Hi again:) Thanks for your thoughtful reviews last chapter. I think you'll enjoy this one:)
I own nothing related to Twilight. Sadly.
Many thanks to hammondgirl and AngelHeadedHipster for their beta work and encouragement.
Monday morning, Bella woke early and went downstairs to start breakfast. She was surprised to see Edward already dressed and sitting at the table with Carlisle. Coffee had been made, and she could smell something—muffins?—baking. Both men rose and kissed her cheeks. Carlisle pulled out a chair for her, and they all sat.
"This is a nice surprise." Edward often slept late, sometimes getting up just in time to say good-bye to Carlisle as he left for work.
Bella smiled to herself, figuring that he must have wanted the extra time with Carlisle after the weekend they'd had.
Edward tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "You looked exhausted. I didn't want to wake you."
"Yeah, I was pretty tired." There was an awkward silence. No one needed a reminder of what had them all so wiped out the night before.
Adroitly changing the subject, Carlisle asked, "So tonight, I thought I'd bring home takeout. What would you like?" He glanced between Bella and Edward.
"Anything. Let Bella pick— I'm easy." With a wink, Edward got up to check the oven. He smiled to himself as he thought of Bella showing him how to make pies and breads, then sobered as he thought that, even back then, it might have seemed to Carlisle that Edward and Bella were excluding him. Not deliberately, of course; they were open about everything they did, but he could see how things might have added up until Carlisle felt he was losing his place in the relationship. Edward pulled out the pan of blueberry muffins and put it on a cooling rack, then went to Carlisle and kissed him on the mouth.
Carlisle looked at him in surprise, a smile spreading over his face. "What was that for?"
"Because I love you, that's all." Edward went about removing the muffins from the pan.
"That's all?'" Carlisle repeated. "That's everything." He grabbed a muffin and returned Edward's kiss, kissed Bella, then rushed out the door.
"Bella, have you decided what you'd like to eat tonight? I'm calling Carlisle." It was just after noon, and Edward was taking a break from the composition he'd been working on. After the events of the weekend, he felt a need to be close to Carlisle, and he suspected Bella did too. They both carried some guilt over his insecurity in their relationship and wondered if they could have done something differently. They all felt a bit like they were walking on eggshells, and Edward supposed it would take time for that to go away.
Bella walked to the far end of the large living room, where Edward's piano stood and where he did most of his composing. He stood with his arms extended overhead, trying to stretch sore muscles.
"Sit." Bella led him to a chair. Standing behind him, she dug her thumbs into his neck and shoulders, making him groan. "We should all go for a massage together, don't you think? I've always wanted to have one."
"Mmm, sounds great. You've never had a massage? I'm definitely booking one for us, then. Right now, though, what about dinner?"
Bella had forgotten all about dinner. She didn't really care what they ate; she was wondering if they'd discuss Carlisle's job, and the possibility of moving to Seattle, tonight. "Oh, um, Thai sounds good."
"Okay, Thai it is." Edward started dialing Carlisle's number and Bella turned to leave. "You don't have to go. In fact, have a seat." He pulled her down onto his lap, holding her close as the phone rang. When Carlisle answered, Edward said, "Hey, handsome. How's your day going?"
"Better now." Edward could hear the smile in his lover's voice.
"Good. How's Thai sound for dinner?"
"Perfect. I'll be home by six … give my love to Bella. Well, and to you, of course."
Edward laughed. "Thanks. Here, you can tell her yourself."
Bella took the phone and spoke with Carlisle for a moment, then handed it back to Edward. "Everything feels different," she said quietly, as he ended the call.
"Yeah … it's gonna take some time for things to get back to normal, I think. It's not a bad thing, Bella. We're okay. You know that, right?" He peered into her face, making sure she was all right.
She sighed. "I know. I just want us to get past this, you know?"
Edward leaned his forehead against hers. "I do. And we will. Now, give me a few hours to finish this, and then it's just the three of us, yeah?"
