For Katalina, because you asked. I am so honored. This is the out take referred to at the end of chapter 29 of the story. I hope you enjoy.
Thanks to Liz for prereading and MidNight for her betawork. Lady V made the banner which is on my group page on facebook. Thanks so much!
"What have you done, Edward? Where are we going?" Bella asked; her voice somewhat nervous.
I pulled her a little closer into my side as we continued to walk slowly forward. "Trust me. You'll like this."
"First, you say we are having a late dinner. Then you ask me to put on my jammies, blindfold me and tell me we are going somewhere, which is obviously out of the house. In my jammies, Edward. I'm in my jammies. Not sure how me liking this comes into play," she huffed.
Grinning, I bent down and kissed her nose. "I'm in my jammies too. Patience."
When we reached the sliding door, I frowned. Bella wasn't the steadiest on her feet, even on a flat surface. I wasn't sure how she'd do blindfolded and walking over uneven ground. Bending over, I scooped her up into my arms, grinning at the little surprised gasp that escaped her lips. "Hold tight, QB," I whispered into her ear before stepping outside and walking over to my surprise. For a minute I stood silently, just holding her and enjoying the feeling of having her close. I so wanted to give her this night. I watched as she caught the aroma of the burning wood from the fire pit in front of us.
"Why do I smell a wood fire?"
"Maybe 'cause we're standing in front of one," I chuckled. "Take off your blindfold, Bella." Her hand reached up and snagged the blindfold off and her reaction was everything I hoped for. She clapped her hands as she surveyed the scene in front of her. "Oh, Edward!"
In front of us was a crackling fire, burning in its contained pit. Beside it were two stools to sit on and a large blanket for sharing to stay warm. Two coolers held drinks and her favorite treats she had talked about. I had a few candles burning in lanterns which cast a warm glow around the edge of the camping area. Not far from the fire, was a small tent set up, which contained a blow-up air mattress and a double sleeping bag, ready for us whenever Bella was tired.
I lowered her back down on her feet as she looked around. "I don't understand? What is this for?"
I smiled as my fingers drifted along her cheek. "I wanted to give you a special evening. I thought maybe you'd like a camp night like you told Emma and I about at dinner a couple weeks ago. I thought we could have our own 'warm memory night' to share." I smiled nervously. "I hope I got everything right."
Turning, she threw her arms around me. "It's perfect. Thank you," she whispered against my neck.
Wrapping my arms around her, I held her tightly. "I want to give you all your good memories over again, Bella. I want to share them with you. And make new ones, just for us."
She pulled back and looked around, grinning widely. Going over, she peeked into the tent and checked out the fire and little camping stools beside it. "Well, there were always two sleeping bags with my dad," she deadpanned. "But I suppose I can make do with sharing only one with you."
Leaning down, I picked up one of the coolers. "I brought s'mores stuff for you," I grinned as I waggled my eyebrows. "Surely that should help make the task somewhat more…acceptable?"
"Melted chocolate and marshmallows always make everything better, Edward."
I held out my hand, laughing. "Come sit with me and I will feed you."
Smiling widely, she sat down next to me. "You have a feast hidden somewhere, Edward?"
Grinning, I opened one cooler and pulled out a package of hot dogs and presented them to her with a flourish. Reaching down, I handed her one of the long skewers. "Your favorite, I believe you said?"
She laughed and grabbed the skewer. "There had better be mustard," she warned as she threaded a couple of hot dogs onto the long blade and held it over the fire.
"Pfft. I listen to you," I huffed and brought out the bottle.
Leaning forward, she kissed me warmly. "You do, Edward. And you use what you hear so well. Thank you for this." She paused, her eyes shining in the firelight. "I love you."
I kissed her again. "I love you. Now, get cooking our dinner, woman."
She snorted. "These are mine, Edward. Cook your own."
I gaped at her. "But I only have two skewers. One is for marshmallows!"
"This is camping, Edward. You reuse your skewer after for dessert."
I frowned. "I'm not sure that is completely sanitary, Bella."
She laughed and picked up the bottle of mustard. "Neither is this, Dr. Cullen," she chuckled as she squirted mustard on the one end of the rather crispy hot dog she had been holding over the fire and bit into it. She smiled widely. "But it's tasty."
