This was a story originally conceived for the Dirty Talking Edward contest. Over a year and a half later, this is what it grew into.

Please find the link to the playlist in my profile.

My sincerest thanks to Jdifrans1 for so much kind encouragement and support.

My deepest gratitude to yellowglue, for unfailing inspiration and generosity, for giving so much of her time and honest love to this story. She sent me music, kept me motivated, listened closely, suggested gently, talked to me when i got stuck, and makes me glow out loud. Words fail to express just how much i adore you. Thank you.

i do not own Twilight.

Explicit does not begin to cover it - don't say you weren't warned.

Thank you for reading.

The tiger's claws. Black, or almost-black – kind of faded because they're so far down his forearm. The tiger's paw, at least three shades of orange. The tiger's head, green eyes lit up with white flame. The dice, a hard eight, and a girl behind them. She's red haired and topless, thighs crossed, elegant, floating. Like a ballerina.

I'm up to his bicep, tribal black in thorns and spirals that weave around thick muscles, and I'm so close. I'm so fucking close, imagining the ink covering his left arm, and how it's going to shake when he touches me. How the lines of his muscles are going to animate the crowded still life of his sleeve.

"Edward Masen," I breathe so quietly. I know he's downstairs with my brother and their friends. I don't want him to hear me. "Edward Masen, edwardmasen, edwardmasen, edwardedwardedward ..."

His cocky half-smile, and that laugh, the way his eyelids drop and his lips ride up, just on the left, always only on the left, right over his heart.

The way the lights played on his skin the night I saw him in the club with Jessica.

The way she danced with him like she forgot she was in public. The way he palmed himself, adjusting his cock with his whole hand before he came back to the bar afterwards. Right in front of me, even though he didn't know I was there. I wasn't supposed to be.

The way the strobe glinted off the gun tucked in the back of his waistband when he turned. I saw it.

They don't call it a gang, my brother and his friends. But I know.

I saw.

And I see the way he looks at me. The way he shifts when I walk into a room. He won't touch me because I'm Brady's little sister, but I see him, and I want, and want, and want, like I've wanted for years, like I've never wanted anything else …

He doesn't have a girlfriend. He doesn't do that. He won't make me his, and I don't care, I just want him to …

I just want him.

My hand moves faster, my hips helplessly rising into its rhythm. I hear his voice; I can pick it out of the other sounds from downstairs and it's a laugh, but I know it's his laugh.

My whole body feels like it's humming, like every part of me is overloaded with need, and warm hope, and him, and more, and more, and yes, and fuck –

When I hear the front door shut, I have this instinct to close my legs, to not let him go, but I know what I'm going to hear next ...

The rumble of his motorcycle starting up outside spills into me, and the deepest sweetest little muscles inside tighten, and hold, and hold, and hold so hard, and I can't breathe until they flicker, flutter, until they pulse impulsive pleasure through me, little ripples of luscious, blinding relief. My voice is a shuddering moan, too loud, and I sink into my bedspread, waning, as the sound melts from my lips, and the motorcycle purrs down the block, away from me.

It feels so good, but it's not enough. It never is.

The party has plateaued to the point where I can barely hear the music; it's just a dull, flavorless thumping in my ears. Every room smells like spilled beer and smoke. I've only had two Coronas, but I'm lightheaded from the second hand nicotine.

Smoke rises, so I sit down at the bottom of the stairs and smooth my pleated black-and-white-and-red plaid wool skirt. I felt just like a little doll in the mirror at home. Tall, flat black equestrian-style boots and a wide belt made me feel so grown up. Excited twirls showed just a brief hint of pink laciness underneath if I spun the right way and looked really quickly, and I giggled to imagine him staring, hungry and curious for what's underneath. But now pretty pleats feel too small. I stretch and stretch, but I can't make them touch my knees.

My brother was right. I should have stayed home.

There's a half-bath under the stairs, and someone is getting sick inside it. I can't handle listening to dry heaves, so I stand to get myself another beer. Pushing through a narrow, crowded hallway, I try to slip past a boy covered in bold black spiderweb tattoos. He steps into me instead of letting me by, and I have to brush my tits against his arm to pass.

He looks down my lacy red camisole. I feel his stare in my throat. I don't care.

It's not Edward.

I only want Edward.

All that's left in the fridge now is Rolling Rock. I may be only eighteen, but I'm not drinking that.

Behind me is a mess of the party's makeshift bar, a tray of thick glass bottles half-tipped and sticky, caps gone and no cups in sight. I pick out a less-than-half-full bottle of Malibu and leave through the back of the kitchen, moving into the den, and


There he is.

Sitting in the middle of a long leather sofa, I only see him from behind, but it's more than enough to tell. I know by his death's head moth tattoo, its wings burning through me from the back of his neck, between his collar and his hairline. I know it by the way he's smoking white-tipped cigarettes, and ashing on the floor like he owns this town. And if that wasn't enough, I know because I feel it between my legs. The thirsty, punishing heat of nearly lifelong desire makes my heart tighten and slip its rhythm, and I take a deep drink of coconut rum.

It only makes it beat faster.

He's got some girl under his arm, and she's leaning against the side of his chest, but I know he doesn't like her. She's blonde, and talking, for a start.

Her gold hoop earrings hang just shy of her shoulders, and she tucks herself close into him and whispers something in his ear.

He doesn't respond, not even with a nod, and she gets up. He doesn't follow her with his eyes.

I think about slipping into the warm space she left on the couch beside him. I want to fold myself under that arm, the one with the thick black and red crucifix tattoo he got when his uncle Carlisle was shot. I want to bury my nose into Edward Masen's side and get dizzy on his scent,tobacco and shadows and gasoline. I want to melt like a snowflake on his lips.

My stomach is tickling with armies of butterflies, but I'm not brave enough. Not yet.

I take another drink, the sweetish burn riding down my throat, and walk back towards the door for a head of fresh air.

As I pass the bathroom, the door is open and two of my brother's crew, Eric and Ben, are half-carrying him out of it, helping him walk between them.

So that's who was throwing up.

My brother is completely limp, and they're struggling to hold him up, a little more than tipsy themselves. I dart ahead and hold the front door open for them.

"Are you taking him home?" I ask.

Ben nods, and Eric's eyes meet mine. "He's done. You okay here, Bella? Want to ride with us?"

"I'm fine," I reply, too quickly. "I want to stay."

He scowls, but keeps walking my brother's passed-out body towards Ben's Chevelle.

"I'll come back and give you a ride after we get him cleaned up," he calls over his shoulder as Ben fumbles with his keys.

"It's okay, I'll get a ride with Katie," I call after them, but they don't look back, and I'm not sure if they heard me as they slump my brother's body across the backseat.

I haven't known anyone named Katie since third grade, and she's certainly not here tonight.

I don't know anyone here but him.


And no one but him knows me.

My stomach twists in protest, but I swallow another mouthful of rum anyway.

I want him to notice me so bad, but not really me. Not this me. I want him to notice who I could be.

Outside on the front porch, holding a cigarette I bummed from a girl in an asymmetrical pink top, I sigh. I want to feel like I belong here. To feel older, braver, and like I don't give a fuck.

I want to be noticeable, to be sexy.

So far I'm just dizzy, and empty-feeling, and kind of ready to go home instead.

Sitting out here wishing while this cigarette grows into ash isn't working.

Dumping what's left of the Malibu into the bushes, I throw the butt towards the street and walk back into the house.

I just want to see his face, once, and drink in how good I bet he looks tonight. I want to memorize the curls of smoke that seem to always surround him, the shadows that his hoodie casts over his eyes, the way they move and breathe. The way seeing him creates air in my lungs out of nothing.

I want to take that with me and roll it over in my mind while I walk home, ignoring too-young, too-frustrated tears.

He's still in the same spot on the couch, still alone, his back to me. The thick black cotton of his pulled-up hood looks like a hoodlum crown.

Ben and Eric might come back and ask after me. I might as well tell him I'm leaving.

Not like it matters.

