Hello everyone! Sorry for the large gap in updating. I've been directing a play, not to mention acting in two others, so I've been in rehearsal every weekday usually until around eleven at night, and before that are classes... and sometimes food. I have schedule-induced anorexia, I swear. My play just went up and received favorable reviews, so a lot of the burden is off now and I should be updating more regularly. I also have a job lined up for summer, and the interview process was eating up a lot of the free time I would have otherwise devoted to this lovely piece of speculation. So there's my explanation for my absence. Thank you all for staying with me! Enjoy.

Passion Play

Chapter Three: Tangible Desire

I tried to control my heaving chest as I knelt before Edward, now in only a bra and jeans. He regarded me gravely with stern eyes. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" he asked, his face immobile and unreadable.

I wasn't about to falter. This is what I wanted. "Yes," I breathed.

"I don't believe you do," Edward's voice came out as a husky rumble, and his tongue flicked out uncharacteristically to wet his lips. He cleared his throat. "Be careful," he warned.

Caution was the last thing on my mind. I was hardly in control of my actions. My only thoughts were: Charlie wouldn't be home for at least three hours, Edward was finally reacting as a normal teenage boy should, and my entire body was tingling with anticipation.

I remained still for a moment, staring deeply into his eyes. He gazed back at me steadily. I took his hands and guided them to my hips, letting my hands continue upwards. I traced my curves, staring what I believed to be seductively into Edward's eyes. His face was unreadable as I raised his hands even higher on my body so that they were poised just beneath my breasts. If I hadn't been watching him so intently, I wouldn't have noticed his small intake of breath. It was exhilarating to see him excited… and over me. I desperately wanted more, and my instincts provided the next logical step. I acted before I could think about it too long and change my mind.

I reached behind my back and began fumbling with the clasp to undo my bra. Edward caught my arms before I could make any progress. He grabbed me harder than I believe he meant to and the jolt made my hair fall forward, stirring the air. His eyes fluttered closed as he breathed in the scent, but his hands remained firm on my forearms.

"Please, Bella, no more," he muttered with his face turned away from mine.

And the spell was broken. I suddenly felt very stupid and childish. Edward couldn't even look at me. He was probably embarrassed about the whole situation on my behalf. I had pushed him too far. He didn't want any of this after all! I sobbed once and lunged for my shirt.

"I'm sorry," Edward began, tortured. I turned away from him as I hastily tried to fix my inside-out camisole. The tears were welling in my eyes now, blurring my vision. How could I have been so rash? Edward had rebuffed all my attempts of intimacy before, why was now any different? Because of one measly conversation? No. I was a stupid little girl who wanted something she couldn't have. He told me his limitations. Why did I insist on pushing them? A tightness settled into my chest, and I sniffed loudly.

"Bella, please don't start crying. I already feel horrible," Edward looked at me pleadingly.

"You feel horrible? How do you think I feel?" I cried, "I, I… put myself out there, just to find out that you… you don't want me."

Edward groaned. I shot him a glare, but his face was so remorseful that my quick retort died in my throat. "There you go again," he started, a smile creeping onto his face, "blaming yourself for my inadequacies."

He took the cami from my trembling fingers and deftly turned it rightside-out, returning it to me. I clutched the cami, staring at it intently, trying to control the tears.

"Bella, it is because I want you that I asked you to stop. Even now it is taking all of my resolve not to overpower you and rip off the rest of your clothes," Edward intoned solemnly. I stared at him wide-eyed, suddenly noticing how tightly his fingers were wrapped around the armrest and the rigidity of his posture. He was struggling against something.

His face became strained with concern, "You are perfectly safe with me. I have myself under firm control." He took account of my expression and added fervently, "I hope I don't scare you."

"No," I stated truthfully. "I'm not afraid. But I am surprised that... I… I didn't think you were able to react like this."

"Let me make this entirely clear to you," Edward began with a grin. "In the last few moments I have thought of over a hundred different excuses that would allow me to take you on this couch this very instant."

My throat went dry, and the air between us became charged with passion once again. After I took a moment to recover myself, I said, "I'm still having trouble believing that you want this. You looked so… apprehensive."

"Oh?" he countered. "Well, if you still need convincing, I'll prove it to you." In one deft movement, Edward's shirt joined mine on the floor.

I could not rip my eyes away from his chest. His body was so perfectly formed- muscular, chiseled, with all the right angles. My eyes roved over his shoulders, stomach, and chest, hungrily devouring the sight that I had only dreamed of. I wordlessly reached a hand towards him.

Gently, Edward took my wrist, guiding my hand to cover his heart. As our skin touched, my mind went wild. I struggled to remain in control of my body. Edward gauged my expression before he placed his own hand over my chest. Although I'm sure it was already evident to him, I was embarrassed by the jumping, spluttering beats of my heart.

We stayed like that for a moment. I was desperately trying to desensitize myself to his godlike beauty, willing this sweet experimentation never to end. Edward's lips were set in a hard line of determination which made his face even more glorious.

"Do you hear my heart?" I whispered. Edward nodded once, his eyes straying from my face to drift down my body. "It's yours," I stated simply.

"As is mine," he said sweetly.

Edward cupped my chin with his other hand, smoothly pulling me towards him. He ducked his head to catch my lips with his own, and as our faces met, so did our bodies. Electricity sparked between us as it did when our hands met for the first time so long ago. After the initial shock, I was able to fully appreciate the significance of the moment.

