Geek Love Chapter 21: In Which There is a Dare (or two)

Sunday 7:15 a.m.

Charlie gave Bella a long hug as I loaded our bags into the Vanquish, and surprised all of us—himself included from the expression on his face—by hugging me also, laughing at the height adjustment he had to make going from Bella to myself.

As we drove I held her hand, stroking the soft pad of skin below her thumb, enjoying the warm comforting feeling I always got from just touching her. Trying to ignore the warm throbbing feeling I always got from just touching her.

On the way back towards Seattle we played a game. Bella called it "Coughfessional". Pretty much it involved me revealing my darkest and most humiliating personal secrets, in the form of a cough. She claimed it was a real game, with an official rulebook. I, however, was pretty damn sure Bella had made it up.

"You…cough…?"

"Yes, Edward." She sighed, frustrated with my lack of comprehension. "You cough."

"But why don't I just say it?"

She rolled her eyes, laughing. "Jesus, it's a good thing you're cute, 'cos you're dumber than a bag of hammers, you know that?"

I snorted. "Well, it's a good thing you have nice tits, because you have as much charm as the Frankenstein love-child of Simon Cowell and Cruella De Vil."

"Thank you," she replied, an oddly pleased expression on her face.

"Thank you? I just called you offensive and mean—amongst other things."

"Yes," she said with an air of satisfaction, "but you said I have nice tits."

"That you do, my love. That you do," I laughed.

She busied herself typing something on her iPhone, before handing me the screen. Glancing quickly at it before turning my eyes back to the road, I saw she had typed out:

*coughbullshitcough*

"Like that," she stated with finality.

"Yeah, thanks. I get it. It's just stupid."

"Chicken."

"I'm not chicken."

Bella began to cluck, tucking her hands under her armpits and thrusting her chin out in what was clearly meant to be a chicken-like motion. After letting her continue for about half a minute, I finally gave in.

"Fine! I'll cough. I'll answer your questions, and cough…whatever the hell it is you want me to do."

"Good!" She looked pleased as punch. "OK, Cullen, since your teeny little programmer brain clearly can't understand the rules, I'll let you ask the first question. Ask me anything—something you want to know about me. I cough out my answer. If you can't understand my answer, you get to ask another question that I must answer in Uncough. Then the asker has to answer the same question they just asked the askee. Then it's the askee's turn."

"Bella? Um…what's 'Uncough'?"

"Edward." She spoke my name like I was a three year old. "Keep up, please. Uncough. There are two languages for the purpose of this game. Cough, and Uncough. Uncough is what we speak every day."

"So…Uncough is English."

Rolling her eyes, she adopted an expression of martyred patience. "Yes, Edward. But so is Cough. It's just a matter of pronunciation. Cough is said while coughing. Uncough is said while not."

"OK, so I choose whether to answer the question in somewhat clear 'Cough', versus utterly unclear 'Cough', depending on whether I think that question is better or worse than a subsequent question I'll have to answer in 'Uncough', irregardless of my desire to answer said subsequent question?"

Without hesitation she turned and punched me in the arm. Hard.

I tried to yell, "Ouch!" but it came out as more of a snurfle, since I was laughing so hard. One of Bella's all-time pet peeves was people using "irregardless" instead of "regardless". I had used it on purpose, and pretty much got the reaction I expected.

"God, you're such a fucknugget. I swear, Cullen, you're going to understand very soon why we shouldn't be a couple. It just gives me access to more parts of your body to bruise."

I rolled my eyes. "Oh, like you could take me, Swan. You're, what, eighty-three pounds soaking wet? I could easily fit your body in a thirty gallon trash bag, and wouldn't even have to double-bag you." I eyeballed her frame conspicuously. "I'm pretty sure you'd even fit in my trunk."

She turned, eyeing the rear of my vehicle thoughtfully. "Hmmm…you'd have to dismember me first."

"Yeah. I had to last time."

She snorted. "And I'm not eighty-three pounds, thank you very much. I broke the hundred mark in sixth grade, and haven't gotten any smaller, if you know what I mean."

"Should I make that my first question?"

"No!" She looked panicked. "Um…no. You should ask something more…interesting."

"OK, so I start?"

"Yes, Edward."

I sifted through the myriad of things I wanted to know about Bella. I knew an awful lot about her, but there were some pretty big holes. Not wanting to jump straight into the things my pervy little mind wanted to know, I sifted through the G-rated questions.

"Favorite band of all time."

She groaned. "Booooring."

"Just answer the damn question, woman."

"Fine." She ostentatiously prepared to cough, putting a fisted hand up against her mouth. "Coughthepolicecough."

"The Police?" I eyed her skeptically. "How old are you again?"

"Shut it, Cullen. Just answer the damn question," she mimicked.

