outtake cinque

Andare in basso

outtake cinque

Messaggio  simona80 il Dom 13 Mar 2011, 17:56

October 2009
Edward, Bella and Tanya
Toronto and Cambridge, Massachusetts
Outtake from Chapter 10
―I suppose we should begin discussing your thesis proposal now, Miss Swan.‖
Edward shifted his tone on purpose so that Isabella would know that they were on a professional footing once again, despite the fact that they were sharing a pizza at Caffé Volo.
She took a deep breath and began describing her project, invoking the names of Paolo and Francesca and Dante and Beatrice. Edward felt something stir within him as he heard her ruby lips pronounce the name of his angel, but the stirring was interrupted quite rudely by his iPhone.
He didn‘t need to look at it in order to divine who was calling him, for the ringtone said it all.
Tanya.
The ominious clanging of Big Ben signified his guilt and obligation and the fact that she could never, ever be ignored.
As if he were a marionette dancing on a string, he lifted a finger to pause Bella.
―I have to take this. I‘m sorry.‖
He stood up and answered his phone in one swift motion. ―Tanya?‖
―Edward! Oh, Edward !‖ Tanya sobbed into the phone, her words slurred and muffled.
He walked briskly away from the table and into the next room.
―What‘s wrong? Where are you?‖
―I was in an accident. With the Mercedes.‖
―Where are you?‖
―Cambridge.‖
―Are you okay?‖
―I hit someone! You have to come get me. Please!‖ She was hysterical and screaming into the phone.
“Who did you hit, Tanya?”
The sounds of loud anguished sobbing filled Edward‘s ears.
He paced back and forth. ―Tanya? Tanya! Damn it, who did you hit?‖
―A minivan. There were children. I saw a little girl…‖ Her voice trailed off into more sobs.
―Listen, do not move. Do you hear me? Wait in your car for the police and the ambulance. And whatever you do, don‘t talk to anyone.‖
―You have to come get me! What if they send me to jail?‖
―They aren‘t going to send you to jail. Tell them you‘re injured and you need to go to the hospital. Don‘t admit that you‘ve been drinking. I‘ll catch the next flight out of Toronto to Boston.‖
―That‘s not soon enough!‖ She screeched, piercing Edward‘s ear.
He held the phone away from his head until her hysterics had subsided. Marginally.
―Tanya, listen to me, no one is going to take you to jail. Tell them you hit your head. Tell them to take you to Mount Auburn Hospital. I‘ll be there as soon as I can.‖
“Edward, what if I killed her?”
He was silent for a moment as he struggled for words, a wave of horror washing over him.
―Don‘t talk to anyone. I‘ll be there soon.‖
He disconnected the call and then closed his eyes tightly. He didn‘t know what deity he had fucked over in a previous life, but it was very clear that that deity was now taking great pleasure in exacting her revenge.
Will I always be cursed?
Will I never have peace?
Edward allowed himself the luxury of one minute of self-pity and then straightened his shoulders and went in search of Riley, their waiter.
When he returned to Isabella, he did not sit down.
She looked up at him with wide, concerned eyes.
Edward felt his heart clench at the sympathy visible on her face. She was gentle and kind, quiet and forgiving. A striking contrast to Tanya, in many different ways. Many different attractive ways. But she was his student and Alice‘s friend.
―I have to go. I‘m sorry. I paid for dinner and I asked Riley to find you a taxi when you‘ve finished.‖
―I can walk.‖ She leaned over to pick up her messenger bag.
He held his hand out to stop her.
―Absolutely not. Not late at night on Yonge Street by yourself. Here.‖ He took a fifty-dollar bill from his wallet, folded it in half and placed it on the table. ―For the cab and in case you want more to eat and drink. Please stay and finish your dinner. Don‘t leave because of me. and take the leftovers home, will you?‖
Bella shook her head. ―I can‘t take your money.‖
She moved as if to hand him back the bill.
Suddenly, his fingers were in his hair, tugging violently.
―Please, Isabella. Not now.‖
He didn‘t have the energy to argue with her, not over one more thing. He felt raw, on edge, as if the slightest push would tumble his carefully constructed façade to the ground.
―I‘m sorry I have to leave you. I...‖
He began to rub his eyes with the back of one hand.
I will never have a moment‟s peace. Just when I think things are going well, Tanya fucks everything up.
I am cursed.
As he berated himself for his sins, which were myriad, he felt a small, warm hand slip into his.
Without thinking, he squeezed her slight fingers, marveling once again at the kindness that seemed to seep from her.
He opened his eyes and looked down at her sadly, slowly beginning to move his fingers gently back and forth across the back of her hand, caressing her lightly. It was all so comfortable and sweet. As if he‘d done it a thousand times. As if she belonged to him.
He pulled her hand upwards, close to his mouth and stared at their connection.
―Here‟s the smell of blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this hand,‖ he whispered, staring at his skin fiercely as if through a sheer force of will he could undo his past.
He kissed her hand reverently and then released her.
―Goodnight, Isabella. I‘ll see you on Wednesday. If I‘m still here.‖
Bella nodded and watched him walk swiftly outside and break into a run as soon as his feet hit the sidewalk.
It wasn‘t far from the restaurant to the Manulife Building, only a few minutes on foot. Without thought for propriety or decorum, he tore through the lobby, through the security doors and to the elevators. In his haste, he almost knocked his bespectacled neighbor to the ground. But his neighbor, who was skittish in the extreme and rather paranoid, sidestepped him just in time.
Unfortunately, the neighbor collided somewhat roughly with a potted palm tree, which held it‘s ground stubbornly as the six-foot tall man struck it and then bounced backwards like a rag doll.
As Edward looked on in horror, the neighbor fell to the floor and landed on his far from spectacular ass.
Edward pulled him to his feet with copious apologies and then sprang into a waiting elevator. Pulling his iPhone from his pocket, he quickly scrolled to the number of his lawyer in Boston and when he arrived at his floor, he dialed. Cursing loudly, he waited until the voice mail allowed him to leave a message and then hastily explained Tanya‘s predicament.
By the time he entered his apartment, he was on hold with Air Canada. He‘d missed the last flight to Boston and would have to wait until morning.
