Thursday, July 5, 2012

68 AT HOME WITH CULLENS

~Chapter 68~
AT HOME WITH CULLENS

she
Wrong? Oh, not much. Just that the last person to prepare dinner for your son wearing that apron— with, by the way, nothing but boy shorts on underneath—was later fucked from behind across the dining room table, and later eaten out for his dessert.

“Oh, I um…I’m just super hungry, that’s all.”

Esme looks at me suspiciously and I suddenly have this uncomfortable image of Jerry Springer barking out accusations disguised as “questions” as I’m hooked up to a lie detector and the audience is booing and yelling dirty names at me as the results are broadcast worldwide.

Liar.
Dirty Girl.
Submissive.

Does she know??

“Whatever you’re cooking smells amazing, Mom,” Edward hops in, no doubt attempting to take some of the attention off his mortified girlfriend. “Isabella and I are just going to run back and change real quick—you want to change, don’t you, sweetheart?”

“Oh…that would be great. Yes, let’s change.” Stop babbling, idiot.

We pass through the living room and into the back hallway, where I reluctantly let go of Edward’s hand at the guest room door before slipping inside. I turn back when I hear the soft click of the lock behind me, startling when I realize that Edward has followed me inside.

My hand flies to my heart. “Shit!”

“You told me I was welcome anytime. Are you revoking my invitation already?”

“No. You just scared me.”

“Sorry,” he soothes, rushing to my side and placing his hands on my shoulders. “It seemed like you were freaked out back there, and I wanted to make sure you’re okay.”

“Oh my God, Edward. Your mother…when she turned around…in that apron…I literally thought I might pass out from embarrassment.”

“I’m so sorry. It seemed harmless to leave it out there. It’s actually from one of those high-end cooking catalogs.”

“Which would be fine if your slutty girlfriend hadn’t worn it with nothing underneath!” My voice rises with renewed humiliation.

Edward’s expression crumples, and I feel lousy for causing it. “I’m sorry you feel that way about it,” he says miserably, dropping his hands and stepping back.

“I’m sorry, too,” I respond, all the anger draining out of my tone. I walk toward him and he automatically opens his arms and pulls me in. “I just don’t want your parents to think I’m a dirty whore.”

“Nobody thinks that, Isabella. Nobody but you, apparently.”

The hurt in his words causes me to look up at his anguished face. “I don’t, usually. I promise. I mean, not when we’re alone. But sometimes…? Thinking about the stuff we do, the things I want to do with you?” My voice cracks, and I whisper the rest. “The shame just hits me hard.”

HE
Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!

“Okay, okay,” I answer, rocking her gently and squeezing her probably too tightly. “You have to tell me this stuff, Isabella. I can go easier on the humiliation if it’s—”

“No!” she responds vehemently.

What the…? “No? You just said you were feeling ashamed, outside of the scenes. Honey, that is not good.”

She sniffles into my shirt one last time before pulling her head up. Aw shit, she’s blotchy and tear-stained. “I don’t want you to change what you’re doing.” She reddens again and looks away. Yeah, it’s really not easy to ask to be humiliated. “I just have to learn to deal with this other piece. I mean, deep down, I know there’s nothing wrong with it, but…you know…”

I cup her cheek with my hand. “I do. I know.”

Her lips form a brave smile. “So you won’t water down the next scene?”

I swoop in with my lips and give her a most reassuring kiss. “Be careful what you wish for, baby.”

“Great, now I have to change my panties, too,” she retorts, pushing me toward the door. “Go on and get out of here before I’m forced to tear your clothes off.”

“Really? I’m supposed to leave now?” I complain, grabbing the doorknob . “Okay, fine. But don’t walk back out there with a guilty conscience. Mom can smell fear.”

As I cross the hallway and find myself a decent pair of jeans to change into, I recall some of the you-can’t-fool-Mom moments from my childhood. The faked tooth-brushing or bath-taking only to be discovered. The note I’d failed to bring home from Mrs. Radisson in third grade, not realizing she’d also left a message on our home voice mail. The detentions, the pot, the girls smuggled into my bedroom…she figured me out every damn time. In fact, I totally credit her uncanny ferreting skills for my impressive proficiency with carrying out pranks relatively undetected later in life.

But it really won’t do if Mom figures out this one, not if it makes my girl uncomfortable. I recalibrate my mental compass for the remainder of their visit, farther away from “teasing innuendo” and squarely on “loyal boyfriend.” So much for making a big deal about who sits in the chair of pleasure.

When I enter the kitchen several minutes later, Isabella seems much more relaxed behind the counter, chopping salad vegetables and chatting with my father.

 “How was your presentation, Isabella?” I hear him ask with great interest.

“It went very well, thanks. I feel like we’re in really good shape for our meeting in Seattle next week.”

“Oh,” Mom chimes in. “You’re traveling to the west coast?”

“Yes, I’ll be gone Monday through Thursday.”

Mom catches my eye, then goes back to stirring the homemade applesauce. “Well, I’m sure you kids will find some way to keep in touch, texting or face chatting or twittering.”

Isabella and I share a smile. “We’ll figure something out,” I answer confidently. Isabella looks up from the red pepper she’s about to slice open, and I wink. Settling onto an empty stool at the island, I spy a platter of recently made Toll House cookies, lamely camouflaged by a square of aluminum foil sealing in the fresh-from-the-oven warmth and goodness. The thought of melty chocolate is all too much and I slip a finger under the foil to snag one.

