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
The rest of the weekend was like a honeymoon for Edward and Bella. They shut out the rest of the world, only taking time to text Carlisle and Jasper, before they spent two days filled with gentle touches, kisses and flirtatious looks and tickles. Not having sex just heightened their arousal until Bella complained that she had run out of clean panties.
Bella felt as if she was twenty-three again. Although her attraction to Edward had not died, over the years and especially over the past two years, she had stopped really looking at him. But now, every time he was close, her heart would race and she would feel that delicious tingle just under her skin as his body called to hers.
Edward had spent the past few days in a state of constant arousal. He woke up as hard as when he went to sleep and the night before he had woken up to the feeling of his warm cum squirting over Bella's back and his stomach, as he dreamed of her naked and spread eagle, with her glistening little pussy just beckoning to him to claim her.
Rather than be embarrassed, he smirked as he went in search of a wash-cloth. Bella had only been half awake as he wiped the sticky liquid off her bare back, where her tank top had ridden up and her tiny boy shorts had slipped down.
"Hmm, whatcha doing?" Bella mumbled.
Edward chuckled, "Just had a dream, Baby, go back to sleep."
"Hmmkay… love you…"
Edward lay on his back and put one arm behind his head.
Bella immediately turned around and curled herself around him, with one hand resting over his chest and one leg thrown across his hips.
Edward felt his dick jump as Bella's soft inner thigh brushed across it.
He felt as if he was in his late teens, not his mid forties! He was worse than his teenage sons with the way that he walked around with a constant boner.
Twenty minutes later, Edward was ready to scream. Bella had been particularly vocal and she had begun to hump him.
At that moment, Bella mumbled in her sleep, catching Edward's attention.
"…please… Master, stop teasing me, please!"
Edward bit back a groan as Bella began to rub her cotton covered pussy against his hard hip bone.
"Oh, oh yes, Master… oh that's… hmm, more! Harder! Green…. so… green… ah…aaaahhh, yes!"
Edward put his hand over her grinding ass and he ground her against his body, giving her relief as he felt his cock begin to weep as the movement rubbed against him.
Suddenly her legs began to shake and then her entire body tensed up before Edward felt her panties get wet and tiny shivers overtook her.
Seconds later, Bella hummed before she pressed her lips to Edward's chest and she sighed with satisfaction, "Master…" she mumbled before she sagged against him as sleep claimed her once more.
Edward felt a film of perspiration on his forehead as his heart raced.
That was one of the most erotic experiences in his recent memory and Edward knew that he would not be getting any sleep before he took care of his 'problem' again.
After he took a quick shower, Edward sat in the sitting room and turned on his laptop.
He returned a few emails to his publicist in connection with a few upcoming events that he was supposed to attend before he wrote a long email to Aro.
Anderson had sent an IT specialist to scan both his and Bella's phones and laptops just in case they too had been tampered with, but lucky they were both still secure. He knew that Anderson, Emmett, Brian and the rest of their team were working furiously to try to work out who was behind the photos.
Edward and Bella had sat down and made a list of everyone who had the opportunity, motive and resources to destroy them.
It was a long list and one by one, names were crossed off the list as background checks and investigations into each person turned up nothing. Andy had urged Edward to think of everyone that he could because the team had a hunch that Edward was the target and not Bella.
It was common knowledge that Edward adored his wife and children and that the easiest way to upset or hurt him would be to go after one of them.
Edward didn't go into detail with Aro, but he did tell him that he was pulling back from a public social life for the foreseeable future.
He knew that Aro would understand and approve because the man that had become like a second father to both him and Bella over the past twenty years and had taken him to task for his heavy work schedule in recent years.
As Edward was about to shut his laptop down, he noticed the date.
It was the fifth day of June.
Suddenly a thought began to form in Edward's mind. It was crazy, because there was no way that he would be able to pull it off, but the thought just would not go away and he quickly pulled up a blank word document and began to jot down his ideas.
Could he pull it off?
He wasn't even sure if Bella would go for it or if it was too soon or she would freak out but the more he thought about it, the more excited he became.
He stared out at the black sky as he grinned – it was a brilliant idea but he knew his limits and he knew that he needed help – and he just knew whom to rope in to help him.
An hour later, Edward crawled into bed after having sent off a few emails, just as the sun was peeping up over the buildings. He gathered Bella close and pressed a kiss to her forehead and she grumbled and snuggled close to his side.
He smiled as he closed his eyes as visions of Bella danced in his head.
Emmett and Rosalie invited them for dinner the night before Charlie and Sue were to bring Max home from his fishing trip and Bella thought that it would be a great opportunity to spend some adult time together without the fear of being overheard or interrupted.
When they got home to the ranch, Edward was pleased that Evie and Bart had gone away for a few days and he carried Bella across the threshold as she squealed and clung to him.
"You are going to drop me! Edward!" She said as he pretended to drop her, only to clutch her tightly against him.
He chuckled, "Relax baby girl, I've got you."
Bella peeked up at him from under her lashes, "Yeah but you are getting too old to carry me." She said before she gasped and bit her bottom lip.
Edward stopped walking half way up the stairs and mock glared at her, "Too old? Too old? Why Isabella, that sounds like a challenge…"
He raised his eyebrows as Bella blushed, her mind only too ready to go to thoughts of Edward taking her roughly – for a long time.
His eyes narrowed as they caught the overly bright sparkle in her eyes and he knew that she was thinking about.
"What's going on in your mind, Isabella, hmm?"
Bella shook her head and buried it against his neck.
Edward flexed his arms and walked up to the second floor. Although Bella weighed next to nothing and he was still extremely fit, he was still a little out of breath when he finally dropped her onto their bed.
