Untitled (Woman Lying on Sand)

Two things surprised me about Carlisle and Esme’s shore house. The first was the house itself. Edward may have described it somewhat humbly, but upon arriving there could be no mistake. It was a beach front mansion. It had a terrace from which you could practically walk out into the ocean, an in-ground pool, a few hot tubs and no fewer than six bedrooms.

Six bedrooms.

Yes, six. I counted. The fact there were indeed six bedrooms, four of which were not in use brings me to surprise number two.

I was sharing a room with Edward.

“Do you really think this is appropriate?” I asked as he began to unpack.

“Why wouldn’t it be? We’ve shared a bed before.” He gave me my favorite lop-sided smile. It usually meant he was up to something.

“Yes, but not under your parents’ roof. Your mother can’t be okay with this.”

“She raised me to be a perfect gentleman. She knows I would never dream of taking advantage of your proximity. However, she obviously doesn’t know you very well.”

That statement kind of annoyed me.

“Like I would do anything with your parents the next room over!”

“They’re actually on a different floor.”

“In the same house, whatever, you know what I mean.”

“Now that’s too bad,” he said, pretending to sulk.

“Wait, were you planning to…?”

“You’ll never know. So, what would you like to do first?”


“Would you prefer the ocean or the pool?”

“Honestly? The pool. I’m kind of weirded out by the ocean. I have a jelly fish phobia,” I explained.

“Interesting. I love the ocean. Swimming through the waves is the greatest feeling out there.”

“I bet I could introduce you to a better one.”

He blushed, but still reached around me to squeeze my ass.

“I’m sure you could. Let’s hit the pool, then.”

At that moment, I really didn’t care if I swam or not. I just wanted to get Edward’s shirt off. I grabbed a white bikini out of my bag and ran into the adjoining bathroom to get changed. When I came out, Edward was standing in his swim trunks and a plain white t-shirt.

“This is so unfair,” I muttered.

“What’s unfair about it? I’ll take my shirt off only if you take your top off. Gender equality, you know.”

“No deal,” I said, smiling sweetly. I grabbed a can of sunscreen from my bag and started spraying it on myself liberally.

“I think of all the technological advances of the last five years or so, I hate fine-mist sunscreen the most,” he said, pouting.

“Do you need any?”

“No, I already applied.”

I pulled my gauzy cover-up over my head and gestured to the door. “After you.”

I followed Edward out back. His parents were sitting in lounge chairs with what appeared to be cocktails. I made a mental note that they were morning drinkers.

Esme smiled and waved me over as soon as she me.

“Bella, I hope you’re settling in okay.”

“Yes, Esme, thank you. Edward has been a very considerate host.”

“What room did you put Bella in?” Carlisle asked.

Cue Edward’s blush and Esme’s giggle.

“Sweetie, are you sure you have enough sunscreen on?” Esme asked Edward. “You’re looking a little sunburnt.”

Of course, the blush intensified and the giggle evolved into a bona-fide laugh.

“Well, Bella’s dying to get into the ocean, so we’ll catch up with you later.” Edward pulled me out onto the sand as he spoke.

“Were your parents teasing you about sharing a room with me?”

“Um, yeah. Sorry about that. I should have warned you that there are no taboo topics with them. My dad knows very well where you are sleeping this weekend. He was just trying to make me flustered.”

“Trying to?”

“Okay, so it worked.”

He lifted his shirt over his head and placed it between two slats of the wooden fence. I did the same with my dress and soon we were running into the water hand in hand.

It was frigid.


“Sorry,” he said. “I know you’re not into the whole ocean thing, but I promise you it’s not jelly fish season. Plus, I kind of wanted to be alone with you.”

“I like the sound of that.”

He gestured to his shoulders. “Hop on.”

He bent his knees and I wrapped my arms and my legs around him, pressing my chest against his back. Once I had a decent hold on him, he plowed into the surf. When we were well beyond the breakers, he placed me back on my feet, keeping his hands on my waist. The water came up to my chest and each wave lifted me gently off my feet before violently crashing into the sand in a flash of white foam about thirty feet in from where we stood.

