I woke the following morning exactly the way I’d fallen asleep–in Edward’s arms. The moment I began to stir, his arms tightened around me as if he was afraid I would leave him as he slept. Having no intention of going anywhere, I pulled myself more tightly into his embrace, smiling at the realization that one part of Edward was already awake. His lips grazed my forehead, and I knew the rest of him would soon follow suit.
“Good morning,” I whispered, stroking his cheek with my fingertips.
His eyes opened and filled with wonder, and a goofy smile spread across his lips.
“Is something funny?”
“Not exactly funny, but I did just wake up in the arms of the woman I love. I win at life.”
“Seriously, Bella. I love you.”
“It’s so strange for me to hear you say that.”
“Why?” he asked.
“I’m not sure. It’s surreal, actually. I feel as though any moment I’ll wake up from this dream and you’ll have left me for some eating club skank.”
“Eating club skank?” He raised an eyebrow. “Someone’s read This Side of Paradise too many times.”
“I am an English teacher.”
“And you are even more of a fatalist than I thought you were. I tell you I love you and less than twelve hours later, you already have your mind made up that I’m going to chuck it all for a cheap lay.”
“From what I’ve heard, the cheapness of the lay depends entirely upon which eating club.”
“Bella, please. Don’t ruin us before we even get started.”
I sighed. He had a valid point. Still, September wasn’t all that far away. We could spend the next eight or so weeks pretending the future wasn’t uncertain, but that didn’t alter our reality.
I conceded simply because I didn’t want to think about it. “You’re right.”
I moved my lips onto his and slipped my tongue into his mouth. He rolled on top of me, pinning my arms above my head as he pressed his body into mine, deepening our kiss. Never had he taken control like this before; never had he acted with such abandon.
I was on fire until I remembered where we were. “Edward, not with your parents here.”
“You’re right; I’m sorry.”
As if a switch was flicked, my passionate lover turned back into a respectful adolescent. I patted his bottom, and he rolled off me.
“I’m going to get cleaned up and see if your mother needs any help with breakfast.”
I grabbed my bag and headed into the bathroom where I went through an abbreviated morning routine. There was no sense bothering with my hair at the beach–in the salt air, it did what it wanted. I tamed it to the best of my limited ability and threw on a cotton dress.
Minutes later, I was sitting around the breakfast table with Edward and his family. Storms off the coast were creating a strong undertow, and the Coast Guard was advising people to stay out of the water. It was just as well; it was supposed to thunder storm most of the day.
“Do you play chess?” Esme asked.
“Not well,” I admitted.
“How about cards?” she tried again.
“Not so much.”
“You know what that means.” Carlisle turned to Esme. “It’s going to be two on two. Choose your partner wisely.”
Esme shot him a diabolical look before leaning across the table. “Fine, darling. I choose Bella.” She pointed at her husband. “You’re going down.”
Edward laughed, but I was terrified.
“Should I be scared?” I asked.
“No, dear,” Esme said, “but the boys should be quaking with fear.”
“Cullen family tradition,” Edward explained. “Thunderstorms at the beach equal battles of wit. My mother just claimed you for her team.”
“Team for what?”
“Trivial Pursuit,” Carlisle answered. “You might want to get comfortable. This could take a while.”
Three hours later, we were still playing. I was amazed at things Edward and Carlisle didn’t know, like what was missing from a navel orange. Had they never been to a grocery store? Even more surprising was the extent to which they enjoyed family time. They treated one another with the utmost respect, and it became obvious how Edward grew up to be so self-assured. His parents hung on his every word, regarding even his most trivial contributions as utterances of great value. When Esme and I answered the winning question, I was sad to see the game end. I felt as if I’d borrowed the family of my dreams from the library, and it was time to return them.
“Don’t worry, Bella.” Esme folded up the game board. “When we play again Labor Day, we’ll still own them.”
Her statement reassured me on more levels than I cared to acknowledge. She and Edward went off to the kitchen, leaving me alone with Carlisle.
“Thanks for playing along,” he said. “We’ve been doing this here since Edward was very little.”
“Was Edward born quoting Nietzsche? How exactly did that work?” I asked, grateful for any opportunity to gain more insight into Edward.
“Not quite at birth. When he was very young, I made a separate box of questions for him—simple things, like ‘What color do you get when you mix red and blue?’ and ‘What is a prime number?’ He was at least four before there were any questions on philosophy.”
