Edward's Condition: Completed
"Well, now that we're married, what happens next?" I laughed weakly as we escaped the dwindling party, ducking into one of the softly lit walkways on the Cullen’s property that Alice had ordered landscaped for the event. She had even commissioned benches be set upon it, creating cozy vignettes for anyone wishing a moment’s peace. In other words, she’d had me in mind. I needed air; humans could only dance so long amongst barely restraining vampires. My words hung in my mind and their reality began to sink in: we were married, and now only two more things needed to be completed before both our "demands" – or conditions – were met.
Edward read my expression correctly and sighed, a look of frustration coming across his face as we sat down under a string of lights glittering in the trees: he knew that I wanted to become a vampire like him, and he also knew that I wanted him. But which one of these conditions to fulfill first?
If I became a vampire first, it would be months – no, years – before the other could even be thought of. I'd need to be trained, to learn self-control, to learn to resist the calling of human blood and to live peacefully amongst them. There was no way I could possibly take a break from that to – I swallowed nervously as I thought it – sleep with him.
But on the other hand, if I slept with him first, there was the huge risk that I would end up dead. Of course I could die during my transition, but death was more likely here. I was mortal, human, and as Edward put it, breakable. He could kill me before I would have time to realize what had happened if he lost control during… that.
I was still undecided in which to complete first, and I doubted Edward would be of much help. Actually, he'd probably be too helpful when it came to deciding…
"Bella," he interrupted my thoughts lightly, "I know – well, not literally – I can guess what you're thinking, and you know I have to have a hand in this as well. You remember what I said before?" He took my scorching hand in his cold one, and the touch between the two extremes burned.
I stared at him as he rubbed his thumb against my palm, slightly confused. "No, what about?"
He sighed again, and I wondered why. "About giving you morphine," he grimaced, "I was thinking about that, and I realize now that the idea was preposterous. Of course you wouldn't be able to actually feel the pain, but I could kill you just as easily regardless. Just as easily as I could if I bit you and then lost control…"
He was trying to sound casual about the whole thing, but I knew him better. His golden eyes looked troubled, his internal struggle showing through. Hurriedly I reassured him, "Whatever would be more logical – and safe. And whichever one you want most." I knew which one he wanted most of course, but I wanted them both equally. I just wasn’t sure which one I wanted first.
He laughed and said, "Well, the safest thing would have been to never have met or fell in love with you, but it's too late now." He hesitated, and I thought he was going to sigh again. “I talked to Carlisle about it, and he seemed to think it best if we… if we changed you first. His theory was that we had forever for the other thing, and you would be stronger." He smirked and added, "Though it'll be hard to resist… that."
I smiled back and chuckled, but I realized something after he'd spoken. He refused to say the word. Sex. I knew that as soon as one of us said it aloud it would make the fact that we wanted it even more real, and – I was sure – it would create more urgency to actually go through with it. Yes, leaving that word unspoken was definitely best. I realized that to the others, Rosalie and Emmett especially, we seemed like shy and naïve teenagers – which, I had to remind them, I was. And despite Edward’s advanced age, I knew he was no more knowledgeable in this realm than I was. Being a virgin for over a hundred years was bound to make anyone nervous when the time finally came…
"Oh, by the way," he broke through my thoughts once again, grinning, "We're not headed to Alaska tomorrow, so I'm afraid you'll be remaining human for at least two weeks longer."
He was smirking largely now, and I realized what he must have planned. Despite our incredibly non-traditional relationship, I should have guessed that Edward would remain faithful in almost every instance. I had just completely forgotten about this one…
"Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, you didn't!" I cried in exasperation.
"No, actually, I did," Edward smiled, “We were just properly married, and now we're going to go on a proper honeymoon. You only get married once."
"That's not always true," I muttered under my breath, thinking of Renee.
"Well, it is for you and me," he reminded me softly, and I knew he was right. I would never leave him, and he would never leave me. It had been less than ten hours since we had made our love legal and binding, and it would hopefully be less than a month before we made it eternal.
"So, would you like to know where we're going, love?" Edward asked me, taking my face in his hands and smiling wide.
