Just a happy, fluffy little E/B piece, set three years post-BD. Written for the Fandom Gives Back: Eclipse Edition and 87english, who bought me in the auction and donated money to a great cause (Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation). Hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Stephenie Meyer. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
* Thanks to evieeden for betaing. *
** For 87english, with love - I thank her for her patience while I worked on other projects. **
The air around the house deep in the woods is chilly, but she barely feels it. The wind whistles past the trees, lightly caressing each bough as they sway from side to side. There's a thick blanket of snow on the ground that crunches with each step she takes, and snowflakes swirl through the air. Immortal as she is, a cold Forks winter does not affect her. She's always loved the stillness of a snowstorm as it covers the land in a white blanket, pure and clean and silent , even to her acute hearing. A moment later, her sensitive ears detect him sneaking up on her. The corners of her mouth turn up into a smile – she isn't fooled. As he draws nearer, his foot make a noise as it compresses the snow and she whips round.
"Edward! You weren't sneaking up on me, were you?" she says, feigning annoyance.
"Maybe," he grins, running a hand through his bronze locks. "What are you doing out here in the middle of a blizzard?"
"Well, considering the fact that I'm a member of the undead, I think your concern might be better spent elsewhere. You know I won't get cold or anything."
"I know," he smiles, stepping behind her and winding his arms around her, pulling her close to him. Edward's lips press to the hollow of her ear and she shivers, a tiny sigh escaping her. "So really, why are you out here?"
"I just like to watch the snow fall," she admits, reaching down to link her fingers through his. "I've always loved the way snow covers everything up. It's so quiet and still after a snowstorm, and the world looks clean again. I don't know, it was just so relaxing to come and stand in the middle of a blizzard."
"As you wish, love," he murmurs, gently trying to push some of the snowflakes out of her hair with a sweep of his hand. "But you're getting quite wet out here, and I had other plans for you tonight."
At this, Bella spins to face him, and sees that he's wearing her favourite crooked grin and his eyes are glinting wickedly. "You had other plans for me?"
"Yes. Esme's agreed to look after Nessie for the evening. Not that it was difficult to get her to agree; she adores her."
She smiles fondly, but he doesn't miss the fact her eyes narrow at his use of their daughter's nickname. "That's kind of her. I'm sure Renesmee will love an evening with her. But what are these grand plans of yours?"
His grin stretches wider, his teeth gleaming even through the dim light that illuminates them from the nearby house's windows. "Not telling."
"Edward, you know I hate surprises," she protests, shrugging out of his grasp.
"You won't hate this one, trust me," he replies softly, a nod of his head indicating that they should return to the house. Her gaze remains suspicious and he can't help but smile to himself. He loves her so much, and would give her everything, but there is little she wants. Even as a member of his wealthy family, Bella is still entirely un-materialistic and has little interest in making use of the family's riches. She is happy enough to keep the furnishings in their cottage simple, although she has acquiesced to the use of her expensive car. Buying things for Renesmee is possibly her only interest, and even then the purchases are usually made for the little one by Alice and Esme.
"I don't trust you," she says, but her voice has a hint of amusement in it and he knows that she'll go along with his plans for now. Edward is glad of this, as they don't often get the chance to spend an entire evening together alone. "Where are we going first, then?"
"My car," he replies nonchalantly, but she catches something simmering beneath the surface of his eyes and knows better than to believe that. "But first, we might want to change into some new clothes. You're soaked through, love."
She looks down at her outfit for the first time and sees that her wrap dress is wet with the snow that has melted on to it in the past hour. "That'd be a good idea, sure."
He takes her hand in his and then they are running, whipping through the trees at an inhumanly fast pace. Moments later, they reach the driveway of their little cottage and Edward moves forward to unlock the door. "After you."
"Such a gentleman," she laughs, stepping over the threshold into their cosy little home. Bella loves everything about this place – its soft furnishings and colours, the light and warmth that pours from every corner of it. It's the only place she's ever truly felt at home, and she adores every moment she spends here with her little family.
She can sense the excitement that he's trying to hide, and it piques her interest. Not wanting to waste time, she quickly heads for their bedroom and yanks open the doors of their vast walk-in wardrobe. The scents of all the different fabrics assault her as she takes a deep breath, and suddenly he's there too.
"What exactly am I supposed to wear, then? If this is a surprise, you could be taking me mountain climbing or something."
"In the middle of a snowstorm, when it's pitch black?" He laughs, shaking his head. "Anyhow, Bella, you don't exactly need climbing gear, given that you're virtually indestructible."
Bella laughs lightly, trailing her hand through the rows of cotton, silk, satin, taffeta and every other ridiculous thing Alice bought her and she rarely wears. Edward darts forward, and in no time returns with a flimsy dress in a shade of dusky pink and a white coat to go over the top. He holds them up and she nods her approval.
