Sunday, February 24, 2013

EPILOGUE: KINKILY EVER AFTER


~Epilogue~
KINKILY EVER AFTER

Once upon another time, there was an entirely real—and simultaneously extraordinary—man,  skating through the luminous night sky in a JetBlue Airbus A320. Nestled into his side on the light blue leather seat, with the dividing arm between them raised so as not to disconnect the two inseparable bodies, was an enraptured and beguiling woman, bearing a recently-accepted, brilliant two-karat, round-cut diamond solitaire engagement ring on one of the five fingers thoroughly entwined with her fiancé’s.

She’s made a monumental decision on this trip—to accept the marriage proposal and commit life, heart, soul, and body to the man seated to her right: her lover, her confidant, her intimate partner—and incidentally, her Master—until death doth them part. He’s offered himself in the most humble of propositions—to serve as devoted husband to this woman who has become the centerpiece of his life: his comfort, his muse, his wildest imaginings—and not trivially, his submissive.

Homeward they flew, toward their oasis within the bustle of the impersonal city, where the two would set down roots together; torture and pleasure each other in every conceivable way; make joint decisions about careers and family and houses and vacations and holidays; love, cherish, honor, respect, obey, and trust one another.

And thus the two would live, bound to each other in every meaningful way...

Kinkily ever after.

::THE END::


_________________________________________________________
A/N: There are legions of people to thank, from generous dominants and submissives who shared real-life experiences with me (and asked not to be named) to talented editors and reviewers who gave me advice about the writing whenever I reached out to ask for help. Obviously, it all starts with Stephenie Meyer, who gave us the perfection of Edward Cullen, and a certain British actor who brought him to life and continues to feed our every fantasy. (Rob, the movie role is all yours!)

You who have read and reviewed have become my community of friends. Nobody in the fandom knew or cared about a pumpkin born on Halloween before Once Upon A Desire, and I was helped early on by a very generous recommendation by Kennedy Nicole Maddock of The Lemonade Stand. I will always be indebted for that early notice that brought my story onto the radar screen of some fantastic readers almost two years ago! I've been treated to some beautiful banners along the way, and even a videoall can be found in the "pictures" tab above. Thank you to Alterite, Shell Shock and Chaya Sara for their invaluable assistance with the last few chapters; many thanks to my submissive journal and HEA respondents—SarahKerbo, VerucaMarie, Kitkat, Beans, Whiti, Twinkletoes, and LessThanVanilla. I also wish to express my deep abiding gratitude for my patient and supportive husband, who puts up with more than his fair share...we’ll just leave it at that!

Since beginning KEA, I've also written a slew of other stories, from relatively clean to even filthier than thisGASP!and even some boy-boy stories! Through it all, KEA has continued posting weekly, and you all have come along for the ride. Many of you have supported my foray into the wide world of publishing with Once Upon A Temptation, and I have no doubt that when I dip my toe into the murky waters of Original Fiction, I'll be climbing upon your broad shoulders once again, looking for your honesty, your support, and your friendship. I have no plans to publish KEA at this time, but I so appreciate the many inquiries about doing so. It's time to move forward. 

Please come and say hello if you haven't already. Tell me your story. Where did OUAD/KEA find you, and where are you today? You can message me here, at Facebook, or at Fanfiction.net. Stay in touch and watch for future projects. I have PLANS!

Thank you all for playing along when I took you places you hadn't tried before and may not have been comfortable staying, for opening your hearts and minds to these characters and letting them become a part of you.

XXX ~bornonhalloween AKA Kaye P. Hallows



Friday, February 22, 2013

101 ANSWERS


~Chapter 101~
ANSWERS

she
I must look like a complete idiot—eyes bugged out, jaw dropped in utter disbelief. It’s just that Edward Cullen is not a man to take marriage proposal lightly, and I’m almost positive he didn’t “fall” out of the hammock on purpose.

I reach my fingers into his hair, and a mound of sand shakes out all around him. He looks a bit dazed. “Edward, sweetie, did you hit your head down there?”

“No. Look, I realize this must seem a bit out of the blue; trust me...this is not at all what I had in mind either. I have salt in my eyes and sand in my teeth and seaweed in places I don’t even want to think about, but look at me. I’m down on one knee and I’m asking you, please, Isabella Marie Swan, will you marry me?”

Holy shit.

...What I had in mind...? He’s serious. “You mean it, don’t you?”

