This was originally an entry for the PPSS's An Officer and a Gentleman contest. Special thanks for them for rewarding this with a Judges' Pick award as well as an award for the most luscious non-lemon!

This is a full-length fic now, so I hope you'll stick around and enjoy it.


Part 1: Introductions

BPOV

Alice had dragged me out, against my will I might add, across the San Diego Bay to a bar on Coronado Island called Mc P's. It was a local Navy SEAL hangout and Alice was notorious for liking Navy guys. Me? Not so much. They were typically cocky womanizers. Military guys had hit on me enough, and I'd seen enough hearts broken in their wake, that I knew to steer clear.

Nevertheless, I found myself sitting at a predominantly Navy bar with my best friend on a Friday night. The bar was dimly lit, presumably so nobody had any real idea what each other looked like. There were the typical bar attractions- pool tables, darts, big screen TV's, but Alice was all business. She wanted to find herself a hot SEAL.

Alice was a great friend. She and I went to college together and had been roommates for a few years. She was lively and spunky and kept me on my toes. I could be those things too, but on a more limited basis. Alice was a never-ending supply of energy.

We had lived in San Diego since college and it just so happened that both of us were single, which almost never happened at the same time. I had just gotten out of a series of short-lived and nightmarish relationships. Although I had some good stories that I was sure I would laugh about one day, I found the whole dating process tiresome. I didn't want to go out with random guys, pretending to be interested when all I really wanted to do was either go out with my friends or stay home and read FanFiction.

Alice, on the other hand, was a numbers girl. It was all about the odds. The more guys you dated, the better your chances of meeting your Prince Charming. She never seemed to tire of it and I couldn't understand it. Alice was too discerning to be considered a slut and she never got her heart broken. She was almost always the one to move on unscathed. Sometimes I envied her spontaneity and optimism.

I was well into my second drink when Alice got the brilliant idea to approach two guys who were perched at the bar. I had to admit that they were gorgeous, but hitting on guys so blatantly made me want to break out into hives. Alice, not one to take no for an answer, dragged me away from my comfortable chair over to the bar.

The guys were engaged in what appeared to be a friendly debate about the Padres' chances for a playoff berth when we approached. The blond, whom Alice was eye-fucking, was tall and extremely well-built. He had a friendly smile and seemed very genuine, at least at a glance. His eyes, a piercing blue, seemed to look right through me, causing me to blush furiously.

Then there was the redhead. Actually, his hair was more like highlighted, brownish-bronze. The light made the color hard to discern. Women would pay very good money for hair color like that. He was the typical, cocky military guy with a self-assured look about him. His face was angular and chiseled and his hair accented his gorgeous green eyes. He was stunning, there was no question about that, but I had no doubt that he knew it all too well. It wasn't that he didn't look nice, but he had that over-confident swagger about him which was a huge turn off for me. I could tell that he thought he was God's gift to the world.

Ugh, not again.

Being Alice's wingman, I put on my happy face and made nice, while she turned on the charm big time. She was all smiles and giggles and Jasper, the blond, seemed to be falling for it hook, line and sinker. Edward, the redhead, made polite small talk and I realized then that it would be a very long, long night.

First impressions are often deceptive.

After about an hour or so, we, or should I say Alice, invited the guys back to our place to hang out. She and Jasper grabbed a couple of beers and immediately disappeared into the bedroom.

I'm going to fucking kill her.

So Edward and I smiled awkwardly at each other and sat on the couch with our own beers.

"So, how long have you lived in San Diego?" he asked politely.

"Since college." I looked around the room, desperately trying to find a way out of this awkward situation.

I was being rude, I knew that, but it was late and I was tired.

"Bella, I'm not going to attack you or anything. Let's just relax since it's obvious we won't be seeing Jasper and Alice again tonight."

I felt like the world's biggest bitch. He was actually being really nice and he didn't deserve to suffer with me and my issues.

"I'm sorry," I said lamely. "So, you're a Navy SEAL?"

He nodded. "Yep, for the last few years."

"When do you guys ship out? Don't you deploy sometimes?"

"Actually, it's funny that you should mention that. We're leaving in a week," he replied matter-of-factly taking a drink of his beer. I couldn't help but notice his full lips around the top of the bottle.