“I suppose,” I faked chagrin, but I was actually quite excited.
“You suppose?” He leaned in and brushed his lips against mine, whispering between kisses.
“Mmm,” I nodded slightly as our lips met, and he pulled back, still grinning. He opened his mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by a streak of lilac running up beside us and scooting in next to Edward.
"So did Edward tell you what you'd be doing for a week?" Alice grinned at me over his shoulder, but as I shook my head she began to look reproachful and stared over at him. "You didn't?" She hissed at him accusingly, although her eyes glinted mischievously. She, quite obviously, knew he hadn’t yet told me.
"Well, you could tell that I was just about to, but you can tell her now if you want." He sighed and leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees and waiting.
Then he laughed out loud and exclaimed, "Come on Alice! She's not stupid you know… Honestly, I don't know how you come up with these things."
"Edward, I'm not kidding," Alice glared at him with her golden eyes. "And you tell her, since now you know."
I was always a little miffed that Edward could read minds – that meant I usually only caught half of the conversation when he was talking to his family, unless he made a point to tell me the other halves.
“Edward, where are we going? I thought you already knew?” Confused, I crossed my arms and felt my new wedding band brush against my skin. Elizabeth Masen’s engagement ring was on my right hand, a new home for it, and the band on my left was smaller, smoother, and cool to the touch as it hit my forearm, like a true gift from Edward himself. Despite my present confusion, I still just had to register how surreal this all was: the ring was a reminder that scant hours ago, I had become Isabella Marie Cullen.
"Well Bella," Edward began, inhaling deeply before continuing, "From my approaching family’s thoughts, I can gather that what I had in mind for us after our two weeks away doesn't seem to coincide with their ideas.”
"Edward thinks that us buying you guys a house was ridiculous, of course," Alice finally informed me blatantly.
"A million dollar house and extensive property to boot is quite ridiculous, is it not?!” He raised his voice as he stood up off the bench to face the rest of his family walking up to the bench.
"Dude, chill," Emmett replied. Rosalie swept up and came to stand silently beside him. "Besides, that figure you saw in whoever's head includes other things…"
"Such as?" I demanded suddenly as I sat up and turned around to face them, surprised to hear my own voice had an edge.
Carlisle sighed and came to stand beside me, putting a hand on my shoulder as he spoke, "We bought you a new car – I highly doubt your truck will be able to survive the north – most of your furniture and such and… Oh, we’ll let Alice show you the rest."
Edward stared across at them, and I was feeling slightly overwhelmed. There was more? I looked over at Alice, but she shook her head. Later, she mouthed just as Edward piped up again.
"Anyways," he muttered, "Wedding gifts aside, explain to Bella what you had in mind for us once we get to Alaska. I know you were all waiting until we got back from our honeymoon to tell her, but we may as well let her know now."
"Oh Edward," Alice grumbled, but from beside her Jasper shushed her and began to explain.
"You're one hundred percent certain you're ready to become a vampire, Bella?" He asked calmly.
"Of course I am," I smiled, feeling instantly reassured as Jasper's talent worked its magic.
"Alright," he smiled back, "because we have a plan in mind for your training. Now, I understand that you want Edward to be the one to do it?" I nodded vigorously and he continued, "Well then, your transformation will take place in three weeks. That will give us due time to move out here and get established up north."
"All of you?" I asked incredulously, "Why?"
I looked up, and noticed that Edward was still glaring at his family. I supposed he was annoyed at the way this was going, but secretly I was pleased they would be there. Their presence meant two things: for one, I would have my entire new family with me to help me and guide me once I became a… a newborn, and secondly, because it meant Edward couldn't put off changing me any longer. So I did know why they were coming – or partly anyway.
"Alice wants to go to school there," Jasper explained, and Alice grinned at me suddenly, winking as well. "And also because Carlisle believes we are needed to help train you."
"Thanks guys!" I smiled at all of them, and I meant it.
I eyed Edward until he looked up at his father, true appreciation in his eyes as he got over the initial barrage of all the presents. “Yes, thank you,” he smiled thinly and came back to sit next to me on the bench, putting an arm around me. “Now, may I have some time alone with my wife? I haven’t told her yet where we’re going on our honeymoon…”
“Oh Edward, of course!” Alice beamed and ushered the family away, back into the party.
