Outtake - The Dip

Timeframe: Hadward and Bella's trip to the beach.

Bella POV

"And nachos?" I asked, scanning the menu. "And do they make a fresh juice this late at night? Something with apples, cucumber, and kale? Oooh, and the Mediterranean platter?"

I felt like I'd run a marathon. I felt like I should have stretched first, or done some jumping jacks to warm up. My arms could hardly hold the room service menu without shaking, my thighs ached, and I felt a little lightheaded.

"They'll prepare whatever you ask," Edward said, picking up the hotel phone.

He seemed so confident, but I doubted it. That wasn't how room service worked.

"Good evening, Mr. Cullen," I heard on the other end of the line.

"Don't forget the kale," I whispered.

Edward put his hand over the phone. "I'm not having them make the hellish brimstone concoction you like to drink."

"I'm not asking for the horseradish. Just kale." I batted my eyes and slid my hand underneath the covers. "And cucumbers, and apple," I whispered, my lips against his ear, my hand running up his thigh, right in the direction of —

Edward shuddered. A little. And placed his hand over mine, stilling me. "Isabella, unless you want me to hang up this phone and have sex with you for the remainder of the evening instead of feeding you..."

It was tempting. But then my stomach growled, and I removed my hand and tried to focus. "Don't forget the nachos."

"Do you have any taramasalata?" he asked whoever was on the other end of the phone.

"I'm sure we could whip up some... Hey, Jim, I've got Mr. Cullen in the penthouse on the line. Pull up, what did you want, Mr. Cullen?"

"Taramasalata. And have them prepare some moussaka as well. And courgette balls."

I shook my head at his last request. "That's where I draw the line, Edward. I'm not putting anyone's balls in my mouth tonight but yours."

He cocked an eyebrow at me, then looked between my lips and peeked under the covers in the general direction of, well... his balls. He was hot when he acted ridiculous. It was enough to make me want to do just what I'd suggested. Right then and there.

"Scratch the balls," he told the guy on the phone, who I was pretty sure I could distinctly hear laughing on the other end of the line. Although Edward seemed oblivious to it. "Bring some baklava instead."

"Hey, don't forget the nachos," I said, sliding the room service menu under his nose, kissing his cheek.

Edward ordered the nachos, and also proceeded to list off about half of everything else they had to offer.

"And Isabella would like a fresh squeezed green juice concoction made with—" He handed the phone off to me.

"Kale, cucumber, green apple, and do you have fresh horseradish?" I asked the guy on the other end.

Edward peered at me disapprovingly. I shrugged my shoulders and giggled. Before I knew what was happening, I was on my back with Edward on top of me, wrestling the phone from my hands.

"And an ice cream sundae?" I asked. "With whipped cream?"

"And add a canister of whipped cream," Edward said over the receiver, peeling the sheet away and gazing at my chest.

"Hey, that's not what I —"

"You don't mind having your body coated with sand, but you object to having your beautiful, perky nipples covered in whipped cream?" he asked.

"Uh..."

"There's a large shower in the other room where you could wash off afterward, but if whipped cream is a hard no, I can have them remove it from the list."

"You can have them, um, keep it on," I mumbled, my face suddenly burning.

"Isabella's game for the whipped cream. No need to remove it from the order," he said to the freakin' room service people.

"Very good, Mr. Cullen."

I felt the blush rising in my face, and he told them, "Better make it two canisters."

"Oh my god."

"You're right, Isabella. I'm yours."

"What?"

Edward chuckled - a low, melodious sound that made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. He held the phone out of my reach as I tried to grab for it, and as he fell backwards, I leaned into him. My naked body pressed against his was enough to make me think, maybe I could put off eating.

"Anything else?" the server asked.

"I can think of several other things I'd like to try this evening, but I have everything I need for those pursuits right here."

"Okay, then, um, we'll have this up to you as soon as possible, Mr. Cullen," the server on the other end of the receiver told him. And then, Edward's face became a bit more serious as he pulled the sheet away from my body.

"Take your time," he said as he hung up the phone.

"But Edward, I'm hungry."

"So am I," he said, climbing over me and peering into my eyes.

I bit my lip a little, as Edward stared down at me. Everything about him made me nervous and comfortable at once. Everything about him made me feel like I was in danger and completely safe, like I needed to fling myself at him and also over the edge of the balcony, all at the same time.

Everything about Edward Cullen made me feel totally, completely alive.

