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.

*ΩafloΩ*

**WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS EXPLICIT SEX/BDSM SCENES, LANGUAGE – STRICTLY NC-17!

A FAMILY LIKE OURS: A SEQUEL TO PEOPLE LIKE US

CHAPTER 8

Esme sat at the kitchen island as she checked the final catering order for Edward and Bella's vow renewal on her laptop. She wondered how far Alice and Tiffany were in completing Bella's dress. Tiffany Anne was going into her junior year at college and she would be leaving in the fall to begin an exchange year at the London School of Fashion Design. Tiffany was extremely talented and had been chosen from over fifty thousand applicants to attend the prestigious school and Alice had been happy to leave the actual design of the dress to her.

At first Alice had the idea to design and sew all of the dresses, but when Jasper realized that they would have to design and sew ten dresses for the women and five for the children, he had put his foot down and insisted that Alice only make Bella's dress and that she shop instead for the rest, including the men's outfits.

Alice had pouted for about five minutes until Jasper had smiled at the family who were gathered in the sitting room before he looked at his wife, "Mary Alice, could I talk to you in private please?"

Alice's head had shot up at the sound of her husband's voice and Esme had almost laughed as she scuttled out of the room with Jasper close behind her.

The urge to laugh had died as Carlisle had remarked with a glint in his eyes as he gave Esme a pointed look, "I think that what Jasper is 'explaining' to Alice is that there is no reason to kill yourselves for the next two weeks doing stuff that can be arranged or done by someone else."

Esme had received his unspoken message clearly and she had nodded and given him a weak smile. Only an hour prior, she had been insisting indignantly that she would be able to cook for sixteen adults, eleven young adults (nine of whom were growing men!) and six children, until Carlisle had effectively silenced her arguments when he tapped her bottom playfully.

Alice had returned to the sitting room about forty minutes later and Esme had noticed that she politely refused to sit down, but rather stood to one side as she arranged with Tiffany Ann, Alexis and herself to fly to Los Angeles the next morning.

They had spoken to Sue, Kate, Rosalie, Jesse and Emily, because Edward had invited her and Paul to join them for the weekend.

A whirlwind trip to L.A. and a sizable dent in Jasper's credit card and all the outfits had been purchased, including a basket full of beach thongs in blue, green and white for guests to slip on for the ceremony on the beach.

The girls had all decided on a 'beach blue' theme and so all the women would be dressed in various shades of blue. Everyone had given their dress size and preference for either a formal dress, or a more casual outfit.

Photos of the dresses were sent to everyone before the outfits were steamed and packed away in Alice and Jasper's home.

The men's and children's suits were perfect in a soft camel color linen with fresh white cotton dress shirts and each man would provide his own shoes.

Alexis and Esme were going to be in charge of the décor and in keeping with the color theme; they scoured décor stores close by to find just the right table dressings, candles, and accessories to complete the day.

Esme had also found a wonderful baker and cake decorator and the cake was ordered and paid for.

Edward and Bella would be arriving with Max the day before and everything would be hidden away until Bella and Edward had left for the day.

Jared had come up with the suggestion that everything be stored in the games room as it had easy access to the garden and the beach.

Jackson, Chris, Nicholas, Jared, Daniel, Joshua, McCarthy were organizing the music and Christopher who was a talented DJ, had promised that he would be able to incorporate some 'oldies' music as well. Nicholas had gotten onto the phone with Aro to organize a special surprise for Edward and Bella from their children. Only Samuel had remained stoic and noncommittal regarding the upcoming celebrations.

Carlisle had threatened them to 'keep it clean' as there would be children present and then he reminded everyone that there would be no underage drinking.

Esme could not believe that time had flown by so quickly and it was now just a week away from the vow renewal.

She and Carlisle were leaving the following morning to collect the girls from their camp and Emmett and Rosalie were going to be meeting Sam, Daniel and McCarthy's flight and bringing them to the compound the day after.

Esme loved how large and chaotic her family was. She and Carlisle could not wish for a more fulfilling life than the one that they shared with their children, grandchildren and extended family. Charlie and Sue had become two of their closest friends and Esme and Sue behaved more like sisters than friends. Subsequently, Seth, Jesse and their kids were treated just the same as her own kids and grandbabies and Casey and Isabella called them Nana and Papa, just the same as the other grandchildren.

"What has you looking so smug, my Darling?" Carlisle said as he walked into the kitchen.

Esme grinned up at him, "I'm just thinking that we are going to have a house full in the next few days and only Paul and Emily are not 'family' as such. We are either related to or have 'adopted' the rest of them and I couldn't be happier!"

Carlisle chuckled, "I know you are, my little 'Earth Mother', but I don't want you over taxing yourself over the next week or so, okay?"

When Esme began to protest, Carlisle pulled back slightly and gave her a stern look, "Esme, this is Edward's show, now you have to let him run it. You have done more than enough and there are plenty of people here to see to the finer details. The girls are quite capable to do this and they know where you are if they run into any trouble. I want to spend some alone time with you as well."

Esme sigh. She knew that she had been neglecting Carlisle for the past week, but that had been because there was so much to do and if she was completely honest, it had been a while since there was a family function that wasn't a graduation party or a birthday party.

Esme stood up and put her arms around Carlisle's neck, "You are right, babe. I'm sorry. Lexi is quite capable of seeing overseeing everything. She is so talented. Why don't we take off for a couple of days after we fetch the girls tomorrow?"

Carlisle kissed the side of her neck, "Hmmm, really? Just you and I?"

Esme hummed as she moved her hair so that Carlisle had better access, "Yesss, oh that's good, yep, just the two of us. We can… oh honey… we can go up to the Ritz near North Star?"

Carlisle pulled his phone out of his pocket so quickly that Esme was shocked when she opened her eyes and he was across the room, talking to someone.

He quickly wrote something down on a slip of paper and redialed.

"Carlisle, who" he held up one finger.

"Hi, yes, I would like to book a suite for two nights for the… hold on," he looked at the calendar on Esme's computer before he spoke again, "that will be for the seventeenth and eighteenth… yes that's correct. You can? Fantastic! The name? Doctor and Mrs. Carlisle Cullen, my card details are …"

Esme had stopped listen as she laughed softly. Her husband must really need some one-on-one time if he was so eager to get away. She went in search of her granddaughters to see what they were up to.

Carlisle put the phone down and looked around the empty kitchen. He could not wait to get Esme alone! It seemed like months, not weeks since they had been completely alone and he missed the freedom of just having each other around.

They had moved into their home about fifteen years before and they loved the smaller, more private house. There were only two bedrooms, a large office that Carlisle and Esme shared and of course, their playroom which was really just another walk in closet that was off their bedroom.

Over the years, Carlisle and Esme had modified their D/s time and these days 'playtime' involved a pair of handcuffs, a flogger, whip or paddle and sometimes a butt plug and a vibrator.

Their relationship had strengthened over the years and although age had caused them to modify some of their activities, they were far from needing walkers!

*ΩafloΩ*

Daniel was sprawled across his bed as he watched his cousin and best friend, Sam Cullen, 'pack' his bag. He used the term 'pack' lightly because the way that Sam was flinging his clothes into the leather suitcase was nothing like packing and Sam was usually quite anal about his things being packed and in their proper place, but ever since Jack and Nicholas had contacted Sam with the news that Uncle Edward was asking Aunt Bella to renew their vows on their wedding anniversary, Samuel had been in a foul mood.