Still on hold, he strode to his bedroom and pulled a few things out of his closet, tucking them into an overnight bag. That‘s when his landline began ringing. Holding his iPhone to one ear, he picked it up.
―Edward! I‘m glad I caught you. You‘re in luck; I‘m already in Cambridge. I should be at Mount Auburn Hospital in thirty minutes.‖
―I‘ve missed the last flight Boston. Even if I rent a car, it will take ten hours to get there. I need you to check on Tanya‘s condition and stay with her until I arrive on the first flight out tomorrow morning. I also want you to check on the family that she hit.‖
Edward heard Eleazar sigh heavily into the phone.
―It‘s quite possible she‘s fine, Edward.‖
―She didn‘t sound fine,‖ he snapped as he began opening drawers and cupboards in his bathroom, searching for his travel sized toiletries. ―She thinks she hit a child, for God‘s sake.‖
―What time is your flight?‖
―I don‘t have a flight yet. Fucking Air Canada put me on hold. Something about having to go through their last minute booking protocols.‖
―Why don‘t you let me find out what‘s happening and book a flight afterward? It would b a shame if you flew all the way down here for one of her theatrical episodes.‖
―I don‘t pay you to be glib, Eleazar.‖
―That‘s right. You pay me to be your lawyer and her babysitter. If she called you, then she can‘t be too seriously injured. And if she was drunk, then she needs a lawyer, not an English professor. So calm down and let me do my job.‖ Eleazar‘s patience was wearing thin. Driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic and dealing with Edward‘s personality disorder wasn‘t helping.
―Fine! Call me after you‘ve seen her. And be sure to find out the condition of the child.‖ Edward hung up the phone and threw it onto the bed in frustration. And then he disconnected his call to Air Canada and threw his iPhone on the bed, too.
He skulked to the dining room and poured himself two finger‘s worth of his very best Scotch and downed it quickly, relishing in the burning sensation as it stung his throat. He felt helpless. He felt responsible, not only for Tanya but also for the little girl she had injured.
As he sank into the red velvet chair next to the fireplace, he buried his face in his hands, trying desperately not to think about Tanya lying on the bathroom floor of his old flat in Cambridge, blood pooling…
He dealt with his past horrors through conventional means, avoidance or distraction. But every time Tanya came to him with a problem, all his copying mechanisms were challenged and stripped bare, leaving him poised on the edge of self-destruction. The self-loathing was a given.
If there is a God, he hates me.
Less than two hours later, Eleazar assured Edward that Tanya was physically alright but would likely be charged with driving under the influence. She‘d been placed under the care of a psychiatrist, given her state of mind, and been admitted to the hospital. Thankfully, neither she nor the occupants of the other vehicle were
seriously injured. The children in the minivan that she had struck had only minor abrasions and their mother suffered a broken leg. It could have been worse, much worse.
Edward took his time unpacking his overnight bag and when he had finished, he centred himself in his large medieval bed and continued drinking.
He stared with undisguised boredom at the six black and white photographs that decorated his bedroom. Despite their erotic beauty, the women had almost completely lost his fascination, which was a pity. Any one of them would probably be glad to welcome him into her bed that evening, but the thought of making such a request repulsed him.
This reaction was rather unusual.
The only picture that didn‘t turn his stomach was Holiday‘s painting of Dante and Beatrice. Her sweetness and elegance contrasted sharply with the animalistic aggression in at least one of the photos. She represented the unattained, the unsullied, the unreal. Beatrice was a hallucination. And on days such as this Edward wished that he would be cursed with just such a hallucination again. But he would never be that lucky.
Esme would be so disappointed in him, in what he‘d become – proud, lustful, angry, selfish. She‘d prayed for his redemption. He knew this, for she‘d revealed it to him in a letter she‘d written before she died. She wanted him to find a nice girl and get married. She wanted him to have children.
Esme didn‟t know.
He continued drinking late into the night, until he could no longer see blood, or ultrasound pictures clipped to an old fridge, or Tanya‘s pale and almost lifeless body.
“Return to me, Beatrice. You‟re the only one who can save me.”
-x-x-x-x-
The next morning, Edward cancelled his classes and appointments for the day, trying to sound on the telephone as if he had a cold and wasn‘t hung over. Mrs. Cope clucked at him sympathetically, asking if he wanted her to send over some chicken soup. He declined and then promptly went back to bed, hoping that the nightmares that had tortured him only hours earlier would not return.
But they did.
By noon, he had despaired of sleeping entirely and stumbled into the shower. The cold water revived him, but couldn‘t blot the memories from his mind. Two more panicked phone calls from Tanya that morning and he was ready to do anything to escape her, including packing up his belongings and disappearing to Florence. But even he was not that cruel.
No. Tanya was his responsibility. He‘d corrupted her and addicted her to drugs; he‘d broken her heart and almost cost her her life. She would never bear a child, she would probably never finish her graduate program or hold down a steady job. She was far too unstable for those accomplishments.. what a waste of a young woman‘s considerable intellect and potential…
He couldn‘t abandon her like a well-used but disdained toy. And the most recent reminder of her brokenness made him sink deeper into despair.
There was only one thing that would work. One thing that always helped him forget his troubles and made him feel worthy and wanted. He was going to clean himself up, shave, wear fine clothes and make himself presentable. And then with whatever charm he had left in his possession, he was going to the Vestibule to find a woman.
Yes, he could have called someone he‘d already slept with but Edward didn‘t like doing that. It created clinginess, which he despised.
And yes, he could have called Jane, but he would never do so again. The last time they‘d been together he‘d lost his temper. He‘d broken the ties that bound him and wound her whip around his forearm, yanking it from her grasp. And then he‘d turned the whip on her. It had been the first, last and only time he‘d ever struck a woman. While he reminded himself that she enjoyed pain and hadn‘t seemed to hold his aggression against him, he knew better than to revisit their interaction. He did not like what he‘d become under her influence.
What he needed was a diversion, a night of sustained but mindless fucking, and his despair would be numbed enough for him to function again. He needed the softness of a woman, curves and skin and breathless whispers. Seduction and sweat and sweet release. he‘d choose a pair of pretty but anonymous eyes and use his erotic arts to get what he wanted. And by the following morning he‘d be well on his way to feeling like a man who was powerful and attractive, and not a monster.