I felt bad suddenly. Not for ogling him but for what an incredible sacrifice these guys had to make for their jobs. Asking people to leave their friends, families, and homes for six months at a time seemed so unreasonable to me- an unfair sacrifice.

"Well, you guys get to keep in touch with your families while you're gone a lot, don't you?" I asked.

"Yeah, most guys do. I don't actually have any family." He looked down in his lap, pretending to pick a stray thread off of his shirt.

What did he just say?

"Why not?" I knew I was prying, but I couldn't help it.

I turned my body toward him, seeing him in a different light for the first time. A genuine sadness crossed his face. It was quite a contrast to his earlier swagger to see him looking almost vulnerable.

He really wasn't an asshole as I had assumed. He was sweet and interesting and, it appeared, quite lonely.

"I never knew my father. And my mother, who did the best she could as a single mom, died about two years ago from cancer," he said bluntly but I thought I saw sadness behind his eyes.

"That's horrible. What about aunts and uncles? Or Grandparents?" I asked empathetically.

He turned to me with a soft smile almost like he was comforting me. He cleared his throat and told me more about himself.

"Well yeah, I have one aunt. She was a lot older than my mom and lives across the country. They weren't close, so neither are we. My mom's parents are still alive, but they are pretty old and they've got their own lives. Even after my mom died, they just did their own thing." He paused and took a long draw from his beer. He seemed to be thinking about something, but he continued speaking. "I feel like the guys I serve with are my family. Maybe not the family I was born into, but a family I fit with. Our squad is very tight. We have to be with what we do. I trust them with my life, and they trust me with theirs."

"I can see why you're so devoted. I'm sorry about your parents, Edward." Anything I said would sound contrived and lame after his confession but I wanted him to feel comfortable after opening up to me.

I curled up on the couch and listened intently to Edward talk about what had inspired him to join the service and the interesting places he had lived. He'd had an amazing life and I felt inexperienced by comparison.

I found myself completely intrigued by Edward, which if you'd asked me at the beginning of the night, I'd have thought impossible. He was no stereotype; I'd give him that.

Alice and Jasper finally emerged looking thoroughly disheveled. We said goodbye to the guys, exchanging phone numbers. The night had turned out dramatically different than I had expected. I was actually looking forward to seeing Edward again.

The next day, we had arranged to meet the guys at the beach on Coronado. The beaches there are pristine and the views are incredible. They walked up with their arms full of beach crap that they promptly dropped at our feet. Edward set his stuff down next to mine and smiled as he greeted us.

Jesus, he's fucking hot.

Then he took off his shirt and I tried to close my mouth to hold back the drool. I couldn't stop staring at him and his unbelievable body. His chest and arms were muscular and strong, but not in a self-absorbed, body-builder way. It was more like he was healthy and strong and had the body that his intense training demanded. His board shorts hung low on his hips and the well-defined muscles there were sexy as hell. My impression of military men was changing by the second.

Must. Stop. Staring.

Alice and Jasper were inseparable already, which I was happy to see. She deserved someone nice and he seemed to treat her well. Since they were joined at the hip, Edward and I found ourselves thrust together again- not that I minded.

It was a bunch of little things that made for a really fun day. We swam in the water and played in the waves. At one point, he shook his cold, wet hair on me as I lay in my chair and I screamed and chased after him, kicking sand on him.

Embarrassingly, as I chased him, I tripped on a beach towel and did a face plant into the sand. It was everywhere: up my nose, in my ears, in my mouth.

Very smooth, Bella.

He ran over to me and crouched down next to me.

"Are you okay, Bella?" he asked, trying not to laugh.

I sat up slightly, spitting sand out of my mouth and trying to maintain some semblance of dignity.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Would you believe my last name is Swan? " I laughed slightly at the irony, trying to see the inherent humor in the situation. I must have looked ridiculous and certainly not swan-like.

He reached out a hand to help me up, chuckling at my comment. "Swan, huh? Really? As in graceful swans?" he asked, raising one eyebrow.

I took his hand as he gently helped me up. My nose was inches from his face as I drank in his scent and his breathtakingly beautiful face up close. He reached forward with his other hand like he wanted to help me brush the sand off the front of my body but stopped himself. Shame on me, but I would have let him.

Right here Edward, in my belly button and… my cleavage…and a few other spots...

