Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or the lovely characters. The words are mine. Rated M for strong language and explicit sexual content.
a/n: I intended to update much sooner (I did!), but then I got completely sidetracked with a little one-shot that I absolutely had to do. It's positively my favorite thing I've ever written. Please read (and don't be dissuaded by the pairing...really). Give it a shot; I hope you won't be disappointed.
And now, for the final chapter (sans epilogue). Thank you for your praise, your kind words, and always your patience. Enjoy.
I spent Thursday morning peeling potatoes, straining cranberries, and absolutely avoiding telling Charlie about my new and improved Thanksgiving plans.
By eleven, when I was loading the food into the back of the cruiser, I still hadn't managed to mention it.
After a brief debate over whether or not my grumbling stomach constituted emergency enough to warrant flashing lights, we drove in relative silence (and sans police siren).
Just as we were turning off to La Push, however, I decided that I had to do something about the Edward situation. The fact that last night's Volvo make out session was assuredly at the forefront of my father's mind did nothing to bolster my confidence.
But I took a deep breath and went for it. "So, um, Edward's picking me up at four, so I can eat Thanksgiving with his family too."
Perhaps I'd spoken a bit quick for clarity.
I tried again. "Edward invited me to eat Thanksgiving dinner with his family this evening. Esme's not serving until six, so I can go."
"When did you decide this?"
"Last night." (After dinner, before the Volvo incident). But I decided not to remind Charlie of that particular detail.
"Esme invited you?"
"And Edward is going to pick you up here?"
"Yes." When he said nothing, I hurried to add additional justification. "You know you and Billy will just be watching football then. I won't miss anything."
"Jake will be upset it you leave early."
I shrugged, "doubtful." But Edward's comment rang in my ears (He wants you...) I ignored it, however, and continued on stalwartly. "He'd probably rather watch the game anyway."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that, Bells."
I rolled my eyes and completely ignored the implication of that statement.
He was silent for a while. Then: "when will you be home?"
I bit my lip and took a chance. "Actually, I figured I'd just spend the night like usual." What the hell, right? It was worth a shot.
Charlie actually laughed at that. Not exactly the response I was looking for.
"I'll sleep in Alice's room, of course," I added hastily. (As if that would make any difference).
The look he gave told me exactly how much he didn't believe that for a minute.
We were parked in front of the Blacks' by then, but my dad made no move to get out of the car. Instead, we sat in awkward silence for something close to eternity. Charlie wasn't looking at me. Rather, he seemed incredibly interested in the windshield. His face was rather red, and his hands gripped the steering wheel far too tightly. That couldn't be good.
Finally: "Bells, I'm sure your mom has talked to you about this, but—"
Oh...my...God... He so wasn't going to go there...
"But," he continued after another painfully awkward moment. "You and Edward are obviously quite, er, close..."
Oh yes, he was. Fuck me.
When it became apparent that the seat wasn't going to swallow me whole, I began contemplating my escape routes. I discreetly unbuckled my seat belt and eyed the door handle longingly.
But then Charlie was talking again. It was all I could do not to stick my fingers in my ears and cry "lalalalala..." at the top of my lungs. But, if I was aiming for mature, that probably wasn't the best way to go about it.
"I realize that you two are...close," he repeated again, as if the rather innocuous description would somehow transform our relationship into something entirely PG. "But I need to know that you're being safe."
I couldn't decide between diving head first out of the cruiser or gagging rather violently. I settled for several deep, steadying breaths, as I tried to shake the nausea that rocked my system.
"Dad, please..." I started, as calmly as possible given the utterly mortifying circumstances I'd suddenly found myself in. "Mom and I had this discussion years ago. We're safe. Edward is a perfect gentleman. Everything is fine. Can we please go inside now?"
Please please please let this be the end of this conversation...
No such luck.
"Bella, I know you're a smart, responsible girl. But, sometimes, boys will try to convince you to do things that you might not be comfortable with...things you might not usually do because—"
"Dad!" I practically screamed, but I really couldn't help it. "Edward loves me. I love him. He won't 'convince' me to do anything I don't want to do. We're safe. We're happy. End of discussion."
Charlie let out a long sigh. "Okay Bells. I get it. You're growing up. I trust you'll make good decisions."
My cheeks felt like they were on fire, but it evidently he was finally done talking.
"Yes." Can this please be the last time we ever talk about this?
