Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Love So Beautiful Outtake: Betrayed (Esme/Marcus/Carlisle)

Disclaimer: These characters are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer. I am just messing around with them.
A/N I don’t have a pre-reader or a Beta or anything of the sort. All mistakes are mine and mine alone.

There are visuals for Marcus and Lady Esme in my Blog. You can find the link on my profile. Marcus from the movies is too old and creepy to be Edward’s dad…lol So imagine Max Irons in late 19th Century clothes. Yum!

Warning: If cheating is a big trigger for you, avoid this outtake. You’ve been warned.


A Love So Beautiful Outtake 1: Betrayed

“True love is tested when betrayed.”
Toba Beta, Master of Stupidity

“I get up and pace the room, as if I can leave my guilt behind me. But it tracks me as I walk, an ugly shadow made by myself.”
Rosamund Lupton, Sister


Hertfordshire, England 1872

I gaze out the window of our carriage as it stops in front of Masen house. After the way in which the old Lord Cullen treated us, I never imagined we would ever return to this place. Alice giggles in my arms and I smile at her enthusiasm. She always has a way of being happy about everything, which has managed to make me smile, even in my darkest times. Carlisle holds my hand in his, as he helps me out of the carriage, and I smile reassuringly at him. He has sacrificed so much on my behalf, for our love, I can never begin to deserve his love.

After his father’s passing, Carlisle’s brother Marcus has invited us to come to Masen house. I could feel how relieved Carlisle was when he received his brother’s letter. I know how long my strong husband has been struggling with the pain of losing his family, and the impotence of not being able to give me more. I’m not used to privilege, not used to the comfort that money brings, but I always felt as if I had taken Carlisle away from his life, to give him nothing but sorrow and poverty.

I take in the beauty of Masen house, the gardens that surround it, and the grandeur of its structure. It’s as imposing as it was to me, when I first attended a ball here, all those years ago, the day I met Carlisle.

Carlisle places a kiss on my cheek, knowing how this place frightens me after all the sour memories he and I shared here.

“My father is gone, poppet,” Carlisle states reassuringly, “he cannot do anything to try to separate us any longer. Marcus is as noble as they come. I’m sure you’ll find a brother in him. From now on our future will only be bright.”

I nod and smile, trying to infuse as much happiness as I can in my expression. Carlisle is hopeful that this will be a new beginning for all of us. I don’t want to dash his hopes away. I fear nothing will be as it was before we lost Anthony.

“Carlisle!” a man shouts from the top of the stairs as he runs to meet us. Carlisle smiles broadly and runs to meet him.

“Marcus!” my husband says before patting his brother’s back, and shaking hands with him in between affectionate smiles. After all the pain we have been through, I’m happy that my husband has found someone to rely on.

“Here,” Carlisle says walking towards me with his brother. “This is my family, Esme and little Alice.”

I curtsy in deference to Marcus’ new status as Lord Cullen, “My lord.”

“None of that lord nonsense!” Marcus replies, taking a giggling Alice from my arms. “You’re my sister and this little princess here is my niece. We are all family so I won’t stand for such formality!” Alice is instantly and completely enamoured with her new uncle.

I’m taken aback with Marcus kindness and warmth. I didn’t have the chance to know him before this day, since he had spent the last few years in the continent, but had I known he was such loving and kind person I would not have feared this trip as much as I did.

“Thank you, brother,” I answer with a smile and Marcus’ eyes twinkle with the same shine of happiness I miss in Carlisle’s eyes. The same bright spark that made me fall in love with him.

“Come on dear brother!” Marcus encourages, “You must be tired and your rooms are waiting. You should see the toys that I have bought for princess Alice. She will be thrilled, won’t you princess?” Alice’s laughter brings a warmth into my heart that I feared was missing and in spite of the pain still residing within me, I smile. My first genuine smile in the four months since Anthony’s death.


Dinner that night is a joyous affair. Marcus is welcoming and adoring in his love for Carlisle and our family. When I question Carlisle about Marcus’ personality, so very different from that of their late father, Carlisle tells me that Marcus spent enough time abroad to be spared the old Lord Cullen’s influence. I wish my Carlisle had been that lucky.

Alice is fascinated by her new lavish toys, her new dresses, and her new room. For a girl who last week only had one straw doll and a couple of Sunday dresses, she seems to have adapted to her new opulent surroundings quite well.

“What do you think?” Carlisle asks me at night as we settle in bed. He hasn’t touched me in all the months since we lost our son. I’m afraid to approach him about it. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps he doesn’t feel the same for me any longer, but then I feel his love in the adoring way he looks at me, in his gentle embrace when we go to bed, and decide that maybe he needs some time before he’s ready to resume our marital relations.

I smile into my pillow and sigh. “I believe your brother loves you very much, and will do about anything within his reach to see you happy.”

“Yes,” Carlisle smiles, placing a kiss against my cheek. “He fought with father when he announced his intentions to restore my rights and welcome us into Masen house. I fear father would have disowned him, had it not been for the fact that his only other heir was me, his biggest disappointment.”

“Shush, let us not speak of your father any longer. He made the choices he made and faced the consequences.”

Carlisle places a sweet kiss on my lips but doesn’t take his attentions any further. He turns the other way and sleeps with his back to me, like every night, I cry quietly into my pillow wondering if we’ll ever go back to the infatuated couple we used to be before our world came crashing down around us.


Months go by and we establish a routine. Carlisle rides with his brother in the mornings and then spends all the time locked in the study going over the ledgers. Apparently, the old lord Cullen and the new one were not very efficient administrators, and Carlisle has gained plenty of experience thanks to his foray as a shop keeper.

The more time Carlisle spends going over the estates’ finances the more time alone I spend and the more the ghosts of what might have been haunt me. Alice offers me comfort with her sweet smiles and her mischief but there is something in me, a void that nothing but Carlisle’s love used to be able to fill. I smile in all the right places and nod when spoken to, but I’m a ghost wandering the halls of Masen house. I only sink further and further into melancholy when Carlisle decides to travel to London for longer and longer periods of time.

One day I’m tending to the rose bushes in the conservatory when I feel someone eyeing me. I turn to find Marcus standing by the doorway with a laughing Alice in his arms.

I smile at the scene, and feel a twinge of pain piercing my heart when I imagine Carlisle standing there instead of his brother. He should be the one Alice plays with and adores, not her uncle.

“I see you’re busy. We just wanted to invite you to take a stroll through the gardens with us. It’s a lovely day and it would be a terrible shame to see it gone to waste by spending it indoors. As lovely as these roses are they don’t compare to the fresh air outside.”

Alice wiggles in Marcus’ arms and he sets her down. She runts to me as fast as she can in her short, chubby, toddler legs and jumps into my arms. I laugh at her enthusiasm as she screams; outside, outside.

I smile indulgently and take my daughter’s hand as I walk with her and my husband’s brother.

Marcus, Alice and I run and roll over the grass, playing like innocent children in the garden. However, there’s nothing innocent in the way Marcus looks at me. There’s nothing innocent in the way he touches my hands whenever he gets the chance. And there’s nothing innocent in the way I let him touch me. There’s nothing innocent in the slightest.


I’m drinking tea in the balcony, watching over Alice while she plays with her nurse in the patio below, when I feel someone take a seat across from me.

