Story Title: Her Sunrise Eyes
Summary: TwiSlash Unveiled Contest Entry: It wasn't just that I had never looked at another woman that way before; I had never looked at anyone that way. AU/AH/OOC/BxR/ Femslash
Rating: M Genre: Angst/ Romance
Category Title: Femslash
A/N: I don't own anything you recognize, and Stephenie Meyer owns everything Twilight.
Thanks to my beta...you know who you are :)
This story is the work of its author and not TwiSlash Unveiled. It has been submitted under the TU pen name for the TwiSlash Unveiled FemSlash contest, but remains the property of the author.
* * * * *
The first time I saw her was like the first time I saw the sun.
She drew me in like a light in the darkness, glowing and radiating warmth in the cold black of night.
I should have known from the moment my eyes locked on her wondrous form that my life was never going to be the same. In that instant, as I stared at her from across the crowded room of yet another obnoxious Frat House party, everything else around me ceased to be. There was no more shouting, no more music, no more drunk and stumbling bodies pushing past me to the keg - there was only her.
I watched dazedly from my usual place against the wall, clutching my half-empty plastic glass of water in a now-trembling hand, transfixed by everything that she was.
Her long blonde hair cascaded in waves of spun gold down her back, bouncing and swaying with every toss of her head as she laughed. The creamy texture of her smooth skin contrasted starkly with her dusty pink lips, and even across the distance, the bright blue of her eyes shone like a clear morning sky. She had a perfectly balanced face and a long, graceful neck, leading down to a tall, slender body that curved delicately everywhere a woman's should.
She was magnificent.
The fitted black t-shirt she wore accentuated her full bust and trim waist, allowing me to see a tiny sliver of her hips above the distressed denim jeans clinging to her long, slim legs. Modest silver hoops adorned her ears, and dozens of shiny silver bracelets that swung and tinkled softly as she gestured animatedly in conversation circled both her delicate wrists. On her feet was a pair of red patent-leather stilettos, with her perfectly pedicured toes peeking out the front.
I had never seen anyone so stunning in all my life. That should have been my first clue…
It wasn't only that I had never looked at another woman that way before, because that in itself was enough to set my mind reeling. What really got me was that in all my twenty-three years, I had never looked at anyone that way.
I was by no means naïve or inexperienced, having dated my share of attractive, well-mannered men. I had kissed, touched, sucked and even fucked numerous times, but it was always empty. I never actually felt anything for any of them. There were no butterflies, no sparks, no mind-blowing orgasms that left me trembling and panting for breath. As hard as I tried to feel it - there was just nothing in it for me.
After my last failed attempt to find the passion in a relationship, I had grudgingly resigned myself to the fact that I simply wasn't a sexual being. I could look at a man and see that he was attractive, and I could enjoy spending time with him and the companionship we had. But when he held my hand as we walked, or kissed me goodnight at my door, or spread my legs and pushed himself inside me…I was dead.
It certainly wasn't how I wanted or even expected my life to be, but that's what it was, and I had come to accept it.
Then I saw her.
A sharp elbow to my ribs interrupted my obsessive staring, and I reluctantly tore my eyes away from her to look questioningly at my best friend, Alice.
"He's hot, huh?" she said, waggling her dark eyebrows and grinning at me meaningfully.
I looked at her in confusion for a moment, and then followed her gaze as she turned her head to look back out across the room. It was then that I first noticed the man standing in her group.
"Oh...yeah," I said lamely. "He is."
It was the truth.
He had messy hair that was the strangest shade of red I had ever seen – almost bronze or copper as the light bounced off it. His eyes were a bright, piercing green that perfectly offset his deep red lips, set in a square face with a straight nose and sharp jaw. The grey t-shirt he wore hugged his toned chest and accentuated his thinly muscled arms, and his dark-rinse jeans sat low on his trim waist. A lazy smirk played on his mouth and his eyes twinkled happily as he chatted and laughed with his friends. He just looked...nice.
I couldn't deny that he was everything a girl should want in a man – but he wasn't her.
No one could ever compare to her.
"You should go talk to him," Alice said, once again interrupting my thoughts. "You two have been staring at each other all night."
"What?" I replied dumbly, before realizing what she meant: Alice thought I had been looking at him this whole time.
"Oh. I, um..." I stammered, not knowing how to respond. Of course she thought I was staring at the hot guy across the room – I had never expressed any interest in women before. Hell, I had never felt any interest in women before. But could I tell her that?
"I don't know, Alice," I said, stalling so I could get a grip on what I was feeling right then. "Maybe not tonight."
"Don't be silly," she chided. "He totally wants you! See...he's looking over here again."
Before I could stop myself, I glanced up and my eyes locked with his. We stared at each other awkwardly for a second, then he grinned crookedly and winked at me, making my cheeks flush in embarrassment. Alice gasped and clapped excitedly beside me, but I looked away quickly, unsure and uncomfortable with his attention. I didn't want him looking at me like that, not now that I had seen her.
"Go," Alice said, nudging my shoulder discretely, but I held back.
"I don't think so," I told her. "Actually, I think I might go home. I'm feeling kind of funny right now."
'Funny' didn't even cover half of the confusion that was crashing around inside me. All it had taken was one simple glance at a stranger to bring my whole world crashing down around my feet. I felt like I didn't even know myself anymore; I had no idea who I was or what I wanted.