"I had some plans about how we might pass the time before they bring our food," he murmured, nipping at my ear.

"Yeah?" I asked.

"But perhaps you also had plans."

"I did?"

"I believe you just made me remove courgette from our menu. I'm curious."

xXxXx

When the soft knock on our door came, I hadn't dreamed I'd need to explain to Edward the appropriate way to answer the door for room service. Not until he slipped out of the bed. Completely and unapologetically naked.

"Edward," I called out to him, but he was already at the door.

As he pulled it open, I covered my eyes.

"Yes?" I heard him ask the poor delivery person. It was only then I decided to peek between my fingers. And holy angels in heaven, Edward's ass was sheer perfection.

The hotel worker's eyes were wide with wonder as he took in the god-like physique that suddenly materialized before him. Apparently, he thought the front of Edward wasn't so bad either. I had to agree. From a distance, and also up close and personal.

"Umm," the young man couldn't stop staring as he held the bill out for Edward. Finally, he shook his head and worked very diligently to keep his eyes looking above the waist.

"Is this everything?" Edward asked, inspecting two entire carts piled with platters and dishes. And two canisters of whipped cream. Just like he'd asked.

"Absolutely," the boy answered. "It's a lot."

"We've worked up quite an appetite."

"No doubt," the guy said, looking everywhere but at Edward. And that's when he spotted me in bed with sheets clutched up to my neck. I gasped and pulled the covers over my head.

"Her beauty rivals Aphrodite's, does it not?" I heard Edward ask.

"I'm sure," came the boy's reply.

"Yet she's quite modest," Edward said, and then… "Isabella, come here and show this delivery person your full beauty."

"I don't think so, Edward," I called from underneath the bedding. My voice cracking with nerves. My skin prickling with embarrassment.

"It's okay, sir. I'm sure she's really pretty."

I pulled the sheets down a little, enough to see how Edward stood there, almost proud. It was the server who was blushing. For just a second, I was tempted to slip out of the bed, like Edward had asked. If he could do it, I probably could too. But then I caught the nervous, yet eager look in server's eyes, and no, I definitely could not.

"Pretty is an insult," Edward advised him with obvious annoyance. "She's beyond perfection."

"I mean, I'm sorry, sir. If you want me to look at your, um, Aphrodite naked, I totally will. I guess. Whatever you want, really. The customer's always right. Right?"

"Really not necessary!" I tried to call out to him as loud as my voice would allow. "All good here. Edward, pay the man and let him go, please?"

"Of course. Wait here. I have plenty of money."

Edward casually walked across the room, took his time finding his jeans behind the couch, then pulled out a roll of bills. "Three hundred should cover it. Yes?"

"Oh, no, it's —" Our delivery person tried not to take it, but I really needed him to go.

"It's perfect," I told him. "Please just take the money and go."

"Well… um, thanks!" The boy finally took the money and practically ran away before Edward could realize what he'd given him. Only Edward always realized what he was giving people.

"You really should celebrate the beauty you are more often, Isabella. The poor boy will go through life thinking absolutely mundane things are completely acceptable because you haven't set the bar properly," Edward said, pulling away the blanket, then the sheet, until I was just as naked as he was.

"Are you a nudist?"

He gave me a strange, confused look. Like he didn't know what I was asking. "I'm a realist."

"Realists walk around in the nude?"

"I'm sure they do. At least some of the time." He took my hand and pulled me out of the bed. And as I stood before him, he caressed my breasts, my cheek, my lips… blatantly watching my reaction to every touch, every look.

And I liked it.

I couldn't help noticing his body's reaction. I was pretty certain he liked it too.

"You're glorious when you're aroused, Isabella."

"If I'm glorious, you're a thousand times more."

He cupped my cheek then and dipped his head until our lips were touching. So softly I thought I would explode into a million tiny pieces if he didn't give me more.

More of him.

More of us.

More of everything.

"You should eat," he whispered, leaving a trail of kisses from my lips to just behind my ear.

"What?" I asked, practically panting.

He picked me up in his arms effortlessly, and I wrapped my legs around his waist. Eating could wait.

At least I thought it could. Until my stomach growled again.

Edward heard it too, and he sat me down into one of the chairs at our small hotel table. Then he rolled the carts over to me and began pulling the lids off the plates like it was perfectly normal to just sit in the nude and have dinner. Or a midnight snack.

What time was it again?