“Good afternoon, Marcus,” I welcome my brother in law as he greets me with a lingering kiss against my hand. I try not to blush at his appreciative perusal. I’ve taken to wearing the dresses Carlisle has sent me from London now that business is thriving. These are delicate, colourful dresses, the likes of which I never dreamt I would wear. Marcus has noticed them and praised them in countless occasions since I started wearing them and I fluster over his attention. Each day I put a little more effort into my attire, and shame washes over me whenever my thoughts stray into what Marcus will think of my outfit on that day. I should not care so much about what my brother in law thinks of my appearance.

“Good afternoon, Esme.” Marcus has taken into using my proper name, even though it’s intimate and inappropriate. I allow it because I love that he pays me so much attention. I love that he prefers to stay with us in Masen house when he could be gallivanting through London. I crave his lingering looks, his tender words and his touch. I love to converse with him during dinner and I care overmuch for what he thinks of me. I chastise myself every day and say to myself that I will stop this, whatever it is that has started to develop between us, but I don’t. In fact I encourage it, every day permitting him more allowances.

“I was wondering if you would like to take an afternoon stroll with me. The breeze is lovely and I would like to show you the new horses my brother has purchased. He seems to think our stables need to be stocked with only the best of the best in horses.”

The best of the best, that’s Carlisle new motto, I think bitterly.

“Of course,” I reply as I take Marcus’ hand and set my tea cup on the table.

We walk in silence for a few minutes. I feel as if Marcus wants to say something but is refraining for some reason.

“I know it’s not my place, but I think of us as more than friends and I can’t help but wonder over Carlisle’s absence. He has been away for almost three months now and even though he constantly writes and sends gifts I feel as if there’s something more than distance between you. Is there anything I can do to help?” Marcus asks suddenly.

I blush and look away. I know anyone with eyes can notice how distant Carlisle is with me. How that distance just seems to grow more and more over time, aided by our silence. At first, when Anthony died, it seemed easier to not discuss our pain. Now it seems as if our silence is slowly burying our relationship under the walls each of us has built around our pain.

“You’re right, it’s not your place,” I say in a biting tone. I don’t want to discuss my marital problems, let alone discuss them with Marcus, when all these feelings I have for him confuse me and make me feel guilty.

Marcus stops walking and I turn to face him. He’s staring at me in this deep way, this way that makes me feel as if I’m being stripped naked of all my secrets and all my pain. He walks towards me and takes my right hand in his, placing it above his heart.

“I have never felt so much before, and I feel shame over the thoughts that fill my mind whenever you’re near me.”

I gasp as I feel the rapid beating of his heart under my hand. I want to pull it away and at the same time I want to leave it exactly where it is.

“I don’t know to what extent my feelings for you are clear, Esme. But I feel that if I don’t utter them, say them aloud I’ll die.”

“No,” I beg in a whisper, because I much prefer to pretend like nothing untoward is developing between us, when I know full well the consequences of our betrayal.

“No,” he says in a firm voice. “I can’t keep quiet any longer. I crave you and need you, so much that I can almost drown the voice of my conscience that yells at me: traitor! I love my brother, and I would give my life to spare him any pain, but I also love you, desperately…” he trails, placing a kiss against my open palm.

I gasp at the electricity that his lips elicit in my skin, the same type of spark only Carlisle could cause within me before. It’s weaker, not as bright as what Carlisle makes me feel, but I’m so hungry for love, that this substitute feels like a ray of sunshine after a very long rain.

I pull my hand from his grip, and run, run towards the house, away from temptation and the doom that will surely follow should I succumb.


I can feel Marcus as he runs after me, I climb the stairs with all my strength and I’m almost out of danger when I feel his hand wrapping itself around my arm, and turning my entire body towards his. I’m breathing hard, almost gasping for air while I watch Marcus’ lips as they descend upon mine.

Instead of pushing him away as I should, I circle my arms around his neck and bring our bodies closer, surrendering myself to him. He groans inside my mouth and I’m scared for the feelings that sound stirs in my belly. It has been so very long since the last time I have felt this fire within me, not since before we lost Anthony. I need this fire to consume me as it once did, so I don’t protest as Marcus’ lifts me in his arms and carries me to my bedroom. The same bedroom I share with my husband when he deigns to honour us with his presence in Masen house. I dash all thoughts of Carlisle away as I tremble while Marcus’ fingers loosen my dress and free me from my corset. His eyes are full of passion, but they are also full with tenderness and love. I look away because I cannot stand his love. I don’t want his love. I simply want him to make me feel desired, to fill the void that Anthony’s loss and Carlisle’s absence has left in me.

Marcus is too preoccupied with undressing me to notice how I avoid his gaze. Soon, before I know how, our bodies are naked and entwined as Marcus’ explores my curves with his hands.

“You’re so beautiful,” he whispers against my lips as he searches for that place between my legs that aches to be filled by him. He finds me wet and hot, trembling for his touch. He caresses me gently, and I convulse with unspent ardour as he inserts two fingers inside me. In and out, they stroke me from inside, stoking the fire he alighted with his kisses.

I shudder in his arms as I fall off the ledge of passion and he moans against my neck as he feels my walls tightening around his fingers. After I have calmed some from the ecstasy that enveloped my body, I notice Marcus has covered me with his body.

I know I should stop him. I know I should stop us, but for the first time since I lost my precious boy, for the first time since we moved to Masen house I feel alive. Selfishly, I close my eyes and open my thighs to welcome Marcus’ heat. He enters me in one swift movement and a sob escapes me. He stops momentarily, most likely thinking he has hurt me with the suddenness of his entry. In reality, I’m crying for the pain that my actions will cause us all. Carlisle, Marcus and myself will suffer from my weakness. I allow myself a few more tears before I lift my hips enticingly, making Marcus forget all about the world outside the bubble of rapture that engulfs us.

We are frantic in our coupling, like two starved animals that are presented with a luscious meal, we devour each other. I gasp and groan at the sensations Marcus is able to elicit within my affection-starved body. He makes me feel loved and cherished, feelings I have longed for ever since Carlisle’s focus in life became increasing the Cullen’s assets.

Soon, I feel myself falling off the edge of bliss once more. Marcus joins me on the other side, grunting his euphoria against my heated bosom. We remain like that, my arms around his back, my legs encircling his hips, sweat and heat making our skin slick, eliciting aftershock shivers from our weary bodies.

After a short time Marcus finally recovers himself enough to pull out from inside me. He lays on his back next to me, breathing hard, before he gathers me in his arms and hugs me closely to him. Once our lust has followed its due course, I’m aware enough to realise, in its full magnitude, the wretchedness of my sins.

I laid with my brother in law, not only that, I enjoyed it. I forgot all about my vows, the sacrifices Carlisle has made to be by my side. I disrespected his love and our bed, tainted our sheets, our room with the scents of my coupling with another man.

Suddenly, I am disgusted with myself. How could I have allowed things to reach this level? How could have I allowed myself to take another man into my body, when I should have reserved that privilege for my husband?

I push myself away from Marcus’ arms and quickly gather my dressing gown from its perch next to my bed.

“What is the matter?” Marcus asks, perplexed by my abrupt departure. I pick up his clothes from the floor and throw them at him.

“Go!” I yell, between anguished sobs, ice slowly lacing my veins as I take in the scene of the crime. Clothes strewn all over the floor, bed sheets rumpled, pillows thrown over the side of the bed. If only could Carlisle see me now. What would he think of his precious wife if he saw me right now, naked except for a dressing robe, his brother hastily donning his trousers as I hysterically cry.

I am such a disappointment. I’m glad Carlisle is in London, away from the destruction I’ve created.