All of a sudden, Edward starts to laugh, the kind just shy of bring-in-the-straitjacket-and-the-guys-in-white. “Yes, I mean it! I cannot believe how I botched the most important speech of my whole life.”

“This is a speech?”

“No. The speech was inspired and poetic and entirely irresistible. This...” the poor guy starts, shaking his head and wiping sand from his eyes with the back of his hand, “...this is a clusterfuck of massive proportions.”

“Even if I say yes?”

He stills and looks up at me. My beautiful, completely flustered man. My fierce dominant man on bent knee—for me. His gorgeous eyes, so earnest and completely unguarded; his enticing mouth, twisted and anxious and humble in his request; his entire body, yearning for the answer he needs to hear. “You’re saying yes?”

“Of course, I’m saying yes. I love you, Edward, every last detail of you that I’ve learned so far and all the rest that will unfold as we go. You’re  generous and loving and sexy as hell and smart and funny and full of surprises. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the two of us, and whatever will be, I respect and trust you and want you by my side.”

“Wow. I think that may have been better than the speech I meant to deliver.”

He is so off his script and out of his element, I’m not sure he realizes I’ve just accepted his proposal. “Dude, I believe the appropriate response to that is, ‘I love you, too,’ followed by a romantic bone-crushing kiss.”

Finally, the light breaks through, a giant childlike smile takes over his face, and he jumps up and tackles me on the hammock. Our skin is cool from the dip in the ocean and the subsequent shade, but I believe the goose bumps are entirely due to the way he so possessively claims me with his mouth. I’m dizzy with the rocking of the hammock beneath us and the intoxicating idea of becoming Mrs. Edward Cullen ‘til death do us part. To be honest, his kiss tastes as much like the beach as it does the ocean, and it’s not entirely pleasant, but it is highly memorable.

“How’s that for bone-crushing, baby?” His lips have taken a breather, leaving other body parts to crush my bones.

“A-plus.”

“Romantic enough?”

“Always.” I loop my arms around his neck and memorize everything about this moment: the weight of his body on mine, the exhilaration in his eyes, the utter perfection of the setting, and the complete unexpectedness of his proposal.

“At the risk of downgrading my rating,” he starts, “would it ruin the moment if I told you that I’m dying to get you back to the room, strip off that damn tease of a bathing suit, and run us a hot bath?”

Mmmmm.” What more is there to say?

His lips curl into a mischievous smile. “We might as well get good and dirty then!” Snaking his arm around my middle, Edward shifts suddenly and causes the hammock to flip, landing us abruptly side by side in the sand.

“I think you just tipped the scales to bone-crushing with that slick move.”

He’s looking awfully proud of himself. “You just said you love my surprises.”

“You are so incorrigible, Edward Cullen.”

He chuckles. “Maybe you should stop incorriging me then!”

“So, are you swimming me back to the room or carrying me?”

His eyebrows pop up and he squints down the beach to our hotel in the distance. “Whatever happened to the romance of hand-in-hand walks on the beach?”

“Fine, lazy bones. At least pull me out of this hole!”

Edward hops to his feet and offers me two hands. “That’s what he said.”

Despite our silly repartee, when we lock hands and start walking, there’s a definite something there that wasn’t there before. The shift is palpable. I lean into him, and he leans right back; our strides are lazy and inefficient. My shoulder meets his upper arm, and the two stay joined. Our words are playful and teasing, but our fingers are locked together, our palms gently colliding, thumbs brushing over knuckles, caressing and possessing.


My mind is racing behind the veil of our light conversation.

A hot rush of pleasure seeps through my body at the very thought that this incredible man has committed himself to me so thoroughly, no questions asked. No interrogation about careers or children or money... Whatever comes will not alter the way we feel about each other, the undeniable truth that we were put here to find and love and fulfill each other. All I can process right now is a joy so pure, I know I’ve never felt this before.

He’s mine; I am his. Now and forever.


HE
“Bye-bye, nipples.”

Isabella giggles at me and pulls her cover-up over her sandy suit so we can walk into the lobby. If the choice is between blowing the surprise and letting go of her hand, it’s an easy decision at this point. I drag her over to the concierge, and his face lights up to see us.

“Ah, Mr. Cullen. How is your vacation going so far?”


“Very well, thank you, Garth. We have a slight shift in plans for this evening.”

“Of course, sir. What can I do for you?”

“We’re going to need that champagne delivered up to our suite as soon as possible.”