Bella giggled as he flopped down next to her with an exaggerated sigh, "What have you been eating?" he teased.
Bella grabbed her flat stomach as she let out a peal of laughter, "Just because you are getting soft, doesn't mean that I'm to blame, Sparky!"
With a growl Edward was over her in a minute, snarling as he blew raspberries on her neck as Bella writhed beneath him.
Bella was still too thin but she had the body of a twenty year old and Edward loved touching her. He made a mental note to have a discussion with her soon about her dietary habits. It was time for him to take those reigns back again.
The feeling of his hard body pressing onto hers left Bella wet and panting.
Edward brushed her long hair out of her face as he smiled down at her.
"You look happy." He said quietly.
Bella nodded, "I'm happier than I've been in months, thanks to you."
The smile dropped from Edward's face as he lay down next to her again.
Bella rolled onto her side, "What's the matter?"
Edward's eyes were full of regret, "Don't you mean 'in spite of me?' I'm the one that almost fucked this up." He said.
Bella shook her head, "Look, Babe, we have been married for almost twenty years. Everyone has a set back at some stage – ours just happened to come now. In a way, we should be thankful to whoever sent those pictures to us, because it has brought us closer together. You were not the only one to screw up here, Babe; I played my part as well. I know my limits and I knew that I was withdrawing as well and hiding behind the kids instead of talking to you, so we are both to blame."
She reached out and brushed his crazy hair off his forehead tenderly, "I love you so much, Edward. We have both made mistakes in the past, and now we need to learn from them and move forward. You need to let this go, baby."
Edward captured her hand and he brought it to his lips, "I'll try, I promise."
Bella leaned forward so that her lips were almost touching his, "That's all I ask, Darling." She murmured before her lips touched his.
Bella moaned as Edward deepened the kiss and just like that she was wet and needy again. She couldn't count how many times this wonderful man had given her pleasure as he brought her to orgasm time and again. Of course, Bella returned the favor but instead of slowing down their overworked libidos, it seemed that with each touch, no matter how innocent, the flames roared to life again.
Edward heard Bella's needy whimper and he smiled as he pulled away from her slightly.
"I want to take my time with you this time." He said and Bella's swollen lips parted as she gasped.
"Please… fuck, Edward, I can' get enough of you."
When they were once again sated, they lay in bed and talked before they fell asleep tangled in each other's arms.
Hours later they showered together again and Bella slipped on a pretty sundress while Edward put on a pair of cargo shorts and a light cotton button down shirt and they drove to Cullen Crest.
As they turned into the gates Bella couldn't help the feeling of 'coming home' that she experienced every time she arrived at the old homestead.
Emmett and Rosalie had taken over the main house after Carlisle and Esme had built and moved into their new cottage, although Bella still laughed at the term 'cottage' when they spoke of their two thousand square foot double story stone 'cottage'.
Bella looked over to Edward to see him smiling as he pulled up to the front door.
"I love coming home." He said quietly.
Bella nodded, "I know. Do you regret that we didn't take this place over from your parents?"
At first, Emmett had refused to move and he had suggested that Edward and Bella consider moving into the mansion. Edward had finally spoken Emmett into taking over the main house as he became more of a silent partner in the security business and more involved in the winery.
Edward opened his door just as Emmett, Rosalie and their family dog, a golden retriever called, Spike spilled out onto the porch.
"Hey Bro!" Emmett called and Edward snorted as Emmett jumped off the porch and pulled Edward into a bear hug before pulling Bella into his arms and swinging her around.
"Belly! I've missed you!"
Bella pushed against his shoulders and kicked her feet, "Emmett! Put me down! I'm getting vertigo, Damnit!"
Emmett just laughed and he spun her around again. He only stopped when Rosalie reached his side.
"Emmett! Put her down!"
Emmett put Bella back onto the ground so quickly that she swayed for a minute and Edward quickly put an arm around her waist.
"You ass! Edward, glad you could finally make it home – not!" Rosalie leveled Edward with a narrow eyed glare before she smiled and put an arm around Bella's shoulders, "Hey Sis, come on inside. I've made the most delicious Sangria that you have ever tasted with the peaches from the orchard."
Edward frowned as he looked after the women before he looked up at his brother, "So Rose is really pissed at me." He said.
Emmett indicated that they should take a walk and they quickly fell into step.
Emmett shrugged, guilt written all over his face, "It's my fault, I was going over the photographs the other night in my office and Rosie saw them, she freaked out until I had explained everything to her but yeah, she's still pretty pissed at you for avoiding Bella in the first place."
Edward nodded, "It's no less than I deserve, Em. Have you had any more news?
Emmett shook his head in frustration, "Not a single freaking word! We have nothing! There was a partial thumb print on the envelope that Bella received and we have checked every fucking data base in the country but it hasn't shown up!"
They walked around the pathway that led to the rose garden and the gazebo that held a very special place in Bella's heart.
Edward looked up at Emmett's harsh words.
"It's only been a few days, Em, something will come up."
Emmett nodded shortly, "I'm worried, Edward. For someone to be able to break into the server at Breaking Dawn takes guts and skill. This wasn't some random overzealous paparazzo that got a little too close. This was deliberate. They only took footage from that playroom during the times that Bella was there."
"How do you know this?"
"Garrett keeps a meticulous record and checking when the piggyback hacker was plugged in was easy once the guys knew what to look for."
The two brothers stopped and stared at each other, "Someone is too close for comfort, little brother and I don't like it one bit. I've sent extra teams down to Tahoe to keep an eye on things, but Dad and Jazz can't keep the kids under house arrest. They have an escort when they go out and obviously the grounds are being monitored and anyone that comes into the property is checked out, but we can only do so much."
Edward nodded, "You are doing everything that you can, Bro and we are grateful."
