Going Up?

"I don't know about you, but I could use a shower."

That voice … dear God, that voice! Sex – that's what it was. His voice was pure sex, and I knew I would never get enough of it. I shivered a little in his arms as his deep, dulcet tones caressed my being. It felt such a shame now to know that I'd wasted months emailing him when I could have heard that voice, when I could have known the safety of his arms, when I could have known the way his touch made me feel alive. It still didn't feel real. And as I thought about this man, about the lion that I'd admired for so long, it occurred to me how different we were and how I'd never deserve him.

It was bad enough to know that E was one of the kindest, smartest men that I'd ever known. But to pair that with the man, the lion, whose physical appeal had no equal … I felt reality sobering me. It wasn't that I thought I was some ugly cow. I was old enough, mature enough, to know that I was attractive. But not like Mr. Lion. If he was major league, I was triple A.

But how else could I explain what just happened? How could I explain the fact that I was in his arms and headed up to his penthouse? What did it all mean?

I turned in his arms to look into his deep green eyes, eyes that had alluded me for so long. His lips turned up ever so slightly on the one side, a hint at the crooked smile I knew would be my undoing. I stared into his eyes, searching them for the answers to my questions, but found myself getting lost instead. His hand came up to caress my cheek, and his touch was so soft, so tender … I felt as though all of my secrets, all of my most inner thoughts were on display for him, and the thing that alarmed me was that I didn't mind.

I realized as his piercing green eyes continued to stare into mine that, for whatever reason, I trusted this man. I trusted him with my heart and soul. I could see the emotions so clearly in his eyes, and I recognized them easily as all the same emotions I felt. There was amazement, wonder, happiness, confusion, lust, but it was the happiness that I latched on to. As long as he was happy, I could be too. As long as I could see my happiness mirrored in his eyes, I would find a way to battle my insecurities. After all, he was my lion, and I was his lamb.

~*~

She turned in my arms, and I was immediately drawn into the fathomless pools of her deep brown eyes. I made sure to hold her close, my hand caressing the apple of her cheek. So beautiful. She was so beautiful it hurt. It was still so surreal, realizing that B, Bella, was my siren. Although, now it made perfect sense. Now that I had her in my arms, feeling complete in a way I'd never felt before, I wondered if a part of me had always known.

Anticipation hung heavy in the air, silencing us as the elevator hummed quietly, taking us to someplace new. Somehow my mind was blank in spite of the millions of questions that bubbled just below the surface of my consciousness. The woman was even more of a mystery to me now than before. But I took comfort from the knowledge that I would be granted the opportunity to study her, to worship her, and to spend the rest of my life unraveling her mysteries, if she would have me.

I could feel a smile tugging at my lips, and there was no denying how insanely happy I was at this particular moment. We were still suspended between here and there; between the past and a future I wanted with every fiber of my being. I could feel the momentum of the previous months pushing me forward, but I wanted to savor this. I wanted to savor this moment before time caught up with us and propelled us forward. I wanted to always remember this moment before reality caught up with us.

Because the fact of the matter was that reality would be waiting as soon as the elevator door opened. She would either come with me, take the next step with me, or she would come to her senses and let me go without her. Once we took that step out of the elevator and back to the real world, there were questions, scheduling conflicts, families, friends, arguments, jealousy, misunderstandings, and just plain drama.

But there would also be love, companionship, comfort, kisses, hugs, shared beds, love making, and all of the things I was too scared to hope for. I wanted to believe that this was it. That Bella would be it for me. I'd grown so tired of the sycophantic women that swam in my social pool. Bella was clearly nothing like them, and I worried what would happen when I brought her into my world. I'd alluded to as much in my emails to B, Bella. I'd selfishly kept some of the finer details of my life hidden from her, fearing what her reaction would be.

But I had to believe that I could protect her. I had to believe that she fit in my life. I had to believe that we would find a way to make this work, because God knows, I wanted her. No, it was more than that. I needed her. I could already feel the way my being molded to hers. It was as if my entire existence had been turned on its axis. Much like when we'd discovered that the universe did not revolve around the Earth, rather the earth revolved around the sun; my understanding of life as I'd known it had shifted. Bella was my sun, my center of gravity now.

Speaking of gravity, I could almost feel the gravitational force of her eyes pulling me in, drawing out my secrets and all that I'd been holding back. Did she know what kind of power she held over me? The B that I'd come to know through our emails was confident but modest. I knew that this power she held over me was completely unintentional; I could see it in her eyes. The innocence of her charms was captivating. She was so beautiful, so alluring, so good … what could she possibly see in me?

~*~

When the elevator let out the classic 'ding,' I blinked for what felt like the first time in years. My heart stopped for the briefest moment before kicking into overdrive. This was it, the point of no return. I didn't think it possible, but my lion seemed … cautious, as if I were the lion, not him. He was giving me a choice. I had thought it was perfectly clear by now that I wanted him, but evidently I needed to remind him.

