Personal Note: Lovelies, for those of you interested, my novella, Duplicity, is available for purchase on Amazon. You can find it linked on my website or just search Duplicity by Kristina M. Sanchez on Amazon. I'm so excited.
~10 Years Later~
These days, Edward wore a shirt and tie and carried a briefcase to work, so Bella rarely caught a glimpse of the mechanic she'd met a decade earlier. Today, though, he was in the garage, trying to fix Kebi's broken down van. He was wearing a plain white shirt that clung to his body, see-through in places with sweat. His hair was a mess. His cheeks were smudged with oil.
All these years later, the oil and sweat smell of a blue collar man still did pleasant things to her.
Edward raised his head, a slow smile spreading across his face as he watched her walk toward him. When she was within grabbing distance, he lunged forward, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her flush against him. Bella squeaked, but she quickly melted against him. She circled his waist, tilting her head up to catch his kiss.
"You're getting me dirty, Mr. Cullen," she mumbled against his lips.
"And yet, you're not protesting, Mrs. Cullen." She felt his mouth turn up. Five years after they married, it still pleased him to call her by his last name. Bella Cullen. Mrs. Cullen. He never failed to work it into conversation when he could.
"You are such a dork."
"Am I?" He began to pepper kisses across her cheek to the underside of her chin until she was breathless with laughter. "I can't imagine what that says about you."
He took her by the hand, tugging her with him. "Where are we going?" Bella asked.
His smile was sly. "We're going to have sex in this van because it pleases me to think of the face Amun would make if he knew."
Bella arched an eyebrow. "You want to imagine Amun's face when we have sex? I'm pretty sure I'm not okay with that."
Edward opened back door to the van and sat on the runner. He hooked his finger in the waistband of her jeans, pulling her toward him. "Defiling Amun's van is just a bonus." He tugged her shirt up and off, his hands going right to her breasts. He pushed her bra up out of the way. "I want to show you what getting dirty really looks like."
Thrills shot down Bella's back, and she groaned when he pinched her nipples. "Oh, God. What if Benji comes out here?"
"That's what backseats are for, Mrs. Cullen." His hand in her hair, he pulled her down for a fevered kiss. "Now get back here."
They scrambled. Edward pulled her into the van, clicking the automatic close that sent the door sliding shut. He tossed the keys away, helping her pull her jeans down while she got his shirt off. It took a bit of maneuvering - which wasn't easy given that they couldn't stop kissing - but soon, Edward was stretched out across the backseat with Bella on on top of him.
"Bella." Edward's voice was a rumble of a warning as his hands cupped her ass, guiding her hips to grind against him. "If you don't quiet down, Benji will be the least of your worries. The Larsens down the street call the cops at the slightest disturbance."
She moaned. "It's your own fault. You know what this does to me." She dragged her teeth along his neck, revellng in the way he gasped and his hips bucked up into her. The feel of his calloused hands on the skin of her back, her ass, only increased the urgency she felt. "Edward. I need you. Now. Please."
"As always, I aim to please." His hands snaked between them, and he guided his cock to her entrance. He teased her, brushing his head against her clit. "You see, ma'am, there's a very exact way to check to make sure the vehicle has the proper lubrication."
"Oh, fuck." He was going to talk mechanic to her. Bella was positive she was going to spontaneously combust. She slid her hips over him, trying to tempt him inside her. "Tell me. Tell me about it."
He guided himself inside her. "See, you dip the dipstick in nice and slow."
"You have to go slow, do you?" She shifted, taking him deep inside her.
"No," he said with a whine in his voice. His hands gripped her hips, and he moved her at a quick pace, rolling his body along with hers. "No, you're right. Checking the lubrication levels doesn't take long at all."
Bella lowered her body onto his, finding a fast, satisfying rhythm as she swallowed his words with her kisses. His hand was cupped against her ass, squeezing intermittently as his tongue curled with hers. They gasped and sighed together, their names tumbling from each others lips with reverence.