Emmett huffed, "Yeah, but it's not enough! We need to catch this fucker and shut him down!" Emmett pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration.
Edward put a hand on his shoulder, "I know that you will get them, Em."
Emmett shook his shoulders and arms out to relax. His expression was solemn, "I don't like this, Edward. This isn't like before with James and Black; we have so much more to lose. Our kids are spread out all over the place and they are going to be even more vulnerable when the older ones leave for school. And then there are the minis." He closed his eyes tightly, "Jesus, when I think of Becky, and the girls, I just want to lock them up and home school them."
Edward nodded as a knot gripped his stomach, "I know, but we can't do that, Em. It's not as if this person or persons have approached us or threatened us. This could just be some random stalking crazy fucking fan that is a bit of a computer geek who happened to see Bella at the club. Maybe they were following her." The thought alone made his blood run cold.
"We are waiting for the report on the sweep of all the homes and the compound." Emmett took a deep breath, "Come on, you feel like a game of pool and a beer before dinner?"
"That beer sounds good, but I can't believe that you want me to kick your ass at pool again? I think that you are more of a masochist than I suspected!"
His comment was enough to lighten the somber mood as Emmett growled and chased him across the lawn and around to the games room at the back of the house.
Bella laughed as she and Rosalie watched the two men race across the garden and disappear around the side of the house.
"I swear, they are worse than Max when they get together! I wonder what Edward said to make Emmett chase him." Bella said as she turned back to her task of chopping vegetables.
"Probably something about his age or mentality," Rose chuckled and she moved to the pantry to pull out a long roasting dish.
She began to layer the sliced up potatoes and onions in the dish before she sprinkled the handful of fresh herbs that she had picked from her kitchen garden earlier.
Emmett and Edward would put pieces of chicken on the barbeque later, which would be served with Rosalie's famous potatoes and onion bake, a large green salad, and a platter of fresh fruit salad to finish the meal off.
"So, Emmett came home completely freaked out after his meeting with Edward last week. He immediately did an electronic sweep of the house, checked all the locks on the windows and doors and I saw him polishing his gun later." Rosalie said casually.
Bella wasn't fooled by her sister in law's casual tone. Rosalie seldom skirted around a subject, instead she preferred to face things head on.
When Bella didn't comment, Rosalie put the finishing touches to the potato dish by pouring thick cream over her dish before she put it into the over.
After she had washed and dried her hands she turned and leaned against the counter as she stared at Bella.
"What's going on with you and Assward?"
"What makes you think that it's got something to do with us?"
Rosalie snorted, "God, you are a terrible liar, little sister. Emmett received a cryptic phone call at the ass crack of dawn from Jasper last week, and all I heard was that 'mister movie star had fucked up again' before he locked himself in his office for two hours. Then he told me some cock and bull story about having a 'meeting' in the city the next morning and when he came home he became all territorial. He demanded to know where the boys were; he upset Rebecca because he refused to allow her to go to her friend for a play date. I had to phone the kids mother and invite the child here after I lied and said that I wasn't feeling well enough to drive! So, now, I will ask again: what is going on?"
Bella put the knife that she had been using down and she sat down at the large kitchen table. As she ran her fingers over the worn wooden surface, she thought of the many years that their families had blended together at this very table. Through courtship and marriages, pregnancies and so many babies, toddlerhood and some of them onto the awkward teenage years and now they were moving into adulthood and still they would gather at some time around this table that had been in the Cullen family for more than one hundred years.
Bella felt Rosalie sit down on one side as she pushed a fresh glass of peach sangria filled with ice, peach slices and a sprig of mint in front of her.
Bella sighed and she looked up at one of the women that she loved like a sister.
"I think that we were in serious trouble Rose. We still have stuff to sort out." Bella said quietly.
For the next while Bella poured her heart out to her friend. She told her everything, including her depression, anxiety about her marriage and their D/s relationship and on to the photographs and the hacking of the security system at the club.
Rosalie and Emmett had never been into BDSM, although for most of their relationship, they had practiced a domestic discipline lifestyle that worked for them. Rosalie was exceptionally strong willed and when she and Emmett had become involved, they constantly would argue and try to gain the upper hand, until one day Emmett had spanked Rosalie.
What was surprising was the fact that immediately afterwards, Rose had calmed down and apologized to him. Emmett did extensive research on domestic discipline and over the years it had formed an integral part of their relationship.
Rose could understand how 'lost' Bella had felt when she and Edward's relationship had broken down in the playroom. At the same time, she had always understood Edward's need to 'protect' Bella and his desire to 'wrap her up in cotton wool'.
Bella had always respected Rosalie's opinion because she would never blindly take one person's side in an argument, but she would rather weigh up both sides and then make her decision and so now Bella sat quietly as she waited for Rosalie to say something.
"So, from what you have told me there are two issues here. One is that you and Eddie are going to put an effort to go back to the 'kink' and the second is that someone, knows that you are a sub, or at least they know that you are kinky and that you have been to the club. They also know that Eddie hasn't been around much and that he has been working with the Shania Twain knock-off."
Bella laughed at Rosalie's comment. It wasn't any secret that Rose loved Shania Twain and she described any country rock female artist that had come after her as a 'knock off'.
Rosalie glanced at her with a scowl, "What?"
Bella just shook her head, "I would have thought that you would have gotten over your 'fan crush' by now."
Rosalie narrowed her eyes in warning, "Piss off! Just because you never got to have Jared Leto at your birthday party, don't hate on me!"
Bella laughed out loud as Edward and Emmett made their way into the kitchen.
Edward's heart swelled as he listened to Bella laugh with such carefree gusto.
"What's tickled your fancy?" Emmett teased right behind him.
