"In the dark you can do whatever you want to." -Lana, duh

Chapter Seven

I wake to white light instead of the dingy yellow I'm accustomed to. I'm only disoriented for a half second before I remember exactly where I am, whose bed I'm in.

I've never slept naked before. The sheets are cool and smooth against my bare skin and it feels scandalous. It feels divine.

I reach my arm along the massive bed but find no one, just empty, cold space. It doesn't surprise me at all. I didn't expect him to lie around with me and greet me with a loving smile like they do in the movies.

I'd always thought that was corny, anyway.

I stretch experimentally and wince at the soreness. But then I smile, too, and blush and hide my face in the pillow.

Memories of the night before dance behind my closed lids.

His hands, his mouth, his taste. His dirty whispered words against my heated skin.

It felt like he was burning me from the inside out, and I get flushed just thinking about it.

"Touch yourself."

He's kneeling on the end of the bed, unbuttoning his shirt, watching me squirm.

"What?" I ask, breathless.

He reaches down, wraps his hands around my knees and gently pulls them apart, giving me the smallest of smiles. "Touch yourself. Show me how you like it."

I don't know where the embarrassed flush ends and the aroused one begins. I'm just hot all over and can't think straight.

"I can't," I say, so shy it's painful.

He leans down, presses a gentle kiss to my kneecap and whispers into my skin. "Yes, you can."

I sit up in the bed, running my fingers through impossibly tangled hair. The bed's duvet was tossed off and now lies in a pile on the floor, but I can't remember if it was before or after we went to sleep.

My hand is between my thighs, and I keep my eyes shut. But I'm too aware that he's there, watching. It gives me a taste of pleasure but not satisfaction.

My eyes open.

He has his shirt off now, and his body is beautiful; lean, slightly defined. He has a few tattoos, but I can't focus enough to make them out. I'm pleasure-hazed and disoriented.

His eyes meet mine. They seem black.

I squirm, more turned on by a look than my desperate touch.

"Edward, I can't," I manage to say, pulling my hand away. I mean to give a full sentence, a reason why, but all I get out is: "I want."

He smiles a little and leans down over me, covering my body with his slowly. He's careful not to touch me, though, just hovering close enough to tease me.

"What do you want?" he whispers against my temple. His lips are hotter than my burning skin. I feel the gentle sweep of his eyelashes against my hair as he closes his eyes.

"You. I want you to touch me," I say.

I look for my clothes scattered across the floor of the bedroom, but he made sure I lost my dress and underwear rather quickly. They must still be in the living area.

I can't really remember the progression of things.

It's all just a blur of hands and teeth and lips.

I don't know what to wear though, to go out and face him. I'm certainly not bold enough to wear nothing, and using the sheet as a makeshift robe seems silly. So I opt for his wrinkled dress shirt on the floor.

It's a cliché, but I don't care.

It doesn't really work the way I thought it would. I'm just a bit too tall, so it barely covers me. But it'll have to do.

I stand for a moment at the floor-to-ceiling windows, marveling at the city below. It looks so different in the daylight, all pastels and cool colors. And then there's the white sand beaches and glimmering ocean beyond.

I make my way out into the living room and find Edward leaning against a window, talking on the phone. He's not wearing a shirt, just boxers, and since he's got his back to me, I see a tattoo on his left shoulder blade.

"I told you. I'd take care of it. Don't you have any faith in me?"

I pause, suddenly curious about things I shouldn't be.

"Yeah, whatever," he says to the person on the line. He takes the phone away from his ear and hangs up, turning to see me.

I smile a little, and he smiles back, tossing his phone carelessly onto the couch.

"Morning," he says, walking over to me.

"You're not such a good girl now, are you?"

I flush at the sound of his voice and reminders of last night.

He grabs my hips, pulls me close to him. His hands slip beneath the short hem of the shirt I'm wearing, touching my bare skin.

"What do all these mean?" I ask, touching some of the small tattoos he has scattered across his body, thrilling that I can do so.

"I'll tell you some time."

"Evasive as ever," I reply, laughing quietly.

He smirks and presses a quick kiss to my temple before letting me go.

Two Months Later

"Shit," I mutter, searching for a Q-tip.

"What happened?" Rose asks, looking at me in the lighted, old-Hollywood style mirrors we do our makeup in every night.

"I keep messing up." I use the cotton swab to clean up the glitter liner that went astray.

"It's because you're tired," Allie says, straightening her violet-tinged hair. "You should do a line. It's what keeps me going."

I eye the white power on her vanity and shake my head. "I'm good, thanks."

"Yeah. Not everyone wants to be a cokehead like you," Maria says from the other side of the room. She's one of the other girls here—one I don't know too well. She keeps to herself, mostly. She's tall and leggy, Hispanic and easily the most beautiful one of us all.

"You don't know what you're missing," Allie mumbles, shrugging carelessly.

Maria shakes out her massive curls and puts on dark red lipstick. "I'll stick to a little E every now and then. That's what you do if you wanna be good, Bella."

"Don't listen to them," Rose tells me, rolling her eyes and lining her lips in the mirror.

