Title: Nothing Else Matters
Summary: Through an unexpected twist of fate, Bella gives Edward what he's been waiting for; something he's wanted for quite some time. However, under the circumstances, he's unsure whether to accept.
Word count: 4,105
Disclaimer:The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.
Angela slides up beside me and gives me a slight hip bump. "Hmm, looks like you have an admirer, Bella." Her head minutely tilts in the direction of a table located directly in my line of sight.
I follow her nod, discreetly of course, and almost choke on my saliva. "Pfft, you really have lost your mind, haven't you?" With one final longing glance at the fine specimen occupying a lone chair, I turn to Angela. "You do know who that is, right? There's no way he's here for me."
She rolls her eyes and takes over the computer to clock in for her shift at the campus library. "Yes, Bella, I know exactly who he is, but here's the thing, I've been paying attention. Every shift I work after you, I come in and he's sitting right there." She finishes with the computer and turns to me with an intent look. "But then, as soon as you're done for the day, he leaves. Trust me, he's here for you."
I allow my eyes to trail in his direction and catch him looking, no staring directly at me. A smile spreads across his lips and his fingers lift in a small waving gesture. My cheeks heat, and I turn my head without responding, dropping my eyes to my feet.
Stupid Bella, I chide myself. He was looking at you, staring at you, and you acted like a blushing schoolgirl. He probably thinks you're an inexperienced virgin.
When I finally draw enough courage to lift my eyes, I meet the raised brow of Angela. "See? Definitely, positively here for you, missy." She pokes me lightly in the chest and again tilts her head in his direction.
Unable to avoid looking any longer, I move my eyes back toward the table. Brilliant green gazes at me still, and a small gasp escapes my lips, but I hold firm, lost in the depth of his eyes. They sparkle with mirth, but also something else, something enticing, inviting. They almost beckon me to them. An involuntary smile quirks my lips.
So lost am I in the heat of his gaze, the burn of his stare that I miss the terror of what is beginning to happen. It isn't until he jumps from his seat in a panic that I snap back into the present.
There's a girl, she's bloody and running toward Angela and me. My mind is trying to come to grips with what's happening and why she's so bloody. When she reaches us, her lips are moving, but it's as if everything is in super slow motion and the words aren't reaching my ears.
Suddenly, a loud bang echoes in the silence and everything comes back; sounds, movements, chaos. I'm barely able to take in everything. Edward is up and moving, other students are scattering in a panic, and finally, the girl before me gasps and drops to the floor, blood seeping onto the pale pink shirt she's wearing.
I'm frozen in my spot, my eyes trained on her as she lies gasping for breath in front of my desk. Snapping into action. I start to move toward her only to have a firm grip close over my arm. "No, Bella. We have to hide!" Angela yells.
My eyes find her for only a second, and they're filled with terror and pain. "We have to help her, Angela," I say evenly and snatch my arm from her grasp.
Moving to the girl, I drop by her side; her breaths are coming in short pants, blood sputtering between her lips. I try to stay calm. Taking off my sweater, I bunch it up and push it to her chest, applying pressure. She tries to speak but I shush her and run my fingers through her matted red curls.
"R-run," she manages to whisper.
My brows furrow. She's lying here, sure to die with no help, and is asking me to leave her. "Shh." I rub her head more firmly, hoping she can feel me there beside her. She won't be alone. "I'm not leaving you alone, I'm here. Shhh—"
A loud click right at my ear interrupts the moment. "And you'll pay just like she did. Fucking bitch," a hateful voice snarls.
I freeze, unsure of exactly what is happening but knowing no good can come from it. Refusing to give the intruder a moment of my attention while this girl's life slips away before my eyes, I lean closer to her.
Her eyes widen in fear. "It's okay. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."
She frantically starts shaking her head, her eyes jumping between the person who's behind me and me. "D-don't … let him"—she stops to sputter more blood—"k-kill you too."
I have to admit that her words freak me out, but I also doubt that he's willing to just allow me to walk away either. I shush her again and try to remain as calm as possible, continuing a steady circuit through her hair in hopes to bring her peace.
Sirens wail in the distance and sounds waft in from outside, pulling my attention to the door. It's hanging from its hinges with a chunk of wood missing near the latch. A frown forms between my brows as things start to add up in my brain.
Before the whole picture becomes completely clear, a strong hand clamps over my shoulder and pushes. I land with a thump on my ass while the man leans over the prone form of the dying girl. "See what you caused, bitch? Now I'm going to have to kill this one just for trying to help you. You're a pathetic waste of space," he spits and the girl flinches, causing her breaths to cease for a few seconds.