Somehow I managed to get myself out of my Edward daze. "Hey, don't laugh. I've actually learned to accept it. It's pretty common knowledge that I'm a total klutz," I explained, filling him in on my bruised history.

"Beautiful like a swan but graceful like a new puppy," he said, still holding my hand to steady me as I continued wiping sand from my body.

Did he just call me beautiful?

"Yeah, a really clumsy new puppy," I joked back.

"Well come on, let's get you settled back down where you aren't a danger to yourself and others," he said, walking toward our things.

I had to wonder what someone as strong and able as Edward really thought about my clumsiness. He didn't seem too horrified or disappointed in me. I didn't want him to think of me as weak or a "damsel in distress." I could take care of myself.

But Edward didn't seem to look down on me at all or make me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. It was the opposite. He wasn't arrogant about his accomplishments or his abilities. Yet, listening to him tell me about his experiences, I realized that SEALs had to be in some of the most intense and dangerous situations imaginable. Somehow knowing this made me feel immensely safe around him. It was unexpected and reassuring and I definitely liked the way I felt with him.

We headed home after the beach and agreed to meet at McP's again to hang out. The guys showed up, looking fucking unreal, and we played pool and darts and got to know them.

Edward continued to surprise me. He was intelligent and brooding and had a dry wit that cracked me up. He called me out on my shit and I loved his sarcasm. In addition, he had this crooked grin and he always looked like he was thinking something, which was incredibly sexy. I had never wanted to be a mind reader so bad in my life.

Edward leaned against the car at the end of the night as Jasper and Alice kissed goodbye. He had his hands buried in his pockets and we both tried not to stare at our friends.

I blushed and stared down at my shuffling feet trying to look anywhere but at Edward. I wasn't sure if I wanted him to kiss me. Really, I wanted him to do more than that but I knew better than to act on that instinct. He was leaving soon and I shouldn't get involved. I also didn't think I could handle rejection from the first person who I was so attracted to in like, EVER.

I didn't know if he'd want me and was too scared to risk finding out. So, even though we had been flirty all night, neither of us made a move. Perhaps we'd just be friends.

Is that disappointment I feel?

Alice and I spent the next several days hanging out with the guys in our free time. Each time I saw Edward, I learned to appreciate something new about him. After only a few days I felt like I knew him really well. It seemed incredible to me that it had been less than a week.

The night before they were set to leave on deployment, we all decided to go out to dinner and then back to our place. Alice and Jasper once again disappeared and I had no expectations that we would see them again.

Edward and I grabbed a couple of drinks and sat on the couch. We were close enough that I could feel the warmth from his body. It was comforting and enticing. I tried not to think about how badly I wanted to cuddle up next to him, or the fact that he was leaving soon.

Things had changed since the last time we were in the same spot. Instead of sitting there with a total stranger, I felt like I was sitting there with my best friend. My insanely hot best friend.

"I'm going to miss you, Edward," I said bluntly, taking a sip of my beer. "Who else will keep me on my toes?"

He chuckled lightly and flashed me his crooked grin. "I'm going to miss you too. But don't worry; I'll still be around to help keep your head on straight. We do have email, you know."

I sat up and smiled, feeling excited for the first time that night. "Will you really write me?"

"Of course. You can be like the family I left behind since I don't have any."

It broke my heart that Edward didn't have anyone else except for the people that would be on board the ship with him. I wanted to be that person he could come home to; the person waiting for him as they unloaded the ship. He deserved to have someone at home for him.

Despite being sad that he was leaving, I spent the rest of the night chatting with Edward about everything and nothing. Nothing seemed too trivial or too important. I was really going to miss him.

When it was getting late, Edward pounded on Alice's door to get Jasper.

"Come on, man," he shouted. "It's getting late. We've got to go."

Moments later, a clearly disoriented Jasper emerged looking like he could barely tell up from down and both Edward and I laughed.

"What the fuck happened to you?" Edward asked, laughing hysterically.

Jasper shook his head and tried to straighten himself up. "Shut the fuck up."

I stifled my laugh as we walked the guys to the door. Edward and I stood at the door as we came down from our hysterics. I was giggling and Edward cleared his throat and looked around awkwardly.

Nothing sexual had happened with Edward and me and I wasn't sure why. But, I certainly wasn't going to rock the boat. If he just wanted to be friends, then that was what we'd be.