My dad looked just as relieved as I was to get 'the talk' out of the way. He took another steadying breath, smiled weakly, and got out of the car.
Billy greeted us warmly, as he welcomed us into his home. Jake smiled shyly, but didn't move from his post in the corner. I unloaded the food from the car and made my way into the kitchen to begin setting out our luncheon. I added my mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce to the stuffing and dinner rolls already lining the buffet.
"The green bean casserole is warming in the oven," Billy called from the den. "Jake and I will bring in the turkey."
The turkey, as it happened, was quite a sight to behold. For some reason I will probably never understand, Billy and Jake had decided to fry the damn thing.
Jake laughed when I eyed the ginormous bird skeptically, as he carried the platter to the table. "You fried it?" I asked. "What on earth possessed you to do that?"
"The question, my dear Bella," he responded mischievously, "is why we've never thought to do so before."
I shrugged. "Touche Jake, touche."
The food was delicious (as usual). I was even forced to admit (rather quickly) that the fried turkey was quite fantastic. And the green bean casserole, it seemed, was predominantly composed of bacon, cheese, and bread crumbs. Not entirely a bad thing.
"Next year, I'm in charge of the vegetable," I announced, scooping another helping of bacon onto my plate. "This hardly qualifies."
"Nah," Jake said around a mouthful of mashed potatoes, "you'll just add tofu or some shit like that."
"No, but I might include an actual green bean or two."
We ate in comfortable silence for a while. I loved the casual nature of these meals. It was difficult not to feel right at home at the Blacks' table. I wasn't even embarrassed when I spilled lemonade down the front of my dress and somehow managed to smear cranberry sauce over the table and down my arm.
"So, Bella," my father began after setting his fork down and leaning back in his chair. "Billy was telling me that Jake made starting running back for La Push this year. And as a Junior too. Quite impressive," my father added fondly, patting Jake on the back.
Jacob beamed, but said nothing.
"Bet the girls are all over you," Charlie added then, with a pointed glance in my direction (much to my intense discomfit.)
"Nah. Not really." Jake blushed, a warm red staining his dark cheeks. "I've been busy, you know. With football and keeping up with my studies and all." He smiled at me then, a glint of something undefinable flashing in his dark eyes.
"Yea," I know how that goes," Charlie responded. "You kids are so busy these days. But you and Bella should get together more. I bet you'll find you have a lot in common."
"How's your school year going, Bella?" Billy asked, thankfully switching the focus away from Jake's athletic prowess and my father's ill-concealed match-making schemes.
The remainder of the meal passed uneventfully. But I couldn't help notice how Jake's eyes rarely left my face. I flushed under his gaze and did my best to avoid making eye contact, but I could feel the weight of his stare...a constant pressure tugging at my consciousness. It was unnerving and just a bit flattering; I couldn't help but realize how right Edward had been.
Jacob Black wanted me.
But I wanted Edward Cullen.
When Billy and my father excused themselves to the den for the football-watching portion of their afternoon, Jake and I hastily cleared the dishes and made our way out to his garage. Over the years, I'd spent endless hours hanging out with him there. Although usually cozy and warm, today the small space seemed cramped and claustrophobic. I sat down on the couch, taking care to scoot as far away from Jake's end as humanly possible.
I furtively checked my watch. 2:32. Edward would be there in an hour and a half. Jake fiddled with his iPod. I counted seconds. 2:33.
"Huh? Oh, yea."
He smiled his lazy smile and tossed me a cold can from the mini-fridge. I popped the top, then licked my hand when the sweet orange liquid dribbled down my fingers. 2:34.
Jake sat down, sprawling long legs across two cushions, completely ignoring the space I'd tried to leave between my side and his. He took a long swig of his soda. I watched his throat as he swallowed and tried not to think about how awkward this suddenly was.
"Sorry about my dad," I said after a few long moments. "At lunch, you know. The whole matchmaking thing. That was a bit...uncomfortable."
Jake laughed. "No worries."
There was a long pause then; he was obviously working up the nerve to say something more, and the prospect made me rather nervous.
"He might be right," Jake said finally, his tone thoughtful. "I think we do have a lot in common."
I cringed, waiting for what was undoubtedly coming next.
I didn't have to wait long.
"And, well, if you'd like to hang out more, I'd love to go out sometime."
I picked purple polish off my fingernail and wondered if I could simply ignore the comment. Or maybe, at least, hold off on answering until Edward arrived.
