A/N: This chapter was... a lot more lemony and far less plot-movey than I had planned. Sorry?
Super mega thanks to my betas, Siouxchef and TwilightMundi.
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"I'm pretty sure it will be you doing the riding this evening."
My knees went weak at his words and I couldn't help it when my heart leapt in my chest. I took an extra heartbeat to compose myself, but even then, I was a gooey mess when I turned around to face him.
"I can't wait."
I pushed the door open and led us inside, where Rose and Emmett were sitting on the couch.
"Hey, Bella," they answered in unison, and I giggled.
"I heard you had my cousin wrapped around your finger. I had to see it for myself. Good job, Bella." Rose gave me a grin at the end of her comments.
I blushed and shuffled my feet a bit before changing the topic.
"So what are you guys up to? I never see you over here," I said.
They exchanged glances and then I saw Emmett blush. Emmett blushed!
"We're just hangin' out. I missed you. Thought we could chat for a few. How about you guys?" Rose said.
"Ah, I just came by to pick up some clothes to spend the night at Edward's, actually."
"Ahh," Rose said, then stood up. "Edward, why don't you sit with Emmett for a minute and I'll help Bella pack her bag."
Edward nodded and gave me a soft kiss before sitting next to Emmett. I was trying to remember if they'd ever met before, then decided it didn't really matter. Guys always seemed to have some strange ability to get along with each other no matter what.
Rose shut the door to my room and flopped on the bed with a dramatic sigh.
"Oh God, Bella, I am soooo in love with Emmett. How could you give that up?"
I laughed; if only she knew how interested I was in Emmett back then.
"Well, you two seem perfect together, the very little bit I've seen," I said, emphasizing the last part.
"I know, we've just been shut in at his place. He has a great apartment. His parents have money, so they rent this beautiful place for him. He has a nice area set up for homework, and he's just the best kisser ever," she sighed.
"I would beg to differ," I said, "but it's kinda gross to talk about the way your cousin kisses, I imagine."
I flopped on the bed next to her. "You really love him, Rose?"
"Oh yeah. Totally. Do you love Edward?"
"Yeah," I whispered. "I haven't said it out loud yet, though. I need to do something nice for him soon. He's helped me so much lately. Any great ideas?"
"I heard," she said softly and reached out to grab my hand in comfort. "Let me think about it and get back to you, okay? I'll email you if I think of anything before Sunday. That reminds me, Alice and I talked and we wanted to invite everyone to brunch on Sunday. I know we said it would be girls only, but this is just an exception so everyone can get to know each other a little better. You think Edward can make it?"
"Dunno, but I'll ask and get back to you. Sounds fun."
Rose let go of my hand, then popped up off the bed and walked to my closet. Moving hangers around, she picked out a grey plaid dress with a white blouse underneath. As she assembled the outfit, picking out shoes and undergarments, I gathered up my toiletries and a pair of pajamas. I went with the Hello Kitty theme and grabbed a white HK winking tank and some heather grey lounge pants.
We chatted more about how things were going with Emmett, and she told me bits of how things were going with Alice and Jasper. I was so happy for everyone, it felt like the pieces were falling into place. It was such a grown-up feeling, all of us in love and playing house together. It was an odd transition from high school, where everything seemed designed to strip away our choices.
While I was gathering the rest of my things, Rose wandered back out to the living room. A few short seconds later, I could hear her soft laugh and the three of them began to talk. I packed an overnight bag with my things; it was smaller than the hot pink hard-sided suitcase and coordinated with my laptop bag.
I made sure to put my Discovery List notebook in my laptop bag; I wanted to amend some of the items on there and add a few new ones. As I was zipping the bag, Edward's hands slid around my waist from behind and his nose nuzzled into my neck.
"Almost ready?" He was gently biting the juncture where my neck met my body and I leaned back into him. My breathing picked up and I was enjoying visions of Edward bending me over the bed, then snapped back to the reality that my bedroom door was open and Rose and Emmett were mere feet away from us. I went for a simple, teasing response.