He's not going to kiss you, so don't get your hopes up.

And he didn't kiss me. But he did give me a huge bear hug and I felt so safe and warm in his capable arms. I wanted them around me a lot more. I would definitely miss him and I felt the tears coming to the surface.

Fuck, not the tears.

He pulled back once he realized I was crying and gently wiped the tears from my face. "Hey, don't cry," he sighed. "We'll still talk. All the time, I promise."

I nodded but was unable to form any words. What was wrong with me? It wasn't like he was my boyfriend or anything. I felt like an idiot.

"Goodbye, Bella," he said as he softly stroked my cheek with the back of his hand. He left our apartment, waving behind him.

"Goodbye, Edward," I replied. "Don't forget to write."

And then he was gone. The date was July 20th. Six months to go.


Part 2: Letters from Afar

July 21st

To: Bella Swan

From: Edward Cullen

Subject: Miss you

Wow Bella, I wasn't expecting to meet someone like you. Hell, a week ago I didn't even know you. But it took all my willpower not to scoop you up and bring you with me in my duffel. I can't imagine six months without seeing you.

Anyway, we got settled in today. The ship is hot and stinky, but at least we're busy. Not having much space or any privacy will take some getting used to. At least I won't get into any trouble.

Can't wait to hear what you're up to.

Edward

I sat at my computer smiling. He had written me, just like he said he would. I promptly typed my response, telling him how his absence had left a void in my life I wasn't expecting, a void I was finding I didn't want to fill with anything else. I hoped he would feel like the next six months were an adventure instead of a sacrifice. I asked him to write to me about the day to day life on a ship, since it was something I would never experience. And, I let him know that I'd be here when he got back.

What I didn't tell him was that the void I felt was an ache in my chest that I couldn't understand. I had only met him days before. We became friends and nothing more, but my heart was screaming at me that I was wrong. Yeah, I didn't tell him that!

Each day, the emails came in telling me about life on board the ship and all that he had been doing and seeing. Once again, no detail was too trivial and I was happy to be someone he could talk to and confide in. I sent him emails telling him about the local news and what was going on in San Diego. Simple stuff, really. But it meant a lot to both of us.

August 5th

To: Edward Cullen

From: Bella Swan

Subject: I hate my job!

Ugh Edward. I work for the biggest bitch ever. I wish you had followed through with your plan to smuggle me on board. Life as a stowaway sounds remarkably better than my current life as my boss's slave. I hate office politics and wish you were here to give me some advice. Somehow, I can't see this being an issue for you.

Anyway, everything else is good. Miss you.

Bella

It wasn't an hour later when my email showed a response from Edward.

August 5th

To: Bella Swan

From: Edward Cullen

Subject: Re: I hate my job!

Hey there. It's the middle of the night here, but I'm still awake. Sorry to hear about your job. Rise above it, Bella. I know you can be the better person. And yes, I've dealt with the same bullshit. The Navy is extremely political. At least you don't have to salute her.

Sorry I'm not there to help.

Edward

My routine was always the same. I'd come home from work, throw my things on the counter and log in to my computer. Had he written? What was he up to? Was he okay? He couldn't tell me any specifics about his work, so my over-active imagination feared the worst. All I knew was that he was somewhere in Asia. That really didn't narrow it down for me much.

October 24th

To: Bella Swan

From: Edward Cullen

Subject: Pretty Places

Bella, I can't tell you exactly where I am, but I can tell you that I've never seen water this clear in my life. I swear, it's the bluest in the world. We have to come back here someday. You'd love it. The only drawback is the heat. I feel like I'm standing on the sun. If the boat was stinky in San Diego, it must be REALLY bad now.

Anyway, just thought of you. I hope all is well.

Edward

A tropical place with Edward didn't seem so bad. In fact, it became the subject of many of my subsequent fantasies. Edward and I on a long beach with white sand and crystal blue water. On our honeymoon?

Where the fuck did that come from?

November 26th

To: Edward Cullen

From: Bella Swan

Subject: Thanksgiving

You should be here right now, not on a boat away from everyone who loves you. It's still warm here, although there are signs of fall. At least I have football to keep me company. I'm going to my dad's house today and cooking a big turkey- the whole enchilada. He can't cook at all, so I'll be on my own.