"Sam, I still don't get why you are so pissed with your father. Uncle E is cool! I mean I know that he has been gone a lot lately, but that's for work man! My dad has also been working all sorts of crazy hours and my mom threw a fit about it last month." Daniel tried to make him see reason.

Sam glared at his cousin, "Don't you dare fucking take his side, Dan! My 'father' has taken more and more jobs away from home in the past year and even when he is home, it's as if he and my mom are on two separate planets! He didn't have to hear her crying when she thought that no one was listening while he sat in his music room acting all emo and shit! He doesn't give a rats ass about anyone but himself!" he sneered.

Sam stopped what he was doing and looked at Daniel, his green eyes almost black with indignation and fury, "The great Edward, Fucking Cullen, mister high and mighty who can't even spend a month with his family without running away!" He turned was suddenly and Daniel pretended not to notice the angry tears that he wiped away quickly before he went back to shoving things into his case.

Daniel shook his head in sympathy. Sam wasn't a talker and although he was closer to his cousin than anyone else because they were only a couple of months apart in age, he had not known the anguish that he was going through.

"I'm sorry bro'. You should have told me or spoken to my mom or dad. You know that there is no way they would have allowed that shit to carry on."

Sam sighed, "I know and I should have done something but I didn't know what to do. She never talks about what is wrong, Dan. She puts on this brave face and she defends him anytime one of us says something! She is so blind to him, it's sickening!"

Daniel sat up with a frown, "Hey Sam, calm down Cuz. Your dad isn't a bad person and my mom always says that it takes two people to be in a relationship. It sounds to me as if they have both been avoiding shit and it's not fair that you are in the middle, but it really isn't any of your business. If they want to renew their vows then you need to let them do that. If you want to, then talk to your mom and find out her feelings but don't interfere and cause even more trouble between them!"

Sam's face was red with anger, "I knew that you would never understand! This is why I didn't tell you, Daniel! Your mother is a hyped up pixie and your father is all Zen and shit! You all have this 'perfect' life! What the fuck do you know about having six fucking siblings, half of whom are under ten?"

Sam disappeared into the adjoining bathroom and Daniel could hear him throwing things into his toiletries bag.

Danny walked out of the room that they had shared for the past four weeks as he pulled his phone out of his pocket and pressed a button.

"Hey kid, how's the last day going?"

Dan smiled at the sound of his father's voice.

"Hi Dad, listen we have a situation here with Sam…"

At Lake Tahoe, Jasper listened as Danny gave him a quick rundown of their 'discussion'.

"He is really upset Dad and that's what's so strange because Uncle E has always been a great dad – well I always thought so, I mean he usually comes to everyone's games and he is always at the schools for some fundraising thing or whatever and he never complains, so I just don't get it."

Jasper sighed, "Yeah, but both him and I have been working way too much and you know that your mom read me the riot act about it as well. Look, just try and encourage him to talk to his parents and I will have a chat to Uncle Edward. I promise that I won't betray your confidence but I think that he needs to know that things are not all HEA here."

"HEA? What the hell is 'H.E.A'?"

Jasper chuckled, "It's from those stupid Fanfic stories that your sister and cousin always read and then they discuss them ad nausea on the phone and Tiffany often says, 'Is it HEA?' Well I found out that it stands for 'Happy Ever After.' Apparently your sister does not subscribe to any story that doesn't end happily."

"Dad, forgive me for saying this but I find it disturbing how much you know about this stuff! You need to get your man-card back from Mom!"

Jasper joined Daniel's laughter that time, "Yeah, you keep saying that Kid, just wait until you fall in love: that is the first thing to go."

They said goodbye and Jasper sat looking out across the lake. It was another perfect summer day and he gave a sigh before he dialed Edward's number.

"Hey Edward, can you talk?"

"Yep, Bella's taken Max to play with Casey and Isabelle and I'm actually doing some research online and taking things easy. What's up Jasper?"

"Well, everything is set from our side. Alexis and Tiffany have been a great help. Bella's dress is almost finished and all the décor has been delivered. Are you getting excited?"

"You won't believe this, but I think that I'm more nervous now than I was on our actual wedding day! I really hope that this is what she wants and that I haven't blown it completely. What do you think, should I tell her?"

Jasper hadn't heard Edward so unsure in a while.

"I'm sure that she will be thrilled with the gesture, but if you are really worried, why don't you ask her and then you can still keep all the details a surprise but she will have a heads up and that way she won't feel overwhelmed."

"Now that sounds like a great idea, I must admit that I have been worried because I know how she hates surprises. I'll ask her tonight we have a date night."

"How are things going?"

"Jazz, I've fallen in love with this woman all over again. The last two weeks have been great. I feel like a fifteen year old on his first date. We have spent hours about everything and nothing and we have been on more dates than I think we have had in the last ten years!"

Edward let out a chuckle, "Listen to me – I sound like our kids!" He sounded embarrassed and Jasper joined in his laughter.

Edward's voice grew serious, "I had forgotten just how enchanting Bella is, Jasper and that is the saddest part of this. How did I forget how funny, smart, beautiful, thoughtful, kind and just amazing she is? I can't believe that I was that selfish or blind."

"Hey E? You have to let this go, man. You can't hate yourself for what happened. It's over and it's in the past – you have to learn from it and move on."

"You're right, Paul said the same thing. I guess that it'll take some time."

"Have you been back into the playroom?"

"Not yet, Bella and I are re-looking at our limits and expectations and we are doing a re-evaluation of what we want from a D/s relationship. We are going to schedule sometime this week and see where things go from there."

"That's great, bro. It's good that you and Bella are closer."

Jasper heard the tension in Edward's voice as he picked up on what Jasper had just said.

"Why do you say that? What's going on, Jazz?"

"Listen, Edward, I'm not sure how to say this so I'm just going to say it. You need to have some serious one-on-one time with Samuel."

There was a moment of silence and then Edward spoke.

"First Jack and Nicholas and now Sam, what the fuck are trying to tell me Jasper? What is going on? Just fucking spit it out!"

"Ed, this is not my story to tell but I have had a chat with Jack and Nicholas, and they will be talking to you when you get here, but Sam, well, it's not my story either, but I can tell you that I think that he has been carrying a rather heavy load on the home front and I think that he may have some resentment because of it."

All the fight went out of Edward as he listened to his brother in law's words. Once again, he had failed one of his most precious gifts – his child.

"God, Jasper, I have really fucked this up, haven't I? I should have known that the kids were not oblivious! Sam is so close to Bella; of course he would see how much I have been at fault! How can I renew my vows to their mother when I don't have relationships with my children?"

Jasper could just imagine how Edward was going to beat himself up over this and he wondered if he should have waited to speak to him, but on the other hand, if it was him and his children, he would want to know.

"They get in the day after tomorrow right?"

"Yes, just before noon. I'm going to the airport to fetch them."

There was a long moment of silence, "Okay, listen I need to go. I need to speak to Bella. We will phone you later."

"Edward, you aren't perfect, you know. We all make mistakes." Jasper said quietly.

"Thanks Jasper, but I'm only just realizing just how far from 'perfect' I really am."

The line went dead and Jasper cursed under his breath. He hoped that he had not ruined what should be a great day for Edward and Bella.

*ΩafloΩ*

Bella had just secured Max into his car seat when her phone rang. She smiled when she saw that it was Edward.

"Hey Baby," she said.

"Hi, are you on your way home?"

