Contest entry for the Naughty or Nice Twilight Christmas Contest

Title: The Cat, The Kindle, & The Coffee Machine

Pairing: Edward and Bella

Rating: M

Word Count: 14,982

Summary: Edward and Bella were both reasonably content with their lives, almost unaware of that missing something, until a market and some mud brought two lonely souls together.

Disclaimer: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.

The Cat, The Kindle, & The Coffee Machine


I had three loves in my life: my beloved cat Shadow, my Kindle, and my coffee machine.

None of these I could live without, and I could cope with anything as long as I had the support of these three things - sorry, Shadow, you're not a thing, of course.

My parents live in Seattle and don't seem to mind the weather. I hated the constant rain and as soon as I graduated from school, I chose a university where the sun shone most of the time, and after three years of study at Berkeley, ended up settling in Oakland, California. I loved the warmth and the feel of the city and immediately felt at home there.

Charlie and Renee Swan loved me, of course, but they loved each other more. They had their own lives and were involved in their hobbies, both separately and together. We spoke at intervals throughout each year and I joined them for the ubiquitous annual holidays, either at Christmas or Thanksgiving, depending on where they planned to be for each one. Otherwise, we led completely separate lives, and I felt no loss; it had always been that way, so I guess what you never had you never missed. I was surprisingly okay with that.

My job was just that; a job. I finished my degrees in Business Administration and Creative Writing and was offered a position at the same company I had interned at during the summer before graduation. I neither hated nor loved it; it filled my time and supplied me with a reasonably decent income each month, but it wasn't what I had envisioned for myself when I left university at twenty-three. The trouble was, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and so I continued with the routine I had fallen into almost five years ago. Occasionally it crossed my mind that I would love to write a novel, but I could never work out how to even start, despite the creative writing course I had completed.

From Monday to Friday, my alarm woke me at six am and I wasted no time lying in bed. First stop was the bathroom for a quick shower and hair wash and then dressing for the office after drying my long, chocolate brown hair. While I was doing that, my faithful friend the coffee machine steamed and chugged away in the kitchen, making my first pot of coffee of the day.

I drank that while feeding my beloved, friendly cat, Shadow, and preparing my usual light breakfast of cereal and fruit. Then, sitting at the small table in the window nook, bathed in morning sunshine, I ate, washing it down with my second cup of coffee.

This usually left me enough time to make use of the other item on my list of supports; my Kindle. I read the newspapers—although there was never anything of real interest to me contained in its electronic pages—and then settled in for half an hour of perusing my fanfiction alerts, checking out which stories had updated and planning on what I wanted to read next.

And so my life went by, day by day, during the week. Weekends were a little different with more time for reading interspersed with grocery shopping, doing laundry and cleaning, and the occasional venture out with friends.

I spent a little time after work and on weekends with colleagues, having made friends with two of the girls I worked with. Alice Whitlock was married, even though she was a few years younger than me. That wasn't something I had ever aspired to, but I could see she was really happy, and her graphic descriptions of their sex life made me wonder what I was missing. Angela Weber wasn't yet married, but she was sure her boyfriend, Ben, would be popping the question very soon. She, however, was more circumspect than Alice, thankfully, and beyond a few dreamy looks and sighs, was quiet about their intimate relationship.

On the whole, however, I kept to myself and was relatively happy with that. I'd had a few boyfriends in the past, but never anyone for whom I had felt anything but friendship. Jacob and I had an almost platonic relationship; it was he who labeled me his girlfriend, but I never felt as if he was my boyfriend. A few kisses and over-the-clothes groping had left me lukewarm, and part of me wondered if there was something wrong with me.

Then there was Riley, and although we had a much closer relationship than the one I had with Jacob, I didn't want to sleep with someone just to say I had 'done it'. Sadly, we did, in fact, just 'do it', and parted company after a few short months, realizing that he was nowhere near 'the one'. It was the single most unsatisfying and painful experience to date. The only orgasms I had ever experienced had been achieved by my own hand, or more accurately with my battery powered boyfriend.

Nonetheless, I was happy, or probably more accurately, content.

I did like my apartment, which I had purchased as an investment. It had large picture windows, with the kitchen and main bedroom facing the rising sun, and the sitting room and office catching it in the late evening. It was situated on the top floor of an older style building, which contained only six apartments.

There was no fancy doorman and no elevator, but taking the stairs every day kept me fit, along with the two block walk to the bus which I took every weekday to Midnight Sun Publications, where I worked as an assistant to the fiction editor.

Time passed, and before I knew it my twenty-eighth birthday had come and gone as had Thanksgiving with my parents. Christmas was drawing closer and for once I was filled with a restlessness I couldn't explain; an anticipation, if you will. I had no idea what was causing it, but I was unable to settle into reading the way I usually did, and that was playing havoc with my routine.

I found myself day dreaming instead of reading, and at night those dreams were filled with a longing I had never experienced, waking with a sense of missing someone or something. I couldn't explain it, but it began to play on my mind. I'd always been a romantic, and all the stories I read were happy-ever-after.

December twenty-first was cold, but the unseasonal rain from the previous week had let up, and I opened my eyes to faded winter sunshine. Never having been one to lay in bed on any morning, especially a bright one, I rose and made my way to the bathroom for my normal shower, intent on getting my small amount of Christmas shopping done that day. This year I had spent a long weekend with my parents at Thanksgiving, so they were planning on a cruise from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day, hence the late shopping trip.

Leaving my apartment at nine o'clock, I walked the two blocks to catch the right bus, and twenty minutes later I was perusing the high-end shops, looking for the right gifts. Unable to find anything I really liked, I decided I would visit the Christmas market held at the College of Arts on my old university grounds, and managed to quickly grab another bus heading in that direction. Usually I would take any opportunity to read a little, but for once I wasn't interested in reading. Excitement fluttered in my stomach, though for the life of me I couldn't have voiced why that was, but I was looking forward to this market.

Walking into the market place, I was inundated with a barrage of smells, sounds, and sights, the first of which caused by stomach to growl. Checking my watch, I noticed that it was close to lunchtime and decided to buy a hotdog from one of the vendors dotted around the open field close to the campus.

I carefully picked my way over the muddy ground, stepping from one patch of grass to another, avoiding anything that might cause me to slip. I was waylaid a number of times by various stalls selling homemade candles, jewelry, and dozens of other fascinating items. All the time I made sure I was careful; Grace was never my name, and although my balance had improved over the years, mud would very likely be my downfall.

The line at the hotdog stand was long but I was content to wait and people watch for awhile. In what seemed to be no time at all, I reached the vendor and ordered a hotdog with all the trimmings, my mouth salivating. With a coffee in one hand and food in the other, I turned to find myself face to face with the most gorgeous man I had ever seen.

He was leaning toward me and we were only a few inches away from each other, so close I could see the gold flecks in his mesmerizing green eyes. His eyes closed momentarily and I was astounded at the sight of the longest lashes I'd seen on a man and watched as they flicked open again, his tongue slipping out of his mouth to wet his pink, pouty lips.

My eyes were immediately drawn to them and an errant thought crossed my mind, wondering how they would feel on mine. It seemed as if we stood facing each other for ages, although it could have only been a few seconds. Mentally shaking myself, I stepped to one side to avoid bumping into him, and stepped off the safe path we had been on, straight into the mud. Immediately I knew it was the wrong thing to do as, predictably, I felt my feet go out from under me. I watched in slow motion as he reached out to grab my arm, unable to stop myself from falling.

Little did I know, I was falling for him at the same time.

Somehow, instead of him managing to keep me on my feet, I pulled him with me and landed directly on him, fortunately dropping the hotdog and the coffee before it spread over the two of us. I could feel my face heat with embarrassment as I became aware of just how close we were. Pushing my body away from his sharply didn't help at all, and just propelled me onto my back like a flipped turtle.

Lying on the ground, I watched him struggle to his feet and then gallantly hold out his hand. I looked at it for a second before reaching out and gripping it tightly. A flash of something traveled from his palm to mine, and like an arrow straight to my heart, and from the look on his face, it seemed he felt it, too. Unfortunately, the slight hesitation had me flinching, and before I knew it, our positions were reversed, his body directly on top of mine and this time there was no mistaking the hard length pressed right between my legs.