It was 2:37. Jake watched me expectantly. Fuck. I had to say something.
"Oh, Jake, look... I'm really flattered. I am. And I do like you – as a friend. But I'm already seeing someone."
"Oh." His face fell, but he recovered quickly. "No big deal. No big deal..." His voice wavered slightly, though, belying his feigned nonchalance.
Cue awkward silence.
It was 2:39. T minus one hour, twenty-one minutes, and counting.
Then: "Do I know him? Does he go to Forks?"
"He did. He graduated last year. He's at UW now."
"Ah. Who is he?"
I held my breath. Jake would know who Edward Cullen was, and I really didn't want to get into a discussion about Edward's not so stellar past reputation. But Jake was my friend, and I could hardly not tell him.
Jacob cursed under his breath. I doubted that his reaction would be all sunshine and roses. Hell, I didn't really expect him to have anything good to say about Edward at all, but I was wholly unprepared for his sudden shift in demeanor. His fingers curled inward (two tight fists), and his jaw was tense.
"What'd he promise you, huh?" he demanded through gritted teeth. "Love? Sex? Everything, Bella? Your wildest dreams? Or nothing at all?" Words can bleed you know, and his voice dripped with acid and vitriol.
I was beyond furious at his implications, but rational Bella knew better that to pick a fight with Jacob Black. So I bit my lip and said nothing. He was a friend and a decent guy, but there was no reason to antagonize him unnecessarily. That would only exacerbate the situation, and I certainly didn't want that.
"Bells, look, you know I love you," he continued after a few moments. His voice was softer now, but still laced with fierceness. "We've been friends for, well, forever. And I don't want to see you get hurt. I know Edward Cullen. He can pretend to be anything you want him to be...say anything he needs to say. He's great at that sort of thing. Surely you've heard the rumors."
I eyed him pointedly but didn't let on that I probably knew more about Edward's conquests than he could ever imagine. When I didn't bother to respond, Jake continued, clearly hoping to convince me to give up on Edward altogether.
"Edward Cullen wants only one thing. I promise."
I somehow managed not to say anything too caustic, and Jake clasped my hands in his, staring rather intently. His palms were a bit sweaty, but I forced myself not to pull away.
"All he wants is another girl on his list, Bells. Another fuck before he heads back to Seattle or wherever he's in school. And believe me, he's got plenty of other girls lined up and willing to fuck him there too."
I was starting to feel rather nauseous. And I hated (hated) that Jake's assessment of Edward had been rather accurate a few months ago. But everything had shifted since then; everything was different now.
And, frankly, I was fairly sure it wasn't any of Jake's business. At the same time, however, I felt the overwhelming need to set the record straight. To defend Edward (my Edward) because things had changed and, this time, there were no other girls. It was only me. And a very large and vocal part of me wanted everyone to know.
"Look, Jake," I turned to face him, my hands still loosely enfolded in his. "I understand your concern, and I am so lucky to have a friend like you." His expression faltered momentarily, and I knew then for certain that Edward had been right. Jake really did want me and not as just a friend.
But that was neither here nor there. I had nothing left to do but tell the truth, so I forced myself to look him in the eye and continued slowly. "But Edward and I...well, its more substantial than that."
I didn't elaborate. But I wanted, needed Jake to understand that there was more to our relationship than all the lurid, illicit, and questionable things he'd alluded to just moments ago.
He tensed beside me, and I could literally see the coils of his muscles ripple under the thin material of his shirt.
"You've already done it, haven't you?" His voice was cold, ice water slipping down my spine.
I sat up straight, pulling away from him.
"You had sex with him." He spat the words, his tone alarmingly harsh. "I can't fucking believe it. You let that bastard fuck you." And, for the first time I could remember, he I felt uncomfortable next to him.
"Jacob—" I said softly.
But he cut me off abruptly. "What did he tell you Bella? That he only wanted you? That he could see himself loving you?" His words dripped with derision, and his eyes, usually so warm, were cold like lead, reflecting a brooding resentment that was instantly disturbing.
"Jake," I managed after a few deep breaths. My chest ached, and tears pricked at my eyes. "It's hardly any of your business, but you're incredibly off base..."
"Do you remember Leah Clearwater?" he interrupted again.
"She'd been dating Sam Uley for over a year. They were happy together. He loved her." He paused, remembering.