"Where's the juice?" I asked.

Edward wrinkled his nose as he passed me a large glass of glorious, green liquid. "Smells like the Styx," he said.

"Really?" I asked, holding the glass toward him.

Edward sniffed and nodded.

"Well, then I think the Styx smells amazing," I said, and gratefully took a big sip, nearly missing the huge grin plastered on Edward's face as he watched me intently.

I folded a hand across my chest, trying to muster some kind of modesty.

"What did I just tell you?" he asked. "You're magnificent, Isabella. There's no need to hide yourself."

I kept sipping the juice as I lowered a shaky hand.

"Much better."

He helped himself to a piece of the bread that came on its own plate, then dipped it into some sort of a spread he'd ordered. He hummed as he bit into it. And I nearly spilled juice down my naked, magnificent body.

"I don't believe I've had taramasalata in a millennia," Edward murmured.

I giggled. "I feel that way sometimes about Mom's chile rellenos."

"When was the last time you had taramasalata?" he wondered.

"Um, never?" Nor could I pronounce it.

"We must remedy that situation immediately."

He took another piece of bread and scooped the tara...whatever it was onto it. Then reached across the table and waited for me to take a bite.

"What is it? Exactly?" I asked, hesitant to try it at first.

"It's what your taste buds have been waiting for their whole life, Isabella. Close your eyes and concentrate on the balance of sour, salt, and savory flavors, the contrasting textures. Part those plump lips for me?"

And I did. But not so much because I was ready to try something new. More because of the way Edward's eyes seem to entrance me when he looked at me the way he did.

"Mmm… it's not bad. What is it again?"

"Salted, cured carp roe."

"What?" I asked, jumping from the table, sputtering.

Edward laughed. "You don't like it?"

"I don't like any of those words you just said. They sound a million times worse than it tastes."

"Do you like it, then?" he asked, pulling me closer. "You like my food?"

"I'm pretty sure this is the hotel's food. I mean, sure you bought it, and so I guess it's technically yours, but…" But then I caught the look in Edward's eyes and bit my bottom lip. "I do, Edward. I like your food. I think I like everything about you."

He tugged at my hand and I was on his lap.

He licked his lips and I was lost in them. Lost in this whole thing. Him. Me. Us. I could stay here forever, watching the moon, and the stars, listening to the sounds of the beach town we were in. Watching people stroll and laugh together. Strolling and laughing with Edward.

The waves crashed outside against the sand down below, and suddenly, I felt a surge of desire rising up inside me. I had an idea. A very bad, terrific, wonderful idea. Since we were already naked after all. And I couldn't believe I was about to ask Edward to do it. But I was pretty sure this time of night, we wouldn't have an audience. Not that Edward would have cared if we did.

"You ever try skinny dipping?" I asked.

"Is it a vegetarian dish? Like baba ganoush? I can pick up the telephone and order it if you'd like. They'll prepare whatever you ask."

I couldn't help laughing; and I couldn't help but notice how it felt to laugh naked in Edward's lap.

Good.

It felt really… really good.

Despite that, I slid off him and took his hand, pulling him up with me. "Come on."

"You haven't finished eating."

I looked down at the food. Suddenly, my stomach wasn't growling anymore. "It'll keep."

As we crossed the room, completely nude, I remembered one more thing. "But first," I told Edward as I grabbed the bathrobes we hadn't worn yet and handed one to him. "Not everyone is a realist around here."

xXxXx

In the elevator ride down to the first floor, Edward's eyes never left me. It was almost like he was afraid of me, or that he was still hungry and wanted to eat me, but neither of those things could have been right. It must have been the idea of skinny dipping, or more likely his fear of sand. I took his hand in mine.

"You trust me?" I asked.

"With my kingdom."

"Good, because I trusted you enough to let you feed me fermented fish eggs. Believe me, skinny dipping is going to be way better."

"Than taramasalata?" he asked dubiously. "Are you certain?"

I slid my arms around Edward's waist and gazed up at him. "As certain as I am that we're not putting on anything more than a bathrobe until we check out of this hotel."

Edward pulled the tie on my robe, and I stood back as it gaped open. He didn't look frightened anymore.

"Take it off," he murmured.

I checked the corners for security cameras, considering his request. Command? But then the elevator dinged, and the doors started to open, and I pulled the robe closed.

