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The entire time Edward was in the shower I couldn't stop my anxiety from spiking.
The look on his face—when he saw me trying to make the bed—was burned into my brain.
He'd thought that Riley and I had...is that why he didn't kiss me on the mouth?
When Edward asked me if Riley had touched me, I should have told him that Riley had only grabbed my wrist, but I hadn't. What difference did that make? I assumed Edward only wanted confirmation that I hadn't touched Riley intimately—the touch of a lover.
It was clearly obvious that Edward had looked at the unmade bed and Dad and Elaine's bags on the floor and thought I'd slept with Riley!
He'd looked so devastated.
A soon as Edward was out of the shower, I would be taking him to the Purple Bar to meet my dad and Elaine; to introduce him as my boyfriend.
I'd been so excited about it. All through dinner, I'd been buzzing with adrenaline.
Garrett had come from the kitchen to our table in the Hotel restaurant to meet my dad and Elaine and tell them how much he'd appreciated me 'looking after' his pregnant wife. He gushed at how wonderful I was for writing an amazing feature about the B&B he was managing and that Charlie should be proud to have such a kind-hearted daughter. Then he said our dessert was 'compliments of the Head Chef' with a sly grin.
I recalled how my face had flamed with the heat of my blush and how I had shook my head with incredulity.
Garrett had it all backwards... if Kate hadn't been there for me the night I'd assumed Edward was with Rosalie, I probably wouldn't have gone back to Vancouver from Forks. I would have sunk back into a well of self-pity.
Kate was there for me again, when I'd arrived back from the cabin. She listened and told me to let Riley go, when I still doubted that Edward could really want me! And just Friday night when I'd overreacted at Ben's dinner, it was Kate that made me go to the club to hear Edward declare his love for me. It was Kate that was there to see Bree get swamped by paparazzi and assure me that's what Edward had wanted to protect me from. And more amazingly, it was Kate that plotted with Emmett to get Edward and me some time alone for a glorious weekend in the little cottage at the back of the B&B!
If it wasn't for Kate, I just couldn't imagine how my fragile mind would have dealt with anything, especially not what had happened this afternoon with Riley!
My gratitude to her just could not be measured.
I paced Edward's hotel suite bedroom as I tried to calm myself.
I looked down to my shoes, and the dress that I'd worn to dinner. It was the pretty, red dress that Kate had given me. It was beautifully delicate, fell just below my knees and was modest, in comparison to the white dress I'd worn on Friday night. It was perfectly tailored to my shape, and accentuated my small waist. The shoes were ones I'd bought in when shopping along Burrard Street two weeks ago. They had a modest heel; just that little extra height had allowed me to easily kiss Edward's neck.
I took in long, deep breaths; I felt really apprehensive.
It'll be fine. Edward loves me; he's just a little threatened knowing Riley wanted me back.
Edward hadn't heard my entire message. What he did hear had made him think that I wanted Riley? I couldn't seem to forget the look of desolation on his face as he stared at the suitcases on the floor and then at the slept-in bed.
He didn't know dad had turned up unannounced, and had an afternoon nap! I'm sure I'd mentioned my dad and Elaine in my phone message?
Edward hadn't understood that I'd blurted out in my phone message—albeit in an emotional state—that I wanted him forever; I wanted marriage and babies, and a life, with him.
He didn't know, and even though I'd freaked out and thought that it may have been too soon to tell him, I wanted him to know. Why would I ever consciously choose to conceal my desires? If we're going to make our relationship work, I need to tell him openly and honestly everything I want.
When Edward had finally pulled me into his embrace, I was temporarily relieved. But that relief had faded as I wondered why he had kissed my neck and not my mouth. My anxiousness got even more profound since we'd walked into his hotel suite.
I remembered the night I'd brought him back here, after we'd been at Laurent's. My body flushed when I recalled how sensually he'd touched me that night; the way I'd touched his hair.
My mind screamed at me.
I should ell him how I feel, tell him everything that I said in the phone message! Tell him!
I walked to the bathroom door. I could hear the shower.
Just tell him!
I turned the handle. It was locked.
Why did he lock the door? Is he having second thoughts?
NO! He just needs his personal space. He needs time alone, he's nervous about meeting my dad, maybe?
My conflicting thoughts were increasing my anxiety.
I can't fall back into old patterns! I'm making up shit in my head to work through my feelings.