As soon as they were gone, he leaned into me with a sigh and whispered, "Unbelievable," most likely for his own benefit.
I slipped my feet out of my annoying heels, which were starting to hurt, and leaned against his head, which was resting on my shoulder. His hair was a stark contrast to his body; the light from the overhead bulbs had warmed it, making it closer to my own temperature.
"Oh Bella," He sighed, putting his arms around me and gently pulling me closer, "My sweet, sweet Bella…"
I knew he was doing this to try and forget the multitude of gifts we had just received, along with the plans. I also knew that he wanted it to be just him and I in Alaska, and that it bothered him slightly to have his family so involved, as they had been around his whole “life,” so to speak. I understood the desire to be alone, but he would need all the help he could get, since I knew how I would be: reckless, stronger than him, bloodthirsty, and troublesome to my new husband.
"Edward?" I asked softly, "What do you think my special talent will be?" I had been wondering lately what he thought about it, and decided now would be a good time to ask him.
"Well…" he replied slowly, "Alice was contemplating something along the lines of mind control, as you're immune to all mentally related talents. However, it would most likely take centuries to perfect, and the Volturi would most assuredly want you. That sort of thing would be incredibly valuable, especially to them."
He got a dark look on his face then, stiffening involuntarily against me. I changed the subject, stroking his hair as I spoke, and he relaxed once again.
"So…where are we going?" I whispered, adding, "Except for that…one time, I’ve never left the United States."
“Well, I was restricted to somewhere likely to rain, so I had Alice on weather alert for practically the entire globe,” he chuckled, “and she has promised me that Paris will be cloudy for the next month, at least.” He pulled away from my shoulder to catch my reaction, and I hugged him. Then I laughed.
“You’re going to miss out on some great food, you know,” I grinned, knowing that eating croissants in front of him would be an adventure in and of itself. “But where will you hunt?” I asked, suddenly concerned. Europe was far more humanly, and less wild animally populated than the Pacific Northwest…
“I have thought for a long time about it,” he mused, “Almost as long as Alice thought about all these decorations,” he waved his hand around at all the lights, tents, flowers… “Anyway, there are a lot of sheep in France. I will try to find wild animals where I can, and any farmers I might inconvenience I will somehow repay – and I’ll probably only need to hunt once while we’re there.”
I must have raised an eyebrow because he leaned in close to my neck and inhaled deeply. “My control around you has improved tremendously, love,” his lips were hovering so close to my skin that I could feel their coolness. “Or should I say, Mrs. Cullen,” he whispered, his voice seductive. He kissed my neck then, bringing his lips over his teeth and pulling at my skin in a mock bite. I gasped and ran my hands across his chest and behind his neck as he continued small kisses and faux nips along my neck to my jaw.
“Edward…” I began, my senses in overdrive. He had never kissed me like that before; I’d never been kissed like that before. Guessing my thoughts again, he chuckled but continued his pattern of kisses up and down my jawline.
“I had to save some tricks for our wedding night, dearest. Even though,” a few more kisses, “we aren’t consummating this marriage tonight, I can still please you in other ways.”
“You always please…me…” I trailed off as he moved towards my lips. He kissed me softly and lingered, his lips warm from pressing against my neck. I had completely forgotten that we were just yards away from everyone else still enjoying the party. He lingered a long while, long enough that I lost track not only of space but of time.
When he pulled away, I was breathless. “Shall we head back to the party?” Edward suggested, and I suddenly felt exhausted.
“Only if I don’t have to put these back on,” I nudged a heel lightly with my toe, and it toppled over into the grass.
“Of course not,” he laughed and stood, swinging me up into his arms in a motion that took seconds. I gasped and clutched onto his neck, grateful for the support. Today and tonight had been a whirlwind of emotion.
Everyone on the periphery of the tents saw us approaching and smiled warmly at us; some people laughed, and I heard a few jokes running through the crowd. Some of these were enough to make me blush, and I turned my face into Edward’s chest as we moved through the crowd and back to the head table.
