Disclaimer: The original characters and plot of the Twilight Saga are the property of Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The storyline of A Family like Ours is mine.
**WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS EXPLICIT SEX/BDSM SCENES, LANGUAGE – STRICTLY NC-17!
A FAMILY LIKE OURS: A SEQUEL TO PEOPLE LIKE US
Bella's gaze shifted between the road to the luxury private spa where she and the girls would be spending the next twenty-four hours or so and her oldest daughter, who seemed to be lost in her own world. She had been like that the entire day so far and Bella wasn't sure if she should be worried or happy for her.
Thankfully the twins were happy to be back in 'civilization' as they called it and neither of them had wasted any time in powering up their iPads to read as Becky was doing or to catch up with friends on Social media as Andrea was doing.
"So, how was the rest of your evening?" Bella asked for the second time. This time her comment seemed to penetrated the fog surrounding Lexi because Bella watched as Alexis blushed a deep red as she stared at her tightly clasped hands.
"Okay" she mumbled.
Bella grinned, "Just 'okay'? I would have thought, given what Ali said this morning..."
Alexis' head shot up, "What did she say? What did the boys tell her? Please tell me that Tiffany didn't"
Bella almost felt bad for teasing her daughter but given the fact that she, Ali and Rosie had been on the phone gossiping at seven that morning, she just couldn't feel too bad.
"Okay, I'm sorry, Alice didn't say much. She just happened to mention that Chris said that a certain young man seemed to keep a very close eye on you last night and we wondered…"
"What were you and the other two gossips 'wondering', Mother?" Alexis huffed as she folded her arms.
Honestly! You would think that her mother and her two aunts were sixteen, not going on fifty the way that they carried on! They were always giggling and nattering, okay well Aunt Rose didn't really giggle, thank God, because two giggling middle aged women were more than enough!
Bella giggled and Alexis rolled her eyes as she stared out of the window. It was going to be a long night.
"Okay, so is he even cuter close up?"
Alexis stared at her mother in shock but then she couldn't help the bark of laughter. Bella looked like an excited teenager about to get some juicy details. Too bad there weren't any to disclose.
"He is very good looking." Alexis said quietly.
"Does he seem nice?"
"He seems to be very nice and he's not self-absorbed like most guys my age."
Bella sighed, Edward was going to freak out completely, she thought.
Edward had been hoping that Rio's job with Cullen Inc. was just a 'holiday' job and that he was still in college, but it seemed as his hopes were about to be dashed.
"How, um, how old is he?" Bella asked as casually as possible.
Alexis rolled her eyes, "Mom, don't start…"
"I'm not starting, Honey! I only saw him for a couple of minutes, but I liked what I saw and it's pretty obvious that you like him, so of course I want to know about him."
Alexis sat tight lipped for a moment before she sighed and turned to face Bella, "Okay; here is the four-one-one on Mario Santorini: He is twenty-nine, and will turn thirty on November twenty-fifth, which makes him a Sagittarius," she said in a playful voice although she was praying that her mother didn't run them off the road. Alexis braced herself for an outcry and she was shocked when she heard her mother say, "Go on!"
Fuck, he is thirty! Edward is going to have a heart attack and I'm not too far behind, Bella thought as she forced herself not to react to Alexis' bombshell.
Alexis laughed, more with relief than anything else, "Okay, okay! He has two older sisters, Inez, who is thirty-five, married and has two adorable little boys. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and Nina, who is thirty-two, divorced and has a daughter. She lives in Seattle. Rio's parents, Antonio and Camilla own a couple of bistros on the west coast. His parents came to the US from Spain when they were first married. Rio finished school a year early and joined the SEALS. He was injured in Afghanistan two years ago and Emmett recruited him when he was still in the hospital. He loves animals and children, and he loves that our family is so huge, because he had something like thirty-seven first cousins in the States and Spain. He wants to have at least four children and he wants to start his own IT firm one day, he has a degree in Computer software and electronics." Bella's felt sad at the tone of pride and affection in her daughter's voice.
It had happened and Edward didn't even know. Alexis had fallen in love.
Maybe Edward did know and that was why he had been so clingy the night before and this morning before the girls had driven away.
Her baby was in love.
Bella bit her lip to try to keep her tears at bay, but it was useless and she felt Alexis' hand cover her arm as she tried to wipe the wetness from her cheeks.
"Mommy, don't…" Lexi whispered.
Bella shook her head and let out a trembling laugh, "Oh Baby, it's okay, you know that this is just me." She shrugged, "I am happy for you, sweet girl, I really am and I look forward to getting to know your Rio. I'm just a little sad that you are all grown up."
Alexis felt herself blushing as she pushed her hair behind her ears, "Oh Mom, I don't know what I feel! This is just new and exciting and a little scary, but I like him, I really, really like him."
She cast a sidelong glance at her mother who was sniffing and smiling like a silly goat!
"Oh Alexis, you feel a lot more than like, my girl, and it's okay to take this slowly, well as slow as you can."
Bella reached out and took Alexis' hand in her own, "Just let it happen, sweetheart."
Alexis nodded and she let out a breath, "I will."
Edward looked around the campsite and grinned. Three luxury six-man tents had been set up around the huge fire pit at the campsite.
He could hear a heated debate taking place about who was sleeping next to whom in the boys' tent.
His and Bella's tent was slightly apart from the other two tents and he noticed that while no one had commented his three older sons had scrunched up their noses in disgust when he had suggested that they place their tent on the other side of the fire pit.
Edward had just finished blowing up the air mattress and had finished putting his backpack into the metal lockbox that they each had to keep clothing, toiletries and other things safe from animals and he made his way over to the boys' tent.
Jackson was cussing quietly under his breath as he dumped his bag into his lockbox. He had struck his thumb with a damn mallet earlier and it throbbed like a bitch!
"Max? Do you want to put your bag in my trunk?" he said as he looked to the camp bed next to his where Maxwell was rolling around with Mooki.
The little boy turned around and Edward bit back a laugh. He looked as if he had been crawling in the mud, with streaks of dirt on his cheeks, and his hair plastered to his face.
"Yep! I get to sleep next to you, Jack!" he said as he carried his half empty bag over to his brother.
Jackson smiled fondly and helped him gather the rest of his stuff up and pack it back into his bag.
"Do you want me to put Mooki in the trunk as well?"
Max pursed his lips as he looked from his 'friend' to the box, "Will he get scared in there?" he asked quietly.
Jackson knelt down and motioned him over, "Come here Buddy. Mooki won't be scared in here. Look we will make a soft bed for him so that he can sleep while we are outside. You don't want him to get wet do you? Or lost?"
Max shook his head vigorously, "No! If he gets lost, it would be weally, weally bad!"
Jack smiled patiently, "So, should we let him sleep here?"
Max nodded and put the fluffy cow in the trunk. He watched carefully as Jackson closed and locked the lid before he nodded in satisfaction.
Edward smiled to himself as he pushed away from the doorway, "Hey guys, who's ready to do some fishing?"
On the other side of the tent, Nick was already picking up his fishing rod and tackle box. Charlie and Carlisle had spent hundreds of hours over the past almost twenty years introducing their grandsons and daughters to their shared love of fishing.
They had travelled far and wide to expose the children to their passion and so far they had been ice fishing in Alaska, salmon fishing on the Colorado River, they had even done some fly fishing in Mississippi!
Jackson and Max picked up their own rods and tackle boxes and walked past Edward. Edward looked over and saw Samuel lying on his camp bed staring up at the ceiling.
"Sam?" Edward said quietly and he wasn't really surprised when his son shot him a dirty look before he turned back to staring at nothing.
Edward walked to where the others were gathered. Their favorite fishing hole wasn't too far and Edward trusted both Jackson and Nicholas to take care of Max.
"You boys go on ahead, okay? Sam and I will be along shortly."
Nick and Jackson exchanged looks but they just nodded and said nothing.
"Come on Max, you can help me carry the cooler box so that we can bring back dinner." Nick said.
Max nodded and they walked off.
Jackson lingered behind, "You going to be okay, Dad?"
Edward smiled sadly, "As your mother would say, 'I need to put on my big-boy pants'." They shared an identically crooked smile.