That's what I had done so many times before and I'd been wrong.
I knew Edward loved me. I had to tell him that he's everything I want. Regardless of all the obstacles we'd have to face, I wanted him. I needed him in my life!
I'll introduce Edward to my dad and Elaine, and when we get back here, to this room, we can talk about everything. I can tell him what happened with Riley and I can tell him my hopes and my dreams and how all of those included him. Every single one included Edward.
I love him, so much, it's making me crazy insane!
I walked to the large bed and sat on the edge.
Everything is going to be OK, I mentally chanted.
Then I heard the bathroom door unlock and Edward walked into the bedroom. His eyes found mine instantly, and he smiled.
I watched as he roughly towel dried his hair, standing in front of me just wearing his boxers, no shirt. He walked to the wardrobe and grabbed some jeans.
His body, it was spectacular in a way I wouldn't be able to describe verbally.
He was so comfortable in his skin and fluid in his movement; from the unconscious fingering of his damp hair, to the way his lips pursed as he dropped the wet towel on the floor.
I just sat on the edge of the bed and watched. It was pointless trying to disguise the effect he had on me. I was flushed with arousal, tingling with goose bumps and my senses were overloaded, from his beauty and the smell of his freshly splashed cologne. I absorbed the sound of rough denim fabric gliding up long, lean legs, and watched mesmerized as his dexterous fingers pinched each button through the button-fly of his jeans.
I had to close my eyes to it all. He was such a beautiful person, inside and out and I was blessed that he was in love with me. Yet even as I admitted to myself that I knew he loved me, all I could focus on was the fact that Edward hadn't kissed my mouth!
He'd kissed my neck, when we'd been in my room, he'd held me tightly, he told me he loved me, he apologized for ever thinking that I would have...touched Riley.
I opened my eyes in time to see Edward button his shirt, and grab his wallet to flick it open to check he had the purple VIP card. I became so nervous.
Edward meeting my dad made everything real. The acknowledgement of our relationship in front of my father would make me beyond happy.
"Bella?" Edward said softly. He reached his hand out for mine and I took it. He helped me to stand and then suddenly everything changed.
Edward's lips pressed against mine, so gently that it took my breath away.
"I love you, Bella Swan," he said.
The atmosphere of tension and uncertainty—that had become blatantly obvious to only exist in my mind—melted away.
I don't need to doubt any more!
I pushed myself up on the balls of my feet, and pulled his lips down so I could kiss him passionately. I wanted to show him exactly how I felt for him with my mouth.
I knew we had to go and meet with my dad. I knew the kiss was more than the tender one he'd just given me, but I needed it. I needed his lips on mine, his fresh, minty-toothpaste taste and his hands holding me so securely as I pushed my body flush with his and expressed my desire.
Edward's hand traveled down to touch my bum and pull me closer to his body.
"Bella," he moaned.
We continued to kiss. It was like we were both recharging; electrifying each other with a needful intimacy that only we could share. It could have been seconds, or minutes...
Edward slowly broke the kiss. "I can't walk into the bar like this," he whispered and pushed his groin into my pelvic bone. I could feel his erection, hard, long and hot through his jeans.
The need, the pure lust I felt for him pulsed through my veins. I wanted him; I wanted to be naked with him. I wanted to show him physically how much I loved him.
"I need to meet your dad," he said huskily. "I want you, so badly, but we should go. I promise you, when we get back here, we can talk, and touch, all night."
He stepped back from me. We were both out of breath and I was kind of dizzy. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply.
I felt Edward's warm fingers touch my cheek.
"I want to meet him, and Elaine, as your boyfriend."
I opened my eyes. He was smiling at me. It was that smile that made his eyes shine. Then he licked his lips and his mouth stayed slightly open as his hand dropped from my face to take my hand. I recognized then, that his face was communicating an emotion that nearly floored me.
Edward was proud to be with me.
He squeezed my hand and guided me out of his room, and down the hall. We waited for the lift, just staring into each other's eyes. We didn't need to speak. I felt so blissed-out; my love and adoration was reflected in his eyes.
I felt more alive than I'd felt all day; giddy, happy and carefree. My excitement returned, because Edward was going to meet my dad!
Edward squeezed my hand tighter as we approached the door to the Purple Bar. He dropped my hand for a few seconds as he took the VIP card out of his wallet and swiped it over the reader.
We walked hand-in-hand, into the room.
