Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns all.
Rated M for several reasons.
Epi 7 Fly
We follow Freya and Jasper to the airport where a private jet is waiting to take them to Isle Esme to start their honeymoon.
Jasper asked and I was more than happy to grant my permission. The island was always intended to be an expression of love and it has been too long since any of us visited. Esme would have approved, I am sure.
The atmosphere is light and carefree as we help them stow their extensive luggage, only Bella looking a little pensive, as any Mother would.
I manage to catch everyone's eye and get them outside, leaving Mother and Daughter alone for a moment.
"Everything ready?" I ask Edward quietly.
"Yes." He answers simply. "Everything."
"Yes and no. I've been rebuffed enough times and I'm nothing if not a patient man but we both know she doesn't like to be forced into anything."
"Its more of a gentle push, surely?"
He sighs and brandishes his crossed fingers at me.
I pat him on the back and offer an encouraging smile.
Mother and Daughter emerge, gripping each other tightly and it is finally time for Bella to let her go. She hands Freya to Jasper with whispered words of congratulations and threat, and then comes to stand between Edward and me, so we can hold her hands as the door closes and the engines start.
"Alright?" Edward asks her softly.
She nods and flashes him a loving smile.
We start cheering and waving as the plane taxies away and prepares to take off. Emmett bemoaning the fact that there are too many humans around for us to chase alongside it.
And then they're gone.
Pilly comes to stand beside me as Bella buries her face in Edward's chest.
"Take me home." She requests. "Cheer me up, please?"
"What?" She gasps, jerking back to look up at him.
"I can't take you home, but I think I can cheer you up." He responds, cupping her face with his hands. "The second plane is for us."
"We're going somewhere?"
"What are we going to do in Vegas?"
"Gamble away Eddie's fortune and marry the poor sap." Rosalie drawls.
"I've never been to Vegas, or gambling, it might be . . . . wait . . . . what?"
"Isabella Marie Swan." Edward begins. "Would you do me the incredible honour of coming to Las Vegas with me so that we can gamble indiscriminately, behave irresponsibly, and, maybe, get married."
Her mouth works silently.
"Say yes." Emmett urges.
"Yes!" Kate and Garrett agree.
"Yes." Pilly giggles.
"Yes." I add in unison with Carmen, Tanya and Eleazar.
"Yes. Yes. Yes." Emmett begins to chant, the rest of us joining in.
"Alright. Fine. I'll come to Vegas with you, but I'm not marrying you."
"I can work with that." Edward murmurs, laying a steamy kiss on her.
"Ahem." Garrett clears his throat after a while. "I think that part is supposed to happen after the nuptials."
Bella and Edward break apart, laughing and breathless.
"I've packed all your stuff and loaded it aboard." Rosalie tells them, shepherding them to the plane. "Have fun."
"And Edward!" Garrett calls across the tarmac. "You'd better put a ring on it while you're away, I have single friends that ought to know Bella's still on the market."
The door closes on their twin expressions of outrage and we watch the second 'happy' couple fly away into the night.
"Em." Rose declares. "I'm mushed out, take me home."
Pilly excuses herself to return to her own home, despite my coming up with many excuses why she shouldn't, which leaves me, as everyone else drifts off, alone with Tanya.
Come on Carlisle, suck it up, you should have had this conversation a long time ago.
"Hunt?" I ask, offering her my hand.
She takes it and we head out into the trees.
She seems less annoyed with me than she was earlier, but I'm still not looking forward to his. I do actually care about her and I never wanted to hurt her, just not become her beau of convenience, I may never find another mate but I can love again. But I am not, after all this time, going to fall in love with Tanya.
Still, I can take the coward's route into this awkward conversation, so I will.
"Why are you angry with me?" I ask her after we've buried our kills and sat back to relax.
"I'm not." She sighs. "Not really. Possibly a little angrier with myself. Bella warned me you know."
"Warned you about what?"
"Warned me about playing games with you. I should have heeded her advice but centuries of habits are hard to break and as I had known you longer, I thought I knew you better."
"You don't love me Tanya." I observe quietly.
"No. But I wanted to. And I wanted you to love me. I wanted." She sighs. "An ugly admission but I wanted what Esme had, love, romance, support. You."
I refrain from pointing out that for a time she would have been just as happy with Edward.
"I was so jealous of how easily Bella and Freya were accepted into the family that I didn't do enough to discourage Irina from her less than sensitive behaviour. I am sorry for that Carlisle."