"OK, fine." I felt really fucking stupid doing this, but what the hell, it was making her happy. "Coughkingsofleoncough."

She groaned. "Jesus, Cullen. At least I picked a good band. Can you say 'overrated'?"

"Hey, let's not get all judgey-pants there, Miss Dancing Queen."

Bella raised her thumbs together, pointing her index fingers out to form a "W", before continuing. "OK, my turn. What's your favorite band you don't admit to liking? Your super-secret music love?"

Oh shit. I had just given her grief for ABBA, but in all honesty my secret music love wasn't any better. But if I didn't answer clearly, I knew her follow-up question would be infinitely more painful. Groaning, I fessed up. "."

"KC and the…Disco?" Her disbelief turned to unadulterated joy as the mock-quotient became clear. "You like disco?"

"No…not all disco. Just KC and the Sunshine Band. I like…a few songs."

"Which ones?"

"It's not your turn for a question. I believe you have yet to answer, then it's my turn again."

"Fine," she huffed, crossing her arms in a fake pout, before coughing out, "Coughdefleppardcough. But only the old stuff! Like, their first two albums!"

"You like the Lep?!" I almost jumped out of my seat. "Oh my God, that's awesome. Fucking awesome. You're a closet hair-metalhead!"

"Shut it, Cullen. You couldn't possibly understand."

We continued asking questions over the next hour. I found out that while Bella claimed Happy Hour as her favorite social activity, it was actually drunken karaoke. She, in turn, discovered that my claim to Cullen family gatherings being my favorite was really a cover-up for a penchant for monster truck rallies. Her actual favorite movie—not the one she claimed to like because it was artsy and 'interesting' was The Hangover. Mine was The Last Unicorn.

Yeah, I know.

Her first kiss was at seventeen. His name was Steve. Mine was at eight. Her name was Sophie. Bella immediately disliked Sophie, on the grounds that she was a poor example for me, being an "older woman". Sophie had been nine.

After about fifteen stupid questions, she finally hit one I had to object to.

"That's not fair!" I called her out. "You can't ask me a question you can't answer too!"

"I can answer it!"

"How?" I griped. "You don't get erections, so how can you tell me what age you got your first at?"

"Well, that's the answer. I haven't yet. But if I ever had gender reassignment surgery, I could get one, therefore, the potential still exists and the question is valid."

"No it's not."

"Oh, quit being such a whiney little baby and answer the question, Cullen."

"Fine. First one I noticed was at ten. It freaked me out. I thought I was broken. I went crying to my dad." My cheeks flushed at the memory of his reaction to my tears—barely concealed laughter and a somewhat condescending pat on the head. "He gave me 'the talk', and I can honestly say I left traumatized."

"Oh, baby, that's so sad." She affected an air of dismay and consolation, petting my cheek. "But…sweetie?…"

"Yes?"

"You didn't cough."

"Jesus, Bella…"

"Dems the rules, Edward."

"OK, fine. Coughtencough."

She looked satisfied, and gave her own non-answer to the question. When it came to my turn, I decided payback was going to be a bitch. Probably for both of us, but it was worth it.

"Subject of first masturbatory fantasy."

She didn't respond at first, a deep flush coloring her cheeks, as her eyes trained carefully on the floor of my car. Finally she spoke, quietly, a pained tone in her voice.

"I'm a lady, Edward. I don't do such things."

"Can it, Swan, and answer the question already."

"Fine. Coughhansonbrotherscough."

My jaw dropped—literally, popped open—at that. "Hanson? Seriously? Um…which one?"

Her response was at best a mumble. Utterly incomprehensible. Clearly an evasion tactic.

"Bella? Which one? Answer the question or you get The Uncough Question."

"You can't ask a second question."

"I'm not. I'm asking you to clarify your response to my first question as your initial answer was unclear."

"It wasn't unclear," she muttered. "I said the Hanson brothers."

Realization dawned. "All of them?!" I asked, shocked.

"Maybe…" She sounded embarrassed. "I don't know…"

"Wow…Bella. You go, girl!"

She was beet red when she grumbled out, "Now you answer the damn question."

"Wait, wait, wait…I gotta ask…did you moan when you touched yourself? Did you just say 'Mmmmm…' or did you add the 'bop' at the end?" I laughed—loudly—while Bella smacked me on the arm.

"That's not funny. You're not supposed to make fun of the answers!"

"Firstly, you never said that was a rule. Secondly, you've officially lost the right to any teasing about my love of disco."

She pouted violently, but I was barely able to control my laughter.

"I thought you didn't like disco, it was just KC and his booty shakers," she grumped, and smacked me again.