I had to laugh as I watched her. She was utterly adorable. I grabbed my skewer. I was hungry and she was right. It looked tasty.
Replete, I sat back and watched Bella assemble another one of her s'mores. "I can't believe you can eat another one of those," I teased, as I added another couple of logs to the fire and placed the protective dome on the top.
"Says he who ate six unsanitary hot dogs," she laughed.
I chuckled. "I forgot the buns. I had to fill up on something."
"Dishishwatyoufillsupon," Bella mumbled and grinned around another mouthful of her sweet treat.
I laughed. "I won't ask you to repeat that." I leaned forward. "But I think I deserve a bite."
Bella looked at me, and then the last bite of her s'more, her lips twisted with indecision. She sighed and leaned forward, offering me the gooey tidbit. I opened my mouth to take it and suddenly she whisper-yelled, "Psyche!" Grinning, she pulled back and popped the morsel in her own mouth, chewing quickly, as I glared at her. Then she proceeded to lick her fingers as she watched me.
"Not funny, Swan. That was the last one."
"I'll make it up to you."
I sniffed. "Not sure you can."
Suddenly, she was on her knees in front of my stool, her hands wrapped around my neck, pulling my face down to hers. I felt her silken tongue trace my bottom lip and with a groan, I opened my mouth for her and instantly forgot about the stolen s'more. Her kisses were so much better. Passionately, her tongue dipped and stroked inside my mouth and I pulled her up against my chest, my hands delving under her shirt to her warm skin. The usual sweetness of her mouth was heightened with the flavor of the chocolate and marshmallow and I groaned lowly as the flavor burst in my mouth. Minutes passed before we broke apart, both of us gasping for air. Cheekily, Bella grinned up at me, her hand gently stroking my face. "How was that for making it up to you?"
I shrugged. "Meh." Then, grinning, I leaned forward, kissing her softly. "You, my girl, are far sweeter than any dessert known to man. I'll take your kisses any day." I sat down on the ground behind her, pulled her between my legs and wrapped us both in the blanket, enveloping us in soft warmth.
"This is the best evening, ever, Edward."
I pulled her tighter to my chest and we sat quietly, watching the flames. The evening air around us was cool, but wrapped up together we were both warm, happy and content.
"We should do this with Emma."
I nodded against her head. "We will. She would love it." I chuckled. "Well, the roasting and eating junk food part and giggling part. Not sure how much she would love the sitting and being quiet part. Not anymore." I paused. "Thank God."
Bella's voice was soft. "Tell me about her when she was a baby, Edward."
I drew in a deep breath. "I fell in love with her the instant she was born. I know babies aren't supposed to see when they are first born. But she opened her eyes and I swore, Bella, she looked at me. She saw me."
"She knew you were her daddy," she whispered.
I smiled against her head. I liked to think so.
"She was such a good baby. She hardly ever cried. I loved everything about her. How she smelt and felt when I held her. How she looked as she was falling asleep. How she blinked like a little owl when she woke up. Her sweet smiles and the little sounds she made, especially when I talked to her. I loved spending time with her, watching her start to discover the world around her. She made me see things differently."
"I don't know," I replied thoughtfully. "Like they were new again. The wonder on her face when she discovered something for the first time…it just made me see things in a new way. I loved hearing her laugh and coo and how excited she got when I would come through the door." I paused with a smile. "She would gurgle and pump her fat little legs and throw her arms up like she was reaching for me to pick her up." I sighed quietly. "She always made me feel so loved."
"She still gets excited when she sees you, Edward."
"She made me a better person, Bella."
"I think you already were a good person."
I squeezed my arms in a silent hug of thanks. "Maybe. But I wanted to be more for her. Growing up, I was always Esme & Carlisle's son, Edward. Then when I went to medical school I became Dr. Cullen to people. To Tanya I was…well…nothing. But to Emma, I was her world. And I wanted to be a better doctor to make her proud. To be able to take care of her. I wanted to be a good father."
"You are a good father."
I kissed her head. "I'm getting better at being both a good dad and a good partner, I think."
Her hands squeezed mine. "You are...definitely."
"What was your childhood like?" she asked after a few moments of quiet had descended.