In order to see his face, I have to let him see mine.

I take a deep breath and tug my skirt down, suddenly shy in the very thing I wanted him to see me in. It feels fake instead of pretty. I wish I hadn't worn it. I wish I could take it off.

I suck in a breath, playing nonchalant, and step in front of the couch. His eyes are shaded by his hood, one hand in his pocket and the other wrapped around a blunt. Someone on his left is talking to him, but he stares off, not listening.

His friend stops as I wait.

Just say it.

"I'm going home. Just so you know ... in case anybody asks."

He tips his head up into the smoky lamplight, and the hand in his pocket comes up to rub this thumb against the scruff on his chin. His eyes are dark, dilated, his lids half-dipped as he examines me, thinking. I stare at the little red heart on his thumb.

"Where's Brady?"

"He got sick. Eric and Ben took him home."

He nods and his eyes go behind me, to the TV that's been on mute the whole time, something with car crashes and high speed chases, repeating over and over.

"You can stay if you want. I'll take you home."

On a motorcycle. He rides a motorcycle. I've seen it so many times, but I've never ridden on it.

He lifts the blunt to his mouth while I stare.

I can't speak.

I can't move.

All I can do is breathe in suddenly thin air and picture wrapping my arms around his body, his back warm under my cheek and my eyes closed and hearing his heartbeat while he –

"Sit down, kitten. Stay."

I lower my body next to him, stiff legs and stiff back guarding against the way I want to sink into his scent, jade and burning leaves, autumn and first frost and fire. I want to dig myself in and cling to the broad exhale of smoke that changes the color of the paint in the room, that switches everything in me from closed to open.

"You haven't had anything to drink tonight, right?" He asks without looking at me, eyes straight ahead.

I close my mouth, hoping the cigarette covers up the scent of rum, and shake my head, just a little. I don't want to have done anything he wouldn't like.

"Good girl. You're only just – what? Seventeen?"

"Eighteen," I say, too brightly, and bite my lip, and push myself into the couch.

"That's right," he hums, soft as the dank smoke that climbs around his face. He turns to address the guy on his left, the one who'd been speaking to him earlier.

"Get her a hard cider or something. Nothing mixed."

He nods and brings me back a cranberry hard lemonade, soft cloudy red inside glass just beginning to bloom condensation as he hands it to me.

When I had looked a little while ago, there was nothing but piss-beer.

I wonder what it's like to give orders. To ask for something and get it, just like that.

Edward takes the bottle just as I'm reaching for it, and opens the top for me with one hand.

"Just sip, kitten. Your brother doesn't want you coming home fucked up."

My brother won't know, or care, but I obey, and the tart little bubbles nip at my tongue.

He said what my brother wants. Not what I want.

Edward lifts the blunt to his lips again, and I watch his mouth open for it, little sparks of desire, and shame, and natural fascination glowing in my belly.

Exhaling smoke from open lips, pearl-grey swirls cling to him, happy to stay near and brush their delicate fingers against his face.

He relaxes down into the sofa, and his arms spread along the back of it.

One of them is behind me.

It's not like I can feel it on my skin. He's not touching me. But I can feel his closeness in the way the couch moved against my hair. I want to push myself back and into it, I want to wrap myself up in him, I want the tiger and the hard eight and the nameless redhead touching my skin.

I want his little red heart between my legs.

I can't be that bold, so I try to disguise the way I shift my hips, and come just a half an inch closer to him.

He notices me, staring at the smoke, and smiles with just the left corner of his mouth.

"Oh, no, little girl, I don't think so."

I open my mouth to protest, but he brings the half-burned blunt closer so I can see it.

"This shit's Rugburn OG. It'll melt your face off. No good for a first-timer. But, I'll tell you what … "

He draws from it again, deeply, lips pale where they press against the blueberry scented wrap.

He leans in toward me, lungs so full I can almost hear them ache, and motions me closer with his last two fingers.

It feels like he's going to tell me a secret.

He exhales his smoke over my face, and the warmth of his breath is my favorite holiday. My eyes tilt closed on their own and I can't do anything but breathe, wildfire and freedom and strong, dark magic.

When I feel his breath fade, I open my eyes and his mouth is right there, so close, as his lips turn up into a crooked smile.

I want to kiss him, but I know he'll never let me. I know it like I know my own name.

Hood still up, a stray little lock of his hair falls in front, brown and bronze lit gold by the light.

I can't help it; I giggle.

"You're welcome," he whispers, low and so close to my lips.

He straightens, and I dare to lean softly into his side. Shirtless summer afternoons have taught me all his body art, and behind closed lids, I can see the skin I'm nestling next to.

A hawk, open-winged and soaring, feathers brushing the back of his right hip.

A spider web in thick black, spreading out from his right shoulder.

Three roses for his sisters, blooming in quiet pink, yellow, and coral, just under the back of his neckline.

I draw in a deep breath of him, greedy for his warmth, and it feels like he chuckles as I let my eyes close again, and think of the tattoos waiting under his skin that have yet to be drawn.

It doesn't feel like more than a minute, and the party continues around us, seeming not to have missed me, but I wake ashamed that I must have fallen asleep. Edward is talking to a skinny man with a shaved head and a black bar code on his throat, and his voice is a rumble I can feel inside. That I can feel everywhere.

I shift, uncomfortable, and he drops his arm from behind me on the couch, wrapping it around my shoulder and squeezing briefly.

"Nice nap, kitten?" he laughs.

"Sorry," I mumble, embarrassed. I keep my eyes down, concentrating on the fat drops of clear condensation clinging to the bottle still in my hand. I slide my thumb across the logo and they fall, landing on my bare legs like teardrops.

"S'alright," he says, squeezing my shoulder again before lifting his arm away. The blunt is stubbed out in a thick green glass ashtray in front of me, and I hope he blew smoke in my face as I slept.

He resumes his conversation, and the bar code's girl comes to listen too, half-sitting on the other end of the couch. Her short denim skirt rides up as she opens her legs, one on the arm of the leather sofa and one on the ground. She flips her hair, sun blonde with neon red and purple streaked through, and it's so easy-sexy as she wraps one arm around her man. So simple and sweet as black and white nails press against the black of his t-shirt, effortless as he leans back into her body. He doesn't miss a beat as he continues talking, telling Edward some story about a guy named Chuco.

I drink from my bottle, the bubbles a subdued tickle in bright pink coolness, and swallow jealousy.

It isn't fair.

I want that.

It's the smoke he blew in my face giving me courage, and the last little warmth of the rum, I know. It's waking up in his arms and leaving my doubts sleeping behind me, but bravery floods my skinny veins and I reach up and pull his arm back down around me.

He lets me, and I know the detailed black lion under his hoodie would be kissing my shoulder right now. His hand hangs over my quick, bare heart as he speaks.

I'm not listening that closely, but apparently Chuco should expect some trouble.

I take another deep drink to hide the tremble in my hands. I've never been this close to him before. Never felt his warmth all over this much of me before.

I try not to think I may never feel it again.

I try not to remember the cold of my room, white furniture haunting pink walls, a kid's room. A little girl's room. I try not to remember myself under my frilled comforter, curious fingers assuaging the durable longing I've felt since I could name it.

But I'm not in that room. And I don't have to be that girl.

I want to be his.

I finish the drink, let out all my breath, and pull myself up, out of his arms. I feel Edward's eyes follow me, but he says nothing as I walk towards the kitchen.

Leaving the empty on a table, I hold my breath and step into the bathroom, where thankfully the scent of sickness has cleared, and shut the door behind me.

I turn on the cold water and let it run over my hands as I look in the mirror.

It's too much of a little kid face – not sexy enough. Sugar-sweet, blush-pink, Love's Baby Soft stupid green-strawberry girl face.

I inhale, and smell soap and aluminum.

With a wet finger, I smudge the eyeliner around my lashes upwards, into the crease of my eyelid, and the smoky effect makes me look a little older. I run still-damp hands through dark-brown hair at the roots, tossing it around, making it wet-dark.