"I lied!" I gasped, catching my breath from the laughter. "I love all disco! When I get a bigger house I'm going to put a disco ball up in the living room with a disco playlist going twenty-four seven. And have a carwash attached to the garage just so we can dance around on skates, wearing tiny shorts, squirting water on each other while Rose Royce colors the airwaves."

Bella stopped hitting me and grew instantly thoughtful, thumb and index finger resting on her chin as she contemplated…something.

"We'd need wigs."

I looked at her curiously.

"For the afros, Edward. As monkey-fuck hot as your hair is, brother-monkey-fuck hot it ain't. And you'll need to get lots of lamé."

Like always, spending time with Bella flew by, and before I knew it we were turning off of I-5 to head east on I-90 towards Mercer Island.

~oOo~

Pulling into my parents' house, affectionately called 'The Compound' thanks to the eight-foot-high solid concrete wall surrounding the house and grounds, Bella's face went through an array of expressions; Shock, dismay, surprise, excitement, anxiety, and then, upon seeing the garden my mother had hand-crafted over the years, joy.

"It's so pretty!" she exclaimed, a little breathless.

"I know," I agreed quietly.

Walking toward the house, we were assaulted by the high-pitched squeal of my mother giggling, followed by the lower-pitched tones of my father mumbling something to her. Her subsequent laughter echoed off the Spanish-tiled sunroom, behind the house.

"Mom, Dad, we're here," I called out, hoping to give them enough notice to appear decent when we came around the corner. Some shuffling and muffled exclamations told me the warning had been a good idea.

Turning the corner, Bella let out a gasp of delight as the full view of my mother's garden struck her. It was breathtaking. A classic English garden with an air of unplanned perfection rose up a slight slope, leveling off at the top where a small koi pond gurgled. Somehow my mother had managed to make an English garden and a Japanese koi pond work harmoniously. It was, indeed breathtaking.

The air was decidedly on the chilly side, so we greeted my parents, ignoring their ridiculous grins, and went inside. My mother shocked me by hugging Bella—a warmth she had not shown any of my previous girlfriends. Dad was his usual affable self, though none of us failed to notice the surreptitious pinches he delivered to my mother's ass when he thought we weren't looking.

Settling into the spacious living room, Bella and I sat on one of the large overstuffed sofas, while my mother took a wing chair next to Bella.

"Where's Jasper?" I inquired of my mother, who was the keeper of all news bulletins.

"He'll be here in a bit. He said he had a stop to make. I think he's bringing a special friend."

I rolled my eyes. "Mother, how many times do I have to tell you, 'special friend' sounds like he's gay. Jasper is many things, but gay is not one of them. If he's bringing a girlfriend, just say so. Is it Alice?"

My mother pressed her lips together tightly—never a good sign—and paused a moment before speaking. "I don't know, dear. He hasn't told me a thing."

"Didn't you meet her at Rose and Em's wedding?"

She stopped, looking thoughtful. "Maybe later in the evening? We were…" She glanced at my father, a faint blush crawling up her neck, coloring her cheeks. "…occupied, most of the later evening. But I dimly recall meeting a gaggle of young women at some point."

"Well, Mother, it can't be laid at Jasper's feet that you were too drunk and horny to notice Alice when she was introduced to you."

Bella gasped, eyes widening in shock as she looked at me.

"Quite right, dear." My mother patted her arm. "Shocking lack of respect. Particularly from one so often drunk and horny himself."

My mother stood and left the room. Bella looked at me, the shock still written across her face. I winked at her.

"Welcome to my family."

~oOo~

An hour and two mimosas later, Bella and I were making out in the hallway, having snuck away from brunch preparations, when the front door flew open and a loud "We're heeeeeere!" assaulted our ears.

"Jasper!" Bella and I said together. I removed her hand from my hand, which was firmly planted on her left boob, and she pulled her other hand from under my shirt. Tidying ourselves quickly we headed for the foyer, catching sight of Jasper walking in carrying something—

No, he was carrying someone. He was carrying Alice into the house.

My parents came in from the kitchen, Mom wiping her hands on her apron as she did. We had a cook, but Mom liked to pitch in, making food preparation a family affair regardless of the help.

Jasper set Alice down, her diminutive size emphasized by Jasper's height as they stood next to each other. For all their physical differences—he tall and fair, she petite and dark—they wore almost identical expressions. Grinning ear to ear, they both seemed utterly joyful.

Bella squeezed my hand as she took in the sight before her, a smile spreading across her own face, mirroring theirs. I could feel my own spreading similarly, the joy they brought to the room was infectious.

"Mom, Dad, I know you met Alice once before, but I think I need to re-introduce her to everyone." He looked down at the smiling, and as yet silent, woman by his side.

"Everyone, this is Alice." He grinned at her, the look echoed in her own face a moment later. "Alice Cullen. My wife."