"I'm always ready for you."
Moving my hand up into his hair, I tugged his mouth to mine and enjoyed a languid kiss.
He mutter something against my lips and I pulled away from him, albeit reluctantly. "Ice cream," he repeated.
I wasn't sure how his mind could be on ice cream in that moment, but I handed Edward my bag so we could go. We said goodbye to Rose and Emmett and walked to the ice cream shop.
Edward's hands were on my knees as we faced each other, sharing bites of our sundae. I insisted that we get a scoop of Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz! and Edward insisted on a scoop of Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. The third scoop in the sundae was mutually agreed upon: Chunky Monkey. The combination of the oatmeal and coffee was actually very good and made me laugh. Who knew two such different flavors could come together and create a third, even better flavor?
My eyes swept Edward's body and, as cheesy as it was, I realized that we were like the ice cream we had been feeding each other. Separately, we were good: tasty, satisfying, and strong flavors. Combined? We magically became even better, enhancing each other's subtleties and creating something new and wonderful.
"How come we're always eating together before we..." I trailed off, blushing.
His hands crept up from my knees to the inside of my thighs as he leaned closer.
"Because for some reason, I find myself in need of plenty of energy and stamina around you."
We shared a laugh and finished up. Edward tossed our garbage into the trash can and we walked out hand-in-hand. I let him lead since he knew where he was parked and soon we were on our way back to his apartment. I teased him the whole way, with my words and hands, enjoying that he had to focus on driving and couldn't tease me back.
After he parked, Edward practically flew out of the car, opening my door for me. He moved to grab my overnight and laptop bags from the trunk, plus his school bag.
There was a nervousness in the air, anticipating our night together. I was worried; I knew with each passing minute that this was nothing at all like what I had felt for Jacob. The urge to say the words out loud was growing stronger, but I wanted to wait for the right moment.
Edward fumbled with his keys and finally, we were behind closed doors in a private place. The bags fell off his shoulder with a loud thunk and his hands were on me. We walked to the bedroom, peeling clothes as we went. As insane as it sounded in my brain, I needed to reconnect with Edward; to feel him, in every meaning of the word. The trauma and drama of the day before had worn me down and I needed the reassurance that he still wanted me, baggage and all.
By the time we made it to the bed, we were both shirtless and shoeless, Edward fumbling with my jeans.
"Fuck, I need you so bad right now. At least twenty times today, I had to readjust myself in the middle of class, thinking about how I couldn't wait for this moment."
Knowing exactly what he meant, I sped up my fingers, begging them to get him naked and beneath me faster. The moment his pants were down, I pushed him onto the bed. He laid prone and I slid his pants the rest of the way off his body, followed quickly by my own. Edward opened the bedside table and pulled out a condom. He began unwrapping it and I grabbed it from him, looking at it curiously. I gave him the best predatory grin I could and began to move toward his body.
Rolling the condom down his thick erection, I leaned forward and gave it a curious swipe of my tongue. My face scrunched in disgust.
"That is completely foul. What the fuck?"
Edward laughed beneath me and explained that the spermicidal lubricant they used on them made them not exactly tasty.
"Besides, love, it's not your tongue I want on my cock right now."
A visible shudder ran through my body and I moved to straddle his hips. I looked down and took in his body, laying calmly beneath me. He was completely absorbed in me, his eyes shining with love and his body was laid bare for me. I ghosted my fingertips over his stomach, causing him to close his eyes and take in a sharp breath.
"Is this what you want?" I asked quietly.
Sliding along his length, I lowered my upper half to his and teased him with some newfound sexiness I mustered from somewhere. New Bella reappears. Edward growled and thrust his hips up at me. As he slid over my clit and then back, I moaned. His hands came up first to my back, unclasping my bra, then slid down between us. I felt him guide himself inside of me, and the frantic need built even more.