Bella frowned at Edward's serious voice.

"Yes we are, why? Is something wrong?"

Edward hesitated for a moment, "I have screwed up again and I need to talk to you, but I don't want it to affect our date and I know that it's selfish of me, but"

"Hey, slow down. Now I'm sure that you haven't screwed up since I saw you four hours ago and I am sure that it's not as serious as you think it is, but we can talk as soon as we have had lunch and Max is down for his afternoon sleep. How does that sound?"

"Thank you, Baby Girl."

"I love you and I will see you in about twenty minutes."

Edward gave a sigh of relief, "I love you too. I have started lunch, so it should be ready when you get home."

As Bella drove home she thought about the past week and how hers and Edward's relationship was growing stronger every day. Of course it wasn't easy and there had been a few disagreements along the way, but the more that they spoke to each other and shared their feelings and thoughts, the closer they got and the stronger their feelings for each other became.

Bella had not felt such depth of emotions for Edward in a long time and she loved every moment of it! Just the thought of going home and knowing that he was there waiting for her, was enough to get her head spinning.

When Bella pulled up to the garage door, Edward was waiting for her. He opened the back door and took Max out of his seat.

"How was your morning, Max?" he said as he hugged him and kissed his hair.

"Daddy, we had such fun! We buided a fort and Case didn't want to let Izzy play wif us but I said, 'No, Casey, we must play with her – the paw girl!"

Edward's eyes met Bella's amused smiled over the top of the car and he winked at her before he turned back to his son, "The poor girl? Now what makes you say that, Son?"

Max sighed as if he was exasperated, "Daddy, I told you – she don't got fwiends and I'm her fwiend and I told that to Case. And Nana says 'oh the paw daaaling' all the time!"

Edward saw Bella hide her smile behind her hair and he made a show of trying to smooth Max's wild mop of hair out of his eyes as he smothered his own smile.

"Well, Buddy, I think that you are the world's best friend and you are right: Nana does say that all the time. Now, can you go and wash your hands? Lunch is ready."

Max hugged Edward and planted a sloppy kiss on his cheek before he wiggled down and ran to wash his hands.

Edward walked around the car to where Bella was standing and he pulled her into his arms, "That kid is going to charm all the birds from the trees one day." He said.

Bella nodded, "He is like his daddy." She teased as she reached up and kissed Edward's chin.

He captured her face in one hand and lowered his head to return the kiss.

"Moooommmy!" Max shouted from inside.

Bella stepped back, "Hold that thought Sparky. Let's go and have some lunch. What did you make?"

"We are having chicken and waldorf salad and chicken nuggets with vegetable rounds for Max."

Bella grinned at him, "Good job, honey!"

And she laughed when she saw his ears turn pink.

The three sat around the kitchen table, and the adults mainly listened to Max talking about the activity day camp that he went to and what they were doing the next morning.

By two o'clock, Max was fading fast and Edward carried him up to his bedroom so that he and Bella could talk.

Edward could feel Max's tension as they approached his bedroom.

After taking the tour of the security complex, Maxwell's' anxiety had lessened…

"So Maxwell, do you see all of these televisions on the wall?" Marcus pointed to the monitors.

Max nodded but he still held Edward's neck tightly.

"Good, now take a look and tell me what you see."

Max leaned forward slightly without releasing Edward, "Ummmmm that's, that's Hey! That's Max's house! Daddy! Look, Daddy! Therw is our house! Momma, look!"

"Sh, Max, inside voice." Bella admonished gently but Marcus shook his head, "It's quite alright Mrs. Cullen; it's very clever of Max to recognize his own house. Now Max, what it that?"

After a moment Max grinned, "That's Daddy and Mommy's cars and Jack's Twuck and Nicky's bike!" he said pointing to the garage.

Marcus nodded again, "Very good, now, I want you to see this – look."

Maxwell gasped, "My woom!"

"Well, that is the hallway outside your bedroom and those are the other hallways and there are the gardens and even your play area!"

"No baddies can come in my woom, hey Daddy?" Max asked.

Edward nodded, "Remember what we said: if anyone opens your window, then a very loud alarm will sound."

Max's eyes were huge as he stared from the monitors to Marcus, "Mistaw Marcus, can you look after the hawses as well and my pony?"

Marcus leaned down so that he was eye to eye with the little boy, "Maxwell, I promise you that we will do everything that we can to make sure that nothing happens to you or your mommy and daddy or your brothers and sisters. That is why we are here – to keep you and the horses safe."

Max glanced over at the screens that showed the roads leading to the houses, as well as the stables and outhouses and he let out a sigh of relief, "Okay Mistaw Marcus."

Marcus smiled, "Now, I want to give you a very special present if it's okay with your mommy and daddy?"

Edward nodded. Following an open discussion with Emmett and Anderson regarding the families personal security, Jasper, Alice, Edward, Bella, Rosalie and Emmett had decided to have state of the art jewelry commissioned that was virtually indestructible and that was worth a large luxury car but that would go a long way to ensure each person's safety.

Marcus looked at Edward and Bella and held out what looked like a small steel linked bracelet that could be expanded as Max grew that was engraved with the Cullen crest.

"This has a GPS tracking chip fitted inside that will not be detected by any scan or x-ray machine. It works much like the cars and cell phones. The signal is accurate to within twenty feet and can be tracked via satellite so that should there be an 'event', we will be able to pinpoint this to a climbing frame distance. It can be activated at the push of a button." Levi, the other security person on duty explained quietly to Bella and Edward.

Max clapped his hands, "Is that for me?"

Bella nodded, "That is just for you Max. Daddy and I want to give all of you special bracelets and we will also have the same. See here? This is the Cullen family crest and because you are a Cullen, you get to wear this. You can wear it in the bath or the swimming pool or at school or to bed. It is very, very special and you mustn't take it off, okay?"

Max nodded, "Okay Mommy. Will you be sad if I take it off?"

Bella nodded, "I will be very, very sad so can you promise that you won't take it off – or give it to anyone? Ever?"

Max stared at the bracelet on his arm, "I promise, Mommy. I don't want you to be sad any more. You smile now, hey Mommy?"

"I do, my love. You and Daddy make me smile even though I miss everyone else, but we will see them soon."

"I love you Momma."

"Oh Maxwell, I love you too." Bella said as she put her arms around her baby and hugged him tightly.

Edward stepped forward and pulled Bella and Max into his arms, "I love you so much." He whispered in Bella's ear.

"Daddy?" Edward was brought back to the present by his son's voice.

"Yes, Buddy?"

"Aw you going to stay here wif me?" Max asked even as his eyelids drooped and he clutched his fluffy cow to his chest.

"I think that Mommy would like to have a nap as well, so we will be down the hall in our room. We have our secret phones right?"

Max nodded as he reached up and patted the baby monitor.

"Now, get some sleep Honey." He leaned over and kissed Max's forehead. "You are safe, Maxwell." This had become his and Bella's mantra over the past week or so.

Max was asleep by the time that Edward walked out of his room.

Edward fetched the baby monitor and he put it into his pocket before he made his way downstairs.

Bella was sitting outside on the double lounger. Bella moved over and Edward pulled her into his arms and kissed her hungrily.

"Hmm, that was nice," Bella panted when they pulled apart, "I'm not sure what I did to deserve such a warm 'welcome' but hell, I'm not complaining." She teased as she pushed her hands through Edward's hair and searched his face. When she saw the tension in his eyes, she brushed her thumbs across his cheeks tenderly, "What's got you so riled up?"