"Funny?" Alice echoed, a look of concern now crossing her face. "You didn't set your drink down anywhere did you?"
"What? No..." I answered distractedly, my attention once again fixed on the stunningly beautiful woman across the room.
As I stared at her in awe, I began noticing little mannerisms that had me mesmerized: the way her forehead creased slightly as she listened to someone speak, how she would bite her bottom lip as she anticipated a joke that was soon to be told, and finally by the dimples that popped out on either side of her mouth as she smiled and laughed heartily. The whole room seemed to light up when she smiled, and I basked in the warmth of her presence from afar. I only wished I could actually hear the sound of her laughter; surely it was as melodious as a chorus of bells.
"Well, maybe Jazz and I should come with you," Alice suggested through my haze. "You know, just in case."
I tore my eyes away from her to look at Alice, who was now frowning at me worriedly. "Oh, no it's okay, really," I said, attempting to reassure her and stop drawing attention to my sudden fascination. A Friday night kegger was not the place I wanted to have that conversation with my best friend, if I even wanted to have it at all. "I think I'm just tired. I had a final today."
Alice looked unconvinced, but before she could press the matter further, a tall, bronze-haired and green-eyed man was standing in front of us with a friendly grin stretched across his face.
"Hi," he said. "I'm Edward."
Alice's eyes lit up and she bit her bottom lip excitedly, but I just stared at him dumbly. He was even more handsome up close, and the refreshing scent of pine and cool, clear water drifted from his skin. I had to admit that he really was the most beautiful man I had ever seen, but as much as I knew I should be falling all over myself in excitement, it all held nothing for me. He wasn't her.
When I didn't answer and his smile began to falter, Alice stepped forward and stuck her small hand out toward him. "I'm Alice," she said happily, grinning like that creepy cartoon cat. "And this is Bella." The inflection she put on my name snapped me out of my stupor and I was suddenly embarrassed for acting like such a weirdo.
Edward shook her hand and then looked back at me expectantly, a crooked grin once again twisting one side of his mouth.
"Hi," I said, smiling politely and offering him my hand to shake. "It's nice to meet you."
"Indeed," he replied, running his fingers through his wild hair before continuing. "I couldn't help but notice you from where I was standing, so I thought I'd come over and introduce myself."
Alice squealed like a twelve year old girl, but tried to cover it up by coughing delicately into her tiny fist. "I'm, uh, just going to go stand...over there," she said, pointing to an empty space about ten feet down the wall.
She looked at me pointedly as she turned to walk away, but I just rolled my eyes. It wasn't like he was the first guy ever to talk to me, so I didn't get why she was making such a big deal out of it.
"So," Edward said once Alice was out of earshot. "I haven't seen you around much. Are you new here?"
I flushed embarrassedly. "No, I just don't get out much. I'm double majoring so I spend most of my time either in the library or asleep at my desk."
Edward chucked at my joke and took a swill from his red plastic cup. "What are you in for?" he asked.
"Philosophy and English," I answered. "I, um, want to be a writer. A...philosophical...writer," I finished lamely. I hated explaining my ambitions to people; they only made sense in my own head.
"Heavy," Edward said. "That must be a lot of work."
"Yeah, it is," I replied. "But I enjoy it."
He nodded and turned his head to the side, almost as if he were trying to think of something else to say. He looked as uncomfortable as I felt.
I shifted awkwardly, knowing full well that I was poor company at the moment, but I just couldn't make myself care about anything but her right now.
Edward looked back to me after a moment and gestured to my now-empty cup of water. "Can I get you another drink?" he asked.
"Thanks, but I was actually just about to leave when you came over," I said, grateful for the out.
He looked disappointed, but didn't whine or try to convince me to stay, which I genuinely appreciated. "Oh, ok. Well, maybe another time?" was all he said.
I stood there for a moment, unsure of how to respond. He seemed like a really nice guy, not to mention how gorgeous he was, but I didn't want to lead him on if I couldn't give him what he was looking for in me. I wasn't girlfriend material; I knew better by now.
I was scanning the room as I thought frantically about what to do, when my eyes once again landed on the woman who had captured me so completely. She was listening to a big, burly man with curly dark hair tell a story while he gestured wildly with his arms. Every now and then, she would reach up to brush the long, blonde hair from her shoulders, and then run her fingers down her neck before letting her hand fall back to her side. I watched wretchedly as she licked her lips and reached out to touch his arm when he finished speaking, then stretched up onto her toes to whisper something in his ear.
She was flirting with him.
My stomach lurched and hot tears of jealously burned the corners of my eyes, but before I could look away, she turned and our gazes met from across the room. The force of her stare reached straight into my soul, and I stood there gaping as her eyes widened and her lips parted as she took me in. In that second I thought I saw the same passion I felt reflected back at me, but then, to my horror, her eyes narrowed and she glared at me fiercely before turning her back and walking away quickly.
I stared at her retreating form as tears once again sprang to my eyes, blurring everything around me as they threatened to spill over and draw attention to my heartbreak.
"Bella?" a man's voice called out, and I suddenly remembered that I was standing with Edward. I looked up to find him staring at me curiously, his smirk now replaced with a frown. "Are you okay?" he asked, genuinely concerned.
I swallowed the lump in my throat and blinked the tears away before responding. "Yes," I said in a cracking voice, but it was a lie - I didn't know if I would ever be okay again. "I've just had a long day. I should go."
