A/N: Longer note at the bottom.
For my own personal muse because … well, duh. Because. I don't even have words.
Chapter 15: Proclamations
I darted between slow walking students and soccer moms walking their dogs as I ran through the streets toward my house. It was vaguely reminiscent of that very first morning I work up, the morning my entire existence had changed.
All thanks to tequila.
I would never look at that stuff the same again.
A few cars honked at me when I ran out into oncoming traffic, but I couldn't be bothered to stop for the walk sign.
I had a man to get.
I had my man to get.
His name rang through my head, the doubt and self-loathing I'd felt for days now no longer present. There was nothing wrong with what we were doing.
Hell, the Dean himself had practically given me his blessing. Well, maybe not so much his blessing. More like his "I'm going to look the other way."
Good enough for me.
With each frenzied step, my feet brought me closer to my house, even though I really didn't have a definite plan from there.
Maybe he was in class. Maybe he would be busy. Maybe I would have to wait.
That would be horrible. Having to patiently wait for however long it took before I could see him again. Before I could have him in my arms and have his wonderful lips caressing mine again. Before I could feel his strong but amazing fingers running over my skin and raising goosebumps in their path.
My life. My love. My Edward.
Yes, I wanted to know why he dropped my class then didn't tell me. Why he continued to come and do pointless assignments when he didn't have to.
I wanted to know everything about him. From his favorite food to the length of his shoelaces to the first thing he thought of in the morning when he woke.
But none of that stuff mattered. Not the big stuff. Not the little stuff.
All that mattered was him.
And being with him.
My legs ached and my lungs burned as I rounded the last corner to my street and crossed the last half block to my front porch.
The clouds opened up and the sun shone just a little bit brighter for me.
Because sitting on my front porch, like he had been dropped from heaven itself was my world.
He sat on the step, his head dropped in his hand that was resting on his knee. I couldn't see his face, but I could only imagine what he looked like.
Probably something similar to when he left me last night.
Pained. Broken. On the verge of something great and something horrible.
I didn't want that.
I didn't even give him time to react when I bounded right up him and threw my arms around his neck, knocking him back onto my porch. His head fell onto the hard wooden slats and for a brief second I worried that I'd done real damage to his beautiful head.
Well, I guess I'll have to make him feel better then.
In barely a hair's breath I covered his lips with mine and was desperately trying to cling every part of my body to his. I wiggled into his lap, legs thrown on either side of his hips. I wound my hands into his untidy hair and pulled and tugged and willed for it not to give under my strength.
I needed him. I wanted him. I desired him.
I wanted to crawl inside of him and become one with him.
"Bella," Edward gasped and turned his head to the side, giving me more room to roam his lengthy neck.
My lips attacked every square open inch of skin I could find. From the base of his neck to the spot under his ears, I licked and lapped. Nipped and nibbled. He tasted like heaven. Heaven and man and cookies and innocence and sin. Sweet and spicy. Tangy and tart.
When I took his earlobe into my mouth and sucked hard, Edward's hands came to my shoulders and pushed on me.
Wait. He wanted me to stop?
I was grinding myself into his very obvious hardness and he was saying … no?
Okay. This was at best confusing.
I let go of his earlobe with a soft pop and pulled my head back to look him in the eye.
"Bella, as much as I would love to continue this right where we are, I'm pretty sure the public indecency laws require at least a measure of discretion. Let's get inside and I … uh .. I'm pretty sure you have some questions," he half smiled at me.
I pulled my hands from his hair and sighed before detangling my legs from his. I cautiously stood up on now shaky legs and watched Edward draw himself up, obviously wincing from the contact with my porch.
"Oops," I said meekly.
"Oh, no worries. My noggin is rather hard and has survived many an attack from a rabid porch," he chuckled and rubbed the back of his head softly.
Just the vision of him standing there in front of me, his fingers running through the hair at the base of his neck made me want him all that much more.
We needed to get inside.
I moved around him to open the door, my hands shaking as I fumbled with the keys in the lock. On the third try, Edward's gentle hands wrapped around mine and guided the key in.
"Thanks," I mumbled, embarrassed that I couldn't even contain myself long enough to unlock the damn door to my own house.
"Don't mention it," he chuckled again.
We stepped inside and let the door swing shut behind us. The sudden silence of my house seemed to cast a new, awkward shadow over us and we stood there, unsure of how to proceed.
He ran his hand through is hair once again, and my eyes zeroed in on his jaw as I watched it tense.
I felt my arousal begin to gather in my pants and I remembered again why I had attacked him just moments earlier.
That's right. He was a sexy beast who could fuck me six ways to Sunday and I wouldn't complain one bit. Hell, I'd let him rip off my pants that Alice had insisted I buy despite them being obscenely expensive for a new teacher's salary.
