Thanks to -le jen- for awesome chats and ff connections
Grazie to withthevampsofcourse and jandco for being such awesome smut isnpirations, and vjgm for getting me into the glorious community that is ff.
Giant hugs to JensWordSong, for 1) becoming an official beta (about time!) and 2) for beta-ing this grammatically appalling chapter. You're awesome.
In the last chapter of 'A Beautiful Stranger':
Edward buys Bella the dress, despite her protestations.
I cried out, my eyes wide as Edward's card was swiped by the pinched-face cashier.
Edward chuckled as he signed.
"Are you even aware of what you just did?" I asked, bewildered as we exited the store, a brand new beautifully wrapped dress swinging from the conspicuous 'Chanel' bag on Edward's muscled arm.
He shrugged his shoulders.
"Do you know how much you spent?" I asked again, frustrated by his lack of response.
"Nope," he shrugged, an arrogant smile emblazoned on his chiseled face. He turned to me, the same grin colouring his perfect features, "but I know you're worth it," he said, before touching his lips, oh so gently, to mine.
All of my rue vanished as our lips moved in perfect synchronization, before he pulled away.
The dreamy expression disappeared completely from of my face after he said, "but I do expect some payback for my purchase."
My mouth dropped open and a heated blush ran up my cheeks – how did he expect me to pay him back?
Edward waltzed arrogantly away, glancing back at me cheekily. I ran up to him, careful not to trip on the cobblestones. "I didn't ask you to buy me the dress, you have no rig—"
And then I stopped. God, how could I have been so stupid?
I stood, right in the middle of the alleyway, with a wicked grin on my face, planning the day ahead.
My last day.
Thoughts of leaving hadn't crossed my mind for the last few days I had been with Edward. And yet, my flight was first thing tomorrow morning. The nine-hour trip would get me to JFK, NYC, and then it would be another six-hour flight to SeaTac airport in Seattle. Alice had promised to pick me up.
I was only vaguely aware of Edward's hand grasping mine and his voice saying frantically, "Bella? Bella, are you all right?" my realization had come as such a shock, and I was still so enveloped in my thoughts that his gorgeous, delicious, velvet voice seemed distant, like he was calling me while I was underwater. And that was exactly how I felt. Suddenly this dream, this fantasy that we...I...had been living out was just that: a fantasy. Things as good as this affair didn't come to girls like me...Bella Swan! Things as wonderful as this relationship (or however much a relationship this was) didn't ever happen to a boring, unremarkable girl from a small town outside Seattle!
I tried to swallow, but my throat was too dry.
I was only brought to consciousness by Edward's soft lips pressing hard against mine, obviously trying to wake me from my reverie. Shaking my head, I came back to him.
But it was in that simple toss of my hair that I decided that I was not going to say a thing to Edward about my departure. He obviously thought of this as a sex-filled fling, and therefore, so would I. Before our date, in our 'get ready hour', I'd throw all of my stuff into my suitcase, to ensure that after I'd fucked him tonight (fucked, not made love to) I could leave quickly. No note, no letter, no form of contact. I would make it a clean break, as such. I would be a guy, in other words.
Bella Swan would not, could not be hurt again. I had developed protective measures, especially after the disastrous relationships I had had in the past, and now they were coming into action, slowly readying themselves to envelop me into the catatonic state I always fell into after my heart got broken.
Snapping out of my dreamlike state with a bright smile, I narrowed my eyes sexily. "I left my, uh, money back at the apartment. Why don't we go and I'll reimburse you there?" I asked with a raise of the eyebrow, my tone dripping with innuendo.
Edward's emerald eyes shifted to a shade of green so dark, it was almost black.
His tongue peeked out from between his pink lips and licked the bottom one seductively, looking at my pursed mouth. I smiled and skipped past him, leaving him stranded in the road.
We laughed and tickled and poked and ran and walked all the way back to the apartment. We were huffing and puffing and Edward's hands were so shaky that he could barely type the code to get through the main gate.
As soon as we entered the dusty hallway, though, we silenced and the sexual charge between us heightened.
We kissed slowly at the bottom of the stairs.
I went up first, backwards, feeling for each stair against the back of my ankle, never once breaking eye contact with him.