"Pretty normal, I think. Happy. My parents were pretty well off, but we lived a fairly average life. I went to public school, had to work for my allowance, follow the rules, be polite. I was lucky though and Mom didn't work outside the house, so she was there when I left in the mornings and got home from school."
"Ah, no Busy Bees for you?"
I leaned down and nibbled softly on her neck. "No, I was waiting until I grew up for that pleasure." I grinned as she shivered and I pulled her closer. "Cold, QB?"
"No," she whispered breathlessly and I smirked.
"What about you?"
"Well, we didn't have a lot of money, but we were happy. I mean, I never did without, at least that I ever realized. There was lots of love and I think that's all that mattered really." Bella sighed against my chest. "Mom worked part-time at the library and Dad was the Chief of Police. When I was old enough, I babysat." She chuckled. "I babysat a lot."
"You always had a mothering instinct, didn't you?" I whispered tenderly.
"I think so. I loved looking after children. Being with them. Playing with them. I loved seeing them smile and be happy." She paused briefly. "I never liked school much. I never fit in. Unlike so many of the other kids, I loved learning and reading. But not the dramas that went on around me, which only got worse as I got older. All the backstabbing and fighting and clichés." She turned her head and glanced up at me. "I was never in the popular groups at school. I was considered too different. But, when I was with children, they loved me, for me. Their affection was honest and real. I could laugh and be silly with them and not be made fun of for it. My parents never pushed me to be anything but me. They realized I preferred the company of children over kids my own age, and as long as I was happy they were okay with that." She was quiet as she glanced down. "I never stopped, even after I started dating Mike. He liked kids as well and even helped out sometimes." She smiled shyly as she tilted her head back against my shoulder and looked at me. "All that babysitting paid for my education."
My fingers traced down her cheek as I imagined a teenage Bella, happily surrounded by her little playmates, loving them with her warm spirit, and the thought made me smile. Another image came to mind, of her at school, the odd one out. Never quite fitting in. I hated that thought and I leaned down and kissed her gently.
"I wasn't in with the popular kids either."
Her eyebrows shot up. "Really?"
I shook my head. "Bella, I was this tall when I was thirteen. I wore glasses. I was skinny and shy. I did a lot of volunteer work. I had friends but none of us were with the 'in crowd'. We hung out, played video games and went to a lot of movies."
"What?" I teased. "You thought I was always this handsome and debonair?"
Bella tried to cover her snort with her hand, but I caught it, and growling, I grabbed her around the waist, tickling her as she giggled. She twisted and squirmed, trying to get away from me and I turned her, pushing her to the ground carefully, holding her hands over her head and hovering over her as she gasped in breathless laughter.
"I'm hurt, Bella," I whispered as I lowered my head, nibbling on her neck. "You don't think I could have been a sexy teenager?"
"I'm sure…you were…adorable." She breathed out the words through her giggles.
"Adorable?" I grumbled into her neck. "Men don't like to be called adorable, Bella."
"I'm talking about when you were a boy."
I huffed against her neck and felt her shiver as my breath drifted over her. "I doubt I was adorable, even then." My tongue traced the shell of her ear. "What about now, Bella? Am I adorable now?" I grinned against her soft skin. "Or just…sexy?"
"Well, um, sometimes, yes, you are adorable," she whispered.
I drew back. "When?"
"When you're playing with Emma. You lose yourself with her and I love watching you."
My breath caught. I did love playing with Emma and making her laugh. I shrugged sheepishly. I guess I didn't mind being adorable if Bella liked it. Grinning, I told her so.
She leaned up, her mouth just barely touching mine. "I do like you adorable at times. But, you're also incredibly sexy and hot, Edward. I really like you like that…"
I covered her mouth with mine, groaning at the contact. Every time I kissed her, I felt that rush of desire. I could never get enough of feeling her lips moving with mine; of her taste or how responsive she was to me. My tongue caressed hers gently, savoring her sweetness. I lowered myself down, pressing my body against hers. Bella's arms tightened around my neck and a low moan came from her throat. For several minutes, nothing existed but her and I. Aside from our passionate sighs, the crackle of the fire beside us was the only sound. The heat from her body was all I could feel. The taste and scent of her was all I was attuned to. I pulled back, looking down at her, and as her passionate gaze locked on me, I gently traced her lips with my fingers. "I love you, Bella."