I wish you were here. The family you left behind misses you, especially on Thanksgiving.

Bella

My email chirped right away.

November 26th

To: Bella Swan

From: Edward Cullen

Subject: Re: Thanksgiving

Bella, are you saying that there's someone back home who loves me? (You don't have to answer that, LOL) It's always the holidays that make me miss my mom. But now, I miss you too. We're in a place that doesn't even know what Thanksgiving is and all of us are feeling homesick.

Jasper says hello.

Two more months.

Edward

Thanksgiving came and went and I felt happy that Edward had me to care about him and remember him on the holidays. I sent him a care package with Starbucks coffee, cookies and little trinkets to remind him that he definitely had someone to come home to.

December 25th

To: Bella Swan

From: Edward Cullen

Subject: Presents

I bought you something today. We were in port and I found something that I think you'll love. Since it's Christmas, I thought you'd like to know.

I've been sick lately and somehow I don't think Jasper's nursing would compare to yours.

Merry Christmas. One more month.

Edward

I spent New Year's with Alice and my friend Rosalie. We went downtown, which was fun but was a total mob scene. The bars were packed and filled with people celebrating. I didn't feel like I had much to celebrate, but I went along for the ride.

Amazingly, Alice was faithful to Jasper. Not that I was surprised by Alice, but that their relationship had progressed so quickly. She felt she had won at the numbers game and hit the jackpot with Jasper. I agreed that he seemed really taken with her, which was smart on his part. Alice is wonderful. No amount of hand-to-hand combat training would stop me from kicking his ass if he hurt my friend.

I never really spoke about Edward much, so neither Alice nor Rose knew the depth of my feelings for him. Truthfully, neither did I.

Alice would occasionally try and get me to open up about my feelings for Edward or my continued lack of interest in dating. If it was anyone else, I might have been put off by the prying, but that was just Alice being her usual perceptive and persistent self. I was elusive though. How could I talk to her about something I didn't even understand myself?

Rose thought I needed to "dislodge the stick" I'd had up my ass for the last six months. I told her I just wasn't interested in dating any more losers. This was true. It wasn't like I was waiting for Edward exactly. I just didn't want anyone else. No one compared to the man I remembered and had grown so close to through emails. I couldn't get him out of my mind.

The drinks went down easily and it wasn't until I got home that I became incredibly sad and frustrated, the booze definitely not helping.

Fuck the Navy.

Why should they be allowed to take people away from their friends and families for such long periods of time? Time you can't get back! Even in my inebriated state, I couldn't totally blame the Navy. Edward had joined and was committed and I had to respect that. He traded a piece of his life to protect the lives of others. There was a lot of honor in that.

I just fucking missed him.

January 2nd

To: Edward Cullen

From: Bella Swan

Subject: Last Month

I think I'm still hung-over. We all went out downtown for New Years, which was crazy and fun. Tell Jasper that he doesn't have to worry about Alice. Some losers were hitting on us, and Alice, who's usually very friendly, kindly told them to fuck off. I laughed so hard that I spit my drink out all over them.

I thought of you all night. What were you doing? Were you celebrating somewhere exotic? I don't want you to be half a world away anymore. Thank god you come home soon. Do you know the date yet?

I hope all is well.

Bella

I was growing impatient to see him. Six months didn't seem like such a long time before he left, but now it felt like a lifetime. I closed my computer and went to sleep. When I awoke in the morning, there was an email waiting for me in my Inbox.

January 2nd

To: Bella Swan

From: Edward Cullen

Subject: Re: Last Month

I'm not sure I like the idea of random guys hitting on you while I'm across the world and unable to beat the shit out of them for you. Or would it be for me? Either way, I'm glad Alice took care of them. Jasper will be relieved. That boy is whipped.

Happy New Year!

Edward

It would be a happier New Year when he came home.

January 7th

To: Bella Swan

From: Edward Cullen

Subject: Coming Home

Guess what, Bella? I got my orders today and we're going to be coming home on January 30th. I'm so excited to see you that I can hardly stand it. Will you come to the base to greet me? I don't want to wait any longer than I have to.

Edward

I was fucking ecstatic.