That's a good place to start.
I lunged for his pants and my fingers tore at the button frantically before Edward stopped me, his fingers clamping down on mine.
"Bella," he groaned.
I instantly stopped and looked up at him, getting lost in the depth of green I saw there. They always pulled me in, made me lose whatever semblance of coherent thought I was managing at the moment.
So much for a plan.
"Please, Bella. Don't make this any harder than it already is for me. We really need to … talk," Edward said and moved his hands to my hips once he was satisfied I wouldn't be ripping off his pants any time soon.
He guided me over to the couch and sat me down. He perched on the edge of the coffee table, his legs on either side of mine and his hands clutching at mine.
"So I'm guessing by your enthusiastic welcome that everything turned out okay with the dean?" he asked and smiled gently.
I dimly noticed his smile didn't reach his eyes again.
I nodded, but I didn't want to talk about that yet. I had something I needed to know first.
"Why?" I asked.
Edward bit his lip and turned his head away, glancing down at the floor.
He sighed and every part of me wanted to hold him, comfort him, reach out to him.
"What part of 'why' do you want to know?" he said quietly.
"Why everything? Why did you drop? Why did you stay? Why did you keep coming when you didn't have to? Why didn't you tell me? Why do I feel so attracted to you? Why did I feel that … something when our hands touched in my office? Why did Tanya say you were playing grabass with a coed at a party? Why did you tease me in class all that time? Why did you stare at me and burn holes into my back? Just … why?" I said in a rush.
It was everything I had been thinking. Everything I had been wondering.
I wanted to know it all. From the beginning.
He sighed again and tightened his grasp on my hands, as if I would wiggle away if he loosened then.
Well, I wasn't. I wasn't going anywhere now.
"I guess I should start from the beginning. That's as good as a place as any," he said as he turned to face me again.
There was a new look in his eyes, one of determination. Of strength. Of knowing. Of sheer knowledge of something bigger.
"That night at the bar, that first night, I saw you the instant you walked in. It was as if you walked in right out of my dreams. You were perfect. Your face. Your hair. Dammit. I was hard just looking at you. I couldn't keep my damn eyes off of you long enough to lose you. I watched you take that tequila shot, but more importantly, I saw the look in the eyes of all the guys around you too. I saw how they were looking at you. Like a piece of meat. It made me want to do something. Take you away. Protect you from them. After the second shot, I moved closer. And then the third. God, I couldn't keep myself from you. I knew you were drunk at this point. I didn't want to take advantage of you, not in the least. I just wanted you to be safe.
"Your eyes met mine and I was lost. Lost to their depths. I felt everything shift then. It wasn't just a desire to keep you safe anymore. It was a need. A desire. A yearning. To make sure no bad ever came to you ever again. So I asked if I could take you home. By the time we got back to your place, you were all over me. You were making it so hard to resist. Your skin was so hot and sweet and perfect, I just … lost it. I gave into temptation. I've never forgiven myself for taking advantage of you like that," he groaned and released my hands. His head dropped and he covered his face with his palms.
A muffled sob came from him and my heart broke for his pain.
I brought my hand to his shoulder to comfort him. I rubbed his skin through his shirt, offering whatever I could do him while he had his moment.
"You didn't take advantage of me. I wanted it. I may have been piss ass drunk, but I wouldn't have been all over you if I didn't want you. Don't forget that," I said quietly.
Edward lifted his head and I saw remnants of a few tears lingering on the edges of his eyes. I brought my thumb up and wiped them away, not wanting to see tears mar his beautiful face. He leaned into my touch and I brushed my fingers down his jaw. My thumb lingered on his bottom lip and he kissed it softly, a gentle smile spreading across his mouth.
"My life changed that night. I'd traveled the world looking for something to inspire me, stir new life in me. I've seen the Seven Wonders and every painting in the Lourve, but nothing could compare the magnificence of your face when you came. God, it took my breath away. It was in that instant that I knew … that's it. I found her. I found what I've been looking for. That's it for me. No more looking."
My breath caught in my throat and my stomach turned in knots.
He felt … all of that? The first night?
"And I was beyond petrified that you wouldn't feel the same way. Hell, I didn't expect you to feel the same way. I expected you be pissed that I'd had sex with you when you were too drunk to really consent," he continued.
I half smiled at him and said, "I was more pissed you didn't stay."
He smiled meekly and ran his hand through his hair, the ends sticking up in every which direction.
"Yeah, that was probably not the best plan. I woke up next to you, all perfect and warm and naked and I just ran. Because everything I felt in the heat of the darkness of night was still there. Fear made me run, but I couldn't bring myself to leave without leaving my number," he grinned and shook his head. "That damn Post-It."
