capitolo quarantuno bis

Andare in basso

capitolo quarantuno bis

Messaggio  simona80 il Dom 13 Mar 2011, 03:08

He cut her off with his kiss, dropping his crutches to the floor. Somehow his hands were in her hair, clutching her tightly. And then as he gently slid his hands to caress her naked shoulders, he tentatively pressed into her mouth.
Bella released his bow tie to wrap her arms around his neck, tugging him until their bodies were flush against one another. She nibbled his full lower lip and moaned as his tongue slowly traced the curve of her mouth.
Suddenly, his hands were tracing her collarbones and moving to her back, gliding across the surface of her skin back and forth as it began to flush and heat.
"Let me do things the right way," he pleaded, his hands cupping her face.
"How could this be wrong?" she whispered back, chest heaving, eyes dark and desperate.
He kissed her again and this time she shamelessly wound her right leg around his hip, trying to recreate their tango against a wall from the Royal Ontario Museum.
He pressed forward until her back was flush against the door to her room, his hands roaming up and down her thighs before pulling back suddenly.
"You deserve the fairy tale. The proper proposal and engagement ring and a lover who isn't in a cast. I can't tonight, Isabella. Please don't ask me."
Bella removed his glasses in order to smooth the creases around his eyes, and saw heat, passion, conflict, and love staring back at her. She unwound her leg from his hip and pressed their lower bodies together.
He blinked at the sound of her voice, as if she was awakening him from a dream.
"There are many things we can do short of making love." She tugged brazenly at the waistband of his trousers.
Edward's passion-fuelled brain flitted back to one of their nights in Umbria. And to a shower they had shared.
"No," he said quietly.
"But I want to. For you."
He took her hand by the wrist and brought it to his mouth, kissing it tenderly.
"Now is not the time to be redrawing boundaries, darling, when we've been drinking champagne and surrounded by lovers for three days."
"It's my gift to give," she protested.
"Yes, but do you really want to make up with me that way? Wouldn't that act best be saved for after we've come together completely?"
"I don't want to wait anymore."
"Neither do I. But I won't treat you the way he treated you. And I won't take advantage of your frustration.
"I want you in my bed, wholly mine, while we give ourselves to each other completely and mutually. If you don't trust me enough to marry me, then you don't trust me enough to give me what you're offering."
He gazed at her with an expression that was so deep, so kind, that tears suddenly filled her eyes.
The contrast between her past and her present made her heart clench painfully.
"Edward," she cried, suppressing a sob.
He wrapped his arms around her and she pressed her cheek against the lapel of his tuxedo while he cradled her head, stroking her hair.
"Some day," he whispered, pressing his lips to her forehead before wrapping his arms around her waist. "We'll give everything to one another, knowing that we have forever. That's my gift to you, my love. Please let me give it to you."
She was silent as she leaned against his chest, until a few hotel guests filtered past them and disappeared into their rooms.
Bella twisted the fabric of the back of his jacket in her hand. "Spend the night with me. Nights are so cold without you."
He remained perfectly still, staring down into eyes that were filled with sadness and longing.
"I'm trying to be strong for both of us," he whispered. "But when you look at me like that … you undo me. Completely."
He kissed her lips softly and then nodded his acquiescence as she fumbled for her slide card, and the two of them disappeared behind her hotel room door.
They made short work of their clothes, and Edward slipped beneath the crisp white sheets in his undershirt and boxer shorts while Bella washed her face and brushed her teeth.
Soon she was beside him, wearing a modest, thigh length chemise of white eyelet.
"You look beautiful," he murmured, his fingers tracing the bare skin of her arms. "I've never seen this before."
"A new nightgown for a new chapter." She smiled and then kissed him again.
"I've missed sharing a bed with you," he said, as he lifted his right arm so that she could mould to his side.
"I've missed you, too, love." She rested her head against his upper chest comfortably.
"Did you enjoy the wedding?"
"Very much."