A decade had done nothing to stem her passion for this man. If anything, it was stronger for the trials and joys they'd faced together.
"I love you." His words were a sigh whispered against her cheek.
"I love you. So much."
Just as they were reaching the frenzied motion of climax, the garage door opened. They stilled, and Edward stifled a groan against her shoulder. Bella pressed herself down on him as if they could disappear if they tried.
"Where are your parents?"
The voice belonged to Benjamin's girlfriend, Tia. What she and Benjamin were doing in the garage was anyone's guess. They had a habit of talking in here when they wanted privacy from Edward, Bella, Esme, and Carlisle.
Bella shifted carefully. Her clit throbbed with the loss of contact and denial of release as she let Edward slip out of her. She rested her head on his chest, and Edward found a discarded jacket to drape over her ass. The windows were tinted, but there was no reason to take a chance.
"I don't know," Benjamin answered his girlfriend. "They must be up in their room."
Edward and Bella exchanged a glance. He waggled his eyebrows, and Bella had to smother a giggle.
"Now will you tell me what's wrong? You're making me nervous. Are you okay, Tia?"
"No. No, Benny, I'm... so fucked. We're fucked."
Uh oh. That didn't sound good at all. Bella stroked her fingers through Edward's hair, watching his face go blank.
"What are you talking about?" Benji asked.
His girlfriend burst into tears.
This was bad. This was very very bad.
Tia's whisper was unintelligible at first. Bella was frustrated, wishing she could hear better, but even Benji had to ask her several times to speak up. "Baby, I can't understand you," he said.
"I said, I really think I'm pregnant."
Bella gasped. Beneath her, Edward's body went ramrod stiff.
"What? But... I..." Benji sputtered. "We were careful. We were safe."
"Well, maybe we weren't as careful as we thought."
Edward's body jolted, and Bella had to cling to him to keep him from moving. She pinned him with a hard stare, warning him to be still. The last thing Benji needed was his father jumping out at him.
Her husband narrowed his eyes at her, his expression fierce. He was going to get in the middle of this. She could see he was seconds away from yelling if she didn't let him go.
Bella inclined her head, meeting his gaze. She let her eyes flick downward and then back up in a challenging stare. They were both naked. Was he really going to jump into this now?
Grimacing, Edward backed down.
"Are you sure, Tia? Do you know for sure? Did you check?" Benji's voice was high pitched with panic.
"I... No. I didn't check. I'm scared, Benny. I'm so scared."
"Come here, baby. Come here."
Benjamin rocked Tia for minutes while she cried, and Bella kept her hand pressed to Edward's cheek. His nostrils flared, and his breath was slightly labored, but he managed to keep still and quiet.
"Come on, baby. Calm down, and we'll go get one of those tests, okay? You and me. We'll find out." He took a deep breath. "Then we'll figure it out. Okay?"
She must have agreed because a minute later, their steps retreated. Bella kept still on Edward until they heard the sound of Benjamin's car starting from where it was parked out in front of the house, and then he drove away.
Bella and Edward sat up, untangling themselves. Edward wasn't looking at her. His jaw was set in a hard line, his eyes sightless as he pulled on his clothes.
"Come on." Bella took his hand. He yanked away, but Bella was insistent. "Come on. Let's go take a shower, okay?"
He was about to argue, she could see it, but she interrupted him before he could. She stepped up to him, wrapping her arms around his tense body. "There's nothing you can do right now, Edward. He's going to come to us, and you need to be calm."
"How can you ask me to be calm?" he asked through gritted teeth.
Bella grasped his shoulders, giving him a firm shake. "Because this is not about you, this is about him. He's going to need you, Edward." She gripped him again when he tried to step away. "You can learn from your parents' mistake."
That got through to him. His shoulders slumped, the fight going out of him. He let her take him upstairs to get cleaned up.