"That damn Post-It," I echoed and grinned right back at him.
"So when you walked into class that morning, I knew it was confirmation of something. That we were supposed to meet. Supposed to be together. Fate is stupid and hokey and I've never held any stock in it, but seeing you fly into that room and just command attention made the concept real to me. I wanted you then and there. I had to have you again. But I didn't want to you get in any trouble. Remember, nothing bad to come to you? So as soon as I left class I went over to the registrar and dropped the class. But the thought of not seeing you anymore was excruciating, so I kept coming," he said and smiled.
The way he explained things made sense. They rolled around in my empty head and somehow made sense.
"You couldn't stay away," I said.
"No, not at all. It was like an addiction. I felt this … pull towards you. Like whenever you were near my body would go into hyper overdrive and I couldn't resist you. I couldn't stay away. I felt like such a freaky stalker almost. Every class I said it would be my last one, but I kept coming back. Every promise I made to stay away I broke."
"Me too. All of it. You don't know how much it took to resist you when you were in my office that one day, your scent so damn close and this little buzzing pulling me towards you," I agreed with him.
"Yeah, I felt that too that day," he laughed.
"So Tanya?" I asked, almost a little afraid of what the answer would be.
Edward pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. His mouth twisted into an unsatisfied frown and he groaned before answering.
"Tanya is an annoying twit who can't take no for an answer. I've rebuffed her enough to make anybody with a third grade education understand that I wasn't interested in them. She probably thought she would upset you by saying something untrue about me. And that just reinforces exactly everything I think about her," Edward snipped and pulled his eyebrows together.
I couldn't stifle the amused laughter and we both erupted in a fit of nervous giggles. I clutched at my stomach before I could finally control myself.
Edward was wiping away tears from laughing so hard and the sight was yet another reason to find him simply gorgeous. I tucked away the image in the back of my head for future use.
"So no drunken coed grinding?" I finally managed to get out.
"No drunken coeds. Hell, I usually don't even go out to bars which is why I was so shocked to see you out the two times I've gone out. And at the same place no less. Just another tick for the fate checklist, I guess."
He shifted on the table and I put a hand on his knee.
The rest of my questions could wait for another time. I had one last one though.
"So why didn't you tell me?"
He sighed and closed his eyes.
He leaned back and his head fell back.
His neck lay bare in front of me, the remnants of his stubble plainly visible. I longed to run my fingers along the column of his neck, just laying kisses and feeling his pulse hot and quick under my touch.
"To be honest, I don't really know. I could come up with some big elaborate lie or I could just tell you the truth. I just panicked. I thought you'd freak out and think I was stalking you. I thought you'd hate me and never want to see me again after seeing you at the bar again. I was in too deep and I just couldn't … tell you. Every moment that I wanted to seemed to be lost before I could get the words out and I just couldn't bring myself to burst the bubble we'd created. It's a piss poor reason to do something like that, but I just couldn't get the words out."
Edward's eyes found mine again and I was amazed by the depth again. Every word he said rang true. Everything he said was so perfect that it didn't seem to matter to me anymore that he didn't tell me.
Really, I should have been furious. I knew that. He let me worry needlessly for weeks on end that I was a horrible person for lusting after my own student, regardless how old he was. I stayed up at night fretting and fussing over feelings I couldn't explain and sensations his proximity stirred within me.
I should have thrown him out right then.
But I couldn't.
Because it didn't matter.
He did it just to be close to me. He wanted to close to me. Just like I wanted to be close to him.
And really … could I fault him for that?
Not when I was willing to throw everything away anyways just to be with him, even thought I now knew no sacrifice would have been necessary. I had made my decision and I would have followed through with it without a second thought if I had known I would feel these things for him.
That I would love him as much as I did already.
Just in these few short days.
These last few days had been some of the hardest and best of my life.
I found my life when I found him.
That night he brought me home had crystallized everything for me. Seeing him in the throws of passion had put everything right over the top.
So I could forgive him. For everything. And yet for nothing at the same time.
Because that's what you do to your soulmate. You forgive them even when you know you shouldn't. You forgive them when there's nothing to be forgiven and when there's everything to be forgiven. Because you know you can't be without them and you're willing to go to any lengths to stay with them.
"There's nothing to forgive."
The words slipped from my mouth so easily, so breathlessly I wasn't even sure I'd said them until his face lit up.
Edward's face absolutely lit up.
Everything was alright again.
Everything would be alright.
We could get through anything together.
His arms were around me in a heartbeat and his lips were on mine. He pulled me into his chest and I clutched at any part of him I could reach.