Rose stood up and shrugged, "It doesn't take much to tickle her fancy these days, or so it seems," she said as she looked Edward up and down.
Edward grinned unrepentantly as his arm shot out and he pulled Rosalie into a hug as he peppered her face with sloppy kisses while trying to avoid her fists.
"Ow! Ow! Ow! Shit Rosie! That's my fucking arm!" he grunted as he hopped away from her.
Rosalie glared at him, "Well, what were you manhandling me for, Horny Toad?"
Bella giggled as she watched the tips of Edward's ears turn pink at the old nickname that she and Emmett had given to him.
Bella took one look at the delectable pout on his lips and she found herself putting her hands one his cheeks as she stood on tip toes to reach him, "Aaaw poor baby. Rosie was nasty to my Sparky." She cooed as she kissed his chin and his lips.
She felt his mouth curve upwards as his hands gripped her hips and he rocked her against his hard body, "Nah, I just wanted to cop a feel from you and needed an excuse!"
Bella pulled back and stared up into his sparkling green eyes, "You never need an excuse to feel me up, Babe." She said huskily and pressed her hips harder against his.
"Okay! Thank you 'Grabby McGrabster' for making me blind! Now let's get this on the grill!" Emmett said loudly as he closed the fridge door.
"Hey, babe? Why aren't we having good ol' fashioned steak? I'm a man and I need my red meat." Emmett said as he beat his chest with one hand.
Rosalie rolled her eyes, "Because my little caveman," she said as she poked his washboard flat stomach with a manicured finger, "you need to watch your cholesterol and you blood pressure!"
Emmett rubbed his abdomen, "No I don't! Doc says I'm fine!"
Rosalie put her hands on her hips and it was at that moment that their sons would have advised Emmett to run away as quickly as possible, but Emmett seldom listened to reason.
"Emmett McCarthy Cullen; are you second guessing me? Whispering to your father while he is asleep in the hammock after a huge dinner is NOT," Bella and Edward stepped back as Rosalie stalked towards her husband, is NOT getting medical advice!" in a lightening flash movement she had his ear twisted between her steel grip, "is it?"
"Aw fuck Rosie, Ow, Ow, Rose… okay! OKAY! I'LL GET A DAMN CHECK UP!" he screeched like a baby almost on his knees while Edward cackled like an old witch and Bella gaped at her sister and brother in law.
Rosalie leaned forward and kissed him, "Good boy, you have an appointment with a cardiologist next week. Now get the chicken on babe." She said as she picked up her glass of her homemade brew and took a sip.
Emmett didn't waste any time high tailing it out to the back deck, with Edward giggling behind him.
Bella shook her head, "You are a complete lunatic, Rosalie!"
Rose grinned at her, "I know but he'll get his own back later and that is going to be such fun, and besides, Becky and I are the only girls in this house with four overgrown four year olds! We have to know how to defend ourselves."
Bella shook her head to get the graphic images out of her head, "I don't want to know!"
They shared a grin and Rosalie winked at her as they quickly finished the preparations for dinner.
Once they were done, the women sat on the back deck as Emmett and Edward cooked the chicken.
It was such a beautiful summer evening that they sat outside and ate.
Bella sighed contentedly as she sat back, "Wow, I can't believe that I ate so much!" she groaned.
Rosalie snorted, "Oh please Bella! You look skinnier than you ever did! Your body is so damn hot, that I would do you!"
Emmett and Edward's eyebrows shot up, "Now that's something that I would pay good money to see!"
Rosalie rolled her eyes but ignored his comment, "Seriously Bella, you are in better shape than you were in your thirties or even your twenties. Your tits are perfect, you can bounce a quarter off your ass and your stomach is flat as a board – what more do you want?"
Bella's face was red as she shrugged self-consciously.
Emmett nodded enthusiastically, "She's right Bells, you are looking really good." He wiggled his eyebrows and then looked at Rose, "Seriously Babe, can I watch if you hook up with Belly here?"
Edward's hand shot out and connected with the back of Emmett's head so quickly that they almost missed it.
"What the fuck, bro?" Emmett grumbled as he rubbed the back of his head and glared at Edward.
Edward glared right back, "That is what I want to know! What the fuck, Bro? That is my wife that you are talking about – both of you! Just keep Bella's ass, er, her body and assets out of this conversation!"
Bella tried to hold back her giggle but she couldn't and soon all four of them were laughing aloud.
Edward shook his head, "Emmett, I hope that you are setting a good example for your boys."
Emmett nodded, "I think I'm a great example, right babe?" he commented as he slid his hand up Rosalie's thigh.
Edward cleared his throat, "Get a room, you two. Now, what are we going to do with no kids to look after?"
Emmett grinned, "Who wants to play, 'I have never ever…'"
The other three groaned in protest because Emmett always won drinking games.
"How about a movie?" Rosalie suggested.
After watching a new thriller, the two couples sat in the sitting room, chatting about inconsequential topics before Rosalie brought up the one topic that they had not discussed.
"Look, I know that you may not like to think about this, but have you thought about what will happen if that photograph of Bella is released to the media?"
Emmett shook his head, but Rosalie was not about to brush her question away, "Em, it is something that we need to think about."
Bella sat forward, "I haven't seen it yet. Do you have a copy?"
Edward put a hand on her arm, "Bella…" he began, but she interrupted him.
"Edward, we need to face this together."
Edward looked over at Emmett and gave him a small nod.
Emmett sighed and stood up, "I'll go and get the folder in my study."
Emmett brought the folder back and they gathered around the dining room table as he spread out the two photos of Bella, the photograph of Edward and photocopies of the envelopes. Already there was a fairly thick binder of notes that had been amassed by various team members.
