A/N Thank you so much for all your encouragement and support during the Forbidden Affairs contest. This very very newbie is in AWE after placing 2nd! WOW!!!
Many of you mentioned in your reviews that you wanted to know what Edward was thinking. Well---here you go! I will be alternating updates between Other Side of the Door and Open Door Policy---keeping them in the same time-frame. I will have one more update for this fic before turning back to Open Door Policy and Bella's POV. Thanks again to everyone for being so lovely!!
And please---please---please---If you like it---leave me some love!
Disclaimer: Everything Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer---I just like to bring her characters out to play!
I adjusted my ear buds and tried to get comfortable in my seat as my mind went to a place it hadn't been in a very long time. Forks, Washington had been my home although I never felt at home there. I'd never really felt at home anywhere---except in her eyes. If only she'd known I was there.
London had been home for the past 4 years. It's the place of my education---both academic and social----ummm and sexual. It's where I grew up. And I did some considerable growing up during my time there.
I thought back to my first day on campus. The buildings were huge. The faces unfamiliar. I had no fear. Strangers had never been much of a threat to me---you have to care about someone before their actions can hurt you. And my family took care of that---which is pretty much why I chose the school furthest from my home that had granted me acceptance. And that is exactly what The University of East London provided me-----acceptance. I longed to be anyone but Emmett's weird little brother. And that is where I found myself ---my identity.
Perhaps I should clarify. My parents were attentive and strived to provide a safe and nurturing environment. They met my needs as best they could---but they never really understood me. I remember pizza on Friday nights as everyone gathered up their foam fingers and air horns for the weekly big game. Every game was big in our house. And every game belonged to Emmett.
I wasn't like my brother.
It wasn't that I didn't like sports---it was more that they didn't like me. As big and strong as my brother was---I was equally thin, uncoordinated and awkward. As focused as Emmett was on whatever his endeavor---my head was consistently in the clouds---thinking about how things could be.
I was definitely the artist---the dreamer to Emmett's athletic God.
Many evenings in London, I found myself unable to sleep, spending entire nights awake---totally consumed in thoughts of why my brother would pursue the only girl I could even see. I'd confided in him---against my better judgment---and he proved himself unworthy of my confidence. It had made no sense. Emmett was involved with Rosalie Hale---I had caught them stealing moments under stairwells and in the woods behind our family home. She was the prettiest and most popular girl in town. He was the quarterback to her head cheerleader. They were made for one another. Bella Swan---was the treasurer of the drama club. Not at all Emmett's typical conquest. I never got over the sudden vigor with which he pursued my Bella. She had been mine---in my mind and my dreams for as long as I could remember dreaming of girls at all. We'd never spoken. But our eyes had met on many occasions. I relished in the memories of our holding glances before her cheeks would blush and she'd eventually tear away. It took an entire year of sorrow filled beers in random London pubs to finally erase Bella's eyes from where they been etched in my mind for what I thought would be forever. Then, like bandages had been removed---I could finally see again.
That is when I met Margie--a cute little French girl who I shared a humanities class with. We shared many things during my next 4 years. All the things American boys assume about French girls---I found to be true in Margie. She was open and honest, loving and uninhibited, sensual and erotic. She was quite a free spirit---- experienced with men and found no shame in that fact. We spent many nights wrapped in each others arms, nothing between our bodies but beads of sweat. She spent endless hours teaching me the art of sensual touch, falatio and lovemaking, as well as how to allow myself to be pleased. Margie will always hold a special place in my soul---but for me, she was still no Bella Swan---though she did teach me every bit of knowledge I had been lacking about women and made my 4 years in London the best of my life so far.
Margie and I had never made a commitment, though I was faithful to her and I'm pretty sure she was exclusive to me as well. At graduation, she headed back to Paris and I found myself boarding this plane, heading to the one place on earth I thought I'd never find myself staying---Forks Washington---at my brother Emmett's house that he shares with his wife----- Bella.
It has been so long since my mind had drifted to Bella, that I didn't hesitate when Emmett suggested I stay with him. I can't say I'd forgotten, because some things are never deemed forgettable. I admit I avoided their wedding---claiming final exams although the semester had actually already ended. I just hadn't pictured her face---or her eyes---or said her name in such a very long time.