He nodded in understanding, but before I could walk away he added, "Can I give you my number? I'd really like to see you again...if you'd like."
I had nothing to lose anymore, so I said, "Sure," and numbly handed him my cell so he could add his number into my phone book.
After pressing a few buttons, he gave it back to me and smiled crookedly, then said, "I hope you actually call me. It was great talking to you."
"Yeah, it was," I told him, trying to remain polite even though all I wanted to do was go find a whole to crawl into and die. How could someone have devastated me so greatly when I didn't even know her name?
Edward grinned at me one last time and then walked away, disappearing into the crowd just as Alice came bounding back up to my side.
"How did it go?" she demanded in an excited, squeaky voice. "Are you going to call him tomorrow?"
She had obviously been watching our exchange, and I was shocked that she hadn't picked up on my distress at seeing any chance with the woman of my unknown-dreams go up in flames. Alice saw everything...I must have been a better actress than I thought.
"Maybe," I said with a shrug, and to my surprise, it wasn't an outright lie. I was still numb at having lost a love that I'd never even truly had, but something about Edward intrigued me. Even though I had little desire to date him, I still wanted to get to know him better.
"Oooooh, you're going to be so perfect together," she sighed. "I just know it. It's fate!"
"Okay, Alice," I said as I rolled my eyes and headed for the door, needing to get out of there before anything else could come along and threaten to destroy me. "You keep that up and I'm going to sell you off to the next carnival that passes through town."
"Mock me all you want," she challenged as she practically jogged to keep pace with me. "But you two were meant to meet tonight. You'll see..."
"Whatever," I muttered, stepping over the threshold and out into the cool night air. "I'm too tired to debate 'what's in the stars' with you right now. Let's just go home."
"Fine, fine," she said, thankfully letting the matter drop. "Jazz already went to get the car. He's picking us up in front."
I sighed gratefully and watched for Alice's yellow Porsche to pull up in front of the house, practically running to it the second Jasper coasted to a smooth stop.
"You okay, Bella?" He asked the second I climbed into the backseat. Jasper had always been so sensitive to my moods, right from the moment I met him in seventh grade.
"Yes," I lied, for the third time that night. "I've just had a long day and I want to go to bed."
He turned around and gave me his 'I don't believe you for a second but I won't ask if you don't want to tell' look, while I grimaced and fidgeted uncomfortably. So much had happened that even I didn't understand, and the last thing I wanted to do right then was try to explain it to my two best friends.
The drive home was short and quiet, and I climbed the stairs with just a "'Night," said in their direction as Jasper closed the front door behind the three of us. When I was alone in my room, I let my clothes fall carelessly to the floor and collapsed onto the bed, where I drifted off into a restless sleep, filled with dreams of her.
* * * * *
The next day I awoke with a determination to forget the night before had ever happened, or at least, to forget her. So, after an extra-long shower and a hot coffee in the biggest cup we owned, I picked up my cell and scrolled through the phone book, looking for Edward's number.
I giggled when I came upon it, under the heading 'Edward – that guy you met last night'. I pressed send and listened to it ring with a small smile on my face, but it quickly faded when a woman's melodious voice answered instead.
"Hello?" she sang into the phone, and every hair on my body stood on end. As much as I should have been horrified by the situation, all I could focus on was her voice - it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.
"Oh, I um, I uh..." I stammered. "I think I have the wrong number."
"Were you calling for Edward?" the beautiful voice asked me, but before I could respond, I heard a more familiar tenor in the background.
"Of course they were calling for me, it's my fucking phone! Give it here!"
I could hear the sound of the phone changing hands and then Edward's smooth voice greeted me. "Hello?"
"Oh, hi...it's Bella, from the party last night." I said, suddenly unsure about calling. "Is this a bad time?"
"No, no. Not at all!" he exclaimed, and then quickly apologized. "Sorry about my roommate...she's always doing that, no matter how many times I ask her not to."
I breathed a sigh of relief at not having interrupted a morning-after scene or worse. I hated awkward situations.
"Oh, that's ok," I told him. "I have roommates, too. I understand."
He chuckled and I heard a door click shut before he continued. "So, I wasn't expecting to hear from you so soon, not that I'm complaining."
I laughed uncomfortably. "Does that make me look like a loser? I promise you I'm not."
"Not at all," he replied, and I could practically hear him smile through the phone. "Actually, I was really hoping you would call. Are you free today? Maybe we could meet up somewhere..."
"Oh," I said, slightly surprised by his sudden eagerness, but I didn't let it deter me. "Actually, I guess I am. What did you have in mind?"
* * * * *
We met for dinner at a quaint little Italian restaurant downtown, and then wandered the streets until the stars came out and the bugs began swarming around our heads. Edward was a perfect gentleman the entire evening - opening doors for me and pulling out my chair at the restaurant, and even offering me his jacket when I got chilly as we walked.
On top of all that, I was happy to find that we got along wonderfully. He was funny and witty, and we shared the same tastes in everything from food to movies to music, so there was hardly a stall in the conversation all night.
I learned that he was two years older than I was, and in his sixth year of medicine at the University. His parents were richer than the Sultan of You-Name-It, so he wanted to become a doctor and open a free clinic on the East side of town. It was a notoriously poor and dangerous neighbourhood to be working in, but when I mentioned this, he just shrugged and told me, "Everyone deserves to be cared for." I smiled and nodded in agreement, pledging to volunteer there as often as I could.
