I looked at the face in the mirror and hardly recognized the man staring back at me. I half expected to see seventeen-year old Edward's reflection but that certainly wasn't the case. My once wild, bronzed hair that attracted so much attention from the opposite sex – my wife included – was still crazy but peppered with grey. For fuck's sake, I was barely forty-two but the grey was there, a constant reminder that I was, in fact, getting older. My face had matured with some wrinkles, laugh, and worry lines. The latter two I blame on my wife and kids, both had given me lots to laugh at and more than enough to worry about.
My beautiful wife, Bella, had been the biggest source of my laughter and happiness. Had it really been decades since I'd first met her? Cliché as it sounds, we met at a high school dance and even though I was a moody bastard, she somehow fell in love with me and I with her.
In my defense, I was moody with good reason having moved part way through the school year from big city Chicago to butt fuck nowhere Forks, Washington. I remember when my parents told my brother Carlisle and I that we were moving across the country so my father could work in the local hospital. We looked up Forks on a map and it was a tiny spec with nothing to offer except a few decent beaches, which sounds promising but in a place where the sun rarely shines, what was the point of a beach if it was too damn cold to enjoy it?
I was fifteen when we moved, and left behind 'the love of my life', Kate. Obviously, I know now that she wasn't the love of my life, nor was I actually ever in love with her, but when you're fifteen, your views are slightly skewed. Kate and I had been dating for three months, and although we weren't sexually active, we were forging ahead at a steady pace. I mean, our kisses were pretty heated. I was pissed and bitter at my parents and carried on irrationally for a long while. Let me tell you though, karma is a bitch and she goes by the name Charlotte. More on my youngest daughter later.
Carlisle was sixteen and was looking forward to the move, hoping he could play off the attention a new student got when starting part way through the school year and hoped to land himself a girlfriend. Within the first week in Washington, he and Esme were an exclusive couple and had been ever since.
Chicago nerd Carlisle became the captain of Forks Football team, homecoming king and scholarship recipient to Harvard where he attended medical school. He returned to Seattle, married Esme and settled into a home a few blocks from where my family and I are now located.
Pissed at the world, I brooded and grumbled daily through those first few weeks at my new school. Texting, Facebook and Skype weren't in existence then so pretty much all contact was lost between Kate and I, not to mention between my best buddies and partners in crime, Tyler and Ben. I was devastated and my parents faced the brunt of my anger.
After an especially difficult day, my parents told me that was it, I needed to get out of the house and make some friends and they forced me to go to a school dance with Carlisle. Trust me, that was more painful than anything else they could have thrown at me. Carlisle and Esme got dressed up but I threw on a pair of ripped jeans, an old concert tee shirt and swore I was going to sit out every, single, stupid dance.
In the car on the way there, Carlisle and Esme both tried to convince me to have a little fun, telling me Forks wasn't all that bad, if I'd only give it a chance. Once we were there, I stood against the wall, arms crossed, looking very unapproachable. In fact, no one even bothered with me except for Esme. She asked – more like begged - me to dance with her friend who apparently had a crush on me, why I'll never know. Esme was so sweet in her request, I couldn't refuse.
I walked over and tapped a girl on the shoulder who Esme was pointing at. She turned around and the most beautiful brown eyes I'd ever seen were staring back at me. I stammered away, asking if she was the girl who wanted to dance with me, causing her to blush furiously. The blush was adorable. She glared at Esme and started to walk away but something told me not to let her go. I grabbed her arm to stop her, gently tugging her to me.
"Please don't go. It's just one dance; I promise I don't bite."
The beautiful girl in my arms smiled at me shyly.
"I'm Edward, by the way."
"I know. Sorry, I mean I know who you are. Because of Esme, I'm not a stalker. I'm Isabella Swan but my friends call me Bella."
"I don't have many friends here, may I call you Bella?" She bit her lower lip which was also totally adorable, and nodded. We danced just two songs together that night but it was by far the best night I'd had in Forks. There was something about the sweet innocence of Bella that made me want her all the more.
We dated all through high school and college where Bella graduated with honors (of course) and started teaching at a local elementary school right away. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree but still didn't know what I wanted to do 'when I grew up' and worked as a manager in a sporting goods store for a few years until I could figure it out.
