Evening Wind


Evening Wind

I lifted my head from my pillow in complete disorientation. It sounded like a tap or a scrape. Maybe I was dreaming. I pulled the comforter up over my head and rolled over; I hated getting up in the morning.

But there it was again. Scrape. It was definitely real, but I couldn’t imagine what would be tapping against my second-story bedroom window. I rolled out of bed and threw on a t-shirt then headed to the window to investigate. When I looked down and saw Edward, I pushed the window open.

“Have I died and gone to a bad production of Romeo and Juliet because hell was full?”

“Huh?” He looked confused.

“Why are you throwing shit at my window?”

“You weren’t answering the door or your phone,” he explained.

I went downstairs and opened the front door.

He smiled, gorgeous as ever. “Good morning.”

No one should be that cheerful before noon.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, still groggy.

“Last night you said how you hated waking up without me next to you; I thought I’d let myself in and surprise you. I didn’t realize until I got here that I didn’t have a key.”

It was kind of sweet. Annoying, but sweet.

“It was a nice thought, even if it was a bit ill-conceived.” I leaned up on my toes and gave him a quick kiss on the mouth.

“You wouldn’t have minded?”

“No, I wouldn’t have minded. I would have loved it, actually, had you been successful.” I opened the door to my coat closet and felt around the shelf. I found where I’d taped down the extra front door keys, pulled one off and handed it to Edward. “This will make things easier next time.”

He looked at me quizzically. “Is this what I think this is?”

“Yes. Bottom lock on the front door. It’s the only one I really use. It makes sense for you have one anyway. No one else has a key to my house and if I ever locked myself out, I’d probably have to break a window or call a locksmith, both of which would cost me money.” I rambled a bit, trying to downplay the significance of the tiny piece of metal I’d just pressed into his palm.

Of course, Edward would not let me get away with it. He pulled me into his arms and hugged me tightly.

“Thank you. I know what a big deal this is.”

“It’s really not,” I insisted.

“No, it really is.”

I wasn’t about to argue with him.

We spent the rest of the day puttering around my house. He spent an hour at the piano with me, and though I was a far way from being able to playing anything but “Chopsticks”, I was starting to grasp the fundamentals of reading music. Eventually, we made our way to Edward’s house for dinner. I was beginning to love his family as much as I loved him. Carlisle and Esme were quite possibly the most accepting people I’d ever met. They had every reason in the world to question my intentions with Edward–age, experience, socio-economic status–and yet they never did. The simple fact that Edward wanted to be with me was good enough for them.

The summer was passing quickly, and soon Edward and I settled into a routine. He rarely spent the night, but I usually woke up next to him. He continued to give me piano lessons, and I taught him to cook. He was a very quick study, and delighted Esme by making lasagna for her on her birthday. I wondered if there was anything he couldn’t do well.

July became the dead heat of August, and Edward was pressing to meet Alice. Thankfully, Alice had spent a week and a half visiting her parents and brother in Ohio, buying me some time. She’d been back three days when I knew I couldn’t put off telling her about Edward any longer. I had my phone in hand, ready to call her to ask her to meet me for coffee later in the week when Rose’s number appeared on my caller ID. She never called me during work hours.

“Everything okay?”

“For the most part,” she said. “Look, I need a huge favor and it’s not something I can ask Leah to do.”

“I didn’t know there were things you couldn’t ask Leah to do,” I joked.

She laughed mechanically, and I knew something was wrong. “Can you pick up a couple of pregnancy tests and bring them by my office? I’m sure I’m not pregnant, but…”

Her fear was palpable and something I knew all too well.

“You don’t have to say another word. I’ll be right over.”

“Thank you, Bella.”

An hour later we were in a bathroom stall in the basement of Rose’s building. She insisted we come down here, where the odds of running into her coworkers were virtually non-existent. She’d taken the test and placed it on top of the toilet paper dispenser before calling me in to be with her while she waited.

“It has to be nothing. I’m on the pill, you know.”

I nodded.

“Do you want children?” she asked.

“I think so. I know Edward does.”

Did I really just answer a question about my hopes for the future with a statement about Edward’s?

