What all were the schemes of Bella when Edward tried not to touch her on their honeymoon? Read on for the trials and tribulations of a wife lusting after her vampire husband... Vote for this story at the Twilight Awards: http://twilightawards.this-paradise.com/?page_id=105 "Don't worry, Edward. I'm not going to attack you." I patted his arm reassuringly. "But as you are my husband now, I have complete ownership over this body" -I squeezed his tantalizing bicep- "which means I get to use it in any way I deem necessary." He chuckled and relaxed his posture. "Is that why you married me? Have you always only wanted my body?" "I won't deny that it was a large part of my decision making process." "This explains a lot. And here I thought our love was so pure and innocent."
5. Day Five
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The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that I did not want to move. This was a natural reaction as I did have the owner of the world's most perfect body next to me; who could possibly want to leave it? But actually I had another reason for not wanting to move. It was because every stretch of fiber in my body ached.
This should not have been a surprise to me. We had been spending nearly all of our time on the island outside, hiking and swimming and all manner of physical activity (beyond the type that I wanted most). Obviously, I had never been a very active person before since anything physical meant immediate danger for myself and those around me. Yet somehow, the soreness of working new muscles had not caught up with me until now. Again, it was probably because I was so absorbed with trying to fulfill necessary honeymoon requirements with Edward.
But the ache of my muscles would be ignored no longer, and I really hoped that I could spend the next few days in bed. With Edward. Preferably without clothes.
That would be ideal, but probably not realistic. I was overjoyed that my reverse psychology had been working so far, and I still wasn't entirely sure how I had made it so far without Edward finding out. Even still, this was going to be a slow victory because Edward was very good at restricting himself, and I was not so good at containing my impulses to devour him. But, I was going to try my best.
I tried moving to my side. My thighs felt like pulverized bricks. I groaned in pain as my eyes opened.
Edward was staring at me worriedly.
"Bella?" He slid closer to me, placing a hand on my cheek.
Instinctively, I moved my head closer to his chest and groaned again. How could I have even used my shoulders that much?
He held me tighter and began to stroke my back anxiously. "What's wrong, love?"
"I think all of the swimming and hiking has finally caught up with me. Ow."
He looked down at me in surprise. "Really?"
"Yes." I tried to bring my hand up to his chest. I suddenly felt I wouldn't mind if my arm fell off.
He winced with me. "I'm so sorry. I didn't think it would be too much..."
I shook my head at him. "Edward, it's not your fault. We both know I am extremely weaker than the regular human being." My eyebrows drew together. "This is the payback I get for not participating in gym so much."
"But that was simply a courtesy to the other players."
"Well, I thought so." I sighed. "Apparently I won't be rewarded for my good deeds." I tried to put my arms around his neck and immediately something similar to a gasp of pain slid from my lips.
He cupped his hands around my face. "What can I do?" His tone made it sound as if this was a life or death situation.
Rip off my clothes and rub me over with coconut oil? Hmm, he likely wouldn't go for it, even if I tried reverse psychology. And I very much doubted that we had coconut oil...
But maybe I could get something from him. I casually stretched out another arm, immediately eliciting another groan of pain.
"Where does it hurt?" he asked instantly.
I tried to look reluctant as I held out an arm, but really, I was ecstatic. He took it carefully in his hand, closing his cool fingers over my bicep, and his thumb began to rub slow circles into the skin there. His touch was light as he caressed the sore muscles and I might as well have died and gone to heaven. When he'd finished with both arms, he placed a few light kisses along them.
"Is that better?" He smiled gently.
I nodded, barely coherent.
Ah, I really was in heaven.
"Calves," I sighed, as if he wasn't fulfilling my greatest desire.
He pulled back the covers on the bed to expose my legs. Then he slid over to take one calf at a time, and kneaded the muscles there slowly until they felt replete with contentment.
I bit my lip, and a deep blush came over my cheeks. I didn't have to pretend embarrassment on this one. "My thighs," I whispered.
I was hardly trying to trick him anymore. He had practically intoxicated me with his impromptu massage, and it was proving extremely effective so far. My thighs were the sorest anyway because I had been using them the most.