-x-x-x-x-
February 2010
Edward and Bella
Outtake from Chapter 30
Belize
When Edward and Bella finally arrived at the Turtle Inn Resort for their whirlwind Valentine‘s weekend, it was late evening and the stars were already out.
Bella explored their accommodations – a private hut on a secluded beach – while Edward ordered room service.
The walls of the hut were white, with the exception of tall, teak doors that accordioned to open out onto the porch. The ceilings were a mixture of bamboo and thatch and a large white bed was centred in the room, shrouded in mosquito netting. Most of the wall hangings and materials were Balinese in design and Bella was particularly taken with the open air shower and bathtub that were located off the bathroom on a side veranda.
While Edward wrestled with the kitchen staff over the telephone, Bella quickly slipped out of her clothes and took a shower. The space was not completely closed, affording the bather a view of the beach and the ocean. But since it was dark out and they were on a private beach, there was no possibility of an embarrassing surprise.
Apart from one‘s lover.
Bella quickly rinsed the perceived grime of travelling from her body, and then wrapped herself in one of the thick, terry bathrobes provided by the hotel.
―Dinner will arrive in about an hour. I‘m sorry it‘s going to take so long.‖ Edward licked his lips as he took in the sight of Bella in her robe.
He kissed her forehead. ―would you like to take a walk with me on the beach? I‘ve been looking forward to it for some time.‖
Edward had changed into a white linen shirt that was mostly unbuttoned, with the sleeves pushed back to expose his forearms. He wore khaki pants with the hems rolled up and he was barefoot.
Eat your heart out, Robinson Crusoe, Bella thought.
She lifted her eyebrows. ―I thin I‘d rather do something else.‖
She tugged him, smiling, towards the bed, and then gave him a gentle push so that he was seated on its edge.
He caught her by the belt of her robe. ―We don‘t have to make love now. I‘d be content to talk to you and just relax. It was a long trip.‖ His face telegraphed the fact that he was in earnest, which somewhat surprised her.
―We‘ve been apart for a few days, Edward. I miss you.‖ Her voice dropped to a throaty whisper.
He pulled on her belt so that she was standing in between his parted knees and then he slid his hands to rest on her backside, squeezing slightly. ―We could spoon together and take a nap. There‘s no rush.‖
She rolled her eyes. ―Edward, I want you to make love to me. Now. If you‘re saying no, just tell me.‖
Welcome back, Tiger.
Edward‘s face split into a very wide, very delighted grin.
―I‘d never say no to you, Miss Swan.‖
―Good. Then give me five minutes, Professor Masen.‖
Edward sank down on his back, his feet still on the floor, and looked up at the ceiling fan. Bella‘s newfound confidence was absolutely enticing. In a single sentence, she‘d aroused him so much that he was almost in pain.
It seemed like forever, but it was really only a few minutes later when Bella emerged from the bathroom, wearing her Christmas gift form Edward.
He sat up immediately as she stood backlit in the doorway.
The midnight blue satin of the corset accentuated the pink and cream of her skin, making her round breasts look fuller and her waist smaller.
Edward couldn‘t help but gasp at the exquisite hourglass that was Bella‘s newly voluptuous figure.
Dragging his eyes away from the corset, he hungrily regarded the merest glimpse of a pair of tiny black lace panties, paired with black silk sheer stockings that were held up by a black lace garter belt.
And then finally and gloriously, a pair on black satin Valentino d‘Orsay pumps on her dainty feet.
Edward nearly had a heart attack when he gazed at the shoes alone.
―Bon soir, Professeur. Vous allez bien?‖ Bella purred.
It took a moment for him to figure out why she had made this linguistic choice, taken as he was by her figure and her footwear.
Bella was wearing his beret.
When his eyes finally met hers, and she watched him swallow hard, she pouted at him provocatively and then removed the hat, tossing it at him.
After he caught the beret and threw it aside, she walked slowly, very slowly, to the bed.
―I really like my Christmas present, Professor Masen.‖
Edward gulped. ―I like it, too.‖
―Have you seen the back?‖ She shimmied her hips slightly and then turned around, watching him over her shoulder.
He reached out a finger to touch the black satin laces that tied the corset tightly. And then he dragged his hand down to the panties that cut across her pert backside.
―Enough teasing, Miss Swan. Come here.‖
Just like that, Professor Masen returned and he pulled her to him, bringing their mouths together in a hungry kiss.
―I‘m going to take my time unwrapping my gift… with the exception of the shoes. I hope for your sake that they‘re comfortable.‖
After several minutes of knocking on the door, the poor room service waiter had to take their dinner back to the kitchen and await further instructions.
The instructions never came.
-x-x-x-x-
Well after midnight, beautiful music hung in the air from Edward‘s new play list.
Bella was lying on her stomach amidst a tangle of white linen sheets, drowsy and satisfied. Her hair cascaded around her pretty face and across her shoulders, while her back was naked and exposed down to the two dimples that rested above the curve of her backside.
Edward had artfully placed part of the sheet over her bottom and then gone for his camera. He stood by the bed snapping picture after picture until she yawned and stretched.
―You‘re exquisite,‖ he said, placing the camera to one side so he could sit by her.
She blushed her response and looked at him with wide and happy eyes as he began running his long fingers up and down her spine.
She smiled ruefully.
―When you love something, you don‘t see the flaws or imperfections. When you love something, it seems beautiful.‖
Edward appeared thoughtful. ―That‘s true, I suppose. But in your case, you simply are beautiful. And I thought so before I knew you.‖
Bella shifted slightly so that she could see him better, wrapping her arms around her fluffy pillow.
―What did you think of me when we first met?‖ she paused, somewhat embarrassed. ―I mean, if you can remember. I know you don‘t recall everything.‖
A pained look crossed his features, like a rainstorm on a summer‘s day. But then it was gone and he gazed at her warmly.
―I thought you were pretty, obviously. I remember the softness of your skin and the way that you smelled. But most of all, I remember what it was like to be near you. It felt as if I knew you, that I‘d been waiting for you.
You were sweetness and light and goodness and mercy.‖ He looked down at the sheets. ―That‘s why I thought you were an angel. I knew you were kind and I so ached for a little kindness before I … killed myself.‖
Bella screwed her eyes shut and groaned.