Lowering my hips down to take him all the way inside of me, I pushed the air out of my lungs with a soft sigh. I needed Edward as much as I needed my next breath of air in that moment. Planting my lips on his neck, I began to kiss where I could reach, needing every part of my body to be connected to his in some way. His fingers were skimming my lower back as we moved together.
"Sit up, love."
I did as he asked and he moved my bra from his body, where it stayed since he unhooked it. He palmed each of my breasts, then leaned his body forward to kiss and lick where he could. I moaned softly, the intensity of feeling him everywhere almost overtaking me. Edward's hand slipped between us and began to gently play me.
"Fuck, I absolutely love watching you like this. You are so beautiful, Bella."
Wanting to give him more room to work with, I leaned back slightly. Edward's eyes lowered and he watched where we were joined as his fingers continued to tease and torture me. He knew exactly what he was doing, keeping me right on edge as long as he could. As he began to mutter softly, his hand picked up speed and I could feel myself losing control. I was completely powerless, unable to hold off my orgasm, even if I had wanted to.
A soft "Oh god," slipped from my mouth before I felt myself beginning to come around him. He seemed to thrust harder then, his finger pressing into my clit perfectly. My whole body became still, tense, too full of pleasure to move. I was grateful that he had the sense to keep going, and once I realized I had stopped, I relaxed and allowed my body to melt back into his.
Sitting up straighter, I moved my upper body to his and wrapped my arms around his neck, changing our positioning and angle. I bit my lip to keep in the moans and cries that were bubbling up again as Edward continued to push himself deep inside of me. I heard him swear, our faces next to each other such that I couldn't see his expression, then his arms wrapped around me tightly. For a moment, I wondered if he was mid-orgasm, but then he twisted our bodies and pinned me to the bed beneath him.
Edward's face was full of need as he let go of me and pulled back. He repositioned my legs so that my knees were pushed up, legs basically folded in half, and plunged deeper than he had been before. His restraint seemed broken as he moved faster. I could feel another climax building in me and moved my hand between us, knowing how much he liked it the last time I'd done so. Sure enough, he let out a loud groan. I loved knowing that I had this affect on him, and it only made my orgasm approach faster.
Groaning loudly every time he was all the way inside of me, I knew it would be only moments before I was flying free again.
"Come with me, Edward," I begged.
My body was impatient, not even waiting for me to get all the words out before the orgasm rolled over me with great force. I cried out and heard Edward do the same.
Moments later, I felt his kisses, soft and wet, land all over my face. As he swept them down my collarbone and chest, his body moved and my knees flexed back to their normal place. Edward moved off the bed and I missed him so much, the tears pooled in my eyes almost instantly. He walked in the direction of the bathroom, ah the condom. I got up as well, making my doctor-recommended trip to the restroom and we rejoined back in bed.
Edward laid behind me, spooning his sweaty body next to mine. He held a breast in one hand and his other arm was beneath my neck. Hitching his leg over my hip, he drew my lower half to him again and I sighed contentedly. This, right here, was all I ever needed.
Threatening to flutter closed, my eyes were betraying my plans to get up and do my schoolwork. I felt Edward's fingers softly sweeping my skin and tried to will myself to wake up. Just as I gave in and resolved to a quick nap, I heard him whisper.
I hummed, hoping to not have to actually use words. The sleep was dragging me under faster.
"I love you."
For a brief moment, I wondered if he was sleep talking, but then I felt his body shift, turning me in his arms.
"Look at me. I know you're probably not ready to sa-"
I strained, pushing my body up and using muscles that were already exhausted, then covered his mouth with mine. Edward is in love with me, was like a tape on loop in my brain. I couldn't have been more exhilarated if I'd just taken a cold shower after a few shots of espresso.
Realizing I cut him off, I changed the pace to soft, slow, easy kisses. I moved up to kiss his nose, his eyes, his fuckdorable chin, and then back up to look him in the eyes again.