He paused for a moment. I didn't look to see his expression, I was way too comfortable to raise my head, but I was fairly certain that he was torn about what to do.
My reverse psychology kicked in time to save him from his deliberation. "Never mind. You don't have to do that." I tried to shift my legs away from him and cringed automatically.
He slid down on his side so that his head lay by my stomach. Then he stretched out his hands, placing them on the middle of my thigh. His fingers rubbed slowly into the muscles, making them relax, which seemed counterproductive as my heart raced in my chest.
Last night I had chosen a satin nightie in dark purple to wear. It was pretty much the same as the others I had worn, there was still no lace or strategically placed openings to make it too scary, but the hem ended several inches above my knee instead of being floor length. And, though Edward kept his caressing hands safely on the material, with all of the massaging, the satin had continued to creep upwards, revealing more of my legs. This was, for once, a good thing as my bruises had continued to lighten; most had become a greenish yellow color now. Very easy to forget about altogether.
I could only look up at the ceiling, trying to control my breathing and occasionally closing my eyes in bliss. If I looked down to see him, I would likely break all of my pretenses and attack him with my voracious hormones.
Our relationship had never been closer to hunter and prey.
By the time his fingers finally stopped I might as well have been a puddle of bone and tissue, as I no longer felt a single point of stiffness in my body. I should have felt drowsy, but the touch of his hands had of course evoked several other feelings in me, which were not likely to make me fall asleep. My will was crumbling so I stayed where I was, not looking down. All I could feel was his cool breath against my hip as he continued to lie there; it was not even.
Not a word of my reverse psychology came to me; I couldn't think of anything at all, actually. He had not removed his hands from my body, and for a moment his fingers traced along my bare legs, as if he were pondering something. They stilled, and I felt him press his lips softly to my hip.
Just as I was about to scramble down to him and demand that he ravish me, he sat up and shot me a quick smile. "There. All better?"
It was obvious that he was striving for casualness, but his voice still came out low and rough.
I was very close to breaking my determination. This was such a perfect opportunity. I only barely remembered what the consequences might be if, by breaking that façade, I lost altogether and my chances went back to zero. Clearly, I was close to winning. He just needed a little more cooking time. And when he was ready, I would feast on him.
I took a deep breath to steady myself and then smiled back at him. "Much better, thank you" I answered him, with a smile. Then I twisted my lips in aggravation. "But Edward this really isn't fair. You've already conquered me in the kitchen, when by all rights you should have no skills at all in cooking- not only because you're a vampire but also a man. Now you have miraculously triumphed massage, which I can't even attempt to try on you since your skin won't move at all... how do you expect me to live with such perfection?"
He shrugged. "You've managed well enough for the past year and a half."
I raised an eyebrow at his smugness. "That was the part where you were supposed to tell me how perfect I am."
He sighed as he swung me into his arms and began to walk to the kitchen. "I do. Frequently. You don't believe me."
"You just don't try hard enough." I folded my arms across my chest. "Well, at least I found one thing that you're not perfect at: recognition of opportunities for compliments."
"You know, you sound so smart when you say that."
"Why, thank you." I beamed at him, and patted his shoulder as he set me in a chair. "You're just beautiful when you listen to what I say."
"Not as beautiful as you."
I nodded my head in acknowledgment. "That was good, but try not to go overboard. These are supposed to be truthful."
"I am," he growled.
"Hmm, you're a good liar, but not that good."
He shook his head at me. "I wash my hands of you."
As per my request, although plea was more like it, he made scrambled eggs.
"So, should we- finally- take it easy today?" I asked as I stuffed the fluffy, delicious eggs into my mouth. "In fact, I vaguely remember seeing an enormous case of DVDs. Why don't we watch one of those?"
His back was to me, cooking more eggs on the stove. He said nothing for a moment, but when he turned around to slide some more eggs onto my plate, his expression was bright.
"We still haven't seen a lot of the island. There's actually a large nesting of sea turtles on the southern side. The eggs should have just hatched; we could probably see the newborns."