Now, sitting here on this plane---it is all I can think about. I wonder if she is happy. I wonder what it is about my brother that appealed to her. I wonder if she even remembers me. I had to swallow hard just to get past the lump in my throat.
I chose to close my eyes and just try to rest a little---to pass some time during my long journey. As I drifted off, my mind took me back.
I was standing under the stairwell right outside the cafeteria at Forks High. My cool trench pulled up high---ear buds in but not on. I heard her before I saw her. Bella's deep laugh followed by her cousins high pitched giggle edged closer. Eyes cast down, I turned in the direction of the sounds. I'd decided I would finally speak to her---even though Emmett told me to wait---to make her come to me. I could not wait another moment. I was going to say hello and ask her how she was doing. And if the conversation managed to carry itself--- I was going to show Bella the picture I'd sketched of her---and hope she liked it. My heart bounced around inside my chest until it was the only sound I could hear. My palms were sweating and my mouth was dry. I watched as Bella came around the corner, her mahogany hair tumbling about shoulders. She was wearing the white blouse with the colorful stitching that always made her brown eyes seem to sparkle. I took two steps toward her. That was all I had time for before it happened. Bounding up behind her ---he grabbed her around the middle until her feet tossed up into the air. She giggled sweetly before reaching around and kissing him on the lips. I shook my head and blinked my eyes---hoping I was mistaken. My eyes traveled up to the face of this intruder----only to find the eyes of my brother Emmett looking directly through me---like I wasn't even there. I crumbled the drawing in my palm and tucked it back into the pocket of my trench.
I woke as the plane was landing in Seattle. Once I'd made it inside and found my luggage I headed toward the passenger pick-up area. I gripped the handles of my bags tightly as I searched the faces for one I recognized. Standing a few yards away, holding a large piece of poster board with big red block letters that read "Welcome home Edward!" was Emmett. He wore the goofiest grin I think I'd ever seen and he ran in my direction once he spotted me.
"Little Bro!" he said as he threw his arms around me , squeezing tightly, and lifted my completely off the ground. "Damn it's so good to see you! How was your flight? Do you need anything? Tell me all about London on the way home. I can't wait to hear everything."
I think Emmett said more words to me at that moment than he had said our entire 3 years together in high school.
I smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "I'm a little jet lagged. Is it okay if I take a few minutes to adjust?"
"Holy shit! Your voice! Oh that is so cool. Wait til Bella hears you!"
My stomach lurched, but I managed to fake a smile.
"Say something else Edward." he urged with enthusiasm.
"I'm really tired." I offered---hoping that would do.
"Aww--c'mon---just once more---please." Emmett begged.
"I have to pee." I shrugged.
"That is so cool—the ladies of Forks are going to frigging …" he smiled at me with a look of awe---which was something I'd never seen him direct at me before.
"No, Emmett---I really need to take a leak." I said with a laugh.
"Oh---sorry. Go ahead. I'll load your bags and wait here."
Emmett talked nonstop the entire way to Forks. It was like he'd been saving up conversation the entire 4 years I'd been gone. It was as if nobody ever talked to him. I kept my eyes closed and listened. Each time I'd start to doze---I'd hear him mention her name ---and a sick feeling would overtake me.
I opened my eyes when I felt the jeep jerk to a stop. We were parked in front of a large two story house I did not recognize. It was either new or newly redone. Either way, Emmett had done well for his family.
Before I could even make my way out of the passenger seat, my brother already had my bags in his arms, heading toward the front door. Not wishing to be rude, I hurried to catch up.
He called for Bella to come and hear me talk. Great---a freak show---just like old times. I caught myself nervously running my hands through my hair---before securing them in my pockets.
And then there she was. I swallowed hard as my heart leapt for a second. Then I gained control. I watched as she entered the room. Her hair still tumbled onto her shoulders. Her body was as exquisite as I remembered. Her complexion still milky and smooth. She looked exactly the same---yet strangely different. Something about her was definitely different. Her chocolate brown eyes---something was different in her eyes.
"Hello Edward…it's so nice to …"
I was startled by the sound of a voice I had yearned to hear for so long.