After a few minutes of silence, Rosalie pointed at the photograph of Bella on her knees, "I know that this may seem like a stupid question, but how do you know that this is Bella?" she asked as she tapped the picture.
Edward frowned, "I know what Bella looks like, Rose," he began impatiently.
"You do, but does anyone else? Look here, she is kneeling with her back to the camera. There are no distinguishing marks at all on her back or ass. Edward, this could be anyone. All you can see is that it is a naked woman with long dark hair." Rosalie said.
Emmett, Bella and Edward stared at the picture for a few minutes before Bella smiled, "She's right! Oh my God, Babe, she is right! Look! There is nothing about this picture that says that it's me!"
Emmett looked from her to Edward, "Is it you, Bells?"
Bella nodded, "Yes, but all that we have here are two pictures that could have been taken anywhere! One is obviously me," she pointed to the picture of her face, "but the other one could be anyone!"
Emmett picked up the photograph and stared at it for a long time before he looked at Edward, "There is nothing to show that this is Bella, to anyone other than the two of you."
Edward nodded, and he felt relief flood his body, "So what does that mean, exactly?"
Emmett pursed his lips as he stared at the three photographs once more.
"Whoever sent these didn't do so to blackmail you – this is personal. This is about causing a rift between the two of you. This person, or people, wants to destroy your marriage." He said quietly.
Bella felt a chill run down her spine at his words.
"We won't let them, baby." Edward said as his arm tightened around her shoulders.
Bella hoped that he was right.
Jasper walked up just as Jackson was beginning to stretch for their run, "Hey,"
Jackson turned and smiled at him, "Hey, did you bring your extra oxygen?"
Jasper grinned, "Listen here pup; you are still going to see my ass!"
Jack laughed, "Sure old man, you keep telling yourself that!" He picked up his water bottle and waved towards the path that ran along the shore.
They ran at an easy pace as the conversation between them flowed easily. It was only when they stopped to take a break that there was an awkward silence between them.
Jackson stared at his uncle as Jasper sat on a fallen log and sipped his water. Jasper was relaxed as he stared out across Lake Tahoe.
Jasper looked up, "Yeah Jack?"
Jackson sat down across from him, "What's this about? There is something on your mind so just come out and say whatever it is."
Jasper smiled, "You are so much like your old man, it's scary sometimes. But yes, there is something on my mind and I think that there is something on yours as well?"
Jackson gave him a curt nod.
"I had an interesting conversation with an old friend of mine the other day – you may know of him? His name's Dmitri Conti?"
Jasper watched as Jackson's face became pale and he wiped away a bead of sweat that had nothing to do with their run.
Jackson swallowed hard but he met his uncle's gaze steadily, "I know who he is. How does he know me?"
"There was a young woman in a novice class and she mentioned that she had experimented with her first boyfriend and that he and his brother were interested in the lifestyle. She didn't mention you by name, but she said that his father was an actor and that they are local boys…" he didn't have to say anymore as heat flooded Jackson's face before he rubbed his hands over it with a groan.
"Aw man, Becky!"
Jasper's eyebrows shot up, "Becky Kimble?" She had often hung around with Tiffany when they were both home from school.
Jackson nodded but didn't elaborate.
Jasper waited for a few minutes before he spoke again.
"I take it that no one else knows about your – interest?"
Jack sat up and looked at Jasper, "No, you are the first person besides Nick that I've spoken to."
"And Nicholas is also interested?"
Jackson nodded, "He seems to be, although I'm not sure how serious he is."
"Have either of you had any training, gone to any meetings or clubs?"
"No, not yet. I told him that we should wait and then either speak to you or um, Uncle Garrett"
Jasper relaxed a little bit. At least they hadn't gone to one of the many 'private parties' that were held where they could be misinformed or worse, taken advantage of.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Of course, son."
"A-are you a Dom?" Jackson's voice was hesitant but Jasper admired him for his courage.
He looked at Jack with a steady and calm gaze, "I am and so is your father and Garrett."
It was his turn to be surprised when Jackson didn't seem shocked by that news.
"Did you already know?"
"No, but Nick and I suspected and Nicholas found Dad's playroom."
Jasper narrowed his eyes, "I hope that he has stayed out of there. That is a private place and Edward would be really pissed if you two have been messing around in there…"
"No! It wasn't like that! I've never seen it and Nick only found it because he has always tried to get into that locked room and as soon as he found it, he left. He told me that he hasn't been back in there."
"Good, because you never breach another Dom's playroom without permission. That is lesson one."
The two men looked at each other silently.
"Who told you about Garrett and me?"
Jackson bit his lip and in that moment, Jasper saw how much like Bella he seemed, "Well, Jared saw you having coffee with Damitri one time and he told Nick about it, but I just brushed it off to him and well Uncle Garrett has those BDSM clubs."
Jasper snorted. Damn kids! They were too clever for their own good nowadays.
"Are you going to tell my dad?"
Jasper pursed his lips as he thought about it, "No, but you need to have a serious conversation with him and before you say anything, hear me out, okay?"
Jackson nodded reluctantly.
"Your father and I have been Dominants since we were your age, maybe a little younger, and we were fortunate to find a really great mentor in the lifestyle, but I got involved with a woman who did some real physical and mental damage to me and things were really rough for a while. Alice was a godsend in my life and so was your dad."
Jackson tried to block the image of his aunt and his uncle in a playroom – gross!
Jasper smirked before he went on, "I'm talking to you about this only because it's important: you and Nick need to find yourselves trustworthy mentors. Do not trust everything that you read on the Internet, because there is a lot of crap out there. Do not trust everyone who tells you that they are a Dom or a sub either because a lot of people run around sprouting those words but they have no idea what it really means. You need to do some real soul-searching Jackson. You need to find out if you are really interested in the lifestyle of BDSM or if you are just turned on by a bit of kinky sex."