"Have you given any thought to … our wedding?" Edward's voice was hesitant.
It took a minute or two for Bella to gather her thoughts, but when she did, she lifted her head so that she could make eye contact.
"I would like something small, with just our family."
"That suits me. Have you thought about where? Here? Forks? Cambridge? We could get married at Harvard." He moved his hand so that he was rubbing it across her lower back.
She squirmed slightly.
"I'm pressuring you. Forgive me." Edward began to remove his hand, albeit reluctantly, when Bella caught it with her own.
"No, it isn't that."
"Then what is it, love? Tell me." He smiled at her cautiously.
"I don't know if it would be feasible, and certainly it would be something we'd have to talk to our families about, but I was thinking about … Italy."
Now Edward was grinning in delight. "Italy sounds marvellous. Where? Florence?"
"I was thinking about Assisi."
He nodded knowingly and kissed her twice.
"That would be my preference as well."
Bella smiled against his shirt.
"When you're ready, say the word and we can begin to make the arrangements," he whispered. "Together."
He nuzzled her neck and then the two former lovers fell asleep nested in the centre of the large comfortable bed.
Early the next morning, Bella left the comfort of Edward's warm embrace to tip toe to the washroom. When she returned, she found him wide-awake and gazing at her with concern.
"Are you alright?" he whispered.
"Perfectly fine."
"Then come here." He opened his arms and she snuggled close, placing a leg carefully over his uninjured one.
He groaned inaudibly.
"Do you remember the first time we made love?"
"Of course, darling."
"What do you remember?"
He kissed her forehead. "I remember thinking how beautiful you are. Far more beautiful than I had imagined. I wanted everything to be perfect for your first time. That's probably why I went a little overboard."
He looked sheepish.
"It was perfect. Thank you," she murmured.
"I remember how it felt to be one with you for the first time. It was intense and exciting and … it might sound pretentious, but it was transcendent. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this beautiful, sweet girl."
"You knew that?" She searched his eyes.
"Yes." He kissed her nose. "The morning after I kept thinking of the vows from the Book of Common Prayer. And how they were already true."
They ceased talking as his words seemed to settle over them like a warm blanket.
"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you in the hallway."
"You didn't embarrass me." The urgency of his tone took Bella aback. "I've never been embarrassed by you. Never."
"I think we gave some of the other guests a bit of a show." She bit her lip hesitantly.
"And some inspiration," he whispered against her lips, kissing her softly.
She kissed him back and then rested her head on his shoulder.
He hugged her closer.
"Do you remember when I told you that I had a few confessions to make?"
She nodded.
"I told you about the money. I told you about meeting my half-sister. But I have something else to tell you," he said, his fingers gently running up and down her bare arm. "Something strange."
Her eyebrows knit together curiously.
"Go ahead."
"While I was unconscious after the car accident, I saw something."
"While you were unconscious? What could you see?"
He paused uncomfortably.
"Promise me you'll keep an open mind."
"Of course."
Edward took a deep breath.
"I thought it was a dream. And then when I woke up, I wondered if it was a vision."
She blinked. "Like when you thought you saw me in Assisi?"
He shook his head. "No. Like what you told me about the Gentileschi painting while we were in Florence, about Maia being with Esme."
Bella's eyes grew wide and round.
"I saw Esme. We were in my old room back in Forks. And Esme told me …" Edward's voice broke as tears escaped his eyes. He wiped them away, quickly.
"She told me that she knew that I loved her, even though I wasn't there when she died."
"Of course she did," Bella murmured, kissing his cheek where the tears had fallen. "Esme knew that you loved her."
"And then she introduced someone to me. A young girl. She told me that she was happy but that she wanted to know me – and Tanya. She said that she would see me again."
"Who was she?"
Edward swallowed roughly. "Maia."
Bella gasped.
"What do you think it means?"
"I don't know."
"Have you spoken to Tanya about it?"