Edward patted Jackson's shoulder lovingly, "You go on, Son, we won't be too long."
Once the three of them had disappeared around the corner Edward turned to retrace his steps, only to find Sam standing at the doorway of their tent.
His eyes held a dearth of emotions. Apprehension, anger, hurt, scorn, all were reflected in his darkening hazel eyes.
Edward nodded and walked over to the fire pit. He began building a camp fire that would keep them worm and cook their dinner.
"Okay son; let it out – you are almost busting a gut trying to keep everything in." Edward said mildly.
Sam clenched and unclenched his fists as he glared at his father's bent head. All night he had thought of what his parents had said; of the apology that they had given them and it just wasn't enough.
For months Sam had watched as his parents had acted like two prize fighters in the ring – making an effort to pretend that everything was 'normal' in front of others, but barely sharing the same space. His father always looked worried as he hovered around his mother and she would brush off his effort to 'baby' her.
With a frustrated huff Sam folded his arms over his chest, "Why Dad? Why did you do it? Why did you run away to wherever you went? Week after week? And when you were home, you did a piss poor effort of actually being there! So, just tell me why have you had such a change of heart?"
Edward pushed his own temper down. That was one of the traits that Samuel had inherited from him – a flash quick temper.
He stood up slowly and turned to face Sam. His heart was sickened by the fact that most of the hurt that had been caused was his own fault, but it was too late to dwell on that now. He had to clear the air once and for all.
"Samuel, I have never stopped loving your mother. We have had our problems, like a lot of couples do, but we never stopped loving her or you. As to the 'why' I ran away," he noticed that Sam's eyes widened at his caddice and nodded, "Oh yes, I was running away and the 'why' was because I had underestimated your mom's strength. I was scared that she was going to have a break down again if I put too much pressure on her. I know now that I should have spoken to her and voiced my concerns, instead of treating her as if she didn't have a brain in her head, but I was so damn afraid that she was no strong enough to handle any added pressure. I was just happy to see her enjoying life again."
Sam watched as Edward paced backwards and forwards around the fire pit, the fire long forgotten.
"Why were you so afraid?" his voice had lost some of its bitterness.
Edward looked up surprised that Sam was there. His dark thoughts had pulled him back to a time when Rene's evilness and madness had dogged them.
"I want to tell you, but I would like to tell your brothers as well. Can we wait until Max is asleep tonight? I promise that I will tell you everything."
After a moment, Sam nodded, "It seems fair."
Edward let out a breath that he had not been aware that he was holding in.
"Thank you." They stared at each other, unsure of what to do next until Sam gave Edward a slight smile, "Shall we go and see if Nick has been frightened by any fish yet?"
Edward chuckled and they quickly got their rods and began to walk down the pathway.
"You know, I think that he is the most squeamish of all of us?" Edward murmured.
Sam laughed, "Oh I know that he is! It's funny when he actually catches something and almost throws the fish and rod to anyone else to take it off the hook! Grumpy says that he takes after Mom."
"He does! You should have seen her the other day when Max and I went tadpole catching; she sounded like a stuck pig with the way that she was squealing."
As the man and almost-man walked along the path, they both felt some of the tension and animosity that had been plaguing them leave.
That evening, after everyone had eaten their fill of hotdogs, pre-packed salad and chips, because the fish were nowhere to be seen, they took turns in showering and changing into shorts and T-shirts and Edward settled down next to Jackson as they played a few songs on their guitars.
Once Max had fallen asleep and had been tucked into his sleeping bag with his Mooki, Edward put his guitar away and he sat down in his camping chair.
Sam handed him a mug of hot chocolate and Edward smiled his thanks before looking at his oldest sons.
"You guys aren't kids anymore and Bella and I realize that perhaps it is time that we tell you more of our history firsthand. It doesn't excuse my past actions in any way, but it may help you to understand where I was coming from."
"You know that Grandma Sue isn't Bella's mother?"
"Well, Bella's 'mother' was or is, Renee Dwyer-Swan. She left Bella and your Grandfather when your mom was as young as Max."
There were a few shocked sounds but Edward ignored them and carried on, "Bella was emotionally abused and neglected by both of her parents for a long time because you know that Grumpy Charlie was an alcoholic."
Again they nodded.
"It took some time but Bella repaired her relationship with Charlie and to cut a long story short, Bella found out that Renee wasn't her biological mother."
"What the fuck, Dad?" Jackson gasped.
Edward didn't reprimand him for his language, but instead he gave them a brief synopsis of how Bella and Charlie had discovered that Renee had essentially stolen Bella and the events that had happened after that.
Nicholas leaned forward, "You never heard from her again?"
Edward shook his head, "No because Charlie and Seth would throw her ass in jail if she ever attempted to contact us. Anyway, Renee is a diagnosed Manic Depressant and a schizophrenic and so when your mom was diagnosed with Pre Natal Depression, I'm afraid that both Charlie and I panicked, especially Charlie when he saw that your mom began to develop some of the same symptoms that Renee displayed when she was pregnant with her baby. Then Charlie heard about that lunatic, Larry Calvino, or 'doctor Landenberg' as he was known and he just fucked things up even more."
Edward had forgotten about his hot chocolate and jumped when Jackson gently nudged him and handed him a beer. It wasn't nearly strong enough, but Edward was grateful for the cold liquid. He wasn't a fan of underage drinking but he suggested that he and Nicholas join him and he gave Seth an apple cider.
When they had settled down again, Edward stared sadly at his sons, "I felt so guilty for making your mother go to that nutcase and I was so scared that she was going to have another breakdown that I took it upon myself to make some changes to our lives without consulting her. When she started to get better, I pulled away to give her 'space' but honestly I was scared shitless that I was going to set her off again."
Taking a deep breath Edward looked up at his sons, "A few weeks ago, someone sent your mom and I photographs separately of each other. Neither of us has ever been unfaithful but the sender made it seem as though there was something going on. I am not proud of myself, but I panicked and flew home the next day. I had already made up my mind to come home and sort this out once and for all and the photos just pushed that decision along." He gave a snort.
"I suppose that in a way, we have that trouble maker to thank. We still don't know who sent them, and that is one of the reasons why we have additional security this summer. That and also, there is something going on with Max that just doesn't sit right."
Edward quickly explained Max's behavior over the past weeks and he fetched the tracking devise cuffs that had been made for each member of the family. He handed them each one and held up his arm to show them his as he explained what they were and how they worked.
"I know that this might seem like 'overkill' but each one of us could be a potential target and so everyone in our family will wear one of these. Please humor us and do not take them off for whatever reason."
Finally Edward sat back and regarded the three young men opposite him.
He told them of his plans to go stay home for the immediate future and to remain in semi retirement for the foreseeable future and they were shocked but happy to hear that Edward's career was not as important to him as they were.
Jackson looked thoughtful, while Nicholas looked angry and Sam looked upset as they digested everything that Edward had told them.
"Does anyone have any questions or do you have something to say?"
Jackson looked thoughtful for a moment, "Can I talk to you about this privately when I've had some time to think about things?"
Edward nodded, "Anytime, Son, and that goes for all of you. Don't feel that you can't talk to me – I promise not to judge you and I will always try to listen to what you have to say."
Jack nodded as a look passed between him and Nicholas.
Sam looked at his father, "I wonder what or who spooked Max?"
Edward shrugged, "I'm not sure, but if any of you could get some information out of him, it would be helpful, although his fear has also been a blessing in disguise because it got us thinking about personal security and a 'worst case scenario'. Just to set your minds at ease, these trackers will not be activated unless there is a threat or something happens that puts one of you in hams way and we can't find you through normal channels."
Nick began to chuckle, "Well, that's a relief! For a moment I thought that you were going to be checking up on us and tracking us down to the BD clubs that we frequent!"
His attempt at humor failed dismally when Jackson began to choke on his beer and the moment was thankfully forgotten as beer shot out of his nose. The moment was lost after that and Nicholas quickly disappeared into the tent with Sam, leaving Jackson and Edward to clean up and put their rubbish in the special bags and the metal crates that sat to one side of the campsite.
