Make Haste 9: Birthday Funk

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. 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. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is merely coincidental.

Hi everybody! I am still alive. Are you glad to see me? Um…I love you.

My daughter had emergency surgery to remove her appendix, my hubs has shingles, I still have vertigo, and my MIL has 2 fractured vertebrae. Your prayers and well-wishes would be appreciated. And please add one for my other Beta, 2old2care, who is essential to 'Dove'. She's recovering from surgery and she's in a lot of pain.

Much thanks to my Beta, Room340C -who loves me even though I can't seem to stop splitting my infinitives- and to prettyflour, for pre-reading and helping me not to say odd things. Lolol you know what I'm talking about, Flower.

This chapter is for everyone who expected hawt vamp sex in BD2.

Links are on my Profile:

Please visit my Facebook to see tons of pictures from 'Make Haste'. It's a public page, you don't need to sign in to view it. Music for this chapter can be found on the jmollytwilight2 YouTube beginning at #32. You can also find backstory videos there that I use to research various stories:

"All I've Ever Needed," by Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald

"Paint it Black (The Rolling Stones)," by Apocalyptica & the London Symphony Orchestra

"500 Miles," by Peter, Paul and Mary

"The Lions Roar," by First Aid Kit

"Try," by Pink

o~o~0~o~o

The watchmen that go about the city found me:

to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?

~The Song of Solomon, 3:3

Thursday, September 26th, 2005:

Bella's POV:

"Mmmph." Too bright. I winced, keeping my eyes shut as I flexed my back. Then, I realized that something hot and wet was traveling up the left side of my labia, leaving the right side feeling distinctly neglected. And the wet thing was… vibrating. Opening one eye, I frowned at my purring mate, whose sharp gold eyes were peeking over my stomach. "Edward!" He licked me again, rapturously, and peeped at me, looking every bit the seventeen-year-old brat. "Urrrrrg! What are you doing?"

"Minx?" Lick, kiss, lick.

"Mmm! Why are you waking me?" Ought I to be annoyed or turned on? "You told me I needed to sleep, remember?"

"Minx." Lick, kiss, lick, purr-urr-urr…

"Ye-ah?"

"You've been asleep for sixteen hours." Slurp, nibble, hum. "And you refused to wake up." Lick, lick, lick. "And you have class in an hour."

"What!" I yelped, sitting up so fast I almost took out his eye with my knee. My mate sat back on his heels, looking smug.

"Don't want to be late for Greek, do we?" The 'we' was a tease. Like Edward needed any schooling in Greek!

"Ohh," I groaned, flopping back on the bed. "Why do I have to do a stupid language elective?"

Edward nuzzled my inner thigh. "Don't worry, I'll help you with it."

"Why can't you be in my class?"

"Sorry, Baby. I'm going to get as many courses done at once as I can, yeah? To minimize the number of years I have to spend training."

I felt contrite. He was doing it for me, and I was complaining. "I'm sorry."

Edward blinked. "For what?"

I felt my skin heat. "Well, you're only doing school because of me, right?"

Eyes flickering in surprise, he shook his head. "No. I really want to finish my degree this time, so I can actually practice medicine like Carlisle."

"You're really going to do it," I said, admiring him.

"Yep. And you're going to study hard so you can work alongside me."

"Yes."

Edward licked my pussy again. "Greek will be helpful when it's time for you to learn other languages."

"I know."

"Besides, Greek is a wonderful language. I like Greek."

I smirked and gave him my best smouldering look. "I know."

My mate clicked his tongue at me. "Oh, you are so bad!"

"Says he who is licking me awake."

"Well, it seems I got this gift for my birthday, and I want to enjoy it."

I pulled apart my knees. "Enjoy away."

"Thank you."

My mate sank below my belly and resumed his rhythmic tonguing until my toes curled and the continued existence of my pillow was at risk. "Unnh, you're sooo good at that."

He backed up and gave my hoo-hah a smouldering look. "Happy birthday to me." His eyes travelled up to mine. "And you. Can we have this kind of party every year?"

"Oh, yeah."

"I can see your clit. It's standing right up." He stroked my thighs. "So hawt, Bella." Slowly, he bent down again, and then, he gently pinched my clit between his lips. My eyes rolled back in my head a little. Suddenly, I juiced right onto his beard. I was a bit embarrassed, but it excited him. Hurriedly, he slipped a finger inside me to stroke my gee, and then he went back to nibbling and sucking.

It wasn't long before I arched my back and released all over him. I flopped back on the bed, spread-eagled, and attempted to catch my breath.

"Been a while since I had to tell you to breathe," he teased me, trailing kisses with his very wet chin as he crawled back up my body.

I organized my limbs as his lip quirked up smugly. "You do know how to dazzle me."

Edward's eyes danced boyishly. "I've still got it."

Pulling his head down for a kiss, I found out how very saturated his beard was with my scent. "You'll never get the smell out of that beard." I didn't expect him to beam at me.

"I don't have to shave, do I? I'm trying to pass for twenty-four."

"Well," I drawled, narrowing my eyes, "you might get away with being twenty."

"You don't mind the beard, do you?"

I had once told him that I never wanted him to grow a beard like his father, although Edward had once told me that his mother cried when his father shaved it off. I stroked his hair while he peeped over my breast. "Scruffy suits you."

"I probably won't shave until after the baby's born. I'll have to do it then; your skin will be hypersensitive for a while."

"Great." I yawned and hummed. "Time for school, Mr. Cullen."

He pushed himself up, over me. "Doctor Cullen." He took my nipple into his mouth, sucked on it and released it with a pop, grinning at the resulting jiggle.

A shuffling sound alerted us to Em's presence in the hallway. "Tough Guy?"

"Gimme a sec', Bro." Edward pushed himself upright and sauntered over to the door buck-naked. My jaw dropped as my mate unlocked the door and turned the knob. I actually squeaked and snatched the covers up to my chin as he opened it, but he stood behind it and just stuck his arm out. Nevertheless, Emmett sort of… gagged.

"TMI."

"Thank you." Edward sang as he pulled his arm back into the room and shut the door. He was now bearing the cordless house telephone. "Bom dia, Raphael." A long volley of Brazilian Portuguese followed, out of which I understood almost nothing except 'Kaure', 'Gustavo', 'Fernanda', and 'Ricardo'. Whatever Raphael was saying about his parents' dog was obviously very funny. I thought it was endearing that my mate giggled while pacing naked and talking on the phone. Sometimes, he was such a boy.

Putting on my robe, I tiptoed to the door and across the hall to the bathroom. All too soon, I would have to be at school. After showering and blow-drying my hair, I hurried back to our room. Edward was already dressed in his chinos, and he was pulling a t-shirt down over those to-die-for abs.

"Liking the t-shirt, Mr. Cullen," I smirked.

"I took the liberty of bringing yours down from the closet. Is it okay?" He looked a bit anxious; I so often used to complain about him choosing things for me. I grinned and lifted the shirt to compare it to his.