This was where I belonged.
I frantically covered his face with kisses, some featherlite and some rougher. Edward's hand grasped at my waist as I ground myself into him, desperate to find measure of friction to relieve the steadily growing ache between my legs.
I knew we still had a lot to talk about, a lot of issues left to resolve.
But I didn't care anymore.
I just wanted him.
He pulled my button up shirt off in one hard tug, buttons scattering on the floor in every which direction. Whatever. Shirts could be replaced. There was only one Edward.
He peppered the swell of my breasts with hot, open-mouthed kisses and his tongue darted out to join in the fun. I shuddered against him and pulled the neck of his shirt over so I could suck on the skin there.
I wanted to mark him as mine.
Because that's what he was.
He was mine now.
And I was his.
He stood up, clutching me in his arms and supporting me with his hands under my ass. I wriggled against him and snuggled into his strong arms. He wouldn't drop me, no matter what.
We stumbled into my bedroom, where it all began really. That very first time. The fateful time.
My mind laughed at the small detail for about a half a second before I realized was on my bed and Edward was pushing my pants and underwear down my legs.
I laid back and let him work at my clothes, just enjoying watching him as he disposed of them over the edge of the bed. He quickly had his own pants off and settled in between my legs.
He ran his hand over my wetness, his fingers gently pressing into me and teasing me. I gasped into the air and my head tilted back at the feeling.
His name fell from my lips like a new religious chant. I'd done it before when we were together, but now it had new meaning to me.
He really was my religion now. He was my everything. My world. The sun was no longer the center of the solar system; he was. Everything rotated around him and without him I knew I would be nothing.
Edward leaned into my chest and took one breast into his mouth while a hand gave the other attention. I clutched at his back, my hands pulling him into me harder. I wanted to feel more, to feel everything.
His tongue tapped at my nipple, expertly teasing it and plumping it. He switched his position and suckled on the other one.
My gasps were coming faster and faster, and I knew I couldn't survive much more of this delicious torture.
"Please," I whimpered.
Edward looked up at me, that same half grin, half smirk on his face.
Always the cocky bastard.
I guess some things don't change.
He moved up my body, kissing his way up my neck. Right at the juncture, he planted a searing kiss, sucking hard in the process.
His own mark on me.
It was official.
We'd laid our claim.
There was no going back, as if that was ever an option.
My head tilted back and I fought to maintain my sanity. I needed him in me soon if I didn't want to burst. If I didn't was to spontaneously combust from the heat now pulsing through my body.
"Please," I whimpered again.
Edward kissed the corner of my mouth and I both felt and heard his whisper.
My name on his lips was beautiful. Reverent. Worshipping. Like I was his own goddess. The center of his own world.
We were a universe unto ourselves. Each rotating around each other.
"So beautiful," his whispered reverence sounded out.
"Edward," I half sobbed out.
I wanted to say right here.
Locked in his arms. Naked and close to him. Skin on skin.
My life would had irrevocably changed and so had his.
He thrust into me and the feeling brought a new meaning to the word 'perfection.' Before it was amazing, but this … this was something else completely. This was a coupling for the ages.
This was a sharing of souls. A blessing from the universe itself that truly meant that, yes, we were supposed to be together.
Soulmates and fate and destiny and all those silly concepts wrapped up in each other.
His movements brought me back to earth and yet made me soar higher at the same time. The pressure built inside of me in no time and I knew it wouldn't take much to push me over that ledge.
For me to fall off into eternity and in the blackness of the depths below.
"Bella, look at me," Edward moaned.
I opened my heavy lids and found his intense green eyes staring into mine.
I saw all of his being. All of his soul.
"Edward," I gasped right back.
"I love you. More than I can explain," he said and kissed me hard on the lips.
He thrust one more time and I exploded into violent eruption of sensation as he came with me.
Edward's head fell back and I took the site of him reveling in his own pleasure, the ultimate beauty there.
He collapsed onto me, his head burrowed into my neck and his breath hot on my neck.
My arms circled around him and I held him to me, both our sweaty bodies still enjoying the aftershocks of our mutual climaxes still rumbling through us.
I gently kissed his ear and whispered what I struggled with for so long, but only recently recognized and affirmed.
"I love you too. And I plan on explaining it every moment I get for a very long time."
Thanks everybody for the amazing support you've all shown me during this story. I really appreciate everything. I still can't believe all the amazing feedback I've received. Thank you so much.
I'm sorry to see this story end, but alas all good things come to an end. I wanted to get everything out of my head before school completely consumes my thoughts.
I hope you enjoyed Campus Liaisons and make sure to put me on your Author Alert list to receive alerts about my future writings if you haven't already done so.