He was finally coming home. The past six months seemed like a lifetime. It seemed like forever since that night when he hugged me goodbye. I felt like something had been missing since he left and things would finally be okay. With him in San Diego, I knew they would be.

The week before he got home, I went on a shopping trip with Alice for some new clothes. Naturally, she bought a bunch of lingerie, but I just wanted to look good. I cleaned our place top to bottom. I was a nervous wreck.

Why? It's just my friend Edward.

I couldn't say why exactly. I just knew that he had become incredibly important to me and I couldn't wait to have him home. Most of our relationship had been established through emails. We'd only actually been in the same room with each other for a week and yet I felt infinitely closer to him now than I ever had. Closer than I did to most people.

Our emails gave me something to look forward to, an insight into his life. Each day when I'd see one in my Inbox, my heart would soar. I couldn't explain it, but the million little things that we talked about meant the world to me.

I wasn't entirely surprised at the depth of my feelings. Edward is an incredible guy and I missed him terribly. I knew he missed me too but I really had no idea the extent of his feelings. I knew he saw me as a close friend, family even, but would he want more someday?

The ship pulled into San Diego bay and although slightly cold outside, the sun was shining. All the men and women were in their uniforms at their posts. Seeing a ship come home was a sight to behold. He had told me the general vicinity of where he would be standing and I strained my eyes trying to find him, but I couldn't.

The ship moved painfully slow, inching through the bay toward the base.

Can't that fucking thing get docked any faster?

The ship docked and the men finished their duties as the families waited patiently- or in my case impatiently- on the dock. Then the men started filing out and it was mayhem as the people reunited with their families. There were babies crying and kids running and hugging. It was so sweet to see the faces of the families as they found each other.

I looked around frantically for Edward but I didn't see him. I paced back and forth and stood on my tiptoes, trying to see around the newly reunited families.

Then, just as I was about to seriously lose my shit, I saw him. He looked amazing in his uniform, which accented all of his best features.

God, he's so fucking beautiful.

I burst into a full blown run and practically tackled him before he even saw me.

"Oh my God Edward, you're home." I squeezed him tightly and his arms came around and squeezed me back, picking me up off the ground.

"Bella," he said, his voice cracking. "I'm so happy to see you."

It was perfect.


Part 3: Homecoming

We sat there spinning around and hugging on the docks for minutes. Edward buried his face in my neck, his warm breath tickling my skin. It felt so intimate. I felt like kissing him, but I didn't. I was just so unbelievably happy to see him.

He gathered his bag and we walked to my car.

"So, what's on the agenda?" he asked brightly.

"Well, I thought we could get you home so you can get unpacked and then we could go out somewhere. What do you think?" I asked hesitantly.

"Sounds like a plan," he said, smiling.

As we drove, I reached over and squeezed his leg. I didn't plan it, I just did it. I wanted to touch him and make sure he was real. His face lit up and he reached down and grabbed my hand and held it, not letting go.

It felt right.

We got to his house and I watched him unpack. Actually, I stared at him as he unpacked.

Was he always this attractive? Holy crap!

He caught me staring at him a few times, but I didn't care. I wasn't going to take my eyes off him.

We hopped into his car and drove downtown, where we ate a nice dinner overlooking the carriers in the bay. I loved the spot. The light shimmered off the bay and it felt majestic.

Suddenly, I was nervous. Something was different with us. We weren't acting like best friends, but more like a couple. I didn't know how to handle it. Of course, the thought of jumping him had crossed my mind, but I didn't want to screw up the best thing I had going by making inappropriate advances toward my best friend.

After we ate, we walked along the boardwalk and burned off dinner. The night was cold, but clear. He reached down and grabbed my hand and I smiled as he did it.

Please don't let go.

He stopped abruptly as we walked and reached into his pocket, bringing out a small box. He looked hesitantly down at it before handing it to me.

"Do you remember when I told you that I bought something?" he asked.

I nodded as I took the box from his hand, smiling widely. I opened the lid and was immediately taken aback by the sight of a large amber pendant, encased in a silver setting, strung from a long silver necklace. "Oh my God, Edward, it's beautiful."

"I bought it from a street vendor. There were a ton to choose from, but I thought this would look good on you. It matches the gold in your eyes." He looked like he was on trial, nervous and awaiting my approval.

"There's more in there," he said, nodding toward the box.