I reached up on my toes, wrapping my arms around his neck, and lightly pressed my upturned lips against his. "You said something about a shower?"

His eyes sparkled, his face broke into that crooked grin I'd only glimpsed before, and I was officially ready to be led off to my slaughter. Faster than I could register, he bent down to sweep my off my feet, one arm under my knees and the other cradling my back, causing me to giggle like a schoolgirl. But the giggles melted away when he brought his lips back to mine, his tongue teasing my lips. Mmmm … he tastes so good!

I could tell we were moving, but I was too caught up in kissing him and tasting him to notice much else. I embarrassed myself by whimpering slightly when he put me down on my feet again. But when his hands came up to cradle my face, his lips brushing against mine, there was nothing I could do but to simply embrace the warmth and contentment that washed over me. It was still so surreal to realize that Mr. Lion and E were Edward. But on the other hand, it felt so right.

"Mmmm … Bella," I felt me knees go weak as he breathed my name against my neck. I hadn't realized until now how much it would affect me to hear my Lion whisper my name.

Hearing my name roll off his tongue, shivering as I savored the way his voice made my name sound like a sin, I was reduced to a puddle of goo. My mind instantly went to the thought process of what it would be like to call out his name as he hovered over me, and I was unnaturally close to coming without him even touching me. It was an odd impulse, but all I wanted was to hear him say my name again.

"Edward …" and the thrill that shook my system when I said his name was something else I wasn't entirely prepared for, and evidently neither was he. He groaned just before his lips attacked mine with a new level of intensity, and I smiled internally knowing that his thoughts apparently mirrored mine. His kiss eased into a series of smaller kisses, as he began to pull away, his lips turned up in a soft smile the entire time.

His thumbs came up to brush over my overheated cheeks as he smiled down at me. "Bella …" his smile was breathtaking as he said my name again, and I could feel my own face struggling to accommodate the ridiculous smile I wore in return. "I'm so glad I found you. I just … just so we're clear … I don't want you to feel pressured to do anything. I'm just thrilled that I finally have you in my arms."

"Edward," there go the shivers again, "if I remember correctly, I was the one on top of you just a little while ago. If anything, I should be apologizing to you for being so forward, but I can't seem to muster the false modesty." I could feel the heat of my blush spreading down my neck with my forthrightness, which was something I never could have managed before.

His smile turned devilish just before he lifted me up in his arms, guiding my legs to wrap around his waist. "Well, in that case, I hope you won't mind if I save the grand tour for after the shower?"

I turned around to see that, at some point, we'd entered his apartment, and from what I could see, I wasn't in Kansas anymore. I felt the butterflies and some of the blood drain from my face as I took in my surroundings. He had to have a maid or something, because his place was spotless, shiny. Each pillow was strategically placed for maximum aesthetic value on his sofa, the colors and patterns clearly chosen by a professional. I suddenly felt out of place, like I was just some tourist sneaking a peek at an art exhibit.

I knew he had to be well off, I mean, the man ran his own production company. But I had failed to consider the ramifications of trying to blend his world with mine. Because the truth of the matter was, he was still Mr. Lion, and I was still just a lamb. He belonged in the major leagues, and I was still struggling in the minors. Soon he would realize just how out of place I was in his world.

Once the lust wore off, he would see me for what I really was and come to his senses. But I tried to convince myself that I would be okay with that. After all, it was too good to be true from the beginning. How many people get to spend a night with someone so perfect? How many people can say that they got to live the fairytale, if only for a short while? No, I would embrace this for what it was. I would not hold it against him when the emails stopped. This man deserved only the best, even if that didn't include me.

~*~

I could feel the change, but I didn't understand it. She was quiet, too quiet. But as I watched her looking around my apartment, reality reared its ugly head. She seemed to be trapped in her head, most likely realizing that our worlds were too different. I could already feel the ache in my chest as I steeled myself for the moment she would walk away from me, kindly pointing out that our lives were simply incompatible. But I would let her go. I would do anything if it meant her happiness.

I only hoped that she wouldn't think of me as some sort of cad. I'd like to think my actions and the emails we shared would have been enough to prove that I was a gentleman. But I also knew how men like myself, were often perceived no thanks to those that perpetuated said stereotype. I was entirely too fortunate to be raised by excellent parents, parents who believed in building character first and foremost, regardless of how many digits were in our bank account.

I was standing at the hallway that led back to the master suite, complete with a huge, old-fashioned bathtub and shower stall with two showerheads and bench. I would be lying if I didn't admit to several fantasies involving that bathroom, most of them only recently conceived, and all featuring Bella. And as much as I wanted to forget the distant expression on her face and ravish her until I couldn't see straight, I wanted her to be happy. No matter what happened, I never wanted to be one of her regrets. Years from now, when she looked back, I only wanted her to smile when she thought of me, when she remembered today.

