From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Hey look kids! Big Ben! Parliament!
Date: April 16, 2010 6:54 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen
My leave was approved, and begins June 10th. It’s time for us to get planning. We fly to London on the 11th, but everything after that is up to you. Your mother will join us on your birthday for a few days, but the rest of the trip is just us. What would you like to see? Tell me what appeals to you, and I’ll make it happen.
“Looks like the Europe trip is going to happen. My dad managed to get time off.”
When Kate looked up from the book she was reading, her face showed genuine excitement.
“Really? That will be so good for you. When are you leaving?”
Almost instantly, her expression became one of pain, and then I remembered.
Jason died in June.
I put my computer on the floor next to me, pulled Kate onto my lap, and did my best to ignore my ensuing hard on.
“Is the 11th of June when–”
“No,” she interrupted. “He passed on the 16th; we buried him on the 21st.”
On the very same day I found the courage to finally ask out the love of my life, Kate was finding the courage to let hers go. I hoped I never had to be that brave, that I’d never have to watch them lower the person I loved most into the ground. I then realized if I went to Europe, she’d be spending the anniversary alone.
“Are you going to be okay?”
It was strange for me to think that she would need me to get through it—especially when I considered everything she’d gotten through without me. Still, I leaned on her so much; I wanted her to be able to lean on me.
Her smile rang false. “Of course I will. I won’t be alone. I’ll have my friends from home around me and my parents.”
She could tell I didn’t believe her.
“Look, Edward, I’m not looking forward to it, but I can handle it. I’m really happy you’re going to be spending some quality time with your father. As close as the two of you are, I know you’re not as close as you were. This is your chance to fix that.”
Kate was right. Though I didn’t recall much of the weeks following Thanksgiving, I did remember that for the first time in my life, I was kind of a dick to my parents. My dad bore the worst of it. I didn’t doubt Bella was telling the truth when she said she didn’t love me, but she did so in the cruelest way possible. Garrett told me she was probably angry at someone else and only lashed out at me because I was there, and she could. I then used her actions as justification for doing the same thing to the only two people in the world who loved me unconditionally.
“Why do you think we do that?” I asked.
“Punish the wrong people.”
Kate thought for a moment before she answered. “Control.”
“Do you think that’s it?”
“Yes. It enables you to pretend you’re not powerless, even if only for a moment.”
She sat in my lap on the floor in silence for two minutes, at which point she moved off me, blushing.
“This is kind of off-topic, but the curiosity is killing me. Is it as big as everyone says it is?”
“Is what as big as everyone says it is?”
“That’s a strange thing to just bring up.”
“You bring it up all the time. Furthermore, from what I felt just now, I think it’s fair to say your thing brought itself up.”
Instinctively, I adjusted myself. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. Anyway, I keep hearing about it, so naturally, I want to see it.”
“Hearing about what?”
“That.” She angled her head toward my crotch. “Irina was impressed.”
“How would Irina know what I’m packing?”
Kate looked at me like the answer should have been obvious.
“Oh,” I said, finally understanding. “She was there that night?”
“That wasn’t me, you know. I mean, obviously, it was something I did. I’m not that guy. I don’t know who he was, just that I never want to see him again.”
“I don’t think you have to worry about that. Counseling has helped you a lot. I mean you still have your moments, but you recognize them and snap out of it before doing anything stupid.”
I nodded like I agreed with her, but I didn’t. I knew very well my emotional progress had nothing whatsoever to do with Garrett and everything to do with her. I’d learned to cope with my pain by watching her cope with hers, knowing that much like my own, there was nothing either of us could do to make it go away. The best we could do was distract each other.
And Kate was turning out to be quite a distraction.
“Right. The next time I feel compelled to expose myself in front of a room full of people, I’ll know I’m only doing it because feeling anything—even shame and embarrassment—is better than feeling nothing at all. ”
“From what I’ve heard you have nothing to be embarrassed about, but then again, I wouldn’t actually know. I mean, I may sleep with you every night, but all I’ve done is feel it through our clothes—under my ass, against my back, on my stomach. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I just…god, this is harder than I thought it would be…”
So was I, but doubted that was what she was talking about it.
“What is harder?”
