This was originally concepted for the Tattward contest and completely lost steam. My first Edward/Bella, btw! I finally came back to finish it for MsKathy's awesome Haiti Fic project. Now, I'm able to share it with the rest of you. Thanks to Feisty & AzureEye for betaing this baby.

Disclaimer: do I really need to? srsly.

Fuck. Alice insisted on dragging me to her brother's concert. He's a pianist, apparently, and is performing with a group from the Chicago Symphony. I'd much rather go grab a burger and a beer and then catch a show at the Double Door, but I owed her one for last weekend's debacle.

So, instead of getting stewed, I'm putting on the only nice dress I have and my grandmother's beaded silk wrap—the only thing I got from her will. I still maintain that she whittled down my inheritance with every tattoo I got. Hence, why I was only worth a vintage wrap in the end. Thanks, Grandma Swan!

I took a glance in the mirror and made a "pffft" sound. Alice came bounding through the door without knocking.

"Bella, do not assume that you're getting away with leaving your hair like that!" My tiny friend pushed me backwards towards my bathroom. "You have to wear it down!"

I groaned. "For fuck's sake, Alice! I don't care if people see my tattoos." I rubbed the base of my neck, where tiger lilies had twisted their way up my spine.

"I don't care if the snoods don't like your tattoos, Bella," she scoffed. "I'm just saying you look hotter with your hair down."

"Fine, do your magic, Fairy Godmother."

In twenty minutes, Alice whipped through my hair with a large-barrel curling iron and the waves hung down my back in perfect, silky brown ringlets. I had to hand it to the woman, she had a gift. I couldn't stand spending more than three minutes on my hair and makeup, but it was her calling. It explained why she was one of the most popular stylists in the country.

"Fanbloodytastic, baby. Let's do this," I sighed.

Alice dragged me down the steps to the waiting cab. As we drove toward Symphony Center, I wondered briefly why I hadn't met her brother before. Edward lived in the city like we did, but I guess he did travel a lot. I'd met Alice two years ago when she moved to Chicago to style a film they were shooting locally. She loved Chicago so much, she left the spoils of L.A. to stay here. I told her she was fucking crazy to leave the coast for the shitty winters off of Lake Michigan, but she liked being close to her family, who lived in and around the area, including her twin brother Edward.

"I'm so excited you're finally going to meet Edward!" she exclaimed, as we pulled up to the hall.

"Can we go get a beer after this? The impending douchebaggery we're about to mingle with is making my ass twitch."

Alice huffed. "Seriously, Bella, will you just relax and go with it? There is a full bar, you know," she informed me.

"Hell, why didn't you say so? You pay the cabbie, I'm buyin' drinks!"

I supposed it wasn't in the best taste to do several rounds of shots before the show, but I managed to get one in. Vodka. Mmm...thank you Mr. Stolichnaya. Alice led us to our seats after we had a couple drinks, and I was feeling incredibly relaxed. I noticed plenty of stares at the exposed tattoos on the tops of my feet, where my compass was split between the two. Kind of a fucked up nod to "there's no place like home." I put my feet together and suddenly, I can remember my true north. Okay, so I was a little bit drunk when I came up with the idea, but it turned out very cool.

I sat down next to Alice and was tempted to freak some people out by putting my arm around her and groping her. That freak of a friend glared at me as though reading my mind.

"Bella, I'm about to start my period, so keep your hands off my tits," she snarled. "They're sore."

"Really?" I snorted. "Or was Jasper a bit rough on them last night?"

Alice snickered. "He was focused elsewhere."

Jasper was her on-again/off-again boyfriend, who still lived in L.A. He was a musician, so he was on the road all the time; hence, the off-again tendencies. Alice, however, was convinced that one day it would all come together. I liked Jasper, so I hoped so, but I wasn't holding my breath.

"He's my soulmate, Bella," she told me the last time they'd broken up, prior to Jasper leaving the day after Christmas for a European tour .

"Then why do you keep breaking up?" Internally, I rolled my eyes. I never believed in that shit. Soulmates? Surely made up by Hallmark.

She scoffed. "Haven't you ever had make-up sex? It's fucking incredible.... Besides, when you meet your soulmate, you just...know that it has to work out. No matter what."

Finally, the lights flickered indicating the show was about to begin, and about damn time, if you asked me. I hadn't eaten dinner, so a burger at Marcus' Diner a couple blocks over was calling my name. Or my stomach was calling for it. Whatever.