Jackson looked ready to protest but Jasper held his hand out, "Listen, I'm not trying to insult either of you, but let's face facts here: Most people think that being tied up and spanked with a feather duster is what BDSM is all about because that is what you see in porn movies and shit. Or they go to the other extreme and think that a Dom can give someone golden showers or that you can beat the shit out of someone and its okay, but that is nothing like what being a Dominant is about."
Jasper noticed that Jackson looked repulsed by what he had said.
His voice was gentler as he spoke again, "Jack, I don't know if you are a Dominant or a submissive but if you are genuinely interested then you need to tell your father and if you like, I can introduce you to Damitri. I know that he does private mentoring and I trust him. He is well respected as a Dom and a teacher and he does online mentoring as well. You don't have to go to him, but I'm sure that he will be able to refer you to someone who is trustworthy and who has the same values as you have. It's pointless being exposed to someone who likes to inflict pain if that isn't your thing."
Jackson agreed readily. The thought of intentionally causing someone a lot of pain
Jackson felt as if he was going to pass out when his uncle began talking so casually about the lifestyle but the more he talked, the more Jack began to relax. He trusted Jasper and he knew that he would not betray his confidence.
Jasper could see how anxious his nephew was and he thought back to how he had struggled with his own feelings as a young man. Thankfully he had Edward who had been his confidant from the beginning and even though they had not known all of the answers, just having someone that he could talk to had been a godsend.
"Jack, maybe you could tell me a little about your 'history' and why you think that you are a Dom."
Jackson felt the tips of his ears begin to burn with embarrassment as he quickly took a sip of water.
"I um, well, I like to be in control, you know." He mumbled as he stared at the ground.
"Head up, Jack, there is nothing to be ashamed of. One of the first things that I learned was not to be ashamed of who and what I am. Now," he said gently. When Jackson looked at him with determination in his green eyes, "That's better, try again."
"Well, I think that I've always liked to have control over whatever situation I've been in. Even as a kid, I found that having control made me feel secure."
Jasper nodded, because he knew exactly what Jack was talking about.
For the next several minutes Jackson spoke about his growing feelings and how his brief relationship with Becky had seemed to 'connect the dots' for him as far as his sexual orientation went. He was open about his internet research.
Jasper asked a few questions about how he and Nicholas had become aware of each other's 'interests' in an alternative lifestyle and Jasper promised to talk to Nicholas himself.
After that, the two men talked a little more before Jasper stood up and they began to walk back to the house.
Just before Jasper and Alice's house came into view, Jasper stopped walking and put his hand on Jackson's shoulder, "Jack, I know that this may seem weird to you, but I want you to know that you can come to me anytime you need to talk. Now, I'll tell your brother the same thing and I mean it. There isn't any judgment here, but you do need to be careful who you speak to and I'm very proud of the way that you and Nicholas have conducted yourselves so far."
Jasper looked around them, before he turned back to his nephew, "There are always going to be people in this world that will judge you and will label you an abuser or a woman hater because you like to have control and you spank or flog your girlfriend, submissive or partner. I'm here to tell you that as long as you don't abuse the authority that you will be given by your sub, you are not a monster. Your submissive must be treated with the utmost respect at all times and if you can do that, then you will become a worthy Dominant."
"I'm going to email you some reputable reading material that I have that may help to explain some things to you and may make your search a little clearer. I will also send you a list of writers who know the subject of alternative lifestyles well and who present a well balanced perspective."
Jackson stuck his hand out, "Thank you, Jazz. This means the world to me, this has been a lonely journey and I've doubted myself so many times."
Jasper saw the sheen of unshed tears in the younger man's eyes and he used their clasped hands to pull him into a tight hug.
"You are a good man, Jackson Cullen. You have a gentle heart and there is no need to be afraid. No one in this family will judge or reject you, I promise." He murmured.
Jackson tightened his arms around his uncle's broad shoulders briefly before he stepped back and rubbed the back of his neck with one hand.
The gesture was so reminiscent of Edward that Jasper had to bite back a smile.
Jack nodded, "Yeah, sorry about that."
"Never be sorry about being human, Son." A movement at the corner of his house made him look up but there wasn't anyone there.
"Well, I think that we may be having a barbeque, so I'll see you later?"
"Yeah, Papa said something about that this morning."
They parted and for the first time in a very long time, Jackson felt light hearted as he walked back to the main house.
After a shower and throwing on a pair of old jeans and a T-shirt Jackson found his twin sitting in the kitchen alone. She had what looked like a school book in front of her as she spooned some left over fruit salad into her mouth. It was a rare occasion to be alone in a house full of people and Jackson tweaked her hair as he passed her to pull a bottle of water out of the fridge.
"Hey Sis, what are you doing?" he asked as he pulled out a chair and joined her at the island.
Alexis loved studying Interior Design and she was always finding something to read on the subject.
"Hmm, just enjoying the peace and quiet. The others went to the beach and Nick went with Chris to fetch Steven. How was your run?" Alexis asked as she looked at her twin.
Although she and Jackson had never discussed their relationships in any great detail, Alexis had known that there was something different about her older sibling for some time. The only time that she had broached the subject was the only time that they had a disagreement that led to them not talking for a couple of months, until one weekend when Alexis had returned to the apartment that she shared with Joshua from the library to find her twin on the front doorstep with an overnight bag in one hand and a bedraggled bunch of flowers in the other.
Alexis had never brought up the subject again.
Jackson ran a hand through his almost dry hair, "It was good, Jasper is so damn fit."
Alexis laughed, "He probably has to keep in shape to tie Alice up all the time." She said lightly.