Halfway up the first flight, I waited for him and he kissed me deeper, with more pace than before.
I only ran up five steps before he took me in his arms and ravished my mouth, his tongue forcing itself through my plump lips.
A moan reverberated between our mouths – I wasn't sure which one of us emitted it.
Another half flight of stairs and this time I jumped on him, pushing him against the wall in the stairwell. He supported my ass with his wide hands as we stood there making out, grinding against each other in a way that should be made illegal.
With foresight, I realised that, in Italy, it probably was.
He let me down and we ran the rest of the way. My legs were shaky as I climbed the stairs, and he pushed me up by the ass with one hand, the other one stroking up and down my thigh.
We crashed into my apartment – my heart twinged as I realised this would be the last time he would be in it – and I opened my eyes, despite our lips being pushed together.
I looked at his eyelids, half shut in ecstasy and memorized them. My gaze followed the shape of his nose – slightly crooked from the front – he must have broken it when he was little, down to his lips, currently pressed feverishly against mine.
And then I let myself go.
My hands wound tightly into his hair, pulling at his roots, but I didn't care. My elbows rested against his broad shoulders, my knees bent around his hips. He carried me into the bedroom, and we landed with a giant 'thud' on the bed. We bounced up, never leaving each other's arms. I lay on top of him, squirming, trying to take both his and my clothes off at the same time, while simultaneously attempting to get as close as possible to him, his skin, and his warmth.
He was fumbling with the buckle on his jeans, the hooks of my bra, all the while keeping one hand running through my hair. I was cupping his face in my hand, pressing his head closer to mine, attempting to undo the buttons of his shirt and to push down his jeans and boxers with my bare feet.
The location of my shoes escaped me.
But, at that moment, material posessions meant nothing.
At that moment, the only thing that meant anything to me at all was the man currently kneading my breasts with his warm hands. I moaned against his mouth, snaking my hand between us.
He inadvertently bit my lip as my fingers made contact with his dick. I groaned into his mouth. This wasn't want, I decided as my tongue found his ear, this was sheer need. In that moment, I honestly believed that if I didn't have him, and if he didn't have me, we would both die.
He flipped us over blindingly fast – if I had been even semi-coherent, I think I would have fainted outright .
Instead, I concentrated on pulling his pesky shirt off of his muscled arms and running my hands over his hot, smooth chest. My fingers entangled themselves into the thick locks of hair on his head, never wanting to leave.
His left hand ran down my body, tweaking my nipple as it traveled further down. At first, I thought his nimble fingers were going to satisfy the aching need at my core, but instead he hooked his whole hand under my knee and pulled my leg over his shoulder. Without even the normal moment of hesitation in arrangement, Edward plunged himself fully into me.
A strangled moan filled the room.
I tossed my head back as he pulled back and thrust into me again. His hand ran up and down my thigh, my calf, my thigh, my calf, in a regular rhythm that echoed his movements. My hands tangled further into his hair, the locks wound tightly around my fingers. My eyes stayed open the whole time, watching every move he made, imprinting it onto my memory.
The way his muscles of his neck stuck out with every heated toss of his head.
The way his eyes rolled back into his head in such an Edwardian way.
The way his hair bobbed on his forehead, drenched in sweat so that each clump teased into a point at the end.
The determined set of his mouth, opening and closing in pleasure.
And I lay there, being pounded like an animal, in the throes of absolute pleasure, memorizing his beauty and reminding myself that this was a one-time thing.
Even his slightest movement set off a chain reaction in my body, first starting as a scorching hot fire in the centre of my being, spreading out right to the tips of my fingers and toes, winding down as he pulled out and then – as he filled me again the fire relit, burning me with an even brighter, even hotter flame than before.
And then Edward unsheathed himself completely, before plunging his whole length right into me once again.
I let out a wild howl as the core of the fire spread right down to the ends of my hair, shaking my whole existence. Edward growled and brought his face forward so that our noses touched.
He kept up his rhythm until both of us reached completion, reeling over the intensity.
"Wow," he said.
My breath left me in a slow 'whoosh,' expressing exactly how overwhelmed I felt right then.
