Kids: At Grandma's
Tree: Inhabited by cat
Husband: At least as hot as ever. Hotter. Unfairly hot. Chestnut roasting level hot.
Despite his hotness, a chill rolls over him.
"Bella, I need to tell you a secret."
"Excellent! I could use some good ol' fashioned gossip." I try not to salivate. Could be the gossip or him in those old jeans. Anybody's guess.
His mouth drops open a bit. He blinks.
"Uh, no. I mean, I need to tell you a secret. I secret that I have...that I've been keeping from you. For nine years."
He's using filler sounds? Stumbling over words? This is either Shapeshifter, Photostatic veil, Invasion of the Body Snatchers trickery or I should be concerned. Donald Sutherland isn't skulking my walk-in closet, so I'm going with concern.
"From me?" I croak.
"But, we...we don't have secrets from each other." Do we?
"Just this," he says, smoothing the loose shoulders of the Irish Fisherman's sweater I "borrowed" from him.
I lean over and press my fingers to his when they linger there.
"Wait, are you sharing a new kink with me right now?" Because I have so many, many... ideas.
He gives me a withering look.
"Edward, I should first say that you being a demi-sexual with submissive leanings is not breaking news to me."
"No, that's not— what now? Dem- wait, no. Don't derail me here, Bella. This is important. I'm not going to let you distract me on this one."
Fine, fine. "Fine." I motion for him to proceed.
"As I was saying," he coughs, flashes me side eye. "It's been nine years - a great nine years, the best - and nine is an action number, so it's time for me to act. There is something that you should know. Should have known all along, truth be told. And now the moment is here and I look at your sweet face that I love so much and I'm not sure I can tell you."
Okay. He has my attention now. "Um, I think you're scaring me Edward." This is a lie. I know he's scaring me.
He runs fingers through his hair. "It's just…" His voice falls off and it's so unlike him and I can't really breathe and some frigging bees have built a hive in my chest.
"Cullen, whatever it is, we can get through this." I point toward our wedding picture on the dresser. "We have been through so much. The move. The company buyout. The kids. The perfect dog that I snuck home. The Christmas tree-murdering, demon cat you snuck home." I try to joke. "We can handle this, whatever it is."
I place my palm flat on his chest and he brings his hand up to clasp it and carries it to his mouth. Fingers warm and lips pillow soft.
He nods twice. Takes a breath. Which is good because I've forgotten how.
"Bella," he says with all the passion of an undertaker. Then, he utters a sequence of words I thought I'd never hear.
"I don't like pineapple."
Oh. He's fucking with me. Which I am never going to get used to, it seems.
"I have never liked pineapple." He breathes out like he's shrugged a great globe off his back.
"Oh, my love." My sweet, beautiful man and owner of the most gorgeous pair of gradually developing crows feet. I kiss his cheek as he begins to smile, as if he knows I was thinking of those beautiful crinkles.
"Edward, you could eat a whole pineapple grove and it was never gonna taste like sucking the filling out of a cannoli."
The left corner of his mouth turns up in that way I feel down to my toes. I'd love to savor it but I have other things in mind and push him back on the bed. He goes back with a little bounce.
I crawl my way up him. Slink. "Sweetheart," I begin and watch his eyes narrow. He never has cared for endearments. Mistrusts them. I make my way up his thighs. "Do you mean to tell me you've been eating pineapple all this time just to please me? So that I'd, well, please you?
"Oh, Edward. I can't believe you choked down pineapple all these years. For me." My heart swells.
Romantic gestures have never had so much vitamin C.
He weaves a hand up into my hair. Gives a little shrug. Conciliatory. "Swallowing isn't that important. Really."
"Hang on. Hang on. You needlessly ate pineapple for me…" Wait. "But look what I ate for you!"
I can't believe it. We are living smutty Gift of the Magi.