―Let‘s not talk about that. I don‘t want you to think about that ever again.‖ She pressed a light hand to his cheek and softly stroked the stubble down to his jaw.
He closed his eyes. ―It‘s part of my past, Isabella. I‘ve accepted it. But instead of focusing on such melancholy subjects, we should be focusing on how gorgeous you are.‖ He pressed his lips to the side of her hand.
She opened her eyes.
―It‘s what we learned in fairy tales. Love and goodness makes things beautiful. Hate and malice makes things ugly.‖
Edward nodded and a familiar tightness spread across his lips. His hand stilled on her lower back, just over the dimples.
She saw the unspoken question in his eyes. ―Yes, Edward, you‘re beautiful to me. And the more I know you, the more I see who you really are and the more beautiful you become.‖
He leaned down and kissed her, the light, appreciative kiss of a teenage suitor, and then ran his fingers through her long, brown hair.
―You‘re hungry, aren‘t you?‖ he asked, changing the subject.
―Yes.‖
He looked over at the door. ―I think we‘ve missed our dinner..‖
―Probably.‖
―Because we were feasting on – ah – other things. There‘s a fruit basket. Shall I?‖
She sat up, wrapping the sheet around her torso, while he walked over to the large basket that was sitting on the coffee table. He found a small Swiss army knife in the kitchenette, made an abjustment to the music, and then brought a mango with him to bed.
―I needed to match the song to the fruit,‖ he said, his green eyes sparkling. ―Now lie back.‖
She reclined and looked up at him with anticipation.
―You don‘t need this.‖ He pointed to the sheet that covered her.
Boldly, she pushed the sheet aside. Now they were both naked.
―Who‘s singing?‖ she asked.
―Bruce Cockburn.‖
He began cutting the mango slowly, his eyes running hungrily up and down Bella‘s body.
She gave him a quizzical look. ―Naked lunch?‖
He smiled at her crookedly. ―More like a naked midnight snack…‖
With deft fingers, he cut a small slice of mango, the juice dripping from his hands and onto her abdomen. She flinched.
―Hmmm,‖ he said, eyeing the liquid impishly. ―I‘ll have to take care of that.‖
She raised her eyebrows in surprise and then swiftly opened her mouth as he leaned forward to feed her.
―You have a feeding fetish,‖ she said, licking her lips and angling for more.
He bowed before her in obeisance, his tongue snaking out to capture the liquid from her stomach.
―Pardon?‖ he asked, smirking up at her.
Bella‘s eyes almost rolled back into her head.
He laughed.
―It isn‘t a fetish so much as an act that gives me joy. I like to care for you. And there‘s something sensual about sharing food with a lover.‖ He eschewed her lips to kiss her shoulder, the tip of his tongue softly tasting her skin, and then withdrew, cutting another slice of fruit.
It soon became obvious that he was dripping juice on her purposefully, as a few droplets fell like molten sunshine on her left breast.
He winked.
―Forgive my mess.‖
She trembled a little as he ran a sticky hand up and down her ribs, tantalizing one of his favourite erogenous zones, before placing his lips on her chest.
―You‘re killing me,‖ she moaned, as his wet lips fastened around her nipple.
―I seem to recall saying that to you once. When we were in the Royal Ontario Museum. And you told me it was going to be a sweet death.‖
Bella opened her mouth to indicate her willingness to accept another piece. ―And I was right. Although I should have said a sticky death.‖
He placed a piece of mango on her tongue and then stroked her lower lip with his thumb back and forth.
―I‘ve thought of that. Don‘t worry.‖
Without warning, she moved so that she was in his lap and placed her hands on either side of his face, pulling him toward her.
They kissed passionately for a moment before she took the fruit and placed a piece temptingly between her teeth.
He gave her a heated look before he brought their lips together, plucking the piece of fruit from her mouth.
―Mmmmm,‖ she hummed, grinning. ―I don‘t think I ever saw the security video from our date at the museum.‖
She winked at him as she gently squeezed a piece of mango over his chest and then began kissing and sucking across the droplet trail.
―Ah… Ah…‖ Edward had trouble finding words. ―Uh, I‘ve seen it. It‘s pretty hot.‖
―Really?‖ She sat back and languidly ate a piece of fruit in front of him, licking her lips provocatively.
―It‘s my new screensaver. I‘ll show it to you later.‖ He pulled her into a tight embrace, his hands sliding up her back and when he couldn‘t stand it any longer, tossed the mango and knife aside so that he could pick her up.
―Where are we going?‖ she asked, slightly alarmed.
―To the beach.‖
―But we‘re naked.‖
―It‘s after midnight. And or beach is private.‖ He kissed the tip of her nose and then carried her down to the water‘s edge.
―Someone will see us,‖ she protested as he stepped into the warm water.
―There‘s only a little slive3r of moon. Anyone looking would only see you in silhouette. And like I said, this beach is private.‖
He kissed her, adoring her face and neck with his lips as the gentle tide lapped against them. And then he placed her on her feet so that he could press every inch of his body to hers.
―I love you.‖ His voice was urgent.
―I love you, too, Edward. So much.‖
They cupped salt water in their hands, cleaning one another‘s flesh. Bella couldn‘t help but lean forward to taste his chest, reveling in the way the flavour of the sea mingled with his skin.
He kissed her forehead and she could feel him smile against her.
―Have you seen the film From Here to Eternity?‖
―No.‖
―Then I need to introduce you to it.‖
He took her hand and led her to the water‘s edge, where he lowered himself to the sand.
―Come,‖ he beckoned her, motioning that she should lie atop him.
―I don‘t understand,‖ she whispered.
―I‘m going to worship your body under the stars, my lovely. But I don‘t want the sand to mar your perfect skin.‖
And with that his mouth sought hers eagerly and he pulled her on top of him, as the waves gently crashed over their legs.
It was not the first time they had made love outside and it would not be their last. As they enjoyed one another in the moonlight, the natural world faded around them until all they could see was the beauty of their bodies, conjoined in the demonstration of love.
When they cried out their pleasure, the pale moon smiled.
-x-x-x-x-
A tropical rainstorm moved through the area early the following morning. While the raindrops tapped against the roof and danced along the beach, Edward and Bella made love slowly. In truth it took very little to inspire him where love and Isabella were concerned, but on this morning he took his inspiration from the rhythm of the gentle rain.