I want to do something about my mouth, but I have no lipstick, no lipliner. What I have is in my bag, somewhere in the house, but those are all pinky-tan neutrals, and I need red.

Like, lights and sirens red.

I bite down on my lower lip until I can feel my pulse in it, and then I bite harder.

It's working. I can feel it.

When I release my lip, it's pouty swollen hot red. The little indents of my teeth are even darker, but filling in and fading.

Poppy red.

Pomegranate red.

Red delicious red.

It feels good. It looks like I want to feel good.

I tug my tank top down a half-inch, letting just the thinnest hint of my bra show at its lacy edge. I shut the water off and step outside before I lose my nerve.

The kitchen is a heavy mess, and my boots make an obscene sound against the sticky tiles.

I'm looking for another drink. I can't remember where I left my Malibu, and I don't want him to see me looking for it. A bottle of Stoli Vanil boasts a clear inch or two, and I grab it, hesitating with its neck in my palm.

This will help you relax, I tell myself.

This will make you sexier.

I tip it back into my mouth, and the rim of the bottle tastes salty for a second before the false-velvety ghost of a burn slips into my throat. I force myself to swallow twice before I put the bottle back down.

I turn away from the doorway to the room where he's sitting, and exhale with my tongue out. Artificially sweet liquor feels like slow fire going down, and it paints the inside of my head with helium and darkness.

But it's working.

I feel it as it moves, my stomach recoiling from the phantom heat, and I lick my lips for the taste of broken mirrors.

I look down and take inventory of myself. My tits rise with each breath, lifted by shiny satin underneath, and brushed by the lace-edge of my tank top. I tug at my skirt again, but it's out of habit. I'm starting to feel like it's not too short after all.

I don't want to bring liquor-sticky sounds back to the couch, so I step out of my boots and leave them in the corner of the kitchen by the stairs, and pad barefoot back to Edward on the leather sofa.

My steps feel like they're swaying.

He's still there, the way he's been there all night. I can't explain why it's so sexy that he hasn't had to move, to get anything, to look for people. It's not even his house, but he owns this place. Everything that's his comes to him.

Like me. I came to him, too.

The guy he was talking to is gone, and Edward's just lit a cigarette, the fist holding his lighter pushing back into his hoodie pocket.

I let myself collapse into the couch beside him, a little sloppy, and a little closer than before. He turns his head to me slowly, and his expression is questioning.

He doesn't ask where I've been, but I tell him anyway.

"I wanted to get something to drink."

He chuckles. I'm so close to him it warms me all over, like a spark igniting the vodka that I'm beginning to feel everywhere. In my wrists. In my throat. Between my legs.

"I said nothing mixed for you," he exhales through smoke.

"It wasn't mixed."

I say it soft, like a white lie, but technically it's true. The left corner of his mouth picks up, and I smile back.

Brave. I'm brave.

My left hand darts out quickly and slips the cigarette from his hand. He doesn't move to take it back, and I turn it over in my hand.

Tiny blue letters spell out Parliament against the swirls of my fingertips, and I look straight into the dilated black of his eyes, closer than it's ever been outside of my dreams, as I lift it to my lips.

I can't keep myself from smiling.

He breathes out, shaking his head, and I drag deep. I've smoked before, but not this kind. Stolen nicotine tastes like bitterness and black iron and I'm instantly lightheaded, eyelids dipping to save me from spinning, Even before I can hand the cigarette back to him, he takes it from me. His thumb drags against the insides of my fingers, and my stomach flips as I try to keep my exhale cool and slow.

Want him, my heart pounds.

I swallow.

"All grown up, huh?" he asks, but it isn't really a question.

I don't know what to say. I don't want to feel the embarrassment that's blooming pink under my cheekbones, so I don't. I just shrug.

The door opens, cool night air like spearmint and trouble making goosebumps ripple up my arms. I dig myself a little closer into Edward as he turns to look over his shoulder.

Three guys, and one girl. The boys are all wrapped in dark colors, hoods up, and I can't explain why I suddenly feel like I don't belong here. The girl is beautiful in a dirty magazine kind of way, tall in a purple skirt and fishnets with holes that may or may not be intentional. She has earbuds in and looks like she's so bored of being here. Already.

"Dusty," Edward says to the first boy through the door, and they share a brief handshake. The other two are right beside him, dark eyes quiet, and he greets them too. But not the girl. She hangs back and doesn't speak.

He doesn't introduce me. I press myself into his side as he talks, and the girl looks at me. I don't know why, but I don't like it. I slip closer to Edward as he takes another drag from his cigarette, looping my right knee just over his thigh, and she rolls her eyes at me and walks toward the kitchen.

With her gone, it feels good just to listen to them talk, and the texture of worn denim is warm and coarse against the sensitive skin on the back of my bare knee.

I bring my leg up a little higher.

Craving more, I burrow closer into him with my head, nuzzling against the smell of smoke and the thump of his heartbeats, the bassline melting into the rough rhythm of his exhales as they laugh.

About a car.

Or a girl.

I don't know.

All I know is warm, nicotine and nocturnal.

The closeness is so intoxicating, and the lit liquid ribbons of the vodka in my veins are tugging, stitching me closer to him.

He pulls away, leaning up to stub out his cigarette A thousand degrees of cherry are crushed into black ash with just the pressure of his fingers, and my mouth waters.

He leans back, and I use the leg draped over his to push myself up, closer, higher. I'm a little unsteady, but boldness is persistent. My skirt rides up, and I smile into his neck, drunk and bathing in his scent. I'm humming before I realize it, and he ignores me wholly.

It only makes me want him more.

My heart is beating so fast and I feel like maple syrup, sticky sweet and delicious, transparent and melting all over him. His arm falls around me as I turn towards him, bringing my other leg up so I'm half in his lap, my knee keeping his apart.

I brush my tits along his arm as I turn, and he laughs at something Dusty says. I push with bare little feet against the edge of the couch, and bring my knees farther up his leg, opening them just a little so he can see my skirt give another half inch of me away.

I want to kiss his neck, his throat. I want to taste the spikes of sunbeams from the black sun over his heart. I want him to feel my mouth and what it's saying. I want him to tell me to stop, if he has to, just as long as he looks at me.

I press my lips softly right under his ear, in between Roman numerals I can't translate right now and a black swallow in profile, empty of detail save its lone white eye.

Pay attention to me, I kiss.

He doesn't respond. My bitten-soft lips wander bravely to the front of his throat, to the sugar skull sitting just above the hollow there, and I taste the rumble of his voice as he agrees with something.

I don't care that everyone can see me. I want higher. I want closer.

I press my weight into the leg resting on his, pushing myself up further into his warmth, and that's when I feel it.

Against the side of my knee.

He's hard.

Not just a little hard.



It's magnetic, and even though I know I shouldn't, I move my knee gently against it, trying to gauge his length. Between denim and thick layers of hoodie black, I can't feel where his cock begins or where it ends.

His silent but utterly earnest response to me is heady-exciting, and I want every bit of what's mine.

I lean up into his ear.

"Is this for me?" I whisper and wish, as I grind myself into him.

He shows no sign of hearing, shaking his head at some story. His arms don't encircle me, laying open-palmed and still against the back of the couch. But they don't push me off, either.

I know it's for me. It has to be for me.

I kiss little pleas into his jawline, sing open mouth worship into his neck.

His moth watches me as I move, nuzzling his earlobe.

I'm yours.

I'm yours.

I want to say it. Out loud.

"I'm yours," I murmur, and I lean up, pressing my tits against him and feeling the fabric of his hoodie tugging the thin red of my tank down.

I drop my weight between my hips, all of me straddling the solid, warm thigh pressed between my own. I'm covering about half of his body and I know, I know people are watching.

Probably a lot of people are watching.

I don't care.

I want him to answer me. I want to know he hears me.

"Can we go upstairs?"

He keeps talking. I wrap my left arm behind him on the couch, and circle my hips against his leg, pulling the neck of his t-shirt out to find new skin to kiss. The sharp rays of his black sun rush up to my lips, and I softly lower myself down onto dark denim, pink satin unders sliding over and over, spilling against him.