Downstairs, we found an exit that wouldn't force us to cross the lobby while basically unclothed. Outside, there was a light breeze bringing with it the fresh, briny smell of the ocean. The beach was quiet. Serene. The moon shone down on the water like a spotlight, and the waves moved with perfect, song-like synchronicity.

The best part was, there wasn't a soul in sight. I breathed a little easier knowing that bit of information.

Edward hesitated before stepping onto the sand.

"I promise the end result of this trip across the dunes will be worth it."

"I trust you, Isabella," he said, and then cautiously placed a foot on the beach and let me guide him to the waves.

At the edge of the water, I took one last glance around. When I was satisfied no one was lurking anywhere around us, I steeled myself, and I dropped my robe.

"Gorgeous," Edward whispered in a low voice, letting his robe fall as well. "Finally owning your beauty for all the gods to see."

I shook my head at him and rolled my eyes. And as I went to dip a toe into the water, he took my arm and held me back.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm going in."

"Why?"

"We're going to skinny dip."

"In there?" He pointed.

"Um, that's generally how you skinny dip, Edward. It's the dip part of skinny dipping."

His mouth turned down and he took a small step backwards. "I'm not going in there."

"You're not afraid of the water, are you?" I'd pretty much decided there wasn't anything Edward was afraid of. Besides sand. "Because there's nothing to be scared of. Watch."

I went in a few feet and stopped short to catch my breath. "Oh my god, it's cold."

"Isabella," Edward called out, a tad panicked. He tried to grab for me again, but he missed this time.

"It'll warm up. I'll get used to it," I said, dodging away from him and jumping a little, wading up to my knees. "You've really never done this before? I figured this would be old hat for a nudi… I mean a realist like you," I said, looking him over. Naked, in the moonlight, Edward was breathtaking. The moonbeams accentuated the long lines of his muscles, and made him stand out against the rippling, black water around him. For a second, I considered giving up, and just running back and pulling him down onto the sand.

But then, as though he'd had some sort of inner pep talk with himself, Edward took a first, tentative step toward me.

The cold water didn't seem to affect him at all, as he waded out to meet me. He didn't flinch; he didn't shiver. But he still seemed suspicious in general. He searched the waves, and he narrowed his eyes a few times, but finally, he became a little more comfortable.

"Not much of a swimmer?" I asked, wading in deeper, coaxing him farther. Lazy waves lapped higher, over my tummy, over my breasts. I watched Edward's body slowly slipping beneath the water.

"This doesn't resemble the waters where I'm from."

"Freshwater kind of guy, huh?"

"I wouldn't call it that," he said, again, frowning at the waves.

"What? Were you raised near The Dead Sea, or something?" I asked.

"Something."

"Are you trying to sound mysterious?"

He moved closer to me. "I'm trying to understand what your fascination is with this skinny dipping, to be truthful."

"Hmm… Let me show you," I said, finally letting Edward catch up with me, then wrapping my arms around his shoulders. "You know, in the water, we're weightless," I explained, wrapping my legs around his waist.

"To me, you're always weightless," he told me quietly, while he slipped a hand around me. "But I suppose I understand why you would like it here." He peeked around at the vastness of the ocean. "It's quite breathtaking, truthfully." He found my eyes again. "Much like you."

"Like every minute with you," I said. "I can't believe I'm doing this."

"You've never stood naked in the ocean before?"

I shook my head. "I never ran away with a stalker. I never lined up twelve Jonas Brothers beach towels. I never got room service naked. I never left a hotel room without my clothes. I've never done any of this, and I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I'm doing it with you."

Edward pushed some wet hair away from where it stuck to my neck. "I'm quite glad you did as well." And he peered down at my collarbone as though determined about something. And then very slowly, he lowered his head and kissed me there. His lips were hot like fire and a low murmur escaped his mouth as he pressed a bit more.

Or maybe it was me.

As he moved along my jaw, so cautiously, I thought the sky above me would open up and swallow me whole. He paused, only momentarily, and yet, it seemed like forever before he finally found my lips. When he did, I parted them, letting our tongues touch and our bodies explode with need.

His hands moved deliberately as he pulled and pinched. Kneaded and stroked. My breathing quickened.

I took a few steps deeper into the waters, and Edward moved with me fluidly.

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" he asked.

"I've never been more sure of anything. Follow me."

"Anywhere."

I giggled. "Okay, sure. For now, just follow me in a little deeper."