At the end of the evening, Edward drove me home and walked me to my front door, but to my immense surprise (and relief), he didn't attempt to kiss me goodnight. He just ran his fingers through his hair and looked down at the ground awkwardly, saying, "I had fun with you tonight. Will you call me again?"
I truly enjoyed the time I had spent time with him, so I immediately agreed and was confident that I would. Edward looked up at me with a crooked smile, said "Good, I'll be waiting," then walked away and drove off without another word.
As I watched his silver Volvo disappear around the corner, I pondered what exactly I had found in him. We definitely had some sort of connection, but it didn't seem to be romantic in nature at all. He hadn't tried to get intimately close to me all night, and of course, neither had I tried to get close to him. We were just...comfortable...together. I didn't know why, but whatever it was, I liked it.
* * * * *
Edward and I hung out as much as our busy schedules allowed us to, which unfortunately wasn't very often. Still, we would talk on the phone and send emails back and forth, just getting to know each other and keeping up on our day-to-day lives. Things never progressed past friendship for us - he never tried to kiss me or hold my hand or any of that intimate business – and I was grateful to have found someone to just be with, without the complications (and inevitable demise) of a relationship.
As good as things were going with Edward, though, I still hadn't been able to forget about her.
Much to my dismay, it seemed that now I was aware of her, I saw her everywhere: in line at my favourite coffee shop, sitting under a tree as I walked across the Quad, or talking and laughing with that big guy from the party so many weeks ago.
She haunted me.
No matter how hard I tried to fight it, every time I saw her was the same as the first: my pulse raced and my body tingled, and everything else seemed to fade into the background as my entire consciousness focused on her. I didn't even know her, I knew I couldn't have her, and yet she was everything to me. I had never been so frustrated in my life.
Nights spent alone in my bed were the worst. Her face would shimmer behind my closed lids, smiling and laughing as I ran my fingers through her soft golden hair, then across her shoulders and down to her naked breasts. She would moan my name as I kissed her flat belly and slid my fingers between her slick lower lips, but in the end, it was always my hand bringing myself to climax as I cried out in unfulfilling pleasure.
But what else could I do?
Anytime that I wasn't with Edward I was shut up in my room, poring over books and writing endless essays for classes that I could hardly keep track of, so I hardly saw Alice or Jasper anymore. They would ask me how I was as I ran past them in the kitchen in a mad dash to my first class, and I would always smile and say "Great!" before they could actually see the turmoil building inside of me.
I thought I hid my issues well, but Edward sensed something was up when I began getting more and more miserable by the day. He pushed and he prodded, trying to get me to open up to him about what was really going on, but I just wasn't ready to talk about it yet. Hell, I was hardly even ready to think about it yet. I was so deep in denial about the feelings raging inside of me that I had almost convinced myself that they didn't exist.
I was a wreck.
So when Edward invited me to his apartment for the first time, offering a 'movie night' to cheer me up and take my mind off my troubles, I jumped at the chance to escape my own head, even if it was just for one evening.
I knocked on his door at six-fifty-five and Edward answered immediately, ushering me inside with a crooked grin and a twinkle in his piercing green eyes. He led me to the living room, where the subtle-but-obvious feminine touches throughout the space took me by surprise. I knew he had a roommate, but he didn't talk about her often, so I was wasn't expecting to see her influence spread so casually around.
Once we settled comfortably on his large, cream coloured sofa, Edward presented me with a selection of movies that both intrigued me and had me in a fit of hysterics.
"Okay," he said as he passed the cases one by one into my hands. "We've got 'Romeo and Juliet', 'True Romance', 'Sixteen Candles' and 'Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town'."
I loved 'Romeo and Juliet' and I had been wanting to see the other two films for some time, but I definitely wasn't in the mood for a romance movie, so as soon as I was able to reign in my giggles, I choked out, "Zombies, I vote zombies."
Edward grinned and popped the disc into his DVD player, and then we sat back and munched popcorn while laughing uncontrollably and making snide comments about the actors and plot line.
Just as the movie was ending and I was beginning to fall asleep on Edward's shoulder, keys jingled in the lock and his apartment door swung open before being clicked shut again. I sat up straight and turned toward the hall, preparing myself to meet his roommate that I had heard so little about. Edward glanced at me and grinned, and we both looked up as a melodious voice called out as she entered the room.
"Honey, I'm ho..." she began, but stopped short as our eyes met and we stared at each other incredulously.
It was her.
My whole world came to a screeching halt as I came suddenly face-to-face with the woman who had turned my life upside down. She was even more beautiful than the dreams my pitiful imagination had created for me, and she was close enough that I could smell the sweet fragrance of lavender and vanilla drifting from her skin. Her sky-blue eyes bore into mine as her cheeks turned a dusty pink that matched her full mouth perfectly, and I watched in fascination as her lips parted and her tongue peeked out to wet them.
I was utterly lost in her presence, staring and gaping like a fool, until Edward's voice broke through the thick fog that had descended around me.
"Bella, this is my roommate, Rosalie," he said, and her name rang in my head like a chorus of angels.
Rosalie. Rosalie. Rosalie. Rosalie.
I wanted to whisper it in her ear. I wanted to scream it out as I came. I wanted to sigh it into her neck as we fell asleep after making love.
I wanted her.
I needed her.
