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."
6. Day Six
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Although I probably should have been depressed when I woke up the next morning, I was not. Somehow, I still was confident that I would break through Edward's careful defenses, though they would be ten times stronger now that he knew I was still, and had always been, trying to seduce him (though I would still bridle at calling it seduction. It was more hoping that Edward might find my clumsy, awkwardness as somehow attractive). Maybe fate was working for me, instead of against me as it usually did. Maybe I was gaining more confidence in myself.
Maybe I was just going crazy.
Either way, I was going to give it my all today. The longer this went on the worse it would get, for him and myself.
I had to step things up. My bruises were blissfully all but gone, only the largest ones having even the slightest tinge of green to them, which would most likely disappear by tonight.
I was still rather bewildered by Edward's reaction. I had been expecting anger or frustration- that seemed only natural. But he had tried not to be mad. He was trying to act like it didn't matter.
He was a liar.
If there was one thing I had learned about Edward, it was that when things got desperate, he lied. So, was he desperate now to make me think I couldn't win- because I might?
Okay, I was definitely crazy.
But, better to be crazy and hopeful than realistic and drowning in misery. Especially on one's honeymoon.
I knew by instinct perhaps that if it did not work today, it likely never would. I had exhausted every resource it seemed. I had lied, I had reasoned, I had attempted seduction with horrifying swimsuits and nighties (though I had not really any choice in the matter- that I blamed fully on Alice). None of it had worked. I was at my wits end. Perhaps I should just try them all over again.
The thought popped into my head of something that I hadn't tried before. Compromise. It had become a very effective tool when we'd used it before the wedding. I had been thinking about going to Dartmouth as I knew he was dying for me to go. But, I still wasn't quite sure. That would be a big thing to give up, but big enough that he would give in? I needed to think about it more.
Still, maybe things had changed overnight and he had remembered all of the reasons to be angry. I wasn't sure what would be worse. But, it was probably best to find out.
I opened my eyes to see Edward lying next to me. He had a very tepid expression on his face.
I shifted myself a little so that my head rested on my upraised arm across the pillow. "So..." I began hesitantly. "Good... morning?"
He smiled genially. "Good morning to you too."
Okay, so he did not appear to be angry, I noted with relief. That meant he was going with the ‘everything is fine, there is no way that my wife can seduce me' plan. Well, it irked me a little, but I would have to control that.
"So, you're still not mad, right?" I asked innocently.
"That is correct."
I looked down for a second, tracing my fingers across the pillow in a circle. "And no matter what I do, you're not going to get mad?"
His eyes narrowed suspiciously as he briefly considered that. Then his expression smoothed. "The only reason I would get mad is if you were to hurt yourself in your little attempts, which, if you succeed, I must warn you, I will from then on solder yourself to me so you can't escape."
"Well, there's more than one way to do that," I pointed out. "And if it's the way I'm thinking, I won't complain at all."
"I won't even ask, I'm sure I already know."
"I'll give you a hint: it doesn't involve clothes."
"Yes, I guessed it quite accurately," he sighed. "Why must it be in this area of conversation that I can always read your mind?" he complained.
"Oh, you wish." I scoffed.
"At this particular moment, I don't know that I do."
I sighed. Time to move on to my war tactics. "Well, so before you just admitted to not wanting to see into the inner workings of my heart and soul," -he rolled his eyes- "just remember that you agreed that you would not get upset."
"I won't," he promised, "but what exactly is the reason for this caution?"
"Well, I remembered that..." I paused, biting my lip for a moment, then rushed on. "I hadn't finished my list of logical reasons for us to try again, you see..."
He sighed just a little. "Just how long is this list anyway?"
"Oh, there are millions of reasons, Edward."
"Hmmm, interesting. Isn't there a theory about the converse being equally as true as the supposition? So there also are millions of reasons why we should not try."
"Hey, you're not supposed to get mad, remember!"
"I'm not," he clarified in a very calm voice. "But that doesn't mean I can't argue my point either."
My lips twisted a bit. It would do no good for him to expound on his ridiculous reasons. Well, better to go for an offense rather than a defense.
"Okay," I allowed. "You are entitled to your own opinion, silly and unfounded though it may be. But while I'm talking, I don't want any interruptions." I warned him with a raised eyebrow. He nodded his assent, so I continued on. "Let's see, so I gave you reasons one and two, and in case your perfect photographic memory is not working, may I remind you that they were that we had not experimented sufficiently and also that it was not just one of the test subjects that enjoyed the experiment, but both found it to be satisfactory. So, logical reason number three: it would be beneficial for our mutual health."