Thankfully, he had managed to break his fall by placing his hands on either side of me, resulting in an intimacy directly at odds with our knowledge of each other. It was his turn for embarrassment, and I watched a pink flush appear on his cheeks, spreading upward. I wondered if his ears were pink under his hat, too, and an inappropriate giggle escaped from my throat.

His eyes captured mine again. "I'm so sorry," he murmured, and his eyes closed, his face heating more. "This is really embarrassing."

In a rare fit of bravery, I laughed. "And totally inappropriate, considering I don't even know your name."

Before he opened his eyes, my gaze took in the light laughter lines around them and then they were open and fixed on me again. Then I became aware of low laughter from above, and a large man stepping forward, holding out a hand to each of us.

"Edward," he boomed, a huge smile on his face, "I've heard of falling for someone, but I didn't think it happened this quickly."

"Emmett." Edward pushed himself away from me and got to his knees between my legs, his face still pink. "Do you think you could shut up and help me up, please? Then I might be able to help this beautiful girl out of the mud."

Emmett laughed louder and pulled Edward to his feet, who then held out his hand to me for a second time. Grinning at him, this time I held on tight, ready for whatever that tingle had been previously to hit me again. It was no fluke; it was still there, and his face told me it was the same for him, as I finally managed to get to my feet and stay standing.

"I think that now that we've been in a compromising position, I should introduce myself, too. I'm Bella Swan and you're Edward… "

"Cullen," he said, "Edward Cullen. Pleased to meet you, Bella Swan. I apologize for the mishap; both of them." His grin mirrored mine.

Emmett's voice interrupted the small silence that followed his friend's apology. "Hey, Bella, I'm Emmett McCarty. I work with Edward at the university." He gestured at the buildings around us.

Still looking at Edward, I answered, "Hello, Emmett. Nice to meet you, too."

"Hey, you two, stop with the 'starey' thing." Emmett finally managed to pull our attention away from each other, though I felt the pull to look back almost immediately.

"Wow, you're dirty."

I giggled again. What was with all the giggling? That was so not like me; I didn't giggle—ever. I already liked Emmett, even if he didn't seem to think before he spoke.

Edward's voice brought my attention back to his face. "Sorry, Bella. It's my fault your clothes are such a mess. Do you live close by?"

"At least forty minutes on two buses. I suppose I could get a taxi… " I paused. I looked down at my clothes, realizing that I was plastered with mud from my hair right down to my boots. "Not that any self-respecting taxi driver would let me in his car."

"Look, let me help, please, Bella. I only live a few minute's walk away; I have an apartment just off campus. You'll be perfectly safe; Emmett will vouch for me, won't you, Emmett?" Edward asked.

He narrowed his eyes at Emmett, who seemed to be enjoying our embarrassment way too much. "Of course, Bella, Edward's a perfect gentleman." He snickered, earning another glare from Edward.

Ignoring Emmett's snicker, Edward dug in his pocket, grimacing at the mud that covered him in much the same way it did me, and pulled out his wallet, showing me his university pass. Glancing at it, I could see his picture and title: 'Edward Cullen, Professor of Music'. "You're more than welcome to use my shower, and then I'll drive you home. What do you say?"

I hesitated, not because I didn't trust him, I just wasn't sure I trusted myself. He was gorgeous, and I had never lusted after anyone as much as him, not to mention I didn't want to embarrass myself even further. "I have nothing to change into," I tried to protest.

"That's no problem, Bella. I can find you something to wear, and I'll even treat you to lunch and coffee. It's the least I can do." His eyes glanced at the remains of my food squished into the mud.

Despite, or maybe because, I had never done anything like this, never gone anywhere with a stranger, I threw caution to the wind and accepted his kind offer. The smile my agreement brought to his face was a reward in itself, and I found myself wanting to see that smile again and again.

I almost felt him relax as his hand slid into mine again. Turning toward the entrance, Emmett flanked my other side; no doubt to grab me if I slipped again, and we walked quietly out of the market.

A short five minute walk later, we were in front of a fancy well-lit building. Inside, I could see a reception desk with a friendly looking doorman who raised his hand to Edward and Emmett. The lobby was decorated with a huge Christmas tree to one side and looked warm and inviting.

"See you later, Edward." Emmett slapped him hard enough on the back that Edward almost stumbled. "Are you going home later?"

I looked a little confused until Edward answered him. "Not until the twenty-sixth, Emmett. The concert doesn't finish until pretty late on Christmas Eve and I'm going to sleep in on Christmas Day and then drive up. If you've nowhere else to be, you're welcome, you know my parents would be happy to see you. And there's always my sister." This last bit was said with a sly smile and I watched as Emmett's face turned goofy.

"Yeah, Rosalie," he almost whispered. Shaking himself, he slapped Edward heartily on the back again, earning him a frown. "I'll call you before, alright? Nice meeting you, Bella." And with a grin and a wave, he was trotting off down the street, whistling.

"Wow, he's cheerful," I remarked.

"Yeah, he's got a thing for my sister, Rose. Why they circle around each other so much I'll never know, they're made for each other." Edward turned toward me. "Come on, let's get you upstairs and out of those clothes." He groaned under his breath, making every part of me tingle and his face flushed again. I had to giggle at the number of times he had managed to put his foot in it, and I'd only known him for about twenty minutes.

"Evening, Felix, sorry about the mud," he called, waving to the doorman as we walked past him on the way to the elevators.

Felix merely waved back and raised his eyebrows as he took in our condition. "Don't ask," Edward grinned. He flashed a card against the reader next to the elevators, and they slid open with a quiet hiss and just as quickly slid closed again, rising silently to the penthouse. Stepping out, I could see an expanse of pristine carpet and ornate doors at each end of the hallway. Turning to the right, Edward inserted a key into the door and it swung open in front of us, inviting me into its warmth.

The foyer was tiled, for which I was grateful. The mud was beginning to dry and flake off everywhere we stepped and I was almost afraid to move in case I spread it on anything else.

Snatching off the beanie he was wearing, Edward looked at me sheepishly. My eyes took in the mess of hair and watched as his fingers raked through it, wishing he was mine so I could do the same.

Stop it, Bella. You've known him less that thirty minutes. He's just a kind stranger.

"The only bathroom's an ensuite, I'm afraid." Edward was adorably pink yet again as he pointed across the living room. I took in the creamy, expensive looking carpet between me and the door to what I assumed was his bedroom. My heart jumped at the thought of being in there, but I ignored it. "I can't walk over there, Edward." I was horrified at the thought of the trail of mud and dirt I would leave behind me.

"Uum." His eyes cast about for a way for either of us to get over there. "Here, take your clothes off and put this on." His eyes closed again. "I seem to be putting my foot in my mouth every time I open it," he smiled softly, opening them again. He shook his head and for a moment I wondered if he was having the same inappropriate thoughts that were flying through my mind.

"Okay, we can do this. I'll turn my back and close my eyes," he continued. "You dump your, er, clothes on the floor and put this on. The closet door is on the right next to the bathroom and you'll find plenty of towels. Please feel free to use whatever shampoo and shower cream you wish, and if you give me a shout to let me know you're in the shower, I'll find you something to wear. That sound okay?"

"That's great, Edward, thank you," I said softly, as he turned his back. Nervously, I slipped everything off, even my underwear and bra as the mud had soaked through to my skin. I slipped the hoodie over my head, grateful if covered me to mid-thigh and was baggy enough that nothing showed. I wasn't cold, but, nevertheless, my nipples stood out, proudly proclaiming the fact that I was definitely turned on at the thought of being naked under one item of clothing; his clothing.

I cleared my throat and took a breath. "I'm ready, Edward, you can turn around now."

Slowly he turned and his eyes raked over me from head to foot, raising goosebumps on my skin as if he had actually touched me in all those places. Now it was his turn to clear his throat and his gaze slid away from me to the pile of clothes I had left on the floor.

Vaguely, he pointed in the direction of the bathroom. "I'll come and find you something to put on in a few minutes, while you're in the shower," he said. "And I'll just put our things in the washer; they won't take long."