"See. The reason why Rose is so high and mighty, B, is because she gets her Xanax legally." Allie runs her fingers through her newly straightened hair, eyeing her progress critically. "But we aren't all so fortunate to have a doctor that gives out antidepressants like candy."

"Shut the fuck up, Alice," Rose snaps. "Why do you have to tell everyone my fucking business?"

Allie just laughs. "Oh, don't get so uptight, Rosie. So you get depressed? So you've tried to kill yourself? I mean, who the fuck hasn't at this point, right?"

Rose stands up suddenly, knocking her chair back, and starts screaming. Allie screams right back, and the room is a warzone of profanity just like that.

The door opens before I can try to calm Rose down. Edward walks in, grabbing her arm. I think he asks her what's wrong, but I can barely hear over Allie's continual spew of hatred.

"I hate this fucking bitch, Edward!" Rose cries, turning towards him, hiding her face in his shirt.

"So typical," Allie mutters, rolling her eyes. "Run to Edward and get him to fight your fights for you."

"Shut the fuck up, Allie," he replies.

"Whatever. You can all go fuck yourselves," she snaps, tossing up her hands and marching out of the room. Maria trails her, looking completely bored of the entire situation.

"What happened?" Edward asks.

At first, I think he's asking Rose, but he's looking at me.

I was raised by hugging it out and gentle words of encouragement. Even when my parents were divorcing, I never remember them once arguing—at least not in front of me.

Conflict is foreign to me—horrifying, even.

My hand shakes a little as I push my hair behind my ear. "Um. Allie and Rose just got into it."

"She told everyone personal things, Edward. Things I don't want anyone knowing—" Rose hiccups, glancing up at him with tear-streaked makeup.

Something about the look she gives him is a stab to the gut, but I try to ignore it.

"It's okay." He holds her face between his hands, wiping away her tears. "Don't worry about her, all right? You know how she gets when she's strung out. Get yourself cleaned up."

Rose nods, wiping her nose with the back of her arm like a kid.

"You gonna be okay?" he asks.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry." He kisses her forehead and glances over at me. "Will you hang out with her for a while?"

I nod.

"Thanks." He glances back at Rose. "Look, Aro's here. He wants to see you both. So try not to keep him waiting."

"Okay," she says.

I just nod again.

Edward says something else, but I don't pay attention. Then he's gone, and I glance over to Rose, watching as she takes a seat at the vanity again and pretends nothing at all has happened.

"I'll be right back," I say hollowly. "I'm going to the bathroom."

"Okay." Rose meets my eyes in the reflection of her mirror. I see my lie hasn't convinced her at all, but she doesn't question me.

I run out into the hall, chasing after Edward.


He glances over his shoulder at me and hesitates. It's just for a split second but enough for me to notice, enough for it to irritate me. Because this is who he is: aloof, always a bit out of reach. He's here sometimes—when he's inside me, when he's pulling my hair, biting my neck. But most of the time, I'm chasing after him. He lets me get close and then dances out of the way.

I can't say I completely hate it.

In a lot of ways, I actually like it. I like that he's not overpowering and clingy the way some boys have been with me in the past. It always scared me off before we'd even go out on a date.

Edward is a balance. But he has me right on the edge, and sometimes, I'm afraid I'll fall off completely.

"Why does Aro want to see me?" I ask him.

He runs a hand through his hair. It's getting longer, messier. I told him I liked it between hot kisses and rough thrusts. "I have no clue."

"You don't?" I ask.

"He doesn't really tell me things unless I need to know them."

"Are you fucking Rose?"

If I expect the sudden turn in conversation to surprise him, it doesn't. He just exhales an impatient laugh and shakes his head.


"Do you want to?"

"If I wanted to, I'd have already fucked her."

I blow out a hurt breath, the weight of his words punching me. "You're kind of an asshole right now."

"I'm just being honest."

"That's a first."

He laughs again, but it's hardly a pleasant sound. "Grow up, Bella."

"You're a dick," I say, just to keep him here, in this moment, with me.

And it works.

He takes a deep breath and runs his hands more roughly through his hair. The small sign of irritation gives me a little too much satisfaction.

I've never been this kind of girl before.

But he makes me this way.

It's only fair I get under his skin a little.

"I knew you were going to be this way. I mean, you're a teenager for Christ's sake. I don't know what I expected," he says.

"Well, fuck you then. I'm sorry to be such a pain in the ass. I won't be a problem for you anymore." I turn and start back towards the dressing room, but Edward grabs my arm roughly, shoves me up against the wall. He's rough but not enough to hurt, just enough to get my heart pumping.

He grabs my chin, forcing me to look at him. "I'm not fucking anyone else, okay?" He leans against me, his hips pressing into mine.

"Someone could see—" I say, glancing around the darkened hall.

His grip on my chin tightens. "Okay?" he clarifies.

"Okay," I say.

Because I live for writing arguments. That's probably what I enjoy writing the most, honestly. What kind of person does that make me? :/

Love you guys! I'm so touched my how sweet and understanding y'all are. I truly, truly appreciate it. Because I know it totally sucks to wait for updates. There are a few stories I've been waiting a year plus for an update. And I know it blows. So I'm sorry. But thank you soooo much for sticking around, giving me another shot.

Also, much love to Kim and Nic. You guys rock.