Author's Note: Ok, this is the last chapter. Thank you to those that read the whole thing, extra thanks to those that liked it.
Nice reviews are better than chocolate, unless maybe you're licking that chocolate off someone.
It was Wednesday and Christmas Eve and I was on my way to Edward's house. He'd told me he loved me the Friday before, he loved me. I still couldn't entirely wrap my head around it. I couldn't stop smiling and I felt a bit like I couldn't keep my feet on the ground. I figured the butterflies in the stomach feeling I always got when he was around would fade eventually, but now it seemed like it was even stronger. We're in love. I laughed quietly in my car; to anyone that may have seen me I probably looked crazy, but I didn't care. Edward loves me.
The previous Friday after the party, Edward drove me home, keeping a hand on mine the whole time. I had a feeling that night wouldn't be the night, but it didn't matter as much anymore. He walked me inside and closed the door. He helped me out of my coat and set it on the couch, then pulled me into his arms, kissing me soundly. I felt one of his hands move to the exposed skin on my back, the other tightening around my waist. I had my arms around his neck in what I thought may have been a death grip, but he seemed to enjoy it. Our kiss deepened and I felt his tongue asking for entrance which I gave happily. We stayed that way for a while until I felt him soften the kiss and then smile against my mouth. Was he laughing? I pulled back enough to look at him in question. He just smiled some more. "I'm just happy." His eyes were bright as he said it which made me smile. He brought his lips to hover over mine, "I love it when you smile." He kissed me again until I thought maybe I would pass out, but that was ok; I knew he'd catch me. That was as far as it went that night; it left me breathless but not disappointed.
I was almost to Edward's apartment, which was admittedly, a lot nicer than mine. We'd decided to spend Christmas together and I voted on celebrating it at Edward's. We picked out a tree the previous weekend and decorated it together. Neither of us really had anything else to decorate with besides the tree ornaments; he offered to buy some, but I didn't mind. Edward called before I left to tell me he had a surprise. He sounded anxious which made me wonder what in the world could make him anxious; he was always so together. It made me a little nervous.
I had a Christmas present for him in the passenger seat. He'd told me a couple of weeks before that there was a photographer from the area that he was absolutely obsessed with. I found out through a publishing contact that this photographer had a new book that wasn't out yet. I pulled a few strings and was able to get a signed advance copy for Edward. I was a little nervous about giving it to him; I hoped he'd like it. Stuffed in my purse were stocking stuffers as well. Neither of us had stockings, but Edward made mention of it not being Christmas without them, so I was pretty sure he had bought us each one. I had bought him some chocolates, I noticed he often brought up his affinity for it, and a few small art supplies, nothing fancy.
It was almost dark when I pulled up in front of Edward's apartment. He buzzed me in and I began to think of a sneaky way I could get the stocking stuffers out of my purse. I hadn't come up with anything good when he opened the door, but it was soon forgotten.
Edward had no shirt on. I had never seen him without a shirt and my past assumption about how good he looked under his clothes was a vast understatement. His skin and hair looked damp from a shower; I think he noticed my mouth hanging open. He had on a pair of soft, worn looking trousers which hung low on his hips and gave me intense urges. He gave me a lopsided grin, "hi." I said hello which sounded kind of like a squeak in my head. I wanted to touch him to see how warm he still was from the shower. He took the wrapped gift with my purse sitting on top out of my hands and set them on the couch to our left. "I need to finish getting dressed, I'll be right back." Somewhere in my mind a voice screamed for me to stop him. I stood dumbly in the entryway, staring. As he turned to walk into his bedroom though, I reached out and grabbed a belt loop forcing him to turn and face me. He grinned mischievously, like he knew exactly what he was doing to me. He grabbed me by the waist and lifted; I wrapped my legs around him. He was very warm.