“Asking for what I want.” She closed her eyes and exhaled; when she opened them, they were wet. “Would you believe I’ve never seen one? I mean, outside of porn. That makes me sound so pathetic, considering I had a boyfriend I loved. I’m not repressed, I just thought we had all the time in the world. In reality, time was the only thing we didn’t have in excess.”
“You’ve really never seen one?”
She shook her head.
“Have you ever touched one?”
“Not skin to skin.”
“Has anyone ever touched your–?”
She snorted. “I have. Frequently, in fact, and not just to keep it clean.”
I laughed; I loved her honesty.
“I touch mine a lot, too.” I brushed my hand against her cheek. “You were about to ask me something. You can ask me anything, you know. I’m not sure why, but I’m completely comfortable with you.”
Much more so than I was with Bella in the beginning, I added silently. I wasn’t sure if it had to do with my sexual experience, or Kate’s complete lack thereof.
She nodded, but remained quiet for forty-six seconds. When she did speak, her voice was barely above a whisper. “I want to see it.”
I saw no reason to deny her. I’d already shared with her the parts of me that mattered—my shattered heart and battle-weary psyche. My body was the one part of me that wasn’t broken, if she wanted it, it was hers.
Kate’s eyes betrayed her nerves, but they also showed her determination. With trembling hands, she reached over and pulled my shirt over my head. She dragged her fingers down my chest, stopping when she reached the button on the waistband of my jeans.
“Are you sure? I mean, I know you’ve felt pressured before—”
“I don’t feel pressured now.”
“No?” she asked.
Kneeling in front of me, she opened my fly. I raised myself onto my knees and she pushed my jeans and boxers over my hips; when my hardened cock sprang free she smiled.
“Is that for me?”
I nodded and kicked my jeans the rest of the way off.
We knelt on the floor facing each other. I was completely naked, she was fully clothed, and yet there was no inequity. When I tugged on the bottom of her shirt in a wordless request for permission to remove it, I didn’t do it to even the score. I did it because I wanted to see her, too.
She raised her arms and I lifted her shirt over her head before quickly reaching behind her back and unclasping her bra and sliding its straps down her arms. Without breaking eye contact, I hooked my thumbs into the waistband of her panties beneath her shorts; her sharp intake of air betrayed her nerves.
“It’s okay,” she whispered when she realized I stopped. “I want you to.”
I pushed her shorts and underwear down to her knees, and she wiggled the rest of the way out them. Though she was blushing profusely and clearly nervous, her eyes never left mine.
I remembered the first time I undressed in front of Bella—I had been afraid for her to see me, worried that I wouldn’t measure up.
“Are you ready for me to look at you?” Bella asked.
“Yes,” I whispered, staring over her shoulder. “Is it…” I paused before continuing. “Is it okay?”
“Edward, look at me.”
I clenched my eyes shut before bringing them back to meet hers.
“It’s perfect. You’re perfect.”
That day, Bella had been kind and patient. If she’d handled the emotional aspect of our relationship half as well, I might still be whole.
I didn’t want to think of Bella; Kate deserved better. I was determined not to allow my internal monologue turn her first sexual experience into a fucked up threesome involving her, me, and my memories of Bella.
My cock was living in the moment, why wasn’t the rest of me?
Though my eyes hadn’t left Kate’s, I’d zoned out a bit. When I refocused, her fears were written all over her face—she thought I didn’t want her. I wished I understood my own feelings well enough to explain them. It wasn’t that I didn’t want Kate; it was that despite everything I wanted Bella more.
I’d never have Bella again, but Kate trusted me enough to let me take off her clothing, even if I hadn’t manned up enough to actually look at her. I finally permitted my eyes to see the girl in front of me.
Kate had slightly fuller breasts than Bella, and even though her body was more solid, it was obvious Kate was in amazing physical shape. Her abs were defined and her legs were very toned; what I saw between them seemed to indicate she was a natural blonde.
As strange as it felt to repeat the words Bella said to me to Kate, this was one moment of our relationship that Bella got right.
When my eyes met Kate’s again, I smiled.
She looked terrified. “Is it okay if I…”
“Just tell me what you want; you’re in control here.”
“I want to touch it.”
Slowly and carefully, almost as if she was scared it would burn her, Kate brushed the tip of her index finger over the head of my cock. It had been so long since a hand other than my own touched me there, I nearly came on the spot.
“So soft,” she said.