“Please,” Marcus begs, clearly wishing to hold me and soothe away my pain.

“Go, leave!” I say again, in a hoarse voice. “Leave me alone!”

He hesitates for a moment before he departs, leaving me to pick up the pieces of my broken life.


There’s a beauty in destruction. Destroying oneself, destroying the things you love. When all you ever held dear is in ruins, all you have are the memories of what it was. If you have nothing left to lose, you have nothing to fear.

After my initial reaction, Marcus stayed away from me for a while. He even attempted to keep his distance by going to London to stay with his brother, the brother we so thoroughly betrayed. Soon, though, like man obsessed, he returns to Masen house, to continue his pursue of me.

At first I try to resist him. I try, but I am so weak, so very weak. And as the weak, wretched being that I am, I find myself once again wrapped between Marcus’ sheets.

Months go by, I make myself imagine that Carlisle has never existed. I make myself feel as if Marcus is indeed my husband and Alice’s father. I make myself exist in a world where Anthony is nothing but a sweet dream that never came to fruition. It is easy to forget the pain when there’s happiness and love to replace it. Even when that joy is marred by the scent of betrayal emanating from our very pores.

One morning though, reality comes crashing down on me when I realise that my courses have stopped. I make myself believe it’s due to my own guilt, that I’m so preoccupied with Carlisle returning unannounced that I made myself ill. When I start retching on a chamberpot every morning the truth becomes apparent even to Marcus. He sees the changes in my body as he explores it every night. He sees my breasts growing, filling so they can one day nourish the child growing inside me. He sees the curve of my belly expanding to accommodate our child. Like the fool and romantic that he is, he starts planning, preparing to take me and Alice to the continent. Where no one will judge or know that I’m nothing but a faithless woman running away from her pain.

I let Marcus live in his fantasies. I don’t have the heart to tell him that even though I welcome him into my bed, inside my body every night, even though my actions may speak otherwise, I still love Carlisle like I loved him the very first day I laid eyes on him. I’m torn between my passion for Marcus, the need I have to be protected by him from the pain that is eating me from the inside, and the fierce love I feel for Carlisle. Even after all this time apart I can’t make myself renounce him, even after all I’ve done I can’t make myself forget him. I know this will be my curse for as long as I live, to know that I betrayed the one person that I have ever loved.


I’m knitting in my parlour, enjoying the morning sun when a maid comes running into the room and screams at me that Lord Cullen is hurt.

I run to Marcus’ room to find a scene out of nightmares. His bed is covered in bloody rags, a doctor hovering over his body checking for signs of life. Everything is a flurry of activity, every one doing their best to save the kind Lord Cullen. However, as I look at him, as I touch his hand resting over his torso, I know. Marcus is gone, and with him is gone my world of light and fantasies. It’s time to wake up and face the pain.

The butler has to carry me outside as I succumb to my sobs.


“Esme,” I hear Carlisle’s voice croak as I open my eyes in our room. The memories come crashing down on me. Marcus’ accident, his death, Carlisle’s arrival, Carlisle’s face when he hugged me and felt the bump of the baby growing inside me. I fainted when I realised that he knew. There’s nothing I can do to hide my perfidy now.

I blink, and as my eyes clear from the tears I see the face, the one face I’ve longed to see in all these months. Carlisle is as handsome as he has always been. His features are twisted in pain, a pain I have caused, but he’s beautiful, there’s simply no other word.

He flinches when I try to touch his face and that hurts me more than I want to admit.

He walks to the other side of the room, and I feel the distance between us grow with each of his steps.

“Why?” he finally asks. “Why, poppet?” I could give him a multitude of excuses. I could lie and tell him Marcus seduced me, that I was an unwilling participant, that it only happened once. Instead, I do what I should have done since the very beginning. I tell him the truth. I speak of the pain that I felt when it became obvious that Anthony would not survive longer than a day. I tell him of how my heart broke when we put our baby boy on the earth. I tell him that I needed him, that I love him, and I needed his support. I let him know how much it hurt me to see him pull away, to realise that he preferred to be away from me. I explain to him that I am weak, that I let things escape my control, that I surrendered to Marcus looking for someone who cared. I simply needed someone who cared. I was so very alone. There’s so much loss and so much pain we have avoided.

I beg him for a second chance, a chance to start over, and he nods against my chest as he gathers me in his arms and cries for the first time since Anthony died.

It feels wrong to feel hope when Marcus is dead and my marriage is in shambles, but I can’t help but feel hope when I finally allow myself to share the pain with my husband, like I should have done months ago.


It’s late at night and I turn to find the bed empty. For a minute I think it has all been a dream and Carlisle is in London, away from us. However, when I hear someone cooing in the next room I smile.

I walk to find the sweetest scene I have ever witnessed. Carlisle is rocking a restless Edward in his arms. He’s humming an old nursery rhyme and rocking our baby boy against his chest. Edward is such a precious boy, so beautiful. He’s just like his fathers, like the father who sired him, and like the father who loves him with his whole heart. There’s no denying the love Carlisle feels for this baby. He is a miracle for us both, the missing part that has pieced our broken hearts back together. He’s the hope for the future, and I know in that instant, as Carlisle kisses Edward’s tiny forehead, that we will be fine. We will be more than fine.


A/N I don’t know why I felt the need to write this outtake. All I can say is that Esme wanted to be heard so I gave her a voice. I know cheating is a big no no for most people. I can’t make myself read fic or books that has any cheating on it. So thank you to those brave souls who gave this outtake a chance. All I can say, as a child from a couple who has survived cheating, is that sometimes things aren’t black and white. Sometimes stuff happens and we have to get lost before we can find our way home again.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Love So Beautiful - Chapter 23

Disclaimer: These characters are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer. I am just messing around with them.
A/N I don’t have a pre-reader or a Beta or anything of the sort. All mistakes are mine and mine alone.


A Love So Beautiful: Chapter 23

Hertfordshire, England 1894

The road to Masen House is filled with memories for me. The last time I journeyed through this road my eyes were filled with tears and my heart encased in sorrow. I never dreamt I would be on my way to Masen House again, like I am today. Alice is smiling, seating next to Jasper in the seat across from me. She’s excited to be coming home, to the place that she was the happiest. I am torn between melancholy and hope. I haven’t dared to hope as intensely as I have in recent days. I haven’t dared to wish for things that I once thought unattainable, and now seem within reach. I am in a state of tensed excitement, hoping for the best yet fearing the worst.

Edward’s divorce is moving forward smoothly. The scandal has been minimised as much as could be expected, by Edward’s money and influence. Victoria is set to be sent to a state in the border with Scotland. Her family too shamed by her actions to welcome her into their home in London. She’s to be exiled, punished by her actions, when if anyone dares to look closely at the situation one might even pity her.

I confess that I do pity her.

Ever since I found out about her affair with Lord Biers I could not help but wonder if I would have acted any differently than she did, in regards of how she handled things when we were younger. I remember how fiercely I loved Edward. How I was willing to sacrifice anything for his love. I was merely lucky enough to be reciprocated in my affections. But would I have surrendered to fate had Edward not felt the same way about me? Would I have simply allowed him to be married to another woman of his choosing? I like to think I would have chosen his happiness over my selfish desires but my recent actions make me think otherwise.