Garth’s a trained professional, but still, his eyes slide subtly to Isabella’s finger. “Very good, sir. Right away.”

“Thank you.”

The elevator doors close, and Isabella asks, “Are you ever going to tell me what you actually had planned for tonight?”

“I don’t think I should,” I shrug. “I mean, I might want to pull it out on our fiftieth anniversary or something, and then where would be the suspense?”

“Okay, mystery man.”

I have a whole lotta happy coursing through me, and from Isabella’s ear-to-ear grin, I know she feels the same.

“I think we should take off our suits out on the balcony, so we don’t get sand everywhere,” I suggest.

She shakes her head. “You just want another naked plunge.”

“Not gonna turn it down if it’s offered.”

“I can’t imagine anything you’d turn down.”

“Neither can I.”

I lead her through the room to the open wall, and we peel off our clothes. Six tons of sand pours out of our suits. “Honestly, I don’t know where you were holding all that, Isabella. I mean, that bikini is tiny.”

She dips her toe in the pool and smirks at me. “And I don’t know how your suit held anything the way it was being forced open by that thing.”

I give my willy a little tug. “This thing?

“Mmhmm.”

I jump into the tiny pool and splash water everywhere. When my head pops up above the water, I hear Isabella giggling. “I really don’t think that’s what they intended when they built this thing.”

This thing?” I repeat, rubbing myself against her leg.

“Good Lord. Is every conversation about your penis?”

“Directly or indirectly, yes.”

There’s a loud knock on the door, and I yell over, “Leave it in the hall please.”

“Enjoy, sir.”

I unplunge indelicately, displacing probably as much water as I did hopping in. “You stay here. I’ll start the bath and uncork the champagne.”

Isabella submerges and works the seaweed, salt, and sand out of her hair while I trot, dripping wet, to grab the champagne bucket from the hall and set up the bottle and two glasses near the tub. Using the cover of the running water, I open the electronic safe and retrieve the ring box. I spin around in circles a couple of times holding the thing like a hot potato, trying to figure out where the hell to hide it until it’s time. Not like I’ve got a pocket handy. Not like I’ve got a plan.

The most logical place is the ice bucket, but it’ll ruin the velvet for sure. I finally settle for slipping it under the corner of the bath mat and vow to watch where we both step.

I’m chuckling to myself and shaking my head at how fucked up my plans got when Isabella steps into the bathroom. “You’re sure you didn’t hit your head, right?” she teases.

“What can I say, baby? I’m crazy in love.”

“And as corny as Kansas. How about some bubbles?”

“You get the bubbles, I’ll get the bubbly?”

“Oh my god, you’re trying to kill me now.”

“Sorry,” I finally laugh. “I think it’s the endorphins releasing. Either that or all the anxiety seeping out of me. You have no idea how sick to my stomach I’ve been the last few days.”

She pours out the contents of the bath gel container, and a satisfying heap of bubbles immediately forms. “You were nervous? Did you really think I’d say no?”

POP!

“The thought did cross my mind once or twice.”

Isabella nestles up to me and cradles my face with both hands. “Aw, you poor baby. Don’t you know I can’t say no to you?” She brings her lips to mine, and we kiss without sand crunching in our teeth.

“How about you hop in, and I’ll hand you the champagne?”

She gets settled under the mound of bubbles, and I hand her the flutes, then fill them both before slipping in across the tub. I take my glass from her, and we clink softly. “To us,” she says.

To which I add, “Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen-to-be.”

“Hmm, Mrs. Edward Cullen...Mrs. Isabella Cullen...Isabella Swan-Cullen...Edward Swan-Cullen...”

My heart sinks—not at her musings, but at my own narrow-minded assumptions. “Isabella, shit, I’m an ass. I didn’t mean to—”

Her toe nudges up my shin and a mischievous grin forms on her lips. “Teasing you. Come on, Edward, do you really think I’m the girl who feels threatened by taking her husband’s last name?”

“No fair. I’m still doing cartwheels on tilted earth, and you knock my hands out from under me!”

She downs her champagne and sets the glass down outside the tub. “Aw, poor baby. How can I make it up to you?”

I very quickly get rid of my own drink and pull her onto my lap. “Well, first, you can finish the job your damn bikini started!”

Isabella giggles and wraps her arms around my neck, settling in. “Is that how it will henceforth and forever be known? The ‘damn bikini’?”