"Fine. I can pick my own shoes, though." He laughs loudly, but it dies in his throat as he watches her peel her wet dress from her body to throw it in the laundry basket at the back. She's wearing nothing but an impossibly skimpy lilac lace undergarment, and as she bends to slide her stockings down, it accentuates his view of her cleavage. A sharp bolt of desire fires straight through him and he has to fight with himself not to throw her down on the wardrobe floor and take her right now. They've certainly done that on many occasions, but he doesn't wish to delay in showing his wife her surprise. It's something he's been planning for a little while, and he hopes she'll enjoy it as much as he envisioned she would.
In no time at all, Bella is dressed. She heads to the back of the wardrobe and selects a pair of rose-coloured ballet flats to go with her outfit. Alice would have insisted on heels, but Bella dislikes them and would rather wear more simple shoes.
"Ready?" he asks.
Their journey takes just an hour due to Edward's liberal interpretation of the speed limit. As he drives, they talk, discussing their days and what they wish to do. Bella wonders where he's taking her and his intermittent satisfied smirks don't escape her. However, she refrains from asking him, knowing it will only amuse him more to deny her the knowledge. All at once, pinpricks of light can be seen that give way to a gleaming metropolitan sprawl, casting a faint gleam over the interior of the car. Even after all this time, she is still struck by the clarity of the view before her. Her strong eyes can pick up far-away road signs, tiny figures standing on the observation deck of the Space Needle, window boxes in distant houses. She blinks out of habit, knowing by now that it's Seattle.
"We're going to Seattle?" she asks, shooting a surprised glance at him, but he merely smiles.
"Patience, Bella," he tells her, and it is on the tip of his tongue to reveal their destination to her, but he chooses not to. Edward knows that his wife dislikes surprises, but feels that this one is something she would like. Her views on the subject have been unusually open-minded so far and he wonders what she'll really think when they get there. His surprise isn't grand or fancy, for she doesn't care for those things, but he hopes it will be something special they can share together. He glances at her from time to time as her eyes narrow, taking in the surroundings and trying to figure out exactly where he's taking her. As he pulls into the gates of the University of Washington, she turns to him with an expression that can only be irritation.
"Edward. I'm done being patient. Seriously, what the hell are we doing?"
"We're here." He drives a few more feet and then pulls into a car park next to a small building shrouded by trees. Bella takes in the sandstone bricks, arched windows and raised, domed roof. The familiar shape sparks a memory and as she spots the sign next to the door, everything clicks into place.
"Theodore Jacobsen Observatory," she reads aloud with interest, failing to notice that Edward has already cut the engine and come round to her side of the car. He pulls the door open, and she jumps.
"Come on, beautiful girl," he says, proffering his hand, which she takes as she swiftly steps out of the vehicle. "We're going to look at the stars." As her fingers link into his, she squeezes his hand ever-so-slightly, letting him know how much she appreciates this. They walk up the path, their steps making no sound. He produces a key from his pocket and unlocks the door, ushering her inside.
"How did you...?" she begins, but he only grins in response.
"Carlisle knows people here. And let's just say I might have made something of a donation to their astronomy programme." Bella wants to chastise him for his casual use of bribery, but the words die away in her throat when she sees how pleased he looks with himself.
"Thank you," she whispers, stretching up on her toes to press her lips to the hollow between his neck and ear. Edward lets out a breathy sigh as a familiar heat works its way inside him, every nerve ending firing with the exquisite sensation of her lips on his skin. His head shifts to the side and then his lips find hers, unyielding as stone and yet so soft and pliant beneath his. She winds her arms round his waist, pulling him closer as his hands slip beneath her coat, tracing the curves that her pink dress hugs.
"Good surprise?" he murmurs into her mouth, playfully scraping his teeth against her bottom lip. She gasps an affirmative against his lips, drawing back for a second.
"Very good surprise," she replies, winding her fingers into his hair. "I was afraid you were going to take me out dancing or something. I mean, obviously taking me for dinner's not really an option."
"Dancing? I'm not sure even immortality has improved your co-ordination there," he teases, and she playfully thumps him on the arm with a force that would shatter human bone.
"Jerk." As they enter the corridor and he flips on the lights, she shrugs the coat off her shoulders, it being only for show as she never feels cold, revealing bare arms and that little dress. Edward is still blown away by his wife's luscious figure, even though they've been together several years. She remains the most ravishingly beautiful creature he has ever seen, and she is his for eternity. That thought sends a wave of pure joy soaring through him, soothing the now-faded memories of the loneliness he endured for so many years before they met.
These days, Edward tries not to think of those moments, but his family remembers. After all, it's only been three years since Bella was turned. From time to time he catches flashes of that dark period before he met her in his family's thoughts, but he does not begrudge them it. He knows they are so glad to see him happy with her, even those who had been originally so opposed to their union. At one time he would have laughed in incredulity at the idea that Bella would one day be close to Rosalie and Jasper of all people, and yet she is. She's managed to seamlessly slot herself into the family and her influence on them all is plain to see. The entire coven has benefited from her calming influence and the continued existence of Renesmee brings joy into their frozen, unchanging lives. Every day he is grateful to be the father to that little girl, despite what they all went through around the time she entered the world. To this day, they wonder when the Volturi will decide to seek their revenge on certain members of the family, but Alice is ever-vigilant, and they can only take each day as it comes.