I tried to get comfortable in the tiny, stiff seats and elbowed Alice.

"We're going to Marcus' after this, so you know," I hissed.

"Maybe." She didn't even turn to look at me. "We'll see."

The lights were extinguished and lights on the stage highlighted the orchestra. The evening was a Beethoven-themed, and Edward was slated to do a solo. I squinted at the small print.

Tempest Sonata, Movement III......................................Edward Cullen, soloist

Hmmm. Tempests. That sounded promising.

Happily, I did not get so bored that my body would threaten me with instant narcolepsy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the music and performance thus far quite fascinating. Granted, I would rather catch The Black Keys, but here I was, shockingly chillaxed and not losing hearing.

Next thing I knew, I felt Alice's elbow in my ribs. "What!?" I snarled.

"Shhh!" A particularly ugly rich-bitch turned around in the row in front of us to admonish us.

"Go fuck your cousin," I hissed. The look of offense on her face was worth the price of admission. No doubt. "Now, what are you bruising me for, Tiny?"

"Edward's up next." She nodded toward the stage, and I noticed an annoyingly smug expression settle upon her face.

I settled back into my chair as the current song finished and the conductor stepped off the podium. A spotlight honed in on the piano bench on the front of the stage to the right. A secondary spot lit the corner by the curtains where a tall man appeared and headed toward the bench. A shock of barely tamed bright brown hair glittered like polished copper in the light atop his head. I realized I was under the impression that being twins, Edward would be short and have dark brown hair like her. Such was not the case.

In fact, he was hot. Sadly, 180 degrees from my type. I typically went for a dude that looked like he was wearing a shirt when he wasn't, due to all the tattoos. Ya know, someone my dad would hate. I don't set out to piss him off, I just...manage. My last "relationship," if you can call it that, consisted of me, a motorcycle, and the guy who owned it. I hated to break up with the motorcycle, but the guy came with it. Literally.

The barely tamed sexhair was a step in the right direction, but in his perfectly tailored black suit and tie, I...Okay, the suit was hot, and his pink pursed lips sticking out as he bowed to the audience were not helping.

We were several rows back, but he must've known where Alice's tickets were because he found her instantly with a quick glance, and winked. I turned and looked at Alice giggling.

Edward sat on the bench and the room stilled. I hadn't noticed if that happened with any of the other pieces, but now I did. As his fingers brushed over the keys lightly, I felt a shiver tickle up my spine. His focus intensified the look on his face and he disappeared into his own world. The only thing that existed were the black and white in front of him. No, that wasn't even right. It was the sound. The notes trilling and tinkling rapidly, pouring out of the open piano he so masterfully manipulated. He may have been immersed in his occupation at present, but even at this distance, I could tell he wasn't actually looking at hands.

It was like the music was flowing freely from him through the piano. It's Beethoven, but I could not believe it was anything but Edward.

It began, sounding like a fluttering lullaby, but something in my gut twisted and warmed like kindling. The minor notes danced on my shoulders and teased pinpoints down my back to my tailbone. A pounding bass line vibrated through my lungs and settled deep down in the girlybits. My heart began a stuttering rhythm along with the melody and wouldn't regulate. The internal heat building within me left me wondering if I was sweating as profusely as I do after forty-five minutes on the track.

I suddenly became aware of the fact that my eyes closed as the tempo of my breath increased. I was...holy fuck, I was totally aroused. Without any thought to anyone watching, I felt my breasts. Nipples hard. Check. I squeezed my thighs together. Totally wet. Check.

Well this was just fucking ridiculous. The music was gliding over my skin with a fluidity of a well-versed lover, and I was powerless to stop its seduction. What? When I ran today, I listened to White Zombie, "Welcome to the Planet Motherfucker" and Audioslave, "Show Me How to Live"...among others. How is THIS crap melting me into a pile of goo?

I looked up again and Edward's eyes were closed. This is what any true musician looks like when they play. They feel the music, it really does come through them. The instrument of their choice is merely a tool to let it out. A key. Edward merely exhaled through his finger tips and toes and masterfully beguiled my desires. His fingertips tempted me with every press.