Panic takes over my senses, and my eyes jump around the library. Green finds me, stopping their frantic search. He's peeking from around a shelf in the very back. His eyes are worried, but they never leave mine. His fingers reach up to cover his lips in a shushing motion, and he slips one shelf closer to where I'm trapped with a soon to be murderer. She isn't dead now, but she will be if he doesn't allow anyone to help her.
My eyes widen in warning and I shake my head minutely. He can't risk his life for me, not with this maniac wielding a gun. His focus is rigid, though, unyielding, as he studies the scene with shrewd, calculating eyes.
Before any more progress can be made, a loud voice echoes from outside. "Come out with your hands up," it yells. "We have the building surrounded."
The man with the gun tightens his fist in the dying girl's curls, lifting her face closer to his. "See what you did," he spits, shaking her. "You've killed us all, whore." He slams her head back to the floor with a sickening thud and before I can even make a move to stop him, he's smashed the butt of the gun into her temple.
She heaves out one last gust of air and then goes still. I start crawling to her, my mind churning with regret. "No, no, no. Please, God, no," I chant.
Before I can reach her, he backhands me, causing me to crash to the floor. "Bella." I hear a scream in the distance and try to keep my focus on that voice, not wanting to lose myself in this nightmare that feels as if it's happening to someone else.
Frantically I search, my jaw throbs from the pain of the blow, but my mind churns with ways to escape, as they look for green and lock on its location. Clawing my way across the harsh carpet, I attempt to reach it.
To reach him.
Suddenly, his face changes. The hope and desperation previously there suddenly morphs into pure terror as his body moves in slow motion toward me, arm outstretched, mouth open with a scream I can't hear.
A boot lands beside my head.
The loudest bang I've ever heard ricochets through my psyche.
Blackness clouds my vision.
Everything fades away.
Waking up snuggled into his warmth is the best way to start my day. His arms encase me so I snuggle closer; inhaling his scent, before opening my eyes to the bright glare of the sun. Dust particles float in the air, and for one more moment, I relish the feel of being wrapped in this warmth.
All too soon, he joins me in wakefulness. Instead of pulling away, though, his arms pull me closer. "Morning," his gruff, sleep-roughened voice says into my hair.
My arms reach around his back and my nails scratch lightly. He growls. "Don't tempt me, Bella. You'll never make it to class if you do," he warns.
I weigh my choices, and even though being with him is the most fulfilling experience ever, I have a presentation today. Withdrawing from the comfort of his arms, I jump back and sit up. "You're right. I have to go." I slide to the edge of the bed but suddenly find myself under a solid form, my torso trapped between muscular thighs.
Inquisitive green studies me, perusing my almost naked body before landing on my own. Slowly, while staring into my eyes, his hand starts a circuit at my thigh. Up, up, up, it slides, caressing and squeezing along the way. I arch underneath him, craving more; all of him.
Presentation be damned.
Warm, smooth lips lean down and push against mine softly; it drives me mad with want and I open.
Tongue fierce and seeking.
Fingers planting in the riot of auburn hair atop his head. When his lips slide to my neck, I, at least, have the decency to ask, "Can you be quick?"
He pulls back with a smirk. I'm halfway there already, and he knows this. His eyes tell me so. With a deft movement, his head is planted between my legs and his fingers are pushing my thong aside.
Before I can protest, his tongue finds me, and all coherent thought leaves my mind. I writhe below him as he provides me with the sweet torture I've come to crave. Slow, fast, pushing, pressing, fucking me with his fingers—the combination of it all drives me higher and higher.
I thrust to meet his ministrations and clench when I'm almost there. My hands find purchase on the headboard, anchoring me in place to ride the waves as they wash over me, spasm after spasm running through my body.
No longer very coherent, I barely notice the lips as they slide up sweat slickened skin and make their way to my own. But when they connect, I latch on. My lips say the words I'm too incoherent to mumble.
I think I love you.
Don't ever leave me.
"You're welcome," he says with a smirk after we break apart.
I play it off. "For what?" I bat my eyes innocently.
Long fingers find my sides and tickle me into submission. "All right. All right, I give. Thank you, Mr. Sex God, for the morning orgasm," I respond between giggles.
"That's more like it." He plants one more thorough kiss to my lips and rolls to the side.
I lean up on my elbows and eye him. "Are you sure you're good?" I motion to his rock hard cock sticking out the top of his briefs.
His hand slides down and pushes over it, I almost moan at the sight. I think I actually do lick my lips. He stops at my expression. "No time. Now go before you're late for your presentation." He makes a shooing motion and I gasp at the reminder.
"Shit." Jumping from the bed, I rush to the shower.
Turns out, what I was so freaked out over was a piece of cake. I think, anyway. By the time I left class, I was flying high, knowing I'd done well. I flew even higher when he was waiting outside with takeout from my favorite place.
