And Yet They Shine

Chapter 23: Languid



"Come on," he said, rising and pulling her easily up with him. "I need to take you home."

Edward picked her up and she was a feather in his arms. He closed his eyes and held her close, breathing in the perfume of her hair. She smelled as she had that first night – of frustration and want, of the ocean and flowers.

When he opened his eyes, they were in his bedroom, in his palace. Setting Isabella down, he held her until she steadied on her feet, and took a moment to look around. He watched as she eyed his things – mementos from centuries of life lined his walls. He looked at his bookshelves and imagined Isabella's books beside them. It made something inside of him glow, warm and full.

"This is my chamber," he said, breaking the silence. "This is where you would – I mean, would you…would you stay here with me?"

"I thought you don't sleep," she said.

"No," he replied, shaking his head. "But I would," his voice cut out as he swallowed. Nervousness was not an emotion he was acquainted with, but he recognized it nonetheless. "I would like to lay with you, at night."

As he said the words, he found he couldn't meet her gaze.

She reached for his hand, tentative, fluttering fingertips against his own. "You would watch over me then, while I sleep?" Her smile was shy as she sought his eyes.

He nodded, embarrassed by his need to be with her, always.

"I would like that," she said. She took his hand in her fingers, and pulled him toward the bed. It was ornate and beautiful, made to look like a gilded swan. The bedding looked soft and downy, with white sheets standing in contrast to the gilt of the frame.

Edward fought with himself for control. His heart, which didn't need to beat, pounded in his chest nonetheless. He wanted to push her down into those blankets, push her down and cover her body with his own, consume her so that she would always be with him, inside of him.

Instead, he followed with slow steps, pushing away his want, until he could be only hers. Be only what she needed. Nothing less, and nothing more.

She approached the bed and sat on the edge, giggling when she tipped over the side and onto the fluffy linens. Her hand grasped tighter to Edward's and she pulled him down with her.

He laughed as he fell, nervousness gone. She wanted him with her, that much was clear, and that was all that mattered.

Isabella turned to her side to face him, her god. She studied the panes of his face, taking them in with her fingers, feeling the heat from his skin through every touch. She traced down to his neck and unlaced his tie, sitting up on her knees to thieve it away. As she unbuttoned the first buttons at his collar, her fingers slipped inside, continuing their languid exploration of his pale skin.

When his breath stuttered, she paused, concerned. She looked into his eyes and saw the storm she'd seen so many times before, only now she understood it. She reached for his hand and kissed his fingertips before placing them against her collarbones, and then dragging them down, toward her heart.

"I'm yours," she whispered, her breath catching the air around them.

She watched the small smile as it formed on his lips, then vanished as he leaned in to kiss her. His. His for the taking, his for the tasting, the touching, loving. His.

His hands were gentle as they played across her skin. He listened for each caught breath, each heart flutter, each gasped moan and used them for his guide. When he had finally removed all of her clothes and she lay before him, naked, he exalted in her beauty, in her trust and her faith in him, at allowing him to see her so.

"Your turn," she said, fingertips flying at his buttons, pushing the starched white shirt off of his skin. Her voice was low and trembling, and he discarded his clothing with haste, eager to feel her soft skin against his own.

It was a warm heaven, there in her arms, and he wondered that anything, anyone could be so perfect, so perfectly made for him.

"Isabella," he whispered and bent to taste the skin at her neck, her delicate human pulse flitting against his tongue. He nipped at the crook of her neck and scraped his teeth along her collarbones, all the while marveling at how each movement found her pulling him closer, clutching him ever more tightly to herself.

When his tongue stroked against the tip of her breast, her whispered 'yes' was a hiss and a plea. She parted her legs and he nestled one knee between them, continuing his explorations while she threaded her fingers through his hair, pushing his head to her breast.

"Edward." She was writhing and panting beneath him, her body seeking friction as his hands traced up and down her leg, across her side, up to her breast before burying itself in her hair.

"Patience, little pretty one."

While his body craved a union, some other part of him was enjoying her need for him, enjoyed that he did this for her. To her.

His fingers explored with leisure, taking in all of her soft spots, but when he reached the secret place, where her flesh was soft and warm and wet, his patience, his very mind failed, and he became a being made of want.

Desire lit within him, until he covered her body with his, his mouth seeking hers, taking her hot breath and slick tongue and giving back his own in return. That was right. That was everything he had ever hoped for, ever dreamed of, and so much more.

"Please," she whispered, arching herself up against him. "I want…"

"I know," he answered, because he wanted it too.

Isabella dug her fingers into his side, then into his shoulders. There were rough scratches on his skin that healed the moment they appeared. He was indestructible, and yet he felt fragile and torn asunder by his need for this girl.

Arching again, Isabella took the lead. She squirmed beneath him until their bodies were aligned. She shifted against him, moaning at the contact against the part of her that needed him most. His breath caught at the sensation, hot and wet and soft and he flicked his hips once more, lost in the sensation.

Isabella squirmed again, wrapping her legs around his, her feet on the backs of his calves, pushing up to reach him.

"Edward," she cried. "I—oh!"

He stilled her hips with his hand and pushed inside of her, slow and gentle and easy, when all he wanted was to push and pin and stroke. Take.

Caught in the symphony of her breath and heartbeat, Edward guided himself forward again, resting his arms beneath her shoulders, cupping her to him until they became one, skin to skin, tender and rough, each of them clinging to the other, trying to get further, get deeper inside.

"Yes," she whispered, chanted. "Yes, yes yes Edward yes yes please."

He answered with his own prayer, a litany of please and baby and gods and yes.

Their bodies worked in concert, taking and yielding, pulling and giving, straining toward one another until each of them was consumed.

When it was over, they lay as ashes on the bed, bringing one another to life again with gentle whispers and soft kisses.

If Edward had been afraid of hurting her, he needn't have been for long. Isabella lay beneath him, her smile lighting a glow that suffused her skin and telegraphed her happiness. Her eyes danced as he took her in, fingers ever seeking, even in his sated condition. Because, how sated could he be? Would he ever get enough of her?

No. Not in a million lifetimes. Not in all of forever.

"You love me," she whispered, and leaned up to kiss the corner of his mouth.

"And you love me," he answered back. His smile reached his eyes, and lit them up until Isabella was lost in a world of green.

"Forever?" she asked.


As she closed her eyes and fell into dreams, Edward thought that he could not want for more than what he had there in his arms: everything.



AN: Two chapters left. Thank you so much for reading.