"I love you, Edward," a small sob came out with the words. I had done enough crying the night before to last a lifetime, but this was different. This was the realization that my heart would be okay. My heart would sing again. My heart was singing again.
My body wormed closer to his and he held me tight, both of us quiet for what felt like a long while. I was in no danger of sleep anymore, though; my heart was pounding heavily in my chest and it felt like adrenaline was coursing through my veins.
Letting go of me slightly, Edward pulled back and shifted his body. He was looking into my eyes with a smile I couldn't quite pinpoint. Running his fingertips over my eyebrows, his smile widened and I couldn't help but laugh. He looked so fucking happy right then. I'd never seen someone look that happy. I felt my heart drop through my stomach, the intensity of the moment suddenly shifting as I realized that I probably looked that happy just then. I sure as hell felt that happy.
A thousand thoughts flew through my brain. I closed my eyes at the speed of them, the crushing weight of them. I drew in a soft, slow breath, not wanting to scare Edward or distract from this moment we were sharing. I needed to learn to cope with my grief, and although I knew Edward wanted me to lean on him, I also knew just how strong I could be. The smile on my face widened even more and I opened my eyes back up to look at him. His long fingers cupped the side of my face and I pushed my head into his hand.
"As much as I want to stay here with you in this moment, the sooner we get our homework done, the sooner we can come back."
I groaned and nodded, knowing he had a point.
We both got up and out of bed. Edward went to his dresser, me to my bag. I threw on my pajamas and turned to see him wearing the same off-white tank he had on the first night we spent together. This time, he paired it with boxers, and it was still just as sexy. Maybe even more sexy, especially when he laughed, as he was doing in that moment.
"What?" I threw my hands up in question.
"Only you could make Hello Kitty sexy twice in one day."
He picked up my laptop bag and motioned with his head out to the other room, so I followed.
Okay, the truth was, I followed to watch him walk. He had my bag, and in the tank and short boxers, I could see most of his muscles. I was certain drool was leaking from the side of my mouth by the time we got to the kitchen. He set my bag down by a chair, then turned back to the cupboards, plucking a tall glass from one of them and turning to me.
"Water?" I countered.
Edward nodded and filled my glass, bringing a beer for himself. We settled into our comfortable study routine of touching and kissing now and then, but mostly working to get it out of the way. I fired up my laptop and sent an email to Jasper, having obtained his email address via text from Alice earlier in the day. I let him know I needed to talk to him and suggested we have coffee, but left it up to him if he was more comfortable with me just telling him via email. I really, really hoped he'd go for coffee. Although the idea of telling him face-to-face seemed more mortifying, somehow explaining via email seemed worse and completely disrespectful.
At some point my stomach grumbled and Edward apologized for not having food in the fridge. We ordered a pizza and took a break when it arrived, enjoying quiet conversation.
"Edward, Rose mentioned to me that we were breaking our girls-only rule already to invite the guys this week. Do you want to have brunch with the five of us on Sunday?"
"I'd love to. On one condition." I quirked an eyebrow at him. "Spend the weekend with me, please? We'll get our homework done, but I just... I can't imagine you not here." His hand came up to stroke my cheekbone. "How did I exist before you?"
I knew exactly what he meant. Exactly. What I felt for him was nothing like what I felt for Jacob. It didn't even touch the sparks I had with Jasper or Tanya, either. I leaned in to kiss him, the tomato sauce from the pizza staining his lips a darker red. His breath smelled of beer, and even though I'd never had any inclination to drink it before, I was drawn the scent, coming from him.
We finished up our homework and went back to the bedroom; we were full, happy, and in love. As we gave in to our base need for each other again, much slower that time, I focused on what I was feeling. The way Edward's touch made me feel, his love for me was conveyed in every touch, every kiss, every caress. We were quieter, more reverent with each other, and I was grateful for so much in that moment.