We stared at each other for what seemed like hours, until suddenly Edward cleared his throat and she broke our gaze to turn to him, her eyes narrowing and her mouth twisting into a scowl. "What is she doing here?" she demanded, and my heart instantly plummeted at her harsh and spiteful words.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Edward asked incredulously. "This is Bella, the girl I've been telling you about."
She looked back to me and for one brief second her eyes were open all the way into her soul, but before I could clearly see what was reflected there, she clenched them shut and swallowed thickly as she replied. "Oh," was all she said, and then she turned on her heel and stormed away, slamming her bedroom door behind her.
I stared after her, aghast at her unfounded malice toward me, not knowing what to do or say. I turned to Edward with wide, questioning eyes, wondering how I could have offended her so greatly without even uttering a word, and he immediately apologized for her behaviour.
"Just ignore Rosalie, I do," he told me. "She's like that with almost everyone."
I knew that was a lie.
I had seen her with others, always smiling and laughing and happy, so the only conclusion I could draw was that it was me.
She hated me.
Hurt and angry tears spilled from my eyes before I could stop them, and I sat there crying pitifully, devastated and mortified by what was unfolding around me. Edward gasped and pulled me into his arms, stroking my hair and rubbing small circles on my back, all the while muttering curses to Rosalie's name. He held me as I cried it all out, the confusion and frustration and pain, until my heart had nothing left to bleed and all I could feel was numb.
When I finally managed to pull myself together, Edward brought me some tissues and a glass of water, then offered to drive me home. I thanked him but decided to walk the short distance to my house instead, needing the cool night air to clear my head and soothe the burning skin on my face.
Edward didn't like the idea of me being out alone in the dark, but reluctantly agreed when I promised to keep my pepper spray in one hand and cell phone in the other, and to call him the moment I was safe inside. He gave me one last hug at the door and then I walked hurriedly away, leaving my heart broken at her feet.
* * * * *
Two weeks passed before I was able to face Edward again after my break down at his apartment, and it was another two weeks still before I could bring myself to go back there. When I did, I only saw Rosalie fleetingly, as she either came in the door or ran out without speaking to either of us.
I wish I could say that her rejection of me got easier to bear as time went on, but in reality, it only got more painful with every day that passed.
I couldn't let her go.
Her face still haunted my dreams, and to make things worse, I now had a voice and a name to go along with my fantasies. I would moan and cry out "Rosalie!" as my fingers slid over my clit, and I would hear her whisper sweet words in my ear, telling me she wanted me and begging me to kiss her as I came.
Edward was a great friend throughout everything, always willing to pick up and leave when she stormed through the apartment, angrily slamming doors in her wake, or to turn around and go elsewhere when we arrived to find her sitting sullenly on the couch, glaring at us when we dared to join her.
One night in early spring was particularly bad, as Rosalie came stomping out of her bedroom, looking far more beautiful than any woman had a right to, in a fitted black halter dress and black knee-high stiletto boots. She had her silky blonde hair pulled up into a messy twist, and her lips were a deep, blood red that matched perfectly to the wide belt around her waist.
She marched past us and into the kitchen, where she grabbed a bottle of water and then retreated to her bedroom, ignoring us the entire time and shutting the door loudly behind her.
I stared after her in a daze, my traitorous body immediately reacting to her intense beauty, and before I could stop myself I asked, "Is she going on a date?"
Edward snorted from his place on the opposite couch before he replied, "I doubt it. She doesn't really date. Ever."
My head snapped over to look at him, my eyes wide and my mouth hanging open in shock. "What do you mean? I see her with that big guy all the time...the one with the dark, curly hair. Isn't she dating him?"
Something flashed in Edward's eyes but was gone before I could figure out what it was. "Who, Emmett?" he said casually, but I could sense some hidden emotion behind his words. "Nah, they're just really good friends."
"Really?" I said, still surprised by this new revelation. "But they're always hanging all over each other. I thought for sure they were a couple."
Edward just shrugged. "They're close, but not like that. I guess you could say they're not really each other's type," he finished cryptically.
I opened my mouth to ask what he meant by that, but just then Rosalie came striding out of her room, a short black jacket now covering her long, creamy arms and a small, blood-red purse slung over her shoulder. She glared daggers at us as she walked past us to the hallway, throwing a flippant "Fuck you," over her shoulder when Edward snidely wished her a good evening.
My heart was pounding disjointedly as I watched the door shut behind her, leaving Edward and me sitting in silence. Even with all her anger and malice toward me, I still wanted her as desperately as the very first time I saw her. She was like a drug to me...my own personal brand of heroin that I just couldn't give up, even though I knew indulging in it would only wound me deeper and deeper.
I finally tore my eyes away from the door and looked back to Edward, only to find him staring at me with wide eyes and a look of sudden comprehension on his face.
"What?" I said uncomfortably, fidgeting awkwardly under his gaze. The look he was giving me was a little to understanding for my liking, so I said the first thing that came to mind, trying to shift the focus away from myself. "Do you want to watch TV? What's good on a Friday night?"
Edward was having none of my evasiveness though, and he sat forward, looking directly into my eyes as he said, "Don't you ever get tired of pretending? I'm so tired of pretending."
I swallowed thickly, my mouth suddenly dry and sticky. "What do you mean?" I choked out.
He ran a hand through his already dishevelled hair in annoyance, huffing and looking away from me as he said exasperatedly, "Stop it! You know what I mean! Why are we playing this game?"
I shook my head frantically, determined to keep the walls I had so painstakingly built around my heart from tumbling down around me. "No, I don't. What game?"