He laughed as if his last statement was a joke, but I got the feeling he wasn’t kidding.
“By the way, thank you for the glass of wine at the Art Museum. I’d wondered for months how Edward did that.”
“He was so surprised to see you there. I’m sure you know he’d had a bit of a thing for you for a while, but he didn’t know you. Then he saw you at Art After 5, and he was floored by the idea you might actually have something in common. I encouraged him to go find out. I’m sure it seems strange to you—that I’d support him in his pursuit of you given the circumstances.”
“It does, actually. I’ve struggled with the age difference myself. You seem to have no reservations.”
“I didn’t have reservations—well, not beyond the first five minutes. Bringing up Edward has been quite a ride. I know most parents would say that, but we’ve had unique challenges. In many ways, he’s well beyond his years. Case and point—look where you met him. Have you encountered any other high-school students at the Art Museum on a Friday night? Since he was about ten, he was limited to adult interaction if he wanted to surround himself with people who shared his interests. It hadn’t occurred to me that he would approach romantic pursuits similarly until you came into the picture, but I wasn’t surprised. It seemed hypocritical of me to discourage his interest in you after I spent the last several years telling him that chronological age didn’t matter. There are only two things that concern me as Edward’s father—his safety and his happiness. There’s not much I can do about the former these days, considering he’s off to school in two months. His mother and I thought it was best that he started making his own decisions while still living under our roof so we could provide input as needed. His happiness, however, seems to require you. I would never stand in his way.”
Edward returned, and Carlisle excused himself to his study. I curled up with a book on a sofa. I must have dozed off at some point, because the next thing I knew, it was dark. I found Edward in the kitchen with his laptop.
“How long did I sleep?” I asked.
“About five hours.”
“I’m sorry. I’m an awful guest. I had no idea I was that tired. I hope I didn’t interfere with anything your parents had planned.”
“Don’t worry about it. Besides, my dad has to go to work tomorrow. One of his colleagues had her baby a month early, and he’s covering her surgeries. He and my mom decided to head home since it was raining. They were sorry they didn’t get to say goodbye, but didn’t want to wake you. They want you to come to dinner one night next week.”
“Do you want to go home?”
“There’s no need; they aren’t expecting me until Tuesday. Besides, this is supposed to blow through overnight. The weather for the next two days is supposed to be perfect.”
He closed his laptop and nodded.
“Oh.” I wasn’t sure why, but I was scared to death.
He stood and wrapped his arms around me.
“You know there’s a soaking tub in the bathroom off our bedroom. Would you like to take a bath?”
“That sounds wonderful.”
“I’ll start the water for you.”
Twenty minutes later, I settled myself into the steaming hot water, hoping to soak away my nerves. It wasn’t a big deal that I was alone with Edward; I’d been alone with him more often than I could count. This was no different.
Who was I kidding? Everything was different.
I heard a faint knock at the door.
“Come in,” I called.
Edward walked in wearing sweat pants with no shirt, a strange hybrid of sex and innocence.
“You don’t mind if I sit in here with you, do you?” he asked. “I kind of miss the girls.” He gestured to my bare breasts.
I smiled. He was still Edward. My falling in love with him hadn’t changed that.
He settled on to the floor next to me, propping himself up on his elbows on the rim of the tub.
“You know I have no idea what I’m doing,” he said nervously.
Somehow, I knew exactly what he was talking about. Given the nature of so many of our recent discussions, his performance anxiety had to be intense.
“I won’t last long enough inside you for you to climax, and I have no clue how to make that happen through other means.”
“It’s not just about having orgasms you know. Most women take years to be able to come during intercourse. Some never do.”
He looked confused and waited a few moments before speaking again.
“Do you?” he asked.
“Not always.” The fact was I usually didn’t, at least, not with intercourse alone.
“I don’t mean to sound antagonistic. Truly, I don’t. But if it wasn’t always about physical release, and you didn’t love these people, why did you have sex with them?”
I couldn’t answer him. I’d never delved that deeply into my own psyche to know the answer.
“I don’t know.”
He got up and retrieved a towel from the rack.
“Come here.” He held it out for me, and I stepped out of the tub and into his outstretched arms. He gently dried me off then led me to the bedroom, still wrapped in the bath sheet.