They were seated upright on the bed. Bella was straddling him, her arms would round his shoulders, while his large hands were splayed across her lower back. The position had become a new favourite of theirs. She like the way their bodies entwined; he like the way she was always assured a deep, intense orgasm.
It was naked skin and the climbing of one‘s lover‘s body, and the hungry opening of mouths and lips. Ecstasy was always assured in this position and so they relaxed and took their time, moving together to match the storm‘s tempo.
Bella reveled in the feeling of his muscled back beneath her fingertips. Rippled flesh over bone moved and strained, reacting to her widened eyes and open mouth.
Thankfully, Edward‘s lovemaking lasted longer than a tropical shower.
When they collapsed in one another‘s arms, he suggested that they rinse the sweat and humidity from their skin in the large bathtub that was situated on the side veranda.
Reclining in strawberry scented bubbles, Bella leaned against Edward‘s chest as he wound his arms around her middle. She closed her eyes in contentment.
―Saturday mornings were always my favourite when I was a child,‖ he offered wistfully.
Bella traced the lifeline of his left hand with a single finger. ―Why was that?‖
―I could watch cartoons. Usually, my mother was passed out. This was before we lost our cable. And our television.‖
He gave her a half-hearted smile and Bella tried not to cry, thinking of Edward as a sad little boy whose only joy in life was a few hours of cartoons.
―I used to make my own breakfast. Cold cereal or peanut butter on toast.‖ He shook his head. ―And when we ran out of milk, which we did frequently, I‘d use orange juice.‖
―How was it?‖
―Terrible.‖ Edward laughed. ―It wasn‘t even real orange juice – it was Tang.‖
He sighed thoughtfully. ―I suppose my inordinate attachment to possessions and food comes from having grown up with very little of either. And don‘t get me started on where my obsession with perfection came from.‖
Impulsively, Bella turned and threw her arms around his neck, causing a great tidal wave of water to slosh over the sides of the tub.
―Hey, what‘s all this?‖ He was surprised by her reaction.
She buried her face into his shoulder to smother the tears.
―Nothing. I just love you so much it hurts.‖
He hugged her and then fell to rubbing her back absently.
―Don‘t hurt for me, Isabella. Those things happened thirty years ago. And I‘ve been quite successful in forgetting about them. Remember that when I was a child, no one hit me. Or tripped me when I went to all the trouble of making Thanksgiving dinner.‖
She sniffled against her shoulder. ―Did you hate her?‖
Edward grimaced. ―She was my mother, Isabella.‖
He didn‘t need to be explicit. Bella understood. A human being expected to have one person to rely on, one person who would protect him. And that person was his mother. When a mother neglected or abused her child, then…
―If meanness makes people ugly, your mother must have been hideous.
My mother was indifferent, but never cruel.‖ He exhaled slowly.
―You had Esme.‖
―So did you.‖ He smiled.
―Edward, why didn‘t you call Esme and Carlisle Mom and Dad?‖
He stiffened uncomfortably and the smile slid off his face. ―Because they aren‘t my parents.‖
Bella opened her mouth to protest but he silenced her.
―I‘m grateful for what Esme and Carlisle did for me, but they aren‘t my parents. My parents are dead.‖
He pursed his lips as he tried to decide how best to change the subject.
Bella rested her head against his shoulder and he squeezed her tightly, before whispering in her ear.
―I think you‘re right about the connection between goodness and beauty. Once I became acquainted with the real Angela Webber, I thought that she was ugly. I owe you a debt for keeping me from sleeping with her. Although I‘d like to think that even intoxicated I have better taste than that.‖
She withdrew from him, sitting back slightly and toying with the end of a lock of hair.
He tried to coax her backwards but she wouldn‘t budge.
―Hey.‖ He lifted her chin, forcing her to meet his gaze. ―What is it.‖
―I don‘t like thinking about you and Angela together.‖
―Then it‘s a mercy you saved me.‖
―She‘s spiteful enough to try and hurt us.‖ Bella shivered. ―Schadenfreude.‖
―Yes, schadenfreude. Interesting how we don‘t have a word for that in English – the act of taking pleasure in someone else‘s misfortune. ―I‘m hoping Angela will wash out of the program and then we‘ll both be rid of her.‖
Bella looked down at the bubbles that surrounded them.
―I don‘t want her to flunk out,‖ she said quietly. ―Then I‘d be just as ugly as her, taking pleasure in her misfortune.‖
―In Angela‘s case, she‘d deserve it. She was mean to you on more than one occasion. You should have cursed her out when you had the chance.‖
―I‘m too old to call people names whether they ‗deserve‘ it or not.‖
Edward grinned and tapped the end of her nose gently with his finger. ―Trust me. She deserves it.‖
―Then her true character should be obvious to everyone. I don‘t need to point it out. I wouldn‘t want someone shouting out my shortcomings.‖
―I don‘t want that either,‖ he said gravely. ―But I think that you‘re a bit too Franciscan for your own good.‖
Bella shrugged.
―I‘m attracted to Franciscan spirituality, that‘s true. St. Francis and St. Clare were charitable and patient with everyone, even to those who tried to hurt them.‖
Edward pressed his lips together.
―While I admire him, St. Francis was always too giving for my taste. Too willing to be taken advantage of. He would have been better served by keeping his soldier‘s sword and teaching some of his detractors a lesson.‖
―Must we always be teaching lessons, Edward? Must we always have to carry swords?‖
He frowned at her, but she continued. ―I don‘t claim to be a good person, although I try. But we all fall short. We‘re all hypocrites, especially when we try to be good and fail. Anyone who claims otherwise is liar.
―The reason I love St. Francis and want to be like him is because he put down his sword. He was willing the make himself vulnerable, to be taken advantage of, robbed and abused, all for the sake of his mission to the sick and the poor. I want to be like him even though I have a long way to go.
―Just because some people thought he was stupid or hypocritical didn‘t make him so. They‘re just words. And they said more about his detractors than about Francis, himself.‖
Edward kissed her lightly. ―I can‘t argue against that. Given your Franciscan tendencies, I wonder if you would be willing to help me with something.‖
―What‘s that?‖
―Carlisle would like to start a foundation to honour Esme‘s memory. I think he‘d like to get it up and running and then when he retires, oversee it full time. He wants input from the whole family, including you.‖
―I‘ll do whatever I can to help. But don‘t you think it should be just your siblings, Carlisle, and you?‖
―Esme loved you. I love you. That seems like justification enough. What I was interested in was your opinion on what kind of foundation it should be.‖
Bella considered his question for a moment.
