SLASH BACKSLASH ONE-SHOT CONTEST

Story Name: The Ritual
Pen name:
sapphirescribe
Pairing:
Edward/Jasper
Disclaimer:
Don't own the books or the characters, but you won't see this in anything SM writes!
To see other entries in the "SLASH BACKSLASH" contest, please visit the C2: http:/www . fanfiction . net/c2/68069/3/0/1/

The Ritual

We reached the cabin at midnight and entered to find our instructions followed to the letter. The bed was made with fresh linens of dark blues and greens.

A fire roared in the huge fireplace, casting flickering shadows throughout the small room and warming the space unnecessarily.

The only other room in the cabin was a luxurious bathroom, which had been restocked with fresh-smelling bath salts, massage oils, and plush clean bath sheets.

Stripping out of my mud-covered clothes, I watched my Jasper, my husband, prepare a hot bath. This was our ritual. As often as possible, which was sadly only about once a year, we would come to the cabin for a few days for some quality alone time.

Inevitably, we were both giddy with excitement and anticipation as we made the several hundred mile trip from home to our little cabin, and would race each other and fool around along the way. Some times were messier than others.

This particular trip, we had set off just after a long rain so the ground was sticky and squishy, suctioning even our swift feet into the mud on every step. I was the first to start playing on the way up. Jasper had been imagining all of the things that he could do to me while we were away from the family; clean in comparison to the filthy, depraved things I knew we would eventually get to. Arousal and lust were pouring off of him in waves.

Despite my mind reading abilities, Jasper usually had the upper hand. He could use my gift against me. And he did. Frequently.

As we were running through the thick woods heading North he was imagining our arrival at the cabin and subsequent soak. His head disappearing under the water and taking my cock down his throat easily, swallowing around the sensitive head and he thrust a digit into my ass.

Whenever he showed me these images and they accompanied his radiating arousal, it was always too much for me to ignore.

Running in front of me, he tossed a smirk over his shoulder – the fucking tease – so I had no choice but to tackle that shit right out of him. I leapt through the air, the lack of footsteps following causing him to pause and turn, just as I had hoped.

He turned full around at the precise moment I landed on him, fisting my fingers in his hair and kissing him hard. Hungry.

We flipped end over end a few times, tongues exploring each others mouths in an unwavering dance before coming to a halt with Jasper conveniently pinned underneath me. I straddled his waist, grinding my cock against his as he moaned into my mouth. His hands ventured under my shirt, grasping my sides and pulling me down harder against him.

"Fucking tease," I growled at him, breaking our kiss.

"What makes you think this wasn't exactly what I wanted," he retorted, and brought his face back to mine, nipping and licking my lips until I allowed his tongue back inside. It was my turn to moan. I would never get enough of his taste.

We kissed and just fucking dry humped for a few more minutes on the forest floor, not allowing things to progress any farther. We both wanted to save our first release. Eventually, we untangled our limbs and got up.

Jasper swatted my ass and told me to run ahead of him. "You're not getting the jump on me again, Cullen."

"We'll see about that, Whitlock," I replied with a smirk.

We continued like that for hours. Jasper would pin me to the ground and grind his dick into my ass when he could no longer stand watching it move in front of him. Then we would switch places so that I was following again, leaving me to attack him when his lust-filled mental images made my cock throb painfully. We were both at least half hard the entire run.

When we were about thirty minutes from the cabin, conveniently located in the middle of nowhere, and the anticipation had built to a fever pitch, we stopped fucking around and just ran. We wanted to get to the cabin and start our week together. The only indication that there was human life anywhere close, were the tracks left in the snow by the snowmobile owned by the man we paid to look after the cabin in our absence.

My mind returned to the present when I saw Jasper strip off his own clothes and step into the bath.

It was extremely fortunate that I needed no breath at moments like this, because Jasper would have taken it from me. Even after decades together, his beauty still gave me pause. His musculature was defined and hard, I had tasted every inch of his skin, and every inch held a different memory.