Edward decided to break the uncomfortable silence that had settled around them as they secured the refuse bin, "Sooo, would you like to expand on Nick's earlier comment?" he asked quietly.
Jackson cringed. He had never been more uncomfortable or nervous and he could feel the film of perspiration on his back as he forced himself to straighten up and look his father in the eyes as he gave a short nod.
They made their way back slowly but Edward led the way to a small clearing adjacent to where their tents were, that gave them more privacy. He sat down on one of the tree stumps that had been fashioned into stools and Jack sat down next to him.
"Dad… I – I don't know what to say." Jackson blinked at the sudden prickling sensation behind his lids. His father meant the world to him and he never wanted to disappoint him or let him down.
With a deep breath he continued, "I am… a… um, fuck this is difficult... Okay! I am a d-dominant…" he finally stammered as he stared wide eyed at Edward.
Edward felt a rush of emotion as he stared at his oldest child. Jack was like him in so many ways. He was a thinker, an over achiever, a musician and he had one of the most compassionate souls and Edward could feel his anguish from where he sat. Without thinking he reached out and put his hand on Jackson's shoulder.
"Thank God! For a moment I thought that you were going to tell me that you want to quit school and then I was really going to have to kick your ass!" Edward said.
His comment broke the tension as they shared a smile.
"I am a dominant." Jackson said again and this time he remembered what his uncle had told him and he lifted his head high and looked Edward in the eyes.
Edward smile at his tone of determination.
"You have spoken to Jasper."
Jackson frowned, "Did he tell you?"
"He didn't break your confidence," Edward hurried to assure him, "but he did tell me that I needed to connect with you and Nicholas."
Jackson relaxed slightly.
"So, I am glad that you told me. Have you had any training or mentoring?" Edward asked as he struggled to get his mind around the fact that his almost twenty years old son had just informed him that he was a Dom.
Jackson took a calming breath as he told Edward everything regarding the secret that he had been carrying around with him for so long. He was encouraged by how calm and encouraging Edward was and soon he was pouring his feelings out. He spoke of his hopes in finding a partner that he could share his chosen lifestyle with, his fears of being rejected by his friends and family if the truth should ever come out. Edward chuckled at that comment and he told Jack with some amusement that there were not many 'vanilla' relationships in their family or in their close circle of friends.
Jack smiled at his father's comment, but he was happy and relieved that Edward was talking to him so openly about his choice. They spoke for over an hour and Edward agreed with Jasper that Jackson should talk to Demetri and he should set up a meeting or get references closer to his campus, if that was what he preferred.
Jackson wasn't sure. On one hand he really wanted to focus on school. He knew that he had to keep his grades up in order to stay on the Dean's list and to maintain his scholarship but on the other hand; he wanted to find other people who were similar to himself.
He voiced his concern to his father and Edward surprised him once again by making a suggestion.
"Why don't you phone Demetri and get a couple of references from him in or around Baltimore. You can set up a couple of appointments with mentors for when you go back to school but in the meantime, you can meet with Demetri who is a very good mentor and teacher. He is fair and kind to his wife and he will be able to teach you the basics and the thought process of being a Dominant in a D/s relationship."
Jackson nodded, "That sounds like a good idea. How long does the training last for?"
Edward shook his head and laughed ruefully, "Son, training on equipment, aftercare, first aid can take about two years or so, but learning how to be a good, thoughtful, kind, loving and patient Dominant never ends. If you are blessed, you will find a partner that will satisfy you sexually, stretch you mentally and challenge you every day to be better than you were the day before."
For a moment Edward looked sad as he stared out at the darkened forest.
Edward looked up and Jackson was struck by the vulnerability in his father's face, "If you ever get the chance to have that with someone, then you take it with both hands, Son. Never take her for granted, don't ever let her think that she was not good enough or strong enough for you. Submissive's are way stronger than we are. Women especially so. They give us their submission willingly and they live to please us and they do so without asking for anything in return and therein lies the power because this woman, this submissive is all that you think about. Her humble submission is the greatest gift in the world and you must never take it for granted or even let her think that you take it for granted."
Jackson knew without a doubt that Edward was talking about his mother and although a part of him was repulsed by his father's openness, he listened as Edward continued to expose his true feelings.
"Even if your submissive is never your girlfriend, you treat them with affection and respect. Build trust between you and communicate all the time." Edward shook his head as he snorted.
"I should have taken my own advice." He looked up, "But I didn't. I allowed my own insecurities to creep in and instead of treating Bella as my partner and equal. I made decisions that were selfish and thoughtless even though I tried to tell myself that I was only doing it for her! I ran away like a scared fucking rabbit instead of falling on my knees at her feet and telling her how scared and lonely I was! I hid myself in work and music and I replaced her loving with long lonely nights. Instead of honoring our union, I brushed her submission aside and deemed that she wasn't strong enough to be a sub but I was the chicken shit who was too scared to face the tough times with her!"
Edward gripped his hair as he blinked the moisture from his eyes, "I thank God every day that she forgave me."
They sat quietly for a moment until Edward wiped his face and turned to face Jackson.
"Even when you have to discipline your submissive, in whatever manner you have agreed upon, do it with love and respect. Never strike out in anger, and just like a parent with a child, you must maintain your control at all times. If she loses control and you do the same, all you will accomplish is to fill her with fear that you will not be able to control yourself when you have to. If she says 'no', or safe words, no matter how close you are to losing it; you stop immediately and without any questions or repercussion."
Jackson nodded as he held his father's gaze. He had never felt closer to the man that was his father than at that moment. Edward had let all of his masks down and had shown his complete vulnerability. His honesty was refreshing and a little daunting. If he could make mistakes, then anyone could.
Samuel stood in the shadows staring at his father and brother.
He had heard almost every word. He hadn't meant to listen to their conversation but he had been unable to sleep and had gone in search of Jack. The mummer of voices had alerted him to their location.
At the sound of Jack's voice he had stopped walking and had stayed in the shadows, listening.
He wasn't stupid; he knew that his brothers were Dominants; at least he knew that Jackson was one. He knew what that was as well because his brother's ex-girlfriends little sister had propositioned him some time before and had asked him if he was 'also into BDSM like his brother.'
It had not been difficult to do some research and although he had read a lot of crap on the internet, he had been able to find a couple of websites that made sense and didn't only highlight the sex part of BDSM.
Some of it was really odd, but for the most part, the philosophy behind BDSM and other alternative lifestyles made some sense to Sam. He had even had a couple of conversations with his 'uncle' Garrett about the lifestyle and he had wondered if his parents also practiced BDSM but he had dismissed those thoughts because although his mother was more soft spoken and gentle, he had never witnessed any display of submission from her. It was easier to believe that his father was a dominant because of his self assured temperament and quiet control. Jackson had always been the same way.
As he listened further, he heard his father comment that it was time for bed and he watched the two men move towards the tents.
"What are you doing, Sam?"
Samuel jumped about three feet into the air and only just managed to stop himself from screaming like a girl. He whirled around to face Nick who was staring at him with stern disapproval.
Nick cocked an eyebrow, "Well?"
"I…err... Um…did you…. Well… I err…shit…" he stammered as he rubbed the back of his neck.
Nicholas look pissed as he stared at his younger brother.
What a clusterfuck this was, he thought as he watched Sam trying to gather his thoughts. Nick was so not ready to have this conversation with his younger brother, but short of making his father aware that Sam had been eves dropping, it was going to have to happen.
"Nick, look man, I didn't mean to listen to them," Sam whispered frantically.
Nicholas' eyebrows shot up to his hairline, "Really? Because it seemed as if that was exactly what you intended when you hid in the bushes and crouched down like some ninja."
Sam's shoulders slumped, "Okay, fine! So what now? Are you going to tell Dad?"
Nick shook his head, "I should tell Dad and Jack and they would be pissed at you for not respecting their privacy, but I think that we have had enough shit flying around for the last few days and weeks, don't you?"
Sam readily agreed.
"But this doesn't mean that you just need to keep what you heard to yourself, okay? That conversation was private and we were not supposed to hear any of it. If Dad or Jack wants to share it that it their prerogative but until then just keep your mouth shut."