Edward sighed and he rolled over and lay staring up at the porch ceiling as he gathered his thought.

"I spoke to Jasper earlier on and he seems to think that Sam is really pissed with me because of the way that I've treated you and I'm beginning to realize just how this rift between us has affected our children."

He sat up and propped his elbows onto his knees before he covered his face with his hands.

Bella frowned as she knelt behind him. She could feel his shoulders shake as she slid her hands around his neck from behind.

"Edward, listen to me: You are not the only one at fault here. I have been selfish as well because it became too easy to lean on the kids, especially Sam and Nick to a lesser degree. I think that we should head up to the lake a little sooner than we planned and we need to have a very honest discussion with our children. The older four are young adults and they have formed their own opinions but those opinions are very biased, Love."

She pressed a soft kiss to his ear, "Sam has always been a 'momma's boy' and you know that. From when his was little, he would come to me rather than you. While you were rough-housing with Nick, Jack and even Lexi, Sam would either watch you or he would play and then come running to me if he got hurt. Unfortunately, I should have set him straight when you were away and I didn't and that is my fault, but we can fix this."

Edward didn't say anything but he listened to what Bella had said. He loved all of his children, but he had always known that while Samuel loved him, he adored Bella. Jackson and Nicholas had more of his temperament and personality and they got along really well, while Sam was artistic and quiet and he gravitated to Bella constantly and rather than force him to spend time with Edward, they had allowed him to spend time with her painting and learning about photography. Hell, he thought, they still seemed to compete for her attention!

Bella moved to kneel in front of him and she took his hands away from his face. It hurt her to see that his eyes were red rimmed, his thick black lashes wet.

"Oh baby, I know that you are going to try to take the blame, but remember that we are passed that now. We owe our children an apology but they also need to know that this is our relationship and that it is our choice to work at our marriage and to be stronger than ever. I love you, Edward. You are my first priority. I love our children with all of my heart, but you come first and you always will. That is the only way that this is going to work. If we begin to try to please everyone else, we are going to neglect each other and I won't accept that again. So, are you with me?"

Edward felt himself smiling as he looked at Bella, "How did you get so smart?"

Bella winked at him, "I have always been very smart."

Edward's face grew serious, "Yes, you have my Love. What if he won't forgive me?"

Bella shook her head gently, "Edward; your children love you so much. Samuel is just being a typically hard assed teenager and although I am touched that he would blindly defend me; he needs to learn that I have feet of clay as well. I'm not perfect and he can't go through life thinking that I am, because he is going to get very disillusioned."

Edward turned his face and kissed the palm of her hand, "Thank you."

Bella sat back on the ground in front of him, "So, are you ready for our date tonight?"

Edward nodded, "Are Sue and Charlie okay with taking Max?"

"Oh they are looking forward to it. Sue was saying that it has been too quiet around the house because Charlie has been volunteering at the Sherriff's department because Deputy Stu is on maternity leave with his wife and someone was out with measles or something."

She rolled her eyes, "Apparently Charlie has been having a grand old time because he has been riding on patrols."

Edward chuckled, "Well, he still has his 'stash, so he's all good."

"Sue asked to keep Max overnight even though I explained that he has been really clingy lately but she suggested that having Dad playing 'cop' might help him to feel more secure. I wish I knew what was scaring him. Normally he can't keep a secret longer than five minutes and that's with a bribe, but he just won't open up."

"Baby, we have upped our security, Max is wearing his tracker bracelet and Anderson had one put into Mooki as well, so whatever happened, we can only keep reassuring him and hopefully in time he will open up to us."

"I hope so, I just feel so helpless."

"I know Love, why don't we take the horses out this afternoon? We can go down to the creek for a bit. Max and I can troll for tadpoles."

Bella smiled "I'll take the book that Kate suggested, 'True Submission'."

"How far are you with your list? Have you given it much thought?" Edward was curious because he hadn't noticed Bella working on her list at all.

Bella nodded, "I've finished my list." She looked at him shyly, "Would you like to go over it tonight?"

"That's a good idea. My list is finished as well."

After that they went to change into jeans and T-shirts before Edward went to pack a couple of jars and a net into a backpack while Bella packed a snack, a light blanket, her book and on impulse she picked up her camera.

Max woke up shortly afterwards and Bella noticed that he was not as excited as they thought he would be when they told him that they were going for a horse ride until Edward mentioned that they were going to be with him the entire time.

After saddling the horses and Max's pony they took a slow ride to the bend in the creak where Edward and Max spent the rest of the afternoon wading in the water in their old sneakers and rolled up jeans, catching tadpoles as they became increasing wet and muddy as Bella took tons of swoon worthy photographs of father and son.

Her eyes misted over a few times as she captured a look of wonder on Max's face as Edward pointed something out to him, or excitement when they 'captured' their first tadpole, and the look of complete adoration that lit up Edward's face as he watched Max reach inside the jar with a tentative finger.

Bella leaned back against the willow tree as she sighed in contentment. There had been too few of these moments in the past five years.

Raising seven children, four of whom were twins was not easy and so much of their time had been swallowed up with soccer practices, piano recitals, ballet lessons, parent-teacher conferences, play dates, work, school, homework – just thinking about it made Bella tired.

She knew that to the outside world they had an idyllic life and most of the time it was pretty wonderful, and sure, one of the biggest stresses in life, money, or lack of it was not an issue, but she and Edward had decided when Jackson, Alexis and Nicholas were still small that they would raise their children to be 'normal, down-to-earth' kids, that received pocket money as a reward for chores done and not as a rite of passage.

The six oldest children had all gone to the small schools of St. Helena Middle School and St. Helena High and they were only allowed to go to Universities where they were accepted because of their grades and not their surname.

If any of them received scholarships, Edward and Bella would not take that away from them, as it was a reward for their achievements, but they donated an equal amount of money to a scholarship applicant that would not have the money to attend school without it.

Bella wondered as she watched Max throw back his head in caucus laughter as Edward held him on his shoulders and splashed in the water, whether they had raised or were raising their children correctly.

It broke her heart to think that Sam and Edward could be at odds with each other – over her and she thought of ways to help close that gap. One of the things that she needed to do was to have a talk to her older children and she needed to apologize to them for leaning on them when she should have put more pressure on Edward to face up to his responsibilities.

Bella took a calming breath, it was not going to do any of them any good if she and Edward kept blaming themselves – they needed to acknowledge that they had screwed up, ask forgiveness and then move forward.

Max leaned down and wrapped his podgy hands around Edward's neck so that he was looking into his father's face upside down.

Edward pulled a funny face, causing Max and Bella to giggle hopelessly.

"You're so silly, Daddy!" Max squealed as Edward swung him down and carried him to where Bella had put their towels over a branch to get warm.

"I am?" Edward said with mock surprise and outrage.

Max nodded before his little face grew serious, "I love you Daddy."

Edward was about to dry his legs when he looked into Max's eyes and he saw a sadness that caused his heart to ache.

"I love you Maxwell, always and forever. Remember what I tell Mommy?"

Max's face cleared as he smiled, "To affinity and yonder?"

Edward smiled, "That's right: To infinity and beyond and that is how much I love all of you."

Max grinned, "Even Nicky's 'Oopsie'?" His green eyes danced with glee at being able to talk about 'potty' habits. His enthusiasm for the subject was typical for an almost four year old.