Her mouth curved up into that smile. The one only I ever saw. Warm, sexy and loving. Her eyes were filled with promises of the future. Our future. They regarded me with such intensity, it took my breath away. "I love you, Edward. So much."
Teasingly, I leant down and nipped on her chin. "Given our current position, that is a very good thing, Ms. Swan."
I smiled at her shy giggle, and I rolled over, drawing her back against my chest. The ground beneath us was cold, but the fire kept us reasonably warm, and I liked lying in front of it with Bella. We were quiet for a few minutes. "The fire is dying. Do you want me to add some more logs?" I murmured, "Or, do you want to go to bed?"
She shook her head. "I want to stay here."
"Okay." I threw another log on the fire, and then lay back down and pulled her tightly against me, wrapping the blanket snugly around us, against the cooling night air. As long as she was here with me, I was fine with more campfire story time.
"Tell me more about you, Edward." Her voice was quiet, her hand stroking mine. "When did you decide you wanted to be a doctor? Did you always know?"
I rested my chin on her shoulder. "No. When I was younger I wanted to be Superman."
Bella giggled. "Lofty ambitions."
I nodded. "I know. I wasn't happy when I realized it wasn't gonna happen."
"Did it just hit you one day?"
I sighed dramatically. "No. It sort of came to me painfully."
"I, ah, tried jumping off the roof, wearing my Superman outfit my mom had made me for Halloween. I saw the neighbour's cat in the tree and I was sure I could swoop down and rescue it. My dad had been cleaning out the gutters and left the ladder up while he went inside for something. I climbed the ladder and took a running leap." I paused and shook my head. "I was sure it was mind over matter. If I concentrated hard enough, I could fly like he did. You know, 'able to leap tall buildings in a single bound' sort of thing."
"The cape too," I mused. "Mom had said something about it being magical. I may have taken that too literally."
Bella dissolved into giggles, her shoulders shaking with mirth. "Your poor mom."
I snorted. "My poor mom? I was the one who had a concussion and a broken arm and spent the next few months in a cast."
"I'm surprised you weren't even more injured than that."
"Well, turned out the cape was rather magical. It caught on the branches of the tree and helped break my fall. Unfortunately, the material wasn't meant to hold the weight of a seven year old hanging from a tree branch indefinitely and it tore and I fell before anyone could get to me."
I leaned over against her ear. "Scared the damn cat so badly, he fell out of the tree though. Mission accomplished. Superman to the rescue."
Bella's giggles turned into snorts of laughter.
"Your parents must have freaked out."
I nodded sadly. "I wasn't allowed to be Superman anymore. Or go on the roof. And I think I was grounded for a while."
"Literally, I imagine."
I nipped her ear playfully. "Think you're clever, don't you?"
She tilted her head up. "Pretty clever. I got you, didn't I?"
I kissed her warmly. "You did indeed. Now be quiet and let me finish my story."
"Sorry, Clark Kent."
"So, the day of the flying incident…"
"Or the crashing incident is more like it."
"Bella," I growled and she stifled her laughter.
"As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted," I sniffed, "I had to be taken to the hospital. And the doctor there was just…amazing. He knew all about Superman and all the other super heroes and he talked to me about them as he examined me. He explained everything he was doing and how the X-rays worked just like Superman's special vision and answered all my questions as he set my arm. He even made the cast blue and red like Superman for me. He was such a great guy and he kind of became my newest hero." I chuckled. "He even convinced my parents not to be so hard on me."
I felt her smile against my arm. "So you decided to become a doctor like him?"
I nodded. "We sort of bonded that day and as strange as it sounds, we became friends. He was like a surrogate uncle to me. He became friends with my parents and spent a lot of time with us. He stayed at the hospital and became head of the ER. I bothered my mom so much she finally allowed me to become a volunteer on the weekends and I did that all through my teens. At first all I did was visit the kids on the wards and take them comics or read to them, but eventually I began volunteering all over the hospital. I spent hours with Aro listening to his stories and soaking up all his knowledge. He always had time for me." My voice became softer. "He once told me he had lost his son when he was around my age. I think I sort of helped fill a void in his life."
"You've never mentioned him before. Is he…still alive?"