Hmm. I had never seen a sea turtle before. I would have been rather excited to see them, but being at home was too good of an opportunity. "Edward, are you forgetting that you have an invalid for a wife now? Or are you trying to tell me that this island is wheelchair accessible?"
"Do you still hurt?" he asked, his eyebrows rising in concern.
I actually barely felt any soreness now, but it was a great excuse to stay in the house, and particularly in bed.
"Well, not so much- your magic fingers did prove very effective. But my muscles are definitely not in for any more of your sadistic hiking experiments," I cautioned him with a raised finger.
"I'll carry you," he offered, much too enthusiastically.
I raised an eyebrow. "Why are you so desperate to get out of the house?"
He quickly turned back to the stove and poured more egg mixture onto the pan. "I just want to make sure you see all of the island before we go," he answered casually.
I doubted very much that that was the real reason, as there was an edge of nervousness to his voice. He thought staying inside of the house was too dangerous. My hopes grew higher.
Still, his comment caught me off guard. Were we really going to leave the island that soon? In some ways, it felt like we had been here a very long time, but I now realized what a short amount of time had passed since we'd come.
I agreed to go explore some more around the island, and even to the carrying. When it came to dressing, my options for practical clothing were running out. There were still tons of untried lingerie and bikinis- somehow Alice had thought that was all I would need. I hoped she would be right later on, but for right now, I wouldn't have minded if she packed a few more shorts. But, since Edward had promised me that we would be doing nothing strenuous, I settled for a tank top and skirt to wear.
I noticed immediately as we walked outside the difference in the weather. The sky was slightly overcast with clouds that looked like it would rain and in the air you could feel an almost tangible humidity. It surrounded me like a sauna. I was suddenly very glad that I had Edward's cool arms wrapped around me.
He took me further into the jungle, seeing the thick trees and exotic flowers that grew there. We walked out onto the coast and saw a group of porpoises swimming; Edward promised to take me there the next day after seeing my delight in them. Then he took me to the cove with the sea turtles. There were a few eggs that had been broken through and the tiny newborns were slowly walking around to see their new world.
I felt a bit of a kinship with them. I had never been outside of the country before, except for a small excursion to Italy, of which I hardly saw anything except the horrifying parts. Everything about this place seemed magical to me. And best of all, I got to share it with Edward.
Now that I thought about it, practically any place I went to with Edward turned magical; hardly surprising when your companion was a mythical creature. But still, it made me think about other places we could go and turn otherworldly.
I suddenly remembered that when we returned from the island, I was scheduled for an immediate vampirization. And, for once, I felt a little reluctant at the thought. Not that I didn't want to become one- I was all for gaining a perfect body, brilliant mind, and the whole never dying, thus never leaving Edward, thing. But I was so close to winning with Edward now, and when I did succeed, well, it was going to be hard to give that up for a few years.
Suddenly, Dartmouth didn't sound so bad.
I thought about these things as we sat down for lunch.
I turned to look at him as I lay on the blanket. "So, I was just wondering- completely hypothetically, of course- what exactly were your plans for us if we did go to Dartmouth?"
A look of such eager hope came into his beautiful eyes that I felt almost bad for quashing it. But not that bad.
"We're not going, Edward," I told him flatly. Just in case. This was still hypothetical. "I was just wondering why you would want me to go through the humiliation of flunking out of an Ivy League college. Is that really a human experience that I need?"
He frowned. "You would never have flunked, Bella." He sighed. "Once again, you fail to see your potential clearly. You are extremely intelligent. After all, you were able to guess correctly that five perfectly normal and unassuming high school students were really vampires." He grinned and winked at me.
"The way you kept stalking me and gazing at me hungrily was a bit of a tip off," I informed him.
He shrugged. "The fault is yours for being so incredibly delectable."
I nodded in approval. "Very good compliment opportunity recognition. But the whole stopping a careening van with your hands thing? Also a big clue. Come to think of it, it was fairly obvious the whole time." I shook my head at him slowly. "And you complain about my acting skills."