I said nothing. I waited for whatever was coming next.
"And then she met Edward fucking Cullen at some stupid party her sophomore year." Jake shook his head, eyes flashing. "I admit it – he's good. Told her everything she needed to hear. Sam would be leaving soon...he was a senior, you know. And he somehow convinced Leah that Sam would never stay with her once he was off at college. But Cullen, well, he said he'd always wanted her. Had since the first time he saw her." Jake's voice was hollow as he repeated Edward's lines. But I'd heard them all before. "Leah's beautiful of course. But he knew all the right things to say. And, after a few drinks, Leah was convinced that he was serious. That he really wanted more than just a fuck."
He looked at me then, dark eyes focused on my own. "Frankly, I don't get it. He's such a goddamn pretty boy. But the girls fall all over that. And then Leah stormed into the back yard where Sam was hanging out with Embry and Quil. God that girl can yell. But here she was, all convinced that Sam was planning to break up with her as soon as he graduated. And Edward fucking Cullen was waiting to take her home. I think he called her once after that. Took her out to dinner. Fucked her again. And that was it. She never heard from him again."
I chewed on my lip, took a sip of now warm soda, and tried to think of something appropriate to say. Edward hadn't told me specifically about his experience(s) with Leah Clearwater. But I had heard about her rather spectacular breakup with Sam Uley. From what I understood, however, there was a bit more truth than rumor to his plans to dump her before he went off to college. But I decided not to share that particular information with Jake.
"He's no good, Bells," Jake said after a long while. His voice was soft again. Sad. "I don't want to see you hurt."
I took another very deep breath to keep from screaming (rather immature, I know), or to keep from smacking him (probably not the best way to go about things). Finally I spoke, as calmly and (hopefully) as reasonably as possible. "Look, Jake, I appreciate your concern. I really do. But Edward and I have been together now for a while, and we've been friends for practically forever. I promise, this is much much more than just some casual one off."
He grimaced, then scowled, but said nothing. His positively mutinous expression marred his typically warm and quite lovely face.
"I know you don't like him."
Jacob laughed darkly.
"But he means everything to me. And I'm not just one of his girls. I'm his only girl." I emphasized the word, hoping the truth would sink in, that I could somehow make it crystal clear.
He snorted then. I patted his back helpfully, if with a bit too much force.
"And," I continued when it was clear he had nothing more to add, "I am absolutely his girlfriend now. Shut your mouth, sweetie," I chided, hoping to lighten the tone.
Jake scowled. Clearly, he had about a dozen choice things to say to me, but he wisely reconsidered. Finally, he nodded and moved closer to me, wrapping a warm arm around my shoulder. I tensed. Then relaxed again.
We sat in contemplative silence for a long time after that. There was nothing more to say. I couldn't convince Jake to like Edward. Hell, I couldn't even convince him that he'd changed. But it didn't matter; our friendship would survive. I hoped.
Charlie and Billy were evidently still absorbed in their football game. I check my watch. 3:34. Less than half an hour.
"I'd be better for you, you know," Jake murmured, interrupting our calm. I barely managed to bite back a laugh.
"I can promise to love you and only you, Bella. And when he's away, you'll never need to worry about whoever else he might be fucking."
I slapped him hard then. My hand stung something fierce. But I didn't even wince; I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction. "You just don't get it, do you?" I asked, exasperation and anger leaking into my voice. "I love him. He loves me. Neither one of us has any intention of fucking anyone. Period."
He rolled his eyes but wisely said nothing. We stared out the window for quite sometime after that. The sky was exceptionally clear – odd for November, and the silence was welcome. I looked at my watch and counted the minutes till Edward.
I felt him before I saw him. The white warm crackle of his typically soothing energy had a distinct edge to it now. Jacob tensed beside me and shifted, almost imperceptibly, closer, casually (deliberately, suggestively) sliding his arm down to my waist. I started at the unexpected contact, but his arm held me fast.
I watched as Edward's eyes, shadowed and unreadable, searched my face. My first instinct was to jump up and throw myself into his (hopefully) waiting arms. But I feared Jake's reaction, and I really didn't want some alpha male display of machismo to ruin the rest of my day.
I smiled a tentative smile and willed with all my might that Edward would know that nothing was as it seemed.
"Bella—" his voice was cool. He didn't acknowledge Jake at all. "Ready to go?"