I shook my head sadly. "No. His wife left him after they lost their son and he spent all his vacation time volunteering in places that needed doctors desperately. My dad and I even went with him to Africa once when I was older. The experience changed me forever, I think. I can't even describe how profoundly it affected both of us," I sighed. "He was killed while in Africa by a roadside bomb. He was doing what he loved best; helping people, making their lives better. He died just after I got into medical school." I was quiet for a minute. "I still have the letter he wrote me when I called him to tell him I had been accepted. It's one of my most treasured possessions."
Bella turned in my arms. "He would be so proud of the man you have become, Edward."
I smiled down at her. "I hope so."
Her hand cupped my cheek. "I know so."
I nuzzled her palm. "I always wanted to make a difference for people. To help them." I paused. "Not on the same level as Aro. He told me once I was too emotional to go to places like Africa or the Middle East. That I needed to devote myself to those who needed me closer to home. And he was right."
Bella's voice was soft. "He never had a home after he lost his son and wife, Edward. He coped by giving his life to those less fortunate. That was his way of dealing with his loss. And you were no doubt a wonderful gift in his life. He saw the ability you had for wanting to help on a different level." She smiled gently. "He sounds like he was a brilliant, wonderful man."
"He was. I still miss him. He was a friend, a mentor and my family, all rolled into one."
"Will you tell me about Africa?"
I kissed her forehead gently. "I will. But not tonight."
Her fingers ghosted over my cheek. "I didn't mean to make you sad."
"You didn't," I assured her. "I want to share everything with you. I want you to know me, Bella. All about me. And I want to know all about you. But I don't want to discuss Africa tonight, please? It would be…too much, right now."
"Okay," she smiled sweetly. "Why don't you show me how Superman kissed Lois Lane then?"
I grinned. That, I was happy to share.
"It's late," I murmured against Bella's head. "We should move into the tent. The fire is almost out and it's getting cold."
She nodded drowsily against my chest. "Okay."
We sat up and I felt her shiver. "Did you want to go inside? It's colder than I expected."
She shook her head. "Then all the work you did for camping night is for nothing. I'm sure you can figure out a way to warm me up, can't you, Edward?" she whispered playfully.
I grinned and stood up, pulling her to her feet. "I somehow doubt that the kind of warming up I have in mind was ever part of your other camp out nights, Bella."
She smiled up at me. "Neither was making out by the fire. I am kinda liking these new additions."
I pulled her towards the tent and we both scrambled to get into the sleeping bag and out of the cold night air. I threw the warm blanket we'd been cuddled under over top of us for added comfort. The air mattress provided some cushioning from the hard, cold ground, but compared to the plush mattress I knew was inside the house, it was a poor substitute. My back was already sore from lying on the unyielding ground for a short period of time. I groaned.
"I think I'm too old for camping out, Bella."
She laughed. "My Dad was way older than you, Edward. And he did it."
I pulled her against me. "Well, I'm man enough to admit your dad is probably a lot tougher than I am."
She tilted her head up towards me, her eyes dancing. "Do you really want to talk about my Dad right now, Edward?"
"No," I growled. I covered her mouth with mine, happy to continue the Superman kissing lesson from outside. I loved kissing her. The warmth of her responses always brought out a desire I had never experienced before with another person and filled me with passion. This time was no different and as our tongues swept together, the heat between us grew quickly. The chill of the sleeping bag and hardness of the ground under us no longer registered. All that mattered was the woman in my arms, and how she felt clasped against me and tasted as my tongue explored her sweetness. Soon, the sleeping bag felt too constrictive as our hands began moving against each other, and gentle, cautious caresses grew bolder as our need for each other became acute. I felt Bella tugging on my shirt and I sat up, regretfully breaking away from her lips as I pulled the shirt over my head, gasping as the cold air hit my skin. She sat up and I quickly helped her discard her clothes and then hovered over her as she lay down, her hands pulling my sweats down as I nestled between her legs, the warmth of her soft skin welcome against my own. I pulled the down-filled sleeping bag around us, wanting her to feel only the warmth of the blanket and the heat of my body pressed against hers. Her hands reached down, stroking my throbbing erection and I groaned as my head fell against her neck, my fingers digging into the blanket under her.
"Bella," I groaned, my voice aching with desire.