Edward walked back until I was pressed against the door. His mouth went from mine to my ear, my neck, stopping to nip at it gently. My hands slipped over his damp skin, touching his chest, shoulders, wherever I could find purchase. I ran my nails softly up his back and he moaned in my ear. I felt a familiar coiling sensation at that and pulled my legs more tightly around him. I felt the pressure of the door removed and realized that we were moving. I opened my eyes and saw we were heading toward a half closed door, his bedroom. He used his bare foot to push the door open and then slowed down. Setting me down in the middle of the bed, he bit his lip, looking at me. I smiled, in case he was having reservations. I moved so my head was against a pillow and kicked off my shoes and socks, using the moment to take a breath. He chuckled and his gaze softened; leaning over me he pushed a strand of hair away from my face. I touched his face, tracing his cheekbone, moving down to his jawline. He moved onto the bed, one leg between mine. He took my hand and pressed it back into the pillows. I used my free hand to pull him closer, I thought he might have been afraid to put weight on me, but I wanted to feel it. I wanted to feel his body over mine. I kissed him and felt him start to relax.
We lay that way for a while, our legs tangled, enjoying the moment. After a few minutes though, I felt the heat start to rise from the both of us. We were breathless and I think we both knew that the moment was right. He'd released my hand and now they were both in his hair; he pulled his head up so his lips were barely touching mine. "I want you," he murmured. There wasn't anything I could say to that. I put my hand on his chest and pushed gently; we turned so I was on top of him. I straddled his lap and lifted my sweater off myself. Edward sat up then, moving us so our legs were around each other. He ran his hands over my shoulders, down my arms, his eyes following his movements. He kissed my collarbone, working his way across my shoulder he slipped the straps of my bra down. He traced over my chest lightly, intently focused on what he was doing. There was enough light coming through the open door that I could see him clearly. He looked…in awe. It filled me with more love than I thought a heart could hold. I raised his head so I could kiss him and he took my mouth eagerly, pushing me back down against the bed. He kissed my neck and I felt his fingers working at the button of my jeans. Once they were unfastened he snaked down my body, kissing between my breasts, taking his time. He lowered my jeans inch by inch, unaware of my heightening frenzy. Once they were off, thrown somewhere to the side, he came back up partway. He used a hand to move the waist of my underwear down a fraction, licking the new skin lightly. It made me shiver, which he took as encouragement. He pushed my leg over so he could better face the inside of my thigh; he ran his tongue across it until it met with my underwear. I ran my hands through my hair and sighed softly. I felt him smile against my leg and then hook his fingers into my waistband, pulling swiftly. It was the first time in my life I didn't feel self conscious; I felt like my whole life had been leading me in this direction, leading me to Edward.
He lay back over me and unfastened my bra; I could feel his patience draining from him. Mine was as well. When I made mention of him wearing more clothes than I was he grinned and stood beside the bed to take his trousers and underwear off. He was impressive. I sat up and swung my legs over the side the bed, pulling him to stand in front of me. I felt the planes of his stomach, my tongue darting out to taste him. I took him into my hand and I felt Edward's hands stiffen in my hair. I continued to roam until I heard his breathing quicken. "Bella," he breathed. "I need to be inside you." That was enough for me.
He grabbed me around the waist and moved us so we were lying across the side of the bed. He lay between my legs; I could feel him against me and I wrapped my legs around him, trying to pull him closer. Edward stopped then and looked at me, head tilted. I wasn't sure what he may have been thinking, but his eyes were bright, thoughtful. He lowered his head to kiss me and at that moment I felt him move in me. We stayed that way for a minute, getting used to the feeling. He started moving first, very slowly. Achingly slowly. I moaned into his ear and lifted my chest off the bed a fraction. He took that as a good sign and sped up, kissing my chest softly. We moved together until I felt his breathing become hitched; I was beginning to feel a tingling in my legs, my hands. He moved his hands then, one touching my face, the other grabbed one of my legs, pushing my knee so it was near his shoulder. I couldn't hold back any longer. I moaned his name quietly and my eyes fluttered closed, every muscle tightening around him. He kept moving and I felt him release a second later, moaning into my ear. For that moment it was just us, unaware of the world around us.
Edward's face was pressed into my neck and he was panting. I slowed my breathing and kissed his forehead. He kissed my neck and looked up, a lazy grin playing at his mouth. He ran a thumb over my lips. "I love you." He pulled me up so we could lay under the covers, we looked at each other a second before I buried my head in his chest. I moved a leg to rest over his hips before we both fell asleep.