―A cancer charity is the obvious choice.‖
―Alice suggested a charity that matches abandoned children with adoptive parents. Carlisle favours a charity that would support and protect female victims of domestic violence.‖ Edward sounded a bit grim.
―They‘re all worthy causes. I don‘t see why he can‘t set up a foundation that supports all three individually.‖
He rewarded her with a very warm smile and a pair of sparkling green eyes. ―Yes, you‘re definitely Franciscan.‖
―I doubt the Franciscans would approve of me having sex with you, unmarried, outside.‖
He brought his mouth to her ear.
―Is that a promise?‖
In answer, she turned in his arms and began to kiss him, ignoring the water that overflowed onto the veranda.
-x-x-x-x-
Later that evening, after a day spent on the beach and an intimate dinner at the lodge, Edward persuaded Bella to sit with him on a blanket on the still warm sand and look up at the stars.
He was immaculately attired as always, wearing a linen shirt and khakis while she wore a modest black sundress.
After sitting in silence for a while, Bella elected to recline, for it was more comfortable. And the stars up above in the inky darkness were easier to admire.
Edward quickly joined her.
―I used to sneak out to the meadow and look up at the stars. Carlisle bought me a telescope for my twelfth birthday. I could name all the constellations in the Washington sky.‖
Bella turned to him and stroked his eyebrows, one at a time. ―I like to think of you that way, a little boy sweet and inquisitive.‖
He snorted. ―I don‘t know how sweet I was, but I was definitely inquisitive.‖
―Sometimes I wish we were the same age.‖
―And why‘s that, my love?‖
―I‘d like to have known you when you were younger and gone to high school with you. Sometimes I‘d wish I‘d been your first,‖ Bella said shyly.
Edward muttered a curse and looked up at the sky.
―I was a jackass, Isabella. I told you what my first experience was like. It‘s better that it wasn‘t with you.‖
―It‘s difficult for me to reconcile that story with how you are now.‖
―And why‘s that?‖ He asked.
―Because I‘ve seen your heart. And it‘s beautiful.‖
He leaned over to kiss her sweetly and when his lips let hers she smiled.
―See? Any boy who can kiss like that can‘t be all bad.‖
He shook his head and grinned.
They were both quiet for a moment, cuddling close together and gazing at the stars.
―What are you thinking about?‖ Bella asked, resting her cheek on his shoulder.
―I was thinking about how small human beings are, how insignificant. The stars have been here forever and they‘ll be here long after I‘m gone.‖
―You aren‘t insignificant, Edward. You‘re important to me and to your family.‖
―Do you ever wonder why we‘re here? Why there‘s life?‖
―I took a course in philosophy once. We talked about those questions.‖
―Did you ever come up with any answers?‖ He tried to disguise the mirth in his voice.
―I went to a Jesuit school. The Jebbies had plenty of answers.‖
―And they were…?‖
―Life is short – too short to perpetuate negativity and misery. What really matters is how we live and how we treat one another. We should try to make the world better than it was when we found it. That kind of stuff.‖
―Wise words. And vaguely Franciscan.‖
―The Jesuits were more likely to carry intellectual swords to fight off lazy thinking and fallacious reasoning. I took a class with one old Jesuit and he would make the students pay a fine every time they committed a fallacy.‖
Edward laughed. ―Sounds like a profitable business.‖
―It helped us learn the difference between an argument and a rhetorical device. And it cut down on the name-calling.
He nodded to himself. ―There‘s a passage in the Inferno in which St. Francis disputes with a demon over the soul of Guido da Montefeltro. Do you know it?‖
Bella shook her head so Edward recited the text to her.
“Francesco venne poi, com‟ io fu‟ morto, per me; ma un d‟i neri cherubini li disse: "Non portar: non mi far torto.
Venir se ne dee giù tra ‟ miei meschini perché diede ‟l consiglio frodolente, dal quale in qua stato li sono a‟ crini;
ch‟assolver non si può chi non si pente, né pentere e volere insieme puossi per la contradizion che nol consente".
~*~
(“Then Francis came, as soon as I am dead,
for me; but one of the black cherubim
told him: „Don‟t bear him off; do not cheat me.
He must come down among my menials;
The counsel that he gave was fraudulent;
Since then, I‟ve kept close track, to snatch his scalp;
One can‟t absolve a man who‟s not repented,
And no one can repent and will at once;
The law of contradiction won‟t allow it.‟”
Trans. Allen Mandelbaum)
―So you see, even the demons and their menials have a grasp of logic and use it for their own purposes, on occasion.‖
But it‘s like St. Francis to think the best of someone – to think that Guido‘s repentance was real and to fight for his soul,‖ Bella said. ―Even if in the end he was wrong.‖
Edward conceded her point with a chaste kiss and a smile.
―St. Francis gave up to quickly.‖
―Do you think so?‖ Bella was incredulous.
He gazed at her intently. ―If it were your soul I was after, I wouldn‘t have been put off so easily.‖
A shiver snaked up and down Bella‘s spine at his words.
―And I wouldn‘t have left you behind, either. I‘d have stayed with you.‖ His voice was grave. ―Even if that meant I had to end my days in hell.‖
Tears filled Bella‘s eyes at Edward‘s words.
―We‘re together now,‖ she whispered.
―That we are, my lovely. Come back with me.‖ He stood to his feet and held out his hand.
-x-x-x-x-
As a prelude to that evening‘s bedroom activities, Edward finally showed Bella the security footage from their date at the Royal Ontario Museum.
The footage began with Edward and Bella admiring Fra Filippo Lippi‘s painting ―Madonna with the Child and Two Angels.‖ Edward stood behind her, his arms wrapped snugly around her waist.
―Does the video have sound?‖ asked Bella.
―No.‖ He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. ―We can make our own sounds.‖
She giggled and turned her attention back to the video.