“Yes. I think it was actually worse than going topless.”

She twists and grinds and presses her tits against my chest. “You didn’t like me topless?”

I reach up and grab two soft, slippery handfuls. “For my...eyes...only,” I grunt.

She teases, “I thought you liked a good public scene.” Her hand sinks under the water and she guides me inside her.

“Ah...nnnnn...the fun of that....is that the other people...nnnnn....don’t really see anything...don’t really...ahhhh....know anything.”

“So, Master’s not going to be sending me down to the beach with nipple clamps tomorrow and having me bare it all?”

A growl escapes me,  and I pinch those tight nipples between my fingertips and flex my hips. “You’re such a tease, Mrs. Cullen-to-be.”

“And you...wiggle...are so, so sexy...mmm...when you go caveman.”

“Oh, you like that, do you?”

“Mmmm”

“Ahhhhnnnnnnn”

“Oohhhhhhh”

“Nnggh...nnggh...”

Shared loud grunting, breathy squeaks. Gasps and stillness.

Happy sighs. Languid kisses and gentle nose-rubbing.

“Do you realize,” Isabella starts, then sighs, “that we’re going to be doing this for the rest of our lives?”

“Damn, that’s a happy thought.” I kiss her once more, then spin her around so she’s reclining against my chest, her head flopping back onto my shoulder. “Should I soap you up now?”

“I guess. Can’t we just sit in the tub all night?”

“Sure,” I chuckle. “Whatever you want.”

“Oh, shoot!” She spins her head suddenly. “I’m so sorry. You obviously had something else in mind.”

“Best-laid plans. No worries; they’ll keep.”

“What about...?”

Isabella’s eyes drift over to Master’s duffle bag. What the hell was I thinking? “Sweetheart, would you be very disappointed if we didn’t play tonight? I’m not entirely sure I could get my head in the game.”

Her smile tells me she understood this well before I did. “Nah, you know I love my Master, but I really need my Edward tonight.”

She scoops up a handful of suds and playfully attaches it to my chin. I return the favor, topping her off with a beret as well. Pretty soon, we’re both covered in bubbles, and the floor of the bathroom is one giant puddle.

“I’m gonna need to get out soon. My ass is shriveling up.”

“I should be so lucky,” she scoffs.

“Your ass is perfection, Isabella.”

“You would know. You’ve explored it from every angle.”

“Not quite.”

She rolls her eyes. “Well, now you officially have the rest of our lives to remedy that situation.”

“Be still my heart.” I step out of the tub and wrap a towel around my waist. Then, like the smooth mofo I am, I scoop the ring box into my palm and hide it behind the corner of the second towel, which I open wide for Isabella.

She steps out of the tub and into my arms. I towel her off, wrap her snugly, and fasten the towel under her arms. Pulling her back to my chest, I slide my hands down her arms and slip the box into her left hand.

she
“What’s this?” I flip open my palm—and holy shit! “Oh my...!” The breath is sucked right out of me. I twist my neck around to look at him. My boy is full of surprises today. “Edward!”

He smiles, a rare guileless smile he saves for those special occasions when I’m allowed to see his vulnerability, the soft underbelly I love to poke and rub and kiss. “I know I bungled this whole thing, but you didn’t really think I’d propose without a ring, did you?”

“I don’t know, I...honestly, it hadn’t even occurred to me.”

“Oh, hey then, if you don’t need that, by all means, let me take it back to the store,” he teases, holding out his hand.

I bat that sucker away. “I’m sure I would’ve figured out that something was missing...eventually. Once I came back down to planet Earth.”

“Can’t say I’ve landed yet myself,” he says.

My hand is shaking, the enormity of what’s inside suddenly making this all very, very real. I need help—I need Edward. Twirling to face him, I hold out the box. His face instantly falls.

“Change your mind already?”

“No! God no. Nothing like that. It’s just...will you?”

“Of course,” he answers, visibly breathing easier. He takes the box and runs a hand through his wet, messy hair. “I might as well...” he fumbles, sinking to one knee, yanking the towel off when it gets in his way. “Shit. This is going from bad to worse,” he laughs softly.

“Baby,” I cup his chin in my palm and wait for him to look up, “everything is perfect.”

He looks up at me with those deep green eyes, holding the tiny box in his big, capable hands, and then comes the smirk. “It doesn’t really seem fair for you to be wearing that towel when I’m so exposed here.”