In spite of the way my heart was breaking with simply the thought of it, I eased her back onto her feet, unwrapping her arms from around my neck. As she looked up at me, her eyes asked a question I didn't think I had the strength to answer. Instead, I let my hands run through her mahogany waves and allowed myself one last, hungry kiss. I knew it was wrong of me, greedy and self-indulgent, but I was beginning to believe that I was a masochist at heart. I had to have one, last taste of her plump lips.

But when I pulled away, I saw a twinge of sadness in her eyes. "Bella, what's wrong?" I brought my thumbs up to trace beneath her eyes, willing the sadness to go away.

She let her head fall down slightly, averting her eyes from me. I would have preferred to see the sadness in her eyes than not see them at all. They were my only clue to her thoughts, and I didn't like feeling disconnected from her. I watched her entire body rise and fall with a heavy sigh, and I felt my heart drop to the floor. I knew it.

"Edward," even with my heart on the floor, knowing what she was about to say, my body still reacted to the sound of my name on her lips. "I … I don't belong here." I knew it.

I knew I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up so high. I felt foolish for letting myself get carried away. Of course, I couldn't begrudge her for feeling overwhelmed. I could never be angry with her for not wanting to be a part of my world. There were many times when I didn't want to be a part of my world. How could I expect someone so pure, with such a good heart, to want to play in the dirt with my kind?

"Edward, it's okay. You don't have to pretend. I'll understand." My mouth was already partly open, ready to gracefully accept her rejection. But when my brain finally processed her words, I found myself … confused.

Everything sort of … stopped. For once, there wasn't a single thought streaming through my head. I was getting a 'does not compute' error from my brain. I tried running her words through my head again, seeing if this time they would make more sense, but I kept getting the same error message. She thought I was rejecting her?

She thought I was rejecting her.

Wait.

She thought I was rejecting her?

Reboot.

"Bella …" I was still struggling to get my mind back online, but I couldn't let her think for one more moment that I didn't want her – that was blasphemy.

What had started out as a mild curiosity had somehow turned into an all-encompassing love. Through the emails, I had gotten to know her. I had gotten to know her quirky sense of humor, her unnaturally giving heart, her selflessness, and the beautiful nature of her spirit. I'd like to think it wouldn't have mattered what she'd looked like, but I had no way of knowing. Never before had I so strongly believed in a higher being, because that was the only way I could explain how this woman had been so perfectly hand-crafted to drive me wild with her physical appearance. And now, here she stood before me, thinking that I didn't want her … blasphemy!

"B, it's still me, E. The only thing that's different now is that you know what that E stands for. Nothing has changed." I had hoped that using a familiar greeting would help remind her that behind the appearance, away from the penthouse apartment, at the core of me, I was still E. I was still the man that she'd bared her soul to the past few months.

I ran my hand through her hair, her eyes closing lightly with my touch, as I moved to close the space between us; figuratively and literally. "How could you think I wouldn't want you? You have to realize that all of this, it's not really me. The same E that you once teased for using words like 'nefarious' is standing right here in front of you."

I could feel my lips tugging up with a smile, remembering those first emails, remembering all that I learned about this amazing woman. "I don't know that I'll ever be able to explain to you just how happy you make me, even if I'm granted the opportunity to spend the rest of my life trying." I let my lips skim along her hairline, occasionally pressing a kiss here and there.

I was back to laying it all on the line. Her thoughts were still a mystery to me, and I was done trying to convince myself that I knew what she was thinking. The only thing I could do now was let her know what was on my mind, what was in my heart – her.

"Edward, E … its just …" I eased my hold of her, pulling back to look into her eyes. I could see the longing, the same longing I felt, and it gave me hope. "Edward, you're so … and I'm not … I … I don't belong here. I break nice things."

It was probably the wrong thing to do, but I couldn't help myself, I laughed. "Bella, you are absurd."

~*~

Well, that wasn't the reaction I was expecting.

He was laughing at me. He called me absurd. Here I was, confessing my insecurities, and he was laughing at me and calling me absurd. But … I couldn't bring myself to be angry with him. He was right; he was the same man that I'd fallen for, the same man that I'd lusted for. It was too good to be true, and yet, somehow … it was true. He was real; the slightly crooked smile on his lips, the sparkle in his intense, green eyes, all real. And this feeling, the fluttering in my stomach, the sweaty palms, the tension in my chest; it was real too. It didn't make sense, but I was done trying to make sense of things. I didn't want things to make sense anymore. All I wanted was E, Edward, my Lion.

He was mid-chuckle when I threw myself at him, knocking him over in the process. We both landed with a thud on his plush, expensive carpet, as we both chuckled through our kisses. I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders, and the giddiness was apparently contagious. I felt like a teenager again as we rolled around on the floor, a mass of appendages, kissing and giggling. But what had started out as innocent, quickly turned into heated and needy.

It seemed like ages ago that we'd been trapped in that elevator, and Edward had made that comment about a shower. Funny how we'd still barely made it past his living room. "Maybe … we … should … clean up … you know … shower?" I felt his body shiver slightly when I said the word, 'shower,' which in turn garnered an entirely different reaction in one very specific area for me.