He let out a chuckle and leaned over me, spreading his arm over my quivering shoulders and planting a tender kiss on my earlobe, the curve of my jaw, my chin, and my lips. His kisses continued their path up the slope of my nose, across my eyebrows until two tender kisses were placed on my eyelids.
I screwed my eyes shut, pretending that it tickled.
I was really trying not to cry.
I don't know how I fell asleep, but the next thing I knew, my eyes were opening, bleary to the evening light shining through my window. I blew air out fast through my nose and glanced up. Edward was sitting upright, butt naked, in my bed looking through the stack of books on my bedside table. I sat up next to him, pulling my legs over his lap.
My knee nudged his cock.
I knew that he had glanced at me as I felt his dick start to harden next to my kneecap, but feigned innocence, and asked him what he thought of my book collection.
"Pretty standard," he shrugged.
"What?" I exclaimed, thoroughly surprised. People were usually impressed with my book collection, not indifferent!
"I don't know, typical girl stuff, I guess." He shrugged again – I decided that his nonchalance was a façade. He was horny again; I didn't know how long he had been awake.
"When did you suddenly become a teenage boy?" I said, looking convincingly aghast.
He grinned. "I like some of the stuff you have here, especially the Burgess and Salinger, but 'Wuthering Heights'? Seriously?"
Crossing my arms, I sulked. "That happens to be one of my favourites, thank you very much."
His smile widened and I watched as his eyes traveled up from my accentuated cleavage, finally to my face.
"I guess I can understand," he said and reached for the battered, weather-worn copy, "I studied this in high school, I know it pretty well… I hate the book, but enjoyed studying it and really liked the concept."
His brow was furrowed as he flipped through the tattered pages. "I mean, there are a few parts which I thought Bronte really got right."
As I sat, my mind was intrigued by his favourite quotes, my body hypnotized by the nimble movements of his long fingers, flipping through the yellowed pages.
"Ah, here it is: "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!""
He chuckled, "I've only felt this way about one girl, ever."
I smiled and pretended to be staring at his ever-enlarging wood, trying not to cry for the third time that day.
"You know, I'm kind of hungry," I said, a wicked grin on my face.
Wicked grin was good. It screwed up my eyes. If there were any tears in there, they'd be too compressed to come out.
He put the book down and said, "You know, me too. Why don't we just go for a quiet little bistro tonight? There's a gorgeous little restaurant around the corner. They do the best spaghetti Bolognese in Italy, I swear."
"What about the party?" I asked, not letting my ulterior motives get the better of my expression.
"Well, I'd rather spend the time with you."
I swore under my breath. A trip to an intimate restaurant would mean we would have to talk, which would mean that I'd probably start to cry. He hadn't comprehended my sexual undertones, for once.
Plastering a silly, watery grin on my face, I said, "Sure, I'll meet you in an hour downstairs?"
He returned my smile with a breathtaking smile of his own and kissed me dreamily on the lips. I stayed, fixated, on the bed while he pulled on his jeans and shirt.
Tossing me his boxers, he laughed. "Here, you can keep these. It's only fair now that I have yours."
I pretended to laugh along with him. I waited on the bed until I heard him close the apartment door behind him.
Then I broke down.
I pulled on an old, holey t-shirt that lay discarded by my side of the bed and a pair of dirty cotton underwear. It was disgusting, but I had lost all respect for myself.
Rushing around the room, I grabbed all of the clothing that had been flung around the room during my endless sex sessions with Edward. Just the thought of his name triggered another wail. I picked out a rich twilight blue shirtdress that came up midthigh on me. Leaving my silver heels on the floor next to the suitcase, I ensured that I had a clean underwear set.
I rummaged thoroughly through the kitchen, ensuring that I didn't leave any of my edible presents there. The rooms weren't messy, but the flat surfaces had a dull sheen of dust which reminded me of living with Charlie in Forks. The dirt didn't worry me, though - I had arranged, through my landlady, for a cleaning service to come and wipe away any evidence of my being here, to eradicate any signs of Edward's and my relationship.
After a quick double-check of the bedroom, I stripped the sheets off of the bed and folded them roughly, leaving them hanging over the bedpost.