"I wasn't going to tell anyone."
Nick's hard gaze didn't waiver, "No one. Not even Danny or Chris and definitely not Mom."
At that Sam chuckled, "Definitely not Mom."
Nick smiled his signature crooked smile before his eyes softened, "Do you have any questions about what you heard? Are you upset?"
Sam shrugged, "I dunno. It's a lot to think about."
Nicholas nodded, "Listen Sam; it doesn't mean that Mom is abused, okay? I don't know what you have heard about BDSM or what you know, but Dad isn't a mean bastard who beats up his wife…"
Sam blanched at his words, "Dude! I know that! Fuck, like anyone in our family would ever stand for someone who did that! Grumpy would have shot his ass off years ago!"
The two boys shared a grin.
Sam sobered up first, "Look; I am not all that shocked. I mean I knew about Jack and I have had my suspicions about you and although I didn't know about Dad, it really doesn't surprise me much. I know that he and Mom are obviously quite," He shuddered dramatically, "sexual!"
He gave Nicholas a sly look, "And it's not as if I am completely stupid either. I've done some research."
It was Nicholas' turn to be shocked, "Please tell me that you aren't a Dom?" he almost shouted.
"Shut up!" Sam hissed.
"Sorry, but fuck it, Sam, Mom would have a fucking stroke if you turned out to be like Jack and me!"
"Why? What makes me so 'special'? Or do you not think that I'm 'man enough' to be a dominant?"
"Settle down, Bro. It's nothing like that, I was just thinking of the odds. Two out of seven kids in the lifestyle aren't bad but if there were three, I think that Mom would stroke out!"
Sam laughed softly, "Yeah, I think that even Dad would have a tough time dealing with that – three out of four sons…"
After a moment, Sam put his hand on Nick's shoulder, "Seriously though, I am okay with this. I have even wondered if it would ever appeal to me, but no, I don't think so. I don't have the same need to control everything in my life or my surroundings that you share with the rest of the Cullen males. I also have no desire to let someone have free reign on my ass with a whip or a dildo!" he finished with a grin.
It was Nicholas' turn to be shocked.
Sam was not one to make crass or lurid jokes about sex, "Well, little brother, it seems as though you are a dark horse after all… maybe there is hope for you yet to join us on the 'dark side' after all!" Nick wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Sam laughed a bit louder this time as they turned towards the campsite.
"Nah, I think that I will leave that up to you. Come on, we'd better get some rest because you have a 'conversation' to have with our father in the morning."
Nick groaned, "Aaagh don't remind me!"
They said good night to each other at the mouth of the tent and each crawled into his own sleeping bag with a lot to think about.
Neither had noticed that Edward's tent was open or that he was wide awake.
Edward wished that Bella were there to talk to him and calm him down.
He could not believe that all three of his oldest children now knew that he was a Dom and that Bella was his submissive! He wanted to laugh and cry at the same time – thankfully Sam had not followed in his footsteps, but he knew that he had knocked both himself and Bella off their pedestals completely with his little revelation that night.
"Oh well, let the chips fall where they may, I suppose." He murmured to himself as he closed his eyes.
His last thought was of his wife.
He wondered how her day with the twins and Alexis had gone.
Bella finished blow-drying her hair and she quickly tidied up the bathroom before she made her way into the suite that she was sharing with her girls. She and Alexis were sharing the master suite, while Elizabeth and Andrea were in the adjoining bedroom.
She was tired but pleasantly so. From the moment that they had arrived at Four Feathers Spa & Resort, they had been pampered and spoiled. After they were shown to their rooms, they all changed into bathing costumes, robes and matching slippers, much to the delight of the twins, who thought that it was decadent to be in their 'pjs' in the middle of the day.
They had begun with massages and face masks before they had all taken a mud bath. After they had showered the mud off, Bella and Alexis each had a wax treatment, while the twins had been treated to a special hot oil treatment for their hair, which had suffered the effects of the summer sun and water.
Lunch had been served around the pool on the covered terrace and they had all been so relaxed that they had spent the afternoon reading and playing cards.
After dinner that night, the twins had barely made it to eight thirty before they were fast asleep. She and Alexis had watched a bit of television before Bella had excused herself to shower.
She noticed that Alexis was busy on her phone as she lay sprawled on one of the two queen sized bed's in their room.
Bella smiled as she remembered how she and Edward texted each other. In the beginning of their relationship, they could not stand to be parted for more than a few hours.
Bella slipped into her bed and smiled as she picked up her own phone.
There was a text from Edward.
*Missing you like crazy! The boys have all settled in for the night. See you tomorrow, I love you.*
Bella's fingers flew over the small key-pad - *We had fun today, but I miss you too. Love you Sparky*
Bella put her phone down and looked over at Alexis. She was lying facing Bella with a teasing smile on her face.
"How is Daddy?"
Bella grinned, "He's fine – missing me. How is your beau?"
Alexis rolled her eyes, "This isn't the sixteen hundreds, Mom!"
Her brown eyes twinkled, "He is fine, by the way." She said softly.
Bella smiled, "I remember when I first met your dad. He made my stomach do flip-flops."
"Does he still make your stomach do flip-flops?" Alexis asked quietly.
Bella nodded as her cheeks turned pink, "He always has, even when we were going through our 'bad patch'. There was never any question that Edward makes my toes curl!"
Bella saw a shadow cross Alexis' face, "What is it, honey?"
Alexis bit her lip before she answered, "What I don't understand is that you and Daddy are best friends, and anyone that sees you two together can see that you can barely keep your hands off each other."
She sighed sadly, "I just don't get how you have this incredible life together and yet you stopped talking to each other. I mean, if it can happen to you, then it can happen to anyone…"
Bella sat up abruptly, "Oh Lexi! Everyone has problems at some stage or another. Life isn't picture-perfect, sweetie. With your dad and I, well it's always been complicated. Communication has never been easy for us. I tend to withdraw into myself and your father tends to make these stellar and sweeping decisions without talking me and without thinking the consequences of his decision making though!" Bella let out a rueful laugh, "We just got so busy with our lives that although we 'talked' all the time, we just fell into the classic trap of forgetting to talk about us, as a couple and as individuals."
Bella wrapped her arms around her knees, "With Paul's help, we have made some adjustments and changes to our lives. There is no easy solution, Lex, love is messy and tough times will come, but we have promised to talk every day, either first thing in the morning or at night – but we talk about ourselves. Not about you kids or the bills or upcoming events or the next show or the next script, sure we make time for that but that is outside of our 'alone' time. Your father has decided to be a stay-at-home-dad for the next six months and he won't be travelling without me anymore, even if it is just for a couple of days."
"Wow, those are big changes, Mom. Are you happy about them?" Alexis knew how important music was to her father and she just couldn't imagine him not working.
"I'm very happy. This is what we need to do. We need to put each other first again. Our lives are changing so quickly. You children are growing up so fast and one of these days, it will only be the minis at home."
Bella turned to smile at Alexis, "I miss you guys so much and I love nothing more than when you are all home for the holidays, but I know that we aren't going to have that all the time either. Jack is going to be busier this year and so are you and now that you have Rio, there is going to be even less time with you! Nick is at Stanford and it's only a year before Sam is gone…"
Alexis shook her head, "Mom, you always seem to come up with the worst case scenario in your head! Even if our lives are busy, do you honestly think that we won't come home for Christmas, or summer? I mean, sure, school work may get in the way and I know that Jack is going to look for an internship, but Mom, home will always be with you and Daddy."
Bella nodded as she sniffed, "I know."
They smiled at each other before Bella reached out and she tucked a strand of hair behind Alexis' ear, "I am here for you, Alexis. No matter what you need to talk about and even though Tiffany Ann is your best friend, I just want you to know that you can always come to me to talk."
Alexis stifled a yawn and Bella smiled, "We should get some sleep, we still have manis and pedis tomorrow as well as our hair appointments and then we have to meet the boys at the campsite."
Alexis flopped down in bed and groaned, "Oooh! Twenty-four hours with the boys! They are going to want to clean fish and stuff! Yuk!"