"We better hope those do improve, or we won't be able to take you anywhere as a vampire. You'll force us into nomadism. Carlisle won't be pleased."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "How do you know I won't become your greatest asset? I may not know how to act, but I probably have a better grasp of human culture. For example, the dancing you all did at prom? That was the biggest clue of all. You actually waltzed me to a rap song, Edward. You should at least turn me into a vampire so I can update you all on the latest trends. Oh, before I forget, hardly anyone stares motionlessly at the cracks in the cafeteria walls for fun anymore... if anyone ever did."
He cocked an eyebrow. "Is it our fault that the lives of you mortals are so tediously boring that they make cracks in a wall exhilarating?"
"And yet you've worked so hard to keep me a tedious mortal..."
He scoffed. "You're not tedious."
"I am. Very. That's why it's such a good thing that you take great interest in tedious things. I distinctly remember your fascination with me whenever I had to clean the blender."
He smiled as he remembered. "You're absolutely adorable when you get aggravated with household appliances," he explained. "You make funny noises."
I sighed. "Is that why you want me to go to Dartmouth? Because it will increase the tedium?"
"No. It's simply an experience that you'll never have again, in the same way."
"Why?" I asked skeptically.
"Well, just imagine it, for one second." His tone turned magnetically persuasive. "We would, of course, have a place of our own- somewhere secluded and in the country, close to the nearest wildlife preserve would be preferable." He smiled, flashing his gleaming teeth. "You'd have classes during the day; classes for me at night. The literary program there is unparalleled; I know you'd enjoy their classic novel courses. I would always be there for extra tutoring, though you won't need it, I'm sure. You'd bat off any rumors of me being more than a normal human, and I would annihilate any boy that wanted to date you." He looked especially content at this last thought.
"I'm a married woman now, Edward. I think it'll be safe."
He shook his head. "Hardly. In fact, it may have made it worse."
"You really don't understand the male psyche..."
I probably understood it better than he did, what with all of the scheming I had been doing lately to relieve my raging hormones. And once again, I was thinking of the physical benefits more than any other advantage in going to Dartmouth. We would be all by ourselves, no other vampires around with supersensitive hearing. With the increased amount of stress from the doubtless vigorous course work, we would need a lot of distractions from such stress, and I knew of the perfect diversion for both of us. And I was rather intrigued by their literary program now...
But I wanted to think about it more. What if- perish the thought- I didn't win? Then there would be no need to prolong my time as a human. I didn't want him to get his hopes too high.
"Well, it doesn't matter, because we're not going. I still see no reason for me to be human when I go to college."
He sighed and looked so forlorn at the thought that it almost broke my resolve. But then he stood up and his face had returned to normal.
"Then shall we continue on?" He held out a hand to me.
As I looked up at him I realized that, since I had not been touching him while I ate, drops of sweat had formed all over my body because of the intense humidity. This gave me a new idea.
I rolled backward onto the blanket as if faint. "Just a minute. It's really hot right now," I said a little breathlessly.
He came over to my side and laid a cold hand on my face.
"I can remedy that. For once, my temperature is an asset," he said dryly.
I sighed happily at his touch. "I've never minded it. But, well... never mind." I bit my lip.
"What is it, Bella?"
"Well, could you put your hands on my back? That's one of the worst spots."
He slipped his hands under me, keeping them over my clothing.
"Is that better?"
I hesitated. "Kind of."
"What would make it better?"
I looked at him cautiously. "Well... could you put them on my skin?"
He paused for the briefest second, then slipped his cool fingers up my shirt, placing them widespread on my upper and lower back. "Better?" he murmured.
I nodded. I was back in paradise, and almost impatient for this to continue. I was very much aware of the feel of his stone body lying next to mine through the flimsiness of my clothing. It would be no obstacle to rip them off, even for a human.
"Anywhere else that needs some cooling down?" he asked. How could he be so perfectly innocent? He was really making this too easy for me.
I bit my lip and looked away, embarrassed. "My chest."
This was completely true; I always got sweatiest there, whenever I did happen to strain myself with exercise. It just also happened to be a very convenient place for him to touch me.