The one thing I knew, without a doubt, was that I wanted to marry Bella. I wanted to fall asleep with her in my arms and wake up beside her day after day. As much as Bella and I wanted to live together, neither one of us were brave enough to be the one to tell her father that we were going to live in sin. Chief Swan scared the shit out of me back then and so at the age of twenty, I asked Bella to be my wife, and we were married less than a year later.
And for the record, Charlie is actually a really great guy, and I completely understand his early animosity towards me – sixteen-year old Edward - who wanted to get in his daughter's pants. Having two daughters of my own now, I understand the acrimony all too well.
Our wedding was a small garden ceremony at my parent's home, where my mother still resides. We honeymooned in Hawaii for two, sex-crazed weeks. That was my favorite part, the not having to plan sex around when our parents were working or sneak around, messing up the back seat of my car. I've always been kind of anal about my vehicles.
The honeymoon was our first experience with co-habiting so of course, those two weeks were deliriously happy, without the pressures of real life to taint our rose-colored glasses. Once we returned home, the reality of living with each other was less glorious. Our apartment was a cramped, one bedroom in a rundown building. Bella made it cozy and I don't begrudge our time there, but I am all the more thankful for gorgeous home we live in now.
They say the first year of marriage is the toughest and I certainly wouldn't disagree. That was when the haze of romance and lust lifted and reality set in. Differences that seemed non-existent or unimportant while we were dating were front and center after our nuptials. Things like leaving the cap off the toothpaste (her), not hanging up a towel after a shower (her), putting an empty glass on the counter instead of in the dishwasher (her), hogging the blankets seemed cute when sleeping over was a rarity and irritating when it was a daily occurrence (her) – are you seeing a pattern here? I will concede that my vice was drinking straight from the juice container but at least I didn't put it back into the fridge empty (her).
On top of the nit-picky things that we finally worked out, another issue was money. Bella's teaching salary and my wage at the store didn't afford us with a lot of extra money after the bills were paid each month. We each spent money on things the other deemed frivolous – electronics were my penchant; Bella's were body care products. Don't get me wrong, I like my girl clean and sweet smelling but fifty-five dollars on organic-not-tested-on-animals- made-from-exotic-flower-imported-from-Italy body butter is a bit excessive, no?
The fight and subsequent make up session that changed our course of history is still etched in my brain. Bella had come home from shopping with her co-worker and 'bestie', Alice. That woman was lucky she married Jasper Whitlock, a hot shot lawyer, because she needed his salary to afford her all the luxuries she was forever buying. I was playing a video game when Bella walked in, saddled down with bags and bags of junk. In hindsight, that was my first mistake – never call a woman's purchases 'junk'.
"What kind of junk did you buy now?" I didn't pry my eyes from the game because I was in the middle of an epic battle. Epic.
"It's not junk, Edward. I needed some new make up and a new dress for Alice's birthday party." Bella sat down on the couch beside me and riffled through the bags.
"You needed it, huh?" I snorted. "What about all the dresses hanging up in your closet?"
"Everyone's seen me in those old dresses."
"Everyone or Alice?"
"Don't start what?" I asked innocently.
"The whole Alice debate again. What do you have against her anyways?"
"The woman is a shop-a-holic and you try far to hard to impress her."
"No, I don't. I happen to like pretty things."
Alice was a bitty thing – barely five foot nothing with heels on, which she always pranced around in. She was always dressed to the nines and had a firecracker personality.
"You do so like to impress her and unfortunately, sweetheart, we can't really afford for you to go shopping like this all the time."
Bella said nothing for a few minutes and I had figured I'd won.
"What game are you playing?"
"It's called Mortal Kombat, just released yesterday, and it's da bomb. See my dude? He's digitized not hand drawn, it's so wicked. Emmett is coming over tonight, he's going to shit!" I kept playing my game as I answered, punching the buttons on the controller, trying to beat the computer.
Emmett McCarty and I had been friends since our first year of college when we roomed together. He was forever sleeping around, getting drunk and stoned but he was as close to me as my own brother. As much as I disliked Alice, Bella felt the same way about Em. She thought he was obnoxious, a point I couldn't argue with, but he was a stand up guy, despite what anyone thought. When I mentioned that Emmett was coming over, I saw Bella roll her eyes.