I nodded and moved to get up, but Jake's arm tightened, fingers digging almost painfully into my hip.
"I don't think she is, Cullen. Actually, you just interrupted a rather intriguing conversation. And," he continued, his voice deliberately casual, lolling, "quite honestly, I'm not really sure why you're here." His words sounded of loathing, and his face twisted into a true sneer.
But he cut me off. "Bella's practically family. I find it incredibly rude that you think it's appropriate to interrupt our Thanksgiving."
"Bella, love," Edward repeated, somehow ignoring Jacob's inflammatory remarks.
"Yea Edward, I'm definitely ready to go." I stood up, breaking free from Jake's grasp, and I crossed the room in three quick strides. For once, I didn't even come close to tripping. But Edward put a steadying hand on my hip, and pulled me behind him, angling his body in front of mine protectively. I leaned into his touch.
Jacob tensed, his entire body was coiled like a spring, wire taut. His posture was rather threatening. I inched closer to Edward.
"You don't have to go, Bells," Jake said softly. And I knew that he was referring to far more than than that one evening.
Edward tightened his grip on my waist but said nothing. His face remained calm, composed, but he could not hide the anger in his lovely eyes, and I knew he was uncomfortable.
"Yea Jake. I do." I smiled, but something indefinable had shifted in our relationship. There was no going back. A line had been drawn; a choice had been made (though, really, there was no choice at all).
We turned to go and were nearly through the door when Jake called out. "He's no good for you, Bells. I could—"
I stopped abruptly and glared back at him. "Yes Jake, he is." We stared at each other for just a moment. Edward stood behind me, tension rolling off his body in waves. A mix of emotions flashed across Jake's face, and, for a second, I thought he was going to step toward me again. But he didn't. And we left.
Within minutes we were in the Volvo and heading back to Forks. Edward was driving much to fast, as always. He fumed silently, perfect fingers curled far too tightly around the steering wheel. His expression was brutally angry.
"Edward, are you okay?" I asked tentatively, once I worked up the nerve.
"No." He replied abruptly. I watched his face. His jaw was tight, and his green eyes blazed as he looked intently at the road ahead.
"I'm sorry," I whispered, trying to keep the fear out of my voice. But I was suddenly terrified by the fragility of our relationship. Surely I couldn't lose him when I'd only just gotten him in the first place.
But then his expression softened instantly, and he put a hand on my knee. "Don't be. I shouldn't be angry. Everything will be fine."
I exhaled the breath I hadn't realized I been holding.
"But I will never like Jacob Black. And I don't want you going over there any more."
I nodded in agreement. I could live with that.
We drove the rest of the way in silence. There were issues, of course. Endless issues to work through, but I was still his (and he was still mine). And that's all that really mattered. Edward stared steadily ahead, absorbed in his own thoughts. But he left his hand on my knee.
And as we got closer and closer to the Cullens,' my argument with Jake drifted further and further away until it had almost disappeared. It was only a shadow with no substance. The was nothing but Edward, and his very presence filled the small space of the car so completely. It was heavy, intoxicating, and electric.
When we got to his house, Edward took me by the hand and practically dragged me inside and up the stairs.
"Ed—" I gasped, as I took the stairs two at a time to keep up with his long strides. "Your parents, Emmett and Allie, shouldn't we say hello...let them know we're here?"
"Esme's in the kitchen," he said quickly. "Carlisle won't be home from the hospital for another hour. And Alice and Em...well, who cares where Alice and Em are."
He pulled me into his room and turned, bearing me backward, until my back was pressed flat to the now closed door. I was acutely aware of a growing restlessness... a need that was somehow more intense than ever before. I felt disconnected from everything but Edward.
His green eyes, all wild energy and want, held mine. His hands cupped my face. His breath fanned warm across my skin. And it was familiar and perfect and exactly right. But it was unique and new and startling all at once.
And nothing else, in that moment, mattered. Not Esme in the kitchen (probably quite aware of exactly what her lovely son was doing). Not Alice in her room down the hall...or outside the door listening for all I knew. My world was succinct, collapsed onto a single point: Edward's breath on my face, his hands on my skin, his body touching mine.
It was strange, mesmerizing, hypnotic, how I could become so incredibly detached from the rest of my world, my life, my...everything until it was only Edward and madness and obsession and completeness and love.
But hadn't it always been that way, really?