"No. She made her peace with what happened and moved on. She's found happiness. I don't want to bring up the past."
Bella nodded, deep in thought. She wiped a stray tear from Edward's face and then kissed him softly.
"It's one thing to read what Dante wrote about Paradise and the children who populate heaven and another thing to believe it. Maybe God knew that you needed this in order to be able to forgive yourself – you needed to see that Esme and Maia had already forgiven you. And that Maia was happy."
She lowered her voice and clasped his hand.
"I believe, Edward. I don't know how it's possible or how one could explain it, but I believe that you saw the truth. Somehow."
Edward broke down and in the quiet darkness of the early morning Bella did her best to comfort him.
Peter stood on the porch of Katherine Picton's house and rang the doorbell nervously. It was the day after Labour Day and he had only just returned to Toronto from his summer in Vermont.
His summer hadn't turned out the way he'd hoped. In mid-July he had received an email from Bella disclosing the fact that Professor Masen had returned. Not only had he returned but he was seeing Bella again.
It made Peter want to rip out the Studentfucker's throat and perhaps stab him with one of his fountain pens, if one had since been discharged from the Pen Hospital in good health.
When he wasn't stewing over the fact that Bella had taken the jackass back, he was dodging the advances of Charlotte and trying to distract himself from both women, (and his mother), by working on his dissertation. And praying that somehow, God would give him a new dissertation director.
Working with Professor Masen now would be a good deal more than awkward.
In the middle of August, Peter received an email from Katherine Picton inviting him to have tea with her at her house. Not knowing why she required his presence, but not wanting to offend her, he sent her a very polite thank you in response and said that he would be happy to have tea with her.
As he heard sprightly footsteps approaching the door, Peter tugged at his tie. He hated wearing a suit, but when the Queen summons one to tea, one must wear one's Sunday best.
"Ah, Mr. Norris. Come in. I've been expecting you." Katherine smiled at Peter briskly and then ushered him into her parlour.
"Do you prefer lemons or milk?"
Edward and Bella returned to Cambridge Labour Day weekend. While Edward had his cast removed and began teaching at Boston University as a free man, Bella began her first semester at Harvard.
It was difficult.
He had warned her that the doctoral program she was beginning was challenging and that the professors were highly demanding. In fact, he remarked more than once that the average faculty member who taught in her program was far more pretentious and ass-like than he had ever been.
Bella wondered if such astronomic ass-like levels were humanly possible.
Nevertheless, his warnings hadn't quite prepared her for the amount of work she was required to do day in and day out. But Bella relished it.
She spent long hours in seminars and also in the library, keeping up with her homework and supplementing the reading from her classes. She met with Professor Simonetti on a regular basis and found that they enjoyed a professional but comfortable rapport. And she worked tirelessly on her Italian and other languages, in preparation for her competency exams.
Edward encouraged her, of course, and he did his very best not to pressure her about spending time with him or about their future. He was busy with his new position and had immediately taken over the supervision of three doctoral students, having relinquished Peter to Katherine's capable direction. But full professors have
more leisure time than graduate students and so Edward spent many an evening and weekend alone in his house, missing Isabella and writing his book or making plans for his home renovations in order to keep from brooding.
He seriously contemplated buying a dog.
Or a ferret.
The couple continued their pre-marital counselling, and Edward was heartened when Bella began to speak of marriage between the two of them as a foregone conclusion. However, he was reticent to ask her about a timeline for a proposal because he was worried about pushing her.
They continued this way, in a kind of Limbo, until the first week in November, when suddenly and finally, Bella cracked.
It was a Friday afternoon and she was sitting alone in the library, reading. Impulsively, she sent a quick text to Edward.
Will I see you tonight?
Your B.
A few minutes later, she had her response.
I can't tonight. I'm sorry.
My Department is hosting a guest lecturer from Yale, remember?
I have to wine and dine her.
How about brunch tomorrow?