He giggled at his own comment as Bella and Edward burst out laughing.

Nicholas's farts were world renowned, especially after he ate beans!

Edward tapped his chin as if he was thinking about it.

"Daddy?"

Edward smiled and nodded, "I don't love Nick's 'Oopsie', but I love Nicholas even if he makes 'Oopsie', get it?"

Max nodded, satisfied, "Got it! Okay, I'm weddy to eat! Mama, what do we got to eat?"

For once Bella didn't correct his garbled sentence, she just held out his yoghurt, juice and cookies.

When they got home, Bella bathed Max and changed him into a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. He was excited to spend time with his Grumpy and Grandma Sue and soon his bag was packed as he carried Mooki and his prized bag of cars to Bella's car.

Edward made sure to kiss and hug his youngest son, "I love you Buddy. Thanks for having fun with me today." Edward said as he kissed Max's cheek.

Max's arms snaked around his father's neck, "I love you too, Daddy. You are the bestest tadpole buddy in the world!"

Edward gave Bella a quick hug and kiss before he headed upstairs to take a shower and shave his stubble.

Bella was pleased to see that Maxwell was relaxed and she listened to his happy chatter as they drove the short distance to her father and Sue's home.

Charlie was getting out of his truck as they pulled in behind him and he greeted them as he helped Max out of his car seat.

"Hey, look who's all scrubbed clean, my old buddy Max!" Charlie said as he hugged the little boy before greeting Bella.

"Hi Honey, it looks like someone has a good day."

They watched as Max ran up the cobblestone pathway to where Sue was sitting on the front porch swing.

Bella smiled as Max hugged his grandmother and climbed up beside her.

"We had a great afternoon. We went for a ride to the creek and the boys caught tadpoles." Bella said with a shiver at the thought of the slimy, wiggling creatures.

Charlie laughed at her reaction, "You would think that with four boys, you would have a thicker skin."

Bella shook her head, "With thirteen years between Sam and Max, it was almost like having a first baby all over again, especially with Elizabeth and Andrea in-between."

Bella greeted Sue and they chatted for a few minutes before Maxwell announced quite pointedly that Bella was on 'Max time' and she should go back to his daddy.

Bella kissed the top of his head, "I can take a hint, young man. I will see you tomorrow, okay?"

Max nodded and Bella saw a hint of his previous anxiety. She leaned down, "You remember that Grumpy Charlie is a cop?" Max looked up at Charlie and nodded.

"Well, he is a really good cop, a sheriff and he will never let anything happen to you."

Max bit his bottom lip for a moment, "Okay, Mommy."

"Come on Buddy, you can be my Deputy today. I think that Granma Sue has some sugar cookies and milk for us policemen in the kitchen."

"Sugar cookies, with colored sugar on top?" Max asked as he wrapped his arms around Charlie's neck.

Charlie smiled and twitched his mustache as Max giggled, "Of course!"

With a last hug Bella drove back home. She found Edward in their bedroom, tapping away at his laptop as he sat at the small table.

"Hi Baby, did he get off okay?"

"Oh, he was more than just 'okay'; he practically ordered me off the property!"

Edward chuckled, "That's because he and Charlie didn't want to share one of Sue's amazing cakes that she would have baked for desert!"

Bella snorted, "It was sugar cookies today. What time do we need to leave for our date?"

Edward looked at his watch, "About an hour? We aren't going far."

Bella smiled, "That's more than enough time," she said as she walked towards their dressing room.

Edward forced himself not to race after her and ravish her right there in the dressing room.

They had not yet 'consummated' their new commitment; instead they had decided to wait until they went back into the playroom that night.

Edward was more excited than a teenager on his first date and he stifled a groan as he heard the shower running.

Without giving it much thought, Edward unbuttoned his jeans and pulled his rock hard cock. The image in his head was more arousing than any pornography. He began to stroke himself as his head dropped back again the headrest.

Bella…wet, naked in the shower. The very large shower that had that amazing seat… the large shower that had enough shower heads to hit all Bella's favorite 'spots'… Bella standing with her head tilted back, allowing the water to run through her thick tresses and pour down over her neck, shoulders, to her breasts… her pert, hard nipples pebbled and ready for his mouth… the water racing over her abdomen, her hips, widened by childbirth, her flat stomach with the faint scars of those childbirths and the tummy tuck that she had after she had given birth to Maxwell.

Edward stroked harder, his hips rising up to meet his hand as it twisted around the head, gathering the precum as his breath went from heavy breathing to panting.

The water gathering in the 'v' of her sweet, smooth pussy. The same pussy that had given him hundreds of hours of pleasure over the past twenty-two years…

"Gaaagh Bella! Fuck!" Edward was jolted out of his fantasy as he ejaculated all over his stomach

Edward rested momentarily, unaware that Bella was standing in the doorway to their bedroom with her mouth hanging open.

Bella had heard an odd sound as she finished in the shower and she had barely dried her body before she scurried into the bedroom only to stop as she watched Edward in the middle of fucking his hand as he moaned her name.

Bella was more than a little turned on by the sight of Edward getting off to whatever picture he had in his head, Edward's 'O' face was breathtaking and Bella felt her own arousal skyrocket as he grunted her name, followed by a string of curses as string after string of cum coated his stomach and T-shirt as she gasped then clamped a hand over her mouth.

Bella retreated on wobbly legs to their dressing room where she pretended to look for an outfit as Edward mumbled something unintelligible as he darted through the dressing room into their bathroom.

She giggled when the door slammed shut behind him and seconds later she heard the shower turn on.

"This old woman's still got it! She can still bring her man to his knees!" she said to herself as she shimmied into a pair of panties that was the palest pink and delicate.

After his initial embarrassment at being caught beating off by Bella, Edward decided that it wasn't a bad thing that he still had such an epic response to Bella, or visions of Bella and with a cocky swagger, he tossed the towel into the hamper and strode into their dressing room, where Bella was just about to reach for a beautiful blue crossover sweater dress.

She glanced over her shoulder and her eyes widened almost comically at the sight of Edward, with his hard erection proudly tapping against his stomach watching her.

"Oh! H-hi!" her voice sounded high and nervous.

Edward chuckled as he palmed his cock, "Hi," he walked forward until his breath tickled her face, "Did you enjoy the show, Baby Girl?"

Bella felt her panties get soaked at the sound of his deep, velvety smooth tone.

She swallowed thickly, "Wh, um, you, I," she fell silent after several attempts to form a cohesive sentence and took a deep breath. She ignored her burning cheeks and nodded, "Yes" she whispered as she licked her bottom lip nervously.

Edward's eyes darkened as he took in her bright eyes, flushed cheeks and the wildly beating pulse at the base of her throat.

"Were you turned on Isabella, knowing that just imagining you in the shower did that to me?"

Bella gasped, "You were – thinking about me in the shower when you –" she made a clumsy gesture towards their bedroom door.

Edward cocked an eyebrow, "When I – when I was masturbating? Oh yes, Isabella, it was all about you, baby."

Bella felt her knees grow weak. She wanted to fall at his feet and show him how much she loved and desired to serve him and just as she was about to follow her instincts, she felt Edward's hands holding her upright. She loved the feeling of his fingers digging into her hips.

With a boldness that Edward wasn't used to, Bella tilted her head up and looked him straight in the eyes, "You have no idea how much I love knowing that I can still excite you after all these years, because Edward, you make me so fucking wet just by looking at you or thinking about you that I go through panties like Max chomps Skittles." She smiled as she twisted out of his grasp and she quickly finished tying the short, flirty dress.