He paused and looked at my expression. I continued to look down, hopefully obscuring the excitement in my eyes, but still easily achieving a look of mortification. The blush that crept over my cheeks must have helped.
Slowly, as if he meant it to be seductive but it could only have been from hesitancy, his hand slid to the front of my body, skimming across my stomach until the tips of his fingers touched the bottom of my collarbones. His cool arm ran the length of my torso, with his palm cradled in between my chest, where he could perfectly feel the staccato beat of my heart reacting to his touch.
I raised my eyes to his, but I was not embarrassed anymore. I only felt my insatiable craving for him, and saw the veiled desire in his own eyes. This was it.
I brought his lips to mine and he kissed me back. I was not thinking at all by now; no thoughts of rationality were present in my mind. I gave myself no reservations as I kissed him, and my hand, of its own accord, closed over his to bring it further right on my chest.
He broke off immediately, looking down at me in surprise and his hand snapped away from my shirt. Before he could move away, I gripped his shirt, bringing my face close to his. "Don't stop, Edward!" I cried and kissed him again.
His mouth turned unresponsive against mine, and he gently pulled my face away from his. "We have to, Bella," he breathed.
"No we don't!" I wrapped a leg around his and tightened my hold on his neck, trying to pin him to me.
He unclasped my hands and brought them to my sides. "Remember your promise?" His voice was gallingly calm now.
"I lied!" I gasped before bringing my lips to his again.
He went completely immobile now, stiff with shock. My senses were finally coming back and I wanted to kick myself. Had I ruined everything?
I finally pulled away to look at his face. He was not angry yet, at least. Still in the shock stage. But it was coming, I was sure.
"You lied?" He echoed, his voice sounding hollow.
I could feel the guilt on my face. But I was also incredibly depressed because I had no chance now and it was completely my fault. Darn my greedy hormones! I was mostly mad at myself, but it made me belligerent. "That's right! Go ahead; buy me the stupid cruise ship- I don't care! Just make sure it has a really big bed!"
A dozen emotions flickered across his face. My bravery was not feeling so high as I recognized a few: anger, betrayal, and one look that shouted that I was a lunatic. But his face finally settled on a careful expression of non-chalant bemusement.
"You're not mad?" I asked, completely bewildered.
He looked at me with serene eyes. "No. I've decided not to be. I really shouldn't be surprised, I guess. It was all too good to be true." Here, he shook his head at himself. "But, I don't have to be worried because I know nothing is going to happen, no matter how hard you try. So there's no reason to be mad." He sounded very confident.
His utter certainty irked me and I was suddenly the one who was fuming. "Oh, you think so?"
He just looked at me with implicit assuredness, as if he did not even need to say it.
"We'll see about that," I growled.
We walked back home and he chattered away as if nothing had happened. He seemed to be completely intent on acting like everything was normal. I suppose he didn't really have anything to be worried about, as he would be extremely cautious now, looking for any sign of deception on my part.
I was fast becoming depressed once again. And I was feeling fairly guilty. I wanted to explain the whole thing to him.
It wasn't until bedtime that I felt I could bring it up again. I dressed in a nightgown- this one made of lots of sheer material and loose and flowy in construction. It was actually too big for me on my top and the shoulders slipped down often. This depressed me further.
I walked out to the bedroom. He lay on the bed, over the covers, same as usual. He looked perfectly at ease with his hands behind his head, and a look of utter serenity in his countenance. Apparently this was his revenge, making me think I could never have the hope of breaking his defenses.
He was probably right.
I lay down onto the bed, but I didn't slide close to him. I needed to make amends first.
I raised myself up on an elbow to speak. "Okay, Edward. I'm very grateful that you're not mad, but you just need to know- I wasn't lying in the beginning. I was serious. I really was trying to be good... at first. But, then I saw how ridiculous the whole thing was. And how right it is for us to be together, especially in that way."
His face had been frustratingly tranquil as ever as I spoke, but now his eyes lowered, away from my face. Because the anger was coming back? I had to get this out before he stopped me with argument.