Her hands continued to stroke me as my lips sought her fragrant skin, tasting and nipping, my tongue swirling moist patterns on her collarbone and breasts. She gasped and arched into my mouth as my lips tugged gently on her nipple, rolling the hardened nub around on my tongue before slowly drifting to the other side, leaving a damp trail between her breasts with my open mouth. My hand slipped between us, finding her hot centre and stroking her tenderly as she raised her hips, a soft cry escaping her lips as I teased and caressed her.
"Now, Edward…please," she whimpered and she wrapped her legs around me, urging me forward. My breath escaped in a long hiss as I slowly sunk into her, the overwhelming feeling of completion once again rolling though me as we were joined in the most intimate of embraces. My mouth sought hers and our hands entwined over her head and I began to move within her slowly at first, then building into a steady, deep rhythm as we rocked and moved together. Blistering heat shot through me as I felt my release building and I shifted slightly, changing the angle of my thrusts, wanting Bella to come with me. She gasped my name loudly, her hand tearing itself from mine as she gripped my shoulder, keening softly and shuddered around me. My free hand pressed deeply into the mattress as my body began shaking and my orgasm tore through me. Her name ripped from my throat as I thrust powerfully, emptying myself inside her, but then both of us stilling suddenly as a loud pop exploded by our heads. The mattress we were wildly writhing on exploded and almost instantly I felt the hard ground against my knees as it quickly deflated under us. I stared down at Bella whose startled eyes were huge in her face.
"Whoops," I grinned. "I think I broke it."
A smile tugged at her mouth. "You don't know your own strength there, Superman?"
Reaching down with my hand, I tenderly stroked the hair away from her damp forehead and kissed her. "You okay, QB?"
"Better than the air mattress."
I laughed. "Guess I owe Jake a new one."
Bella snickered. "He won't let us live this down, you know."
Bending down, I kissed her deeply. "So worth it."
Her arms wrapped around my neck, pulling me down to her. Gingerly, I settled my weight on top of her, knowing how she liked to feel me against her. After a few minutes I rolled to the side, pulling her close. Without the protective layer of the mattress the cold quickly seeped through the sleeping bag and even wrapped up in my arms I felt Bella shiver. I sat up and grabbed my shirt, and reached around under the sleeping bag to find my sweats and yank them on, then kneeled and gathered her up into my arms.
"Edward? What are you doing?"
I kissed her. "New memory, Bella." I half stood and maneuvered us out of the tent before striding quickly towards the patio doors. "Camping night is done. It's now warm shower, then comfy non-exploding mattress time."
She laughed. "I'd be fine, Edward."
I shook my head and paused outside the door, setting her on her feet and opening the latch. I lifted her inside. "I can't stand the thought of you cold or uncomfortable, Bella." I grinned. "And I am not done with you, so the hard ground is not an option." I kissed her. "Go start the shower and I will be right there. I just want to make sure the fire is out and I'll bring the coolers in."
Her arms wrapped around me before I could move.
"Thank you, Edward. I loved it all; the fire and the memories and especially the exploding mattress, or at least what led to the exploding mattress. I loved sharing the evening with you like that, getting to know you even more. I can see how you became the wonderful man you are today." She paused, her eyes glinting softly in the dim light. "And I love how you care for me."
I kissed her again, sweetly. "We'll do it again. Together, and with Emma. We'll make more warm memories. But I'll buy a sturdier mattress."
She grinned and winked. "You'd better find an industrial strength one, then." She turned to head to the bathroom. "Hurry back, I'll be waiting…in the shower."
I stared after her, then ran and quickly grabbed the coolers and sleeping bags then dumped them inside, once I made sure the fire was indeed out. I grinned as I locked the door. I wasn't really upset over the demise of the air mattress. As far as I was concerned, it had been a pretty perfect evening. I had made her happy with the camping theme. We had shared parts of our lives with each other which brought us even closer. I had made her smile and laugh. I had made love to her and now I was going to join her in the shower and then settle her back into, what I now thought of as our comfortable bed, and do so again. And, this time I could take my time and not worry about anything other than her and the feelings she stirred in me.
I grinned as I made my way towards the sounds of the running water.
And another warm memory in the making.
Ah, Daddy/Docward. Love him. Hope you enjoyed. Happy New year to you all... be safe!