Edward's mouth was moving against mine, easily, gracefully. His hands were pressed to the small of my back, while my arms were wrapped around his neck. I opened my mouth wider to deepen the kiss, and when he reacted, his sweet taste was almost too much to bear. Edward's hands gripped my sides, pulling me against him.

I reached behind him to trace my fingers along his spine and he moaned gently, burying his face into the curve of my neck. I marveled at his muscular body, so perfect in every way. I lingered over his shoulder blades, letting my hands travel the length of his back, familiarizing myself with his body.

Edward's hands were working a similar pattern along my back, but his movements were much more persistent and focused, as if his hands were trying to memorize my body. Yet, they also had a barely contained power behind them. The slow, controlled motions of before were quickly escalating into fast, yearning strokes.

My mouth traveled up his neck, along his jaw line, and as he turned his face greedily to mine, I became utterly lost in his kiss. The emotions intensified to the point of bubbling over. My breaths were coming in gasps, when I remembered to breath at all, and Edward was also breathing heavily. I gripped his shoulders tightly, pressing my breasts against his chest and that seemed to be the last straw. He stiffened, pulling away slightly, but I was having none of it.

I kissed him forcefully, willing him to respond. I continued to trace my hands all over his chest and back, but still he was a stone.

"No," I whispered against his cool lips, my breath warming them for an instant. "Keep going."

"Bella…" He whispered, eyes closed, face unreadable.

"We're practicing. You have to test your boundaries. Keep going." I didn't want to stop just yet, and after this morning, I decided I was going to get my way. I turned my attention to his neck, kissing and caressing. I could tell the sensations were driving him wild.

"You don't…" Edward warned. He paused as I flicked my tongue over his throat. He licked his lips and his voice came out huskier than before, "You don't understand," Edward mumbled.

"Make me." I whispered silkily into his ear.

Then abruptly, one of those sudden changes that I could never quite understand came over Edward, and he stared at me intently. "With pleasure," he growled. And in a motion faster than I could follow, Edward shifted me so that I was tilted against the armrest. Still recovering from the quicker than natural change in position, it was hard for me to perceive at first what Edward was doing. But whatever it was… it was mind-blowing.

He was everywhere at once. His hands were in my hair and then along my spine, caressing my throat, stroking the inside of my thigh. His lips were doing amazing things to my neck, so quickly and so lightly that I couldn't even begin to follow. His smell was more over-powering than ever before, it's heady scent intoxicated me until I was on the point of passing out. It couldn't have lasted more than ten seconds, but my senses were overloaded with Edward and my breathing was coming at a rate that was frantic and almost painful.

My head was spinning, and it was only with great difficulty that I was able to say, "Enough! I understand!" Edward halted immediately, coming to rest beside me with an impish smile on his face. I believe I took almost a full minute to recover my breath and regroup. Finally, I panted, "that was incredible. What pray tell were you doing?"

"Dazzling you," Edward smiled languishingly, "only to a slightly heightened degree," he needled playfully, running his fingers through my hair.

"You're telling me," I breathed, willing my heart to subside from its crazy pounding. "Where on earth did that come from?"

"You, actually." Edward smoothed my hair, and brought my head to rest against his chest. "That moment when you took command for once… when you told me what you wanted. That was… sexy," he grinned.

I was surprised that I had been the one to spark the encounter. Until that moment, I had thought Edward had come to some internal decision himself. It seemed that I had much more control over his actions than I thought before.

"I'll keep that in mind," I said, in response to Edward but also to my own discovery.

Edward kissed my forehead. We laid on the couch a long while. I felt so safe and loved and peaceful. I never wanted it to end. The moment seemed to stretch into infinity until I woke to Edward stroking my cheek.

"We should go," he murmured, "Remember, it's girl's night, and I don't think either of us want Alice to take me hostage like she threatened."

I woke gradually, slowly shaking off the sleep. I hadn't realized I'd drifted off. "Mmmk," I muttered, drowsily trying to sit up. Edward chuckled and gathered me in his arms. I rested my head on his shoulder while he carried me across the room. I must have been really tired, because the next time I opened my eyes, we were in his car, idling outside his house.

"Edward?" I asked, as my eyes searched for his. He wasn't quick enough to conceal his expression of concern before he turned to face me. He had been regarding the house with apprehension. I was awake instantly.

Quicker than lightening, my hand was in his and he kissed each one of my fingers, just below the knuckles as he said, "Remember always that it is you I love." There was an dire quality to his voice, like he was bracing himself for something.

"Of course," I whispered, nervous at Edward's obvious lack of composure. Edward locked eyes with me, and I couldn't read the powerful emotions playing behind them. It frightened me.

"Kiss me," I pleaded. Edward obeyed, the urgency in his voice translating to his actions. He crushed my lips against his, holding me a little tighter and a little longer than usual.

When we parted, he pressed his forehead against mine, his eyes closed in concentration. "What's wrong?" I queried.

"Alice is waiting for you," he replied simply, and then grimaced, "and so is Kate."

I trembled, Edward's apprehension spilling into me as I remembered the strange rival from Denali I had never met. I looked at the Cullen family's familiar, welcoming home with newfound fear.

So- I've received an overwhelming amount of "favs" and "story alerts" for this piece over the past few weeks- so I know you're out there reading this! Reviews are very appreciated, ranging anywhere from "cute" to an in-depth criticism of my grammar. It really brightens my day to know what you guys think of my writing. So please review!