It feels so good to ride him this way, deep-steady and purposeful, the insides of my thighs aching with the grind. He's still not looking at me, but I'm looking at him. I want his eyes on me. I want more. I push the hoodie off his head and the warmth under my hand is so luscious, the heat of him so close. He stiffens as I lean into him, and I know my tank is pushed down enough to see my tits, if only he would just look at me.

My hand finds the zipper on his hoodie and drags a slow beat down, every inch a forever.

I feel his jaw harden, sense him gritting his teeth, and I stop. I let out a quiet little moan through closed lips, and he responds with a shaky exhale, a hard tremble rushing from his lungs. I wonder if he's struggling. I wonder if he's angry.

The party is thinning out, but the music is still loud as the girl with the ripped tights comes back from the kitchen, crossing behind the couch. I can tell it's her by the bored sigh. She asks the boy called Dusty for something, and she seems irritated.

He shakes his head at her, and stands up from where he'd been sitting on the end of the sofa.

"Catch you later, man."

Edward nods his head at him, echoing back, "Later."

He doesn't turn to me once his friend and the girl leave. He doesn't look at me or speak. He stares straight ahead.

I drag my right hand down from his t-shirt, sliding a slow trail towards his waistband.

Just as I reach it, his voice is a low command.

"Go upstairs."

The request isn't sweet, but I don't miss the tenderness. It's a reproach, but I'm not afraid.

He heard me.

I drag myself along his thigh as I push back to stand, and look up at him from under baby-black lashes.

He's staring at me with nothing in his expression. Not anger, or annoyance, or hunger. Just dark eyes.

I head for the stairs, but sensing that he's not following behind me, I stop and turn before climbing them.

Hood back up and head down, his silhouette on the couch is obstructed by people I hadn't even noticed a moment ago passing between us.

He isn't moving to stand. What if he didn't mean what I thought he did?

I swallow, and shake my head clear. I may not know what he meant, but I know what he said. I was told to go upstairs.

My stomach rolls a little when I reach the second floor, a breath of vertigo as I turn to look behind me. He's still not coming.

I see my black shoulderbag where I left it, at the bottom of the steps I just climbed, but I can't go back and get it. For some reason, it feels too late.

Nothing in there is going to help me, anyway.

I feel the nicotine-thick thrum of his order echo behind my blush. I'm upstairs, but there are like five doors here and I don't know whose house I'm in, let alone what rooms these are. I feel like a trespasser, peeking in each one, but I won't be disobedient.

I choose the one that looks the most like a guest room, the most sparse. The switch on the wall doesn't work, and the nightlight near the floor doesn't glow enough to tell if the walls are blue or grey. The bed is covered in a dark comforter, but other than a small nightstand, the door to an ensuite bathroom, and a few pictures on the wall that probably came with the frames they're in, the room is empty.

It seems like a good choice because it feels less like intruding. Technically, I am a guest. But as I look around, silver moonlight slipping in strips through cheap plastic blinds, I remember.

This might be where it's going to happen.

This could be where I'm about to have sex for the first time.

With a man. With him.


It's obscenely hopeful and a little wonderful and a little terrifying and it kicks my heart into a quickstep.

I let out a shy little sound against my will, and my stomach flips, nervous butterflies staging a riot. I don't think I'm ready.

I mean, I'm ready, but I'm not.

Like most girls my age, I used to think this should be about love.

As if I'm supposed to find a guy that promises and begs and swears forever. Like somehow it's worth more if he says one four-letter word and less if he says another.

But I've seen enough girls crying their mascara into institutional-grade toilet paper in the school bathrooms to know love isn't what it says it is. Nothing is guaranteed. The boy who swears his faith and fervor tonight will swear the same thing to the next girl tomorrow. There's not much point in assigning weight to a first time when it's only going to happen once. You might as well just pick who you want it to be.

And I just want him. Edward Masen, my brother's close friend, the first boy that ever felt like a man to me – I've wanted him since I knew what to want. And now, in this bare little room in some total stranger's house –

Before the thought finishes, the door opens.

The one I've chosen exhales pale, sweet-smelling smoke, but I don't see anything in his hands. He comes in, shuts the door and sits down on the bed, kicking off his shoes and swinging his legs up onto it.

He unzips his hoodie and then, finally, looks up at me.

"Okay," he says.

I smile. "Okay."

"Shy all of a sudden, kitten?"

"No," I protest, straightening my back. I try to make coy eyes, but I'm nervous. I feel small.

He sits up enough to pull the black sweatshirt off and drop it to the floor.

"You weren't real shy downstairs, girl. You seemed to know exactly what you wanted."

I shift my weight into my hip and take a step towards him. Just a little one.


He snorts a slow little chuckle and sits up with his back against the wall. Obsidian eyes glint in the dark as they meet mine.

"Get the fuck out with that 'maybe'. Nobody put you up to this. Nobody made you ride me down there in front of everyone."

His words are calm, not angry, but they make me feel so naked, even in the dark.

I take another step as he keeps talking.

"So either get what you came for, or leave. Your choice."

I put one knee on the bed, and then the other. His eyes are on mine, tracking my movements from under dark brows, and they're almost all I can make out.

I lean forward, on all fours, and I want him. He's right here in front of me and he smells so damn good and he's still hard. I can tell even without looking.

I try to smooth out the tremble in my belly. "I want this."

"Then stop posing and take my cock out, kitten. I'm not here to play games."

My butterflies flip manic circles when he says cock, and I feel sensitive skin tighten inside pink satin.

I want to be bold. I want to be his.

I lean up, straddling him with my knees, and take my tank off before nerves make me too shy. Elbows on the bed, I bring my body down, back arched, and inhale. Warm skin. Flint. Black cotton and bullet holes, midnight and permanent ink.

I breathe out and palm the outline of him over dark denim. He's so warm, and my heart jumps under my tongue, eager to taste the saltwater sweet skin underneath. My lungs drink in a quick breath thick with him, and I press along solid warmth, fitting my fingers around his length.

This is going to be mine. He's going to give it to me.

The tingle between my legs simmers sparks, hotter than a powder burn.

I want him. I want to give myself him and show him how much this want weighs and cover him and open for him and take him inside.

I want to turn my whole existence into a gift, just for him.

It doesn't matter where we are. It doesn't even matter what happens after this. As long as he stays in this room with me, I'm his forever.

I unbuckle worn leather, thankful for each little hole that slips past nickel. Shaking past the pounding in my chest, eager fingers reach for the brass button at the top of his jeans, until he says, "Stop."

My stomach drops, and my whimper hides in the back of my throat.

He shifts himself down, lifting his shirt, and there it is.


Black and stainless, with the name Ruger etched into the barrel, the gun tucked inside his waistband makes my whimper slip and my knees tremble.

He pulls it free and sets it on the nightstand with a heavy sound.

I've seen a gun before, but I've never touched one, and all of a sudden I want to touch it so bad. It must be so warm and I don't know why, but I want to touch it so



He turns back to me and nods. "Okay."

But I'm still staring at his pistol.

This whole time, he had something that could kill right under his shirt, up against his skin.

I'm not an idiot. I've seen him carry it. I know my brother has one too.

I've just never been so close to one without knowing it.

He's had it there all night, all night; while I was outside smoothing my skirt, while he blew blunt smoke in my face, while I was in the bathroom biting my lip, while I straddled his leg in front of that kid and his friends.

I picture him holding it, loading it, pulling back the slide, and I feel the first button of his jeans give way under my fingers before I knew I was opening it.

His hands are flat on the bed beside me as I unbutton the rest, but he lifts his hips as I drag the jeans down, uncovering more black cotton and a stronger scent of him. I have no hesitation as I tug the fabric off, uncovering luscious fullness and pressing my lips to it instantly, as though letting air touch his cock was blasphemous.

I've given head twice before. Boys my age, awkward, sloppy. Boxers with cartoon characters on them. Clumsy hands on the back of my head. Gross.