"He's coming over again? Am I expected to cook for you
"Naa, don't worry about it, we'll order in pizza. Take that, bitch." I gloated at the screen.
"What gaming system is that?"
I should have known it wasn't an innocent question.
"Ahhh, the new Sega Genesis 32x, baby. Isn't she sweet? Fucker."
"So, you bought a new gaming system plus a new game and plan to order in pizza and you're giving me shit about a new dress and some make up?"
Bella crossed her arms over her chest. Actually, I'd purchased three new games – Mortal Kombat, Dune and Wolfenstein 3D – but I was wise enough not to tell Bella that.
"Don't 'baby' me. If I can't go shopping, then neither can you. Why don't you use your degree, get a real job and bring some money in?"
And I meant it, that shit hurt. Bella and I both knew that managing a sporting good store wasn't my life long goal but she didn't need to rub my face in it. I tossed the controller onto the coffee table and went to get a beer from the kitchen. In the process, I tripped myself up on the cord and almost landed flat on my face. Thankfully, I saved myself and tried to walk gracefully to the kitchen; Bella followed me.
"I'm sorry," she reached out and touched my forearm as she apologized. "I shouldn't have said that."
I shook my head.
"No, it's fine. I'm mean, it's not fine that you threw it in my face but you're right, I can't work at Newton's forever."
I grabbed a can of Lucky Lager from the fridge, popped it open and took a long swig. Bella hopped up on the counter in front of me and took the can from my hand. She took a sip before she spoke again.
"Why don't you start writing again?"
There was something so sexy about the way she was sitting there, her legs slightly open, her skirt pushed up, her creamy thighs beckoned my eyes to them.
"Huh?" I shook my head and stopped gawking at her legs.
"I said, why don't you start writing again? Back in college, you used to write me poems and love letters all the time."
"Yeah, those were a little on the x-rated side, baby. What do you want me to write, porn?" I took the beer back from her and took another swig.
"Excuse me?" I looked at her incredulously.
"Why not. You're a talented writer Edward; girls would eat that shit up. I know I did. Why don't you try your hand at a writing a romance novel."
I mocked her idea with my laughter.
"Yeah, right. Edward Cullen, romance novelist. I don't think I want my name synonymous with the crap you read anyways."
My wife always had her nose in a book, sometimes a classic but usually a Harlequin type. I'd read a few pages of one out of curiosity and women may call it romance, but men call it porn.
"I do not read crap. It's actually very romantic with a little smut thrown in for good measure. And most authors use a pen name anyways. You could be, um..." Bella looked thoughtful. "E.A. Masen. Just drop the Cullen. You could be the elusive author that everyone reads but no one knows anything about. You have a great imagination and I know you could write a novel."
I placed my hands on her thighs and slid them under her skirt. I let my thumbs flitt against the cotton of her panties and felt the warmth already. I cocked her an eyebrow.
"Mrs. Cullen, you're right, I do have an active imagination. Do you want to know what I'm imagining right now?" I inched under her panties, swirling my finger in the wetness. Bella pulled her lower lip into her mouth, her signature look that drove me insane with lust, and shook her head.
"I." My lips brushed against hers. "Am imagining." I left a trail of kisses from her lips down her throat. "Fucking you, right here. Right now."
My right hand cupped her breast and I kissed her lips passionately, our tongues melding together in a way that was familiar, yet it felt like the first time with the electricity ever present.
"Well, Mr. Cullen, or should I say E.A. Masen, why don't you then?"
It was fast; it was furious and when it was all said and done Bella smiled at me as she kissed my sweaty forehead.
"There's some research for your first book."
I started writing that night, party because Emmett bailed on me because he got a better offer (sex) and partly because I had an idea that was brewing in my head. Bella had kept all my love letters and poems and although they were, in my opinion, complete and utter crap, they served as the basic plot for my first novel. The book was the story of one couple staying in contact during their long distance relationship. Most of the book was simply letters back and forth between the two love-birds, with a frantic love scene at the end of the book, oddly enough, in the couple's kitchen. Art imitating life.