Leave it to Edward to go for the naked proposal. “Fine.” I flick open the towel with one hand and he grins even wider when it falls to the floor.

“Somehow this feels right, no barriers between us.”

I have to laugh. “Definitely us.”

With a brief nod, he launches into what was clearly the prepared version.

Sooo...as I very romantically and bone-crushingly would’ve said at dinner tonight—fully clothed:
My sweetest Isabella,
You give me a deep sense of peace about being myself.You right me when I stumble, but you know when to knock me off balance.I love you ferociously,I lust for you continuously,I respect and admire you—mind and soul.
Marry me and I’ll worship you, tease you, please you;Amuse you, bemuse you, confuse you;Pamper you, comfort you, torture you;Soothe you, test you, protect you;Bathe you, dress you, undress you;Tie you down and set you free in the most profound sense of the word.
Will you please say you’ll be my wife and never ever stop loving me?”


The floor feels slanted like the fun house at a traveling carnival. Edward and his polar opposites. Vanilla and chocolate chips, lover and master, childlike and every part the man. I want all of them.

And then it hits me—for real. I HAVE all of them—more than one woman’s fair share of perfect man—staring up at me, wondering if maybe I’ve changed my mind now that I’ve heard the official deal because I’m standing here too dumbfounded to speak.

“Wow...that was...sorry, I’m a little overwhelmed here. Yes, my answer is still yes, and I will never ever stop loving you!”

“Phew, okay, then we can move onto the ring ceremony, I guess.” He opens the  box, and inside is a stunning round diamond solitaire set into a band of two gorgeous platinum strands wound together.

I extend my shaking left hand to my fiancé. Dear God, Edward Cullen, “my fiancé.” He steadies me and slips the ring over the tip of my fourth finger, watching my face as the diamond glides over the knuckle and reaches its destination. The band fits as if custom-designed. Shocking.

I’m hit with the memory of the assorted clothing—all in my size—that Edward so generously provided that first night in his apartment, when I first began to understand the depth of his stalkerish tendencies.

“Edward, it’s gorgeous.”

He stands, finally, and pulls me into his arms. I can’t help admiring the ring over his shoulder.

“I’m so pleased you like it. We must’ve looked at a hundred rings.”

I pull back. “We?”

“Riley. He’s really good at this. I told him I wanted something that was classic with a modern feel and also worked in the idea of weaving two together. This is called the ‘infinity ring’ because of the way the platinum twists around itself.”

“Twisted—so us.”

“Twisted together,” he corrects me. “The only way. And this stone was my very favorite of the bunch. It’s practically flawless—just like you.”

“Thank you, Edward. I love it, and I love you...so much.”

“Me too, baby.” He cups my cheek and kisses me tenderly. “I am so glad that’s all behind us.”

“It’s adorable that you were nervous. You have amazing taste, and besides, don’t you know you can do no wrong by me?” No sooner have the words escaped me than my father’s face drifts across my mind.

“What?” Edward asks, my expression obviously giving him cause to worry.

“I just thought of how my father’s going to react when he hears the news.”

He clears his throat and says, “Yeah, um...he’s on board.”

“Why, Edward Cullen, aren’t you the old-fashioned boy? Perhaps we should sit on the porch swing and drink iced tea?”

“Ha!” he huffs. “Yep, that’s me.”

“So what did Charlie have to say?”

“He said I was free to do with you what I will.”

“That’s because he knows you already have.”

Edward’s face twists into a grimace. “God, I hope not.”

I have to laugh because the idea is so very repugnant.

“Charlie likes me.”

“Of course he likes you. You’re exactly his kind of guy: strong, confident, smart—”

“He likes me because I make you happy,” he interrupts.

“That’s it?”

“And I challenge you to be your best.”

“He said that to you?”

“Nope. I extrapolated that part.”

“So he didn’t give you the least bit of a hard time about it?”


“Well,” he grimaces, “there was one thing.”

“Do tell.”

“He invited me fishing.”

“Aw, Jeez.”

HE
“Dinner last night was just perfect,” Bella sighs, leaning into my side in the constricting airplane seats. “I love it when you order for me. I was in no mood to think.”

“Neither was I,” I chuckle. “I ordered everything two weeks ago, thankfully.”

“I guess all your planning did pay off then.”

I close my arm tighter around her side, lifting her left hand out of her lap and tilting the diamond to catch the light. “You can say that again.” We both stare, totally mesmerized, as the diamond throws brilliant shafts of white light around our little slice of the airplane like a tiny disco ball.


