.
"I'm glad that you are happy with your pregnancy, Bella, and I assure you that I am thrilled with the news that I will soon be a grandfather. I look forward to it! But you need to know, that I never had to perform abortions among the sex slaves."
"No, Bella. I have too much consideration toward life to end it without a reasonable justification, although I was willing to make an exception for you," he smiled kindly at her. "During the five years I served the Volturi, I kept track of all the sex slaves' fertility days on a calendar, so I always knew which girls my sons should avoid sending to their masters."
Bella wondered if he intended to use this method with her in the future, but she was too embarrassed to start talking openly about sex with him.
"Can I ask you a favor, Carlisle?" he smiled again and nodded. "Would it be possible to find an excuse for my ailment and not reveal to Edward that I'm pregnant? I want to tell him myself but not until tomorrow after the ceremony."
"Of course, Bella. Do you feel well enough to have dinner with us in an hour?"
"Absolutely. I'm already hungry!" the future mother exclaimed.
"All right, I'll ask Esme to bring you a snack beforehand."
Once Carlisle left the room, Bella felt another wave of apprehension. She was ecstatic at the thought of a tiny baby growing inside her, but what if Edward, on the other hand, didn't want to start a family so soon after marrying her?
Everyone was delighted to see Bella so happy and carefree after the last few days when she had been taciturn and irascible. She'd only cried during the reunion with her parents. Edward had told her about their real intentions and now she felt guilty and ashamed for having thought they were only trying to get rid of her as if she were a useless burden in their lives. But her parents reassured her of their love and their relationship was mended.
The wedding ceremony took place in a euphoric haze for Bella. The exchanged vows were poignant, yet Bella had discerned some sadness in the eyes of the man who was now her husband. She'd been disconcerted somewhat, but eventually dismissed it as the emotions of the day.
She assumed Carlisle had found an explanation to justify her discomfort to Edward. But that wasn't the case. Edward still believed that she had a serious illness and that she was only acting happy for his benefit. To no avail. How could he ever be happy again when he was sure that he was losing her despite the promise just made in front of the village priest come to celebrate the wedding in the chapel of the manor?
The guests were all seated at a large terrace overlooking the gardens, and Bella was cheerfully chatting with Alice and Rosalie.
"I heard a terrible shriek while I was walking in the forest with Emmett," the duchesse d'Essanges said casually.
"Yes, and it was me being devoured by a wolf!" Alice laughed in between bites of wedding cake.
"Must not have been a very bad wolf; you don't have a mark on you," Bella replied, holding back a laugh.
"Is that what you think?" Alice said with an arrogant pout. "Well, see for yourself..." She untied two laces of her corsage and stripped part of her left breast on which one could see very distinctly the marks of two hickeys.
"Jeez! He didn't miss, did he? It looks like a vampire bite," Rosalie chuckled.
At that moment, a young man came into the garden and said he had a letter for the older comte de Morvalle. Carlisle, who was deep in conversation with the marquis de Courville and his wife, excused himself and went to meet the messenger and take possession of the sealed letter he was handed. Carlisle opened it in front of the assembly and quickly scanned its contents before he coughed to clear his throat.
"Dear friends, who are here today to celebrate with us the marriage of my son Edward Cullen, comte de Morvalle, with Isabella Marie Swan, marquise de Courville, I have a happy announcement to make. The king's dragons dispatched to the lands of the Volturi to apprehend the three despots have managed to arrest them the day before yesterday. They are now en route to Paris where they will stand trial in due form. I think this news deserves a special toast, dear friends. Let us raise our glasses to the justice of Louis the fourteenth!"
Everyone clinked their glass, and when the cries of gladness of the guests faded a little, Rosalie stood up and asked, "But, Carlisle, what about Aro's loyal servants? What will happen to Jane, Alec, Felix and Demetri? Are they going to be tried and hung as well?"
"The letter mentions their arrest, but doesn't specify what fate is reserved for them," the father of the groom answered. "Why are you asking?"
"Well, Do you think it would be possible for me to pull some strings to settle the case of Jane? Emmett and I would love to have her at our service."
"With the influence of your parents at Versailles, I'm sure that would be feasible."
Rosalie sat back, satisfied with the response provided by Carlisle. It was Bella's turn to stand up in haste. She took her glass of wine and tinkled it with her knife to get the attention of the guests. Edward was sitting right next to her and she leaned to grab his hand and intertwine his fingers with hers in a gesture that was meant to comfort him. Edward's heart leapt in his chest. He was certain she was about to say her farewell to the people she loved most in the world. He looked up to her and whispered, "Are you sure this is the right time for that? It may spoil the day for everyone."
Bella frowned. How could the announcement she wanted to make ruin the day of anyone? What had Carlisle told him?
She sighed, resigned that he would turn away from her as soon as he learned the news. "Well, my dear husband, maybe it will ruin your day, but I know several people who will be very happy."
Edward turned as pale as Bella's wedding dress. How could she imagine that someone would be glad to know she was dying?
"May I have your attention for just a minute? I promise this won't be long."
But just as she was about to utter the fateful words, she remembered that her parents didn't know she had had sex with Edward before her marriage. If she told them she was pregnant, maybe they would react even worse than her husband.
"I just wanted to tell you that today is the happiest day of my life because I married the most wonderful man in the world."
The guests applauded and Bella leaned toward Edward. "Come with me inside, I have something very important to tell you."
The groom followed her reluctantly. His legs weighed lead. When they were in the kitchen, away from eavesdroppers, Bella asked him, "Edward, if I tell you that your life is going to change forever soon, will you be angry with me?"
Edward looked at her in a funny way, as though her words were incomprehensible. "But, love, I'm not angry with you, I'm angry at the destiny that is taking you from me so soon."
He drew her to him and held her very tight. She looked up and saw that he was weeping silently. "For God's sake, Edward, will you please stop crying? I don't know what Carlisle told you exactly, but I'm not going anywhere!"
"That's the point, Bella. Carlisle didn't tell me anything, and I thought it was because you'd asked him to spare me."
Bella finally realized that Carlisle had forgotten to find an excuse to explain her "illness". She began to giggle nervously at the realization that Edward was already mourning her.
"Quit moping, Edward. I'm not going to die. Well, not any time soon, I hope. I'm pregnant."
Edward stepped back so he could watch her face more closely. "What did you say?"
"I said: I. Am. Pregnant," she articulated slowly since her new husband appeared to be a bit dense.
He pulled her in his arms and lifted her from the ground, all excited.
"I don't understand, Bella. This is wonderful news! Why on earth would I be angry with you?"
Bella looked down. "Because it will no longer be just you and me. You'll have to share me."
"What did I tell you the other day? That I hoped to be a grandfather some day. But for that to happen, we must first start a family."
"And starting a family right away is not a problem for you?"
Edward lifted her chin to force her to look him in the eyes.
"Bella, you're the solution to all my problems."
And then he kissed her with a desperate fervor, as if he were to leave her soon. But he would never leave her.
"Hey, you two! If you don't hurry, there won't be any cake left!"
"Correction, Alice, it's the three of us now."
Then Bella and Edward burst into laughter.
O ~ THE END ~ O
Thank you India Rose and Lizzard43 for helping me be a better writer.
If you're looking for a good chick lit fan fiction, come read Collisions. Now that The slave who wouldn't obey is complete, I will update this story more often.
Hasta la vista my friends