Water sprayed across the island before Jackson began to splutter and cough. Alexis jumped off her seat and pounded his back until he was able to breathe again.
Without saying a word, Alexis walked into the large butler's pantry and fetched paper towels. The silence in the room was loaded as she quickly wiped up the spilled water and handed Jackson several towels to dry himself off.
Once the kitchen was spotless, she pulled her hair off her shoulders and twisted it up into a messy bun that she secured with a band that was around her wrist.
"Do you want to take a drive with me?" Alexis asked.
Brown eyes met green and Jackson didn't need to hear her words to know that she knew. It was quite daunting how well Alexis knew him sometimes but he had never questioned it and although he was close to his younger brothers, Alexis had always been an extension of himself.
He nodded wordlessly and they walked out to the garage and found one of the Jeeps parked in the five car garage that was kept for their use.
Alexis pulled the keys off the wall and tossed them to her brother.
Jackson waved to the guard at the gate before he accelerated out onto the dirt road that led to the main road. At the intersection he turned away from town as Alexis fiddled with her iPod and soon soft classical music filled the car.
They didn't talk for several minutes until Jackson turned towards one of his favorite places at Lake Tahoe. It was a quiet lookout point that not many people knew about because it was off the main road.
He pulled in and turned the car off. After a few minutes, Alexis loosened her seatbelt and turned to face Jackson.
"You know, you have always been able to talk to me Jay." She said quietly.
Jackson swallowed and reached across for the small hand that was laying on the center consol. The delicacy of Alexis' hand reminded him so much of his mother's. But he knew that the deceptively delicate hand held a lot of inner strength. He looked up from under his lashes to see his sister staring at him with love and understanding in her eyes.
"How, um, how long have you known?" he asked. He suddenly wished that he had brought the water with them.
"About Dad, Uncle Jazz or you and Nick?"
Jackson's eyes widened, "Shit Lex! Is there anything that you don't know?"
Alexis laughed, "What would you like to know?"
"How long have you known about me, I mean."
"Well, I think that I kind of knew when we were small. You remind me so much of Dad in the way that you like to control everything, from the order that you keep your music in to the way that your desk is arranged to your emotions, especially your emotions. I saw the similarities between you and then I noticed that Dad, Jazz, Uncle Garrett and even Papa have a certain way about them."
Jackson's mind was still reeling over the fact that Alexis had all but suggested that their grandfather was also a Dominant and he almost didn't catch the rest of what she said.
"You have a commanding air about you – and I mean all four of you. You seldom lose your temper, you are all able to get people to do things without having to convince them or even persuade them. Okay, besides Becky, I haven't really seen you with anyone, but you should really look at how Papa and Nana are together and you will see that Jasper and Alice, Dad and Mom and Garrett and Kate are the same way. There is a…" Alexis stared out of the window as she searched for the right words to express what she had witnessed between the couples her entire life.
"There is a protectiveness about the way that the men in our family treat the women. But at the same time there is submissiveness about the women towards their partners. If you know what to look for, it's very easy to see." Alexis gave a small shrug.
Jackson's eyebrows rose in silent question.
"It's true! Alice is not a submissive woman at all and she will stand up to Uncle Em and Daddy without a second thought but with Uncle Jasper, she will be sassy and even belligerent to a point and then he gives her a look or he says her name, usually her full name, you know, 'Mary Alice' and she just pulls back."
Suddenly Jackson had to get some air and he quickly opened his door and met his sister in front of the Jeep. They took a path together and walked down to the shore. This part of the North West shore was part of a reserve and Jackson knew from experience that they were going to meet anyone along the pathway.
Alexis began to collect small stones and after she inspected them, she began to hand several to Jackson who smiled at her, "Thanks".
He began to skim the stones across the still, small bay.
No words passed between the siblings, except for the occasional 'Nice one." Or "This looks like a good stone.'
Alexis nibbled on her lip as she looked at her brother from the corner of her eye.
She had battled the decision to bring this subject up for a long time. Tiffany Anne was the closest person to Alexis. The two girls were closer than sister or best friends and they had few if any secrets.
With Alexis and Tiffany's attention to detail, they had been in their early teens when they had discussed the dynamics within their parents' marriages.
Tiffany had observed that her mother was far more subdued on certain occasions. At first the girls had wondered if their mothers were afraid of their fathers but they had dismissed that idea after giving it careful consideration.
Tiffany Anne knew that her parents adored each other. The love that flowed out of her father, as he would watch her mother doing something menial like setting the dinner table was evidence of that. But there were times that one look from Jasper would cause the highly spirited Alice to become quiet and almost demure.
When Tiffany was sixteen, she and Alexis had read a highly publicized Erotic novel about the alternate lifestyle of BDSM and it was then that the pennies began to drop.
Suddenly it was crystal clear what she and Alexis' parents were. The two teenagers had since read several books on the subject, fiction and non-fiction and they were hardly surprised when they realized that their grandparents also practiced the lifestyle.
So when Alexis began to notice similarities between her twin and the other Doms in her family, she knew that he would one day become a Dominant. After the first time that she had tried to reach out to him ended in disaster, Alexis resolved not to bring it up again.
Until that day when she saw Uncle Jasper and Jackson going for a run and somehow she just knew that the time had come to show her brother that she was openly supportive of his choices.
Jackson sighed as he rubbed the back of his neck, "So, can I ask you something?"
"Are you, jeez this is hard to ask, but are you a s-sub, or a Domme?"
Lexi turned to face her brother with a grin and a twinkle in her eyes, "Jack, can you honestly imagine me wanting some guy to put me over their knee and spank me? Or have me chained to a St. Andrews Cross? Seriously? Alternatively can you see me wearing a leather corset and fishnet stocking with six inch thigh high boots?"