The first time we had made love his hands had taken my focus. They were everywhere and nowhere at once. Those lithe hands had ghosted over every piece of me, learning, exploring, bringing me more pleasure and sensation than I had ever known possible. They continued to do so even more with every passing year.

"Edward," he called, breaking me out of my reverie. "Get your fine ass in this tub right now."

"Yes sir!" Who was I to deny this man?

I sat in the tub between my Jasper's legs, my back against his chest, his cock nestled against my ass. He wrapped his arms around my chest and his legs around my waist, trying to bring us as close to one another as possible.

After a few minutes just wrapped up in the quiet and each other, I pried his arms and legs away from my body. He pouted at the loss of contact until I told him to turn around so I could wash his hair. This was all part of the ritual.

We spent about two hours in the tub tickling, teasing, playing, but never leading to release. We cleaned every inch of each other's bodies. It made the part where we got filthy that much better.

Once we were both completely clean and the bath water was muddy and murky, full of the dirt and sticks and grass that had accumulated on our bodies on the trip here, we finally got out of the tub. I spent the next few minutes using one of the plush white towels drying Jasper off, before he did the same to me. We dressed separately, quickly, simply, only in worn jeans and fitted t-shirts; mine hunter green, his crisp, clean white. It was the only time we would be dressed until we left for home in a week. All part of the ritual.

"Ready babe?" he asked.

My response was to fly out the door of the cabin and run out into the dark, icy tundra ahead. I heard Jasper exit behind me, but instead of slowing so he could catch up, I pushed my legs even faster, building the distance between us.

With every step I let humanity and restraint leave my system, and let the darkness, the monster rise. Fewer articulated thoughts passed through my mind in favor of images and impressions. Rational thought gave way to instinct. My senses became impossibly sharper; stars became brighter, sounds farther away were more distinct, each flake of snow under my feet was distinguishable from its neighbor.

Though I could no longer hear him, I knew Jasper would follow. His senses would heighten as mine had and my scent would not even appear to dissipate between us.

Inhaling deeply, I caught the scent of my prey. A polar bear. Close. Less than half a mile.

My body turned towards the prey instinctually. Venom rose in my throat, dripped from my teeth, coating my mouth. My teeth ached to sink themselves into something hot and wet, tear into flesh, devour, destroy.

Images of the bear, its pristine fur stained crimson, its proud strong body lifeless in the snow made me snarl, growl, run even faster. I could almost taste its life flowing down my throat, dripping out of my mouth and down my chin, down my neck, staining my shirt.

I hoped the bear would not go quietly. I wanted a fight. Wanted her to fight with all of her strength, to claw at my marble flesh. The more she fought, the better she would taste… the messier I would be.

Within seconds she stood before me. Majestic – seven feet tall on her hind legs, attempting to intimidate me. She failed. Without hesitation, I flew at her, aiming my hands at her shoulders, my teeth at her neck. She landed a lucky shot, swiping a paw at me, striking my cheek and breaking my momentum. I crashed to the ground but immediately launched myself at her again. She was not as lucky the second time, and we wrestled in the snow for a few moments, her razor sharp claws tearing at my clothes, until I saw my opening and sank my teeth into her neck.

She let out a strangled yell and my jaws released her neck from their grasp as I roared at her in response. Her head was thrashing from side to side, the pain of the venom overwhelming her senses, huge paws still trying to throw me off. Seeing fresh white fur and hearing the blood rushing under her skin, feeling it pulsing underneath my fingertips, I lunged at her again, and broke a new set of holes into her throat as I feasted on her. Aiming another shot at me, her claw caught the neck of my shirt and shredded it open in front.

I relinquished her neck one more time, using my arms to pin her front legs to the snowy ground beneath us. She was losing blood and strength rapidly; the former streaming out of the twin gashes in her neck.

My final attack was directly to her heart, where the fresh blood originated.

Tearing a chunk of flesh out of her chest with my teeth, I reached inside and pulled her still beating heart out of her body and held it to my face. I allowed the warmth and aroma of it to permeate my senses; the venom a constant stream in my mouth.