"Thanks." I stepped around him and made my way across the carpet, which was as soft as it looked, toward the other door, holding my hair in one hand to prevent it dripping anywhere.

As I passed through the bedroom, I couldn't help notice the huge sleigh bed that dominated the room. It was covered in a deep red duvet and looked really inviting; I could almost see us there. I closed my eyes to dismiss the thoughts in my head and continued on to the bathroom, which complemented the bedroom behind me. The walk-in shower called to me and while the water was warming I sought out the closet and took the towels in with me.

Stepping into the shower was almost like a religious experience as warm water sprayed from all sides, coating my skin and and washing the mud down the drain. Glancing around, I found some shower cream, shampoo, and conditioner, all smelling like Edward. It didn't take long to finish up washing my hair and I reluctantly stepped before wrapping one of the large, soft towels around me. I used the other to squeeze some of the water from my hair and then wrapped it around my head.

Opening the door to the bedroom, I was faced with Edward; a very naked Edward. Before my eyes slammed shut, followed by the bathroom door as I stepped back behind it, I caught a glimpse of every inch of him, from strong legs, to muscular torso and, most of all, his half-hard cock, already bigger than anything I had seen in real life.

Leaning back against the door, I felt the heat of my blush cover me, remembering his eyes perusing me as if I was naked under his gaze, a slow grin forming on his face. A low moan slipped from my throat as my nipples hardened underneath the towel and an ache bloomed low in my belly. At the light knock on the door, my eyes shot open and my breathing quickened.

"Bella, I've laid out some clothes for you on my bed," came Edward's soft voice from the other side of the door. "I'll wait for you in the living room."

It took a few minutes for my breathing to even out and for me to calm my body down before I slowly opened the door to an empty bedroom. A quick glance at the bed showed me that he had left some boxers, a large t-shirt, and a pair of shorts. All of them looked too large for me but I couldn't stay in the towel; it didn't cover nearly enough.

I put the clothes on, tying the string on the shorts tightly, revelling in the unique smell I already knew as that of Edward. Then, almost afraid to face him, I gave myself a strong talking to and eventually opened the door to the living room to find him sprawled on the sofa with the television playing softly.

To the right was a floor to ceiling window, which matched the one in the bedroom and looked out over a landscaped communal garden. Taking a seat at the opposite end of the dark brown, soft leather sofa that was situated under that window, I wondered how to break the slight tension in the air.

"I'm sorry… "

"It's okay… "

We both spoke at the same time. I giggled and a large smile formed on his face.

"Bella, I'm sorry. I thought you heard me call out. It was rude of me not to make sure before I…, and I hope I didn't embarrass you too much."

"It's okay, Edward. It was just a bit of a shock…" I had no idea what more I could say and abruptly shut my mouth before I made a fool of myself.

Looking around the room, I noticed a raised area beside the bedroom wall, which contained a baby grand piano. Looking quizzically at Edward, I asked, "You play the piano?"

"I do. That space was originally a guest bedroom, but I needed a piano here so the area was redesigned specifically for it. What sort of professor of music would I be without my instruments?" He was quiet for a few minutes. "Would you like a drink, Bella? I have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or if you prefer, wine, beer, soda, water?"

"Hot chocolate, if it's not too much trouble, Edward."

"No, that's perfect. Do you like it with marshmallows?"

"Yes, please." The bookshelves to the right of the sofa and beside the archway to the kitchen called to me. "Would you mind if I took a look?" I pointed at the books.

"Help yourself, Bella."

So while Edward busied himself in the kitchen making hot chocolate, I perused his shelves finding books from many different genres alongside those about music appreciation and composition. A lot of the fiction books on those shelves I also had on my kindle, though I had always wanted a place to store the physical copies, too. I made my way further around the room looking at the few knick knacks on the shelves until Edward returned from the kitchen carrying a tray with two steaming hot chocolates and a plate of cookies.

Placing the tray on the coffee table in front of the sofa, Edward remained standing. "I'll just be a few minutes, Bella. I washed the mud off my hands and my beanie took the brunt of it, rather than my hair, but I need to take a quick shower."

He disappeared into the bedroom and I heard the water turn on shortly after. My imagination was running wild especially after what I had seen earlier and I was glad he wasn't in the room right now, as I felt my face flame. He was back before ten minutes had passed, dressed in black sweats and a white t-shirt, his hair darkened by the water and still dripping from the ends.

Good Lord, how hot could this man get? My thoughts were running rampant and I had to take a surreptitious deep breath to gain control of the faint inner tremble his presence caused.

When he lowered himself to the sofa, this time we were seated much closer together and somehow it seemed natural. Time passed quickly as we became more comfortable with each other, talking about music, books, films, and a hundred other subjects.

I learned that he had two sisters and that his parents were high school sweethearts and had been happily married for almost fifty years. They lived in Walnut Creek, a thirty minute drive from the university, but Edward preferred to spend most of his time in town. He was a senior music professor, teaching music composition and writing it in his spare time. When I questioned where he was spending Christmas, he told me about the concert he was part of, explaining it was his turn this year to take the lead, putting off his visit home until after Christmas Day.

I told him about my job, and how I would like to one day write the great American novel. I told him about being an only child and how my parents loved the weather I hated, which was why I had attended the same university he taught at; though, I had never seen him when I was there.

"It is a pretty big college, Bella, and with your subjects, it's not impossible for us never to have crossed paths. I would have remembered you if I had." His voice lowered and I noticed how much closer together we were sitting, him turned toward me, with his arm along the back the sofa. Leaning back, I was seated with my leg underneath me, touching his knee with mine; permanent tingles linking us together with that minute connection.

Finally we fell silent, our eyes caught up in each other, green meeting brown.

Without prompting, our heads drew closer to each other and my eyes drifted closed, waiting for that final touch. His lips brushed across mine and instead of drawing back as my sensible side told me to, I pressed mine against his, quickly getting lost in the sensation of them on me, something I think I'd wanted from the moment I'd clapped eyes on them.

Over and over, top lip, bottom lip, always craving more. His tongue sweeping across my lips, asking for and being given permission to explore further. I had never been kissed like this before and didn't want it to stop. I had no idea where the bravery came from, but I found myself straddling his hips and feeling the hard bulge in his sweats.

There was no embarrassment or second guessing as my hands tangled in his hair, his following suit into mine, dragging his fingers through it and gripping just hard enough to pull back and expose my throat to his lips when breathing became a necessity.

In the darkening room, the only light coming from the large Christmas tree in the landscaped gardens outside the window, my hips began to involuntarily move over him, seeking something to dispel the growing ache low in my belly that had returned a hundredfold. Pulling me closer to him, his hands roved over my back and down to the edge of the t-shirt, lifting and brushing against the bare skin of my back, goosebumps erupting in their wake.

Before I could think the better of it, I drew back and grabbed the hem, pulling the t-shirt over my head and flinging it behind me. Resisting the urge to hide behind my arms, instead, I ran my own hands across my breasts, feeling the hardness of my nipples against my palms.

"Bella… " The groan from Edward as he said my name told me I was not mistaken; he wanted me, too, and it was a heady sensation. Leaning forward, my hands followed the same path on his torso as previously on my own, and his shirt joined mine somewhere behind me. There was a smattering of hair around his nipples and along his sternum, which I discovered with my fingers before lowering my mouth to his chest, raining wet kisses from one nipple to another, flicking them with my tongue. His moans became louder, his hands sliding along my thighs and underneath the lower edge of the shorts and boxers I wore, lingering at the crease between my leg and my hip, stroking my skin.

The back of his hand brushed against my clit and I gasped, stilling at the jolt that ran right through me. Edward stopped and drew back a little so he could see my face. His eyes glowed green, swirled with black lust in the semi-darkness. There was no way I wanted him to stop, so I ran my hand down his stomach and inside the waistband of his sweats, touching the tip of his cock and feeling the pre-cum gathered there.

My mouth met his again as his hands slid underneath my ass and he stood abruptly. Grabbing him around the neck, I whispered in his ear, "Don't stop, Edward."