Dad gives me an apprehensive look, his eyes shifting to Mom’s back and calculating my chances of pulling off the heist. I quickly raise a finger to my lips. Our little secret.

I nearly moan out loud and give myself away as my teeth sink into the soft buttery texture and the warm chocolate hits my taste buds. When I open my eyes again, Isabella is staring at me and grinning, shaking her head at my antics, as usual. I lean forward over the counter, placing the cookie between her lips and just as she’s taking her first bite, Mom spins around and catches us red-handed.

“Oh, Edward! Honestly!” She places her hands on her hips and attempts to look fierce, but the twinkle in her eye tells a different story. Besides, I’m not the one with the cookie in my mouth.

Isabella quickly swallows, as if destroying the evidence will negate the crime. “Best chocolate chip cookie ever, Esme,” she adds hastily.

I sense the moment Mom gives up, dropping her arms by her sides and shaking her head. “As if there were ever any question about the two of you being meant for each other.”

she
“So, Isabella, do you have any brothers or sisters?”

“Nope, just me.”

“Isn’t that interesting? Two ‘onelies’ getting together… I wonder what the birth order experts would make of that.”

“Oh,” says Carlisle, “I don’t think you want to know what the sociologists have to say on that topic.”

Edward sets down his fork and knife, an amused smile on his face. “Sure we do.”

Esme shoots Carlisle a wifely set of daggers and he swallows heavily before continuing. “Supposedly, the only child paired with another only child is the least successful romantically. The theory is that as an only, you’re a bit overindulged, shall we say—present company excluded, naturally.”

“Naturally,” Edward repeats.

“Also, without any siblings of the opposite sex to practice interacting, both onelies are thought to be rather clueless as to what the other gender needs.”

If I could melt into liquid form and slide under the table right now, I would absolutely do it.

“Yeah, Dad, I don’t think that’s really a problem for us.” Edward picks up his utensils and resumes eating. I do not move my eyes from the scalloped potatoes on my plate, as the soft clink of cutlery fills the void. My stomach is churning, and it’s not helped by the fact that Edward’s father is sitting in the orgasm chair contemplating whether his son’s girlfriend knows what he needs.

“So, how’s my Boom?” Edward asks out of thin air, and it takes me a moment to realize he’s speaking of his dog.

Kinky, kinky, go away…cum again some other day.

Carlisle translates for me. “Boom, short for Boomer, short for Boomerang Aloyssius Johnson Cullen, the yellow Labrador wonder dog, direct descendant of the line of the show dog Caramel Corn.”

“Yes, he’s dead serious right now,” Edward informs me before taking in a bite of his pork chop.

“He’s doing well. We left him with the neighbors for the weekend, so he’ll have plenty of butts to sniff.”

“The Knotts? That place is a freaking zoo! Two slobbery black Labs, a schnauzer, and three stray tomcats,” Edward explains, shaking his head with disgust. “That puppy’s gonna need a shower when you get home.”

Carlisle grins. “The eleven-year-old puppy.”

Esme connects the dots to our previous conversation. “Hmm, speaking of lineage, I guess neither one of you has other siblings to carry on the bloodlines.”

Edward’s head whips up from his plate as he takes in my reaction.

Esme,” I vaguely hear Carlisle scold her as my world comes to a screeching halt on its axis.

Children.

It suddenly occurs to me that Edward and I have never broached this topic, and I have absolutely no frame of reference for his feelings about having children of his own.

His eyes apologize across the table for his mother’s indelicacy, and all I want to do right now is pull Edward into one of our bedrooms again and curl up with him on the bed and talk. Well, that’s not really all, but it’s the predominant emotion.

“Yes, Mom. Your deduction would be correct,” Edward answers tightly, not taking his eyes off me. I hate that I feel the pinch of tears.

“Oh, dear me,” Esme says. “I’ve been an insensitive boob. Can you forgive me my gaffe, please? I didn’t mean that to come out the way it did.”

Esme looks around the table desperately, and I’m the first to answer. “No harm done, Esme. You just caught me by surprise. You’ll have to forgive me if I beg off.”

“Of course, of course. Ugh, Carlisle, quick! Change the subject for me.”

Everyone chuckles, even Carlisle.

HE
“Let’s see, okay, here’s a question. Your experiment into opera was obviously highly successful. Do you have plans for your next foray into the unknown together?”

I have definite plans, I gloat inwardly, struggling to maintain a straight face. Poor Isabella, she doesn’t need me making lewd references to our next scene right now.

“Actually, I do have an idea,” my girlfriend answers with a sly grin, surprising the hell out of me.

“Is that right?” I challenge her playfully. “And how long have you been harboring this little secret?”

“About twenty seconds now,” she smiles. “That’s about the average life span of any secret from you.”

“Good to know,” I answer, momentarily forgetting there are other people in the room. Or the world, for that matter.

“Is it something you care to share?” Dad asks gently, shooting a judgy look toward Mom. See? This is how civilized folk do it.

“Sure,” Isabella answers. “Are you ready for it, Edward?” Her smile could break her face right now, it’s just that big.

“Hit me, baby,” I answer.

“I’ve always wanted to try my hand at painting. And I think we could have a blast doing it together.”

“You mean, oil painting, like that crazy-haired guy on WNET with the irritatingly soothing voice? ‘Oh, I think I see a little tree right here…ah yes, he has a skinny trunk and some very happy branches.’” Edward sounds so much like Bob Ross, I have to wonder how many hours he spent in front of The Joy of Painting as a kid.