This is nothing like that.

I want to fuck him with my mouth.

I kiss its length, from base to tip, with my open mouth, pressing my tongue against thin skin pulled tight over hardness that I give, and get, and cherish. Warm, soft skin aches toward me when I lift my head up to take him in properly.

Slow movements and a long hum that echoes in my belly all gravitate towards him as I fit the head of his cock into my mouth, and sink.

My lips press on their own, wanting to memorize every detail of him, and I pull greedily until I feel him against the back of my throat.

Enfolding him completely, I draw my whole body up, instead of just my mouth. As I rise to the tip for more slow kisses, I wrap closely around the ridge, swirling my tongue before lowering down onto him again.

My hair falls in front of my face, smooth dark locks that make graffiti on his belly, and I push them back with one hand and look up, watching me suck him with his lips parted and lids half closed.

My mouth and tongue and throat feel so glad to be so full, I hum again. It bubbles through me and I take him out of my mouth to lay more grateful kisses down his length before pushing silky warm into warm.

I'm convinced it's more my pleasure than his as I stroke upward with my lips holding him, wetting him all along, and look up again, wanting him to see the smile I can only make with my eyes. I have craved him for so long, and I'm so greedy for every moment of contact to last, and grow, and burn.

Thankfulness pours through me, around his cock, and down my throat, through my belly and between my legs. The lush feeling of aching to give makes me luminous and brave and so alive inside my veins. It spreads out and takes over, and and I have to cross my legs tightly to keep from rubbing against him. My skirt brushes the bottom of my ass as I lean up onto my knees, taking a little breath and catching his eyes before kissing the tip of him with an open mouth, lips deliberately slow and smooth over his very softest skin.

Before I can take him between my lips again, he pushes on my shoulder, and my legs, whimper-weak, give way. I fall backwards with a little cry, suddenly off-balance and out of control, and his hands are under lined plaid and on my hips, dragging pink panties down to my knees.

I have never felt so fully bare in front of anyone.

Without even a sound, two fingers part me, slipping along wetness that's only ever felt my own touch. My butterflies batter him with their wings, helpless against the brush of rough, seeking fingers. Before I can protest, he's inside, and the sound that escapes me carries a note of panic under pleasure.

"So fucking wet," he murmurs, but it isn't into my ear. It doesn't feel like a compliment.

His fingers twist instead of pushing, his thumb holding diffuse pressure against soaked and sensitive skin, and I stare as he watches me warm and open for him, around him.

"How'd you get so fucking wet, kitten?" he asks, running his other hand up to my bra and pushing the cup over to bare my left breast, and I feel my nipple plead under his palm.

I'm shaky, slippery wet all over him and inside my thighs already, his forearm flexing as two fingers curl inside, making my stomach tense against the sensation. I reach out my hand to touch the tiger I've watched for years, his strength clear and moving under inked skin.

He shakes me off with a twitch, and I whimper as he pushes deeper.

Just as I start to circle my hips into the feeling, it's gone. He stands up, pushing his jeans and boxers all the way off, and pulling his shirt over his head.

He's completely naked before me, and I see markings on him I've never seen before.

An anatomical heart in the hollow of his ribs, pierced through with something blue I can't quite make out. A roulette wheel inside his thigh, dark, with something resting on it. On the underside of his bicep, a circle of words in Latin, or Spanish, I can't tell.

A scar that looks like a gunshot wound, a little smudge of pale on his stomach near his side. Another near his hip.

I can't see clearly enough. The light is too low and he's moving too quickly, climbing on top of me and I'm pushing down the threat of panic again as his stomach hovers over mine, and my fragile confidence climbs in between my lungs to hide.

He grazes my thigh, warm skin and hard and full and I'm powerless against the need to lift into him.

A groan tears from inside his chest, a rumbling I feel in my own as he makes contact, his warmth sliding easily between, pressure enough to make my legs twitch together as I bring a gasp back from the edge of my lips.

I watch him slide up and down, once, twice, before finding me where I'm most wanting and pressing slowly forward. My legs tense around his hips and for a moment I can't tell if I need him closer or I need him to wait, right here in this moment where he's about to give me the one experience I've wanted for as long as I've wanted anything.

My pounding heart fills up my bones with loud, blunt wonder, and the pressure breaks through, hot sparks biting into me. My body arches, wild and pinned beneath him, and the reality of this moment is so much more intense than any fantasy could have warned.

The strain of his body opening mine to fit him doesn't go away once he gives the head of himself to me. Dull, aching pain blends with the neon sting of pentration that stills everything in me and screams,

Feel this.

Feel everything.

My eyes roll to the ceiling and I don't realize I'm hyperventilating until he hushes me with a hand over my mouth.

And pushes again, from his hips.

As the sting settles in, making its way into my blood and feeling like a trapped scream, I remember that we haven't used a condom, and my legs tense around him.

"Easy," he murmurs, dropping more of his weight onto me. "Easy, now."

White stars glow behind my closed eyes as he pushes again, and the only places we're touching are his thighs inside mine, his hand over my mouth, and his cock filling me and as pain and pressure darken the edges of my vision, I can't remember why I wanted this anymore.

When the white spots fade into the same dimness as the room, and my breath stops shuddering in my chest – when pain folds itself inside pleasure, he takes his hand off my mouth and lifts to his knees, bringing my hips with him as he sits back.

"Look at that," he whispers, gravel and sunburn in his voice as he licks his thumb and strokes thick circles against the smallest, neediest part of me. My legs quiver and fall open, my hips rolling with the way he moves them.

"So fucking pink."

I feel it. I feel just like pink.

My eyes flicker open to where he's looking at me, and I breathe a shy little note, watching his eyes burn into me where we're joined.

He uses his other thumb now too, holding me open while I rock myself closer, trying to move into his touch.

The urge to curl into myself, to protect what's left of me from the piercing sting melts quickly under insistent, feathered heartbeats that pound more, more, more.

I know, beyond any doubt, that Icarus was ecstatic when he fell.

Staring at my ache, where he's changing me to fit himself, Edward's thumb rolls soft little strokes over where I'm so wet for him I can almost hear it.

I can't see his eyes with his face turned down in the half-darkness, but I see praying hands under his heart, circled in words I can't read.

"So pretty."

I can't help but shake out loud, little sounds slipping from my lips as I dig my heels into the bed, trying to inch myself closer. His hands shift to my hips, pressing them down.

"Don't," he says, low. I swallow to listen.

"Don't come on half of it, girl. Let me give you the rest."

His words suck the air from the room, and he leans over me like a rogue wave, one hand supporting his weight by my waist as the other holds himself at the base, ready to give more.

My eyes fasten to the ceiling, afraid that if I look at him, I'll burst into overwhelmed, trembling sobs.

But the tide doesn't hold still, and before I can take a breath he's pushing again, more insistently now, and my mouth drops open and my lungs won't fill all the way.

The sting slides like a blade, the drag of hardness along new skin burning like sugar on a bruise. Edward breathes a controlled exhale as he moves, and I taste warm nicotine and midnight in his exhale.

He arches his back, giving everything, and I feel him everywhere. I can't take any more, and I can't let him go, and I never knew getting what I wanted would take this much.

"Fuck," he groans, and his fingers curl, digging into my hip.

Both of my hands reach out for him, asking for skin, for contact, for communion. They find muscles just under ink, strength flexing as he withdraws himself, slowly devouring me from the inside out.

What I always, always wanted.

I wrap my hands around, pulling him closer, but he twists away from my touch.

"Stop. I can't fuck you like that."

He sits back, still inside me, raising up to his full height. His shoulders are so broad, they almost seem like wings.

"You want to cuddle, go get yourself a fucking boyfriend."

He slides further out and pushes into me again, harder, and the stranger's bed beneath my back protests with a creak. I grip the sheets as he moves more forcefully, driving home his meaning, and I listen carefully.

He's right.