He raised an eyebrow sardonically and I saw then that he could only be thinking of the supposed danger such experiments put my health at risk. I rushed on before he could open his mouth to voice it. "Doctors agree that an active sexual life is healthy for couples. Obviously there are physical benefits. For any normal person it keeps their heart rate up, but considering my usual response to your touch, well it's probably the best work out my heart could get- especially considering that I hardly ever exercise at any other time. So there'll be no possibility of clogged arteries or anything like that for me, and also I'll have really good blood pressure. And of course there are emotional benefits as well. It's a very good release from stress, and Edward, I know you may be surprised to hear this, but you tend to overstress sometimes. But I think it's just in your nature, nothing we can do about it really, so it's a good thing we found such an enjoyable antidote for such stress..."
My words trailed off because, though all through out my expostulating he had maintained his calm, tolerant expression, now his gentle smile stretched wider.
"Why do you look so happy right now?" I asked suspiciously. "I'm not complaining, it's just not what I expected. Why aren't you mad?"
His was grinning now. "I'm merely tabulating all of your words. Remember, I said every word on this subject means an extra month of staying human."
Oh. I had forgotten about that lovely piece of information. "What's the tally so far?" I asked sourly.
"You're about 83," he began, pausing to take in my horrified expression with a smile of satisfaction. He continued on. "But, you're also living like a king with all of the extravagant gifts you've incurred. I've bought you a palace closely resembling Versailles to live in, billions of dollars worth of disgustingly gaudy jewelry, and the entire Dartmouth faculty to further your education."
"And cruise ships?" I asked, tightlipped.
"You have a whole armada full of them."
I controlled my panic. I was fairly certain that he was teasing. Well, I could play along. "Well, at least I still get to talk about having sex with you!" I said with an impish wink.
"Ah, 84 and one month and hmmm... what do you say to renaming Spain after you?"
"Oh, you're right. Italy would be more appropriate."
"No, really it will be fine. Bella translates to beauty, so they can't complain too much."
He looked at me serenely, his lips curving into a crooked smile. I stared at him darkly. This was getting ridiculous. My purpose in talking to him about all of this was to get him riled up, or at least some kind of emotion beyond this cool, secure attitude of his. Yet now, here I was the one getting panicked. Why must he win at everything?
"You're interrupting my speech," I reminded him.
"By all means, continue. Just remember that the oldest living person ever recorded was 117 years old. Now, I'm not saying we can't trust that to extend with advances in modern science, but why take a chance? So, just try to keep it to a 396 word maximum."
"As I just explained, and clearly you were not paying attention, we've already found the perfect exercise for me, so I'm sure I'll be in excellent health even at 117," I said sarcastically.
He sighed a little. "Whatever happened to traditional jogging?"
"Oh no, very bad for joint health. You need to go for low impact."
"You know a suspicious amount of knowledge for someone who doesn't exercise. How did you learn all of this?"
"Renee went on a lot of different exercise kicks, and I was her unfortunate test subject..." My voice trailed off slowly because I had just realized that I hadn't thought of my mom, or dad, or anyone else beyond Edward since coming to the island. And I had promised to call her the minute I got here!
"To be continued," I warned him as I flung myself out of bed.
"I haven't called my mom yet. She must be going crazy." I explained as I searched around the room. "Where's your cell phone?"
He tossed it to me -it must have been in his pockets- and then got up himself. "I'll go make breakfast," he whispered as I scrolled to her number.
She picked up after the second ring. "Bella?"
"Mom? I'm so sorry. I know I said I'd call you as soon as I got here, but... well, I guess I forgot."
"Oh honey, it's alright," she reassured me. "That's how honeymoons are supposed to be- busy." She laughed.
I tried to laugh with her. We had been having a busy honeymoon- just not in the way she meant it. My half-hearted chuckle turned into a sigh and I threw a dirty look at Edward, who was cooking breakfast with a very innocent expression on his face.
"Well," she brought me back to the conversation, "so tell me all about Rio, sweetie! Oh I just can't believe Edward took you to South America, on your own island! You know your father just rented a room at the lodge for us," she added a little resentfully.
I certainly did not want to hear anymore about my parents' honeymoon so I began quickly to detail the many things we had been doing on the island since we'd come. She was trying to figure out how she and Phil might ever come down for a visit themselves, of which a major obstacle was my mother's intense fear of airplanes and jungle fever, when she asked me a different question.