As I headed to the shower, I remembered that I was leaving for forever, which meant that I would have to ready myself for the long, exhausting journey I had awaiting me. I burrowed through the piles of tightly packed clothing in my too-small suitcase before I found the jeans and shirt I had worn on Edward's and my first date.
A single tear dripped from my eye as I remembered the anticipation, the adrenaline and the rush I received from talking to him. Now I was just dreading the end.
I turned the shower on, as high as it could go, and stepped into the burning water, letting it scald me. My skin boiled lobster red underneath the steady stream. I washed my hair three times and rinsed it five. I wondered briefly if I was developing OCD.
When I shaved my legs and armpits, I didn't even react when a giant flush of red gushed down my calf. Blood barely even made me dizzy anymore. That was an adolescent phase. Well, a phase from my teenage years, lasting into my late twenties.
Planting my foot firmly against the raggedy old bathmat, I stepped out of the bath and reached for the hard, but absorbent towel. I rubbed myself down hard until my skin was red raw.
Running a brush roughly through my hair, I stared at my reflection in the mirror. Despite my inner turmoil, my skin was glowing and my hair shone. The sun must have gotten to the hair, and the sex to my skin. Estrogen sure did do wonders for the complexion.
I dressed hurriedly and swiped on some eyeliner and lip-gloss – I had Edward already, and didn't need to keep him, that was for sure – and double-checked the room, making sure that it was vaguely acceptable. And then I spied the pile of books sitting in the corner.
I thought for a minute I had swallowed my tongue. The room was deathly silent as I walked over to them, taking them quickly in hand and sprinting back to the suitcase, shoving them right to the bottom. 'Wuthering Heights' was on top.
That one was pushed right under my pile of dirty underwear.
I straightened up again, slipping my shoes on as I shook my hair out. Checking myself in the mirror again, I decided that I looked presentable. If my face didn't please Edward, then my wild mane of sex hair would.
Glancing through the kitchen door, I realized that my timing had been impeccable – I was ten minutes early, enabling me to go up to Edward's apartment and claim desperate hunger and horniness had overcome me and that I had to go and eat straightaway.
I headed upstairs, only stubbing my toes once on the creaky, but hard, wooden steps. Knocking on Edward's door, I only had to wait ten seconds before a very wet and nearly naked Edward answered the door, clad only in a towel. He grinned as he swung the heavy door open and appraised my appearance.
"I'll be ready in two minutes. Let me just dress and attempt to tame my hair."
I laughed coyly and reached up to run my hands through the tangled mess that epitomized 'sex hair.'
"I like it. A lot."
He pressed his lips to mine, "then I'll only be thirty seconds; the hair takes up the most time."
Giggling like a little girl, I strutted over to the expansive leather couch, sitting down and falling back, not realizing how sunken it was.
By the time I had managed to right myself, I looked over to the doorway where Edward was standing, in the sexiest way a man can, with his arm over his head framing the doorjamb and his legs crossed.
His black jeans were tight in just the right way – across the ass, but looser around the legs. A black zip-up hoodie was left open underneath his gorgeous buttery black leather jacket. A simple v-neck white t-shirt was visible through the jackets. His classic Ray-Bans and chucks finished off the ensemble.
I let out a sigh of contentment. When I wasn't thinking of leaving him, just his presence immediately relaxed me and brought me to the brink of joy.
He rushed over to me, closing the distance between us in three swift steps, cupping my face in his long hands and kissing me fully on the lips. I relaxed immediately into his tender touch before he pulled softly away.
"Why do I have the inkling that this is going to end?" he sighed, staring imploringly into my eyes.
I laughed as though he was being ridiculous, "because we're both hungry and need to keep our sustenance if we're going to continue this later."
He laughed with me, but his smile didn't reach his eyes. They were still sad and confused, a furrow between his brows standing out. I hated lying to him, but couldn't bear to tell the truth.
As soon as he reached out for my hand, though, all of my worries evaporated. We walked down the stairs, giving each other cheeky glances as we thought of the memories that occurred on these very steps.