Enraptured by his presence, I could no longer take my eyes off him. Edward swayed gently, occasionally peeking down at his hands, as if merely to make sure they were still there. By this point, I was on fire. The final run magnetized my gaze to those long, fantasy-inducing fingers as they bounced almost daintily over themselves swept from one end of the piano to the other. Soon the concluding strains brought the piece to an end, and the audience to their feet.

A breath rushed into my lungs and shocked the attention back into me as I noticed I was the only one not on my feet. I jumped up and erupted into applause, feeling a bit bewildered. The last time I had a reaction like that to a piece of music, it was "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, and I may or may not have been on the road to Shitfaced. I refused to believe it was just the song. It was beautiful, but classical was not really my thing. I knew almost nothing about it, except the biggies, and only by name.

It has to be that man.

Alice pulled at me so that we headed toward the backstage area. I vaguely remember her speaking to someone and being led by her hand towards a "green room." There was a table with champagne and wine, among other refreshments. Without asking or looking for approval, I grabbed a goblet of red wine and swigged.

I focused on my breath, trying to keep my heart from thundering right out of my ribcage, also willing the wine to relax me before I made a fool of myself in front of Alice's apparently snoodariffic yet smoldering hot brother.

"Edward!" Alice's high-pitched shriek pierced my ears. I turned. The chiseled jaw. The warm brown locks. The...fuck me...jade green eyes and lopsided grin. They were all headed this way.

Turning away and gulping down the rest of the wine, my throat stretched painfully to accomodate.

"Bella, this is Edward. Edward, my bestest friend, Bella!"

His eyes captured mine immediately as he held out his hand to shake. "Pleasure to meet you, Bella."

Fuck. His voice just fondled my nethers. And they want to be properly introduced.

"Hi." WHAT?! That's ALL you can say?!

He grinned at me as I put my hand in his. Warm, strong; I had to remind myself to let go. I grinned back like a total spaz. I came back to earth when I heard Alice giggle. I cleared my throat and examined the floor.

"So, are you able to meet us for a drink? Maybe some actual grub? Bella wants to go to Marcus'." Alice was bouncing on her toes as though trying to get taller to see her brother eye to eye.

"Marcus', eh?" He pursed his pretty lips again, but he was looking at me.

"Um, yeah." This was going well for me. I even got a look from Alice. A long moment stretched while I tried to pull my head out of my ass. "Best greasy spoon in town!"

"Ah, obviously you haven't been to the Dish." Edward's voice dipped and twirled, wrapping itself around my throat and constricting my breath. I rapidly sucked in a mouthful of air.

"Should we go there instead?" I offered.

"They have Guinness, Smithwick's...whatever your desire. My favorite is their hard cider. It's locally brewed," Edward continued. His eyes did not leave mine.

Did he say, "Whatever my desire?" Did I just cream my panties? I may have stuttered a few comments about ciders and beers that I preferred, and it's quite possible we bantered for a few minutes. He was sporting a smirk-that-kills, so there was a slight comprehension failure on my part.

"The Dish it is," I breathed, just making it easy on myself.

"Is anyone listening to me?" Alice squawked. I twisted to look at her crumpled expression.

"What, Alice?" I tried to say it sweetly, but it came out as a growl.

"I have to go. Jasper just called me," she began. "He needs to talk to me right away. In person. I'm so sorry, Edward...I—"

"Why don't you call him and tell him to meet us?" Edward suggested casually.

"It sounds bad. Well, I mean, he sounded nervous and...dude, I have to go!" She kissed him quickly on the cheek. I got a drive-by hug before she was out the door.

Fuck. Now there's no one here to save me from myself....This is ridiculous. Pull yourself together, Swan! He's not even your type!

The music was still swirling in my head. Just a glance at his hands and the effects of it swept over my body in a deliciously soft, yet engulfing wave.

Edward coughed a laugh as he inspected the floor, no doubt amused by Alice's sudden departure. I thought we both suspected it was a matchmaking ploy. "Well," he began, "still care to hit the Dish? I'm still in."

"Are you sure?" I felt a modicum of control slip back over my tongue. "I mean, there's got to be some fancy-assed after party with caviar and Cristal or some shit."

His straight posture jerked forward with an apparently unexpected snort. "Umm, no, I'm fine. Really. I'd much rather a Black & Tan or something. And the Dish's chili cheese fries are out of this world."

I raised an eyebrow and hummed the question. Dude was speaking my language. The cocky pursing of his lips and the slight nod of his head answered me affirmatively.