With no further encouragement necessary, he crossed the short distance to his bedroom door, kicking it open, and walked us toward that bed I had been fantasizing about earlier. Placing one knee on the bed, he laid me down, caging me in with his hands on either side of my head.

"We can stop at any time, Bella; just say the word. Are you sure?" His voice was low and gravelly and the lust running through me spiked.

"I'm sure, Edward." The words were barely out of my mouth before his lips were back on mine and his body stretched over me, every inch of him touching every inch of me, resting between my legs. Instinctively, my arms snuck along his sides, my nails scratching lightly and digging into the skin on his back.

He growled, sending shards of pleasure from his chest into mine and then directly to my clit, which throbbed in time with my heartbeat or maybe his; I couldn't distinguish between the two. There was no more hesitation in his movements as he ducked his head and took each nipple into his mouth in turn, sucking and elongating them until I was squirming underneath him.

His lips lifted from them, leaving me on the edge. "Please, please, Edward." I had no idea what I was begging for at this point, I just knew I needed more.

"Shhh, let me take care of you." His voice was soft and persuasive and I watched as he leaned back on his heels and dragged the shorts and boxers down my legs, flinging them to the floor. His hands, followed by his lips, skimmed up each leg in turn, my skin quivering in anticipation the closer he got to my clit.

At the first stroke of his tongue, my back bowed off the bed, a gasp falling from my lips. My legs fell open as I pushed myself toward his face already begging for more, and I felt him smile against my skin. Parting my lips with his fingers, he proceeded to lick, suck and nibble at my clit, eliciting more sensation than I had ever thought possible. His fingers entered me and as they hit a spot deep inside me, my whole body arched and exploded with pleasure, which seemed to last forever.

Slowly, my vision returned as Edward kissed his way back up my body, taking my nipples into his mouth along the way. Eventually his lips landed on mine, tasting of me, and I marveled that it was more of a turn-on than I would ever have thought. His cock landed against my sensitive pussy and I jerked a little and then settled under him, widening my legs to bring him closer.

"Wow," I breathed, as his kisses slowed. "I never thought it could be like that."

Edward drew back, a wide smile on his face, his eyes sparkling. "I'm not finished yet," he murmured, before plunging his tongue back into my mouth and kissing me breathless.

"I want you inside me, Edward, please." My hands slipped inside the waistband of his sweats, pushing them down over his ass, my feet taking over, brushing against his skin as I pushed them toward his feet. Holding himself up on one hand, the other assisted me and he finished by kicking them off the rest of the way.

Lowering himself back between my legs, his cock slid between my lower lips, brushing against my clit with each pass through the wetness. My breath caught in my throat again at the sensation, until I was almost begging him to put his cock inside me. "Do it now, Edward, please. I need you inside me."

Reaching over me, he opened a drawer in the bedside table and came back with a small foil packet. I raised my eyebrows, asking a question without words.

"It's not like that, Bella. I don't sleep around, I promise. I'm just a bit of a boy scout."

I soothed his slightly worried gaze. "It doesn't matter, Edward, you're here with me now, that's all that counts."

As he sat back, I saw his fully erect cock for the first time. My eyes widened a little, but I managed to keep the slight trepidation at his size from him, as he concentrated on ripping the packet open with his teeth and rolling the smooth latex over his cock. Hovering over me, he rested it at my entrance, dipping in just an inch, his tongue rolling over his lips, wetting them as we watched it disappearing inside me an inch at a time. His eyes rose to mine when he was in as far as he could get and he carefully lowered his body flush with mine and then stilled. He was so deep inside me I couldn't work out where he ended and I began, and it just felt right.

"Move, please, Edward," I whispered against his ear, as his head hit my shoulder. "I need you." At my plea, he began the push and pull, slowly and deeply, and his lips found mine again, raining kisses there and along my jawline to a spot behind my ear that caused my skin to shiver and pebble.

"Ugh, Bella, so good," Edward grunted in my ear, the sexiest sound I had ever heard. "I need to come… don't think I can hold it… much longer… are you close, my love?" His words were interspersed with pants and more grunts, and his movements sped up as he lifted himself up on his hands again, driving deep inside me. Lifting my hips changed the angle and had him hitting that spot again, the one he had found with his fingers. I could feel the heat spreading from there outwards, the tingle increasing along with muscle tremors, telling me I was only seconds away from coming.

"There, right there, please don't stop, Edward, please, please, please… " Closing my eyes, I could feel wetness tracing from the corners and into my hair; the pleasure almost too much as I reached the edge and fell, my ears ringing as my blood pounded through my veins.

Edward's hips were now pistoning faster and faster, becoming irregular and jerky as he chased his own orgasm now that I had reached mine. I continued to move under him, prolonging my pleasure and his for as long as I could, despite the fact I was holding my breath. With a last heavy grunt, he forced his cock as deep inside me as possible, spearing us together in an ecstasy I had never felt in all my life; it was his turn to hold himself rigid and I didn't want it to end, ever.

We lay welded together with the sweat from both of our bodies. I loved the feel of his full weight as he released his trembling arms and settled against me.

"I have to move, Bella, and get rid of the condom." Edward's voice sounded as sated as I felt and I was disappointed when he slid out of me, walking to the bathroom to discard it. Watching him sauntering back, I shamelessly ogled him as he smirked at me. Reaching the bed, he pulled the covers back, inviting me to get under them and then pulled me toward him, enveloping me in his arms. It was late afternoon, early evening, and I could feel myself drifting contentedly into a light sleep.

I surfaced some time later, when it was totally dark outside and looking at the clock I could see it was almost seven. My stomach growled, reminding me that I had not eaten since this morning. At some point I'd rolled, and now my back was flush with Edward's front, a position that felt very intimate, totally wrapped around me.

I lay there for a few minutes until the need to pee became impossible to ignore. I squirmed and wriggled out of his embrace and made my way into the bathroom, and after taking care of the immediate necessity, found a new toothbrush on the vanity, which Edward must must have left out for me earlier. I didn't know what to make of that action so ignored it and brushed my teeth, before running my fingers through my hair trying to tame it a little. When I opened the door, Edward was standing there with a smile on his face holding out the t-shirt I had worn earlier.

"Thank you," I murmured, my eyes dropping from his, trying not to think at all for the moment. "I need to get home, would you drive me, please? Or I can get a cab if you have something to do?"

His smile fell a little, but it was too late to take it back. "Of course I can, Bella, but I'd love for you to stay for awhile. We could have something to eat?"

"Um, well, I need to get home. My cat, Shadow, has been on his own all day so I need to feed him, you know?" I didn't want to overstay my welcome and it was the truth, I did need to get home.

"Oh, okay. Your clothes are dry, so I'll fetch them for you." I didn't like the disappointed look on his face but he was gone before I could say anything more.

Within a few minutes he brought back all of my clothes and left me alone in the bedroom so I could dress, which I did while gazing at the bed and remembering all that had happened in the few short hours I had known Edward. I left the bedroom and went looking for him, finding him in the kitchen scraping mud off my boots into the garbage can.

"You didn't have to do that, Edward. I could have walked to your car in socks and put them on when we reached my place."

"It's no problem, Bella, I had to clean mine off, too." His smile reached his eyes but somehow it didn't seem as full as earlier. I shook my head, thinking it must be my imagination as he looked back down at what he was doing.

Not quite knowing what to do with myself, I wandered back into the living room to look for my bag, which had somehow missed gathering too much mud. Taking it back into the kitchen, I found some paper towels and removed as much as I could of what remained.

In the meanwhile, Edward had finished cleaning off both his and my boots and I followed him to the foyer, where I put mine on and grabbed my now clean jacket, while waiting for him to do the same.

"Ready?" he said, and at my nod, opened the front door leading the way to the elevator and down to the basement level. There, he ushered me into a silver Volvo XC60. I wondered what he was thinking; he'd not said much since I had told him I had to return home and I was afraid I wouldn't see him again, but I couldn't think of anything to say to break the silence in the car.

He obviously felt the same as he reached out and turned the radio on, filling the car with classical music.

"Hmmm," I said, relieved to find something to break the tension. "Debussy's Claire de Lune; one of my favorite pieces."

"You know classical?" Edward queried.

"Some, those that appeal to me; this one, my mom plays all the time."