Edward's eyes snapped back to mine and he stood angrily from the couch across from me, striding quickly around the coffee table and plopping down beside me. I recoiled slightly from his sudden intensity, but before I could do anything else he grabbed the tops of my arms and looked deep into my eyes as he ground out, "This is what I mean," and then he pressed his lips roughly against mine.
I would be lying if I didn't admit to wondering once or twice what it would be like to kiss Edward, because he really was an exquisitely beautiful man - even I could appreciate that. So when his mouth met mine for the first time, I found myself truly paying attention to the experience. Not surprisingly, his lips were soft and warm, and his technique was gentle but firm. He brought a hand up to wrap around the back of my neck as his tongue peeked out to caress mine, and when I leaned in to kiss him deeper and explore his mouth with my own, I found his breath tasted of mint and cherries.
In all honesty, it was the most spectacular kiss I had shared up until that point, and I really tried with all of my being to want it, to want him, but I didn't.
I still wanted her.
Just when I was starting to grow breathless, Edward pulled away and once again looked deep into my eyes, asking, "Did you feel it?"
I just stared at him, not wanting to answer honestly, for fear of finally admitting the truth not only to him, but also to myself. I had been pushing it away from the very first moment I saw her, but I knew, and now Edward did, too.
He eventually grew tired of waiting for my reply, and once again gripped the tops of my arms, shaking me gently as I sat there in a stupor. "Tell me what you felt, Bella," he demanded. "I need to hear you say it out loud."
A whimper escaped my throat, followed by a shaky inhale of breath, as I whispered, "Nothing."
"Nothing," he replied, and then he sat back on the couch and dropped his head into his hands. "Don't you see?" he said desperately, his voice muffled as he spoke through his arms. "We're perfect for each other. In a few short months, you've become my life, and yet, I can't make myself desire you the way I should. I can't feel anything more than a platonic love for you...and believe me, I've tried."
I was trembling from head to foot as he relayed every feeling I had ever had about him back to me, and my mind was spinning so out of control that it hurt. I realized then that a part of me had known it all along, but I still couldn't believe what he was admitting to me, and what he was expecting me to admit to him.
Edward looked up to me again and he looked so broken and weary that my heart clenched painfully in my chest. I wanted help him, to make his pain go away, but I couldn't give him what he was looking for right then. I simply wasn't ready yet.
"Don't you see?" he said again, but this time his voice was quiet and pleading. "We're..."
"Stop!" I yelled, jumping up from the couch and knocking my soda from the coffee table in the process. It fizzed and bubbled, staining their cream-colored carpet a deep brown, but I didn't care. I couldn't hear him say the words and make it all real. I needed to get out of there as fast as I could.
"Bella," Edward began, but I cut him off again.
"No, don't. Just stop. I have to go," I said shakily, and before he could say another word, I grabbed my jacket from the closet and left.
* * * * *
The next week passed in agonizing slowness, made worse by all the pleading emails and apologetic messages left by Edward. I missed him terribly, but even more than that, I couldn't stand to hear him blame himself for driving me away, not when I was the one who ran.
I was done running.
In that week, I forced myself to admit what I had been hiding from for so long. There was a reason for all my failed relationships with men...a reason that I had never felt true passion for any of them. Most importantly, there was a reason for my obsession with Rosalie – I was a lesbian. It terrified me to no end, because I knew of the hardships and discrimination homosexuals faced, but I simply couldn't deny it any longer. Just like Edward said the last time I saw him, I was so tired of pretending.
Once I allowed myself to accept the truth, I knew it like my lungs knew how to breathe. It bothered me at first that it took me twenty-three years to realize who I really was, but in the end I decided that I had just been looking in the wrong place all along. I grew up in a small town, where women married men, had babies and were happy. So when I got out in the world and started dating, I never thought things would be different for me. I grew up expecting to fall in love with a man, so that's what I looked for – a man.
I knew better now, though.
What I hadn't been expecting was how freeing it was to let myself finally be me. It felt so good to acknowledge what I actually wanted and was looking for in life, that I wished I had realized it years ago and saved myself so much heartache along the way. I decided to look forward, though, instead of back, and found that I was genuinely excited to embrace my new lifestyle and see what happiness it would bring me. I was ready to feel it.
I confessed my secret to Alice and Jasper one quiet evening at home, and while they were surprised to say the least, they were also incredibly supportive and loving. Jasper even joked that he should have known after he tried to kiss me in ninth grade and I slapped him clean across the face, but I just kicked his shin and breathed a sigh of relief that nothing between us would change. The three of us had always been, and always would be, the best of friends.
I put off facing Edward the longest, because I had let him down so terribly when he needed me the most. I was embarrassed and ashamed of my behaviour that night, and even though his messages repeatedly said that it was okay and to call him whenever I wanted, it took the full week for me to gather the courage to show up at his door.
It was Friday night at exactly seven o'clock when I rang his buzzer and announced my unscheduled arrival, and Edward let me in immediately and came out into the hall to meet me.
"My God, I missed you," he said as he gathered me into his arms, lifting my feet from the floor in the fiercest hug I had ever received.
"Me too," I said into his shoulder, and I knew that I could never go without having him in my life again. As much as I hated to give her eccentricities the satisfaction, Alice was right: Edward and I were meant to be together, though not in the way she intended. We would never be lovers, but we were still soulmates, completing something in each other that neither of us could live without.