"Trust," was all he said aloud. He thrust his elbow out, offering it to me. I took it with mock gentility, to which he responded with a very gentlemanly snort. Leading us outside, he whistled expertly and hailed us a cab. Ushering me in first, he ran around into traffic to get in on the other side. When I looked at him like he'd grown antlers, he replied, "I wasn't going to make you scoot over in a dress."

It was my turn to snort. "Why of course, sir," I spoke with amused sarcasm. "That would simply be unseemly!"

The ride was short, maybe five minutes. The cabbie was a chatty one, so any conversation between Edward and I was on hold. Within that short span, Edward loosened his tie significantly and unbuttoned his collar, as well as a couple extra buttons revealing a smattering of chest hair. My fingers twitched.

Once we arrived, I had the feeling he would slap me if I tried to exit the cab without his assistance, so I just waited. As if to embarrass me further, the driver looked in the rearview and asked, "Um, are you getting out, ma'am? Or are we continuing to another destination?"

I turned to see Edward standing outside the cab hiding his face with his sleeve as he laughed. That fucker. He did walk over and open the door, still snickering. "Sorry, you just looked so adorably aristocratic waiting for me to open the door. I couldn't resist."

I took his hand to help pulled my ass out of the car, leveling an attempt at an icy glare at him. "I can't tell if that's a complete insult or just a backhanded compliment."

He shifted my hand and tucked it under his arm again. "Oh, no, it's a total compliment." His grin was temping off the charts. He did call me adorable. FUCK, there go the panties again. Up in flames.

We got seated fast, and it was apparent that Edward was a regular. All the waitstaff seemed to know him, as well as the few cooks who popped their heads out to make an appearance.

"'Sup Mozart?" A tall, burly man crashed through the kitchen doors, his voice rolling over the place like a mushroom cloud. "Or is it Chopin today?"

"Funny, Emmett," Edward laughed from his side of the booth. "It was actually Beethoven tonight."

"Ah yes," Emmett replied, with a sarcastically wistful tone. "The good shit."

Edward shook his head, amused, and gestured to me. "Em, this is Bella. She's Alice's 'BFF.'" Yes, he used the air quotes.

"Beautiful Bella," Emmett sing-songed in a horribly fake Italian accent. He bowed reverently and smiled. "Alice is one helluva girl. Fucking Jasper nicked that before I even had a chance."

A laugh of surprise pealed out of me before I could help it. "Not a fan of Jasper, I take it?"

"Sure, I am," Emmett corrected. "He's just a lucky guy, that's all. Hey, I'll get the chili cheese fries ready for you. I can read it all over your face, Cullen. I'm on it."

The big man exchanged some dude-handshake thing with Edward before spinning and heading back into the kitchen. A waitress quickly brought our beers, eyefucking the shit out of Edward as though I weren't even there. Not that I care, I mean...he's not type. Did I say that already?

Regardless, I glared at the back of her head, and the ridiculous hairdo she had piled on top of her head. When I brought my focus back to the table, Edward was sipping his Black & Tan, his eyes focused unreservedly on me.

"What?" I asked, picking up my own pint.

"Don't care for the waitress?" I could have punched the smug look off his face.

"Huh? No, I mean...I could have been choking, turned purple, and burst into flames, and she still wouldn't have noticed me."

"Are you interested in her? I could get her number for you," he offered, deadpan.

"Anyone ever told you how big of an asshole you are?" I snarled, but the effect was probably lost since one side of my mouth was curling upwards.

"I have," Emmett interjected setting a platter of gloriously delicious chili cheese fries between us. "He seems to think I'm joking."

"Ohhhh, Emmett," I cooed happily, inhaling the scent of arteries hardening. "I think I love you."

"HA!" The sound slashed the air as my eardrums shattered. "Hear that, Eddie? Your date just chose me over you. Happens to you all too often."

Date? "Uh..." Before I could properly vocalize any sort of protest, Emmett had disappeared. Edward was way too amused, watching me get all flustered. And I think I even fucking blushed. "This isn't a date." Too bad I didn't sound that confident.

"No, no, of course not." He still had that smirk plastered across his face.

"What is it with you?" I snapped at him, suddenly. "You're all...fucking...AMUSED or something. Am I funny? Or am I just not drunk enough yet?"