He cupped my face in his hands and kissed me tentatively. “I love you.”
I rested my head on his shoulder. “I love you, too.”
I lifted my head to look into his eyes and he untucked the towel from under my arms, dropping it to the floor. I held his hand and placed it on my bare breast. He squeezed gently and nudged me down to the bed, pulling his pants off before lying down beside me. He’d had nothing underneath them.
In his arms, I could feel every inch of his bare skin against mine. He flicked his tongue over one of my nipples, watching in fascination as it changed texture. He continued to pinch it with his fingers as he took the other one into his mouth and suckled.
I wasn’t typically one for talking during the act, but figured he needed all the guidance I could give him.
“That feels so good.”
He licked a trail down my stomach, kissing my belly button, before continuing down to the junction of my thighs. He spread my legs and stopped. For a few moments he just sort of stared into me.
I lifted myself up onto my elbows and looked down at him.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
He nodded, blushing.
“You don’t have to..”
“I want to. I just wish I’d watched more porn. Then maybe I’d have a better idea how…”
His index finger stroked my slit slowly, from top to bottom, seeming surprised at what he found there.
“You’re so wet.” A look of determination took over his face.
“You do that to me.” I gasped as he stroked me again, this time his finger circling my clit. My breathing began to deepen.
He lowered his hand to my opening and stretched one finger inside me. My hips bucked involuntarily. Keeping his finger in me, he took his other hand and began to rub my clit back and forth with his thumb.
“Yes,” I moaned. “Just like that.”
He added a second finger and moved them in and out. I was getting very close.
“I’m going to come.” I was practically yelling.
“Please,” he whispered.
I barely recognized the sounds coming from me as my own as I thrashed around the bed in my orgasm. Edward moved his hands along with my hips, only pulling them away when my breathing began to return to normal.
He lay alongside me and propped himself up on his elbow.
“Are you always so loud?”
“No, but it was so easy to let go with you.”
“Remember last night on the phone? You told me how you had just finished touching yourself and what you had done. I paid very close attention,” he explained.
His blush was adorable.
“I love you, Edward.”
He smiled widely at me.
I glanced down and saw his erection, which seemed to be clamoring for my attention. I wrapped my hand around it and squeezed. Edward’s chest rose dramatically with his intake of air and he let out a very quiet moan. I nudged him onto his back and sat on top of him, straddling his chest.
We were like that for several minutes, playing with each other’s bodies. I sucked and gently bit his earlobe while he held my breasts. My hair tickled his chest as I licked his nipples, occasionally grazing them with my teeth. He started to make noises and buck his hips.
His body was ready.
“Are you sure?” I looked at his face. “This isn’t something we can undo.”
“It’s yours to take,” he whispered.
Despite his affirmation, I stayed where I was. His hands rubbed my thighs as he spoke, sensing my reluctance.
I shimmied down his torso, aligning my pelvis with his. After raising myself up onto my knees, I positioned him at my entrance. I sat down slowly, bringing him inside me. He struggled to breathe. His hands moved around to cup my backside, and I raised my hips.
He came on my first downward stroke, clenching his eyes closed as soft moans escaped his lips. I kept him inside me and leaned forward, resting my head on his chest. He held me tightly against him. We stayed like that, still attached, until his silence began to unnerve me. I rolled onto my side.
“What are you thinking?”
He shook his head.
“Edward, talk to me.”
“Is it always so…brief?”
I shook my head.
“Was it okay for you?”
“I’m a guy. Of course, it was okay for me. It was amazing for me. I just wish I lasted longer for you.”
“You will last longer as you get used to how it feels to be inside me.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how it feels to be inside you.” A smile formed on his lips. “But I’m looking forward to working on that.”
He stroked between my thighs. “How long until we can go again?”
“That depends on you. And let me tell you—that is one area in which your age places you at a distinct advantage.”
I trailed my hand to his penis and traced around its tip; it hardened in seconds.
I smiled. “See?”
He nudged me onto my back and settled between my legs, rubbing me with the head of his cock and entering me with a groan. He pulled out until only his head remained inside me and then pushed forward again. I arched my back, pressing my breasts against his chest. As he moved, I lifted my hips to meet his. As with the first time, it was over very quickly. I knew only experience would change that.
I was planning on giving Edward lots of experience.