Under normal circumstances, I would be panicked that the height of the waves brought the ocean level well over my head. I was in Edward’s arms, though and I couldn’t remember a time when I’d felt this secure.

Or this frisky.

“Can your parents see us?”

“From the pool? No. We’re not out far enough.”

“Good. I have something I need to do, and I don’t want an audience.”

I pressed myself against him tightly, rubbing my erect nipples against his chest. I felt him spring to life below the surface of the water. I took a small step back and snaked my arm around to the waistband of his swim trunks.

“I need to touch you.”

I grasped his hardened length through his shorts, giving him a gentle tug. He put his head on my shoulder and groaned.


“No, baby. Don’t talk. Just let go.”

I squeezed his cock twice more over the fabric, the last time rubbing my thumb over the tip. He twitched as he came still wearing his swim trunks, the salty ocean water masking all evidence of his release. When his breathing returned to normal, he slowly lifted his head off my shoulder. His eyes were filled with wonder.

I kissed his lips, feeling no sense of urgency. We stayed like that, in each other’s arms as the waves beat around us, until our skin was pruned and the tide began to wash out.

We eventually made our way back to the house, splashing each other and playing like children. When we reached the hot, dry sand Edward carried me so I wouldn’t burn my feet. He opened the gate to his house and pulled me into an outdoor shower stall where still wearing our swimsuits, we washed the sand off our bodies. Edward wrapped me in a fluffy beach towel and we headed inside to clean up and get changed.

Edward sent me into bathroom adjoining our bedroom, taking his own shower elsewhere. I wondered how many bathrooms there were as I washed all the remaining sand off of me. I combed out my hair and dressed in a casual sun dress before setting out to look for Edward.

I puttered out to the kitchen but found myself hovering back in the entryway. Carlisle and Esme were preparing dinner together. I watched them for a few minutes. They were completely at ease —laughing and touching, their connection with and devotion to one another evidenced by every tiny gesture. Although they did nothing more than touch hands, I felt as if I were intruding on a very private moment.

I wondered how many marriages were actually like this. Alice always claimed her parents were soul-mates, but I’d never spent enough time around them to be able to confirm or deny it. My mother had been married three times that I knew of, and my father was too scorned and bitter from her abandonment that he’d never so much as dated. In the context of the couple in front of me, Edward’s romantic idealism not only made sense, but it didn’t seem at all unrealistic.

Esme glanced up and gestured for me to join them. I immediately felt guilty for interrupting.

“I’m sorry, I don’t want to intrude,” I said quietly as I approached the kitchen island.

“You aren’t,” Esme said, smiling.

“Can I get you some wine or beer?” Carlisle asked.

“A lager would be great, if you have it.”

Carlisle went to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of Yuengling. He took the cap off for me and reached to the cabinet.

“I don’t need a glass, thank you.”

He smiled warmly and handed me the beer.

I knew it would probably seem like a strange topic, but at the same time my curiosity got the better of me. Besides, it was far more palatable for me than being grilled on my intentions toward their son.

“I was just admiring your camaraderie. How did you two meet?”

Esme began to laugh. “In medical school, actually. It was our first time working on a human cadaver. They removed the sheet from the body, and Carlisle passed out cold.”

I had to laugh.

“I went into medicine because I wanted to save lives, but it had all been very theoretical up to that point,” Carlisle said in his own defense. “I’d never seen a dead body before. Blood, corpses, it was a lot to get used to. Anyway, when I woke up, Esme was leaning over me. She was beautiful and extremely pissed off at me.”

“On his way to the floor he pushed me into the cadaver. I may not have shared his squeamishness, but falling head first into a corpse is never a pleasant experience,” Esme elaborated.

“I decided to try to make it up to her the only way I knew how —I asked her out to dinner,” Carlisle explained. “We’ve been together ever since.”