I have not opened Peter’s most recent letter. I am scared of what words await me in its pages. He seemed so hopeful in its last letter. He was counting the days until the doctor announced his mother was fully recovered and he could join me again in London. He thought the separation would do me good and put our relationship into perspective, make me see how good we were together. I feel like a fraud when I think of how much my actions will hurt him. I feel as selfish as Victoria was when she sacrificed me to achieve her happiness. She was fully cognisant of my love for Edward and she didn’t hesitate to push me out of the way to make Edward hers. I am very well aware of Peter’s feelings for me, of his constancy and patience, of his friendship and devotion, and yet I’m prepared to sacrifice him if need be. Edward’s love has, once again, become the centre of my whole existence, as essential to me as breathing. Guilt courses through my veins the closer we get to Masen House.

The scariest part of it all is how much stronger is my happiness compared to my guilt.


Masen house is exactly as I remembered. Beautiful, red brick and white, high and magnificent against the blue skies of Hertfordshire. I look at these walls that hold so many memories, good and bad, and I smile. It’s been so long and in a way it feels like coming home. Aunt Leah holds my hand and I turn to smile at her. She is always so in tune with my feelings, she must sense the enormity of this moment for me.

“How are you feeling?” she asks me with a gentle smile grazing her lips.

I sigh deeply, breathing in the air of this place that holds a big part of who I used to be. I can almost hear the ghost of my past giggling in the meadow beyond the hill. “I feel amazing,” I reply, and it’s not a lie.


Alice is walking ahead of me. She’s so glad to be home, her happiness is contagious.

“Bella, can you believe that we’re home at last? It felt like ages since the last time we were here!”

I nod in agreement because in spite of Peter, and my aunt, and my parents’ love, it has felt like ages to me. The past five years have been longer than I can count with my fingers. I count those years in the scars that mar my heart, the same scars I can feel closing up and mending the closer Edward is to freedom and to me.

“Father isn’t home at the time being,” Alice remarks, confusing my silence with concern. “So don’t you go worrying about a confrontation. He’s hardly here since mother passed away.” She opens the door to my old room, the guest room that in years past had almost become my own. The maids are putting away my luggage as I walk behind Alice. It looks the same and somehow I’m surprised by that fact. I always assumed that after Edward and Victoria married she would do her utmost to erase me from this place, from Edward’s whole life.

As if reading my mind Alice says, “He would not let anyone in this room. No one but his most trusted valet and a maid were allowed here to clean. You have no idea how much Victoria loathed this room.”

I have no doubts that Victoria hated this room with a passion.

“Your father and mother will arrive soon?” Alice asks, changing the subject.

“Yes,” I reply, shaking off the deluge of memories threatening to overtake me. The weeping willow is still swaying by my window. Its leaves dancing with the gentle afternoon breeze. I look towards the bed and I cannot help but remember the last time I was in this room.

"I don't know who you are anymore, but you're not my Edward. My Edward would have fought for us until his last breath."

"Maybe you never knew me."

I often wonder if I will be able to leave the past behind me. If this house will one day be a place of happiness to me, and not the place where I had my heart broken.

“Was your father terribly upset with you? I am sure he’s not happy with this arrangement. He may fear that you’re coming to Masen house to secretly meet with Edward.”

I blink rapidly, shaken from my memories by Alice’s words.

“He was not ecstatic as you have guessed. However, if I was planning anything untoward I would not have invited them as well. I would have insisted your presence and Jasper’s was sufficient to thwart any rumours about Edward and me. Father knows me and trusts me implicitly. I must confess though that if it weren’t for Aunt Leah’s sage words of advice he might have not agreed to let me come.”

“Your Aunt really cares about you,” Alice points out as the maids set up the tea in front of crackling fire. The breeze is cool and I can sense that it will be a very cold night.

“Yes, she never had any children. Her husband died when he was young and she never loved anyone enough to marry him afterwards. I think she sees me as her own and I must confess that I love her as a mother. She has been a source of much strength for me in recent years.”

Alice takes my right hand in hers and gently wraps her fingers with mine. “I cannot imagine what it must have been like. To be so far away, after what my bother did to you. I will never be able to thank you for giving him a second chance, Bella.”

“Nothing is set in stone, Alice,” I am fast to clarify. “I’m simply waiting to see how things unfold. It all depends on your brother now. I’ve told him I would give him a chance to court me once he was free to do so.”

“That is so much more than anyone could expect and so much more than he deserves after the pain he caused you,” Alice says, smiling at me.

Trying to lighten the mood I ask after Alice’s little one. She gushes and smiles, telling me how she recently felt the baby move inside her and how excited Jasper is to have a daughter. Alice insists it’s a son but Jasper hopes for a little girl he can spoil rotten.

“Surely, it’s odd for a man of his status to hope for a girl instead of a boy, and heir to his title,” I note, somewhat surprised by Alice’s revelation.

She smiles, a soft smile that’s full of joy and contentment. I’m so glad to see my friend enjoy such fulfilment in her life after the pain she has gone through.

“He says he wants her to look exactly like me, because he can’t imagine loving anyone more than a little girl with his blood that looks like me. He’s such a romantic, Bella. I never imagined I would come to love him as I do.”

For a brief moment I allow myself to imagine what it would be like to marry Peter. I don’t love him like I should but I feel for him much more deeply than Alice felt about Jasper when she married him. The first year of her marriage I remember Alice crying about the injustice of her fate. I remember hearing her sniffling softly, hidden in the library. I remember how she avoided Jasper like the plague. She loathed him, and yet, she learnt to love him in time. Could I ever love Peter? Could I fall in love with him like Alice fell in love with Jasper?

I feel dizzy with the possibilities. There was a time in which I would have never doubted my fate was irrevocably linked to Edward’s. Now however, doubts and guilt fill my heart. I don’t want to hurt Peter, and deep down I know I could come to love him. On the other hand, I have never been able to completely let go of Edward— not even with an ocean between us. Would it be fair to Peter, to condemn him to a life of half-love. I would love him, of that I’m certain, but my heart would be forever bound to Edward’s in some way. I would give Peter only the part of my heart that I could spare, whereas I could give Edward my whole heart without a doubt.

Alice takes notice of my troubled thoughts and enquires after my wellbeing.

“Do you feel all right, Bella? I’m certain the travelling has exhausted you!”

“I’m quite all right,” I reply with a weak smile. “Simply tired. I think I will nap before it’s time for supper.”

“That is a marvellous idea,” Alice agrees excitedly. “This wee child has been tiring me out. I need a good nap myself.”

I smile as Alice gently pats her round belly. Her happiness is contagious even with all the fears that haunt my thoughts. I smile and hug her as she leaves me alone in my old room. I lie in bed, thinking of the last day I spent in this house, in this room, and the despair that filled me. I breathe deeply and wish for the day in which things are less complicated than they are now. In which I can simply be happy.


It’s late at night when I hear it. A piano being played in the dead of night. For one moment my heart beats faster, hopeful that it might be Edward who has come to Masen House early, but then I remember he told me in his last letter that he would be detained in London for at least one more week before he could join us in Masen house.

The song is infinitely sad and I have to blink the tears that escape my eyes in response to the melancholy of the melody. I wrap myself in a robe, and go out in search of the lonely piano player.

Somehow, I know who to expect, since there’s only one person who can play the piano so wonderfully besides Edward. However, I’m no less surprised as I stumbled into Lord Carlisle, playing the piano in the music room, a glass of scotch teetering beside him on the bench.

After so many years, it feels odd to be before the man who ruined my most beloved dreams and hopes and feel… nothing.