I literally spent every waking moment inside my characters heads and banged out that book in less than four months on an old school typewriter (since we couldn't afford a computer) and then I sat on it. I had no idea how to get an editor let alone a publisher. Then one day Emmett brought his newest conquest to dinner. Rosalie Hale was stunning and way out of his league but like Bella and I, they had fallen madly in love. As Emmett and I played video games after dinner that night, Rose and Bella started talking.
Turns out, Rosalie was one of the higher ups in a reputable publishing company. Bella casually mentioned my story and reluctantly, I gave her my only copy. Seven months later my book was in print. Credit all due to Rosalie for calling in any favor she could manage for a book she said she knew was destined to be a best seller. 'Letters To My Love' by E.A. Masen was on the shelves and became a number one seller almost instantly.
The first novel paid me well, but not enough to quit my day job. I was not deterred and kept on writing, creating new characters and love stories and the publishers at Eclipse wanted them all. After my third novel, I quit the sporting good store and focused on writing full time. Each subsequent book paid me exponentially more money than the last. Through Bella's encouragement and 'research' I felt like I'd never run out of ideas.
Rosalie, now Mrs. Emmett McCarty, used her connections to make sure that each of my books was showcased yet kept my identity hidden. The elusiveness is still funny to those who know the real E.A. Masen – Bella, Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, Rosalie. To everyone else, I am a boring book editor at Eclipse, working with Rose which explains why I am forever locked in my office, plugging away on the lap top. With eighteen well-known books to my name, the game has been going on for twenty years, with no plans in the foreseeable future to out myself.
Not once has E.A. Masen been photographed and any 'interview' Rosalie has conducted has left the public guessing my age, gender and other pertinent information that people want to know. The best part was that Alice had no clue and she was probably my biggest fan. Jasper on the other hand, hated E.A. Masen for creating such unattainable, romantic men that he was expected to compete against.
I'll have you know, I don't only write foo-foo romance, although that's what I'm best known for in the literary world. I've been known to throw in some angst, some hilarity and definitely some good, old fashioned smut.
I still remember when my oldest daughter, Leah, was fifteen, she told me I couldn't understand what she was feeling because I wasn't a girl and how could I possibly know what a woman wanted or needed. When I snickered at that, she huffed off to her room, slamming the door in an adolescent rage. I wanted to tell her I know more about woman that she thought but I refrained and sent Bella in to talk to her instead.
If Leah ever knew that the copy of one of my more explicit novels hidden under her mattress was written by her father, she would be mortified and would probably die a virgin.
Hhhmmm, something to think about.
Really though, I write by what I know and what I know better than anything else is Bella's body. Often, my sexual exploits with my incredibly sexy wife are transcribed into a story line, the noises and sounds I describe are Bella to a tee.
Besides being my own boss and working at my own pace at whatever hours I chose, I loved my job because of all the research I have to do for my stories. It's hard to describe making love under the stars, fucking in the shower or incredibly hot wall sex unless you have a fresh picture in your head to draw from. Bella is always a willing participant and our sexual relationship is quite healthy, you could say. Thank God we have a big enough house that our bedroom is on the top floor far away from the kids so we can make some noise when inspiration strikes.
Speaking of striking, I rolled my eyes at myself in the mirror. Now I remembered where those grey hairs came from. Jacob, my headstrong, opinionated and slightly rebellious seventeen-year old son had gotten into a fist fight after school yesterday and this morning I had a meeting with the principal.
Had he been our first, Jacob would have been an only child. From day one, he was a handful. First of all, he took his sweet ass time, arriving ten days late and tipping the scales at ten pounds five ounces. Compared to the other six, seven, and eight pound babies, he was a monster and loud as fuck. All the other babies in the nursery were tiny little things with cries that were pathetic and cute. Not Jake.
Coming to visit Bella the day after he was born with
three-year old Leah in tow, I heard some kid wailing two floors away and felt sorry for those parents. The joke was on me when I found out it was my boy with the brutal lungs.
Jacob was colicky and could scream bloody murder for hours on end, a undesirable trait that lasted a good five months.