Edward smiled and let her go so that they could get dressed and get their evening started.

A short while later, Edward and Bella were headed to Rutherford for dinner. They deliberately kept their conversation light. Bella was amused at how many people stopped to gawk at them as they drove down the main road in Edward's coveted Aston Martin Vanquish. He loved his car and it was a well known fact that this was the one material possession that Edward guarded jealously.

He found a parking space at the end of the block from the steakhouse that they were eating at and Bella couldn't help smiling as Edward made his way around the car and opened her door.

Edward flashed his charming smile as he held out his hand for her to take and after tucking her hand into the crook of his arm they stepped onto the sidewalk and headed for 'The Eatery', a new up and coming steakhouse that offered good food and some privacy for their more famous clientele.

Bella just stopped herself from rolling her eyes at the young, overtly sexy blonde woman that stuttered a greeting as she gazed at Edward, barley giving Bella a glance.

Edward was feeling more than a little nervous and he didn't even notice the woman's fawning until Bella snorted as the hostess sashayed her way to the small and private balcony table that Edward had specifically requested.

"What?" he asked as he looked down at Bella.

Bella nodded towards the hostess, who was swaying her hips so broadly that it was a wonder she had not knocked into someone.

"Little Miss 'Thong' there is trying to get your attention." She murmured.

Edward laughed at the name that she had given the girl and he had little trouble seeing why. The very distinct thong outline was visible under her skintight dress as she walked in front of them.

"You are the only woman that I see, Isabella."

For a moment Bella was dazzled by the look of unbridled love and lust in Edward's eyes and it was almost a shock when the hostess cleared her throat rather loudly and announced that their table was ready.

Bella blushed slightly as Edward didn't bother to look up, "Thank you," he said as he pulled out a chair for Bella and sat down to one side of her and immediately picked up her hand and pressed his lips to her knuckles.

"Well, um, your waiter will be with you shortly." The hostess announced sullenly as she popped the menus onto the table.

"You look so lovely tonight, Baby Girl,"

Bella sat back and pulled her hand free as she took a deep breath and a quick sip of water from the full glass in front of her.

When she looked back at Edward, she made a point to fan herself playfully, "You have to stop dazzling me, Mister Cullen. I'm an old married woman, you know."

Edward shook his head, "You will never be an old anything, my Love. And you will always be lovely and sexy and beautiful to me and I hope that I never stop dazzling you."

A waiter appeared and thankfully Bella and Edward had eaten there many times and Edward was able to order for them without looking at the menu.

After their wine was poured, Bella noticed that Edward looked nervous.

"Is something wrong?"

Edward pursed his lips thoughtfully, "No, nothing is 'wrong' but there is something that I want to ask you and I'm not sure how you will respond."

"Edward, you know that you can ask me anything."

"I know, but this is different. I haven't asked you this question in a very long time," he said as he silently willed her to catch on.

Bella frowned, "What is the question?"

"Bella, will" Edward's voice broke and he quickly took a sip of his wine as Bella stared at him wide-eyed.

"You really are nervous!" she said as she reached across the table and brushed the moisture that had gathered on his top lip.

"Yeah!" Edward laughed nervously.

"You don't have to be nervous, Sparky, not unless you want to have another baby and then you should be downright terrified!"

Bella's joke broke the tension and it was just what Edward needed to voice his question.

"Bella, you know that our twenty year anniversary is next Saturday," she nodded.

"Well, um, I was wondering if you would mind very much, um, renewing our vows? With me? Would – would you please re marry me, Isabella?" Edward's air supply ran out after that and he took a few gulps of the cool summer air before he lifted his wine glass and emptied it in one go.

Bella sat still.

She hadn't moved and a large part of Edward was beginning to freak out.

She didn't want to marry him again.

She thought his gesture was stupid, childish, and too late! Oh god, he was going to lose –

Suddenly Edward was pulled out of his whirlwind of thoughts as Bella landed in his lap and her arms were flung around his neck and her lips were pressing against his.

"…yes, yes, yes! Oh God! I love you, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen! You are the most romantic man in the world!" Bella gushed as she kissed his mouth, jaw and cheeks.

Edward's arms shot out and he laughed as he held her tightly. He didn't care that several people had turned their phones towards the famous couple.

Bella wanted to do this with him! She wanted to remake a commitment with him!

Finally they were quiet as Bella pressed her forehead to Edward's.

"I love you."

"Oh Bella, I love you too."

A throat clearing had them parting reluctantly as the waiter smiled apologetically and set their dinner plates down. He quickly disappeared and had the forethought to close the doors that led into the restaurant, which gave them almost complete privacy.

"So how long have you been planning this?" Bella asked as she ate her 'surf 'n turf' dinner of steak and crab with seasonal vegetables.

Edward smirked, "A while."

Bella cocked an eyebrow, "How long is 'a while' and what kind of planning have you done?"

Edward dabbed his mouth, "Since the weekend that we spent in the city. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I needed to show you how serious I am about being married to you."

"So, who have you roped into this madness?"

Edward grinned, "Oh just about everybody up at the Lake, but if it's okay with you, I would like to keep the details a surprise."

Bella looked alarmed, "You've set Alice loose on this?"

Edward grinned and shook his head, "Not a chance, baby. Jazz is keeping her in line and Alexis and Mom are in charge and Sue and Rosie have been on speed dial every day. I just want to give you this, if it's okay with you?"

Bella could see how much this meant to him and so she agreed. "I trust you and I know that whatever you have arranged will be perfect, just as long as I get to spend some extra quality time with you."

"Deal"

"There is one other thing," Bella said.

"Anything,"

"I think that we should leave for Lake Tahoe the day after tomorrow," Edward was about to protest but Bella held up her hand, "just hear me out. I was thinking about this today. I think that you should take the boys camping and I will take the girls away for a spa day after we sit them all down together and explain our plans to them. We really need to reconnect as a family and we should do it before we renew our vows."

Edward knew that Bella was right: they needed to reconnect without the rest of their extended family and friends.

"Can I make another suggestion? We fly down early on Tuesday morning, and we have one night apart that will be Wednesday – boys and girls time but then you girls join us for a day and night so that we can reconnect that will be Thursday and Thursday night and we get back on Friday just in time to get 'married' on Saturday."

Bella nodded, "That's a great idea. We should phone Charlie and let him know that we are leaving early and then we need to let your parents know to expect us."

"We can do that when we get back to the house." The rest of their dinner past quickly and it was only when they were on their way back home that Bella brought up the other important topic.

"Edward?"

"Yes Baby?"

"Do you still want to talk about our D/s time?"

Edward look across to see that Bella was nibbling on her bottom lip, "Do you want to, because if you don't feel ready then you can just tell me."

Bella reached out her hand and Edward felt warmth spread up his thigh as her fingers touched him, "I don't want there to be any misunderstandings or unresolved issues, any more. Our tattoos are a symbol of the commitment that we have made for 'full disclosure' and I don't want to wait any longer."

Edward brought Bella's hand up to his mouth, "I couldn't agree more,"

Once the Vanquish was parked in the garage, Bella phoned Charlie while Edward called Carlisle. Once they were finished they met in their bedroom, where they took off their shoes to get more comfortable. Edward was holding his i-Pad, while Bella took her journal from her bedside table drawer.