Laying together in the dark, Edward's arms firmly holding onto me, I thought about the day ahead. I needed to sit down and talk to Tanya, but I wasn't sure how she would react to that. Or how Kate would. Things had been civil between Tanya and me lately, but this might push us back into uncomfortable territory.
I decided that I just couldn't worry about it anymore – what would happen would happen and my worrying about it wasn't going to change a damn thing.
My body relaxed into Edward's and I heard him whisper his love for me once again before we fell asleep.
My cell phone alarm went off, just as I had set it. After I turned it off, I stretched and yawned, thankful that I wouldn't have to walk down the hall and deal with random strangers so early in the morning. Edward was still holding me tightly and I moved, just a bit, to try and wake him. I wanted to enjoy some actual morning with him before I had to leave for class.
When I heard no sound and felt no movement from behind me, I gently peeled his arm away from above me. I slipped out of bed and went to the kitchen to scour the cabinets and refrigerator for something to make. There were a few eggs, but I had no idea how old they were. Ew. Finally, I found some pancake mix in a cabinet, and after a quick bug inspection, made some batter. As the coffee was brewing, Edward stumbled in. I bit my lip looking at him; his hair was more of the usual disarray, but he looked more rested than I'd seen him lately, and his glasses were back. He lifted his hand to cover his mouth as he yawned and I seriously wondered why I couldn't just have Edward for breakfast.
He must've seen the look in my eyes and laughed a little as he got two mugs from the cabinet and poured us some coffee. We ate together, laughing and then talking quietly as we made our plans for the day. I told him how nervous I was talking to Tanya and he reminded me of some statistics and information to ease my fears and concerns. I knew Jasper didn't have class around noon today, so I was hoping we could meet up then. Of course, I also had to make time to talk to Tanya, and get my work done.
Edward and I took a leisurely shower together and I felt like I was literally bathing in his love at the same time. Surely the other shoe would drop eventually and we'd move out of this honeymoon-stage, but I was determined to absorb as much as I could while we were in it.
I knew Edward had a late class like I did, so we made plans to meet at the cafe around four. Just as we were packing up our things, I checked my email to see if Jasper replied. He had, and said I could text him later, but that he could grab a cup of coffee after class. I was both relieved and more nervous.
I spotted my usual email from Edward and smiled. This time there was simply a poem and an attachment. I read the poem first, somewhere i have never travelled by e. e. cummings.
The attachment was titled "Gamble Everything for Love" and I was fairly certain that was a song I hadn't heard before. I imported the file into my ESBC playlist and willed my phone to sync fast, since I knew Edward was waiting on me.
Once it was done, I snapped my laptop closed and packed my things up quickly. The only thing I slowed down for was to rest my cheek on Edward's chest and soak my last few minutes of undiluted Edward in for the day. He swatted my behind playfully and we were out the door in a flurry. I held his hand as we drove and while we listened to NPR, I realized there were so many things we hadn't talked about yet.
Edward parked on the side of campus closest to my class, in another one of the trademark Perfect Boyfriend moves I was growing accustomed to.
"Do they study you and teach other guys how to be perfect boyfriends, too?" I teased.
His loud laugh startled some people around us. "I'm nowhere near perfect, love. I just … I value you. I've had things I value slip away before and I know now to cherish them while they're here."
He knew he was being cryptic, I could tell from the way he was phrasing things. I raised an eyebrow, really wanting an explanation, even though I knew it was impossible. We were at my classroom door by this time, and he had class to get to as well.
"Later, I promise."
We parted with a soft kiss, exchanging another whispered confession of love, and I watched him walk away, once again wearing those jeans that made me want to bite his ass.
I made my way through the door and into the classroom, still floating on my high from Edward, when I saw Tanya. She had a strange look of hurt on her face, but still smiled at me and tilted her head to the empty chair next to her.
Smiling back, I made my way over and sat down, knowing the conversation wouldn't flow as easily that day as it had previously. I had so much to tell her, and it seemed from the look on her face, she felt the same.