One year later
Deep inside the pulsing, golden core of Seville, the longest night of the Holy Week felt truly unending. People had poured out of their homes and into the streets, ready for the processions that would last until the break of dawn. The air was permeated with the scent of bitter orange trees in full floom, burnt tobacco, spilled olive oil and molten beeswax. Everywhere we looked, we saw the religious brotherhoods in their capirote hats, making their way across the crowded streets, carrying flowers and candles and statues.
We had been here for a week at this point. It seemed that Bella particularly enjoyed the livelihood of this city. She said she had never seen something like this in her life - although several cases could be made for Buenos Aires, Tokyo, New York and many other places we had visited in the past six months. But I had grown accustomed to the way she would deem every new city her 'absolute favourite city in the world'.
But here, under the blossoming orange tree where we had taken shelter, I could understand why she never wanted to leave this place. I could hold her in my arms and watch the lazy movement of the crowds all night.
"It can't get better than this," she murmured, making herself more comfortable in my lap.
From afar, a cheapjack spotted us under the tree and started making his way to us, seeing a possible opportunity.
"Pretty rose for beautiful lady?" he checked the waters in a broken English, smiling widely.
I had seen him being refused by several men in the last half an hour. He was carrying at least fifty roses with him, selling them for almost nothing.
"I'll buy all the roses, sir," I let him know, reaching for my wallet.
His eyes widened and he started thanking me, telling me that he could make me an offer, so that I could pay less. I raised one hand to stop him in the tracks, as I handed him the money. He gasped when he realized that it was double the amount he had expected. It took him another five minutes to thank me and tell us about his wife and kids waiting for him at home. In the end, he disappeared in the crowd, leaving us alone.
"Thank you for the roses," Bella said, placing a small kiss on my cheek. "Although you really didn't have to."
"You need to learn to let me spoil you every now and then, love."
"There are a couple of things I wouldn't mind letting you spoil me with."
As if to prove her words, she pushed her round bottom against me - I didn't need much to get hard, but the knowledge that she only had her red linen dress on, without anything else underneath, was enough to spur my senses.
I grabbed her hips and pushed her down, against my erection. She grinded back and forth a few times, before telling me:
"Careful there, you don't want to lose the game."
"Sweetheart, you're going to lose so bad you'll be begging me to have mercy with you."
This was no ordinary game. We had invented it a few months ago, when we were roaming the streets of Cairo, and we had been playing it whenever we went out. The rules were simple and involved a questionable amount of teasing. Basically, both of us would go out of our way to arouse the other, without kissing and especially without ever going all the way. The other had to resist the teasing - or cave and lose. Whoever won decided the punishment for the loser. Invariably, the punishment was always sexual in nature; unsurprisingly, it made us both feel as if we had won.
"Shall I remind you of the score?" I whispered in her ear.
As a general rule, I had better control than she did, if only for the fact that I had to resist her charm for so long in her human days. So naturally, I was way ahead of her.
"That won't change the fact that you are dying to fuck me right now," she responded. "And you can't."
"What a convoluted way to tell me you want my cock in your mouth."
Bella groaned, obviously frustrated, but did not contradict me. Her arousal was not as obvious as mine, but I could feel it tinging the air with its sweetness. By the end of this night, I would be buried so deep inside her I wouldn't even know the way out.
The crowds kept pouring around us, singing and chanting, making their way through the narrow streets. We watched them move and, every once in a while, Bella would sit up from my lap to offer flowers to the women passing by. At some point, she asked me if we could join the processions. Eager to do whatever she wanted, I accepted immediately.
Surrounded by people from every angle, my throat was aching. It had been a week since we had last hunted, making the discomfort noticeable, but still bearable. Bella gave no signs of feeling anything but fantastic as she followed the people ahead of her.
It had not been easy, but I had learned to let her exist without constantly supervising her every move, slowly letting go of the fear that she might break and do something she might regret. At first, it burned me from the inside out. But as more and more months passed incident-free, I started to understand that she could hold her own without my help. If I had to be honest, I had grown more in the last year than I had in a century.
It wasn't the kind of learning I had experienced during my long life; no books or manuals or classes or exams had been involved, but rather honest discussions. As it turned out, there was no better way to solve underlying conflicts than simply talking about them, even when it hurt. Especially when it hurt.
We hadn't forgotten Nellie. We couldn't. The pain eventually subsided, being replaced by longing. Alice would monitor her through her visions, checking if she was okay on a weekly basis for my sake. This way, I could see her going on missions before Aro even got the chance to send her. I could see her getting more and more control over her power, to the point in which she could decide exactly whose power she could take.