Finally, I brought my mouth to the essence of her being and took a sadistic lick of the outermost layer of muscle of the animal's heart. My eyes rolled back in my head at the taste. I could feel the blood coating my hands, dripping down my arms, but all I could focus on in that moment was the taste of the hot heart in my cold hands.

Completely unaware of anything around me, I shoved my face into the creature's heart and drank deep. The organ no longer pulsed in my hands and was growing as cold as my skin and the surrounding wintry air.

As I was about to discard the now useless organ and return to the rest of my noble prey's offering, I was ambushed and thrown to the ground. The instinct to fight was strong.

The instinct to protect my kill was stronger.

Though there was no life left in her heart, my bear still had plenty of blood to be devoured.

I threw my attacker off and my shirt was torn off completely in the process. Leaping back onto my prey, I lowered my face to her open chest cavity and lapped, sucked, consumed the remaining blood from her system.

My attacker returned with a growl, but with no prey to defend anymore, I was ready for the fight. Suddenly knocked to the ground, our mutual snarls filled the otherwise silent night. I experienced a moment of uncharacteristic hesitation for some unknown reason and my attacker too advantage of my weakness, bringing his mouth to my throat. Instead of the sharp teeth and excruciating venom I expected, a cold tongue licked the stream of blood from the hollow of my throat up to my jaw, then plunged itself into my mouth.

The remnants of my prey's blood, accompanied the delicious flavor of the tongue invading my mouth. Jasper groaned at the combined taste of blood and venom before returning his face to my neck.

His hands pinned my shoulders to the ground and my hands flew to his hair, pulling him closer.

"Fuck, Edward. Harder," he thought and pulled his razor sharp teeth impossibly closer to my throat. He lapped at the blood that had streamed down my face and coated my neck.

Yanking my hands out of his hair, he brought one wrist to his face and cleaned it of the blood that had dripped from the heart of the beast lying dead beside us. Seeing blood on his face now, I pulled him towards me and took my turn at cleaning him, licking his cheek and the shell of his ear.

The taste of fresh blood and Jasper, my Jasper, made my cock twitch and I bucked my hips up into his reflexively. We both groaned at the sensation of our throbbing erections meeting.

"Jasper. Fuck. Need you." I could barely get the words out before flipping him over my head and onto his back, so now I straddled him.

I grabbed hold of his pants and tore them off, easily, quickly, as he did the same with mine. Pulling my face down to his, our mouths came together in a searing kiss. Tongues fought to capture any remaining blood from its lover's mouth.

"Edward. Behind," came his pleading thought accompanied by a crippling wave of lust.

"Fuck."

I lifted myself enough so that he could turn over on his hands and knees in front of me, but I swiped his legs out from under him so that his body was flat on the cold ground before me. He landed on his stomach with a grunt.

Crawling over top of him, I saw his glistening asshole. It thrilled me every time he prepared himself for me in advance. It didn't matter that this was part of the ritual, it was still so fucking hot.

I placed my left hand on the snow next to his head and grasped my cock in my right. Looking down, I saw some of the remaining blood from my waiting hand and wrist drip down onto my cock.

"Fucking do it. I need you."

Hearing Jasper beg for my dick broke through my flickering thoughts and I plunged my cock into him in one quick thrust. He was pinned completely beneath me – my ankles captured his calves, and my knees were on the hard ground outside of his thighs, preventing him from opening his legs and making him even tighter than usual around me.

The hand that had just led my dick to invade his willing ass cupped his cheek over his right shoulder and twisted him so his face could meet mine. The kiss was deep and frenzied, my message to him for what his ass could expect, and his response was acceptance, willingness, need.

I released his head and put my hand on the ground by his shoulder. He drew two of my blood covered fingers to his mouth and I dropped my forehead to the divot in his spine between his shoulder blades. When my face met cloth instead of skin I was furious. Needing to touch as much of his skin as possible, I ripped the shirt off of his back and withdrew my cock at the same time. I plunged back into his slick, tight heat as I threw his useless bloodied shirt into the darkness.