I leaned forward and I hugged her, cordially of course. Her body felt soft beneath my fingers---just as I'd imagined it would so long ago. As soon as I withdrew and saw her pull her extended arm away, I realized that she'd been expecting a handshake. I forgot that what had become commonplace for me in Europe, was not necessarily so here in the states. I would have to make an effort to keep things more formal with Bella---which would probably be best anyway.
"Thank you, Bella. I appreciate your hospitality and that you are willing to share your home for a bit."
Bella's face became the sweetest shade of pink before she suddenly cast her eyes down. I wondered if I'd said something wrong. As I replayed my words in my mind, she looked back up at me and smiled. That is when I recognized it. I knew that look from Margie and it puzzled me. The look was desire. Bella Swan looked at me with desire. The 16 year old inside of me jumped for joy. Except, she was no longer Bella Swan. She was Bella Cullen. And she was not mine.
"You can put your bags up in the guest room---third door on the left. Then please join us in the dining room for dinner. I hope you're hungry." She offered with sincere warmth in her tone.
Before I could even grab my bags, Emmett was bounding up the stairs with them calling to me as he took the steps two at a time. I followed along---unsure what else to do.
It was a beautiful home. On the wall at the top of the stairs hung a large wedding photo. I stopped a moment to look at it. My brother and his wife looked very happy on their wedding day. I could see our parents in the background beaming. Nobody would even have guessed that an immediate family member was missing.
I passed the bathroom---first door on the left. I made a mental note---I'd want to remember that one. Next was a closed door---I assumed an office or guest room. Across from it, I could tell through the open door that it was the master bedroom---complete with a King size bed. Mine was the last door on the left. It had a full size bed, a bureau and a television. It was decorated in shades of blue and green. It was very welcoming and quite hospitable.
"Let's go Bro----Bella doesn't like it when dinner gets cold." Emmett said.
The first thing I noticed as I walked into the dining room was the delicious aroma. It was a favorite I recognized from my past---my mother's beef and noodle casserole. She must have shared the recipe with Bella. I couldn't believe Bella went to the trouble---for me.
"You made my favorite, Bella. That was very kind of you." I said to her.
She looked into her plate. "Your Mom emailed me the recipe. It was just something I could do to welcome my brother-in-law home."
Her eyes darted up to mine for just a moment accompanied by a slight smile, before they dropped back to her plate where they remained for the rest of our meal. She was so beautiful. The simple sound of her voice made me once again feel like a nervous 16 year old. .
The entirety of dinner and dessert was completely overpowered by Emmett. He told off-color jokes, brought up stories from our childhood that I had long struggled to forget and made sexual innuendos toward Bella. She ate her meal in silence---periodically glancing up at Emmett. If she looked at me at all, she kept it hidden. I didn't remember her being so quiet and withdrawn. It was as if my brother, and his overzealous need to be the main attraction of every event, had sucked the very life right out of her
The moment Bella completed cleaning up after dinner and excused herself to her room, Emmett grabbed two beers from the fridge and slid one over to me.
"So, Eddie, tell me all about the women in London."
"There's not much to tell---they are much the same as the women here."
"Oh---I've heard stories of European women---c'mon---I want to hear what they're like in bed."
"I'm afraid I haven't much to share."
"You do like women right?" My brother asked me---not in a mean way----just honestly.. But this was the second time he'd asked me that same question.
"Yes, Emmett. I like women very much. I have been with women. I know a great deal more now that I lived in London than I ever could have learned here."
"Well, bro----spill. I want to hear the good stuff."
I raised my brows and shrugged. "I'm sorry."
He looked at me like I was had a third eye.
"C'mon---let me live vicariously---I'm an ol' married guy. My days of hot sex are over."
I felt like someone punched me in the stomach, although I wasn't sure why.
I shook my head "No."
He snickered.. "I get it. You learned some fancy pants manners over in London---so you're not gonna kiss and tell."
I smiled---because I suddenly realized I had the upper hand. For the first time in my entire life, I had control when it came to my brother.
"Damn Edward---that's just selfish. But hey---to each his own. I can respect that."
Margie would have wanted me to show Emmett up---to silence him with shocking details of the times we spent together. But I couldn't. I knew if I shared details of my sex life, Emmett would have to top me with details of his. I had no desire to go there.