Something about his text made Bella want to burst into tears. They were both busy, it was true, and she should have spent the evening in the library working on an essay for Professor Simonetti's seminar, but the mere idea that she wanted to spend the evening with Edward and couldn't distressed her. She hadn't seen him in almost a week.
She missed him.
Not to mention the fact that a highly attractive, highly accomplished Italian specialist from Yale would have the pleasure of Professor Masen's company for an entire evening.
She placed her iPhone aside and tried to return to her assignment, but she had trouble concentrating. A few minutes later, she received the following,
I'm really sorry.
Are you alright?
Her lecture is about to begin otherwise I'd call you.
I'll call you later.
I love you,
PS. I'll take you to brunch tomorrow
and then spend the afternoon making up it up to you.
After thirty minutes of worrying her lower lip between her teeth, Bella packed up her books and fled the library, hailing a taxi to Edward's house.
Fridays were Rebecca's day off. Bella let herself into the house with her key and then made herself at home in Edward's study upstairs.
He hadn't invited her over. He hadn't suggested she stay the night. And she suddenly felt lonelier than she had ever been.
This was not the life she wanted.
She found herself walking around his study, tracing fingers across the spines of his books. Then she sat in his office chair, simply to feel close to him. As she was sitting there, lost in thought, something very unexpected caught her attention. In the very centre of Edward's desk, next to the box that held his prized Botticelli illustrations, sat a golden apple. Bella picked it up and was instantly surprised by its weight. It wasn't made of gold, she thought, but it certainly looked as if it were. It was metallic and perfect and had a golden stem and a little golden leaf attached to it.
The apple rather reminded her of something from Narnia.
If Bella had looked more closely, she would have realized that the golden apple had a hinge on it and then, perhaps, she would have opened it and peeked inside.
But she didn't.
She placed the apple back on his desk and removed her Botticelli illustration from the book in which she'd been keeping it and placed it on top of the box that held the others. She wanted the collection to be complete, reasoning that her lone illustration would fare much better with its brothers.
It was anthropomorphic of her, but correct nonetheless.
Hours later, Edward returned from an exhausting dinner and climbed the new staircase to the second floor. He switched on the chandelier as he entered his study and found Bella asleep in his red wing-backed chair. She was clutching a copy of Homer's Odyssey.
His heart leapt.
Edward recognized the volume she was holding as the one he had given to her. He was surprised to find her in his house, of course, but so very pleased. He'd always liked to watch her sleep. She looked so beautiful. So peaceful.
His eyes darted over to the items on his desk, wondering if she had noticed them. But both the apple and the illustrations looked undisturbed.
He sighed in relief.
He walked over to her and hesitantly began to pet her hair, careful not to startle her.
She stirred slightly and then looked up at him with a slow, sweet smile.
"Edward, I've missed you."
A puzzled look flitted across his face, only to be replaced by a look of sheer gladness.
"I've missed you too, darling. Is something wrong? Are you alright?"
"I was re-reading your inscription in the book." Bella used trembling fingers to leaf to the page where Edward's writing was found.
"'My heart is yours.
My body also.
My soul, likewise.
I will be true to you, Penelope.
Wait for me …'" She read his words aloud. Then with eyes brimming, she closed the book.
"I don't want to be apart from you anymore."
She stood up and flung her arms around his neck, pressing her cheek to his chest.
"I don't want to be apart from you anymore, either. We've had this conversation, Isabella." He began tangling his fingers in her hair. "But you needed time and space and that's what I've been trying to give you."
She moved backward so that she could see his face and then lifted her hands so that they rested on his cheeks.
"I've had enough time. And far too much space. I love you, Edward. I trust you. I want to be your wife."
"Are you certain?" He searched her eyes, trying very hard to keep his heart from jumping into his throat with his hopes.
"Yes. And soon, Edward. Please don't keep me waiting."
It took a moment for the import of her words to sink in, but when they did he picked her up and swung her around, laughing loudly.
Then he kissed her like a mad man.


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