“So, Edward, can I ask what other ideas you have bouncing around in that planful little head of yours? Have you pictured our wedding as well?”

“I’ve gotten as far as standing next to you and saying, ‘I do.’ I may be your master, but I know better than to tell the bride how to plan a wedding. I’ll happily play this however you like. Do you have any long-standing wedding fantasies?”

“I really don’t. My fantasies are mostly taken up by more interesting topics.” She turns a lovely shade of pink at her own remark.

“Thank heaven for that,” I respond, drawing her closer and planting a kiss on her forehead.

“I don’t know if it’s that I never had a sister, or it’s just not my personality, but I never played with dolls and didn’t pass my childhood dreaming about white tulle and fussy ceremonies.”

“No, I think I’m the romantic one in this pair.”


“Good, so you’ll plan the wedding then?” she teases—at least I hope she’s teasing.


“Isn’t that what mothers and best friends are for?”

She twists her head and grins up at me. “Actually, I think your best friend would be far better equipped than mine.”

I laugh so hard I start coughing. “You’re right. He’d be phenomenal, and I’m sure he’d love it, too. Have at him, but don’t try to snag Riley as your maid of honor because I need him to be my best man.”

“Aha! You have given this some thought after all.”

“I’ll admit, I’ve thought about the men I want to stand up for me. Dad and Riley are givens...”

“What about Jimmy or Zack?”

“I guess it depends how big you want to make the bridal party...” Long sigh. “My third pick would be Marcus, though.”

“I know he’d be so honored, Edward. He truly loves you.”

“Oh, man, I just had this vision...” She shifts in my arms in time to see a wide smile break across my face. “I’m picturing Marcus with Riley and Sean. Those three are gonna go nuts when they meet.”

“Psshhh, yeah. That’ll be some kind of fireworks!”

“It’s funny, I’ve been considering arranging a session with Marcus as a gift for Riley and Sean. I don’t know how comfortable they’d all be with it, or how it would even work. I really don’t know how open Sean is in front of other people, but I know it would ring Riley’s bells big time.”

“Oh, if Marcus could play with those two...”

“Yeah, it makes me happy just thinking about it.”

“Me, too,” Isabella says, getting a far-off look that makes me tickle her back to the here and now and her heterosexual fiancé. “I don’t suppose Marcus would just turn the two of them loose in the dungeon like he did us?”

“Isabella, Marcus doesn’t do that for anybody. Can you imagine the liability? Not to mention the ethical quandary?”

“I should’ve known you’d get special treatment.”

What can I say? “I earned my stripes in Marcus’s dungeon—literally.”

Just then, the flight attendant stops by to deliver our drinks and nuts. I’m not wild about the idea of unwinding my hand from Isabella’s, so I tear open one packet and hand feed us both. She sinks a little lower into my side, and I’m now fantasizing about lying on the couch with her head in my lap. Unfortunately, the seat belt doesn’t exactly enhance the experience.

“So besides your three guys, you really have no requirements of this wedding ceremony?”

“I’d really like my mother to be there. I have a feeling she’d be quite pissed otherwise.”

Isabella giggles in my arms. “Speaking of fireworks...wait till your mom meets my dad!”

“Well, that meeting is going to take place well before the wedding, I’d think...unless you’ve got a quick trip to Vegas up your sleeve?”

“Hmm, that doesn’t sound half bad. You’re an Elvis fan, right?”

“I like the guy’s music; not sure I want him marrying us.”

She lifts our hands and rotates our wrists in languid circles. “Hunh, so much for me being in charge.”

“Have some more nuts, baby,” I chuckle.

“Hey!” Her head jerks around suddenly; her eyes are bright with inspiration. “Why don’t we do it in Montauk? We’ll take our small wedding party and hit the lighthouse...get hitched where we first discovered we were in love.”

Kinda.” I remind her of our carefully-couched phrasing, and she smiles.

“Right.”

“You’re honestly going to be content with such a private ceremony?”

“Edward, hell...I would've done it alone right there in our bathroom if it had been legal. I don’t need anyone but you.”

With a hitch of my shoulder, I bring her in for a kiss. I even set down the nuts to cup the side of her head. “Boy, did I pick the right girl.”

“I hope so,” she tells me, “because there’s no getting out of it now.”