The first person I noticed was James; he smiled widely at me. Then I locked eyes with my dad. He straightened his posture and stood as Edward and I approached the booth.
Edward held his left hand against my lower back as he stepped forward and shook my dad's hand.
"Chief Swan," he said and nodded politely.
"Edward, good to meet you again."
"Congratulations on your engagement," said Edward and smiled at Elaine as she stood out from the booth. "Lovely to meet you too, Elaine. Congratulations."
Edward gave her a friendly hug.
"Thank you, Edward. You've grown so tall! I remember when you and Eric were gangly teenagers," she smiled. "Where's all the time gone?"
And just like that, I saw acceptance and felt so comfortable that Edward was here with me, meeting my family, like it was the most natural thing in the whole world.
He wasn't a famous, Hollywood actor-heartthrob (well, he was) but to them, he was my boyfriend, who had once lived in Forks, went to high school with Elaine's son and who was the son of the Cullen's, who had been essential to the Forks community only a few short years ago.
This isn't a dream. This is really happening!
"Bella, come with me to the ladies room?" Elaine asked suddenly.
The conversation, or rather small talk, had progressed well. Chief Swan was a man of few words; Elaine compensated. She was vivacious as she told Bella about what she wanted for her small no-fuss wedding in Forks. Chief Swan would intermittently grin with happiness at the things she described. They were very open in their affection. It reminded me of my parents, and how they were never coy or reserved when it came to openly expressing their love for each other.
I noticed that even though there were no physical similarities between what I remembered of Eric Yorkie from high school, to his mom Elaine, she shared numerous personality traits with her son. It was kind of astonishing to me. Even more so were the recollections, when the discussion centered on Forks, which instantly took me back to the time I lived there. It was a breath of fresh air.
Bella squeezed my hand before she slid out from the booth. I watched as she walked towards the Ladies' room with Elaine. I couldn't help but stare at Bella's legs, the curve of her calf defined by the sexy heel of her shoes.
Chief Swan cleared his throat.
It was my opportunity to step up.
"Chief Swan," I said without preamble. "I'm in love with your daughter. I plan on proposing to her, and I'd like your blessing."
I watched him pick up his glass of beer; his top lip twitched.
"Where do you plan to live?" he asked and then took a long pull from the glass.
His question took me by surprise.
"I own a condo in L.A., Sir, but I need to travel for my career. I'll be in Europe early next year and then I'll have to spend a few months in Australia to work on a film. I want Bella to come with me. She can continue her writing. I'll always support her in whatever she wants to do. I hope she'll help me write some lyrics as well, considering."
Chief Swan looked at me and he looked pissed.
Bella hasn't told him about Episode? No, of course she hasn't because I told her to keep it a secret!
"Considering she's written lyrics for me, before. That's how Bella and I met. I was playing the piano, just there." I motioned to the Steinway. "Bella was sitting here, at this booth, writing. When she heard the song as I played, she wrote down some words and then she gave them to me. She'd written the lyrics to my song."
I inhaled through my nose. Chief Swan was staring at me and not speaking.
"The song is going to be featured on the soundtrack to the film that I'm shooting here in Vancouver." I added.
I'd just noticed he had the same deep 'V' etched between his brows; the same 'V' Bella had she was upset or perplexed. I watched as he drained his glass and looked towards the bar. He held his glass up high and with a curt nod of his head, he communicated to the bar guy that he wanted another.
"How long ago was that?" he asked me.
I closed my eyes briefly. It seemed like a lifetime ago, but it was only a month!
That night had changed my life.
"That was thirty days ago, Sir."
Chief Swan looked me directly in the eye. His face was stoic and he held his head confidently.
I didn't want to feel intimidated by him, but how could I not? He was the Forks Chief of Police, and I'd known of him since I'd been a high school freshman.
"You say you're in love with Bella. Why do you love her?"
He phrased it like he would if he was interrogating a petty criminal.
He's just being protective of her.
"Bella is unlike anyone I've ever met. When she gave me those lyrics, well it was like she could see straight into my brain. They were exactly what I wanted, but I had no idea how to interpret the feel of the music into song lyrics. It's like she just...knew.
"We talked, it came to light pretty quickly her connection to Forks. She told me that when she was sixteen, she nearly went to live with you. I wished I would have met her then, Sir." I shook my head and looked down at the table, smiling when I thought of it.
