thank you, regina
His Royal Nickname
Royal Travel Update and Other Royally Bitchy Niblets:
Let the Royal Bump (and Ring) Watch Begin!
If there's one thing we can say for our Royal Family, it's that they get around. Carlisle and Esme may be honeymooning in an undisclosed location, but the Royal Newlyweds were spotted on several "private" islands in the Caribbean. Jealous? Don't be. Their Royal Honeymoon is a business trip, and Their Royal Highnesses will be working. (Cue porno music.) Knocking up your wife is pretty sweet as far as jobs go, but it still would be unfair of us to pretend this taxpayer-funded romantic getaway was only about sex. It's about unprotected sex. Therefore, when Carlisle and Esme return home from all that boning, we fully expect her to have some pregnancy-related meat on her bones. If not, we want our money back.
Meanwhile, His Royal Hotness Prince Edward the Ginger has also hit the road. Masen Palace released the following statement via press release:
"Having served three lengthy overseas military tours of duty, His Royal Highness Prince Edward will now assume the usual responsibilities that come with being a member of the Royal Family. His Royal Highness will remain in his current residence at Masen Palace while Apartment 1A is made suitable for his permanent occupancy."
Before posting a scathing critique of recent royal spending, we asked Masen Palace if it was "suitable" to take on a costly, seemingly unnecessary project this soon after the most expensive royal wedding our country has ever seen. We received the following response:
"Though Apartment 1A was redecorated at the time of His Royal Highness Prince John's marriage to his late wife Elizabeth, the residence has not seen significant structural improvement in over forty years. Extensive renovations are necessary to bring Apartment 1A up to current standards for both safety and energy efficiency."
For our readers who aren't fluent in Palace PR spin, that means we'll see Prince Edward out and about more, but we'll pay dearly for the privilege.
We'll also have to wait a while. Members of the Royal Family not currently copulating in the Caribbean have left for their annual gathering at Cullen Manor. It's rumored Assabella will also be in attendance. Why is this significant? Cullen Manor is usually the last stop on the Royal Engagement Express.
So what do you think we'll see first? A baby bump or a ring?
COMMENTS (showing 8 of 243)
His Royal Gayness
Sorry, but banging Esme IS hard work. I wouldn't do it if you paid me.
Bet they don't do it doggie style. Her bony ass would give him puncture wounds.
I'm so sick of hearing how Esme's too skinny, Bella's too fat. Yes, Esme is probably underweight, but if you consider how mean people have been about Bella's body, I don't blame her.
There's an ass made for twerking.
Before the whole ass thing, almost everyone here thought Bella was fat.
Cameras add ten pounds. Bella's curvy in person, but definitely not fat.
Troll E. McCavetroll
Here she goes again. Lady, if you really met Not-a, we'd have seen the pics. Royal Bitch offered you good money for your story, enough for you take at least a week off from giving handjobs outside the dive bar at the corner of 83rd and Emmerson—er—I mean your day job. But did you cash in? Noooooooo. Why? Because you're lying.
You would know ALL about that, wouldn't you? Now if I really gave handjobs for money, I'd have sold my pics and the story that goes along with them. But I won't because unlike you, I'm not a whore.
When I get out of the shower, Edward's lying on my bed clad in nothing but sleep pants and a smile.
"You could've showered with me."
"I had to come here to pack." I sit on the edge of the bed, holding my towel in place with my hand. "I figured I might as well just shower while I was here."
"When we get back, I'll have your things brought over to my apartment."
"How very charming!" I say, laughing. "Is this your way of asking me to be your concubine?"
"You mean you aren't already?" He sits up and kisses me, and though his voice was teasing, his mouth is anything but. "Do you remember what I told you last night?"
He told me a lot of things, but with the way he's touching me, I can't remember what they were.
I shake my head.
"Our first time together, I was going to give you what you deserve. Our second time, I'd give you what you need." He pulls the towel away from my body and tosses it onto the floor. "Now get over here. I need you."
I know where this is going, and I'm so not making that mistake again. I point to the nightstand. "Get a condom."
"Do I have to?"
My finger stays pointed. "They're in the top drawer."
He opens the drawer and picks up a condom. After a quick glance, he puts it back in the drawer. "Are these the only ones you have?"
"I'm allergic to latex."
"R-ight." I roll my eyes. "And polyester. And polyurethane."
He folds his arms across his chest. "You think I'm making this up?"
"You wouldn't be the first guy who—"
"Bullshit." He doesn't exactly slam the drawer, but he uses more force than he needed to.
"Great. Now you're pissed."
"Actually, I'm insulted. How could you think I'd lie about this? It's detailed in the pre-coital agreement—"
"The one you told me I didn't have to sign?"
"You must have at least read it."
I shake my head. "No."
"Right," he says, rolling his eyes. "I know you, Bella. You need to feel in control of every situation, and to you that means having all the information all the time, even if you have to snoop around to get it. Hell, you wouldn't even use the mouthwash here without reading the label. There's no way in hell you didn't read the label that came with me."