No words were shared as we fucked on the snow covered ground. I pounded his perfect ass in unrelenting thrusts and he cleaned every drop of blood from my hands, wrists, forearms.

None of our usual tenderness or adoration was present in this coupling. This was primal. Feral. We were embracing our nature, enjoying the blood and venom and power. We always lost ourselves in this act.

This was the ritual.

Back home every moment was restrained or distracted in one way or another. We had to slow ourselves and watch our strength at all times, lest we forget to do so in the presence of humans. It was easier to keep the charade constant than to have to switch from man to beast every day.

Sometimes it was even difficult for us to be intimate at home, especially when the others were around. Rosalie and Emmett are especially passionate, and their passion carries to their lives outside of the bedroom. It is near impossible for Jasper and I to make love at home when he experiences Rosalie's anger and I hear her eviscerating Emmett in her thoughts. Even when the other couples are otherwise engaged, neither of us ever feels like we can just let go.

Up here though, we were free. It was easy to get carried away by the impulsiveness of our nature. But that was the point. Up here we encouraged each other to get carried away and lose control. Up here we would fuck each other into oblivion.

I could never get enough of Jasper this way. He was responsive to my every move, and so vocal. He was always vocal when we were together, but up here, he gave up so much that his mind ceased to form coherent thought, so his vocalizations were a symphony of moans, groans, grunts, pants, whimpers.

If he did have something to say, it was usually said in his mind.

I rested my forehead on his back again so I could watch my cock pummeling him with every thrust. He always felt so amazing, and every time I was inside of him I expected it to feel less good than the previous.

"Harder God dammit!"

If we were at home that statement would have slowed me down, caused me to draw this out into a long, slow tease until he reached his limit. But that's not what this was about, so I slammed my hips down into him, impossibly harder and faster.

"Yes!" he cried out.

I withdrew from him quickly, almost all the way, leaving only the head of my aching cock inside of him. I didn't hesitate and plunged back in and out as fast and hard as possible. The sound of my pelvis meeting his ass was loud and rhythmic in the dead night air.

He started thrusting his ass back up at me as he was reaching his peak. At my next out-stroke, I remained hovering above him, forcing him to dictate the pace from beneath me, to fuck himself back on my dick. Pushing himself slightly up on his elbows, he gained some additional leverage and the new angle meant my cock was hitting his sweet spot on every thrust.

His mind was a mess of images – he thought about how I must look over him, remembering my face as I held my bear's heart in my hands and drank from the life-giving organ. Thought about the taste of the animal's blood as he licked it off of my hands. A new image, one of him on his back underneath me, thrusting up into me instead of me into him, my chest coated in blood, with blood dripping down my hands and arms into his mouth, where he once again held my fingers, was my undoing.

"Jesus Jazz, now." I called to him and met his next upward thrust with a downward stroke of my own and we both came apart. My orgasm ripped through my body, from my heart out to my limbs, and my icy, venomous cum shot into Jasper's ass as he spasmed around me and shot his own release onto the ground. The first orgasm during these trips always tore me apart. I shattered, every fiber of my being lost inside the man beneath me, still pulsing around me. And only he could put me back together again.

After a few minutes, during which time his ass continued to clench spasmodically around my spent cock, squeezing every ounce of cum out of me and keeping me hard at the same time, I pulled out of him and rolled him over so I could see his perfect face.

There was blood drying in his hair, and the right side of his face was obscured by a bloody handprint. At the sight of my handprint in blood on his beautiful face, I was immediately ready for round two, but had a question first.

"What the fuck were you thinking?"

"What, this?" He pictured me riding him hard and fast, bloody and feral again.

"Christ, yes. What the hell is that?" I had to know.

"Just something I want to try," he said, feigning nonchalance, but with a glint of mischief in his eye. "And judging by your reaction, you have no objections."

Before I could respond, Jasper kissed my mouth quickly, then shoved me off of him and took off running.