I looked back to his face, he was waiting for me to continue.
"Bella is considerate, kind and trusting. She doesn't see herself very clearly, but that's OK, because I see her. I know her. When we're apart, she's all I think about. I just can't imagine not having her in my life.
"She makes me a better person. I love her. I'd do anything, be anything, for her."
He continued to stare at me.
If there was one thing I knew as a certainty, if I averted my gaze, if I looked away, he would not believe my words. So I stared right back at him as I thought about spending the rest my life with his daughter. I wanted his blessing. I wanted his acceptance because I knew that would mean everything to Bella.
Chief Swan looked away from me, as the bar guy, James, placed another beer on the table.
"Thanks." he said.
He was silent until James had left earshot.
"I know your parents. I know they're good, respectable people, that would have raised you to be the same. All I want is for Bella to be happy. Whatever it takes to make her happy. You put her first, always. If you break her heart, don't think I won't do all in my power to make your life a living hell. I'm a cop. You just remember that."
"I got married too young, the first time." he said wistfully. "But I wouldn't change a thing, because Bella was the best thing that ever happened to me."
He drank more beer.
"Bella told me she's in love with you, so I would never tell her she can't be with you. The responsible thing to do would be to take the time to get to know her and not to make her promises that you can't keep."
I wanted to protest, but I held my tongue. The only promise I was sure I could always keep, was that I would love her irrevocably and forever; my love for Bella would be constant.
"My blessing isn't needed," he added. "If you love her and she loves you, no one else should matter," he stated. "I want her to be happy, and she knows that I'll support anyone else that supports her."
His words shook me to the core.
He was right.
In my personal life, the reality of who Edward Cullen was when not acting a part—I need not answer to anyone.
Yet, my public life dictated a level of availability to other people; an extension of who I was, that the fans and the media could worship, praise or criticize.
No one would matter to me as much as Bella and my family.
My private life would be as guarded as I could make it. I would 'play the game' when I needed to, but anything beyond that, well, it would never dominate my actions, or they way I lived my life. I would make sure it would never cause a rift between Bella and me.
Chief Swan raised his glass.
"Cheers, Edward," he said and we toasted.
It was his full stop on the conversation.
It wasn't exactly how I imagined it would go, but I took it anyway. I couldn't stifle the shit-eating grin that covered my face.
"Now, tell me more about this song," he demanded as he placed his glass of beer back on the table.
His brief smile reassured me that he would never interfere in my relationship with his daughter, unless it was warranted.
Bella and Elaine returned to the booth then. I saw Bella's flushed cheeks and subtle lip biting as she slid back into the seat and sat close to me.
She was radiant; simply beautiful in her unassuming demeanor. I wanted to prolong that innocence for as long as possible.
"Is it OK if I play our song?" I asked her.
She looked shyly at her dad and then to me. "Yes!"
Elaine looked perplexed, but she simply touched Chief Swan's arm and watched as I stood, took a sip of my beer for courage and walked over to the piano.
I was excited and a little panicked until Edward turned and looked at me before he started playing.
"Bella? Will you come and sit with me, while I play?"
He looked so hopeful and there was nothing in the world that could have stopped me from going to him.
I stood slowly, my heart pounding wildly in my chest and I sat next to Edward, close enough to feel the heat from his body, but not get in the way of his arms, or his fingers held in position above the keys.
"I love you," he whispered and he kissed me softly on the cheek.
When he started playing I felt like I was soaring. It was uplifting, and the tinkling sound seemed to reverberate through my body, as if the notes and melody had become a part of me.
He didn't hold back. He sang with a passion and emotion that was overwhelming, like he had when he'd sung it to me at Richards.
All eyes were on Edward. He captivated the room. An elderly couple sat by the glass balcony doors; they turned in their seats to look. The same old man—from the first night I saw Edward here in the bar—smoked a cigar out on the balcony, but lingered just outside the doorway to listen.
I didn't turn to look at Elaine and my dad, but I knew they would be just as blown away as I was.
My eyes left Edward's hands briefly to focus on the lights outside—the dark sky dotted with vibrant colors of the city lights reflecting off the water.
The strong cadence of Edward's voice blanketed me in a resolute calm.
I closed my eyes as I let myself feel it all, feel his heat, as it radiated up the entire right side of my body, his love that was being expressed using my words.