Our walk around the corner was, indeed, short and we were there in less than five minutes. It was an adorable little bistro, set right in the backstreets, off of the main piazza called 'Il Leone e l'Agnello.' I asked Edward what the meaning and he said that it mean 'the Lion and the Lamb,' based on an Old Italian tale about a bloodsucking monster that fell in love with a beautiful, frail young woman.
The inside was beautiful; old, medieval rafters hung low – Edward had to duck his head to fit – creating a comforting ambiance along with the hundreds of candles that flickered romantically on the tables and tucked into gaps where bricks once were.
Edward led me to our table and ordered for both of us – two minestrone soups, which he said was a plain, but flavourful, thick vegetable broth, and of course, his favourite spaghetti Bolognese. I complained that it would be too hard to eat but he said that he'd be happy to help. Oh, and he definitely wanted to help in more ways than one.
Our table was situated in the corner of the restaurant, and each of us sat on either side of the little 'L' that followed the shape of the room. Our shoulders were touching gently, the palpable electricity back with a vengeance. I put my shaky hand on his thigh and he kissed my cheek tenderly.
Okay, that was odd…
Usually, from this hunk of sex, I'd expect a much more marked reaction like flinging me over his shoulder to run back home and fuck me senseless.
This was odd. Had he guessed that I was leaving? No, surely not. I hadn't mentioned anything about how long I was here, just that my trip lasted three weeks.
I ceased my thoughts as the wine came, feeling bad about getting so wrapped up in myself when I was at dinner with the very person I was thinking about. I glanced at Edward, expecting him to be looking at me, but instead found him playing nervously with the napkin, a strange sad expression on his face.
Obviously feeling my stare on him, he turned to me with a smile – a smile that seemed strangely familiar. And then it hit me – it was the same, fake expression that I had been giving him all day. The false grin that never really reached to the inside of your heart, like a real, hearty smile would do.
We instinctively snuggled close to each other, and he wrapped a warm arm around my shoulders – I hadn't worn enough clothing and besides, I loved hanging off Edward – and nuzzled his nose into my neck, inhaling deeply. I rested my head on his warm chest, playing softly with his zippers.
We were interrupted out of our peaceful pose when the waiter came over with our soups. We separated, only slightly – Edward ate left-handed so that our hands could remain intertwined.
That simple gesture made my heart ache.
We ate our soups in a companionable silence, enjoying being in each other's presence. Every once in a while, I would catch Edward's eyes on me, but would give him a genuine smile and continue eating. Other times I would press my lips lovingly to his. With each gentle touch, the happiness came back into his eyes.
We remained in our tender, intimate circle until the giant plates of spaghetti arrived. I immediately burst out laughing, ruining our quiet atmosphere.
Edward was taken aback, but the crooked grin was back, so I was happy.
"They're massive! How am I supposed to eat all of that?"
He chuckled – a real hearty sound that seemed to resonate right out of the very pit of his chest, "You were the one who said you were hungry, and the one who wanted to 'build up our stores for later'" he reminded me teasingly.
"Fine," I acknowledged with a joking tone to my voice, "but I'm going to have to work these calories off somehow, you know," I spoke again, this time with a sexual edge.
I had expected Edward's eyes to tighten with anticipation and for him to shift, as he usually did, with an immediate hard-on.
Instead, he smiled warmly at me and leant forward, brushing the hair off of my shoulder and whispering with a sultry voice, "I have other plans for us tonight, Bellissima."
His voice sent shudders down my spine.
Our intimate circle had returned and we fed each other the spaghetti. Or rather, Edward fed me. Sloppy sauce and klutzy Bella don't really go together.
We finished our delicious meal with some fresh gelato (I had stracciatella in 'un cuppa' (a cup), Edward had ciambella and amaretto in 'un cono' instead).
On our walk home, we took turns licking the little bits of ice cream we seemd to magically find on each other's faces, even though we were both impeccable eaters. I smiled to myself.
I had expected us to race up the stairs and ravish each others' bodies, but as I started to rush up the stairs, Edward's firm hold on my hand stopped me. I looked at him questioningly, but instead he just smiled serenely and picked me up like a groom taking the bride across the threshold.
And no, the symbolism didn't escape me.