In a move I couldn't describe even if I tried, I was wrapped around his torso as he stood, and walked to what I could only hope was his bathroom. I savored the feeling of his arms around me, holding him tightly against his body. It was a reminder that he wanted me just as much as I wanted him. That, and I simply loved feeling his hard, muscled body. And just when my mind began to wonder if he was too perfect to be real, he tripped over something, momentarily pulling his arms away to stop us from falling again.

"Oops." He smiled sheepishly at me, as he wrapped his arms around me once again, and turned a corner. "It appears as though your proclivity for tripping over things is contagious."

"Proclivity?" I snorted out a laugh, happy for yet another reminder that he was still my E. "Seriously? That word just naturally came to mind in that moment? Proclivity?"

His upturned lips found mine again, "absurd … you are completely absurd and … I … it's absolutely charming." He kissed me again as he fumbled with something behind me, and it didn't escape my notice how he also fumbled over his words. It made me wonder what he was really going to say. But then his tongue was brushing up against mine, and I didn't care anymore.

He relaxed his hold of me, and stopped moving. I unwrapped my legs from his hips as he helped me slide down his hard body, gingerly setting me on my feet. The air was thick again with all of the built up tension between us, and I found that I wasn't the only one who was short of breath. I think it was just now hitting us that this wasn't going to just be a shower. We'd joked and teased, but now that the moment was upon us …

"Bella, you know … we don't … what I mean is … I know we're here, and … I just don't want you to feel like you have to do anything. I don't want you to regret anything. We don't …"

"Edward, shut up." His eyes widened, a mix of shock and hurt etched into his rich green irises. But I, I was smiling. I reached up on my toes to kiss him, my lips still slightly turned up with my smile. "Edward, you're thinking too hard." He always thought too hard, overanalyzed everything. It felt … good … to have another small reminder that I did know this man. I knew how he thought. I knew the man behind the dazzling appearance, just like he knew me.

Relief flooded his features, his entire body relaxing, as I felt the electric charge in the air ease slightly to a low hum. He carefully reached down to kiss me again, slowly, softly. He was always reassuring me with his words, and now his kisses, that we belonged together. I was starting to believe him. No, I did believe him. So as his hands trailed down my back, before slipping under my sweater vest, I didn't flinch. When his hands slid up my sides, taking the one layer with him, I didn't hesitate. I lifted my arms for him, pulling away reluctantly from his kiss, knowing that as soon as the obstacle was clear, I could kiss him again.

And then it was my turn to busy my hands with the buttons on his shirt, as his did the same to mine. All the while, we did our best to keep our lips attached to each other, a task that was more difficult than one would think. He let his hands linger over my breasts, his hands cupping them over the material that he had forgotten to remove. It made me chuckle at how easily a man could be distracted by boobs. By now, I'd successfully unbuttoned him completely, and as much as I loved the feeling of his large, warm hands on me, I wanted to feel bare skin against bare skin more.

I trailed my kisses up along his jaw to just below his ear and whispered, "Rip it." Wide, lust-filled, green eyes stared down at me, and I felt a smirk tugging at my lips. That's right. You heard me.

An audible gasp escaped me as he did exactly as I'd asked and ripped open my shirt. My back arched of its own accord, and his mouth instantly found that spot on my neck that seemed to be my undoing. He hummed against my skin, and I could feel the vibrations run straight from my neck, down past my breasts, my nipples hardening along the way, and down to my center of arousal. I let my hands wander the muscled terrain of his torso, eliciting more hums, groans, and panting against my skin. At this rate, I didn't think we would ever make it into the shower.

But then his kisses began to ease slightly, as his fingers began to play with the waistline of my pants, and I found my hands doing the same to his. This time we didn't kiss as we tugged eagerly at each other's clothing. This time we simply watched each other as our pants fell to the floor. And then all that were left were undergarments, and then I was nervous again. This time, I got mad at myself. I didn't want to be nervous. At this point, it almost didn't make sense to be nervous. But I was. And he knew it.

But this time, instead of words, he used everything else. Smoldering green eyes comforted me like a worn, familiar quilt on a cold winter morning. Soft butterfly kisses danced over my face, my closed eyelids, and my nose like warm summer rain. Slightly rough, masculine, fingertips brushed over my overheated skin, tickling me like a cool fall breeze, complete with a slight shiver. I breathed him in, leaning into his embrace, and his scent registered as 'home' in my brain. And then he reached over to turn on the shower, still managing to keep his connection with me, his hand cradling the nape of my neck.

While we waited for the water to warm, Edward reached behind me to undo the clasp of my bra, but I stopped him. Going forward, I wanted there to be balance. So I reached behind me to still his hands, all the while smiling to reassure him. In one familiar turn of the wrist, I felt the fabric give. And then his hands were on my shoulders, guiding the straps down my arms, his gaze slowly drifting lower and lower. And when I would have been nervous, when there was finally no fabric between my bare breasts and his eyes, he blushed. It was his turn to bite down on his lower lip as the light blush rose to his cheeks.