Because I could work at home, when Bella went back to teaching after ten weeks maternity leave, I became Mr. Mom. I may or may not have penned a book during those first few months called 'Why You Should Not Have Children' that Rosalie refused to publish. I hired a nanny to help out. She quit after three days, as did the next nanny we employed.
Just when Jacob stated to become tolerable, he learned to walk and talk and we had another battle on our hands. 'No' was his favorite word and never spoken, always yelled.
As the years went on, we discovered he wasn't all bad - he could be a sweetheart too. Jacob never does anything half-assed. He works and plays hard as captain of the football and basketball teams and he loves hard, too. The big lug - six feet and still growing – is a mama's boy through and through. If he could, he would still crawl into his mother's lap for snuggles and he's not ashamed to admit that either. To this day, the two of us fight for Bella's affection. But he is also extremely loyal, like a golden retriever, almost to a fault.
"Good morning." Bella's sleepy voice greeted me from behind. "You've been staring at yourself in the mirror for a long time. Just making sure you're still sexy?" She wrapped her arms around my middle, resting her head against my back. I turned, bringing her into a hug. I loved that she went up on her tippy toes so she could reach up to give me a chaste kiss.
"Morning breath," she mumbled as she wriggled out of my hug to reach for her toothbrush. As she brushed her teeth, I put the neglected cap back on the toothpaste and she smiled, shaking her head at me in the mirror. It had always been one of my pet peeves but certainly not a bone of contention now.
Speaking of bone, as Bella leaned over the sink to spit, her nightie lifted up slightly. I could see she was wearing those little panties that look like little boy's underwear and it was oddly arousing. I came up behind her, snuck my hands under her nightshirt and cupped her naked breasts.
"Edward!" Bella warned. "You have a meeting at the school this morning." I ignore her and kissed her spaghetti-strap clad shoulder.
"You have to leave in thirty minutes."
"Plenty of time."
I turned her around so she was facing me and I knelt down in front of her, tugging her panties down at the same time. I tapped Bella's feet and she stepped out of them before I tossed them away somewhere. Nudging her legs apart with my head, my fingers started teasing her ahead of my tongue and I knew she was already a willing participant. I slowly planted kisses up her leg, from knee to thigh, and then repeated on the other side. Bella's hands tangled in my hair before I lifted up her nightie and brought my tongue to her clit. It didn't take long before she was roughly fisting my hair and panting my name.
Just as things are about to get good, meaning as I was about to unzip my pants and bury myself in her, our bedroom door was flung open. We were in the en suite so we had a few seconds to compose ourselves before we were caught. Bella smiled apologetically at me as she hurried back into her panties and I tried to hide my erection.
"Mom! Charlotte lost my blue shirt, you know the one I just bought?" Without knocking, Leah came bounding into the bathroom, her long chestnut brown hair flying behind her. She got Bella's hair coloring but the unruliness of my own locks and it was a tangled mess as per usual.
"I didn't take your stupid shirt, Leah," Charlotte barked back. She inherited my bronze hair and told me daily how much she hated it. When you're fifteen, you hate everything, mostly your parents.
"Settle down, both of you." Bella was always calm, me on the other hand, not so much.
"Girls! How many times have I told you not to barge into our bedroom?" I growled, my unresolved tension making me cranky.
"This isn't your bedroom, Daddy," Charlotte told me with the typical eye roll that I witness several times in a day. Bella took Leah out of the bathroom telling her she thought she saw the shirt in the laundry room.
"You know what I meant, Charlotte. How would you like it if I barged into your room unannounced?"
"Uh, you DID barge into my room unannounced." I half expected her to say 'duh' afterwards but she refrained. She's lucky.
"And why was that?" I cocked her an eyebrow and we immediately had a staring contest. I have to say, it's really odd to stare at the female version of yourself. Her replica emerald green eyes reflected her teenaged angst and she refused to answer my question so I rephrased.
"Could it be because you had some boy over and were upstairs in your room with the door closed?" My raised eyebrows were met with dramatic eye roll number two.
"Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady. You know the rules.
No boys in your room."
"He's not 'some boy'. His name is Seth and he's my boyfriend, I told you that. Besides, we weren't doing anything."