"I love them," I said, smiling, and his eyes lit up. Edward's t-shirt said 'I did it.' Mine said, 'Look what Daddy did.' I pulled mine over my head, so happy that I had made him happy.

"You don't mind wearing it?"

"Of course not. I'd shout it from the rooftops if we didn't have to guard the secret," I stroked his biceps as he admired my middle.

"Can you still see your feet?"

"Yes!" I giggled, whacking him on the arm, which got him giggling. I fake-frowned. "You watch your step, mister. I could spank you for your birthday."

"Grr-wow, Baby, I'm counting on it."

I raised my eyebrow at him. "A hundred-and-four is a lot of smacks."

"Maybe a smack for every decade," he winced. "Come on, I want to walk you to class before the sun comes out from behind the clouds."

There was a knock on our door. "C'mon Bedward, I want to show you the route to school." Rosalie was cranky. Well, that was new. Not.

"Okay, thanks, Rose," Edward said, opening the door and ushering me out before our sister-in-law could get so much as a peek at our den. Em was waiting by the front door. We all gathered our light fall jackets and our books, and donned our shoes. Then, we hurried out to the Jeep and got in. Of course, Em had the hardtop on it to protect us from any errant sunlight. For the moment, it was cloudy.

"Happy birthday, Edward," Em said, smiling at him via the rear-view mirror.

"Thanks." Edward put his hand on my knee and rubbed it.

"Any special plans?"

Beside me, Edward shifted and winked at me. "Well, Bella and I do have class this evening, but at some point today she's promised to spank me."

Em looked highly disconcerted. "Oh."

Rosalie crossed her arms and huffed. "Edward! You give far too much information."

My husband looked like the cat that ate the canary. "Oh, really? That's nothing compared with what Emmett has told me over the years, and you haven't been exactly reticent about giving Bella tips. I thought you'd be okay with it."

"Emmett!" Rose hissed, giving him a look that ought to have dissolved him in his boots.

"Edward! Not in front of the ladies!" Emmett urged, denting the steering wheel slightly where his hands gripped.

"Sorry, Bro," Edward said, peeking at me with twinkling eyes. Rosalie harrumphed and looked out the window. My bratty husband leaned in to ghost his lips over my jaw. I kissed him, and soon, we were necking like a couple of horny teenagers. Which … we were. Rose and Em were obviously uncomfortable. Payback is a bitch. They had done it often enough in front of us.

It wasn't long before Em parked the Jeep on the bottom level of the parking garage. He and Rose turned to face us, and Edward and I broke suction and smoothed down each other's shirts. Rose was looking at us like we were sporting extra heads. Actually, Edward's second head was quite sporting. Em looked a tad entertained, and a whole lot proud of his brother.

"What?" Edward murmured, looking from one of them to the other. Rose huffed and tapped her long red fingernails on her upper arm.

"You two are…" she huffed again. "Edward! You have red lip gloss all over your face." I bit my lip, which was -for obvious reasons- feeling a little dry.

"Oh," he said with artificial surprise, digging in his pocket for Kleenex. "Thanks for telling me, Rose."

"Hm, like you can't See it," she growled, narrowing her eyes at us. "You two are such Newborns."

"Thanks," Edward said, his entire face lighting up.

"Oh, boy," Rose muttered, eyes rolling. "Look, you're going to have to be very careful getting back to the Jeep. Alice phoned, and it's going to get sunny around ten o'clock."

"Okay," Edward agreed, his face turning solemn.

"I'm going to show you some routes in and out of Bella's college and library," she shared, grabbing her purse. "Some are above ground, and some make use of tunnels. After that, Em will show you around your part of the campus, Edward."

"There are tunnels?" Edward asked, eyebrows high. "That's how you're able to attend daytime classes, Rose?"

"Yeah. There are a few. Keeps the humans dry."

"Let's go," Emmett ordered. "Daylight's burning."

We piled out of the Jeep, and Em led us to a service door under a stairwell. Soon, we were traveling through the underground network at vampire speed.

o~o~0~o~o

Sitting in the narrow classroom, at the front (as it was furthest from the windows at the back of the room) I decided that Greek was going to be the most boring class ever. The teacher, Prof. Papas, had the annoying habit of saying 'umm-err' between every few words.

"The umm-err… homework for tonight… umm-err…Let's see; Chapter One page five, numbers umm-err… one to fifteen. It will be due… umm-err… next Friday. Any questions, come and see me after class."

I wiped tears of boredom from my eyes, finally understanding why my husband detested high school. Fancy this guy, being able to make Greek boring! Eyeing the sun-flooded windows with trepidation, I hoisted my knapsack and headed for the door.

Edward was not waiting outside the classroom. I chewed my lip nervously and pulled up a spot against the wall. The students filed off quickly, and the teacher soon followed. I took out my cell and texted my mate. Where are you?

E: Slight delay courtesy of the sun. Wait for me.

"Well, if it isn't the little whore," an obnoxious voice boomed. I seriously considered eating him. Surely nobody would care. "I suppose you're wearing that t-shirt in an attempt to convince us you're actually married. Where'd you get the ring, a gumball machine?"

Instinctively, I put my thumb over my ring and turned it in toward my palm. The four frat boys with him were jeering and laughing. I didn't want to walk away, and force Edward to come searching for me. "I told you before: my husband is not going to be happy that you're harassing me. I suggest you mind your manners before he minds them for you."

Llama Bama Ding Dong Boy thought that was hilarious. Except for his darker colouring, he reminded me a lot of Lonnie. Hopefully, he was smarter than Lonnie, smart enough to leave me alone. "Oh, I would love to meet your Baby Daddy, sweet thing." A delectable scent overpowered his unpleasant cologne, and I met the black, concerned eyes of my mate, who was now standing behind the bullies.

"Is that so?" Edward asked smoothly, making all five young men jump. Frat boy recovered himself quickly.

"Ah, so it's you," he smirked. "Colin, isn't it? I was beginning to think you didn't exist."

"Burns, if you continue harassing my wife, you will wish that you didn't."

Frat Boy made a show of looking at his friends, who were all laughing. "Oh, I'm so scared." He gestured at Edward. "Look at this guy: he must weigh all of a hundred and seventy pounds, and he thinks he's going to take me?"

"Yeah," one of his buddies snickered.

"Burns," Edward said coldly, regarding the big bruiser in a way that ought to have made him skitter back under his rock, "You owe my wife an apology."

"An apology?" he gawped. "I apologize for calling a spade a spade. Blame yourself. Look, it's your fault for knocking her up. It even says so on your t-shirt."

"Bella?"

"Yes?"

"If this silly boy or one of his friends ever bothers you again, please kick him in the kneecap."

Their laughter rang out in the deserted hallway. I looked up and down it nervously. No teachers? Then again, perhaps if Edward were to get us expelled on the first day, it wouldn't be such a bad thing.