Like anyone else, Bella and Edward had their fair share of problems. They were happy together. They had a good life, but they were no strangers to complications.
It took Kebi and Amun two years to get back to Washington. Her pregnancy had not been easy, and they couldn't risk losing Amun's insurance that first year. But when their son, Amir, was stronger, Amun found a good job in Seattle. Once she was back, Kebi didn't want to return to the equal time set up they'd had the first eight years of Benjamin's life. She felt she deserved more since she'd missed out on so much time.
So there was another custody battle, school problems, work problems, health problems - Edward's parents had been in and out of the hospital a lot over the last couple of years especially- and everything in between.
Kebi and Edward had come to an understanding. They were reconciled enough that Kebi, Amun, Amir, and their daughter, Yasmin, weren't strangers at the Cullen house. They all managed to find a common ground for the kids.
After much drama and a few bad experiences, Edward and Bella were both settled in jobs they enjoyed. Carlisle and Esme were elderly and frail, but they were both stable for the moment. Everyone was looking forward to Benjamin going to the University of Puget Sound in a couple months. It was far enough away he would live on campus but close enough he could come home every weekend.
But now this.
Edward had been silent throughout their shower. He let Bella guide him down onto the edge of the bed and stared forward as she towel-dried his hair for him. Years of marriage had taught her much about this man. She loved Benjamin as her own, and her heart ached for him. She wanted to talk it out, but she knew it would be useless until Edward had gathered his thoughts.
She brought him his jeans and a clean shirt, changing into comfortable clothes herself. She was just releasing her hair from the towel it was wrapped in when she felt his arms encircle her from behind. Bella stilled, putting her hand over his as he rested his head on her shoulder.
"What are we going to do, Bella?"
Bella breathed deep. In her mind's eye, she was picturing the little boy alone at her table all those years ago. Her every instinct, even then, was to protect him.
But just like Carlisle and Esme couldn't protect Edward from life, just like Charlie couldn't prevent her from falling in love too early with a man with too much baggage, Edward and Bella couldn't shelter Benjamin.
"His story is just beginning," she said, reaching back with one hand to thread her fingers through his hair. "You can't write it for him."
"But I don't want his story to start like this. Not like this." His voice got rougher, and he stepped away from her, beginning to pace. "I had three years of adulthood before I had him. You know I love him, but it's not what I want for him. Not yet."
"And on Kebi's eighteenth birthday, she already had a one-year-old. She turned out fine. She's very happy and successful." Bella stepped closer, taking his hands to still his motion. "And I think you did okay."
His lips quirked, and he looped his arms around her. "Yeah." He sighed, tilting his head against hers. "But his life, Bella. His plans..."
"We're going to be here for him. Kebi and Amun will be there for him. And Tia has good parents. Whatever happens, they have a lot of support. We can help Benjamin stay on track."
Edwards arms tightened around her. "You always know what to say."
Bella laughed. "I really don't. I'm terrified for him, Edward. I am."
"I know." He kissed her cheek. "So I suppose you're going to say we have to wait for them to come to us."
"I'm afraid so."
"Damn." He frowned. "That sucks."
"It really does."
Benjamin didn't come to them.
That first night, he stayed out late. Playing the good, non-prying father, Edward let it drop when his son said only, "Hey, Dad, goodnight," before heading up to his room.
But then another day passed.
The three of them had settled down to a late dinner when Edward couldn't take it anymore. He spoke before Bella could stop him. "Benjamin. Is Tia pregnant?"
Benjamin dropped his fork. It landed with a clatter on his full dinner plate. He'd been pushing his food around listlessly to that point as Edward and Bella exchanged worried glances. Now he looked up at his father with wide eyes. "What?"
Edward grimaced. Bella was just glad Carlisle and Esme had gone to bed early that evening.
"We... Bella and I were in the garage, in the van, when Tia was here the other day," he admitted.
Benjamin blanched. "Oh." His eyebrows knitted. "Wait, what were you doing in the van?"