Bella had been sitting on the bed with her laptop, working on an idea for an article she hoped to sell. The sound of the front door opening and closing heavily startled her out of her reverie. A glance at the clock told her it was quarter to six. She'd heard Edward playing the piano throughout the afternoon, so she knew he hadn't gone out. Setting her laptop on the night table, she got up and went downstairs and into the kitchen. Her lips curved into a smile at the sight of Carlisle, his tie already discarded, rolling up his sleeves as Edward got out plates and silverware.
She walked over to him and pulled him into an embrace. "You're early."
"I told you I'd be home by six—with Thai food, per your request." Carlisle felt the pull toward his lovers, too. He'd made sure to leave the hospital at five o'clock. It was important to him that Edward and Bella know that he was making an effort to be with them.
"Thank you." Bella leaned up for a kiss just as Edward joined them.
"Hey, babe." Hearing Edward use the term of endearment made Bella smile. It was just a small thing, but it took on greater significance after last weekend.
They decided to eat in the living room, so Bella got drinks while Carlisle and Edward carried in the food and plates. Edward put on some music, and they filled their plates with pad thai and spring rolls as they each filled in the others on how their day had gone. Edward was excited about the score he was working on for a nature documentary that was being filmed locally. When he'd finished explaining what he was hoping to convey with the music, Carlisle cleared his throat and shifted in his seat.
"I guess now is as good a time as any to talk about the position John offered me. I told him I'd have an answer for him by the end of the week. I would very much like to take it. It's what I'd always envisioned myself doing, really … having my own practice, being able to see and care for my patients the way I see fit. Deciding how things should be run, instead of being told. I'm under no illusion that it won't be a lot of hard work. It's a big change, there's no question, but … I want to know how the two of you feel about it."
A look passed between Edward and Bella. Edward broke out into a grin. "I think it sounds like an incredible opportunity, and you should get on the phone and call John and tell him we're moving to Seattle."
Carlisle looked hopefully at Bella. The look of happiness and excitement on her face told him everything. Throwing her arms around him, she whispered, "How could you think we wouldn't be thrilled about this?" Fearing he would choke up, he simply shook his head and squeezed her tightly to him.
"We're happy for you, Car. It was hard, seeing you knock yourself out for a job that wasn't making you happy. This is going to be good for us." Edward moved closer and rubbed soothing circles on Carlisle's back.
"You have no idea how this was weighing on me," Carlisle said. "Here I was, contemplating leaving a steady, well-paying, and prestigious position to move to the city and start up a new practice from scratch. It just seemed so selfish to ask you to pack up your lives for me."
"Would you do it for me or Bella?" Edward asked, knowing the answer.
"Of course," Carlisle answered without hesitation. "I just feel like it's you two who are always making sacrifices for me."
Bella put a hand on his knee. "I don't feel like I've sacrificed anything. You and Edward have done so much for me. We can both work anywhere, and honestly, Forks is a little stifling. It doesn't have quite the same charm it did when I used to visit my dad as a kid, you know? In the supermarket the other day, I actually heard one of the old biddies behind me refer to me as 'the girl with the two husbands.'" Bella shook her head, but laughed. "It will be nice to be in a slightly more … enlightened place."
Edward and Carlisle knew that Bella's characterization of Forks was apt. They were fairly isolated and didn't go out much, seeing as Forks had few restaurants and no real nightlife. When they did go out, they usually drove to Port Angeles for dinner or a movie. They didn't flaunt their relationship, but they did nothing to hide it, either. If people talked about them or expressed disapproval, it went largely unnoticed by them. Seattle might only be a three hour drive, but it was worlds away from Forks both politically and culturally.
"You'll love Seattle, Bella. There's so much to do and see, and you're right— people will be more tolerant of our situation. I can't believe we've never taken you. We'll have to figure out where we want to live and go look at some places …" As Edward went on talking to Bella, it was clear that he truly was excited about the move. Watching them, Carlisle finally believed that this would be a good thing for all of them.
"Thank you both. I couldn't do this without you. I do think you'll love Seattle, Bella. Edward is right—it's a fantastic city. I can't wait to start looking at places with you."