Thankfully, the next thirty minutes were easier as I directed him to my apartment. Now it seemed too quick, and I didn't want to say goodbye.

"Can I have your number, please?" Edward was the one to break the silence this time. "You know I owe you dinner, don't you?" His smile this time seemed easier and more genuine.

I returned his smile. "Of course, let me have your phone."

He passed it to me and I entered my number, calling mine from his. "Now I have yours, too. Call me?"

"I will, tomorrow." Reluctantly, with nothing further that needed saying, Edward opened his door and trotted around the car to open mine. Emmett was right; he was a gentleman. Helping me out, he closed the door and took my elbow to lead me into my building. "Which apartment is it, Bella?"

"You don't have to—" I started to say.

"Bella, Bella, of course I do. A gentleman should always see a lady directly to her door," he chided.

I allowed him to lead me to the door, where he pinned me to it and kissed me senseless and then waited for me to enter and close it before leaving.

Leaning back against the door, I brushed my fingers across my lips, which were slightly swollen after his kisses. Smiling to myself, I took off my coat and boots and made my way to the kitchen, followed by Shadow.

While preparing his dinner, I talked to him. "I met the most wonderful man today, Shadow. He's gorgeous and the things he can do with his lips and his cock," I whispered this last part as if someone might hear me and disapprove.

Having fed Shadow, I made myself a sandwich and ate it leaning against the kitchen counter, allowing me to lose myself in thoughts of today. It was a surreal experience and never in a thousand years had I expected to meet someone like Edward; what could he possibly see in me?

Suddenly, my life seemed mundane and boring and though I knew what I felt, it just wasn't possible that Edward could feel the same; it was absurd. My mood shifted and I was now second guessing everything.

That night, I tossed and turned, waking every couple of hours, half wishing I had stayed with Edward and half wishing I could forget him. I told myself over and over 'better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all', but that was no consolation, and besides love?; was that really what I was feeling? It wasn't possible, was it?

The following morning, I awoke bleary-eyed and tired, thankful that I had arranged for some vacation days; I would never have been able to hide what had happened from Alice, she was relentless. I went through my usual routine by rote, not really wanting to think of Edward's hands and lips on my body and found myself sitting in the breakfast nook with my second cup of coffee, gazing out of the window over the little park on the opposite side of the street.

My phone was lying on the table in front of me and I was resisting the urge to text Edward. Having slept on yesterday's experience, I had no idea what the next step should be. Should I wait for him to call me? Should I call him? Should I wait for a reasonable amount of time before I called him? What constituted a reasonable amount of time? I had never been in this situation before and I had absolutely no idea what the right thing to do was.

The bleep of an incoming text startled me out of my musing and I quickly opened it to read the message.

Hi Bella, how are you this morning? - E

My heart leaped, but then the doubts and questions crowded my mind again. What did he expect? Was he just being polite? Should I text back straight away? Now I was frustrating myself with these stupid thoughts. Why couldn't I just accept this at face value?

There wasn't another text, so I convinced myself that he was just being polite and left my apartment, finally managing to find those last elusive gifts for my parents.

His second text took me by surprise.

Everything okay, Bella? - E

It was a simple enough question but for the life of me, I couldn't bring myself to answer. What did he want? That was the burning question.


After driving Bella home, I had no idea what to do with myself. I still had some Christmas shopping to do but it was far too late now, so it would have to be done tomorrow. All I wanted to do was to spend more time with her; I craved her company. I had never felt so strongly about anyone, especially in the seven hours I had known her; it felt like much longer and I was afraid that she would rethink the time we had shared. I could already feel her pulling away as I drove her back to her place.

I sat in my car opposite her apartment block, resisting the urge to call her now and beg her to spend tomorrow with me, but eventually decency won out and I left to return home.

Sitting on the sofa only reminded me of this afternoon as my mind drifted over every second of the perfect time we had spent there. Three beers later, I retired to bed, only able to toss and turn, waking every couple of hours and feeling the absence of her in my bed.

Eventually, I took a sleeping tablet at around three, knowing that I needed the sleep for the busy day I had coming. It was almost Christmas Eve, and not only did I have to get a few last minute gifts, I also had to prepare for the coming concert.

I still woke early the next morning and glancing at the clock wondered if it was too soon to text Bella. Resisting the impulse, I had a quick shower and although I was hard after a night of thoughts of her, I deliberately decided against jerking off, preferring to wait to see her again.

By the time I had eaten a bowl of cereal and finished my second coffee it was nine, and I couldn't resist any longer.

Hi Bella, how are you this morning? - E

I waited for ten minutes and received no answer. I didn't want to push her and decided I would get on my way and finish up that shopping. When I still hadn't had an answer two hours later, I couldn't leave it and sent another.

Everything okay, Bella? - E

Still no answer, and now I had concert practice, and for that I had to turn off my phone. Making my way to the concert hall, my mind was swimming with questions. Had she regretted yesterday? Had I come on too strong? I really liked Bella and she had quickly become important to me; much more important than I really allowed myself to think.

Much as I loved my job, it did keep me away from my family and I missed them. It was unfortunate that this year the production fell on Christmas Eve, ending late into the evening, so instead of heading home on Christmas Day, I had already decided that I would have a lazy day and then drive up to Walnut Creek the day after and stay for a few days.

I loved spending time with my family, but they sometimes made me feel a little lonely for that one special person. My parents and my sister Alice had found that, and I was sure if Emmett would just get his head out of his ass, he and Rose would be just as happy.

My mind flitted back to Kate. For a while, I had thought she might be the one, but when she started dropping hints about marriage and family, I knew it wasn't right, that my heart wasn't as invested as I'd thought. I'd tried to let her down carefully and kindly, but she hadn't been able to hide the hurt my words had caused and I never wanted to hurt anyone else like that again. The breakup had preyed on my mind until I saw her with Garrett Damon, a colleague at the university. She seemed happy and although I was envious, I couldn't begrudge her that; I just wanted it for myself, too.

Now, for the first time since Kate and I had broken up, someone else, namely Bella, had caught my eye, and shockingly enough, I could almost see the future; a future with her and that both exhilarated and scared me at the same time. I remembered the previous day when I had first seen her, watching as she stepped from side to side, intrigued at what she was doing, now knowing that she was avoiding the mud.

From the moment a ray of sunshine had landed directly on her, lighting up that gorgeous long brown hair with glorious red highlights, I was smitten; my breath catching in my throat as a stray breeze lifted the curls and swirled them around her face.

I was drawn to her in a way I was unable to explain and had been helpless to stop myself from following her through the market. I watched every movement and every emotion as it flitted across her face, smiling every time she slipped a little as she stepped over the muddier parts of the pathways between the stalls.

Everything around me faded and was forgotten, including my plans to meet up with my best friend Emmett, as my fascination with her grew. I was so close to her that I heard her stomach growl and almost laughed out loud.

Joining her in the line for hot dogs, standing right behind her I was even closer; close enough for the perfume that surrounded her to infiltrate my senses. I was so wrapped up in the connection I already felt, that my attention was definitely not on what was happening, so when she turned abruptly and for a split second our eyes met, time stood still.

My eyes locked with hers, which were deep brown in color with gold flecks, and I was both lost and found at the same time. Unable to draw a breath, I was trapped and never wanted to be set free. Then fate took a hand and she looked away, trying to step around me. Unfortunately, the mud upset her balance and even though I grabbed at her, I was unable to prevent her from falling, taking me along with her.

From her position on top of me, I could see the embarrassment flush through her face and idly wondered how far it went. Before I could say anything, she had managed to flip herself over, flailing about in the mud. Rising to my feet with difficulty, I held out my hand for her to take. When she did, the flash of heat from her palm shocked me straight through the heart. I felt her flinch, her hand slipping from mine. I tried to hold on tighter, resulting in us both ending up back in the mud, her underneath me, with a myriad of inappropriate thoughts running through my head at the position I found myself in. Hell, my cock was already rock-hard and it was now my turn to be embarrassed.

Her flippant answer to my apology was rudely interrupted by Emmett, who had found me and was holding a hand out to each of us, making innuendo-laden remarks.