Steam began to fill the air, pulling us from the moment. And then it was my turn to blush as I watched him lower his boxer briefs. Whoa. I knew it was wrong, but I stared. I couldn't pull my eyes away. Erect … thick … hard … long … perfect. Without really thinking about it, I pulled my own underwear down, and then we were both naked. Not hiding, not covering, not ashamed. We were bare, exposed, and it felt right.

He reached a hand out, and I didn't have to think about it. My hand took its rightful place in his as he led me into the shower. We didn't make love in the shower, we didn't have sex, and we didn't fuck. We did, however, carefully wash each other. We explored each other's bodies with kisses, washcloths, hands, and soap. I luxuriated in the mind numbing feeling of his hands massaging my scalp as he washed my hair. And I, in turn, got to chuckle, as he practically purred as I returned the favor. There was no room for nerves, embarrassment, or insecurities in our shower, despite its ridiculous size. And yes, I did notice the built-in bench and the dual showerheads. We'll explore all of that another time.

Yes, we'd teased each other. I finally got to feel his cock in my hands, and I'd had the first taste of the overwhelmingly amazing feeling of his fingers playing with my slick folds. But we'd needed that shower. I think we both needed to spend some time cementing the fact that we were real. That the fantasies we'd dreamed up of each other weren't just fantasies. We were real. This was real. So when the soap and bubbles had all been washed away, and the water was turned off, and the steam faded, there was no more blushing.

~*~

Bliss. Pure, unadulterated, ecstasy; that was the only thing I could think of as I wrapped Bella in a warm, fluffy towel. She was simply beautiful and perfect and sexy. Dear God, I couldn't think of a word to accurately describe her … sexiness. When I'd initially made that asinine comment about a shower, I'd never dreamed of what we'd just shared together. And shame on me. But I simply didn't know it could be like this. Never in my life had I experienced anything like our shower, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world or the next. Feeling her silky smooth skin, wet, soapy, I'm surprised I hadn't cum already. And God, when she wrapped her small hand around me, stroked me gently, it took everything I had in me not to cum. I felt like a seventeen-year-old boy again, fumbling, blushing at her exquisite form.

Ethereal, unearthly, angelic; those were the words that came to mind as I caressed her curves, explored her folds, tasted her skin. She was an angel, my angel. But the thoughts streaming through my mind as I guided her damp body into my bedroom were positively sinful. Her cream colored skin glistened, almost as though it were laced with diamonds, as stray droplets of water caught the light. The soft fabric of the towel around my waist teased my painfully hard cock with each step I took, an image of Bella's wet hair splayed out on my pillow as I hovered above her flashing to the forefront of my mind. And even though I'd just wrapped that towel around her, I wanted it off … now.

As I took in the view as she stood at the foot of my large bed, looking around my bedroom, I'd never seen a more perfect image in my life. She belonged here, with me. I didn't care what it took, if she still had doubts. I would gladly spend the rest of my life reminding her of her place. But first, I wanted to properly taste her, I wanted to make her moan and squirm with my touch, I wanted to feel her velvet warmth surround me … I wanted to make love to her, my Bella. And then she turned to glance at me over her shoulder, biting her bottom lip; her eyes alight with the same desire I felt.

I closed the space between us, guiding her back to the edge of the bed as my hands held her face in place so I could kiss her properly. As soon as I felt her hit the edge of the bed, I lifted her and gently laid her in the middle of the bed. And then I was hovering over her, just like I'd dreamt about. Her wet, dark chocolate hair was splayed out haphazardly across my pillows, her sexy smile making me forget how to be a gentleman. I was overcome with the overwhelming urge to make her mine, to bury myself deep within her, to make her cry out my name.

But still, above it all, I wanted to make her happy. I wanted to be the man she wanted. I wanted to pleasure her. I wanted to know what she looked like in that moment of blissful release. I wanted to find the spots on her body that drove her wild. I wanted to give her pleasure and happiness she'd never known before. I wanted to prove that I was worthy of this angel. I wanted to prove that I could be good for her.

I already knew enough to know that her neck was especially sensitive, right above her collarbone to be exact. Her back arched as she mewled softly, further fueling my ego and my need for her. I loved giving this to her, I loved tasting her, I loved hearing and seeing her pleasure … I loved her. The full force of that thought, that love, crashed over me like a tsunami. I couldn't hold it in any longer.

I kissed up the sensuous line of her graceful neck, hiding my face as I brought my lips to her ear. "Bella, I … I love you." I barely recognized the hoarse whisper as my voice. But once I'd said it, I felt … giddy. "I love you." I kissed just behind her ear again, before bringing my lips back to her ear. "I love you, Bella."