Edward set me down on my feet and led me into his apartment, talking my jacket and offering me a drink before we sat down. It was then I noticed that he was wearing a dress shirt and slacks, and his usually wild hair was somewhat tame.
"What's this?" I asked, motioning up and down his body.
Edward grinned crookedly and his eyes danced as he told me, "I have a date."
"Really?" I said excitedly, genuinely happy for him. I would always want what was best for him. "Who's it with?"
He swallowed uncomfortably and briefly glanced away, but then took a deep breath and looked me straight in the eyes as he said, "Emmett."
"Emmett?" I said incredulously, and then my smile nearly broke my face as I realized what that meant: Edward had stopped running, too.
"Yeah," he breathed. "I'm...trying something new."
"I am, too," I confessed. "And...I'm sorry...for freaking out when you tried to tell me last week. I just wasn't ready."
"I know," he said. "I'm sorry too, for pushing you."
I snorted as I leaned my head back on the couch, thinking about all that had happened that past week. "Well, I needed it," I told him honestly. "So really, I should be thanking you."
"You're welcome," he joked, and we both laughed, happy that things were right back to normal with us, or at least, as normal as they would ever get.
We caught up here and there on what had happened with each other over the last week, until Edward looked at his watch and realized he was going to be late to meet Emmett if he didn't leave immediately.
"Do you mind if I hang out here for a while?" I asked as I walked him to the door and watched him shrug into a grey wool peacoat.
"No," he said. "But why?"
I shrugged. "I've just missed this place."
He raised an eyebrow at me but didn't ask any more questions, he just kissed my cheek and promised to call me with all the details as soon as he woke up in the morning.
After locking the door behind him, I went back to the couch and sank deep into the oversized cushions, pondering where to go from there. Edward had made his move toward happiness, and now it was my turn. It might not end up the way I wanted it to, but I at least needed to know the truth. I needed to know how she really felt.
Rosalie came home about an hour later, eyeing me curiously when she found me sitting alone in her living room. She was just as beautiful as the first time I saw her, drawing me in like the sweetest siren song. I would always want her, whether she returned my feelings or not.
"Where's Edward?" she asked awkwardly, looking everywhere but at me.
"Out with Emmett," I answered, and she nodded uncomfortably, licking her lips as she finally met my gaze.
"So...why are you here then?" she questioned, but instead of her usual snideness, she sounded nervous and unsure. Or maybe that was just me...
"I was hoping we could talk," I said shakily. "If...you want to."
She swallowed and bit her bottom lip as I watched with trembling hands and butterflies dancing in my belly, but to my relief she said quietly, "Ok," and sat delicately on the couch across from me.
We stared dumbly at each other for a few minutes, neither of us sure what to say, until I finally cleared my throat and asked the question I had been dying to know for so long.
"Why do you hate me?" I whispered, my voice refusing to come out any louder through my fear.
Her eyes widened in surprise, and she blinked at me a few times before replying. "I don't hate you," she said, but I could hear the lie behind her words.
"Yes, you do," I retorted, months of hurt and anger suddenly making me bold. "You ignore me, and give me dirty looks, and even though I'm here all the time, you've never even spoken a word to me! You hate me, and I want to know why."
Rosalie was gaping as the force of my emotion washed over her, but much to my annoyance, she didn't relent. She folded her arms across her chest and looked away, shaking her head as she said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Stop that!" I demanded. "I need to know. What did I ever do to make you dislike me? All I ever wanted was to..." I almost said, "To love you," but caught myself just in time. "...to know you," I finished lamely.
Rosalie huffed and continued to stare at the wall to her left, tapping her foot rapidly on the floor. "To know me," she muttered. "Great."
"Arg! Why are you being like this?" I said angrily. "Just tell me!"
"Fine!" she exploded, her head whipping around and her fiery eyes burning straight into my soul. "I'm jealous, ok? I'm fucking jealous! Happy?"
I gaped at her in confusion, having no idea where her jealousy would have spawned from - Edward and she could barely stand to be in each other's company for more than a few minutes. Why the two of them lived together had always been a mystery to me.
"Jealous?" I asked dumbly. "Of me? Why?"
She clenched her eyes shut and breathed deeply a few times before replying. "I'm not jealous of you," she said, her next words coming out barely above a whisper. "I'm jealous of him."
"Of him?" I repeated, my heart beating frantically and my palms tingling nervously as I realized what she was saying. Still, I needed to hear it from her. "Why are you jealous of him? And why would that make you hate me?"
Rosalie sighed and ran her hand across her forehead a few times before replying. "I don't hate you," she said again. "It's just easier to be angry than admit to wanting what I can't have."
"Do you want...me?" I asked quietly, my voice breaking on the last word. So many emotions were flooding me at that moment that I was trembling from head to toe.
Rosalie nodded without meeting my gaze, so she couldn't see the fire she had awoken in me. I had spent so many months pining and agonizing over her, and nothing was going to stop me now that I knew she felt the same way. I was already hers...and now I was going to make her mine.
"You were wrong," I told her. "You could have had me all along."
I stood from the couch and reached a shaking hand out to her, waiting for her to respond. She just stared at me for a minute, her eyes disbelieving and her full lips parted in surprise, but then she finally rose and twisted her fingers with mine.
The second our skin touched my whole body buzzed with electricity, and I knew this was what I had been waiting for all along.
I felt it.
I wanted more.