In it, Edward was whispering in her ear and resting his chin on her shoulder. Then he began to move his lips from under her jaw to below her earlobe, nuzzling her. The video even caught the barest hint of his tongue peeking out from between his lips to whisper across her skin.
―The – um – resolution of this video is quite good,‖ said Bella, feeling flushed.
Edward laughed in her ear. ―Why do you think I have it playing on my laptop on an infinite loop?‖
In the video, they could see their lips moving and then Isabella turned in his arms to kiss him. Their kiss began slowly and then became more heated as he walked her to the corner of the room.
It was clear that he was backing her up against one of the walls somewhat cautiously.
They seemed to press against one another more closely as his hands travelled down her sides and to her hips before hesitating.
She pressed her hips more tightly to his in response.
His fingers slid to her back and then down so that they were cupping her backside before he pulled away from her mouth.
Bella began to fan herself with her hand. ―That‘s pretty … hot.‖
―You don‘t say.‖ Edward ran his chin across her bare shoulder and began planting open-mouthed kisses up and down her neck.
She moaned.
In the video, Isabella was stroking his hair and pulling him in for another kiss.
His fingers were obviously stroking her curves. And then his right hand slid down to cup her thigh, pulling her leg upward. He wrapped her thigh around his hip and she squeezed against him.
―That‘s my favourite part. The tango against a wall,‖ Edward‘s warm breath whispered across Bella‘s ear and she closed her eyes momentarily.
In the video, Isabella moved her hands from his hair to his shoulders and down to his waist before gripping his ass with both hands. She pulled him more tightly against her, pressing her hands against him encouragingly.
His fingers lightly traveled up and down her leg, caressing her thigh.
Without warning, he pulled back and her face became visible. Her eyes were closed and her lips were open and pouting.
He brushed the hair away from her face and her eyelids fluttered open.
He brought their foreheads together and coaxed her leg backwards, helping her to lower it.
―That‘s the end,‖ Edward announced, as they watched his figure on the screen place distance between the two bodies and take Isabella‘s hand in his. ―I‘m apologizing to you for getting carried away.‖
Bella giggled. ―And I‘m telling you not to worry about it.‖
In the video, she placed one of his hands across her heart, palm flat to her chest, between her breasts.
She brushed his thumb against her naked flesh and then gently transferred his attention to her mouth, before kissing her reverently and pulling her into a hug.
Then the video faded to black.
Edward closed his laptop and turned his attention to Bella, a wicked smile on his face. ―Well, what now?‖
Bella gestured to the wall near the door to their suite. ―Care to tango?‖
“Yes, Please.”
With a cry of delight, he picked her up and carried her to the wall before pressing her firmly against it.
-x-x-x-x-
Edward and Bella spent their last full day in Belize in and out of the ocean. They sunned themselves then relaxed in the shade with a beer and an umbrella drink. Bella nodded off in her lounge chair, her large floppy hat discarded beside her.
Edward loved to watch her sleep. The way her chest rose and fell with her gentle breathing. The way her lips curled back with the occasional sigh. She looked so peaceful. So content.
This is what Esme wanted for me. To fall in love with a beautiful girl, to marry her and grow old with her.
Edward was convinced that Esme would have been delighted that he and Isabella were a couple. No doubt she would already be pressuring him to put a ring on her finger and to pick out china patterns.
There had been so many moments during their Valentine‘s weekend that he had wanted to bend his knee and beg Isabella to marry him. But not only was he worried about enacting a cliché; he was worried about her future.
She needed to be able to complete her M. A. free of any distractions. And he was sure that she‘d want the complete university experience at Harvard without the pressure of planning a wedding. There was still the question of what he would do – whether he would be able to get another job in Boston or simply take his sabbatical for a year and then go on a leave of absence from Toronto indefinitely.
So despite the fact that he found the words marry me in his mouth on more than one occasion, he bit them back. There would be a time and a place for a proposal. And that time and place should be in their meadow, sacred as it was to both of them. Not to mention the fact that it would be a polite gesture to alert Charlie to his intentions, simply as a courtesy between a father and his prospective son in law.
Without doubt, he wanted Isabella to be his wife. And no matter what the next few months brought, he would make her his. Permanently.
-x-x-x-x-
During their last evening in Belize, Edward found himself brimming with emotion, the fruit of much contemplation and the pleasure he always found in Isabella‘s company.
He held her hand as they walked along the beach from the lodge to their hut, stopping periodically to take her lips or kiss her neck. She gave in to him eagerly, her eyes shining in the semi-darkness.
―Edward, there‘s something I‘ve been wondering.‖
―What‘s that?‖
What you wrote in the card that you left at my apartment.‖
He walked with her for a few steps before answering.
―Do you really want to know?‖
―Yes.‖
―But you tore it up.‖
―And you forgave me.‖
He smiled ruefully. ―It was simple card. It had an apple on the front of it and on the inside I apologized for being an ass.‖
―Really?‖
―I called you my Beatrice and said that I‘d wished for you my whole life, even though I was convinced that you were a hallucination. And that now that I‘d found you, I‘d fight to make you mind.‖
Bella pressed her lips to the skin over his heart.
Edward cupped the back of her head with his hand.
―And there might have been some poetry.‖ She looked up at him. ―Might have been? Was it Dante?‖
―No, Shakespeare‘s twenty-ninth sonnet. Do you know it?‖
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd, Desiring this man's art and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate; For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
―That‘s beautiful, Edward. Thank you.‖
He kissed her forehead sweetly and then fell to caressing her back with his fingers.
When they arrived in their room, Bella began to walk toward the washroom so that she could remove the makeup from her face. But Edward caught her wrist and wordlessly led her to the bed.
He kissed her softly as he began to undress her, his eyes glowing with worship and need. He took his time, adoring shoulders and arms and naked skin, his mouth beginning to make eager promises as she trembled beneath his touch.
He reclined on the bed and pulled her astride him, gazing up at her with an expression of wonder mixed with desire.
She moved her hips to taunt him a little, closing her eyes in order to let he feeling take centre stage.
After a few minutes, Edward flipped her so that she was on her back and he was kneeling between her legs.
She let out a quiet cry as he swiftly entered her.
―Too fast?‖
―No,‖ she groaned.
Edward liked her on top, she knew it. He would gaze up at her adoringly and touch and tease her breasts. He would praise her for her beauty and her sexiness, for he knew that even after these few months she was slightly self-conscious at being so exposed.