A smile I can't even attempt to stop curls my lips. "What's this?" I wave my hand toward the food.
He loops one arm around my shoulder and points us back toward the dorms. "I thought we could celebrate you acing your presentation." He shrugs like him standing there waiting for me isn't a big deal. Because, I mean, it is a big deal.
He's an enigma for a college guy. Very popular, doesn't party, makes good grades, comes from money and is somehow able to ignore the throngs of women who bow at his feet just for the hope that he'll speak to them.
I'm so lost in the thoughts of my perfect man that I don't even have a chance to respond before he speaks again. "Is that okay?" His voice is soft, afraid he's messed up somehow.
I stop in my spot, facing him. My hands land on his chest and my mouth moves so close we're breathing the same air. "Okay?" I say softly. "It's more than okay. It's perfect. Thank you." I lean up and press my lips to his, hoping he can feel what I feel when he's near.
"You're perfect," he mumbles and delves his tongue inside to plunder my mouth, standing on the quad with no thoughts of who may be watching.
Graduation time is upon us and with that comes decisions. Decisions about our future. Words like 'us' and 'our' are commonplace now. Because we are that. We've been defined, and we slid into that role effortlessly, as if nothing had changed, and really, it hadn't.
We went from simple friends to what is probably the greatest relationship of my life in a matter of months, and now, we face the future.
Because our names are at the farthest ends of the spectrum, I'm nowhere near him when I make the walk, but I feel his eyes on me. I feel the swell of pride in his chest and I know it's there because I felt the same when he walked across that stage.
Afterward, there are a slew of people everywhere, but he's like a magnet, drawing me to him. I pull my dad through the throngs of people, my eyes scanning, until they land on him, that is. He's standing with a couple and a young girl. His family.
Nerves flit through my stomach, but I squelch them.
I've talked to these people before, unlike him who has never even spoken to my dad. I start walking again, and again the magnet does its job. He turns, spotting me instantly.
A smile as bright as the sun lights his face and an arm reaches for me as soon as I'm close enough. "There you are." He kisses my forehead and pulls me in for just one slight second before releasing me to hold his hand out to my dad. "Mr. Swan, so nice to finally meet you."
Dad takes his hand, begrudgingly, I have to admit, and pretends to like the guy he thinks will take away his daughter. I smile to myself, pleased that my two favorite men are meeting.
When they're done, he turns me to his parents. "Mom, Dad, this is Bella. Live and in person."
I go to hold out my hand, but his mom waves me off. Instead, she throws her arms around my neck. "Handshakes are too formal. You're already practically family." Her words meet my ears and I close my eyes to absorb them.
I want that very thing.
I want it so bad.
When his mother is done, his father offers a warm hug. Then I squat before his little sister with a smile. "Hi. Nice to meet you," I say offering my hand.
She looks at me timidly and then to her brother. His nod is all she must need to know I'm one of the good guys, because, with a timid smile, she takes my hand and shakes it in a big, exaggerated motion. "I'm Alice," she says through a snaggletooth smile.
The rest of the evening is spent with a mix of families; his well-off, and mine, just my dad and me. But even so, they make us feel as if we're already a part of it. And when dinner is over, they drop us at the dorms where he and I wave goodbye to them all.
My room is in a state of flux, like us. Boxes are scattered with clothes and books stuffed inside. The furniture is stacked in a corner, ready to be shipped, and the bed is bare save for the lone fitted sheet.
It still doesn't stop him from pushing me back and ridding me of my clothes. Tonight, we make love. There's nothing fast or hard about it. His strokes are slow and gentle as he worships me with his mouth and hands.
We don't speak, no words are needed. Our bodies tell the stories of our soul. We're one now and without even saying it, we both know it to be true.
After such a horrific beginning, we've turned terror into love.
Heartache into happiness.
Death into life.
Aloneness into togetherness.
And as he thrusts into me over and over, driving me so high I fear I may never come down, the words fall from his lips. "I love you," he whispers over and over between every worshipping caress.
"Oh God," I sigh out, overcome by his movements, his voice.
My breaths come in pants while his words still flow and the tightening begins to unfurl. A coil in the pit of my stomach releases and wave after wave washes through me. Almost incoherent, I begin chanting, "I love you, I love you, I love you."
He rises up and continues his relentless torture of my body, but his eyes, his eyes are burning into mine. Watching. Staring. Shining. Boring into me as I come undone beneath him, unraveling from the intense pleasure his words and body bring.
When it becomes too much for him, his eyes fall closed and the air rushes from his lungs as his face transforms. The intensity is replaced by peace as he rides his crest, thrusting into me again and again until he stills.