“Are things that serious between the two of you?”

“He’s seventeen. How serious could it be?”

“Like that matters. I’ve seen the way he looks at you.”

“You know how I feel about him. He challenges me like no one I’ve ever known. He’s brilliant and wise and funny and I love every second I spend with him. But then we’re watching TV or something and the President holds a news conference. I ask Edward who he voted for; he laughs at me because he still has a year before he can vote.”

“He won’t be seventeen forever. The older you both get, the less it matters, and by the time he’s done at Princeton, it won’t matter at all.”

“I’m just concerned about getting to that point. I don’t want to hold him back, you know?”

“You’re not holding him back if it’s what he wants. If he’s old enough to fuck you, then he’s old enough to decide for himself what he wants from life.”

“I just don’t want him to miss out on things because he’s with me.”

“That’s so condescending. You claim you love him, yet you don’t trust him to make his own decisions. Do you want an equal or a sex toy?”

“You’re over-simplifying it.”

“No, you’re making it more complicated than it needs to be.”

I decided to change the subject. “Does Emmett know you’re late?”

“No. I didn’t want to worry him needlessly. No sense for us both to spend half the day freaking the fuck out.”

“Would he freak out?”

“Yes, Bella. He’d freak out.”

“Have you two thought much about when you wanted to start a family?” I asked.

“A bit,” she said. “It was all theoretical though. We discussed having children in five years or so. You know, when he was finished with school and actually had a job–not while he has no income and I’m still working a hundred hours a week. I’m on track to making partner. Lots of women have babies once they get there, but they almost never get there after they have babies. I’ve worked my ass off for so many years; I should care about that. I should care that if I’m pregnant the past ten years may as well be all for nothing.”

“But you don’t.”

“Not really.” She began to cry.

“It’s going to be okay, Rose. One way or another, it’s going to be okay.”

I grabbed some toilet paper so she could wipe her eyes. When I saw the dispenser, the pregnancy test jumped out at me. Rose’s eyes followed mine, and she silently read the result.

“Looks like I just traded in my corner office for a nurser.” A small smile formed on her mouth.

For the next several minutes, we stood in the bathroom stall with our arms around each other, staring at the tiny piece of plastic that just changed her life.

“Are you scared?”

“Yes,” she admitted. “But I’m also deliriously happy.” She threw the positive test in the box on the wall meant for tampons and pads and opened the door of the stall. She walked over to the sink and washed her face.

“Emmett said he wanted it all with me–the marriage, the babies, the mortgage. I guess I’ll find out if he actually meant it.”

“I think he meant it.”

“Me, too.” She reached over and squeezed my hand. “Thank you, Bella. For everything.”

An hour later, I arrived home to find Edward playing my piano. He stopped and swung his legs to the other side of the piano bench when he saw me enter the living room.

“Where’ve you been all afternoon?” he asked. “I missed you.”

“With Rose. She’s pregnant; she just found out.”

“I didn’t realize they were trying,” Edward said. “That’s great news.”

“They weren’t. She’s happy, but scared about what this means for her career and how Emmett will react.”

“Why is she worried about Emmett? He’s going to be ecstatic.”

His reactions surprised me.

“You think?”

“I know.”

“He’s a bit young to be a father,” I said.

“According to whom?”

“Well, society I guess. People seem to start families later and later these days, to experience life a bit more first.”

“It’s a baby, not a death sentence.”

“There are certain things that people need to experience,” I explained. “If you settle down too quickly it’s not something you get over. People don’t just decide that they are okay with the things they might have missed. At best, they have miserable mid-life crises. At worst they…” I stopped. I didn’t want to make this about Edward and me.

“At worst what? Are we talking about the proverbial wild oats here? Because not everyone needs to sow them. Personally, I rather skip meaningless experiences and get right to the significant ones.”

Not everyone was like Edward, and I decided to complete my statement.

“At worst you flip out and abandon your infant daughter.” I wasn’t speaking theoretically anymore, nor was I talking about Emmett.

Edward’s sharp intake of breath told me he knew this. He slid off the piano bench and knelt in front of me, forcing me to make eye contact with him.