Jackson gasped as those images flashed in his mind, "What? NO! God, no! How do you know this shit? Oh my God, I think I need to bleach my brain!" he said as he rubbed his eyes.
Alexis giggled at the childish action.
"Tiff and I read and we are not stupid. We have known for years – well about four or so years for sure but a bit longer than that when we suspected the truth."
Jackson felt his mouth open and close several times before he found his voice.
"But… how? I mean that I've only known this stuff about myself for the past three years so how the fuck have you known for four or more years?"
Alexis laughed and she linked her hand through his and turned him towards the path, "Come on, Brother Bear, let's go and buy some ice-cream and I will tell you everything. You know for a man, who is studying to become a doctor, your diagnostic skills are seriously lacking." She teased.
Jackson hip checked her, "Yeah, well, I'm studying to be a doctor not a damn CSI agent!"
When they drove back to the house three hours later, Jackson felt lighter and more positive than he had in a long time.
It was official, he thought as he kissed his aunt and grandmother on their cheeks before taking the stairs two at a time to the attic dorm to shower and change for the party that was being held down the road.
His family was insane and weird. He believed everything that Alexis told him about them because she had presented her case with logic and forethought. To say that he was impressed with her and Tiffany detective skill was a gross understatement and he vowed to never try and hide something from his sister or his cousin again.
When they arrived back at the house, they could hear that Steven had arrived and that the guys were playing basketball on the court on the side of the main house.
"I'll see you later Brother Bear, I'm going to find Tiffany." Alexis said.
She walking into the main house and was about to walk up the stairs to her bedroom when she looked up and saw someone coming up the stairs from the basement.
Alexis' hand flew to her mouth as she muffled a scream.
"Jeez, you startled me!" she exclaimed as the slim built young man stood staring at her.
Alexis frowned, "Wait, what are you doing here?"
The man pushed his greasy mousy brown hair off his face and shrugged, "I was doin' maintenance. Faucet was leaking."
Alexis shook her head, "I actually meant what are you doing here in Tahoe? You work in the stables at the ranch don't you?"
The man began to shake his head, but Alexis spoke again, "Yes, yes you do, I remember now, you saddled Max's pony for him! Darryl, right?"
The man nodded shortly.
"How come you are here now?"
The man shuffled and looked uncomfortable for a moment before he spoke up, "Um, the Boss asked me to come down and help out around here while everyone is here."
"Oh! Oh well, okay, thanks for fixing the faucet." Alexis said and she watched as he walked out of the front door.
"Who are you talking to Honey?"
Alexis looked up to see Nana Esme standing in the doorway to the kitchen.
"One of the work crew. A new guy named Darryl something. Hey, Nan, did you ask for a faucet to be fixed in the basement?"
Esme shook her head, "I was downstairs just yesterday because I have to finish the list of groceries for the week and there was nothing wrong with the faucet. Why do you ask?"
Alexis looked back at the front door with a puzzled look on her face, "I must have got the wrong story then."
She looked back at her grandmother and smiled, "So, has the kettle boiled?"
Esme laughed, "Come on, I was just about to sit down for some tea myself."
As they linked arms, Alexis turned back to look at the front door.
Why would Uncle Jasper ask a stable hand to work at the Tahoe compound doing house maintenance?
It didn't make sense because they had a very capable caretaker/maintenance manager. David and Tracy O'Brien had been living on the property for the past ten years and their children, Bryce and his older sister Mandy were very good friends of theirs.
Alexis thought back to her encounter with the man who didn't seem to be much older than she was. She had noticed him around the ranch when she had first arrived home. He always seemed to be watching them or he was in the same place that they were.
Alexis thought back to the day that they had gone horse riding.
The boys had made sure that all the saddles were properly on the horses while Alexis and Tiffany checked that the minis riding hats were on properly.
Alexis noticed that a ranch hand was saddling Max's pony Trigger, while Max looked on anxiously wringing his hands.
"Max, come here so that I can put your helmet on."
Max looked at his sister before he said something to the man who knelt down.
Alexis got distracted for a moment but when she looked back she was surprised to see Max shaking his head vigorously and the man was smiling at him.
She didn't like the way that the man was holding Max's arm as he tried to pull away.
Alexis walked across the paddock. Just then the man stood up and glared at her before his face went devoid of all expression.
"Hi, are you new here?" Alexis asked.
He nodded, "Darryl White"
Alexis smiled, "I'm Alexis, Max's older sister." She looked down at Max who was clutching her leg.
"Did you thank Mister White for saddling up Trigger, Max?" she asked.
Max refused to look up but just shrugged.
Alexis smiled at the man, "Sorry, he gets a little shy sometimes, but thank you for your help." She said.
"Hey, Maxwell, we need to put on your helmet." Alexis said as she reached out and pulled her brother against her legs.
Max was as still as a board and it was only when the man tipped his hat mockingly, and turned away from them that she felt the small body relax.
Alexis bent down and looked into Max's face.
"Hey Buddy, are you okay? Why were you so rude to him?"
Max looked over his shoulder at the disappearing figure before he looked back at her.
"I don't like him. He's a bad man."
"Why do you say that?"
Max opened his mouth but then he shut it again and shrugged.
Just then Daniel called out that they were ready and Alexis put Max's helmet on and helped him to mount his pony before she mounted her own horse, Daisy Boo.
Alexis realized that she had never pressed Max to find out why he didn't like Darryl, but now she made a mental note to see if she could find out as much as she could about Darryl White and she would ask Tiffany Anne to help her. Tiffany was brilliant at finding information on the Internet.
There was something about him that Alexis didn't trust but she couldn't put her finger on it.
A/N: Patience my loves, patience. I am building to something here, but please DO NOT PANIC!