Bella switched the light off as she chuckled, "It's only one day and then I'm getting married again!"
"Are you excited?" Alexis' asked quietly.
Bella snuggled against her pillow and smiled in the dark, "I won't lie to you; I was nervous at first because although Ali and Edward are siblings; Edward has no color coordination at all!"
After their laughter died down, Bella continued, "I think that it is one of the most romantic acts that your dad has ever done and even though I'm curious, well more than curious, I can't wait to see what you all came up with. I'm sure that you, Nana, Sue and Rose did a fantastic job."
There was a moment's silence.
"Would it be okay if I asked Rio to be my date?"
Bella bit her lip as she thought about Alexis' request.
"Baby, I'm not sure that would be a great idea. I mean Rio was brought here to do a job and if he is a guest at the ceremony, that would mean that the security team are one person less and you don't want to put a strain on his working relationship with his colleges do you?"
Alexis sighed, "I know that you're right, but I don't want to start this relationship hiding him away as if he is someone to be ashamed of!"
"Have we ever told you who to be friends with, Alexis?"
Lex cringed as she heard the disapproval in her mother's voice.
"No," she admitted almost sulkily.
Bella nodded against her pillow.
"But," Alexis groaned.
"But you know that your father is going to hit the roof, right?"
"He has to get over it, Mom! I'm a grown woman!"
Bella smiled, her almost twenty year old daughter sounded more adolescent in that moment than ever before.
"Lexi, you are your daddy's little princess and no man is ever going to be good enough for you, especially one that is eleven years older than you! You will need to cut him some slack. You know that he is going to over react and you just need to be prepared for it and whatever you do, don't respond to his dramatics!"
Alexis had turned over onto her stomach and she was groaning into the fluffy pillow.
Bella chuckled, "Sorry, Kid, but over the next few weeks, you need to prepare that man for something akin to the Spanish Inquisition."
"Why don't we see how things go after the ceremony? If he isn't on duty, then perhaps he can join you guys during dinner – wait, there is dinner isn't there?"
Alexis laughed sleepily, "Do you not know Nana?"
Alexis grunted as she turned over again, "I hope that Rio has a strong stomach and nerves of steel, because this isn't going to be pretty…"
Bella snorted sleepily as her eyes fluttered closed.
It was going to be a very interesting few weeks.
"Daddddyyyy!" Max 'whisper-shouted' as he crawled into his father's tent. He could see Edward sleeping on the huge puffy mattress and he really wanted to climb up onto it but his bossy brothers had told him to let his daddy sleep!
Humph! What did they know, anyway? He was his daddy's 'little boss' so he was sure that it would be okay if he didn't make a noise…. Hmmm… see? Nothing happened…
Just then Edward's eyes shot opened and he roared as he picked Max up and pulled him over his chest.
"Aaaahhh! Help! Save meeeee!" Max tried to shout but he was laughing too hard as Edward blew noisy raspberries on his neck, face and chest.
Edward grunted and snorted as he 'ate' Max's baby sweet skin.
"Grrrr! Arrrgh! Who is this in my bed?" he growled.
Max giggled helplessly, "I-it's M-Max, D-ddddaddyyy! S-stop tickling!"
Edward laughed as he hugged Max on his chest, "Well, Maxwell, you were not supposed to wake Daddy up, right?"
Max huffed noisily but he nodded with a slight guilty look on his face, "But, but Daddy, I'm your helper, wemember?"
Edward kissed his forehead, "I remember, son, but I also remember hearing your brother give you some instructions." Suddenly Edward realized that it was very quiet outside and he sat up with Max on his lap, "Where are the boys?"
Max fidgeted as he tried to get off his father's lap but Edward held him firmly, "Maxwell; where are your brothers?"
"We was getting wood, and I got tired…" Max whispered into his father's chest.
Edward let out a short sigh of frustration, "Did you tell them that you are coming back to camp?"
Max stuck his bottom lip out. It was not turning out to be a very happy morning, he thought grumpily.
Just then Edward heard the other boys shouting Max's name and with a pat on his bottom, Edward sent Max outside to tell them that he was safe.
Edward quickly took the opportunity to put a pair of jeans on over his boxers and he put on socks and shoved his feet into his trainers just as world war three began outside his tent.
"MAX! YOU IDIOT! WE WERE LOOKING FOR YOU!"
"There you are! Why did you run off?"
"Why did you let him run off? You were supposed to be watching him!"
"Why me? He isn't a baby!"
"YES HE IS!"
"Am not a baby! Daddddyyyyyy!"
Edward rolled his eyes as he pulled a T-shirt out of his bag and pulled it over his head.
"HEY! HEY!" he shouted as he stood up outside.
The others turned to look at him as if they had forgotten that he was there.
Max's lip was trembling as large tears fell down his cheeks.
"Nicky called me a baby!" he said as he threw himself at his father's legs.
Edward sighed as he sat down and held Max between his legs. After a warning look at his older sons he looked at Max.
"Who were you supposed to walk with Max?"
Max sniffed loudly, "Sammy"
Edward nodded, "Did you tell Sammy that you wanted to come back to camp?"
Max shrugged as he kicked the dirt.
"Maxwell? Answer me please."
"Nooo, but Daddy, I told him to pick me up"
Edward stared into Max's eyes until Max dropped his gaze.
"Max, look at me," Edward said quietly.
Max's tears fell faster. He knew that he had done the wrong thing but he had been so bored and he was tired of walking and Sammy had refused to pick him up…
"Max, this is important. You remember how you have been worried about getting lost or stolen over the past few weeks?"
"I wemember, Daddy."
"Well, when you are out with your older brothers, sister, cousins, aunts or uncles and they tell you to stay with them, you have to do what they say because otherwise they will think that you are lost, even if you aren't and then we are going to start looking for you! Do you understand?" Edward didn't want to frighten him, but he needed Maxwell to understand that he had to obey the older members of their family.
Max nodded slowly, "I think so… even if I'm not lost, they will think that I am lost and then they will wowy about me?"
Edward nodded, "That's right, and then we will set off all sorts of alarms and there will be lots of people looking for you."
Max sucked his lip into his mouth as he thought about what Edward had said. He turned around and saw that his brothers didn't look angry anymore.
He looked back at Edward, "I'm sowwy Daddy." He whispered.
Edward nodded and wiped his tears away with his thumbs before he nodded and motioned behind him, "I think that you owe some other people an apology, don't you?"
Max nodded and he walked hesitantly over to where Sam was helping Nick to light the barbeque for breakfast.
Max pulled on Sam's shorts, "Sowwy Sam."
Sam knelt down so that he was eye level with Max, "I was scared when I turned around and you were gone, Max."
Max's eyes widened, "Weally? You were fwitened that I was lost?"
Sam nodded seriously, "Of course, Max. You are our brother and we love you and no one can ever take your place, Buddy."
Nicholas came to kneel down next to them and Jack quickly walked over to kneel on the other side of Max.
"I was worried too, Max," Nick said.
"I was worried most of all, because I'm the big brother of all of you and it's my job to keep you safe. If something had happened to you, I would never forgive myself." Jackson said quietly.
"You called me a baby." Max said with a hint of his former pout.
Edward smiled because Max had Bella's pout down pat and he knew how to use it!
Jackson nodded, "I know, but I didn't mean that you are a baby, like a real baby; I meant that you are The baby of our family. Just like Aunty Ali is the 'baby' of Daddy's family." At Max's frown Jackson explained, "It's not that she is a baby, but she is the youngest. I should have said that. You are the youngest and because of that we all need to look out for you."
Max looked over at Edward, "Do you and Uncle Em look after Aunty Ali?" he asked curiously.
Edward nodded, "We sure do! Even now, if Aunty Ali is sad or upset and she comes to us, then we will look after her. That's our jobs as big brothers."
Max thought about it for a moment before he turned to look at his brothers.
"I didn't mean to make you fwitened. I will listen to you, even if I'm not a weal baby." He said.
After getting a hug, Edward turned everyone's attention towards preparing and cooking breakfast and he wondered for the hundredth time how Bella managed the squabbling and bickering every day.