I could also see her getting more and more intrigued with Chelsea's and Corin's powers and slowly taking them away from them, trying to plant chaos in the coven from within - and Aro never confronted her, since he was under her spell as well. I could see her putting Jane on her ass when she felt like it minutes before it happened. But mostly, I could see her going through the motions, not quite content with this new life.
Carlisle had advised me and Bella countless times against trying to pay her a visit. He knew that this would only stir things further - and a new conflict with the Volturi was the last thing our family needed. He simply told us to have patience. And I might have had a harder time having patience if it hadn't been for the vision Alice had had a few nights before Bella and I left Glasgow to travel the world for our second honeymoon.
It had not been a new vision. It was the very same image she had seen back in Taipei. An image of Bella, Nellie and me on a deserted beach, under a full moon. Bella and Nellie running and playing. Me watching them contentedly from the sand. She hadn't had it again after that - but she didn't have to, because it had been enough to give me and my wife new hope. And where there was hope, there was strength to move on without crumbling.
Besides, Bella knew how to keep me in check. If she sensed any change within my behaviour - and God, this woman could sense absolutely everything, as if she had a special radar built in just for me - she would postpone anything and everything just so that we could talk. After decades of keeping things in, this was different - so different, in fact, that I was still getting accustomed to it.
Traveling the world together helped as well - it felt right to leave the supernatural troubles behind and simply be us. We had to be careful, of course, by hunting regularly and avoiding sunlight at all costs. But these worries felt just like an afterthought as long as I got to roam the world with Bella's hand in mine.
In the middle of this Sevillian crowd, I could not help but fawn over my wife. She looked as beautiful as ever in her red dress, mingling with the crowd and pulling me after her. It felt pleasantly normal to just exist in this perfect piece of the eternity with her. There was nobody coming after us. No reason for us to return home anytime soon.
"Don't fall behind!" she said, turning around to obliterate me with her smile.
I followed her, hopelessly in love - with her, with this city, with this life. Getting lost on the streets of Spain, in the middle of a religious festivity, had never been on my bucket list, yet I found myself wondering how that could ever be.
The mob was heading to the Cathedral of Seville. When Bella least expected it, I pulled her to the side and turned right on a smaller pedestrian street, from where the sound of a guitar and castanets resonated. She accepted the detour with a giggle, not questioning it one bit. The street was flanked with taperías and taverns on either side. I didn't think twice about entering the one that had a live band singing on the terrace and people dancing around the small stage.
I motioned Bella to wait for me as I went inside to buy several drinks, so that our presence there could be somewhat justified. When I returned, she was waiting for me at a table. Leaving the bottles on the tabletop, I stretched my arm in front of her.
"May I have the honour, love?" I asked.
"You don't think you can handle one dance with me?"
"Fine, but just one dance."
The band was playing an old bolero song when she stood up, raising her eyebrows in defiance at me. I led her to the swarm of dancers, savouring the way the honeyed lavender of her fragrance blended with the scent of sangria from the tables.
Bella allowed herself to lean into a pirouette when I directed her with my hands to do so, before arriving in my arms.
"You're evil," she groaned.
"You're beautiful. Just follow my lead."
With my hands on her hips, it felt natural to move to the warm rhythm with her. She seemed puzzled - not in the clumsy way she might have looked in her past life, but rather in a way that confirmed to me that she was not aware of how sensual she looked without even trying.
I adored the way Bella spun with me, moving her hips with more and more resolve with each new chorus. Seeing her like this did unspeakable things to my body and mind. I could do nothing else but smile as she allowed herself to forget about her dance aversion and to simply enjoy this never ending night with me.
At this point, there was no difference between us and the human couples surrounding us from every angle. The night was still young and most people here would not know the comfort of sleeping too soon, much like us.
"You're a natural," I complimented her.
"As my husband, you're kind of obligated to say stuff like that to me."
"Well, as your lover, I couldn't possibly lie about what I find sexy about you. Turn around."
I grabbed her waist and she obliged, turning until her back was pressed to the front side of my body. The sudden contact sent positive electricity through my veins and deep into my core.
"Keep moving, love," I directed, allowing my hands to go lower, back on her hips.
She chuckled, but continued swaying back and forth, from side to side, her bottom grazing directly against the hardness in my pants. With so many people around us, I didn't have to worry about anyone noticing this. Instead, I simply started moving my own hips in such a way that I could push my erection directly between her dress-covered buttocks.
Her low moan alerted me that I was on the right track.
"Something wrong?" I checked, guiding her hips with my hands.
"You're playing dirty."
"Only way I know how."
I turned her back around with a short pirouette, so that I could face her. Her eyes were two burning marigolds, smoldering me with their intensity. I felt her hands roaming slowly across my abdomen, then over my chest, leaving pure fire in their trail. In the end, they settled in my hair, playing with the tousled locks in a way that felt anything but innocent.