When she accepted my offer of cleaning up at my place, I jumped at the chance to get to know her better. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected her to want me as much as I wanted her, and the afternoon we spent making love was beyond anything I had ever felt. Then something changed from the moment she asked me to drive her home, and I had almost begged her to spend more time with me. An awkwardness had seeped in, stilting our conversation and adding a tension that had not been there before.

Now I was just confused. She had seemed perfectly willing to give me her number, but now she wasn't answering.

I had no idea how the practice went, as I remembered none of it. Switching my phone back on, I wasn't happy to see that she had still not answered either of my messages, and I debated on whether I should call or text her, or just turn up on her doorstep. If I told her I was coming, she would have time to blow me off, but if I arrived without warning, it could make her withdraw in embarrassment. I had no idea now if what I thought I had felt the day before was real or not.

Deciding once and for all that I had given her enough time, I returned to my car and headed toward her apartment, determined to find out how she felt and to win her over; I couldn't let her go.

Parking the car on the opposite side of the road, I could see a light from what I thought was her apartment. There was no doorman, so I headed for the stairs, running up them two at a time, eager to see her again. Standing outside her door, I could hear the sound of voices inside and hoped that she was alone; I needed to be able to speak to her. I knocked and listened as the voices quieted, hearing footsteps coming closer, and then the door opened.

"Bella, is everything okay? I was worried when you didn't answer my texts," I blurted out as soon as the door was open wide enough for me to see her face.

"Umm, hello, Edward. No, everything's fine."

I took advantage of her indecision and stepped over the threshold, hoping I wasn't overstepping the mark at the same time. "I'm so sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable, Bella. I really like you, but if you don't want to see me again, you're going to have to tell me to my face," I said firmly.

She stepped to one side and invited me further inside, closing the door behind us. I looked around her apartment with interest, feeling its inviting warmth immediately. My eyes were drawn to the sofa, where Bella had obviously been sitting. The space was guarded by a large reddish colored cat with huge green eyes, who surveyed me with a warning look, but didn't move. A book lay face down on the coffee table and the television was tuned to a movie channel but was muted. That must have been the voices I'd heard.

Bella followed me into the room, hastily pushing the cat to the end of the sofa and sat, leaving me room to sit beside her. "It isn't that I don't want to see you, Edward; I just don't know what you want from me, um, other than the obvious." I watched as her face flushed and she gripped her bottom lip between her teeth, making my cock twitch. Willing myself not to react, as she was clearly uncomfortable, it was clear to me that I would have to be blunt or she would end up talking herself out of any relationship, and I didn't want that.

"I don't want that, or rather I do, but not just that. I like you… more than like you, and I want us to have a chance at something more." I stopped as she put her hand on my arm, a smile forming on her face.

"I more than like you, too, Edward, and I'd like to give us a chance." She hesitated and I could see her determination grow. "Umm, yesterday was so much more than I ever expected, and you… you're so gorgeous, I just didn't understand what you saw in me… "

"I saw a future, Bella," I interrupted. "Is that something you would want to explore?" Now I was the nervous one, ready to lay my heart out for her to see.

She hesitated for a second. "And for the record, yesterday was the best experience of my life; I never thought it could be like that. Not that I have much to compare it to, and… I'd like to explore that more, too," she finished in a rush.

The room was silent for a moment as I leaned forward and touched my lips to hers, feeling the same tingle as yesterday. Pulling away for a second, I leaned back against the sofa, taking Bella with me; she fit perfectly under my arm.

"Have dinner with me tomorrow, Bella?" I asked. "Or better still, let's make a day of it. We can pick out a tree, since we'll both be at home for Christmas Day and if you haven't made plans we could spend it together." I paused for a few seconds and then decided not to push that question for now. "We can see the lights in downtown San Francisco, have dinner, and then go back to my place and decorate the tree. What do you say?" I coaxed her.

"That sounds great, Edward, I'd love to spend the day with you."

We spent the next few hours making out, though I was careful not to take it any further than some heavy under the clothes petting; I didn't want her to think sex was the only thing I wanted from her. Just after ten, when we were both yawning because of our disturbed sleep the previous night, we said our goodbyes, though neither of us wanted to part company.

Friday morning dawned cool and bright; perfect Christmas tree shopping weather, as I picked Bella up from her apartment. The drive today was a far cry from the one the day before yesterday, free of tension and awkwardness and we spent the forty minute drive talking.

After spending a couple of hours looking for that perfect Christmas tree, we found one and had the salesman strap it to the roof of my car. Since it was getting dark, we made our way downtown and parked the car, walking along Union Street to Macy's and admiring the lights.

I had booked an authentic Thai restaurant close to my apartment, so after a few hours spent checking out the lights, we made our way back to the car and headed in that direction. As it was still a little too early for our reservation, Bella and I decided it was the perfect time to take the Christmas tree up to my apartment. It took an hour of struggling with it, alternately lifting and dragging it from the basement parking to the corner of the living room, and we finished by collapsing breathless with laughter onto the sofa.

Sitting there getting my breath back, I had a vision of us doing the same thing on subsequent Christmases through the years and my heart gave a lurch in my chest. I wanted that, badly. I thought I could see something like that in her eyes and almost blurted out those three little words that were reverberating through my mind. To stop myself from saying them right now and risking frightening her off, I pulled her into my arms and kissed her breathless again, knowing that one day in the not-too-distant future I wouldn't be afraid to say them.

I almost had to force myself to stop, remembering that we were supposed to be giving ourselves a chance to get to know each other. "How about we take a short walk along Fourth Street for the lights and then make our way to the restaurant; it's not too far away," I murmured against her lips.

"That would be nice," she breathed into my mouth before capturing my lips again. It was another fifteen minutes before we could bear to drag ourselves apart, eventually leaving my apartment hand in hand.

I couldn't say what we talked about over dinner; I was captured by everything she said and did, and the more time we spent together, the more I was convinced that she was 'the one'.

"Come back to my place, please, Bella. Help me decorate the tree."

She agreed it was a good idea and we walked back along Fourth Street, which was still fairly crowded even at ten o'clock.

"Hey, Edward," Emmett's voice rang out from behind us. We turned and he stopped in front of us, his eyebrows raising when he recognized Bella. Gazing at each of us, he gave me a quizzical look before speaking to her. "Have you even made it back to your place, Bella? What are you still doing with this idiot?" His smile told me he was trying to get a rise out of both of us; I knew his game and wasn't falling for it, but Bella blushed, looking slightly uncomfortable.

"Emmett," I hissed. "Shut up, you idiot!"

At my glare, his eyes widened and I could see the question he really wanted to ask. I pre-empted him by telling him we had just been to dinner. I didn't elaborate on what we were going to do next, knowing that he would find something more to embarrass Bella with and luckily, before he could say anything more, two of our colleagues from the university joined us. I greeted them, introducing Bella, and turned down the offer of a drink in the local bar, knowing that I would get the third degree from Emmett.

Back at the apartment, Bella removed her boots, getting comfortable on the sofa, while I opened a bottle of wine and grabbed two glasses from the kitchen cabinet. Placing those on the coffee table, I asked her to pour a couple of glasses for us and stepped into the bedroom to change into sweatpants. Before taking a seat next to her, I placed my iPod into the docking station and selected my classical music selection, turning the sound down low.

The silence between us wasn't uncomfortable at all; it felt so right. After a wine refill, those three words were on the tip of my tongue again, as we moved closer to each other. Her eyes were fixed on mine as she took the wine glass from my hand and placed it on the table alongside hers and leaned forward, placing a light kiss on my lips, followed by another and another. Before long we were both breathless and the kisses had developed into full-on making out, which was not something I had craved before; now, I never wanted it to stop.

Moving my lips along her jawline, I reached that spot behind her ear that I'd found yesterday. The one that caused her skin to shiver and pebble. "I thought we were supposed to be decorating the tree, Bella?"

"The tree isn't going anywhere, Edward, I promise… " came her breathy reply, neither of us making any move to change what we were doing for the moment.

Pulling back a little, Bella looked me in the eyes and then slid to the floor without taking them from mine.