And then I didn't feel the need to hide anymore. I placed my weight on my elbows as I pushed up to look down on my angel. She was smiling. I let myself get lost in her deep, expressive eyes for a moment, feeling more at home in this moment than I could have ever dared to hope for. "I love you, Bella."

And then the most miraculous thing happened, "Edward, I love you too." And then she kissed me. Her arms wrapped around me, holding me close as our lips filled in the blanks. "I know it's crazy, but … it just felt so good to hear you say that … and … I mean it! I love you!"

She giggled. My beautiful, sexy, Bella giggled, and I loved her for it. "And I mean it, too. Bella, the way I feel … I don't even think the word 'love' properly conveys it." My mind raced desperately, seeking some way to properly express just how deeply in love I was. "Bella …"

"Prove it."

Two words. Two harmless little words that, taken out of context, were benign in every-day conversation; but now, now with her nearly naked body so close to mine and that sexy smirk, those words would be my undoing.

A switch was flipped in my brain, an audible click somewhere in my prefrontal cortex, and I felt any link to logic and rational thought shut down. I was a man governed by impulse and impulse alone as I focused completely on the gorgeous creature below me.

My mouth descended upon hers as my hands made quick work of the towel that was hiding her from me. My eyes rolled into the back of my head as her delicate little fingers ran through my hair, scratching my scalp. I may have growled slightly, I can't be certain. All I knew was that now, her body was completely exposed to me. I wasted no time in kissing my way down to her pert breasts. I laved at the soft, pliant skin of her breasts, savoring her taste and the feel of her skin in my mouth.

Her back arched, and I quickly averted my eyes up to capture the sight. She was watching me. God, she's gorgeous. I felt the delicious weight of her breast in my hand as I opened my mouth and let my tongue ever so lightly brush over her taut nipple. She threw her head back; her mouth open with what I hoped was a silent scream of pleasure. I found the texture of her nipple against my tongue particularly pleasurable and brought it completely in my mouth for further study. Not wanting to neglect the other breast, I let my fingers massage, roll, and tease. Soft moans and mewls from her throat encouraged me as my mouth and hand traded places. I couldn't help but moan my pleasure against her skin as I fell in love with the feeling of her breast in my mouth all over again.

I could feel her hands as they descended down my back, surprisingly strong fingers digging into the muscles of my shoulders. I was vaguely aware of the direction her hands were going, but somehow, I was still surprised when I felt a sudden draft. Before I could make sense of much, she's wrapped her surprisingly strong legs around the back of my thighs, and my cock was now firmly pressed against the oh so smooth skin of her stomach.

I groaned, loudly, against her skin at the new sensation. But good Lord, when Bella moaned … it was too much. I reached up to kiss her pouty lips one last time before I slowly descended down her body, kissing, licking, and tasting as I went. Her legs released their hold, spreading wide to accommodate my presence. She squirmed beneath me, her hands taking purchase in my hair, as I caught the heady scent of her arousal. I snuck my hands under her thighs, wrapping around to hold her hips in place as I finally got a good look at her.

I'd been in this position before with other women, but nothing, no one, had ever struck me as so beautiful. I could tell she waxed, but she wasn't bare, she was perfect. Her lips were swollen with her arousal, and I could see that her folds were literally glistening. I began to salivate. Without much consideration beyond the primal need to taste her, I eagerly lapped at her swollen flesh. I had no frame of reference from which to describe her taste; only that it was her, and therefore I loved it.

I focused my attentions on the small nub at the top of her slit, loving the way it made her squirm and cry out. I brought my hand down to my mouth, letting my thumb tease her clit, as licked up the length of her slit, collecting the juices that had gathered. My other hand reached up, and had reacquainted itself with her breast. She was close. I could tell by the way she twitched against my mouth and by the tenor of her moans. My brain was singularly consumed with the need to make her cum. And then, I felt it.

Her entire body seized up, back arched off of the bed, legs firmly planted, hands clenched into fists in the comforter. Gorgeous. I watched her as best I could as I eagerly lapped up the flood of juices that flowed freely now. I let my hands wander over her stomach, her breasts, her legs, soothing her as she rode out the waves of her orgasm. Once she calmed some, I discreetly wiped my face on her discarded towel, not sure how eager she would be to taste herself on me. I kissed my way back up her body, letting my hips settle against hers once again, savoring the warmth that radiated from her.

I was prepared to lean down and kiss her gently, but she had other plans. Her hands latched onto the back of my head, and her mouth eagerly assaulted mine. She pulled away just as roughly as she'd attacked me, and I had to smile at my temptress. "Please, Edward …"

It was my turn to crash my mouth against hers, all of my lust and love seeking some kind of outlet. I reached down to position myself at her entrance, when another word came to the forefront of my brain, condom.

I knew my luck would fade out eventually. I blame it on the fact that it had been a long while since I'd last had sex, and I hadn't exactly planned on this particular turn of events. My backup plan had hinged on the fact that, if the date had gone well, I would be walking back from the coffee shop and have the opportunity to make a discreet stop at the corner drugstore. There was no way I could have anticipated this turn of events. My head fell so that my forehead was resting between her breasts, as I mentally berated myself for being unprepared.