I clutched his neck tightly as Edward strode confidently up the rickety stairs, kicking open the door to his apartment. I sighed – at least he hadn't gone to mine. He carried me to his expansive bedroom and laid me down on the crumpled sheets. He settled himself across the length of my body and placed his head tenderly on my chest. I played with his hair, which, having just been dried, was gorgeously fluffy, like down on a kitten.
I don't know how much time went past before he brought his head upright so that his chin was resting on my sternum and said, "Want to try the 'something different'?"
Shrugging, I nodded, slightly perplexed.
Edward knelt in between my legs, taking off his leather jacket and unzipping his hoodie. Understanding what he meant, I knelt up as well, my head coming up to his pecs. I helped him get the sweatshirt off, and then ran my hands up his warm back, underneath his t-shirt, before shuffling it up his hard torso. He threw it into the corner of the room and brought his gaze back to me.
My hands traced invisible patterns over his golden skin and he sighed, looking deeply into my eyes. I reached up and kissed him on the end of his nose with as much tenderness as I could muster. He closed his eyes and exhaled.
His face, in that split second, was the most beautiful I had ever seen it.
I was brought back to the present as his dexterous fingers started to run their way up the outside of my thighs, ruffling up the fabric of my dress until you could see the waistband of my underwear. Instead of taking the dress off over my head, as I expected him to, he brought his hands back up to my face, kissed me gently on the nose, then started undoing the buttons painfully slowly.
Clasping my hands to his, I was desperate for him to speed up but he merely grasped them for a while and brought them down back to my sides.
Jesus, I loved this man.
After he had taken my arms out of the dress, he stretched over to my right to hang it carefully over one of the bedposts. If I didn't love him before, our mutual hatred of crinkles only strengthened our bond.
I noticed him watching me, and realised that it was my turn. I undid the buckle of his belt, pulling it out of the loopholes slowly. His jeans fell slightly to hang on his hips, but didn't fall right down. My kind of guy.
Undoing the button and zip very carefully, I gestured to him that he should lie on his back. He complied and lifted his butt just at the right time for me to pull his jeans and boxers off.
When I saw the patterns on his briefs, a giant smirk crossed my face. Edward 'God of Sex' Masen wore Snoopy and Woodstock underwear. I looked up at him, expecting an explanation. He shrugged in that wonderfully casual way he does and said, "My mom still buys my underwear for me."
Both of us laughed out loud, but when I realized that he was hard again, my giggles stopped abruptly. I turned to straddle him and leaned over, kissing him softly on his velvet lips, pressing my breasts against his chest. He moaned against my lips and slowly rolled us over, his left arm supporting my back, undoing the hooks of my bra at the same time.
He flung that over somewhere to the right, but I didn't even register the soft fluttering of the fabric to the floor before he leaned over and kissed me, this time with more purpose. His hand travelled slowly, tracing invisible patterns over my overheated skin, down to the curve of my hip to the band of the lacy panties I was wearing. He hooked his forefinger into the side and pulled. I lifted my ass, as he had done, as he pulled them off of me, kissing one foot and then they other as they were freed.
His eyes roamed over my body as if he'd never seen it before. I noticed him taking in every detail; the giant freckle I had next to my right breast, the various scars on my elbows and knees from being the clumsiest child in Forks, the mole on the left side of my neck, the tiny freckle on the inside of my left wrist and my left ankle.
In this situation with anyone else, I would be blushing like a madwoman. But with Edward, it just felt so god damn right. The more romantic side of me was shouting that he was in love with me too, that he sensed my departure and wanted to commit me to memory. As if such a thing were possible.
He lowered his mouth to my right nipple and sucked lightly, his fingers rubbing against my core. My hands tangled into his hair, happy to be reunited with his velvety locks. My mouth opened in a silent scream, although only the slightest little mews were coming out. Edward smiled and covered my mouth with his own.
I noticed that he was arranging himself in between my legs, readying us for missionary again.
"No!" I cried, more dramatically than I had intended.
I couldn't bear to be in that intimate an embrace again. To be safe, trapped in his strong arms, his gentle face looking down on me – it was simply too much. Tears would be running down my face in no time, and then he would ask what was wrong.