Little by little, the slight distance that had formed between them dissipated. Carlisle was home by six every night for the rest of the week, and the change in him was obvious. He was much more relaxed. He laughed and smiled more and seemed to crave physical closeness. Every night after dinner found him snuggled in between Edward and Bella on the sectional or in their bed. Despite this, no one had initiated intimacy yet.
Bella had spoken to both Alice and Elizabeth on Wednesday, knowing that they were both worried. She'd assured them that everything was fine and promised to let them know when she would be in Seattle so they could get together.
Friday night, Carlisle seemed especially cheery. He'd grabbed Bella and pulled her close as soon as he walked in, devouring her mouth hungrily as his hands swept from her hips to her breasts. She drew back with a gasp, her hands on his chest as she tried to catch her breath. "Well, hello there. Good day, I take it?" Carlisle was a gifted and passionate lover, but outside of their bedroom he was usually more restrained.
He laughed, pressing his lips to hers in a hard kiss. "Best day in a long time. Where's Edward?"
"Taking a shower. He was on the treadmill for a while. Dinner's in the oven—lasagne."
"Is that why Edward was on the treadmill?" Carlisle asked, cocking a brow.
Bella giggled. "That, and maybe the tiramisu I made. I felt like Italian tonight."
Slinging an arm around her shoulder, Carlisle guided her into the living room and onto the sectional. "Well, it sounds delicious. I'm starving. Edward can eat salad if he wants."
"Stop talking about me. I love Bella's lasagne—I just like to stay in shape. That all right with you?" Edward walked in, wearing pajama pants and a t-shirt, his wet hair slicked back and a cocky grin on his face. It was a relief to have this easy banter between the three of them again.
Eyeing him, Carlisle smirked. "Oh, it's fine by me. We wouldn't want you losing your girlish figure."
"Smart-ass." Edward laid down on the sectional, his long legs and bare feet stretching across Carlisle and Bella's laps. "When are we eating? I'm starving, too."
To Bella, everything that had happened since Carlisle walked in seemed like foreplay. Drinking in the two gorgeous men on either side of her, she wondered if it would lead to more than kissing and cuddling tonight. Noticing Edward's questioning glance, she stammered, "Oh—we'll be eating in about a half hour." She blushed, wondering if he knew what she was thinking about.
Edward gave her an odd look and smiled, but said nothing.
Carlisle had gone upstairs to change and Edward and Bella were still relaxing in the living room when Edward finally pulled Bella down to him and asked in a low voice, "What are you blushing about, hmm? You were daydreaming, and then when I asked about dinner, you turned beet red."
Lying atop his firm chest, smelling the clean, spicy scent of his soap, Bella lowered her eyes. "I was wondering if tonight we would …"
Edward leaned forward to suck her top lip between his. He'd been wondering the same thing. "Mmm … yeah. You want that?"
A moan was her only answer as Edward slipped his tongue into her mouth, kissing her with fervor.
The stairs creaked as Carlisle came back downstairs. "We're still in here, Car," Edward called.
A moment later Carlisle walked in, his eyes darkening as he took in the sight of Bella lying on top of Edward. He knelt beside the sectional. "Are we skipping dinner …?"
Turning his head, Edward smiled. "No. Just … looking forward to the rest of the night." He reached for Carlisle, tangling his fingers in the hair at the base of his neck. They leaned toward one another, their mouths meeting in an intense kiss.
Bella loved watching the two of them together. Before things could get completely out of hand, she sat up, straightening her clothes and raising her eyebrows at the two sexy men making out in front of her. She cleared her throat. "I think we should eat now."
As they finished their dinner, Carlisle twirled his wineglass in his fingers. "I'd like to make a toast." Bella and Edward picked up their wineglasses, waiting.
"To new beginnings. And to love and forgiveness." He smiled and nodded. "Cheers." After they'd sipped their wine, Carlisle went on. "I gave my notice today at the hospital."
Looking up in surprise, Edward asked, "Already? How much longer will you stay on?"
"Well, it may take some time to replace me, so I told them I'd give them a month. After that, I'm all yours until John and I get the practice up and running. We'll need some time to check out different areas of Seattle, find a home, pack up … and I'd like for the three of us to go away somewhere before all the craziness begins."