I’ve always pictured a different scene altogether. I imagined that I would yell at him, show him my disdain, show him that even though his actions managed to separate me from Edward he hadn’t completely broke me— just my heart. Moreover now that it seemed possible for Edward and I to be together once again. However, the man before me is not the Lord who ruled over everyone’s lives, including his children. This man is lonely, this man makes me feel pity for him instead of the hatred I imagined.

“Do you plan to stand all night there watching me, child?” Lord Carlisle’s gruff voice interrupts my musings. “Or do you have anything you would like to say to me after all these years?”

I blink in surprise, taken aback by Lord Carlisle’s words. He stops playing and drinks all the scotch left in the glass before turning to look at me.

I gasp. A once proud and handsome man, Lord Carlisle is nothing but a ghost of the man he used to be. Bags under his eyes, wrinkles of worry now mar his once almost perfect features. He has aged twenty years in the last five years since I’ve last seen him.

“I see you’ve grown even lovelier with the years, no wonder my son is so willing to destroy the family name to marry you. I can’t say I would not do the same were I in his place. In fact, I did exactly the same when I was his age,” Lord Carlisle says standing up. He walks towards the liquor cabinet and serves himself another full glass of scotch.

“I don’t understand,” I reply in a daze, because I truly don’t understand what he means with his last statement. When has he done anything that could damage the family name?

“Of course you wouldn’t,” he says simply, gulping down his newly served glass. He serves himself another glass and flops into a nearby chair, spilling some of his scotch on the floor.

“Oh uh,” he says and giggles as a small child who has been caught doing something naughty.

I do not recognise this man sitting before me. Where is the proud man that was so quick to separate his son from the one woman he has ever loved to marry him off to a woman he could barely stand— all in the name of furthering the family fortune and name?

“I think I better leave,” I say turning towards the door.

“Did you know that Lady Esme was a merchant’s daughter? A poor merchant’s daughter at that. Her father had depleted their resources long before he died in the bed of a whore at the ripe age of forty. He left them with nothing but humiliation. I met her when she was appointed as Lord Jasper’s governess. Her station was even lower than yours, girl.”

I turn and glare at him. He has no right to say I am of a low station when his soul is obviously lower than that of the lowest of the men on earth.

“How shocking then, that a man so proud as yourself, my lord, would bother himself with such a lowly girl to even marry her,” I retort, infusing as much scorn as I can in my voice.

“She was such a lovely girl,” he continues, not at all offended by my derision. “She had the loveliest green eyes, just like Edward’s.”

“My lord, I think you need to go to bed. You’re talking nonsense.” I make to retreat once more but Lord Carlisle speaks again before I can leave.

“My father was livid. He disowned me. I married her anyways. I went against my father and my family. I was his second son, the spare, so he didn’t hesitate to send me away with my new wife, and denying me my birthright. For four years we lived in poverty, I tended to the little shop that survived from Esme’s inheritance and we barely had enough money to feed baby Alice. We were so poor I could not pay for a doctor to tend to Esme when she started bleeding while she was pregnant with our second child. We lost our boy that night and we lost ourselves as well. We were never the same after Anthony died.”

I’m completely taken aback by Lord Carlisle’s words. Why has he chosen to share such intimate details of his past with me? And who is this man? I would have never guessed that he would be capable of sacrificing his entire inheritance to marry for love. Not when he was so adamant that none of his children should marry for the same reason he married his wife. Only advantageous marriages for the Cullen children, that was his motto.

“How did you inherited the estate then?” I ask, because I want to know now. I want to understand what drove this man, who once believed in love so fiercely that he was willing to renounce everything for it, into becoming the man who tore me from Edward and tore his son’s heart in the process, as well as mine.

“When father died, my eldest brother, Marcus, invited us to return home. He was a very kind soul, and he welcomed me and my family with open arms. Esme was still recovering from her miscarriage so I was relieved by the fact that I could take care of her and Alice from then on. I devoted myself to my family’s investments, since my father’s lack of foresight, and my brother’s ingenuity, had made them dwindle. However, in the process I neglected my family, spending more and more time in London focused in business.”

“I do not blame Esme for what she did. I forgave her a long time ago, even when she never forgave herself,” He finished, grabbing the bottle of scotch and drinking directly from it.

What could sweet lady Esme had done to him? She was the sweetest, loveliest of women I have ever met. Even though she never protected Edward from Carlisle’s machinations, I would never imagine her as a person capable of hurting anyone on purpose.

“Please don’t speak ill of the dead. She isn’t here to defend herself,” I say, outraged by Lord Carlisle’s implied allegations.

“She would not defend herself, even if she were here. She was always the first to cast the blame on herself whenever it came to us. It was always my fault in the end though, all of it.”

“What are you mumbling about? I think I’ll go find Lord Jasper. You need to stop drinking and go to bed,” I retort, turning towards the door. Just as I’m about to cross the threshold I hear him speak again, and what he says shocks me deeply.

“She was alone, and Marcus was so kind. He took my place as Alice’s father figure while I spent months at the time away. I now understand I was simply running away from the pain of our loss. Esme could not escape the pain, so she welcomed Marcus as a friend, and eventually she welcomed him into her bed…our bed.”

“What?” I stutter. There are no words to convey the level of surprise I feel at Lord Carlisle’s revelation.

He continues as if I hadn’t spoken. “It was a late February night when I received a letter from Masen house telling me my brother had been in an accident. His horse had spooked during a hunting trip and threw him off. He was dying. So I rushed home, riding through the night as fast as I could. When I arrived all I could see was Esme crying in a corner and all of the servants’ faces filled with sadness for their kind master. I knew immediately I was too late to say goodbye to my brother, and that I was the new Lord of Masen House, the new Lord Cullen. I rushed to Esme’s side and as I hugged her I knew. I felt it—”

I frown, not understanding what it was he felt.

“I was gone almost exactly eight months, and yet as I hugged my sobbing wife, I felt the round bump of a babe growing inside her. Edward was born exactly four months after that night, almost exactly a year since I’d last lain with my wife.”

My eyes widened. No, it couldn’t be. Lady Esme would have never done that. Never.

“You’re lying!” I hear someone roar from behind me, and I turn to find a livid Edward standing by the door of the music room. He’s still on his travelling clothes.

“Mother would never…she was a saint to tolerate the vile man you have become. She would have never done that!” Edward screams directly at his father, venom lacing his voice.

“Your mother was many great things, beautiful, lovely, kind, but a saint was not one of them. She was human, just like the rest of us.”

Edward walks past me, directly towards his father, and picks him up by the lapels of his coat. He spits his next words at him with fury, “Don’t you dare taint my mother’s memory! You can hate me all you wish for being a disappointment to you, but don’t you dare imply I’m not your son or imply that my mother laid with your brother. Don’t you dare!” He emphasises the last three words.

Lord Carlisle laughs bitterly and I jump, frightened, when Edward punches him in the jaw and Lord Carlisle lands in the floor, at Edward’s feet.

“You stupid boy!” Lord Carlisle shouts between guffaws from the floor. He’s so drunk all of his secrets are spilling out of him, unbidden. “The only reason I accepted you as my son is because we share the same blood, and because I owed your mother the son she lost when I was too poor to pay for a doctor to tend her. You’re the son of my brother, and if you don’t want to believe me, then believe your mother’s own words.” He pulls a rumpled, old paper from his coat and throws it at Edward.