And in my stupid, juvenile, stubborn belief in telling the truth, I would confess all; my love for him, my stupidity and sensitivity in falling so unconditionally, irrevocably in love with someone over the course of one week.
Instead I pushed his shoulders over so that he laid on his back, with me settled comfortably on top, his cock in front of me, between my bent legs. I bent over, planting a wet kiss on his tip before raising myself on my knees, placing my hands on his chest so low that our noses touched and backing myself onto him.
The pleasure was indescribable. He was getting places he had never gotten before, rubbing me in pleasure spots I didn't even know I had.
Opening my eyes, I willed for some speck of reality to bring this whole, wonderful dream from crashing down onto me. But none came. I would have to endure this painfully superb fantasy.
My gaze turned to Edward, and I was startled to see his steady stare boring into my eyes, the green burning with some mystical fire.
His look was so intense, so magnetizing that I couldn't look away, even though I wanted to. I raised myself up again and brought myself back down onto him, clenching my walls as I did so. Although the two of us brought a guttural moan forth, Edward's steady gaze did not falter.
His eyes were wide, honest, and open and never had I felt guiltier about not being totally and utterly truthful about my feelings, even if they were going to be shoved back in my face.
Another heated movement from the two of us, and the intensity became too much. Pleasure exploded from my very core outwards, pushing me backward so that I was sitting straight again, my breasts pushed forward, my head flung back in a desperate motion derived from sheer joy. I leaned back, my hands resting on Edward's shins as I ground into him erotically, riding out the orgasm, revelling in the feeling of him inside me.
Still shaking, I removed him from me – it pained me to do it, a hollow settled in my stomach – and I laid down beside him, wrapping myself in his arms as he cuddled my head underneath his chin, planting a tender kiss on the top of my head, before we both fell asleep.
I felt the emotional pain before I even registered what I was about to do. My eyes opened to a stream of Roman sunlight pouring through the windows. I glanced at Edward's bedside clock. It was nearly six – perfect timing.
I extricated myself from his arms and legs, although it nearly killed me to do it. His face crumpled up in the most endearing way and he let out a soft cry, like a hurt puppy, and for a split second I considered jumping back into bed with him and forgetting the sad, boring, lonely little life I lived back in Seattle.
My logical side told me to get a move on, or I'd miss the plane, and my logical side always won.
Grabbing my clothes from the night before, I just wrapped my dress around my cold, naked body without bothering to button it up and scooped up my shoes and underwear.
The tears had started before I even left his apartment.
They were not the tears I had experienced the night before, which were those of great intense pain and suffering. These were tears of self-blame and loathing. I was disgusted with myself, rotted to the very pit of my stomach at my inability to do anything spontaneous that would mean following my heart.
I let myself into the apartment that had once been such a home to me. Now it was just an empty shell, a reminder of what I was leaving behind. I could barely even stand to look into that memorable blue kitchen, full of Edward.
Dressing hurriedly, I merely tied my hair up into a rough ponytail and splashed my face with cold water before grabbing my suitcase and my handbag and carrying them downstairs.
Normally, I would just roll the suitcase, but I didn't want to make any noise and disturb the residents, especially the one still sleeping, naked on the third floor.
Flagging down a taxi was easy – there were no silver Volvos in Rome. I didn't even have to speak Italian to tell the driver where to go. I just spoke one word: Fiumicino, Rome's principal airport.
I didn't even pay attention to the driver's Italian babble. Now I had no interest in Italian unless the beautiful words were spoken by my handsome, bronze-haired ex-neighbour. I sat still; ignoring the man in the front seat, staring out of the window, reminiscing about the person I was last in a car with…
Before I knew it, we had arrived in at the departures gate. I paid the driver, giving him only a two-euro tip and stepped out of the cab with a drained 'grazie'.
My check-in and security checks went quickly – the drive had taken longer than I thought and I walked straight to the gate. I had originally planned to get something to eat at one of the many cafes dotted around the sunny building, but found no need for food.
All I really wanted was him, the beautiful, green-eyed gentleman that had welcomed me into his vacation and his secret life as a Roman. Had I made the wrong choice? Should I go back? Should I write him a letter?
I'll admit – I let my cowardice get the better of me.
And so I boarded the plane hating myself more than I ever had before.