"Oh, pretty boy, I am going to teach you a lesson you'll never forget. Hold him, brothers."

Two of the bullies latched on to Edward's arms, and then he moved, fluid as smoke. One moment, all of them were ganging up. The next thing I knew, Frat Boy was nursing his hand, and all his minions were sitting on the floor, moaning and rocking. Edward straightened out of his crouch and brushed down his t-shirt. "My Fu is stronger than yours, gentlemen. I hold several black belts for various martial arts." Burns sat down hard. Edward bent, took the hand of my chief tormentor, and inspected it. "Tsk tsk. Boxer's break. You'd better get that looked at. Keep it elevated, meanwhile, so it doesn't swell."

"I'm going to sue you! I'm going to see that you get kicked out of school!" Burns howled.

"I never hit you," Edward pointed out blithely. "I simply stopped you from hitting me." He crooked his elbow and I took it. "Don't bother apologizing; I wouldn't believe you were in earnest, anyway."

"I'm gonna fuck you up, you bastard!"

Edward looked down his nose at Burns. "You would do well to remember that I didn't fight back at all. Any time you want me to teach you respect for a pregnant woman, let me know."

We headed down the hallway, but instead of going downstairs, Edward headed up. "Where are we going, Edward?"

His face was stony. "To see the Dean."

"The Dean's Office is in another building," I frowned.

"The Dean is here," my husband informed me. His eyes were black fire; I wasn't going to argue with him.

"Oh." I chewed my lip nervously as Edward led me up a narrow staircase that bore a 'No Trespassing' sign.

"Excuse me, Dean Kerridge?" my mate called.

"Yes?" Footsteps sounded on the dark floorboards above, and a practical-looking blonde woman pattered down the steps in beige heels, to regard us curiously through white-rimmed glasses. "May I help you?"

Edward's eyes flickered over to me. "Please excuse our intrusion. A staff member told us you were going to be up here looking at the roof, and we have a personal matter of some urgency to impart."

Dean Kerridge looked at Edward like he'd fallen out of another century. "Some urgency, huh? What's your name, Childe Harold?"

Edward blushed silver, which made him look rather cadaverous. The dean reached out a hand to 'steady' him. "Hey! You'd better sit down. Whatever is the matter?"

"Please excuse me, Ma'am. I'm fine, just anxious, that's all." My mate fidgeted, and I knew he wanted to pace. "I'm Edward Cullen; this is my wife, Bella."

"Charmed," she said drily, a line appearing between her eyes. "What's up, Doc?"

"There's a group of frat boys harassing my wife. When I confronted them outside her classroom, one named Burns told two of the others to grab me and … I broke his hand."

The Dean of Linguistic Studies' jaw dropped.

"I didn't mean to," my mate pled. "I just stopped his punch, and I heard it snap. He has a compound fracture at the neck of the fourth metacarpal bone on his right hand."

"Pre-Med?"

Edward looked sheepish. "Um… I'm done Pre-med. This is my first year of Medicine."

"Say it in English."

"Boxer's break," he deadpanned.

The dean sat down gracefully on the old wooden steps, turning her legs sideways to accommodate her pencil skirt. "How old are you?"

Twenty, I thought at him silently. Don't try to pass for twenty-four; it will raise too many questions.

"Twenty."

"Sit down, genius, before you fall down." She waved at the steps and looked over at me. "You, too."

Edward climbed to the fourth step, which creaked under his weight, and sat down carefully, putting his right leg out along the step and leaning back against the wall. He left his other foot on the landing. Gingerly, I lowered myself to the second step, leaving both feet on the floor. He was obviously worried about the staircase collapsing, so I thought I'd better be cautious, too. Vampires are much heavier than one might guess, and every day I was packing on muscle. At least, that's what I was telling myself.

"Tim Burns is not a pleasant person, but he has connections," she warned. "How did you get on his bad side?"

"He and his boys saw me yesterday," I said, rubbing my tummy. "He accused me of being a slut and then he said I wasn't really married and maybe …" I didn't dare look at Edward.

"Go ahead, Bella. I don't think anything you might say will come as a surprise," my mate encouraged.

Should I tell him? I really, really hoped he wouldn't kill Burns, for his own sake, considering what he did to Lonnie.

"I don't want you to get in any more trouble," I begged.

"I'm not going to do anything rash, Love." He stroked my face. "You can trust me."

Dean Kerridge was waiting attentively. I looked her firmly in the eye. "He's told me a couple of times that he would happily have a piece of me. And yesterday… he put his hand on my backside."

Edward's fury was palpable. He was up in a flash.

"Don't even think about it!" the dean's voice rang out. My mate froze, tamed his muscles, and drooped. "Sit down, please, Mr. Cullen."

Slowly, he resumed his seat on the step, but this time, he hugged his knees.

"I understand your feelings on this matter," she said authoritatively, "but we will handle this situation within the confines of the law." She crossed her ankles casually. "Tim Burns is apt to sue. He's very well-off. I don't suppose you'd care to settle out of court?"

"I have money, but I'm damned if I'll give him any. It's the principle of the thing. Besides, he should be charged with two counts of assault."

"If he promises not to pursue this, will you forget the charges?" Dean Kerridge's lips were thin, but her voice was calm.

Edward's eyes met mine and I could see the battle raging inside him.

"I'm not hurt, Love."

"He upset you. He touched you. What about next time, when I'm not around? What about the next girl or guy he decides to harass? There are a lot of rumours floating around about how he hazes the frosh, Bella."

"I don't think he'll try anything with me again. He's scared of you now. He's nothing but a big coward."

Edward huffed. He was angry with me. I felt my tears well. "Please, Edward? I promise I'll be careful of him." My husband looked so stubborn. Did he think I was being defiant?

"If you press charges, he will likely be expelled," Dean Kerridge said firmly. "However, his cronies will not, and they will resent it. Not to mention what that bully might do if nobody is watching him."

My mate smiled incredulously, but his eyes glittered. "So you're saying… it's better to keep the enemy within our sights?"

Kerridge lifted one shoulder. "I wouldn't go so far as to call him an enemy. He's just an immature kid who wants to look big. Lots of people make mistakes at this age, but end up being wiser adults thanks to the consequences they experience. Burns struts around, all bark and no bite. I don't think you'll find real harm in him. But yes, if he's here, he can be kept accountable, which is best for everyone, wouldn't you agree?"

"I suppose you're right," Edward said reluctantly.

"Be prepared to be summoned to my office. Once he's been to the doctor, I would expect him to show up with Daddy and his lawyer."

"Super," Edward sighed.

"You will not face any disciplinary action on this, Mr. Cullen, provided the situation does not go any further."

Edward grimaced, then, his face smoothed out. "Understood."

"I am very impressed with you for coming to me directly. You may trust me."

"So I'm not going to be expelled?"

