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Chapter 18 - Bernstein

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1 Chapter 18 - Bernstein on Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:56 pm

Mrs.KreszentiaBlack

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I was supposed to be home. Or hunting. Or anywhere but here.



Bella's backyard.



I crept stealthily through the trees, closely watching my bride through the living room windows. Alice was inside as well, inundating an overwhelmed Bella with last-minute wedding details; everything from flower arrangements to place settings to program notes. I was getting quite nauseated with the obsessive nature of my well-meaning sister - I could only imagine how poor Bella felt. Taking a step closer to the house, I was barely able to stop myself from rushing inside and rescuing her.



Don't you dare, Edward Cullen!



Alice glared out the window at me.



This is my time with her - you'll have eternity to steal her away for your own enjoyment after the wedding. There's so little time left...I need her help to finish these details!



Rolling my eyes, I answered her softly, knowing she could clearly hear me.



"Alice, you can handle those details yourself. You don't need her input - you're just wearing her out. Plus, I need to see her..."



No, Edward! You can't take her away for that long before the wedding! What are you thinking?



If she could see my plans, that meant there was a good chance they'd come to fruition. Hence, I pleaded my case.



"She needs a break - we need a break. And this is the only way to find out if she will be able to handle the voyage to the island." I had been planning our honeymoon for quite some time, even before Bella had formally agreed to marry me. My mother was kind enough to offer up her own, private paradise in the Atlantic Ocean for our escape, but the journey there necessitated a long boat ride through potentially turbulent waters. I wasn't positive that Bella could handle such an expedition without getting sick, and I didn't want to risk her falling ill.



Thankfully, our little outing to Port Angeles had given me an idea, but Alice wasn't thrilled with me plotting another method in which to steal her future sister away again, especially for more than a few hours. As if she could actually hear my internal musings, she fired off another exasperated thought.



Do you need to be gone for three whole days? Just take her out for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon.



Of course, Alice was right - if the sole purpose of this excursion was to test Bella's sea legs, a few hours should be more than enough time. But the past couple of weeks had left me hungry with desire, and extremely desperate for alone time with my fiancée.



Alone time away from my family...alone time away from everyone.



"Please, Alice?" I resorted to using Bella's begging technique, praying that it would work as well on her as it did on me. Rather than answering, Alice addressed my bride.



"Bella, I need to run. We can finish this tomorrow, okay?" My brow creased in surprise when I heard Alice excuse herself prematurely from their afternoon of wedding planning. Bella mumbled a half-hearted goodbye before Alice quickly raced out of the house and towards me.



You can't take her away for that long.



I grinned at the possibility of getting to see Bella sooner than I had hoped. But first, I had to appease my sister.



"Why don't we let Bella decide?" I proposed, knowing full well that I'd win that battle. Even if Alice guilt-tripped her, I was fairly sure a couple of dazzles would convince Bella to cave, and ultimately give into my suggestion.



No, Edward.



The vision hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks. Bella lying beneath me, her bare skin glowing softly from the light of the moon that reflected off the water, her eyes heavy-lidded and lust-filled. She gazed up at me in utter bliss as she reached up to pull my face back down to hers.



I swallowed sharply and looked away from Alice's condemning stare.



See? That's why you can't take her away! Both of you will start the honeymoon early!



Alice's visions didn't always come true, I told myself. The future was changeable - if it weren't, then Bella would, quite possibly, already be dead. I immediately resolved to make sure this path would not become reality - not because I didn't want it to, but because I knew it was what Bella would want. I had to honor her wish, her decision made just weeks ago in the meadow.



"I'll behave." I looked back over at Alice and waited for the next round of visions.



She sighed dramatically before opening her mind to me.



I don't know, Edward...your trip just became undecided, but not definitively virtuous.



Flashes of multiple scenarios began to flood my mind; replays of the prior scene were now peppered with images of the two of us, safely dressed and seated across from one another at the galley table. But then, there were other visions, glimpses of us together, in varying degrees of compromising situations. All this told me was that the future was now very unclear. Could I trust myself to be alone with her?



I considered that question for a moment prior to addressing Alice again. "I promise I'll be good."



She shook her head slightly, finally speaking. "But besides that...issue...you can't take her away like this, right before the wedding! Can't you control yourself for just a little longer? We're talking days, Edward!"



"Alice!" I pleaded. "I need to find out now if my honeymoon plans are going to be agreeable to her human tendencies. And who's to say that staying here those extra couple of days is really going to make that much difference? Besides, when did you decide to have such a vested interest in our private life?"



"Trust me." Something flashed in her eyes for just a second before she closed her mind to me. Alice was hiding something.



"What aren't you telling me?"



None of your business.



I cocked an eyebrow. "Then the decision has been made - I'm taking her out of Forks for a few days, with or without your blessing."