He laughed at that, lessening some of the expression that I wanted to smack off his face...or maybe suck right off his head. "You're adorable when you blush. Did you know that?"

I rolled my eyes, feeling that bastard heat sneak right back up my cheeks. "Please don't compliment me, I might start to like it."

Snickering, he refrained from commenting further and dug into the fries. We noshed in companionable silence for a little while until both of our phones began ringing nearly simultaneously. We shared a look of surprise and each picked up our phones. Alice.

"What's happening, Tiny?"

"BELLA! Omigod, you and Edward need to meet Jasper and I IMMEDIATELY. NO BUTS. GET HERE. We're at the Intercontintenal, Suite 1254. Ciao!" The tiny terror hung up before I could argue, so I looked to Edward to see if it was, in fact, Jasper calling him as I'd suspected.

"We've been summoned, apparently," he announced with a flabbergasted exhale. "Shall we?"

I looked at the half-eaten platter of cheesy, greasy goodness. "We're taking this with us. Grub this good should not go to waste."


I'd been staring at his hand the entire way out of the Dish. Emmett hollered his goodbye, punctuated by a slap on my ass. I felt Edward turn to look at him, but my eyes were on his hand. When he stood and left the booth, he held out his hand to help me out. I'd taken it, but when we went to leave, he didn't let go. As we headed out on the street to hail a cab, I nearly tripped on every crack in every slab of concrete. I stopped when he stopped, still admiring those beautiful fingers wrapped around mine rather protectively. Those fingers that could give me spankbank material for months. Those fingers that I had an overwhelming urge to just shove down my pants. Or skirt. Or up it. Whatever.

I vaguely noticed a cab pull up. Good thing Edward's brain was functioning normally, or I might have stood there like a dolt for hours. Finally, he noticed my preoccupation.

"What?" He asked, lifting our hands and drawing my gaze up to his simultaneously. "Like Emmett said, you're my date. Dates hold hands, don't they?"

"I never said...This isn't...Huh?" Fucking hell, Swan. You've been reverted to a 13-year-old babbling idiot. Christ on a fucking cracker, I'll be forced to hand over my Bad Ass Bitch card.

"I'm sorry, Bella. I really didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I just...sorry." He laughed somewhat nervously and let go of my hand.

I realized how much I enjoyed the contact, and may have wimpered slightly. I decided to say, "fuck it," and go with it. I grabbed his hand back as he opened the cab. "No, it's—it's okay. I liked it."

He stopped and the most breathtaking smile wove its way across his face. It awed and perhaps baffled me, and therefore I took no responsibility for my next action. I crashed into him, lips to lips, and wrapped my arms about his neck. After his initial shock, and maybe recovery from having me step on his toe, he kissed me back and snaked his arms around me. I felt him pull me tighter against his chest, his tongue sliding across my lips and parting them. The kiss was hungry, one of those that makes you forget where you are. My body was alight with electricity, heat, guessed it: anything blazing hot and all-consuming. The world around us disappeared, and if I thought I was on fire before, I knew nothing. He moaned into my mouth, vibrating his tongue around mine.

Oh hello, Edward's Talented Tongue. Bella's Ladybits would desperately like to meet you.

"You assholes need a room, not a cab!"

Shocked out of our lusty haze, Edward and I spun to see some gray-haired old lady in what I imagined was a mothball-smelling Jackie Kennedy-style suit, complete with pillbox hat. She was flipping us the bird as she drove away in our cab.

"What the fuck?!" I snarled, albeit a bit tickled by the awesome, then muttered, "I wish she was my grandma."

Slippery smooth laughter melted over my spine as I turned to see Edward's amusement over my latest declaration. My laughter joined his, except that I was laughing at my red lipstick all over his mouth and face.

I hummed as my giggles slowed. "Maybe he's born with it, or maybe it's Maybelline." The giggles turned to guffaws as I wheezed, "Or maybe I should just call you Bozo."

His laughter stilled, he looked at me...and then to my lips. "It's a nice look on you, too, Cookie." Holy fuck, he totally watched Bozo the Clown growing up. I'm o-fucking-fficially in love.

A huge belt of laughter broke from my throat. My body bent over to harness the force of it, and that fuckgorgeous smile of his returned while he chuckled. "Come on, sexy," he said as he took my arm. "Alice is going to throw a connipsion if we don't show up soon."