"Oh honey, you know the wedding was so hurried and fast, I didn't even get a chance to talk with you about birth control. Do you have everything taken care of? I mean, I myself have always been a fan of the pill, but-"
"Yes, yes Mom, that's all well and taken care of- " I interrupted quickly. This was not as embarrassing as it would have been if Charlie were to be asking me about this- I shuddered at the very thought- but it was a very unnecessary conversation. I had already had this conversation with my mom years ago when it applied to her, so had I needed to, I would have been well-equipped with information. Plus, I didn't want this to remind Edward of things I was "missing out on" for him. I glanced carefully at him now, but his back was turned from me as he continued to cook what looked like very tasty omelets.
"Remember all of the talks we had before on that subject, Mom? I've got it all taken care of."
"Of course, I should have known. But I just wanted to make sure. You may be ready to be a wife, but I don't think I'm ready to be a grandmother."
I laughed outright. Me, pregnant? Ha!
She let me go after eliciting a promise not to wait so long before calling again. I called Charlie after that too, and had a quick, slightly awkward conversation. I mainly wanted to check that he was somehow surviving without a cook, and he admitted that he mainly divvied up his choices between fast food and Billy's.
When I was finished, Edward had everything ready for breakfast. I sat down and partook of the omelety-goodness. I was feeling a touch of sadness now because I was reminded that it would only be phone calls now for my mom and dad. But if I let Edward see that, his own guilt would be ten times larger and that would help nobody.
The omelets were very good and I ate more than my fair share. I ate so much that I wanted more than anything to kick back with a movie and somehow trap Edward. I couldn't say I was exactly averse to exercise though as I was certainly ready for a certain kind of exercise.
But he must have sensed the need to speak up as he took the dishes. "So you wanted to go to the west part of the island today and swim with the porpoises, correct?"
I walked over to the humongous case of DVDs by the large flat screen TV. "Actually," I began slowly. "I was thinking we could watch one of these. You have so many, they're probably feeling downright ignored by now."
He rolled his eyes. "They'll survive, I'm sure. It's the porpoises we should worry about."
"Are you sure?" I lowered my voice to a seductive whisper. "We could pretend its biology class. You probably even have the same movie here, don't you?" I said looking at the massive amounts on each shelf. Then I turned back to him with a smile. "We could even use one of the parrots for a stand in for Mike Newton."
His lips twitched, and I wasn't sure if it was from the idea in general or because he wanted another chance at the parrot, but then he shook his head.
"Really, Bella. I want you to experience all of the island while you can. Let's go to the west coast."
I pouted for a bit, but then remembered that swimming entailed wearing a swimsuit. And as my bruises were all but disappeared, I felt more confident than usual that wearing a swimsuit would be a good thing.
There were still many bikinis that I had yet to try on, but today I felt I needed to go with something tried and true. I remembered that he had seemed to like the red bikini I had worn a few days ago, one that had some kind of magical properties that made it look like I actually had a bustline. Why not test the magic again?
I slipped it on, and indeed, the magic was working. I walked out to put on my sunscreen.
Edward had everything packed and ready and was waiting for me in the living room. I saw his eyes flash to my swimsuit for a tiny second in surprise, then he looked away.
"I just need to put on my sunscreen and then we can go," I told him, squeezing some of the sunscreen into my hand.
I held out an arm and slowly began to rub the lotion into my skin. He leaned against the wall and became suddenly very interested in looking at his shoes. I continued to rub the lotion in leisurely.
"Didn't Alice pack you more swimsuits?" he asked casually.
Aha. So he had noticed. I smiled serenely. "Oh yes, she did. But, I kind of like this one. And, I think, you said you liked it too, right?" I asked innocently.
He looked at me with a knowing look and folded his arms across his chest. He smiled. "I do. Red is a good color on you."
"Thank you," I said, stretching my neck to smooth the lotion onto it.
Just as I was about to move onto my chest, he took the bottle from my hands.
"Why don't I help you?" he offered cheerfully.
"Sure," I readily agreed.
Then, in the space of three seconds, and so quickly that I barely felt the motion of it, he smoothed the lotion over all of me. If I couldn't see the glistening of it on all of my limbs and stomach, I wouldn't have believed it.
I raised my face to glare at him. "Was that really necessary?"
"I always like to be efficient with my time," he replied with a triumphant grin.