The next moment was a maelstrom of sounds and emotions. Alice squealed and jumped up, throwing her arms around Jasper's neck; Jasper whispered something in her ear; my mother gasped, a look of horror overtaking her normally calm features; Bella let out a similar sound to my mother's, but hers was somehow happier; my dad dropped an uncharacteristic f-bomb; and I—well, honestly, I'm not sure what I did, but I found myself with my brother's arms wrapped around me, hugging him fiercely.

I knew two things then and there. My brother had never been happier; my mother would be beyond pissed.

~oOo~

Over brunch my brother told us the story of his whirlwind nuptials, leaving out—I was sure—many details. Probably a good idea given the fierce scowl etched on our mother's face.

In short, after leaving my place on Friday morning, Jasper had met with Alice as planned. They had their much anticipated talk. Bella had been right; Alice was seeing someone, but broke it off when she met Jasper and realized the connection they had. Their brunch date turned into a walk, then dinner and drinks, then more drinks, and then at some point they began a series of dares, each escalating in severity. One of the last landed the pair in Vegas sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning.

As the story unfolded my father listened with a studied calm while my mother, years of society training out the window, downed one mimosa after the other, each followed by a handful of bread—her much-loved carb-free diet out the window. But she said nothing. She merely listened, not acknowledging or responding, but at least listening.

Jasper, for his part, seemed certain of his feelings for Alice and determined to stand by his actions, but was also clearly hurt by our mother's reaction. Still, he kept going with his story. To hear Jasper tell it, Alice was the embodiment of female perfection. The outward expression of his hidden self. To put it in the cheesiest possible terms, she completed him.

As he told their story, she would add pieces in—sometimes finishing his sentences, sometimes providing a word he couldn't think of. He never had to ask. She knew, intuitively, what he needed, and provided it. When she took over, painting the picture of his proposal to her late Saturday afternoon, he did the same for her. As she paused, overcome with emotion, he reclaimed the storyteller role, allowing her the space she needed to recover herself.

"I knew she was it for me about ten minutes into brunch on Friday, but thought I must be crazy. I mean, who has ever heard of someone wanting to propose on their first date? And it wasn't even a real date! But I was haunted from that first hour by the thought that she might somehow get away."

Here Alice squeezed his hand, laying her head on his shoulder in comfort. My parents glanced at each other, a brief smile on my dad's face, an answering grimace on my mother's. Jasper frowned slightly, but continued.

"So, by the time we'd gotten some quality drinking in, I was a goner. Really. She's so amazing—" He stopped for a moment, gazing at her smiling face, his eyes filled with wonder. "—I was looking for an excuse really. I mean, shit, we were in Vegas, right?"

"Whose idea was it to go to Vegas?" I interrupted.

Jasper began to answer. "Well...it was my idea—"

"—But it was my fault," Alice concluded.

"Huh? 'Splain me," Bella added with her usual eloquence.

"Well, I was running out of dares to throw at Jasper, so I gave him a wide-open freebie. I dared him to do something that would surprise and shock me. We had just left Purple and were looking for somewhere less stodgy to go next, when Jasper hails a cab. He doesn't tell me where we're going—just whispers in the cabbie's ear and hands him some cash. Long story short, he kidnapped me and flew me to Vegas!" She laughed—loudly. "He won that dare. It surprised the hell out of me."

Jasper smiled at his wife again, running his hand slowly through her short hair, tucking a stray piece behind her ear before picking up the story.

"The next day we were in one of the casinos. I was still fighting with this urge to rush the hell out of our relationship and tell her I was fucking crazy in love with her. I had no—"

"Game face?" I threw in, raising an eyebrow in acknowledgement of the irony.

"Yeah," he grinned, "I was like you three days ago. So, anyway, there we were in the casino, and I'm walking past a bank of phones when I see one of those stupid machines—you know, the kind with the claw that grabs a toy?"

We all nodded—except my mother, who was busy killing a bread roll with her evil laser vision.

"Well, anyway, no idea why, I stick a dollar in the damn thing—did you know they cost a fucking dollar these days?—anyway, I stick a dollar in and win this cheap-ass little princess dress-up set. Had a little tiara, a wand—"

"Scepter," Alice corrected quietly.

"Yeah, a scepter, a plastic necklace, and a ring. I didn't even think about it, it just came to me. I pulled the ring out of the bag and got down on one knee. I told her I'd thought of my next dare."

"You dared her to marry you?" Bella asked, astonished and somewhat dismayed. "With a toy ring?"

"Well," Jasper flushed, "sort of. Yeah, but—"

"It was actually super sweet," Alice added, meeting Bella's shocked expression levelly. "He said 'It's my turn to come up with a dare, and since it's all I can think of—all I've been able to think of since I met you—here it is. I dare you to spend your life with me. To be my partner, my friend, my lover. Alice, all I can think of is that I never want to let you go. I don't want to ever know what it's like to be without you. But this dare is different, Alice. This dare comes with an out. You can say no. You can back out any time until you say 'I do'. I just hope like hell you don't.'"