She knelt in front of me and I tried to protest that she didn't have to do that, while her fingers slid from side to side under the waistband of my sweats. She wasn't the only one to get goosebumps from touching. My mouth was saying it wasn't necessary, while my body was saying something totally different. My stomach muscles clenched as her hands found my cock and seemingly without my permission my hands were helping her to drag my pants off. She licked her lips and my cock answered by twitching toward her.

"I've never done this before Edward, but I want to. Please… " Her voice was husky. "Show me what you like."

"Anything, anything, Bella, just no teeth. Anything else you do will be absolutely fine, I assure you." My cock was already weeping from the tip in anticipation and I groaned at the sight of her pink tongue flicking out and licking the glistening pre-cum.

After kissing the tip lightly, she engulfed my cock with her hot mouth, sucking hard on the way up, immediately sending my body into hyperdrive by alternately swirling her tongue around the head and taking me in, sucking hard. Wrapping both her hands around the rest of me, she twisted them around my shaft, and each time she sank her mouth over me, my stomach muscles clenched hard.

Without warning, her hands disappeared from my cock and I felt her take my balls into her hand, squeezing and tugging lightly, her mouth never ceasing. Shockingly, I was already near coming and sweat was forming at my temples and along my hairline and I held back, unsure of coming in her mouth.

"Ughh, Bella… " A long, drawn out groan was dragged from my throat and my eyes closed, the sight of my cock disappearing into her mouth not helping me to hold back.

I didn't know whether to beg her to continue or to stop, and eventually I had to gasp out, "Bella, Bella, please… " I panted before taking her face in my hands. "Please, I want to come inside you and if you don't stop right now, it'll be too late."

Sliding my cock out of her mouth and letting go with a slight pop, she was breathing hard and looked as turned on as I was. As she stood, I gripped the hem of my shirt and dragged it off over my head. Her jeans were already undone and had slid down a little, showing pink lace panties. Bending over me, she slid her fingers into my mouth where I could taste that she had already been touching herself while sucking on my cock.

With a sultry smile, she allowed me to suck on them and then pulled back to unbutton her white silk top, one slow button at a time. Reaching the last one, she straightened her shoulders and allowed it to slide to the floor behind her before she unhooked the matching pink lace bra and dropped that, too.

Keeping her eyes on my face, she leaned forward allowing her breasts to come almost within touching distance and, taking her panties and jeans together, pushed them down her legs and stepped out of them. Two steps and her knees were either side of my legs with her seated on my thighs, my cock upright between us.

Reaching for my sweats, I grabbed the foil packet I had shoved in there when I changed.

"Sure of yourself, weren't you?" Bella grinned at me.

"Hoping to get lucky," I answered with a wide grin.

This time she took the packet from me and ripped it open with her teeth, taking only one quick look before rolling it slowly over my cock, moving her hand over the latex a couple of times before inching forward a little and placing herself directly over me, and then she impaled herself on me in one move.

She gasped loudly and her eyes opened wide as I felt her stretch to accommodate me. I groaned loudly again, heat flashing through me, and closed my eyes to will my body to wait. "Ugh, don't move please, Bella, give me a minute."

Her forehead and mine touched and we drank each other in through half-closed eyes and our lips met lightly, while our bodies were still, waiting for my need to come to retreat. As my muscles relaxed, I felt her lift up a little and slide down again. With each pass over my cock, she trembled and her breath panted against my ear, where her head had come to rest.

"You can move now, Bella," I breathed.

Her movements became more exaggerated as she lifted further off my cock each time and before long I could feel the need to come increase again. Pushing her back until she was lying over my thighs, her hair swaying and lighting small shards of pleasure each time it brushed against my legs, I watched entranced as my cock disappeared and reappeared from inside her. My gaze landed on her clit which was swollen and red, the hood drawn almost entirely back and I knew that each time I sank into her, the head of my cock was brushing against her sweet spot. Her muscles were tight and trembling, her eyes closed, savoring the pleasure I was giving her and her breath was coming in heavy pants now.

Each movement edged us both closer to the point of no return and licking my fingers, I swirled them around her clit and down to her entrance, feeling where we were joined. Wanting to push her over the edge, my hands slid up her torso, engulfing her breasts and squeezing her bright red, hard nipples between forefinger and thumb, pulling on them, feeling the clench of her inner muscles with each tug.

Almost continuous moaning was now coming from Bella's throat, as I pulled her up to rest against my body. My hands found their way to her ass, pushing, pulling, and squeezing, moving her faster over my cock, frantically driving myself into her over and over again. My mouth sought hers, our tongues tangling together, the heat between us bringing a faint sheen of sweat to our skin.

Sliding my hand back between us, I rubbed furiously at her clit, determined that either she was coming first or we were doing it together. "Please, Bella, come with me, I need to come now," I breathed the words into her mouth, now aware that the trembling throughout her body was almost continuous. "Let go, please."

Those whispered words triggered her body to begin its spasms and I felt every muscle under her skin and inside her clench as she held her breath. Almost too far gone to keep my eyes open, I forced them to stay fixed on her as hers closed, and watched as her skin flushed all over while the tingle from the back of my neck rushed down my spine, through my balls and I finally allowed myself to let go.

My vision disappeared behind my eyelids, dissolving into a white curtain where there was no thought, only feeling. My muscles clenched in the same way I had seen hers and I felt each pulse as my cum filled the condom.

Coming back to myself, I could feel her pussy muscles clench at intervals and hear her panting in my ear from where her head was on my shoulder. I dropped my head to her shoulder and we sat still, joined together, while our breathing steadily slowed.

"Holy hell," she whispered. "That was unreal."

Before I could censor my mouth, I was almost begging. "Stay with me tonight, Bella."

I felt her nod her head and we sat in silence for a few more minutes. "Can you stand up, I need to get rid of the condom?"

"I don't think so," she giggled in answer. "The bones in my legs seem to have dissolved."

"You're absurd, but adorable," I answered, coaxing her to raise her head. "I'll carry you, then." After a couple of tries, I eventually managed to get to my feet and staggered to the bedroom, depositing Bella on the bed and heading to the bathroom where I disposed of the condom. By the time I returned to the bedroom, Bella had pulled back the cover and was almost asleep. I followed suit and slid in behind her, tugging her back against my chest and within minutes, we were both asleep.


I woke to sunlight streaming in through the window behind the bed and laying across both of us. Stretching and turning onto my back, I gazed at a still sleeping Edward, knowing I loved him already. Kissing him lightly on the lips, I slid out from under the covers and used the bathroom to clean up and brush my teeth. When I returned to the bedroom, Edward was stirring and I decided that it was early enough to stay awhile before I had to return to my apartment, and snuggled back into his side.

An hour later, I was woken with light kisses, and when I opened my eyes, Edward's gorgeous green ones were hovering above me.

"Good morning, my love."

I didn't miss the word he spoke and was fairly sure we were on the same page with feelings. Reaching up, I kissed him, tasting the minty freshness of toothpaste. "Good morning to you, too."

I turned and glanced at the clock behind me. "I do have to make a move back to my apartment soon. You know, cat to feed and all that." I smiled to take the sting out of telling him I needed to go in awhile.

This time, his smile was just as wide as mine. "I know, but stay for breakfast?"

I agreed and reached for the t-shirt he handed me. Back in the living room I dragged on my jeans, sans panties, and followed him into the kitchen, where he had already produced much the same breakfast as I would have prepared for myself.

"This looks good," I said and sat down as he poured coffee and sat beside me.

Over the meal, Edward talked about his concert which was due to take place at seven that evening and asked if I would come. I told him I wouldn't miss it for the world. "Would you like me to come and get you?" he asked.

"I can take a bus, Edward, it's fine," I assured him.

"How about I get Emmett to pick you up," he insisted. "I don't like the idea of you taking two buses. Please?"

Edward asked if I would stay with him until he left for his parents' house and I agreed to both. After a second cup of coffee, he called Emmett, who said it would be no problem to collect me around six o'clock and then we we headed to my apartment. We spent fifteen minutes kissing goodbye before reluctantly parting company and he headed back to the university for practice.

I spent the afternoon sorting out a dress to wear, which fortunately I already had, courtesy of Alice, and arranging with Mrs. Cope, my neighbor, for her to keep Shadow until either Christmas evening or the following morning. She had always looked after him before and was happy to do it again.