"Well, I hope you enjoyed it," I muttered as I hitched on a sarong and began to walk out of the house.
He put an arm lightly around my shoulders. "I always like to be of use to you, love."
"Oh good. Because there is something else that you could help me out with."
"I do have some limits of course," he quickly backtracked.
"Oh, but this really demonstrates logical reason number four."
"And that would be?" he asked hesitantly.
"Intimacy is a very effective means of showing affection for your spouse."
"Well, if I felt only an affection for you, Bella, then I suppose that would be a good suggestion. But seeing as I burn with an eternal, insurmountable and all-consuming love for you, there's really no way to properly show it."
We reached the west coast and saw the porpoises still swimming playfully around. Edward set down our things and, taking me by the hand, stepped forward into the water.
The minute his body touched the water, the porpoises scattered, shrieking and ducking out of sight.
"Ah," he said quietly. "Apparently their sense of danger is much stronger than some of the other animals." He turned to me with a slight smile. "I suppose I'll have to sit this one out."
"No, Edward," I protested. "I don't want you to sit all by yourself. That can't be much fun. Let's find something else to do."
"It's fine, love," he reassured me, stroking his fingers across my cheekbone. "You go play with them. I never tire of watching you." He glanced down briefly at my chest and I thought I saw a look of worry cross his face.
Hmmm, perhaps watching me in my magic bust-enhancing bikini from afar could be just the thing to make him finally crumble.
"Okay," I agreed hesitantly. "But tell me if you get bored. I still need to educate you on logical reasons five, six, and seven..."
"Go. Please. Take all the time you want," he groaned.
I swam further out into the water. There were only slight waves, nothing too strong to make it difficult to swim in, even for me. After a few minutes, the porpoises started to come back.
I played with them, watching as they did little somersaults around me, and making cute, little squeaky noises. Edward watched me from the shoreline, and he did seem to be enjoying it, too. But I could not see if my bikini had anything to do with that enjoyment.
I played for a few hours, even after lunch, because the porpoises were just so darn cute. The sun lowered in the sky eventually and the tide started to come in. It made the waters a bit rougher.
I was just about to head back when a particularly high wave caught me from behind and dragged me under. It rolled me around for a few seconds before I felt Edward's arms around me.
We broke the surface of the water, with me coughing and spluttering as he held me tightly in his arms.
"Bella! Are you alright?"
"Yes," I choked out. I had swallowed a lot of sea water in surprise and it burned in my throat.
"Please, please tell me you were not trying to make that happen," he asked through his teeth.
I stared at him. Well, okay, maybe I hadn't been above that in the past, but I certainly had not been planning that. "I swear," I told him seriously.
Apparently he believed me. "Oh, Bella," he breathed, holding me tighter to him and burying his face in my hair. Then he was suddenly kissing my neck, along my cheek, and then my lips. "Never, ever, do that to me again."
"Okay," I mumbled in between kisses, threading my fingers into his hair.
He continued to kiss me, his relief at my rescue making his kisses urgent and enthusiastic. The water around us made his body, impossible though it may seem, silkier than usual. My hands could not be stopped from smoothing all over him, his arms, the planes of his chest. But he pulled away, all too quickly, his cheek pressing against mine, breathing hard. I wondered if he was trying to hide his expression from me, but when he turned, his face was smooth. Keeping me tightly encased in his arms, he turned around to walk us out of the water.
"Where are we going?" I asked breathlessly.
"Home," he said, his voice low. "No more swimming alone for you." He took a deep breath. "And it's about time to start dinner."
He must have thought that my bad luck had returned in full force because he did not let me go until we reached the house. I was bordering depression again now. I realized as we walked that I had very few options left. Even being a damsel in distress- when not even planning it- had not fully worked. What else could I do?
Then I remembered about the compromise we could make. I would do it. I didn't care if he demanded that I get straight A's and majored in rocket science.
After dinner, I went to the suitcase and searched through the piles of lingerie. No billowy white satins tonight. I picked out what looked like one of the scariest pieces of the bunch, gripping it in my hands. It would be awful, absolutely terrifying; I would not allow myself to even look in the mirror with it on. But if it finally worked, I would forever thank my lucky stars that Alice packed me this particular piece of lingerie. I was determined. Tonight, I was going to win.
After the third "try".
"So, I was wondering..." I asked, laying my head on his chest as I snuggled closer to him. "Just how effective were my little attempts at seduction anyway?"
"Extremely effective," he almost groaned.
"Really." He smiled. "As if you didn't know that already."