I giggle and add, “Either that or watercolors. Or we can try both and see which one we like better.”

“Just don’t ever try to make Edward do a paint-by-numbers kit. He’s hopeless at staying in the lines.”

“Thank you, Mother Sell-out. You always said you liked my original creations. Anyway, I think Isabella has pretty much figured that out about me by now.”

“So, what do you think, Edward? Are you game?” Isabella asks, her bright eyes dancing with the idea.

“Sounds great. Plus, I could use some art on these blank walls.”

Esme starts to laugh and quickly covers her mouth.

“What?”

“I was just remembering an incident in kindergarten with a certain red-haired girl and two gallons of finger-paint.”

“Oh, God, don’t remind me,” laments Carlisle.

“What? What did you do, Edward?” Isabella asks, wide smile of anticipation on her face.

“It was a science experiment!” I protest.

“I’m pretty sure it was already a well-established fact by that point that yellow and blue together make green,” Carlisle says.

“At Montessori, we were encouraged to challenge assumptions and explore our curiosity.”

“Why we ever sent you to that school is beyond me,” Dad whines. “As if your curiosity ever needed to be encouraged…”

“Wait, so what happened?” Isabella presses.

“Oh, I may have cajoled Lindsay Finnerty into taking off her shirt so I could see if the colors would mix the same way on human skin. She had the whitest skin of any person I’d ever seen before. Seriously, it was the color of plaster.”

“Not after that!” Esme cuts in.

Carlisle adds, “The girl’s skin was green for three months, she required ‘psychiatric evaluation’ and we had to pay for the carpeting to be replaced in room three—”

“That part was ridiculous,” I complain. “It was a kindergarten class. Shit gets dirty.”

“Oh my god.” Isabella shakes her head while taking in everyone’s comments.

“You don’t know the worst part yet,” I tell her. “Lindsay wouldn’t leave me alone after that. She hounded me right on through second grade, chasing me around the playground, always rushing to sit next to me at lunch…it was miserable.”

“I had no idea your childhood was so rough,” Bella teases, drawing riotous laughter from my parents.

she
“Dinner was delicious, Esme. Thank you so much for treating us to a home-cooked meal. You’re going to have to share your applesauce recipe so I can make it for Edward again.”

“It’s pretty easy. Just cook down Cortland apples and add honey and a wee bit of apple juice for consistency.”

“I think I can manage that.” I look across the room to where Edward and his dad are playing chess, and I note the ever-present chocolate chip cookie hanging out the side of Edward’s mouth while he makes his move. “I guess I’ll need your cookie recipe as well. Mine just aren’t as fluffy.”

“It’s the unsalted butter, room temp. Yeah, I love making those cookies for him; they just make him so darn happy.”

“The boy does love his chocolate chips,” I agree, enjoying a secret, deep-down jolt of delight.

“So tell me, Isabella,” Esme starts, rinsing the soapy pan and handing it to me to dry, “is my son behaving himself? Because I raised him to be a gentleman, and if he’s falling short in any way, I want you to let me know and I will have his father give him a talking-to.”

“He’s okay, Esme.” I try to keep it light, because she’s kind of making me feel all kinds of mushy right now. “Besides, if he steps out of line, I’ve got my own father to give him a nice, friendly kick in the pants.”

 “That’s right. Your father is on the scene, so to speak.”

“So to speak, yes.”

“And how did your dinner go with them the other night?”

“Oh…Edward wowed ‘em.”

Esme smiles. “He is a pleaser, my boy.”

“That’s what he keeps telling me.”

Esme’s rich laughter fills the kitchen. “I think you’ve pretty much got that boy all figured out, haven’t you?”

“Not even close, Esme,” I admit. “But it sure is fun trying!”

 “Edward told us you met through the company Secret Santa holiday exchange?”

“Yes.” Crap, we should’ve probably discussed this.

“How does that work?”

“Well, there was a three-week period before the company ball on December 23rd where everyone was giving and receiving gifts. And then, at the ball, your Santa finds you and there’s a big reveal.” Basically. Unless your Santa makes it into a game of hide and seek.

“So you met Edward at the ball?”

Yes, this is going to be our story. “Yes.”

“So what did he give you for a gift?”

“Oh, he was very generous. He got me a beautiful fountain pen with a feather tip, for starters.”

“My, my, how classy.”

“Yes. And then, he gave me a game of Boggle.”

“Edward’s always loved Boggle, but isn’t it kind of a strange gift for someone you don’t know?”

Suddenly, I’m right back there at that little round table in my office and Edward is flipping that timer in his long, elegant fingers, mesmerizing me with his captivating green eyes. That first time he flips over the timer, I do nothing but stare, remembering Millionaire Master and the feather and the challenge—

“I don’t know. I guess he thought I would like it.”

“And was he right?”

“Yes. In fact, sometimes, Edward and I play at lunch time.”

“At work?”

“Yes. He’ll come up to my office with a couple sandwiches, at least he used to. We haven’t had much time to play for a while now, with my big account and Edward’s new project.”

“Right. He told us all about that. Edward is so wonderful at training people; I’m sure he’ll be fantastic at that. Have you ever had the chance to experience that side of him?”

Why yes, Mother Cullen. As a matter of fact, he was doing some anal training with me just the other day.

“Um…he has helped me with some computer issues here and there.”

“Tell me more about the Secret Santa thing. So, he gave you the pen and the game…?”