“Nope, I’m all in.”

she
We've turned into one of those disgusting couples that make everyone around them yell, “Get a room!” and I could not possibly care less. My world consists of Edward, and that’s it. Maybe when we land and get back into our routine, I’ll notice the rest of the world, but for now...my vision is delightfully limited.

“You've been to a wedding at the Water’s Edge, right? How was it?”

“It was nice. Classy, low-key, good food, spectacular setting. Everything else is about the people you choose to include.”

“I say we call the Inn when we get home and start thinking about dates.”

He grins at me. “Sheesh, I give you one night holding the reins, and now you’re all Isabella-in-Charge.”

“Bridezilla, here I come!”

“Pfft, yeah right. That’s so you.”

“There is one detail that this whole thing really hinges upon, you know? I mean, now that I’ve got you locked in for the next hundred years or so.”

“Hmm, what’s that?”

“Whether we can reserve John’s Pancake House for brunch.”

Edward throws back his head and laughs. “Damn, I do love the way you think, woman! Why not just do the reception there? Big Puffs for everyone! ”

We’re both quiet for a bit, lost in our own musings or possibly shared visions of our future. I want the plane to slow down; I want to stay suspended in this moment ripe with all the possibilities open to us, yet simultaneously, I’m eager to get started living that life.

“Edward...I really need to ask you something that may be a little touchy.”

“I can’t even imagine a topic you might think is touchy for me.”

I push on. “How attached are you to your apartment?”

“Oh. A little more attached than you, I’m guessing?”

I can’t get a read on his tone, but I’m not afraid to put my own feelings out there. “I love it, for now. I love that you took me in, no questions asked, opened your home to me, gave me my own space...I mean, I could’ve been an axe murderer for all you knew.”

A low, hollow laugh escapes him. “You’re the one who went home with a self-proclaimed dominant with a closet full of whips and chains.”

“You have whips and chains?”

“Yes.” His eyes get that dark look for a second, but it quickly passes and my fiancé is back.

“Anyway...”

“Anyway...” he chuckles.

“It feels like your bachelor pad to me, and I don’t mean that to sound denigrating in any way. It’s very nice, but it’s all yours.”

“I get it. You can’t possibly think I’m sentimental about a bunch of furniture in an anonymous building. Home is where the heart is; what’s your heart telling you?”

“I really have no idea. I guess I’d like to live somewhere we can be ourselves, have big Thanksgiving dinners and then when everyone leaves, scoot down to the basement and have some fun.” I give him a triple eyebrow lift so he gets my meaning.

“You’re talking dungeon.”

“Dungeon is such a strong word.”

His voice gets huskier. “What are you picturing right this second?”

“If pressed to pick just one image, I’d have to say...thespankingchair.”

I feel a sudden rush of heat, and Edward throws his head back and rolls his eyes to the ceiling.

“Okay, baby...okay.” Edward’s brain goes off to do a bit of filing, it seems.

Meanwhile, the sky outside our tiny window changes from light pink to orange. “Looks like a painting, doesn’t it?”

Edward huffs, “Not anything I could do.” His head turns back to me. “Have you decided what you’re going to tell Hope?”

Again, I can’t get a read on his tone, if there is one. “No way I’d give up two days a week with you right now...”

“But?”

“Yeah, I thought it was worth exploring. I think there’s so much I could learn from the experience.”

Edward chuckles. “You're hoping you might be able to manage me a little better with some professional training.”

I dig my elbow gently into his side. “I think I manage you just fine, thank you.”

He scoops me into a kiss that goes on and on until the person on the other side of me clears his throat. Edward pulls back. “Yeah, you do. I’m glad you’re going to try that. We need to keep broadening our horizons—separately and together.”

“So what’s gonna be our next foray? Have any big ideas?”

He smiles like he couldn’t wait for me to ask. “As a matter of fact, I do.”

“Do tell.”

“Dancing.”

“Really? Wait, what’s the catch? Are you talking about pole dancing or something naughty?”

“No!” he chuckles. “Wait, they have that?”

“Not at the Y!”

“I was actually thinking of something far less exotic, but now that you mention it...”

“Okay, that’s enough of that. What was your idea? Ballroom?”

“Latin, actually. It’s great exercise and sexy as hell, and who knows?...maybe we can use it on our honeymoon.”

“Oh! Have you already booked our trip?” I wouldn’t put it past him.

“No, sweetheart. I think we need to book a wedding date first, don’t you?”