I moved the pendant aside and there was a delicate charm bracelet with two charms on it. The first was a sand dollar and the second was a seal. I had to laugh, "I like these, they fit me."

"So, now you've got a seal for your wrist too."

I leaned in and gave him a hug, thanking him for the gifts. His arms moved around my waist and pulled me to him, holding me tightly. The nervous feeling from before surfaced again, causing me to pull away from his embrace, despite how incredible he felt.

What's wrong with me? You want this, don't you?

He drove me to my place and I invited him in. We grabbed a couple of beers and once again found ourselves on my couch. I had no idea where Alice was, but I didn't think I'd be seeing her for at least a week.

We talked as Edward peeled the label off his beer. The whole night things had been just as though he'd never left. We jumped right back into the way we were before, which surprised me given how long it had been since I'd seen him.

All of the sudden he stood up and held out his hand to me, pulling me to stand.

"Are we going somewhere?" I asked, jokingly.

He didn't talk, but stepped forward, just inches from me, his hands holding the sides of my face.

The last thing I saw was his head tilt to one side as he leaned in to kiss me. I closed my eyes and just let myself take it all in. He smelled sweet, yet masculine. His beautiful face was clean-shaven, but still a little rough on my face. His lips brushed mine with a gentle touch that made me ache for more.

I exhaled the breath that I didn't even know I was holding and reached up to pull him toward me.

He paused briefly and then kissed me again, this time parting his lips, letting his tongue brush my bottom lip. I opened my mouth to him and before I could second-guess what we were doing, we were locked in the most passionate kiss I'd ever had. His strong arms pulled my face to his as our breathing quickened with need.

He pulled back slightly, looking a little worried. "I'm sorry Bella, I just couldn't help myself."

He's sorry? Jesus Christ.

"I'm not sorry," I confessed dreamily, and slowly opened my eyes to see his. "God, you're good at that."

He grinned as he pulled me into a huge hug. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to kiss you. I was afraid you didn't want me like that."

I took his hand and led him toward my room. I wanted to be with him and I had to hope that it wouldn't screw things up between us.

When we got to the bedroom, he shut the door and stalked over to me with lust in his eyes.

Apparently he wants this as much as I do.

We slowly removed our shirts, seeing each other as couples do for the first time. He was strong and capable and most of all, loving. I allowed my hands to move over his firm body, drawing him to me with each touch.

My head tipped back against his hand as he weaved his fingers into the back of my hair. His other hand wrapped around my waist, pressing me to him. His kisses sent electricity whirling throughout my body and his touches set my skin on fire.

The look in his eyes, his quickened breaths, his touch and his obvious arousal was breathtaking. I couldn't believe I was doing this to him. Was it just me that he wanted or was it simply because he had gone so long without a woman's touch?

I was swimming in a sea of emotions and my body was on fire. This was happening with Edward, my Edward. And it was amazing and somewhat frightening.

"God Bella, you are so beautiful," he whispered in my ear, "I want you so badly. I've been dreaming about this since the day I met you. I just can't help myself."

I began to lower myself down his body, my hands trailing down his muscular torso as I kissed his chest, then stomach, then hips. My fingers dipped below the waistline of his jeans as I unbuttoned and lowered them. My eyes never left his intense gaze as I helped him step out of his pants, his erection springing free.

Slowly, as if through water, my hands moved back up his legs until I reached the top and wrapped my fingers tightly around his large, rock hard cock, earning me moan from deep in his chest.

My tongue slipped out and licked the tip of his cock, lapping up the fluid there. He tasted sweet, yet salty.

Delicious.

In one certain move, I took him into my mouth and then slowly slid him back out, swirling my tongue around his tip.

"Fuucccckkk…Bella…your mouth…ahhh…so good," he muttered, while his hands carefully moved the hair out of my face so he could watch me.

His hips were tense as I skillfully worked him in and out of my mouth. His hands were firmly placed in my hair, gently guiding my movements. With each pass of my tongue on his shaft he would moan and grunt, encouraging me to continue. My hands moved to the back of his thighs as I took him deep into my throat.

"Bella…fuck…I'm gonna come…shit…" His body jerked and he forcefully came into my mouth.

I stood slowly once I had licked him clean and he wrapped his arms tightly around me.

"Jesus Christ, that was good," he said, then kissed me fervently.