"Leave that shield down," I provoked her.
A devilish smile blossomed on her lips and I knew what would follow before she even opened her mouth:
"Only if you give up."
"I can keep this up all night, Bella."
"I'd like to see you try."
Confident in my own self-control, I decided to break all the rules and I leaned down to kiss her. I could have chosen to at least keep it mild, but I didn't. Instead, my mouth opened and hers did the same out of instinct, and I unashamedly slipped my tongue through her lips. Her fingers pulled down on my hair, bringing me closer to her level and pressing her body against mine with firmness.
All of a sudden, I could no longer concentrate on the music in the background. All I could hear, all I could feel, all I could taste was her. My body was hyper-aware of everything: how soft her tongue felt, how well her curves were molding to my own form, how delicious her breath tasted as it rolled down my throat, along with our ever-deepening kiss.
I only stopped to get some reason back, but I quickly found myself focusing my attention on her neck.
"You're breaking the rules," she gasped, starting to move again to the rhythm.
"Honestly, sweetheart? I don't give a damn."
"You know what you've got to do," she teased.
"You wish," my response was followed by a small bite, that made her whimper ever so slightly.
"I'm so wet, just imagine how easily you'd slide in…"
I groaned against her neck, ruffling the fabric of her dress in my fist in frustration. From the side, I could hear the erotic musings of a woman who was analyzing my wife from head to toe. I grabbed her tighter, as if to prove a point.
"I could easily take care of that if you'd just say the word," I whispered.
My attention was fully on her lips, waiting for her to say what I had been hoping for. But the next sounds didn't come from her lips. I had grown so accustomed to the sound of her mind, that I could no longer be surprised. But I was still in complete awe whenever she let me in. And in this particular moment, her thoughts were focused on one thing and one thing only: getting possessed by me.
The images inside her brain poured inside mine with overwhelming intensity. She had taken all the blazing memories of us from the last months and threw them at me, all at once. There was the memory of us making love on a bench in Griffith Park, as the lights of Los Angeles shone brightly underneath us. And there was the memory of her pleasuring me with her mouth underwater for a full hour, in the clear waters of Sardinia. And there was the memory of switching roles for once and allowing her to tie me up and have her way with me in a hotel in the heart of Mauritius.
"God, Bella…" my voice came out in a groan and I had to remind myself of the fact that I had to keep moving to the music.
She took advantage of my momentary weakness and hit me once again - this time, with a hazier memory, from her human days, but all the more powerful: the day I had changed her. Almost through a fog, I could see the animalistic hunger she had seen in my eyes that afternoon. She showed me all the excitement that had come with me making love to her in that pivotal moment - and how much it had aroused her when I had finally bitten her throat and started feeding.
There was a sense of profoundly guilty pleasure attached to that memory - almost as if she understood how wrong it must have been to enjoy my biggest sin as much as she did. But more than that, deeper than that, she also didn't really care.
"Fuck," I gasped, unable to control myself. "Show me again."
And she did, this time focusing more on the little details she could remember: the rapacity of my kisses, the way she had wanted to feel my teeth piercing her skin, the need to have my venom inside her, despite the pain.
It was pure torture not to be inside her at this point - and just like that, I was past the point of no return.
"You win," I said.
"I need to fuck you. Right now."
"Mr. Cullen," she smiled, her thoughts swimming in the rapture of her victory. "If that's what it takes to get you to cave, I must say you're a little deranged."
"I think it's safe to say we both are."
She started laughing and I took her hand in mine, taking her away from the dance floor and making my way towards the exit. We were back on the pedestrian street in no time. I almost hadn't noticed the fact that her thoughts were once again guarded by her shield until I tried scouring them, in search for whatever punishment she had planned for me.
"So what's next?" I asked.
"I'm wondering how long you can withhold your orgasm while you're inside me."
"And you said I was evil."
We walked aimlessly on the street, hoping to find a place - any place - where we could be together undisturbed. Our hotel was too far away at this point and there was no way I could waste more unnecessary minutes without plunging deeply inside Bella. There was no motel or hotel on this particular street, but the scent of cardboard in the air alerted me that we might have been close to a warehouse.
"How do you feel about some casual trespassing?" I checked.
"Let's do it."
I grabbed her by the waist, thinking this was our life now: loving, laughing, playing, living every moment to the fullest, as one should. We didn't know then it would take us another year of discovering the world together before we returned to our family. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry when we passed by a pair of parents bickering with their teenage kids. We didn't know what the rest of eternity held for us.