I don't want some guy from my school. I don't want to go to his track practice and let him finger me in the handicapped restroom at a Sonic. I don't want to hang with his bullshit friends while they play GTA. I don't want to get text messages with smiley faces in them.

I want this. I want to get fucked.

By a real man.

By this man.

I look along his arm, to the tiger's eyes, so clear in my memory when he was at my house just a few nights ago. His ink is only a moving shadow in this low light, but I can see it, dark stripes laid across muscle, holding up the weight that opens my hips and pushes them into the bed.

I remember touching myself, imagining just this, the hard flesh that burns me with its fullness, and I can't help it, my hand slides down between my legs. Even as my lids close, I know the jade green eyes of the tiger are on me, and I hear Edward breathing, and my fingers move in shy circles. The heat of his body deepens as he pulls my right leg over his shoulder, opening me, and I feel him looking.

I'm finally here, before him, beneath him, around him, and he's watching me, he's watching me become us …

His hand covers mine, pressing my own touch into wet, parted flesh, and I lose all my shame.

The sharp whimper that breaks from my lips trembles in the air between us as my stomach tenses, and I've never had an orgasm like this. It starts little as a flutter but pierces like lightning, and I'm helpless, shameless, breathless whispering fuck, fuck, fuck as everything between him and my heart fills up with the softest, golden-ecstatic pulses of unhurried, immeasurable pleasure. I want to hide from the immensity of feeling, because he moves harder against me, wave after wave pushing sparks of god through my veins, and I know he can feel me come.

He breathes through pursed lips, and electric pulses are still tightening me around him but he's moved his hands to my thigh, pressing them open wider against my instinct to close them.

"Fuck, kitten," his voice is tight around the words, "are you having a nice time?"

I coo a pathetic, pretty sound and my fingers curl against where I need his touch the most, and he drives his cock so deep inside me I feel my butterflies whip their wings in alarm against him, and it's happening again.

His hands keep me spread with bruising firmness and I don't want to scream but I can't breathe unless I do, and light stings behind closed lids as I come again, everything inside me clinging to him and pushing at him and thanking him, and I barely even feel when he brings his hands under my hips and pulls me onto him, moving me in rough slides while I go limp, shaking against pleasure that fades from me so slowly and builds so quickly, already, again.

My lungs are brittle and hot when I try to bring a breath in, and I don't even feel myself arching in the darkness as I come.

And come.

He slides one hand up my body, between my breasts, and my heart pounds right under his palm, confessing mutely, I'm yours, I'm yours.

Sliding it up to my collarbone and back down, he digs his fingertips hard and drags them down my skin.

"God," Edward mouths, and pulls his hips back just to push forward again. He bends to press his head into my collarbone, and his breath lights my skin like a bonfire.

My right leg is trapped between us, pressed all the way against me as he gives me all, all of himself, and I am opened like wings, feeling him so deeply, where no one's ever touched me before, where I never wanted anyone else.

He shivers, and I can taste the strain in his neck as he holds me all the way down.

"Hold still, kitten, come on now."

I try, I try to hold still, biting the inside of my mouth until I can't take it, willing my knees to stop shaking, to open further and give myself to his pressure, to let the bed and the heat of his body swallow me up.

The effort pulls a whimper from my closed and bitten lips, and he lifts his hand to my mouth again, his thumb pushing between and inside.

"I didn't say to be quiet."

I sigh around his thumb, and he pulls it out, bringing it still wet right to my clit. I let him hear what he's doing to me, little cries melting into louder ones, and my hips roll into him harder, and he's so far inside me I might not ever breathe the same again.

Edward shifts, rolling onto his back and I'm suddenly lying on top of him, and he pushes my knees down so I'm straight up and straddling. The fabric of my skirt brushes the back of my hipbones as it settles, and his naked stomach and chest tempt my hands, flatlands of decorated skin and soft, dark hairs wildly inviting my touch.

This angle is so much deeper and I let out a sore little cry. His hands move to my shoulders, pressing before I can tell him stop, and it feels like piercing, delicious intensity where the two halves of me cling to myself around him.

I hang on through the sting of his thrust but I shake. I can't help it.

My shoulders slump forward and I drop my weight onto him, exhausted and fucked, and I just want to hold still and fasten myself to him.

"Move, kitten," he commands, more with his voice than his words. His hips lift sharply into mine, crudely urging me to ride, but spent and burning muscles beg to hold.

When I sink into him, the heat of his chest rolls into me instantly, like there wasn't even skin between us to hold it back. He shifts, but I'm helpless to do anything but withstand, letting gravity wrap me around him, everywhere.

"Stop fucking shaking," he whispers, his voice asphalt black.

My whimper is a pathetic response, my voice as trembling-weak as my legs, and he speaks louder, chastising.

"Is this what you came up here to do, kitten? To shake all over my cock? Or do you want to fuck?"

The word fuck is a slab of concrete in the middle of a stormy sea, and when it slams into me, it delivers all the heavy, slick pleasure of the moment down my spine in a hot rush.

We're fucking.

He's fucking me.

We're finally here. And I won't let it slip by while I struggle for my bearings.

With a groan that comes from somewhere underneath my lungs, I bring my body upright, feeling him slip that much deeper as my weight straightens. I try to enclose him with my knees but the heavy pull of sinking is too much. It moves me from the base of my spine all the way up to my shouderblades, and as I rock slowly backwards, my body slips deeper, shoulders curving towards him, and I want to collapse. I want to fall onto him, covering him like a sin, chest-to-chest and kiss the flower-eyed sugar skull over his throat. I want to give up and float in the way he fucks.

I want his come.

I want it inside me, all over inside me. I want to taste it with my skin and my fingertips and I want to feel its heat cling to me outside and in.

My fingertips barely touch his belly, the strength in my legs melting as they spread a little wider, hips building a soft rhythm as they burn with the effort of taking him fully. I want to collapse against him, but through closed eyes, I feel his eyes on my body, seeing me move with him inside. He's watching me light and dip and strain through pleasure I've never known, overflowing within, pleasure I can't get close enough to and can't stop trying. And I want him to. I want him to see everything.

I don't realize my skin is cold until his hands rise like flames along my belly, slow and wide, burning a path upwards until they're cupping my breasts, and I'm engulfed in warmth.

Gripping a little too firmly along my sides, he spreads hot fingers out, and it feels like he's looking for control. He hardens, pressing deeper with fading restraint, and I drink his voice in without its meaning.

"You need to get on your knees."

His voice penetrates like a blade, silent, cutting between my feeling and my thought, and it takes me a moment to comprehend.


His voice is stronger and his hands slide under my thighs, lifting me off him. He pushes until my body releases his, and sudden helpless lack of him is everywhere, squeezing my ribs and holding my knees apart. Everything in me aches to sink back down.

Up on his knees, he turns me and guides my confused and weary hands underneath me, lifting shaky hips until my legs are below them. I'm on my knees, breathless and weak, and so exposed before him.

My thighs tremble with the effort of tenuous steadiness, but before they can slip apart, his hands slide a slow path up my legs, over my hips and waist, settling on my shoulderblades. They hold with heated gentleness before moving down my back again, spreading as they reach my hips. The push that brings him against and between me is subtle, but enough to make my hair fall in front of my face.

He moves along my swollen-hot lips, rocking me back and forth with just the palms of his hands. Only breath escapes my wide open mouth as he slips through slickness, past where I want him inside, over and over again.

The incalculable vulnerability of being on my knees before him, waiting for more, waiting for anything, feels like teeth in my veins. I struggle for patience as I feel his left hand move slowly back from my hip, sliding across and down, to where he's mine, and I'm all fucking his.

Dragging a single finger around where he divides me from myself, circling soaking wet need like molten silver, he stills his hips and mine with slowness that barely admits breath.

I pulse around him every time my heart beats, and I feel like this is more than sex. I'm being transformed. I'm the body holding his body, and in this moment, I'm the opening gates of heaven.

Every sensitive nerve ending in me fires as that one slick finger moves up, farther, lingering over another part of me, a place I tense to think of him entering. My spine straightens, and I freeze.