She clenched her fists and let out a resounding huff of irritation. "Fine! But must it be a full three days? I'll never get everything done for the wedding if she's gone that long. How about two days, one night?"



"Two days, two nights," I countered.



"I thought you said you'd behave yourself!"



I chortled at her furious expression. Alice, upset, was almost as amusing as Bella, upset. "I will behave myself. I promise."



"Then why do you need the extra night, Edward? You shouldn't promise things you have no control over."



I rolled my eyes and shook my head. "Honestly Alice, you worry too much. You're more than capable of planning a dozen more weddings in the next week in addition to ours. Besides, if you want Bella to be a willing and happy participant, give her this break. You know she'll be grateful."



Grateful...I've heard that before. She's as lascivious as you. You better not bring her back - distracted.



Chuckling at my dear sister's simmering thoughts, I reached out to throw my arm around her in an affectionate sideways hug. "What would I do without you? Go home and pass along some of those extra lascivious thoughts to that deserving husband of yours."



Alice let out a loud humph, then took off through the woods. She sent me one last departing thought.



I'm serious, Edward...you two need to watch yourselves. It'll be worth the wait...



Everyone always thought that they knew what was best for Bella and me. That was precisely why we both needed another escape.



I turned to race up to the house, giddy with the prospect of finally seeing my beautiful Bella again and holding her in my arms. But before I rounded the corner, I heard music playing softly inside - and Charlie's voice.



"Bells, what are you listening to?"



"Just a CD that Edward gave me." The sound of her voice instantly set off jolts of electricity through my veins. I could almost taste her on my tongue.



"Hmm. It's...different." Charlie didn't know what to make of Bella's new love of classical music; regardless, he soon lost interest. "Speaking of Edward, should I be expecting him soon?"



I jogged over to a nearby window so I could see the inevitable blush creep up onto my bride's cheeks.



"Um...I'm not sure. Alice left early, so..." she paused, glancing at the door. I could no longer resist - I had to see her immediately. Nothing, not even Charlie, could have stopped me from knocking on the door that very second. After doing so, I forced both of my hands into my pockets to keep myself from turning the knob and bursting inside.



Bella opened the door quickly and threw herself into my chest, hugging me tightly. "You're here!"



I wrapped my arms around her, finally feeling complete and at peace.



"Careful, we have an audience," I murmured into her hair before regrettably pulling myself away. Charlie stood near the stairs, his arms crossed. Despite our formal engagement and imminent nuptials, he still wasn't comfortable with the public displays of affection, no matter how innocent.



"Good evening, Chief Swan." Although Bella insisted I call him Charlie, I stuck to my usual formalities.



He nodded once in acknowledgement, yet maintained a grimace. "Edward."



Bella grabbed my hand and tugged me towards the stairs, oblivious to the disapproving look on her father's face. I knew what she was thinking, despite being unable to read her mind. And I also knew what Charlie was thinking, or rather suspecting, by her direction and our body language. Since I had won the argument with Alice, I conceded my original plan to sequester us in the bedroom, and instead steered us towards the kitchen table. No sense in giving Charlie any reason to forbid our upcoming excursion.



"Let's just hang out down here," I suggested lightly when Bella turned to look at me, confused by my hesitation to follow her upstairs.



Charlie's mood improved dramatically after hearing my suggestion, and his shoulders relaxed, proving that I had most definitely made the right choice, especially if I would choose to mention the boat trip to him later that evening.



"I'm going to go watch the game." He disappeared into the living room.



Bella reluctantly took a seat across from me at the table.



"What's going on?"



I smiled gleefully, the excitement of my recent victory with Alice now fully sinking in. "I got you out of wedding planning for a few days."



Bella's eyes grew wide as a grin spread across her face. "Really? How?"



"I bargained with Alice to let you join me on a little trip."



"Another trip? Do I dare ask where? Or more importantly, when?"



"Soon. Very soon - in fact, as soon as I can get everything together." I was now precariously keyed-up and set to ask Charlie for his permission at the next commercial break.



She appeared to be equally as thrilled with the news, most likely because it got her out of more agonizing bridal preparations.



I changed the subject when I finally realized what was playing softly in the background. "How are you enjoying Candide?" I wasn't used to hearing such music in Charlie's house, especially downstairs.



Bella smiled amiably, lighting up the entire room with her charm and loveliness. "Mmm, very much. Especially now that you've rescued me. It seems to fit my mood."



"I'm assuming you're feeling quite jubilant right now?"



"Yes." She began to blush ever so slightly, and she glanced down at her hands folded on the table.



"Bella, why are you blushing?" I had to know what was going through that pretty little head of hers, and I knew it was pointless to guess. She always managed to surprise me.



Chewing on her lip, she slowly raised her eyes, almost in time with the music. "I...missed you."