"Edward, what's wrong?" I felt so foolish for making such an amateur mistake. "Edward?" The worry was clear in her voice, and I couldn't have that.

"I'm sorry, Bella. I," Coward! Tell her! "I don't have any … protection." My voice trailed off miserably, and I couldn't bring my eyes up to meet hers. I couldn't stand to see the disappointment.

"Silly Edward," She sounded … amused? "I'm on the pill. But … if you … you know … uh …"

Her slight stuttering was endearing, and her worries were completely unfounded. So I kissed them away, feeling giddy again. Just the idea of making love to Bella with no barriers … oh God!

Propping my weight on one elbow, I reached down to reposition myself again at her entrance, rubbing my cock along her slit, coating myself in the fresh wetness that had gathered. My eyes nearly crossed at the sensation, the warmth … the wetness … so good

"Edward … stop teasing," Bella panted above me, and I could never deny her.

I eased my tip past her folds, suddenly hyperaware of how tight she was. I looked up at her then, taking in the moment, savoring the anticipation. Her hair was a mess, partly dry and tangled, her eyes were glazed over with lust, her lips were extra pink and pouty, and gorgeous just didn't seem to cut it.

Our eyes locked, and because I never wanted her to doubt our connection, what we were about to do, I brought my hand to her face, my thumb tracing over the apple of her cheek, and reminded her, "I love you."

I resisted the urge to slam into her and slowly eased my way inside of her. Her eyes widened as I clenched my jaw. Her walls constricted, squeezing me as I slowly continued to ease my way into her. Ugh … so tight … so warm … I watched closely for any signs of pain. But if it hurt, she hid it well, because all I saw in her eyes was love.

Once I was seated to the hilt, I wrapped my arms around her and let my head fall to her neck. "Bella … so good …" She arched her back, and I felt myself slide in just a bit further, and it was all I could do to keep from releasing right then and there.

"Ung … Edward … ahhhh … love you …" I felt her walls clench around me, causing me to groan against her skin. "Please … Edward … make love to me."

Doing as my siren asked, I began to ease out, only to press forward again. I could feel the way she was stretching to accommodate me, her walls massaging my cock as I eased into a slow rhythm. As our bodies continued to grow accustomed to each other, we continued to kiss hungrily, mimicking the movement of our hips. She was perfect. The way our bodies fit together … perfect.

~*~

He was so big, but he felt amazing. The initial pain I felt, as my body stretched to accommodate him, was short lived and well worth it. My hands slid over his body, slick now with sweat. We're going to need another shower. I loved the feel of his muscles as he moved, and my only regret was that I couldn't see what I could clearly feel beneath my fingers.

As much as I enjoyed and appreciated the careful and loving pace Edward had set, I needed more. I began to raise my hips to meet his thrusts, earning an occasional grunt. And then I wrapped a leg around his hips, causing him to rub against me in a new, delicious way, and I was lost to the friction. I threw my head back as his hard cock continued to rub against my sweet spot over and over again. I could hear my moans echoing in the room, his occasional grunts and groans driving me wild with lust.

His mouth once again claimed my neck as I felt a hand trail over the thigh that I had wrapped around him. In one swift movement, he slipped his arm under my leg, letting the back of my knee rest over his elbow. And with his next thrust, I felt him go deeper, causing both of us to cry out and pause in the wake of the new sensation.

"Bella … mmmm … so good … so perfect … love you …" His words were punctuated with sloppy kisses as he resumed his careful rhythm, but I wanted more.

"Edward … more … harder … faster … please …"

Wild green eyes looked up at me beneath dark lashes, a crooked, devious smile lit up his face, and I knew I was in trouble.

It started out as short, shallow, quick trusts; the kind that had me panting. And then his other hand snuck under my arm, latching onto my shoulder from behind me, and that's when he decided to really 'prove it.'

The entire bed quaked as he slammed into me over and over again, fast and hard, just like I'd asked. I couldn't make sense of the cacophony of sound that surrounded us. I knew somewhere in there were my moans, his grunts, and the sound of his body slamming into mine, but I couldn't focus on it. I couldn't focus on anything beyond the mind-blowing pleasure this man was giving me. My body belonged to him. My body sang for him in ways that I'd never known before. It was as if all my previous boyfriends were just practice, preparing me for the real thing – Edward.

I was strung so tightly, so close to the edge. I could tell Edward was too, as his thrusts had become erratic and his expression that of pained pleasure. And then he looked up, pure love shining through his eyes, and I let go. A wild, guttural moan ripped from my chest as I felt my orgasm take hold of my body. Above me, Edward continued to thrust wildly in me a few more times before a curse hissed from his clenched jaw. I felt him twitch inside of me, and then I felt it. I felt him cum inside of me.