“Yes, and this gorgeous green scarf.”

“Wow, is everyone that extravagant?”

“Not hardly,” I chuckle. “I think Edward was trying to impress me.”

“Smart boy,” she says.

Checkmate,” Edward announces, standing up and stretching his long legs. Carlisle remains seated, chin in hand, staring forlornly at the board.

“Speaking of smart,” Esme gushes.

“What are you ladies talking about over there?” Edward asks, sauntering over and leaning on the counter.

“I was just telling your mother about how we met.”

“Oh, the computer glitch?” he offers.

“Computer? I thought it was the Secret Santa game,” Esme responds, confused.

“Oh, yeah,” Edward backtracks, realizing he’s muffed my ruse. “Wait, that must’ve been after the ball.”

Esme sets down the pot in the sink and unties the apron. “Are you two trying to tell me that you don’t remember the exact moment you first laid eyes upon each other? Because I call bullshit.”

HE
Dad senses the agitation across the room and rises to join the party. Or the lynching, as the case may be.

“You’re right, Esme. More accurately, Edward’s right. We actually met the first day of the Santa game when Edward was called upstairs to fix my computer. It was acting funky, if I recall…” she says, leaving off the part about how I made it act that way on purpose so I could meet her.

“And I took one look at Isabella, and that was pretty much it for me,” I add, remembering her understandable paranoia when I attempted to touch her laptop.

“Right back at ya,” she says, gazing lovingly over the counter.

“So what’s all this talk about the ball and the gifts?” Mom asks.

I tip my hand to Isabella, who was actually doing just fine with her story before I came and messed everything up. She continues, “Edward and I were friends by that point, but I didn’t realize that he was my Secret Santa. So when I said we met at the ball, that’s what I meant.”

“You have to tell her how we found each other,” I prod, knowing Mom will enjoy my romantic gesture.

“Oh yes. My final gift was a single onyx stud, and I was told that my Santa would be wearing the matching set. Once I found that man, I was to ask him to dance the Ladies’ Choice waltz.”

“Stud.” Dad chuckles. “Nice one.”

“Oh,” Mom says with a dreamy sigh. “A waltz.”

“Aren’t there something like five hundred men working at Swan?” Dad asks.

“Yes,” Isabella answers. “But only one of them is Edward.”

“And…?” Mom prods.

“So, Edward gets in my face—”

“Ha!”

“What? You did!”

I make sure that my pouting is noticed by everyone. “Fine.”

“He gets in my face and says, ‘Dance with me, Isabella.’ and I say, ‘I can’t. I’m looking for a…’ and he says, ‘Missing stud?’ And that’s when it hits me. He’s my stud.”

“Oh my goodness, this is right out of Cinderella. Then what?” Mom asks breathlessly.

“Then, I took that little square I was crushing in my sweaty palm and I slid it through the empty buttonhole on his shirt,” Isabella says, turning bright red again. I reach across the counter and grab her hand because I can’t stand not to be touching her right now. “And all I could think was, ‘Glass slipper, meet foot.’”

“A perfect fit,” Mom states, a tear starting down her cheek.

Dad’s grin could not be any bigger as he watches the story play out. “That’s my boy.”

“What a story,” Mom marvels. “This all took place the night before Christmas Eve? No wonder you were in such a great mood when you came home. You already knew, didn’t you?”

I squeeze Isabella’s hand and gesture for her to come stand with me without a slab of granite between us. As soon as she’s within reach, I pull her back against my front and lock my arms around her waist, burying my nose in the crook of her neck and breathing her in.

Did I know she was the only one for me that first night?

“I was so nervous that night, I was beside myself. I’d been keeping this secret for weeks.” Not to mention the whole Black Velvet thing. “What if she hated me for it? We were friends by that point. I was really afraid of losing all that.”

Were you mad?” Dad asks her.

“Oddly, no. I was mostly just relieved because I’d already fallen pretty hard for Edward, but this Secret Santa guy was starting to intrigue me, too.”

Well played, Isabella. I give her a tight squeeze and start plotting the fastest way of getting rid of my parents.

she
Shucking off my jeans, I ignore the accusatory glare of my computer screen. I’m behind on my journal responses, not to mention my story. But right now, there’s a warm man waiting for me in the next room, and he doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Bros before prose, I giggle to myself.

I pull on a tiny white cami and the bright red boy shorts. For old time’s sake. And because it will rev Edward’s motor.

“I feel a little guilty we rushed them off without coffee or anything,” I say, climbing up onto the king bed.

“They can have coffee in the hotel if they want,” Edward answers, lacking remorse. “Holy hell, Isabella, are those the dinner slave panties?”

“Mmhmm.”

“Get your fine ass up here,” he orders, lifting the corner of the sheet and sliding down on his side to meet me.

I sink into the dip of the mattress he’s occupying and press my cheek to his chest. The soft flutter of the sheet tickles me with a cool breeze, and Edward smoothes away the goose bumps with his warm hands. I return the favor by rubbing my freezing cold feet all over his shins.

“Don’t be too surprised to find yourself on the wrong end of an ice cube one day soon,” he warns, sending a chill up my spine.

Edward’s hands travel inside the tight-fitting panties and he works over my ass cheeks with eager fingers, squeezing and kneading and occasionally brushing a random thumb across the front. His length is hard and heavy in my hand.

My face is planted in his neck, his skin absorbing my moans. His lips are at my ear, and I can feel the tickle of his breath as he whispers, “What do you need tonight, baby?”