When his eyes open this time, they're shining. Brilliant in the dimly lit space. Soft lips push against mine, taking their time and pouring so much emotion that it takes my breath.
"I love you," he says, pecking me again.
"I love you," he repeats.
"I love you, Bella."
I open my mouth to respond, but a shrill beeping invades my mind.
My head throbs as the white glare forces my eyes to fall shut.
Did I tell him I love him?
I have to tell him.
He needs to know.
I take a breath, which causes my lungs to burn, but I fight through it.
I have to find him, he has to hear me say it and not in the heat of passion.
Struggling to open my eyes, I squint against the harshness. Brilliant green stares back and I latch on, ignoring everything else around me.
I lift my arm and it's sluggish, heavy, but I fight to reach for that beautiful face.
He still stares. His expression is cautious and unsure.
I make contact and allow a sigh to escape. "Edward," I say my voice scratchy.
"Bella?" he responds quietly, questioning; his eyes never leaving mine.
I feel a sliver of regret move through me at his uncertainty, but I force it back and say what needs to be said. "I love you, Edward."
His brows furrow.
His mouth opens, but no words come.
I wait patiently.
Wetness forms in his eyes.
He breaks down.
His head falls to the edge of the bed and tears stream down his cheeks. Incoherent words meet my ears, and confusion clouds my mind. I can barely keep my eyes open, but I try. I try so hard because he needs to know, he needs to believe me.
But the fight is lost.
Once again the darkness comes.
The next time the horrid beeping begins, I'm stronger. I fight harder and wake again to brilliant green. However, this time, worried brown is also peering down at me.
"Dad?" I question. "What are you doing here? Is something wrong?" When he doesn't respond, I seek green again. "Edward? Please? What's wrong?"
Edward eases closer to the bed, wait, I'm in a bed? I look around for the first time and take in the room around me. We're no longer in my dorm, naked from our lovemaking. I'm in a different place—a hospital.
"What's going on?" I asks, my voice rising. Panic starting to set in. "Why am I here?"
"Shhh," Edward soothes, running his fingers over my arm. My heartbeat immediately calms. "You're okay, everything's okay." He turns to my dad. "Maybe you should get the doctor."
Dad nods and turns for the door. When he's gone, Edward turns back to me. "Do you know who I am?" he asks.
I roll my eyes, or at least, it feels like I roll my eyes, but I can't be sure since my head is throbbing so badly. "Of course, I know who you are. You're Edward … and I love you," I declare in case he missed the last time I said it.
His eyes widen.
"What?" I ask, his reaction sending a ripple of fear through me.
He clears his throat, his eyes turning glassy. "Nothing. I'm just so happy you're awake." His voice cracks on the last words.
I reach for him. He looks at my hand and then at me, curious again. I wait patiently while he weighs whatever is troubling him. Finally, he leans into my touch; his head rests in my hand. His other hand seeks mine, and I readily hand it over.
Watching me carefully, he removes my hand and brings them both to his lips for a soft kiss and then he places them on my stomach. My brows furrow, but he's not done, he lays his forehead against my arm and starts to speak. "Bella Swan, I don't know how or why you love me or if you'll continue to do so, but I swear I'm going to do everything in my power to keep it that way. I've loved you from afar for a long time and watching you—"
He breaks off, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Watching you get shot and lying here month after month has almost killed me. Please, please just give me a chance."
I don't understand his plea, but neither do I care.
My hand lifts and finds his auburn locks, making him cry harder. "Shh," I soothe. "It's okay, baby. Everything's okay. I'm here, you're here. We're together. That's all that matters, nothing else matters." My hand trails through his hair as I speak, hoping he'll hear me—feel me.
His head is moving in a no motion even as the words leave my lips. Getting a little pissed, I lift his chin—not so gently—and meet his watery eyes. "I don't know why I'm here or what's happened, but I do know that I love you, Edward Cullen. And as long as you love me back, the rest doesn't matter," I say with nothing but conviction.
He swallows hard, my eyes skipping to watch his Adam's apple bob then snapping back to his face as he clears his throat. "You may hate me for this at some point, but yes, I love you, Bella Swan." His eyes are red-rimmed, but earnest, as he says the words I need to hear.
His hand reaches around and grasps my head, pulling me closer, face to face. Warm, soft lips push against mine with so much passion, the heart rate monitor spikes. He pours everything he is into that kiss and I feel it. His pain. His want. His struggles, whatever they are. I feel it all. But I also feel something else, something more.
I feel his love, strong and pure, zapping between our connection. I pour myself back into him, my emotions skyrocketing, my heart beating at a frenzied pace. When he releases me, a dazed smile curves my lips as I relax back into the bed with a sigh, finally feeling confident in where we stand.
Edward loves me back.
Nothing else matters.
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