She waved her hand dismissively. "Pfft! Tim Burns is twice the size of you, and he picked on a pregnant woman. You have nothing to worry about."

"Okay."

"I wish we had met under better circumstances, but I am glad that we met. Edward," she presented her hand, "and Bella." I shook her hand, too. "Stay away from the Llamas today, okay?"

"Yes, Ma'am," we chorused, standing. Edward took my knapsack and reached for my hand, but his face was stony. We descended the stairs silently. I peeped at him. Yep, definitely pissed.

"Mocha-chino?"

"You lied to me."

I looked away, feeling tears sting my eyes again.

"We promised each other no more lies, Bella. Why didn't you tell me he laid his hand on you? You were crying yesterday, but you won't let me take care of you. Why, Bella?"

"It's not like guys haven't copped a feel before," I said hesitantly. Edward stopped dead, jolted.

"What do you mean?" he growled, truly looking dangerous. I brought trembling fingers to my lips. I should never have told him. He drew closer, trapping my eyes in his. "Answer me."

"I'm sorry," I breathed. "There was nothing you could do. Nothing happened to me, I'm fine, there aren't any scars from it so I wasn't going to tell you."

"You are my mate, and somebody touched you, and you weren't planning to tell me?" Oh, boy.

"You… were gone. It was when you left."

His face crumpled as though I'd staked him through. He backed up a step, and I closed the distance. I reached out and combed my fingers through his hair. "Nothing happened to me. Some jerks just thought they'd take advantage since you weren't around." He backed up again and paced in a circle, knotting his fingers in his hair, his anguish plain.

"And since then?"

I shook my head. "No. Nobody's touched me since you came home, without your knowledge."

"Why didn't you tell me?" I could hear his tears.

"It wouldn't have changed anything. It only would have upset you," I said softly. Rosalie came marching down the hall.

"There you are! I was starting to wor-" She stopped, looking back and forth between us in shock. "What's going…?"

Edward pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes. "I need some time."

I swallowed my panic. "Okay." Passing me my knapsack, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and trudged off down the hall. Rosalie turned surprised eyes on me. I felt my lip tremble, and then I started to sniffle. She turned and looked at his retreating back, and then raised both brows at me.

"What on earth happened?" she hissed.

"Some Llamas picked on me, and Edward broke the leader's hand by accident, and Dean Kerridge was really nice about it, but Edward wants to kill the guy for touching my ass, and I never told him that a couple of the guys at Forks High tried to cop a feel while he was gone and now he's mad as hell at me and it was such a nice morning and it's his birthday and-"

"Oh, boy." For once, Rosalie looked utterly sympathetic. "Breathe Bella." I thought I heard her mouth 'damn pregnancy hormones'. She tucked me under her arm and steered me over to a bench. "You downplayed the importance of someone other than Edward touching you, didn't you?"

"I," I sniffled, "I couldn't have him going vigilante."

"Well, no," she mused. "But you are his mate, Bella, and he's a Dom."

"I know," I rasped, wiping my eyes. "And I promised to let him lead, and now I've challenged his vampy dominance."

Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Like we all didn't see that coming? Bella, Edward would never expect you to go all submissive on him. And he wouldn't like it. Look, I argue with Emmett all the time. It's give-and-take, you know?"

"You let Em decide the big things, though."

Rose shook her head. "Bella, this is small beans, and Edward knows it. He's just not completely secure yet. The thought of someone else touching his spouse is enough to drive any guy out of his gourd." She brushed back my hair. "He's not going to stay angry for long because he knows you're right. You should go after him."

"I should?"

"Yeah. Just tell him you're sorry you didn't confide in him, and remind him that you need him to stick to the plan."

I shifted on the bench. "You really think so?"

"I know so."

"I don't even know where he's gone; he said he needed some time. What if he needs a lot of time, Rose? Like… days."

She was already shaking her head. "He doesn't need time, kid; he needs validation of his feelings. And… he'll be somewhere where he can run. Probably hunting."

I flapped my arms. "How am I supposed to find him? He could be anywhere."

"Come on, I'll get you to the general area, and then you can hunt him down."

"Me?"

"You can use your nose, right?"

What do I smell like to you, Bella?

Chocolate, coffee and leather. Sandalwood soap, English toffee and cream. I calmed down. "Yeah, I think I can find him."

"Okay." Rose held out her hand and pulled me up. She led me down to the basement and through the access door to the service tunnel. Soon, we were in the parking garage. Em was sitting in the Jeep. He got out and embraced his mate.

"Where's Eddie?" He took note of me and sniffed. "What's wrong, Baby Sis?"

"Some guy squeezed Bella's ass, Emo Boy broke the guy's hand, then he and Bee had a stupid fight over it," Rose snapped. We all got in the Jeep and Em started it up. I felt like a naughty kid in the back seat. "Where do you suppose he'd go?"

Em's eyes flickered. "He finds water calming, and he's probably going to kill some lunch and beat the hell out of the corpse. He wouldn't go north; it's too close to the country club. We'll try by White River."

I imagined my gentleman taking out his fury on a helpless woodland creature. "He wouldn't…" would he?

Em's eyes met mine in the rear view mirror. "Baby, I'm not gonna sugar coat this for you. He's a pressure cooker. If it were me, I'd go out and rassle the biggest grizzly I could find, but Ed doesn't play with his food. You should take comfort in the fact that he will never torture his prey." I blanched, and Em's lips thinned. "Better he find an acceptable outlet for his anger. We don't need another Lonnie."

I bit my lip, staring anxiously out the window. When we got off campus, Em rolled down the windows a couple of inches and we all sniffed around. "Is that him, to the left?" Rose asked quietly. I couldn't smell a thing. Edward always joshed me about having a weak nose.

"Faint. Somewhere over there," Em frowned. "Course he didn't need to take the roads, he'll have gone through the trees. We'll try Mascoma."

The ride was silent as we sped toward the town of Lebanon. I let my senses loose, searching for any hint of my mate in the air.

"I think," Rosalie winced, waving vaguely to the left.

"Yeah," Em confirmed. The road was deserted. He parked on the shoulder and we all got out and glittered under the sun. Em took our hands and we ran into the trees on the north side of the road. "You got your cell phone?"

"Yes, and my money and ID," I told him, patting my jacket pockets.

My brother-in-law looked down at me. "Can you smell him, Baby Bee?"

I filled up my lungs with humid air. "I … think."

"Your nose really is weak," Rose grumbled, crinkling hers. "We'll have to take her closer, Em."

"He'll Hear us."

"He would be mad as hell if we let her get lost, especially with Caius' goons running loose," she argued.

My heart seized. "He's all alone!"

"Admittedly, there's safety in numbers, but Edward is awfully smart, Bella."

"I don't care!" I yelled, taking off at a dead run. My life; he was my life and I had blithely allowed him to run off alone.

"Bella! Come back!" Em hollered, pelting after me.