A smirk began to form on my face. "Don't edit. There's something else." Admittedly, I gave her one my dazzling stares. "Won't you tell me?"



Her lower lip began to tremble ever so slightly as I held her prisoner with my gaze for a few seconds. As much as I wanted to lose myself in her gorgeous, brown eyes, I knew she'd never be able to answer if I didn't release her from my hold. Regrettably, I averted my eyes downward and focused on her lips instead. Free of my stare, she glanced once towards the living room before answering lowly. "I'll tell you when we're alone."



"Promise?"



Bella nodded, flushing even more. Now I was really curious - what could she possibly be thinking of? For the briefest of moments I wondered if Alice's earlier remark was more of an insightful observation than an off-hand comment. Could Bella's blush really be in reaction to her own, libidinous thoughts? My smirk grew, and I instantly wanted to jump across the table and frantically kiss her until we were both dizzy. But I refrained, focusing on the task at hand. Behave, I reminded myself. Besides, Charlie was in the other room, and I still needed to talk to him about a very important rendezvous.



Just then, I heard the game commentators indicating a break. I glanced swiftly over my shoulder, then turned back to Bella.



"Why don't I meet you upstairs, to help you pack? But first, I'm going to talk to Charlie and get his permission."



"Okay."



Bella leapt from her chair and moved quickly up the stairs, without tripping or falling. I was rather impressed by her unexpected bout of grace. Also, I had noticed that she didn't seem the least bit bothered by my ambiguity regarding our upcoming trip. That was a very good sign...she was getting used to the joy of surprises, or at least, the type of surprises I had in mind.



After easily getting Charlie's consent - recently, he was all for any activity that freed up his living room from Alice's non-stop wedding planning - I hurried upstairs to join my fiancée.



Upon entering her room, I took full advantage of our first bit of alone time that day. I scooped her up in my arms, holding her tightly against me as I eagerly kissed her warm lips. Bella's hands went immediately to my hair, pulling me nearer as she kissed me back with equal passion. We could easily get lost in the moment like this, the both of us too caught up in one another, especially after so many hours apart. But there would be more than enough time for that once we were on my boat. Begrudgingly, I set Bella down and pulled away.



"So, Charlie said yes?" Bella breathed against my chest as her feet touched the floor. Despite my actions, she kept her arms firmly around my torso, refusing to let go. That was perfectly fine with me.



I buried my face in her soft hair before answering. "Yes."



"Will you stay with me tonight?"



I sighed painfully then replied. "If we want to get away for a few days, its best if we leave tomorrow, before Alice puts her foot down and refuses to let you go. But then that also means that I will need to take care of a few things tonight. I'm sorry, love - I can't stay."



Bella tightened her hold around my waist. "How long will we be gone?"



"Two days, and two very long nights."



She pulled away, grinning devilishly. "I think I might have an idea of what we're doing."



"Oh really?" Maybe this was why she was handling the surprise so well - she thought she knew my plan.



Bella opened her mouth to reply, but I covered it with my palm and quietly hushed her. "Don't tell me...let's wait and see if you're right tomorrow." I pulled my hand away and kissed her quickly, afraid that if I lingered, I would never find the strength to leave.



After helping her pack, I permitted myself one last, innocent kiss on her forehead. "I love you, Bella. I'll pick you up tomorrow morning."



Her eyes burned with ardor, making my knees inadvertently weak with desire. "This feels very much like déjà vu, like right before we went to San Francisco. Will this trip be as enjoyable?"



"Hmm. I'll let you decide, love."



"Judging by the past couple of weeks, I have a lot to look forward to," Bella purred as she reached out and traced my arm with her finger.



She was killing me - I had to leave her room quickly, or I'd lose all self-control. Maybe Alice was right...maybe we would inevitably break our vow of chastity on the impending excursion. But what she didn't realize was that Bella was equally as tempting to me right here in Forks, right now, even with Charlie awake and just downstairs. There was no way I'd stay away from her regardless of our location...we'd just have to try and behave. And if something were to happen...well, the boundaries were now in Bella's control, and I was happily at her mercy. All she had to do was say the magic words - implore me to stay, and I knew my resolve would crack like the fragile pane of glass it had become.



Just as she was sliding her hand up to my shoulder, Charlie called out from below.



"Bella? Can I turn this music off? And it's getting late..."



Leave it to Charlie to save us from temptation. I chuckled lightly, reaching up to cover Bella's hand in my own, resting both against my still heart.



"Charlie will be up here momentarily if I don't come down the stairs in the next few seconds. Plus, he's getting quite annoyed with Leonard Bernstein's magnificent compositions. I will see you tomorrow. Sleep well, my precious bride."



And with that, I fled her room before the magnetism between us became too overwhelming.



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