"Give me two minutes, Edward, then you can come looking," he thought as he ran off into the darkness.

Two minutes? No fucking way. That was way too fucking long. I planned to give him ninety seconds, but couldn't even hold out that long, chasing after him at second 53.

My Jasper was fast when he wanted to be and he clearly wanted some distance between us. I followed the scent of Jasper and blood, a heady overwhelming scent, into the night.

After about a minute's run, I was forced to stop, confused. I could smell him everywhere, could taste him in the air, but I had no idea which way he had gone. It was as if he had darted around the area back and forth in every direction, trying to decide where he would go. With a start, I realized that was exactly what he must have done, but not because he was indecisive. No, it was done in an effort to confuse and disorient me. Fuck, it was working!

"Jasper, you little fucking tease, get your ass back here," I growled, mostly to myself, but I admit I hoped he would react and give away his position.

Nothing.

I raced through the area, trying to figure out which scent was freshest to no avail. Tracing the outer edge of the scent, I finally discovered where he must have taken off running again.

Fucker. I realized that he knew I'd never wait two whole minutes, but he could gain some time on me this way. I had lost over five minutes on that little diversion.

The man in me knew Jasper was brilliant to taunt me this way, but the monster was furious. If we were home, the man would have prevailed. Out here though, I let the monster out without hesitation.

Seeing red for being teased and taunted in such a manner, having my prize dangled so close in front of me, only to find it was an elaborate ruse, I ran after the fresh trail. Pushing myself faster and faster, I needed to sate my anger with man and blood.

I was running so fast that I didn't see the hole in the ice until I had overshot it by a hundred yards and Jasper's scent had disappeared. I turned quickly and ran back to the opening, clearly a recent addition to the icy landscape. Thinking this was probably another ruse to get me to waste more time, I ran a perimeter around the area, searching for the place he might have exited the frigid waters.

Nothing.

I flew back to the hole to wait where Jasper's scent had disappeared. A minute passed, then two, then five. With every passing minute the monster grew even more furious. It wanted blood and sex – together – and Jasper was a necessity if it were to be sated.

When ten minutes had passed, I began shouting curses and pounding at the ice around the hole, breaking chunks off of it that floated in the rippling water. This helped to sate my appetite for destruction, but the fresh blood in my system and the images that Jasper had planted in my mind only served to increase my arousal until my cock was throbbing painfully, dripping venomous precum on the ground. The sight of my cock dripping its offering only made me more frustrated – it was supposed to be in Jasper's mouth, or his ass, anywhere on him, but not wasted on the ground!

Suddenly something shot fifteen feet into the air out of the hole in the ice. Half of it was white as the snow, and glistening in the moonlight, the other half black and fleshy.

Jasper landed on the ground thirty feet from me and sank his teeth into the animal, withdrew, then tore into it again. He repeated the motion four times before drinking once deeply, never breaking eye contact, and throwing the dying seal at me – the side he had punctured facing me.

I caught it easily enough but was drenched with the animal's blood when I did so. "Yes," he thought, and I realized he wanted me exactly like this – dripping for him in every way.

I bit into the animal and drank sloppily, letting the blood run down my face, neck, chest, stomach, and hugged the animal to me so that I was coated in its crimson fluids, never taking my eyes off the man before me.

When the seal was drained, I tossed it carelessly aside and watched Jasper watching me, drinking in my image. The reflection staring back at me looked like it had emerged from a Hollywood slasher movie. My eyes were black, deadly, and blood poured in rivulets down my body.

Not one second later, he was on me, around me. His body pressed tight, rubbing against my own as our tongues intertwined and our hands explored each other. The scent and feel of the seal's blood heightened everything. I felt the fluid between our bodies, and the scent of it invaded my nostrils.

Jasper reached a hand around me and teased my already slick asshole, moaning when he felt I had prepared myself for him just as he had for me. He penetrated me with two curved fingers, hitting my spot with practiced ease, and thrusting in and out quickly as he ravaged my mouth with his tongue and rubbed our slippery dicks together.

"Up," he thought and grabbed my thigh.