It twitched in my limbs, it jerked in my spine, and it thrilled in my body. It made my breath catch and my heart thud violently. I struggled to think, to breathe, to do anything but feel.
Edward's hands slid up my sides, fiery points of contact. The door was cool and hard against my back, and I leaned my head back against it. I'm quite certain I moaned. Loudly.
He dropped to his knees, fingers burning delicious trails of sensation up along my calves, behind my knees. Oh God...more. Closer and closer. Sensitive skin shivery under his touch.
I pressed a hand to my mouth, biting down hard on my palm to keep from crying out, as skin-warmed hands skirted the inside of my thighs, pushing my dress up and around my hips, only to pull away again.
I groaned (too loud again) and glared at him.
My entire life was compressed into this slender, sweaty boy, with his wicked smile and emerald eyes.
We hadn't said anything since we'd locked ourselves in his room. I'm not counting, of course, the moans that had escaped entirely without my permission. But I watched him intently, waiting. His tongue flicked out to wet his lip, red and bitten.
He touched me again. Fingers grazing my hip, just so, before running along the top of my underpants.
I'd consulted Alice on that decision. And in between an impressive number of eye rolls and shudders and not entirely feigned gags, she'd helped me select an appropriately sexy pair (even if they did have green polka dots). And once again, I had to accept that Alice was the good friend in our relationship. But I so wasn't thinking of Alice right now because Edward's hands were at my hips, pulling said underpants down and off.
He smiled a truly sexy, impish smile, and my breath came quick and sharp. I could feel my heart pounding in my ears, as Edward stood and pressed against me, hip to stomach, thigh pushed between my thighs. I parted my legs and wriggled closer, feeling his erection through two layers of fabric. His hands moved between us as he undid his belt, quickly sliding worn leather through buckle and loop. He undid the zip, then pushed gray slacks and boxers down just past his hips.
He kissed me. Or I kissed him. And he swallowed my gasp as his tongue traced my lips. When he pulled away, his eyes were dilated, cheeks flushed pretty pink with arousal. "Fuck, Bella..." he murmured, breath far too sweet and far too close.
"I know. Please..."
He was gone for an instant, to the bedside table and back, a small, foil packet in the palm of his hand. I trailed one finger down his cock, hard and thick and leaking at the tip, and watched as he rolled the condom on.
Then, in one fluid movement, he hitched my leg up over his hip and slid inside me with a groan. The angle was awkward at first, but he patted the inside of my thigh, coaxing my legs wider. And his hands were on my hips, lifting me up, holding me close.
My back rubbed roughly against the door, but I didn't care. My head swum with the noises Edward was making, and it was chaotic and maddening and never enough. His breath caught and his hips hitched upward again, arching faster and deeper as fingers dug into my hipbones, and he pushed into me again.
I gasped and couldn't look away, as he pulled back then did it again. Edward squeezed his eyes shut, bit his lip in concentration, tried not to come. I wanted to remember everything. The feel of hard planes of muscle under the thin fabric of his shirt. His cheek, sweat-damp skin, pressed to mine. The words, that tumbled off his lips. "Oh God, Bella...so good...right there..."
And then his green eyes snapped open so wide, as he shuddered and came with a cry.
It was quick and needy and just a bit dirty, but it was everything I wanted. A few sweaty minutes that left me breathless and wet and even more enamored with this perfect, perfect boy.
We re-dressed quickly. Honestly, there wasn't too much out of place. I straightened my dress as he tucked in his shirt, buckled his belt. His hopeless, lovely hair was in even more disarray than usual. And he took a deep breath, palms pressed to the door, framing my face.
"Wow," I breathed.
"Indeed." He smiled a soft, half-smile. "But I think we're just about out of time."
I went into the bathroom, as Edward made his way downstairs to see about dinner. My face was flushed, my lips were freshly bitten, and my hair... Well, my hair looked like I'd just been thoroughly fucked against a wall. I ran my fingers through it, but it was no use. I settled for tying it up. Alice would notice, but there wasn't much I could do about that.
Edward was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. He kissed my cheek and took my hand. "C'mon, dinner's nearly ready."
And I followed him into the dining room without another word.
Thanksgiving with the Cullens was quite a different experience than the Swan/Black affair. The table was set with silver and crystal and china, and the white linen tablecloth actually intimidated me quite a bit.
I was secretly thankful that I'd already eaten because I quickly calculated that the odds of my making an embarrassing mess were directly proportional to the amount of food I tried to eat. Edward squeezed my hand and sat down beside me.