Jasper and Alice both looked down at Alice's left hand, the gaudy plastic ring, complete with pink paste "stone" still on her ring finger.

Looking at my brother, at how incredibly happy he and Alice looked, at the expression on both their faces as they told their story, I knew he was right. Why the fuck not? If they both knew it was right, more power to them for taking the happiness they'd found and owning it. Bella had a distant, dreamy expression on her face, her eyes looking a little misty as she met Alice's gaze.

I smiled at Jasper, nodding in acknowledgement that he had done a good thing. His gaze dropped to the table, momentarily embarrassed. Then he looked up and kissed the top of his bride's head before continuing the story.

"Yeah, so, in short she said yes, we found a chapel, and did the deed—er…the wedding deed, that is…"

I laughed. "Yeah, spare us the other details, please."

"But Jasper," Bella spoke up, brow furrowed in confusion, "you texted Edward Saturday morning. None of that had happened yet. Why did you want us all here today?"

He chuckled. "Oh, that. Yeah, I wanted to say thanks for helping me out the other night, and to tell you you were right. I had no idea at the time it would be a wedding announcement."

At the mention of "wedding", my mother let out a tiny choking sound, but quickly drowned it in medicated orange juice. Jasper reached across the table, attempting to take her hand in a gesture of conciliation, or supplication, but she pulled hers away. His answering grimace was disheartening.

"Mom…" I began, but Jasper shook his head slightly at me. "Not now," he mouthed.

Alice, who had missed the exchange, began in her excited chipmunk voice, "Wait! You left out the best part, Jazz!"

I smiled, raising an eyebrow at him in silent question. He shrugged slightly and smiled back, man-speak for "The woman owns me, she can call me whatever the hell she wants."

"Best part?" Bella asked.

"Yeah. When he proposed I said yes, but I gave him a condition." She giggled, the sound turning to a full laugh when she saw his reaction. He was beet red and grimacing. "I told him I'd take up his dare and marry him, if he wore the rest of the princess set during the wedding!"

Bella and I laughed out loud, ending with her spluttering and coughing as orange juice went down the wrong pipe.

"Tell me you have pictures," I asked my new sister-in-law.

"Oh, hell yeah! He made a beautiful princess groom!"

We slowly enjoyed the rest of breakfast, sharing more of their story, trying to ignore the stony silence coming from my mother. I knew why she was upset, and honestly, she had reason. But as much as it upset her, it wasn't her life to live. Jasper was an adult and had a right to make his own decisions. Just as I had a right to support him in that decision. And support him I would, as he would have supported me were the situation reversed.

My dad, on the other hand, seemed to have a foot in each camp. He appeared happy for Jasper, if a bit reserved toward Alice. I'm sure he was having thoughts of pre-nups and trust funds, but was doing his best to stifle those and act happy for the couple—as much as he could without upsetting my mother.

As breakfast wound down and the plates were cleared, my dad finally spoke up, offering a gift both unexpected and priceless.

"Son," he said to Jasper, "give your mother time. She needs to process this, then she'll be fine, I promise. Let me tell you something I learned a long time ago. When true love knocks on your door, and you know it for what it is, take it. However, whenever, wherever you can, you take it. I don't care how many naysayers or doubting Thomases surround you, you do what your heart tells you is right."

He reached over and took my mother's hand in his, their gazes meeting briefly, a smile crossing his face as she squeezed his hand in acknowledgement.

"You asked who wanted to propose on their first date? Well, I did. Not only did I want to, but I did propose—and she accepted—on our first date." He paused, letting that information sink in before turning to my mother with a grin. "I think it worked out OK for us, didn't it, Esme?"

~oOo~

We arrived back at Bella's apartment a few hours later, emotionally spent. While it wasn't our drama that had unfolded in front of the whole family, so many things made it feel very, very close to home. Our own budding relationship; the depth of our feelings for each other; the closeness between my brother and myself; and frankly, my own understanding of his instant and unbreakable attachment to this woman who was, for all intents and purposes, his other half.

Bella set her bag down on the floor next to the couch, before flopping down into it. She held out her hands, silently asking me to come sit with her. I lay back against Bella, loving the feel of her arms as they wrapped around me, holding me tight.

"I love you, you know," she said quietly, after a moment.

I smiled. Honestly, hearing that would never get old. "I think I do, finally, get that."

Her voice was quiet when she spoke. "You've been amazingly patient with me. Thank you."

A short laugh erupted from her before she added, "For a communication challenged, socially retarded geek, you somehow knew exactly how to deal with me, and my borderline psychotic father."