She folded her arms across her chest and that was when I notice what she was wearing – a much too tight, ratty Mariners shirt, a short skirt and heels. The type of heels I used to call 'CFM's' back in the day - come fuck me shoes. More bothersome than the shoes are the boobs, I mean, where the hell did those come from? The outfit would be the next topic but first I had to finish what I've started.
"You are too young to have a boyfriend."
Sure, I was fifteen when I started dating but this was different – this was my kid!
"And what do you mean you weren't doing anything? Your boyfriend was dry humping you like a dog humps a pillow."
"We were not. We were kissing. Besides. you're the one who said we should keep our clothes on."
"I meant, keep them on and keep away from each other. Not keep them on and c-" I stopped myself before I blurted out 'come in your jeans'. "Never mind. No boys in your room, Char, period." I scrunched up my face and wished Bella were there with the tact that she so nicely inserted in my times of need.
Exactly like four-year old Charlotte, she stomped her foot before she growled at me. Turning on her heels, she stormed out, her shoes clicking on the hardwood.
"And you can go right back to your room and change as well. You certainly aren't going to school dressed like that."
"I hate you!"
"And I love you," I called out after her. I flashed back to the night when my parents told me we were moving and I'd shouted at them that I hated them and they'd ruined my life. My mom had told me she loved me - it sure did piss me off. I sighed as I walked out of the bathroom as Bella was coming back in.
"She really is your daughter, you know. Your mom told me you were exactly like her when you were that age."
"Yeah, yeah. Karma's a bitch."
What can I say about my karma? Charlotte was sweet as pie when she was my pig-tailed little girl. And then she turned fourteen and it had been hell ever since. Seth wasn't her first boy slash friend, and I still refused to say boyfriend because that would indicate something romantic. Last week she was telling me about some kid named Brady that she loved. She was at the age where her hormones were raging and Bella and I both knew it was time to have 'the talk' with her.
Bella and I had 'the talk' with each of our kids early on. The one where you talk to them about inappropriate touching etcetera was before they were in kindergarten; the big s-e-x talk was later.
Leah's was hard because it was our first time. Bella and I had stuttered our way through and she stopped us part way through and told us she was disgusted and couldn't see herself doing that any time soon. There is a God.
In general, Leah had been relatively good during the transition from pre-teen to teen with only a few minor hormonal breakdowns. And now, she was very much a young woman, almost twenty, dating a pre-med student named James that Bella and I both approved of. That was mostly because he wanted to wait to have sex until he was married but also because he treated her right which was equally important to us.
Jacob had giggled his way through the sex talk. When I demonstrated how to put a condom on a banana he'd laughed so hard he had tears streaming down his face and was literally rolling on the floor laughing. At that point, Bella and I stopped the conversation, deciding he was much too immature to even land a girlfriend much less have sex but told him he could come to us whenever to ask us anything.
A year and a half later, it was a different story. Bulked up, sixteen-year old Jake pulled me aside one night, holding a condom in his hand and asked me to show him how to put it on correctly. Bella had looked at me with an odd expression as I grabbed the bunch of bananas and headed into the garage. I'd cocked her an eyebrow and she got the gist of what was happening. As far as we knew, though, Jake was still a virgin.
We hadn't had the sex talk yet with Charlotte yet but after walking in on her and what's his face, Bella and I decided it needed to be very soon, as in that night. What better way to spend a Friday evening. To say I was dreading it was an understatement. I rubbed my hand over my face as I thought about how it wasn't all that long ago when she was in diapers. Shit. Time was passing me by too quickly. I glanced over at the clock as I thought about it and realized I had to get going.
"Is Jake up yet?" I asked as I grabbed my iPhone and shoved it in my jacket pocket.
"He's just finishing breakfast. I hope they go easy on him today, he was defending his sister's honor after all." Apparently some kid called Charlotte a cock-tease. Life with teens was never easy.
I gave Bella a lingering kiss, letting her know without words that I was going to collect on the orgasm I was owed later that day before I ran downstairs to grab Jake so we could get to the meeting on time.
My apologies for any and all mistakes. I don't have a pre-reader or beta (yet) this story hit me and I sat down and wrote several chapters in one sitting because I couldn't let the characters go. I'm pumped to share this with you - I think it's going to be fun. I hope you'll leave a review and tell me your thoughts!