"Let's talk in the playroom," Edward suggested and he held out his hand.

Bella was as nervous as the very first time that she had walked into a playroom as she followed Edward through the annex.

He quickly punched in the code that was their wedding date and made a mental note to change it sometime.

He flicked the lights on and he was astonished as he looked around. The room smelled fresh and newly cleaned. The smell of oiled leather and instrument cleaner was faint but still there and he looked around.

Everything was in perfect position and gleaming.

He turned around and looked at Bella, "You've been cleaning the playroom." He said quietly.

Bella gave a half shrug and nodded, "Well, it's been one of my duties as your submissive, remember?"

Edward's eyes clouded over with regret, "I remember, Sweetheart. I'm so sorry that I let you down." He looked around him again, "All this time… I can't believe that you kept it looking so – perfect and ready… and I just left you waiting…"

Bella swallowed her own tears when she saw the tears in Edward's eyes threatening to overflow.

Bella put her hands on his waist, "Don't, Master." She said boldly. "Don't waste any more time on regrets or apologies. Please can we just move forward? I want to serve you and submit to you, please let the past go."

Edward's eyes had widened at Bella's use of the term 'Master' and he was surprised at how joyful it felt to hear her call him that. He swallowed and blinked the excess moisture away before he gestured to the loveseat that faced the whipping bench.

Bella sat down and curled her feet beneath her, while Edward walked around the room. He stopped before the gallery of erotic photographs that Bella had taken over the years.

"You are the perfect submissive, Isabella." He said almost to himself.

Bella found herself blushing with pleasure at his words.

"Thank you Master," she said.

At the use of that title for the second time in as many minutes Edward turned around and focused on the business at hand.

He sat down in an armchair adjacent to the sofa and smiled, "Well, Baby Girl, shall we get down to comparing notes?"

*ΩafloΩ*

An hour and two bottles of water later, and Edward grinned as he reached across and held out his hand to one of the best negotiators that he had ever come across, "You have a deal, Mrs. Cullen."

Bella grinned back at her husband and Dominant and she could not stop the shiver of excitement down her spine as her hand slipped into his, "Always a pleasure doing business with you, Mister Cullen." She teased.

Edward's smiled faded for a moment as his eyes searched her face, "No regrets, Isabella?"

Bella looked around their playroom and for a moment she felt a pang of sadness for the loss of a large part of their lives but then she thought about their new 'arrangement' and she smiled and shook her head, "A little nostalgia, but no regrets, Master."

Edward smiled and he pushed the armchair back into place before he stood up and walked to the door without a word, "I will be back in five minutes, Isabella. Will you be ready?"

Bella stood up and met his gaze, "Ready and waiting to serve you, Master."

Edward almost ran back to their bedroom where he shed his clothes left and right before pulling his old jeans over his hips. He didn't bother to butting the fly but instead he took a minute to calm himself before he walked back to the playroom entrance.

Bella knelt on a cushion in the middle of the room. Her hair fell around her shoulders as the soft light cast shadows to play across her naked beauty.

They had decided by mutual consent not to have sex during this first scene, but rather to consummate their relationship in their marriage bed afterwards.

Edward stepped forward and stood in front of Bella, "Your submission is treasured, my lovely wife."

As agreed Bella lifted her head to stare into Edward's eyes – there would be no more lowered gazes, unless they both agreed.

"I trust you with my submission and my heart, Edward."

They stared at each other for a long moment before Bella watched the 'Dom' mask fall into place on her husband's face.

"Master, may I serve you?"

"How my beauty?"

"May I suck your cock, please?"

"Y-yes"

Bella could not help the smile as she opened her mouth. It was exhilarating to know that she could still unnerve this beautiful man that she was married to.

As her lips closed over his bulbous head, Edward let out a loud groan that should have embarrassed him but didn't. There was something about the room where he and Bella had shared a life completely separated from any other aspect of their lives: their children, their parents, their careers, nothing had penetrated these walls – inside it only he and Bella existed.

Master and submissive.

Both giving pleasure and receiving pleasure.

Both surrendering within these walls.

Edward's eyes closed as he gave himself over to the sensations that Bella was creating with her mouth, tongue and teeth as her fingers massaged and caressed his balls, which encouraged his climax to peak that much sooner.

When Bella opened her throat to receive his cock, Edward felt his control slip and for one of the first times, he didn't hold back, but rather, he welcomed surrendering to Bella's mouth.

Bella lightened her touch until Edward opened his eyes and his black eyes shone down at her as she tucked his softened dick inside his jeans and rocked back on her knees.

"Did I please you, Master?"

Edward reached out and caressed her head, "You surpassed 'pleasing' me, Baby."

Bella smiled at the praise.

"Stand up for me Isabella. Feet apart!"

Bella stood up and made sure that she was standing in a perfect position as her breath quickened with anticipation.

This is what she had been waiting for.

This is what she had craved, longed for, hungered after.

She heard as her Master moved behind her, his soft footsteps barely made any sound, but Bella was conscious of his movements.

"Up on the bench my lovely. It's been too long." Bella almost whimpered as Edward's deep voice washed over her.

He noticed the sudden outbreak of goose bumps over her back and he bit back a smile. It was good to know that he could still affect her that way.

Bella hurried over to the bench eagerly. The feeling of the cool leather, smooth wood and familiar shape had her dripping even more than before.

Edward found what he was looking for and he moved over to the bench, happy that Bella's eyes were looking at the floor.

"Now, we have spoken about what you are craving, so let's see if your Master was listening. Lift your hips, baby girl."

Bella lifted her hips wondering what he was up to. She felt something being pressed against her clit and she let out a small moan when she realized that it was a clit vibrator. This was one of her favorite toys – they were small, no bigger than an inch and a half, latex molded triangle that were supplied in various colors and were waterproof, completely silent and worked like a charm!

Bella wiggled her ass as Edward checked that the vibe was positioned correctly and he let two fingers ghost against her opening.

A swift hand landed on her rounded cheek, "Keep still, Isabella. You don't want this to end unsatisfactorily, now do you?" Edward's voice may have been teasing but the message was clear – he was still the Master in control. Bella nodded quickly.

"Good girl, now we are almost ready – just another adjustment –" Bella had no time to react as Edward slid the cold glass dildo inside her, but she heard his chuckle, "there! I think that we are ready. What color are you my lovely girl?"

"Green, Master." Bella said breathlessly. The anticipation was almost too much, but Bella forced herself hold still. She had waited so long that a tiny part of her wondered if the expectation was going to live up to the reality.

"You seemed to like the sued flogger last time I saw you, so let's begin with that. Count for me,"

"One."

"Two."

Edward was a master with a flogger, whip or crop and Bella's eyes were almost rolling back as she felt the soft tendrils falling across her flesh.

By the count of twelve, when Edward stopped to check, Bella was ready to cum. She was seconds away from climaxing and she couldn't stop the whimper of disappointment when he put the flogger next to her head.

"What do you need, Isabella?" he asked as he handed her a bottle of water and ran his hands over her pink skin.

"I want to cum, Master but I also was to hold onto the anticipation."

Edward nodded, "It is a delicious conundrum isn't it, Baby?"

Edward tipped Bella's face so that her eyes met his. She wasn't used to looking at him in the eyes when she was collared, but she found that she loved the new freedom. Being able to look into her Master's eyes gave her the opportunity to read his emotions and that gave her a sense of comfort.