When I opened my eyes again, I was transfixed on the way his nimble fingers caressed the keys, and the way his thigh moved as he depressed pedals.
All too quickly the song was over and I snapped myself out of the comforting daze that had surrounded me.
Edward turned to me and like it was happening in slow motion, he gently lifted his hands to caress my face.
"I make this promise to you. I'll love you every day, Bella. I want to be with you forever."
Edward kissed me.
It wasn't chaste. He kissed me with love and passion, in front of my father, my soon to be stepmother, James, and three strangers.
When he pulled away from the kiss the stunned audience broke into spontaneous applause.
Edward's eyes sparkled with mirth, not embarrassment.
It was the most precious thing he could give to me. We didn't have to flaunt our love in front of his fans or the media, but I knew then, he would show me his love; he would make me feel it, with a look, a smile, a touch, that was meant just for me.
Nobody else matters.
"I love you, so much!" I whispered.
Edward smiled and helped me to stand. We returned to the booth.
Dad didn't hold back his... approval?
"That is...well, I... you wrote that?" he asked with incredulity.
"I wrote the music, Bella wrote the lyrics," said Edward as he brought my hand up to his lips.
Elaine's eyes were glassy and wide.
"It's so beautifully sad and haunting. I love it!" she exclaimed.
Edward smiled warmly. I could see he agreed.
James appeared suddenly; Edward ordered another round of drinks.
After an hour or so of casual conversation—Elaine reminiscing about Eric and Forks, talking about the wedding and my novel and how it was progressing—my dad asked Edward about his 'job'.
Edward answered their questions about the roles he had played and the countries he'd visited. He talked about the film—Liam Berty's film—that he was excited to shoot, as it meant that we could be in Australia together.
But as the conversation started to naturally stagnate, Elaine couldn't hide her yawn.
"I'm sorry," she smiled. "The day has really taken its toll. I think I need to get to bed."
The four of us stood and walked out of the bar to the lifts. I pushed the call button to go up and down with a sudden sense of déjà vu.
The night the cougars wanted Edward.
"I hope we get to see you again, before you whisk Bella away to L.A.?" said Elaine, startling me out of my recollection.
"Yes, definitely. I'd love that." Edward replied.
"You will try and come to Forks for Thanksgiving, I mean, the wedding?" she blushed.
The lift dinged; it was going up.
"We wouldn't miss it!" he said reassuringly.
I pulled Elaine into a very quick hug. "I'll meet you for breakfast in the morning. Seven thirty OK?"
"Yes, Bella." she said.
"OK, see you both at seven-thirty in the restaurant for breakfast. It's all included."
"Congratulations again!" said Edward, as he stepped into the lift. He held the lift door open, and addressed somebody that was standing inside.
"Sorry for holding you up. I've just met my girlfriends father for the first time," he said excitedly.
I quickly hugged my dad 'goodbye'.
"Night Dad. I love you," I said happily.
I turned then and stepped into the lift.
I felt tired yet still giddy with the way the evening had turned out. Then that mood instantly plummeted when I saw whom Edward had been speaking to.
It was Riley. Standing in the lift, his eyes looking beyond me to see my dad and Elaine as they stood with their arms around each other smiling at us.
Edward's hand was against my lower back. He pressed the button for the 34th floor.
"Goodnight!" said Elaine and she waved frantically as the lift doors closed.
"Elaine reminds me so much of Eric. It's really uncanny." said Edward. He pulled me against his body, and kissed the top of my head.
It was like I was in some type of surreal dream; my heart started pounding.
The lift stopped on the thirty-third floor.
Riley walked beside us to exit, he turned slowly and stood just outside the lift, holding it open with his hand in a fist; the muscles in his forearm tightly flexed.
Sadness and regret was written all over his face.
I opened my mouth to speak, but I knew I had nothing to say. Riley looked from me to Edward; his nostrils flared.
"Is something wrong?" Edward asked so genuinely. He had no idea that he was face-to-face with Riley Biers.
"No." Riley said. "Everything is the way it should be." His accent was so overtly Australian, and inflected with sadness.
"I'm sorry, Bella. I hope you'll be happy."
Riley let go of the lift door and stepped back.
The doors started to close as if in slow motion. The last thing I saw was Riley's anguished and defeated expression.
I felt the lift car start to move up; I was frozen.
Edward pulled me closer and spoke softly in my ear. "That was him..."
I didn't need to confirm verbally; it was completely obvious.