I run towards them and pick up the old piece of paper so that Edward doesn’t have to go anywhere near the man he has called father for all these years. I open it, and immediately recognise lady Esme’s elegant handwriting. I hand it to Edward, my hands shaking, dreading the pain his mother’s words will cause Edward.

He starts reading them and his eyes fill with tears as he scans the page. I stand behind him and read along the words that are slicing his heart into shreds.

Dear son,

If you’re reading this, it means that I died before I could garner enough courage to tell you the truth in person. I’ve wronged you, I’ve wronged your father, and I’ve wronged myself by failing those who I love and loved me so much in return.

I will not try to justify my actions with empty excuses. The truth of the matter is that I am not perfect, and I failed your father in every regard. He forgave me and loved me even as I broke his heart, and I will never be able to repay him for letting me keep you, when he was in his right to send you away and never let me lay eyes on you again.

You see, there was a time in our lives in which things were not as easy as they are today. We were poor, so very poor, and due to our lack of funds, I lost a child whom I named Anthony, just like you. I never blamed your father, but I know he blamed himself. He swore we would never be poor again, and that I would never want for anything, ever again. His new purpose was to make money, and with that single idea driving him, he spend much time away from me. I was still grieving. I felt so very lonely. Even with your sister, there was a part of me that had died along with my baby, and I needed comfort. Your father was away for most of the year, making us and his family richer. Your father’s brother, Marcus, he was a gentle man. He was sweet, attentive, all the things I needed when I was hurting the most. I loved your father so very much, but as you will one day learn, sometimes it’s the ones we love the most, the ones we hurt more deeply. I will never know or understand fully what drove me to Marcus’ arms. I could blame it on loneliness or sorrow, but none of those are excuses for what I did. All I can assume is that I was out of my mind with grief, and was not thinking clearly when I betrayed your father thus.

I let myself be encased by Marcus’ love as a way to forget my own shortcomings as a wife and as mother, and in doing so I hurt your father, and I hurt Marcus too, for I never loved him as he loved me. My love was always for Carlisle, even if my actions speak otherwise.

No matter what, no matter what he may pretend, Carlisle, your father, he loves you. Marcus may have been the man who sired you, but make no mistake son, behind all those walls he has built to protect himself from his pain, Carlisle loves you deeply and only wants the best for you.

When you were little he used to spend countless nights watching you sleep, and I’ve never seen a man so enamoured with his son as your father was with you. You’re Carlisle’s son and he’s your father. For all his mistakes— and he has made as many as I have— he has always loved you.

I know you’re still hurting over being driven apart from Isabella— even as you try to hide it from me— but you have to understand son, that in your father’s eyes it was like history repeating itself. He sacrificed everything for me, only to have his heart broken, he did not wish the same fate for you. In his need to protect you from that heartbreak, he hurt you deeper than Isabella ever could. I failed you as well in many regards. I did not go against your father when I should have and I know he used my illness to keep you by our side. I will forever regret my weakness, but I was selfish. I had already lost a son, and hurt your father so very deeply. I knew my time on earth was coming to an end, and I selfishly wished for a few more years with your father and you. You may never forgive me, but please know this one truth: you were loved, you’re loved, and from whatever place I go after I leave this earth— for I’m not sure I deserve heaven after all my misdeeds— I will watch over you and your sister and try to right all the wrongs we did you.

Your loving mother,


My eyes fill with tears as I read through lady Esme’s words, and without stopping to think how inappropriate it may look I hug Edward from behind, as he shakes with restrained sobs.

“Esme…Esme… Why did you have to leave me, Esme?” I hear Lord Carlisle mumbling from the floor, his lip bloody, his eyes closed. I’ve never felt more pity for another creature before. I may never forget what this man did to Edward and me, but now I know with certainty that I have forgiven him. He is living in hell as it is. He doesn’t need anymore reasons to blame himself.

Edward turns to me after a short time, and places his hands on each side of my face. Our tears mingle as he kisses me softly, longingly, the raw kiss of two lovers that were driven apart for much too long.

“Please, let us leave this room. I need to be away from him, and we need to discuss a matter of rather importance,” Edward murmurs against my lips.

I nod and follow him, his fingers tangled with mine. I turn to gaze one final time at the man lying on the floor, and a single tear escapes my eyes as I take in the ruins of the man he used to be. No one, not even him, deserves to be so dead inside.


Jikes… a lot happened in this chapter. Much more than I intended to! These characters have a mind of their own! Do we still hate Carlisle, or do we feel a tiny bit sorry for him now? We’re getting closer and closer to the prologue, maybe three or four more chapters. Eek!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Arranged Vows - Chapter 5: Tristesse

DISCLAIMER: I don’t own Twilight as much as I wish I did.

HISTORICAL DISCLAIMER: I love History but I’m not a historian. So please forgive any mistakes I’ve made. They were made out of ignorance and not on purpose.

Many thanks to my PTB Betas: GetDrunkOnVictory and SqueakyZorro, you rock!


The light of morning brought clarity and anxiety to Edward’s mind. As he lay in bed he contemplated his newly discovered feelings towards his wife. He had come to the conclusion that his love for Bella had been brewing inside him ever since he met her. He had never felt this way before, needed anyone as he needed Bella. Many doubts were clouding his thoughts, and he was genuinely scared of risking his heart to win over his wife’s. He needed an outside opinion; of that much he was sure.

The only person he could think of who could provide him with sound, unbiased advice was Jasper, Alice’s fiancé. He knew from what he had heard in London that Jasper had been considered one of the biggest rakes in all of England. He had led a life of debauchery of such proportions that even though he was a marquess, he was considered unsuitable and undesirable as a marriage prospect. Not that the matrons who rejected him as a potential son-in-law had the same kind of scruples in bedding the man they considered objectionable for their offspring.

When Jasper had shown interest in his young, sheltered cousin Alice, his aunt had refused to allow him to call on her precious daughter. He didn’t fault his aunt for this decision; in fact at the time he had supported it. However, in time, Jasper had managed to convince everyone who mattered that he was fit to be Alice’s husband.

So far, Lord Jasper had shown no signs that his devotion for Alice had diminished one bit, and his comportment had been almost saintly. No further scandals had ensued after the announcement of their engagement was made, and he had surprised the ton by showing an uncharacteristic devotion towards his fiancée.

How had Jasper accomplished such a feat? How had he convinced Alice, and more importantly her parents, that he would be a most faithful and devoted husband? Moreover, how had Jasper changed his ways in such a short amount of time?

Edward had had his fair share of lovers and scandals, and he couldn’t fathom leaving that life behind as easily as Jasper seemed to have. Could he really cut off ties permanently with those women, all for the sake of his love for Bella? Could he be strong enough not to fall into his old ways again? Liquor, women, gambling, all were so easily accessible to men like Edward. With such temptation close at hand, could Edward trust himself to make promises to Bella—promises of love, faithfulness and devotion—he wasn’t sure he would be able to keep?

Edward realized now—in the light of day—that there was one thing he feared, and it was promising his wife things he wasn’t yet sure he could fulfil. Faithfulness, love, and commitment were foreign concepts for Edward since he was naught but a boy. How could he make himself worthy of Bella’s trust and win her heart?

He decided he would consult Jasper in this matter. Jasper had proven a loyal friend to Edward in the short time they have known each other. Surely he was the one who could help him gain the confidence he needed to proceed with his plans in regards to his marriage.

With this new conviction, Edward called for his valet to start the day.