As much as I love me a take-charge Edward, this sweet, sexy gesture overwhelms me. Can I ask for what I need? After everything we’ve experienced, why is this so difficult and so powerfully erotic?

I hop up and crawl around on the bed until my knees are on either side of his head and my hands are next to his hips.

“Fuck, baby. Yesss,” he hisses, sliding his thumbs up under the bottom of my shorts and spreading my cheeks apart. He pulls me down to his mouth and breathes warm air over my slit, gnawing at the panties and teasing me with his thumbs. Edward’s legs are propped up, giving my head a perfect resting spot near his raised knee. From this vantage point, I admire the view: his impressive cock resting lazily against his leg, a player dressed for the game, waiting patiently on the bench to be called into service. I want to take it into my mouth, and I will, soon—just, not yet.

His mouth is like a steam iron, providing a steady stream of warm mist over the thin sliver of material. Those teasing thumbs slip under the fabric, and I press against them shamelessly. More, more, I’ll do anything for more.

I’m teetering right on that edge when he pulls aside the fabric and replaces his fingers with his tongue. I’m pulled from the deep end, back to where I can reach the bottom, and I’m swimming, panting, moaning, needing.

His tongue never stops, but now he’s pressing that spot in the back and his tongue feels so damn good but it’s still not enough. Suddenly, the tongue is gone and there are fingers everywhere, inside and outside, knuckles hitting that expanse of skin between front and back and twisting and curling and pressure and Edward’s beautiful voice saying, “Take what you need from me, baby.”

And I’m so, so gone.

HE
It’s amazing to me that every orgasm feels so different. They must be like snowflakes, though it would be harder to prove scientifically. With a low chuckle, I realize my scientific exploration has not come all that far since kindergarten. What can I say?

I tap Isabella on the hip. “Mmm?”

“You nodding off down there? Why don’t you come back up here with me. You’re not going to sleep very well upside-down.”

“I wasn’t asleep,” she complains groggily, shifting nonetheless and tucking her sweet, warm back inside the curve of my chest. I pull the blankets up over both of us and drape my arm over her hip. She pulls my hand forward and intertwines our fingers together. Several minutes pass and I am startled when she speaks into the night, though it’s barely more than a whisper.

“Edward?”

“Mmm?”

“You awake?”

“No. You?”

She giggles. “Nope. About that weirdness at dinner…with your mom?”

I tense, still angry with my mother for forcing the issue. “Isabella, we don’t have to talk about this now.”

She shifts backward, closer, and tips her face toward the ceiling. “Do you not want to?”

“If you do. I’m just really sorry how it came up. That was wrong.”

“Okay, yeah, it was pretty awkward, but the fact is, we’ve never talked about children before.”

I realize this is one of the few times I have absolutely no idea what she’s going to say next. Zero instinct, no premonition, and no physical cues I’m able to discern in the dark. “Isabella, whatever you’re going to say, it’s not going to change the way I feel about you.”

She twists our hands nervously and I try to offer comfort by nuzzling my face into her neck. Say it already. Get out the damn knife and slice me open.

“I just don’t know how I feel about having children,” she admits. “Maybe it’s like your dad said, and I’m a typical only child set in my ways or spoiled or something, but up until recently, I just never felt that urge to reproduce myself on this planet. I never played with dolls growing up, I don’t fantasize about baby smells, and I’m not jealous when I see pregnant women pushing strollers through the streets of Manhattan. I guess the bottom line is, I’ve never gotten in touch with my maternal instincts, and to tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure I have any.”

I’m holding my breath, biting my lip, waiting.

“And frankly, now that we’re together and doing all this crazy, wonderful stuff? I just can’t picture how a baby would fit into this whole scenario.”

It’s very true that babies and the children they grow up to be are a challenge to the lifestyle, but not an insurmountable one. Besides, all parents have to work around the obstacle of children, regardless of how, when, and where they express their intimacy with one another.  Most just don’t have to worry about how they’ll nurse a baby while chained to the floor.

“But then, when I think about a future with you, which seems so natural to do…”

My heart soars right out of our bed and shoots through the ceiling and all the floors above us and straight through the roof.

“…And I think about what an adorable little devil you must’ve been as a little boy, I think, How can we not do this thing together? And I want that sweet baby, because it's a living, breathing piece of you and us and Edward, please say something.”

I take a deep breath and measure my words. “I’m relieved that you didn’t just tell me you definitely don’t want kids. And I admit that bringing the miracle of a baby Bella into this world—or even an Edward, Junior, God help us—makes me crazy happy, if that’s what we both decide we want. Down the road.”

“Way, way down the road.”


“Sleep, my sweet Isabella.”

60 comments:

  1. Bros before prose- LOVE it!!! lol

    suffice to say that, as always, i loved most of the chapter. despite esme's awkward gaffe (it was a good discussion point to hit for E and B, anyway)

    The cullen parents are adorable and I'm glad they and Isabella get along really well.

    I'm glad Isabella was able to more or less get over the awkwardness of Esme in THE apron. even got over it enough to wear the panties to bed...

    and speaking of bed, i was scared about bella's opinion about kids when she started talking but i should have guessed it wouldn't be a problem. i like how they both talked about it. it's a piece of each other that they want WITH each other- way down the road... lol

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    1. Thanks for your insights, Dig. You know, sometimes those parents cause awkward topics to come to the surface! It felt like a point Esme would bring up, Miss CIA interrogator, meaning well, of course. XX B

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  2. Oh GAH!! There was just so much wonderful in this chapter I can barely breathe!! Loved every sweet, sexy, funny second!!