Truth be told, we didn't know most things, but we didn't have to: it was enough to know that we had one another. At the end of the day, it was all that mattered and the one thing we had fought for ever since we had laid eyes on each other. Having Bella in my arms would forever mean that not even the blackest day could ever be truly bad, while the brightest days would be all the more happy, simply because she existed and she was mine to love, mine to cherish, mine to protect.
Right now, we could simply be us, the two luckiest people on planet Earth, living in this faultless slice of forever.
And one day, if there was a God above listening to my prayers, we might even be three.
I absolutely cannot believe that we're here. The finish line. The absolute end. God, what a ride this has been!
When I first started writing this story, back in May, I was only writing it for myself. What started as a simple Edward-changing-Bella-during-sex one-shot (written just as a way to pass the time during the spring lockdown, while I was freaking out about the "Midnight Sun" announcement), turned into a 170K+ words, 30 chapters story.
Teenage-me never would have guessed that I would be back to writing AND actually finishing a Twilight fanfiction story in my 20s, but I like to believe she'd be highkey proud. "Midnight Sun" is the sole reason this story even exists, so I can only be thankful that Stephenie gave us this book.
Now, before all is said and done, I have a lot of "thank you"s to spare, so bear with me, because these amazing people deserve all the recognition and love:
- DaniDarlingxx - She is my absolute bestie and I love her! Our never-ending conversations and the extensive feedback she gives me on every chapter never fail to make my heart sing with joy! Definitely check out her stories, because she's one amazing writer - "The Rapture" and "The Truth in Transience"!
- CoppertopJ - She is an atomic bomb when it comes to being supportive and encouraging and I honestly cannot thank her enough! She's done a lot of work that only a beta would do for this story and I feel so damn lucky to have her by my side, even if we live miles away! She deserves only the best!
- JenERose - She is one big sweetheart and our back and forth conversations always leave me smiling. She made my day on so many occasions it's unbelievable! Check out her amazing stories - "First Experience" is her main one, but she's got a lot of fun one-shots and awesome outtakes as well!
- TheMoonsLullaby - I have no idea how she found my story, but I feel like the luckiest person in the world that she did. Her novel-length, in-depth reviews have left me a sobbing mess more than once. And the back and forth discussions that always follow? She is an actual angel, I am not even kidding!
- SassYNoleS - God bless the day this sweetheart found my story, because her countless reviews have left me feeling all warm and fuzzy way too many times! I know a day can't go wrong when I see her name popping up in my e-mail alerts.
- lilianoliviawhite - I don't know how she finds the time and patience, but she never fails to amaze me with her reviews. She always asks the right questions and it's simply a pleasure whenever I receive a review from her!
- fernyyuki - She is my first reviewer ever! I cannot express how much I admire her determination to use Google Translate to read my story. Without her, the Facebook group where I post sneak peeks and updates wouldn't have existed either! Check out her wonderful stories, if you're a Spanish speaker!
- C. Car - There has not been a time when this girl has not left me smiling like an idiot with her comments and her reviews. Her enthusiasm picks me up from the ground whenever I am down and I can only be thankful!
- Vtweetymcn - She is the sweetest not only for blessing me with her smart reviews, but also because she has actually read my story to her amazing team of EMS workers and fire fighters! I actually cried the first time she told me that and words cannot express how honoured and humbled I feel.
- helenareject - This girl has left me smiling more times than I can count. Her reviews, along with her comments on Facebook and Reddit, have made my day on multiple occasions! She also happens to be a really great writer - I consider her to be the queen of New Moon AUs, so definitely give her stories a check.
- grandmachix - The diligence with which she reviews every chapter is absolutely fantastic and I don't know how she does that! There have been so many times when I would wake up with a whole bulk of reviews and she would always be the lovely culprit behind them!
- nottheidle - I know she hasn't been able to read my story for a while, because life got in the way, but the extensive feeback she would leave me back in the summer would make my entire week. She's one amazing soul and one fantastic writer, check out her one shots!
Also, thank you to each and every one who has had the time and interest to go through my story. Thank you for the follows and for the favs, they mean so freaking much! If you've ever written a review, however small, just know that you more than likely have made my entire day and I am not kidding, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!
This story has been such an escape for me and I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'm going to miss writing about Edward, Bella and Nellie so much - and I might just do a few more outtakes, so keep an eye on those ;).
Right now, however, I have to wave 'goodbye' to them, because I am currently working on another story written from Edward's point of view. I'll only say this: if you're into bloody, sexy and dark stories, this new one is for you. Stay tuned and follow me if you want to be among the first people who read it (and join my Facebook group - the link is on my profile page - for sneak peeks and other fun stuff)!
One last time, thank you, guys. You've made this journey all the more fulfilling - and for that, I bow down to you.
All of you. You're the best.
Please, stay safe and healthy out there!