One of the things that never cease to amaze me are the 'first moments' Edward and I share after being apart. It doesn't matter how long we haven't seen each other… an hour, a day, eight years… I keep thinking that I know what it feels like to reunite, but I don't.
It's like the beginning of spring; all through the winter you were certain to recall what it will be like. Because you clearly know every little detail about it, right? Birds, trees, everything… you've been there before, and you're looking forward to the warmth, the light and the smell of those precious days. But when they're finally here, the sensations exceed all your expectations, and you realize that your memories were just a pale shadow of the real thing. You realize that you didn't even know what you were missing all the time, and how badly.
That's how it is with Edward and me right now. The way he zones in on me immediately and completely, as if I were the only person in the room, melts my insides. The smile that follows outshines every mental image of happy Little Green that I have conjured up during the day. The way his right arm fits around my middle so perfectly when he pulls me close is like a missing piece finally slips into its place all by itself.
I totally expected him to do all that, yet it didn't prepare me for this new 'first moment' of ours. Every time feels like a 'first time' indeed – excitement, electricity, fluttering stomach and all. I know, it is supposed to wear off over time, but it's hard to imagine. I want to believe this will never get old.
I also totally expected Tanya to be her usually naughty self, and maybe even worse in my absence, so overhearing that last remark of hers doesn't really surprise me. She's just trying to mess with me. I mean, come on… the banana condoms? Seriously? I would shoot her a glare if Edward's shoulders weren't blocking my view. But I cannot take my eyes off of his anyway.
If I had harbored the slightest worry about how he would handle Tanya's shenanigans all on his own, they now dissolve into thin air. He doesn't even seem to notice that she just said anything; he doesn't really acknowledge her presence anymore. All his senses are focused on me, and I know he's feeling it too… this 'first time' sensation.
I hear Tanya clearing her throat, followed by chair scraping and feet shuffling. And if eye-rolling had a sound too, I'm sure Tanya's would be really loud right now. When she moves past us, she mumbles something about closing the store and, "I cannot with the sweet…", and how watching us any longer will give her cavities. Then she's out of the room.
Edward closes his eyes, lets his forehead sink onto my shoulder and sighs deeply. My hand finds its way into the soft curls in the nape of his neck.
I know. I missed you, too.
He turns his head towards my face, and his arm around my waist tightens subtly. I feel my body tingle all over when his nose skims along my jaw and down my throat, until it finds the dent between my collarbones. There he stills and inhales deeply once, and once more, and again… as if reveling in the promises of a sweet breeze after a long winter.
I know, Little Green. I know…
This is one of our 'first moments'. I gently hold his head while my adorable man keeps breathing me in.
(FORKS, JULY 2004)
"And then spring crashed like a cry of joy into the woods around Mattis's Fort. The snow melted. It ran in streams down from all the mountainsides and burrowed its way down to the river. And the river roared and frothed with all its eddies and swirls and sang a wild spring song, which never fell silent."
Taking a moment to let the words she'd just read aloud reverberate in her mind, Bella fell silent. Those first days of spring had always been her favorite time of the year, and as it was so beautifully described in the book, she couldn't recall a spring ever being a slow build. Spring, as far as she remembered, always came with breathtaking unexpectedness; one moment everything was cold and grey and quiet, and then it wasn't.
A stirring at her feet snapped Bella out of her musings. She let the open book sink onto her lap and smiled at the boy who sat on the rug in front of the couch, casually leaning against her calf. As was his way, Edward had remained so perfectly silent and motionless as he listened to her reading; she'd almost forgotten that she had an audience.
Growing impatient with the long intermission, he had brought himself to mind by tugging at the leg of Bella's jeans. He craned his neck to look up at her and squinted his eyes quizzically.
"I'm just thinking," Bella answered his unspoken question. She suppressed a giggle when Edward raised one brow in further inquiry; he simply looked too cute when he did that. However, she didn't want him to think she wasn't taking him seriously.
"About spring," she elaborated. "You know, how Astrid Lindgren writes about its arrival… I think, she absolutely nails it."
It amazed her how much their communication, albeit non-verbal on his part, had improved. Where Edward's exterior had seemed like a blank card only a month ago, he had now taken on a rich vocabulary of gestures and facial expressions, belying that first impression of an emotionally challenged, slow kid people usually got.
He frowned, he scowled, he gaped. And he smiled a lot. He even laughed out loud sometimes, which Bella found absolutely wonderful. Even though he never laughed at any of her jokes but in the most unpredictable moments, her heart jumped for joy every time it happened.
And then, of course, there was the touching. The touching literally never stopped. Edward wasn't what you would call 'clingy'; he was just very constant in his efforts to always maintain physical contact with Bella. When standing next to her, he would find a way to lean towards her until their arms touched. Or he would gently rub his head against her upper arm. When they sat together, he used to put a hand on her thigh and let it rest there. Sometimes the only contact was the tip of his pinkie grazing hers, lightly as a feather. He also liked touching her hair.