"Um, newsflash, Edward. Your lying skills have not decreased with marriage. In fact, I think you've followed the pattern of all human males and your lies have increased with matrimony."
"I tried my best," he admitted. "But even my superior skills were no match for the powers of your seduction, Mrs. Cullen," he murmured, brushing his lips lightly against my throat.
"That's a relief," I breathed, trying to control my heart rate. I needed answers first, and then we could get in some more practice time. "But, really, which ones were the most effective?"
"Is this for future plotting purposes?" he asked, a smile in his voice.
"You never know with you, Edward. I've adopted the boyscout motto, and will always ‘be prepared' from now on."
"I don't think I'll be rescinding anything anytime soon," he promised, his fingers trailing along a collarbone.
"But you still didn't tell me. Let me see if I can guess. I have a hunch that you enjoyed a certain red swimsuit, right?"
"Yes, I did indeed enjoy it," he agreed, a slight hesitancy in his tone that implied there was something more.
"But...?" I prodded.
"But, I don't know that it was one of the top moments of seduction for me."
"Okay. Um, what about when you took me out of the shower. Let me point out that this was not an actual act of seduction by me, because that was all your fault. But it would be good to know if it was effective for future purposes."
"Yes, that was very tempting," he paused, then smiled again at me. "But still not the most tempting."
My forehead creased. "Okay, just tell me because I have no idea."
He laughed and brought a hand up to smooth some strands of hair from my forehead. "You remember how I told you you've been incredibly still during the night?"
"Yes, which is all your own fault for traipsing me across the island so much..."
"True. I am to blame for that. And thus it would have been entirely my fault had I given in during such times of utter temptation."
"What do you mean?" I asked, confused.
"Well," he explained slowly, almost embarrassed. "I'm so used to hearing you talking in your sleep, and more often than not sighing my name. And then, to endure six nights without a single sigh- and let me remind you that you slept very long nights- it reminded me of all the ways I could induce such sighs." Here he sighed himself. "You very nearly had me there. If you hadn't attacked me last night, I very well might have attacked you in a similar manner."
It took me a minute to fully comprehend.
"I almost won... while I was asleep?"
"While I was completely unconscious?"
"Are you sure you have human instincts? Because thus far, they've all been completely backwards," I grumbled.
"Believe me, they're there." He winked.
"You need to give me another example. And one where I'm conscious, please."
"Well, do you remember, the day of our little treaty actually, and I put the sunscreen on you?"
"Yes," I said cautiously.
"There you were, standing there, looking immensely beautiful with very little clothing on, and I had to caress the very soft skin of your back. That alone was dangerous enough that when I had finished I was deeply torn. And then, you just walked away, like it was nothing at all." He tsked.
"So I'm starting to see a pattern here. You find me most seductive when I'm not trying to be?" I asked with narrowed eyes.
"Look how smart you are. You see, I told you you're Dartmouth material."
"Yes, and I'll be changing my thesis paper to ‘Vampires: the weird and completely incomprehensible inner workings of their minds'."
"Is it really that incomprehensible?" he asked with a smile.
I tried to explain it right. "It means that I have no control over... how much you want me."
His face became soft and his eyes liquid as he looked at me. "You have much too much control over that. So much so, that it's unconscious. Don't you see? More than the lingerie and swimsuits, which I'll admit were quite distracting, it was the times when you didn't seem interested that would have conquered me. I'm so used to you always wanting me, always being so eager in that department, that it completely disabled my resolve when you weren't acting that way. I knew I shouldn't since I thought that it wasn't possible, but the selfish, human instincts in me became utterly desolated to see that you could be so blithe over the situation. You weren't being you- and the way that you are is what I love. It made me want desperately to hear those things, to see you want me too. Those were always the times when I was ready to break my promise because I was so desperate to see your usual reactions."
"But I wasn't acting uninterested when I attacked you last night. How come I finally won?"
"That is because I was simply insane by that point."
Oh. So, he had been struggling the most when he thought I didn't want him? Note to self: reverse psychology is the key to unlocking Edward's defenses.
"Aha! So, you do want to hear my dirty thoughts after all?" I grinned.
"Well, I wouldn't mind if I could hear your thoughts during a practice session," he murmured, tightening his arms around me.
"Who knows?" I shrugged. "Don't believe in impossible anymore when it comes to what you want, Edward. Maybe someday you'll get your wish. After all, I got mine."
And I brought his lips victoriously to mine.