As much as Bella had tried to crush the feeling of hope blossoming in her heart, it only seemed to ignite and grow like a small fire would when fed by the driest twigs.

During breakfast, Edward had been more attentive to her than in all previous occasions. He had kept light conversation with her, asked her a few more questions about her life before they married, and even suggested she write to her mother so that she would not worry over her only daughter. Bella doubted Renee would worry when only a few days had passed since they last saw each other, but just the fact that Edward had concerned himself with her comfort and her mother’s peace of mind had warmed Bella’s heart. She wanted to smother these tender feelings towards her husband. They would only lead to pain, she decided.

They spent most of the day riding, as they had the day prior. To Bella’s joy, Edward shared even more of his childhood with her. In return, Bella told him about her father, how much she had cared for him, their shared hobbies and ideas. She shared everything she felt brave enough to discuss about a subject that was still a sore wound to her soul.

Edward told her about his relatives, his uncle, Lord Carlisle, his aunt, Lady Esme, and his cousins, Emmett and Alice. He even proposed they pay a visit to their country estate, a short forty-minute carriage ride from the manor. Bella, whose family had been composed of her father and mother with only a few distant cousins to speak of, found the idea of a big family reunion positively glorious. She had had the opportunity to speak to Edward’s family during the wedding, but she had been so nervous she could barely remember a word of what was said.

She remembered that Alice was a lively girl, and Emmett was a very kind and affable sort of fellow. Edward’s aunt and uncle were too occupied making sure the reception was perfect as it befitted a man of Edward’s rank, so Bella barely remembered them.

They had settled on a visit the next day to take advantage of the good weather and Bella was looking forward to the distraction.

Night seemed to bring the worst of her fears. Edward had tacitly left the decision of when they would resume their marital relations in Bella’s hands. He had implied that he would only proceed when she felt comfortable with him. The problem with this was that even though her body craved the closeness and the intimacy she had experienced with the act, her mind fought with confused thoughts and feelings that plagued it.

Dinner was tense at best. The rapport Edward and she had established seemed lost and Bella didn’t know how or what to say to lift the cloud of uncertainty that had fallen over them.

Edward seemed hesitant, keeping the conversation shallow. It was as if he could sense Bella’s uncertainty.

Bella recognized that she needed to order her thoughts and feelings and proceed with the course of action that was best for her. They still had approximately three years before the deadline set by Edward’s father was met. However, Edward’s title was entailed*, and she had no guarantee she would give him a son on the first try. The matter of a male heir was of some urgency if she really considered it.

Bella drank from her wine glass to settle her nerves. So what would it mean to her if she decided to lay with her husband again as soon as this very night? How would she even go about letting Edward know she was ready? Was she ready?

While Bella tried to clear her mind and decide on what to do, Edward was having an inner conflict of his own. He had decided that after the fiasco of their first night at the manor, Bella would have to be the one to make the first move if they were to lie together.

However, he had failed to consider two very important factors: Bella’s naïveté about sex and his own desires. He had not needed to take matters in his own hands—so to speak—ever since he was a young boy. There was always a willing body nearby to provide him with the release he craved. He had never had to wait or curb his desires. Now he found himself waiting for a girl, who had been a virgin not a whole week ago, to initiate matters. How he had thought that was a wise idea, he couldn’t understand.

He feared that if he depended on Bella, he might have to wait a whole year or even more. What was worse, he desired Bella like he had desired none other before her, which made the situation even more pressing.

He had requested their supper  be delivered to the anteroom that united their bedrooms. There were no servants attending to them tonight, and Edward cursed himself for his decision since their privacy seemed to put even more tension between them.

He had hoped he’d be able to be patient and allow Bella to set the pace, but seeing her sitting across the table from him—beautiful and tantalizing in a simple blue dress that enhanced her natural endowments— was testing his strength.

How could he resist her when she sat there looking delicious? Her porcelain skin seemed to glow. Her dark eyes—though guarded—sparkled. Her lips were cherry-red and just as appetizing. He felt as if it was taking all within him not to jump over the table and attack his wife like a wild beast.

Maybe he could cajole Bella, tempt her as she was doing him, so that she would make a move. There was only so much a man could take before going mad with lust.

Are you enjoying dinner?” Edward asked casually.

Very much,” Bella replied as she nervously bit her lower lip. It was a habit she had when she was feeling anxious, Edward surmised, and it drove him insane. He wanted so badly to bite on that lower lip. He had to suppress a groan before he could continue.

Have you tasted strawberries as delicious as these before? Mrs. Newton has them specially brought from a nearby farm. They are the best in the country I believe.” Edward grabbed one of said strawberries from a platter and dipped it in cream before taking a bite.

Bella gulped. There was something about watching Edward’s lips wrap themselves around the fruit, before taking a bite of it that made her stomach flutter and all the muscles in her lower belly tighten.

Do you like strawberries?” Bella asked in breathy voice. Suddenly the air around her seemed hotter and her eyes were glued to Edward’s mouth as he chewed.

Edward swallowed before replying and Bella was utterly distracted by the movement of his Adam’s apple. She felt a curious urge to climb on his lap and lick his throat until he was moaning.

Yes, it’s one of the few fruits I can tolerate. I don’t enjoy sweets very much, but I like the flavour of strawberries. It’s very sweet but a little tangy as well.” He wanted to add that it reminded him of her taste, the first night when he spent several glorious minutes between her thighs, but he refrained.

He needed to approach Bella like a fox would approach its prey. He needed to be stealthy and not obvious and blunt with her. He had scared her off once before with his lack of control that had resulted in their first fight. No, he needed full control over himself if he wanted to lure Bella into his bed and still maintain the pretence that she had made the first move.

He needed to become irresistible to her.

Do you have a favourite dessert, Bella?”

Not really. Like you, I don’t enjoy sweets very much. I suppose chocolate; anything made with chocolate is completely mouth-watering to me.”

I shall instruct Mrs. Newton to make a chocolate cake for tomorrow’s dessert,” Edward declared with a smile.

Oh, there’s no need to go to any trouble—“ Bella started but was interrupted by Edward’s hand wrapping around hers.

It’s no trouble,” Edward said simply.

Bella blushed profusely, touched by his gentleness with her and aroused by his closeness. He was such a mystery that she wondered if she ever would get to understand him entirely.

On the one side, he seemed like a lost boy. A boy who, having lost his mother at a very young age— and with a father too wrapped up in his own grief to care for him—had sought refuge in the escape he could garner from his many flings. On the other he seemed like a predator, a man so sure of himself he exuded the sexual pull women found irresistible. She wasn’t sure which Edward she preferred; the boy looking for love or the predator who craved sexual pleasure. She guessed she could learn to love both.

And then there was that word, love. She wasn’t sure love could be involved in their relationship at all. She wanted to block it, stop it from happening, but ever since the first time they were together— as man and wife— it had been slowly filling up her heart. As much as she wanted to flee from such feeling, Edward made it impossible for her not to embrace it, albeit reluctantly.

How could one love someone who hasn’t been taught how to reciprocate it? How could one love someone who would break your heart at the first chance?

After that sweet moment, they spent the rest of their meal in silence, both submerged in their own thoughts.


It was the second night Bella had to spend alone in her bed. She had only spent her wedding night with Edward but it had been so magical she couldn’t fathom she’d be able to endure many more lonely nights like this.

She craved Edward’s company at all times. However, due to the way she was raised she had no idea how to broach the subject of their intimate relations. How did women of ill repute seduce gentlemen like Edward?