“Please tell me Emmett is not spreading rumours through the crowd,” I groaned as Edward set me back down into my chair. A wooden sign reading “Mrs.” adorned the back of it, made by my mother. Edward had his own “Mr.” one as well. I smiled to myself as my hand ran along the rope that held it there, glad that Renee had been able to contribute.
“Unfortunately, yes. You don’t want to know what he’s thinking…” Edward also groaned as he sat.
“Maybe I do,” I laughed, trying to imagine Emmett visualizing us having a private encounter in the forest. He knew, of course, that we didn’t do that sort of thing, but I had to admit, this time the thought was pretty entertaining.
People were beginning to leave, and Charlie came over to the table to say goodnight, Renee hanging behind him. “Dad, Mom,” I smiled and stood, coming around to hug them both. “Thank you for everything,” I told them as Edward came to shake their hands.
“Oh, Edward,” Charlie began, taking him in a hug instead, “You’ve just married my daughter, I think we can say goodbye like family.”
Edward smiled, and I knew he was overjoyed that my father had accepted him as he had today. Renee, of course, was ever an Edward supporter. She bounded right up and hugged him tight. “We are so happy to welcome you into our family, Edward – as dysfunctional as it may be.” She looked up at Charlie, who rolled his eyes.
“Thank you both,” Edward replied, “Bella is very lucky to have such amazing parents,” his eyes looked sad, and I knew he was thinking of his own birth mother. I rubbed his back and smiled at him.
Renee blushed and Charlie looked slightly stiff, and he broke the awkward silence by saying, “Well, Bells, I guess we’ll be going now. You’re leaving early tomorrow, and you could probably both do with some sleep.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I smiled and hugged him a second time. “Hey, don’t look so sad you guys – I’ll see you again in two weeks,” for the last time, I added in my head, but didn’t think any more about it.
“You’re not going to Alaska tomorrow?” Renee asked, curious.
“No, Mom, we’re going to Paris first,” I beamed and she gasped.
“Oh, Paris!” she exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted to go to Paris! Oh, you two will love it, I’m sure you’ll have so much fun,” she winked at me behind Charlie’s back, and I shook my head.
Charlie just looked relieved that he wasn’t saying goodbye to me for a few more weeks. “Well, we’ll see you both soon,” he said, turning around to lead Renee back to the car. She and Phil had agreed to stay with him while they were here for the wedding. I saw Phil join them and slip his hand in hers as they walked back towards the house and around the side path, Charlie leading the way to the driveway in front.
Others were leaving around us as well, most people coming by to say a final congratulations. As the tents emptied and Alice was less than subtly telling people to leave, I became increasingly tired with each person who came to hug us. Tanya and her coven came and coolly murmured their thanks and congratulations, and I shook each of their hands in turn. “We hope to see you soon, Bella,” Tanya remarked, and there was no denying that she intended to see me next as a vampire.
“Likewise,” I replied politely, grasping her cold, feminine hand. Her nails were pointed, and they dug in to the back of my hand slightly. I knew she hadn’t meant it, but there was no denying she was…pointed.
“Tanya,” Edward nodded as she passed, and then they were all gone. Soon it was only Edward and I and his family, standing amongst all the food, drinks, tables and chairs.
“What a mess!” Alice announced as she flounced over to us. “I love decorating, but the cleanup is terrible,” she grinned at me, “I’m lucky I have so many efficient men around, although…I’m going to be without the fastest one tonight.” She grinned wildly up at Edward, who pretended to look sheepish.
“I’m sorry Alice,” he smirked and watched as Emmett and Jasper began to stack chairs behind her, Emmett balancing the taller than humanly manageable piles on each hand, pretending to totter, “Looks like you’ll have this cleaned up before morning, if Emmett can control his desire to play around.”
“I’m still efficient!” Emmett yelled back as he made his way towards the garage. Jasper followed behind him with three (definitely not collapsible) tables stacked in his arms, almost taking out some of the strings of lights along the way.
“I knew he would decide to do that…” Alice rolled her eyes and called, “Darling, watch the lights!” Looking back at us, she beamed and reached for my hand, “Let’s get you to bed Bella, you look dead on your feet.”