The breath of his laugh is warm as he leans over me and whispers into my ear.

"I bet you'd even let me put it here, wouldn't you, kitten?"

His fingertip presses where my body hesitates to let him in, and my mouth drops open to say something, but I have no idea what.

His hand moves back to my hip and his whole cock pushes into me, deeper than I've ever felt, and a choked sound erupts through my throat.

"Do you know what that makes you?"

My eyes close as he holds me like that, stuck, knees slipping against the sheets beneath us.

I know what it makes me.

"Say it."

Warm and steady against trembling skin, his right hand finds the most sensitive part of me, and shaky balance threatens to come undone.

"Say it," he reminds me.

"A whore," I whisper, the words tumbling out on a rush of breath.

He presses with the pads of his fingers, and I'm locked against him, fastened under and inside muscles and ink and a scent as smooth and toxic as smoke. A scent like every place I've ever wanted to be lost.

His bare touch borders on brutal, and I fight the instinct to draw my knees together, straining instead to keep them just where they are, dug in and burning against strange sheets.

He laughs, low embers on a moonless night.

"Wrong, kitten. Whores get paid for it."

He pushes forward again, even though there's no more left of me to take. Even though the only forward is down.

He pulls back, and I think of a rubber band.

"Try again, baby. This is important."

His whisper is so much like venom I swear I feel it drip down my neck.

"What are you, now?"

I feel it like burning hot coals between my lungs, like burning hot coals, but I don't know if I can say it.

I want to, because Edward wants me to, and with that, the words spill out of my mouth like stones, and I feel the relief of their weight lifted.

"A slut."

He buries himself in me, merciless and merciful, punishment and reward in the single dizzying stroke. The sound that comes out of me is amplified by helpless, unmade want, a hot little note that bruises the empty dark.

I hear him growl, letting all the skin of his chest and stomach cover me, and the sound echoes through my belly.

"Again, kitten."

His teeth press a warning into my shoulder, right at the curve of my neck, and I shudder, fingers curling into quiet pillowcase cotton.

"I'm a slut."

Out loud, the words that felt heavy in my mouth seem to flutter, and he pushes a new rhythm into me, fitting his pace to my admission.

My knees slip further outward but Edward is steady above me, and I can't remember why I wanted to hold on.

I'm already sinking.

"That's right, baby," he growls, his breath like a blow torch. "That's what you are."

And then it starts in the back of my neck, a tingle that trickles and stings down my spine, and before I realize it, my arms and knees have given way. I'm flat on my belly underneath him, and that spark travels everywhere his skin touches, until it's where he's inside me, and he's all over, and I am a slut, and I'm coming so hard I can feel my body crush against him, and he moves right through it, unable to slow.

Pressed into the bed, helpless and so much more than fucked, I let out a shameless sound, and his cock cuts it into staccato little cries as I come, and come, and feel like I might not ever stop.

But breaths keep entering my lungs, and I can't tell whether my body is taking them, or if he's forcing them into me as he grinds deep, permanent ink in the muscles of his forearms skimming my skin.

"Is this what you came here for, little slut?" he asks as he drives into me once, hard, and stills. The tension in his muscles hums over too-hot skin, his body straining to give all it has while I whimper to accept all I can.

"To get on your knees and come out loud? So everyone downstairs can hear what I'm doing to you?"

His words are white ash and burn into my neck, into tangled maple brown that sticks to my temples, and I can't speak. I can't think. All I can do is feel his eyes on my shoulders and grip the bedsheet with shaky fingers.

"Want to tell them what else you want?"

But I don't. I don't want anything more than this moment, to pull it on like a tee-shirt, to wear and keep it always, to be here, to stay here.

Pinned like a butterfly.

I don't want anything but this.

"You want my come, don't you, girl?"



And the way I whimper around him, weak from surrender, is his answer.

"That's all you're going to get from me, kitten," his voice rumbles, his hands sliding upward along my sides. They're warm and possessive, making his words quiet, and I can't help it, I'm completely and fully his.

He pushes intent with his hips, making me listen with every part of myself.

"All I'm going to give you is my come and this smile. Understand?"

I can't nod, but I do. I understand and I want. A vague echo of hurt trickles down my throat but it burns up before it can soak in. I am ardent desire, and there is no tomorrow to care about.

He's inside me, pulsing like my heartbeat, making me full of him, and the feeling transcends life, and death, and meaning. I'll do anything he asks, including letting him go.

"So ask me."

My eyes close, and my mouth opens. Breath passes my lips, back and forth, but words don't come.

His fingers tighten around my ribs, pulling me onto him.

My lips move but barely make a sound as air moves in and out of me without permission.

"I can't."

He lifts, tearing all the heat of his skin away from mine, and then the pleasure and purpose of him inside me is gone, my sides missing his hands already and it's not fair.

My cheeks heat and I force the sound from my lips.


Before I can draw another breath, he pushes inside.

But I can't stop saying it.

"Please, please, Edward, please …"

He presses deep, deeper, and his arms steady over mine.

"Good," he murmurs. "Louder."

Trembling arms move to hold myself up, but they sink apart, and I can only lift my head.

And like he asked, I am Louder.

"Please, so much, please."

He laughs through his nose, rolling his hips upward slowly, rocking mine like a boat.

"Please what, baby?"

I'm so close I'm so close I'msofuckingclose …

"I ..."

So fucking close but he's going slow, dragging and irresistible like gravity and I want this, I want this, I want …

"Please, I want your come."

I hear him exhale through his mouth but still slow, slow like the color white that's blooming into stars behind my eyes and my voice is loud, flying like wings, and

"Please give me your come."

And I'm coming and the line between words and thoughts looks like

please, edward


please give me your come

please can I have it


please don't ever let this stop, please don't stop

and his hand is on my cheek, much gentler than the way he strokes inside me, and I flood like a river.

I can't feel anything that isn't between my throat and my knees: my heart pounding wild submission against a stranger's linens, the way he pushes into me with hungry abandon, the way my skin sears ember-hot and delicate as an eggshell, the way everything in me and about me is him, is his, is for him.

The way I've always been.

The muscles of his stomach tense at the same time his fingers relax on my skin, and I arch, digging my knees deeper into the bed to move harder against him.

He groans, close as my next breath, and I whimper, straining for more.

"Please, Edward," I beg. "Please."

And he answers my prayer.

Warmth and fastening pulses into and through me and I feel like the sky.

Helpless, boundless, open, thankful.

His hands slide easily down to my hips, and the sting of him pulling out is a curse in another language.

He exhales from his throat, soft and full.

"Baby," he says, so quietly. "Look at you."

I close my eyes. I just want him to.

There's a gentle push at my shoulder, and he turns me over.

I didn't know I was smiling, but I am. I hum, eyes still closed, warm inside this warmth, worn thin and so sweetly exhausted.

And I feel him looking at me.

My feet slide down, knees open and suddenly it's hot in this room, so hot I don't even want my own skin to touch me.

"Kitten," he murmurs over me, and I open my eyes onto his, and he's smiling too. Just like I wanted. And it feels like a crown.

Fresh pink, my little voice steals a breath from between us and I whisper.


He licks his bottom lip, and I've never seen eyes so green. They flicker like streetlights and I feel them travel from my eyes, down my neck, along my collarbones, so heavy they feel like touch.

"Will you do something for me?"

My shy smile sparkles into a grin, and my answer is too quick.


Because anything.

Just ask, Edward.


Possibilities crowd my lungs as he leans up, reaching for the hoodie that fell against the bed, hanging by friction, halfway to the floor.

"Get me my cigarettes?"

I swallow, and the answer is yes, but my shaky voice splits the syllable in two.

There's air in this room, but it's not mine.

My lungs borrow illicit breath through lips and teeth that suddenly feel cold.

Sliding my bare thighs off the bed makes a sound like tearing seams, and green is suddenly the sharpest color I have ever felt.

My legs falter as I try to stand, little needles of exertion piercing through me.

I see my tank, and rumpled plaid pleats are still on me, giving the most ridiculous hint of modesty.