No, she couldn’t allow herself to think of them. It would bring the memories of the maid to the forefront of her mind, and that was the last thing she needed.

Bella sighed heavily. The fact remained that she needed to discover a way to make it known to her husband that she was willing to resume their marital relations.

Bella sighed again and buried her face against the pillow, trying to drown her thoughts and manage some sleep. Edward had asked her if she would be okay with visiting his family the next day. He had said they had a house not far from the estate, so they would just spend the day there and return home in time for supper. At first, Bella was relieved she would get to meet the people who were important in Edward’s life. Now however, she was beginning to feel the first stirrings of nervousness wreaking havoc in her mind.

So many questions were swirling in her mind along with her concerns about how to approach Edward about the subject of marital relations. She was finding sleep impossible.

When she allowed herself to breathe deeply she heard faint music that seemed to come from downstairs. She knew there was a piano downstairs but couldn’t imagine who would be playing it so late at night.

Curious, she grabbed her robe and wrapped herself tightly with it. She descended the stairs as if in a daze, as if her very own Pied Piper of Hamelin* was summoning her with the hypnotizing tune.

She opened the door and stood on the threshold, watching as Edward’s fingers flew over the keys. He had his eyes closed and the faint lightning in the distant clouds cast an eerie light in the room, making him look like a creature from fairy tales. 

Bella shivered, both from the cold of the hallway and from the deluge of feelings invading her heart at the sight of her husband playing the piano so spellbindingly.

After the song came to an end, Edward remained quiet with his eyes closed, breathing deeply as if he were sleeping. Bella wondered for a second if he had fallen sleep.

Suddenly, a clap of thunder made the floor tremble, and Bella shrieked in fear, drawing Edward’s attention to her.

They locked eyes for a few seconds until another thunder broke their connection. Edward walked steadily towards his wife, as a man who had reached a decision, and grabbed her in his arms.

Before Bella could utter a word, Edward’s lips descended upon hers and silenced anything she’d planned to say.

His kiss was fierce, infused with an energy she had never felt in any of his other kisses.

It wasn’t fast or deep; it was slow and gentle but full with something, some indescribable emotion that made Bella’s stomach flutter and her arms automatically wrapped around Edward’s neck.

Their tongues tangled in a subtle caress, reacquainting each other like two lovers would after a long time apart.

Bella’s breathing was fast, impended by the kiss and the emotions that were brewing inside her.

Edward’s harsh groan brought her slightly back to reality, enough to hear the words he later whispered in her ear in a ragged voice.

Please… please don’t ask me to stop.”

It was a plea wrapped in a promise, a promise so sensuous Bella couldn’t resist it. 

I won’t...” she replied in an uneven voice.

Bella felt as Edward picked her up and she enfolded her arms tighter around his neck, never breaking the connection between their lips.

Before long she was in her bed, the same bed that had seemed cold and lonely a few minutes ago. Now it felt soft and warm with Edward’s body atop hers.

Slowly, Edward’s fingers untied her robe and removed the item entirely. Bella’s fingers worked equally as fast in ridding Edward of his shirt and trousers. Before long, they were both naked, skin to skin, writhing together with unspent passion.

Your skin is so soft,” Edward whispered as he proceeded to show Bella the extent of his appreciation by worshipping every inch of her body.

Bella moaned loudly as Edward’s mouth wrapped itself around her tender nipple and sucked, making her feel a pleasure so primal she couldn’t believe it was real.

She heard herself utter sounds that were so animalistic she could not comprehend she was the one making them. So much desire, so much…so much everything.

Time seemed to stop while she was in Edward’s arms like this, and she could not imagine a life in which this was not hers to have. These feelings of sheer happiness and want, she couldn’t imagine herself relinquishing them once they succeeded in conceiving the much sought-after heir. She closed her mind from such thoughts and decided to live in the moment, in Edward’s caress.

Edward’s hands touched her in ways that made Bella’s skin light in fire. His touch was electric, his kisses intoxicating.

I want you so badly,” he whispered in Bella’s ear as she felt his manhood press at her entrance.

Bella’s eyes opened momentarily, and she met Edward’s gaze, her own eyes full with desire.

Edward’s eyes were filled with an emotion Bella could not comprehend, but the feelings it stirred in her soul were strong and heady.

Could one’s soul reach outside one’s body and wrap itself with another’s soul? It seemed as if in that moment that possibility was real, for Bella’s spirit felt entangled with Edward’s as their bodies were.

I need to be inside you,” Edward said as his mouth descended upon Bella’s in a soul-searing kiss.

Slowly, tenderly, inch by inch, he filled her until there was no space between their bodies. They both gasped, shocked by the sheer power of their connection. It seemed as if each time they lay together the pull between them became stronger.

Bella clenched her eyes shut as Edward began to move within her. Her fingers tangled in his hair as her legs tangled around his waist. She felt as if a slow-building flame was igniting between them, where they were joined.

Edward,” Bella panted as the flame became a fire and her whole body arched in delirious rapture.

Edward grunted his pleasure against Bella’s neck when it became too powerful to keep at bay. Never before had he felt such bliss, such unbelievably powerful ecstasy inside a woman—and he had had his fair share of them.

Enveloped in Bella’s scent, wrapped within her body, drowning in her essence, he knew without a doubt that he would have to find a way to become a better man for her. She deserved only the best. She deserved to be worshipped as the precious being she was.

Bella could not comprehend how her whole world could shift so dramatically, so swiftly. Not a whole month ago she was still grieving her father’s death while she attempted to find a way to keep her mother and her out of a workhouse. Now she lay in bed, wondering what the odd warmth building inside her chest was.

When Edward placed a kiss against her neck that caused her to tremble in delight, and when he tightened his hold against her body, making the warmth grow even stronger, she knew. The worst had happened. She had fallen in love with her husband.


Thanks for all the ongoing support, reviews, favorites, etc. I'm still shocked anyone finds this remotely entertaining and I'm very thankful to everyone of you for taking the time to read this. I wasn't able to do review replies, but I figured a new chapter would make you happier than a reply. I hope I was right.

(1) To fix (a person) permanently in some condition or status
Some titles/property in England were/are entailed to the male heir. Meaning that even though some assets could be inherited by anyone of the sons or daughters, the entailed title/property could only pass to the eldest male heir. In the case of this fic, Edward would still be able to inherit the family fortune to his daughters—if he only had female heirs. However, if Edward and Bella want the title to be retained by their children they would need a male heir. Otherwise, the title of Duke and the properties attached to said title would pass to Edward’s eldest male relative upon Edward’s demise. In this case that would be his uncle Carlisle and/or Carlisle’s son Emmett.
(2) There are many versions to the story of the Piped Piper of Hamelin. The one I was told as small child was that there was a rat infestation in the town of Hamelin and a man was hired to lure the rats from town. He lured the rats using the magical song from a flute. However, once the man did the job and got rid of the rats the townspeople refused to pay him for his services. So, as revenge he lured the town’s children from their homes one night, and the children were never seen again. As a grown up I found out it’s actually based on a true story, although the cause behind the Hamelin’s children disappearance is not clear. Some think the Pied Piper is a metaphor for death luring the kids away.
(3) In case you were wondering which song Edward was playing in the piano he was playing Etude in E major Op.10 No.3 by Frédéric Chopin (a song also known as  "Tristesse" (Sadness) or "Farewell (L'Adieu)."

Etude in E major Op.10 No.3 by Frédéric Chopin on Grooveshark

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