In the beginning, Bella often found it awkward. Not because she didn't like it, but she was unsure if that much physical closeness was even appropriate, given that Edward was a boy and she was grown up enough to have boobs and everything. She was quite confident when it came to hugging Edward like brother and sister would do, but those constant and rather subtle caresses they shared seemed so much more intimate than that, and she knew it was not a normal thing, not even between siblings, and far less for a baby sitter and her charge. For weeks, she used to side-eye the Cullens warily, watching out for any signs of disapproval. But when neither Esme nor Carlisle ever seemed to be at odds with their son's strong attachment, she stopped worrying eventually.
All in all, communicating with Edward through such a variety of means came to her so naturally, that she hardly ever thought about how extraordinary this truly was – a fact she was reminded of only when she watched him fall back into his stiff demeanor on the occasions when others were around. He wouldn't even smile at his mother as much as he did at Bella, or as beautifully.
Right now, one of those beautiful smiles exclusively reserved for her lit up his face, as understanding sank in. He put his hands together at the fingertips, only to flip them apart in a sudden movement and throw both his arms in the air, fingers wide spread. With an excited look on his face, he mouthed 'Poof!'
This time, Bella couldn't keep her laughter in. Edward chortled quietly and scrambled to his feet. He crawled onto the couch next to her, bent his head over the open book on Bella's lap and quickly skimmed the pages. When he found what he was looking for, he tapped the line with his index finger.
… spring crashed like a cry of joy into the woods…
"Yes, that's what I mean," Bella confirmed. "It's exactly like that, don't you think? I love spring."
Edward nodded frantically; he really could relate to this. For a moment, he was overwhelmed by the realization that his own perceptions and feelings were shared by others. Not only by his Easybella, which he almost took for granted at this point, but also by the author of a book that had been written more than a decade before he was even born, and in a foreign country on the other side of the ocean, at that.
Ronia, The Robber's Daughter had been Bella's pick. She had read it herself at the age of ten, or maybe eleven. She remembered sleepless nights aplenty, secretly devouring it, in the light of a small flashlight and hidden under the blanket. What she didn't remember though was how utterly enchanting Lindgren's words really were, or how clearly this was a Romeo And Juliet adaptation of sorts – a fact that eluded her as a little girl. Thankfully, and because it was a children's story, it left out any Shakespearean tragedy.
Anyway, it was the tale, beautifully told, about the deep friendship between two children, the daughter and the son of arch nemesis robber clans, who ran from their families to live together in the woods. It was riddled with lots of fantasy elements too, and she had been sure Edward would love it.
It turned out she was right; even more than she knew. Edward always loved when Bella read to him. I fact, he would listen to her reciting the Forks phone directory, just happy to be close to her and hear her voice. But this time, it was different.
James Fenimore Cooper and Jules Verne had been great, and Bella's animated reading had gotten his mental cinema going. But while he merely watched those adventures come to life in his mind as if on a screen, the story of Ronia and her friend Birk drew him in so much, that he found himself really inside it. He walked his mental Scandinavian woodlands in 3D, and he slipped inside those characters and saw through their eyes.
He switched between the girl and the boy a lot at first, especially when he was confused about their feelings, but he definitely felt… something. And then he imagined it was Bella and him, alone in the woods with no one else around to watch or to judge. He would be with her all day, just Easybella and him, and he would protect her from being caught by the faeries. With only Easybella around, he wouldn't have to change who he was, but maybe he would anyway. Maybe he would speak…
He snuggled into Bella's side and pointed a finger at where she had left off on the page, indicating for her to continue reading, which she did without further ado. Almost casually, she wiggled her arm free from between them and put it around Edward's shoulders. He nestled even closer, enjoying the way her voice vibrated in her chest, and stealthily sniffed at the exposed skin above the neckline of her tee. Being that close to his Easybella did things to him, weird and wonderful things he didn't quite understand but produced such blissful sensations that he sought them as often as possible.
It usually started with a soft tingling at the back of his throat that grew stronger by the minute and then slowly diffused, wandering down his spine and flooding his insides with warmth. His heartbeat and breathing slowed down and he became calm to a degree where he almost felt drowsy. Often he couldn't keep his eyes open; he never even tried. It was the most delicious state of being he knew, and he wished for it to last forever.
Sometimes the sensations wouldn't stop at his stomach but made their way further down, and his penis would grow hard. Not quite as much as it did in the mornings, when he literally had to force it down with his hands in order to empty his bladder without making a mess in the bathroom. But it stirred alright, and other than his morning erections which he found rather annoying, it felt pleasant.