When he laughed aloud, and Nick asked what he was laughing about, Edward told them what he had been thinking.
Over breakfast, Edward decided to share some of his stories of their younger days with them.
When he had stayed home with the children, they had been much younger. The twin girls had only been six. Samuel had been thirteen, while Nicholas was fourteen and the older twins had been fifteen.
It had seemed easier to maintain order when they had been so young, Edward thought. Alexis had been a godsend as she had helped with Andrea and Beth, while he had always been able to count on Jackson to make sure that Nicholas and Sam had been ready for school.
As they finished preparing and cooking breakfast, they swapped many stories of Edward's parenting efforts which had them laughing uproariously.
Max listened to their stories for a while until frowned and he asked innocently, "Where was Mommy, Daddy? Why didn't she take us for ice-cream after Lexis's soccer practice like she does now for Drea?"
Edward smiled sadly, "Well, honey, before you were born, when you were still a little bean in mommy's tummy, she was sick and so she had to stay in bed for a long time, so that's why I took care of you."
Max thought about that for a moment before he picked up his half-eaten egg and bacon sandwich and nodded, "But Momma's better now, huh Daddy?"
Edward nodded, "Yep, she is all better, but that brings me to something that I wanted to talk to you all about."
When they were looking at him, Edward realized how nervous he was to tell them about his plans to stay home. It was Sam's last year before college and Edward wondered how he would accept the new turn of events.
"Well, your mom and I have been speaking and I am going to withdraw from producing and recording for the next six months at least, perhaps longer."
He could see how shocked his oldest kids were, while Max tried to work out the significance of his announcement.
"But – why? I mean is it viable for you to take such a long time off? What about your current commitments and contracts? Will Rocking Horse face any lawsuits?" Nicholas, ever the businessman, asked first.
Edward's mouth curled up in a crooked smile, "Well, it's nice to know that you have my best interests at heart, Son, but to answer your questions: I have not signed any new production contracts personally, so as long as Rocking Horse still oversees production, we are fine." He looked around, "Next question?"
Jackson smiled at him, "So what are you going to do all day long?"
Edward grinned broadly, "Well, I am going to stay home with your mother and support her work. She has a new show coming up at the beginning of next year and she wants to try something new, a 'multimedia' technique that she wants to experiment with. I want to be there to do the school run, make afternoon snacks, help with homework and spend as much time with you and your mother as possible. We are going to go on date nights and days and hopefully we will be able to come and visit you guys for a weekend here and there? You know, just when your mom begins to get 'angsty'?"
The boys shared a look and a laugh because they knew exactly what Edward was talking about. If they didn't make it home for spring break or at least for Easter, then Bella tended to phone them at all hours and she wasn't beyond making them feel extremely guilty for not coming home.
After they had finished tidying up from breakfast, Edward received a text from Bella, informing him that they expected to arrive mid afternoon.
He smiled because that was just enough time for the guys to have some bonding time.
"Hey, what would you think about going for a hike?"
Everyone agreed and as soon as they had changed, they began to 'hike' through the woods. It was really more of a nature walk and Edward had chosen one of the easier trails so that Max wouldn't tire too easily.
Edward walked at the back of their little troop and he noticed when after about ten minutes, Nicholas slipped back to walk beside him.
Of all of his children, Nicholas was probably the most analytical of all of his children. He seldom made a comment or took any action without having given it plenty of thought first. The wonderful thing about him was that with that control, he was warmhearted and thoughtful. And his powers of persuasion were legendary, amongst the family and amongst his peers at school.
"So, Dad…" Nick swallowed nervously. He was nervous about what his father was going to say to him.
"Nick? Just say what's on your mind, Son."
"Okay – I think that I am a dominant."
Edward pursed his lips as his eyebrows shot up, "You think?"
Nick shrugged, "Well, there are aspects of the lifestyle that intrigue me and appeal to me, but I don't think that I am ready to dive in to the deep end like Jack is."
Edward thought about that for a minute, "Well then, my advice to you would be to take a step back – for as long as you need to. This isn't something that you just rush into, Nick. There are other people involved that could end up getting hurt, physically and emotionally and the last thing that you want to do as an eighteen year old is to do something that will put you in a therapists chair for the next twenty years."
Nick nodded, "I have tried to be supportive of Jackson, you know? He had a struggle coming to terms with his choice. I don't even think that it was so much of a choice for him – more like a calling that he had to answer."
Edward nodded – he knew exactly what that was like, he had been the same.
"Do you think that you 'decided' to be a Dom just to support your brother?"
Edward could see the answer in Nicholas' eyes before he answered him, "Maybe? But, there are aspects of the lifestyle that I kind of like…"
Edward smirked, "What aspects? Whips and chains? Leather corsets? Rope and handcuffs?"
He laughed at the mortified look on Nick's face, "Come on Nick, I'm not naïve, I was eighteen once you know."
Edward stopped walking and turned to face his son, "Look, of course that appeals to you, Nicholas. You are a young man with a healthy appetite. Just because those things turn you on, does not mean that you are primed to become a Dominant. Being a Dom is more mental than physical. It's way more than sex. Some Doms and subs don't even have a sexual relationship at all."
Nick had heard that before, but that had never appealed to him.
Edward continued, "Believe me; most 'vanilla' couples have a little kink in their sex lives. There is nothing wrong with that, as you don't try and do something that you don't know about and you end up hurting someone or yourself."
They began to walk again.
"So, do you think that Jack will be angry with me?"
Right then Edward saw Nicholas' anguish. His children were close and Nicholas didn't want to hurt or upset his best friend and brother.
Edward put a reassuring hand on his shoulder, "I think that it will be a load off his mind actually. I think that he feels responsible for the choices that you have made and he is worried that he somehow influenced your choice. Talk to your brother and clear the air and then try dating first."
Nicholas felt as if a heavy weight had just been lifted off his shoulders. He had wrestled with this for a while now, and he was happy that his father had been able to help him make up his mind.
"Thanks, Dad." Nick said quietly just as they drew closer to the others.
"Hey Nick, do you want to give Max a piggy back for a bit?" Sam asked as he walked backwards with Max on his shoulders.
Nick nodded and he squeezed his father's hand before he hurried up front.
Edward smiled as he watched Nick, Jack, Sam and Max as they joked and laughed with each other.
He wasn't naive enough to think that all of their troubles were over – far from it, but he was heartened by the fact that he knew that he wasn't a bad father, he loved his children and he was willing to do whatever it took to ensure that each of them knew that.
When Bella and the girls joined them later on that afternoon, the older children quickly made themselves scarce by taking the minis onto the lake in their canoes.
Edward could hear their laughter in the background as he pulled Bella tightly against him and his tongue demanded entry into her mouth.
"Hmmm, fuck I missed you, Baby." Edward groaned when they came up for air.
Bella nodded as she took a trembling breath, "Me too!" Bella pulled him over to a couple of tree stumps where she sat down and waited for him to do the same.
"How was it? Was it bad? Did you and Sam get into a fight?"
Edward waited until Bella has run out of breath before he leaned forward and kissed her gently.
"You are so beautiful, do you know that?"
Bella frowned, "What? Edward, what are you talking about – I'm trying to have a very important conversation here!"
Edward grinned before he sat back and held his hands up in surrender, "Okay! Well, I've found out some things that may surprise you, but because we have promised that there are no secrets," he held up his hand in a fist so that his tattoo was showing.
Bella rolled her eyes at him, "Secrets? This sounds bad…" she mumbled.
Edward shook his head, "There is nothing bad, but our children are growing up and you need to remember that…"
With that, Edward told Bella about their camping trip so far. She shed a couple of tears but what really shocked him was that she was not surprised to learn that Jackson was a dominant and that Nick wasn't one.
It was Edward's turn to gape, "How are you not shocked?"
Bella smiled, "Sweetheart, you forget that I am a submissive and I have been around my Dom to recognize typical 'Dominant' traits."
Edward had thought that she would be gnashing her teeth at the news. "Are you not mad at me for this?"
Bella frowned, "Why should I be mad at you? Did you 'turn' him into some ass-slapping fiend?" she asked sarcastically.