“Soft? Are you kidding?”
I hadn’t had sex in five months, and Kate was naked with her hand on my dick. If my cock got any harder, it would be a diamond.
“No, I mean your skin here is soft, more so than the rest of you. Is everyone like this?”
“I wouldn’t know; I’ve only touched mine.”
Her blush intensified, and she swallowed. “Right, sorry, I didn’t mean to imply…”
She closed her hand around my shaft and squeezed. “Tell me what you want.”
“Would you suck it?”
The words came out of my mouth before I could think better of it. I was about to apologize when she nudged me onto my back and put her lips on my cock.
Unlike Bella’s gag-free deep throating and expert tongue work, Kate took her time and just played with it. She tried various licks and depths and experimented with the amount of me she could take in her mouth. Soon she found her rhythm, and I was getting closer and closer, but there was something I needed to know.
“Hmm?” she said, keeping me in her mouth.
The vibration from her voice nearly did me in.
“Where is this going?”
She took me out of her mouth, but continued to squeeze my shaft with her hand.
“Isn’t that kind of an odd question to ask right now? I mean, I thought we were both content to stay in the moment.”
Was she really so innocent she thought that was what I meant?
“No, sweetie,” I tried not to sound patronizing. “I mean when I come, where will it go?”
Realization dawned on her face.
“Oh. Oh! I hadn’t thought of that. I guess want to try to swallow? I mean, you won’t be offended if it’s really gross and I need to spit it out, will you?”
Her honesty astounded me.
“Okay. I’ll try to swallow.”
And just like everything else she’d ever set her to mind to do, moments later she not only tried, she succeeded. I wanted to touch her, to put my mouth on her, to give her pleasure like she’d given me, but Kate said she wasn’t ready for that.
From: Edward Cullen
Subject: London Calling
Date: April 18, 2010 2:50 PM EST
To: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
I know the trip is supposed to be bonding time for us, but would it be okay if Kate spent a few days in London with us? I’m specifically looking at June 15-19. Her boyfriend died a year on the 16th; I don’t want to be away from her that day. She hasn’t asked, but she’s proud and she won’t. I wanted to ask you before I suggested it to her.
From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Re: London Calling
Date: April 18, 2010 7:54 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen
I have no objection. If she says yes, send me her parents’ contact info so I can call them. I wouldn’t mind chatting with them anyway. It turns out Jack knew Kate’s grandfather very well. Small world.
“Would you like to come to London with me?”
“I thought the point of the trip was for you to fix things with your parents.”
“It is, but a few days with you won’t prevent that from happening. I was thinking about the 15th to the 19th. Does that work for you?”
She threw her arms around me and squeezed me tightly. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I said into her hair.
“No, really.” She stepped away, and I could see she had tears in her eyes. “I don’t think I can find the right words to express what this means to me.”
“I’m sure you can show me other ways.”
“Math!” she exclaimed.
“That wasn’t what I had in mind.”
“Of course not, you horny boy. But this is more serious than that. Okay, so functions change as inputs change.”
“I know how to do differential calculus, Kate.”
“I know you do. Humor me.” She grabbed a piece of paper and began scribbling. “Suppose that x and y are people, and that y is a friend of x—at least, that is their acknowledged relationship. For every value of x, we can determine the value of y. We’ll write this as y = f(x).”
“Are you talking about us?” I asked.
“I’m guessing I’m y then, being I’m the one with a y chromosome. Being that you’re majoring in math, you may not be aware that y chromosomes trigger the development of testicles, which I have by the way, along with a very large cock.”
She rolled her eyes. “This isn’t about your cock, but fine. You’re y; I’m x.”
This was getting interesting. We shared our lives, we shared her bed, she gave me head on a regular basis, though she had yet to let me touch her below the waist. Still, we’d never established what we were to each other.
“Are you about to define my value? Or better yet, can you define my value to x?”
Realizing I wasn’t talking about differential calculus, she dropped her pencil and looked up at me.
“x loves y,” she said quietly.
My answer was automatic. “y loves x.”
“x doesn’t think she’s in love with y, though. x isn’t sure how to describe her feelings, other than to say they’re intense and…well..different.”
“y isn’t offended; y isn’t even sure that kind of love exists.”
“That makes x very sad.”
I closed my eyes and sighed. “It makes y sad, too.”