Two years later.
By the time the grey clouds gather overhead, thick and dark, trapping the warmth of summer against the earth, the vines have been stripped bare. A perfect season, early rains and then clear blue skies until harvest, Edward can hardly believe his luck. The mercury hasn't lifted over forty degrees Celsius all summer.
When he set the picking teams to work, he told them to leave any sunburned bunches on the vine, along with any bunches that contained too many under-ripe berries. The grapes they harvested were ripe and round, so purple they were almost black.
A few weeks after vintage, with the rain still hammering down on the tin roof, Edward is analysing some samples he's taken from the fermenter. All the numbers are looking good. Fermentation is complete, the titratable acidity and pH are exactly where he anticipated them being.
He picks up a sample and takes a sip.
Redcurrants and dark berry fruit. Spice. Full bodied. Highly tannic. Incredible richness of the palate.
He smiles. After malolactic fermentation and a good fourteen months in oak, and then a solid ten, fifteen years of bottle age—this wine will be spectacular.
He hands a sample to Carlisle, who holds it up to the light before he noses it, his eyes closing.
He sips, then looks into the glass suspiciously, like he's wondering if what he's tasting is real. He takes another sip, aerating the wine before expectorating it precisely, the stream of liquid hitting the sides of the metal bucket with a pinging sound. "Bloody hell."
He lifts his eyebrows as he looks at Edward. Their grins match.
Three years is a long time to wait out an experiment, to see if the sacrifice of vine space and grape yield and possible income was worth it. The look they exchange is not just triumph, but relief. The gamble paid off.
Carlisle claps Edward's shoulder. "Well done, mate. Chuck in the PMS and press it." He grins. "Let's get this baby in some wood."
"Thanks, Carl." Edward's shoulders sag—the weight is lifted but it's left him exhausted.
Carlisle frowns. "You okay?"
"Yeah." Edward scrubs his fingertips against his scalp.
Edward nods, his eyes on the glass set before him on the bench.
Carlisle tries to hide his smile, but isn't successful. "It's only a few more days, isn't it?"
Edward's thumb moves to his fourth finger, absently pushing the gold band in circles. "Yeah, she's back Wednesday arvo."
"So, should I expect you'll be in late on Thursday?"
Edward feels his cheeks heat, but he's saved from trying to answer by Jasper.
"That's so gross." He swipes a glass from the lab bench and sticks his nose in it. His resemblance to his father is pronounced as he squints at the purple-red liquid he's tasting. He takes a sip, nodding to himself. "Fuckin' hell, Mase. That's gunna be beautiful."
Jasper scowls at him as he lifts the glass back to his mouth. He spits the wine into the bucket a little too forcefully, and a fine spray of red wine—and saliva—coats his hands. Shaking his head in disgust, he stalks over to the tap and starts scrubbing his hands clean.
Edward and Carlisle look at each other, lips pressed tight to hold their laughter inside.
Jasper flips them both off, water dripping down his raised hands and onto the floor. "Don't you two have some work to do or something?"
Carlisle squeezes Edward's shoulder. "All right, I'll leave you to it." He looks at his son. "You, come with me."
Bella's back arches, her thighs tightening around Edward's head as she comes undone, his name carried on her sigh.
When the weight of bliss drains from her limbs, she puts a hand on his shoulder. "Come here."
He lifts his face to hers, kissing her softly. "I missed you."
She chuckles. "I can tell." Her palm against his cheek, her smile fades. "I missed you, too."
Edward rolls off her, and they lie facing each other, catching up on the two weeks they've spent apart. "Seth's so big now," Bella says. "And he's so precious with Rachel. He calls her Sis-sah, and at first, he was really unsure about letting me hold her. He was all, "No drop her, Bella! That's my sis-sah." It was adorable."
Edward grins, imagining the chubby toddler who calls him "Eddah" over Skype trying to defend his new baby sister from his big sister.
"Oh, and Rose emailed me."
Edward grimaces. "Yeah, Emmett called yesterday morning."
"Sad, huh?" Bella grabs his hand and weaves their fingers together. "I guess it makes sense, though."
"He'd been unhappy for a while, apparently," Edward says, fiddling with the diamond that adorns his wife's finger. "He persisted for Rose's sake, but …"
"But, he was homesick, lonely, and hated the weather," Bella says.
"That's what Rose said, too. And she won't move out here while her mom's still unwell."
Edward sighs. "I guess sometimes, no matter how much you love each other, you just can't make it work."
Bella hooks her ankle around his leg. "I guess. Sucks, though."
"It does." Edward kisses the corner of her mouth until he feels her frown morph into a smile. Pulling back, he chuckles quietly. "Jasper and Alice are back together, though."
That makes Bella snicker. "How many times did they break up while I was away?"
"Uh, at least twice, I think."
Bella rolls over and squirms until her back is pressed against Edward's chest. He wraps an arm around her waist, pressing kisses across her shoulder.
He feels her voice in his chest. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
"I'm glad we made it work, Edward. And by the way, I'm not visiting my Dad without you again. You're going to have to come with me next time."
She feels his smile against her shoulder blade. "I'm not arguing."
"We just belong together, you know? Always."
"Yes," Edward says, "Isn't it pretty to think so?" Bella vibrates with laughter in the circle of his arms.
He pulls her closer, yawning. The warmth of her skin and the scent of her shampoo and the contentment that blankets them lull him into an easy sleep.
A/N: Thank you all so much for reading, reviewing and recommending Terroir. It means the world to me.
Believey, you're my favourite colour.
Love, Shell x