We hailed another cab, and I'd be lying if I said we didn't make out like horny fucking teenagers the entire way over. I might also be lying if I said I didn't initiate it. And I sure as fuck would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy every minute that those talented, beautiful fingers were up my skirt.

All too quickly we were at the hotel. The redfaced cabbie refused to look at Edward as he paid him. I guess he didn't like the show. Or maybe he was worried about having to hose down the seats. Prude. We made our way inside and into the elevator. I pressed the button and tried to ignore the fuckhot dude on the other side of the elevator with the recently extra-mussed sexhair. The one whose fingers were twitching like they were still deftly manipulating my cum-button overtop my thin, dampened panties. I heard him snicker, and knew instantly that he was looking at me. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught his smirk and Bella's Ladybits released another flood. Fucking cunt! Wait...

"You're too far away...." His voice held a bigger smile than his lips.

"You're too cocky," I retorted, shooting out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened. What the fuck am I doing? I was sprawled across his lap in the cab, his hands doing amazing things, and we weren't even NAKED yet. Yet? I am so fucked. I pretended my slight freakout was not what was amusing him, causing the chuckles I heard following me down the hall. He IS way too cocky. Why...? OH FUCK IT.

I reached suite 1254 and went to slam a fist on the door, but Alice swung the door open before I had a chance. Jasper stood behind her, sipping champagne.

"We're ENGAGED!"

"What!?" Edward and I shouted in unison, earning a frown and a scowl from Jasper and Alice, respectively.

"I mean, I'm sorry, sweetie, I just...I'm surprised, that's all," I backtracked quickly. "Congratulations! I think it's great."

My arms pulled Alice into me, squeezing her with sincere love. "You were always does come together," I whispered.

"So did you two come together?" She snarked back.

"What?!" Again, I shrieked a bit, but this time it was just me. I lowered my voice to a hush. "NO!"

"Alice, for the love of God," Edward groaned, apparently having overheard her.

"Whatever you say, Robert Smith," Jasper quipped as Edward was releasing him from his hug of congratulations.

Edward's hand shot to his mouth, and I laughed out loud. He whipped his head to snap at me, "Who are you laughing at, Robert-a?"

There was a split-second of uncomfortable silence before Alice's tittering broke it, tugging Jasper along easily. Edward let out a couple of stuttered grunts as he tried to hold back his own impending crack-up. I was stonewalling for a moment, but then the crazyhaired fucker broke me with the simple raise of an eyebrow. I think my panties had already disintegrated, but I nearly stuck my own hands up my skirt this time to check. After our collective laughing fit subsided, Jasper handed out the champers. Alice handed Edward and I each a babywipe or some shit to clean the lipstick off our faces, with a very smug expression, I might add. Fucking annoying little clairvoyant bitch of a best friend.

We sat down in the living room area, where I accused Jasper of going pimp on us. He laughed, explaining that his band had recently got picked up by a major label that was wining and dining the shit out of them. They recently agreed on the terms and one of them was a huge signing bonus. The ring on Alice's finger was a family heirloom from grandmother's grandmother or some shit, dating back to the Civil War. So, that allowed Jasper to plunk down the cash for this celeb-worthy suite so propose and spoil his girl.

"So no more breakup-makeup, kids?" I asked, tipping back my third glass o' bubbly. Alice looked like she wanted to punch me, but quickly shifted to a sheepish expression. "What?"

"We're...uh...I'm moving back to L.A." Alice had dropped the bomb. "Well, first I'm going to New York with him while they record and do some promotional stuff. We'll be there for a couple months or so, but I can do plenty of work in Manhattan, so that's OK for me."

"We may decide to stay in New York, though," Jasper interjected. I noticed the almost apologetic look on his face. He knew he was taking away my best friend. "You hate me right now, right?"

I let out a tentative laugh. "NO! No...of course not, Jas," I began, "but you best take good care of our girl. I don't want to have to kick your ass. And send her back to see me. A lot."

Alice jumped in my lap and hugged me. "I'm sorry," she whispered in my ear. "I'm going to miss you and Chicago so fucking much!"

"Am I even in the room?" Edward bitched from the seat next to me.

Alice released me, wiping a stray tear from her face. "Yes, you fucking priss! I'm going to miss you, too! I thought it went without saying. You and I have always been beyond words," she softened her approach as she switched laps to hug her brother.