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  3. I really hope making babies is way down the road. These two have so much to still experience together, they are still so new. Bella really needs to learn to move past feeling like a dirty whore and I am sure Edward can help with that.

    Esme is a typical mom who wants grandbabies but she can't rush things

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    1. Don't you worry, these two will have a good long time to enjoy all their (read: MY) kinky fantasies! XX

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  4. lot of heavy came out this chapter, glad they can talk about it so openly. Carlisle is a hoot!

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    1. Thanks, V. I appreciate everyone coming along for the heavier portion of the ride. This sequel was meant to be the REAL LIFE (as opposed to the fairy tale of OUAD) so it feel right that the issue of children would come up. Clearly they're both envisioning a shared future already. :) XX

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  5. Loved it..chocolate chips and all!

    Excellent chapter!

    CC

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    1. Ah yes, thanks for mentioning the cc's!
      x

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  6. Lots of interesting stuff in this chapter. I think most of us reading this can probably relate to Bella's feeling embarrassed when her very private life leaks into her public self. And she is still new to this lifestyle. And I liked the children discussion. My husband and I never planned on having any but then changed our minds-so nothing is set in stone, which is the way they left it.

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    1. Agreed- about the leakage, Jill. Goodness knows I've had a bit myself with all this writing and the whirlwind of it all. It seemed real that the grandchildren would be brought up by an overly enthusiastic Esme, so I wanted to put out there the initial responses of both characters. This Bella does not feel the least bit maternal to me, but her love for Edward seems to be on a path to trumping her lack of enthusiasm in the area! One never knows and opinions can and certainly do change. It was more of a temperature reading, a baseline for future discussions. Thanks for your comments, as always. xxb

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  7. Yes, they are a fabulous pair, so good together, even when it's awkward, even when Esme brings up the children spectre before they are ready for it, but especially when they are alone together, sharing and responding. There is an honesty built into their relationship that is so admirable.

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    1. Ick- I'm so happy you enjoy their honest interactions. Personally, it's the most interesting part of their relationship for me to write, so I'm always pleased when it strikes a note with a reader. Thank you.
      xx b

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  8. Another wonderful chapter. Their honesty is their strength in their relationship. They are open and honest about every aspect of their relationship; from the D/s aspects to the daily living arrangements to the baby talk and they work through embarrassing moments brought up by parents (THE apron and babies) much easier because of it. Honest communication - what's missing in most relationships today - and you have captured it perfectly with these two.

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    1. Ah Missy. You know it and love it...honesty! Thanks for the insights and, of course, the compliments. xxb

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  9. "Bros before prose, I giggle to myself." Classic. This was a great chapter. I love Esme's and Carlisle's relationship. It's also good that they speak their minds even if it can cause the occasional discomfort. I'm glad they talked about kids. It's out there. Great chapter!

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    1. Thanks for loving E and C- I wanted to make them feel real as well, and not all sunshine and roses. Meeting the parents is hard, and you get the sense that E may have put them both through the wringer many a time before.

      "It's out there" all right! I'm trying to keep it real, here. I think they both see each other as their future, so it made sense to me that the topic would be broached. Thanks for your comments! XB

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  10. Oh that was amazing! Love the baby talk!

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  11. Now that E knows B has some issues, he needs to hook her up with Marcus so she will have someone to talk to. Is Marcus the right person for this? Can a guy relate to feeling like a "dirty whore"? I don't know. I don't think that's exactly how she feels, but I think she doesn't know how to express what she feels.

    Great chapter. I love how E totally switched gears and focused on making sure B was comfortable and felt worshipped after her little melt-down.

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    1. Interesting question you raise whether Marcus would be the right mentor to address the shamed feelings. That could be a really poignant scene, I think. Thank you for putting the idea into my idea hopper (i.e.- the kink factory). Let's see what happens!

      And thank you for enjoying E's comfort and care after Isabella's "melt-down". xxb

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  12. Ohh great chappie B..loved it..... two thumbs up!!!

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    1. Thanks for the favorable review, Witchy!
      xx
      b

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  13. There was two parts of this chapter that for me was so telling of Edwards feelings for Bellla.
    The first;

    ~~"I squeeze Isabella’s hand and gesture for her to come stand with me without a slab of granite between us. As soon as she’s within reach, I pull her back against my front and lock my arms around her waist, burying my nose in the crook of her neck and breathing her in."~~
    That really told me and even his parents of his love for her.
    And the second;

    ~~“…And I think about what an adorable little devil you must’ve been as a little boy, I think, How can we not do this thing together? And I want that sweet baby, because it's a living, breathing piece of you and us and Edward, please say something.”~~

    Bella, loving Edward enough to want something she has never considered before.
    This is one of my absolute favorite stories.

    Looking forward to the next update. (sorry this was so long, but I loved this chapter)

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    1. Thanks for mentioning that moment where he grabs her around to his side of the counter. I do love that he's not afraid to express his emotions around her, no matter who is watching.

      I'm so pleased you see Isabella's love as opening her heart and mind to the possibility of children. Isn't that one of the most wonderful things love affords us...the ability to appreciate different things through our lovers' eyes? I truly appreciate your comments, Snoop. Thank you so much for taking the time to set them down. XXB

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  14. Lots of amazing, as always, b!