Edward shook his head, "No! Of course not, but…"
Bella held up her hand to silence him as she laughed at his outraged expression, "Edward you and I both have firsthand knowledge that this lifestyle comes from within if it isn't some teenaged boy's fantasy. Anyone can pretend to be something that they aren't - for a time, but you know as well as I do that you can't really fake being a Dom or a sub. Not really, so Nick would have realized it sooner or later, when someone took a whip to his ass, maybe?"
Edward knew that his son would never have submitted to anyone, let alone allowed himself to be whipped or tied up. He was far too arrogant for that.
"That is how I know that Jackson is cut from the same cloth that you are, Edward. I just want to make sure that he finds a great mentor. One that will help mold him, not break him like that animal almost did to Jazz."
"You are taking this very lightly," Edward said quietly.
"No, not at all, but it would be pointless to freak out about this. Our kids are growing up and they are individuals. They are going to make some life choices that we won't always agree with, but we are going to have to respect if we want to have the kind of relationship with them that we have had up until now."
Edward nodded in agreement.
They were quiet for a time as they got lost in their own thoughts. The sound of their children laughing and splashing nearby was music to their ears.
Bella let out a breath, "Okay, in the spirit of 'full disclosure', there is something that I need to tell you and I don't want you to freak out. Promise me that you are not going to have a fit, or a heart attack, please."
Edward could feel his heart begin to pound almost painfully, but he just nodded.
"Okay, well, Alexis and I have done quite a bit of talking over the past couple of days," Bella put her hand out and covered Edward's clenched fist on his lap, "Baby, please, you have to understand – she likes him and he sounds like a nice young man…"
Bella stopped talking when she saw that Edward was turning an alarming shade of red.
She watched as his eyes became dark and menacing and the veins on the side of his neck began to stand out.
"Don't!" he shook off her hand as he jumped to his feet and he strode across the campsite.
Bella let out a sigh as she waited and watched.
Edward was mumbling under his breath as he paced backwards and forwards, clutching his hair in one fist while he clenched and unclenched his fist.
"….make him swallow his fucking tongue! The little ass! ... don't know who the little snot thinks he is …. dig a deep hole…"
When Edward paused to take a breath, he realized that Bella was still sitting where he had left her.
He shook his head, "It's that kid, isn't it? The one from the basement?"
Bella bit her lip as she nodded slowly, "She is a beautiful young woman, Edward and if she is going to fall in love with someone, then I would rather it be with someone that we trust…"
Edward scowled, "Trust? That's a joke! I don't trust that little fucker one little bit! And why are you talking about 'love'? She has known him for a fucking day! How can she love him?" Edward's voice had risen steadily until Bella got up and hurried over to him.
She put her hands on his arms as he clutched his head in his hands.
"Edward, baby, please don't overreact," she said gently. Mentally she was rolling her eyes but outwardly Bella stayed calm and reasonable. She knew that in order to calm Edward down, she was going to need to take drastic action.
With a quick look over her shoulder to make sure that the children were still otherwise occupied, Bella quickly pulled Edward deeper into the surrounding woods.
"Shh! Just come with me!"
"Where are we going?"
Bella spotted a perfect location for what she had in mind – a fallen tree. She quickly pulled him towards it and spun him around so that he was half sitting on the log and she wasted no time in kneeling before him as her fingers flew to his zipper.
Edward's eyes flew open in shock and then shut tightly as her lips closed around his cock. Instantly he hardened as her lips and tongue began to move over the sensitive skin. Edward's hands found their way to the back of her head. As Edward tugged on her hair, Bella took him deeper into her mouth, massaging his cock with her tongue.
"Fuck, baby that feels so good."
Bella hummed as she opened her throat.
Edward grunted as he began to rock his hips, the feeling of her warm, wet mouth taking as much of him as possible was almost too much to bare.
He felt his orgasm all too soon and with a muffled shout, he came in a burst. Bella swallowed quickly and let her tongue gently sooth him as he softened.
Once she had cleaned him up, she wiped the corners of her mouth with a smirk and tucked him back into his shorts before she zipped him back up and stood up.
Edward had a silly grin on his face as Bella reached up and kissed his chin.
"That was – unexpected."
Bella smiled, "Are you feeling more relaxed?"
Bella patted his chest, "Then I have succeeded and my job is done," she said before she turned and began walking back to the camp.
Edward blinked to clear his foggy brain before he took off after her. He snaked an arm around her tiny waist and pulled her up against a tree.
Bella giggled as she pressed her back against the rough bark of the tree. Edward planted his hands over her head as he leaned towards her. His eyes were dark and dangerous and Bella felt anticipation curl in her stomach.
"You think that your job done, Isabella?"
Bella swallowed and licked her lips, "M-maybe?" she squeaked.
Edward smirked. He moved so that his nose brushed against the side of her jaw.
Bella felt her panties dampen. Her light sundress was thin and she could feel the heat of his body. She swallowed again.
"Yes?" she whispered.
"Hmm. It seems to me as though you are trying to play me, Isabella? Are you trying to play me?"
Bella's nipples hardened painfully.
"Yes, Sir, I- I mean, no, Sir,"
Edward chuckled, "I think that you are and I think that you are going to find out what happens to naughty little girls if they try to 'handle' their masters."
Bella felt goose bumps break out over her neck and arms as she felt his hot breath trail over her jaw.
His lips captured hers in a light kiss before he pushed himself away from her and stood up.
"Let's go and see what the kids are up to, shall we?" he asked in a pleasant tone.
What had just happened?
She took Edward's outstretched hand and they began to walk back to the camp in silence.
"Um, what did you mean back there?" she asked as they got back to the clearing.
Edward smiled down at her with a glint in his eyes, "You'll find out later, Little Girl."
The rest of the day passed quickly and that night, the family had a barbeque and afterwards, Edward, Jackson and Nicholas took turns in playing their guitars. Alexis asked her mother about what Edward had said earlier and Bella told her to give him some time to get used to the idea of her with someone.
They made smores and sat around the fire talking until one by one they trailed off to bed.
When it was just the two of them, Bella looked up from poking the embers with a stick to see Edward staring at her.
Suddenly, the atmosphere was thick with anticipation. Bella couldn't look away from his eyes, which appeared black in the shadows.
"Are you ready for bed, my love?"
The smile on Edward's lips was almost sinister as he nodded, "Why don't you go ahead while I make sure that everything is secure for the night. Everything that you need is under your pillow, sweetheart."
Bella gasped quietly. She was well aware that although they were talking softly, they could still be overheard by their children. She knew that Edward's words held another meaning altogether and she had to force herself not to race to their tent.
She felt his heated gaze on her back as she walked slowly, careful not to trip in the dark.
Once she was inside the tent, she let out a shaky breath and looked around. Edward had left a LED lamp burning and Bella was torn between laughter and outrage when she looked under her pillow and saw a ball gag and nipple clamps.
As she was about to walk outside and demand to know what the hell Edward thought he was up to, she felt the heat from his chest against her back.
"Is there a problem, Baby?" he whispered as his fingers stroked her stomach.
Bella shrugged, "I don't think that this is appropriate Edward. The children…"
"Are all sleeping"
"If you can keep quiet, there will be no reason to raise the alarm, will there, baby girl?"
Bella peeped and nodded quickly.
"Good girl, now get undressed and lie down on the bed for me."
Bella took her clothes off quickly aware that Edward was watching her with keen interest.
Once she was naked, she lay down on the bed on her back and looked up at the ceiling.
Edward had removed his clothes and was standing quietly in the corner.
The space in the tent seemed smaller as the lamp didn't penetrate the darkness fully.
His face and upper torso was hidden in darkness and Bella felt her heart fluttering as he walked forward.
Once he was at the foot of the bed, he put his knees on the mattress and crawled upwards slowly, his eyes never leaving hers.
"I love you."
His voice calmed her nerves and Bella found herself smiling at him, "I love you too."
"What color are you?"
There was no hesitation in her voice and that gave Edward his queue that he had not pushed her too far.
Edward leaned down and kissed the skin behind her ear, "You have to stay very quiet, love. Would you like me to help you do that?"