A little shaken but generally happy, the conversation weaved and slowed as the night came to a close. Edward led me out just in time to save us from watching Alice hump Jasper right there on the sofa with or without spectators. We ended up giggling our way down the elevator—perhaps a little too much champagne? I wasn't sure, but the combination of everything this evening left me somewhat breathless. Before the elevator could come to a stop, I felt those fingers encircle mine yet again. Warmth and, to my surprise, sheer comfort shot through my body at his touch. I turned to look at him as we walked out through the lobby, and he smiled at me. Without thinking, I smiled back an equally joyful grin.

This next cab ride was much less frenzied. Our entwined hands sat on the seat between us, our bodies straight in our respective seats. Occasional smirks or glances exchanged, we soon arrived at my apartment. I didn't move right away as I debated with myself.

What the fuck are you doing? TAKE THE MAN WITH YOU. TAP THAT SHIT.

Oh for the love of God, don't be such a slut.

How can it be slutty? It's Alice's brother!

Exactly why you should keep it in your pants. Or his pants. Whatever.

You've never had a reaction like this to a guy. It's unprecedented. JUMP HIM.

He's not even my type.


"Bella? Are you okay?" His hand was still clasping mine.

Suddenly, I realized I was afraid. What if I really liked this guy? What if...I am so fucked. Not yet. GAH! "Do you want to—"

"Yes." His eyes were trained on the back of the driver's seat.

"You don't even know what I was going to—"

"You were going to ask me up," he said, confidently, cocking that half-smirk bullshit that resulted in me throwing my panties away at the hotel.

"I was actually going to ask if you wanted to paint my apartment this week." I bit at my bottom lip trying to stop from smiling. He laughed at my sarcastic remark. "Ok, that's what I was going to—"

"Great, could you guys pay now and get the fuck out of my cab?"

Damn, that cab driver needs to get laid. Speaking of laid....

Edward slapped my hand away from my purse as I went to get cash to pay for the cab. I retaliated by not letting him open my door. He left-eyebrowed me over the top of the cab as it pulled away, stepping forward then and maintaining constant eye contact. I pulled a smirk of my own and spun on my heel, heading up the stairs and unlocking my door. Before I could open it, I felt his body at my back. Not touching, but his heat was wrapping around me and I hated to admit it to myself, but I was really fucking enjoying it. So much so that I noticed my breath pick up and become labored. I tried to center myself so I could at least speak coherently. And then I figured, Fuck it. I'm past looking indifferent.

The door swung inward, but I remained in place. Seconds later, I felt Edward run his nose along my exposed shoulder, his lips taking over when he reached my neck. Soft, open-mouthed kisses sent tingles and shocks scattering all over my skin, but most importantly to the nethers that were all atwitter about finally getting their due. Fucking nymphos. I reflexively tilted my head to let him continue his exploration of my skin with his lips and tongue. I could almost taste the champage on his breath as he nibbled on my earlobe before he whispered, "We should go inside before we end up fucking on the threshold."

My traitor fucking knees buckled, but his arms wrapped around my waist and held me up. I realized how much I hated to feel vulnerable, and at the same time, how much I really didn't mind it at the moment. That little nugget kind of terrified me, but something about him shoved the thoughts from my mind. Or maybe it was my ridonkulous lust. Whichever.

By the time we were inside, door closed, our lips had reunited, and we were sucking on each other's faces like a fat kid and an extra large chocolate malt. Our limbs were tangled together. His hands struggling with the zipper on my dress. My hands simply pulled desperately at his shirt, hoping to pull off that sexy ripping thing so the buttons would scatter and I'd find them weeks later. I felt his chuckle begin to rumble in his chest, vibrating against me and bubbling my desire to boiling point. My patience reached, I pulled back and shouted, "TAKE IT OFF."

"Same goes for you," he replied in some fuckhot kind of growl.

We stood there, halfway to the bedroom, fighting with our own clothing. It was eight shades of ridiculous, but made us both all the hornier. I spun, trying to negotiate with my zipper and finally won the battle, the dress dropping to the floor. When I turned back to face him—OK, to attack him—he was shirtless. And rigoddamnfucking glorious. I momentarily forgot I was not wearing panties anymore, and was therefore completely naked. I stepped in and kissed him slowly, reveling in the feeling of his skin against mine. I refused to part with his tongue, currently twirling around my own, so he settled for getting handsy with my bare ass. I hummed in appreciation into his mouth until he slipped a hand between us to dip his fingers into my wetness.

