Disclaimer: We do not own Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
Hot breath and warm kisses wake me from the best sleep I've had in ages. For a brief second, I'm afraid that I dreamed the events of last night but when I roll over and find Edward gazing down at me, I'm more than relieved. I'm downright ecstatic.
Thanks to my father and the large amount of cash he handed me before we left, Edward and I were able to afford a very nice train car for our trip to Chicago. I'd been so nervous climbing into the bed with him, but Edward quickly put me at ease by assuring me we'd only be sleeping together in the platonic sense until after we were married. Blushing from my head to my toes, I admitted that I was disappointed with that information but, truthfully, I know he only wants to protect me and my father's reputation. In fact, it only made me love him more.
"Good morning, my love." More kisses are placed on my forehead, nose, cheeks, and then finally, my mouth. I can't believe I'll get to wake up next to this man every day from now on.
"It's the best morning," I reply, running my fingertips over the new stubble along his jaw. Edward is breath-taking when he's dressed to the nines and freshly shaved but this sleepy-eyed, fuzzy-faced version is quickly becoming my favorite.
"We'll be in Chicago soon. We need to get ready and eat breakfast before we stop. We have a very important day ahead of us," he says, brushing my hair away from my forehead. "But, first, there's something I want to do."
Pulling my eyebrows together in a confused look, I ask "What is that?"
"This isn't exactly how I imagined doing this, but nothing about our relationship has been typical, so why start now?" he quips. "Isabella Swan, I know this may seem rushed to some people but I've known you're the one for me since you caught me peeking in your room, and you didn't do anything but smile back at me." We both blush at his words. "Will you do me the incredible honor of becoming my wife?"
Reaching up, I pull his mouth to mine and kiss him, morning breath be damned. "Of course I'll marry you, Edward. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me and I never want to be without you."
His smile is blinding but not as blinding as the ring he holds in front of my face.
"Edward! Where did you get a ring so quickly?"
"Apparently, Ms. Esme found out what was going on when we were sneaking out of Cullen Manor. This was her wedding ring; she gave it to Jasper to give me for our wedding. I know it's not very fancy, but I promise I'll buy you your own ring as soon as we can afford it."
"You'll do no such thing, Edward Masen! This is the ring you proposed with and it's beautiful. I love it, thank you."
I hold my left hand out and bite my bottom lip as I watch the man of my dreams slide the ring over my finger, before bringing it to his lips and kissing it.
"Now, let's get married!"
We dress separately and eat breakfast before exiting the train. Thank goodness, Chicago hasn't yet adopted the new policy other cities have that makes couples wait forty-eight hours to be married after obtaining a marriage license. That means in just a few hours, I'll be Mrs. Isabella Masen.
After hailing a taxi, we arrive at a local courthouse and quickly begin the process of applying for a marriage license. The wait time for the ceremony is relatively short; before we know it, we're standing before a Justice of the Peace, with two strangers who act as our witnesses.
Never in a million years did I think this is how my wedding would be, but I also never thought I'd be fortunate enough to marry someone as wonderful as Edward.
Our vows are spoken with trembling lips and watery eyes. When we're officially declared 'husband and wife', the impact of our new-found freedom is expressed with a kiss that is normally frowned upon in public. After a few throat clearings from the Justice of the Peace, we finally pull apart and thank him for his services.
Our next train doesn't leave for a few more hours, so we spend the rest of our time sightseeing in Chicago, our hands and lips never breaking contact for long.
Watching the conductor hole-punch our train tickets and welcome us as "Mr. and Mrs. Masen" is a moment I'll never forget. All at once, I'm struck by the excitement of our day, along with anticipation of what is yet to come.
Edward is quiet as we walk hand-in-hand to our private car. Once we're inside and the door's closed, his mouth claims mine with more passion than I've ever witnessed. When he pulls away, his chest is heaving and his eyes are dark and hungry. My skin breaks out with goose bumps when I realize he is hungry for me.
"I want to undress you, Isabella."
The only response I can give is a quick nod of my head. If I were to try to speak, I'm positive no sound would come out of my mouth. It feels like I've waited for this moment for so long; I'm torn between needing it to happen soon and hoping it lasts forever.
Edward takes my hand and leads me to our bed before removing his shirt. With a boldness I didn't know I possessed, my hands caress his shoulders, chest, and stomach, followed by my mouth. Tasting his skin on my lips and tongue ignites a fire in my belly. I want to consume him just as much as I want him to consume me.
His strong and steady hands find the hooks in my dress and soon, the material is pooled at my feet. When only my corset remains, I notice a look of surprise on Edward's face.
"What's wrong?" I ask.
"How did you get that on? Have you been wearing it since we left New York?"
Blushing, I admit that I brought it with me to the courthouse restroom and asked the female attendant to tighten it for me.
"She didn't do as good of a job as Alice does, but I wanted to wear it for you."
"Because of that night?" he asks, knowing which night, in particular, he's speaking of.
"Because I want you to be the one to take it off me." My voice is sure and my eyes never leave his as I continue. "I've always thought of this corset as being my cage. When it's tightened, I'm no longer free to be me, just as my body isn't free to move. But, when it's loosened, I feel like a bird no longer confined to its wired coop. I've never felt more liberated than I do at this moment and it's because of you."
"My wife, I see you, the real you, and I love you more than I ever thought possible. You say that I've given you freedom, but don't you see that you've done the same for me? You saw past me being a servant and accepted me—wanted me—for who I am, not for what I do. It's my honor to remove these bindings just as you've removed mine."
Edward moves behind me and kisses my skin, just as I did his, moving his mouth from my left shoulder, across my upper back, and ending at my right shoulder. The bow at the bottom of the corset is untied and soon, I feel the familiar tug before the restricting laces are loosened. After each section is unsecured, my husband kisses my exposed skin until the only things holding up the corset are my hands.
Facing me again, he reaches behind my head and unclips my hair, watching as it tumbles down in long waves. I take a deep breath and let it out before letting my hands fall to my side. My corset shimmies down my body, leaving me completely exposed.
"You're perfect, my Bella," Edward whispers reverently, his words making my insides melt.
Lying on the bed, we take our time learning each other's bodies with our eyes, hands, and mouths. When we're finally connected in the most intimate and precious way, we move as one until we're overcome with pleasure, completely unraveled just like my corset.
This story isn't finished yet! We've got a little more for you. We were really hoping to have the next chapter ready for y'all this week, but that might not happen. Please keep us on alert, though. We're working hard on tying up all of our loose ends, so who knows, you may see something in the next week or so!
We've been overwhelmed by all of the alerts, favs, and reviews we've received lately! We want to thank each and every one of you for your support and kind words. Hopefully, as we finish up writing projects, we'll have the time to sit down and respond to each review. Until then, please come find us on Twitter and/or Facebook!
A huge THANK YOU to our beta, Mauigirl60! Without her, our words wouldn't be as good.