There was nothing really sexual about it; Edward's ten-year-old mind didn't work that way yet and he never thought anything even remotely along those lines. It was just one of the many ways his body reacted to Bella, especially to her scent, and it meant nothing more or less to him than the warm shivers along his spine. He never considered touching himself, either. It just happened, and then un-happened, and Bella never noticed anything. Even though he didn't make a conscious effort to hide it – that's how innocently he thought of it.
Right now, he felt the familiar tingling spread again as he basked in her scent and the sound of her voice. His heart swelled so much with love for his Easybella that he could hardly bear keeping the emotion within the confines of his introvert self.
"And here she was now and plunged into spring. It was so glorious all around her that Ronia, too, was abuzz with its plentiful glory and she shrilled like a bird, loud and screaming, until she had to explain it to her friend. 'I have to make a spring scream, or else I will burst.'"
Edward felt like he had to make a love scream, or else he would burst, too. But of course, he couldn't. Instead, he climbed onto Bella's lap, wrapped his arms around her neck and hugged her fiercely. A brief moan escaped him, as if the scream inside of him had grown so big that it was impossible to keep that tiny portion of it from spilling over.
Despite Bella's surprise, her arms moved of their own volition and she held Edward tightly. The book went flying and hit the carpet with a muffled thud, but she didn't care. "I love you, too," she whispered, wanting to say it back to him. She wished there was a way to say it better, so that he would really understand how much he meant to her, how precious their bond had become.
When Edward's arms tightened around her and he sighed into her hair, she allowed herself to hope that maybe, just maybe, he already knew.
"Enough reading for today, don't you agree?" she asked after a while, and Edward relaxed and let go of her. "Your mom will be back soon, and I want to tidy up a bit before she returns. Why don't you pour yourself another glass of cherry juice and wait by the pool?"
The boy nodded. All the wonderfulness of the last hour seemed to have made him thirsty. Bella kissed his forehead, then she ruffled his hair. "Go ahead. I'll join you in a moment."
Only a little later that day… after she saw Edward's clothes shed next to the pool and almost fainted with the shock of having lost him… after she found him hiding in a closet, upset beyond reason about having spilled his beverage… after she had bathed him and sang a certain song to him she probably recalled because of all the spring talk… when she made up his secret name that only she would call him… that was when Edward knew.
In his mind, he had called her by a secret name all the time. And when she told him that from now on, and when no one else was listening, she would call him Little Green, 'like the color when the spring is born', he just knew.
She felt it, too.
Little Green and Easybella – there was no other thing in the world as precious as this.
When he's finally smelled his fill of whatever is so enticing about my sweaty-after-a-long-workday self, he gives a contented sigh. "I missed this…you… I missed you."
"I know. I missed you, too. Hey, I'm sorry you had to wait for me."
"'S fine," he tells my collarbone. "Tanya told me about Mrs. Schneider, and I wouldn't mind if you delivered goods to young men."
He lifts his head, his green eyes shining as they find mine, and says, "I called Esme this morning and told her that I forgive her."
"Ah yes? Peachy! I bet she's happy now, isn't she?"
I'm unable to keep the acid out of my voice, but I regret it immediately. This is important to him, dammit! Also, it's just so Little Green, blurting things out like that, eager to share… well, the new, speaking Little Green, that is. I bet it had been building inside of him all day and he just cannot keep it in any longer.
"No, she isn't," he replies earnestly, unfazed by my bitchy remark. "Can we leave now?"
There! He did it again. He's really giving me mental whiplash…
"Okay. I have to check if Tanya needs help closing up first."
"I'm good here," Tanya hollers from the store, making us both jump. How the hell did she hear what we were saying?
"Just go already, so you can get into each other's pants, or souls, or whatever," she laughs.
Her voice sounds weird, as if accompanied by some electronic effect or something. And then it hits me. It must be that baby monitor thingie she uses to get notice of arriving customers when she's back in here. I guess that thing works both ways. Jeez!
"I'd like to get into your pants," Edward says softly, the most adorable smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. And it's killing me that there's not even a hint of cheekiness coloring his voice; he just sounds sincere. And sure as fuck, Tanya overheard that, too. Double jeez!
And then Edward kisses me, and when our lips touch, there's no need to consciously order mine to part. In a blink our tongues meet and, oh my God, this is heaven! I forget about Tanya and baby monitors, and I couldn't care less if she can hear my quiet moan or how noisily Edward is breathing through his nose.
I put both of my hands on his behind and pull him close; I want to feel what I know will be there when our hips meet. There's just something incredibly arousing about his hard cock grinding against me when we're fully clothed. And I'm not disappointed; it's just the way his body reacts to being close to me. Reliably.
I should be used to it by now, but holy shit! He is big, and this is so hot. I break the kiss and take a deep breath to speak, but he takes the words out of my mouth.
"Let's get out of here, so I can make love to you."
The baby monitor snickers. Oh boy, I will never live this down.
If you haven't read Ronia, The Robber's Daughter yet (or any other of Lindgren's works), OMG, do it!