"Borderline?" I chuckled.

"Yeah, OK, certifiable. Both of us."

Sobering, I turned to face her, stroking her cheek. "Certifiable? Yes. Understandable? Yes. Love, what you went through scarred more than just you, and honestly, it's amazing we're where we are already." Chuckling quietly, I added, "Especially your dad and I."

Before I could say anything else of a smart-ass nature, Bella kissed me, her warm, soft lips pulling me in, slowly cutting off the rest of the world. Her tongue ran slowly along my bottom lip, and I opened my mouth, gasping at the reaction my body had to such a simple act.

Our kiss grew deeper, more frantic. It became increasingly more difficult to not touch her—but I had promised both of us, and was determined to stick to that promise, no matter how painful.

Luckily for me, she was equally aware of the deal, and remedied my lack of touching her almost immediately.

"Touch me," she whispered against my lips, her hand enclosing mine, guiding it up to her breast before resuming our kiss.

Her hand pressed harder against mine as our breath came more erratically. I knew how she wanted me to touch her, but I couldn't—wouldn't—take the initiative, no matter how much we both wanted it, without her explicit aid. That was our deal.

"I love you," she whispered.

"Me too," I answered, "so much."

"Show me."

Had I been able to speak, I would have said yes. As it was, I couldn't even nod. I wanted her so fucking badly all I could manage was a soft whimper as her lips found mine again.

Somehow she found the strength to pull away, taking my hand as she turned and walked toward the bedroom. Following behind her, my jeans feeling uncomfortably tight, I couldn't believe that this amazingly sexy, funny, smart woman was mine. She loved me. She wanted me. She was equally tortured, equally maddened by me, and was letting me see that.

So. Fucking. Sexy.

Walking into her bedroom, my eyes never left Bella.

Without hesitation she turned to face me, about six feet of space between us, and pulled her t-shirt over her head.

Holy Victoria's Secret, Batman!

I had seen Bella without her shirt on before, but never from any distance, and never so clearly. Shutting the door—just in case—I took a single step closer, reminding myself not to touch. My eyes never left her, roaming from her beautiful lips, slightly swollen and red from our kisses, to her flushed cheeks, wild hair, and then down to...gah! She was wearing a blue bra with white trim, her smooth flesh pushed up enticingly. Even through the bra I could see the hardened tips, the ones she loved for me to touch.

Don't. Touch.

Bella's face flushed deeper as I looked at her, and her arms started crossing over her chest, gaze beginning to rest on the floor. My staring was making her self-conscious.

"Bella." My voice sounded odd even to myself. "Bella, I can't...I can't tell you...But Bella, please don't be shy. It's me. It's just me. I love you."

Nodding once, she regained the courage that had gotten her this far, and ordered me to match her state of undress.

I've never taken my shirt off so quickly in my life.

Walking up to me, she ran her hands first up, then across my chest, starting on my abs, and ending on my shoulders, her eyes roaming over me as she chewed her bottom lip.

Women tended to like my chest for some reason—a girlfriend had once told me that girls loved swimmer's bodies. It meant nothing at the time, but now, with Bella, I cared a lot what she thought.

Leaning in, she kissed my chest, softly running her lips across my skin, hands caressing where her lips did not. My breathing became embarrassingly erratic. When her lips encircled my nipple, and her hot tongue flicked out, laving it firmly, I actually gasped, trying desperately not to clutch at her head to get her to do it again.

But she did anyway, then again, chuckling at my repeated response.

Stepping back, she shocked the hell out of me by beginning to unbutton her jeans, slowly extricating each round fastener from its hole, before sliding the entire article down her hips, then off her completely. Her panties were a matched set with the bra, sitting on her hips and just barely covering everything else.

Her body was in-fucking-sane. She was slim, but had beautiful curves, rounded in all the right places.

In my experience, most women look better before you actually see them undressed. The vision in your head is always better. Bella was the exception.

Cocking an eyebrow, she stood in front of me expectantly. "Well? Are you going to stand there and gawk at me all day, or are you going to drop trou too?

Now it was my turn to get nervous. She had touched me—there—a few times now, but touching under the cover of clothing, or while, say, driving down a highway was one thing. Having her see me like this—fully exposed—was another, and slightly nerve-wracking. But she had been more than brave enough already. It was my turn.

Smiling nervously I began to remove my jeans, only to hear Bella chuckle before saying, "Edward, don't be shy. It's just me." Her face grew more serious then, voice deepening just a touch as she added, "I love you."

The truth of her words, the utter confidence she had about them, pushed all nervousness aside. We wanted each other. Nothing else mattered.

As I stood again, painfully erect and clothed in nothing but my boxer-briefs, she took me in as I had done her, slowly running her gaze over my entire form. I didn't fail to notice that her gaze lingered in particular areas longer than others, eyes widening at times, before moving on.