"You are a part of our family Tanya, you and yours, you always have been."
"Everything is changing."
"It has a way of doing that, even for us."
"How do I find love?" She asks with a light sigh.
"I honestly don't know."
"Do you love Pilly?"
"I don't know that either, I think I could, she's . . . ." Probably best not to expand on that, under the circumstances.
"We could have been so good together." Tanya sighs, edging toward me.
"Oh, ah, um . . . ." I mutter, edging away.
"Oh relax." Tanya laughs, cuffing my knee with the back of her hand. "You and Edward, two peas in a pod."
I laugh nervously and she shakes her head at me.
"I'm heading back to the house." She says, springing to her feet.
"I think I might just enjoy the solitude for a while." I admit.
"See you later." And she's blurred away in an instant.
I sigh and lean back against the tree.
That wasn't as bad as I expected.
I'm attracted to Tanya, you'd have to be blind not to be to be honest but I've never, not even after Bella reawakened me, been attracted to her in that way. I wonder why that is? It would have been so easy, companionship and sex, maybe it would have grown into love. But I am certain now that it won't.
It's a funny thing, love.
Take Bella and Edward, all that time and all that pain and yet they still found their way back to each other.
And take Pilly. I know her rather less well than I know Tanya, yet I see myself, want myself to be, with her far more. Which is a shame because I don't believe she feels the same way, I'm still hopeful that she will choose to move with us, and that is what I want, but it isn't going to be difficult if she does, not at all. Perhaps Edward can teach me the art of patient yearning . . . .
"Brooding?" A light voice asks as Pilly steps into the clearing with the dawn's first rays.
"I do not brood Pilly." I chuckle, patting the damp grass beside me. "I merely consider things deeply."
"I'm not sitting down." She laughs. "This dress was nearly ten thousand dollars, that's a lot on a mere Nurse's pay."
Ever the gentleman I leap to my feet and fell her a tree to sit on, she murmurs her thanks.
"It doesn't seem like you to splurge so much on a dress."
"I was highly motivated." She shrugs, laughing at me.
She's always laughing at me, unable to take me too seriously, I rather like that.
"Um?" Oh yes Doctor Dazzle, very sophisticated.
"Bella warned me, about Tanya."
"That she was competition."
"Competition for what?" Goodness I'm stupid this morning.
"For you, silly."
"You know." She says, tilting her beautiful face up to the sun. "I've watched you come alive again and been somewhat jealous. But I'm nothing if not cautious, and, well, you appreciate what it is like to lose a mate."
"And some of your behaviour as you began to heal was a little . . . . I did not want to be another notch on your bedpost."
"Pilly . . . ."
"There is nothing wrong with a man with healthy libido Carlisle, you never hurt anyone, although frankly the linen cupboard shelves will never be the same again."
I shake my head, letting it fall into my hands after a moment.
"That was a difficult one." Pilly continues, laughter still coloring her tone. "Doctor Jennings was having a wonderful time and she was correct, you are an incredibly good looking and vigorous man."
My head snaps up.
"You think I'm good looking?"
"You know you are." She teases. "Doctor Dazzle. And sexy."
"Sexy?" I quirk an eyebrow, it's a move I've borrowed from Edward to be fair, but it seems to work.
"Mm-hmm." She murmurs, stretching like a cat. "Very sexy."
"You are a beautiful and sexy woman yourself." I confess.
This makes her laugh and actually blush, so very attractive.
"Carlisle, I would like to accept your invitation to join you on your journey through the ages. We have both lost our mates, there are no illusions for us, though I believe as you do that we can learn to love again. I am, I think, already beginning that process. We have much in common and are already friends. I adore your family."
I nod, happiness bringing on what Bella always calls my screen idol smile.
"The only thing we don't know." She continues. "Is if we are sexually compatible."
My mouth falls open slightly and she reaches over to close it with her finger again, the touch setting my skin tingling.
"I'm eight hundred forty seven years old." She murmurs, deftly loosing my bow tie. "I gave up being patient at about age seven hundred."
Her lips are as soft as I had dreamed they would be as mine close over them, and every bit as responsive as I could have hoped.
My arms twine round her automatically, pressing our bodies together, tumbling us over the tree trunk and laughing, onto the grass . . . .
The Absolute End
I'll leave you, dear readers, to decide if Edward manages to put a ring on it in Vegas and if Carlisle and Pilly are indeed, sexually compatible . . .
Thank you so much for reading, reviewing and encouraging the story, it wouldn't have been any fun without you.