"It is, Master, but I love it. I like you testing me."

"I love watching you go beyond what you think you are capable of. The look of pride and wonder on your face is nothing short of breathtaking."

They shared a smile before Edward took the water bottle from her.

"Okay, home stretch. Let's make this interesting."

Bella closed her eyes tightly as she felt the two vibrators begin to move. Edward turned the clit vibe higher before he picked up the whip that Bella had requested he use. With one hand he began to expertly whip her back, buttocks, the tops of her thighs while with the other hand he began to twist and pump the glass cock inside her.

The sensations were nothing short of earth shattering and it seemed as if it was seconds later that Bella was begging to cum.

"Master, please!"

Edward brought the whip down one last time across her ass as he pulled the glass dildo almost all the way out before pumping it back almost to the hilt.

"Cum!"

Bella shouted as her body convulsed with the sensation of her climax.

Bella could feel her cum almost forcing the dildo out of her passage.

Edward switched of the clit vibrator and removed it gently before took the other one out and put them into the sink to be cleaned later.

He was ready and when her breathing had slowed enough, he lifted her into his arms and carried her into their bathroom, where the filled hot tub was turned on and waiting for them.

Edward eased her into the tub and quickly followed behind her.

Bella hissed as the water touched her sensitive skin but it was one of the most wonderful 'hurts' that she had ever felt.

Edward's arms closed around her as he pulled her onto his lap.

"How are you feeling?"

Bella's head rolled against his shoulder, "Hmmm, perfect." She said drawing the word out.

Edward dropped a kiss to her jaw, "Thank you for your submission, Baby. It was beautiful."

Bella's eyes fluttered open and she turned so that she was straddling his hips. She made sure to stare deep into his eyes as she spoke, "Submitting to you is like breathing for me, Edward. Please don't ever take this away from me again."

"I won't, I promise." He said and he pressed his tattoo against his heart.

Bella smiled and nodded, "Good, now, as much I loved this, do you think that I could make love with my husband? It has been far too long, Damnit!"

Edward laughed, "You really shouldn't have said that, Wife." Without a warning, Edward gripped Bella's hips, "Hang on!" and he rose out of the water, gabbed a bath sheet not caring that he was sloshing water all over the bathroom, dressing room and bedroom floors as he strode to their bed.

He lowered Bella to her feet before dropping to his knees and he proceeded to dry every inch of her, from her toes, up to her damp hair.

Once she was dry and panting, Edward gestured for her to lie down. He quickly dried himself and followed her until his rock hard dick was pressing against her open thighs.

Edward held himself on his hands as he stared into her eyes, "I will never let you go, Isabella, I love you."

"Make me yours again, Baby." Bella said as she gripped Edward's biceps.

They stared into each other's eyes as he slowing encased himself in her heat.

"Fuck!"

"God!"

Once he was fully inside her, Bella gave him a quick nod and Edward began to move. Each thrust was a promise of their devotion, each swivel of the hips was a declaration of their love, each pant and kiss were unspoken words of fidelity.

"Never again!" Edward grunted.

"Never!"

"Fuck, so good, so good, Baby."

"More! Edward, Faster! Oh God!"

"YESSSSS! BELLA!"

*ΩafloΩ*

As night gave way to dawn, Edward let out a contented sigh as he lay on his side, one hand propping up his head as he played with the wild strands of Bella's hair. They were exhausted beyond belief, having slept only to replenish their strength before they came together once more.

Bella was lying on her back, staring out the large windows at the breaking dawn. When she heard his sigh she turned to look at her husband.

Her lover.

Bella put her hand out and ran her fingers over the stubble on his face that gave her the most wonderful friction.

His hair was a complete mess, his eyes had shadows beneath them and his lids were heavy. His lips were even more pouty and swollen from the hours that they had spent kissing and devouring each other's bodies.

Unable to resist, Bella lifted her head and kissed the underside of his jaw.

"We have a lot to do before we leave tomorrow." Edward began.

Bella nodded, "Do you really believe that the playroom will be finished by the time that we come back?"

"Demetri's builder, Caius said so. He said that it won't be a problem to make the playroom behind the walk in closet, with access through a secret panel that will have a lever and the closet and drawers will lock with keys just in case there are any prying eyes around. I just think that we don't need all of that space. As long as we have the hardware and our favorite toys, we don't need four drawers of anal plugs and vibrators, don't you agree?"

Edward laughed at the fiery blush on Bella's cheeks, "Don't worry, my beauty, all of your favorites and a few of your not so favorites will still be in our collection."

Bella nodded, with a roll of her eyes.

A couple of days before, Edward had approached Bella with the idea of moving their playroom. He was not comfortable with them having a playroom in the middle of their family home and Bella agreed. Edward had contacted Demetri and he had put them in touch with a builder/designer that was renowned for creating playrooms all over the country. He was reputed to be one of the most talented and discreet people and Edward had wasted no time in commissioning him to design a walk-in closet space, behind their current closet that would only hold their toys, whips, floggers and one item of furniture. Bella had been excited to suggest something that she had wanted for a long time.

"Can we still get the tantric chair?" she asked.

Edward nodded and grinned, "I think that it will be even more fun than the whipping bench, besides if we want to play, Demetri has offered his playroom to us – all I have to do is book an evening or a couple of hours."

"That's a much better idea, then we can actually get 'alone' time without a thousand interruptions."

Bella rolled away and sat up, as she pushed her hair out of her face, "That is going on the date list: 'At least one, preferably two 'dinners at Villagio'." Villagio was the name of the small restaurant that Demetri ran with his wife.

"That sounds perfect. Why don't we get dressed and I'll take you out for breakfast before we fetch Max?"

Bella readily agreed and soon they were sitting in one of their favorite eateries in the bustling town of St. Helena. Over the years, Bella and Edward had made many good friends and because of their approachability, there were very few people that treated them and the rest of the family like celebrities. The local business owners had become very good at closing ranks around their favorite family and the press were sent on many a goose chase in search of one of the Cullen's or Whitlock's.

The last day at the ranch raced by as Bella packed for the three of them to spend six weeks in Lake Tahoe, while Edward secured the house, met with the ranch manager, as well as the relief security team that would be taking care of the ranch in their absence Maxwell thoroughly enjoyed tagging along with Edward and once Max had packed his small bag of toys that he was allowed to take with, as well as Mooki, he announced that they were 'weddy to go'!

Once Charlie and Sue had found out that they were leaving earlier than planned, they as well as Seth and his family all decided to join them.

Edward went over last minute security details with the team that was remaining behind at the ranch, but he was happy that the family was going to be accompanied by Quil, Levi and Marcus.

The flight from Sonoma Airport to Truckee-Tahoe Airport was uneventful except for the excitement of the three children.

As they disembarked, Edward could see a few familiar faces waiting for them.

Maxwell spotted his siblings and cousins that he had not seen in long time and he let out an almighty yell: "SAMMY! HEY SAMMY – OVER HERE! IT'S ME, MAX CULLEN!"

Bella felt the tension in her stomach knot tightly as she saw Sam's hard gaze glare at Edward over Max's head.

What had she done?

*ΩafloΩ*

A/N: So what do you think of this chapter? And joy of joys, Sam is at the airport – I wonder what kind of reception Edward is going to receive from his middle child. Should Sam make Edward 'suffer' like most teenagers would do (they can be so callas sometimes, can't they?), or will he let him off the hook and forgive him.

Till next time,

Justginger