“Ironic,” Edward muttered just loud enough for me to hear as well, and I chuckled.
“Okay, so we’re dead on our feet, literally; anyway, come with me!” How anyone could be this enthusiastic after just pulling off an entire wedding was beyond me. Fatigue was just a word to these people. “Not you Edward,” she held up a hand as he began to follow, motioning to pick me up; I was still barefooted. “Go manscape or something while I get Bella prepped for this evening.”
“Alice, I’m just going to sleep, really,” I commented, but she already had me in her arms, my legs just barely off the ground as she ran me into the house.
I yawned as Alice set me down in her room, where I knew my things would be. I grinned when I found them there – I knew my sister-in-law well. Sister-in-law… Now that was a new term for her, and it kind of scared me to think it. I wasn’t used to having much of a family. I reached behind my back, trying to undo the buttons that ran down it.
"Need help?" Alice came to stand behind me, standing on her toes as she reached up to start unhooking.
“Thanks Alice,” I answered, slightly desperate; there were a lot of buttons to this thing.
“By the way,” Alice mentioned softly as she worked, “I have another gift for you. I’ll show you once you’re out of this thing.”
“Another gift?” I nearly sighed, but at this point I was just appreciative of the small vampire and all she had accomplished for me – for us – tonight. “After everything you’ve done?”
“Oh, it’s nothing, you’ll see,” Alice stopped before the last few buttons were undone and ran over to her closet, leaving me tottering on my feet in the middle of the room. I really did need sleep.
As soon as I had regained my balance, Alice emerged from the depths, a thin package in her hand.
"Open it!" She urged, pressing it into my hands before I could protest.
"A laptop?" I asked weakly, knowing why Alice had decided to give this to me away from Edward's eyes. Apparently it hadn’t made a difference, as his mind could still see it, and suddenly I heard a low growl and a thud.
"Well, hopefully you'll get internet up there," Alice smiled, ignoring Edward's chagrin completely and going back to unbuttoning the dress, "That way you can stay in touch with Charlie and Renee."
"If I'm not busy hunting humans and going insane," I muttered.
"Oh Bella, I have faith in you. You'll adjust to our way of life just fine," Alice laughed airily, winking – did she know something I didn't? – before helping me out of the long garment, a hand on my shoulder to steady me as the dress fell down around my ankles.
I was only wearing a small pair of underwear (smaller than my liking, but Alice had insisted, saying something about lines showing through the dress…) and suddenly I thought of Edward's talent. I knew he would be able to see me in Alice's thoughts… After all, I had just learned he wasn't bothering to tune them out. I giggled.
"Hey, Alice?" I whispered, though I knew he would still hear me if he chose to listen – which, at this point, I think he would have been – "Can you look into Edward's future for a second?"
She set the dress down on her bed and sat down next to it, careful not to actually sit on it, staring blankly for a few seconds. I pulled on my pajamas – an actual matching set – as I waited for her prediction.
She smiled and informed me, "He's flip-flopping between two decisions right now: He's either going to ignore the fact that you look incredibly beautiful half-naked, or he's going to risk… sleeping with you."
"Not literally," I giggled, slightly giddy after what she had said. He thought I looked incredible… I was wholly mortified as well though, and my embarrassment must have showed on my cheeks, because Alice giggled as well.
She patted my back and shooed me out of her room and into the bathroom with my toothbrush.
"Now freshen up," She raised her eyebrows, "And, even though I know he can hear me now, you tell that silly brother of mine you're exhausted… I don't want him hurting you. I know he has an amazing amount of self-control, but he's never experienced that sort of intimacy, and I'm not sure he could handle controlling himself. God knows we vampires get carried away during that sort of thing…"
"Alice!" She grinned devilishly as I stared at her in disbelief, terribly embarrassed by her talk. I'd known Edward was just as inexperienced as I when it came to sex, but to hear Alice allude to that particular fact was too embarrassing to handle. Not to mention what she'd said about her and Jasper!
I shut the door to the bathroom and brushed my teeth in a daze, knowing that he'd heard every word exchanged and more than a few thoughts in between.