When I had gone about fifty yards, I stopped and inhaled deeply, feeling the constricting bands around my heart ease. My mate was closer to me. "I can smell him."

"I'd say he was about three-quarters of a mile that way," Em said, pointing north. "Rosie and I will stick around here. If you have any trouble, or you're the least bit worried, you call us, and we'll come running."

A vampire-pitched snarl penetrated the quiet. "I said I wanted to be alone!" And then, his scent receded.

"I'm scared!" I yelled back shrilly, and pelted in the direction I'd heard his voice.

"Bella!" Rosalie yelled, but Em stopped her from running after me.

"Let them work it out. We did," he told her.

Edward didn't answer me. For a moment, I hesitated. I felt guilty for not respecting his request for space. Before we got married, Mr. Weber pretty much drummed into our heads that men and women were different. If I said I wanted space, it probably meant I wanted my mate's comfort, but if a man said it to a woman, he generally meant it. And Edward usually meant what he said.

But the spectre of the past niggled at me. I opened my mouth, ready to yell at him not to leave me, and then drew in a calming breath instead. He wasn't going to abandon me, and he would be hurt if I continued not to show some faith.

"Edward, I owe you an apology," I called at vampire pitch.

"Not ready to talk, Bella." His voice was north-east. I sprinted toward it even as he moved away.

I hadn't gone very far into the forest when an appealing scent distracted me. Sniffing, I crept through the woods. Close, it was close. Venom flooded my mouth. It had to be right in front of me. Hopefully, I pounced, landed in freshly-turned earth, and started to sink. What on earth could this be? Some sort of mud? But it smelled delicious!

I scrabbled to get out, and that's when I realized that my legs and hands were covered in blood. With a cry, I vaulted out of the mess, and landed nearby, nostrils quivering. Tentatively, I crept back, and reached out my hand to touch the goo. Blood and compost, I decided, exploring it with a mixture of fascination and horror. I scooped through it some more; shards of bone. Part of a deer's skull. A hoof. My nose was on overload. I looked at the tree opposite me: a piece of antler had been driven right through the trunk. Rising to my feet, I crossed to it, sniffing.

"Edward," I whispered, caressing the piece of horn with regret. My mate's scent was all over it. "I'm sorry, Love. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Surely Alice and Rose, and even Esme, have had to deal with hands-y men." Turning, I approached the river. I would have to wash before he saw me.

It was wide and peaceful. The Mascoma River became Mascoma Lake. Far away, small sailing boats were moored. I couldn't see humans anywhere, so I crept out of the trees and scrubbed my hands in the water, then took off my shoes and socks, and pitched them in, knowing they would never come clean. After washing the blood off my body and my clothes as best I could, I noticed an area where the rocks and trees met the shore. It would provide me sufficient cover from the sun until Edward came to fetch me.

An hour later, I was sitting mournfully on a rock, feet in the water, when I sensed my mate behind me.

"I would have killed them."

Shutting my eyes, I thanked God that he wasn't running away from me. "I know."

He sank down beside me, the length of his arm resting against my side, and put his feet in the water. I realized that all he was wearing were his chinos, and they were rolled up at the bottom.

"How do you keep so clean when you hunt?" It was so annoying. I peeped up at his face. He was staring out at the water, well and truly on his way into a first-class funk. One side of his mouth tipped up, but there was no spark in his eyes. Bitter.

"I bathed already, and then put my pants back on."

Feigning surprise, I poked him playfully in the side. "Been hunting in the nude?"

"Quit it."

I winced. "Am I still in trouble?"

"Heaps."

My eyes filled up again. "I'm sorry."

He still wasn't looking at me. "I'm not even sure you understand why I'm mad."

I inspected the nail polish on my toes. "I didn't submit to you. I challenged your intentions regarding my protection."

Edward rolled his eyes and blew out a frustrated breath. "Your lack of submission isn't a big deal, Bella. Disagreements will happen, and the occasional argument is healthy."

Venomous tears irritated my eyes. "You're upset because you thought I didn't trust you not to over-react."

His eyes were like dark holes. "Are you going to try to tell me that's not the case?"

"I admit, to a degree, it was a consideration." I watched his anger flare. "But the primary motivation was that I knew the information would upset you. And you wouldn't be able to change any of it. It would have burdened you, and you would have felt guilty, and it would all be for nothing." I cocked my head to the side, feeling angry myself. "Tell me that no woman has ever laid a hand on you. Since we met, I mean. Tell me that when you've gone to a dance, or walked down a school hallway, nobody ever goosed your ass or copped a feel." Since he was mute, I pulled out the big guns. "I thought we were going to start adding phone numbers to the Family Night Jar, Baby."

"It's not the same," Edward declared, not looking at me.

"Why not? Because I'm a fragile little girl? I'm not even human anymore, Edward! I can take care of-"

"Okay!" he snapped, gesturing for me to stop. "I'll admit that I understand why you didn't tell me about the guys back in Forks, and I might have over-reacted. But, Bella, that doesn't explain why you didn't tell me about what happened yesterday! That creep touched my mate: my lover, my wife, the mother of my child and you didn't see fit to inform me?"

I ducked my head. "I … Lonnie." Edward scowled. "I didn't want you to go all Rambo on Burns. He's just a stupid kid and he's mostly harmless."

"But that's where you're wrong," Edward said chillingly. "He is just like Lonnie, with his group of weak-minded thugs. He is exactly like Lonnie." One minute, my mate was beside me, and the next, he had vanished into thin air.

Exactly like Lonnie. Who was a serial rapist. Who was planning to gang rape me, and snuff me out. Only by the grace of God and the intervention of the Cullens had I failed to become like Rose. Whatever Edward had heard in the mind of Timothy Burns, it wasn't pretty.

I stood up on the rock and called for my mate without result. My hands hung loosely at my sides as I cried for him, increasingly frantic. He wasn't going to answer me; he was too mad.

I jumped back to shore and used my nose. North. He had gone further north. I set out after him at a dead run. His scent doubled back on itself several times, and I could have sworn once that I heard him laugh. But why would he be laughing?

It took me almost two more hours to find him, sitting in the branches of a huge maple.

"May I come up?"

"Lonnie was about to rape you." His voice was cut out of permafrost.

Pushing the memory of being held down by Lonnie's henchmen, while Lonnie forced his way between my legs, I focused on the present. "I know." I fidgeted beneath the tree. I didn't want to go up without asking. "He… You didn't mention him when you Napped."

"I didn't feel guilty for it, and I made sure Jasper didn't either. I Saw what that mauler was going to do to you, and I'm not sorry."

"I'm… I don't feel guilty either."

Edward nodded curtly and motioned for me to come up. I dug in my nails and ran up the tree, picking a seat opposite him, where my weight would not overwhelm the branches. "When we found Rose…" He checked himself, then, stared at me solemnly. "I've never told anyone, not even Emmett. In fact, I haven't even told Rose. She only remembers parts of it. If they were within my Hearing range, I wouldn't be telling you this, now. I don't want them upset."