    Edward's comment about Isabella being the only one who thinks she's a 'dirty whore' was gut-wrenching. I felt such an internal 'oofff' from him, like he'd been punched in the gut almost. I'm glad that conversation ended well, but I'm sure that won't be the last it's discussed. Enter Marcus? (here's to hoping!)

    Loved the retelling of how they met. Their internal monologues make me so nostalgic, just as reliving it seems to make them. He just needed to touch her. I mean, come on, he is too perfect. :)

    'Bros before prose'...hahahaha

    '...the wrong end of an ice cube.' ...more chuckles

    And then the 'take what you need from me'? *melts in to puddle*

    Did E get his turn at end there? No mention of that at all? Not even an 'ahhhhh' afterthought to open his dialogue? Did I miss it? Guess I'll have to reread! ;)

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    1. Arlz- Yeah, hearing that come out of Isabella's mouth was a bit of a blow to Edward, but he needs to remember how new this all is. I'm not sure if Marcus is the one to help her through this or if it may be one of the real life subbies writing into my comments. I might check with one or two and see what they advise.

      Glad you enjoyed the two of them trying to get their stories straight for the 'rents. They need a little communication on that!

      Yeah I guess both ends of the ice cube would be pretty cold, eh? ;)

      Yes, of course, he got his. She was going to get to it, but for once, just enjoyed her moment selfishly at first. She fell asleep down there afterward, so she must've worked pretty hard!

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  15. Ok first time commenting as I generally don't have a lot of time and usually babble, but I loved this chapter as I feel these two are connecting on a Vanilla level in their relationship and to see them act like a real couple talking about family. Whether they wants kids in the mix or not, I would love to see how a child plays into their lifestyle of S/M. Would it change?
    Also, don't these two ever have a fight or have an argument? How would that effect them?
    Ok sorry I just find these two very interesting and wonder where you are going with these two. I always look forward to each chapter with great anticipation. Thank you!!

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    1. Twi- So glad you took that plunge and left a note. It's always great to hear what is going on in readers' minds (well 98% of the time anyway!) so I thnak you for sharing.

      I do think about the two of them having an all-out argument or misunderstanding or something from a scene that carries over into RL. I haven't heard it yet, but the idea is percolating. They're way into the honeymoon phase right now, so nothing is too likely to set off either of these deliriously happy folks, but yes, down the road, it would be more than realistic. And I'm more than interested to see how it would affect them.

      Sorry? No, don't be! Love your questions- always lead to something new. Thanks!
      x
      b

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  16. Thanks! This story just keepe getting better and better ;)

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  17. OK, now that was just too sweet. They way he pulls her to him from around the counter so not to have any space between them during the telling of how they met and the whole children discussion.

    Im also glad to see that when he asked her what she needed she was able to show him what she wanted and take it. They werent D/s...just bf/gf and that she needs to remember that she can ask for anything from Edward and he would do anything in his power to get it/give it to/for her.

    They way she saw him at the beginning just puts a HUGE smile on my face. Yes, they had the fairytale beginning, but that doesnt mean it has to end there. Bringing children into the picture 'Way, way down the road', doesnt have to change that either.

    Hell woman, we have 2 kids and you know that we find our ways to live the lifestyle and vanilla too.

    Loves you hard always little b <3

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    1. Your words: "she needs to remember that she can ask for anything from Edward and he would do anything in his power to get it/give it to/for her." Lovely. I really could not have said it better myself. How utterly gratifying! Heck, I have teenagers and it's STILL hard to have uninterrupted er...time. You're a miracle, S!
      xx

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  18. fab as always. Everything I wanted to say has been said. nuff said. xx

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  19. Loved the chapter...LOVED their "baby" talk at the end. No matter who the characters in a story are, the thought of them with babies always makes me smile!!

    xoxo

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    1. Hee hee, kids in fanfic usually have the opposite effect on me! ;)
      xx

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  20. Love, love love! Thanks for writing!

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  21. How sweet was it that Edward was worried that Bella didn't want to have babies?
    Loved loved loved this chapter! Xo

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  22. wow...fun with the cullens at dinner...visions of the in-laws to be sitting down together will be quite entertaining

    good responses on the baby talk
    you never know till it happens

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  23. Well Esme brought up a touchy subject didn't she?
    I like that they openly discussed it.
    Another great chapter.

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  24. Wonderful chapter!! The baby talk, leave it to good ol' mom to bring up that subject ( I swear it's in a mother DNA)!!

    I love seeing the interaction between the Cullens, Edward and Bella!!

    xoxo
    H

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  25. Hey B, totally behind as usual. As usual I love these two. They are in sync even when they aren't or think they aren't. I loved the interaction with E's parents. Leave to parents to put the kids on the spot. The conversation about children resonated and made sense given their own experiences and where they are at with their relationship. Every parent has to think about how to integrate all the necessary elements of their relationship with each other and their roles as parents. Great job as per.

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    1. Thanks, Song. So glad you are finding your way through the chapters and enjoying the time with his folks, even if Mama Cullen sometimes speaks before she thinks! XX

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  26. I don't know how I missed this one:/
    Esme is a already planning the grandkids! I love that they want them in the future!
    Too cute how she was embarrassed about the apron:-)

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    1. Grnid, don't know if you have the blog on email alert? Or following me on twitter? Or in my FB group? Well short of all that, I post every Saturday!