“Never know with you.”

“Aw, come on; am I that devious?”

“Most definitely.”

“And you love me for it.”

“Most definitely.”

My mind races forward to another idea I’ve been kicking around lately. “What would you think about taking a creative writing class with me?”

His eyebrows pop up. “Are we talking porn here?”

“There are classes in that?”

“Not at the Y!” he repeats.  

I giggle. “I’ve been thinking that it might be really fun to try to write something together. You know, kind of a HE said/she said Master and submissive story?”

“Wow. So I’d write the Master’s voice?”

There he is again—the glimmer of the devil behind those bright green eyes.

“Yeah, I’d say that role is probably better suited to you than the submissive, but it would be fun to play around with that, too.”

Master’s gone into planning mode. “You know, there’s no reason we have to wait to take a class. You’re already a solid writer, and I’m sure I could pull something decent out of my bag of tricks. After all, planning a scene requires basically the same kind of outlining, plot development, and dialogue as good writing. I certainly have no shortage of ideas.”

“No, baby, you certainly don’t. So, you want to just try this on our own?”

He shrugs and smiles. “Sure. We could call it Kinkily Ever After. The worst thing that’ll happen is we get ourselves good and horny. Who cares if the writing sucks?”

“I see your point.”

He leans in and places his lips inside the rim of my ear. “Do you?” He pulls back and casts his eyes downward. “See my point?” Sure enough, the buckle of his seat belt is being lifted right off his lap. “Care to join the mile-high club while you’re still single?”

“As tempting as that is...I really think we can do better when we get home.”

“Okay,” he answers. “Don’t say I didn’t offer.”

“Oh, I promise I won’t.”

Edward pours the rest of his Diet Coke over the ice and regards me with amusement while he drinks it down.

“So, Mrs. Edward Cullen-to-be, what else is on your mind?”

“Very little.”

He smirks. “That sounds like something I would say.”

“To be honest, my head is still spinning.”

After securing the empty can and plastic cup in the pocket in front of him, Edward shifts in his seat so he’s almost facing me head-on. He runs his fingers lovingly down the edge of my face, reaches for my hair, and tucks a bunch behind my ear.

“It’s okay, baby. You already handled the tough part—saying yes. The rest is all smooth sailing.”

“Are you saying it’s all downhill from here?”

“Only in the best possible way.”

It’s no wonder my mind is wiped completely blank when he turns those brilliant, sexy eyes on me. If I could dive inside them, I’d happily stay forever.

“I never properly thanked you for planning this whole trip, not to mention the proposal and the ring.”

“Don’t mention it,” he says smoothly.

“You know, you better be careful,” I tease.

“And why is that?” Cocky grin.

“You might use up all your superhero romantic powers and not have anything left for Valentine’s Day.”

“Hmm, let’s see, it’s Tuesday, right? Our painting night?”

“Yes.”

“So, if by chance, I happened to have a container or two of chocolate body paint lying around, that might fit the theme?”

“Oh, you are so proud of yourself, aren’t you?”

“Pretty much.”

“So, what? We’re going to turn each other into bon bons?”

“It’s really not about the finished work, Isabella. It’s about the ‘process.’” He uses Hope’s voice and air quotes, and when he smiles at the end, I have to kiss him.

“A process, eh? Life’s a journey and all that jazz?”

“Sure. I mean, I have far more questions than answers about our future.”

In all this time, he hasn’t disappointed me once. I know he isn’t perfect, but he’s far better than that—he’s mine.

Sweet. Domineering. Intuitive. Tantalizing. Gentle. Firm. Sensitive. Honest. Loyal. Inquisitive. Clever. Uninhibited. Unembarrassable. Adoring. Demanding. Stubborn. Yielding. Strong. Vulnerable. Tender. Passionate. Sensual. Kinky Edward.

What I know, I love. What hasn’t yet been revealed, I honestly cannot wait to discover. 

“I’m surprised it doesn’t bother you more. Aren’t you the one who always likes to have things planned out?”

“Isabella, I have you. That’s all I need to know.”

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A/N: A brief epilogue, accompanied by a massive author's note, will follow shortly. 

Many, many thanks to Alterite, Shell Shock, and Chaya Sara for their invaluable assistance with the last few chapters. Special thank you to the ladies of the Patch for helping me pick out just the right ring for Isabella. I think Discordia Writes had the winning ring, but there were certainly some lovely ones from which to choose.