I nodded, and braced myself. Edward rested his elbow on his knee, and let his other leg dangle. He grimaced, looking into the distance.

"When Carlisle brought her in the house, she was covered in blood, and her face was so covered in contusions and abrasions that we couldn't even tell …" He shook his head. "I knew who she was, because I read her mind." Pausing, he traced a finger over my belly. "They used her in every possible way. Every possible way. And they bit her, and pulled out her hair," he mourned. Again, he looked at me solemnly. "Carlisle had to reconstruct her privates. The venom was inadequate." He shifted. "She looked like raw meat. And to top it off, the bastard broke her pelvis. Rose burned so long…"

I covered my mouth with my hand, trying not to go to pieces. No wonder Rose was so bitter.

"So when Lonnie's goons were holding you down, and he was p-pumping," he winced.

"All you could see was Rose." I met his eyes. "I don't blame you."

"Evenson didn't show up in my Sleeptalking either, did he?"

I felt a chill. "No."

"I showed them both Hell." He grimaced. "I can't apologize for that, after seeing their work. And they don't haunt me."

I simply nodded. "But this Burns, Dean Kerridge said he is just an immature kid. He isn't that much like Lonnie, right?"

"Bella," Edward said repressively, "Burns does not treat his hook-ups well, but he doesn't have to force them. However, he has penetrated every Pledge he could get his hands on every September for the past four years, either by mouth or anally. He prefers to line them up and do it in front of the frat brothers."

My eyes squeezed shut and I sucked in air through my mouth.

"I can't even kill him now," Edward said with remarkable detachment. "And don't you do it, either. There are too many witnesses to our little altercation."

I stared at him, alarmed. "You won't do it, will you?"

"It has, happily, been thirty-two years since I dispensed with a so-called human. Assuming you don't count my helping Jazz to shuffle Lonnie off this mortal coil," he shrugged. "I have no wish to reoffend."

"But what are we going to do?" I spluttered. "Why hasn't someone reported him?"

Edward frowned bitterly. "They're men."

"It's still rape," I argued frantically.

"No one has come forward. Yet," my mate growled. "If I can get a victim's trust, then I will get this out into the open. If not…" His mouth twisted into a bitter smile. "Well, maybe Burns will 'grow up to be a model citizen', right?"

"Edward," I sighed.

"Yeah, I know, Dean Kerridge doesn't know. And chances are, none of the young men will come forward, anyhow. They all want to belong to that god-" He checked himself, "god-forsaken fraternity. Not all frats are bad, but some of them do such awful hazing. This isn't the only time I've run across this."

"It's barbaric."

"Yes, it is."

"You'll try to stop him?"

"I'll try."

"You…"

"What?"

I bit my lip. "You battered a deer. Am I really that bad?"

His face hardened. "You're maddening. Literally. You're lucky I didn't hunt you down and spank you."

"Do you forgive me for playing devil's advocate today?" I ran my thumb over his mouth.

"Yeah, you didn't know," my mate said, looking so sad. "Please don't keep things like this from me anymore, though." He took my hands in his own. "I can't lose you. Or the baby."

I felt like scoffing, but I hid it. "Like that pathetic excuse for a man could ever catch me, if I wanted to get away?" I leaned a bit more toward Edward. "I'll just break his other hand for him. Or maybe his dick."

"Yeah, that won't out us at all." Edward's eyes rolled. "Bella, your heart beats. Until you're a vampire, you're vulnerable. Even then, we're more vulnerable than we like to think. Don't underestimate humans, especially if they run in packs."

"Okay."

He regarded me thoughtfully. "You used your nose to find me?"

Pointing south-west, I nodded. "Em and Rose are about a mile that way. I found my way on my own once we picked up your scent."

"I know where Em and Rose are; they'll be just outside my Hearing range. But it's wonderful that you found me, Bella. How about a little game?"

My body just about ignited at the thought. "What kind of game?"

"Hide and seek. You count to fifty thousand, and come and find me."

Ooh, my kind of game. "What do I win if I find you?"

He eyed me appraisingly. "You get to give me that birthday spanking."

Drool. "And what if I can't find you?"

"Then I'm going to fetch you and spank you instead."

Oh, yeah, on fire. And he knew it, too, the smug-

"Two o'clock."

"Huh?" My brain was offline.

"Start counting, Minx. You have until two o'clock to find me."

A stab of panic pierced me. "Edward?"

"Yeah?"

"What if those vampires are watching us?"

"Which ones?" Edward dropped nonchalantly out of the tree and leaned against it.

I huffed and jumped after him. "Any of them."

"I haven't picked up any sign of vampires except the four of us. If you have any qualms, just call out to me."

"Okay."

"Start counting."

"One-two-three-f" I squeaked an eye open.

"Hey! No peeking! Head against the tree." Holding my hands against the large maple, Edward pressed me up against its rough bark and rubbed himself against my ass. "Naughty Minx."

"Five-six-seven-eight…" I chanted at vampire speed. With a whoosh, my mate was gone. I counted to ten thousand before cracking open an eye to look for him. What! My mate is fast. I didn't want to have to run to Maine to find him. Hello, pregnant woman!

It didn't take me long to pick up his trail. Sprinting through the underbrush, I followed him easily. But after some yards, his scent vanished utterly. "Where the heck did he go?" I opened my mouth and let air travel over my soft palate. I couldn't pick up the scent trail at all. "Now, if I were an annoying masochistic lion, where would I be?" Shutting my eyes, I concentrated on our bond. I had a feeling that he had gone to the west. I crept through the forest, trying to pick up his scent. I had gone a few hundred yards when I smelled him; his scent was strong near a small copse of fir trees.

"A-ha!" I yelled, pouncing, only to find myself staring at a t-shirt on the ground. Since he hadn't been wearing it when I saw him, he might have left it there earlier in the day. Yep, sure enough, his wallet, watch, shoes and socks were underneath it. "Aw!" I clutched the shirt in my fingers, looking around. "This is as bad as the time he hid Fake Edward." What should I do?

I dithered, then put his belongings in my knapsack and set it down in his hiding place. I had better not leave my cell phone behind. I put it in my hoodie's kangaroo pocket, and then decided I was probably overdressed, even without shoes and socks. Adding the hoodie to the pile, I took off my t-shirt, put my cell in the waistband of my yoga pants, and hoped to Heaven I wouldn't stumble across Em and Rose.

Now, where on earth was my mate? I stepped between the trees, trying without success to pick up his scent. "Come out, come out wherever you are!"

Nothing. Nada. Stupid annoying vampire wasn't interested in getting a birthday spanking. Hmph!

After wandering around aimlessly for another fifteen minutes, I was hit with a mouth- watering aroma. Beaming, I ran to the west. "I found! You." Not. I found his chinos and belt, hooked over the limb of a tree. "Well, at least I'm going in the right direction."