Edward pulled back and kissed Bella with passion before he placed the gag in her mouth.
He picked up the nipple clamps and after stimulating her nipples to a point just short of pain, he attached them before he moved down her stomach.
Bella had made peace with the thin scares that were only visible if a person looked very closely, and she had accepted that they were badges of honor from the birth of the girls, Max's birth and her tummy tuck.
After having given birth to seven children, Bella's body was in remarkable shape but she was very conscious of the stretch marks and skin that had stretched out across her stomach. She had begged Edward to let her have surgery to have that part of herself partially restored and although Edward had no problem with how her body looked, he agreed on condition that she not have any further elective surgery.
The operation had been a resounding success and the plastic surgeon was able to cut away the small amount of over stretched skin and slight 'tummy purse' and it had helped to heal Bella's self esteem at the time.
Now, as she lay beneath her husband, Bella's fingers twisted in his unruly hair as he kissed and licked his way to her waiting aching center.
She pulled his hair slightly and immediately felt an echo tug on the chain between her breasts.
"Greedy…" Edward said as he moved down to where she throbbed.
When Edward's lips closed around her clit, Bella's back arched upwards as the mind-blowing sensations washed over her.
"Nnnngh!" she moaned around the gag.
Edward lifted his head for a moment, letting his thumb flick over the swollen, ruby bud.
"Sh baby girl. You don't want to get the kids coming in here do you?"
She shook her head frantically.
Edward chuckled, "No, I didn't think so. You don't want them to see what a greedy girl their mother is, do you?"
Bella shook her head again.
"You don't want me to stop either do you? No, my girl wants to cum so badly, don't you? I thought so… look at you all pretty and sweaty and blushing… such a pretty baby girl. Look at these beautiful buds all pinched and achy … if I twist the clamp like this," he demonstrated by pulling and twisting the clamp around her nipple and the red hot sensation was almost enough to send her over the edge – almost.
Edward looked up from his handiwork to her wide eyes filled with lust and need, "You're close – do you want to cum now or around my cock?"
"Gungh" she huffed.
Edward chuckled, "That's what I thought you would say." He leaned down and kissed the side of her mouth, ignoring the drool that ran down her chin.
"Put your hands above your head,"
Bella obeyed immediately.
Edward lined his leaking cock up with her sopping entrance and he held her gaze steadily as he slid inside her heat.
"Fuck me! Every time, baby. Every fucking time with you is like the first time! Can you feel what you do to me?" His words warmed and tickled her ear as he whispered dark, sexy things to her.
Bella had lost feeling in her fingers as she clasped them together. The sensations that Edward was creating inside her was mind-blowing. Every movement was deep and deliberate and she could feel how her walls hugged him, trying to suck him in deeper.
Edward braced himself on the mattress and he tilted his hips so that the tip of his cock began to massage the secret spongy place that drove Bella crazy.
"Stay still, or I will stop."
Bella stopped writhing as her elusive climax spiraled inside her. She felt every vein inside her gather blood and dilate at with a last twist of her swollen clit and a command from Edward, she fell apart.
It seemed as though it took hours for Bella to stop feeling the aftershocks of her orgasm. Edward lay on one side, stroking her limbs until she was back with him and her mind had cleared. Only then did he warn her before he removed the nipple clamps and massaged the swollen nubbins with his tongue, laving them until she felt her body tingle all over again.
It took Edward almost an hour to bring her to orgasm again, this time with his tongue and fingers as he watched her.
When he moved the gag, he gently massaged Bella's jaw before he handed her a bottle of icy water from a small cooler box.
He pulled a wash cloth that was wrapped in plastic wrap and washed her gently before he dried her with a small, fluffy towel as Bella lay with jello-like limbs.
Once she was clean and refreshed, Edward stood up and fetched one of his T-shirts and a pair of Bella's boyshorts and he dressed her before pulling on a pair of cotton boxers and at last he lay down next to her.
Bella stretched out before she curled up against him, with her head on his shoulder, one leg flung over his hips and a hand curled up under her chin.
Edward glanced at the digits on his phone – he couldn't believe that it was almost two a.m. and that they had made love for almost two hours! He gave himself a mental fist bump!
"Are you sleeping?" Bella whispered.
"No, I'm not tired. You?"
"Not tired either, well not mentally, at least."
She shifted and rolled onto her side and propped her head up so that she could see his face.
"Can we talk?"
Edward copied her position, "Sure, what's on your mind?"
Bella bit her lip, "Lexi; she worships you Edward and if you give her a hard time about this, you may drive her away and she already lives thousands of miles away from us…"
Edward sighed, "I know," he looked away to hide the rush of moisture to his eyes, but Bella knew him too well. She gently turned his face towards her, "I feel the same way, Darling. It's going to be okay."
His long eyelashes cast shadows on his cheeks as he looked away for a moment, "I know, but she is so young, baby and he is a fucking old man compared to her! What does he want with our little Lexi?" he whined.
Bella bit back her smile as she lifted her hand and ran her fingers through his hair. He needed a haircut again, she thought.
Bella stayed quiet as Edward gathered his thoughts.
At last he looked at Bella.
"I feel as if we are going to lose her." He whispered.
Bella smiled tenderly, "Oh baby, we will never lose Alexis. She will always be your girl and she will always need her daddy."
She opened her arms and Edward laid his head on her chest as she ran her fingers though his unruly hair and he closed his eyes.
"I want to hate him."
"I know you do."
"You will always be my girl."
Her soft lips pressed against his forehead, "I know, baby, I know."
"We are getting married again"
His fingers worked under his shirt until they were curled around a warm breast. He sighed in contentment.
"Love you too."
Bella didn't mind that Edward clung to her for the rest of the night. She relished the feeling of his hard body curled around hers and the way that his possessive hands would hold her in place is she moved too far away.
It seemed as though every screen and defense mechanism that they had ever had up around themselves had tumbled down and Bella loved every moment of their new closeness. She knew that the next few days were not going to be easy and that Edward was bound to over react at times, but she was looking forward to the start of their new life.
A/N: I know that I said that I was going to cover the camping trip and the wedding, but there was just too much going on and I don't think that you want a 25 000 word chapter! And so, my lovelies, I will post the next 'wedding' chapter in a few days time so that I don't leave you hanging for too long. There have been some questions and so I've put together a little Q&A where I will answer what I can over the next few chapters. Thank you all so much for your support and for reading this story,
Q: What are the ages of everyone?
A: Well I screwed this up back in chapter 1 but I have since corrected it –
EDWARD – 45
BELLA – 42
JACKSON & ALEXIS – 19
NICHOLAS – 18
SAMUAL MASEN (AKA SAM) – 16
ELIZABETH ALICE & ANDREA ROSE – 10 (FRATERNAL TWIN GIRLS)
MAXWELL (AKA MAX) – 4
Emmett and Rosalie live at Cullen Crest where Emmett has been running the vineyard for the past twenty years. Rosalie owns a chain of Interior Design stores.
EMMETT – 48
ROSALIE – 46
JOSHUA – 20
JARED – 19
MCCARTHY (MACK) – 14
REBECCA – 6
While Jasper works with Edward, Alice's fashion designs are in demand all over the world. She still works from her studio on the ranch, and her production line is run in the town.
JASPER – 47
ALICE – 44
TIFFANY ANNE – 20
CHRISTOPHER HEATH – 18
DANIEL JASPER – 17
CARLISLE CULLEN - 67
ESME CULLEN – 64
CHARLIE SWAN – 65
SUE CLEARWATER SWAN – 60
Seth is the district attorney for the Napa Valley region. He married Jesse and they live in Napa.
SETH CLEARWATER-SWAN – 37
JESSE CLEARWATER-SWAN – 35
CASEY CLEARWATER-SWAN – 7
ISABELLE CLEARWATER-SWAN – 4
Garrett and Kate live in Sausalito and Garrett owns a string of clubs, one of which, DAWN RISING, is a BDSM CLUB in San Francisco as well as BREAKING DAWN and RISING MOON on the West Coast. Kate is a stay at home mother.
GARRETT NOMAD – 49
KATE NOMAD – 48
STEVEN – 18
KIRSTY – 10