Edward reemerged in loose cargo shorts and a faded t-shirt, his hair damp and curling slightly from his shower.

“Perfect timing,” Esme said. “We’re all set for you and your father to hit the grill.”

I sipped my beer, and Edward shot me a curious look. Soon Edward was headed out back with his father, steaks in tow, and I was once again alone with Esme.

“Tell me about your parents.”

“There’s not a whole lot to tell. They were married very young. My mother left soon after I was born. She moved across the country and I don’t see her all that much. My father never remarried.”

Sensing my discomfort, she changed the subject. “Have you always wanted to teach?”

“Yes. I’m hoping to eventually attend grad school and teach at the university level. High school curriculum can be so limiting. But I do enjoy my freshmen. It’s a hard age for a lot of them. But I also feel that if I do my job well, they leave my classroom with the tools they need to be effective communicators regardless of their future aspirations. That gives me great pride.”

She smiled warmly. “Society tends to devalue our educators, and it’s always so unsettling. By teaching writing, you are giving your students the foundation for success at whatever paths they may choose. You seem to have pursued a career in education for all the right reasons. It saddens me you didn’t have Edward in class.”

“I wouldn’t be standing here with you now if I had.” It came out a bit more sharply than I would have liked.

“I believe you.”

“I only want to make him happy. Truly.”

Her smile returned, and she reached to me and squeezed my hand.

“You already have.”

Carlisle appeared and grabbed a tray from a cabinet.

“It’s getting pretty windy out there,” he explained. “If no one minds, we should probably eat inside.”

“No arguments here,” Esme said. “Bella and I will set the table.”

“Thank you for coming. It means a great deal to my family to have you here with us. I know you’re a bit on edge, and I can certainly appreciate that, but there’s no reason to be. I get the sense from you that you feel as though you are here this weekend to earn my approval, which is absurd. You already have it.”

And with her simple words of validation, I did something I haven’t done since I was Edward’s age.

I blushed.

It only got worse when she came over and hugged me.

“What was that for?” I asked, somewhat in shock as she pulled away.

“You seem less comfortable with me now than you were when I was grilling you. We’ll have to work on that.”

Well, I’ll be damned. Edward’s gift of frighteningly accurate perception was hereditary.

Soon Edward and Carlisle returned, and we sat around the table dining on steak, salad and asparagus. The conversation was light and playful, and soon I felt more like I was in the presence of my own family than an outsider seeking acceptance. When we finished eating, Edward and I washed the dishes before heading out to the beach for a walk. The ocean and the sky had become  the same shade of midnight blue,  the water only distinguishable by the white caps of the waves. We puttered along the  wet sand in our bare feet, enjoying the beauty of the evening. When we were a good distance from the house, Edward reached over and took my hand.

“You’re torturing me.”

I could think of a few things I’d done today that he would have found titillating, but ‘torture’ was kind of a strong word.

“And how is that?”

“Last night you cheerfully presented me with the mental image of you taking me into your mouth, and then today you proceed to consume not one, but two beers directly from the bottle. I’ve never been so jealous of inanimate objects.”

I smiled.

“That was not my intention you know. I really just wanted a lager.”

He faced me and pulled me into his arms.

“I love you, Bella.”

There they were—the three small words I thought I’d never hear from another human being free of ulterior motive. I pondered the enormity of Edward’s declaration, knowing I couldn’t say it back to him, but also knowing I needed to say something. I wussed out with humor.

“I’ll have to drink beer more often.”

“I’m serious. I love you. I love you with everything that I am.”

“Edward, I-”

“Shh.” He placed his fingers against my lips. “You don’t have to say anything.”

I didn’t. Instead,  I put my hand on his and sucked two of of his fingertips into my mouth. Before I could even register his gasp as one of pleasure, he was holding me against him, his tongue rubbing against mine.

I dropped onto my knees  and started fumbling with the button of his cargo shorts.