Bella gracefully ascends the staircase after her husband, playfully brushing her fingertips over his forearm as they climb. Swiftly, they reach the top, and then she has no more words.
"Oh my God," she whispers, stunned by the view before her. They're outside of the observatory's domed roof, standing by the railings on the edge of the roof that surrounds it. Above them, the night sky glimmers with a carpet of light, the brilliant white glow of each star perfectly offset by the inky blackness behind it. There are wisps of cloud visible on the horizon, but otherwise, the sky is clear.
"There's a telescope inside, but with our eyesight, we won't need it," he explains with a smile and she nods in wonder.
"Edward, this is stunning," she says breathlessly, for though she has no need to breathe, the beauty of the sight before her has knocked the wind out of her.
"I had to wait for the right weather," he admits, winding an arm about her waist. Bella sighs contentedly, her body pressing into his as their hands link. "I wanted to wait for a night that was completely clear, but it's been so cloudy recently that I decided to seize the chance tonight when there was a window of clarity."
"No, it's perfect," she tells him, shaking her head in awe. "You've certainly succeeded in impressing me." Tilting her head upwards, she notices the pale sprinkling of millions of stars that twist in spirals behind the ones that are usually seen – the entire Milky Way galaxy. "I can't believe we can see the Milky Way. I never really look at the stars in Forks – I suppose I'm always too distracted by other things. I guess there aren't many street lamps around here. I remember from school that light pollution makes the Milky Way less likely to show up in the background."
"True," Edward says, bending to touch his lips briefly to her earlobe. Bella lets out an uneven breath. When he follows it by feathering kisses along her jaw line and neck, she turns in his arms and places her lips on his once more. Their kiss is soft and slow at first, but quickly becomes more urgent and wanting; warm, wet mouths moving together. After several moments or possibly hours, they break apart, breathless and aware that they're in danger of getting a little carried away in what is a very public setting.
Bella clears her throat. "Seeing as we're here, Mr Cullen, how about we actually look at the stars?"
"I'll show you my favourites, Mrs Cullen," he acquiesces, teasingly echoing the use of their married names. Taking her hand, he points it in various directions facing the sky. "Cassiopeia, and Sirius there. And look, over there's Canis Major."
She snorts. "You know about astronomy?"
"Of course," he replies smoothly. "Why wouldn't I?"
"Well, you know that I spent most of my time reading books until you came along."
Bella arches one eyebrow in surprise. "How ever will you learn anything new? I didn't realise I was standing in the way of you attaining extra knowledge."
"It's a good point. You have no idea what a tempting distraction you are," he murmurs, pressing a light kiss to her neck that makes her sigh, leaning back into him. Warm fingertips that would be freezing to most others trace the low neckline of her silk dress, and she shivers pleasantly. "I've always liked to look at the stars. Even when you're immortal, there's nothing that can make you feel more insignificant than the stars. I don't mean that in a bad way either. There's something comforting about knowing I'm a mere speck in the universe. In a way, I suppose it keeps me grounded."
"I can see how it would." Bella smiles up at her husband, who in this moment looks so utterly content, and thinks to herself how much he deserves it. After all he's suffered in his life, the peace and purpose their relationship has brought to him is clear to see. Turning their gazes back to the sky, they see the wisps of white cloud creeping over the horizon and know that there probably isn't much time left before the cloud blankets the celestial landscape before them once more. She listens to Edward as he tells her more about each of the stars and planets, enjoying his current role of teacher.
A little while later, when they're more absorbed in looking at each other than the sky, they notice specks of white appearing on the wall in front of them.
"It's snowing again," she remarks softly. Turning their gazes to the sky, they watch snow cascading down upon the rooftop where they stand, melting on to the pavement. The coolness as it falls on their skin barely registers, and it's more of a pleasant sensation than anything. In no time at all, the air is swirling with fat white flakes, a veritable blizzard. If they were human, it's quite possible they could only see three feet in front of them, but with their perfect eyesight, snow vision's no problem. Edward is suddenly hit by the thought that up here in this weather, nobody else who happens to be around will be able to see the two of them on the rooftop.
Bella's eyes swivel to her husband in time to see his lips twist into a mischievous grin.
"Have we ever made love on a rooftop in the snow?" he suddenly says, a sense of purpose and need in his voice that reaches somewhere deep inside her.
She laughs softly, the clear, high, beautiful sound reverberating through the still air. "I don't believe we ever have."
"There's a first time for everything," he mutters, his fingers running over the filmy silk of the dress as he pulls her closer, capturing her lips.
Not my usual style, I know, but sometimes it's good to get out of your comfort zone. To anyone who bothered to read this because it's T-rated, thankyou muchly and a review would be wonderful. xxx