I have no idea where my underwear is, but I don't want to make him wait.

The wet sting of his sex between my legs and the ache hiding under my heart are testimony:

Whatever's left of me, is his.

To give anything he wants.

Even this.

Smoothing my skirt down legs that burn and shake, I feel more naked than I ever have.

I don't know when he put his boxers back on. He picks up my shirt, and tosses the soft, ribbed red cotton at me. I catch it gracelessly and slide it over skin that feels like it doesn't fit anymore.

Edward Masen leans back onto the bed, lying in the imprint of my body, and I wonder if he can feel the warmth I left there.

Pausing before I touch the doorknob, I glance back, but he doesn't meet my eyes. A colorless poppy unfolds its petals on the round of his shoulder while his gun rests on the nightstand, and they, too, are silent and heavy.

I open the door to cooler air that wraps around me before I have a second thought.

In the hallway, my legs hesitate, my pale skin glowing like it was new against the grey carpet.

Downstairs, the party's been reduced to a muffled bassline. A few people pick up empties, and a few more lounge with half-opened eyes and loose laughter.

My foot moves to the top stair and I feel my thighs slip against each other inside my too-short skirt.

Just get to the couch, and come back up.

Don't think. Just walk.

I can't believe this is happening.

Edward's come seeps out of me with each step, wetting the soft skin that aches from openness, and it feels warm and cold at the same time.

The last of the conversation dries up as I reach the bottom of the stairs. My bare feet are silent, but my silence isn't.

I remember I didn't even try to smooth out my hair before I came down here. My cheeks heat as I cross the living room toward the black couch, my stomach twisting with embarrassment.

I know I look like I've been fucked. I smell like I've been fucked.

The half dozen or so last partygoers' eyes stick to me like napalm, as I take tiny steps to keep his come from dripping down the insides of my thighs, and I know I walk like I've been fucked.

Among the wasted leftovers, witnesses to my little shames, whispers and giggles hit me like bricks, and I try not to feel them.

But his cigarettes aren't on the table beside the couch. And someone's sitting where he had been.

I don't want to walk around the whole couch, but peering over the back of it, I find nothing but stares from a blonde guy in a backwards black cap and the fruit-scented mound of eyeshadow beside him.

I'm so thankful when I see the red and white pack of Marlboros on the floor right near the front of the couch that I nearly cry.

Until I realize I have to bend down to get them.

So determined not to make any whimper, to show no sign of weakness, I ignore the burn in the backs of my thighs and the too-easy wet slide that sears me from between them as I bend at the knees and pick up the box. It's light, but I don't check to see how many are left.

Turning around, I face the eyes that pricked my back when I came in. The blonde on the couch snorts, and I drop my eyes to the floor.

It's hard to move quickly in shy baby steps, but I do. I'm hurrying back up to the death's head moth that lights at the top of Edward's spine, the cross lying along his forearm, and the tiger that will still look at me exactly the same as it did the day he got it.

His twenty first birthday.

When I was thirteen and a half.

I climb the stairs quickly, the bite of pain hissing at me with each step.

Not fast enough to outrun "Don't forget the lighter, slut," or the derisive little chuckles that follow.

But almost.

Tiny, bitter tears spring up before I can hold them back, and as I open the door and shut myself inside with him, forehead against the hollow wood, it feels like I haven't taken a breath since I left.

When I do, I notice that the room is saturated in his scent. Bonfire and cedar, hot metal and cold October.

And as I put the cigarettes down on the table next to his gun, there's a new scent.


He's already smoking.

I turn my head to the right, towards where he's sitting on the bed with his back up against the wall. His black hoodie is on his lap, a green lighter on top of it while his lips hold a white-and-blue filtered Parliament.

He doesn't even smoke Marlboros. And I knew that.

"I found them."

A black and green snake twirls up his middle finger as he opens the empty top drawer of the nightstand and ashes into it.

Frustration wants to scream or laugh or cry its way out of me, but I hold. I lean against the back of the closed door for steadiness, but it isn't steady enough.

I feel it before I see it, and when I see it I don't know what to do.

Down the inside of my thigh, from the inside of me, a trickle slips along pale skin, just a drop but holding in it him, and me, and a moment that just a moment ago, was all mine.

So carefully, keeping my eyes down so as not to acknowledge his, I step into the ensuite bathroom, turning all the switches on at once and locking the door behind me.

Light bulbs hum to life around the kind of mirror from a celebrity's dressing room. An overhead fan brushes nearly bare shoulders with loud, warm air.

Afraid to look in the mirror, I stand transfixed by the droplet that tickles shamelessly on its way to my left knee. It moves, oblivious to everything outside itself, but I do not.

I am not.

I know what happened here.

I was like that. Single minded, letting gravity rule. I wanted to go down too.

I got what I wanted.

But this little trickle won't.

Edward could have spent himself on my tits, or my face. He could have pulled out and left it on my back or on strange, blue bedsheets for someone else to find.

Quickly, I slide the little droplet up, my finger cool on overheated, new, raw skin.

Everything about tonight is mine. I own it all.

I earned it.

And I won't let go.

I take a deep breath and find my reflection unremarkably mine. My lip gloss is gone, the black around my eyes smudged, but I look like me. Pink-cheeked, bright-eyed, sober, and fucked. Me. Not much different.

Only with him inside. Only this me knows what it's like to let a man into her body.

Into more.

To hold him there.

To feel him come inside.

I can't help but smile, pulling a shy lip between my teeth.

I may look the same, but I'm new.

I'm the girl I wanted to be when I left the house earlier tonight, dressed in a too-short skirt and so jittery uncertain.

And out of everyone who showed up here, I'm the only one who carries Edward's scent, his mark, and his come with me as I leave.

In the next breath, I'm ready, and I open the bathroom door.

I didn't hear him move, but he's dressed, sitting on the edge of the newly-unmade bed, lit by strips of determined moonlight, desperate to shine before the sun comes up.

He isn't smoking anymore, and I don't know where he put it out.

"Want to get out of here?"

Climbing down the stairs the second time is easier than the first, little kisses of sour sting almost imperceptible because I'm beside him. Because we're leaving together.

At the bottom, I bend gingerly to pick up my handbag, and as I straighten, warm weight falls around my back.

His hoodie.

Smoke-riddled, midnight black cotton says more than words could, and I feel favored as I slide my arms through the sleeves to silent appraisal. I don't have to look up to know all eyes are on us, and I acknowledge nothing but Edward as I step into my boots, swallowed in the smell of fire, the ocean, and things born anew.

He holds the door but walks through it first, and the late night air is smooth and cold as milk on my bare legs and my face, between my still-wet thighs and on my sensitive, freshly raw and unglossed lips. A streetlight-golden breeze brushes my unkempt hair back like gentle fingers, and it seems like a miracle that it's a new day. Midnight's passed, and yesterday became tomorrow without notice.

It seems so simple.

His motorcycle is posted like a sentry right on the street, BMW F800 shining with the last of the starlight on its black skin. All the times I've looked out my window at this shining beast, watching him slide on and off it, flash like deja vu as he slips his leg over and turns back towards me.

"Can you ride?"

I bite an unsure lip.

"I've never done it before."

I realize, as I look down at my barely-there skirt, that I've never seen anyone on his bike but him.

Maybe I'm the first one he's ever given a ride on it.

Just the thought of opening my legs enough to sit on this monster hurts, but the thought of him leaving without me hurts way, way more.

"Here," he pats the seat behind him.

I only pause a second.

It stings to throw my leg over the back of the motorcycle, but the coolness of the seat is soothing under my skirt.

I would be shy about riding this way, my unders pressed against his leather, but he knows.

And it's okay.

"I don't have a helmet," he says over his shoulder.

"I don't want one," I whisper back.

He starts her up, and the amber rumble of the engine between my legs feels like a frozen fire as I wrap my arms around his waist.

Pressing my cheek into the softness of his black t-shirt, I feel his heartbeat.

And his warm laugh.