I wasn't paranoid about size, or anything physical. Truth is, for all my awkwardness and social retardation, I knew that I was fairly good looking and not lacking, physically. It wasn't about that. My shyness came specifically from being with Bella. She was so fucking important to me, that exposing myself to her felt like I was risking something.

She took my hands in hers, leading me back to the bed.

"Edward, are you OK with this?" she asked softly. "I know what you said last night, and you're right, we have to both feel comfortable."

Reaching for her face, I cupped her cheek in the palm of my hand before kissing her gently.

"I'm not sure what 'this' is, but yes, right now you can do whatever you want."

Her eyebrow shot up, amusement flitting across her face.

"Don't push it, Swan," I chuckled, kissing her again.

She turned us so my back was to the bed, and pushed me down onto it. When I was laying flat, she crawled cat-like up my body to straddle me.

I almost came right then and there. The view of her perfect tits, half covered by her long hair, her ass slightly raised as she crawled, and the prowling look in her eye were almost more than I could take.

"Fuck, Bella," I breathed out, resuming my mental mantra about not touching.

She smiled, then her lips owned mine. Her body pressed down against me as we kissed, the warmth of her naked flesh warming me in more ways than one.

My hands stayed painfully motionless as she began to slowly grind against me, a sweetly torturous motion. I groaned in response, unable to stop myself before it came out. Then she began to move down my body, kissing my bare flesh as she slid slowly down. I wasn't sure what her plan was, but I was pretty sure anything headed in that direction was going to end with me embarrassing myself all too quickly.

"Bella," I choked out, "what are you doing?"

"Shhh...it's OK. I just want to see you."

As soon as she was low enough, she began to slowly remove my boxer-briefs, indicating for me to raise my hips, allowing her to pull them off completely. As soon as she had done so, she sat back, looking directly at...me. A slow, tentative hand moved out to touch me, and I twitched in response, holding in a groan at the sensation.

Looking at my face then, her eyes locked with mine for a moment before she said simply, "You're beautiful, Edward," then returned her gaze to more...interesting...parts of my anatomy.

Watching her fascination as she looked at me, stroked me, and explored me made me want to cry. I realized, too late, that she had never been...up close and personal...like this before. She was learning all of this for the first time. That's what was so amazing about her. With no experience worth mentioning, she was already sexier than any girl I'd ever known.

Then she just about sent me over the edge, when she leaned down and swiftly swirled her tongue around the head of my cock, tasting the pre-come that had gathered there.

My hands formed fists, clenching against the desire to hold on to her head, to guide her mouth onto me, to touch her in ways I hadn't even processed yet.

"Jesus, Bella, I can't...that's gonna make me..."

"OK, fine," she chuckled at me, almost too quiet to hear it, and crawled back up my body, returning to her position over me. Sitting up, weight resting rather strategically on my overexcited boy bits, she reached behind her and unclasped her bra. As it fell loose she caught it, watching my eyes grow wide as she slowly lowered it, revealing more of herself to me. Her breasts were perfect. Stunning. So utterly kissable.

"You want to touch me, don't you, Edward?" she asked seductively.

Swallowing, despite the sudden dryness in my throat, I had to stop myself from nodding.

"I want whatever you want, Bella. I can't do it without you, love."

She nodded then, and reached over to take my hand in hers, pulling it up to her breast. Cupping her hand behind mine, she placed my palm around her breast, squeezing. Her head rolled back a little, a tiny moan escaping her lips. Squeezing my hand harder, she positioned my forefinger and thumb around her nipple, rolling them so they teased the hard nub.

A louder moan escaped her at that. She kept one hand wrapped around my right hand, the other hand searching to find my left, repeating the same action once she had found it.

Bella was fucking glorious. Kneeling over me, holding my hands to her as she directed me, using my body to tease her own, her hips rolling slowly up and down mine, cheeks flushed with desire, eyes glazed and sexy.

Just as I was about to give her a warning about making me come, she leaned down, lifting her hips off of mine. Removing my right hand from her left breast she leaned forward, kissing me. After a moment she pulled away, murmuring, "I want your lips on me." With that she placed her breast in my face, resting her nipple on my lower lip.

Fuck. Me. Ded.

Without any instruction from me, my tongue snaked out, tasting the hard bud.

She moaned, hissing, "Yes!" before pressing herself harder into my mouth, asking for everything I wanted to do. My lips wrapped around her, and I heard myself groan as I tasted her—licking, sucking, teasing with my lips, making her writhe with my tongue.

Her right hand continued to squeeze mine, pinching and rolling the other nipple.

As she moaned, and writhed, torturing herself with my body, torturing me with hers, I was grateful that she was still wearing panties. The way our bodies were joined right now it would be so easy to just slip in...