He carefully moved us both to the bed. I lay down and pulled him towards me. We continued touching and kissing passionately. I felt his body weight rest firmly between my legs and could feel the wetness pooling between my legs.

Please don't stop, Edward.

He supported himself with one hand, while the other slipped beneath the waist of my pants.

"Can I take these off?" he asked softly.

I nodded and lifted my hips to help him, leaving me completely naked below him.

With nothing between us, he once again lowered his body weight onto me until we were flush with each other. His legs tangled with mine and he pressed his hips against mine, creating the friction we both wanted.

Edward's hands were all over my body as he placed a trail of wet soft kisses from my ear down the base of my neck. He continued lower and gently pulled my nipple into his mouth, causing it to harden. I sucked in a breath and arched my back at the intense sensation that his mouth was creating.

As each second passed, he moved lower and lower on my body, the anticipation and desire in me rising like a tidal wave.

"I need to taste you," he said breathily as his face hovered above my hips.

"Yes…please," was all I could manage to say.

His tongue darted out of his mouth, licking me slowly from the bottom to the top and my hips thrust up towards his mouth involuntarily.

"Oh God, Edward," I muttered, lacing my fingers into his hair.

With one hand stilling my hips, his other hand moved between my thighs, running his fingers slowly along my slick folds until he finally pressed his middle finger into me swiftly. At the same time, he licked my clit with his tongue and the feeling of it was almost too intense to take.

"Relax, Bella," he said, and then continued to suck and kiss me.

Each lick and thrust of his fingers brought me closer to my release, winding me tighter and tighter, until I thought I might explode.

"Oh God…shit…so close…fuck…" I screamed as my walls clenched down on his fingers and wave after wave of ecstasy crashed over me.

He smiled as he kissed his way back up my body, coming to rest beside me. He stroked my hair and kissed my neck and then passionately kissed my mouth. I hummed in response tasting myself on his lips and tongue.

He sat up and before I knew it, he had pulled a condom from his wallet and was rolling it onto his cock. His beautiful jaw clenched in anticipation and his eyes darkened with lust.

I opened my legs for him and he positioned himself between them hovering above my body, his hand guiding him to me. He moaned and brushed his cock up and down my slick flesh to coat himself with my juices.

I was frantic with need. "Edward please, I need you inside me," I panted.

In one powerful thrust, we were joined. Edward let out a powerful groan of pleasure as I writhed beneath him. I felt myself stretching to accommodate him and I reached around and grabbed his ass, pulling him in deeper. He lifted himself up slightly and looked into my eyes.

"Fuck…Bella, you feel so good…. Better than all my fantasies," he said breathlessly.

Your fantasies, huh?

I smiled and hummed back at him as he pulled almost all the way out of me and then forcefully thrust again. Each movement was deliberate and meaningful. All my doubts about Edward's feelings for me vanished. The way he caressed me made me feel worshipped and each gaze told me that this was much more than sex. It was love and it felt so fucking perfect.

We moved together, groaning and panting as I spiraled into bliss. My body tightened as my orgasm ripped through me. Edward had a proud look on his face as he watched me climax for the second time that night. He picked up the pace and then stilled as he exhaled sharply and came inside me. His beautiful face contorted in pleasure.

He lay on top of me, panting and kissing my neck and shoulders, his hands gently caressing my sides.

"Bella, I didn't know it could be like that. I've thought about being with you so many times. It's hard to believe that you're actually here, in my arms," he confessed, still recovering from his release. "I missed you so much. It feels so good to be home."

"Welcome home, Edward."

He was home, where he was supposed to be.

With me.


A/N: So, what did you think? Please shoot me a review and let me know. Also, if you're a new reader of mine, please let me know how you heard about my story. I'm always interested and want to be sure to thank anyone who's rec'ing my story! Thanks!

Also, I know it's tempting to keep reading now that the story is complete, but I love getting reviews along the way. It's like reliving the story through your eyes.

My betas, scsquared and Twihart, spent countless hours with me working through this and being my cheerleaders. So, THANK YOU!

I also had a great team of pre-readers who gave me a lot of great insight and opinions. So, to kimberlesk, jermak99, dana1779, PattinsonPeen (I love this screenname) and Sunfeathers, many many thanks! I really appreciate your help.