I took one small step forward, bringing my face inches from hers, so close that I could smell her pink grapefruit lip-gloss. Her eyes locked with mine and she licked her lips nervously as I leaned forward slowly and pressed my mouth softly to hers. We kissed gently at first, our lips moving tentatively as we learned each other's rhythm, but we couldn't hold back for long.
Months of longing burst forth from us like a waterfall, and we moaned into each other's mouths as our tongues met and twirled. She tasted like strawberry wine, fresh, sweet and tangy, making me drunk with my need to consume her.
Rosalie tangled her fingers into my hair, and I wrapped my arms around her waist as she started to walk us slowly to her bedroom. Our lips never parted as we fell onto her bed and began running our hands over each other, touching and exploring in ways I had only dreamed of before then.
I ran my fingers across the exposed flesh of her belly, making her shiver as my hand crept under her blouse to her lace-clad breasts. "May I?" I asked, grasping the hem of her shirt with my free hand as the other brushed over her left nipple, already hard through the thin fabric of her bra.
"Please," she whispered, lifting herself slightly so I could slip the blouse over her head. As soon as I removed it, she reached for my t-shirt and tugged gently while giving me a shy grin. "You too," she requested, and I smiled at her as I threw my shirt to the floor.
I wanted to feel every inch of her on my skin, so I unclasped my bra as well, letting it slide from my shoulders as my breasts bounced free. Rosalie's eyes widened and she sucked in a shuddery breath as her eyes raked over my naked chest. She brought her hand up tentatively, running her fingers across my collar bones and down the side of my right breast, and then she moved her thumb to circle my nipple, biting her lip when it pebbled under her touch.
I sighed lustily and lowered myself on top of her again, bringing my mouth back to taste her sweet breath and rolling us onto our sides so I could reach the clasp of her bra. She helped me pull it down her long arms and then tossed it aside with the rest of our clothes, only breaking our kiss when I had trouble with the buttons on her jeans.
Once we were down to our skin and there were no barriers between us, we pressed our bodies together and let them side over each other as our hands and mouths continued to explore. She sucked gently on my nipple as I reached down to slide my finger between her wet folds, both of us moaning as we sought the places that would bring us to the heights of pleasure.
Rosalie brought her hand between my legs as well, and we gazed into each other's eyes as our fingers swirled around our clits, and then slid inside the slick heat of our bodies, plunging frantically as we both neared release.
I was first to cry out in ecstasy, calling her name as my orgasm released on her hand. I had never felt such ecstasy in all my life, and my whole body shuddered as wave after wave of pleasure crashed through me.
Rosalie followed not long after, her walls clamping tightly around my fingers as I pinched her nipple with my free hand. "Yes! Bella! Oh God, Bella!" she cried out, and goosebumps erupted over every inch of my skin at the sound of her calling my name. I wanted to hear it fall from her lips every day for the rest of my life.
I rolled onto my back and Rosalie lay beside me, stroking my hair and sighing happily into my ear. When we had regained our breaths and our heartbeats had slowed, I turned to her and we kissed deeply again, trailing our hands lazily over each other's backs.
After a few moments, Rosalie pressed me onto my back again and gently used her knee to nudge my legs apart, then twisted slightly and rubbed her pussy directly on top of mine. My whole body burst into flames at this new, intimate position and I wrapped my arms around her back to hold her close against me as we moved.
I spread my legs further, allowing her to sink deeper on top of me so our clits could rub perfectly against each other, and I quickly found myself on the edge of climax again. Rosalie's gaze never left mine as we rode out a second orgasm together, and then we collapsed in a tangled heap of quivering and sweating limbs.
"That was incredible," I breathed. "Where did you learn that?"
She laughed embarrassedly and I turned to see her blushing a dusty pink. "I, um, saw it in a video. It's called 'tribadism.' I've always wanted to try it."
I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer to my next question, but I blurted it out before I could stop myself. "So, you've never done this with anyone else before then?"
"No," she said quietly. "I've never done anything with anyone else. Before today, I was a virgin."
My eyes widened as I digested her shocking words, but then I realized the most important part of her statement: she considered herself to have lost her virginity today...to me.
"Thank you," I choked out, "for sharing that with me. I'm...I don't know what to say."
"It's always been yours," she replied. "From the first moment I saw you three years ago, it's been yours."
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. Three years?!?
"Three years?" I said incredulously. "You've been waiting for me for three years?" Suddenly my few short, but agonizing, months didn't seem like anything at all.
"Yes," she admitted. "I saw you on my very first day here, and I haven't been able to get you out of my mind since."
"I wish I had known that sooner," I said, and we both laughed in agreement.
We lay there for hours, just talking and holding each other as we shared details of our pasts, presents, and future dreams, until we finally got chilly and snuggled under her blankets to sleep. Just as I was drifting off, Rosalie whispered my name in my ear, so I opened my eyes and turned my face to hers.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly, "for how I treated you all this time. I was such a bitch, but I just didn't know how to handle it any other way. I'll spend the rest of my life making it up to you though, if you'll let me."
She looked directly into my soul as she spoke, and even in the dim light of her table lamp I could see the conviction blazing in her gaze. Her eyes were like the sunrise, warm light set in bright blue skies, full of promises and calling me to lie forever beneath their watch.
I didn't know what tomorrow would bring, the love and happiness or hardships we would face, but through it all, I knew that I had found my home - lost forever in her sunrise eyes.