"And honestly, how can you expect me to be good when I have to look at you every second of every day? You may have grown numb to your own mindboggling splendor, but I have yet to reach that point. Maybe after I become a vampire and we hit the thousand year mark, I may find you only passably glorious, but don't hedge your bets on it."
His eyes were still down, looking down at some point past my neck. His expression was hard to read.
"And it is highly unreasonable for you to believe that I could withstand your magnificence with such a weak, mortal body. And, just so you know, you were much happier when I was trying to trick you- which was not very often. Most of the time, it was actually necessary. I really did need you to brush through my hair, and I really did need your hands to cool me down. It wasn't really tricking so much as... going along with an opportunity that presented itself. And there happened to be a lot of opportunities. Don't you see? It's really just fate trying to tell us that this is meant to be and we have nothing to worry about!"
He kept pressing his lips together as if to keep from laughing and his eyes had a strange look in them. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was... wistful? I'd had enough.
I brought my hands up to place them on both sides of his face. "Edward, what is wrong? Are you even listening to me?" I demanded.
His smile deepened. "Of course I am. Nothing at all is wrong. I was just thinking that you should get to sleep."
I continued to stare at him, trying to ascertain his mood. His face was smooth under my observation, but there was something he could not repress fully in his eyes. There was mirth there, but they smoldered a little as well.
I slid over to get a closer look, and when my body brushed against the bed sheets, I immediately felt that there was something wrong.
I looked down to see that, with the looseness of my clothes, part of my chest had popped free of my nightgown and was exposed to plain view. Happily, because I was lying on my side, it actually looked full and round, instead of mosquito-bitish as it normally did. A deep crimson blush swept over my cheeks, yet I was filled with joy. Because this was what Edward had been staring at- and he hadn't immediately corrected the situation. In fact, he had been prolonging it... meaning that he somehow enjoyed it...
"You were going to let me sleep like this, weren't you?" I accused him, blissfully shocked.
"No," he answered too quickly.
"You were! You were ogling me, Edward!" I giggled in ecstasy. Never had I put the two words Edward and ogle together before. Except in my dreams....
He shook his head. "I was doing no such thing."
"Now who's the liar?"
He turned his face from me, looking like he was struggling not to smile. With effort, a solemn look came over his face. "Remember what I told you about enjoying the bouquet while resisting the wine?"
"Same application." He shrugged. "I know I can restrain myself, so what was the danger in just looking?"
"Usually, you'd say a lot of danger. Definitely before our wedding you told me that. Often. Almost everyday," I reminded him crossly.
He smiled again, unrepentant. "You weren't mine then; I had no right to look. Now you are, and I can... go along with opportunities that present themselves. Really, I was just waiting for you to stop talking, but you have a tendency to extrapolate for an incredibly long time when agitated."
"So you weren't listening to me, then... let me start over-"
"Goodnight, Bella." He brought the covers up around to my neck, careful to not touch any part of my skin, especially the exposed parts.
I laid my head cautiously on his shoulder.
"Are you going to attack me?" he asked tiredly.
He narrowed his eyes. "Are you lying? I can't tell anymore. When did you acquire these new lying skills anyway?"
"I think it was when I joined myself with a family of corrupt vampires. It starts to rub off immediately. Just wait, next comes an insatiable desire for grand theft auto."
"Hmm. I suppose I'll have to watch you more closely from now on."
"Please do!" I began to shove the strap of my nightie down my arm. His hand stopped mine and tugged the strap back up.
"Not that way, Bella."
"Just because I'm giving you my conscious approval to look?"
"The conscious decisions you make are very dangerous. Only the unconscious ones can be trusted. Hence, I listen to you so much while you sleep."
"Well, I'm making a conscious decision to not attack you... but I'm not giving up either. Just know that."
"Well, neither am I giving up. And I think we both know who has better self-control." His tone was smug.
"We'll see about that," I said, just as confidently.
And I was confident. If he was totally unaffected by me, why would he have stared? He was a good liar, but I was somehow sure that his confidence was just a bluff. I knew how he had acted these past few days, and this new determination could not cancel those out. I still had a chance, and I would work harder than ever to win my prize.