"Are you OK?" he asked me.
I looked up into his eyes; I moved my arms up and around his neck. "Yes. Are you? I love you, so much!"
I was panicked and breathless, and yet, so decisive in my choice.
Edward would be all I'll ever want, and I suddenly felt immense gratitude that Riley hadn't caused a scene, that he gave me the one thing I wanted all along; permission to let him go from my heart and from my mind.
"He still loves you." Edward said calmly.
"Yes." I said. "But I love you. I need to be with you!"
"Good, because I'm not giving you up, ever."
Edward kissed me softly on the lips as the lift stopped and the doors slid open on the 34th floor.
I was calm. He wasn't what I expected.
The rage that I thought would engulf me—if I ever met the guy that broke Bella's heart—never came.
I thought that I was a good judge of character. His resigned sadness and his words assured me that he would never be a threat to me, or to Bella's happiness.
I felt sorry for him. The dark scenarios that had infected my thoughts when I thought she had chosen him were still fresh in my mind.
He lost her. His actions drove her away. He wasn't worthy of her love, and she was always meant to be with me. Always.
Bella is my soul mate.
Meeting her father, my hand holding hers the entire time, grounded me. Bella was my gravity. No matter how crazy my life was, Bella would always be there to keep me aware of the important things in this world.
Just as Alice's dream had predicted and I had hoped, Bella and I were always destined. I had no doubt about that. Our time-line may have been inadvertently skewed, but I met her, I would never let her go. Never.
I was confident now that Bella and I could face anything.
When we stepped back into my hotel suite, I held her. Standing in the foyer, I held her in my arms and breathed her in.
He is out of her life now. Episode is signed. I'd met her father. My family knows that Bella is the One and I'll take her to meet them this weekend. Alice is on her way here...
There was so much to absorb, but all of those thoughts dissipated as I held her, and felt her warm breath against my neck.
My mind flashed me back to the night Bella had taken me to Laurent's.
I'm not drunk. I can relive that night yet change the outcome.
My hands glided down Bella's back, and I pulled her into me.
"I love you," I said and I kissed her softly.
I would erase all thoughts of her ex from her mind. I would show her exactly how much I loved her. I felt like a possessive and virile animal—the mountain lion from my dream—but that was suddenly acceptable, because Bella needed to know that I would never leave her, never hurt her. I would always be there to support, love and protect her. I needed her to survive. She needed me.
The dream details saturated my thoughts in Technicolor; the paparazzi separating me from her, her panic and desperation. I recalled my father's calm words: 'She'll survive it.'
She'll survive anything, because she'll have me, always.
My fingers found the zipper at the back of her sexy, red dress and I slowly eased it down.
My lips never left hers. I kept my eyes closed and my fingers slipped her dress off, then found the latch to unhook her bra.
"Edward," she sighed. I felt Bella's fingertips pulling my shirt buttons open.
The act of removing each other's clothing, sensually and unhurried, in the dimly lit foyer of my suite; I never wanted to forget. I wanted to remember every action.
When all our clothing and our shoes were gone, I hoisted Bella into my arms; just like I had at the cabin; her arms and legs wrapped tightly around me.
Her soft, pale skin warmed me, feeding me with the buzz of electricity that passed between our bodies. It made me realize how alive I was with her in my embrace.
I smiled as I carried her into the bedroom, aroused and excited beyond belief that my life from this point would never be the same.
Bella would be my world, my one single focus, and everything else would be secondary.
I sat on the bed, pulling her legs around me.
My soul mate.
"I love you."
He guided me onto his lap, his large, talented hands held my head as he kissed me.
"My soul mate," he whispered and pulled back to look at me. "I love you."
More heart melting than the feel of his warm hands sending shivers over my scalp, were his eyes. They were glistening with longing and love. They were so honest, so perfectly readable and true.
I wanted to speak, but I was overcome.
"Everything will make sense to you, tomorrow. All of this, everything will be explained."
He kissed me, gently laving my lips with his warm, intoxicating essence. I closed my eyes, aware of his hands gliding over my skin, so gently.
When he lifted my thighs, I let him guide my wanton body over and onto him, slowly easing all the way down, with a low rumble in his chest. I could feel myself shuddering with the relief of his intimate touch.
He's not wearing a condom. It doesn't matter. I'm due to get my period tomorrow; the likelihood of falling pregnant is slim. I want to feel him come inside me!