We both shifted as our bodies began to give in to exhaustion. Still slightly hard inside of me, Edward let my leg down so that he could wrap both arms around me, and I could wrap both my arms and legs around him. We rolled to our sides, a mess of panting, sweaty, sated bodies.

Eventually, our breathing did calm, and his now soft cock slid out of me, but our connection never faltered. Completely exhausted, we both fell asleep with satisfied smiles on our faces, I'm sure. He'd been loving, he'd been sweet, he'd been tender, and he'd more than proved just how much he loved me. It had been the most fulfilling sexual experience of my life. But the best part was that I knew it was just the beginning.

The love that we'd somehow managed to find with each other was special. I didn't know what deity I had to thank, or which temple to leave an offering at, or even if I believed in any of that. So I made a promise, to myself, that I would never take a day, a moment, a millisecond with Edward for granted. I would find a way to always remind him that I loved him. I would cherish every smile, every kiss, and every touch. I knew it was the romantic sap in me that had these thoughts, the same sap that would tear up every time she read Romeo and Juliet. But I didn't care. Life was too short.

~*~

B,

I love you. I hope you never grow tired of me saying that, because I know I'll never grow tired of reminding you just how much I love you.

As usual, I've done nothing but think about you all day. I feel terrible that I couldn't be there with you on our one-year anniversary. But I promise, the moment I see you, I plan on making it up to you.

I love you with all of my heart.

E

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to myself that I was slightly disappointed that Edward would be out of town for our one-year anniversary. But I knew if it were within his power, he would have made it happen. I smiled as I read his email, loving that in all our time together, he was still as cheesy as ever.

I did my best to dodge the foot traffic around me as I navigated my way to our home. We decided we weren't a conventional couple, and therefore we didn't need to dance around proper dating etiquette when it came to when to move in together. The week after that fateful day in the elevator, I moved into his penthouse and never once looked back. Sometimes it still felt too good to be true.

I found that I loved his parents, and our group of friends mixed well. His job was just as demanding as he'd mentioned in his emails, if not more so, but we always found the time for each other. Most of the time, we were a rather boring couple. Except for the sex. The sex was … just … amazing. It was never boring. It only got better over time as we continued to explore and become more comfortable with each other. Really I had no complaints, aside from his inability to cook. But then again, that's what takeout was for.

I smiled to myself as I entered the lobby of our building, the sight of the elevator never ceasing to bring a smile to my face after all this time. The doorman gave me a warm smile as I passed and pressed the call button for the elevator. At the sound of the classic, 'ding,' I looked up and gasped at the sight in front of me.

Edward.

I stood dumbfounded for a long moment as my brain struggled to register the fact that Edward, my Edward, was standing in front of me, in our elevator.

"Bella," My heart leapt up into my throat at the sound of his voice and the breathtaking smile on his face. He reached a hand out to me, and like always, my hand took its place in his.

Once I was inside the elevator, he reached behind me to press the button, before returning his full attention back to me. And then he dropped to one knee, and I felt my breathing hitch, and my vision went blurry.

"Bella, angel, I love you." I watched him reach into his pocket, and I felt the sting of tears in my eyes as I watched him bring his hand back out, closed around something. "You have brought so much love and happiness into my life. I can barely remember what life was like before I met you. Nor do I want to fathom what my life would be like without you. Please say I don't have to. Please say you'll accept me as your husband."

He reached out and gently grasped my left hand, but I couldn't tear my eyes away from his face. I felt the ring slide onto my finger, but I didn't see it. It didn't matter. All I needed to see was the love in his eyes. So as I blinked away tears, I fell to my knees in front of him and kissed him. "Yes, Edward. Yes, I'll marry you."

By the time the elevator signaled that we'd reached the penthouse, we both had tears in our eyes and ridiculous grins on our faces. That was my Edward, somehow always managing to make me fall in love with him even more, especially when I thought it was impossible. But if there was anything my life with Edward had proved, it was that anything was possible.

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Whew. There it is ladies … and … gentlemen? I never can tell if I have male readers. If you're out there, wave! Hehehehe

Well, I know it took a while, but I hope you are all pleased with the result. Some music inspiration came from Robert Plant and Alison Kraus in "Stick with me Baby" and "Please Read the Letter"

Many, many, many thanks to the ladies of the PP for their support and, especially to Hope for highlighting my little story. As always, huge thanks to Val, my beta for your unwavering support and Red Pen Goddess Divine skills. And of course, Ravyn – and if you don't know why I'm thanking you – I can't help you. Hehehehe

This is the end of the story, if it wasn't obvious. Who knows, given proper inspiration and time, I may come back and do an outtake or something. But not any time in the near future.

Thank you to Nina for inspiring the contest, and therefore, this idea. Thank you to all who voted for Going Down? I've officially won my first conest!!! Thank you sooooooo much!!

As always, reviews are love. Thank you all for taking the time to read this story and for embracing Mr. Lion.

Gemma