Emmett continued to hand me beers each time he got one for himself. The more he drank the louder he got. The louder he got, the more he laughed at his own jokes. I laughed to---to be polite---and because I had a buzz.
Finally, I used jetlag as an excuse and headed up the stairs to my room. As I reached the top, my eyes immediately went to the door of Bella's room. She was probably sleeping. I could picture her brown hair astray on the pillow. Her chest rising and falling in a silent pattern. The sounds of her delicate breaths.
Ohhhh. I felt myself begin to stiffen and figured my brother might not like it if he caught his brother gazing at his bedroom door with a hard-on---so moved on to my room.
Once I was unpacked and wearing only my boxer briefs, I dropped onto the bed, turned on the TV and tried to find something to take my mind off the absurdity of what was now my existence.
I could hear Emmett coming up the stairs. The guy did nothing quietly.
I must have dozed off for a few minutes, because when I came to---my stiffy was back and I really had to pee. Too much beer.
The house was quiet, so I slipped on a pair of sweats, just in case, and headed down the hall.
Once I'd moved several steps away from my door, I could hear my brother's voice. I guess everyone was not asleep.
As I passed their room, the door was wide open. Just as I passed, my brother again spoke and as a reflex I looked in. I shouldn't have but I did.
And there they were----in the middle of intercourse. I couldn't call it making love---because only one participant appeared to be enjoying themselves---and even that seemed minimal. My eyes instinctively went to her. Bella's face was distant and unemotional---like she was just waiting until it was over---like someone sitting in a Dr's office.
My heart broke for her. I was glued to the indifference in her eyes. How could someone so beautiful, be so poorly loved?
And my brother---mauling her like a bear. What the hell was wrong with him? He wasn't even considering her needs. I bet he just stomped in here and woke her up!
Wait---what the hell am I doing? Edward---go! Move! Now!
And then it was too late. Her eyes caught me. I held my breath and stood frozen. I expected her to scream. I thought my life would be passing before my eyes any moment when my Neanderthal brother would hurl me down the stairs---and the saddest part was that there wasn't anything that could pass before my eyes that was I even interested in seeing. I only wanted to see the breathtaking creature before me.
Bella looked at me---scared and embarrassed--- and I knew I needed to tear myself away---for her. But then I realized---she was still looking at me---eyes locked with mine---and the longer I remained---she more she appeared to be relaxing. The line between her brows smoothed and she suddenly looked like she was enjoying herself.
Emotion shot through me so strongly, combined with the level to which I was now aroused mixed with the alcohol, I thought it wise to brace myself in the door frame.
As I rested my head on my shoulder, Bella gasped!
So fucking hot! I'd never wanted someone so badly in my life.
This, however, only led the idiot mauling her to believe that he was actually doing something right.
"Bella, I've never heard you so excited!" he groaned.
As if it had anything to do with him. No wonder he wanted to hear my stories----his sex life was a joke.
At that thought I realized---he said she had never been this excited before. I did this for her. I felt pure joy. This girl I'd loved for so long---now a woman---I could do something for her that my perfect brother couldn't. I couldn't help but smile---and as soon as I did--- a new look of desire filled her eyes---wild---erotic---uncontrollable. Bella's body began to writhe and then suddenly tightened. Her eyes glazed over---still locked with mine. Then it happened. The feral fire I always imagined to burn inside her was released. And then, within my gaze, Bella rode out the most exquisite orgasm I'd ever witnessed---all the time her eyes on me. She had a look of frightened pleasure---but why would she be afraid---mid orgasm? Certainly this couldn't be her first.
I wanted so much to curl her into my arms and hold her until she fell asleep. I wanted to sprinkle her shoulders with tender kisses and gently remove the strands of hair now sticking to her fore head. But I couldn't---I didn't dare. I had to leave---quickly. The last sound I heard as I hurried to my room was my brother's voice.
"Damn Bella---that was really good. I hope I can remember what I did."
Once in my room, it suddenly hit me what I had actually done.
Shit----how do I even face her in the morning? What could she possibly be thinking? I am such a dumb fuck!
And Dammit---I never did take that leak.