      Sure Esme would love grandchildren. Little Edwards running around again! Sigh...
      x

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  27. You are doing such an excellent job of portraying Isabella's embarrassment and discomfort that I'm beginning to wonder if actually the Cullen's do know about their son's secret life. But obviously, they don't, it's just in Bella's ashamed and kinky head...right?

    Edward’s face falls, and I feel lousy for causing it. "I’m sorry you feel that way about it," he says miserably, dropping his hands and stepping back. - How my heart aches for him here.

    I swoop in with my lips and give her a most reassuring kiss. "Be careful what you wish for, baby." - I'm so excited for their next scene. Seriously. (Which just posted, yay!)

    Mom can smell fear. - She can sure sniff something out!

    I loved hearing about Domward's naughty childhood, well of course he was a bit of a cheeky tearaway, makes perfect sense. I especially enjoyed the idea of him smuggling girls into his bedroom, the naughty little scamp ;-)

    The adorable chocolate cookie stealing moment transported them, and me, to those heady teenage days of meeting your first boyfriend's parents for the first time. Adorable.

    As always, every moment of the Cullen's banter warms my heart and makes me laugh out loud.

    "Esme," I vaguely hear Carlisle scold her as my world comes to a screeching halt on its axis. - I like the way you put this, because it really felt like happyfunnySTOP when reading it. Perfect.

    I was really pleased to see you address the children issue, I think the sheer fact that they hadn't mentioned it to each other before speaks volumes about their thoughts on it.

    "About twenty seconds now," she smiles. "That’s about the average life span of any secret from you."

    "Good to know," I answer, momentarily forgetting there are other people in the room. Or the world, for that matter. - I LOVE this exchange. I can't keep secrets from Mr A either, even ones that aren't mine to tell, it's a sickness really.

    "He’s hopeless at following directions." *snorts* Shocker.

    "I had no idea your childhood was so rough," Bella teases, drawing riotous laughter from my parents. - LITERALLY laughed out loud.

    "The boy does love his chocolate chips," HA! Perfect perfect PERFECT!

    I reach across the counter and grab her hand because I can’t stand not to be touching her right now. - *Amber turns into pile of shivery goo*.

    It was really great to get to relive OUAD. Because it was a drabble you didn't have as much opportunity to display Edward's thoughts but that just made hearing them now all the more special.

    "What do you need tonight, baby?" This is a wonderful touch.

    gnawing at the panties - Holy shit, GNAWING?? Gah. Yes. Heart racing over here.

    Wow - orgasms like snowflakes?! How true is that? WONDERFUL.

    Most just don’t have to worry about how they’ll nurse a baby while chained to the floor. - Goodness, there's a powerful image, and a very descriptive one.

    And I want that sweet baby, because it's a living, breathing piece of you and us - Yeah pretty much cried right here.

    I love that the question of children has still been left ambiguous. It's your story, but maybe that's how it should stay too...

    Thanks so much, lovely.

    A x

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    1. Awwwwww, Amber's! You're so sweet with your compliments and I love what you pulled out (heck, just about everything!) from this chapter. There were large chunks of my own parents in here, especially this line- "I had no idea your childhood was so rough," which my folks love to trot out if one of us is being melodramatic. As for the question about little Cullens, you're right, I left the question firmly at maybe. And they never discussed it because it hadn't honestly occurred to me until this point in their relationship (which is only a few weeks into the hot and heavy, by the way!) Babies would seriously stunt their free time and I just think they're both too excited about what they've found to give up any piece of it!

      THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write such a lovely review. xxxxxxxx

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  28. "Kinky, kinky, go away…cum again some other day." HILARIOUS! (And ditto to what everyone else commented above!) Sheer perfection!

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    1. Happy you enjoyed that little line. It actually goes through my own head several times a day!

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  29. Fabulous chapter as always xx some light and some heavy issues!

    My hubs and I decided to not have children early in our relationship, I feel very similarly to Bella, I'm just ot very maternal. I liked other peoples kids but I liked it better when I gave them back. Then we got pregnant by accident and at first I was terrified, but we were good financially and I just couldn't see any good reason not to go through with it. We have two now :)

    Trust Esme to bring it up but it's good that they've dealt with it early on xx

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    1. I love that you noted the combination of light and heavy. I am trying to keep it real life (to the extent possible when one creates such an obvious fantasy man!) Thanks for sharing about your child-bearing. Very brave! Happy it all worked out for you two! x

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  30. I'm trying to catch up so I haven't been reviewing, but this chapter hit a nerve with me. In the beginning when Bella said how ashamed she was outside of the scene my heart was in my throat. I felt so many things for her right then. Pity, sorrow, fear and anguish were among them. I never felt something like that while reading FF and I simply had to tell you.

    xoxo

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    1. Jayme, Thank you for letting me know that you were moved by Bella's shame. I love hearing that it touched you so deeply. This theme continues to be one of her central challenges in the story, and as you know, I'm trying to write something that is (somewhat) realistic with the sequel here, though we started out with the fanciful beginning in OUAD. I honestly believe the lifestyle would be challenging in this way for someone who has spent her life hiding from her desires. (just a wild guess) Thank you for your honest response. xxx

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  31. Why did I think this story ended at 67? I guess because that's all the chapters listed on the right side here, but when I clicked "newer post" after that, it rolled onto another page, up to chapter 71. So sorry, I almost freaked out there.....I LOVED bros before prose. that was such a clever twist on the usual phrase. dinner with the folks was lively, for sure, from that apron to the reference to children. I love these 2 and am going to finish this today!

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