He's right—kind of, anyway. True to form, I tore into that sucker the second it arrived in my forwarded mail. The PCA was worse than anything I'd ever read in the tabloids. I couldn't pretend it wasn't all true—that there weren't women before me who'd signed identical documents, women he later took to his bed. I made it halfway through the first page before I wanted to puke. Finding out he locks up his used condoms so no one can get creative with a turkey baster had nothing on this. That's right, Bella. Any man who is neurotic enough to lock up his used condoms wouldn't invent an allergy to get out of wearing one.
"I'm an idiot." I push my hair away from my face and sigh. "I'm sorry. I haven't slept since before the wedding, and my ex always used to…" I shrug.
"Let's get you some sleep." He turns down the bedspread and gestures for me to get under the covers. "Come here."
"Will you stay with me?"
"I'm not going anywhere." He stretches out beside me and pulls the covers over us.
I lay my cheek against his chest. "I can't believe you're really allergic to latex. I was sure Royal Bitch made that up."
"You read everything they post, don't you?"
"Yep. It's where I get my daily dose of fiction."
He laughs. "Hate to break it to you, but most of what they write is true. Some of their sources are as reliable as you can get." He pauses, shaking his head. "I don't get it. Gossip blogs don't bother you, but the PCA did?"
"My jealous streak outweighed my OCD."
"Now that's scary," he says, still laughing.
"You should talk. Remember when my ex gave that interview? You wanted to challenge him to a duel."
"I still haven't given up on that."
"Why do you think it's any different for me?"
"I can get away with murder. You can't. Besides, a duel against that pussy-ass motherfucker is worth spending life in prison."
"Nice." I turn onto my back and stare up at the ceiling. "You say that, but then you make fun of me for hating the thought of you being intimate with other women? I'm familiar with the Royal Standard, but this kind of double standard is new to me."
"There is no double standard. I hate your ex because you loved him and he betrayed you. The women in my past? I never cared about any of them."
"No, you were just using them."
"We used each other. They got to enjoy the perks that go along with dating a member of my family, and I got to enjoy sex without worrying about pregnancy or tell-all books. It was the usual agreement men in my family make with—"
"That you followed standard operating procedure is supposed to make me feel better?" I sit up and look at him. "You presented me with the exact same paperwork—"
"Documents are designed to protect the men in my family from being hurt by women we can't trust. If you'd just read the damn thing, you'd understand things have been different with you from the beginning. If anyone else threw the fit you did about signing the NDA, I'd have ended any association with her right then and there."
"You knew I wouldn't talk though, not even when I disliked you. I wouldn't hurt Esme that way. Now it doesn't matter what you do or how much you piss me off. I could never hurt you, period."
"You could." His voice isn't mush louder than a whisper. "What's more, you will. I love you. Nothing can save me now."
"Except the fact that I love you, too."
"If only that were enough," he says sadly.
"It's enough for me."
It kills me to see him like this. Though I know this is a conversation we need to have, we shouldn't have it now when we're sleep-deprived and crabby.
I force a laugh. "You know what we should be doing right now? I'm sorry I killed the mood."
"Don't be." He reaches for my hand and threads his fingers through mine. "We still have some time."
I wouldn't necessarily list spending the night in the country with Edward's family a perk—and if Edward's lack of enthusiasm is any indication, neither would he. He spends the majority of the two-hour drive explaining the differences in protocol between Cullen Manor and Masen Palace. I quickly come to the conclusion that—comparatively speaking, at least—Masen Palace has no protocol, and I've spent the past twelve hours congratulating myself on learning to swim when all I've really done is dip my toe in the water.
When we finally pass through the Cullen Manor gate, I let out a long sigh.
"I can't bring you to the cottage without putting in an appearance at the manor—they're on the same estate. It'll only be for one night." He lays his hand on my knee. "I promise."
"Oh, I know. It's just a lot of stuff to remember. I'm worried I'll screw up and embarrass you."
"You won't screw up," he says, wrapping his arm around me, "and you could never embarrass me."
As it turns out, there's no time for me to mess up. The day's schedule is so highly regimented, what free time I have is spent getting dressed for whatever is next on the agenda. Between that and gender segregated activities, I get to be alone with Edward for grand a total of five minutes. I miss him so much that when he tries to sneak into my bed in the middle of the night, I consider letting him stay there. Then he presses His Royal Hardness against my back, and common sense prevails.
"Edward? I'm pretty sure we were given separate rooms for a reason."
"It's customary for unmarried couples to sleep in separate rooms." His lips move from my shoulder to the side of my neck. "It's also customary to ignore late-night hallway traffic..." He sucks my earlobe into his mouth as he pushes the hem of my nightie up over my hips. "...as well as other things that go bump in the night."
I look over my shoulder at him. "Do you go bump in the night?"