I stepped out farther into the water, until I almost couldn't touch the bottom anymore. Edward followed. But when he caught up to me this time, he seemed to be back to being nervous about the ocean. "Isabella—"

"Shhh." I slipped a hand around his neck and put a finger to his lips, then I kissed him. "I don't think you quite understand the allure of skinny dipping. Let me show you?"

"Up until tonight I thought only a siren could tempt men into dark water. Are you a siren, Isabella?"

"Edward?"

"Yes?"

"Stop talking."

And with that, our mouths closed in on each other and I slipped a hand down between us, stroking him into a hum I could have sworn was more of a growl. A hum, which seemed to make the water vibrate around us and seemed to make the stars shake in the sky. I climbed into his arms so I could rain kisses along his neck, behind his ear.

"Do you know what you're asking?" he murmured.

"Absolutely," I said, lowering myself as he held me in his arms. And there, with him inside me, and the moon overhead, and all of the Pacific Ocean around us, I was sure I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

"Bella," he whispered. Murmured. Hummed. As we moved together. I wrapped my arms around his neck, holding him as close as humanly possible. "Bella," he moaned.

"Yes," I cried. Damn near cried at the perfect way it felt for him to be inside me.

"Fuck."

He pushed harder. And I welcomed every thrust. But I wanted more. The sounds coming from his lips were desperate. And so was I. And for a second, I wanted gravity back, I wanted my full weight, so I could drive him inside, so I could feel the force when our bodies came together. And it was as if Edward knew, or heard me, or was maybe inside my mind because in one sleek, fluid motion, he pulled me against him and I felt it. I felt all of it. All of him.

As I came, the world around us disappeared. The ocean stilled, waves suspended. I saw Edward's eyes, lit with fire. I felt flames burning underneath my skin. I heard stars singing and the wind howling. I wanted it to last forever. And I held onto the white-hot ecstasy for as long as I could as Edward held me firmly in his grasp.

We stayed like that for a while. Just breathing, wading, holding, kissing… I mentioned breathing, right? Because sometimes I thought, it seemed like I'd forgotten how.

I rested my head on Edward's shoulder for a bit and watched the sky, wondering how it could dance and celebrate the way it does when I'm with him.

I'm sure it had never done that before. Not until the two of us came together. The universe reveled in our own, private magic.

But then again, nothing had been the same since I met him.

xXxXx

"I think I like this skinny dipping, Isabella. We should visit the beach more often," Edward said, picking our robes up off the sand and shaking them out. Neither of us bothered to put them on.

"I agree. I could get used to this." I imagined the two of us, old and gray, still here every year. Still skinny dipping. And I held his hand as we strolled over the dunes.

"You didn't answer me when I asked if you were a siren," he said, spinning me like we were on a dance floor.

"Have you been with many sirens?" I asked. The world spun. Stars glittered.

He shook his head. "Not a one."

"I was about to get jealous."

"You have nothing to be jealous of, Isabella," he said, his eyes raking over my body. I resisted the urge to cover my chest and hold my hands over myself, and instead, I let my body bathe in the moonlight. I let him see me.

"You may not be a siren, but I could swear you were a goddess," he murmured, reaching for the tip of a breast. A hip. Between my thighs.

I felt my cheeks go warm, despite the chilly night air.

"Ahem," a voice said, and I jumped. I hadn't realized we were already back by door we'd snuck out of, out behind the hotel. I spun around to find our server leaning against the wall, a cigarette in his hand.

My first instinct was to hide behind Edward, but instead, I took a deep breath and stood tall and proud, all the while gazing into Edward's eyes. He wrapped an arm securely around my waist.

"Mr. Cullen, Aphrodite," the server said, with a nod of his head.

"I told you she was beautiful," Edward said to the man. "More exquisite than any divinity in existence. Don't you think?"

And he took me into his arms and kissed me.

When Edward finally let me go, the server was gone. I half wondered if I'd imagined the whole thing. Edward smiled down at me. "Skinny dipping was a fabulous idea, Isabella. Thank you."

"We should get back inside so you can wash off this sand," I said, brushing at the little grains that had dried to Edward's forearms.

"What sand?" he asked, continuing into the hotel, our robes in his hand, as though we were two realists who hadn't a care in the world.

I smiled.

There was hope for Edward yet.

For both of us.


A/N: Thanks so much to Di White for stepping in and beta'ing for us. Happy New Year, everyone! Stay tuned for more co-authored fics in 2020.