I left the chinos in place and flitted west, stopping every few minutes to taste the air. At last, I could smell my mate. "Olly olly oxen free." In the far distance, he laughed, and I set out at a dead run.

Only to find his underwear, draped over a stick protruding from the ground. I grabbed it, pouting. "You didn't have to cum in it." I walked on, holding the slimy Calvin's, and then realized I was kind of kneading them with my fingers. Because they did smell good. "Grr." I whirled as a muffled chuckle came from somewhere above me. My eyes narrowed.

"You are such a child."

Impish golden eyes twinkled at me from a treetop. "You love me."

I leapt for a branch and scrabbled for another hold. Just as I found a way to climb, there was a loud thud. When I looked down, my very naked mate's very pale ass was already halfway to Vermont. "You!" I dropped lightly to the ground and barrelled after him. Dammit, he was gone again. "Stop playing hard to get!" I bellowed. "You need a spanking." Nothing. Grr. "You need your spanking, Edward. You know you want it, Baby."

I thought I heard a rustling ahead. I followed the noise. My mate's scent was on a tree. Growling, I pounced to inspect it, and discovered that he'd wiped his jizzy hand on the trunk on purpose.

"My nose is not that bad!" I yelled. A few yards away, there was another jizzy handprint. And not too far from that, another. He'd left me a whole trail of them, the brat. "I know better uses for that cum!" I declared loudly. His laughter sparkled in the air. I crept up on it; he was lurking at the edge of a clearing. He sucked in a breath heavy with anticipation as I launched myself at him from twenty feet away, and grunted as I knocked him to the grassy ground.

I twizzled a finger up in his chest hair. "Made ya say 'woof'."

Cracking an eye open, he regarded me dispassionately. "I fail to see why you and Carlisle take such pleasure in making me bark. Not only have I admitted that I have a soft spot for dogs, I have managed to take your Kwoli pal back under my wing without doing him an injury."

"That might take about one smack off your total imminent spanks."

Edward twisted, depositing me neatly on the ground. Before he could gather his feet under him, I flailed out and pushed down on the small of his back, flattening him again.

"Oof!"

"Submit. We had a deal."

"Really not in the mood." The muscles in his backside flexed appealingly as he tested my hold on him. I crawled up his legs and sat with my thighs pressed up against his glutes.

"Really?"

"Not right now."

I couldn't remember the last time my mate had turned me down for anything. I swallowed my disappointment, searching frantically for a way to save the day. "And what are you in the mood for?" I flirted, kneading his ass.

He growled a warning growl. I froze.

He was still pissed off.

I scrambled backward and made myself small. However, he didn't move. He was still lying like a big old lion, on his stomach, spread out nonchalantly as though he owned the place. He was thoroughly in control of himself. At least, I thought he was.

"I'm sorry," I breathed. "What can I do?"

"That may not be the wisest thing to ask me right now, Isabella Marie."

Uh oh. "I'm sorry I made you angry." I chanced a peek at him. "Sir."

He was over me in a flash and before I could so much as inhale, I was stripped bare. I tucked my face against the ground and stuck my butt up in the air, waiting to be dominated. My ridiculous body turned on, which probably saved me from one heck of a spanking. I held my breath.

Edward's gentle hand settled between my shoulder blades, traced down my spine and slid between my legs. He probed gently at me, and I felt myself open for him.

"I want to dominate the fuck out of you."

I tingled all over, and he groaned, inserting his finger and twisting it to stimulate my gee. Squirming, I pushed my ass back against him.

"That would not be wise," he said as though debating with himself.

I rocked against his hand. "Please!"

His palm rapped surprisingly sharply against my right ass cheek. "Please, what?"

"Sir!"

"Who's in charge?" His palm rubbed against the stinging spot that he had struck.

I am. Wait, no. "You are."

"Safe words."

"Yellow and red."

"Good girl." His fingers smacked against my left ass cheek, leaving a hot sting. He stood, leaving me confused. I looked behind me to find him several feet away, pumping his cock, mouth grim and eyes black as coal.

"I want you to clean me up."

He didn't have to tell me twice. Leaping up, I launched myself at him. He plucked me out of the air and put me on my knees so skillfully that I didn't even feel it. His hand knotted my hair at my nape. I was face-to-face with his inner thigh, and I'd have liked to sink my teeth in.

"Do as you're told."

Opening my jaw, I pressed my lips to his skin and swiped it with my tongue, tasting the salty tang of deer blood, the metal of river water, and the sweetness of his ejaculate. I drooled venomous saliva all over him until his flesh gleamed. His natural scent was heady; I grasped at his thighs and brushed them with kisses. Pushing me down masterfully, he directed my face to his other leg.

"Here."

Gladly, I laved the indentation between the muscles where his femoral ought to have been, hearing the faint hum of venom under his skin. So many times after Tyler's van had hit us, I had fantasized about touching that injured ligament like this; I stroked my tongue up to his groin and pressed it into the crease between his leg and scrotum. Gentle fingers stroked the back of my head. The predator in him was receding.

"Suck me off."

My stunned eyes met his black ones. A faint silver flush stained his cheekbones. Before he could regret opening his mouth, I opened mine and took him deep, humming around him and working his shaft as though my continued existence depended on it.

"You like that?"

"Mm-hmm."

His fingers scratched lightly at my scalp. "I used to think you were this lily-white little girl, and then you broke out the duct tape."

"Yeah." I licked down his shaft and wrapped my hand around it, then put my mouth back to work. He hissed with pleasure.

"You liked restraining me, didn't you?"

I released him with a pop, and stroked him hard. "We need to re-enact that someday, when we can use teeth."

"Mmm…" Exerting gentle pressure on the back of my neck, he urged me to my feet and walked a circle around me. "Hawt. Vampire. Sex."

I ran my hands up and down my body. "I want to break some trees."

"Dirty girl." Approaching from behind, he wrapped his arms around me and ran his rough tongue from the top of my shoulder to just behind my ear. My rapid breaths matched his. "We're going back to that rock."

"Can you find it?"

His fingers crept between my legs. "Oh, yes. I never lost it." Swoon. I could feel his warm breath in my ear. "You will tie me to it again."

"Yeah."

"And then, I am going to break free."

"Hawt, Cullen." I put my hand around his neck while he nibbled at my lobe and played me like his guitar.

"And then, I'm going to fuck you against that rock until there's nothing left of it but powder."

"Baby." My lips felt swollen and needy. I wanted… "Fuck me now."

"I may just start to like birthdays." Edward pulled back my heavy hair and placed a noisy kiss on my shoulder. "Let's break some trees." He gathered my hair into a ponytail and used it to carefully guide me over to a stand of young birches. Releasing me, he bent low to the ground and snapped off a sapling that was about two inches in diameter, close to the ground. Running it through his strong hands, he stripped it of leaves, twigs and bark, leaving it resembling an unfinished staff. "My urge to dominate you has not abated," he remarked as though he was talking about the weather. I attempted not to pass out. He would never hurt me.

