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On the Edge of Forever

Edward/Bella. Bella POV. The wedding night. 'Nuff said.

In the same timeline as The Gift, The Order of the Garter and A Spoonful of Sugar. Also, in case you were wondering, Edward and Bella had chosen to spend their wedding night at a hotel in Seattle before leaving on their honeymoon the next day.

1. On the Edge of Forever

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2221   Review this Chapter

My hands smoothed over my hips and I turned, watching the way the silk rippled in the light. My hair was still holding some of its curls from earlier that day and it tumbled down my back in loose waves. Regarding it critically, I sighed. If I messed with it now, it would try to go frizzy.

Maybe Alice had been right, what if I'd chosen to go too simple? I just... couldn't see myself going to face Edward in any of the outfits she'd suggested. The sleeveless white silk chemise I wore had been my choice. But now it didn't seem like enough. I didn't feel like enough. Biting my lip, I looked down at the only other things I wore. Gleaming on the third finger of my left hand were twin rings. One set with diamonds, my engagement ring, the other a simple gold band. The one I'd given Edward was platinum, simple, smooth and heavy. Mine, he'd insisted, should match my first ring, warm yellow gold.

Swallowing hard, I looked up and met my own gaze in the mirror. I wanted this. This marriage, this night, this man. More than anything in the world I wanted it, and he wanted me. It was my mantra, and maybe that was the only way I was going to get out of this bathroom. Bidding my reflection goodbye, I opened the door.

The clouds had cleared away, leaving sunset free to paint its colors on the Seattle skyline. The view from the windows was incredible, like you were standing on a mountaintop, looking out on a world made small. He was a part of that vista, the gentle touch of the dying sunlight making his skin gleam. As he leaned against the glass with a casual, leonine grace, I had the pleasure of admiring his profile, as perfect as if sculpted by a master's hands. His shirt was unbuttoned, the bow-tie from his tux hanging loose around his neck.

"How do you do that?" I hadn't meant to ask the question aloud. "I mean... how do you half-wear a rumpled tuxedo and make it look wonderful?"

Edward chuckled. "Years of practice. I thought you were nev--" Golden eyes turned my way and went wide, his words trailing off into silence.

"What's wrong?" My voice was weak, my heart filled with dread. God, could he really be that disappointed? "I know it's not much. I'm sure you had something different in mind."

"Bella..." I swallowed back what felt dangerously like tears, peeking up at him. He was staring, his eyes moving over me restlessly.

"Whatever it is, just say it," I begged in a whisper.

He came to me then, reached out tentatively to cup my cheek in his hand. "You are..." He shook his head, emotion filling his expressive eyes. "So beautiful."

Damn tears, they just kept sneaking up on me today. They filled my eyes now, spilling over as he lowered his head to inhale the scent of my hair. "It's enough?"

Soft, breathless laughter whispered past my ear. "You have no idea." Gently, he slid his arms around my waist, pulling me close. "Every dream I've ever had of this moment pales in comparison."

I bit my lip, holding back fresh tears. "Really?"

"Really." As if he could think of no other way to convince me, he kissed me. A gentle kiss, but not a chaste one, a promise of what was yet to come.

Tentative, I rested my hands on the cool skin of his chest, sliding them upward. He sucked in a harsh breath, his lips drifting down to my neck, but he made no attempt to stop me as I explored under the cloth of his shirt. "Did we really get married today?" I whispered, turning my head to breathe in his scent.

He pulled back just enough to rest his forehead against mine. "Yeah." The most heartbreaking smile I could imagine curved his lips, his lashes slowly parting to reveal the liquid gold of his eyes. "We really got married today."

An answering smile turned up the corners of my mouth as I tried on that thought. "That's going to take some getting used to."

His cool lips pressed a kiss to my temple. "We have all the time in the world." I felt his hands skim down my back, traveling the curve of my hips.

"Forever?" My fingertips slid over his shoulders, ready to have his shirt off now.

He laughed, just soft puffs of cool breath against my ear. "Longer." Satisfied, I tugged at his sleeve. "Wait a second," he warned gently. "Cufflinks."

"Cuff what?" He showed me where small gold ornaments fastened the cuffs of his shirt instead of buttons. Okay, someone should definitely put out a pamphlet on that or something, it would simplify honeymoons everywhere. I wanted to giggle, but I was afraid it would just sound nervous.

Edward took my hand, bringing me with him as he went to set the cufflinks on the nightstand. My eyes went to the vast expanse of the bed, now within easy reach. The butterflies were back, jetting around at mach 1. He turned back to me, then followed my gaze, a frown beginning to tug at his mouth. "Stop that," I said, frowning myself.

"Stop what?" He quirked an eyebrow, but he wouldn't look at me.

Closing my eyes for a moment, I took a deep breath and steadied myself. Then I stood on tiptoe and pushed the shirt from his shoulders, taking his hands one at a time so I could pull the sleeves free. The cloth, cool from his body, slid to the floor, leaving his upper body bare to my scrutiny. The sight took my breath away. I rested my hands on him, cool at first, but like marble his skin warmed faintly beneath my touch. Fascinated, I made a slow tour of his chest, leaning in to plot my course with light kisses before blazing a trail with my fingertips. He stood very still beneath my ministrations, finally lightly clasping my bare upper arms. I shivered in response, and he rested his cheek against the top of my head.