He smiles wickedly as he grinds his hips against my backside. "I'd like to."
I want him—God, how I want him—but I'm in this for the long haul. I made a good impression on his family today, and I'm not about to jeopardize that for a clandestine quickie.
"Then I guess I should ignore you—since it's..." I make air quotes with my hand. "...customary."
"You couldn't ignore me if you tried," he says, laughing.
"Someone could hear us."
"No one will say anything."
"The sheets will smell like sex."
"It won't be the first time."
"It was bad enough coming back from dinner to find my birth control pill and a glass of water laid out for me on a silver tray." I turn away from him and put my head down on the pillow. "I have to draw the line somewhere."
His body goes tense and, though he relaxes immediately, there's a slight edge to his voice. "So you're on the pill?"
"I am now, yes."
I decide to keep quiet unless he asks me to clarify, but not because he isn't entitled to an explanation. I just need time to figure out what to say.
"When did you start it?" he asks, yawning.
There's no getting around this one. I take a deep breath and get prepare for the fallout.
"This morning. But it's the end of my cycle and I took the morning after pill, just to be safe. I don't think there's anything to worry about."
I expect him to yell, but he doesn't. He doesn't even speak. I wait for what feels like forever, listening to the wind rattle the leaded glass panes in windows. When I work up the courage to turn around and look at him, I can't tell if he's angry.
He's already fallen asleep.
"I assume everything is in order."
Sound carries in castles. I'm a good ten feet down the hall from the drawing room, but I can hear Prince John's voice as if he was standing right in front of me.
I can also hear his ensuing sigh.
"We discussed this."
"We did," Edward says to him. "And you agreed we could forgo the paperwork."
"I agreed we could forgo the paperwork as long as I could argue Bella was staying in 1A to be close to Esme."
"She's still Esme's sister."
"She was Esme's sister until she started sharing your bed. Now that she's your paramour, the usual documents have to be signed."
Edward laughs. "Don't the 'usual documents' defeat the purpose?"
"Edwaaaard." Prince John's voice becomes higher pitched as he draws out the second syllable, just like my dad's does right before he loses his shit.
I don't care if none of this is meant for my ears. I'm not going to let Edward get in trouble over documents I no longer have any problem signing.
I hurry into the drawing room. "Good morning."
Edward and his father rise from their seats in perfect unison. I curtsy to Prince John before joining them at the table. A footman appears seemingly from nowhere, then retreats at the slight shake of Edward's head.
Seriously? Edward and his father were having that conversation in front of the help? It's not how I was raised, but whatever. It's too late for me to wuss out now.
Edward smiles at me as he pulls the chair next to his away from the table. "Did you sleep okay?"
"Yes," I say, taking my seat. "Thank you."
Prince John remains standing while Edward pushes my chair in. Only after I'm situated do they sit. Once again, their movements are in sync to the point they look choreographed. Hell, for all I know they were.
I turn to Prince John. "Your Royal Highness, I won't insult your intelligence by pretending I didn't overhear your conversation. Are the documents in question identical to those signed by my sister?"
"Yes." His voice is emotionless, and his face is blank.
"Thank you, Sir. In that case, I see no need for my lawyer to review them. I'm happy to sign them immediately."
Edward turns to his father. "The other one."
"You're certain?" Prince John asks.
Edward nods. "My decision is made."
"I'll see that everything is order." Prince John gestures for the footman to serve us, but his eyes stay focused on me. "I'm told you're headed to Masen Cottage."
That's it? Have we really gone from Pre-Coital Agreements to country cottages in less than two minutes?
Edward squeezes my hand under the table. "That's the plan."
"Do you ride, Bella?"
"I plan to, Sir. Absolutely."
"She's never been on a horse, Dad. I keep telling her it's not as easy as it looks—"
"Oh please." I turn to Prince John. "Sir, I don't know why your son thinks I'd let a challenge intimidate me."
"I'm just trying to manage your expectations," Edward says. "Look at Esme. After all these years, she still doesn't have a good seat."
"That's just because Esme doesn't like to do anything that messes up her hair."
Prince John's laughter catches me completely off-guard, though not because it's the first time since we sat down that he's displayed any emotion. It's rich, deep, and just like Edward's. It makes me want to forget he's making me sign documents detailing how I conduct myself sexually with his son. I let myself relax a little, but not to the point that I forget who I'm dealing with.
"She's got you there, Teddy."
"Teddy?" I repeat in disbelief.
"A nickname that goes back to the nursery," Edward says. "Don't judge."
I can't help my smile. "May I call you Teddy?"
"Only if I'm allowed the same privilege. What does your father call you? He calls Esme 'Freckles,' so it's got to be good."
"Princess," I admit sheepishly.
Edward sighs. "Yet again, tradition ruins all my fun."
"Within the family, we don't address one another by title." Prince John explains.
"That's what I'm told, Sir."
Prince John smiles. "Well, Princess. Isn't it time you started calling me Jack?"