I wrapped my legs around him, pulling myself as tight to him as possible, latching my mouth to the side of his neck and clutching my arms together around his shoulders. I felt the hard planes of his body against every inch of my own – his abs tensing with the slight strain of holding me up, his cock twitching next to mine, his nipples, hard, digging into my chest. The seal's blood squished in between us, making everything impossibly slicker, hotter, better.

I could feel myself getting close, the blood between us, under my tongue on his neck, his fingers plunging in and out of me, our erections grinding together.

"Not yet… not ready…" I tried to tell him to stop, but he didn't want to listen and instead thrust a third finger into me. When, half a second later, he grunted and thought about my ass tensing around his cock the way it was around his fingers, I lost all focus and came hard. My icy cum shot out of my cock at lightning speed, coating our chests, even reaching his shoulder near where my mouth was residing.

Without thinking, I licked my release off of his shoulder and thrust my tongue into his mouth, allowing him to taste. His mind exploded in a cacophony of color and sound at the taste of my tongue, covered in semen and seal blood. It didn't even register thought, but the next thing I knew, his fingers had left me and his cock replaced them so fast there wasn't time to mourn their lost.

Both of his hands cupped my ass and he pulled me up and down, away and back, off and on his cock with striking force. I pulled my face away from his and leaned back, grasping his shoulders firmly in my hands, so that we could both watch him fucking me.

Our chests were coated in blood, a milky pink where my cum had mixed with the other viscous fluid. My cock slapped against my stomach as Jasper continued to pull me against him. His own throbbing hardness flashed quickly between us on every thrust. I ran a hand down his chest, wiping the mess around us and roughly pinched one of his nipples.

His mouth opened and he threw his head back in ecstasy but he still didn't speak. The image he conjured earlier that had so quickly done me in came rushing back to me and I needed to recreate it for him. I rocked back once quickly and then pushed forward with all my might, startling Jasper into losing his balance. We crashed to the ground, his dick still buried deep inside me.

I landed on top of him with tremendous force and cried out at the sensation of his cock going even deeper in my ass. I knew it felt as good for him as it did for me. He was radiating overwhelming amounts of lust and desire and we were both quickly losing control.

Needing to give him every part of the fantasy, I used my hands to collect as much of the remaining blood off of his chest and my own. I rubbed it all over my forearms and then held my hands over his face.

His eyes were closed, concentrating on grasping my hips and firmly planting himself in me on every stroke, and he started when the first drop of blood landed on his lips. The jolt made his dick twitch inside me. Looking up at my blood soaked hands, his hands left my waist and grabbed my arms.

Our movements jostled the fluid and it dripped onto his lips and into his beautiful mouth.

"So good… better… oh God…" were the only words I could make out in the chaos of his mind. I loved seeing him like this, completely lost in me, in us. He was unraveling quickly.

More than anything else, in that moment I needed to feel Jasper come inside me. Clenching my ass around him, I pulled one of my hands from his mouth and took one of his nipples between my fingers and lowered my mouth to the other. I pinched and nibbled and growled, letting the reverberations flow through his body. Tightening my ass around his cock and impaling myself onto him again, he released a feral scream and finally let go. He stopped moving with his feet planted firmly on the ground and his hips arched up into me. He twitched and pulsed and I could feel his frigid cum filling me.

It was a few moments before he opened his yes and his mind began to work coherently again. Once he was at least partially rational, he realized that I was again hard and hungry for him. Without asking, he knew exactly what I needed. He always knew.

Picking me up off of his lap, he repositioned me above his face and took my painfully hard cock into his mouth. The position was slightly awkward until he instructed me to get on my hands and knees above him. I complied without hesitation. I could feel every crevice of his amazing mouth, every bump on his tongue as he swirled it around the head of my cock.

Suddenly, I couldn't hold back, didn't want to hold back, needed Jasper's mouth more than I had ever needed anything. My muscles tensed and shook with my overwhelming need for him.

"Let go, Edward. Fuck me."

I let go.