"Talk to me," I begged softly, wrapping my arms around his waist.

Abruptly he pulled me tight against him, hiding his face against my hair. He was trembling and my heart ached for him, but I wasn't sure what to do. "I'm scared, Bella," he whispered. Reaching up, I twined my fingers into his hair, cradling the back of his head. "I want you so much. So much that it frightens me."

"Edward." I tried to pull back, but he held me too tightly. "Edward, look at me." I was insistent until he let me look up into his tortured face. All at once, every bit of fear, every scrap of hesitation left me, leaving in its place only a calm certainty. "I'm not," I said it gently, firmly. "I am not afraid." I pulled his arms from around me, but twined my fingers with his. Two steps back and I was at the bed. I knelt on it, drawing him to me. "Come to bed with me."

He came reluctantly, kneeling with me, his face turned away. I put my hands on his shoulders, let them slide up his neck until I cradled his face in my hands. "I Bella," I began softly, "take thee Edward..." His eyes closed, and I kissed his forehead. "To be my husband." I anointed his temples with kisses. "To have and to hold." I smiled, kissing the tip of his nose. "From this day forward." The cool strength of his arms went around my waist. "For better, for worse," I kissed each corner of his mouth. "In sickness and in health." My lips pressed to his, but lingered only briefly, I hadn't finished my vow. "To love and to cherish." He kissed me this time, achingly slow, his hands moving restlessly over my silk-clad skin.

"Don't say it," he whispered. Breathless, I looked at him, saw the fear still in his eyes. The last line of those traditional vows was 'as long as we both shall live.' Not a blessing, but a curse.

I refused to let his fear infect me, I would be the strong one tonight, carrying him through the darkness. "Don't you know?" I lifted an eyebrow at him. "This story has a happy ending." I stroked his face, letting just how much I loved him show in my eyes. "To love and to cherish... forever."

A shudder went through him as I tore down the last of his walls. We kissed again, my arms around his neck, his hands exploring my body as I had explored his. Without breaking away, I took one of his hands in mine, guided it to cup my breast. It took my breath away when he suddenly tipped the balance between us, pressing me back on the bed. His hands skimmed up my legs, over my hips, inching the chemise up my body. I grabbed the hem, tugging it up, laughing as he helped me pull it over my head and I was lost in folds of pale silk. I grinned into his wondering eyes, realizing only after a moment that I lay naked beneath him. "So beautiful," he murmured and lowered his head to kiss me again.

Edward's pants joined the rest of our clothes on the floor, as I gave his cold body as much warmth as I could spare with my touch. He was so gentle, at times hesitant, never sure if a sudden movement or a needful kiss might be what finally scared me away. His body covered mine, and I felt no chill, there was nothing but heat between us now. All that desperate want, the uncontrollable need, I made certain he knew that it belonged to us both.

With his lips at my throat, his hands on me, I knew I couldn't wait any longer. "Please Edward," I whispered, breathless. "Please. Make love to me." His restless mouth found mine as he settled into the cradle of my thighs. He shifted, just a little, and suddenly we were breathing hard, as though prolonging this moment was taxing us both. There was his touch in unfamiliar places, and then I felt the first bit of pressure. I took a deep breath and his eyes found mine, they all but glowed, intense and fiery.

"Tell me if hurt you," he whispered, breathless. I wrapped my arms around him, clung to him, biting down on a gasp as my body gave way to his and allowed the smooth, hard length of him to claim me. "Bella?" His voice was strained. I... wasn't sure I still had a voice.

"Yes?" Oh good, it still worked. I took a shaky breath, looking up into his anxious face. "I'm okay." I stroked his cheek, answering his unspoken question. "I'm sure."

He kissed me, soft and slow, and then with increasing hunger. Finally he started to move, cautious at first, but we both felt it as my body adjusted, relaxed, allowing him to let a little of that caution go. Not all of it, not now, I was still too fragile for that, but I was determined not to let that hold us back. I urged him on with my kisses, my hands moving restlessly over the smooth marble of his skin. I murmured his name, and cried out softly when he slid his hands beneath my hips, pulling me to him.

There was a pressure building inside of me, it increased with every fervent movement, every sweet caress. He felt it too, we were of one mind in this. His rhythm grew urgent, his hands fisting in the bedsheets as he struggled to remain in control. We were nearly there... and then I was gasping, my body tightening, arms holding onto him as though he were the only steady thing I could cling to. No more than a heartbeat passed and it was shaking us both, his body curled around me in both the desire to protect and the need to bring every inch of his skin in contact with mine.

It was endless, that moment of completion, a tiny slice of forever. I focused on breathing, and every breath was heavy with his scent. My husband, my lover, my Edward. "I love you," I whispered. And though I ached, though I might be sitting rather gingerly tomorrow, all I could feel was a fierce and loving joy.

He lifted his head and looked down at me wordlessly. "I don't know what to say," he confessed softly. "I love you... just doesn't seem like enough."

There were tears in my eyes, and it took me a moment before I could answer him. "No... but I think it's a good place to start."

He smiled then, my beloved crooked smile. Then he gently pulled free of me, moving to one side before he cradled me to his chest and pressed a kiss to the top of my head. "I love you, Bella Cullen."

"Yeah," I said softly, snuggling into his arms. "I could get used to that."