Alice rolled her eyes, but abstained from any inappropriate comments.
The Cullens were all dressed impeccably. Even Edward, post door sex, somehow managed to look like he just stepped out of a goddamn Brooks Brothers catalog.
Thank God I'd worn a dress.
Esme had someone there to serve the food, but that wasn't entirely unusual for the Cullen household. Still, I felt a bit like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, minus...or perhaps in addition to the whole hooker thing, considering my pre-dinner activities.
Esme and Carlisle made polite conversation. Emmett ate as much as he could, as fast as he could, while impressively managing not to smack or spill anything.
Alice kicked me under the table six times, stuck her tongue out at Edward, and, when Esme wasn't looking, made an insanely obscene gesture with a dinner roll, a butter knife, and a spoonful of gravy.
Edward held my hand under the table.
At the end of the meal, however, he deliberately (and very overtly) placed our joined hands on the tabletop, in plain view of all dining Cullens.
"You two finally out of the closet?" Em smirked. I blushed.
"Well, I think that's quite lovely dear," Esme offered. "It's certainly been long enough. And you two do look stunning together."
Carlisle nodded his agreement and placed his hand on his wife's back.
Alice rolled her eyes (dramatic as always) and spooned a rather impressive amount of sweet potatoes into her mouth, ballooning her cheeks like some sort of deranged chipmunk.
"Alice, honey!" Esme scolded. "Manners!" She swallowed in one large gulp.
After dinner, Edward took me straight back to his room.
"Leave the door open, honey," Esme called after us.
Edward shut the door firmly behind us.
I eyed him pointedly. He shrugged. "But your mother—"
"Believe me. No one actually wants the door open."
I blushed. He smirked. My stomach did a freaking back-flip.
But when he led me to the worn leather couch, I couldn't help but smile because this was where it all began those few months ago. Tonight, however, it appeared that I wouldn't need any ice cream to get the boy. Which, all things considered, was probably a very good things. I doubted I could eat a bite of Caramel Sutra if I tried. Two Thanksgiving meals will do that to you.
And, while our earlier rather illicit experience with the door had been rather desperate – heated and urgent and brief, this was patient. This was slow. This was soft.
When we were undressed, Edward leaned me back against the cushions and knelt over me, staring down. He fisted his cock loosely, stroking slowly, watching me watching him. And I was mesmerized by the motion of his hand. He was hard, so hard. And he looked at me like I was the most beautiful thing in the world, but I was quite certain he was.
I parted my legs as he settled between them. His breath caught, as his erection slid against my hip, my stomach, trapped between our bodies. And Edward, propped on his hands above me, circled his hips once, then again. I twined my legs around him, pulling him closer still, and he wrapped his arms around me, pressing his mouth to mine.
When he finally slid inside me, face to face, our chests pressed warmly together, the electric intensity was enough to force the air from my lungs. Edward moved slowly, so slowly, prolonging the moment, stretching it out indefinitely, until I had to bite my lip to keep from crying out.
Nothing seemed real. Everything was hot and out of focus. But Edward's hands were on the sides of my face, forcing me to look, and his green eyes were open, as he thrust into me again and again.
It couldn't last forever, of course. The pleasure was finally too much, white heat unfurling in my belly, tingling down my spine, and pooling between my legs where we were joined. And Edward was trembling above me ("Oh fuck...Oh fuck...") while I arched my back and breathed his name, and came apart.
And the he was coming too, shaking, eyes wide with sudden bliss, before finding my mouth with his own.
He collapsed on top of me, and I welcomed the warm weight. Then we held each other close waiting for our breathing to slow.
Afterward, he led me to his bed and lay down beside me. Our bodies curled perfectly together, hips touching hips, chest touching back, skin touching skin. And I realized then that it didn't matter if he had to drive me home in a few short hours – if I never managed to convince Charlie to let me stay the night. Because, regardless of everything, I was his (and he was mine), and I'd be back. Again and again.
a/n: Reviews for Edward and for love. Thank you for putting up with these two for so long. There will be an epilogue, but the story is, for the most part, finally complete.
Read my short story, "Stay", if you'd like to know what I was up to when I wasn't envisioning that final sex scene or updating nearly quickly enough. Again, thanks for your patience. I've got another story planned out; I look forward to finding out where it takes me.
xo always, Violet