I let go of whatever restraint remained.

I let go of the control I usually had over my body.

I let go of all rational thought.

I just let go of everything and plunged my entire length deep into Jasper's mouth. In and out I thrusted harshly, quickly, and I felt his throat tighten around the swollen head of my cock every time I went deep enough.

I saw the pleasure Jasper experienced with my cock in his mouth. Saw that he loved this every bit as much as I did; that this act was as much for him as it was for me and I was overwhelmed with emotion for this man. His hands were everywhere – my hips, thighs, chest. Touching me everywhere, all while silently encouraging me to get lost in him.

When he let his teeth scrape along my pulsing shaft, I did.

I all but collapsed on top of him, my cock twitching and releasing thick spurts of my chilled cum directly into his throat, which he swallowed greedily. Momentarily spent, I rolled off of him and lay back on the snowy ground.

Jasper crawled over to me and curled up around me. Humming softly in contentment, we just lay there together for a few moments. Eventually our purpose returned to the forefront of both of our minds, aided, no doubt, by the fact that we were both still smeared with blood and sex.

"Your turn," Jasper said, giving me a deliciously devious look and leaning in to kiss me.

Before his kiss landed, I was up off the ground and sprinting into the early morning light, trying to decide how I would take Jasper next.

For five more days we continued like this – hunting, feeding sloppily, fucking hard. Occasionally we would hunt together, which always ended with our faces buried in one another's laps, not being able to wait to taste the other. Our fourth day we were lucky enough to find a cave housing three sleeping bears. The ensuing fight and marathon fuck would stay with me forever. The way Jasper looked as he took on two of the furious bears would never cease to make my entire body hum and burn with desire for him.

At dawn on the sixth day we returned to the cabin. The fresh snowmobile tracks leading from the front door let us know that our caretaker had once again visited.

A fresh fire consumed the fireplace, our dirty clothes and towels had been laundered, and the tub we had left so filthy was once again pristine. We immediately retreated to the bathroom where we would spend the better part of the day in the tub, draining cold, bloodied water and replacing it with hot, clear fluid. This was the start of our reacclimation to humanity.

Once we were satisfactorily clean, I pulled the plug on the drain and we stood. I took my time drying Jasper, making sure no inch of his perfect skin was untouched, before he did the same for me. Once dry, I led my husband to the bed that took up the majority of the front room and crawled under the covers with him.

This part – getting back to who we were in the real world, the vampires with human faces – was always hardest part for my Jasper. It took him so long to acclimate to our way of life in the beginning, that coming back from the monster took time. Even after we went back, he would usually spend an extra week avoiding human contact. I knew he would never act on the bloodlust that sometimes consumed him, but he never wanted to take the chance.

He lay flat on his back, staring unblinkingly at the ceiling, as I curled myself around him; one leg thrown over one of his own, an arm wrapped around his waist, and my head rested on his chest over his heart.

"Is it still worth it, babe?" I asked.

He was always so quiet and contemplative, so full of the struggle after our time away. I had to know if it was something he wanted to continue.

"Absolutely, Edward. Don't you dare think otherwise. I love our time alone together."

"I know you do, and we could still go away together, even come up here, I just don't want you to suffer because of it, even for a moment."

"Edward. Look at me."

I turned to him, resting my chin on his chest.

"I love every second of what we do up here. I love being free to do whatever we want with no consequence or repercussion or judgment. I love watching you, feeling you come undone under me, above me, around me, however I can get it. I love being free enough to let myself go with you the same way. I love that everything is raw and instinctual, but that it is always exactly what we need, never too much or too little.

"Sometimes I do wish we got more time truly alone at home, but I'm also glad we don't because it makes our time away that much more special. I feel somehow closer and more connected to you every time we leave here. I know it's sometimes hard for me to get back in the human mindset, but I wouldn't trade this for anything." I love you, he added mentally.

The naked sincerity in his eyes, the amazing words coming out of his perfect lips and the love flowing out of his entire body could not be contradicted.

"I love you too, J. When can we come back?"