Once again, the feeling of being with him this way was indescribable. He felt so right. I felt so complete, so fulfilled and indestructible.
Edward is love.
Edward is my twin-soul.
We didn't move.
I acknowledged the thrill of the feeling and then opened my eyes.
We stared at each other, hearts pounding, breathing accelerated with the effort of simply absorbing the connection and the overwhelming sexual bliss.
I was completely aware of every sensation; his warm hand on my lower back, with an amazingly heated temperature seemingly pulsing through his fingertips and into my skin, through my body, into my spine.
His sweet, breath, flowing in and out of his open mouth, wet lips slightly parted, the look of wonder and adoration so clear on his features, yet mixed with what looked like an excruciating self-control; he was forcing himself not to thrust.
I felt the zinging pleasure, deep within. I could feel my body responding as if the Earth had stopped moving, and every little detail seemed amplified. The feel of him, inside, filling and pulsing, wet heat and so much desperation.
I inadvertently clenched my pelvic floor muscles, igniting a burning desire to move my body and prolong the sexy, yet almost feral groan of pleasure that gushed in a breath from Edward's mouth.
"To-morrow," he repeated softly as if trying to affirm something.
"What...happens...tomorrow?" I said breathlessly before I slowly pushed my pelvis forward. I wanted to move, I wanted to feel all of him. I needed stimulation so badly! I thought I would explode.
Edward didn't answer, although his mouth was still open as if he did intend to speak. Instead I felt his knuckles graze my stomach as his hand slipped lower, then he turned his palm towards me, his long, graceful fingers seeking the spot that needed to be touched.
His other hand supported my lower back as he ever so gently touched one long, cool finger to where we were joined. His eyelids drooped and he kind of bucked his hips infinitesimally before he found my spot and caressed me into oblivion.
I'd thought it would be difficult to restrain myself, but I'd managed, just barely, to give her pleasure without breaking our connection.
I hadn't used a condom. I wanted to feel all of her, so I'd pulled her body onto me, without sheathing myself.
Movement would have been my downfall, so instead, I simply absorbed the feeling of being inside her while I touched her, where I knew she needed it.
When Bella came, I reacted immediately, lifting her off me and gently placing her back on the bed. I thought that there was no way on Earth that I would have been able to stop myself, but I did. I scrambled to get a condom on and then I was instantly inside her, frantically thrusting to build up to the most mind-blowing peak within seconds.
Sexual exhaustion seemed to relax my tired muscles.
"If you could be anywhere in the world right now... where?" I asked her.
We were naked in the bed, facing each other. I'd finally got my breath back. I let the euphoria of our lovemaking seep into my bones.
It was late. I didn't care. I needed this time with her. Time to talk, time to absorb everything that had happened.
She smiled; a sleepy, soft glow hit her cheeks.
"Right here," she said and her soft hand glided down to rest on my hip.
"Indulge me, please," I whispered.
"Um. OK," she bit her lip as she contemplated.
"The cabin, but it wouldn't be in Canada. It would be on an island that nobody could get to. It would be close to the water, but surrounded by a lush forest, but there wouldn't be any bears or wolves, actually, there would be no animals bigger than say, a cute bunny, and there would be a huge waterfall, and lots of trees, and no phones, and we could just… make love," she pushed herself closer to me as she said the word love, "whenever or wherever we wanted, or swim because the water would be really warm, like a bath and we would eat tropical fruit, like coconuts and mangoes and... I don't know...I've always wanted to learn how to play chess..."
Her excited, one-breath ramble was adorable.
"What about you?" she sighed. "Where would you want to be?" she asked quietly. Her hand moved up to touch my mouth and trace my bottom lip; her breath tickled my nose.
I already knew where.
"Laurent's." I said. "My girlfriend—who's also the most beautiful and supportive woman I've ever known—would be watching me perform. Sipping her wine, her eyes would never leave mine and I would just play my guitar and sing to her, like there are no other people in the room."
Bella pushed her open mouth against my jaw. "Edward."
"Or," I said. I waited until she pulled back to look at me lovingly, once more. "We'd be sixteen. We had to complete a biology project together, and you're in my bedroom, in Forks. But we ditch the project and make-out on my black leather sofa instead, because why would I even think of schoolwork when I'd just claimed the gorgeous new Australian student as my girlfriend."