“I’m not your mother,” he said quietly. “And I’m not your ex-boyfriend. I don’t need to go out and fuck fifty girls to be sure you’re the right one. I know you’re the right one. I believe in us. My only reservation is that you don’t.”

“How does my concern over Emmett’s readiness for parenthood make you question how I feel about our relationship?”

“Because Emmett loves Rose the same way I love you. You know this. You’ve seen it. And yet you sit here doubting Emmett, not realizing that by extension, you are doubting me.”

I averted my eyes again, but Edward was having none of it.

“Hey.” He touched my cheek. “Look at me.”

I slowly met his gaze.

“I love you. I don’t know what it will take to get you to believe that.”

“Come upstairs with me.”

He shook his head. “No, Bella. It’s not going to work. You are constantly letting your words and actions convey the true extent to which you doubt my love for you, and then you try to use sex to convince me I’m wrong. Sex proves nothing.”

“Fine, then. I’m afraid we won’t survive your first month at college, and that you only think you love me because you haven’t really seen what else is out there.”

“I don’t give a fuck what else is out there. This is all I’ve ever wanted. Look at my family. My parents are every bit as in love with each other as they were the day they got married nearly twenty years ago. You know, my father and I discussed this in depth when I realized I was in love with you. I asked him if he thought I was crazy for being so sure I’d found the person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. He told me that although he enjoyed being single at the time, there wasn’t a single thing he experienced as a bachelor that wouldn’t have been a thousand times better with my mother at his side. If he had found her when he was seventeen, he would have set out to make her his and never looked back. I love you the same way. Why do you have such a hard time believing that?”

I wanted to believe him more than anything. We did go upstairs, but only because the lack of furniture in my living room didn’t lend itself to physical comfort. I ended up on my bed in his arms, fully clothed and silent until Edward finally spoke.

“If our roles were reversed, if you found me when you were seventeen and I wound up being the only lover you ever knew, would you feel as though you missed out?”

“No.”

He rolled on top of me, pressing his body into mine.

“Exactly.”

He put his lips against mine, and I needed him inside me–not because I had anything to prove, but to be as close to him as possible. We only had a few weeks left like this, where we had nothing with which to fill our days but each other. I wasn’t going to allow myself to waste another second dwelling on my own insecurities. We made quick work of each other’s clothing and soon we were joined. After we were both spent, we lingered in bed enjoying the feel of the other’s bare skin.

“Edward?”

“Yes?”

“You’re truly not at all curious?”

“About what?”

“About sex with other women. You know, seeing what else is out there.”

“No. I’ll never understand why that is so hard for you to believe. Now, may I ask you something?”

“Of course,” I said.

“Why won’t you tell me your number?”

“What number?”

“The number of partners you’ve had. I don’t care what it is, you know. It just bothers me you don’t trust me with it. Please, Bella?”

“No.”

“But I told you mine.”

“Silly, Edward. We both know you had nothing to tell.” I rolled away from him, clutching the sheet against my bare breasts. I stepped out of the bed and into the sunlight. I stood in front of the window and closed my eyes, letting the afternoon sun warm my face. The sheet suddenly pulled away from my chest and there was Edward, holding its other end, naked in my bed.

“I do, now.”

I joined him on the bed, pushing the thoughts that only a moment ago weighed so heavily on me from my consciousness.

“Oh, really?” I asked.

He nodded. As always, our banter was our foreplay.

“Perhaps we should start over then.” I put my hands on his chest and climbed on top of him, straddling his pelvis between my legs. “So, Edward, how many sexual partners have you had?”

I ground my hips against his. I would play along, but I wasn’t about to make this easy for him.

“One.” His voice was not much louder than a whisper.

“One?”

“Yes. Exactly one. I’d watched her for months.”

“Hmm…you don’t say.”

“Yes. She was forbidden.”

“My, my.” I trailed a fingertip down his chest to the patch of hair below his navel. “What made you decide to pursue her?”

“She did. I ran into her at the Art Museum on a Friday night. There was a jazz quartet playing and she was stood there alone and swayed to the music. When I noticed her glass of wine was empty, I brought her another one. She thanked me and I struck up a conversation with her. She didn’t talk down to me like teachers usually do, and she did not treat me as if I were a freak. Only my family had ever done that, had ever treated me as an equal.”