When I woke up about an hour later, Edward was still asleep. I stretched and loosened myself from his embrace. Standing up, I looked around until I saw the white t-shirt Edward had been planning on wearing sitting on his dresser. I slipped it on and padded out into the living room. It was a little after nine o'clock. I emptied my purse and pulled out his gifts; I'd noticed two stockings tacked up over his fireplace. As quietly as I could I put his things inside, then moved his gift under the tree. Turning back toward the bedroom I saw that his second bedroom's door was open, which it never was when I was here. He had never said anything about the room being off limits, but I had a feeling he preferred if I wasn't in there. I knew he used it as a small studio space, but that was all. I walked over to stand in front of it, debating. "That's what I wanted to show you," his voice startled me. He stood in the doorway of the bedroom, his trousers back on. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, that anxious look back in his features. He bit his lip and then moved to the door, pushing it open. I followed him in and he turned on the light.
It was me, at least some of it was. There were different sized canvases leaning against all the available wall space. Edward moved me to one against the far wall. "Start there, they're in order." He stood behind me while I looked at the paintings. The first was me, sitting on a bench looking slightly away. I recognized the bench as the one I always sat on by the Monet at the museum. The second was my face, my hair was disheveled; I looked like I had a secret. Not all the pictures were of me. Some were stark, lonely looking pictures of a room with a shadowy figure standing always just at the edge of the frame. The last one was me although you couldn't see my face; I was sleeping, you could see fall of my waist, the rise of my hip under a blanket. My hand was in the frame, hanging slightly off a couch. They were incredible. "How long have you –"
"Since I first saw you."
I turned to face him and he bit his lip again, looking worried. I tilted my head and thought about that for a second. We'd felt the same way about each other for so long; there was so much time we wasted.
"I love them."
He released a held breath and took a step closer. "The museum wants to use them in a new exhibit. I showed them to the curator last week," he paused. "I called the series 'Bella'. It's completely up to you, if you don't want them shown that's ok. I don't want you to have to feel…so…exposed."
I thought about that, he had a point. But as I looked back at the pictures, I hoped there were other people in the world at this moment sharing the kind of love I suddenly knew Edward had for me. "Show them." I turned back around, Edward was beaming at me.
"Yes." I smiled at him.
He grabbed me in a hug that lifted my feet off the ground. We didn't say anything, we didn't need to.
Later after we'd eaten we sat on the couch, talking about inconsequential things. In the middle of a random story, I interrupted, "I can't wait anymore. I want you to open your present." I said it in a rush, not sure he caught it all.
He laughed and said ok. I hopped off the couch and grabbed it, setting it in his lap. He opened it gingerly, as if he was planning on saving the paper. He examined the cover of the book carefully, "Bella. This isn't even out yet. How did you?" He trailed off.
"Open it," I grinned and bit my lip.
He did and his mouth hung open. "Bella," he said again.
I fidgeted and waited for him to say something. "Do you like it?"
"I love it," he smiled broadly and hugged me. He looked back down at the autograph, tracing over it lightly. He smiled at me again. "Ok, your turn." He went to the tree and grabbed a gift; it was about a foot wide, a perfect square, and almost flat. I thought it was a book too until he put it in my hands. I opened it and my eyes went wide. It was a smaller version of the Waterlilies painting I loved so much. He turned the canvas over to the backside; a short message said 'To my love, the painting that started it all, Edward'. "I knew how much you liked it, so I made you your own. It's just a little –" I silenced him by putting my fingers over his lips.
I looked at him, trying to convey what I couldn't say with words. I leaned forward then and kissed him. "I love you too," he murmured.
We opened our stockings after that, we figured we might as well; it was at this point technically Christmas. I was sitting on his lap; we were making out like teenagers. I felt him getting excited underneath me. "You know," he mumbled. I could see a mischievous grin beginning to form, "I have more chocolate in the kitchen. The melting kind," he raised an eyebrow at me. I suddenly understood why he had such a fixation with it.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" I grinned back and stood up. He stood and took my face into his hands, staring at me for a second. He smiled fully and then let go, jogging into the kitchen. He followed me into the bedroom, looking like a kid on Christmas morning. I felt him behind me, trying to pull my shirt off. "What about the sheets," I teased. He tossed the container onto the bed.
He put his arms around me, kissing my neck, trailing his tongue to my shoulder. "I don't care about the sheets." He spun me around, putting a tiny amount of distance between us. "I love you Bella." His eyes were shining as he looked at me.
"I love you, Edward." I pulled us toward the bed. "Now come here and show me why you like chocolate so much."