“Bella.” His breath was so heavy, my name was little more than a sigh.

“Edward, let me.”

I had his zipper down and had just about slipped my hand inside his boxers when he dropped to his knees and closed his fly.

“Please. Let me love you.”

He cupped my face in his hands. “I want nothing more.”

I wasn’t sure how long we knelt in the sand. I could be evasive and act like I hadn’t spent the last few years running,  or I could just put it out there.

“I’m scared. I’ve only had one other real relationship. I was in college, and we were together a little over a year. I came back to campus after the semester break, and he’d transferred. He sent me an email saying the school situation wasn’t working for him and he thought he’d be happier closer to home. That he’d enjoyed knowing me, but didn’t want to do the long distance thing. Three weeks later I realized I was pregnant. He didn’t respond to my emails or phone calls. I called his parents house and they threatened me with a restraining order if I didn’t stop harassing their son.”

Edward gulped. “What did you do?”

“What do you think I did?”


Though he was right in front of me—touching me—he  seemed miles away. I couldn’t stop my tears. He pulled me into his arms and rocked me back and forth.

“Did you tell anyone?” he asked.

“My mother. She told me to get an abortion, that if she had it to do over again, she would have…” I trailed off as Edward’s embrace tightened. After I few moments I continued. “And I told Alice. Alice was there for me.”

He sat in the sand, cradling me in his lap as I sobbed. Finally, I calmed down enough to push myself from his lap. I knelt in the sand, staring somewhere over his shoulder.

“Bella, look at me.”

I timidly raised my eyes to meet his.

“I love you,” he said. “Always.”

We slowly walked back to the house, our arms around each other’s waists. Carlisle and Esme were nowhere to be seen, and we went uninterrupted to Edward’s room.

“I can sleep somewhere else if you’d rather be alone.”

Edward was always the gentleman.

“Is that what you want?”

“No,” he said. “I want to hold you all night and try to convince you to trust me. I’m not like him, Bella. I’m not going anywhere.”

I went into the bathroom to change into the tee shirt and shorts I’d packed to sleep in. When I came out of the bathroom, I saw Edward had changed into his pajamas.

All of a sudden, I knew without a doubt.



“I love you, too.”

Fully clothed and completely exposed, I fell asleep in his arms.

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  1. on 24 Aug 2010 at 12:38 pmchansen

    Horrible mother–how could she say that to her child? I guess I felt the pregnancy issue because Bella had been so adamant about keeping them safe from it. l-o-v-e, scary, too soon?


  2. on 29 Aug 2010 at 2:11 amizziey

    the last line was amazing.


  3. on 29 Sep 2010 at 7:55 pmlisa89

    Edward and his gentlemanliness. I love him, but you already know that. I’m also enamoured with his parents, their attitude, and their method of raising Edward, who is such an exceptional young man. All other seventeen year olds are douchebags.


  4. on 12 Nov 2010 at 1:43 amkng1986

    “I love you with everything that I am.” Any other seventeen year old saying this would sound like a seduction line.


  5. on 25 Nov 2010 at 1:58 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    You write angst very well. I’m hurting for both Edward and Bella here.


  6. on 29 Dec 2010 at 4:39 amFancastride

    The sadness of it all, Edward loves her and she loves him.


  7. on 04 Jan 2011 at 12:35 amSea4Me

    Oh, you’re good! I always get distracted by poor Fanfic writing quality…but you’re good! Thanks for sharing!!
    PS-I’ve been meaning to comment on the blush reversal, but now you just showed me it’s an age thing. Makes sense! I’m also distracted by Carlisle possibilities after reading a couple of those one-shots. Gulp.


  8. on 27 Jan 2011 at 7:26 amDenyse

    Awww… This chapter is sad but also sweet.


  9. on 16 Mar 2011 at 12:23 amNHJO100

    Oh my…..this is so sweet and intense. I am just riveted. This Edward is like no other I have read….love him.