“I was never your teacher.”

“No, you weren’t. Well, not in the classroom anyway.”

He reached up and pinched my nipple. I gasped, he hardened and before I could even verbalize my need, he entered me. As he began to move, I remembered how in a few weeks this would all end. I would have to let him go. I didn’t allow the thought to linger. When the time came, I would let him go and hope that he came back to me. I did exactly what I did best while in Edward’s presence; I let everything that was not directly related to the pleasure he brought my body and the joy he brought my soul drift away, focusing instead on the beautiful boy beneath me.

Hours later, as I lay quietly on his chest, I thought about Rose’s words. I wasn’t treating him as my equal if I insisted on making decisions for him, and my reluctance to be honest with him was nothing more than me deciding on his behalf what information he could handle.

“Edward?”

“Yes?”

“About my number…you know, how many sexual partners I’ve had. It’s not that I don’t trust you. That’s not why I haven’t told you what it is.”

“Why is it then?”

“It’s because I don’t know the answer.” I felt him swallow beneath me. “If I had to guess, I’d say somewhere around forty.”

“Was that so hard?”

I lifted myself on my elbows to look at him. “It doesn’t bother you?”

He shook his head. “You won’t be upset with me if I’m honest with you now?”

“Of course not.”

“I actually thought the number was much higher.”

When I finished laughing, he kissed me. Soon the only number that mattered pertained to the amount of times we would have sex before the sun went down.

Edward said he was going for seven.





Leave a Reply

8 Responses

Comments RSS

  1. on 24 Aug 2010 at 8:08 pmchansen

    Geez! You anticipated all my concerns from my last comments and placed them here as their concerns or left them them answered. I feel so connected to this. Here’s to Rose and Emmett being happy and to Alice meeting and accepting Edward with Bella.

    [Reply]


  2. on 29 Sep 2010 at 8:13 pmlisa89

    There are so many things running through my head that I want to tell you as I read, but I can never remember them all when I get down here, and then I’m too lazy to go back and check. Forgive me.

    I once again want to tell you how much I enjoy your writing style. It’s succinct, to the point, and not filled with ramblings that just fill up space. It reads much like the stuff I read in RL – I don’t know what’s going on with fic writers that they feel the need to write out everything in 4293487 words that don’t add anything. That probably makes me a hypocrite because I probably do that. But that’s okay, I guess.

    I also want to reiterate my love for your Edward and Rose, and also for Edward’s parents. Rose is so quick to call Bella out on bullshit, but not in this over-the-top way that some people write Rose. It’s just honest, and it’s not like you’re trying to have Rose put on airs or something. I don’t know; it’s really hard for me to put in words, but I just feel as though your writing and your character depictions are so honest. You (and they) aren’t trying to prove something.

    [Reply]

    Sea4Me reply:

    @lisa89,
    Yes! Great writing style!

    [Reply]


  3. on 12 Nov 2010 at 9:30 amkng1986

    I love the way you write Bella. You can see what she is thinking very clearly in your words. A lot of fanfiction writers will change someone’s personality to suit the situation but you are very consistent.

    [Reply]


  4. on 25 Nov 2010 at 3:09 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    I find it interesting that she still thinks of him as a beautiful boy beneath her when pondering their equality. Conflicted much? :)
    Well written
    Books

    [Reply]


  5. on 09 Dec 2010 at 12:31 amNKubie

    That exchange made me smile.

    [Reply]


  6. on 29 Dec 2010 at 1:27 pmFancastride

    Rose and Emmett with a baby should be fun.

    [Reply]


  7. on 04 Jan 2011 at 8:21 amSea4Me

    Oh, Bella. Don’t let this one go. I’m sure there has to be a Tanya, but please don’t let this one go! She’s clearly scared of being ditched, otherwise she’d stick it out & let him dump her if necessary. Sigh. Love Rose, love E’s perceptiveness, dreading Alice & the return to school. Tho, maybe Rose/Em can show Alice all is well…eventually. Time for me to attend to my own children!

    [Reply]