Bella blushed, but Edward wasn't about to be distracted. "Benjamin. I asked you a question."
His son shrank back in his seat, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Benjamin-" Edward said again, but Benji interrupted him, his tone angry.
"No. No, she's not pregnant. She was worried, we were worried, but she's not. She's not."
"She isn't? Are you sure?"
Benjamin's eyes flashed. "Yes, I'm sure. We checked. We double checked. We're not-"
Bella held her hands, palm up. "Okay. Okay. Take a deep breath." She looked to her husband. "Both of you."
Edward had been leaning across the table. He made a concerted effort to sit back and breathe. Benjamin crossed his arms, but he appeared to be calming down as well.
"I'm sorry," Bella said, reaching out to touch Benjamin's arm. "We didn't mean to overhear."
Benjamin squirmed in his seat, his defensive expression fading to a more embarrassed one. "Man. This is all kinds of awkward." He huffed. "It's probably not the way you'd want to find out I was having sex."
"Yeah. That's a given." Edward shook his head. He looked a whole lot better now that he knew Tia wasn't pregnant.
Benjamin looked at his father, his expression pleading. "I'm not being stupid. I swear I'm not. Tia... I love her, Dad. Really."
"I know you do." He ran a hand through his hair restlessly. "You're a smart boy, Benjamin, but your life is just beginning. Don't get too far ahead of yourself too soon."
Benjamin rolled his eyes. He was an easy teenager as these things went, but he was still a teenager. "I know."
Edward and Bella exchanged a glance. He thought he knew everything.
He would learn.
"You can come to me, to us, with anything. You know that right? It doesn't matter that you're an adult now. I'll always be your father."
"Yeah, Dad. I know that."
Edward was already in bed when Bella got to their room later that night. He was laying on his back, hands behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling, deep in thought.
Climbing into bed, Bella rolled onto her side, propping herself up on one arm. She knocked on his forehead before she rested her hand on his chest. "Why so serious?"
His eyes focused on her, and his hands came down. He stroked his fingers along her spine. "Just thinking about Benji. He was a helpless baby just yesterday, wasn't he?"
Bella smiled. "A little boy sitting at my table."
"Yeah. Now he has a whole story to write, like you said, and I have no control over the pen."
Bella didn't answer right away. She laid down, letting his arm settle around her shoulders. "We have our own story left to write." She took his free hand and moved it down to her belly. Pressing it there, she put her hand over his. "This is the next chapter for us."
Edward looked confused for a few seconds before she saw the light turn on. His eyes went wide. "You're serious?"
"Entirely." She felt a smile tug at her lips. They hadn't been actively trying for kids, but they hadn't been trying to prevent them for about a year now.
Edward's hand moved wonderingly over her belly. "How long have you known?"
"A couple days. Since the van. That's what I came out to tell you, but then you were all greasy and distracting." She pursed her lips. "And then I didn't know how to tell you you were going to be a father again and a grandfather in the same month"
He laughed and kissed her, the emotion joyous.
"You're happy," she said.
"Yes. You have no idea how much. Bella." He caught her face in his hands. "I love you."
Bella kissed him once, a sweet kiss. "It doesn't scare you? Sending one baby off to live his own life and starting all over again at the beginning?"
His smile was as gentle as the reverent kiss he pressed to her lips. "With you beside me? No, Bella. I'm not scared."
Bella sighed, content as they came together. Edward had her out of her clothes in minutes. He looked so happy as he splayed his hand over her bare belly.
Life was good.
A/N: SO! How was that five chapter fic... *cough* Damn, I suck at brevity, don't I? Well, I hope you aren't too disappointed.
So many thanks to Barburella, jessypt, and songster for all their help along the way. Thanks to all you. You know this fic is going to come DANGEROUSLY close to breaking 6k reviews which would be a first for me.
Just one more reminder that if you are interested in following my original works, you can find out more at KristinaMSanchez dot com.