So Bella was surprised that he moved them so that his body was covering hers, his lips at her neck, when they‘d enjoyed that position several times already.
A few more kisses and he was pressing a hand to her face, his eyes dark and desperate. His body stilled within her as he searched her eyes.
―Edward?‖
He closed his eyes minutely and shook his head before opening them again. Bella gaped at what she saw – insecurity, passion, hope, want…
―What is it?‖ she whispered.
“You‟re my graven image. My idol.”
It was a realization as much as a confession.
―Sweetheart,‖ she murmured. ―I love you.‖
Edward held her gaze as he slowly began to move again, their bodies synchronized like an elaborate dance. His mouth hung open, slack jawed, as he groaned above her.
It would be easy, oh, so easy to close his eyes and take his pleasure, without remarking how he was affecting her, or ensuring that she receive satisfaction first. Whereas before, with other women, his manly pride had prevented him from being a selfish, insensitive lover, now over his body love held sway.
He loved her. He adored her. He‘d do anything for her.
Despite his own temptation, what he wanted most was to see her mad with want and then to watch that want be sated, knowing that he had done it. That he had the power, the incredible primordial power, to satisfy the longings of her body and perhaps her soul.
Was it blasphemous?
Of course, Edward knew that the pleasures of the body were meant to be a foretaste of divine union. Although he despaired of ever entering Paradise once his earthly life had ended, he agreed that the absolute fulfillment of the soul would be greater than any fulfillment of the body.
Such thoughts enabled him to maintain his self-control while his beloved Isabella watched him with eyes filled with love.
―I need you,‖ he whispered, as his movements increased to a fevered pitch. ―I can‘t lose you.‖
Bella‘s response was lost in a series of cries as they orgasmed one after the other.
―Thank you,‖ she said simply, pressing a kiss to the side of his face as he buried his nose in the crook of her shoulder. ―I never tire of being close to you. Of loving you this way. You‘re so good ot me, Edward.‖
He mumbled an answer but Bella didn‘t press him to be more explicit. He‘d already told her how he felt and the message was overwhelming.
―You aren‘t going to lose me, darling,‖ she whispered. ―Our love can‘t be broken.‖
-x-x-x-x-
Later that evening Edward lay on his back in the centre of their large, white bed, underneath the mosquito netting. Bella rested her head just underneath his pectorals, her arm wrapped around his waist, their legs tangled.
She was almost purring in contentment.
―Are you happy?‖ His voice came out of the candle soaked darkness, as he ran his fingers over the top of her head and down to trace the curve of her neck.
―Yes. Are you?‖
―More than I ever thought I could be.‖
Bella smiled against his chest and kissed the skin there.
―Things seem – different since we came back from Italy,‖ he prompted, his hand still gliding across her neck and shoulder.
―We have a lot to be grateful for. We have each other. I have Harvard. Siobhan has been helping me. I feel like I‘m finally putting the pieces back together.‖
―Good,‖ he whispered. ―And the way that we make love, you‘re happy with that?‖
Now Bella lifted her head so that she could gaze up into his concerned green eyes. His worry surprised her.
―Of course.‖ She laughed quietly. ―You can‘t tell?‖
―Of course I can tell. But your body is not your mind, or your heart. I just wondered.‖
He seemed embarrassed now and Bella repented her decision to laugh.
―Are you happy with the way we make love?‖
―Yes, very much. I feel it changing – I feel the connection deepening.‖ He shrugged. ―I just wondered if you felt it, too.‖
―Edward, things are so much better now than they were before. Sometimes I think that this is a dream. Believe me, I‘m happy.‖ She leaned up to kiss him and then rested her head back on his chest. ―Why are you asking me these things? Is something wrong?‖
―Where do you see yourself in the future?‖
―I want to be a professor, like you. I want a happy life. I want to be with you.‖ Bella‘s voice was on the quiet side, but remarkably assertive.
―You don‘t know how happy I am to hear that.‖
―Really?‖ She smiled.
―Really. There are some things about the future I‘d like to talk to you about, Isabella. I‘d like to make some promises to you. But I want us to wait a little while longer before we have that conversation. Does that trouble you? He reached out a finger to toy with the diamond in my ear.
Bella didn‘t need a narrator to understand what his physical gesture meant.
―No, I understand.‖ Her voice was even softer now.
―You are the one for me, Isabella. There will never be anyone else. That‘s a promise I can make right now.‖
She lifted her head and stared, noting the intensity with which he spoke.
―I don‘t want you to think that any hesitation on my part is due to lack of feeling.‖ Edward gave voice to Bella‘s unspoken fear.
―Thank you. I‘m yours. All of me. And I‘m so glad we won‘t be apart next year. The thought of losing you was torturous.‖
He nodded as if he understood.
―I love you, Edward. And I‘ll love you forever.‖
―I love you, too, Isabella. Now come here so I that I can worship you.‖
Relevant Story Links:
Information about Lieutenant-General Dalliaire can be found In his book „Shake Hands with the Devil‟.
More information about Dallaire and his current heroic work is on his website:
http://www.romeodallaire.com/biography.html
Edward’s New Playlist:
Jenn Grant – Dreamer
Jenn Grant – Sound Of Success
Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation
Bruce Cockburn – Mango
Matthew Barber – Soft One
Matthew Barber – Comeback Baby
Buena Vista Social Club – Chan Chan
Bruce Springsteen – I‟m On Fire
Bruce Springsteen – Brilliant Disguise
Brandon Flowers – Crossfire
Sting – I Was Brought To My Senses
Sting – My One And Only Love
The Doors – Light My Fire
Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird
Sarah McLachlan – Song For A Winter‟s Night
Joe Cocker – Feelin‟ Alright
Led Zeppelin – Black Dog
James Taylor – Mexico
John Hiatt – Have A Little Faith In Me
Mary Chapin Carpenter – Grow Old Along With Me
Edward‟s quotation from Dante is from Inferno 27, where Dante discusses Ulysses (Odysseus) and Guido da Montefeltro. There is some controversy as to what specifically Odysseus did to warrant being condemned to that circle of Hell and why he is lumped together with Guido. Anna Hatcher has an excellent article in Dante Studies on this question.

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