With a sly look at me, Edward picked out a small grouping of trees. "Hold this for me, would you?" he asked, handing me the staff. A bit nervously, I took it. My mate bent over again, and uprooted several tall saplings, which he moved to an open area of the woods and planted lickety-split. This left two trees behind. He stood close to them; each had about a six inch diameter. There were two more trees behind them, with perhaps a two-and-a-half inch diameter each. All four seemed very high. Looking pleased, my mate turned to me and gestured for his staff. I gave it to him.

Without warning, he took that staff and used it to spear the tree at his front left, about one yard off the ground. He looked for all the world like a javelin thrower as pictured on a piece of ancient pottery. Except, of course, his dick was bigger. Grabbing the staff as though it was a rope for tug-o-war, he pulled it past his hip and embedded it deeply in the other large sapling, so that it now rather resembled a hurdle.

Purring with satisfaction, he smoothed his hands over the stripped piece of wood, and yanked on it, looking at me like I was something to eat. The wood bent a little, but did not budge.

"What do you think, Bella?"

"Dead," I supplied weakly.

"Come here."

My feet took me to his side.

"You have to let me know if this makes you dizzy." He manoeuvred me in front of him, and took me around the waist.

" 'Kay."

"When I turn you, you're going to grasp those saplings near the bottom. Can you do that, Bella?"

"Yes."

My world turned upside down, and I flung out my hands and grasped the smaller saplings a few inches from the bottom, so that I was hanging practically upside down. For a moment, I expected Edward to rest my pubic bones against his makeshift barre so he could take me with my legs dangling. As always, I underestimated my spouse's ingenuity. He lifted me up until my feet touched the pole, and then shifted them until each was braced between it and the corresponding tree. I clung to it with my toes: my limbs sort of made an X between the four trees, with my head down and my bum up. It had to be the most awkward, unusual position ever. He exerted gentle pressure on my hips until my legs were bent, and I was halfway to doing the splits. Now I looked like an inverted frog.

"I like the view," he purred. I bit my lip, feeling very exposed. "Are you uncomfortable?"

"N-no."

"Good."

The next thing I knew, his tongue was stroking inside me, and I was sobbing incoherent thanks to God. Edward used all his fingers and his mouth to bring me to a mind-blowing climax. Dangling upside down, I felt my body zing with energy.

"You okay in this position?" he checked, sniffing me as he had back in the day when he gave me surreptitious health check-ups.

"Ye-ah. M-m-more!"

"Good." He slapped my behind, pacing behind me. "I'm going to fuck you now. One hundred percent vampire style."

"Yea-o-o-oh!" I moaned, losing my breath as he leaped against the trees and planted one foot and one hand on each of the four. Letting go with his right, he pulled up my legs until I was hanging completely upside down, and helped me rest my feet against the small trees. With a leopard-like snarl, he crab-walked down the trees and impaled me on his body until our pubic bones were firmly mashed together. I couldn't recall ever feeling him so deep. Smoothly, he pumped out and in.

"There," he purred, suspended above me. "What do you think of that?"

"S-so good! You're hitting new… Unh! I can feel all your ridges!"

He paused to brace my toes more firmly around the saplings. "It's only going to get better after the baby comes, believe me."

"Uhh!" I cried out ecstatically.

"You'd better be hanging on tight, Spider Monkey."

"Yuh."

"Ready?"

"Yeah!" I howled, and then he was sliding smoothly in and out like a piston, using his arms and legs to lift him away. Leaves and twigs rained down around us as the trees shook. It was fantastic. But then it got even better.

With an enormous groan, he twisted and dove head-first so that we were chest-to-chest, his hands gripping the bases of the saplings below the spot where I was clinging. His legs stayed between mine, poised, perpendicular, and powerful as those of an Olympic pommel horse gymnast, the muscles in his arms bulging.

"Put your legs around me!" he huffed. I wrapped them around his middle and he brought his legs straight over his head. We were still connected. Completely upside-down. My head swam as my orgasm took me.

"Oh, God! Oh, fuck!" he spat over my wailing as I felt his body spasm and twitch all over. He put his hands to the ground and rolled forward slowly, taking me with him so that I ended straddling his lap. We gasped all over each other's chests, completely boneless. Edward actually looked tired. And giddy. He opened one eye and waited for my critique.

"You didn't tell me you've been watching Cirque du Soleil."

"Mm," he grinned, twizzling up some of my hair around his finger. "You never know when that sort of thing is going to come in handy."

"Ah. I want you to install a stripper pole in our lair and entertain me on a regular basis."

He gave me his trademark smirk. "That can be arranged. But I'll expect you to return the show once you're liberated from the bump."

"Can you show me some more of those gymnastics?"

My mate blinked muzzily at me. "Emmett's just inside my range. He wants to get home before dark so Rose can do her homework."

Groaning, I sat up. "Better go find our clothes. If I have any left to put on, Shredder."

Edward's eyes danced as he reached up to tuck my hair behind my ear. "Not yet."

I smiled. "No?"

"It's my birthday."

I rested my chin on his chest. "What more do you want?"

"Licking. Lots and lots of licking."

"Oh, happy birthday…"

He chuckled as I bent to kiss his chin.

~o~o~0~o~o

It was a further 93 minutes before we staggered somewhat drunkenly toward Emmett's Jeep. To my annoyance, Edward had all his clothes. All I had were my t-shirt and Edward's boxer briefs. My other clothes were unsalvageable.

"Oh, Jeez!" Rosalie huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Would you rather that we'd saved it for home?" Edward asked slyly.

"Incorrigible."

"I learned it from Emmett," he grinned.

"Way to go, Little Brother," Em enthused, smacking Edward on the ass.

"Thank you, Emmett."

I crawled into the back, tugging irritably on the waist of Edward's Calvin's. "You won't be able to wear these now," I groused. "I've stretched them beyond repair."

"I have plenty more. Honestly, you'd think Titch doubted my laundering skills with the number of garments she supplies."

"She says Calvin Klein is going to stop making that style of underwear in about ten years, so I wouldn't knock it," Rose told him.

"No!" Edward looked shocked. "They mustn't. I'll buy stock in it or something."

I rolled my eyes. "And now, I've wrecked a pair."

Edward wrapped me in his arms. "Oh, Bella. I like seeing you in them. You should wear them for sleep shorts until Ren gets in the way. You look really hawt."

"TMI!" Rose snarled. "What happened to your clothes, anyway, Bella?"

I beamed. "Edward shredded them. He's not very patient when it comes to-"

Rose threw her hands in the air. "Okay, there is a moratorium on talking 'til you two have bathed. I can't believe you got in the Jeep without washing! Your breath is -ugh!"

"You've come a long way, Eddie," Emmett praised.

"Thanks!"

"I need a Time Out!" Rose snarled.

In the back seat, Edward and I bumped fists.