"You wouldn't have taken a second look at me back then. I was introverted. I wasn't popular or... just..."
I pulled her closer. I slipped my hand under her thigh and hitched it over mine, not removing my hand.
"Trust me. You would have become the center of my universe. Without a doubt."
It would have been the perfect time to tell her. Yet, I remembered Jasper's words to me. He said I should wait until Bella had met Alice. That Alice's 'gift' would seem completely implausible unless Bella had met Alice first.
Alice will probably be here tomorrow.
Bella loved me. I loved her. Waiting an extra day wouldn't hurt. I could bask in the pleasure and the high I'd be riding since I found out she had chosen me...that he was no longer a threat.
"Edward," she said and touched my neck. "My phone message. You didn't hear it. I need to tell you what I said."
She was blushing. Her teeth were worrying her bottom lip.
"Tell me," I whispered.
"I want...everything, with you. I want to be with you. I want to live with you. One day, maybe you'll...maybe we'll want to... commit legally, like Dad and Elaine. Get married and start a family, you know in a few years," she looked away from my face, embarrassed.
"Look at me, please." I waited until her wide brown eyes looked to me. "I want that too Bella. Believe me, I want everything with you."
I wanted her to meet Alice and my parents and I wanted to propose to her properly—romantically with a ring. But I couldn't let her believe that I wasn't thinking the same thing for our future together.
"I want you with me, to live with me in L.A. and travel with me when I need to. I'm going to marry you one day, and children and everything you want. It will all be yours. I love you. I need you. Please don't ever doubt it."
A single tear ran down her face.
"Bella, my love."
We kissed. Bella pushed me onto my back and lay on top of me. Slowly we caressed, the desperation built.
It would always be this way. Our love, expressed sexually was intense and addictive.
Bella's soft body on top of me, pressing and writhing and her wet lips kissing my jaw, it was everything to me. She was everything.
"Let me get a condom," I said breathlessly when the need to be inside was all could focus on.
"I want to, without one. I need to feel you again."
"Bella, we sh—"
"It's OK, I'm going to get my period tomorrow, please Edward."
Then Bella took charge. I wouldn't deny her.
She gently took me in her hand and guided me against her, panting and squirming, lifting herself over me and slowly sinking down on me.
Every time seemed more amazing than the first time; feeling her heat and the sensation of being completely consumed by desire and love for her.
We're made for each other.
Bella slowly raised herself up and began to love me, slowly, like she had when we'd made love at the B&B.
"You are my life now," I said breathlessly as I thrust into my beloved and watched her body shake from the pleasure of her climax.
I couldn't stop myself then. I anchored Bella to me with firm hands on her hips I shouted in carnal bliss as I thrust up into her. Not panicked, not fearful, but clear, in my mind and in my heart.
I was swept away. I lost all control as I came.
The connection—the feel of her—was indescribable.
I was momentarily disoriented, weak with bliss, drained of all coherence except the feel of her body.
Bella collapsed onto me. I was basking in her breathless kisses across my throat and the feel of her pounding heart against my chest.
In that moment I wanted to hide her way, from everyone. I wanted to hide her away from the world. I didn't want to share her with anyone. It was an overwhelming desire, one that I knew I couldn't fulfill.
I won't ever be like him.
I moved her hair aside and sucked on her neck; her skin tasted like sweat and lust. I could do this all night. Just talk and make love and discuss our future.
Better than knowing it would always be like this with Bella, was the knowledge that we were always meant to be; that Bella was the one person in a world full of billions that was mine.
I couldn't believe how blessed I was to find her, to know that we were destined to be in the bar that night.
What if Alice hadn't dreamed of her? What if I'd never met her?
There was an ache in my chest. I could never answer those questions.
I knew then that everything that had happened since I met Bella—even the mess of miscommunication and assumptions—was all necessary to get us to this point, where nothing would ever come between us and promises would never be broken.
Chief Swan knows my intentions. Bella will meet my family this weekend.
I'm not waiting for fate to deliver another cruel blow, or for anything to stop me from the course that's set.
I'm going to ask my mom for Grandma Platt's diamond ring and as soon as I have it, I'm going to ask Bella to marry me.
A/N: Hello! Sorry for the delay! Has everyone survived Robward from BD2—I was a swooning mess!
My thanks to mpg and twicrazreader for help with this chapter (((BIG HUGS))!
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Thank you so much for reading :)