I threw my head back, crying out, "Oh, fuck yes!"

"Fucking hell," he muttered, dropping his head to swirl his tongue around my hardening nipples.

I lifted my head to watch him, suddenly noticing for the first time the swirls of black ink licking the tops of his shoulders.

"Fuck. Me. Hard." I couldn't believe my narrowmindedness. I'd made an assumption about Edward being the straightlaced snob, when I should know better. Some people thought of Alice as nothing more than a shopaholic twit. I knew never to bet against the bitch. She had an M.B.A. from Stanford, and a membership in Mensa. Seriously.

"I certainly can, but—"

"I just...your tattoo," I mumbled like an idiot, walking around him to look at his back. My fingers trailed over the branches and leaves of an intricate black and gray tree. The leaves were music notes and the details of each branch, limb, and knot were made from staff lines, clefs, and other various musical symbols. He exhaled a rugged breath. My tongue had decided to reach out and taste the embedded ink. My arms wrapped around him, fingers tracing the lines of his abs before pinching his nipples, eliciting a moan. My right hand redirected and slid down, down...until it found a soft trail of hair. I firmly took his growing excitement in my grip, pumping slowly. Crisis: Girlybits in uproar! I repeat, GIRLYBITS IN CRISIS!


"I couldn't agree more," I panted, releasing him.

"No...I, I don't have a condom..." Well, shit. He looked at me, completely pained. "I..."

I took a moment to think. I trusted him inexplicably, and if he was lying, I would simply have Alice kill him. And then kill him myself. A lot of killing, basically. But deep down, I really didn't feel it would be necessary. Something bigger was going on here. I was confident of it. Scared me shitless, but I was sure of it.

"I'm clean." I saw hope paint his face. "And I'm on the pill."

He looked incredibly relieved, yet still totally edible. "Me, too. The clean part, I mean."

I snorted, which brought out my favorite smile so far, which included a bit of tongue trapped between his teeth. Slowly, we stepped forward again, lips parted. Our bodies touched from lips to pelvises. I let out a moan when I felt his erection press against my stomach, reaching between us to palm it.

"Goddammit Bella, I need you..." His voice gravelly with lust, I nearly came right then.

"Take me...seriously, Edward, fucking take me..." I couldn't believe I said that shit, but I was about to spontaneously combust with want.

A tornado of ferocious kisses and near pants-ripping later, we tripped and fell onto my bed. Laughing, he flipped me onto my stomach, pulling my hips back to his. I felt him slide along my arousal, and I mewled in anticipation. I fucking MEWLED. How the fuck does this man do this to me? I shoved back against him, and he growled. I hoped he didn't mind the Niagara Falls effect his sound had on me. Holy Fuck, no man had made me this crazy with anticipation. "Christ, Edward, quit teasing..."

Without an opportunity to complain further, he entered me in a swift thrust. He stilled for a moment until I began writhing. Feeling him inside me was unreal, but when we began moving together, it was like the electricity and fire I'd thought consumed me earlier when I'd first kissed him were a mere shadow of the fever washing over me now. Kisses landed along my shoulderblades, his tongue lapping at the beads of sweat blossoming across the expanse of my skin. I reached back to grip his hair in my fist, bringing his lips to the juncture between my shoulder and neck. I twisted to steal a kiss, just as the pace increased and as those talented fucking fingers found my clit.

Minutes later, every muscle in my body was tense and contracting with the most powerful orgasm I'd ever had. I may have yelled out in tongues. Seriously, I have no idea what the fuck I babbled. Edward followed seconds later, freezing and twitching with his own as a string of obscenities unraveled from his lips. We laughed at each other, and the ridiculous exclamations coming out of our mouths as we collapsed side by side.

"So, we're in agreeement, then?" His question was breathless, only three long, ragged breaths after he came.

"About what?" I was equally struggling to breathe.

"That it was a date." When I stopped laughing, we did it again.

A/N: The Beethoven piece Edward plays can be heard here, as performed by Wilhelm Kempff: http://www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=LfjD-DQ5REk

BIG thanks go to Feisty for hookin' me up with dis classical shizz. You is teh awsum.