Emmett picked me up just before six that evening and delivered me, without innuendo, to the front door of the concert hall. He told me to wait there while he parked the car and he would escort me to my seat.

The concert was beautiful; Edward hadn't told me that not only was he producing it, he was singing. Several times his gaze caught mine and if I hadn't already been in love with him, I would have fallen for him then. After singing a medley of traditional songs, he played the piano so beautifully it brought tears to my eyes.

Exhilarated, we met backstage and headed out for drinks with some of his colleagues, where he introduced me as his girlfriend. He looked at me as he said it and I assured him with my eyes that I was perfectly okay with that. After the concert, Emmett had disappeared after telling Edward he would meet him around ten the morning after Christmas, so we walked through the quiet streets back to his apartment, where we fell asleep in each other's arms.

I woke snuggled into Edward's side again, absolutely sure this was where I wanted to be; this was what my parents had and what I had been searching for.

"What has you thinking so hard on Christmas morning, my love?" Edward's gravelly voice interrupted my thoughts.

Pulling myself up in bed, an action he mirrored, I decided that even if he didn't say it back, I could not hold it in for another second. "I know we haven't known each other for long, Edward, but I have to tell you." I paused for a minute, gathering my courage.

"What is it, Bella?" Edward's face was a little anxious as he waited for me to continue.

"I love you, Edward. I think I have since the first time I met you." A look of shock swept over his features and I hastened to add, "You don't have to say it back; I just couldn't go another day withoutsaying the words."

There was a minute's silence while he took in the words. "Bella, don't look so worried. Those words are the same ones that have been in my mind for the last two days. I thought it was too soon to say them, but as usual, you are the brave one. I love you, too. That's the best Christmas present I've ever had."

Our kisses were getting heated when he stopped and looked at me intently. "Come to my parents' house with me, Bella. Come and meet them and my sisters. Please?"

It didn't take me long to agree and he leapt excitedly out of bed, grabbing his phone. While he was talking to his mom, at least that's who I thought he was talking to, I jumped in for a quick shower and cleaned my teeth. I was almost finished when he entered the room, pouting because he missed out on shower sex.

"There's plenty of time for that, you take your shower and I'll make us breakfast." I brushed past him, pushing his mouth closed with my finger and kissing him lightly as I headed for the bedroom to get dressed. Edward was out just as breakfast was on the table, and we spent more than an hour eating and talking about his family.

We spent the rest of the day finally decorating the tree, making out, watching a couple of films and talking some more; it seemed as if we never ran out of things to say. I spoke to Mrs. Cope and explained that, if it was okay with her, I would be away for a few more days. She was happy to do that, and we retired early to bed for an early start in the morning.

The half hour journey to Walnut Creek was filled with Emmett's innuendo and his musing about Edward's sister, Rosalie. Edward shook his head and rolled his eyes on more than one occasion at Emmett. I knew what he was thinking! Emmett was clearly into Rosalie and should make a move.

Drawing up outside their house, I was amazed at its size. Edward leaned in and whispered in my ear, "It'll be fine, Bella. They'll love you because I love you. It's just my childhood home."

I decided to trust his word and waited for him to come around to my side of the car and open the door, holding his hand out for mine. The front door was flung open and my eyes widened as none other than Alice Whitlock skipped down the steps followed by her husband Jasper.

"Alice, what are you doing here?"

"Bella, I didn't know you knew my brother?"

We spoke at the same time, while Jasper smirked behind her. I turned and looked at Edward in shock.

"You know Alice?" he questioned.

"Yes, we work together. I'm surprised it didn't come up in conversation. I never made the connection between your sister Alice and Alice Whitlock; not that we discussed you, of course."

At that moment, two people who I guessed were his parents appeared in the doorway. "Edward, come on in with your friend. Don't stand around out there in the cold."

Immediately, Edward tucked my arm in his and led me to the doorway, following his parents along a hallway lined with photos and into a huge, warm kitchen which smelled of Christmas; specifically mulled wine and baking bread.

"Hi, Mom, this is Bella." Edward drew me closer to his side, knowing I was a little nervous, especially in the light of our declarations just this morning. "Bella, meet my mom, Esme Cullen." He leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially in her ear just loud enough for me to hear. "She's the one."

I elbowed him in the ribs, which didn't get rid of his grin in the slightest but I had to smile, unable to fault his excitement; after all, I felt it, too.

His father, who had been standing back a little, listening, grinned. "Hello, Bella, it's nice to meet you. Edward didn't say much except that he was bringing a friend. I'm Carlisle, welcome to our home."

At that moment, Alice and Jasper, followed by a tall, beautiful girl whom I assumed was Rosalie, trekked into the kitchen, along with Emmett, who was uncharacteristically quiet.

"Hello, Bella, it's so nice to meet you. Please, call me Esme; Mrs. Cullen seems so old and I definitely don't feel it," she said, drawing me into her embrace.

Alice spoke up next. "It's such a coincidence, Edward. I was going to introduce you and Bella after the Christmas break. I just knew you'd like each other." She looked at me sneakily and stepped forward to hug me. "You and I need to have a talk, missy. I want to know everything!" She drew back and smirked at me.

"To a point, Alice. I know you tell me all about Jasper, but I am not reciprocating in the same way."

She looked back at Jasper sheepishly and he just palmed his face and kissed her, no doubt used to her ways.

"And this is my other sister, Rosalie," Edward stepped back and introduced the tall, beautiful girl standing beside Emmett.

"Hi, Rosalie, it's lovely to meet you. Edward's told me about all of you."

"Less than he's told us about you, Bella. He's been a little secretive, it would seem. Call me Rose." Her wide smile assured me she was digging at him and not me and I thought we could be friends one day.

"Well, I've just finished making coffee so if everyone would take a seat in the lounge, I'll bring it through." Esme shooed us out of her kitchen and then followed with a tray.

"How did you two meet, Bella?" Alice asked.

Before I could answer, Emmett piped up, "Edward fell on top of her, in a very compromising position."

"Emmett," Edward growled and then told everyone all about our mud mishap, both times, and although Emmett was right in a way, it was perfectly innocent. "We were both at the market on the university grounds and I startled Bella, and didn't manage to catch her when she slipped in the mud, dragging me with her. I behaved like a perfect gentleman, Mom, and offered her a chance to clean up at my apartment. We hit it off and it's grown from there." He stopped and gave me that special smile. "I love her."

I could feel my face color at his blatant admission but I couldn't have been happier that he was prepared to make that declaration in front of his family.

The rest of the Christmas break passed quickly and we ended up staying until after the New Year, after I had made sure Mrs. Cope was happy to keep Shadow for the extra days.

Six months later

I couldn't believe where we were now. It was the fourth of July tomorrow and I had moved in with Edward last weekend, renting out my apartment. Looking at him across the breakfast table, I just knew that I loved him with all my heart and our relationship grew stronger every day.

I looked around at some of the pieces of furniture and personal belongings I had brought with me, Shadow curled up in the armchair, my books and DVD's on his shelves, and my photos mixed with his on the walls.

Just as I had agreed, without hesitation, when Edward had asked me to move in with him, when he asked me to marry him on his birthday, I had said yes straight away. The engagement ring sparkling on my finger proved, beyond a doubt, that we were on the same wavelength.

He'd met my parents at Easter when they had come for a long weekend and Renee had adored him from the start. My Dad was more reticent; I was his only daughter, after all. He had come around pretty quickly when he saw just how happy Edward made me; that was all he ever wanted for me.

What was it that brought us together? Fate? Coincidence?

If my parents had not gone on that cruise, if Edward's name hadn't been picked to produce that concert, would we have still fallen in love? I'd like to think so, but for me, I thought it was Cupid. How else would you describe that shot from our palms to our hearts? We had both felt it at the same time and I firmly believed it had been something 'other' that had pulled us together.

Edward was much more skeptical, as men were wont to be, but he did agree that it had been love at first sight.

All I knew was that I still loved my Kindle, my cat, and my coffee machine, but I loved Edward a whole lot more; he was the love of my life, my 'one'.

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