Stop! This time is for Bella.

Then in a flash Bella was off me, pulling me with her as she rolled onto her back. Before I even recognized what she was doing, her panties were somehow on the floor next to the bed, with me laying half on top of her.

Not. Good.

It would be, I knew, too hard to keep this all about her, if I were on top. Bella pulled my head to hers, kissing me hard, mouths joined in a sloppy urgent kiss. Grabbing my hand again, she ran it down her breast, moaning against me as my fingers grazed her nipple. Then her hand continued south, passing over her firm abdomen, but not really slowing until it got to the crest of her pubic mound. Taking two of my fingers in hers, she ran them slowly down towards her clit, circling it softly, then more firmly. She moaned, loudly, at that, and I let out a hiss of sheer pleasure.

"Jesus, Bella, you're so wet."

Spreading her legs more, she then guided my fingers down, slowly exploring with them. I knew that this moment was key. She needed to guide everything here, memories of the last time I had touched this part of her echoing in my head.

She was clearly thinking the same thing, because she whispered against my mouth, "It's OK, Edward. Trust me, I want you inside me. I really want you inside me."

Hearing her say that almost made me lose it. How could she be so fucking sexy, and not have a clue what she's doing?

I moaned out loud with her as she guided my two fingers inside her, warmth enveloping them. Her fingers had been on mine, guiding them in, but she pulled them back now, preferring to use my palm to guide my fingers in and out of her.

She writhed against me as my fingers filled her, curling up slightly to find the small bud as she moved me. She cried out against my mouth then, clutching desperately at my hair with her free hand, increasing the pace of my hand moving inside her.

"Oh, God, Edward!" she cried out, then looked me straight in the eye. "I want your mouth on me. Please make me come with your mouth."

I thought through whether that worked with our rules, but decided that at the end of the day it was about what she wanted, and her maintaining control, and there was no arguing that she wanted this. Her face reflected everything I felt on the inside. The desperation to be close, to own each other, and to gain relief from the overwhelming lust for each other.

Moving down her body as gracefully as I could with one hand otherwise occupied, she kept a slightly slower pace on my palm as I settled down lower, coming face to face with...her. And she was beautiful. I watched in torturous fascination as my fingers sank deep inside of her with each thrust, glistening with her arousal. Her clit protruded slightly, swollen with need, just peeking out. My mouth watered to taste her, but my mind told me to go slowly. At least, it did until Bella's hand pressed down on the back of my head, encouraging me.

"Please?" she pleaded quietly.

My dick twitched then, and I knew, I just knew I wouldn't make it through this without coming. I was ready to come now. A single stroke and I'd be done.

Looking up at her, our eyes meeting, dark and frantic, I said quietly, "Please what, Bella?"

I shouldn't have done it, but I wanted to hear her say it. It was the one thing, with our rules, that I could do. She hesitated, then her need dismissed any shyness she had. "I want your mouth on my pussy, Edward. Please."

I sank my mouth on her, as she continued to thrust my fingers in and out, teasing her. She was so tight it was a torment to not have my cock in her. My tongue swirled around her swollen clit, licking up her slit, circling the top, then back down again. I sucked her clit into my mouth, teasing the very tip with my tongue.

She cried out, moving her free hand from my head to her breast, which she began to squeeze as her hips rocked rhythmically against my face.

I picked up the speed just a little with my tongue, letting her set the pace of my hand. It only took about five more strokes with my tongue before her back arched up and she cried out, calling my name as she came, pulsing around my fingers, slowing against my tongue.

I was still for a moment, my face resting against her thigh, her hand holding onto mine, no longer inside her. I hadn't come yet, but was about to. I didn't know if it would be too weird to just let it happen then and there or—

"Edward? Lie down please."

I looked up at her, surprised she could talk already. I couldn't. At any rate, I did as she asked and came up to lie next to her. She pushed me onto my back, kissing me deeply before pulling away. She was breathing hard still.

"You taste like me," she said thoughtfully.

I laughed. "You're surprised?"

She shook her head, not laughing back. "No, but I want to taste like you." She then crawled down my body again, as she had done earlier, and only paused for a single breath before enveloping me with her mouth. She took me in deeply, warmth and moisture hugging my cock. I heard her moan, the vibration moving against the tip, and her mouth began to move on me, milking me, taking in as much of me as she could.

I couldn't take it. I had almost come a dozen times since we started, and most of those times she hadn't even been touching me. Her mouth, that was the sexiest thing I'd ever fucking seen. The idea of filling it with me, of her wanting to taste like me, put me over the edge, and I just had time to call out a warning before I came with a loud moan, pulsing into her, wave after wave of climax washing over me, thrumming through my entire body.


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