A slow grin spread over Edward's face. "That sounds perfect. This is exactly what we need. This is going to be so good." It wasn't lost on him that Carlisle had said 'find a home'. Not a house, but a home. This truly would be the fresh start that they all needed; a city and a home that would be new to all of them for them to make their own. A fresh start together.
"I can't wait. When can we go to Seattle?" Bella asked excitedly. She got up and began clearing the table, and Edward and Carlisle jumped up to help.
"We could go next weekend, just to see the city and have some fun," Carlisle offered. "We could look into which neighborhoods appeal to us and scout them out a little, too." He loaded the last plate into the dishwasher and turned it on. Edward took the tiramisu out of the refrigerator.
"Why don't you get comfortable in the living room? We'll have dessert in there," Edward said.
Bella glanced from with Edward to Carlisle, a playful smile on her face. "Or, we could have it upstairs."
Carlisle grinned at her. "Okay, then why don't you wait for us upstairs?"
The door opened slowly, revealing Edward balancing three dishes of tiramisu on a wooden tray. He'd pushed the door open with his foot. "Where's Carlisle?" Bella asked from the bed. She'd picked up Carlisle's discarded dress shirt and slipped it on, loving that she could still smell his cologne on it.
"He's coming." Giving Bella a once-over, Edward smirked in appreciation. "Maybe we shouldn't bother with the tiramisu. You look good enough to eat."
"Edward's right. Damn, Bella." Carlisle stood in the doorway, a sexy smile on his face.
"I, for one, am eating tiramisu before anything else happens. You two can amuse yourselves until I'm done." Bella reached for the tray, which Edward had set down on the bed. He handed her a bowl, then passed one to Carlisle and took the last for himself as he settled in next to Bella.
"I was on the treadmill for an hour in anticipation of this." He lifted a bite to his lips and moaned around the fork, then leaned in to brush his lips over Bella's cheek. "It's delicious."
"Mmm, Bella … this is incredible," Carlisle said between bites. "All your desserts are. You could open a pastry shop if you ever get tired of writing."
"You know, I'd considered it once," she replied. "But owning your own business is an incredible amount of work. I'm not sure I love baking that much. I think I prefer to do it for our enjoyment."
Carlisle smiled. "You're right about that. You do have to be passionate about what you're doing to go into business for yourself." He paused, choosing his words with care. "This is what I've always wanted, what I always saw myself doing when I was in med school and doing my residency. I know it will be different, but it's right. I'm sure of it."
Bella laid her hand on his leg. "I didn't mean you when I said that. I know you have that passion. This is the right thing for you, for us, and Edward and I will support you fully in getting it going."
Carlisle pressed a soft kiss to her temple. "Thank you." Not to be left out, Edward gathered their empty bowls and placed them on the night table, then knelt before Carlisle, putting his hands on the other man's shoulders and leaning in for a tender kiss. Carlisle moaned as Bella ran her hands up under his t-shirt, splaying her hand over his chest as she leaned in to suck on his neck.
After a moment, Edward broke away and leaned back on his heels, pulling his own shirt off. His pants followed, and he rejoined his lovers, who by now were similarly undressed. After a week of treading carefully around one another, they were eager to reconnect physically. Hands roamed and soft sighs and murmurs were the only sounds as they made love to one another with reverence, thankful to still have what they'd come so close to losing.
Later, feeling sated and content, they fell asleep with arms and legs wrapped around one another. For the first time since the previous weekend, they slept with no worries about their future together, only anticipation of what it held.
Thanks for reading-please leave a review and let me know what you thought:) I appreciate every one.
I have entries in a couple of contests—The Bad Boys of Twilight Contest and First Time Fumbles (both anonymous). Check them out—lots of great stories.
Lastly, I wrote a one-shot with two lovely ladies, amcas and lynseyg80. Have you heard about Double Dick Dude, the guy from reddit with two penises? Yeah...it's DDward;) Be warned, it's nothing like anything you've read from me before. I'd call it a romantic crackfic lol. It's called A Diphallic Dream Come True and the profile name is The3V's.